Thursday, November 29, 2012

Science is... Wonderful

It is no secret that I'm a big fan of science.

I don't play the "If you could live in any other time" game.  Science is an amazing, wonderful thing and I salute the people that discover new and incredible things every day.

The best part about writing about how awesome science is in this format is that nobody can dispute me.  Literally, not one single person who reads my blog can say to me "science is a terrible thing".  Why?  Because no matter what argument is made, I can always respond with "how did you read it without science?"

Okay, yes, there are things that science gets used for that aren't great.  But overalll, I'm still a big fan.

Big, big fan.

Go future!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to All My American Friends

It's Thanksgiving in the US today.  A magical time of the year for shopping and watching handegg on TV.  I think there's a parade involved too, but I can't be sure.  And also eating a lot of food.

At the risk of offending my dear friends to the south (it isn't wise to offend people who have a lot of guns, that's just one of the many rules that I believe have allowed me to achieve the happy and healthy and extra-hole-free lifestyle that I have become accustomed to), I am thankful that our Thanksgiving was a month ago.  

A November Thanksgiving is just too darn close to Christmas, which means that you only have a month to gear up for another giant turkey dinner.  It's just too soon.

Our Black Friday/Thanksgiving Thursday/Mauve Wednesday shopping experience included getting a new front door.  We bought it a while ago, it just didn't get installed until today.  It looks really awesome, though compared to the flowery design with gold trim door we had before, anything would look pretty good.

We also bought some groceries.  I don't mean to put any Thanksgiving feasts to shame here, but there are fajitas, a meatloaf, and quite possibly some meatballs in our near future.  Not at all once, that would be insanity.  Or...would it? 

Speaking of food, I discovered something interesting that I wasn't aware of.  Gatorade tastes pretty good!  I've only ever had it when I was really sick, so my impression of it has always been less than awesome.  Now that I know this, I'm ready to start my exercise and body building regime.  Mah ha ha ha... I couldn't even type that with a straight face.

Anyway, Happy American Thanksgiving! 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just Thinking About Parents...

A question that someone posted on Reddit got me thinking:


I remember this rule, and it got me thinking, so I responded.  Then, remembering how fickle the internet can be sometimes, I realized that there was a very good possibility that what I had written would disappear into the void.  So here it is:
This was the standard rule in our house, and I plan on doing it with our kids too.

The way that my mother described it was that if we were at school we wouldn't be allowed to play video games or watch TV, so we couldn't do it while we were home during school time either. On the other hand, we were allowed to read whatever books we wanted - but they had to be books, not comics - because we would be reading in school.

I do remember feeling a personal sense of triumph when I successfully argued that I should be allowed to watch He-Man at lunchtime, because my normal schedule was to come home for lunch and watch it.

The upshot of it was that we learned that if we were going to stay home from school, it wasn't going to be a fun time. If we were genuinely sick, then it didn't matter that we couldn't play video games or watch tv, we were too busy throwing up or sleeping.

Other rules that seemed to make no sense but ended up being awesome:

  • Homework had to be done by Saturday night. - While this was initially a religious thing (no work on the sabbath), and it was a giant pain for us because none of our friends did any homework until Sunday, it took away all of that Sunday night anxiety of rushing to get projects done/finish reading/write essays. It made Sunday's really relaxing, and meant that we could always watch whatever movie was playing on the Wonderful World of Disney.
  • Sugar-free Tuesday and "Two cookies each": It is what it sounds like. No sugary treats on Tuesday. Worse thing ever: Halloween on a Monday or a Tuesday. Gah. The two cookie rule was also what it sounds like - we could have two cookies for dessert, no more. No amount of begging, pleading or attempted trickery would get us any additional dessert. These rules helped establish a respect for snacks and desserts - they were something special, they weren't good for you, and we had to share.
  • Birthday parties only happen on even-numbered birthdays - I should clarify that by this I mean only birthday parties with friends. On odd numbered birthdays, we would get a party but only with family. We were sad about the lost opportunity for additional presents, but having just attended my niece's sixth birthday party with something like 20 five to seven year olds (there may have only been six of them, but they sure sounded like three times that many), I completely understand the logic behind this now. Also, if we only invite a few kids (oh, we also had a maximum of like three friends at our parties), then that means that the parents of only three kids are probably inviting us to their parties - that alone probably saved my parents HUNDREDS of dollars in birthday presents.
  • No computer on Sunday - man, I nearly forgot about this one somehow. We didn't have an Atari or a Nintendo, we had a C64, and it rocked. But we weren't allowed to use it on Sundays. This forced us to play with other kids (gasp - real human interaction!) and even got us outside (horror of horrors). Man, I hated that rule, but it did help keep us active and build social skills. Not that it's kept any of us from spending all our lives staring at screens now that we're adults, but we at least have happy memories. 
I don't know your situation, or your parents' motivations, but generally speaking all parents want what is best for their kids. I'm guessing that your parents were more interested in making sure that you weren't just faking sick to stay home or to keep you from thinking that being sick meant all-day play time. Plus, despite all appearances, our parents had things that they had to do during the day when we were at school. Staying home to take care of a genuinely sick child is one thing, staying home to watch a child that just doesn't want to be in school is a whole different ball game.

Judging from your comment history, I can see that video games and personal electronics mean a lot to you. And by "a lot", I mean it looks like every reddit you've ever posted to/commented on is a gaming related one. Is it possible that your intense love of gaming is somehow colouring your perspective?

No offence meant, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of the crazy messed up stupid rules that our parents had for us growing up will make a lot of sense looking back on them. Also, you could just ask your mom why she did that. It's a great conversation starter, and helped me relate to and view my parents in a whole new way.

TL;DR - Parents usually have your best interests at heart, give them the benefit of the doubt and you'll find out some pretty surprising things.

Upshot of the story, be nice to your parents. They were doing the best that the could with you, and face it, you  were probably a little turd when you were a kid.