Thursday, October 30, 2014

Art Thursday -- October 30th

"Digimon, digivolve into..."
I suppose now would be a good time to explain that my daughter believes that Digimon are real.
She argues with her brother about whether they're real or not.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What-What?! Week of October 26th

Oh my goodness, this next week is Saffron's birthday and Halloween.  I'm still working on costumes, gathering up supplies to make a cake, and all that stuff.  At least I've already got her presents wrapped.

News:  Residents, Politicians Worry About Radiation at Local Park via The Seattle PI

Radiation warnings have gone up at a popular Seattle park, and many are worried that the plan to clean up the contamination doesn't go far enough.
Seattle's Magnuson Park is left with dozens of World War II-era buildings that have been saved and repurposed. But the days of the old naval facility also left behind radiation.
Well, this is exciting.  A large park in Seattle was built on top of an old WWII-era military factory complex, which apparently included a radium room for building glow in the dark instrumentation for aircraft.  If there's anything I know about radiation and history, it's that it probably wasn't cleaned up properly.

What makes this particularly troubling is that, while a park may be somewhere you go often, you're not there all the time... except there are people currently living there.  So that's nice.

After doing some additional reading from the Washington State Department of Health, I'm not sure why this is news now; according to the website, this issue has been known since 2009, and cleanup began in 2013.  Did this just become public knowledge?

If so, then I guess that's nice too. D:

How about something a little cuter?  Saffron has her costume most of the way done:
Excuse the giant mess behind her. :P

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Art Thursday -- October 23rd

"Zebras at the Zoo"
Yep, zebras.  On the left are some in their den.
Yes, I forgot to post this yesterday.  No, I don't have a good excuse. xP

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What-What?! Week of October 19th

This week was a week.  I started on my new job, which is not horrendously exciting, but well enough.  I suppose I should explain what I am doing a bit more; I am working for ZeroChaos as an Ads Quality Rater.  The official description for what I do is: As an Ads Quality Rater, you will be responsible for reporting and tracking the visual quality and content accuracy of Google advertisements.  (Hit the link for more info on the job description).

Monday I had my training, and Tuesday I started working for real.  Thursday evening, I got my first review, and received pretty good feedback -- the things I went wrong with were mostly ratings where the guidelines are a bit more fuzzy.  This job relies on a lot of general knowledge in making decisions, and makes me happy I know as much as I do about computers and car companies, because I keep getting tasks centered around those topics.  The only difficult part about this job is doing it at home; I'm still working out a good schedule that makes it easy to work around taking care of the kids and house.

Flexible Muscle-Based Locomotion for Bipedal Creatures

I don't know what to categorize this as, other than just awesome.  Thomas Geijtenbeek and his associates do biomechanical engineering work, and have done extensive research on animating creatures using physics-based simulations.  The video below is both interesting and pretty funny.  For the author's website, hit the above link.

Crazy Halloween Costumes

Saw this on Reddit, and was really impressed by the costume accuracy.  This was the child's costume from last year.  The one for this year?  A vending machine:

...and my kids just want to be robots, princesses and Buzz Lightyear.

Maybe next year we should all be inanimate objects?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Art Thursday -- October 16th

This picture is actually one of Corwin's, and I picked it because it pretty clearly says "batman".
This kid never asks me how to spell anything.  That day, though, he did!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What-What?! Week of October 12th

This week seemed to go by about as fast as molasses.  Not good, not bad, just interminable.

I got confirmation that I will be starting my new job on Monday, so that's exciting!  It will be good to work again, both in terms of money and maintaining my sanity.

Started working on Saffron's dress earlier this week.  I spent about 20 minutes cleaning my sewing machine after I pulled it out; the move and sitting around made it get pretty dusty.  I'm at the point now where I have to iron things.  I don't like ironing, so I'm procrastinating a bit there.
We went to the Lowe's Build and Grow clinic for October.  The big kids had a good time making their own haunted houses.  We brought them home and they played with super heroes and their spooky houses.

Review:  Digimon Tamers

Earlier this week, the kids and I finished watching the third season of Digimon.  The first two seasons were pretty classic kid show stuff -- lots of humor and creepy-cute monsters fighting bad guys.  The third season, though, Tamers, is made of different stuff.  It's darker and more serious than the earlier seasons, and spends more time looking at the nature of Digimon as monsters.  The show is more complex, though it does suffer from a slow start, it gets better as it goes along.  The fact that the season is 50 episodes hurts it quite a bit -- it could pretty easily be edited down by a third, maybe even a half.  Even still, my kids, especially Saffron, fell in love with it.  Saffron is currently obsessed with Renamon and Rika, who are the strong female leads in the series.

Lopmon and Terriermon.
She also likes Terriermon and Lopmon, but that's because they are glorified rabbit Digimon.

(Images via, angel-in-disguise234)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What-What?! Week of October 5th

It is October, oh my goodness.  My daughter's birthday is at the end of the month, as well as Halloween.  I gotta get out my cutting mat and sew Saffron's dress, paint Corey's robot box costume, and figure out what I need for Ozzy's Buzz Lightyear costume (because that kid is Buzz Lightyear).  I need to start on that stuff soon, because I'm scheduled to start a new job on the 13th.  After that, I expect my free time is going to be more limited.  But money will be good, and I can put it on my resume.

News: Does a Five-Year-Old Need to Learn How to Code? via BBC News

Boy looking for code with magnifying glass
The push to teach young children computer programming really irritates me.  This is because the fundamental skills used in programming are things children should be learning anyway; planning, logical thinking, attention to detail, and working with the abstract.  It's not special to programming.  Those skills can be learned through mathematics and language arts.  It's cool to say "oh, we're teaching children how to program computers, because we're so modern", it's superfluous.  Math and language arts is a much more direct way to teach those skills.  It's also cheaper, easier to apply to a variety of things, and has a much larger body of work backing up the methods used to teach it.  Now, I've taught computer programming to elementary school kids, and it went okay.  The kids were happy to mess around with computers, they did have a degree of understanding about it, but I still hold to my point -- spending more time on math would have had a better effect, especially over the long run.

For older kids, say from sixth grade on, I could see the value in teaching computer programming as the application of logical thinking skills.  Not as job preparation.  I'm not going to comment on whether or not learning a programming language is useful.  Languages rise and fall as technology changes, but the fundamental skills stay the same.  After you learn one language, it's vastly easier to learn another.  The thinking behind it doesn't change, and the value of being able to plan, think logically and be detail oriented doesn't change.

The Duck Song

I have to apologize for this.  This song will get stuck in your head.  You will wake up in the middle of the night humming it.  It's not that I hate you or anything... but it's so darn catchy.  There are at least two follow up songs, but really, you only need to listen to this one.  It will haunt you enough by itself.  Sorry guys, the duck made me do it. D:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Art Thursday -- October 2nd

"Thomas the Train and Friend"
Because we still watch train movies, over and over. :P