Tag Archives: school

We Are a Reactive Species

There’s an old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I don’t know what this means. What’s an ounce and what’s a pound? These are archaic imperial-age measurements, and I had to google them to find out what the were. Apparently there are 16 ounces in a pound. 16! What a crazy number. How random is that? No wonder nobody uses the imperial system anymore.

The penguins in Antarctica still use Imperial system, at least.

All kidding aside, the above quote is as relevant today as it was when Thomas Jefferson first said it several centuries ago. Having the choice, it’s always better for something to not break than to break, and if a few minutes a day helps prevent wasting several hours in a week, then we should spend those few minutes every day. We all understand this, we all agree with it. We’d likely even consider it self-evident.

It sure is interesting, then, how most of us rarely if ever follow it. Continue reading

How I Learned to Juggle

Let me start by saying this: juggling is easy. Nobody believes me, because if you try it you will make one catch if you are lucky, the rest of your balls flying all across the room, and you then rightly conclude that juggling is really hard, if not impossible. I suppose you are right: if you try to juggle once without ever practicing, then yes, juggling is impossible.

Witness the impossible!

If you put a little time into it, though, if you care to grease the groove and put in maybe an hour’s worth of practice, you’ll be doing the impossible, too.

Before I go further, let me add here that I’m not a good juggler. I can keep three balls in the air, that’s about it. I can throw them higher or lower, or switch from one cascade to the other in a jerky manner, and I can juggle two balls with one hand. That’s the extend of my juggling skills. Yes, compared to the average person, that puts me in the top 99.9 percentile. Compared to the juggling and flow community, though, I’m decidedly near the bottom, and that’s okay. Continue reading

How Am I An Adult?

Somehow I became an adult. At least, that’s what the calendar tells me. Born in 1985, so I’m 31. That’s firmly in adult territory. I’ve been an adult for years, somehow. I don’t think I’ve ever viewed myself as an adult, and that includes right now. Me, an adult? Preposterous.

Next you’ll try to tell me Michael Cera is an adult.

Nonetheless, most people treat me as an adult, especially kids. I work with children as a karate instructor, and there is a clear demaractation, a dividing line between what I can do and what kids can do. If I play tag with them, for instance, they instantly react different than with other kids. “No fair!” I’ll hear over and over again. “You’re too big!”

And it’s true. I’m twice their size … and really, that’s the only difference between us. I’m just a really big kid. Continue reading

An Education Powered by French Fries

When you think ‘student diet,’ the first thing you think of is pizza, followed by beer, pop, kraft dinner, ramen noodles and fast food, including fries. In a very real sense, then, most students are powered by junk food, and french fries play their part. Hey, potatoes are a vegetable, right?

It’s also apparently a pin-up model.

When you read the title of this article, then, you likely think exactly that: a student living off junk food, powered by cholesterol, salt and vinegar coursing through the veins. In fact, though, the situation was the opposite: I did not eat a single french fry during my five years of university education, and there’s a very simple reason for that.

I owned my own french fry truck. Continue reading

How Public School Speeches Make People Bad Writers

We always seem to get our best ideas when we can’t use them, like when we’re about to fall asleep. You lie down, you snuggle under the blankets, the comforting embrace of sleep is near upon you … and then you get a great idea. Multiple ideas. Idea after idea floods your mind, and you think, wow, I should write this stuff down. You don’t, of course. You stay in your warm cocoon, and you figure these ideas are so good you’ll remember them in the morning.

TheOatmeal explains life, as always.

You don’t. You never do. Your great thoughts are gone in the wind, forever beyond your recall. I find this amusing. Last night, it happened, and the idea was so … random, I had no choice but to get out of bed and write it down. I don’t know why or how I thought of this, but it makes too much sense to be wrong. Here it is:

Public school speeches made us all bad writers. Continue reading

The Exact Moment I Became Cleanliness Conscious

At the risk of sounding like a slob, I used to be a slob. I mean this in virtually every sense of the word. My personal hygiene wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t bad. I didn’t comb my hair enough, and it would occasionally look greasy, but I never wore dirty clothes or smelled or anything like that. I was below average, but not decidedly so.

When it comes to my things, though, my stuff and my living space, I fall far below average. My room was a mess. My desk was a mess. My locker was a mess. My bathroom was a mess. In a nutshell, if I was responsible for something, it was a mess. This started from the beginning, from as young as I can remember, and it lasted until my mid-20s. Keeping things clean and organized just did not register for me.

Ah, my desk on a good day.

Until one day it suddenly did. I’m talking full eureka moment, a sudden and permanent conversion from being sloven to being spotless … or at least mostly spotless. Continue reading

If Something Is Worth Doing …

Here’s a question for you: let’s say you are at school and have a test coming up. You study for a few hours, you do everything you are supposed to do and you wind up with 85%, comfortably in the A range. How do you feel?

I suppose there’s many possibilities, but I see two in particular. First, the positive reaction. Most people would be thrilled with an A. That’s honour roll material. You could get a 20 on the next test and still have a passing grade. Heck, it’s almost impossible to fail now, assuming you at least pretend to try. That 85 likely put you in the top percentile. You are one of the top performers. An 85 is a great mark.

Well, it’s a great mark for some people…

The other possible reaction: “85? Dang, where did the other 15% go?” Continue reading

Taking a Break

Few things in life feel as nice as simply relaxing, and this is especially true if you have just been busy doing something. Maybe you’re running around work, putting out small fires, dealing with minor crisis after minor crisis, and then glorious lunchtime arrives. You grab your sandwich, you sit down and ahhhhhhh, you let out a deep breath. The weight falls from your shoulders and all your tight muscles relax. Right now, no worries. Why can’t it be lunch time all the time?

I think changing my clock should change every clock.

This little break is absolutely critical. Can you imagine going through a full work day without any breaks, or a school day without recess or free time? You’d go insane in a week if not a day. The constant nagging pressure would do you in, sooner rather than later. I think we all realize this, but we perhaps don’t realize this is true for the big picture as well. Continue reading

Credit Card Fraud

Every once in awhile you see a news story about identity theft, and it chills you to the bone. Someone did nothing wrong, but a conman steals their identity and wracks up thousands of dollars in bills and credit, and it can take years to get it all sorted out, if it ever does. It can legitimately affect your life for the rest of your days. Scary. Hope it never happens to me.

And I hope I never have to watch the movie, either.

Well, in a way it has. My credit card information has been stolen. Again. For the third time. Continue reading

School and Things That Don’t Matter

I had an interesting experience last night. My sister came over, slightly flustered, her laptop in hand and six-thousand tabs open. She needed help with an essay. She is currently in Grade 11, and she has university aspirations. She’s easily smart enough, no question there, but she didn’t look it at the moment. She was confused, anxious and desperately wanted my help.

She came to the right place. I have my Master’s Degree in philosophy and, more importantly, years of experience with writing and editing papers. I have helped several of my friends by proof-reading essays and suggesting improvements, usually in exchange for food. One person even said I was better than his old private tutor. Maybe he meant that, maybe he was exaggerating, but it doesn’t really matter. I can help my sister with her problem.

There’s just one small problem: she has one of those Teachers From Hell.

As a side note, googling ‘teacher from hell’ didn’t produce near as many relevant images as I’d have thought.

Continue reading