The first thing I observed was silence.
I have never been deluded into not acknowledging that I have a fear of silence. I have always been of the belief that background noise settles my mind and focuses it, first on whatever I am listening to and then onto whatever else I deem important enough to think about. I grew up in a home that had something on at all times. My mother had either a TV or a radio on wherever she was. After thinking about it, I realize that this was something I took from her.
I didn’t struggle with disconnecting from Television very much at all. Of all the things that I was giving up, I found television to be the one item that I was LEAST bothered about. My most enjoyable experience of the day was replacing Random TV Viewing with a morning perusal of my local Newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (a McClatchy owned Newspaper, a fact I will pontificate on at a later date). Granted, there are several Documentaries that I have been meaning to watch along with my daily diet of talking head blather, but I know very well what a timesuck television can be. I will add that the primary reason that I am starting this project so much earlier than my classmates (it is due to be turned in on Tuesday, March 24, 2009) is because I knew that I didn’t want to deal with my lack of television overlapping with any meaningful part of March Madness, the name used to denote collegiate athletic conference championships and the NCAA Basketball tournament. While I will miss a few of the minor conference championship games, I will end my Media Blackout just in time for the Big East Conference Championship, which is where my favorite team growing up, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, will play for back-to-back conference championships. Everything else that I find myself watching can be delayed or just plain old forgotten about. I didn’t even bother to adjust my DVR to see if there was anything I needed to record while I was away.
Unplugging from the Internet will be far more difficult (I say as I blog using a technical loophole as we speak)
I was slightly late to the phenomenon of the Internet, Joining AOL on Christmas Eve, 1997. It wasn’t until 1999 that I began to use the Internet for something other than chatting with other people and exchanging emails. As broadband connectivity became available, I found the internet becoming a more and more functional part of my life. Now, There are very few parts of my life that aren’t impacted by the internet, chief among them, my online banking and billpaying.
While I have long since soured on the radio, as someone who finds himself driving an average of 1500 to 2000 miles a month, it is an invaluable source of background noise. Whether it is the entertainment masquerading as information that is Talk radio, or the information masquerading as entertainment that is public radio, or the useful idiocy of sports-talk radio, It can always feed my never ending yearn for background noise in the event My ipod and my FM modulator are not playing nicely in the car. Easily the hardest part of this experiment will be avoiding the instinctive reach for the radio dial the instant the engine roars (or in the case of MY little four cylinder, putt-putts) its approval of the Starter. Driving in silence is going to be the most painful part of this experience, by far.
I wonder how some of y’all do it.
I got idols role models in this game who bring it on the regular, Posting regularly with insights and genius day after day.
Between my sons and the plantation and the wife, not to mention my own focus issues, I do well to get one or two real posts out a week.
It isn’t that I don’t have the time, necessarily.
but by the time I get my reading and my usual online banking and bill paying done, I am way past the time regular folk should be online.
The wife says to me that I am addicted and that something needs to change.
I don’t know that I need to start hitting meetings or anything like but something is going to have to give.
The wife has decided that I spend every non working waking hour online.
Of course, this is an exaggeration, but even Barack Obama will tell you that life is much more about what people THINK is than what actually is.
So, watch with amazement while I try to be online less and get more done online.
*sucks teeth and logs off*
Dear Dr. Fryer,
I am writing this letter to you because my wife wants to kick your ass. I think you made an ass of yourself, but I am not inclined to come look for you. I will just say that you should count your blessings that her niece went to Boston University and not Harvard.
To say she is deeply troubled by your belief in paying children to encourage them to is just not accurate. I, sir, am deeply troubled by by your belief in paying children to learn.
She is enraged at you because you have chosen a short cut to success. A shortcut that is antithetical to the true purpose of Education.
Education is not a means to an end.
Sorry, Education is not merely a means to an end. It is the end.
And the beginning.
and all that stuff in between.
Education is not a road to success.
Education IS success.
Education is a way of life.
There are no shortcuts.
To act otherwise is to short circuit the circle of life. Whatever short term gains these children receive will come at the expense of what the larger goal SHOULD be.
My wife thinks you have lost your connection with your people. I disagree.
I respect your committment to closing the achievement gap but I am deeply troubled by you hanging your hat on such a hamfisted short circuiting of educational reform.
You sir, have managed to become the Atkins diet of Educational Reform. Paying for scores may benefit some children in the short term, but it is certainly not healthy won’t do anything to effect the long term health of the child’s educational prospects without fundamental change in the long term.
There are no Shortcuts, Dr. Fryer.
A full and thorough and unyielding thirst for education is the most valuable attribute a family can have. Traditionally it is instilled by parents and manifested in their lifestyle.
You cannot buy that. You can only build it.
To pretend there is a shortcut does a disservice to the children and our culture.
Please rethink this before my wife finds you, for your own safety.