Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Tribute Speech of a Different Color

The assignment for public speaking class tonight was to write a tribute speech about yourself 30 years from now, as told and presented by someone else. 
It was amazing to hear all the awards and accomplishments fellow students figured they'd perhaps achieve in 30 years. Everything from ending WWIII, to curing cancer, to inventing flying cars, to achieving World Peace, reviving entire villages in third world countries...and it just goes on and on. Where do these crazy kids come up with this stuff, hey?...silly kids with their silly dreams ;-)It was almost vomit inducing.
And then along came Frankie...with her eulogy. Yes. We wrote our funeral eulogy. Out of 21 students, it was the only one. It's unclear how it was received, though the instructor enjoyed it, using it as a specific, and only, example of using humor and imagination (ha!) in a tribute speech.
What did the speech sound like?
Something like this...

It began very beautifully talking about how "She" "succumbed to wanderlust" in her early adult years living a "nomadic life" often "punctuated by forays into secondary education" desiring to achieve "something personally remarkable" by living a fulfilling like full of experiences. Then later in life "She" became a  "recluse"
"often finding solace in retreating to the online world of 1’s and 0’s, having philosophical debates on topics dear to her like food security, poverty and equal rights, fighting for social justice and equality, spending much of her time writing about personal philosophies on current events, often escaping to the comfort of her brushes and paints, spending hours in her studio painting.

In the last months she spent most of her time in solitary confinement of her own making, writing, alone in her studio, drinking copious amounts of Gin and putting the final touches on her masterpieces. She passed away in her sleep, just as she had always wanted, having lived a life just as she wished."

And with that...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Social Media Literacy: A Speech Transcript

This is a transcript from a speech we did about two weeks ago for a Public Speaking course (holy crap it'll be nice to get done with that class). We were initially going to audio record it for you, but you know what? We can't be fucking bothered to do's amazing we can even continue trudging through the reading, writing and studying...we're starting to lose focus, partially due to mental interruption and stress.

Anyway. The topic, Social Media Literacy and Responsibility, should be important to you. We chose it because it's important to us and thought it would be important to the other students in the class. (We've written on similar topics here in the past: What Happens On Twitter Doesn't Stay On Twitter)

This is a bit more "technical", as it's an informational speech...and since it's for a university class, it is written, and was presented, in the "I" and not the "we". It was also limited to no more than 5 minutes (a second over resulted in losing all timing points).


Without further adieu...
"Imagine you have a really great job, the work is fulfilling, your coworkers and you are good friends, and then one day you are called into a meeting with the board of directors of your organization. In this meeting your “anonymous” Twitter account is mentioned as a concern, and some of your Tweets are referenced. Despite the public not knowing who you are, they have found out and they don’t like the things you have to say. And they fire you.

This happened to me.

Social media literacy skills, that is, the ability to communicate appropriately and responsibly, while approaching interactions critically, and understanding the consequences, while online, is an important 21st Century skill.

According to a report by Pew Institute, 93% of teens and 72% of adults use social media, yet few schools and businesses teach social media literacy and responsibility skills even today; meanwhile participation in social media can have immediate and long lasting impact on a person’s life, from education to employment and even relationships, all simply based on who you allow in your network or the way you express yourself. 
The Library of Congress has now archived, and continues to do so, every Tweet from as far back as 2006. From the words you use to express yourself, to the pictures you use in social media, they can have immediate and long-term consequences. And it’s not just what you write, or who you are, that can cause problems.

Who you allow in your networking circles can effect your life. For example, in the case of Flordia vs George Zimmerman, prosecution questioned a witness on her connections with Zimmerman’s brother on Twitter and Facebook for a full eight minutes.

Your social media connections can also impact you financially in the future.

As reported by Mother Jones, The Economist and Investor Place, there are currently three minor loan companies that use the credit and spending habits of Facebook connections of those seeking loans, to determine the risk factor of loaning money. According to reports, this may be a trend for larger loan companies in the future.

When people look at social media they often see it as a platform of free speech and self-expression, but rarely, do they consider the consequences.

For example, Johnny Cook, a Georgia bus driver, learned that one of his middle-school passengers got denied school lunch because his account was .40 cents overdrawn. Upset, he vented on Facebook about the unfairness of the situation. It was a reasonable rant, but his employers discovered it and he was fired. According to Business Insider, in 2011 there were 17 similar cases.

Again, in the case of Florida vs George Zimmerman, witness Selene Bahadoor was confronted by the Defense for a Facebook petition she “liked” that “championed” the arrest of Zimmermann.

Both of these unfortunate events are results of poor social media literacy.

Further what people write can be misinterpreted because there is often little context, no voice inflection or meaningful facial expression in social media communication.

Your actions on social media can even have an effect on future employment. 
According to a report by Reppler, a social media image consultant company, 91% of the 300 sampled hiring managers report using social networking sites to screen potential employees, of that, 69% reported that they rejected an applicant because of what they saw of them on a social networking site. Another survey by Kaplan Test Prep, a college prep organization, stated that 35% of the 500 college admissions offices they surveys admitted that something they saw online about an applicant negatively impacted their application. That’s up nearly 25% in a years time.

The good new is two states have currently passed laws protecting students and employees from having to turn over their log-in and password information to their schools and employers, and there are currently 36 state bills designed to do the same thing waiting to be passed. But they can still monitor your accounts, so the National Labor Relations Board has also passed ruling to protect the first-amendment rights of private sector employees. Of course none of this is a guaranteed protection.

This is not to say that you should be afraid of social media, or censor yourself, but rather recognize the potential permanency of social media/internet interactions, and its ability to have a long lasting impact. As you move through your life learning responsible communication and being aware of the consequences of actions that you may consider innocent, can be very important both to you and people in your life."
Tillman, K. (2010). Do Media Literacy, Digital Literacy, and Social Media Literacy Intersect? Edelman Digital.

Pew Research Center. (2013). 72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users.

Pew Research Center. (2013). Teens and Social Media.

Library of Congress. (2013) Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress.

Eichelberger, E. (2013, September 18). Your Deadbeat Facebook Friends Could Cost You A Loan. Mother Jones.

Trivedi, A (2013, June 6). Georgia Bus Driver Fired For Facebook Post. Time.

National Conference of State Legislatures. (2013) Employer Access to Social Media Usernames and Passwords

Greenhouse, S. (2013, January 21). Even If Enrages Your Boss, Social Net Speak Is Protected. New York Times.

Kaplan Test Prep. (2012) Kaplan Test Prep’s 2012 Survey of College Admissions Officers. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rhetorical Moves and Devices In Writing: A University Essay

We finally got our first paper back for College Composition II...and the grade was...adequate. We could have done better...we could have gotten a 96% instead of a 93% (yeah, yeah, you're thinking the grade was great)...but it'll have to do.

The class has been great, in general; we've even written about an experience we had a couple of weeks ago in it. The next essay/paper due is a dozy, and we'll be working on it this weekend. Currently it's a menagerie of scattered information and concepts that need some duct tape and string. It's going to be a great paper...yeah...

Anyway...back to the paper.

The topic was based around literary moves and rhetorical choices in the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong James W. Loewen (a great f'ing book, by the way), and explaining how his introduction shapes or sets up the text’s purpose. In addition, explaining how the rhetorical choices (moves, devices, and strategies) Loewen uses forms, informs, and helps shape that purpose.

So...if you're interested in that kind of topic...have a read. ('s a seven page [double spaced] be warned)
The teachers comments are included at the end.

If this isn't your "cup of tea"...there are loads of other things here for you to read.

Loewen’s introduction serves as a general platform for justifying his writing of Lies My Teacher Told Me. Coupled with reoccurring and non-reoccurring use of rhetorical moves and bold devices, he establishes credibility, and adequately prepares the reader to approach each chapter with insight into his character, as well as the context that surrounds his writing. Additionally, he conveys how he feels about history, stating it’s “full of fantastic and important information” (Loewen 3), posing the question “What has gone wrong [with it]?” Backed with supported information in the introduction, he approaches the reader with citation and references establishing credibility in a timely manner, working towards the eventual reveal of controversies and “conflicts” in history. Loewen assigns responsibility for the missing information and misinformation surrounding what we think we know about history, unfolding literary moves that flow throughout the text, illustrating his points and validating the purpose of Lies My Teacher Told Me.
By making bold daring moves straight out of the gate with statements like “Something has gone very wrong” (Loewen 1), Loewen instills a bit of intrigue, setting the path to impart concern while hooking the reader. “What is this? What has gone wrong?!”, we are left asking. He then follows the posed issue with an explanation, supported with evidence conveying authority. Similarly, Loewen uses this literary approach with the phrase “Textbooks stifle meaning by suppressing causation” (7), explaining that by “[leaving] out what we need to know about the American past” (7) students do not grasp the synchronicity of cause and effect. Loewen repeats this move later with the “headline grabber” “The truth is that Helen Keller was a radical socialist” (13). To many American readers the idea that somebody who has been, historically, held up with such esteem could be a radical socialist, is startling. By beginning the paragraph in such a bold “shocking” way, Loewen effectively grabs the attention of his primary audience as he pulls them in with supports to his claim. Again, in chapter three with “The true history of Thanksgiving reveals embarrassing fact” (Leowen 90) he captivates the reader. Using a word like “embarrassing” applied to a holiday that many North Americans hold in such regard, could seem, to some, shocking. In addition to being titillating, using these bold astute assertions convey authority. Rather than using phrases like “I think…” or “In my opinion…” which some readers may find diminishes authority in his tone, he puts power behind what he is trying to say. The key move behind these statements is to draw you in, to illicit an emotion, to capture your attention and to validate Loewen’s voice.
Loewen goes on to make an appeal that history is actually interesting and important, making a compelling case for his claim. Using words like “fantastic”, “important”, and phrases like “power to spellbind audiences” to describe it, Loewen passionately asserts that history is not “boring”, “predicable” or “melodramatic“ (Loewen 3, 5) as the textbooks may lead a student to believe. He moves to provide relevant examples to prove his point by mentioning the enduring popularity of History as a subject in media formats like public television, movies, other books about history, museums, etc. (4-5). In doing this, he illustrates that the public is actually interested in history; and not only is it interesting but you should be interested in it, not just because it is exciting, but because history is important. History is “directly relevant to our present society” (Loewen 3), he says “More than any other topic it is about us. Whether one deems our present society wondrous or awful or both, history reveals how we arrived at this point. Understanding our past is central to our ability to understand ourselves and the world around us. (Loewen 2)” Perhaps Loewen’s strategy of telling the reader that history is interesting and important, is to convince readers that his text can be set apart from those “others” - those textbooks full of dry material - because he understands this; he understands it and is preparing the reader for “his” “amazing stories” (8) about “us”. Using this approach, backed with reasoning, Loewen gets the reader to understand that history is important, interesting even; but it may not be your fault if you think otherwise.
Loewen shifts, first suggesting teachers and students are mutually responsibility in a perception of each other’s low interest in the history. Teachers respond to the low morale of students towards history by “going through the motions”, which makes history seem uninteresting to the student, thus propagating low morale in a vicious cycle (Loewen 2). However, Loewen then spends considerable time assigning layers of responsibility, making the claim that textbooks “alienate students” (6). Then taking aim at textbook authors, and publishers, he establishes blame for the crux of the problem, systematically deflecting it from students. It is the textbooks themselves, formidable in size and content, and physically unbearable to transport (Loewen 4); the textbook publishers are too unconcerned with outdated content to laboriously peruse the books to remove it, and they are “unaffected by recent research” (Loewen 7); and historian textbook authors receive no respect from their peers to be bothered to update them (Loewen 7). These are all very powerful declarations supporting the argument that it is not students’ fault that they may find history uninteresting and unimportant. By reducing primary audience blame, Loewen works to align them with “his side”.
Loewen implores the reader to consider the significance of asking questions about history. In using plural pronouns throughout the text, and continuing to pose queries into who “the we” are in these narratives of history textbooks to begin with (Loewen 64,37) he places us in the narrative. Loewen leaves us questioning who history is being written for; if “it is about us” (8), at the core of who we are, and “central to understanding ourselves” (2), do we not then have ownership in it, he implores; do we not have rights to more than basic facts and cloaked “evidence and reason”. By not having access to source material in textbooks, we are not encouraged to think critically about what we are reading. The “textbooks keep students in the dark about the nature of history by offering them “reasoned judgments” (Loewen 8), leaving out conflict and controversy so we have no chance to the scrutinize history, and therefore have no concrete way to determine who the “we” are or “understand the world around us” (Loewen 2). His message here, effectively communicated, is that we must be offered as much information as we can, so that we can think critically about it and who we are, and textbooks do not provide adequate resources for that. Therefore, if we do not ask questions about our history, and are offered only piecemeal information, we end up being whoever they say we are.
Moving towards punctuation, Loewen’s use of scare quotations throughout his entire text pointedly draws attention to words. It is why Loewen uses quotations to draw attention to the words that is important, such as in “Legacy books”(3), “new new”(3), “war on terrorism”(8), and then in the meat of the text with “ruling class”(28), “establishment”(29), “primitives” (49). Shedding light on these words and phrases that are weaved through the tapestry of history books, he encourages the reader to think about them. What images do these words conjure, how, when used do they effectively elicit a deeper meaning. For example, by using a term such as “primitive” in conjunction with the native tribes of early America the reader is left with nothing but very crude ideas of the (lack of) culture and “savagery” that may have existed. Likewise, the term “savage”, when applied to historical texts brings to mind animal-like primitive people, perhaps even “godless”. His intention in using these quotations become clear, that some words written in history textbooks can frame your way of thinking about the people of history, and it is just another way we are cheated from the whole story.
Loewen continues to use quotations in his introduction to reveal his character and personality. Listing book titles that include inflated words like “Great”, “Triumph”, “Promise” and “Pageant” in their titles and juxtaposing the titles against those of more modest subjects, such as Principles of Chemistry, Loewen wittily pokes fun at how the publishers try to profess the books grand completeness (6), cleverly revealing the sense of ego and clear nationalistic slant many textbooks take. Additionally, Loewen effectively makes use of quotations as a literary device in the introduction in several different ways, in some cases establishing a relationship with the reader, and in others demonstrating his character. For example implying students may say “nothing good will come of this” (Loewen 4), he communicates that he understands, establishing relationship with the reader. By suggesting that textbooks hype themselves with underlying messages such as “You have a proud heritage. Be all that you can be” (Loewen 6), the reader can reason that part of Loewen’s character does not include overly patriotic or nationalistic tones. These specific moves work well illustrating dialogue, and may subtly align the reader with Loewen if they understand he is being both funny, and understanding of the “history textbook plight of the students”.
Finally, Loewen discusses his professional credentials, the hours of work he put into writing the text, revealing his (negative) experience of having been part of a textbook creation, and disclosing how his view through a sociologist eyes may be applied to his view, further legitimize the work at hand (8-9). By waiting until the end of the introduction to “introduce himself”, he keeps it fresh in your mind that he is indeed qualified to make the claims, to pull the punches as you delve into the chapters. This move poised at the end has the effect of ushering the reader into the first chapter of the book with confidence in Loewen’s credibility and ability to inform you what has been missing from your history.

Loewen’s overall tone in the introduction can be interpreted as effective in preparing the reader for the potential bold devices in his book, as well as the parts of his personality that might show through. Establishing basic professional credibility and connectedness through key moves, we can understand his motivation to reveal to us the interesting and important information history has in store for us.
The notes from the instructor that came along with the grade
"You clearly understood the effects of Loewen's choices as a writer and can see the larger issues inherent in these choices. You present a sophisticated analysis of his work and are incredibly thorough. There are moments though, when you begin to lose focus; and, at times it felt like you thought you had to include everything. This semester let's work on focus and choosing the strongest arguments and examples to stand. That said though, this shows real critical engagement with the assignment and Loewen's text. Very well done."

Thank you for making it this far. Wish we had some candy to give you...

Sunday, October 20, 2013


More midterm exams next week.
This time in the atmospheric science course and public speaking.
Just had the mid-term in 'Information, Technology, and Social Change' (no word on the grade yet) mid-term from College Comp II - but getting the first graded paper back Monday, and a second paper is due soon.
Also, did the first official speech for Public Speaking this last Wednesday and only got an 85% (boooooooooooo), total horseshit since we did way better than most students. We didn't even say "ummm" once, and most of them did several time. "Ummm" was half the content of most of their speeches! *pokes ears with sharp sticks*
Back to Monday.
The meteorology mid-term.
Unstable atmospheric environments, relative humidity, and precipitation types?
We'll show you unstable atmospheric environments *cries wet tears full of water vapor*.
Next week, hopefully, we'll have grade updates (so far, it seems,we are maintaining A's in everything but meteorology...but we need confirmation).
Thank goodness midterms mean we're half done with classes. That class, anyway. Science gurus, we are not. Not one single one of us.
I'm too old for most of this shit. Mid-December can't come soon enough.

Just let us write, forever, let us write, and paint, and be...well paid, so we can cook nice foods, and drink good alcohol, buy paints and canvas...and that's all we really want.
And to die, someday, to go silently in the night.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Journal Post

Every day feels more and more difficult to get through.
The good parts are getting overshadowed by the bad; feelings, thoughts, emotions, events. Being swallowed alive.
So close to the tires of semi-trucks moving at high-speeds, every day...the dark nights, so close to their taillights and depth perception so obscure. They almost speak to use to be tested.
How much shaking has to happen, to get rid of this.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Disgrace to Democracy...Rant

This country is going to hell on the shirttails of a platform of pseudo-
Image Source
democratic and pseudo-Christian "principles".
On a platform built by liars, horrible people, hateful people who want to destroy this country. Waving flags of the confederacy, spouting disinformation, entirely rejecting responsibility for their part of anything. Bigoted, racist...exploiting innocent people for some political gain that benefits them, not you, not us, and not those innocent people. Pulling wool over the eyes of sheep.

If you don't think so, you're not paying attention. You're probably not reading the news, you're not listening to them; you're probably just listening to sound-bites and staring at head-lines; you're probably not analyzing the words versus the actions of false-prophets who are dragging this country through the mud; you're probably a fucking idiot because if you listen to what they've been saying for months, for years, it's all contradictory, over and over, and you cannot deny they hate this country and its people. They love their country; and their country is not yours, because their country only exists in their selfish, hateful, bigoted minds, and their blackened crippled hearts.

This country is becoming a disgrace to democracy.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An American EBT (Food Stamp) Narrative...

Imagine this...

You have a great job, you make a good can even afford a pretty decent car, and an iPhone on a cell plan (even though iPhones are basically expensive pieces of shit) have a nice purse because you splurged, your best friend gave you a gift card to a Guess store, and so, because you were making money, you paid the difference and got yourself a nice Guess purse.

You're doing well.

But then, an unforeseen circumstance befalls you...your company has a massive layoff...the country's economy fall ill...and you lose your job.

The job market is shit, you are over-qualified...under-qualified...the job market is saturated with people; you struggle...but you need food.

You get food stamps...begrudgingly...but you need nutrition just to survive.

You drive the car you bought from when you were employed, that you're now struggling to make payments on, to the grocery store. Hoping you'll get a great paying job soon, you're keeping the car, because trading it in is a crap shoot. You put some food in your cart, a bag of chips maybe...because it's a treat. You get to the register and you pull your wallet out of your Guess purse and extract your EBT card...and you can feel the judging eyes...your phone rings and you pull out your iPhone and answer it, you hear scoffs of those judging you further, you walk out to your can get into it...and you can feel the people who know you're "on the dole" watching you, hateful, angry.

This happens for months while you apply for job after job.
Even getting a job at WalMart would be fine, but it would keep you below the poverty limit; you wouldn't make much, but at least your income would be augmented by your EBT "food stamps"(1).

You're the working poor.


maybe you got a great job and now you don't need your EBT, and so as a final blow-out you use the rest of the funds on your EBT card to buy lobster and steak...after all, as a single person, in most states, you're only getting about $130 month for food, but it's early in the month, and your new job is great, so why not celebrate and use it all up.

But now some asshole found the receipt on the ground, was appalled at how you spent HIS tax contributions...and he posted it all over the internet (and it's now been trending nicely there for over two and a half years as an example)...making the ignorant public into a bunch of giant douchebags who don't think anyone should require this (often) much needed government assistance.

Welcome to America. It's God's country.

Maybe some people need to remember the "Great Recession" brought on by the Bush Jr. Administration, and recall how the economy tanked, what the word "recovery" means and understand that it's not an instantaneous occurrence...and gain some fucking perspective.

And before you pull out your bag of assumptions. NO we are NOT on ANY government assistance.
We have been on food stamps (EBT) two times over the past fifteen years, but not for long (no longer than a year and a half), and it was only when we needed it.

Perhaps the majority of the 14.3%(2) of Americans on Food Stamps (most of which are the elderly, families with children, and the disabled) actually need the help they are asking for...and the (rare) exceptions to the rule shouldn't be the reason you hate on those people.

What a novel concept.

Sources and Citation:
(1) Walmart: America's real 'Welfare Queen', Daily Kos, Paddy Ryan, October 10, 2012

(2) Americans Significantly Overestimate The Percent Of People On Food Stamps, Business Insider, Walter Hickley, October 11, 2013,

Just Another (Short) Political Rant

So...if people who claim to be Republican read and listen to the news we read/hear, the ACTUAL TRANSCRIPTS AND WORDS THAT COME OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY...not just in "libtard" news, but on all channels, all over the internet, in YouTube videos and interviews (we consume too much political content. It's no longer healthy) HEAR what these people say...they are so grossly unAmerican. Yet they are championed.

You have to be kidding thinking any of the thought processes of these people are healthy. The majority of the [GOP] government party is comprised of hateful horrible selfish people.

There needs to be something better than any of the options...because while Republicans/The Tea Party are just batshit crazy...the Democratic party...who are the Democratic party...

This country is destined to be the next fallen empire. Following in the footsteps of history, too ignorant to have learned, too ignorant to recognize; the people are too stubborn, too scared, too indifferent, to get out of the mess.

It's a persistent festering problem.

The government is not necessarily to blame. The people definitely are.

Stop being selfish, start caring for each other. Move past the bigotry, move past the religious posturing; stop being afraid of change.
Elect better people.
Your country depends on it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Photography Alterations (In Magazines): Homework Highlight #4

This critical thinking assignment was about how magazines use Photoshop, and other photo editing tools, to change pictures, and whether or not there is a time when it is appropriate.

These may seem like soft subjects to you, but as a (Mass) Communications major, these types of things are at the foundation of media ethics.

Here we go...

"The altering of photographs is very disturbing; especially with the great lengths they go to these days. It would be much better if the photographers learned how to use light and shadow, and other photography techniques, in lieu of blatant trickery. 
You know, learn to be a professional photographer. 
I find it particularly disgusting that they take already attractive people and turn them into something society holds up as a standard people try to attain; when in fact nobody can look like that, because if they could the photographers and magazines would not need the extensive airbrushing and manipulation techniques they use. 
I think, in this society, it’s pretty well known by the majority of adults that all magazine content is airbrushed to some extent. I don’t, however, think that children of a certain age understand it, and when they see those covers while standing in the line at the grocery store at very impressionable ages they are indoctrinated with a warped idea of what they think society believes is beauty. I find it rather tragic.  
Sometimes alteration of photos may be appropriate if they are trying to remove something from it that wasn't supposed to be there (maybe a dog “photo-bombed” an otherwise perfect shot.), which seems unlikely in this digital age, because you would know it immediately and re-take the shot. (in the case of professional photo shoots), or if they are trying to make a statement. 
However, if the photos are manipulated too extensively, other than just changing the light of the overall photo, or perhaps removing a blemish, then it should be stated somewhere in the photo credits. 
When altering of photos goes so far as adding things in that aren't there, or removing them, for the purpose of clear deception, I think there is a real problem, and it should be exposed. 
But then, I’m not even a supporter of adding and removing things from photos (like people, for example) and passing them off as legitimate original photos even in the most "innocent: of cases, which now can be done with just a smartphone app."
Not groundbreaking...but you should read the pap the other students write...
Literally two sentence answers saying that they have no opinion.
We're required to read and comment on at least two a week to even get our assignment graded...*jabs self in eye*

So far we have been heralded by students for having interesting content. *pats self on back* just because YOU don't think it's interesting...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Saturday Night Rant

Recently we had a blog comment from someone who had an opinion about our mental "illness".

Based on nothing, making claims with nothing backing it up, this "troll" basically stated that because no money was being put into the research of our mental illness (a lie), that it was therefore illegitimate...and shouldn't we just "give it a rest"..."get over it"...

We deleted it. Because who needs to read that over and over.

Not us.

People struggle, from childhood-based post-traumatic stress disorder (which is what dissociative identity disorder is), to adult post traumatic stress, to bipolar disorder, to depression...and beyond.
How dare someone discount another person's life-long coping mechanism, another person's life experience, another person's mental health...because funding is not being put into its research.

We understand how illogical our condition is and seems; we also know that our real life experience with who we all are is real. It sucks. It's hard sometimes. Some days we want to die. But it is all we have ever known; without each other we would be dead many times over...we are our own safety net, full of holes, but still here.

Hey, asshole. DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) has no specific symptoms that can be cured by a pill, that there doesn't already exist one for. Money for research dedicated to the study of it is not freely given, because nobody can make money from it - only profits from some of the symptoms, which medications already exist for.
Or maybe you don't understand how Big Pharma works.

Don't fuck with how people cope with life. One in five Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness, and still, many go undiagnosed, sometimes because of the fear of people who make assumptions, based on nothing at all, just because they don't understand. Don't be that ignorant asshole who just wants to destroy the harmless inner-network of someone's life, just because you don't understand.

<end rant>

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Day In The Life Of A "Non-Traditional" Student: A Classroom Experience

("Non-traditional" is just a fun politically correct way Universities classify "older students" *gag*)

In a class today, where the discussion was racial stereotypes in the context of how history forms what we think and know, when asked what comes to mind when you hear the word "terrorism"...while our answer was "Timothy McVeigh"...many others' was "Osama Bin Laden"...and other such Middle Eastern references.

Few of the students had ever even heard of Timothy McVeigh...(what proceeded was a mini-lesson by the instructor)

That name is synonymous with the first time we can recall knowing terrorism was even a thing (April 1995), much like they equate Middle Eastern peoples with the same thing, for much the same reason, because of 9/11.

Despite the class being a college composition II class, the instructor (who is top on our list of favorites) has chosen the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James Lowen (amazing!) to use as illustration in teaching the class how to write academic level essays.

There tends to be A LOT of discussion on the facts that history left out, why they were left out, who they were left out by, and what impact that has on today's society and ways of thinking, and the influence new knowledge has on prior knowledge.

Needless to say, as far as this class could's right at the top of things most of us love to think and talk about. And class participation is kinda "our thing".

Back to the topic.

Today, sitting in that classroom with people who had so little life experience, comparatively, was a real-life experience of how even today, mere omissions in national conversations of recent historical events, omission of information, can completely alter ways of thinking.

These kids (ages 18-20) only know the things they do through the eyes of media, textbooks, and limited parental intervention. Primarily, in this case, they only understand terrorism as a USA vs. the "Middle East" issue. At the heart a racial issue.

Like issues with poverty, drugs and violence, much of reporting and teaching of history is framed in a racial context (but when was the last time you heard the rising problem with Meth, or Molly (MDMA/Ecstasy) being referred to as a "white problem") most people look at things through a lens of their own experiences and what they have been taught. But if they are taught a very limited can they grow. How can they understand.

Today's experience was very visceral. If you ever have a chance to pick up the book, it's highly recommended. You'll probably hear about it again from us...there's currently a paper in mid-grading that discussed Lowen and his writing style...

(this topic deserves more...and we barely gave the book the credit it deserves...but it's late at night...and it's Friday...give us a break)

(Thanks for reading!)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Case of the Curiously Bad Grade

Remember last Thursday when we lamented about how we got a bad grade on a test in the class we felt really confident in (material wise)?

We had a sit down with the T.A. (Graduate Teacher's Assistant - he co-teaches the class) after sending an e-mail immediately after getting the grade and requesting that we go over what we got wrong.

That sit-down happened today.

Turns out we only got 2 wrong out of 30 questions we answered.
There were 40 questions.

Somehow on the back of the second page there were 10 questions we missed, so the answers never made it to the "bubble sheet", so they counted as 10 wrong answers.

Yeah. That happened.

The nice thing though was the instructor said he had been equally as perplexed about the grade because "I" am one of the few who heavily participates in class, and, I guess, knows "the stuff".
Plus we write wicked assignment blogs.

So, the case of the curiously bad grade has been solved.
We're not as dumb as we thought we were after least where atmospheric science/meteorology isn't involved...we're just bird-brained.