Journal 1--HW--Narrative-- Sag

Thursday, June 28, 2012

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An exercise from Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter's What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, 41.

Make a list of some of the ways you can suggest approximate age.  Wrinkles and gray hair are the most obvious.  Many are more subtle.  You should be able to list at least a dozen.

Style and type of eyewear
"Don't give a damn what people think" swagger
Constant presence or absence of a cell phone
More formal style of clothing-- no jeans
Thickness to voice
Lines around eyes and mouth
Color of the whites of the eyes
Condition of ears and/or earlobes
Sagging in the neck and chin
Hairstyle or lack of hair

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Narrative Homework, Week 6 of 8, Smelly

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An exercise from Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter's What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, 22.

List smells--indoor and outdoor--and the memories they conjure up.


The Imperial Valley in California was a desolate place in the 1990s, and I've often wondered what it's like now.  When I last experienced it, it was a patchwork of dirt roads running through fields of warm onions and melons, brocolli, and lettuce.  The canal systems were like laces, tying all the fields together.  In second grade, we had a in-depth safety unit in school, teaching us not to play in canals (Dippy Duck).  So many kids are killed while swimming in canals it's necessary to spread the word:  they're really dangerous--with fast-moving water, spinning turbines, and pipes that lead under roadways. 

More than anything, though, I remember the smells of the Imperial Valley.  The road got so hot, the older ladies in the neighborhood would joke that you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.  I tried it once.  My eggs were over-easy at best.  The rain came so seldom that every rain was a celebration, and every rain brought steam up from the roads and the smell of cooling, dusty, hot pavement.  If I smelled that scent in the air right now, I would flash back to heatwaves dancing at eye-level, warm rain, and the feeling of excitement that comes when something rare pays a visit.

Because of the abundance of crops in Southern California, farmers had to stay aggressive to battle the bugs.  Every afternoon close to sundown, small planes would drop pesticides on the plants and trucks that looked like tanks would drive around the neighborhood and spit mosquito-killer-fog into the air.  The kids in the neighborhood would cover their faces and run inside, but I'll never forget the smell of that toxic fog.  It was the kind of smell that you can almost taste, the kind of smell that leaves a bitterness on your lips and down your throat.  If I smelled that smell right now, it would make me angry:  angry about the pesticide I'm breathing, angry about the big-business state of food in this country.

Another smell unique to my time in the Imperial Valley is the smell of warm onions.  If you imagine the pungent aroma of sauteed onions on your stove, was the smell I smelled on the school bus every day riding out the gates of the base toward the small town where I went to school--warm morning and warm onions.  There's something really inspiring about living life so close to plants.  The farmers plant bulbs, plan canals, and spray pesticides, but ultimately, they don't control the sun, storms, or plagues.  Ultimately, farming is an act of faith.  Digging my hands into rich, dark dirt always reminds me of the miracles that unfold around us--the kind we forget are miracles.  The idea that a bitter, crunchy little seed can sprout and grow into a woody, leafy tree that grows juicy oranges is a miracle.  The idea that human beings grow from a similarly small seed and sprout into creative, relational, human beings is also an incredible miracle.  Most of the onions you buy are probably grow in the Imperial Valley, but miracles are all around you.

The playground at my tiny elementary school was what seemed like a giant sand pit.  Though we were at least an hour from the beach, sand was a multi-sensory experience.  When the hot wind blew, the sand whipped around, and we could taste it.  It landed on the pines, and we pulled off the needles and sucked on them. It covered the grounds, and we dug in it and built sand furniture ///tbc

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If I Can See It . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

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It's time to set some new goals:

1.  Get a part-time job again and pony up on this debt again.  School loans, your days are numbered.

2.  Subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud.  I'm excited just *thinking* about it!  It feels like Disneyland to me!!  I'm going to learn these programs.  I'm going to learn Flash with the media crew kids, and we're going to incorporate animation in our news broadcasts next year!

3.  Buy the books for the four courses in the University of Wisconsin--Stout Instructional Design program.  Study them.

4.  Begin getting a feel for what instructional design jobs are available in the ATL.

A first year teacher applying today would make more than me.  Am I realistic or stupid staying in public teaching? 

Time to get these wheels rollin!  :)

P.S.  I have a huge crush on Chris Powell from Extreme Makeover.  Huge.  Crush.
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

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Northside Family Practice

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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in Woodstock, GA is fantastic.  I would recommend them to anyone.
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Candy Coated

Monday, June 18, 2012

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I think Eminem is one of the most talented rappers out there. If I were a boxer, I would have bright red gloves with black sparkly strings, and I would listen to Eminem while I worked the heck outta the speed bag.

He uses so many poetic devises-- clever rhymes like
My thoughts are sporadic... I act -- like I'm an addict
There's vomit on his sweater already, Mom's spaghetti

Take the hands of time and cuff em

Trip, it's a trap

zero on my target like a marksman
I shut your lane down, took your spot, parked in it, too
But hold your nose cuz here goes the cold water

So, if you're a boxer or a maniac at the gym, add


Maybe it's only someone who has walked in the footsteps of a fighter who can write like one.  Keep fighting.  Keep writing.

Shades of. Slim. Shady.
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You Get Three

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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Aaaah!!! Great Game! So, I'll turn it into homework ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Casey at the Bat
by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Game One
by AJC

A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that—
We’d put up even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.



A Ballad of the NBA Finals, Played in  2012

The outlook was uncertain for OKC that day;
The five-point game was Miami's, but Westbrook had pretty plays.
And when Wade rejected the slam, and hurtled toward the hoop,
Westbrook split the seas, and the crowd heard, "alleyoop."
The crowd of Okies stood and screamed with force for more
While King and Flash deflated as their jump shots failed to score;
The Thunder pounded ahead with a launch to 82--
While Durant dug in and with a twist, mouthed, "LeBron who?"

Miami gained possession and tried to recover their heat
Such a carefully crafted team surely couldn't be beat?
So fourth quarter dawned with hope and electricity
As Durant sank another shot to tally 91 to 83.

Wade danced, shot, and whispered a wind through the net, and Collison returned one, not even breaking sweat.
James sank one sideways and the ball flew down the court,
where Durant slammed another, making art from sport.

The fans chanted wildly as a minute left of time
Sefolosha landed two more, and the Thunder up by nine.
Collison sealed a  with half-a-minute left to go
and the coaches looked ready to call "curtains" on this show.

A few more from the line, easy as the breeze
And the Thunder take Game One, and bring Miami to its knees.

Sorry Boys :(  What a great game!  Westbrook is smiiiiiiilin' tonight!
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Homework 3 (The Parodies), Draft One

Monday, June 11, 2012

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A Pair of Parodies, Modeled After Robert Burns' "A Red, Red Rose"

The Original
O, my luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
O I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

My Parody One

O, my Luve's like a rocky road
Studded with sav'ry bits
O, my Luve's like a cool tall cone
That melts the warmer it gets

As good you are, my double scoop
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my man,
Till a' the drips run dry.

Till a' the drips run dry, my man,
And the chips melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear
While sticky tracks down run  <----------FIX THIS LINE

And fare-thee-weel, my ony luve!
And fare-thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
And skip home with a smile! <----------- FIX THIS LINE

Parody Two (From GP's Classic Corvette)

Oh, my love's like a sweet cream Vette
Thats original radio tuned
Oh, my love's like "Come Together" playing
The Fab Four harmonies crooned

As fair thou art, my showy ride
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear
Till all the gas pumps dry

Till all the gas pumps dry, my dear,
And the pistons rust with the wear.
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the tires of life tread bare.

And fare thee well, my only love,
And fare thee well awhile!
And we will drive again, my Love,
Post tune ups each 10-thousand mile <-------- FIX THIS LINE

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Homework Two, Draft One

Sunday, June 10, 2012

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I loved the sermon this morning.  It's one of those "YOU, talkin' ta ME?" talks.  Check out the Kings series:

Anyway, it made me think about kings and how their job description naturally leads to some common struggles, symptoms, and benefits. So here's an expository draft for my class.

R-- King Henry VIII
A-- Other Men...wanting to be kings
F--Expository Letter (advice)
T--Be an Epic King, like me
T-- Pompous, Matter-of-Fact

King Me

Dear Man,

You are merely a man at this point, aren't  you?  You are in luck, however, Mere Man, for fate has delivered you a valuable tool . . . if you choose to use it.  Many have traveled far for such advice as this, and I am offering it to you freely, King to mortal.  But if you hear me, you won't be mortal for long.  Read this letter, and follow these steps, and a throne of your own will soon follow.

Your first course of action as king must be to make rules.  Without order, after all, is a kingdom even worth ruling? One of the major benefits of being king is the freedom to break the very rules you make, so make sure to bend your own rules immediately.  As soon as you get comfortable, break a few.  Laugh loudly.  Then, break a few more.  I rearranged quite a few rules during my term, including forbidding Pope Clement, the Church, from making regulations without my permission. 

Next, every supreme king has his queen, so decide how you will manage your female partnership.  I have read of some men who preferred harems and harems of females, but I found one at a time was almost more than I could manage.  When I tired of them, I annulled.

If you are going to be a king of renown, you must find a way to show off your golden glow.  My father, king before me, was very thrifty with money.  But you don't know his name, do you?  When I inherited by Godly Right as King, there were only 12 palaces in the kingdom.  By the end of my life, I had over 50. All subjects could revel in my splendor.

Ok, to bed.  I'll finish this tomorrow.  :)

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Dropping on the leaves
Pooling toward the curbs
Pinging onto the rooftop
Drizzling down my cheeks
Squeaking my sandals
Polka-dotting my window
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Is Wheatgrass Caffeinated?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

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This must be marathon blogging day.  Maybe I can get a cute sticker for my car window.  26.2.  Nah, I haven't earned that one yet.  So, again, I'm awake when I should be asleep.  I haaave to work tomorrow!  So, to lull myself to sleep, I'll plan an Italian vacation.  Big and Little Style.  Dreamin.' uh huh.  That's the idea.

Buckle up.

First, the trip needs a soundtrack!
1. Baci--Adriano Celentano
2.  Song for Rome--Brian Crane
3.  Funiculi' Funicula'-- Il Volo
4.  Dimmi Cos'e--Nek
5.  La Mia Riposta--Laura Pausini
6. Tutto L'Amore Che Ho--Jovanotti
7. All You Need is Now--Duran Duran (yep)

Timeline--All of November.
Secret Mission--Get more photos taken with people with creative facial hair than opponent.
Obvious Mission-- Take in scenery, dig into regional foods, hear "ciao bella" just once

This vacation begins on Boston's North End, winds through the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre and ends in Rome, with stops along the way.

Ok, I think I'm finally sleepy. 

buona notte e sogni d'oro. to. bed.
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Homework, Take Three, Draft One

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Every Haven its Hammarplast

In the early 1980s, Howard Schultz, a new employee to the Starbucks Coffee Company, visited Milan on a buying trip for good coffee beans.  Walking the streets of Milan, he was struck by the proliferation number of coffee bars.  Old men, young men, and women of all ages stood at the counters, sipped cappuccinos, and threw out lira and lies.  More than the lattes, though, Schultz connected with the culture of the neighborhood coffee bar.  These people had what Schultz would come to market as a "third place."  It wasn't home, it wasn't work, it was somewhere else, and that somewhere was a rich --- and marketable--part of life.  Since that first buying trip, the Starbucks Company, at times without Schultz, has grown to almost 13,000 stores, more stores than only McDonalds and Subway in the United States.

Anyone who has spent more than a few days driving the streets of the United States-- or of most other countries--recognizes the black-and-white Starbucks Siren, surrounded by her bright green moat.  It is true that Schultz and crew have realized Schultz's original vision.  There is, as some say, truly "a Starbucks on every corner."  Some might see this as coffee house overload, as a corporate street-washing, but these coffee companies are providing a valuable service to each neighborhood that has one.  Every neighborhood needs a local coffee shop.

Coffee shops offer neutral ground.  Because life is not pH balanced has a natural tension ebb and flow, most people need a place that is neutral.  Whether for a job interview, a first date, or a business meeting, coffee shops are spots where no one but the barista has the upper hand.  All are welcome to come, stay a while, and take care of whatever business they have . . . or don't.  The coffee shop is the quintessential pressure-free zone.

Most coffee shops have a variety of food and beverage options.  Starbucks has a range of espresso drinks: frozen, iced, and hot, a range of tea drinks, and smoothies and other coffee-free options.  In the last few years, the company has even expanded its food offerings, including warmed sandwiches and breakfast wraps.  There is something for everyone at most coffee shops.

Most important of all, coffee shops can serve as the  modern community center.  In ancient times, settlements were built around the temple, the cathedral, or the church.  Often, the monks, priests, and clergy would also serve as the teachers, lawyers, and doctors of the villages.  In today's more secular society, coffee houses are a natural "town center."  An emerging dominant philosophy of valuing all equally finds its freedom in a place where nothing reigns but the freshest brew.

Though to some, the domination presence of coffee shops on nearly every corner seems like too much, each of these coffee stores is serving a valuable purpose for the culture of the neighborhood.  It is providing that "third place" environment that is neither home nor work, but something equally as worthy worthwhile important.  So, the next time you spend $3.00 on a drink at a coffee shop, consider it an investment in the neighborhood. 

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Brookhaven Loses a Local Gem

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The Library Coffee Company in Brookhaven is closed.  It's really sad to see this little shop shut down.  Even the set-up of the tables inside inspired community.  It was the site of local HOA meetings, chats between new friends, and just a chill place to sit with a cold cuppa plain black iced tea (or $3 draft beers if hops are your flav). 

Letter from Owner, Brian Kahan

I'm still reeling.  SUSHI?  As if we need another sushi shop?  You might say the same about coffee shops, but I'd argue there is room in every neighborhood for at least one unique and tidy little watering hole.

I guess this leaves the market wide open to some coffee shop entrepreneur who is willing to take a risk in another Atlanta enclave.

Until then, I'll have to drive to the within-five-miles SBUX that wins my award for best vibe.

Pfft.  Suuuft.  Suuuush.
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Toasty Sandwich Recipe

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Often, my favorite recipes come from the look-at-the-oddball-crew-left-in-my-fridge game.  I think it's fun to think of ways to combine ingredients.  Sometimes, it fails:  think sweet potatoes, pork roast, and Granny Smith.  Hrm.  Sometimes, it leads to fabulous sandwiches like this one!  Try it.


1 cucumber
1 small red onion
1/2 cup vinegar
a few slices of turkey bacon
1 gorgeous ripe tomato
2 slices whole wheat bread
A teaspoon of mayonnaise if you like

1.  Slice cucumber and onion into thin-ish slices, and mix in a small bowl with vinegar.  Let mellow, tossing now and then.  Just take a little peek:

2.  Bake turkey bacon on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan for 20-minutes on 350 degrees (I think it's less messy than the frypan)
3.  Slice tomato and toast bread
4.  Assemble by mayonnaising toast, adding tomato, topping with turkey bacon and spooning on a spoonful of cucumber/onion.  The vinegar cuts that sharp oniony taste and leaves a light, crispy-sweet, slightly onion flavor. 
5.  Pour a glass of moscato or your my favorite unsweet (we have to say that in the South) peach iced tea, and enjoy! 
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Merle Haggard

Saturday, June 2, 2012

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Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied, that leaves only me to blame, cuz Mama tried.

Ok, in honor of the blessed outlaw classic country playing where I'm sitting, I'm changing my whole homework plan.

R. Grandma
A. Cowboy Grandson
F. Letter
T. You're a good son--hrm. that's not persuasive... maybe... find a good woman
T. Proud

Let's see how this goes...

Ok, done.  I'm buying Merle Haggard's autobiography.  :)  Until then, this idea will have to simmer. 
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One for my Homework

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Since I'm up, I might as well start my writing assignment!  A persuasive/argumentative piece....about....about...about...about...something fresh that I haven't heard been griping about... Hrm. Why does my mind always wander to deep-sea fishing at times like this? 

ROLE: iPhone
AUDIENCE: Middle Schoolers
FORMAT: Complaint Letter
TONE: Weary, Annoyed (like a loving older brother)

Put me down!  Your eyes are glazed over again.  Give me some time to rest and recharge.  Dude, you've spent more time with your fake Facebook family than your little sister this week.  Isn't it a little soon for you to fake-marry Lisa anyway? It's time for a break. 


AUDIENCE:  Man-Cackler or Aging Party Boy
FORMAT: Letter
TOPIC:  Turn it Down
TONE:  Getting Sleepy

AUDIENCE: Socrates
FORMAT:  Letter
TOPIC:  Maybe truth really is upside down
TONE:  Wondering

ROLE:  Madonna
A:  Lourdes
F:  Complaint Letter
T:  Only the best floral arrangements for the best
T:  Simplistic, dogmatic, patronizing (like her books)

R: baby
A: parent
F: note
T: please give me something to believe in
T: pleading, hopeful

R: historical site
A:  donald trump or other mogul
F: letter
T:  please let me survive
T: proud, intense

Ok, I think I'm tired, and I think I like the last idea best.  Maybe I'll write as Underground Atlanta....Revive me! 

For now, one more try at this sleep business before the 2nd starts fo real.
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nocturnal syncopation
habitual resting station
passing train's vibration
dawning desperation
dream-time navigation
active imagination
unfinished equation
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Still awake....

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Not even sleepy.  I wonder what the nabes downstairs would think of a 3 am plyometrics routine?  Aaaaah.  Counting sheep doesn't work for me.

Someone just man-cackled in the plaza below my window.  Eh?  3:12 man-cackling outdoors?  I don't even wanna know.
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