27 January 2014

Thug Notes

                                                                                                                                     I love this series.  Language warning, but cute stuff.  :)

22 January 2014

Heroics That Didn't Have to Happen.

Super-heroic eight-year-old Tyler Doohan of East Rochester, New York, saved six people from a blaze and died trying to help his grandfather out.  He deserves to be remembered for it.  But the reality of the matter is, the owners of the trailer should be up on charges.  NO working smoke detector?  There is no excuse for that.

GO to your local fire department if you don't have the money to buy one.  They will give you a smoke detector or help you find one.  There's no reason any person should have to die in a fire for the simple reason that they didn't get enough warning to get out.  The fire chief is quoted as saying that if the trailer had working smoke detectors, there would have been enough time for everyone to get out alive.

Really.  Just call the fire department.  Ask them.  Please.  This little boy didn't have to die, and that family is going to have to live with the guilt forever.

21 January 2014

I Know All About You Because I Have an Algorithm.

Ever shop for a widget on the internet, decide not to buy one and go on with your day?  That's right.  You can't go on with your day without the widget haunting you in the sidebars of every. website. you visit after that.  And purchasing a widget doesn't make the ads go away.  The advertisers just figure hey, she bought one widget.  Maybe she needs 20 more!  Which is weird if the widget you just shopped for and bought was a clothes washer. 

But that doesn't scare me so much.  What will scare me is the day when they already know what I want before I do.  Have you read that that day is coming?  Using secret technology and/or the art of wizardry, Amazon will ship your packages before you order them soon.

My dear Amazon, I love you, but I just don't want you to get to know me that well.  I want to at least pretend that I have free will and am not so simple-minded that you can figure me out because you know my ZIP code, my credit score, and my browsing history.

Let's add to the creepiness. TIME Magazine has a personality quiz that can guess your political leanings.  Will you go take it before reading on?  I really really would be interested to see if the robots at TIME can figure you out.  It just takes a minute. Because apparently they already know all about me.

Ok, here are my results.   I'm conservative.  TIME figured this out because: 
  • You like dogs more than cats
  • You think kids should respect authority
  • You like a neat desk
  • You think self-control trumps self-expression
  • You're not wild about fusion cuisine
  • You think the government should treat the lives of its citizens as much more valuable than those of other countries
  • You don't think your partner should be looking at porn alone
  • You think the world benefits from nations and borders
  • You prefer Times Square to the Met
  • You're proud of your country's history
Um, I don't think my "partner" should be looking at porn, period.  But who knew that liking dogs more than cats makes a person "conservative?"  What's weird are the things they thought were "liberal" about me.  Ready?
  • You prefer documentaries over action movies
  • You use a modern browser
Okay, let's hear what you think about what the machines think.  :)

18 January 2014

A Picture Post!

Woodjie has made so much progress in his homeschooling.  He works so, so hard now and we rarely have any problems.  I'm so proud of him.

Allow me to brag about how neat his handwriting has become.  It was pretty much unreadable even two months ago.

Funding has arrived!  We now have an autism specialist come to our home for a few hours each week until August.  By then, I will have learnt lots of things about managing things for Woodjie.  Here is our new picture schedule.  I've gussied it up with some picture magnets on the side, but you read it top-down.  See?  First, we homeschool.  Then a break.  Then we drive Emperor to school.  If you're good, at that point you get 20 minutes of video game time.  Then we eat lunch, wash up, do a little more schooling and then you get a bigger break to play games.  :)

When we go out, I have a very specific and right now, difficult, job to do with Woodjie.  I have to help him reach his goals of 1. staying with Mom, and 2. not touching things or people other than his family.  We are doing short, successful trips and he is earning little snacks and stuff.

A magic game we play in homeschool.  I'll put out ten crayons and an egg carton.  One child will put a secret number of crayons in, close the lid, and move the folder.  The other child uses the MAGICAL powers of MATH to determine how many crayons are in the carton.  All this, without looking inside the carton.  Amaaaazing.

We just got back from a chess tournament.  We were gone all. day. long.  I'm off to eat dinner and watch old episodes of Wife Swap on youtube.  Hope you're having a great weekend!

16 January 2014

Smutty Sex Talk With Kids

School officials were busy defending themselves after it came out in the news that a middle school was teaching the kiddies about anal sex, sexual fantasy and saying "I like you" as ways to express sexual feelings.  Article.

 “The curriculum it is a part of, it aligns with national standards around those topics, and it’s part of our curriculum in the school district." 

National sex ed standards about genital touching and fantasy.  What country do I live in again?

Anyway.  In Normal People Land, we all agree that no teacher should be talking with any child about sex, sexual matters or anything having to do with any area a swimsuit from 1952 would cover.  I'm sorry, but JUST because someone has a teaching certificate, should not mean that they get to discuss ejaculation with a 12-year-old.  I mean, that's creepy.  You are gross if you think that.

"How much sexual guidance and instruction should the government offer our kids?" asks blogger Matt Walsh. "None. What percentage of your child’s government education should be comprised of sexual enlightenment? Zero percent. How many times in a given school day should the phrase 'genital touching' be uttered by a teacher to a classroom of students? Less than once. Actually, let’s be safe and say zero."

Of course everyone and their dog came out of the woodwork and declared that if the school didn't teach the kidlets about these things, that no one would.  As if 1. that were a bad thing, and 2. it were anybody's business how much the kid understood on this issue.  :/

15 January 2014

How Long Does it Take to Drink a Cup of Coffee?

We've all lingered a little longer than is necessary sometimes.  Usually, this happens when I have an appointment at, say, 1 o'clock but I just got out somewhere at 11.  I don't want to drive across town, get home, and then have to go out again.  So I'll spend a little over an hour at your cafe with my kids.  Which is probably about 25 minutes more than I needed to.  I don't do this a lot.  I try not to take advantage of your good nature if you're offering me the free Wi-Fi and a comfy bench.  Often I'll get a few to-go bagels, but maybe that's just me justifying.  I don't need to stay that long.

But eesh.  I don't invite 50 friends over, stake out tables all over the place at 5 am, and refuse to leave until closing because I spent a few bucks on coffee.   And pull this crap every day.  What is wrong with people? 

I'm thinking that instead of complaining, this McDonald's should take advantage of the situation and call in the TV cameras.  They could make a reality show out of this.  The TV people could hire an improv team for cheap to do outrageous things that will be SURE to get viewers and drive away these particular customers.

But overstaying is a problem everywhere.  A friend commented on facebook recently that all the new McDonalds restaurants seem to have no PlayLands. Seems there's no middle ground between "get your food and get out" and "I wanna stay all day, get 25 free refills and flush the toilet 50 times because I'm an inconsiderate slob."

07 January 2014

"This is What Goes on in New York."

Commenters are saying that the person videoing this interaction was the instigator.  Um.  No.  Kid was stealing.  He told the mom.  Maybe it wasn't "nice" to video the whole thing and show it to the world.  But he's right.  The mom has no control over her children and no control over herself.  In her defense, though, she did at least try to get the kid to stop stealing the grapes and acting like a nuisance. What do you think happened to the mom and the children in this video? (Language warning.)

05 January 2014

Ineffective Large-Family Disciplinary Techniques

1.  Go to your room.  Ok, great!  There are like, five other people there all ready to play with me there.  Thanks, Mom!

2.  We are leaving the movie theatre because you're acting up.  Get enough people out in that van, pay the $85 to get into the movie theater/purchase obscenely priced stale popcorn, and we are not leaving until the show is over.  We'll deal with you at home later, mister.  Same holds true for "grocery shopping" and the like.  We would never eat if we employed the only-child disciplinary technique of "we are going home and we'll try again when you can act nicely."

3.  I will buy you a new (expensive item) if you behave.  I've seen people with maybe two or three children be able to do this, especially if they both work outside the home and/or dad is a big-time exec.  But for this mom driving the 12-year-old van and making chili mac and cheese for dinner?  You can forget it.  Here's a 25-cent bouncy ball.  Everyone share.

Chili Mac.  It's what's for dinner.
4.  I spend an hour of "quality time" with each child alone daily.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha!  I've actually heard this suggestion proposed seriously by some psycholo-whoozit.  Allegedly if you pay attention to the kid they're less likely to "act up" and demand your attention that way later.  Not. Doable.

5.  Grounding.  I have so many other people to take so many places, that when you are naughty?  You just have to come on all my boring errands with me.  I promise this technique is actually more effective than grounding.

04 January 2014

Assorted New Year Photos!

My Little Punk-y.  Rose wasn't impressed with D's interpretation of "how Pinkie Pie dresses for a night on the town." 
This is how I crop photos and make things look neater and shinier than they really are.  I scooted all Emperor's trophies to the shelf above my desk.
Above my sink.  I don't know why, but I've taken to collecting fake glass vegetables.
My table on New Year's Eve.  Our neighbour makes candles and every year she brings one to everyone on our street.  The green star is our gift.  It smells like a pine tree.

01 January 2014

Crazy Things My Mom Did... I'm Jealous.

It had to be the Golden Age of Parenting when I grew up.  I swear.  My mom did so many things that are absolutely normal when I was a kid... but they're "crazy" today.

1.  Be home by dinner.  I'm thinking I was six or seven when I was turned loose on the world at large.  Bye.  Get out of the house.  It's a nice day.  Be home by dinner.  See ya.

Nope.  There were no cell phones.  I could have wandered off ANYWHERE.  She trusted me to have some sense, go play with the neighbours (maybe save her some money and eat their food) and find something to do on my own.  Most of the time this worked out fine. 

2.  Lick the batter when I make cake.  Did I mention this was the Golden Age of Parenting?  So jealous that I can't do this with my kids.  I have to be all pickety about cleanliness and stuff.  Oh yeah!  I think the dog licked my face more than a few times when I was growing up.  I lived just fine.  If I ever had salmonella, it was just one of those things I was expected to "get over."  Like chicken pox and the flu.

3.  Go to School.  Yep.  I was expected to go every. time. school was open.  I loved and hated it all at the same time.  It was especially nice to go to school in the winter as my parents listened to Jimmy Carter and saved energy at home.  It was like 50 degrees at home!  When I think back to "Things that Made me a Republican," I think that was one of those beginning moments.  School was a place that was warm. 

You can disagree with me if you like, but school is NOT the same as it was when I was a kid.  Sure, they're working a bit to make kids not bully one another, but that doesn't mean it's a more friendly place.

When I was a kid?  We had art.  We had music.  We had lots of recess.  We had field trips.  We put on plays.  We had assemblies that were not "sell this crap door-to-door" or "do well on your MAP test" related.  We memorized poems that mentioned God and even Scriptures in public school.  I never felt preached at.  These were simply great pieces of literature.  (We sang Chanukkah songs, too.)

4.  No Helmets.  Metal Roller Skates.  Cage Fighting.  Ok, no cage fighting.  But we had baby aspirin, which I hear now is just as dangerous for little kids.  My mom would break the asprin up into bitty powdery pieces and mix it up into ice cream.  I had to eat the whole bowl.  :)

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...