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Archive for July, 2011

Facebook is a fascinating petri dish. Where else can you find people from all aspects of your life hanging out, sharing information and ribbing each other?

Facebook makes it possible for people to have exchanges like this:

Granted, as evidenced above, typed words and computer protection can make people say things they might not say in person, but the positives outweigh the negatives, I think.

By having friends across the spectrum, it helps ward off news insulation where you are only exposed to that with which you agree. It only works, though, if you don’t censor your news feed.

Here’s a sample of the interesting and varied people I am friends with on Facebook:

  • The guy who punched me in the stomach in sixth grade
  • My maid of honor’s baby daddy (and the baby too)
  • An author I met at a book signing/reading
  • My husband’s main gay whom I have never met in person (neither has he*)
  • A woman who “met” me through this blog
  • A mascot for the local Single A baseball team
  • A friend’s pet bird
  • A former colleague on whom I had a girl crush
  • A former student who nearly drove me batshit crazy
  • A drag queen
  • A guy I met during jury duty selection
  • My boss from my first retail job
  • The girl who peed in the back of the truck on the way back from Camp Toccoa
  • A fake person created by students in my Writing for the Web class
  • The guy who sold me my car
  • The perpetually drunk roommate of my first college boyfriend
  • A woman I call “Eeyore” because of her depressing posts
  • My high school French teacher
  • The woman who regularly kicks my butt in Words with Friends
  • The late chicken pictured in this blog’s header
  • An actor friend starring in Golden Corral commercials (“Ten bucks? Bam!”)

I love these people. I love all my Facebook friends. I am constantly amused, amazed and informed by what they post.

Sure, there are a couple of people on there who also drive me crazy with their passive-aggressive or alarmist status updates. And though I try to be a little selective about the people I connect with on Facebook, there are a couple of people on my friends list whom I don’t think I actually know.

That would be OK with one woman I know. This person is some kind of friend collector. Are you friends with both my husband and me? Expect a friend request. Have you breathed in her vicinity? Friend request. Breathing in general? A request is on the way.

That seems weird to me, but maybe I’m the weird one. Thoughts?

* This is an odd little story I’ll save for another time.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I taught a creative writing workshop at a community center in Jacksonville last week.

Ages: 9-13
Hours: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Days: Monday – Friday
Me: Completely wiped out

There’s a huge difference between teaching 9 year olds and teaching 13 year olds, and there were three of the former and two of the latter in the class — all girls.

I felt like some kind of lion tamer.

The younger ones wanted to stand on chairs, draw princesses, and talk about Justin Bieber. The older ones wanted to actually work on writing (and smack the younger ones).

You might be surprised to learn that I’m glad I taught the workshop. It was truly a learning experience. You know, the whole “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” philosophy. (Thanks, Nietzsche!) I definitely learned some new skills, which is always good.

And the girls really were fun. A couple of them have promise as writers, and I hope to see their work again.

So, I wouldn’t mind teaching it again next year, but we’ll need to put in some different age parameters, of course.

Maybe, if I’m lucky, it will be a scene out of a “Normal Rockwell” painting. (Thanks, Chris!)

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The Possibly Haunted Mansion

It should come as no surprise that I’m not interested in “normal.” I like quirks.

So the little venture I’ve taken out of town this week is right up my alley.

I agreed to teach a summer creative writing workshop for 9-13-year-olds in Jacksonville, Fla. You’re shocked, I know. More about the teaching experience later.

The community center that is sponsoring the workshops offers housing at Casa Marina, a 1920s hotel. When Denile checked me in, she described the room in a grand way: ocean-view room with a queen-sized bed and separate living room. Sounds divine! I opened the door, and this is what I found:

Granny's parlor?

I told Eddie the place might be haunted. Really, though, it is cool to stay in a place so different from the average sterile business hotel. This place has character. In spades.

It fits in with the whole odd nature of Jacksonville Beach.

The Casa Marina is a historic hotel on the beach.

View of Casa Marina from the beach

Guest enjoy this view.

Jacksonville Beach

However, this is what is on one side of the hotel, just over the dunes from the beach.

Empty lot, Jacksonville Beach

Yep. An empty lot. One that has clearly been empty for a while.

And there’s this across the street from the empty lot:

Empty building, Jacksonville Beach

Don’t the owners know that this is prime real estate? Beachfront property is a finite resource.

Build it and they will come. I’m sure of that.

After all, as I found out tonight, Casa Marina is a hotspot for the AARP set on Wednesday nights.

Wednesday night at Casa Marina

Denile, my new friend at the front desk, told me the party lasts until 10. As my room overlooks the courtyard, I’ll be entertained for hours by the whoops and hollers when the band plays classics such as “Sweet Home Alabama.”

This is the kind of stuff I live for, though. If something great happens, then that’s lovely. But if something unexpected happens, that’s even better. Why? It makes a great story.

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Just when you thought it was safe to read my blog again, I bring you more photos from the Redneck Games!

(Hey, I allowed a few days for your system to get back to normal after Sunday’s post.)

Sarah shows off her "arsenal of hydration." *

Bursting with excitement, I lead the way to the festival. (Photo by Royce)

Bikinis and boots: A fashion trend sweeping Dublin. (Photo by Royce)

Muscular men and jorts go together like peas and carrots (or twigs and berries, as the case may be). And white velcro shoes too? Mmm ... tasty!

Feast upon this buffet of manflesh and be disappointed you did not get to use your own looking holes -- er, eyes -- in person.

Nothing says "redneck" like a freshly dug mudpit for bellyfloppin'.

Ol' Dixie also makes a great beach towel.

I actually wanted to compete in this event. They didn't draw my number. I wept. (Or maybe that was just sweat.)

Nothing like a "sovienor" cup to commemorate the day.

If you are thinking about attending next year’s Redneck Games, you should know this:

  • It is hotter than the surface of the sun in Dublin in July.
  • Even with a canopy, you must apply sunscreen or you will be redder than the General Lee.
  • There is no organization and no real schedule. Type As must get over it.
  • No real bathrooms either. Savor the Port-O-Let.
  • Media will nearly outnumber the participants.
  • You can make a killing selling ice. And beer. And Dixie bathing suits.

See you all next year!

* Heidi gets the credit for this term.

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This week I submitted the final version of my dissertation and the corresponding paperwork. One of my first activities as a new Ph.D.? Attend the 2011 Redneck Games.

Allow me to take you on an amazing journey with this gallery of images.

Redneck living room

Redneck Granny comes over for a chat. A long chat.

Awaiting the lighting of the ceremonial torch

Posing while awaiting the lighting of the ceremonial torch

Lighting the ceremonial torch

Let the games begin!

Enjoying the view.

Royce enjoys himself.

Redneck Snooki

Redneck Snooki performs.

Jack Sprat and his wife

"Germany Sucks"

Redneck rump shaker

Redneck horseshoes

Royce seems intrigued while Sarah seems perplexed.

John and Heidi are mystified. Or sleeping.

Jeff Vaughan and his moonshine.

One of many interesting tattoos

Tiffany must be so pleased.

What?

Yeehaw.

Jorts are never a good idea.

Armpit serenade

Redneck Riviera

Redneck water slide

Sarah partakes in riverdancing.

It's really too hot for a Dixie duster.

Crack kills.

Sigh.

Bobbing for pigs' feet

See other comment regarding jorts.

On our way to get a second round of "sno-cones."

The Man of Steel and his buns of puff pastry

Dixie overload

It is important to know your true size when you shop.

See comment regarding clothing sizes.

Redneck Granny needed a nap.

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Copper comes a-calling

No Fourth of July celebration is complete without a visit from the Po-Po. Usually, the Po-Po visit the neighbors across the street. But last night, we earned a talking-to.

We have become “The Other.”

Why?

This (and its ilk):

Friends from Florida and relatives from South Carolina brought some treats from their respective states. Unfortunately, these treats are not allowed in Georgia. Georgia is OK with sparklers and “non-explosive and non-aerial” types of pyrotechnics.

Um … well … that’s not what we had. The polite young deputy sheriff who suddenly appeared at our fence was kind enough to remind us of Georgia law.

It didn’t matter that our neighbor (“Big Screen’) had launched a River Street-style display the night before. We ceased and desisted, much to the dismay of our pyro-leaning progeny.

Clearly, the transformation is complete.

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Signs of life

Today I saw two signs that merit a mention.

No separation of church and state in Bloomingdale.

Hmmm ... this could have a different connotation.

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