Thursday, March 12, 2009

Odds and Ends Thursday 5

At the Chargés-Affaires’ house last night, a bunch of us were comparing notes on the weather, and we all agreed that the last couple weeks have seemed hotter than usual. Erin attributed the perception of heat to a lack of wind. And you know what else flares up besides the heat when there’s no wind? The flies and mosquitoes. Much easier to fly and bite when you don’t have to worry about air currents. Here are some other odds and ends from the week:
  • Do you ever find it strange the things your brain remembers? During dinner tonight, I heard just a few of the opening chords, and I knew right away that the song was “Just a Gigolo” by Louis Prima. It was one of those out-of-mind experiences where by brain did a double take on itself. I was more weirded out that proud. How did I know that? Why did I know that?
  • The printer in my computer lab is out of toner. I have no idea when it will be refilled. This is difficult for me. I don’t print much, but when I do print, I completely take it for granted that I can print. We ran out of toner on Tuesday morning, and I’ve sat down to type something or allowed someone else to type something at least 7 or 8 times before I remember that there’s no use in typing it up because we can’t print.
  • During bike safety training, we were warned that dogs are a constant hazard and that they will chase you on your bike, and they often will bite if they catch you. Joey told us about a strategy in which you slow down while the dog is chasing you, and then take off as fast as you can. The change in speed confuses the dog and it will give up . Joey’s strategy TOTALLY WORKS.
  • At the concert tonight, the bluegrass band talked about how they were greeted at the airport by a band of Samoans playing strings, and they were blown away by the vocal harmonies. They witnessed those harmonies again when a high school student body sang for them yesterday. I need to get one of those mp3 recording devices so I can post a sample here. It’s amazing.
  • My favorite Louis Prima is his version of “Jump, Jive, and Wail,” which was prominently featured in a Gap advertisement back in the late 1990s. It was the “Everybody in Khakis” campaign where they used that still-spin effect (later made more popular by The Matrix franchise) with acrobatic swing dancers. It was a fascinating ad campaign illustrated by the fact that I remember it 10 years after the fact.
  • I’ve heard some horror stories about the computer skills of school secretaries in Samoa, but mine seems pretty fluent. I typed up a job application for the son of one of the teachers, and we had to have the secretary print it because the toner’s out in the lab. I felt like a bit of a jerk trying to walk her through the printing process. She knew exactly what she was doing.
  • Okay, I admit I’ve only implemented Joey’s strategy going downhill, but still, it works ridiculously well. In fact, I got it to work with 2 separate sets of dogs (they travel in herds) within the course of about 20 seconds this evening. I hate to anthropomorphize, but I swear the dogs already looked shocked when I hit the brakes, as though to ask, “That’s it? We’re done?” And then I took off again, and they completely gave up. “Screw it.”
  • I’m not talking about having the kids at my school practice their harmony for a recording. I’m talking about any given moment. I swear I’m not exaggerating that if you walked down the street and picked 2 random males and 2 random females, more often than not, the 4 would have gorgeous harmonics with absolutely no rehearsal.
  • It was just before Gap switched gears slightly with the string of arguably iconic ads where Gen-Xers sang songs and looked apathetic. The 3 I remember were the “Dress You Up in My Love,” “Just Can’t Get Enough,” and “Mellow Yellow” ads. Perhaps I watched too much TV back then, but I was a teenage male—the key demographic—and Gap ads were ubiquitous in my TV habits.
  • I can’t figure out how we can be out of toner. We’re only 2 months into the school year. But the fact that it actually has been quite an issue in the 3 days since we’ve run out of toner, it’s clear that we do a lot of printing. I’m going to start charging students when/if we ever get new toner: 10 sene per page if you print, 50 sene per page to make a photocopy.
  • I admit the downhill worked well because gravity assists in the accelerating part of the trick. I am a bit nervous to try it on flat ground, but the only reason I haven’t tried it yet is because the situation hasn’t arisen.
  • They were iconic enough that the water polo team did its own parody of the ads with “Everybody in Speedos.” That was gold. I still have the VHS somewhere.
  • Happy birthday, Margarita!
  • The bluegrass band played a Paul Simon cover tonight, “Gone at Last” from Still Crazy After All These Years. The guy introduced the song by saying, “Those of you who know Paul Simon know he’s awesome, and those of you who don’t know Paul Simon are awesome too because you have something great to look forward to.”
That’s all I got. Hope you’re awesome. Pictures below.

The bluegrass band, Student Loan. In addition to the Paul Simon cover, they did 2 Beatles songs. It was good.

Me and one of the year 13 students. I admit I don't know her name. It sounds like Tsetse, which would be a bad-ass name on account of the poisonous insects, but I don't think that's actually how she spells it.

This was my favourite part of the day today, I think. Today was Sports Day, which meant that about half the school left to go play rugby or netball. The last 2 classes of the day were canceled for the students who stuck around. Someone set up the volleyball net, and teachers and students played pick-up games. It felt more like the casual educational environment of a university rather than the ultra-defined student/teacher roles of American secondary schools.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday MATT! I found out two other people (nurses too, funnily enough) with the same birthday as ours. You however, are the first person I think of when I think of people who's birthdays are the same as mine. Hope you had a great one. (from the writing of it, you did).