We use names to remember people

To mark places on the map

We use names to honor heroes

To remember tragedies of the past


Names are power

Names are strong

Names last years and years

Names last too long


We use names to hate

To label groups we fear

We use names to separate

To hide what we don’t understand


What names do you use to discriminate against others or make them feel bad? Racist, sexist, homophobic names are common–what can you find?

Burn Tower Room* Description

Dark smoke and the heat of fire press against the concrete walls, crowding into every corner. Crawling into the burn tower under thick, low-hanging smoke and oppressive heat, the trainee finds herself unable to recall the pleasant daytime weather outside. She follows one of two fire hoses laying on the gritty cement floor, around a partition on the left, and towards a firefighter several feet ahead. He holds the nozzle of the fire hose and aims it at the far left corner of the room, fifteen feet in front of him, where a fire sends flames bursting toward the ceiling. Smoke and heat wafts through a small window cut into the concrete wall on the left, just a few feet above the kneeling firefighter and trainee. Despite this opening, the thick smoke causes the room to maintain a hot, gray darkness. The walls and floor of the room, giving the illusion of a cool basement, are steaming in places and firelight flickers against them.  In alignment in the center of the room are two large, square concrete pillars, where a congregation of trainees crouch low under the shadow of smoke and look to the right. A fire pulses with inescapable heat in the far right corner, matching its twin to the left, and another firefighter aims her nozzle of the second fire hose aimed at this fire. Together these fires create smoke in such great quantities it crowds itself down from the ceiling, hot and thick, and leaks out of the window, entry door behind the partition, and through a wide, dark doorway set into the right wall.  The trainees and their instructors are constantly restrained by the unrelenting heat and suffocating thickness of smoke.

*The burn tower is a building used for firefighter training.


Author’s Note: This is a description of a burn tower room I was in during a fire behavior lecture at a summer camp that allowed me to get hands-on training in a lot of firefighting things.

Exercise Motivation Tips

Very few people want to actually take the time to work out. However, if you want to be a firefighter or paramedic then you definitely need to! Here are some motivation tips to get you up and moving when you’d rather me snoozing.


1)Use exercise itself as a reward. Rewards like food aren’t the best bet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight by exercising. And if you’re like me, you’d just eat the reward and have no need to do the exercise anymore! I personally have days where I’m depressed and I just stare at my dumbells and wish they would catch on fire. But I also know that exercise releases dopamine (basically your brain’s natural “happy drug”) and clears out all your stress hormones, so when you are done exercising you’ll actually feel less depressed than you were when you were thinking about how you REALLY did not want to exercise.


2) If you feel like working out, then do it! Stop whatever else you’re doing, if at all possible, and go work out. Chances are that that motivation won’t last until you’ve finished whatever task is at hand. Make yourself a note of what you were doing and drop and gimme twenty!


3) Imagine yourself in an adverse situation. Say you’re running and you feel like your heart is about to give out. Unless you have a heart problem, imagine that you are running from a burning building, imagine that the fire is chasing you out and that the heat is so close to your back that until you get to the *set point you want to reach* you can’t stop or you’ll die. Or, do one more push-up becasue you know someday your buddy is gonna need a lift out of a building and you HAVE to be able to pull them out.


4) Look up stuff like the firefighter physical ability test and see what kinds of things you’ll be required to do on the tests that are required by a fire department you’re interested in working for. If you have a set goal–“I want to be able to pass the CPAT–you are more likely to complete it rather than thinking abstractly, “I want to be a firefighter so I’m going to do one hundred push ups.”



No God

There were three men*

Standing around my bed

Where I lay to die

Without a second try

Let me be lost

They said to their boss

There is no place in heaven for her

She never believed in any god

So pass through darkness

For eternity

Pass through these last moments

In regret

Pay for your sins

Let it go as it is or

Let God in

Stop these sins

And on my dying breath

They tried to make use of my distress

I don’t want to beg for forgiveness on a life well led

I know I was good, so let me rest

This is the end, I’m ready

And my beliefs are steady

I have done my best

This was a life well lived

And now it is over


*I never noticed this was like the father, the son, and the holy ghost. That’s not really what I meant at the time I wrote the poem, and it’s not really in line with the rest of the poem, is it? But I decided to leave it because it amuses me that I wrote three men without meaning to make a religious reference. At the time the image was a doctor, a nurse, and a chaplain.

Oh, Empty Coffee Mug

Oh empty coffee mug

How I miss your contents

They tasted so good

And kept me alive through noon

Oh empty coffee mug

Why do you hate me so?

How I miss your contents

I shouldn’t have let them go

Now it’s four pm

And I don’t have the slightest whim

Of how to keep myself alive

Till five

There is no vending machine

With high sugar drinks

And people keep calling

With their menial problems

So I can’t get up and buy myself

Another coffee

Nothing can replace what you once held,

empty coffee mug.


I really am dying here.

Fooly Cooly fanfic

The sunset sparkled on the river’s waters, and slower traffic rumbled over the bridge as the day ended. Mamimi clicked a few pictures of the river, snap, snap, snap. She would have to get them developed at the camera store…it would probably be expensive. She’d just have to get some old bread to eat from Takkun’s bakery.

She put her camera back in her blue bag, the white cross on the front making her smile. Seeing it reminded her of Cantido, the God of Black Flame, from her game. Mamimi pulled the red portable game out from under her cameras, and switched it on.

“Having fun, Sameji?”, a snotty voice called behind where Mamimi was crouching, “You always like that kid stuff.”

Mamimi turned around, tucking her game back in her bag. She didn’t say anything back to Miyako Yamato. She couldn’t think of anything.

When Mamimi didn’t react, Yamato chose another tactic, “So, why do you bleach your hair? You should grow it long, and leave it black. Or are you ashamed of it, Sameji? It’s black, just like everyone else’s, isn’t it, Sameji?” Yamato flipped her own smooth, black hair over her shoulder.

“I don’t care what you think about my hair,” Mamimi said softly, turning away and starting to walk past Yamato. Her stomach churned. How was this going to end?

Yamato’s grip was strong, and even when Mamimi tried to fight it, Yamato dug her finger nails into Mamimi’s arm. “Oww!”

Yamato dragged Mamimi backwards, toward the river. She tore off her bag, and swung it into the river. “My cameras!” Mamimi cried, tears coming to her eyes. She lunged herself at the bigger girl, her fist tight, but small and slow.

Yamato tripped her, shoving her into the muddy river water. “Stay where you belong, Sameji.”, Yamato ordered, “Wherever that is,” Yamato turned and walked away.

Mamimi started twisting her skirt to get the water out, not caring if anyone saw her.

The bag was soaked completely through. Water poured out of it as Mamimi pulled it out of the water. She waded back to the bank, loosing one of her shoes in the river.

Mamimi pulled her camera out of her bag, opening thee film compartment. Water leaked out of it. She dried the red game on the dry part of her coat, then stashed everything back in her bag and started walking.

Where, Mamimi Samejima did not know.


I’m finally dry, Mamimi thought, walking along the highway. Her bag of ruined belongings thumped her bare thigh, and she shivered at the touch of the still-wet bag. She pulled a wet and wrinkled cigarette out of her pocket, the words ‘never know best’ handwritten on it smudged from being wet.

She flicked the back of the lighter, once, twice. For a minute, Mamimi held it there, until the cigarette finally lit. As it burned, it smelled worse than normal. It was the strong kind of cigarette. The kind that Takkun hated her smoking.

Tasuku, do you remember me?, Mamimi thought, wishing her thoughts could reach across the ocean to America, where her boyfriend was playing baseball. Every time she thought about Tasuku, it hurt her and comforted her. She liked to think that Tasuku was waiting for her, but she knew that wasn’t true.

He was moving on.

To cope with being left behind, Mamimi started hanging out with Tasuku’s younger brother, Naota. She even went so far as to call the grade schooler by the same nickname she had given Tasuku—Takkun. Sometimes, when she thought about Takkun, Mamimi wondered whether or not she was thinking of Tasuku or Naota. Both had stayed with her, and both would leave her behind.

Halloween 2014

Excellent. I went out dressed up as a Correctional Officer last night for Halloween.


My dad was a correctional officer and I’ve always been proud of the fact that he did such a difficult, stressful job. My friend dressed up as my ‘inmate’, which was very amusing, because my friend is the last person in the world to break the law. Had a great time–especially when we saw a Cup of Ramen wandering around.


Does anyone else see or make some good costumes?