kfwyre's recent activity

  1. Comment on I donated platelets for the first time! in ~health

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I’m really happy with my donation center so I plan to stick with them. If I’m being really honest, not being able to move my arms was a bit of a blessing! I felt more relaxed than I have in a...

    I’m really happy with my donation center so I plan to stick with them.

    If I’m being really honest, not being able to move my arms was a bit of a blessing! I felt more relaxed than I have in a while. I think if I did it all in one arm then I would just waste two hours on my phone while donating, and I already do that enough.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on New Music Fridays: MGMT, SZA, Real Estate, and more in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Listened through it once so far. Preliminary thought: it’s great! I love Allie X’s previous work (with a few reservations) and this is a strong step forward for her. It’s less poppy and...

    Lots of buzz right now around new album from synthpop artist Allie X - 'Girl With No Face'. Excited to hear this, could be the unexpected hit of the week!

    Listened through it once so far. Preliminary thought: it’s great!

    I love Allie X’s previous work (with a few reservations) and this is a strong step forward for her. It’s less poppy and immediately accessible than her other stuff, which is a bit of a bummer because she’s genuinely excellent at that type of songwriting, but it’s still got legs (just, a different kind of legs).

    2 votes
  3. I donated platelets for the first time!

    Follow up to this post I did my first ever platelet donation! This one was a bit more intimidating than the blood donation. For platelets, the donation takes around two hours not counting the...

    Follow up to this post


    I did my first ever platelet donation!

    This one was a bit more intimidating than the blood donation. For platelets, the donation takes around two hours not counting the onboarding time. Additionally, during the donation, you can’t move either of your arms, as you have needles in both. The blood draws from one arm, goes into a centrifuge where they separate out the platelets, and then your blood gets returned to you in your other arm.

    I was a little worried about how it was going to go leading up to the appointment, but I’m very happy to report that everything went fine! All of the needles went in easily and it was a nearly painless process. After that it was actually kind of boring! They had a screen with Netflix on it, so I watched three episodes of a TV show.

    My least favorite part of the whole thing was not being able to scratch an itch when one arose, which is not so much a complaint as it is an endorsement. If the worst I can say is that I couldn’t scratch my nose once or twice during a multi-hour process involving multiple needles and my blood leaving and re-entering my body, then I’d say it went really well!

    The staff kept checking in to see if I needed a blanket because most people feel cold when donating platelets, but, weirdly, I actually liked the chilled sensation I got? It wasn’t like a regular “cold” feeling; I found it genuinely pleasant.

    Also, the whole experience was an interesting experiment in forced attention. I couldn’t check my phone, so I just watched a show, uninterrupted. I can’t remember the last time I did that? I got home and tried to continue watching it and, sure enough, now that my arms were free I was looking at my email and checking messages and the news instead of paying attention to what I had on. The whole donation session had a genuinely nice, calm, almost meditative quality to it. It was a nice way to start out a Saturday.

    You can donate platelets separately from blood, and platelets have a much lower “donation cooldown” (you can donate them every seven days). I don’t think I’ll be keeping to that rapid of a turnaround, but I’m going to start doing it once a month. One thing I learned from this is that, unlike blood which can be stored for up to a year (edit: turns out it’s only 42 days), platelets have to be used within five days, so they’re pretty much constantly in demand because they can’t be stockpiled.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share my little mini-milestone with everyone here. The novelty of being able to donate as a gay guy still hasn’t worn off for me. I love the idea of being able to do it regularly and support people over time!

    39 votes
  4. What's a "house rule" that has made a game more fun for you?

    A "house rule" is one that isn't explicitly in the game but that you choose to apply nonetheless. The question can apply to either videogames or tabletop games. What's the rule/ruleset? How does...

    A "house rule" is one that isn't explicitly in the game but that you choose to apply nonetheless. The question can apply to either videogames or tabletop games.

    What's the rule/ruleset?
    How does it affect your enjoyment of the game?

    57 votes
  5. Comment on Non-binary teenager dies a day after alleged assault at Oklahoma school in ~lgbt

    kfwyre
    Link
    Devastating. I have no words. In case anyone here needs to avoid news like this for your own mental health, we’ve started tagging items like this in ~lgbt with downer so that they can be filtered...

    Devastating. I have no words.

    In case anyone here needs to avoid news like this for your own mental health, we’ve started tagging items like this in ~lgbt with downer so that they can be filtered out. Add the tag to your list and you won’t see them in your feed.

    Love and support to all our enbies here.

    52 votes
  6. Comment on American teachers are missing more school, and there are too few substitutes in ~life

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Hard to say, to be honest. I've been teaching since about the time you probably entered high school, and it was already an issue then. I think social media has exacerbated some things (e.g....

    Hard to say, to be honest.

    I've been teaching since about the time you probably entered high school, and it was already an issue then. I think social media has exacerbated some things (e.g. "devious licks"), but the root problem isn't necessarily a new one.

    9 votes
  7. Comment on American teachers are missing more school, and there are too few substitutes in ~life

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    A teacher walks into her classroom for first period and sees only a single student sitting in a desk. More odd than the empty classroom, the student is someone she doesn't recognize. She's not so...
    • Exemplary

    A teacher walks into her classroom for first period and sees only a single student sitting in a desk. More odd than the empty classroom, the student is someone she doesn't recognize. She's not so much surprised as she is confused, but she dutifully waits for the bell and then she starts the class the way she always does: by calling roll.

    "Living Wage?" she asks. There's no answer from the classroom. The one student in attendance just sits there.

    "Alright," she says to herself, "Living Wage is absent" and marks it on her roster.

    Next student: "Respect from the Community?"

    More silence. She marks down another absence.

    "Support from Administrators?"

    The student speaks up for the first time: "Nah, they're absent too."

    "Oh, uh, thank you for your help" she says. "By the way, have you seen Behavioral Support in class recently?"

    "They're also absent," the child says.

    This pattern continues. The teacher dutifully goes down her roster, calling out the names of Practical Class Sizes, Curricular Materials, Enough Time to Get Work Done, and Safety.

    They are, all, of course absent. Downtrodden and clearly realizing that her principled commitment to her daily routine is reaching both absurd and sad levels, she decides to cut the process short and skip the last few names on the list. It's abundantly clear to her: they are not here.

    She looks at the student sitting in the desk. "Alright, what's your name?"

    The student, with a bit of hesitation in his voice, says "I don't want to be rude or anything Miss, but we have met before."

    She's genuinely taken aback. "We have?"

    "Yeah, my name is The Profound Sense of Satisfaction You Get When You Help Out Other People".

    The teacher takes a deep breath. She did know him. She just hadn't seen him in so long that she genuinely forgot what he looked like.

    "I'm so sorry, Satisfaction! Of course I know you. It's just... been a while for me. You haven't been around much."

    "Yeah, sorry about that" he apologizes. "I came here today to let you know that I think what you're doing is really important. I'm going to try to show up more often, since I know it matters to you that I'm here in your class."

    "Seriously?" she asks. She is near tears.

    "LOL, NOPE!" he yells with glee. "Nobody else is here so why I should I stick around? I'm gone, and I'm not coming back. Peace!"

    With one swift motion, he's up and out the door. The teacher is left entirely alone in her empty classroom.

    She logs into her school account and just sits there, silently.

    She clicks over to her calendar.

    She schedules a sick day for tomorrow.

    62 votes
  8. Comment on American teachers are missing more school, and there are too few substitutes in ~life

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Popping in on this to confirm your and @userexec's stories. I've experienced similar things in my career as a teacher as well. These specifics are hard to talk about in circles that aren't made up...

    Yeah I'm always hesitant to go into detail on the shit i've seen because I always seem to find the one person who swears they've never seen anything like that, but your stories line up much closer with mine and my teacher friends.

    Popping in on this to confirm your and @userexec's stories. I've experienced similar things in my career as a teacher as well.

    These specifics are hard to talk about in circles that aren't made up of other teachers because most people outside of education have a sort of default feeling that the systems that surround these events in our schools should make some sort of sense. From the inside, they very clearly do NOT, but it's hard to help others grasp that disconnect if they don't have first hand experience with it.

    I wish I could get people to understand that these types of stories aren't shocking outliers played for dramatic effect -- they are a representative sample that reflect widespread norms across many (maybe even most) schools in the country.

    27 votes
  9. Comment on American teachers are missing more school, and there are too few substitutes in ~life

    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    This looks flashy at first glance, but the conditions that the author buries in the article make it a complete non-starter: I work 180 school days a year. If I get rid of my summer, my number of...

    This looks flashy at first glance, but the conditions that the author buries in the article make it a complete non-starter:

    That’s why this hefty pay raise comes with two strings attached.

    First, a longer school year. Eliminating summer break might spark a national uprising among 8-year-olds and tourism-industry executives. But the nine-month school year is a relic. (Not many kids in Anacostia or Bethesda spend July tending the soybean crop and preparing for harvest.) Professionals work year-round. Teachers should, too. A longer school year could also reduce summer learning loss.

    I work 180 school days a year. If I get rid of my summer, my number of work days goes to 240, which is a 33% increase. The article notes that the median salary for teachers in the US is ~$66,000. If we raise that by 33% to match the increased work year, then the median teacher would be making $88,000. This means that the author is effectively advocating a $12,000 or ~14% raise. While this is certainly nothing to sneeze at, it's not nearly as radical as the author is proposing. It doesn't even come close to matching pay gap identified from the think tanks quoted in the opinion piece (emphasis mine):

    EPI calculated that, in 2022, teachers earned only 74 cents on the dollar compared with comparably educated professionals. The right-leaning Hoover Institution reached a similar conclusion in its 2020 report on educator compensation, showing that, even adjusting for factors such as talent and experience, “teachers are paid 22 percent less than they would be if they were in jobs in the U.S. economy outside of teaching.”

    This proposal also sidesteps the issue identified in the original article: burnout. We already get two months off for summer and yet we are taking more days off of work and leaving the profession. Taking away summer from teachers would almost certainly accelerate burnout and result in even fewer teachers staying in the career. Summer is the biggest perk we have in our jobs. I consider it an actual payment for me in the form of a "time bonus". I can say, quite confidently, that if my job became year-round, I would simply leave the field.

    The second condition the author proposes isn't quite as significant as the first one, but I feel obligated to mention it:

    Second, greater accountability. Many teachers are excellent; some are heroic. But any parent knows that a few just aren’t up to the job. Under current employment arrangements, it’s difficult to steer these underperformers out of the profession. And with pay based largely on seniority, mediocre teachers lack much incentive to depart or even to improve. Low-performing, less-committed peers erode the morale of the majority of teachers who do their jobs well. Treating all teachers like professionals means showing a few teachers the door.

    Awful teachers certainly do exist and certainly do erode the morale of other teachers and effect negative outcomes for students, but the "they're too hard to fire!" sentiment is a canard. Firing bad teachers is genuinely possible but relies on administrators doing their jobs adequately and following proper process. Many of them don't do this for a variety of reasons (at best they're as overworked as us teachers; at worst they're negligent or actively protect the bad teachers), but regardless of whether or not they do, getting rid of bad teachers simply isn't a solution when we are experiencing widespread teacher shortages. Many administrators will begrudgingly keep bad teachers on simply because there is no one to replace them.

    On a final note, the whole "good teacher" versus "bad teacher" dichotomy that the author puts forth here is yet another misdirection from the bygone NCLB era of American education that really needs to be put to bed for good. Yes, there are some genuinely awful teachers who should not be in classrooms. There are, however, far more fundamentally "good" teachers who are overworked, undersupported, and spread too thin. This makes them functionally "bad" teachers not because of anything innate to their specific character or skillset but because the systemic factors in place that should be supporting their practices are absent.

    24 votes
  10. Comment on Humble Choice - February 2024 in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    Yup! Humble Choice games are delivered as Steam keys. You activate them to your account and they’re yours to keep forever (or until the heat death of the Steam universe). For most other game...

    Yup! Humble Choice games are delivered as Steam keys. You activate them to your account and they’re yours to keep forever (or until the heat death of the Steam universe).

    For most other game subscription services you lose access to the library once you stop paying, so Choice is a pleasant and welcome change from that pattern.

    2 votes
  11. Comment on EPIC: The Musical - The Horse and the Infant (2022) in ~music

    kfwyre
    Link
    This is the opening track from a still-in-progress musical called EPIC that is an adaptation of The Odyssey. It’s noteworthy in that the composer, Jorge Rivera-Herrans, has extensively documented...

    This is the opening track from a still-in-progress musical called EPIC that is an adaptation of The Odyssey. It’s noteworthy in that the composer, Jorge Rivera-Herrans, has extensively documented his process — and even cast different parts for the musical — via social media.

    1 vote
  12. Comment on Humble Choice - February 2024 in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link Parent
    I think it's really @Venko's call. I'm just following suit right now. That said, I do feel like Humble Choice is noteworthy enough to warrant its own topic series separate from Save Point.

    I think it's really @Venko's call. I'm just following suit right now.

    That said, I do feel like Humble Choice is noteworthy enough to warrant its own topic series separate from Save Point.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on The Playdate handheld console is now in stock and available in twenty-two additional countries in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link

    Nearly two years after it first debuted, Panic has caught up on preorders for its adorable Playdate handheld. The company says that it has shipped more than 70,000 of the tiny yellow gadgets — up from 50,000 last April — and that there is now a “limited number” in stock to purchase right now on Panic’s site.

    As part of the announcement, Panic also announced that sales of the Playdate are opening up to a number of new countries, including:

    Bulgaria
    Croatia
    Cyprus
    The Czech Republic
    Estonia
    Greece
    Hong Kong
    Hungary
    Latvia
    Lithuania
    Luxembourg
    Malaysia
    Malta
    New Zealand
    Norway
    Romania
    Singapore
    Slovakia
    Slovenia
    South Korea
    Sweden
    Switzerland

    5 votes
  14. Comment on Humble Choice - February 2024 in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link
    Not much interests me this month, but I did keep up my subscription to keep the discount going (I hate that they've got that hook in me, but the extra 20% off I get at the Humble Store is honestly...

    Not much interests me this month, but I did keep up my subscription to keep the discount going (I hate that they've got that hook in me, but the extra 20% off I get at the Humble Store is honestly quite worth it).

    Also, I think this collection is a nice indicator of just how great Proton has been for Linux gaming. Only one of the games in the collection has a native Linux build, but the other 7 (allegedly) run nearly flawlessly on Linux. 6 out of those 7 are Deck Verified (the remainder is listed as Playable), and a slightly different 6 out of 7 have Platinum ratings on ProtonDB (the remainder there having a Gold rating).

    If you look at just the operating system column, this bundle should be a complete bust for Linux gamers, but thanks to Proton it's actually quite enticing if you like the games offered.

    7 votes
  15. Comment on Humble Choice - February 2024 in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link
    Meta note: I chatted with @Venko who has previously run these threads, and I'll be posting them for the time being. This one is a little late on account of that, but Humble Choice runs for a month...

    Meta note: I chatted with @Venko who has previously run these threads, and I'll be posting them for the time being. This one is a little late on account of that, but Humble Choice runs for a month so the deal is still current.

    7 votes
  16. Humble Choice - February 2024

    February 2024's Humble Choice is now available with the following eight Steam games. Steam Page Opencritic Steam Recent/All Operating Systems Steam Deck ProtonDB Life Is Strange: True Colors 81...

    February 2024's Humble Choice is now available with the following eight Steam games.


    Steam Page Opencritic Steam Recent/All Operating Systems Steam Deck ProtonDB
    Life Is Strange: True Colors 81 89/90 Win ✅ Verified 🟨 Gold
    Scorn 68 77/82 Win ✅ Verified 🎖️ Platinum
    Destroy All Humans! 2 - Reprobed 68 78/73 Win ✅ Verified 🎖️ Platinum
    Beacon Pines 81 98/97 Win ✅ Verified 🎖️ Platinum
    There Is No Light: Enhanced Edition N/A 74/81 Win ✅ Verified 🎖️ Platinum
    Children of Silentown 70 87/81 Win ✅ Verified 🎖️ Platinum
    Oaken 77 81 Win, Mac, Linux ❓ Unknown ✅ Native
    Snowtopia: Ski Resort Builder N/A 65 Win 🟨 Playable 🎖️ Platinum

    Does anyone have experience with any of the games and, if so, would you recommend them? Is there anything in here that you're particularly excited to play?

    12 votes
  17. Comment on Save Point: A game deal roundup for the week of February 11 in ~games

    kfwyre
    Link
    This isn't a game deal specifically, but IsThereAnyDeal has finally launched their new site. It's a nice refresh of the old site and works MUCH better on mobile (which was my primary complaint...

    This isn't a game deal specifically, but IsThereAnyDeal has finally launched their new site. It's a nice refresh of the old site and works MUCH better on mobile (which was my primary complaint about the previous version).

    7 votes