Subbing English: Creative Writing.

I had a fun day subbing, today. I can sub and have a cold at the same time. Man, I hate my cough. I have been having such a hard time with it. Fortunately, most of the kids I sub are sick as well.

English was fun. It always is. We focused on writing strategies for the first third of the class. Many kids have a hard time writing. Many just don’t know what to write. Or so they say.

Step one: I had them simply sit still and think about the subject. The subject was “pets.” Easy enough. After sitting there, they started asking questions: “What if I don’t have pets?” “What if I don’t have a pet now, but I had one before? “What if I want a dragon/unicorn/dinosaur?” These were all great questions, so I suggested to them that they could write about any of those questions.

Step two: I had them make a short list, then write. Three or four simple ideas that have to do with pets. The kids had tons of ‘what if’ questions then. My answer was always “what if? Write about that or what ever you want.” They thought about this for a couple of seconds and then just started writing. Every kid in the class wrote for the full fifteen minutes. Most had more than one page of text. Some had up to three.

Step three: I had them talk about it. We then spent five minutes talking about what they wrote in small groups. The class exploded. Everyone was excited. Some pet stories were quite normal stories, but a few were about fanged toe-nails, barking tacos, seven legged snakes and other fantasy creatures. The fanged toe-nail pooped pepperonis. It was so much fun. Everyone broke into giggles through out the discussion.

Emotion is such an important part of learning and I am glad they reacted in such a positive way.

ps. I apologize to everyone wanting a comic. While I can teach with a headache and a cough, I can not draw that way. I hope to have something up tomorrow.

a.

Thought Provoking Award

I was nominated for a Thought Provoking Award by How To: Dating Twenty Men. I like the idea of being thought provoking, but I’ll settle for simple provocation any day. For some readers, I’m simply insulting (and I delete their comments). I am often surprised by this because it take a lot for me to become insulted, so I’m now surprised when someone goes around being insulting and doing a bit of trolling. That’s what YouTube and the forum sites are for. I do like the idea of thought provoking. I listen to the TED talks and they are thought provoking. I listen to video feeds while I draw from the different cable News Programs. Often they are thought provoking. MSNBC & Fox News are just provoking (and quite insulting to the intellect).

So, to say the least, I like the idea of being Thought Provoking. So, How To:, thank you very much for this award. I appreciate it and the intent.

So, the requirements:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and write a blog about it.

2) Share seven things about yourself.

3) Pass the award to five blogs you enjoy.

4) Post the image on your blog.

Seven Things:

This is hard, because my about page is fairly thorough and quite huge (and heavy handed).

1) I don’t blog & cartoon about some issues because they are excluded by one of my favorite people, Laura Hamblin Ph.D. at Utah Valley University. She won’t let her freshmen students write about them in her English 1010 or 2010 classes or her Ethics & Values classes. The subjects are so controversial, they always alienate and/or intimidate other students; there is generally very little scholarly work available for these subjects and student papers about these subjects tend to be quite cliche. Interestingly enough, these are often the popular subjects that drive American political parties: abortion, gay rights, religious freedom of or from and globalization being four examples. She has several others she will not allow in class.

2) I haven’t eaten kimchee in over a year.

3) I just watched The Help for the first time and so just went and made corn pone.

4) I have recently been trying to figure out how I can store one year’s supply of food in my one bedroom.

5) I think this election year is very devoid of humor, but is filled with hatred and a mutual-refusal to listen to the other side. Both political parties are equally guilty.

6) I am very ready for Football!!! Go BYU!

7) Substitute teaching this week was very fun. I am still primarily working at Central Utah Enterprises, a transition center for cognitive-disabled adults. I will be working at other schools later on and will be able to blog about them. The legal requirements for blogging about teenagers are very simple compared to blogging about the disabled if you are not their immediate family.

8) I love flying. I haven’t flown anywhere since my last trip to San Fransisco five years ago. I drove to San Diego twice in the last year, but I want to fly someplace.

9) I can count, but I don’t like to.

Passing Along:

I like the idea of passing an award along as opposed to nominating. It is just a little more informal.  Keep in mind those I am nominating/passing to: you do not need to pass along or nominate if you are not comfortable doing so or if you are just too busy or if it is just not your thing. I am fine with that. Really. I will still love what you are doing.

Also, there is no particular order to the passing along here.

1) Marina Kanavaki at her self named art blog is one of my biggest supporters. I love everything she does and to me, she is very inspirational. Her watercolors are understated and intelligent and she is hard so she can earn a living as an artist on line.

2) Mark at Reflections of China is a fantastic photographer. His images of China are very thought provoking and quite often breath taking. I love Asia and miss living there. If I ever do return to live in Korea, I will take a similar approach to life in Asia and post images of the things I love (and hate) about South Korea.

3) Gipsey at Emprerdedor is a very thought provoking guy and not because he blogs in Spanish. He does have English translations. Gipsey is very philosophical and generally quite funny. His posts are comics of the stickman style, so the image does not interfere with the text.

4) Davide at Rubicorno is an architectural photographer of the highest quality. If photo interpretation is your thing, you will love Davide’s work. He takes his pictures with his smart phone and then runs them through several processors resulting in very interesting images. I love architecture and so Davide’s work is very meaningful to me.

5) Wayne at Bo’s Cafe Life writes a pixie cartoon about wannabe/fail authors who meet daily and bitch about their crappy, unfulfilled life as writers. I identify with Bo, the protagonist/POV, because I have been publishing poetry for quite a long time and my publication rate is about 1:10 (not including the hundreds of poems and short stories I never even try to send out).

Epilogue:

Thank you for reading this blog. I want to thank everyone I passed along to. I am inspired by everyone of you. There are many other bloggers I am inspired by. I am sorry I did not include you here. You deserve being nominated, too.

I also want to thank, How To:, again. This is a great award to be nominated for. I am glad I am thought provoking for someone.

Cheers!

The O.

Liebster Award

I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Seven Legged Express Journey earlier this week. I am very grateful for this award. I have been nominated for two other awards, but I am such a virgin-blogger that I either did not know how to respond or I just did not read enough. Most of the blogs I read now are either comics like Seven Legs, art, illustration, design, photography and of course politics and teaching and so awards like The Versatile Blogger or One Lovely Blog Award do not apply to these blogs and bloggers or they have already received it.

This week has been quite hectic with ego-boosting stuff. First, I received this award, then the 200th person chose to follow my blog, and finally, I participated in a poetry reading with fifteen other poets at the annual Association for Mormon Letters conference. All of us and many many others were anthologized in a new collection of poetry by and about mormons called Fire in the Pasture.

I have to be honest, I am very blown away by the several honors and at the same time needed it. I don’t deserve the awards given here on wordpress since political cartoons are considered the lowest form of art, however I do accept the award because of the experiences I’ve had substitute teaching (though blogging about that is now quite difficult). I do not belong with the other poets in the anthology and told the editor Tyler Chadwick, but he and several of the others there told me to knock it off.

I really want to thank Seven Legged Express Journey with some commemoration art (not a requirement for the award):

And I would like to nominate the following five bloggers for their support and creativity (the crappy thing about these awards, is that there are more people I want to thank, but there isn’t enough room):

Mary McGowan. Mary has been a very long term supporter of my blog and is also a skilled illustrator, watercolorist, singer, poet and blogger. I am always happy when she posts something new and also enjoy the posts she chooses to reblog.

Michelle at Motley News. Michelle is a news and political junky and a great lover of dogs. She just celebrated her one year anniversary as a blogger. A great many of my posts were inspired by her posts especially the many War on Women posts.

Pete Glanting. Pete is a such an arcane and insane cartoonist. I admire him for his very unique comics and portraits. He posts almost daily and his posts always show a great deal of OCD attention to detail.

Wayne Pollard. Wayne is a pixie cartoonist, meaning a cartoonist that does not often change the art in their strip. There are quite a few good pixie-strips out there, but I want to see new art. Wayne’s is the exception. His writing is very sharp and near to my heart as I have literally received hundreds of rejection letters.

Mark at Images of China through English Eyes. I love Asia and I love good photography. Mark’s blog has these in spades. I have liked almost every photo he’s posted since I came across him.

I also want to take this chance to thank Ron, Don, Doodlemum and Doodle Dad for their inspiration, support and friendship.

Argus 2012

For the last three week. I’ve been going over to Orem High School and helping a friend out with a literary journal. I do this every year. For six weeks of every spring I basically work a second forty hour job as a volunteer teaching high school kids how to publish.

I was at Orem High until 11pm, and so I did not have anything to post. In fact, I just came home and went straight to bed.

Every year there is something different going on that one would not experience in the professional world or even in college I expect. This year, we are dealing with the messy aftermath of a high school breakup. The boy was very hurt and has tried to sabotage the journal because of heartbreak yada yada yada.

I’ve worked out a deal with him. We do want him to work on the staff, because he is a skilled artist and is very committed, but I have to work with him on his own so he won’t do anything silly.

This is taking a lot of time and energy. The problem is that he was dating the editor-in-cheif and she, in her way, is trying to sabotage him as well. If this were in a company or a publishing house, I’m sure one of them would have been fired or at least shuffled off someplace else until the project was completed.

Anyway, all the pre work was finally completed and now we can start entering everything directly into InDesign. That will be next week and only completed by a few people. Hopefully nothing else will happen over the weekend that will lengthen the process out further.

Substitute Teaching: Assembly (CUE)

I apologize for not posting about my last three weeks at Central Utah Enterprises, but there is a reason. It is not because I don’t like to post or have gotten lazy. My art takes longer than prose. We had a staff meeting the day after my last substitute teaching report and a legal representative from the Provo School District came by to talk about posting information on-line about individuals with special needs. Essentially, it is a complete no-no. I have been breaking the law for a while. I am such a bandito.

The biggest violators are people posting stuff on Facebook. The lawyer did mention blogs, forums and letters-to-the editor. The nice thing is today is the last day of my long term assignment and I’ll be posting about other assignments as they come up.

See, I can post all I want about mainstream students (within reason–nothing that would feed a stalker) and not get in trouble as long as I don’t post photographs of them, “friend” them or post links to their pages or pictures (or get creepy about them in a regular post). With special-needs adults and children of any stripe, the restrictions are gigantic. There are lobbies advocating on behalf of the handicapped, but not on behalf of moronic high school and middle school students.

The second I heard about this restriction, I stopped posting. The logic does make sense, but since there is no way to truly delete anything from the internet, I left my past posts where they are. If they decide to hang me, off to the gallows I go.

I wish I could tell you some of the wonderful stories and heartbreaking tales of the last three weeks. There is one I will be telling, but that is going to be in an eight to ten page, graphic, short story. This story I have in mind did not occur at CUE and is so beautiful, I doubt there will be any objectors.

For those of you who started following me because of my tales detailing the joy and horror substitute teaching, thanks for being patient. I wish I could have posted, but since I don’t like prison law-suits or lawyers, I’m glad I didn’t.

K & Lithium Li (Sketch)

Brainstorming.

I wanted to let you know I’m still working on a comic. I do not write or draw well while I’m sick, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try. I’ll make some changes to this before I finally draw, but a page like this is typically my first step in creating a comic.

Dang . . .

I had been contemplating caucusing with the Democrats. Tonight. In fact, I was planning on it for a month and had even debated it with my roommate, Ken (he likes the Dems except for one thing: “There are way to many [undocumented Hispanic Americans [insert any profanity and racist term you think appropriate]]”).

Then I got sick. I have been punished by a fever and chill. Ken says God is torturing me for my evil, liberal-secular, thoughts.

Oh bother.

I was planning to go to the Republican caucuses on Thursday to cause trouble.

Ken says I’ll be afflicted with the plague to prevent it.

We’ll see. I think God thinks Republicans are funny, too.

I won’t continue longer. I don’t write well when I’m sick. I did write a poem (earlier), however:

 

I found a pinecone

in the trash

looking of popcorn and drying cola

smelling of earth

smelling of earth

Substitute Teaching: English (CVJHS 1)

I taught English again. I’m not going to have this chance for two and a half weeks unfortunately. I picked up an assignment for the rest of the week and was requested to work for two weeks at Provo Post High School (yay).

The English assignment was a lot of fun of course. I love teaching English and I think this bleeds though to the students. The first three classes covered Figurative Language (mostly similes), spelling practice and reading a novel I’ve never heard of. It’s called Deathwatch by Robb White and is a clumsy remake of The Most Dangerous Game (also known as The Hounds of Zaroff) by Richard Connell. The advantage for the book is that uses grade specific language and uncomplicated ideas and plot. I would think a series of classic short stories would serve the students better, but there is an audio CD and teachers guide for the book where finding the same for a series of classic short stories would be difficult. We worked on the two worksheet based activities and then read the novel aloud.

The kids read well, but were uninterested. They thought the novel was boring. I kept my thoughts to myself, but discussed the terrain descriptions to see if we could figure out where it takes place. We thought it was set in the Four Corners Region, but Wikipedia reports it happened in the California Mojave Desert. The presence of buttes, saguaro cactus and Gila Woodpeckers in the book and a quick google search tells me the Goldfield Mountains of Arizona would be the most likely region. I’ve never been there, but I’ve seen saguaro cactus and Gila Woodpeckers in the wild as had many of the kids. At least this turned into a interesting discussion during the last five minutes of the class during clean up.

The final class was an Honors English class. We did the first two worksheets and then the kids  read some of their research about The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. These guys were sharp (and filled with sass and giggles . . . lipping means getting lip back–we laughed so much in this class) and did the worksheets in five or so minutes. I told them then I would give them extra credit based on the portraits around the classroom. They thought this would be loads of fun since they had already read samples of each: Shakespeare, Dickinson, Dickens, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Poe, Steinbeck, Thoreau, Cather & someone else I can’t remember. Honors kids are weird since they think a quiz would be fun. The best part was when I finally caught a note they had been passing around. While I was giving my introduction, I told them no e-devices. They asked what if they could pass notes (manual texting). I told them if I caught them I would post it to my website. Here is the note they passed:

(Note from Lila and Madi)

I love junior high and middle school students. They are so funny and filled with laughter. I read the note out loud (with the girls permission). We had already been laughing, but now we were loud. After the note was unearthed, I told them to read Dickens with the craziest British accents they could think of. It took a lot of work, mostly Irish sounding accents and reading with inflection to show Dickens is an interesting guy and not some old dead guy no one reads outside of school (this class voted Twilight as the most important American novel of all time).

I had a great day in each class.

SWTOR

Yesterday, after the errands were run and before my son Rob came by to hang-out, Ken and Jim (my roommates) ganged-up on me and said: “Look you jerk, we are trying to form a guild and need you to play Star Wars more often. Write you blog and do you silly art another time.”

I caved. Yesterday for six hours I played Star Wars: The Old Republic. I do like this game a lot, I am just a tad mift at it because they are refusing to make a Mac friendly version of the game. We already have guild on one server, but it is Imperial. I don’t much like the Imperial side because it is mostly kids and the server that guild is on is one of the most crowded in the game. The new server has very light traffic and I get to play a Republic Trooper.

I was thinking, I would play a little swtor this morning and then go to church and then go over to my parents to watch the Super Bowl, but I woke to find Michelle at motleynews.net gave me the versatile blogger award. So I spent a while reading all the other blogs she gave the award to.

WOW.

I was very surprised at my company. The other bloggers are amazing. Michelle is amazing.

It is going to take a while to find fifteen blogs I would award this to. There are a bunch out there I like, so this is going to take a bit of time.

Here are the other requirements:

  • nominate 15 other bloggers
  • inform my nominees
  • share 7 random (unknown) facts about myself
  • thank the one who nominated me
  • add a picture of the award to this post

 

Regarding the L

Regarding the L

 

God knows I’m traveling, man.

Don’t tell which train I’m on.

God, I’m a traveling man.

Can’t tell which train I’m on.

Brown Line, Orange Line, Pink Line

which one I’m getting on.

 

No tower 18 guide.

All switches are open.

Tower 18 don’t guide.

Those loop switches’re open.

Heading for downtown, God,

keep those switches open.

 

headhouse occupies the

block. hundred foot ceiling

covered in glass keeps man

waiting on benches. up

above Amtrak keeps its

offices. entrances

access underground trains

through subterranean

passage ways, lanes, tunnels.

 

God knows I’m traveling, man.

Out them grand staircases.

God, I’m train traveling, man.

Out, out grand staircases.

Milwaukee or New York

bound those grand staircases.