NYTimes article on the growing economic division between upper and lower income students in U.S. universities.
We haven't progressed much from Bourdieu's 1971 reality in “Unequal Education and the Reproduction of the Social Division of Labor.”
Sunday, April 28, 2013
NYTimes article on the growing economic division between upper and lower income students in U.S. universities.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Friday, April 05, 2013
Frog thinks Toad is already there, in the same latitude, sharing a parallel evening and similar climate. Frog imagines, “if I were to get into the car right now, and start driving, I could arrive at Toad’s apartment at 4am!...Although that might startle Toad…”
But it won’t, because, as I mentioned, Toad is not there yet. (And also, frogs can’t drive.)
And so I told Frog, “be patient, my friend, Autumn will come soon.”
Saturday, February 09, 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Arthur Fowler, Noriko Shigehara, and others (whose name I don´t know) play at the tiny Checkerboard Jazz Bar (Asagaya, Tokyo).
I had read about the mythical, sophisticated music place several times in H. Murakami´s work: the jazz bar/café in Tokyo. I had imagined hundreds of CDs and records of old jazz bands carefully stacked by aficionados in tight wooden squares and rectangles along walls in a dark, timeless bar. Last Friday I experienced it in non-fiction: sitting knees-to-back, shoulder-to-wall on little stools. Maybe in total 12 stools, 12 respectful listeners. The place must have been about 6 by 14 feet. One couldn´t move (it was tricky to take this photo). But a lack of space did not create a repressive feeling, quite the opposite, it seemed not to matter who you were or who you sitting next to, I lost track of time and felt a cozy, melting exception, for which I was very grateful.
Jazz café recommendations from Arthur san (hard to find in English!)
Some of Tokyo’s top jazz players play at the Big River, as well as a range of other folks, including us. The “Master” there is fairly good at English and is a good person. It’s about as small as the Checkerboard, but a more “serious jazz” atmosphere. Some of the jazz fans and musicians here like it exactly because when the music is on (30-minute sets), there’s no talking or ordering, so it’s all about watching very good players from the front row. Big River:
This little place is around the corner and down the block on the street that runs along-side the Higashi-Nakano station. I haven’t gone in yet. Thelonious:
Here’s a link to another place that is highly regarded in the jazz world of Tokyo. I’ve only been there once. Meg:
And this place, right up the street from Takadanobaba station is really small! Intro:
Oh, and here’s one other place, just past Meiji-doori on Waseda-doori. It’s on the second floor. I’ve walked by it many times, but haven’t paid the fees to see a show there yet. Sunny Side:
Last Friday at Sunny Side Jazz Café it was open mic night:
Thursday, January 10, 2013
“Don’tworry. Youreallyarepartofhere, really. Alwayshavebeen, always willbe. Itallstartshere, itallendshere. Thisisyourplace. It’stheknot. It’stiedtoeverything.”
“Everything. Thingsyoulost. Thingsyou’regonnalose. Everything. Here’swhereitalltiestogether.”
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
|Tabiwaya, Rebeka, Semaema, and Naomi. July 2012.|
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Saturday, August 11, 2012
An attempt to write something. Again in a geo-transition period (Grinnell-New Zealand in 2009; New Zealand-West Chester 2012), during which my mind becomes mush. Only the most basic words float in the bowl.
I just watched the film Tony Takitani, based on H. Murakami´s short story of the same title. The general plot centers around the loneliness of a man and the relationship with his late wife who was obsessed with buying expensive clothes. The story resonates with what I´ve been experiencing these days. I have spent $______ (a very large amount) in less than a week. I have never ever spent money like this before nor have I ever had the desire to. Plane tickets, apartment deposit and first month rent, new laptop, new furniture… Having to leave so much behind in New Zealand has meant having to re-buy so many things, again. A waste of time? (Not in the long run.) While I can feel a moment of excitement at purchasing something new, or finding some interesting design or color, overall, having to consume so much (especially at massive corps like IKEA and Bed Bath and Beyond) leaves me with a very empty feeling, sometimes a guilty feeling. I suppose I could enjoy it more if I was sharing the shopping. But, I´m shopping alone and placing the objects in a single apartment where they will live only with me. Hopefully I will have company at some time. “So-and-so, I´d like you to meet Volmar Swivel Chair.”
What really matters? It´s all so relative; writing this will make no difference whatsoever. I just like to see the font of the published blog entry.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I sit and sit
and live the slow footsteps
new tramping boots
to the right of me --
ingrained splatter and soft green fuzz
to the left --
broken bottle brushed into the side of an old building
the quiet dampness of last night's sprinkle
the sun will come and warm me up
I wish it wouldn't be so shy!
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
A zillion miles away won´t stop me
from thinking about you this morning with
these particular morning feelings
influenced by last night´s particular dreams
these particular pijamas,
this chocolate breakfast,
and this carpet smell.
Will be repeated on the other side of the world,
about 4 hours later.
But from my memory,
I think you will be in
different and familiar colors,
different and familiar pijamas,
different and familiar breakfast and smells
I remember that
right now you´re sleeping,
but in about 4 hours you will sit up and find yourself in a geographical deja vu.
This doubly uncertain future
won´t stop me
from thinking about you.
Friday, January 27, 2012
two nouns in Japanese that don't exist as single words in English or Spanish:
はごたえ = hagotae = the texture a food item has when you chew it
のどごし = nodogoshi = the feeling when a certain food item goes down your throat
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Yesterday on the subway there was a dad and daughter sitting in front of me. The young girl was half smiling half figgity/nervous. I looked up at the dad, and he said to me: "es la primera vez que sube al metro" (it´s her first time on the subway).
Saturday, December 17, 2011
[The city] isn’t just a place to live, to shop, to go out and have kids play. It’s a place that implicates how one derives one’s ethics, how one develops a sense of justice, how one learns to talk with and learn from people who are unlike oneself, which is how a human becomes human. (Sennet, “Civitas” 83)
- found new library, Sofia Barat on career Girona where I browsed through 15M related comic book "Revolution Complex" and discovered a stretchy transparent plastic book cover. i liked this. i asked the librarian where one could find this, she was nicer than most local strangers I talk to, she told me "probably in any stationary store"
- I decided i wanted to buy the book because it could be useful for my teaching/research, so I walked towards the Raval neighborhood, towards the CCCB. While I was in the Raval I stopped to tie my shoe and an older woman in approached me, maybe French (from her accent), she was looking for the Facultad de Geografía y Filosofía. I took her there and we chatted
- browsed books at the CCCB and purchased "Revolution Complex" with a 5% discount
- leaving the CCCB, in the Plaza de los Ángeles I saw some pee trickling down the sidewalk. I often see trickling pee, but this time it was more than the usual. my eyes followed it to source. An old thin man with blond and white hair had peed his blue jeans... he stared at me with half-closed eyes and his mouth drooped open...
- I continued forward on Ferlandina street and I passed a young African chatarrero (why define him as African? because I´m 99% sure he was an African immigrant and because his skin color is related to his precarious situation). he had accumulated several junk items in a cart. some will critique my response, but I felt bad. it has to be really shitty to make a living going through garbage. I thought about my money in the bank and how much money I spend on sweets. i turned around, walked back towards him and handed him 10 euros and kept walking. This made me feel elitist, and I don´t like that, but I didn´t know what else to do, i only mention it here because it was a yet another unexpected encounter with a social difference and because the dominating media and knowledge-makers ignore chatarreros, as if they didn't exist.
- islamic pastelería. bought two baklava, one chicken curry roll, and one water.
- changed direction, wanted to get photos of the Forat de la vergonya plaza. Walked towards the back of the Boqueria market. A Murakami moment--I spotted a very interesting fenced off Jardin dels gats on the side of a small plaza (Cat Garden). A bit stinky but colorful and safe playground for stray cats.
- Then I came across some red leaves growing down a building behind the Boqueria. my housemate Joan had previously shown me a picture of these. I was taking a picture of this area when two girls approached me and asked for directions to the Guell Palace. the map was in Korean. I walked with them for about 5 minutes showing them where they needed to go and told them that I liked Korean film and we mentioned a couple titles. They seemed really happy.
- I looked at the sky trying to figure out what time it was. I needed to meet a friend to see a film at 5pm. It usually gets dark at 5:30pm and it still seemed quite light out. So, I headed over towards Forat de la vergonya. along the way I spotted a clock somewhere-- 4:50pm. Shoot! I rushed to the Urquioana metro stop and got on the yellow line, I was going to be late for the movie and I didn't have a way to contact my friend... (notice my difficulty in comparison to others'.)
- After the movie ("Interferencies", it was ok...) I went to my friend´s place. She had a migraine and needed to take some medicine. She also needed to meet her boyfriend´s mother, who is from a far away country. She didn´t want to go because the lady is not that nice. she asked me if I would come along. I said yes. We met her at a coffeeshop and I ate a palmera de chocolate. This woman had suffered and continues to suffer from domestic violence and I could see it in her face. It was hard for me to digest this...
- Nevertheless, we were still hungry so we went to eat a piadina, an italian flat bread grilled sandwich. it was very good.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
dominos, soccer, benches, and a garden.
"forat de la vergonya"´s year-round citizen-sustained garden and free vegetables for all in the middle of a dense hodge podge of buildings dating from 20 to 2000 years ago. this area (actually it´s a large plaza) represents a citizen-based victory after a long fight against speculators. a decade ago the municipal gov´t was going to construct a private parking structure here. a large portion of the area was demolished, citizens evicted, small local businesses shut down, police squashed the protests... but after several ongoing protests, the bulldozers withdrew and the people got their plaza back, but of course it was a mess. since then, the local neighborhood association has cleaned it up and maintained it themselves, but police still circulate the plaza.
More info: http://nevada.ual.es:81/redURBS/BlogURBS/los-agujeros-de-la-memoria-urbana/
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Returning to Barcelona´s streets after a long time away is strangely as easy as mindlessly slipping into an ______[insert old piece of clothing]______.
So much info and mundane responses that had not consciously entered my mind for two years have seamlessly and effortlessly come back to me. for example—
knowing exactly where to look when crossing certain streets, and how to manuever through certain crowded areas,
anticipating street light signals,
reproducing the local way of interacting with strangers (dryly, kind of depressed like),
not giving foul smells a second thought (urine, car exhast, sewer mold),
speaking words that I haven´t said or heard in years (cundir, rentable, parches, despistar, difundir...),
enthusiastically stating a specific preference for a type of bread, cheese or bean that I don´t even recall liking so much (garrafón!)…..
It's as if I have snapped into a different me, a me who has been here in Barcelona all long while the real me has been away.
(Oh this is very 1Q84, parallel realities with glitches.) Yes, some things aren´t registering or matching up and have stopped me in my path. (This is what I expected would happen since the city inevitably would have changed while I was away.) For example, I don´t recognize the new intersection lights, or the red paint on the streets at intersections; I got lost because I got the Ronda de Sant Pau mixed up with la Avenida del Paralelo, and I got turned around in the underground train-metro division at Plaza de Cataluña. Example 4 and example 5
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
For those living in the US and receiving loads of junkmail, here´s a very easy and non-violent way to protest financial corruption (and even support your local post office).
When our representatives don´t listen, we have to get creative. This is very creative.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Re-reading old notes on Henri Lefebvre I came across a passage that seemed so multi-applicable, not just to space, but all objects of analysis across time. Here are a couple lines of it:
"A comparable approach is called for today, an approach which would analyse not things in space, but space itself, with a view to uncovering the social relationship embedded in it. The dominant tendency fragments space and cuts it up into pieces. It enumerates the things, the various objects, that space contains. [. . . ]" (page 90, The Production of Space, 1974)
Someone could say this is naive or obvious because the ideas on social division have been re-worked and re-published over the last 4 decades, but we only have to look around, look at our institutions, the organization of our neighborhoods, our personal work environments, and local ways of political representation to see that the divided conditions Lefebvre assume are overwhelmingly present today, and so his proposal to disclose them is still urgent and worthwhile.
This continuity also evokes the unoriginal and generalized question as to why we have not come very far (this could be measured at least in terms of humans killed per yer) after decades of progressive discourse. I think a main cause lies in the fact that our centers of knowledge and education are still too spatially, geographically and socially isolated, "cut up into pieces." An epitome could be the typical American college campus, separated from the rest of society and the diversity of the nearest city by approximately 30 miles of flat cement and thousands of dollars in tuition fees. In spite of the internet and freer access to information, the reworking and republishing of ideas on social division have ocurred predominantly within these isolated campuses.
The opposite of separation/division would be the lack of any at all, which would be like spatial relativity and chaos. But he's not calling for chaos. I can't prove it right now, but I imagine he's calling for a more public recognition and more democratic dealing with division.
I'll end this post on a related tangent. Lefebvre's passage links me to another spatial and multi-applicable passage I came across the other day in Fernando Arrabal's Carta al General Franco, which was written three years before The Production of Space and reflects on the violence and hatred of the Franco regime:
"España no era sino un cárcel compuesta de pequeñas cárceles que se precipitaban hacia el infierno." (42) ["Spain was a prison composed of little prisons, which precipitated towards hell."]
(I'd be grateful if you could leave feedback because I am currently isolated!)
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The economic ways of some prostitutes and immigrants, thieves, and pick pockets. Their realities of Barcelona were projected on decorative pins and sold in the local bookstore La Central.
Here you can see the pins foregrounding a colorful Bus Turistic:
The municipal government must have found their content scandalous as it has ordered the removal of these pins from the bookstore.
These pins fulfilled at least a valuable component of the alternative tourist package, and more seriously and lesser known, they add to the pile of proof that the contentious workings of city branding are omnipresent.
A few determine what will and will not be acceptable for public knowledge.
Full article here. The artists have made their pins available for purchase directly from their website here.
Friday, September 02, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
"Cuando las moscas del dolor vienen a perturbar la nostalgia, lo más conveniente es ponerse un libro delante de los ojos. Uno se siente gratificado, colmado de dones impredecibles. Al leer un libro, uno se siente lleno de cosas que no se pueden explicar." (Nuria Amat, Casa de verano)
"When the flies of pain come to disturb nostalgia, the best thing is to put a book in front of your eyes. You feel gratified, loaded with unpredictable gifts. Reading a book, you feel full of things that can’t be explained."
Monday, August 22, 2011
High up in the clouds, J tries to catch a lost lamb.
Eventually, somehow, the owners got news of their lost lamb, they appeared in their truck, caught it by hand, lifted it up (it looked heavy) and dropped in on the other side of the fence. Very Haruki Murakami! And considering what happened the following day, I would like to write a short story later when I have time, of the grotesque genre (but maybe by the time I have time-- the visceral feeling and hence creativity will have died down).
The following day, we headed towards Mount Cook. It was sunny, blue sky, fluffy clouds (looked like lambs?) big brownish-yellow snow-capped mountains all around us. At one point we came across a large flock of lambs that recently had their coats shaved. There must have been about 120 of them. They were running along the highway towards Mount Cook. It was fun to stop the car for a flock of lambs (there´s very little traffic on this highway). When I slowly approached in the car I was able to get a close look at them; and what I saw was so repugnant and stomach-churning that I won´t ruin your day by writing it here or posting the photos. (At least not for now!) Lambs don´t live such a cute pastoral life as many many imagine. I will never be able to think "cute" when i think of lambs anymore. I´ll hint, though, that it wasn´t death, and that the color and texture of the lambs´recently-shaved coats--snow-white, thick and wavy--emitted a tremendous emotional effect, created a sharp color-affective contrast with...the grotesque aspect.
There were two other times when I experienced this feeling. Fictional textual experiences. One was in Michael Haneke´s excellent film Caché, and the other was in one of the best novels ever: Haruki Murakami´s Chronicle of a Wind-Up Bird when a soldier is skinned alive. (...)
May be on my way to becoming a vegetarian.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
"Feminism is anti-sexism. [. . . ] We have created no schools founded on feminist [anti-sexist] principles for girls and boys, for women and men. By failing to create a mass-based educational movement to teach everyone about feminism [anti-sexism] we allow mainstream patriarchal mass media to remain the primary place where folks learn about feminism, and most of what they learn is negative." -- bell hooks, Feminism is for EverybodyDirector Nobuhiro Yamashita, Japan 2005.
Linda Linda Linda relates the endearing and humorous story of a group of four high school girls who put their hearts into performing as a rock band at their high school’s festival.
With talented actresses and a simple storyline, director Nobuhiro Yamashita creates an innocent, tender, and feminist [anti-sexist] reality in which social prejudices, high school cliques, and vanity are nonexistent. It could be considered a “girl power” film or subtly a “gender-bender” one, in the sense that, it is what life, or at least high school, would look like if "girls could be girls."
Driven by friendship and dedication, and undeterred by their imperfect music skills, the four unpretentious girls are determined to perform together as a band. Practicing incessantly and under time pressure, each band member has charm in her own humble way. Bae Doona in particular, the school’s foreign exchange student from Korea and lanky-legged wide-eyed vocalist, overcomes her initial foreign language and singing insecurities to add color to the otherwise quiet and mundane suburban high school. Messy hair, scuffed knees and no make-up--the band surpasses the passive kawaii Japanese school-girl stereotype. Unlike most high school stories in which the girls try to secure a boyfriend, or deal with teenage awkwardness, or win first place or top grades in something, these protagonists put their energy and emotions into simply making a rock band work as a team. A commendable goal, in my opinion.
The film manages to be a "feel good" one without the cheesy Hollywood ending. After you view the it you might have a smile on your face and the songs in your head. And if you're like me, you'll be wishing your high school had been like this one!
Monday, April 25, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
eyes become like heavy sticky lenses
looking out an everyday window
the depth-of-view always causes reflection and emotion
that can go any which way
a heart beats so strongly it shakes the bed, like a shivering rabbit
wanting to slip a hand behind the chest, grasp it to calm it down
pills, sleep, and novels to question what´s real
finding a little relief in walking, listening to cliche songs, and comparing oneself to barbaric situations on the news
imagining the little details that have become unknown...
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sayoonara Tokyo desu
Sayoonara high-speed internet and fancy toilets
Sayoonara exquisite noodles ~~~~~~~
cute and commendable public transportation
Sayoonara careful spatial organization and calm weather
Sayoonara to so many people who smiled and greeted me daily but with whom I couldn’t communicate because of my poor language skills
to the humans and cats at Waseda University who made me feel at home and gave me so many ideas,
to the people working (long shifts) at the coffeeshops on Waseda Dori and the 24-hour neighborhood grocery store:
I greatly appreciate your kindness, poise, and different ways. Sumimasen for my inability to tell you so.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Sayoonara Part I
What really fascinated me about this coffeeshop was that, although we were joined by such a small space, drinking the same couple drinks (matcha, tea, coffee, the menu was quite limited), sharing the same enclosed air and coffee smells, hearing the same coffee-grinding noises and background chitter-chatter, each of us were in completely different worlds. We seemed to be wrapped up in different stories, in separate emotional capsules, and I think the isolation is visible in this photo.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Here are the results from my 2nd playtime w a pocket video camera and iMovie. I recorded my journey from my apartment to a very busy intersection called "Hachiko". It took about 20 minutes and in the video I´ve reduced that to 7, which is probably still too long...but at least those who are interested can see what some of these public spaces look like.
(Warning--the jittery parts cause dizziness.)
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
As of today adult humans living in Basque Country and earning 15,000 euros or less a year are guaranteed decent housing.
What a difference from throwing people out of their homes when they lose their job!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
yesterday, walking through the labyrinth of narrow neon streets in Shibuya, i had a déjà vu moment of walking through similar streets in the historic quarter of Seville 12 years ago. it was weird, like two superimposed maps and times under my feet.
This photo probably doesn't convey the
at the base of those buildings, on top of those roofs, and within each of those multicolored squares.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Fluffy was not an indoor cat. Since she traveled to Madrid when she was a mid-sized teen she learned that the world has a lot to offer, and so the domestic realm doesn’t suit her. The American suburbs, for Fluffy, are the domestic indoors exteriorized—privatized, predictable, philistine, repressive, lazyboy'd, apathetic, eco-wasteful. The white short-haired apolitical, patriarchal cat families seem to feel most comfortable there. In the suburbs animal injustice and diversity are masked by multinational strip-malls, neutered nature, and the lack of any public space (where one could resist or get away from its void). A lot like a bad dream. A long time indoors, or in the suburbs, and she feels limited and drained of her physical and mental energy. But clearly aware that she must leave, and grateful that she can. Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood reminded her of this and motivated her to write something. (H. Murakami is adept to writing about the metaphysical depths of the feline specie.)
Fluffy couldn’t continue with Norwegian Wood. One quarter of the way through and she put it aside, curled up, and fell asleep in her temporary suburban accomodation. She didn’t want to read another story about elite undergraduate relationship-explorations with a 1970s Americana soundtrack. (Murakami's other novels were much more original!) But a couple hours later the novel revisted her, in her dream, or nightmare. Fluffy was taken back to the loneliness of her years in East Quad at U of Cheshire, where mid-size cats “became of age,” and she was excluded. As usual her hearing apparatuses and glasses didn’t exist; she could only see red-orangeness, and sounds were muffled. But somehow she managed to look out her dorm window and see that--they were moving! The entire dorm was on train tracks! They were taking her somewhere! Fluffy managed to escape through a flimsy hollow-core door. Later she discovered Kitkat in a classroom. Kitkat was crying like never before. Fluffy licked Kitkat on the ear, and Kitkat sobbed that her thesis adviser had decided to transfer to a different university. Fluffy woke up upset and decided that she would not take Norwegian Wood back with her to Tokyo. Today, while packing, she placed the novel on a shelf. (If for some reason she really wants to read it later she has it in pdf file.)
Is Fluffy too hard on the suburb? Should she give Norwegian Wood another try?
I wonder if Murakami knows how far his story has traveled, how it has been read through the eyes of suburban homes, farm houses, flourescent-lighted Walmarts on the other side of the world, how much his story has twisted and turned into other stories, incorporating, leaving behind, branching out into other experiences along the way. What difference does it make if he knows or not. Well, the difference would be if a majority within a democracy could recognize intertextuality, if so, it would improve the quality of everyday life, and save some lives. Yesterday, in her script reading on the Tucson shooting, automaton S. Palin (stomach cringes), on national television, denied collective influence. In other words, ideology and intertextuality... If this is true, why does she even bother speaking? (Speaking entails responding to something in the past.) As long as the public continues to be misinformed, literature will continue to be a vital antagonism.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
紅葉狩り momijigari. A Japanese word meaning "to watch the autumn leaves change colors."
This activity may be somewhat common in Tokyo (in Autumn).
Some momiji trees that live in the city are artificially illuminated at night.
Autumn in Central Japan lasts about two months (mid-October to mid-December).
The momiji leaves are small and thin, like paper stars.
A long shutter speed after sundown can intensify their color.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Intro: I'm going to keep a log of my observations about my new, expensive, and much-needed ears that I just received, thanks to J's encouragement. I've decided to make the log public (on this blog) because few people experience and/or talk about this and because it will motivate me to keep this updated, which will facilitate the adjustment period. So far my observations have collided into three categories--physical feeling, positive/neutral new sounds, and negative new sounds--so that's how I'll organize my log.
Hypothesis: over the next couple weeks the negative observations will decrease and I will feel more relaxed, less on alert, and a little less auditorily conscious.
short concentration span
Positive/Neutral new sounds
I don't see them, but there are birds everywhere, many different kinds, even downtown.
what I thought was a car motor running turned out to be water running into a gutter.
my keyboard makes a soft noise when I type.
my printer has a little fan that runs for a couple minutes after I print something.
noises outside my office window (birds, cars beeping, someone hammering).
wind sound is MUCH LESS distracting than before!
trucks sound like monsters when they are going uphill.
I can hear all cars now so I feel more confidence jaywalking.
much more than before, I am aware from what direction noises are coming.
there is music coming from my colleague's office.
music from my laptop is a bit more nuanced, more "high frequencies."
there is some fan or soft motor noise in my apartment...
random thumps from the apartment above.
Negative new sounds
my jacket makes an annoying crackling noise when I walk!
peoples' voices sound weird, kind of booming.
my voice sounds like I'm speaking on a microphone, especially when there is background noise.
because the microphones are now behind my ears, when my near-ear hair moves (like when I'm walking) it makes a brushing-rustling-crunchy-plastic-bag noise over the microphone. I might need to start pulling my hair back.
Normal, as I usually feel, kind of tired.
Positive/Neutral new sounds
In a quiet situation, I don´t hear soft static as I did before.
the couch creaks.
pretty comfortable outside, sometimes I forget I'm wearing new ears.
Negative new sounds
These new ears are not doing so well when there are different sound sources. An example: the microwave was running on my left side, and then I played some music on my laptop (in front of me) and within about 3 seconds the left ear faded out the sound of the music almost completely blocking it and mostly just picking up the sound of the microwave. I hope this doesn´t turn out to be a big annoyance because the next step up technology is $3000 more...
there is a fan in my classroom, there are fans or motors everywhere!
my voice doesn't sound clear or loud enough when I teach, a bit muffled... and students' voices seem a bit too soft from a distance.
when there is a loud low-frequency noise, there seems to be some lagging between the time the sound is made and the time it gets into my ears.
this might be my imagination, but it seems that when there is a loud noise on one side it sort of blocks sound out of that side, and then over the next 1-4 seconds it increases the general volume on the opposite side! this is very frustrating/confusing. I will have to double check to see if this is really happening.
Positive/Neutral new sounds
I´m comfortably working at home with my ears. Before, home alone = comfortable deafness/silence.
In a quiet situation, these new ears work very well in picking up minor/soft sounds (a fan, something far away...).
Negative new sounds
Something weird happened again when there was a long ongoing fan noise on one side... must figure out what´s happening... I think I figured it out with a bit of microwave experimentation: when one side hears the loud/medium ongoing fan the closest ear focuses on that noise solely, blocking out other noises, then after about 4-5 seconds, as if it were adjusting to the new acoustic situation, it gradually starts to "open up" and incorporate a better balance of all the surrounding sounds... This lag-time confuses my brain.
I'm convinced now that there might be a problem with both or the left one. Today I had two meetings in semi-noisy public places and I noticed that occasionally the focus, regardless if I was speaking or not, was moving from my mouth-outwards to include background noise-and then back to my mouth again. This meant that I could hear myself clearly and then not...etc.
Even though the audiologist insisted that the volume level was set correctly in both ears, simple sounds (mouse click, keyboard...) are in fact louder in the right ear. I´m pretty sure this will need to be corrected, but I´m wondering if I should get it corrected now or wait a while in case this is just part of the "adjustment."
I ate at a restaurant tonight and it was pretty unbearable. Voices, including my own, were on volume-par with tons of background noise. There was no "depth" as the audiologist put it. It sounded all pixelated (after all, my ears are digital), little clarity, and I could barely make out any conversations on my left side (this possibly could be improved a little bit by increasing the volume on the left side--a feature to which I don't have automatic access). It made speaking, listening, following conversations so unnatural that, since I was surrounded by people that didn't know me, I had to politely interrupt several one-on-one conversations to say "look, I can't hear, I'm dealing with these new ears..." which seemed to have a bit of shock factor to it (I guess because it broke protocol). This is disappointing because it means I ought to have the next up technology level, but it´s another $3,000, which I don´t have... [sigh].
Day 4 (gave up--increased the volume by 2 db in left ear)
Positive/Neutral new sounds
Giving oral exams is so much better! I can hear my voice clearly, I can hear my soft-spoken students. What a relief!
Positive/Neutral new sounds
Wind on windows. Previously I had only heard this in movies.
Negative new sounds
My new ears prioritize low-frequency fan noises (even when they´re far away) over other noises to the point that sometimes it sounds as if the ears have stopped working because I can´t hear anything. (This might be related to what a reader has called "compression.")
I´m not sure, but I´m wondering if the left ear is not picking up high-frequency noises as well as the right ear.
It´s Saturday. I´m staying at home to work and I need my peace and concentration. No ears today. My brain and ears are tired and need a break from hearing technology.
Negative new sounds
I think these are three more pretty-frustrating "compression" or "directional" issues:
- I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth. The washing machine was running on my left. Suddenly the volume on my right ear notably increased (maybe by 3 or 4 decibels).
- I was talking face-to-face with my housemate. The washing machine was running, about 7 meters behind me and was stopping and starting intermittently while it went through the cycles. My ears were fluctuating in volume and focus making it quite difficult to follow the conversation with my housemate.
- I was at a birthday party this evening. There were about 10 people in front of me and to my left. I was chatting with three people who also were in front of me and to my left a little. Through out the whole 3 hours or so the volume in my left and right ears kept fluctuating asynchronously like every 5-10 minutes... I would be speaking to someone and half way through my sentence the volume would suddenly decrease or increase in one ear. I have no idea what was triggering this, but I think it might be related to the "directional" feature of the ears (although sometimes the volume would go up or down regardless if I had moved my head or not). This was very frustrating, and maybe and unfortunately the last straw/indication that I cannot deal with these ears. I need to get different ones, or these need major correction. Hopefully this won't require spending thousands of dollars more.
disillusioned, losing patience
In quiet, non-conversational settings, the ears work very well.
- fan in one ear --> volume decreases in opposite ear. Doesn't make any sense.
- ears do not work with telephone use if there is background noise.
- on a busy street (background noise) i was speaking to someone and about 1 minute later both ears suddenly amplified my voice. ???
After yesterday´s low, today was a better day.
- I had a Department meeting and my ears worked very well. I heard almost everyone, almost everything they said, including my boss who I used to always have trouble understanding.
- Then I taught for 3.5 hours and quality was so so. Overall, my ears fared well but they did change focus, volume level, and clarity quite a bit (from background music, to my voice, to students' individual comments and students' collective chatter). This shifting, as usual, was undepredictable, unnatural, confusing and made me lose my confiderence a couple times, but overall I could hear louder, more than before.
- I am getting used to some new sounds!! Small sounds such as those listed on days 1 and 2 seem natural to me now and don't bother me (my voice, other peoples' voices, noises seeping into my office...).
- I have to wear my hair pulled up, otherwise it makes to much noise over the microphones. I'm wondering, though, if I could wear the microphones pieces on the outside of my ears instead of behind my ears. Of course this would look strange, but it would avoid the hair problem.
- A couple times while teaching today I found myself in the "restaurant" type of scenario. The classroom was loud because students were engaging in a speaking activity in small groups, and then a student would ask me a question, but the amplified background noise blared out what the student was trying to ask me...
- new difficult scenario: large enclosed spaces. Ears focus on far away medium-volume background noise and when someone speaks directly to me, 1 meter in front of me, I can barely make their voice out amongst the background noise; the ears mesh it all together.
- While I still struggle with English, foreign languages, namely Spanish, are coming out of my mouth with great ease!!! How can this be? Maybe because the foreign languages I speak are phonetic and English isn´t... and maybe this phonetic-ness has something to do with the new sounds my ears are picking up... ? I think the audiologist mentioned something about consonants being sharper. (For those who don´t know-- the ability to hear is directly related to the ability able to speak.)
- part of this "compression" issue is that, in a situation with a variety of noises, my ears asynchronously feel like they are plugged up (like airplane plugged up) and then unplugged [repeat]. While one side focuses or zooms in on 1 sounds, the other side plugs up. Occasionally I find myself moving my jaw around in order to try to get my ears "unplugged." This has been the case since day 1. I thought about it today while teaching. My students have absolutely no idea about the crap psychedelic sounds that are entering my ears, so incredibly different from what is entering their ears. Even if I try to explain it...
- Taught an advanced-level two-student class today in Spanish in a quiet room and acoustics were very good. The words were coming into my ears and out of my mouth with more ease than ever before.
Went to the audiologist today. He adjusted several of the features and I think my ears are working significantly better now!! If they fare bearable and audiable in a restaurant setting, then these will be a keeper!
Yesss! Things are so much miraculously better!
Hair crunch problem is gone.
Directional/focus volume mumbo jumbo is gone!
And the most irritating-- the compression/plug problem is pretty much gone!
For the first time since I can remember, hearing feels almost totally natural now!
I taught today for 3.5 noisy hours and everything (music, my voice, students singular and collective voices...) sounded great except for when I spoke loudly (see negative).
(I haven´t been in a restaurant/coffeeshop yet, we´ll see what happens...)
There are two small problems that perhaps the audiologist can fix.
- One is that cars are unbearably loud now, and trucks don´t sound like monsters anymore, they sound like angry dinosaurs. I don´t know why, but this can be resolved by getting out the remote control and decreasing the volume.
- The other problem is that if I´m in an enclosed area and am speaking loudly there tends to be a bit of a boggle-rattle noise with the highest frequencies, as if the ear technology can´t take the sharp loudness and is boggling on the verge of busting its acoustic threshold. It´s not terrible, but it didn´t happen before.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
one of the reasons why I love being in Barcelona is because I discover so many personally meaningful + exciting things everyday.
this is what I discovered this morning: Kunst Aufräumen! The creator, Ursus Wehrli, rearranges well-known paintings to make his own in a way that, for him, is more "organized" (aufräumen means organized). A million big ideas come to my mind. Subjectivity. Relativity. Life. Tolerance. Creativity/Imagination. Truth. (De)contextualization. Figurative vs Abstract representation. Resistance. Infinity. I´ve come up w a plan to use this process in the classroom.
(Maybe later I will write more here.)
Friday, June 11, 2010
playing around w panorama + perspective:
abandoned lot turned into petanca court
road turned into pedestrian leisure space
homes turned into construction site (do you see the winking eye? it´s just an optical illusion. click on the photo and see it up close!)plaza turned into star