Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Me Grow Mustache - Week 4 - Final entry




Yep, that's all folks. No more mustache for mr.hustle. After four weeks, this is all I could muster. I hated pretty much every second of it. I caught myself doing this thing where I would dip my upper lip into my mouth and get whatever liquid was left from a beverage after sipping or as just a random act that was to acknowledge the fact that I had a weird growth on my upper lip every now and again and even now as I write this I find myself doing it once in a while even though there is no hair there. gross. but I find myself missing the mustache for some reason. I mean, it didn't really look good, but it was a part of me for a whole month. it's kind of like when amputees say their leg hurts even though it was cut off. not at all like that actually, but kind of a little bit maybe. either way, i no longer harbor hair on my upper lip and it feels fucking great. thank you to everyone who showed their support in one way or another. due to your kindness, I was able to raise $1071.21 for prostate cancer and testicular cancer research! I think that is pretty amazing as the majority of my friends who helped me out in this have entry level or second tier jobs that don't provide them with enough cash to be frivolous yet you found it in your hearts to help out. it meant and still means a lot. maybe some of you will join me next MOvember and together we can raise even more money and awareness.

oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we took our family christmas card picture on Thanksgiving while I still had the mustache, so everyone my mom sends it to, which is nearly 250 people, will see this:
my mom has been describing the mustache as a "worm on my upper lip" and she says that when the photo is shrunken down to 4x6, you can't see him. thanks mom.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Me Grow Mustache - Week 3



Yep, you guessed it, by this picture I think you can tell how fucking ready I am for this hair to be off of my face. More people are noticing it and commenting, which is kind of good because that means it IS visible, however, it also means complete strangers are noticing it and making assumptions about who I am and what I am about. Let's face it: Mustaches are kinda shady. Not the kind of shady where you cross the street when you see one headed your way but the kind of shady where you wouldn't leave your girlfriend at the bar next to one for fear of unwanted awkwardness. Please, scroll down to Week 1 and donate to my cause. I need it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Me Grow Mustache - Week 2




I will be the first to admit that my mustache fucking sucks. It is light, uneven, and not growing very fast. at all. however, I have the best friends and family in the world because they have been donating to my pathetic mustache. I have 12 days left and it looks like I haven't shaved in 3 days. I am waiting for my late bloomer facial hair growth spurt, but it ain't coming. I am debating about whether or not I should keep growing it until it reaches a size and shape that I envisioned when taking on this task. I will probably just shave it as soon as I possibly can though. We, as in myself and the other 15 teachers (all of whom have bigger, better mustaches at this point) will be taking a group photo of our accomplishments on December 1st at school. I can't wait for this shit to be over. If anything changes (i.e. sudden spurt of facial hair growth that renders me Selleck-esque), I will be posting immediately on this site, so check back hourly for updates.


The first picture I took was going to be the standard pose for my updates, however I received quite a bit of feedback saying I looked like I was fresh out of the pen (amongst other, more inappropriate responses), so I am trying new poses. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for further poses.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Me Grow Mustache - Week 1



Well, to those of you who are unaware, I am currently participating in what is known as MOvember. For the month of November, I along with a team consisting of other teachers at my school, are growing mustaches for the sake of raising money and awareness for prostate cancer research. yes, you heard correctly. by me growing a mustache, you will donate money to help research prostate cancer. and it's working. but not enough. I need you to donate to me or my team and I need you to tell everyone you know to donate as prostate cancer affects 1 in 6 men in their lifetime. last year, 29,000 men lost their lives to prostate cancer. this is no joke. below you will find the necessary information for donating. I will be updating this with pictures of my mustache for your enjoyment. (please forgive the fact that I have the facial hair growth of a 12 year old)

To donate to my Mo you can either:

Click this link https://www.movember.com/us/donate and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
or
Write a check payable to the 'Prostate Cancer Foundation', referencing my Registration Number 1351786 and mailing it to:

Prostate Cancer Foundation
Attn: Movember
1250 Fourth St
Santa Monica, CA, 90401

All donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

And the winner is...

The Abominable Snowman!!! That's right faithful readers, the winner of the most attractive man contest between the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot, Chupacabra, and Ryan Silberman was completed yesterday in a 5-0-0-3 victory in favor of the Abominable Snowman. Bigfoot was reportedly crying in his cave in the woods and the Chupacabra continued drooling the blood of goats and small children it has been eating for centuries while Ryan simply said, "Duh. I knew I was going to lose as soon as I saw the Abominable Snowman listed because he's one handsome fella." That was almost as good as McCain's concession speech last night. Tune in every day as I might actually update this blog again.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Eyewear Trends*

I wear glasses. Every day, all day. Why? Because I have to. Now I have noticed over past year or so that more and more people are wearing glasses. Are our eyes getting worse? Are people opting out of contacts for the glasses? No and no. What we have now is an epidemic being spread amongst the masses perpetrated by hipster scum where people purchase glasses that have no prescription in them. Yes, you heard me right. NO PRESCRIPTION. Now, seeing as how I have worn glasses since I was a junior in high school, I can tell you, it's not something I would ever willingly choose to do. They get in the way of a lot of things like when I would like to kiss a lady friend or when I want to wear a pair of regular sunglasses. Now these might seem like little things to most, however, on a regular, day to day basis, these things get a bit frustrating. Now you might be thinking to yourself, "Quit whining and get contacts." Yes. I should. But I can't. For some reason, I have the most gorgeous eyelashes in the world. They are long and elegant and graceful and are actually sought after by many. I also have astigmatism which means the actual lenses I need are much larger than regular lenses. So, when my astigmatism-ed contact lenses have tried to meet my eyes through the most beautiful eyelashes in the world, it doesn't work out. I seriously cannot put them in. So I am forced to wear glasses so that I can see. But I digress. This post is in no way meant to make you feel bad about how amazing my eyelashes are.

To the strangers who see me at a bar and say, "Hey, nice glasses. Are they real?", you can take your wayfarers and sit on them, breaking the arm until you can buy a new pair and then do the same thing again. Yes, they're real. Why would I ever want to wear something that is completely unnecessary unless I have bad eyes or need eye protection while shooting a gun? It makes no sense to me. I enjoy snowboarding quite a bit but I am hindered by my glasses. I had to buy a special insert that goes into my goggles that gives me the same prescription as my glasses only to have the piece of plastic fog up and cause me to crash. If I didn't need glasses, I would not wear them. Period. Wearing unprescriptioned glasses is like wearing a helmet while watching television. It makes you look retarded.

I don't even know how to verbalize my disgust for those who unnecessarily wear glasses. Actually, it ios mostly directed towards the men. Women, you wear ridiculous accessories all the time because you are women and that is somewhat acceptable. I am still a bit bothered by the unnecessary glasses, but whatevs. It's the dudes that really bother me.

Men do not wear accessories.

The only "accessory" that is acceptable is a watch, and I don't really consider that an accessory because it serves a purpose of telling time, unless of course you are euro trash and you wear the thick leather banded watch that is way more jewelry than time piece, in which case you need to stop it. now. I can maybe see a small ring or maybe even a necklace, hidden from view, as being close to acceptable (but not quite) but if you are a guy and you are wearing glasses that only serve the purpose of looking cool, then you are no longer a man. You are a whore of the industry and there will one day be a book written about you aptly titled, "Unnecessary Trends: What Really Led to the Downfall of American Society".

I hate you for wearing my pain as your style.




*This post is from another blog I participate in. You can view the original here.

I can't figure out the linking to make it larger...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Theme for English B

by Langston Hughes


The instructor said,

Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you--
Then, it will be true.

I wonder if it's that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It's not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me--we two--you, me, talk on this page.
(I hear New York, too.) Me--who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records--Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn't make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?

Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white--
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That's American.
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that's true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me--
although you're older--and white--
and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to School

Man oh man. I finished the second day of school today after staying in that building for 12 hours. Not how I intended my second day back to be but I guess that's the life I have chosen to lead currently. It's funny. I told myself that I would be more productive during the school day this year so that I could leave no later than 6 pm every day and I made it 2 days. But whatever. I mean, things happen that are beyond my control. I was switched from my cozy outdoor bungalow over the summer into a classroom in the main building so I had to pack all of my stuff up, figure out how to set up my new classroom, and get organized for a new year all in about 3 days, on top of going to workshops and meetings for the staff. Suffice to say, the ones that are really hurting from this awkward transition are the kids. I can handle the long days, the meetings where my female superiors discuss jewelry repair when they should be giving me assignments for the next few weeks, but when I am unable to get my materials for teaching ready in time and I am forced to push ahead while I am ill prepared, those I have chosen to serve are not getting what they deserve. But enough griping. It's a new year and I need to be positive.

I have three classes of 10th grade English. One has 18 students, which is incredible and will be very interesting because the other two have 36 students each (which is what I am used to). Since I began teaching I have been wishing for smaller classes and now that I have one, I don't know what to do. The class is an academy of business and computers where the students go through their core classes as a group for the next 3 years. This is for them to develop stronger relationships with one another, amongst other reasons, and it is really exciting for me to be a part of it. I will teach them as I teach my other English classes, however I will need to develop some more technical reading and writing assignments that will align with the business and computers aspect. I have also come to realize that given their size (half of my other classes) they will complete assignments much faster. I think it should be a good experience for me because I haven't taught too much of the technical writing conventions that I should be and the smaller class will help me develop more of a structure in my overall pedagogy.

I am looking forward to the new year, the new students, the new experiences in and out of the classroom. I will be taking my students on field trips, which is another new experience for me. Of course I will need a little input from other teachers as to what to do and how to handle all of my students on a field trip at the same time. Maybe I can get some of the other academy teachers to give me a hand. Or I can just post on craig's list for volunteer chaperones. Whichever works.

I will NOT allow my job to own me though. I am through with that shit. After the end of my year last year where I was putting in 12-18 hour days I realized why the attrition rate of new teachers is so high. I have been referred to as a "lifer" by a few teachers whom I greatly respect and I would like to think that I am down for life. Fuck it. I am down for life. I just need to better manage my own so I can stay on top of my game, nah mean?

I feel like I can do much better with this post than I just did. I apologize. I will rewrite it once I get some sleep.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Power of Words

I have been slowly developing a unit to teach my students with this title, intending to educate them on just how powerful and strong the words they use in every day language really are. I have been struggling with it though because the ideas I have are somewhat abstract in the sense that I cannot show them the direct impact a word has. I began preparing this one day after I realized how terrible the word "bitch" is. Now I will be the first to admit that I have used this word on many different occasions. I have used it to describe a woman who was rude and frustrating ("That girl is a fucking bitch!"), I have used it when speaking with male friends about their behavior ("Stop being such a little bitch and do it."), and I have used it when talking about how much something sucks("Ain't that a bitch."). Upon further reflection one day, it dawned on me that each use of this word, while used differently, all add to the misogynistic attitude our culture perpetuates towards females. As an educator, part of my job is to ensure that our children grow up understanding the world around them and not just the books they have to read. If I am to pass them on into the higher levels, I am saying that they are maturing and gaining a deeper understanding of what is happening around them. When I think about how often I hear this word being thrown around by boys and girls alike, in and out of the classroom, I fear that I may not be doing my job as I had originally intended. Of course it is foolish for me to think that I can begin to erase this common word from our vocabularies one class at a time, however it bothers me that it is wholly accepted that we use this word without considering the ramifications it holds for the future.

The first question that comes to mind for me is, "What is the male equivalent of a bitch?" Do you have an answer? Because I most certainly do not. I have tried to think of something but really there is nothing you can call a man that would be on the same level as when a woman is called a bitch. Or, for that matter, when you call a man a bitch, it is considered a double insult because not only are you referring to him as a woman, but you are referring to him as the woman whom everybody shares a distaste for.

When a woman is called a bitch by another woman, I feel that there has been some form of female code that has been broken. Maybe some words were said that shouldn't have been, maybe some actions took place that shouldn't have, you get the picture. But when a man calls a woman a bitch, there is so much wrong with it because essentially he is asserting his dominance by using a word that has no male equivalent. In a society where we preach how everyone is equal, using these words make it quite obvious that there is still an inequality, and it is unfortunately one that does not even get recognized due to its abundant usage in every day culture.

Take the music industry for example. When you look at the use of the word bitch in music, usually rap is drawn into the picture. I love rap. I've listened to rap since I can remember. But I also have made a conscious effort to exclude rap that is derogatory towards women, which is no easy task. If you listen to the radio, you'll undoubtedly hear the shitty, commercialized, popular music that throws bitch around with reckless abandon. Women are bitches, objects, to be treated with disrespect. Look at who is buying up all of this music: the children. Starting in middle school now you can hear 12-13 year old boys talking about how many bitches are at a school dance (that starts at 5:00 pm). It is absolutely disgusting. These kids are learning this word and it is becoming ingrained in their minds that is totally acceptable to refer to women in this way. Such is the same with the girls, which is even worse, because they are getting the message at an early age that they ARE objects that CAN be treated with disrespect. And how are they supposed to handle this treatment? Well, if they talk back and tell people to stop they are in turn called a bitch or some other derogatory name. And if they don't, if they sit back and let the words flow through them, they begin to believe that this is the reality and the entire cycle is perpetuated.

Do I have any solutions? Of course I can say stop using the word, but I feel as if it is too far gone at this point to eliminate such a powerful word from our language. What I will do is address this word when it comes up and offer dialog with my students. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. But I feel we, as a society, as a culture, as a people, need to be aware of the impact our language has on us and those coming after us. If we truly want equality, we have to look at the way we speak with each other and what we deem as acceptable speech. We need self awareness. I always refer to the golden rule which I post in my classroom because I truly believe in it. If we treat others with respect, we in turn shall receive it. However direct or indirect it may be, we must be aware of the power within our words.

Voices

It's not every day when you can hear a voice and fall in love with it. I have been so lucky, or unlucky seeing as how my emotion is misdirected towards a voice I will never meet, to have fallen in love with two voices. The first voice is that of Emma Clarke. She is the voice every Londoner knows all too well as they ride the tube around town. Her soft, comforting (yet sensual) voice caresses your ears as you ride along, passing "Kings Cross, St. Pancras" on your way to Camden Town or Edgeware. There were days when I would ride the circle line all the way around from Bayswater to Paddington and just lose myself in her beauty. I would doze off, dreaming of what she looked like. Surely this magical voice was matched by a body just as heavenly. Some days I remember thinking that I would one day find her. I had the same discussion with many other men and we all felt the same way.

When she would say "Mind the Gap" you would feel as if she truly cared for your safety and your safety alone. I never left the tube in a foul mood. I had Emma's voice to keep me comfortable and calm. Of course, I never saw what she looked like, nor did I ever get the chance to meet her. It wasn't until I sat down and started writing this that I even knew her real name. I will forever remember her as the voice of all that is beautiful in life. Thank you Emma.

The other voice I have fallen in love with is that of Cat Power, a female musician that can bring me to my knees after a single note. I rediscovered her a while back after talking to a friend of mine about female voices and how beautiful they can be. He then mentioned Cat Power being one of the most moving shows he has ever seen and I remembered that one day I listened to her and the world stopped. I was swallowed whole by her lyrics and felt as if I was swimming in down feathers, slowly falling and flying. Call it what you will, but that feeling is hard to come by. Only two voices have had that effect on me and I feel blessed. I am sure there are some people who can fall in love with a voice with reckless abandon and leave it just as quickly when a new one enters their ears. And then there are others who will go their whole lives without ever hearing Emma tell them to "Mind the Gap" or get a chance to listen to Cat Power's rendition of "Sea of Love". I don't know what I would do if I didn't have their voices with me.

Writing about these voices also makes me think about the power of a voice in general. There are voices that will draw the rawest forms of emotion from deep within when you least expect it. There have been times when all I want to hear is my mother's voice and when I do, it drops me to the floor. Then there are those times when I hear the voice of a particular person from work or my life and I cringe. I have had moments when I hear a voice and it takes me from a calm and happy place to one of total annoyance and it throws me off guard every time because all I heard was the voice of someone. It wasn't the words, it wasn't the actions, it was just the sound of their voice. When it comes to musicians, I feel like everyone has a song or two that they can listen to to put themselves in any mood they desire. I have my sad songs, my happy songs, my leave-me-the-fuck-alone songs, my I'm-so-in-love-I-can't-breathe songs, and so on. A lot of times it isn't even the lyrics or the music itself, but the sound of the voices and the associations I have between them and my emotion. It's as if my heart sings to in response to the sound of others. While this may sound like the sappiest thoughts, it's what has been filling my mind recently. I don't mean to write as if these are new, original thoughts. I am sure people have had these revelations before, albeit they have probably kept them to themselves as it is pretty self evident that voices of musicians and loved ones can draw out emotions, however it's nice to think about voices that make you happy (or sad or angry or just feel emotions) because I feel like sometimes we don't take the time to enjoy the sound of others. Sometimes I feel as if I focus so much on what is being said and not enough on how it is said. Vocabulary be damned, give me a sweet voice telling me good morning and I will give you gold. Just waking up to the humming or sound of someone you enjoy talking to and there is nothing that compares.

If I could embed audio in this stupid blog I would play you Cat Power, but I don't know how so I won't. Instead, go here.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ryan Silberman is awesome

One of the things I have realized in my tenure as a blogger is that Ryan Silberman, and his wife Emily are awesome. Ryan has the grace of a dancing butterfly floating about, but the stern brashness of a homeless person upset at your donation. His utter calmness in times of extreme emergency and terror are uncanny to anything I have ever seen, he is operating on one heart beat a minute. His intelligence cannot even be described here, although I will try. He can think fast , like a cheetah, he processes information in his head that the super computers in the bowels of Google can only dream of processing. He can perform mathematical functions in his head that the guy that invented the calculator can't even figure out. His strength is that of a Caterpillar giant mining machine that lifts thousands of tons of dirt at once. His politeness is s insane that strangers thank him for things he hasn't even done. His looks are so good that people often faint when he walks by. And most important of all, I worship him, plain and simple. I Charles Brinton worship Ryan Silberman, there I said it. Ryan is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Life Unknown: My experience at Comic Con 2008

My first experience with people dressing up in costumes for an event goes back to the days of the Renaissance Fair where my cousin dressed as the town drunk, got drunk, and ran around drunk off of mead people had prepared. I remember the bewilderment I felt as I walked through this small valley and people were dressed in clothing I had never seen before, speaking in a language unfamiliar to me. It was so intriguing to me that I wanted to be a part of it when I was old enough. Unfortunately for this story, years passed by and so did my interest in the Renaissance Fair. I haven't been in years, nor do I really have the desire to attend it any more. I guess I feel like adults dressing up for a particular theme and really going after their role for no good reason other than to do it is boring and really not my cup of tea.

That being said, if the renaissance fair isn't my cup of tea, Comic Con is my cup of coffee.

I attended this event Friday and Saturday. The friends of mine from college who were there had been there since Wednesday, going around to see as much as they could because they had specific goals for the trip. One of my friends collects vinyl toys, many of which were being sold in limited editions at the event. Upon my arrival, I had no idea what to expect. I had seen a few pictures and heard about how many people show up, but I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.

Day One

We arrived fairly early to get a good start, which was around 10am. As soon as we stepped on the train, I knew we were in for a treat as there were 2 Ghostbusters already on. They had their proton packs on with their name tags on front, ready for any ghosts they might encounter. As the train crept closer to the convention center, more and more people were getting on the train who OBVIOUSLY were going to Comic Con. As far as the train is concerned, there were a lot more men than women dressed up for it, as was expected. I had been told earlier that quite a few women dressed up for this but I was a bit skeptical as all of the girls I knew growing up and still know really never had much interest in comics.

So we arrive at the center and it was packed.


I had never been to the San Diego Convention Center before, so I didn't know what to expect in terms of size. I had been to an activities director conference at the town and country a few years back and thought that was huge. When we went inside I soon realized it paled in comparison. There were literally blocks set up with giant signs indicating where you were. The blocks ranged from 100 all the way up to 5000. There were huge booths set up for the big vendors like Marvel Comics and Disney. Lego had a big area, as did some of the network TV stations. There was a Dharma Initiative station for those who are addicted to Lost, there was a booth for shows like The Office and 30 Rock, and there were a ton of random movie stars, musicians and athletes there as well.

As we wandered around the convention, I noticed many things. Obviously, there were a ton of people in costume. There were singles, couples, and families wandering around dressed as their favorite cartoon, comic, or movie character. The most popular costumes were Batman and Robin, the newest Joker, and a bunch of anime characters whom I had no idea who they were. There were also a ton of Star Wars characters, which were my favorite. Here are a few of the pics:


Mr. Hustle has a posse


The pictures above were the norm for the convention. While the plain clothed outnumbered the costumed, there were so many people in some form of costume that I sometimes was unable to tell if someone was wearing a costume or not, but that soon became irrelevant as I suddenly found myself at ease with all of these costumed fans. I will post a link to my flickr page where you can view the photos in their entirety at the end of this post.

As you will see in the photos, there was quite a large amount of teenagers in attendance. "Of course Mr. Hustle", you might say, "it's a comic book convention." Yes yes, I know that teenagers love comics. What I mention it for though is not my amazement at their attendance, but more of the choices they made while they were there. I was disturbed by the volume of signs I saw these teenagers holding that read, "FREE HUGS" or "Hug meter low, in need of affection". It was odd to see kids, much like those I teach, asking complete strangers for hugs. Or hoping that they would be asked for a hug. For a minute, amidst the drugs and the bright lights and costumes, I thought I was at a rave. I remembered those sweet days and nights of ecstasy and mushrooms and grass and loud music and candy ravers hugging you until you felt your heart would explode from all the fucking love surrounding you. At those parties teenagers hugging complete strangers was somehow okay because you were high and nobody gave a fuck and it was all about love and feeling each others' auras (but mostly getting fucked up). Now though, as I walk around this convention center, surrounded by the oddest folks I've ever been surrounded by (aside from my recent venture into Alaska), it didn't feel right to have these children asking for hugs from strangers. Am I wrong for letting this disturb me? I mean, a hug is what you make of it, but if I had a teenage daughter or son and they were giving out free hugs to complete strangers I would be a little bothered. Maybe that's my conservative side, but it was weird. Here's a few shots:




While in San Diego, I also learned about a few things that may or may not be of some interest to you. The first is pretty basic and it is referred to as "cosplay". Apparently, cosplay is short for costume play, where you dress up as a character and act like them. Hence the storm and scout troopers constantly talking about finding "those pesky droids". Maybe this is old news to anybody reading this, but I had never heard of cosplay. The closest I had heard was some weird sexual thing called plushies where people put on huge furry costumes and hump each other. HBO had some weird special on it and I got kinda freaked out so now I avoid all furry costumed people.

Another term I learned about, which I was able to witness on one occasion, was "LARPing". LARPing stands for "Live Action Role Playing". This is where people are dressed up in the costumes and there is a story teller who essentially tells them what to do and how to do it. Like, if there are two people dressed up as knights, and they are fighting each other, the storyteller would say something like, "The black knight struck down the green knight and took 5 energy clouds away from him. You must fall down." And then, the green knight would get hit hard by the black knight and fall down, moaning. Or something. I don't really know. But there were groups of people dressed as special forces soldiers with really real looking guns running around using hand signals and shit and it was kind of freaking me out until my friend Jim explained what they were doing. That being said, LARPing still freaks me out. It's like a super duty Dungeons and Dragons for adults.

At the end of the first day something rather odd happened, which I will retell in a different post.



DAY TWO

Day two was much more mellow. We walked around for a while and I took a ton more photos. I also spent a lot of money on random little things because I have some weird obsession with collecting crap that serves no real purpose. I did however get some pretty cool posters that are giant, basic, comic strips. They will look nice once they're framed in my house.

At the end of the day, we went to the masquerade. The masquerade was incredible. Only people who made their own costumes were allowed to enter. We showed up late and left early, mostly because we were in the back row and it wasn't that great. However, by some divine act, we witnessed the majority of the winning costumes parade across the stage. Here is a short clip of the costume that won the masquerade.

I would post the video, but I have no idea how.

All in all, the Comic Con experience was fun and like nothing else I have ever experienced. If any of what I have written is appealing to you or anybody that you know, please do not hesitate to check it out next year. San Diego is a fun town and the Comic Con experience is insane. In order to get a better understanding of what I am talking about, you have check out the link to my flickr page and view the Comic Con set.


I hope you enjoy this.

Hawk and Dove: The Ambiguously Gay Duo

Monday, July 28, 2008

Email Subject

I was just thinking about what I title my emails to friends. Sometimes they are clever and creative, but looking through my outbox I have realized that the majority of my emails to friends have been titled "Hey" or "Hi". Now, emails in and of themselves are pretty impersonal. I mean, when I was growing up, handwritten letters were awesome. Girls would decorate them and put shit in the envelopes so when you'd open them glitter and stuff would fall out and while that seems annoying, it was the best feeling because it meant that someone had spent time thinking about you, writing you a letter, and thought it would be a nice surprise for you when you opened it. Unfortunately, those days seem to be gone.

But in terms of email subjects, "hey" and "what's up" are so boring and I feel like such a loser when I do it but how does one really come up with a clever title? I mean, with email, do people really think about what the title says or do they read the name of who is sending it and just open it without giving any thought to the subject that someone may have spent a considerable amount of time developing? I have written short stories and attempted (quite unsuccessfully) to write a short novel and when pressed with creating the titles have had a very tough time. I mean, when it comes down to a book or story, the title can make or break you. Is this the case with an email? I mean, I will read anything that is written to me (or to someone else) no matter what the title, but I am definitely more apt to read with enthusiasm when there is a clever title. Like when you read Flannery O'Connor's "Everything That Rises Must Converge" you want to know what is going to rise, what will converge. At least that's what I think about when I read that title. (read it here)

But in terms of email, how does one create a clever title? do you write the first half of an obscure sentence and then complete it as the first line in your email? Do you pose a question? Do you develop a catchy rhyme? I am really at a loss because I find myself constantly struggling to come up with some better way of personalizing an impersonal message, yet always end up with "hey". Here's an idea I would like to see come to fruition: Let's stop emailing each other for a whole month and instead write letters. Now, for obvious reasons, this isn't totally possible because you have to use email now in order to get things done in a timely fashion. But what about those hey letters? I mean, think about the last time you received a handwritten letter in the mail and how good it made you feel? Fuck, forget the letter itself, just receiving an envelope with your name handwritten on it is good enough. Mixed in amongst the bills and solicitations and crappy oriental trading co. and j.crew catalogs. Maybe we should write emails, print them out, and mail them in a hand addressed envelope since writing actual letters takes so long. Then we get to utilize technology AND know that someone is smiling when they get the mail. I actually don't like that idea at all, but it seems as if all people want to do these days to communicate with each other is through email and text messages, which drive me in-fucking-sane. If you're going to say something to me, call me. Don't send me some obscure text saying maybe we should hang out and then not call but get mad at me for not calling (you know who you are).

All of this aside, I think there needs to be more thought put into email titles. that's all. Let's personalize the impersonal.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Any Plans This Weekend?




Oh yeah. That's right. I am going to Comic Con in San Diego, the world's largest comic book convention. I fly down this evening at 6 and don't return until Sunday evening. It is shaping up to be one of the most interesting weekends of my life. I am going to be staying with my friends who I haven't gotten to see for a long time, some as long as 6 years. Needless to say, I am a bit excited.

Now, I used to read comic books all the time. I actually had a cool little collection of a few fairly significant comic books that I was really proud of. My friends Nelson and Jordan got me into collecting them and we would go to the store together and buy a bunch of books, go read them, and trade. Then we'd talk about them too. It was kind of like a 5th grade book club without the pretense of academia as all book clubs I have participated in as an adult end up. I had The Maxx number 0, as well as a plethora of X-Men. Now if I read a comic it is usually in the newspaper. Boo,I know. I am reverting back to my old ways though this weekend and will be getting crazy with the comics. Yeah. I just said getting crazy with the comics. I am a geek. And that's fine if you think so.

The one thing I am not looking forward to about this weekend is the running I am going to have t do while I am down there. In preparation for this half marathin I am running, I have to run on a regular basis and some days run for a long time. Of course my 8-10 mile run coincides with Comic Con and Party weekend with some of my best friends, so I get to wake up early on Saturday after an evening I can only assume will be filled with way too much debauchery for one person to handle, and run for 8 miles. Right now I am running like a 10 minute mile, so if I want to get the most out of Saturday, I am going to have to get up around 7:30 and run. In the San Diego heat no less. I am sure it isn't too bad, however I live in San Francisco and I run in the fog. When the sun comes out I like to hide in the shade.

Either way, Comic Con is gonna rock and the marathon is a week away and I am a little freaked out by my attendance at both events.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Restaurant

I love food. Really. Ever since I can remember I have loved making food, watching others make food, eating food, watching others eat food, etc. I love going to restaurants and seeing the different ideas that chefs come up with and how they present their dishes. I love going to restaurants and enjoying a good meal with friends because there is nothing like a full stomach in good company. I am sure most would agree with me when I say that food is our common ground, a universal experience(I wish that I could take credit for coming up with that own my own, but it was said by James Beard, quite possibly the foodiest dude America has ever seen).

I have thought long and hard about my favorite types of food, my favorite dishes, my favorite beverages to accompany these dishes, and what each dish really does for the palate. Many people who know me, most likely the only people who read this blog, know that I have a love for bacon. I mean, I am a guy, and if you are a guy and you eat meat but you don't like bacon there is something seriously wrong with you. That is, of course, unless you don't eat it for religious purposes.

I know that bacon isn't the healthiest of choices when it comes to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but the proper serving every now and again can do wonders for your taste buds.

It is with this love for bacon and food that I have come up with an idea for a restaurant that I would like to one day open. It's name will be Tocino. Tocino is Spanish for bacon. I came up with the idea for the name just the other day while I was driving around the city thinking about food. This is something I do on occasion for no real reason. I don;t go out in search of a place to eat, instead I go out and just look at the restaurants that are out there. I don;t look at menus, I don't pop my head in for a drink. I just drive around, taking it all in, thinking about where I would like to go and why they chose to decorate with a bright green awning when it is surrounded by darker shades of red and brown.

The restaurant will obviously have bacon in many of the dishes. Not in every one, because that would be a bit ridiculous, but there would be many dishes. The following are a few ideas I have for dishes, in rough form:

First Course

Bacon wrapped scallops

Wild duck breast (preferably mallard that I have shot) wrapped in bacon with a slice of fresh jalapeƱo tucked inside

Mini BLT sandwiches using fresh baked sourdough, heirloom tomatoes, and Arugula leaves

Polenta with coarsely chopped bacon and basil

Bacon and Egg Empanadas

Bacon and Green Chili Quiche

BBB Salad (Bacon, Beets, and Bibb lettuce)

Spinach Salad with Bacon vinaigrette



Main Course

Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger

Bacon wrapped Meatloaf

Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta

Pan Fried Halibut with Bacon



Sides

Mac and Cheese with Bacon sprinkles
Jalapeno Cornbread
Bacon and Cheddar Biscuits
Creamed Spinach
Potatoes with truffle oil


Dessert



Chocolate dipped bacon

Bacon infused ice cream

Bread Pudding



Any dish can be ordered wrapped in bacon

Now obviously this is a very rough start with a very rough menu. To be honest, I don't think much of what I have just listed would actually make the final cut (no pun intended) for the menu because I would most definitely hire a chef who shares my love of bacon. I would do my best to prepare the meals, but I am sure if I wanted to keep a restaurant afloat such as Tocino I would have to appeal to quite a few different palates. I know my palate, and I know the palates of most of my friends, but the general public is completely foreign to me. I have read reviews of restaurants I love where people just smash them and I have read reviews of restaurants I have hated where people can't stop glowing.

While right now this is just an idea, a dream, who knows. Maybe I will receive enough encouragement and win the lottery at some point in the next 5 years and do something about this. If not, I will still continue to eat meals with bacon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

French Press



So I just purchased this delightful toy yesterday and am already at the point where the experiments to discover the perfect cup are through. Upon purchase, I immediately drove home and began the process of grinding to different textures and tasting each one. This morning I drank two presses full because I could not stop myself. I could not stop drinking this delicious coffee. I am actually fairly certain that my days of drip are done. So much flavor is delivered with each sip it makes my taste buds dance. That might also be due to the amazingly delicious and magical coffee beans I am currently infatuated with (see my yelp review), purchased at nowhere other than the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. The combination of a french press and Giant Steps beans has made for the thickest, most perfectly black cup of joe that I cannot stop. Yes, I am an amateur when it comes to handling my coffee. If I have more than 2 cups in a row I am going to get a little excited. I might even break into a little dance to whatever music is on. Hell, I might even start rapping about the cup I just enjoyed and how I should probably just sit down and chill out, but you know what? I won't.




As for the company that makes this beacon of brilliance, they are international. Bodum makes a ton of different kitchen necessities such as coffee presses and glassware, among many other items of which I can only dream are as useful and beautiful as the products I already possess of theirs. My first foray into the world of Bodum was with these glasses that have a space between the liquid and the outer shell in which you grasp the glass. This works incredibly well for keeping iced drinks, such as the scotch I enjoy from time to time, incredibly cold. I have yet to experiment with warmer beverages, but I would assume it can have the same effect and keep your hand at a comfortable temperature. Very convenient. They also look good.




You can check out Bodum by clicking on the name and you can check out Blue Bottle by clicking on their name. Enjoi.

Summer Vacation (with a bonus story!)

I love teaching. And summer vacation really has nothing to do with it. Well, I guess I could say that it has a little bit to do with it. This is now my third official summer vacation while employed as a teacher and I must say it has been the best yet. I have gone fishing, been in weddings, I am training to run a half marathon, and I am getting to meet all kinds of new and interesting people. I was talking about it with my mom the other day and I had just finished telling her about how I am flying down to San Diego this weekend to check out Comic Con. Comic Con is the world's largest comic book convention and I get to check it out. I will most definitely be posting some photos and writing about that later on as it should be quite the experience. I am going with a few friends of mine from college, some of whom I haven't seen in 3+ years. Don't get me wrong though. I haven't picked up a comic book since I was about 12. I am now kind of drifting into the realm of collecting hard to find vinyl toys, such as limited edition Maxx dolls and acquiring the entire collection of fat caps from Kid Robot. I am not sure where this mild obsession comes from, but I clearly remember where it began.



In 2001, I studied abroad in London. I took a Media Studies course at City University, mostly because it was the only non-business course being offered, as well as a few classes my school had set up and an incredible course at the remodeled Globe theater that was all about Shakespeare. I actually performed a monologue from Sir Thomas More on the stage as my final, which was just about the raddest thing I could ever do in my entire life. I have it on high 8 tape, except the friend of mine that filmed it was drunk and he thought it would be hilarious to zoom in on my junk for half of the performance. But I digress.

The obsession was sparked by these fascinating hollow eggs called Kinder Surprise. They were made out of chocolate, milk on the outside and white on the inside, and inside of the hollow eggs were these pill shaped containers. The containers had all sorts of toys and games and puzzles that you had to put together. Soon I realized there were entire sets of these toys that you could collect and have together. Around Halloween there were these vampire bats that were in all sorts of weird positions. One would hang from a light post that when you pressed down on it the light would actually flicker, another was a baby in stroller with enormous fangs, etc. There was an airplane set, a car set, a vespa set, a smurf set (see below), a weird worm in fruit set, the list goes on. By the end of my stay in London, I had amassed a collection of over 200 kinder toys, excluding all of the multiples I had gathered.



http://www.kindersurprise.com/home.html

I shared a flat with 6 other people, all of whom I knew from school. I shared a room with two of my good friends, who actually thought I was a total freak for collecting these things but they let me do my thing. I understand now that it was pretty disturbing to see me collecting these little toys. It got to a point where I wouldn't even eat the chocolate. (That is actually a lie. I ate all of it and that's how I gained 45 pounds.) But in this flat we had a communal living room area that had a bookshelf. We all enjoyed reading so we kept our books out there for each other to read and share. When my collection had overgrown my end of the dresser, I decided I would have to make a new home/display for my collection because it had become show worthy at this point. So I did what any roommate at a turning point (read: crisis) in their life would do and moved people's books off the shelves and meticulously organized my kinder toys into sets. And not just random sets. I followed the pictures of the sets as they came in the eggs. It was perfect.

SIDE NOTE: One day I came back from a weekend away to find them all gone. I actually lost my mind. I started yelling and got really mad at a good friend of mine. In their place was a typed letter addressed to me thanking me for my donation of toys to a children's charity for Christmas. In my berserker state of mind I really thought that the toys were gone, even though the letter was highly suspect. I went out and got tanked and stumbled home. When I got in bed I was very uncomfortable because my friends had put all of my toys in my bed while I was gone and made the whole thing up.

So now it is a few years later and I still have the toys, although they are not set up anywhere. They are tucked away into my storage and will one day be worth tons. I am sure of it.

Now this post obviously came a bit undone from it's original topic of summer vacation, so I will attempt to steer back.

It has been an awesome summer and it's going by way too quickly. I feel like I have a week left before school starts even though I have a whole month. I get so anxious thinking about it but not in a bad way. I am just ready for it to get under way again. Meeting new kids, new teachers, teaching new books. It should be a good year. I will have a new classroom as well as new office for Student Activities, which is gonna be sweet. But with my new classroom and office comes new responsibility. I will be given an outdoor key with my own alarm code. It'll be good because I have to get into my classroom on a somewhat regular basis, no matter what day or time it is, but my old classroom was so awesome because it was completely detached from the building itself. Kids would stop by on their way home, teachers would duck in and say "hi" and I could come and go as I pleased without running into too many people I had to talk to. Not that I don't enjoy talking to my coworkers or students, but sometimes it's nice to be able to do your thing and bounce every once in a while. Oh well. Hopefully I will get a bit more settled and keep my classroom more clean than it has been in the past. I tend to let things pile up.

I have also been playing a bit of golf. I never thought it would be a sport that I would enjoy, but it really is quite fun. Of course, sometimes I want to throw each and every club as far into the ocean as possible, but it's a great way to spend time with people and when you hit a ball the right way and it goes where you think it should, it feels really good.

Summer vacation is pretty awesome.

Monday, June 02, 2008

For Pat

So of course I take a hiatus of almost 2 months without warning. I lack consistency in the majority of what I do outside of my job. But by being so consistently inconsistent, I am in fact being consistent with myself. Right? What a joke of an argument that would make. Currently, I am 2 weeks away from summer, which could not come any earlier. The last day of school I drive to Lake Tahoe for one of my best friends' bachelor parties. I was playing poker a few weeks ago with the majority of guys attending where I was given the explicit instructions of finding "dirty, dirty, double dildo drivin' strippers" for Saturday night. To be honest, I haven't started my research yet, but I am pretty sure I will not have a problem finding that because we are about 5 miles from the Nevada border and we all know how Nevada gets down. There were many other adjectives thrown in during that description, but I feel as if these embrace the essence of it.

Upon returning from this venture, I will be flying to Alaska to go fly fishing for 10 days, which will possibly be the best 10 days of 2008. I'll be in Dillingham, which has a population of less than 300, and go from there out into the wilderness. I'll be fishing for trout, salmon, char, and a mess of others with my brother and dad.

Once I return from that trip, I will be driving down to Santa Barbara for a wedding in which I am a groomsman (number 2 in 4 months). This time, I will only be renting one hotel room. The last wedding had some unexplained phenomena where I ended up with a second room and this will not, I repeat WILL NOT happen ever again.

I have July off pretty much after that so my plan is to either take a solo road trip to the south, or just fly out to New York and sleep around for a week or so. we'll see what happens.

I don't know how this turned into my summer plans, but it did and you have to like it. my plan for real this summer is to drink more than I did in college. And by that I mean over the next 3 months I intend to drink more than I did in my 4 years combined. And lose 20 pounds. and run in a half marathon. and begin writing more often. and become a better teacher. and develop new curriculum that will meet the needs of all learners through differentiated instruction.

As for this fucking blog, I don't know what to do. I want to keep it up and actually be proud of it, but I am writing so sparsely that it is kind of pathetic.

Go Giants.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jonathan Sanchez

Tonight was one of the best games of baseball I have been to in a long time. At first it was hard for me, returning the house that Bonds built without Bonds, but once I saw Sanchez throwin heat, striking out 10 hitter from the Padres, I started to think about the future of Giants baseball. and I smiled. I have thought a lot about the Giants this year and made some harsh judgments based on what I've seen. It's a very different team now than what I've been used to for the past 20 years I've been watching, but it could actually be moving a positive direction. With a young pitching staff and some younger position players that can only improve, I think this year is going to not only be fun, but educational too. I have to say I was pretty bummed when I looked around me and saw barely anybody there. for a place that routinely sold out games and had 40,000 plus fans in it, there were only 30,000 in attendance and it was obvious. The bleachers were lacking, the upper deck was practically clear, and there were a ton of fucking yuppies with lap tops computers in the club section. While it upsets me a bit to see a reduction in the number of fans in attendance to the first home series of the season, I also think that this is a time when you see the real fans of the Giants coming out to the park. I like the real fans. go giants.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Today is my Mom's birthday

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mother. Thank you for all you have done for me.

Baseball Begins Today


I am a San Francisco Giants fan. Please send help.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

coffee shop girl

obviously, this is going to be a post about a girl whom i either saw at a coffee shop, or in this case, works at the shop where i buy my coffee every morning. now there are actually two girls i really want to write about but i feel it is only fair to write about one here and then the other in a new post. they each deserve their own posting because there are oh so different. I'll start with the semi new girl. by semi new, i mean she has been working there for not as long as the other one.

she's a bitch. never have i ever felt the cold shoulder so many times for no other reason than my early morning existence. i arrive every morning around 7.30-8 for a large cup and a bagel. i smile, ask how her day is, or i ask the guy who always works with her how he's doing. the guy is nice. kinda weird, but nice. sometimes the girl gives me a half hearted attempt at a smile, sometimes she doesn't even respond. she gives me this look of total indifference the majority of the time and i get the feeling that i did something horrible to her like ran into her at a bar and was really sleazy and tried to use some kind of "hey, you make my coffee" kind of pick up line, but I know that i didn't do that because i am in control of my drinking at all times. right. but seriously, i never would do something like that and i feel like if i really did, i would never be able to go back to the shop again because i would be too embarrassed. and if i saw her at a bar, i don't even think i would talk to her because she wouldn't acknowledge me and it would be so easy for her to totally play the "oh, you go to the place where i work? cool. i don't recognize you" role. oh, she hasn't apologized once out of the many times she has either forgotten my order or totally messed up my bagel. and I'm not too picky, but when you give ma sesame bagel with egg salad instead of a wheat with peanut butter, I'm gonna ask for my original order. I'm not trying to b difficult, but c'mon. it's a fucking bagel.

all this shit aside though, she's really attractive. i keep smiling and hoping I'll get one in return. i overheard a conversation she was having the other day (creepy, i know, but c'mon, we're in a public space and she's standing 3 feet in front of me talking to her coworker) and i know that she goes to city college and is taking afternoon and night classes. not sure in what, but that's cool. i admire people in school. maybe because i work in one. what the hell am i doing writing about her going to school. she's beautiful. large hazel eyes, straight light brown/dark blond hair, beautiful mouth, even though i have yet to see it smile. and i only really see her face because she is standing behind a counter, but i imagine her to be somewhat fit. i have often found myself wondering if she pays soccer on weekends or runs in golden gate park after work. why do i wonder these things? why do i keep smiling even though i know nothing will absolutely ever happen even if she did? i think it is fun to torture myself with innocent fantasies of conversations with girls i meet or encounter on a regular basis (like the math teacher whose first name i still don't know at work but really try hard not to fall over myself when i see her in the main office picking up her mail).

I didn't eat dinner tonight and I think that is why I am thinking about following up this entry with another one. we'll see.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

is this the end?

i found out today that I will be receiving a lay off notice this week thanks to some body builder's budget cuts. totally awesome. grades are due by 3:30 tomorrow and i am not done yet. i am nowhere near done to be honest. i just called in a sub for tomorrow so i can finish in the morning. if i can. it seems like this job gets harder the more i do it when it should be getting easier. i mean, i know that teaching takes a lot of time and energy. but so does drinking. and they both take money and end up causing problems with women. are drinking and teaching one and the same? is my 5th period english class like my 5th glass of scotch?