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Archive for April 6th, 2007

Uranus and painful 8th grade memories

Friday, April 6th, 2007

I just laughed out loud for several minutes at this: Visiting Miranda.

Abbey’s brother posted it on my Facebook wall with this comment:

selected descrptions of MIRANDA– bizarre world, tempestuous past, surprise, unique, bewildering variety, famous “chevron” feature, wild juxtapositions, shadowy….

coincidences? i think not!

This brings up a painful memory. Though the pain only lasted about half a school day until I got home and told my Odyssey of the Mind team and we laughed the whole two-hour meeting. I don’t think we got any work done that night, because everytime I’d try to change the topic, someone would remind me: “Miranda is a moon around Uranus.”

I first learned this tidbit in 8th grade science class. I remember the moment I learned it.

I hadn’t been paying attention in class, and I’m pretty sure I was in the process of passing a note to a friend across the aisle when my classmates collectively started laughing. I mean, of all the planets to be associated with, this is the one I’d probably like to stray away from.

My teacher, of course, was mad not just at their immaturity but at the fact that he didn’t understand why they were laughing. See, despite my protests, my attendance and tests, and my straight A’s in science, for some reason, my 8th grade science teacher never learned my name. He called me Amanda until the day I left middle school for the hallowed halls of high school. Another sore point for me.

I only share this tidbit because I know a few of you — Abbey, Jaclyn, Jessica — are going to think it’s funny. And I wouldn’t deprive you of a good laugh.

The pressure to be perfect

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Remember last week when I said there are still stories that can make me click through and read every word?

Well, I came across one tonight. It’s not some earth shattering insightful article. But it was something I could totaly relate to: the pressure high schoolers feel to be perfect. The NYTimes article is called “For Girls, It’s Be Yourself, and Be Perfect, Too. It’s long — six pages, plus some interesting multimedia and leftovers — but it struck a chord with me.

I was reading the article thinking, “oh my God, I was that girl.” I saw myself in a lot of these kids. But they’re more grounded about it. Still, I saw the same struggles I faced, the same pressures and worries. But it wasn’t society telling me how smart or involved I should be. It was me — bearer of unrealistic expectations.

(I should warn you, this is really not journalism related. It’s pretty off-topic, except that it was sparked by reading that story. So go read that, and leave me to muse to no audience.) (more…)

Scratching my head about ABJ video

Friday, April 6th, 2007

OK. I haven’t seen much video coming out of the Beacon. I haven’t been watching as closely lately because I’m not around as much and primarily just skim the front page online and in the RSS feed. But, today a little video icon caught my eye so I clicked on this story: “Middle school student charged with groping teacher

My first impression when I clicked was, wait, where’s the video?! Then I realized it was there. It was just a text link. No screen capture. No images. Just the text link just below the byline. Did you see it? I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t looking for it.

Then, I was kind of confused by the video itself. It’s surveillance with some guy (he’s never identified!) talking about it at the end. OK. But it has commentary in a voiceover on it. Whoever is talking (the omnipresent narrator is never identified), it sounds like something I’d hear on, like, Real TV or something.

It’s different. I’m not sure how the approach worked. I mean, it was helpful to have an explanation of what was going on in the video. And it was professionally recorded and edited, I suppose. But I’m kind of left scratching my head at a number of things: why the video link was just text, who the guy talking at the end is and how he’s relevant and who the person narrating is, why he was randomly talking about the kid’s past at the end without any context around it, to name a few.

:shrug: Still. It’s good to see them doing some video work. I know that was an area they wanted to move into, and were training staff members for. This seems atypical newspaper video though, and maybe that’s a good thing. Or maybe it’s completely normal and I’ve just been looking at the wrong news sites. Either way, something to watch.