Monthly Archives: September 2008

Cemeteries and Chickens

Yesterday Nefarious and Caitlin had a long day, and a very long car ride to achieve it… They went to a friend’s wedding reception, and in driving them downtown first the highway was closed for construction, and then after inching our way across town, we were three blocks away and thirty minutes late, having discovered that University Avenue was completely shut down for the filming of a movie. Caitlin and Nefarious hopped out and tried to walk the rest of the way as a helicopter strafed the street and disinterested police tried to block them from crossing under the street via the subway station…

I left the Wii on so Nefarious could play bowling when she got up… On her most recent game she destroyed me with a whopping score of 198. Ack! Way out of my league, although neither she nor Caitlin can challenge me on guitar (for now).

After breakfast we went out to Riverdale Farm since we haven’t been there in about a year I think, but the Cemetery is on the way there so when Nefarious saw that she insisted we all stop and walk through it (just like last time) which was a really nice diversion. She has a real fascination with cemeteries and the zillion stories you can tell from them — how long ago the person died, who they’re buried with, what it says, how old they were when they died, the odds of them being a zombie.

The Farm was fun too, although at the end of it Nefarious and some kids she befriended hunted runaway chickens a little to vigorously (although it was quite amusing watching them stalk them like cats) and everyone got a little parental scolding for pulling out a feather. After that, enough log-rolls down the hill at the park that I feel very sick to my stomach. Urgh.

Ari’s other new fascination is taking the stairs rather than the elevators. A very tiring fascination (about a 120 foot climb I figure), although I suppose that I need to lose more than a little weight so I guess it’s for the best! But not fun after so many log rolls.

Cruising Kids

I’ve been reading a book about raising kids in a cruising environment (ie. living aboard a boat and sailing around the world), and it makes the claim that kids raised in this environment tend to be extremely responsible and well-adjusted, as well as having a very high standard of education, probably in part because of the level of responsibility and focus required — “need” definitely facilitates development — and likely the happiness and freedom and sense of amazement that the lifestyle brings. I think that farm life quite often has a similar effect due to the dual forces of responsibility and a life of wonder and joy, although I think that in farm life parents have to be more dedicated because there’s more opportunity to stray!

Sort of rambling here, but on one hand the city life is really nice because it has many wonderful programs and opportunities that a concentrated population of people generate, but I think the sort of creative play that really brings personal growth happens by transforming simplicity into magic… Nefarious would far rather go to the grocery store and find boxes to drag home to build houses with than go to the toy store for something that has glittery desire-appeal but zero play potential — and I don’t think there’s anything unusual about that. It’s totally fun — pick through the boxes for the perfect ones, build a structure, recycle some of the boxes, go to the store for upgrades… There are of course a million variations and an infinite number of ways to play. Companies spend billions of dollars trying to convince parents that they’re letting their kids down if they don’t spend a mountain of money on junk, but the reality is that loving time and the freedom to play is the extent of what’s needed, and that’s pretty much zero cost. Unfortunately the alternative — canned and shallow entertainment — leaves kids with no vision, kids that are actually able to be “bored” in this amazing world.

PS3 Time Killer

So I’ve just started playing Rock Band against people online, and it’s tons of fun… Makes me look like a bit of a crazy yelling at the TV when the other person can’t even hear me, haha. It does a pretty good job of finding someone of the same skill level, or better, which is a little humbling. I have to improve my strategy I think — as you can see, on this most recent game, I played the song perfectly on expert, but lost because I timed my overdrive in the wrong places I guess.

Question for PS3 owners: If I were to get a webcam/eyetoy for it, can the video chat features talk to people other than other PS3 owners? That is, could one chat to someone who has a PC or Mac?

Anyway, I’m going to take advantage of the free evening and Caitlin and I finally have a date night after being homebound for so long, woo woo!

PS. Another question of lesser importance: If anyone reading this is a CSS expert and can tell me why my kit car site doesn’t render right in IE (I noticed it because it doesn’t render right on the PS3 either), please do… I’m terrible at that sort of thing.

(I’m right behind you)

Nefarious is visiting her mother for a few days while she’s in town, so how strange it is to be able to sleep in — oh the luxury! — and play video games all day long! They’re a little simplistic, but I gave my Rock Band character some facial tattoos to match my own. My ranking in the leaderboards is pretty good on some tracks. I think “Charlene” is my best one so far — I’m only 163 points shy of being ranked #1, but it’ll be tough to climb much, and as more and more people download and play the (free) track I am slipping a bit.

Green Grass and High Tides continues to elude me but I’ve beaten everything else…

DIY Stilts

Today’s afternoon project was making stilts from scrap lumber at Home Depot. Tomorrow I’ll build some straps for the feet to make it easier to walk in them. Lots of fun nonetheless.