Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well, THAT sucked...

Educational software produces some...unexpected...results.

(From xkcd)


mike said...

Well I am dense I guess as I missed the point.

Read a great book recently though on the first guy to take the Oregon trail. Although he did it in reverse from Astoria to Missouri.

"The Discovery of the Oregon Trail: Robert Stuart's Narratives of His Overland Trip Eastward from Astoria in 1812-13 edited and annotated by Philip Ashton Rollins.

I hope to follow the route this fall when we head east to the Finger Lakes and to the great state of Maine to visit family.

FDChief said...

mike: This is a goof on the edutainment software "The ORegon Trail". It's a common classroom thing in the middle school grades, designed to get the kids into the whole Westward Movement deal. You're supposed to outfit your wagon, survive floods, fires and Indian raids, homestead your acres and win.

Instead the boys usually load up with ammo, shoot everything in sight and die.

I guess it is a sort of teacher-inside-joke. I thought it was funny...

mike said...

A shame. Back in the day of the three "B"s, every shooter knew that beans and bandages were just as important as bullets. And I guess the Ory-gunners needed to stock up on seed corn also.

Anonymous said...


This may not be the correct spot to place my query but I am lazy and can't figure out how to email you so will post it here. Bear with me for a moment.

First a bit about myself. I majored in Earth Sciences at UCSC but am now an English teacher in Taiwan. Have been doing it for going on twenty years now. Married to a Taiwanese woman and have an eight and a half year old bi-racial daughter. I guess you can infer why your writings strike a chord with me.

With your adopted daughter how are you going to go about teaching her about her identity? This is something my friends and I talk on about endlessly here in Taiwan. I recently learned a new word deracianation (obviously not so well, as I think I have spelled it wrong).

How will you go about teaching her Chinese history? She is young now but at some point she will realize she doesn't look like mom and pop. Will you take the route of Americans are come one-come all? Will you all start to learn Mandarin as a family to try to give her a connection to her roots?

I have some friends that are going back to their countries of origin so that the kids get brought up in "their culture." But doesn't that mean they lose their Taiwanese culture?

This is a very complex issue with no easy answers. To take it to an extreme I have a Belgian friend married to an Indonesian living here in Taiwan. For me that is a hopeless situation. The kid will be doubly dislocated. Though the father speaks fluent Mandarin and passable Taiwanese the mother does not and they speak English at home. On top of this most Indonesians are looked down upon by the Taiwanese as they are mostly, the Indonesians, laborers. This kid will have many problems going through the Taiwanese educational system.

I wonder if your edutainment software has a settling of the inner areas of China and how they would go about it.

My daughter doesn't look Taiwanese but is fluent in the language to the amazement of the locals. Sometimes it is fun but other times it's a pain in the ass.

"Hey, your daughter can speak Chinese!!"

Me, "Of course she can. She is Taiwanese." Arrgh. All I want is a bowl of noodles. Not a discussion about my daughter and why she speaks Mandarin so well.

I also wonder how she will deal with life if/when she goes to college back in the US. That is if I can even afford it. I am thinking she may be just as well served going to Japan/Singapore/Australia to study.

Rhetorically speaking, will she ever be a member of any society? I am odd (as you would guess from someone who got their schooling in Santa Cruz) and don't mind plunking down in various areas. But I am a Wai Guo Ren. Transliteration; out side person, read foreigner. Will my daughter or yours find a place to just be a person in their own society? Food for thought.

PS I have read your postings on some of the storms in the Northwest. We just had a doozy of a typhoon. NINE FEET!!! of rain in the mountains outside of my city. There is no way to relate that. I came out ok but the typhoon broke my car, my scooter, flooded the house and the cat was too scared to go outside and kept pooping on my pillow. THAT was not appreciated but understandable.

James Caba

FDChief said...

James: Right now she's so tiny she doesn't really understand the whole issue. But if she's going to start learning her mother tongue it needs to be soon, so we don't have long to figure out what to do.

The bottom line is that ISN'T Chinese. She's an American of Chinese origin, just like my grandfather was an American of Scottish origin and my wife's great-great-grandfather was an American of German origin. So I will assume that her primary orientation will be to look at China as I do, say, Scotland: with interest in its culture and history but no strong inclination to speak Chinese fluently any more than I want to speak Gaelic. She will never be a mainlander; she lost that when she lost her parents, just one more piece of the tragedy that is orphaning and adoption.

What I would hope is that she WILL be interested enough in China's present to become fluent in Mandarin as well as learn to read it. And from there, hopefully she can connect with her native country. I have a real issue with the standard sort of "Chinese heritage" stuff that many American parents stick their kids in; lion dances, kung-fu, silk robes...sure, these are "traditional culture", but why them and not Hong Kong hip-hop, Shanghai dance moves, Pobaby cartoons and Mao-tse-tung jackets? The local adoption group, Families with Children from China, is all about the former - what I call the "Chinese restaraunt"- type "cultural heritage" stuff - so they're no help. They refuse to accept that they're just like I am - a clueless white American, with no more understanding of what makes contemporary China tick than Elmer Fudd.

The reality is that while I can talk to her about the Warring States period, Empress Cixi and the Great Leap Forward, I am nowhere tuned in enough to help her appreciate her homeland's modern culture. She will have to get that herself, if she wants, when she's old enough. With any luck we can get involved with Chinese-American organizations that can help her with that and get her started early.

So she will always be caught between two cultures, that of her birth and that of her adopted country, the same old dilemma that first-generation immigrants have always had.

Anonymous said...

Chief: Thanks for the reply.

The one thing that hit me was the modern Chinese culture and you are right about that. But, Canto-Pop?? Uuughhh. I want to take a dentist's drill to my eyes and ears when I see these videos. My wife LOVES it!

Cartoons, check. I have seen the hardest Taiwanese gangsters driving around with Hello Kitty helmets. After many years I sort of see it. I wouldn't mess with one of these guys even if he is riding a bright pink scooter with a hello kitty helmet!

It might make for a good Hollywood movie. The Hello Kitty/Doreamons vs the Aryans vs the crips.

Thanks for your reply on Milpub about operational art. I am going to resign myself to just not getting it. Once a layman, always a layman and I guess thankful for it since I never had to go to battle. .

James Caba