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.

No I Didn’t

April 22, 2013

Anything you read here was a lie.

That sentence works both ways if you think about it too much. (Like I’m about to do for you.)

The word “read” could be written in the present tense. That means anything that you may read from this point forward on this blog is a falsification. An untruth. A deliberate misleading of what is correct.

The word “read” could also be written in the past tense. That means anything you have read on this site previously (but not necessarily currently) is an intentionally misguiding detail. An dishonorable utterance of the written kind. 

Late Edit: I think the original sentence uses the word “was” which may conjure up the idea that the word “read” must be read in the past tense (like that one right there). If I had substituted that word in question for “is” then maybe it would suggest the phrase is written in the present tense. Quite frankly, I haven’t taken an English class in some time, so if you have a recommendation on how to correct my ignorance, I would gladly accept your feedback. (But for now lets just pretend that I just said something witty and funny. Please return back to your table to your friends who don’t know me all that well and tell them that I’m just the best person you’ve met tonight and they should come my way. )

 

(Also, I should mention you’re buying into my fantasy that we’re at a fancy dinner party right now and you’ve come over to talk to me about my stunning top hat and monocle. You’re even pretending to be impressed with me.)

But in all honesty (which may or may not be real honesty based on our previous information) I haven’t blogged in a long time. It’s really felt like I’ve traveled through time in the ***four*** short months. It’s just happened so fast. 

Too fast.

So I’ve decided I need to start this thing back up again because it allows me to get some of that self reflection I really need. Also, it might give me the kick in the pants to help me reestablish my fingers into the metaphorical dirt that makes up this garden of life. Makes me feel like I’ve got things to contribute to this world.

See you shortly. (But that could mean 3 and a half weeks for all I know)

D.A. 

Dig it?

Sorry…these little jokes aren’t coming as easy to me as I had hoped.

Anyway.

:::Takes a Captain Morgan-esque stance:::

Onward!

 

 

I haven’t made one of those retrospective New Year/End of Year posts yet.

So, let’s just pretend that I did and move on with business as usual.

Today I read a book. A whole book. At 12:30 this morning I tried reading a book to help me sleep but it only served to keep me awake until 4:30. I only went to sleep because I knew I needed to be awake at some point in the morning (I work up at 11:59 a.m. to be exact). Tonight I finished the novel while I put the Sugar Bowl on the background with the sound off. It’s not cool to see the Gators losing to Louisville but hey, this season went a lot better than expected and it was a fun ride.

So the book I read was Agent to the Stars. It’s a book by John Scalzi and it has accomplished two things for me.

1. It left me entertained by a book unlike some of my more recent readings.

2. It made me a little jealous.

Why the jealousy? Because the man states that this book was his “practice novel”. His practice novel was very good. A little sluggish in some of the details (I think he likes to let the reader know the logic behind his decisions for his characters a little too much because he also knows sometimes he puts in some wonky science to keep things fun.) Overall a solid read. And this was just…practice.

Dang…

Well I guess that means I’ve got a lot of work to do so I can produce a “practice novel” as well.

So, I’ve made myself a nice little glass of chocolate milk and grabbed a pen and pad for jotting down those precious ideas. I’m going to sit down tonight and bang out a few ideas. Maybe give one a whirl with a nice little rough draft. Then I’ll sleep on it. Let the miniature people that live in my gray matter do their work of repairing the damage from the day. Wake up and give it an edit and have a small existential crisis…then post it here for all to read.

That’s the plan.

Now I’m going to watch the final seconds tick away on the game clock for the Gators and then get to work.

D.A.

Characterization of Myself

December 31, 2012

If I were to appear as a character in a novel (or any other work of fiction for that matter) I think I would be described as wearing one T-shirt.

It would be this one:

jademeridian 009

That shirt right there defined me for about 7 years of my life. By my gross estimation I have probably worn it over 700 times. It’s now gotten to the point where the material is thin and the art is faded. The shirt has shrunk about half a size in the arms and stretched nearly half a size in the torso. Its solid blue hue is stained with areas of favorite meals and exciting trips. If my memory serves me correctly there’s probably a hole in the right armpit.

I knew it had to be retired after it started to develop a smell. The moment any water touched it it made me smell like a sweaty teenager just getting back from 4th period gym class. So I gave it a permanent home in a nice little T-shirt case where it will rest in all its glory for ever and ever. (That is, if I can find a place I would like to hang it)

There were times when this shirt was worn as a badge of pride. There were instances when it was worn as a jersey for a soccer team. I think I even let a friend borrow it once. No matter the manner in which it was seen it is very important for you to understand that this piece of cloth was my identifying characteristic for so long.

If I were a cartoon, I would wear this every episode.

So what’s the story behind it?

It’s a T-shirt from a band called Jade Meridian. Haven’t heard of them? I hadn’t either until I saw them play about 45 minutes before the band I really wanted to see went on stage. So I listened to them and applauded…only hoping that it would make them feel like they had done a good enough job to finish up and start things up with the next band.

The band that followed them was called Zao. You don’t need to know much about them other than this. It was basically the same band. It had the same people on drums, guitar, bass. Only difference was they had a different lead singer (guitarist just sang). They also didn’t play the more hardcore metal Zao did and stuck with more of a sorta indie rock thing.

It was my first real “show” I had been too. (The quotes have been added because if ask any youth of today they don’t say “concert”, they say “show”. It’s hip. I’m hip. So I use those words.) It was actually the first metal concert I had ever attended. I was thrilled. I was confused. I was tiny in a sea of humans that wear at least 6 inches taller than me. I was a little terrified of the pushing that was happening and there wasn’t even a song playing.

The noises…the crowd…the all-around coolness of everybody involved with the “show”. The thoughts are flowing back to me and I’m getting shivers.

I about pooped myself when Zao (my favorite band at the time) finally took stage. They destroyed our senses in more capacities than I realized they could and went away. Our bleeding ears and watery eyes thanked them.

After the near-pooping experience was finished I did what any newly indoctrinated metal fan would do. I went to go buy “merch” from the band in their little kiosk area. (Yes, “merch” is also the cool cat version of saying “merchandise”. And since I’m a cool cat I use the phrase. Liberally.)

So I made my way over to the kiosk and get to say the same thing that everybody else was telling those sweaty musical gods.

“Hey man…great show.”

Yeah, we weren’t very creative.

Their response was just as enthralling.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

So I find some shirt I want and try to hand the guitarist my money. He turns on his salesmanship and begins telling me that I would save money on the Zao shirt if I also purchased a Jade Meridian shirt. This didn’t make sense to me, but since he had just melted my face off with his sick guitar chops (the hip lingo returns and you know why) I couldn’t really bring myself to disagree with him. I also didn’t want to tell him I didn’t really want a shirt from a band I didn’t particularly enjoy.

I knew they were just guys that were trying to make a living doing something I admired and wished I could do. I also felt like they were really good at it. So why not? Right?

So I bought both shirts.

I bought the blue one. And the blue one just happened to have guitars (Gibson Flying V guitars) in a shape that resembles the Walt Disney logo. (I should also mention that one of my least favorite guitars is the Gibson Flying V).

Despite all these factors working against it…I wore that shirt. I wore it more than I should have. And I don’t really regret it.

I think I was one of my most commonly worn shirts when I played my own “shows” with my own band back in the day…(That’s right, I got to be the same guy  that got to sell “merch” at his own band’s table. I got the same chance to have the riveting conversations of “Hey man, great show.” followed up with the “Yeah bro, thanks.”

Ahh…the circle of life.

So here’s the part where I tell you the whole lesson behind the story of the shirt.

My shirt represents how decisions you’ve made that may not be popular could end up being decisions that define who you are. They can sometimes stick with you the way an old T-shirt clings to you. It’s familiar and comfy, but only after you’ve had it for a time and broken it in.

Yeah…that’s sounds good.

So, do you have any neat stories about anything you’ve acquired in your life that just seem to stick around and help define you? If you do, then you know what to do. Write your own post about it. Make it better than this one. Also, you could comment down below. If you don’t, then I suggest looking up a local band in your area and buying a T-shirt. It might just be worth it.

D.A.

 

 

A Surprise Party

December 29, 2012

That’s right! It’s a party!

Woo-hoo!

I’m back!

You’re probably wondering where I’ve been.

 

I’ve returned from the harsh wilderness during the unforgiving winter that has choked this land for what has seemed like ages. I’ve done things to survive that are so extreme  they would make Bear Grylls question his gender. Shall I list some for you? Of course I will.

1. I killed a caribou with a golf pencil.

2. I met up with natives of the frozen tundra and they made me their chief.

3. Those same natives and I fought a war against polar bears using a pair of nail clippers and some green tea bags. (You should have seen all the rugs we made afterwards)

4. I learned to speak salmon. I became so fluent that I even made up my own catchphrase. I can’t really type it here though. They’re still working on getting a written form of their language.

5. I went ice skating wearing only leggings made from the intestines of foxes. (And ladies, let me tell you, these things will be very fashionable in the future.)

6. I climbed Mt. Everest twice (the second time was because I forgot my phone charge on the summit)

7. I drank coffee with Canadian Mounties and we talked about our favorite forms of hatwear.

And there we plenty of other things as well.

So now that I’ve finished up that whole…event…now it’s back to the internet to show them all what I’m really made of. Mostly posts about nonsense. Posts that I’m sure you’ve missed.

So let’s move on with business as usual. And in the mean time you can help yourself to some hors d’oeuvres. I’ve got some roasted caribou antlers with guacamole and some polar bear paws toes dipped in a tasty almond butter sauce. Feel free to put on a party hat as well. They’re in the corner next to the bowl of punch.

Help yourself.

D.A.

 

 

I Feel

October 16, 2012

I’ve been so busy lately I’ve been getting very frustrated.

Imagine a buffalo in a suit and tie driving a compact rental car. He’s stuck in rush hour traffic just wanting to go home.

That’s how I feel.

Why a buffalo?

Don’t ask me. I’m just the guy who writes things from time to time.

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.

 

Currently I have about (roughly estimating) 500 assignments to grade.

I also have bills to pay.

I have laundry to put in the dryer.

I have lessons to create.

Plans to set.

And forms to return.

Yet here I am.

I’m…back.

So, hugs all around. High fives here and there. Tips of the hat to one another.

Let’s just dust off our hands on our pant legs and get right back down to business.

The purpose of me doing this whole thing was to write a book. This past summer (let’s refer to this dark period as the “transitional period”) I made a decision. I’m going to try my hand at NaNoWriMo this November.

This means a lot of things. It means I’m going to have make the habit of typing out thoughts again. It means I’m going to have to be creative outside of work again. It means I’m going to have to plan out a story that will last the required 50,000 words. It means I’m going to have to write a book.

Oh, and there are still marbles to be sent. Lamps to be made. Pictures to take. Opinions to share. Quips to … quip.

Now…let’s just see if I can actually pick this up tomorrow and not create another dead end in terms of my online presence.

And yes, yes… I missed you too.

D.A.

Busy Day Today

June 18, 2012

I’ve noticed an interesting trend in my life. The first words I speak every day are usually very odd. I really should just keep a little notebook next to me so when I say the days first words I can jot that down. 

Today’s first words were: “SHELLY’S SEPTIC!” 

I was standing in my bathroom…doing something you would normally do in a bathroom…and looking out the small window. For whatever reason there was a large truck parked in my neighbor’s yard. It was a septic removal service truck. The company was called Shelly’s Septic. Big letters on the side. It just looked like it needed to be said out loud. 

I’m not sure why I yelled it. And yes…I did yell it.

I calls em’ hows I sees em’. 

I also came up with a new thing I’m going to try out. 

You know the phrases “Shucks” and “Darn“?   Yes, these are all socially acceptable curse words that you might say it if you talk like you’re born in the 1940’s. I routinely use them in my everyday language but have been feeling like they’re a little stale. So I’ve decided to mix them up. 

Do you know what you get when you mix the two together?

Sharks. 

So now I’m going to exclaim “SHARKS!” whenever I have reason enough to exclaim. 

What do you mean you’re not impressed by that? Well, I got more for you. 

I went apartment shopping today. It was one of the strangest and most awesome encounters I’ve ever had with a person. She was passively insulting and I lied about owning a jet, having a dog racing addiction,  and owning a Jazzy Power Chair dealership. But that’s another post entirely.

(Seriously, the girl trying to sell me the apartment was a little loopy…and we were joking about 90% of the time she was showing me around but it turns out it was all worth it because it was the nicest apartment I saw today.)

Was the shopping successful? I think so… I may have found a future home for myself. 

I also bought a Mahjong game. It’s pretty rad and is nothing like the Microsoft version you have probably ended up playing. Thank you Goodwill. I still have no idea how to play it…but I’m sure I’ll start gambling with it soon enough. 

I also bought some apple juice. I’m sure you didn’t want to know that…but there it is. It was tasty. 

I’m going to a BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) cookout tonight. So… I’ll be doing that. 

And there you go. Hope your day was half as exciting as mine. 

Now I’m off to eat the charred remains of some helpless animal. 

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.