Summer To Do’s

June 21, 2014

Thanks to humanity’s understanding of planetary motion and geography today marks the official beginning of summer. 

Huzzah!

Now, I’m not a typical summery kind of person. For instance, I live in Florida, where’s it’s summer 9 months out of the year. So if we were to break this down into formula (heat+humidity)/tolerance = insanity threshold. (The unit of measurement is a “Frick”, or “F”.) So when the insanity threshold reaches a full Frick unit we all start to say things like “It’s way too fricking hot to do anything outside.” 

So…yeah…I like it when it’s a good deal cooler. 

But this year, that changes. This year I’m going to be actively more engaged in going outside and doing things. And while I’m at it, allow me to throw together all those things in one of those old fashioned lists of things I say I’ll do but never get around to doing.

Heh, maybe I should get my named changed to D.A. DOESN’T…

You get it…? 

It’s because I’m lazy…

So, here’s the summer to do list:

  1. Read: During the school year I’m working hard. My brain is fried like the golden batter of a eight pack of nuggets from Chick-fil-a…(drools). Since we’ve last spoken I’ve pretty much only read 4 books. Some of them were read completely; some were not. (I feel ashamed, I do). I did a little non-fiction kick at the beginning of the year (which I will certainly make a post about later) and I’ve delved deeper into the Dark Tower Saga from a guy named Stephen King. (This guy is going somewhere one day, take my word for it.) Right now I’m on the book Wizard and Glass which is the fourth book in the series. I plan to have book five done before the middle of August. I’m trying to be realistic because I might get sidetracked into reading other books. Also, two books is a lofty goal for my addled brain right now, so if I fail on two books and one read one…I still win. Or maybe I lose because it is not Ka-tet and I will have forgotten the face of my father…(OooOOooOOoo…seewhatididthere?)
  2. Write: This should be number one…but I didn’t think of it first when I wrote this, so it’s holding down the deuce. I plan on using the increased use of this site to ignite the pyres of words hidden in my mind. I’ll likely publish those shorts here as they pop up. Let’s go ahead and say…a story every 2 weeks? Seem realistic? sure…sure…why not? I’ll also try to limit posting here on the blog to a few times per week. You know how pacing helps you win the longer races. 
  3. Move: I’ll be moving this summer to a house. Like a bonafied real house. With windows and doors and neighbors that aren’t sharing walls with you and have very strange noises coming from behind those said walls. I’ll have a backyard and a front yard (that I must mow). And I’ll have big empty spaces that I can play guitar really loudly in without disturbing the already disturbing neighbors. 
  4. Play Music: And do it loudly. I’ve even contemplated purchasing a new amplifier for this noise making endevour. Hopefully people will come over and play music with me also, which would be nice. 
  5. Do something about my laptop: This is a very tricky area that I may just allowed to happen organically instead of forcing the issue. My only computer is this laptop. It’s not that old (maybe 4 years) but it most certainly needs help. I’m considering buying a new battery and just gutting the whole thing. Maybe that means buying a portable hard drive and backing up the important stuff, resetting to factory settings, deleting bloatware and see how far that gets me. I’ve also entertained the idea of changing the operating system to Linux. This is a little unnerving because I really don’t know much about computers and have grown up only on Windows. So to pull away and do something different (but still well supported as I understand it) is a hard thing to do. The nuclear option will be to purchase a brand new shiny thing which would be more capable of some of the other goals I might have down the line. (Maybe even join the desktop community).
  6. Plan for the next school year: I really want to try getting a good deal of work done BEFORE the kids come back and I got to do the whole thing again. I always like to get better at things. Every year I’ve taught I change at least half of what I did previously. My goal would be to get everything for the 1st quarter planned (in the newly required format), assignments copied, new strategies thought up, and create a new method of sharing content. That method of new content delivery would preferably be shooting some fun little videos that give kids content and also make it fun. (think Bill Nye meets poor high school teacher). I’d like to have units or certain topics that could become “flipped classroom” content. More on that later.
  7. Design a board game: Well…that’s not totally true. I plan on re-theming a board game and then focusing on some of the key mechanics of that game. Then I will tweak that game until it comes out with a more unique playing experience that is wholly different than the game it was based on. What game is that? It’s going to be based on the game Lords of Waterdeep but with a theme of shopping on during Black Friday sales. It’s a pretty fun game that I think could be a little bit more fun with a bit more satire and or humor. (But honestly, if you’re into board games, check out the reviews on boardgamegeek and consider playing it, it’s quite a bit of fun despite everybody’s reluctance to want to be roped in with the DnD crowd.)
  8. Play more disc golf: Yeah, I somehow got hooked on playing disc golf a few months ago. Is it just a kick that will die out shortly? Is it a long term habit of forming new friendships and skills in a hotter than Venus environment during the summer? Is it a way to get easily frustrated when you lose a disc in some unholy thicket full of barbs and thorns that forbid you to enter and retrieve your molded plastic you paid $10 for? I’m not sure…but I do know I like it right now…so I’m going to be doing a good deal of that. 
  9. Paint: I want to paint more. Because I’m elegant and crap. I’ve had some ideas strike me that I know I will not turn out the way I want them to, but man…I’d still like to try. Also, I paint watercolors now…sorry if I haven’t mentioned that as part of what’s happened in the past year…my bad. (don’t worry, I’m not some hidden savant of the brushstrokes, I just found it pretty neato and was something I tried.) 
  10. Poop my pants if the U.S. moves out of group stage in the World Cup: This would be sudden and unexpected to occur, but if it does happen, the stinkies will happen.
  11. Clean pants if that happens: See above.
  12. Try eating Kale: Because that’s a thing now and I want to judge for myself before I start badmouthing its trendiness. 
  13. Learn a new skill: I don’t know what it is. Could be knitting or cooking like a pro with a wok. It could be learning the basics of finance or learn to canoe. I’m not sure what it is, but it would be nice to learn something new every once in a while. Add some extra flavors to my life. (Which may or may not taste like Kale) 
  14. Stretch: In high school I won the class award for “least likely to be confused with Dr. Richard Reed AKA Mr. Fantastic”. With that honor came the great inconvenience of not being able to fully expand without something popping inside of me. Most people liken the sounds to that of a submarine diving deep and the hull crinkling due to the pressure. 
  15. Buy some new music: Yes, I’m one of the 26 people on earth who actually still purchase all the music they listen to. Why? Because morals. That’s why. Because I want to give my money to a band to support them. That’s why. Because I’m a little dated. That’s why. So deal with it. 
  16. Climb Mount Everest then jump to the moon while on fire and winning the world cup with the sweetest bicycle kick in stoppage time: Because who DOESN’T have this goal? Right?

So there you go. Another list of lists to end all of the other lists have have surely popped up in your reader feed today. Thanks for reading. Actually, what I’m more willing to be is that you just sort of looked at the title of this post, saw that it was a guy who wrote more than 200 words and said, I will click follow so maybe he clicks follow. If I did that, dear friend, then we’d all be followers…right?

If that last statement offended you please keep in mind I still have this powerful stench of bleach in the air from cleaning out this place from yesterday. The plummer is coming tomorrow. To add to that, I discovered what went unchecked in the fridge. It’s currently sitting on my couch eating old hot dogs and learning to speak English by watching T.V. commercials. 

As for you, what do you plan on doing this summer? Travel? Meeting up with friends? Carving a image of yours truly into a stump of a tree with a chainsaw? I’m just asking. I’m not trying to encourage any odd behavior like that. 

But, if you do…make sure you get my eyes right. People always mess up the eyes. 

D.A.

sdrawkcaB elttiL A

May 1, 2013

Sorry to confuse you. I really shouldn’t be so stupid that I would put nonsense into my title.

But it’s been one of those days. Tomorrow and Friday will likely be the same.

So I tried to get ahead of the curve and wrote some posts for later in the week rather than today. So, you’ll have to wait later for real content, even though I did, in fact, do it today. That also gives me grounds to make a lazy post right now. The other posts are also sort of time sensitive as well.

I would also like to let you know that the last item in my previous post has been deemed invalid. Apparently I played the same song today and no tornado occurred. Statistically I’m still batting around .500, so that’s still enough to get me in the hall of fame.

Goodnight,

D.A.

 

I Almost Died Today

April 30, 2013

(Kinda sorta, but more of a statement of fact than fantasy)

I shall embellish as necessary. You know, for entertainment purposes. But I think as I write this I will end up being more truthful than anything.

SO THERE I WAS… learning how to play Earth, Wind, and Fire’s song September on guitar. (Yeah, specifically this song) And I hear a little bit o’ thunder in the background. But, hey, I pay no mind to a little thunder. I live in Florida after all, thunder is just as common as senior citizens driving golf carts and theme parks.

By the way, in order to get in the mood, you should listen to this as you read on.

So I keep groovin’ and the thunder keeps boomin’.

Now, I should preface everything I’m about to say with this statement. One of my biggest fears is severe weather and only in recent years (let’s say the past 7 or so) I’ve been able to quell the fear that surges through me when I hear the emergency alert system buzz. Since I’ve been living on my own I have not been in a severe weather event. So… this was a first for me. Facing a major fear while totally alone and helpless.

 

So, as I was saying, I kept playing.

For whatever reason I decided to glance out the window and see if it was even raining yet.

Yeah, quite a bit actually. And the wind was looking rather breezy.

This, in my mind, qualifies as a level 2 threat (on a scale of 1 to 10 of course). This means I pull up a website that has some current radar for my area.

“No biggie” I think to myself. “Tis but a sprinkle.” (Yeah, that’s how I talk to myself)

Then the webpage seems aglow with…colors. Like freaking Christmas trees colors. All of them on top of my homestead.

“Oh eff…” I say to myself (and yes, I say eff as a word, deal with it)

I turn on the T.V. and click to a local news station. I’m immediately bombarded with the familiar buzz of the EAS and it telling me, nay, SCREAMING at me, words I don’t want to see.

Tornado.

Looked and sounded a lot like this.

And my car isn’t even in the garage… MOTHER OF PEARL!

So I do what any responsible, conscientious, well thought out person would do. I put down my guitar, grabbed a pillow and stood in front of the T.V. like a moron.

Then I start to hear the rain start to roar, and my apartment (not homestead, sorry) starts to vibrate flood falling from above. I look outside and see how it’s near white outside with rain and the few trees I can see are whipping around as if they were some wet haired woman in a Whitesnake music video.

Oh boy.

So I put on some house slippers and begin to wonder if I should move to the closet or the bathroom (which is pretty much the same place). My panic stricken mind agrees that the best place would be the shower. More support in the walls as well as the tub to help with reinforcing me in place. (No basement and I live on the second story, I’m screwed no matter what).

So, I stand in the shower until I hear the roar of 1 inch thick hail pound on my windows, door, roof, (and my poor car). I even hear the whipping of the trees outside of my place shake violently.

This happens for about 45 agonizing seconds. In which time I said the foxhole prayer 3 times and started contemplating whether I should pull out my phone and record my last will and testament as I wait for the tornado to sweep me away to the land of Oz. I thought, “This is it D.A., you’re a gonner.”

It really started to sound like something from War of the Worlds was going on outside.

Then it stopped just as quick as it started.

Quivering, holding a small pillow, I stepped out of my tub and into the living room. The updated radar indicated it had passed overhead. I was in the clear.

I picked up the guitar again and played for another hour. Went to the store and picked up a steak. Cooked that steak with some green peppers and onions, with a baked potato on the side. I enjoyed every bite a little more knowing the chemicals in my brain still let me remember that I thought I was going to die on this day, April 30th, 2013.

Let’s recap what we should have learned from this experience.

1. I might want to take notice of the weather a little faster next time, juuuuust in case the giant swirly wind tube of destruction decides my presence is needed elsewhere.

2. I need to consider putting my car IN the garage when I know a storm might be a-brewin’.

3. I make tornadoes happen when I play Earth, Wind, and Fire on guitar.

 

Now, fear me.

D.A.

 

Distractions

April 25, 2013

One of my biggest distractions has been my reawakening of my love of guitar. I used to play primarily the bass guitar, but since I’m not in a band anymore, it’s sort of hard to keep myself entertained with just that. So I decided to play acoustic guitar a little more often, and quickly found myself obsessed with the idea of finally becoming the owner of an electric guitar.

After 11 years, I finally did it.

Say hello to the newest member of my family.

my newest addition

my newest addition

It’s an Fender American Special Stratocaster and I think it’s puuurty. I also believe you owe me a round of applause because I’m only posting the one photo. You could have gotten a very long album that featured a really creepy amount of photos with an inanimate object.

Want to know more about it? OF COURSE YOU DO! WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS THING?

It’s an easy guitar to play. The radius on the neck is perfect for my tiny hands and helps me bend strings without any effort at all. (This is something new to me because my acoustic guitar was just a turd to try to bend with).

WANT ME TO BLAB ON FURTHER?!

It also sounds fantastic. It came with Texas Specials inside and “upgraded pots” which allow me to enjoy fiddling with those knobs and it doesn’t lose anything.

MORE THINGS!

It even comes with a groovy 7o’s style headstock. Looking at it makes me feel like I’m back on the road touring with The Who and Led Zeppelin.

I AIN’T EVEN DONE!

The finish is spiffy as well. A natural wood look with a sunburst feel. Not too dark, not too light. Just a golden honey appearance makes you feel like they grabbed a honeycomb and just buffed it for a couple of hours.

Am I sounding like a advertisement for Fender guitars? I hope so! I really hope they decide to reward my loyalty by giving me a Telecaster…free of charge. (I’d take it in a natural tone, much like this. Not begging, just asking….)

So what has this guitar done for me? It helped me write my second song….ever.

Yeah, so what…

And it has fed the obsession with looking at guitars as beautiful and artful things. Which only makes me want more and different ones.

Now I just need a decent amp…

Jealous? Thought so…

Now I’ve got crap to grade/not grade.

D.A.

 

 

 

THE List

April 23, 2013

And yes, I wanted to make this clear that this isn’t just any list; it’s THE List.

This list will include items that I’m planning on adding to the docket for this summer. (That’s the 8 blissful weeks that I will not be working and hopefully making a full recovery from the school year.)

I shall also use this opportunity to explain my scheduling methodology with all of you. Feel free to use it.

It’s called … Pencil and Ink.

When things are penciled in it means they are scheduled to occur, but if something else comes up they can be shuffled into another time slot to fit my need. This means they have a 50% chance of occurring at their scheduled time, a 40% chance of happening at another time, a 9% chance of not happening at all, and a 1% of becoming the basis for me hurting myself in some embarrassing accident.

In no particular order:

1. Play video games. Urgency: Pencil

In particular I would like to purchase Bioshock Infinite and just spend a day exploring that world and probably getting frustrated/terrified. I would also like to find a day where I could get the largest number of people together to have a good old fashioned Halo LAN party. (If you’re in Florida, feel free to offer your Xbox/T.V./original copy of Halo)

2. Read. Urgency: Ink

That’s all. Just read. Hopefully lots. But reading is a must. It’s just got to happen. Hopefully every night before bed.

3. Sleep in. Urgency: Inky Ink.

I don’t even really have to plan this. It’s a certainty. You can bet the farm on this one.

4. Writing. Urgency: Ink from a permanent marker that was left in your pocket that you accidentally left in the wash. (You’ve been there)

It’s gots to happen Cap’n. Word? (Obviously I need to get back into the habit of writing in clearly written English as opposed to my life-on-the-streets manner.) But I would like to write (besides this blog) for at least an hour every day. Heck, I might even follow through with a promise I made to myself earlier in the year and actually do that summer version of NaNoWriMo. *But remember yesterday’s post about lies…*

5. Guitar Urgency: Ink from a squid

I recently purchased my first electric guitar and it is a dream come true. I’ll post some bragging photos of it soon enough. I should also mention that this purchase has helped me write my second song ever. That’s right, played gitfiddle for over 10 years now…and have only just written my second song. Sad? Yes. But we’re all weird in our own ways.

6. Magic: the Gathering. Urgency: Number 2 Pencil

This could happen just once over the summer and I’d be thrilled with it. It’s like brain food for me.

7. Board game night. Urgency: Golf Pencil

Because who doesn’t like board games?

8. Decide if I’m going to buy a house or rent for another year. Urgency: Still don’t know but I suppose it has to be Ink.

Put this hear almost as a reminder to myself for a later date.

9. Buy new music. Urgency: Pencil (likely not sharpened enough)

It’ll happen when it happens. But every summer has a distinct sound for me. Some albums help to define what that year will be remembered as. Maybe I’ll write another time that will tell you what each season is represented by in my car’s CD player.

10 Spend one whole day in my underwear. Urgency: Pencil

Why? Because I’ve never done it before. It’s a personal challenge to myself to make me think I could actually pull this off. Stop judging me…you know you want to do the same.

11. Make some silly videos. Urgency: Pencil but underlined in ink.

This is just too much fun for me and I’m sure me and some friends will end up doing it at some point. Just hope they will have the same amount of free time as I will.

12. Apply for a passport. Urgency: Ink (but possibly the erasable kind)

It’s something I should have done long ago. I’m not sure how I’ll end up traveling all around the world without one. Especially when I’m going to be hired as the new personal assistant to the Secretary of State. I’m positive he wouldn’t mind if I spent a whole day in my underwear either.

13. Move some more marbles. Urgency: Pencil (but could be a colored pencil)

I’ll try trumping them up here soon enough. (But seriously, if you live in a country outside the U.S. I might be interested to mail you a marble for the sake of mailing you a marble.)

14. Exacting my revenge. Urgency: Ink

This is already happening. To whom is a non-issue for you. Unless, of course, you are the person in which the vengeance e will be coming to. In which case I highly advise that you get to cover and start praying. Oh…if you only knew of my plans.

15. Preparing for next school year. Urgency: Disappearing Ink

This is a must in the summer. I need to prepare better. If not I will likely drown by November.

16. Take my Pops out to the movies. Urgency: Ink

People should be nice to their parents more often, right?

Annnnnd….that will probably be my entire summer.

So what are you penciling in or inking in this summer?

D.A.

Therapy

September 7, 2011

Therapy. We all need it sometimes.

That’s because we all have those days when we just need to chill. We need a breather. Our minds end up worrying about things that don’t really matter. Hey, even sometimes our minds worry about things that really do matter, but we just can’t handle worrying about it for too long. It’s just not healthy.

Some find help in meditation and relaxation. Some people seem to release their stress out while working out. Others believe that they can just talk it out with a friend or relative. A few might even enjoy doing something creative.

My therapy is playing guitar.

Yeah, I just pick up the old git-fiddle and pluck away. Well, I guess I don’t really think of it as plucking, more of a strumming or brushing manner. Some picking could be involved…but never a pluck.

I have played guitar for many years, but I havent’ really been playing all that much until I have been getting stressed out lately. Work is keeping me pretty busy and I need a release from time to time.

I really do enjoy music. But I’ll admit that my guitar skillz (purposly spelled with a “z” at the end to indicate how sick guitar skills are) really aren’t that flashy. I don’t “shread” or “groove”, I just play. I don’t plan it, it just happens. But the music is really the reason I play.

I do it because it physically hurts to do play. That’s right, it physically hurts me to play guitar.

Why?

I haven’t played this much in such a long time.

For those of you who don’t play guitar, allow me to inform you of the inconvienances of guitar playing.

Callouses. You need them. You really need them. And the only way to get them and keep them is to keep playing. I have been lacking in the maintinece department and have been paying for it ever since.

If I could just play 30 minutes everyday for the next week or two I’m certain my previous dexterity and strength (as well as pain tolerance) would be fully restored. For now, I only end up playing for a few hours every few days. Not nearly enough to build back those callouses.

When I used to play in high school and my early college days (Ha! It’s looks funny to see me type a sentence like that) I had some pretty incredible hand strength. This is due to my previous playing style.

For one reason or another I used to be in a metal band. While I’m not going to comment on the whole band thing (I’ll save that for another post one day), I am going to say this. We played really fast and really hard. I played bass with my string action set waaaay too high. But I liked it that way. I played so hard that I needed that little extra room over the fretboard so the strings wouldn’t bash against it too often.

In short, I could play harder without having to deal with unwanted distortion or “boinging” in my tone.

This meant my hand had a grip that could crush a cinderblock. (This is a very big lie but you get my point).

Now-a-days I end up whining to myself when I play. But that pain reminds me of the past. And I really like that.

I think of how my wrist would get so stiff toward the end of the set. Memories of how I used to get nervous about playing music and not messing up. Daydreaming about the number of hours I would devote to making something sound “right”.

Then I snap back into reality and think…I’ve got a ton of papers to grade.

There it is. My therapy sessions are playing guitar and remembering my glory days.

What about you? What do you do to relieve the stress?

Plucking Picking away the stress,

D.A.

Really, I’m having a contest to see who can make me giggle.

You in?

Allow me to tempt you further.

The winner of the contest will receive this plethora of incredible and significant objects:

Best Prize Ever?

And there’s more. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

So allow me to explain myself and the rules for the contest. If you don’t want to read the explanation, and want to get right on to the rules for free stuff, then skip the next few paragraphs.

I’ve noticed a very strange theme through all of my stories (all 3 of them).  A lot of my characters seem to die. They usually die in some out of the ordinary manner or circumstance. I do this because I think it’s funny, but there is the chance that I could just be mentally disturbed…

Since death is considered by many people to be a very serious topic, let’s have some fun with it. All you have to do in this contest is tell me a funny story or situation where you are grieving the loss of something silly. You see, crying over your long lost granny is sad. But crying over your ice cube tray named Otis, that died in a tragic skiing accident, is funny. So let’s aim for funny here. Let’s try to make death a “not too serious” problem we can poke fun at.

In return I will give the winner a sympathy card and handwritten note expressing my condolences for your loss as well as the items listed in the picture above. Now here are the rules.

Rules for “In Sympathy” Contest

  1. To enter this contest you must post a comment on this particular post’s comment thread. Your comment must describe a very silly and made up event that would cause you to grieve for a loss of something. Your odds for winning go up if they are in a story form but they don’t have to be. Just be creative. (If you decide to post your story on your own blog, then provide a link to the blog in this comment thread).
  2. It must not be about anything real. It must be SILLY and MADE UP. Remember, we’re going for light hearted fun, not painful reality.
  3. I will pick the winner one week from today. That means you must have your comment posted by 12 p.m. (eastern time) on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011. I will inform the winner via email so I may obtain their mailing address.
  4. You will then win (in no particular order): A card and handwritten note of sympathy for your (very funny and made up) loss. A paper clip. A rubber band. An old guitar pick I don’t use anymore. And a marble of average size and of great importance. (More on the marble on a later date).
  5. No, I will not send you anything creepy or weird (other than the listed things above). No, you may not send me back anything creepy or weird. No, my hand is not included in the contest (even though it was in the photo).
  6. If the winner will not accept the prize, then it will be forwarded to the second place. If they refuse, then third place, etc. If nobody accepts the prize, then I will be happy to keep the marble for myself, and the rest will be destroyed.
  7. If you want to enter multiple times, (I’m not sure why you would), then feel free to do so. Just make sure each one is unique.
  8. Have fun.

Remember, the most creative/silly/made up event will win the contest. This means you can tell me a story or just describe something silly. Take your time with it. Treat it like a writing prompt if you wish. And try to make sure your story makes sense.