Comments of llemma (43)

Comment on post Mere Christianity: on morality:

Er... why not?

Comment on post A pretty picture for a Friday night:

More so than any Rice fundraising email or facebook "old photos" upload, this brought back huge and happy nostalgia... thank you!

Comment on post anyone want a camera?:

Hey...... thank you. (: (:

I'll post some pictures just for you all soon as possible. (:

Comment on post anyone want a camera?:


I'm afraid not. But I'll gladly pay shipping if that's convenient for you.

Comment on post anyone want a camera?:


SO much my kids do that I wish I could record to share with outsiders and to let them see how wonderful they are.

(Check out facebook, you'll see a link to a little of how adorable they are on the rare occasions when I can borrow somebody's camera!)

Comment on post links for everyone!:

If you REALLY don't know what to do with it, you could always buy books for urban middle schoolers. (:

Comment on post progress marches on:

Mazal tov kiddo (:

Comment on post attention world:

I think it really depends how insane you want your wedding to be. If the scale is moderate and you're not super picky about getting exactly the right vendor, I think you can pretty much swing anything. (:

Comment on post giving it another go:

I am having a really good experience with FitDay. It's pretty easy -- you just type in the food or workout and it generally already knows all the nutritional information -- and it has lots of geek-friendly charts and graphs, and I find that just inputting everything gives me a good grip on what's going on without making me all eating-disordery.

Comment on post A week of happy:

Happy to oblige but my things are always the same things: When the kids seem to be actually learning, when the horse seems to be making progress, when I get to spend time at home feeling peaceful and relaxed.

Comment on post $1 coins take two:

I really want some, no fair!

Comment on post is it Saturday yet?:

Okay, not to turn this journal into my personal life inventory, but I also thought of one more thing: The further along I've gotten in my career, the less time and effort proportionally I've invested in my plans for the class as a whole, versus my work with individual students. My bells and whistles nowadays run more along the lines of a special worksheet geared toward just one student while the rest of the class does something else, or a time when I get everybody working on one thing so I can pull five kids to do something else.

Comment on post is it Saturday yet?:

P.S. I didn't mean to make it sound like planning isn't still a huge issue for me; it's just that I spend maybe three hours on weekends plus 90 minutes per day for results that are maybe 80% of the way to where I want to be, rather than four hours per day for 40% of my vision like my first year.

Comment on post is it Saturday yet?:

I think you're completely right, both about the misconception and the turnover. (Also about how it's worse for primary teachers -- though I would add, I'm in my sixth year of teaching, and I am just getting to where I feel very confident about let's say 50% of what I do.) I think a lot about what we could do to make the transition more realistic, and so far my only idea is that there ought to be a lengthy full-time apprenticeship -- two years, maybe -- during which you gradually transition to running your own classroom. The sticky bit is that many, many veteran teachers aren't using particularly effective practices and so it'd be counterproductive to learn from and modify their approaches.

Comment on post is it Saturday yet?:

In this respect, teaching is a lot like coding. Your first COMP 210 assignment probably took something like an hour per line of correct code generated, because you had to get used to organizing your ideas in that way. But once you're used to that discipline, you can translate your thoughts into objects and functions almost instantaneously.

My first year of solo teaching, I probably did spend four or five hours thinking through forty minutes of instruction. By now, though, if I know where I'm trying to go, I can pretty quickly fill in how to get there, with just a little bit of experimentation and creativity for interesting problems. Lots of the little issues -- pacing, engagement, assessment, reteaching -- are by now fairly automatic aspects of my way of thinking.

I also have whole chunks of instruction in which I can invest very little planning, either because I have a system for them and do them the same way every day/week/project, or because I did them in a way that proved effective at some other time and I can reuse some or all of it.

I think the thing most people don't realize about teaching is the existence of exactly this skill area, which one coach at our school calls Pedagogical Content Knowledge. I know a lot about how to teach English well, separate from my knowledge of how to read and write well and how to teach children generally.

Bet that's more than you wanted to know. (:

Comment on post Attacks on Obama vs. attacks on McCain:

I'm not sure that saying the country will be scary and saying the country will be gone are really all that different; or rather, they're very different ways of using language, but they're not really different attacks.

Comment on post panhandling:

I don't give to panhandlers. I don't want things to work that way, you know?

Comment on post panhandling:

The "much better prepared" sounds to me like what they tell you right before they herd you into the cattle cars. Not to commit a Godwin, but in seriousness, no jurisdiction has ever responded to an influx of people who need support and resources with anything other than dismay or at best politely concealed dismay; cities who try to get rid of their neediest are dumping them, not delivering them to better care.

Comment on post random stuff friday!:

Thanks for the correction. (: I feel better, actually, knowing that it wasn't the actual candidate with that craziness.

Comment on post random stuff friday!:

That particular ad might not have included much Jew-baiting, but she did publish posters in which she stated that the people of the region should be represented by a black Christian who loved Jesus, not a Jew, who hate Jesus. In those words.

Comment on post caucus night:

The first election in which I was old enough to vote was 2000. I got a little excited about Bradley, then watched him get crushed and then the Democrats get crushed in a sequence of events that struck me as so improbably stupid and wrong that I decided I just didn't have any idea what politics or this country were actually about. Since then, I've done my duty -- voted, sent money sometimes, kept track of the issues more or less -- but with a fundamental sense that "kulam ganavim" (they're all basically theives) -- that the best I could do was make sure the wrong lizard didn't win.

Which is a long way of saying, at some point last year, I started to believe that Barack Obama is something different.

His policies are solid -- most of the Democrats' are, as you point out -- but what I think really matters -- what I used to not believe in at all -- is how he would lead us. I think he is a serious thinker and a person of true integrity -- I think he would ask us to face challenges not by ascribing them to mysterious evil forces on one side or another but by accepting that they are complicated and their solutions may not be easy -- and also I think he can unite us in a real way behind the IDEA of America, of freedom and responsible strength and actual tolerance, that seems to have gotten lost somehow in the last eight years.

(Side note: He was asked once why he doesn't usually wear the obligatory-in-DC-since-9-11 American flag pin. He said he hoped to express his patriotism through action and not be judged by his jewelry. Fox blasted him for three days. ("Obama too good for American flag?") He did not apologize and still doesn't wear it.)

I don't hate Republicans. I don't hate Christians. I don't hate rural people. I don't hate nonwhite people. I don't hate rich people. And I don't think they hate me. I think we want a lot of the same things, and I think he can get us working on them again. Not agreeing on how to fix them necessarily but at least agreeing that we all care and that there are better and worse ways.

Every time I hear him speak, I think of that Langston Hughes poem -- "Let America be America again./ Let it be the dream it used to be."

Anyway -- I swear -- I'm NEVER like this. Ask anybody. I've never written a post or comment like this either, and it's a little embarrassing -- easier to be agnostic and distant -- but I'm afraid it might start happening to me here and there.

If you didn't see it, check out his speech from last night. Not that you have to agree or anything, I just need to share. (: It's (part 1) and (part 2).

Comment on post houses houses houses...I made you out of clay...:

The elevator at my apartment verifiably takes two floors to fully accelerate and half a floor to fully decelerate. (You can feel the shift in acceleration at that point.) If your elevator is similar, then option (a) yields 4.5 floors at various integrable in-between speeds and 2.5 at top speed. Option (b) yields 1 floor at top speed (half a floor before deceleration to 3 and half a floor before deceleration to 6) and 6 floors at in-between speeds. So my sense is that (a) is faster because you have a longer uninterrupted interval. We could of course be more precise and note that the second half of acceleration is faster than the first, but... it's Friday night.

Comment on post schizowhatever:

I got happy. (:

Comment on post house-buying tips:

Once you find the place you want, your best bet is just to contact the seller's agent. If you're willing to read up a little bit and keep a close eye on things, you can do just fine without a buyer's agent; personally I trust my own fine-print reading comprehension and with-it-ness more than that of most of hte professionals we met through this process.

Comment on post house-buying tips:

Maybe we just never found the right broker, but we found that all the ones we tried were unbelievably unhelpful. They had no more information than we did -- the listings are mostly searchable online -- and they didn't seem particularly gifted at helping us sort through it. Unless you find somebody really smart and passionate and expert in your market niche, you're probably better off just searching yourself.

Comment on post starcraft, buying stuff:

I actually don't mind when my spouse goes and buys it for me, because usually it's not that we can't afford it exactly but that I can't manage to give myself permission.

Comment on post starcraft, buying stuff:

In that case, I really think it's harmless. For me, getting someone a gift consists of investing thought and intimacy in deciding what they'd like and then investing time, effort, and/or money in making it happen. (Shared finances don't really change that, because there's still the element of "I'm spending money that's partly mine on something that's just for you.") What else you do on the same trip doesn't factor in.

Comment on post starcraft, buying stuff:

P.S. Your scale clearly indicates that you don't hang out with people who REALLY shop. The kids I taught last year, they and their families bought stuff for themselves just about every day; "rarely" would have been 2+ times/month.

Comment on post starcraft, buying stuff:

I'm confused -- is the birthday girl/boy with you on the shopping excursion? If so, then yeah, maybe it's suboptimal.

Comment on post a few birthday links:

I totally agree with you -- then again, for what it's worth, I get unreasonably angry with people who let their dogs run off leash on public trails.

Comment on post homophobic Super Bowl ad:

I think most people will read it the way you did: "Ew, two guys kissing!" I hate that shit.

Comment on post Public service announcements:


Comment on post just a day, just an ordinary day...:

One also has to wonder what the heck difference it makes if our economy DOES go down to a 3:2 advantage over China. I mean, what actual unhappiness or misfortune does that translate to?

Comment on post Safe-wii first!:

I can't say that I disagree that family-related law ought to protect children before it protects adults. Not that the debate isn't stupid and the woman isn't stupid, just that I hate when the right makes these types of straw-man arguments, and so I like for us white hats to avoid them where we can. If I had reason to believe that allowing gay couples to marry had an actual negative impact on non-theoretical children, I might well oppose it.

Comment on post between projects:

Cool -- thanks!!

Comment on post between projects:

A few years ago my sister was looking for very simple, object-oriented, effective family history software. Not a superexpensive geneology package that would help you track primary-source documents in overseas libraries, but a way to jot down who was married to whom, link in photos and audio recordings and stories, and maybe even keep track of conflicting or questionable information. I'd love to do that someday but I know I don't have time, and it would be a widely useful project.

Comment on post what is the arity of this function??:

I used to really struggle with this sort of thing -- counting calories from meal to meal and trying to calibrate my weight to the half-pound. Ultimately I found that what mattered most was sticking to a routine. The more I tried to skip this meal to make up for that meal, or failed, the worse my general contentedness as well as my ability to manage my weight. Instead I need to be in a place where I know what my options are for breakfast, lunch, dinner, where I work out on set days and times, and where Monday night dinner I can order pizza if I feel like it. (:

Comment on post n00btastic:

It's the other NPR station, and affiliated with the local PBS. It carries perhaps a few more of the standard NPR shows than WAMU does, and in the down time it tends more toward BBC and other international programming, and NewsHour with Jim Lehrer which is my personal favorite, whereas WAMU tends more toward local color.

Comment on post n00btastic:

WETA (90.9) is way way better. (You should get both in this metro area.)

Comment on post glad that's over with!:

You do know that it snows here sometimes, right?

Comment on post oh well:

I confess that I was actually rooting hardcore for Ghana. Part of me feels like since the U.S. doesn't really care about soccer, there is something ugly about our winning that too.

Comment on post "burn baby burn" - poll:

I don't think the phrase itself is offensive; I think what's offensive is that a police officer would gleefully cheer on the destruction of property and serious danger to the many people inside.

The racial undertones stem from the fact that these were white police officers cheering on the immolation of a black nightclub; clearly they might have had a different reaction if it had been their own favorite hangout, though how much of their attitude has to do with race (versus with the shady history of the place versus with general callousness) is of course up to debate.

Comment on post good times, people:

I see little evidence that the theory is true, and it borrows heavily from the discourse in which Jews control the media -- just with a slightly shifted racial focus. For what it's worth, I don't think this is a good thing to propagate.

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