Dr. Phil’d

April 27, 2013

Tonight I drove home stuck in a very thoughtful mood. 

Actually, I drove home and ended up thinking about things I don’t usually think about too often and sort of talked about things (not out loud) that were going on in my life. I think I was my own little psychologist.

I guess you could say I Dr. Phil’d myself in the car. (And no, that’s not a euphemism for “I pooped myself while driving”; though it should be.)

I’m not sure if you get these moments as well.

This isn’t a super rare occasion for me either. Periodically I’ll  find myself feeling incredibly aware of how things in my life really are while I’m just cruising around by myself.  It’s sort of like getting a progress report on your life for that 20 minute car ride. Or maybe it’s my brain’s way of saying “hey, you need to download some updates right now.” It just helps me stay aware of who and what I am.

After that little drive I feel like I’m conscious of why I make/have made/will make the decisions I do/done/will do and it feels good. Makes me feel like I’ve still got autonomy in my life. I think I get some clarity at those times when I wasn’t really expecting it, but it’s greatly appreciated.

Overall, I felt that things were okay. I like my job. I don’t have any major health concerns I’m aware of. I get along with the people in my life. My closet doesn’t have any grotesquely large skeletons inside (except, of course, those of my enemies whom I have slain in battle), and I have money. Those things alone put me in a much better position than so many others.

Now, I’m not saying everything is perfect. Honestly, who could? I still wish my job stability was much more solid (teachers in the sunshine state are only hired on yearly contracts with no obligations to keep said teacher for any period of time beyond that contract). I would like to buy a house but I’m sort of dependent on that job situation. If I try to buy a house and then I get “bumped” from one school to another, would I even want to live in that home anymore if it was far away from my school? What if I simply don’t get rehired and I can’t find any open slots anywhere?

Another byproduct of the quiet ride home is looking as some of those more… troubling aspects of my past. I really look at those whom I’ve lost over the years. There are even some who just aren’t lost (meaning they’re still alive) they’ve just moved on in life to other places.

Still, considering those things, I’m happy. I’m glad I don’t have to walk 3 miles to the nearest “clean” water source. I’m thrilled I have a car that gets me where I need to be. I’m proud I can say I could potentially become a homeowner. I’m even joyed in the idea that I can live a simple enough life that I can share my little moment of existentialism with strangers staring at glowing screens from all across the globe.

I know that’s all kind of general and sappy, but it means a lot to write that down. Thanks for reading it if you did, fellow human. You’re special.

So what about you, where are you when the thoughtful mood strikes you?

D.A.

 

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Tell Me What To Do!

February 16, 2012

This weekend will be my first full weekend in 3 weeks. It will also be a long one.

I’m looking at the precious 72 hours as a real opportunity to do something special. I would come up with a cool plan myself, but I’ve already used up all my good ideas and inspiration this week. So YOU need to tell me what to do.

What would you recommend? Should I…

  1. Go camping?
  2. explore a city I’ve never been to before?
  3. Eat a two pound BBQ pulled pork sandwich?
  4. Begin a Pez collection?
  5. Workout to the song “You’re the Best Around” by Joe Esposito?
  6. Shave my head?
  7. Clean out a neighbors gutters?
  8. Go see a doctor to receive a full colonic irrigation?
  9. Go rent a car and tell everybody about my disdain for the company because they “only had a compact”?
  10. Finish my lamp?
  11. Go bowling and bowl 3 consecutive games of exactly 156?
  12. Try out for a professional soccer team?
  13. Perform my own rendition of ‘One Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest’ in a city park?
  14. Learn to weave baskets?
  15. Grow a beard overnight and then enter a beard contest?
  16. Flash mob in a mall?
  17. Buy a new towel?
  18. Rent a tent for a large outdoor event?
  19. Clean the undercarriage of my car?
  20. Sleep?

Yeah, those are just a few things I thought up but I’m positive you can come up with better.

So help me out. What should I do?

D.A.

Irked and Purple Hair

January 17, 2012

I’m not sure if that’s a word that is being used properly, but that’s the feeling I’ve been having lately.

As a matter of fact, I tried writing about this the day after this whole thing occurred. I wrote a whole (poorly written) post about it and let it sit in my queue for over a week. I couldn’t even bring myself to post about anything else because this has bugged me this much.

Since I have a blog that is written in anonymity why don’t I go ahead a say things that would typically embarrass me?

I was in a wedding like…3 weeks ago? Something like that.

Then I attended a wedding a week after that.

In order to make a very long and painfully awkward family bugging me story out of it, let me recap the main points. Hey, I’ll even use bullets and put it in list form for your added convenience.

  • I attended a wedding some 2 weeks ago.
  • Girl was at wedding alone
  • She had purple hair
  • I was at wedding alone
  • I did not have purple hair
  • 50% of my extended family and 100% of my nuclear family thought I should “Go talk to her.”
  • They also recommended I “Ask her to dance.”
  • I was told she was “cute and bored”
  • ***Main Point*** I was not amused nor appealed by their suggestions, and blatantly refused to do such a thing.
  • Went home kind of angry.

Why, D.A., were you sort of angry?

Well, I was kind of upset with everybody looking at me and taking on this particular attitude. The attitude is something along the lines of  “Hey, you better get a girlfriend soon or you’ll die alone and smelling of old wet shoes.”

But the main source of my anger was myself.

Who do I really think I am? I outright refused to go speak to another human being. What fear was binding me to my seat? What did I have to lose?

Forget everybody’s opinion, what makes me think I’m so great that I won’t bother meeting a new person?

I’m not sure if she was cute. I’m not sure if she had Kuato growing out of her stomach (Yes, this is a Total Recall reference. If you haven’t seen the movie, please do yourself a great favor and watch one of Arnold’s best films. DO IT NOW!) I should be willing to shake anybody’s hand and say hello. No matter what benefit their is in there for me.

For all I know she could have been the girl of my dreams. We could have married and grown old selling folk art together (I’m assuming purple hair = selling folk art future). She could have just been a person I met and immediately forgot her name 2 hours later.  The point isn’t what could have happened between us, the point is, what is becoming of me when I won’t even try to meet new people.

Was I sitting there in judgement on this human being? Was I sitting there in judgement on myself? As a Christian, doesn’t this seem wrong in some capacity? Am I letting my introversion take control in social situations? And I just assuming I will never meet anybody of interest unless I already know them?

I’m asking a lot of questions out loud here. I’m not sure what any answers are. I would just like you to see that this little event really got under my skin and will continue to bug me for quite some time.

But at least I finally got his post out of the way and I feel like the barrier has been broken and I can write about another subject and move on.

Since I’ve been strangely personal for once, why don’t we have a very off topic question to round things up? Sound good?

Great.

If you woke up tomorrow and were 4 inches taller, what would be your immediate course of action? Why?

D.A.

That’s what it usually looks like when I try to type the word ‘necessary‘. In most occasions I just end up typing something somewhat similar and just hit the spell check option. Still, it’s quite a problem in my everyday life.

For example. There is no spell check program while you’re writing on a whiteboard in front of 30 kids. This usually results in great discomfort when they point out to you a spelling error.

No joke, today, I had about 10 kids tease me for misspelling the word homozygous. HOMOZYGOUS for Pete’s sake!

They didn’t even know what that word meant, but they knew I spelled it wrong!

Come on man! 

Necessary is one of those words that I have to put effort into actually memorizing. For some reason I never learned to spell some pretty common words.

Like the word minute. Like, you know, the word you use just about every instance you reference time? The one you were supposed to learn to spell in 2nd grade?

Yeah, until this year I couldn’t spell it on the first try. This means I would commonly just abbreviate the word or just ignore it completely.

I’m a little surprised that all of my friends never caught on when they kept getting text messages from me that said “I will be there in a few moments.” I never use that word when I speak, let alone in writing. Still, nobody suspected a thing.

Also, I have a hard time remembering how to spell the word “amount”. I always want it to have two “M”s. Ammount just seems so much more important of a word. Don’t you agree? Okay, I guess it does look a little funny.

Another point, I always end up having to second guess myself when I use a word that ends with the suffix “el” or “le”. (That may not even be a suffix, but whatever, I’m not teaching English usage to you, I’m even admitting I can’t even spell right now). Words like apple I don’t really have any problems with, but more uncommon words I do.

Example:

“Example”. I want to say it “EX-am-pell”. That’s how I pronounce that word (wrong or right). I always end up going for the old “exampel”. Then I realize I’m a moron and quickly erase it and put “le” at the end.

But nothing will erase those terrible feelings of never winning a school spelling bee…

Why am I telling you this?

Two reasons really. The first being that I want to make clear that I feel like my lack of putting effort into spelling so many common words correctly has affected how I write. And the second would be that I really want to know if I’m alone in my plight.

So, do you have any commonly misspelled words that you just can’t seem to shake?

D.A.

By the way… I’ve been hard at work trying to write my views on science and religion. And I realized that it’s very difficult to put so much thought into so few words. Right now I’m at 1700 words and all I’m trying to do is explain something that makes a lot of sense to me… So it’s going to take a little while to get this thing done. But I promise, I will post it and make all of you very upset/confused at my ideas on this topic.

The Younger Me

August 28, 2011

Today I remembered something about myself when I was just a wee lad. 

I was freaking cute.

I was also keeping the future in mind…

Star Wars fandom took over my life at a relatively young age. I remember seeing my dad watch The Empire Strikes Back back when I was around 7 or 8. It was the battle of Hoth scene, and I remember thinking, “Woah, this is super cool.” After that my friend Bobby let me come over to his house and play with his “aliens” that were characters from the Star Wars films.

Then Bobby let me borrow one of his Star Wars toys to take over to my house. It was all over after that.

It was like a drug. I needed more. Much more.

I would go to the store with my mom and always beg for an action figure. It didn’t always work, but when it did, I felt like I was assembling the worlds greatest collection of awesome toys ever. The scale of my collection really isn’t anything to sneeze at, it’s quite good and was meticulously taken care of, but it also served another purpose in my life.

I honestly can’t remember if I’ve shared this on the blog or not. (So if I have, I apologize for repeating myself, but there are so many posts on here by now that I have no real idea what I have/haven’t said about my life)

But my brother was a high demand special needs child. He always needed attention to make sure he was doing good. If he ended up in a bad mood he could harm himself or others. He was also prone to having serious seizures, so we always needed to keep checking on him to make sure we knew if one occurred.

As a kid I understood full well what that meant. It meant that I would have to entertain myself as best as I could because my parents were quite busy taking care of Todd (we’ll just say that’s my brother’s name).

This explains why I watched T.V., movies, played video games, and fiddled with toys all the time. If I was home, I needed to be in my room. Todd couldn’t play with my toys because he would likely destroy them. (He would also drool all over them and they would get super icky.) He was also much larger and stronger than me, so if he decided that he didn’t want me to be around him, he could physically dominate me. So, me alone in my room was the safest and most fun place I could spend my time.

So, back on topic. 

I spent a lot of time in my room playing with Star Wars action figures. And when I moved to Florida from Georgia I made friends with many more kids that loved Star Wars. My collection expanded to not only action figures, but MicroMachines and assorted items as well. Then one day my enjoyment took a strange turn.

I thought about how these toys may one day be worth money. I think I saw one of my neighbors collection those 12″ G.I. Joes. They were nicely displayed and kept in the boxes and I figured the same had to be true for Star Wars toys. If their toys were important…so were mine. Star Wars was waaaay cooler than G.I. Joe anyway.

And I began collecting and amassing toys that were still in their packaging. I proudly displayed them on my wall. I would routinely make sure they were dusted and unaffected by anything that would potentially affect their value. I used thumb tacks and pin them to my wall. The tack would then but used as a hanger to slip the packaging onto. (I never punctured the packaging at all.)

I even had toys in boxes that I really wanted to play with. Still, I held out. The whole packaging issue became so important to me that I eventually started keeping the packaging of toys that I decided to open. It just felt wrong to get rid of it. Even if the price was now nearly worthless because the package was open.

This continued until I was around 13.

I stopped collecting and didn’t feel as proud about my mint conditioned Star Wars action figures. I guess I was growing up. Or maybe I was told that I need to clean out my closet or something.

Then the day came when I decided that I needed to put them away. They needed to be put into the closet with my Jurassic Park, Power Rangers, and Batman toys. They were going to be officially retired.

As I was putting them into boxes I started to think about time. All the time that it took for me to collect these things. All the time that they spent on my wall. All the time that I missed out on playing with these guys. But then I realized that I didn’t even play with my opened packed toys anymore… so why should these be any different.

I might as well throw them away.

I found a whole mess of packaging with no toys inside. It was just garbage. It had no value at all. So I decided to throw it away. Then I found some of those silly little toys. Maybe it was from Taco Bell in a kids meal or something. And I threw those away. I even grabbed a few opened action figures and thought about throwing them away…

But then I said to myself something along these lines. “Maybe I will want to play with these later. When I grow up I might want to sell them when I get into college. Maybe I’ll still think they’re cool and will find a better way to show them off. Hey, I can even get a job one day and I can start buying more.”

But none of those reasons seemed to be really feasible. I didn’t’ really think I would keep a hold of them for much longer.

Then it hit me.

What if I have kids and they want to have some cool toys?

In that moment I decided that I needed to do it because of them. Just in case they had a brother like Todd that needed a lot of care they would have some cool toys to hang on their wall. They could even play with them if they wanted to.

I would let them open the package. If they wanted to. I would still tell them they should not open it, but if they really wanted to they could.

And that’s the really cool thing about my young self I remembered today. I was thinking about my future children having my Star Wars collection.

I’m not sure if that is more nerdy than cute but I’m still pretty happy about it.

I just hope I find a wife who’s okay with me moving my boxes Star Wars junk into our first home.

If she asks me why I still keep these toys, I’ll just smile and say, “What if our kids want to have cool toys?

Still making flying sound effects with my mouth,

D.A.

In the short period of only 3 days I have become more responsilbe and feeble than my grandparents.

Case in point. I saw my grandmother today, and she told me how she was up until midnight playing cards with her friends. She even told me how she went to a store and just browsed around…

When she said this I could only respond in a very Napoleon Dynamite-esque “Luckeeyyyy…”

Oh how my life has changed.

For the past three days my alarms has been set to go off at 5:12 a.m. 

Yes, there are no typos in that last sentence. Allow me to highlight the areas that probably concerned you.

For the past THREE DAYS my alarm(S) have been set to go off at 5:15 A.M.

I have not woken up, consistently, that early in over two years. I will now continue to do so until I die/retire/quit/have a real weekend.

Yes, I own and use multiple alarm clocks. Does that make me a little crazy or paranoid? It sure does. I have a more “classic” alarm clock that has two separate timers as well as my iPod as a secondary alarm. The iPod usually has two alarms set to go off as well. That make a grand total of four seperate alarms every morning.

Have I ever slept through the first one? Oh yeah, all the time. The second? That’s a big “Youbetcha.” Third? I regretfully say I have needed it’s graces. The fourth? I- I- I don’t want to talk about this anymore…

I should also mention that I woke up at 3:57 a.m. today. That is so early even the sun is still rubbing sleep out of it’s eyes. Why would I be so crazy to do something this irrational? I had a lab that I needed to prepare for, so I had to go shopping. At 5 in the morning. At Wal-Mart.

In a side note:

Have you ever been to a 24 hour Wal-Mart that early in the morning? Probably not, and you probably wouldn’t want to. But allow me to inform you that it is actually really nice.

The people who are working are mostly restocking. So they are just doing their work, running around the store, and getting some of the most important work done for a very large department store. But these people are rather cheerful. They actually said “hello” to me as I walked by. (It might have been the tie, people always dig a guy in a tie. Especially if he looks like a zombie that stole a normal man’s tie.)

There was an open line in the checkout section as well! I know stores are notorious for building over 40 checkout counters and only have 2 open at once, but this was a good thing. Nobody else was there, so no more operators were needed.  The customer to employee ratio was outrageous. I was easily outnumbered. I only saw three other customers in the entire store. So it was a relatively easy operation.

(This last paragraph was edited to make sure I used a word that begin with the letter “O” once in every sentence.)

Look at me know…I must have grown up. I am rambling about check out lines and neck ties…

Oh, I lament the days of summer. How I would wake up in the afternoon and wonder what I was going to do that day. Then I would eat entire meals. And enjoy them. I didn’t have so many voices ringing through my head.

It’s always the same conversation.

“Mr. Bancroft can I go to the bathroom?”

“No.”

“Please.”

“No. You know the policy. And I’ve already allowed you to use your only emergency hall pass for the grading period. So, once again, no.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Hey, spit out you’re gum.”

“Oh, okay.”

Man Alive! Why do they think I won’t notice the larger chunk of blue goo in their mouths? And why is it always some unnatural color?

Maybe I should just give in and start carrying a cane? I mean, I already sound mean a crotchety. Why not, right?

I also wrote my first referral today. Much easier than I expected it to be.

Oh man, I’m picking up that cane this weekend after that last sentence.

****

So yeah. I’m surviving. But just barely. I would love to be able to take my mind off the whole thing, but I can’t. It’s becoming a real part of me now. It’s kind of scary.

Still, I’m going to actually try to enjoy this weekend. Even if there is a slight possibility that a hurricane could kill us all. (I live in Florida, so we will be missed by Irene, but a guy can fantasize.)

I’ll be honest with you, if this post is hard to read, it’s because it was hard to write. I just wanted to get on here and feel a slight resemblance of my life from four days ago. I’m actually struggling to stay awake and the sun hasn’t even set yet.

Remember when we used to argue about Batman and I drew stupid comics? LOL, I used to think about stories to write… Good times man… Good times…

(Did I just use a LOL back there? Yeah, It’s bed time…)

Now on a farmer’s sleep schedule,

D.A.

Tomorrow at 5:09 a.m.

August 21, 2011

That time will mark the beginning of the part of my life that I never really imagined would come.

I still wish I was pretending to be a Teenage Mutant Turtle (Donatello, of course) and putting Legos together.

I will wake up, get dressed, go to work, and try to teach/entertain over 100 people. I will continue to do this for a period that spans over most of the year. I will also get paid to do so. I will also be called Mr. Bancroft all day.

I will wear a tie and my converse. I will carry books back and forth from school to home. I will grade papers. I will have meetings and sit in on teams. I will have parent conferences and emails. I will take attendance and give detentions.

Only word comes to mind.

“Blllluuuuuuggggggg-mmmmmpppph.”

Cultures around the world identify this word as generally meaning:

“Who want’s to wake up at 5 in the morning?”

If I don’t post tomorrow, it’s because one of three reasons. 

1. I’m too tired to bother with silly and childish things on the internet.

2. I really want to do those silly things on the internet but was too tired because I woke up at 5 in the morning.

3. I was eaten alive by a a couple dozen freshmen in a local high school. Check the local news for my name.

(I should also distinguish that “silly and childish things on the internet” doesn’t mean what you do on the internet is silly, it only means what I do on the internet is silly. If you read/subscribe to this blog then you must know and understand exactly what that means.)

D.A.

As you all know, I’ve had a pretty busy week this week. And I know it’s only the first of many long weeks in my future. Still, I tried to find a little time to myself today.

I had to go back to school…on a Saturday… to help me get a little bit more organized for students showing up on Monday. I also had a family dinner/birthday party for a cousin in the evening. I knew I would be working and then socializing so I needed a little bit of time for Douglas (that’s me).

So as I was driving to the school I decided I should take the long route. I wasn’t in any rush, so why not?

And I just happened to think of one of the more wonderful places in my local area. It might even be one of the best kept secrets in my county. I just happened to be passing it and decided to make the tiny detour. I then pulled into the parking lot, stepped out of my car, and walked into a book nerd paradise.

Behold, my hideaway. 

 

 

 

Every time I walk through the door of this place I just feel tension leave my body. The smell is the firs thing I notice. The old pages and coffee grounds are fighting for control of the air space. There is no sound in the building. The books seem to absorb the shuffles and steps of people walking through the narrow passages.

As I walk deeper into the literary dungeon the temperature drops. It’s easy to notice because, living in Florida, it’s always hot outside and a temperature drop like this is a real delectation. There is also a small set of stairs you must descend in order to get down to the actual floor of the shelves. It’s even pretty dark in there, despite the florescent bulbs lighting your way. The tall shelves seem to stop some light from getting to all the book covers. (You can see this pretty well in the first photo).

Not to mention, look at all these books! Just drink that in. I wish I were a super reader and could just devote myself to turning all these pages. Don’t you?

But usually I just end up in the back of the store near the sci-fi stuff. I always find some real gems when I go in there.

I only wanted to spend about 15 minutes in there, but I guess time ran away from me. I walked out of there an hour later. But there was so much good stuff just waiting to get snatched up.

For example, today I found a whole slew of Robert A. Heinlein books that are new to the store. I also found some Michael Crichton books for less that two bucks.

Yes. I bought books. Even though I now have a full time job and haven’t even gotten through my Christmas reading list. That list that I said I would have done by the beginning of September…

So what.

I like buying books.

I’m justifying it to myself by saying, “If I didn’t buy these books, somebody else would have, and they may have ended up treating them badly.”

It works for me at least.

This store is called Raintree Books. (Yes, it’s one word.) They are probably not located anywhere near you. But if you are, by some sort of strange means, living rather close to it you should totally give it a visit. Despite my poor photography skills and lack of descriptive writing it is actually a very organized and clean place to go. These people know how to house a great collection of used books.

Also, I’m not sure if what I’m doing is illegal in any way. So just in case you work for/own Raintree Books I would like to apologize for taking photos of the interior of your wonderful store without permission. I just happened to be carrying my iPod at the time and thought I could capture my warm feelings about your store on camera. If you would like me to take them down, please feel free to email me. When I check that email (about every week or so) I will then respond accordingly.

Please don’t sue me for advertising for you for free.

Also, if you somehow see a boost in sales or web traffic, you can blame/reward me. I will accept store credit if you’re offering it…

So, I’m not sure if any of you have been lucky enough to have a store like this in your area but I do hope you keep using actual bookstores. While the whole eReader market is getting really big, there is still no beating a good physical book in your hands. Also, used books need love too.

But this store is more than a store for me. It’s a little escape from the world around me. It’s quite and cool. It makes me focus on titles and stories trapped behind them. Stress is nothing to consider while I’m browsing through some tattered paperback from the 70’s.

This is really what I hope you have. A place where you can just go and relax. A place where you lose track of time and forget the world outside. Where is your favorite place to run away to? Or is yours such a big secret that you don’t even let anybody know about it?

One more cool thing about this store. 90 % of the time I’m in there, it manages to rain outside. I’m not sure if that’s a play on the name of the store, (you know, with the books being made from trees and it’s raining outside), but I just like rain. It’s fresh and humid smell mixing with the pages as I walk outside is always invigorating.

Desperately looking for some free stuff,

D.A.

About Saturdays

August 13, 2011

And Sundays as well…

People don’t really get on WordPress when they have quality and engaging things to do outside of the internet. But don’t worry, we will all come crawling back to it once the weekend is over.

Hey, I wasn’t even here on Friday, but that’s because I was having trouble deciding which seat to take…

Front? Back?

Still, for some reason I’ve decided that I will post this short little snippet about the weekends.

Let’s try a social experiment!

I’m going to post this at around 4:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Answer the poll and we’ll get a nice little sample size of activity on WordPress during the weekends! Or this will be a complete failure because nobody will read this once I post something new on here. So, just because of that, I probably won’t post until Monday.

Your statistical and scientific friend,

D.A.

Acquisitions

August 11, 2011

My day today was pretty boring. I went to the last day of my first week of workshops. While I was there I made a few acquisitions. The county had received a number of donations to the county, namely textbooks, stickers, and gigantic chocolate candy bars.

Wait a second. That doesn’t sound boring at all!

Because it was awesome!

BEHOLD!

Yeah, it’s totally real.

BIG

Is this not one of the more crazy things you’ve ever seem? It’s called “The World’s Largest Hersey Bar” appropriately enough. And yes, that small red sliver next to it is a full length ruler. No, that’s not a baby doll sized bed that it’s resting on, it’s my very own. Want to see more. Of course you do.

Wait a second, does that say “5 LB” in the lower left hand corner?

Yeah. It does. Wondering how many serving sizes are contained within this beastly bar of bliss?

Way ahead of you.

Nutritional Facts

Just in case you were wondering, (and I know you were), I did the math for you.

That’s 12,000 Calories.

Well, I’m out of words to even describe this gem.

Not sure if somebody has died from a chocolate overdoes…but I guess you will soon find out.

D.A.