Thursday, August 30, 2007

Key Lime Pie = Grand Success

A quick whip-up and a spell in the fridge was all it took to create an awesome Key lime pie, last night. The department had a pot luck lunch today and I signed up for pie. Through my culinary wiles and my hilarious commentary, I am making myself indispensible to them. I will no doubt be invited back next year. No matter that my classroom management skills are awful and that I can't identify the rallying point for seven random locations for a tornado warning. Pedagogy and procedure take a back seat to a kick ass pie every freaking time!

PIE RULES (along with San Dimas High School football...)!

[Disclaimer: It is hard to be objective, but I don't really think my management skills are awful, I just had a bad day. I'll do better tomorrow.---No one has demanded of me that I identify a rallying point for ANY room during a tornado warning, let alone seven random rooms. This alone may be a gross oversight by the school safety committee, but, considering the four hundred other things I have to handle in a day, tornadoes really are low on my priority list.---Pedagogy and procedure only take a back seat to pie when there is an actual pie in the room.---Pie does rule, but San Dimas football is make the rock and roll dream of world peace and serenity known as Wyld Stallyns.---I have no idea what has sent me into this odd worm hole to circa 1989 Bill and Ted references, but here we be.]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Key Lime, a Natural History (Without Salt)

According to the Universtity of Florida's IFAS Extension website, the Key lime is found in " hot semitropical, subtropical, and tropical regions of the world." India, Mexico, Egypt, and the West Indies are major Key lime producers. Oddly, the website claims that the little green citrus is "naturalized in hammocks." That sounds like the life. I wish I were naturalized in hammocks. I'd be happy to be naturalized in an Adirondack chair. Or a sleeping bag. Anywhere recumbent and outdoors--that's the stuff.

The history of the Key lime is the stuff of exploration history, tall tale, bondage, and quests for freedom. Southern Asia is the original home of the Key lime. It managed to find its way east thanks to the Arabs (most likely Sunni, right GW?), who taught the Key lime how to disconnect their bodies from their branches and roll along the ground, keeping the sun just off to their left, and navigating at night by using On Star. The fruit migrated slowly across North Africa and into Spain and Portugal. Like all communicable diseases, parasites, pack animals, fruit, vegetables, xenophobia, and crescent-shaped steel battle helmets, the Key lime made its way to the Americas by stowing away on the Mayflower, as it brought its first shipment of Mexican immigrants to Missouri to work with Lewis and Clark at the new Tyson plant. Once in the Americas, the poorly treated Key lime (scientific name: Citrus aurantifolia Swingle; common name: Swingy the Green Conqueroo) "escaped cultivation," and found refuge in the cyprus swamps of Tidewater Virginia and Maryland, where it was eventually enlisted by Harriet Tubman to assist on the Underground Railroad. Over the next twelve years, Swingy led over three hundred citrus fruits, from pink grapefruit to tangelos, and a cucumber to freedom in the newly established state of Sweden.

Described by the IFAS Extension website as "precocious," The young Swingy learned to play seventeen different musical instruments, and had published three volumes of confessional poetry by the age of sixteen. An early poem won an award at the Citrus School for Minor Fruit:

Green you see is skin on me
white you see is pith
I'll never be the fruit you see
if you're the fruit I'm with.

The poem earned Swingy seven dollars and a certificate. The poem was published in the local newspaper and was noticed, in a grand stroke of fate, by HL Mencken as he was walking down the street during a long weekend vacation. Mencken wired the paper to Al Gore, who was the king of the Internets at the time. In less than a week, Swingy was a worlwide sensation, appearing on Larry King, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and the Daily Show, simultaneously.

While the little fruit "is well adapted to a variety of soils," it is very sensitive to cold temperatures. This is why Swingy rarely travels north in his old age. As a youth, he could tolerate temperatures well below freezing, but as age has pursued him across North Africa, Spain, Portugal, the Atlantic, and Sweden, and finally caught up with him, he has become more reclusive and finicky. Recently, when placed in a chair in front of an open refrigerator, the fruit nearly died from exposure. Of course, one may ask why the fruit was placed in such a precarious position in the first place, but that is a story whose main focus is Gimpy, the Blind Pig Foot--an entry for another time.

As with all things, when at an advanced age, a susceptibility to disease becomes common. In Swingy's case, the fruit can fall victim to greasy spot, fungus lesions, and anthracnose, which is not to be confused with anthrax nose--something completely different, I would suspect.

At any rate, old as Swingy may be, he makes a great pie. Or, at least, I hope I make a great pie out of him. Tomorrow. It will be an honor to employ such a majestic, honorable, totally cute ingredient in my latest culinary adventure. I just hope a) he isn't suffering from greasy spot at the time, and b) that Gimpy, the Blind Pig Foot doesn't show up.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Becoming Acclimated (Kind Of)

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me
--Oscar Hammerstein, "Getting to Know You"
(from The King and I)

The second week of school finds me feeling a bit more comfortable in the hallways (i.e., finding the bathroom). Today, I learned how to make a transparency on the Xerox. It's not much different than it used to be, but it is a different machine, and I don't want to be "the new guy who broke the copier," so, I made sure the production room manager showed me how to do it. I still get demoralized (fleetingly) when a kiddo asks me a question I can't answer. (Today a youngster asked me a question about academic letters that was akin to the Tiger-Woods-Grand-Slam-over-the-course-of-two-seasons-controversy of a few years ago. I just looked at him for a second longer than necessary and shrugged my shoulders. I'm sure that does not fill him with confidence as to my competence, but it certainly keeps him on his toes.)

I still feel like I am creating most of my lessons from scratch. So much is different about the approach to American Lit. I was looking at my notebooks and notebooks of material from previous years, and I can't see me using much of anything. It makes for a lot of work. Some of which I did on this past Sunday. Monkey and I spent some down time on Saturday, but most of Sunday was a work day for me. Actually, that's not too unusual during the school year, but this past Sunday was a particularly sustained six or seven hours of work.

The sophomores will be a work in progress all year, I have determined. In some respects, all classes are a work in progress all year, but on many levels, these young men and women need some serious time (or corrective measures) to figure out how things go down in my class. Nothing I can't handle, and not even close to being the most difficult group I've ever worked with. (Aunt James, you know who I'm talking about.)

And now, it's time to hit the hay, so I can face another day rested and recharged. But before I do, let me announce that Jolie Holland is playing in Omaha, on September 28. Monkey and I are planning to be in CoMo on Sept. 29, so we may not be able to fit that show in, but I would really like to figure out how we can.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another Day, Another Scholar

Today, I learned how to scan a document to my email, save it as a PDF, and send it as a print job to the print shop to be delivered on a future date. How awesome is that? One more thing that I know how to do.

I also had a better day with my sophomores than yesterday, but we have a whole lot of room for improvement.

Beyond that, not much news to report. Except that, according to a news article in the Lincoln Journal-Star today, one in four people have not read a book this year. That was not a fun article to start off my day with, ladies and gents! (Astute readers will note that the link provided does not take one to the Lincoln Journal-Star, but rather the Baltimore Sun. I could not find a link to the article in the Journal-Star, but, like all good AP articles, it found its way into multiple papers. And, it is a mere coincidence that, when I Googled "reading poll" the first hit was for the Baltimore Sun--my old hometown paper.)

For a narrative reverie brought about by filling a new iPod (something I have been enjoying myself, lately--it's like a universe of infinite space--but it's not), check out one of my favorite blogs, Living in Misery.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The School Year Comes Stormin' In

I've heard newborn babies wailin' like a mournin' dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."
--Bob Dylan, "Shelter from the Storm"

Freshman Day on Monday was a fine dress rehearsal for being at school with students around, but it really had none of the pop of a real first day of school. Especially since I have no freshman. A colleague and I were assigned a group of 25 newbies to lead around to various information gathering stations. It was an easy two hours, and it was quite a boon to have a colleague around, since I could have easily gotten us all lost!

The afternoon was a presentation of Makin' It Count. A sort of pep rally for high school--it introduces the kiddos to the stakes of secondary ed (i.e., post-secondary ed). So, come on, kids, do your best from the very first day, and all your dreams will come true! You know, that kind of stuff.

Today was the real deal, albeit an hour shorter than normal. All week classes dismiss an hour early. It makes sense--saves everyone from having to change up their schedules when the inevitable early dismissal due to heat is announced. My American Lit classes will be good, I think. Most of the kids seem good, and the ones that might be trouble are the good kind of trouble. My sophomores, on the other hand...they might be just plain hard.

I'll be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to them very much, and one day is no certain reflection on the future, AND, really, they weren't that bad. But, I was just unprepared for what I was to find. They are so different from juniors, it's amazing. They didn't smell like I thought they would, but they still have a great deal of freshman squirrelly in them. It is clear that I will have to manage like I have never managed before. It will be good for me--but that doesn't mean I'm gonna like it.

All in all, a good start to the week. I am starting to figure things out here. We'll see how things shape up. I just need to find me a couple of drinking partners!

On a side note, we had us a hell of a storm here yesterday. Lost power for about three hours (7-10). I sat in the dark listening to my headphones the whole time. It was a pretty relaxing way to spend my last night before seeing the kiddos. It kept my anxiety down, perhaps.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Being a Discussion of Baby Birds, Order Statuses, and Things Left Undone

Open house went well enough. It was poorly attended by my students, with a total sign in of five students and three parents for three blocks. It seems that open house here is mainly for your garden variety freshman (should I say "freshperson"?). Maybe we should call them "hatchlings." Thus making the sophomores "fledglings," the juniors "juveniles," and the seniors "hawks." Such a suggestion, however, goes to the heart, perhaps of school culture and should probably be discussed by some sort of institutional committee or such. Let me take a preemptive moment to refuse the nomination as chairman of said committee, thank you.

The fuel tank assembly is on its way! I never received a reply to my email to customer service, but, after sending it, I noticed the status of my order changed to: BACK ORDERED, a status tagged with the note: "We don't know when you are going to get this, man." Today, the status is listed as: SHIPPED, and is again stating that I shall receive my parts in 4-7 business days (or was that 47 business days?). It looks like the edges will be ragged at Monkey House Nebraska for at least another week.

I still have a bit to do to prepare for Tuesday. I will most likely spend some time at school this weekend. I feel like I did not work very effeciently this week (smarter, not harder!), but, I got enough done to feel like I am in a position to be as ready as I can be when the curtain goes up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Slower Side of Sears

I have recently had some mail order issues with a few companies. Some clothing I ordered from a small record co. never arrived. It was on back order last time I checked, and the guy who runs the place gave me my money back! I had some issues with an order from a large electronics box store, but that got resolved, and I got the shipping charge refunded. I goofed up my own order from a big box book store and sent the shipment to my old address in MO. That got returned, and I got my money back for that one, too.

My most recent online debacle involves a department store whose name may or may not appear in the title of this entry. I ordered a fuel tank assembly kit for my gas trimmer. That was officially fifteen days ago. My order status tells me that my order should ship in 4-7 business days. It has said that since July 31. I think it has been at least 10 business days. I emailed the customer service folks on Monday night, but I have yet to hear from them.

In the meantime, my trimmer is in pieces in the garage, and the weeds are busting out all over, what with the deadly combo of hothothot, humidhumidhumid, sunnysunnysunny, and afternoon gully washers.

Had a productive day at school, today. Some more district mandated meetings tomorrow, along with open house from 7-8:30 tomorrow night. Monday is the first day for freshman (of which I have none), and Tuesday brings the school year into full effect.

I've been pretty weak on the show-going front. The Monkey 'rents' visit coincided with Centro-matic's show at Knickerbockers (along with a monster headache on Friday afternoon), so I missed that. I am skipping Gillian Welch, too. Okkervil River plays Omaha on 9/14. I'll represent, then, I promise.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fiscal Responsibility

Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a coal miner's pay
Mama scrubbed our clothes on a washboard every day
I've seen her fingers bleed
To complain there was no need
She'd smile in Mama's understanding way
--Loretta Lynn, "Coal Miner's Daughter"

Maintaining and operating a school district is an endeavor that calls on a vast array of resources. Manpower, electricity, water, natural gas; infrastructure like water and sewer pipes, roads, and bridges; paper, steel, and brick; machines and mortar; iron and fire; the steam-driven ingenuity of American manufacturing and agriculture.... I'm sorry, I got a little carried away. Carried, perhaps, all the way back to the heyday of American industry. But, I have returned. With a point. That point is that it takes a great deal of money to run a school district. Budgets even in modest districts are often in the hundreds of millions.

The modern school district, inundated as it is with educational program demands (new football stadiums, new volleyball shorts), special interest group demands (student vending needs, trophy case cleaning), and other, unfunded, state- and federally-mandated programs (No Child Without a Milkshake, Pepsi-based Education), must do everything in its power to save funds wherever possible. With that end in mind, my new district has a print shop located on the premises of the district office. They prefer that 70% of all copying in the district be done at the district office. It apparently saves a boatload of money.

Each department is budgeted so much money. Each department member has to enter his/her department number into any copier or print order. Each department is charged accordingly. It really makes a great deal of sense, from a budgetary point of view.

But, I need to get used to this system. I am used to showing up at school at 6am, going down to the workroom, and printing 100 copies of an assignment for the day. Now, I have to have it ready the day before (can you believe it?). If I send it off (electronically) to the district office by 3:15pm, it will arrive at my school before class the next morning. Rumor has it that it works flawlessly.

We'll see.

(Author's Note: None of the expenditures mentioned in paragraph two are actually known to be a part of any school district I may be a part of's actual budget.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's Just Nice to Be Asked

A newly discovered major difference between my old school system and my new school system: Today, our first day of contract time, we were given a form, basically asking us if we wished to make ourselves available to cover class periods that teachers were not present for and subs could not be found for. It happens often in public schools. A teacher has to call in sick to tend his/her sick child. It is close to the time for first bell to ring; no subs can be found. The periods are covered by a rotating crew of teachers on their planning period. But, where I came from, nobody asked if we were willing to do it, they just called us up in the morning (or during class) and told us we had to cover on our conference hour. It sucked. And we did not get paid for it. (Really, we were taking it the hard way--that has to stop.) Here, they PAY us for the hour (of course, in a block situation, here, we get paid for TWO hours). I opted out this year. I am going to need all of my planning time, as far as I can tell. But, next year? Hell, I just might volunteer for every period I can.

Copying is different here, too. We're much more accountable (on a department level). If you all can contain yourselves, maybe I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. And somewhere, I'll find time to tell you about the Monkey 'rents.

Comoprozac: thanks for the shout out.

T-minus seven days and counting. I am overwhelmed, under-prepared, calm on the outside, and freaking out on the inside.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Inauspicious Beginnings

Nobody understood a word that he said,
but we had fun filling out the forms
and playing with the pencils on the bench there
--Arlo Guthrie, "Alice's Restaurant"

It's been a week of meetings and lunches and filling out forms. In many ways not much different than the last time I had to attend new teacher meetings, except that when the superintendent (who is apparently a REALLY BAD public speaker) says, "__________ is the best school district," you can insert the name of the old and insert the name of the new. And, when the human resources director says, "_______________ only hires the best, and you are the best," you can do the same thing. One neat difference is that for the new teacher breakfast, the mayor showed up and spoke. I thought that was a nice touch. The he wandered down to City Hall and presided over a council meeting that resulted in a cut to the fire department's budget. Said one city council member (this is a paraphrase from the paper this morning, which I do not have before me), "The fire department has really become just a glorified ambulance corps that puts out fires every once in a while." I hope he remembers that should the once in a while become that one time when HIS house caught on fire. Dumb ass.

Anyway, after our breakfast meeting of bad speeches and platitudes (with a few good ones thrown in--speeches, that is--all platitudes are bad ), we headed to a local middle school for some instruction from a videotape of Harry K. Wong giving us the lowdown on how to have successful first days of schools. I tried to remain positive and pay attention, but it was old news to me. I did my best to be engaged.

Then it was off to lunch, so the local education association could shill for themselves and the Horace Mann insurance group. Thanks for the Blimpie boxed lunch. I know you care about me, local education association, but I was going to join you anyway, so can I leave? No, of course not. Anyway, I signed up and they gave me two pencils and a five dollar bill. High point of the day--truly.

After lunch, an intro to PLCs (professional learning communities). This was rushed through, and redundant (since we did these at the old school), but this district really seems to understand that they are still figuring these things out (each step--including what data to focus on (by the way, I have only heard the word data ONE TIME so far this week)), and they seem to have a better focus on the goals and purpose of the PLCs (unlike my old district).

End of day one. Home, tired and frustrated, with forty pounds of forms, handbooks, power point printouts, and brochures in my pack. And I didn't even mention the previous day's demoralizing two hour meeting in which I filled out my tax forms, gave up some ID and a cancelled check for direct deposit and was told I would not get paid until 9/31 (what--that's two months between my last check from my old district and my first check from my new district!) and I would not be insured until 10/1 (huh?!). So, I filled out a cash advance form, and I have to get some other form from my soon to be ex-insurance company to send to my new company so I can get coverage on 9/1. I love it when things are easy for the consumer.

Today was better. I had a curriculum meeting for English 10, and I worked in my school for the afternoon. And I'm getting paid at a daily rate for these non-contract days. But, having eight days of meeting and such before the first day of school is tough. I've done it before, but I feel like much of this is remedial for me. And, there are two more sessions (8am-4pm) tomorrow. I'd rather be home or at school figuring out what I am going to teach in 11 days. Again, some of it is useful, but, I get easily frustrated when the material is review or I feel like the presentation is disorganized or pointless (which many of them are). And, yes, I know, that this is just how my kids feel. Were I being presented with a host of clever people on a daily basis, I might think they did this stuff on purpose, to give us a sense of our kiddos' potential frustration, but I doubt it.

Monkey's parents come in tomorrow morning. They are here until Monday afternoon. I'll get back to you when I can.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Manifest Destiny Manifests Frank's Bohemian Smokehouse

Okay, let's get the results of last night's meeting out of the way: good people, had fun, I like them.

Now, today, instead of playing basketball, I convinced Monkey that we should have an adventure. So, we loaded some food and beverages into the Penguin, cracked open the Nebraska atlas, and headed to Homestead National Monument, just west of Beatrice (that's pronounced with the emphasis on the "[ae]"). It was pretty amazing. The site of the park is right on the homestead claim of Daniel Freeman, the commonly accepted "first homesteader." The park's HQ does a great job of explaining the Homestead Act, the trials and tribulations of the homesteaders, and the effects of the Homestead Act and the Dawes Act on the Indian population. Interesting to me: the last homestead claim was made in 1976 (an 80 acre plat in Alaska).

We visited a homestead that was originally built on a claim 14 miles from the park and moved for display purposes. A log cabin with a dirt floor, about 20 by 20, containing a table and two chairs, a bed, a small stove, and a pie safe. It would have been tough living in their all winter, I'll tell you, but for the time and place, it was probably above standard.

After leaving the Homestead Monument, we traveled north and then west to experience the legacy of the homesteaders in the small town of Wilber (pop. 1200). Wilber is the Czech Capital of Nebraska (and the nation), and this weekend was the annual Wilber Czech Festival. Honestly, the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival might be larger and offer more in the way of canned/preserved food (i.e., apple butter and jellies), pies, and painted gourds, but Wilber's got the rye bread, kolache, and sausage market cornered. All in all an interesting experience. Especially if you like polka music (which I do).

So, a true Nebraska adventure for today. Again, the batteries in the camera are dead, so no pictures. But, compared to the hardships that the settlers of the vast lands of America had to endure, a dearth of photographic (or digital) images is something we can all bear.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I See New People

Some of you may not know this, but I am a relatively shy individual. My background in theater notwithstanding; aside from the fact that I speak to a hundred plus semi-adult humans everyday; ignore for a moment the mere possibility (almost certainty I would bet, judging from this blog's traffic) that I know, and thus have met and gotten to know, you. I really don't get very excited about the prospect of meeting new people, making small talk, finding similarities in our likes and dislikes, getting to know them (UGH!). Monkey, on the other hand, just loves meeting people. She is genuinely curious about them. She asks questions, she makes conversation. It's something she likes to do. Me? Not so much.

Now, I know that without meeting and getting to know people, I would have not gotten the opportunity to know and love any of you fine folks (except for any of you that I may not actually know, but again, someone like that actually reading this--chances are minuscule). I know that without human interaction, life is simply not that exciting for any length of time. I know that every day, I interact with people and, more often than not, I enjoy it.

I remember the first time I met a good friend of mine (who shall remain nameless--even pseudonym-less--a first). Monkey dragged me out of the house to meet he/she and his/her partner (look how clever I am being). I was really not looking forward to it. I hemmed. I hawed. I sat there after we arrived, and I did my best to join in on the conversation. I tried to be interested. I tried to give and take in the flow of the evening. Ultimately, the evening ended, and as we drove home, it was clear that we would spend time with that couple again. Was I jazzed about that? Well, not completely, but, I figured it would eventually be okay. And it was. Relatively painless in the end, too.

So, why this dread? I don't know. It probably goes all the way back to school days. I hated the first day of school (I find myself still getting a bit anxious about it, even as a teacher). It was always hard for me to make new friends. So, I just kind of hung around the fringes until someone came over to me. Which they always eventually did. But I never have been one to rush headlong into a new acquaintance. Go figure.

Why all this psycho-babble? Monkey has invited some new people over for dinner. I know nothing about them. Never met them before. I am reticent. Not looking forward to it. I'll do my best, and it may turn out that they are great people, but going through the door is just the hardest part for me.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. Many worse things could be heading my way (and most likely are in the future--it's just the odds), but, this is what's on my table right now, and I don't really love the way it smells. It's like Brussels sprouts. However, like the good boy that I try to be, I will close my eyes, hold my nose, and clear my plate. In the end, I just may find that I like Brussels sprouts.

Friday, August 03, 2007

All Your Question Answered (This is Not a Typo)

It's been a while since I mentioned anything that I was reading. I know most of you are probably not happy about that. There are only a few burning questions on everyone's mind this summer; one of them is: "What did Lindsey get arrested for this time?" Another is: "Can Nicole Richie's fetus handle four days in jail?" A third is: "Will Hillary's cleavage help or hinder her bid for the presidency?" Perhaps another is: "Whoopi?" But, certainly, the single most important question not involving more important things is: "What's that boy been reading?"

The attempt to read Atlas Shrugged failed. I slogged through 750 pages. I had 450 to go. I just couldn't do it. Honestly, folks, there are some really interesting story lines in this novel, but they are buried under so much didactic preachy crap that it is a crying pain to get through. I mean, for the most part, this book is BAD. Really, really, really BAD. I couldn't take it any more, as intrigued as I was by the main character and the interesting/mysterious plot lines.

I abandoned that, and was so cloudy headed because of the didactic mist in which Rand had enveloped me, that I read nearly an entire collection of Brady Udall's short stories before I realized I had read them in 2003. I then switched to David Mitchell's first novel Ghostwritten. It is very much like his third (great) novel Cloud Atlas, the virtues of which I have related before. The stories that make up the novel are interconnected in clever and clear ways, the settings span the globe (from Ireland to Ulan Bator), and the ultimate theme is never truly clear (at least, I hope, until the novel is complete). I have a pretty slowly developing idea of the theme, but, I am reserving judgement ("a matter of infinite hope," says Nick Carraway).

In the moments when I am not reading Mitchell's book, I am engaged with a biography of Dawn Powell, entitled, appropriately enough, Dawn Powell: A Biography. Powell was a phenomenal writer who enjoyed some success in the middle part of the 20th century, but fell out of favor in the 60s. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Gore Vidal, her work resurfaced in the late 80s, and this biography, by Tim Page, was published in 1998. It's pretty good. Relatively insightful, but a little gushy in places. I've loved Powell since I found one of her books in a book store in Tacoma Park, MD, in the early 90s. I was attracted, as I often am, to the cover art, a blue and yellow filtered photo of a New York street, circa 1950 (and the fact that the book was on the discount rack). The book, The Wicked Pavillion, was a great read, and I have since read two other of her approximately ten available novels.

Along with a ton of short stories for the upcoming school year, I have been reading quite a bit (but I don't really feel like I have).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Doing JUST What They Want Me To Do--Duh'Oh!

I know, you are not used to dealing with two posts in one day. I rarely do it. But, I was reading the paper this morning and came upon a mention of this website. Here, thanks to the mere generosity of Burger King (it's not an ad or anything), you can upload a picture of yourself and have it Simpsonize you. Just like Weird Al Yankovic (or the host of others they have drawn over the years (Oscar de la Hoya, Baha Men)).

Truly, Burger King is hoping folks will amuse themselves at this website and then pass it on to others, thereby creating a word-of-mouth advert for the restaurants and the movie the likes of which this country has not seen since the AquaTeen Hunger Force Boston Debacle of 2006.

This is me as I might appear on an episode of the show (note the branding):

The Doldrums?

August always seems like the slack-sailed part of the year's journey. It's hot. It's still. There are no observances. The end of summer is nigh. You can almost hear the boards creaking, as the furled sails hang limply from the masts, the rigging dry and dusty. The crew lies on the deck, thirsty, hot, tired. The ship drifts with the current. In the water below, there is nothing. No dolphin, no whale, no shark. Just a flat copper looking glass is the sea, sparkling with unrelenting sun. You are firmly in the Doldrums.

Yep. That's August.

On the other hand, in less than a week, I will be engaging in the stimulating intellectual exercises known as "New Teacher Orientation" and "Faculty Workdays and On-Site Planning." Doesn't that sound great?! From the 7th until school begins on the 20th, that is how I will spend most of my days. That is how I will navigate through the Doldrums; ultimately feeling the warm breeze of September on my dry, cracked lips. In anticipation I will unfurl my sails, hoping to catch the most virgin of winds, which will carry me off to my South Pacific paradise--but, first I must navigate the treacherous waters of Cape Hope.

We do not despair. With a trusty first mate and a good cabin dog, the journey will be one of adventure, obstacles, and, ultimately, triumph. With a few cold adult beverages served in a frosty coconut shell at the end.

At least, one can hope.