Archive for the ‘Etc.’ Category

Freedom vs. Security

July 23, 2012

The horrible, tragic shooting in Colorado has reignited America’s long standing gun debate.

Out of all developed countries, America stands alone in being armed to the teeth.  So why is it that whereas other developed countries have gun control laws, America’s laws have seemingly gone in the opposite direction?

No other country has a Second Amendment that guarantees the right of the American people to keep and bear arms.  This right is part of the Bill of Rights that was crucial in the founding of the United States of America as some states were not about to sign on to the notion of a federal government without a series of protections against a strong, centralized government.

So here’s the problem.  If certain people, due to the increasing problem of gun violence, want to overturn the Second Amendment, they have just sacrificed freedom-the basic fundamental right that all private citizens have to own guns-for the sake of stability and security.

Gun violence is a horrible problem.  But I don’t believe that you can solve a problem by creating an even bigger problem.  Once you give government the right to take away your guns, then what’s next?  Will they then tackle the First Amendment, our right to free speech, press, assembly, and religion?

There is a fine line balancing individual freedoms with stability and security.  I, for one, fear the day when government revokes the Second Amendment (or any other Amendments) with a willing American majority going along with it because that is the day that our government passes into the realm of totalitarianism, where freedom is sacrificed at the hands of stability and security.

Once you give up your freedom to do something, it will be extremely hard to ever get it back.  After all, throughout history, governments were very stingy in giving out freedom.  More often than not, battles and wars had to be fought to win certain rights and freedoms, even though these freedoms usually then only served a select group of people.

On a side note, such a well-armed American public will probably be the most capable of all societies in dealing with the zombie apocalypse should it appear.

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Find What You Love

November 27, 2011

The words of the great late Steve Jobs:  “You’ve got to find what you love”–have become my lighthouse.

FTR: The Best Colleges?

September 14, 2011

Since when is a statement such as this something to be proud of:  “UH ranked A+ for B students”?  Or to drive the nail down even further:  “UH is where non-superstars have a decent shot at being accepted and thriving”?

I don’t take offense to the last part–everyone, no matter where you are, should be accepted and thrive.  However, to basically say that UH is a place for non-superstars is quite offensive.  It is a statement that implies, among other things, that only non-superstars go to UH.  So I guess I’m a non-superstar.  And so are all of the people I know who went to UH.  We’re all non-superstars then.

So what exactly is a superstar anyway?  Someone who goes to an Ivy League school? Someone who graduates high school with a 4.0+ GPA, perfect SAT scores, does community service, is an accomplished musician, can speak 3 languages, and a star athlete?  Someone who will then attend this Ivy League school that costs $50k+ a year in order to get a piece of paper proving your knowledge in some useless subject that you wrote some convoluted thesis on in order to impress people with all that you know just so that you can, upon graduation, join the millions of unemployed, except you will be paying back the equivalent of a mortgage payment in student loans but instead of owning a house, you have a piece paper.

So that’s a superstar?  Someone without the smarts to realize that in this day and age, college is what you make of it, and you don’t need to go to an Ivy League college, or any expensive, private, &/or out-of-state college for that matter, in order to succeed in life? In fact, some people (think Steve Jobs) don’t even need to go to college in order to succeed in life.

College is what you make of it, no matter where you go.  But before you go to college, be smart, and calculate the costs of it.  It doesn’t make sense to go to an expensive college and incur $100k+ of debt just so you can become a teacher.  Incurring that kind of debt only pays off if you’re going into a high-paying field, such as becoming a  medical doctor.

In sum, go check out my earlier post regarding the “C” student.  It’s not good to be the “A” student.  So perhaps a statement such as UH being ranked an A+ school for the B student is actually a compliment.  Our country doesn’t need anymore A students.

Freedom of Speech

September 7, 2011

I admire people who are vocal about something they don’t like.  It’s one of the things that make living in a free country so amazing.  Hence, I found Bobby Martinez’s interview at the Quiksilver Pro New York–the interview that got him disqualified from the rest of the contest–quite refreshing.

I don’t get the new One World ranking system.  I tried to understand it by reading about it on the ASP website, but failed.  Perhaps I need some visuals.  What I do understand, though, is that some guys currently on the title tour will get purged for lack of points and be replaced by others.

Besides the fact that it’s just damn confusing, there’s something wrong about this complicated, convoluted new ranking system.  And finally someone–Bobby Martinez to be exact–has spoken out against it and called it like it is.  I wonder how many other pro surfers feel the way he does.  On the other hand, I also wonder how many pro surfers prefer this new system.  I guess as long as you’re Kelly Slater and sitting pretty at the top of the rankings, it doesn’t really matter what kind of system is in existence. But for everyone else, especially the ones that may get purged, it certainly does matter.

Missing Logic

July 25, 2011

Every now and then I read something so outrageous and inconceivable that I find myself having to vent.  The most recent urge I have to vent comes from this article that I just read from the Star Advertiser.

The first sentence of this article says it all–the DOE is trying to figure out why test scores for students with SEVERE COGNITIVE DISABILITIES would drop so dramatically when given the new, MORE ACADEMICALLY RIGOROUS standardized test.

Anyone with an ounce of logic would realize that the DOE doesn’t need to “figure out” why test scores dropped.  Look at the sentence again!  What student population is taking the test?  And what kind of test are they being given?  Is the DOE so lacking in logic that they actually did NOT think test scores would NOT fall so much given that it is a much HARDER test?

Instead of the DOE trying to figure out why test scores dropped so dramatically, they should be figuring out ways to justify moving away from standardized testing and into a much better form of authentic assessment. Students are not cut from the same cookie cutter.  They are individuals. And when assessing what they have learned, forms of assessment that cater to their individuality should be used.  I am a big fan of using portfolios for assessment.  Students create their own portfolios that show their mastery of the subject.  Each portfolio is different from another, but all portfolios are scored on the same rubric.

Whatever the case, the DOE is subject to NCLB.  And NCLB dictates standardized testing.  And that is not what this blog is about.  I just wanted to vent about the missing logic of the DOE in their attempt to FIGURE OUT why test scores for students with severe cognitive disabilities dropped so dramatically when given the harder test.  To me, theres NOTHING to figure out.  The “why did this happen” is answered in that one sentence.

Show, Don’t Tell

June 30, 2011

The concept “show, don’t tell” separates the good from the bad.  It is the one lesson that I could never grasp in writing class.  I always wanted to “tell.”  It’s so much quicker than showing.  And that is why I have yet to become a successful writer.  I just don’t know how to “show.”

This is the same thing that the new TNT series, Falling Skies, suffers from. Falling Skies doesn’t “show.”  Instead, it “tells” way too much.  For example, why was there a whole dialogue on what the main character’s son wanted to wish for his birthday? Wouldn’t it have been better to bypass the whole dialogue on birthday wishes, and instead, have the son “show” with facial expressions and body movement what his wish was?  Sure, we, the audience, would have to guess what he was wishing.  But guess what–anyone in their right mind would know what someone, child or adult, would wish in an apocalyptic world!

Another irritating scene came when the doctor argued with the leader on why the civilians were not able to stay in the homes.  Wouldn’t it have been so much better to SHOW us this, with the military personnel moving into homes, while the civilians looked on?  Show us the peoples’ reactions.  Yet, we never saw this.  I never even knew that that was what was happening until the doctor argued with the military leader. Another powerful storyline wasted by “telling.”

“Showing” is what a show like AMC’s The Killing does so well.  It shows us what people feel.  It never tells us.

AMC’s The Walking Dead also “shows.”  Not on the level of The Killing, but it still does a pretty good job of it.  Some have argued that Falling Skies is far superior to The Walking Dead.  The ratings would certainly agree as more people have tuned in to watch Falling Skies.  It’s not surprising, though, because more people can handle aliens than they can zombies. More people have watched ET than Return of the Living Dead. Zombies are part of the horror genre, while aliens are sci-fi.  Aliens can be defeated; I have yet to see an alien movie in which the humans have not triumphed in the end.  On the other hand, in most zombie movies, the zombies are the last ones standing.  The heroes in zombie movies are either nuked, killed, or eaten.  Zombie movies are depressing; alien movies end up being inspirational.

I judge TV shows and movies based on two things–does it hold my attention and how does it make me feel?  When I watch The Walking Dead and The Killing, I am on the edge of my seat.  The Walking Dead makes me anxious, scared for the main characters because they might get chomped on at any moment.  The Killing makes me sad and depressed, much like a Greek tragedy, at the same time it makes my mind race.  Both shows are over before I know it.

On the other hand, Falling Skies fails to invoke an emotion in me other than ambivalence.  It fails to make me anxious.  The aliens hardly seem to be around, and the gravity of the apocalyptic situation the characters are in hardly seems to show. They were able to set up shop in a school!  Where were the aliens then?  300+ survivors seems to be a far stretch if these aliens mean to destroy the world.

Furthermore, it fails to make me sad or depressed.  The son’s girlfriend just got caught by aliens.  Big deal.  If this show was edgy, the aliens would have killed her instantly, and the show would then explore the actions and consequences the son takes as he is guided purely by emotion.  Instead, I’m pretty sure that the girlfriend will be rescued and all will be well.

I was extremely excited to watch Falling Skies when I first saw a preview for it.  Now that I have seen three episodes, I am no longer excited.  But I will keep watching.

The “C” Student

June 5, 2011

At work this past week, I was introduced to a new theory in which it is the “C” students who do best in the real world for they are the true innovators and hence, they own the companies.  So what happens to the “A” students? They WORK FOR the “C” students. Another version says that the “A” students end up as teachers.  As the saying goes–those who can’t do, teach.

I was the “A” student.  And guess what I ended up as.  Exactly.  I wish I had been the “C” student.

24 Minutes

May 27, 2011

If you had only 24 minutes to save yourself, how would you spend those 24 minutes? Who, or what, would you grab?  Who would you call?  Where would you go?

The residents of Joplin, Missouri, had only 24 minutes to save themselves from the time the tornado warning sounded, and that massive beast touchdowned and destroyed the lives of so many people.

The residents of Northern Japan had approximately 15 to 30 minutes to save themselves from the time the massive 9.1 earthquake struck Japan and generated the unimaginable wall of death that shattered the lives of so many people.

A massive earthquake off the Big Island could generate a huge tsunami that would reach Kane’ohe in approximately 24 minutes.

So if you only had 24 minutes, what would you do?

The Year of the Rabbit

December 29, 2010

2011 is my year!  Not that I was born in the Year of the Rabbit.  I just love rabbits! And right now, everything is all about these furry little animals which are said to represent fortune and riches.  Taking this as a sign, 2011 has to be the year when I finally strike it rich!  Or, at least, make significant strides towards this goal. Hence, I have decided on the following 2011 New Year’s Resolutions:

1.  Finish writing my book on the zombie apocalypse.  Or, finish anything I started writing for that matter.

2.  Sew 20 reincarnated-vintage fabric dresses.  Sell at least 5 of them.

3.  Invest in gold, BoH, and Hawaiian.

I Can’t Imagine…

November 23, 2010

As I sit here typing, I look outside and see the blue sky void of clouds. Highs are supposedly going to be in high 70s / low 80s.  If not for the cool morning air, this day is a replica of one in summer.  It almost doesn’t seem fair, that as we enjoy perfect weather, the Pacific Northwest is being ravaged by a massive blizzard.

It would have been cool to have snow days.  Sometimes school gets cancelled here, but it’s relatively rare.  Remember that time school was cancelled because of the tsunami that never arrived, or the high wind that never materialized as strong as predicted?

It would be cool to wear Uggs all the time.  It would be cool to go snowboarding all the time.  It would be cool to live in an area where your Christmas trees grow in your yard, and you don’t need to use a can of fake snow on it.

It would be cool…but it would also get old really fast.  After a week in snow country, I am ready to come back to Hawai’i.  As fun as snowboarding is, as fun as wearing Uggs is, it really is no fun to be in white-out conditions, or have to pile on the layers before going outside.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a place where winter is really winter and never be able to leave after 1 week.  I can’t imagine not being able to go to the beach in December.  I can’t imagine wearing Uggs all the time.  I can’t imagine a white Christmas.

I simply can’t imagine not living in Hawai’i.