Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Parenting Fail

This picture tells a tragic, but ultimately one-sided story.  We had gone over to a friend's house to watch a particularly awesome sporting event, and took the kids with us.  I had just handed my phone over to Kiddo #2 to play some video games, as she was getting a bit jumpy at the time.  Unbeknownst to me, she took this picture showing her parents zoned out on the other side of the house and a cheetos bag in front of her.

Super-high quality parenting going on there!

These kinds of pictures keep me humble.

Fortunately, the real story is that we had already taken them biking and swimming, with liberal doses of story reading, Capsela building and other such generally redeeming activities. Plus, they also had benefit of friend-supplied art projects, toys and so forth. 

Of course, those all happened off-camera.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Lovingly stolen from Surviving the World.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As you had asked...

Here is the link to the book I mentioned in an earlier post:



We've launched!  The doors are now open over at http://www.kidculture.net/, and the content is filling up.  I think things are off to a good start, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here.  Later on today, my first post will run.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Awesome and nostalgic

When I was younger, I had a toy that I particularly like playing with. It was great for teaching mechanical and electrical principles for kids not quite ready for erector sets and powertools.

All the electrical and mechanical parts are contained within sealed plastic cases, so it makes it very easy to snap things together and see how the parts inter-relate. I find it is very good for promoting free, creative play with all the different components.

The company has stopped making them, but they are available on ebay. Go search for 'Capsela toy' and you will find loads of options. I recommend the Capsella 1000 series.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I had the grand unveiling of the art/book/cardgame/coloring book just before I left for Beirut. Thank you express shipping, but could you look in to being cheaper? Thanks.

I was not overly thrilled with the reception. I didn’t do well enough with the ‘show don’t tell’ angle with the book. Version two will focus more on stories about the individuals, rather than a description. I’ll save extra details for the Parent’s Guide.

Which reminds me, there is now a Parent’s Guide. Nearly universal feedback showed that I needed a companion volume to help parent s understand how to present the content in a way that really reinforces the values that are being taught.

This also brings me around to the next point, which is that each figure will be labeled with the attribute that she represents. For those new to the concept, the point of this product is:

To show that attributes like strength, leadership and integrity are gender neutral by teaching kids about women who have successfully integrated them into femininity.

The set involves a basic memory game for the 3-5 year old range, and a more complicated set of rules dreamed up by yours truly. Point being to use the game as something to reinforce the image recognition, value association, etc. Multiple sensory systems and all the jazz.

I’ll be running test prints with an office out here to refine my approach for the future versions.

I will be supper Buddha - twice as fast!

I get in to podcasts.  All kinds of useful goodness in there.  These few weeks, I've particularly enjoyed podcasts on Buddhism.  Except for one teeny thing... 

Buddhist experts tend to talk v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y. 

Fortunately, Steve Jobs has the problem solved.  My iPhone has a lovely little button that lets me speed up the playback  (or slow it down (but who would want to do that?)). 

Presto, chango and I'm headed toward patience, enlightenment, and living in the moment twice as fast as normal.

Friday, August 20, 2010

You will now laugh uproariously at my folly

As this blog has practically petrified from disuse, I am bemused to announce that I have signed on to be a regular (ha!) contributing author on a soon-to-launch website. Every Wednesday I’ll write a column on teaching culture to kids. Yeah, me right? Must be because of my mad blog updating skillz.

Fortunately for me, I get to re-use some of my previous entries.

Said entries were the bait that I used to lure the site owner into letting me join the party. This is what we in the business call a “portfolio”. You may bask in my awesome.

Except not really, because I never post.

Moving on.

MA and the future heirs to my copyrights will be back in town this weekend. I am so excited for them to be back, I can hardly stand it. There are going to flowers and candy and bubblegum and giant hello kitty balloons and other such manly things awaiting them at the airport. In preparation for their arrival, I’m washing sheets, clothes, floors etc. to get our vast estate in suitable shape. Ultimately, this is much harder on the washing machine than it is on me. Plus, it gives me something useful to do to wile away the hours.

Fun fact, I washed my bedsheets last night and to dry them, I put the fitted sheet outside on the drying rack – set to Beirut August Extra Hot, and the flat sheet over the couch – set to Can’t That Air Conditioner Work Any Harder? Shock of all days, the one inside dried out in about an hour, and the one outside was still wet. I thought the heat/ocean breeze would overcome the humidity and dry it out. Strangely, this is not so. Consider yourselves warned.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Not quite single

Given the summer vacation plans for my kids (spending boodles of time in the US).  I end up hanging around in Beirut all by myself.  This has caused some contemplation of whether or not this actually counts as 'single guy time'.  Ultimately, I am inclined to conclude that it really isn't, because I haven't really switched my life over to how I would spend my time single.  Instead, it's more like an emptier version of married life. 

Hence, this comic seems oddly relevant: