Friday, April 27, 2012

chalkboards, markerboards, overhead projectors.

i work at an elementary school and all the boards are white markerboards. when i was little, all the boards were chalkboards. i used to notice how the teachers' hands were always covered with chalk dust, and it would make me feel bad.

there were black chalkboards and green chalkboards. what's the difference? is one better? i never knew. green seems more normal. maybe green was better.

clapping chalkboard erasers was a guilty pleasure because it would make clouds of chalk dust. but the absolute best thing about chalkboards was ERASING THEM. everyone wanted to be the lucky son of a bitch who got to erase the chalkboard. i actually used to FANTASIZE about having someone write a bunch of shit on the chalkboard for me to erase.

i think the first time i saw a markerboard was in my sixth grade english classroom. it seemed futuristic. from then on, schools seemed to have both, until i guess markerboards became the standard.

then there were some teachers who didn't even use the board. i had an 8th grade algebra class where the teacher just did everything with thin markers on an overhead projector. the whole period was her doing algebra problems until she filled the screen, then she would give it a quick spritz and wipe the marker off with a paper towel. i was so jealous that she got to wipe the screen all day and i never got to. wiping off that screen was my dream. sometimes, she would START to wipe the screen and stop halfway through while listening to what one of the students was saying. that drove me NUTS. finish wiping the goddamn screen! she did it often enough that i would wonder if she was doing it on purpose, to draw out her wiping gratification. then when she would inevitably finish wiping, the relief was incredible. she also used to switch between red, blue, green, and purple markers, and the variety gave me tremendous pleasure.

occasionally, when wiping the screen, she would miss a tiny marker line somewhere in the corner and it was ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT. this also happens with chalkboards and markerboards. teachers need to be aware of what they're doing to students when they don't completely erase something before proceeding with a lecture. i don't even think about it when i'm teaching at a markerboard. i instinctively erase every last line whenever i erase anything. i would sooner lose my mind than not erase something completely. the thrill of getting to erase the whole board has dulled over the years. it doesn't make my day or anything. but it is nice.

and when a kid asks me if they can erase the board, i always tell them no. because i get to. then i do it and it makes me feel good. sorry, kids. maybe you should give some thought to becoming teachers, like me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

local honey.

i've been trying to eat this local raw honey to combat my allergies, but i hate it. i hate honey. it's too sweet. i've hated it since i was a little boy. i like sweets every now and again, but honey is too sweet! god dammit. god dammit i hate this honey. i hate it. i hate it so much and i don't want to eat it. fuck this honey. fuck this honey in the ass forever. honey is too sweet, okay!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

candy silo.

the other day, while scoping all the candy bins at the temptations chocolate factory in alhambra, my friend asked me a question:

if you were stranded on a deserted island like tom hanks in cast away and the only thing you had to eat for the rest of your life would be like coconuts and stuff, and whatever occasional wild boar or fish you catch, but then one day you find a silo, and in that silo is an unlimited supply of candy, but it could only be one type of candy-- what candy would you want it to be?

first, let's assume melting is not an issue. like, the silo is in the middle of a cool spring that keeps the candy fresh and edible.

obviously any fruit-based candy would be a waste, because there's probably fruity stuff on the island. so you want something chocolate-based. most any chocolate candy would be welcome.

except mounds. if i found mounds in there, i would go coco-nuts.

your basic hershey bar is simple and classic. maybe you'd think at first that a fancier softer chocolate, like lindt or dove might be nicer, but i don't think that would work in the long run. eventually, you would be craving the hard low-rent chocolate of your youth.

easter bunnies would be good, because you could give them personalities and befriend them to help retain the illusion of your sanity.

they say a dark chocolate is good for your heart, but i get sick of dark chocolate after a few bites. if it was the only chocolate i had for the rest of my life, i would cry every night. and white chocolate is not technically chocolate, so you'd want to forgo that, unless we're possibly talking about cookies 'n' creme.

and now we're getting into chocolate bars with crunchy things in them. like crunch, or krackel, or mr. goodbar, or something with almonds. i'd say go for it, because you wouldn't get tired of something like almonds. it's like an extra treat with your chocolate. nothing with toffee though, because then you just won't have teeth when you die.

you'd want to stay away from a chocolate bar that only has caramel in it. eventually, the caramel would drive you insane, and i mean beyond the level of insane that you already are just from living on a deserted island (the same goes, i'm sorry to say, for reese's peanut butter cups).

peanut butter? no. marshmallow? forget it. nougat? nougat is okay. what you want to avoid like the plague is any chocolate whose filling is primarily gooey.

but if there's something else in there with the goo, then you can consider it. like, twix would be open for debate, because it also has cookie. twix was one of my go-to candies for a time. snickers is a little heavy. i don't know if you'd want to deal with a rich, chewy snickers bar every time you want to have a chocolatey treat. then again, something with a lighter filling, like three musketeers, might leave you dissatisfied in the final analysis.

kit kats are solid all the way. you could definitely handle that long term, and the ritual of breaking them apart would keep you sharp and interested.

movie theatre candies? nix junior mints, because they break my deserted island candy silo rule of goo. goobers or raisinets? your call. though you mightn't want something that would always bitterly remind you that you don't get to watch movies ever again. milk duds? you'd have to be out of your goddamn mind.

and what about the slightly more unconventional chocolate-covered treats? that's definitely something to consider. you could go for chocolate-covered gummi bears (or "muddy bears") or chocolate-covered pretzels (or "flipz"). they're not my favorite, so i wouldn't, but i wouldn't kick them out of your mouth either.

so what would i pick? it's a tough question. ever since i was a little boy, my favorite candy bar was butterfinger. i liked that it touted itself as "crispetty, crunchetty, peanut buttery." i liked that its texture was weird, unlike any other candy bar when you ate it. i liked that it was always connected to the simpsons through advertising during the show's golden age. it was like part of my identity. if ever pressed to consider my favorite candy bar, i knew that it was butterfinger. but butterfinger would be a little too extreme for hypothetical silo purposes. so even though it's like tearing off my own arm and beating a loved one to death with it, i'd have to say no to butterfingers in my candy silo.

i think the answer is m&m's. and not just any m&m's. because most m&m's variants (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and pretty much every limited edition flavor) are automatic disqualifications. and if you're wondering, something like almond, pretzel, or even the defunct crispy m&m's would be okay. but i'm talking peanut. peanut m&m's.

each m&m is a self-contained treat, so you can always eat as little or as many as you want. the different colors keep you engaged, which is great for after your mind breaks. you can try to calculate which colors are more plentiful or rare and ponder the limitless implications of your findings. you can fantasize that each color tastes subtly different. you get chocolate, you get peanuts, you get a crispy candy shell. you get that courier-style m on every piece, to remind you of civilization. and more often than you'd think, you get those weird mutant m&m's where two or three have kind of fused together. the party will never stop.

so what's your candy? have you worked it out yet? more importantly, has this exercise helped you realize how lucky you are to live in a world where you have access to all manner of untold varieties of candy? you could go to the candy store tonight and fix yourself a bag of sour neon gummi worms, peach rings, and chocolate malt balls. you could score yourself some smarties, sweet tarts, airheads and warheads. or you could just treat yourself to your favorite chocolate bar.

and to think, as you read this, that tomorrow you won't have to deal with a reality where you're marooned in a place where no one will ever again see you or know you, where you will struggle to survive as long as you can before finally succumbing to an all-too-soon death, alone, forever.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

spec pilot for burger king kids club gang animated series.


KID VID, a blonde caucasian boy wearing a digital visor, stands at a podium and addresses the gathered burger king kids club gang.

welcome again, fellow members, to another meeting of the burger king kids club. do we have any new business?

i do, kid vid.

JAWS, a tall black boy wearing a shirt with a picture of the planet earth on it, stands up.

go ahead, jaws.

well, guys, i have a problem. there's a small bit of swampland near my house where i like to go birdwatching, and i just found out the owner, mr. fisher, is going to tear it down this friday so he can rent the land out to business owners.

maybe they'll put in a video arcade!

no, kid vid, you don't understand. if those birds are displaced from their natural home, they might not have anywhere else to go.

SNAPS, a blonde caucasian girl holding a camera, stands up.

that is a problem. but i think we can help! why don't we put together a multimedia presentation for mr. fisher to persuade him to preserve the swamp as is? kid vid, you can make a slideshow on your tablet. i'll go to the swamp and take pictures of all the birds.

good idea, snaps. lingo, why don't you design some eye-catching signs and banners so anyone who supports our cause can be there for the presentation?

we see LINGO, a hispanic boy holding an artist's pallet.

with pleasure!

WHEELS, a caucasian paraplegic boy in a souped-up wheelchair, revs a small motor.

i'll start a petition and collect signatures so mr. fisher can see how many people like that swamp.

BOOMER, a redheaded girl in a sports jersey, leans over from her chair.

good call, wheels! i'll recruit the baseball team to help so we can cover more ground.

I.Q., a redheaded boy wearing glasses and a lime green lab coat, stands.

good thinking, boomer. and if mr. fisher's concerns are financial, perhaps there's a way to make that swampland profitable. i'll do some calculations in my laboratory.


J. D., a dog wearing skateboard gear, makes a dog sound and gives a thumbs up.

good work, everybody. now let's save this swampland!


the gang enters.

helping our community is hard work, so let's get some good food.

spirited electric guitar music plays over a montage of the gang laughing and having a good time as they order some burger king kids meals and eat them. they each get a cool toy and have fun playing with their new toys together. j.d. skateboards through the restaurant.


a demolition crew has paused before the swampland as kid vid finishes showing his presentation on a projector screen before a large crowd of artistic sign-wielding supporters.

and so you see, mr. fisher, this swampland is more important to this community than you may have realized.

MR. FISHER, a man in a business suit and hard hat, looks around.

i never thought of it like that.

boomer stands before her fellow baseball teammates.

we collected over a hundred signatures for our petition to preserve this beautiful swampland.

don't forget these!

we see that wheels has an enormous stack of signatures.

wow! that's a lot of signatures!

i move pretty fast.

mr. fisher, we know this issue is not just black and white for you, and we thank you for humoring our environmental concerns, but i think you'll find there's a great value in these swamps for you. i've created a filtration system that can turn the swamp sludge from these lands into clean-burning fuel for your car.

i.q. hands mr. fisher a mechanical contraption.

i'll have my men take a look at it.

hey, i.q., that's a pretty serious invention. you should try to patent it and take it to the auto companies. this could end the world's energy crisis and save the human species from global warming.

yeah, maybe.

mr. fisher, are we going to tear down this swamp or what?

mr. fisher looks out at the crowd.

no. there'll be no demolition today. this swampland isn't going anywhere!

the crowd cheers. everyone starts eating whoppers and fries. jaws turns to the kids club gang.

thanks, guys. i couldn't have done this without you.

that's what the burger king kids club is all about! helping each other, making a difference, great food, cool fun, kids only!

j.d. puts up his paw and kid vid high-fives it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

the letter i sent entertainment weekly (that was not published).

on page 8 of issue #1199, jess cagle issues a clear spoiler warning before discussing the walking dead. i really appreciated that. but then on page 80, you slapped the spoiler with its very own GRAPHIC right in the middle of your pop culture bullseye. do you guys put this thing together in your sleep?

not everyone has the time or resources to follow a television show as soon as it airs. your bullseye is arbitrary and lame. its greatest impact on my life is that it has just ruined a carefully-crafted milestone in a show i love. unless you guys offer some indication that you care about readers like me, i will never read your magazine again.