How Unions are Like Warranties (Infographic)

unions

My wife was returning some Samsung tablets that were defective Christmas presents for our daughters last year. The lady on the phone was so helpful and I got to wondering why unions are not respected as much as warranties these days. They are very similar in function and benefit to society. Support your local union! They make good things happen.

Stay Thirsty My Creative Friends

552808_10150969317781117_223191852_n
I read this list on tumblr one day and got really excited. We creatives need lists like this. Often we get so into our projects that we let ourselves slip. The result? Bad ideas or no ideas. We’ve got to be stoking the coals all time if we want to make great art. And by that mean the art of our lives, not necessarily visual or recording arts.

Continue reading

Digging Deep for What I Stand For

tumblr_m8sjleCw3Z1r214nto1_500.jpg

It isn’t until you come face to face with a threat that you realize what’s worth fighting for. A 16 year old kid doesn’t know how to ask for the manager and sell himself to get a job, Unless he’s hungry, then you will see the sense of urgency come out. A seasoned teacher won’t get involved in his union until a grossly unfair contract is foisted upon him, and on it goes.

When the anthems are playing and you’re partying your life away, you sing along. But when life becomes like the song, you have to live what it’s saying, going out in a blaze of glory. Continue reading

Save Today’s Sun for Tomorrow’s Rain

tumblr_mvyy6wV4sj1s7tm6bo1_500When I’m in raw nature, I get inspired and feel peaceful. I think about the beauty around me as I swim, hike, relax, and make bonfires. I don’t miss a thing. One thing I fail to consider sometimes is that I am recording memories that I will summon throughout my life. I can use these as an escape from any stressful situation. Continue reading

Mexican Food Saved my Soul

IMG_2400.JPGI’m blessed to be able to go out for Mexican food with my family. It’s soul food to me. Ever since I was a wee boy I have adored a cheese enchilada combo plate. It infuses peace into me and puts a grin on my face, every time. An unsweetened iced tea, salsa and chips can decompress me when I’m wound up from the work day.

When I lived in Mexico in the Summer of 1996, I couldn’t get a red enchilada to save my life. Taco stands are big there. That’s where I acquired a taste for onion and cilantro steak tacos. Those are just amazing. The Mexican Taco Stand is an amazing item to behold. With a refilled coke bottle, it’s simply glorious. I owe Mexico my soul. Its food has brought me back from the depths of despair more than once. I have enchiladas to thank. Are you looking for your keys yet? What’s your favorite Mexican food?

People Who Don’t Drink Coffee Could Possibly be Aliens

alien-needs-coffeeI just met with yet another person who doesn’t drink coffee. What is this about? I believe the benefits of coffee are so apparent that one would have to be a fool to not enjoy them. Or, perhaps one could be an alien? Too strong? Try any variety of flavored creamers on the market, many of them now available IN the market. Continue reading

The Healing Grandeur of Nature and Why My Insurance is Going Up

Silverwood Lake (1)This one’s a pure online diary post. It’s a bit of a milestone now that my son has turned 16 and we are giving him our old car. I remember when I got my Dodge Dart from my folks. It was old but I was excited beyond words. I was also affected recently by a Rush (the band) interview in which Neil Peart discussed the grandeur of nature. I talk about both happenings in my life in this podcast episode.

Continue reading

Should Robin Williams be a Poster Boy for Depression

tumblr_msgwviDEfK1sa7d1io1_500.jpg

Robin William’s recent passing has everybody talking about depression. That’s great but I haven’t seen anyone talking about his addiction. You can’t properly treat an underlying diagnosis when there is a dual diagnosis of substance abuse. So, while I am a fan of his work, can we slow the pity bus to a stop? People struggle with depression and visit their psychiatrist and take medication and do THE WORK without cocaine or other drugs and they are getting by. Some are even making the world a better place. When Robin Williams hung himself in his house by a belt, it said more about drug addiction than depression.

I’m all for awareness of mental health issues but I don’t think Robin Williams should be a poster boy for them.

Spoiled Sports Need Not Apply

IMG_2391.JPGI thrive on competition and I believe my students do too. I give table points and offer rewards for the group that works well together all week. To me, there is no better motivation. But since I’ve been in the workforce, I’ve noticed it can get ugly and that ain’t cool. Continue reading

Damien Goes Back to Work

Today was my first day back in my classroom. I didn’t have the kids yet, I have three days to prepare this year. I need it. I focused on a really physical job today: the walls. Hanging butcher paper just right gets you sweating up a storm. I was really pleased with the way they came out.

Continue reading

The Black Coffee Drinker Personality

20140804-104329-38609881.jpg
I fully agree with the black coffee personality. The aroma of coffee is so entrancing, why dilute the flavor with cream or sweeteners? I would add that black coffee drinkers have sturdy and effective coffee makers instead of Keurig or Mr. Coffee. I use a French Press and Starbucks ground mild blends.

The other personalities are too general I’m afraid but they are a lot of fun. So, have you found yourself in coffee up there? Would love to hear how you take yours!

I discovered the Infographic through Vidya Sury

To FIND and Run Thy OWN Race

appleWork meetings, I hope everyone gets motivated. I have the sort of job as a teacher where I am in my own bubble most the time. Once in a while we have a district meeting and once a week a staff meeting. These can be great but sometimes they feel like fillers … showing up to talk about what we have to. I wish teachers could get filled up. We take a lot of flack from kids, parents, the press. It would be nice to get some positive assurance to do our job.

Anyway … this isn’t a rant. Today I start making these walls into a learning environment. As a teacher you must learn to run your own race. Don’t compare yourself to others, even though that is what the whole “testing” culture is about these days. Don’t succumb to it. I want positive colors and positive slogans in my class like “You Matter” up in my room. Whatever test scores may come will probably be favorable if my priorities are straight. Kids need to know that, kids need to know that. Part of that job is mine.

You Probably Think I Got it Made in the Shade

Breakfast at Mollies, you’ll probably think I’ve got it made. My kids (girls both under 10) won’t eat their bacon they say it tastes funny. I taste it and it’s fine. meanwhile the kid in the next booth is screaming bloody murder for chocolate milk. The devil you know may be better than the one you don’t.

I’m going back to work tomorrow after the Summer off. You may think my grass is greener. I have to set up my classroom from scratch, as I do every year. Before we leave for break not one staple can be in the wall. Creating the room is not so bad. I have to attend a district “Back to School” meeting where I awkwardly meet and greet teachers and administrators I have worked with through the years . My hands will be sweaty so I’ll offer them a fist bump which will be awkward. Most of them I’ll remember their names, some I will forget or get wrong. Teachers don ‘t get out of the classroom much. After three days of prep I receive my coveted class of roughly 30 kids. You may think I’ve got it made in the shade. I won’t complain. I’ve been working with families as a teacher since 1997 and I’ll never look back. And my daughters will eat their bacon eventually. How are things? Til mañana, here ends this entry.IMG_2344.JPG

Stay Curious My Friends

imageI’ve always wanted to see Ireland. One day, I hope to. Other friends in my vicinity have more exotic wanderlusts, like China or Borneo for example. For me, those places are a little scary, not to mention quite costly. Still, I want to go “farther out” with my curiosity. Everything seems odd when it hasn’t been experienced. Conversely, when you are familiar wit the “other,” it can become a favorite of yours, a close companion, even a place where you belong. With all the hue and cry over illegal immigration lately, I find myself encountering more and more xenophobia all around me. Facebook messages show poor people being shipped back on trucks to Central America and the caption reads “Go Home!” I find this sickening. I don’t think you should be allowed to voice an opinion until you have seen the conditions in the country they are fleeing. To them it isn’t a preference or a wanderlust, they are fleeing for their very lives. It’s really a spoiled attitude some Americans have and I wish it would stop. But back to topic.

I remember tasting sushi for the first time, I loved it! Most people I know who haven’t tried the “raw fish” say it’s disgusting. I remember trying Kun Pao Chicken in the early 90′s and loving the flavor. Back then, a lot of people told me I was odd for liking Chinese food. Little by little, customs and food come into our country from “afar” and it is a wonderful thing. I think we are at a point in American culture where it is time to embrace as much of the world’s ideas as possible. Some of ours are fading and actually failing in many ways. The more we replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity, the better chance we have as a country to survive. Xenophobia is alive and well and ain’t that a shame. I’ll open the comments to you with this question but feel free to “wander:” What favorite foods or customs have you admired from other countries? What do you think of the quote? Did it have an entirely different meaning to you than what I wrote about? If you’re a blogger, You might write about it and pingback here so others can read it.