Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kids Boycott The Darndest Things!

If you know me, you most likely know that I love the chilluns. This wasn't always the case. I think I actually used to fear them a lot. The more I've worked with them over the years, the more I've learned about how they learn, how they see the world, and how justified my fears of them were. My basic advice: never underestimate a 5-year old. NEVER!

Okay, so I'm exaggerating a wee bit. Kids are actually pretty great and sometimes innocent. At the same time they're also much smarter and more powerful than we think. Talking to a kindergartner is a humbling and challenging thing. They catch everything you say, which means you have to be extra cautious about how you answer. For example. One little boy in the kindergarten class I work with called a girl bossy. Let's be honest... the girl WAS a total control freak. She was pretty upset though. I told the boy not to call someone bossy, no matter how bossy they were because calling people names makes you mean too. Yeah, yeah. Get all judgy. Clearly I was not already a pro with kids at the time, and I'm definitely still learning. You can guess what happened though... The smart little bugger twisted my words and told the girl, "Miss Rachel says I can't call you bossy even though you are." Don't worry. I corrected my misdeed, and he figured out that I meant always be nice even if you feel as though someone else has mistreated you. (When all else fails, refer to the Golden Rule. It would've saved me a LOT of embarrassment and trouble had I remembered the proper phrasing at the time.)

The fear of kids definitely went up after that experience.

The thing that scares me most is how much brilliance and profundity can fit into such compact-sized versions of humans. I mean, *what* ARE they? They're totally the little blue Priuses of the human world. This would also explain how they never run out of energy... they're fuel efficient! Just one Tang, and they can do 30 mpg on a standard highway at even the highest of speeds, if you catch my drift.. my Tokyo Drift (As in Fast & The Furious II). Duh-duh-chin! Moving on...

Another example of power run amuck in little ones happened when I was working with a 1st grade class. A little boy wrote a nice get well card to a boy that'd had the flu for some 2 weeks. It roughly went as follows, "Dear Name of Boy Which Now Slips Rachel's Mind, I hope you feel better sometime (not SOON as most people would say). You are a great kid and also pretty cool. I am Nicholas!" First of all, take time to appreciate the fact that he signed like a Roman emperor. No last name. No distracting, falsely sentimental closing words. He got to the point, expressed his own significance, and added a PUNCH to close the letter. All with three words. It made me think... What happened to my bold, unhampered wiles and wills? I WAS Rachel! And that directness got me into troubles at times. But it was real. It was honest. This just proves that we have much to learn from even youngins... We can especially see what we were like once and how simple it would be to be that radical again.

The primest thing of all happened in class the day after MLK Jr. Day though. The little 5-year olds were watching a documentary about Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. At the portion of the film that discussed the boycotting of the buses, the teacher paused the video. She explained what it was and told them what a picket sign was. Then they of course started talking again, and the teacher got distracted by paperwork and the random kids that always ask to go to the bathroom even though clearly it's allowed. Then something I never would have expected happened. I thought they got nothing out of the movie. I doubted I would have understood the significance of boycotting when I was a wee one. Buuut...

Raine, the littlest of the littles, pounded her fists rhythmically on her desk and bellowed, "Un-pause it! Un-pause it! Un-pause it!" in time with the banging. Soon other small, yet gutsy voices joined in the "protest." More and more children began pounding the tables. Then they began following her lead as she stood, continuing to shout her demands. She then began lifting her arms up and down, pretending to be holding a sign with words demanding justice. Others followed suit, and soon the entire class was at the front of the classroom walking in a circle, shouting their desires and raising their imaginary picket signs. It was in that moment I realized that a person's a person, no matter how small. No matter how young. We all have something to stay. We all can be powerful. Yet somehow between 5 and 19 I lost my ability to grasp things quickly, listen, and express what I thought in the moment, mostly due to fear. I lost the idea that it was okay to challenge others and to lead others even at the risk of their judgment. Man, I want to be 5 again. Even though the teacher had no idea what the kids were exclaiming, they were saying *something*... something they believed. Yeah, this seems a little bit hyperbolic, but it really did change my perception of kids forever. They grasp things we don't and see things we won't. There will never stop being a need for their lessons, no matter how old or wise we allegedly become. Be bold like a 5-year old, people. Listen and react. Don't buy everything you hear, and challenge the things that seem wrong because they just might be. Wellll, that's that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homework CAN Be Cool

The following is an assignment I completed for my Mass Media & Society class. I had to make an autobiography/memo-schmemo thaaang. It's written in 3rd person because it had to be. I hope you can dig it. Heeeere goes:


BORN: March 10, 1992

SUMMARY: full-time student at Belmont University, majoring in Religion and the Arts, creative force to be reckoned with, sarcasm enthusiast, concussionist, and klutz.

QUOTE: “I dig music.”

DETAILS: Born a whopping 8 lbs. 11 oz., Rachel always felt she had a lot to give the world. Her parents, 2 sisters, and even she realized from the get-go that she was different. When adults asked her questions, she knew the proper polite response, but instead, she offered an honest one. At the age of 2 her pediatrician asked her older sisters and her if they liked his brand new shirt. The oldest said, “Oh, yes. You look very handsome.” The second said, “That is a great shirt.” Rachel said, “That shirt does nothing for you.”

That same year the Wilders packed up and moved to Miami (most likely a decision unrelated to the “doctor incident”), and shortly thereafter Rachel began to attend pre-school. She quickly developed an affinity for animals of any kind, but especially dogs—Rottweilers to be exact. For one assignment, all of the students needed to color in an image the teacher prepared of a dog on construction paper. Though Rachel did not color in the lines in most areas of her life, she took this matter seriously, modeling her dog after an actual dog breed, despite the looming peer pressure to make a “pink retriever.” Her interest in art did not stop there. For Mother’s Day all the children were supposed to make painted clay pins for their mothers; they were allowed to make a flower or a heart. Rachel, however, decided to make a Flubber pin as her new favorite movie had just come out. Her mother couldn’t have been more proud, and her mother’s shirt couldn’t have been more ripped due to the density of the artwork. Needless to say, it was a source of pride that never left the home.

At the age of 6 her family once more went for the nomadic lifestyle, picking up and moving to Ft. Lauderdale. When asked to comment on her experience there Rachel said very little. After all, the family only lived there for 6 months.

Next was Orlando, the home of Disney World, which is the home of Mickey Mouse. While the Wilders agreed that it was a vibrant city, “it was also chock-full of confused tourists that lacked the capacity to simultaneously drive and read their Magic Kingdom maps.” Rachel made some of her best friends there. She continued to feel “different” from her classmates though. This was evident when her class studied the endangered animals list. There seemed to be about 6 panda projects, 5 koala projects, and 5 leopard projects. She found this boring and redundant, so she chose the smelliest animal in the world, the Tasmanian Devil and suggested the Komodo Dragon for others.

At the age of 15, her sisters had both gone off to college. Her parents and she moved yet again to the hustling and bustling Atlanta, or the quite accurately named “Hotlanta.” She attended high school, and it was there that she rediscovered her passion for arts, which were neglected at her previous school. For her portfolio she needed to develop a theme or concentration. Finally, a light bulb quite literally went off. Her choice of subject: light bulbs. Again, Rachel Wilder was not like other kids. She recalls telling her parents of her decision, “First they laughed for a while. Then they asked why. This didn’t upset me. I think that in some ways they expect me to do peculiar things by now, and they accept me all the same.”

The same year, after having visited her older sister Brooke at Belmont University multiple times in her high school career, she decided it was the place she wanted to be. She selected a Religion and the Arts major with a Spanish minor, so that she could combine 3 of her greatest passions. The only issue is that she is still deciding if one of them is art or writing. She does not know for sure what she would like to do later in life. “All I know is that I want to help people, especially children. I do not want this to be limited to children in the United States, so I’m trying to master my Spanish, another love of mine.” Rachel does have one specific goal for the future though; “One day… One day my artwork will hang on the sacred walls of Bongo Java.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Think Of The Guppies!

Not to ruin "The Little Mermaid" for everyone or anything, but the whole plot points to one major flaw-- the oceanic school systems. Clearly the school systems have failed Ariel and her fishy friends. The whole conflict of the movie rests in her not knowing how to write. Think it over... She obviously can't tell Prince Eric outright that she needs a little smooch-a-roo to spare her from an eternity of enslavement to Ursula. She can't even SPEAK. Things would be a whoooole lot simpler if she had learned how to write. It's really not that unobtainable of a goal, now is it? NASA even so generously invented those pens that write under water, yet the stupid schools of fish aren't putting them to use in the classrooms. Many a young fish has been pointing his fin at his fellow decadent pupils-- prawny and gilly alike. Some blame the government (a.k.a. King Trident) or the school board. Other youthful fish have given up on school work altogether to pursue the party scene: visiting the local wet bars and sand bars, getting clam-baked till the tides change, and just plain sea-horsing around. Some fish choose to ignore this problem. But I say a storm of stupidity is a comin', so ye best hoist ye sails. And yes, I do mean YOU. If honest fish and people sniff hard enough, they'll naturally smell a rat... but most likely fish because they, by nature, are stanky. But you may ask, "Wait, do fish even have noses?".... (Oh, hey, Tangent!)
Yes. They do. Aaand HOW! Remember sharks, people. Remember sharks. This might sound sharking, but they can detect one drop of blood with as much as 94 liters of water present. Since fish don't technically breathe through their nostrils like we do, theirs are used solely for scent. I sound like I know this stuff naturally, right? Thanks. Actually I used info from a kids' educational website. Conclusion: even these big, bad boys o' the sea are not matriculating as much as they used to.
That was a dangerously long tangent, so I'll get back to the point. Something fishy is going on, and not just in the market down the street. The million dollar question is... to whom does the blame belong?!
To NASA of course! Obviously fish aren't as dextrous as humans. How can they be expected to HOLD a pen when they do not have fingers? AND all of this is expected to be possible under slippery, non-viscous water?! Get REAL.
I'm so tired of moms calling fish "brain food" when clearly they are illiterate fiends that will make us dumber simply by our eating them. We can't ignore this problem. We need to fix it.
If you're going to litter the ocean be sure to dump something that will help educate a carp or edify a tuna. Laptops. Novels you pretended to read in high school like The Old Man And The Sea. NASA's underwater pens WITH an underwater adhesive, so the fish can get a good grip while writing (No matter if it is permanent; better a literate fish that can't swim due to balance issues than one that can swim contentedly, full of ignorant bliss and a swim bladder.). You get the idea.

Up here on the land we say, "Think of the children!" Today, I urge you, "Think of the guppies!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Totally Nuts! When Squirrels Go Bad... & Cause Nightmares (Part 1 of 2)

I am not one for normalcy. My day-to-day life is weird enough being that I'm... special. Yes. That's what I'll call it. My dreams are no different. Let me share one dream in particular that really left an impression on me and that definitely takes the cake for "weirdest dream ever" (and doesn't share any with me, the person whose psyche invented it... RUDE!).
It started out like any normal Rachel dream. I was fighting off an alien invasion. Fortunately, I'm always prepared (Boy Scout style) with a laser gun (not Boy Scout style... I think.) in my dreams, so the war didn't take forever. I was just disappointed the little squid people with brain-filled helmets had to interrupt the homecoming festivities. After my championing of the evil space men, I accompanied my friend Kathryn to her house for a little celebration of the demise of ET's cousins. As always, she offered me some acorns. SUCH a delish treat, but unfortunately my consumption of them is limited to my dreams being that acorns are in fact poisonous. Being the clumsy person I am (the only realistic aspect of this dream), I accidentally drop an acorn down my shirt. No big deal, right? WRONG. The acorn becomes multiple acorns, which proceed to shimmy their way into the back of my jeans as I try to dance them out of my shirt. Quite the little problem. I run to Kathryn's back yard to take off my pants and avoid being seen by anyone "lookin' like a fool with [my] pants on the ground." (I'm modest in real life, too, Hakuna Matata... It means 'no worries.') While doing this I spot two squirrels. At first I think nothing. Actually I did think, "Hey squirrels," but what I meant was that I thought nothing significant of the situation... until... I realized. I had acorns... in... my... PANTS. This could only mean one thing (no, I do not watch that show. It was the first thing that came up when I typed in "squirrel" on YouTube, and I was pleased because it was oddly fitting). The little monsters immediately caught trace of the scent and proceeded to stalk me, bellowing loudly, snarling, and gnashing their fangs. I immediately threw the nuts at them and ran for it whilst screaming like a girl (Okay, one more realistic part of the dream... I am a girl. And squirrels do like nuts.) I was very relieved... and very curious as to whether or not somebody had slipped something into my water bottle before I fell asleep... when I awoke the next morning and discovered that my pants were still on, free of acorns and free of squirrels.
This still was a rude awakening (pun-intended). I decided to search for reasons for this dream, and it didn't take me long. I quickly recalled the time a squirrel followed me to my front door at home. It began in a tree at the end of the driveway. Every time I continued walking away it would growl and make this weird chirping sound. I would turn around, and it would nonchalantly look side to side and freeze. The process continued until I got to the path to the front door, at which point I ran inside to escape the monster.
Yes, this is a long introduction, but I had to help you fully understand my hatred for squirrels. The real reason I'm writing this is to convince you that squirrels are nothing but evil conveniently wrapped in fur and sometimes rabies. Now, go on to Part Dos to learn why my dreams are not nearly as irrational as previously believed.

9 Reasons Why I Wish Squirrels Were Extinct (Part 2 of 2)

Sadly, it takes quite a lot to wipe out an entire species. I am not a hunter, and I lack the ability to cause floods, so I feel like I'll be stuck with squirrelies for a while. Dang it. AND there are more than 365 varieties of squirrels. They are as inescapable as oxygen, but not nearly as pleasant (Just look at the actual photo). Here's why:

1) Because their stupid little eyes are high up and on the side of their heads, they are quite literally always watching. They are the ultimate peeping Toms, and what's worse-- unlike Tom, you can barely even see them when they hide in the trees outside your window!
2) Squirrels eat animal carcasses when nuts, berries, and Keebler cookies aren't readily available in the trees. I suspect foul play with the elves. Poor elves. So jolly... So DEAD!
3) Their teeth are meant for destruction and creating turmoil. They bite people, first of all, but they also bite power cables (most likely due to their small brain-size; see #4), which causes serious power outages. Oh, and just to top things off... the teeth never stop growing due to the "constant wear" on them from being cannibalistic vandals and whatnot. Vereh scareh.
4) They stupid! Their brains are the size of a walnut. (See #7) They think that by running back and forth across a street in zig-zag patterns they'll confuse/scare the car away. HA! "This is obliviously the squirrels biggest, and often last mistake."
5) Squirrels are wimps. Male squirrels groom themselves for TWICE the amount of time that the females do. Get some pedicures while you're at it, you pansies!
6) They're drunks! (And where was Squirrelly Jr. when that happened? Think of the CHILDREN, man! Think of the children!)
7) Or are they...? You might not think they're out to get us, but oh! Are they ever! I mean, have you SEEN that commercial? It consisted of an actual event that occurred "surprisingly" (*I'm* not surprised.) during the filming of a documentary called "Squirrels Suck. Alvin's Cooler."
8) They invade our homes! You've seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, I presume? Yeah. True story. Happened to a friend of mine once. And for a good month there were squirrels living in my attic, having shindigs every night, and making tons of noise. Was I even invited to the party in MY house? NO! That brings me to #9...
9) Squirrels are PURE EVIL! and just plain moochers/jerks.
For example: WATCH MEH!

Lastly I would like to give you a few simple reminders.

Remember: You can't feed them after midnight especially. They smell fear... and acorns in your pants. Don't run from them or even challenge them to a staring contest. It only provokes them. And the squirrel always wins. Just give them nuts and back away slowly. Try not to fear them now... Just try!

For more information go to

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Highs And Lows Of Drugs

Well, well, well. After all these years of being told that I shouldn't drink coffee, I find PROOF that it is actually *improving* my health. In yo face, Society! According to Dr. Tomas DePaulis, PhD (I know what you're thinking...PhD....Phalse Doctorate? Nope. He's the real deal.), my favorite java-licious giver of jitters "is far more healthful than it is harmful." Now fancy that! Oh, and please just take a moment to appreciate the fact that he does research in Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies... Those EXIST? Hoo-hah! I know my dream job now. That is so much more appealing than that job as a Giver of Free Samples At The Local Grocery Store I had lined up! Anyway, back to the grandest news ever. A Cup O' Joe (or as I like to say, a Cup O' Joy) can actually help prevent Diabetes. That's a pretty sweet deal in itself, but it also lowers the risk you have of developing colon cancer. If your booty's happy, all of you is happy ©. (That's not actually copyrighted, but it should be.) Coffee can get rid of your headaches, help you breathe more easily, prevent cavities, and keep gallstones far from you. Man. It's Wonder Drug! I think I'm even going to buy a cape for my coffee mug. Oh, and lest you forget, it gives you lots of energy. I recommend you drink a latte of it, but not in excess. As Barry White says, "Too much of anything ain't good for you, baby." I hope I've converted you to a coffee-drinker, so that you can share in my excitement that I no longer must attend C.A. meetings.
Now for a less legal and definitely less-lovable drug. MARIJUANA. Yeah, yeah. I know. I have not partaken in illegal drug use, and we all know this (especially after I was randomly drug-tested at school... The results were negative even though I had been on an all poppy seed diet the entire 2 previous weeks leading up to it. Odd.) You might be asking yourself, "Self (or Frederick. It's all a matter of taste really.), why would she talk about an *illegal* drug? Is she advocating them? What does she even know about them since she's never tried anything BB ("bad butt" for those of you readers who are still unfamiliar with my jargon)?" Well, tell Frederick to shut up because he doesn't know what he's talking about (and go see a shrink because you probably shouldn't be talking to yourself or have pet names for the voices in your head). Pot sales are growing in states like California and Colorado where it is very often used in a medical form. There are seriously locations where they offer about 16 varieties of it. It's like Baskin Robins, minus the dairy, 15 other flavors, and legality! In L.A. alone there are 800 shops where you can get weed. At some of these locations you may find a lovely sitting area, a front desk with pots o' pot on display, and some coffee/tea that you can add "cannabis-infused honey tincture" to and get "more than just a caffeine buzz." You might even find cannabis-infused candy! Darn you, Mary J! You're stealing Coffee's thunder! But wait... That candy and honey in excess could lead to Diabetes... Diabetes that could have been prevented by none other than COFFEE. Coffee that is way healthier than marijuana and actually legal. Coffee that does not leave you with a weaker immune system. Nay! On the contrary! It *helps* your health and doesn't just numb pain along with some brain cells.
The moral of this story: SFOIJIOWEJGOAJSGLKJAW! or MUGS, NOT DRUGS! (depending on the translation).

Friday, August 21, 2009

WHEN ROBOTS ATTACK! (... Our School Systems?)

For centuries... or basically for all of the centuries in which we've used machines... which is pretty much most centuries... hmmm. Okay, so since the beginning of robotness, mankind has fearfully wondered what would happen if the machine were able to completely control itself or (even more terrifyingly) think for itself. Scary schtuff if you ask me. It's not like we weren't warned about this...

Isaac Asimov was a science fiction writer in the early 20th century. He wrote a fancy book and was the first to use the actual word "robot." He even made up 3 rules for these 'bots to follow: The Three Laws Of Robotics (Clever Title Fail).
  • "A robot may not injure a human, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders it [receives from] human beings except [when] such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law." (For the link to the quick history of robotics I read: click here... but it's really not that exciting.)
Why would that dude make up rules for the robots if they could be trusted in the first place? Weren't all rules made to be broken anyway? If that's the case, this guy has got some major apologizing to do. Maybe he thought they would be generally good and helpful. Sounds simple and innocent enough, right? WRONG. There's no controlling those machine guys. All they want is world domination and destruction. I mean, isn't that ALL we see in the movies and stuff? Think about it... Movies like "A.I." Do we reaaalllly want a creepy teddy bear walking around and talking to us in a suspiciously deep voice? NO. "Terminator." We all know how that goes. We have enough governators, thanks.

Now to slightly (and I mean very slightly) rational reasons why robots are not okay... They're taking our dang jobs and doing them way better! AND they do it for free. Psh. Who wants laborers that don't require sleep, food, pay, or health benefits? Basically... We're screwed!
Exhibit A. Now even musicians around the world are going to be crying because there is no way they can compete with this. What then? The music industry will become completely robotic even though there's no passion in that guy's massive black plastic eyes of deep-rooted evil.

Furthermore, being taught by a living being will become obsolete thanks to these new teacher robots in Japan. They are "not intended to replace human teachers," but they can... and WILL. dun dun dun. This will totally ruin the education system.

A) Students will be too terrified to even go to class.... I mean. Look at that! TERRIFYING!
B) How can a robot teacher really control a class?? Kids can just unplug it and have recess alllll day long, right? NO. How else do you think a robot will control a class of boisterous children? LASER BEAM VISION. You might argue that that's definitely more effective than most disciplinary methods and that it would keep the kids in line... But it's also a little bit dangerous, eh? Not to mention waaay-haaay more terrifying/end-of-the-world-esque.
C) The teacher's voice would be in monotone.... If the laser beams don't get them, the boredom most certainly will.

Basically, robots have helped us out in some ways, but I feel like there should be a line drawn at some point. Of course stupid people will probably hire a robot to make said line, so that it'd be straighter.... Vicious cycle, people. Vicious cycle.