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Archive for September, 2009

Psych

I’m unbelievably behind in my psychology class, and it’s driving me crazy.  I should have had eighty pages read by today (I’ve read about fifteen), there’s a group project due in one week that I really haven’t even started on, and I’m generally going crazy.  It’s just that there’s A) so much to do and B) I’ve been slacking off a whole lot ever since those exams two weeks ago.

Ugh.  Such is life.

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I’d say that if there was one thing both liberals and conservatives agreed on, it would be that America’s schools are falling behind when compared to the rest of the world.  But, unfortunately, both parties are misinformed about the issue.  They believe that adding more time to school and more standardised tests will fix the problem, but this is almost exactly the problem.  Obama wanting to add more time to the school day only further insults kids that they are inferior to adults by making them work nearly ten hours per day at school then work more on homework after school.  Let me ask you: where the hell do their personal lives fit into this?

Actually, there are two problems with the US’s system: the fact that we no longer teach to learn but teach to test and that American kids just don’t give a shit any more.

There was once a time when you were valued for being knowledgeable.  In fact, you were basically shunned if you didn’t do well in school since you couldn’t be the pride of the family.  Nowadays, the American life-style is a bit different.  And, I don’t want to blame this on the media (because most people who just blame “the media” for problems don’t know a damned thing about the actual subject), but I’m afraid I have to.

How many times have you seen a television show where the main character, whom you’re supposed to agree with, makes fun of the nerdy kid?  How many times has the “dumb jock” been glorified?  How many times has the kid who likes to learn been portrayed as snobbish or ugly?

Let me give you some examples from my childhood on television or films:

1. Lizzy Maguire: Remember how that nerdy boy was shown as a complete freak who ate worms and was made fun of constantly?

2. Hey Arnold: Pheobe (or whatever her name was) was constantly being walked on by Helga, and never did this seem to be a problem.

3. Powerpuff Girls: How many times was the smart one (Blossom) shown as being a cold-hearted bitch for being smart?

4. How many times is the smart kid dressed dorky and made fun of while the main characters just sit there and watch?  They never do anything; they just talk about “O, woah is me; I was once treated like that!” And then they cry to themselves about it.

5. How many films show the cheerleaders as idiots?  Did you know this wasn’t always the case?  Once upon a time, cheerleaders were popular and smart, which is what made them so appealing.  Bet you didn’t know that was the case even less than forty years ago.

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I’ve fallen head over heals for two things in the past two days: campus adventuring and Vampire Weekend.  And, as though planned, they go quite nicely together.

Some of us from 1North went adventuring and exploring through campus in order to take photos for a picture competition amongst our house.  We went through nearly every building, found steps that went to nowhere, dark hallways, and scary places that we will most definitely not visit again on campus.  But it was an amazing time, and now I know of some great hidden locations where I can study and never be disturbed.

I even rediscovered the hidden bathrooms in Ophelia Perish.  I swear, there are these bathrooms that no one knows about that are spacious and clean and friendly.  Every time I go in there, I feel like I’m about to go to the Chamber of Secrets, and I’ll dance around in the large spaces.

Well, turns out that there are lots of places like that on campus, and they’re much nicer than a bathroom.  So, I may go exploring some more later since it’s just so much fun.

Plus, next time I need to go study a ton (like today with psychology), maybe I can go there.

Meanwhile, I’ve started listening to Vampire Weekend and ended up creating a Pandora.com radio station for it today.  If you haven’t listened to them, I highly recommend that you do; they’re that friendly college rock sound that just makes you kind of happy.  Nothing too deep, nothing you really have to analyse.  But it’s nice anyway.

And if you haven’t tried http://www.pandora.com before, I also highly recommend using this service.  If you live in the States, it’s a free radio service where you can create your own stations.  Enter in an artist or song, and you can start making it custom and wonderful.  Honestly, it will get hold of your tastes so quickly and mould the best station you’ve ever listened to.  I’ve had an account for about four years, and it’s a cold day in July when I hear a song I dislike since you can control the exact feel of the music for each station.  Some of my stations include: Muse, Vampire Weekend, classical, Instrumental New Wave, Progressive Rock, Female Alternative Rock, Imogen Heap/Regina Spektor, Nickel Creek/Iron & Wine, Beirut Radio, and Indie/Interesting Rock.

SIRIUSLY, they’re great stations.

Anyway, not much else has been going on in my life aside from much adventuring, house film parties, and studying psychology (which is really what I should be doing).  Maybe some time I’ll write something more philosophical in here; unfortunately I’m just rather lazy at the moment.

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My psych class this morning was cancelled, leaving my only class of the day to be my art class at 15.00.  On top of that, I’ve spent the past two hours studying with friends in the lounge (which is here on out called the “living room”) and listening to fantastic music.  Some Beirut, Andrew Bird, John Butler Trio, Explosions in the Sky, Sufjan Stevens.  Good stuff.  Plus, it’s going to rain more this afternoon and possibly storm.  Glorious.

Speaking of good music…  I’ve been wanting to mention a little bit about those songs that I was talking about a few posts ago.  Wow, that was literate.

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Rain

Ah, glorious rain; it’s nice to hear it fall on the pavement beside my open window.  It’s surprising just how much it can lift one’s mood.  For instance, today I can wear my new rain boots, and they’re super cute–which works as a nice mood booster when you get compliments throughout the day on them.  Then, there’s just that relaxing feeling you get when you can walk all alone in the rain.  You get to hear the splashes of your shoes, plops of the rain drops, and claps of angry thunder far off in the distance.  Even before the rain has come, there’s a neat sensation.  Stillness.  Complete stillness, like a strange semi-death.  It’s the calm before the storm, but the last feeling you get is of calm–it’s much more exciting than that.  And then, when the rain finally falls, you can just breathe in the mist and taste the earth in the air.  Nothing beats the feeling.  Nothing.

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I feel pretty ahead today, even though it’s clear that I am not.  It’s probably more that I’m not rushing to get reading done before classes.  Another fifteen minutes of reading and taking notes from my speech book, and I’m relatively finished with everything that must be read for a class today.  But, tonight I’ll scramble to get my psych reading done before tomorrow morning, and I’ll inevitably accept that I won’t have it finished until Wednesday night.  So, there you go.

I have an art group that I have to go to in about forty minutes that I’m not looking forward to.  Our art teacher is pretty much insane, and we see no point in the project that we’ve been assigned.  It’s not like we’re learning anything from it.  In fact, we haven’t learned anything from the class in general.  Our last test literally concerned learning ten artists, memorising the years they were alive, their style, and their nationality.  Sure, now I know that Albrecht Dürer lived in Germany during the fifteenth century (or something like that), but how does that help me with art?  How about we study his paintings and sketches, learn what makes them unique and a tribute to art.  Let’s not just memorise facts for a couple days so that we can release them from our sponge-like brains later on.  Who ever thought that this style of learning was effective should be shot, or at least made to take a semester of their own class.

I don’t know how this just turned into a rant, especially since my original plan was to talk about how it rained today and that made me happy.  I like rain; it’s refreshing to the soul and mind and body.  It keeps the river of life moving.  Not to mention that it’s been far too long since Kirksville last saw any precipitation that was not just fog lingering over the campus.

So, today’s going to be all right.  And if it isn’t, stuff it.  I’ll make it all right.

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As following the Bible, Saturday is my day of rest.  Granted, it seems to be a more reasonable practice than a holy one, but who has the patience to study seven days per week anyway?  So, Sunday is back to work since it’s the first day of the week.  And, on the subject of weekends and breaks, I’m pretty sure that Americans need to make up their damned minds.  Either go to church on Saturday and keep your calendar, or make Sunday the last day of the week if you want to go to church so bad then.  Silly inconsistencies.  Good thing I have my own views of the work week: Sunday is the first day, Saturday is the last, so Saturday is the day of rest.  That way, I get a day off at the end and beginning of each week.  It’s rather revitalising.

And now today is Sunday and time to get down to business.  The only problem is that I woke up at eight and still haven’t done anything–and it’s now seven hours later.

Maybe I need to stop reading things online and actually read my history textbook.  Then, I’ll read my religions text book.  And then half a chapter of psychology.  Ugh.  I need more tea from just thinking about, and I’ve already drunk five cups today.  Which was a rather dumb idea since it made me jittery and unable to concentrate on anything.

So, now the fall from the caffeine has set me in a stupor, but I like it.  It was completely needed to be able to function.  Now, maybe I’ll finish up some things.  Or maybe not.  I enjoy procrastinating.

A goal would probably help; or a reward.  I might just make myself finish history and religion before I allow myself to eat dinner.  And dinner is left-over pasta, so that seems like a pretty good reward.  I’ll stick with it.

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