Tuesday, February 28, 2006

not the good kind of geek

I can be a geek sometimes and about certain things. I'm kind of a beer geek which is probably my biggest claim to geekhood. I'm not a computer geek in the sense that I can really do anything with them that isn't already ready already. Blogger and Myspace are perfect examples. I love playing with them, but I'm almost afraid to mess with any of the parts where you can actually see the code. I'm afraid I'll fuck it all up if I'm not careful.

No, in computer geek terms I'm not the good kind to have around. I'm the kind that randomly discovers something neat and is amazed, regardless of the size of the discovery.

Here I am, full of glee at my newest discovery. Maybe I am the last person to discover this, and it really is not that big a deal. I'm tempted now to just highlight and backspace this whole damn thing and write something less inane. Yeah, not really my style.

Are you in suspense, anxiously awaiting this amazing discovery? Don't say I didn't warn you when you find yourself feeling somewhat underwhelmed or even deflated.

This is where I say that I am not the last person to discover Firefox. I'm on this one already, and I mention it because the discovery pertains to Firefox. When you have multiple tabs open, you can click and drag a tab and change the order of your tabs.

Pretty fucking righteous right? I thought so to. I'm going to right click on all kinds of things in the next blog I visit, and then I'm going to move the tabs around. I wish someone else was here right now because I would totally show them! That's cooler than you can fit in a 40 oz. Diva Cup.

my lent story

I'm giving up lent for lent.

Who am I kidding, I don't even know what the hell lent is. I think it's one of those crazy catholic holidays, but from what I've come to understand, when listing holidays, we should list lent under the "sucks" category.

I once had a friend give up liquor for lent. This didn't help her maintain any sobriety as wine and beer are not liquor. The year before she mentioned giving up caffeine. I'd just as soon beat up grandma with a baby than give up caffeine.

My religion, if I were to actually follow the Discordian teachings, would allow me, if I wanted, to take on an extra habit for lent. It's not in the Principia, but I'm sure it would be allowed.

To any good catholics out there, first, what the hell are you doing reading my craptastic blog? It's almost lent for christ's sake. Second, I don't intend to offend. I do accept that it is a natural tendency of mine to offend, and I don't actually care, but I don't intend to offend.

Okay, the sun is out, the day is lovely and my ass needs to be out going to stores and making purchases. The economy ain't gonna drive itself.

Rant for the day: I'm out of half and half. I have only had one cup of coffee today and am already out of half and half. I hate using milk in my coffee. I make good coffee, not some burnt water flavored shit that comes hermetically sealed in a foil vacuum pack, and I deserve real half and half! Dangit!

Monday, February 27, 2006


I am operating with most of a deck of cards. One of the aces is missing from my brain, so we had to use a Sharpie and write on one of the Jokers to replace the missing card. I'm working with a nswtm, or a not so well trained mind.

I don't own any cookbooks, so please, someone help me find the easiets and most basic of recipes. My ds12 has been thinking about girls lately. Can anyone tell me how to redirect his focus so that I will remain, not just his mother, but also his sole female companion? I don't want Satan to steal my babies pure heart.

I have pain in a part of me. Or I have some illness. It is very common and something we are all familiar with. Please line up to console/comfort me and tell me you will pray for slight cough.

Oh Gosh-a-mighty! Who left the doors open? Open minds might slip in and question things, the answers to which make us uncomfortable. Oh, please start praying that they will go away soon. I can't stand the glare from the open mind as the light of reason forces its way into my closed mind shell.

sore as I said

Yes, as I mentioned when discussing my need for a drink, my hips are sore, my back is sore, my thighs are sore . . .

My elbow is feeling better today. I did't think of it till today, but the elbow ache may have been from sleeping on it. I do tend to sleep on one arm or the other, usually the left, and some days I seem to sleep on it worse than others.

I didn't mentione my calves, but they are also sore. I did stretch well before playing. I really did, and that may have helped no pull anything. I really need to just exercise.

So here we have it. A short blog, not quite worth reading, but if you are unsatisfied for any reason, any reason at all, I will gladly refund the original purchase price, though you, dear reader, will have to pay shipping.

master of the test

I am 76% Asshole/Bitch.
Total Asshole or Bitch!
I am one of those people that love to hear the sound of their voice. That and my lousy attitude make for a mixture as toxic next-day-mexican-dinner-ass-drip.

I've taken way too many of these tests. I'm apparently not very punk or ska, regardless of what I may have thought. I'm just not as cool as I wanted to be. I'm fairly white trash/redneck, but I'm also from Georgia originally, and I still live in the South. Of all the tests I've taken, this is the one on which I scored the highest. On no other test did I score even close to this high. So, I'm more asshole than I am punk? How does that work?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

ready for a drink

I'm about to have to fix myself a drink. There's beer, but I believe this calls for some Capatain Morgan and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. It's also good with Sprite or even iced tea, the rum that is, especially iced tea, but we don't have any made, and the Coke company is nice enough to not only make their drink but also place it in a convenient bottle.

Most days I feel like a drink much earlier than this, but I pretend toward responsible parenting and put it off till laterish. I'm a bit of a curmudgeon (putting it wildly mildly) and find that the kids stress me out a little. I'm also blaming it on the winter hibernation, cabin fever and all.

Which brings up another point about today's need for a drink. I need to run, to go outside and jog, to make it a habit.

Today I need the drink because I played soccer. We had a "practice" that was not too far removed from a regular game. The teams weren't really what they will be I don't think, and we didn't have a referee.

I don't always need a drink just because I played, but I've done something to my elbow that a Goody's powder might not remedy. I don't know what I did though. I may have fallen on it, or perhaps it's achey from falling on my hand with my arm straight out. I may or may not have done that.

I did fall, and I did tackle a couple of times. The knees of Momma's sweat pants are muddy from some of that (I don't have my own so Momma cringe-ingly donates.) My knees are goofy from running, and the hips are going to be achey tomorrow. But the elbow thing has me stumped. It's a really dull and weak sort of hurt, but it's a new hurt. I'm used to the knees and hips hurting. I'm used to hitting the ground on my hands a couple of times per game and having them feel unpleasant.

Whiney poo!

I did have a blast though for the half hour I had the stamina for. I didn't run that entire time, and my lungs maintained a steady stream of complaints. But I got to play! I ran into some grown ups running pretty hard (good for destressing.) I executed some really great tackles, stopping a couple of runs toward my goal. I certainly feel some of the winter's build up of stress has been left on the field.

The first adult games are next Sunday. We are playing on some fields I've never seen before at the park named for one of our town's most craptastic of mayors. I don't believe the fields will suck as much as he did, but that's so off topic that I'm giving it the old, "Don't go there!"

Saturday, February 25, 2006

poem for spring

This is my favorite spring time poem. I'm putting it here in honor of the very first daffodil bud just about to pop open in my front yard. I'm afraid they'll get frozen, but considering my anti-winter feelings, it's always a good sign to me.

by A.A. Milne

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead."


Yeah, the house is the same mess it always is. I get so tired of having to dodge all the piles of toys, but I'm way too lazy to bother picking it up. Also, getting the boys to help clean is its own special hell, so I just end up ignoring it all.

The mess doesn't bother me so much in and of itself, but it grows like a child till it's just a horrid dangerous bunch of crap waiting to trip us all and take us down, kind of like my the kids again. And right now, The Boy is really loving the puzzles. So any cleaning currently involves sorting through all the scattered puzzles and pieces, putting them back together and putting them up. Within a half an hour though, he wants them back out. If I just leave them out, they get dumped out together and ignored.

Here's the honest moment of the day. Homeschooling isn't the easiest thing in the world if you want to do it well. You have to pay attention to your kids. You have to keep the messes picked up. You have to think about stuff. Sometimes, when you really want the messes picked up, you have to ignore them and be okay with messes.

My weakness is being somewhat okay with the messes. Okay, my real weakness is the lit up teat that is the computer. I know better, but I just sit here all day every day constantly opening up the bookmarks menu to check the same blogs, just in case there's something new somewhere.

So I'll publish this dumb thing and surf on over to someone elses site. I'll clean up the mess after I accidentally trip over something and finally freak out about it. Or maybe, and even better, I'll suddenly not be a lazy procrastinating slob.

freaky bedtime

I'll admit right now that this story isn't really that great, but it made my night a little nicer. If that title doesn't bring some soon to be disappointed readers, then fuck it, I'm a failure at something.

Anyway, The Boy watched his movie, ate some blueberries, didn't fall asleep, ate some Pez and thankfully didn't fall asleep. I was hoping I'd get his teeth brushed after all that before he went to sleep, but it was late, so I grew worried.

We did get his teeth brushed. We read some books first, then he wanted his last book in bed. After the book, he wanted me to lay with him. I don't actually bother, but I do kind of crouch on the floor with my head on his pillow. Momma actually gets in the bed and has fallen asleep before.

I made up and sang some songs as usual. One was about him and Big Brother stealing some melons and running from Old Mr. Goofball. The other was a really poorly cobbled together bunch about Thomas getting James' freight cars. Percy also shunted the express coaches to the station for Gordon. I always, always have a brain fart at "sing to me" time, and I never can think of the lyrics to an actual song. So I don't quite lay in his bed and don't quite sing songs to him, but he seems to not not like it.

I finally gave him his last smooch and achingly stretched myself back upright. I pulled his door closed and turned off the hall light. I remembered leaving my beer in the kitchen, so I grabbed that and headed back to the other end of the house.

I was curious what would come next. With Big Brother, it can be anything. He lost screen time today for standing on the arm of the sofa. He was actually running across the love seat, but as I entered the room he was mid-something on the arm, and he saw me and slowly sunk to the ground. So whatever he did pre-bedtime, it wouldn't involve video games or cartoons.

In the end it didn't matter. I saw him laying on the sofa and thought he was joking at first. I let him lay there and snore thinking I would outwait him. I knew he couldn't lay there and snore, looking so asleep for long. But he didn't move. I thought of tickling him, making him admit that he wasn't really asleep. But then I thought, if the sleep were real, I could easily ruin it if he wasn't very much asleep.

In the end, I ignored him for a minute. Then I got his covers neat on his bed and carried his big long ass back to bed. It's so early for him, and I have the whole night to myself. That isn't saying much considering the time and that tonight is Momma's really late night at work. I might not be up when she gets here. This is my special time. I'll use it to do write silliness! And probably check Myspace.

idiot has me stumped for a title

The following quote is from a letter to the Metro Pulse, our local alternative news weekly. It's a great little paper, if you live around here and need to know what bands are playing where. This letter though just really gave me a laugh, and not the good kind. This sample is the real clincher for me.

So here’s this little girl awash in this huge back seat. I say to her, “How old do you have to be before you can sit in the front seat?” She replies: “13.” “And how old are you?” “7.” So I say: “You’re relegated to the back seat for the next eight years?”

Never mind that his math is that far off. Never mind that he is ridiculing a law that is intended to protect children, those among us with often the least faculty to make the wisest of decisions. Also, never mind that he is taking the word of a child concerning the law and is misinformed.

  • Children age four (4) through age eight (8), and measuring less than five feet (5') in height, must be secured in a belt-positioning booster seat system, meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards in the rear seat, if available, or according to the child safety restraint system or vehicle manufacturer's instructions. (Note: If the child is not between age four (4) and age eight (8), but is less than five feet (5') in height, he/she must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)
  • Children age nine (9) through age twelve (12), or any child through twelve (12) years of age, measuring five feet (5') or more in height, must be secured in a seat belt system. It is recommended that any such child be placed in the rear seat, if available. (Note: If the child is not between age nine (9) and age twelve (12), but is five feet (5') or more in height, he/she must still use a seat belt system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.)

His problem with all of this is that liberals are ruining life by making laws that force safety measures on people. He apparently bonded with family while riding in the front seat as a child, and he's uses that sad old arguement that what didn't kill him is certainly okay for the next generation.

He chides us for using studies about safety and airbags in order to push these laws on us. I wonder if he's ever lost a loved one, a very young one who couldn't decide how safe they wanted to be.

I too grew up riding in the front seat. I grew up thinking of seatbelts as those things you had to pull out whenever you lost something down the back seat. Honestly, I only saw the seatbelts in the back when I pulled them out, creased from being jammed down into the seat where they would be out of the way. When I found my quarter or my pencil, I stuffed them right back down. I certainly want my children in the safest place that I can find for them, and I don't really need the force of the law. The facts and the studies are really quite enough for me.

I do disagree to some extent with some laws that I see as overzealously enforcing safety, helmet laws for instance. If you have a motorcycle and choose not to wear a helmet, you should certainly be old enough to take that chance. That is in no way similar to riding in someone's lap, in the front seat of a car. In addition to the child's safety, the entire car is safer knowing that the child is fixed and immovable. For all the control we feel when driving, few other venues offer such small margins of error with such great opportunities to do great damage.

All that to say this. To the jackass that wrote that letter, put the girl where she is safe, in the back seat. Next, to make especially sure she is safe, ask someone else to drive, jackass! Not that this guy will see this, but here are some facts.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

the library, finally

We have been missing the library lately. With letting the boys stay up later at night came the obvious sleeping later in the day. Our best day to have the car are those days when Momma works in the morning and get's off early enough in the evening.

So we haven't been getting up at 8:00 a.m. and haven't been taking Momma to work. We have been stuck at home day after interminable day. It's been too nasty and cold to go out most days, mostly because I really, really hate winter.

We finally made it to the library today. Momma had to be at work at noon and is working to volume, basically meaning that she leaves when the place is dead enough to not need her. Since she will be off before anyone's bedtime, we hope, we took her, dropped her off and went straight to the library.

I had forgotten the stroller, actually having assumed it was in the trunk, so that The Boy walked. He's a great walker, but he is an even better meanderer. Not having the stroller meant no books for me unless I wanted a juvenile or YA book, which I sometimes do. I actually have enjoyed many jfiction books lately thinking that I was "screening" them for Big Brother. I refuse to take both boys through the non-children's books if The Boy isn't in his stroller both to save my own sanity as well as to keep the noisey running to a minimum for the other library patrons. My boys can be noisey!

We did visit the second floor for the A/V department, though I couldn't really convince either of them to actually look at the cd's. For what it's worth, we checked out the following music:
-Beethoven-String Quartets-Alban Berg Quartet
-Gene Krupa-In Concert
-Steve Earle-Essential Steve Earl
-Bob Dylan-Biograph
I was sure that we'd gotten more music, but I was wrong.

Our local NPR station's night time jazz show was all big band recently, and they played Sing Sing Sing with that amazing Gene Krupa opening that just puts that fire in your ass. I don't remember which blogger that I read recently pontificated on Beethoven's string quartets. I'm not much into classical music generally, but I also don't dislike it. Steve Earle, well, he's Steve Earle, and if you don't know, take yourself to the store and get some. Bob Dylan, well, he's . . .can't use that one again . . .hmmm. Big Brother knows of Dylan through some Johnny Cash stuff we have with Dylan singing in the back somewhere. He noticed the recent documentary about Dylan, No Direction Home, and got more and more excited about it as he saw more commercials. Then the show finally came on, and it wasn't quite what he expected. I enjoyed it, while he, growing quickly bored, did not watch much. So I've been checking the library when we used to go weekly oh those months ago, but for some reason, Bob Dylan seems to be fairly popular so that his work is always checked out.

We also picked up our usual couple of Thomas the Tank Engine videos and I found some books to read to The Boy. Big Brother is rereading the Harry Potter books, finishing the first two in record time. For the coolest Harry Potter link that I've seen lately, try these spells.

We also owe the library a bit more money than I thought. We got into a bit of a time period, as I've mentioned, where we weren't visiting the library as regularly as we usually do. I messed up, got confused then found the stuff I thought we'd returned. Thankfully, we don't owe them a lot of money, though owing the library any money is too much to me. I'm in love with the library and am not happy with myself when I disrespect her or her books.

Time to step outside for my post lunch smoke, then back here to the headphones and some Gene Krupa.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

soccer and snow

It's snowing again. Our forecast for the next week is a crappy mix of rain and snow. I need to get busy calling my team. Our first practice will be scheduled for next week, and our first game is much too close. This will be the third year that we've been involved with soccer, and the fifth time I've coached Big Brother's team.

And it's snowing again. It got just warm enough today to melt most of the snow, and as of my last smoke break, it was snowing again. I had to hide in the garage.

We did have at least one practice last spring in the snowfall. I would prefer not to have to again, as the novelty wears off really quickly.

I'm getting excited with the coming season. I love coaching the kids, though I don't know how well I'd do with older kids. At the U8 level, I feel I do a great job. With kids this age, if you can have fun with them, if you can let them see your love of the game, it seems to bring some of the same out of the kids.

I want my teams to want to win just as I want to win, but there's so much more than that, so much that's more important. I ask that they learn and that they do their very best. I explain to them clearly that all I want is there very best. I trust that if they and I give our best to the team, we will all learn, we will all have fun, and we will win more than not. I hope that I can have the parents transmit that same ideal to the kids also.

With the parents in mind, I want one day to defeat the worst soccer cheer ever, "KICK IT!" which is too often really not what you want from your team. In a sense, we want to insist that they do kick the ball as that is the main form of motation on the field. But random kicking of the ball is very counterproductive. I'd love to nicely convince the parents that the majority of the cheering regimen should be the following few phrases, where appropriate:
-CONTROL!-This one is my big one. To me, the entire game revolves around issues of control
on many different levels.
-GO ___(name of team/child)___!-I really want to teach healthy levels of both personal
repsonsibility as well as the unity of the team as a unit.
-DEFENSE!-never to be underestimated is a strong defense that is aware of it's value, especially in soccer when so much emphasis is on the attacker.
But I can't come up with a way of suggesting this that I'm sure that I would be okay with hearing. I'll continue to consider this.

I really am excited to meet my team. This is our first all boy team, and I'm curious if I should expect it to be that much different from a similar group of boys and girls. I get to spend tomorrow trying to catch up with all the families to let them know when we start practice. Then I'm basically done for a week in which I wish fervently for good weather and find a book at the library to get me fully into a coaching mindset.

rant about Momma's job

If anyone cares, I am one of those non-outside-employment types lately. I am a cook by experience and trade I suppose, as is Momma. This gives me extra insight to her own job issues. I know restaurants, to an extent.
She is finally the boss, the head chef finally being demoted to no more than just head chef. When Momma finally got home from work last night (early as shit this morning actually) we were discussing the latest screwup by HC (head chef.)
He called in on a Saturday night, just over a week ago, because of the "threat of snow." There was no snowfall till well after he would have left work, so . . . But that's not as bad as what he pulled the previous week, and I just found out last night. I'm a little pissed off that the owner didn't step in for this which, in my mind, is worse than the call in.
What did HC do that was worse? He got a phone call from his wife because her car was broken down, so he left work at least two hours early, and it's closer to 2-4 hours early, considering that your scheduled time out in a restaurant is generally more ideal than concrete.
Should he not have left work to help his wife? I'd want similar consideration if my car broke down. The problem is that she wasn't stuck anywhere. She wasn't stuck on the highway. She wasn't stuck in a bad part of town. She was stuck at home! AT HOME!!! and HC left early so that she wouldn't be stuck at home.
We have one running car. I'm stuck at home most every day Momma works.
Oh well, I guess now we know why my hot wife is the boss now!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

rockin' out and surfin'

Yeah, that surfin' I mentioned would definitely be the internet. The only waves in this part of the country are of a most painful orange hue.
I do love rockin' out and most especially when I'm on the computer. Considering the computer is the best cd player in the house, it get's used a lot. Now that I've discovered today's links, I may have that much more trouble getting away from the computer.
If you like rockabilly, surf, blues, et cetera, all the greatest of the American musical forms, or if you want an education, you should certainly check out Border Radio. I haven't listened to anything else at the computer since I first saw them on Myspace. I can't even begin to keep up with all the people I've never heard of before that I'm hearing on here.
I wondered earlier today if their were a way to get itunes to not always disappear. Sometimes I want to stop/pause the music right away. It's often pretty loud, and I need it to totally disappear for a moment when either Momma or the boys need to talk to me. So Big Brother is sitting at the table talking, not realizing that I can't quite hear him. By the time I'm down to the itunes button and have it open and have the music stopped he has to repeat himself.
Hmmm, I began the thought process. I wonder, I thought, if there is a way to have a little controller that is alway visible even when their is a browser window open. My next stop, logically for once, was straight to the Firefox extensions page. Sure enough, exactly what I wanted, and here it is. Foxy tunes is so cool! I'm done now before I start gushing.

name for translations

I found something interesting while doing my usual screwing around on the computer.
It should be understood that when I mention translations to English that don't quite say what they mean, I in know way intend this to be making fun of anyone. I do find it humorous, but I also understand that, if I were to go to a foreign, non English speaking country, I would be the one mispronouncing the words and sounding funny.
I've actually had my English corrected by a Mexican coworker. Being from Atlanta, I often leave out the second "t" when pronouncing it, saying basically "Atlanna." My friend and coworker would then point out that, "Eet ees pronounced Ahtlahntah." To which I would answer, "No, I'm from there Saul, we actually pronounce it Atlanna."
Anyway, there is a word "Engrish" for the sometimes humoruos mispronunciations from our Asian friends. Our language and theirs are vastly different, and this Wikipedia entry explains better than I can.
Again, I do not wish to belittle anyone for their natural differences. Ignorant fools are funny sometimes, even if it's a sad kind of dark humor. People who are just different are just different, and difference, in my opinion, is a great way to find out about new and interesting people, and differences make us stronger.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

another translation

I've posted once before about imported products and the text contained, the translation to English being the basic point. Often, the translation comes across as odd, especially considering the backward nature of our language, wood, would, thought, tough, dough, cough, sell, sale, sail, two, to, too. I won't even mention our random word additions from around the world that we now call English.
Here again, one of these items is a gift, a lovely gift from Italy of a bottle of crema de limoni, a lemon cream liqueur. Sadly, the bottle is rather small, but happily, it's a cool bottle to add to our collection of more stuff that's pretty and unnecessary.
AltaVista's Babel Fish translator tells me that "L'abuso di alcool nuoce alla salute" translates from Italian to English as "The alcool abuse nuoce to the health." Okay, alcool is obviously alcohol, and nuoce? Not sure. I tried to translate it by itself and got nuoce.
On the box that held the bottle, the text is almost entirely in Italian. In addition to the warning, it does tell us both "si serve freddo" as well as "to be served cold" and even "il se sert froid" for their French buyers.
What I like is the box's translation into English of the health warning, "To drink to excess damage health." It's almost advice, I think.
My friend that brought me this delightful beverage refers to it as lemonchello. She is an awesome friend. Should you ever find yourself near a bottle of this delightful stuff, you ought to grab it and go.
Our next item of the night is the paper wrapper from a pair of chopsticks. Momma and I went out without the boys. We went barhopping and appetizer eating. We had an absolute blast.
Here is the text in question from the wrapper. Believe me, I've read it a couple of times to make sure that I've misspelled properly and added the proper capital letters.

Welcome to Chinese Restaurant.
please try your Nice Chinese Food With Chopsticks the traditional and typical of Chinese glonous history and cultual.


I'm assuming that cultual and chopstlcks are just misspellings. But glonous is a bit more open. My first guess would be that it should say glorious. But maybe it's just some crazy word added because some guy was tired and just not trying that hard one day. Maybe they also used Alta Vista and nuoce came back translated into glonous.
Mostly, I just love the welcome and the request that I enjoy my nice Chinese food and that I use chopsticks. We did enjoy our food, pot stickers and egg rolls there, some sort of duck breast thing and insanely large pieces of calamari at the next place.
I almost forgot that the initial laugh for my wife and me was the word glonous. Maybe we were giddy from being out together on a real date, or perhaps it was the fact that we were giddy from being out together . . .yeah, it seemed funny then.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I shelter my kids

Yes, I shelter my kids. And apparently that's a problem. What I should do is send them to school. At school, along with all that great learning, they will learn how to BE in the REAL WORLD. And this must be true because as we all know, schools are bastions of reality, the very home of realness. All things really real can be found through those doors.
Yes, I shelter my kids, and one day they will be forced into the daylight of grown up where they will be fully unprepared for life. Okay, someone needs to invent a way to type sarcastically, perhaps a universally understood font that would be read sarcasitally.
In real life, you will be shaken down daily for whatever cash you have in your pocket. By the way, this is not mugging, it's called bullying. In real life, your boss will make you raise your hand if you need to pee, even if he's kept you so busy doing meaningless work that you've had to wait a really long time and really need to pee. In real life, if you wear your favorite shirt and your coworkers decide it isn't cool enough, they will steal your back pack and kick it around the office.
Yes, I shelter my kids and will continue to do so. They will always have the benefit of this shelter until I'm too old to provide it, at which time, if I've done my job as a parent, they will be willing to help me find shelter.
In addition to sheltering my children from the violence and intimidation of the school, I am sheltering them from various bad attitudes. I'm sheltering them from racism and homophobia. My goal is not to raise children that feel sheltered or isolated. I want more for my children than the school can give. I want wide open frontiers, not brick walls and desks.
Yes I shelter my kids.

sorry Mr. Friedman

In my last post, I completely misspelled the name of the blogger from whom I got the idea for the blog I wrote. Okay, so I didn't actually misspell his name. His name is David and I referred to him as Robert. I'm guessing he's the only one who read the damn thing and probably only because he saw that I'd linked to him.
So, if David Friedman shows back up 'round these parts, I'm sorry that I couldn't manage to remember your name while clicking between tabs to try and get my info for the links. I'm really usually slightly brighter than that.
In my defense, I will say that Robert is a very nice name, and maybe you'd like to try it out for a day or two, which is not to demean David, also a nice name.
Actually, we can all just stick with the names we have. I think once we start name switching it's all just going to get silly.
And speaking of silly, I should also probably apologize for this entire post. I'm attempting intended silliness, but I really have my doubts as to the success.

Friday, February 10, 2006

school or not, the versus issue sort of

You can't compare homeschooled kids to public school kids. The experience is so fundamentally different that no angle provides a satisfactory view to make an honest comparison. The way that schools "work" has no real bearing on how homeschooling works, so the results should be expected to be different. When you approach your children as learners and you haven't taken the role of teacher, when children are not taught to rely on a teacher to gain what they need to know, when kids are allowed to decide for themselves what they need/want to know, you understand that the old ways, the school ways, don't prepare our kids for what they need and will want or what we want for them.
Unschooling, it must be understood, is not about what we, as parents, want or expect from our kids. We do have desires and expectations for our kids and that should not be discounted. But more than anything, we want for our kids to be self-actualized, self-motivated and able to satisfy their needs personally. They must then be able to figure out their own needs because they learn early that they don't have someone hovering in the background to be ready in a moment to tell them. We do hover in the background because we are parents and love our kids. They do know that we are there, even if we hide just a little in the shadows. Our kids learn that we won't butt in, but we are always there, at any time that they need us. And that is one more thing they learn, when they want to do it themselves and when they need to ask us or anyone for help.
Some people, in arguing against homeschooling, worry that, without being forced, kids will never learn certain things that are such a big part of what is considered education. That, through the experience of many homeschool/unschool families, has been proven to be a nonissue. Will kids learn algebra or physics or biology? Yes they will if they want to. What if they just don't want to learn those things? First, we should question the true value of forcing these subjects onto every child regardless of the child's desire. I have no use for these things in my average day. Many of us never use those subjects ever. However, some people cultivated a desire for something in life that required the knowledge of those subjects. Homeschooled kids also have desires. As they grow and grow older, they are very much able to see what they want in life. They find it easy to pick up the subjects that relate to their desire.
In the end, I want my kids to know that there isn't much in this world they have to do. They will do what they want, and they will learn how to do what they want. Anything I child finds interesting is something they can learn from. Children, as they grow, learn what they are good at and what they love. I want my kids to have the time to cultivate their desires. I don't want their adulthood to revolve around doing things they hate because they have to. So I won't teach them that life is like that. I will let them learn what life can really be and what they can really be. Should I worry about their ability to motivate themselves? Should I care if sometimes they don't want to do anything? Will they ever learn to work or to work through unpleasant aspects to achieve a goal? Well, Big Brother took time to learn how to ride a bike. He didn't like a lot of what happened on the way to figuring out the whole speed/balance combo. He fell down a lot. He skinned his hands and knees. The pedals barked his shins a few time. He knows how to ride a bike though because he kept trying. He suffered through physical pain and mental frustration to work toward a goal that had value to him.
This post was inspired by both this blog, Ideas, written by David Friedman, and the comments to this blog. I found the blog through the Carnival of Unschooling.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

homeschooling children to be social gimps

I shouldn't bother to link to the idiot because he doesn't need the readers. Some people should just save their blogs to their hard drive and not bother actually posting this shit. Chris O'Donnell introduces us here to several bloggers' Idiot of the Day.
Are homeschooled children social retards? Are they so sheltered that, at 18 years old, when they are released, they have no concept of how to interact with the real world? Of course, if you listen to the idiots that are all "knowledge" and no experience, then we are damning our kids to a life of social retardation.
Well, we don't really keep our kids in the house sitting around the Bible. We don't release our kids into a world they haven't dealt with their whole lives. We also don't warehouse them in an age segregated school setting that has no bearing on "real world" reality.
I'm not christian and am not homeschooling my kids for religious reasons. I know full well that, as an involved and loving parent, I could easily teach my children what I consider to be my morals if they were in gschools. But my and my wife's morals, such as they are, are part of why we chose to homeschool. We model appropriate behaviour so that our kids know they are more like other people than more different, and that, to me, is a most highly desirable trait. Even if the education didn't suck, the other things they learn are contrary to our beliefs. We are raising our kids to be open, loving, caring, accepting, understanding, things that are belittled in the competitive and cliquish culture of gschools.
Do I know enough to be able to teach my kids all that they will need to know? I'm just as able to do so as probably 90% of the teachers they would face in gschools. But what about math and science? This is a big "DUH" in my opinion. The math and science they would get in school is laughable at best and in my opinion actually damaging more often than helpful.
The things kids are supposed to learn in school, academically speaking, are things that anyone can pick up, given the ability to learn as they are interested. The math and science they will use is all around them, so how better to learn than through use and desire?
I'm happy with my kids being "social retards." I have long felt, as has my wife, like a social retard. I grew up, as did my wife, attending schools. We have taught ourselves more than all the teachers we ever had combined. We've also, sometime after reaching adulthood, come to a place where we feel welcome socially, and it's called not giving a crap what people think. Schooled children have more trouble learning that, if they ever learn that, because school is all about forcing all the pegs to fit in the same shape hole. Homeschooling is about finding the hole that is the same shape as you and deciding whether it's right for you.
School is not real. School does not present life in a way that can be considered realistic. School is a damaging and unpleasant place that doesn't prepare people to interact with other people in sensible socially relevant ways. Homeschool kids are different socially as are all people, but they have the added benefit of knowing that their difference, much like everyone else, is part of their uniqueness and is a desirable quality.
And finally, if your "proof" about anything is anecdotal evidence, then it really isn't truth. Opinion is not a valid arguement, and saying homeschooling is or isn't something doesn't make it true.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

more on TN snow man

I just talked to a friend who reminded me of another attribute of the TN snow man. He sits alone on a green and brown lawn sadly bereft of snow. In some climates, snow men are fairly easily built. Here however, if we've taken the time, made the effort to build the best snow man we can, we find that we've used up our allotment of snow.

and now . . .

It's actually both snowing and sticking. The street in front of the house is fine so far, but if it get's cold enough it could be pretty icey in the morning. And not going to the grocery store tonight like we were supposed to means we really have to get up tomorrow morning. I may just go by myself when Momma gets in from work.
It's supposed to be sunny again tomorrow meaning the snow will look nice tonight and be mostly gone in the morning. We'll see.
We seem to get one decent snow per winter. It's just enough to roll up a dirty little TN snow man with leaves sticking to him, about half the size of those you might see on television in that perfect winter. Most of the snow is melted within a day or two. But there are always those lingering patches that you realize just don't ever get sunlight. There's plenty of places like that around here.
I know there are plenty of places that get real snowfall, and I've even seen pictures of those places. But I really don't care. One decent one a year is plenty for me. Just one day to watch the snow through the window, one day to watch it flying at the windshield and I'm done. I appreciate it and am glad to see it for a time.
Now the weird part? Between this end of the house and the property line is our driveway which runs perpindicular to the house. The bit of driveway directly beside the house is the only part of the driveway on which the snow is collecting.
Here's another link, not nearly as funny as the last two however, NOAA, my weather source. I have it bookmarked to go directly to our zip code. It beats having to see the local goofball weather guy.

rap jay y bob el silencio

Maybe you have to be a fan of the movie, maybe not. For all the random Spanish I might know, it's really not speakable Spanish so much as restaurant lingo. The hard part for me here is trying to remember the original bit that Jay says. So here are both. They do say the F word a lot (seriously, a lot) and a few other choice things. If you don't like it, I'd suggest you not click either link. Is it just as offensive en Espanol even if, though you don't understand, you know what they are saying? I kind of hope so!
So, rapping courtesy of Jay, I present

Jay and Silent Bob

Jay y Bob el Silencio

Sunday, February 05, 2006

myspace and free speech, East TN edition

Is it the newest way in which Myspace is evil, or is this one just first ammendment?
I showed up at Grandmother's house with Momma and the boys for supper tonight. Her Sunday paper was spread about, and the front page blared bright with the newest story about everyone's favorite site.
There are a couple of stories here that stood out to me. Basically a number of high school students from this area have been punished for comments made on Myspace. Apparently the kids were using their own computer, their own time, at home. The other instance involves kids making a fake profile of a teacher and being inappropriate with some comments.
These are two different things. The first instance to me is a clear violation of the kids' first ammendment rights. The schools don't send their roots far enough into the family? Now we have this kind of thing to worry about? As with many issues, this is almost less about this particular instance than it is the power this gives the school in the future.
In the second story, I don't think this has anything to do with the first ammendment. These kids were entirely in the wrong. This does show a problem with Myspace. I've seen profiles hijacked by what amounts to Myspace hackers. In addition, as the news story mentions, Myspace can't tell if you are lying to them. I can't say I know enough about the law to say exactly what I think these kids did. I'd be pretty pissed if someone did this to me.
I have some female friends on Myspace who learned quickly to limit the personal information they put out. Sadly, too many of us guys are basically assholes when we know the girls can't actually see us. This is an instance where a lie on a profile page saves some people a bit of annoyance.
Of course I've also seen profiles where a person claims a certain age, but by reading their page you can learn that they are most likely a few years younger. I'd love for parents to keep their kids off of Myspace for the most part, but I've made that point before, so I won't force it now.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

reason number ?/aka, take it where we find it?

Just over a year ago we got a card in the mail informing us that a friend had purchased for us a gift subscription to Seed Magazine. I wasn't sure at the time what to expect.
Sometime thereafter the first copy arrived in the mail. Seed describes itself with the slogan, "Science is culture." The magazine does present, in each issue, a number of interesting science stories. The current issue, February/March 2006, has an interesting article about Elizabeth Gould and her work with at the Princeton University Department of Psychology in neuroscience and neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. Her work with marmosets has brought new insight into how the brain develops.
While reading this article, one bit jumped out at me.

When a brain is worried, it's just thinking about survival. It isn't interested in investing in new cells for the future.
On the other hand, enriched animal environments-enclosures that simulate the complexity of a natural habitat-lead to dramatic increases in both neurogenesis and the density of neuronal dendrites, the branches that connect one neuron to another.

Keep in mind that the research here was done on marmosets. However, I can see the link to humans, but my first leap is toward the homeschooling family as I read those lines.
By providing the loving environment, along with a variety of resources and interaction with the real world that are inherent to proper homeschooling, we are helping our kids' brains grow. The common public school classroom on the other hand causes stress, and it therefore leaves the brain to often in a fight or flight response condition.
The article further mentions that too much stress, especially at a young age, not only retards neurogenesis in childhood but also trains the brain to continue this unhealthy lack of growth.
This information could be used to describe a number of societal ills. Elizabeth Gould herself, according to the article, ". . . prefers to focus on the strictly scientific. . ." However, the article also mentions her interest in questions of poverty in relation to her research.
With the homeschool mindset that guides my focus these days, I saw in this what I would have looked for. I'm not a scientist and can't say that I'm right. But based on the article, it's at least something to think about.
And thinking about this, I feel that I have yet another goal toward which to work. I want my kids to have open minds. I want them to have a healthy sense of self and of right and wrong. I also want them to experience a life of newness, learning and neurogenesis.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

library class?

"We thought that since we have home-schoolers, we'd just try to show them how to use the library, because [the students] don't get that if they're not in school," Berry said.

This from an article here, which I found at Home Education and Other Stuff, a great read if you homeschool.
The article was really long and wordy, and honestly, I've read enough today to have not bothered with the entire article. Plus, having gotten to the quote above, I just had to hop over here and write/rant this.
I've got half a mind to give it the old, "Oh no she didn't!" rant, but that gets us nowhere. So instead I'd like to just say that, as homeschoolers, we are generally familiar with the library. Many of us spend much of one day a week at the library. Sometimes we even call it library day, so quaint. We know how to search online for books, how to use the hold/reserve option and even a little something about Dewey and some sort of decimals.
Add to the fact that we homeschool, or home educate as some prefer. By nature we see things to teach our kids. We find interesting tidbits to share, as if the whole world were a knowledge buffet. Wouldn't we then teach our kids about the library? When do kids in schools visit the library? Do they have library class?
We like the library and have fun there. We're there so much the staff recognizes us. Sometimes we run into other homeschooling families we know. Sometimes we see people we don't know, but we can tell they homeschool.
I'm not saying the program in the article is a bad thing, but I love those misguided sentiments that seem to think homeschoolers need help at the library. Honestly, the library is pretty self explanatory, even if you were to just wander in off the street having never been inside one before.
I'm done near ranting, because if I dwell on that quote . . .
Oh no she didn't . . .