Monday, January 19, 2009


I am pleased to report I have my car back. It had been stuck at the Showroom since Saturday night. Why, you ask? You will learn in good time, but I must begin with Saturday morning.

The Augustine Project's SC chapter gets together once a month to discuss tutoring strategies and the progress of our students. I've been tutoring a sweet little girl over at E. P. Todd since November. Her name is Charli and she is the brightest, most cooperative pupil a tutor could ask for. Anyway, Saturday was "lunch bunch," as we call it, so I drove out to Traveler's Rest (where all the other SC tutors live). It ended up just being me and the director, Maxine Bennett.

Maxine is one of my favorite people. She is astute, compassionate, and driven. She works at the Camperdown Academy for dyslexic children, and is dyslexic herself. Anyway, we had a great time at Panera and she gave me lots of ideas for working with Charli. She also entertained me with fascinating details about how the English language gets its quirks. You know how it's the words we use the most often that seem to defy the spelling and conjugation rules? These actually tend to be the oldest words in our language, and have shifted over the years as speakers come up with easier ways to say them. (English speakers have always been a lazy bunch.) The way she explains it to students, she said, is by holding up her favorite Birkenstock so they can see the soles. "See here where the pattern is worn off?" she asks. "These old words are just like that. They got used so much the patterns wore off."

So interesting. Makes me want to study linguistics.

Home from that, I spent the afternoon cleaning and messing with my new banjo and then headed to the Nu-Way lounge for the Sparkle City Bloggers meet-up. That's always fun. (well, always as in the two I've made it to...) I met Chris of Flying Oskar, as well as Daniel of the Plastic Breech and Jim O'Donnell. And Steve's wife Erin, with whom I share a passion for knitting. Ironically, we were both sporting a pair of gray fingerless mitts. What's more, we both had knit the same pattern from the Winter 2002 Family Circle Easy Knitting. Dude.

Over fried green beans (delicious!) and beer (water for me), we discussed Spartanburg's strengths, failings, history and potential. As well as knitting, the "QVC for porn," music in the 90's, and sundry other topics.

Then I invited them all to the HUB-BUB's showing of the Petty Crimes Unit, a short film featuring all-local talent. Here's the trailer. We had a blast. A full house, free popcorn, pre- and post- show cop trivia, and a creative, hilarious film. Written and directed by Brad Tinsley, it was utterly silly and the ultimate spoof of all the 1970's cop shows. The lines were delivered to deadpan perfection by Tinsley, who played a mustachioed crime buster / rookie trainer, and Benny Lee Smith as the sensitive, determined unit captain. Jose Franco, also producer, completed the team in an unforgettable silent role. I was quite impressed by the script, the acting, filming, the use of music, and by the poster I got for free:

This little pic hardly does it justice. That thing's going on my wall.

About halfway through the video I noticed my camera was missing. Enough cause for alarm in its own right, it was especially worrisome since my car key, my only car key that actually unlocks the door, was hooked onto it. I conducted an unsuccessful search during the movie, trying to keep a low profile. I went out to the car to see if it was locked in there, but couildn't really see by the dim light. So after the movie I made an announcement (embarrassing!) and borrowed a flashlight. Sure enough, the camera was locked in there. Fast forward 45 minutes, a bent coat hanger, and some very helpful but ultimately unsuccessful friends (Thanks for trying, Blanchard!) The cops used to be willing to come out and use a jimmy stick for you, but apparently now it's too much of a "liability." Thanks guys. I'm sure glad I wasn't alone at night in some shady neighborhood. I didn't have enough money to call a locksmith, so eventually I convinced my dad to come pick me up. I decided the best course of action would be to go to the Toyota dealership and have them make me a new key from the VIN number. So that's what I did, yesterday.

It's actually kind of nice to have your favorite things taken away from you for a while. It makes you appreciate them that much more. (I'm certainly appreciating my laptop as I type this with numb fingers in the sunroom, snow looming in the windows...)

I can't wait to find out whether I got the College Town position. The interview was Friday and I think it went very well. Hopefully I'll hear back this week. If I don't get it, I'll surely want to know who did so I can hook them up with the student leaders I've been working with. One student group I'm particularly excited about have organized a monthly meeting known, presently, as the Spartanburg Student Convergence. The next one is this Saturday at Wofford. (Olin Theater, 2:00, in case you're interested.) From what I gather, it is an open forum for any and all college students interested in local matters and/or enacting change in Spartanburg. Curious non-students are welcome as well.

Oh, I'll be covering the college scene for the Spark, probably starting next week. Have any ideas for a column name? Have a scoop? I guess the convergence makes a good starter story.


  1. Wow, you were busy Saturday. I really enjoyed meeting you at the blog meetup. I wish we could have made it out to the film at Hub-Bub, but my girlfriend and I had already made plans. We've really got to get with it and start going to more of the cool local stuff down there.

  2. Hi! I noticed your comment on Dr. Vaneman's blog. How are you?


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