Tag Archives: Express

Sunday Shyamalan: Real Genius

Here’s something I doubt you dudes have given much thought to. When you watch a movie, or just enjoy the trailer for it, do you ever think about how important sound engineering or music is to sustaining mood?

No, seriously, it’s something I want you dudes to think about.

For instance, there’s a dude on youtube who took the original trailer for a 1980’s brainiac comedy romp starring Val Kilmer and called Real Genius and, using only a different musical score and sound engineering, plust a couple of new screen cards (those things with words printed on them that normally get spoken by the deep-voiced trailer guy?), has turned the movie into something entirely different.

As you’ve probably guessed, he gives us the impression that this is Real Genius by way of writer/director/rapidly fading star M. Night Shaymalan. He’s the guy famous for the last-minute twists in his movies. You know the dude, who had a couple of great movies in Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and then took the express elevator to hell (and then made a movie about it called, no seriously, Devil).

Anyway, check this out. I would definitely pay to see this movie. It looks like a complete hoot.


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Freaky Friday: Writing Away Your Fears

by Richard

There’s nothing worse for a student than studying hard, knowing you have a good grasp of the material, then walking in to take the test and choking like you’ve just tried to swallow an entire roast chicken, bones and all.

For a lot of students (and I include myself in that group. Well, when I was a student. . . ) that horrible anxiety of walking in to take a test can overwhelm all the studying and preparation, causing what should be a slam-dunk to end up as that horribly funny miss that keeps getting shown on ESPN highlights for the day.

There is, however, good news. Actual good news. Actual scientifically backed good news. Dudes, I’m telling you there is something you or any student can do that will help significantly decrease your test-taking anxiety and help boost the test score.

And it’s simple.

Students who quickly write down their fears and anxieties just before the test begins, actually score substantially better than those students who don’t write down their fears.

A new study suggests that students who write down their anxieties a few minutes before taking an exam are much less likely to choke on the test. University of Chicago psychologists Gerardo Ramirez and Sian Beilock ran one study for two years at a high school. Students who spent ten minutes writing about feelings and worries about the test scored six percent higher than those who wrote about non-“expressive” topics.

Just on the face of it, this really makes sense to me. I mean, the worry that hurts the most is the one you can’t really pin down. If you actually face your worries, face your fears, I know I can get a much better handle on them and that helps to squash them like the bugs they really are.

The researchers published their findings in the current issue of the journal, Science. Here’s something transcribed from the podcast:

Beilock: There’s work in clinical psychology showing that getting clinically depressed individuals to journal or write about emotional or traumatic experiences in their lives can help decrease rumination. And we have a lot of work in our lab showing that students worry in testing situations, and this is something that can really derail their ability to attend to and remember information they need for the test. So, we hypothesized that perhaps having students write about their thoughts and feelings about an upcoming test before they took the exam might, in a sense, allow them to deal with some of these worries, such that when they were in the actual exam situation they were less likely to pop up.

I’m going to start encouraging both Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy to try this out. Sarcasmo especially, as he’s got some severe test worries before most exams. I’ll let you know if it works for them.

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A Day For Fathers

by Richard

Well, it’s time to start compiling all the lists, searching the catalogs and finally getting all the stuff we’ve lusted for over the last year. Yep, that’s right. We’re just under a month away from Father’s Day.

It’s believed that the first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. So, I guess something good finally did come out of Washington to balance out the weeping pustule that is Starbucks culture. This year, we’ll all be looking forward to June 20.

As I’m sure you all know, Father’s Day is the day when we receive all the cool gadgets and loving thoughts that are often experienced, but not as often expressed.

It’s the day when Father Claus drives up in his big Range Rover pulled by the power of a 1000 horses and unloads all those presents in the old football jersey we hang from the fireplace mantle. Ah, I can’t wait for the exotic gifts sure to be so lovingly given.

Just like last year. The, uh. . . The, ah. . . The small sample bottles of cologne. The ties, even though I don’t actually wear them anymore. Those lovely days when the little dudes were even littler and I used to get ashtrays, even though I never smoked. Although those did come in useful as paperweights and, later, when the little dudes weren’t so little, as flying objects aimed by one little dude at the other.

I, well, you know what. I don’t think any of that stuff I mentioned previously is going to happen. Again. I just keep hoping that if I mention it enough, it might come true. If I only believe hard enough, I’ll get what I want.

Hey. I mean, it worked for Tinkerbell, right?

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