June 14th, 2005

sideview, obamame_sideview

Good deeds, literacy

Another great story about somebody putting a personal investment into improving literacy among kids:

Mogul's literacy investment paying off
Former Netscape CEO funds $100 million program to get Mississippi youngsters literate

So cool. I think the literacy thing really resonates with me because the notion of somebody not being able to read/write or not being able to read/write well sort of horrifies me in a way. It's like letting kids grow up with blinders on hobbled, so they can't progress in anything else because of that.

I used to do a lot of TOEFL (Teaching Of English as a Foreign Language) work in high school. I always seemed to have a strong ability to explain things in a way they could understand, whereas a lot of teachers either talked down to them or went too fast. I would spend lunchtimes working with my friend Jin, who was from central China, and helping her to go through a picture book so she could learn all the vocabulary. I remember for about six months I worked with a 7th grade kid from Korea and helped her read a book set in colonial Massachusetts, which was hard since it used a lot of words for out-fashioned things she never had heard of. I really loved doing that. In fact when I was looking at colleges I considered several ones that taught TOEFL as a kind of major, because I was thinking of becoming a TOEFL instructor.

The main library, right up the block from here, actually has English and literacy classes that I know they need volunteers for, but I've always been afraid it would wind up being a big time committment. It really is super rewarding to teach somebody something which is so basic you almost don't think about it, yet which is such a major, major thing for the person that can change their life.
sideview, obamame_sideview


So the Downtown transit management group has sent out a survey about the possibility of an electric scooter rental program. I went to the survey but I can't seem to answer the questions. It asks how often I would use it, when I would go, where I would go, etc. When I think about it, however, I can't think of why I would need a vehicle of any kind to get around. I have a bike already. Anywhere I go I take the train or bus, so why would I need a vehicle? I tried to think of somewhere I would go, that's hard to reach on MARTA, but it's hard. I think the Ansley Mall area is the only area I *never* visit because it's just way out there, but the traffic there is such I might not want to be a on a scooter there. I like scooters and I used to ride a moped sometimes as a teenager, but... by now the idea of a vehicle is weird.

More LotR mumblings...

So I've spent the past week watching LotR and I'm still not done, although I've gone through 10 discs now. *Sigh* I mean, WOW, but... It's quite a task!

I watched Return first, then Fellowship and I just spent tonight watching Two Towers. I think I will go with my original thought, before watching the DVDs, and say my favorite was Return, minus the sappy 20 minutes at the end and the whole City of the Dead skulls thing. There are just too many amazing scenes in it, including the lighting of the beacons, the battle for the city, the Steward eating while people are slaughtered, etc. Having just watched Two Towers, I definitely think it's more exciting than Fellowship, but it seemed overlong. Not sure how many minutes were added back to the DVD but there were some moments were I like, "Yes, I see it, next shot please!" LOL.

One amusing detail I noticed tonight was a bit during the attack of the Ents. One of the Ents is shown being lit on fit, by a flawing arrow or something. Later on when they open the dam and the basin floods, you see all the trees standing up to their hips (?) in water and then you see the Ent on fire jumping into the water to douse himself. Cracked me up.

On to the Two Towers extras tomorrow!
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