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    28th January 2012

    I believe I’ve waited long enough…

    I’m learning to walk again
    I believe I’ve waited long enough
    Where do I begin?

    -Foo Fighters, “Walk”

    I had heard the song “Walk” by the Foo Fighters on the radio but only recently paid attention to the lyrics while listening… and well… if you read the short excerpt from the lyrics above the video
    you might understand why those lyrics hit a chord with me. I also watched the above video and it struck another chord because it features Dave Grohl stuck in traffic trying to get on an LA freeway, and then walking through LA and ending up across the river at the Foo Fighters’ practice lock-up. I live in LA. I walk around my part of LA. And some of the video looks like my area, even though it probably is not.

    I’ve been thinking about “Walk” a lot this week because the chorus keeps getting stuck in my head. I think the line that gets me the most is the middle one quoted above: “I believe I’ve waited long enough.” It makes me wonder what the speaker/singer/writer of the song was waiting for. But it also makes me ask myself what I’ve been waiting for. I’m talking about physically walking, but also about anything that gets me hung up, impeding my flow of life or my joy in existence.

    I think maybe I sometimes feel like I need to wait a certain amount of time after making a mistake or a bad decision (aka I miss the mark, err, sin, transgress) before I’m allowed to be truly happy again. This is the natural result of regret – being constantly reminded of whatever my problem/stupidity/ailment of the moment is. But how long is “long enough”? Is there really any amount of time long enough to make up for some of the disappointments of this world? Is there really any amount of time that could atone for every sin?

    In the 1986 film The Mission, Robert De Niro plays a slave trader named Rodrigo Mendoza in 1750s South America. After finding him in bed with his fiancee, Mendoza enraged, kills his brother in a duel. Because of the circumstances, Mendoza is not charged and instead spirals into depression on account of his guilt. Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) suggests Mendoza, as an act of penance, travel with him to work at a mission in the wilderness serving the very Guarani people he previously worked to enslave. Mendoza travels with the Jesuits into the rainforest, pulling after him a cargo net filled with the weapons and armor he previously used for his sordid business. The task of pulling the armor while scrambling up rock faces and through muddy paths leaves Mendoza broken down, at which point he is confronted by the Guarani in the following scene:

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
    -Hebrews 12:1-3


    21st January 2012

    News updates I found interesting, outrageous, or humorous…

    Couple Finally Reveals Child’s Gender, Five Years After Birth – This story kind of makes me mad. I know this comment has been made many times, but I hope the parents have been saving a therapy fund in addition to a college fund.

    Utah School Board Says Cougar Mascot Too Offensive To Women – The best part of this article might be the comments section, which includes the following classic:

    I’m still trying to figure out what actual cougars have ever done to anyone that they should be degraded by being compared to older women interested in younger men. Is this common behaviour among cougars in the animal kingdom? I believe they are owed an apology.

    Man accused in tree poisoning case to go to trial after turning down plea bargain for 13 year prison sentence – I don’t care how much you love your alma mater or favorite college football team, a guy shouldn’t be in prison for 13 years for poisoning a stand of trees. Maybe he should spend 13 years of his life getting part of his paycheck deducted to pay for new trees to be planted, and he definitely should spend 13 weekends planting trees… but 13 years in prison? Na. Even Charles Barkley says that’s crazy.

    Exclusive: Let me run for another country, says Bekele after federation bans Ethiopians from London 2012 – The greatest 10,000 meter and cross country runner of all time is currently banned from competition because he didn’t show up to a national team training camp because he was recovering from injury and refusing to run all of his workouts on the Mondo (hard surface) track at the national stadium in Addis Ababa. Sure Kenenisa Bekele is putting over a million dollars of his own money into building a long-distance-focused track specifically so he and other Ethiopian distance runners can train just south of the Ethiopian capitol, and that he is also the current reigning Olympic 5000m and 10000m champ and this is an Olympic year… Ethiopia doesn’t need him in London this summer. (For some reason I have a feeling he’ll still be wearing the Ethiopian uniform to race the biggest races this year – but if not, we’d love to have him here in the US).

    I don’t know what lead me to post these links, but I thought they were all interesting and then was reflecting on the crazy state of information and news and the bizarre role that media plays in our lives. I was trying to think of a comparison to the classical world, and I thought of Herodotus. He was a historian of sorts, but his his view of the world was an ethnocentric survey based partly on personal travels and experience, and partly on rumors and stories that he had heard – and I’m not sure our news sources have really gotten any better since.

    1 comment

    20th January 2012

    Student teaching

    I posted earlier just for fun, but I’m sitting in the back of the classroom during the final class hour on a Friday afternoon. I taught this morning, planned and graded for a few hours during my guiding teacher’s plan time, and now I’m observing some class time – ostensibly, at least. I’m supposed to be here at school until 3:30, even though I’m not teaching for the rest of the day and I don’t really need to do any observations right now… so… well… here I am. Trying to stay awake by writing for a few minutes.

    What is there to say about student teaching?

    I love teaching. And I love being a student. This is why I’ve spent nearly my entire life either in school, teaching, or involved with the education industry somehow.

    But student teaching is not like being a student or like being a teacher. I have to submit my lesson plans to my professor and my guiding teacher ahead of time for review. Lesson plans have to discuss learning theory, have to address the needs of individual learners, have to consider forms of formal and informal assessment. These are all good and worthwhile things, and as a teacher I plan on utilizing learning theory and ensuring that all students have access to the learning taking place – but having to to write out those thought for each plan takes time.

    The most frustrating thing about the process for me is probably planning and scheduling. For my program (on-campus MAT at USC!), we have different requirements for our teaching load each week. Eventually I’m supposed to teach a couple of my guiding teacher’s class sections 4 or 5 days a week for a few weeks (before switching to a different grade level). At the moment, however, I’m only teaching about half of the weekly class time in a few sections of class. I would love to take over more class periods, but 1) the semester is almost over at the beginning of February and so there are not many class periods that aren’t already planned out; 2) the classes I’ve been working with most of my time in LA have been very project oriented which means we spend a lot of time in the library doing research or having group work time; and 3) my GT likes teaching her classes and doesn’t entirely trust me with her classes yet. Again this is fine with me – my GT is a good teacher. However, I have a hard time explaining these issues to my professors at USC, to whom I am supposed to be turning in video recordings of planning session and/or teaching every week – including lessons where I try out new strategies learned in MAT classes… This is difficult because, as explained, there really isn’t much time for me to teach anything, let alone try new strategies. It can also be rough when my USC professors ask me to try different strategies that my GT either doesn’t know or doesn’t approve. It causes me distress trying to decided who I should try to push – my professors or my GT.

    All in all, I still really like the school I’m working with (Orthopaedic Hospital MMHS), the students in my classes, and my teachers and classmates at USC. But as mentioned above, I am really, really happy that it is almost the weekend. I do have to write a few papers, but I also get to sleep in. And I’ve been looking forward to that all week.

    (More to come about these adventures later. I wish I could tell you all more, but prefer not to talk more specifically about my professors, GT, or students on the internet because the internet never forgets – though I don’t have anything bad to say about any of them!)

    At school, working on lesson planning…

    …and my guiding teacher just put on “Careless Whisper”. Ah yeah. You know what I’m talking about.

    Also, just because I think you all should know about the various incarnations of the sexy sax man,


    Also, since I’m at school right now and don’t have a LAUSD teacher login, I can’t check any of the links I just posted… so… I hope they are there.

    One more also: I’m really happy it’s Friday.

    16th January 2012

    What’s most important right now?

    Rick Reilly, a sports writer for ESPN who I have been reading since his days with Sports Illustrated, just wrote a column about Tim Tebow (click to read the whole thing). He doesn’t really talk about Tebow’s on field achievements or failures, and instead focuses on Tebow’s habit of hosting people from trying and troubling circumstances at his games. One of his recent guests, Bailey Knaub, is the sister of a guy I used to run against in middle school, and their mother used to work with my mom. There was one quotation from Tebow in particular that I really appreciated. Asked if the time he spends with his weekly guests distracts him from getting ready for the game, Tebow replied:

    “Just the opposite. It’s by far the best thing I do to get myself ready. Here you are, about to play a game that the world says is the most important thing in the world. Win and they praise you. Lose and they crush you. And here I have a chance to talk to the coolest, most courageous people. It puts it all into perspective. The game doesn’t really matter. I mean, I’ll give 100 percent of my heart to win it, but in the end, the thing I most want to do is not win championships or make a lot of money, it’s to invest in people’s lives, to make a difference.”

    How did sports become such a big industry? Did the media tell us? And why have we believed everything the media tells us? And why have we followed the perpetual controversies and rivalries and dramatics that are put on stage? I love sport, and I love cheering for a team that I’m invested in (and get bummed after watching games like last night’s drubbing of USC’s men’s basketball team by UCLA), and I have definitely become caught up in reading every little thing written about my favorite teams or players… But ultimately, they’re just games and entertainment. They are not battles to the death or winner takes all, losers become indentured servants type competitions. Don’t try to tell that to the media, they’re making too much money off of sports; and don’t try to tell your friends either, they’re too much sucked into the whirlpool already.

    As for me, I am challenged by Mr. Tebow. Challenged to remember what is important: investing in the lives of others; loving people well; and serving God in the circumstances he has placed me in with the gifts he has given me. The circumstances I am in right now mean that I need to get a lot of reading, grading, and lesson planning done this afternoon, but I will be blessed working on those things with purpose. There is much work to be done, and I will be thankful for that work today!

    One more quotation is needed. This time, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

    8th January 2012

    Shakespeare might be in trouble if Yahoo voters have anything to do with it…

    Looking around the internets to see what it has to say about why today’s high school students should read Shakespeare and came across this questions on yahoo: “I have to write a speech about how shakespeare is relevant in our modern society.”

    Best answer as chosen by 75% of voters: “That would be impossible to prove because Shakespeare is irrelevant in modern society.”

    6th January 2012

    Indoor Handcycle Training

    My neck of the woods in Los Angeles really isn’t woods at all. It’s the middle of the city, surrounded by traffic signals and cars and busses and craziness and almost entirely devoid of bikelanes. Because of this, I haven’t really been getting out to do much handcycling. I had been swimming at the USC pool, which is amazing, and also doing some lifting… but I missed being able to ride.

    So I put together a setup so I could ride my handcycle indoors. The video explains how I put it together and you can see a little of me starting a workout. (And hear an electronic song that I created last year and never released publicly!).

    P.S. I’m not actually in LA right now – still in Colorado visiting family for one more day… I’m not ready to go back. Not because I don’t like LA, but because I’m not ready to go back to the grind of student teaching and taking classes! So it goes. Anyone going to be somewhere between here and LA this weekend and wanna meet up on the journey?

    But first, one more day, full of promise.

    1 comment

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.