Thursday, March 30, 2006

the lost art of note passing

in middle school i found that the quickest path to being seen as the "sensitive" guy was by joining the girls in their favorite game... note passing. any fellow note passers will understand the inherent risk associated with the practice and that is the interception of said note by the teacher. now that i'm on the other side of the equation, i find myself at a sort of mental crossroads. do i intercept the note? do i simply give a look to the offending student? do i confiscate the note and recycle it? or the worst of all scenarios, do i snag the note and read it to the class?

to the credit of my students (or perhaps my teaching style) the note passing thing hasn't come up in my class. sure i've given a few girls the "cease and desist" look, but it is anything from pandemic. so i was surprised when a note was volunteered onto my desk the friday before spring break. so what secrets would be revealed? what new insight would i have into my students and/or their perception of me and my body odor? well, it seems that the art of note passing is lost on our text messaging generation:

First Side: "Don't let Anybody Read This!" (covered in green and purple ink in geometric patters.)
Second side: "2: 'Student A' aka 'insert nickname here' Don't let anybody read this please! Heart: 'Student B' aka 'nickname 1' aka 'nickname 2' (this time purple ink with a green shaded background)

okay, so at this point i'm thinking that this is going to get pretty good. the type of stuff that would make a coffee table book like "found" how wrong i was...

"Hey Student A,

I am sort of excited (scribbled out text) for Spring Break! I just am really excited to go to seaside (maybe)! But I am gonna miss 'student C' a lot!(underscored several times) And U and 'student d'! But I probably will be able to see U and 'student D' during Spring Break! But 'student c' probably not but maybe cuz I am gonna ask my mom if I can go see (more scribbled text) a movie with him, U and some other ppl! It would be a lot of fun! Well anyways write back! G2G! Love ya bunches!

P.S. I LOVE 'STUDENT C' (massively underscored)

P.S.S. Call me tonight!

Heart, 'Student B' aka 'nickname 2'

Write Back (underscored)"

So there you have it. Was it just me or were the notes I wrote in middle school so much more relevant? I was writing about starting a school-wide recycling campaign, sending food to Ethiopia, reducing the national debt, and finding a cure for altzheimer's. this seems so trite in contrast.

i hope that pleased the voyeur in you all. at least the spelling was good. i can't say the same for myself.

Friday, March 17, 2006

boy drinks drum machine

something special was brewing (pun fully intended) last night at acme. the boys who eat drum machines seemed a bit thirstier than normal and the result translated into musical bliss. jonny even jumped up and down on stage for the first reported time since late 1997. a great set shared with great people for a pre- St. Paddy's party that was missing only green dye in the beer. that said, it's worth noting that following the drum machine with some good ole fashioned imbibing makes for a great evening.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

existential reality

as none of you may know, insomnia runs in my family. my father and younger brother both have it fairly severely, while i have it in the more "mild-to-no" category. so it only hits me now and again.

last night was one such night and when i couldn't get to sleep by 2:30, i decided to catch up on my netflix movies. i had attempted to begin watching richard linklater's (dazed and confused ... suburbia et. al.) existential quandry of a film waking life several times, but i really wanted to be able to get into it.

the film is amazing--it's a series of pretty heady philosophical discussions through which the protagonist is witness and sometimes contributor. the film ends with a discussion of lucid dreams and whether-or-not our hero is living in the waking or dreaming life.

after finishing the movie, i went to bed thinking of what is really real and all of the clues that the film gave for verifying a lucid dream. so a few hours later while sleeping, i had a bizzare dream and several clues told me that i was sleeping. there were pictures of family i knew had never been taken, my driving was deplorable, the only trick i wasn't able to try was adjusting the light level. just as an aside, if you think you are dreaming, try turning a light switch on or off. evidently light levels can't be changed in dreams.

so while driving a convertible that i knew i didn't own, i realized that i was dreaming and i tried to give the lucid dream thing a go. so naturally, i decided to drive myself off of a bridge. the result was amazing. i flew through the air, and landed the jump with no damage other than a burst of pure white light. i could have stayed in the dream, but i was so excited that i woke myself up and began to freak out. needless to say, this has been the most excited that i have been to get two-and-a-half-hours of sleep.

that or i should just stop taking those horse tranquilizers!

Monday, March 06, 2006

worst band ever...

i just realized one of the inherit benefits of tivo. primarily that i was not subjected to the atrocity that was fall out boy's performance on saturday night live this weekend ...until today that is.

i don't want to sound like one of those old skool music snobs, but what happened to the good ole days when punk rock bands jumped all over the stage while still playing a song? the same couldn't be said for the "performance" from fall out boy on snl. there hasn't been a disconnect between audio and visual on snl like this since the ashlee simpson debacle.

being exposed to 12-year-old music-of-the-month bands on a daily basis, i have heard my share of fall out boy (FOB from here on out). i can even understand why they are somewhat popular with the unrefined pallette of preteens.

but what went down on snl was easily one of the worst musical performances i have witnessed. that's saying something considering some of the bands that i have shared a bill with, but i digress. FOB seemed to be on stage simply to mug for the camera, jump up and down, and shout into each other's mics. somehow terrible just doesn't quite do things justice.

at times i was perplexed trying to find ways to match the "notes" to the physical movements of the "musicians." i don't think their guitars were even tuned. or was that just the singer? at this point i don't even care. but now that i'm watching the second 'song' i'm even more certain that i've played with these guys before. probably at the paris.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

remember this kiddies

it's been awhile since i've shared any teaching anecdotes, so believe-it-or-not, something funny happened at work the other day...

i was teaching math, more specifically, fractions. while i hated fractions as a kid, i love teaching them because i take it as a challenge to make it fun and memorable for the kids. one mean to this end is that i always like to teach acronyms for those important things you want to remember.

for example, to teach plot elements (Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution) i introduced "Edward Really Acts Clumsy Following After Redheads" and then i have the students come up with their own, which generally speaking, are far more humorous than mine.

so back to the rational numbers lesson. i wanted the students to remember that the numerator is on top and the denominator is on the bottom. long ago, i made up that the numerator was to the north, while the denominator was down on the bottom. that's worked for me for the last 18 years, but one of my students tried to one-up me.

he said, "we were taught that it was Nancy Drew." without hesitating, i offered, "that's great as long as you can always remember that nancy is on top of drew." needless to say, i think the kids will always remember that the numerator is on top of the denominator. and as long as i don't get that angry parent call, i'll have a job through the summer.