Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nine Questions with Michael and Erin Peters

Vox has a series where they ask prominent figures in American society nine questions. I think they're interesting questions, so Michael and I answered them.

What’s the first piece of media you consume every day?

ERIN: I listen to podcasts on my way to work. 

MICHAEL: podcasts

Name a writer or publication you disagree with but still read.

ERIN: A little more than a year ago, confused by Trump's rise toward the presidency, I began reading National Review online. After the election, I subscribed to the print version as well. A lot of the times I'm horrified by the things they say (and even more horrified that they don't think there's anything wrong with saying it), but I also think they occasionally make good points and present a refreshing flip side to the mainstream media coverage. At the same time, anytime I've taken a National Review with me out in public, I've been too self-conscious to pull it out of my purse.

MICHAEL: Robert Rush. He's an economist that worked in the Clinton administration. He has some good insights on things but can be too partisan.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?

ERIN: Thomas Jefferson, even though he and I recently had a falling out.

MICHAEL: Tim Hartford. He wrote The Undercover Economist, and I think he does a good job explaining where markets do a good job and where they don't do a good job in the world.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?

ERIN: I recently listened to a TED talk about how scientists need to revise how they teach people about science, and I realized that all of the arguments I've had with Michael over the years about why I don't have faith in science are really because my science teachers did a bad job of teaching what science really is. 

MICHAEL: I recently changed my mind about Java being a horrible programming language. Now I just think it's mildly annoying.

What’s your worst intellectual habit?

ERIN:  Even though Facebook's algorithms have turned my Facebook feed into a boring stream of memes and status updates from people I don't even know, I can't convince myself to stop getting on Facebook.

MICHAEL: Confirmation bias.

What inspires you to learn?

ERIN: Everything is awesome.

MICHAEL: That's a hard one because I just enjoy learning. How do you get inspired to do something that you just like doing?

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?

ERIN: That people are basically good. I don't actually believe it, but since I need to believe it, I lie to myself daily.

MICHAEL: That most people are trying to do what they think is right.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?

ERIN: Mormonism?

MICHAEL: The saxophone is a horrible instrument.

What book have you recommended the most?

ERIN: A Monster Calls.

MICHAEL: The Name of the Wind.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sibling Wars

SIBLING WAR! Answer how YOU feel about you and your siblings.

1.Who's the smartest one? Dad
2. Most spoiled? Rylan
3. Most sensitive? Rylan
4. Worst temper?  Cole
5. Most social?  Rylan is a Chatterbox
6. Most stubborn?  Cole
7. Most organized? Not Rylan!!!!!
8. Best cook?  Cole makes delicious cookies. Eli makes delicious smoothies and milkshakes.
9. Who's the funniest?  Eli
10. Who was the bad kid? Cole was the worst baby. Rylan was the best baby.
11. Who has the biggest heart?  Eli got the Team Player Award for Outstanding Cooperation at his 6th graduation. Basically, kindest student in the 6th grade. I could not have been prouder.
12. Who's the quietest? Eli
13. Who's the worst driver? Rylan is the only one who has any interest in cars.
14. Who was born 1st? Cole
15. Who is better at sports? Mom. Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!
16. Best hair? Rylan at 6 months
17. Most kids?  Tied at zero for at least 15 more years
18. Coffee drinker? None unless they are sneaky
19. Who is loudest? Rylan
20. Who is most conservative? Cole says he is most liberal in wanting changes in the parental government.
21. Most expensive taste?  Cole currently has an obsession with buying Adidas and Nike.
22. Who's the tallest? Cole for now.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

1/19/17 (Distracting myself from thinking about the inauguration by worrying about other things instead)

Do y'all remember that horrible viral video that was going around a couple years ago where the school resource officer was called into a classroom to remove a stubborn student, and he ended up throwing her across the room? And afterward, how there were a bunch of people commenting about the girl's home life and criticizing the teacher for not being more aware of the girl's personal problems because if the dang teacher had just called home he would have known to handle the situation more sensitively and it all could have been avoided? Thinking about that today...
In just the past couple of weeks, I've had students uncharacteristically come into class, put their head down, and refuse to work. I've had students disappear from school for a few days with no explanation. I have a senior that I've begged to stay after school with me to bring up his grade, and he never shows. I have a student that I know is functionally illiterate and scared to death that his peers will figure it out, and I'm plagued by the fact that there is so little I can do. I have a student with 20+ absences and a baby at home who just got suspended for who knows what. I worry about every single one of them every single day. But I have 75 students.
As a teacher, there's a constant nagging worry that the time you choose to nurture your personal life or your family life rather than making sacrifices for your students - that's the time it will turn out that you've neglected a student who really needed you. There's this constant pressure as a teacher to save every single child who passes through your classroom. But you can't. You just can't.
The SRO behaved badly, the teacher didn't handle the situation exactly right, but's really complicated.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

50 Books in 2016

I'm continuing to challenge myself to read 50 books a year. I made it to 48 this year. Not bad!

One of the best books I read this year was The Orphan Master's Son *****, which was theoretically about North Korea. Although slow, it was extremely thought-provoking. For months, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I wouldn't mind reading it again.

Another interesting book was The Luminaries ****, which just had an interesting structure. The plot itself was meh, but the structure was incredibly impressive.

After re-reading A Monster Calls, I read a bunch more by Patrick Ness:
A Monster Calls *****
The Rest of Us Just Live Here ***
More Than This ****
The Ask and the Answer ***
The Knife of Never Letting Go *****

I was also on a Rainbow Rowell kick:
Attachments ****
Landline ***
Fangirl ****

I got in a few non-fiction books this year (including one I couldn't finish):
In Cold Blood ****
Pushout ***
Mindset * (1 star means unfinished)
Between the World and Me ****
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind *****
Behind the Beautiful Forevers ***

But mostly I read YA fantasy series:
          The Infernal Devices (Embarrassingly, I love this author)
                     Clockwork Princess ****
                     Clockwork Prince ****
                     Clockwork Angel ****
          The Selection
                    The One ***
                    The Elite ***
                    The Selection ***
          Daughter of Smoke and Bone
                    Dreams of Gods and Monsters ****
                    Days of Blood and Starlight ****
                    Daughter of Smoke and Bone ****
I actually am not much of a fan of fantasy series, so this is annoying. Also, I didn't read much real literature this year - a fact I hope to remedy in 2017.

Here are the rest:
Epic **
If I Stay **
The Bluest Eye **
One Second After **
Parrot in the Oven ***
Maus I ***
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend ***
A Trick of the Light ***
Next ***
The Husband ***
The Wonder ***
Tell the Wolves I'm Home ***
The Underground Railroad ***
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet ***
Fever 1793 ***
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ***
Station Eleven ****
The Supreme's at Earl's All You Can Eat ****
Please Ignore Vera Dietz ****
The Truth about Forever ****
Monster ****
We Were Here ****
Mexican Whiteboy ****

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Michael's Favorite Albums of 2016

I usually buy 2-3 albums a month with maybe 15 of them being new releases each year. So I thought I'd write a blog post about my favorite albums from this year and see if I can remember to do it next year to make it an annual thing.

So here they are, in reverse order:

#3 - Peaceful Ghosts by Nada Surf

I've been listening to Nada Surf since high school when they started out more punk driven. Peaceful Ghosts is a live album they recorded with a full orchestra and some back story between each song. It's a nice wide look at their entire catalog going back to 1998. My biggest complaint is that they didn't include any songs from their debut album High/Low. They mellowed out on subsequent albums and I know they aren't totally happy with their first album and how it was received, but I think it would have given this album a nice kick to have at least one heavier song with the orchestra. But it's still a great album with some neat arrangements.

This is The Fox with some nice the timpani and chimes.

#2 - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere by Thrice

For some reason, I didn't really get into Thrice for most of their career. It wasn't until their eighth album Major/Minor that I realized I liked them. I've since gone back and bought all of their previous albums with The Artist and the Ambulance and Vheissu being heavy favorites when I'm looking for some high energy music. This album comes after a 4 year hiatus where the band members took some time for family and other projects.

This is Black Honey, the first single from the album and one of my kids' favorites. It gets everyone singing along when we are in the car.

#1 - Joy, Departed by Sorority Noise

This is a new band for me and I checked them out after seeing other folks recommend them. I was really sold after watching their full session on AudioTree. It's a nice combination of poppy songs with good melodies, loud spacey guitars, introspective lyrics by normal folks who are looking to create good music, not become rock stars.

This is Art School Wannabee (my favorite on album would be a tie beteween it and Your Soft Blood, but since this is poppier I picked it). Unfortunately they don't have any official embeddable videos, so we get this instead. But definitely checkout out the AudioTree session for more songs done live.

Honorable Mention: Integrity Blues by Jimmy Eat World and Standards by Into It, Over It.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas in Kentucky

We're in Kentucky celebrating Christmas!

2016-12-25 14.57.36

2016-12-25 14.56.47




And of course, the highlight of the trip has been holding Kellie's new baby Maggie Sue!





Funny Facebook 2016

November 25 ·

Rylan, ordering at a restaurant: "I'd like the kids chicken ravioli. Can you tell me about the special sides? Okay, I'll do the French fries, and I'll have the 1% low fat chocolate milk."

Server: "Wow, that was impressive."

I think the kid has been out to eat a few more times than I had at his age.

October 2 ·

After eating buckeyes, Cole says, "If someone were to call me on the phone right now and ask me who shot Alexander Hamilton, I'd be like, 'Awun Buh! Awun Buh!'" #gotmilk

September 6 ·

Me: My legs hurt.
Rylan: Maybe you're getting polio.

July 28 ·

Me, complaining about having to shave my legs
Eli: Why do girls shave their legs?
Me: Because apparently boys like girls' legs better when they're shaved.
Eli: I do? I didn't know that about myself. I'm always learning new things about myself.

June 23 ·

Rylan's response when I asked if I should go running even though it looks like rain: "Yes, because YOLO."

June 17 ·

Rylan telling us about his book Uranus and the Bubbles of Trouble: "Cronos chopped up Uranus and threw the pieces in the ocean." Lots of little boy giggles, including mine.

April 16 ·

The Art of the Insult:
Me: These towels smell like they need to be re-washed.
Eli: YOU smell like you need to be re-washed.

March 23 ·

Rylan says: "I showed Ms. Leonard a noise I can make, and she said, 'I don't know how your mom can handle three boys.'"

February 3 ·

This just happened.
Rylan: What is 29 × .24?
Me: That's too complicated to do in my head.
Cole: It would be... (spouts off a couple of numbers, adds them in his head)...6.96

January 30 ·

Me: Wanna hear a funny joke? Why did Adele cross the road? To sing "hello from the other side."
Rylan: It's not that funny.

January 13 ·

Cole: Cookout always makes me sick. I love it and think it's wonderful and won't stop eating it, but I always feel sick afterward. #storyofmylife
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