Good lord, teachers

I’ve seen 4 teachers, including some at Marquette, post this…

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Some Shows…

I got a text tonight from the Funnybone manager asking if I could headline Thursday and Sunday, so I said that I could.  Apparently he holds nothing against me for that bad show a couple weeks ago.  I’ll be more prepared this time and hopefully the crowds will be a little bigger.  That gives me 5 solid shows (plus open mic every week) in the next 5 weeks.  Enough to pay for Christmas.

When I wasn’t working full-time as a teacher, I couldn’t buy nice things for people.  But really, no one ever held it against me.  They supported me for going after my comedy career.  I’ve heard so many students over the years worry about if they’ll make enough money to get by.  The funny thing is is how much money they’re used to having.  You honestly don’t need to be even close to that to still have enough to be happy in life.  Trust me.  Just don’t be stupid with your money (like betting on a 4-game parlay in Vegas?).

I shared my satire story on Facebook today.  5 likes and 1 comment.  Here’s my next one:

“Netflix?  Yeah, Netflix.”

“Cool, Netflix Netflix and Netflix, with Netflix.”


“Yes.  Netflix.”

“But Netflix.”

“And Chill?”


Okay, not as thoughtful, but probably more to Facebook’s speed.  I’ll refrain from sharing.

Dad is Writing

Dad sent 14 pages of timeline stories from 1951-54.  He turned 11 in ’54.  They’re fascinating.  This is the second installment he’s sent and he’s starting to loosen up as a writer.  He even said at the end he’s going to use free-form instead of timeline chunks from now on.  It’ll probably be a little harder to open up about stuff as he gets older.  There’s a sense of humility that grabs a writer once they’re through childhood.  You can laugh at yourself for peeing your pants at 8, but at 18…?  (No one peed their pants at 18 but you know what I mean.)

I know he was engaged before he met my mother as well.  His fiance broke it off and threw the ring out onto the interstate.  He and one of his best friends went back and found it the next day.  It’s neat hearing about his childhood friends.  I’ve tried to find some of them on Facebook, but no luck yet.  I sent an email to one who might be a granddaughter of his friend.  A few of them he has run into in recent years.

A lot of times he says, “In today’s world my parents would seem neglectful, but back then…”

He took buses around the city at age 11.

He got a brand new bike and the next day it was stolen.  It was recovered from the river downtown and he got it back from the police.  Years later he realized it was probably his “buddy” who was kind of a criminal that lived nearby and was jealous.

He did omit the part where he got held up at gunpoint on his paper route.

It’s apparent where major things happen and it’s not like today’s world where everyone cares about the emotional side of it.  For example, his stepdad died when he was 11, but he doesn’t remember the funeral or anything about that time.  He thinks he had a nervous breakdown or something, but he’s completely blocked it out.

I still don’t know the final goal of having all this, and maybe there shouldn’t be one other than it’s interesting and my siblings will enjoy it to.  It all leads to my favorite line of poetry: It’s no wonder you are the way you are.

Vegas trip

I’m on the flight home (via layover in Denver soon).

I didn’t win any money, but didn’t lose anymore than I planned. I bet on some NBA games last night (point totals and who would win by how much). Basically I had to have 4 things go right to turn $20 into $300. The Warriors needed to win by 12 (they only won by 3), and the Raptors/Lakers game needed a higher point total. Oh wel.

I lost in blackjack too though not that much more and it was fun (hit a blackjack my first hand!).

Gambling is depressing when you think about the potential missed. Had I only… yada yada. I’ve found even when I win, there’s regret because I could’ve won more!

See how it gets dangerous? Vegas is expensive enough so trips here will stay rare.

As far as the concert, my wife loved the whole thing. Brittany lip-synced the entire show but danced constantly so I guess that’s more what people are there for. We saw lots of interesting fans dressed in various Brittany iconic outfits from various videos. I knew most of the songs too. She’s been around since I was in college so there was even a touch of nostalgia for Oops I Did It Again and other classics (I use that term loosely).

It’s weird being in the Pacific time zone. It’s like half of America is well into its day as you wake up, though I guess it’s very Vegas-like to sleep in. 

Our hotel room was nice but I think it was a disabled-friendly room. The bed was low to the ground and the shower had a weird bench in it. I haven’t seen anything priced under $10 in 2 days. Haha

Here are some pictures. My wife had to get herself in front of the concert sign.

My concert pictures didn’t work well with the lighting. Oh well, we know what she looks like.

(Meant to post this last night)

So I almost just wrote a blog asking if someone could explain asexual people to me, in case it’s changed from 15 years ago.  Then I remembered Google, so you’re welcome.

Anyway, BOOK TITLE IDEA: Around the Block


  1.  No other novels have this name
  2. It’s sexually suggestive, but without sounding dirty.
  3. My protagonist actually runs around his neighborhood every day so it has that innocent meaning as well.
  4. Nothing else is coming to me.


  1. Someone will probably complain about the double-standard and sexism and such (without even reading it).
  2. It isn’t catchy enough?


Honestly, I love it so far (the idea is 10 minutes old).  Will I love it when I wake up in the morning?  I hope so.  It’s one of those phrases that feels innocent at first, but when after a second it sinks in (kinda like my stand-up jokes).

By the way, good news.  Some guy saw me at open mic last night and emailed me today out of the blue.  I’ve got a nice gig Tuesday, November 7 at the casino here in St. Charles less than 10 minutes from my house.

Around the Block, you guys.  My mission for the week is accomplished.  I have a title!


A conversation you’ll have with your great-grandchildren

“When I was a young student, we had to type our papers.”

“But what if you didn’t know how to write?”

“What do you mean?  I just put the words on the screen using keys.”

“But like, what happened when you didn’t know how to say it right?”

“I fixed it.”

“You mean you wrote it more than once?”

“Some of it.  We called it revision.  We’d fix punctuation too.”

“Punk what?”

“Punctuation.  Things like periods, commas, question marks, and exclamation points.”

“So you mean people would be able to see those little dots and and squiggly lines and know what they meant?”

“Of course.  A question mark meant it was a question and so on.”

“But wouldn’t they have to go back and relook at the whole thing to know if it was being asked?”

“Huh?  No.  We just knew.”

“Well if you couldn’t see the speaker on the screen, then how did you know how they felt? I mean, how did you portray any emotion?”

“We used words to do that.  Diction it was called.  It established the tone of the piece.”


“The writing.”

“Okay, but then how did you know how to put the letters in order?”

“You mean how did I spell words?”

“Yes, there are probably thousands of them.  How could you possibly memorize thousands of letter orders?”

“From reading them over and over.  We had spelling tests when we were younger, but overall we just kinda memorized everything after so many times.”

“Tests?  My grandpa told me about those.”

“Yes, tests.  You would sit there and answer questions and get a grade on it so you could pass.”

“But what if you got nervous or scared?”

“We dealt with it.  It wasn’t always easy, but we prepared for them usually.  It was scary if we didn’t, but overall we always knew what was going on for the most part.”

“What was the point though?  You don’t take tests in life.”

“True, but tests made sure you cared enough to learn and taught you work ethic as well.  Plus you had to learn to deal with anxiety and nerves.”

“I’d just hire someone to do them for me.”

Potential other titles

Stalking Mark sounds good, but his stalking becomes a subplot.  I thought about something with pursuit in it.

Here are some options:


“Mark’s Pursuit”

“Mark’s Chase”

“The Pursuing of Mark”

I’m not in love with any of them.  The book is about crushes, obsession, softball, track/running, and guilt.  Think of a good title for me and I’ll list you in the acknowledgements!  If you’re interested in reading the whole thing.  It’s here. (It’s in editing for typos and verb forms, so those will be fixed soon.)

The Evolution of My Halloween Experiences

When I was a really young kid, my town didn’t even have it.  Mom said it was because you couldn’t trust people not to put stuff in candy.  Then I think my town realized that half of us didn’t even lock our doors (sometimes even when we left the house empty!), and finally figured the town of Bellville, Ohio could handle it.  Population, under 2,000.

So I’m guessing it wasn’t until around the age of 10 or so until I got to go for the first time.  I probably barely said thank you.  My costumes were always lame (budget and the fact that I don’t like having a bunch of stuff on me), but man did we cover some blocks.  One year my friend Eric and I went with my little brother and Eric wanted to visit his old neighbors.  He had long since moved from Bellville, but missed the old man he grew up next to.  It was almost the end of the allotted time, so in order to get over to Ogle Street we had to cut through the cemetery.  It was a full moon, but extremely dark and my brother started crying about halfway through.  It wasn’t far, but we all survived.  It’s funny how you get scared or don’t get scared when you’re little based on who you’re with.  There’s no way I could’ve made it through there alone, but Eric and I laughed the whole time.

I think we even went our freshman year.  Once my friend Jim (aka Dr. Gatton) brought two costumes in case there was time to do a second lap around town.  There wasn’t, but good thinking.

Once we got home, we’d empty our brown grocery bags on our bedroom floor and make any trades that we needed to.  Then I’d eat a piece after school (in descending order) every day until it was all gone.

When I went to Ohio State, kids came and trick or treated at our dorm.  Obviously I wasn’t going to go out and buy a bag of candy for kids, so I offered them leftovers from our ala care cafeteria because I had a meal plan. That was fun until my RA called out, “Durham, did you just give this kid a baked potato?”

College Halloween becomes very, umm, party-oriented.  You’ve seen the costumes.  Joel and I went to Ohio University (the little brother of Ohio State down in southeast nowhere, Ohio…aka Athens, Ohio) because they have one of the top Halloweens in the country (According to Playboy magazine in the 90s).  We worked at a store called Meijer (kinda like Target) and got a giant toothbrush from a display.  I wore a sheet that said “tooth” on it, and Joel wore scrubs and was the mad dentist.  Surprisingly it went over very well.  The next year we stayed up at Ohio State and some guy approached me and asked, “Were you at OU last year?  I saw your photo hanging in the Photo-mart down in Athens all last year.”  (I gotta dig that one up. I still have an album somewhere.)

Yep, found it!

No idea who those girls were, but Joel on the right is the guy who got married in Detroit in August when I had to give my best man’s speech.  He just used that thing to brush me all night and girls came up for pictures.

I may leave this album out and post a few more over the coming days.  College is fun–nothing to fear!

My wife and I went to the Lemp Mansion party before we were even married and it was a waste.  My costume was Eurotrash and my wife went as a fairy.

(Looking for pics on Facebook–aaaand found’em.)

Anyway, we paid $50 to stand in a crowded mansion where the music was so loud we could barely think.  I think since then we’ve been to one other Halloween party (hosted by a fellow language arts teacher and it was a murder mystery), and that’s it.  Usually I have shows or anything else to do.  We don’t turn our lights on for kids now.  (Not because of the kids, we just don’t want to socialized with most of our neighbors.)

Halloween had its fun in my youth.  It peaked in college for different reasons, but now it just means that everything comes in a pumpkin flavor.  October is one of the hardest teacher months because of conferences and everything going on (though this year wasn’t too bad outside of my travels).  November and December are cake as far as getting through the weeks.  (Speaking of, I have confirmed December 6 at 7:00 at the Wolf.)

Enjoy it while you’re young. College Halloween can yield some great times, and I’m sure it’s not too shabby when you’re 17 either.

One time I…

On my 25th birthday my fan belt broke and my car stalled after an 8-hour doorman shift at 1 in the morning.

I spent Easter of 2006 doing my taxes because I waited until the last possible moment to take care of it.

My sophomore year we had to pay the late fee three times because nobody ran the checks over to our landlord on time (we didn’t have online billpay back then).

UMSL charged me $30 last year because I didn’t pay for my class on time.

One year, vacation cost an additional $200 because I waited one day past the sale to book it.

I didn’t check my radiator fluid on my old car in 2004.  Actually I knew it was low but didn’t get around to changing it.  The car died for good right after I dropped a date off.

I forgot to get up and move my car for street sweeping at my old apartment in 2007 and got a $30 ticket.

…Meet your deadlines.

OK, preaching over.

Tomorrow you’ll turn in a printed version of your final draft.  If you want that grade updated, just turn it in on time.  No revision tomorrow, no adjustment.  Cool?  I’ll show you how we’ll open our KDP accounts as well.

Tuesday we’ll have laptops and actually do some formatting.  I’ve got a fun activity planned for Thursday (remember–four-day week), and we’re going to go ahead and book December 6 for The Wolf.  I just texted Bob so I should get confirmation here soon.  If we need to adjust it we will.  I’ve got an enticing option that will get us more poetry slammers from class.