Monday, August 31, 2009

Mad Libs with 1st Graders, II

This week I enlisted help from students from other grades, mostly because the children no longer sit with just their classmates. Some of these answers come from first graders, some second, a fifth and other assorted ages. I hope you enjoy this one:

Vacation Want Ads

DRIVER AVAILABLE: Are you planning a trip to Melbourne? I will drive your bike. I am a person of cool character and a graduate of high school. I have been sleeping for twelve years.

MOTHER Susie offers you stupid accommodations in her weird home. Only $10 per human for food and breakfast.

DO YOU NEED A HOUSE SITTER? While you are running around the country, who is looking after your confused house? Burglars could steal your Playstation 2. Who will fee your zebras? We will swimmingly take care of everything. Call Apple Sitters Unlimited.

That's all for this week's installment, hope you liked it. I'll have a new one next Monday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mad Libs with 1st Graders

Now that I am doing after school programs for the town of Normal I figured I would take the opportunity to have some fun. To start off I've completed a Mad Lib using words given to me by first grade students. This was extremely difficult, mostly owed to the fact that the words "adjective," "noun" and "adverb" are completely lost on them. Next time I think I'll move up a grade. For now here's what we came up with.

It is often said that "a dog is a man's best Disney World." Dogs are very gross and can be taught many slimy tricks. A dog can be trained to carry a robot in his mouth. And if you throw this puppy, he will run and fetch it. Dogs will also bark crazily if someone tries to break into your IHOP during the night. One of the most popular canine pets today is the Cake Spaniel. Spaniels have curly pink and black coats and awesome ears. They also have very fat dispositions and live to be 110 years old. Other popular dogs are Cool Terriers, German G.I. Joes, and the Sad Poodle. Every home should have a loyal dog for a wizard.

I hope you enjoyed that, I know the first graders did when I read their work back to them. Hopefully I'll have some more of these soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 7: Results-Round Two

After one round things have been rather predictable, no huge surprises so far. Now that we're in deeper than that, and I've listened to everything many many times more things are getting interesting.

Here we go:

East Bracket
1. Anything You Want v. 4. Gamblin' Man
-Oh man, why this match-up? Why here? This should be the championship. There have been some close ones, but this is tight. In the end, I'm going with Limbeck, I'm pulling the upset. Things can only get crazier from here.

2. Heavy Metal Drummer v. 6. July! July!
-The Decemberists had a really good run, and my adoration for them will never fade I am certain. However, Wilco wins. Come on, did you expect anything else.

West Bracket
1. Lisztomania v. 5. Two Weeks
-So hot right now. They both have their own distinct flair and innate qualities that make me enjoy them individually. I am going to choose Grizzly Bear though, because I feel like "Two Weeks" has more staying power.

2. Sweet Talk v. 6. Coma Girl
-Joe Strummer's impact on music, and me personally are unparalleled, his work is so incredible. As far as my favorites go, DATH wins this battle and moves on to the next round.

North Bracket:
1. The Sound of Settling v. 5. 1400 Things to Be Happy About
-Wonderfully crafted pop songs, they have mixed messages but are undeniably fun. I think that Death Cab has to take this match up, pretty easily really.

7. Chicago v. 3. More Adventurous
-Another clash of titans; two incredible orchestrations of musical genius. I can hardly pick between the two, and doing so is almost painful. Rilo Kiley's song just sticks out more to me as the more beautiful song of the two. There was hardly anything between them though.

South Bracket
1. Love Song v. 4. Rich Girl
-I don't want to. I really don't. This match up has a clear winner, and it's not that hard. I just don't want to say it's "Love Song," but I did. There it is. Sorry Darryl and John.

7. Good Man v. 3. Wouldn't It Be Nice
-Josh Ritter could have cruised against anyone else in this bracket, but not against the Beach Boys. Pet Sounds is probably the closest thing to a perfect album I've ever heard, and this is just one shining example of that piece of work.

And there it is! Round two is complete, here is what it looks like now:

East: 4. Gamblin' Man v. 2. Heavy Metal Drummer
West: 5. Two Weeks v. 2. Sweet Talk
North: 1. The Sound of Settling v. 3. More Adventurous
South: 1. Love Song v. 3. Wouldn't It Be Nice

Leave some comments and let me know what you think of how things turned out so far.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 6: Results-Round One

On the first day of my epic battle royale which pits all of my favorite songs together for the chance at the coveted title of the one favorite song we see the East and West brackets squaring off.

East Bracket:
- 1. "Anything You Want" vs. 8. "Spoils of the Spoiled" - There was no contest. Spoils made a late second half charge but was ultimately overcome by how much Anything means to me.

- 2. "Heavy Metal Drummer" vs. 7. "Your English is Good" - I'll be damned if TPC doesn't keep my toe tapping all day. Toe tapping doesn't make for victories, however, just little pleasantries. Because this was the first Wilco song I ever heard and because it's still my favorite of theirs the decision was easy.

- 3. "Janet" vs. 6. "July! July!" - Ugh, not an easy choice. Currently I'm on quite a Decemberists kick, since I am going to see them in Indy but regardless I can't ignore the appeal of "Janet." I think I have to go with The Decemberists ultimately, but it wasn't easy.

- 4. "Gamblin' Man" vs. 5. "Dance All Night" - This was terribly difficult. Like all the others, combined, multiplies by two. How do I pick between these two? But in the end it's the unadulterated joy of Limbeck that wins against the sophisticated country-rock swing of Ryan Adams. That makes this bracket all chalk.

West Bracket:
- 1. "Lisztomania" vs. "River" - It's the chorus of "River" that becomes the gentle outro that makes this such a difficult decision. I love the jaunty dance-pop of the French rockers, but the Philly folk group is really putting up a fight.

-2. "Sweet Talk" vs. "Ragged Wood" - I really like DATH and this song kind of got me in to them. Fleet Foxes have a lot of good songs, and this one comes up a lot like My Morning Jacket in my mind. I think "Sweet Talk" wins this one by knockout.

- 3. "Cannibal Queen" vs. "Coma Girl" - This is our first upset. I love the chugging guitar of Miniature Tigers, "Cannibal" is a pop gem, but you just can't beat Joe Strummer.

-4. "My Friend" vs. "Two Weeks" - Dr. Dog put two songs together in "My Friend" something I am not averse to, but I just can't refuse the goodness that is "Two Weeks." This bracket is just full of upsets.

North Bracket:
-1. "The Sound of Settling" v. 8. "Grenade Jumper" - No contest. It's always nice to hear my old favorites, like FOB, though.

-2. "This is Not an Exit" v. 7. "Chicago" - Another one-sided battle. Especially with anticipation building for the Sufjan concert in Champaign.

-3. "More Adventurous" v. 6. "Checkmarks" - This bracket has been a breeze. I just bought "More Adventurous" on vinyl and that only solidified the pick for me.

-4. "God and Mars" v. 5. "1400 Things to be Happy About" - Once again the vinyl made the difference. This one was close, real close, but since I now have "Making Beds In A Burning House" on wax Troubled Hubble gets the nod.

South Bracket:
-1. "Love Song" v. 8. "California" - I thought that I burned myself out on "Love Song" and that "California" would have a good chance in this battle. Nope, I still have feelings for Sarah Bareilles I guess. "Love Song" takes this one.

-2. "Stay Where You Are" v. 7. "Good Man" - Oh, this one was hard. Really hard. These two have tremendous staying power for me because they are both really good songs. I wish they didn't meet in the first round. I decided to go with Josh Ritter instead of Ambulance LTD.

-3. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" v. 6. "Anonanimal" - These two artists are pretty similar, they use harmonies expertly, be it stringed or vocal, these two both create lovely pop gems. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is a timeless, nearly flawless piece of work; likewise, "Anonanimal" is a real gem among Andrew Bird's work. Time, however, is on the Beach Boys song, unfortunately for Andrew Bird.

-4. "Rich Girl" v. 5. "All You Wanted" - My soft spot for female vocalists has been noted previously in this group, but my soft spot for eighties pop has been substantiated. No longer will it remain in the dark shadows of my guilty music listening: Hall and Oates win!