Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reasons why I am not an elementary school teacher

I volunteered in Alison's classroom today.  I learned some very valuable lessons.

One: Alison's teacher is awesome and has amazing patience. 

Two: Alison's number one talent, according to her, is the monkey bars.  And let me tell you, she rocks those things.

Three:  I could never be a grade school teacher.  For two reasons.

One: I have horrible handwriting.  Her teacher was spelling out stuff on the board and her writing was flawless every time.  You could actually distinguish one letter from the next.  All of Alison's teachers have had this talent.  They must do a test before you even apply to go to school for this.  They make you write out sentences and if they can understand it, you pass.  If not, they send you to med school.  Where, apparently, it doesn't matter if anyone can read the details of medical reports.  Because those aren't important.

Two: My OCD would flip out.  The kids have folders and pencil cases on their desks and those things are not always lined up straight and even. They put the folders on top of the pencil cases when the pencil cases are obviously much smaller than the folder.  The folder could topple off and fall on the floor when perched precariously like this.  And the items inside the pencil cases are not organized and straightened at all and the papers in the folder stick out because they are not properly inserted.  Sometimes they leave items out on their desk when they are not needed.  It was hard enough getting through a couple hours and not reaching over to fix Alison's desk every ten minutes.  But I made it through.  I feel so much stronger now.

Okay, maybe there's a third reason.  There's no spell check in a classroom.  Spell check agrees with me: stay out of the teaching field. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Survive Life as a Zombie

There are all these tips out there on how to survive if there's a zombie outbreak.  How to stay human and fight off the massive hordes trying to eat your brain.  But we all know what the math says.  If an outbreak happens, it'll happen quick.  99% of the human population will be turned into the walking dead in a short amount of time.

In the movies and books, they follow what happens to that one percent that makes it, their struggles and how to find love while fighting for your life and who doesn't want to be that one percent?

But the odds are not with the majority of humankind.  Let's take a simple, one question test to see how likely you are to make it:
 
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You're walking to your car on your way to work on morning.  The guy who lives in the apartment next to you is walking in your direction.  Normally you just nod your heads at each other and go your merry way, but today your neighbor suddenly lunges at you with blood dripping down his mouth, pale bruised skin and a manic roar.  You:

A)  Run screaming for your life in the opposite direction with no plan whatsoever.

B)  Reach for your phone to call the Neighborhood Watch Society because this is a major violation of the rules.

C)  Curl into the fetal position while he feasts on your flesh.

D)  Pop the trunk and pull out the semi-automatic weapon and blast him away, then separate his head from his body with the battle ax. 

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If you're a normal human being you answered either A, B or C because who keeps that kind of artillery handy at all times unless you live in Texas?  Personally I'm torn between A and C.  It could go either way.  Even if you do run screaming for your life, eventually you will run into more and more and more of them until you join their ranks.

But don't despair!  Just because you no longer care about which Gucci purse matches the perfect red shoes that goes with the party dress you'll wear when you meet Mr. Perfect doesn't mean life has to be completely meaningless.  I've compiled a list on how to survive life as a zombie.  Follow these simple rules and you'll be just fine. 

  • Rule #1:  Eat brains.  Or human flesh in general, but apparently brains are like the caviar of zombie food.  Since you're technically dead, regular food won't sustain you anymore.  You'll need the flesh of the living to keep you energized and going.  This may be harder than it seems since humans will have fighting tools and logical thinking on their side, but you'll have your own set of skills.  You'll be extra strong in order to rip limbs from their body and you're already dead so nothing short of severing your head will stop you.  Another skill at your disposal is your instinct, which brings me to....
  • Rule #2:  Follow your instincts.  Really, there's only one: stay together.  You're going to gravitate towards other zombies which may seem like a bad idea at first, but as a group you can steer your prey into traps like the predators in the wild do.  But you'll want to keep those groups small because.....
  • Rule #3:  Don't let other zombies steal your food.  It's not going to last forever.  The apocalypse will happen so fast that in a month or so all humans will be either zombies or zombie food.  You have to share with the zombies in your group, to a degree, so don't overcrowd.  If you only have one human to feast on, it's not going to go far unless they're nice and plump.  But don't worry when the food supply runs out because.....
  • Rule #4:  Enjoy the afterlife.  You have nothing to do.  No work to go to, no house to keep up, no one threatening your eternal soul if you don't forward the email with the cute bunnies in it.  All you have to do is wander from place to place and find food.  There will be small rodents and animals for awhile.  And they may even be able to hide in crevices and reproduce and make more food for you.  The zombie body will only last for a year or so before it decays and falls completely away, so enjoy the time you have left.  Look at your surroundings as you forage for living things to feast on.  If you've always wanted to travel, now's the time.  Make the most of it.

See?  Zombie life isn't that much different from today.  If you're a lawyer or a lion tamer, you should do just fine. 

In life there are always two options.  You can live or you can die.  If you live, you're just fine.  If you die, you have two options.  You go to heaven or hell.  If you go to heaven, you're just fine.  If you go to hell, you'll be so busy catching up with old friends you won't have time to be miserable.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Original Poem by Kathryn Bryan

An Angels Plea

I dreamt about an angel
Poor thing wasn't well
His wings were ripped and torn
His body but a shell

I asked him "angel how can this be"
Your clothes are rags, 
Your weak and pale!
This is what he spoke to me

I am your guardian angel
These wounds I bear with pride
I may be beaten, broke, and tired
But I never left your side

You treat yourself with disrespect
Shoving needles in your arm
You've almost died more than once
But I shielded you from harm

With a pleading gaze, he looked at me
Tears in his eyes
I couldn't watch the pain I'd caused
Told myself..."there lies"

When I woke I shed a tear
And thought, "why even try"
Just then, I thought I'd heard
A frail old angels cry

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Creepy Pink Monkey Fondling Skull: A Love Story

I was bored and asked Google to look up 'pink unicorn holding a skull'.  Why, you ask?  I often get together with my sister and her two girls so that our children can play together and I use this term loosely since we have to stop them from killing each other every five seconds.  We often hypothesize about what would happen if we left them in a room together for an hour alone.  We decided that the two older ones (Alison included) would end up dead in a heap with the youngest standing victoriously on top with a flag that had a pink unicorn holding a skull.

Today I was curious as to what that would look like, and I hoped the Internet would help me out, but, sadly, I didn't find any pink unicorns holding skulls. 

What I found was even better. 
Creepy Pink Monkey Fondling Skull.  It has to be the ancestor to Copernicus the Homicidal Monkey.



So many questions.  What's it going to do with that bone?  Gnaw on it or use it on its next victim?  Or both? Is it male or female?  With the color and all the fluffiness, it's difficult to tell.  What noise is it making?  A love squall when its about to mate or a war cry when it pounces?

I had to answer these questions.  So...without any further ado.....here is my story for Creepy Pink Monkey Fondling Skull:

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Not long ago, in a hot jungle in a far away land there lived a beautiful pink monkey.  She had eyes the color of the sunset and fur as soft as the morning dew.  She was coveted by monkeys everywhere.  They came from all corners of the jungle to woo her.  They did mating dances and mating calls and brought her presents of fruit and maggots.  But all these monkeys had brown fur.  And eyes the color of feces and thin, coarse tails that were not pleasant to touch.  So the pink monkey refused all of their advances while enjoying the gifts they brought.  Eventually they stopped coming, which was fine with her. 

The pink monkey lived in a tall tree with lush, green fronds and many wide branches that made a comfortable bed and a fun house to climb in when she was bored.  Which she often was.  And lonely.  Was she the only pink monkey alive?  She wanted a mate with a fluffy tail and slender fingers.  She got tired of waiting for one to find her, so one day the pink monkey left her comfortable tree and set out into the world. 

Other animals were not used to seeing such a beautiful monkey who was also quiet with an amiable demeanor about her.  She had no reason not to be nice.  Everyone was always so surprised to see her that, with one kind smile they would gladly do anything for her.  For instance, a small rhino gladly let her ride his back while she petted behind his ears and told him stories.  There were the occasional predators that tried to eat her, but she was faster and could climb higher. 

Mostly she came in contact with insects, butterflies and spiders, and birds of all different kinds.  She told them what she was looking for, but she was the first pink monkey they'd ever seen so they could not tell her where to find another.  After months of traveling and getting nowhere, she was about to despair.  Then one morning she heard the most beautiful voice thundering through the forest.  Most animals were terrified of this loud intrusion to their world and they scurried off as fast as they could.  But not the pink monkey.

She ran towards it, down tree trunks and across branches and through the brush until she reached the sound.  It came from the most glorious creature.  It was tall and walked on two feet and spoke a language she'd never heard before.  There were many more trailing behind him, but he was by far the most handsome. 

As she followed this creature, she learned many things about it.  It had no tail.  It had no defence mechanisms built into its body.  It had to use a sharp pointy object to clear the brush in front of it so it could walk.  It only had fur on top of its head, which it covered with material.  The rest of its body was sleek and wet most of the time from the heat.  It carried a bulk on its back which he could remove and take things out of to eat and to sleep under.  It seemed silly to the monkey.  There were things to eat all around him, why carry them on his back?

But the best thing was his voice.  It was deep and musical.  She could listen to it all day long.

As fascinated as she was, she kept her distance until she was sure he could be trusted.  But she noticed that he treated every animal with respect.  He would watch beetles and butterflies and when he met someone new, he would be happy and excited and talk with the creatures like him, but he never harmed anything. 

She could take it no longer.  One morning the pink monkey sat at the opening of his sleeping place and waited for him to come out.  Finally, the creature stumbled outside and just missed stepping on her tail with his big, clunky feet.  She scooted out of the way and scolded him for not being more careful and watching where he was going.  Do you know what he did?  He did not apologize.  He laughed.  He called over the other creatures like him and they all stared at the pink monkey, who was now on the lower branches of a nearby tree.  Things were not going well. 

He came closer to the pink monkey, slowly, with his hand stretched out but she was regretting having trusted him and scrambled back into the brush where he could not see her, but she saw him.  He shrugged and they all laughed some more and started getting the things out of their bags to eat.  This would not do.  They would never survive if they insisted on lugging that extra baggage around. 

The pink monkey found a bushel of bananas and swung back down to the creature's sleeping area. He looked happy to see her.  That was good.  She dropped the bananas in his lap and scooted back.  Her fur made swirly designs in the dirt as she went.  She faced her back to the creatures and pretended not to be looking over her shoulder at them while she played with the swirly designs.

They watched her as each of them took a banana.  Then they nodded towards her and smiled.  This made her happy.  Then the most handsome one, the male that she loved, brought something out of his bag and held it out to her.  He made funny noises with his mouth.  It sounded oddly like the kissing noise the other monkeys made when wooing her.  She advanced slowly in case it was a trick and looked at what he offered.  The other monkeys offered gifts, too.  This was promising.

She didn't know what to do with the thing in his hand.  It was brown and soft and looked like something that came out of the south end of a north bound rhino.  She took it and sat down to look it over.  The creature laughed, then made gestures with his hands like he was eating.  He expected her to put this stuff in her mouth?  Well, he did eat the bananas she offered him.  It was only reasonable that she should do the same.

She licked it first.  Then devoured it, then stole his backpack looking for more.  What was this wondrous food?  The male had more in his hand, which he held out to her.  She took it eagerly.  He made funny sounds with his mouth and pointed to different things while she ate.  She gathered that he was trying to communicate.  The brown food was called choc-o-laht.  He and the other creatures like him were called a hoo-man.  His name was Henry.

She listened until the food was gone, then curled up in his lap and stared closely at his face.  She had been watching him for days, wanting to be right there, to know all about him.  So she touched everything.  She touched his smooth hide and his patch of fur on his head and his clunky feet.  Then he took off his clunky feet.  Underneath were smooth, smaller versions that looked just like hers.

She jumped off his lap and pushed his rear end up so she could see.  She patted his bottom, then touched her tail, jumping excitedly.  The creature shook his head sadly.  There was no tail.  It wasn't hiding.  He sat back down and the pink monkey climbed on his chest and looked into his eyes.  He may be funny looking and missing vital pieces for survival, but she still loved him.  She vowed never to leave his side.

She put her hand on his chest and said this to him, but she doubted he understood it since she could not understand him.  But he felt her meaning.  She could see it in his beautiful eyes, blue like the sky. 

That day, the humans walked and she climbed the trees above them.  Sometimes she skipped ahead and jumped back to scare the ones that followed him.  The one with coverings on his eyes was the most fun because he jumped the highest and made everyone laugh. 

She liked it most when she sat on her Henry's shoulder with her tail wrapped around his neck.  This protected him from the flying bugs that were attracted by his scent and wanted to suck his life juices.

On her third day with them, she led them away from a nest of poisonous snakes.  Another time she stopped her Henry from cutting through a bog tree, which are thick and surely would have broken his sharp pointy thing.  Many times the humans stopped to rest or examine bugs and animals and plants.  The humans were excited about the things they saw and put little swirly shapes in what he called a book-let. 

She stole the long stick that created the shapes to see how it tasted, but she quickly gave it back.  It was not as good as the choc-o-laht that he still gave her when they ate.  She brought them foods whenever she found enough.

It didn't take long before she felt protective over them and happy whenever she steered them away from danger.  But she wasn't able to see the biggest danger of all.  It came out of the bushes to their right.  She would never know exactly what it was, only that it was fast, black and had razor sharp claws.  It pounced on her Henry first, since he was first in line.  He didn't stand a chance. 

She was knocked back into the brush and hit her head, knocking her unconscious.  She awoke only when the beast was finished devouring the humans she was supposed to protect and had left the area.  She found the head of her loved one, her hoo-man, her Henry, severed from his body and licked clean of any meaty flesh.  The rest of his bones were scattered around the area, mixed in with the bones of the other humans.  Only one was right next to his skull and could be identified as his.  These she took with her and tracked down the bulk he carried on his back.  Maybe there would be choc-o-lahts in there.  She found only a few, but they did not comfort her and she soon fell asleep, cradling the skull of the man she loved.

This is how she was found by the one with coverings on his eyes.  He had lagged behind a few paces because he was not in as good of shape as the other travelers.  It was just the right amount of paces to save him from the beast. 

The rest of the story is long and arduous, though the pink monkey won't remember any of it being asleep through the trip back through the jungle in the backpack of Edward, the researcher, and then tranquilized on the airplane ride back home.  He could have left her in the jungle, but he didn't have the heart to.  She saved his life.  He claimed to lag behind the group because he was out of shape, but really he found that the pink monkey didn't jump out at him as often when he wasn't in line with the rest of the group.  He owed her his life and it felt wrong to leave her in her heartbroken state in a rabid jungle to fend for herself. 

She stayed with him in his house, but she was never his monkey.  She was well-behaved and polite unless you tried to take the skull and bone away from her.  As long as she had these items in view and available to sleep with at night, then she was a most wonderful monkey and was adored by all who stopped in to visit.

Hers was a short love affair, but the love from the affair never faded.  The pink monkey was loyal to her creature until the day she died.