My original senior by me.

Rant About Public Education (Ranted By a High School Senior)

The Daily Post asks if I’m looking forward to starting classes. I laugh. From this point forward, the part-time philosopher takes over. (Heads up, you’ll need a minute for this one.)

The reason behind my satiric response is because public education in America is a joke. You arrive, emotionally corrupted (thanks MTV), at the doorstep of somebody’s high school. It is at this point that you realize, for ten years, you have learned absolutely nothing aside from counting and reading. It’s also somewhere in this vicinity that you realize you’ve reached multiple forks in a potentially life-threatening road. Take a deep breath; none of this even your fault.

So, you’re a part of the big HS and you’re in all these good ol’ ADVANCED PLACEMENT” classes. To your American friends and neighbors, you’re an A++ kid, but Americans tend to forget there are about 195 other countries sharing this planet. When you stack up against them (where it matters), you’re about a B-. And if you were a B- from the start, consider yourself remedial in comparison. You beat yourself over the head with a rolled up piece of paper that is your high school transcript because America made it very clear that in order to be ballin’, you must first succeed academically — unless your parents are rich … or you become an actress … or an athlete … or a musician … or a serial killer. Oh, so that’s what a loophole is. Congratulations, our education system is full of ‘em.

Back to this transcript. It’s almost as frightening as a criminal record. Classes you thought you got away with in middle school come back to haunt you. Here, it hits you. You probably should have started caring back in sixth grade. On paper, you hold your failures and successes along with the most annoying three letters you will ever come to know — next to LOL. It’s your GPA! For all your hard work, America has awarded you a number to quantify your intellectual greatness. This pisses me off. This is a way to rate the value of a child. If your GPA is high, you are ‘valuable’; America will buy you through scholarships and tuition, binding you with loans and academic standards. When you fail to meet these standards, everything prior to your downfall is worthless and they snatch your foundation out from under you, throwing you in the recycle bin to become someone else’s problem.

In order to prevent this happening, you attend school for eight hours a day where your educational mentors briefly and systematically skim over really important things. Alright, there’s a chance you have one or two OK instructors; there’s an even higher chance those instructors are either foreign or well-traveled. You think to yourself, “Where are all the other teachers like this?” They’re at the back of the orchard, of course; past the apples and oranges, growing from the good teacher trees and waiting to ripen so they can be picked and bagged, then bear the label: Professor. I think it’s time we wrapped this up.

Me looking forward to starting classes is a double-edged sword. I’m a senior and, naturally, I’m ready to take off running, arms wide open, to some liberal arts institute of higher learning where I’ll have the freedom to pursue things that actually matter. On the other end, the high school classes ahead of me seem like my grueling last breaths. I waste another nine months doing nothing important, but racking up grade points, trying to prove my profitability as an American citizen. The harsh reality is knowing the American education system doesn’t get beneficial until college and that’s incredibly short-lived. The prize for making it to a university with a little prestige is looking back and seeing how the previous fourteen years (pre-k – twelfth grade) taught you less about life than the four to eight years you’ll spend in college.

 

Humans Are Not the Best at Anything

Silly, cocky human species. It’s easy to get first in a race when you’re the only one running it, but when we include everyone, well …

Humans are not the best at seeing.

Courtesy of Arthur de Bock

Courtesy of Arthur de Bock

No shocker there. Never have I ever come in contact with a wild animal in need of corrective lenses. The award for vision goes to the mantis shrimp. Quick science lesson: We have photoreceptors in our eyes that allow us to see. These photoreceptors come in rods and cones. Rods give you black & white. Cones give you color. Humans have 3 cones; red, green, and blue. (RGB sound familiar?) This slick mofo, mantis shrimp, has 16 cones. WHAT? No joke, they can see 13 other color combos beyond our perception, but, joke’s on them because their brains are so infantile they just throw those other colors in the brain-trash unless they’re conducive to hunting, mating, and survival. Also, before you go thinking, “Well, at least humans get second place.” Wrong. Butterflies have five cones.

Humans are not the best at hearing.

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Courtesy of Henry Grabar

The greater wax moth wins the auditory award. These kids are generally beyond boring. They come in these awful colors; brown, lighter brown, and almost-white-but-still-brown brown, and they wear it so terribly, they’re a disgrace to look at. No one would give these butterfly rejects any attention if they didn’t have the ability to hear frequencies up to 300 kHz. I realize that you are probably not a scientist and 300 kHz is like, “Eh, ok …” until I tell you that even the most winning humans can only hear up to 20 kHz — no, it’s not missing a 0 on the end. Funny thing, the only reason the greater wax moth even bothers to hear so well is to outwit its primary predator, the bat. These moths, sick of getting all eaten up, held a grand council meeting and unanimously decided to evolve so they can pick up on bats’ echolocation and get the hell outta dodge before the bat-gang shows up.


Humans are not the best at tasting.

Courtesy of True Wild Life

Courtesy of True Wild Life

Even the most critical food critic is no match for what is been called, “the swimming tongue,” or its more universally recognized (but still scientifically incorrect) title, the catfish. No matter how much we want to complain about what’s on our plate, the catfish deserves that right the most. We wear about 10,000 taste buds on our tongues only. Poor catfish has to swim around in dirt-nasty water sporting something in the ballpark of 200,000 taste buds (It varies with size.) scattered all over his body, most densely distributed on the whiskers. Whether they like it or not, they can taste down to the proteins in the water and, using their whiskers, taste dinner before it even gets inside them.

There’s a million other things out there that we give ourselves more credit for than we deserve, but these are my favorites and I do what I want. If you dare refute me, drop a comment and I will summon all the powers of the Internet before me to prove you wrong.

 

Mellow Mushroom, Spring-Klein

Awesome Pizza From Awesome People For Awesome Patrons

DSC00557Mellow Mushroom. When you say it out loud, you can taste the flavor of greatness roll around your tongue. If you ingest one of their pizzas (I suggest orally), you will feel the death punch of greatness clench your viscera and throw you 120 yards into another dimension. Not even joking.

[Note that I'm speaking on my Mellow Mushroom, Spring-Klein. I'm on the winning team.]

Walking into the Shroom Kingdom is walking out on your everyday existence. You have boarded the YellowDSC00556 Submarine, wandered into the horticultural department, and sat down for pizza. Leave your worldly concerns at the door. Surrounded by art, color, nice smiles, and nicer smells; wherever you choose to rest your cheeks is the cool kids table. The Spring-Klein Mellow Mushroom flaunts the artwork of Houston locals, KatsolaScrapdaddy, and Weah. When I say “flaunts”I don’t mean they let them get cute with a chalkboard to hang over the bar. There are actual art exhibits painted all across the walls and scattered all around the eating arena; Katsola’s “giant scale ‘baseball cards’”, Weah’s colorful, twisty graffiti, and Scrapdaddy’s many contraptions — the most noteable being his Goodyear blimp-inspired Blimp-shark. Even the entrance to the “Flushrooms” (They’re comedians.) is guarded by one of Scrapdaddy’s scrap-men.

Scrapdaddy's doodad

Scrapdaddy’s doodad

Even though it boasts outlandish, psychotropic artwork, Mellow Mushroom rejects the hallucinogen-suggestive theme in favor of a family-oriented eatery that’s more reminiscent of a pre-school classroom than Todd Skinner’s underground LSD Palace. Manager, Christine Carnes, assured me that even with thirty-something beers on tap, those who can’t control their drinking get no more. The music is diversified as well as the staff, stretching a hand out to every age and subculture from young’un to grandma, hippie to housewife. The menu is also thoughtfully composed of vegan and gluten-free options, ensuring that even your fellow herbivores get in on the fun. On this vessel, no pizza-lover is left behind.

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One of Katsola’s Seven Wonders

I got the wondrous opportunity to meet the pilots, crew members, and owner of this craft; the Mellow title fits them down to a tie-dye tee. Whatever I asked, these guys were on board. They joked around with me while I ran around snapping photos, talked me down about all the fun of management, and even put up with my indecision on how to dress up my custom pizza. At my request, they were more than willing to throw down some discount cards for my school and somehow, I walked out of there with my pizza in one hand and a job application in the other, but not before the manager, Christine Carnes (front, left), arranged some very hefty handshakes for me from each manager and dragged the owner, Todd Molyneux (back, far left), outside for a picture affront Mellow Man.

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*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and do not reflect the views and opinions of Mellow Mushroom or its employees … but they’re probably pretty close.

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Blog News Happenthings

Sleep is such a wasteful way to squander away my pretty, precious time. At least, that’s what I tell myself to justify punching away at the typey-clicky machine at 2 AM. Anyway, if you were blessed with insomnia … or you actually live someplace where it’s perfectly appropriate to be using a computer at this time, I have announcements for you to care about. (There’s a prize at the end.)

At some point in soontime, this list of proceedings will occur:

  1. Art night with @mister56 and the @qualitynothing crew [photos]
  2. Food yes art yes from the Houston Fine Arts Museum [pictures]
  3. Psychotropic arty fun-time [and pizza] from Mellow Mushroom [images]

Keep checking back here and those things will eventually appear.

If you’d like a spot on that list of proceedings:

  1. This is me
  2. This is also me
  3. This is me, too

I get tired of hearing the sound of my own voice so let me slap your stuff on my home page.

Congratulations! You made it to the bottom of this post (or cheated). Welcome to the winner’s (or cheater’s) circle and here’s your reward(Totally worth it. This, I promise.)

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Soundtrack To Sleeplessness

I ran into Wavves a while back on Tumblr. I’m dropping Wavves off on WordPress. There’s pizza rolls in the freezer and emergency contacts on the fridge. I’ll just leave you kids to get better acquainted.60880_568836846466451_54939783_n

Baseball Cards

Mickey Mouse

Post Acid

So Bored378769_640417042641764_99319371_n

When Will You Come

All photos courtesy of the Wavves Facebook even if they don’t know it.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

TV’s Hidden Gem

I do not have very many sleeps. I do have very many TVs. Now, ignore the grammatical disgrace of the preceding statements and be excited about what I found on one of my TVs at around four[ish] ante meridiem.

You non-readers can scroll to the bottom region of this post for the sounds and moving illustrations.

There is this show that is the greatest happening to do TV in a very long time called Off the Air. You know it’s hella tasty because it only comes in 11-minute bites at 4:00 in the morning. Let me just go on about it for a minute. Literally, out of who knows nowhere, Off The Air rears its ugly head from under Adult Swim’s, “DVR Theater“. Even the date of the day of its birthing is enchanted. On January 1, 2011, this guy, Dave Hughes (not the Australian), struts into the TV scene packing this way fantastic show on his back. Without the discordance of human talky narration, Off the Air proceeds to spit splices of trippy imagery, animations, internet videos, stock footage, etc. at you for about 11 minutes straight until you want to get yourself drug tested. See what I mean below:

These are my three favorite themes. Watch them with your eyes.

Now get back up there and read that description.

Courtesy of Redeemed Reader user Emily

A Clockwork Orange [revisited]

It would be more than fitting to start with an, I usually don’t do this, but …” 

I like to stay honest throughout my blogging pursuits and I can specifically quote myself stating, “… I’ll save that for another day.” in reference to Anthony Burgess’s, A Clockwork OrangeApparently, the day has come to test my integrity, considering The Daily Post rolled out a Daily Prompt marked specially for this occasion; Anachronism. I particularly remember swooning over A Clockwork Orange’s props because of how far in time they seemed from their 1970s release date. Allow me to properly justify my excitement.

Courtesy of Fanpop user aleciane

Courtesy of Fanpop user aleciane

Enter the Korova Milk Bar. While still holding to it’s 70s influence with the psychedelic scrawl plastered across the wall, it manages to project our conventional visions of a pristine futuristic society. Take note of the contrast of black and white (with little specks of color), adding to the minimalist influence in futuristic design. The black and white also plays it’s role as a representation of the underground, grungy lifestyle portrayed by Alex (middle) and his droogs (surrounding). When we meet the regular sect of society, the color entirely contrasts this scene.

Courtesy of WordPress user kartoshka167

Courtesy of WordPress user kartoshka167

Here’s the same old Alex wearing the suit of an innocent when facing his parents (and the awkward roommate). This scene satisfies the non-minimalist perception of futuristic society, those who see modern innovation in bursts of color rather than plain and spotless. The color is also a marker for the average citizen, middle-class and up. It ventures from the condemned character rendered in monochrome as our boy Alex sheds his whites, ditches the eyeliner, and steps into his men’s clothes. Of course, there has to be some middle ground between blindingly colorful and blindingly blank. That, we see in the upper class society of A Clockwork Orange.

Courtesy of Blogger user suhurmash

Courtesy of Blogger user suhurmash

Here, we see what Stanley Kubrick wants us to envision as the lifestyle of the rich and the famous — of the future. This is the middle ground of futuristic perceptions. We still get plain white, but it’s been downplayed with curvy chairs and colorful cover-ups. Here, again, front and center, we find Alex dawning another one of his many hats — or, I should say, robes. He, too falls in line with the rich specific color palette, dressed in a white, orange-flecked housecoat that mirrors the home of his host. A notable difference between the wealthy versus regular is the coordination of color and neatness of those well off as opposed to the discordance of those beneath them.