Aprendiendo Español

Ayer en mi clase de español, dijimos unas historias que usó el tenso pretérito. Entonces, creo que puedo escribir en mi diario en español porque más de mi escritura son sobre el pasado. Ya no puedo escribir sobre el futuro.

Por ejemplo, por la noche pasada mis hijos estuvieron muy enloquecido. Creo que estuvieron entusiasmado por las vacaciones con sus abuelos en Kentucky. Los dos cantaron y saltaron en la cama cuando necesitaron estar durmiendo.

Vamos a ir a Kentucky esta noche… con el perro. Nosotros nunca viajamos con un perro, y estoy un poco preocupado. Lo está bastante difícil viajar con dos niños. Y si se perdemos durante el viaje, ¿qué?

Creo que voy a comer ahora.

Making Good Neighbors

There are some folks putting up a fence in our backyard this week. It’s not a fence vigilante group or anything… we had to pay them to do it. Jes’ doing our part to help the struggling economy.

I’m looking forward to being able to let the Dog burn off energy without driving him to a dog park, paying $25 to send him to doggy daycare or being attached to him by a line while he’s doing it.

I had thought Scout was on a Very Busy Spider kick, but I see now that it’s a reading kick in general. There are books scattered throughout the house as she continues to bring them from her or RocketBoy’s room to wherever a potential reader is.

She is not amused by our blatant refusal to read her a book while we are otherwise occupied, e.g. taking a shower. Usually we can distract her by suggesting she brush her teeth, which she does 10-12 times a day.

This bodes well. Both for literacy and dental hygiene.

¿Eres tú mi madre?

I had my last Uncle Grampa’s Hoo-Dilly Storytime for the season, resuming next spring. There’s another one this Saturday, but I’ll be Giving Thanks elsewhere.

In case I haven’t described this show, it is essentially an improv show for kids. In the green room before the show, we make up four story titles and write them in dry erase marker on a wheel. A child from the audience comes up and spins the wheel, and whatever it lands on is the story we make up and act out.

The cast is two puppets (usually Phinneas J. Monkey and Lil’ Tamo the Robot), the host Larry Lederhosen (a grown man in lederhosen and a Robin Hood hat), myself (Fritz the evil Butler) and a guest character of the week.

The story this week was Tumbleweed Jones and the Cranberry Banditos. The Wheel of Stories actually landed on No More Candy!, which was a title that RocketBoy had suggested the week before. But the host, with a blantant disregard for protocol, spun the wheel back a space to land on Tumbleweed. (The other two titles were The Wizard, The Turkey and the Princess and Moonbase 7: Thanksmoongiving.)

Since my own child had suggested the rejected title (his plaintive cries that it would be a good story could be heard), I made an effort to incorporate it into the story (I played Tumbleweed Jones, traveling do-gooder whose rallying call was “No More Candy!”). Since we had two titles covered, we went all in and made the Cranberry Banditos hideout on the moon, and I summoned a Wizard, a Princess and a Turkey (audience volunteers) to vanquish the Cranberry gang in the end.

No idea why I’m relating this. Just a signoff for the season, I guess.

What I really meant to discuss was RocketBoy’s Mad Reading Skillz. He successfully read Are You My Mother? by Eastman a couple nights ago. I’m differentiating this actual reading from the other form, which is knowing the book and reciting it while looking at the pages. Armed with his recently acquired “sight words” and a fairly strong ability to sound out new words, he made it all the way through with minimal help from me.

I give some credit to my Sight Words Go Fish cards that I made. I ordered some blank Bicycle Poker cards and wrote pairs of sight words on them (an, are, the, see, and, me, he, she, etc). RocketBoy drew pictures in the middle, and we were off in a spirited game of Go Fish. He pretty much had all the words down after a few games.

Needless to say, I’m very excited. Reading is one of those milestones that loom large on my horizon of Significant Events, eclipsing such minor events such as first steps or feeding himself. But I am required to almost feign indifference during the process of getting there, since I don’t want to push him into literacy. The motivation and desire really have to come from him if it is to be a lifelong passion.

And I think he is proud of his accomplishment. But, to own the truth, this pride in reading pales in comparison to his pride in getting the lead in his acting class’ production of Are You My Mother?. The reading comes as a bonus side effect of his excitement of being in the production. He’s been inviting random strangers and family members alike to the show.

The last end-of-semester show was three students including RocketBoy performing “Peter’s Pets”, a go-to piece for small classes. Basically, Peter interviews several pets to see which one he would like. RocketBoy played Peter, so he is 2 for 2 in terms of leads, which requires us to do some ego management and discussion of the no-small-parts truism.

On the me front, I brought my computer back up into a limping, zombie state. It had died a few weeks back, and I’ve been ordering various replacement parts in an attempt to diagnose the root failure. As it happens, it appears to have been the power supply, though it might have also been the processor. At any rate, I have an extra processor (a AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Socket AM2 CPU) in case anyone needs one, never been used, as my motherboard is a socket 939 and these processors are not returnable once opened.

Also, I have a big Spanish test coming up after Thanksgiving. For motivational purposes, our instructor has held a competition this semester, awarding points for homework. At the end, the student with the most points gets a $150 Ectaco C4Sp Spanish Electronic Translator/eBook reader:

Of the 60 or so students, four of us have left the rest of the pack behind. I’m currently in the lead, 101 points to 99 for the other three. But the final exam is 100 points, so my lead is in question unless I nail the exam. If I nail it, then all their efforts are in VAIN. VAIN, I tell you, IN VAIN! Bwahahahaha!

Voy a estudiar estas vacaciones.

Sundry Tales of Scout and RocketBoy

steakums tells me that RocketBoy got off the bus today claiming not to be RocketBoy, but rather “Duplicator #1”, a duplicate made (and controlled) by RocketBoy. RocketBoy reportedly spent the day in his bedroom, beaming instructions to Duplicator #1 with his brain.

Of course, my first thought is, why can’t I do this?

This stems from reading some Calvin and Hobbes last night where Calvin duplicates himself and the duplicates run wild. RocketBoy learned from Calvin’s mistake and integrated mind control into his duplicator. Nice.

When I got home last night, steakums was busy being transmogrified into a dog, some boots, a few other household items, and then back to mom by Scout. When it was my turn, she just transmogrified me into a dog and left me that way.

We were watching Kung Fu Panda last weekend, and there is a scene where the bad guy throws a huge chunk of rock at a good guy. The good guy destroys the rock, only to be caught unaware as the bad guy comes hurling through the exploding rubble and pounds him.

“That’s a chess move,” says RocketBoy.

And, of course, he was right. It’s a specific form of double attack… forcing a counterattack on an attacking lesser piece that opens you up for an attack by a stronger piece.

Chess is RocketBoy’s new Planets.

The other day, Scout came home with a lot of her hair highlighted in pink. We had assumed that they had played dressup at daycare, and they had put some hair color in her hair.

We found out that Scout had accidentally gotten hold of a pink or red Sharpie during the day, and proceeded to give herself a makeover.

I have to say… it looked pretty cool. She does good work.


RocketBoy was looking at chess sets, as he would like a new one for Xmas. We came across an outdoor one, with pieces that are a foot and a half tall, for something like $350. Of course, that was the one he wanted. Who wouldn’t? I explained that it was probably too expensive.

“But Santa Claus doesn’t have to pay for these, right? I mean, he just makes them.”

Errr… I spun some line about not having enough material to make toys for other kids if he used it all up on a huge chess board for him.

“But can’t he just get more stuff to make it with?”

I told him they only have so much stuff each year to make other stuff with, and then changed the subject by pointing out a cool magnetized set, because a few more back and forth volleys and we’d be deep into Santa Clause Economics, and that can’t end well.

Scout could not be more excited by The Very Busy Spider. RocketBoy was never here nor there about the book, but Scout is all about it. Also, any book about dinosaurs. Again, RocketBoy was only tangentially interested in dinosaurs.

Nothing builds sibling consensus like Spongebob Squarepants, though.

You know those people on Heroes who have the power to scream so loud you can see the sound waves emanating from their mouths, and trees fall down and ears bleed and people are blown across the room from the sheer force of it?

Scout can totally do that.

An incomplete list of words RocketBoy can read: me, you, it, to, like, I, a, for, the, Calvin, Hobbes, Bone, good, goo, go, hey, AAAAAA!, bye, row, Spongebob, Squarepants, mommy, an, at, yes, no, quit, continue, play, checkmate, chess, ball, mall, all, Obama, vote.

I’m trying to figure out how to make a story using just those words. I need more verbs.

When Conservatives are Conservative

Reddit had this link:

Marriages for none, civil unions for all.

That’s some conservativeness I can get behind. It neatly solves the professed problem of keeping “marriage” “sacred”.

I’ve stated elsewhere that I think there should be as many types of legal civil unions as there are legal corporate organizations. You can form an S or C corp, an LLP, LLC, or a sole proprietorship, but you’ve only got one (possibly two in some states) types of civil contracts.

So, whoever’s in charge of that… make that happen, okay? Thanks.

Searching for Harry Potter

RocketBoy has taken to playing chess with himself. He sets up the board and plays both sides, rapidly and with sound effects. Sometimes the pieces scream when they get captured.

I watched him playing just a little while ago, and noticed that he was moving the pieces wrong… the queen would move like a knight, a bishop like a pawn, etc.

I asked him what he was doing.

“I’m playing Magic Chess,” he answered. “I can magically change the pieces into different pieces.”

He picked up a knight. “Poof! You’re a bishop!” He then moved it diagonally to capture a queen.

Oh, the chess carnage that ensued.

The Vote was Brought

RocketBoy joined me at the polls today.

He got to decide whether to vote yes or no on a referendum to mandate uniforms for K-5 in Dekalb County. He voted a firm No.

When we were done, he wanted to stay and see if there was a button where he could vote for what toys they got in school.

He’s got the votin’ fever!