Monthly Archives: December 2006

Operation Übertaco is a Go

A letter from Philipps-Universitaet arrived a few days ago officially stating that I am now enrolled for the 2007 Sommersemester. From March until August this year I will be updating my site in the beautiful college city of Marburg. I was originally anticipating an April departure date. Prior to the semester beginning there will be a short language course teaching “survival” German. Thank you to all who guided me along the way.

The next two months are now filled with paperwork and preparation. I am also in dire need of someplace cheap to stay for the month of February in Oshkosh. Any help would be greatly appreciated as my contract to live in Stewart Hall will expire in January. On the bright side, however, I have been able to find plane fare to Frankfurt for only $270. This is much cheaper than the wallet scraping $1100 I had originally found.

Valleyschwag #5

The limited holiday edition of Valleyschwag is in after some initial delay.  I already received Perplexcity cards in a previous issue. The big bland brick of white post-it notes I could have done without. I got doubles of all the stickers, a hat, and of course a shirt. Perhaps the most interesting piece of the haul was the promo syringe for the movie Touristas. On the side it is labeled as “1-shot, 2-shots, 3-shots” for what I am assuming to be Kool-Aid. All of this was shipped in a lovely mesh stocking. Overall verdict: Not as impressive as previous editions for $4 more. I’ll give my favorite web 2.0 company another spin though when #6 comes around.




The network of spies has located a Nintendo Wii for retail price. Delivery of the parcel is en route to a secret alternative location to ensure safe harbor. A peaceable exchange of monies for goods will change hands in an area neutral to both parties. The system works.

The Joy of Thrift

Every now and then I like to patron the local thrift stores. It is amazing what treasures you can find. I hit the jackpot yesterday at St. Vincent De Paul. This last Monday they had a 50% off everything sale. I did not see anything of interest until I was ready to leave. A box that said “Sega Systems $20 Untested” caught my eye. But there was more in this box than just Sega stuff. I snatched up the box and paid $10 for the whole lot. Upon unpacking I came away with:

  • Sega Master System
  • Sega Genesis (1st model) + controller
  • Sega Genesis (2nd model) + two third party six button controllers
  • Sega Master System Power Base Converter (Works only with 1st Genesis model.)
  • Asciiware Arcade Stick for Genesis
  • Nintendo64
  • Atari 1010 Program Recorder w/ original box
  • Atari 2600 Asteroids and Super Breakout
  • Three toy cars
  • Mystery cables

The Nintendo64 would not turn on, but it did come with the Expansion Pak. I have little use for some of the other things so they have already been posted to eBay. The real treasure of this lot is the first model Genesis with the Power Base Converter to play Master System games. That thing is hideous and I love it.

sega genesis powerbase

A few days ago I got lucky while looking for an ugly Christmas sweater at Goodwill. For only 99 cents at Goodwill I found a 1995 X-Wing. All the stickers were still attached and the battery still working.


Valleyschwag #5 is Out!

My favorite little web 2.0 startup RubyRed Labs has released a limited holiday edition of Valleyschwag #5.

I have been getting VS since reading about the novelty of issue #1. I immediately signed up and wallowed in pure ecstasy when issue #2 unexpectedly showed up at my door. The same went for the two following issues. But after #4 RubyRed Labs changed their distribution model. No longer is the schwagbag a subscription service. You have to order them individually. This takes all the fun out of the model.

I’ve plopped down my money for issue #5 already. It will most likely sell out fairly quick. Flickr photos are guaranteed to be coming soon. I still love Valleyschwag. Maybe I’ll buy another one of their cool “fresh” shirts for a friend.

My Life Soundtrack

The interweb-blog-o-spheretubes are clogged with the “Soundtrack of Your Life” meme. So here goes.

“Ken Strikes Back” – Official Movie Soundtrack

Introduction – The Tango Project “Por Una Cabeza”
The Heist – Mirwais “Disco Science”
The Betrayal – Smashing Pumpkins “A Killer In Me (Instrumental)”
Birthday Sequence – Electric Six “Gay Bar”
Foreshadowing – Nine Inch Nails “The Great Below”
Escape Scene – Bonnie Tyler “Holding Out for a Hero”
Origin Story– John Williams “Auschwitz-Birkinau”
Unexplained British Accents – Jimmy Hendrix “Star Spangled Banner”
Dance Number – Rocky Horror Picture Show “Time Warp”
Awkward Love Scene – Falco “Rock Me Amadeus”
Unnecessary Bullet-Time – Run, Lola, Run “Introduction”
Cut Sequence – Salt & Peppa “Short Dick Man”
Revenge Scene – Super Mario Bros. 3 “Airship”
Product Tie-in – Village People “In the Navy”
Flashback – Marilyn Manson “A Place in the Dirt”
Dinner with the Pope – Sinead O’Conner “Nothing Compares to You”
M. Night Shyamalan Twist – Kronos Quartet “Tense”
Death – Elton John “Rocketman”
Credits – Bill Medley “I’ve Had the Time of my Life”
Outtakes – John Cage “Silence”
Sequel? – Wilson Philips “Hold On”

I’m American ergo Lazy

I was supposed to create this wonderful audio recording for the fourth and final post for my Education Technology 325 course. That isn’t going to happen for two reasons. The first excuse being that I do not have time. I am not just using finals week as an excuse. The compelling drive to create content worthy of instructing others would drive me to spend hours perfecting each detail. I would want to do it right. For my German phonetics course I spent hours redoing recorded exams rejecting ones that just didn’t make the cut. The second excuse is merely a matter of technological preference. I would much rather play internet typewriter.

What did I learn this semester in Education Technology 325? It is with respect towards the instructor when I give him my honest answer. I learned nothing. In all fairness let me be more accurate. I learned nothing about computers. I came into the class knowing more about Mac OSX and its applications than your average student. What I did learn a great deal about, however, is how technology creates a caste system among students. This social order consists of those who know and those who do not. When teaching the content of a technology course the playing field is leveled between an instructor and some students. It is a rare opportunity for the instructor to use the expert knowledge of a student to instruct the class.

Technology presents a unique challenge compared to other content areas. Core content in math, science, and literature has remained relatively static in the past twenty years. The Pythagorean theorem still states that in any right triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs (i.e. the two sides other than the hypotenuse). I’ll just skip Einstein’s theories and Shakespeare’s literature for the sake of time. Technology in the past twenty years has moved too fast for the development of a unified theory on how to approach the content. By the time the experts come to agreement it is too late. Educators are not only going to have to instruct themselves, but also accept the possibility that someone in their class may have a better answer.

I can say with great certainty that the content of Education Technology is going to change in five years. The hardware, programs, and content of the course will not be identical to this semester. What will remain constant is the caste system among the students and the paltry return from selling the textbook back to the campus bookstore.

If you have not gathered by now this is the fourth and final blog post for Education Technology 325. It has been a good run.

Thank You Tax Payers

A thanks goes out to Wisconsin tax payers. Even though the current legislators have cut millions from the UW system in the past few years making it extremely difficult for future teachers to graduate, I gladly accept the $1000 grant you have bestowed toward my education. This will pay for me to fly to Germany. Thank you.