Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kitchen Clock

I left my parents' house today. This morning the rest of the family had left for church, and I had just loaded up my car to return home. I sat alone at the kitchen table finishing my breakfast. As I sat there I heard each tick of the kitchen's clock. I found the ticking irritating. As I listened to the clock count each passing second I had a realization. That clock has been in the kitchen for ten years and today was the first time I've ever heard it.

I have a loud family.

Fail Blog of the Week

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The subject of college came up in conversation and then my 8-year-old-nephew, Josh, had the following conversation with his dad.

Craig: Do you know what college is?

Josh: Yes.

Craig: What is it?

Josh: It is a place where you have sleepovers and lots of parties.

Craig: (pauses) Wow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

At the Drugstore

The older woman in line in front of me was buying three things: Anti-diarrhea medicine, acid reducer, and a huge bottle of Whiskey.

Preemptive planning?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Coping with Success

To think my blog just went to the weekly column format less than three months ago and look at the influx of readers already. In fact just last month the number of official blog followers doubled. (You too can become a follower for free by clcking the link at the bottom of the page.)

I wrote the article about the Oscar Woa book. I only have one copy, people. I can't loan it to all of you at once. Leave me alone. It is still being sold in stores.

I keep having editors wanting me to write a humor column for their papers. Just recently I've had three newspapers and one magazine contact me. I had to tell them, "I'm a teacher. I just write the blog for fun." If these offers keep coming in like this I may have to accept one at some point.

I posted a driving survey midweek and so many of you must have responded there was a system overload. As of this morning only four people have responded since it started over. So if you were one of the many that voted early you may have to cast your vote again.

I don't have a site tracker. I just have to go by the buzz I hear in the media. I'm estimating my site gets about 120 hits a day and almost five times that on Mondays. So if my estimations are correct only about 1/2 of 1% of you are leaving comments. Feel free to leave more comments. That is how blog writers get feedback. (Yes, you may also respond by e-mail.)

Don't worry. I still respond to all of my e-mails personally. I haven't let the success of the blog affect my personable character. You, the readers, are still the most important thing.

I know what many of your are thinking. The weekly column. The fail pic of the week. Could this get much better? Yes. Beginning in 2009 I will be adding "tip of the week." Indeed. Life tips from yours truly.

Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday. Be sure to stop by again next week for the final column of 2008.

(And if anyone wants to borrow Diaz's book just let me know; I've finished reading it.)

Holiday Confusion

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Good Point

After school today I saw one of my students in the office so I asked her why I hadn't seen her in a couple days. Her mom, standing next to her, introduced herself to me and then the conversation went like this:

Daughter: I was at home.
Me: Where you sick?
Daughter: No.
Mom: Go ahead. Tell him why you weren't at school.
Daughter: My dad said that I don't do anything at school anyway, so I might as well just stay home.
(Mom, who sees her daughter every other weekend, wasn't real happy about this.)
Me: Well, your dad makes a good point."

Mom was pretty disturbed by my response. However, I have to give her a lot of credit. She reacted very calmly and pleasantly as I continued to explain. (I did add that that would not have been my suggested solution, but I recognized his frustration.) It ended up being a very good conversation.

I've been in this business long enough that I'm not naive enough to think that my lecture is going to magically straighten this girl out. However, I've been doing this a short enough time I still think it might.

Looking for a new PR guy

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Feeling Copacetic

I just finished reading The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Junot Diaz depicts a Dominican family across multiple generations. He does it by piecing the information together. The narrator is constantly changing; he switches from first, to second, to third person. The story is not chronological. Although he writes in English there is enough Spanish that if you don't know the language at all it could be frustrating.

Switching narrators without preface, writing in Spanish and English, jumping around to different parts of the story, to tell you it in the order he wants to--not necessarily the order you want or expect, until the entire picture is painted and you can put the pieces together to understand the past, and doing all this, with excellent writing, phenomenal story-telling, superb grasp of the English language, and the occasional sentence that goes on way too long. For those of you that know me you can guess why I appreciated the book.

Oscar goes through a lifetime of tumultuous events ranging from depressing to horrific. Toward the end, just weeks after the most terrifying event of his life, he stops by a friend's house to ask a favor.

"Jesus, Oscar, I said. Come up, come up. I waited for him in the hall and when he stepped out of the elevator I put the mitts on him. How are you, bro? I'm copacetic, he said. We sat down and I broke up a dutch while he filled me in."

"I'm copacetic." Yeah, me too.

I'll take the chicken.