Monthly Archives: March 2009

Tuesday Miscellanea

Me, reading from Fundies Say The Darndest Things (you should watch the video of “dramatic readings” from posts on Chrisian websites) to Caitlin:

several million years for a monkey to turn into a man. oh wait thats right. monkeys dont live several million years.

Nefarious, shouting from the background:

HAhAHAHA! Nothing lives a million years! Except a parrot!

(She knows that parrots can live longer than humans, but I think that beyond that, orders of magnitude in the millions are a pretty abstract concept to a five year old.)

Unfortunately Nefarious’s favorite bedtime stuffed animal was forgotten under a blanket from her visit to her mother’s. A couple others have met this fate, so I wasn’t too worried about her ability to handle the loss, but still, it does upset her so we went to find a replacement. That came in the form of “Miss Sunshine D. Pinky”, an immense and very soft doggy that has joined the imaginary canine family as the other dog’s mother. My brother had a very similarly gigantic dog as a kid, which if I remember right was given to him after a minor surgery of some sort.


The two birthday parties that Nefarious attended this weekend were both highly enjoyed, but were stylistically at the opposite ends of the chart. The first was a low key girls-only party with a half-dozen girls, at the birthday girl’s house, being a faux tea party hosted by her mother. Really sweet, and the take-home goody bag included a framed picture of the girls at the party, which I thought was a very special touch. The second party was much larger with dozens of kids, hosted at a giant commercial indoor playground where they bowled and played laser tag (a big hit), and got brand-name take-home goodies like a Bob the Builder sticker book and a bunch of candy.

Nefarious has been looking forward to her upcoming sixth birthday party which her mother has been promising her she’d throw for her since the one she did last year was a big success, but those plans changed at the last minute so I’m scrambling a little to put a birthday party (that lives up to the hype) together quickly. I’m thinking that I might just host it at High Park, and have a big play and hide-and-seek party there with some helpers like clowns or magicians to make it especially thrilling. Can’t go wrong with that!

Speaking of High Park, yesterday when we were at the park (hoping in vain to find an ice cream truck in light of the warm weather) they were building something there, a big plywood structure that looks quite flimsy so I’m guessing it’s for a movie but I’m not really sure.


I’ve really been enjoying reading The Book of Three — Nefarious’s bed time has been pushed back much later than usual as we plow through it (which actually works really well anyway). Not that I didn’t like reading kids books and Fairytopia-muzak, but it’s great reading stuff that I enjoy as well. We’ll be finished this book tomorrow, and then we start The Black Cauldron.

Other that that… I’ve pretty much given up on doing my cooking blog, but I made a great meal of tortellini with asparagus and pesto, and while I was doing that it took about 18 hours to fully scan my ailing drive for bad sectors. Argh! Luckily almost nothing of value was damaged. I lost a small part of my email inbox, but because I use gmail it’s not particularly hard to redownload anything that got damaged. Thank dog for the cloud! And yes, my computer really is this dirty — which I suppose makes how long it’s lasted me even more of a miracle.


Oh, and we get our keys for the studio tomorrow. Woo woo!

As soon as we’re moved in, work begins on the submarine.

Anyway, enough rambling.

Crunchings and Munchings

While Nefarious was at one of this weekend’s birthday parties I did a little more fiddling with my proof-of-concept javascript-based image gallery (no flash, although it looks like a flash gallery)… I added a “loading” interstitial image, two side images for extra info pages (with a nifty animation and overlay), made the main image “float” — which makes me a bit sea sick! — and added a “slow-down” and then pause when you mouse-over the thumbnails. Like I said before, it’s my first real javascript project and if you look at the source code you’ll see it’s actually remarkably simple to do this. Doing it gave me some ideas for much cooler projects. The only thing I haven’t got working right is opacity issues (the thumbnails fade in and out at the edges in Firefox) in Internet Explorer. The code is all commented and easy to read so it’s set up for anyone who wants to learn from it.

We take possession of our studio later this week and I’m looking forward to getting started on new projects as well as setting up Nefarious’s dream room… Because she’s got a full roof of sky-lights (we’ll have to set up some good curtains), we’re building a garden in her room full of edible plants. As long as we’re stuck in the city, I’d like to still teach some of the lessons one learns much better in a rural environment.

Other than that, this is Nefarious’s drawing of Gurgi — a well-meaning and cartoonish sort of ape-man with the odor of a wet wolf hound that’s every child’s favorite character in The Book of Three. I do not like Disney’s version of Gurgi at all (from their movie The Black Cauldron), and I think when Nefarious finally watches the movie she’ll be quite disappointed. We’re well over half way through through the first book (it’s a set of five) and have been reading it for over an hour a day (in addition to reading other books as well).

To other parents considering reading this series, one of the things I like is that unlike many fantasy/fairy/princess type stories, this book has strong female characters that are every bit as powerful and important as the guys. I don’t like the Disney attitude that where at best the women aspire to be pretty enough that some prince will fall in love with them. Oh, and a funny conversation from the book… Prince Gwydian comments to young Taran that if he keeps dashing into battle so eagerly that “he won’t live to become a man” — Nefarious says, full of wonder, “he’ll turn into a girl?!?!?”


Assistant Pig-Keeper

My computer is on its last legs, and I think in a week or two I’m finally going to have to replace it, something I’ve been stalling and putting off as much as possible… Going back to a desktop machine. I think I’m most dreading having to dig up all my passwords and logins, which are saved in Firefox right now. Because I don’t have access to some of my old email accounts I have the feeling that a couple of them are going to be a big pain in the butt.

[Edit/Update: Thanks to everyone who posted easy solutions to the password problem in the comments!]

Anyway… We had a nice day today, starting off with a visit to High Park where we visited the zoo, bumped into a schoolmate of Nefarious’s, and took a walk in the forest — the fort that Nefarious and Caitlin are in here in this picture seems to grow a little bit larger every time we’re there.


Then we went toy shopping for the birthday parties that are happening this weekend, and I got Nefarious her first periscope, which unfortunately is just a tiny bit too big to fit out of our mail slot, which was its intended purpose. After that, we headed to Lithuania park, where fate again treated us with another encounter with different schoolmates, so they amused themselves playing hide-and-seek and other games. After they left, Nefarious and I found this old wire spool (or DIY wheelchair) which we had lots of fun rolling recklessly down the sledding hill.


Someone had left this very nice wood ladder in the park.


Other than that, Nefarious and I are fifty or so pages into The Book of Three. I was worried it might be a little mature for her (I think I was a little older when my mother read it to my brother and I), but she seems completely engrossed by it. It’s definitely the most complex story she’s been read so far — because her reading is good enough now to do all her simpler books, I’m generally leaving those for her to read herself. I think after we do the whole Chronicles of Prydain series, I’ll read her The Hobbit.

The good old days

I was reading a book of classic games and toys for kids.

This one, “Frog Trouncing”, stood out.


Nefarious comes back today after a brief visit with her mother… maybe we’ll go looking for frogs tomorrow. I think it’s still too early in the year though, so we’ll have to capture a squirrel. However, I think Nefarious will be very excited to see what Caitlin has gotten herself though and that will win out over animal cruelty.

First attempt at a gallery javascript

A friend asked me to put together a gallery site for them so I’ve been playing around with doing an animated one in Javascript/CSS… It does a few things using really simple code that you’re welcome to look it (I’m not a Javascript programmer by any means), including auto-centering the page based on browser resolution, trig math to do a nice animation of the thumbnails including opacity and z-index manipulation, and shaped images using PNG layering. Click it to check it out. I know it works in Firefox best, but it should work in most modern browsers… To be clear there’s no Flash or anything like that in it. I’ll probably add image fade/transition to it still and some other tweaks.