Monday, February 27, 2012

I've been reading The Secret Life of Pronouns, by James Pennebaker, and I've been looking at some reviews and his website and found a series of quizzes on one part of his website. Here are my results on the LIFE survey:

Your responses suggest several things about you. Overall, there are four major dimensions to people's daily behaviors:

Dimension 1: Suburbanite

People high on the suburbanite dimension tend to live a more conventional lifestyle. Their home is their castle. They like to cook, do yardwork, and keep things clean and organized. Suburbanites like their cars, SUVs, and pickups. Young suburbanites watch MTV and listen to the occasional heavy metal. Those who are a little older tend to watch ESPN and listen to country music. The suburbanites also are somewhat more family oriented, conservative, and healthy in their daily behaviors.

Your score on the Suburbanite dimension (which ranges from 0 to 13) is: 8. By most estimates, you would be considered MODERATE on this dimension -- neither too suburban but not too unconventional.

Dimension 2: Cultured

People high on the cultured dimension tend to get involved with all parts of life in order to better themselves and those around them. They often go to museums, do volunteer work, organize study groups and do a lot of writing-- whether it's letters to friends, personal journals, or short stories. Although they love to read, most would not be considered shy. Their musical tastes can be quite broad -- ranging from jazz and classical to hiphop. People high in Culture also like time to themselves. They also have an unhealthy appreciation of Macintosh computers.

Your score on the Cultured dimension (which ranges from 0 to 13) is: 7. Overall, you are fairly MODERATE on this dimension. You aren't taking your yoga classes too seriously -- that's probably good.

Dimension 3: Slacker

People high on the slacker dimension tend to spend a lot of their time on their computer. They download music, chat, and play computer games at high rates. They like to play other games as well -- pool, poker, and occasional board games. Parts of their lifestyle are unhealthy -- lots of TV, fast food, smoking, drinking, and just staring into space. They also have a slight hostile streak -- with a higher than usual rate of arguments with friends.

Your score on the Slacker dimension (which ranges from 0 to 13) is: 6. Good news. You are MODERATE on this dimension. You enjoy your time with computers and games but probably aren't obsessed with them. You like living on the edge occasionally but have an appreciation of a healthy lifestyle.

Dimension 4: Preppie

People high on the preppie dimension are concerned with how they are seen by others. It is important that they look good to others. They spendPreppies also seek structure in their lives. They make to-do lists, like their home and workspace clean and organized. They watch Oprah, Desperate Housewives, and reality dating shows on TV. Their music preferences are for pop and soundtracks. Women tend to score higher on this dimension than men. Not surprisingly, they rate themselves as agreeable, reliable workers, and not lazy.

Your score on the Preppie dimension (which ranges from 0 to 12) is: 4. You are relatively LOW on this dimension. This often reflects the fact that you are relatively happy with your appearance and the ways others see you. You might have some tendencies to slob-like behavior. Hey, it never hurts to clean your room occasionally.

That fourth dimension part really has me pegged. :) "tendencies to slob-like behavior"? LOL, yes.

Off to take more quizzes....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Education "Reform"

It's no secret that I am a fan the public school system. I think the system itself is good, though like all systems, there are going to be some weak points. I mean, there are some pretty awful doctors out there, but I think the medical profession is a pretty damned thing. Also, full disclosure, a friend's spouse works in Central Falls as a teacher.

But even without both those things in mind, you have to agree that installing a 22 year old as a teacher with no teaching experience in a troubled school district was a pretty lousy idea. I'm pretty sure they fired a perfectly capable, experienced chemistry teacher to give this moron a job.

To sum up, she started in August 2011 (ah yeah, August 2011, a month during which my friend's spouse was desperately looking for work after having been fired after 10 years as a teacher for no good reason other than "education reform"). So while they were firing my friend's spouse, they were hiring Emma Wise, who within 2 months was having sex with one of her students and buying him and his friends alcohol.

So, who hired such an incredibly inappropriate person to teach high school students? Why, Michelle Rhee, of course.

OK, not Rhee directly, but her organization The New Teachers Project. They train these people for 5 weeks then send them into a district like Central Falls, and what do they expect? Really?

This is education reform?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Destination Imagination

So, I have this kid who is diagnosed with Asperger's, which makes him socially awkward. He also tested as highly gifted, which pretty much makes for a nightmare in any school situation. If he is with people of equal level of learning, he is too immature for them. If he is with socially appropriate kids, he's smarter than they are. It makes for a conundrum.

So about a year ago, I decided that I'd like to start a Destination Imagination team. But in typical me-style, I put off thinking about it, mainly because of the work involved.

And this is where the adage about luck being a mixture of preparation and opportunity came in. I got E accepted into Davidson Young Scholars. I didn't quite know what would come of it, but if there was some sort of group that involved social gatherings of gifted kids, I wanted to be part of it. Unfortunately, no one in New England seems to do much with it. However, a DYS moved to my town. And he was in fourth grade, like my son. And his mom and I met and I found she was looking for something for her son to do, the same way I was. So *together* we started a Destination Imagination team in our town, 6 fourth-graders.

I find I really love DI. I like working with kids in situations where I don't have to discipline them, so I like after-school clubs and things like that. With DI, I love how the kids have to come up with the solution to the challenge themselves. And I love how it involves cutting and building and learning and teamwork. It should be ideal for E. Alas, E hates it. But why?

Well, believe it or not, it's because he doesn't know anyone on the team, and he wants to be with his friends. The kids on the team are all from the other elementary school in the district. In some ways, we're a victim of our own success, if the problem is that he has bonded with the kids from his school. :) On the other hand, he will be going to middle school with these kids in 2 years, so it will be good for him to get to know them a little.

And, also, I think he's in a situation he's never been in before--not the smartest one in the room. I think he hates that.

I am pretty sure that once we do the regional competition, he will love DI. The competition sounds like a lot of fun, and I know how to apply food and other treats to make the day a positive experience.

And next year, I will run a separate team just at his school. It's a plan, right?

The Juggle

Today was a major Juggle day. I had an 8 am meeting, then a 9:20 exam, then I had to leave to bring my daughter to the oral surgeon at 11 to get a wisdom tooth extracted.

The extraction went fine, and my daughter follows in a fine family tradition of high pain tolerance and is having few aftereffects. I have vicodin to give her if it hurts, but I plan to try ibuprofen first, and only if she says she needs it. The oral surgeon told me to give her the vicodin before the novocain even wore off. Really? And we wonder why we are so dependent on meds.

I brought her home, made her a protein milkshake with chocolate ice cream, milk, and protein powder, and then we curled up on the sofa and watched 3 episodes of Merlin.

Right now (Series 1, but yes, I am spoiled), I really love Morgana, who has a really awesome scene with Anthony Head (Uther) in "To Kill the King." And I like Arthur. I really like assholes who rise above their assholery to be good people when they have to. That story always seems much more interesting to me than a good guy who resists evil.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In case you doubted me...

Doubt no more. I really do write "title pages kill trees" on papers turned into me with title pages:

(The topic was a problem-solution paper on what to do about customer complaints about other customers breastfeeding in public in a restaurant. This is the kind of topic you give when you have students in the hospitality industry.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Some Random Pics

I'm not a photographer like Laura, but I like to use the iPod Touch to capture things. We've been house-hunting lately, nothing urgent, just trying to find the right house while remaining in our town--not an easy task.

I liked what this family did with the ladder, using it as a way to display hanging planters.

One of the homes had a poster for Singing in the Rain I'd never seen before. The images of the three actors look nothing like the real actors.

The basement of this house was like a time capsule. This calendar was behind a workbench and never replaced.

A couple of more recent photos:

The exact place where I got married, right next to that lilac bush.

My dog traveling with us, *inside* the car, not on top a la Romney. FTR, we were in traffic approaching the Cross Bronx, so we opened the window a bit so she could get some fresh air.

E skates

Let's see if that works. He's the one who almost falls right at the beginning. :)

Marriage is a luxury?

I hate weddings, really. There's so much to dislike about them. You have to dress up. If you're a bridesmaid, you have to dress up in something expensive that you'll never wear again (I've done it three times). You eat way too much. The music is Too Damn Loud. When I go to a family wedding, most of the people I want to talk to are outside smoking half the time. I angst over how much to write the stupid check for.

The celebration of the love of two people? Whatever.

So reading this post kind of bugs me because it reminds me how invested we are in A Wedding in this country. Anne points out all the problems inherent in such an investment and that this may be a strategy in the process of turning working class people against same-sex marriage. But basically, it sucks if having A Wedding is the only way you feel you can be valuable/worthy in this society.

I really really hope my kids elope or something.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's Go Red!

So, in a fit of insanity, I decided to take my son to a Cornell-Brown hockey game. This has led us down a horrible path of addiction (or re-addiction, in my case) to college hockey, culminating in a trip last month to New Haven (!!!) to see a Cornell game. We had awesome seats, too. This is the view from my seat.

Now my 9 year old wants to play hockey desperately, so we signed him up for ice skating lessons. He thinks he's Wayne Gretzky now. All I can foresee are the early mornings at the rink for practice, the cost of the hockey gear, and the fact that Sarah Palin and I might have something in common.