In which I don’t know how you got there or what you’re doing

An interesting phenomenon, at least to me: I’ve noticed that the older I get the more annoyed I get by bad worldbuilding in my video games. This isn’t a story concern, necessarily; what I mean is that I need things like levels to make basic physical sense and seem in at least a cursory way to be things that could exist in the actual world the game is portraying.

Why yes, I am playing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order right now. How did you guess?

It’s been a running joke for a while, at least among my immediate family: my wife works in occupational health and safety, so we notice these sorts of things: Star Wars doesn’t have OSHA. Everything, everything is positioned with no railings over a bottomless pit or, if there is a railing, there’s not a chance in hell it would keep anyone from falling over it or, uh, being thrown:

That shit is not safe. And don’t even get me started on this bullshit:

So I’m used to the idea that in a Star Wars video game there are going to be some fall hazards. The idea doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t make sense on a fundamental level, but it’s pre-established in the world. But here’s my problem with Fallen Order: you unlock your Force powers as you travel through the game, and you use them extensively to get where you’re going on whatever planet you’re on– particularly the wall run ability, which is used constantly.

So if I had to use half a dozen Jedi wall runs, had to Force Pull a convenient vine over to myself to swing across a huge gap, had to use Force Push to break through a conveniently weak area of wall, and — oh, right — had to exterminate hundreds of incredibly dangerous examples of the local fauna in order to get to an area, how the hell are there two dozen Stormtroopers already there when I get there?

(“Why the hell are the Stormtroopers so much less dangerous than this space goat” is another question relevant to the game, but not the one I’m discussing at the moment.)

This shit gets to me, guys, it really does. You don’t have Jedi powers, Stormtrooper! How the fuck are you here? How did you get to the top of this wroshyr tree on Kashyyyk that I’ve been climbing using my magic Jedi abilities for twenty minutes? Did someone drop you off there in a ship? Why did they do that? Are they going to come get you? Are you here just in case a Jedi shows up? Because they’re supposed to all be dead.

How did any of these chests get here?

Remember these goddamn things?

Random huge pieces of machinery with no clear function whatsoever that seem to exist only to impede player progress are starting to get on my nerves. There are tons of enormous machines everywhere (on abandoned planets; who built all this shit?) that serve no purpose other than to kill you if you don’t figure out how to properly avoid and/or slow them down (Oh, also: Jedi slowing powers. I had to slow down a huge fan and sneak through an airduct to get here! How are you here, Stormtrooper?) and I just want to know what they’re for. Why are there giant spinny blades with holes in them in this area? What’s this thing, that just slams back and forth but doesn’t seem to do anything? Who decided that these catwalks needed to have places where you had to jump over holes? Because every fucking catwalk has holes, and they don’t all appear to be damaged. Some of them just aren’t finished. Why? Is the Empire suing the shit out of their contractors? Because they need to be suing the shit out of their contractors.

I’m having a lot of fun with the game– don’t get me wrong. But Jesus, the level geography is like they deliberately tried to make no damn sense at all.

Sunday stupid Sunday

I’ve been pretty good this year about keeping on top of my grading, but the last couple of weeks I’ve fallen off the horse a bit. I worked through about five inches of assignments today but that’s probably only about a week’s worth; there’s still another week waiting for me, and I’m going to have to suck it up and get some grading done during the week this week.

In lieu of actual Sunday content, please view this entertaining video:

Well crap

I was totally gonna write, like, the best post any of you have ever seen, except my son came in and talked to me for a couple of minutes and now every word of it is gone.

Sigh. I don’t know what the hell happened to my short-term memory but I blame getting old and the Internet and I don’t like it at all.

Teacher bloopers

Last day of the quarter today, and my seventh grade classes were working on story problems, because, well, they’re bad at them. I was talking to my second hour class and going over some of the more common errors first hour was making in an attempt to not explain the same exact things five thousand more times for the second class in a row. Unfortunately, some of the errors they were making were errors of volition and not of comprehension: to wit, the student who put dollar signs in front of every single answer when only two or three of the questions were involving money may have not been doing his very best on that assignment, and if you turn in a sheet of paper with 10 answers and not a single other pencil mark on it it is fairly likely that I’m going to suspect you may not have actually done the assignment.

So, yeah, I’m talking about all that. And in the process of having this conversation with the students, I point something out that is especially true today, when it’s the last day of the quarter and the assignment must be turned in on the day it is assigned: I would much rather have something turned in half-finished by someone who has clearly been working than a completed assignment from someone who, and I quote, “wrote down a bunch of random-ass nonsense for ten answers and turned it in.”

Wait.

What did I just say?

The class is blinking at me. Did I just–

Yeah, I did.

Uh.

Obviously the appropriate thing to do was to apologize and then watch as both I, my co-teacher, and the entire class collapse into laughter, because fuck it, it’s early in the morning on the last day of the quarter before a five-day break and, well, y’all, apparently Mr. Siler ain’t completely on his game today. So, yeah, I don’t usually swear, at least not accidentally, in front of my students, but apparently today my filter isn’t set quite as high as usual?

I shoulda had more caffeine during first hour, is the take-away here.

In which this may as well happen

Every class I have came at me today. I have had rougher days in my career, certainly– much rougher, in fact– but this was still a pretty goddamn rough day.

My 7th hour is my toughest class, by a longshot. They are also my last group of the day, which is not a bad thing for your worst group of the day to be. I had to start each of my 8th grade classes reading them the riot act about an epidemic of cheating and copying assignments that’s been going on lately, and went from that directly into the lesson for the day. Honestly, it was going well, not just “going well for 7th hour” but actually going well, until one of my kids randomly decided to lose his fucking mind because he thought somebody threw something at him. The big problem with this class is that they’re always on a razor’s edge and the slightest little thing can throw the room into complete chaos, and by the time I got the mind-loser out of the room (cussing and swearing the entire time) I literally had five or six of them on the fucking floor laughing.

So, more riot act. Amazingly, they more or less pulled together again, and even some of the floor-rollers came up for help on the assignment and actually paid attention while I was explaining what they needed to do and corrected a couple of misunderstandings. Like, I’ll take it, right? I had to toss somebody from damn near every other class I had today; if I get through my roughest group with only one kid out I’ll call it a win.

And then someone asked to go get some water. There’s a drinking fountain immediately outside my classroom so so long as I’m not actively instructing the answer to this question is almost always yes. I tell him he can go get some water and move on to the next thing, and the next thing I know there are five kids clustered around the door for some reason.

I investigate.

“The door’s locked.”

“The door doesn’t lock from the inside, guys. Quit screwing around, and everybody who doesn’t have permission for water go sit down.”

“No, really, the door won’t open.”

Uh.

So I go check. And I discover two things: one, no, the fucking door won’t open, and two, the kid who I sent out of the room and thought had gone directly to the office has instead gone outside of the classroom, sat down, and started quietly doing his assignment, like, when the hell did you calm down? And at first I think he’s sitting against the door or has a foot in front of it or something (there’s a window in the door, to be clear) but he sort of backs away and holds his hands up and he’s obviously not doing anything.

I call the office.

“You’re gonna love this,” I say. I hear a pained sigh from the other end. “I’m in my classroom, and–”

I get interrupted. “Let me guess,” the person on the other side says. “Your door is locked and you can’t get out.”

“I have many students in here with me,” I say, temporarily suppressing my urge to say how the fuck did you know that. “Please come rescue us.”

They dispatch a custodian. Who is unable to extricate us from the room. He starts popping the pins out on the hinges.

You can probably imagine what the kids were doing.

The bell rings. We are unable to go anywhere. The hinges are unpinned but we still can’t get the door open.

One of the kids suggests calling 911. All of them have goddamn cell phones. I squash this idea with a quickness.

It is ten minutes past the bell. There are now multiple adults outside trying to get the door open. Everyone in the room is now massively late to class and I am waiting for either a fight to break out or someone to decide that they need to pee.

(Honestly, it is shocking that “I need to pee and I am the center of the universe so my need to pee is the only thing anyone can discuss” is not part of this story.)

And then– after this has been going on for twenty minutes, and I have repeatedly vacillated between this is actually kind of hilarious if you think about it and bone-shaking anger, and while I am finding myself genuinely grateful that I decided to go on brain drugs when I did, there is a new ruckus. A ruckus happening at my desk.

As the door between my classroom and the science room next door, the door that I had utterly forgotten about because I put a cart with my printer on it in front of it and it is never used for any reason, the door that the janitor had also clearly forgotten about, the door that none of the 30-some-odd kids in the room has noticed, as that door opens up, shoving the cart and my printer out of the way, and the science teacher, with a giant shit-eating grin on his face, sticks his head into my room and says “Hey, guys, whatcha doing?”

And then there was a stampede, and I’m pretty sure no one died.

I have a stupid job.

The end.