concerning gender distraction

Bloged in culture, life, random by rod Wednesday January 24, 2007

Last night I stole 22 minutes and 48 seconds to sit down and watch an episode of The Office wired from my iPod to my TV. I chose the episode, “Boys and Girls” from season two. A very funny episode, I must say. While Michael never knows how to be a guy around girls (women), he knows even less about being a guy around guys. The show was an accurate dramatization of what happens when boys and girls are separated.
Driving home from work tonight, I heard a spot for tomorrow’s edition of South Carolina Public Radio’s production, “speaking of schools”. They’ll be talking about single gender education. Now I realize that my experience, though it be extensive, does not make me an expert in speaking to the value or stupidity of a methodological trend, but I have made some observations from having been involved in single gender education. Education is a very “new idea, trend-trying, there’s-always-a-newer-way-to-do-it” venture. (I was once involved in an educators think-tank for advocates of hyper-hyphenation-compound-adjective-creation.) But for the life of me, I can’t figure out how anyone couldn’t see the ridiculousness of single gender education for middle and high school students.
I have racked my brain to figure out where this notion was started. No doubt somewhere in the beginning of the process, someone, realizing that when hormones begin to kick in, humans are distracted by the opposite sex from anything not involving the opposite sex. Education (excepting 8th grade health class) tends not to be about the opposite sex, and thus does not receive proper attention from pubescent would-be scholars. But this realization shouldn’t be enough to lead one to the idea of single-gender ed. Through my extensive experience, I’ve observed that this distraction is precisely what ensures that said scholars behave with some modicum of civility, and thus maintain some minute possibility of inadvertent, indirect learning. (It should also be noted that the removal of the opposite sex from the physical environment in no way removes them from the cerebral environment and therefore does not diminish the distraction in the least. Students of this age have been known frequently to enter an apparent catatonic state to approximate the REM stage and therefore intensify the enjoyment of the distraction. Students will go to great effort to be distracted by the opposite sex, and this effort is, in itself, a distraction.)
Though the behavior of a co-ed middle school classroom may lead an educator to believe that the removal of one or the other gender would improve the behavior of the remaining, a few days of the observation of such an environment proves this notion desperately errant.
Several years ago, I taught separated classes of 7th grade boys and girls as my class met on alternating days with their health class. I have to say that there is one thing worse than students distracted by the opposite sex – students not distracted by the opposite sex.
My co-ed classes contained boys who behaved at least two years older than those of the same age in the segregated classrooms. I also found that the girls in the co-ed classrooms neither belched inordinately loud, nor did they pass gas in any attempt to outdo the girl on the other side of the room. When boys are in the room, in order to make the boys feel immature and inferior, girls tend to talk more about the subject of the class, and less about their changing bodies. With girls in the room, boys tend to talk more quietly in feigned lower pitched voices.
During this experience, I began to realize that without boys, girls become boys, and without girls, boys become animals.
With boys in the room, girls are less apt to hamper their chances with them by disclosing their obsessive crush on the “old guy” teaching the class. How lame would that be? With girls in the room, boys are less apt to disclose their obvious inexperience by discussing something that the girls obviously know is bogus.
I also coached a Girls’ High Varsity basketball team when I was but 23 years old. From this experience, I can assure you that with boys present, girls are less apt to attempt to embarrass their coach by “pantsing” one another in the middle of the gym floor, feigning a fight in order to remove the practice jersey of another, or “accidently” realizing her shirt is on inside-out and deciding to change it before taking the ball out-of-bounds.
Most assuredly, I, as a teacher, am most in favor of co-ed secondary education. I certainly hope that in any in-service of school teachers to discuss this issue, just as they require the girls to watch “my changing body”, they are required to watch The Office, episode fifteen of season two. Let Michael teach them a lesson or two.

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two for tuesday

Bloged in worship by rod Tuesday January 23, 2007

1. If one is married to the perfect woman, at the very least he should strive to be a wise choice.

2. Rather than stud, I think I should prefer to be referred to as stallion. The benefits are the masculine beauty, grace, strength, style, awe, and wonder of the latter without the implication of hedonism, egocentrism, promiscuity, insensitivity, selfishness, and laziness implied by the former.

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monday, myspace style

Bloged in random by rod Monday January 22, 2007

I \X/at(|-|e[) t|-|e o|=|=i(e e|*iso[)e a|}o|_|t e|\/|ail s|_||2\/eilla|\|(e, so I t|-|i|\||< I’[) |}ette|2 |}e |\/|o|2e [)is(|2eet!!!!!
LOL
juSt kidDing LOL!!!

Monday, sheesh! LOL
FinAlly took my trUck to tHe boDy shop thIs morNiNg. Then I haD to riDe with a stRanGer to the rEntaL thiNgy pLace. I’m liKe, I doN’t knOw. She oPenEd the door for me though, LOL. Tried to get mE to pay an extra thirty5 dollars a day for inSurAnce. I’m like, riGht! WhatEver. Just for hoLding the doOr? FOFL.

It totally rained like almost all day!!!! Bummer. I can’t believe how lazy I was. I didn’t go to the gym. YUCK!!!!! I am like SOOooOOO fat!!! I need t0 be up in tHe GyM w0rKing on mY fitnEss. Can I get a wiTneSs? LOL

I know tHat just be!ng a good pers0n is what matTers though. But somEtimes I thi[/]k, is that re/\lly enough. Just sayin’

I’m T to the I-R-E-D, so I’ma goNna lay it oUt, ya know?

belated but pre-dated

Bloged in family, life by rod Sunday January 21, 2007

Well, Mom’s done it again. She’s gone and gotten yet another year younger. The math doesn’t add up, or, I should say, subtract up. If you subtract the year she was born from 2007, the number you come up with is not her actual age. I don’t know how it works. I asked Molly, who is well practiced in subtraction right now, and she couldn’t figure it out either. So I asked Will if there was some kind of Algebraic phenomenon going on. He worked it out, 1944 + y = 2007, but it still turned out to be the wrong answer. Jack chimed in with a story problem. 20 year old has boy child. When the boy child is 43 years old, how old will the mother be?
Nope, still didn’t work out correctly.
So, we’re all baffled yet again.

So, why am I writing such goofy nonsense on this, another January 21? And why am I doing it a day late, but dating it as if it weren’t late at all? Because I’ve racked my brains for two days trying to come up with some clever, sweet, thoughtful, sentimental something that I may not have already written on any of the previous three January 21s. I mentioned last year that I’d created a terribly stressful situation for my self, but somehow eeked by with a mediocre attempt. This year though, I’m afraid I’m all out of mediocrity.
Perhaps it’s my own advancing chronology that has rendered my creative, clever self-image waning. At any rate, a simple “happy birthday” will have to do.
So,
Happy Birthday Bonmomma
May your logarithmic age regression continue.

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miXtian tape

Bloged in apprenticeship, church by rod Saturday January 20, 2007

Until recently, to find me with a mix tape of Pop Christian music, or CCM would have been a very rare occurrence. When I think through the reasons that this would be, I contemplate why the music that was important to me was important to me. I mentioned yesterday that it shaped my life, but I allowed it to do that because it already in some way was expressing who I was or who I wanted to become.
Music has the ability to express a part of you and form a part of you at the same time. It served a balancing purpose of bringing disconnected parts of me together. It may seem rather odd that Christian music wouldn’t have been the primary music desired in the expressing and shaping of my life. But life is the operative word here. Christian music more than any other kind, has such a narrow lyric criteria, that it becomes formulaic, generic and inauthentic. I always found that though it contained facts and sentiments that I believed, it didn’t challenge me, ask me to question anything about myself, it didn’t expose anything I’d hidden from myself, and it didn’t cause me to contemplate God. Usually it merely rehearsed things I’d already been told rather than show me how God played in the everyday of my life.
I find it very sad that Christian music comes and goes as trendy style oriented wholesome background music. It finds it’s secular counterpart in pop icons like Britney Spears, Madonna, and Destiny’s Child rather than cultural commentators and dreamers and poets. The flashy music speaks impersonally of factual attributes and character traits of God, but come off as theoretical theology that we believe but never experience.
Ironically, music that does manage to express the interaction of God in the lives and struggles of people is usually cast off as experiential and irreverent. Also ironically, is that the Bible is entirely made of the life narrative. The point is that God interacts with, cares for, corrects, and rescues people. It is a book of life and lives. His story is written in the lives of people.
I have often had to go to non-christian music to go beyond facts and to hear stories about how God is interacting, and by that, I have been shaped.

Soundtrack mix for the blogging of this blurb:

Sufjan Stevens – “Abraham”
Kansas – “The Wall”
U2 – “Vertigo”
Rich Mullins – “How to Grow Up Big and Strong”
Sufjan Stevens – “To Be Alone With You”

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mix tape

Bloged in life, music, nostalgia by rod Friday January 19, 2007

On Sunday evening, while delivering the kids to their respective small group locations, I heard a piece on All Things Considered about Rob Sheffield’s new book, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. When I’d finished my taxi driving, I drove to Barnes and Noble to buy it, but alas, they had just closed. Last night, after gym time, I drove Allison over there for a cup of joe, and to grab the book.
In only half a chapter, my processor has retrieved a couple decades of memories, emotions, and meanings and placed them immediately accessible into my RAM. I read the few pages upon crawling into bed last night just as my eyes began to cross and my lids weighed down and my mind morphed into the other world. No doubt, I carried the thoughts with me where they would play all night, because so far this morning, amidst fielding last minute add/drop deadline advising tasks, I am completely consumed with thoughts triggered by those pages.

Music. There is no more powerful earthly force. There are people in whose lives music plays no role whatever. I’ve always considered these people weaklings.

In my life, I see two distinct roles music has played. It has shaped me, and it has been my means of expressing my shape. Maybe I shouldn’t say distinct roles, because at some point one realizes that his shape will be seen. And down deep, music doesn’t define me, it is merely the language that expresses my definition. At the very least, music has influenced what I think about, and how I think about it, and it has become the truest expression of my thoughts.
When one looks back, it is seemingly easy to sum up the big influencers of his life. They are usually the things that still play. But from time to time, we are made to realize the plethora of smaller bits that have profoundly played through the years. If you were known by a snapshot, what would the soundtrack be? This is not a tough question to answer for me, because there exist boxes of extant soundtracks from various points in my life. Each is inseparably tethered to places, experiences, and people.
There are bands ands albums to which I’ve listened consistently for years. They’ve influenced me profoundly. But there are others that I listened to non-stop for shorter periods of time. This has always been my modus operandi. Over time, these temporal obsessions are forgotten, but their influence lives on. Often the context, environment, and company they played into are also forgotten. But all can be regained, relived with a couple of bars from one of those tunes. One finds that without thinking, he still knows all the words, all the riffs, and still expects it to be followed by the next song on his mix tape. It would be a mistake to think that the impact of those tunes was any less than that of the longer run music. In fact, there is no doubt that the short obsession music influenced the way I experienced the long haul music.

One doesn’t always get to choose what connections music will serve in the future. Songs that meant little, were not liked, or even despised, will later emerge as the carriers of memories that are sweet and fragrant and nostalgic and warming. Songs that were important favorites and deeply meaningful can someday connect themselves to painful experiences or memories and become painful themselves.

For several years after graduation and marriage, my college roommate and I exchanged mix tapes by mail as a way of remaining engrained in one another’s lives. We made “remember this?” mix tapes and “you’ve got hear this” mix tapes. It was always a thrill to get those in the mail, and to listen to the tunes as I recorded his onto the tapes.

These days, I walk around with my entire music collection contained in a pocket-sized rectangle. It plugs into my home stereo, my car stereo, my computer and my ears. It will even create mixes for me that will cause me to listen to tunes I haven’t heard in years. But back in the day, in order to listen to music in any place other than the house, I had to insert a cassette, and create ride music, or workout music, or greasemonkey music, to take with me. And it would play over and over until it was burned into my being. Some songs appeared on every tape, some only in the company of others, but each collection had mood and meaning. Each spoke to who I was, who I was becoming, or who I wanted to be.

Now, I am, and I am still becoming, in the same way I was back then when I was becoming what I am now. I wonder what mix of expressions and melodies and rhythms will be the soundtrack in the years to become.

Soundtrack mix for the blogging of this blurb:

Kansas – “Questions of my Childhood”
The Decemberists – “The Island”
Roland Dyens – “Libra Sonatine – India”
Rush – “La Villa Strangiato”

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mix tape

Bloged in life, music, nostalgia by rod Friday January 19, 2007

On Sunday evening, while delivering the kids to their respective small group locations, I heard a piece on All Things Considered about Rob Sheffield’s new book, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. When I’d finished my taxi driving, I drove to Barnes and Noble to buy it, but alas, they had just closed. Last night, after gym time, I drove Allison over there for a cup of joe, and to grab the book.
In only half a chapter, my processor has retrieved a couple decades of memories, emotions, and meanings and placed them immediately accessible into my RAM. I read the few pages upon crawling into bed last night just as my eyes began to cross and my lids weighed down and my mind morphed into the other world. No doubt, I carried the thoughts with me where they would play all night, because so far this morning, amidst fielding last minute add/drop deadline advising tasks, I am completely consumed with thoughts triggered by those pages.

Music. There is no more powerful earthly force. There are people in whose lives music plays no role whatever. I’ve always considered these people weaklings.

In my life, I see two distinct roles music has played. It has shaped me, and it has been my means of expressing my shape. Maybe I shouldn’t say distinct roles, because at some point one realizes that his shape will be seen. And down deep, music doesn’t define me, it is merely the language that expresses my definition. At the very least, music has influenced what I think about, and how I think about it, and it has become the truest expression of my thoughts.
When one looks back, it is seemingly easy to sum up the big influencers of his life. They are usually the things that still play. But from time to time, we are made to realize the plethora of smaller bits that have profoundly played through the years. If you were known by a snapshot, what would the soundtrack be? This is not a tough question to answer for me, because there exist boxes of extant soundtracks from various points in my life. Each is inseparably tethered to places, experiences, and people.
There are bands ands albums to which I’ve listened consistently for years. They’ve influenced me profoundly. But there are others that I listened to non-stop for shorter periods of time. This has always been my modus operandi. Over time, these temporal obsessions are forgotten, but their influence lives on. Often the context, environment, and company they played into are also forgotten. But all can be regained, relived with a couple of bars from one of those tunes. One finds that without thinking, he still knows all the words, all the riffs, and still expects it to be followed by the next song on his mix tape. It would be a mistake to think that the impact of those tunes was any less than that of the longer run music. In fact, there is no doubt that the short obsession music influenced the way I experienced the long haul music.

One doesn’t always get to choose what connections music will serve in the future. Songs that meant little, were not liked, or even despised, will later emerge as the carriers of memories that are sweet and fragrant and nostalgic and warming. Songs that were important favorites and deeply meaningful can someday connect themselves to painful experiences or memories and become painful themselves.

For several years after graduation and marriage, my college roommate and I exchanged mix tapes by mail as a way of remaining engrained in one another’s lives. We made “remember this?” mix tapes and “you’ve got hear this” mix tapes. It was always a thrill to get those in the mail, and to listen to the tunes as I recorded his onto the tapes.

These days, I walk around with my entire music collection contained in a pocket-sized rectangle. It plugs into my home stereo, my car stereo, my computer and my ears. It will even create mixes for me that will cause me to listen to tunes I haven’t heard in years. But back in the day, in order to listen to music in any place other than the house, I had to insert a cassette, and create ride music, or workout music, or greasemonkey music, to take with me. And it would play over and over until it was burned into my being. Some songs appeared on every tape, some only in the company of others, but each collection had mood and meaning. Each spoke to who I was, who I was becoming, or who I wanted to be.

Now, I am, and I am still becoming, in the same way I was back then when I was becoming what I am now. I wonder what mix of expressions and melodies and rhythms will be the soundtrack in the years to become.

Soundtrack mix for the blogging of this blurb:

Kansas – “Questions of my Childhood”
The Decemberists – “The Island”
Roland Dyens – “Libra Sonatine – India”
Rush – “La Villa Strangiato”

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wintry day

Bloged in life, love and marriage, seasons by rod Thursday January 18, 2007

Two days ago, I came across a few photos that I’d not seen for some time, and continued my streak of uploading too many photos to flickr. The last one I put there was a shot of Farming Creek Road taken on my way to work on a frosty, frozen, beautiful Monday morning almost exactly two years ago. I thought it was fun to post that pic, because it was so unseasonably warm at the moment. Temps in the 80s all weekend with nightly lows that allowed for deck sitting without a jacket.

wintry

Lo and behold Old Man Winter. His icy breath swept us and brought frozen tears from the reluctant sky. All manner of operations were on a two-hour delay this morning, including all schools in the area. Go ahead and laugh, Yankees - down here we’re unprepared.
Molly slept with her pajamas inside-out and a spoon under her pillow in hopes that would bring on a weather induced school closing. I don’t know if it was that or my picture that changed the climate so quickly.
This morning, as I drove into work late, I drove across Farming Creek to view a scene almost identical to that old pic. Silvery wisps weighing down the pine boughs, icy sparkles glinting in the fields. And of course a bare, misty tree filled with balls of mistletoe.
Seems like a great night for firewood, popcorn, sweatshirts, and mistletoe induced companionship.

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quotes

Bloged in random by rod Tuesday January 16, 2007

I spoke in Chapel today. Yep, spoke. Didn’t sing, didn’t play.
No, the temperature is still stable in all after-life locations.
So I was told that I got added to the “Chapel Quote of the Day” archives.
Rod’ included quote?

“Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Strongbad.”

I guess there’s a first time for everything and a last time for everything.
Sometimes they’re one and the same.

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mlk day

Bloged in apprenticeship, music, seasons by rod Monday January 15, 2007

The United States has only four federal holidays commemorating individuals - Jesus, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Martin Luther King.

Happy Birthday Dr. King.

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