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?

WTF? Italian Seismologists Charged for NOT Predicting Earthquake

May 27, 2011

What’s wrong with the Italian government?  Why are they charging their top earthquake scientists with manslaughter for NOT predicting the 2009 earthquake? Check out the news story here.

Everyone knows that you CAN’T predict earthquakes.  Earthquakes can be explained scientifically, but you can’t pin-point the exact moment it will occur.

So why is the Italian government charging their scientists with manslaughter?  This has got to be one of the top most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  It makes me NOT want to go to Italy.  After all, how can I visit a country that acts so irrationally?

It also makes me ponder the scope of history.  Italy, as the birthplace of Ancient Rome, has a history of being one of the most rational and logical places in the world.  When you study the Roman Republic and Empire, you learn about the inventors of concrete, the builders of amazing engineering feats, and the developers of a very progressive type of government that combined elements of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy so that ALL classes of people eventually had a say in the government and that their interests were all balanced against the others (i.e., this government, though, only existed during the days of the Roman Republic).

Yes, the Roman Republic had harsh laws.  For instance, it was the right of the head of a family to kill a dreadfully deformed child.  Another laws says that if someone sung a song that slandered or insulted another, that person should be clubbed to death.  Can you imagine living in a society with such laws?  It is certainly not a humane society, although some may argue that it is more humane to kill than to let a deformed child suffer. One thing to note about Rome’s law though-it was the decision for the head of the family to kill a deformed child.  It was NOT the decision of the state.  If it was, then Rome would be equivalent to Ancient Sparta and Nazi Germany.

Furthermore, if we lived in a society in which you could not insult another, then we would have no freedom of speech.  We would also have no tabloid headlines to read as we stand in line at the supermarket.  Slander, on the other hand, is something that can land someone in a court of law.

Nevertheless, some Roman laws were also very logical.  For example, one law states that if your neighbor’s tree leans over onto your land, you can remove that tree.  Another says you can gather fruit from someone’s tree if it falls onto another’s property.

Italy, then, certainly has a history of being quite logical and rational.  So what’s up with them charging seismologists for NOT predicting the 2009 earthquake?  Well, Italy is a long ways from Ancient Rome.  Much has happened in the centuries between then and now, and obviously Italy has given up rationality in favor of sensationalism.  Too bad the Italian seismologists can’t fire back and charge the government with slander and have this irrational court system clubbed to death.


May 21, 2011

Despite my lofty goals at the beginning of the year, I have made only two dresses so far. If I plan to fulfill my sewing goal, then I really need to step up my game.  Below are the two dresses I made, perfect for my as of yet non-existent summerline, combining vintage fabric and tweed.  The first dress I just completed today.  It took me about 3 hours, and for once, everything went right when I constructed it (i.e., no running out of bobbin, no need for the seam ripper, no thread changes, etc.).  The second dress I made on March 11, the day of the devastating Japanese earthquake/tsunami, which resulted in a day-off for most workers here in Hawai’i as we were under a tsunami warning.  This dress took me 6 hours because everything went wrong.  If only I could hire someone for dirt cheap to sew my clothesline for me I’d be stoked.  I absolutely love buying fabric and putting different fabric prints together.  I just hate the actual construction of it.  Nevertheless, since I finally have more time to be productive as summer has started, I plan on recreating the below two dresses as part of my summerline that I hope to start selling in August.

Vintage cotton fabric + tweed

Vintage polyester fabric + tweed

KCC Farmer’s Market Tropicals

May 13, 2011

Get in touch with your creative side and create your very own flower arrangements with fresh cut tropicals from the KCC Farmer's Market and striking baskets from East Asian Basket Company. This arrangement took about 10 minutes to put together, and cost about $25 to make. If you bought this same arrangement in a flower shop, it would cost about $60. Whether you make it yourself, or buy a tropical arrangement, though, it is a much better use of your money than buying a rose or spring flower arrangement. This is Hawai'i--those types of flowers die fast. Tropicals, on the other hand, can last over 2 weeks with minimal care. The tropicals that you see in this arrangement are one week old, but barely show their age.

If you need fresh cut tropicals, then KCC’s Farmer’s Market is the place for you!  All of the above flowers came from this market except for the pink & green leaves which I grow in my yard.  I got the yellow & orange claw heliconia and the orange purpurea from Ska Tropicals, the pink anthuriums from Nita’s Flowers, and the sexy pink hanging heliconia from another vendor that I didn’t get the name of (but is somewhat across of the pizza vendor).  The flowers for this arrangement cost less than $20.  The basket, which I got from East Asian Basket Company on Queen Street–simply the best place to go for your basket needs–was approximately $5.  Add in the Oasis and the plastic tray for under the Oasis, and in total, this arrangement costs approximately $25 to make.  Furthermore, it’s really not hard to put together–start with the center, which is the tallest piece.  Then, on either side of it, place two shorter pieces.  Then fill according with shorter flowers, and hide the Oasis with greens.  And remember–less is more!  Simple arrangements are a lot more pleasing to the eye than cluttered ones that have no center in which to draw the eye.

Happy Year of the Rabbit!

December 31, 2010

Year of the Rabbit = Year of Riches & Fortunes

Happy New Year!  May this be the year of prosperity & motivation!

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.

Big Island Surf

December 28, 2010