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3281  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Neverwinter Nights 2 patch 1.03 released on: December 05, 2006, 06:04:12 PM
I really can't imagine any decision the spellcasting AI could make for a game like this that I'd be happy with.  Melee AI is one thing, instructing characters to attack the next closest enemy or (in the case of a spell caster) automatically enter parry mode when attacked in close quarters.  Spells, on the other hand, are a finite resource that I want to have 100% control over at all times, and I wouldn't want to see my wizards firing their magic missiles off into the darkness without my explicit say so.

I keep all my characters in Puppet Mode anyhow.  Combat in a Dungeons & Dragons game is fought and won based on the tactical choices you make, and a major appeal of the game is getting to be the one calling those shots.  If I wanted a game where the AI cruised through battles all on its own, I'd play Dungeon Siege.

Quote from: unbreakable
Nothing will ever be buggier than a JoWood game.  EVER.

-Autistic Angel
3282  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Star Trek Legacy - Which System ? on: December 05, 2006, 05:13:20 PM
I'll be very interested to read some impressions of this one.  I've read posts from people who claim to have heard some very concerning things about the production of the game, including the fact that the much-touted ability to upgrade individual components on your ships has been entirely removed from the game.  I have no idea if that's true, but I'll be paying close attention to what people have to say about this one.

-Autistic Angel
3283  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Can someone point me to the Nintendo forum? on: November 24, 2006, 02:43:23 PM
I personally found it very strange that there isn't a Zelda topic at the very least. I mean - this IS Zelda here. And there's quite a few people who bought a Wii. Did nobody get Zelda?

I have Zelda, but I'm waiting until I receive my component video cables to spend any time with it.  According to Nintendo's online store, the order I placed on 11/19/06 "will be shipped in the next couple business days," so perhaps I'll receive them next week.   In the meantime, I've been playing some Trauma Center and Wii Sports when I have the chance.

-Autistic Angel
3284  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Was there ever a season 2 of The Outer Limits? on: November 23, 2006, 01:45:45 PM
The Outer Limits ran from 1995 to 2002 for a total of seven seasons.  If you're asking whether or not they've released those as packaged box sets on DVD, I don't know.

If you're unable to find them for purchase, the Sci-Fi channel frequently airs marathons of The Outer Limits as part of their weekly lineup.  I don't know of a way to predict when they'll do one, but you could probably get a heads up from the channel's website.

-Autistic Angel
3285  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Is anyone looking for a Wii? on: November 21, 2006, 09:25:14 PM
If anyone decides to purchase a Wii from Purge, I speak from personal experience when I say that he is a very trustworthy person to do business with.  The anonymity of internet forums can be a little offputting when real money is on the line, but he's definitely one of the good guys.

-Autistic Angel
3286  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Oooops.... on: November 21, 2006, 02:51:40 PM
What on earth are people doing to their Wiimotes that causing the straps to fray and snap already?  I thought the strap was a fail-safe to prevent the controller from flying out of your hand accidentally -- not twirling them around at high speed like grappling hooks.

-Autistic Angel
3287  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: MS Paid up! on: November 21, 2006, 02:52:04 AM

Quote from: papasmurff on November 21, 2006, 02:40:08 AM

Quote from: happydog on November 21, 2006, 02:34:00 AM

Quote from: CeeKay on November 21, 2006, 02:16:47 AM

Quote from: Calvin on November 21, 2006, 01:37:15 AM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on November 21, 2006, 12:37:40 AM

Wow!  Nice!
3288  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Old news? Call for Wii Component cables on: November 21, 2006, 02:45:51 AM
Same here.

-Autistic Angel
3289  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Ouch! on: November 19, 2006, 06:41:57 PM
Why is the media listed as "CD-ROM?"

-Autistic Angel
3290  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: DeepDiscountDVD 20% off sale thru 11/18 on: November 17, 2006, 12:16:14 PM
I have also put in an order with, but I still haven't received any e-mail or anything to confirm the order.  I double checked on their website to make sure they had all my contact information correct -- how long does it typically take from the time of order to receive some sort of acknowledgment from them?

-Autistic Angel
3291  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Excite Truck: 6.8 at Gamspot on: November 15, 2006, 06:18:46 PM
I've read a *lot* of Jeff Gerstmann over the last ten years.  He's reminiscent of Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream: he might come across like an entertaining prankster or even a doofus to the casual observer, but I wouldn't stake anything of value against him in a contest of wits.  That guy is smart, a lot smarter than he likes to let on, and for whatever reason he's chosen to dedicate a large portion of his life to critiquing video games.  It's easy to argue with his decision to give Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 a perfect score, but on the whole, I've learned to give his opinions a lot of weight.

-Autistic Angel
3292  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: PS3 Scalper = Asshole on: November 15, 2006, 05:55:59 PM
Quote from: Farscry
No kidding, it's amusing because it'll not only piss off the fanboys, but the scalpers too.  icon_biggrin

Why would smashing a PS3 in front of a line of hopeful purchasers piss off a scalper?  By taking one more PS3 out of the hands of someone who actually wants it, that's one more person who might be willing to pay a steeply inflated price to buy one...from a scalper.  Everybody wins, except for the consumer who genuinely just wants to purchase a PlayStation 3.

Quote from: unbreakable
Partially, the entire anti-consumerism statement is great.  It's a big F-U to all the people who are willing to spend days in line and gauge the entire success/failure of their holiday on their ability to purchase one high demand expensive item... or simply resell said item to milk people with said attitude.

The people willing to wait in those lines hoping to own a PS3 aren't hurting anyone.  They aren't trying to tear down anyone else's values or push their own onto other people.  Why do you take such glee in the idea of provoking them for no purpose?

-Autistic Angel
3293  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Neverwinter Nights 2 Impressions on: November 06, 2006, 11:43:11 PM
I had not read the review previously, and after I heard that it had been pulled off the site, I went looking for it out of curiosity.  If anyone else is interested, here is the full text:

Quote from: Matt Peckham
As everything-the-original-did -- and more -- follow-ups go, Neverwinter Nights 2 deserves a banner&something like "mission accomplished." Think the sequel to Jurassic Park, where Spielberg's all "You want more dinosaurs? I'll show you more dinosaurs..." As a contemporary CRPG, on the other hand, NWN2 leaves a lot to be desired, and that's too bad, because these are the guys who brought us Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale 2...and therefore they are the guys I'm least inclined to take issue with.

But issues exist, and defining them is really no more complex than saying, "Hello D&D superchrome, buh-bye storytelling and character development (you know, those things you're supposed to "immerse" yourself in)." The idea seems to be that we're meant to rah-rah about a superabundance of feats, spells, races, prestige (advanced) classes, and math-equation tickers full of the usual "I attack you with a +4 sword of --" booooooring. Fine, sure, dandy...but when is a "role" not a "role"? Simple: when it's a rule to a fault.

Ever loyal bites
I'm cruising for a bruising (don't I know it), but NWN2 is a splash of cold water to the face: A revelatory, polarizing experience that -- in the wake of newer, better alternatives -- makes you question the very notion of "RPG by numbers." It foists Wizards of the Coast's latest v3.5 D&D system (a molehill that's become a mountain at this point) onto your hard drive with stunning fidelity, then tacks on dozens of artificial-looking areas vaguely linked by forget-table plot points you check off like grocery to-do's.

Sure, the interface is sleeker with context-sensitive menus and a smart little bar that lets you more intuitively toggle modes like "power attack" and "stealth," but with all the added rule-shuffling, NWN2 seems like it's working twice as hard to accomplish half as much. Worse -- and blame this on games like Oblivion -- NWN2's levels feel pint-sized: Peewee zones inhabited by pull-string NPCs with no existence to speak of beyond their little playpens. Wander and you'll wonder why the forests, towns, and dungeons are like movie lots with lay-about monsters waiting patiently for you to trip their arbitrary triggers. As if the pencil and paper "module" approach were a virtue that computers -- by now demonstrably capable of simulating entire worlds with considerably more depth -- should emulate. It's like we're supposed to park half our brain in feature mania and the rest in nostalgic slush, and somehow call bingo.

The dungeons feel especially stale, so linear and inorganic they might as well be graph-paper lifts filled with room after room of pop-up bogeymen (Doom put them in closets; NWN2 just makes the closets bigger). Maybe you'd rather chat with the dumb NPCs that speak and sound like extras in a bad Saturday morning cartoon? Oh, boy -- there's the portrait "plus" sign! Time to shuffle another party member (improved to four simultaneous) through the level-up grinder, which you can click "recommend" to zip past...but then, what's the point?

Rule-playing game
In all fairness, it's not entirely developer Obsidian's fault. D&D certainly puts the "rule" in role-playing, and a madcap base of D&D aficionados is no doubt ready to string me up for suggesting that faithful is here tantamount to folly (to these people, I say: "Go for it, NWN2's all you've ever wanted and more"). Call me crazy -- I guess I'm just finally weary of being led around on a pencil-and-paper leash and batting numbers around a glorified three-dimensional spreadsheet in a computer translation that should have synthesized, not forklifted.

That five-of-10 is actually a hedge, by the way. For D&D fans who want to play an amazingly thorough PC translation of the system they're carting around in book form, it's proba-bly closer an eight or nine. But if, like me, you want less "rules for rule's sake" and more depth and beauty to your simulated game worlds, you can certainly find more exciting prospects. Part of the reason we call them "the good old days" and think fondly of games past is that it's always easier to love what we don't have to play anymore.

-Autistic Angel
3294  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: IGN Zelda TP impressions on: November 06, 2006, 04:06:49 AM
I would argue that using a steering wheel and pedals conveys a more accurate sense of controlling a car, even if they lack the same weight and heft of actually driving a vehicle.  The Guitar Hero controller shares very little in common with a real instrument, but I'd also say that it's infinitely preferable to using the PS2 controller.

-Autistic Angel
3295  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I loves the cats! on: November 04, 2006, 02:21:02 PM

-Autistic Angel
3296  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: LOST kicked so much unholy ass tonight (11/01) on: November 03, 2006, 03:49:27 AM
Quote from: gameoverman
The first thought I know I had when the found the one with all the monitors was "If that monitor shows their station, then the others must show other stations".  So, for example, I would have expected Sayid to make that connection immediately upon entering that new station and seeing that bank of monitors. 

I mean, it's a no-brainer...unless you check another monitor and it just shows a different view of your station.  Then you can make an assumption that the other monitors show only the one station too.  So I just figured that they(the Losties) were assumed to look into it off camera and found that those monitors can't be made to show anything.

When Locke and Mr. Eko first visited the Pearl Station, they turned on several different monitors.  Most of them were just static; a couple were still active and showed the button-pushing hatch were Jack was tending to Sawyer's wounds.  From the decrepit status of the hatch, I think they assumed that they were tuned to video feeds that were no longer active.  In last night's episode, Sayid's rewiring job is what suddenly caused other locations to appear on the screen.

-Autistic Angel
3297  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: LOST kicked so much unholy ass tonight (11/01) on: November 02, 2006, 03:17:56 PM
Quote from: gameoverman
I'm wondering if Jack will buy into Juliet's plan.  Obvious questions that would spring into my mind would be "If you are in a such a powerful position to protect me after I kill Ben, why don't you and your people just kill him yourselves?".  And "why isn't anyone mentioning my friends Sawyer and Kate when they(Ben and Juliet) are both trying their darndest to get on my good side?"

In other words, I don't trust her either.

Neither do I.  Jack has absolutely no reason to believe that "many" of the Others want a change and would like to see Ben knocked off, nor that Juliet has either the power or the inclination to protect him once the deed is done.  Juliet was standing alone in an empty room while making that tape.  At the moment, all we know is that she's speaking for herself.

I liked that last night's episode addressed mysteries that have been lingering since the start of the series, dating all the way back to the first time Jack saw his dead father standing in the surf in one of the earliest episodes.  The mechanical smoke monster has now manifested itself as two different people, both of whom had their corpses vanish from the island.  It makes you wonder if reappearances from Boone, Shannon, Goodwin, or Ethan can be far behind.  ...or Eko... ninja

By the way, who did Andrew Divoff play in that episode?  I'm virtually positive his name appeared in the Guest Starring credits, but I don't see him listed in either or's filmography as appearing in Lost.  Am I totally mistaken, or was he listed in the crew credits...?

-Autistic Angel
3298  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Neverwinter Nights 2 Impressions on: November 01, 2006, 10:40:50 PM
For anyone interested in picking up a Limited Edition package, check your local stores.  Best Buy had several on the shelf when I picked up mine, and stores like Wal*Mart and Target say they should have received their shipments within the next week or so.

-Autistic Angel
3299  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Impressions on: October 28, 2006, 10:00:29 PM
Quote from: Destructor
1) If you intend to manually assign points, you have to do so ASAP once you start the game, and ASAP for EVERY single character in your roster once you hit your first save point. You have no way to change your mind once you assign (or worse, buy) points either.

I have not played Ultimate Alliance so I don't know anything from personal experience, but according to GameSpot's review:

Quote from: GameSpot
Perhaps most interesting about the whole hero customization system in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is the fact that few of your choices are permanent. Though you can't take back any money spent, any skill points you've earned or purchased can be redistributed to different special powers at the drop of a hat.

-Autistic Angel
3300  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Impressions on: October 27, 2006, 10:52:46 PM
Quote from: Thin_J
When you add that with the irritating fact that you only got certain characters halfway through the story or sometimes they showed up so late you never had time to even learn anything about how they played, much less got time to really enjoy them. Best example of that is Psylocke showing up about ten minutes before I beat the first XML game, and in a level full of psychic immune robotic enemies. Who the hell thought that was a good idea?

I agree 100% -- that was a totally bizarre design decision.

-Autistic Angel
3301  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Toys R Us Buy 2, Get 1 Free starts Oct. 22 on: October 27, 2006, 07:58:27 PM
Quote from: pr0ner
This sale runs until tomorrow, right?


-Autistic Angel
3302  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Do I want the 360 HD-DVD Add On? on: October 27, 2006, 04:10:53 PM
Quote from: DamageInc
I am going to wait a bit, but for me it would make more sense to throw the $200 at the Sony PS3 as it will be built in and it seems like Blue-Ray has more momentum.

I've been following the format war so far, and I would have said that HD-DVD has significantly more momentum at this point.  Consider:

1) The image quality of the average HD-DVD is still *significantly* better than available Blu-Ray movies.  In some cases the Blu-Ray version of movies isn't even as good as their regular DVD release -- U-571 is one specific example.  The problem stems from a continuing inability to mass produce dual-layer Blu-Ray media, forcing studios to heavily compress their "high-definition" movies and resulting in an image plagued by heavy artifacting.

2) HD-DVD media is less expensive to manufacture because manufacturing plants need to make far fewer changes than they would to begin creating Blu-Ray discs.  The movies themselves seem to be priced about the same, meaning that the studios currently supporting HD-DVD should be seeing better profit margins on their films.

3) Stand alone HD-DVD players are less expensive than stand alone Blu-Ray players.  A *very* cursory search I did just now suggests that Blu-Ray players seem to average around $1000, while HD-DVD players range between $500-$800.

4) There are more HD-DVD movie titles available on the market as there are Blu-Ray.  Another cursory search on Amazon shows 174 hits for HD-DVD movies, but only 140 hits for Blu-Ray.  This gap would be expected to shift in Blu-Ray's favor except that several companies who had originally pledged exclusive Blu-Ray support have now started making noises about shifting over to dual-support within the next year.

Videophiles who are the most likely to become early adopters of either format are also the ones most likely to be familiar with the image quality, cost, and availability issues between the two formats.  I have no dog in this race one way or another, but it seems to me that HD-DVD is currently in a pretty strong position.

-Autistic Angel
3303  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My issues with... on: October 27, 2006, 02:35:23 PM
Kobra, how do you account for people like Blackadar who quit cigarettes twenty years ago, but sometimes still get strong cravings for them?  Are you suggesting that his personality is too addictive to eliminate the cravings, but not addictive enough to make him give in to them?

Can't you allow for the possibility that potentially addictive drugs can affect different people in different ways, and that although you had an easy time kicking the habit, millions and millions of people don't?

-Autistic Angel
3304  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Might and Magic: Dark Messiah Impressions. on: October 26, 2006, 01:49:52 AM
The reports I'm reading say:

1) People who pre-loaded through Steam are suffering major sound problems, such as characters whose voices are complete replaced by white noise.  Once Steam is asked to reverify the files it will go through a very lengthy process, download the missing pieces, and fix the problems.

2) Some people are also reporting the same audio stuttering problems that plagued previous Source-based games like Half-Life 2 and Vampire: Bloodlines, including some users who say they never had any problems with those titles.  A few have reported that turning their audio acceleration in Windows all the way down can help.

3) Very early in the game, the player is supposed to climb a ladder to continue on.  A common problem is that the ladder cannot be interacted with in any way, so players have to resort to using a NoClip cheat to fly up through the ceiling and bypass the bug.

4) The people who have navigated past those hurdles seem to have few problems and agree that the game is absolutely fantastic.  It sounds like the first run-through lasts about 10-12 hours.

I don't have Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, but that seems to be the landscape so far.

-Autistic Angel
3305  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Toys R Us Buy 2, Get 1 Free starts Oct. 22 on: October 25, 2006, 02:35:26 PM
-Lord Ebonstone-, I've checked both the Toys 'R' Us stores in my area, and neither of them had any copies of Guitar Hero or Splinter Cell in stock.  They've been fairly well swept clean of a lot of the more popular titles.  I need to go back later this week so I'll check again then, but the clerks I spoke with were pessimistic about getting any significant new shipments in by the end of the week.

-Autistic Angel
3306  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Anyone know how to pbem SE V? on: October 24, 2006, 05:04:50 PM
Play by e-mail.

-Autistic Angel
3307  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Toys R Us Buy 2, Get 1 Free starts Oct. 22 on: October 23, 2006, 08:31:18 PM
I can check my local stores, -Lord Ebonstone-.  I expect you want to get Guitar Hero packaged with the guitar, though, and I don't think I've seen that in stock locally....

If I can find them, I'll send you a PM prior to making the purchase.  Don't pass up another offer if someone else can help.

-Autistic Angel
3308  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Toys R Us Buy 2, Get 1 Free starts Oct. 22 on: October 23, 2006, 01:47:40 PM
For what it's worth, I have my Toys 'R' Us receipts here right now.  It shows Super Mario 64 and New Super Mario Brothers sold for regular price, and Metroid Prime: Hunters was free thanks to a $34.99 "video promotion."  The same thing is true of my Splinter Cell / NHL / Disgaea receipt -- SC and NHL at regular price, and Disgaea 2 at $0.00.

I don't know if that helps answer the question, but that's how they're ringing things up at two different stores in my area.

-Autistic Angel
3309  Non-Gaming / Steals and Deals / Re: Toys R Us Buy 2, Get 1 Free starts Oct. 22 on: October 22, 2006, 10:22:07 PM
I picked up Disgaea 2 for the PS2, and Splinter Cell: Double Agent and NHL 2k6 for the X-Box 360.  Then, in a seperate transaction, I got Metroid Prime: Hunters, New Super Mario Brothers, and Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo DS I purchased just a few weeks ago.

Thanks for the tip on the sale!  icon_smile

-Autistic Angel
3310  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: my ridiculous self-indulgence...bought an HDTV... on: October 22, 2006, 10:18:59 PM
I've never been a big proponent of rear projection televisions, but if your photography does the screen any justice at all, it really looks great! thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
3311  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Brad Wardell of Stardock vs Rush Limbaugh on: October 21, 2006, 02:54:08 AM
Quote from: Poleaxe
Honestly, I'm tired of hearing that there aren't enough resources. We've been throwing money at the problem for 40 years, with little change. Now you want to take money from successful districts to equalize financing-

This is as far into your message as I read.  I put a lot of time and consideration into writing my last response, and considering that you've just accused me of holding the exact position I've spent this entire thread opposing, I have no reason to believe you've read a single word of it.  Okay, maybe one: "resources."

I never suggested at any point that school funding should be equalized by taking money away from wealthy districts.  In fact, I think it's abundantly clear from every single thing I've posted so far that funneling money, people, or supplies away from one school district and into another is exactly what I'm arguing *against.*

If you would like to discuss this issue or my position on it, please take a few moments to read through at least one of the posts I've made in this thread and we can pretend like this most recent response did not occur.  If you would prefer instead to continue assigning attitudes and beliefs to me which are diametrically opposed to everything I've said to date, you should consider saving time and simply declare yourself the "winner" now -- you'll get no further argument from me on the topic.

-Autistic Angel
3312  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Brad Wardell of Stardock vs Rush Limbaugh on: October 20, 2006, 09:18:47 PM
Quote from: Poleaxe
I have to ask, what's the difference if we abandon certain students through allocation of resources for the greater good, or because of 40 years of inept education administration?

Students who are underserved through administrative neglect are the victims of unbalanced resources.  Take two children with equivalent learning disabilities, and the one who attends the wealthy school with ready access to special education teachers and resources is going to make far better progress than the one whose disability goes undiagnosed due to a lack of those same support systems.  This can can be corrected through a strong focus of funding and educational expertise to improve our poorly performing schools, and it should.

Instead, some people believe we should *choose* to abandon "certain students" by funneling money away "for the greater good."  Kids from poor districts who enjoy less support at home because their parents are too busy working, who suffer from undiagnosed learning disabilities, or are otherwise performing below their grade level are too hard and too expensive to teach, so let's just give up.  Let's tie federal education funding to standardized test scores, pressuring school systems to abandon well-rounded, comprehensive educational programs in favor of ones that drill students endlessly on how to excell at filling out bubble sheets and find ways to marginalize or even discard those who require too much effort.

In other words, you're asking me to explain the difference between having students who fall through the cracks, or establishing a system where they're *pushed* through.  It seems to me that "the greater good" is best served by sealing the cracks...not wedging them open to make the fall more efficient.

-Autistic Angel
3313  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Who do you love? on: October 20, 2006, 08:17:23 PM


Autistic Angel
3314  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Phone Spam From Gamestop As a Result of PS3 Preorder? on: October 20, 2006, 07:18:44 PM
How much more does a PS3 cost if you get the version without Talledega Nights?

-Autistic Angel
3315  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Brad Wardell of Stardock vs Rush Limbaugh on: October 20, 2006, 07:03:49 PM
Quote from: LoneStarSpur
Sorry...I wasn't trying to be rude or condescending and you're probably right; I shouldn't have posted at all.

I'm genuinely curious about what specific affirmative victories Republican voters feel they've gained in the last six years of total control, so I would prefer it if you did post about your political positions and why you feel Republicans have earned your continued support.  If you would prefer not to subject your personal beliefs to scrutiny and criticism by publicizing them on an open forum, that's a fair position to take -- no private citizen should feel compelled to defend their voting habits to anyone.

I was just surprised when I thought you were addressing me personally and saying, "I'm not going to bother writing anything to you because it would be fruitless."  Since that isn't what you meant, it's good that we got everything cleared up. icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3316  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Brad Wardell of Stardock vs Rush Limbaugh on: October 20, 2006, 04:47:56 PM
Quote from: Bob
Just a small note on this: I live in a "school of choice" district and can send my kids to any public school in the our district and any participating districts.  However, each school has a defined bussing area, and if you are outside it, then no bus for you.

In a case like your district, it could be argued that it's only a "school of choice" area for families which have the means to transport their children to more distant schools.  This would tend to leave out the poorest families with parents that either cannot afford a car or cannot afford the time away from work to drive their kids across town, and they're the ones who would be the most likely to need access to better schools.

In my state, there was a lawsuit against the government which resulted in the state becoming responsible for bussing students to schools in other districts.  The basis of the suit wasn't directly because of test scores or school performance, but brought in the name of increased ethnic diversity.  That may be a positive goal, but the actual result has been a drain on the educational budget of our schools while we bus kids around to different areas of the state, leaving them exhausted and cranky while doing almost nothing to actually address the problem.

Quote from: Bob
So one school gets filled with good students, the other gets filled with cast-offs.  Things keep getting better for the school abusing the system, and worse for the school forced to take the other school's left-overs.

I agree.  When people expect schools to start behaving like private businesses, they're going to comply by throwing out the materials that detract from the bottom line.  In this case, that means dumping the poorly performing students and focussing all their efforts on the ones that demonstrate the best results for the lowest cost.

Quote from: whiteboyskim
See I'm of the philosophy right now that everyone on both sides of the aisle should be voted out. Let's just all vote out literally everyone we can in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike, and then start over.

I would agree with that plan 100%.

Quote from: LoneStarSpur
I'll try to answer, AA, although I believe that the left's hatred of President Bush runs so deep that rational discussion of politics on the internet is virtually impossible.

Actually, AA, on 2nd thought, I'm not going to bother. It would be fruitless.

I don't know you, LoneStarSpur, so I'm going to have to assume that you meant this "you aren't worth my time" post in the least rude and condescending way possible.  I am curious, though: if talking with me about your positions is so pointless, what was your goal in posting at all?

-Autistic Angel
3317  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Brad Wardell of Stardock vs Rush Limbaugh on: October 20, 2006, 02:38:41 PM
Quote from: Rhinohelix
On topic, Brad is indeed wrong about this.  I mean, hurrah if disagree with Rush but if you are on the same side, its stupid to not vote and give control over to your ideological enemies to teach your side a "lesson".  The Republicans in Congress have done a fair number of things I don't agree with, true, but not enough for me to defacto vote for the Democrats.  From my perspective, that's going from "meh" to "blech".

Back off topic, what are the things that the Republicans have accomplished in their six year control of the house, senate, and presidency that you're proud of?

I'm also interested to hear more about what you're concerned will happen if the Democrats regain a slim majority in congress.  It seems to me that issues of deficit spending, losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, proliferation of WMDs, congressional corruption, national security, intelligence gathering, and defending marriage, the middle class, or the American flag are all off the table given how Republicans have handled these issues, so I'm interested to know how you think Democrats would make things worse.

-Autistic Angel
3318  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Brad Wardell of Stardock vs Rush Limbaugh on: October 20, 2006, 02:55:41 AM
I'm facinated by this passage in Brad Wardell's blog:

Quote from: Brad Wardell
#7 REAL "Progressive" EDUCATION.  Allow people to send their kids to other schools. Make schools compete for funding. In the near term, I can live with the fact that people have to send their kids to public schools (my kids do). But let parents send their kids to other public schools if the school they're child is at doesn't meet their needs. I pay high property taxes which help pay for my local school so I do understand there's some pain in someone paying a lot smaller amount, but I think you'd find most conservatives to be willing to let those who pay less in property taxes still send their children to better schools (as long as locals had first shot at filling available seats) in order to see some competition in our school system.

Some people might say that the solution would be to spend more money to train and hire more teachers and make sure that they have all the tools, resources, and education needed to properly do their job.  Brad feels the problem is a lack of marketplace competition.

Instead of trying to fix the problem, he proposes to dilute it by draining the resources of effective school districts by forcing them to cover a larger population.  That'll cost money, of course, so he'll redirect funding from poorly performing districts to the good ones.  Of course, slashing the funding is only going to make the poor districts even worse, driving away whatever good teachers or administrators they might have had, dooming the district to an ever-worsening spiral of bad performance.

The good schools, on the other hand, would receive an increase in funding so they'd just get better, right?  Sure...provided that funding is enough to completely offset the costs of

a) busing students in from an increasingly wide area

b) providing them with all the text books and supplies they'll need

c) hiring more classroom staff, special education staff, administrators, security personnel, cafeteria staff, librarians, and aides to handle the increased student population and the *massive* increase in paperwork

d) constructing additional school facilities to handle the rising population

e) adding additional remedial classes to try and bring students from other districts up to speed with their new school's curriculum

Students are not widgets to be assembled according to some generic design schematic.  Education is a specialized and cumulative process and any discontinuity in the system results in a world of complications.  Dragging students out of bed an hour earlier to pile into a bus for a forty minute ride to a completely different school is one hell of a disruption, leading to tired, uncooperative kids struggling to catch up with lessons that are based on previous lessons they never had.

Teachers are not programmers who can produce educated students by reciting lesson plans and text books as though they were lines of code.  A lesson that works brilliantly with one class one year can fail miserably the next.  Teaching is about education, cooperation, evaulation, and constant, constant, constant adaptation to different personality types, interest levels, parental issues, socio-economic and educational backgrounds, and previously effective strategies that just plain fall flat.  Every single student you add to a teacher's classroom represents a geometric increase in the difficulty of their job.

Shuffling students around from poorly performing schools to better ones is not a solution to educational problems -- it's a sure way to propogate it by flooding school systems with throngs of new students who are as unprepared to deal with their new curriculums as the school is bring them up to speed in time.

Schools need smaller classes with more resources, led by better teachers attracted to the profession by higher pay.  They need personnel sufficient to keep them safe, secure, and well-maintained.  They need supplies that are consistent with the world around them: modern computers and textbooks rather than Apple IIs and geography books that prominently feature the U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia, and Constantinople.  They need healthy foods and exercises that promote proper brain chemistry rather than generating mind-warping sugar and caffeine highs that render kids incapable of paying attention.

They also need students born to better parents who provide stable, loving, supportive homes and who will work *with* the school to advance their children's education rather than litigating to promote evolution and creationism as co-equal theories.  Since there's not much the goverment can do to force parents to become "better," it seems more productive to focus on aggressively improving our public schools to them *and* their students up to par with their neighbors.

-Autistic Angel
3319  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: SC:DA is good fun so far! on: October 18, 2006, 01:03:44 PM
Sid Caesar: Dopamine Addict?

-Autistic Angel
3320  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: South Park - the WoW Episode on: October 15, 2006, 05:24:54 PM
Quote from: whiteboyskim
So I finally watched the World of WarCraft South Park episode and holy God was that funny. Makes me sooooo glad I'm not playing it either because of all the things they got right. I love how the ganker is basically wearing a helmet and wields a knife but can one-shot anyone. Crap like that is exactly why I have no intention of playing any MMORPG again.

That's exactly like how I watched Pride of the Yankees and swore off ever playing baseball.  I don't care how good a game its supposed to be -- it still isn't worth contracting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

-Autistic Angel
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