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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Well, it truly has been 20 years and tonight marks the reunion to prove it. Twenty years ago this summer, I was transitioning from the phase as a high school graduate and preparing for four years at Binghamton University. It was a summer of working retail at Kaufmann's, stocking up on dorm materials and wondering about the future. Now I have a house and am still wondering about the future.

I did the Waterfront pre-reunion party and was enthralled by seeing all the faces from yesteryear. It is truly remarkable how time zooms by and so much changes, but not much at all.

I ended up staying out much later than I wanted, but that was always the case with rituals like this. I will sleep, experience another day, and then figure out a reflection from there. Until then, let karma kick me in the a##.

Friday, July 30, 2010

TGIF


Yes, it is!

I have never been so happy to know it's a Friday in my life. And now...well, now, I'm hoping karma will let me enjoy the next two days ; ).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Capturing the Birthday Boy

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IT WAS SEAN'S BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY.

All the karma and love is present in this FOUR year old's pre-present-opening eyes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A pleasant run


What happens when you set out to run around dinner time in a Suburban neighborhood? You get to run side by side with the Ding-a-ling man!

I went four miles with this music in my head, but it also had this QUACK QUACK during pauses. I found the whole experience humorous and felt having an ice cream pace car was a karmic attribute to my Tuesday run. Now, if I only had money to get a popsicle!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Skin

This is a stupid post, but I have to say there is karma with New Skin when you can paint it on a hangnail and it seals the pussing, oozing pain near a fingernail. Pretty miraculous, actually, and one of the greater human inventions.

Do I have any? No.

But if I did, I would use it for sure, because right now I have a hangnail that is throbbing. Yep.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beyond a single story...


I have had this sent to me a couple of times over the last month, but tonight when it arrived, it was exactly what I wanted to hear.I don't know about you, but listening to this woman's voice makes me fall instantly in love. I want to go for a walk with her. Oh, if Karma DOES exist!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Amalfi Drive


I'm spending the weekend at my parent's house because they are out of town, it's hot, they have a pool and air conditioning, and I can reminisce in the ways of my youth - which includes hanging out by a truck with Karl and replacing my father while he's out of town. You see, Karl gets my father 50% of the time, if not more, and when he's missing, it is sort of like when my sister's dog, Chip, is without his Rocky.

And here is the true Amalfi Drive in Italy. Unfortunately, the CNY Amalfi Drive is not as scenic or picturesque. Still, the karma of the curved horse shoe in Cherry Heights has not changed at all. If you want someone to talk to, someone is outside. That's the way I grew up and what I cherish the most.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

another scoop

Donna Ditota came to visit our student writers to discuss her work with the Wes and Scoop / Kris show. She discussed that the world of journalism has changed immensely and that the print-society is shifting to a print/visual society. In her opinion, kids need to gain the tools of communicating with both.

It's been a great week having professionals come and speak to the students we're working with. It was a karmic honor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

bud-ding possibilities

The morning began yesterday with Bud Poliquin discussing his writing history, world travels, experiences at NCAA, World Series, Superbowl Championship coverage, and what it takes to be a writer of sports. He discussed that if kids are to be serious, they must write and write a lot. "They must make a blind person see and a deaf person hear." He held up a blank sheet of paper and said that every movie, every idea, every website, and every book begins with a similar page. "There's nothing on it until you set out to write it."

I left the school and traveled to Central Village
to pick up a group of kids who were participating in an art installation on the West Side of Syracuse. These young men and women helped a conceptual artist and her dream to reconstruct the Eerie Canal along a chain-linked fence with blue and purple felt. It is a part of Syracuse University's Connective Corridor and "linking" the city with the initiatives on the hill.

The evening continued with an adventure to Gannon's homemade ice cream and an introduction of a cold summer treat to honor the hard work they put into the art project. The joke became that all the kids had only heard of vanilla
ice cream and didn't know what they should order. I imagine the other customers who had to wait behind twenty-five teenagers eager with the temptation of treats was a bit more than they expected, but the appreciation for the evening out was extremely felt.

Karma is the symmetry created between mentors and youth doing good for the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A change of pace


We have invited Bud Poliquin, sports writer in Syracuse, to visit with our student writers today. He is coming to talk about sports writing, how to cover the local athletic scene, and preparing for an interview. Karma is always an email invitation away.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Who Can Make the Sun Rise?

Definitely not the dentists of the world. They can make the happiest day gloomy.

And I know this because I have rotten teeth. After a few years of sabbatical, I've returned to the dentist to be drilled, poked, prodded, numbed and violated once again. This dentist won't give me nitrous oxide, either, which is a total bummer, and that is the one thing I look forward to. Hell, he didn't even give me a sticker like his hygienist did during my cleaning.

Either way, my teeth are paying their dues for dental karma and the candy I ate as a kid. It's expensive, too. I've said it once and I will say it again, I believe the work done in my mouth is worth more money than I am.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A request for a Tuesday


Here's a good song for a Tuesday when I'm moving too fast and I could use some pep to what I'm doing. Your job is to reflect on this karmic posting and to add more pep to your steps. Let me know what was the grooviest part of your day. At times, we need to be reminded that feeling groovy is a heck of a lot more fun than feeling like dog poop, no?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Praying Mantis


I thought it was a twig...that wood from my wintering woodpile was left near my laundry basket and a stick attached itself to my fingers.

Nope, it was a praying mantis.

The praying mantis is the oldest symbol of God: the African Bushman’s manifestation of God represented here on Earth and “the voice of the infinite in the small.”* It is thought to be a divine messenger and when one is seen, the viewer is to stop their life immediately, to question what the message arriving to them might mean. Some cultures associate it with restoring life into the dead. “Mantis” is the Greek word for “prophet” or “seer,” a being with spiritual or mystical powers, so the green, praying stick bug was, in all legends, supposed to relay a message to me.

It did not. I am still awaiting its karmic intervention on this Monday, but I know it arrived. I just need to find a few seconds to contemplate what it might mean.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Monopoly

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Monopoly is celebrating its anniversary by having a contest of asking the world to tell them how they would spend all the money in a Monopoly game. My nephews helped me create this digital essay for the summer writing institute I am a part of. The karma is in the collaboration with family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Clark Spent

Several of the boys come to the writing institute wearing Clark Kent glasses. This is an interesting breed of kid who emulate Power Rangers, hip hop, superheros, urban culture, and funk. One of the kids let me wear his glasses (to remind me of my four-eyed days before lazer sugery) and, for a moment, i missed my nerdier persona. With glasses, I could put on different personalities.

I also liked this one kid's shirt. We have the kids wear HELLO MY NAME IS tags and one boy wore a shirt that was printed with several HELLO MY NAME IS tags. I envied the kid.

In truth, working with young people keep the karmic energy of youth alive in me. It's playful, serious, whimsical and humorous. Now, if only I could have a t-shirt like this that would fit me AND the Superman glasses.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And the heat continues

My Baby is loving her summer vacation. This photo is what she'd look like if the temperatures were cooler and I didn't think it would be cruel treatment to leave her indoors all day. This is a winter photo.

Instead, I know she is better off at the folks who pamper her with good food, a large, fenced in backyard, the spraying of a hose and cool temperatures. She loves lying on their frigid foyer. I hope she brings them Karma, too, in addition to the vaults of dog fur that cascades off her with every step and into their vacuum cleaner. She's not a licker, but she's a lover. Well, she's not so much a lover as much as she's a horse that expects you to love her as much as you can.

Okay, she's a baby, and I'm thankful that folks take care of their granddog, too.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Digital Karma

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I was asked to take words students wrote to describe their experience after day one at a writing institute and form them into a poem. I chose to make it a digital poem because students are also exploring digital story telling. Teachers at the institute are
impressed with the enthusiasm of the group and there words helped me to energize a poem. Karma is taking the energy thrown at you and throwing it right back.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Historical Karma


On this date, in 1938, Mussoline published documents declaring a hatred toward Jews and Africans.

Today is a good day to think about any hate we put into the world and question its similarity to the events the world experienced throughout World War II (and that exist around the globe, today). Although such venom continues in neighborhoods, cities, states and nations, it always needs to be checked and put in its place.

I'm going to work this morning and will think about this truth that once existed, especially when the political documentation existed to terminate the lives of people simply because of race and religion. There should be little tolerance for such systemic disgust.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To go with my sinus headache

I had to go home last night and sleep. My head was throbbing with sinus pressure, but before I left the class I was teaching, I showed this Alicia Keys P.O.W. poem. Karma kicked me in the butt twice. Not only was my head about to explode, but I learned Alicia is having a baby so there's no chance she'll be coming to stalk me.

In the meantime, however, she did offer a great model for the elementary school teachers I work with (although I think if they wrote poetry like that for their students, parents might call).

PS: I believe I posted this before. If I have, this is the result of my headache.

Monday, July 12, 2010

And still I learn

I attended the 15th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide last night at the Syracuse Palace where producer Mike Cauchon offered a documentary on survivors of the Bosnian conflict in western Europe and eastern Asia. In 1995, 8,000 muslims were murdered as a result of their religious beliefs and reminded the world that hatred, as modeled by Nazi Germany, could be forgotten and recreated. The speakers, musicians, survivors and new Americans brought their history to Syracuse and Utica, New York, where they've resettled to create a life for themselves. Here, they discussed, opportunities are ubiquitous.

From the cup of sorrow, the thirst of hope is quenched. That is the karma that was modeled last night.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

the Art of Sport


I am posting Ed Gray's "Gugulelu Stirke," an art piece in honor the World Cup which will see its final match between Spain and the Netherlands played today.

Karma is seeing history made in S. Africa and knowing that the energy of football was able to come alive in a continent that has dealt with years of colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation. Things fall apart, Chinua Achebe, but I like to think that humans are capable of finding good in our Beloved countries.

in sport and global play, I am in hope that peace is possible.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

going out of style

When I was an undergraduate in college, I drooled over hippie kids who owned a pair of Birkenstocks and always promised myself that one day when I made money, I would get a pair. My goal was to spend a lot of money for German sandals so I could be cool, trendy, hip, and in the crowd of bohemian vagabonds who wore Jesus shoes.


Fast forward fifteen years. Look at my niece's toes and then hear her laughing at me today when I wore my German Birkestocks in public. She said, "Like, are you wearing them in public. I'm so embarrassed. Those, like, totally are stupid shoes to wear with, like, that outfit. I'm so embarrassed. I don't want to be seen, like, with you, EVER!"

Um, is this how karma works? I worked hard to buy sandals so I could be popular and, like, now I'm not and youth totally laugh at my footwear. What happened? I thought these were cool. They've molded to my feet and this flip-flop, silly band wearin' generation of mall rats mock me? What is this world coming to?

Friday, July 9, 2010

karmic reminder



Alice sent me the following after one of our many conversations. It is from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and it resonates with me. today, I think about this as I go to work:
The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature -- the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own.

Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

carving

I always envy art students who are given carving tools and rubber mats to play with. I've witnessed their print-making and always wanted to try it myself.

Last night, I was given a chance.

I'm not sure what my print will look like, but next week I will bring paint to it and stamp away. For those who've done such work before, you will know how therapeutic it is to chisel out materials with your hands. I wish I had space, everyday, to work with karma in more artistic ways. I tried to create a soul walking along a road and river underneath a shining sun. The words HOPE are at the top. We shall what blob I've created.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

3..2..1..

My friend, colleague, mentor, and supporter - Marcelle - has been talking about FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF since I met her and today she loaned me a copy. I was all over the city map getting work done and I only stopped by the office for a brief second. She was there and handed a book to me. I look forward to reading it, although my brain is not on this page.

That is why I'm posting this early. It will be a karmic day when I have a few seconds again to read. It's what I'm currently looking forward to.

In the meantime, I plan on sweating in this CNY heatwave. You?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

an ol' friend

A friend was driving through Syracuse yesterday and chose to stop by and spend the day hanging out in Syracuse. It was so much fun catching up and remembering the time I spent teaching in Kentucky and having the karma return to me, even though I'm in Central, New York.

We move. We change. We shift. We go on.

Even so, it is always a wonderful surprise to be reminded where we were once upon a time....and once upon a time I lived a different life...

Monday, July 5, 2010

blue sky


There aren't many days like the ones where you look up to the sky and all you see is blue. There is no threat of change and sunshine is inevitable.

It's summer and for those of us who put in the harsh winters of Syracuse, a day like yesterday (and predicted for the entire week) is karma thanking us for being good sports.

Get outside. Play.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

it all Depends

After a hot day of watching parapalegic puppies march in the Manlius 4th of July Parade, I drove to my mom's to lounge in a raft and to simply be stupid. She joined me and as we floated, we got into a heated volleyball match that consisted of a game where if the ball came close to us, we would hit it, but the ball seldom came near us, so we just floated.

This game lasted quite a while when mom decided she was going to make a valiant effort with her long, crooked toes to reach the volleyball and actually set it in motion. This was so funny that I started laughing, she started laughing, and then she lost control of her bladder. "It's a good thing your father doesn't have that dye in the pool that he always threatens the kids with," she declared rushing to the ladder to get to the toilet.

I talked with my nephew to tell him karma is rough, because now he is empowered with the trivia of his grandmother's bladder. Of course, apples don't fall far from trees, and his mother has had similar problems with keeping control of her bodily functions (see a recent episode when she had to wear my father's jeans). And Aunt Cynde, too, admitted she has a secret she's been keeping for several years. She always makes it out of the pool, but hasn't always made it into the cold house.

It all depends, I suppose, on Niagara Falls and nature. A woman, and a man, has to do what a woman and man has to do.

Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Alice


When Alice got her camera, Charlie told me this was how he met her. My first years of co-teaching with her, there wasn't a lens in front of her at all times, but when she purchased a camera, then this image is what I saw of her most often.

Yesterday, friday, Alice called.

Traditionally, such a night usually meant that she and Charlie were picking me up and we were heading to the Rover. Now, the calls are for catching up and re-establishing how much we miss teaching side by side. I realize that the years I was fortunate to work with Alice will be extremely hard to replace. The wisdom, the humor, the intrinsic understanding of being intellectually homeless on the land of misfit toys, and the traditions were institutional to our work and occurred naturally.

Hearing from Alice now that I'm no longer teaching in the bluegrass always makes for a more karmic day. I often said that I felt like the tap dancing bee people in the Blind Melon video who, when finding Alice and the Brown, found a field of other tap dancing bees. I've been away from that hive for over three years and pushing four. And Cat Stevens Trouble plays on.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I spell it B R Y A N

When I ran yesterday, I had this crazy thought. My name is Bryan, and many spell it Brian (which when it gets rearranged is Brain).

I'm not a brain, but I would say I'm a Brayn (towards the aptitude of intelligence, but with just enough creative imp in me to not be traditionally smart).

Then I thought that if I had an "i" in my name, it would be selfish...hubris...ego...and all about me. But I don't. I'm more concerned with others.

I have a "y" in my B R A N and I ask "why" all the time. Although it wasn't intentional, my name fits perfectly to my personal pedagogy and philosophy of everything.

I don't love "Brian." Instead, I tolerate "Bryan" and his whacky head. Crandall, Crazy and Creativity all begin with Cr, which is Chromium on the periodic table and resistant to corrosion. Karma is in the name. I'm a Br'why'an Crandall fighting all the corrosive crap of the world. Yep.

Kudos to that.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

k dot c dot - manneken pis

Dear Pain,

I told you I wouldn't post on your little boy who showed his pre-school mates the art of urinating outside. I discussed with you on the phone that, yes, I did allow the child twice to pee outdoors: once while hiking with Tricia and again at a baseball game. I also sent you photos of your son doing what a boy has to do. I did not think he'd do this at school, nor that you would text me that you thought about doing a similar act at your place of employment simply because you were bored and no one was paying attention to you. I admitted that posting photos of his naked bum online would be inappropriate and wrong. You acted surprised. You thought I'd blog about it for sure.

Then I remembered when I was touring Belgium I saw the famous little peeing boy of Brussels. The manneken pis is probably the most famous urinator of all times and, during special occasions, bourgeois individuals actually drink wine from his outdoor behavior (share that with your son's teachers).

Your child is normal and his behavior is your karma for those outside pee parties you participated with when you were a college student.

Love,

The Great One.