Monday, April 28, 2008

End of an Era

Today I closed an e-mail account that I've had for years. In the last couple of years, I've really stopped using it, and I've forwarded any emails I really wanted to keep to my new address. At one point, I hadn't logged into it for so long that they deleted everything I'd had saved- and I don't think I lost anything.

Anyway, when going into account settings today, it showed me that I just passed my seven-year anniversary of when I got this e-mail account. I set it up when my family got MSN Internet, in April of 2001, and kept it when we switched ISPs by using Hotmail, and now it's a weird "Windows Live" thing.

It was kind of an interesting nostalgic journey to go through my contacts (I don't even remember who some of the addresses belong to, and some of the others bring back memories)... but the couple of people I still want to keep in touch with that aren't my Facebook friends or something have had their e-mails saved, and the rest are just being deleted with the account. Most of us were much younger then anyway, and don't still use the same e-mails. I know I'm not "frog princess" anymore.

But I do still have the same AIM screen name I've had since my family first got the Internet (over ten years ago), so I guess I haven't outgrown everything. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

in stereo

I bought a "Retro 90's" CD yesterday. We're really old enough that the 90's are "retro"? Seriously, the 90's aren't even two decades away yet.

Anyway, here's the songlist, for anyone who's interested.

1. Walking on the Sun - Smash Mouth
2. I've Been Thinking About You - Londonbeat
3. Follow You Down - Gin Blossoms
4. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something
5. What's Up - 4 Non Blondes
6. How Bizarre - OMC
7. Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
8. Closing Time - Semisonic
9. All for You - Sister Hazel
10. Hole Hearted - Extreme
11. Roll to Me - Del Amitri
12. Kiss the Rain - Billie Myers
13. I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) - Meat Loaf
14. Cat's in the Cradle - Ugly Kid Joe
15. I'll See You in My Dreams - Giant
16. MMM Bop - Hanson

There are a couple I don't really know, or don't know well, but for the most part it's been fun. Except that I feel old. I'm not like some people who practically only listen to music groups who are all/partly dead/broken up already.

This is music I listened to growing up. I specifically remember listening to the radio and hitting record on my tape deck when I recognized the intros to some of these songs (after the freaking DJ finally shut up). I made my own mixtapes- and now the only mixtape I've listened to in ages is this one.

I had an old stereo for part of the time growing up which still had an 8-track, and I had two I could listen to. That was mostly old and out of vogue, though, so I mostly had cassettes. Before too long, the CD gained popularity and beat out tapes.

(Fun fact: My first CD was Smash Mouth's Fush Yu Mang, with their first big song "Walkin' on the Sun" (which is actually the first track on my *retro* CD). My brother bought it for me, although I wasn't big on Smash Mouth, because he was. And if he bought it for me for my birthday, he could borrow it and listen to it more than me- which is exactly what happened.)

Anyway, then CD players got better. First, they started to have "non-skip" features, although it was expensive at first. Second, the world of computers became more advanced and CD burners made it possible to make your own mixtape, without that annoying DJ.

The Internet didn't waste much time with legal mp3's, and Napster was quickly a thing. A big thing. Along with LimeWire, Kazaa, and a number of other file-sharing services, until the RIAA cracked down.

And as mp3's and the world of digital media grew, the iPod broke into the world and has continually shrunken in size. While Zunes and other mp3 players have played a part, the iPod has become an icon, and most middle and high school kids today seem to hardly use CD players, much less tape players or anything more ancient.

I know the overhaul of music technology isn't anything new-- anyone who remembers records has seen even more-- but it's still kind of amazing to me. I'm only 21, and just barely, and I've seen the regular and widespread use of three different kinds of music players- and my parents had some 8-tracks and records, still, so even those weren't too far off.

Jeez, what's next? The shows I grew up watching (with stars my age) are on Nick at Nite, some of the music I grew up listening to is on a retro compilation CD, I'm legal to do about anything anyone in this country can do (except run for president), and I've got a year left before I graduate and get a real, full-time job.

I feel olllld. :( Already!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Chinese New Year Man"

The kids in the first-grade class I work with made me think about something yesterday.

One of our college instructors came in the classroom for a minute to observe and talk to us, and I believe he's Filipino. A few of the students asked who it was, and I told them he was our teacher.

One of the students then said, "He's Chinese New Year Man!"

Me: "No, I don't think so."

Her: "But he's Chinese."

Me: "I don't think he is. And why does that matter?"

Her: "I dunno."

Me: "I mean, I'm Italian and Norwegian..."

Her: "You're WEGIAN?"

Anyway, my best guess is that these kids had someone- probably a Chinese man- come in to talk to them about Chinese New Year. And that's great. But in this "diversity" education, what are we really promoting?

I guess I worry that these kids- at least the very young ones- might be using this new information to create stereotypes in their head. I think it's important to teach kids about other parts of the world and their cultures, but what if the way we go about it encourages these young students to make generalizations and assumptions about people?

I think it must be important to talk about cultures and traditions in a way that includes Americans, and a way that discusses what it means to have heritage of a certain country, so that students understand not everyone who looks "Chinese" to them may have ancestors from China, or may not be from China themselves. A person can look different, but still be an American who lives just like the students themselves do, and I think it's important for them to realize they can't make assumptions about how a person lives based on what they look like. Part of that might also come from being sure that they meet many people from many cultures, and that they talk about cultures where their own families might have come from. This way, students don't see different cultures as a necessarily foreign thing, but as a part of each person's heritage- including their own.

Maybe that's harder than it seems, especially with young children who often are within the first couple stages of cognitive development and (theoretically) learn by categorizing new information into existing schemata. I'm just a bit concerned that perhaps by trying to expose the students to diversity and multiculturalism (which are huge buzzwords today in both education and the world at large), we are creating a stereotypical association in their minds.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Little Beggars

The kids' Treasure Books arrived today, and they were so excited. I was, too! The books looked professional and were printed so nicely, even though they were written and illustrated by first graders.

They had written individual books, but they'd also collaborated on a "There's A Wocket In My Pocket"-style book as a class. The teacher read it aloud, and some of the kids' parents had ordered copies, but others hadn't. Some kids who hadn't ordered one wanted one now, and the teacher said she could order more, if they asked their parents.

She suggested that maybe the kids ask their parents if there were extra chores they could do to make money or earn the book, and then wanted to remind the students of something, so she asked: "But what should we never do?"

One of the girls shouted out, "CHORES!"

The teacher had meant "beg," but I liked the student response. :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


This year, my birthday was somewhat surprising. I ended up having a spontaneous "party" with some of my family and family friends from home, and my mom brought presents and a cookie cake when I wasn't expecting them. My roommate made me cupcakes as a complete surprise, and I got some really great gifts and cards that I love. Overall, it was a really good birthday.

I just wish I wasn't bothered so much by the fact that one person, who I feel really close with, didn't say 'happy birthday' in any form on the day- and, in fact, still hasn't a few days later. There have been a few signs lately, but I think finally, with this one, I'm pretty sure we're not 'best friends' anymore. It's sort of... final, and sad.

Oh well. I have lots of friends- really great ones, both on campus and away- and even someone I might be able to consider a female 'best friend' here on campus. And, like I said, I had a good birthday. It's just hard for my mind to not dwell a little on someone who means so much to me not calling, e-mailing, sending something, or even something as simple as writing on my Facebook wall.

Anyway, I'm 21 now. I didn't go out and drink, as is the custom around here (21 being the legal drinking age for alcohol, and me being in college), but that's because I was busy this weekend and drinking is just not something that I find all that exciting. I did have a good weekend of dancing and improv and friends and birthday things, though- so who needs alcohol?