Thursday, September 3, 2015

B1G Things Poppin'

               The college football season is finally upon us. Much like Hank Williams Jr., I am both ready for some football and also jobless, so I decided to write something about the CFB season opening.
               The Big Ten is the oldest existing collegiate association, with six of the original seven teams still in the conference. They’re highly regarded as premier research institutions, with high enrollment and high financial endowments, lots of living alumni, and a very large TV market. Their athletics, while sometimes disparaged, routinely rank high enough to earn them a spot as a power conference in nearly every sport. All in all, the Big Ten, for all its low-scoring foibles, is a force to be reckoned with and respected as we approach another college football season.

               But forget all that. Let’s make their mascots fight.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Full Leaden Jacket

Hi guys. Marathon training isn’t going great, and the job search is over for now, to put it lightly. So to cheer myself up, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite stories from history that we’ve forgotten.

               The Revolutionary War is important to America since it marked our independence and the victory of democratic self-rule in a modern era. But I’ve gone on record ON THIS VERY BLOG (you look it up, ya turkey) as testifying that we tend to overblow its importance across the world. Globally, the French Revolution meant WAY more and had a much larger scope in both boob-heavy paintings and chopped-off heads. But that doesn’t mean the subject isn’t ripe with its own fun turns of fate and cinematic life. I mean, why don’t we have a “hiding from the government” miniseries about the Revolutionary War? About the original Founders after they’ve signed their names to a treasonous document and now are fleeing from town to town and house to house, depending on the loyalty of people to put them up and provide for them? BUT NOOOOOOOO it’s all about Mel Gibson hunting down pretentious Englishmen to avenge Heath Ledger.



               Anyhoozle, this next one would not make a good movie. It would, however, make a FANTASTIC episode of Drunk History, and if you’re listening, people who make that show that might have already devoted a segment, have me on to do this. I’m a real entertaining drunk.

This is the story of a Founding Father named Oliver Wolcott.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#Content

             I get bored at work a lot. It’s not work’s fault. I’m just temping between student teaching and what is now clearly going to be substituting work, and I work with large sums of money. Yeah, sure, it’s just data entry, but the data I enter is often more money than I will get paid for the entire summer. I'm terrified of those big numbers and will only do the work I am 100% sure won't end up getting a whole branch bankrupt, which leaves me not doing a lot, often.
             Anyhoo, I found myself on Twitter recently during a particularly slow day. Someone had posted an article where they compiled the original version of oft-stolen tweets, found here. They provided a link to the search functions that would reveal copy cats. I scrolled through, trying to find my ol’ nemeses “parody” accounts. Instead what I found was a world that threatens to consume my very spirit.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Golden Birthday, or: Goodbye

            Hi! December 4th is this blog’s anniversary day, and it will be the fourth anniversary! This blog has been around for far too long. If we compiled everything I’ve written here into a more constructive release pattern, it’d probably still be 2012. Sorry.
            I’m going to plug things. I finished a novel, which you can read fo’ free while I revise it, since I’m really thinking that I might hahaha no not really. Just read it! I think it’s pretty good, but I’m a little biased as I spent an entire year of my life on it. Read it here.
            I write for a D&D website, which is very very exciting. That can be found here. I’m the guy who’s called Udalf Alfisol. I write about being awesome at tabletop gaming.
            Here’s a piece that I wrote that I think is pretty good. It's much shorter than the novel at 1/100th of the length.
            So, I plug all of these things, not only because I’m self-serving and an idiot, but mostly to show you that with these things I did, and the Real Life things I’m about to start doing, I don’t really have time for this blog. I have much better outlets for half of the stuff that I come up with now. Like I have a history idea pop into my head? Well, I’ll just make that a lesson plan.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Poet and I DO Know It

For my creative writing class I'm taking this semester, we had a unit on poetry. Now, I'm a macho man with macho tendencies, so I had a hard time coming up with poems. Just kidding. But please understand that these are all "Hey write a poem RIGHT NOW" type dealies. Okay? Okay.


Villanelle:

Like a friend, impatient, calling
Autumn has seen its time again
From the trees the leaves are falling.

Cold nights in blankets, dawdling
An urge to cuddle has been
Like a friend, impatient, calling.

Memories of the harvest we all sing
Colors change from green to red when
From the trees the leaves are falling.

Tractors in fields like insects crawling
Becoming gluttons and other sin
Like a friend, impatient, calling.

Cold hard rains of clouds a'bawling
Put umbrellas into the hands of men
From the trees the leaves are falling.

Then the wind my cheeks mauling
Sending foxes into their warming den
Like a friend, impatient, calling
From the trees, the leaves have fallen.

Pantoum:

Rain beat softly at the large pane window
The house was quiet and the world was calm
A drink in hand and a pen on the desk.
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone.

The house was quiet and the world was calm
As the ice sank into the brown
Beyond all this, the wish to be alone
Away from everyone, even himself.

As the ice sank into the brown
The pen stayed on the desk.
Away from everyone, even himself,
He stared out into the world.

The pen stayed on the desk.
Not a word was wrote.
He stared out into the world
Rain beat softly at the large pane window.

Found Poem:

Our Fathers brought forth
A great civil war
far above our poor power.

We have come,
conceived in liberty,
created equal.
But in a larger sense,
the world will little note
us the living.


We cannot consecrate
under God
and that government.
It is rather for us to
perish from the Earth.

(All lines are from the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln)

Tanka:

The plexiglass roof
Keeps our Colombo alive
In Iowa cold.
But it keeps him close to ground
While the mute koi fish pace on.

Asian bamboo grows
Next to this African bird.
The distance, cut short.
But neither one knows better,
This is their flora of home.



Free Verse-ish Thing I did for workshop:

Vacant Lot
A broken bottle, shattered glass
A gum wrapper, wasteful trash
Broken concrete, a vacant lot.

No more purpose, hardly used
A sad heart, split and bruised
Broken soul, a vacant lot.

But a flower sprouts, amidst the trash
Amidst the ugly, surrounded by glass
A lone flower grows in this vacant lot.
A shred of hope from what was lost.
A rope of love, a lifeline tossed.

One must never forget a single fact-
We can only grow from where we're cracked.

So there's that, I guess. I have more fiction things from the beginning of the semester I can post, plus we're gonna be doing creative non-fiction, which I'll be a boss at. I might just reuse 85% of this blog.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Job Opportunities

I read this at an open mic the other night, and talked entirely too fast. So read this as slowly as you like, but please remember that it was written for performance. Thanks, yo. 

            It’s freakishly bright out. The sunlight, unhampered by any clouds, bounces off of the office paper, practically blinding me. I squint as my pen moves, scratching out words, adding notes. I’m wrapped up enough in the revisions and squinting tight enough against the glare that I don’t see him until he speaks.
            “Mind if I sit?” he asks me.
            I look around. Every other table on the Union rooftop is empty, despite the beautiful sunlight.
            It’s obvious that he wants something from me. I’ve spent years keeping my eye on my phone and earbuds in my ears to avoid clipboarders, but he’s managed to sneak under my defenses.
            “No,” I say reluctantly. Even knowing what kind of person talks to complete strangers, I’m too afraid that he’s someone I’m supposed to remember. High school, class, maybe some bartop best friend- my mental Rolodex spins furiously as he slides his bag off his shoulder.
            “You’re looking pretty good,” he says. “You must be working out.”
            I smile with only a corner of my mouth. He must know me from somewhere. “Yeah, uh, running a lot. You know.”
            “Oh, cool, cool. That must take a lot of work to get that energy up!” he says. He slams a protein shaker bottle onto the table, even though he looks skinnier than I do. I don’t say anything, settling for a casual bobbing of the head to indicate that I was, in fact, listening.
            “Finishing up homework?” he asks as if he was my roommate, full of assumed familiarity. Or maybe it’s genuine familiarity, but just one sided, thanks to my knack for forgetting faces. His is especially forgettable.
            “Uh, yeah,” I allow. It’s easier than telling him the truth- that I fancy myself a writer and am revising my own work that I can’t get relatives to look at.
            “It looks like writing!”
            Shit.
            “Yeah, uh… Yeah."
            My mind screams, flinging aside the file cabinet drawers full of irrelevant information in a frantic attempt to identify this guy. Andrew Johnson was impeached by the Radical Republican legislature in 1868. Petr Cech wears that stupid helmet because he fractured his skull on a goalpost. My girlfriend’s middle name is Elizabeth: all these files get tossed aside in the desperate search.
             I want his name, the police chief in my brain growls.
            “Ooh, writing! Is that your major?” The guy looks young enough to be a freshman, and only freshmen are dumb and lonely enough to try talking to strangers.
            “Nope, Social Science Education, to be a high school history teacher.”
            My mind’s given up. I’ve searched every file I have. It’s clear I don’t know him. It’s a relief that he doesn’t know me either. The relief doesn’t last, though, because now that I know he’s a stranger, we’ve returned to the root of the problem. What does he want?
            “Oh. Are you hoping to, like, do something professionally with that?”
            I blink. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! My mouth answers as my eyes dart for a savior. Please, God, just someone else to rub this guy off onto.
            “Am I hoping to get a teaching job with this teaching degree? Yes. Yes I am.” Get away from this table, I think. I even look at my watch make sure the message gets across.
            “Hmm,” he says definitively. “Hmm.”
            I stare, bug eyed.
            “So, like-” Oh god, he’s searching for a new topic. I cut him off.
            “I’m sorry, but can I help you with something?” I ask. I don’t know how my voice sounds so calm.
            “Yeah, I was just seeing if you were interested-”
            My mind fills in the blank, ringing through the possibilities like a slot machine as it spins. Greek life. Your stupid club. Political movement. Jesus camp. Murder/suicide pact. WHAT IS IT?
            “-in making some extra money?” he finishes.
            Ugh. Pyramid scheme. I’ve heard this before; you buy a box of their product and then sell it to others at a profit. The logo on the side of his protein bottle registers in my memory. It’s that AdvoCare thing; Mary Kay for gym rats, or people pretending to be gym rats. I would rather have the murder/suicide one. “No thanks, I’ve got a job, class all day, training for a marathon…”
            “What if I told you time wasn’t a factor?”
            I facepalm mentally. “Well, I’m leaving town in the spring, so…”
            “It can follow you wherever you go!”
            He really isn’t getting this. “I’m flattered by your offer, but I’m sorry- I have a girlfriend.”
            He laughs. “You’re a funny guy, you’ll do great at this!”
            I level a venomous stare, hoping that he will learn that I’m not laughing with him. That my silence isn’t an invitation, but an indictment of just how badly I don’t want to speak with him.
            “What you would be able to do, here, is buy some nutritional supplements from me, then, find your friends-”
            “I don’t know much about working out!”
            He seems perplexed for a moment, but carries on nonetheless. “You said you were running a marathon, I’ve got tons of stuff that you could use and-”
            “I don’t use nutritional stuff when I run. Hell, I run in dress shoes. I like to keep it classy, you know?”
            “Well, if you get in on the ground floor on this, you’ll certainly do a lot better. In time and money!”
            I’ve had it. “Is it drugs? Are you dealing drugs?”
            “What?” He’s surprised, taken aback. “No, I’m not selling drugs. It’s just nutritional stuff.”
            “Well if it’s not drugs, then I’m not interested, sorry,” I say, and turn back to my writing.
            “Oh-kay…” he trails, and leaves lamely, his tail between his legs. As he glances around the rest of the rooftop for another sucker to interrupt, I can’t help but think how terrible of a salesman the guy was. I wouldn’t want to join any scheme he’s involved with.
            Screw revising, I think, and open my notebook to a new, fresh sheet of paper. I begin to write.

            It’s freakishly bright out.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Passing the Bar

Craig Marbury was a big shot corporate lawyer who had it all: money, cars, loose women; but the one thing he didn't have was love. He couldn't understand what he was missing until he met her- a public defender with a heart of gold.

Jennifer Madison couldn’t make time for anyone. Overwhelmed by her case load, she doesn’t have the hours in a day to make friends or meet people, and her sad squalid apartment is empty on days when she just wants to relax. She didn’t think she’d ever find someone to fill that apartment until she met the corporate lawyer with the chiseled jaw and fancy suits.

Introduced by their mutual friend, Plessy Ferguson, Marbury and Madison are initially at odds: will these two overworked lawyers make a motion- towards love?

When Jen goes on a date with each of the Scotts that Craig works with, he doesn’t know what to do. Not only just clean cut Scott, but she goes out with the one with dreadlocks too? If she’s willing to accept Dread Scott, maybe she isn’t for him!

But when he drives out to the Charles River Bridge, about to jump, she arrives just in time in a boat to talk him down into the shallow water. Now there’s only one way to get to land: Row with Jen or wade ashore himself! He chooses the boat, and they live happily ever after, together.

Coming this Fall, in: (Choose one)

Marbury vs. Madison
The Federal Just Us System
You’re On Her, I Object!
Habeas Corpus
Approaching the Bench
Conflict of Interest

Thank god the market is undersaturated with movies and shows about lawyers, so we'll really stand out!

Special thanks to @LegalDinosaur for help with jokes.