I don't let go of things easily. This has always been a problem for me, and I've spent the better part of my life trying to make the opposite true, but sadly to not much avail. I'm really good at moving forward, and coasting along for awhile, forgetful of the event, the person, the words - until I'll catch a bad wave, and tumble into the dark cold sea of remembrance, and the memories flood in, unwanted.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Before I begin this quasi-rant let me make one thing perfectly clear: I am not the world's most factual thinker.
That's not to say that I don't "believe in facts," or that I don't think logically. I would be labeled as one of those "creative" types. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that magic is real. There are no facts in the world to prove my knowledge, but I know it none-the-less. I guess I would be one of those rogue cops on your-cop-show-of-choice who follows her proverbial "gut." I use intuition as knowledge.
My monkey likes to make fun of me for this, sometimes. One day, I was explaining the nature of unicorns - she was laughing so hard, she was practically crying, and said, "Oh my! I love Alyssa Science!" And that's the best way to explain it. I just have my own systematic thinking on any variety of subjects.
This last week, while I was in Canada visiting said Monkey, she's finally realized that what my psyche calls "math" has nothing to do with actual numbers. She has a tendency to hog the bed, and as I was pointing this out (in an oh-so-charming way), I said, "You take up like, 2/3's of the bed!" her response? Hysterical laughter. Again. Not because of my incredible wit, but because my assertion is ridiculous - she has a double bed. 2/3's was apparently over-reaching and not factual. (I still think I'm right) Alyssa math: making shit up since 1986.
I almost failed geometry. I'm TERRIBLE with fractions. I got an A- in Advanced Algebra in high school because my teacher assigned lots of extra credit. And when I had to theorize about math in college, forgettaboutit. That grade single-handedly prevented my sure-fire accumulative 3.7 GPA. I'm better at science - at least when it comes to memorizing words and actions. But science has equations, too. Once we moved beyond the classifications of rocks and how they were formed, in geology; we had to figure out the chemical compounds. What? They're rocks. They're here! I see them, I can feel them. I don't need to know the stinking chemical compounds of the rock to prove its existence!
Now - with all of my idiocy, all my lack-of-facts theories, at least I'm smart enough to know when I'm stupid. I wholeheartedly admit that knowledge of both math and science is infantile. I KNOW that there are much, much, much smarter people who know many, many, many more things than I do. Real facts, even. As an adult, sometimes I read publications to try to understand these things - and sometimes I do! I like to know what's going on in the world around me - factually. Then I can contort it in my imagination.
Three things presented themselves to me today, and I felt something I've never felt before: The need to defend fact-based learning.
Exhibit A: Cameron Diaz wants to change public education
"I like to cook and I like to clean so I think I would be a pretty good home economics teacher… But they don't teach kids that anymore. They don't teach stuff that you can actually use in life. You learn stuff like algebra instead. So now we eat out all the time and don't know how to look after ourselves. It's all wrong."
Exhibit B: Miss United States hopefuls disclose their views on Evolution
In Cameron Diaz's defense, I think I know what she's saying. I think she's saying that we're not doing enough to teach kids how to take care of themselves - which I agree with. But to dismiss a subject like algebra - that is helpful and useful (critical thinking and problem solving, Cameron - and not just for equations), sounds like a really really bad teen movie. We need people to cook and clean and change oil and fix plumbing problems, I'm not knocking usefulness. But if my plumber has a higher grasp of problem solving and critical thinking because he didn't do badly in Algebra, then maybe I won't argue when he charges me $1,000 to unclog a drain, without having to take apart half of a wall. Perhaps this is art mirroring life a little too closely for you, Bad Teacher?
All I can say about the pageant contestants, is that sadly, I'm not surprised. But huzzah for Miss Washington! "I think facts should be taught in schools." Well said, lady! The revelation that struck me while watching it, however, was the reminder about how quick women are to make things okay. With a couple of exceptions (Miss Alabama on one end of the creationist spectrum, and Miss Washington on the side of evolution), almost everyone else was trying to make both sides fit into the system: "Maybe we can teach a little bit of evolution" said Miss Virginia. "I think it's fine as long as the biblical theories aren't excluded," said Miss North Dakota. "I think all views on the subject should be taught," said hippy Miss Oregon. And perhaps it's because I'm a woman myself, that ideally, that the middle-of-the-road sounds wonderful. The problem that arises, however, is the notion of public school. If public school is truly public, then everyone has the right to be represented. Which means that Buddhism and Islam and scientology, Hindi, Taoism, Anarchy, Wiccans, Satan-worshippers, Mormons, Klingons, and everyother faction of the world has a right to have a say - which would be a fascinating class! except that I think several different Christian groups would protest, and public schools are so woefully underfunded that there's not practical way to teach something as wide-reaching, no matter how diverse and tolerant.
But most importantly, you bag of overly made-up ladies, evolution is based in science. SCIENCE. Christianity is based on religious belief. And while you believe in creationism and God created the world in a record-breaking 7 days, not one bit of has any proof, any fact, and evidence. Just like my belief on the nature of unicorns. But you don't see ME demanding that evolution not be talked about because evolution never once mentions my magical, golden friends, do you?
Facts are based on evidence, and findings, and study, and research. And you can't discount any of it. There's merit in them, and hard-work, and higher thinking. Just because you don't believe in it, doesn't mean it's not true.
And finally - I do believe that math should be taught in schools, regardless of my ignorant math brain.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Since people may be suddenly bodily ascending to space today, I thought I'd celebrate us sinful bottom dwellers by our captain, our Rogue, our hero - Banksy. This may or may not be inspired by the fact that I'm currently watching Exit Through the Gift Shop. But I bring this to you as a reflection of one of my favorite aspects of earthly humanity: Civil Dissent. Especially in Art.
So ... push play, listen to Debbie Harry, wait for the man from mars, and scroll through some Banksy.
Friday, May 20, 2011
And it ain't Claudius.
In case you haven't heard, or read, here's the story:
I am truly puzzled by the notion that "homosexuality" is "taught." Nobody taught me to be a homosexual. It just kind of happened, well, naturally. No one "teaches" it. I almost wish it had been taught - I might have been a lot less confused in middle school. But to go so far as banning it? When it's not in any curriculum?
Preventative/minority legislation. You know who was a big fan of that? THIS GUY:
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
On Saturday evening, I drove into downtown LA to attend a fabulous theatre piece that some dear friends of mine were in. As I was stuck on the 5 North, slowly crawling to the on-ramp of the 101, my gaze happened upon a billboard. This billboard, to be exact:
"You think WE created global warming?! You must be a Commie! Or a Fascist. OR BOTH!"
"You believe that people should have the freedom to marry anyone they choose?! You're going to hell!"
"It's those damn Muslims who've ruined our economy!"
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Occasionally, though not all the time, I am a wily, outside-the-box thinker. I would love to be able to claim this as being a continual and thriving part of my brain, but I just can't. Sometimes I'm down-right obtuse. BUT! For those glorious moments when I solve an odd problem so ingeniously, so cleverly - no one is ever around to see!
For the sake of hubris, I suppose this is as it should be. I think I read/saw too many classical plays in my formative youth - I am all too aware of the catastrophic repercussions that the gods create specifically for mouthy mortals who tout their brilliance too loudly, too openly, too ungraciously. I won't lie. I really don't want to end up like Oedipus. or Lear. or Cassiopeia.
BUT - sometimes an idea is birthed so fabulously, it should be shared! (as I thank the muses/deities/spaghetti monsters above) One such solution happened to me today, and I won't lie, I feel a little bit like Odysseus.
I'm spearheading a ticket project for Shakespeare Orange County. Essentially, we've been living in the Paleozoic era for the last 19 years, and have not utilized online tickets sales. I KNOW. So I've found a program and a company that will help us, while not taking $5.00 per every ticket sold. Good, right? Part of this process requires sending all manner of paperwork to them. Like a seating chart.
Since we've never had any legitimate on-line ticket sales before, we haven't needed to use many seating charts. So when I went to our box office to search for this mythical file, it was (typically) no where to be found. But what kind of a quest has an easy answer? "You know who does have our seating chart?" I asked myself, "Seat Advisor!" I replied. So back home I went to have a phone meeting with our ticket company's representative.
I explained that I couldn't find a seating chart file on our computer, but that seat advisor had one. What should I do? "See if you can print the webpage," she replied, "and scan and email it." Okay! I printed it not once, but twice. And while my laptop screen displayed our theatre's seating chart, no seating chart printed on the paper. Next, I tried a screen grab - no go. Save page as? Nope. What the hell am I going to do? Make a new chart by hand?? I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!
But then ... from the dark, dry abyss where all my best ideas come from, I heard a calm, reassuring voice say, "Use your digital camera."
"Use my digital camera?! How am I going to use my - I'M GOING TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE SCREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Yes. I took pictures of the seating chart on my laptop screen and sent those in. It was so simple, so deliciously simple. And it took two minutes. Okay - I have to say it - it was a thing of beauty. I will now go make an homage to the goddess of crazy great ideas, lest she think I claim the genius for my own. But it's days like this that make my gray matter feel a little more awesome than normal.
10:00 a.m. wake up
It's my day off! go back to sleep.
10:45 a.m. check the mail
Oh, HELLO PAYCHECK!!!
do a happy dance
12:00 p.m. deposit aforementioned check in the bank!
happy dance continues
1:00 p.m. pay bills at Starbucks while drinking cappuccino, which I can now afford!
happy dance is altered for chair sitting
1:45 p.m. meet with fabulous friend for more coffee
happy dance is moved inside
3:45 p.m. arrive home, turn on laptop again, check email discover OFFICIAL ACCEPTANCE INTO GRAD SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Happy Dance gets bumped up to a 9.9
4:00 p.m. tell everyone I know about grad school!
The happy dance goes viral!
4:30 p.m. purchase plane ticket to Portland for Spring Break next week!
HUGE PACIFIC NORTHWESTERN HAPPY DANCE!
5:00 p.m. go to the dog park and watch happy dogs in between texting friends long distance
Happy dance turns into the doggy dance
6:15 p.m. arrive back at home, check on the viral happy dance once more.
6:45 p.m. pick up a friend for dinner, drinks, hockey game, and general celebration
Happy dance x's 2
7:15 p.m. order celebratory drinks, cheers, hockey!
7:45 p.m. joined by another friend for more dinner, drinks, and general celebration
happy dance for hockey - we're winning!
9:00 p.m. pay my bill, because now I CAN, hockey game = success, Polar Bear drives back home.
9:30 p.m. calmly happy dancing my way through the front door
In summation: Patience repaid, assassins called down, stress level dropped to a minimum, life moving forward, gratitude abounding.