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Showing posts from 2013

Whidbey Island Part 1

We live in a townhouse complex. Those communal affairs that are not quite apartments and not quite duplexes but most people there have some sort of familial unit that requires more space and the general population is not crammed with young professionals who's idea of Keeping It Down mean keeping the 500 watt amps inside their unit and for whom Going To Sleep At A Reasonable Hour is something not far from incomprehensible. It means communities where quiet, somewhat fuddy, somewhat duddy hobbies are embraced as appropriate and even Alright now that everyone is of a certain age never mind that its the sort of thing I did even when I was youthful and supposedly full of vim and vigour (perhaps the first clue I've been  more on the bookworm side is I would use the term 'vim' without thinking it might be as modern day appropriate as blunderbuss, Black Lung, or consumption (dying of, not mass)). And its through these activities that an alarmingly large number of fami


We went to the Seattle zoo. I hadn't been to a zoo for pretty close on 30 years and expected it to be much as it was in the third grade. Soviet-era cement bunkers locking down the whimpering remains of once proud animals. Each going through their own hellish version of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest minus the good friend who's handy with a smothering pillow; plus various attempts to get them to mate with other animals, who, while the same species, are complete strangers. I don't know if I looked forward to this overmuch. Although there is some magic in seeing an elephant in the flesh; even with the hollowed out stare of someone long past wishing for death, I'm not sure there is enough magic to keep me excited for the 3 hour drive. Mind you, these are all memories added onto my memories as a child. Who knows what I thought back then, now through the tinted glasses of a purportedly sane, responsible, socially conscious adult. The Seattle Zoo, however, is not the

Owlet is Metal

 For the most part, Owlet is as you would expect any seven year girl to be. Deeply involved in cartoons and their subsequent merchandise. Anthropomorphized animals of various magical qualities; fairies, both the Disney sanctioned and the not so sanctioned; princesses of every sort. She has endless small sets of tiny plastic figurines which don other, much smaller plastic clothes or accessories or some kind of domestic contrivance. She sets them up and plays with them, chatting about what's happening and why and how some discord or other comes about. It's enough to make any Mattel executive ( pre-teen girls division, TV-tie-in portfolio) get all misty and sentimental. It's also strange how she expects me to somehow be into this, and to know the various backstories of characters, their names, their likes, their failings. If I was at all interested in memorizing names and arcane stats about things which have, at best, imaginary importance I'd get into spectator sports.

Marketing On Ice

It's funny the things you save up for the massive, magnanimous gifts or tickets you hem and haw over and finally  bite the bullet and get them for your kids. And then they invariably give you a blank look, and, depending on how old they are, give you a smile that may or may not be convincing. Nothing gives you a glimpse better into the moment when your kids send you to a retirement home more than your child trying hard not to hurt your feelings. The vast chasm of  your own frailty/humanity set against the invincibility of youth. Anyways, so we tell Owlet we are going to "Disney On Ice", and she gives us a 'oh good' smile which is more bewildered than blank, but I think she gets that she's supposed to be excited, so she attempts a small clap or something. My parents were 1st generation immigrants, and they were... Well. I went to IceCapades as a kid, and I swear to god the concession workers who sold wares at my seat level look suspiciously like Himalayan s

Ice Skating

One of the things we forget as we get older, is how terrifying childhood is. Or at the very least, reasonably uncomfortable. Case in point, lessons, about anything: swimming, reading, soccer, or in this case, ice skating. I never took ice skating lessons as a kid, I think at one point my dad may have given me a pointers over a span of about 15 seconds. As he was an immigrant from a country where humidity meets monsoons, that was the entirety of his knowledge on the subject. We have Owlet in classes, all that 'give your child the opportunities you never had' thing coming into play there. Thinking back, the only reason I didn't have this opportunity is that my parents were busy signing me up in all sorts of other activities to feel awkward and self-conscious about.To my everlasting regret, there was never a summer camp for 'sitting quietly in a corner, reading books while taking breaks to watch cartoons'. So anyways, yes, it's difficult, this thing we call c


Owl Jr. is still very much into Thomas the Tank Engine. Periodically he'll ask me to read him the toy catalog, which I'll staunchly refuse the first 97 times. But he has taken up Hotwheels to some extent. It does seem all hopelessly gender stereotypical but I suppose I'm just too old-fashioned, lazy, and cheap to get him the Mother Jones approved Green Nurture Truck from the Gaia Solar Empowered Rescue Team (made from carbon neutral renewable Fair Trade non-invasive species bamboo). Also, it means I can hand him down my Hotwheels. Likely made from lead-paint, cast from asbestos casts and formed from depleted uranium with a special DEET-infused glass for the windshield. It's a bit of a trip to see him play with the milk truck tanker which I pretended to be a tanker with mini-laser turrets where the tank caps are. Or the grey funny car which quite EMPHATICALLY belonged to my brother. Or the 007 Aston Martin which even MORE emphatically belonged to my other brother.  O

PNE : 2010

This is a draft, one of many drafts on different topics I've found in my draft archives. This particular one is from 2010... Yowsa. The PNE is the Pacific National Exhibition, which is a very Canadian and overly complicated way of saying 'State Fair'. Owlet is four, if my math is right, which it rarely is. Owl Jr. is two, possibly/probably. There are  rides of various speeds and sizes and death-defyingness, sweet and salty and questionable treats that all have ceased being technical 'food' during the long slow cost-cutting and profit maximization that is industrial food production and regulatory slackening which began in the 80's and has gone as unabated sales of Atlas Shrugged to undergraduate commerce majors. Owlet is a smaller fireball, and I'm not sure how she'll take rides. They trundle and whizz and bang and some go at speeds which used to fill me with excitement but now just have me worrying about the frequency of federally mandated safety c

The Chewy, Charry Bits

I'm at the last bit of my game, LaunchCraft. I still think I implemented it poorly, but I just want to be done with it. Which is a really crap reason for wanting to finish a game, but at this point I need any motivation to get through it. Game development is alot of pain working with obscure tools and uncertain documentation aimed at MIT compsci gradutates who read WC3 specs to wind down, I find. To be more accurate, working with open source tools is like that. I could very well use any manner of commercial prodcuts to get my game done, and that would likely be the wiser course. But I have this thing for freedom, and have various, radical scenarios where entire swaths of my PC goes down, or companies dissolve, and then I have to rebuild whatever I was working on from scratch. With open source, that option is there. The code never dies. There's no company to die and leave you in the lurch. You can always work 'light'. That is, with as few dependencies on the nefarious

1st Draft Birthday Cards

Remember when you used to look forward to being one year older: more mature, more responsibilities and opportunities? And now it's just hoping that the degeneration of your body isn't too catastrophic and that maybe you can make it to a peaceful death without smearing your name on the walls with your own feces? Those were great times. This card is made from pristine, supposedly protected redwoods of California. The image on the front is of a idyllic untouched coastal scene, though, so there's that. Another year older, another year wondering if that delightful absent-minded professor routine you've cultivated since 19 is really just masking advanced dementia. Well, you're well past ever making anything of yourself. We love you anyways. Happy Birthday! You know using today to get a free meal at Denny's means you've lost, in not an unsubstantial way, some very real points in life. Breakfast all day though, have a great one! Batmobile, Porsche, Ducati, Eur

Christmas Family Letter 2012

If the world has not been consumed by whatever apocalyptic scenario a pre-industrial society that couldn't even be bothered to discover the wheel or pulley thought we'd encounter, then may this letter find you and yours well. 2012 has been an indecently busy year for the Family. Mrs. Owl has taken up full time work, as her part-time position disappeared when that facility switched contracting companies, in other words, the company that she worked for got fired from the company she actually worked for, it's like unemployment Inception. With full-time work she's exhausted and happy and busy and exhausted. Relatedly, this year she's taken up running at ungodly hours of the morning with her neighbours and is enjoying that as well. I would say jogging but nobody says jogging anymore outside of retrospectives of the 80's, I think. It's more of a 'battling the decline of age' than a 'practicing for the Boston Marathon' type of running, which i