Blog Archives

51 million people are paying for cartoon farms. And they’re allowed to vote.

This morning afternoon when I woke up and logged into Facebook, I was greeted by a notification:

“[Anonymous friend] has invited you to play Farmville2.”

I navigated to my Apps Requests page to clear the invitation and saw that she had invited me to play this stupid game 29 TIMES. Yes. Twenty-nine. Times. Somehow, in the last 28 times when she received no response, her immediate reaction was to click “invite” one more time. At this point, I sort of felt bad for her. Was this like the time in middle school when the popular girl was having a party and she held onto the fleeting hope that she might be invited, just this once? It also made me recall the time a few years ago when one of my students friend requested me on four separate occasions. Shortly after that, I became unsearchable on Facebook.

facebook engancha

FaceCat creeps on his high school acquaintance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Apps page of Facebook is the one place I typically avoid at all costs. I find 99% of the games and other apps to be a complete waste of time and brain cells. Unbelievably, I learned that there’s an app called “Obama 2012” while I scrolled down the page. Seriously? Yeah, because an app is going to convince my staunchly Republican family members to vote for Obama. Right.

There was a tab at the top of the page where I could view the “Top Grossing” apps. Hold the phone. People pay actual money to play these inane games on Facebook? You’ve got to be kidding me. Why would I pay money to be entertained when all I have to do is view the status updates or “jobs” of some of the people I keep on my friend list for the sole reason of entertainment? High school acquaintances are great fodder for that particular area. If we haven’t spoken in the last month either online or in person, chances are, I’m laughing at you, not with you. Feel free to use the “unfriend” link as you wish. Based upon my suggested friend list, some of them have already realized this on their own.

It’s hard to believe they didn’t want me to be able to view such classic updates anymore, such as:

“Gonna go to work now.”

“Bby daddy be here n a few n i gotz 2 get bby grrl up n dresed. y do i have so mch drama. u no i hat teh drama.”

“Home from work now. Going to bed.”

“Awake.”

“Going to work again.”

But, back to the money thing. Apparently, there are millions of you on the interwebs who spend your precious, hard-earned money on this:

 

It was under the “Top Grossed” tab. 51 million people play this game and I’m going to assume 90% of them couldn’t tell you one real fact about farming. They sit in their 500 square feet apartment, surrounded by noise and buildings, and harvest their cartoon crops. But it’s 3D! I can almost feel the adorable animals through my screen!

Here’s an idea. How about you get a REAL adorable animal, like this one?

 

She’ll keep you so entertained, you won’t have time to send me 29 requests to play Farmville2.

An Open Letter to the Red Truck On My Road

English: Steve Olliges and the Team Ford Troph...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Red Truck,

We passed one another on my way home today. You probably didn’t notice; you drive a big truck and I drive a mere car. I saw you coming toward me on the one-and-a-half lane road while I was still far from you. I didn’t worry about it. Every day I pass people on my road and it’s quite uneventful.

As we careened toward each other, I noticed that you didn’t leave the middle of the road. That’s still ok. People do that all the time and get on their side of the road with plenty of time to spare. However, you never felt the need to do that.

Look, I get it. You’re bigger than me. Your truck cost more than what I make teaching for an entire year, so you dare me to hit you. My little car would be plowed into a pancake.

So, I chose to drive with two wheels off the road, rather than smashing into you. It’s cool. A little adrenaline rush from driving through gravel and dirt at 50 mph is good for you once in a while.

Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure we’ve met before. You’re probably the guy who forced me to drive in the berm the other day because you refused to create any space for me when I was merging. Also, you might be the guy who squeezed between another car and me, then passed a truck on the right while it was already getting into the right lane to let you pass. You drove into the berm at 75 mph anyway and almost caused a multiple vehicle pile-up.

You know what would be even more fun next time? We should play chicken. Let’s both drive in the middle of the road with the pedal to the floor.

Or, even better: let’s go to the gas station, fill up, and drive until we run out. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Suck my MPG.

Kisses,

Facetious Firecracker

What Every Music Teacher Wants You To Know

There are some stereotypes about music teachers in this country and for some reason, they’ve been getting to me lately. Generally, I avoid discussing my career on here because honestly, I have a great job. I get to play games, teach kids how to create music, and I get most of the summers off. You won’t hear me complaining about the pay (except in jest) and frankly, there aren’t many music jobs out there. My district has brand new, state of the art buildings with SMART boards in every room. I am NOT intending to write this post about my specific job, just the general problems that any music teacher can appreciate. Now, with that being said, here I go….

1. We get really tired of people thinking that our job is nothing but fun and games.

English: Young Children (Suzuki students) Play...

Nope. No work was required to get to this point. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was once asked, “Are you a real teacher or just a music teacher?” Questions like that make my blood boil. Obviously, I can’t get the entire world to see it my way, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m a teacher. My subject happens to be music. I say that in the same way that someone would say they teach high school biology. Music is defined as a core academic subject in No Child Left Behind. Music has National and State Academic Content Standards, just as any other subject. It is my job to make sure that my students master the material. I just have about 22 hours of instruction time per school year to make that happen.

2. The general public thinks that they know everything about what I do, and that anyone can do it.

I played guitar in a band in high school! What do you mean I can’t teach band better than you?

Every nincompoop who has ever touched a drum tells me they can “play” the drums. Now, some of these people actually can. I am totally not a music snob and I understand there’s a huge difference between being a talented amateur musician and someone who just beats on things. However, unless you have a music degree, don’t pretend like you could do my job. It’s not common knowledge and there’s way more to it than you think. Unless you have had to be tested on everything from music history, educational psychology, your performance of a concerto for an audience of highly trained professionals, memorization of fingerings for the bassoon (and every other instrument), etc., don’t tell me you could do my job.

3. We have to constantly remind people why what we do is important, for fear of losing our programs.

This is what happened to the last guy who threatened to cut music.

 I’d say most music teachers live in constant fear that we’re going to lose our jobs. We fear it not just for ourselves, but for our students. After all, who do you think inspired us to teach music? That’s right – our music teachers. Without music programs in schools, we risk losing part of our culture for the future. When we examine past cultures, what do we use to judge how civilized they were? Paintings, musical compositions, architecture, tools, language, and clothing. In other words – ART. In fact, we use the fine arts of past cultures to judge how much they knew about our current so-called “core subjects.”

Do you think people in the future are going to look at our standardized test scores to see how well we lived? Of course not. They’re going to study our ability to create ART.

And along the same lines….

4. We really hate using other subject areas to justify our subject.

If one more person mentions the “Mozart Effect” I’ll scream!

Yes, it’s totally true that instruction in music helps people to understand math and science better. It raises college entrance test scores. It forms new synapses in the brain, connecting the two hemispheres better than any other subject can. In fact, stroke patients who are no longer able to speak can sometimes still sing songs and use that for speech therapy. So yeah, I guess you should learn music because it makes you smarter.

But…

Music teachers are so tired of using that spiel in order to defend what we do. We didn’t go into teaching music because we wanted to get better at math. We want what we do to be valued for its own purpose. We want people to think it’s important to have music in schools, well, just because it is! Imagine your life without music.

Silent commercials and movies, with the exception of dialogue. Awkward silences while shopping. Silent car rides. All in all, pretty boring. We teach music because it’s like painting for your ears. It expresses emotions. It can even change your emotions.

5. People think that you can’t test what we teach, and that every student should be given an A.

Brian was devastated that his daughter didn’t pass choir. After all, she sang during at least half of the days she was there.

Music teachers are data-driven teachers who use research and self-reflection to constantly assess the effectiveness of their instruction and to improve their teaching methods, just as any other teacher does. Yes, you can give a test on how well little Johnny plays the trumpet. The notes are either right or wrong, in tune or not, played for the correct duration or not, and so on. Using a rubric, it is possible to assign fair grades to students based upon performances and written tests that are based upon facts taught during class. No, your child should not be given an automatic A in a performance-based class. Grades are earned based on your child’s demonstration that he or she has mastered the skills taught in class, which are based upon the academic content standards in music.

6. We really do love our jobs – and our students!

We mean it. We are some of the only teachers who literally get to watch our students grow up. Music teachers usually have their students for multiple consecutive years and form great bonds with them. Our jobs are super fun and best of all, we get to do what we love every day – make music.