Tonight I was sifting through files I created when I was student teaching. I discovered a collection of writing prompts that I generally used to start each class period. I took great care to ensure that the exercises helped foster connections between the students’ experiences and the lessons’ content.
For example, if the day’s class dealt with Poe, at the start of class students were asked to detail a vivid nightmare. For Thoreau, I asked students to consider various “desert island” scenarios- the familiar “if you were stranded on a desert island, you would wish for ____”. Packing to live in Florida and safeguarding personal property during the threat of hurricane are only two instances of many in which I have considered what is most valuable and most sentimental to me. I also think about this when I watch “Pawn Stars” or “Storage Wars”. As a North American, I am obsessed with things. It is flogged into us as children. The economic climate reminded me that the people in my life are more important than possessions.
With that in mind, in the interest of self-exposition, here is a list of my ten favorite things. They are not necessarily my most expensive, collectible, useful, or flashy; they just hold the most sentimental value, presented in no particular order.
1. Green Army-Style Old Navy Shirt
There are many men with a favorite shirt, and I am no different. I have owned this shirt since I was sixteen years old- eleven years as of this writing- and it will stay with me until it disintegrates. I bought this shirt with some of the first money I ever made. I think I wore it on most of my first dates. I know I’ve worn it to most concerts. It doesn’t choke me around the neck, make me too hot or cold, make me itch, nor is it too tight nor loose. I love this shirt.
I am still very much learning all sorts of things about how a bicycle is built and how to care for it. Riding keeps me alert of what’s around the corner and makes me slow down to appreciate the scenery. It is often the only chance I get a few uninterrupted hours to listen to a new album. It strengthens many muscle groups without destroying my knee. It keeps mileage off the car and gas money in my wallet. I may not know half of everything about bikes, but I do enjoy mine.
3. Optimus Prime 25th Anniversary G1 Reissue
I traded many old, miscellaneous toys for the same Optimus Prime I wanted as a six-year-old; all he was missing was the box. I watched the cartoon as a child, but didn’t follow the spinoffs and only saw the first two Michael Bay movies. I’m not a diehard Transformers fan, but this truck is as neat to me now as it was all those years ago. I didn’t take this picture and I forget where I found it, but mine has nice straight smokestacks and you get much better clarity in this shot.
4. Ayotte 12″x7″ Snare
What I don’t know about bicycles I make up for in drums. I could make an entire post solely on Ayotte, but a long story short it features some neat hardware and offers things even the local custom shops still can’t duplicate. This size is just right for my smaller stature, and there’s lots of beautiful snares out there that sound fantastic. However, in this I have the drum I want to come home to, use every day, and consider it to be my Excalibur.
5. Little League Baseball
I have baseballs that the coach gave to me as a momento for being the MVP of the day. I scribbled the team names and score on each one, but can’t remember anymore which team I was on. My favorite is actually a blank ball of the same type. This sat on my desk in Florida and is something I still toss to myself and use as a stress ball. Sometimes I pretend I’m Tim Lincecum or Dustin Pedroia. It’s cheaper than buying the T-shirts.
6. Adore, The Smashing Pumpkins
If I have to pick a favorite album this is a surprising one to many who know me well. Jimmy Chamberlin is a respected drummer and one I admire, and this is the group’s album on which he does not play. So why do I like it so? That also could be a post in itself, and maybe later it will be. For now, I really enjoy the loose narrative of love, loss, and mourning, and enjoy the solid but not overpowering playing from all involved. This album sounds like it was the one that involved the most thought, but the group claims it was actually the most rushed of their releases. This also isn’t my photo.
7. NECA Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Donatello
I did faithfully watch the cartoons as a child, as am very familiar with the plotlines of the first two movies. Donatello was the one that came to Florida with me. Not my photo either, but Talyn from FLICKR already made a perfect shot.
I like that the coloring of the NECA figures evokes this image from an old calendar I had.
8. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
I brought somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty books to Florida, and of all of those and the ones I read in high school, this is still my favorite work of recent/20th century American Fiction. For me, Steinbeck elicits a strong emotional impact and enduring characters in a plainspoken manner. His writing I find much more enjoyable than Faulkner’s, for example.
9. 2011 Hot Wheels Back To the Future DeLorean Time Machine
This would have been a runaway favorite toy of mine had it been around in my childhood. I had many Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars, but I remember still being all jazzed up when I got my hands on the Micro Machines DeLorean in the latter half of the 1990s. I remembered being a kid again when I saw this at the local Stop & Shop, and promptly removed it from the package and made it zoom around the coffee table when I got home. I bought two, actually. This isn’t my photo either, but blog-twentythree.blogspot.com uses a much better camera.
10. Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up, Dave Barry
This is a book I’ve read many times and still find amusing and inspiring. I was very interested in offbeat news as a young teen, and this is exactly what the book offers. Dave Barry’s humor is family-friendly without being too corny, and since he writes largely as a columnist, it inspires me to express myself in writing more frequently.