Bad Acronyms Joke

Q: What do you call an art student with a great body?
A: MFA HPOA

Q: What do you call it when a bunch of them buy houses together?
A: MFA HPOA HOA

Q: What do you shout when you want them to stop their horses?
A: WHOA! MFA HPOA HOA! WHOA!

Ok I'll stop now

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Feb. 27th, 2012

Q: In what shape is an obese fratboy?
A: Broval

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New Blog

I started a new blog, it's about simple living. Here it is:

http://foundryintheforest.wordpress.com



or you can LIKE the facebook page to get updates.

Let me know what you think.

Not sure what this means for my LJ. I'm not ready to call it quits, but I'll be posting less frequently.

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Finally found an awesome pumpkin patch

2005

We've gone to a different pumpkin patch every year for the last 6ish years, because none of them cut the mustard. Some are too far away; some nickel-and-dime you (an entrance fee, plus a per-pound price for pumpkins, plus a fee for rides?); some are over-crowded spectacles (more like a fair than a farm); one had a trout "pond" (more like a "tub") that was helpful in opening a dialogue with the children about the ethics of farmed fish, but was otherwise morally repugnant.¹

Today, on a whim, we drove to a patch in Carnation called Camp Korey. The website is a bit understated but this place delivers the goods!

* No lines for activities (and activities were at a minimum. It was more about the pumpkins)
* About 25 miles out of the city (made somewhat more challenging by the I-405 closure)
* A good selection of pumpkins, at 40 cents/lb (Aaron picked a 32 pounder!)
* Free hay-ride²
* The "petting zoo" was 2 cows. Small, but unique.
* Fire pit. Doesn't seem like much, but after being outside on a drizzly fall day, this is awesome.
* Best of all, the whole setup is a non-profit, dedicated to providing camps for disabled youth!

They're having a slacktivism donation drive right now. For every "Like" they get on their facebook page, a philanthropist will donate a dollar to the organization. So even if you don't visit, the least you could do is help send $1 their way.

¹ it also introduced the boys to the next step in fishing after reeling in the fish, i.e. beating it to death. Food for thought.
² Lillia's first hay-ride. For the first 5 minutes she thought it was the best thing ever, until suddenly she decided it was the worst thing ever.

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* Fish
* Chicken
* Pig
* Cow
* Lamb
* Rabbit
* Shark
* Frog

=== THE LINE ===

* Dolphin
* Rodent
* Insect
* Horse
* Camel
* Dog
* Cat
* Human (stranger)
* Human (acquaintance)
* Human (family)
* Human (self) ?

In our society, you can eat everything above THE LINE, and nothing below. The ordering and placement of THE LINE are both somewhat subjective, but you get the point.

My theory is that THE LINE will constantly move up that list until it's not acceptable to eat any animals. It will take a very long time. This is not to say that societies where THE LINE is in a different place than ours are necessarily better or worse societies.

In the interest of full disclosure, I enjoy eating the occasional animal.

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Seattle Symphony Review

Venessa and I subscribed to the Symphony this season. We got the 3-performance package, and our first show was opening night. As a treat, the Symphony gave subscribers an upgrade coupon so we were able to upgrade our tickets to some of the best seats in the house: the 2nd closest Founders Box!

The show had 3 pieces:

Frank Zappa: Dupree’s Paradise
I'd only heard the rock arrangement, so I didn't know what to expect. The symphonic arrangement was toned down, but still frenetic. As a spectator, finding the ever-moving lead was the musical equivalent of watching a tennis match. I'm a fan of Zappa's music, though I don't think his genius translates to a large ensemble. It was extremely weird and dissonant, but that's not really what I go to the symphony for.

Henri Dutilleux: L’arbre des songes
This was another weird, dissonant piece. Pairing it with Zappa was like eating too many sour patch kids at once. The sololist was reading off his score, yet he didn't flip any pages for the entire 25 minute song. My guess is that his sheet music was only one page long and it just said "Play the weirdest noises you can make up for 25 minutes straight" in French. The best part of this piece was when the symphony tuned up in the middle of the song. Apparently it's in the score.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, in E-flat major, Op. 55, "Eroica"
This was absolutely mind-blowing. Every player was on their A game, especially the flautist. That guy totally redefined classical awesomeness for me. If you've never heard this piece (which I hadn't till we bought our tickets), give it a listen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHvztnHOWEQ

Apparently it's the first piece Beethoven wrote after starting to go deaf, and it's also the first romantic symphony, departing in a few ways from the classical music of the time (e.g. syncopation, dynamics). I'm no classical expert so I'll stop now.

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The Seattle Times mentioned my website

In 1995.

Teen tastes. Recent mention of an out-of-state 16-year-old's Web site prompted local 15-year-old Joe Goldberg to send e-mail advertising his home-grown site. As Joe himself says, it's not full of bells and whistles but it does provide a glimpse of a local teen's tastes.

http://www.prostar.com/web/goldberg.html


It's down right now but I'm sure I'll get it back up one day

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Diaper Sprayer

Dear Parents Who Wash Their Child's Diapers,

Do you know about the diaper sprayer? I'm not exaggerating when I say it will change your life. It's basically a bidet¹ that attaches to your toilet tank. When activated it sprays a high-pressure jet of water that is strong enough to unstick poop from a diaper.



At first I balked at the price, but now I realize it's worth every penny because it makes one of the nastiest parenting chores a lot less gross. You could probably make something identical for half the price, with a trip to the hardware store and a bit of creativity.

Now instead of scraping (ew) or shaking (ugh) poopy diapers into the toilet, or just tossing them into the washing machine and praying that the machine takes care of it (yeah right), we can clean them off before washing. I've tested this on a diaper that's been dirty for 24 hrs (can you believe we don't always have time to take care of dirty diapers right away?) and it still worked.

We bought this one but they mostly all look the same.

Installation was simple, even an 8 year old can do it. I know this because Isaac and Aaron installed it (with a bit of help and supervision). The only tip I have is make sure the rubber washer that comes the sprayer kit looks like the washer in your existing hose. If they're vastly different you won't get a tight fit.

Thank you to Rose for telling me about this wonderful invention.

¹ in fact, the directions in our kit were double-sided. One side said "To install this diaper sprayer...", the other side said "To install this bidet..."

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No crib

Lillia has no crib. She sleeps on a mattress on the floor, which is also called a "Montessori child bed." I'd love to say that it was a carefully thought out decision because I'm such a huge Montessori evangelist, but the real reason behind the setup is that when Lillia graduated out of our bed, I went to put together my old crib¹ and found it was missing pieces. We didn't have enough time to get a new crib, so we just put her mattress on the floor. We exchanged the crib mattress for a twin-sized mattress, so there's room for us to lie with her at bedtime (more on this below).

Lillia's child bed

I had read about the Montessori child bed concept (in a book I highly recommend to all parents of < 3 year olds) and thought it was interesting, but wasn't sure if it was right for our family. It seems pretty far down the Montessori rabbit hole, when we're less interested in being tied to one particular parental dogma.²

Lillia's room is Tier-1 childproofed anyway, so we figured she could get in and out of bed when she was able. The belief is that when a child can do this (and has a better view of their surroundings), they become more calm. A calm baby is a baby ready to learn throughout the day (see Brain Rules For Baby for the research behind this). People often comment on how calm yet alert Lillia is, and while I'm not ready to give all the credit to nurture over nature (i.e. having chillaxed parents), her bedroom setup couldn't be hurting.

Along with this, there are some other benefits:

* When she wakes up in the morning, she can play with toys so she doesn't cry out right away (sometimes she chooses to cry right away anyway).
* When we put her to bed or when she wakes up in the night, Venessa or I can lie down beside her.
* No chance of crib-related injuries (climbing out, limbs caught in the frame, etc)
* One less baby item to buy, maintain, and either store for the next child or get rid of it

Lillia asleep in bed

The child bed isn't without its drawbacks, however. So far we've experienced the following:

* When she doesn't want to nap, she just gets out of bed and plays with toys (which is a mixed blessing, since when a child in a crib doesn't want to nap, she cries or tries to climb out)
* Sometimes she rolls out of bed. We put pillows around the bed to prevent injury but it can still wake her up and startle her.
* There's a small area of the bed, adjacent to the wall, where the mattress tapers in height and slants down. When Lillia was younger, she used to get "stuck" here when she rolled all the way to the wall. This lasted for the couple-month phase between the time she got really good at rolling over and the time she got really good at sitting up. This is probably our fault for graduating her to a twin-sized mattress too soon.

This setup isn't for every family, but I'm glad we were sort of pushed into it by my lack of crib preparation. If you're curious about it, I encourage you to read Montessori From the Start, especially the chapter on sleep. Or you can ask me about it. I'm sure I've forgotten some pros and cons. Here's a bonus photo of Lillia:

Caught!

¹ as in, the crib I slept in as a child. One of the boys used it too.

² and I learned to pick my Montessori battles after unsuccessfully trying to get rid of all Lillia's "fantasy" toys, something that Montessori suggests for children not yet in the second plane of development. For reasons I have trouble articulating.
What percent of your childhood longing does the following paragraph describe?

Children tend to relate with onscreen characters during the learning programs and build a positive relationship with that character, who seems to be heroic and/or loving and/or caring and/or funny. Then, when they interact with that character again, it tends to be in a commercial environment that’s tightly controlled, such as seeing Big Bird toothpaste on the grocery store shelf or Pokemon toys in their fast food restaurant. They want to continue that emotional connection – heroic and/or loving and/or caring and/or funny – but now the emotional connection they desire requires a purchase. Is it any wonder, really, that young children get very upset when their parents say “no” to buying an item depicting their favorite character? Often, it’s not the item they want. They want heroism, love, care, or laughter.


From an excellent, concise book review of Buy, Buy Baby