Saturday, October 31, 2009

free dinner

One item fueled my Friday and got me through the last day of the work week - DINNER! French fries and a beer at Red Robin with Casey and Dave was my agenda. I was in major work mode so when the invitation came, at first I passed. But as I took a bus to my car, I decided I deserved a Newcastle and I joined them at the restaurant. Red Robin didn't serve Newcastle, however, so I ordered water and a spicy chicken sandwich. They brought me the wrong meal, though.

The waitress took it back and when Casey and Dave's finished their meal, my dinner finally arrived. So, they gave me my meal for free - deservingly free as I sat their slurping my pint of H20.

The moral? Don't have quirky, high expectations for a Friday night pleasure.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My brain is dead. I'm good for only one liners

I started thinking about cheesy lines to go with my sexy, Zoolander face (these are the quirky PG-13 ones):

Can I buy you a drink, or do you just want the money?

You must be from Pearl Harbor, because baby you’re the bomb.

You look like a girl who has heard every line in the book. So, how bad is one more going to hurt?

Can I borrow a quarter? I want to go to your mother and thank her.

Do you have a map? I just keep getting lost in your eyes.

If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.

Do you have a Band Aid? I just scrapped my knee falling for you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I read an article once where a Ph.D student lost her wrists and suddenly became paralyzed by the process of writing. I still have my wrists, but I did lose my wireless system and, for two days, I felt numb. I'm so used to multitasking from whatever room I inhabit that when I had to plug into the wall, I sort-of short circuited. I am happy to say that I am back in wireless land and can do more than one thing at once, including browse the net while writing and creating. Phew.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

62 days left of 2009

Yikes. I saw this was my 303rd post of the year. Where's the time go?

Like the sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

Seriously, it perplexes me I'm twenty years out of high school, heading towards twenty years out of my undergraduate days and, fudge, thinking about pushing forty. Is that possible? And that song! That song from my mom's soap brings back haunting yet precious memories - the perfect soundtrack for a Wednesday morning of desperation and despair.

Believe it or not, I just learned that Victor Kiriakis is not dead. He was held on an island by Stefano Denero and, through amazing cosmetic surgery, transformed into a canine being. Marlena, my dog "Baby" is Victor Kiriakis and Eugene and Calliope have been turned into Cynde's two dogs, Rocky and Chipper. There's no escaping the evil of NBC at 1 p.m. everyday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's not the Library of Congress

When I completed my undergraduate days, I left thinking I'd like to one day have a library like so many of my professors. I'd walk into their offices and think, "They read all this crap?".

Fast forward. Almost twenty years later, I find myself this morning still without my wireless service and consequently in the room with all my books. I've acquired quite a few over the years, and as quirky as the truth is, these are the ones I've kept and not returned to libraries or given to someone else to read, only to never be seen again. There were many, many more.

There are days when I look at them all and think, "This is all within me." There are other days when I look at it and think, "You're going to have to move all this crap if, and when, you leave Syracuse."

I wonder if books will remain a part of our species as we grow more and more digital. I hope so. I still love reading and even if I do embrace technology, it can't replace getting lost in a story. If it can, I haven't found that online story just yet.

PS: See the Adidas sneakers on the shelf? They're signed by Missy Elliot!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crock Pot Crack Head

My brain is fried and it's only Monday of the work week. I think I killed it last night when, for some reason, I lost my wireless internet capabilities. I'm so used to multitasking via internet searching and textual composing on my own, simultaneously, that I get totally frazzled when I don't have wireless service and, hence, can't kill multiple birds with one keyboard. I had to use the ethernet chord and that is not comfortable. It is like walking through life still attached to your mother via an umbilical chord. It works, but it isn't as convenient as it can be.

Still, I do not wish to complain too much because I stewed beef, onions, gravy and potatoes in my Crockpot last night. I added a lot of chives, too, and a little chili sauce. I sat down for a meal last night, although by myself, and had a quirky Sunday dinner.

Now, if only my wireless system will kick itself back into gear, all will be well. Ugh. Until then...I roll my eyes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Congratulations, Gabriel

Gabriel Bol Deng's film, Rebuilding Hope, had its premiere last night in Syracuse. It was wonderful to see the large crowd there to support his work to rebuild a school in Sudan and that his efforts in America are paying off. It was also a wonderful gathering of several of my new friends in Syracuse who align to support such efforts of such hard work.

I always feel blessed to be a part of something that transcends the everyday work that we do. Gabriel, and the other two men who also are doing their best to support their villages, deserved the standing ovation they received.

As Brendan Kennally writes, once again, "I Love/To Believe/In Hope." It is all Pandora left us in her box.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

In Celebration of the Pain - Love the Great One!

Another year older. Another year more gray (another year more hectic than the last). Happy Birthday lil' sis. Do something quirky to make it memorable.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Yesterday morning, before I left my house, I packed a plastic bag full of fruit so I would have a makeshift dinner while trekking onward with my day. Arriving home last night, I realized I never did eat my "bagged" dinner, and after consuming it I instantly threw the plastic into the garbage.

But I retrieved it for this quriky post. Why? Well, I've claimed I'm a recovering environmentalist because of the tremendous amount of garbage I see created all over the globe made me lose sleep during my politically correct younger days. I was schooled to feel guilty about everything I did and it plagued me. So, to get sleep, I stopped worrying about it.

Until tonight. I realized that plastic was designed to make hectic lives more convenient. If I put the fruit in Tupperware, I could wash it, and consequently reused my container. Nope. I used a plastic bag because in the pace of living, it made my life easier. It's the little things that our part of routine that, in the end, are rather tremendous. I'm one loser human being who is conscious of producing too much garbage - an ecological footprint - but I am flawed. I consume and as a result I create trash.

This is a short confessional that has no point other than to recognize my behavior. I can do better, but I question if I ever will. I also question all the righteous opinions others may have for my waste. And I'm wondering, can we avoid it?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

World Trivia

Often, I visit websites to update my knowledge of world #s. It's seems I think about the global realities a lot and these are numbers that keep me turning at night. I found this variation of the numbers online and, for the moment they existed for this video's production, that's where the world was. It doesn't sit still and continues to spin. Quirky Quirky us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


There are quirky moments in my life where I wish I had a mood ring and that it actually registered my moods accurately, because even I can't keep up with them. The class of 2001 dubbed me with severe BMS (Bryan Mood Swings) and I know this results from my drive to be successful, and the reality that there's not enough time in the world to accomplish the success I want to see delivered. The result of this is great aggravation and if I wore a mood ring, I imagine it could warn me of impending swings in personal attitude. Still, I must celebrate the emotional pendulum of being human because, after all, is it what makes us human. These days, however, I much prefer the lighthearted, carefree days when I bounce about without a care in the world. This we can learn from the young. As Bernard Shaw wrote, "Youth is wasted" on them. In the meantime, I will wallow in a miserable mood anticipating a whimsical one later on.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Day On Writing

Today is the official, National Day on Writing. NCTE (National Council for the Teaching of English) has opened a site for educators and students to share their writing in an impressive, ongoing online collection. I chose to upload one piece of many that I wrote randomly while subbing in local schools. I do poetic drive bys as I meet new students and as they watch the movie the teacher left behind or fill out mindless worksheets, I collect a word from each kid and see what sort of poetic doodle I can create. I normally don't keep the random poems, but I found this quirky one today. It was while subbing for a talented and gifted class and they gave me some tricky words to play with.

Happy Writing Day!

Because I am untalented and ungifted I write you this poem
Today I’m a genius, a moron at school,
assigned to teach the intellectual drool of
this Lollypop guild of junior high kids.

I’m not very good at this,
but I try,


Because I’m a somnabulist
sleepwalking wide awake,
a leptektatium leprechaun
writing to make the Earth shake.

I’m a periwinkle llama,
a czechlosovachian noodle,
a doo-rag mullet head,
& both a sausage and a poodle.

I was once planted as a ficus,
but lost focus, hocus pocus,
and even if my roots were dug deep in New York clay,
I branched my stubborn intellect in urban diversity.

Knowledge is my pudding and I eat it with a spoon,
walking as a sapien, and swimming like a loon.

Bibbity Bobbity Bappity Boo,
I ask these little brainiacs, whatcha talkn’ about fool?

I scribble my words in uncopywritable ways,
and moonwalk the horizon one phase at a time,
working with textual lies, symbolically sublime
playing with word-art and Dr. Seuss rhyme,
a liopleurodon booger all sticky with slime.

I’m a crab in a kilt, baking crabcakes with peppers,
sponging the souls of the healthy and lepers,
and as I live life in full-fledged martyrdom,
I’m amazed by the puzzles of Aztec Tinochtium.

Across white pages I do my poetic polka,
a crooked eye freak quite proud of his Babushka.

I scat and I rap as a frog with Ms. Piggy,
together we dance, and sometimes get jiggy,
and if we should spawn, we’d call one Pollywog Figgy,

Cuz today I’m a genius, a moron at school,
assigned to another day of intellectual drool,
Just an idiot and fool,
and proud I was never seen as too smart,
instead, I was known as a bratty, punk fart
back in the day, in this hall.

Always on a journey with my muses, y’all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Monday Morning Recollection

At many times since I've left Louisville, my IPod replays a small, verbal essay my friend Tina gave me during a project of collecting student philosophies. Tina was the one who encouraged me to swim deeper in the Atlantic Ocean of St. Augustine the year after we were visited by a tiny, Hammerhead Shark. She bought me a magnet that read, "Leap And The Net Will Appear." It is on my fridge, today.

I love when her words come to my ear. They are better than most of the music I listen to. Her audio acts as a photograph of sorts. Today, I share her voice with you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Poison Ivy

My trombone-playing nephew has decided he's going to go to Yale University when he's older. Cynde told him he should talk to his Uncle Bryan about attending and Dylan asked, "Why? Can he write me a gift certificate?"

Actually, we're all banking on his future as a symphonic trombone player and the scholarships that will come.

76 Trombones lead his big parade. 101 Coronets close behind!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maria! Maria!

Heidi described to me that when you enter a Ph.D program it is like entering a universe that is comparable to Hogwarts. One of my fellow soldiers defended her dissertation today successfully and all her hard work has finally allowed her to wear an $1100 graduation gown with pride - totally deserved.

There is no other way to describe the identity restructuring of such mental labor than quirky, and Maria is a Queen of quirkiness in my world. Her research on inventive spelling of kindergarten students has me thinking deeply about the growth a young child experiences in their youngest, schooling years. Hired by SUNY OSWEGO and loved by all her Syracuse University family, this post is a celebration of her achievement.

Today, Maria continues to be one of my multiple heroes! Way to go! I celebrate the human being you are!

Friday, October 16, 2009

When the Begeeshus is scared out of you.

My friend Tricia asked me to pick up a few donations for charity that her daughter outgrew, including a Disney Vanity Set that talks and tells little girls the perks of looking beautiful and wearing makeup. Knowing my schedule was rather hectic and I wouldn't be able to get her donation to a church or Catholic Charities, I stored it in my garage.

Last night, when I returned home, I entered my garage and I thought I was being robbed. A princess voice yelled, "Oh, you smell wonderful!" and it scared me half to death. I'm not used to hearing voices in my garage and I jumped back startled. I thought Ariel from the Little Mermaid was attacking me and I was about to have lipstick shoved into my eye. Startling.

I suppose I live a rather tranquil life, but last night, I thought I was going to be killed by Cinderella. Not a fun greeting to my normally quiet home. My heart is still racing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Double, double toil and trouble

On my microwave, I have a stash of lupine seeds I salvaged from my outdoor plants before the first frost. The goal is to freeze them, then nick them in the spring and replant them.

My sister saw them and asked what they were. I imagined she had some jest for illegal substances, but she and Nikki both thought they were the tails of mice. I thought, "Now that would be cool. If only I could create spells out of my lil' North Syracuse home. That could be fun."

1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where the Wild Things "Is"

I saw the trailer for this film a month ago during the Potter movie and, for some reason, I'm intrigued. The children's book was never one of my favorites, but it was always on my mind for its playful imagination and exploration of a world beyond this one. There's something magical about that and, perhaps, that's why I am rather excited to see this in the theaters.

Because I removed a spot on my rug with a new cleaning product, I was able to send my receipt to their company and was lucky to receive a free movie ticket from them. Luck comes in odd promotions.

I believe I will take myself to see this film with this ticket. A day with stuffed, teddy bear monsters seems like a good way to spend a couple of life's hours.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Fartso

Dear Mr. Fartso,

I am writing you today because you called yesterday when I was walking the dog. At one point, we discussed the ubiquitous need to smile WIDE when life is rather crappy - and for a little bit of the journey, we were able to smile on a whole team of wide-grinned optimists as we trekked across razor blades and raw sewage on a sojourn of hope. We took our pain and made our teeth beautiful.

And I'm thinking of you and the lemons that come from growing older, from the forks in the human road of meaning, and from the quirky intellect it takes to make sense of the senseless every step of the way. I used to teach my students that aging doesn't ease the crap. It just gives you new tools for contending with the crap.

Last night, I ate an apple dessert (a follow up to yesterday's post of Johny Appleseed). I cored five apples and sprinkled them with cinnamon and brown sugar. I baked them for 20 minutes, then covered them with a box of spice cake and sprinkled the top with butter (half a stick...maybe a whole one - who cares?). I baked it for another twenty to thirty minutes. It's became a crunch. I now eat it over vanilla icecream.

Mr. Fartso, I command you to do the same. When life is lame, remember it's a game. Eat a dessert. It will assist the need for a wide smile later in life when you don't feel like being so politically correct.


PS: For those of you who don't know Mr. Fartso, it doesn't matter. He knows who he is and how to soak the morrow from this posting. Mr. Fartso is any of us who are asked to tap dance during a funeral. It's not right, but it's the way the business sector works. Mr. Fartso composes music with piano. I try to compose with words. Both make wallowing in the compost more harmonious. If you want to sing out, sing out, strums Cat Stevens. This is a note to sing out on Tuesday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Apples in Mexico

In fear of frosts to come, rain, and space in the hectic schedule, I was thrilled my mom wanted to go apple picking yesterday in Mexico, New York. Dylan & Nikki came with us, and they did their best impersonation of Hansel and Gretel - especially Nikki, who left a trail of apples after we paid for them (because she failed to notice the holes in her bags until there was only one apple left). Karma served her later, however, when orange juice came out through her nose.

For those out there who do not know a New York apple, I am sorry. They hold flavors like no other, and I'm stoked to have the months of pies, crisps and dumplings ahead. They were a heck of a lot better than the pasta and sauce I made last night.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

287th post

This is the 287th post on Quirky during this calendar year. I did a random search of "day 287" and this is one of the images that came up on Google images. I think it is a lego cowboy walking across a wet table.

Am I this cowboy? Is the wetness Syracuse? Does this image have meaning? Should I learn from it? Should you? Are coincidences real or do we make up the story from the random way life presents itself to us? Are we John Waynes on the table top of life? Should I read anything into this image or this post?

Obviously I typed it and included it. Obviously someone posted this image as day 287 in their world. Giddy up Giddy Up Let's Go. I'm looking at a wonderland of snow. Whoa. Not yet. But soon...soon. Soon it will all make sense.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

If Oprah Sees It, Does the rest of the country?

This is a clip my mother and I watched a few years ago. I remember my mom saying, "Is this really the way it is?"

The schools I've visited and known have not shown the disparity to be this extreme, but they tailgate rather close. I reflect on my suburban, working class experience of "doing school" and wonder how my twelve years could be so successful of keeping me blind from America's social inequalities. Moving forward with my education, however, I've learned to open my eyes wider and to pay attention. I have no answers to these extremes. In truth, even from my sheltered, and safe, education, I too felt inadequately prepared to compete with the education received from students who attended private, and/or more affluent middle class schools. The issue transcends race and trickles upon issues of class. Even today, I feel the insecurities of not "having the luxuries" experienced by many k - 12 students born on third base, being brought up to believe they 've hit a triple.

As my week of pampered space to think about inequality comes to a completion, I post this quirky, yet authentically true, conversation for consideration. I think I'll grow happier (last year's blog) when I know we're all working harder to rectify this.

Friday, October 9, 2009

haiku, god bless you

The American world is about bigger, better, greater and being verbose. Talk shows, magazines, journals, movies, interviews, television, gossip, chatting, texting, etc. are all evidence of how much we LOVE to communicate.

Perhaps that's why I love the site: Dissertation Haiku. It asks the writer to take years of coursework, thought and research and place it into a seventeen syllable explanation. Keep it simple, short and to the point.

If only.

Here's my approaching a dissertation haiku for Friday.

Quirky Bryan cloud
hovers a New York sky line-
feeling the sun's warmth.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We should be pleased that Aeolus has visited Central, New York with his gusts and fury. The silence left from a windless night is somewhat haunting.

When teaching in Denmark, I loved the winds of the fjords that would lull me to sleep. While traveling Ireland, too, the winds off the Aran Islands were the most tranquil lullaby a guy could snooze to.

Of course, my house is shaking now with the gusts of 40 mph and I wonder what those who survive a tornado or hurricane feel. Either way, it seems rather appropriate that yesterday's winds accompanied my mother's colonoscopy (like my quirky connection here?)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How does this rate?

Exactly forty one years ago today, on Monday, October 7, 1968, Hollywood adopted a movie rating system. As a teenager, this was very important to me. Of course, I wanted to work my way up the rating scale and see those movies forbidden by my age. Grease, after all, was banned from viewing pleasure because of kissing scenes at the drive-in. When Cynde, KC, and I actually saw the movie, we were like, "What?" (I had already snuck downstairs to see Bo Derek in 10).

It is interesting to think about ratings because our culture has become more lax and tolerant about what is allowable for youth to see; the radio, too, is more vulgar than I remember, but there isn't any censorship ratings with them).

Once we all turn 18, the rating system seems silly. Then again, this generation is exposed to everything on the internet and we're not required to stamp appropriateness on explicit websites. MTV, too, has been promoting controversial reality for over twenty years and they are unrated.

Why am I posting this? Because I'd like a "This site has not yet been rated" rating from those who have that job to decide.

And it's funny. The older I get, the more I seek a "G" reality.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

another quirky song for a Tuesday

This isn't Dolly Parton, but is a song called "Tigers" from Animal Collective. Working with Jessica this summer, she told a story of a friend in California she always called "Tiger." I told her about this song that occasionally pops on my IPod and how I love the music. I post this for her (and her friend in California that I do not know).

I think you should try to dance to it, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Well, she's not my maid

When I was young, I had a plan for my future that included having Dolly Parton work for me and clean my house. The way I saw it (and I told my family members), I wasn't going to cook or clean, but I would have a Dolly-Partonesque woman in my home who would love this sort of work.

That was a long, sexist time ago.

Even so, I recently recalled Dolly's singing of "Jolene" when I thought one of my graduate students was named Jolene. I was wrong. The name was Jillian. Even so, I post this song because it catches my ear.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

2000 Graduation Picture

I taught the class of 2000 and never saw a hairstyle like this. Even so, is up and running again and if you'd like to see your mugshot through the ages, their website is up and running again.

This is post-grunge and, to be honest, I don't remember anything about the scene during this year or if there was a style at all. If this was it, I definitely missed it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Family Royale

In Great Britain, I was hooked by a television show called The Royle Family. The show revolves around a family watching television together and the conversations that are had. Although their accents are Queen's English, I couldn't help recalling this show while sitting around the television yesterday watching Cynde's 1988 Michigan Band show. There were the Crandall/Isgar/Barnwells sitting around the boob tube post fried fish, clams, onions and potatoes, making comments in the tradition and with the honor of good family values. Quirky how universal the phenomenon is.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Juliette's Revenge

Yesterday, while walking Baby during my lunch break, a piece of glass cut open her front paw and with every step she took, she left bloody paw prints on the roads of North Syracuse. I got her to my garage and made a quick tourniquet of old t-shirts and drove her to Animal Kingdom as fast as I could. She was leaking pretty severely and they cleaned it up and bandaged her.

While at the hospital, a woman was there and was an emotional mess. She was making the decision I did several years ago with Juliette Catherine Allanis Madonna Potatohead Scrappy-Doo Houdini Dennis and my heart felt for her. I also recalled the time the class of 2002 took my mattress and dumped it in Alice's yard. My revenge was to create a video of Juliette's supposed injury as a result of their break in and entry. Today, I know Juliette is laughing in doggie heaven that this time, for Baby, there really was need for medical assistance.

Poor Baby doesn't like wearing a doggie bootie when she goes outside to pee. Poor Bryan has to clean red dog prints out of his carpet and truck. It was a quirky moment in life that serves as a reminder that every step we take safely is a lucky one. There are some steps that aren't as fortunate.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We all need corny, 3rd grade jokes

What did one ocean say to the other ocean?
Nothing, they just waved.

How much do pirates pay for their earrings?
A buccaneer.

What did the bee to say to the flower?
"Hey, Bud, when do you open?"

What do you get when you cross the Atlantic Ocean with the Titanic?

Can an elephant jump higher than a lamppost?
Yes. Lampposts can't jump.

What is large, gray, and wears glass slippers?

What did the hot dog say when he crossed the finish line?
I am the wiener!