Category Archives: Too Cool for School

My Mountain

We had a guest speaker in one of my classes today who does research in New Zealand. After her presentation, she talked a little bit about New Zealand’s unique research requirements, particularly those involving the Maori population. Before any of her research studies can be approved, among other things, she must attend a Maori meeting and discuss how the study will affect and include the Maori population. And she has to do this in their native language (which she doesn’t speak), so she has to memorize translated scripts.

When we asked her to say a few words in Reo (the language of the Maori), she said she can only remember part of the greeting she usually does. Apparently, whenever you introduce yourself in Maori culture, they want to know where you’re coming from. She was taught to start out by honoring those present (both physically and spiritually) and then introduce herself by identifying her mountain and her river, then discussing her ancestors. Further research indicates this is normal. So I’ve been thinking about my Maori introduction.

My mountain is Sentinel.
My river is Clark Fork.
My tribe is Missoula.
My sub tribe is Seattle.
Obama is the chief.
My marae is a kitchen table.
I am Mego.

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My soulmate

She likes math, elephants and youtube; and she talks fast.  Clearly she is my soulmate.

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Filed under MeTube, Too Cool for School

Mario Bike

Not too long ago, I found an awesome deal on a gently used bike on Craigslist.  I got myself some nerdy baskets on the back, a helmet, a good lock and some lights and decided to give bike commuting a try.  (I’m currently taking a brake from bike commuting, due to the presence of ice on the roads.  However, I was a faithful rider for a solid month or two and plan to do it again in the spring!)

I have a good rain jacket, as all Portlanders must, and felt fully equipped when it first started raining during my commute.  I park my bike outside at school, though, and quickly realized I had underestimated the discomfort a wet bicycle seat can cause… as well as the sheer amount of water a bicycle seat can hold.

This is what my jeans looked like after my first post-rain ride home:

However!  I wasn’t bothered by the wet bicycle seat because that was also the day I decided to take a new route up North Williams Avenue.  I was in fact pleasantly surprised to see that Williams not only has clearly-marked bike lanes, the bike lanes are complete with banana peels, coins, mushrooms, power boosts, stars and even a few turtle shells.  Apparently some awesome rogue Portlander decided to paint icons from Mario Kart on the bike lanes, making my ride home that day (and every day after) totally awesome.

I later found out it was recently covered on the local news:

Please note how everyone in this video successfully avoids the banana peel.

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Filed under I am not making this up., Keeping Portland Weird, MeTube, Too Cool for School

The Shiny Guy always worries.

We’re kicking off this Wordless Weekend a day early.  I’ll try to make it up to you later.

In one of my classes the other day we were learning about how children learn to tell stories and my professor showed this video, which I loved:

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The Linguist Elite

I’ve always been a bit of a grammar and spelling nerd, but I’ve tried to keep it on a personal level without becoming a snob. I mean, writing and speaking well is important sometimes, but so much of what makes people and cultures interesting is the way they use language. Even if most Americans speak English, we don’t all use it in the same way. And there shouldn’t be any judgement involved in the way people talk.

However, sometimes I just can’t keep a lid on it. When politicians make up words or a coworker says “Me and Leah went to lunch,” I cringe.

The other thing is that certain parts of language tend to evolve “incorrectly.” For instance, I’ve always been kind of a nazi about the word “recur.” Whenever someone says “It’s a reoccurring theme…” it takes everything in me not to jump up and yell “RECURRING! It’s a recurring theme!” But recently, I’ve noticed that the word “reoccurring” is in the Microsoft Word dictionary. If you type it in a Word doc, that damn paperclip won’t say a single thing – it just sits there, blinking at you. I can only assume that the word has been used so many times in speech, it’s become acceptable. Similarly, I saw a credit card ad online a year or two ago that actually used the word “alot” and I almost fell off my chair. (On that note, everyone should go check out this rad cartoon about alots).

And in some cases, I’m totally on board with the evolutionary system. For instance, in What Color is Your Parachute, a book I’m embarrassed to say I read, the author has a section in the preface where he discusses the use of “apparently plural pronouns” such as “they,” “them” and “their” instead of the singular he/she. He gives the example of the sign at the beach that says, “Anyone using this beach after 5 p.m. does so at their own risk.” I think anyone would agree that replacing “their” with “his or her” is just awkward and clunky. He argues that in the history of the English language, there was a time when “they,” “them” and “their” could be used in both singular and plural situations, but that changed, “at a time in English history when agreement in number became more important than agreement as to sexual gender. Today however, our priorities have shifted once again. Now the distinguishing of sexual gender is considered by many to be more important than agreement in number.” I totally agree.

I also think words like “funner” and “fishes” should be allowed to pass. But then who’s to say “irregardless” shouldn’t? (Besides me?)

And I often end sentences with prepositions when it would only make me sound stuck up or ridiculous to change them. As Winston Churchill supposedly said, “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.”

The point of all of this is that I can be a snob sometimes, even though I try hard not to be. And this will be one of those times.

THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

To Whom it May Concern;

1. Pulitzer was a man’s last name. That man pronounced it “PULL-it-sir.”
2. Nuclear refers to the nucleus of an atom. Say it with me, “NOO-klee-er” and “NOO-klee-us.”
3. The thing in your throat is called a larynx. “LAIR-inks.” It has a sibling, the pharynx (“FAIR-inks”) and a cousin named phalanx (“FAY-lanks”). Please note none of these rhyme with “Stevie Nicks.”

Also, Tupac is dead and Barack Obama was born in Hawaii.

That is all.

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Immaturity gets me through the days

In my Anatomy & Physiology class the other day, the professor asked what the difference between “true” and “false” ribs was.  The correct answer is that true ribs connect directly to the sternum (breast bone) and false ribs don’t.  (They still connect, just not directly.)  When he asked, the girl sitting next to me answered, loud enough for everyone to hear, “True ribs connect to the scrotum.”

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Filed under I am not making this up., Too Cool for School

The Swing of Things

Wow.

This moment, right now, is the first time I’ve calmed down and started to feel like myself in the last few weeks.  I had a great vacation visiting Galen in Umatilla and then spending a week at home in Montana, but ever since I got home, it has been go, go, go, without one single second to spare.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post about some of the fun adventures I had, but I’m too exhausted to do it right now.

I wouldn’t say school is hard, per se… just that it’s an adjustment.  It’s hard to remember that my time outside of class isn’t free time, it’s study time.  My television and blog have been neglected.  I barely have time to answer my emails every day.  This is a huge difference from my former life, in which I spent at least eight hours each day glued to a computer screen, keeping up-to-date on news and youtube videos, then went home to watch TV and read blogs.  Happy hour, which used to be my preferred method of getting together with friends without spending much money, is no longer an option on Mondays or Wednesdays, when I have class from 5:15 – 8:30.  Some days I’m away from my apartment for over 12 hours.  Is it difficult?  No.  Just new.

There are lots of great things about my new life, too.  I really enjoy most of my classes, and only one of them is currently kicking my ass (damn you, Anatomy & Physiology!).  Audiology, it turns out, is a lot like Physics for Non-Majors, which is great for people like me who took Physics in college.  One of my professors is so totally awesome – I want to be her when I grow up.  Most of the assigned readings are interesting and thought-provoking, too.  (Not the ones from the textbook.  I have yet to meet an interesting or thought-provoking textbook.)

It’s also abundantly clear that the world of higher education is very, very different now than it was five years ago when I graduated.  Everything is done online, whether it’s assignments, readings, communication, or presentations.  All of my professors show us YouTube videos instead of regular videos, and in my Sign Language class, our tests are actually video presentations that we record ourselves, place on YouTube and allow our professor to view.  Just us, signing at a camera.  Handouts and notebooks are rare, since professors usually make their PowerPoint slides available online for students to print out and write on during lectures.  I’m even taking one totally online class (Statistics) and one hybrid class where we meet once a week and are then expected to spend the equivalent of one more class period online learning or connecting with classmates.  The last time I did this whole “college” thing, email was big and some professors had their own websites, but that was about it.  Who knew so much could change in just five years?

Needless to say, there are also a few differences between a state university of 30,000 students (most of whom commute) and a liberal arts college of only 1800.  I was reminded of this in my first class on the first day, when the entire class found out that the class time had been changed and the administration hadn’t actually told the professor.  The professor who was the chair of his department until the end of August.  Then, as he continued to lecture, he mentioned that there had been an orientation for everyone in my program last week.  This was the first most of us had heard of it.  Clearly, communication is an area that needs improvement.

But, I’ve somehow managed to find my way around and figure out how things work, for the most part.  Now it’s just the reading and homework that I need to work on.  Wish me luck!

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