Random non sequitur posts catch-all thread

The quiet joy of trying out a new recipe and getting it bang-on the first time.

I wish zombie games were different. There are so many mindless shooty games with zombies in them, I want more danger!

Project Zomboid is the only game I've played where I've really loved the zombies. They are dumb and slow, but always a threat. A single zombie could take you out if you slip up. Buuut I don't always want to play a full-on simulator type game.

I just think it's a shame.

The Borg collective is at least 800 years old per VOY S6E7 "Dragon's Teeth." The original queen(s) are almost certainly long dead.

The modern Borg are both the victims of a monstrous system they inherited but never created, and complicit in it.

As an American, I can relate.

What about Neo Scavenger, A_Unicycle? That one does post-Apocalyptic survival very well. Moves a lot faster than PZ. And success is based on playing well, not leveling up. There are no levels. Only gear, health, knowledge, ability, stuff like that.

Definitely seems like something I might enjoy! And there's a demo!

Just remember.... It's a roguelike. If your ball does not start rolling well in the beginning, you'll die quickly. Just keep trying. Once a run clicks in, it's a blast. You'll know because you are self-sufficient and keep making progress, able to evade or kill without dying of environmental or wound effects.

Playing Greedfall and I can't help but wonder if it captures the spark I feel Bioware has lost in the most recent games.

Dear recruiter,

You lost me at 24/7 on-call support. I'm not that desperate.

Someone in our neck of the woods wrote an essay on our guilty feelings whenever we're not doing something "productive". An interesting and necessary topic for sure, but as another sign of the times he chose a very catchy name... Musturbating.

I can't help but feel confused each time the term passes me by, in newsletters, newspaper article headlines, everywhere. Marketing goals achieved, but at what cost?

A dead-eyed Chris Pratt presides over this convoluted mess of Bond-style villains and toothless action that even the original cast can’t save from extinction



Rolling Stone describes Jurassic World: Dominion as "...an extinction level event..." for the franchise. Guess I'm skipping this one.

It appears to be very Simpsons.gif

Frankly, I would've been more interested in a 90-minute Attenborough-style "So, dinosaurs are back" documentary.

Robear wrote:

Rolling Stone describes Jurassic World: Dominion as "...an extinction level event..." for the franchise. Guess I'm skipping this one.

I liked it.

It made no sense. Neither did any of the others. There were dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. They roared and chased things. People ran and screamed. Bad guys got eaten. We had 3 types of M&Ms. What exactly were Rolling Stone expecting?


I nearly lost a car door and, potentially, my cousin Andrew.

We were out for a meal in the local town. I drove into a small car park close to the restaurant and pulled into one of two spaces. The other space was on the passenger side. I looked over to my cousin as he opened the car door and just happened to catch a glimpse of a car racing into the car park behind us. It was headed for the empty space at speed. I said something like, "Ah, oh... be careful!!" Fortunately Andrew interpreted that as bring the car door in and wait even though he didn't know why. A fraction of a second later the reckless car slotted into the space next to us. The people from the car got out and headed off seemingly oblivious.

We sat there for a moment and couldn't help imagining the door being torn off it's hinges or worse.

Yikes, Higgledy. Glad you're both OK.

JLS wrote:

Yikes, Higgledy. Glad you're both OK.


Was reminded today why I don't get into arguments with uber-nerds, as I briefly had a conversation with an acquaintance today who was arguing that Halo (he was unfamiliar outside of the TV show) was a WH40K rip-off entirely because both use "genetically engineered super-soldiers."

Prederick wrote:

Was reminded today why I don't get into arguments with uber-nerds, as I briefly had a conversation with an acquaintance today who was arguing that Halo (he was unfamiliar outside of the TV show) was a WH40K rip-off entirely because both use "genetically engineered super-soldiers."

TIL: Games Workshop invented genetically engineered super soldiers


In Power Armor, I should mention. Again, as Jonman noticed, these are all concepts entirely invented by Games Workshop. In 1987.

So I accepted the teaching position my supervisor kept asking me to do.

I kept turning it down because 1)I've only just started my PhD and BIG 2) I have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (medicated) which makes...speaking in front of people kinda hard?

But it's teaching second year psychology stuff, 1 class and it pays really well. I'd already checked myself into some therapy to try and deal with the anxiety prior to this (only had one session so far) but...I figure I should meet my fears head on!

It hasn't quite sunk in so I'm in the "nervous" not "terrified" stages of preparation.
But gosh it will be nice to finally have a bit of wiggle room with money. Rent has gone up so much, groceries have increased by 25% here, and fuel has almost doubled.

On the odd chance someone else here has experience teaching at uni, I'd love to hear some encouraging words.

A_Unicycle wrote:

On the odd chance someone else here has experience teaching at uni, I'd love to hear some encouraging words.

My first piece of advice is to give yourself permission to not be perfect right away.

Teaching was something that I learned by doing. It took a couple of semesters for me before things came together. Just getting comfortable at the front of the classroom took a while.

I don't know how how the environment you're in compares to the large public universities in the US where I taught, but how engaged my students were in the course as a whole varied a lot and it also took me a while to accept that wasn't my fault. Some people were way into the topic, and some were just there to get a passing grade in a course they needed to graduate. And sometimes a student who sat quietly in the back of the room all semester would come up after the last class or the final exam to shake my hand and tell me it had been one of their best class experiences.

A lot of the time you won't be able to tell how well what you're doing works. That means there are times when it's working better than you think it is!

I've taught adults for several years. It's a learning process and will take you months to get to a basic level of proficiency even with good lesson plans and mentoring. Practice delivering your lessons as often as you can, especially in front of other teacher. Most importantly, if you are frustrated by not being able to catch the flow of a mentor's style, don't keep trying to emulate it. Make your own style. Your students will notice the difference. I was using prepared curricula, and I was miserable until I realized the problem was that the book was ordered badly (based on evolution of ideas rather than progression of functional utility). I simply taught the chapters in a different order and my scores became the best in the company for many courses.

But I would also suggest going out of house and taking a Dale Carnegie course. This will effectively break down your anxiety through the technique of exposure. Worked for me well before I knew what my problem was, before I was medicated. It literally gives you the confidence to talk in front of people at the drop of a hat, and for teaching, I feel it was an invaluable experience to have before I began.

Perhaps your school offers it? Alternatively, something like Toastmasters International might work?

Not Uni specifically, but as a former tech evangelist who's done tons of public speaking I can offer some thoughts.

1. Bluffing seems to be really powerful. At events I used to corner the best speakers and ask them how they stayed so confident while speaking, and every single time they answered with a variation of "oh I'm not confident at all, that's just an act, I started out by pretending to be confident and then I sort of got used to it," etc. I'm not generally a fan of fake-it-til-you-make-it, but I got that answer from 4-5 different people so there must be something to it.

2. It helps to adopt a persona while presenting. Just a version of yourself with certain bits maybe exaggerated - but still a mask that you put on before speaking and take off afterwards. If there's a professor whose teaching style you like, it may help to think of it as impersonating that person, borrowing their tone, etc.

(This comes from an article I once read by a psychiatrist about language study and accents. His premise was that your brain (id/ego/something?) hates change, and will fight to keep its current self-image of you as someone who doesn't speak a foreign language, and that you can hack around that behavior by putting on an exaggerated accent when you practice so that your brain sees it as impersonation rather than self-improvement. It's a weird concept but I've found it helpful.)

3. At first, waaaay overprepare. It's easier to fake confidence with a presentation you've written out and delivered to your pets twice.

4. Most difficult, but most important: remember that this is one of those things where you sweat the details 100x more than anyone else. Your worst moment from the first class will probably be something the students didn't even notice.

I know none of that makes anxiety go away, but I hope it helps establish a mindset and think about tactics!

I can only offer my perspective as a former student, but I have to say, college classes are a different animal.

If you're teaching at a 100-level (most basic, entry-level courses), you're going to get, essentially, 13th-graders. Most of them, though, are more serious about education than your typical high school student who is in school because they must be by law. So, that is the first thing to your advantage - they're in college because they want to be. But, they may not be in your class because they want to be. As misplacedbravado points out, many 100-level courses are gen eds, required credit hours to graduate. My perspective as a student was that every one of these classes turned out to still be worthwhile, but you're never going to get 100% engagement on anything that ends up being required.

Fortunately, that also usually doesn't translate to you needing to be a proxy parent. Most of these kids are not just ready to be more independent and responsible, they're eager to be. Especially those who live on campus. So fooling around in class or just being generally disrespectful is much more rare (but still happens - and outside of class is a different story entirely). Fortunately, for the most part, you don't have to deal with them directly. I never dealt with any need to be disciplined, and only saw one case ever in my 9 semesters where someone had to be (caught cheating during an exam), and I only saw them get caught.

But your department head should be able to tell you what to do with unruly students. Most of the time, a college-level teacher has the authority to just say, "You can leave my classroom now. I don't care where you go, just leave," and you can hand their name over to the dean or something. I have never seen that happen, though. There was one class where a small group was less than interested in the goings-on of the class itself one day, and the prof just told them, "Your behavior is annoying your fellow students. You can't see it from back there, but I can," and that was good enough to shut them up.

As far as teaching itself... This was a much more mixed bag. I had professors who clearly had a passion for the material, but no aptitude for teaching. And there was no hard-and-fast rule - you might think a subject like Math or Literature would only attract strict academics buried in their field, but I had excellent and poor teachers in both. One in particular I remember was a gen ed physics & astronomy course, which I was hopeful would be interesting, but the prof was an old man who was awkward in front of the class, and could not be diverted from his curriculum in any way. Which was not good. He's the only professor I had who sold his notes at the book store and said we basically didn't have to take any notes. I bought the book for that class, too, as I imagine the university required him to list one, but I never broke the cellophane on the book.

There was also a teacher in the English department who would get up in front of class on the first day and tell you how at first she was terrified of teaching, but learned to love it. In point of fact, you'd have to be completely asleep to not notice how she was absolutely still terrified, every day. I can remember one time she asked a question, and I gave a very, very wrong answer to it, and her proxy embarrassment was palpable (to be fair to myself, my wrong answer came from the fact that high school education in the US is still woefully inadequate in world history that didn't directly involve the US)

On the other hand, one of my best teachers was a guy who had been a programmer, but decided to teach computer science. He was great. His class was interesting, as well as his assignments, his students liked him, and I got better grades because of him. More importantly, he had the practical experience outside the classroom to make his lessons believable and relevant. And he encouraged experimentation - one of our first programs was to write something using do-while loops, but the day before the assignment was due, we also learned about functions. So, I rewrote my program because functions seemed way more practical for what we were trying to do than the loops, and I accidentally stumbled into recursion wayyy sooner than was intended. He was delighted, but the program didn't actually work the way it was supposed to because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I still got a good grade, though, and he helped me understand why it failed to work.

Nobody will be perfect out of the gate. Teaching is a skill like any other - it requires experience and practice. If you are interested in it, you will get there, but don't be discouraged when things go wrong or less than ideal early on.

I'm going to speak to high school teaching here, but enough applies that maybe some of this will help you:

In the beginning, none of what you are doing is an automatic skill, and yet you have to do a bunch of stuff at the same time (think of first time driving). Be patient with yourself, and focus on one of these skills at a time, not all skills all at once. Feel free to have a colleague sit in the back and ask for one or two things to improve, and one or two strengths they see. Don't get feedback on everything...that's too much at once. (I talked about myself in the third person for the first time in my life while student teaching, as I wasn't really comfortable being Mr. Roo yet...for example).

Nobody respects a teacher because they are a teacher. Nobody in the room is going to do things that you say, but you don't do. I respect my students, listen to them, am upfront about not knowing something if i don't know, but I'm obviously looking to learn from them (even if it's just what works with them and what doesn't). I give them papers back on time; I want stuff from them on time. I'm polite, they're polite.

Practice putting yourself forward and speaking up in all situations. If you were never a "front row" person as a student, guess what, you're now going to be in front of the front row. This doesn't happen magically, but you can definitely practice and get much, much more comfortable.

Be the adult in the room. I don't spend my emotional energy in a classroom on conflict; I spend my emotional energy on inspiring and learning, in both directions.

You've just taken a sales job. Surprise. If, like me, you end up having to teach a required class that not everyone wants to take...you've got to sell it. Works much better if you LOVE your product (your subject area), and even better if you LOVE students....they can tell.

There's other stuff more relevant to high school, but honestly, I think all of the above is very relevant...

I’ve done a fair bit of teaching, from 5 year olds to adult educators, and all of this is great advice, so I’ll just say congratulations on the new job and taking the step to accept it! Awesome.

My girlfriend teaches college kids. The one thing I hear time and time again from her is how not-finished-learning-how-to-be-people her students are. Emotionally and logistically.