Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Juicy


If you are anything like me, this question is difficult to answer:

When was the last time you went a day without eating sugar?

Excluding the kind that gives life to a piece of fruit or attracts a bee to a flower, I think I have gone years with daily intake of some sort of processed sugar. It's in the obvious stuff like soda, ice cream, certain cereals, but it is also in the not so obvious stuff; bread, salsa, some hamburgers, and just about every juice you can buy. Now, this is plain for everyone to see. I'm not reporting any groundbreaking  information or attempting to do so. I don't expect the last few sentences to be anything you haven't already read on a different blog or a health magazine you get for free because you subscribed to a celebrity gossip magazine.

Wait, wait. My worst fears are coming true. This post is going to sound preachy! oh man.

I may just delete it, or I may keep writing since I'm listening to the latest St. Vincent album and I'm feeling jazzed. Oh fuckshit! People are going to think I am being preachy because I mentioned a popular indie-rock artist casually in my writing... I should delete that bit too. Sun of a gun, this is becoming difficult. Perhaps if I push towards the point it will turn towards a picnic.

So, with that in mind, I have decided to try and not eat sugar or caffeine for the past few days. I started off doing a sort of vegan adventure and now I am solely slurping my smoothie/juice diet. It is quite a change for me. I always ate well and have a talented wife who cooks a variety of delicious meals all the time so I never concerned myself with my diet. Then, due to various circumstances, I started contemplating addiction in a new light. My thoughts ran the gamut: How can I be sympathetic to addicts? I have never been addicted to anything, and I don't see why they are. Addiction is not a choice. et cetera et cetera. I was just reading and witnessing addiction and processing the information through my sugar and caffeine fueled brain. Then a small bird landed on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. It said that certain products I was consuming daily are addictive. It also said that I have a chemical dependency to those items and they control me. Their grip has been marketed to be tight. Their lingering lure has been fed through my nostrils. Their processed pinch tickles a bit. I did not like what this bird was telling me.

Then, the anti-consumerist in me took hold. I freaked at the idea of some corporation pumping its product full of sugar and/or caffeine in order to lure more consumers (and teenage ones at that!) in and I was one of those consumers and they were luring me in and I needed to explode their headquarters from a helicopter. Then I took a deep breath.

Enjoyment. The hedonist in me whispered from a nearby hammock. Isn't the meaning of life to find enjoyment in all things? Your palette (which I always imagined was the flat bit of your tongue, is that right?) should be stimulated with the things you enjoy. Your body should dance to the music you enjoy. You should read the silly books about dragons you enjoy. What else is there in life?

It's a fair point.

But it didn't swing the scale in the dietary decision I made. And let me tell you, sugar and/or caffeine and/or gluten and/or the other things I haven't been eating have really messed my head up. My energy level is fine, my belly is fine, my dreams are crazy, but my head is constantly throbbing. I'm not a big headache guy. If my head starts to hurt, it's usually from dehydration or reading in the car. When I do have headaches, I just take a deep breath or get fresh air or pour a cup of coffee. However, when I have shunned coffee from my diet for the first time in 5 years or so, I am witnessing the effect it has on me. It is amazing. And while that headache throbs most hours and in two days when I am done with the juice diet, I am going to drink coffee again, it is empowering.

I control my body. Not that weird wizard on the starbucks cup. Not the keebler elf. and not Ben nor Jerry. Some day, when I am kicking back, living a life of leisure and have a basketball court in my yard I will stop drinking coffee. Or fuck it- maybe I won't. No- I will. Because the whole importance of all this is that these fucking drugs that are in my food that I eat all the time and my drinks that I drink all the time have potentially taken control of my thoughts. Now, today, without them, their lingering dying artifacts are gripping my temples as I try to flush them out with beet juice and banana pulp; they hold on tight. And that tight grip is throbbing. Its alright though. I remember being little and having a tooth hang on by a little sinewy string. It dangled from my mouth like a limp, useless corpse. It too broke free as will the caffeine and sugar fists. My head will not hurt tomorrow and my conscience will be pumped up.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

To Kill a Mockingjay

This is the second installment in my substitute teaching fan fiction series. To read the first installment, click here.


He wondered why he even traveled to the outer districts.  Sure, he understood the need was there and the job was there. However, at the end of the day, would there be any bread left for Jon?

He drove thirty minutes west towards the outer district.  The trees grew up around him until he suddenly passed into a giant field.  On the outer edge, he saw it- the outer district training center.  Today, he would need to prepare the citizens of district 11 for an important task in their dim futures: Venn diagram completion.

Commissioner Venn had created a full proof system.  With two swift strokes of his fountain pen, he showed each trainee how they were different, but not unequal.  They were all the same in some ways, but do not forget that we are different... separate.

Jon had long accepted the fact that each district had their own ways, but when the bell rang they all made the same sound.  The cacophony of district 11 was no different than the blabbering of district 8 or the chit chat of district 17 or the howling of district 2.   Jon had built an immunity to it- at least on most days.

Today Jon requested, asked, and then demanded his trainees' silence.  He had dimmed the lights, closed the blinds, and allowed them to shift their metal seats loudly across the tiled floor. Each time they asked for more, he knew he was losing control, and as he had been trained- you have to control the game to succeed.  As the opening credits to the classic To Kill A Mockingjay played, Jon stood high on a desk and made one final move for respect.  Suddenly, he had silence.  Some traineees logged out, placing their heads on their desks, others picked up their pencils and began their training.  He had done it... barely.

The peanut butter and jelly desegregated in his mouth.  He chomped down in silence- a short rest before the training would restart.  The importance of the Mockingjay might be lost on most students, but Jon had to control the room again for those who would learn to love it as he had learned to love it decades ago in similar metal chairs on similar tiled floors and awaiting a similar result in fate's arena.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Raven has sent Word





Today I received a raven from Hampshire.  It had an all important message fit for pages of this binding:

Warn Sir Jon that his adopted liege lords wear smiles with sharp teeth and send him on quests they would be loathe to venture on themselves.  He should know, too, that among his young masters their may be an Arthur, but there are also morphlings sent by the dark mistress to suck his blood, crush his spirit, and laugh at his dreams... Still, if, with his light armor and untempered steel, he can survive that barren frontier, he will learn wonderful secrets and sharpen his craft and cunning to become a true knight. If he can endure, he will one day find honor upon the field, loyal colleagues at his side, and quests beyond imagining.  Goodspeed, Sir Jon!


Yet another lesson to carve into the storm battled wood of my life-tree.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Squire was no locksmith

So recently I have been doing substitute teaching work. There are a great number of issues I have with the work, but there is one great part of subbin'. Every night I come home and can have a beer, watch some TV and relax.  I don't have to lesson plan or stress or worry about much and it feels great.  In fact, recently, since I don't get Comcast Sportsnet, I have been getting a bit bored. And so, I thought I would try and write about my disposable daily experiences in order to keep a log.  Then, I thought maybe it would be fun to write about them as if I were in various universes I enjoy visiting. While this might sound like escapism, it's really something entirely different- and that something is fan fiction. So, here is my first entry into my substitute teaching fan fiction storylog. 


Jon knew he was traveling East as the sun pierced his windshield.  The kingsroad was quieter than he expected at this hour, as he drove by Sir Duncan's, Jon debated stopping for a warm mug of dark cream to help thaw his bones.   No! tardiness would be a mark of death with his faceless masters.  It was a risk his dripping eyes would blink away.  He carried on, reminded of the words of his bride's house sigil: the early bird.

Upon arrival he was handed a scroll with his day's chores.  They were lengthy at first glance and Jon became as confused as a Dothraki in water. He was used to a way of sheet working and screen viewing and such tasks took little explanation. Here, before him was something new... something exciting.

As he leafed through his mission, he learned he would be spending the day as a squire for a young master.  A squire's duties are not to be overlooked. He must see to his master's every need and be sure his master is fully capable of indulging in the full gain of education.  Pencils must be sharp as a dragon's talon and pages must be turned as swiftly as a king's reign.  It is the squire's duty to keep his master apace with his peers and not allow him to fall behind. As while the war is still early, Jon knew important victories were had in a king's youth as much as in his old age.

When he finished his master's scroll, Jon's brow lifted in excitement. He realized his day would be a rarity in the realm of his craft. He would be squiring for a master in a steel chair.  The steel chair masters were often well aware of their unique attribute.  They excelled above  many of the other players in the game as they had already accepted and embraced their individuality. In a realm in which trying to fit in and be absorbed into the mass was such a commonality, the steel chaired patrons of the realm had long left that trivial and ridiculous concept in the dust.  Jon hoped Sir Alan would be such a master.

It did not take long to realize, this was the case.  In a quick minute, Alan had grabbed his squire's instructions and read through them disapprovingly.  "Young squire," he beckoned, "these scrolls shall treat us fairly today, but take not- my name is misspelled in paragraph two. We cannot have such mistakes." Master Allen spoke confidently and with a candor unseen in these lands. Squire Jon was entrenched in the mid-lands; a place of vanity in which the house sigils were commonly colored blue to represent a desirable, yet unattainable, image of cool.  Master Alan, caped in a green hooded windbreaker, continued to speak,  "Furthermore, my locker needs opening."

At that, the squire bent down and quickly fiddled through the three number combination hoping it would work. It did not.  Squire Jon was no locksmith. In fact, he rarely carried a key to anything except his front gate. He reversed it, knowing that in some parts of these lands, clocks ticked backended.  Again, it did not open. Master Alan peered over Jon's shoulder, instructing him as his shaking fingers spun left to right to left again, and with a single clink- the iron lock sprung.  The day had just begun and the squire knew he would have to be on his toes with this one.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Criticism

Is there a place in the world where people are just happy to appreciate things as they are?  Where they read an article or story or poem and instead of criticizing it, they say, "wow, someone put a lot of effort into making that... Good for them!"?

What is the air like in this place? Would it be as fresh as a cracked orange? It wouldn't need to be.  People wouldn't criticize smog.  They would think about how great it is to be able to travel anywhere they want affordably or how useful electricity can be.

What is the food like there?  Would it be made with the love and care of a Grandmother preparing Thanksgiving? It wouldn't need to be.  People would realize, despite the bland taste, the nutrients were still giving them useful energy.

What is the classroom like there? Would the students quit moaning about homework and calling Shakespeare, "stupid?" Would they embrace the concept of knowledge and treat their peers with respect? Would they come to class on time and apply themselves in hopes of discovering something new?  It wouldn't need to be.




Thursday, February 21, 2013

I am

This week I had an assignment for class.  I am ashamed to say I scoffed at it.  To understand why, I need to explain that the past 6 months I have been writing lengthy papers about educational theory and connecting it to the classroom.  That seems to make sense when pursuing a masters degree in education.  So when the first assignment for my spring semester course was to:

 write a poem that starts with "I am"

I was a bit shocked.  I was a bit confused.  I reread the syllabus and made sure I wasn't missing the analysis part or the essay accompaniment for the poem.  That was it, just what you read above- write a poem that starts with "I am...". So tonite we sat in class and waited as nervous hands of graduate students that spend their whole day speaking in front of audiences slowly volunteered their voices and I am poems were recited.  It was great.  Every one was different and I learned so much about my classmates.  And it was enlightening and applicable and easy- well except for that bit of nerve-building needed to raise my hand:


I am a spot on a small blue dot.  In a sea, I am a single drop.  I flow over the  falls and am gone.  I am hopeful to make it to a teacup, be swallowed, and, later, sweated out on a dance floor in the basement of a tall building.  I am a thirty one year old student. I am learning. Everyday, after I am done learning, I am a drowsy face on a sofa watching sports highlites. I am a husband.  A good one, most days, some days, most days.  I am calmed by the arms of my wife and the paws of my dog.  I am on mountain tops in North Carolina. I am on a bus heading west, I am clenching my lips trying to keep the Delaware shore out.  I am a riff in a prog rock opus.  I am the upbeat, the augment, the off key.  I am outside the spotlight.  I am backstage, eating hummus, wishing I had clean socks.  I am putting on a sweater to save on the oil bill. I am cancelling the cable to read more. I am eating in. I am avoiding the dentist.  I am still buying good beer.  I am a night porter.  I clock in when everyone is asleep and clock out as they are awaking.  I make the coffee for them.  I enjoy the night.  I am a son.  I can do no wrong. I am not as smart as my parents, and need to quit acting like it.  I am a suburban farm boy.  I am not suburban, I am not a farm boy.  I am good at NBA Jam. I am a dog person.  I never truly understood cats, but still enjoy when they curl up on my stomach.  I wish I knew my way around Philadelphia better. I am a grid-city kind of guy.  I can figure out Manhattan.  I am Jon and I have a sneaker fetish. I have spent upwards of hours online ordering sneakers then usually erasing the order.  I am the type of person that stares at the ceiling and wonders what other people think about.  I am looking at the ceiling wondering if other people are the types of people that stare at the ceiling and wonder what other people think about.  I am totally fine with anything.  I am the last person you want to pick a restaurant.  I am engrossed by the stars. I am most engrossed in remote lands when the stars reach down to the horizon.  I look up and see billions of sparks flickering from light years away.  I am a spot on a small blue dot.  

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012

2012
After being inspired by another blog, I thought I would toss up a few things I have thought and learned in a memorable year.  If years are novels, 2012 was the big thick one that you have to wait until you have a lot of free time to read.  So much excitement and so many stories.  If they are desserts, 2012 was the one you have to ask for extra forks to share with the whole table.  If years are days, 2012 was the day you find out days are minutes.  so, let's see:

1. At the tail end of the year (last night) I watched a movie called Temple Grandin about an autistic woman who accomplishes great achievements despite having a number of difficulties she must overcome.  She says, "every time you see a door, you should walk through it."  That works well for her, and I think  more people should give it a go.

2. The value of something should never be viewed as how much the price tag says it costs.  That might be the cost, but the value deals with how much your life will be improved and, ultimately, what happiness will come from the investment.  Furthermore, if you are already happy, you should buy less stuff.

3. Books, unlike any other system of communication, are whole complete worlds created for so many different types of enjoyment.

4. The frontal lobes and prefrontal cortex, typically associated with decision making, does not fully develop until around the age of 25.  I learned this in two different circumstances this year.  Once, in a car with a dad whose son is in his early twenties and once in an educational psychology classroom a few hours after overhearing high schoolers talk about how lame books are.

5. Weddings are great.  the best part of this stage of my life is the abundance of Celebrations for Love.

6.  Would you rather sit and watch a campfire, or sit and watch a river flow by?  surefire debate starter/no wrong answer

7.  Things that are hard usually get easier once you stop thinking about how difficult they are.  This is true for me when I stand up in front of high schoolers and try not to sweat and stutter.

8.  I am slowly approaching the day in which I don't feel silly wearing a full brimmed hat on a regular basis, but moving away from the age in which I don't feel silly with a moustache.

9.  The Circle of Life is more than just a song about the jungle.  It's also a song, that if you use it right, can ignite any type of party.

10. its a shame about the Big East.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

don't hate your state- vocate!



I'm in a culture slump.  No, that's not a good term.  Let's see if one appears.  I am sitting with a tightly clenched jaw listening to people talk about education.  Heck ya its important!  someone just said.  Stimulate it!  Tough argument to combat.  But then, the more I seem to listen, the less anyone ever talks about anything besides job training and guiding students towards where the jobs will be.  That is fair.  True.  I don't have much of an argument here except the fact that no one should look at their life as a job.  I hate that message.  Hate is not the right word- disagree- denounce- dial-down maybe.  Perhaps, in the light of attempting enlightenment, educators should allow other ideas to emerge.  It is frustrating to have a whole country's worth of policy makers feel so strongly about something and have that something be shallow but also have everyone's best intentions at heart.  Maybe it has always been this way and I just ignored it. I like to think that at some point people embraced learning because they wanted to figure things out. Not specific things like how to format the processor to upload the database to the server, but things.  Just things.  Those people that maybe want to make connections and learn new things that they can connect other things to so more connections are made and eventually they possess a broad world view and utilize that view to make wise decisions, including maybe some decisions about jobs and money, but other decisions too- ones that have nothing to do with jobs.  Why aren't those people important?  Why can't we encourage eighteen year old kids to do that?  For every vocational school that tells them they can be making this much money by this date if they study this degree at this school, maybe there should be a person letting them know that if they buy a fuel efficient reliable car they can probably see a good deal of the country inexpensively by following these steps and maybe trying to talk to these sorts of people and avoid these sorts of people, but still spend less than what one semester of career training costs.  That choice is a valid educational choice.  Anyone that claims otherwise has seen a different country than me.  And maybe if we encouraged this sort of education, one where money is just a tool utilized to reach your goals instead of a goal in itself, people will be more willing to share.  I don't know, that is somewhat drastic, but I've seen it, I like it, and I want to teach it.

I'd like to fill out a fafsa and fly to Finland with the funds.  Maybe there is value in that.  I feel like for every beer bong drank in college, there should be ten American teenagers talking to Finnish citizens about life, and making connections.  If we can't trust them, they're only kids, they might get taken, then we teach them, train them, and educate them that the world is a beautiful place and filled with beautiful people.  Does this sound like an asshole writing jibberish about bullshit?  When I reread it I come close to almost hitting delete, but it's 4:30 am, and I have  nothing to do until 6 am, so I am going to keep it up.

I know, I get it- people need jobs to survive... but moreso I think people need to quit being so predetermined... I am all for people making an educated decision to follow a career path- heck I am enrolled in a path like that as we speak- BUT can everyone settle down a bit about the necessity to teach these youngsters job skills.  If they are taught critical thinking skills, I feel like a logical next step would be the youngster realizing that s/he needs to get a job... or no, a life.  Get a life in which a job is a part.  But it is just a part if you want it to just be a part. Or if you are really passionate about this job- heck go for it.  I don't want people to sit there thinking I am being anarchistic and plain silly with this because I am being serious.  I don't think your job should rule you (unless you come to that decision on your own accord).


Okay, getting out there.  Really ranting now.  I can feel the assholiness vibrating from the computer monitor.  I'm thinking about wrapping this up here.  Let's see...  History maybe.  Cultural history.  Values, virtues, and maybe something about t.v.  Oh geez, I've lost it.  I just want to pass it off with a, "ya know what I mean?" but I always do that and it rarely works.  I just think we are making large sacrifices to bubbling brains when we train them to believe vocational studies are more important than the humanities and liberal arts studies.  I love living in a country where we compete in the global economy and all, but actually I don't really care about that- it just seems like I should.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reading Comprehension



A little bird told me that 50-60% of people will be unable to determine what is being described in the passage above.  The enjoyment arrives with the realization.  OR is the enjoyment knowing that you figured it out when 50-60% of readers can't.  You are better at reading and figuring than other readers may be if you believe these numbers.  You did it, you know what will soon begin to sag.  You grinned a gap toothed grin.  It feels good right?

...Well ...honestly, I think I preferred the feeling of just figuring it out.  I remember it.  It took me about 2 minutes and then a light spun on and I said, "no doi!"

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Current Struggle

A man spoke to me a few weeks ago. He was addressing the incoming graduate students as part of a lecture on an endeavor we are all about to begin. It is a dangerous journey filled with deceit, violence, and gum chewing. He told us it would not be easy, but it will become easier with each day. He said we should look at it as an education, but not forget that we are acting within strict guidelines. He told us to buckle up and cover our asses. He was preparing us for student teaching. As the man went on and on about not kissing the high school students and not hitting them with yard sticks my brain wandered. I found myself in a classroom with a trampoline for the floor and 5 fingered hands on the ceiling fan. Each misbehaving student in my class would be bounced from his seat up towards the ceiling where the arm of the fan would spank his hiney. He would fall back to his desk and begin his assignment. My classroom also had a vegetable garden, and each girl in my classroom that wore some sort of outfit that allowed her classmates to know the color of her undergarments would have to plant and grow a vegetable that was a matching color to that of her bra or underpants. Pink tomatoes, purple eggplants and leopard printed zucchini would all grow within my learning environment and then donated to the local food-bank as part of a lesson on building relationships within the community. The man continued to speak though. I jotted a few notes down. They said things like, "TB test required. Find out what TB stands for," and "August 28-put head down, motor through." The whole while I was thinking of if I cannot show this man the respect of focused listening, how could I ask for my students to do so for me? Then he dropped some words that hit me hard. He mentioned what century we are living in (21st) and that the times have changed. He promised us that students would be googling our names and looking to see what sort of beer pong photos there are of us on facebook and if we want their respects we should wipe ourselves from the internet. I was excited about the facebook part, figuring it might be healthy. Then I realized that maybe a student would stumble across the silly babblings of this site. Here they are talking about student's underpants and how they downloaded music illegally! How could this person be the one teaching my little Vesuvius?! I am struggling with the decision. The only teacher I ever had that was on facebook had a profile picture of him flicking off a road sign that said Republican St. He was a great teacher. I was 30 years old in his classroom though. There will be little paste sniffing fourteen year olds all hopped up on boner juice and Justin Bieber gossip that may read this blog. you know what... let 'em. Ain't no one learning from being kept in the dark. In fact, I'll tell them right here: one time, when I was your age, I threw a spitball at a student teacher in one of my math classes. And you know what, it was less than five years before I realized what a bozo I was. I also made fun of a peer for being real pale and looking like a vampire (before that was cool) and you know what, I still regret that all the time- really seriously regret it. You know what else? I was scared to just be myself and tried desperately to be someone I thought would appeal to my peers.  I tried all sorts of illegal acts and made dumb decisions and hurt a lot of people I loved and I regret that about as much as Adam Sandler regrets Jack & Jill.

So- I was hoping this catharsis would help and I think I will keep this site functioning.  It always makes a good story to get fired from your job for writing something stupid on the internet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Is this what Steve Jobs was talking about?





So I recently finished the Steve Jobs biography written by Walter Isaacson.  It was a bit tormenting as the author dedicated so much time to Apple computers and so little time to everything else that you never knew about the man.  After getting through a lengthy part about how important getting not only glass for the iphone, but the right type of glass was to Jobs I nearly threw the whole thing out the window.  I was tired of Jobs promoting his closed system of computing and dissing on Bill Gates and his open system.  No man should be judged on the materials he sells, should he?  Shouldn't we be hearing more about Jobs's devotion to zen thinking or his frequent trips to Japan?  Or his family?

Anyway, I think it finally sunk in during a very transcendental moment in class yesterday.  I have been taking classes to learn how to be a good teacher, and yesterday we were focusing on the importance of school wide initiatives to improve academics and behavior.  As we discussed these techniques, in the back of my head I heard Steve Jobs say to me, "See- you need a closed system where things flow seamlessly from instance to instance."  It was weird.  I had just had a conversation with someone about how I don't care enough about computers and business to want to know how important Steve's corporate  and technological actions were.  I wanted to know about his thinking, the funny thing was, I just hadn't scratched below the surface of his preaching.  He wasn't just talking about computers and devices needing to exist within a closed controlled system which flows so seamlessly a six year old can operate it- he was talking about humanity.  Well, maybe that is taking it a bit far, but he was talking about more than computers and the Apple company (I think).  And if he wasn't, I like him more now imagining him hiding civil philosophy within an ipod.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

belly aches

I recently read a report saying it was important to eat much less monocalcium phosphate if you have bad knees.  I found this as weird, but the knee is a complex joint and monocalcium phosphate is a complex ingredient.  The report went on to say that your Azodicarbonamide intake should be much higher than Calcium Peroxide intake if you want to keep your monoglycerides at a relatively even level.  Monoglycerides help in the war on folic acid, so it is important to keep them happy.  However, if your monoglycerides become partially hydrogenated, it is a cause for concern.  There is a strict list of what you should and shouldn't partially hydrogenate if you are concerned about colon health in any way.  For instance, the colon reacts similar to a cranky infant if it is overrun with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, but it is as happy as a clam if it itself is partially hydrogenated.  A little TLC will accomplish this.  Furthermore, don't mess with disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate because that is a real thing that actually exists that someone created to promote color retention in frozen tater tots.

This report caught my eye mainly because of its headline "Palmitate and Beta Carotene are Silly Words."


Thursday, June 7, 2012

A stretch of a vow

As I was writing this last night I had a hunch it wouldn't make it into the exchange of vows at our wedding ceremony.  However, it is a true statement of my love for my wife:

If at any time, you are called upon to rescue the Universe from space invaders, I will fight beside you.  And when I can no longer fight,  I will write you long letters and shoot them into the stratosphere with my mail-ray.  




Friday, March 23, 2012

Brodyed

how are you to imagine anything if the images are always provided for you?

so so so so so so good.  This movie can be downloaded, watched and heaved upon your shoulders here.  If you live in my hometown, theatre N is showing it next Friday.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The sweetest fruit

Lodged up there between the back few molars, somewhere around the ice-sensitive teeth, is a grape skin.  Stuck there since you sat down.  Burrowed between your gum and tooth.  No man's land.  A strained tongue pulls at it fruitlessly.  Stop lights turn red, radio stations air advertisements you don't hear.  Only listening to the scraping of a thumb nail in the back of your mouth.  Then, lifetimes later, a right turn, perhaps at high speed.  You straighten the wheel, shift gears, and relax.  The sweetest meal swallows down to your stomach.  The tiny little grapeskin works a smile.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

potential introduction ctrl-x

So, I was reading through some* words I wrote last November as part of this great event and stumbled upon a part that I am going to delete, but feel as though it should see the light of day somewhere.  Statements like that are what blogs are for.  Statements like that are what CB radios are for. Statements like that are what most of the cable channels I see are for.  So, before the delete key was struck, the ctrl-C key was struck and then some more keys and then the ctrl-v:


POTENTIAL INTRODUCTION

This has been a treat to create.  I thought about it a bunch and figure that creating things is better than worrying about whether or not what you are about to create will be any good.  If you critique something before it is even created, than something is not right.  That was the beautiful part of trying to write 50,000 words in one month.  You don’t have time to toil over the introduction or the middle bit.  I didn’t really do anything with Arthur and his tale than sit down and try to write out a thin idea I had about a night porter that has his dreams stolen from him.  That was it really.  Bits and pieces came to me as I sat and wrote and other bits and pieces came from somewhere I never expected them to come from.  I don’t even know where the place is, but it was a magical place.  I have always figured a novel needs to be planned out; the author needs a corkboard with different character sketches and bits of research tacked up to form a map.  I hadn’t done this when November rolled around and National Novel Writing Month kicked off, but I still gave it a go.  I’m glad I did.  Just like you don’t need butter to cook waffles, you don’t need any of that stuff to write a novel.  It might be better with butter, but it is still pretty fun to do even if you don’t use butter. 
            I sat and talked with a friend that doubted whether forcing yourself to barf out 50,000 words in a month is a good way to write a book, and all I can say is that for me it is a great way.  Deadlines and goals keep you from fiddling with the thing to no end.  It keeps you from sitting there, not knowing where to go next, and allowing distraction to set in.  I have always been a victim of procrastination and general laziness.  The idea of writing a novel seemed so daunting until I just sat down and tried it out. I was able to exist in another world that took over my life for weeks.  Arthur’s adventure opened a can of worms in my imagination I had not used since I turned 10.  It was so much fun to create his world and write about his silly little adventure.  I was amazed at how weird tangents allowed themselves to intertwine and how bits I had forgotten about writing came back into the story a week or two down the line.  It was really pretty breathtaking to write and see it all come together.  I had no idea how 90% of the words I typed were going to look.  I didn’t know how to end it, I didn’t know if I would keep a lot of the characters and plot points in the story, but they all ended up playing important parts that make me smile.  And right there is a score for the home team. 
            I thought about this friend.  Would he ever be able to write a book with the idea in his head that literature is such a dense and valuable art form?  And would that book that sits, densely and valuably in the stratosphere be better than the barfed out words I did over the past 30 days that exists on my computer screen?  It is kind of like potential energy versus kinetic energy.  I can honestly say that even if everyone that reads this book agrees that it sucks… or no, even if I get home and the computer catches on fire and the backups all fail and the digital cloud that only sort of makes sense dissipates and I never even get to read The Night Porter from start to finish, I would say that it is very valuable.  It was a bit of a test perhaps.  If I put my mind to it, can I sit down and write a book?  Of course!  Once you put your mind to it, you realize the giant mountain you are about to climb is not a giant mountain, but rather a grassy hill with a gondola waiting to help you up the first bit.  I think it’s true with everything too.  Once you dive in, the hardest part is done.  Whenever I don’t want to make a phone call, or am afraid to get out of bed in the morning, eventually I realize, looking back, that all I needed to do was embrace that first step. 

---------
*46,000

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rob in da house

So I'm sitting here quietly at the back desk of the hotel I work at and I'm pretty bored. I was flicking through old blog posts looking for some sort of inspiration to write about when I stumbled upon a comment regarding a post I made in 2009.  A guy named Rob moseyed on up to the comment section almost a year after I posted the words and decided to pursue an act of persuasive propaganda.  His post has merit and gusto and validity at times.  His post is written with a confident knowledge.  His post is the type of shit that makes me want to barf.  I'm sorry to say that Rob, but it's true.  When a man is just riffin' don't bombard him with know-it-all obvious fidelity and greed sentences that have been reiterated in every argument on the subject since 1999.  Speak loudly and confidently and often, but when you speak please do so with the slight idea that maybe what you are saying isn't the word of our savior.  Speak with humility and just because your brother owns a studio in Santa-Fe, doesn't mean you are an expert in audio.  First off, why aren't you collecting vinyl records instead of CDs Rob?  They have a higher level of fidelity, everyone knows that.  Secondly, why are you making a point about fidelity when I was trying to make a point on ownership?  Owning a bunch of mp3s is not much different than streaming a bunch of mp3s if you are looking for high quality jams to pump out of your Bang and Olafsun tweeters.  Shit Rob!  you gone and made me upset for some reason.  Don't be a know-it-all-my-word-is-the-smart-word-trust-me kind of dude in a blog comment thread.  No one wants to read paragraphs upon paragraphs (so many that you had to fit the second half into a separate comment) about that.  Wait- hold up!  Maybe people do want to read that.  What am I saying?  What am I writing right now?  Rob won't see this.  Am I picking on Rob?  shoot!  What has come over me?  I was in a good mood twenty minutes ago.  I had just re-read my adventures with the spirit-beast which always puts me in a good mood and then I kept rolling all the way back to 2009 and then Rob came and all of a sudden I had to start up some kind of tiff for him voicing an opinion. Come on Jon!  rise up above that petty nonsense!  The internet has a lot to offer, and Rob's opinion is just one of the many peppercorns that spice its salad.  Quit being a dick! 

without further ado, my inspiration for the night:

Anonymous said... First let me say you have a cool blog and some great links. Second I want to make clear I am not trying to rip on you imply you are not smart. In fact all you are is a bit younger. My name is Rob and I am in my late 30s and here is the evolution of how you are thinking about this. While I am not anti-biz, there are plenty of shitty greedy business men who would gladly serve you less for more as a general rule. Music in the day used to be considered of great value for obvious reasons but mainly because it was the one thing one could not simply buy on the cheap and reproduce to make a party. keep in mind this is pre- much tech. When the ability to give people high quality musical reproduction came into being, the focus for years was on making and getting good gear that could both record and then reproduce the music. WIth the music being so obviously valued and with people not wanting to play just one thing all the time, so was variety. But starting around the computer era is when things began to take a big turn. While on one hand people liked surround sound as it was the logical continuation of the previous trend of making the musical reproduction as real as possible and a new trend, adapt it for big budget action of special effects movies. There was this New thing called digital music. The CD was great because it focused on debugging recording digitally and reproducing in great fidelity. IN fact they were about to leap beyond CD into the next level of fidelity when.... DUN DUN DUN.... Broad band internet caught on and you had things like Napster -- with a new format called mp3 which whlie not even being remotely close to great music quality, it was good enough for many to want it and grab it up for free. since then as you know digital music is the thing. and of course music education being in the toilet like it is and half of the pop music being rap, (nothing against it just saying it not that musical in and of itself) so bad music education, and rap -- and free digital music and broad band and the music executives saw this and thought -- subscriptions -- but of course they jumped the gun -- because I was not a child when edward scissor hands came out and I already could see he was a bit pretentious -- creative and detailed sure -- but not god. Ok so, they tried to get people like me who have a huge CD collection to give that up for what -- and MP3 subscription? thats a laugh. And it really was in those days the quality of even the best mp3 were not as good as todays common ones -- which by the way are still not great -- on a CD you could get great speakers and hear the full musical sound. -- unfortunately most folks have shitty speakers or something in between and very little music background and even less audio background. Also you have people who a now motivated to get you to rent what you should own. -- I think its great to have an mp3 subscription -- I even have a really cheap one to preview songs on although now LaLa is almost good enough for free. Bottom line -- an mp3 is not real music reproduction and if you put it a good speaker set up -- it would sound like shit. -- to further complicate this mess -- you have two main sampling rates -- 44.1 for stereo and and 48.2 or whatnot for surround sound. -- they are making chips now so that the up or down converting is good but the point is -- right now -- people are no longer being sold on high quality music. instead they are being told not to buy just rent a low quality recording of all music and you can whatever you want -- until you really listen or have the ears to hear now that you are missing a ton of detail and feel. -- at least apples Itunes has a format that is of a much much higher quality then mp3 and yet there is still no DRM -- the point is, do not be fooled -- you did not make a mistake -- insist on owning high quality copies of the musicians you really like and pay for it and then use the other to just check stuff out and explore -- and do not kid yourself -- the only thing that is losing money in music right now are all the old school middle men who did coke, banged models and never wrote a lick of music. -- insist on ownership do not trust collective to do right by you because by the time you realize because its full of greedy humans and therefore flawed -- it will be too late to change it. -- that is the lesson of america -- never ever give up the sacred rights that allow individuals freedom and limit the power of government -- then let the greedy folks fight it out in the market to see who will offer what to you at what price and quality. -- its not a nanny state -- but it is most successful system so far. do not let music be taken from you because you are too young to remember when they knew you would only buy a high quality recording -- to see examples of the the almost dead next level of fidelity for the CD -- google SACD. and read up on what will go the way of the laser disc. -- cheers and I hope I was interesting to you after the rum hang over. -- ps -- sorry I did not have time to make my text very pretty or grammatical but I am sure its readable and the content is spot on. check out my brothers studio in NM -- www.santafecenterstudios.com peace and do not let the fool you -- never give up ownership of things that define you

Friday, February 3, 2012

Word Cloud



Here are the most commonly typed words on this blog. Thank you tagxedo

Friday, January 27, 2012

...Over the Sea



I wanted to tell the folks that listen to this blog something important that happened to me the other night- something that reinvigorated me to live life fearlessly and full of fire;  a magical event that helped prove that at the heart of the mysterious world is a pulsing soul that works towards the good.  It works in ways that can perhaps be broken down and explained in a simple cause and effect manner, but more importantly works in ways that bring tears to your eyes and make the hairs on your arm stand up and shake.

Let me get to it:

In 1996 I was a curious lad.  I didn't know what I liked or where to go.  I suppose I am still a bit like this, but I have started to figure out (to some degree) what I like.  Back then, I would devour anything and wait until someone nearby told me if I should like it or not.  Luckily I had friends with good taste.  They had taste that was not just fed to them by the television, but taste that was crafted by fingering through record collections and researching in books and magazines and on the relatively new device that would come to be known as Los Internet.  These friends showed me why some things were good and others are less good.  While I still try my hardest to love everything and avoid criticizing things people put effort into, I should say I have developed a taste all my own thanks, in part, to my dear friends.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am pretty much talking about music.  I thought about being more broad, but lets just call a cow a cow for the rest of this post.

My dear friend T, was the first to introduce me to the elephant six collective.  It was some weird funky shit that my Soundgarden and Dr. Dre record collection was having a hard time accepting into its fold.  However, T's continued spinning of all things elephantine slowly drew me in to the odd world and I was soon yearning for weird Elf Power and Circulatory System albums alongside him (but not to the same degree).  The greatest discovery to my ears was the classic Neutral Milk Hotel album, In an Aeroplane Over the Sea.  T had won me over to the elephant 6 when I heard this album.

The funny thing is this isn't about me, its about T and his passion for the elephant six as can be seen on the worn green tshirt he regularly wears.  His love of their music went from the headphones he wore in his bedroom, to the concert booking committee at his college, to a small venue in Athens.  T met and befriended elephant 6 member Julian Koster over a few years by booking him to perform at his college, and then bumping into him at a performance in Athens.  The two became friends which was crazy for all of us at home because Koster was a celebrity to us.  He was the quirkiest of the collective.

But all this build up is getting drab.  Long story short- T's friendship with Koster blossomed into a roll alongside Koster as a member of his band, The Music Tapes. Then The Music tapes became opener for Neutral Milk Hotel.  Then T and the Music Tapes performing on stage with Jeff Mangum during one of the quintessential songs of our youth.  T's love for music has grown into a career in music performance with the people who caused him to fall in love with music.  It is indescribably crazy to me.  T is one of my best buds and to see him on stage performing the songs of his heroes alongside those heroes is probably like what Lebron James's friends feel like when he slam dunks a basketball and wins a gold medal.  It is undoubtedly what it is like when Saul Perlmutter's friends found out he won the nobel prize for his research in the expanding universe.

I must say, as I sat in the mezzanine of Irvine auditorium the other night and watched Thomas smile across the stage, I knew that I wanted everyone else to know that great things can happen in the world. Often times the world seems overwhelmingly out of hand.  Actually though, I have proof that the world is within your hands.  Although he might be a bit more modest, I feel as though the other night I saw a dream of 15 year old T come to life in front of three thousand people.  It was pretty dang cool.  He did not seek out the opportunity or apply for the job of Music Tapes band member, but he lived a dedicated life that was committed to being the best musician he could be and as a result, his 15 year old dream burst into reality.  It was organic and honest and truly inspiring.


When you put it that way it is a call to arms to just be a committed beast.  Do what you love to do and trust your instincts and your dreams might just will burst into reality.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

nanowrimo

After reading a book last year that was written as a part of National Novel Writing Month, I became interested in the event.  I navigated to the website linked above and while scopin', I found myself signing up for it.  Next thing I knew it was November and I was sitting at the computer not really feeling like writing my daily words, so instead I started patrolling the forum.

""There are hundreds of people writing novels this month that none of us will probably ever read," thought the stranded sith as he awaited his execution," might be a line that is being written in a novel right now.

Anyway, as I struggled with what I guess is writer's block but felt more like a belly ache, I ditched the writing and decided to read some synopses of interesting looking profiles on the nanowrimo's forums.  Then, I thought I would share a few of my favorites:


From MikeAlx's Tolombok trilogy, book 2:

Reen Trajen and Korbin Benvanine have escaped from their home planet Nilva and are now aboard a space station in low orbit above Prembis. Furnished with fake IDs, they are set to board a sleeper ship to distant Tolombek, in the hopes of finding Reen's long-lost brother. But, with Korbin wanted for a serious assault, and Reen still pursued by the secret organisation who call themselves "The Friends" (though they might not be), it's never going to be plain sailing. So what could possibly go wrong?
No, I haven't a clue either. Maybe I'll tell you in December.

 From AlyRuth's Fountains of Green:


In 2061, the UN declared the current environmental state a global crisis. Scientists predicted that earth would be uninhabitable within thirty years without drastic changes. In 2063, a desperate decision was made. With no more time to 'innovate' new ideas, industrialization was declared the problem, and the global powers united to "de-industrialize" the world. Their plan was to revert people, over the course of 200 years, back to hunter-gatherer societies by force.
In 2282, after the last cities, factories, and plantations have fallen, this vision in almost Kiko's reality. Global Operations, the only populous society left, has been enforcing the transformation from cities to villages, from tribes to nomads. Living in a small tribe, Kiko must learn the ways of the nomadic hunter-gatherers in the wilderness, but while on his journey, Kiko realizes that Global Operations may not have the best intentions at heart for the people or the environment when he witnesses massive genocides against local tribes.
Kiko, while conflicted against societal life and a nomadic life, must stand up against the violence and discover exactly where Global Operations true ambitions lie. 

From MCat's In a Bind:

When one of the teenage generation's most popular writers, Shanie Lennox, goes missing, it's up to Bree Michaels to find her. She's sure she can do it - of course - she's one of the CIA's most successful junior agents. But there's just one problem. No one seems to know what Shanie looks like, or where she lives! She's never used descriptive author bios, or pictures. She's never even had book signings. Come to find out, some say she's a recluse. Others claim that she actually lives on some remote mountain in China. Has Shanie been abducted? Will Bree be able to find her before it's too late?

From LousyWriter13's One Fine Day:

In the beginning, there was a day.
This, a careful study of history reveals, is when everything started going downhill. Fast.
That first day was followed by another day. Then another. And yet one more. The universe, being the creature of habit that it is, seemed to think it a good thing to have days fly by with regularity, and so it kept on with it, sending day after day after day.
This, a careful study of history reveals, was quite possibly a mistake.
Days simply became expected. Everyone started to assume that tomorrow, yes, tomorrow there would be another day. As a result, people stopped really paying attention.
Well, almost everyone stopped paying attention. And this... well, history hasn't made a public announcement of its opinion on this matter as of yet, but for those few who continued to pay attention, each passing day molded them, changed them, and made them into the angry, seething mass of unpleasant, war-mongering, monsters they are today.
This, history will surely reveal in time, might be a bad thing for at least some of the people who had stopped paying attention. And maybe for the universe. And, quite possibly, for history itself. For on this one fine day, the Fleglen Requiem of Flegola Five had a bone to pick with history, and the universe would never be the same.


All of these novels are being created right now as we speak.  Some will be lost on hard drives, others will be published with full color illustrations. Think about it.  It's so much fun to think that all these people with all these different ideas are all spending the month just spewing out 50,000 words for the fun of it.  Who are all these people?  Insomniacs?  The unemployed?  The beautiful foundation of culture? The dudes that hang out in coffee shops all day?  Either way, reading some of these inspired me to get on my horse and work towards completion of my book and to track down the Tolombok trilogy some day.