Wednesday, March 30, 2011

World's as simple as pushing "play"

People killing people...



Folks strapping bombs to their kids...

There's got to be a better way...and there is.

The sollution to the problem is simple: Operation Wyld Stallynz.

Remember what the future looks like? It's a bunch of futuristic dudes strumming guitars with Bill and Ted's band "The Wyld Stallynz" playing in the background. Rufus was there, and it was good.

"You see, eventually your music will help put an end to war and poverty. It will align the planets and bring them into universal harmony, allowing meaningful contact with all forms of life; from extra terrestrials to common household pets, and it's excellent for dancing."- Rufus

Now sadly we don't actually have a band called, "Wild Stallynz." However, I do believe that we can implement the same idea and save the world.

Step one: Lots and lots of speaker systems. This music needs to be broadcast all over the world. Maybe we'll employ a few hundred thousand blimps, fit them with massive speakers, and just strategically place them over cities and such.

Step two: Ultimate Mix Cd's. I see there being 3 different groups that would play at all times: Enya, Simon and Garfunkel, and Bob Marley.

Step three: Watch the terrorists come out of their caves with regretful looks on their faces. Watch the gangs stop fighting and start hugging. Watch Tupac and Biggy rise from their graves and collaborate.

You think Momar Quadaffi (sp?) would be shootin at rebels or the rebels shooting at Quadaffi if they had Bob Marley's "One Love" blasting down from the skys? I tells you they'd be HUGGIN!

Guy steals a lady's purse...stops in mid stride as the climax of "Bridge over Troubled Water" gets belted out by Simon and Garfunkel (whom will be referred to from here on out as "S-drizzle and G-funk"), turns around with tears in his eyes and takes the purse and the woman out to lunch at a moderately priced buffet...and tips at 23%

Man lifts his hand to strike his wife and instead decides to leave the house to cool off. He jumps on a boat and "sails away sails away sails away..." to Enya.

The holy trinity of Marley, S-Drizzle and G-Funk, and Enya would heal all wounds and give birth to a happier world...until someone throws on Master of Puppets by Metallica as a joke and the world falls into chaos.

This is my vision...

I employed this tactic today as I had a student who, according to his paper, wanted to $%#%% %$%##$$# all rich white %#$%%#%%$ in the area.

I had One Love playing when he entered the classroom today...

He left with a "we cool" and a handshake/fist bump.

Thanks for reading everyone, the fact that I have "followers" and that I get hits every day, makes me smile- JR

Monday, March 28, 2011

Resistance is not futile...I-resist the machines

"Are you Sara Connor?"



Terminator 1 reference? CHECK!

I-have been questioned by co-workers and friends lately as to why I-am to go into the I-phone or I-pad craze. I-think that it's time to explainmyself.

I-currently have a great little t-mobile phone that has lasted me almost 3 whole years. It carries my music, some photos, videos, and it was FREE FREE FREE! I-don't play games on it because when I-received my phone I-found that all of the games were only demos. It costs money to download the full versions so I-decided not to waste the money or the time.

I-get enough minutes per month and unlimitted texts and I-find that to be just fine. It covers all of my wants and needs.

Now I-hear all about these I-phones and I-pads that people suddenly "need." I-guess that I-am insane because I-don't feel like I-need these things to function.

Aps? I-have lived 29 years wihtout aps and I-am fine. I-got a GPS for my car so I-can find my way around, and that's great right? Shouldn't that be enough?

"But with an I-pad you can do THIS!" "If you had an I-phone you could THAT!"

I-see how marvelous the angry birds are and I-think to myself, "If I-had that game I-would play that game all day long." I-realize that some aps make life so much easier and yet I-have decided not to use them as tools. Why?

Sitting on the couch watching tv and you have to go to the bathroom but you don't want to get up to use the toilet? There's an APP for that.

Get caught stealing watermellons from a blind lady's house? There's an APP for that.

I-see people walking around Walmart having conversations with their blut-tooth things. They look and sound like nut jobs.

"What? Yeah I know...TOTALLY! Yeah I-will be there at 5...yeah I-am at Walmart...buying Fruity Pebbles." The next time I-see someone doing this I-am going to start talking to myself too...only without the blue tooth.

"Yeah I'm not sure why but it's TOTALLY chaffing me! Yeah I know I thought I'd washed out the ear-mites but they are driving me I don't remember your Grandmother popping out of a birthday cake in her birthday suit, I blocked that from my memory."

As far as I-pads go, I-feel like I-am walking around the Star Ship Dork-a-prise on Star Trek. Nerds walking around with little computer screens. I-know I-know, "but Justin, you are a huge Star Wars/Sci-fi geek, why not embrace this?" I-will tell you why. I-bust my butt and work two jobs, the second or "extra" of which is incredibly stressfull. I-feel that my money is better spent on food and other essentials than on a phone that does everything for me with a data plan that costs $30 extra bucks a month.

I-love blu-ray, I-love HD, but this whole push button society is going too far.

So no, I-don't care how fun Angry Birds is.

No I don't want to do video calling, (I make many calls from my toilet, you don't want to see it, trust me. That being said, please don't assume that if you are on the phone with me that I'm on the pot).

You realize what the phone company is doing to you right? The same thing as the tobacco companies.

They got you hooked, and now you can't live without it, so the price goes up a bit, the apps get pricier, and the I-tunes songs go from 99 cents to 1.29...

I-am just not going to start smoking in the first place, and if the phone company says that I-need a data plan in order to have a cell phone? Then I-am getting a freaking land line- JR

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear World: I Refuse to Grow Up...Sorta

I'm 29 years old...

I find the occasional gray hair popping through my black, dreamy hair...

I have a wife...

I have 2 kids...

I have 2 jobs...

I pay the bills... (well my money does, technically my lovely wife does the online payment thing)

Yesterday I interviewed with a prestigious university (where Jimmer goes) for Grad school

I've sued someone before...

I have credit cards....

I have attended my 10 year high school reunion...

I'm technically a grown up...


I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys R' Us kid!

I play ultimate Frisbee with students and teachers on Fridays in the field!

I collect comic books, that's right, I collect and enjoy reading comic books! (Call em graphic novels if that sounds more mature)

Tomorrow night, my friends and I are going to see Sucker Punch at MIDNIGHT! You heard me, my students will be sleeping and I'll be watching girls with samurai swords destroy giant robots and evil mechanical Nazi creatures!

I still wear rock and roll t-shirts, ripped jeans, and play my bass guitar

I enjoy cartoons

I like to eat Captain Crunch with Butterfinger bars crumbled up at the bottom of the bowl.

I probably know more about the Star Wars universe than George Lucas does.

I tell stupid jokes

Today I gave a kid extra credit. His presentation on guitars was utterly awful so I told him, "play a song if you wanna get a decent grade on this." "All I know is metal," he said. So I told him, "then play Master of Puppets by Metallica." He did...he got more points.

The other day a co-worker said something to the effect of "I wish I knew how you had so much energy." The easy answer would be caffeine, but I HAVEN'T TOUCHED SODA IN ALMOST 4 MONTHS!!! It's called a lust for life.


I take life very seriously. I know there is a time to be serious and a time to goof off. A time to cast away stones, a time to gaaaaaaather stoooooones together.

Here's what I DON'T want to have happen:

I don't want to go through a day of my life without making somebody laugh...hysterically

I don't want to become so involved in my work that my kids think I'm boring

I don't want to say, "hmmm a midnight movie sounds awfully foolish, it will make me tired and I'M TOO OLD FOR THAT.

I don't want to look through my closet and say, "well I'll be dipped, this t-shirt with Ralph Wiggum on the front saying, "I bent my wookie" is in terrible taste...away with it!"

So Yeah,

I might be dedicating all of my time and efforts at two jobs and grad school coming up here. But between research papers, I'll be reading the latest issue of Deadpool or Uncanny X-Force.

After a long week full of papers and work and such, I'll be rewarding myself by checking out the newest "Sucker Punch-esque" movie at midnight and smiling the whole time.

I'm going to continue to occasionally scarf down multiple hot dogs and ramen. It was good enough for me at college, it's good enough for me now.

Peter Pan was a jerk in the movie Hook. Then he went to Neverland and he became a screw around putz. Finally he found the balance between the two.

That's where you'll find me...

In the Ruse of Fools- JR

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I'm back in the game... the X-game

As many of you know, from 5th grade to around 10th grade, comic book collecting was my hobby. My friends Tyson, Dave, and Jason, and my brothers, were geeking out on everything "X" ("Geek" is the new "Jock" by the way, if you didn't know). Of course my favorite books were X-men because they were the best in the business. After enduring years of ridicule (I'm sure they were just jealous that they didn't own as many as me) and financial strain, I walked away from it all. Partly because the product was in decline. Marvel had gone from awesome artwork and story, to really crummy art work and not much going on. The problem was that you couldn't just subscribe to one title... Example: I subscribed to Wolverine and you'd get to the end of an issue and it'd say, "story continued in X-force# 34 and then concludes in Uncanny X-men # 345. It was too much money and too much hassle. It was impossible to collect them when there was: Wolverine, Generation X, X-men, Uncanny X-men, X-Force, X-Factor, Cable, Excaliber, X-man, Deadpool, and a bunch of whatever in between.
Gone were the days of Adam and Andy Kubert, Mark Texeira, Joe Maduira, Jim Lee, and other stellar artists. Marvel had...for a time...lost their way. (Though the picture below is not an illustration of them losing their way. The Age of Apocalypse storyline remains one of the best they ever did.)

Over the years I'd occasionally see a comic book rack and see some artwork that looked impressive so I'd grab an issue or two, nothing too serious though. I recently went through my old collection in my closet at my folk's house. Wow, the memories they came a pouring back. I immediately went back to the local comic book shop and said, "catch me up, and then get me the following titles on a monthly basis: Dead Pool, Uncanny X-Force, and X-men."

Wolverine has been my favorite since the first time I saw the opening of the early 90's X-men cartoon. Dude is insanely cool. Currently the Wolverine book looks like garbage so I got Uncanny X-force instead which has him heading a team of some of my favorite mutants including: Deadpool, Psylocke, and Archangel. Dig the trailer for the book HERE.

The Deadpool books are just simply hilarious. Dude is all bad A looking and yet he tells stupid jokes throughout the books. He breaks the 4th wall (talks to the reader much like when Ferris Beuller would talk to the viewer) and it's just perfectly written.

Feels great to be back in the game. Please click on the above 2 pictures. I scanned them in so you could see how funny Deadpool is...took a lot of time to figure out the scanner...just saying. Oh ya know what? I'm going to post another Deadpool picture beneath here because I think it's funny. Especially if you were raised in the 90's. My wife just shakes her head and frowns disapprovingly (but I'm not the one who downloaded the entire Justin Bieber album this weekend am I! HA! Grown man reading Comics is less than and not equal to grown woman listening to Bieber!) but I love these characters, the art, the writing, and the experience. I wrote a letter to Stan Lee the other day to let him know that I love his product. I will forever make mine Marvel. - JR

Monday, March 14, 2011

There goes my hero

My wonderful wife surprised me with tickets to go hear Aron Ralston speak at the University of Utah tonight. For those who don't know, that's the guy that 127 hours is based know...the arm cut off guy.
Anyways, I drove up and met my friend Lane there. We drove over and sat next to my sister in law Lexi and her friend (practically a sister in law) Sydney.
He gave an incredible speech about the experience he'd gone through. He talked about the love he had for his family and for the son that appeared to him in a vision in the canyon, and now in reality runs around his house.
I was lucky enough to meet him when it was over. He was such a nice guy! The thing that I take away from his experience is to never give up. I've got some career challenges ahead of me and each time they sound frightening or difficult, I imagine a knife in my hand, hacking at my arm. Aron Ralston's words and experience have given me the skills to reach down and pour everything I have into succeeding. God Bless Aron Ralston for sharing his experience with the world- JR

Monday, March 7, 2011

3 things that Toy Story never explained.

So my son has been watching Toy Story 1 and 2 on our DVR a lot lately. I've sat and watched with him and I find myself questioning things about the franchise that I never thought twice about when I watched these films growing up. I specifically have 3 issues I'd like resolved-

1. The Rules

In Toy Story 1, Woody tells the mutant toys that they are going to have to "break the rules a bit" in order to stop Sid from destroying Buzz Lightyear. I assume these rules have something to do with not being "alive" when kids are playing with you, but the real question is WHO implemented these rules? At what point did a toy actually write down a bill of rights or responsibilities or laws concerning toy activities? What is the penalty for breaking this law? Does He-Man show up and "show you the power" on the back of a flaming battle cat? This is why they need a prequel trilogy called "Toy Story: The Law"

2. What happened to Sid?

So if you're like me, you sat in the theater this summer during Toy Story 3 and you either did your best to hold back tears, or you straight up bawled at the ending. Andy had outgrown his toys and he was going to college...without them. Well that's all fine and dandy if your name is Andy, (that totally rhymed) but what about Sid Phillips, Andy's old neighbor? The last time we saw Sid he was completely freaking out about his toys coming to life (the toys done broke the law!) My guess is that his mental scarring and after effects that the audience wasn't treated to were horrific beyond comprehension. Now if I look at his back yard through a socio-economic lens, I can assume that their family wasn't the most affluent. This is based on the overall lack of lawn in their back yard. I could be wrong, but a backyard full of dirt and weeds speaks for itself. So I assume that he purged his room of all toys and sat in his bed rocking back and forth for days at a time. His mom finally gets concerned and takes him to a shrink. Sid has gone mute and can not speak of his problems. By the time Andy goes to college in part 3, Sid is locked up in an institution. He overdosed on drugs in an attempt to purge the memories from his brain. His little sister visits him once a month out of a need to fulfil a familial duty. Woody saved Buzz and made Andy happy...but in doing so has destroyed a human life. Now THAT should be against the "rules."

3. What's up with Andy's family?

Andy, his mom, and his sister and...that's all. Where is Dad? Are Andy and his sister half brother and sister, or do they share a similar father. Did he die? Do we ever hear of mom heading to the office or anything? These questions lead to a few options. Option 1: Dad died and the insurance from the accident is covering the home and other financial obligations. Maybe the money is running out and that's why the family is moving in the first one?

Option 2: Divorce. Children can put a great stress on a marriage. With the introduction of Andy's little sister, it's possible that Dad had had quite enough and preferred life on the road. (This would explain Andy receiving an expensive Buzz Lightyear figure, Mom's way of buying his love. Mom also tries to compensate by purchasing a Mrs. Potato-head for the little sister. Does anybody wonder why said female potato ends up in Andy's room? hmmmm).

Option 3: This is what really happened. So Sid's mom (single mother) became obsessed with Andy's dad. She flirted and flirted but to no avail. Finally, Sid's mom went overboard and killed Andy's father. Andy's mom is somehow under the assumption that he just left the family (things may have been rocky leading up to his disappearance.) The night before Andy's heartbroken (but visibly strong) mother is to move away from the neighborhood, she takes her son and daughter to "Pizza Planet." Sid's Mom (Mrs. Phillips) is so overburdened with grief that she follows her neighbor to the restaurant. Once there, Mrs. Phillips finds herself trapped between telling Andy's mom the truth which would lead to her having her kids taken away while she went to prison, or burying the secret deep in the recesses of her mind. In the end she opts to not tell Andy's mom the location of her husband's body...somewhere under the grass-less yard just next door. Sid's toys saw...they knew...but they didn't have the heart to tell Woody.

So yeah...I want some clarification there Disney/Pixar. Help me out?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I've been re-assigned!

I received an email yesterday which sadly pronounced that my sci-fi/fantasy class next year was instead going to be a section of English 12.

If you read my previous blog about how excited I was to teach said class, you know that this was a devastating blow. A suckerpunch if you will.
(This picture represents my dream (the death star of classes) exploding after reading the email which ended my dream of teaching the Sci-fi/fantasy class)

Instead of 12th graders who are excited to be in a sci-fi/fantasy class, I'll be getting 12th graders who are just taking the class to take the class. This will basically be the same type of student I teach now- the "I have to be in this class" kind of student.

Was I discouraged? Yes

Am I one to dwell on discouragement? HELL NO!

I looked to my classroom wall and smiled at the mural of William Blake's "The Tyger" that I've recently commissioned from my students.

British literature includes some awesome poets that I'll draw heavily from.

I won't read Charles Dickens, I hate him. His books are terrible. Quick tell me which one of his novels I'm describing: It's about a tragic waif (poor orphan boy) who meets a bunch of rich people, there is drama, and in the end it turns out he's related to a bunch of the characters and he gets money/fortune.

So am I describing Oliver Twist? Great expectations? What?

Yep, all the same. Real original. I also can't stand Emily Dickinson because she's a whiny emo chick who played the pity card and stayed in her bedroom all the time. Her poetry sounds like crappy depressed 9th grader girl that nobody talks to because her personality is a real downer. But anyways...

The way I see it, I've been teaching 10th graders how to survive high school and set goals that help one become successful.

Now I have become the last guardian. I stand as protector of the outside world; my job: To make sure these kids hit the ground running.

Mr. Ormond lit a fire under me before I left high school. Can I lite a similar fire under these students? Can I lite a real fire in class and use it as an object lesson? Can we roast marshmallows? Starbursts? I digress.
I remember leaving Mr. Ormond's classroom with a head full of analytical tools and ideas that I'd never considered. Many of my current students can not think outside the box...or the bun. I think the idea of pushing the limits of where their minds can take them is scary.

When I ask, "what does this poem MEAN?" They shut down, tune out, and hide in the corner with their box of cereal and eat small portions.

I remember specifically that the lessons on the Renaissance were amazing. The dark ages were crippling mankind, until they learned how to think. Soon the printing press was educating the masses, rebellions arose, the man was challenged!

So they may call it British Lit, but in parenthesis they may as well call it, "Figure out what the blank I'm doing, it's time to grab life by the lips and yank with everything I've got- 101"