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Awolfman
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I'm 47 and I've been on this soapbox my whole life. And the reading out loud in class thing hits close to home as well. I'm the youngest of five, my mom was a teacher and for various reasons I could read in first grade. Remember those Dick and Jane books? It was excruciating to me to listen to those easy words being mangled, and the first time I got to read I just started flipping pages and read several before the teacher stopped me. I wasn't allowed to read again until third grade, and even then and forever after it was extremely rare. As an adult, I understand that the teachers had some good reasons for that: why try to teach something to a student who has already mastered it, and don't embarrass the other kids. But they should have taken me aside and explained that to me. The way they handled it was extremely insensitive and damaging. (At one point they actually banned me from the school library because I refused to read the books in the kiddie section and was reading everything that looked interesting in the adult section! Way to do your job, folks!) Later on, I usually had read the assigned books from cover to cover before they had a chance to get into the symbolism hogwash, so it didn't ruin the reading experience for me but did convince my that they didn't have a clue what the stories were really about. Now more than ever I'm mystified/mortified by their interpretations of Samuel Clemens' works. But I'm very glad that I read those works, and also Poe. Dickens was too dry, too tiresomely descriptive and too depressing for me, and to this day I just can't bring myself to appreciate Shakespeare at all. To me Shakespeare is too much like bad horror films: why on earth would a real person act that way, and the whole time I'm silently screaming, "You idiot! Don't do that!" Beowulf I read on my own in grade school along with The Odyssey and The Illiad and mythology from around the world. I'm sure I didn't understand everything at that age, but I understood enough to thoroughly enjoy the process and experience of reading. I think that's the springboard that led me to Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury Poul Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, and all the rest.
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Traffic waves make me more frustrated, not less, because even though they can be described by physics, they are NOT CAUSED by physics. They are caused by incompetent idiots who do everything in their power to cause traffic snarls: they refuse to allow others to merge smoothly, they are incapable of merging smoothly themselves, they have to rush to the very end of merging lanes and slam on their brakes while cutting people off, change lanes right in front of other vehicles in order to deliberately impede traffic, they rubberneck at everything, etc., etc. People, when you are behind the wheel you have one, and only one, responsibility: keep out of everybody else's way. And you can't do that by being excessively cautious, either: slowing or stopping in acceleration lanes makes it impossible to smoothly merge with traffic. Traffic waves don't happen spontaneously for no reason at all. There is ALWAYS a precipitating factor, even if it's tiny. Then they get amplified.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2011 on long line of cars at WWdN: In Exile
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My commute is about 14 miles each way, but I take the bus so that even when the road is a parking lot it never bothers me. That just gives me more time to read, browse the Web, watch videos, listen to music, or whatever I need or want to do. I will never understand the people who drive themselves to work like that every day. I would not, could not, do that. And no, driving on "autopilot" is not a good thing. Even audiobooks and conversations with passengers are distractions. That's how pileups happen, and I see them often out the bus window... If I were in a situation where public transportation were not feasible and work was not within reasonable walking or biking distance, I would either move or get a different job. I will not ever put myself in a position of having to commute in a regular passenger vehicle every day.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2011 on long line of cars at WWdN: In Exile
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Sounds like you need to stop watching the games, and see them after the fact or just catch the scores. They were doing fine until you came home and started watching, right?.... :-P
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2011 on in which a good choice is made at WWdN: In Exile
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About that jet pack... Zachary Levi just tweeted this: @ZacharyLevi Fooooortheeeeewiiiiin!!!!! http://t.co/M3WKGfY http://t.co/7b7CBA7 #DearSanta
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Apr 22, 2011