October 01, 2007
Weird Sh*t happens when I take the weekend off
Good and bad.
Our Sadie-girl celebrated her 3rd birthday.
Contagion had a birthday, too
Helen awaits the arrival of the Lemonheads with humor. Or should that be humour?
Mrs. Who and BR found out that there's about to be another birthday in the HoZ
Denny's back safely from Bonaire. Oh to be an SRF, too!
SWWBO learned to drive the tractor
Oddy's Dad is doing well after a serious motorcycle crash
Cox and Forkum are quitting
Richmond and family lost one of the dynamic duo.
And me, well, I am just trying to keep my head down and get on with things!
October 02, 2007
Waiting for Nick and Nora....
It's been a long 7 months since Helen and Angus first found out about the impending arrival of the twins, and now they're almost here.
Helen has been admitted to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect $200, with a C-section scheduled for Monday. Assuming there's no reason to yank the bebes before then.
Think happy thoughts in her direction, and pray to the benevolent deity of your choice for a safe delivery and a happy, healthy new family.
October 03, 2007
SONY rocks the house... and an explanation of why you haven't seen many pictures here lately
One of my most treasured possessions is my Sony DSC F717 camera. I love it like no other. We did months of research and field testing of high end digital cameras (alas, the Digital SLRs were FAR too expensive, then) and finally settled on the Sony. There were three major reasons we loved it (and still do!): 1) The real Zeiss lens. Both of us come from fields in which we do a LOT of microscopy, and Zeiss is the real deal. So a Zeiss lens on a consumer camera is a big deal to us. 2)The incredible detail in Macro mode. At the time this camera was leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors in Macro, and it's still better than a lot of what you can get. 3) I can take the pictures I want to take with little hassle. In fact, in 3 years of use, the ONLY time I've had trouble getting the shot I want is in front of chain link fencing (drop by flickr and see my zoo pictures...). So while maybe this camera would never be the professional's choice, as an advanced amateur, it works great for me.
Sadly enough, with all the business of moving, etc, the camera got laid away for quite a while. Earlier this summer I unpacked it, with the notion of capturing some "before" and "after" shots of various projects in the house. Sadly, this is what I saw:
That's Darlin' Hubby hiding behind the black box.
You can see my dilemma. Luckily, friend Google had an answer for me: The CCD chip was dying, and Sony would replace it for free! Assuming I could get off my butt and send it in on time (yesterday, 10/2/07 sadly, was the deadline for you googlers out there)...
So I finally sent it off two weeks ago. They sent me a free UPS shipping label, so I put it in a box full of packing paper with a memory stick loaded with the picture above and the previous picture (taken before the chip failed) and a nice note explaining what I was seeing.
Today, my camera is back, apparently fully functional, and this is what the pictures look like now:
YAY! Thanks, Sony, for a free repair and a quick turnaround. Let's hope it stays this way! Especially as we are going to be at this this weekend.
In which I do my Mike Teevee impression
As the new fall season of TeeVee unfolds, I find myself drawn back to network shows a bit more than in the past. Cable shows will always own (and then break) my heart (DAMN YOU SCI-FI CHANNEL!!!), but this year's network offerings look to be a better group than most.
Of these new shows two were IMMEDIATE hits in our house: K-Ville and Chuck. Each is already queued for a season pass on the TiVo. Finally there's something good to watch on Monday other than Football and DWS. Although I admit this week we watched ALL of the Padres/ Rockies play-in game, instead. Good thing we have a dual tuner Tivo and 2 tv's..... Hubby has also recently gotten into Shark, and has a season pass for that as well.
Cavemen was better than expected. It plays more as a buddy comedy with gimmicky jokes than a gimmick comedy with buddy jokes. We'll see how quickly the jokes get tired....
We're still on the fence about Cane. The first episode was good, but the previews make it look like every episode will be: Alex loves his family, but they don't all love him; Alex faces a challenge; Alex bulldozes his way through; Alex must face repercussions of previous bulldozer incidents. In which case, YAWN!
Tonight we get the new season of South Park, and the first episode of Pushing Daisies. I'm interested to see what the show will really look like. Visually, the previews are like a mixture of Pleasantville and Big Fish, so I am interested to see how much of that carries through the whole episode. If the show is good, so much the better.
Strangely enough, I'm very sad the summer TV season is over. As much as I love House and Betty and DWS, the summer shows were so much more interesting and so much more watchable than regular October to May network TV. Psych, Dresden, The Closer, Burn Notice, and Painkiller Jane were weekly appointments for us, and some of the best TV I've seen in years, even if the folks at SciFi got cancel happy on us (see note above re: Sci Fi). Oh well, if nothing else it's good they're all on in the summer: the TiVo would be SWAMPED otherwise, and it would take me MONTHS to catch up!
Survivor got its season pass yanked: predictable, stupid, filthy. When TAR comes back, then I'll watch reality TV on CBS. There's a REASON that TAR has won every "best reality show" Emmy since its inception.
Not surprisingly we've watched very few of the "returning" shows on the TiVo so far. I am, of course, keeping up with DWS, usually on the same evening it airs. And CSI we watched almost live. I was terribly disappointed that they seem to have gone back to the "less-plot-more-artistic-long-camera-shots" method and are now adding indie rock for crap ass montages. Look, we wanted to see them get Sara out from under the car. We wanted some kind of master plan from the arch criminal. We got neither, just a drunk pirate wandering in the desert with NO COMMON SENSE about how to be found. And she was carrying a mirror! Does she not know to flash with it? I mean, she COULD NOT have walked so far from the crash that she didn't hear that helicopter Greg was flying around in. You get up on high ground, and flash with the mirror, dumbass. You don't collapse 3 feet from the roadside because you wandered instead of conserving your energy and trying to stay cool during the day! Wander at night. Moron. CSI Vegas is getting to be as dumb as CSI Horatio.
Yes you read that right.
Ok, well, the cold medicine and returned-camera high are wearing off, so it's nappy nap time for me. See you later.
The camera and I just spent some quality time together. Results are up on Flickr, and are actually public, for the time being....
SUPER HAPPY DOUBLE WOOHOOOOO!!!
UPDATE: The official word is now posted, here. Sniff.
I hope I'm not stealing the proud parents' thunder as they both have a lot on their minds, but they didn't say I couldn't post it. I received an email this afternoon informing me that the Lemonheads are now offcially Nick and Nora, having been born today, 10/3/07 at 4:00pm local time. Mom, Dad, and babies are all well.
Congratulations, Helen and Angus. I am so happy for you both, and so glad your long journey has reached its happy ending. You'll never know how much it has meant to the rest of us that you allowed us to join you every step of the way. Big tears of joy and relief are running down my face, knowing that your dreams have come true and there's new and bigger dreams in store for all of you.
And, little baby Nick and Nora, I wish you love beyond measure, a life full of beautiful moments, and above all, peace. You are loved more than you will ever know, by your Mum and Dad who wanted you so much, and your family: your brother and sister, your grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins; your amazing silly dog and grande dame kitty; and by hundreds of people you'll probably never meet. People who waited with your mum and dad, who prayed and watched and laughed and cryed and hugged and high-fived across the internets everyday, as if willing you to be perfect and healthy and sweet, just as I'm certain you are.
Congratulations, sweetie! I knew you could do it.
October 09, 2007
Why am I not surprised? Fair for me but NOT for thee.....
The American Spectator reports:
Rep. Henry Waxman has asked his investigative staff to begin compiling reports on Limbaugh, and fellow radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin based on transcripts from their shows, and to call in Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin to discuss the so-called "Fairness Doctrine".Now that's creepy.
"Limbaugh isn't the only one who needs to be made uncomfortable about what he says on the radio," says a House leadership source. "We don't have as big a megaphone as these guys, but this all political, and we'll do what we can to gain the advantage. If we can take them off their game for a while, it will help our folks out there on the campaign trail."
But not surprising.
Let me sum this up for you, in case you don't understand just what's at stake here: The Fairness Doctrine was a policy implemented by the FCC in the earliest days of TV and radio, when small media markets were dominated by a handful of stations, or in many cases, just one station. And, as is often the case when you have a media monopoly, FCC regulators were concerned that all views wouldn't be broadcast fairly and some candidates for office might lose out because of a lack of coverage.
Fast forward to 1987. It was the end of the Reagan era, and the rise of mass communications in the US. In 1987 the FCC overturned the Fairness Doctrine because the market had grown so much that there was enough market pressure to allow for opposing viewpoints to be presented, not to mention an increased expectation of such presentation from the media-consuming public. With so many opportunities for coverage and so much media to keep track of, enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine became obsolete and the policy was ended.
In the two decades since, the US has seen an exponential increase in the amount of political speech broadcast through the media. Commercials, debates, opinion and news shows, radio talk shows, etc. have all increased the public's awareness of political issues and political thought. Admittedly, much of this increase has been on the conservative side of the fence. However, the financial disaster formerly known as "Air America" clearly highlights that this is likely due to purely market forces; that Americans want to hear conservative political thought in the media more than they want to hear liberals.
You can come up for your own explanation for that one. I'm sure it's not hard to think of a dozen reasons why, but left-leaning media (other than, it can be argued, mainstream "news") is simply not commercially viable in this country.
Faced with the fact that they can't compete in the open marketplace, what do the liberals do? As usual, they try to level the playing field... to their advantage. If the market won't admit "liberal" political thought, then it's time to simply break down the doors to the market. With the Fairness Doctrine bulldozer.
While it might seem, naively, that the more speech accessible to the masses, the better; in reality this is nothing more than censorship. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine limits the amount of political speech that can be presented for either side to an amount that can be feasibly presented by the media in consideration of their need (under the FD) to present opposing viewpoints. Is that what we want? Sound bites and snippets? Well, if that's all you're getting anyway, and your opposition has a three-hour talk show, you might just say yes, and damn the consequences.
Let's look at this economically, too: the consumer prefers conservative media (e.g. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc.), and we know this because these ventures are commercially viable. By limiting the supply of the preferred goods, and forcing the consumer to take some non-preferred goods (Liberal media) instead, the re-institution of the Fairness Doctrine forces the consumer's choice. Sounds a lot like Communism to me...
Let me ask you this: Why is it ok to have NO Fairness Doctrine for 20 years while the left consolidates their power base and makes in roads into the MSM, but the SECOND that conservative media shows some strength, it's time to put it back? Why is the playing field level until the other team goes ahead? Why didn't ANY of these things matter until people started to challenge the status quo?
Funny how the First Amendment gets bought and sold by the left like so much cattle, depending on whether they're winning or losing.
h/t FRED who makes his own case for a Free Press.
While we're on the subject...
Dafydd laments the loss of honest debate and cross-party friendships. You might disagree with his theories, but you have to admit that a lot of conservatives have lost a LOT of liberal friends to BDS over the last 7+ years....
Who's your Daemon?
From the upcoming movie (and fabulous book) , The Golden Compass:
October 11, 2007
Fuck off and Die. And that Honorary Turk, George Bush, can FOAD too.
That is all.
P.S. Remember who said "...Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" It was some German dude named Adolf.
October 12, 2007
An Open Letter to new Nobel Laureate algore
Dear Former Vice President Gore,
First of all let me congratulate you on winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize. Of course, that accomplishment would be so much more meaningful if the award hadn't become synonymous with the "Annual Best Politically Correct Jerkwad" award, which the Nobel Committee seems to have merged their award with. I suppose, however, that sharing this honor with the last American to win the prize, former President Jimmy Carter, gives you a real sense of just what this honor means, and how your legacy will be cherished in your decline.
But I have a serious question for you. What in hell does your Global Warming crusade have to do with promoting Peace on Earth™? I mean do you believe that the only way to stop war is to make it so cold that we'd all rather stay in our own caves rather than shoot someone? Or maybe you believe that anecdotal psychology theory that aggression (which is of course, anti-peace by definition) increases as the temperatures rise? Let's grant for the purposes of this argument that your incoherent, incomplete, and hypocritical pseudoscience is correct, and that people DO make the Earth warmer by a significant amount. Given that, your crusade against Global Warming is admirable, even, perhaps noble. But this is the Nobel PEACE Prize. Not the Nobel "Make the Earth Happy" Prize. It's October, not Earth Day. Explain to me how your actions have anything to do with peace.
Unless somehow being against global warming is really just a fancy synonym for "Troops out of Iraq Now".... because that has something to do with peace. But it really doesn't rise to the level of a Nobel Prize. And here I speak from experience. I went to Caltech. I've met Nobel Laureates. I've been taught by them. And here's the thing: They are FREAKING BRILLIANT. They are committed to their science without any hope of reward, which is what Alfred Nobel left the $$ to recognize in the first place: tireless champions of the greater good, representing different disciplines of the Humanities and Sciences. Not attention seeking environmental hypocrites who champion the environment because it is a safe niche to occupy in the cutthroat social darwinist biosphere of US politics.
I have another question, but this one is for the Nobel Committee, so be sure you pass it along to them when you go for the medal ceremony: If algore has contributed significantly to "Peace on Earth", then why did you recognize him for the Global Warming Awareness crusade? I would think his MOST significant achievements lie in other fields. After all, he invented the internet, technology which has contributed more towards interpersonal, international, and intercultural understanding than any other scientific or humanitarian contribution of the modern age. Isn't that important enough?
I know you're a busy man, especially as you now have to plan a trip to Oslo and contemplate running for President again to add to your incredibly busy fundraising schedule, so I'll close here. However, in closing, I'd like to thank you for the endless amusement you and your family have provided me over the years, not mention answering my questions about the top speed of a Prius (let your son know how much I appreciated that one, will you?). Keep it up!
Top Ten signs I've gotten into Pasadena Politics...
I get all of these jokes....
Lifted shamelessly 100% from FCBlog. For all you SoCaler's:
With all the talk about the Rose Parade and the China controversy and our fearless (?) leaders international dealings..it's time for another Top Ten.And you really should vote for Robin's. Mmmmmmm Robin's. We were there Wednesday night in fact. I wonder.... if I say how much I love the Spud Skins (This is the ONLY way I will eat potato skin. And only at Robin's.) will Robin write me up in the next menu, too?
From the home office in Beijing, China:
TOP TEN FLOATS THAT WON'T MAKE IT INTO THE ROSE PARADE
10. Chris Hansen's Dateline NBC Decoy Float For Internet Pedophiles
9. The Ad Hoc Committee On Floats Float
8. The Other Guy In Wham! Float
7. The Turkish-Armenian Friendship Float
6. The Float Put Together By PUSD Kids Who Get All F's
5. The Sid Tyler Float Of "Tobaccy & Shoe Polish"
4. Al-Qaeda's "Death To America" Float
3. Sock On Float
2. Anthony Portantino Ate My Float
1. Robin Salzer's Float Of Roses Smothered In Brown Mustard & BBQ Sauce
October 13, 2007
October 15, 2007
Wracking my brain
The headache, that is. I came home from work early. Like super early. I left before 1pm. I had promised hubby that I would run some errands on the way home from work, so my respite was delayed by a trip to Costco (dead empty on Monday afternoon, BTW) for supplies and gas. There was no way in hell I was up to the grocery store, though, so he'll have to hit Ralphito's tonight after I go to Glee Club. Yeah, I know my head hurts, but singing helps. And I will have napped.
Since I got nothing, this made me laugh, and I will share:
I loved it. I am a Lolcat addict.
October 17, 2007
Boring is good
Things around here are pretty blah (thank God). The idiots have gone back to their caves, and I seem to be pretty well settled into my new one. I just need a desk instead of this temporary table I've been using in my new office, and a filing cabinet, and I'll be good to go, as the phone was installed this AM.
Headache is FINALLY gone, after two days, a couple of rounds of blurry vision, and a wicked moment of nausea while driving home yesterday. I think it was the nap on the couch during (tivoed) PTI last night and the chicken soup that finally beat the bastard into submission.
Currently, I am trying to stay awake in case any of my students drops in for office hours. Somehow I doubt they'll show.... 32 minutes left.... I think I will probably check my office mail now, and maybe there will be work to be taken care of. We'll see.
October 18, 2007
Your daily funny
Why Fred Thompson Rulz
My Mother always told me that people who pick on you are just jealous. Same applies to the Presidential race. Jackie Mason NAILS it:
October 19, 2007
So last night we saw this week's South Park. Every imaginary or animated character you can think of shows up, and more you didn't previously know. Hubby and I ran it over and over and over, literally squealing at each new character that came on the screen.
So for your viewing pleasure, here's Imaginationland parts I-III (the usual South Park language and content warnings apply)....
Some interesting thoughts on terrorism, too, no?
Y'all know the rules:
My answers in the extended!
1. Illicit ::
2. Go ::
3. Jacket ::
4. Blow ::
5. Coach ::
6. Effort ::
7. Leadership ::
8. Snore ::
9. Fearless ::
10. Network ::
1. Illicit :: sex
2. Go :: for it!
3. Jacket :: sweater
4. Blow :: Me
5. Coach :: handbag
6. Effort :: A for
7. Leadership :: Seminar
8. Snore :: Zzzzzzs
9. Fearless :: Flyer
10. Network :: television
« Hide "Friday Mutters"
Do I get Extra Credit for this?
Like Ricki, I HATE that phrase. Hate it.
But EVERY student, without exception, seems to utter it at one point or another during the semester. And they'll go the extra mile to get it, too. Troy University Professor Richard Scott Nokes writes:
Why is it that students who wouldn't scratch their bottoms to get a final exam grade will do anything for extra credit? Last week, I had midterm exams, and many students put, at the most, an hour's worth of effort into the take-home project (worth 25% of their grade). This week I gave an opportunity for extra credit, worth only a tiny fraction of the midterm, and the students are meeting after class and going to the Writing Center to work on it. Maybe I should start calling my regular assignments "extra credit."(h/t Prof. Taylor)I feel your pain, sir. My subject is biology, not medieval literature, but the students approach is EXACTLY the same. They'll spend HOURS collaborating on a tiny piece of crap that is worth maybe 1-2% of their grade (if I'm feeling charitable), but brush off the actual studying. Which is, you know, the basis of 100% of their grade.
Interested, I decided to see if anyone has written a scholarly article on extra credit, and the psychology behind why students prefer it over just doing their work. A quick google search turned up page after page of syllabi with possible extra credit assignments from psychology classes at universities all over the country.
There are only a few articles looking at extra credit, and those look at it as a motivating factor, not why it is preferred.
(I put the rest of what turns out to be a longer piece than I had planned to write below the jump!)
I think students prefer extra credit for one simple reason: They can't lose. That is, if they do the work, they will either turn it in and be ahead a few points, or not behind at all. They see no penalty to losing points on an extra credit assignment, because lost points don't count against them the way they would for a traditional assignment. For example, if I give an exam worth 100 points, and a student scores 98/ 100, the student feels like he/she has "lost" 2 points from their grade. If I give an extra credit assignment worth 5 points, and the student earns 3, he/she doesn't mourn the 2 points lost, but rather celebrates the 3 points "gained".
What students don't seem to realize is that even if they "win" a few extra points doing an "extra credit" assignment, it isn't enough to cover the potential shortfall of "losing" MANY points by doing the EC instead of whatever the syllabus SAYS they are responsible for. Which includes making time to read and study.
I don't generally give extra credit, and when I do, it's only available to students who have demonstrated an ability to be responsible and do the work I've asked them to do, even if they haven't done it well.
I mean, it's hard enough to get a kid to think critically and explain that life isn't fair, and yes, they need to work harder. If I help them out with a pile of extra credit, they're just going to drown all that much faster at the next level. Which is Medical School for many of my students.
I like to use the analogy of the express train with them: The train leaves the station at the appointed time and arrives on time. It does not stop in between. You have to ride along or jump off. The train can't wait for you to catch up. If you can't keep up, you better jump off, get it together, and wait for the next one. Rest assured the "Med School" train runs faster than the one I'm driving.
I tell them, "You'll be surprised just how many of your "crises" you can cover for if you feel like you have to." And, "You make the choice, you set the priorities. You. Not me." And, "Figure it out. Intellectual laziness is no excuse. What if I asked you to come up and teach the class? You'd have to learn it well, then, huh?"
My best student is a full time student, but she also works and she has a two year old daughter. I am constantly amazed by her. Sure, she's bright, but I've seen her work, I've seen her study. She prioritizes and puts in the time. She does the work. No excuses. And she hasn't yet asked me for extra credit.
We talk a LOT in my class about the metacognition of learning, ways that people learn and motivations for studying. We also talk about test-taking, and how to figure out what are the MOST important nuggets of information. We probably spend TOO much time talking about these things. But I want them to get a sense of what they're doing and why, what's really important to know cold, and what you can look up later. How to think about new information being presented to them. This is a generation (5-10 years younger than me!) with no metacognitive skills or insight about learning whatsoever. They know the buzzwords ("But I don't know what type of learner I am") but they lack the ability to apply that knowledge to their own lives.
I had a student look me in the face yesterday and say, "Hey! I get it. We're doing these labs to reinforce what we learned in class. It's the same information".
This is in week 8 of a 15 week semester, folks.
It was all I could do to be encouraging and not laugh in his face. He's a bright guy. He just doesn't have the tools to THINK about what he's doing.
Interacting with my students makes me reflect on my own path. Twelve years of study in my field isn't what makes these things easier for me than for them. A lot of what I'm teaching this semester (fossils, protists, cellular respiration) are things I don't know much about, and in fact many are concepts I learned just to teach them. Sometimes, I only really "get it" as I am in the middle of the class, trying to explain it to the students. What makes it easier for me is that somewhere along the line I learned HOW to think about what I'm studying, how to organize that information into important and unimportant, and my students just don't seem to have those tools. I try to model my own thinking and learning, but they can't see what I'm trying to do.
It's incredibly frustrating.
Now, before you start wondering what this has to do with extra credit, I think that their lack of cognitive and meta-cognitive skills also pushes them towards extra credit, which is supposed to be "easy", right? Studying is hard. Learning how to think a different way is harder still, and by comparison, "extra credit" is a walk in the park.
As instructors, we get to go to all of these "professional development" seminars. We sit around for days and discuss learning theory and pedagogy and all this other jargon crap which really boils down to: How do we get the little trolls to learn? And of course, the answer is "You just make them". Which is increasingly difficult in these days of entitlement and reduced consequences.
So we give them extra credit to make up for their shortcomings, and our own guilt and frustration.
« Hide "Do I get Extra Credit for this?"
October 21, 2007
Lots of new pictures on the Flickr site, including several that are Public!
Here are a couple of favorites:
The US Navy's Leapfrog Parachute team. Very cool. The first time I have ever seen them, although I have seen the Army's Golden Knights MANY times.
The LA Coliseum, home of the Trojans
Our Princess, cuddled up last night in a blanket
October 22, 2007
Southern California Fire Information Roudup
Dozens of wildfires all over the Southern California area.
Most seem to be natural or accidental in nature (mostly from wind-downed high voltage lines), but the Santiago Canyon fire near Irvine was deliberately set. Bastards.
Fires in LA in October is as natural as Hurricanes in Florida in August. Northeasterly winds, called the Santa Anas bring hot dry air down from the high desert into the valleys and foothills, and well, it doesn't take much to start a big fire.
The LA Times has a good round-up and photo galleries. KCAL 9 is on the air live with updates, as new fires continue to pop up every hour or so in addition to the major fires in Malibu, Castaic, Canyon Country, San Diego, Irvine, Ontario, and Lake Arrowhead......
Folks with large animals can take them to the Ventura County Fairgrounds, the Orange County Fairgrounds, or Pierce College Equestrian Center. Bring Food, Water, Water Tubs, and Medicine. Many animal shelters and vet offices will care for smaller pets, too. Call around for information. In emergencies, pet owners can call (818) 991-6384 to set up an emergency rescue in the Malibu OR Agua Dulce areas. For more animal info, check here.
It goes without saying, folks, but if you're in the fire area, get out when they tell you to leave, and if you're not in a fire area, stay the hell out. The firefighters need to get in and out without having to drive around your looky-loo ass.
October 23, 2007
San Diego Fire News
Joanie is almost literally liveblogging the fires from Northern San Diego County. Lots of pictures, information, and links on her site.
Be sure to scroll down through the posts over the last few days!
Stay safe, Darlin'!
Playing around with the camera tonight
And I got a few nice shots. Posted to flickr.
Can you tell how much I love having my camera back?
October 24, 2007
FrankJ reminded me
I'd pay to see this film...
Robot Chicken is just an ass-kicking show. If you don't watch it, you should. If you don't get Cartoon Network you can watch episodes on the web!
My Wii Story
How do you market a revolutionary product that crosses generational boundaries and reaches beyond its traditional audience successfully and efficiently? You simply let people tell their own stories. Nintendo is doing that at MyWiiStory.com. Possibly the smartest advertising campaign for a video game EVER.
It's easy to see why you might want a Wii in your home if you can read the stories of dozens of families and how the Wii has become an integral part of their family time, and even how it is a positive influence on their lives.
Yep. I said positive influence. From a video game.
Here's my favorite Wii Story (posted by Chris Whitaker):
My son brought his new Wii to Easter Dinner. My mother in law, Dorothy, was so impressed she wanted to buy one for each of nine grandchildren. She called and traveled East Tennessee and KY buying them where she could find one. She had purchased seven and needed two to complete her task. It was a stormy night in April, a tornado touched down in our neighborhood, two miles from Walmart. Dorothy, knowing the local Walmart was expecting some Wii's on this date, called to see if they had arrived. The sales associate said they had and she could get them tomorrow. Dorothy stated she would come now. The sales associate said, "maam we are having a tornado". Dorothy said, "I know but I'll be there anyway". She drove to Walmart during the tornado just to purchase your product. The tornado did over 1 million dollars damage across the street from Walmart, but no damage to my 71 year old mother in law as she walked out of the Walmart carrying her three Wii purchases (1 for herself).Can you imagine?
And because I can't resist, one more (posted by Carol Toy):
My son found his Wii when we were in Oregon on vacation. That was the start of our awesome Wii story. Although the whole family and all our friends enjoy playing, the most amazing players are "Grandpa Bill" and "Grandma Bert". Both are in their 80's. Grandpa has Parkinson's disease, Grandma has difficulty walking without a cane. Both can be found staying up late swing a golf club with Tiger Woods or bowling with the Mii family my son has created. Grandpa has, since the Wii came into our life, returned to hitting real golf balls at the driving range and uses his "skills" from bowling in is real-life senior bowling league. The sequencing, use of controls, etc. is helping to keep us all more alert. The friendly competition, laughter and time spent together are priceless. Thank you Wii for getting us out of our chairs to enjoy each other while keeping minds and bodies active. Wii should be prescribed by physicians for the increased well-being of all types of patients!I love it! I am just DYING to get my parents to play with us! Both of them were hella good bowlers back in the day (Dad even has a few 300 games to his credit) but with arthritis and knee replacements and everything else, they haven't bowled in years! I can't wait to bowl with them.
Here's my Wii story:
I'm a member of Generation X, or so they tell me. The video game generation, right? But not me. My parents refused to buy me a game console, and it turns out that was ok, because I am PATHETIC at traditional games. Oh, I can run the maps and mazes, and strategize with the best of them, but I have rheumatoid arthritis, and I can't use the traditional controllers. I can't run the joystick and hit the buttons and shoot and duck and everything else all at the same time. I used to be the backseat driver in Nintendo land. I would call the shots and point out the bad guys and bonuses to get and where to move, and someone else would work the controller. Wii changed all that. Yeah, there are traditional elements to the controller, and many games require you to do many things at once, but the way you hold and use the Wii remote and nunchuck controller makes it easier for me to play the games myself. And games like Wii Sports don't require all that coordination, just holding the remote.
My husband is amazed. His wife, who could never play a game harder than Yoshi, Kirby, or some other game designed for a 5 year old, is kicking his ass at real video games. And I don't bitch when he plays, because I get to play, too. I can't even tell you how much fun we have together playing Wii.
Wii is also the star at every get together. Even our least outgoing friends can't resist an evening of Wii. And let me say, for the record, that since half of the games are apparently designed simply to make the player look like an idiot using the Wii remote, Wii and alcohol go pretty well together (I suggest Wario Ware: Smooth Moves and Rayman's Raving Rabbids for drunk Wii-ing) just be sure to wear the wrist strap and drink responsibly! We've laughed harder (even sober!) at the Wii, and the person playing at the moment, than we have in a long time.
It's amazing how a small change in the hardware can make such a difference in way we use and appreciate the game console... Thanks, Nintendo, for making a game I can play, too!
Oh, and for the record, this is a personal, unpaid endorsement. LOVE my Wii, and I think the ad campaign is just SMART.
Some rules are real, and some are fake. The trick is knowing which is which. Fred evidently has a knack for this. From Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics:
There are two types of rules in the world. On the one hand, there are real rules. These are the rules that you need to follow, or you will be in big trouble. Stay in school is one of them. You can't do much without a high school diploma - so that is a real rule. On the other hand, there are fake rules. These are rules that most people follow because they think there are negative consequences for disobedience, but actually there are not. In fact, the ones who break the fake rules are often celebrated as trail blazers.I love that the MSM can't get over Fred doing things HIS way, not their way. Since when is the campaign supposed to be about the Media? I thought it was about the Message.
Bob Dylan comes to my mind when I think of those who break the fake rules. In the mid-60s, there was this rule that songs could only be three minutes long, and they had to have three verses and a chorus. But Dylan did these six minute songs that had five plus verses and no chorus. And whose ears don't perk up today when they hear the first bars of "Subterranean Homesick Blues?" Another rule said that folkies could not play rock. That just did not happen. But Dylan hired Levon and the Hawks, and went electric. At first, he was booed everywhere he went (except in the South). Eight years later he went on tour with the exact same group - now called the Band - and received 6 million ticket requests for 600,000 seats.
If you have the intelligence to see which rules are real and which are fake, the respectfulness to follow the real rules, and the guts to break the fake rules - you can get ahead in this world. In fact, people will love you for breaking the fake rules.
I think Thompson might be breaking what really are fake rules. As I mentioned above - the perpetual campaign is only a means to the real campaign. You play the game by the rules of the media to earn your way into the real contest. But there may be other ways to get to the real campaign. If there are, the media's rules are indeed fake. There are no consequences to breaking them. If you find another way into the real campaign, you can break them all you like.
On a side note, if Fred handle Congress just 1/10 as well as he handles the media, we might be in business.
Read the whole piece. Jay has interesting things to say about how Fred is winning over voters and turning the tables on Rudy Giuliani in the polls. Personally, I suspect the ONLY reason Rudy is ahead in the polls and backed by strongly conservative voters is that they thought he was the ONLY one who could defeat Hillary/Obama. And really, that's how many Republicans see this primary season: pick the strongest candidate. Fred is clearly a strong contender who has the potential to beat whoever the Dems put up. So as Fred brings out his platform, more and more folks agree that he might have the winning horse in the race. And they're walking away from Rudy in DROVES.
h/t Chan at Weekend Pundit, who has a great round up of recent Fred-related buzz
CBS moved the start date of Amazing Race 12 up to November 4! And today they released the team information for the new season. I already KNOW I'll be rooting for Nicolas and Donald, and we'll have to wait for the season premiere to see who else we'll love and love to hate!
October 28, 2007
It's that time of year again......
Time for a friendly competition to help Soldier's Angels and Project Valour-IT!
As always, this blog supports the team representing the US Army!**
Go Army! Beat Navy! and Air Force! and the Marines!
Look for more info on donating to Valour-IT and what Valour-IT does for woulded soldiers in the next two weeks!
** This is a friendly competition in the name of improving our fundraising efforts only. All soldiers who are eligible can benefit from Valour-IT regardless of branch.
October 29, 2007
Captain Picard Cat is not amused.....
For the TNG fans out there:
October 30, 2007
This wasn't a surprise
A latte a day...
It won't keep the Doctor away, but skipping that latte might help someone in need!
Doesn't seem like much, right? But even the $4 you save in skipping your caffeine fix today can go a long way towards helping a wounded soldier.
Project Valour-IT provides laptops loaded with voice-activated software to service members who have lost the use of their hands and/or fingers in the service of our country.
We're well on our way to making this the best year yet. The Army team has already raised over 10% of our $60,000 goal! Won't you help us get there first?
look out for an oldy but a goody in tomorrow's Valour-IT post.....
Happy Bloggiversary to ME!
Celebrating three years of complete and utter randomness!
The obligatory sucky first post.
And for gratuitous goodness, a favorite recipe. Yum.
RIP Robert Goulet
Singer and actor Robert Goulet has passed away at age 73.
Robert Goulet, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in "Camelot" launched an award-winning stage and recording career, has died. He was 73.While Mr. Goulet will always be famous for his roles on Broadway and his many TV appearances, I think his last stint in front of the camera sums up his humor best:
The singer died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital while awaiting a lung transplant, said Goulet spokesman Norm Johnson.
He had been awaiting a lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being found last month to have a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis.
I hope he'll still appear at 3pm..... ghost Robert Goulet is even scarier.....