Showing posts with label high school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label high school. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Watch This High School Student's 3 Minute Explanation Of Special Relativity

For science fans out there of special relativity, this high school student from the Phillipines made an easy to understand 3 minute video explaining the theory. She won $250,000 for college for this video. Amazing! I'm still debating special relativity with several adults on my site who just can't get it, and yet this high school student does. Says something.

From the website it explains how she made the video: "The process never formally started because I've been passively looking for topics since last year. Summer was the time I actually started building the script. After a lot of tentative topics and drafts, I finally managed to fit it into 3 minutes! Then I had to shoot the video (~5 hours), edit the footage (~17 hours) and animate (~120 hours). I used Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 for editing and Adobe After Effects CC 2017 for the animations and compositing." Music: "Quirky" by Falconshield Music and "The Science" by Alexander Rufire."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Does Government Have A Duty To Educate Its Citizens? Part 2

This is a follow up response to my original post a week ago on whether or not government has a duty to educate its citizens. I originally wrote a critique of the speech made by the first speaker, Chuck Braman, and now I'm going to write a line-by-line critique of the arguments the second speaker gave, Roberto Guzman. He writes at the blog Capitalism and Ideas and his blog post, written here, is inspired by his arguments in the debate. So without further ado:

Larry Elder makes the point that government education is similar to an item on a restaurant menu that not even the waitress would order.

Yeah, unless they can't afford private education, especially if a "free market" Republican governor like Scott Walker tries to destroy the teacher's unions.

Roughly 11% of Americans send their kids to private school, but nearly 30% of parents who work in public schools do so. In urban areas such as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Cincinnati it hovers closer to 40%. To reiterate, these are government education providers choosing to send their kids to the competing private schools.

I couldn't corroborate that 30% claim and Roberto does not include a source. The number I see is 19% of public school teachers send their kids of private schools, though 28% have tried alternatives to public schools at some point. This is definitely higher than the national average, but why are so many public educators sending their kids to private schools, especially in urban centers? Well, it's because many urban schools suck and teachers who work there know this. So if they can afford to send their kids to private schools, they will. The median high school teacher salary is $57,200, for middle school it's $55,860, and for elementary school it's $54,890. But the vast majority of Americans won't be able to afford this option, not when the national average for private school tuition is $10,003 a year. Even if it was half that, most Americans still wouldn't be able to afford it, not with 50% of Americans making less than $30,000 a year.

What about the government officials themselves? 37% of Representatives send their kids to private school. For US senators, that number is a staggering 45%. President Obama, himself a product of private education, made a big show of vetting DC public schools when he was elected. After all of the hullabaloo, he sent his daughters to the most elite private school in the capital. If government education is so great, why do its biggest advocates avoid it like tap water in Mexico?

Most members of congress are far wealthier than your average American. In 2012 the base salary for all members of the US House and Senate was $174,000 a year. Few than 3% of Americans earn that much. And this doesn't even count additional income from book selling, speeches, and gifts from lobbyists. People will always be able to pay for better private education than what the public system can offer. Nobody denies that. But this is not an argument to privatize all public education.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

50 Years Since Beatlemania Hit The US

50 years ago the Beatles touched down in the newly renamed John F. Kennedy Airport, and Beatlemania hit the US. It was the beginning of a cultural phenomenon, the likes of which has never been seen before, or since. From that point onward, American music was forever changed, and the Beatles would go onto define the sound of  the decade along with an entire generation.

Beatlemania hit me in the summer of 2001. I remember exactly how it happened. I was working out at a local gym and I heard a song come on the radio on the speakers. It was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by George Harrison. It hit me at just the right time, in just the right way, that it sparked my interest in all things Beatles and I eventually collected most of their albums.

I had heard them before; a friend of mine had been a big Beatles fan and I was of course familiar with their music, but early on they just didn't strike the right chord with me. The way I get into a band is funny. Sometimes I hear a band and I don't like them, and then I hear the right song at just the right time, in just the right circumstance and somehow I get hooked.

The Beatles are one of those unique bands that get near-universal respect from all artists and subcultures. I remember even my metal head friends in high school respecting them for allowing heavy metal to evolve. I remember growing my hair out long for the first time because I wanted to look like I was a Beatle. My newfound Beatlemania back in 2001 was part of a larger context and phenomenon going on around me. The indie rock explosion was just happening right at the same time and mop tops came back into style. The 90s shit that I had hated so much seemed to be quickly disappearing and replaced by this new culture in which everything retro was in. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Animals, The Who, along with Led Zeppelin, The Stooges and a host of other bands from the 60s and 70s seemed to be undergoing a popular resurgence. Many of the contemporary bands at that time had a sixties mod look and influence, indicating the Beatles' influential power 40 years later.

For me, it was the perfect mix, and I became enthralled at watching the Beatles almost as much as many of those screaming teenage girls were all those years ago. They were to me, more popular than Jesus. By far.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Natural Born Skeptic: My Atheist Journey Part 2

Natural Born Skeptic

So there I was, a kid growing up in New York City in the 1990s, hailing from a secular home, and completely non-religious. I wasn’t all that different from my peers around me to be honest with you. New York is what I like to call the secular metropolis. Most of my peers and friends growing up weren’t religious at all. None of any of my close friends went to church. Belief in god and religion almost never came up in conversation. Looking back it seemed we were all a bunch of teenage nihilists, with a healthy rebellious spirit. We’d rather drink beer, talk about music and girls and ideas on how to get into trouble to keep us from being bored. Throughout all of my teen years I went through life basically living under the assumption of atheism. I seemed to have an intrinsic inclination towards the naturalistic worldview. I don’t recall ever believing that there were supernatural agencies at work behind anything that happened to me. I even thought that the spiritual idea of karma and the “what goes around, comes around” philosophy was nothing but wishful unsubstantiated nonsense. To me, things just happened, and it was foolish to look for a deeper intentional agency to explain what naturally occurred. When I got an outbreak of acne as a teenager, I didn’t go blaming it on god or karma; I blamed it on my genes that I inherited from my parents as the root cause. There was always a rational scientific explanation in my worldview.

There was one time when I was about 8 or 9 and was playing in the park that was part of the apartment complex I grew up in with the neighborhood kids and I remember this strange girl suddenly showed up. Her name was “Linda” and no one had ever seen her before.  She must’ve been visiting someone living nearby, perhaps a relative. I remember her trying to play with us and that all she wanted to talk about was god and that Jesus Christ died for our sins and how we all needed to recognize this amazing event. We weren’t particularly amused. At some point, I remember sitting down with her on one of the benches with my friends and I was spearheading a campaign of rationalism and doubt against her infatuation with the divinity of Jesus and her insistence that we all believe like her. My memories are a little fuzzy, but I recall that we went back and forth debating for hours until dusk that afternoon. Then there were other times when someone would make a speech about how karma rules the world, and I instinctually interjected with a dose of skepticism against such claims letting it be known that there was no such evidence to justify those beliefs. It seems that I was a natural born skeptic, or perhaps a natural born atheist. When Blasé Pascal spoke of the person who says to himself, “[I] am so made that I cannot believe”, he was speaking about people like me.

In high school I started hanging out with these kids who were wannabe Satanists. They were metal heads who fancied death metal and thrash metal and rejected most mainstream alternative and hard rock as being too “gay”. Although I never quite got into death metal, I started getting into Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails and thoroughly enjoyed the caricatures they made about the religious right’s hypocrisy. In this new crowd that I hung out with, it was cool to hate on and make fun of religions like Christianity. I couldn’t have imagined what it would’ve been like to have been an actual practicing believer in god during those days. I would’ve most likely have had to keep those beliefs “in the closet” so to speak or else face the taunts and teases and possibility of being ostracized. But still, even in this anti religious environment in the late 1990s in high school, when death metal music and Marilyn Manson were at their peaks, I wasn’t at all a militant atheist. I never spoke adamantly about my lack of faith in god; I was never confrontational or tried to convert others to think like me. I pretty much kept my atheism to myself, only making it publicly known when the topic of god occasionally came up. But whenever god or religion did come up, I always remember expressing the voice of doubt towards anyone who even remotely believed.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Writing As A Therapy - Teenage Identity Crisis: A Painful Reminiscence Part 2

Writing for me is very therapeutic. I cannot shake off the good sensation I get when I put together a well written post. Not all of my posts hit the mark, but nevertheless, each is an attempt to put into words a concept or memory that I consciously wrestle with, however imperfect it is. Besides the usual posts on religion, theism, and morality, which seem to consume a great deal of my writings, I occasionally like to write about a personal reflection. And as this is the Thanksgiving holiday, I feel somewhat inclined to write about past problems I've dealt with and hopes I have.

I cannot say that I've had it too bad. My life has been a sort of mild journey when I compare it to the most horrible tragedies that have marred the lives of others. Although my parents divorced when I was a young child, I grew up in a pretty stable middle class home. My parents, although not perfect, were certainly not the worst characters when it came to how I was raised. I also grew up in a pretty safe neighborhood that is and was neither privileged nor impoverished.

I've had my bouts with depression. When I was an adolescent I came down with a serious case of acne that stayed with me until my early twenties. All throughout high school I was a mess. Acne made me embarrassed to be seen, it made me withdrawn, anti-social, and awkward. I hated my life at this time and I even contemplated suicide, making one failed attempt at it. In the back of my head what gave me confidence all through these years was the idea that things would get better. As an atheist, I never prayed, I never had any unreasonable faith that things would get better. Instead, I blamed my misfortunes where it seemed logical, namely my genetics. I blamed my mother and father for giving me the genes that cause acne. I angrily held them accountable and fully responsible for what they had done. In short, I had wished on some deep level that I was never even born.

Eventually my problems cleared away but not without leaving their indelible marks. My adolescent years when I was suppose to foster my social skills, were in a way put on hiatus. My withdrawn personality had made me lose the experiences necessary to build social skills and to make friends easily. I was also a person who was not into the typical things young people were into. I cared nothing for sports, and my musical tastes were very eclectic and usually far from the mainstream. My atheism however was never an issue at all since religion was almost never talked about and it pretty much never came up amongst my peers. I also wasn't the polemic anti-theist back then that I am now either.

In high school I did my fair share of partying with the few friends I had but looking back I always felt that somehow I missed out on what it should have been. This is probably instigated my the movie industry's depictions of high school that show a free for all in non-stop partying and sex. I guess I can say that although I've been through some tragedy, others have been through worse and I have to be thankful for that.

Now that I'm 30 years old I have to realize that my youth has almost completely evaporated and I must accept that my body will forever be in a perpetual state of decline. Sure I can eat healthy and workout obsessively but I will only be delaying the inevitable. Physically speaking I no longer have anything to look forward to, unlike when I was young. As time passes things will not get better, they will get worse, and this has partially led me to another form of depression, the depression of getting old. I still have many years before I am "old" and before I start to look "old", but I do not wish for eternal youth or eternal existence of any sort. Such an idea seems like a cruel trick of hell to me. I enjoy the fact that I will eventually grow old and die, and cease to exist. I just wish that I can age gracefully while it happens. That will give me a tremendous sense of comfort and hope for the future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Issue of School Sanctioned Prayers

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, also known as the FFRF, is an organization that stands up for the rights of atheists, agnostics and freethinkers, whenever they are encroached by religion. One of their pending lawsuits involves a South Carolina high school that violated a rule against sanctioning prayers. Let me take a look at this case within the view of the larger issue of religion in public schools.

I went to public school my whole life (except in pre-K) and I cannot ever once remember being forced to observe a religious prayer or activity during those 12 years. Inner city New York City public schools are a pretty secular environment. I did have a few teachers mention god when talking about their personal life, not in any proselytizing way, and when a junior high school science teacher died, I remember we did observe a moment of silence, which there is nothing inherently religious about. But all in all, it was very secular. It appears that public schools in the south and other rural areas of the U.S. apparently have a different story. I am aware of many incidences of teachers and school administrators leading prayers, and this is the issue taken up by the FFRF.

The problem I have, is that public school teachers and personnel are government employees, and they are figures of authority over the students. This I feel should make them ineligible to lead prayers while on school campuses, and while on the job.

Let's look at this issue in context with the first amendment. What people who oppose this lawsuit are saying, is that when a teacher leads students in prayer, no one is forced. Any student who wishes not to participate in the prayer does not have to. This they claim, is the first amendment's freedom from religion in action. Now while students may opt out of the school-sanctioned prayer, the problem is when it is a government employee, in a position of authority, leading a prayer that is going to outcast the students who don't want to participate, and in some cases, pressure them to observe the prayer or ceremony. This "officializes" the prayer as if it had government's stamp of approval.

It is not the role of government employees to be leading prayers while they are on the job. Just as I wouldn't want the clerks behind the counter at the DMV to suddenly drop to their knees and begin worshiping allah, or to encourage me to observe religious fasting, I wouldn't want similar acts taking place by public school teachers. When I need to use a government service, which is often when I have no choice, I do not want to be asked or encouraged to experience any religious activity. The bottom line is: government employees on the job should not be encouraging religious activity.

Now I have no problem with people observing their religious traditions in their private lives. The first amendment protects this right and religious freedom is one of our greatest achievements in the U.S. If students want to pray in a public high school, that is their right to do so too. Just because they are in a public building does not mean they should have to check their religion at the door. The issue is when public administration leads or sanctions prayers because then it is government respecting the establishment of a religion. I'm sure that most Christian parents of children in public schools would not be comfortable if their children's teacher was a very vocal, devout Muslim, who quite often spoke positively about Islam and lead daily prayers in the classroom in the Islamic tradition. That would be proselytizing in the classroom by a government employee onto young impressionable minds who by law are required to be there.

This very scenario is exactly why some religious people want creationism taught in the classroom and to allow school sanctioned prayers. They want god back in the classroom so that future generations of kids will be brainwashed into becoming religious. That is a parent's role, not government's role. In most parts of the U.S. the non-religious are the minority. The rights of those who wish not to observe must be protected, and the government in our public school system is the last place we need this right being violated.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teenage Identity Crisis: A Painful Reminiscence

Now for a momentary digression away from religion, to a painful reminiscence of my adolescence.

I was just watching a show recently about the evolution of grunge and its affect on heavy metal and it brought back some rather painful memories. I came of age in what is known as the "post-grunge" era of the late 90s and early 2000s. Back when I was a teenager at this time, I had sort of an identity crisis. I didn't quite know who I was, and I didn't quite fit in anywhere. At that time there were mainstream super bands like Creed and alternative rock/punk acts like Blink 182, and I hated those bands so much. You still had heavy metal, thrash metal and death metal that were popular, and I hung out with a lot of kids who were metal heads, but I didn't quite fit in with them. I liked some heavy metal, but I never really got into the music as hard core as some of my friends did and I never was a total head banging metal head. There was industrial metal like Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson that I kind of gravitated more towards but I never fully embraced these genres by dressing goth or putting make up on. About as far as I could go was to dress all in black. Then of course there was rap music that was evolving out of that classic, golden era sound that I liked years before and so my interest in rap was waning.

So I was struggling to fit in. I was in a total identity crisis. I wasn't a metal head, I hated the mainstream alternative acts; I wasn't a thug into hip hop anymore, and my interest in industrial metal was never strong enough to make me part of the industrial scene. To be honest with you, I hated the culture of the late 90s. I hated the hairstyles, with their stupid gelled spikes and the lame ass scruffy goatees. I hated the big baggy clothing, the baggy rave pants, and wearing all black because you had to be dark because colors were too gay. I am so glad that era is over and I never want it to come back.

I honestly like the times we are living in now much more. I like the fashion much more and the music. What happened during the late 90s for me is that I started to get into the old school bands. I got into The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and then The Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Iggy & The Stooges. I got into the roots bands that all the genres of the day had evolved from. I felt like I should have been born 30 years earlier. Then when the garage rock revival happened, around when The Strokes came out, in 2001, suddenly retro was in. A whole generation, fed up with the music they were being force-fed by the music industry rediscovered the bands of yesteryear and suddenly the culture around me became fused with the bands that I was already listening to. The indie/hipster culture emerged, and I suddenly found my calling. I found out that there were many other people out there like me, fascinated by music that predated our births. And although this new sub-culture was comparatively small compared to the mainstream alternative scene, my identity crisis began to subside. By the time this happened however, I was already out of high school, and perhaps it was a little to late, but it is always better late than never.

As you get older "fitting in" becomes less and less of a concern. I now pride myself on being unique in my own way and don't feel like I fit into any particular subculture. But as an awkward, zit-faced teenager, I didn't have the social skills and confidence to pull of such attitude effectively. If I could describe myself now, it would be a world travelling, cosmopolitan, intellectual, with style. I dress a little retro like some of my rock star heroes, I also spiffy it up with some class. But I'm basically a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, with the occasional flannel button down. I don't go crazy with the super skinny jeans, but I like my jeans kind of tight.  I'm growing my hair out a bit longer now because I feel that I might as well get the most out of it before I go bald. I pretty much always have a beard or some kind of facial hair, as long as it is not in the stupid 90s style of mustache-less goatees.

There are certain kinds of people who never change their style. The way they were during their formative adolescent years leaves such an impression of them, that they are forever cast in that mold, and unable to change. I have a metal head friend like that. He dresses in the same old metal head t-shirts that he wore back in 1997, and he's got the same old long-haired heavy metal do that he more or less had back then too. Some people never change. Me personally, I evolve constantly. My hair, my style, my interests, are always changing. I'm never the same person for more than a few years and I like that. Now that I'm more confident and more sure of who I am, the identity crisis is over. Long live the '10s!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Generation Why?

I am now 30 years old. I don't know how it happened, but it did. My twenties somehow vanished. But I have the ability now to reflect back on 20 years of cultural change. I was reading recently about my generation, the so called "millennials", also known as Generation Y. No one fully agrees when the dates of any generation begin and end, but Generation Y usually begins around 1980 or 1981. I am very lucky to have been born just before the internet and cell phones became ubiquitous because a whole generation of teenagers now have no idea what it is like not to have the internet instantly at the tip of their fingers via a laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

Back in the early 1990s when I was a young tween, nobody had heard of the internet except for some of those deep in the IT industry. It has been said that this was the last era of innocence in the America. In order to get porn, we had to get our hands on a magazine, which wasn't always so easy, or we had to get access to the dirty channels on cable, which also wasn't so easy. Now all of that trouble is gone due to the internet. The early 90s was the last time when you didn't have mountains of information so easily accessible just like parents didn't have.

We didn't have cell phones either. If you wanted to call someone outside you needed a payphone and the person you were calling had to be home. I remember when the beeper was the hot must have item, especially among Hip Hop heads. Of coarse I never had one. When cell phones started becoming more popular around 2000, it changed everything. Suddenly you couldn't pretend to not be home or have missed the call. Now you were accessible where ever you were, and there was backlash against it. I remember not being the only person I hung out with who hated cell phones when they first came out. Not only did you have to overhear people's annoying conversations outside, they always seemed to interrupt at just the wrong moment. I got a cell phone relatively late compared to most of my friends because I held out for so long until finally realizing resistance was futile. Now I feel naked leaving home without one.

Culturally I remember the 90s through the lens of the Hip Hop culture of New York, that was pierced with grunge. Until the late 90s, I never paid much attention to any other music other than Hip Hop. For me most of the 90s was baggy pants, wannabe gangsta looks, fades, graffiti, Wu-tang Clan, and bike rides around my 'hood on my BMX. During my Jr. High School years I used to hang out with this older Romanian kid who had zits all over his face. He was a trouble maker who used to lie constantly to show off. Behind a hill we called Dead Man's Hill there was this abandoned lot a block from my house that the neighborhood kids and us used to break into. It had an abandoned gas station in it that you could go into and there was a tree with a rope hanging from it that you could swing from like Tarzan over a pit of broken glass and rocks. There were a lot of second generation Irish kids in the neighborhood back then that I used to know and occasionally hang out with. Most of them were troublemakers, who used to fight all the time and engage in petty vandalism. We'd smash out windows of the gas station, graffiti it up and occasionally light fires. It was like a shared club house. I never really liked any of them, and by the late 90s, most of them disappeared, probably having moved away in response to the neighborhood becoming more ethnic.

Throughout the 90s immigrants were moving in, mostly from East and South Asia and various parts of Latin America. I saw the neighborhood change from predominantly white in the early 90s, to predominantly Asian/Latino in the late 90s. When I was about 9 or 10 my best friend was this Korean kid who lived in my building. One day when we were hanging out in the lot near one of the many pits filled with broken glass and garbage and we ran into this huge group of older Korean teenagers. We befriended them and they told us stories of being jumped and having to fight with the white kids in the neighborhood who didn't like them. When I reflect back on these memories it's so weird, because today with how ethnically diverse Queens is, you would never imagine that happening, but back in the early 90s it was the reality for many of the first waves of immigrants who came to settle in the neighborhoods of Western Queens. I remember that day standing there, where all those Korean kids were standing on one side of the pit as if they were going to have their picture taken. I later found out that there were skin head gangs in New York back in the 90s. There was DMS the Doc Marten Skinheads, know for wearing Doc Marten boots. They mostly died out by the late 90s and I never ran into them. Had I been about 5 years older I might have known or seen some of them.

I remember growing up with Generation X in mind during the 90s. When I got to High School, my first encounter with metal and grunge culture enlightened me to a whole new lifestyle that I knew next to nothing about. I started hanging out with them and I learned about the music they listened to. Back then I thought this metal/grunge culture was very much a part of Gen X. Nirvana, although disbanded after the death of Kurt Cobain was still very popular, and it was Nirvana that I associated with Generation X more than any other. Gen X was the generation of not giving a shit about anything, of hating society, hating school, not conforming, and being nihilistic in every sense. I think of lot of us who came of age in the 90s identified with this ideology. Being at the cusp of Generation Y I feel halfway in between Y and X. I don't particularly feel like I belong to any generation to be honest, but Generation Y to me are all those 20 something hipsters you see in Williamsburg.

Characteristically Generation Y is said to be more socially conscious that its predecessor. Generation Y is Generation We, who cares about the environment, animals and social justice. It became cool to be active is some sort of positive social cause for change or justice. We are are clearly headed in the right direction if even a little bit, because as I've written before, the apathy of the black community in America is responsible for many of its cyclical problems: Let's hope that Generation X's apathy will not remain a long term generational practice. Furthermore since I'm political, I like being part of a generation that is socially conscious.

So when I reflect on my generation years from now what will I remember? I think Generation Y's care will have inspired the following generations to carry the torch, although I'm not all that concerned with it. I hope that the greedy corporate fucks who are running the show now, many of them Boomers, will die out as Generation X and Y replaces them with a more compassionate view of the world and the people in it. That's hope for you.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I've had some flashbacks of years past recently. Being a bit younger and a bit more fresh-faced while amongst a crowd of friends that have long since left my life. I used to have friends that lived in my building whose apartments I'd go over to hang out. We used to play video games and watch Ducktales after school. There was an abandon lot near a hill we called Dead Man's Hill. It was our little hangout spot. It was like exploring a little jungle to us kids, filled with danger and surprise. One time, me and my best friend made it to the abandoned gas station there and saw these kids throwing rocks at the door. They said someone was in there and we just watched them throw more rocks and hurl insults. They left and eventually we saw a crazy homeless man come out. He mistook us for the perpetrators who were throwing rocks at him and he smashed me and my friend in the head with a big rock. This resulted in a police report and a brain scan at a local hospital. Other times were more pleasant. There was a big rope that hung from a tree over a ditch that you could swing on like Tarzan. There was another ditch filled with garbage that we lit on fire many times. One time the fire got particularly big and the fire department came. It was overgrown with weeds in the summer making it a perfect for playing manhunt. It's sad that I have no pictures from this time in my life. Eventually it became an apartment building and parking lot.

Then there was my foray into metal culture in High school. There's something about heavy metal culture. Metals-heads will wear the same shit everyday. They will utter the word dude as often as possible. New York metal-heads throw in a bit of hip hop slang in it too. It's a culture that is more preserved and less in touch with the times. Hip hop culture changes by the minute, but a metal-head from '89 might look exactly like a metal-head from '98. They were working class kids mostly from Astoria. Greek, Italian, Irish, Eastern European. Music was always a topic of discussion, which made me insecure since when I first started hanging with them, I didn't know much about metal. You could be publicly tested at any moment of your heavy metal knowledge. There was a game we played where we'd form a circle and we'd have to name a metal band based on the alphabet starting from A. When you couldn't name one you were out. Only the most hardcore and knowledgeable metal would be left standing. There was a strict feeling of conformity I remember. That's why high school is never a good time for most. I didn't dress like a metal head, and didn't know shit about metal. My first jump into anything rock at all was believe-it-or-not Marilyn Manson. Then it was Nine Inch nails. I got into Industrial Metal first since I guess it's an easier transition from Hip Hop. Then I got into classic rock and only just barely got into the Thrash and Death Metal.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Change is the only thing that's constant

I'm starting to learn that many good writers write daily, sometimes for hours. I've noticed that I make usually about a half dozen entries on this blog a month. Maybe I should be writing more. After all the more I write the better I will become at it. Great writers also read a lot also. I read a lot on the internet. I read a lot of news, but a great deal of my knowledge lately has come from watching videos on YouTube that explain concepts of science and philosophy and economics. This is very typical of the young today who can't even deal with the cliff notes anymore and have resorted to watching and listening to videos instead of actually reading about any of it. It is a pattern that a friend advised me to not get comfortable with.

Spelling is not an issue anymore thanks to the spell check mechanism. But spell check cannot make you a exceptional writer. I hate the laziness that comes and goes in me. I don't even have to get off my couch to do what I am doing now, and still I find an excuse to be lazy and not do it. Remember when you had to actually go out to obtain knowledge about a subject, to the library in the freezing cold? Those days are long gone and with it, that energy one had to have.

I did keep a written journal for years at a time and wrote several notebooks worth of events, documenting various stages of my life from high school to as recently as a few months ago. I still have one that I stopped writing in and for some reason I guess I stopped, maybe because of this blog. But in my notebooks I would write much more personal things regarding my personal life, and on this blog I've chosen for it to not be about my silly mundane day-to-day problems. My old journals I burned and destroyed years ago so no one could read them. I guess I wish I could have saved them until now, they'd be fascinating to read.

I really wish I was writing about my experiences hanging out with metal heads in high school in the 90s. It was a great era and subculture to document since a lot has changed in New York in the past ten years, and also because the heavy metal culture that existed back then has significantly waned. Change is the only thing that's constant. And that's never more true than in the secular metropolis.

High school was tough. I had a really hard time fitting in. Even among my own clique I was kind of the outcast. It took me a really long time to find myself, and to find my place. I'm still kind of looking but I'm a lot more focused now. I really wish back then I had the knowledge I have now, or at least (since saying that has become so cliche) I wish that I was as passionate about the same subjects back then as I am now (namely atheism and philosophy). I was always into atheism pretty much, but never had the passion to really dig deep into the philosophy behind it and religion. Also, I wish I had payed attention to more of the cultural changes over the years as they evolved slowly instead being shocked by seemingly abrupt changes that were really just the result of years my neglect towards them.


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