Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm Just Sad and Confused

This was going to be a long status update on FaceBook. I opted to put it here, since it was long (and I wanted to add to it) and I haven't posted here in over a year.

So I had a friend when I lived in L.A. who I never really saw on the FaceBooks whenever I'd do a search for him. (I'd see lots of folks who shared his name, however.) And I occasionally would do a Google search for him, to no avail. I last communicated with him not long after I left L.A., just to get his address to mail him a phone he loaned me.

Apparently I haven't done one of those searches in the past 5 years or so. Today I hit the jackpot, but didn't win anything other than confusion and sadness. Apparently he had moved back across the pond.

And back in June of 2010 he killed his ex, his very young son, and himself. That's the theory deemed most likely, anyway.

He was my proofreader at the business card place where I worked the evening shift. He came to pick me up on his motorcycle when my car broke down very late at night on my way home from work (which would put the time at about 12:30 in the morning)--and it wasn't the least frightening of neighborhoods. (In the end, he didn't need to pick me up. A homeless man jerry-rigged my car so it would work, and this friend followed me home, pulling ahead of me and holding off traffic at red lights because if I stopped at a light my car would shut off, maybe for good.) He gave me rides to work on that same motorcycle while my car was being worked on, and he found a mechanic that would give me a good deal on a new engine when it turned out that's what my car needed.

He thought I smoked a lot of weed because of the way my mind worked. And he didn't get my joke about the sticker on his motorcycle helmet meaning he was a fan of "The Panda" (a wrestler I made up) in the World Wrestling Federation. And when I said I wanted "spicy giblets" from the gas station in downtown L.A. where people at work would occasionally send someone to get dinner, he thought I meant a chicken meal, and that's what he brought me. (I meant spicy trail mix, which I called "spicy giblets" for no particular reason. In his defense, it was an honest mistake.)

One time he told me I'd use odd expressions (which I'd learned my mom while I was growing up) that he'd heard while growing up in England (the northern part, if I'm remembering correctly).

I went to parties at his house. He and I saw "The Nightmare Before Christmas" in Culver City... and he tried to beat the parking garage bar as it lowered, and it hit me in my (thankfully) helmet-covered head. I really wish we had been able to keep in touch. He introduced me to Weetabix and pesto. He introduced me to "the stairs" in Santa Monica. He loaned me a bike to use to get there.

Sad and confused. That's what I am. Sad and confused.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

That's E-nerd-tainment! (with apologies to Howard Dietz... and probably the rest of the universe)

A meme with a Battlestar theme
Or a cat wearing the Sorting Hat
Or a pic of the Hulk as St. Nick
That's e-nerd-tainment!

Fan fic, be it sloppy or slick
Be it short, or the babbling sort
Or the kind where you wish you were blind
That's e-nerd-tainment!

The plots involve 'bots, or a giant T-rex,
Takei-making-ray beamed out from Planet X,
Intergalactical sex,
Where a guy's his own grandfather, and causes timeline bother.

One scene posted at 2:13:
Aeryn Sun's wearing just three balloons
Quarter past, googol hits it's amassed
That's e-nerd-tainment!

It might be a fight about Leia and Luke
On boards seen by hoards, whether "meant to" or fluke
Both sides posted by the same kook
The title of the thread: "Worf, and How He Links to Red Dwarf"

Cosplay everywhere on display
Hot or cool, made by genius or fool
Hip hooray! Nerds are having their day!
The e-world's a stage, a stage for a world of e-nerd-tainment!

(c) 2014 Mark Travis Riggs

Edited 1/12/14 to change "Picard" to "the Hulk" and "2:15: The whole world's scene that scene" to "Quarter past, googol hits it's amassed" and "A gay" to "Takei". (The first and last because I wanted to include more "nerd" stuff, and the middle because I didn't like the original line much at all. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of the replacement. But it's always a work in progress, so who knows what tomorrow will bring?)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We Interrupt This Lengthy Blog Silence for the Following Moment of Simple Beauty

The sky above my house is very clear right now. I was just in the back yard, and I looked up to see a truly beautiful sight. All the leaves have vacated the trees in my yard and the surrounding ones, and the sky is so clear I can see more stars than I'm used to seeing in the city.

The view above me had a background of that deep-blue black which is the color of the darkest urban night sky possible without a power outage. The rest was either dark lines of naked trees or bright dots of light that started the journey here long before I was even thought of.

The stars were not only above the trees, but they were shining through them--since the leaves have all given up all of their summer duties, including the minor one of making stars have to work so much harder to accomplish this. I've only ever been able to pick out few constellations, but bits of Orion were recognizable through one tree (at least they were once I saw the rest of him poking out above the tree). I was struck by the simplicity of this beautiful scene.

It made me wish I had a better camera. It made me wish I knew how to take paints or charcoal or pencils or markers and re-create the memory of that sight.

But mostly it made me stand there longer than I probably should have, given the cold.

Monday, July 22, 2013

So I Won't Be Teaching This Year...

I've already messaged most of my co-workers via The Facebooks, although I haven't responded to many--maybe not any--of the responses yet, as my emotions about it are somewhat complicated.

But there it is: I'm not teaching next year.

I have been granted the opportunity to fulfill one of my dreams. (I have way too many dreams for me to accomplish in one life, which is probably a major reason why I don't pursue any of them that much... I should probably work on that.)

I'm going to miss a lot about teaching, and a lot about Eastgate, but this is a chance to do something that I've been dreaming about doing since... well, at least since I started teaching, but probably since I was in high school. It's scary, because pursuing a dream always is, but it's also very exciting.

The short version is: I'm helping to write an Algebra textbook. The long version is: too long for me to type right now. There aren't any huge fun secrets that are keeping me from explaining. I'm just lazy and in a bit of a hurry. Just know that it's a bit more involved than writing a textbook, and I'll say more about it in future posts, I'm sure.

Yes, it's been over a year since I've written. I apologize. I know the world has been a much more bleak place without my typo-ridden and poorly-punctuated stream-of-apparent-total-lack-of-consciousness ramblings. I shall endeavor to post more frequently.

But back on topic: one of the things I'm going to miss the most at Eastgate is having so many friends in one place. All the teachers, instructional assistants, cafeteria workers, custodial workers, administrative assistants, the library staff, and whatever co-workers I'm inadvertently leaving off here... I'm going to miss working with them and seeing them daily.

I'm also going to miss the kids. While a middle-school-aged child can go from zero to bouncing off the walls then back down below zero to "moody and sullen" and so forth in the course of the first five minutes of class, I have still enjoyed teaching them, attempting to teach them, and generally entertaining them when nothing else seemed to be happening.

However, all of the sad aspects are balanced by the joy I'm feeling about trying something I've always wanted to do.

Plus, I won't have to get up as early every day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Sliced My Thumb (the Long-Awaited Details (for a Set Definition of "Long Awaited"))

Finally, the long-awaited tale of how I sliced my thumb last week!
(Yes, only a couple of people have asked how it happened, but I think that sentence will help make people think I'm about to say something interesting and relevant to them. Suckers!)

So last Sunday Cody woke me up to see if I'd watch Hads and let Marissa get some more sleep. I'm all about watching Hads, so I was all about letting Marissa get some more sleep. They two of them had been doing a lot of work helping Cody's mom out the night before, so we can pretend I was being more benevolent that selfish we like.

I was going to need to feed Hads at 11:00 or so, so somewhere around 9:15 or 9:30, I decided to make sure there were plenty of clean bottles.

I got to the sink and realized the knives I'd re-washed with the intention of drying before spots could form on them had fallen into the "Oops, guess what I forgot to do" black hole. I picked up one of the knives and ran my thumb along the side hoping I could just rub away the spots.

Swipe one, completely safe and away from the sharp edge.

Swipe two, just as safe and away.

Just before swipe three, I distracted myself by realizing I was probably going to have to wash the knives again, and therefore didn't pay as much attention to where my thumb was.

The result: Marissa didn't get to sleep in. She watched Hads, I drove myself to the emergency room, and now I have five stitches in my thumb.

I refuse to post the picture I sent to Say for her opinion, but if you're friends with me on Facebook, she posted it there and tagged me--I'm sure you've already seen it and almost lost your lunch if you are in the aforementioned category. But here's the "after" picture. Hope it doesn't gross you out! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well, 2011, I Think You Should Go. Now.

It wasn't that bad of a year. The past 6 months have been a bit of a joy, and there are lots of things I wish I had done differently... but what year isn't like that, eh?

I'll just be glad to see this one go. I was already not thrilled to death with it, but now it's just... I don't know. I'm just over everything, the bulk of the everything being me and what passes for a mind in my head.

There were a couple of paragraphs here. I deleted them. Suffice it to say today turned into a bad day, but I've decided not to go on about it here just yet. The short version is: I'm a f***ing idiot.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everybody. It'll be better next year. Maybe not tomorrow, but... at some point next year, it will be better.


Saturday, May 14, 2011


I was just thinking today that I may have never shared the story of my sister's nickname, Say (she actually has more than one nickname, but this one I'm responsible for).

When I was but a toddler, my sister took me everywhere with her. I was around her a lot, especially when Mom was in the hospital giving birth to Dane with I was almost 18 months old.

I think it was when Mom returned from the hospital and I was given to her that I looked around and said, "Where say go?"

Mom was baffled. Everyone else in the room was baffled, I assume... assuming others were in the room, and it seems like Mom mentioned there were others, but I have no idea who they might have been. Nobody knew what I was talking about, even though I asked at least one other time, "Where say go?"

It wasn't until my sister walked in and I exclaimed, "There say is!" they realized I was referring to my sister Lynne (called Rusty at the time) as "Say".

And it stuck. The end.

Well, that and the fact I can't ask where my sister has gone off to without thinking of that story... mainly because I always word it as, "Where Say go?"

And yes, upon her return, I say, "There Say is!"