heiligekuh: (Default)
Dear Democrats-

You're my party now, after those strange years of dalliance with Science Fiction parties that don't actually exist. It's been a weird transition, especially coming into this primary season. J and I have gone back and forth with each other about the primary race. We both loved the recent New Yorker article, which reads as a snarky anti-clinton peice but really spells out most of the things we like about her.

But, anyway, it will be too close to call by the time I go to bed. And even by the morning, the delegate count will still likely not settle the nomination. But please, please, PLEASE don't freak out about this. Remember that we have two fantastic canidates this year. If Clinton wins tonight, wins the nomination in general, please accept that. Don't throw any accusations of vote rigging, precient tampering, or anything else from that nasty bag. The same if Obama wins.

The worst aspect of a protracted primary is the nasty mud we throw at each other. And remember that every hostile outraged accusation that we throw at each other will come back 10 fold later this year from the 08 Swiftboaters.

So enjoy the best pair of canidates you're likely to see in your voting lifetime, and remember that we're still the same party. Please.
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So, I think about this song every single day.

Read more... )

Out of the entire Merritt cannon, this may be my favourite set of lyrics. The one-way/two-way analogy is great on it's own, but they way Merritt's delivery works through it is sublime. The genius to an ass or Bowery/Elaine lines all come off wry and flip - I'm drunk and it's funny - but by the end, "makes the sun shine, makes it rain" you can hear his voice sputter out, the point where the bottle of gin stops being like love.

It's also another one of the growing catalog of love songs that I sing to the baby that will never be romantic love songs again. Merritt songs don't make this switch as easily as most others (U2 are trivially easy), mainly because Merritt's so specifc with his narrative details. This one makes it just through sheer repetition.
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I had one of the great "I'm smarter than you" moments with some 7th graders yesterday. They were fiddling with the iMac in the back of my classroom, trying to tweak all the user settings so that it was "broken." In 7th grade parlance this means changing the default mouse button form left to right, upping the double click speed, maybe remaping the keyboard to dvorak if they really thought about it.

I walked back in the middle of this, laughed, then rebooted the machine into single user CLI mode and left. 7 kids clustered around the machine for 15 minutes, typing . . . .well, all the stuff you typed when you first hit a CLI and didn't know what you were doing, but with the nouns updated for 2007.

>open internet explorer
>clear memory
>erase memory
>delete all
>why doesn't this work? how can you do thsi without a mouse? I don't know computer code! agajakslhaksljhsal

This comes at the same time that one of my 8th graders is doing a weird tech/history project on the development of the GUI. His mom has been trying to tell him how phenomonal the switch from vi to emacs was, with the ability to compile without exiting the editor, and beng able to multitask with than simply bg and fg. And how it affected her Rouge play. Have I mentioned she may win nerd mom of the year?

But he doesn't understand. He runs Ubuntu Gutsy but only thinks of the command line as a tool to use when clicking is too cumbersome. And he's by far the most literate user I've ever taught. These are kids, remember, who were born after you gradtuated from HS. Their first computer experience was at least as advanced as the first machine you had in college.

So I'm going to try and run an extra credit project. Using a bundle of flashdrives, I want to build a CLI-only bootable system that still has the basic functions they'd need for school. Network drivers, a text editor (pico, vi, emacs), a web browser that can handle web mail (there must be one, right?) and possibly an IM client. I'll forgo printing, as I think that the diversity among printer models makes that more work than I'd be willing to do.

In the past I've used Damn Small Linux for my in-class machines, and it certianly fits on small drives. But I wonder if by going to a more full-featured distro I can make the hardware identification and configuration (most of which I'll probably have to do individualy) easier. And I'd love to be able to have them end the week by launching GNOME/KDE and finding out that they now have a "real" computer that builds on the strange skills they've built.

Any ideas, O nerd friends?
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Having your parents play with your child is awesome. These hours are just about worth the price of admision in and of themselves.

It's really as close as you'll ever get to seeing your parents as they were. Seeing how much they loved you before you did a damn thing to deserve it.
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Cat fight.

Set to the Kirk /Lizardman fight music.

I am weak. )
heiligekuh: (nympho)
So, I have half a dozen random things I keep talking to myself about, but they're all non-baby related. My mind runs to a bunch of stuff that's trivial in the larger world, mainly because thinking about the GRAND IMPORTANT bits of fatherhood can get a bit much while you're trying to deal with diapers, naps and all the rest.

But we just had Thanksgiving, with the three of us visiting my parents in OC. And. . .well, they're still my parents. I love them, and (naturally) have more and more appreciation for them as I watch Annika and watch myself change in response to her.

The one thing we don't have, across all of the grandparents Annika has to choose from, is a surviving relationship. Jodi's parents split when she was an adolescent, and while both of them are full of stories of her early days, those stories are still bound up in the larger parent narrative. They're not stories told together, from a shared history. Rather, their quietly contentious or obviously back-filled with the politics of the divorce. Our head of school is a much more dramatic example of this. Every time we talk about the experience of having a newborn at home, she makes a point to slam her ex-husband for being completely absent from the infant/child rearing process. Which, you know, may be completely true. It's just . . .not the story I want to hear. Jodi's non-bio mom came into the picture when J was a bit older and is a great woman; but she wasn't a part of those early days for J. And my parents - - -ugh. My mom is so hyper invested in the narrative she's made out of those early years and my dad is so detached and disconnected from it. Yeah, so basically like everything with them. Anyway, that disparity between their responses means that they don't ever tell any stories together. My mom relates one of her stcok anecdotes and the closest my dad comes to participating in it is that he'll "correct" her occasionally. Yeah, ugh.

So, this is the thing I want to give her. I like who Jodi and I are as a couple. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I'm so in love with jodi (and have been for so long) that I really want that to be a part of our stories for Annika. I want her to know that she was immediately part of an us.

I want Annika, in that far flung future (right before she moves off-planet) to sit down with us and hear the story of how her mom and dad became the parents she's always known and loved. And I want her to look at us, wrinkled and deflated, and see our 2007 smiles staring back at her with all the love we have for each other now echoed down through the decades. Know that she was the only thing in the world that could have possibly brought us closer together.

That's what I want her to take with her when she heads off in the rocket.
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So, when annika came home form the hospital, I rightly surmised that I was going to spend a lot of time on the couch where I was only going to have half (or less) of a brain. So I decided that I needed some TV to watch that wouldn't punish me for zoning out for a few minutes, and not so loud or explody that it would disturb the baby. So, I decided to use this time ot watch all of DS9.

[livejournal.com profile] usernamenumber and I realized somewhere around the time Bab5 was ending that DS9 was doing some neat stuff, but that we had been so focused on the *really* good SF show that we had lost track of the developing goodness of DS9. So, I decided to start from the start.

Now I'm just over a season into it, (It's a bit strange. S1 is only 20 eps, while S2 is 26. Is there a story here?) and man, is it ever Star Trek! There's so much technobabble, so many non-existent problems that are created and solved all in sentances that mean absoutley nothing outside the constructed langauge of Trek. But, that's what makes it good baby fodder. I can miss an entire scene with everyone milling around Ops and come back and nothing si=gnificant has changed.

There's also the attempts to make DS9 different that seem so. . .marginal from this distance. "charachter's won't always get along!" Well, that's true, but they don't really do much about it. Odo harasses Quark. Quark takes it. Julian wants to sleep with Dax. Dax laughs. While it's a change from the Superfriends cameraderie of TNG, all of the conflicts are . . pasted on. If anything it seems like everyone has these rough edges that are just waiting to get smoothed out so everythign fits into the nice TNG model.

yeah - - -first season DS9 isn't awesome. I wnet back and triend to figure out when "good" DS9 starts, and the conensus seems to be somewhere between "when Sisco shaves his head" and "when Worf shows up." Both of which are actually aroundthe time that TNG ends, and Ron Moore comes over as a writer/nominal show runner.

Has anyone else tried to do a systematic rewatch of a trek series in recent years?
heiligekuh: (Default)

Originally uploaded by scribbledes
Hell no! Even if she doesn't learn the game form this lump of plastic, she needs to see the roots!


Nov. 5th, 2007 06:52 pm
heiligekuh: (Default)

Originally uploaded by scribbledes
We manage to pull off these costumes and a halloween parade at school with a 5 week old, and you still haven't blogged it?!?
(I love the fact that I can post to heilegekuh's lj from flickr...or maybe he'll take it away after this.
The sleeping little one is baby Mario of a sort...red shirt and overalls skirt to match dad. :)
And the block makes noise...
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to not take any more fucking plastic controlers into my house.

Sweet jesus. I've trimmed a lot in the past months (including dropping my SNES and n64)

Current count in the game room: )
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So, John asked a question about our OMP - Oldest Material Possession - apparently inspired by Matt's discovery of a 3rd grade recorder in his trunk. As someone who has 3rd grade recorder contact on a regular basis, I want to be on record saying that abandonment in a trunk is far too generous a fate for such a hideous and offensive chunk of wood. We have a large campus with strange acoustics, and music teachers who are happy to let kids just wander around outside for an hour tooting on instruments. This means that in the middle of class you'll often be drowned out by a mix of recorder and Orf instruments that sounds like "My First Wire-Fu Soundtrack. . .Meets Chuthulu." So throw that fucker back in the trunk.

I could easily cheat on this OMP thing because we just had a baby, and when that happens your moms appear from the void with boxes upon boxes of old crap that you pooped on that they had squirreled away for just this occasion. My mom was actually heartbroken that the 1978 plastic mobile that she had put into storage these last 30 years had actually cracked in two places and no longer worked. We have a tendency to expect supernatural resilience from the objects that we invest so much into.

I've made it a goal to not fall into this trap with Annika and her things. Take, for example, this fine mobile:

we grabbed it form the baby consignment shop in the last few weeks and it's installed over her changing table. It's fuzzy and plastic and plays little MIDI Back and Mozart piano tunes. And, sumabitch, she actually responds to it. She recognizes the beginning of the sound, she will stop crying and track the rotating fuzzy bits with her eyes - - it works, despite my skepticism.

But she's not attached to it. She never sits out on the couch bouncing with us as things "Damn! I miss that rotating bleepy thing that sits over me while I poop!" And 30 years from now, seeing it in a dusty box would mean nothing to her. . .but Jodi and I would probably bawl.

All of which is a way of getting out of all that crap as my OMP, and taking something that I actually had an attachment to.

Because I'm a nerd, my OMP is a book - Edward Eager's Half Magic. Although I have two copies of that edition on our shelves now, my OMP copy is the orange Harcourt Brace edition. It's cover and first few pages are are ripped into messy triangles. It's spine is worn down to the glue in several spots from my habit of reading in the bath and worrying away at the damp paper under my fingers. It is, all told, one ratty ass book.

I must have read Half Magic for the first time at some point in 1985. I don't really have a clear marker, because all of the memories I have of it are from a period where the book is already important to me. Most of all, I remember going to my mom's hair salon in the new center at Newport & Fourth (home of Fish 2000, apparently my high school's preferred bodega) and finding a new kid's bookstore tucked into the corner. The shop was named Half Magic, and I still remember the magic goose bump feeling that came over me. Someone else - grownups, apparently - had read that book and started a store! And, in fact, I think the owners were similarly excited to see me run in sputtering with barely contained glee. And then, nerd to the last, I took them to task for not using the completely unknown "magic nickel" from Half Magic as their shop's logo, choosing instead a more accessible wizard. Fucking sellouts.

So, yes, that's my OMP. Half Magic by Edward Eager. And although I leave the tattered orange edition on the shelf with all the other Eager books, I've already read it to Annika. Which she will never remember and have no attachment to. Ah well.
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I've had more MP3s than I could deal with for quite a while. The issues associated with organizing, centralizing and playing them in house has been cumbersome, but figuring out a way to deal with them at school has been a pain in my side since at least 2001. There was a brief moment (iTunes 4.0.0, actually. before the music store even hit!) where Apple enabled sharing of playlists from IP to IP - then it was OK. But only because John already had a first Gen iPod on his machine in the UCSC Film Dept and I could stream from his ample supply.

I did a few years of just burning large MP3 cds and playing them on a small boombox. Even with an iPod, this was the best solution for a classroom without any computer speakers. At Hamlin I didn't have a private work environment (lab desk), and I had that nasty commute. So I would listen to my iPod on the drive/train up and back, charging it off the powerbook (and sneaking a few songs in) through the day. This was the year, by the by, that killed the battery on my 3G iPod. A year of playing for nearly the same length twice every day and then being thrown back onto the juice was enough to cripple that thing. I actually have a replacement battery winging its way to me now, years later.

I dealt with the crap battery by moving the iPod to a small set of external speakers. My first year at Hillbrook these sat on my desk, but they also spent a good chunk of time in the kitchen. Having a 15GB rotating library was a nice way to deal with the weekend planning sessions. But over the year the playlist got stale, or I would forget the iPod at home/school, and I started to miss having music in the kitchen.

Last year was almost all Pandora. There's still days where Pandora has a lot to offer - playlists of artists I haven't heard, the psuedo-random radio feel - but eventually it just felt too shallow in my section of the pool. I really wanted the ability to tag and sort music by attitude - - there are many mid-70's pop songs that you may *think* sound like early Smiths albums, but have none of the same appeal. And the number of bands that sound like Pavement is small enough that you start to realize how few songs Pandora will actually play form a particular artist. Oh, and I would love to specify a particular album to criteria match. I gave up on listening to the Cure through Pandora because it was either so narrow that all Pandora would serve was "sounds like 17 Seconds" or the playlist became "the history of pop music, vol. 1."

And i remembered that I'm basically an album person. I like whole chunks of music by a single artist, and I like to listen to those identical chunks over and over again. So this year, I've finally abandoned the iPod and speakers to the baby's room, built a single MP3 directory on the TV's MacMini, and switched to Rhapsody for my school music.

Yes, it's streaming only. Yes, it's rent not own. Yes, it feeds the DRM beast. But it gives me a huge library of music - both in pandora-esque channels and a iTunes-esque library form - and the ability to go from hearing the name of an artist from a kid to playing the music in under 3 minutes. This is what was promised me in the early Napster era. And $12 a month is . . .not the worst price to pay for it.

Anyway, that's all my justification (basically to [livejournal.com profile] usernamenumber) about why I'm throwing a rhapsody link in here. Because I found a new REM live album - something I own a dozen of and haven't listened to since 1998 at least - that I really enjoyed.

So, here. This is an album from REM. And this is how it goes.
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So, there's this baby.

We take a lot of pictures of her. Most of them aren't very good, despite the fact that we're using technology that would break any period other than this small 25 year bubble we live in.
By the by, I had to have that conversation with some boys today. They have a TI 83, which would fundamentally alter the course of human history - even with a single set of batteries - if dropped into any period more than 50 years back from ours. They jam on the keys until the charachter buffer is filled and then hit enter, so it scrolls "like the Matrix." Le sigh.

So we take lots of pictures, and I can see the long tail forming in our own flickr world. We sent the link to XX people, but it's clear that all of those people aren't equally viewing all of those pictures. Some, like this - -

are well hit. Easily everyone we've sent the link to, plus some repeat views. And who wouldn't love it? Arent the three of us cute as buttons?


is not as well loved. But! Sweet Jesus! She's riding an Air Bison! How can you not love that! There's also the rest of the shots where she meets the menagerie. Like the face hugger!

Every baby needs a face hugger! Thanks [livejournal.com profile] usernamenumber!

In other news. . .um, I made an awesome chilli tonight. Easily the best I've ever done. And, of course, not much to single this batch out form the other except fresh ground chili powder and a long long time in the oven.

I've been back on the bike for a few mornings this week. I can see being back full time when Helen leaves, as long as I get some decent rain wear.

And I have anew theory on why the Go-Bots suck. Well, obviously, there's a dozen reasons why the Go-Bots suck, by which I mean suck in comparison with G1 Transformers. Themesong? clear Transformer victory. Vehicle design? Again, transformers. Gobots looked like someone took existing Matchbox car molds and tried to squeeze robots out of them. But my new theory is that it's all about the fist-lasers vs. actual guns. Not that American kids needed guns to enjoy a product (which may also be true) or that action figures needed guns to save/lose/treasure. Just that fists-as-beam-weapons smack too much of playing "let's pretend." And as Edward Eager reminds us, nothing ruins the joy of pretend like acknowledging that that's what you're doing.


I've also decided that now is the time for me to watch all of DS9. I'm two episodes in. Hey! It could go the distance!
heiligekuh: (Default)

Originally uploaded by scribbledes
There's some specific alien or tech guy on TNG or Bab5 that this photo reminds me of, but I can't place. . .well, anything. But, really, as of 1972 this would have been a great costume for the cyborg infant that powers the AI at the heart of a colony ship. A whole series of cloned infants, defrosted in turn, patched into the mainframe just as the last clone is about to die.

And, really, it's impressive that they can run hearing tests on babies who are 4 days old. The little patch on her forehead measures . . .some kind of response. Who knows. It's fancy science, for SCIENCE BABY.
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This is my first day back at work. Annika is now 8 days old, so we can step up on the Middle School Relationship Chart and measure her life in weeks instead of days or hours. Yeah. It wasn't so long ago that we were arguing about hours. Hours were important.

The sand slips fast at the start. And there's just so little of it. Her 4 day old self is gone, the day where she opened her eyes all of twice and cried when she realized that this hunger thing was going to just keep happening. This morning when I left her eyes were open, but still not connected to her ears. She'll stare at your face up until you try and speak, then she'll stare off to where her ears think the sound came from. I play a lot of ventriloquist tricks, shouting off into the corner so she'll look straight at me.

I'm done with my robots class now, and I think I'm ready to be home.
heiligekuh: (Default)

Originally uploaded by scribbledes
I know that you're supposed to blog all through the pregnancy, and liveblog the baby's birth. But I'm of the tech generation where I'd rather make a final update to the .plan file.

So, here she is.

Annika Grayson Kittle Carle

Flickr library is here

Jodi is doing great, and we're all still in the hospital until the end of the week.  But, hey!  Free wifi to go along with the beginnings of breastfeeding.

Skill City

Jun. 4th, 2007 09:48 pm
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A few month back, a good friend of mine from college quit his stable sysadmin job to do the video game start up thing. His focus, born of way too many late night trash-talking Puzzle Fighter matches, was a real-time head to head puzzle game environment. . .with cash wagering.

They've just reached the end of their beta, and have put the client up for the masses. What they've shipped is a set of very competent clones - Tetris, Meteos, SPF2 and Bookworm - along with a great original game (AntsKrieg) that's a cross between Guild Wars and ChuChuRocket.

The client is free, as is one game every week (it's currently Ants) When this was in development, we always worried that the market of people who took puzzle games this seriously might not be large enough to support their product. But some of you (especially the other folk who are picking up Puzzle Leauge DS this week) . . you are that market. Cash wagering is actually in there, but as an option rather than the core feature. But every game is built to be played head to head.

The website is skillcitygames.com. Give it a try and see if you enjoy thrashing the public with your mad Tetris skills. I'll be playing Puzzle Fig. . .AHEM. Mega Gem Battle.
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So, this is our new May. We went from our overnight party, straight into the week of sickness/recovery. This is actually to be expected. I'm amazed we got away with as few casualties as we did, considering that we had several kids nursing colds who spent 8+ hours sharing the same two karaoke mics. And, let me tell you, when they went there, on there own? Going down the only road they ever knew? Yeah, there was spittle. Lots and lots of contagious spittle.

So then a week with 4-7 kids out each day from each grade, where J and I were both flat out exhausted. Even my 10am-4pm "nap" on Saturday and the perfectly geeky and relaxing Magic tournament on Saturday night (shut up! It was sealed deck and it was fun. No one said 'game on,' and people made jokes about the Lhurgoyf.)--I was still dead tired all week.

And then this week is the play- - with all the fantastic 8th grade drama that entails. Stage kisses, rumored crushes, bold adventures into PDA. Ah, it's just like you remember. I've learned that I need to avoid the actual rehearsals as much as possible through the week, so I can bask in the multi-layered awesomeness at the real showings. It doesn't matter what the playbill says. Every show they do is Waiting for Guffman

So, then here we are. One more show and a few half days of class then - - -boom. Off with the whole grade, who is barely holding their health together for the show, on the big week trip. We still have no idea what the logistics will be if one of them actually catches/brings the plague. Ah well.

Now, while we sit at the maximal distance from next years play, I'd like the world to deliver me a 90 minute youth-theater oriented musical based on the works of Stephen Patrick Morrissey. It could just focus on The Smiths if you like, although I think that a large courtroom scene for "Lawyer! Liar!". I'm fascinated with the design possibilities of our class, which has several pairs of kids with a 2 foot height differential, running around on stage behind a cut-out double decker bus. J asked what the plot would be and all I could wheeze out was "Well, there's this light. . .um, that. . .doesn't go out?" Yeah, I amuse myself a bit.

Damn. I should be able to throw together a song list at least.

I think this has replaced Hairspray as my fondest hope for 12 year old theater.
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You wouldn't think getting teenagers to play video games would be this much work. But it's a classic situation where I'll fret about the logistics of an event when what I'm really stressing about is "will they have fun?" And, of course, they will. This party worked nearly flawlessly last year, and if anything our list of kids is better this year.

Current setup:

Room1 - Guitar Hero 1 & 2. 1 ps2. All night long

Room2 - DDR - Max 1, 3, 4. ! hard pad, one foam. All night long

Room3 - Karaoke Rev - 1, 2, 3, Party. Possibly switching over to Calibur2/3 at some point. Two decent Ps2 sticks.

Room4 - Computer Lab with Jazz Jackrabbit 2 and Armagedtron. I'm remarkably excited about this, because I think both these games are simpler than Quake 1 (which is what I tried to use for a LAN game last year) and more stable on our machines. This will be the first time that most have them have played a game larger than 4 players with everyone in the same room. Do you remember the first time you did that? It's freaking magic.

Room4 - projector - Dreamcast- Powerstone 2, ChuChu Rockets, Typing of the Dead. (one player alas. I can't find my 2nd DC keyboard. I know, I know. J asked "you had 2 DC keyboards?" To which my response is "of course! It's a pill that gives worms to ex-girlfriends! You just don't get it")

Room 5 - Wii on projector, Cube on TV. We think that Sports and Wario will get some good Wii play, but I bet it switches over to just being an extra cube before long. Smash Bros, PacMan VS, Soccer Slam, Double Dash, Final Fantasy CC, Zelda-4 Swords (yes, we have that many GBAs). Man, that system can entertain a room like no other.

Room 6 - Xboxen - 1 modded on projector (whcih is then the Tetris Attack/Puzzle Fighter machine as well) and two stock on the side. Crimson Skies and Time Splitters two, with a network hub for the three of them. The challenge thsi year was finding controllers. Last year, lots of kids had OG xbox and were willing to bring controllers. This year it seems that everyone has sold their gear to be new systems, and all of the stores have stripped xbox controllers form the shelves. We have more systems than we have controllers, which is a sad state of affairs.

Room 7 - Movies. Still unclear. Probably Tron at some point. Season 2 Avatar? Miyazaki was a good choice last year, but i can't find my boxset. Any other ideas?

Ugh, class coming. I'll plan more later.
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