Friday, July 23, 2010

As Mark said, is it possible to be funny and annoying at the same time? Yes. Yes, it is. I'm dying laughing. Don't ask me why. Mission Impossible. Hilarious. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. So pathetic it is but gusting.

p.s. I love spoonerisms! ha!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Song and Dance

So You Think You Can Dance is a great show. For one, it has some phenomenal dancing and routines.  Second, it often has some great music as well. This season I've already heard several musicians featured that I love! Just a few being St. Vincent (accompanied by a fantastic routine by Travis Wall -- can't find a video though. Sad!), Florence + the Machine and Ray LaMontagne.  This week I was blown away by a  contemporary routine and the song that accompanied it. I've posted the clip below.  The musician is Christina Perri, you'll find the link goes to her youtube channel. Wow. She sounds a little bit like Erin McCarley, but with a more of a raw sound to her voice. Can't wait to buy her album! I'm tempted to post the routine done to Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine, but I will refrain for now :)... Enjoy!:

Also, here is a link to the full song: Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri, and the lyrics:

No I can't take one more step towards you
Cause all that's waiting is regret
And don't you know I'm not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most
I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are

I hear you're asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms
I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are...

And it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I would have missed the first time that we kissed
Cause you broke all your promises
And now you're back
You don't get to get me back

And who do you think you are...
Don't come back for me
Don't come back at all

Who do you think you are

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Music: The Moondoggies

Well, just discovered this band the other day from a free album I picked up from Amazon. I've posted their song "The Undertaker" below for your general entertainment :) Give it a listen! All I know is that they are from Seattle, of course. I would fill you in on more info except that they don't have a Wikipedia page. Anyone who is anyone has a Wikipedia entry. Right? Oh, wait... Well anyhow, the lead guy Kevin Murphy has a beautiful auburn beard, and really, that's all I need to know. I'm just sayin...

Anyhow, who doesn't love free stuff? Especially music :)

Speaking of getting free albums from Amazon, I also downloaded I Love the 80's (the 1880's, that is), which is totally fantastic.  Brahms, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak... etc. I love the album cover the most though. Ha!... also I just realized that my listing of some of the composers was pointless because it lists them right on the album cover. Oh well, we will just pretend that I'm efficient. Ok? ok!

Well, here you go:
"The Undertaker" - Kevin Murphy of The Moondoggies live at KEXP in Seattle.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

25 Random Things...

1) I ask questions all the time and then forget to listen for the answer... it drives people crazy.

2) I read The Stranger by Albert Camus at least once a year.

3) When I was a kid I had an orange pair of long shorts and an orange striped shirt that I wore almost every day after school... one day it disappeared... I think we all know where it went...

4) I didn't drink anything on my 21st birthday.

5) I know how to shear sheep.

6) I wear brown with black all the time.

7) I buy new socks constantly.

8) I'm reading Moby Dick for the 5th time.

9) I've probably spent more money on sports equipment than anything else, but have bought more books than anything else. Except maybe socks. Maybe.

10) I have several pairs of shoes that I've only worn once.

11) I jumped out of a second story window at school my senior year... it hurt but I couldn't tell anyone lol.

12) I always deform paper clips... I can't help it...

13) I used to remind my mom that she was supposed to spank us for something we did earlier in the day.
                                                                        photo: TomNeely
14) I can make a half court shot.

15) I still won't sleep in a house all by myself.

16) I laugh whenever people get hurt, especially if they make funny faces.

17) I work at the Police Department.

18) My first kiss was in Kindergarten.

19) Speaking of Kindergarten, I was suspended twice, and my best friend was expelled for smoking behind the school.

20) For some reason, whenever I tell someone to say something stupid at a drive through window they often do it. It's hilarious.

21) I have a vendetta against the US postal service.

22) One time I broke my toe... running in the house.

23) I also bit through my tongue... running in the house.

24) I still run in the house.

25) but not with scissors.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Neil Young: Philadelphia

Ah well, missed Monday by an hour or so :) One does what one can. Here is a Neil Young song from the movie Philadelphia.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Water Water Everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

I've been following the oil spill thing for the last couple of months, or whenever it blew sky high... just a few things then:

I found this illustration of the scope of the spill; if you add your city and state it places the area of the spill over the area in which you live. Above you can see it over Spokane, WA. It is pretty revealing, since it is sometimes difficult to gage distance in pictures of the Gulf. I first saw this weeks ago, and, of course, whenever I pull it up again to show someone, the area has increased. Check it out:
 If It Was My Home

Also here are a few pictures taken along off the coast of Louisiana and then a slideshow of various telling pictures since the explosion:
Wildlife Caught in Spill
Slideshow of Spill and subsequent clean up attempts etc.

Then, in the NYTimes there are a few good articles about the impact on wildlife and the efforts to fix the spill. If you haven't read about it and don't understand why they can't just "plug the spill", they do a pretty clear job of explaining it here, with diagrams etc. Also, in the wildlife tab, it explains why the spill is so harmful to many different types of wildlife.  For example, even dolphins are effected, because they tend to be sociable and follow the boats, getting dangerously close to the spill.

Now a solution? I read this article in the FiTimes which I thought was pretty interesting:  To Save the Gulf, Free the Mississippi.  (btw if it denies access through that link, just google the title and it should come up...)

Finally, here is a video from Nottingham Uni's Periodic Table Vids which talks about the chemistry behind the oil spill and a little bit about why it is so hard to clean up and so dangerous for wildlife, especially birds. It's rather short, but does a great job of explaining:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Music: Alpha Rev

Been listening to this song lately... that's all. Enjoy :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup 2010

Well today World Cup matches start! Woohoo! Or should I say Ole!

Unfortunately I will only be able to watch about one match, since I don't have ESPN.  At least ABC is broadcasting the US vs. England match -- of course I'm rooting for the US this time around since the Irish were robbed of their World Cup chance back in November by an obvious hand-ball off of France's Thierry Henry. The US is in group C this Cup season, which isn't too bad because they are expected to make it through, regardless of whether they win against England or not.  Thank the good Lord above that they aren't in Group G which included Brazil, Cote d'Ivoire, North Korea and Portugal -- well named the group of death.

Listening to the France vs. Uruguay match right now on ESPN radio, ending in a nil tie.  Pretty good game with many scoring chances and a telling hand ball off of Henry's shot. How do you like it Thierry Henry, sucks when a hand ball ruins perfectly good World Cup hopes doesn't it? Anyhow, looking forward to tomorrow's game!

In other sports news, the Blackhawks took home the Stanley Cup on Wednesday after a 49 year drought, the longest in the original six's history.  So excited, since I happen to be a die hard Chicago fan. It's about time!  Winning in overtime in game six, the Hawks pretty much dominated the Flyers. But I have to say, Philadelphia just kept coming back!  Patrick Kane scored the sudden death overtime goal at 4:10, sneaking it past Leighton into the corner of the net.  Watch the clip if you so desire, the goal light didn't go on and nobody knew what was happening, except the celebrating Hawks! What a performance! Big hits, big goals, big win! (whoh, the word "big" sounds so strange after saying it so many times... big big big big big big...)

Then again...

Well, well, well. Look who we have here. Oh. It's just me. ha! I realize that my absence has been relatively prolonged, sorry about that. A lot has happened since I last posted anything of great interest... ok well, at least anything of any interest  :P... but we shall get to all that later perhaps.  A friend the other day said "so many thoughts, so little time...", which I countered "so little thoughts, so much time...".  I will admit I was feeling somewhat guilty about this, but he encouraged me saying that it is natural to feel a bit emptied out after graduation.  I think I'm feeling a little more than that, but that is ok.  At any rate, I made some changes trying to find some sort of focus for the time being.

As you can see I've been switchin' it up a little bit. Decided it was time for a new background -- but I must say, this isn't turning out so well.  The first one (stucco looking) was admittedly a little bland, and well, this new one seems a wee bit over the top. Even for me!  We shall have to see how it goes... feel free to yay or nay. Speaking of the ol' blog - Welcome to Vatche for joining the weird world! First came across his blog from The Teacher's View (one of my favorite fyi!)... Anyway, he has some great insights and writings to share over at his blog The Student Writer's Mind. Check it out! 

Also I gave up facebook for 30 days. This has given me time to read several books (half way through book four, not too shabby... no wait, make that five, I reread Beowulf...does that count?) and get some writing done, however short. It has not however given me time to clean my room yet. weird. More time to work in the orchard with the irrigation system we are installing, every other day, incidentally, since the rain comes and goes, and to clean up around the place, fixing fences and chicken coops and what have you.

The facebook thing has been a little hard, but this is day ten and I don't think that I will fall short of the thirty days. It gets easier as the days go on, for several reasons. At any rate I stand to gain a book of my choosing if I last the month. Woot!

Well, that is all for now.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

"We use the phrase 'gave their lives,' but they didn't give their lives...they were taken from them. I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the
lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way-some new religion maybe-that takes war out of our lives. That would be a Memorial Day worth celebrating." - Andy Rooney
Read more here

And then a song from Libera, We Are The Lost:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Art Linkletter, RIP

Art Linkletter died today at 97.  If you haven't read "Kids Say the Darndest Things", you should get on it! It is absolutely hilarious :) Here is a little video from his show:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Music: The Blues

Hi there :) Yes, it's Monday. Yay Monday! or something. Anyway, here is a song from Switchfoot -- perhaps my favorite off the album Nothing Is Sound.  Well that or "The Shadow Proves the Sunshine"... or "Stars"... ok I like the whole album, nevermind! Anyhow, I'll post the lyrics below for your general perusal. 
About this song Jon Foreman said :  "Drew's feedback on this track was so great. he had two combos cranked with different pedals chained to each. Noise never sounded so beautiful! But the true hero for me on this tune was Tim. Don't tell him I said this but he's a freaking genius when it comes to parts like this. I walked back into the control room and there was Paul Mc- I mean Tim- making things happen. I tend to write some of my favorite songs on significant days in my life- birthdays and such. Anyhow, here's a tune that was written on new years day 2004. I pulled an acoustic demo of the song together and threw it on the pile of songs we had for the record. We loved the way the vocal sounded on the demo- raw and honest so we kept it. To sing a song about the new year in march just wouldn't sound quite right, so the vocal on the record is the first time I ever sang the song: 1/1/04. This one means a lot to me, like our modern day Psalm of sorts. This would be the next step from the beautiful letdown lyrically and musically- a long meandering song about how the end of the world might actually be a beautiful day. It will be a day like this one when the world caves in..."

Is this the New Year or just another night?
Is this the new fear or just another fright?
Is this the new tear or just another desperation?

Is this the finger or just another fist?
Is this the kingdom or just a hit n' miss?
A misdirection, most in all this desperation

Is this what they call freedom?
Is this what you call pain?
Is this what they call discontented fame?

It'll be a day like this one
When the world caves in

I'm singing this one like a broken piece of glass
From broken arms and broken noses in the back
Is this the New Year or just another desperation?

You push until you're shoving
You bend until you break
Do you stand on the broken fields where your fathers lay?

It'll be a day like this one
When the world caves in

There's nothing here worth saving,
Is no one here at all?
Is there any net left that could break our fall?

It'll be a day like this one
When the sky falls down and the hungry and poor and deserted are found
Are you discontented? Have you been pushing hard?
Have you been throwing down this broken house of cards?

It'll be a day like this one
When the world caves in

Is there nothing left now?
Nothing left to sing
Are there any left who hasn't kiss the enemy?
Is this the New Year or just another desperation?

Does justice never find you? Do the wicked never lose?
Is there any honest song to sing besides these blues?

And nothing is okay
Till the world caves in

Until the world caves in


Finally, one last thing: I could use some good news, we all could use some good news, does anyone have some good news? 
Post it in the comment section!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Music: Soria Moria

Ok so, today is Monday, and Mondays are now my music day; 1. Because I need to post more often, and somewhat regularly and 2. More importantly, because I love music! I was going to call it New Music Monday, but I'm an old school sort of gal at times. So beware, this could be anything from Gregorian, to Beethoven, to the Beatles, to George Strait. Yes, I realize that makes me weirdly eclectic. Anyhow, now that I have established music on Mondays, be quite aware that I will probably not follow task ha! Also, I'm glad that I already had this song picked out because this morning I had (and still have) Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" stuck in my head, and I wouldn't want to do that to you. I will thank William for this calamity, although his post had to do with another song completely; but you can't be born in the 80's and not think of the Dirty Dancing song when someone says "Hungry Eyes". You just can't.

Well, today is a song by Sissel Kyrkjebø, a Norwegian singer.  I first heard this song, and was struck by it, several years ago, when a roommate introduced me to her music.  Sissel has a really amazingly beautiful voice, pure and unaffected, especially in her early albums. This title song is from one of her earlier albums (1989 I believe), Soria Moria. Soria Moria is a common Norwegian fairy tale about an askeladden who searches out Soria Moria and becomes a great lord. A short version of the story is available here. I was always struck by this song because of its haunting melody and its beautiful story.  I would say that you don't even have to know Norwegian to understand the movement of the legend of Soria Moria. As it is, I only know one word of Norwegian.  Btdub, I find the English write-over in this video pretty annoying, but what can you do?

Anyhow, enjoy! I have to go write a paper on St. Augustine and his theory of peace. What joy fills my heart at the very thought. Or something.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ha! I am constantly cringing when people use "literally" wrong. I hear it probably every day. It's that bad.

Kudos to, of course :D Oh, and welcome to all the new silly people: Pallav, Elisabeth, Vatche. Have fun! and check out other followers' blogs, but don't check out Stealing Fire; she is not a follower, albeit very, very silly. She probably should be tarred and feathered... I'm just sayin...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dysfunctional Workshop, and then some.

A hilariously awesome and accurate post over at Ursprache today: Dysfunctional Workshop. Check it out!

And, for your general amusement, a little Calvin and Hobbes:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Google, Books, yeah.

"...If you care about the future of books, you need to understand the Google Book Settlement. It's a complicated legal document, but we've talked to some of its architects, detractors, and defenders - and break it all down for you. The Google Book Settlement could easily be the twenty-first century's most important shift in how we deal with copyright in the world of publishing. To understand it, you need a little back story on the previous giant shift in copyright law, which happened about twelve years ago...."

Personally I've used Google Books lots of times, especially when I didn't have the cash to buy books (read: always!) for my classes, or time to sit in a library.

However, I'm unsure about the implications of all this.  It seems there are both reprehensible prospects (point 4, having to do with censoring and restriction), as well as exciting prospects (point 5).  Furthermore, I sometimes find myself jumping from side to side on copyright issues, often angered at the Mickey Mouse laws and a proponent of open copyrights, yet at other times admitting that authors do have a right to their works and the meagre living which they sometimes provide. The idea that there would be a organization that acted like ASCAP in the literary world is NOT a happy prospect.  If only we were in ancient times when the poet was revered and had no need to eek out a living. The trouble here is in the very understanding of the nature and calling of the writer -- it has been lost.

Any thoughts on this article and the prospective laws?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A word on a word...

Some days I wake up with the weirdest words in my head. Today it was "defenestrate".  I literally become conscious in the morning with these words repeating over and over in my head, and usually it has nothing to do with the dream I had. As far as I can tell ha! That is weird!

According to the OED it first showed up in relation to the 1618 Defenestration of Prague "the action of the Bohemian insurgents who, on the 21st of May... broke up a meeting of Imperial commissioners and deputies of the States, held in the castle of the Hradshin, and threw two of the commissioners and their secretary out of the window; this formed the prelude to the Thirty Years' War." After that it only really shows up a few more times,  once in a letter by Robert Southey ("I much admire the manner in which the defenestration is shown [in a picture]."... Southey apparently had good taste! Ah yes, out of the mouths of...poets), and in 1915, only to mention that "there is no good authority for its use...". Well, Lit Digest of 1915, Robert Southey used it. So there.

I've never actually used this word, except to mentally correct a teacher just the other day. I'm resolved to do two things:
1. use the word in a poem or something publishable (and thereby gain admittance to the venerable OED ;) )
2. use the word in every day speech such as "do NOT defenestrate that gum wrapper, don't you love your country, you Benedict Arnold!"... ok, maybe that's going a little overboard, perhaps "go ahead and defenestrate that banana peel, it's biodegradable, and who wouldn't want banana trees in Idaho...wait, what?"

Btdub, I was looking for a picture of Russel Crowe defenestrating his desk in A Beautiful Mind, but I couldn't find one! The horror! It's such a great scene... anyway, I came across this picture over at Digging Driftless, and what a work desk! I want to run my hand across that wood! Beautiful.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Templates Yay!

 Finally! Some template functionality! Google announced that they are going to open up the Blogger Template. I've been goofing around with new templates for a while, but have been too lazy to go through it myself, without Photoshop etc. Imagine that, me, lazy! ha!... But I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes the narrowness of the blogger template (in both width and creativity) bugs me. Is that my American Individuality getting the best of me? Maybe, but that's ok :) Check it out!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh for a beaker full of the warm South!

Well, I happen to love poor Johnny Keats. I admit it. I embrace it. I breath it.  However, as I was much disappointed with the movie Bright Star, I won't speak of it here, just yet -- I'm leaning towards giving it another chance before forming a final opinion of the thing. Though, I will say that one good thing has come out of it: Ben Wishaw's reading of Ode to a Nightingale.  Give it a listen, I hardly think you'll be disappointed:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good to know...

Great tip to know about: If you drop a book in water, freeze dry it! Check it out on LifeHacker : Freeze Dry Books, Docs, Photos...  In the comments they say it works for books that are moldy, or have insects or whatever as well.  Anyways, I've dropped books in puddles while getting into the car many times, so I'm glad to have come upon this ...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I suppose that's more accurately a hare dryer...

some funny (yes i just said "some funny") from, of course :)
five stars for the Calvin and Hobbes reference! :)


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Orchard

My favorite Clancy Brothers song -- for obvious reasons to some...

When I was nine, in harvest time, I crossed the orchard wall
The moon was bright, the apples ripe upon the garden did fall
We filled our sacks, we made our way back, more adventures for to find.

I crossed the orchard wall again when I was just thirteen
It was, I think, to be my first drink of cider and poitín
I remember well, it tasted like hell; I hoped the pain would end soon,
In an orchard green neath the Comeraghs in that sweet Dungarvan green.

When I was twenty-one years old I married my Annie there
The apple blossoms in the trees were better in her hair
And when the day was over there was a drunk for every tree
In an orchard neath the Comeragh by those sweet Dungarvan seas.

Now I'm forty-five, I am much alive and children I have four,
Three girls and one fine strapping son and I have hopes for more.
I'll teach them of what lies ahead, I have plenty to tell still
In an orchard neath the Comeragh in that sweet Dungarvan breeze.

Now I'm ninety-one, my days are near done, my Annie is long since gone.
Our days they were good as well they should, but it's time that I passed on,
And when I die, I want to lie in the air, land and foam
In an orchard neath the Comeragh by my sweet Dungarvan home.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordle! and then some

Here is a  Wordle from the last couple of months from this blog, A Bit of Silliness... Also, since I love word art and calligraphy, I've been looking into typography and micrography a lot lately.  You can check out my first go at it here on Cabbages and Kings where I used the text of the I Met The Walrus interview to create a picture of John Lennon. I just used layers and masking for this image, but eventually I'd like to do a real micrography project in which the words themselves make up the image, not just their colors.  Obviously this takes hours of planning and work for something that is very detailed, so I'll get to that when I get to that :)  For now, check out some truly astounding examples of this ancient form or art from LA Pop Art  :

<< This image of The Godfather is created out of the entire script of the film. (click to enlarge)

This one I found over at Hey Ok:  Notorious B.I.G and the lyrics of Hypnotize  >>

And finally, since I love John Lennon, here is a really great piece done by Dencii over at deviantArt:


Also: My thanks to Stephen Pael for joining the fray. Hello! and have fun! :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Quantum Mechanics

Super Cool! :)

Quantum Mechanics at Work in Photosynthesis: Algae Familiar With These Processes for Nearly Two Billion Years

ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2010) — A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.... read more here

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My major achievement on this fine morning (or not so fine as the case may be; come back sunshine!): I happened to know that Richelieu was Louis XIII's adviser. Score. I don't have anything really interesting to say about him except that he was burned into my memory by my history teacher. When I think Richelieu I think France and Centralization. I have long wondered whether my teacher was in favor of Richelieu or against him. He was one of those characters that the teacher goes on about and seems to speak highly of, and yet in the back of my mind there is a seed of doubt as to whether he was truly as great a man as I understood him to be. Perhaps it was the fact that Richelieu sided with Protestant factions in his political struggles for the supremacy of France and that this was in direct conflict with his role as bishop and Cardinal of the Catholic Church. However, that was unclear to me at 14(?)... It may be that I had an innate bias against the Hapsburgs! ;)

There have been several similar things I wondered about throughout my K-12 years; things I misunderstood, or things that were left unexplained. Sometimes I wonder if teachers left us to wonder about these things because they recognized that we did not yet have the sophistication of discernment to understand the small nuances of a subject, and that understanding would come later, with more study. Take Blake's "The Tyger", a poem I learned in middle school. I could not understand how they got the metaphor of the poet out of the poem. Certainly this time they were stretching the whole allusion thing too far. Yet lacking an explanation I just went on about my schooling, only to discover it later. But could not the power of inspiration as represented in the power of the tiger be explained to a young teen? I wonder if it was a failing of the teacher or a failing of the student. We think our teachers gods, and hardly question that they could be wrong or confused themselves. At least I did, and even in my senior year, when I questioned everything, I ultimately believed that they had the answer for me. I wanted to know and I would not accept a sidestepping answer. I think this sort of trust in a teacher is a good thing, even if potentially dangerous. Is it better that a student come out of primary school with a certain set of ideas that will often be challenged in secondary school, than no certain ideas at all? I thinks so.

Perhaps I had too much confidence in my teachers. I see many students who were taught to doubt their teachers almost religiously, and it bothers me that I may have students who come to me with this frame of mind. I want to know the balance between the all knowing teacher and the teacher who can willingly admit ignorance, without compromising authority and respect. I grew to respect those teachers who could admit ignorance of something, but I always trusted that they had the tools to find the answer. But for those teachers who insisted on having no definite opinions I ultimately lost all respect. Perhaps that balance is one which comes with experience. Perhaps it is a certain frame of mind and the way in which one approaches the student teacher relationship. I'm wondering for now.

In the meantime, I knew who Louis XIII's adviser was, and that has to count for something! ha!

Motte's painting of Richelieu is the one which I always remember, reproduced here in LIFE.

embedded photo via Matthias Seifert

Friday, January 22, 2010

Or the pressure of the Earth's core will rise slightly...

from, of course :D


Also: Thanks to ShortzMag for joining in the silliness :) Check out the blog!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Third and the Seventh

As a lover of photography, architecture and CG animation this video actually brought me to the point of tears. Absolutely brilliant CG vid from Alex Roman :
The Third and The Seventh : "A FULL-CG animated piece that tries to illustrate architecture art across a photographic point of view where main subjects are already-built spaces". Check it out in full screen, you won't regret these few minutes:

... from Vimeo

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Note-taking and Other Things...

Over at The Teacher's View I was rereading a post from a few days ago concerning the taking of notes. I was struck by the story at the beginning of the post about a former student's notebooks being left for trash, because I myself often keep meticulous notes and save my notebooks almost religiously. I was trying to put a name to what I felt about this picture of forced abandonment -- sadness? anger? fear? hopelessness? All these things. "Indeed," says Belloc in his Path To Rome , "it is a bitter thing to have to give up one's sword...". I imagine one day that I too will have to leave my constant companions behind -- is it naive to hope otherwise?

Note-taking, its seems to me, is becoming a lost art, much like penmanship. It seems almost strange that I keep precise notes because I am, for the most part, a rather disorganized person exteriorly, but I think that this is from force of habit (and maybe laziness!). Plus my excuse has always been that I have an organization of mind, and that's what really counts ;) Being a pro at taking notes was an infinite boon at university --

who knows how many times I didn't buy the books because I knew I could rely on my notes. Sometimes Economy demands something that Prudence would not otherwise advise. As far as tests went, I knew that if I took the time to listen in class and take precise notes then I would have less to study because it was already there, organized, in my brain. Thus my theory about laziness. A history teacher of mine once asked the class why we take notes. Answering for the class someone said "So that we can remember what the teacher said...(duh)". He shook his head and then enlightened us saying "Incorrect; you take notes so that you can forget what the teacher said." I determined then that I was not wasting my time so that I could forget.

I remember in seventh and eighth grade I had a history teacher who made it her business to teach us how to take notes. There was a very strict way of going about it, what with all the I. and a. and A. and B, indents in certain places, bullet points, numbers, sometimes an arrow or two, stars, and even the occasional precisely drawn map... etc, all very confusing and seemingly pointless at first. And frustrating! It all seemed like a bunch of busy work. I wanted a reason for all this hullabaloo and "you'll thank me later" didn't cut it. Why couldn't we just write what she said? After all, having been accustomed to dictations in the place of spelling tests, we all happened to be relatively fast as scribbling down, in a neat palmer method writing of course, most of what the teacher was saying.

However, as time went on, we could see that her notes were set up perfectly in the same manner and that one point flowed seamlessly to another. Her lecture was ordered, and so was our understanding of the material. Further, in a class like history, when a side point can take up three pages or more of notes, it helped to know that you were still under point "II." etc.... Those were tough years, but wouldn't you believe it soon became a habit to take concise notes like that in class, and to be able to pick out exactly what was important in the teacher's lecture no matter what the class? Learning how to take notes like that provided a framework within my mind, making the categorizing of information much clearer and more efficient. I suppose that makes the student sound like some kind of machinery, but it is true that our brains work in a mechanistic fashion, even if it is a more powerful mechanism than we can explain. I realize now she was teaching us how to think, not just to copy endless information. How to be logical, organized, make connections and draw conclusions. I realize now.

Oh teachers! What a thankless and misunderstood job it seems to be!
I thank you.