Archive for September, 2002

  • Rob Spectre
  • 30
  • Sep
  • 02

Oh, all the money that ere I spent.

I spent it in good company.

And all the harm that ere I done…

Alas it was to none… but me.

And all I’ve done for wont of wit,

To memory now I can’t recall.

So fill to me the parting glass,

Good night and joy be with you.

Oh, all the comrades that ere I had,

Are sorry for my going ‘way.

And all the sweethearts that ere I had,

Would wish me one more day to stay.

But since it falls unto my lot,

That I should rise…

…and you should not.

I’ll gently rise.

And I’ll softly call.

Good night, and joy be with you.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 29
  • Sep
  • 02

I worked with Marc Booker from Hastings’s own (and possibly only) rap group Mistaken today on a few of their tracks. It was interesting to be on the producer end of things; have an artist look to you and say “melody.” I don’t think I was quite up to the challenge, though I imagine I would be a much more rounded musician if I did.

And it did also start me on a new line of thinking as a songwriter. I’ve always regarded the songs that I perform live as real treasures; the cream of a pretty sorry crop as it were. I regard my songs as finite, tangental properties. And I’m starting to wonder if that is not so. Perhaps if I am really serious about this, songwriting should be just like any other vocation. I should someday be able to get to the point that songwriting is as easy for me as, say, a typist types or a plumber… plumbs.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 26
  • Sep
  • 02

So my ballet class if killing me.

That’s right, ballet. At the beginning of the semester, being a graduating senior at a liberal arts college, there were a few requirements that I have been blissfully ignoring. For example, my physical education requirement. Hastings College requires 2 credits hours of physical education in order to graduate. Now, my freshman year I received 1 credit hour for Social and Popular Dance. Most people take the Issues in Wellness general hygiene and personal health class as it is two hours and requires no major physical exertion. Never one for the normal way out, I decided that a dance course would be far superior as it combined my two great loves 1) music and 2) girls.

And it seemed to me, now that I have neglected it for so long, that Dance Techniques I would be a good way to finish up. Why you ask? You see, the instructor of Social and Popular Dance retired my sophomore year and the course was removed from the catalog. Then, a new dance instructor was hired and the course Dance Techniques I was added to the catalog. It is in this that my reasoning becomes a little clearer. Judging from the title, it seemed that Hastings College goofed and ended up giving the same course a different name and catalog number, thus giving me the excellent opportunity to get 2 credit hours from basically the same class.

And then there is the fact that I really do enjoy dancing. However, I discovered that my kind of dancing was not the course’s objective. Nava Sivron began rattling off her resume… classic choreography… tel aviv dance troupe… ballet… Oh darn. That’s right, a whole bunch of 80 pound ultra-attractive girls with several years of dance experience and… me. The sole dork. The only guy. And, weeks later, I find that we work our groin muscles so much that I have difficulty getting up the strength to pee.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 25
  • Sep
  • 02

God dammit!

So, a good friend of mine Blake came into town today, and since he is our beloved and sorely missed Dungeon Master, we set about putting together a quick all-nighter Dungeons and Dragons campaign to welcome him back. After paying a few visits to some old (and new) friends to grab the necessary books, rounding up some players, we quickly had a decent campaign with some fair characters.

Now, it is hard to get too attached to characters that were just created in a night, but goddammit I hate to lose. And we did, just barely. After wiping out all but one of this huge squadron of dark elves, our last conscious character eats shit to a natural 20.

The good news is if you didn’t understand half of this, you’re not as geek as you thought you were.

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  • Rob Spectre
  • 22
  • Sep
  • 02

Hastings College is pretty big into education, and I have a few issues with some of the teaching methods that are instructed around here. Of course, this is just one man’s wholly uneducated opinion, as I have not taken any education courses. I have, however, taught in a classroom. For the last two years of my high school I was involved in many education ventures: teaching basic computer skills to adults, teaching writing to fourth graders, teaching American literature to eighth graders. And, of course, the thousands of times “peer education” was used in my regular courses.

I go round and round with the girls over the subject of full inclusion; that is, placing slower students with faster students. According to several leading education models, mentally challenged students that are included more in regular classrooms receive many developmental gains, both socially and academically. The idea being the more they have to be a regular student, the more likely they are to become regular students. This, of course, makes intuitive sense. If the slower students are simply exposed to the faster students, they will be able to adapt and learn by example; become smarter simply by osmosis.

However, at what cost is this to the advanced student? Little sympathy is given to the gifted youngster because he or she is “smart enough.” Why do they need to excel any further? Or worse, they learn how to deal with people slower than them on a daily basis, increasing their communication and expression skills to the lesser percentiles.

It must be said I’m hardly calling for an intellectual elite or a “only the smart survive” sort of environment, but of the many great shames of America, our education system is built on models that seek to advance the lower end of the Bell Curve, largely at the expense of the higher. What kind of world are we creating? An educationally homogenized nation that is likely to be completely outclassed by the Europeans.

In defense of the European model, one test can decide your future if it is preceded by several years of preparation. It’s not like this is some sort of pop quiz; if students are properly prepped and equipped, then one comprehensive examination should be able to determine which tier of educational success is best for them. There are people that just aren’t cut out for high school. There are people that need a lot more challenge. Sadly, we’re screwing our gifted young ones much more than our disabled. And which, I wonder, will be more important to our society in the coming years?

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