Another Dog (and Other Haikus)

Greeting Strangers

What an expression

peaked out from behind her hat

when I said hello.



A clip from the news;

a smile from a model,

but eyes full of tears.


Abandoned Tennis Court

Kids crawl through the holes

of the half-torn tennis net

on faded green paint.



Stuck in the third row

of my second seminar

counting bio-sheep.


Another Dog

He’s in a leash too,

leading his person down town.

Maybe I’ll say hi.



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I’m feeling quite sick today, so I’m posting a poem that I wrote initially a while back, and am still working on.

Claremont, CA

Most thoughts of days outdoors start at Memorial Park,

where the plains of grass span between the seas of trees

waiting for picnickers to unpack their plates of cheese

in the evergreen sunlight of a perpetual spring day.


But this day seems better meant for a stroll

down the way to the village, where the bustle

of busy people breaks through the monotony

of an otherwise boring afternoon.


If you’re in a rush, you might take a short cut down Yale

where the light mess of greenery dodges around cozy homes,

or take a run along Harvard, if you’re feeling competitive.

Still, I prefer to take Indian Hill, the main road,


where you can peer down a corridor of ancient arbors

and see history unfold between the leaves,

like dancers telling the stories of each incumbent

through the wordless steps of wind-riddled branches.



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Oy vey! It’s been a long Monday (Monday? Cassady it’s Tuesday. And it’s only 3:00 PM). Shut up I’m sleepy (just kidding I love you). I’m writing this on Monday at roughly 9:00 PM, since it appears that I have a few hours every night to myself, which means I should HOPEFULLY be able to keep up the blog. Though we are expected to be starting various projects for the workshop I am at (oh yeah, I’m at a publishing workshop at USC right now, hosted by the LARB), so it is quite possible that I will be busy with that at some point. Regardless, I am settling in well, though I do have some stories to tell you. We had two speakers today (yesterday), one was Richard Nash, who is a famous entrepreneur, and the other was Henry Jenkins, who has done quite a lot of work in the various multimedia industries (you can click on their names to learn a bit more about them and their work). Both talked about a lot of interesting things, which I might share at some point, but it is a lot to talk about in this short period of time that we have.

What I found interesting was the stark difference between the two speakers. Nash, who started our day off (after a long three hour introduction to the workshop), was lively and upbeat. He had a PowerPoint that was not your general “oh cool, another PowerPoint,” but rather a meaningful addition to his presentation. He spoke with charisma, and carried that general “TED talk” kind of air about him. In some ways, it felt more like a performance than just a presentation. To contrast this, Jenkins spoke really quietly and deliberately. Every…word…carried…some…heavy…weight…on…it’s…shoulders. Though he didn’t speak slowly, necessarily. It just felt like he was trying to slug through a dense forest, where Nash seemed to be surfing a clear wave.

That being said, both speakers were very intelligent in their areas. At first, I thought Nash was the more interesting of the two, but the more I think about it the more I come back to the ideas Jenkins brought up and find myself wondering.

OK, secondary side tangent, much less related to my academic experience. I am staying in the USC dorms, and they are quite nice. But it is four people split between two rooms, and somehow all three of my roommates (housemates?) are women. Not that I have a problem with it. It just seemed a little bit odd to me that the planners would do that. Then again, I think there are only something like 9 or 10 males out of the 55 people attending, so it’s possible I am just the odd man out. Does it seem weird to you? I certainly like my roommates, and fortunately I believe I am a genuinely respectful guy…but they couldn’t know that for sure.

Regardless, I am having a wonderful time at USC, and the campus is lovely. Look forward to haikus tomorrow!



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I received a letter from myself the other day. My high school biology teacher had my entire class write a letter to ourselves for our last assignment as seniors back then, which she then mailed out during these last few weeks of college (Yay! I’m graduating). Reading (or I guess technically rereading) that letter left me with a lot of mixed feelings. At the time I wrote it, I didn’t really know where life was taking me. I knew I was going to Cal Poly Pomona, though it was not my first choice of schools, and I knew I was in love with my (now ex) girlfriend. That was about it. I didn’t know I was going to be interested in writing. I didn’t know I would be working two jobs. I didn’t know that the grass really is greener from a distance than it is up close.

But all that aside, here we are today. I once again have no idea where I am going, or what I am doing. In some ways I have even less of a grasp on reality than I did then. Yet I know a lot more today than I did four years ago. I find it curious that, for all this reminiscing, the problems of my life are completely different. In that letter, I wrote about my love interest, my issues with my relationships, and my certainty of my own greatness. Today, I would write about the monotony of daily activities, the debilitating incapability that my generation faces, and the omnipresent desire (and impossibility) of being an individual in an ever-growing social world.

I recently watched an interview with Morgan Freeman, where he was asked if race plays a role in succeeding in one’s dreams in the present. He said no, which I found interesting, because in a way he is correct. It is true that, if you really try hard enough, eventually something is going to work. But at the same time, I’ve been at this blogging thing for a year, and I have only found minor success. Of course, I am a straight, white male. But to say race has no role in success is a bit unfair, don’t you agree? I mean, he said “we are proof” that race is not a major role player, which to me seems a little short sighted. There are only so many roles in Hollywood available, much like how there are only so many spaces available on a basketball team. To say someone can be a part of that miniscule percent of successful black actors “if they try hard enough” seems like a bit of a load to me. We can’t have 3 billion fulltime actors. It simply wouldn’t be sustainable. We would starve to death.

But success does seem like it is within all of our grasps if we can redefine success for ourselves. Perhaps success isn’t being famous, or accruing a fortune, but instead perhaps it is simply being happy with life. And while for many of us, that seems like it isn’t somewhere we are at currently, it is somewhere that we can strive to get to. Ok. Hopefully this somewhat sappy story has helped you in some way (I’m sure it has been a nice form of therapy for me somehow). Let me know your thoughts in the comments!



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Hello everyone,


So I guess this week’s theme is going to be gender bias, because this week back in school has just been stuffed full of them. Today I’d like to talk about how we deal with gender bias, because it can be hard to know the proper course of action—if there even is one. To preface this, the reason I’m still talking about this today is that, not 30 minutes ago, I was a witness to a horrible silencing of the female voice.

If you read my last talk about gender bias, you’ll notice I mentioned someone in class interrupting a woman while she was speaking. Well, that same guy today had to present with another woman. And I understand that presenting can be hard and intimidating for different people, but it was a quick presentation which was literally reading off of a paper, so both of them had equal ground to read a bit for the class. Instead of letting her read some, he stood there and read the whole thing. Even during the introduction, where each person is supposed to say their name, he cut her off before she could speak and introduced her. “Hi my name is [whatever the fuck] and this is [my partner’s name].” And it wasn’t fluid. Like there was a quarter second pause, so she inhaled to say her name, opened her mouth, and then suddenly his words were in the air. Which was grossly unfair to her.

Of course, it doesn’t seem fair to me to force the teacher to step up here. I mean, sure, it’s her realm of responsibility, but how do you point out one student’s mistreatment without making an entire class of student hate him? Personally, think it may have been right for me to say something. Something non threatening like “hey, what was your name again?” to the girl, so that she can speak for herself. And we should extend this kind of treatment to all people. I mean imagine if you seem someone in public who keeps getting cut off, or during a meeting at work. Isn’t the right thing to do to say “hey, what was it you were going to say?” And rather than blindside whoever was mistreating that person, bring the person who was being mistreated back into the world as a human being.

That being said, nobody did step up, and nobody did speak out and say “hey, what was your name?” Which is too bad. Step on is always to step up and speak though. If you don’t then who will? I would rather have a voice full of people who believe in me and are willing to speak out for me than a room full of people who are too afraid to say anything lest they be labeled something.

Anyways, that’s all the time I have to write today, but it seems simple to me. What do you think? Is it more complex than this? What if the context is different? Is it ok to let this kind of thing slide when your job is on the line? Let me know!


Hello everyone,


Alright, I don’t have much time to write so I’ll try to make this quick! Today is the first day of hopefully my last year as an undergrad at Cal Poly Pomona. Which is super cool. That being said, through my first three years of college I’ve learned a lot about the problems with this campus. The worst of the worst is parking. Which is something I’d like to talk about today a little bit.

Now, if you’ve never been to Cal Poly Pomona, you may be like “parking sucks everywhere, why does it matter so much at this school?” And that’s totally fine, because I’m writing about this to enlighten everyone to ways to improve parking problems. First and foremost, I need to explain the situation. Parking costs $134.00 per quarter. Which is pretty steep. $402.00 per year just to park in the designated parking on campus is not very affordable (not including summer parking). And Cal Poly has some 20,000+ students. Maybe more. Do the math. That’s over $8 Million per year. And sure, we need to pay for people who work here, but according to my discussion with the parking department, they are a separate entity from the school…so this $8 million doesn’t go directly to school funding…I’m not sure how many people work there in the parking services, police department, and so on, but I have to feel like $8 million is more than enough to cover costs. Even if everyone had $100,000.00 salaries, I can’t imagine one school needing 80 people working in parking. But people certainly don’t have that kind of a salary.

So…where does this money go? Well, as noticed this year, Cal Poly just got a second parking structure. Suddenly that money makes a lot more sense. It costs quite a bit to build a nice parking structure. Though the whole need for another parking structure arose because A) so many people attend Cal Poly and B) because the staff lot had to be demolished due to poor architectural planning on another building on campus.

Basically…there was a cluster of bad choices. But the worst is that all this new parking to accommodate people has left the campus’s “good” parking to be a full 15 minute walk away from most buildings. Not to mention traffic is hell on campus. I left at 9:15 for my class today, which started at 10:00. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to get off the 10 freeway at Kellogg avenue, based on where I live. I was late to class. And I’m seasoned at this, so I knew not to look for “good” parking, and instead just drive straight to wherever nobody would think to have parked—the brand new parking structure. Which is maybe a 3 mile drive from the exit, since it winds around. That took me a solid 30 minutes to travel. Why? Because there’s no space! There’s a one and occasionally two lane road all the way through, littered with terribly placed stop light, which are on terrible timers. When one person has to turn left, and it’s a one lane road, traffic backs up forever. This is so poorly planned.

But who suffers through it? Students. And nobody cares about students. So do I expect a change? No. Which I think is unfair. What do you think? Let me know!


Hello everyone,


The weekend has passed. School has started for quite a few people. Fortunately I have a few more weeks of freedom…er…10 days. Man 10 days until I go back to college, and I’m going to be spending most of it at work. In fact, I spent a large part of the summer at work. Thus is the life of a college student.

Of course, I’m not the only person that works pretty much year round, in fact, there are quite a few people who work non stop. Funny to think about it—in the United States, there are people who work every day of the year and still struggle to put food on the table for their families. Or even struggle to have a table. I’ve talked at length about income inequality and how it is completely unfounded in the US, which is the richest country in history, and I still stand by those points. That being said there is still more to say.

Which is the effects on people who struggle to put food on the table. First of all, there is the obvious one—that there will be a breakdown between family. It’s hard to expect “good kids” to develop when they have parents who are rarely around. Parents are a necessity to having a well-developed human being. In addition to this, it’s pretty easy for me to see why lower socio-economic citizens are the people who are stigmatized for being criminals. Why else would a person steal? Either greed or desperation—and anyone who thinks the poor steal because they feel greed is being unrealistic.

This breakdown at home causes breakdowns in other areas of life. Take school. Students of families who live this struggle often are expected to do more at home—prepare meals, do their homework without outside assistance, walk to school, and so on. Is it reasonable to put this responsibility on an eight year-old? I can tell you I couldn’t ask my ten year-old brother to do these things with confidence he would follow through on a day-to-day basis. And yet that is the world we live in.

Additionally, people in these communities often die younger and in worse conditions. Dying younger makes complete sense when you think about it. Non-stop work leads to mental and physical breakdowns. Think of those people who work 80-hour weeks. I work 30-40 hours a week, more if you count school as work (which many students do), and I feel drained after I finish working. Those people that work 16 hours a day, 5 days a week? Or the people that cut their weekend down so that they are spread slightly less thin daily? Those are the people who really have it bad. And to think, many of these people skip meals in order to make sure their children can eat, or get a present for their birthday. And yet, socialism—the system of government that can provide people like this with the necessary means to have a family without these same constant struggles, is often vehemently opposed by these people.

Why? Well, why don’t you tell me your thoughts on why! You seem pretty smart.


Hello everyone,


August down! Alright! Ok, so maybe that isn’t very fun for many of you. For example: students and teachers. Which I am one of. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your opinions), Cal Poly Pomona starts back in late September, so I still have some freedom. Today I wanted to talk a bit about the schooling system. Specifically, I wanted to talk about teachers.

I’ve had a lot of good teachers. In fact, I’ve only had a handful of teachers that I did not like. From the perspective of a student, it’s pretty easy to divide between “good teachers” and “bad teachers.” From the perspective of someone who was raised by teachers, it is a little less clear. For example, one of my “bad” teachers, according to my classmates, was actually a fine teacher. She was nice, and covered all the material in a way that was both engaging and interactive. However, for the most part, students I talked to were unhappy with her as a teacher. I think that this was because she was incapable of seeming genuinely interested in student livelihood. Teaching was a job, not a passion.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this teacher was one of the better teachers I’ve had at covering course material in a clear and easy to comprehend manner. Which means that students learn from more than just the presentation of course material. I now think to my favorite teacher ever, a nice man with a beard, shorts, and long socks. And a really solid memory. He was a history teacher, and to help us learn about the development of railroads he had us play a game over multiple class periods in which we developed and competed with each other in order to build the best railroad. At once, he taught us about the difficulties of railroad politics while also teaching us meaningful aspects of human interaction. In addition to this, he was a quirky person with a lot of love for his students. Before he retired, I one day found myself on campus to recruit for sports, and he remembered me well enough to pause class and ask how I was doing. Nothing extensive, but checking in because he legitimately cared to see how I was doing.

Which worries me, because I think this is something we are moving away from in schooling. Of the teachers I’ve experienced that are younger—as in, 30 or younger, there is this awkward problem for me. I know part of it is that every teacher needs to “get their legs” as people have put it, which can take a few years, but at the same time the problem felt like it may persist. Which is this sort of…by the books aspect to learning. While I don’t think standards are inherently a bad idea, they do create this weird teacher-student dynamic where a teacher has a set of guidelines and as long as they follow them, what the student does isn’t really relevant to them. There’s less focus on real learning, and instead a focus about putting information out into the air for students to (hopefully) grasp at. Which means that if a student isn’t sure which bits of the flurry of information are important, they will grab at it in one of two ways. The first being that they will grab for too much, and end up with their hands full, or the second way, which is where they don’t know what to grab for, and hesitate out of uncertainty. It takes a certain kind of student to grab accurately, but this kind of student is one in a million. And nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine students struggling to succeed when a bit more teacher caring is all it takes for them to try is all it takes is not much to ask of the schooling system.


Hello everyone,


How do you make new friends? And don’t answer, “I don’t,” that’s lazy. There has to be someone you met in the last few weeks that you didn’t know before. School is definitely an easier place to meet new people. I mean, classes change constantly—if you attend a school on the quarter system it happens even more rapidly. Sure, sometimes this means that if you don’t have the nerve to talk to someone, you never get the opportunity to get to know them, because 10 weeks passes by extremely fast. This happens to me quite often. I don’t particularly get outside my circle and talk to people. It seems weird to me.

Yet despite my best attempts I have made new friends this quarter. Because, ya know, people talk to me sometimes and it is rude to ignore them. I know a while ago I made a distinction between friends and kind acquaintances, which realistically is what these people start out as, but some of them have developed into friends. Take coworkers as an example. At my job on campus, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I was friends with anyone when I started. Now, the girl (gender doesn’t matter, don’t look into it thank you very much) that I work with is one of my better friends. I mean, we don’t go out for a beer ever, but we text a decent amount. I know enough about her life and interests to talk about her with other people. I’m also respectful enough to realize that as her friend I shouldn’t parade information about her around.

Of course, every social arena is different. My second job doesn’t particularly allow me the same level of friendship. I mean, I have made friends with my coworkers because I have been working there long enough, but more so I have made friends with regular customers. Working at a luxury hobby store means that the people who come in regularly are typically into a specific thing. Because I know my product well, I can relate to that thing, even if I am not extremely interested in it. The more consistently a regular comes in, the more we chat, and eventually I know something about them. One of my regulars has an interest in working with the IRS one day. Another is interning for the music industry. Another is lazy and smokes weed every day.

So there are different social arenas. Sometimes you have the choice to make friends, like at school. It’s really a question of whether or not you are interested in someone enough to talk to them. Other times, people are thrust into a scenario where they either become friends or hate each other. Finally, there are situations where people develop friendships unintentionally. Regardless, it is important to reckognize that these friendships provide every person something that is valuable—connection. Not just the connection like “hey, you work for the music industry and my other friend is trying to promote herself as a country singer, could you maybe give her a look?” But connection on a more basic level. They provide a sense of camaraderie, and likeableness, which when a person gets isolated often falls to the wayside. Sometimes a simple smile brought to someone’s face is enough to brighten their day in ways you can’t possibly imagine.


Hello everyone,


I’m guessing most people go through school, which means to some extent everyone has had interactions with teachers. Which means they know how authority works to some extent. There’s a push-pull to it, like with everything else. Sure, in college it’s well and good to have a friendly professor, and it is always nice to have someone to talk to on equal terms. In college, there’s a lot more room for equality between students and teachers because everyone is an adult. Still, some amount of dominance exists on the part of the teacher.

Take it back a few year, to high school, and suddenly things are much less equal. There are probably a couple teachers who treat students equally and are human with them. Most are probably as close to fair in terms of treatment and grades. But not all of them. Some people are just assholes. That’s unavoidable though—there are jerks in every social arena. Go even further back though. Middle school is often one of the hardest places for students to develop self-esteem not only because they are constantly being judged by their peers, but they also are too little to be taken extremely seriously by adults.

Most middle school kids are at the age where their mind has developed enough to recognize aspects of the world in a mature fashion, and even be able to comment on it critically to some extent. Unfortunately, they have not all developed enough to control themselves and act “maturely” in all social dynamics. This means a lot more name calling and acting out during class. I recall my own life in middle school, where I was a quiet outsider. I would watch kids laugh loudly at others, be self-centered, and not respect rules. Some of them were just as unruly and degenerate as that sounds. But many of them were not actually these kinds of people. They were smart individuals—and if you took the time to get to know them, they were actually quite nice people.

Of course, in class, if a student acts out they are disruptive and a general “bad” person. At least in the eyes of many teachers and certainly most administrators. Dial back a few more years to elementary school, where students only partially understand the rules. Or rather, they understand the rules, but only have enough self restraint to adhere to them part of the time. The disruptive ones get labeled immediately as “problem” children. Which is depressing, because they rarely actually are “problems” and rather do not have the cognitive understanding to control themselves fully. But many teachers punish this harshly, rather than find an outlet for it. By punishing students, the teachers create a dynamic in which the student feels like a failure—much like with grades. This categorization of students leads to repetitive expectations, and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The question then arises, how do you deal with a “disruptive” student at this young of an age group and still teach material? My favorite plan was one that my third grade teacher gave me as an option. I used to have a bit of trouble keeping myself still as a kid, though I don’t recall ever acting out. My teacher’s solution for this was to give me the option to run out to the playground, hit the tetherballs, and come back. No supervision, no warning, just “whenever you feel anxious or unable to keep yourself still, go ahead and do this.” That gave me power as a little kid. I could get up and leave! It was simple. It was reassuring. And most of all, it made me feel like a real person. So many students get lost as people because they are so busy being students. And its easier to let them fall behind as people to get the job done. But it is more meaningful to society as a whole if we take the time to remind people that they are not less of a person because they have a different biological make-up than “normal” students.