Thursday, September 29, 2011

Media of the Week - Holocene

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I watched this for the first time two nights ago, and I was completely blown away with the simplicity and beauty of the editing.

The metaphor was powerful.

The music swept over me like a gentle, swelling wave of autumn wind.

Time and again I’ve tried to pen down the words rippling about me this morning, last night, throughout the day yesterday, but they refuse to be held down and composed together as a string of thought.

The metaphor of my life.

…I knew I was not magnificent.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Moments with Joey - Orphaned

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. NOON, CLASSROOM. The teacher is answering emails as a fifth grade boy returns to the classroom from lunch. He checks the missing assignment sheet on the door, and then walks over to check the bin on the counter with the title, “Nameless and Orphans.” He begins to dig in it, looking for an assignment he is missing.

JOEY: I just love that name, ‘Nameless and Orphans.’ [The boy slides his finger over the title]. Don’t you?

[The teacher isn’t paying attention to the boy].

JOEY: Mr. Z?


JOEY: Isn’t that a cool name? Nameless and Orphans?

TEACHER: Yeah, I guess it’s pretty cool.

JOEY: What if I was an orphan? Would you still think it’s cool?

[The teacher looks up in surprise to see the boy trying to maintain a straight face].

TEACHER: So, you’re an orphan now, like Annie?

JOEY: Yep.

TEACHER: So, who’s that woman I see dropping you off and picking you up for school each day?

[The boy thinks for a second].

JOEY: My orphan mom…

TEACHER: Oh, so she’s an orphan, too?

JOEY: Yep.

[Fade to black].

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - Serving with Style

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The Saturday afternoon sun dappled the ground of the backyard of the wedding reception as I chatted with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. As we reminisced about years past and the pathways our lives had taken over the more recent days, the boy in the white shirt approached with a slice of cake perched on the clear, plastic plate.

“Would you like a some cake?” he asked.

I broke from my conversation, thanking him for it, commenting that a British accent would probably have been more appropriate—considering the look of seriousness on his face.

The boy cocked his head to one side, nodded curtly, and clicked his heels together as he added in the appropriate accent.

“Would you like a slice of cake, my good sir?”

I grinned.

“Indeed, I would,” I responded.

With this he extended the plate in his hand. I took it gracefully as he went off amongst the other guests, delivering additional wedges of cake he snagged from the nearby refreshment table—a job that nobody had asked him to do—using his English accent the entire time.

As I stood and watched him, I found myself wishing that he were not just a third grader - but a fifth; also that he went to my school...after all, I had a feeling he’d make a wonderful Joey.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living
Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky below. 

Remember, by adding your photo into the Weekly Kodachrome meme you are agreeing to do one of the following: display the linky or button to your post, or link back to this post so that everyone gets a little more exposure for the image they’ve uploaded. Those who don’t help to ’share the love’ will have their links removed. You can find the code for the linky HERE.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Pin It I did announcements at my school today.

I do this on occasion, usually when my principal is out of the building.

I’ll be honest here, when it comes to announcements, I pull out all the stops.

I use my ‘Mr. Voice’ Voice—the one I reserve for ComedySportz. I combine this with some rockin’, kickin’, upbeat, get-your-blood-pulsating-in-your-veins-music through the intercom system as I belt out:

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Amelllllliiiaaaa Eaarrrrhhhheaaarrrtttt Elemmmmmeeennnntttaaarrrrryyyyyyy!”

I’m pretty awesome…well, to kids under the age of twelve.

I usually try to keep things upbeat and pulsing until the end as I announce birthdays, upcoming events, kids who were caught being amazing around the school, and stuff like that…and then I bring it down.

I play some Kenny G.

Okay, maybe not that; however, I kill the tunes and then always try to share a poem or a thought of some type—sometimes something ‘ish’ I’ve written from my blog—but a kid version. This is the time when I encourage the kids to be kind to others and remember that they are teeming with awesomeness. I try to help them remember that they are in charge of the choices they make each day and help them to remember that they need to make good choices—but it is only they can make that choice as an individual.

The message I shared today was about appreciating their teachers. I decided to share this because we had seven or eight teachers out of the building—training up in Salt Lake—and I was thinking of the third to quarter classrooms in our school where substitutes were going to be instructing for the day.

I didn’t want the kids to eat those poor souls alive.

I talked about being appreciative. I told them about writing their teacher a note or having another way to let them know they cared because these people became teachers because they wanted to make a difference.

I told them that their teachers loved them. I let them know that this is why teachers do everything that they do.

I signed off, letting them know that the choice of how they would behave today was theirs, but Mr. Z had all confidence that they would make good choices—after all, each and every single one of them was teeming with awesomeness.

I hung up the intercom. I walked the empty hallways back to my classroom. I reached the door.

When I arrived I saw one of the boys standing just inside the door, looking out the small side window. When he saw me he cried out, “He’s here!” and then vanished back into the classroom.

Puzzled, I opened the door and was greeted with a scream of “Bonsai!” from 28 prepubescent children and found myself practically slammed against the wall from the blunt force impact of the group hug that followed.

How can I not love being a teacher?

Especially when I love them back so much?

Bonsai is our class' awesomeness yell of the week...heck, it probably will be for the whole year. And, just if you were wondering where it came from, it was mentioned in our Treasures book basal reader and was subsequently a pop culture media reference as well.

Yeah, the kids love it, too...

BTW, Don't forget that this Saturday is Christmas in September...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Moments with Joey - Life and Milk Cartons

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The class is lined up and readying themselves to come into the building. As the class president picks the straighter of the two lines, the students file past the teacher with a flurry of ‘Good mornings’ and greetings of ‘Hello, Mr. Z.’ The teacher acknowledges each of his students as they pass by. Toward the end of the line a fifth grade boy walks up slowly, he is clutching his stomach.

JOEY: [Spoken as if he’s sick]. Ugh, Mr. Z…I am SO stuffed.

[The teacher and boy walk through the set of double doors together and start down the hallway behind the rest of the class].

TEACHER: Why, what happened?

[The boy grins].

JOEY: I had two breakfasts this morning.

TEACHER: Two breakfasts?

JOEY: Yeah, down in the lunchroom I had two orders of French toast, two orders of sausage, two servings of fruit, two bowls of cereal, and two cartons of milk. [Pause]. I went though the line twice.

TEACHER: Holy Hannah, Joey, why did you eat so much?

JOEY: Well, they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, Mr. Z.

TEACHER: So, I guess I can expect twice as much out of you today then, right?


JOEY: Yep…and you know what?

TEACHER: What’s that?

JOEY: Some people think I should have my picture on a box of Life cereal because I’m good-looking, too.

TEACHER: Well, it beats having it on a milk carton.

[Fade to black].

BTW, Don't forget that this Saturday is Christmas in September...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - A Game for Two

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On Saturday I drove to our local Cracker Barrel to have breakfast with a group of friends. Being the photographer that I profess to be, I took my camera along…after all, there’s no telling when a photo opportunity just might present itself.

Not seeing any of my friends yet at the restaurant, I slid into one of the rocking chairs that beckoned to me from under the front shaded porch area. Glancing down at the large checkerboard before me, I drew out my camera and began to snap images.

I became vaguely aware of a family of about six just having emerged from the restaurant—mostly because their 7 year-old-ish son and I shared the same name—having looked up a few times as his mother called to him as he wandered here and there, exploring.

I continued to shoot for a few minutes, picking different angles and perspectives, trying to get the perfect shot. I paused to check a text I’d just received. As I slid my phone back into my pocket, I looked up to see the boy who shared my name now occupying the rocker directly across from me.

He grinned, the gap between his two front teeth evident as he looked down at the checkerboard between us. “Wanna play?”

It seems that even whenever I’m not at school, I’m a kid magnet.

His mom, standing twenty or so feet away looked on with an encouraging smile.

I smiled back at him, “Sure.”

And for a few minutes, we played, and it brought to mind a scene from one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.

We played until his younger siblings were all piled and seat belted into the car, and it was finally his turn. His mom called to him that it was time to go. He grinned, showing that gap again as he thanked me—sliding the pieces back into their original places. A moment later the rocker, was again made empty.

I lifted my camera, snapped this week’s Kodachrome, and smiled.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky. 

Are you willing to share the Weekly Kodachrome on your own blog? If so, grab the code HERE or snag the html for the button above.

Starting next week: I’m going to require that if you submit a photo in the linky that you either need to display the linky on your blog, or add the button to your post, so that everyone gets a little more exposure for the image they uploaded. Those who don’t help to ’share the love’ will have their links removed.

Thanks in advance for helping to spread the love...

Oh, and the Weekly Kodachrome - when it first started - was kind of whatever day I felt like; you probably noticed that the Kodachrome has now been set to run on Mondays. This is the plan, that is, unless something changes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Girl on a Swing

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I ventured out to the backyard of my friend’s house as the smoke of a nearby bonfire drifted sluggishly through the neighborhood. It coated the air with its substance and sifted the early evening sunlight like gossamer.

The girl emerged silently from the house and moved to the swing hanging from the aged tree, the branch upon which it hung sagging ever-so-slightly beneath her weight. As she leaned back, her hair tumbled about her shoulders - the light glinted off its surface like the sheen of an angel. She swayed silently back and forth, legs pumping in the same rhythm she’d learned when she was little.

And, for a just moment, she was once-again.

If you’d like to see the entries which didn’t make the cut, they may be viewed here. And for those of you who voted for #1, I’ll tell you what...I’ll write about it later on in the week, deal?

Teachinfourth loves ’ya.


Pin It Would you help me make a decision for the i Heart Faces challenge, A Touch of Sun?

Thanks...I'll write about said image once you help me to pick it. The deadline is 7:00 tonight.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moments with Joey - Welcomings

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The class is taking a three-minute restroom and drink break. As they head back to the classroom, the teacher is lost in thought…as of the first two and a half weeks of school no ‘Joey’ has emerged from the classroom ranks. The teacher is beginning to consign himself to the appalling thought that there just might not be a Joey this year after all. As he comes closer to the classroom door, he notices that the students are entering more slowly than they usually do. As the teacher gets within full visual range of the door, he notices one of the fifth-grade boys—one who was absent the first week and a half of school—standing just to the side of the door bowing to each student before they enter the room.

JOEY: [Spoken regally]. Welcome to the classroom…welcome to class…I’m so glad that you’ve returned from break…come in…please come in and take your seat…

[The teacher stands for a silent beat as the boy ushers in the last few students with a few final bows and then motions with his hands in a flourish for the teacher to enter the room].

JOEY: Welcome to your classroom, Mr. Z.

TEACHER: Our own, personal classroom greeter? Wow, I feel like I’ve just arrived at Walmart…

[The boy grins].

JOEY: Well, you are my favorite teacher.

TEACHER: Oh, really? You know this even after you’ve only been here for four days?

JOEY: Yep. [Pause]. What can I say, Mr. Z? You’re pretty hilarious…

TEACHER: Thanks.

[The teacher smiles at the boy and walks to the front of the classroom to begin the lesson as the boy moves to his seat].

TEACHER: [Whispered to himself]. And you’re pretty hilarious too, Joey…welcome to the classroom.

[Fade to black].

On a final note, the 16th will be the last day to order a Joey Dosen't Like Kitty's Shirt (as seen on the sidebar). I have a feeling that this will be the final printing of this T-shirt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - The Mohawk

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He walked into my classroom that first day sporting a grin underneath a bristle of hair sticking straight up into the air, looking like a shrunk up version of Howard Jones around the same time Doc Emmet Brown sent Marty McFly careening through the circuits of time via a DeLorean.

Needless to say, it caught my eye.

At recess I found myself outside walking next to him.

“I like your hair,” I said with an offhanded glance.

“Really? Thanks, Mr. Z.”

“It reminds me of the mane of a unicorn.”

The boy grinned, tossed his head, and then galloped away.

A few weeks later I snapped this image—used with his mother’s permission, of course. I’m sure she’s a fan of Mr. Jones as well…after all, who isn’t?

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living

Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky. 

Are you willing to share the Weekly Kodachrome on your own blog? If so, grab the code for the linky HERE, or snag the html for the button above.

Also linked into Community Global.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Heart Faces - Back to School

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I am a teacher.

Every year I do home visits to each of my students.

The purpose of these visits are not only to meet my students, but to drop off a few items to get to know them a little bit better before the school year starts.

Usually I do these during the dog-days-sweltering-heat-when-you-shouldn’t-be-out-wearing-a-tie-because-it’s-hot-enough-to-melt-lead part of the year, and not very enjoyable to be honest…but how can one not relish the thrill that comes when your up-and-coming students see you waiting out on their front doorstep and shriek like they’re at a Justin Bieber concert?

For some of them it’s like Christmas come early.

Of course, it’s an experience like THIS that make it the mixed bag that just kind of makes you…well, just laugh.

Like I said, I am a teacher.

Friday, September 9, 2011

They Say That Today is Our Birthday

Pin It It was a while ago that I was born.

I was born alone.

Well, there were others present I’m told…my mother for instance.

If you wanted to wish her a Happy Birthing Day, you could do so here—after all—even though I was there (and the star of the day), I hear that she did most of the work…though I’m sure that that is grossly exaggerated. It would make my day (and hers) if you did so.

Fast forward to my first year teaching, which was about a dozen years ago; I decided needed a twin.

It was my first year as a teacher.

Actually, I guess it started my first year at college, but it really became popular my first year as a teacher.

You see, once per year for the first six or so years, I would need to leave school for a doctor appointment or some other reason, and it would just so happen that my twin brother would be passing though town on his way to visit my parents.

Such an amazing coincidence, really.

My class was always so excited when Jesse would come to sub for me in the classroom. Naturally I wasn’t there when he arrived in the morning, but I would hear all about the day’s exploits from my students when he’d left and I ‘returned’ after lunch or the next day.

It was always a lot of fun to hear about how the day went from their perspective.

My principal was always great about letting Jesse substitute for me, and the first time I asked her if it would be okay if he did so, she laughed and had this twinkle in her eye…that’s the moment I knew that she was a kindred spirit.

Some principals border on mind-blowing.

Jesse always was a great sub though he didn’t have the class routines down nearly as well as I did, his hair was never quite as stylish, but he was still pretty cool. Some of my students told me that they had a hard time telling the two of us apart, while others told me that it was but obvious that I was me and he was him. They told me that if the both of us were ever standing together in a room, they would be able to pick me out in a heartbeat.

For the first six or so years of my teaching, Jesse would sub for me for either a day or a half-day once a year…and you know, having Jesse come to my classroom was fun; however, Jesse stopped coming to sub about five years ago. I soon came to realize that it was simply too much work to orchestrate everything for his visits and far too exhausting for me. Therefore, I decided that Jesse wouldn’t be permitted to come to my classroom anymore. His photos were moved to a far less conspicuous location on the bottom shelf behind my desk in the corner, and I don’t talk about him with my class any longer.

They don’t ask when he’s coming to visit. And, perchance, if they do catch a glimpse of said photos, and utter statements of things such as, “You two look just alike!” I usually counter with something to the effect of, “No way, I’m far better looking.”

I doubt Jesse will ever return to my classroom in future years. I mean, he’s a great guy—being a brother and all that—but there always comes a time when one has to let siblings go their own way.

Oh, and if you wanted to see more of the images from the calendar I made for my family a few years ago, those may be viewed here. Also, you could request Jesse as a friend on Facebook, he's pretty quiet most days, but he does post occasionally. You could also wish him a happy birthday.

Yeah, I know, crazy...and just a little bit creepy, too. Just the way I like it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

4th Annual Christmas in September

Pin It Ignore the date shown at the end of the video...

So, the above video should have given you most of the nitty-gritty; however, I realize that there may be a few items I failed to mention, one you should have ignored, and I realize that some of you out there just might have an aversion to YouTube video explanations. In honor of those unnamed individuals I'll post a few quick notes here:

How do you get invited? Oh…it’s easier than you think. If you're reading this blog, you already are; if you live nearby, I’d love for you to come celebrate it with me - unless you're creepy, in that case, feel free to get lost on your way over.

When would it be? September 24th from 6:00 p.m. until around late-thirty; come and leave as you want. Ignore the date on the end of the video...Whoa, just wait a second here, Teachinfourth...why aren’t you celebrating it this weekend? After all, shouldn’t it be the closest weekend to the day of your birthing; isn’t it usually held on that same weekend?

Truth be told, yes.

However, this year there is to be a see, my brother and sister-in-law are both coming into town, younger sisters, my dad and his wife, and maybe even another family member and/or friend or two...if I held Christmas in September back just a few weekends, I make it quite possible for all of them to attend.

Also, I have sets of AMAZING friends who can’t make it for one or other of the next two weekends so I opted to make it for the third so it is better for everyone.

Yeah, I’m pretty much a hero; just give me a cape and an another unlimited supply of super powers.

So, here’s how it’s going to work...

1. Send me an email and let me know if you need directions OR would like to RSVP by means otherwise than commenting ( Be sure to put “Christmas in September” in the subject line.

2. Bring a present you wouldn’t mind getting for your birthday since we will be having a gift exchange where, if you bring a gift, you get to pick one from under the Christmas tree when you decide to go. Shouldn’t everyone get presents on the new holiday to commemorate my and Jesus’ birthdays?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

3. Bring your favorite Christmas treat to share with everybody else. After all, what’s a celebration without artery-clogging, calorie-ridden deliciousness?

My thoughts exactly.

4. Be prepared for a fun evening where you may come and go, partaking of hot chocolate, rock out to Christmas tunes, and bask in the warm glow of projected holiday films in the ‘underground cinema.’

So, I’ll be seeing you in three weekends with - or without - the bells on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Off the Interstate - Green River, Utah

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Remember yesterday when I talked about moving off the beaten track and the benefits of doing so? Well, these are a few of those benefits I was talking about...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekly Kodachrome - Broken and Forgotten

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There are small towns.

These are those places you see on the side of the highway as you drive, those small municipalities you usually swing off at just long enough to fill the tank, get yourself a Dr. Pepper, and use the facilities before you jump back on those shimmering lanes of asphalt to head back to the destination you originally had in mind.

It makes me think of Pixar’s movie, Cars, and an interaction between Lightning McQueen and Sally as they looked out over the valley of Radiator Springs from high up on the sandstone cliffs.

Sally: I fell in love with this…

Lightning: [Looking at the cars on the distant interstate]. They’re driving right by, they don’t even know what they’re missing.

Sally: Forty years ago, that interstate down there didn’t exist.

Lightning: Really?

Sally: Yeah. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.

Lightning: How do you mean?

Sally: Well, the road didn't cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.

I stopped. I stayed. I had a wonderful time. I’ll post more later this week.

Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living
Did you take a photo in the past seven days that made you smile? If so, feel free to include it in the linky. 

Are you willing to share the Weekly Kodachrome on your own blog? If so, grab the code for the linky here, or snag the html for the button above.

Linked also into Community Global

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Media of the Week - Feeling a Moment

Pin It There are times when a song has the ability to intertwine with with fabric of my life.

I drive through the magenta and crimson sandstone canyons - radio blasting - as it weaves its way in and out of my experiences; therefore, becoming an extension of myself. Not only an anthem of memory through time…but a conduit of reality.

Are you just like me, feeling a moment?

And I absolutely love the video...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Joey Dosen't Like Kittys - For A Limited Time Only

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I love Joey.

The stories I get from him make me laugh.


One of the first Joey Moments I ever wrote about was the Kittens Post.

It was a wonderful welcome to the World of Joey.

It was about a year ago that I first offered up the infamous shirt designed by my sister, Miya, after a little bit of my creative input (“I want three dead kittens, but tastefully dead; not gory or bloody”). About a week later she gave me something that I absolutely loved.

From then it only took me about a year (with the help of my other sister) to do the legwork of getting a quality shirt and finding a silk screener so the final product would be awesome.

Welcome to the present and the second printing of the infamous shirt which will have you be all the rage to your friends, and show your true adoration for Joey by owning your very own “Joey dosen’t Like Kittys” t-shirt - available via the link on the sidebar.

Details? Well, it's printed on the durable Port and Company's 100% cotton shirt and will become a treasured clothing article that will be the topic of many a conversation for years to come.

Wow, that sounds so ‘catalog-like’ doesn’t it?

The shirts are $15 – shipping fees are already included.

This second batch will be printed in just a few weeks, which means that you have approximately 2 weeks in which to order yours.

The third printing? No idea…probably when I get enough emails showing interest. Therefore, there just might not be a third printing.

The colors available for these shirts are black, navy blue, and brown so please make your color preference known when you provide your mailing information. If you don't let me know what color you want, I'll have to decide for you.

Was there anything else?

Oh yeah…it does take time to get the shirts ordered, screened, and then sent out; therefore, please allow about a month from now (or three weeks after September 16th) before you start sending me hate email.


Now, go tell your friends…after all, you want your friends to be cool, too.

On a side note, if you select the 'screening only' option, you'd better live close by and bring me a shirt. Otherwise, you'll get a great, big, steaming pile of nothing.


P.S. If you need another size or there is some other information you need me to know, click the Z-Mail link on the bottom of the sidebar and let me know the various and sundries...

Oh, and I did post over at Four Perspectives tonight...just if you were interested.

The Visitor - Oddities, Grims, & Bangles...Oh, My!

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I was in the midst of teaching my fifth grade class about the proper way of going about presenting literature responses when the visitor arrived, pushing her way through the classroom door, amid a spangled array of baubles and bangles. She stood for a moment, blinking from behind her thick spectacles and wild tangles of disarrayed hair.

I at first assumed that she was a parent who’d come in for her child’s birthday and the student had failed to inform me of this paltry little detail, so I stepped aside and allowed her the opportunity to present the class with her child’s treats; however, it didn’t take me long to realize that this was not the case whatsoever.

The visitor soon began to utter with ethereal-like tones as she beckoned the students toward the floor in front of her, and commenced to make predictions of the future, mutter incantations, and gabble on and on about something called a grim as she gazed at the ‘portents’ of the leftover dregs of her afternoon coffee break.

The class decided that it was best to humor her; they were polite, answered her questions, and were even willing to nod in agreement at some of her pronouncements of being late and other forecasts that nobody could ever know about occurring.

I snapped a photo or two of this crazy lady to send down to the principal in the event that she were an escaped lunatic or something from the local nut factory. I can only assume so, and I was glad that none of my students were harmed as she whipped her shawls about her and made a dramatic exit out the door, muttering time and time again that my class needed to protect me that crazy grim-thing…

Heavens, I can only wonder why my classroom seems to be a magnet for these types; after all, this isn’t the first time that an occurrence like this has taken place. Why only last year there was some gal by the name of Stargirl who wandered into my classroom, and the year before we were exposed to a truly horrific woman by the name of Spiker. Perhaps even more odd was my first year at this new school when we met a woman I'll simply call Donna because the name she went by was far too long to try to write.

I have only one thing to conclude…my classroom is most certainly becoming flypaper for freaks.

Now I just wish I could get rid of this big, mangy dog that keeps following me everywhere I go…I think it’s a stray.
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