Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Lights Are On, But....

We are all enjoying the snow (and the winter colds that arrived at the same time).  Regular rambling will return soon.  Please feel free to reread a favorite ramble in the archive.

and we are playing with our new iphones  (any Apps you like, leave them below!)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Link & Zelda

The Master Sword
as found in the Twilight Princess
For 25 years young Link has taken up the wooden training sword and ventured out of his village with the hopes of rescuing the Princess Zelda.  Not because she's hot, but because it is his fate and duty.  Along the way he will gain proficiency in many weapons, most coveted of all being the Master Sword.  He's learned to time travel and brought about the geek fascination with the ocarina.  He is an expert archer, sailor, and horseman.  He reminds us that the boomerang is in fact a weapon, and that if you can't fly, you can climb.  Moreover, Link is the once and always savior of Hyrule.

The Mythical Triforce
As a young boy (although once as an adolescent) Link repeatedly must fulfill prophesy, leaving his rural utopia to rid the world of the evil inflicted by Gannon (also known as Gannondorf).  A monstrous entity, significant in power and larger than life.  Along the way Link must find the scattered pieces of the Triforce.  Only when this ancient power is harnessed may Hyrule know peace.   Link's journey is never easy, without a direct path from one point to the next, he must decide where to go, typically venturing to every corner of Hyrule, exploring numerous caves, cemeteries, and dungeons.  He is not without help.  Often he finds friendly teachers, generous merchants, and even pirates, who help him along his way and teach him to use new exotic weapons such as bombs, which enable to him access even more hidden secrets.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Science Today

First I want to hand out a big CONGRATS to IBM and the Watson team!  Way to go on the QandA development for Watson.  I don't get (what channel is Jeopardy! on anyway?) well, I don't get that channel, but I loved watching Jeopardy! as a kid.  I used to race my mom and occasionally my grandma to the correct answer.  Teen and Celebrity Jeopardy were always easiest.  I thought someday I might try out, but I've fallen behind on my trivia and never have bothered.  Still it was great to see the Nova about Watson.

It disheartened me a little to hear so many people today comment about how it's not a big deal that Watson won, after all he had all that information, he could get the question faster, etc.  Obviously, these people have never tried to teach a computer anything!  You see I've always had this dream about making a smart house system (not too incredibly dissimilar from Sarah on Eureka actually), except mine is named Callisto and he is more of a Jeeves butler type.  Of course other than some sketches and progression ideas, Callisto doesn't exist.

Wow, that took a lot more space than I thought.  Anyway, with the congrats out of the way what I'd really like to address is science, especially as it's taught to kids in the school system, and this wonderful article:
NOVA education: Explaining the Scientific Process: "One teacher on our Facebook page asked, “Could you explain the scientific process? There seems to be tremendous difficulty for my 3rd grader..."
In which NOVA asks  Dr. William McComas what exactly it is that teachers need to be teaching.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update to Comments

I have turned off the required authorization word on the comment box since some people messaged me that it's not working.  Please feel free to leave comments without the captcha.  If the comments become a bot fest I'll have to turn it back on, but until then we shall try this.

Another Great Childhood Toy

Earlier this month I linked a list of the all time best toys.  I am now absolutely certain that a very important one was missing.  Maybe because the author doesn't live far enough to the North, he totally missed snow!  I love snow, so does my husband.  In fact after living down South for nine years you'll never meet anyone over the age of say 17 who is happier when it snows, even though he has to shovel it.  Not only is it beautiful (only time each year that my yard looks great!), but it is absolutely one of the best kid's toys.

Now before you go telling me snow isn't a toy, the originally list consisted of:  the stick, string, dirt/mud, cardboard box, and cardboard tube, although not necessarily in that order (ok, not in that order at all, maybe you should go read the original list - after you finish here of course.)  I have lots of fond memories of snow growing up.  I remember when I was a preschool aged child (I never went to preschool) lining our front yard in a snow fence made out of snow that had been packed into a planter.  That was one of the few times we built anything in the front yard, because my mother didn't like even 1 footprint in the beautiful snow, although the backyard was fair game.  My oldest daughter asks for snow year round.  I even taught my dog to pull a sled to sled dog commands while in junior high, but this is not why snow deserves to be on the list of all time best toys.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why Government?

Uggh politics, yet with the exciting wonderful happenings in Egypt, why not.

We don't have a complete history of how governments began.  There's a primarily accepted theory that essentially tells us that government evolved from the family unit.  Extended family units united under a dominate pair.  This dominate pair eventually became village elders, chiefs, and kings.  Our first warning about the dangers of government, namely a king, is given to us in the 1 Samuel Chapter 8.  Here the Israelites ask Samuel, who had been the spiritual leader of the country as a judge, for a king to govern over them.  Repeatedly he warns that the king is a bad idea, that they will regret this request when they are repressed as slaves to the king's will.  Of course that's exactly what happens, more than once.

So why do we even bother with having a government, if they're such a bad idea?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Lusty Sexy Day

I've been asked several times what I'm going to do for Valentine's Day this year.  Do?  Really?  People seriously do stuff for Valentine's Day?  Here on Paper Napkins on the Edge of Insanity I do try to promote holiday awareness and to help spread the joy and happiness of so many wonderful holidays that aren't lucky enough to be on Hallmark's top 10.  We do celebrate many "normal" holidays as well.  However, I just don't get Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Note

Wow, it's been so crazy this week.  And we got tweeted for the first time!  I don't do twitter myself, but I wanted to say an extra special HI to everyone that came by to see how we are now organizing hair things (and someday storing wine - it's been a long time since I've bought wine, but someday right?)

When it's crazy I don't get to type as much.

Orcrist hasn't been typing either, although he keeps mentioning a LEGO post for any LEGO fans out there, you can look forward to that, eventually .....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Place for Everything - Our Solution for Too Much Hair Stuff

Two weeks ago I completely gutted my two daughters shared bedroom.  In probably not the most glamorous method of cleaning, I decided that nothing short of an entire purge was going to make a dent on the room.  Now in my beloved offspring's' defense, they share a room that is 8' by 10' and not entirely square with one wonky wall that has a protrusion about 3' up from from the floor that comes 1' out into the room.  Oh, and there is no closet.  As a result, I really don't like them to have anything in the room that doesn't absolutely have to be there.  Unfortunately, if it's not a toy, a book, or something that makes sense in the living room, it really does have to go in the room with them.  And that means it needs a place to go.

While this is not a child solvable problem, that means my husband and I have been forced to get very creative.  We still need to find a solution for the everyday dresses that they now insist on wearing, we have tackled quite a few challenges.  Today we hopefully defeated the ever growing beast that is girl hair things!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Statue Tarnishes

I grew up in the Reagan era.  There I admitted it.  When I was in primary school Reagan was like a god.  He was "the best president ever!"  I lived in a red state that still seems allergic to voting any other way.  Even now many people vote along party lines for no other reason than that was the way they were raised to do it.  Anyway, I always spent my young life learning how great Reagan was.  How he saved America.  In my education it was like, there were the founding fathers and they all took a turn as president, setting the country up.  Then after a few years there was Lincoln who was really smart and important and freed the slave before being shot.  After that some time passed and Reagan became president and he fixed everything that had been leftover from Lincoln.  Yeah, American History was not a strong subject for any of my teachers.

While I still hold neither a history degree, nor a political science degree, my knowledge of American History has greatly improved.  I've learned the names of many more presidents, it helps that the streets in town are named after a bunch of them.  I've also learned a little bit about some of the things these people stood for, some of their primary objectives, and some of the actions they took while standing forefront in our country.  I've also learned to understand the stress, the decisions, and to truly understand why no one who wants to be president will ever do a good job at it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lessons From Gullability

I'm going to let  you in on a secret.  Please don't tell anyone.  I have a genetic condition that makes me extremely vulnerable.  My whole family has it.  My paternal grandfather was thoroughly plagued by it to the point where my uncles ridiculed him for it, even though they too share this painful affliction.  I'm sure it's not that rare of a condition, but it's really most embarrassing. Especially considering my love for learning, my quest for fact, and my pursuit for knowledge.

Promise you won't laugh?  You see we are all genetically gullible, against our own wishes and best interests.  We are a marketers dream!  We tend to believe, even though we want more than anything to be skeptical.  It doesn't matter how much training, how many degree programs, or how many lectures on common sense, sin, and the fall of man we just can't seem to grasp on with both hands to overcome this genetic abnormality.  In my grandfather's case it lead him to believe every hard luck story, every snake oil salesman, every con artist around. Try as they might no one could stop him, we'd clean out the medicine cupboards and he'd fill them back up.  The doctor would advise him against so many vitamins, his body even tried to tell him.  Oh well, he lived happily to the wise age of 90, even with his fault God kept a watchful eye over him.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No Blog Today

Yeah, ok... I didn't sit down and write today and I'm in the absolute middle (well pretty darn close) of the movie version of Girl With a Dragon Tattoo, and I think you all remember how much I loved the book!  Anyway.  I thought I'd just take this very brief moment while my amazing husband puts our daughter back into bed (and Lizabeth is exacting some painful revenge) to share a great geekdad list.

Go ahead and click through!  Then come back and tell me what was your favorite item on the list!
I definitely spent the most time as a child with the #1 and #5 all time greatest toys ever!  I was so blessed.  I have fond memories of the few times we were able to play with #2, especially the rare coveted large size.  No little inventor should be without access to #3 although #1, #2, and #4 are also helpful on these fronts.  A good dose of #5 is always helpful.  BEST TOYS EVER!!!  

Now back to my movie!  Don't forget to tell me your favorites of the top five toys of all time!
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