Sunday, June 21, 2009

Two Books I Would Like to Write, and an Unrelated Note

1) "Why I Am No Longer a Teacher, and Why I Will Always Be a Teacher"

An ethical discussion of the US's public education system and moreover, an indictment of the ways I find it to be morally and philosophically deficient, interwoven with memoir and interviews (similar to the way Don Miller writes), and also likely lots of humour.

2) "How to Write So That I Will Love You"

The first sentence of this book will be "I will probably never love you, but there is still hope yet for your happiness and writing acumen yet!"  The last sentence of this book will be "I might someday love you."

The in-between bits will be a stylistic exploration of writing, with lots of illustrative examples and also lots of useful lies.  I plan on also following Drew and Erika's lead by using "Strunk&White!" as an expletive throughout the book.

The Elements of Style can go roll an egg.

Also: a rhetorical primer, and likely some discourse on what I believe the roots of narrative writing are (Hint: It starts with a "C", and rhymes with "Hair-ick-turr"), as well as how we might begin accessing those roots.

Related: Stephanie Meyer can also go roll an egg.  So can Dan Brown.  Tom Clancy doesn't have to go roll an egg, though I want him to watch so that he understands very clearly what he's done.

* * * * *

On a completely unrelated note, the city of St. Louis is now my second favourite city in which I've spent less than 2 weeks of total time.  The first is Madison, WI, but only by a very small margin.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Last Night Was a Good Night

1) My hearing-aid is finally getting fixed.

2) Stir-fry and board-games with a friend last night. He made the stir-fry (various sweet peppers, celery and beef strips, accompanied by white rice), I made a delicious smoothie (Orange juice, fresh raspberries and blueberries, vanilla yogurt and a banana; it was a nice fruity smoothie with a bit of a blueberry aftertaste) and we tried to figure out how to play Race for the Galaxy

There was some fun as we each tried to find a way to make the other guy pick "Produce" or "Consume", and so the game lasted a little longer than perhaps it should have. The friend ended up beating me by 11 (39 to 50), as he had two six-point development cards out.

It's a fun game; I like the "optimization" type games, and I appreciate how the game does not allow players to screw each other over at all.  Not that a bit of screwage isn't fun at times in a board game, but it's nice every so often to play a game that focuses on progressing faster rather than slowing your opponent down.

3) Played tennis with two friends. It's my 3rd time out on the court in the last 3 or 4 months, and after we played king-of-the-court for a while, a fellow from the other court, who is a CPA in a town nearby, decided to join us. I think he played tennis while in college (probably a decade or so ago, if I had to guess), and so he and I rallied for a while while my two friends (who just started playing last year) rallied on a different court.

I was hitting my backhands better than I've ever hit them, as I finally switched back to a two-hander and apparently figured out my footwork.  He was the better player by a pretty decent margin, but it was cool just being able to keep up with him and win a few points. 

I wouldn't be able to hold my own in a match against this guy without a solid month of work on my serve (at least!) and serve-return, and even then, would probably not do much better than a 6-4 set (with him winning and me playing at my absolute best), but it was still pretty cool to be able to hold my own in rallies.

4) Mumbles and Dusty, two poets from Sacramento, were in Omaha and needed a place to stay.  I saw them perform at the National Poetry Slam last year (in a duet piece, actually), and so (after a phone call to me by a member of the Omaha poetry community) they drove down to Lincoln, arrived at 1 am, and we talked for a bit.  I had an air mattress set up for them, and I think they were happy to not have to sleep in their cars.  I imagine that they are still asleep.

I'm off to make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. It will probably have very thinly sliced apples in it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pun of the Day: 1 June 2009

A violinist was was working on composing a new piece when he noticed that every time he played it, his dog and cat would come into the room, sit quietly, and then fall asleep. Being the observant sort, as well as something of an amateur scientist, he tried this at a friend's house; the same thing happened to her dogs! Immediately, this violinist contacted the director of the local zoo to see just how far his abilities extended.

He'd had some splendid success at the zoo, where he could enter the tiger pit and play the tigers to sleep with the soothing sounds of his violin, but wanted to test out his hypothesis in a more challenging environment: the jungle!

After several hours of hard hiking, the violinist found an ideal clearing, which happened to be right in the middle of an area known for its wildlife. He takes his violin out of its case and begins playing.

Sure enough, before too long, a pack of gorillas (who are, by nature, wary) sauntered by. They were immediately entranced by the music and sat to watch. Several minutes later, the same thing happened to several elephants. Before too long, there were tigers, ocelots, jackals, and a whole variety of birds, all sitting very still and very peacefully while this violinist played.

Suddenly, the violinist was attacked from behind by a leopard, and killed!

The animals were aghast (they're anthropomorphized for the sake of this joke), and asked the leopard "Why, why, why did you kill this man?!"


"The music, you fool! You killed the music! Didn't you hear it?"

"What music?"