Monday, September 29, 2014

What's Your Favorite Store?

I have said in a previous blog post that kids ask the best questions. Today my 6-year-old tossed a good one at me. He asked "What's your favorite store in the whole world?" I was stumped. My first thought was that I don't have a favorite store. That got me thinking about how I don't really like to shop and buy stuff. Not very often anyway. I consume, that's for sure, but I don't get a great deal of pleasure from going into stores and purchasing things.

A few years ago, I might have said that my favorite store was a used bookstore in a neighborhood where we used to live. But the bookstore closed. In that same neighborhood there's a cool store that sells used CDs and I liked that store a lot too. But it being 2014 and everything I tend to obtain music in other ways.

So I guess it comes down to any establishment where I can get food. I think my favorite store is an old school bakery in Niagara Falls, NY called DiCamillo. There are several locations but I especially like the ones on Pine Avenue and Niagara Falls Boulevard. They have great donuts and good coffee. You know what they say: happiness is a donut and a good cup of coffee.

Now that I've thought this through, I'll tell Troy about my answer when I pick him up from school.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Sleep Deprivation Episode #8,452

My 3-year-old woke up this morning around 4:00 hollering about who knows what and everybody went back to bed but I couldn't get back to sleep. So I hit the couch and watched an episode of Beat Bobby Flay in which the "star ingredient" was beets. That led to puns about Beeting Bobby Flay and that was all well and good except I still couldn't sleep and before long my beautiful 3-year-old was up again hollering about something else. We all got to where we needed to go this morning and now I'm slugging coffee so I can function in the classroom soon.

This morning I almost tweeted "I haven't had a good night of sleep since 1987" except that's not really true but I like the sound of it so I devote this sentence to it. I've been a parent for almost seven years and there have been many nights of deprived sleep. Plus life before kids which included a ton of sleepless nights, especially in the grad school days. But that is a-okay.

Have a great weekend.




Thursday, September 25, 2014

One of Those Days

What a terrible day. It started when I went to the bookstore. The guy wouldn't sell me the Bukowski book. Or the Kerouac book. He said they weren't for sale. Jerk. So I said “The least you could do is carry my book. Why won't you carry my book? I live in this neighborhood, people might like to read it.” 
Then I went to the Marina convinced I could get happy. I got close, could almost feel content, but some kid ruined it for me. He was trying to climb a tree in front of me. He would climb a bit, stumble, climb some more, slip, try again, fall, but I gotta admit, the kid was persistent. He kept trying to climb it. I liked his effort, but boy he was annoying, and he was in my space. I don't like it when people are in my space. An hour went by and this kid was still trying to climb that damn tree.  Finally I yelled at him: “Give it up kid. Give it up! You've got no chance.” 
He climbed to the top of the tree, grinned, looked down at me, and smiled.  That kid should be thankful he met me.


THE END

Author's note: This is a work of fiction.

Morning Love

Holding hands this morning with my son in a grocery store parking lot. I like taking pictures of shadows.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Quote of the Day (Courtesy of My Colleague)

"Nice to see you," I said to a colleague I always like to see.

"'It's nice to be seen,' as I like to say" he replied.

The End


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In an Unsurprising Development, Fantasy Football and Algorithms Have Joined Forces

In an unsurprising development, fantasy football and algorithms have joined forces.

The current NFL season is the first time I'm in a fantasy football league. I've always been hesitant to join because I didn't want another thing to check. I'm already a frequent checker. I check Twitter, e-mail, my blog readership, my phone, etc. But I figured "Hey why not try something new and it might even be fun." It's been fun so far. I'm not in a league filled with guys talking about their players. I mention that because the author says something to that effect in the opening of the article to which I linked. My league is a mix of men and women competing against each other with very little trash-talking so far.

The author is excited about the computer generated content made available by Yahoo Sports because it's a convenient source of information; some of it is even humorous. The author notes there's way more content than would be possible by relying on "human writers."

As for me, I still prefer human writers.

But I reserve the right to change my mind. Perhaps the day will come when I replace myself with a machine to generate content for this blog.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Wasn't Great in the Classroom Today

I wasn't great in the classroom today. I had three classes. I feel like I was 0 for 3. There are so many factors at play that it's hard to determine why class sessions don't go exactly like we hope. In this case it seemed like we all had a case of the Mondays (possibly civilization's all-time worst cliché but perhaps something to it). Today was a cold and dreary Monday and I didn't feel much energy in the room with any of my classes. Having not slept great last night, I also didn't have max energy. I worked hard to cover the material and there were occasional good moments, but overall classes felt flat to me and I'm thinking it felt that way to my students too. I was happy with my preparation but my execution wasn't solid. It's lousy to come away from a day of classes feeling like I struck out three times. But I try to have a short memory about days like this. I try not to over think what happened and look forward to better classes next time.

Untenable






If you pay attention, you'll notice that people frequently take positions that are untenable. I do it too.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Way to Communicate Dislike (Hatred?) for Politicians

Drove behind this vehicle today. Always struck by automobile decals that demonstrate intense dislike for politicians. Meanwhile, the person indicates affiliation with a local sports team. It's like, "piss on these politicians but I do like this hockey team." I wonder if the person feels this way about all Democrats, or just these two Democrats in particular.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Video of the Week: Black Flag "TV Party"

As a well-known sociologist (lie) with 17,504 Twitter followers (lie) and nearly 600,000 page views on this blog (lie) I am frequently asked (lie) by national media outlets to share my favorite video of the week (lie).

Lies aside, I heard "TV Party" by Black Flag on radio a few times this week and it led me to find the video. Henry Rollins and band mates yelling out TV show names from the 80s ("Hill Street Blues," "Dallas" cracks me up). The song also serves as criticism about watching TV ("Why go into the outside world at all?" ... "I don't even bother to use my brain any more").

As a fun song with media criticism, this is definitely my favorite video of the week.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yik Yak

One of the great parts of my job is I get to learn something new on a regular basis. Today I learned about Yik Yak, and I am grateful to my students for bringing me into 2014. We were discussing an article about social media ("The Anti-Social Network") and talked about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A few students talked about Yik Yak and how it differs from the other sites.

In reading a little bit about Yik Yak I found this article that talks about the rise of anonymous postings. Very interesting how sites and apps come and go. Wonder if Yik Yak will be a household name soon.

Here's an article at Inside Higher Ed about Yik Yak ("Don't Ban Yik Yak") that makes good points. The comments are worth reading too.

Here's yet another article at Inside Higher Ed about Yik Yak ("Yik Yak Rhetorics"). The author notes: "College students are hardly the only people thinking the uncomfortable or the offensive. All around us uncomfortable thought exists. Eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds are not the only people who make private thought public on a whim. We all do. My Facebook feed is proof. The majority of my Facebook friends are, after all, academics. They seldom hold back on their thoughts."

At The Society Pages, Britney Summit-Gil shares her thoughts about Yik Yak. She writes:
"Yik Yak also complicates notions of private and public. My identity is private, but my innermost thoughts are public. I can complain about the people closest to me without hurting their feelings or experiencing their wrath." Another excerpt: "There must be something satisfying about Yik Yak since users keep coming back. Maybe it’s the validation of being upvoted for something funny or relatable, maybe the whimsical nature of the app itself, or maybe the hope of making a personal connection with an apparent stranger. Probably all three."

Like it, love it, or hate it, Yik Yak is surely giving folks something to talk about.

I've Been Married 10 Years. I Have Thoughts.

Today is my 10th anniversary. I have an observation to share...

You see it all around you. Good lovin' gone bad. And usually it's too late when you realize what you had.

Wait a second those are 38 Special lyrics from "Hold On Loosely."

Driving around not too long ago with my wife, the song came on the radio and we rocked out to it for kicks and giggles. We talked about how we both used to think the song lyrics were "Hold on Lucy" for the longest time. So we laughed and continued rocking on. I guess the point is that fun is an important part of marriage. So there's my simple thought for the day.


Monday, September 15, 2014

I Still Have a Few Dreams Up My Sleeve

Couldn't sleep last night. Maybe because it was the end of the weekend. After two days of running around the way we do on weekends, I think Sunday night lights out was my first opportunity to think about something other than our kids and my preparation for classes. But I was tossing and turning and thinking about all sorts of things including the fact that I'm turning 42 this week. I reflected on my good fortune--family, friends, health, good job, good marriage--and wondered what life has in store for me next. And then a new thought came into my head: I still have a few dreams up my sleeve. I don't want to write them out loud because I'm afraid they might not come true. But there are some things I want to do in this life and people near and dear to me know what they are. If these dreams come true I will surely tell you.


Fade-Outs in Popular Music

Hat tip to Dave Purcell (@davepurcell) for sharing an interesting article on Twitter this morning about fade-outs in popular music.

After reading it, one of my favorite all-time fade-outs came to mind:



And then more Police tunes came to mind so really this post is just an excuse to show Stewart Copeland playing the drums and taking over this song:

 
 Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Worst Poem Ever

not a tastemaker
not a donut maker
but i can slam dunk a donut in coffee better than a LA Laker.

-T. Schoepflin 9/9/2014






Monday, September 8, 2014

Hard/Skilled/Dangerous Work

Standing outside this morning with my son waiting for the school bus to arrive, I watched a group of workers begin a roof job across the street. Whenever I see people work on a roof I'm struck by the degree of difficulty in doing this job and how dangerous it must be. When I think of jobs I'm afraid to do and for which I don't possess the required skills, roofing is near the top of the list.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shiny Happy Cookies

Once in a while Big Supermarket should give these away, the people would be happy and they'd have a good day.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Roasted Broccoli (Don't Call it a Comeback)

I was watching an episode of Beat Bobby Flay recently when Flay (who I like watching) challenged two chefs to use broccoli as the star ingredient. During the contest he said something about broccoli being ready to make a comeback. For those of us who aren't true foodies, broccoli never went away in the first place. Broccoli is relatively affordable and an easy vegetable to prepare (or heck, just to eat as is). I usually steam it and the result isn't always flavorful. So while the great chefs around the world wait for broccoli to become fashionable, I'll just continue to enjoy it as a staple. Tonight I tossed it up in olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic and put it in the oven. Wish this was in my cooking repertoire sooner, because yum.






















I had it in the oven a few minutes more than necessary, so I almost burned it. Notice it doesn't look perfect but I wanted to show it in all its imperfection. Check out this short post I wrote that is meant as commentary about how we present ourselves as eaters via social media.

Yes I just blogged about broccoli. The topic doesn't move the needle and they might take my Sociology card away. But hey, I consider myself a sociologist of everyday life and to me that includes documenting mundane moments. By the way, the broccoli was a side for our dinner tonight. The rest of the meal was breaded chicken and rice. It's food my kids will actually eat and the meal only takes thirty minutes to prepare. I'm guessing pretty standard fare for families who aren't super talented in the kitchen nor exceptionally imaginative about ingredients, spices, or methods of preparation. Also budget friendly.

3 Unrelated Thoughts

1. Mostly low-wage workers in a low-wage society working on Labor Day, right?

2. I don't think the good people of Buffalo can handle another losing season by the Bills.

3. Refreshed from vacation, cable news talkers will be ready to start blabbing about 2016 presidential election.


September Brings Promise and Possibilities