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Saturday, April 12, 2014

APRIL??!

How have I not posted since January? Sheesh.

I was trying to think of something ridiculous that has happened in these three months, and trust me, there has been a lot, but right now, the only thing that comes to mind was that I was doing one hell of a pull-up two nights ago, so much so that I slammed my face into the pull-up bar, which was so shocking that I tensed up and pulled my tricep muscle and collapsed to the ground laughing.

So there's that.

It's moments like those that I wish I had surveillance cameras in my house. That would have been fun to watch in slow-mo with some popcorn after Game of Thrones.

I like to imagine a really cool highlight reel being spliced together of my life, and as a joke between me and God, I often tell him (out loud), "Can that make the heaven reel?" and likewise in moments where I catch myself saying something horrific or terribly embarrassing, "Leave that on the cutting room floor please, Jesus." Ha ha.

In news totally unrelated to pull-up face plants, I've continued to make some YouTube videos, and my latest one is a brand new series that I'm starting where I draw S.A.T. vocabulary words with my elementary artistic skills. It's fun, and if it can help anyone you know to build their vocabulary, pass it on! Keep learning, and keep living! Cheers!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Diving Into The Sea of YouTube!

Hey strangers! It's fun to be back, especially on a day when the Patriots played so well. Why not keep the Tom-Brady-Is-Inherently-Awesome train going with some more awesomeness? Time to write that blog again!

I stopped blogging back in 2010 to write a novel (because? I dunno, just because), and now that that's done (and shelved), well, I need another distraction. :) What haven't I jumped into yet? YOUTUBE! And what the heck--why not? So yep, I started a YouTube channel! Actually two channels, but I'm focusing on one right now or my head might explode. It's called 321grammar, and it seeks to help viewers have fun while they learn the rules and idiosyncrasies of our crazy English language. Here's the one-minute trailer:



So take a look, and if you don't find it deplorable, subscribe and share with your friends through Twitter, Facebook, or over a landline taking notes with a post-it. Hope your lives are all going well, and you are continuing to be your lovely creative selves! 

Remember my motto: It's your life. Don't miss it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

MORNING UPDATE -

Hi! So I'm doing NANOWRIMO.
What is that, you say? A very dumb endeavor.
NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing in a Month.

All across the world, people sign up (for fun, no less!) and commit to write a 50,000 word manuscript during the month of November from scratch. That's 1667 words a day. It's November 13, and I'm at 12,000 words. Just a few, oh, THOUSAND behind schedule.

Here's the deal:
I'm naturally not that great of a writer, but I'm also very aware of it. It's like being a crazy person who knows you're crazy. Just makes you crazier! So in my head, I filter out the crap until the average pours forth. I can live with average. But the idea of spitting out whatever comes forth from my head (which is truly crap in its basest level) means that my crap would become a huge PILE of crap -- 50,000 words of it! And I might never write again!

So in an effort to compromise -- I am writing at the below average level. Not deplorable, but not high enough to be mediocre. I'm writing more than I normally would but less than I should. About a thousand a day. And I know I'm missing the whole point of NANOWRIMO, but this little kid needs baby steps when pride is involved.

So here I am today at a coffee shop writing in my blog instead of writing my novel. HAH! Typical.

I even wrote two book reviews today.


The Secret Life of Prince CharmingThe Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Too many lessons. Felt like the book was one long lecture from a parent about waiting for the right guy and why. Too in your face. But I do love Deb Caletti. Her writing is always entertaining.

She did a sort of "When Harry Met Sally" thing. You know how that movie stopped the movie to interview couples about their marriages and how they met? Well Caletti interrupted her story with diary/journal-ish monologues by various older women in the novel and their past non-Mr.-Perfects they dated. Cute. Different. But man, after a while, I just skipped the interludes because I felt like it pulled away from the flow of the story.

I thought the book could have been about 50 pages shorter and still been a great novel. Too much excess introspection. That being said, I still like Deb Caletti, and I'll still read another book by her. I love love loved HONEY, BABY, SWEETHEART so I know she has genius in her. It's just a matter of pulling it out at the right moments. :)




View all my reviews

REVIEW #2:
The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey




I feel like the style is kind of a gorier (is that a word?) version of Bram Stoker's DRACULA, but it doesn't quite hold a candle to DRACULA. There's at least one SAT word per page, and Yancey does work them in nicely without it feeling like it's an SAT-prep course, but...

The book is a labor of love. I make sure to read a minimum of one chapter before bed, so there must be some disconnect between me and the book if it's a discipline rather than a joy.

As I read, I find the language beautiful. His dialogue is brilliant at covertly conveying character (hey, nice alliteration, HB), but alas, I'm not riveted.




View all my reviews

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A tribute to Periplaneta americana Linnaeus: THE COCKROACH

Moving to a new classroom this year.
Yesterday, I went in to organize.
Look at this lovely treat I found:

Yummy! Apparently cockroaches get stuck on duct tape (I tell you, duct tape can be used for ANYTHING!) I think one cockroach got stuck, and since cockroaches are attracted to dead cockroaches and excrement, the rest of them were like, "Yes! Lunch! Oh crap, I'm stuck."

Cockroaches are fascinating creatures. It is estimated that 2 cockroaches are enough to populate an average size home in one year with enough cockroaches to go one meter deep. Not even making this stuff up. There are at least 4000 species of cockroaches in the world. Only 70 in the United States. Most live in Florida, home of navel oranges, old people, crocs in swimming pools, and apparently 41 species of cockroaches.

They're resilient little creatures. Probably because all they need for food is their own excrement and each other. Yep, they're cannibals. And omnivores. They also love bread, stale beer, wine, alcohol, fatty acids, and peanut butter... can you blame them? They crave damp even temperatures (like my classroom) with great places to hide in the walls. They're survivors.

Because they survive and multiply like mad, they are the financial backbone of the pest control industry. Why do we want to exterminate them? Oh, I don't know. Maybe because they carry fungi, viruses, protozoa, and 40 kinds of bacteria (gross stuff) pathogenic (that can cause disease) to vertebrates (that's us). And they're middle-guy hosts to flatworms. Yippy.

And with their crazy diet and all the diseases they carry, they still scurry around like they go to the gym every day. As much as I cringe and have a quick body spasm every time I come across one, I equally salute the little vermin.

What America can learn from cockroaches:
They're resilient.
They're adaptable.
They provide jobs.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hi, Colorado

As you can tell, I tend to be a little inconsistent in life (AKA blogging every day and then stopping for no apparent reason). I have many days that I'M bored with myself, so I figure why make other people's lives more boring by making them read about it?

But a friend told me that I need to blog just to blog. So here I go. This one's for you, Sean. Blah.

Today, I'm in Colorado. I surprised my mom for her b-day by showing up to the parents' RV. It's one of the great things you can do when you're a non-breeder -- just pick up and go.

So I showed up at the doorstep of their camper, (Dad was still out fishing), and I said, "Hello? Anybody home?"

She responded, "Can I help you?"

Then she stared at me for a second as all the synapses were running amok in her, processing why her daughter was in the wrong geographic location... was she delusional, was I dead and swinging by on my way upwards, and then it hit her. I was here. For reals.

You'd think a bear was attacking her the way she screamed. Sadly, no one came to her rescue, which makes me think they need to revamp the Neighborhood Watch policy among retirees of Dolores River RV Campground.

She regrouped, cried, and then laughed, and then planned... the entire range of my mother in a 30 second interval.

Yesterday we drove to Telluride.

It's the weekend of the Jazz Festival, so the place is bumping. It's also home to the popular film festival most creatively named, "The Telluride Film Festival."


If you've never seen this cute little "tucked away like a tooth in your pillow" ski town, here are some pics.

Yep, that's a waterfall in the distance. Makes you catch your breath, doesn't it?

Telluride is one of those small towns who still have signs hanging from all the storefronts announcing what they are:

And houses with strict building codes to preserve that "historical look".

And in the backyard of the main street, you'll see the ski runs.


In the past 24 hours with the 'rents, I've noticed one of the quirky and beautiful things of a 40-year-old marriage. My parents have their own language.

Example:

MOM: (lying down for the night) Oh, I forgot to get a glass of water.
Translation: Husband, please get a glass of water for me.

And he does! Every time! He doesn't try to correct her the way our teachers did when we would ask, "Can I go to the restroom?"
TEACHER: I don't know, CAN you?
Didn't you always want to say back, "Seriously, you DON'T KNOW if I can go to the bathroom? Have they lowered the bar on what you have to know to become a teacher?"

Back to the parental units, Dad (on autopilot) translates in his head, gets up, and brings my mom a glass of water EVERY SINGLE TIME! Happily! It's crazy, I know. But love is a funny animal. And love each other, they do.


It happened all day:

I jotted this note on my iPhone --

-----------------------------------------------------------------

As we exit the campsite to head to Telluride, Dad is driving. Mom is talking on her cell phone. She actually says into her phone, "Oh, we never made my nail appointment. Oh well." She points to the left anyway.

My dad, fluent in the language of Mom, makes a left, (even though Telluride is to the RIGHT) because what she really means is, "Can we make the appointment before we head to Telluride?"
-----------------------------------------------------------------

I often stare wide-eyed and open-mouthed at their crazy non-communication communication, wondering how many sentences they have created that actually mean something else entirely. They have no problem with it. No one asks for clarification, or gets annoyed that they don't mean what they say. They know what they mean. And that is all that matters.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My thoughts on Obesity

There are many interesting things I could talk about on my blog today...

1) Why do they call it "walking pneumonia"? I don't feel like walking. I feel like "laying". Why don't they call it "Knock you on your ass pneumonia"? Much more accurate.
2) What do they put in that dog food? Seriously, my dog can evacuate a country with that flatulence. And why does she insist on laying down next to me before she starts evacuation procedures? I'm slowly being asphyxiated as I write this because of the "Knock you on your ass pneumonia" nailing me to the couch (see #1).
3) What's up with our fat country?

#3 wins.

Strangely, as I'm finally getting around to grading old essays, the topic most on my mind today is obesity. One of the units we discuss every year in English class has to do with the alarming increase in childhood obesity in our nation. Here are some crazy facts:

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control)

2-5 year olds (percentage who are obese)
1980 - 5%
2008 - 10.4%

6-11 year olds
1980 - 6.5%
2008 - 19.6%

12-18 year olds
1980 - 5%
2008 - 18.1%

Crazy, huh? So there are many articles written by extremely intelligent people who differ on their opinions of who is to blame. The parents? The lack of nutritional content offered to make an informed decision? The lack of alternatives to fast food for kids in low-income neighborhoods? (The obesity rate is higher for inner city kids. You can't exactly tell that kid to go outside and ride his bike.) Is it the marketing that combines cute cartoon characters with junk food? The lack of physical exercise in schools? Maybe it's the super-sizing and portion distortion that's making America's waistlines pop at the seams. It's a crazy debate, and not an easy solution.

Nor is this blog a platform for me to rant to you about my political position on this topic; I have none. I can only read the articles and help kids write organized essays about them!

But I find these facts fascinating so I'm going to share.


On the portion distortion topic:

Do you ever wonder why they call the small size at starbucks a "Tall" and why the medium is called "grande"? How annoyed do you get when you say on accident, "Can I have a medium?" only to have the Starbucks barista correct you and say, "A grande?" And you have to say yes, even though everything in your logical mind knows that grande means "large" in every freaking language.

It's because Starbucks hopped on the super-sizing band wagon when they realized it worked. The sizes used to be "Short", "Tall", and "Grande", which totally makes sense. But who wants a 12 ounce nowadays, really? They discontinued the "short" and introduced the "Venti" -- 20 ounces of your sipping pleasure.

They did this case study at Cornell University with some movie-goers watching Mel Gibson's movie "Payback". They gave half of the audience each a large bucket of popcorn, and the other half each received an extra-large bucket. Nobody finished off their bucket, but when the researchers weighed all the leftover popcorn, the group with the extra-large buckets ate 45% more. CRAZY! Therefore proving if you put more in front of us, we're gonna eat more.

And not that our country needs any more financial problems, but between 1987 and 2001, diseases associated with obesity accounted for 27 percent of the increases in medical costs. I won't bore you with all the statistics about how much diseases related to Type 2 Diabetes are currently costing our nation, but do a google search if you're curious.

I have no conclusion to this, no great finale to send you off to the gym, and I'm only writing about this because I went to the movies the other night (saw DATE NIGHT - totally recommend it). While I was there, I noticed they now post the calorie content of your "movie meal".
I love the range of soda calories: oh, between 2.8 and 444.

In case you wanted to add some cheese and bread accessories to your popcorn, coke, and twizzlers, here are some more fat-free numbers:


I guess there are people out there who need clarification that water does in fact contain zero calories. Did anybody else's jaw drop to the floor when you read that nachos are 1400 calories? Whaaa?

In case you're going into hibernation, here's your one stop shop for getting an entire season's worth of calories in one meal.

P.S. I totally almost got kicked out of the movie theater by a 16-year-old concession stand girl who was indignant at me taking pictures of the prices. She made me erase them from my camera... which of course I did, as you can tell.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In the Classroom: Lessons in Irony

Written on my board by my student My'Jina about another student, Scoey:

"Scoey is a dumby"

Shouted across the room by my student Traysha at another student, Ronald:

"What do you mean, 'can I spell grateful?' If you go to church, you know how to spell fuckin grateful!"

Yelled at no one in particular by my student Jilvonnie about CST's (California State Testing):

"Why do they give us these tests if we don't know the any of the answers?"