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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Kris' LiveJournal:

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    Sunday, August 7th, 2011
    11:42 pm
    Watching "Dr Who" as an American...or seeing yourself from the outside
    One fun thing about Dr. Who is you get to hear American-jokes, like this one:
    The Doctor: ....I just walked into the highest security office in the United States, parked a big blue box on the rug. You think you can just shoot me?
    River stepping out of the TARDIS: They're Americans!

    But one more serious thing I've noticed--and it's subtle--is that race seems less important on "Dr. Who" than on comparable American shows that I've watched. At some point while watching Dr. Who, I realized I'm used to characters being black for a reason. The reason might be subtle, or minor, but it's there. If not for plot or character reason, then some sort of deliberate attempt to maintain racial diversity in characters.

    I think this first occurred to me watching "Vampires of Venice", in which a couple of the main episode characters are black for no apparent reason. And when I thought about it, I don't get the feeling that the casting call for Mickey said "black" in it. Donna's husband--a throw-away character--is black, again for no discernible reason. It's possible that what race means for a character in the UK is different enough that I just don't get it, though. There is some stuff I know I don't get (eg, "Scottish girl in an English village" doesn't have any resonance with me--I can make guesses, and they might even be right, but that's not the same).
    2:14 pm
    _Positive Discipline_ by Jane Nelson
    The book is 30 years old, and you can tell. All the examples use surnames ("Mrs. Smith had the following problem with her son..." and not "Jane had the following problem with her son...").

    In terms of its message, it matches with Kohn's _Unconditional Parenting_ fairly well, though the authors would have points to debate.

    Her overall message is to treat children with respect and help them learn to responsible, considerate adults. Read more...Collapse )
    Saturday, March 5th, 2011
    7:32 am
    Nurture Shock, the final review.
    Chapter 8: Can Self-Control be Taught?

    This chapter exemplifies my problem with the book. It reads all-in-all like the typical "Breakthrough in field X" you so often see in the popular press, but when you look deeper, it's not so clear it's any sort of breakthrough.

    Read more...Collapse )

    Chapter 9: Aggression.
    AggressionCollapse )

    Chapter 10: Why Alyssa talks and Hanna Doesn't.
    This is a "How to talk to your children" chapter. Read more...Collapse )

    His concluding chapter: After some rambling, he makes two good points:
    (1) Children aren't adults. This is easy to forget in many circumstances. (As a personal example, when Helen was toddler throwing a tantrum, I used to remind myself that for her, it really was that bad.)
    (2) Good qualities and bad qualities often go hand-in-hand. (Lying requires a certain sophistication. Good social skills mean aggression as well as more positive social activity.)

    My recommendation: Read this book with some caution. There's good information in it, but the authors aren't careful about telling you when they are standing on thin ice. Also, it's buried in filler (it opens talking abut Cary Grant, for example). Think Newsweek instead of the Economist. Also, those who are cheap will likely be annoyed if they pay money for this book, since much of the text of his articles is available elsewhere.
    Sunday, February 27th, 2011
    3:16 pm
    NurtureShock, a continuing review
    [question #1, right off the bat--why can't I spell "Nurture"?]
    IQ tests for kindergardeners, siblings, and teen rebellionCollapse )

    Erik is trying to type, so the rest will have to wait.
    Saturday, February 5th, 2011
    2:42 pm
    NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children,part 1: praise,sleep,race,liars
    This book give you (the reader) supposedly shocking insights into the nature of children. Indeed, so far it's interesting, though "shocking" wouldn't be my term. It's based on research, but I don't have the same solid confidence in that research that I do in the research for "What's Going on In There". I suspect it's been dumbed down for a wider audience, leaving you with annoying things like: "This fountain of knowledge [on how to raise children] was supposed to come as part of a matched set of ovaries and a desire to wear expensive high heels."

    I bought this book for the kindle, but it's turned out I've read lots of it before.
    PraiseCollapse )

    SleepCollapse )

    RaceCollapse )

    LiarsCollapse )

    Later chapters will be covered in future posts.
    Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
    7:10 pm
    There was recently a shooting death (by police) near my house. The first shot fired in ~20 years. A crowd was gathered because of a bar fight, some kid (non-drinking according to friends, high blood alcohol according to police) was asked to move his car out of the fire lane, and an officer ended up on the hood of his car and fired a couple shots into the car, killing the driver (Danroy Henry, if you want to google up the name).

    The police claim the car camera was "not operational", and I wouldn't be surprised if it were true, but after that guy (in an unrelated case) sued and proved the police lied about a tape, I no longer trust that. (Probably we need a civilian oversight board--rather than the police department--to keep track of those recording devices and the recordings themselves, but anyway.)

    Nonetheless, I'm inclined to be sympathetic to police. Things that are completely stupid in retrospect might have made sense at the time. And being on the hood of someone's car, you probably are worried about your life.

    But here's the thing: I think those officers should not have had guns in the first place. We're in an low-violence area (first shot in many years, remember), and they were called to a bar fight, with 200 people milling around outside. I can't see how a gun in a crowd like that has any good use.
    Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
    1:41 pm
    A friend of mine wrote down her day with her baby in a lot of detail, and it was interesting. So I decided to write down yesterday morning in way too much detail. (Don't worry, it won't become a habit.)
    and really, I mean way too muchCollapse )

    Three videos: trains, books, and songCollapse )
    Sunday, January 11th, 2009
    12:58 pm
    Here's our 2008 Christmas letter (finished on the 10th day of Christmas and mostly mailed on the 11th day of Christmas). It was formatted better on paper.

    Our xmas letter, as a LJ entryCollapse )
    Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
    7:44 pm
    John and I went to Blaze last night, a huge outdoor display of pumpkins. Some were actual squash, some were faux pumpkins ("we call them faux pumpkins, or artificial pumpkins, but never fake pumpkins"). There were all the usual jack o' lantern styles you might expect, and then some other stuff, like the "Thriller" (complete with music) graveyard scene. My favorite bit were some pumpkins set off from the path, so you saw little glowing eyes come behind the leaves.
    picturesCollapse )
    Thursday, September 25th, 2008
    11:40 am
    How much is $700 billion?
    * It's a little more than 1/4 of the federal budget, so it will cost you a little over 1/4 your total tax bill.

    * $700 billion is larger than the budget of China. In fact, it's larger than the budget of all but six countries.

    * That's more than interest on the debt (524 billion), defense spending (583 billion), social security spending (650 billion) and about equal to Health and Human Services, and just 13 billion shy of the sum total of everything else.

    * It's $2300 per person.

    * It's $15371 per filing taxpayer who has to pay income tax (from caldri)

    * Interest on that debt will be $25 billion per year at 3.54% (current treasury 10-year rate). That's more than spent by Department of Energy or Department of Justice, and four times what is spent on the National Science Foundation. That boils down to around $82/year per person, or over $500/year per taxpayer.

    Now, I'm not saying one shouldn't create such a package. But the argument that we need to spend this amount of money so that Joe DownTheRoad can get a loan to buy a car or a house just doesn't wash.

    [Note: all numbers approximate.]
    Monday, September 1st, 2008
    10:38 pm
    My mom is visiting. Here's the weekend:
    picturesCollapse )
    Saturday, August 9th, 2008
    11:06 pm
    Sunday, July 20th, 2008
    10:16 am
    The kindle
    I've been thinking I should make a "Now that Novelty Has Worn Off, What Do I Think Of The Kindle" post for a while, and I was spurred to make this post by someone looking to buy. The short answer is that even with the novelty gone, I am happy with the kindle.

    It's my preferred way to read books. The kindle stay flat so it's easy to read in situations where it'd be otherwise hard to hold open a book. (Consider exercise machines.) Also, because you can adjust the font size to large you can place it where you couldn't otherwise read a book. It's also good for just plain comfortable reading in bed. (It's also easier to read while holding a baby, but I don't have to do that quite so much any more.)

    I liked being able to order a book and have it delivered while sitting on the runway. It was also nice to buy the Sears vaccine book and start reading immediately (especially since I put off the purchase until only a few days before Helen's 1 yr appointment).

    My one big complaint is the book availability. I have plenty of books to read, but I haven't yet been able to get a book for my book club on the kindle.

    One thing that puzzles me in reviews and discussion about the next generation kindle is the fascination with a color screen. Very few books have color except on the cover; those that have lots of color are not likely to be amendable to Kindle format. Of the hardware and software improvements I'd want, a color screen is very low (just above "cooks me breakfast") on the list.

    Bottom line:
    I hesitate to tell anyone whether they should or shouldn't buy this device. I can say I'm happy with it because it makes it easier to read books. Even though the price has dropped, I'm glad I didn't wait more to buy it, since I've gotten quite a bit of enjoyment out of it already. I should have bought it earlier, in fact.

    A second generation one will likely be better, but without knowing exactly how different it will be and when it will arrive, I don't know whether it's worth waiting for. My instinct would be not to wait, since the Kindle right now is a damn fine book reader even given its quirks.

    I've tagged my previous posts on the kindle, so you can read the "just thinking about it", "yeah it arrived", and the "I've had it a week" posts.

    Notes and quirksCollapse )
    Friday, June 6th, 2008
    10:10 pm
    Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we went walking in the University of Washington Arboretum. A friend of mine got two pictures I really like.

    Read more...Collapse )
    Sunday, May 4th, 2008
    10:51 pm
    I went to a baby shower today. Oddly, I think the shower wasn't so much for the guest of honor as it was for her mother and aunts. She also had a bridal shower that seemed similar.

    If one steps back, it's an interesting custom. Why do these older females relatives so want a bridal shower and baby shower? What does it mean to them? It must, for them them, mark the occasion in a way that the wedding itself or the birth the baby doesn't? I wonder, too, how the gift giving plays in. I sense that it's not "Oh, shoot, I need to find a gift for X's baby shower", but rather that giving of a gift is an important part of the ritual. When you're a kid, your aunt may give you money for ice cream, but you never (or rarely) do that for your aunt. Maybe the shower gifts are, in some sense, a way of continuing "parenting" when parenting is really not going to be possible any longer? A sort of last chance to be the grown up before X enters the world of "adults"?

    Anyway, I had a nice time, and Helen was much admired and called a "good baby". She was pretty good until the opening presents, by which time she was hungry and tired, but found everything too exciting to nurse to sleep.
    Saturday, February 16th, 2008
    8:08 am
    The Kindle, review 2
    I've had the Kindle over a week now, so I thought I'd post about it again.

    The short description is to say that I think of it as "my book" and not as a computing device. I think that means it's a success.

    I've used it to read two books so far (Sense and Sensibility and Honor of the Queen), and I've downloaded and read sample chapters of other books (included Obama's book). The ability to lay the book flat and turn pages with an easy button press makes it possible to read in situations where a book would not work.

    It's not without it's rough edges--it's hard to read in the dark (maybe slightly harder to read in the dark than a book, though unlike a book, you can increase the font size). For another, the keyboard takes up a lot of room that I think would be better used as screen. Their suggested cover use use seems like it would break my cover, so I haven't dared that yet. And the "web browsing" feature is....more of a bug than a feature. (Now, maybe if gmail came up with a web page formatted for the kindle...)

    One thing that concerns me: Baen has a very nice free library. It makes a lot of sense to make those books available that way when reading electronic books is so annoying that if you like the book and have the $$, you'll actually buy paper. But with the kindle, electronic books are just about as good as a physical book. I wonder if a profusion of electronic book readers will change their free library philosophy.
    Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
    9:25 pm
    I am an early adopter.
    My kindle arrived today. I put a couple of books from the Baen free library on, and one from (The Baen free library books work better.)

    I got it because I like to read, and I've been reading less lately, in part because lap-lump makes holding open a book and turning pages difficult. I chose the Kindle rather than the Sony Reader because I want to be able to have access to lots o' books--I don't want to limit my options by going for an ebook. (Yes, the kindle limits my options, but they have lots of book titles already, and if Amazon makes this work, there will be even more in the future.)

    The screen doesn't knock me over with its beauty or anything, but I do sometimes forget that it's a screen.

    It's expensive, and if you don't want a book reader, you're SOL 'cause it's not good at anything else. But so far, it looks like a pretty decent book reader. We'll see in a week or two what I think of it.
    Friday, February 1st, 2008
    10:07 pm
    Caption this video!
    These days, Helen likes carrying something around with her. Sometimes, she doesn't mind giving it up. Other times...

    also here

    Poll #1131649 Caption this video

    Suggest a caption for this video

    Friday, January 4th, 2008
    9:20 pm

    Starting at Thanksgiving, she consulted with The Imperial Senate about this solid food thing. They ultimately suggested it was worth trying.

    She briefly spurned their advice and embraced the dark side of the force...

    But a climatic confrontation with family turned her world upside down and brought her back to the path towards solid food.

    She trained with new determination for the battle.

    And ultimately was victorious.

    (Short video snippets here and here.)
    8:26 pm
    the treacherous pear!
    Helen had her six months shots today, which she found much less disturbing than me changing her diaper when she wanted to sleep.

    She's 27.5 inches and 16 lbs 13 oz, so she's still on the weightier side and definitely on the taller side.

    We gave her some broccoli on Christmas. She wasn't impressed, and perhaps a bit puzzled by the chew toy that fells apart. The pear proved amusingly frustrating. First of all, she had a hard time grabbing the slipperly slice of peeled pear. Then, when she did manage to grab it despite its attempt to escape, she'd squeeze and have it pop out of her hand. Or she'd bring it to her mouth and have it crumble, leaving her with pear in hand, pear on the table, but none in her mouth.

    She fared better with the cantaloupe, since it has an EZ-grip rind. She had fun chewing on it and actually ate some. (Though not much.)

    Maybe someday I'll even post pictures. (ETA: pictures in a comment)
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