I took a small video camera into the recording studio with my band, The Sofa Kings, and cut this small movie for our band website. I wrote or co-wrote four of the five songs we recorded, although I am not in the video much until near the end.
Peace (with microphones, electric guitars and drums),
Bear with me on this one: I was reading an article about the author Douglas Hofstadter (who wrote Gödel, Escher, Bach that I used to like to look at but never really could understand it all) and he now has a new book out called I Am A Strange Loop, and the concept of the paradox took hold in my mind.
Thus, another installment of my One Poem Every Month for a Year project.
Standing Inside this Strange Loop
Listen to the Poem
I am standing here inside this strange loop
of sentences — no, wait —
I am lying.
That can’t be true. I am not standing inside of this loop
but I am on the outside, looking in, on top of this tangled hierarchy,
and wondering where the path will take me if I were to surf
the contours of this geometry and skate along the horizon.
I am inside of Bach’s canon, scattershot with no way out,
as the melody folds in on itself —
can you hearhearhearhear me
or is that just another harmonic echo
embedded in the air, shaking the molecules as tremors in the drum?
Creating something that becomes itself is the gift of the magician
and with music, it’s not even there —
only your ears can see the notes landing like snowflakes,
melting, and moving through the cyclical journey
to become ice once again sometime in the distant future,
drawing you back to this memory of the music
in Bach’s own mind.
Up the down staircase, indeed,
as MC Escher — not of some rap-busting rhymes in time
but the artist of the brush and the pen —
visually sends me downstairs while my eyes go up
and my mind is sent spinning in exhausting circles
until one hand writes the other hand’s words
as I, me, the artist, the composer, completely disappears into myself.
Isn’t that just like the poet, too, tossing images into the world
and sounds flutterflutterflutter that coalesce into a theme
only when you stop looking for it?
Or maybe what I am saying here is completely untrue
because, really, I always speak the truth.
Like then, and then, and thenthenthenthenthen.
Logic is missing in this mayhem
and my world is precariously balanced
on the paradoxical threads of yet another
I just came across an article by Jakob Nielson that discusses the skills that young people should be learning. The one-sentence summary of the article is instructive: “Schools should teach deep, strategic computer insights that can’t be learned from reading a manual.” What he means is that schools should not teach to a certain platform or software program, but they should instruct along the lines of critical thinking and problem-solving that will come in handy no matter how technology changes (and it will change — we all know that).
Here is a list of the skills that Jakob says are vital:
- Search Strategies
- Information Credibility
- Battling Information Overload
- Presentation Skills
- Basic Debugging Techniques
- Understanding Usability Guidelines
You can read more at his site but I think this is a nice basic list to think about.
Peace (with the basics),
My classroom weblog site — The Electronic Pencil — was just chosen as the Site of the Week by TechLearning. Cool.
Name: The Electronic Pencil:
Here is what they said:
“This is an excellent example of teachers working together to communicate with students and parents by incorporating the use of technology. In addition to reviewing class work and projects, site visitors can find homework assignments, get an overview of projects for the year, and access the school’s Website. Hodgson reports that the blog has quickly become a place where students engage in authentic publication and learn lessons about digital literacy. Most importantly, these students are developing the sense of being members of a learning community.” — TechLearning
Peace (with pencils),
My rock band, The Sofa Kings, is heading into the recording studio this weekend and it is very exciting because I intend to record the experience on video, too. We have five songs that we intend to put down with the engineer, Paul, who has worked as an engineer extensively throughout our region and who plays with a bunch of, well, hard-hard rock bands. Our goal is record about 12 original songs by the end of 2007, so this is just the first batch for us.
Listen to The Sofa Kings
Four of the five songs are ones that I have written or co-written.
Here is a quick breakdown:
- Gravitational Pull — an older song that I wrote with John, the guitar player, about my wife and how everything seems centered on her (in a wonderful way). I sing on this one.
- Katrina Blows In — I wrote this one in the aftermath of the hurricane season and premiered it at my school where I teach during a benefit concert with an offshoot band I am in called The Millenium Bugs.
- Beacon in the Night — I wrote this one with John, with a sort of gospel feel to it. Don sings it.
- Stubborn Fool — I wrote this one with both Johns and although I do very little on it (just some back-up vocals), I think it is one of the strongest songs lyrically and pop-rock-wise (not a word but it fit).
- No More Mister Fun — I didn’t write any of this one. It is by John, the pianist, and Bob, the drummer. I am just BongoMon on this song.
(What is strange is that I don’t play sax on any of these songs. It just worked out that way. I will be blowing some horn on the next round of songs.)
Peace (with pop songs),