Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dear Blog Readers

Why is it some of you refuse to post messages? I get e-mails from you about my Blogs. I get phone calls. You'll mention my Blogs in conversation. And yet, you will not...cannot? ever post messages.

I do not understand your hesitancy. But you know I love it when you play hard to get.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What is Attraction?

Over the course of the past seven years, I have taught many classes, and I have had many students. In general, I know my students like me as a teacher, and in general, I can think of very few students I have not liked. This ebb and flow make my job fairly easy.

This semester, though, I had a class that was like a fresh dollar bill. Every time I saw them, I was amazed, better yet, marveled, at how perfect they were. Crisp. Fresh. Easy.

I loved them.

But what was it? What about this class, the mixture of students, was so different than others I have had before? What made me so attracted to them...look forward to them...made me smile when I thought about them? I just can't say. I guess it could have been the combination of personalities...maybe cultures?

There was the typical guy that couldn't follow directions. He would ask the same questions every week...and yes, he annoyed me at times. But he had his place in this class. I could count on him asking me "Mark, how do I know when to say 'ed' at the end of a word" even though I told him the answer four consecutive weeks in a row. I will miss him. I will miss his consternation.

I had twin brothers...both (obviously) from Eastern Europe. They reminded me of my time in the Czech Republic. Honestly, their English was not that good...but they tried. They cared. They had their mother make me goulash the last day of class because I had mentioned that I liked it one day. That almost made me cry.

I had Mr. Over Eager...who in a typical class would annoy the Hell out of me. I usually can't stand the people that try to kiss my ass and are disingenuous about their desire to learn. This guy meant it. He DID want to learn...and he improved more in four months than I have ever seen anyone improve in the same period in all my years of teaching. I am proud of him. I envy his passion.

There were these two guys...A and A. Both from Africa. Both somehow my kindred spirits. Every week when I saw them, I smiled. When I saw them outside of class, I didn't stretch for things to say to them. Even though they are lower-level English speakers...we actually talked. Like men. I understood them and consider them my friends.

There was the "I can't do it" girl. This is a typical personality in a language class...but she somehow had her place. She fit. Everyone else encouraged her. They wouldn't let her speak Spanish when I was on the other side of the room, and they pushed her to be who she could be. Her speech on the last day of class was honestly one of the best even though she was one of the lower students. She is the master of Spanglish...and she said "Como se dice" every time we talked.

I had the motherly figures, and the floaters...and the people that were just kind of there. Sitting. I wasn't sure what they were learning...but I knew they were. They just got me, and I know they weren't completely lost. Like a puzzle, they fit in with the rest.

I am not the world's best teacher. There are so many things I don't know...and probably couldn't explain if I did know them. I do not know what attraction is. But I know when I feel it...and I know when it's real. I feel like I lost a part of me today because this class that I came to love and feel like a father ended. It ended so soon. Too soon. I fear I will never have a class like them. Ever again.

Here is to them. They taught me more than I could ever hope to offer. And I hope one day...when they think back about me and our experience together...they'll remember what we had was more than attraction. We had a connection. And I will miss them dearly.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Two More To Go

I'm not a huge drinker. Well, I don't drink like I used to...but I have given up almost every Friday in the past four months because of waking up early to run every Saturday morning. Ladies and gents, tonight and next Friday are my last two Fridays of staying in and being bored.
I have a brief eight-mile run tomorrow....then the (gulp) marathon a week from Sunday...and that's it!

I don't always stay in on Fridays...but man, I can't wait to have just one night where I slur my words. Stumble walking down the street. Having to pee so badly that I run behind a dumpster to relieve myself. Waking up with a hangover and not being able to function for half of the following day.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

They are finally done!

A "few" months ago I mentioned that I built some shelves from scratch. Of course you remember...but just in case: Blog O' Building

Most of this wait time had to do with not having a drill...but I finally was able to borrow one, and my lovely little project is now complete.

Do you want to see pictures? If I get three comments from three different people asking for pictures, I'll post some.

This is my challenge to you!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Conversing with thy self

I have been having one hell of a conversation with myself recently. It mostly ends up with me losing, which sucks.

I know, I know. Conversations aren't about "winning" or "losing" but for Christ sake...I give in.

I have finally given in to the fact that I am bitter. I am. I think for the first time in my life I can look in the mirror, and without much reason to think otherwise, feel that most women are nucking futs. This isn't "news" to me or anyone else...just the fact that I am bitter about it now is making me take a step back.

Case in point:

I walk into the professors' lounge area. There is a photocopy machine in the lounge where I do some photocopying because the people whose job it is to photocopy in the photocopy center don't know how to photocopy. But, that is for a different blog at a different time.

Anyway, one of the copy people is in the lounge and fixing the copy machine that I need to use before class starts in about twenty minutes. She looks to be about 25 to 30, and she is somewhat attractive. While I am waiting for her to finish working on the machine, I make some small, idle chit chat. What the Hell do I say to the copygirl? She is totally flustered, and I actually am in somewhat of a hurry to get some copies done.

After about 30 seconds of running out of things to say...I notice she is wearing a pretty cool shirt. It's button down and has blue/white stripes. I innocently tell her, "Nice shirt." That's it. "Nice shirt."

There is an awkward pause from her. And she stops what she is doing. She kind of fiddles with the maching for a few more seconds, then bites back..." (emphasis) HUSBAND got it for me."

People, what kind of world do we live in where I can't say "nice shirt" without someone thinking I am trying to fuck her? Seriously? My mouth nearly dropped to the floor when I heard her response at "shutting me down" from "getting in her pants."

I couldn't help I said "Yeah, my girlfriend has one just like it! My dead girlfriend."

OK...I didn't say that.

Anyway, I wanted to get the hell out of there so badly. Maybe she could just smell that I haven't had sex in four months on me and instantly assumed that she was a likely target? And as much as I try...marathon training is just not the same thing as sex. Yeah you get all sweaty and tired and the handcuffs really hurt. But that is where the similarities end, let me tell you.

I might as well become a monk. The chances of me finding a gay lover at the monestary are significantly higher than me finding a woman I can tolerate on anything more than a friendship level at this point. And those brown robes are pretty sexy.


Sooooo bitter.

Wonder what would happen if I told a monk, "Nice robe"? Internal damnation?


What would have happened if I told her "Your shirt sucks"? Her possible response: "Yeah, and so does my husband"?


The sad thing...this situation so isn't a big deal. It's just emblematic, man.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Glimmer

Thank you to everyone who called or emailed about my stupid knee. That actually really helped!

I was able to successfully run six miles today that is good. The knee felt very awkward, which is not good, but I don't need perfection. I need completion! And I have not had completion in many, many months now.

....but I digress....

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Well that sucked

Things were going along swimmingly until about the eighth mile...when my knee locked up. I have had zero knee problems during my training...and then BAM out of knee stopped working.

I am hoping it is just tired from over compensating for the shin splints in my right leg...but man, there is no way that I have trained for four months NOT to do the marathon now. If I have to fricken crawl, I am doing this thing...but from what I understand, I never really crawled when I was a baby. I guess I scooted.

Anyway, after "only" running eight miles...I went to the gym and got on an elliptical machine for two hours. Let me tell you how much fun that was. I did get to watch an awful lot of CNN while I was there. All I really want to know is, what the Hell is wrong with Nancy Grace? How did somebody that ugly and that scary get her own TV show? I swear it looks like that woman could breathe fire if she wanted to.

These are the things that go through one's mind while NOT running twenty miles and having to spend WAY to much time on a machine that just goes round and round. Round and round.

Anyone have an extra knee I can borrow for one weekend in early June?

Friday, May 12, 2006

More Than Slightly Nervous

I am running 20 miles tomorrow morning....and although this is only 1.5 miles longer than my run a few weekends ago, something about the first number in the distance being a "2" is freaking me the fuck out.

Also, I have picked up a case of the shin splints...and for those of you who have never had those...just imagine accompanying every step you take...a shot of pain running up your leg from your ankle to your knee. HURRAY!

Tomorrow, I am practicing a technique called ignore the pain...which is something I have gotten fairly decent at doing thus far.

I had a meeting of the psychological minds during my last long run...where it was determined that we are running this marathon for those who can't run for themselves. This will be an ever-repeating mantra for me tomorrow morning.

Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's The Little Things That Can Make You Laugh. Literally.

Imagine if you will sitting in a food court with about twenty other people you don't know. It's lunch time...and you are eating some orange chicken from Panda Express.

All of the the parking lot, about ten feet hear some music BLASTING. It is the song from Rocky

I expect to see this gigantic Escalade with hydraulics or something. I mean...this music is FRICKEN LOUD!!!!!

Everyone in the food court turns around...and what do we see? I tiny little moped chugging along at about 2 miles an hour bumping to the Rocky Theme.

There was an odd silence...and then, in unison...EVERYONE starting was complete laugh-and-point mob mentality.

One of the most random things I have ever seen in my life.

Those Who Can't Do...Have Nephews

Seeing as how I don't have a wife or kids, I spend holidays and birthdays and the like with my sister's kids. It's awesome. I get to play with them and/or watch them play with their friends...and then when time's up...I drive home with no diapers in sight.

This past weekend was Mason's first birthday party. My sister is pretty after people started to head home, she let me turn on the Laker game...Game 3 versus Phoenix (Lakers won...YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS)

Anyway, I asked Jake, my older nephew, who will be five in September, if he knew any of the Laker players. I discovered that he didn't.

As it is within any uncle's right to warp the mind of his young relatives, I let him know that the Lakers were the best team in the NBA...and that Kobe Bryant was the best player in basketball.

"Kobe is number 8" I told him.

After about five minutes, he started catching on. "Is that Kobe with the ball right now, Uncle Mark?"

"No...not him...."

"Is that Kobe with the ball now?"


"Is that Kobe, Uncle Mark?" As a close up of Kobe was on the screen.

"Yup....that's him."

"He's number 8, Uncle Mark."

Beaming with pride..."Yes...that's him!"

"Uncle Mark?"

"Yes, Jake?"

"Why does Kobe have brown on his face?"

"Ummmmmmmm...whoa look at that...time for commercial!"

I am just not ready for that type of question.

The best thing about nephews....they make me feel clean!