Re: And your roommate may have Wonderwall set as their alarm clock buzzer.

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Classes like the one you're teaching sound kind of like a waste of time, tbh.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:28 PM
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It's kind of tragic but true. For the book that I get to choose, I chose a "how to learn not to procrastinate" book that may hopefully be useful to them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:30 PM
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They have `welcome to college' classes?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:30 PM
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In my experience, having "online discussion groups" is a waste of time and hated by everyone, which must be why more classes add them every year. But you probably don't have any discretion over whether your class has an "online discussion group" or not.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:31 PM
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Anecdotes about sex always go over well with young people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:31 PM
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2: What's the name of that book?

(Step 1: Close your web browser.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:31 PM
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But objectively, learning Calculus II is equally a waste of time. It just doesn't feel like a waste of time for them to sit in the classroom as much, because they believe that they would not be able to learn it on their own.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:31 PM
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Since I'm nicer than Ben, I would put the thought this way: what sorts of skills and knowledge are supposed to be imparted by this class? What's the goal, really?

Here's an assignment that I use that doesn't feel like a waste of time: short responses to questions on reading that they're assigned but might otherwise skip. It makes them do the reading, but it also gets them in the habit of directing their attention to particular parts of a text, trying to see what's central and what isn't, and so, in a small way, it develops more sophisticated reading skills.

If you're hell bent on learning what feels like a waste of time: group work!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:33 PM
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2: good choice! In general, students sometimes wonder whether there are ways to avoid procrastinating or prioritize the things they have to do, but usually conclude that it's innate and you can either do it or you can't. so a book like "Getting Things Done" amazes everyone when they finally encounter it several years after leaving school.

I had a "getting used to college" class, but it didn't have exercises or assignments or activities, just a different person every week telling us things that could have been better phrased in the form of the brochure we had already received.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:34 PM
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6: Here. (I'm feeling slightly paranoid about blogging about my job.) Don't want students googling the title and finding this thread.

It's really good and addresses the underlying anxiety and boredom that lead to procrastinating in the first place.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:35 PM
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what sorts of skills and knowledge are supposed to be imparted by this class? What's the goal, really?

The goal is to increase retention rates, frankly. Anything else - learning study skills, learning why one goes to college, bonding with classmates, is all encouraged with an eye on improving retention rates.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:38 PM
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group work!

Especially out-of-class group work.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:38 PM
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An badly managed or unmanaged online discussion group is a waste of time. A well managed one is an asset.

I am currently using my online discussion forums as a chance to teach How Not To Look Like a Moron on the Internet. I feel that this will be an increasingly important life skill as time goes on.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:39 PM
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Especially out-of-class group work.

I actually use a lot of this in math classes. There are studies that show that having a social network in math classes increases the number of female math majors dramatically.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:40 PM
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8: Group discussions (as in "break into groups of four, and talk about [X]") are the worst.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:40 PM
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what assignments and activities felt like a waste of time when you were in high school and college

The seminars explaining the dangers of drug use and binge drinking. I didn't need any remedial education there, administrators.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:41 PM
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13: Are you using examples from Unfogged threads?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:41 PM
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The seminars explaining the dangers of drug use and binge drinking.

The TA does all of these on Fridays, while I sleep in! That part is awesome.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:42 PM
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There are "managed" online discussion groups? my understanding was that the format had to be "You had reading to do this week. Post some evidence, anything at all, that you did some of the reading, in the form of an "opinion" or "analysis". Also, at least once a month you are required to respond to what someone else says."


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:43 PM
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As an undergraduate, I *hated* any exercise that involved role play, talking to other students, or standing up. As a teacher, I have realized that these are exactly the most important exercises to do.

The students *want* to be lectured to. It is less work, they are used to it, and it doesn't seem "gay." This bias must be destroyed for effective learning. In the short term, doing this will decrease retention rates, because you will drive away students who can't bear the thought of pretending to be on the jury at Socrates' trial. In the long run, it will help retention rates, because they students you will get will be more committed and engaged in learning.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:44 PM
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and it doesn't seem "gay."

What kinds of things are your students grappling with?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:46 PM
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(All kidding aside, 20 is very important for me to remember.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:47 PM
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14: I was thinking of the humanities in particular. Group authorship is always a waste of time for n people where the size of the group is n + 1; group research usually involves very hastily designed subdivisions that never end up making sense.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:47 PM
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The goal is to increase retention rates, frankly.

Teach them about the so-called skill premium.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:48 PM
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Also avoiding credit card debt, how to avoid getting caught for illegal activity, how much they should be paying for given quantities of an illegal substance, there's lots of useful things they can be taught in a generalist class.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:50 PM
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I chose a "how to learn not to procrastinate" book that may hopefully be useful to them.

Did you become familiar with said book before or after you began commenting here?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:51 PM
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Teach them about the so-called skill premium.

Lie to them about the great things in 4th year.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:51 PM
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I think group work is fine in contexts where you are specifically training students in a mode of research or other kind of work that is truly done in groups. Otherwise, and for a course like this, definitely, pass.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:51 PM
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The TA does all of these on Fridays, while I sleep in off the meth hangover!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:51 PM
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20 is a good point, and should be less of a problem in this class. Students don't just want to do what is easy, they also want to avoid showing the professor any evidence that there is something they don't know. but coming into this class they are not expecting to "learn material" in the traditional way, so there should be less reticence about speaking in class.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:51 PM
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There are studies that show that having a social network in math classes increases the number of female math majors dramatically.

Shows what I know.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:53 PM
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31: But math research really is often done very effectively by kicking ideas around with other people, in between retreating to work out the details to yourself on paper. Otherwise is can be painfully isolating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:56 PM
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My new policy is to read and grade every post and reply when needed. My first shot at discussion guidelines is here. (Not all the images survived transfer to google docs intact.)

The next thing I want to do is create a video demonstration of how to use spell check and why it is an important part of not looking like an idiot.

I've also been telling students about the stupid filter.

Honestly, I would love it if my students could comment at the level of unfogged commenters.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:56 PM
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but coming into this class they are not expecting to "learn material" in the traditional way, so there should be less reticence about speaking in class.

Do you think? In this circumstance there isn't even the payoff of looking like a successful smartypants, making performances surely extra "gay".

Aw, now I'm thinking (for obvious reasons) of the LGBT lit class I taught where students gave short presentations on (carefully curated by me) historical and biographical background material. This was sort of mean of me, given that involved both out-of-class group work and performance. But everyone totally rose to the occasion and was adorably theatrical. That was a super super fun class.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:58 PM
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I don't remember what was a colossal waste of time, but I will offer that anything that teaches people how to follow the damn directions would be incredibly useful. If the exam says to give a definition and an example, do both.

The list is endless, but as someone who reviews grants on occasion, I can promise that even well into their professional lives, people cannot follow the damn directions. If they can't do that, I don't see how we can give them a million dollars.

(I know, independent thought and creativity. But I think those should come after one is able to follow the directions.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:59 PM
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But math research really is often done very effectively by kicking ideas around with other people, in between retreating to work out the details to yourself on paper.

Phew!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:59 PM
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31: I think this is most generally true, although I do know people who pretty much just grind along by themselves.

more cynically: math research typically proceeds by kicking around ideas with other people until you all agree you've found the correct solution, then retreating to work out the details by yourself. Whereupon you discover you were all wrong, and have an easy example to demonstrate it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 12:59 PM
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erm, 37->32 not 31


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:01 PM
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You can't just issue a blanket "waste of time" grade on group work. I found group activities in math courses to be fun and engaging--towards the end of my college career I ended up working on almost everything I did, except exams, obviously, with a good friend of mine who had a similar love of writing stuff on chalkboards and arguing.

On the other hand, the "get in groups of four and talk about x", or pretty much any other group activity except studying for exams, was torture in my English/humanities classes.

So there's a real split between science and the humanities on this question.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:02 PM
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My first shot at discussion guidelines is here.

I'm a pedantic jerk, but you instruct them to make break tags like so:

</br>

while in fact they should be like so:

<br />

or at the very least like so:

<br>



Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:03 PM
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I will offer that anything that teaches people how to follow the damn directions would be incredibly useful.

Megan is a Nazi.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:04 PM
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40: what's the difference?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:05 PM
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And talking about maths is fun-fun-fun!

I've been working in isolation mode for the last couple of years but I'm moving to a new position at the end of the year where there will be much more in the way of discussion and group work. I'm super excited! So much good work is done standing at the blackboard kibbitzing on each others' play,. Then you rush back to your office, inflamed with enthusiasm, full of new ideas. How to get that feeling across to undergrads when you have a course with a set syllabus and a bunch of stuff they have to "learn"? Meh. No idea. I've never managed to get that playful feeling across right. But maths group work is more like "the real thing" than plodding through a problem set.


Posted by: buttersideup | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:06 PM
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Rob, how time-consuming is it to grade the threads? How many students in a class, and how often do you assign group discussions?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:06 PM
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OT: Yglesias left The Atlantic to got to the Center for American Progress. Guess he got tired of being the token centrist.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:08 PM
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40: what's the difference?

The first one is configured like the second half of a container tag, an "end" tag, so to speak, like when you type <i> to start formatting in italics, and </i> to end the italics. But breaks aren't containers. So they were originally supposed to be written that last way. The XHTML standard (I think that's what did it) held that singleton or standalone tags should also act like containers, just containers with nothing inside them. So <br /> both starts and ends itself within a single tag, and this is the most compliant way to indicate a break.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:09 PM
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So is every single person who writes a blog for the Atlantic now a Republican who supports Obama?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:09 PM
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43: god, I remember that feeling. How did that get beat out of me? I feel like I mostly lost it in seminars that moved so fast that I couldn't put the time into keeping up, and that there weren't other students who worked on anything near my specific dissertation topic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:10 PM
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But breaks aren't containers. So they were originally supposed to be written that last way.

Let me explain that better.

Breaks aren't containers. They stand alone. The problem with </br> is that it is claiming to be the ending mate of some br container that was started with an opening tag somewhere else. But there's no such thing as an opening br tag. <br> just means "put a break here" according to earlier HTML standards. Now that way of writing it is deprecated (because you have something that is in terms of the markup format indistinguishable a forever-open container tag), but it still works, while <br /> is the most standard-compliant way to indicate a break.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:13 PM
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48: I love this feeling. Now I'm just assuming I'll never find a job that will let me keep it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:14 PM
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otoh, hanging about here when I should be working probably doesn't help either.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:15 PM
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47: McMegan probably claims to be "an independent", and hasn't endorsed. Such is the path of the super-annoying economist, and those who aspire to their ranks.

37.2 just made me a little depressed, remembering the number of times that happened to me.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:15 PM
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37: All true, but it's still progress. Slow, bitty progress, but if it was easy, there wouldn't be anything left to do, would there?

48: Bad maths seminars suck the life out of the room more than any other bad talks I know. If you're going to give a talk aimed at the single person in the room who can understand your topic perfectly in all its details with no background, why bother getting all those other poor sods to come and listen to you droning on for an hour?


Posted by: buttersideup | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:15 PM
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49: While I understand that under certain circumstances a seemingly-insignificant HTML error might well lead to the end of civilization as we know it, at the same time I don't want to have to involve myself in these questions. I'm just a bad citizen, I guess.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:17 PM
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Thanks shrub, I'll fix that right away.

Heebie: It is very time consuming. I am teaching exclusively online this semester. I have about 60 students, and I am way behind on everything. A lot of my problem is that the course and its website were not entirely built when the thing started. I'm telling myself things will get easier when I just have to keep up with the online discussion & paper grading and everything else runs itself.

I have yet to try this system in a primarily land-based class, but I plan to in the fall. There I'm looking at doing it for three classes and a total of about 90 students.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:18 PM
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What Emerson is saying is that he wants more explanation of the "br /" vs "/br" distinction, but he's embarassed to admit he doesn't understand.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:19 PM
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8: Group discussions (as in "break into groups of four, and talk about [X]") are the worst.

So, so, so true. Especially when your professor insists on doing this in a 3-person seminar.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:21 PM
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What Emerson is saying is that he wants more explanation of the "br /" vs "/br" distinction, but he's embarassed to admit he doesn't understand.

I could go on about this at some length... don't tempt me.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:25 PM
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Civilization can come to an end as far as I'm concerned. I don't care.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:25 PM
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What Emerson is saying is that he wants more explanation of the "br /" vs "/br" distinction

The difference is that a poor XML parser will break on the latter, but not the former.

So when you get the sample HTML from the webmaster, it won't parse, so you do a search and replace to fix the br tags, it still won't parse, so you notice that there's an hr tag, and fix that. Then you spend ten minutes adding quotation marks around all of their attributes.

I presume XML parsers have gotten better in the last six years.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:27 PM
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Don't worry John. Civilization had come to an end long before any of us were here, and civilization will come to an end long after we're gone.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:27 PM
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What Emerson means in 59 is that he cares. He cares big time. And the worst part is, he never learned to read.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:29 PM
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Why would you be parsing HTML with an XML parser?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:29 PM
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58: no kidding, eh?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:30 PM
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So when you get the sample HTML from the webmaster, it won't parse, so you do a search and replace to fix the br tags, it still won't parse, so you notice that there's an hr tag, and fix that. Then you spend ten minutes adding quotation marks around all of their attributes.

So, so true.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:30 PM
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Where did you read this news about Yglesias?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:31 PM
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63: why wouldn't you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:31 PM
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So, so true.

Professor Helpy-Chalk sez: Zero points for you, Student Tailshrub!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:32 PM
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67: Because I don't hate myself?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:32 PM
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Another worst part is when you start to get confused between the slashes that go one way in HTML with the slashes that go the other way in LaTeX and get frustrated and I can't believe I'm still working on this same stupid paper after all these years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:32 PM
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66: his blog?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:33 PM
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||

Say you woke up on Sunday July 20, 2008 at 6:00 am, and found yourself in Los Angeles. And had to be at LAX at 11:30, but otherwise no commitments. What would you do?

|>


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:34 PM
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69: well, okay, but don't you want everything well-formed on the off chance somebody else hates themself?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:34 PM
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I didn't see anything on the most recent posts, so I was hoping for a link.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:34 PM
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72: Help Heebie with her slashes.


Posted by: buttersideup | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:35 PM
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I can't believe I'm still working on this same stupid paper after all these years.

I agree. (about my paper, not Heebie's).


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:35 PM
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72: take a walk along the beach in Santa Monica, probably. Don't want to range too far from the airport.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:36 PM
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Where in L.A.? And you have to be at LAX by 11:30a, or your plane is leaving then?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:37 PM
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77 -- Should I have rollerblades?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:37 PM
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http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/07/big_think_tank_matt.php


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:38 PM
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Arr airp 11:30. Sleep nearby.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:38 PM
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70/76: I'm almost sorry to say this, but I finally sent that exact paper off with final revisions last week. I'm saying it anyway because it feels so good to be rid of the damn thing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:38 PM
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72: If possible, have breakfast at John O'Groat's. Preferably the Huevos O'Groats.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:39 PM
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79: you can rent 'em, I think. Also bikes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:39 PM
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35

I will second the following directions suggestion.

I occasionally check answers to problems. I end up marking a lot of answers wrong just because the submitter did not follow the instructions.

It is also a good idea to make sure the answer is clearly indicated and not buried in lots of random gibberish.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:41 PM
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What would you do?

Cocaine. Just like everybody else there.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:45 PM
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||

Now my Saturday question. It's 4 pm, you're wandering out of Angel Stadium after the ballgame. Not too drunk to drive. Not likely to be hungry for hours. Now what?

|>


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:45 PM
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I find the general question in the post almost impossible to answer: this is a course on how to be a college student without fucking up and actually enjoying it, getting something out of it?

Focus, focus, focus! So yes, what FL and Megan suggested: readings that require responses, and an exhortation to follow directions (i.e. pay attention). Perhaps the only thing I'd add is a positive, enthusiastic strain: that this is supposed to be about things that turn you on intellectually. It is not a system to be gamed.

What a weird sort of course to have to teach; I assume there's already an established syllabus of sorts. What you all say about online discussion forums is completely foreign.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:46 PM
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87: Get the fuck out of Orange County as quickly as possible.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:49 PM
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There are plenty of nice beaches in Orange County, Josh. You could go to little CDM, for instance. (Not big CDM, it's horrid.)


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:50 PM
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COMMA SPLICE


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:50 PM
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It is not a system to be gamed.

I recently talked with an instructor who had the brilliant tactic of giving students good study advice but presenting it as a way to game the system.

"You want to know how to insure you will never get below a B? Buy a portable dictionary and bring it to class. Put it on your desk with the spine facing the instructor so he knows you have the dictionary. If an unfamiliar word comes up in class, make sure the instructor sees you looking it up. Now you will only be able to do this once or twice in class, but you can also look up unfamiliar words in the readings at home, and let the instructor know that you understand what was going on in the reading."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:57 PM
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There are plenty of nice beaches in Orange County, Josh.

But getting to them from Anaheim is a bit of a trek, and once you're done with them... you're still in Orange County. The time you spend getting to those beaches would be better spent heading back towards L.A. and getting in line at the Culver City Versailles. (There's a Versailles at CityWalk now? Jesus wept.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 1:59 PM
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There are plenty of nice beaches in Orange County, Josh.

But getting to them from Anaheim is a bit of a trek, and once you're done with them... you're still in Orange County. The time you spend getting to those beaches would be better spent heading back towards L.A. and getting in line at the Culver City Versailles. (There's a Versailles at CityWalk now? Jesus wept.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:00 PM
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Blast.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:00 PM
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Also, I notice a theme in my recommendations. Maybe I should go get lunch.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:03 PM
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92: This is either idiotic or brilliant.

I'm realizing from all this that it's been a long time since I've been in college.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:04 PM
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92: This is either idiotic or brilliant.

It's brilliant.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:05 PM
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I will second the following directions suggestion.

an exhortation to follow directions ...

Searer and parsimon are also Nazis. The mind needs to be free.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:05 PM
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100

It's brilliant.

Agreed. That man is as cunning as a weasel!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:05 PM
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101

It was on the basis of tactics like that that I lobbied hard to give that man a job. Sadly, no one cares what I think.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:07 PM
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92: such an excellent idea if you can get them to buy it:

TIP: take a little time to pre-read the material you're going to cover in the next lecture. That way, you can't get lost and you'll be ready to ask questions about anything you are confused about, before the lecturer can disappear at the end of class.

TIP: study a little bit every day, that way you won't have a sleep deprived marathon during finals. Professors don't expect this, so you'll kick ass.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:07 PM
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103

97: definitely brilliant.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:08 PM
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104

99: Excuse me, John.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:08 PM
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105

Sadly, no one cares what I think.

Thanks for bringing me back to earth there, helpy-chalk.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:08 PM
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106

You should tell the straight men that if they drink an entire fifth of Absolut and throw up in the social room of the freshman women's dorm, this will put a significant dent in their dating lives for the rest of their college careers.

I really wish somebody had told me that.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:09 PM
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106: You'd think that's true, but the truth is much worse. The truth is that your dating live is almost unaffected by such incidents, unless they are common enough to form a part of your personality in peoples minds.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:11 PM
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108

107: Ouch, soup. That hurt.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:14 PM
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109

Re:Yglesias

I just hope somebody is keeping notes for a future tell-all book about the young DC bloggers.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:14 PM
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110

avoiding credit card debt

This can't be emphasized enough--I would be so much better off if I'd stayed away from credit cards during college.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:14 PM
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111

avoiding credit card debt

and student loan debt as much as possible.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:17 PM
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112

87: Picking B up for dinner at W-lfs-n's sister's restaurant?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:17 PM
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113

108. Sorry. That was callous, wasn't it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:18 PM
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114

OTOH, the best piece of advice I got before entering college was "Own lots and lots of underwear and socks, because this is what determines how long you can go without doing laundry."


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:21 PM
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115

114: Yes! That's the first advice here I could relate to.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:24 PM
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116

114/115 is probably wrong though, because that's the only laundry you can easily do in the bathroom sink in a pinch.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:26 PM
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117

Commando. Sandals. Problem solved.


Posted by: buttersideup | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:26 PM
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118

My mother had two pieces of advice for me when I headed off to college:

1. "If it comes down to skipping the reading or skipping class, skip the reading, because that's the part you can do later."

2. "Don't do speed; it's too much fun."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:28 PM
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119

110, 111: I graduated college not owing a single penny—no credit cards, no student loans, not even a car payment. Here's some good advice: if you find yourself in that fortuitous situation, don't immediately marry a walking, talking IOU. And if you do, don't get divorced and then do it a second time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:28 PM
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120

116 is wrong, because that would never have occurred to me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:30 PM
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114: Solid advice. The two pieces of advice that were given to my graduating high school class (at a state magnet school, so we were all going to college) by a beloved history teacher:

"First, go to college, and be sure to get a broad education while you're there. I recommend a fair number of humanities courses, so that you can be truly educated. Then get invited to cocktail parties, because everyone knows that the best use of being well educated is impressing people at cocktail parties."

"And now for the guys in the audience. You are about to go to college, grad school, the working world... And when you do, you will be living alone with your own kitchen for the first time in your life. Someday, you will be tempted to use this newfound freedom by cooking bacon shirtless. DO NOT DO THIS! It will only end in tears, and a shirt isn't that much of a burden."


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:33 PM
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122

117 is also correct

120 shows a lack of creativity in the face of adversity.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:34 PM
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123

omeday, you will be tempted to use this newfound freedom by cooking bacon shirtless. DO NOT DO THIS!

Whatever, I do this all the time.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:34 PM
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124

I thought that was just an unusual skin coloration, CJB


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:38 PM
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125

In fairness, CJB dusts himself with a protective layer of breading beforehand.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:38 PM
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126

I am golden brown and delicious.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:39 PM
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127

125: Breading and parmesan, which you should know, Eggplant.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:41 PM
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The really important advice is, don't sharpen knives naked. No ill has ever befallen me doing this, because it doesn't take long before I realize that I'd be much better off putting on some pants.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:41 PM
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both deep-frying and pressure-cooking are not activities enhanced by nakedness.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:42 PM
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130

both deep-frying and pressure-cooking are not activities enhanced by nakedness.

Unlike sex and blogging.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:54 PM
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131

both deep-frying and pressure-cooking are not activities enhanced by nakedness.

Also, ice fishing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:55 PM
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129: Also, welding.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 2:55 PM
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133

Also, whittling.


Posted by: Ubu Imperator | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:06 PM
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134

I agree with rfts's mother: go to class, go to class, go to class. Partly this is "gaming the system"--the instructor sees you're in class! You fooled him! Partly it's the fact that so few students go to class. You will have an automatic edge. Instructors feel kindly toward the faces they see in class. They often say things like, "you know, to reward the few of you who came today, let's talk about what's going to be on the exam." Go to class.

Also, go to professors' office hours. Especially at Big State, it's easy to get lost. But go to a professor's office hours--with a simple question!--and you can have the experience of an Oxford tutorial at Big State. As (I think it was) DeLong posted at one point, very few students go to professors' office hours.

Now, if you've exhausted those tricks, as a last resort, do the reading. If you have gone the class, gone to office hours, and done the reading, you have set yourself ahead of 90% of your peers.

You have also, incidentally, almost assuredly learned something.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:11 PM
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135

Also, family reunions. Or the AA meetings afterward.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:12 PM
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Another good piece of advice is not just to go to class, but go to class and participate. I managed to basically never get 'cold-called' in law school because I frequently participated in more free-wheeling discussion. In fact, I think in the whole three years, I was cold-called once (I hadn't read the case--it was a little rough). In college, too, I would participate quite a bit (although not too much--careful to stay behind the "obnoxious talker" line), and I am certain that helped me do well in most of my classes. Since I talked when I knew what was going on rather than waiting to be called on, professors seemed to think that I was well-prepared and with it (sometimes I was, but a lot of the time I wasn't).

It was a good system. I did far better in college than I deserved to, I think.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:15 PM
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137

Another thing is that if you always show up and participate a lot, profs are much more willing to cut you a break. Like, on getting extensions to write papers, giving you an incomplete at the end of the semester, etc. It used to infuriate my college boyfriend, who claimed that I got "special" treatment that I didn't deserve. Maybe so, but he was also a giant asshole, so.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:17 PM
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138

Dude. Going to class was my entire strategy for school. I didn't do most of the reading, but I always went to class. Why would I ever try to understand material on my own when there is a very bright person who will explain it to me for an hour? Going to class is so much easier that it is practically cheating.

I'd be surprised if I missed ten classes in my twelve years of college and grad school. But I didn't read the textbooks. (If they'd been stories I would have read them. But not textbooks.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:17 PM
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139

My ex used to believe in the A-password. The instructor says the A-password one time during the semester, so if you go to all the classes, you'll be sure to hear it. Then, you can write the A-password on your final and get your A and go home.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:21 PM
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134: I couldn't have gotten away with not going to most of my Classics courses, and pretty much everyone showed up. Most of my classes consisted of translating the text at home, and then listening to the assimilated erudition of the professor. Other than translating that was what was on the test. Except in a seminar or two with papers, we read no third party commentary.

In law school classes attendance is often taken, but class participation doesn't matter. The only thing that really matters is how you do on the exam.

I had a Russian history professor who was himself Polish who kept office hours, and I went to them, but I don't think that did anything. After all the exams were graded blind by TFs who each graded a specific question rather than any one individual's entire exam. He only held them a few times a semester. I think that there must have been a university requirement that professors hold some offive hours, because he was clearly uninterested in talking to me or any other students. And you could have easily skipped the lectures, because he just repeated what he'd written in his concise history of the Russian Revolution.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:22 PM
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141

he just repeated what he'd written

This is basically THE teaching style pre-1990 east of the Elbe. Comes from, on one hand, closely-controlled presses and copy machines, and on the other, erudition bringing genuine social status. Wealthy misers of knowledge.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:29 PM
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142

when i was at the 3rd yr uni i underwent an eye surgery and was exempted from writing down all lectures for one semester b/c of the doctor's advice to avoid any eye strain
it was very enjoyable just to listen and observe others


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:34 PM
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I have been reflecting a lot lately on what I did and didn't get from my parents, and it occurs to me that I got no useful advice about college from them at all. Probably not coincidentally, my departure for college basically marks the point in my life at which I stopped seeking or listening to their advice.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:38 PM
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At a contemporary American university, read, you would have been entitled to a designated note taker, under the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of the few really good pieces of legislation we have.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:38 PM
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141: Interesting. I realize that one should ask a professor before taping lectures, but someone forgot to, and this professor totally flipped out.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:43 PM
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146

I stopped taking notes in 2nd or early 3rd year undergrad. Best thing I ever did as a student.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:54 PM
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147

I realize 146 wouldn't work for everyone, or for every course.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:55 PM
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it occurs to me that I got no useful advice about college from them at all

That's a shame, KR, because they told me some things that really helped.

I guess they just didn't love you enough to share them with you. Tragic, really.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:57 PM
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149

I got no useful advice about college from them at all.

Did they go?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 3:59 PM
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150

had to go somewhere
so, and i learn better if i write things down, just listening does not work for me, if i don't see the listening material too
so that was the waste like experience and also my optional German classes that i attended only 5-6 times a yr, feel sorry that i skipped that
and i hated all physical training classes though it was just for the first yr, we had to pass some credits like running, pushups and other things i forgot, there were even shooting credits iirc
i used just to get those credits coz my other grades were very good


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:01 PM
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I had an experience similar to 143 with Unfogged.

(At least, that's how I recall it; can't find the thread.)


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:01 PM
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151: When you have kids, you'll look to us for advice again, son.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:03 PM
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144 nice legislation, and the tape recorders were at that time maybe an attribute of the state newspaper journalists only
i mean not available for just ordinary students


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:05 PM
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Napi, if you want a good breakfast near the ocean, I like the Rose Cafe in Venice. It's not my part of town, so I don't know where the super-secret stupendous brunches are, but I've really enjoyed that one. It is very close to the beach and Venice boardwalk and it opens at 8. It's a short cab ride from LAX.

Hell, I'd even be up for a Sunday morning meetup, although I probably couldn't meet you at 6:00 am exactly.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 4:44 PM
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WS check your email.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:25 PM
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Just jumping in to second 8.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:29 PM
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154, 155

Rose Cafe is a great suggestion, followed by a walk either along the Venice boardwalk or along Abbot-Kinney.

I can't think of anything to do around Anaheim Stadium other than to get out of Anaheim ASAP, unless you want to drop in on Disneyland for a few hours. If you're driving from Anaheim to LAX, there's Long Beach and the port which contain multitudes of weirdness, or Manhattan and Huntington Beach for a taste of what I imagine most east coasters imagine LA to be like.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:37 PM
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Venice is nice. There's a great perfumery on Abbot Kinney, called Strange Invisible Perfumes, run by very nice people who make really lovely natural perfume oils, in the event you're interested in such things. Probably not open at 6 a.m. on Sunday, though.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 5:44 PM
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From Anaheim Stadium, you are quite close to the Crystal Cathedral. Probably too late in the day for tours, but worth a drive by to see an interesting Philip Johnson building (despite all the glass supposedly earthquake resistant) built for an infuriating organization.

If you have the time and are driving to LAX, I recommend going via the Long Beach (if you have the time the Queen Mary is still there—although Oregon stole the Spruce Goose which used to be there as well) and LA (Wilmington) Ports then around Palos Verdes and up the coast.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-08 11:13 PM
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||

Thanks for the great tips, all.

WS and I are meeting for breakfast in Venice on Sunday at 9. Folks interested in joining ought to email one of us.

|>


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 07-18-08 4:54 AM
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?айдинг приглашаем


Posted by: laminat | Link to this comment | 08- 5-08 10:28 AM
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