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I was trying to tape a really cute moment of Annika dancing with Jodi tonight. The music was Tripod Vs. the Dragon's "Bard", which was cute enough and bouncy enough to keep them bot moving. But then the line about how your daughter "will have dice of her own some day" came on (and I was stepping on her errand d10's!), and the real cuteness was steamrolled under the giant wheel of nerd.

But, still interesting beyond the standard boundary of 12seconds.
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"In place of discovery and exploration, we have rules and regulations. We never hear a student
saying, “I wanted to see if it could make any sense to raise a number to a negative power, and I
found that you get a really neat pattern if you choose it to mean the reciprocal.” Instead we have
teachers and textbooks presenting the “negative exponent rule” as a fait d’accompli with no
mention of the aesthetics behind this choice, or even that it is a choice. "

More here
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Originally uploaded by scribbledes
You can see the fear in their giant eyes. Will she harvest our fur for more of those snazzy hats, or simply roll all of us and our barn into a giant ball.

Frankly, upstate NY didn't really know what to make of a toddler in a Katamari Damacy hat.
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I picked up Planet Puzzle Leauge again, after misplacing the DS during the move and a far-too-long dallaince with WoW.  It's still, if you like arranging blocks, a fantastic, mind-blowing version of one of the best games ever.  There's a few little annoyances in the version, but I feel petty whining about a game that gives me WiFi play and vocie chat against my friends, automatic movie recoridng and sharing, and a dozen different modes that are all fun.  But, seriously, I would buy the game again if you inclued the original Tetris Attack music and sounds.

But as much as I love it, I think I'm done with it as a VS game.  After years of holding out, I'm prepared to concede that Puzzle Fighter is a far better vs puzzle game, and will even hear arguments about the brutally fast Magical Drop or Battle Balls. 

The downfall of TA/PPL comes after I've spent enough time playing with the stylus and exploring the Time Attack modes.  The stylus makes anyone a better player, flat out.  There hasn't been a control-change in a game since the addition of mouselook.   I still suck on a regular basis, but the ratio of "doh, why didn't I see that?!?" to "stupid fingers" is now about 80/20, whereas it was almost the reverse on the SNES (yes, Tiv, even with the keyboard).  So, I'm better now than I've ever been.  I'm not super great (and I don't play with crazy Exploding Lift), but I average about 16-20K in a 2 min score run, which means one x12 or x13, and a few x9s.

Score Attack is basically "the break" of TA/PPL VS.  You flatten out the board, push it up to the top, then take a few seconds to finesse things into place and start the break.  If you fuck up and kill your chain after x5 or x6, just level it off and push back up.  It's 2 minutes of clean breaks and it's fun as hell.  Becuase of the time crunch, breaking little 3s or x2s activley hurts you, taking away blocks which could have been used elsewhere and burning precious seconds with their explosion. 

After that, you've both got blocks of cheese on your screens and you move into Garbage Attack - another 2:00 timed mode in PPL.  Here, while you want to keep chaining if you can, block and break managment are far more important.  For decent players, it's pretty easy to send x4 or x5 bricks over on a regular basis, along with trash breaks.  This is enough to keep the screen full indefinatley.  If one player is clearly better than the other, they'll plow through the trash and get to do another clean break, piling another huge block of cheese on top of the stack.  But if you can keep breaking the cheese as it falls, keep moving the critic break into place before squish time expires, you can stay alive.

This is the game we played for hours at Merrill, the apartment vortex, the wedge, the Pi Hole (Oh, I still remember when Foust recognized that it took some skill to set up chains from falling cheese), and the Alex/Judi/Lisa house on Holden.  ( . .shit.  I just remembered that house was the same one that Nikki/Stevie/Zulema and I lived in.  Buut without the Li-tchen.  Anyway. .. )  Drop your blocks, stay alive.  These were the games that could strecth for 10+ minute rounds.

To borrow a phrase from descriptions of Euro board games, this is the point where I think it breaks into multiplayer solitare.  The extent of your influence over the other person is almost nil.  The game is now chicken, or sme sort of stress test, all about who fails first.  Once I've filled your screen with cheese, there's not much I can do but keep it filled (and layer a sandwich in, if the ! blocks show up) to make it harder for you.  This is bad, and has killed some of my excitment for the game.

As a result, I've been playing a lot more Street Fighter.  :)  More on that later.
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On the way abck from the store I caught a bit of the Dave Davies interview with Danny Boyle.  It was a bland, abckground Fresh Air interview, with the interviewer speaking in footnotes so that you could wander in to this conversation ignorant of all film since Gone With The Wind and still follow the conversation.

Then Davies tries to ask a question about Transpotting, and plays the first two minutes of this clip on the air.  [Watch it for no other reason than to see how young McGreggor is and think how old that makes you]

I haven't seen Trainspotting since 99 at the lastest, but shouldn't there be a better clip for the radio?  Not to mention that without the visuals, there's none of Boyle's work to consider in that clip.  It's just McGreggor reading (close to verbatim) Welsh's writing, with the Lust for Life backbeat (also specified in the text).  Boyle's work here in entirley in the composition of the individual shots and editing of the sequence, none of which make any impression in radio.

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I found a decent torrent of Mr. Rogers episodes the other day - just 30 or so, out of the 998 that he actually recorded, but it's a good start.  Annika, quite rightly, loves it, loves Mr. Rogers, loves the speed of the entire affair.  It's more similar to talking to Nana on iChat than any of her other videos, and she's starting to babble back to Fred the same way she does for Nana.  Because they both love her, damn it.  <sniff>

But as much as his love will never fade, a lot of what shows up on his show is from a world that she'll never see.  Today we watched one where he finsihed a roll of 35mm film and took it to be developed and printed, fiddly by-hand work done by huge-haired white people in Pittsburg.  Sorry baby.  We just throw them on Flickr and keep inkjet copies now.

If there's a specific tracker or hub for kid video, I'd love someone to point it out to me.  I'm building quite the collection of Sid the Science Kid videos that I should probably share.

EDIT: Yes, there is a Trausre Trove of Kids TV Torrents. Awesome. Although I think that if I grab Pirates of Dark Water, it won't be for her.
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Annika has been having the fit of all fits tonight. She went down about 9, woke up at midnight and has been in a constant tizzy since. Cry one of our names, grunt, couch, wail, grunt, grunt, repeat.

I'm waiting for nothing more now than her to become so exhausted, horse and despondent that she passes out. This is not my best night as a parent.


Dec. 16th, 2008 11:50 pm
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I wish I could say what feels different about the Bab5 build and the DS9 build. Both shows have had a seasons long push towards some great galaxy(? I think. Neither of the shows every employed a fucking astronomer) wide conflict. But DS9 always feels like they're introducing the entire plot in the teaser of the current episode. And, honestly, I've been waiting for this for 5 seasons and so have the writers! Why does it still feel so chopped?

And for all the things DS9 has done right, an episode full of CGI ships bombing a station to hell -- there's no tension! There's no drama or elegance in the space shots. And what the hell is Dukat wearing on his shoulder. Turn off your targeting computer, son!

And no one can know how sexy I find Dax and Worf. SSHHH!!
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I tried to just keep a running log of thoughts as I read, but that never works....

My copy of Watchmen is worn, deeply second hand and ancient. I think I inherited it from. . Andre? Was that a real person or some dream figure of mine in Santa Cruz. I distinctly remember reading it in Seton, my weird sublet from Tiven, Holden, and the Bentley apartment. Sometime in the midst of that, I started paying attention to mechanics of comics. My second or third reading through I paid attention to panels. The entire series works in the 9-grid. In the first issue there's only four 3x2 panels - Rorschach entering the window, Driberg collapsed by the NiteOwl suit, Ozymandias staring out the window, and the only vertical panel of Manhattan working on whatever Trek-gizmo. I love how the 9-grid forces the space around those splash panels to carry so much more time for the page. It makes these splashes feel more like establishing shots, rather than big title cards.

I often start rereads looking for something that Watchmen does as a comic that would be difficult to replicate in film/prose/etc. And the first target is narrative overlay on unrelated panels. While that is actually a bit interesting come the Black Freighter issues, here it always seems really fucking cheesy to me. You kill the Comedian and all you can do is squeeze more "fall off the building" puns onto the page? Weak sauce. I normally flake out on this sort of close reading a few issues in, as I start to get caught up in the plot and forget to stop and look at each panel individually.
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Hi! So, instead of the 10,000 other things I should post about (moved to NY! Living in winter! Dinged 60! Baby is cute!), I've chosen this.

We all should (re)read Watchmen.

I've read it at least 6 times, probably more if you count all the fits and starts. Every time I've done so, I've done it in the TPB, generally taking at least 3 issues at a chunk along with some of the text bits.

I want to read Watchmen slowly. Not as slowly as the original publication, but with some generous space to think about each issue on its own, and the series up to that point. We're all too young to have had the fanboy anticipation for "what will happen next," but I'd like to try and recreate some of that.

Against all nerdy odds, some of you have never(!) read it. AWESOME.

The plan is to read, book-group style, one issue (and associated text pieces) a week with no spoilery discussion. The following week, we can digest what we read and work through the next piece.

Crucially, NO SPOILERS for future issues! Both for the new readers, and for the experienced nerds, let's try to restrict our attention to what's just happened on the page so far.


For the bulk of our impressions, discussions and comments, I thought we could use twitter. It's fast, accessible and part of most people's routine. I've set up a group here.

Simply follow watchtweet and it will autofollow you. Then send a DIRECT MESSAGE to watchtweet, and it will be posted out to all others following watchtweet. This way someone could join the discussion without having to add everyone individually, and it keeps your twitter feed clear of Watchmen comments os you can hide your nerdity. :)

Remember, a direct message on twitter uses 'd' instead of '@'.


d watchtweet I can't believe Moore stole the ending for watchmen from Night at the Opera! What a rip!

For comments and reactions that are (gasp!) longer than 140 characters, write up a post anywhere you like (your LJ, wordpress, message board, whatever) and simply leave a link to it in your tweet.


Discussion for the first issue will start this coming Sunday, 11/23. That gives you 7 days to (re)read the first issue and the "Under the Hood" section after it. After 11/23, chapter one comments and spoilers will be kosher.

What? You don't have a copy of Watchmen? Honey, there are lots of places to find it.

Questions below. Signup by following watchtweet
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It's been a long time since we've had a 3am goes this pear shaped. Little bit can tell something is up, and will be happy with nothing less that full parent attention, even in the dead of night.

I think our lives are just about 1/3 packed. I have the status bar parked in the driveway.

Michelle and Turtle over tomorrow night for one first/final sleepover. Any viewing suggestions? Remember, we're old and will pass out by 11. Ooh,I should rustle up Spaced.

I need an iTunes replacement on the Mac. It is the biggest point of failure for the Mini. Most often to crash, slowest to respond, most frequently and annoyingly updated. And doesn't parse album/artitst info from the directory structure or filename well (that was still my favorite feature of goddamn MusicMatch 9, back when the earth was young).

And yes, Twitter has broken my thought process.
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Ok, so that DS9 episode deserves a little bit more thought.

I had stopped watching DS9 by the time this episode aired, although I do
vaguely remember the hullaballoo around it. It was 95/96, so I was
officially a straight boy dating a nerd girl, but after giving up on
Voyager in the first season (and a good year before Brad brought be into
the B5 fold) I didn't watch much TV.

I remember the feeling of manufactured controversy around it - it was
the era of Skipowitz's ass, and queer kisses on any major show generally
got at least a month of free press and angry letters to the editors. I
remember knowing, without watching the episode, that they were going to
cheat their way out of it. It involves a Trill, after all.

So I watched it today, about half of it at 2 am while the baby was
having her freakout, and then the rest around 9 when she was up and
having breakfast. And I was right, in a sense. They do cheat the
genders of the kiss a bit, as it's the resumption of a hetero
relationship from a prior set of hosts. But actually, the kiss itself
and the emotion that Dax shows through the episode is top notch.
Although it's a cheat in terms of the mid 90's hair pulling, it's good
SF. I thought it was a nice touch that they had Kira and Bashir have a
plot-dump conversation about Dax resuming the relationship without
mentioning gender. It's the closest that I've seen Trek get to actually
mentioning that same sex couples exist throughout the Alpha quadrant.

Unfortunately, the episode and the relationship are hamstrung by Trek.
While it's fair to say that Trek
avoided same sex relationships for far too long, and generally played
conservative with most topics relating to gender, the truth is that Trek
doesn't play well with relationships. Sisko's developing relationship
with the freighter captain (more fuel of the B5 v DS9 flamewar, no
doubt. Although certainly it's a logical pairing for a station
commander from a budget and plotting perspective) is the only
relationship I remember from this period of Trek that doesn't end in
fire (heh). One of the reasons I wanted to watch DS9 is that I've never
seen any of the Worf/Dax relationship, and I want to see how they do an
actual relationship between two primaries (as opposed to the Worf/Troi
mess on TNG).

So Trek needs to put a bunch of social pressure on the Dax/whatsherface
relationship, both for plot reasons and to set up a tension to mirror
the RL queerness factor. Viola! Apparently Trills' are banned from
"reassociating" with principles from their former hosts. Big hairy
social taboo, with phenomenally steep penalties. Considering the
lengths we see people go to to save symbionts (sp?) in other episodes,
thee notion that resuming relationships from prior hosts will get two
trills (essentially) executed is a huge plot hammer. And it completley
avoids the fact that we've seen Trills develop rituals about
"reintegrating" the memories and experiences of their past lives, *and*
Dax has a multi-lifespan friendship with Sisko! Ugh!

But all that is just part of watching Trek. It's wildly inconsistent.
The larger universe, especially alien cultures, always seems like a
napkin sketch. But it kicks B5's ass up and down the tarmac someday
becuase when you put two women on screen with the hoary SF premise that
they're reincarnated lovers, they can both pull it off. Imagine
Leta and Talia trying to pull off the same scene and weep.
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it was just halloween. I think this is the only picture that survived that night. Certianly it's the first I've found in our giant garage photo sort. If anyone has a picture of Spider and Hunter together (the other part of our strange trio) please let me know.

My only real regret about the costume is that I hadn't yet bought the real glasses.
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I saw the best Dad in the world a few weeks back in Trader Joe's.

He was making his way slowly through the store with a cart jammed full of food, and two small girls in tow. The kids were maybe 6 and 8, although my early elementary sense is not nearly as honed as my middle school or infant ones. Great Dad dialog throughout the run -- "Would you like to have bow-tie pasta for dinner tonight?" "Not with Icky SAUCE!" "Well, how about this. If Mommy comes home before dinner, we'll have sauce becuae she likes it. But if it's just the three of us, then we'll just have butter." "OK!"

He defused two fights and one large whine session, just in the freezer aisle. And his voice never strayed away form happy, excited and loving. It was phenomenal. But it wasn't Best Dad yet.

They wound up behind me in the checkout line. One of the girls asked, "Daddy, can I get jelly beans?" Thoughtful but direct - "No." "But I *like * jelly beans!"

If you haven't though about all the ways this conversation can go wrong. . .well, you probably don't shop as much as I do. Clearly you (the parent) want to keep some firm consistency in your pronouncements, but you need to do it without becoming a foot stomping "I said no!" spazz.

Best Dad Ever: "You know who else likes jelly beans? Big hair, wears a long scarf. . .? Yes, the Fourth Doctor loves jelly beans!"

Girls: "Really? Cool!"

After I finished laughing, we talked for a bit. He actually asserted that his girls were the youngest Doctor Who fans in town. While I may concede that his girls are more knowledgeable or articulate fans, I think we've got youngest cornered.

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Annika's been walking for about a month now. It started on night with just a few steps between J and myself

and is now just the natural course of events. She never crawled, and stil has trouble getting up from a seated position if she doesn't have anything to haul up on. But, in our house, that's pretty rare. So we're used to putting her down in place A, walking over to task B, and finding her attached to our legs a moment later. That's cute as all hell but it's . . .it's a boomerange trick. When your mag* gets seperated, it flies back to your shoulder.

Tonight I took her diaper off for a bath, then sat down in the rocking chair to trim her talons. Gram went into the bathroom to get the water going. I needed to put away the scissors, so I set Annika down. . .and off she went, through the door, into the hallway, naked as all getout, over to the bathtub. She has task processing! And knows her way around the house! When did this happen?

To be fair, she also moves to "fun" spots in the house, namely bookshelves. You may spot Pepin's "Complete techniques" in the backgrounds. It's her favorite.
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Sorry that this is what I break the silence with. But it's web based worms.

Play Territory War Online

Which is franlky, pretty neat.
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San Jose, 6:30 AM

Local nerd spots adult male (late 30's, reasonably attractive) roller blading down the middle of the street. Subject is dressed in what appears to be a complete roller hockey uniform - red and black jersey, long shorts, nice skates - complete with gloves and stick. He nodded sheepishly as I biked past him.

College kid, grabbing a doughnut from a dining hall you've never set foot in, do not worry! City dweller, catching the subway from an unfamiliar stop, have no fear! We have found a local minimum for the morning after Walk/Skate of Shame, and you are nowhere close.
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Jodi and I did this together, but since I was holding the baby the meme got posted in her LJ.

Dozens of Names!

But, really, it's the most fun I've had withan LJ meme in years. Maybe having a baby makes you more susceptible to name jokes.
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