Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I am really enjoying watching Athena as she grows up. She is at the point now where she is able to begin learning how to read and count. She can count in the twenties, but she usually skips seventeen and eighteen. She cannot recognise all the letters of the alphabet, but we are working on it.
Of the three girls she is the snugliest of them all so far. She really enjoys sitting next to someone and cuddling up real close. Her sense of affection is very strong.
She really loves Aurora and can get pretty jealous of the things that Aurora can do, but she is not old enough for yet. When we got home from rollerblading yesterday, she put on Aurora's rollerblads and walked around the house. It was very cute. It is very hard for her to understand why we can't take her out to do these things.
One problem we have to work on is when her and Aurora play, Aurora is very bossy. Aurora makes up games that basically entail Aurora telling Athena to do something, Athena doesn't do it, and then Aurora gets really mad. Sometimes Athena does try hard to do what Aurora is saying, but Aurora doesn't understand that Athena is three and doesn't quite understand as much as she does. When Athena tries to have a say in what to do Aurora gets frustrated and tells her no. I keep having to pull Aurora aside and tell her that it's not nice to play with someone by just bullying them around and doing things only her way.Overall they do do very well together as far as sisters go. I understand Kim and Katie where always at each others throats. For example, last night Athena was riding on Aurora's back while Aurora crawled around the house pretending to be a lion. It was very cute.
Right now Athena is being watched by Rachel during the day. I really thought Athena was going to love this, but she misses going to daycare where she has a lot of friends that are her age. As much as we would like to put her back, using Rachel saves us a lot of money and it also provides Rachel with a steady and consistant income. So it is a win-win situation.The owner of her previous day care did have me come in and fix a computer problem in exchange for a few days of daycare for Athena. Her first of the three days will be on her birthday, which is tomorrow.

Rollerblading with Aurora

On Sunday we all went for a walk on the St. Marks trail. Anne and Stanley joined us. Aurora and I brought our roller blades. Aurora had only had one thirty-minute blading session, so this was more-or-less her first real go on them.
She picked it up really well. At first she tried what I imagine most kids her age try, which is walking like normal. Over time she start picking up pushing her herself but wasn't quite getting it. At one point I showed her how I could go really fast, and she must have paid attention to how I was moving my legs, because when I got back she started doing it right. She would put on foot out, slightly slanted, and then push and then bring the next leg forward and do the same.
Her being so small and skinny, with those big skates on was quite a sight to see. She was really in to it though. She was determined to learn it. When she is determined to learn something she will pick it up pretty fast.
Sunday night she asked if we could do it again on Monday, after school. So yesterday I put our rollerblades and helmets in the back of the truck and picked her up from Creative Child after work.
She did really good on Monday. The first time she fell she got her palms scraped up a little bit, but every other time she fell she was very careful about trying to fall in the grass, or land on her bottom.
We went all the way down to the first stop sign, which is over 1/4 mile and then came back. This whole trip probably took us about an hour. Once back to where we parked we roller bladed around that area for another thirty minutes. While she went at her own pace, I took the oppurtunity to practice abrupt stopping. I'm a slow stopped, only able to use the back break on my right skate, which isn't very effective. I practiced getting going at a slow pace and then jumping and landing with my feet perpendicular to the direction I was going. I think I was doing pretty good at it. Abrupt stops really throw off my balance, and that is something I will have to work on.
I also gave a first-shot at going backwards, but I couldn't even figure out how to move my feet in a way to make myself move backwards. The best I could do was set myself up on an incline so that gravity simply pushed me backwards, but I was unable to find a good way to push to make myself go faster. Hopefully, once I can confidently stop abruptly, I can start trying to get going forward, and then jump backwards.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


For the first time since I left for California I have my feeds down to 0 unread. Woohoo!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nobel vs. innovation

I read an article the other day about how some older Nobel Lauriets believed the internet was dumbing down culture. As someone who has been on the internet since ~1992, and have been embracing it ever since, this unnerved me. A large part of my life is spent on the internet performing various tasks. Different people belong to all sorts of cultures, and I belong to the internet cultures.
I look forward to the next internet meme, not the next eposide of Friends (yes, I know it's off air now.) When I went to talk politics I go online and say what I have to say. When I take pictures off my camera, I quickly upload them to my picasaweb album. I also spend countless hours a week reading blog from around the world, mostly regarding technology.So what is the problem that these Nobel winners have with the Internet?

Similarly, author Andrew Keen argued in his new book, The Cult of the Amateur, that the internet was killing culture and assaulting economics.
"[Anyone] can use their networked computers to publish everything from uninformed political commentary, to unseemly home videos, to embarrassingly amateurish music, to unreadable poems, reviews, essays, and novels," Keen wrote in the book.

The problem that have is that amateurs are out there putting out art. Being amateurs, the art is what most would call sub-par. I mean, what kind of world do we live in if the average person is an artist? What happens when kids are more interested in art put out by some random kid on the street with a crappy video camera than someone else who went to school and fought their way through to publishers to get their contetnt out?
What happens is innovation in ways that the established industry is incapable of concieving. Take for example chocolate rain. This video has received millions of hits in a matter of months by fans all over the world. The popularity of this very odd song has landed this guy performances on network television, record contacts, and made him an instant international star.
Without the internet this guys music would have never made it past a couple of friends who may have mused at it for a while and then lost in a trash can.
But this is probably the fate that Andrew Keen would like to see this kind of art recieve. Why? Because he is an art snob. Art, to him, has to fit predefined hooks and follow certain rules.
The truth is that art has never done this. The new is always scary to the old. Think of swing. This music was truly the devils work, according to the old crowd at the time. Then along came rock n' roll, which was thrust in to the mainstreem by the Beatles. Surely the Beatles are trying to corrupt our children. Then metal followed by rap. Each time the older generation doesn't get it and cries fowl. But, like Bob Dylan says, "You better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone, for the time they are a-changin'" I like to remind this to old hippies when they complain about todays music.Andrew Keen and company's way of art may still have relevence as timeless quality work, but has no place in the new cutting edge world of art. What's worse, though, is his mind set regarding amateur work. This mindset has no place in any time period. Amateur artwork is especially important, and should be encouraged. And every amateur has the right to put his or her stuff out there to be judged by the community.
The great thing about the community is that every amateur has easy access to the community, and the community has a large share of amateur critics to rate the work. If the work is crap, people will tell the artist to piss off and the work goes nowhere. If the work is entertaining, the artist gets his or her fifteen minutes of fame. This really works out great because the critics and consumers are the same people. In the traditional system, the art has to first pass the publisher, is then reviewed by the critics, and whether or not people consume the product can depend on the ratings the reviewers gave it. The new system is more of a meritocracy, versus the old system that basically amounts to cronyism.
Someone I met online and have since met in person, wrote an elegant essay on exactly why anyone and everyone should be submitting their own content.
are thousands upon thousands of good writers out there — people who could be
improving the quality of what we see here everyday. But we won’t ever experience
what they have to offer because there’s nobody to bring it to our attention.
What are the odds that their stuff is going to be randomly “discovered”? Not
good. The only only option is for them to drop the socially ingrained
false-modesty and present it themselves. Remember that writers submit their work
to publishers; they don’t wait for it to be found. Artisans have shows and
invite lots of people, and academics submit to their respective journals. In
short, submitting original content for peer review is crucial in any community
that values intellectual progress.So to all of you who think you have something
to offer — show us. Getting someone else to submit it for you is more shady than
doing it yourself, and it’s not going to be discovered on accident. If you’re
doing anything to increase your chances of being seen (SEO, word-of-mouth
promotion, etc.) you’re already playing the system. Accept this and have the
balls to submit your own material if you think it’s worth reading.
So to the old Noble Lauriets and their old way of thinking, I saw good riddance. The internet, and it's art, is here to stay. It will shape the future and redefine everything (which will probably be the five thousandth time art has been completely redefined by new culture) and will eventually become old and irelevant by the time it's my turn to be old and grumpy.