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Archive for March, 2010

Music

We all go through phases different things we want to do. Sometimes I am in a learning phase, sometimes a doing phase, and right now I am in a lay back and really absorb music phase. I have always loved a wide verity of music and this spring break I’m taking the time to re-familiarize myself with some old music and trying to find some new bands/singers/composers. My music tastes have never been static, they change sometimes over weeks and other times months or a year; but usually I come to a time where I need a change (whether it be drastic or slight). Right now I just really want to enjoy something I haven’t had time to enjoy for a while.

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Trouble with school

Today, I finished Walking on Water. I honestly think so fondly of it, that instead of writing about it I am just going to suggest you go out and read it for yourself. It’s a good one, trust me. So, Instead of writing more about the book I am going to write about my way of learning / reading.

I have a lot of passionate opinions on education, and how children should learn. I believe in unschooling for the most part, even though I went to school my whole entire life. What makes me so sure that unschooling could work for other children is that all the important things I have ever learned have been self taught. Throughout my life I have studied zoology, art, and technology on my own, my only outside sources being books.

I believe that when children have access to the right resources, the possibilities become limitless. To paraphrase what Grace Llewellyn said in The Teenage Liberation Handbook, “which has more books? A school or library?” Stating that school is not the one-stop-shop for education we all give it to be, a much more well rounded education can be provided from libraries, zoos, nature preserves, hospitals, co-ops, parks, etc… Not only will these places supply one with a great education, but foster creativity and expression as well; something schools do not do so well.

These thoughts has been consistent throughout most of my schooling years, and has followed me to college, which has really been no different. My whole life I did bare minimum of what was needed at school so I could go home and read on things that really interested me. I became really good at following directions and getting good grades without effort so I could go guilt-free to my personal work. Now, college requires so much to get a grade as good as a C. This is not a surprise to me, what is is that I got tricked into thinking College would appreciated new ways of thinking and creativity. In college the professors thoughts and opinions are integrated into everything, so if you don’t agree you might as well drop the class. Homework can take up your whole day so you have absolutely no time to enjoy life. I wish I had more time to read books of my choice. Right now I am struggling with balancing my own research and reading with schoolwork. I can not say it’s going as well as I planned.

I could end this with some great advice on how to make the situation all better, but I have none. This is my current dilemma and biggest struggle. I am doing all I can to balance my life, and this may be what I write about; if not too frustrated by the topic. Overall having time to read Derrick Jensen’s Walking on Water was wonderful, it was exactly what I needed and gave me some strength to continue on. To best help the environment I really should know everything about biology and ecology, meaning that I will have to keep pushing myself. One day what I have learned here will matter.

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Keri Smith’s Revolution / Rebel’s Manifesto.

By all means I do not mean for anyone to take this to heart, but it’s cute, and they are pretty good guidelines. Enjoy the sunny day!

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Get out!

So I’m skipping my science lecture today. The TA had no problem with us not going, and really today is not the day to be trapped somewhere I don’t want to be. The sun is shining through my window perfectly, and there is a nice cool breeze. Today is the sort of day where you make playlists in the morning to cause trouble to, then spend the rest of the day causing that trouble.

So today I don’t want to get all crazy with writing. I have things to do, and so do you.
GET OUT!

draw pictures
write poems
make out
make love
tell stories
tell jokes
get in trouble
help someone out

LIVE!
(These are the times that matter)

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A correction..

“The world seems to consist of either people completely apathetic or people who pretend to care but are too afraid to make any real sacrifice. I honestly think there are more people afraid than apathetic.”

my correction to that statement from what started it all.

I don’t think those people are just pretending to care, I know many really do, they are just too afraid that there is nothing they can do to change anything. I was stuck in that category for a really long time (still climbing out of it) and I can easily understand that perspective. Society has put the fear into us that we must not question the current system, and made it easier to live the way they want us to (by supplying us with stores like Walmart, public schools, some forms of medical care, etc…) to trick some into feeling as if there is nothing to complain about/ criticize. What people need to learn is that as citizens of the earth it should always be safe to criticize/question any system that has any sort of power over us(whether it be work, school, state/fed gov.). It is our right as people.

And to top it off with some Jensen

“I always tell my writing class to start with and hold on to the attitude of saying bullshit to everything. And to be joyful and happy in that process. Because most of the time it’s fear that creates old behaviors and old conflicts. It’s not necessarily that we believe those things, but we know them and so we continue those patterns and behaviors because they’re familiar.” -Derrick Jensen, Walking on Water p21

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So I’m going to try something out, because I think It might turn out useful. Every time I read a book that I feel fits into the idea of this blog somehow, I am going to write about it both before and after I finish reading it. I hope it will help me follow through with finishing the book (I tend to drop many), and also to know how my thoughts expectations of the book played out. So let me begin with my current read: Derrick Jensen’s, Walking on Water.

(I’m about three chapters or 1/10th way in)

I have heard of Derrick Jensen through a few sources, two important ones being Dr. Richard Andrus, my old environment teacher and another being Idzie from this unschooling blog I discovered not too long ago (go check it out). People may argue that this book is not the best introduction to Jensen, but it seems to fit in very well for the time being.

I originally thought the book was solely about the issues of schools, and how children could benefit from non-traditional learning methods, but it really seems to be about writing (which is really wonderful since I am really getting into writing myself). He does go into detail about why he can’t stand schools but it always turns into how one’s real experiences can influence their writing. He also touches the idea of questioning authority, using “Bullshit!” to express his disapproval. (Now I know where Dr. Andrus gets it from!)

The book is so far loaded with valuable quotes so I will share a few.

“The process of schooling gives children the tools they can – and often must – use to survive after graduating into “the real world,” and teaches them what it is to be a member of our culture. Not often enough asked are the questions: what sorts of tools are these? And, what is it to be a member of this culture?  In other words, we might be well served to ask what sort of beings we are creating by the process of schooling,” p. 1

“Have you ever seen the stars in the desert, or the moon? Have you lain naked in the dew? When did you last walk barefoot in the snow, watch a falling star, or take a bath in a fast cold river? When was the last time you listened to the piper at the gates of dawn? These are the best teachers I’ve had.” p. 19

“Passion, love, hate, fear, hope. The best writings spring from these sources. Life itself springs from these sources, and what is writing without life?” p. 19

When I heard about Jensen indirectly I pictured him  complaining a lot (not always a bad thing), so I find it completely surprising on how much he emphasizes positive thinking and behavior. He also has a great sense of humor which makes the book fun to read. So far the book has inspired me to write about things that make me feel, I’m guessing it will do so even more throughout the book.

I’m looking forward to getting a lot out of the book, and would pretty much recommend it to any of you already.

Happy reading!

Amanda

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What started it all.

Below is where the idea of this blog started. (posted to some friends on facebook) I’ve decided not to edit the original text so it doesn’t lose the written at 4 in the morning/ passionate rant feel.

“It’s 4:04 am as I’m writing this. You can thank my roommate’s snoring friend if you end up liking what I have to say.

A lot of you I haven’t talked to in a long time but we were probably somewhat close, some of you I talk to, but perhaps not on a deeper lever (if you have been tagged there must of be something special about you), few of you know me well and this is just to update you on a few things.

This past winter was extremely hard for me, yet my life is at it’s “best”. I got into my first choice college, Sean is only an hour away and I see him every weekend, and I’m studying a subject that I have always been interested in, environmental studies. Yet at the same time I have realized all the things that are wrong with life; not just mine, but other people’s lives too. People don’t live at all.

There are so many things I want to do with my life. Actually there are so many things I don’t want to do with my life. As an environmentalist major, I feel I am obliged to hate consumer culture. But when I look at my class, I know that not even a fraction of them would sacrifice their next trip to Walmart / Wegmans to save the earth. The world seems to consist of either people completely apathetic or people who pretend to care but are too afraid to make any real sacrifice. I honestly think there are more people afraid than apathetic.

You hear excuses all the time. “I would stop shopping at the mega mart, but there is nowhere else to go!”, “I would stop driving my car if there were more public transportation!” The list goes on and on (way past my rein of environmental issues).

I have been thinking lately about how I want to purge myself of consumer culture. How I am going to go about doing it, how I am going to let others know what I’m doing (because if you care enough about anything you do it’s awesome to let others know). I have been reading some things on eco-feminism, green anarchy, and anti-consumerism and it all fascinates me. It sound so easy, but living the “college student” life it’s not.

This post to all of you is my first real initiative. I want to literally cut all the crap out of my life.
This includes
Buying useless shit
Using stupid excuses to get out of something that I know is right
being afraid of everyone and everything for no reason
eating meat
treating myself as if I’m not smart enough to pull an extreme life change off
letting my past (and the past of others) effect my future
being a stupid college student

The reason why I am posting this pubic is that I have lost connection, not made connections when I could, just want to make sure the connection is still there with all of you. All of you inspire me in one way or another. All of you I trust to understand what I’m going through, I’m sure many if not all are/have going/gone through something similar.

I hope to find the support / inspiration I need to pull myself out of the lifelong depression I’ve been in. I need to get out of the drab mindset that mainstream culture has shaped.

I will be blogging on my experiences (because it’s a format I learn from). I will post the link up soon, and feel free to follow. If not I won’t be offended. Once again, I need this time to be a real change, before I fall into something too deep to climb out of. ”

Well here it is, I’m finally ready.

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