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Quoting Ruha Benjamin

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Feeding AI systems on the world’s beauty, ugliness, and cruelty, but expecting it to reflect only the beauty is a fantasy

Ruha Benjamin

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WorldMaker
19 days ago
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This is the plot and half the memes and recurring themes of Westworld in a nutshell. Even the Futurama Biblical Mythology Season 2 (you can’t feed AI all the parts of the bible and not expect them to reenact even the gruesome parts and build a Robot Devil or three).
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Graphic Designers

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They might make it past that first line of defense. For the second, you'll need some picture frames, a level, and a protractor that can do increments of less than a degree.
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WorldMaker
181 days ago
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On JoCoCruise we had some Elevator carpets labeled “Comic San” in Papyrus and “right-aligned sans serif Helvetica” in none of those (it was some random serif font badly left aligned) and some graphic designer friends refused to use those specific elevators the entire week 😹
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Fair

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
I'm ready to start this cult if anyone wants to join me.


Today's News:
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WorldMaker
192 days ago
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Basically the plot of Severance. A thesis statement for the show delivered early-ish in the first episode: “I’m an atheist, I believe hell is a product of human imagination, unfortunately I also think humans are capable of building anything they can imagine.”
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The Truth About My Time At Miami University And Why This Is My Last Post (For Now)

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Athena ScalziHello, everyone, and welcome to what will be (spoiler) my last post for a while.

There have been several times I have wanted to talk about my time at Miami University on here, but I have such complicated feelings towards the whole thing that I always shy away from it. I don’t just avoid talking about it on here, though, I avoid conversating about it in person, too.

I dread when people inevitably ask me about it. I abhor any mention of my path to higher education. I detest any conversation about college. But as I said, it’s inevitable, right? I’m a college-aged kid, of course people are going to ask me if I’m in school. And if they know I’m in school, then of course they’re going to ask how it’s going. People ask because they’re curious, or because they care. No one ever asks with ill intent or malice, so why is it so upsetting when people bring it up to me? I can’t be mad at someone for mentioning a topic just because I happen to have a lot of negative emotions surrounding that topic, right? Right.

Long story short: I totally failed out of Miami.

Long story long: My freshman year at Miami, I started out with six classes. And for the first couple weeks, I went to every class, and did all the assignments. And then after those first few weeks, I thought to myself, what if I just didn’t? And so began my long, long period of never going to class and never doing any schoolwork. Semester after semester.

Why go to my 8am class when I could just sleep instead? Why go to my noon class when I could grab lunch with a friend instead? Why do an assignment on a Friday night when I could be having a movie night with my dorm pals instead? Why do any of it when I could just do something else, something infinitely more fun, instead?

Obviously, this mentality led to some problems. Put that on top of the mentality of “well if I just don’t look at my grades, they don’t exist”, and soon enough you’ll have an entire semester of straight Fs. It happens very quickly, and once it does, it is quite literally impossible to fix.

So, every semester, once I hit that point of no return, where I knew no amount of trying hard the remainder of the semester could fix what I’d done up to that point, I considered it a loss and told myself I’d try again next semester, but since this one was a total loss, I didn’t have to do anything for the rest of it since it would all be for nothing anyway.

After the first semester of straight Fs, Miami gave me an “academic warning”, which basically meant if my next semester was below a 2.0 GPA, I’d get put on “academic probation”. I also had to take an online course about why failing is bad, and how to avoid failing. It was honestly kind of humiliating.

Funny enough, I actually passed one class that semester with a B, but the rest were Fs, and Miami put me on “academic probation”, which is like “academic warning” but more serious. Basically, if I got less than a 2.0 the following semester, I’d get “academic suspension” and be kicked out for two semesters.

At this point, I had almost no credits to show for my freshman year. So I decided to take two summer classes. They were online, and I took one in June and one in July. I passed both, one with a 92% and one with a 102%. Things were looking up! So I started sophomore year off optimistic. I was in a new dorm that was directly in the center of campus, so all my classes were a one minute walk away, unlike my previous dorm which was on the outskirts of campus and gave me all the more reason not to go to class.

That semester, instead of an online course about not failing, I had to take an in-person class about not failing! That was just great. So nice to be surrounded by fellow failures. I don’t think it really did much for me because I ended up failing that semester too! And Miami was ready to kick me to the curb.

Obviously, not a great situation, so I had the genius idea to blame everything on my disability. Poor narcoleptic girl, falling asleep in every class, falling asleep every time she cracked open a textbook to do any studying, falling asleep every time she opened her laptop to write a paper. Truly tragic.

I have struggled with my narcolepsy for years, in many ways, but college made me realize how debilitating it truly is. I am still trying to figure out “did my disability actually disable me, or am I being overdramatic? Am I falsely blaming my disability when the true problem is me, and my disability is just an easy cover-up?” You know, I don’t really know. It’s a mix of a lot of things.

I genuinely did fall asleep in every class, which in turn made me not want to go because that shit is fucking embarrassing. But I also didn’t go because I didn’t feel like it. And I really couldn’t make it through a paragraph in a textbook without nodding off. But I also didn’t really open my textbooks very often to begin with. It was truly a co-morbidity.

So, yeah, I told Miami, “wait, don’t be mad at lil’ ol’ me, my brain is broken!” It took several doctors notes, and several forms, but I got Miami to erase my entire freshman year. All those Fs, just wiped away, and I was back on academic warning for the semester I had just goofed. However, I didn’t have to retake the courses about not failing, so that was cool.

Moving forward to spring semester of sophomore year, I was now registered with the disability services, so I could request accommodations from my professors. But what was there to request? There’s not really anything to be done about my problem. Like, yeah, if a professor happened to see me sleeping in class, they could wake me up or something, but what else is there to do? And how can I expect my professor to even notice me sleeping when there’s dozens of other kids in class?

In the end, nothing changed, and I failed again. This time around, there was much less “I would rather hang out with my friends than do homework!” and much more “I can’t bring myself to get out of bed until the sun has gone down, and I haven’t showered in three days”. So that was a lot of fun.

Once again, I got put on academic probation. I decided my best course of action was to take online courses over the summer again, since it went so well last time. I took three, all at the same time, and it did not go well. But I couldn’t risk failing them all, so I dropped all three of them. Total loss, yet again.

Finally, my junior year (though I wasn’t technically a junior in credits since I have like none)! I was still on academic warning, but I was determined that this year would be different. I was in therapy, I was in a nice dorm, I was feeling good! The first two or three weeks were great, and I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing. But then assignments got harder, and I had to do more reading, more work, and my god I just simply did not feel like it. So I didn’t! Needless to say, I got straight Fs yet again.

Time for academic suspension, wheeee! Academic suspension, by the way, is where they don’t let you come back for two semesters. If you were to come back after that and fail again, you would get academic dismissal, which means you come back never. (However, you are allowed to petition for readmission after two full years has passed.)

I went with the classic, “you can’t fire me! I quit!” And I dropped the fuck out. I’m not good enough for Miami, ey? Well, maybe they’re not good enough for me! Yeah, take that!

So, I did not return to Miami for Spring Semester 2020. Fuck school, I thought, I’ll get a job! So I became a hostess at Applebee’s. Wheeee. After three weeks, I called it quits because that fucking sucked. I decided to try out a local restaurant/bakery instead! Also sucked. So I quit.

And then COVID happened! Boy oh boy did I pick a good time NOT to go to school. All my friends, along with literally every other student in the world, had to pack up and head home not even two months into the semester. And they spent the rest of their semester online. So, I didn’t miss out on much.

But I figured I’d return in the fall of 2020, once this whole pandemic thing had ended. Obviously, the pandemic thing was very much not over by that point, so I held off on going back, and started writing for the blog instead, because I was literally doing nothing else with my time.

Fast forward a year, and now I’m going to my first day of college in over a year and half. That’s right y’all, I’m enrolled at the local community college, and I’m working towards getting my General Associates In Arts. Assuming I don’t fucking fail again, I should have a degree after two semesters. So by Spring 2022 I should have my little piece of paper.

Why am I getting a general degree instead of focusing on a field? Well, it’s basically because all the classes I did pass over the years don’t really lean in any direction, they’re all pretty scattered, so I can’t really get a degree towards anything in particular.

When I was in high school, I took College Credit Plus courses, which meant that classes I was taking in high school counted as college courses, and gave me credits through Urbana University. Through this program, I got credits for things like anatomy, math, and English.

Then, I went to Edison (the community college I’m going to now) for my senior year of high school so I could graduate a semester early. While I was there, I passed Intro to Psychology, American Sign Language, Human Sexuality, and Composition II.

Going into Miami, I had 36 credit hours from high school alone. At Miami, I passed Children’s Literature (but it got erased), Classical Mythology, Creative Writing, German, Writing For Media, the Academic Probation Class, Ballroom Dancing, and Introduction to Poetry. That gave me 20 credit hours from Miami.

This semester at Edison, I’ll be taking Cell Biology, Race & Ethnicity, Intro to Communications, and Intro to Humanities.

With all that technical info out of the way, let’s talk about my feelings, because that’s always a blast.

I feel kind of excited, I think. The usual “back to school” rush of adrenaline. Got a new backpack so you know I’ll be looking spiffy. But mostly I’m anxious. My fear of failure is as prominent as ever, and I don’t know what I’ll do if I do fail, so I just have to continue on under the assumption that I won’t. Because I’m out of options if I do.

I’m not necessarily looking forward to any of my classes, especially cell biology. I mean, it’s certainly no Ballroom Dancing, but I genuinely feel like I’ll make it through this time. I know I’m capable of passing, I have 56 credit hours to prove it! I just have to pass consistently, and that’s honestly hard for me.

I know that I have to give it my all this semester, and that is why I’ve decided to take a break from writing on here. I have to put all my focus towards my classes. At least in the beginning, anyways. Once I’ve taken a month or two to settle into things, I’ll decide if I feel like I have enough time and/or brain capacity to come back to Whatever. (Though, I’m sure I can manage a monthly snack box review post every now and again!)

With all that being said, it’s been a great year writing on Whatever, and I hope to write for you all again very soon. For now, though, I’m going to go to class.

-AMS

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WorldMaker
377 days ago
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I really appreciate this post for a number of reasons, and I skimmed some of the comments and it was full of similar stories to appreciate.

I went to a somewhat high pressure engineering school. I tell the story of my freshman summer sometimes too often (our program required summers and that first one especially after having summers off growing up in school can hit quite hared), not because I’m proud of what I did or who I was in that moment (and the depression spiral, and certainly not as some sort of “feel good” “if I did it you can do it too” idiot pep talk. Failure is terrible, especially when you have no one else to blame except yourself. I don’t have great advice to offer on how to get out of failure, but I do appreciate that we don’t often enough discuss the failures we had along the journey. Survivor bias would have us believe no one fails. Statistics would tell us that everybody fails, we just don’t want to talk about it. (It takes a lot of courage to talk about whether you are still bitter from the fresh sting of it or have enough time since to erode the misery into well worn jokes you can laugh at more.)

(In my case I was lucky and only failed half a semester and was lucky had support networks that cared about me and helped me refocus. That’s not advice, that’s survivor bias of how I survived and I appreciate how much was luck as much as it was hard work.)
Louisville, Kentucky
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Quoting Corey Quinn

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This teaches us that—when it’s a big enough deal—Amazon will lie to us. And coming from the company that runs the production infrastructure for our companies, stores our data, and has been granted an outsized position of trust based upon having earned it over 15 years, this is a nightmare.

Corey Quinn

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WorldMaker
525 days ago
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I've been trying to figure out my relationship with Amazon moving forward. I started by dropping Prime because I mostly wasn't using it for anything but arguably useless videogame cosmetics.
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Review: The Genre Mash of Godzilla vs. Kong Finally Delivers on the American Godzilla Franchise

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Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

If you are familiar with me at all, you know that I love Godzilla and King Kong, so this film has been on my list for a long time. The last two installments of the American Godzilla franchise have been disappointing, but I was hoping that finally, with Godzilla vs. Kong, I would get what I wanted. And I did, but only because it is more a King Kong movie than a Godzilla/Kong movie.

After the events of King of Monsters, my beloved Kong has been put in an enclosure that will keep him safe from Godzilla because there can’t be two alpha titans running around. I get it; I’ve read fanfiction. However, when Godzilla attacks Apex Industries seemingly unprovoked, it leads to its founder and CEO, Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir), tapping Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgård) to use Kong to discover Hollow Earth.

That is the first thing you have to accept about Godzilla vs. Kong: the plot is a pick-n-mix of Lost World adventure/science-fiction/fantasy, which didn’t bother me because this is a CGI monster movie and I came here for fighting, not logic. So how were the fight scenes?

Awesome! We get a few of them, and both highlight the “fighting styles” of our monsters. Kong, having thumbs and a long reach, is absolutely more dexterous and capable of thinking on his feet. Godzilla is just a force of nature and heals so quickly that even though he has little arms, he makes them work. Plus, on water, there is no competition. Each fight feels well thought out about the pros and cons of each warrior. There is a winner decided at the end, BUT the movie also allows both to show off, so no matter who’s your favorite there is something good there.

Usually in films like this, the human element is always dull to me, but in a change of pace, the human characters are just enough. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Madison Russell, who teams up with Brian Tyree Henry’s Bernie Hayes, a former Apex technician turned conspiracy theorist podcaster, and Julian Dennison’s Josh Valentine, a friend of Madison who gets dragged along for the ride.

On Team Kong, we have Dr. Lind, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), a Monarch researching in charge of Kong along with her adoptive daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle). Nothing is overly complicated or sappy, the humans just speak their nonsense science and keep the pace moving along. It’s also nice to see that the U.S. military is not as front-and-center as it was in the last two films.

Godzilla vs. Kong is simple fun, with some great CGI and special effects. Because it is more a Kong movie than a Godzilla movie and we have just overall nailed getting a primate CGI character to emote, he is a great lead for the film since he can show emotions in a way Godzilla can’t.

We also get the big bad everyone wanted, so if you are, like me, a big nerd for this genre, I believe you will be pleased. Yes, the science is nonsense, but so was the science in Interstellar. At least this silly science movie is less than two hours long and isn’t trying to convince you that what is going on is deeper than it is.

(image: Warner Bros.)

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WorldMaker
525 days ago
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I think there is something interesting that both of the best Legendary/WB "Monsterverse" films involve King Kong. There's something about using America's OG kaiju as a focal point that results in better films. Something poetic perhaps, about "make what you know" and American writers/directors always having a better handle on King Kong.
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