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.