Posts Tagged ‘asa’

So Nice, So Good

Posted: September 14, 2010 in Videos
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All of this past summer, I enjoyed hearing this phrase ‘so nice, so good.’ I was introduced to it by one of my favorite ASAers, who went to Bucknell. Just watch the video and then tell me if you would think that this girl was an engineer…she is and this clip is really funny.


I just finished up a few weeks in the Bay Area, and I started to think about some questions more deeply. The starting point that sparked me to want to write this were some of the rules at our job. It was forbidden for boys or girls to be in each other’s rooms, but that it was OK for same-sex members to be in the rooms so long as the door was partially opened. Now, this is actually something that one of my 16 year old “residents” mentioned, but mainly because he likes to be oppositional.

Next, the structure of our program meant that each staff member was assigned a group of “residents” of the same gender. Granted, it makes sense because our title is Resident Advisor, so we will be living with them etc etc. BUT, I did find it strange that being an RA meant your contact was essentially limited to same gendered folks. Given that an inappropriate relationship is frowned upon, and did actually happen this summer. What if two same-gendered people did have a relationship? Then what about the rules?

So all of our group activities were based on same-gender groups, or packs as I like to think of it. We wonder why it is so hard to control the kids when they are in a single-sex group and forced to be that way when they are at the peak of puberty. To be honest, it is expected that 10+ students with similar hormones will cause trouble. No doubt about it. Either tons of bitching or violence.

Now the part that gets me is that the system forced the staff to fall into gender stereotypes. They hired a staff that was diverse in terms of interests, schools, majors and life trajectories yet we still were anchored to gendered roles. Two of the female RAs expressed disinterest in doing overly “girly” things like manicures, pedicures and tons of time shopping even though that’s what her girls wanted to do. And I know that me and another of the male RAs are way more cerebral than sporty – so our idea of fun wasn’t soccer or basketball.

You could say that it’s what was demanded, but only because the students wanted it. False. Some of the students wanted to do what other groups had done, one group falls into gender roles and it sounds appealing to the other group. Collapse differences because of group think, and you have reinforced some activities. I did have one student who wanted to go shopping, and many more who spent more time getting ready than girls did. But they always wanted to play sports or do otherwise hypermasculine things.

The structure of the program made some of these issues issues but I guess that’s just the way things often fall. But really, this is a tipping point for my next post.

End of ASA: Slide Show

Posted: July 27, 2010 in Mosaics
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My summer gig has ended, and I miss my kids already. I mean yes, they aren’t kids because they’re 16. And yes you’re surprised that I actually like people that age or that they liked me, but I bet you also didn’t realize I’m multi-dimensional.

Anyways, here’s the slideshow created for ASA Superlatives, but that covers the majority of the summer!

Slavery is back (at my job)…

Posted: July 23, 2010 in Ramblings
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I’m going to be very dramatic right now, because I am more than pissed about what happened tonight.


We had our end of summer “banquet” for the students, a semi-formal, “catered” dinner for students. Banquet is quoted because it wasn’t actually fancy, and catered is quoted because it was food from the dining hall. And per the tradition of the dining hall, the food was cold to lukewarm – cold salmon, yum.

The worst part of the night, I had mentally prepared for and expected. But what I didn’t prepare for was to be asked to do all kinds of bitch work like carrying speakers, cleaning up desserts and shit. I guess I can’t get mad that I’ve clearly angered the wrong people. I made my bed, and now I’m lying in it.

However, what I hated is the fact that our junior staff was responsible for serving (read: waiters) for our students. We had to first clear out their salads and forks used, then collect their tickets with their entree preference, and serve them their food. Um, I don’t recall signing up to be a slave. I thought those days were over. And maybe a slavery parallel isn’t apt, but when it’s described to us as a fun event that the kids really enjoy and we have to eat last and also need to clear all plates – slavery is really what that sounds like.

While serving the kids, I was annoyed because in our previous description of the night it was mentioned that we would be serving them. No problem except that these kids are all relatively privileged and already view us as people not necessarily worth listening to. We enforce their curfews and force them to have bonding nights with a pre-organized group weekly. Of course, there’s the “I can’t wait to have you serving me” and “*Snaps* Al.”I had expected it and warned my students that that kind of behavior would just get a severe side eye and me moving it along. And that’s what happened.

I devoured two caesar salads in the back, because we couldn’t eat until all of the kids were served. It was a hot mess and nightmare, mainly because it was degrading to have that power structure truly inverted. And I don’t think that it’s a good last, formal dinner if they aren’t spending it with someone that is scolded into “building lasting relationships” through our servitude and seclusion to our own junior staff table. Mind you, there were two helpers in the back who were hired to work the event. (more…)

Tonight is RA Night, and we’re going to see this movie that I’ve been waiting/wanting to see for the longest. Victory shall be mine. Will update this post with my reviews.

Also, I think the advertising for this is epic. Amazing conceptual advertising.


It was quite the experience taking 13 16-year olds into San Francisco to see this movie, but it all worked out in the end (not that the ends are in any way more important than the means).

The movie was a pretty good one, although something that worked against it was the immense hype built. I guess that happens when you have to wait to see it. Overall, it was a conceptual and thinking movie. Given my concentration and secondary, I was definitely intrigued and impressed. The only downsides were Leo’s acting and the long build up to the climax of the movie.

Here’s 15 Fun Facts Related to Dreams


In this modern era, photographs are (mostly) dated. And I also don’t have a digital camera, but I do have an iPod 5G so that means I can take tons of video!

Here’s my trip to Alcatraz in vignette form, then pasted together, and posted for you.

Talent Show!

Posted: July 16, 2010 in Ramblings
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Tonight we had our talent show for the kids, which was interesting, very interesting. It was one of the few events that almost all of the students attended. The reason I’m blogging this is because this night had some super special significance.

The first performers were my residents, my boys. Two Turkish kids that dance like “apaçi,” a subculture in Turkey marked by Westernized concepts of hypermasculinity and dancing similar to guidos. They wore these hoodies that covered their faces and did a stirring tribute to the apaçi ‘culture.’ A video of apaçi can be found here, and the back story is that modern Turks reject this subculture much like guidos are (mostly) disregarded.

The rest of the night was filled with some talented kids, a girl who played guitar and sang, and another girl who had a powerful voice. One kid did what is essentially a baton routine but with pool sticks. He’s Russian and wore a leather jacket, so it was obviously cool. Now the interesting part of the night was when the Turkish guys dedicated a performance of “Du Hast” to me. It was strange and endearing all at the same time.

We finished off the night with me and one of the other RAs singing Mandy Moore’s “Candy” and Christina Aguilera’s “Come on Over.” Or so we thought it was over. We kept the party going and taught two Turkish girls how to “Stanky Legg” and “Cupid Shuffle.” But she lost her mind and really showed that she could dance for Yung Joc’s “It’s Going Down.”

We ended the night with my 3 Turkish guys giving me a history lesson about their country, their beliefs and asking a few things about America. It’s funny how I worried the most that these students might be racist, or the most closed-minded, yet they are quite liberal and open minded. The interesting part is that it makes sense because that is also how Turkey is perceived/situated in the Islamic world, but my race sensitivity and (supposedly) stellar judgement failed me. And I’m very happy it did. This is the second night the Turkish boys have kept me up to talk while the other ones go off and do whatever, while I get to see videos of their guidos and experience a striking sense of maturity from 15 and 16 year olds from a foreign land.


So today was my afternoon off, which means that after the 10am staff meeting, I is as free as a bird. The only downside is that they don’t pay us for the meals we miss in the dining hall, but thankfully we had lunch money for today (I know I sound spoiled, but trust me this camp is spending dollahs like MC Hammer and Mike Tyson). So for lunch I went to Brazil Cafe, which is delish. Tri-tip beef sandwich with caramelized onions and this delicious cilantro sauce that really just starts off your day with that “good good” feeling.

So I decided to get a lil culture for the afternoon, so I took the BART to San Francisco. I had intended to check out the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) or the SF Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), but the price points made me consider the expensive one as better. So MoMa it was.


I tried to get the student discount, but the lady definitely called me out on my expired Harvard ID. So I showed her my CAL ID and told her that I got a new Harvard one annual, but that I was still a student. Anyway, $9 later and a audio tour headset and I was all up in that museo de arte moderno. I was there for 2 hour, but trust me I won’t consider devoting that much time it because it was good, but not quite that interesting to me.


Tuesday Tweet-date

Posted: July 7, 2010 in Ramblings
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  • there’s something about these west coast blacks that seems very “cloudy” i’m super interested in what that story is
  • But why did you study in japan and order white people food when we go for asian after you say it all looks good
  • Wow, SF is beautiful because the people are so ethnic looking and ambigous. The area de los mesclas
  • Random tweet of the day: there’s a white girl here named “Keara.” I keep pronouncing it Key-r-ah, not Kear-ah. Inner negro can’t help it.
  • Its foggy, cold and my heater is on. Welcome to Bay Area summers. (more…)

Today, the “cutest” thing happened, and yes “cute” is really the only way to describe it.

So as I was saying before, there’s a soccer camp where I’m working, and I noticed that there’s a HUGE variance in age of the kids. Some of them were actually born in the year 2000, yup, true millenial babies. If that doesn’t make you feel, old I don’t know what will.

So, I see a clearly frazzle and lost child who can be no more than 10. The mere sight of the kid elicits a “aww, al he’s a munchkin” from ‘Bucknell.’ And yes, I asked the munchkin on the verge of tears what the problem is….

Munchkin: I…[sigh/sob]…lost…my key

Me: It’s Okay, don’t worry [pats munchkin on shoulder]

I reassure the little Padawan, bring him to the front desk. They ask a 10 year old if he knows what room he’s in. Um, he’s 10 and about to cry. And guess, what he doesn’t. He hardly remembers his name so that they can look that up.

They give him a spare key and want him to bring it back. Hello, you’re talking to a kid, of course that’s too complex for him. So I walk him to his room, let him in, and bring the key back for him.

The whole thing made me feel all kinds of paternal. I’m actually pretty good with kids, even though my utter lack of disrespect and non-PC nature makes it seem like I would be bad with children. Anyway, this is proof that I have a heart.

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