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Entry date: 4-10-2024 – If I can only rant about one thing today – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

I could rant about the hapless, rudderless, star power doesn’t mean crapola Suns, but I don’t care about them. I am renouncing my Suns fever and will remain the most casual of fans from here on out. I gave them almost fifty years. That is enough.

 

Instead, I’m going to rant about the importance of self-control.

 

Yesterday was a state testing day. My students took part one of their reading test. I don’t get to see the test, but I do get to see the practice tests and the test itself was undoubtedly fair and appropriately challenging. Many of my students took over an hour to complete it.

 

The state has imposed rules for how students can behave after the test is finished. They can either read a book or just sit quietly. I understand why this is what it is. Students get easily distracted by just about anything, so the least amount of movement or possible visual distraction is necessary.

 

The rules aren’t new to my students. They had testing last year, too, and it started last week with a pretty lengthy writing test. Once again, I can’t see it, but some of my students who are really quite excellent at what they do in class took a good long while to complete it, so it must’ve been a bear. Either way, they had to sit for a long time and either read, take a nap, or just think.

 

I talked to them, encouraged them to bring a book from home that they really like if there wasn’t anything in the classroom library they wanted to read, but still, some of them choose to just sit there and fidget. They get extremely antsy and that’s where the self-control thing comes in.

 

 Many of them simply can’t control themselves. I had to turn into total dickhead Mr. R by the end of the day. I gave them some work that required them to fix sentences that had either two or three errors in them to work on during the afternoon because they would not stop talking.

 

In order for them to turn it in, it had to be completely correct. I only got 4 of 29 before the end of the day. I shared with them why I did this. I wanted them to focus, and I had enough of the talking out of turn. It was a choose their own adventure afternoon and they chose wrong.

 

Just to be fair, when the last test was turned in, I gave them a 20-minute brain break. As soon as our neighboring class was done, I allowed them to talk for a while, as well. It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances to blow off steam. They just don’t care to control themselves.

 

I can understand why. Many of their parents probably can’t control themselves either. The current state of our country is a testament to the growing ignorance of basic social and emotional intelligence. It is just sad.

 

What I’m realizing is that next year I have to run a much tighter ship. I like to keep things kind of loose, when I can, but I’ve failed these kids this year by giving them just enough rope to hang themselves. I don’t want anyone getting hung.

 

I mean, I don’t mind if they feel the rope around their necks a bit…but nobody needs to be swinging in the breeze.

 

Today is a new day, though.

 

*****

 

The night was a little better. We had dinner at Doug’s with Cousin Hal. He’s in town for a few more days and it has been great to see him. Talk about a great dude. It’s really nice knowing that I’ll be seeing him again in just a couple of months. I’m getting to the point where going 11 months without seeing the family in Maine seems way too long.

 

I know how lucky I am here, too. Not everyone has that in their lives.

 

*****

(Fiction update of the day)

 

Decision have been made. If you want to see the fiction, you’ll have to be logged in and go to the Ergonomic Fiction page. That’s pretty simple for those of you who like to follow that stuff. It sucks that it has to be that way, but my goal is to write books and get them published. If I give it away for free, that scares some people off from working with me.

 

I do like and appreciate feedback. We can use the message board for that or you can just give me a call (most of you who are site members have my number). I want these stories to be the best they can be.

 

My skin has gotten pretty thick over the years between all the bands and writing I have done. I can take constructive feedback, even if it is a bit on the harsh side. My feelings may get stung, but I bounce back quickly. I’ve gotten way too many emails from New Times stuff where people say they want to punch me in the throat because I said Green Day or KISS sucks. I can take a little feedback, though, and get better because of it.

 

What I will do, though, is post updates here in the blog when I add to the pages and probably talk about the process here, too. I have to write about it.

 

At this point, I don’t know how to not write about it.

 

*****

One of my favorite things about my short time in the Bay Area was the college radio stations. KUSF and KALX both played a lot of good music and my primary job while I was there was delivery driver. I would drive around Berkeley for a few hours each day, sometimes more, and I would listen to those stations.

 

As one might have surmised from the first 100 records on this list 1991 was a good year for music. There are several records from that year here so far and there will be more. One of which is And The Legacy Begins by Dream Warriors.

 

There were a couple of singles being played on the hip hop shows on both KUSF and KALX that I liked a lot from And The Legacy Begins. One was “Wash Your Face In My Sink” and the other was “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style.” At first, I had no idea who was doing these songs. The DJ’s would often play three or four songs in a row and it took me a bit to get the name, Dream Warriors.

 

I really should say that listening to these shows really broadened my mind when it came to hip hop. There was a ton of good stuff being played and I tended to gravitate towards the more socially conscious stuff, but I did like a lot of the gangsta rap that they were playing, too. Some of that early Ice-T stuff was great, for example.

 

Groups like Dream Warriors, who hailed from Canada, and the Bay Area’s own, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, though, were my jam. You’ll see a record from the latter on here soon enough. These groups didn’t need to bash your head in with “Bitch that” or “N-word this” all the time. I don’t mind a little of that here and there, but have something to say, please.

 

The best rap/hiphop/etc., does just that. It has something to say.

 

Dream Warriors seem like nice fellas compared to a lot of their contemporaries, and to be honest, I know very little about them. I picked up a copy of And The Legacy Begins at Amoeba or Rasputin on Telegraph (I can’t remember which), and I liked it…but I still mostly played the two singles.

 

Over the years, I’ve grown to expand my appreciation for the CD (I don’t have the whole thing on vinyl, but I do have “Wash Your Face In My Sink” as a 7”) to songs like “Ludi” and “Twelve Sided Dice,” which is the first hip hop song I ever heard about D and D.

 

In fact, “Ludi” is also about a game, too. I’ve never heard of the game, Ludi, but the song has a nice little groove. The one thing about And The Legacy Begins that I’ve never been able to decide if it is either brilliant or redundant is that a lot of the songs use the same vernacular. “Boombastic” shows up a lot. They must’ve known that “My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style” was going to be huge. Lots of nods to it…same as “Wash Your Face in my Sink.”

 

Dream Warriors were clearly practitioners of getting high on their own supply. The re-use melodies and clever turns of phrase a lot on And The Legacy Begins. You might almost of it as more of a long-playing EP.

 

 

This is a fun one, though, if you like your hip hop with a little jazz and acid jazz on the side. The lyrics are interesting throughout and easy on the ear, too. There are a lot of funny things being said throughout and it’s all social commentary. I’m guessing there are some Canadian hip hop in-jokes happening here, too.

 

Check out the D and D song, for sure, if you ever played the game. It will make you laugh. There are a few references to D and D in other songs, too.

 

I always wanted to see Dream Warriors live, but I don’t think they ever came to Phoenix. Bummer.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



First pass at an AI version of the Jimmy's Brain movie poster.

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