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Let’s continue with Lee.

In addition to being a stellar craftsman, Lee was also an amateur poet and writer! I remember like it was yesterday the sunny afternoon Lee pulled me aside and told me about the poem she was going to write. When it was completed, she intended to donate the poem to a local homeless shelter.


Actually, we’d rather have money

The poem was about how, if you really thought about it, like, tsk, love really is the only thing you need.


How original

“I mean,” she continued, “you can have all kinds of money and like, things, but if you don’t have love, it’s like…I mean, just being alive is a blessing, you know? I think the people at the homeless shelter will appreciate that.”


Hmm…actually, I’d rather have money.

Now, you know me. I do like to poke at bad concepts for songs and poems. But I figured here it was in everyone’s best interest to keep my mouth shut. And was I ever rewarded. Later that day, Lee pulled me aside again, and told me the story of a lifetime. She was going to write a book, she told me. She was going to write…a masterpiece.

Now this I really hesitate to share in case she finds it, but you know what? I can’t keep anything from you guys.

The book revolves round a couple in Germany. Why Germany? Why not. It’s before WWII (because she doesn’t want to have to “deal with all that.” I assume “all that” is “the Nazis” but they were definitely around before WWII so I’m not really sure what her point was.)

Basically a couple meet and fall in love and it’s perfect. They are high school sweethearts. Together they have their perfect wedding (her standing in a field, with wildflowers….I always thought it took more to make a wedding than that, but what do I know) and everything is great.


“I do!”

He’s a musician, and she’s a seamstress. They try having kids but it doesn’t seem to be working. At this point in her telling Lee looked at me earnestly and asked if I thought they “knew what infertile and fertile was back then.” I assured her that by this point they had decent doctors and institutions and electric light, they most assuredly knew what fertility was.

So they go to a doctor (” ’cause they’d have gone to like, doctors back then, I think,” she explained) and he tells them she’s infertile (assuming they know what that is of course).

But then, in a miraculous turn of fortune, SHE HAS A BABY AFTER ALL. Hooray!

But that baby is AUTISTIC and DEAF. Alas!

So they raise the daughter as well as they can, and she learns how to sew, and run the house, by watching her mother. This, for those of you unaware, is the opposite of autism. Autistic people don’t really have the ability to learn by watching. Moving on though, the mother then DIES OF HEART CANCER. In Lee’s pre-war Germany, doctors know about autism and cancer, but not fertility.

So it’s the inspirational story of a widower and his deaf autistic daughter who can run the home with him. Lee believes this kind of story, even though it’s unrealistic, will appeal to mothers of autistic children because “they’ll want to believe that kind of thing, you know, could happen with their kids.”

I’d almost worry about her writing this one day and it actually becoming a giant hit, but honestly, I don’t believe it will ever be written, just like her Etsy site will never be built and her poem will never be donated. Lee was a woman of ideas.

And some of her ideas would sometimes lead her astray…

(to be continued)

I won’t even bother apologizing or explaining my absence, I will merely say the word “work.”

“Work” is one of those things everyone is all concerned about these days. People having jobs, people stealing jobs. I’ve been fortunate enough (if you will) to not be without an abundance of work. My current job is one of those jobs protected by “rights” and “acts” and “bureaus” so I won’t talk overmuch about it. However, it’s been a solid six months since my last job and I’m finally ready to DISH.

You know what the best part about a bad job is? Bad coworkers. Meet…uh…let’s call her “Lee.”


Pictured: not Lee

Lee is a woman 25 years old, but if you were to cut about eight years off her age, that’s how she behaves. I’d worry about her finding this and becoming angry, but I’m not 100% sure she’s totally literate. She likes arts and crafts, which, when I met her for the first time, I thought was great. I talked to her about sewing and craftwork. She described ambitious projects to me and I suggested she take them to Etsy.

She thought etsy was a great idea! In fact, she wanted to set up a booth at a fair to sell her homemade purses and bags and belts! She wanted to make her own store someday! I thought that was super ambitious of her, so I asked her to bring in one of her homemade purses. I expected something like this:


D’awww

What she brought in looked somewhat like this:


Is…is it finished?

Her “purses” were hollowed-out pillows, one with a big famous brand name on it, with tacky, mismatched, fraying strips of ribbon hand-sewed on for straps, and a big uneven square of even more mismatched cloth to be a flap, like a messenger bag. The stitches were large and uneven, with thread the wrong color so the sloppiness stood out.

I try and tactfully suggest things like, an iron to make the seams look a touch more finished, a sewing machine to make the stitches less embarrassing, some patters to teach her what the heck she’s doing. She says she can’t use an iron because she always burns and ruins what she irons, she can’t use a sewing machine because she doesn’t know how, and why would she want to? It’s the little imperfections that make a hand-made work more valuable.

TIES
So valuable

That may be true, but who can notice the little valuable imperfections when faced with HUGE GAPING ones?

And what kind of grown woman living away from home can’t iron without lighting things on fire? As I continued to work there, I got a clearer answer to that question…

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Whoopsie daisy

Well, the final chapter of SayNoToCrack’s Guide to enjoying Summer is here!

Chapter Last: Activities!

Did you know that there are lots of Activities to take part in during the summer? There are! And with summer rapidly passing by, you’d better get right on it! Aside from picking the berries, eating the food, and admiring the wildlife of summer, here are a few more activities that the summer can offer…

Fairs and Carnivals
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Fairs and carnivals! These celebrations take place during the summer and offer a variety of activities. Risk your life on rickety roller-coasters that have traveled from fair to fair across the state for over twenty years! Try to win oversized stuffed animals in rigged games from shady dealers! Watch various vehicles smash into each other – a lot! Listen to mediocre local talents compete for prizes! Enter a contest! Go hog wild!

Play with Water!
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You can go swimming in the summer! You can fire water guns or throw water balloons! You can run fast and jump down too hard on a slip-n’-slide and hurt yourself on all the rocks you forgot to make sure weren’t there when you laid it down! Get wet! Woohoo!

Star Gazing!
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Try this! Lay on a blanket outside at night and look up! Those sure are stars, aren’t they? Fantastic!

Get Eaten!
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Did you know that all the bugs that want to eat you most of all come out almost exclusively in the summer? Sweet deal! Go outside and see for yourself! And just wait – some bugs don’t want to eat you at all, they just want to dive on your face! Moths, mayflies, dragonflies, golly-whoppers (or skeeter-eaters, if you swing that way), and bees all love to get caught in your hair! It’s true! And ants, centipedes, and ladybugs simply cannot wait to get all over the snacks you love. Party!

Be way too Dang Hot.
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Sweet lord. It’s over 88 degrees Fahrenheit out there. If you jump gently, you can feel yourself become suspended in the gelatin-thick humidity of the air. Sweat and sun. Did you know that your A/C is 100% more likely to break during the summer than any other time?

Can you combat it with lemonade? Water? Sleep? Maybe. But no matter what activity you choose to engage in this summer, you will also be way too dang hot. Hooray for multitasking!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, you crazy kids!

Well, after a brief break, we’re ready to resume our guide to Summer fun! Today’s chapter…

Chapter 4 – Food!

There are so many wonderful summer foods to try! Eat up!

Plants!
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Now is the time to enjoy fruits and vegetables, because they’re growing like crazy! They’re green and leafy and healthy, and they…oh forget it, let’s skip ahead!

Fried Everything!
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Who cares what it is? It’s fried!

More like it! Summer is the time for killing your heart! People fry everything in the summer, and all the best summer foods are fried. Funnel cakes, corn dogs, onion rings, hush-puppies, fried fish, french fries, these are staples. But wait, there’s more! Fried cheesecake, fried oreos, fried snickers! Fried pickles, fried zuccini, fried chicken! And what to wash it down with? Fried cola!

Hear that gentle sobbing? That’s your arteries. Yippee!

Ice Cream!
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The ultimate summer food. It is cold, it is sweet and sticky, it comes in far more flavors than 32, it is perfect. It can even be fried!

What are you waiting for? Fry yourself a big slice of summer today!

Chapter 2: Fish!

You can fish in the summer! Fish may not be delicious to everyone, but they always are if you catch them yourself. That tasty flavor is not fish, it’s pride.

All you need is a pole, some fishing line, a hook, some bait, maybe a bobber…probably a net, and something to string the fish up, and a bucket…maybe a cooler. Probably you’ll want some snacks too. And drinks, definitely. Hand sanitizer too. Pliers. Scissors. A stomach of steel.

One of summer’s simplest joys!

Here are a few fish you might find in the summer!

1. Catfish!
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Hi! I’m a catfish! Oh hey, a hook, let’s swallow it as deep as possible because my lips are thicker than any fish’s should be, and it’d go down easy I think. Also I like to hurt people. And hey check out my creepy slimy worm skin. And my whiskers aren’t hair they’re just extensions of me; they have nerves and everything. Also i eat poop. Actually, I’m kind of a despicable fish.

2. Bluegill!
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Hello! I’m small and cute and my belly is yellow. I’m not that hard to catch so you think it’ll be fun reeling me in and then you realize the second I hit the ground I’m completely covered in spiky horrible fins that cut you. Also, since I’m a fish and therefore filthy, look forward to that cut getting infected! Woohoo!

3. Crappie
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Yeah with a name like that I really don’t beat around the bush.

There are hundreds of fish out there waiting to be caught some fine summer evening! Go wild! Did you know that while goldfish crackers are delicious, actual goldfish are pretty terrible for eating? Now you know!

Well summer is about halfway finished, and if you’re like me, you feel like you’re letting it slip by, working nine hour shifts in an unairconditioned factory and praying every night for the world to ban boats and boat parts and factories that package them.

But do not let the rest of this wonderful season pass you by! Here at SNTC headquarters, we want you to enjoy your time to the fullest, especially these sweet summer days, and so here are some notable attractions for you to notice and appreciate this season.

Chapter 1: Berries!

Berries! Berries are delicious fruit. They grow and ripen in the summer! Did you know berries actually do not grow in little perforated plastic containers in your grocer’s fruit section? They grow outdoors! In summer! Here are a few of the most enjoyable berries you may come across this summer…

Strawberries
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Hi! We are strawberries! We grow low to the ground on vines. Our seeds are on the outside, so you can’t tell if you’re biting into a delicious clean fruit, or a terrible abomination covered in tiny bugs. It looks the same! Woohoo! In the wild, we are sweet and tart and an adventure! In the market, we’re mostly bruised and the ones on the bottom are probably fuzzy and smell bad. Terrific!

Blackberries
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Did you know that before it was a phone, the blackberry was a fruit? It’s true!

We are blackberries! We grow on tall bushes that are conveniently covered in terrible thorns, in areas where there are plenty of trees to block any wind! Nice and hot and stagnant air, perfect for summer berrypicking! Oh yeah! All the best, biggest, juiciest blackberries grow at the very top, where you have to impale yourself thousands of times to reach us. Hope you don’t like skin on your arms as much as you enjoy tiny berry clusters filled with tough little seeds. Our seeds are just small enough to get permanently wedged in your molars! Hooray!

Mulberries
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We grow on super tall trees! We are strange and sweet and alluring. We stain everything we touch, and attract every brand of bug and bird (watch what you’re eating)! Party time! Also, heaven help the poor sap who decides to park his car under a mulberry tree! The birds’ poop is pink, man! Fantastic!

Raspberries
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Eh, we’re okay I guess.

There are MANY kinds of berries out in the summer wilderness for you to investigate! Do not let these days slip by – SNTC says: summer is AWESOME.

Misunderstood Song #5

And this one. This one had to be done.

Misunderstood Song #5: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

What People Think: It’s based on a picture John Lennon’s son drew of his classmate Lucy (in the sky with diamonds).

The Truth: I know it’s a frequently-denied, controversial topic, but this song for me will forever be about drugs.

I’ll buy that maybe a kid drew a picture. I’ll even buy that he made it about Lucy in a sky of diamonds. But I won’t believe that nobody noticed the LSD thing. I know the Beatles all deny it vehemently, but I won’t believe that there’s just no trace of drug in this song.

I mean, I’ve never done a single illegal drug in my life, or even seen one, and I’m able to pick up on the druggyness of this song.

Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she’s gone.

Cellophane and kaleidoscopes and slowed down time?

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies,
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.

And I know you’ve heard this song, and how very heaavily “high” is emphasized there. They can’t not have known. They can’t not have known. Every kid who bought the album and ran home to listen recognized it right away.

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Sure. This is completely sober.

It’s not not about drugs. The people who think drugs had nothing to do with it and it was all Lewis Carrol and Children’s Drawings just might be under the influence themselves.

In Conclusion: This doesn’t mean I don’t like the song.

This also concludes Misunderstood Lyrics week. Thanks for playing along.

Misunderstood Song #3

When it comes to a negative song being mistaken for a positive song, I could just say look here and pop off for the day but I will not. Instead I wrote another one.

Misunderstood Song #3: Good Riddance

What everyone thinks: That it’s a happy farewell song. Great for graduations.

The truth: GAH just look at the title! It’s a snarky break-up song to an ex-girlfriend.

The problem is, radios promoted this song under the title “Time of Your Life,” which that Greenday guy said was a far too “level-headed” title for it.

Most people on the street know it as their prom song, “Time of Your Life,” a sweet sappy goodbye. Rethink. Its proper given title is “Good Riddance.”

“Good Riddance.”

Now replay the lyrics, with the title and the context (a break-up) in mind.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

They’re a wee bit bitter now that you think of it aren’t they?

In Conclusion: Think about context before you ever play this song again. Graduation? No. Prom? No. Break-up? Yes. Glad to see someone leave forever? Yes.

I mean, it’s Good Riddance for crying out loud.

We need a little love up in here.

Top Misunderstood Song #2 – The Number of the Beast

What Everyone Thinks: It’s a Satanic song! It celebrates Satan, and is BAD.

The Truth: It is not bad. It is awesome.

The song isn’t so much in celebration of Satan as it is in terror of him. Basically, the guy has witnessed a Satanic ritual, though whether it’s in real life or a dream is uncertain…

What did I see? Could I believe? That what I saw
that night was real and not just fantasy

Just what I saw in my old dreams were they
reflections of my warped mind staring back at me?

Torches blazed and sacred chants were phrased
as they start to cry hands held to the sky
In the night the fires are burning bright
the ritual has begun Satan’s work is done
666 the Number of the Beast
Sacrifice is going on tonight

This can’t go on I must inform the lord
Can this still be real or just some crazy dream?

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While somewhat scary, this image is one of the milder examples of terrifying 80’s hair.

Ultimately, the storyteller is so freaked out that he goes to tell the authorities what’s happening, but gets sucked into the madness and oh no what now.

But that’s the thing. It’s not, hooray! Rituals! It’s, Oh, no. Rituals.

The thing about Iron Maiden is, they spend a lot of time singing about history, or being afraid. If you’re scared of the devil, you might relate to The Number of the Beast.

I can understand this kind of confusion ‘way back when this first came out and there was no Google to check the lyrics. But it’s now time to look closer. We have the internet.

In conclusion: If Bruce Dickinson and Judy Garland had a baby, that baby’s vibrato would surely be strong enough to shatter even the strongest foundations of the world.

Hello hello! I know things here have taken a real musical bent lately, but my current place of employment involves me doing nothing but standing in place, packing boxes, and listening to whatever station the factory is playing this day. It’s on my mind.

This week I’ll be doing a series of my top 5 Most Misunderstood Songs Ever, one a day. Today’s song is:

Most Misunderstood Song #1: Sweet Home Alabama

What everyone thinks: It’s a song about Alabama, which makes a pretty sweet home. Maybe it’s the state anthem or something.

The Truth: It’s pretty much anti-anti-racism. That’s racist, for those following along.

Let’s have a history lesson. Once upon a time African Americans were segregated in the US. This was a hugely dumb idea, and so a law was passed to integrate our society. Unfortunately, the racism didn’t stop there. Alabama was notably hesitant in its movement forward.

Niel Young saw this racism going on and said to himself, that’s a pretty lame thing. And so he wrote two songs: Southern Man and Alabama. They basically said, hey. Stop that racism thing. Also you should apologize for being a jerk, Alabama.

Was it wrong of him to pick specifically on Alabama? Maybe. But the Band Lynyrd Skynyrd was having none of it. They couldn’t bear to see Alabama called out in this way. So then, THEY wrote a song.

Sweet Home Alabama.

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Makes all those “I heard Niel Young sing about her” and “Southern Man don’t need you ’round anyhow” lyrics make more sense if you didn’t know.

In Conclusion: People need to get over this song. It’s a song written to hate on a song written to hate on racism. Plus how many people who love this song have even been to Alabama? I don’t even think the majority of Lynyrd Skynyrd were from Alabama. If any. Holy cow.

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