Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'll take those axes...

I’m currently vacationing in Washington State. And nothing says vacation like forced manual labor in the morning. This happening on a number of occasions while I stayed at my grandparent’s Washington home.

The first time being fairly early in the morning and on the day after my family arrived. I was completely jet-lagged. And by that I mean that my body was acting totally weird. I awoke at 7:30 AM completely awake (that’s 5:30 Saint Louis time). This after going to bed at one clock in the morning the previous night.

I figured I could make a dent in my recently purchased book, When You Are Engulfed In Flames by David Sedaris. This did not happen though, instead, I was enlisted into Operation Tare Down. My grandfather, in order to appease the neighbors, decided it was time to remove the dead leaves and ivy from a tree located down the street. The tree was on our premises though. So away we went: he, with a large number of axes, and me, stuck with an aluminum ladder.

After spending about two minutes pulling off dead branches and watching passing neighbors stare at my pajamas, my grandfather (whom I will refer to as Dave for the remainder of this passage) asked, “Do you think that tree is dead?” I observed the tree. “Yeah,” I said, “I’m pretty sure it’s dead.”

We then concluded that it would be best to pull the tree completely down and out with the aid of the trusty Highlander SUV. When I returned with his keys, Dave had a chainsaw in his hands. “In case, it doesn’t come down,” he assured me.

After attaching rope around the neck of the tree, I stepped away as Dave climbed into the vehicle and started slowly inching forward. It was around this time that my Father stepped outside to visit us. Once the tree smashed into the ground, he beckoned me inside telling me I had to get ready.

The other time I might write about later but I’ll get have to get back to you…

Joel Samson Berntsen (I’ve pretty much been listening to The Black Parade over and over again)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Today is a Great Day to Leer (A+ tutoring: week one)

Ok, well, the sign actually said, Today is a Great Day to Learn, but the n was practically chopped off and leering is always funny.

The first day was absolute chaos. Kids were everywhere with their confused guardians wondering the halls of a foreign elementary school. After waiting in the office for about an hour, they gathered all the A+ tutors in the computer lab. The vice principal basically called a class or grade and asked for volunteers. It was getting to slim pickings when I was assigned third graders. I was guided to the classroom of Mrs.Donze, the third-grade summer-school teacher. I expected that I would either have a serious problem with this teacher, or we’d get along smashingly. Neither really happened.

After the first couple of days I came to the conclusion that elementary summer school is kind of a joke. Of course, there were one or two kids who actually needed help, but other than that, none of the kids needed to be here. This was very pleasing to me in that I actually didn’t have to work too hard. Its summer and I’m a bum.

By the end of the week, I pretty much knew all the kids names and had a sense of how everything works. We stuck to a certain schedule in class and everything went by rather quickly. I had an idea to which students were my favorites and the ending of the week came hastily and left the crowded parking lot as fast as I could.

Joel Samson Berntsen (The Sharpest Lives-My Chemical Romance)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You fell into a toxic sewer while intoxicated: Game Over

It should be noted, due to confusion, that this about a board game named Life.

The Game of Life needs an update. The game’s initial appeal of experiencing the perfect life has worn off. It’s not only boring, but offers no diversified options or endings. As the game progresses very little changes; pay day, pay off the mechanic, have twins, pay day, pay a superstar, etc. This is droll and in the end people have the most fun watching what happens to their pawn. Problem is, hardly anything happens to the pawn. They chose a career, get married, have kids, make money, lose money: The core events in ‘life’. However, so much more happens in today’s everyday ‘life’.

Take, for instance, the divorce rate. About fifty percent of marriages end in failure nowadays. Why not have that in the wondrous game of Life? Oh, I’m sorry Jennifer, your husband of ten years just left you for a prostitute named Virginia: Lose one turn. If that happened, not only I, but everyone I know would be on the floor laughing at poor, old Jennifer.

After introducing divorce, the game could then rob the players of their children. Sorry Christina, Ray got the kids in the divorce settlement. Disease would then be introduced. George has been diagnosed with a brain cancer: three turns left. This would make it the game infinitely more enjoyable. No longer would the game of life focus on who has amassed the most money, but who’s survived the over-whelming obstacle known as life.

Joel Samson Berntsen (I’m Not Okay- My Chemical Romance)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's Kinda Hot...

Hey oh, it's summer! Yes, it's finally here. The wonderful season of swimming, short skirts, and skin cancer. And it's never felt so good.

Actually, that last line was a lie. Due to the fact that it doesn't feel like Summer. When school got out, I didn't feel Joy or Sublime Happiness. I experienced a passing feeling of relief, but that quickly faded. My first afternoon of summer was spent mowing the Christopher's lawns, who were in Costa Rica (I know!). It's now my belief that their lawn is possessed by some strange demon that turns hard work into useless hours of toil. Needless to say, I spent over six hours on that lawn it still wasn't perfect. On the plus side, I did get to spend a large amount of time at a pool with a number of my beautiful lady friends.

But now the Christopher’s have returned and that responsibility has passed to heir Matthew Christopher (God rest his soul). I’ve started to A+ tutor at Blades Elementary. For those of you who don’t know, the A+ program is where you volunteer to tutor for fifty hours and in turn you’ll receive your first two years of comminute college for no charge. Pretty good deal if you ask me. More details to come on that.

Joel Samson Berntsen(Scary Kids Scaring Kids-Snake Devil)