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RansomIblis's profile

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hubskier for: 1827 days

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RansomIblis  ·  1761 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Let's create a list of essential scifi books

That explains why Timothy Archer is so much different than the other two books. Hmm.

RansomIblis  ·  1761 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, have you ever been on anti-depressants? What was it like?

I've been taking them for the better part of three years. I stopped taking them in March and needed to go back on them because I was quite obviously still depressed.

Took me a couple of weeks the first time to know that it was working. I was upset--FURIOUS--with everyone around me for zero reason. Wanted to kill myself. Very dark place in my life. Took them, and I stopped feeling that way. I'm able to laugh a lot easier. The event that precipitated my original depression is long gone, and I rarely think about it, but even when I was off my meds for three months, it was obvious that I still needed to take them. On them again for a few months and I feel great.

What was most interesting to me about coming off the meds were the "brain zaps", a side effect of withdrawal. Literally felt like my brain was getting a mild electric shock, maybe once an hour for a week or so. Didn't hurt, but were very weird.

RansomIblis  ·  1761 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: September 7th: What are you reading this week?

I've never read anything by Brandon Sanderson, so I thought I'd give Warbreaker a try. Very enjoyable fantasy so far!

RansomIblis  ·  1761 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Let's create a list of essential scifi books

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I thought that Radio Free Albemuth was much better than VALIS.

RansomIblis  ·  1799 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: American homeownership is at its lowest since 1967... and is still falling.

Even though I'm Canadian, the situation is similar in Vancouver: the house that my folks bought for $150K back in 1992 is worth close to $1M today--and what most buyers in White Rock (suburb of Vancouver) do is buy the property, then tear down the house & rebuild.

In Vancouver, the biggest issue is that overseas buyers are purchasing properties at exorbitant prices, pricing Canadians (residents and citizens) out of the market. A UBC study recently showed that 15% of downtown condos in Vancouver are sitting empty, with their owners simply not living in them. Some commercial property is being exclusively marketed towards overseas purchasers.

It's rare that people my age are able to afford to purchase a home here. A condo, perhaps, but the huge difference in housing prices between 20 years ago and now are pushing many young professionals out of the area.

Many other countries have laws that limit foreign ownership of property, but in Canada, we really don't. It's unfortunate. (And probably off-topic, given that the topic is American home ownership, but I wanted to contribute, dammit.)

RansomIblis  ·  1807 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Musical Instrument would you love to learn?

I broke my leg in December and, for lack of any of the physical activities I was used to doing, I bought a guitar and started to play. I can't imagine nor playing it now. Every time I'm away from it, whether at work on vacation, I wish I had it with me.

The problem is that I live in a very rural area and have nobody to teach me. I'm learning from Justinguitar, which is great, but I really wish that I had a teacher to help me.

RansomIblis  ·  1817 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I got my first proper fountain pen - a Pilot MR! What fountain pens do you have?

I too love the Pelikans! I have a Souveran M605, blue with silver trim. It's got the same fancy 14K nib, but the rest of the pen is more of a workhorse than the rest of the Souveran line. I have to disagree with you on the ink, though: I got a bottle of Noodler's Bernanke Black, and it's turned my pen from a once-in-a-while to a daily driver. The Bernanke Black dries incredibly quickly, so much so that I can write on one page, turn it, and write on the flip side with no smudging.

I thought that India ink wasn't good for fountain pens, what with them being pigment-based... you should google that. I'd hate to see that nice pen get wrecked by ink that shouldn't be used in a dunker.

I've never heard about this Secret Teacher column on the Telegraph before, so thanks for that!

I've had student teachers in the past, and yes, it's a lot of work for the supervising teacher. If the student is good, then the classes roll very nicely without a lot of issues, but even then, there's still mentorship that takes place on a daily basis. If the student isn't that great, however... imagine trying to teach your classes, help a student teach his classes, and get prepared for fixing the disaster once the student is gone.

Not fun.

Being a teacher is great. Being a supervising teacher for a practicum student is... well, it's important to pay it forward, as I had fantastic supervising teachers while I was in undergrad, but it can be very, very challenging.

RansomIblis  ·  1820 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are you reading this week?

Reading The Passage by Justin Cronin. Didn't know what to expect going into it, but Kindle says I'm 10% of the way through and I'm very much enjoying it.

You may be interested in the book Veracity. Similar idea, but implants, not ear buds.

That was utterly fantastic. Thank you for sharing--I needed a laugh!

I genuinely feel like the tide is turning, that people are less and less afraid of being labeled anti-semitic for saying that what Israel is doing is wrong. My father, a staunch conservative, says that it goes against God's wishes to criticise what Israel is doing. Now, he's on the verge of retirement, and I think that this attitude jives with what other Christians his age believe, but those of us who are younger don't necessarily hold to that party line any longer.

I don't know what to do either, and I'm frustrated about it. So I teach my students about the conflict, and equate what Israel is doing now with what Germany did during WWII. We look at Pappe's book and compare that with a section of Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. I then let the students draw their own conclusions, and they often come to the same conclusion that I have.

There's hope. WIthin Israel and Palestine, I don't know, but certainly in the rest of the world the shadow of the Holocaust isn't so long that it's able to obscure what's happening in Palestine for much longer.

RansomIblis  ·  1821 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Gaming's Best Ambient Tracks

The entire score for Fallout 1 & 2.

RansomIblis  ·  1821 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Google Now and the lack of privacy... and I kinda like it

A good (and terrifying) point.

Ilan Pappe wrote a book called The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in which he goes through the creation of the state of Israel, one bloody step at a time. When people talked about the theft of Palestine, I never really understood the metaphor until I read this book--then realised that "theft" isn't even an adequate word. The OED defines "pillage" as "The action of plundering or taking as spoil; spoliation, plunder: chiefly that practised in war; but also in extended sense, extensive or wholesale robbery or extortion", and that's exactly what happened in Palestine.

The fact that Israel continues this brutal campaign of violence against Palestine today makes what happened fifty years ago all the more reprehensible. In '48 the UN clearly defined Genocide according to UN Resolution 260:

    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    Killing members of the group;

    Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

And yet, even though what's happening in Palestine is clearly genocide, by the UN's own definition, what is being done about it? Cumol, this Canadian stands in solidarity with you and your Palestinian brothers and sisters. If I could help, I would.

RansomIblis  ·  1821 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

    Yet, if someone finds themselves trapped in a situation where their only rational business decision involves making the business decision of defaulting, it's suddenly time for "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!".

There are other options aside from defaulting on one's student loan debt, at least in Canada. The NSLSC (National Student Loan Service Centre) will work very hard to ensure that the payable amount per month is within a person's income, with the Government paying interest and (potentially) a portion of the principle. If a person is making under a certain amount, they're not required to pay any of it. Finally, if a person is still making very little money, after 15 years the debt is completely discharged without any hint of bankruptcy.

Going bankrupt because he doesn't want the debt over his head is a selfish attitude. Moreover, regardless of wherever the money is coming from, it's an irresponsible attitude, and (I'd argue) an unethical attitude as well. Furthermore, to encourage other people struggling with their student loan debt load to declare bankruptcy is deplorable.

Anecdotally, I have three degrees, like the writer, but unlike the writer, I'm still paying off my student loans and will likely be doing so for the next eight or nine years. Nine more years with a sizable chunk of my income going towards servicing debt that I earned when I was in my early 20s--my monthly mortgage payment and my student loan payments are about the same. I'm making it work. I don't see why this writer chose to default, especially given the economic situation in the US 30 years ago when he defaulted.

RansomIblis  ·  1822 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

A very interesting article. I teach junior and senior high, and when I read the article, I immediately picture a few students who might benefit from an approach like this--but the issue, as always, is spending the time necessary to help that one kid while the rest of the class twiddles their thumbs. I already spend a far higher amount of time with students like these than I do with the students on the other end of the spectrum, kids who need to be pushed because they're extremely bright and find the "average" work too easy. I also work in a school with zero classroom support for exceptional students (those on either end of the spectrum).

I'd love to hear how classroom modification can work for explosive students without sacrificing the needs of the rest of the class. My own children are in the system, and I don't want their education compromised because they have peers who, quite frankly, aren't able to handle a normal classroom situation. (Does that make me a horrible person? I have a sneaking suspicion that it does...)

RansomIblis  ·  1824 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Cord Cutters of Hubski; How do you do it?

It's complicated.

Right now, I have a Boxee Box that's hooked up to my TV, which connects to two external hard drives through my iMac on LAN. My plan this week is to move those two external hard drives into a desktop, along with 2 x 4TB drives, and have that desktop connected to my TV instead of the Boxee Box. I'm currently in the process of ripping my entire movie collection (Blu-Rays are done; DVDs are next) so that I won't have to fiddle with disks any longer. MakeMKV is free while in beta, and I downloaded the trial of AnyDVD while I'm doing this: a single Blu-Ray takes around 10-15 minutes to rip, and some DVDs (absurdly) as long.

Netflix also, of course, both on my Boxee/future desktop rig and on the kids' Wii.

RansomIblis  ·  1824 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Do you keep a journal or a notebook?

Since I started teaching seven years ago, I've kept a day planner/journal. Well, it started off as a day planner and morphed into a journal, as most of my calendaring takes place using Google Calendar now. I've kept each and will be scanning them sometime this summer, as they contain good ideas that I wrote down and just plain forgot about. Each entry starts off with the current date--nothing fancy. I like the bullet journal system mentioned in this thread, but I don't think I'm disciplined enough to keep that going for the long run.

RansomIblis  ·  1824 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, do you know of any good books on European folklore?

This isn't quite what youre looking for, but pick up The Dedalus Book Of Polish Fantasy. It's a short story collection that contains seminal, fantastical stories from Poland. Highly recommended, and available on Kindle, so you can try a free sample.

RansomIblis  ·  1824 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are your favorite Windows 95/98 era video games?

Great picks, but the first and third were DOS games. I'm not going to nitpick because all three are just fantastic. Did you play Dune 2000?

RansomIblis  ·  1824 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What are your favorite Windows 95/98 era video games?

God, Mechwarrior II... the intro cinematic with the Timber Wolf and the Mad Dog duking it out... The customisation in Mech II: Mercenaries was also banging. Wish there was a new version of that coming out...