Monday, September 29, 2008

Solitaire, iPod Touch, Chickens

I finally gave in and ordered an iPod Touch. I had lunch with my friend, Bob, and he graciously offered to use his Apple employee discount. I had been holding out for a while because I like to buy used things instead of new for a bunch of reasons. But the deals on used iPod Touches (That sounds a little creepy) were not-so-good. So soon I'll be the owner of a brand new one with a warranty and everything.

I've got my solitaire game working, but need to add all the user-interface goodness. Well, most of it. Like preferences, statistics etc. Mainly a way for the player to switch between the games. There's all this indirection in how you can set up things that's frustrating. I just want to lay out a screen and tell it to display a la Palm OS. I'm not so sure I want to layout a screen, create a navigation controller, a view controller and a monkey controller as well as connect all the things graphically. It's weird.

One of our chickens laid an egg.


It was small, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't planted by a "funny" neighbor. But that was it, that was days ago and no more eggs. I don't know what it costs to take care of chickens for 6 months but that's how much that egg cost us. Kind of similar to our four-plant tomato farm. We ended up having more than one tomato, but at first that one was the $50 (not including time, water or fertilizer) tomato. I think we're up to a three tomato yield now though, so hey we're under $17/tomato. Nice. Next year we'll find a sunnier spot. Or grow them on the roof.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Plants and more

My phone says it's time to post to my blog. And if I don't then I'll snooze the reminder until it reminds me again next week. And so on. So instead I'm going to write some stuff. Right now!

I've been working a lot but just hit a big milestone for my game at PlayFirst so that's great. I can relax a little. Plus right now I'm working on a really fun part of the game.

Jonah's birthday is coming up. He'll be five. So far he wants a Ninja Turtle cake. That sounds a lot easier, but a little mainstream, compared to the crazy/cool TANKER TRUCK EXPLOSION cake we made last year. Still, I try to come through on his requests. Especially things like this that are easy.

I bought a game (well, in truth I bought a zillion games, but I want to talk about this one) called Pandemic. It's a cooperative board game where each player plays a randomly selected role and the players try to, well, save the world. Four diseases have broken out in the world and the players travel the world, helping each other, getting rid of disease, and trying to find cures together. It's cool. I really like cooperative games. Don't get me wrong, I like confrontational games too, but it's fun to work together.

Ari is starting to talk a lot more. It makes me laugh out loud when he says "No" now. He used to just say "unh uh" and kind of yell his anger. Now he has a real quick and subtle "No." He also say "Tink You m" (Thank you) which is crazy how cute he sounds.

He says a ton of other stuff too but those are some recent excellent ones.

I've been trying to teach Jonah that Ari wants to do everything Jonah does. "Jonah, if you don't want Ari to try to gouge your eyes out then you need to stop eye gouging, okay? No eye gouging." It's not working, but I feel like it's the right thing to teach him.

Okay, I've gotta get back to work. The stock market is plummeting, but I see it as an opportunity to invest. Just don't go spendin' all your money at once everyone.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


I just heard the news from my friends, Mary and Joe, that my friend, Erick Wujcik, died. I'm really sad. Erick was so nice and smart and just so wonderful to talk to. He was always supportive. I wouldn't be at my current job, which I like a lot, if he hadn't given the company his seal of approval.

I ran my (grown-up) nephews through Erick's first published role-playing game, Sector 57, about a week ago. It was fun and brought back a lot of the memories I had of Erick from when I met him 20+ years ago. John Speck and I were 16 when we first met Erick. We would drive to the Detroit Gaming Center almost every Sunday night to play in role-playing games that Erick ran. His games were so fun and engaging.

I'm going to miss Erick's warm smile, big hugs and cool stories.

Here are some details from Kevin Siembieda

Friday, May 09, 2008


This is take 2 of trying to post to my blog from my phone.

Hey! It was "Crazy Hair" day today at Jonah's preschool. He was a
little worried and wanted to know what his friends hair would look
like. I explained the girls would mostly have lots of crazy pigtails
and the boys would have hair that was sticking out all over.

So Kelly made his hair stick straight up. It was awesome.

At school everyone loved his crazy hair. It turned out my prediction
was right about the kids and their crazy hair. One bonus thing is
since we hardly ever get Jonah a haircut his crazy hair was even
crazier than the other boys who hardly had any hair to make crazy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Baby Signs

I just wrote a message about Baby Signs to some of my friends on dan&eric (a mailing list that, amazingly, is still around and grew out of a bulletin board from CMU made up of, well, me and Dan's friends and their friends long long ago). A lot of them are busy reproducing and this came up.

So here it is in case some person stumbles on my blog and wants to read about Baby Signs...

"Baby Signs" are cool and fun. The rule of thumb is babies can't do 'em until they're around 11+ months old. Your mileage may very. I'm also a little suspicious that when the babies know baby signs maybe they don't pick up speaking as quickly. Or maybe our kids are slow. :-) Anyway, you can start doing the baby signs to the babies any time, but usually the earlier you start the longer you'll be waiting to see your baby do one.

"More" and "All Done" are some great baby signs. And milk. That's a good one. Here are the ones that we taught Jonah and Ari. Good luck with my hilarious hard-to-understand descriptions of how to do each sign. Don't bother buying a Baby Sign book, they're a waste of money. All you really need is to pick like 10 signs to use, use them every time you say the word and there you go. Google "baby signs" and find text or picture descriptions of 'em. Or decipher mine. These are some good ones. :-)

More -- use one hand to point at other open hand and touch your pointer finger right there on your palm, like "Hey, put more right here already. okthxbye." (pretty much if they shove their hands together you'll know what they mean. Sometimes they might yell "MO!" like Ari or in Jonah's case "MA!" (short for Mas -- Got to love the Spanish!))
Milk -- Squeeze one hand a couple times like you're milking an udder
Cheese -- Twist both open hands together kind of like your hands are the bread of a sandwich. With your open hands parallel to the ground.
Banana -- Point one bent finger and pretend to peel it with other hand
Cat -- Hold fingers like an Okay sign and slide thumb and forefinger along cheek from mouth towards ear, like where your whiskers would be if you were a cat, or a furry.
Diaper -- Pat side once or twice
Mommy -- Stick out hand with fingers
spread, like you're going to say "nyah nyah" like that French guy in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Then touch thumb to your cheek under your eye twice
Daddy -- Same thing as Mommy but do it higher up, on your forehead.

Anyway, read a book to yer kid every day. Also, talk to 'em a lot. A running commentary of what's going on, what they're doing, what you're doing etc. Kids love that shit. Also. Singing.

Well, it's good for 'em so they can learn to talk and read and avoid being ne'erdowells.

* This is a cute one especially the first time they use it for a non-food thing. Like when you're tickling them and then stop and they do the more sign.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Four Months?

Sheesh. It's been four months since I posted anything. That's no good. So here's to not worrying about posting important things, and to just trying to post more often.

Everyone's been sick over here on and off the past month or two. It's ridiculous. Although mostly Kelly doesn't get sick, or she gets sick at other weird times, like when we're not relying on her. It's probably a special mother super-power.

We have six new baby chicks. We've never had chicks before. When we first got our chickens long ago from Joe and Mary they were already ~1 month old. So Kelly and I took a class at a little (sort of hippy) farm in Santa Cruz two weeks ago. With the class we got six baby chicks and the basics to take care of them. So they live in a box in the shower in the little bedroom in our garage. Which actually is now my office. I work right near them and check on 'em pretty often. I prevented a jail break last week. They now have chicken wire on top of their box.

Let me bring up these CHICKEN SECRETS since this comes up almost every time someone comes over and we show 'em our hens. Hens will lay eggs even if there are no roosters. These eggs are just eggs, they're not fertilized (unless there are roosters around) so they won't hatch and you're not eating a baby chicken if you eat one. Also. The yolk is not what turns into a fluffy baby chick, it's some sort of magical goodness that the baby chicks eat when they hatch (before they hatch?). If you want to hard boil your fresh eggs you need to let them hang out in your fridge for a week or two. Fresh eggs have almost no air inside them and when you hard boil them they are astoundingly hard to peel. Store eggs are pretty damn old by comparison (but that's fine, eggs last a long time), and already have a good amount of air in them and can be hard boiled right away and are easy to peel.

Passover is over. We had a tiny seder at our house that was fun. I'm glad the week of trying to figure out what kind of Kosher for Passover lunch to send with Jonah to preschool is done. "Okay, Jonah, how about another day of matzoh ball soup, macaroons, and an orange?"

In the interest of posting more and not worrying about how good or bad my messages are... that's it for today! No pictures either. We have some good baby chick pictures though.