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Topics - EUOL

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Rants and Stuff / The Coolest Gaming Day Ever
« on: February 11, 2004, 02:13:26 AM »
Okay, so my ward (church group) had an activity for some of us older 'menaces to society' (ie, non-married people.)  It was organized by a group of women, and to attract the men, they somehow got ahold of three professional digital projectors, then hooked an X-Box to one, a Playstation 2 to the second, and a Gamecube to the third.  They lined them up in a row and pointed them at a large wall side-by-side, hooked each one up with four controllers, then got copies of Halo, Mario Cart, and several other multi-player games.  Add to this mix a large amount of chips, brownies, and cookies.  

I just have to say that I'm very impressed by the ladies' resourcefulness and cleverness.  They even tried to play the games with us.

Everything Else / Kaylynn's baby arrives
« on: February 10, 2004, 06:11:05 PM »
For those of you who remember Kaylynn from TLE, I received the following email from her husband rob this afternoon.  If any of you want Rob or Kaylnn's email address to send them a congratulations, I'll give it to you via email.

Rob's message:

After an emergency caesarian (due to prolapsed umbilical cord) we (ha! Kaylynn did the work, I just passed out cigars in the lobby (j/k, except about Kay doing all of the work)) had our baby Monday morning.  After a shaky start baby and mommy are doing fine.  The baby is seven pounds, two ounces, twenty-one inches, and, most shocking of all, a BOY.  Luckily he's got bales of pink clothes to wear.

Rob ZoBell

Rants and Stuff / LTUE
« on: February 07, 2004, 05:26:01 AM »
So, I told the LTUE (BYU's SF con) that I was willing to be on a couple of panels this year.  I just got the email, and they put me on EIGHT.  If you don't know what that means, it means I'll be up there talking for eight hours.

Man.  How desperate must they be for panelists if they're that keen on using the guy whose book won't even come out for over a year?

Another note of interest--I'm on a panel with Scott Parkin.  He's the guy whose job I kind of filched at BYU, teaching the creative writing class.  (I was a grad student, he was not.  I had a book deal, he did not.  I applied for the job he'd been teaching, and they hired me instead.)

I don't even know if Scott was interested in teaching the class again (he'd done it for two years, I think.)  However, I hope he's not sore.  I heard rumblings that they didn't like having someone without an advanced degree teaching classes, and so I stepped in and applied to teach the class for fear that they would just cancel it.

Books / NaNoWriMo Followup
« on: February 06, 2004, 03:24:32 PM »
So, Sprig's thread reminded me that I wanted to start a topic now, several months after the big event, to see how people are doing.

How's the writing coming?  Did you finish your NaNoWriMo piece?  Have you edited it?  And, if so, where are you going to send it?

Rants and Stuff / Beaker ate my student's paper
« on: February 03, 2004, 08:28:57 PM »
So, uh, how do you explain to a student in your class that your pet cockatiel decided to go to town on his paper?  And that you let said cockatiel chew up the paper because it kept the bird from annoying you while you tried to grade other papers?

Rants and Stuff / Personal Essays and you
« on: February 02, 2004, 08:58:50 PM »
So, in my English 115 class, I have to teach my students how to write a 'personal essay.'  What is a personal essay you ask?  Well, it's an introspective look at the self, mediated by a specific narrative used to express one's individuality while at the same time bridging the gap to the reader and heightening the unity of everyone's common humanity.  

And it is something that is INSANELY difficult to explain to freshmen.  

What is the English department thinking?  I understand that they want to teach the students to better express themselves, but this medium is just too difficult to cover in a three-week unit.  The personal essay is a very rich and complex genre, and my students are absolutely butchering it.  The worst part is, I can't find any way to teach them to do otherwise.

If you can't tell, I've been grading papers this afternoon...

Music / OC Remix Bit-torrent
« on: January 12, 2004, 09:02:41 AM »
So, the OC Remix page has up a bit-torrent where you can download the first 1000 remixes and dump them into two directories.  

That's about 3.5 gigs of music, absolutely free.  Sure, you have to like 'remix' style music to enjoy a lot of the songs, but many of them are more lyrical pieces that I think anyone would like.  If you haven't listened to them yet, I still recommend these two:

Click the 'Download' button on the left to go to a download screen.  Don't worry--you can just get the single songs, instead of downloading the entire 3.5 gigs.  I, however, went for the whole bundle...and now I have A LOT of music to sort through.  Anyone else have some specific favorites I should listen to?

Site News / Forum Game Updates
« on: December 29, 2003, 03:41:35 AM »
A little Christmas gift for you all.

The forum game has been updated so that it finally runs through a series of a minimum of five 'bouts' before it determines a winner.  

Here's the way it works (hopefully...):

In order to keep duels between 2 high-hitpoint/low-damage characters from going pages and pages, I have designed the system to award 'matchpoints' to people for each exchange.

First, the computer will determine what kind of exchange will occur.  This is randomized, but heavily weighted toward the skills the two participants have specialized in.  

Each person gets a chance to swing/cast.  The one who does the most damage gets a 'matchpoint.'  

Then, the computer determines the next kind of exchange, and the duel continues.   The winner is the one who wins best-out-of-five, with draws discarded.  

Right now, you can't die for falling below zero hit points.  I'm working on that next.  However, by dealing a lot of damage, you're more likely to win matchpoints, and therefore the duel itself.  

Suggestions Box / Hey, Tage
« on: December 26, 2003, 04:19:01 PM »
I've got a problem with my popmail account, and was hoping maybe you could help.  Any time I go out of town, Mozilla lets me receive emails, but it won't send any.  It says "The message could not be sent because connecting to SMTP server failed.  The server may be unavailable or is not accepting SMTP connections.  Please verify that your SMTP setting is correct and try again, or contact your network administrator."

Any ideas on what causes this?  It works fine from our network at home, but it won't send from any other location.  I have to use yahoo mail if I want to communicate.

Everything Else / Better than Zombies
« on: December 17, 2003, 06:44:59 PM »
So, despite my fondness for undead minions, I think I've found something even better:  College Freshmen.

Really.  They'll do anything I say--all I have to do is offer them a few nebulous 'points.'  If it's 'for points' they're willing to go to amazing lengths.  For instance, I mentioned that I would give 'points' to students who brought treats for the class on the day of the final.  The results--I have a huge left-over back of snacks sitting on my kitchen table.

Yes.  This will work out nicely.  

Everything Else / A scam?
« on: December 13, 2003, 03:30:20 PM »
So, I assume this is a Kazaa version.

My question is, how can they even claim it to be legal?  Are they going with the 'members buy in, so they're part of a club that shares' loophole (which is what the edited video clubs did to get around copyright?)  Anyway, seems highly suspect to me.  Just curious what those of you who know more about this sort of thing have to add.

Music / Heavy Metal
« on: December 12, 2003, 05:36:43 PM »
SE and my discussion about the origins of the genre has got me thinking.  Really, what's the difference between metal and hard rock?  I mean, is it just in the attitude?  What separates Metallica from, say, Foo Fighters (whom I've often heard refered to as 'Hard Rock')?

Site News / News from Scar!
« on: November 22, 2003, 07:13:43 PM »
If anyone is interested how Scar is doing, I got an email from him last week and he asked me to post a section to the board.  Someone please tell 42 and Brenna about this post, so they can come read it if they want.

Ethan Skarstedt
Firebase Gereshk, Afghanistan
06 November 2003
Hey All.  I thought it might be appropriate to write a small missive to everyone letting you all know how I am doing here in Afghanistan among the rocks, boulders, mountains, dirt and dirt farmers.
I'm at a firebase outside a town called Gereshk in central southern Afghanistan.  Our living conditions are better than could reasonably be expected.  There are actual buildings, built to order by the locals from mud and sticks, behind the mud walls (3-4 feet thick), the triple strand concertina wire, claymores and trip flares and the local AMF (Afghan Militia Force) on the outer perimeter.  It's better than it sounds as there are cement floors, the walls are painted and there are air-conditioning units in each.  The ac units, however, have just passed the point of usefulness this year.  It gets downright chilly at night and is comfortable rather than hot during the day.  It has yet to rain during my stay here, even once.  When the wind picks up the dust flys and you can barely see twenty meters.  That doesn't happen too often though.
The food is actually quite good.  Being with the Special Forces is great when it comes to food as they hire locals to buy and cook food for them.  This means that we get fresh eggs and vegetables from Gereshk and Raouf, the cook, is downright expert at cooking the frozen and drypacked food that gets shipped in to us when the supply helicopter makes it out to us.  He'll even cook the bacon for us, though he won't eat it himself, being Muslim and all.  It's Ramadan right now, which is a month long religious holiday Muslims observe, during which they fast all day, from sunup to sundown, and feast after dark.  Raouf makes a rice dish, with saffron and raisins, that is absolutely amazing as part of the feast for himself, the interpreters and the workers and he will occasionally slip me a bowl.  I keep trying to remember to get the recipe.
There's a pelican wandering around the firebase.  It's pink.  It was a gift from a local warlord to the green berets that were here before the current ones.   Odd I know, we're in the middle of the desert in a landlocked country and there's a pelican wandering around.  Up until a week ago it spent all its time in a cage because we didn't know what to do with it.  Last week we just opened the cage door and it bolted out into the yard only to discover that its wings were too weak to fly.  It spends its time flapping and chasing the cats now.  I expect that one day soon we'll wake up and find it gone.  I wish it luck making it to the ocean without getting shot and eaten.  Que sera sera.
We've lost one man from our firebase since I've been here.  Last week he and his team were up north and they got into a firefight with some Taliban.  He was using the radio to call the rest of the team and arrange for the Air Force to rain destruction on the heads of the bad guys when he took a round through the forehead.  He died instantly leaving behind a wife and two children.  Please keep them in your prayers, as well as the families of the others who have died over here trying too keep us all safe at home.  Don't worry about the bad guys that got him though, we've got it covered.


Video Games / FFX-2
« on: November 18, 2003, 02:43:12 PM »
So, the chaps at Game Den say it's not actually coming out today.  They say it ships today, and won't be on shelves until tomorrow (or perhaps late tonight at some stores.)

Apparently Square did the same thing with FFXI.  Guess I--uh, I mean Sprig--won't be getting it for another day or so.

Suggestions Box / Staff Page Revision
« on: November 13, 2003, 06:43:25 PM »
Okay, so, I've decided I should probably be proactive and revise the staff page so that it gives more credit to those who do a ton of work (Read: SE) and removes those who have disappeared into the ether (Read: Kid Kilowatt.)

So, I've got a few questions.  First off, Fell, is there anything you would like to see done to the staff page?  

Second, who amongst us is actively using the TWG as a resume feature?  They should probably take precedence over the more casual writers, such as myself.

Third, who's not on there that wants to be?

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