Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feeling Lucky? The Internet- A Curse or A Blessing?

Internet, what a bizarre human invention. I suppose humanity, having created a vast, interwoven,
social construct in the first place, would find a means of communicating to the entire Earth in a nano-second, eventually. The Information Superhighway gets us where we we want to go with the click of a button. Suddenly, access to information that formerly required the seeker to employ the manual, physical effort of going to the library, writing and mailing letters and cards, talking face-to-face and over the phone is available in a flash. We can accomplish so much more, can't we?

Well, just think about. We literally have the whole world in the palms of our hands and we never have to open the front door. What a blessing, indeed.

In terms of a prima facie stance on the benefits of the Internet, one may certainly agree that access to information, once limited by geographic location and attainable resources, is now completely bridged.

However, when we push the envelope (That's a paper enclosure one uses for privacy and proper handling of snail-mail) a bit more, we note that unforeseen problems arise such as the Digital Divide, the breeding of pervasive anti-social communication practices, and having people find us after years of us being engaged in the most successful vanishing acts of all time.

Look, I am the worst perpetrator, guilty of finding people to whom I haven't seen or spoken in upward of 29 years... being only 34 years old, you can see the problem. It's like some unannounced, unexpected stranger knocking on my door at 3 a.m. and I'm in my underwear with drool easing down my chin, and this person says, "Hi, remember me? Mind if I come in for a while and look in your fridge for something to eat? Oh, and I could really use a new pair of comfy socks from your drawer, you don't mind, right? I mean, after all, we did know each other at one time! Doesn't that mean something to you? If it doesn't, it SHOULD!"

God, how narcissistic of me. I'm so sorry. How dare I post pictures of people in their most awkward states from 20 years ago?

Because it's funny.

So, if you happen to be the lucky one whom I contacted, thank you for accepting my friend request and not ignoring me after forgetting who the Hell I was in the first place. Regarding those pics, I'm a sport, so if you have any fat pics of me from high school, let'er rip.

I would never give-up the feeling of finding someone I love or who I missed the chance to let him/her know I thought well of and wished the best to her/him, even if we were dumb kids who fought and hated each other. The greatest thing about spinning the Internet Luck Wheel, is that I can share memories... some were fond while others were shit; nonetheless, here I am, a part of each moment making-up the whole me.

Two days ago, I found artwork that my kindergarten class made for my 5th birthday. Each kid drew what they wished I would get. And now, as a parent, some of them made me cry when I realized the energy that was put into these little masterpieces was immense and was filled with innocence from a time before cynicism and jaded beliefs.

Some of the kids knew how to spell their complete names, first and last. I decided to look for them on Facebook. Of the four I found, three responded immediately to my email that included a photo of the artwork they made for me at Vineland Elementary School in Kendall, Florida.

Just as it warmed my heart, it seemed to have done the same for the folks I contacted. So, just like all of life, the Middle Path is always the best option when conducting ourselves throughout society- even if we're hiding safely behind our computers. It's not the Internet that's to be hated, it's the user!

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Cann Spel Rel Gud!!

Yesterday, when my 5th grade daughter arrived home from school, as I do everyday, I checked her homework folder. The contents of the folder were two photocopied worksheets: one was math that was introducing the kids to algebraic equations, and the second was a spelling worksheet that gave their words for the week with the task to write the words two-times.

After I write this blog and calm down, I am heading to the school. Which, by the way, is considered a "Choice School". Here in New Jersey, that means that parents from outlying school districts can choose to pay somewhere around $4,000 per pupil to send their kids to an educational facility that is supposed to provide them with a better-than-average learning experience. The artwork shown above is an actual poster shown on the NJ Dept. of Education website and ironically, is the same school my children attend.

In 5th grade, my child's spelling list includes words like "there", "their" and "its", "it's". When I was in 5th grade at Rhawnhurst Elementary, our teachers gave us serious vocabulary words such as "belligerent"and "irate"... and because I was taught these words, I am aware that it's precisely what I am now.

My child's teacher, if this were a country that gave a shit, would be shot for worrying more about running a Talent Show than her students' education. My kid is programming her MacBook and writing movie scripts while you teach her words that my 7-year old knew in first grade. You wonder why our kids are unable to compete with children from around the world when this is kind of garbage they're teaching? That's because you're all a product of the same institutions.

If I wanted a mental slave for a kid, I wouldn't have taught her to read at age 3 and would have waited, like so many parents do, to let teachers do the job, believing that my duties as a parent entail giving my darlings a trendy wardrobe and cute hair.

So, fuck you, America, for the systematic dumbing-down of our youth.


At the same time I was mulling over the vocab words, I was also filling-out an application to audition for a popular show. Here are two pages from the application:

So, how many thousands of people have filled-out this application? If I'm not chosen to go through, they should at least hire me to proofread their documents.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chekov was my Doctor

I love foreign accents. In fact, every chance I get to speak in an accent other than my native northeast-but-slightly-more-like-a-news-journalist accent, that's precisely what I do... British, Scottish, Hindi, French, Italian, German, Chinese, even southern... you name it. And around my house, we all have fun speaking to each other, "You left your jacket en zee ozah hroom," is something I might say while raising my left brow while pointing in the proper direction.

Yesterday, I had a doctor's appointment and was seen by someone new. He read my name, I stood and followed him through the door and then down the hall, he only said, "Just this way." I mean, it sounded normal enough. Until... we entered the exam room and he sounded just like Pavel Chekov from Star Trek, "Ples tak off your clots from de hwaist up."

Oh my God, seriously?

My knee-jerk reaction was to immediately answer him back using the precise accent he'd thrown at me. Within one-nanosecond, I literally thought about repeating him, the pros and cons of doing so, and whether I could get a laugh- when I realized that it's probably not funny to a person who couldn't help but have an accent... so I showed restraint, which by the way, I hate doing.

Turns out, he was Albanian. I had to ask and not so tactfully or grammatically correct as to say, "Your accent is lovely..." Something other than, "Where are you from?" would have been nicer.

Well, soon enough, Chekov had me naked on a cold table in a dark hroom and was probing my chest... it was the accent, it made me hot and had Nothing to do with the fact that he was examining my heart.

A heart full of love for accents.