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What’s In My Entourage

Yes, I say what, and not who. You’ll understand by the end of this post.

Hello from Memorial Library, by the way. There’s something about blogging from a desktop that is way more satisfying than a laptop or a phone. I should look into doing this more often.

I usually don’t take too long to get ready to go out. Unless it’s winter, and I need my entourage. Simply put, my entourage is everything that I’d need for the day, and if I’m leaving anytime before noon, I need to make sure I have all of these things with me. Sometimes it requires multiple trips to the car. Most often, I end up not needing the majority of the items, but it’s good knowing that they’re with me, I guess. Here’s the lineup:

Entourage Checklist

  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Earbuds
  • Keys
  • Sunglasses
  • Backpack (usually the majority of what’s listed below is in the backpack, if it fits)
  • Notebook
  • Journal
  • Hebrew-English dictionary
  • Translation pages
  • Index cards
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Address Labels
  • Scrap paper (to wrap things in)
  • Books for research
  • Books for pleasure reading
  • Books to be finished and swapped
  • Post-it flags
  • Comb
  • Hand cream
  • Tissues
  • Bookmarks
  • Sunscreen (finally removed now that winter has arrived)
  • Change purse
  • Laptop
  • Power cord
  • Phone charger
  • Headphones for laptop
  • Gym bag (usually contains the following items)
    • Shirt
    • Extra shirt
    • Underwear
    • Gym pants
    • Towel
    • Body wash
  • Empty cloth bags for grocery shopping
  • Cloth bag with Latin shoes/extra socks
  • Cloth bag with Standard shoes/extra socks

When I roll, I roll deep.

I might be a pack rat.

 

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6

I Think…No, I Know I Have A Problem

Well, so many.

Including never managing to post here at a reasonable hour of the day and resorting to between 11-12, never updating my iPhone/computer OS, and sticking to a good diet.

This post, however, is about my reading and book-acquiring habits.

I, That’s So Jacob, fully admit to being a reading addict and a book hoarder.

Allow me to explain.

First, reading addict. Some people say “oh, I read anything,” but I’ll literally read anything. No genre or era is safe; if it’s in a language I can read, I’ll read it. Sometimes I won’t even take the book out of the store, I’ll read the whole thing, then buy it. My reading addiction got me almost accidentally left behind on a family trip to Canada.

Furthermore, once I start a book, I can’t abandon it. Even if it’s a thousand pages, or completely boring, if I’ve gotten more than a page or two into the book, I have to finish it. Some rare cases have included books when I’ve accidentally skipped a chapter/section and not realized it (then I know there’s something wrong with the book…or me), and A Commonwealth of Thieves. It took me a week to read 10 pages without falling asleep mid-sentence. According to my calculations, had I continued reading, it would have taken me about a whole year to read it, upon which point I never looked at the book again. And then again, there was the mistake of picking up Ulysses in high school and feeling like a failure because I had no clue what to make of it, and couldn’t get the first chapter or so.

The last few books I’ve read have been, well…not so great. But not enough to abandon. I have no shame in saying their titles, if only to remind me not to do that again; with so many books and so little time, I need to find out what happens at the ends of the good ones. First, Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. The back cover blurb sounded interesting, but the Ghanaian-British slang made it very confusing as well as the lack of a clear plot. Next came Andorra by Peter Cameron, a book which has nothing to do with the actual nation of Andorra, as it takes place in a coastal Mediterranean town. It also features two characters with the same first and last name (a husband and wife), and too many characters referred to by their common last names. The ending took me by surprise, but it was predictable and honestly at that point I didn’t care anymore. Finally, Red Dust by Ma Jian – a book that has been on my list for years – wound up being as dry as…red dust. After that string of mindless page-skimming, it’s clear that I need to read books I actually care about.

My second confession is to being a book hoarder. I’ve gotten a little better at it actually, I must say; while I still hoard plays/theatre texts (they’re for RESEARCH!) I’ve started to part with some of the books I’ve had around for awhile, and I’m down to a five-shelf bookshelf, two shelves in the bathroom, and two drawers full of mysteries and trade-sized paperbacks. It’s definitely not as bad as it was in Houston. But lately, the book-acquiring bug bit me again. I saw that someone on PaperBackSwap was wishing for a copy of a book in a mystery series that was the next one in series order from where I had left the series, so I actually bought a copy on Amazon mostly for the sole purpose of offering it on PBS (but reading it first, of course).

I also don’t seem to understand the concept of “rewarding myself,” since today I did so preemptively – I promised myself I would work on research for a few hours (which I did end up doing!), in exchange for a trip to a used bookstore where I promptly bought 7 books I likely didn’t need and already have one packaged to send out to a PBS user tomorrow.

Not saying that this addiction is a bad problem, or an expensive one, just one that I can’t seem to break. Will I ever not have the need to read?

4

A Slightly More Than Expected Day

One of the questions asked at tonight’s APO meeting was about the most interesting thing that happened today.

Normally, I don’t find my days that interesting, especially today, which I spent the better half of in bed. Once I got up, however, the following things happened.

  • I put an earring into a drunk man’s ear.
  • I bought a salad for lunch and left it sitting in a bag on the sidewalk.
  • I admitted publicly to doing both of those things.
  • I was sitting outside and writing a check to send in the mail with my Kohl’s bill, and just as I was finishing, a bird pooped on it.
  • I went to Target, and though I bought plenty of other things, the fruit snacks I bought did not make it home.
  • For a block, I drove down the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, there were no cars coming.
  • My right ear hurts like crazy (not the ear canal, but slightly under the ear) and I hope I don’t have an infection or anything.

It’s been quite a rough 24 hours for the world, but hopefully this post will cheer some of you up.

0

Waiter, There’s Gold In My Soup

So, tonight I went out to HopCat with the dance team. I arrived about a half hour into dinner, so everyone had already ordered and was still waiting for their meals. I got a seat on the end, flagged down a waitress, and ordered a cup of veggie chili. I don’t know how it happened, but I got it way before everyone else (about 15 people) and had just about finished it when everyone else finally got their meals. I asked for my check, and the waitress dropped it off. I opened it, and it was.

$99.48.

My eyes almost popped out of my head.

I called the waitress over and obviously there had been a mistake; she accidentally gave me the bill for the entire table. Although I’m generally a generous person, and the chili was delicious, it wasn’t worth that much.

My next reaction was, “was there gold in that soup?” (although a funnier reaction would have been “was there a Kardashian in that soup?”)

I got my real check ($5.28) and paid, telling one of the others at the table as I was leaving.

Her reaction?

“Was there gold in that soup?”

4

Holidays That Should Exist

It seems like my blog is turning into a weekly blog rather than a daily blog. Yikes.

Also, I’ve been saying “yikes” a lot for no real reason. Rather than a life update like my last few posts, (all of one in September and four in August, yikes) here’s a real random thoughts post, so get ready for that warm fuzzy feeling.

I’m always having ideas, and today, I just thought of all the things that we have in life that we don’t dedicate a day to. These are either types of people, things, or activities. Let’s you and me take a little walk through my brain and imagine a world where these things are possible:

National Drag Queen Day. Everyone must dress like a drag queen and no one who does (or does not) can be judged. And yes, I know that Halloween is kind of like this – also Gay Pride is kind of like this – but on this day, either you’re a drag queen, or you’re not. No sexy cats, no robots, no half-naked people just in garbage bags. Full drag. COMMIT. That includes having a drag name for the day.

National Go To Therapy Day. I have been to enough types of therapy to know what it’s like (excluding physical therapy) and that people who have either never been or refuse to go to therapy…need to. On this day, there will be no such thing as a need for health insurance because all therapy will be free. Any type will do, but you have to go, you have to pay attention, and if you roll your eyes or look at your phone, you have to do an extra session. If you refuse to go, you have to spend the day in a psych ward. Have you ever met someone who just needs therapy, but you can’t tell them? With this holiday, it’s mandatory, so call up your doctor, I’m-so-normal-and-you’re-not Carol, because the time has come.

National Lampoon Day. You must watch a movie with Chevy Chase in it. Simple as that.

National Bathing Day, or Wash Yourself Week. Seriously. I was walking down the street, and a girl was sitting on a bench with her shoes off, feet up, and her looked like moldy potatoes. I almost puked in my mouth. We need a day where everyone either bathes willingly or gets a bucket of hot soapy water (not soupy water, like I just typed) dumped on their head, West Side Story style.

National Talk Like An Italian Day. National Talk Like a Pirate Day, hit the deck, because once I institute NTLAID, you can say just about anything and it sounds mildly gangster. Or gangsta, if that’s your thing.

National Fart On Someone You Don’t Like Day. Kind of self-explanatory, and I feel like some people do this anyway in their daily lives, but there are some people out there that really need to be farted on. Just once. Bonus points if you cause them to puke and/or poop. Apparently I’m also eight years old.

National Learn A New Dance Move Day. “But I don’t dance.” Yes you do, Tricia, be thankful you HAVE LEGS and USE THEM. On this day, you will have to either attend a dance class or master an actual dance move that requires some level of skill. So no two stepping, macarena, jump around, or disco fingers. If you like dancing, then learn however many new dance moves and styles you want.

National No Clocks Day. Everything is spontaneous, just like in caveman times, or 2017 in some parts of Brazil and Papua New Guinea. Wait…how will we know when it’s over?

Image result for madonna holiday gif

 

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The Epitome of a Slow Salsa

11 PM, the night before my final 120 class.

In reality: In Memorial Library study lab, grading papers, grading Emoji essays, gearing up for tomorrow’s discussion sections.

In my mind: …one two three…five six seven…just want to dance…(also, doesn’t help any that my iPhone just started playing “Vivir Lo Nuestro.”)

The epitome of a sad salsa.

So sad, but I just wanna dance…

6

Tales From School: 4, 3, 2, 1, Pharaohs Want Their Buildings Done

After an exhausting weekend of two 3-hour drives, 2 workshops, 1 roundtable, and a ton of fun new memories at Eau Claire, it was time to get back to Madison and back to school. With my college students, I managed to stay awake enough to discuss Mother Courage with them, but stayed up half the night brainstorming ideas for how to introduce my next unit to my elementary school students tomorrow. Since Passover is coming up next week, and we have two weeks off, I got them started on thinking about this month’s country, Egypt.

I started off today with a riddle:

“My first letter is in a TREE but is not a FRUIT, my second letter is in the GARDEN but is not a FLOWER, my third letter is in the SKY but is not in the CLOUDS, my fourth letter is on the PLAINS but not in the LAND, and my fifth letter is in the DESERT but not in the SAND.”

In order to solve it, my students needed to figure out that they had to cross off letters that appeared in both words. The first one was pretty easy, since E was the only option, but the second letter could be either G, A, D, or N; the third could be K or Y; the fourth could be P, I, or S; and the fifth could be D, E, R, or T. After a few missed attempts (Eakie, anyone?) and running back and forth from the map, they figured out that it was Egypt. Which led me to introducing the riddle of the Sphinx, which segued into learning basic facts about modern-day Egypt (the lecture portion of the class).

After our mid-class break, we went to the multi-purpose room where I showed them pictures of some of Egypt’s great wonders: the temple at Karnak with its great pillars; the temple at Abu Simbel with the giant pharaoh statues; the Pyramids of Giza; and of course, the Sphinx. This led to a game similar to Simon Says, but I called it Pharaoh’s Builders.

The premise: One student is “pharaoh,” and all the others are builders. Pharaoh does not like it when the builders are lazy, so they must walk around in the hot hot sun until he decides which structure he wants them to build. If he says “pyramid” the builders must get in a group of four and join hands at the top; any student who does not get in that group is eliminated. If he says “sphinx”, the builders must get in a group of three; one as the pharaoh, one as the body of a cat, and one as the magic wings. Again, whoever doesn’t get into a group in time is out. If the pharaoh wants a “temple” two builders stand together side by side (with even numbers, no one gets eliminated; however, we later amended the rule to say that the couple who pairs up the slowest is eliminated). And finally, if he wants a “pillar” that means that the builders must stop where they are and put their hands to the sides; the slowest one, or the one who does the wrong position, is out. The winner becomes the next pharaoh.

We did this for several rounds and it was extremely fun. For the most part. The hiccups that occurred:

  • Tracey kept forgetting what a pillar was, despite making the final two almost every round, crossing her arms instead of putting them to the side.
  • One time, with four players left, the pharaoh called “sphinx.” Bella kneeled, Nora went down on all fours behind her, and Perry made the wings, but as he knelt down, Nelly slipped between him and Nora, making her own wings. Of course, arguing ensued, with the pharaoh (and me) saying that Perry was out because he hesitated when making the wings, Bella and Nora saying that Nelly cheated by cutting in front of Perry. In the end, though, it was resolved when the pharaoh said “what the pharaoh says, goes,” which actually solved the problem, and Perry (who is a pretty easygoing kid) went to the sidelines with no argument.
  • The game was pretty much determined by whoever made the pillar pose the fastest when the pharaoh called out “pillar,” so basically it was a game of walking and waiting. In one round, however, when Nora and Stephanie were in the final two with Nelly as pharaoh, Perry yelled “pillar!” from the sidelines, which confused the heck out of everyone else. It was a great discipline opportunity however; once that round had finished and Nora had won, I told the class that Perry, being a disobedient builder and not respecting the rules of the game, would be required to sit the next round out, and that we would play two more rounds.
  • Of course, there was a ton of arguing “I got here first!” “You moved!” but for the most part, the “what the pharaoh says goes” rule worked to resolve it, and if not that, then “what the teacher says goes.”

Despite the aforementioned issues, I think that this game is incredibly useful and does not get annoying like other games (like The Game We Shall Never, Ever Mention Again). I could play Pharaoh’s builders all day. The best part is that the kids will definitely remember all those things now.

That was quite the long blog post. In other news, today is 4/4 and I paid my VISA bill today using check #444. So that’s something?