Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Usual with a side of mashed potatoes piled high with extra salt ;)

It’s been much too long since my last blog, so I put in an order for a flux capacitor from a website that promises to ship one to me once they’ve been invented (sometime in the future that they assured me isn’t too far away) via their trusty fleet of Dolorean delivery vehicles. Once I get it, I’ll go back and add a blog before this one full of nifty and incredible predictions. Good thing I mentioned that now, or this blog would be REALLY confusing to you in the future (aka present right now). Although, you probably won’t be reading this in the future (present) because we’ll all be in a different present (future). Follow me?

I think the flux capacitor will also be helpful because it will give me a chance to go back to the day I was in Boston and decided to go see a psychic. I’ll save myself $20 and won’t have to hear her tell me how bad I am with money. Yes, this was the best investment I’ve ever made (will ever make?).

Ok, ok, I know you’re not reading this for insight into the future, you want to hear about the past and the present. And that means an ENTIRELY different set of verb conjugations. So goodbye will + verb and hello were, was, am, and are! If a there is a William reading this, I have to refer to you as Bill or William. No exceptions.

Exploding Readership!
According to the latest fan mail, I have 6 readers! PaulStorm publications considers this a wild success and looks forward to its 7th subscriber. Could it be you? To those who loyally take time off from playing Snood, minesweeper, solitaire, and/or mahjong (those mahjong players are odd folk, but PaulStorm publications does not discriminate…too much) at work to read the products of my fingertips’ little fox trot over the keys of this laptop (you can’t see it, but I assure it is a very nice and fancy laptop, the kind that demands fox trots and waltzes. Not so fancy shoes would be required, however. That would be just plain silly. Little shoes on fingers; who thinks of that?).

Pagoda on her head
On Saturday, Patterson Park (The large park near my home, check out google maps for a better idea of what it is. I don’t feel like describing it.) held its annual Halloween Lantern Parade. I had no idea this was an annual event or even an event. So when I saw little ghosties and ghoulies marching past my door carrying lanterns on sticks I assumed what any rational person would: the apocalypse was upon us and I had not qualified for the rapture (some people think that at the end of the world all the good and holy people will be whisked away to heaven via some sort of Star Trekkie teleportation. Why they chose the word “rapture” I don’t know.). So, being the rational person I am, believing that Satan’s hordes were assembling in the park, I decided to take a gander. Turns out it was a parade of little kids in their costumes accompanied by their parents who were either the WAY too excited about Halloween variety (my favorites) or the I’m-too-cool-for-this-but-my-wife-made-me-put-on-these-stupid-cat-ears-by-threatening-to-cut-me-off-from-you-know-what (coverage of the World Series. What were you thinking? Pervert.) species.

While I was watching the crowd of lantern-laden lads and lasses (alliteration!), a woman with a lantern in the shape of a pagoda on her head (yes, a hat lantern) struck up a conversation with me

“Excuse me, sir, you need to either join the parade or step off the sidewalk and observe from the grass.” Her name was Susan and she was one of the coordinators for the event. I talked to her for a little while and she figured out I wasn’t from Baltimore pretty quickly. I assume she heard my Midwestern accent when I answered “Sorry, I’m not from around here.”

The parade ended with a shadow puppet music video about three brothers who try to steal the moon for financial gain only to accidentally awake the dead when one of the brothers’ greed leads him to bury himself alive with the moon in his coffin. I’m not sure if this is the actual story line, but since there was no dialogue, that’s the best deduction I’ve been able to make. At some point a small bird takes the moon in its beak (the moon in the story was not to scale) and flies it back up into space. Presumably the bird exploded once it left the atmosphere. Not the most uplifting story to show children just before their bedtime.

Party at the Bisco. Yes, I said Bisco!
Some of you (Tom Johnson) may know the group the Disco Biscuits. If you don’t they’re a jam band that seems to be between phish and an generic techno group. I enjoyed the energy of the show and the many drug-filled “Bisco-nauts” (my own term, patent pending), but I think they only played 2 songs. 2 hour and a half long songs. That seems to be the way of jam band though; they forget what comes after the bridge so they just keep playing the bridge over and over, trying to find their way to the next verse. Silly Bisco, bring the sheet music next time.

Improvements in the Life of Paul
I’m still working out and I’ve developed what the jocks refer to as “biceps.” It’s a strange swelling of the upper arm that is (apparently) desirable. So I will continue to lift heavy things so I can get better at lifting heavy things.

Meditation and yoga are two things I’ve always wanted to be able to say that I do (without lying). So I finally started. I checked out a yoga place this weekend, touched my toes a few times, breathed some yoga-y breaths, and tried to find my center which is surprisingly NOT my belly button but some sort of metaphysical, floaty spirit place a lot like Happy Gilmore’s Happy Place. Except no midgets, Kiss masks, golfers, or tricycles.

The beard is gone! I grew a sturdy, full, and masculine beard for about a month. Those who saw it can attest to its Jesus-like majesty (Jesus’ beard, not the Son of God majesty. I don’t have that. For those of you who are still uncomfortable with the image, think of Liam Sperl’s beard. Ok, now make it red. Yes, red.), but I felt it was time to let it go. My students panicked when they saw my chin, but they’ve since gotten used to my face. I haven’t decided if I want to re-grow it, but now that I know I have no patchy spots, it’s a tempting thing to do.

Shout outs and love
Tehle- You’ll never read this since you don’t have Facebook, BUT I needed to hear your voice yesterday. Thank you for remembering an old friend.

Elise- I enjoy the way our minds helix around each other once upon a time in a kingdom happily ever after.

J-Bo- The hyphens around your Bo are my heterosexual lifemate bear hug. I miss you bud.

McKeever- You’re still one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. If you understand that, then you know why I’ll always consider you one of my closest friends.

Morgan- Let’s talk about Tehle’s proposition. Maybe this is the jump we need to take. Maybe there’s something else we’re supposed to do.

Lil Buddy- just checking to see if you’ve been exploring my profile. Infinity plus 7.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Home is where the Heartland is

Hey dear friends,

Thank you for making my blog a wild success. According to the fan mail, I now have a following of 5 devoted readers. I may need to offer some advertising space on my blog to some major corporations to capitalize on my audience. This is America after all... Don't worry, I promise I won't succumb to the allure of fame and sell out...too much. To those of you not reading: it's alright, I forgive you. You'll never know I was angry with you (or that I benevolently forgave you), but I just had to make sure my conscience was clear.

This posting is a house salad of emotions, drizzled in two different kinds of metaphorical dressing (For the sake of the image, we’ll say Thousand Island and French. I have no idea what the metaphor is, however, so if you come up with something, become an English major and write a thesis about it. I look forward to your many paragraphs about Stormian food imagery in contemporary internet literature.).

As usual, the humor is mostly in between the parenthesis; although, it will occasionally attempted to slip itself into the “actual content” of the paragraphs. If you don’t laugh, that’s ok. That’s why the “funny parts” are caged between punctuation marks. For your protection. In the event you make remarks like “that’s not funny at all. Paul, you’re really dropping the ball this time around.” You won’t have to worry about angering the text, and becoming the victim of a word crime.

A hard day’s night
Since returning from my beautiful weekend home at St. John’s, I’ve had a very hard time being out here in Baltimore. Over the last 5 months, (yeah, I've been involved in TfA for 5 months now!!) I haven’t found much time for reflection. Now that I'm in baltimore, most days are spent scrambling to be ready for the next day. When I’m not at school, I’m thinking about what needs to happen at school. When I’m not thinking about school, I’m at school.

Since leaving St. John’s, the time I’ve looked forward to most is the time I spend asleep. Dreams are the one place I don’t feel frustrated. Sleep is the one place I feel some sense of peace. That admission, that reality, is neither healthy nor uplifting. On the flight back to Washington (I saved myself $100 by flying out of DC!…Only to spend that $100 on parking and gas. Irony?) I spent a lot of time thinking about how different my life is now. I found myself looking at a really terrible conclusion: I haven’t felt genuinely happy about my choice to move to Baltimore. Some of you remember my deep belly-laugh; the one that people could identify me by from several hundred miles away (ok, ok, so I was just loud enough to be heard on the fourth floor from the second floor.). I haven’t been able to laugh like that out here. I forgot what it felt like to laugh like that. Until I came back home, and found myself in the company of John Howard, JEtten/mom, J-Bo, Elise, Kelsy, Chanti, Natalia, and a dozen other wonderful old friends.

So what am I supposed to make of that? Well, at first it really brought me down. REALLY brought me down. Monday and Tuesday were the hardest days I’ve had out here. I told my school I needed some time off to just think about where I am and what I’m doing (Mike, Reuby, J-Bo, Elise, you all know what I mean by ‘told’). My principal, the incredible woman that she is, told me to take the rest of the week to reflect on my reasons for being here. She went to my class and told them that Mr. Storm had submitted his letter of resignation to the school. Did I do that? Not yet. Just to clarify, my school has issues. While I’ve been there:
One student was gunned down in his neighborhood
One student’s arm was broken by a group of kids who wanted his cell phone
One student was jumped before school and beaten very badly
One student was stabbed in the chest in a stairwell
Several fights have broken out
AND a random weapons search turned up about 40 knives, a few bricks, and various
blunt objects
So yeah, stressful environment. Combine that with the lack of order and effort in the classroom and you’ve got one tough place to go everyday. I’m not sure how likely it is that I complete my second year of TfA. There is too much about home that I see myself losing if I stay here. There is too much about myself that will evaporate if I stay under the heat and pressure of this place.

Something on the lighter side
Me. Since coming out to Baltimore, I’ve dropped a few of the lbs. that aren’t so nice to carry around. The love handles are smaller (sorry ladies, there’s less of me to go around), the belly doesn’t hang quite like it used to. So go ahead and start fantasizing about a lean, cut, athletic Paul Storm…it’s not as ridiculously unrealistic of a dream as it used to be. Still a little far-fetched, but sort of plausible.

That's all I have for now. I miss you, beautiful people.