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Everything posted by EleCivil

  1. That blurb didn't make me want to drink, but it DID make me want to dig up my polyhedral dice and roll for initiative.
  2. The tricky part is all the "unofficial" sequels that came later - the Qur'an, the Book of Mormon, the novelization of the TV miniseries based on the book (No, really). Remember when Robert Jordan died, so Brandon Sanderson took over writing Wheel of Time, and then fans of Robert Jordan called Sanderson a heretic and staged a series of bombings in protest? No? Maybe labeling it as fiction was a step in the right direction.
  3. Whenever someone says "bat kid", I think of this guy: The SF Batkid is a much better story, though.
  4. Don't know, but if he didn't use a ball-peen hammer to put it in, he should be arrested for crimes against comedy.
  5. This is true. Common Core Standards are not a terrible idea - in fact, I like the idea. It's similar to something E.D. Hirsch proposed back in the 90's in his book The Schools We Need (good read if you're into Ed. Policy, by the way). Nothing wrong with the standards or even the theory behind the standards. The issue is in the implementation. Some districts/LEAs are ahead of the game, some are way behind, and some are on the ground spinning in circles like Curly. As we've seen from the Affordable Care Act, nationwide initiatives tend to break down when the entire nation is not on the same page. My current state is way behind - I have no idea if CCS will be in place within the next couple years, and neither do any of the other teachers. My previous state was ahead - we were already running off of Common Core when I left (even though the current CC standards may not end up being the actual CC standards). Still, changes to the standards will not solve the biggest problem, which is testing. When I taught reading, I was told not to teach reading - I was to teach test prep. When I taught math, I was told not to teach math - I was to teach test prep. We spent so much time teaching kids how to take tests and then running them through practice tests that we were barely teaching content (except for when I locked the door, pulled the shades, and brought out the actual BOOKS, which is, of course, a firing offense). It's one of the reasons I moved to teaching science - it's not a tested subject at my grade level, so I actually get to TEACH, rather than run test-prep sessions all day. If you want to save education, kill the tests.
  6. My guess is that the good stuff is all from a single writer, collected while working on a single work. Like, "Hey man, this is pure Frank McCourt. And I'm talking Angela's Ashes days - none of that lighter stuff."
  7. Thanks! Haha. I've been shaving my head down to the shine since I was 20, when my dad was fighting cancer - I got to like it, and haven't had hair since. But if I had any hair, it'd probably be streaked with white after that ordeal. Aced it, of course, 'cause I'm awesome. But it still probably shortened my lifespan. Heh.
  8. Thesis is DONE, SUBMITTED, DEFENDED, and GRADED. You know you're a nerd when you can say "I'm so glad to be done with all that writing. Now I can finally get back to writing." More LiP coming soon.
  9. I thought you had to be rich to be an operating HUMAN in the San Francisco area.
  10. Agreed completely. The audioplay was a very good adaptation - but it's also 8 hours long. Split that into a miniseries on HBO or AMC or the like, and it'd be awesome.
  11. Haha. Funny you should mention it... You know those standardized tests that American kids tend to fail? The new Common Core standards (the nationwide standards upon which the tests will be based) will increase the difficulty of the tests by about two grade levels. And they'll insist that teachers enforce it. Whatever, man. I already teach above grade level. Bring it, State Department of Education - I ain't flinchin'.
  12. Yep! I'll get to sign my name as EleCivil, M.Ed. ...But I won't, because that'd be obnoxious. Haha. And to think, I started posting here when I was fresh out of high school. Seems crazy, man.
  13. Free Bible lesson incoming: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six." -Revelation 13:18 Some sects of Christianity believe that prior to the Second Coming of Christ (which presents a final judgment, after which God and Jesus will remake the Earth into paradise and rule for a millennium [what happens after that millennium is another question]), there will be a period called the Tribulation, in which the Beast, who may or may not also be the Antichrist, is given reign over the entire Earth. According to premillennialists, during this time, the Antichrist will control the entire world's government and economy. People will be forced to take "The Mark of the Beast" in order to be permitted to buy or sell goods, and to show loyalty to the Antichrist. Refusal to take the mark is a sign of Christianity, which will lead to Christians being executed and, according to some interpretations, achieving sainthood through their martyrdom ("Tribulation Saints"). Literalists take "The Mark of the Beast" to mean a physical mark, like a tattoo (or more recently, a subdural microchip) on the right hand (symbolizing loyalty) or the forehead (symbolizing worship). Since Rev. 13:18 spells out that the number of the beast is 666 (in some translations it's rendered as 616), you have the popular interpretation that people alive during the Tribulation will literally be forced to be tattooed with the number 666. Accepting that mark is taken as a sign that one has rejected God in favor of worshiping the Antichrist, and is a one-way ticket to hell. So, yes, asking a premillennial literalist to wear the number 666 is the equivalent of saying "Hey, would you like to wear this 'Hail Satan' t-shirt and denounce God for all eternity?" The less literal interpretation is that "666" translates to one of the titles of Caesar, whom Christians at the time were not big fans of, what with the whole crucifixions, lions, and attempted world domination thing.
  14. I taught in a school that tried to have that rule. It wasn't enforced by any teachers, because it was stupid. Likewise, they tried to ban tag, racing, and any sort of "chasing game" at recess. Again, it was never enforced, because it was stupid. As professionals trained in child development, the faculty made the decision (completely off the books) to ignore stupid rules and pay lip service to them when the school board members decided to poke around. It's not the best system, but it worked for us.
  15. Hello, all! Just wanted to update everyone and assure you that I have not abandoned this story. These last few weeks have gone into finishing up my thesis - I give an oral defense on Friday and turn in the final draft on Sunday, at which point I'll be DONE, and will get some spare time back to continue writing for fun. Thanks for sticking with me through the slow patch! (Though, if you're at all familiar with my writing, you were probably expecting this. Haha.)
  16. Possibly. From what I understand, his stroke was in 2011. His anti-gay writing dates back to 1990.
  17. Agreed. If he hadn't fallen off as badly as he did (His writing quality seemed to decrease as his assholery increased), he could have been the one to pick up the mantle of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein. Even outside of the Enderverse, he had some interesting series and one-shots. The Worthing Saga could have easily come from one of the big three, the Alvin Maker series was very good historical fantasy (until it turned into a thinly-veiled retelling of The Book of Mormon), the Homecoming series was Asimov-esque (until it, too, turned into a thinly-veiled retelling of The Book of Mormon).
  18. I can see where he's coming from. I could really go for a box of microscopes. From the same kid: "So, that means they're...gate?" "Gay, not gate." "Like...the Golden Gay Bridge?"
  19. I don't think it's necessary at all to "justify" an appreciation for a work of art created by a flawed artist. If I refused to read stories or listen to songs written by people of less-than-perfect morality, I'd have very little to read. Hell, I couldn't even read my own work, because I can be a dick. Heh. Ender's Game, maybe not. But Speaker for the Dead is very much about tolerance. It's kind of the exact opposite of everything you have ever heard Orson Scott Card say.
  20. Also in the world of religion, the UAE is pushing for harsher laws against sorcerers. http://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/fnc-wants-tougher-laws-against-sorcery
  21. He's at least 10 by the time he graduates to command school. I think he's 12 by the end of the book. The book takes place over several years, which is something the movie lost - the movie makes it look like it's taking place over the course of a couple months. It kind disrupts the idea of taking a kid at a young age and keeping them isolated and in hostile conditions for years in order to break them. I went to see the movie the other day. It was all right. The early part of the book felt very rushed - the important character-building with his siblings was reduced to about two minutes. You don't get the sense that his siblings are as brilliant as he is, and his brother is shown as being a generic bully rather than a cold, calculating sociopath. Other than Ender and Graff, none of the characters really felt like...well, characters. If they hadn't been using their names from the book, I never would have guessed who they were supposed to be. The visuals were quite good, though. And the acting was good. Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford-ing the whole time, which is always fun. And I liked that the movie kept a lot of imagery and scenes showing the near-totalitarian one-world government. The climax of the movie was very well visualized. As far as adaptations, it reminded me of The Golden Compass - they took a lot of dialogue and scenes from the book, made it look nice, but lost the emotional core by focusing heavily on WHAT was happening, rather than on the people to whom it was happening. Still, I'll probably watch it again - even reading the Cliff's Notes of a great story can cause you to remember that story and evoke some powerful emotions. I'd rank the adaptations like this: Ender's Game Alive (the full-cast audioplay) > Marvel Comics adaptation > The movie adaptation. I highly recommend the audioplay, by the way.
  22. A big part of why the story works the way it does is because of the author's understanding of the dangerous side of gifted children - being intellectually capable of understanding truths with which they are nowhere near emotionally mature enough to cope. Hence the high rates of suicide attempts, drug abuse, and antisocial behavior among gifted kids. That's why I think the protagonist as a kid works - not only does the government use his childish traits to manipulate him into committing the most horrific act of violence in human history, but he realizes it. It's not a perfect book by any means, and the further into the series you get, the more off-the-rails Card goes. At its core, though, like the author says, this is a book led by its emotional core, not its sci-fi/political dressings. I think the sequel, Speaker for the Dead, did both sci-fi and emotion better than Ender's Game, however. It follows Ender as an adult, having used near-reletivistic travel to escape into a future where he is now reviled as history's greatest villain - his name is used much like we would use "Hitler" - where he now travels as a sort of priest/historian, seeking redemption. There's a lot of talk about nano-machines, rapid-evolution viruses, self-aware AI, and the life-cycles of alien species, but the center of the story is a family drama. If the characters ages are what bothered you, try Speaker. It's a very different book.
  23. I remember when there was a national campaign to get this movie a PG-13 rating so that it could be shown in schools. If you look back, you'll probably find some AD forum posts about the issue. Now it sounds like they're ready to rally the troops to have it banned from schools. A recent study showed that schools with anti-bullying programs show a sharp increase in the rates of bullying, as the bullies learn new ways to do it, and learn how to get away with it by looking for loopholes in the anti-bullying rules. I don't know, man. I don't show movies in class. I'm too busy teaching. One thing I find interesting, though - this scene that they say "inspired" the shooter, in which a bullied kid brings a gun on the school bus...the kid in the movie doesn't shoot anyone. And she's telling her story from the mental hospital where she's confined, having been charged with 40+ counts of kidnapping. She and her mother are crying, talking about what a terrible decision it was, and how it only made her life worse. Not exactly the kind of thing to inspire copycats.
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