Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Pimping the prof’s Powerpoints

November 10, 2007 - 5:10 pm Comments Off on Pimping the prof’s Powerpoints

One of my communication professors has recently published a book on the subject of Powerpoint presentations. Having had him for two classes, I can testify to the awesome-tude of his Powerpoints. Check him out if you get a chance. I’m not making a dime off this; just passing on something helpful:

Save Our Slides by Dr. Billy Earnest

Educational emailicide

November 2, 2007 - 12:14 am Comments Off on Educational emailicide

Last week I found out that my usually very dependable for-pay email forwarding address wasn’t delivering any of the emails that my daughter’s teacher was sending me. She mentioned a newsletter at our parent teacher conference, and I was all, “Whaaaaa? Newsletter?”

Then earlier tonight I realized that none of the email to my college address was actually being kept on the server. So I tried changing the forward, which activated a black hole swirling vortex of doom which sucked who knows how many emails down with it. None of my test messages went through for a good hour, anyway.

Oh, and here’s an O’Henry moment: Yesterday, as we were setting up for the class presentation, my cell phone rang with its insanely loud Wii Sports theme and I freaked out, thinking my professor was going to walk into the room any moment and hear my phone ringing and find it unprofessional. I hit the “Ignore” button as quick as I could and switched off the ringer.

Turned out it was my professor calling to say she was running late to class.

Bonus geek points for my classmate who recognized the theme, though.

This was the same prof that I had the nightmare about last spring. The one where I forgot to wear my shoes to class and she was horrified. I told her about it a couple of weeks ago and she laughed and laughed. Man, that was a horrible dream. I was seriously traumatized.

My Little Pony

October 3, 2007 - 9:39 pm Comments Off on My Little Pony

Today, when I went to class, I sat down in my seat and pulled out my notebook and put it on the desk in front of me. Looked down. Realized it was a My Little Pony coloring book.

The kids have been in my backpack, apparently.

Hub said I should have offered the explanation, “Graduate work.” There were crayons in there, too.


August 26, 2007 - 6:30 pm Comments Off on TDIR

We’re back from Disney World, btw. It was exhausting, but fun. 11 nights on the road and in Orlando. I heart my Camelbak. Perhaps I’ll do a more detailed write-up; perhaps not. Won’t be today, anyway.

So, remember when I went all SQUEE about the movie adaptation of The Dark is Rising? Yeah, turns out, not so much. Bah. I have been reading Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series lately (on book two now) and enjoying the bejeebers out of it, though.

School starts tomorrow, for me and for the kiddos. I got into the “Lying and Deception” class that I’ve been wanting to take – the longer I’m at St. Ed’s, the more I’m noticing a sort of class division between the traditional college and New College, which (I’m extrapolating) is resulting in things like courses that my Portfolio prof thought I could place out of won’t count, and therefore I need to take more courses to graduate… and even though I was told that someone from the department would try to send me a note “just like I would send my traditional students,” that didn’t happen. Luckily I am aged and crafty and hit refresh a lot and have had tons of practice mashing buttons in Wootoffs.

Anyway, I had planned on taking one other prerequisite and my Capstone course (in which I produce a 20-30 page paper), then graduating this December, but due to the hoop-jumping, I think I’m going to drop Capstone and take it next semester along with something else in the Communication department. So hopefully I’ll graduate next May, which might be nice since it’s the larger ceremony then.


July 21, 2007 - 1:29 am 1 Comment

How to describe the Harry Potter phenomenon? The air is full of excitement right now, between the Harry Potter fans anxiously awaiting the release of the final book in the series and those who don’t understand the culture. It’s confusing who so many people expend so much energy insulting the people who love the book. Parties are going on all over town on Friday night – release night – and already the radio stations and internet are abuzz with how “stupid” those Harry Potter fans are, and how they need to “get a life.” What’s it to them? How is it harming them? Those people who aren’t fans aren’t forced to read the books or go to the release parties if they don’t want to, so why do they spend time thinking of ways to pick on the fans?

It’s like this with many subcultures. People roll their eyes at people attending fan conventions, or standing in line for the iPhone, or dressing up as Chewbacca to go see the Star Wars movie. Yet I can find no good reason why they seem to be so offended by the concept. The kids are having fun. The grownups are having fun. So what if it’s a children’s series? There’s no reason to lose the magic just because you’re over the age of 18.

Guess who’s coming to dinner

June 30, 2007 - 1:26 am 1 Comment

It’s been a long time since I saw Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. I can’t help but wonder what it was like around the time it was released. Was it scandalous? Were people blase about it? Did they have problems finding financial backing to make it? Who was impacted by the film? It’s easy enough to read film reviews and look at income statements; it’s entirely different to grasp the feeling of the moment.

Wikipedia says that Spencer Tracy was dying at the time the movie was filmed. Katharine Hepburn made this movie with him, knowing it would be his last. How heartbreaking could that have been?

This is not a Mickey Mouse

June 30, 2007 - 12:59 am Comments Off on This is not a Mickey Mouse

Here’s a post I wrote on the IGDA ARG mailing list in reference to someone asking about ARGs for kids:

I’m sure I’ll get shouted down by the anti-Disnites 😉 , but I’ve spent quite a bit of time pondering lately about the nature of Disney World. They treat all the characters as absolutely real, to the degree that the person in the Mickey Mouse suit doesn’t say later, “I was in the Mickey Mouse suit,” but rather, “I was _working with_ MIckey Mouse.”

Everything that’s not roped off at Disney World is available to touch and play with. When the sign at the Muppet Show 3D says “Key’s under the mat,” the key is really under the mat. If there’s an old-timey phone in a store, you should pick it up and hear an old-timey conversation.

Those who take behind the scenes tours are warned not to say anything about the characters not being real while “on stage,” or in view of other guests. If they do, their guide will play absolutely dumb.

So while there’s not really a game (although they do have different scavenger hunts), it’s definitely an alternate reality. Obviously the curtain is hair-thin, but within the milieu of Disney World itself, the TINAG principle stands tall.

Speaking of Las Vegas

June 21, 2007 - 1:05 am Comments Off on Speaking of Las Vegas

Here’s a piece I wrote for The 4400 “Battle Over Promicin” campaign. I guess I have Las Vegas on the brain lately!

Casinos Go Promicin-Free

Mikki Grayson | Staff Writer

Las Vegas casinos are scrambling to deal with the effects of promicin. The city, famous for its tourism and gambling industries, has suffered a huge economic hit after a loose consortium of major casinos suspended operations for three days last week.

The unprecedented move was due to worries about the substance promicin, which is known to give special abilities to those who take it. The possibility of players with extra-sensory perception or telekinetic powers has casino officials running scared.

“It might have just been coincidence, but at the same time the promicin story hit the news, our casino’s take decreased dramatically over three days,” said an executive who would prefer not to be named. “I guess there were several possible causes, like people canceling their trips and so on, but we just can’t risk the chance of having some freak come in here and manipulate the cards or dice.”

Casinos rely on a house edge – rules that make gambling statistically more likely for the players to lose money – in order to turn a profit. But that house edge is dependent on equipment that hasn’t been tampered with.

“The Gaming Commission would be in here like white on rice if they thought there was monkey business going on. That equates to even longer-term closure,” the unnamed executive explained.

Shutting down the casinos was not a decision to take lightly. Even a 24 hour closure equates to the loss of millions of dollars in revenue. But for those casinos which have reopened, some say that the cure is worse than the disease.

The two largest casino groups opened their doors Friday to picketers and riot police after it was announced that they would require any potential gamblers to fill out a lengthy questionnaire. The information the casinos ask for ranges from a social security number to a lengthy physical and mental health history. Casino spokespeople insist that the answers are necessary in order to gauge the possibility of whether players might have taken promicin.

“We would have done a blood test instead, but the government isn’t allowing anyone to use that technology for non-governmental purposes yet,” said the unnamed executive. “This is the next best thing we could think of that would let us stay open and keep those promicin-users out.”

Public reaction is profoundly angry. “I never would have spent my hard-earned dollars coming to this town if I thought they were going to demand my most personal information,” said tourist Miles Bradford from Indianapolis. “Doesn’t the Constitution say something about ‘unreasonable search and seizure’? Where the hell is privacy these days?”

Others agreed. A crowd estimated to be 1,000 strong marched south on The Strip Saturday night, completely blocking traffic for three hours on what is normally the busiest night of the week. In some spots, things got ugly. The Las Vegas Police Department reported arresting 109 protesters between the hours of 8-10 PM, for charges ranging from disorderly conduct to vandalism.

Until Monday, those who consented to the questionnaire were issued plastic wristbands to be worn for the duration of their stay. Casinos quickly regretted the decision when several thousand counterfeit wristbands were confiscated in North Las Vegas on Sunday evening. Since then, casinos have been issuing special Players Club cards to questionnaire takers, but plans are in the works for a standardized identification card. The new card will not only be available to those who fill out the questionnaire at casinos, but also at the airport and bus station. However, the thought of giving out such personal information to lowly-paid transportation workers concerns some.

“Yes, you might give this information to your doctor, but medical practices are highly regulated by law and physicians could lose their licenses if they disclose your details. There’s no such law for the casinos. These people [who are collecting questionnaires] didn’t even have background checks,” said Jackie Kellner, a practicing attorney in Clark County.

It would appear that many agree. Airlines have reported a 40% drop in traffic to McCarran International Airport. The Convention Center has had over half of its upcoming bookings cancel.

Casinos? Some experts estimate that profits are down as much as 50%. The anonymous executive echoed the sentiments of many in the gambling business when he said, “I wish to God I never heard of promicin.”