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Posts Tagged ‘Requests’

Dear Students Taking My Public Speaking Course,

I just met you this week, and already I’m channeling Dug from “Up.”

This semester is going to be so much fun as I help you unlock your best self — capable of any kind of public speaking. Some of you may not be the next Aristotle, but you’ll be good. Or at least better than you are today.

In return, here are some (nonnegotiable) things I ask from you:

  1. Please use my proper title in email and in person. I’m even fine with “Dr. Beth,” “Dr. C.” or even “Doc Con.” “Miss C” and “Hey” are not acceptable. I worked hard for my doctorate. (Blog readers remember.) And as my teachers said in high school, “Hey” is for horses. (Yuk, yuk.)
  2. Turn in your work on time. That’s in the syllabus, but I’m putting it here too. You may have the best excuse anyone has ever had, but you also have known what is due and when well in advance thanks to that magical syllabus.
  3. Show up to class, and show up on time. You can’t learn anything if you aren’t in class. Again, I don’t want to hear excuses — especially about traffic. We are in Atlanta: You should know to budget an extra hour to get anywhere.
  4. If you do miss class, DO NOT ask me if you missed anything important. Dear God. That’s the WORST. What am I supposed to say? “No, we just sat around and mourned your absence.” Look at the syllabus, and figure it out. Or ask a classmate. Also, I’ve put all assignments online. SIGH.

In return for following these (really quite simple) rules, I promise to make class interesting. Here are some testimonials from your fellow students:

I love you all equally. It’s true; I promise! Read this.

And I can’t imagine my life without teaching — even if it is only one class per semester.

I’m looking forward to seeing you next week when you will deliver your first speech!

Don’t panic. You’ve got this. I’m here for you.

Sincerely,
Dr. Beth

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Dear People of the World:

I think a little etiquette lesson is in order.

If you are in a public place, you cannot behave like you are in your living room.

For example, if you are eating at a restaurant, even one as casual as The Varsity, you CANNOT talk on the phone as loud as humanly possible.

Don’t be this guy, who shared with the entire place his distaste for some cashier’s long fingernails.

Why do I know this? Because I was 20 feet away and could hear him clearly. He made me want to wolf down my fries and flee. And YOU KNOW Varsity fries are to be savored.

I’m so annoyed.

Similarly, you should not watch a video on full volume in a public place, ESPECIALLY not a fine-dining restaurant. Yet that is exactly what my cruise friends and I witnessed in the ship’s steakhouse. All 11 of us turned to face this rude man with looks of shock on our faces.

To no one’s surprise, he didn’t notice. He was too engrossed in some YouTube video — for at least FIVE MINUTES (which is a long time when you are peeved).

If you need more lessons on what’s acceptable (and not) in today’s society, check out this Forbes piece.

Your fellow humans will appreciate your attention to this matter.

Thanks,
Beth, a considerate and quiet person — in public

 

 

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Dear Readers:

You know how excited I get when I have a guest post. Today, I’m pleased to present one from Disgruntled Danny, a lovely-despite-the-moniker person I met while pursuing my passion for a particular U.K. band.

He’s pissed about the lack of road repairs in Chell Heath, the borough he’s called home for 12 years.

Here he is, in rare form. Enjoy!
Beth

 

“Harry Pothole and the Tarmac of Terror” and other tales
Guest post by Daniel Harrowven

Misery, frustration and disappointment. For most British people these are our default settings, but on a Friday morning in early May these emotions were amplified.

The reason? I had just read the results of the local government elections and, as feared, my local councillor had been re-elected.

For the last nine years, since my councillor was first voted into office, Chell has gone from being “a little bit rough” to a town that can now offer visitors an experience akin to Kabul circa 2003.

How did this happen?

Chell Heath is a Safe Seat. Many of the families in the area have lived here for generations and they always vote for the same political party. They are afraid of change. As long as nothing improves, they can continue to blame all their problems on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (She was forced out of office in 1990 and has done nothing at all since 2013 on account of her being dead.)

I was inspired to act whilst driving home one evening. Listening to the latest CD by Jesse’s Divide, I suddenly felt my spine shatter, thumbs dislocate and the CD skip, causing me to wonder whether I had suffered a brief blackout.

No.

I had driven over one of Chell Heath’s impressive (and growing) number of potholes.

Danny recreates his death-defying drive.

In mainland Europe and the U.S.A., drivers drive on the right of the road.

In the U.K., drivers drive on the left of the road.

In Chell Heath, we drive on what is left of the road.

The following day, I went back to the pothole and had my long-suffering wife photograph me pretending to punch the pothole.

Disgruntled Danny, Superhero

I posted the photo to my Facebook wall and the Facebook page of my local council.

And became an Internet troll.

Lately, my trolling has taken the form of movie treatments and posters fitting the pothole agenda.

 

Here’s a medley:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How much of a stir has this trolling caused within the council? Have I been asked to remove the posts? Been offered a meeting to discuss my grievances?

No.

I have had no response whatsoever.

Not even a “Sod off and bother someone else.”

But one person did take notice. Rathi Pragasam, the woman who ran against my councillor — the woman for whom I voted — found my pothole series amusing. So it came to pass (that sounds a bit biblical!) that Rathi visited me recently to discuss my rantings.

To be clear, she is not elected, has no power or authority in the ward, but within 24 hours she had contacted parliament (WTF!), arranged funding, and now the potholes are due to be repaired in the coming weeks.

All more than anyone on the council did.

I understand that there will always be bigger problems than some holes in the road, but little victories make life slightly more bearable.

And writing this has been a joy, because for 40 minutes I, a British person, have not had to talk about Brexit.

 

 

 

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Dear Lottery God:

My chicken sacrifices to you are getting nowhere. (Granted, they are of the grocery cutlet variety — I’m not a monster — but still.)

So I’m making this public plea.

My family and I need your help.

Our savings have been wiped out as fast as the Dothraki horde in the Battle of Winterfell.

Why? Here’s a short list:

1. A replacement retainer for Dominic. Yes, already. He had the new retainer for exactly a week before throwing it away with his lunch trash at school. [HEAVY SIGH]

2. New shoes for Dominic. He now wears a size 11. 11! At the age of 14. You saw the photos from my last post. Puberty, thou art a bitch to the budget.

3. Income taxes. Effing Pat.

4. Truck-repair expenses. Eddie’s truck is 16 years old. That’s about 112 years in our capitalist, material culture. But I’d rather fix it than take on a car payment and higher ad-valorem taxes. Call me old fashioned.

5. A speeding ticket. Don’t yell at me that this is my own fault. I promise I wasn’t speeding — I was on my way to see some important people perform in Athens but I was driving in heavy traffic! (It’s Atlanta, after all.) I disputed the ticket, but the Chamblee Municipal Court judge was not having it. I shouldn’t have even tried. She tacked on $50 extra to the fine because I had the nerve to go to court instead of paying outright. Harumph.

Those who say “money can’t buy happiness” must already have money. I promise I would do good things with the winnings. I’d send some family and friends on well-deserved vacations, fund important initiatives for others, give money to my four alma maters for student scholarships.

Oh yeah, and buy a villa in Spain on the Mediterranean. You know. As you do.

May the odds be ever in my favor.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter (and for helping me stop wasting broilers),
Beth

 

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Dear Ms. Tiffany,

Thank you for contacting me regarding Career Day at the boys’ middle school. Here is my answer:

Last year’s experience was plenty for me, in that it was terrible, and I will never do it again. It was worse than Field Day at their elementary school. (Note to those who just subscribed to this blog: Please follow that link, and read the post. It’s one of my favorites, in a laugh-to-keep-from-crying kind of way.)

I spoke to four classes of sixth and seventh graders. No one cared about my current job at a university. They cared marginally more about my freelance work as a TV meteorologist and writer.

In my younger son’s class, his teacher didn’t even introduce me. She was too busy checking Facebook at the back of the room.

No one even made eye contact with me in two of the classes. It was like I was screaming into the Fortnite, hormone-filled void.

My older son’s class was the best. His teacher gave me a great intro, and his peers asked plenty of questions. Later, Dominic said he didn’t tell anyone his mom would be one of the speakers, which sounds about right.

But then, one of his friends turned to him and complimented my hindquarters.

(Hormones.)

Dominic told me he said, “DUDE, that’s my MOM!”

What can I tell you? I’m a hit with 13-14 year olds. Lucky me.

But the adoration of prepubescent males is still not enough to make me endure another Career Day.

I wish you all the best in your search for speakers.
Beth

 

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Dear Vegans,

God bless you, every one. How do you manage to find things to eat every day?

I’m sure things have gotten slightly easier for you (as more and more people make the choice), but it certainly is a challenge to find food that is completely free from animal products.

Eddie and I are hosting friends next month, one of whom is one of you. I’ve been road-testing recipes: shepherd’s pie, chickpea and avocado wraps, tamales, etc.

Japanese gyoza nearly was the death of me, though.

It’s one of my favorite things to make, thanks to the excellent tutelage of my friend Miwa.

However, I usually buy the pre-made skins from the Asian market down the road. It makes life so much easier.

But said skins have eggs.

Ruh roh, Raggy.

So I went to the vegan section of Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck). I found wonton skins, which will do in a pinch. Checked ingredients list to be safe.

So those wouldn’t work. I went to two other granola-people stores. No luck. In fact, one helpful cashier checked his supplier’s site to see if vegan wonton/gyoza/dumpling/potsticker wrappers existed. They don’t, apparently.

Back at home, I decided to make my own.

Oh yes, I did.

And that’s how I found myself up to my eyebrows in brown rice and tapioca flour yesterday afternoon.

I don’t have photos of the process because my hands were covered in flour for hours. I do have an image of the (uncooked) finished product:

As for the taste, I’d say they closely resembled my usual recipe. A little off, but not by much.

If anything, this little experiment has made me aware of just how many animal products we consume daily — even when we don’t think we are consuming any.

Wishing you all the best, and hoping you continue to have more and better options,
Beth

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Dear Santa:

Thank you so much for being so generous with our household yesterday. We’ve tried to stay off the Naughty list, but you know it’s been difficult.

Though we liked all of our gifts, I think I appreciated the coyote skull the most. Some girls might want a sable slipped under the tree, but you know this one prefers other dead animal parts.

There were a couple of things you skipped over, however, so I’d like to be proactive on my list for next year.

Beth’s Christmas List 2019:

1. Patience. I have a 14-year-old son who has worn mine out. Just bring me a little to spare for those super moody days (his, not mine).

2. Abs. I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, but these are still nowhere to be found. Don’t tell me I can find them at the gym. You’re Santa, and you’re magical.

3. A winning lottery ticket. I’m a good person; I promise I would do plenty of good things with the money.

4. A publishing contract. I’ve got two books in the works. At least send me an agent, please.

5. One hour with Jason Momoa. A better iPhone battery life. Like I said, you’re magical. Make it so, won’t you?

Thanks in advance. I’ll do my part by remaining on the Nice side.

Believing in you,
Beth

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