March 19, 2008

The Wright Response

There has been a lot of recent talk, on news networks and beyond, about Barack Obama's former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright and a controversial sermon that he had. I would like to share some videos here including Rev. Wright's full sermon (1, 2), Barack Obama's speech and a Daily Show snippet on the whole ordeal. Here also a recent Achenblog article on the situation. What are your thoughts?









March 8, 2008

Unexpected Adventures

Yesterday I was able to travel to Jockey's Ridge with David, Pawan and Chase and it turned out to be one of the most unexpected adventures I have ever had. Here are two lessons that we learned collectively: (1) Don't leave your shoes outside - a dog might come and steal just one of your shoes and then you'll have to walk into Goody's with only your socks on to buy a new pair of shoes. Travis had to do this. (2) Don't forget to call your friends - you might drive to a state park five hours away and then leave thirty minutes before another friend named Garrett goes to the same place and spends two days there. Also (3) Take plenty of pictures and video!

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March 4, 2008

Mafia: The Best Game Ever

I definitely had the most fun I have ever had substitute teaching today. I had the same class as yesterday and knew about it beforehand, so I went out and bought some candy for them to say thanks for being so good yesterday. That's how I started off class. Then they had a writing test for two and a half hours that morning for all the tenth graders, so the six kids I had left came to the library with me and we all just hung out. They finished up their assignments and then just talked with one another, played on the internet and read books. I personally picked up a couple of books and read up on Mongolia for about an hour. That was really nice.

Then second period was short because of the writing test running long, so we just ate the candy I brought for them and they finished up their assignments before lunch. Then lunch, I just played on the computer and ate a fiber bar. How old am I? Then third period came in after lunch and they had all their work caught up, so we played games and ate candy all period. In fact, we only played one game, possibly the best group game ever: Mafia. I'll explain how to play.

Mafia is a "who are the killers?" game. Basically everyone circles up and gets passed out a card or a piece of paper that designates four types of people: mafia, cops, townspeople and a doctor. In our game we had about 14 people so we had 3 mafia, 2 cops, 1 doctor and 8 townspeople every game. You can change the ratios around, but I like that general ratio. You also need a moderator who can instruct the group and add colorful explanations to the game. This was me today. Once everyone has seen their cards, this is the routine:

  1. The moderator tells everyone to put their heads down and close their eyes.
  2. The mafia are told to open their eyes and lift their heads up. As a team the mafia pick one person in the group to kill by pointing at them. They are then told to put their heads down and close their eyes.
  3. The cops are told to open their eyes next. As a team the cops pick one person in the group who they think are the mafia and then the moderator either nods their head "yes" or shakes their head "no." They then close their eyes.
  4. The doctor is then told to open their eyes and they are allowed to pick one person to save in the group, including themselves. Then they close their eyes.
  5. At this point everyone is told to open their eyes and an explanation is given of the night's happenings. If the doctor picked the right person their life was saved and no one died during the night. If the doctor didn't pick the right person, they were killed by the mafia during the night and the moderator can make up a crazy story of how it happened. (Example: During the night Kyle got his head chopped off by a train after he was tied to the tracks by the mafia, etc.) Then the killed person says whether they were a cop, a doctor or a townsperson and they move outside the circle.
  6. Now the town has an important decision to make: they have to decide to kill someone in the group who they think is in the mafia. This can be by simple majority or by most votes. Either way someone has to die. This is where the knowledge of the cops really comes in handy. They might know exactly who the mafia is, but they have to convince the group without letting the mafia know they are the cops. See how it can get complicated fast? There are dozens of tactics that can help you no matter who you are and you figure them out as the game goes on.
  7. Once the town has picked someone to kill, that person tells who they were and then everyone puts their heads down and it starts back at the beginning with the mafia picking their next victim.
  8. To win the game the town has to kill all of the mafia or the mafia have to kill all the townspeople. During today's games it was 50-50, with the mafia winning 4 times and the town winning 4 times. It was awesome, I loved it! If you ever have a large group, at least 8 people, try it out. I promise you will love it too.

After class I got to leave school early since the teacher I was substituting for had fourth period planning. Nice right? Now that I'm off work maybe I'll find some more people and play mafia again...