In a mandatory certification class, I was assigned to explore one of the generations other than my own, and then discuss how what I learned will impact my teaching. The assignment is well designed and I intend to steal it, but given my  immersion in pop culture studies and interest in the generational divide, I didn’t learn much new about generational differences. Since the topic is relevant to the blog, I’m reposting what I wrote:   Talkin’ bout my generation, sorta (sorry, not sorry)   I am answering the assignment differently. Because Gen-X special snowflake syndrome. I’m quite familiar with generational differences, so I didn’tRead More →

Jessica Chambers got murdered, and what an interesting story it is. No one knows who did it, and everyone’s trying to arm-chair solve the mystery online, and there are more sleuths working on it than residents in Jessica’s hometown. Jessica is the current poster girl for “missing white woman syndrome” and her latest murder(s) are members of a gang, just proof that black men are nothing but thugs, and that black lives don’t matter. Jessica, you see, actually dated black men. In Mississippi, even. So that’s a hot mess. A hot mess of racism in the dirty south made all the worse by the internet’sRead More →

D&D Next is more newbie friendly than previous editions of D&D. This means more players will be joining the ranks! Yippie! For new players, adventuring and dungeon crawling can be daunting. No amount of tips or warnings can help. The only thing that truly guides you is the Nike way: Just do it. Nonetheless, principles can advise. This list of “25 Principles of Successful Adventuring” has been around for ages. Unfortunately, the original link seems to have fallen off the face of the interwebz. But first, the list has two shameless missing rules: 1. Gary Gygax’s “Rule of Right”: Always turn right at a T-intersection.Read More →

Many new players are joining the ranks of D&D with the release of D&D Next. The latest iteration of D&D emphasizes roleplaying and character development more heavily than previous editions. The questionnaire below is helpful for writing character backgrounds. It’s been around for maybe twenty years. The original link seems to have disappeared, but here are the questions: ———————————————————————————————————- Character Background Questionnaire The following questionnaire is being provided to help players develop and organize background information for their characters. You do not need to answer all of these questions, but the more of them that you can, the more clear the character will be inRead More →

What do the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) and the typical roleplaying game player’s handbook (PHB) have in common? The character typographies that both articulate are what Kenneth Burke would call “recipes for wise living, sometimes moral, sometimes technical” for fantasy worlds. Burke got this idea of recipes for living by analyzing proverbs through a sociological and rhetorical lens. He concluded that these short, pithy statements were a form of literary medicine, and that their medicinal quality could be found in all things literary. According to Burke, the medicinal quality of proverbs comes from their “naming” function, orRead More →

Generation Splat. Generation*. Millennials. Generation X. Generation Jones. Generation Splat. What’s that, you say? Well, a splat is an asterisk or a wildcard used in a computer search string to represent “whatever.” If I want to search for all the Laura(s) in a database, I would search for Laura*. Now let’s make a link to something seemingly tangential: Gaming. The gaming community expanded the meaning of splat to a metaphor and popularized it with the slang term “splat book.” A splat book refers to the specialized books that publishers release about subcategories used for creating roleplaying characters. To illustrate, the White Wolf company publishes anRead More →

Fifty years, twenty five sober, my birthday is near, and here I am, all full of reflection. Continuing the theme of influential books, and these books are all about power… The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is like the Bible; I have internalized its principles, incorporating them into my breath. When I say “like the Bible,” I mean that I haven’t read the Big Book the way most Christians haven’t read the Bible: not often enough, not fully enough, and without as much mindfulness. The book is too historically specific and cumbersome to make it all the way through, so I cherry pick. Nonetheless, itRead More →