A Clarification…

So this past weekend I launched a new little contest, The Chindogu Challenge.  And as I usually do with my blog posts, I referenced it on my Facebook page, since a lot of people read my blog through links there rather than subscribe.  (The majority of you, in fact.)  And while the Facebook post generated a lot of discussion, which is great, no one has transferred their ideas to the blog yet, for the official contest.

I’m just saying, it would be lovely if you’d post your comments on the original blog post, please.  🙂  The link to it is in the paragraph above.  It’s also the post just before this one.  I’m just saying.

Thanks!

P.S. — If you already have a copy of the book being offered as a prize, I’ll send you a different one you don’t have yet.

Chindogu Challenge!!

Many years ago, my rather creative social group had not yet started having children, and we were laden with free time and energy.  We threw costume parties for almost any occasion — and made our own high-quality costumes to wear to them.  We got together to make crafts.  We temporarily turned our houses into galleries and had art Continue reading “Chindogu Challenge!!”

Academic Calendar Conditioning (and a Reminder)

So I’ve been on the schedule of a typical academic calendar for thirty-five years now, nonstop.  My husband assures me that this consistency is the reason for the reinforcement of my periodic stress.  In other words, I’m conditioned to be overworked and therefore stressed out beyond reason from about the end of April through Memorial Day.

I cannot argue with his logic.  Especially not right now, when I’m in the middle of the busiest two weeks of the school year.  I would argue, but frankly, I don’t have time.  There’s a stack of papers nine inches tall waiting to be graded, and I haven’t even given my final exam yet.

There are other times during the year when I am similarly busy and stressed out.  However, between Thanksgiving and December finals I’m too happy about the holiday season to worry about it much.  Then, I’m blissfully able to remind myself that being behind at school is always a finite problem:  the semester always ends, and by hook or by crook, report cards go out, and then I’m done.  But right now, the summer break, when I can devote myself more fully to my writing, is so close that all I can think of is how burnt out I feel every time I sit down to work.  The glorious weather and the wall of windows in my classroom that look out onto a lovely courtyard do not help.  (My friend Amber, who used to teach at UC Santa Barbara, could see the Pacific Ocean from her office window.  That would be worse, I think, but only for my work ethic.)

I used to have insomnia the beginning of August every year, from the time I began teaching until the time my daughter was born.  (Then I didn’t have the insomnia because I was just so damn tired all the time I couldn’t possibly have trouble falling asleep.  Not at any time, not in any place.)  A lot of my colleagues experience this also, the inability to sleep well (or, in some cases, at all), for about two weeks before the school year begins.  I suppose we should all count ourselves lucky that we care so much about teaching that we worry whether we will do it well enough.  I will say that my colleagues continually inspire me with their energy, talent, and devotion to their students’ success.  As teaching careers go, I’m at what Bull Durham would call “the show.”  And I’m grateful for that.

But this means that for a while a few times a year, the other stuff I do suffers a bit.  For example, my blog.  Let’s just call this post a long-winded apology for not a lot of substantive sharing lately.  It’s not that interesting and important things haven’t been happening.  They have.  I’ve even had a few episodes of mildly worthwhile introspection about them.  But since Easter, it’s been a maelstrom around here.  Yes, work has been busy.  Yes, my daughter turned seven.  Yes, my writing has been doing interesting stuff.  But also, people have died.

Some of all that I may blog about this summer; I don’t know.  I am fairly certain, however, that I will write much more substantial things for you, dear readers, more often than I have the last several weeks.  I appreciate that you’ve stuck with me thus far.

I’ll be done with this school year by the end of May.  I’ll still have school work to do over the summer, of course — the idea that teachers don’t have to work during the break is a damaging myth worthy of Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours” — but my time will be more my own and less frenetic.  Or at least that’s the plan.

Until then, go on and vote in my poll from last week.  You know, the one about The Silliest Thing You’ve Ever Heard.  Tell everyone you know to vote also.  Do it before tomorrow, when voting will close.  I can’t wait to find out who the winner is, especially since at the moment there is a three-way tie for first place.

And as for all the rest, thanks for hanging in there with me.  All the best.

Voting for the Silliest Thing Contest

So not too long ago I launched another contest, this one rather spontaneous and impromptu based on something asinine SJ over at Snobbery had alerted me to that day.  (Thanks, SJ!)  Lots of people entered with truly inane contributions, some of them more than one.  Yay!

So now it’s time for you to vote on the following entries to my Silliest Thing You’ve Ever Heard Contest, and the winner of the most votes will be offered a guest blog spot on Sappho’s Torque this summer!  (Details to be negotiated with the winner at a later time.)  If you want to read the original posts from participants in this contest, just click on the link above, in this paragraph, and read the comments section of the original post.  (You can find working links to some of the entries there as well, in case the ones in the poll itself don’t work for you.)

You may vote every day if you like.  Be sure to tell others about this incredibly unscientific poll as well.  I look forward to finding out who wins!  The poll closes in one week.

May the best crazy-talk win!

Silliest Thing Contest Update

Hey there.  You have until this coming Sunday night to post the silliest thing you’ve ever heard in the comments section of the original post about that.  Then I will collate all the responses into a new post, and you can all vote on what you think is the best.  The winner will be offered a spot as a guest blogger here at Sappho’s Torque this summer (date to be mutually agreed upon).

Good luck!

The Silliest Thing You’ve Ever Heard Of

So I happened upon this absolutely INANE piece of rubbish today.  It posits that — if I understand correctly — if you believe in global warming, you are most likely a serial killer.  Something like that.

I know, I know, it’s hard to believe “it takes all kinds” when something this BSC comes out.  In its defense, though, this “article” makes a good object lesson on manipulative writing and logical fallacy.

It made me wonder, though:  What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard?

Post your response in the comments section, and then we can all share in the insanity.  The person who posts the funniest Most Asinine Thing will get…something.  Not sure yet what.  But something, no doubt.

Go.

Best Commenter Awards

So I was recently awarded a Dodisharkicorn Best Commenter Award from the lovely ladies over at Snobbery.  (Yay!)

In fulfillment of this award, there are some things I must do.  First, proudly display my award badge, which I will do here:

Here it is! 🙂 The dodisharkicorn lives!

Next, I must answer the following questions:

  1. What is your third favourite colour?
  2. Would you rather be:  a Jedi, a Pokemon Master or a Wizard/Witch?  Choose ONE.
  3. Who is your favourite Doctor?
  4. Can you whistle?
  5. Would you name your child Sirius Albus?
  6. What is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything?
  7. Do you own a lawnmower?
  8. Do you think Legolas is a (very pretty) pansy?
  9. What’s the trashiest thing you’ve read in the last year?  Should we cover it for Trashy Tuesday?

My answers are below.

Next, I must announce my winners and pass them on to my Top 5 Commenters.  However, since the directive of the original award is to “spread it around like Nutella” and some of my commenters are tied for frequency, I’m giving it to more than five people.  Lucky them!  They are (drumroll…)

1.  Cindy and Seema tied for 1st place

2.  Kara in 2nd place

3.  Alanna, LouAnne, and Peggy tied for 3rd place

Now, this award is all about frequency.  Please rest assured that all my commenters are awesome in terms of quality!  And if you weren’t named this time for the award, you definitely have the chance to participate more on the blog to increase your chances for next time.  (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

So winners, please answer the questions!  You may do so in the comments here, so that we can all enjoy them, or if you have blogs of your own, please pay this award forward there and link back to this post.  (It’s just good for your karma to do so, and you know it.)

To set a shining example, I will now answer these difficult questions to the best of my ability.  Enjoy.

1.  My third favorite color is emerald green.

2.  What would I rather be?  It’s a very tough choice between a wizard/witch and a Jedi, but I think I’m going to have to go with Jedi Knight.  I once dressed up as one for work — I teach in a high school — for a themed costume day.  The theme was “Come Dressed As What You Want To Be When You Grow Up,” and when I was a kid, Jedi was high on my list.  My costume was awesome.

3.  My favorite Doctor is probably David Tenant because I like his other work.  Sadly, I missed the boat on Doctor Who decades ago and have only a fleeting familiarity with it.  Heresy, I know, and I hope you will all forgive me this severe cultural transgression.

4.  I cannot whistle and am thus an embarrassment to my family and to my species in general.

5.  I would name my child Sirius Albus if his father were Harry Potter.  Beyond that, this is an exclusively theoretical question, so I’ll just say, sure.  Why not.

6.  42.  This one’s almost too easy.  RIP Douglas Adams, you betoweled hoopy frood extraordinaire.

7.  I own a lawnmower in the sense that my husband has one, and what’s his is mine and what’s mine is his. But you’re not likely to see me lay a finger upon said lawnmower, unless it needs to be moved from behind my car before I back out of the driveway because my husband left it there.  Reciprocally, my husband has a collection of absolutely exquisite hats he wouldn’t touch with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole. I like to wear them when I go out for tea.

8.  Yup, I sure do.  Please observe this photograph from very shortly before Peter Jackson’s first LotR movie came out, of my darling husband who is as unpansyish as a man can get and still be intellectual and liberal, and of his cat who is no longer with us.  For further evidence of his unpansyishness, see the note about the hats, above.

My cute hubby with his cat Sarah Jane: He looks sort of like Beowulf, don’t you think?

9.  Although there’s a tough competition between this and any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I think the trashiest thing I’ve read lately must be A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole.  Please feel free to cover it for Trashy Tuesday.  I’m not sure I could do it TT justice myself, although I might blog about it at some point in the future.  I promise, I do read quality stuff, too, most of the time!  In fact, Cole’s book really didn’t have much competition here.

So that’s all!  Have a good week.  Award winners, comment here with your answers and demonstrate just how awesome you are, and how sincerely you deserve this award!

National Poetry Month (That Would Be April)

I know you’re eagerly awaiting the news of who won the March Poetry Contest, but the entries are all really good, and I’m not going to be announcing the winner till this weekend.  Sorry!  But I do have some other exciting news.

Tomorrow night — Thursday, April 5th — Brazos Bookstore will be kicking off their National Poetry Month festivities with a reception honoring and reading by several local Houston poets.  The store will be featuring these authors’ books the whole month.

Guess what?  I’m one of them.  Wheee!

Come on out Thursday evening at 7:00 for the reading, and stay to buy some books and get them signed by their authors.  The book I’ll have available is Barefoot on Marble:  Twenty Poems, 1995-2001.  I’m not sure yet what all I’ll be reading, but I suspect my selections will be from all three books (the two already published and the one I’m still working on).

Here’s the store’s website for more information:  http://www.brazosbookstore.com/

I hope to see you there!

Reminder About Poetry Contest, Which Ends This Weekend

Hey there.  I just want to bump this back onto your radar, in case you’ve lost track of time.  The inspired-by-another-poet poetry contest ends this weekend, when March runs out.  (Click here to get to the original contest and see the entries that have come in so far.  They’re really enjoyable!)

I know there are more poets out there, so don’t be shy.  Participate.  It’s good for you.

Cheers!

Horse Punchers? Seriously??

At the moment I’m neck-deep in novel revisions and poem revisions and essay revisions.  I’m also working on a couple of new pieces for this blog that are more substantial but which require more time to craft and hone, and which I hope you’ll enjoy.  The upshot of all of this is that this weekend, instead of putting up something that’s half-baked, I want to shine a spotlight on another blog I follow which is hilarity manifested in e-space.  In other words, I find it funny.  I think you will too.  It’s called The Byronic Man, and today he had some timely commentary about a recent problem in the television industry.  Enjoy!

And don’t forget about the poem contest I mentioned last weekend.  Here’s the deets.

Finally, a little housekeeping note for this blog:  I’ve added an archives page, where you can find links to my old posts.  Just look up at the top of this page at the menu tabs, and you will find it.

Have a lovely St. Patrick’s Day!  Don’t forget to wear green so you won’t get pinched.