The title of this post is the opening line to the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The following is a review of the series I’ve read thus far, and a commentary on the motivation I’m gaining as I’ve been reading it: 

As you know I’ve been reading the Dark Tower series, and it’s safe to say I’m pretty hooked. I didn’t think I would get taken in this deeply by Stephen King (a author whom I have a very sordid history with). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series it’s about a man named Roland and his journey to find the dark tower. He is a gunslinger (think like a knight of the old west) and he is defined by his antiquated nature and his devotion to honor and destiny. He is also the last of his kind.

Everything takes place in this “world” that’s a lot like our own, but it’s mixed in with a very dystopian western future/past. Think: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly meets The Lord of the Rings and then they made very good looking baby with The Postman (a Kevin Costner classic).

The imagery of this whole landscape is enthralling and makes you wonder about what’s lurking around the next corner. The humor (what little there is) is poignant and helps break up the very heavy nature of this tale. The story is a slow burn, but slow like a mine fire; there is a lot is under the surface, likely a raging inferno, but all you can see is the poisonous gases and smoke the seem to fill the air. But I feel the most important aspect of this story are the different characters. (Certainly, as all great stories have).

(Very mild spoilers ahead)

All of these characters have their major flaws; just like ourselves. That’s why you read. You start to realize that maybe you have the same demons as Eddie (an addict), or Susannah (anger), or Jake (naivety). But once these characters enter Mid-world (the name of this crazy Middle Earth) then they sort of get knighted by Roland as gunslingers. These people have their struggles but they learn to stop, listen, and aim true. They start solving problems because they remember their past and know it can help them. They know their roles in this world and do the right thing. (It also helps when they’re all obsessed with reaching the end of their journey)

When you reach the point in the story where I am you start to learn a little more about Roland’s past. This is remarkable because Roland is a character shrouded in secrecy. He says very little and usually let’s bullets do most of the talking. You learn that, as a boy, he had to watch his family get torn apart by deception. He had to witness the decline of his people and the love of his life.

Knowing all these hurts in his life you start to wonder “what is Roland really chasing?”. It’s not just a big dark tower in the middle of a field of roses…is it? What does he want from this journey? Redemption? Vengeance? Saving a damsel in distress?

I’m willing to bet, if I could ask Roland that question he’d likely reply with “I wot, maybe it’s not about what I’m chasing, it’s about what’s chasing me.”

Now, I still have a ways to go in this story, but that’s what keeps hitting me. What is Roland searching for? It’s the reason I keep picking the book up. Maybe I’ll learn more. Maybe I’ll be teased further. Either way, it’s good storytelling.

And that’s why I’m making this post. This story is pulling me in because, I feel, that it reflects our own journey much better than other books do. No, I don’t have a great deal of tragedy in my life that has left me rabid with a desire to chase my enemy to the ends of the earth. Nope, I haven’t tried to find meaning in life by devoting myself to restoring justice and balance in the universe. I mostly drink too much soda and spend too much time on the internet. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have my own dark tower looming on the horizon. I just haven’t really started chasing it yet.

I think my dark tower is the same as Roland’s. I think yours is as well. We are all looking for that one thing, we just don’t exactly know what that one thing is. When we find it, it will feel like we’ve found a key that finally fits the lock in our heart. Maybe you’ll get to that dark tower and it turns into a Super Mario scenario. Maybe you defeat the monster but learn that the Princess has been moved to another castle. Still, you will persist.

I think a lot of people get discouraged in life because of this. “What is the meaning of life?”, “How come nothing goes my way?”, “Life is so unfair.” are phrases that we all say (I know I’ve asked myself these once or twice). Some people ask themselves those questions and they just sort of give up on the journey. They tell themselves they’ve achieved enough and that will be okay or maybe they say they are not fit for the journey and can’t go on. But the truth is, they’re just settling with your weaknesses. You can make this trip.

So, using this odd source of inspiration, I’ve decided to continually improve myself. Maybe I need to stop making fun of people so much. Maybe I need to stop the soda and the internet (or mostly stop). Maybe I need to exercise more self control to find more self motivation. Maybe I need to go out into the world so I can really find my dark tower.

Do as Roland did; chase that thing which seems nigh impossible to catch. Walk across a desert, a place of death, and persist. Don’t give up. Even when the buzzards are flying overhead and you find new paths along The Beam, continue onward. You may have to establish new and unexpected relationships, you might even have to sacrifice some other relationships. Press forward.

So, if i can, I’d like to hand you a pair of guns. They have the same ivory handles and have been passed down from gunslinger to gunslinger for generations. They will always be by your side. They will always shoot straight. They will keep you protected. Don’t forget to treat them with the care they have received before. These will serve as your tools on your long journey to find the dark tower.

It doesn’t matter who your family is, what creed you follow, or what (sub)culture(s) you claim as your own. What matters is you learn from your past, get things done in the now, and look toward the future.

 

You have been knighted, so steady your hand, aim true, and pull the trigger.

The dark tower awaits.

D.A.

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The times, they are a-changing…so let’s get some updates out of the way.

Website: I’ve been sprucing the old place up a little bit. The mold has been cleared and some new curtains have been hung. I ripped out the carpet and replaced it with bamboo flooring. I even remodeled an entire room. (But the smell of Fritos and toenail clippings is still hanging in the air.) Also, the Thing that was Living in the Fridge wanted me to tell you that he’s learned to speak English and he’s hoping you all are doing well. (Then he went outside and ate another stray cat or two).

To share something completely honest, I’m not the most tech-savvy of the bunch. I’m not sure if those of you who “subscribe” to this blog get updated whenever I change anything on a page…but if you do get updated, then please forgive me for changing things and then making you think this site has been more productive that it has been, then you get hit with a post that also updates you on things you’ve already been updated on.

If you don’t get updated then shut up and listen because it’s about to go down.

I’ve deleted the page that was called “Comics”. It featured a bunch of little doodles in the form of comic strips that I thought were funny at 3 in the morning about two years ago. They were bad. Like…really bad. Not even cute bad. So bad that I when I looked at them for the first time in over a year, I started to question what I was thinking. And I mean really question my mental health. I looked at these things and I reacted like they were photos of experimental surgeries during World War II. I think I’m going to get subpoenaed to testify in some war crimes court at The Hague.

Sooo…I killed them. They’re dead and will never bother us again.

Until now…

From this page’s ashes has risen another creative outlet. It’s called “Art”.

:::puts on beret and dark sunglasses:::

That’s right guys…I’m artsy…

I’ve been dabbling in watercolor for the past year. I’m not very good. I am not well educated in the media nor the idea of what makes art…art, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. I feel like I’ll share with you some of the stuff I’ve painted in the past and anything else I might paint in the future as long as I don’t think I’ll get too ridiculed by myself in two years when I look back on the content of this page. (On a side note, I’m not sure if Double Jeopardy is a thing in International Court.)

Here will be the first piece I share with you. It’s called Robot on a Building.

It's art, man

Robot on a Building

I know all of you have questions, so allow me to knock a few of those out of the way for you.

Q & A Time!!! (Where I ask the questions and I give the answers)

Why is that the name of the painting? Because it’s a robot, and he’s sitting on a building. If you think of something better, let me know, I’ll change it for you.

What’s the idea behind it? I thought about drawing a robot sitting on a building looking like he was bored from destroying the city. Then I got the bright idea of put the itsy-bitsy little girl with a balloon at the bottom looking up at the robot. Now it just looks like that robot is really bored with this little girl. Like, maybe the whole world has hidden and only this simple little girl with a freaking balloon and bad parents went out to reason with this robot. He is not entertained and is probably thinking about using his giant antenna to catch the last half of the ball game he’s been missing doing all this busy robot work.

Is the city supposed to look like it’s on fire? No. I was trying to make it look like a sunset was happening in the background…but if you want to seen it as a burning city behind him, go for it. Heck, it even makes it look like it was planned when you think about it. But no…I’m not that smart.

Why are the buildings crooked? Because I  can’t draw straight lines.

Why is their some sort of dial on his chest? Are we supposed to suspect that he can somehow look down on his own chest and tell what the reading is? Come on guys…calm down…it’s just a drawing. It looked really robot-y in my head and made sense when I drew it.

How long did it take you to make this? I think it was close to 3 hours. like…maybe 1 and a half to draw with a pencil, erase everything at least 3 times, and redraw it at least 3 times. Another 30 to go over everything with a pen and not make straight lines with the buildings on the side. And the last 30 to paint and all that jazz.

When are you going to get better? Shut up…

END OF Q&A!!!

So on the art page you’ll find this painting as well as two others. I know…I’m forcing you to visit the page in order to see what they are. I know, how could you be so lucky? Right? Because as moderator of this blog, I’m a tyrant, but a benevolent one.

Reading: I’ve been reading a lot lately and it feels wonderful. I’m about halfway through the book Wizard and Glass. I’ve been really thinking a lot about the book, so expect my next post (Wednesday) to feature a very long-winded synopsis and analysis on how I think it applies to my life (and maybe your life despite you not reading it).

Writing: Friday’s post will be a short story. It may or may not be called The Thing that Lived in my Fridge: A Love Story. Prepare yourself.

Now, it’s Monday morning, so you’re probably groggy and tired still. Maybe you’re perusing this site while sipping on your second cup of coffee. You might be reading this during your lunch break. Thank you for wasting your time with me. (I’m still on vacation, so I’m going to taunt you while I can).

But remember: People aren’t paying you to lollygag. Get back to work.

BAWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaaaaaa,

D.A.

 

 

Irish Breakfast Tea with an preposterous amount of sugar in it.

That’s what’s hitting the spot right now.

Yesterday was a pretty good summer day. I went to work (seriously) and got some planning and such done. Then I met up with some friends and bought some acetone. (Nothing suspicious, I promise). Then I played about 3 hours of disc golf with the local club. I shot poorly and was attacked by gnats from the onset but it was still nice.

While driving home I saw the sun cast off light at those low angles that seem to land on your heart and not your skin. It was late in the day when the air decides that it can’t keep holding the heat inside and the temperature finally starts to drop. (Below 1 whole “Frick” unit). When the searing humidity drops you can smell the fresh cut grass and the magnolias in bloom. The sea breeze kicks up a little from the east and it carries the sounds of mockingbirds to your weary ears.

You know that feeling.

It’s got me in quite the introspective mood.

Oh, and that earth-shattering conversation I had with a friend a few days ago.

One of my closest friends called me only an hour or so after hanging out with me and began chewing me out for being a jerk the whole night toward him. Apparently my words (and they were few) were only filled with contempt and disdain toward him. He also pointed out to me that I had done this all night, not just to him, but in front of many of our other friends. He felt embarrassed, ashamed, and confused. When he called me I could feel the anger boiling through the phone.

So, what happened between us? Did he do something towards me and I felt I had to retaliate in some childish way? Nope. Did I make a decision to oust him as one of my closest people in my life because of a certain level of jealousy between us? No. Did I feel like ruining his life because of a weird and twisted love triangle? Not that either.

You want to know what lead him to telling me he was mere moments from never speaking to me again?

My sense of humor.

I know text doesn’t translate well into actual speech. I know personality doesn’t translate well either. You might assign a voice in your mind to my words. Maybe you imagine I sound like a cartoon character. A good humored and friendly voice that has a twinge of youth. You can tell I have a joke oriented presentation with an emphasis on self deprecation. Heck, with what you hear in your head, you might want to have a beer with me. And in certain groups, this tends to be true. (Except that beer tastes like fire urine)

But when I’m with people I’m close with, I take a more cynical and darker edge. I make some pretty dark jokes that can really catch the unsuspecting off guard. I’m also an expert at delivering everything with a straight face and a level of dryness that would make the Sahara look like a wading pool. It comes off, more times than not, as a cynical douchebag acting like…a cynical douchebag.

I was making fun of my friend (which only included a few dozen carefully chosen words) and it broke him down into a raving mad man. And I didn’t even say anything that would be considered offensive or outright unbecoming in terms of content. It’s how I said it.

The biggest problem here is that I didn’t see the effects my words were having. I had no idea. My best friend, whom asked me to be with him in his wedding, to help him grow as a human being, and to keep him level when things were shaky, was at wit’s end with me. I had spent countless hours with this guy, and I couldn’t even tell I was irking him. I couldn’t even tell he was upset when he left. I even thought he was joking when he called me and started destroying me with the truth.

Wow.

Some friend I am.

Since that conversation both me and him have patched things up but I’m still ashamed of what I have done. I can’t really look him in the eyes. What if he’s not the only one? What if I’ve been alienating all the people closest to me for years and just didn’t see it? What if they’re too afraid to say anything to me, fearing that I’ll just be extra crotchety towards them?

Would this explain why people around me don’t seem to stay around me? Does this explain why I’m considered a person that’s “hard to get sometimes”? Does this mean I repel people as they try to get closer to me?

But I think of one questions more than those.

“What kind of person am I and what kind of person do I want to be known as?”

That’s what keeps running through my mind.

I know what the advice is that you’d throw at me. “Hey, stop being a douche.”

I know, man…I know. It’s simple, it’s poignant, and it’s likely the course of action that needs to take place. I need to figure out other’s feeling before I blurt out “humor”. I need to check on people and make sure they know when something was a joke. (I’ve noticed sometimes I’ll say a “joke” and nobody laughs.)

So I’m working on it. I’m probably going to make some rounds to friends whom I fear I may have alienated. I might find out that I have been a jerk toward a lot of them and they can forgive me. I might find out that my buddy had a really off day and took a lot of stuff too personally. I might find a mixture of both.

Either way, I’m adding something to the Summer To Do’s List…

Be a Better Friend By Not Hurting People’s Feelings. (Yes, this sounds like something a kindergartner would have to write in an apology letter for pushing Timmy off the steps of the slide during recess but that’s just the situation I’m in right now.)

Now, on a lighter note, allow me to reiterate the pooping of the pants if the U.S. of A. can more forward in the World Cup today. Hopefully Ghana and Portugal tie with double goose eggs and the U.S. and Germany realize they’re BBF and just have passing drills for 90 minutes on the pitch. When the whistle blows they’ll trade very not sweaty jerseys and then they’ll have milkshakes afterwards.

I should also mention I’m going to buying paint for my new place in the next week. I’m pretty lost on how to chose those things…so any ideas are highly appreciated.

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.

 

Not Sure…

September 18, 2012

As a teacher I get a small opportunity to peer into the lives of my students. I get to see those qualities that make them special. I’m sure there are some kids out there that I get to see the angelic side of. I’ve probably seen a few acts of kindness in the classroom that could make a patron saint give a tear of joy. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to see the…other side…of some students. It’s just a fact of the profession. Some kids are tough to get along with. Okay, that’s an understatement. Some kids make me want to rip out my eyebrows and move into some cave in Nevada while following a new religion that consists of knocking myself unconscious with a claw hammer and drinking pickle juice to survive. 

One of my mistakes I make while I’m teaching is that I sometimes feel like I’m the only one experiencing these problems. I’m the only teacher on campus that these kids don’t work well with. I wonder if these misbehaving students means I’m a bad teacher. I start to question the small amount of confidence I have in the classroom. 

Today I was reminded that I’m not alone. Other teachers get frustrated with the same kids. They get referrals from other teachers, so I shouldn’t feel bad if I have to write one from time to time. Sometimes it’s not my fault that a kid decides to make those decisions that make us have to punish them. 

I also realize that I sometimes kids that make bad decisions consistently will continue to make those decisions whether they’re in my class or not. 

That’s why we sometimes have to have to police show up to school to remind students that those decisions have “real world” consequences. 

It’s a shame that’s what it comes to sometimes. 

Don’t worry, I didn’t send a kid to jail today. I was just simply reminded that things like that happen. 

Also, I learned that I forget about clothes in the dryer too often. 

Food for thought I suppose. 

D.A.

 

Today Was The Day

June 12, 2012

Today marks the beginning of my self-proclaimed “Summer of Doing Things”. 

So far?

I went to a friend’s house and wasted a day away while making up a board game and eating pizza. That sounds like a pretty good start to me. Later I fell asleep on his couch and rediscovered that stretching out on the floor is amazing. It just cracked my back and realigned everything. I couldn’t believe it. I rarely lay on the ground…but if I can…I highly recommend it for you.  

I’ve also learned something about myself. Actually, it’s not so much that I’ve learned something but have finally defined something about myself. 

:::takes deep breath:::

Do you know what a “kick” is? Not the one for scoring goals. Not the one that you saw in Inception. 

A “kick” is a period of time when you obsess over something. It can be something real or it can be an activity. It can even be a place or a person (think like a crush). It’s not to be confused with an addiction. Addictions are long term and result in bad things. A kick is a short lived love of something. Most of the time you end up doing that activity for a few weeks and then you suddenly tire of it and stop. Then..weeks…months…even years later…you return with a newly revived vigor. 

They’re wonderful.

My life in recent years has been defined in different kicks. 

Such as…

  • Writing
  • Guitar
  • Sound recording
  • Exercise
  • Computers
  • Board games
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • Making stupid internet videos
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Reading
  • Lamps
  • Zombies
  • Comic Books
  • And many, many more…

So…why am I pointing this out this potentially obsessive compulsive behavior for all to see? Because I think it is actually a very healthy thing to do.

Really.

I think the more interests a person has it shows that they are keeping themselves stimulated and active. Yes, it might mean that our thoughts are sort of roller coaster at times but how is that any different than anybody else? Everybody goes through “phases” in life. My phases just happen to be focused around different activities rather than bouts of depression or relationships or life events. (I’m not saying living life in a way that is guided by these moments is bad…I’m just saying most of my life has occurred in bursts of interests from time to time.)

I think most people go through these “kicks”. At least I’m hoping that most of you go through this. Otherwise I guess it would seem that I’m a little crazy…

Am I crazy?

I guess it doesn’t really matter…I’m going to keep explaining anyway. 

I also think there’s a reason why kicks are defined over a certain period of time (usually short). It’s simple; we run out of fuel. When I’m in the middle of a kick I’m pouring out my juices of attention. (That’s a thing by the way…juices of attention. The trademark belongs to me D.A. Bancroft. All rights reserved. You can buy your T-shirts that feature this awesome catchphrase very soon.).

And trust me when I tell you this, I pour out until I run dry of everything I have to give. Then, when the well is dry, I allow myself to fill back up. But that takes time. 

To fill it back up all I have to do is just wait. The daily routine around me will cause me to remember certain aspects and interests as I go along my merry way. Sure enough when that cup becomes full once again it starts to pour and the kick begins again. Usually my efforts are a little more focused and contained the second or third time around. It’s almost like I pick back up right where I left off.

So…since I’ve told you about my past kicks…let’s explain my latest one. 

Right now I’m going through a “I really need a DSLR camera” kick. It’s got me in such a tight grip that I’m starting to think I might actually pull the trigger and buy one.

Do I really need one? Absolutely not. It’s almost ridiculous to imagine me running around trying to take pictures and videos of things (In 1080 p might I add…). But it could be a whole lot of fun, and for the “summer of doing things” it could be perfect. A new interest and a wide open horizon of possibilities. 

So if I end up purchasing one…what do I plan on doing with it?

Probably a lot of things. Maybe not much. I dunno really until I actually follow through and try this thing out. 

I might use it to really try my hand at photography. I’ve never really tried before but I think it would be a lot of fun learning a lot about it and seeing if I can develop the “artistic eye”. I could also start recording some of those silly videos me and my friends keep talking about. (And no, these friends are a dozen teddy bears that I keep in my closet, they’re real people.) 

I might try to make some recordings of me doing some science demonstrations for my classroom. This could come in handy because sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to set up a demo for students. While they can be wonderful learning moments we may not have all the materials to repeat the demo 3 or 4 times a day. So…if I recorded myself doing this (let’s say over the summer months) then I could just throw them up in video and can actually point out some pretty amazing things while not having to worry about burning down my lab room. 

I have even heard of something called the “flipped classroom”. This is where the teacher puts all the lectures and lessons online for students to access at home and all the homework is done while they are in my classroom on school days. Then the kids receive help from me on their homework and we won’t lose any class time to me teaching stuff. 

I dunno…that’s a little extreme but it’s a possibility. It’s even more possible if I gave myself a few trials to see if things like that would even work. 

Hey…I could even try…blogging…on video…”vlogging” as they say. 

But…I dunno…that would be awfully….different…

Still…I could try…

So you see? The sky’s the limit! I could do anything! (Well, I don’t think I could cook with it…or bathe with it…or perform a jet engine repair with it either…)

Anyway, maybe in a week I’ll tell you about how I have successfully navigated away from the strong current that is pulling me toward buying a camera. Or maybe you’ll see a nice crisp picture of a pile of leaves that made me “feel the artistic urge.” 

So I end with this… If you were me…in my position…would you do it?

D.A.

Something I Learned

June 5, 2012

As the school year winds down, I would like to share a little experience and lesson I learned yesterday. It’s what I’m going to call a “teaching constant.” It is as follows:

In every single situation, despite your best efforts to make sure otherwise, at least one person will not follow instructions.

Oh, you better believe I wouldn’t make a statement like this without some sort of back up.

You are now entering TRUE STORY LAND.

For the last lab I did with my kids this term, me and another teacher had set up an empty classroom as a “crime scene”. We put a dummy in the room and dropped some fake blood around and generally made a mess. It was pretty nifty. We even managed to get fingerprints on the windowsill and make it look like a struggle occurred.

Our two classes had been going through a forensics section in order to have a little fun before the school year was over. So we thought we would teach them a bunch of crime scene analysis methods and, for a final test, make them use those newly developed skills in a “real world” environment.

Pretty sweet deal, huh? I’m that cool teacher that let their kids leave the classroom and pretend they were cops.

In order to sell the whole idea to my kids I decided I would make up a ridiculous back story so they would feel a little more involved with everything. Just in case I offended or scarred a few kids, I decided to tell them that everything was made up. This is exactly how that moment happened:

The tardy bell rings and I begin my normal routine. I walk into the classroom and make sure my door is locked. As the door closes I check my lab door and office door to make sure the noise from my class will not spill into the neighboring classroom. I then take perch behind my demonstration table and begin my blabbering.

“Good morning!” I announce to the class. “If you have anything to turn in to me, make sure it’s put in the green bin. Today marks the beginning of the last week of school, so I have decided to give you guys a chance to change things up.”

This is the point where I usually have to field silly questions about something stupid that occurred over the weekend. But not today. Today I have an energy about me that is making the kids know that today is a special day.

“Before we begin today’s lab I want to be clear about one thing. Everything I’m about to tell you is false. It is fictitious. It’s fake. I made it up. It did not occur. It’s a lie. We’re just having fun, so I’m making this a little more interesting. Does everybody understand?

The peanut gallery only mumbles their acknowledgments.

“Okay then…” I know the mumbles meant nothing. I know that the kids had turned off their brains as soon as I asked a question. I knew somebody was going to end up embarrassing themselves in front of everybody, I just didn’t know who it would be. So I decided to change my tone of voice and expression. I took a solemn form and spoke with authority.

“I hate to be the one to tell you all this…but there was a murder here on campus over the weekend…”

And do you know what I heard from no less than 5 different kids .03 seconds later?

REALLY?!?!?!

A little bit of my brain leaked out of my ears that day. (Summer’s almost here…)

Want another example?

Do you know how many times I told my kids we won’t be having a final exam because they already took the End Of Course Exam earlier in the year? I”ll tell you. Over 20,000 times. Do you know how many kids asked me last week for a review pack so they could study for the final? Almost every single kid.

For a blood typing lab I told all my kids to only use three drops of blood in each of their tests. Do you know how many times I told them to only use that much blood? That’s right, 18 billion times. Do you know how many kids had to have me reiterate those instructions to them during the lab? Every. Single. One.

So there you go…no matter how many times you tell people to stir and not shake…they will shake. No matter how many times you request that people use centimeters instead of inches. No matter how many different ways you can write down and explain instructions. Despite your best efforts… Despite your harshest tones…

Despite your genuine care and concern for their safety you will always have at least one person not follow instructions.

If it sounds like I’m getting mad about this, I’m really not. I’m simply stating the truth. Kids (and people in general) don’t do a good job at following instructions. We mess up. That’s something I’ve come to learn this school year.

So the best thing we can do is be ready for it. Just do a facepalm and move on.

D.A.

Tuesdays Are For…

May 22, 2012

Not working and writing a love letter to YouTube.

Actually, I did go to work, but immediately left due to an illness that was rendering me incapable of being able to hold the attention of some 15 year olds for and hour and a half.

As of now I’m feeling a lot better and I’m certain that I will be returning to work tomorrow.

So…what  did I do to occupy my time while I was out sick?

1. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. (Yeah, I was that kind of sick…)

2. I slept for another three hours. From the hours of 1:30 to 4:00. I woke up a new man. I recommend sickly naps whenever possible.

3. Listened to a little music.

4. Browsed Reddit.

5. Rediscovered my fascination with YouTube.

Actually, I need to explain this one because I’m pretty sure I’ve never mentioned my love of YouTubes little community they’ve created.

This means I have a habit of falling in love with some particular YouTube videos and then try to watch every known video of said people involved with a particular video. I even find the videos they took in 2007 about their cat’s trip to the vet. It gets a little out of hand.

Why do I do this? I’m mesmerized how some people can create a fun experience for little money and still have thousands or millions of people watch them. It’s what reality T.V. wishes it were. It’s much more real than anything that’s usually put in front of us. Even with people learning about nice cameras and lighting, they still do this for relatively little money. They also manage to be their own content creators.

That’s a freedom I like really like.

I’ll admit this here and now, I have attempted to start a YouTube channel and post videos of silly ideas me and my friends had come up with. We even posted them. They were horrible…but they were fun.

No…you will never see them. Ever.

So instead of rambling on about why I like videos so much, how about I just turn this post into a compilation of my most obsessed over videos from YouTube?

Warning: This is not good.

For all of you who have children, please turn them away. Those with heart conditions you should also steer clear. For those brave enough to press forward, remember, logic and reason have left this post. I’m now going to be irrational in the videos I love. Many of them are just silly and may not seem that funny/interesting to you. Some might even make you cringe with their datedness…if that’s a word…

(I also think this may qualify as a really big guilty pleasure. So…I feel guilty about it…but don’t make me feel any worse than I already do.)

This all really began in 2005/2006 (not long after the creation of YouTube). The first video is of a SNL Digital Short called “Dear Sister.” It was funny to me at the time (still is). Then there were tons of parodies of the same concept and it was remarkable. I think this really set the bar for me because, for whatever reason, the video kept getting pulled from YouTube and that taught me to watch the video tons of times before it’s gone forever.

(If I implant it into my brain, then nobody can remove it. Perfect plan.)

Actually, you can’t even find an official version of the video through NBC or YouTube itself. The only real version I can seem to find is now here…with the service provided by YouTube…

After that came “Old Gregg”, a skit from the comedy troupe The Mighty Boosh. Very weird…very uncomfortable…but that’s what makes it great.

I’M OLD GREEEEEEEEEGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Then came a student created unofficial music video for the the band MGMT and their song “Kids.” It’s done really well and probably cost less than $50 to make. The creator is a guy named Jon Salmon and I think he got some friends to wear some make up and sing along to make a hypnotic video.

Kids.

Then came BalloonShop. This silly trio slapped each other with meat, fruits, vegetables as well as taught us all how to eat an Oreo Cookie Sandwich. They later broke up their working relationship but each of them now tries to do their own thing on YouTube.

This particular video almost made me pee myself the first time I watched it.

Shortly after came me (along with millions of others) falling in love with the auto-tuned masterpieces of Schomoyoho. They’re attention to detail and deep hooks in songs allowed us to see the beauty in the “deep” content of YouTube. Who can forget their classic remixes of “hide yo kids“, “backin-up“, and (my personal favorite) “double rainbow all the way“? Nobody, that’s who.

The music theme stays pretty solid here because I noticed the work of Sweetafton23, otherwise known as Molly Lewis. She sings and plays the ukelele. She’s also a gigantic Doctor Who nerd…so more power to her.

Then came MysteryGuitarMan. He’s a mystery. He’s a guitar playing man. He’s also good at making videos that hold your attention as well as make you wonder how people can stay this creative for this long.

This was followed with my deep love of the musical stylings of a band called Pomplamoose. They’re very talented and their videosongs really set them apart from most other YouTubers at the time. Heck I think they started to trend of VideoSongs.

Rapping is clearly ignored in this list. Well, that was until I found out about Epic Rap Battles of History. They’re both being awesome and funny. It’s a win/win.

Recently I have been drawn to the vlogs of two girls named meekakitty and nanalew. They have their own individual channels but they also collaborate quite often on musical projects. These are really impressive “music videos” that I’m sure aren’t expensive to make  but look amazing.

There are tons of other videos/people that I have obsessed over their work before but I just can’t remember them at the moment.

And yes, I know most of these videos are already popular. They don’t need your views. But I’m only posting them because I have watched them many times myself. (Okay, since most are musical I have just ended up playing them and not watching them but you get my point.)

Anyway…this became a very long love letter about YouTube. Sorry about that. Maybe I’ll make up something exciting for tomorrow. Like a post about bookmarks.

Mmm…bookmarks…(could happen)

D.A.

Year One

May 15, 2012

Hey everybody.

It’s me, Douglas. I’m the guy who usually writes this blog. Actually, I’m the only guy who writes this blog but lately I haven’t because I’m a lazy bum. A tired and tried lazy bum. A man who’s seen the end of his rope in terms of energy usage and he has just allowed this place to collect a weird smell. The same weird smell that sticks to your clothes after you pull them out of storage from the winter. Or maybe it’s closer to the smell found in old china cabinets filled with your grandmother’s old thimbles.

I’m writing right now (despite all my glorious bumminess) because today is a special day. Today marks the one year anniversary of me starting this blog.

Huzzah!

Bookforme was created to serve as a tool so I could practice the art of writing fiction. I wanted to learn how to write something well enough to hold people’s attention as well as serve as a creative outlet for myself. So far, I think I’ve been able to reach these goals.

Now, if you remember, the main goal of me doing this is to write a book. Not to publish a book. Not to get recognized for my writing. Not to begin slipping into the infinite vastness that is the internet. But simply to write a book.

I haven’t done this yet. But I at least feel a little bit more capable of reaching this goal.

Actually, I feel so confident in this goal that I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Everybody always refers to it. Every says they love it. So I will mindlessly follow hundreds of thousands of others into the front lines of writing novels in the month of November. Wish me luck. It may be my first novel. (I say may because I could fall short of this goal…which is familiar territory for me.)

Other things have certainly changed in my life as I’ve been writing on here as well. I graduated school. I got a job. I got a haircut. I attempted to build a lamp. I started sending marbles around the world. I missed a lot of self-made deadlines for silly goals. I even developed a short lived crack addiction and was invited to join the cast of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

Okay, I made that last part up.

It was meth…and I wasn’t invited on the show…

But despite all those silly things I would just like to write one sincere and complete message for you Dear Reader.

It’s all your fault. Yes, you. Put down that drink and read this! It’s your fault! You did this to me!

You made me feel comfortable writing and that let me feel entitled to write more and more. Your positive comments have only helped push me deeper into this realm, and now I fear there is no turning back. Your kind words and support my have ruined me…

And since I’m having so much fun doing this I just wanted to say thanks. Really. You small band of silly subscribers are the reason why I keep coming back to this place and writing guilt-ridden posts about why I’m not entertaining you as often as I should.

Thank you.

I mean it.

But just saying thank you isn’t enough. I want to give credit where credit is due. Some of you have put up with my self obsessed ramblings for far too long.

Some of the following blogs are made by people that I really admire. They are also people whom I personally feel are responsible for me wanting to do a good job whenever I post something on here. I have and will always look up to them. They are the standard by which I judge myself. If you have ever at any point thought that my ramblings have gotten better (or worse) over time, then you should look in the direction of these people who are directly responsible for molding me into what I am today.

Please support them by clicking their name and giving their stuff a look-n-see. They’re all wonderful and they all do a much better job than I do. I promise that any kind words I say about them were are not exaggerated nor were they bought with bribe money. (Well, okay, not MUCH bribe money…but a guy’s got to put food on the table somehow.)

Still Growing – If my memory serves correctly, she was the first person to begin following my blog. Whether she did it out of pity or interest means nothing, all that matters is that she is an author that I look up to in more ways than one. Her insight and honesty is unfounded and I hope you read her blog and feel the same connection I do whenever I read any of words. She can craft words to make you giggle or cry(and as a man I feel no regrets admitting that ). She can also run a pretty well oiled machine over there. If you read her stuff you will not regret it.

Fish of Gold – This is one of the most interesting people I have come across here on WordPress. Actually, if I knew her in person I would probably think she is the most interesting person I’ve ever met in general. She isn’t afraid to take on any topic and she is always willing to throw down her viewpoint. She’s also sharper than a double edged axe. This makes her wildly entertaining. She is also a professional in the quality of her words and she’s so subtle about it you hardly even notice it.  Plus she does a lot of lists…and I’m a sucker for lists.

Frank C. Bishop – This guy. This guy comes across as a real guy just being a guy. He is genuine and funny. He has his finger on the pulse of pop culture which always results in something great for you. Funny. Smart. Topical. Who wouldn’t like that combination? So…go ahead…click it. You know you want to. (He hasn’t posted in a while because he’s all married and stuff now, but he’ll be back.)

Excerpts From Non-existent Books – This is one of my favorite blogs because this librarian is capable of telling a better story in 200 words than I could in 2,000. All he does is create short excerpts from novels that don’t actually exist. Actually, he writes each piece so well that I’m certain he’s hardly a human being at all. My best guess is super writing cyborg from the future…This is what writing talent looks like.

Covers and Content – This is a personal friend of mine who is wildly creative as well as wildly Swedish. Her writing is astounding, her art is mesmerizing, and her blog is young. She makes my attempts at writing look like they were written by a drunken polar bear and my attempts at art look like they are as creative as a slice of moldy bread. Go support her and help her expose the world to her wonderful creations.

Snotting Black – This lady right here is the real deal. So real that I’m going to give her to official title of “The Real Freakin’ Deal”. She’s funny. Not funny like I just saw some uncle slip into the lake while watching American’s Funniest Videos, but funny like… like…like a good writer that knows how to write comedy and can actually hold your attention. She’s self-deprecating to the point of making your self-defecating. She’s so funny you’ll poop yourself. No lie. Reader beware, you will ruin your shorts if you click that link.

If there are some you reading this who are slightly offended because I didn’t include you on my list, please remember that I only take checks and cash for bribes. If you tried using the Paypal account your money did not get to me it actually went to a prince in Africa.

And to cap things off I just want to reiterate my thanks for you readership/participation in this whole thing. This year has been wonderful to share with you. I hope many more years come after this one. I also hope that you stick around too. I’m going to do my best to finally accomplish my goal this year and after that all bets are off.

Thanks again,

D.A.

Into The Fire

April 24, 2012

Occasionally, the world seems to crash down around you. Other times it seems to put itself on your shoulders like an ugly sweater made of lead. And sometimes the world just keeping poking you until you yelp out in pain, then it keeps poking.

Different people deal with stress relief differently. Some people have to surround themselves with friends. Sometimes people need to be alone.

Most of the time, I’m the person that needs to be alone.

Even if I got in an argument with somebody or I had to make a very heavy decision, I would need to chill out.

Actually, I would need to look into the fire.

I mean this both literally and metaphorically.

Literally, starting into fire is a comforting thing to do. Almost any fire will work but most of the time it should be a campfire. A fireplace would suffice as well. As long as it has an orange flicker and wiggles as it destroys something it’ll work.

Why fire? Well, it’s pretty simple. Men like myself have always stared at fire. Way back in the day when humans were wearing loin cloths and banging rocks together men still stared into the fire. It’s a beautiful thing. The flames seem to draw you in. It’s relaxing.

It also means I can focus on the fire. I can let it cook my thoughts away. Not permanently however, only for a short period of time. As soon as that flame goes out, I focus back on the situation that put me there.

But at least I was able to take my brain off the topic for that little bit.

Metaphorically, looking into the fire could be a way of refining or cleansing my mind. It burns away all the underbrush so it will prevent a much larger fire from starting. Inside of just being a small fire in a confined area, it would spread to the entire forest. This is like a little disturbance messing with my head but later spreading to insert itself into my heart and personality.

We all need to let things burn away every now and again.

If some of these thoughts made you say something like “Wow, this guy’s really saying something here.” then you probably need to stop. I’m not really saying it. It sort of stolen from this couple who writes books for couples and relationships. The book I’m referencing is called Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Read Maps. The people who wrote it are Barbara and Allan Pease.

No, I didn’t read this book, only heard some people today talk about the subject of it. And it sort of makes sense to me right now.

Sometimes I just want to get away from everything, not just people, but from my brain as well. And just like a child being distracted by shiny keys I get distracted by fire.

Of course this doesn’t HAVE to be fire. It could be working out in a wood shop or just browsing the clearance section at Books-A-Million. Either way, I don’t have to talk to anybody, I can just focus on the pretty colors of the covers and move on to the next.

I think this explains my weekly ritual of going to the comic shop every Friday after work.  I unwind by just looking at the same comics that were on the wall last week. I don’t call anybody after work and ask them if they want to take the 25 mile drive just to got buy 8 bucks worth of comics.

And nobody in the store really questions why I’m there. They know I’ll talk when I’m ready.

It’s good to know what my fire is.

D.A.