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  • Dan Cole

I'm a Teacher, Man

Wow, we're almost done with August already. How is this possible? Normally I'd be at the Delaware County fair flippin' burgers right now... Thanks COVID. Can that replace Thanks Obama? Maybe the new one isn't sarcastic enough. Either way, welcome back! It's been busy here, lots of behind the scenes work.

Big news for Lani and Big Fiction Energy! I just finished writing a bonus episode that will be a Patreon exclusive that tells the story of Jork! Don't worry, I know you won't want to miss it, you can become a Patron for a little as $1 a month, and get that bonus ep and all of our other Patreon content like other exclusive shows, weekly vlogs, and automatic entry into our monthly giveaway of an item from our merch store!

Ok, enough plugs, but seriously, I'm pumped for this bonus episode and more to come. Earlier this week I did an interview for Writehive.org about Lani. I was fortunate to get my book to be their Patreon book club book for August, and now those people get to hear me talk about it for almost an hour! It was super fun and I can't wait to hear what other people think of the story. Quick request- if you're listening to BFE, PLEASE leave a review on iTunes or Apple Podcasts, it is the biggest factor for helping other people find the show. If you like it, wouldn't you want others to find it and enjoy it as well? Eh? Thanks in advance!


Other news, we played the first part of our kobold-only adventure, Little Trouble in Big Absalom for the Lost Omens Podcast and it was a blast! Kobolds are so fun, and the fact we were all these little weird lizard people was so much fun. The first episode of Lost Omens is up on the Patreon already, so if you enjoy A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure, you can check us out learning a new game! The first few episodes are going on Patreon before we launch the game as a standard free show in the coming months. We want to work out some kinks and learn the game before it launched proper. Listen now and you can say "I knew them when."


I actually wrote a few 100 Days, 100 Words in the last few weeks. I'll do one for today as well and post it here. I'm writing this on Wednesday, so don't get confused by the date. As usual, those will follow the book review below.


Not much in the way of nerd news this week, lots of big announcements two weeks ago. I have gotten in a few games of MCP with the newest models- Green Goblin, Miles Morales Spider-Man, and Ghost-Spider, and man, it is the best game.


This entry's book review is of Frank McCourt's Teacher Man. That's right, I didn't read fiction for once! It's a memoir of, you guessed it, the author's time as an English teacher in New York City. That will follow the regular post here.



Guess that's about it for now, see you in two weeks! Don't forget to listen to Big Fiction Energy next Thursday, Chapter 16: Discoveries.

Thanks again!

-Dan


Teacher Man by Frank McCourt


This was a weird book. I mean that in an endearing way. As a teacher myself, I have felt for some time that it would be appropriate to read this. It has glowing reviews, every teacher has read it, you know the drill. I started this book a year ago. I read three chapters and was enjoying it, but then I stopped. Picked it back up about a week ago and devoured it.

If you read my last review of Slayer, you’d know I was angry at the literary world, so it was the perfect time to pick up Teacher Man. Frank McCourt tells his story of being an English teacher in Staten Island and Manhattan for 30 years starting in the mid 60s. His style is unique. Even though there is plenty of dialogue, he never once uses quotation marks. Everything is written as if he is sitting across from you, telling a story. At first I hated this. I had to really think about if someone was talking, or it was just narration. It didn’t take me long to realize it didn’t matter much, I’m sure most of the names are made up anyway. McCourt is trying to tell the story of him being a teacher, how he struggled, where he succeeded, all those tiny details aren’t important.

Parts of this book were real downers, people dying, stories of the kids lives outside of school, just life in that time in general. Other parts were fun and I even laughed out loud at times. Parts made me frustrated: when McCourt discusses how bad of a teacher he was, when he talked so nonchalantly about cheated on his wife during a cross-Atlantic trip, when he wrote about teen girl’s breasts. At the end, I appreciated his naked honesty and self depreciation. Other times he sounded like the greatest teacher: getting students to really open up, connecting with students on a different level, learning all the while to be a better teacher.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would like to read his other works, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Angela’s Ashes, his memoir of growing up dirt-poor in Ireland. If he told that story like he tells about his time working on the docks of New York, I’m down. I’m realizing that I enjoy stories of old New York. Will Eisner’s graphic novels about mid-century New York are fascinating. Stan Lee’s autobiography was eye opening. Guess I want more of that. Shoot me some recommendations!

All in all I give Teacher Man 4.5 sharpened pencils. I’m taking the half point because it just kind of ends.


100 Days, 100 Words


42: 7/26/20- “War and Peace 4”

While spending time with the native primals and learning about this part of the world. Ronan and his friends plan an attack to drive the elves from the forests. Allies from other parts of the continent arrive including Usarus, (bear primals), Aves (bird primals), and Bubalus and Rosebud, an unlikely pair of a hulking Bisotaur and his little Jackalope friend. The plan is decided upon and the primals attack with their Flatlander friends. Bubalus, a bison-centaur that stood over 7 feet tall, smashed through the timber walls of the elf compound and absorbed many arrows meant for the others. Lupine, Usarus, and Aves attacked from all fronts and the Flatlanders followed in Bubalus's wake. They were winning until the elves revealed an ogre waiting.

43: 7/30/20- “War and Peace 5”

The heroes did not hesitate at the presence of an elf-ogre. The monster was impossibly fast, had long claws and huge teeth. Quills sprouted from its head and ran down its back. Before it attacked, Thea hurled a war fan at the shaman that summoned it from a pit. Her fan buried itself deep in the shaman's chest, sped on by her powers over the wind. The monster leapt at her for killing its master, but its jaws closed on another. Hamish had thrown himself into the path of the beast. The monster bit deep into Hamish, its huge maw engulfing nearly his entire torso. The beast didn't get to finish its meal as two white blades bit deep into its flesh. It turned its attention on its attackers, Ronan and Gideon fought it together.

44: 8/11/20- “War and Peace 6”

Ronan and Gideon fought the elf-ogre to the best of their abilities. Blades flashed, blocked and parried claws. Many swipes got through. All three fighters were covered in cuts and lacerations. Finally, after minutes of intense fighting, the elf-ogre fell. Ronan and Gideon took a moment to catch their breath. The tumult of battle continued around them, but Thea kept them safe with twisting winds to keep arrows away. Bubalus used his huge body to keep other elves at bay. Ronan and Gideon nodded their thanks and prepared themselves for the fight of their lives. Amandil, the elf prince strode forward. He shrugged off his Lupine fur cloak and drew his curved saber. Ronan sensed it was gifted by the Sprites, not unlike his own blade.

45: 8/17/20- “War and Peace 7”

Ronan and Gideon faced down Prince Amandil. They all brandished Sprite-blessed weapons. They studied their opponents closely before anyone made a move. Ronan sensed Amandil's confidence, even against two opponents. Ronan though for a moment that their age could be an advantage, but then he realized that as an elf, age did not effect Amandil much.

The elf made the first move, lunging at the two, a gust of wind accompanying his swing. Gideon was buffeted back, and Ronan just barely got his sword up in time to parry the blow. For all of its Void-given strength and speed, even the elf-ogre seemed slow compared to the elf prince.

"Pathetic," Amandil taunted. He twirled his blade in a dizzying display and smiled. "The Void welcomes you."


46: 8/18/20- "War and Peace 8"


Ronan and Gideon fought to the best of their abilities while the battle swirled around them. Amandil had decades of skill, the speed of an elf, and a Blessed weapon on his side. Ronan and Gideon had a greater advantage though- numbers. For all his speed and skill, Amandil could not best two worthy opponents at once. Amandil saw this quickly, and his bravado diminished quickly. His curved saber licked out at Gideon, clanging against one of his horns, barely missing his face. Gideon took a step back for a moment, dazed. Amandil took the opportunity and dashed away. Ronan sped after him immediately and Gideon took up the chase a heartbeat later.



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