Sunday, February 24, 2013

Falling in Love with a Book

DF has fallen, fallen utterly, for a book.  The book is 'Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site' and he could not love it more.  Relia brought it home from the library and he has spent most of the last two days carrying it around with him.  It's all very sweet!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baby Steps

LL has now taken his very first steps.  Video to follow, I'm sure.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Castello Regatto

I seriously want to go this place!  (Found here.  And there are more pictures at the link.)  It's near Tuscany and it looks beautiful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Overheard

DF, in the car this morning: Daddy, put on the song about 'Wake Me and Go-Go'. With the 'jellybug'!

You got it, buddy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Smartphones

We have finally, finally upgraded to having smartphones.  Which means that we can do things like check the internet while away from home.  And send and receive text messages and things like that.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rereads from High School

Another book list!  Yes, these are like catnip to me.  This one features ten books that you may have read in high school that you should reread as an adult.  The list (with comments):

  • Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald - The first part of this list I read recently as part of the great American novel project lo so many years ago.  I've been thinking of rereading this lately and will probably do so before the movie version comes out this year.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain - I simply loved this when I read it a few years back.  This is something that my kids will read while in their teens. 
  • The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton - I didn't really care for this one.  It's a picture of its age but it didn't grip me.  I haven't thought of it much since I read it.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee - A great book, one of the best I've ever read.  I think it is best reread every few years.  For some reason, I think of reading it in the summer or spring so the next time I reread it will be then.
  • Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury - Not my favorite.  It deserves high praise but I prefer other dystopian novels ahead of it.  I think it's widely misunderstood or at least the emphasis is different than Bradbury intended.
  • The Stranger, Albert Camus - (This is the first book on this list that wasn't covered by the earlier project.  The rest weren't either.)  I think this was assigned in high school but I don't remember reading it.  I vaguely remember some of the discussions though and nothing there kicked my interest.  I should probably pick it up at some point.
  • The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka - I did read this in high school (I think).  I should definitely read it again.  I've read other works by Kafka since then.
  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson - Never read them and never had much interest.  I've got a blind spot, perhaps, when it comes to poetry.  I'm working on that here.  Maybe I'll give some of her work a go at some time.
  •  The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon - The only Pynchon I've tried is 'V'.  Didn't care for it.  Struggled through 100 pages and set it down forever.  I'd need some real convincing before I tried this one.  
  • Animal Farm, George Orwell - I've read it several times and enjoyed it.  I don't think of this one as a 'read and reread' book nearly as much as '1984'.  I guess I think of this book as more of a one trick pony.
It's an interesting list.  It comes from a larger book that argues for rereading 50 different books from high school.   I'm curious about the other forty choices. 
Come to think of it, I'm not sure that I had fifty different books assigned to me in all of high school.  Only two of the above list (Mockingbird and Stranger) were assigned.  Well, maybe the Kafka too, I don't quite recall.  I very much like the idea of creating a list that my kids will read before college.  This might be a good place to start putting that list together.

Have a Great Friday

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Close Shave!

A pretty good video on the asteroid that will buzz the Earth tomorrow.

It's interesting just how far out the geosynchronous satellites are. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Naming the Storms

It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I first heard that the Weather Channel has taken it upon themselves to name winter storms, like we do hurricanes.  At first I thought it was both a) gimmicky and b) a weird kind of power grab.  Apparently I wasn't alone.  This article says that the National Weather Service isn't a fan either. 
But, well, it was awfully convenient to refer to last weekend's east coast storm as 'Nemo'.  It made it easier as a travel agent.  It made it much, much easier to talk about it on Twitter.  Gov. Chris Christie sent out tweets with the #nemo hashtag, which certainly made it easy for New Jerseyites to find info on storm prep.  I'm sure others did too. 
I was skeptical, but I might be coming around.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wrestling Going

From the What?!? department

IOC leaders dropped wrestling from the Olympic program on Tuesday, a surprise decision that removes one of the oldest Olympic sports from the 2020 Games.
The IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon -- the event considered most at risk -- and remove wrestling instead from its list of 25 "core sports."

 So as of 2020, there will be no more wrestling in the Olympics.  Wrestling, of course, is an original sport.  Original to the ancient Greeks, that is.  Which kind of makes this decision hard to take.  Well, it might come back. 
Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, plus karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020.
 For those wondering, the host city for the 2020 Olympics will be chosen later this year, September 7th.  There are three candidates: Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Comet News

We may be headed to a very good year for seeing comets.  Including one in just a few weeks!

The best dates to look may be March 12th and 13th when Pan-STARRS emerges in the western sunset sky not far from the crescent Moon. A comet and the Moon, together, framed by twilight-blue is a rare sight. "My guess is that the primary feature visible to the naked eye will be the gaseous coma around the head of the comet," says Knight. "The comet's tail will probably require binoculars or a small telescope." Two other key dates are March 5th when the comet comes closest to Earth (about 100 million miles away) and March 10th, when the comet comes closest to the sun. The dose of solar heating it receives just inside the orbit of Mercury could be just what the comet needs to push it into the realm of naked-eye visibility.

Overheard

Relia singing: "I long to be a princess . . . but my parents aren't good enough . . ."

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Sick

LL has been sick most of the week.  Throwing up and very messy diapers.  Took him into the doctor on Thursday and they said that it was probably just a stomach virus.  Could take a week or two to run its course.  We only need to watch and make sure that he's hydrated and that he doesn't get worse.  So far, no additional problem.
But, man, it's tiring. 
We've been crazy lucky [knocks on wood] about children's health.  Some quick sickness from Relia and DF but nothing major.  Always over in a day or two.  In fact, it's quite possible that he's been physically sick more this week than the two of them put together. 
When I'm grumbling about cleaning him up again, I try and think about parents that are dealing with really sick kids and how terrible that is.  And then I sigh, and wipe up some more stuff.

Friday, February 08, 2013

From Up On Poppy Hill - Studio Ghibli

 From what I can tell, this should hit US theaters in March. Not sure if it's as kid friendly as previous films, but it looks really good.

Have a Great Friday

Doesn't that look nice and peaceful?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Appliance Arrival Time

A very interesting post from Megan McArdle about the disparity in years between the US and the UK as to when various appliances were wide spread.  She has thoughts on why this might be, but what I found most interesting is the chart at the bottom. 
For instance, color TV (or something called colour TV) was first introduced in the US in 1961.  Within 6 years, half of US households had one and by 1971, that amount was 75%.  Over in Britain, they got colour TV in 1970.  It didn't hit the 50% mark until 1978 and didn't top 75% until 1983. 
Click through to see the whole chart.  Very interesting stuff.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Super Bowl

This game dragged.  Even if you discount the power outage (and how weird was that?!?), it dragged.  Too much time spent with officials meeting with coaches and each other.  Very little flow.  The last 11 seconds of the game somehow took nearly 20 minutes to play.
But it was exciting.  There were tons of highlight plays for both teams.  And it was close.  I didn't have a strong rooting interest for either team so I don't feel a high or a low right now.
Best commercial?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Readings

Last night was my turn to read to the kids.  We first read an Olivia book, where Olivia and family go to Venice.  The artwork features cartoons on top of photos so the beautiful architecture of Venice comes through.  There was a picture of San Marco square that looked similar to this:

You see the big building at the end of the square?  That's a basilica and according to DF, it now belongs to us!  Which is good news.  It looks like a beautiful place.  We've decided to keep this information quiet in hopes that the good people of Venice will keep up on the, no doubt, expensive maintenance! 

The other book that we read from is 'Little House on the Prairie'.  We're at a part where the Ingalls family is living in Indian Territory (near the Kansas/Oklahoma border) and there is tension between the white settlers and the Indians.  In fact, the Indians were meeting and discussing going to war.  They were dancing and letting out terrifying war whoops. 
This required some very careful editing while I read.  Eventually the kids will learn about the sad and tragic history of Indian relations during the westward push but that's a tough one for a five year old.  Much less a two year old!  The chapter ends with Pa disputing the saying that 'the only good Indian is a dead Indian'.  I'm with Pa on this, but I'd rather keep that type of thing out of their world for now. 
Despite my expectations, they slept just fine afterwards.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Paperman

 How utterly charming!

Happy Friday

It is ridiculously cold here right now.  And sadly, not this pretty.