Sunday, November 26, 2006


Because I am going to be in Washington DC at a conference at the end of this week, I decided to give you all some time to work in the lab on your projects as well as your blogs. Try to devote all of the class period on Friday to either posting or commenting on somebody else's blog. See the links in the right-hand column for more info -> -> ->

As some of you know, I am heavily into music. Beyond the 250 vinyl albums in my basement, I have computers at home dedicated to the storage of thousands of songs from a diverse range of artists. I consume music like other people eat baked Cheetos. At the present moment, I am listening to groups like TV on the Radio, Pheek, Muslimgauze, Off the Sky, and the soundtrack from City of God. But that might change within a day or two! One of the great things about teaching high school is that my students are always exposing me to new bands.

I also use my computers to create my own music. My musical partner, Jayne, and I released our very first CD this past summer under the name, SharashkA. If you like this sort of music, please ask me for a CD. We're not pretending that we're going to become rich and famous anytime soon!

Jayne is an amazing vocalist, and I am responsible for the music and design. I even created a studio in my basement called "Killjoy". This is part of my trait-curious personality, I think. I was able to learn how to do all of the technical aspects of creating a CD from start to finish by demonstrating a "rage to master" -- spending countless hours reading professional audio magazines, books, and webpages in an effort to acquire the skills to become a truly "DIY" artist; that is, a "do-it-yourself" person.

Although we were satisfied with the results the two of us were able to achieve, Jayne and I wanted to create a live band and record some new songs, also. Therefore, along with two other musicians (Rich and JoBella), we wrote some new material and started recording more songs at another studio called The Noise Floor.

This has been so much fun for me, especially, because as a trait-curious person, I can learn a lot from Garret, the owner of this studio. Garret has played with REAL bands like Kill Hannah, and has loads of experience. I have taken the opportunity to ask him about every thing he is doing while recording us and I'm sure I am driving him crazy with all of my questions:

"What mic are you using?"
"Which effect are you putting on the vocals?"
"If I make a mistake, can you fix it later?"

Luckily, he is a very patient person. We have already finished one of our songs which you can hear on our MySpace page, but of course, not at school :(

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

RACE: The Power of an Illusion

Based on the film we saw in class, here is a great link that explains more about the science of race. It's called: "10 Things Everyone Should Know About Race".

If you *really* want to test your beliefs about race, try this sorting activity.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Race IAT

My fault. The link to the Race IAT was confusing. Click HERE for the correct website. You should be able to navigate from there.

Click "IAT Home" (upper right-hand corner)
Click "Go to the Demonstration Tests"
Click "I wish to proceed"
Now choose "Race IAT".


Monday, October 30, 2006

Links to Other Blogs

Looking for a classmate's blog in order to post a comment? Look no further. I have listed them all at a different website. Click here.

Remember, there are at least FOUR pages of links on that site. Once you're there, scroll all the way down and click on "earlier" or "later" for even more links.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Man Wasn't Born to Run

Well, I figured that I should be the one to get this rolling. Literally. Look at this image. To me, it looks a lot like a medieval torture device. Anyone who knows me well enough is clear on the fact that I hate to exercise. And, for at least 35 years I was pretty good at avoiding it.

About 4 years ago, I had added a good 50 pounds to my frame. Just unfiltered consumption of anything in front of me coupled with a lack of anything resembling physical exertion.

After a trip to the doctor, he told me that my cholesterol was so high that I needed to drastically alter these patterns, or else I would be on drugs for the rest of my life or die. Figuring that my kids would appreciate Dad sticking around through high school (at least), I went on a 1500 calorie low fat diet and started walking on the treadmill 5-6 days per week.

Success! The weight came down and so did my cholesterol numbers! But the purpose of this story is to tell you what I've been up to lately and how it related to me trying something new.

When my cholesterol started creeping upward again, the doctor said it was time to intensify my workout. A colleague/friend suggested I try running, to which I snapped at her and said, "Man wasn't born to run!". Never having done anything athletic, I had shut myself off from activities that reminded me of competition. She was persistent, though, and suggested I try the elliptical machine (pictured). "Never!", I replied. It looked too much like cross-country skiing (another sport).

Well, to make a long story even longer, I kept looking at the elliptical out of the corner of my eye on the days I was walking on the treadmill. One day I even tried it out, but it seemed like it was broken. I couldn't figure the damn thing out and I would quickly return to the treadmill when someone would enter the room. After a week of "flirting" with the elliptical, I managed to summon the courage to ask another colleague in the room how it worked. Four button presses later, I was on my way.

Guess what? Yup, my friend was right, and now I like the elliptical even better than the old familiar treadmill. Plus, my workouts are twice as intense; just what the doctor ordered.

Now all I need is a soundtrack for my workouts!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Your Assignment

Make sure you read the article from Psychology Today (September/October 2006) given to you in class and/or the previous posts on this blog (see below).

Your assignment is to become a more trait-curious person. You will blog about each of your attempts and reflect upon your entire experience, relating any frustrations and/or growth you encountered along the way.

  1. You will blog about THREE (minimum) of your experiences from September to December. Tell us specifically what you attempted and what challenges you faced.
  2. You will leave THREE (minimum) comments on the blogs of three different peers. There are two reasons behind this. Your peers will appreciate the support you provide as a virtual audience, and you might gain more ideas about how to carry out your own curiosity goals.
  3. Your fourth and final post to your blog (in December or January before final exams) should be a summative reflection of the entire experience. Refer back to the original article and/or earlier posts to this blog.

  • Ask a friend (anyone) to commit to a new interest that seems intimidating (eg., banjo-playing). Agree with each other that you will do this together and not judge each other.
  • Even if a new experience (eg., sushi) is a disaster, remember that you now have a story you can use to connect with other people. Trait-curious people experience internal growth reagardless of the outcome.
  • Reframe "boring" situations. Strike up a conversation with someone in the line at the Drivers License Facility. Ask them about their tattoo!
  • Demonstrate a "rage to master", what psychologist Ellen Winner calls "an intense focus on specific interests or goals", spending countless hours working in the "flow" on a task which is neither too hard nor too easy.

What if I'm not trait-curious?

A strong sense of curiosity is a fixed trait that a person either has or doesn't have. However, even if a person isn't naturally curious, s/he has the ability to cultivate or train her- or himself to be more that way.

Everyone is interested in something, but social pressures often inhibit these instincts. For example, many people played an instrument when they were younger, but don't today because they're not in band or orchestra and it would seem bizarre to play the trombone on your own.

There's no agreed-upon definition of what an adult or young adult should be, and that really surprises many people who have already boxed themselves out of many activities which have the potential of bringing a person much joy.