Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ok, now for the point of all this.

Now that my first meandering rant is out of the way, let's look at what this blog is actually about...

Here we go.

I have always desired to be a man of many skills; I’ve always chafed under the pressure to specialize. In my public schooling it was always upsetting to me that I could not go to the Vocational school to learn how to fix cars, weld, and build houses, while simultaneously taking upper level math and science courses. It has never seemed fair to me that my educational options forced me to choose between craftsmanship and scholarship. Where was the modern Renaissance man? People like Leonardo DaVinci, Benjamin Franklin: great thinkers and doers who tinkered with every new skill they could discover, thought deeply about the implications of their work in the world, and their responsibility within it.

In my teacher training, a professor of mine happened to present me with the National Education Association's classification of educational objectives. This was a list created by a group of teachers from the United States of America, in which they set out what they felt an educated person in our society should be. I found the list to be inspirational, mostly because of it's affirming approach to the goal of education. Instead of joining politicians and major news networks in pointing out where students were falling short, it instead stated where those students should be. I would also point out, that in a time of No Child Left Behind, these goals are pretty lofty. I don't know of many adults who can truly say that they've mastered these goals.

The NEA breaks the Classification of Educational Objectives down, into four basic groups:
1. The Objectives of Self-Realization
2. The Objectives of Human Relationships
3. The Objectives of Economic Efficiency
4. The Objectives of Civic Responsibility

In further posts I will go into greater depth as to what these objectives actually are, but in this blog I will primarily be documenting my own attempts to use these objectives, as an adult, make myself a better individual, husband, teacher, child, sibling, friend, employee, and citizen. I would welcome each of you to join me in this journey, should you find the roadmap to be as exciting as I do.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hah, nobody saw the first post.

The internet is abuzz with blogs, all of which start with a line similar to "the internet is abuzz with blogs, so why this one," which really does beg the question, "why this one?"

Very good question, and a question I shall dodge entirely.

Petrol prices have you in that place? You know, "that place where rising gas prices means trading in four wheels for two?" If so, perhaps you've discovered, as I have, the joy of the bicycle business.

I should specify, for pride's sake, that I've been a long time cyclist, have worked as a mountain bike instructor, and have thoroughly loved bikes since I first had one in my early childhood. There: early adopter cred established; I continue. My mountain bike, a fine beast, we'll name him Tigger, was not my ideal commuting machine. Not just because it's my mountain bike and I love it oh so much, but also, the frame geometry, and riding position, while great for slugging up inclines was not entirely to my liking for hauling stuff. Further, (Cred Statement Alert) the old-school disc brake tabs are right where I would prefer to mount a real rear rack. (Did you catch that amazing alliteration? Liberal Arts degree indeed!)

That is called a digression. The original point of the paragraph was to establish the author's standing among a party of semi-interested peers, while simultaneously providing necessary information for the readers to understand the forthcoming story. Continuing...

I decided to get a cargo bike. Why? Because I used to like pick up trucks. That's all the reasoning you're going to get. So I ordered a frame and parts. I've never built a bike before, hardly understand the mechanics of the thing, and as someone who learns by doing, figured, sure jump on in there. So, with my copy of Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, I waited. Parts arrived! YAY! I waited. I waited. I waited some more, still more waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I get a phone call! The frame is due to be delivered to the store any day now. Waiting. Waiting. They're going to send it to me, in a few days. Waiting. Much silence, no more phone calls, no more answering of phones. Just me, and my middle school crush on a UPS truck that doesn't seem to know I exist. Maybe the truck will drop by tomorrow?

At any rate, why can't bicycle shops, and manufacturers just tell me honestly how long it's going to take to get something to me. I don't care if it's going to take 3 weeks, but I'd rather know then, instead of two weeks later than the projected date.