Summer To Do’s

June 21, 2014

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

Huzzah!

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

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

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

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

You get it…? 

It’s because I’m lazy…

So, here’s the summer to do list:

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

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

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

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

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

D.A.

I used to call this blog home. Then I left on a weekend trip and said I’d return shortly. But then my car died on the way back and I had to catch a plane instead. But the plane had to get rerouted due to some dude pooping his pants on the flight (the air marshal thought he meant something different what he said he’d “dropped a deuce”). When we landed I was stuck in customs forever and they said I couldn’t enter the country. Apparently I had boarded the wrong plane and ended up on another continent. I eventually broke myself out of that prison of a terminal (a la’ Shawshank style). Then I was captured by pirates and held for ransom for over 14 weeks. They demanded that Paula Deen be put back on the air, and until her recent internet channel/program announcement, that’s where I’ve been.

And you would think those pirates knew how to cook anything with all the devoted watching of her butter soaked recipes.

But here I am. I’m back. But what’s happened to the place? Mike said he’d watch it while I was gone.

I had to kick away some buzzards who had taken up residence at the entrance. Apparently they were eating the mice in the overgrown yard and must have been trying to make some abstract art using their fecal matter. (In all honesty, it’s not too bad). The front door had police tape strewn across and had a moldy patina on the edges.

When I finally got my key to fit in the lock I opened the door the smell of old toenail clippings and Fritos. The blinds were askew but small slits of light ignited the dust particles that floated in the air. The wallpaper was peeling in one dark corner and all of the furniture was missing except the mini bus sized couch. May book collection was partially toppled from their shelves and the legs on the bookcase cracked.

I turn on a light switch only to hear a loud pop and the smell of burnt plastic. One of the bulbs glows dimly, flickering as its coils feel electricity for the first time in years. I drop my bag of hotel soaps and bathrobes from my last stop at a Motel 8.

I flop down in the center of the couch and let the slightly damp cushions hug me. I close my eyes and try to remember the good things that happened in this place.

I remember this was a place of comfort, a place of dreams and goals. This was a place for me to be open and up front. This was a place built by myself and for myself.  I remember the poorly written jokes and the even more poorly written stories that were crafted here. These walls soaked in all those ideas and kept them from escape. They kept them safe from storms outside and the nosey neighbors around.

I take in a deep breath and open my eyes.

There is a fate for this place. Most would have it condemned and demolished; some would just torch it and take the insurance money. Some would pull out a hotplate and sell ramen noodle soup from here claiming it was a new and hipster “gastropub” experience.

I, on the other hand, feel too much nostalgia. I can’t possibly let this place continue to decay. This place can return to its once red moonlit glory. It can once again be a place full of life and goals. I can post banners of failures and banners victories all about. Everybody can once again enjoy the life, writings, and failures of D.A. Bancroft.

So, there it is folks. I think I’ve come back to the old digs.

Yeah, maybe a gut job is required. I might even need to do some work on the foundation. I know the plumbing is full of earthworms and the wiring might have shorted out completely. I’m pretty sure I even left stuff in the fridge… there might be an entire microcosm in there by now. I’ll fiddle with that later.

But at least this means I get to reimagine what the space can be used for.

A good cleaning, some new furniture, and a splash of paint can go a long way.

Yup…home sweet home…

So…

Here I am…

If anybody is still out there…come on by. Maybe bring me a bottle of bleach and some home baked cookies. I could use both.

D.A.

A Glorious $5 Mistake

April 29, 2013

As a young man I loved the games. Games of all sorts. Computer. Video. Board. Card. Mind. All of them. They were the sprinkles on the ice cream cone of life. 

In the year 2003 (I know…) a game came out which changed my life. Actually, it was the sequel to a game that changed my life. It was called SimCity 4. 

Yes. That really boring city simulator that makes you make decisions about ordinances and if you want to make neighboring deals that help you sell your garbage. Also you have to make decisions where you want to put your mansion and if you should put an avenue there or a bus stop. 

I loved it. Still do. But last year I tried dusting off the old disks to SimCity 4 and, lo and behold, the game is so outdated it wouldn’t properly boot up. Yes, there are people online who say with a little bit of wiggling of wired and screaming you can get it to work, but I’m lazy. Very lazy. I decided to let it die and become a relic of the past. Let time polish that memory into a shining gem of my past.

Even fairly recently (I think within the past few months) the same company decided to finally release a sequel to one of my favorite games. No, it’s not called SimCity 5, just simply SimCity. And general opinion is pretty consistent.

It’s a turd. 

A big, expensive, glitchy, weak turd of a game. 

A lot of people have tried to get a refund because they are so disappointed. (If you don’t believe me check out /r/SimCity for a more lengthy bashing of said game). 

One again, I figured it would be smart this possible drain on my wallet and just let bygones be bygones. 

Until I noticed a Steam sale that featured a $5 copy of SimCity 4. And…it says it’ll work with my machine…

Well…I did it.

And I still love it. 

Do I feel bad? No, but my Sims don’t like pollution too much. Do I need to go to bed? No, I need to entice Sims to build more high tech industry. Do I have papers to grade? Of course I do, but I need to build high-capacity schools in my town if I want some nice commercial land value later on.

Why am I telling you this? Because I need possible names for my new cities. 

You may leave them behind in list form if you wish. 

D.A.

 

Until last night when the internet 

Quaint Dream and Reading

April 23, 2012

Yesterday I awoke with the strangest memory of the strangest dream. I’m going to relay every detail to you. Maybe there is a special meaning behind it. Maybe it’s just random firing of synapses in my cerebral cortex while I enter R.E.M stages of sleep. Maybe it’s not really a dream but a memory from some very odd sleep walking.

In my dream I wake up. I’m in my bed and everything seems normal. Bed sheets are green, lights are off, and fan is on.

I drudge myself out from under the covers and stumble toward my shorts that are laying on the ground. The shorts are the same shorts that I had worn the day previously and had taken them off before I went to bed. As I shakily place one leg into the opening I manage to lose my balance more than usual. I step through and feel constrained. I try the other leg and can’t quite reach through the other side.

My shorts have magically become pants.

And then I woke up. For real wake up.

Weird…I know. But that was the entire thing.

I should take this opportunity to mention that I’ve been reading a lot lately. This feels really good because I haven’t read anything of substance for a long time.

But this sword is double bladed. While I’m reading more, I’m writing less. I know this shouldn’t be true. The experts (whoever they are) always say, “writers read.” I’ll be honest, I know I should read more, but if I were to do that, my brain would be more preoccupied with reading than writing. I just feel so engrossed in a good story that I really don’t want to put it down. (Also, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I read very slowly.)

What exactly have I been reading?

I’m so glad you asked.

  • The Gunslinger by Stephen King
  • Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
  • The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
  • Thud! by Terry Pratchett (currently reading)
No, I’m not really into reviewing books but here’s a statement that works for all of them.
They’re all good.
Those of you who have followed my blog for a while may be quick to notice this isn’t the first time I’ve posted updates to my reading list. Those of you with impeccable memory will also notice that none of these books are on that list.
:::Gives self the finger of shame:::
I’m terrible at sticking to reading plans.
Yeah, well, so what? What about your reading list, huh? How you read anything that’s actually on it? I have my doubts…
D.A.

This certainly is a strange mix of novels. But

 

 

5 Days

April 17, 2012

Wow. Holy smokes. Hot cheetoes and rice.

Five days since my last post. It’s almost like I relapsed. I got a whiff of the laziness and I just fell back into the old habit. It has been so long since any original content on here I think my little red moon has some cobwebs around it. You see that?

I guess it hasn’t all been laziness. A good portion of it can be blamed on the increased workload toward the end of the year. For example:

FCAT.

No, I’m not incorrectly cursing about a cat. It’s the state mandated test that occurs in every school in the state of Florida. This week is offically known as FCAT week.

This means kids take a two hour long test on Monday and Tuesday. Then the school scrambles to make sure that every kid who missed taking it on those days end up taking it on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. If they don’t take the test, they fail the test. If they fail the test, they can’t graduate. Luckily this test is given to the 10th graders. So they got 2 more years to make it up. (That happens the week before FCAT Week).

So, this also means the normal hours of the day change. Kids are shuffled around and classes are shorter. Not to mention, we all know kids who just took the test as tired from taking one of the most important tests of the school year. So your day for teaching new material is pretty much shot.

Then I’m getting kicked out of my room for the Wednesday/Thursday Panic-and-make-sure-everybody-has-been-tested days-so-we’re-going-to-steal-your-classroom-all-day sort of thing. That means tomorrow and Thursday I will be in a room other than my own. That also means 12 kids will probably not remember I told them to go to a different room tomorrow. Which means many kids are going to get tardies (teacherism) for not showing up to class on time.

Since I’m in a different room (with a shorter class period might I add), the kids will be distracted and won’t want to learn.

So it’s an uphill battle all week. A guy can’t win.

Oh, and in three weeks the kids take their End Of Course Exams. This exam determines if they pass the class or not. And yes, it occurs four weeks BEFORE the class offically ends.

So what do we do for those four weeks after the class material has all been taught?

I dunno…ask me in about four weeks.

D.A.

From the Beginning

January 3, 2012

I told you.

Well? Didn’t I?

I remember clearly. I said to you, “You may see a lot of me or you may not see any of me.”

It was the latter.

I have been hiding in a hole for my entire 3 week break just loving not doing anything. It was glorious.

Tomorrow will restart the process to putting my brain to work trying to educate the minds that will become our future.

And I’m not very excitied. Wanna know why?

The average “fall-asleep time” for me for the past 3 weeks was aroooooouuuuund …. 3 a.m.

On typical workdays I wake up at 4:30 a.m.

Tomorrow will be a hard day. Very hard indeed.

Hey, if you watch the news tomorrow and you hear a story of a teacher in Florida who suddenly became Rip Van Winkle after a hard day at work, you’ll know who it is.

At least it’s a short week. 3 days. I’m putting my hope in time to somehow go by very fast. I’m also putting hope in my recently developed “scramble up-something-good-for-the-classroom” skills. I’m really hoping they work tomorrow.

Now I’m going to stop writing and try to find a way of putting myself to sleep. Wish me luck.

Why don’t you go ahead a tell me how you get out of the back from vacation funk? I would be willing to hear anybody’s advice.

P.S.- I have no idea why I titled this post “From the Beginning”, but just pretend that it fit in and that it was really intelligently put together.

11/11/11 at 11:11

November 11, 2011

Come on…I had to do this. 

Not only because it’s so rare of an occasion for unimportant time/numbers but also because it will represent my 100th post.

Celebrate! I demand you celebrate! If not for the odd time thing, then do it for the veterans.

Celebrate the veterans!

And if not for the veterans or weird time thingy, then do it for the release of Skyrim.

Celebrate the release of Skyrim!

You know…there is no real substance to this post. I’m going outside now.

D.A.

It’s WHAT?!?!

October 2, 2011

Apparently it’s Sunday.

This is the day that follows Saturday. It is also 4th day that follows Wednesday. Wednesday was the day of my last post.

Whatever happened to me working on this blog? Actually trying to get better at writing…?

Oh, that’s right, I’ve been pre-occupied trying to do all these things:

  • Learning material I have to teach.
  • Delivering material I have to teach.
  • Learning how to teach the material I have to teach
  • Grading papers
  • Writing referrals
  • Making up labs
  • Buy class material when I need them
  • Worry about parents yelling at me
  • Putting grades online
  • Submitting lesson plans
  • Making arrangements for my observation for my teacher evaluations
  • Stress out about my teach evaluations
  • Doing attendance in hindsight because I can’t remember to do it during class
  • Taking away student’s cell phones
  • Wonder if I need to start carrying a baseball bat in my classroom just like Casey Jones.
  • Trying to stay on schedule
  • Turn in any forms I am supposed to turn in during the week
  • Make myself lunch and dinner (Ramen Noodles)
  • Wonder where my time for fun went
  • Find my time for fun laying in a gutter, bleeding, crying, like it had been beaten within an inch of it’s life by Mr. Casey Jones.
  • Get angry at the Florida Gators for losing a game in such a way that they did
  • Help people move into new apartments as they move on with their life
  • Eat bowls of Ramen Noodles as I don’t move on with my life
  • Look at my friends who have happy and loving relationships with people they are going to marry
  • Look deeper into my bowl of Ramen Noodles looking for solutions to the problem…
Things suspiciously absent from my list:
  • Sleeping
  • Having coherent thoughts
  • Peace of mind
  • Enjoyment from students learning new material
  • Good test grades
  • Writing
  • No pain in my feet
Anyway, what I guess I’m trying to say is that I’ve been a little busy, and time seems to fly when you’re busy.
So here is my new goal. To make sure I post at least 4 times this week. That will run from today (Sunday) and will not include this post.
This is now my excuse to write: “Oh, I have to post something online tonight. I made a promise to potentially 3 billion readers. I can’t let them down.” Yes, that isn’t a very good one, but it is at least one.
Now, keep in mind, I have been writing, but not very much, and not for this blog. I started a really cruddy story that I plan on writing into something with a purpose and a real direction. So maybe by the end of this week I will have finished writing/working on this story.
I’m making no promises on how good the story will be, but remember, the goal is just to write. It’s okay if it’s a turd. As long as it’s my turd made from my own effort and time then I will consider it a victory.
In a weather related note I should mention that Florida finally had Fall arrive. It is currently 75 degrees outside for the first time in about 9 months. So, at least I’ve got that going for me.
Alright, I’ll be back… You just keep checking to make sure I do come back. And if I don’t send a group of mercenaries to hunt down and kill my captors. This is because the only reason I would not come back in time for a new post would be due to my being taken hostage and held for a very high (or sadly low) ransom.
D.A.

Sick

September 12, 2011

Hey!

I’m sick today! All sniffles and coughs and a little head ache to boot. Not too fun.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh, well at least he took the day off work. That would totally explain that very cheerful ‘Hey!’ at the beginning of this post.”

Then I would say, “Nope, I went to work. The ‘Hey!’ was me just trying to be friendly. Why do you look so much into little things like that anyway?”

Then you would say, “Well! I never! Who knew you could be so rude?”

Then I would reply, “I’m sorry! I didn’t know I was being rude. Still, it does seem that you’re being a little paranoid about your motivations for reading things I write.”

Then you would huff off and go sit in a corner. You would even shoot me “the eye” from time to time. The only way I can make it stop is if I walk over there and apologize for my silly comments.

***

Well, that was fun.

The reason for me not skipping out on work? I never miss out on work. I never skip out on school. I never skip out on anything. It’s just how I roll.

It’s only some sniffles…I would rather use my leave time for something much more important.

Also, it would be a real pain in the neck to fall behind in my teaching (more than I already have). It would also be a pain having to get a sub and know that my students would just devote their day to ruining that poor sub’s day.

***

So I’m still reading Mr. King’s book On Writing. So far I’m deeply enjoying it. I’m not sure how much it’s going to help me in writing considering how often I work instead of write but I guess if I want to get better I’ll have to make/find the time to do it.

The most important thing I have read in that book is concerning “passive voice”. In short, he’s not a fan. In short, I think I’m guilty of using it quite often. So maybe I’ll keep that in mind when I’m writing next time.

Now that I think about this, I think I’ve made sure not to do it in this post.

But that could be my sickness talking. I could be delirious from the sniffle/cough/head ache.

Another cool point the King of Steve said is this whole thing about “he said/ she said.”

He states that the best way to carry a conversation is to say “he said.” or “she said” after they say something.

Don’t go too deep into it. Just wait said. Don’t try to elaborate on it. By what the character says we should already have an idea on how they say it.

Annnnnd that’s all I remember from reading last night. Speaking of night, I will be avoiding it all together and sleep as the sun sets. I hope you enjoy your day tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get some grading done so I can end up writing a little this weekend.

:::drools:::

Well, I’m off to bed,

P.S. If you comment by saying “Hope you get better soon” I will look into that as your way of saying “I think you’re going to die a slow painful death.” Instead just say, “Grapes and fudge make a terrible dessert.” I will receive that as a nice way of hoping I get better.

Let’s see how well some of you pay attention.

D.A.

 

And it turns out that none of you, with the exception of a dog that can miraclously use the internet, gets on WordPress during the weekends. 

I’m going to view this as a very good thing. It means that you either were too busy interacting with real human beings during this time period, or you were purposely neglecting to participate, in which I warmly shake your hand.

Why?

Because you a crafty enough to avoid appearing on the internet as “having no life”. Now the joke is on me because of my lack of life has caused me to ask a silly poll question involving internet usage.

Well played…

In other news, my feet feel terrible. I am standing on them for hours at a time and they don’t seem to like that. I’ve been contemplating whether or not to graph some old scissors I found in the lab storage room to my feet. So far the only thing I could use to help me do that would be some yarn. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

Still, even if I did do that, it wouldn’t make much sense at all.

How would scissors on my feet help?

They wouldn’t. I am simply writing this despite the lack of sleep and higher order thinking skills. This may also explain the swing in thoughts you just experienced back there. So… sorry about that.

And I think I’ll leave you with that,

D.A.