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Monthly Archives: June 2008

Burned Palate Addict

I think I may be starting to “get” drug addicts, smokes, and anyone with a any sort of bad vice.

 

I burned my palate today. Yay.

 

The thing is, I knew I was going to burn my palate. Not like the second before it happens you know it will, but that I was consciously aware of what I was doing that would eventually lead me to have a painful, shredding palate.

 

I love hot food, not spicy hot, but physically hot. The hotter, the better (one of my many mantras). So, made myself a grilled cheese today. It was great, thanks for asking, but now I’m in pain.

 

I can’t stop running my tongue over the area, feeling the parts that are too smooth and sore, to the parts that are starting to shred. It hurts, and I’m complaining about it to everyone I know. And I’m not going to do a thing about it. I’m actually sipping a piping cup of hazelnut coffee now, which at the same time feels so good, and is irritating my palate terribly.

 

The temporary gratification of hot food consuming my mouth and flooding my senses with a powerful overwhelming feeling of “Whhooo!” is worth the three days of no taste. I would do it all over again

 

Now I know this is kinda insignificant and minimal in comparison to a chain smoker, drug addict, or bulimic, but it’s the same psychosis. I’m just lucky to have a vice that’s not gonna kill me.

 

This actually scares me now, does that mean that I have the mental capacity to become an addict? I always thought I was too strong for that, but maybe not…Wow, I should be telling my mother she should be happy I’m only complaining about my palate and not a possibly hangover, smokers cough, or a bad trip…

 

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2008 in Food

 

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Younger Brothers are __________ (fill in the blank)

Raise your hand if you like your younger brother.

 

Oh wow! The response is overwhelming, I’m not sure I can handle it.

 

Don’t Worry, You’re in good company I can’t stand mine either.

 

I’m complaining here, because no one else seems to see what wrong with him.

 

“He’s so charming…sincere…smart…inquisitive…good heart…”

 

I don’t see it.

 

All I see is, purposeful provocation, farts, and big feet.

 

 

 

 

Come back to me in ten years and I’ll deny I ever said this

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Nice = Boring

My students often ask me why literary characters are so weird. They all have personality quirks, tragic flaws, weird habits, crazy situations, no one can just be. I’ve always told them simply, “nice people are boring”

 

Nice people are boring to be with, sure their nice, but you’re not walking away with anything. Not saying that a person can’t be nice, but if someone asks you to describe someone and the first description is “nice”, she boring; same goes for “sweet” and “heart of gold”.

 

I am a very nice person, I’ll do a favor for anyone, seriously, but nice is nowhere near the first word you would use to describe me. Hence, if there are no other dominating traits than nice, hire them as lackey.

 

In education, they tell you that bringing examples and non-examples really help clarify concepts. Like this is a shade of blue, so is this and this, but this is not. My point originally was not to discuss, niceness, but to bring literary proof and back myself up that nice people make boring stories. It took me a while to find my non-example (because writer are very into quirkisizing their characters), and here it is…Persuasion, by Jane Austen.

 

It feels almost sacrilege trashing Jane Austen like this, but that story was bad. Maybe not the premise, but the characterization severely detracted from it. Anne was the nicest bore to ever almost not get married. In any case, if Jane Austen can’t make nice interesting, no one can. Case Closed.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2008 in Teaching, Uncategorized

 

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Culture Snobs Vs. Ignorant Peasants (Sniff sniff)

I am trying to decide if it is worth being a culture snob. Do people who are experts on different aspects of culture, appreciate it more than people who just happen to like it?

Do foodies appreciate sushi more than my friend that eats it every day?

Does the art critic enjoy Monet more than my cousin who has Water lilies posted on to his walls, as his screensaver, and professional stationary background?

Does the Jane Austen fan love it more than an English Professor?

 

So, I’m going to try to look at it from both perspective, my level of appreciation and enjoyment of something when I’m an happy ignoramus, and when I’m a snobbish expert, Classical Music for the former, and Literature, the latter.

 

See, I like classical music. Yeah, I know it’s nerdy for a 20 year old with no background in music to be into it, but never mind. My point is, I like certain pieces; Clara Schumann’s Scherzo Op. 10 for one. I love the piano; I love the way the music speeds up, slows itself down, and repeats itself with variations on the original “tune”. Do I have to know about motives, motifs, and what “scherzo” actually means to appreciate it?

 

I recently started taking voice lessons (I have nothing better to do with my time). My teacher is very into the voice is an instrument; you need to be able to read music, and know basic music theory, blah blah blah. I don’t mind, it is something new. So, we were going through the minor scales and I think it was D- minor or something, and she’s like,

 

“Bach is all about D-minor, he writes everything in it that key.”

 

I nodded my head as if I knew what she was saying and that was that.

 

So my question is, who enjoys Bach more? I mean I love his “Music from the Ravine”, but I have no idea what key he’s playing in, I just know it sounds good, calms me down, keeps me focused. This is me being ignorant. It doesn’t hurt; I’m fine; life is good. No bad side affects other than people constantly sniffing at me.

 

            On the other hand, I think being an English Teacher has ruined reading for me. I know the elements that make a good story, I know the techniques; I know what to look for in style, voice, conventions. I know good plot development, three dimensional characters, and strong themes. And what does that get me: a headache.

 

I can’t read a book anymore without analyzing it as potential teaching material. I rip them apart; dissect them till it bleeds, and then kill them. After it’s dead I’ll extol it’s virtues as an after thought, much like a eulogy. I will disagree with certain character actions, the presentations of literary elements, sentence structures, poetic license…

 

 So, I know what to appreciate, I know the elements, I know the talent and effort, but I can’t enjoy it anymore. It is like watching a movie after visiting Universal Studios. They show you all the tricks, and it is not magic anymore, it is actually very disappointing. You find yourself looking for mistakes, a faulty mike, inconsistency in frames, a camera reflected in a mirror. You cannot just sit back and enjoy the whole piece.

 

But then again, knowing all the elements makes you go WOW!!! You can really appreciate and revel in the talent because you know what it takes to get there.

 

As I am writing, my mind is thinking, a normal process, and I have come up with a resolution for this desperate debate. Being a snob lets you appreciate the talent, ignorance let us appreciate the piece. And since the piece is the purpose, and the talent is the vehicle in which it comes, I think I would like to appreciate the end and not the means.

 

Ignoramuses of the world cheer!!!

 

Snobs, we will let you sniff.

 

P.S. I just realized that I could just settle this whole thing based on semantics. The Expert appreciates it, the Peasant Enjoys it… Now I have to go back and find every time I used appreciate incorrectly…

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2008 in Teaching, Uncategorized

 

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Hey Peoples…and my mission statement

 

Well this blog is about whatever random topic that strikes my fancy at whatever given moment. I feel no need to make witty remarks, keen observations, or intelligent pontifications. The title says it all “Sporadic Intelligence”, which means on the occasion that I do say something smart, don’t be so shocked. You see it gives me the option to be as shallow as necessary, and smart as I sometimes may be. I get to have my cake and eat it too.

So anyway, yesterday I read Freakomics. Suffice it to say, the book fascinated me. I loved the way he didn’t take political sides, just stated facts, which in different cases supported both sides of the aisle.

My question is though, that even if people read and agree with his assumptions, how many of them will change their view of abortion, high stakes testing and gun control?

Despite what people may say of there being logic, facts, and statistics driving politics, they are completely wrong. Emotion is the gas of politics. If people didn’t care (and honestly most of them don’t) then the political scene would look quite different.

If it was really facts and number crunching that really mattered, most social programs would not exist. Gun control, and abortion would not be an issue. If the statistics really were the bottom line, then there would be a lot less debate and more doing on Capitol Hill. (I’m not getting into how the same statistics can be twisted to fit either bill).

Politics, on the private citizens level is speaking up about things that you care about. If you care about something, you have emotions toward it (positive or negative). If you were neutral to the idea of raising public transportation prices, because say, you have a chauffeur, then you wouldn’t speak up on the issue.

Therefore, if someone is speaking up, they obviously have something fueling their speech. In the case of raising public transportation prices, a person voicing their opinion is not concerned with the overall picture, but rather how it affects him/her self. Forget that the system is way over budgeted, forget that price hasn’t been raised in 15 years and inflation is making each fare practically worthless, it’s going to cost a person 300 dollars more a year to get to work. That’s all that counts in the individuals book.

So this person writes a letter to their congressman. Enough letters sent will create a pressure for action. So despite all the numbers screaming at the public transportation system to raise those fares PDQ, they don’t, or only raise it a drop. In this scenario emotion, not logic ruled in the end, as it does with every political decision. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the fares to be raised, I can hardly afford them now, but logically I can validate their point.

So from reading Freakonomics, if I cared about crime, I probably should change my view on abortion, but I’m not going too, because…..(three guesses why)…I emotionally can’t handle that (and because of my other “logical” reasons of abortion should not be so widespread…) As a person who has been listening to a million and a half real-estate agent commercials, I should stop believing them when they tell me that I can’t do it (sell my house) alone. (not that I have a house to sell).

So even though logic tell me otherwise, I am more likely to listen to my emotions. This is because I believe emotion is where the conscious lies.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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