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Showing posts from September, 2016

A Sleepless Night, A Ghost Story, and A Movie Review

A blood-curdling, heart-wrenching wail pierced the silence of the house.  The scream came from Number 3, our youngest.  She's still co-sleeping, (a fancy attachment parenting term for sleeping with her parents), so I immediately checked her to see what was wrong.  Her eyes were clamped tightly shut.  She was still asleep. Intense nightmares seem to be hereditary around here.  I had them as a one-year-old, and so far each of the kids have had them in succession at the same age. I, for one, at least had an interesting excuse.  My parents, both teachers, moved to the Hopi Reservation, (pictured by Ansel Adams below), a few months after I was born.  It's a beautiful, but isolated part of the country.  It's also haunted. The Hopis, pacifists who live atop three sheer mesas in what is now Northeastern Arizona, had developed a brutal but effective means for dealing with social issues.  When the black plague spread across the Southwest, the Hopis, using this method, suffe

Leading from Behind

"Bear right, go to the door, and stop."  My seventeen month old and I were boarding an airplane to go to Las Cruces for a friend's daughter's high school graduation.  Number Three, wandered up to the door of the boarding ramp, and stopped.  The passengers behind me looked from me to the kid, and back.  Then looked again.  The attendant giggled, waved at Three, checked my boarding pass, and waved us down the ramp.  Off we went. I figured I would try our our walking directions routine on this trip since we were flying sans the rest of the family.  Three did phenomenally well.  As we walked down the ramp, I beamed on the inside, but played it cool.  I'd like to take credit for the whole thing, but honestly, I had very little to do with Three's instruction following ability. She learned it from her sibs our five and three year-olds, Number One and Number Two respectively. I'd started the whole thing with Number One.  With her, it'd taken a bit more w

Baking with Beer

The gang and I made beer bread last night!  The recipe is easy.  The kids get to dump in all the ingredients, and grease the loaf pan.  I just have to run the mixer, and sample the other beers in the six pack.  If you'd like to try it, here's the recipe: 3 cups self-rising flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1 room temperature beer Pour into a greased loaf pan, and bake for one hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After an hour, you'll get a loaf of crusty bread, perfect for eating with stews, or slathering with butter, and honey on a cold day. We used New Belgium Pmupkick beer on a lark to see if we'd get pumpkin flavored bread.  Sure enough, there's a slight tang of pumpkin flavor, and the bread came out a little bit orange!  It was also a little shorter than usual, so now we have an experiment to work on for a few weeks.  Was the bread short Because we used the large loaf pan? Because of the pumpkin beer?  We normally use cheap beer like Pabst Blue Ribbon or Lone

Gender Bias as a Learning Opportunity & The Week in Reading

Pete the Cat: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star  Did you know that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has more than one verse?  Neither did we!  The Pete the Cat series of books is as fun to look at as they are to read.  Admittedly, this one lacks in the plot department, since it is literally just the verses to the song. Giants Beware! The Chronicles of Claudette #1 This is a great book in that the hero is a girl!  Tellingly, I had to teach our 5 year-old how to find the descriptions of main characters in order to convince her that the heroine was in fact a heroine, and not a hero.  All in all, it worked out great though!  We covered story openings, character introductions, and gendered pronouns.  Beyond learning opportunities, and sexism foils, the book is also excellent in and of itself.  It chronicles the quest of Claudette, a young Norman kid, and her siblings as they hunt a giant, hoping to eventually kill it for the attendant fame and fortune.  Along the way, they learn a th

Kaptain Kapow and Free Range Socialization

We were headed to the comic book convention in downtown San Francisco.  We’d emerged onto Market Street after successfully navigating the bus, and subway with our pack: my wife, and I, our 3 year-old, dressed as Kaptain Kapow, our 5 year-old dressed as Princess Areia, and our 1 year-old, wearing the cape of SuperKid.  The hubbub of city life swirled around us.  Shoppers, workers, and the occasional derelict bustled to and fro, creating a fog of people.  The kids spread out, and propagated through it with ease and aplomb. Young Kaptain Kappow forged ahead about 20 yards as SuperKid and I happily trundled down the sidewalk taking in the new fall storefronts.  Princess Areia, and Mom Lady were our rovers for the day, periodically moving from the front to the rear of our pack checking in on everyone.   Looking up I noticed Kappow, confronted by one of the derelicts.  Sound wafted on the wind back down the street.  I could hear, “... find your mom and dad…”, “... they’'ll

Pinyin Tone Chart

Either copy and paste 'em into your document, or in Word you can also type the hex code for followed by holding down alt and x at the same time. ā 101+alt x á e1+alt x ǎ 1ce+alt x à e0+alt x ō 14d+alt x ó f3+alt x ǒ 1d2+alt x ò f2+alt x ē 113+alt x é e9+alt x ě 11b+alt x è e8+alt x ī 12b+alt x í ed+alt x ǐ 1d0+alt x ì ec+alt x ū 16b+alt x ú fa+alt x ǔ 1d4+alt x ùd f9+alt x ǖ 1d6+alt x ǘ 1d8+alt x ǚ 1da+alt x ǜ 1dc+alt x

Of Babies and Bombs

We're a baby-wearing family.  It's mostly because I'm just not cut out for strollers.  I get that they have a certain convenience, and a certain traditional flair, but long before we had kids, I was ruined by the baby-bearers of Boulder.  I watched mom after mom come into coffee shops where I worked with babies strapped to themselves in various positions.  Some of the babies rode high on their mother's shoulders, backpack-style, others were nestled into their wraps just below their mother's chin, still others were riding side saddle strapped to their mom's side, taking in the whole world in tandem.  Babies that were awake would be popped out of their wraps to wander about the coffee shop.  A bit later, the mom would put the baby back into the wrap.  Sometimes the baby would be settled into the same position, sometimes into a different one that suited a new bundle of stuff the mom had picked up, or the baby's newly sleepy mood.  For me, the image of rugged

Playgrounds: The Rule

We really only have one “rule” regarding our kids on the playground: We don't help. Whatever the kids are big enough to do by themselves, they’re allowed to do. If they want to climb to top of the tall slides, and go down, they can. If they need help to climb up, (because they’ve never done it before), they can’t. Not until they can do it by themselves. More times than not, this has led to a more relaxed dad, a more centered dad, a more, "Hunh, seeing as how you can't climb the ladder to the small platform you could plunge off of, you'll be OK." sort of dad.  Occasionally things do run in the opposite direction ala, "Who knew you could climb the 12 foot tall pyramid o' ropes mounted on a merry-go-round?"  In the latter cases, risk amelioration is achieved by Casually Hanging Out close to the Area Of Highest Concern', (e.g. directly under the kid giggling on top of said rope pyramid), tactfully concealing my inner-qualms. The system tends

Dad and Kids:The Dad Posts Debut

On Twitter, G+,and my blog, I mention that I'm a new dad.  However, thus far, I've failed to write much if anything on being said dad.  Tomorrow that changes.  My inspiration is two-fold, first, I need to keep my writing practice up, and that's hard to do with writing about physics if you're not working in physics all day, every day.  The second inspiration is that I finally found a parenting blog that I enjoy!  It's written by Australian home-schooler/unschooler Sarah.  Her blog is titled Happiness is Here .  It's right up my alley, and if you enjoy stories of laissez-faire parenting, you might like it to.  Anyhow, finding a somewhat similar voice in the mash of the internet, I'm bolstered to loose my own Dad sort of thoughts.  There'll still be posts on math, physics, and the like, but starting tomorrow, dad posts will cohabitate with the rest!

"The Stars are too High" Comes in Low

Given the fascinating history of the author, I was very excited to read the book.  Agnew Hunter Bahnson Jr. is featured in the near sci-fi non-fiction book, "The Philadelphia Experiment".  A wealthy industrialist that fancied himself a potential astronaut, Bahnson funded fringe physics projects, (that's how he landed in The Philadelphia Experiment"), as well as mainstream general relativity research, (he raised the funds to sponsor the Institute for Field Physics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill). More on Agnew's history" The book alas, did not live up to the author.  While the story is more interesting if you allow yourself the gratuitous fantasy that Bahnson was dreaming about the ship he himself hoped to build, that's about all the book has to offer.  He had a potentially spectacular female character, a pilot the equal of the boos main character.  Unfortunately, Bahnson squandered her, using only as a romantic prop.  It's