Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feature Artist: Ryan Leslie

I'd like to introduce you all to one of my favorite artists/producers. I believe he will be a really big deal, both as a producer and artist. There are a lot of things I find really unique about Ryan Leslie. For one he graduated from Harvard at 19. Clearly he's a genius. While at Harvard, Ryan found his passion for music. Though he got a degree in government and economics, he turned to music as a profession. He has produced for Britney Spears, Beyonce, Cassie, and Diddy to name a few. But one thing I really like about Ryan is that even as an adolescent he used his talents to change lives and make an impact. Below are a few videos showing Ryan Leslie at work, both in the studio and in the classroom helping others.

I admire his raw energy, his confidence (and narcissism), and his passion for music. I also really enjoy seeing his method when he produces a track. He really is a unique artist. Please watch and enjoy!

Before you see him as an adult, see him back in the day. He's going to be big, I'm telling you!

And a final product:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Amy Chua-bitch of all bitches or caring mom? You decide

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I decided, in fact when my developmental psychology teacher asked me to respond: "In one thoughtful paragraph express your opinion on whether Chua deserves the criticism she has received OR is there merit to her parenting approach." this was my response:

Before I address Amy Chua’s parenting style, I would like to mention how blatantly racist I found the article. Lumping numerous ethnic groups together and calling them “Western” seems almost as wrong as assuming that all Chinese parent in the manner described by Chua. So while I support the goals of the Chua (not necessarily Chinese) method, I balk at the cost. It is indeed possible to teach children about hard work, perseverance, excellent study habits, and excellence in general without employing abusive language and harsh punishment. I personally find the “western” approach more effective in the long term due to the development of intrinsic motivation through encouraging the interests of our children. I question the long-term effectiveness of the Chua method because I feel like her children are still under her household and therefore her external motivation. When her children move out, I suspect their intrinsic motivation may wane due to the removal of the threats and punishments. Many American children are encouraged to succeed, and encouraged to not lose sight of more important characteristics like teamwork and social skills, even in failure. Sports teach these American values, and are not a waste of time, as Chua seems to imply. I believe the harsh criticism Chua has received is warranted. Verbal abuse is still abuse, and the ends do not justify the means because the emotional/psychological cost may be very high. Many Asian cultures encourage humility and suppression of emotions, and one possible result is a statistically higher incidence of several psychological disorders. Chua is endangering her children by creating a hostile psychological environment that not only perpetuates success; it also perpetuates abuse, as evidenced by Chua herself.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Lion

The lion inside. It waits, prowling around silently. His hot breath and raw energy lie dormant. A vision of captivity, albeit, a temporary one. His handler frees him from time to time. And on those rare occasions, he does what lions do best: destroy. Usually its the ones who taunted him in his cage, thinking that he would never; could never retort. Foolish of them. Did they not realize that a lion caged is still a lion? Now they know, but their knowledge is of little future use. They lie in tatters beneath the paws of a beast who barely knows he killed. Instinctual urge to be a carnivore brought about their demise, or was it the handler? He always knew the danger of his primal friend. After all, keeping him appeased was his job. Hundreds of pounds of meat per day, to satiate the fire inside a beast who could take down a gazelle. But it wasn't gazelles that the lion hunted, any time he was let out of the cage. Usually it was those who stood near the iron bars, jeering the one they wished they could be. Their confidence was a fraud. Vertical iron bars, an inch thick, giving mettle to spineless beings. Maybe that was it. Maybe that was why the handler opened the cage from time to time. To see a holy wrath poured out. To see what happens when a 550 pound lion lets out a little agression on a 170 pound man. The clean up was never fun, but the handler knew what he was getting into when he opened the cage. The thunder released from the chest of the lion was uncanny, it made the handler's hair stand on end. His fierce friend always roared a final warning before he threw himself on those who taunted him. Wonder paired with disbelief prevented the taunters from fleeing. The roar's deafening echo returned to find the lion already finished with his quarry. The sun setting on a gruesome scene, and the handler locking the cage.

P.S. I told you guys, way back when, that Dev was going to be big. Told ya so:

Friday, January 14, 2011

A song for your time

So I met this really really really pretty girl the other day. Introduced myself, then embarrassed myself, then redeemed myself. I'm not really sure where I stand now, but goodness gracious great God almighty I am excited to find out.

If this song doesn't rock you, I suspect you might need a toe tag. I'll be singing this for days.......

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thanks mom

Have I mentioned before how much I love my mom? I could talk all day and night about how much I adore that woman, but I have been writing that post for quite some time and I don't want to spoil it before I post it in the future. However, I must share one little tidbit my mom taught me, a little golden nugget of truth. She said, "Handwritten cards say whatever you are trying to say in the most meaningful and memorable way." I guess this is why she always has "handwritten cards" at the top of her list leading up to christmas. So, the purpose I am using a card for tonight is to thank another woman who has helped me on my way. This woman is an Occupational Therapist, and she took time out of her busy (trust me, I observed her for nigh 100 hours) schedule to write me a letter of recommendation for grad school. I can't really explain how much something like that means to me, but suffice to say, I will never forget her words of encouragement. I think, as I mentioned before, we all really need someone who believes in us. We all really need someone to give us a push in the right direction. Tonight I hope I can as eloquently as possible, articulate on paper my thanks to one such person.

In other news, my family has a new addition. My cousin gave birth to an 8 pound 8 oz. cutie pie named Keira. She was born on 1-11-11 so I think she's going to be a lucky one. Oh, for those of you who are a part of the official Jesse Madera fan club, want to venture any bets on who came up with the name.

And as always, a song for your time: