Friday, December 23, 2016

masculinity and me

I'm not one for explicit displays of masculinity. Most of the time, this is admittedly because I'm usually less than successful at pulling them off. I got tattoos, yeah, but an owl playing a guitar and a bunch of Lego doesn't exactly make me look like a badass. This is, incidentally, a fairly accurate microcosm of ever attempt to "man up" I've ever made, if I'm to be honest.

I can't usually even cop the super macho attitude either, as I'm too socially maladept to adequately feign the requisite self-assurance. But damnit, I just finished polishing my cowboy boots, and if that doesn't make me feel masculine, then I don't know what will. Time now to shave with a hatchet and then wrassle a grizzly!

learning is a path

Therapy has definitely helped me to be calmer, to let go of blame, and to generally gain perspective, but I am fully aware that I still have a long way to go. Luckily, though, I have good teachers.

We were supposed to make the trek to the wilds of rural Ohio today for the in-laws holiday gathering, but illness, as it is wont to do, interceded. So we're staying home, but we did already promise my daughter she could open one of her gifts. She  tore open the paper, and inside was the Lego Friends puppy daycare set.

For the record, I was not a fan of the Friends line when it first came out. I didn't understand why girls needed a separate line of toys, and the initial line was overrun with stereotypical girlie stuff. However, they have improved dramatically. I would even say the Elves set is cooler than most anything else Lego produces.

And, as I found out when pressed into building service, they are certainly not lacking in build complexity. Parts of the set were even getting downright persnickety, and I must've been slipping into the traditional DuBose exasperation state over some absent pieces, complete with the obligatory "aargh"s.

That's when my daughter interceded. "Daddy," she said, "it doesn't have to be perfect. I'll be happy if it's just fun."

That girl. I could learn a lot from her...and in fact, I regularly do.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I got to spend a lot of time with family.

I saw the new Star Wars film.

I had serious conversations with both my parents and my wife.

I ate Vietnamese.

I was endlessly amused and had my heart melted by my daughter.

I got to see a few of my favorite people in a town that I dearly love.

I got to play awesome board games.

I played music last Wednesday. I will play music next Wednesday.

I got a good haircut.

I sold copies of my single to people I love and respect.

Life is good. Life is awesome.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

surprising fruit

My daughter continues to amuse. She was playing while I was making coffee, when I heard, "roaring raspberries!" Then, in an explanatory tone to her Nana, "I say that when I mean, 'what the heck is going on?'"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

chilly career opportunities

My daughter and I were talking about the weather on the way to school, and she informed me that "wintertime is like a giant refrigerator with people inside." It was hard to question her logic, admittedly. I thought about telling her about using the porch as a beer cooler at parties. However, I decided that some lessons can wait.

When I picked up my daughter from school, she got in the car and shivered. "Boy, it's cold outside." I then informed her that it would be even colder tomorrow. "Even colder?" She exclaimed. "Willowing wallabies!"

My girl. She's either going to be a meteorologist or a poet.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

depressive realism and experiments

One of the changes I've seen as I grow older is that I have an increasingly long list of "things I really shouldn't think about because doing so will only make me crazy(ier)/despair/whatever. I still love to think, but many thoughts have to get quarantined as soon as possible merely as a survival mechanism.

But is that healthy? Is it a good idea, particularly for someone with mental issues? I'll have to discuss it with my therapist, really. One thing that's already come up is how people who suffer from depression (like me) tend to view the world more accurately than the neuronormatives. The name for this is depressive realism. I'm not sure I like the concept, but the name is at least pretty cool...maybe I'll use it for an album title somewhere down the road.

Usually, these types of thoughts are personal or emotional. Lately, however, the scientific world has started to breach my "don't really think about these things" list...because the more I learn about it, the more I realize that science is sure wackier than they told me in high school. Some scientists, for instance, claim we are living in a giant simulation. It seems we may not be any more than software in some highly advanced being's computer program analyzing the nature of identity or something.

I'm actually torn on this one. On the one hand, it would explain an awful lot. However, if the vast scale of human suffering and pain is really only a data point on some galactic spreadsheet, that would inevitably mean that the experiment designer is obviously a maniacal psychopath. I dunno. I certainly feel real, but that could only mean I'm a well-designed piece of software. Maybe my own depression is really just the result of some errors in the code which escaped the debugging process. These thoughts, though, are one reason why science is increasingly on my "don't think about it list."

However, I've got to say one thing to any cosmic experimenters (if any) out there. Take a break, already. Your experimental protocols are becoming increasingly transparent and defective. Look, I can accept some pretty wild things, but a reality star for a president who's already appointed a wrestling CEO, a blindingly stupid neurosurgeon, and a fast food franchise owner to his staff? A state government which wants to allow concealed weapons on college campuses? The criminalization of constitutionally protected acts? The rampant xenophobia? Enough's enough.

Your work, Mr. Alien Experimenter, will suffer if you don't take a break and go do something fun or enriching. If you get obsessed with testing the limits of our simulated species, you're going to seriously lose it. So go outside and have fun. At least watch an episode of whatever passes for comedy television in your dimension. Listen to some rock and roll. Learn an instrument. All work and no play makes for a grumpy manipulator.

Trust me, I know. I am, after all, in the middle of grading final portfolios, so I understand the pressure.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

algorithmic fashion

While killing time in my office today, I glanced at one of my social networking sites and saw a very strange targeted ad. For whatever reason, their ad service seemed to think I would be interested in a sale on selected waistcoats.

At first, I could only think, "this is weird." I have, for the record, never worn a waistcoat in my life. I'm not usually the first person you think of when you think of waistcoats (assuming, that is, you ever think of waistcoats in the first place). So I naturally wondered how the targeted advertisement could possibly be so far off.

Of course, my brain works in weird and mysterious ways, because in less than ten minutes, I had completely rethought my position on the previously uncontemplated garment. Some time in the last year, I have started to dress more formally. I'm more likely to be found in a button-up shirt than a weird tee shirt. I've largely replaced my jeans with khakis or green cargo pants. I even bought cowboy boots for some reason.

For the record, I really don't know why I started to dress up. Maybe it has something to do with losing some weight last year. Maybe it's some coming to terms with getting older. Maybe I just needed a change. I dunno...but in light of this, maybe a waistcoat wouldn't be such a bad idea.

I brought this up to my students. My first class was relatively unimpressed by the idea, with about half shaking their heads and about another half giving me an "eh, why not?" My second class, however, seemed to think it was a capital idea. A few of them expressed such approval of the idea, I seriously considered jumping online to buy a few right then and there. My wife, though, suggested us having a dinner then shopping date, so we could test out the effect of such a fashion shift in the real world.

What's the point of all this? I dunno. Maybe I'm just much more impressionable than I suspect. The other possibility is, however, a little bit frightening...because maybe the computer-determined advertisements actually know me better than I know myself.

I never thought when the science fictional universe finally came true, it would concern itself with my style of dress.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

TheMikeDuBose X-mas single!

A few years ago, I found myself playing a singer-songwriter showcase which was to be filmed for later television broadcast. We were also invited to do a Christmas song for an additional Christmas Special. Well, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do, so I wrote my own holiday song: "X-Mas in the Drunk Tank."

I don't know if the Christmas special ever aired. I found out after the fact that the singer-songwriter episode aired. I never saw it, because I never actually heard about it until later. And none of these have ever turned up on YouTube or the show's website, so I just like to think of my television career as an unsubstantiated rumor.

But, as a result, I had a Christmas song. I liked the song, which made the fact I could only ever play the song one month out of the year just a little bit aggravating. But dealing with aggravation is just a fact of life for us non-famous musician types.

Last year, I had plans to record an album with a friend of mine. For whatever reason, we were very slow to get the record off the ground. I suggested we record "X-Mas in the Drunk Tank" as a way to jump-start the recording process...and shortly thereafter, I found myself with another original holiday song, this one entitled "I Don't Wanna Be Depressed (This X-mas)."

The album never actually happened. The Christmas single which was supposed to jump-start the recording process also never happened. But now I had the bug, and I really wanted to get all these recordings done. So I did what I've always done when dealing with frustrating circumstances: I've become self-sufficient.

So I'm deep into recording the album (and I actually should be done and ready to release in January). And somewhere in the process, I remembered the Christmas single idea.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the fruit of my labors. I call it The War on X-Mas. This contains both "I Don't Wanna Be Depressed (This X-mas)" and "X-Mas in the Drunk Tank." I'm responsible for every lick of it, every sound, every action. And it turned out better than I would've ever hoped.

I sincerely hope you check it out. I like these songs more than I should, and I think they sound amazing. It is now life at my Bandcamp page as a "pay what you want" download. Please do check it out. I will also have CD copies soon, which I will pair with a custom TheMikeDuBose Christmas ornament. More details on those when the physical CDs come in.

I'll be playing one or both of these songs this Wednesday at Stone's Throw for Hump Day Revue and this Saturday at Howard's Club H for the annual Toy Drive show (I go on at 9), Come see me and say hello,

Saturday, November 26, 2016

television, hearing loss, and...something else

As a long-time musician, I count myself lucky to have pretty solid hearing. One doesn't do this, though, and escape with perfect hearing. So every so often, I will catch a little bit of the whining sound fading in and out. It's not enough to really bother me, but it is there just enough to be annoying. The desire to avoid more of this is why I carry ear plugs with me wherever I go.

Of course, this brings me to television. Over the last year, I've become a devotee of the show Archer. I could go off on how the show can be just awesome, but time is limited (I can only justify avoiding grading for so long). One of my favorite elements of the show is their use of the tinnitus sound effect. Yeah, they bring up the ringing sound when there's an explosion or something, but they also bring it up when Archer goes through some emotional trauma of some sort. It's clever, particularly in how it subtly makes explicit the connection between the violence of his job and his emotional barriers.

So how does this relate to me? Well, I was just taking a second away from grading, and I had a minor tinnitus flare-up...only this time, instead of the mono-pitch whine, it sounded like an old school dial-up modem.

What this means, though, I really have no clue.

Monday, November 21, 2016

news of my importance

I just got a wrong number phone call from Mexico. You know what this means? I am now an international mistake!

nutbar mornings

My daughter just came into the kitchen while I was making coffee. She opened up the fridge, peered in for a split second, slammed the door, ran into the living room, and immediately started running around in circles, screaming, "we have too many juice boxes!" over and over, for an honest full minute. She then went back to playing as if nothing happened.

Me? I finished making my coffee... although by that point, I really didn't need it anymore.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

unexpected science

Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed that, while playing with my daughter, we will suddenly veer into hard science. Earlier today, we were playing with Octonauts. The girl Octonauts were doing ballet. When their ballet instructor (a toy from another playset) had to leave, she summoned a black hole to travel back home.

This puzzles me. On the bright side, though, I now have a good answer if she ever asks where babies come from.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

realities and politics

When I was in grad school, we read a certain amount of postmodern theory. I found it fascinating, particularly in its explanation of how representation starts altering how people perceive and process reality. In our age, saturated by media, representation tends to stack up. This obscures reality to the point where the representation starts to be seen as more real than reality.

It's an interesting theory. While it's nothing that anyone would hold up as an ideal, it does explain an awful lot of how image, reality, and opinion converge. But, as one reads more and more of it,  one starts to feel about it the same way one would that style of art which consists of large color squares on canvas. The thought is that someone is playing a con on someone...but who's playing whom is a matter of opinion.

I've been out of the scholarship game for a while, though, and postmodernism isn't really the kind of thing one reads for giggles. But lately, it's been washing back into my consciousness. I blame politics.

My country has taken some weird turns over the last week. Quite often, those changes seem to be relatively contrary to reality. People voted against their own interests. But they also voted for a businessman because they thought he would be less money-hungry than a politician. This has, for a while, made very little sense to me.

I think that the postmodernism is starting to help make sense, though. But it's not, I'm beginning to suspect, because people are too tied to the media representations of reality as postmodernism would argue. Reality, as a concept, is not really all that definite of a concept anymore for a lot of people. And in the absence of reality, people don't settle on a mediated reality. It's not like there's only one of them. It's a verifiable buffet of competing realities, a potpourri dish of reality options.

If there's no real anymore, then why not chose the alternative that helps you sleep better at night? No matter what the consequences?

The fault with this logic is also the fault with postmodernism. There actually is a Real in there. Even in the absence of narratives, there is a right, and there is a wrong. There is help, and there is harm. Stories are just stories, no matter how seductive they might be. And there is a way back to sanity

I just hope the path is easier to grasp than postmodernism.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

my daughter, while hair is being brushed

"I want to keep my bangs for a long, long time, because they're part of my style that I like."

Heart melt.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

evil technology and robotic flies

I used to love my office computer. Then, when I was on my fatherhood leave, they replaced it with an all-in-one. From minute one, it sucked. I have never been able to get through a day without my browser crashing or my computer freezing. I hate this machine with a passion usually reserved for steamed rutabaga.

As of a few weeks ago, though, it got worse. It started to make weird electronic disco sounds. If a computer could clear its throat of excess mucus, that's what it would sound like. Actually (and it took me a while to name this), it really sounds like an attack sound from Yar's Revenge...and as cool as that is in theory, I don't think it bodes well for the machine.

I put in a message to our IT guys. Their recommendation? Turn down the volume. Thanks, guys, but I don't think that will do it.

Sunday, November 06, 2016


Due to horrific job-related situations beyond my control, I have been much busier than normal. I have (for reasons I won't go into here) had to redo every single thing about every one of my classes. This means that, in addition to grading, my time spent planning lessons, assembling powerpoints, and the like has gone through the roof. I don't seemingly have time to get much of anything done. This taxes me.

Moreover, it's become clear after years of life and therapy that I have to have a come-down period. I have to interact with people...or worst-case scenario, with stories. If I don't do this, then I can't stop thinking...which leads me to getting less and less sleep...which eggs on my depression...which makes me grumpier...which causes me to think black thoughts...which leads to even less sleep...and so on, and so forth.

The problem as of late is that my increasing business and my need for decompression don't exactly play well together. I'm doing everything I can, but come the end of most days, I inevitably have to force stop myself from dwelling on all that's undone. It's become clear to me that I'm living in a self-perpetuating existence. I'm not 100% fond of it, but there it is. All one can do is fight through it.

When I do get the time to decompress before bed, I don't have the energy to really challenge myself in any way. As a result, I've been rewatching a lot of stuff. For about a month off-and-on, I've found myself watching West Wing. I'm now on my second or third re-do. I like it because quite often I can just lose myself in the beauty of the dialog...and that's nice.

I'm currently on season four. This is when (for all those who don't watch the show) the president is running for reelection. His opponent is a vehement and proud anti-intellectual, so the president's advisors worry that their boss will come off arrogant by comparison. Quite often, I find myself similarly thinking about how everybody usually feels about the smartest kid in the classroom. And trust's not good.

Not that I claim such a position for myself, mind you. Doctoral school quickly disabused me of any notions of my own intelligence. But I'm unnerved by the amount of people who think that thinking about things in general is a bad thing. I made the mistake of looking at some internet comments a while ago, and I even saw someone implying that thinking was unpatriotic.

What does this say about our world? That's another reason why I need to decompress.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

late night shenanigans

My daughter came into the living room well after her bedtime.

"Daddy, I can't sleep."

"Did you try?"

"Yes! I tried really hard, I promise."

"Did you try being still, being quiet, and closing your eyes?"

"I did...but I could only hold it for a blink."

Yup. That's my girl.

songs still to come

Music update!

While not as publicly as I would like, things are still progressing in TheMikeDuBose music land.

The album: I only have one more bass track to record. Then I have to mix and master, and then the next TheMikeDuBose album will be out. I'm shooting for the end of the year, and details will be forthcoming. Really, I hoped to have it done over a year ago, but things have, for a multitude of reasons, gone slowly. More news forthcoming as soon as I get the album finished.

The next album: it will go much more quickly. Basic work is already underway.

My current recording project:  my X-mas single. I only have a little more recording to do, then mixing. It will be "X-mas in the Drunk Tank" and "I Don't Wanna Be Depressed (This X-mas)." The tracks will go up on Bandcamp, but I will also have some physical cds. I will package the cds with a custom TheMikeDuBose tree ornaments. These will go on sale after Thanksgiving is over...because of course, it's a crime to celebrate Christmas when there are still other holidays to go.

I will be much more active booking shows once I finish the album. In the meantime, you can catch me with my cover band The Unmedicated. We're playing Blondies BG this Friday.

try to remember she's only five

Yesterday, while I was at home with my daughter, we somehow got into a craft-centric mode. I showed her how to make paper snowflakes, paper dolls, and such. She enjoyed it, yes, but the notable moment was when she held up one of our creations and asked me, "is this symmetrical?"

Once again, that girl astounds me.

both sides

On one hand, Facebook this morning told me to wish a friend a happy birthday. I would've done so, but said friend had someone I know introduce him to heroin, and said friend shortly thereafter died via an overdose. Then, after reading this, I get my daughter up and discover that she's transmogrified into a coughing machine.

On the other hand, it's a staggeringly beautiful day. All of a sudden, we have the random "you can wear shorts and sandals in November" weather. I'm at work, but I have very little to do...and since no one had signed up for conferences, I get to leave early and go home to my wife and daughter.

Sometimes life is like this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

in other news

I just found out that last post was my 1,000th blog entry. Now I wish it would've been more monumental. Sigh.

hold on to your hats

I was walking through the building towards my office this morning when I saw my boss. The first thought I had was how much her mirrored sunglasses made her look like a badass. I said hello, and she asked me to read and answer an e-mail she sent. Immediately, the creepy part of my brain started in a parade of "what is it this time?" and "you're in trouble" messages. I hurried to my office only to find an e-mail...asking for my availability for teaching over the summer.

Mood swing one of the day complete, I guess.

Monday, September 05, 2016

irony today

I just saw someone post a "support the military" thing on Facebook which implied that if you didn't support our soldiers whenever, you were a bad American. Their profile pic was a Confederate battle flag. The Confederates were active traitors against the United States. In fact, they killed or mortally wounded over 110,000 United States soldiers.

The mental hurts my brain.

why am I surprised?

I've been shaking up my teaching in a whole lot of ways. One of the weirdest (for me, anyway) was to soup up my PowerPoints. No more of the bare bones, basic black text on white slides for me! I'm going to show everyone that I do actually know design. THE WORLD WILL THEN BE MINE!!!!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!

Excuse me.

Today, I'm laboring on Labor Day by assembling a slideshow for tomorrow's class. I had need of an image of a mad scientist for background art. So I did a Google image search. Not surprisingly, all of the results were for white males. I searched for female mad scientists, and then only half of the results were for white males. I searched for African American mad scientists, then Asian, then Indian. In all cases, half of the results were for (you guessed it) white males.

Oh, one other feature of the search results was that in most cases, I got to pictures of bikini-clad women at least halfway down the page. I'm not sure what the connection is between bikini babes and mad science. Maybe a psychology major can help me out.

But I really wanted diversity. So how did I get it? Five words: My Little Pony mad scientist.

Friday, August 26, 2016


Today, I received some amazing praise from an old friend. We were chatting about someone who went to grad school with us, and my friend told me, "you were obviously doing something right if (person X) wanted to punch you."

Some days, you just need to hear words like this. Happiness achieved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

the poetry of grading

I'm currently on lunch break of my job grading AP exams. I can't really talk about anything from the 839 exams I've graded so far, though. What I can do is share my three entries in the Question One Haiku Contest.

Due to the fact that
I don't know what I just read
Please send brain meds now

Your handwriting makes
Me cross-eyed and hurts my brain
Maybe pictograms?

"In modern times..." - Gah
Passive verbs will bury me
Arthritic joints throb

Sunday, June 12, 2016

when you are with me

It's my daughter's fifth birthday today. I'm stuck working in Kansas City. I know it's something I have to do; the money's too good, and we're too broke. But still, it's a sacrifice. I'm been dealing with it pretty well. This morning, though, my wife sent a photo of my daughter, sitting on the ground and playing with some new gifts. She's wearing some wrapping paper as a cape. I've looked at it ten times since she sent it. The photo's wonderful...even if her smile does make my heart hurt.


There's a company in this part of the country named Toto. They make toilets and related products. And every time I encounter heir products in the wild, my mind clicks into "I know I must do what's right as sure as Killamanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengetis."

Kudos, most pretentious lyric of all time. Kudos.

Friday, June 10, 2016


I have a few summer jobs this year, but this is the one I was dreading the most. I am in Kansas City to grade AP exams. I'm not a major fan of grading in general, but the rough part of this is being away from my family. It's my daughter's birthday on Sunday. I'm missing it.

On the way in, my wife called. We talked, and then she put my kid on the line. "I miss you, daddy. I wish you didn't have to do this."

I'm still trying to pull myself together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


When I was recording my album Skeleton Coast (just buy it already), my producer made cheap drum machine tracks for me to follow when I recorded my basic acoustic guitar, so we would start the recording process with everything in solid timing. One of the songs ("Totally Low Standard Blues") gave him trouble, and he couldn't figure out why. Then we got into a brief argument about timing, because he swore the song was in 4/4. Eventually, I convinced him it was actually in 6/8 time, and we got the track done no problem. He did, however, inform me that I was weird.

Most rock, pop, rap, and a decent amount of country is in 4/4 time (du du DA du, du du DA du). As a result, most musicians who don't have formal training are more or less used to 4/4, and anything else gives them a bit of trouble. If you play country, 3/4 timing slips in the mix (think waltz timing--DUN du du, DUN du du). 6/8, though, is a rarer bird.

Recently, I've had developments in my solo career which have pushed me towards preparing solo rock shows, without a band. I'm going to bring my electric and play with some strange pre-recorded drum/percussion tracks (I test this out tomorrow, so expect a progress report later this week). Of course, this means that I need to pre-record said pre-recorded backing tracks. Last week, I tackled "Totally Low Standard Blues," and even though I wrote the song, the 6/8 time signature still gave me fits. This is one in a long line of hints that I might be a weirdo.

Yesterday, I realized that one of the songs I'm in the middle of writing is also in 6/8 time. Maybe I'll do enough of these that weird time signatures become second nature. Or maybe I just like to make things difficult.

Monday, May 30, 2016


When I still used to think I could somehow become a scholar, I was faced with a quandary: I needed to keep publishing to even have a chance at getting a tenure track job, but since I was in a non-tenured position, the scholarship I did benefited my actual job not at all. In fact, my teaching load was so high, there was no time at all to even think scholarship during the semester.

Summers were the only time I could research and write. And write, I did. I would chain myself to books or to my computer for at least eight hours a day. I did an impressive volume and depth of work during those summers...more (I was told by reliable sources) than some of my tenure-track colleagues. Shame it never actually benefited me, though.

The arrival of my daughter coincided with me realizing I was never going to be a professional scholar, and, in anticipation of my girl coming, I decided I was done spending summers writing articles which never actually yielded tangible benefits. That was in 2011. This summer marks the five year anniversary of no scholarship.

Lest you feel this depressing in some way, I should tell you a little tale. Yesterday, I washed the dishes, made a big batch of burritos for the freezer (bean, mushroom, broccoli, onion, and vegetarian chorizo (the only decent vegetarian sausage)), cleaned the fish tank, and made my weekly batch of oatmeal. At the end of the  day, I felt more of a sense of accomplishment than at the end of one of the writing summers.

Just thought it should be noted. Of course, I did also apply for my third summer job...but you win some, lose some.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

fighting a fit

In spite of everything, today largely centered around a depression fit. Yeah, I know "episode" is the preferred terminology, but let's face it: fit fits better. And it was a doozy, intensity-wise. Hell, my daughter's full-throttled glee at the swimming pool being open (yelling "this is fantastic!" and referring to the pool steps as "the dock") only put a ding in the depression fit.

Ultimately, the most potent weapon in the valiant struggle against depression was (as per usual) music. Getting to go to band practice and blast my guitar through a tube amp did wonders, and I returned home a better person (in spite of my singer telling me, "you are the most obnoxious person I know").

Of course, my mind has been focusing on this marvelous property of music to act as a salve against depression. I even thought about writing a song about it. I started humming a melody, and then the phrase "you gotta see my panacea" came forth.

Luckily, I was wise enough to recognize it for the nonsense it was and switch instead to playing video games.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I first got online in 1994. Yeah, I was an early adopter, but there was a lot of history before that. And although I knew a lot of it, it's never too late to learn more. Thanks to Forty Years of the Internet, I learned the first internet message was "LO" was supposed to be "LOGIN," but the one of the computers crashed.

Reminds me of one of my early machines.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

the perils of teaching business writing

I'm teaching an online summer course in Professional and Business Writing. I don't really want to teach over the summer, but I do need the money. Still, I wouldn't mind all that much except for two things:
  1. A lot of this writing is pretty boring. I know this is probably something I shouldn't admit in public, but it's really hard to bring myself to care about how they use columns in their resumes. Still, I could fight this if it weren't for:
  2. I have to comment on their document design. No problem...however, one of the things I have to mention is their use of white space. Again, not really a problem...except I find myself accidentally typing "shite space" instead of "white space." I wonder how many times I have not caught my mistake.
Being a teacher is rough.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

the perils of beauty

I was supposed to have a photoshoot today, so I did effective grooming this morning. Then the photoshoot for cancelled. Now I have to walk around all day with product in my hair.

I wonder if this is how the beautiful people feel.

a good day

I got to my psychiatrist appointment only to find out that I'm somehow running a credit and don't have to give them a co-pay. Woohoo! It's a good day to be crazy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

a good, authentic coffee

On Wednesdays, my daughter goes to soccer lessons, and I have a little under an hour to kill. My refuge is a local coffee shop. It's a cool place, obviously designed and run by someone who really would rather be in the Caribbean than Perrysburg, Ohio. I'm glad he's here, though. Besides the coffee (which is really good...he roasts beans daily in the shop), it's just a cool little shop that doesn't look like it's trying to be anything other than what the owner wants.

Today, though, the owner's sick, and the shop is closed. So I'm instead sitting at another coffee shop across the street. It's locally owned instead of chain (which is something). But it's...well, I hate it. It's decorated in muted shades of blue and gray. The Batista is dressed like she should be in a boutique. They are playing what sounds like contemporary muzak pop out of an iPhone plugged into an iPhone dock. When the kitchen is open, they serve crepes. In short, it's the kind of place where the clientele is more likely to order double shot iced mochas than an actual coffee.

Which I guess is fitting, as this is a pretty well-off, upper class bedroom community. I would, however, much rather be in the beach shack coffee place.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

the Battlestar is coming to save me

After bashing at it for the last two weeks, I've finally put the final bit of prep onto my summer online class. I've only ever taught one class over the summer, and to tell the truth, I really didn't want to do anymore. However, life (and the accompanying poverty) have a habit of wrecking the most carefully laid plans.

When I need to clear my head, I've been binge-watching Battlestar Galactica. There was a good quote in my lunchtime episode that I wanted to share:

It's naive to think that horrible things that we can't understand have simple explanations, because simple explanations make us feel like we have control, when we don't.

This is one on which to ponder over the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Today was the last day of the semester. I taught my final two classes. Only one student showed up to the final class. I came home and started grading. I kept grading until my brains turned to pudding. Then I finished Spaced. The awesome of the latter outweighs the less-than-awesome of everything else.

Sometimes you can find imbalances like that which work in your favor. Tomorrow, for instance, my wife and kid are leaving to visit relatives. Me? I'm staying here to grade. Wee. But I also have band practice, and that should outweigh everything else.

Monday, April 11, 2016

no fear

I have clinical depression. I've had kidney stones. I've had some of the most disturbing surgery recovery one can imagine. I've failed at my chosen career. I've had any variety of shocks to the system, and I'm here to tell you all that there is a bright side. Nothing scares me anymore. Or, as Berke Breathed says:

they come running just as fast as they can

One of the reasons (I like to tell people when they ask...not that they really take that much of an interest) I do the job I do is because there's no dress code. I don't like formal I do my best to not wear them if possible. Where I work? Dressing up doesn't help me. In fact, the one semester I experimented with a blazer, it actually hurt my classes, as the students thought I was way too formal and wouldn't talk at all.

 Most people assume this is because I am incapable of effectively dressing up. That is not true at all. I actually own a very nice suit. Moreover, on the rare occasions I do dress up, I've also been told I accessorize and color match quite well. In other words, if I wanna, I can look good.

The issue? Most times, I just don't wanna. I dislike formalism. I dislike the idea that I have to put on a "hey, I'm an adult" uniform. I don't like artifice when it comes to identity. Moreover, I don't like having anything tight around my neck, so I hate ties. This also leads me to not like turtlenecks, but that more influences my ability to dress business casual/preppy than anything else.

Today, though, I found a suit I would dearly love to own. I like it so much, I would dearly love to change careers so I could wear said suit with greater frequency. What is this marvelous outfit? Why, it's the pictured Pac-Man suit. Tell me that ain't just awesomely cool. It would, however, have a fairly big drawback. Where would you actually wear it? I'm betting the bosses who would approve it as professional wear are few and far between. It's probably out for most weddings. Funerals? Also a no-go, I bet.

However, I make you this promise right now, as we speak. If any of you decide to buy this for me, I promise to invent situations to wear it.

Message me for my suit size, please.

Friday, April 08, 2016


I like coffee. I mean, really like. Coffee is holy. I have reworked a number of classic quotes to be about coffee. "Black blood of the earth." "You mean coffee?" "I mean black blood of the earth." That one is my favorite, but I also enjoy "no pleasure, no sin, no exquisite rapture greater than coffee." So it is with great that I, as a result of both a decreased ability to process caffeine and on advice of my urologist that limit myself to a maximum of two cups a day. That make every single speck of coffee that much more special.

So you can imagine my feelings when, while doing dishes Monday, I accidentally broke my French Press. There was, for the record, much weeping and rending of garments. I thought I might try to go without coffee the next day, but within minutes of leaving the house, I found myself in the drive-through of a Tim Hortons. Of course, it took seven minutes to work through the refunding of my accidental overcharge before I could get on my way to work. Top this with my four year old in the back seat complaining that she "is gonna be late for class," and you can see why the day least to more anxiety than normal instead of gentle stimulation.

My AeroPress came in the next day. I've never used one of these before, so I poured over the instructions. Then I recalled hearing of the annual AeroPress recipe championships, so I looked them up online. Later that night I decided to check YouTube for tutorials. Next thing I know, an hour and a half of my mother, my father, and I watching coffee making videos and critiquing them had passed. It was stimulating I'm a completely unexpected way.

Not, however, as stimulating as the coffee the next morn.

Monday, March 28, 2016

you ever have that feeling...

...when you spend two and a half hours cooking a band new recipe like the red bean stew (which looks very promising), lovingly prep all the food, finish, serve, dish up, have your four year old take a bite only to say, "Daddy I don't like this," take a few bites yourself, and realized that your kid is right, and the dinner just ain't that good?

Yeah, me too.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

time off

This week in class, some of my students were talking before class about how much they wish they could sleep in all day instead of having to work. One of them asked me if I agreed, and I told him the idea of spending all day in bed frankly scared me.

He looked puzzled, so I explained that with generating lesson plans for four new classes, grading, my band, my solo album, my therapy, my depression, and my family, I always seem to be massively behind. A full day in bed would just mean I wouldn't be able to sleep for a week if I wanted to get close to getting caught up. Moreover, this knowledge would mean I wouldn't be able to enjoy the day in bed anyway.

I think I might be a workaholic trapped in a lazy man's body.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

friends and dreams

I've been thinking about distant friends lately. On my best days, I try keep the Harry Potter quote in mind: the ones we love never really leave us. Most of the time, believing this is fairly difficult, becoming more difficult every time another friend takes a job in another state,moves on, leaves me behind. But still I try, in spite of the houses turning from places where my friends live to the shadows of where they used to be.

The worst moments sneak up on you. The other day, my daughter was playing, and she picked up a boo one of our friends gave her. It was said friend's book as a child, and that she gave the book to my daughter was originally very touching. Since then, said friend has decided I'm the root of all that's wrong or something like that, and she has made it a point to act as if I don't exist. I usually put on a brave front and play along in the game of mutual disdain, but there are times--such as when I saw the dedication in the front of the book from an aunt to said friend as a child--where I can't help but dwell on what is lost. Then I remembered that the person in question won't have anything to do with me. Then I don't know what to think

Still, though, we always have dreams, and hopefully that is somewhere where everything can work out. Last night, I dreamt of running into a few scattered friends at a party. The one conversation I recalled upon awakening is of a friend showing me all the new items she had invented. Now, this person claims to be utterly uncreative. Moreover, she's not really a nuts & bolts person. Yet my dream friend had invented and manufactured any number of hand tools. I don't remember most of them with any specificity, but the last tool was some type of rivet gun which implanted decorative bolts and such directly into one's bones. After showing me the tool, she turned around and showed me the silver star studs affixed to the back of her skull. Now, I really don't think my friend will ever become an inventor, but if she did? I could see her dreaming up this project.

It's a shame, though, the good ones only happen in dreams.

Monday, March 07, 2016

mental occupation

I have, for reasons I'm not going to explore here, found myself on campus during the Monday of Spring Break. Of course, it's deserted, and I can't do half of what I need to do...because that's just the way life is.

So of course, I need to occupy my time. A colleague of mine started the year by putting inspirational quotes on his door. He promised to add a new one each week. So far, though, this has not happened. So I decided to compile some quotes and add them to his door for them. I hope he likes today's addition:

Thursday, March 03, 2016


I spent Tuesday in mental pain. But even though my brain doesn't work properly, I knew that I couldn't dwell in the mental pain. So yesterday and today, I did my best to push down the horrible twist in my gut and get to work.

I am happy to report that after two full days of research, I now have evidence to prove I am not actually the world's most suck-ass teacher. And, as a result, I feel relatively normal again.

Now to prepare myself for the forthcoming battle.


After all the trials this week, I'm happy that I have a family to support me. But they're my family, so the support is...different.

Earlier tonight, my daughter said, "I love you more than anything."

"Aw, I love you more than anything too."

"I even love you more than stinky fish!"

So I got that going for me, I guess.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


After the hell of a birthday I had Tuesday, I've spent Wednesday with my kid...which helps a whole lot. I've spent most of my mental energy on trying to hold myself together, on mustering my strength, on funneling my rage/depression into researching my case and arming myself for a massive battle with the powers that be at my job. You know, fun stuff. Mostly, though, I've been looking for positives, for things that help, for any sliver of worth in myself or in the world.

While I was cooking dinner and waiting for a pot of soup to come to the boil, I picked up my library copy of the Harvey Pekar collection On the Fly. I've loved Pekar for quite some time. He brings humanity to everyone he depicts. While the soup simmered, I took the book with me to the couch. My daughter snuggled up to me, and I plowed though the rest of the stories. I went back to the introduction (previously skipped), which I noticed was written by author/television personality Anthony Bourdain. Near the end of the introduction, Bourdain says,
Harvey Pekar owned not just Cleveland but all those places in the American Heartland where people wake up every day, go to work, do the best they can--in spite of the vast and overwhelming forces that conspire to disappoint them--and try as best as possible to do right by the people around them, to attain that most difficult of "ideals": to be "good" people.
That is all I really think I'm trying to do...and I can't tell you how much reading this helped.


Yesterday was my birthday. Up until I got to work, it was going swell. Then it went wrong. I mean horribly wrong, cataclysmic level of awful. Black fog descending, light fading, depression monster honing this pointy claws. Bleak, hopelessness, pointlessness. I'm not gonna write here about the details, but trust me...there was a reason. This wasn't just a random fit.

So, to all the people who wished me happy birthday yesterday: thank-you ever so much. It was wonderful beyond belief to hear from you and was one of the few things which made me feel that I had any value at all as a human being. I can't tell you how much I needed to hear from you...and I'm sorry I won't have the chance to thank each of you individually and personally.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

ignorance, fast food, and screen time

When I became a parent, I found myself hungry for advice. In an effort to stave the encroaching panic about my lack of fatherhood skills, I hunted down suggestions from every possible source. Me and my wife, for instance, purchased more than one of the books from the What to Expect When You're Expecting series. We scoured over them. Prior preparation prevents poor performance, right?

As it turned out, after about ten months, most of these books went by the wayside, never to be opened again. What was the issue? On one hand, since every child develops differently, the advice they contain requires so much interpretation, it's not funny. Worried your kid is slow learning to do something? Consult the book...only to find that while many children acquire the skill at this age, many others do so either earlier or later in their development cycle. It only takes a few of these instances to begin to see said books for what they are: the parental equivalent of junk food...nice every so often, but no substitute for actual food.

Lots of the advice also tends to be common sense stuff.  There is one important condition to this, however: the parent cannot be an idiot. Any section on proper nutrition works as a good example. If you need to be told not to feed your eight month old McDonald's hamburgers, no amount of outside advice is going to really help your parenting skills.

One bit of advice I saw more than once was to make sure you limit your child's screen time. Watching too much television, the books claim, can hinder emotional and mental development, thus possibly turning your child into a slithering moron. No more than three hours per day, many of them recommend. Others suggested one hour as a maximum. Still others said no television at all. Of course, they also suggested that you move out to a grassland and become a homesteader, gathering your own food from the surrounding take that as you will.

On one hand, I can kind of understand this advice. There is a lot of junk on know, the visual equivalent of that McDonald's hamburger. After all, no one on Earth needs to be exposed to any more Barney or Calliou than absolutely necessary. However, I trained as a media scholar, and as a result, I'm innately suspicious of any claim about the medium overall. It reminds me of those academics who brag that they don't even own a television. I suspect it's more an issue of perceived class than a matter of actual science.

So, with our child, we don't put too many limits on screen time. We try to encourage good shows, and  we try to help her find stuff with some value. That, however, is about it. I feel that my daughter still watches an awful lot of garbage. My wife says I only think this stuff because I'm a bitter person. She also says that I need to let my standards go and remember that it's only kid's programming. Of course I disagree. For example, why on Earth would the Bubble Guppies, who live under water, be flying on an airplane? Of course this drives me crazy, so of course, this is a stupid show.

The thing is, my wife might (shudder) very well be right...because my daughter does seem to become a whole lot smarter as a result of the television shows she watches.

On Wednesday, we were (after a heavy morning of playing and artwork), vegetating and watching television. Well, my daughter was watching while I was playing gin rummy on my phone. She had on something I'd rather ignore, so I was ignoring it. The show must've been something about space, because she said to me, "Daddy, is that true? Is the Earth really a big ball?"

"Yes it is, darling."

"...and if we jumped up and down really hard, could we make the Earth bounce around the room?"

She had my attention. "No, honey. The Earth is really big. It would take a whole lot to move it. You'd have to be a really big giant to have any effect at all."

She thought it over. "A really big giant? Would it work if you were a proboscis monkey?"

And this is why I'm completely rethinking my relationship with media...and, for that matter, with fast food.

crushing expectations

The coolest thing about being allowed to teach a poetry class is to be able to move away from the sleepwalk/recycle mode that I've been in with my other classes. Don't get me wrong; it's not that I don't care about my other classes. However, I have a slate of four different classes I teach, and I've been doing them for over a decade, so they are definitely not surprising me in any way. Moreover, I have them down to where they work, and if they're working, why change? So they require very little creativity on my part.

My poetry class, though? I'm having to think out of the box every time I plan anything. Very little from my previous classes transfers. And while this does mean I have to work a lot harder than normal, it also means that I can be creative...which is something the other classes do not require.

Last Thursday, for instance, we were covering comedy and satire poetry. We got into a discussion of how comedy is contextual, and I started talking about the international versions of "what is funny." I told them some Romanian jokes as an example of black humor. We discussed how lots of British humor seems based on discomfort. I then mentioned Canadian humor, but for some reason, none of my students had never experienced any Canadian comedy. Since we're only two hours away from the border, this confused me. One person asked for an example, so, in a fit of inspiration, I showed them this:

This, my dear readers, is why I love my job so much.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

the best thing you will see today, 2/27/16

One of the best things about the interwub is that if you search long enough and are very lucky, you can find the coolest things. For instance, I just found an article (with a video clip) about a sketch on the Richard Pryor Show which had Pryor as a bartender in a Star Wars bar.

You're welcome.

what is and how things should be

A couple of weeks ago, my favorite diner had a fire. It was pretty badly damaged and will have to be gutted and reconstructed. Luckily, my wife and I ate there a few days before, but it seems that ever since, I've had at least four instances of, "Man, I really want to go to the Corner Grill tonight." And ,of course, that's something I can't now do. Sometimes, that's just how life is.

One of the bartenders at my favorite bar loves my favorite diner as much as do I, so by the end of the week of the fire, she had already started planning a benefit show for the diner's employees. I contacted her as soon as I heard and volunteered my services. As much as I miss their food, I also miss the people. Everyone who works at the Grill is awesome. They made my daughter her first hamburger and her first pancake...and most of the times we go, she gets either a chocolate chip smiley face on her pancake, or the cook makes the pancake into a special design (several past favorites have included pancake as cat and pancake as snowman). My daughter has a special relationship with their evening guy, Steve (aka Kilt guy), and they banter regularly. So of course I wanted to help these people. That is how life should work...we should at least take care of our own.

So I was scheduled to play the benefit, which was great. I don't have the next generation of my band ready yet, so I was playing as an acoustic act...just me, six strings, and a kazoo. Of course, I get scheduled to go right after a really heavy, grungy area band. Furthermore, I couldn't get anyone to play with me (my trombonist couldn't get off work), so I'd be facing a crowd of people who just had their ears blasted, and I'd be doing so alone. Further furthermore, no one I knew was able to come and support me. I try to be optimistic (really, I do), but I had grandiose visions of the room clearing before I got to the first chorus of the first song...because sometimes, that's just how life goes.

So after the very cool Casket Company plays and breaks down their massive amplifiers, I mount the stage with acoustic and kazoo. I start playing, and rather than fleeing, most of the crowd stays. I get applause. I get "woos." My Miley Cyrus cover gets a good wave of claps...and in general, it was one of the best received solo performances I've done. After I get off the stage, a few people go out of their way to thank me and to tell me they liked my stuff. That's how my life goes when get really, really lucky.

After my set, I got a chance to hang out with the very cool Dick Pretzel, who was MCing the event. Dick is a stand-up comedian who's been a fan of my music from several bands, and it was great to see a friendly face. I talked to a few of the Corner Grill staff and owner. I had some magnificent vegetarian gumbo. I heard some great tunes. I got to talk to the amazing Justin Payne and hear his set. Sometimes, life can just be good.

While I loved being out, I was beginning to miss my I decided to head home. Only problem was that my car had been towed. It was parked in the same lot I'd been using throughout the last six years of playing at the bar. Apparently someone different than the bar now owns the back 30 feet of the lot, and they just decided to start towing people. So I had to get a ride and pay $100 dollars to get my own car back. Sometimes, that's just how life is.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Slice of life, 2/22/15

So me and my girl were leaving the grocery store, and she was yelling, dancing, and generally aging as usual, in other words. We got to our car, and we had to wait for the person in the next car to get out. The woman exiting the passenger side saw Sylvia and said, "it looks like someone is a singer."

"And a dancer," my daughter added.

I offered my take: "Or maybe you're just crazy."

"No. I am an artist," my daughter said as she climbed into her seat...and I had to remind myself she's only four and a half..

Friday, February 12, 2016

my Onion Horoscope, 2/12

"Remember: Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. Barricade the door to your goddamn basement before it arrives"

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

chew on this

Last night, I had a dream that I was on some college campus, beset by some vague difficulty (it was vague in the dream). As I was trying to solve whatever was going on, I started to chew some gum. Then I tried to spit out some of said gum, but a certain portion of it stuck in my mouth. I spent the rest of the dream torn between solving whatever problem and prying the gum out of my mouth, bit by bit.

While the bit about being on some campus was relatively new, I have actually dreamed about the stubborn gum...about a month ago, I think. But I am no stranger to recurring dreams. As a kid, I used to dream about driving (and sometimes walking) across giant bridges suspended impossibly high over a river-divided city...only about half of the time, significant portions of the bridges in question would crumble or, even worse, be missing altogether. And I have been dreaming of being back at Little Caesars for well over a decade.

The literary part of my mind wonders what the gum dream could mean. I've read my Freud, but this one seems to be beyond Freudian interpretation. At any rate, I'm sure that Freudian dream analysis has probably been proven obsolete by the psychology community...knowing my luck, that is.

Maybe I'll ask my therapist. He'll probably tell me dreams are random brain misfires. But who knows? He has, during our last few sessions, said that pessimists have a more accurate view of reality, come to the defense of escapism, and used a Terminator 2 metaphor. Maybe he'll surprise me again.

My personal future with the gum industry depends on it.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

pickles in the morning

Mornings do strange things to us DuBoses. Today? My daughter's first words upon waking: "Daddy? You're a pickle bow. That means you are really good at eating pickles. Hey, wanna hear a joke? Why did the pickle cross the road? To get to the other coffee! You can tell that to your students if you wanna."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

weighty issues

Lately, I've lost a bit of weight. I knew I wanted to shed some tonnage for a while, but when I felt my head was good enough to not require 100% of my work, I changed my diet.  I had some thoughts about how to do so (I mean, I had already cut out meat and alcohol), but I decided to eliminate most sugar from my diet after watching this:

This had an interesting level of difficulty. When you start to become cognizant of sugar's omnipresence, grocery shopping changes. I can now only buy product from like 7% of the store. I went full-bore no sugar for the first couple of weeks before I added the occasional fruit back into my system. Even then, I stayed with low sugar (grapefruit, berries) or glucose-centric fruit (bananas, mostly). And whenever I had a craving for...pretty much anything, really, I went to nuts. Peanuts, cashews, and the like became my go-to food.

The results have been really startling so far. I started all of this sometime in the Fall (probably September), and now, I'm down about two and a half stone. I have had to buy smaller jeans, and I've moved up four notches on my belt.

The weirdest thing, though? When people point out that I've lost weight, they tell me "you look good." I respond with, "I always looked good." But really, did no one want to tell me that was I that much of a bloated whale carcass before?  Look, I think I feel better, but that everyone else is now able to look at me? Weird. If I ever break the 200 barrier, I might have to become a model!

ps: I am firmly aware that women have to put up with this kind of crap all the time, and that me having never heard such comments before is due to my male privilege. As much as the sudden focus on my attractiveness strikes me, I am also just adjusting to having people look at me. Weird.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

anecdotal evidence on genetics versus learned behavior

One of the coolest things about having a child is getting a chance to do some good first-hand science. After all, you have someone who comes out with only limited influences. What will lead to the subject's new behavior? It's a common question.I particularly love using my child to play out the environment versus genetics debate, and this is where I learned today's important lesson.

I saw a pretty cool article on Buzzfeed about Lego finally introducing a minifigure in a wheelchair. As a social justice warrior, I found this to be overwhelmingly positive, but I didn't want to make assumptions about the future generation. So I showed the picture to my kid. She looked at it and said, "Cool! But you know what's really cool? That one there pushing a lawnmower! Can we get these? Please?"

Now...I am perfectly aware that I might have influenced her lack of surprise when it comes to the physically disabled minifig. But I can most certainly guarantee you that I in no way would ever suggest that mowing the lawn was anything other than agonizing hell. In fact, I have no idea where she might've received a positive feeling towards lawn maintenance.

So, there you are. Science.

Friday, January 22, 2016

so I asked my daughter a question

...and, after she told me where my missing slipper was, she said, "I told you I know everything. I saw it with my bat vision."

This is the next generation. You're welcome, humanity.

Monday, January 18, 2016


I'm teaching two sections of a new (to me) class this semester. When they originally (and fairly at the last minute) threw me into Reading Poetry, I was scared. Not only was it fairly short notice on a class I had never taught class before, I had never actually taught poetry at all. Moreover, as it was a more advanced class than I normally teach, I knew I needed to do a good job. After deciding on a text and entering the initial planning stage, though, the fear turned to excitement. This was gonna be fun.

Of course, that excitement doesn't preclude more fear. I had vast plans this weekend to get my week's lesson plans knocked out early. However, I then got sick and spent most of the weekend scrunched up under a blankie. Today, I had to definitely get the Tuesday class lesson plan done, lingering exhaustion or no.  So I plowed through the material, and guess what? The panic returned.

The problem is that all poetry texts start off with the "how to analyze poetry" sections, and said sections are always the stuff like "all about imagery" or "figures of speech." This has always bored me. I understand the concept of introducing basic terminology, but the implied resulting action pushes poetry towards taxonomy. As an example, one of the poems in tomorrow's reading actually had a discussion question which asked students to circle all verbs and tie them into symbolism. Blech.

This kind of ruins the fun of poetry in my mind. It would be like thinking one could understand all the foibles of humanity by studying anatomy/physiology. One would gain a certain amount of knowledge, but it would be relatively pointless knowledge, suitable for no more than some contemporary card catalog of terminology...and that ain't poetry.

I was slogging through the readings for the second time, though, when it finally hit me. I heard the kettle drums of my psyche pounding. The fluorescents in my study somehow narrowed to a pinhole spot aimed directly at my cerebellum. Choirs of angels (who mysteriously rang out in a voice reminiscent more of Ronnie James Dio verse than of a Handel refrain) chanted. I knew how to tie it all together. The answer? Film director Edgar Wright.

I'd tell you more, but I, in the spirit of a good poetry reading, am more interested in your interpretation than any literal truth.

1) Please identify all uses of irony, simile, metaphor, hyperbole, paradox, and any other figure of speech and spell out the role of these devices in explicating the "epiphanies" mentioned in the title.
2) How would other poets have tackled the same issue? How is their particular use of tone different than in this piece?

just to clarify

It's been one of those weekends. While I could go on in depth on my feelings and attitudes towards said weekend, I just wanted, rather than addressing some specific points, to add some more general clarifying information. Pick and choose whichever is most applicable to you personally.
  • Even though some might deride the current crop of "kids" as whiners, the best way to make one's point is not by suggesting they be more often required to kill people. Just a thought, but constant warfare generally might not be a great thing.
  • Colleges? If you truly value active learning, you might want to not schedule 2 1/2 hour college classes for Friday afternoons.
  • You might possibly be more able to maintain an even mental keel if you quit hunting for people who tick you off so you can let them know you think they are stupid/evil/whatever. Being an evangelical anti-idiot is still being evangelical (in the worst possible way).
  • A company refusing to label their product as halal is not a victory in the war on terrorism any more than a company refusing the kosher label for their hot dogs makes said wiener makers anti-Semites.
  • I'm not being reclusive or paranoid, honestly, and I don't truly believe there's causality at work. I just seem to get sick whenever the taiko ensemble plays my local dive bar. Someone needs to figure this one out.
  • We all know the college textbook industry is evil. It seems college bookstores are complicit in said evil. They are the major pains in my pedagogical backside right now.
Okay, that's enough for now. I gotta get back to work so I can get out of debt, eventually buy a house, and tell kids to get off my lawn

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

day one from the trenches

Today is day one of the new semester. It's still too early to tell, but I think this will be a fun one.

I had my teaching schedule changed pretty late in the game. Normally, this is a bummer, but this time, I lost two sections of College Composition One and had them replaced with two sections of Reading Poetry. Usually, I'm stuck with the "welcome to college" writing classes or the tech/business writing classes. I do the best I can with them (I've even made the business/tech classes interesting to me...which was an accomplishment, because I found "here's how to write a resume" unbelievably dull). They are not, however, what I pictured myself doing with my life. The poetry classes? Those are fresh, exciting, and fun. I get to feel like a professional, like the kind of teacher I went to college for twelve plus years to become. I've only had literature classes twice before, but each time, they were marvelous. The last fiction class was by far the best time I've had teaching in my life. Don't know if this semester will go that well, but I have hopes.

One of the reasons I have hope? In class discussions today, we agreed that out of all the characters in the Star Wars series, Kylo Ren would be the most likely to be a poet. He is, they agreed, just emo enough to pull off the tortured coffee shop writer bit. I love it when my students are creatively funny.

After my last class, I saw a bunch of students who haven't yet got the textbook taking photos of our next class's reading from those students who already have it. It's the first time I've seen this happen, so I'm particularly impressed with their problem solving.

Let's hope the trend continues

Saturday, January 09, 2016

the big time

I guess I must've hit some level of the big time. I just got hacked! Passwords are changed and all, so we're all fine here, but don't open the link in the post earlier today (if you in fact saw it).

I hope this fulfilled some inner desire/ brings some peace to whomever hacked my account...or maybe gives them motivation to do something with their lives.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

the latest judgement on my character

My daughter has an issue with never wanting to go to bed. Tonight, after telling me she had been taking an eye injury to stay up, she then asked me to put one of her programs on TV. As a reasonable father, I pointed out that it was already an hour and a half past her bed time. She looked me in the eye and said, "you're as mean as a bulldog."

Of course, not two minutes later, she gave me a very chipper "I love you!" So who knows?

Friday, January 01, 2016

on the other side

The song of the season says, "May all acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind." That, however, ain't my life. In fact, I seem to have ended up on the opposite side of the equation.

I used to go gallivanting on the 31st. This year? I spent New Years Eve sitting on the couch by myself  (as my daughter was, as per usual, fighting against her mother over the topics of bedtime and sleep). I was watching a documentary as the ball fact, I didn't even think of the magic moment until about a quarter of an hour too late. This is, incidentally, much the same thing I did the year before (although, to be fair, I have no real idea what I was watching on 12/31/14).

Does everything (as another song says) really change on New Year's Day? Not for me. The wife and kiddo are visiting my in-laws while I'm prepping classes for next semester. The one person who I could think to call for lunch was too tired to leave his chair. I'm really less ringing out the old or in the new than continuing the same old slog.

I don't want to turn this into a pity party, though. I have plenty of friends...they just seem to live somewhere other than here. The ones still in the area are the ones with wacky schedules which never seem to coincide with mine. I don't quite know how this happened. Some time shortly after my daughter was born, I found it harder and harder to find anyone who wanted to hang out with me, even after doing everything possible to make myself a nicer and more friendly person. Still, the level of social connections just kept decreasing...and, several years later, I still can't seem to reverse the trend.

In one of my songs off the forthcoming album, I have a line that says: "don't wanna be here and still disappear...a social Schrodinger's thing." It's one of my favorite lyrics from the new album, but I gotta admit that it hits a little too close to home. Somehow, I've turned into a social afterthought, and I have no clue how this happened. I have a great life with my family, at work, and playing music. Outside of those, however, there's not much left. Most of the time, I deal with this just fine. Other days? It bothers me...but that's something me and my therapist will just have to keep working on.

Enjoy your 2016, everyone, but remember: more important than flipping over the calendar is finding and holding on to those around you. We're all social animals...even those of us who aren't currently finding much success pulling it off.