Sunday, November 22, 2009

Distinguished Guest Speaker Series – Preschool Edition

I’ve been doing speaking engagements at schools, on occasion, for about 10 years now talking primarily about what I do at my day job.
The art portion, not blogging (nobody wants to hear about that.)

Over the years I’ve had my share of audiences. Generally speaking, Elementary school aged kids are by far the best to present to. You show them some cool art, do a little talking while waving the arms around, tell a few jokes here and there, and 9 out of 10 times they give you a standing ovation like you’re Johnny Depp, or Chewbacca, tossing candy bars and live Ewoks into the audience.
Junior High kids? I don’t know what their deal is. They look all zoned out most of the time. Maybe they can’t wait to get their cell phones back to text the kid they’re sitting next to about “Twilight”, or they’re all on crack from watching too much “Twilight.” I’m not sure.
High school kids are oddly a mixture of the two described above, but they ask stupid questions if you let them like “what kind of car do you drive?”

To which I always answer “A really nice El Camino that can get me to the nearest KFC.”

So imagine my interest when the ‘head governess’ of my daughter’s school asked me if I wanted to speak to the entire Pre-K program? I couldn’t wait.
Now if you know 4-5 year olds then you know they have the attention span of a fly particularly when they’re in groups and have to sit quietly while watching somebody speak and especially if you’re not holding up a book and asking them to tell a Pigeon “NO!”
Or if you’re not a Transformer, Ninja, or Princess.

I dashed through the art, waved my hands around, made some silly jokes, and then asked if anybody had any questions about what I do or what they had just seen.

About 40 kids raised their hands at once.

Some of the “questions” (names changed to protect identities but to describe the kid):

Fancy Nancy – My neighbor’s dog, he bites on his leg EVERY MORNING…and my mom makes pancakes for me! (insert big smile)
Dora – If a bee bites somebody, they can DIE. (insert big smile)
Diego – When I was little, I sawed this show on TV and this robot ate a monkey and then my grandpa buyed me and my sister McDonalds and then...(confused look staring at the ground)
Smurfette – Unicorns and Ponies aren’t really real. (serious look)
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan – There’s a tiny mouse on the computer that shakes his booty like this. (gets up and shakes her bottom. All kids laugh)
Handy Manny – I can whistle. (starts to whistle while spraying/spitting on the kids around him)
Princess Sunshine Sparkles Fairy Ballerina Mermaid (aka, my daughter) – Daddy, can I go home early? (serious look)

I said yes and then we drove in the El Camino to the nearest KFC.

Well not really. I don’t own an El Camino.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What It Feels Like Just Before Your Legs Fall Off

I did something last weekend that I never imagined I’d ever do – I ran in a marathon. AND it was today that I was finally able walk like a normal person.

Just to be clear, it wasn’t the full 2,667 miles those robots that look like humans run that I met from far off places like Japan, Norway, and Fontana. Nope, it was the beginner’s course. The one just a few notches above the kid’s run to the ice cream cart.

I’ve been preparing for this since the summer with some encouragement by one of my gym instructors. I have to admit when he first brought up the suggestion I had to contemplate the idea for a few days as the thought of running ‘just for the fun of it’ was completely foreign to me.
Call me a traditionalist but since birth I’ve always been a strong believer in running only when it’s absolutely necessary. Like running away from a hungry Cheetah in tall tundra or escaped hungry Velociraptor dinosaur on a forbidden island. Or maybe running alongside an exploding wharf and jumping onto a moving speedboat like Don Johnson.

In the end I joined the ranks of people that run just for the heck of it. They wake up really early when regular folk are still rightfully sleeping, cinch up that iPod and run to the beat of some bad 4-hour long techno song rendition. I chose to leave the 90’s techno in the graveyard where it belongs and replaced it with much more appropriate 1980’s Def Leppard musical selections.

There’s just nothing like running to “Rocket” just before the sun comes up.

Nothing at all.

When I passed that finish line and the realization that I can run for long amounts of time without dying, I immediately realized that with some more training and a few more halves I probably could one-day graduate to a full marathon.
Why not? That guy that was 4 seconds in front of me was 69-years old!
Heck, maybe one day I'll Forrest Gump it and run to Disney World from Hawaii. I’ve already signed up for the L.A. marathon in March – that’s a start.

It now seems a little funny to me that there were times when I thought to myself “what did I just sign myself up for” while running for what felt like hours just before I passed a 1 mile mark. But hey, I got over and finished it anyways.
And I take back all those things I said after passing that finish line (“I’ll never do that EVER again…” “I can’t feel my legs”, “I think my lungs fell out at mile marker 3...”) It’s all ancient history now.

Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll even travel way out to Fontana just to outrun a Cheetah.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Why I Hate Facebook

Call it peer pressure, sheer curiosity, interest in the latest internet fad, or just wanting to stop those annoying emails of people wanting me to join Facebook; I finally bit the bullet and joined with my real name.

And then yesterday I determined that I’ve had enough and terminated my account.

I quickly came to the conclusion that I really don’t want an “update” when somebody is tired, tried a new food, hates their boss, met up with friends, hungry, kid has diarrhea, or when the dog just threw-up again. I don’t want to know everything they’re a fan of or when they just used crop fertilizer – it all just get annoying.
And there are just some things people say/update/post about that I REALLY don’t want to know about.

Besides I really don’t like the fact that it’s become an excuse to not email or pick up a phone and call real friends because posting on Facebook is suppose to be the same thing. I don’t find it the same. Call me old-school but I would much rather see my friends in person once in awhile, email, or even talk to them on this archaic device called a phone.
And texting really doesn’t count. I still don’t understand the whole dictionary of acronyms lingo. Although, I am a big fan of OMG and WTF.
Most of the time I find myself using an online texting dictionary trying to figure out what those stupid things mean anyway. I feel like freakin’ Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom.

Why can’t kids (and adults) use normal words, even with their phones have regular keyboards?! WTF people! Use words!!

I find it extremely annoying that technology has made people more impersonal and text in hieroglyphics to communicate with each other even when they’re in the same room.

In 100 years from now human mouths will evolve to just eat (stuff like delicious KFC) and not speak - all thanks to Facebook.