About This Blog

For the next 365 days, I am focusing on KARMA as my resolution to 2010. I'm open for stories, ideas and kismet. EMAIL ME.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I found a copy of David Small's memoir graphic novel at a local library, and must admit it is one of the more profound, moving, and awe-inspiring pieces I've read (looked at) in a long time. The story is about his father, a doctor, and the decision to use radiation to assist his asthma. This gave him cancer which caused him to lose his speaking abilities, but also added to a tense household with a mother who didn't express maternal love for her son and his revelations of why she was a troubled soul.

The artwork of David Small was brilliant and thought-provoking, creating many images that acted as metaphors for a young, troubled boy. The artwork, of course, was the way the young boy survived. He drew his life and made meaning from artistic expression.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, simply because it is demonstrative of how one can express their world in ways that transcend text. Karma pays off for those who follow their passions.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Boobie Bird

The blue-footed boobie resides on the Galapagos Islands.

The ten-toed Boobie Bryan resides in N.Syracuse.

When I was a young man I told my parents I only wanted one career. This had to be a job that could afford Dolly Parton as a housekeeper.

Karma returns, however, because yesterday my nephew said, "You've got big boobs, Uncle Bryan." And I do have man-boobs: very Germanic man-boobs that comes with a lot of hair. Out of the mouths of babes and pointing out the obvious. Ah, genetics. Ah, the way kismet returns. If only I had blue feet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dog Days

I blame it on the heat. I blame it on the pace. I blame it on the beckoning of the outdoor world to be out in it, rather than being trapped inside.

This post is late because I forgot to type it up before I went to bed last night.

Tis the dog "daze" of summer and I'd much rather be on a raft than inside my humid house. I'm a bit delirious, but it is the meteorologist's karma to have a need for the Weather Channel, Al Roker, and foiled barbecues. There are too many distractions that keep us away from our routines in the summer. This includes staying on top of my "blog" game.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

karma is taking a day off from the routine

Yesterday began on Oneida lake with the twins and my father casting night crawlers into the warm water and hoping for fish in return. Although Lossine did not stop talking the entire morning, we did pull in a few pickerel, sunnies, bass and perch. Lossine, however, pulled in nothing but CNY air into his lungs as he talked an talked and talked.

In the afternoon, I met my sisters and their husbands for a reunion party of CNS grads in the ol' Price Chopper parking lot. My 1990 prom date, Kirsten Perra, showed up and it was good to see her again.

The day was 120% unproductive by all means and I know I will pay for it today: Such is the karma.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad.

I'm sure after 45 years, you're thinking "Wait. Is this my karma? 45 years of this?"

But it's all good. When I was at your house yesterday I took this photo of plants in your front yard. There's some purple and some orange blooming together after all these years: that equates to HOTNESS and PASSION.

We love you both. 45 years! God Bless. And no criminal investigations. Impressive.

It all started with sketched bumblebees on a business card flying united. Three kids, four grandkids, three granddogs, and one grandcat later, the snoring that resonates from 5388 is well deserved.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Danish Sushi

These are Japanese fans at the World Cup. They beat Denmark by two goals today and I wish the good ol' Viking warriors showed up for a better match. As I posted on Facebook, it was rather humorous to see these two teams together in S. Africa while I watched the game with two Liberians in North Syracuse. Such is the global reality.

I am sure there were many shouts in Roskilde and Copenhagan as the game unfolded. We found ourselves watching the Cameroon vs. Netherlands game, however, because it was more exciting.

Karma, I believe, is the fact that I feel a connection to such sport on a global level. If it wasn't for my time in Denmark, I don't believe I'd have an interest in the World Cup. Now, it is as exciting as March Madness and the World Olympics.

Cynde and Casey, Perhaps we can be Japanese sports fans for Halloween.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You can't make this up

I came home for lunch yesterday and did my five mile run midday. On the trail, a man taking a break from his office job caught up to me and we ran most of the time together. He had a faster clip and pushed me to move faster. We talked about research and the work I'm doing in Syracuse.

I turned down a different road than him, and when I did, a car tossed a box at me. It was a Nike box and I thought, "What the heck?" It opened in front of me and it was a brand new pair of ASICS sneakers without shoe laces and they were in my size. They were soaking wet. I picked them up and ran home. Because they are ASICS and run narrow, they pinched my toes, so I brought them to one of the kids I'm working with and told him, "This is the way karma works. I'm giving these to you. It's your duty to begin running. They are good sneakers."

The whole occurrence is simply strange, yet beautiful. I mean, how does a random pair of new running shoes fall from the sky?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Well, I cooked.

It poured most of yesterday, but it did lapse enough yesterday so I could go for a run and grill outside. I cooked Hoffman hot dogs and realized it is part of the karmic Syracuse bliss. In the summer, if you want a good dog, you go Hoffman all the way (they don't have a comparable dog in the south).

And with some grilled zucchini and summer squash, a middle aged man can be happy. A little mustard, a good bun, and the removal of vegetarian guilt, I went to bed last night with a happy stomach.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How do you spell s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g

So, perhaps the secret to teaching good spellers as they move through k - 12 settings is to have Tori Spelling instruct them.

I came to this conclusion when I tried to find a nice "spelling" image to go with today's post. From my personal reading and with a word study lesson offered by my friend, Elizabeth, last night in the LeMoyne class I'm teaching, I realized how important, yet tricky, teaching spelling is.

With this said, I did find an online spelling game at dictionary.com and you can play it if you click here.

Karma is when you are able to communicate with words and others know how you're spelling them...correctly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Charitable Walk

We had a successful "Father's Day" walk at Green Lakes and raised money for many men working with projects in Sudan (pictured to the left are Garang and Christina). Lueth Yak, Lino Ariloka, John Dau, Gabriel Bol Deng, the Syracuse Cow Project, and others were in attendance to take in the beautiful day, to raise public awareness, and to bring a good cause to CNY.

The good karma, however, belongs to the young woman of Manlius Pebble Hill who coordinated the event. As a seventeen year old, she know who to contact, how to bring awareness to the event, where to get donations, and who to invite. It was stupendous work. Haviland Hawkins is a solid leader for tomorrow and she did an admirable job. To read more about her work, click here: or visit her website, Walk for Water and Wishes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A day for a giant beach ball

Some days, you get up and just roll with the day. This was sort of how yesterday went, and that is why I allowed karma to lead the way. Whatever would be would be.

And it was non-eventful, which was good.

Except for the giant beach ball I bought dad for father's day (which I bought for Cynde, really) and the rather fun volleyball match we had in the front yard trying to keep the enormous globe in the air. It was mindless entertainment that kept us stupid for at least an hour.

I loved every second of it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A day to catch up...

I woke up this morning, ripping and roaring to get ready for a weekend. After reading for a long while and watching the World Cup (the United States was cheated a goal), I decide to assemble the vacuum cleaner I purchased to replace the TNT explosion of a few weeks back.

I was impressed by the karmic ease of assembling the rug machine and I instantly went to work. This mechanism is bagless, however, and I was appalled at how much crap is sucked up rather quickly - especially with the volumes of dog hair.

I have a very tiny house and not much rug. Even so, the enormous
amount of canine fur sucked up in a short period of time perplexed me. I had to empty the container twice! Perhaps this is the reason why my nose is always clogged. I've been inhaling Baby debris for the last few weeks. The good news is that my new vacuum cleaner obviously works. The bad news is that I have an inner dirty bird reality that I need to contend with. I lived with this gook. It's gross, I know. but now I have a tool to suck it up. Things can only get better, right?

Friday, June 18, 2010

No Doppler, Just Deflation

Wayne Mahar's deck celebration was last night but he never brought out his cat, Doppler. Instead, the Sudanese men, Faye, and others had to celebrate the incredible sainthood of Carl with the mascot of the Syracuse Crunch. We also got to win items (I got a whammy - which means I lost). Others won savings bonds and tickets to water parks.

I have to say, they were a little skimpy on the food. Wegmans catered the whole thing and although they served chicken, it was more like hummingbird meat. Not very much.

They also served penne pasta with sliced tomatoes and potato chips. That was all.

There was also a wheel to win Wegmans t-shirts and pop soda. The guys all won at that game, too. Nope, not me. More whammies.

I convinced Akech he needed to bounce in the giant castle because it was a lot of fun. It was one of those giant, inflated rubber things. He got in, jumped high and even flipped once.

When he went to flip again, however, he flipped the entire castle over and it ended up deflating. He was trapped inside and he landed on the pavement. Not a pretty seen and his worse fear was that Wayne Mahar filmed the entire thing for the six o'clock news.

Nope. Wayne was pulling ticket numbers from a box.

Doppler wasn't a part of the karma (nor food, really). What was good is the support we were able to show to Carl for his outstanding volunteer work with so many Sudanese people of Syracuse.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mr. Ron

Alice posted this photo on her Facebook account and I realized I never had a picture of Ron Freeman. Seeing him again, I started thinking about all the karma he brought to my Kentucky experience, the leadership he demonstrated, the vision he upheld, the integrity he modeled and the pure joy he shared with 600 students at our school.

I've got 38 years of life and I've met many people along the way. I'm unsure, however, how many radiate the same magic and spirit that Ron did. He was the one that hired me. He created what I came to know as "normal" Brown School - which was abnormally normal and beautiful.

Seeing his photo flooded my mind with everything I loved about teaching at 546 S. First Street. The goal in life, of course, is to emulate as much of his intelligence, creativity, hard work, and strength as I can.

His investment into all of us must be repaid.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Indian Food

Karma is eating good food with friends. It's that simple.

Last night I ate a late dinner with fellow graduate students at an Indian restaurant and was reminded that the flavor of life is much richer than my semester of Triscuits and red-pepper cheese that I usually eat from point A to point B in my busy life.

If you've not eaten Indian food, you should. The flavors are new, spicy, and great for an otherwise bored palette.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And...classes are dismissed

Today completed another 180 days of school work at the institution I was in. The hallways were littered with thrown papers and student exhilaration that they are not on lock-down and have a little more freedom. Although karma should be better spent, there is a relief from releasing papers into the air and moving to the next phase.

Two weeks of state testing.

Even so, the kids (and their teachers) are emancipated from bell schedules, 120 students, lesson planning, homework collecting, policing and promoting new learning with their students.

The summer, for them, is around the corner until another academic calendar can begin. Here's to the rejuvenation of another generation of educators and learners (even if the learning never stops).

Monday, June 14, 2010


Personally, I think the annoying buzzing sound being heard throughout all games at the World Cup is quite remarkable. All the love of sport is being put into those horns and the swarming hive sounds resonating from the stadium is a spectacular backdrop cacophony of athletic play.

I admit, it drove my ears nuts at first, but when I learned that the hum was coming from fanatics supporting their favorite football team, I decided their karmic support can be endured.

Perhaps witnessing a World Cup while in Denmark has me extraordinarily supportive of hooligans who go nuts at this event. I actually love it and feel its the closest thing to March Madness on a global scale - maybe it is even better.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

American Flags made in China

For the second year in a row I attended the Cicero parade to support my niece marching with her school's band. Again, this year, politicians handed out plastic American flags made in China, but they went the extra mile to be extra tacky - they took a blue marker and cross off all the "Made in China" markings.

Mike, Dylan and Sean were able to put smiles on the kids' faces as they walked down Rt. 11. Of course, Sean-man looks like he is already giving birth to his beach ball. The look worked because all the girls laughed as they marched by - that was the karmic goal.

Although it rained hard in the morning, we were able to get a decent day for supporting the parade. I was also impressed by all the candy that was tossed to enthusiast, despite the newspaper articles claiming such action should be banned. No free candy? What?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Weekend is Here

And Sean-Man and Jacob are the star. The parents are riding motorcycles on dirt trails with toothless hillbillies, so the offspring are playing brain surgery with the relatives at the other end of the city.

Last night, Sean-Man learned how to roll down a hill. Uncle B (that's me) showed him how. I'm too old. I wanted to puke.

For those of you who want to know what it's like with such little ones, I can offer the following analogy. Sean talks more than a whipperwill's a@@ and Jacob is like Jack in the Pixar film Jack Attack. We are all under constant surveillance. And it's supposed to rain today, which will be a painful display of being stuck indoors.

Karma, however, is knowing that 362 other day sof the year, "the pain" is having returned to her all the yakkety-yak she provided our childhood.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cup The World - 2010

Today begins the World Cup in South Africa - a historic invent, indeed. Normally, soccer doesn't stop me in its place, but experiencing the hype in Denmark and working with students from around the world who live, breathe, and sleep football, I can't help but be excited for this year's athletic events.

I've said to many that it is more severe than March Madness. It is Christmas morning on steroids and the energy flowing through the kids who promise they will be glued to their televisions is rampant.

So, looking for a distraction? Turn on the tube and join the world. The karma is flowing....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

something to write "karma" with

And the day began at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 9 p.m. yesterday. My research continues and I am in constant awe of being embraced by teachers, students, learners, their communities, and the worlds that are being written by them.

Last night, one of the young men who has been selflessly sharing a life story with me said, "I have a gift for you, Mr. Bryan." He pulled out a pen set with the school's name and "athletics" on them. "This is a gift for you." They were given to him for his participation in team sports.

I know this may sound corny, but it felt like the moment when Charlie handed back the everlasting gobstopper to Willie Wonka. "These are for you, for helping me become a better writer."

"So shines a good deed in a weary world."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I felt like a Wednesday song that would put karmic pep to my step. I channelled Buddy Hacket and decided Shipoopi was a good song for the hump day. I don't think I've heard the song in many years and so I bring it to you today.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm in the classroom again

Every individual needs to know what works best for them. For me, it has always been the art of writing on my hands all the important items that need to be attended to. I have an I-Calendar. I have a Blackberry. I have a date book. But, look, nothing is more reliable than ink on my skin.

It's been a while since I've been frazzled enough to begin scripting notes as to what needs to be done near my phalanges. Yet, last night I came home with a day's worth of scenarios that need to be addressed. It'd be nice to have a portable white board, but I'd lose it. Paper gets lost. Technology is unreliable. Ah, but my hand. There, I know exactly what I must do.

My grandmother used to make us wiggle our hands before us as a reminder of the miracles they were capable of.
My karmic miracle is that it makes me less forgetful.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Definitely a Monday Post

I kicked off my Sunday with a massive piling of papers from every room in my house. The stacks piled on my kitchen table and were evidence that this year is flying by, but I have no organized way of keeping track of my world. I have articles I've read, papers I've written, copies of news clippings, notes from experiences, samples of student work, handouts from classes, bills and announcements.

I spent yesterday morning organizing all this paper so that I can file it away (and know where it is, I hope).

Such organization never lasts with me because it is easier to create stacks, move on with my life, and get to it later. For the first time in my life, I understand the need for having an office staff. I need one place where I put items to be filed and another variation of me to file it. It would definitely help me stay more on top of things.

Karma, then, is the love a file can give you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I may not need to post this, because you may be able to see it outside your window. I told my dad yesterday that during a down pour, the sun came out and the large raindrops were illuminated in my back yard in wisps of tiny lightening bolts. It was a really cool effect, brought to me by nature, but one I didn't capture on film because I wasn't fast enough. The sunlight only lasted a little while during the down pour. My back yard looked like a white-yellow laser show.

And today, they are forecasting a Sunday of showers.

After a rather warm, dry and uneventful spring, I am looking forward to a day of rain and the magic it brings to everything that needs it to grow. The streams where I run have been really low and I've noticed the birds are desperate to find bird baths.

So, let it rain. It is H20 karma and it brings everything lush in life to its fullest potential.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ah, Time

I am ending this work week thinking about time, generations, history and the cycle of life. So much is very different today than it was yesterday and I'm wondering how we balance the way we live life with the inevitable changes that come from progress. The way I lived, for example, as a child, is so drastically different than the way children grow up in today's world...but is that cultural? Does it change that much or is is the same progression, but with different tools and tales told to continue the patterns we know as life.

I know there is no answer, and that aging causes the elders, like me, to think that yesterday was much more innocent. I am not sure it ever was. At the heart of it all, there are still the same biological alterations to moving forward: birth, love, and birth again. The cycles and the human brain for making sense of it are not new nor will they ever be. At the same time, nothing is ever the same.

As I think about seconds and minutes moving forward, I also think that one's perception of the chronology is the beauty of it all. Most spend their adult life trying to make sense of the patterns of a lifetime and what it is supposed to mean.

That is the karma, both good and bad, and therefore, the beauty of graying, contemplating, wondering, and recycling. Time is a human invention and only it will tell what it is all supposed to mean.

Friday, June 4, 2010

night skies and the firefli

The fireflies were out in full force at my house last night - so much so that it almost looked like electric green fireworks. It is really spectacular when they return and I recall driving down Stearns Road at night, during childhood, when my father would turn off the car lights and it felt like we were driving through a galactic sky far, far away.

Pretty darn magical if you ask me. Another token of nature's karma to us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Great News!

Dr. Faye McMahon received news today that her nominee, Carl, and the Syracuse Lost Boys Cow Project will be honored on WSTM's Deck Party on June 17th. Carl has been what we call St. Carl for all the men from Sudan since their arrival in 2001. The Deck Party is a contest for local heros who are doing good for the City of Syracuse. We will be on the news on the 17th with Wayne Mahar and several men who look up to Carl. Karma is giving back to those in the world who do so much for others. Carl definitely deserves it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

crap...then, well, crap

I set a goal yesterday to replace my vacuum cleaner's belt so I could vacuum when I got home from school. I did this, and when I took it apart to replace it, I learned the belt was actually okay - just off the rotator. I fixed it, replaced a Y bag, and vacuumed.

As I went into the last room I heard, zzztt pffttt szzzzt and smelled fire. That's right, my vacuum cleaner caught on fire. I took it to the garage, put the fire out, and then checked the belt and hookups. All was fine. I plugged it back in and the motor went zzzttt fppht arreet pbbbbl. It is now in the trash. I am sad, because a new vacuum cleaner isn't in the budget.

When I walked to the curb, my neighbor yelled, "Dude, you're not supposed to vacuum the front yard!" I told him I wasn't and then he proceeded to tell me about an eight-foot snake he uncovered in his wood pile yesterday. We went hunting for it but couldn't find it. He said, "Bryan, I swear, I was throwing logs at it and it wouldn't die. He tried to strike at me, but then he gave up and headed to your house."

He sent me this picture - you can't tell, but half of its body is curled under the fence and in the sun. It was large, indeed. Only half of it can be seen in this photo.

Karma is the fact that I probably vacuumed the serpent up and that is why my cleaner died.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Day late...but in the spirit

After the three days off: eating, laughing, swimming, singing, drinking and
being free, I realized it is time to reflect on the true purpose of Memorial Day and to remember the real reason we celebrate this time of the year.

It is easy for us to forget that our luxuries and privileges resulted from those who sacrificed to keep the American spirit alive.

I hope your work week brings karma your way.