Posts Tagged ‘list’
Moving possessions from one house to another is one of my few legitimate loathings, and it’s second only to exercise on my all-time red crayon list of doom. Today, I did it twice.
Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to live in the same one-story ranch house from birth to high school graduation, but I consider moving a rigorous, hateful ritual. Everyone involved seems to agree on moving day, whatever they say after the fact. I, however, am not afraid to fess up before, during and after moving day.
Even so, I just about always help my friends move. I recommend helping.
Loading up the U-Haul will evoke a one-way trip into the undiscovered country, and Tetris-ing together mattresses, lava lamps and long-forgotten tchotchkes into the cramped trunk of an already bulging sedan will begin more headaches than it cures. You’ll hate every moment, even though you have no tchotchkes here and you’ve never owned a lava lamp — there’s a lot more to hate than the bitter nostalgia of finding a postcard from an ex-girlfriend.
After 12 hours of menial labor, even the most energetic college kids have tired feet and aching backs. By the time you get your cheap mass order of pizza, you’ll have crankiness only salved by a multi-hour soaking bath, and yet, if given the chance, you’ll nap instead.
Help move not for the free pizza, and not because you’re doing your friends a favor to be paid back reciprocally. Do it because the chore is lightened the more workers there are to share it, and the fewer workers there are, the heavier burden there is for the rest. Simple charity, and simple goodwill. There is no catch, and there is no quid pro quo.
The worst-case scenario, easily, is that no jokey banter will lighten the mood when nobody else is there to banter back. I’ve moved alone enough to know that much.
Today, I helped move one household to the far southern boonies of the local valley, and as soon as possible helped move another to the rich town adjacent to my own. I count 12 hours worth of frustrating-itude, split between each friend in need.
That’s a lot of exercise. I do it gladly.
Prototypical date movies should inspire the warm fuzzies, whether or not you actually like the person you’re watching it with. This is all well and good, but there are those of us who’d rather avoid the second date. For that, the solution is simple: choose a movie without the warm fuzzies.
Great films work especially well — more often than not, they’re just as effective as that Date Movie/Epic Movie double feature, and not as needlessly painful. Case in point:
Pitch the movie: Liam Neeson, a German man living through World War II, overcomes overwhelming odds.
Don’t say tnat: Nazi-affiliated profiteer Liam Neeson risks everything to save more than a thousand Jews from the death camps. Includes some graphic Holocaust images.
During the movie: Suggest a drinking game. Be imaginative.
Pitch the movie: Winona Ryder struggles with growing up at the turn of the century. An emotional rollercoaster with a feel-good ending.
Don’t say that: After a six-month stint in a mental hospital, Winona Ryder is diagnosed with a borderline personality order. The film includes candid — and merciless — presentations of sexuality, drugs and suicide.
During the movie: Wheeze heavily, and mutter under your breath. Say you identify with Ryder’s character.
The Elephant Man
Pitch the movie: In this madcap drama, producer Mel Brooks asks questions about life and the worth of living.
Don’t say that: A former circus freak wants only lives peacefully and alone, but is caught forever in cyclic and brutal encounters with humanity.
During the movie: Cheer.
Pitch the movie: In this thriller, one man tracks down a killer, with only a single tip from an anonymous source.
Don’t say that: At the beginning of this classic film noir, a man about to be married is told during a vacation to the big city that he’s been poisoned and has less than 24 hours to live. He spends the rest of the movie tracking down his killer.
During the movie: “Look on the bright side: He’s dying a single man.”
Pitch the movie: In a manic farce, the well-to-do Christian Bale enjoys himself by visiting a fantasy world of his own creation.
Don’t say that: In a bloody film worthy of its title, businessman Christian Bale finds himself killing again and again, more and more brutally, for absolutely no reason.
During the movie: “I know exactly how he feels.”
You might run into a little snag if she’s seen all of these movies. In that case, she’s a keeper.
When I was in 4th and 5th grade, we had computers in the back of the classroom that contained some downright cheesy education games — edutainment, if you will. I remember one where I, the 8-year-old student, would run for president in some futuristic world, having to figure out some way to capture the robot vote.
There was Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, another where the star was one of 30-or-so types of fish in the Great Barrier Reef, and that original version of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. There were plenty of others in our computer labs , on those crusty, outdated-even-back-then Apple IIs, but they were all boring.
Who cares about stupid lemonade stands, or for scavenging for food on an island and learning about ecosystems? I want to play Lemmings, or even The Incredible Machine, but while I was in the computer lab, my choices were limited to the crappy games in the computer lab, and they didn’t include the fun games back in the classroom. I wrote off edutainment as uninteresting, unfun whose educational value was, as a direct result, very low.
Imagine my surprise when, via Kotaku, I found a list of fun, worthwhile edutainment computer games. What struck me about this list is that not all of the games are edutainment in the strictest sense. Sure, there’s Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego and a Oregon Trail and a few other traditional titles, but the bulk of the games in this list were or are major releases from major developers.
Case in point, there are a few games I certainly remember playing instead of doing my schoolwork, and as recently as yesterday.
1. Civilization III: Civilization III puts students in charge of planning, managing and competing with other civilizations. Students will learn all about different systems of government (everything from anarchy to communism), geography of the world and loads about the history of civilizations and leaders from Genghis Khan to Queen Isabella of Spain. The game challenges students to use their problem solving skills to build successful civilizations and learn what causes civilizations to rise or fall. …
3. Age of Empires III: This game allows students to learn about the rise and fall of empires all over the world. This third installment covers the medieval to mid-1800’s in countries in Europe and North America. The game has potential for add-ons that cover Native American and Asian civilizations so students can get a broader understanding of world civilizations in the modern era. Students will be challenged to strategize military, resources development, and expansion of societies all over the world. …
7. Pharaoh: Get firsthand experience of the societies of ancient Egypt with this strategy game. Students will build up Egyptian civilizations from small communities to large-scale cities complete with pyramids and obelisks. The game provides accurate information about conflicts, leaders and Egyptian mythology and vocabulary and can be a great addition to lessons on Egyptian history. …
15. Roller Coaster Tycoon 3: A day at the amusement park hardly sounds educational, but students can learn valuable lessons when building their own roller coasters in this game. The coasters must meet certain physics requirements in order to make it around the next loop or to avoid flying off of the track, and students will be forced to use their understanding of how these principles work to build fun and functional rides. Students can apply lessons about G force, kinetic and potential energy to their game play.
Edutainment isn’t limited to games strictly designed for educational purposes, and edutainment games are often better off when they aren’t strictly designed for educational purposes.
I imagine that 15-hour Tetris marathons would teach quick and accurate logical thinking; that any simulation game could have a place in a general curriculum; that even Bloons Tower Defense would teach some modicum of strategy.
Edutainment opens up once you stop getting hung up on that label.