Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Mailing From Resolution Row

Prologue: Outside of "Election Day 2008" this has been just about the crappiest year I can remember. Just imagine if we were 23 days or so from having Sarah Palin as Vice President...

Crappy years only help to prod my prodigious ability to make resolutions I do not keep. Here's an example from two years ago, again proving that as an "historical document" blogs can be damn embarrassing. Yet I feel compelled to rush into the self-promising breech and again make grandiose statements that will end up crashing against the rocky shores of reality and bad metaphors by the middle of January. Or earlier.

So here goes, and we'll start small to build up the self-delusion of "hey, I can do this!":

  • I resolve to get back to this unkempt blogging thing. Weeds have grown through all the cracks of Burque Babble, dishes are piled up in the "other places to visit" section and the place, outside of the goat photo, just looks like hell. I pledge to get to the blogger layout with some pliers and a "Silkwood" shower hose and spruce things up;
  • I resolve to "win" my bet with a friend and get down to 165. A regular reader and I went camping last summer and made the simultaneous observation that we were both fat slobs, incapable of going above 11,000 with anything less than an oxygen tank, sherpa and gondola-lift. We pledged to get down to 165 (that's pounds, not kilograms) by Memorial Day, 2009. Well, I'm about halfway to the goal myself, and this regular reader looks to be kicking my weight-loss ass. I better pick it up a notch, or down a belt notch or two this Semester or I'll never hear the end of it from my camping buddy;
  • Just to play it safe regarding the point immediately above, I pledge to make frequent offers to my camping buddy to "go get some beers and nachos" at Two Fools, then claim a "cold" when I get to the bar. I pledge to sniffle convincingly while my friend piles 90 Schillings and sour cream/faux cheese fried tortilla chips down his gullet. If I don't make 165, everyone else is going down with me...;
  • I humbly pledge to go the entire remainder of the school year without killing a teaching colleague. As regular readers may have surmised (all three of you!), things have been tough 'round the 'ol school ranch. I hereby resolve to take a step back, stop sending incendiarily obtuse e-mails, refrain from creating ornate turf-intrusive proposals and basically just do the smart thing and stay within the "teaching box" at all times;
  • Okay, let's be serious here and acknowledge that that latter part of the resolution above just ain't gonna happen. Let's just leave it at "without killing a teaching colleague". That's at least somewhat realistic.
  • Along the lines of the two above, I think Burque Babble is gonna have to change a little. As I suspected, the act of writing specifics about my profession/job solves nothing, informs no one, and only serves to make the little throbbing vein in my forehead grow larger and throb more menacingly. I therefore pledge to avoid the mental quicksand of discussing "bad teachers", "block scheduling", "Instructional Councils", "instructional coaches" and "principals". I'll stick to larger, hazier, more imaginary educational topics such as Robert Lucero. Compared with writing about "bad teachers", dishing out prose about Robert Lucero is like writing for "Mad Magazine". Easy. Fun. 66.6667% less brain throbbing.
  • Instead, I pledge to continue, as singer-songwriter Greg Brown would say, to "tell it all in my new book". After debating the fact/fiction question regarding a "stinging expose of public school education and the lives/loves/highs/lows of the dashing/cretinous people who work there" I think we're all better off with a "fictional" portrayal. This of course means I might need to change "Robert Lucero" to "Bob Brightstar", but that's manageable;
  • I pledge to never, ever state a finishing date for "my new book". I also pledge to never mention "my new book" here again. These will be, by far, the easiest of this year's resolutions to keep;
  • And back to the whole "blog" thing, I'm thinking 2009 will require more funny and less "what Scot seriously thinks". Now that I consider it, any year is probably better off with less of "what Scot seriously thinks". With that fact in mind, I resolve to avoid endless pontifications with sketchy logic and just write more overtly useless, allegedly "funny" crap. With the emphasis on "allegedly";
  • And lastly, there are the cycling resolutions...
  • I resolve to increase my average of bike commutes to work this Semester to over three per week. I think I was at about 2.5 for the last Semester (that cold snap at the end was a killer). The lengthening days are my friend here, and the realization that I was a far grumpier teacher on the days I didn't ride should help me improve my commuting average. In fact, my students may take up a collection to pay for any new tires/panniers, etc. I need. A grumpy Mr. Key is to be avoided even as significant expense;
  • Oh yeah...I resolve to be less grumpy in 2009;
  • Back to the cycling thing, after having done a ton of research toward a bike tour of France this Summer, the Great Recession/Depression II/Bushession whatever you call it, has put the kibosh on Europe. Sooooo...I pledge to tackle the Adventure Cycling Association "TransAmerica" East to West from Newton, Kansas to Astoria, Oregon, taking the Amtrak out to Kansas to start and again taking Amtrak back from the West Coast. That's right at 2,500 miles, which, at 50 miles per day, is right at 50 days. Combining two or three days of camping with the occasional hotel/hot shower and it should be affordable, life-affirming and a little bit scary. A perfect combination for a year that promises to be more than a little bit scary overall.
Okay, that's enough bullets and more than enough empty promises for 2009. I hope my dear readers will not return to this blogpost later in 2009 and send me emails asking "well, did you keep resolution X?" That would be oh so gauche. Which reminds me:
  • I forgot to mention that, despite not going to France in 2009, I want to keep working on my complete mangling of the French language. The laughs I get from my French-speaking wife when I try to say words like "aujourd'hui" are just priceless. One of these years I pledge to make some French folks in France laugh just as hard.
And now I'm off to tend to the blogging garden, plot my never-finished novel, ride a bike and count off the passing kilometers in French while trying to pronounce "panniers" correctly. Good luck on your own resolutions, folks, and feel free to join me down at Two Fools for some waist-expanding beer/nachos if your own resolutions end up as pointlessly unfulfilled as mine.

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