Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fixation Age and Comparisons

I hate sleeping. And, I mean, I might as well not sleep while I can. I was awake on
a regular basis last night and slept well for only the last two hours or so, so why
bother going to bed now? I'm just not in the mood. I might as well not sleep while
I don't have to get up early. Once I'm back at my internship, it'll be 9pm bedtime
for me. Yawn.

In other news, I've finished my PDP paper. I'm not really a fan. Eh. It's okay, I guess.
But you all know that I have mixed feelings about PDP as a program in regards to how
it is applied and executed. I'm all for reflexivity, but it is exponentially more
difficult and less fulfilling when it has to be confined. Really, when you think
about it, that's just silly. Confined reflection? Nonsense.

Nonsense is becoming an overused word in my vocabulary. Also, additionally. And
consequentially and subsequently. I need more words.

I also think I'm beginning to be able to articulate what I want, but I don't know
who I should tell, if anyone, yet. I'll write that out and save it somewhere secret.

This is old news, but apparently I deleted a collection of saved conversations and
they are forever gone. I regret that.

What I really want to write about is fixation. Also, how I want more people to read
my blog. Also, how much I hate facebook. I don't even have enough respect for the
company to capitalize it anymore.


Also, how a day without cell phone service is torture.

Fixation. Fixation. Fixation.

No, what I mean is fixedness.

Fixedness. Fixedness. Fixedness.

In Psychology, there is a term called functional fixedness. This refers to the
inability to think outside the box and invent non-typical uses for a typical object.
Generally, children are better at such creative use of objects because functional
fixedness has not been concretely adopted. For example, a child is more likely to
use a toy truck as a hammer when he or she has no hammer, but an adult will search
and search for a hammer when he or she could use a screwdriver or a plank of wood.

I propose that there are a number of different types of fixedness and that they are
probably becoming increasingly concrete.

Image fixedness. Have you seen the new white Coca-Cola cans? They're promoting the
salvation of the polar bear or something, but I've heard numerous people complain
about how the white can creates the expectation of diet soda. I'll admit, I thought
the same thing when I first saw one sitting on our kitchen counter: "Who bought
diet soda?"

I'm not entirely satisfied with the term image fixedness, because it leans more
toward brand fixedness and relates to those short online quizzes where the aim is
to correctly identify common logos. Our local paper does something similar every
once in a while.

That's why this would potentially work so well:


Expectation fixedness is another type that I thought about the other day, but I don't
remember how to explain it. I think it had something to do with being so fixated on
a particular expectation that any deviation from that is nearly life-shattering.
Here's a fun example. All those kids that are heart-set on abstinence until marriage?
That's their expectation fixation. And maybe they mess up, maybe only a little. If
their expectation fixedness was so severe, it's likely that their whole self-concept
will be damaged so greatly that it will require a great deal of long-term healing.
I wish I could remember my original example. It was better.

The types are probably endless. Time fixedness, plan fixedness, people fixedness...
The bottom line is that people are far too inflexible. Absolutely, concreteness is
important and necessary, but absolute concreteness is absolutely not. Balance and
moderation, my friends.

Is it just me or do I say the same thing(s) in every single post I write?

Lesson fixedness.


In regards to comparisons, this will be a short lesson. Maybe.

I've heard it said that, if you're feeling down about your life circumstances, that
you should take a few hours and volunteer in a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter
because it will make you feel better about where you are in life. Eh, okay.

I've also been told, when I'm venting about something specific, that "at least you
have [topic I was venting about]." For example, say I have a drippy shower that
always makes noise and wastes water. A typical disadvantage comparison might be to
say, "At least you have hot water and a shower to complain about." Eh, okay.

Neither of these work for me. And I don't think they should.

For the first, if your main motivation for volunteering on behalf of those that are
more disadvantaged than you is to make yourself feel more humble about your own
advantage, you're not doing it right. Okay, yeah, if that gets some people out there
to begin with, that's good. Okay. But I really do think a lot of the impact will be
missed if that is the main goal.

For the second, I just really don't like these types of comparisons. To me, it's like
comparing a potential romantic relationship to a previous romantic relationship. It
really shouldn't and can't be done because people are so spectacularly different that
any comparison will have little to no worth. It might make you feel better, but it
doesn't really help. Similarly, I have been told such disadvantage comparisons in an
effort to make me feel more grateful for what I have. But, in all honesty, they don't.
The most blunt way to say it is that my immediate reaction goes something like this:
"Okay, but I don't care about that right now. I want to sift through my own problems
because they are present and real to me at this point and time. I don't need to be
distracted by the greater disadvantagement of others right now because I'm stressed
about this immediate situation."

And it's 1:14am. It realy bugs me that this timestamp is wrong.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PDP Woes

Okay, so first of all, I just spent a good ten minutes on
and finally decided to use the word woe. I started with qualm, investigated
perturbation and scruple, explored ennui and lugubriosity, and decided on woe.
And it's still not really what I mean. What I mean is closer to anxiety, but not
the kind that includes physiological arousal. Maybe despair would be better.

PDP Despair

As I sat in front of a blank word document, trying to begin outlining my senior
reflective essay, I felt conflicted about a variety of issues - primarily two - and
decided that I would rant a bit via my blog so that my reflective essay did not
turn into a critical commentary on the nature of PDP.

So I'm going to try and get those thoughts out first, here, so that my reflections
about the effectiveness of PDP do not interfere with my reflections about MY
personal college experiences.

First and foremost, I simply do not know what to write about. It's not that I lack
material from which to draw, but it's that I am undecided about what I want to talk
about. I don't know how much information I want to dispel. I don't know just how
personal I want to get. I don't know how honest I am comfortable with being. The
solution that I settled upon in regards to this is that I will pick a few topics
for each section of my outline and simply write. Whatever happens, happens. In
short, I figure that if I write about it, I'm comfortable enough with it. And if I
don't? Then I'm not. But even so, I know that I probably won't be entirely comfortable
while I am writing it. And maybe I'll write about that.

Secondly, the four pillars of PDP are horrendous things. HORRENDOUS. HORRID. They are:
Intellectual Growth and Discovery
Citizenship and Community Responsibility
Ethical and Spiritual Growth
Emotional Maturation and Physical Health
Aside from the fact that the fourth pillar is clearly two very different categories
that are disguised as one, the pillars simply aren't helpful. To my understanding,
the whole point of PDP is to encourage people to become more reflective throughout
their day-to-day experiences and over the course of their lifetime. Okay, that's
fine, I totally agree with that. Clearly, I love being reflective (and reflexive*,
for my Sociologist friends!). But the pillars aren't helpful. For a lot of reasons.

The pillars are too restrictive. There are a lot of deeply influential experiences
that I have had that don't quite fit into one of these specific pillars.

And this is more than a simple issue of having four categories that are mutually
exclusive but are not exhaustive (hello, more Sociology terms!).

SIDE NOTE: Oh my goodness something crazy just happened that I have to talk about
it now, in real time as I'm writing because it's crazy! So I requested a new laptop
charger cord because my cord is becoming frayed and doesn't always make a connection.
I'm currently at work at the library and I guess there was static buildup in the
carpet or something because I heard a sound like a crinkly plastic after-dinner
mint wrapper and looked down to realize that the somewhat frayed section had minor
sparks! SPARKS, YOU GUYS. So, my laptop is now unplugged and I will definitely be
keeping it asleep and unplugged overnight and while it is unattended, so as not to
start any fires. Goodness! ANYWAY.

It doesn't just bother me that these four categories are not exhaustive. It primarily
bothers me that I feel tied down to these pillars. Okay, so PDP is supposed to help
us be reflective. Awesome. The problem is that, even if someone is usually reflective
throughout his or her day, those reflections are not going to be couched in terms
of these four pillars. Instead, such ongoing and spontaneous (reflexive*, perhaps?)
reflections are going to be couched in terms that are broader so that these new
lessons can be broadly applied to life in general.

I would argue that people are naturally reflective beings. Placing them into boxes,
pigeon-holes, and tracks or tying them to pillars goes against this natural flow.

P. George would probably agree with me. He's talked about increasing freedoms because
he believes that truer learning is possible in an environment that has greater freedom.
PDP will probably mostly die in the next year or two, but I wish it wouldn't. It
needs restructured, which has happened poorly in the past two years. PDP simply
needs more freedom. As P. George admitted, many students will absolutely squander
this freedom. But what about the ones who won't?

What about the ones who won't?

Also, I think it would be REALLY most effective if students had to write a reflective
essay at the end of each semester. That way, they could reflect about each course
instead of having to choose at the end of their four years. It would also be a better
way to see semester-to-semester shifts and changes and to make connections across
semesters. Nobody's going to go for that idea, though.

*Reflexive doesn't mean what it sounds like it means. It has nothing to do with
reflexes. Well, largely. Reflexivity is a term within qualitative research that means
that a qualitative research must continuously be reflective in order to be aware of
how his or her personal perspective and worldview (shaped by personal experiences)
influence his or her perception of whatever is being qualitatively researched. I
suppose this can incorporate reflexes to the extent that reflexivity should become
as natural as a reflex. But it does not mean reflexes to the extent that reflexivity
is a thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction.

Also, how in the world is "won't" the contraction for "will not"?

And, I know that punctuation comes before quotation. If you want me to explain why
I broke this rule, I can. But not right now. It's time to carve my elephant.


Friday, December 9, 2011


It has recently come to my attention that quite a few people think that life would
be better, easier, and what have you without emotions. This topic is particularly
relevant because the topic of my Biological Psychology course for the past week has
been that of emotions (mechanisms, processes, functions, etc).

In the past week, I've heard people say things like "Life would be easier with no
emotions," "Things would be less complicated without emotions," and "If only I did
not have feelings."

I've also noticed that such comments nearly always come from men. Thanks, society,
for socializing males to deny the existence and usefulness of emotions and females
to view emotions as inevitable and reliable. Everybody's wrong.

On a side note, Psychology is to conditioning as Sociology is to socializing.

One of the questions on my Bio Psych take-home final includes a prompt to explain
the value of emotions in decision-making. I will probably post my essay response
here once I complete my exam, but that is not due until Wednesday, so...

So, why are emotions important? Are we better off with or without them? On one
hand, you have the view described by the quoted sentiments above that says that
emotions complicate everything, whether decision-making, relationships, problem-
solving, or something else. On the other hand, you have the view that says that
emotions give meaning, value, and purpose to experiences, relationships, and

Emotions contribute to a sense of worth, which allows self-support. Without emotions,
our accomplishments and relationships would mean little, if anything at all. Instead,
emotions allow us to explain the motivation behind our actions.

Can we explain the motivation behind our actions without incorporating emotion?
Probably, yes, but such motivation will be a robotic series of steps and will not
include true inherent value.

Emotions give us the means to love and be loved. Without emotions, our relationships
become overly-intellectualized and therefore robotic. Instead, emotions foster
commitment to family and non-family connections.

Can we do that without emotions? Maybe. Maybe we can rationalize why we should be
committed to our family without emotions, by giving reasons like financial support
and efficient living (i.e., it's cheaper to cook for four people than for one).
But that seems to take the fun and adventure out of it. In regards to non-family
connections, I would argue that emotionless relationships of any kind do not work.
Even in a non-romantic relationship that is focused on remaining casual instead of
working toward a forever future? I would argue yes. Relationships devoid of all
emotion simply are not enjoyable after a relatively short period of time.

Emotions give us the means to have fun and describe fun. Fun, enjoyment, and
adventure are all emotions. Without emotions, such experiences would lack value
and importance. Instead, emotions help us share in such enjoyable experiences.

Can we have fun without emotions? Probably not. Even if you enjoy something on a
purely intellectual level, that enjoyment is an emotion.

However, emotions are not an all or nothing topic. Both intellect and emotions are
fallible. It is absolutely crucial to realize that, while interpersonal relationships
and emotions are certainly important, people are fallible. Because of this, we must
never fully rely on others and the emotions they inspire in us to satisfy our worth.

And this ties back into all the times I've ever talked about inherent worth and value.
People and relationships with them are absolutely important, as are emotions. But
these are still external stimuli. A majority of the time, emotions are influenced
more by internal states, such as physical exhaustion or hormones. When this happens,
people look for an external source on which to blame their negative emotions, even
though they simply need a nap. Parallel to this is the importance of inherent worth
and value. In my opinion, these are internal states and are therefore generally
more reliable and predictable than external situations. For instance, you know,
acting in such a way that reflects one's core values? Yeah, that sounds right.

Emotions absolutely must be treated with balance and moderation. It is usually
emotions that derail our success, but it is emotions that makes our success worth
something. Whether positive or negative, there are inevitably times when emotions
will interfere. Such times call for a greater focus on intellect. However, even
though there are times emotions should be de-emphasized, this does not mean that
emotions should be entirely eliminated.

Further, I argue that it is impossible for emotions to be entirely eliminated.
However, people still try because they believe that a life devoid of emotions will
be easier, less complicated, and so on. But it can't happen. Emotions are largely
autonomic and are frequently unconscious to a certain extent.

But people still try. They try and they try to suppress their emotions and what
happens? Well, there are a few situations we can hypothesize about. Maybe there
comes a point when all of their repressed and denied emotions become too much to
control and they end up exploding, which may result in increased solitude or
unprovoked aggression.

Or maybe there comes a point when they have gotten so good at suppressing their
emotions that they no longer know how to feel. Or maybe they never gave themselves
an opportunity to learn how to deal with stress.

In sum, if you ignore your emotions, you probably won't know how to effectively
handle them and use them for your benefit (contentedness, satisfaction, etc) because
you never will have allowed yourself to experience any emotions.

Emotions also cause a great deal of interpersonal problems if a person expects
everyone around him or her to be equal in regards to emotions, expression, feelings,
and mood.

Emotions = state of physiological arousal (plus outward expression and subjective feelings)
Emotional expression = outward signs of feelings
Emotional feelings = private emotional experience
Mood = low-intensity, long-lasting emotional state (baseline)

It is also unfair and dishonesty to deny your emotional feelings when they are
obvious to others through your emotional expression.

In regards to the processes of emotion...

emotional stimulus
cognitive appraisal (based on life experiences)
physical arousal (changes in heart rate, breathing rate)
behavioral response (action)
emotional expression
emotional feeling
additional cognitive appraisal that can reinforce or negate the previous four items

Additionally, physical arousal can increase behavioral response, which can increase
emotional expression, which can increase emotional feeling.

I hope I expressed my thoughts effectively.

We also talked about the importance of emotional intelligence, which is the ability
to be able to read people and intuit what they are feeling, even if they are not
explicitly expressing it. Emotional expression tends to become more subtle with age.
I would argue that emotional intelligence also includes the ability to accurately
estimate situations and the emotions involved in order to effectively handle other
people, relationships, decisions, problems, and so on.

Check out Daniel Goleman.

Again, I hope I expressed my thoughts effectively. I hope I effectively expressed my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No Sleep

So, apparently I don't sleep anymore. I mean, I'll finally admit that occasionally
not needing sleep would be really convenient, so that I could just finish that
assignment or paint again or etc.

Last night was the latest I've stayed up this entire semester. 4am. After a phone
conversation with my best friend that lasted for five and a half hours. <3 And I
passed out at 4am and had a nap today and I feel fine. Thanks, college, for
eliminating my sleep schedule! And I had been doing so well with maintaining a
regular sleep schedule. Oh well. This is more fun and I only have one more week
of needing to not be sick.

On Sunday night, after I had finished what work I had wanted to do, instead of
doing more work or going to bed, I stayed up so that I could clean my room and
paint. I painted, you guys. It was so good.

Anyways, lots of little topics to write about, so let's get to it.

From last Tuesday until this past Monday afternoon, with the exception of making
time to paint, I had been pretty grumpy. I told a classmate on Monday that I had
had a crappy week and he responded by saying "It's only Monday!" and I corrected
myself by saying that I had had a crappy since-Tuesday.

I attributed this slump to a few things. Primarily, that my to-do list had managed
to overtake my want-to-do list, although I somewhat combated this with making
time to paint. Also, that the general morale of the campus seems to have decreased,
probably due to the fact that all the procrastinating, the overworked, and the
median students are experiencing the last-minute crunch of all the work they have
to complete. So, my to-do list was making me grumpy and the lowered morale of
campus served as an excuse for me to remain grumpy. Grumpiness loves company, for sure.

And then Monday afternoon happened. What happened Monday afternoon? Well, first
and foremost, I was able to talk it out and explain to myself that the lowered
morale of campus was reinforcing my grumpiness. And that I MUST make time to be
able to incorporate my want-to-do list with my to-do list. Thus why I am awake
and writing right now instead of going to sleep. Sure, there's a balance, but for
the past few weeks, I had been getting my to-do lists done and getting enough
sleep, which resulted in a severe neglect of my want-to-do list.

Even though I was maintaining my health by getting enough sleep and was maintaining
my academic success by getting my work done, my emotional/mental/spiritual health
had been severely neglected over the past few weeks. Self-care! No burnout!

Also on Monday afternoon, I explained to myself what beneficial lesson could be
learned from the recent past. That is, what positive purpose does the recent past
serve? I learned that I truly am capable of making genuine and empathetic connections
with others, but that these genuine and empathetic connections do not have to result
in my being exploited. And should not. But even so, that I can make connections
without being exploited and that I do not have to be exploited in order to make
connections. Good thing my one reader that was bothered by my repetitiveness decided
to no longer be my friend. Hah.

Long story short, my piano lesson was amazing and my piano teacher is an incredible
individual. He asked me for counseling-related advice in regards to stress relief
techniques and responded by saying that he always feels better after our chats.

I think I made his day.

And then! Monday evening, THIS LESS WAS EXEMPLIFIED AGAIN. While I was working at
the library, after I was minimally productive, I decided to do some more self-care
through origami. First of all, lots of students apologized for interrupting my
origami-related concentration, which made me laugh. Second of all, my coworker
commented that he had an origami collection from a previous student, which he then
retrieved from his desk to show me. After we talked about origami, I offered him
the dish I had just completed making to him to add to his collection.

I think I made his day, too.

And both of them certainly made my day.

During Monday afternoon and evening, as I walked across campus, I inhaled deeply
with the realization that I was having a really good day. Simultaneously, this
thought went through my head: "I am having a really good day and I don't want to
talk about it." Well, that seems odd. I thought so, too, at first. Until just
recently when I was writing about the dampened morale and remembered that this
thought had crossed my mind. How does it make sense? It makes sense in that I did
not want to talk about it because my having a really good day was something that was
extremely precious because it had not happened in such a long time. And I did not
want to talk about it because those who would hear would have been the same people
who had previously shared in my grumpiness. But I am talking about it now because
I had another really good day today and am feeling more confident in my ability to
not let these really good days slip away, regardless of how low the morale of
campus may be. Similarly, I also feel more confident in my autonomy in regards to
the fact that I feel like I know how to maintain these really good days.

We'll see how this plays out, because tomorrow is going to be busy and very well
may be ridiculous.

In contrast, also today, my confidence as a tutor was somewhat shaken because I was
repeatedly reminded of the fact that I had not tutored recently. Why did no one
want to ask me? Did I scare them away somehow? Did I fail one time and everyone
knew? I don't know. But it didn't really matter because tutoring is simply income
that is doubly supplementary and I have since scheduled a tutoring meeting with a

Autonomy feels really, really good. I took another recent matter into my own hands
and went straight to the top. And, although the issue could not be remedied, some
appropriate consequences have been served and the afflicted group has gained more
authority, autonomy, status, and what have you.

Lastly, I wanted to add this to my honors project paper somehow, but it did not
really fit in. I read sections of the book, Interaction Ritual Chains, by Collins
and in it he explains how a conversation between two people reflects greater
solidarity (vis-a-vis Durkheim) when their breathing becomes synchronized and
their rhythm becomes extremely matched because each person is able to anticipate
what the other is saying, will say, and how. I read this section for my honors
project about the group dynamics of Jazz Band and I wish it would have fit in
somewhere because it relates so well to that most precise moment of synchronized
breathing that occurs before each piece. Right before the downbeat of measure one,
there is a cohesive intake breath and you can FEEL it and it is my favorite.

I think this was the fastest blog post I have ever written. I still want to paint,
but I will actually go to sleep, but only because tomorrow is so busy. I should have
time to paint between my crammed schedule, maybe, depending on how I eat lunch.

Anyway. Out.

Monday, November 28, 2011


So, instead of reading for tomorrow or working on my massive Lit Review, I'm going
to procrastinate a bit because I have not yet found productive town. Speaking of
Lit Review, let's talk about this.

First of all, the literature that is reviewed within a Lit Review is referred to as
"scholarly articles," not "Lit Review." Really.

Second of all, this assignment was originally due December 2. It has since been pushed
back to December 9, which is completely fine with me, although I am absolutely working
ahead on it so that I can do my other paper that is also due December 9. So, no big
deal. Except for the big deal fact that a classmate said that the professor "is going
to grade it lightly because no one knows what they're doing." Maybe that's not the
students' faults. Maybe. Maybe it's not entirely the fault of the students.

(So I'm absolutely going to turn mine in early - my goal is Monday - so that the
professor knows that SOME students know what they're doing.)

Third of all, I've said this before, but the dumb thing is only worth 100 points,
same as the ridiculously unreliable tests. So, whatever. I've put way more than
100 points-worth of work into it.

Urg, this class.

Anyway, I have kind of forgotten what I cam here to say. I do remember that I want
to add a criterion to my criteria list. The most important criterion to me, be it
somewhat superficial, is that I want to be able to truly be myself in my car when
I am driving with the windows down and the music loud and I am singing my heart out.
This behavior has previously been described as un-ladylike and I will not have any
of that. Why do you think I really dislike driving with passengers? Unless said
passenger is super music-savvy or is super fun-to-talk-to. (Not that all other
possible passengers are not music-savvy or fun-to-talk-to... I just like the freedom
of driving alone.) So the highest criterion is that, someday, driving not-alone
could feel as free as driving alone. And that sounds selfish, but that's not how
I mean it. I don't want it to feel as free as driving alone in the sense that I
want to be able to deny the fact that I am driving not-alone or ignore my passenger,
but I want it to feel as free as driving alone in the sense that said passenger will
truly enjoy my total enrapture in music and driving and windows-down fresh air.

And that is what would be genuinely liberating.

So yeah, all of those other criteria are important, too, but what I really want is
for you to let me sing when and how I want when I am driving. And that feels like

In a similar strain, I LOVE having my friends back.

Okay, I GUESS I'll do some schoolwork. Where are you, productive town?

I had to tell some new people today and that was weird.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Only God Can Judge Me"

So, I just read my most recent post and was genuinely amused at how much of a word
nerd I am. Sufficiently. Suffice. Awesome. I'm awesome. I am some worthy of awe.

Word nerd!

In other news, I have a somewhat official criteria list. This criteria list has the
very important caveat of not being concrete or all-inclusive or exclusive or so on.

Let me have my friends, don't be damaged or insecure, don't exploit my compassion,
and don't demand that I rescue you. Oh, and don't make me not cut my hair.

I think having friends, not being insecure, and not exploiting my compassion are the
most important. Not exploiting my compassion is creeping to the top of the list, but
all three of these are fairly close in importance.

So, before I get to the real topic of this post, I'm going to re-update about school.


Biological Psychology.
I have been tutoring my classmate and I've really grown to like this course, as well
as the professor, even if I don't fully agree with his teaching methods. But he'll
read about that on his course evaluation from me. Haha. My two fellow group members
and I just completed our neurological behavior study with mice, where we tested the
effect of alcohol upon sociability in mice. We got mice drunk, you guys. We haven't
analyzed our data yet, so no results. Assignments left in this course are the results
and discussion sections of my paper about this experiment and the final exam.

Assuming that my projected test grade analysis accurately predicts my grade on the
final - which I am nearly certain it does - I only need a 60% on my project proposal
paper to maintain an A overall. The girl who constantly talked during class (and
also failed the first test) has since moved where she sits and no longer talks to
her classmate. She also did not fail the second test. Hmm. Assignments left in this
course are the project proposal paper and the final exam.

Memory and Cognition.
After scoring a 103% on the first test, I scored an 87% on the second test. What?
I would think that a professor who also teaches Statistics would be able to develop
a more reliable measure of learning. She'll read about that on her course evaluation
from me, but with less attitude. And, although I know my current percentage grade
in the course, I am uncertain of what proportion of the points remain for the
semester, so I have no way to calculate what I need on my literature review and
final exam. I am also upset that the literature review is only worth as much as a
single test, even though I am spending disproportionately more time on that.
Assignments left in this course are the literature review and the final exam.

Eh. This has turned out to be an interesting course, but not really one of my
favorites. I'm not really sure why. I don't really have much to say about it, which
I think is because I feel somewhat uninterested by the course at this point in time.
We just finished reading the book, Longing and Belonging, which I didn't really like,
so maybe that's why. Assignments left in this course are a paper (due Nov 29) and
the final exam (in-class essay).

Hooray for night classes! No seriously. Really, hooray. Over the course of the
semester, I have gone from being reassured of my counseling career goal to being
uncertain of my counseling career goal. But that uncertainty is not the fault of
this course, I believe. Assignments left in this course are two quizzes, two journal
entries, an in-class activity, and the final exam.

Jazz Band.
I wonder if I cry over Jazz Band-related issues at least once each semester. Hm.
Last semester it was because Dr. Weir was leaving, the semester before that may have
been because of graduated members who were no longer present, the semester before
that may have been...?, and the semester before that would have been sheer newness
and crazy girl drummer. This semester it was outside stress and an improvisation
piano solo. But Dr. Taylor came to the rescue and wrote one for me, so we'll see
how it sounds and if/how I want to adapt it at rehearsal tomorrow. I miss Dr. Weir
and all of the members who have left since Spring 2010. Concert on Dec 2. Eek!

Honors Project.
The draft of my paper has been completed! Saturday night I finished! I was going to
go to an on-campus concert Saturday night, but I was so close to being finished that
I buckled down and finished and went to the concert on Sunday afternoon. Hooray!
My diagrams have been drawn and all pertinent information that was previously missing
has been added to the paper. All that's left is to revise, check ASA formatting, and
revise again. Advisor meeting tomorrow morning.

Going fairly well, although I've only completed two pieces this semester, which I
believe is the least ever. Starting on the first movement of Beethoven's Pathetique
Sonata, after having learned the second movement last semester and the third movement
this semester. I'm pretty excited to (eventually) have learned a complete sonata.

Library Work and Tutoring.
Library work is always my favorite. People-watching, people-visiting, and getting
work done, plus getting paid? What could be better? Tutoring is pretty cool, too.
Methods tutoring has tapered off, but will probably pick back up before finals week
and BioPsych tutoring helps me and is fun. Yay! Plus money! Yayyy!

PDP and Convos.
After receiving approval from my previous PDP advisor, I am not planning to being
my PDP paper until Christmas break, although I imagine I will do some preliminary
planning and writing during finals week, since that is always my least busy week
of every semester. Knock on wood. Convos are completed and, by a miscalculation, I
attended one too many, as compared to my twice too many my first semester. Hehe,
oh, priorities, how silly you are as you shift and change.


Fyi, I don't reach my true point until later on in this section. Sorry I buried it.
See paragraph four if you're lazy. (The next paragraph counts as paragraph one.)

Okay, maybe. But not really. I really do disagree with this sentiment, even though
it gets to be a really touchy topic with other Christians, as the general philosophy
is that a person cannot judge another person because all people are fallible. Okay,
so I agree with the statement about everyone being fallible, but I do not agree with
the argument that this negates the utility of "judging." I say that with quote marks
to lessen the negative connotation that the word has received. It's a very heavy
word and I don't mean it in a heavy way, so I hope the quote marks can lighten it
to a point. Ew. Look at all those short words at the beginning of each line. Ew.
Anyway. And I don't mean utility to sound like a utilitarian - also a silly life
philosophy, when adhered to dogmatically - I simply mean that, sometimes, making
a judgment is useful. Making a judgment sounds lighter than judging, no? We make
judgments about situations every day. Is it cold enough for a sweater? Is it dry
enough to wear suede shoes? Am I hungry enough to eat lunch? Am I not hungry enough
to skip lunch? Do I have enough time to run an errand? And so on and so on. And you
say, "But those are examples of judging a SITUATION. Judging a PERSON is different!"

And I agree. Judging a PERSON is not what I condone. Judging a person is a problem
because doing so is too much of a blanket statement. And you, as a regular reader,
should know very well how I feel about blanket statements. (Not well at all.) For
example, a judgment of a PERSON could sound something like this "That person is too
___(fill in the blank)___, I'm not going to talk to/help/etc him/her." This blanket
statement is damaging (and what true blanket statement isn't?) because it removes
any and all possibility that the stater of the statement could change his/her mind.
Sure, it happens sometimes, but it's unlikely. Plus, there's the whole issue of the
complete negativity of such a blanket statement. And who likes negativity? Not I!

So, if judging a PERSON is not what I condone, then what type of judging do I condone?
Well, it goes back to being able to judge a SITUATION. Instead of making a damaging
blanket statement that applies to the whole person, try rewording a judgment so that
it applies only to a specific situation. For example, instead of saying "She's really
mean and I don't like her," say, "She's really mean in class, and I don't like her
in class." When a judgment applies to a SITUATION, rather than the whole PERSON, it
opens up all kinds of possibilities for that person to defy that judgment in other
situations. (This has really happened to me. I think I wrote about it before.) Even
better, judgments can be made even more specific in order to refer to an even more
narrow situation... "She's really mean in class today, I wonder what's wrong."
With all of this said, it is not an easy practice to instill, but hopefully you
have noticed that simply shifting the focus of a judgment away from the person and
onto the situation makes the judgment feel entirely different. A person-directed
judgment is extremely damning and that's what really makes people (myself including)
uncomfortable. A situation-directed judgment is not damning because it has built-in
caveats. (And who doesn't like a good serving of caveat?)

But anyway. My REAL point has to do with the sentiment, "Only God can judge me."
Okay, maybe. And, according to my above argument, yes. I cannot judge YOU. I can
judge* how you act in a certain situation on a certain day under certain circumstances,
but I cannot judge YOU as a WHOLE PERSON.
The fact that "only God can judge [you]" does not relieve you of your responsibility
to behave as a sane and upstanding individual. This sentiment does not absolve you
of your basic human responsibility to not behave as a donkey might behave. Really.
This sentiment does not remove all possible consequences from you or your future.
Because, even if I can't judge YOU (and I won't judge you as a whole person), the
law, the system, the federal government, the IRS, or someone will. Eventually, so
long as they get their bureaucratic act together. And, even if not? As a believer
in eternity, you will eventually meet the one God you claim is the only being that
can judge you. And, to reiterate what I really mean, just because you claim that
"only God can judge [you]," that does NOT mean that you have no obligation to judge
yourself. Where is conscience and remorse? Have you none?

* I feel it necessary to explain what I mean when I use "judge" as a verb, as in
"judge how you act in a certain situation on a certain day under certain circumstances."
As a word nerd, and one who is heavily influenced by connotations, using "judge" as
a verb does make me uncomfortable because I recognize that it has an extremely heavy
and negative connotation. When I used "to judge," I feel that most first reactions
will picture a typical holier-than-thou attitude. And that is not at all what I mean.
"To judge," in my world, is not snooty, arrogant, or cocky. "To judge" simply means
to form an opinion, to decide upon critically, to conclude about, or to assess.
(Thanks,!) And that's what I mean. None of this nose-in-the-
air nonsense that give judgment a bad reputation. Think of all the ways that "judge"
or "judgment" can be used in a positive manner! I would guess that the only form
of "judge" that I would reserve for negative instances would be "judgmental."

And, for your additional reading pleasure... Is it Bad Rap or Bad Wrap?
I decided to use neither, thus bad reputation in the above paragraph.

And, in closing, my Counseling textbook said something cool in the chapter I had to
read for tomorrow. I can't remember exactly what it said, but it said that avoiding
responsibility diminishes a person's power and his or her power to change the self
or the situation. And I like that a lot. I like that a lot more than the victim
stance that everyone around me expects me to take. Sure, it will never make sense,
never ever, and while taking absolute responsibility for it would absolutely damage
my self-esteem beyond repair, I am determined to find the happy medium. Balance and
moderation. Responsibility and POWER. I am a whole person. Apparently my session
today actually did help a lot.

Edit: So I just proofread this after posting it and realized something huge. You guys!
Judgments are like stereotypes! :O Also, I meant to post these lyrics, which I was
reminded of when I said "Not I!"

In an ocean of noise
I first heard your voice
Now who hear among us
Still believes in choice?
Not I!

Ugh, that song is SO GOOD.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cake & Unicorns, Revisited (and School!)


My apologies in advance if this post takes a turn toward depression and cynicism.

Cake & Unicorns, Revisited.

In a previous post, I explained that relationships have a learning curve and that
they are not all cake and unicorns. I suppose I feel this way because, to date, I
have not had a cake and unicorns relationship. And I also feel that a fairly large
part of me would feel naive to gain so much satisfaction from a cake and unicorns
relationship because, to me, cake and unicorns equals superficiality.

And I have had no experience to tell me otherwise, to show me that there is a type
of cake and unicorns that does not equal superficiality, that is not shallow.

First, we were thirteen. That wasn't real.

Then, we were good friends, but his past blocked him from feeling anything real and
I was too impatient to put up with his insecurities.

Then, it worked well, but just didn't go anywhere. We hit a mutual wall.

Then, we just liked to hang out and both understood and agreed there was nothing
long-term and never would be.

And, just now, I am still too temporally close to the experience to put it in words
so sufficiently. Sufficiently. Suffice. Cool.

However, just now, I can say that I feel naive because I made myself believe it was
cake and unicorns (sufficiently) when it definitely was not. He was good at playing
to this.

After the first then, my best friend and I discussed how I did not want to create
a criteria list for future relationships because a relationship cannot be reduced
to a formula of criteria. However, I now know that it is necessary to have a general
idea of what is required and what is desired. Right? This is how we broke it down,
right? Absolutes and preferences? Well, I now have an absolute, among others obvious
to those who are privy to the situation. My absolute? LET ME HAVE MY FRIENDS.

So, cake and unicorns, where do we stand? Not sure.

But let me just say that my greatest fear is that I will remain too damaged for the
future. Or that I will remain too damaged and will thus attract (and settle for) a
similarly damaged man. I also fear that I have been so instilled with a sense of
cynicism that I will forever feel that no future man will meet my expectations.

Exceed, exceed.

As for cake and unicorns? Maybe cake and unicorns don't have to be naive. Maybe
there is the possibility of a relationship so real that it is cake and unicorns
without a naivete. And my hurt heart screams, "No, no, no! That's how you got to
be where you are now! Eliminate all naivete! Be cynical forever!"

And I say, I am rejecting both naivete and cynicism and saying that these things
are unimportant to me right now and that all such things are out of my hands.

I am rejecting both naivete and cynicism in exchange for passivity.

(and School!)

Thanks to the above circumstances, my Senior year has just now started. Also, let me
just say that I am thankful for my small campus because it allows me to have to
explain to less people because most people already know.

Biological Psychology
Bio Psych is probably one of the most difficult courses I've taken, simply because
it is so unrelated to anything I've studied previously. And it's hard work. And it
is the only course during my entire college career (this is technically my fifth
year, I just started during eleventh grade) in which I have gotten a non-A grade.
I actually got a C, you guys! I am more amused than anything. But a C assignment
grade does not mean I will not get an A course grade. Also, I've been recruited to
be a tutor for a classmate. Let's go.

Due to a combination of professor, course material, and course format; this course
is cake for me. I was very surprised to learn of particular classmates who failed
the first test. There's not really much else to say about this course, because it's
the same old, same old that I've learned before. I'm not complaining.

Memory and Cognition
Um. Really, that's the extent of my thoughts in regards to this course. No offense,
but it really is a joke. For the first test, I filled out the study guide using only
the professor's PowerPoints and used none of my own notes. The only reason I need
to go to class is for participation activities and the rare graded participation
activities. Joke, joke, joke. And even more of a joke because the test averages were
bi-modal, meaning that most people got an A/B grade or a D/F grade. What.

Sociology of the Family
Awesome possum course. Very similar to Birth and Death in regards to format, so I
am excelling because of that. The readings are interesting and the discussions are
fulfilling. Apparently everyone is fascinated by the topic of cohabitation.

Counseling and Personal Development
I love this course so much that I am not even bothered by the fact that it is a
one-day, 2.5-hour night class. I love courses in this format, thanks to LBC and
HACC. I love this course so much that I am not even bothered by the in-class role-
playing. That's a big deal.

Jazz Band
So far, so good, but weird. First concert was a success and our director said,
"We've done easy music and we've done it well. Now it is time to do more difficult
music." Uh-oh.

Honors Project
So far, so good. I need to check on my project time line to see what I should be
doing now, since I am "officially" done with observation.

Probably the most neglected part of my education right now. But after I am done
here, I am going to eat lunch and go practice for a long time. Thankfully my teacher
understands my circumstances and allowed me to take care of legal issues during my
lesson time this past Monday. Also, I just learned that he thinks I'm awesome, as in,
one of the few students who works.

Library Work and Tutoring
Library work continues to be my favorite. It is the best way to get work done and
socialize and get paid, all at the same time. Tutoring has officially started this
week and I tutored for one hour over the course of two sessions. I need to email
someone so I can fill out the paperwork to become a Bio Psych tutor.

PDP and Convos
Additional things I can't forget to think about. My PDP paper is going to be

That's all, I think. Ready and lunch time.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Work and Summer Productive Town

As some of you may know, I am a cashier/do-it-all at a local gas station and
convenience store. Sure, this sounds like a lowly job that wouldn't involve
much excitement or mental exertion. I'm good at my job; I love my job and my
job loves me, but sometimes it gets a little too crazy.

Take tonight, for example.

Approximately ten minutes after I clocked in, a customer was pumping gas. All
was well until he ran in and alerted me that the hose line broke and there was
an ever-increasing puddle of gas. Had he shut off the pump before he ran away
from the scene? Absolutely not. I quickly shut off the pump through my register
and followed him outside to investigate. He refused to pay for the extra $1.34
that he wasted because he failed to shut off his pump before fleeing to get me
and I later went outside to spread Spillaway between customers, since I was
working alone.

While I was outside, trying to clean up the wasted gas and keep an eye on the
store for entering customers, a woman pulled up to someone who was getting gas
and I heard her ask the other person a question. I continued to clean up and
to watch for incoming customers. The woman then pulled up to me and asked me
if I knew where such-and-such a location was. I asked her if she had an address
or a street name and her passenger looked on her laptop and told me the street
name. Meanwhile, I saw a girl enter the store from the side door. I told the
woman that I knew the road, but was not sure how to get there and needed to go
inside because I had a customer. I told her that she could come inside with me
and I would look at a map for her. She continued to ask me for directions and said
that they had been driving around for three hours. I repeated myself at least
twice and she finally said, "Okay, I know you're busy." I turned to go inside,
she pulled away, and I expected her to park and follow me inside so that I could
show her a map. As I waited on the customer who was inside, I saw the woman
drive away. Three hours of being lost and she couldn't spare five minutes?

Toward the end of my shift, this super creepy guy (late 50s, gross, native small
town material) came in to buy cigarettes and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I do
not, so I said no. He asked if I don't like boys. I should have said yes. I said
no and that I'm just single. He made a few comments, such as saying that's a
shame and so on. He then said, "Maybe I could take you out to dinner some night."
No sirree, no thank you. Gross.

My job is ridiculous.


As far as my summer do-list that I posted most recently...

I've been reading a lot. I finished Scott Westerfield's The Uglies Series, I read
The Handmaid's Tale (which was AWESOME), I read Green Angel, and I am reading
The Children of Men. I need to get Full Dark No Stars from the library.

I've joined bookmooch. I've given 10 books away and am slated to receive 5.

I did not do my school portfolio. I put all of my work for the year in a box and
put all of my books for the year on my school shelf. Good enough.

For my t-shirt rag rug, I ordered a ready-to-go 24"x30" rug latch hook canvas
and have begun cutting t-shirts into 1"x4" strips. I need to find a latch hook
tool and buy more shirts.

I have not been writing.

I narrowed down my grad school search to the last three. Pitt, U at Albany (SUNY),
and East Tennessee State University. I will apply to these three schools and I
will be earning my MSW from whichever one is least expensive. Pitt and ETSU were
recommended by my advisor. Pitt has the 14th best MSW program in the nation and
U at Albany has the 12th best. ETSU is new, but sounds awesome.

Although I am fairly certain none of these grad schools require a GRE school for
admission, I will be taking the GRE on August 1. Unless I could cancel and get a
refund? I'll have to look into that.

People have been seen and are being seen. <3

One thing that was not posted on my do-list was to play French Horn. I got a
lesson book and played for the first time a few days ago. I suck at it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to Read Critically (and My Summer Do-List)

How to Read Critically

(The following was drawn from notes on a lecture by one of my professors, during
one of the class meetings of Juvenile Justice. So, in case you've been struggling
to read research articles and respond to them in a critical fashion, see below.
I took Juvenile Justice Fall 2010. Sorry for the delay.)

In order to read critically, you must do two things:
1) Read for fact: an understanding of theories and their evidence
2) Read for implication: now what?

Typically, a research article is designed in the following way:
1) ASK: presents the problem and its background
2) CRITIQUE: critiques the previous theories surrounding the problem
3) TELL: presents a new theory about the problem
4) SHOW: ties in evidence to support the new theory
5) IMAGINE: imagines the "now what?" and explains implications for the future

In reading critically and finding the format of the research article as you read,
there are a few key things to remember to look for:
- A shift in words signifies the article's claims (however, but, therefore, given,
thus, etc). Take note of such claims and the supporting evidence that surrounds them.
- Notice previous claims or theories you recognize and evaluate the connections that
are made by the article.
- Concrete words signify confident statements or claims (given, thus, therefore, etc;
NOT possibly, may, tend, etc).
- Take note of section headings and find thesis statements and key words for each
- As you read, develop one-sentence summaries of main points that are presented (or
mark one-sentence summaries that are already written within the article).
- Pay extra attention to the first and last paragraphs of sections, as the paragraphs
that lie between are primarily supporting information.
- Nearing the end of the article, look for words that alert you of the summary (in
short, in summary, in conclusion, etc).

My Summer Do-List

I've been in the midst of unpacking, repacking, cleaning, and organizing since I got
home from school on May 15, left again on May 18, and came home again on May 22.
Since May 22, I've mostly been sleeping, as well as working, and completing the verbs
previously listed. In addition, I wrote up a list to keep myself on task. The list is
currently incomplete, as I know some things slipped my mind, but it's a good start.

To be operationalized (and S.M.A.R.T.), goals must be written down.

(in no particular order, much to the chagrin of my OCD tendencies...)

- read. a lot. The Uglies Series(x3), This is Your Brain on Music, Full Dark No Stars, etc.

- bookmooch. get rid of those books in the corner.

- school portfolio.

- t-shirt rag rug.

- write. Metamorphosis. Teacher. Semester reflect blog. Journal.

- pick a grad school.

- GRE on Aug 1.

- people.

And, for immediate action, sleep.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Accountability & Communication and Hypocriticism

I have a feeling this will be a shorter post, but we shall see.

First off, I have minimal work to do between now and when I leave school on May 15
and I am SO bored. I need a new close friend who is also an over-achiever and non-
procrastinator. Granted, I did have the opportunity to go to a clique picnic today,
but I declined because I do not feel like I've been fully-inducted into that clique.
However, there is another clique-picnic on Friday that I will be attending and a
clique-dinner on Monday evening that I will also be attending. Similarly, there are
things that I could do to keep myself occupied: piano, recording, making jewelry,
drawing, sitting outside, going for a drive, etc, etc. However, I'm craving something
more social and, because I know of no one who is available, I am writing.

Accountability & Communication

In a recent and ongoing dialogue with the President of my college, two of the trends
that continue arising throughout our emails are those of accountability and communication.

As a student, prior to emailing the President, I felt very much in the dark about
administrative decisions, actions, and motivations. I do not know what the status
quo is at other institutions of higher education, but the fact that there is a
disconnect between the powers that be and us students who are affected by those
decisions bothers me very, very much. Because of this disconnect, students like
myself do not concretely know the motivations and desired consequences from the
actions and decisions of the administration and rumors thus are created and spread
violently across campus. In short, it's very important to be that administration
decisions and actions are shared with the student body and, more importantly, the
motivations behind these decisions and actions are likewise dispelled.

Similarly, there is a feeling of a lack of accountability among staff of the college.
From not completing the task of laying some carpet to not noticing and refilling the
silverware, dishes, food, etc; I get the impression that there is a lack of pride
in one's job and job description & duties.


I'm not going to write much about this, but I just wanted to say how deeply it upsets
and bothers me when a person judges or reprimands or looks down upon another person
because of a certain behavior, even though an extremely similar behavior is being done
by the former person. Does that one, tiny little detail of a difference really make
one action acceptable and the other not? No.

Also, I'm sorry if I'm ever hypocritical in any way. I wouldn't be surprised and I

In other news, I gave two leaving faculty members thank you/well-wish cards today
and, while they were both touched and appreciative, it was quite sad, particularly
when I told one of them that a third favorite faculty member was also leaving. :(

In regards to this, a lot of reactions to the announcement of a leaving faculty
member were something along the lines of, oh I understand because a bigger opportunity
will be better or you can't expect someone to stay somewhere so small, etc, etc.
Wait, WHAT? You picked a small school, commit to it. You picked a small school, love it.
I simply cannot fathom a faculty member having "settled" on working here because it
feels so insincere to commit to an educational setting all the while knowing that you
see it only as a stepping stone. A greater commitment and truer passion is required
for effective teaching, so I refuse to believe that any of these responses are true.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

HOBY 2011 Mixtape

Like I have the past two years, I made a mixtape for my HOBY kids.
Below is the track list and my explanation of each song, as well as
an addendum of a few songs that didn't fit/I forgot about.

Enjoy! (Also, for the last post? Song I could fall asleep to?
White Noise by Mogwai, which is the closing track on this mix)

_____01 – A Million Tomorrows – Pretty Lights
To start this mix, I present to you an instrumental piece by electronic artist, Pretty Lights. Upbeat electronic music is what I use when I need to be productive and write papers or read. Pretty Lights has also done neat covers of some classic rock songs by Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, and others.
_____02 – Completed Nihilism – Mouse on the Keys
Mouse on the Keys is a jazz/rock-fusion band from Japan that consists of two members on keyboards/piano and one member on drums. This track is simple, but is a necessary lead-in to the next track.
_____03 – Spectres de Mouse – Mouse on the Keys
This song was the first Mouse on the Keys song I heard when I was shown the music video for it, which is amazing. If you haven’t noticed already, you’ll notice by the end of this mix that I’m very biased toward music with lots of piano.
_____04 – Creepin’ Crazy Time – Big Blood
Big Blood is my most recent new favorite band. Throughout this mix, it is also evident that I’ve been on a big folk kick. A lot of Big Blood’s songs are weird, but they are so good. They also did covers of Erik Satie’s Trois Gnossiennes, which are some of my favorite classical pieces.
_____05 – Buried in the Water – Dead Man’s Bones
Dead Man’s Bones is another folk-y band, but is less upbeat in most of their songs. This song is no exception, but I think it’s waltz tempo and better-than-Cash Cash-esque vocals are beautiful.
_____06 – All Delighted People – Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens is another folk artist with a beautiful and unique voice and musical genius mind. This isn’t my favorite song by him, but it’s a powerful one that gives me chills.
_____07 – Rabbit Will Run – Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine is another folk artist (frontman, Sammy) who I saw in Baltimore on April 20th and this is one of my favorite songs, the others being Me & Lazarus and Big Burned Hand and Your Fake Name is Good Enough for Me. It was a great concert, opened by The Low Anthem. Essentially any indie-folk band with a bass clarinet and/or baritone saxophone will be able to make it into my heart.
_____08 – Mexican Standoff – Elbow
Before I started my folk kick, my favorite band at the time was Elbow. Their song, One Day Like This, came up on my Arcade Fire Pandora station and I loved it. That song and another, Grace Under Pressure, are my favorites, but Mexican Standoff is a close third.
_____09 – Lotus Flower – Radiohead
Lotus Flower is from Radiohead’s most recent album and, although I tend to prefer their older stuff, the music video for this is great, with frontman Thom Yorke dancing alone. It’s simple, but it’s catchy and beautiful.
_____10 – Butterflies & Hurricanes – Muse
I used to really, really like Muse, but now I have to be in the right mood, otherwise they are obnoxious. Frontman Matthew Bellamy has a powerful voice and this song has an amazing piano interlude.
_____11 – In the Land of Magnolias – Vitas
Vitas is a Russian pop singer with an incredible male falsetto range. His music can be really weird, but it’s perfect when I want something different.
_____12 – Shiller – Ratatat
My obsession with Ratatat occurred at the same time as my obsession with Elbow (and Pheonix and Matt & Kim and Miike Snow and Passion Pit) and they are what I listen to when I have heavy reading I need to get through. Shiller is tied with Lex and Wildcat as my favorite.
_____13 – Rothko Fields – S. Carey
S. Carey is my current obsession. Sean Carey is the drummer/pianist for musician, Bon Iver (bone ee-vair), and this is his minimalist folk project. I saw S. Carey on April 1 and it was incredible. I consider it to be one of the most moving shows I’ve seen, second only to the 2nd time I saw mewithoutyou, followed by when I saw Phish.
_____14 – We Fell – S. Carey
Although S. Carey’s Rothko Fields is absolutely my favorite, I couldn’t put just one of his songs on this mix.
_____15 – White Noise – Mogwai
I chose to close this mix with White Noise by Mogwai because it is a great cool down electronic piece that makes great background music or a great closer to what I hope you think is an awesome mix.

Before I discovered Elbow and the mix of artists that came along with them, I was really into two bands, but could not fit any more music on this mix. So I advise you to check out Two Door Cinema Club (my favorite song is Do You Want it All?) and The Bravery (the first song I heard was An Honest Mistake and my favorite songs are Believe, This is Not the End, and Tragedy Bound [explicit]). Lastly, if you like dubstep (or if you have no idea if you like dubstep), my two favorites are 1975 by Zeds Dead and Cracks Begin to Show (Flux Pavilion Mix) by Freestylers.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30 Songs

01 - your favorite song
It's impossible to choose. Right now, anything by S. Carey and Big Blood and
iron & Wine and Dead Man's Bones and Zeds Dead. But let's go with Rothko Fields
by S. Carey.

02 - your least favorite song
Easy. Photograph by Nickelback. And anything by Nickelback.

03 - a song that makes you happy
Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman. Jazz Band was finishing up this song when I
arrived to rehearsal yesterday and all I wished was that I knew how to Charleston
so that I could dance into the band room. This song makes you want to move.

04 - a song that makes you sad
That one worship song that includes the line, "Like a rose trampled on the ground."
It's entirely unnecessary for a popular worship song to be so emo.

05 - a song that reminds you of someone
Most of the later tracks of Joy Electric's Hello Mannequin album and most every
song by Death Cab for Cutie. But I'm trying to forget both of those associations
so that I can enjoy the music independently once again. But to pick one song, I
would say the song about bees by Steve Vai just because I dislike it so much.

06 - a song that reminds you of somewhere
Somewhere? Huh. I guess any song by any band or artist I've ever seen perform. To
pick one awesome one, I would have to say You Enjoy Myself by Phish. They did the
coolest vocal jam EVER.

07 - a song that reminds you of a certain event
These are all the same question, only slightly different. I don't have an answer
to this one right now...

08 - a song that you know all the words to
So many. But Rob Dougan's Left Me for Dead and mewithoutyou's Gentlemen are two
I'll never ever unlearn.

09 - a song that you can dance to
Every single crappy pop hip hop song on the radio with a strong bass beat. There
was one I heard on Monday that I LOVED and wanted to get the name of it so I could
request it at the HOBY dance, but I didn't catch enough of the words and I remember
none of them now. So let's say Right Round by Flo Rida. Unlike Dead or Alive's
You Spin Me Round, which I find terribly difficult to dance to. To which I find it
terribly difficult to dance. >.<

10 - a song that makes you fall asleep
Uh. N/A? A lot of people would say anything classical, but that's false for me. So
instead I'll just name a classical song... Tres Gnossiennes by Erik Satie.

11 - a song from your favorite band
That's as impossible as asking my favorite song. Right now I have Rabbits Will Run
by Iron & Wine stuck in my head.

12 - a song from a band you hate
I also already answered this. Another band I dislike is Alien Ant Farm. Haha.

13 - a song that is a guilty pleasure
Every crappy pop hip hop song that is on the radio. Also, things like Lead Me by
Raze. Haha.

14 - a song that no one would expect you to love
Every crappy pop hip hop song that is on the radio. OH and lots of people are
surprised to learn just how much I love Eminem, particularly Love the Way You Lie.

15 - a song that describes you
I'm going to just pick an arbitrary song and tell everyone to listen to Buried
Alive by Dead Man's Bones.

16 - a song that you used to love but now hate
I don't hate it, but I no longer listen to or care about Yellowcard's Only One.

17 - a song that you hear often on the radio
Christina Perri's Jar of Hearts (which I am a huge fan of). Of which I am a huge fan.

18 - a song that you wish you heard on the radio
mewithoutyou's The Crow, The Fox, and The Cookie. Rather, The Fox, The Crow, and
the Cookie.

19 - a song from your favorite album
How about a song from my favorite Beck album? Which would be Sunday Sun from Sea Change.

20 - a song that you listen to when you’re angry
Strip by Rammstein... which randomly popped into my head on Monday when I was
packing up my car. Such a good song.

21 - a song that you listen to when you’re happy
Absolutely that would be Ratatat's Lex.

22 - a song that you listen to when you’re sad
I refuse to listen to music when I'm sad, lest any particular artist or song will
become associated with that momentary depression. So instead, you should listen to

23 - a song that you want to play at your wedding
No question. Instrumental by Rob Dougan.

24 - a song that you want to play at your funeral
I don't particularly want to have a funeral? So instead, you should listen to
Rods N Cones by Blue Man Group. Really.

25 - a song that makes you laugh
Uh. None? No, I lied. Beware the Friendly Stranger by Boards of Canada, well-known
for its use in Saladfingers.

26 - a song that you can play on an instrument
Eminem's Love the Way You Lie, but I already used that. So... the theme song from
Disney-Pixar's Up.

27 - a song that you wish you could play
Arcade Fire's My Body is a Cage. Also, I just found free piano sheet music for
Jar of Hearts. The music video is SO good.

28 - a song that makes you feel guilty
Uh... N/A. So, instead, look up Major Tom by Shiny Toy Guns.

29 - a song from your childhood
The platypus song by Buddy Davis. Haha. Maybe my obsession with him is resurfacing
as my current obsession with hipster-folk music?

30 - your favorite song at this time last year
I Will Possess Your Heart by Death Cab for Cutie.

Yay, music! <3

Monday, April 4, 2011

Group Projects

Due to the sensitivity of this topic and the likelihood that it will inevitably
resemble actual persons, I am going to try and keep this as objective and research-
based as possible. This blog was never meant to be a place for rants and I apologize
that one of my recent posts slipped in and out of ranty-ness. Even worse than this,
it ended up being a passive way to confront the situation and, if you're a regular
reader, you may be aware of how much I am bothered by passivity.

Also, I am now aware that the grumpiness of current group members was due less to
maladaptive group dynamics and more to an equal disdain for group projects. Huh.

"We are a group but we do not want to be; we are a forced group; we do not feel as
if we are a truly united group." (Thanks, Group Process! Most-enriching course that
I do not enjoy!)


A Study, Analysis, and Critique of Group Projects in a School Setting (Primarily College)

To be informed by objective research and current studies within the course, Group Process

What is the rationale behind group projects in a college setting?

The typical reasoning I have heard within casual conversations with faculty is that
group projects prepare students for the future requirement of working well with
others in the workforce. One specific professor expressed that this is an outdated
philosophy. I'm not quite convinced it was ever in-date.

Public education in general (particularly elementary and secondary schools) is
structured to condition students to enter the factory workforce. They are trained
in both broad categories, such as attention to detailed instructions and following
authority, and small details, such as becoming accustomed to being directed by a
bell. Elementary and secondary schools are factories for future factory-workers.
This particular model is outdated, as 11% of Americans worked in manufacturing in
2008. And that's all of manufacturing, not just factory-line production jobs.

So, public elementary and secondary education structure is behind-the-times in regards
to these instances of conditioning (surprise, surprise). Is college education group
project-centered structure likewise outdated? Honestly, I'm not sure. I would need
to interview a variety of people within the modern workforce to try and gauge how
applicable past group project experiences are to their current careers. In pure
speculation, I imagine that it is generally important in most workplaces to be able
to work well with others (see examples of workplace group dynamic conflict in shows
such as The Office and Traffic Light or the movie Office Space). Life is social.
It is generally important to be able to work well with others in a variety of contexts,
whether within career or otherwise (being a good conversationalist at family events;
being a non-grumpy customer when interacting with servers, cashiers, and other
service workers; and so on).

Do college group project assignments reflect group assignments that are common in
goal-oriented groups, such as those found within workplaces? I speculate no, but I
cannot say for sure. I speculate no mostly because it's my gut feeling. I'd like to
say that work pressures are different from school pressures because students are so
severely focused on grades, but employees are likewise focused on keeping their jobs.
I'm not sure how else school (specifically college) is different from a job because
I have only limited experience in the workforce.

I do, however, have a bit of experience working in groups that are not school-related.

First, I have been an active member of two committees at a local youth and family
community theater. The first, the teen committee, was during my junior year of high
school and consisted of three or four high school students and one or two adult
advisors (the numbers fluccuated). I had probably done a group project or two before
this time (yes, at least one for speech class at HACC), but my ability to participate
in and contribute to the committee was not largely influenced by past group project
experience. The second was an ad hoc committee during my senior year of high school.
This committee's purpose was to study and analyze ticket sales and theater patrons
in order to somehow increase the numbers of both. This committee met more frequently
than the first (approximately once a month) and I was the only non-adult member.
I was an active participant of the committee, but never explicitly called on past
group project experiences to inform this participation.

Second, my coworkers at my job back home qualify as a group. Perhaps we are more
independent than we are collectively goal-oriented, but there is teamwork. Again, I
never explicitly call on past group project experiences to relate to this group.

Is it possible that my past group project experiences subconciously influenced my
ability to function as a participatory member of these groups? Perhaps, but if
subconscious learning is the only reason to endure school group projects...?

I'm not convinced.

I am currently taking a course called Group Process and Interpersonal Communication.
It is a weird class. But I have learned more about group functioning than I ever
was aware of learning in all of my group project experiences. It's a weird course and
I don't like the class much, but I like the material and the assignments and I can
feel myself becoming more aware. Huzzah, Sociology!

While I am of the school of thought that every skill and area of knowledge can be
improved and increased to an infinite degree, I've felt confident in the areas we
have covered during the course (leadership, conflict management, communication, etc).
Well, maybe not communication, but that's a weird and recent development. Even though
I have felt confident in these skill areas, I am becoming more aware of how they
function within a group setting. I forget where I was going with this, but I think
the point was that I feel confident in my skills and knowledge to function within
a group. Even if I was less aware before taking this course, I still feel that I was
able to function efficiently within a group.

Long story short, group projects have not taught me anything about how to work in a
group with other people.

Do other people need to learn this skill set from experiencing group projects?

Maybe, but I don't want to.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reading Suggestions

Read this:

And this:

And this:

You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

College - Spring 2011

My first semester, college was AWESOME. My second semester, college was pretty
sweet, but I was significantly less satisfied. Although, in retrospect, it was a good
semester. Last semester, college was good and school was not fun. I felt like I
learned nothing and I retained little. This semester, college and school are okay and
I'm happy, even though I'm frequently bored.

Don't get me wrong, I love college and I love Bridgewater and am still wholly
committed to her. And, it's not so much that I have complaints, it's just that I see
a lot of areas where things could be improved. Overall, my college is satisfactory,
but there are lots of little details that could really make it awesome.

In regards to this, there is a continuum (surprise, surprise) that goes from harping
on every little detailed flaw on one end to ignoring those details and being passive
and satisfied on the other. In the middle lies a balance of active participation in
striving for greater satisfaction. So, no, I'm not going to list the little details that
bug me. From now on, I'm going to try and filter out what I believe really is not so
important from what I think really does need changed. And we'll see what I end up
with and what is actually feasible to change.

There is a continuum that goes from considering every positive possibility and being
greatly dissatisfied on one end to being stagnantly satisfied and ignoring every
possibility for greater satisfaction on the other.

Surprise, satisfaction.

Well, that's what I'm THINKING. Let's talk about what I'm DOING.

Psychology Research Methods
Ehhh. My professor is very much close to my conceptualization of a utopia professor,
according to my "If I Were a Teacher." And I like the class, it just has a tendency
to not keep me awake because so much of this is review from Socio Methods-I last
semester. It also has the potential to muddle things in my head because it is very
much overlapping with Socio Methods-II and the styles of these professors are a bit
different and learning the same information twice in slightly different ways with
slightly different details potentially causes some confusion. Also, this course will
be a good opportunity to practice empowerment and transformational leadership
because I am fairly confident in my knowledge of this information and am planning
to relent a lot of power to other people for the group project so that they can get
the most out of the learning experience. Third test on Friday. I met with my prof.
this afternoon to finalize and confirm the psych classes I am taking next year for my
minor and we also momentarily discussed methods class and how he can frequently
feel (and empathize with) my boredom and how he should not be concerned if I step
back within the group project in order to empower my classmates to learn.

Today, we were working on our project methodology and there was a pretty stark
conflict because two of our members were opposed to ( as in, "not at all interested in")
the design that had been determined last week. It was weird. Thanks to Group Process,
I was extremely aware of the tension. Or, thanks to Group Process, I saw where tension
should be and succeeded in fabricating how the group felt. Maybe that's what I
understand least about Group Process... I'm starting to see when typical group events
(ie, conflict) occur, but an observer (whether internal or external, overt or covert) cannot
infer that every member of the group feels the typical feeling associated with specific
events. …which I guess is okay, as long as the observer recognizes that. Reflexivity.

Geology is a fine gen ed class. Lots of millions and billions and lots of kids who
don't pay nearly enough attention, but it's okay. I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite.
Second test on Wednesday. I do enjoy the concepts we’re learning, but the class really
drags on. It’s from 10-10:50am and, every time I look at the clock expecting class to
be nearly over, it’s only ~10:30am.

Group Process
Weird weird weird weird WEIRD class. At first, it made me super super nervous.
Then, I really started to enjoy it and it was my favorite and it was awesome. Now?
I really don't like it much at all. I do feel like I am learning a lot about group process
and, in terms of the COURSE, it's great. In terms of the CLASS, I feel quite a bit of
tension, although it's usually below the surface. [insert previous discussion of tension
here] For the course term paper, I am observing Jazz Band. So far, it’s been pretty
sweet because I already knew I love ethnography and ethnography-like things. The
hardest part is the fact that I have to observe and participate at the same time. It can be
really overwhelming. I wonder if anyone in Jazz Band has gotten the feeling that I’m
creeping on them. Anyway. The outline for that paper consists of Humor, Authority,
Subgroups by Section, and Cliques. So yeah, I definitely like the class more than I like
the course. Yay, Sociology!

Social Inequality
Being polite, this course is fluff. It is a 400-level course and has so much potential to be
really enriching. After all, it is a required course for Sociology majors. Last week, as a
study of the effects of class inequality, we watched The Notebook. I feel like it would
have been a more enriching and applicable choice to watch The Aristocats. (and, while
The Notebook is good, The Aristocats is AWESOME) There's a really strange disconnect
in the course. The professor always emphasizes how this is a 400-level course and we
are expected to execute 400-level Sociological thought and analysis. But instead, we're being
told how to formulate paper intros and thesis statements, watching The Notebook, and
just skimming the surface of an analysis of inequality. Watch out, future students of this
course, I'm going to tear it apart on the evaluation. I'm also going to suggest
watching The Aristocats in future semesters. That is my gift to you.

Socio Methods-II
Going well. I'll have more to say once data analysis begins. Data collection closed today
and I have all of my data entered, as of 4pm today. I’m probably going to back off a bit
from helping my classmates so much. Maybe. It’s frustrating and time-consuming, but I
feel somewhat obligated. Compassion? I dunno. But we have tutors… But I understand
students probably feel more comfortable asking a peer rather than a professor or tutor…
But… Empowerment, empowerment, empowerment. Right? Right.

Also, there was ridiculous drama Wednesday and Thursday between some students
over the homework that was due Thursday. It was ridiculous. In class on Thursday, the
professor admitted that he had not explained the assignment sufficiently and that points
would be given for either of the two answers that were ill-explained. There was no real
reason for all the drama that occurred. So yeah, I’ll try to be more empowering, but what
really needs to happen is for everyone to take personal responsibility for their own stuff
and not judge their correctness based on the answers of another student. Ughhhh.

Also going well, although I feel like I'm learning significantly less literature than any
previous semester. But that's perfectly fine with me. The Beethoven piece took a lot of
time and I did that for the General Recital last week. The Mozart piece is different than
what I usually learn, but it's fairly simple. I started with the second movement and have
started working on the first movement, but haven't played it for my teacher yet. And
then there's the Scarlatti piece. I learned a Scarlatti sonata last semester and tackled
it with relative ease. But this semester's piece is killing me. Well, kind of. I just don't particularly
like it. I'm not sure if the difference in Scarlatti experiences is due to a difference between
the pieces or a difference between piano teachers.

Today, my teacher and I spent the entire 30-minute lesson working on the Scarlatti piece.
He had me tear it apart by working hands separately and writing down fingerings. He
said the moral of today that, for anything you’re going to do that you’re less than familiar
with, you need to have a plan. Life lessons from Dr. Taylor. :)

Also going well. Not much to say because we’re currently experiencing the liminality
between the high from a really great concert and the commitment to working toward the
next concert.

Working at the library is probably one of my favorite things about Bridgewater, actually.
I wonder if I could get a library job for a few hours a week wherever I decide to go to
Grad School. You know, in addition to a real job and/or an internship. I love seeing so
many people in such a short time and serving as a distraction from homework for people
who want to stop by and talk. It’s the best.

Book Club
To counteract the boredom I had been experiencing earlier in the semester, I met with
my PDP advisor, who is an English Professor, to discuss the possibility of starting an
informal book discussion club. We’re doing it. For right now, as far as I know, it’ll be
just him and me, but we’re meeting on Friday to discuss Neuromancer. I’m super
excited that he’s excited about my dystopian list of books to read. SUPER excited.

French Horn

After not touching my French horn all year, I met with Dr. Weir on Friday to make
sure it was in tune, learn a bit about French horn, and have a very simple beginner
lesson. It’s feasible, but it’s going to take some time and I probably won’t be able
to devote enough time to it during the rest of the semester. We’ll see. Summer goal
number one!


In a last minute scramble, I applied for an RA position for next year and had an
interview. I didn’t get the position, but I found three new apartment mates and the four
of us will be living in the Stone Village next year. SUPER excited.

Additionally, I dyed my hair “violet soft black” on Saturday and dyed “soft black” over
that because it was too light and too purple. Well, not really too purple. It was in a weird
middle area where it was neither purplepurple or if it was purplyblack. It’s now mostly
black with some reddish-purple undertones and I love it. SUPER excited.

Also, my HOBY friend in Baltimore posted about a Matt and Kim show on June 1 and
I said that I would come down to attend that with her. I happened to browse the other
shows that were occurring at the venue and saw that Iron and Wine (opening with The
Low Anthem) was playing on April 20. I’m going. Even though it’s a school night, even
though I’ll have to drive three hours up to see the show and three hours down for my
Thursday 8am and three hours on Thursday to go home for Easter. Theoretically, I could
just bail on my Thursday classes and go straight home from Baltimore, but Jazz Band
is supposed to be playing a set at the retirement community that afternoon. But even
though, I’m going. SUPER excited.

Also, I added semester end-date to my criteria for prospective grad schools and all of the
schools on my current list (Pitt, Bryn Mawr, Gallaudet) end early enough for me to keep
attending HOBY. HOBY every year for the rest of my life, forever. SUPER excited.

And, on an unrelated note, I think "army wives," "army girlfriends," and the like
serve a really important purpose for the mental health of spoken-for military
members. Sure, the soldiers want to return home to their family, neighborhood, and
so on, but there's even more motivation to stay alive when a significant relationship
(ie, romantic) is involved. I wonder if military members are even more susceptible
to mental health breakdown due to the breakup of their military-civilian relationship.
Or maybe they use denial by focusing even more on their military life? Or maybe
civilians generally avoid ending civilian-military relationships while their significant
other is away? That seems plausible.

And, finally, in conclusion, I'm really sorry if my posts tend to be redundant
restatements of what I've said before. I have experienced conversations where each
new conversation is a shallow rehashing of everything that's already been covered.
And I don't want to do that, so I hope I'm able to be a bit deeper in my redundancies
than simply repeating what I've said before with no additional insight(s).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Not Title-able

I'm not quite in the proper mood to write a blog, but I have a fairly substantial
chunk of time I need to kill.

Remember how I said Lord of the Flies was next on my reading list? I mistakenly got
The Grapes of Wrath from the library and am currently working on reading that. I'm
taking my time because it's not the easiest read, but I like it so far. Yes, even the
four chapters about the turtle crossing the road. There was a severe disconnect for
quite some time because I had looked up the synopsis of Lord of the Flies, expecting
to read that next and, for quite some time, while I was reading the chapters about
the turtle and the dust storms, I kept wondering when the characters would end up on
a remote island and have to establish their own government. Heh. Good old disconnect.
I also got Neuromancer from the library and it is sitting on my pile for when I
finish The Grapes of Wrath. My goal is to finish The Grapes of Wrath by my birthday.

Oh, hey! My birthday's coming up! Should I be excited? I'm not. I'm usually not a
particularly excitable person, actually. And, even I were a more excitable person,
it's only number twenty. The only significant landmark associated with twenty is the
cessation of the teenage age and the accomplishment of being one more year closer to
legal freedom. Haha, legal freedom. Anyway. Birthday? No big deal. I only noticed it
was coming up because I was working at the library and the due date for some items
happened to be the date of my birthday.

There was an article in the most recent edition of the college newspaper that started
out by saying "I hate Valentine's Day!" The author went on to simply say that the
day always reminds him of his loneliness. The rest of the article had nothing to do
with Valentine's Day OR his loneliness.

I will be having an interview sometime next week for my application to be an RA next
year and, with a fear of high expectations in mind, I AM SO EXCITED.

Also, today I met with a Sociology professor to get general advice about grad school.
I had arrived early and was waiting in the lounge when she arrived and asked me if
she was late. She made no move to look at a watch, so I'm guessing she doesn't wear
one. Neither do I, but my phone is my timekeeper. I started not wearing a watch a
few years ago for one of my classes as an experiment in sacrifice and relaxation.
The experiment required me to not wear a watch for a full week. I haven't worn one
since - with the exception of during my trip to Australia. And then I became more
and more attached to my phone. And then I entered a world where the structure is
mandated by time and anxiety has been conditioned with being late. So, essentially,
the world I'm in doesn't allow a timeless freedom and that's a shame because I
really do enjoy it. But, no, I'm held to my class schedule, my work schedule, my
activity schedule, the dining schedule, and so on. I've known people on both sides
of the continuum in regards to responding to this structure. I know the kind who
rebel completely and lose almost all sense of time. I know the kind who embrace the
overwhelming nature of structure with multiple calendars or other methods of
keeping a schedule. I'm suppose I'm close to being balanced and moderate, but I
would prefer to be more toward the timeless side. In my current environment, the
best way to make that happen would be to schedule all classes in one big chunk each
day. That way, I could keep going until I was done and wouldn't have to look at the
time, except to know when to start.

Speaking of being overwhelmed, I feel that I've become even more OCD since the
beginning of this semester. For nearly a week, almost every day, I've been writing
myself a daily to-do list. To me, this seems excessive. Am I busier? Have I too much
to do? No, just the opposite. I have things to do, obviously, but I have just little
enough that suppose I fear it would be easy to sit and do nothing. So, instead,
I've been writing myself daily to-do lists that I commit myself to completing before
I allow myself to sit and do nothing. Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no. This sounds like
workaholicism to me (which, apparently, I've never posted about?). Not allowing one's
self to enjoy nothingness until everything is completed? I do believe that was my
brother and my working definition of workaholicism... Oh dear, dear, dear. But it
can't be! I've been doing SO much nothing! I watched the entire first season of a
new tv show over the past two days! I'm doing nothing right now! I'm going to do
nothing tonight! Perhaps this workaholicism would only be a severe problem if I had
much more to do and thus never scheduled time for myself to do nothing. Maybe it's
okay so long as I don't get to the point where I would need to schedule time to do
nothing? Even so, my increasing reliance upon daily to-do lists is becoming a bit

From Thursday to yesterday, I had a test in all four of my classes that have tests.
I will post a school update when all of those have been returned.

Also, I am really, really static-y. I'm at the library and, every time I get up to
go to the laptop shelves, I get shocked on the metal case. And, every time I sit
back down in the computer chair, I get shocked on my laptop. Ahhhhhghghhrhrghghgh.