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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sleepless Babies, Standardized Tests, and other Nonsense

Ugh. Exhaustion. I haven't felt this tired since Little Man was 3 months old and waking up twice each night to eat. Maybe that's because Little Man is, once again, waking up twice each night to eat. I'm assuming it's a growth spurt, as he's due for one, but SERIOUSLY. Brian and I have worked out a great system to catch up on our sleep on the weekends, though, which involves me getting up with the baby on Saturday mornings so he can sleep in, then he allows me to enjoy a few extra hours on Sunday. Of course, Monday morning always comes too soon…

Sunday, March 20, 2011

SXSW

Austin's greatest week just wrapped up and I'm relatively certain the city's collective hangover will severely limit productivity at work tomorrow. We were lucky enough to have my mom's mad babysitting skills and really go all in this year for music, parties, and entirely too much free beer. The results were some new discoveries and quite a few revisits from old favorites. While the lineup was not as saturated with the awesomeness of years past, there were more than a few great shows worth mentioning:

1. The Head and The Heart: this alone made my entire SXSW experience worthwhile. Not only is their music delightfully pop-y and soulful (to accomplish both is a feat in itself), but they're not bad looking either. hehe. I can't stop listening to this track:

2. GIVERS: They played after The Head and The Heart, and considering how much I gushed over them above, it was a tough act to follow, but they captured my ears' attention nicely. 


3. The Cool Kids: As the name implies, these guys are just so cool. Seriously, who else could pull off the lyrics, "Step out the crib with the bear claw slippers"? We saw them at the Fader Fort after the terrible hardcore band, Trash Talk, who got super-rowdy and threw a trash can into the crowd, which smacked a poor girl in the face and likely broke her nose. Naturally the crowd was a little on edge after that, but The Cool Kids brought everyone back with their old-school beats.


4. Sun Airway: We were a little bummed to only see the last few songs of their set at Lovejoy's, but these guys were great...can't wait for them to return so we can check out a full show. They had great energy on stage and a new sound that makes me feel like indie pop/rock is finally being reinvented.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Intervention from Things

Brian and I watched the documentary 180° South last night, in which an avid climber and surfer journeys from the California coast to Chilean Patagonia in the hopes of climbing Cerro Corcovado. As is to be expected, the journey becomes more fulfilling than the destination and the underlying theme of conservation becomes apparent early on. This lesson is especially poignant in areas of South America where the government is to blame for environmental catastrophe. In Chile, the Pinochet government of the 1970’s sold the country’s water rights to private industries, who in turn built damns and factories that have since contaminated the rivers and coastline and threatened the way of life for local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. The government argues that these “adjustments” (their words, not mine) to the Chilean landscape are necessary for the sake of progress, but it makes me question what progress is really necessary and what crosses the line into parasitic. Case in point (and a fact presented in the film): American video gamers use as much energy in a year as the city of San Diego.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

KiteFest 2011

Another beautiful day in Austin, Tx



Yummy husband

Yummy Strap

I don't know this kid, which likely raises all kinds of ethical questions considering I took her picture, but she was damn cute and I couldn't resist.




Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reading Makes You Smart: Who Knew?

While I am primarily an English teacher, I do have one section of Reading Intervention, a class intended for struggling readers and those that have not passed the state-mandated standardized test in that area. For the most part, these students are those whose first language is not English, have a learning disability, or face other circumstances that result in academic problems. At the end of class today, one of these students asked me if I read to my son. “Of course!” I said. “That’s what parents do.” The look he gave me was one of both humor and shame, and I immediately realized that his parents rarely, if ever, read him a bedtime story. Then I asked the class the same question and not a single student out of 22 struggling readers opened a book with their parents on a regular or even semi-regular basis. This got me thinking about all my students and any correlation that may exist between parents who read and the students who have the skills to be successful, so I took a poll: