I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. I love TV. I love sitcoms and dramas, scripted and “reality.” But I don’t let it rule my life. With DVR, or even old-fashioned VCRs, I can control my programming intake. This allows me time for blogging, reading, hiking, or whatever. I turned off the TV for about 5 months last summer while I was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and it didn’t kill me. (I did really miss Jon Stewart, though.)

  2. I’m about to head into two weeks of not-really-voluntary TV turn-off, while I’m at my youth camp. It’s on a college campus, but we still don’t have any televisions in the dorm where we, the staff, stay. I’ll have another two week span in late July. I love the fact that I’ll be there and be busy with doing camp, such that I don’t really even realize that I’m missing TV. Of course also, I go from being a single guy who lives alone for the bulk of the year, to living with about 30 other adult staff and their families in a sort of congregate living deal. It seems a lot easier to ignore television when there are others around to talk to, etc.

    And for me, I’ll miss the first new episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe….

  3. I tend to think that the majority of television is a waste of a persons time. But, I recognize that one of the important points of connections with my students is the media they are watching, listening, playing etc. I don’t think this means I go check out everything they are watching. But, these are pieces where if I can connect my content, great. If I can create a fun climate in my class because of “inside” jokes we have, great. If students feel cared about because I took the time to spend 15 minutes watching/listening to something they wanted to tell me about, great.

    As far as TV Turnoff Week goes, it seems to be an ironic advertisement for Adbusters. I am not convinced that the spoken goal is actually achieveable and I think people are fooling themselves if they think they are having some kind of impact on corporate America because of it. It seems similar to the if everyone did not buy gas on a certain day, we would screw up the shipping plans of the major oil companies spam-mail.

    But, I think there is value when people consider the kinds of media, and the amount of time with media, that they are personally spending.

    I should go talk with my wife.

  4. I’m adjunct faculty at Cal State San Marcos and I’m for it.

    Here’s why. When I broach the subject with my students about taking a break from televison (just a day, mind you), the students almost convulse. Convulse.

    (I’ve also asked them to take 3 days off from myspace and they look as if I’m asking them to quit their voluntary oxygen intake. I’ve given up on that FOR NOW.)

    I think taking a break from any kind of indulgence is healthy (mystics would call it “fasting”) and rewarding; it reminds you to be grateful for what you have.

    I spent two weeks in South Africa once. It opened my eyes (and that health care is indeed an indulgence.)

    Ryan is Michael’s boss! YEAH!

  5. I like what I’m reading here far better than what Adbusters proffers, but I still think a point is missed: the debate centers around the perception of television, and both camps – the one here and the one over there – seem to argue the same idea: Television is entertainment, something separate from life that fits the niche of pre-scripted indulgence.

    Tony says he doesn’t let TV rule his life; Rich sees television as something to ignore. I agree, kinda’, with Ryan in that a break from an indulgence is healthy. And it sounds like others would agree that TV is an indulgence, or at least something one can do without or benefit from a moderate subtraction. And, yeah, if TV is an indulgence, a distraction, then a week-long break is just what the doctor ordered. Moreover, I would say that if TV is distracting from life, a – as they say at Adbusters – passive medium that works only to pacify, then you should cut it from your life completely, do away with it part and parcel.

    Cause here’s the thing: the burden of passivity isn’t on the television and it isn’t on the tight-knit group of execs spoon-feeding entertainment. (That small group —>>> masses, top —>>> bottom conception of media becomes more and more cliché as we go deeper into a networked society, though.) Rather, the burden of passivity is on you, the viewer. You have complete control over what you watch and how you watch it and, if you’re somehow “forced” to watch something – which is kind of a ludicrous proposition – it’s on you to engage the program, to be active, to spin it into something worthwhile. A pop song a few years back contained a pertinent lyric, “If you’re bored then you’re boring.” To blindly eliminate television from ones environment isn’t a stand against television at all, it’s an admission that one cannot exist – simultaneously and in moderation – with an inanimate device; it isn’t a statement of intelligence, but an admission of ignorance.