Showing posts from January, 2006

Caspian and Greek Myths

It all started with a cat. There’s an outdoor cat in our neighborhood that is a little shy. He’ll calmly sit and observe you from a distance, but will run away if you try and get close. One day, when Caspian and I were driving home, I pointed the cat out to Caspian and waved, but then said, “I don’t think he saw us.” After thinking this over for a minute, Caspian replied, “Oh, he did see us!” Since I was distracted and it wasn’t an immediate response, I parse that as “Odysseus!” and thought that Caspian knew the cat’s name. That led to a confusing “Is his name Odysseus?” conversation. Since then, Caspian has gotten much better at sorting out such misunderstandings. Anyway, we ended up nicknaming the cat Odysseus . Then came the Narnia movie. Shortly after seeing it, I was trying to explain Satyrs and Fauns to Caspian. I ended up drawing some stick figures of mythological beasts, including a cyclops. Since they were stick figures, the cyclops was the only one with an eye. Which led

Old Fashioned

A co-worker mentioned that he didn't have a mobile phone. While inviting him to join the 21st Century, I realized that I'm pretty old fashioned* myself: I still pay for a landline I carry a PDA, not a smartphone  I only run one IM client I buy my music online, but on plastic things called "CDs" I’ve only bought a few ringtones and games for my phone. (And $5 for a MIDI file seems outrageous!) I only download obscure TV shows over P2P I still use e-mail to communicate with my friends I have more stuff stored on my hard drive than in the cloud I'm sure there are more. * Or is that just "old" ?

Pluto and other odd balls

There's a lot (well, a little) brouhaha about whether or not the new KBO that's larger than Pluto (affectionately known as 2003 UB313) should be called a planet. And if not, then what do we do with Pluto? This all comes down to: "what is a planet?" You can come up with a list-based definition ("it's one of these 9 things") but that doesn't tell you anything about those 9 things, and therefore you can never tell whether or not you should add something to the list - there's no test for inclusion.  I've heard some really, really lame arguments for keeping Pluto's planet definition but denying 2003 UB313 - like "it'll confuse people" or "we'll have to update text books." If that's the case, I shudder at explaining to Caspian that "Pluto is called a planet, but 2003 UB313 isn't, because old people are afraid of change". Besides, Caspian already has some recently published kids space books th

Is it actually any good?

Anything I say about Andrew Rilstone will come out sounding like a lame attempt to emulate his biting wit. His reviews of Jackson's Lord of the Rings films a few years back show that he understands the Deep Magic (of film adaptations, fanboys and casual observers, and crufty old English professors), so I've been eagerly awaiting his thoughts on LWW. So just go read it.  The Life and Opinions of Andrew Rilstone: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Caspian's Computer

Several years ago, Susan was employed at a local Montessori school and was setting up the classroom for the Grade 1 students. One of her ideas was to get some computers in - not to play edutainment titles, but as tools. We found a second hand computer store that had a bunch of old Macintosh SE's for cheap ($10 each, as-is) so we bought several and cobbled together a network. We kept one machine for personal use - just in case... When shopping for a new sofa a few months ago, we stopped into a new store in downtown Bellevue which had a nice play area for kids with bean bags, XBoxen and a few eMacs. It was Caspian's first time using a mouse (Su's computer has a touchscreen), and he picked it up very quickly. He played a simple kid's title and I realized he was ready for his own box. So, on a trip to our storage container, I dug out the old Mac SE. (Aside: Cartoon Network was just finding its stride when Su was setting up the classroom, so the Macs ended up with names li

ASCII Art of the Day: Trireme

This won't work unless you're viewing this in an HTML-capable reader. And even then it will be iffy. I was digging through my hard drive and found some old files. I figured I could stick them somewhere more findable. Trireme __ ||\ || `\ /|| `\ / || `\ / ||\ `\ @-._ / _ |_ \_ _ `_____ \ `-.__(_)(_)(_)(_),-' / / | / \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ / ~~~~'--------\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\---'~~~~~~~~~~~ `--.________ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\-' ()))))))))))))))