Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I have to plant a pumpkin! Earth Day tradition (except belated this year), started so many years ago.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
We also have no place to read philosophical drama into the minutest of details: "At one point in the news conference, Mrs. Spitzer looked toward the ceiling to the back of the room -- and it seemed she saw infinity, perhaps remembering in a flash, all the little betrayals of a life together, some of them quite loud and fantastic, some silent and unspoken." Leave the lady alone. If you don't have anything supportive to say, don't say anything at all.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Anyway, GMG is life-changingly phenomenal, and the New Pornographers' "Challengers" video is the greatest thing this side of the Sony bouncy balls commercial.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
But here's something interesting - when given a choice to play with (or be, or take home, etc) a Black versus a White doll, both Black and White preschool children chose the Black doll. Then there was a huge intervention with the researchers reading stories that were really positive towards Blacks, they rewarded children who chose Black dolls, they had them recite favorable things about Blacks, and then the majority chose Black dolls (Powell-Hopson and Hopson, 1988)! Hope for the race relations of the world, at our fingertips! Now to figure out how to either adapt that for the adult population among us or to just raise everyone like that, and we'll be set.
I realized something the other day - I've been playing with children for eight. Years. Holy schlamola.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Okay guys. Time to start working on this here B.A. I mean, I have been - as far as starting the lit review, subjects, methods, and problems with the study - but it needs fleshing out. I can't wait to not be researching anymore. I can't wait for that so much, I split an infinitive. That's right. As much as I love my boss and coworkers, I hate hate hate hate hate research. The only redeeming part about my lab is that it has direct potential implications for, say, police officer training. But other than that, it's like the way sports announcers say things like, "This left-handed catcher has the most right-handed throws to second base of anyone in the last five and a half years..." Either that, or something like, DID YOU KNOW THAT WHEN YOU'RE PRIMED WITH "OLD" YOU WILL BE MORE LIKELY TO THINK OF OLD PEOPLE! WHOA. Memory research is supposedly reasonable because of its meaning for eyewitness testimony. But what's going to come of the research? Juries instructed to disregard certain testimony? What are you going to do to help the witnesses? Juries don't listen to instructions anyway. They can't. You can't unring a bell, and you can't unhear something emotionally powerful. And research on economic trust, and cycles of interaction (just because Starkey Duncan was a great old man, wrote the book on interaction, and died the quarter after I took his class doesn't mean I have a different appreciation for the work), and ohhh language development. They don't mean much at all. At least, I can't see any practicality for them.
In discussion on Wednesday I got into a bizarre debate with a classmate about the necessity for motherese. I said that since motherese is inherently defined as the different way that adults address children, it will differ among cultures, but the simple fact that there's a difference is significant. And since it's universal according to this definition, it is necessary. He said it wasn't because he learned French without being motheresed. I think that was his argument. The discussion then descended into why we speak motherese to dogs, especially cute dogs, and interestingly, why we speak motherese to plants. See?! Vaguely, abstractly interesting, but it makes no fact in this life more or less probable. The jury's still out on whether I made a new friend or not. Sigh. Okay. Thesis time. Six more weeks-ish of working on it. I hope.
ps, Addicted to the Juno soundtrack.
pps, Sonnet 34 defines my life.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Today the children colored another slew of pictures for me. And we chatted about Dora and the fire alarm and red hair. Oh and yesterday, as I was coming from workplace #2, I saw them running around the quad! They had come to my school! I sprinted over and pretty much barreled through them. There was much screaming. It was mudlicious and puddle-wonderful. You guys, the sun makes everything better.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Man, you guys. Killing a puppy for fun < awesome. I know it's tearing up the blogosphere and Gawker is horrified at how horrified other people are (and then very apologetic for being so horrified), but honestly. Even though it would have died on impact. Even though animals are tortured all the time. Even though lots of people are being killed right now. It has cleft my heart in twain. You know what else cleaves my heart in twain? Zoos. I'm so conflicted. Adorable. Confined. Cared for. Unnatural. These are the kinds of things that consume me. "If I ran the zoo, I'd let all the animals go." That's Suess. That's taken wildly out of context, but that's Suess. I read both If I Ran the Zoo and Horton Hatches the Egg this morning, and I'm more in love than ever. An elephant is faithful, one hundred percent! People say that the greatest gift of being a native English speaker is having the key to Shakespeare. I'm convinced that having the key to Suess is at least as great of a gift.
ps, Sorry this is the most non-sequitur post ever. Sometimes I can write decently, you guys. Sometimes I even use transitions and logical arguments!
Monday, March 3, 2008
Atonal music is like socialism. It sounds like a cool idea, equality and all, but then when it actually happens, it's more awful than you could have imagined. Man, if I just inadvertently compared cummings to socialism, I'd be really really upset with myself. But in defense of anyone who likes cummings or Schoenberg, or classical for that matter, I learned last year that it's impossible to explain why you like something. You can only give objective facts about it as attempts at reasons, but there's no way to say why something (anything! or anyone!) is wonderful. Here's to you, Plato!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
- So the Gospels get all upset at people who ask some questions or don’t really believe it when they’re first told, “Yeah, you see that guy over there? He’s the Son of Man!” But really, what’s the difference between those people and me? How are you supposed to automatically say, “I agree!” ?
- How do you choose when to give? Given (ha) that you can’t give to everyone and every cause, all the time, how do you not feel guilty when you refuse beggars but somewhere you know that in your heart you give your time and money to other people and causes? You can’t give it all… right? Then how would you have the energy to…keep giving?
- I hate when people you’re only friends with in classes friend you on Facebook, because probably, your classroom dynamic isn’t going to change, now you’ll just have that awkward feeling that you should now be acting closer to real friends but you’re just school friends. Should you say hi every day now? Bye? Ach.
- By Memorial Day, I will have a job. I will have an apartment. I will have been a perfectly legal adult for four months. So why do I still feel an obligation to ask permission?
- Sometimes, all I want to do with my life is buy dresses. And go to music festivals. And dance.
- When, if ever, is it okay to leave a Facebook group about grieving? It’s okay (and in fact encouraged, and normal) to stop grieving after a while, but it seems less okay to leave a group about someone who died. Why is that?
- W! A-S-H! I-N-G! T-O-N, baby! D.C.!
Friday, February 22, 2008
Miss Pam: Oh?!
Parent: Yeah, well, actually, my daughter said that she didn't want to die. She said, 'Daddy, I don't want to die. It's too much fun being alive.'
Miss Pam: How old is she?!
Parent: She'll be three in about a month.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
"You know why I got my hair cut like this, Miss Pam?"
"It's because I thought it would make me look like a boy, and then [boy's name] would play with me. He won't play with me, even though I like him."
"You wanted to look like a boy?"
"Yeah, I won't buy or wear pink or purple any more either."
"But you wear dresses sometimes..."
"Oh, I'll get rid of those."
"But I like you just the way you are."
"I don't like the way I am."
And she bounced away.
The girl is five! Years old! And that just about broke my heart. My first thought was those Dateline specials where transgendered people say that they knew they were in the wrong body since they were, like, toddlers. I think what killed me is that she wanted to be this boy’s friend so much. And he’s a ringleader, so his opinion is important, apparently so important that she cut off all her hair and plans on acquiring a new wardrobe.
I just didn’t know what to tell her to explain that she didn’t need anyone else’s approval. And so young! Kids aren’t supposed to get mean until middle school! I couldn’t tell if these things were in fact more externally than internally driven (they seemed to be), but I don't think I've ever been more at a loss for words with these kids before. She wanted to change herself! At an age where she's not supposed to even consider that as an option!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Which might hold some water.
Something else that rationalizes my rant against academia is that, for many people, humans learn, the way horses live to run, and that's something I have to accept. I want to help people do their thing; therefore, I have to be supportive of all the things (to an extent?) that fall under what humans do, the way horses live to run.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Okay, I know everyone does the first post about being really concerned slash some vague promise about updating. I did the first but I’m not going to do the second.
I had an academic crisis last year that I thought was over. Who am I kidding, it’s not even close. The first time was in the middle of Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances. Out of the clear blue sky, I couldn’t understand, let alone, respect anyone who spent his entire life on evaluating the differences between the Folio and the Quarto versions of King Lear, let alone that blend of the two that everyone reads in high school. Which is bizarre, because literature is in my blood. My grandmother taught high school English for thirty-five years. My brother is a Great Books major. I won the Senior English Department Award of my class of over six hundred. At the time, I was designing costumes and makeup for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And suddenly, the whole thing made me want to throw up – I questioned ever interest I ever had in poetry or fiction. Or non-fiction, for that matter. Whom does it help? Whose life does it make easier? Whom does it feed? All I could think was, what good is any of this? I stopped going to class, but then when I came back, I couldn’t pay attention to the lecture and wrote pages and pages about the disgust I had for it. Eventually I came to some sort of tentative, somewhat unstable “the world needs all kinds of people, and literature is a branch of the arts, expressing humanity and providing comfort and an outlet to all.”
And it came roaring back today in a language development class. So, not in the context of literature but research. I mean, it’s been roaring back for quite some time now, especially after working with autistic kids this summer. So many of the conclusions research makes are so profoundly useless. Like, an unreasonable percentage of conclusions. I’ve had conversations that temporarily reassure me the vast and far-reaching benefits of research, but today was the second time in class I’ve seen videos of Genie, the girl psycholinguists made famous. She was kept in a closet on a toilet for the first thirteen years of her life, her parents slid food through the door, her father barked at her. That’s it. Thirteen years. Psychologists love it because you can’t intentionally deprive someone of language and see what happens, for the sake of knowledge. But you can find abused kids like Genie and see how they do! And the video is of psychologists trying to teach her language, and Genie can of course hardly form words, let alone string them into something coherent. That’s fine, that’s therapy; it’s clear she wants to learn words. Like the first time, my eyes fill with tears. But as it ended, my professor, still smiling, commented on how interesting it was that she could communicate about events that happened in her past before she knew any language. And again, my eyes filled with tears. Why is that comment, that use of Genie, okay?
I realize over and over that the only thing I can conceivably do with my life is work with people. To make them feel better. About life.