Monday, November 30, 2009

Not so Amazingly Graced

My 2009 lights are lining my fence and bushes now. Every year, when I unpack them, they need to be replaced. This frustrates me, yet I persevere, Bryan-style.

I am not as high-tech as this light snow (and watch it all for its full effect), but the inner-Griswald is there. I can't afford such spectacle in my current economic state, but there will be a day. The tackier the better.

Do yourself one favor this season. Go for a drive and take in the lights.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


On this day, in 1969, three years before I was born, the Beatles had a number one song that went something like this video: Something. It's hard for me to think that today's number one song, Jay Z and Alicia Keyes, will have the lasting effect of the Beatles. Only time will tell.

Have a great Sunday. I hope something crosses your mind today and makes you want to dance.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I want to paint it black.

My black friday was spent in shale blue and white as I painted my parents foyer and the job took six hours longer than I thought it would. The foyer is now shale blue, as is the hallway. Cynderballs suggested doing white trim, which was smart, and the two of went at that for a while. The ceilings are
painted, too: WHITE.

Like any project, this project was larger than I first anticipated. It looks good and fresh, but it needs attention by those with an interior eye (like Cynde's) so we shall see what she comes up with.

The only break I took was to flip dad (Nathan's) deer into the back of Karl's truck to be processed. Otherwise, I was Picasso all day yesterday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

And We're Off!!!

It's November 27th, 2009, and you know what that means. Yep! Black Friday and there is not a chance in #$#@ I will go shopping. Instead, I will do my best to begin painting ceilings at my parent's house.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Day, Turkeys!

Another stupid song for my quirky celebration of 2009. Eat well. Be thankful. Enjoy family. Love.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho

Back in my Pee Wee days, I loved the segment of Jambi, the genie. Today, I am thinking about making wishes and how, if we could, we'd all submit a series of true wishes we really want. For me, I want stability, especially financially - and I don't need the yacht fantasy pushed on us (although it would be nice). I want the knowledge that I can sustain my life emotionally, psychologically, economically and socially. That day will come, Jambi, but I can wish for it now, can't I?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It's out of my hands for a little while - my research proposal, that is. My advisor signed off on it and I brought it to the University's IRB office which oversees the risks of every study to determine whether or not it is an ethical, worthwhile study that doesn't take advantage of individuals and, indeed, adds knowledge to the research community. Now, I await a verdict, most likely with forthcoming changes before it is accepted, but until then, I live with the quirky pursuit of conducting my study. One necessary hoop at a time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Point of View

Since 2004, I've shown the movie LOST BOYS OF SUDAN which aired on PBS. Last night, I watched it again to take notes. Why? Because the journey of Peter and Santino mirrors the stories of many of the young men I've worked with in the cow project and the children of these young men who are now enrolling in American schools. It may be a place to accrue a foundation for what I hope will be my research for the next year. I found the directors, Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk, talking about their film online. Most of you, I imagine, won't care. But I put it up on my site, anyway. It might be an interesting clip to watch while sipping on Starbucks, surfing the net for holiday gifts and/or checking your Blackberry. Who knows? It remains quirky to me that two continents can be so near, yet so far away. And if you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I never watched Conan O'Brien, but I caught it the other night. He has a remarkable resemblance to Hermie the Christmas Elf from Rudolf, especially with his quirky parted hair. I may be going out on the ledge on this, but did Conan get a start in this Christmas ritual? With a little red lipstick, we'd have our comedian wanting to be a dentist.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My name is Paco

Hands down. This is a stupid entry.

I made tacos for the family last night. I found this video to celebrate. It's called Taco Song. Warning: It is really stupid.

But the tacos were decent.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ten Minute Distraction

For this Friday post, I am thinking about the humor of Jed Kasey who, as an 11th grader, wrote a script about two kids getting trapped on a roller coaster as part of their first official date. J.J. Beckman, the old guy character who was not a part of the script, totally jumped in and did his improvisation thing. Chloe Regan and Andrew Pehlke totally went with the scene. The camera work is shotty, but my appreciation of young people and their ability to do creative work, I hope, is evident.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Journey is Brilliant

With a truck load of Liberians, Sudanese, Somalians and Senegalese, the music quickly became a little African drumming, some muslim lyrics I couldn't understand, and a medley of Tupac, Eminem, & Jay Z. Then, out of the blue, a Journey song, "Faithfully," comes on the radio and all seven of the kids break out in memorized verse.

"Ah, man, Steve Perry is the bomb. That's my man."

They sang every word as if they were auditioning as back up singers.

I thought to myself, you can't make this up:

Highway run into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You're on my mind
Restless hearts sleep alone tonight
Sending all my love along the wire
They say that the road
ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And loving a music man
ain't always what it's supposed to be

you stand by me
I'm forever yours
Circus life under the big top world
We all need the clowns to make us laugh
Through space and time
Always another show
Wodering where I am lost without you
And being a part ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you

Oh girl
you stand by me
I'm forever yours
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
oh oh oh oh oh oh
I'm still yours
I'm forever yours
Ever yours

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Glass of Ira

Yesterday was a pretty cool experience for me. I got to meet Ira Glass through my buddy Mark Stern's hard work to bring him to Syracuse University. Those of you who listen to NPR know his series, THIS AMERICAN LIFE. I've been listening to the narrations for years and I love that someone, somewhere, promotes story telling and the lives of we the people. I realized from meeting him, however, that his show works because he has a quirky sense of humor. He said, "Always, always throw something in the story that amuses you and is for your own little giggle. If you aren't having fun, why bother with any of it."

I told him that it was somewhat surreal having this "voice of public radio god" come to life in the form of a physical being at SU. Up until then, he's been this weekly, hour, radio show I download from ITunes every week. I'm not sure if it is good that he is now a three-dimensional being, nor that he has 'hipster' followers as the Newhouse media people pointed out. I sort of like him being a voice that drifts in my head from my earphones.

Either way, it was a memorable opportunity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I'm using today's Quirky post to simply say, "hello."

There are 1,000s of ways to say this basic greeting, but I'm choosing my English vernacular this Tuesday morning because it is what I know best. A simple hello is meant to acknowledge your presence and to let you know I'm thinking of you and nodding my head in your direction. I hope all is well and you have a spectacular day.

Monday, November 16, 2009


For about a week I've smelled funkiness in my garage and knew something was dead somewhere. I figured it'd run its course as nature does, but when I used my Shop Vac/Leaf Blower today, I found the death.

Three mice were blown out of my tube as soon as I turned the blower on. I don't know why they chose to get trapped and die in the leaf-blower tubing, but that is exactly what they did. The three mice, blind, were sprayed onto my garage floor, bones and all. I wonder if they were related to the mouse that tried to make a home in my barbecue grill earlier this year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a good sunday morning post

perhaps all meaning is somewhere within this film and the fact spring will come again and so will blooming trees. clouds will form and disappear, water will flow and butterflies will return. doubt and hope will remain.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I woke up and realized, dang, I forgot to post my daily quirk. The woman on NBC was discussing how breakfast is a great dinner to have in the Fall and as I slurped my milky bowl of Cheerios (my daily staple), I thought about how much I want a breakfast like the one I'm watching on television. Not today, however, but perhaps soon. Soon. SOON. Eggs, and bacon, and waffles, and a tall glass of orange juice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

old man at prithe thopper

Twice now, when I've run out of coffee in the a.m., I've forced myself to an early Price Chopper visit to a) get groceries and b) nab a cup of coffee. In there cafe, there's a retired man who must be working to keep his mind busy. He hands me a large cup with a paid sticker and says, "This one's on me."

I love this man. I'm sure he's not supposed to give free cups of coffee out to strangers, but the two times I've gone to the store in the a.m., he's handed me a cup of mocha at no cost. He then whistles, goes back to preparing lettuce for the salad bar and throws a wink to the store. I've probably jinxed myself with his kindness, but I mention his quirky gift on a Friday morning because, perhaps, it will inspire another to do a good deed today. So random. So spontaneous. Such a kind smile amongst the chaos.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Horse *&^@!

Kentucky revisited me last night when I went for a run. I'm used to traffic zooming by me and sometimes a cyclist or a faster runner. Yet, yesterday a galloping horse and rider scared the crap out of me as they snuck up on Thompson Road. In the Race for the Roses, I was left in the ditch with decaying cattails and baron Sumac. It's one thing to be startled by another human being, but it is another to realize the odd presence passing you on your right is a giant horse.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Under The Six Feet

When HBO began its series SIX FEET UNDER, I was hooked. Why? The funeral series reminded me there's a scene behind every death and a family that buries people for a living. Yes, it is morbid, but watching that show always made me think deeply about the Burgess family who had a parlor where my Hamilton grandparents' services were held. I don't think the Burgess family had the same level of oddness behind the scenes (and definitely not that red-headed actress). The show is off the air, but I was thinking about it this morning. For some reason, the theme song puts a quirky smile on my face.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scratch Number Seven

I couldn't wait until Christmas for Generation A by Douglas Coupland so I went to get it yesterday when it came out. I'm glad I did. It has already provided me with much needed amusement. For the time being, I will replace #7 on my Christmas list with War Dances by Sherman Alexie. I am sure, though, I'll cave in and buy this, too.

Me and my love of quirky writers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'd rather be mauled

I have decided the reason I hate malls is because they are overstimulating. They are like the State Fair for that matter, except people in the mall usually are there to spend more money on material things rather than fried dough. I think I also have an aversion to the "clothed space" because I worked in a mall for most of high school and swore I never wanted to smell the perfumes of a department store again.

Yet, I found myself at the Carousel Mall yesterday to finally see WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (thumbs up, too). Walking through the mall, however, I realized how rare it is that I step into those places. They're horrible for so many reasons. I'm not anti-shopping, but the whole mall ordeal is over my head. I don't get it.

I wish Syracuse luck with Destiny and their eco-friendly shopping experience, but I'm not going to be a frequent shopper there. No, thank you. If I want something bad enough I can order it online.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Forgive me if I've posted this before, but I can't get over the coincidence that in Clarksville, Indiana, and North Syracuse, New York, I happen to live down the street from a vend-a-bait machine that spits out worms with a couple of singles. There is something remarkably quirky about this convenience and that for a couple of green bucks, one could get a cup of slimy urchins. The machines run 365 days a year and there are all sorts of miraculous things people might do with a cup of worms, in say, later January. You can snuggle with them by the fire, or you can take them with you snowmobiling. Here's to the inventor of Vend-a-bait and may our species continue to embrace theirs.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I was thinking it would be really cool to have a bed spread or a room wallpapered totally in Dr. Seuss book covers. That's it. That's my quirky posting for today. I mean, how cool would it be to walk into a room of Theodore Geisel doodles, made-up words and whacky little rhymes? I'd totally love it. Perhaps that will be another goal for when I begin making money again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fifty More Days

Hmm. I don't make much money. I haven't been able to splurge on myself in almost three years. I am economically a kid again. So, a Holiday wish list might make for a quirky posting. Note: I am very cheap. If one isn't getting a crazy deal, it ain't worth it!

Ten Items I wouldn't mind finding in my stocking:

10. a phone people can hear me with.
9. a few more hats. I like my cap. For samples, click here.
8. socks (I can always use socks)
7. Douglas Coupland's new novel, Generation A (if I can wait that long)
6. a new table cloth. I accidentally bleached mine.
5. better bling for my ears. I lost my best bling when I was an Oompa Loompa for Halloween.
4. more zip-up hoodies. I like da funk of dese.
3. new experiences - I'm always up for something new (learn that from Sue McV)
2. that's about it, I can't think of anything else - wait.
1. A paying job.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rambling Thursday Morning Thinking

I was at an indoor soccer practice last night while reading several books I got out of the Bird Library. I was reading Gloria Ladson-Billings, Lisa Delpit & Victoria Purcelle-Gates and thinking about how language, especially school language, is a ticket to success. I was watching as the coach conducted very detailed drills that asked the kids to do small passes in the air after bouncing a soccer ball off their chest onto the top of their foot, so they could lift it at exactly the right height to another player to make a play. This made me think about Nikki's recent exercise to toss her rifle parallel to a school fence in order to correct a pitched angle with her lift so her toss was more perpendicular than angled (if it was angled, it'd hit the fence and bounce in her face - that would learn her).

I started thinking about schools and teaching English, and how too often the detailed skills of practice are not expected of students to gain tools for later play. Skills and drills, when intentional and purposeful, are meaningful and useful. A kid learning to write in their first language or their second language need opportunities to play with language in the ways writers do, so when they are given writing tasks for real life, they are experienced and practiced with what might be expected of them. A child who doesn't have skills and drills with written language are not prepared to play the game.

I've always been drawn to the coaching/facilitating model of teaching where an educator has enough knowledge to know what a student needs to move to the next level of their practice. In many ways, I recognize my mentors at Syracuse University have been doing similar work with me as they prepare my mind to practice the art of academic writing. The expectation cannot be there alone. Instead, steps towards the process, with practice, are needed so when the time comes for an individual to show what they can do, they'll be able to do it.

I quit piano. I quit trumpet. Consequently, I can't play either. Still, I admire those who can and wish now I paid greater attention to the skills of becoming a musician so that I could one day play music. Instead, I turned to books and reading. It brought me to writing. No one teacher was a guru on a mountain. The truth is there were multiple teachers who offered several, differing drills and practice that gave me more tools to work with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trouble for a Wednesday as We Head Towards Winter

The leaves have pretty much fallen and snowflakes are expected tonight. The air yesterday, when I walked the dog, smelled like the four months to come and then, at lunch, a couple with many years of marriage started arguing loudly whether or not a conversation about a woman's colonoscopy was the business of other diners at the Clam Bar in North Syracuse. The husband nonchalantly mentioned his wife had the procedure done a week ago to an old dentist, who was used to working at the other end of the medical field, that happened to be eating there that day, too. The wife didn't think it was appropriate lunch conversation and asked, "How'd you like if I told the whole bar you're having a colonoscopy in a week? Do you think it's any of their business?"

And I sat there with my parents thinking it is the time of year where Cat Stevens Trouble begins to play in my head in is pre-hibernal rhythm of gray and bone-chilling temperatures. I awaited my steak sandwich and french fries in silence, listening to the argument of two individuals who've spent the majority of their life together, through thick and thin. Butch, Sue, and their a%#*@! son- a universal theme for a moment in time. Priceless.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

King Mac

On Sunday Morning, CBS, Sunday, magician Mac King was featured with Penn & Teller and their study on perception with autistic individuals. The hypothesis of the researchers is that children with autism might not be duped by magic because their brains do not perceive the tricks of everyday life. It made me recall when Mac King visited the Brown School, his alma mater, while I was teaching there and that is why I post his quirky entertainment today. Long live the odd, bizarre way our minds work and let his magic continue as a reminder that a peculiar mind has a place in the world.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chim Chimmeree!

In my attempt to winterize my home yesterday, Mike had to come over so help me reassemble the new pipes after I took down the old ones from my wood burning stove. The two of us were able to do a magical performance of "Step In Time" on my roof to the tune from Mary Poppins (see if you can guess which one is Mike). If only we were this energetic and choreographed with our performance. The only truth to the work is the three inches of black soot that covered me from head to toe.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Welcoming November, 2009

Still outside the box, Halloween, 2009.