nenena: (Fairy Tail - Yer a wizard Lucy)
Long story short:

I'm going to be teaching a unit on graphic fiction to my Art History students.

I've been working with our school librarian (who is AWESOME when it comes to comics) to curate a list of sample texts to use. I mean "sample texts" both in terms of texts that I will make the whole class read AND an approved reading list of comics for students to choose for their independent reading at the end of the unit.

Awesome Librarian and I mutually decided that list of optional comics for students to choose for their independent reading should include a least one representative example of puzzle-game-style-adventure-partially-generated-by-reader-input-type comic, since it's a format that's intriguing, interesting to the kids, and easy to use as discussion fodder for a variety of themes developed in the unit (that they WILL have to address in their final critique of their chosen comic).

And for our representative example of said type-of-comic-that-we-really-need-a-better-name-for, we really want to go with Rubyquest.

It's short, it's complete, and it's the best representation of reader-input-driven storytelling I've seen in the genre. I know that the content can be really disturbing, but it's an optional reading (one of over thirty titles that the kids will be able to choose from) and believe me I know that said disturbing content will definitely appeal to more than a few of my students. Best of all, it's available in a super-convenient format for us to use: these beautifully-compiled SWF files that WILL, believe it or not, play on the Sony pocketbooks that the kids have been issued. Complete with all the extras like the rejected reader commands and reader theories and fanart and stuff all nicely compiled together right there in the SWF.

Aaaaaaaaaaand therein lies the problem. The fanart that our intrepid TekStation compiled into the SWF files contains some Rule 34 and there is no way in hell I can give my students SWF files with bunny porn on them.

Yes, I am totally okay with putting a comic full of shockingly violent imagery and lots of body horror on my approved comic reading list. It wouldn't be the only comic full of shockingly violent imagery and lots of body horror on the list, either. (Swamp Thing, Akira, Sharaz-De, and Courtney Crumrin are on the reading list too.) But anything even mildly sexual is a huge no-no (hence me being unable to get administrative approval to add Craig Thompson's Blankets to the list) so it goes without saying that the fanart porn in the Rubyquest files has got to be removed. And to be totally honest I think that all Rubyquest porn is horrible weird gross and wrong, no I don't feel particularly bad being judgmental about that, and as far as I'm concerned it detracts nothing from the experience if you can't see that shit in the SWF files.

So I've got this great comic that somebody on the interbutts has already compiled into super-convenient SWF files for me, but said compiler also included some fanart in the SWF compilations and said fanart also happens to include some porn.

I've tried contacting TekStation on his deviantart to explain my situation and ask him if he would be so kind as to help a poor teacher out and send me (or post on the internet somewhere) versions of his SWF files with the porn removed. But that was over a week ago, I haven't heard back from him yet, and he doesn't appear to have logged into his deviantart account since last summer. So I don't have much hope there.

Right now my options, as I see them, are:

1. Edit out the porn myself.

But HELP I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS and neither the Awesome Librarian nor I are nearly tech-savvy enough to even know what program to use to edit SWF files I mean what program DO you use?! Can anybody recommend a good (free) program that would help a total SWF newbie like me edit a few images out of a file? Or is this not even a thing that can be done that easily?

2. Ask somebody else to edit out the porn.

Problem so far: None of my RL friends are tech-savvy enough to do so, and there's no way in hell I'm going to ask anybody that works for my school district to do it for me because, you know, it's bunny porn. Not worth losing my job over.

3. Find an alternative compilation/presentation of the comic.

Does anybody know of an alternative compilation/presentation of Rubyquest that they would recommend? So far Google has only given me TekStation's SWF files and this which is unfortunately just a horrible way to experience the comic.

4. Give up and settle for a different representative example of a puzzle-game-style-adventure-partially-generated-by-reader-input-type comic to add to the approved reading list.

I'm open for suggestions. Parameters: Works must be complete, not more than a few hundred pages long, and not contain too much sexual content. Gore is totally fine, though!

So anywhoo I would very much appreciate help with any of the four options above.
nenena: (Default)
So it's finals week and for their traditional post-final treat I let my Art History students watch Red Cliff. Before the film I explained a little bit about the historical context of the film (although I didn't have to explain much because a group of students had already given a fabulous presentation about the Han Dynasty as one of their semester-final projects last week), who the characters in the film were, and how the film was based on a mixture of historical fact and Romance of the Three Kingdoms fictionalization. We did a couple of activities comparing/contrasting Three Kingdoms to Arthurian myths, and we talked about the differences in technology levels between China and Europe of the time period (mind-blowing for some of the students), but mostly it was just letting the kids turn off their brains and enjoy the film.

Anywhoo the movie was met with rave reviews (and from a very tough crowd, might I add!). But on Friday at the end of class one of the students asked me, "Do you have any more Three Kingdoms stuff?" Which was followed immediately by a chorus of nearly the entire class echoing his question.

Aaaaaand I told him that I would get back to him about that because honestly, I kind of don't. Or rather, I know that there's a ton of Three Kingdoms-based media out there but I have no idea how much of it is available in English, appropriate for high school students, or even, er, good.

So, flist! I come to you with a question: I've got a group of high school students who are very interested in The Fabulous Adventures of Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang and The Knights of the Peach Orchard. What would you recommend for them to watch, read, or play?

They do not speak or read Chinese, so anything that you recommend to them will have to be available in translation. They are pretty savvy about acquiring material online, so stuff that's only available via piracy is okay to rec. They seems to be mostly interested in the military and martial arts aspects of the stories, so action-based stuff would be best. Any films, books, comics, or video games y'all could recommend for these kids would be very appreciated!
nenena: (Default)
Had an after-school conference with a student and her mom today. Actual snippet of the tongue-lashing that the mother gave her daughter:

Nobody has that right! Not even President Obama can get away with doing that! If even the most powerful man in the United States can't get away with pulling that crap and claiming that he has the right to do it because he feels like it, what makes you think you can do that and get away with claiming that it's your right because you feel like it?

To put this in context, yesterday this particular student grabbed another student's drawing and scribbled in black marker all over it, and then tried to claim that she had the "right" to do so because she felt like it. And she was being totally serious, too.

To be honest I've never heard the "if the President of the United States doesn't have the right to do that, then neither do you" argument used before, but I kind of like it. I think it helps put things in perspective for an emotionally and cognitively immature seventh grader better than the usual "how would you feel if somebody did that to you?" tactic does. Which, by the way, is a tactic that usually fails with middle school students because it allows them to respond by saying "I wouldn't care" - which, whether true or not, is effectively the end of any attempts to reason with them about their behavior. It also allows them to respond with "Well *I* would be angry but she deserved it because [insert bullshit reason here]" and that is never a fun path to start traveling down.

So remember, kids: If President Obama doesn't have the right to do it, then neither. do. you.
nenena: (Default)
ME: Just don't do anything stupid with your fake sword.

STUDENT: Is there really anything non-stupid that you can do with a fake sword?

nenena: (Default)
Just saw a Homestuck cosplayer at nat'l cherry blossom festival parade.

Holy shit. This is not an anime convention. So much secondhand embarrassment right now.

ETA: On the other hand, a guy riding a giant spider robot just walked right past me, so I probably shouldn't be surprised by anything at this point. (I am so not even kidding, this is A Thing That Actually Happened. The robot was sponsored by the USA Science and Engineering Festival.)
nenena: (Disney - SQUID?!)
For those of you who don't know, I teach middle school and high school in a public megadistrict in the southern United States. Today I had to sit through my annual med training, which is required of all teachers every summer, in the event that we would ever want to be authorized to give a student any medical assistance whatsoever, ranging from a life-saving EpiPen injection to, you know, giving them a cough drop if they're coughing a lot.

I'm not kidding about that last one.

So the official rule in my district is that all over-the-counter medications, including cough drops (no really), are banned on school property. The only way that a student would be allowed to either a) carry or b) receive over-the-counter medications from a school nurse is if the student files a Special Permission Form with the district office that must be signed by their parent/guardian, their physician, and a licensed notary. Still not kidding about any of this. So yes, that's right: The school nurses in my district aren't allowed to give you Tylenol, a cough drop, or anything unless you go to all the trouble of getting your physician AND a licensed notary to sign this super-special form for you. And you have to get that done every summer, too, since the form is only valid for the duration of one school year. If you don't have that form on file, too bad, the best that we can give you is animal crackers and a call home.

Also I, as a teacher, am perfectly allowed to keep cough drops in my room, but I'm not allowed to ever give one to a student unless a) the student has their permission form on file and b) I have my certificate stating that I've completed the district medical training on hand. Also I'm supposed to both document with Official Paperwork AND call home to notify the parent/guardian any time that I give a student medication at school, which includes cough drops.

Oh, and guess what's new this year?! The definition of "over-the-counter medication" has expanded to include ALL forms of chapstick and lotion.

That's right.

You're not allowed to bring Lip Smackers to school anymore. Not unless you have documentation signed by your physician and a licensed notary which states that you have permission to do so. To say nothing of hand lotion.

Likelihood that this rule is ever going to be enforced: zero. But it's on the books nevertheless.

Oh, and my medical training? After having sat through one hour of lecture and completed a short written exam, I am now licensed to administer medication to my students orally, in their eyes and ears, through a stomach tube, or rectally. However, a state law prevents teachers from ever being authorized to touch either a throat apparatus or a catheter. So yes, that's right: I am now "trained" and capable of either injecting medicine directly into a hole in your stomach or shoving a syringe up your rectum, should the need ever arise, yet will never be allowed to touch your catheter or any tubes in your throat. Just so that's clear.

God I love bureaucracy.