Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leaps and Nonsense

Let me start out by saying that this may be a difficult and somewhat incoherent read. I don't have much of
a specific plan, so I make absolutely no guarantees that my ideas are anywhere near fleshed-out or sensical
in any way. Enjoy! (note--this post turned out to be relatively short and mostly dumb; so, sorry)

It always surprises me how circumstances and situations and social environments can change so much in
such a short period of time. Progress--and change of any kind--happens in leaps. The present does not
become the past in a neat series of easily-outlined steps. Transitions aren't common? Maybe this is why I
don't believe in tipping points? No, that feels contradictory; what happens to liminality?

I guess it comes down to circumstances? Sometimes change happens in leaps. Sometimes there is a transitory
stage. Sometimes there is liminality. And, even sometimes, maybe there are tipping points.

Needless to say, it seems to me that change most often happens in leaps. Maybe because, in retrospect, we
tend to focus on the major events (the tipping points, I suppose), rather than remembering the small,
easily-outlined steps of progress (neutral).

I met with my advisor on Friday to confirm the concrete plan of classes for next year. It was significantly
easier than I anticipated.

Fall 2011
Socio of the Family
Biological Psychology
Fundamentals of Learning

Interterm 2012
Field Experience

Spring 2012
Interventive Methods
Public Mental Health
Biology (dunno what kind)
Dev/Underdev of the Modern World OR a 300/400-Level Global Studies SOC course

I also met with another Sociology Professor to discuss Grad School advice.
- go where the money is
- look at field placements
- look at professional options post-graduation
- look at faculty concentrations
- talk to current students/faculty/alumni

Uh... what else? I took a break to get some food and I've forgotten. I know I had much more to say...

For some inspiration, I read a few recent posts.

"There is a young life at stake. I hope you breed resiliency.

Resiliency is such a fascinating topic. It's right up there with body language, social space, multiple
intelligences, and Horney's idealized self.

Also, "How do you handle your failings while trying to help everyone else overcome their own failings?

Essentially, what if I end up not being cut out for what I have set on my heart to accomplish?

I'm not entirely having a severe crisis of self-doubt, just a little one. The world I live in is not structured in
such a way that I can easily focus on my intangible core values and thus be more constantly satisfied. No,
I have to follow the steps, I do have to go through the motions--at least to some extent. Pick a grad school,
figure out where I want to live, figure out where I want to work, complete grad school, and accomplish all
previously-set goals. The world I live in is not structured in such a way that I can easily remind myself of
Johnny Bunko. I realize there is no plan and I realize that I am inherently more satisfied when I focus on
non-plan things (core vaules!), but there still has to be a plan. Sigh. That's all; baby crisis.

This is veering toward a bit of non-optimism.


Psych Research Methods - So far, so total cake. Thanks, Brazill, for very well teaching me research methods.
I feel very much ahead of this class. Also, I am very excited that the group project entails no actual research,
but rather the analysis of fabricated data. However, boo for group work.

I wonder how effective it is, when teaching a concept or two, to emphasize said concept as terribly difficult.
Does this discourage students? Or encourage them to overcome this obstacle? Or make them feel the
opposite of empowerment because they feel helpless and unintelligent against said obstacle? Circumstances,
kids, I do believe. And method of communication. Saying the same thing can come off either as empowering
or as discouraging. Can we train empowerment?

Geology - Honestly, so far, I like it far less than I thought I would. A close friend suggested I do not like it
because the introductory lessons were of an old-earth, non-creation point of view, which is probably true.
We're starting to get into actual rocks now and, although I get bogged down by the science-y parts of the
readings, hopefully the labs will be enjoyable (first on Wednesday).

Group Process - I really don't even know what to say about this class, other than I was looking forward to it
and it's weird, scary, intimidating, and hopefully awesome and applicable. But I can't tell yet. I feel that we
need more facilitation. Thursday was kind of like drowning in non-productivity. Oh, that explains why I did
not like it.

Social Inequality - I have a feeling this class is going to be a lot of work. But the professor is awesome and a lot
of my classmates are my Methods friends, so it should be a good time. I am desperately trying to focus on
knowledge-acquisition, rather than achievement.

Socio Methods II - First of all, it's going to get confusing to have two methods classes, both of which are
commonly referred to as "Methods." Regardless, I like this class, in spite of how my classmates feel and how
much they disagree. I volunteered to be a part of Team A, and will be one-fifth responsible for the editing
phase of survey production (compilation, proofreading, compilation, proofreading, proofreading, etc).
You should be well-aware of how much I enjoy proofreading.

I really don't like Facebook, but I think I'm more involved with it than ever. Social sabbatical? Perhaps. I'd
rather just try to limit interaction via Facebook. That always seems to remind me of how unnecessary it
really is.

Pitt, Bryn Mawr, Azusa Pacific. So much for grad school in Virginia? Yes, it's looking that way.

First piano lesson tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Draft Texts (again) and New Bands

This needs to be done, so I can clean out my phone. Stupid phone.
(The following are in chronological order with the oldest listed
first. Most will be followed by a commentary.)


General attribution error works backwards, too. With getting good grades on
assignments, I attribute this to my skills, rather than the teacher's ease.
Thus, I am pressured to keep up the same degree of effort so as to keep my
good grades, even though they may not be too affected due to the possibility
of an easy teacher.

I realize that may not make much sense, but I'm essentially trying to get at
why I'll never really be able to fully relax about school, which I'm perfectly
okay with. But, every semester, I start out thinking that I have to make sure
I do well so that I don't jeopardize my GPA in case I end up having a really
legitimately difficult class in the future. However, as I was thinking about
this today, beginning to say the same thing about the approaching Spring semester,
I predict that I will keep saying the same thing until, surprise! College is over!


Evolution cannot acknowledge the human mind because evolution says that we are
no more than animals. Wait, so to believe in evolution-with a human mind-you have
to deny the human mind-your own human mind? That makes sense.

Written while eavesdropping on/not participating in a conversation.


You have to communicate with people on their own level.

Why proselytizing doesn't work?


Plus of homeschooling: no high school building that acts as a prison for personal

Plus meaning advantage.


How do you practice something you don't know?

Jazz band, probably.


If we live by default, we let others write the script for us. Circumstances inspire
default responses.

Excerpts from President Stone's 2010 Commencement Speech don't make as much of an
impact when they're taken out of context...


Buena Vista Middle School, Amherst High School, bowling, dinner at Applebee's,
hanging out at hotel. Breakfast, left at 11am, Hidden Valley High, The Country
Store, two at Cave Springs High School, dinner and an hour at Valley View Mall,
hotel, Salem Red Socks vs. Frederick Keys, left before it was over, pizza fiasco
at hotel.

An incomplete itinerary of Jazz Band Tour 2010 (WOO!).


Brute force is the only language 95 percent of the population can truly understand.

Something I overheard. I think it's sick.


Democrats and Republicans don't fight as much as the media portrays because the
contentious issues are the ones that get publicity. ...right, because there are
essentially no separate parties. They're all in it together.

A quote from the same person and my reaction. There's really not much more to my
political views than "Anti-Party System." Sure, parties are going to naturally
arise because people are attracted to those they can easily relate to. People are
attracted to those to whom they can easily relate? Oh, proper grammar, how strange
you are. It'd be more productive to ask me about my philosophical views, rather
than political. Politics has left a bitter taste in my mouth.


Swirlies are the funniest thing that people don't do. ... Did you read Lord of the
Flies? It's all true and it makes me upset. :( Yeah and you keep being bothered
because you are one of the roughest and most pessimistic people I know.

Same person. My response after the emoticon. It gets worse; see below.


I believe personally that motivation is more important than results because of my
religious beliefs, but the general belief is that results are more important and
it's difficult to impossible for me to apply the motivation motivation to other
areas of my life outside of religion. Okay first off, everything in every life is
inherently connected - your religion to your friends and your friends to your job
and your job to your religion. Nothing can exist in a vacuum. Second, when you say
motivation, what you really mean is purpose. We are either motivated by purpose or
results, not motivated by motivation or results. Third, oh hey, lack of integrity.
Connected to a lack of integrity are shallowness and superficiality.

Same person. My responses starting with "Okay." I had had enough after all this and
ended up removing myself and sitting in a corner. Good day. -_- Am I too mean and
reactionary? Probably. But how can I not talk about terrible arguments?


You're on stage makes us want to perform, which is not what we want.

Just a thought. Referring to life as a stage promotes a lack of integrity, which is
NOT what we should want.


Feed companies add tastycake products to feed to make them appealing because
animals don't naturally eat feed. Color of yolk controlled by diet.

Some fun facts from a HOBY field trip to Wenger Feeds!


Just because it's a good deal, doesn't mean it's not expensive.

No comment necessary, lol.


Being defined by your high school. Example of anxiety because of SAT for the third

This connects to the previous draft text about a plus of homeschooling.


HLS 1142



I tend to feel my best at school because I know how to handle school and am quite
good at it. I feel my best at school because it is a confidence boost. Otherwise,
I honestly don't know what I'm doing, which upsets me, makes me feel emotionally
unhealthy, and upsets me even more.

There's PROBABLY something wrong with me. Hah. But this is why I like school. I like
school mostly because I'm good at it. When I'm succeeding at school, I feel like I
can take on the world. Success and confidence is contagious, I suppose. I suppose
that my life-quest will be to find a career that makes me feel how school does.


Integrity is integral. Seven intelligences. If it's worth it after the glass shatters.

Just some random thoughts and stuff I want to study. Look up the seven intelligences.
Also, if you haven't seen the episode of "How I Met Your Mother" that is about the
phenomenon of glass shattering within a romantic relationship, please change that.


"As the past perfect clanged in his mind he began to ooze at the eyes again."

Ohh, Stephen King. <3


They're good at getting along at recess because the teacher is there and not at PE
because the teacher is not, but they're not quiet in the hall when the teacher is
there. So the teacher doesn't seem to be a determining factor. So there must be
something else. To much structure at PE? Poor activities at PE? Recess is fifteen
minutes and PE is thirty? What else?

Oh, you know, just trying to fix the American education system.


Maybe the worst emotional crisis is the absence of such a crisis - for that is a
crisis of non-emotion.

Uh... you know how I said there's probably something wrong with me? Yeah. I enjoy
being moderately stressed. I get pleasure out of being productive and, when there
is not much to do, it is more difficult for me to be productive. The same applies
to emotional issues.


Thinking that breaking the rules is the only way to be moral is a very big problem.

I think this is another Stephen King quote, but I'm not sure, so I didn't put it in
quotation marks.


A man without a sense of purpose, even one whose bank accounts are stuffed with
money, is always a small man.

A quote from Stephen King OR a Sociology textbook.


Being domineering is not the same as being dominant. I'm not psychic, you're just

First of all, I like words. Second of all, a regular customer called me psychic
because I know his cigarette brand and type (I also know what else he buys in
addition to his cigarettes) and this is the thought that entered my mind. Again,
words are awesome. Another job-inspired quote is: "If you can't find the bathroom,
you don't deserve it." Haha. And "Please don't pay with dirty change." Really. Keep
your chunks of eyeliner in your pocket.


In a hurry. In denial by keeping themselves occupied. Apathetic, ignorant, arrogant.
Like to complain, seek drama.

A running list of adjectives that seem to describe people of the American culture.
This list was not my idea and I'm deleting it from my phone because I've found a
better sense of optimism.


You can't proselytize and you can't force belief. You can only lead by example and
have integrity.

Well, aside from my blatant grammatical mishap, I can see a trend of integrity.


If I'm buying you something or paying for you; if I'm doing these things, it's not
I'm expecting anything in return, I'm doing them because I want to.

You seemed so theoretically perfect. Peace.


Narrow Passage Creek.

This is a place I want to explore. It's between Bridgewater Virginia and Dover


Realize that very few students understand that being a teacher is just as, if not
more than, stressful as being a student.

An addition for If I Were a Teacher.


About PDP: I think they could make it more valuable. No, YOU make it as valuable as
YOU want it to be. YOU determine its value. Also, RESILIENCY.

Value and purpose are fascinating topics. As is resiliency.


Songs: Discover America's Psychology. Number One Gun's The North Pole Project.
Stereolove. Life on Mars.
Books: This is Your Brain on Music. Catcher in the Rye.
Movie: The New Guy.
Bands: Europe, Sleigh Bells, The National.

A collection of things to look up and enjoy. I now own a copy of Cather in the Rye
and have started my dystopian trek with A Brave New World and A Clockwork Orange.
1984 is next on the pile, then Catcher.


Okay, that's it for draft texts. In addition to The National, Europe, and Sleigh
Bells; I'd like to post my running list of current new bands. I discovered most
of these through Pandora (through my The Bravery station, which led to the song
"One Day Like This" by Elbow, which led to a station seeded from that song, etc)
or a particular friend or two. Europe and Sleigh Bells were heard at work or on
the radio. Anyway. The following list is far from exhaustive, but includes most
of what I currently listen to and/or will be listening to in the near future.

(Parenthetical text following a band's name are specific songs)


Elbow (Grace Under Pressure, One Day Like This, Starlings, Mexican Standoff)
Ochre (Midsummer Nice Dream)
D Numbers (Xylem Up)
Mates of State
Miike Snow
Matthew Dear
Mute Math
Passion Pit
Mumford & Sons
Circa Survive
Dead Mouse
Dan Deacon Ensemble
The Melvins
Avett Brothers
Diesel Boy
Between the Bear and Me
Minus the Bear


Monday, January 10, 2011

Cake & Unicorns and Architecture

Cake & Unicorns

There is a learning curve in relationships.

Recently, as I’ve discussed romance and relationships and best-friendships and so on with a variety of people, I’ve noticed that I go from sounding young and naïve to worn out and cynical. Well, not quite cynical, but almost. I don’t particularly remember what I’ve said recently that sounded young and naïve, but I know I did. Oh, here it is.

One thing was my admission of the fact that I tend to be the rescuer and how I accepted this designation long ago. “Many people have tried to change this about me, have warned me that I will end up drained and damaged, but I honestly don't care,” I wrote. I confessed I sounded young and naïve, but only admitted that I may be such. I don’t fear being hurt in the process of helping. I used to, but I learned the difference between giving up and letting go in the distant past. I don’t feel frustrated by the fact that I end up being the rescuer, I only feel frustrated by the fact that, oftentimes, I am not in a position to rescue sufficiently. (note: when I say rescue, I am thinking primarily of a rescue that involves empowerment, not enablement)

Today, I sounded more cynical. Not terribly cynical, but less young and naïve than my previous discussions of fearlessness and hope and strength.

There is a learning curve in relationships. (It takes some time to get to know each other well enough to see past minor obstacles, whether shattered glass, or silly miscommunications)

This sentiment was expressed to me today and I agree. Perhaps you do not. Perhaps your relationships reflect the romanticized examples of a child’s movie and a pre-teen’s book. Does that make you romanticized? Not necessarily. There’s really no way for me to say that I’m right beyond a shadow of a doubt. But, from my experiences, relationships are not all cake and unicorns. See? Worn out and cynical.

But there is also balance and moderation between being young and naïve and worn out and cynical. Just because I sound young and naïve sometimes doesn’t mean that I think relationships are all cake and unicorns. And just because I think relationships are not all cake and unicorns, doesn’t mean that I think a healthy relationship is unattainable. Clearly, if you know me.

Regardless of your relationship philosophy, I think the most important thing is to be with someone who generally understands, reflects, and shares your relationship philosophy. A person toward the young and naïve side will probably not be very compatible with a person toward the worn out and cynical side. Hello, continuum. Have I told you how much I enjoy continuums? I think they’re helpful in basically every situation. Anyway. This compatibility is what I currently have and I am reveling in it. (note: I just tried to check the definition of revel with Word’s synonym function: drink, get drunk, party, raise the roof, go on the town, and paint the town red. Thanks for not being helpful at all) All in all, relationships are not all cake and unicorns. Even so, if you happen to stumble upon a good one, they can be pretty awesome.


Last week, my Intro to Material Culture Studies visited the on-campus Pritchett Museum. But first, we explored and studied some of the buildings on campus. In particular, we looked at Bowman Hall, the main classroom building for many departments (Philsophy and Religion, Business, English, Sociology, Psychology, and probably something I’m forgetting). It looks like a fairly standard three-floor classroom building, until Prof. began to point out specific architectural elements. He prefaced his discussion with this quote: “A building should look like what it is.” Attributed to Steven Holl, I Googled this quote and found a book: Feng Shui by Angel Thompson. Within this book, the author says that: “…form does better when it follows function. A building should look like what it is. A factory should not appear to be a temple. A garden shed should not appear to be a teahouse. A home should not look like a bank” (p. 79).

But my youthful mind sees a discrepancy!

Bowman Hall has Greek design elements incorporated into its outer appearance. Columns, moulding, etc. (note: uh… moulding is not recognized as a word by Word?) Why does Bowman Hall have these Greek-inspired elements? These extra finishing touches on Bowman Hall do not add any practical function to the building, they do not serve any purpose other than simple aesthetics. Aesthetics, and the fact that they conjure up thoughts of classical Greece, a place of learning and knowledge and enlightenment, etc. They serve a purpose, just not a tangible one.

(note: I’ve lost momentum, so I apologize if the rest of this declines in quality)

My youthful mind yearns for efficiency. I at first wanted to say that, in regards to architecture, intangible purposes have no value to me. But I have since realized how terribly contrary this is to everything I’ve ever said. Intangible things have the most value! But I still do not fully appreciate them when they are in the realm of architecture.

In my mind, I picture a school. Plain building. I picture a factory. Plain building. I picture a house. Plain building. I picture a hospital. Plain building. I picture any other type of building. Plain building. (note: don’t get me wrong; I really, really do appreciate the aesthetics of different types and styles of buildings. I just don’t understand how the aesthetics serve the function of representing WHAT that type of building IS)

First of all, why, when I picture any particular (note: every time I’ve typed particular while writing this, I automatically go too far and type particularly. My speed is also not what it used to be. Apparently my typing skills are out of practice) type of building, do I picture a plain building? Well, actually, that’s not what happens. I think of a school. Classic one-room schoolhouse, then a plain building with fences. But then I consider the Steven Holl quote. I think of a school. Plain building. Why? Efficiency. A building’s true function does not need to affect its form. Aside from minor structural differences (such as a loading dock for a factory or warehouse), every building can serve its tangible purpose as a plain building. Efficiency. I, as a young mind, have been encultured (note: darn Word spell-check) to believe in and uphold efficiency. Efficiency and rationalization. Rationalization. Over-rationalization. Dystopia.

(note: oh hey! I’m super-obsessed with dystopias!)

Second, who gets to say WHAT, exactly, a particular type of building should look like?

The end.

(note: You know what I just realized? I'm so much of a nerd that my blog posts generally consist of topics inspired by my current classes or independent studies! Yay!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why Quiet People Make Better Actors (and School)

Why Quiet People Make Better Actors

Apparently, I am a very easy person to read. I've been told this multiple times.
So, I've been thinking about it and I've decided that it has something to do with
my body language. A friend of mine was telling me a story and he could tell that
I had predicted the end of his story simply by how I touched my face in reaction
to his story.

But I know other people whose body language is not so easy to read. Their body
language is not so expressive. So why?

I am a generally quiet, more soft-spoken person.

I am more expressive through body language.

So, maybe more soft-spoken people are more expressive through body language?
(And thus, easier to read?)

So, following this train of thought...

Because acting usually calls for an ability to be very expressive through one's
body, a person who is more expressive through body language would probably be a
better actor. And, if the theory holds that quieter people are more expressive
through body language, then quieter people would be better actors.

(and School)

Spring 2011
Geology Lab
Psych Research Methods
Psych Research Methods Lab
Socio Research Methods II
Group Process
Social Inequality

Fall 2011
Socio of the Family
Biological Psychology
Fundamentals of Learning

Interterm 2012
Field Experience

Spring 2012
Interventive Methods
Public Mental Health
Biology (dunno what kind)
Cultural Anthropology OR Dev/Underdev of the Modern World

Putting this in writing guarantees something will go wrong...