Thursday, October 7, 2010

State of the SoaM

I've been doing this blog for a long, long time. It's the longest running thing I've ever done. Tomorrow is the four year anniversary of this thing. I started it when I was a Senior in high school, and here I am, a senior in college. I'm married, I'm just about to become a teacher, and I am no longer a teenager.

Because of my change in life status--marriage, college senior, future teacher--running this blog is becoming more and more difficult. I have put a lot of thought into this, and I feel like this is the right move. As of today, I am retiring Scribblings of a Madman. It's been a long and good run, and I feel this is the right moment.

Don't take this to mean I am giving up on writing. Far, far from it. I have stories currently out and under consideration at lots of places. However, I feel like I've just been limping this thing along for a while, and I'd much rather spend what little spare time I have working on my craft than plunking out an entry here. It's been a ton of fun, very therapeutic, and I've met a lot of really cool people. But since this has become more of a chore and an obligation, I feel the time is now, let's end this puppy on a high, as it were.

I want to thank you all for reading this for so many years. For caring about what a silly, lonely, high school senior had to say. Thank you for the support in my writing, and I wish you all the best luck in the world.

(I reserve the right to pick this back up at any moment without warning. I am King here at SoaM. I have the right. Nya nya. :P But I don't see that happening right now.)

Good luck with everything you do. I wish you only the best.

Thank you, and goodnight,

Jason Rayburn

Friday, September 3, 2010

Therapeutic Ramblings.

So, things have been going very well for me. I finished a short story and I've mailed it off--regardless of whether it's accepted, that is something that I very rarely do and I'm proud that I've accomplished my goal. I have another story I need to edit, but I've got the itch to be creative, so I'm trying to write another short story first. I've got an idea, but it's a bit difficult to pull off so far. I had a bit of luck yesterday--if I didn't break through my writer's block, I at least shoved it a few yards away from me.

Besides writing, though, things have been going very well for me. Last semester was an exercise in torture, depression, endurance, and...just...bad things. I was still recovering from car accident, I probably should have taken a semester off, but I didn't want to fall behind--I wanted to make sure I could graduate on time so that I could take care of Darling Dearest. Because of my decision, I was basically taking two semesters at once. I took all 3 of my major education classes in the same go, so I was loaded down with a full schedule, PLUS make up work from the previous semester, PLUS another extra 20 hours of teacher observations due by the end of the semester. It was...hard, to say the least.

After all of that work, I still only failed one class. I have never failed a class. This was a devastating blow to me.

This semester, however, I am doing much better. I'm re-taking the class I failed, and with my other classes, I owed 1 more extra credit hour. I worried about that one hour--I was afraid I'd have to stay an extra semester and graduate late and become what they jokingly call a "super senior" (a senior who has stayed an extra semester or year--which apparently happens A LOT here). It was nothing to worry about, though. I checked with my adviser, and I am now working on our university's literary journal. WHOO! This is fantastic because 1) it's work I really love, and 2) it's exactly 1 hour--just what I need.

Financially, despite a rough summer where I worked at a fast food restaurant, burned my hand, burned my eye lid, and had to buy expensive new shoes that worked no better than the ones I had, we are now much better off. I lost my scholarship (because of the 1 failed class...ever...) but I got enough other financial aid to not only take care of my debts, but also give me much much money in a refund.

With all of that said, I'm still worried. Things have been going to so well, but I still have to take a few tests that will qualify me to get my license to teach. This worries me because the one that's vital for my internship next semester is my content knowledge. If it were English--writing and grammar, I wouldn't be too worried, but it also includes literature. Since the English literary world is thousands of years old, I'm starting to panic. I've already read Catcher in the Rye, so now I'm going through and reading/rereading classics that I don't feel I read well enough for my exams. Jane Austen, I'm about to get to know you very well. Mark Twain, we're gonna become chums. F. Scott Fitzgerald, you and I will boogie our way through the Jazz Age, and I better get my hands on some William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck soon, too, I guess. I'm also gonna read Dracula, possibly the Invisible Man, and Lord of the Flies. So...much...reading.

Of course, this is my panic state. Probably an over-reaction, but I feel so vitally unprepared for what I'm about to undertake. I'll probably calm down in a few days/weeks, but then I have another heap of problems and that's where I'll be living when I become a teacher. Originally, the plan was to stay here where my wife could continue her education, but we're thinking of transferring to a slightly bigger town/metropolis area where one of my best friends lives. I'd LOVE to move there, but I'm nervous I won't get hired, and where I get hired dictates where I'll live, and where I live has to be decided before school restarts in the fall and AND AND--

*sigh* Deep breath, dude. We can do this.'s where I stand right now. This is mostly just therapeutic ramblings on my part. I'm sure (read, I hope) I'll figure everything out and everything will turn out okay.

Okay...I better sign off before I make this any longer. Cheerio!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Something I forgot to mention...

When I posted that about Scott Pilgrim yesterday, I meant it. It is a phenomenal movie, especially to my generation. I hope it goes down as one of my generations classics, like The Breakfast Club in the 80's and Clueless in the 90's. Scott Pilgrim, of the 2010's, is absolutely awesome. Stylized? Oh yeah. But it was a nerd's paradise of a movie.

However...I may have OVER praised it just a little when I said it and Inception were my two favorite movies of the year.
It's funny. It's amazing. But...Inception has one contender for favorite movie of the year for me...


In 1995, history was made when the first CGI animated movie was introduced into the world--also the first movie in a, what is now famous, animation company. I'm, of course, talking about Toy Story and Pixar respectively.

I had to put into perspective how old Toy Story is. See, the thing is, it doesn't seem that old to me. However, think about this: I am a Senior in college. When Toy Story came out, I remember being in the second grade and reading my class the Toy Story children's book. SECOND GRADE! I saw 7. Now I'm 21.

Of course, when I saw the trailer, I couldn't help but feel a sort of chest-tightening fear. A sequel? Oh great. Spider-Man 3...Shrek 3...I had not had great experiences with "3" movies. But, of course, it was Pixar, and they are sort of the last word on touching, heartwarming family movies.

Toy Story 3 is about what Toy Story 2 leaves laying far in the distance. The toys know Andy will grow up some day, but they're perfectly happy to be there for him for as long as they could. In Toy Story 3, Andy HAS grown up, and is moving away to college. It's really powerful to see how many of the old toys have gone away--the gang has been whittled down to a lonely few. One toy in particular (I won't spoil which) I found particularly sad to be missing.

I'm sure you know the rest of the idea from the trailers: *do not read if you haven't seen the trailers and don't want ANY idea of what it is about at all* the toys are donated to a daycare, the daycare is not so good, and the toys learn that Andy does, in fact, want them.*end spoilers*

This movie has so amazing. I catch myself using the word powerful a lot, but there's something you don't understand. When I read a really good story--not just good but REALLY GOOD--I get this feeling in my back and chest. A sort of tinging sensation that two parts awe and one part jealousy. This movie, from first moment to last, did that to me. It gets surprisingly intense, and that's one of the best things about it. It doesn't pull punches. It explores what it means to be a friend, and what true loyalty is. It tests things, strains partnerships, and really digs into the meat of what it's like to be human, all while telling a beautiful final chapter to a story that many have literally grown up with.

Go see this movie. I honestly think it's better than Inception, and I LOVED Inception. If you have to see three movies this year, THIS BETTER BE ONE OF THEM.

The fact that Andy is going to college at the start of the movie is one of the things that tugged at me the most. I knew exactly what it felt like to have to look through my old toys and decide what they're fate should be--and that feeling was only heightened by the acute awareness that they might worship me like their own personal god (thanks Pixar! :P).

The ending of the movie is one of the most satisfying conclusions to a story I've ever witnessed.

In closing, the three things on your mind, movie-wise this year:

1. Toy Story 3
2. Inception
3. Scott Pilgrim

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Scott Pilgrim

Do you like video games? Do you like punk rock music? Do you like stories about personal growth and the value of experience and how those experiences help us in our growth? Go see this movie. Go see it now. This movie and Inception are my two new favorite movies of the year.

My wife loved this movie more than any other movie she's seen. She loved it more than Shaun of the Dead--another Edgar Wright movie.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Have News!

It's been a long time, and I have a ton of news. Lots of news.

The last time you heard from me was Spring Break. Darling Dearest was in rehab, I was concerned with make up work and finals, and I wanted to write some. Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to write. I spent most of Spring Break reading the last two books of the Twilight Saga because of Darling Dearests urgings. I didn't work on my make-up papers (which I should have) and then I returned to school.

A couple of weeks later--April 1st--I turned 21. It wasn't a big deal. I've never really cared about drinking one way or the other. I had never had a drink up until that point (except for an accidental sip when I was little and thought it was Peach Nectar and not a peach wine cooler), so I didn't rush out and celebrate with a giant bash. As a matter of fact, I stayed in all evening and frantically worked on my make up work.

The next day, however, was much more eventful. Darling Dearest got out of rehab! Thankfully, it was before the 10th of April, which is our anniversary of the day that we started dating. We had a lot of fun, and then the big day came. April 10th, 2010. One year from the day we started dating. 1 year of ups and downs, comedies and tragedies. And it happened. We got married. It was a very small ceremony at my grandparents. She looked beautiful in her little white dress we got.

The same day we got married, we moved into our new apartment. We are now completely on our own.

We've been married for a little over a month, and it's been amazing. I never thought I could love someone so much.

I don't want to get too mushy and such, so I'll just say that this was literally the best decision I have ever made.

Darling Dearest still has a few problems--she walks with a limp, her left hand isn't QUITE as steady as the other, and she can't really raise her left foot up. However, she's come SO FAR in such a short time that I can hardly complain. Also, she's been playing Guitar Hero to help her coordination in her left hand, and we're going to the gym at our apartment complex to build strength and help her work on her walking more. In addition, we're looking into some outpatient rehab.
So...that's how things are. You are now up to speed. Thankfully, I managed to make it out of the semester alive...although not without a few problems involving my scholarship. But that is all going stuff that we'll deal with as we can. I'm so glad to have the summer to spend with my new wife.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Before I do anything else, I just wanted to let you guys know how Darling Dearest is doing. She's doing great. She's been moved to Stage II rehab, and she's making a fast and amazing recovery. We're hoping she'll be out by early April...but it might take a little bit longer. Even though she's able to walk with a walker with amazing accuracy, they only just let her do it full time, and she still has to have someone watching her inside and touching her outside. She feels that a bit unnecessary, and since I've taken her out a few weekends, I would agree to a certain extent.

Okay, so update over, onto the original reason for me writing this:

Tomorrow is the first day of spring break. (I always count Friday evenings. Why wouldn't you? that's quality time to stay up late and not worry about opposed to normal weekdays were I stay up late and not worry about class...) So what does the first day of Spring Break mean? Well for one thing, I get to see Darling Dearest, for another thing, I get a chance to hopefully wipe out the remaining make up work for my classes last semester, but also it's a chance for me to relax away from the pressures of class and the demands of teacher liscenship.

I've got big plans for this week. As I've already stated, I'm going to wipe out my make up work. I also plan to sleep and read a lot. And write. Yes. Write. Something that has been eaten by the pressures of reassembling my life after my accident. I want to use this week to finish a short story. I want to have a short story done, edited, and ready for mailing off when I get back to school. Will it get accepted--probably not. It'll probably suck. But I want to use this prime opportunity to WRITE.

Wish me luck.

On a side note, wish me luck on finding an apartment as well. Darling Dearest and I are looking for one for when she gets out of rehab. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good News!

Actually, it's great news! ...actually, it's fan-freakin'-tastic news!

Darling Dearest has gone to a two week rehab session, and has successfully finished. Now she moves on to the more intensive and prolonged rehab. But that's great! Because she's out of the hospital! Wahoo!

Other than that, I really nothing to add. I've been trying to make up my finals and essays and final projects from last semester.

I do have some pretty cool news though: Author John Green has had a baby! Henry Green was born a few weeks ago.

Other than that...I've finished reading Looking for Alaska. I liked it very much. Not as much as Paper Towns, but very much indeed. Now I'm working on Catcher in the Rye and Children of Jihad. Strangely enough, I started reading Catcher before he died.

That's all for now.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last post. At first I was waiting for my second day of classes so I could give you a first impression run down of how those were. Then I was waiting because I had so much make up work. Then I was waiting until I got back for the week from my trip home. Now? I'm writing the post, so all is good!

So, I'll start with my classes.

Systems of Grammar: This is easily the classes I'm the most disappointed in. I mean, while it's fascinating to learn how all of the different dialects of the country have a specific reason for their language being structured the way it is, and while it's interesting to learn how languages--specifically English in this case--change through the years, it's mostly Hippy Dippy Grammar Part II. One of my biggest fears about entering the teaching field as a high school English teacher is that I won't know enough about grammar to be an effective teacher. I'm afraid that I won't remember what participle phrases are, what prepositions are, or how to recognize passive voice. I really wanted Systems of Grammar to be a back to basics teaching of the mechanical workings of English grammar...but it's not. I guess I'll have to go ahead and buy some grammar books to refresh myself on the subject before I graduate.

Classroom Application of Educational Psychology: This class seems to be an exercise in redundancy. It's supposed to point out things that are obvious, but that we just haven't given time to think about them. To me, though, it seems like a waste of a class. I realize that kids from strict, authoritarian families are going to be more likely to be passive and prefer structure and being told what to do, while kids from neglectful families or families who make the rules together are going to want fewer rules and less structure from the teacher. I realize that I, as a teacher, have to be sensitive to each student's need as an individual. So...this class makes me sleepy.

Adolescent Development: Is taught by the same teacher as the previously mentioned class, so it's just as boring, and, for now at least, is covering the same material as the other class. I know that the other class is reviewing this a little before moving on to other stuff, but both seem to be a bit redundant. Nevertheless, they're required for my major, so take them I must.

Adolescent Exceptionalities: This class is much more interesting than the other two classes about adolescence. For one thing, the teacher is much more engaging and entertaining. For another thing, the class doesn't point out the obvious, it's about the out-of-the-norm cases. My only beef with this class is that I have to have 10 hours of observation time with an "exceptional" child, which is going to put me in a bit of a crunch with my other class--"Application of Educational blah blah blah"--because I need an additional 10 hours of observation with a high school teacher in the field I will be teaching, AND two videos of me student teaching a class. In addition to the 10 hours with the exceptional student, I'm also expected to write a 15 page paper about the experience by the end of the year. BLARG!

British Literature since 1800: It goes without saying, I enjoy this class. We're starting with Jane Austen's Emma, which I like so far. I've had this teacher before, so I don't think I'll have much to complain about in this one class.

Besides all of the work I'm expected to do for the classes listed, I also have to make up two final exams, finish my poetry portfolio from last semester, write two final papers (6-8 pages each), and make up all the assignments I'm missing for my Technology class. I have a LOT of work to do. Stupid car crash.

On the good news front, I've had two of the most amazing days with Darling Dearest ever. She's not in rehab yet--she developed a little fluid on the brain, so they did a procedure to drain it. However, she's since recovered and is doing leaps and bounds better. She's regained memories that I didn't think she'd every remember, and her personality is finally almost completely back. For example, she misses me, which is something I haven't heard in a while. She calls me all the time now, and that makes me happier than I ever thought I would be ever again.

I also, in my infinite wisdom, decided to purchase a camcorder. I'm very excited that it will be arriving soon (might already be here...although I may have to wait until Tuesday to get it if the Post Office is closed

So that's the news so far. I plan on spending my Martin Luther King, Jr. Day working on all of my make up work and praying that I can get it out of the way before the work piles on from my other classes. Then, if I make significant enough progress, I'm going to see Darling Dearest in the hospital because I have no classes tomorrow! Whoo hoo with going to see loved ones.

So that's all for now. Remember to leave cookies and milk for Martin Luther King, Jr. so he can leave you presents and freedom under your tree.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Moving Day!

If you're reading this, then it's moving day and I'm on the way back to college. The hilariously sad part of this particular moving day is that, should things work out the way I want them to, I'm moving up to college today, and I'll be moving again at the end of the month to my awesome new Apartment of Awesomesnaps (TM). So, yes it is a bit of a wasted effort, but I also need to have a place to stay for the next two weeks.

I gotta say, it's a bitter sweet feeling going back to college. I do like college, I like living on my own (no offense to my family. They're fantastic and have been amazingly supportive during for the past month, but I do like having my independence back), but I will also miss my family. We've kinda reconnected a bit since my accident. It's the kind of experience that brings any family together.

One of the most surprising (and strangest sounding surprises) is that I really like my brother. I mean, I've always loved him, and I've always been there for him, and he for me as well, but I caught just a glimpse of the man that he's turning into, and I'm very pleased. I think he'll do great in this world. He graduates this may, can you believe it? Well...I mean, I'm sure you can. You don't really know him at all. But trust me, if you knew him, and you were his brother, you would not be able to believe how fast he's grown and you'd probably be astounded that he's going off to college in the coming August as well. I'm very proud of him.

The other bitter taste to the sweetness of independence is independence without Darling Dearest. She's not going to be there, and even though I've gone to college for several years without her, I can't imagine how I did it, and I definitely can't imagine how I can go back. The one cooling salve to that sting is that she will only be an hour from me because she got accepted to a very exclusive rehab program and will be soon getting training in all of her physical and mental skills. It's a 2 week program that is pretty hardcore, and then she'll be sent for a more prolonged stay at another rehab institution. But the fact that in just a little over a month, she's already come back this far is astounding and I'm impressed more everyday by how amazing she is. [/awestruck]

Anyway, so as I was saying, I'm moving today. And then moving again at the end of the month, but to my Apartment of Awesomesnaps (which will eventually get a much cooler name).

On resolutions news, I'm doing okay.

Health wise, I almost don't even need my cane anymore. I darted across the room the other day without it to clean up a spill in the living room. It was a little uncomfortable afterward, but it means I'm aaaalmost ready to be totally caneless.

Reading wise, I have started on the Twilight saga, which is much, much better than I first gave it credit for. Of course, the movies are vile pieces of garbage that should never see the light of day, but the books are pretty good. It is kinda creepy that Edward is so very old compared to Bella...who is but 17 (*coughpedophilecough*), but I guess love comes in all forms. And I am...shamefully...Team Edward. There I said it. I have finished Twilight and New Moon, and since I do not have Eclipse or Breaking Dawn (or as my brother so elegantly retitled it, Breaking Wind), I have moved on to Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

I didn't think I'd like it as much as I liked American Gods--and I really liked American Gods--I'm not hooked into Stardust as well, and look forward to finding out more about Tristan Thorn and his adventures in Faerie. So, two so far with number three closing in fast. After Stardust, I will move onto a non-fiction book called Children of Jihad in my ongoing efforts to read outside of my norm (fiction), and in my ongoing efforts to keep myself informed.

Writing wise, I've been doing okay. Just working on notes, and came up with an idea that should have been obvious from the get-go, but was not so obvious for some reason (I don't understand my thinkings!!). I have trouble nailing this one down, and just thought of more things this evening that I missed in my earlier drafts of my outlines. Don't want to talk about it too much. I always wind up not finishing them.

Homework wise, there is nothing to report. I have not been back to school yet.

So, anyway, that's how my Sunday is going to be going--moving, unpacking, tidying up, etc. How has your weekend been?