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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Watch Out! Grandmas' in Town.

Class did not start until 10 AM today so I was able to wake up an hour later than usual. It was nice to catch up on a sleep as the last couple days I survived with only six hours of sleep. I had breakfast with some people from my cohort at the 1920s Common and then walked two blocks down to where our class was. Today our class was in a different location so it took us about ten minutes to walk to the class. 

Unlike the other days, we did not start the morning with Qi Gong. Instead, we had a guest speaker come in from the "Bearded Ladies" name John who co-wrote and acted the skit from yesterday. He had us go into our teaching fellow groups and we were made to find something that we all have in common, let it be movies, songs, etc. In my teaching fellow group, we agreed that all of us has seen The Lion King so then we had to come up with an idea to transform and challenge the film. We decided to take the scene where the song Circle of Life played (also the scene where we first see Simba) and transform it.  The idea behind our skit was that we would remove the alpha male (Simba) because he ruled the whole animal kingdom and place it with someone who would treat us as equals. We would have the song "Circle of Life" play in the background as we acted out the scene. The mini skit was put together in ten minutes and then every group had to act out their mini skit. Some of the mini skit ideas from other people's groups included songs by Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift while others did movie references such as Harry Potter. 

The idea behind this activity was to see how the "Bearded Ladies" take a controversial topic that everyone can relate to and give a twist so that they could make their point know to their audience. I have never been taught anything about directing, acting, or writing a play so it was interesting to see how the minds of a performer/writer works and how they can share their message through plays. I commend them for putting this play together but I wish that the content of their skit was a bit less crude. Following the mini skits that we did, everyone sat in a circle and it was an open question and answer session. John was very open about the things that influenced him and answered all the questions honestly and did not ignore any question. Seeing him in person and listening to all the questions he answered, I feel like I understand a little bit more about the play they performed. 

Members of the Granny Peace Brigade in the first session
In the afternoon, we also had guest speakers today and they are called the Granny Peace Brigade of Philadelphia. The Granny Peace Brigade is an anti-war group and seeks to inform people, specifically young adults, about things the military does not tell them. They oppose the techniques the military uses to recruit young adults and would rather the military send them (the grannies) to the battlefield because they have already lived their life. They believe that by sending young adults to the battlefield, it will cause a problem to the individuals mental and physical state since they will most likely be in warfare. One of the things the group punctuated on was that in 2011, eleven of them went to their local recruitment center and tried to sign up to be in the military. They were constantly ignored and told that they could not go into the military because they were simply "too old." The members protested by not leaving the building and were arrested by the police and charged with "defiant trespass." Luckily, the judge dropped the charges that were held against them.

We sang a song by Woody Allen
The Granny Peace Brigade split up and held three sessions, each holding different members of the organization talking about a different topic relating to the group. In the first session, the members showed us pictures of their organization throughout the years and how they have grown in the last decade. We were given little pamphlets to see how the government was spending out money. Apparently 60% of tax revenue goes towards the military while 4% goes towards education. These were the two I was most concerned about so I did not notice how much money was going towards things. I think it's great that we have one of the best militaries in the world but I feel like 60% is too much money to be spending on one program. I admire those who decide to fight for the freedom of this country but at the same time I feel like we should take off 10% or 20% from the military's tax money and give it to education. Students are just as important as those who fight for this country. 

In the next session, one of the grannies served as a school counselor for a high school. I did not get her name as there were too many of them to remember. But she said that military recruiters are in the public school and she doesn't like how aggressive they can be to get people to join the military. There is a Military Opt-Out form that is in every public school but some schools don't hand out the form. She believes that students are always misinformed about the military and don't know enough about the consequences of joining the military. Her purpose in the organization is to reform the public school's way of teaching and informing the students about the Military Opt-Out. 

In the last session, the grannies here talked about continuity and change of how the media portrays war. In the 60s, war was glorified and would often times show graphic images of the Vietnam War but nowadays, all that stuff is now shown on TV. One of the grannies talked deeply about the race for military arms and how wrong that it was. This session was probably the most political out of all the discussions. Perhaps if I knew more about foreign policy, I would have been able to follow along a bit better. I was really thankful that these ladies took some time from their day to talk to us. I learned a lot of things I would never would learned in school. Today was by far the best session out of all the other sessions. 

After class ended, Chiamaka, Jun, Elexis, and I went back to the Quadrangle to grab out stuff so that we could go rock climbing. We have been talking about it or days and finally we were able to do it. We only had to pay five dollars to rock climb which was a really good deal. Justeen, her friend Charlotte and Rudy were eventually able to join us but Rudy did not rock climb. Chiamaka, Jun, and Justeen were able to make it to the very top but I chickened out so I only made it more than halfway but next time I will conquer the top! It started to rain not too long after we were done rock climbing and there was a thunderstorm. We had to stay inside the gym for a good 30 minutes before the rain stopped. 

Since we had missed dinner, we decided to eat out at a sandwich place called Jimmy Johns. The sandwiches were alright but I feel like I have had better sandwiches. Jun or Elexis said that Philadelphia people must really like to eat their food cold because some of the food we have eaten, we had to eat it cold (like Philadelphia Pretzels). We walked back to our dorms and said good night. 

I really hope that in the future we will have more guest speakers like the ones today. It makes the class more interesting and fun instead of the lectures. I feel like I can follow better when there are guest speaks and it's nice to see things from their point of view instead of making assumptions. Ignorance is not always bliss. Like everyday, I can only wait until the day comes to see what will happen. Hopefully it will be as amazing as today. 

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