Archive for April, 2007

I wish I had heard of simulator sickness beforehand

So I had a highly embarrassing moment last night, of course at the time I thought there was something seriously wrong. I’m sure I’ll look back on it and laugh, but at the moment I still feel like a complete dork.

Last night I went over to Joe’s apartment for a weekly gaming party that has been going on, but it was the first time I went. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest gamer, but I am easily entertained so I figured why not? When I arrived they were playing Age of Empires, so I kicked back and watched while they finished. Next we played OpenArena, which uses the open source code of Quake III, I believe. I have limited experience with first-person shooter games (Playing a little Half-Life in middle school doesn’t count for much does it?), but I decided I would take a stab at playing. Even though I was pretty terrible I was still having fun getting the occasional kill.

After helping my team lose we played again and after about 5 minutes I began to feel a little nauseous. I attributed it to being up late and maybe a little from looking at a computer screen so long. Within about 3 minutes I went from nauseous to dizzy, cold, sweaty, and pale. I started to freak out a little because it happened so quickly and I could tell that I was very pale and I’m sure everyone at the party noticed too. I seriously thought there was something legitimately wrong because I have never had a combination of those symptoms come on so severe and so quickly. I went outside to get some air and Edwin (I think, I was sort of freaking out) suggested that it could possibly be motion sickness from the game. I considered the possibility, but I have never felt motion sickness like this before. So, after thoroughly freaking everyone at the party out, including Joe (sorry Joe!), who was kind enough to walk me home, I went to bed.

This morning I was still feeling highly embarrassed because whatever had happened to me was clearly connected to playing OpenArena. So I googled motion sickness and gaming to see if anything popped up and I found out that there was something to it. It is called simulator sickness and because of increasingly sophisticated graphics it has become more common. There are many theories on what actually causes simulator sickness, but it is clear that it is a real problem.

A quote from the article I found: “This is actually pretty amazing: a computer-driven, virtual environment can fool the body well enough to cause some of its most basic support systems to become confused. This didn’t happen twenty years ago with Pong. In fact, while people have been experiencing simulator sickness for years in training environments (for commercial airline and military use), only recently have video games become sophisticated enough to produce the kind of virtual world that is realistic enough to cause simulator sickness.”

Now if I had only known this beforehand I wouldn’t have made such a fool of myself.

Just Go and Listen

So as I was obsessively watching my Bloglines feeds today a new post over at Gardner Writes popped up. I stopped what I was doing to go over and read and I was excited to see it was a podcast of the keynote address from the 2007 Kemp Symposium, “Apt Numbers, or, Sense Variously Drawn Out”. I had wanted to go, but my friend had given me one of those looks that told me I needed to stop stalking him, not that I am, it is just my friends perception (I hope). Thanks to technology and Dr.Campbell’s awesome ability to utilize it, I had the opportunity to listen.

I highly recommend you go listen to it. I’ll admit that my knowledge of poetry has glaring gaps, but the take away message still packs a punch. It is the kind of thing that makes you take a deep breath and when you do, you feel it way down.

After listening I thought about my own music obsession and my music life. I remember fondly listening to The Beatles on cassette, with my mom, they were my first favorite band. For my 7th birthday I was given Green Day’s “Dookie” CD, now I wonder how I was even allowed to have that at the age of 7 but, still it is an album I love. You know what, just go listen to what Dr.Campbell has to say, he says it much better.

Freshman Year:Recap and Reflections

For those of you looking for a distraction from work, I hope I can be of some assistance…

This being the last week of classes I have taken some time to look back on my year and put together a little recap/reflection. I hope to look back on this 3 years from now when I am graduating and see how far I’ve come and hopefully see that my writing skills have improved too.

The Beginning

The hot and humid day I moved in was filled with excitement and a bit of anxiousness. My mom, brother, and aunt made the trek down from Jersey to help move me in and as quickly as we arrived, my family left and I found myself sitting in Seaco chatting with other freshman and their families. There were plenty of activities during the first few days in attempts to bring us all together as a freshmen class, but most of us wanted to find someplace air-conditioned so we wouldn’t wither away.

My Roommate: Although we are two completely different people we made great roommates. Some of that may be due to the fact that she was practically living in someone else’s dorm the first semester but, we talk and generally like each other. Actually she likes to talk and I like to listen so it is a good combination for the both of us πŸ™‚ Living with someone who is in many ways my opposite has taught me several things and I would like to think I have become less judgmental and more willing to talk to people who don’t necessarily share my same interests. We shared a lot of laughs and I learned some fun new slang, eg β€œDid you see that bunny? He totally sweats you! I totally fried his duck friend earlier so now the bun won’t speak to me, that’s the dirt!”. Even though I am pretty sure we won’t be close friends after this year I am still grateful to have had the chance to room with someone I probably would not have picked to live with if I had been given the choice.

First Day of Classes: Much like my first day of high school I can only remember my first class of the day. Coincidentally, in high school my first class was a history class and at Mary Wash it was also a history class. I nervously entered Monroe Hall praying that Banner did not have a major malfunction and was sending me to the wrong place. After quadruple checking the room number I quickly found a seat and hoped to hear some people say something about American History to indicate I was indeed in the right class. If I recall correctly Dr. McClurken went around the room and had us say our names and what kind of history we were interested in. It was only my first class and I was already having a mini-panic attack, hoping I would remember how to speak English when it was my turn. ‘Maybe I should have gone to a college for mutes?’ Of course in retrospect the reaction is a little ridiculous but then again, I’m a little ridiculous.

And The Rest: I was going to write a little bit about each of my classes, but I realized that I honestly did not have much to say about most of them. There were little things in each class that I enjoyed learning but, I wasn’t sure that warranted me writing it all out. I have a lot to say about one class, which you think would make it really obvious that I had interests in it and perhaps should major in it, but I had to have someone point that out to me. I’m quite good at missing the obvious. So I wrote down some thoughts about the class that does involve my major.

American History to 1865: Even though American History pre-1865 is not my favorite part of American History, the class was still enjoyable (and I swear I am not saying this just because Dr. McClurken reads my blog). In most history classes in high school I had managed to avoid primary source documents, but to no avail in this class. There were times (late Thursday nights) I wanted to shoot myself because I didn’t care what the third pilgrim from the right had to say. Now that I think back, I realize that the primary source readings did facilitate a better understanding of the time period. Wait, is that one of the ways historians know what even happens during the time period? Interpretation of primary source documents? One would think that connection would be clear but, somehow that fact eluded me until college. The one reading that struck me the most was the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I had sort of read it back in high school but, did not care much about it and upon the second reading I felt much differently about it. I wondered how I could I have missed the passion and the power in Douglass’ words the first time around? It is the one book that I did not return or want to return after the semester was over. Oh, and of course Dr. McClurken’s outbursts and jokes were just an added bonus πŸ˜‰

Ehem, so the first semester continued on, day by day, class by class. English class tormented me, students on campus were not my type of people, and college food was getting monotonous; I was sure I was going to transfer to any college as long as it was outside of Virginia. Harsh? Maybe a little, but there were bright spots. FSEM kept things interesting, friends became closer, new episodes of CSI, Young Life, and sending off sarcastic questions/comments for the weekly discussion in history (and when some questions/comments eventually made it into the discussion) were a few things that kept me from catching the next bus to Mexico. By the end of the semester I was drained. My education, for the most part, was unexciting and I was sure I was never going to be able to decide on a major, ever. Depressing? Exactly.

Have no fear though, my second semester has been different. So stay tuned to hear the happy side of this year and I promise part two will have a little more reflecting.

ETA: Some of you might have noticed I didn’t really talk about the FSEM, well I think I have talked about that class plenty. So I’m not quite sure what more I could say about it, plus a lot of the beneficial things that came out of the FSEM came from my reflection on the class during my second semester.

It is official, sort of

I officially handed in my declaration cards today, only one month after I said I would, not bad! Technically I can’t declare until the end of the semester but, I handed in the cards so in my mind it is a done deal. The day Banner says it is official I’ll throw a party or something πŸ˜‰

On a random note, I have finally given in and subscribed to Netflix, I think I already have about 60 films in queue, that site is addictive.

Started to work on my freshman year recap/reflection, so that should be coming your way soon.

It is too nice out to sit here at my laptop, hence the short update. Get outside!

It must be true!

Found an article today, “Web 2.0 wave starts to take hold”

If BBC news says it, it must be true! Maybe they saw the pictures of Web 2.0 and could no longer deny it’s existence?

I’m still waiting for BBC to report on University 2.0…

A pleasant if not weird surprise…

Today in history class we got our third paper back. For the paper we compared how the different mediums of film and the written word effect the way the story is presented. We compared The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin and the 1975 version of the film. When I wrote the paper (last minute naturally) I was pretty sure that it was one of my “not so good papers” and as most students dread the day the paper is returned, I too was overcome with a sinking feeling that my history grade was going in the wrong direction. It actually took me a minute to even want to look at it so you can imagine my surprise when I looked down at the coversheet and found a red “A” staring back at me. I thought, ‘Wow, what are the odds of that? This is a pleasant surprise and a little bizarre!’

So I read the professors comments (obviously the only time you have the nerve/bother to read what the professor wrote πŸ˜‰ ) and this is what the comment said:

“Great job! You should consider majoring in film/media studies, clearly you have a gift understanding the power of film-vs-the written word.”

I couldn’t help but laugh and raise an eyebrow, here is a professor in my intended major telling me perhaps I should consider majoring in film/media studies.

In conclusion I’ve given up on knowing if what I’ve written is good or not and clearly I have been watching too many movies. Someone want to hand me the popcorn?

Another Benefit

As I mentioned in my last post I am doing a research paper on the CSI Effect and as previously stated I am bit CSI obsessed so I have received many gifts from people that relate to CSI. Today, as I was sitting at my desk I looked up at my mini-library of books and realized that the Christmas gift that my brother had given me was about CSI. So out of curiosity I flipped through it and discovered a chapter on the CSI effect!

So another added benefit of doing a paper on an obsession: The material has often already been supplied either by your own need to buy everything related or family and friends knowing it would be a good gift to give. I’ll have to remember to thank my brother later.

A little off topic, but as I get closer to the end of the semester I plan to start reflecting on my first year. I will probably touch upon classes, outside activities, the food, whatever occurred my first year, etc. so that could extend over a few posts. Perhaps I’ll touch upon my summer plans and hopefully I’ll have more to say this summer besides “Why did I give over my whole summer over to working? I want to go back to college.”

So stay tuned, I am sure you are all waiting on the edge of your seat… πŸ˜‰


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