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Dumb White Guy
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Summer reading, at least in the district I taught in, didn't come from the English department. It came from the district. But yeah, the selection is often pretty uninspired.
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As a (former) high school English teacher, I can understand where you're coming from, but thought I would jump in and offer my perspective from the teacher side of the fence. One of our objectives/competencies/benchmarks/whatever they call them in your state is to teach students to essentially identify symbolism and develop understanding based on the use of literary devices (figurative language such as symbolism, metaphor, etc, and various stylistic devices like onomatopeia, word choice, rhythm, etc.). At least where I taught, we HAD to cover it. That being said, for their major research project, I tried to make things less awful by giving them a list of 100 works of British literature ranging from the old Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, and assorted Shakespeare to the works of Jonathan Swift and Jane Austen and ended the list with more modern works (The Island of Doctor Moreau, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Watchmen and V for Vendetta, and the first volume of Sandman). They were allowed to formulate their own thesis, typically along one of three lines: 1) Literary: How does the work help us understand this work or some other? How do the metaphor and symbolism and style help convey the meaning of the story or this type of story? It's a literature class. I have to give them the option to talk about literature as literature. ("Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a perfect example of a Gothic story because...") 2) The Author: What does this work tell us about the author's beliefs especially in regard to a modern issue. Politicians constantly talk about how the founding fathers would or would not feel about a certain hot button issue. It is important for students to learn how these arguments are made so they can separate the good from the bad, read the source material, and form their own opinions when others create puppets of our ancestors. (EX: "Based on 'The Wife of Bath's Tale,' I believe Geoffrey Chaucer would be against the Personhood amendment") 3) The World: What can we assume about the world in which the author lived based on this work? Much of what we know about the past is based on what they left behind. Literature is created mostly to entertain the majority population. Who the good guys are and who the bad guys are tells us a lot about a people's values and gives us insight into their daily lives. ("Jane Austen's Pride and Predjudice shows that the best hope a woman had in England during the 1800s was to marry into as rich a family as possible regardless of feeling or attraction.") Finally, I gave a speech similar to this one at the beginning of every writing assignment. "Remember, there is no right answer to this essay. In college, you will sometimes have different views from your professors, and if they are good professors, that won't be an issue. I've had students write papers that have completely changed the way I view certain books because they caught something I missed. This assignment does not exist to show me you've learned the correct interpretation of (insert name of work here). I'm giving you this assignment so you can show that you know how to form your own opinions based on evidence and not gut reaction and that you can present your argument in such a way that a reasonable person might agree with you. This assignment exists to help you articulate your beliefs and opinions in as clear and persuasive a means as possible, because the right words at the right time can change the world." It wasn't perfect. They still had to look for symbolism where there may not have been any, but at least they had choice, which helps, and they were encouraged to seek their own answers and not just parrot what they thought I wanted to hear."
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Five books and only two weeks to do it, meaning short novels. How long is riverworld?
Toggle Commented May 10, 2012 on "you are hearing me talk" at WWdN: In Exile
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I always love your homebrew stories. I don't know why. I guess it's seeing someone geek out so passionately over something they never knew they were in love with until they tried it.
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You're pretty passionate about your brews, Mr. Wheaton. Maybe you should do a book about your experiences, how to, and a couple of recipes? I'm sure your beer-lovin' devotees would love to know what a Polymorph Porter tastes like. If you don't have enough to fill a book (or don't feel confident devoting a whole book because you haven't been doing it that long), maybe you could do a chap book?
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Lost a year of your life, or TIME TRAVELLED AHEAD A YEAR?!? ZOMG!!! Also, happy birthday.
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YES!!! THIS!!! Consider it done for Dragon*Con! Also, this reminds me of the winning pic I saw on Cracked.com for their photoplasty contest: The Collateral Damage of Video Games You Never See. http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_89_the-collateral-damage-video-games-never-show_p21/#1
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With a chosen nom du porn such as April O'Neil (hotty reporter for channel six news in TMNT), how could she NOT be a geek?
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2011 on Your move, Fan Fiction Writers at WWdN: In Exile
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That is some serious win there. But can you really blame pedobear? He heard it was the biggest one in four counties.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2011 on Run Vern! RUN! GODDAMMIT RUN! at WWdN: In Exile
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Do you know how I know they're your kids? They have their dad's mustache. Fortunately, they don't have their mom's eyebrows. On the other hand, how cool is it to be married to a relative of Mexico's most celebrated artist? I bet it's very cool!
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2011 on In which I am a proud father at WWdN: In Exile
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"Down in Smurfville they say, That Gargamel's heart grew three sizes that day."
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I'm in both camps on Munchkin. The game stands on its own the first few times, but once you familiarize yourself with the jokes, it really comes down to who you play with. Also, we're all about playing by the rule that cheating is totally allowed as long as you don't get caught.
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Sorry about the writer's block. I'm glad it's not hitting me. I've been kicking NaNoWriMo's ass (already over 30,000 words!). I know how you feel about the red box and character sheets just in case. I carry around Fiasco and dice in my bag at pretty much all times. Just in case. Also, while I'm thinking about Fiasco and improv based roleplaying, you might want to give "Play Unsafe" by Graham Walmsley a read. The price is a bit steep for an eighty page book, but the contents are great.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2010 on on a long run at WWdN: In Exile
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It's the whole "It's Wheatons all the way down" line that really kicked that second video from great to awesomesauce
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Awww... I saw the premise and immediately laughed. Then I saw the video and stopped... It was both too random and not random enough to work as a solid parody. The jokes were "things mentioned out of nowhere with no connection to anything whatsoever and break the flow." In the original, they were completely random but sort of had an illogically logical flow that tied it all together. Things never stopped EVER in the original. This one is, "I've said something." pause. "I did something random." pause. "I said something else." pause. "I did something crazy." pause. "I did something crazy again." Pause. The random things, I felt, should have been worked into a continuous flow. "Look at your god. Now look at me. Now back to your god, now back to me. Sadly, he doesn't smell like me, but he could if he used this Great Old Spice body wash. Look in my hand. it's the necronomicon. Where are we? We're at the mountains of madness where insanity will wash over you like my Great Old Spice body wash. Now back to my hand. The necronomicon is now an unspeakable horror. When you smell like me, anything is possible and it will probably rip your sanity from the feeble empty shell you call reality. Great Old Spice body wash. I'm on a horse." Oh well... It's the internet. I'll stop complaining about it.
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That roxorz my bagels and loxorz.
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Have fun at PAX! Back east, we'll still wish one day you could make it to Dragon*Con.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2010 on My 2010 PAX Prime Schedule at WWdN: In Exile
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Yeah, Fiasco is pretty much fantastic. I've gotten so many people to play it since I picked it up a couple of months ago. In fact, I actually saw on RPG Geek someone had linked to a picture of you playing the made-for-GenCon playset with the Bully Pulpit team. And I am envious. Of both parties. You got to play Fiasco with them, the guys who made it. I'd love to see them in action. And they got to play Fiasco with you. I'd love to see the kind of madcap twists and monkey wrenches you'd throw into some scenes.
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2010 on random thoughts from vancouver at WWdN: In Exile
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Respect knucks.
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I tried it once with my group and they fell in love with the process. Everyone was excited to play the characters they created (discovered?). Good stuff. Though you have to use a different questionnaire, or at least change the last question since, if I had to guess, everyone in your game doesn't have memory loss. A possible alternative could be "How do you know the person to your left?"
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Let me simply say I cannot recommend A Penny for My Thoughts highly enough. As a gaming experience it's powerful. I've never created characters before with a game where I had such a deep understanding, not of what they've done or what's happened to them, but who they were. Almost every time I run a game of anything that isn't just a sword-and-spell slinging hackfest, I'll get the players to run a game of A Penny for My Thoughts to generate their characters before they even commit one dot to paper. I think you'll get the same kick out of it, especially as someone who is familiar with acting and improv techniques (it's all about Accept and Build/Yes And...)
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If these guys are working at a university, even as research scientists, and all (but Wallowitz) hold doctorates, why don't any of them have to teach any undergrad classes or mentor any students working on their doctorate or masters degree?
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That shirt is pyure cotton/poly blend love.
Toggle Commented Jun 29, 2010 on never forget your roots at WWdN: In Exile
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Here's the thing, Wil (May I call you Wil? Too late. It's already posted). Prove to Everybody may have been a dick, despite your frequent mantra that he not be, but really? You should recount that experience positively. A guy says you look like Wil Wheaton and when you say you are, he doesn't believe you. And why would he? People just don't believe that they'll see celebrities buying groceries or going into McDonald's. In his mind, Wil Wheaton was a big celebrity, in spite of how you may have felt. And big celebrities don't buy their own groceries. You may or may not have felt belittled, but to him, you were a guy trying to be someone cooler than he pegged you to be. You were there and he didn't even know it. You, sir, are a ninja of awesomeness.
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Your sly TMBG reference makes me smile, and your story makes me LOL. The score is 0-2, Wheaton. Your ball.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2010 on From the Vault: "Foster is down!" at WWdN: In Exile
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