January 31, 2003
South Riding

The woman of my dreams

I mourn the loss of my good friend. He's getting married soon. I sadly watched him leave the city, falling prey to the practicalCar-commuting-responsibility-girlfriend-suburbs-engagement-mortgage-marriage-dullJob-threeKids-happilyEverAfter fairy tale.

This story involves myself and this good friend. He left the city about a year ago, and now appears to be moving into a quiet and extremely nice master planned housing community called South Riding. A prominant and spiritually wealthy minister from the city now resides down there. Shortly after his arrival he joined this ministers church, and I wonder if he is struggling to enjoy the peacefulness of this community. The people he associates with now are completely different from those he associated with in the city. I would imagine that this community is not only different for him, but will also present a change for his loving wife.

Long ago, a short time after my arrival in the city, I met him, a freethinking, if not overly friendly person who had also just moved to the city. He had decided to help start a church dedicated to the idea of community. The two of us decided to start a small group, to spark interest with the members of our church. We struggled to find members for our group, a realization came to me, that the people of our community were quite odd builds. Instead of meeting to talk shallowly about our lives or relationships, we'd have deep meaningful discussions about social justice, community building, and revival. I seemed as if we had became brainwashed. Or if I brainwashed myself into thinking that we indeed were above the petty struggles of suburban life. Eventually, all our friends would slowly dissapear, becoming typical denziens of suburbia.

Does this prove to us that somthing evil is lurking for us all in Stepford?

Pehaps ironically, the unsustainable evil may not be the surburban arcadia where he's destined to go, but the big city where he was, and where I still reside.

Cllick for original text from RottenTomatoes

“The Stepford Wives” stars Katharine Ross and Peter Masterson as Walter and Joanna Eberhart. They have moved out of the big city of New York and into a quiet and extremely nice housing community called Stepford. Many prominent and wealthy men reside in Stepford. Shortly after they arrive in Stepford, Walter joins a men’s society and Joanna must struggle to enjoy the peaceful community. The men Walter begins to spend his time with are completely different than those he associated himself with in New York City. In short order, not only is Stepford different for Joanna, but so is her loving husband.

A short time after her arrival in Stepford, she meets Bobbie (Paula Prentiss), a freethinking and overly friendly woman who has also just moved to Stepford. The two women decide to start a woman’s society and try to spark some interest with the wives of Stepford. As they struggle to find members for their group, a realization that the women of Stepford are quite odd builds. Instead of meeting for bitch sessions, the women discuss the best way to polish a floor and bake. It seems they have been brainwashed. Eventually, their only other friend, Charmaine (Tina Louise) becomes one of the typical Stepford wives. This proves to the women that something evil is lurking for them in Stepford.

The head of the Men's Association is called "Diz" which is short for Walt Disney. Is this the screenwriters way of being complimentary, ironic, or cynical?

Because her response is "You don't seem to be the kind of person that likes to make other people happy." Disney has indeed created the happiest place on earth. Complete with anamatronic robots.

Posted by justin at 03:39 PM
January 30, 2003

Posted by justin at 10:23 AM
January 29, 2003
New Format

Okay it's getting better out here. I fixed the format on top of the blog, and after some complaining, adjusted the color on the photo.

Hmm... maybe I'll actually get a little bit further this time. At least I did figure out how to extend the column without breaking the lines. There's a couple little things here and there I'll mess with but for the most part, the colors are remarkably conservative, as opposed to a dark black background that seems to be in all the rage nowadays.. I guess it's a bit better than the dark red I had before. The old page is still there.

So I went to see "Rear Window" yesterday.

It's a strange play on the idea of community. And that it's set in a city, makes it even more perturbing. That they all lived separate lives, even though they all exited to the same courtyard. And that none of them knew each other. Till the dog dies.

You forget just how stunning Princess Grace is.

Posted by justin at 01:37 AM
January 27, 2003
Does Anyone Believe in the MCAS?

Here's the deal. I had dinner with a friend this weekend. Fascinating conversation. Then I get the announcement from the pulpit at church, stating the injustice of standardized testing.

The Teacher, The Student, and the SpEd kid

So on two separate occasions, just this weekend, I've heard from people opposing the MCAS and how it's unfair to the students, creates a burden on the students. And isn't a good judge of what a student knows.

And doesn't reflect what students need to know for a high school diploma.

It distracts teachers from actually teaching the subject material. And just teaching what's on the test

Personally I'm ethically against standardized testing. Because I think it's degrading to the individual. And a lot of it is a waste of time, and the source of a whole lot of unnecessary stress and trauma.

Although I've taken the SAT, the Achievement Tests (now called the SAT II), the GRE, the CBEST (California Basic Education Skills Test), and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. I agree that it's a waste of time. In fact some of my friends got in trouble for cheating on the the CBEST, their reasoning. We already took the same test last year (and the year before), scored at the 99th percentile, and we know they don't change the questions. So we wrote down all the answers from last year, and are filling them in the bubbles this year. It should give us some more time to play cards.

I also know some people who got caught cheating on the SAT, knowing full well that the College Board, was more interested in protecting the integrity of their testing procedure than correcting the problem. Even though the perpetrators were punished.

Indeed I do not think the system is immune from corruption, or profiteering.

I think it's wrong that property values are determined by the scores of the kids on standardized testing. I applaud the students who intentionally failed the tests, as an act of defiance against the injustices in the system.

However I recognize it as a necessary measure.

There's got to be standards, and there's got to be a way of coming up with a quantitative way of measuring student performance. About half the kids in the school should be below average.

As you have to have standards. And inevitably if you want to raise standards, more kids are going to fail.

But we have to set higher expectations, I believe you have to set high expectations. I'm not sure if it's true, but even if they fall short, they'll come further than you had no expectations at all.

We do live in a cruel world.

Posted by justin at 01:05 PM