Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wow, That’s A Shitload Of Diversity

I have been tagged by Holley, but I will get to that tomorrow. Right now, I have something more urgent to tell you.

Yesterday was the last day of my kids’ spring break, so I (the greatest procrastinator of all) locked the dog in his doggy corner and went through LilProgrammer’s school papers – something I’d been meaning to do for ten days. I found some really entertaining work, including the essay I’d been yelled at for. Remember the Mask Of Diversity? As far as I can tell, the kids read a book in class about the utopian society of 2047, where everyone was forced to be the same. Then, they had to list several human characteristics that constitute diversity; make a mask of diversity displaying these items; and write an essay. As you will be able to tell from reading LilProgrammer’s work, there were word count requirements. He also double-spaced the text for good measure.

What I found scary was that, as I read, I actually understood LilProgrammer’s logic. I thought he had some really good ideas in this essay. I find it scary because I am the only person who even understood what his essay says. I guess whatever he has is either contagious or hereditary – either way, I have it.

With that, I proudly present…

Diversity All Over The Place

By: LilProgrammer

The attributes of progress, thought, intelligence, and optimization all contribute to a society of diversity. Not all people would make a mask about progress, thought, intelligence, or optimization, so there would be a diverse set of people and masks, and since people’s vision of progress, thought, intelligence, and optimization also differ. Thought and intelligence would allow people to invent things and make discoveries, which would make diverse objects which would be used by different people and people would be even more diverse. Inventions would be better if made optimally, and will be made if worked on progressingly. The mask will have dark blue, blue, orange, and green on the mask.

Progress and thought are very important. Intelligence and optimization are also important. The importanance of progress and thought rival the importanance of intelligence and optimization. The Utopian Society of 2047 did not have progress, thought, intelligence, nor optimization, so the Utopian Society is a bad example of a diverse society. Diversity is very important. Without diversity, no diversity would be present. The occourance of the last sentance would be very bad. Finially, diversly attributed people are important.

I’d drink to that.

The Goldie has spoken at 11:31 AM

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cartoon Shows – An Almost-Meme

Recently, I participated in an email discussion between a group of friends, and the conversation turned to cartoons. It is interesting how we all get dragged into watching cartoon shows with our kids. I’ll have to tell you, I don’t miss that period of my life. I was reading the confessions of my friends whose kids are still at that stage and thinking to myself: “Hee hee… sucks to be you, buddies! Look at me – I’m already done. I’ll never have to watch a kids’ cartoon again. You should’ve started having kids earlier… hee hee”.

I found it interesting that, over a period of four or five years, all the shows go away and are replaced by something else… my friends were throwing names around that I had never heard in my life. WTF is “Backyardigans”, for example?

With that in mind, I thought I’d throw together a few questions, and, if you choose to answer, then please link to me cuz I wanna read your answers too.

1. During what years did you watch children’s cartoon shows?
Obviously I didn’t watch American shows as a kid, though we did get Finnish TV in my home town, and I actually remember the Muppets and the Smurfs. But that doesn’t really count because we only understood about ten percent of what was being said. With my kids, we got cable in 1998 and the boys got hooked on Cartoon Network right away. They gradually stopped watching sometime between 2003 and 2004. Now, LilProgrammer doesn’t watch TV at all, on principle (don’t you wish you had a kid like that?) and ChinchillaBoy watches the same shows that I do. Sometimes ChinchillaBoy tapes reruns of the old cartoons and watches them, for sentimental value.

2. What were your three favorite cartoon shows and why?
1. Tom and Jerry – aw, the timeless classics.
2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? – I almost named our dog Scooby because of this show. I found it really interesting to watch, with entertaining plot lines. Another thing that I liked about the show was that it has an element of mystery, and, at the end of each episode, it shows that behind the monsters and other supernatural villains are real people with ulterior motives. I used this show to teach my kids elements of logical reasoning.
3. Courage the Cowardly Dog – Loved that show. I almost named our dog Courage because of it*. Eustace and Muriel are an extremely realistic couple, the stingy, grumpy husband and the easy-going, kindly wife. Between Eustace’s money-grubbing ways and Muriel’s unlimited trust of strangers, they get into all kinds of trouble, but their super-intelligent dog always comes to the rescue. Oh, how I wish I had a dog like that.
EXTRA: Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes cartoons – very very funny!

* - if you know why we ended up naming the dog Sparky, you get a bonus point!

3. Name the three shows you hated and why.
1. Powermuff Powerpuff Girls – too f-ing pink for my taste!! I’m all for girl power and stuff, but this is way over the top! Plus, the plot lines are moronic, and the jokes are not funny.
2. Ed, Edd and Eddy – A lot of people I know have banned their kids from watching this show because, according to them, it teaches children to be disrespectful to adults and something else I forgot. Oh, and the characters use foul language such as “stupid”. I don’t agree here. The show didn’t turn my kids into disrespectful brats, and I don’t mind the bad language. Besides, “stupid” is not a swear word – it’s more like a characteristic, meaning "the opposite of smart" or "the opposite of witty". As in, “Ed, Edd and Eddy is an incredibly stupid show”. The jokes are lame, the characters are certifiable, and the show in its entirety is a poster child for war on drugs. Hey, you have to be on something to come up with a show like that.
3. SpongeBob Squarepants – here's a winner in the “Cartoons I Friggin Hate” category. This show is wrong on so many levels. Spongebob, as indicated by his laughter, has massive brain damage. His friend Patrick is a moron, but that was done on purpose by the authors of this masterpiece, because, hey, what can be funnier than a main character that’s a moron! His girlfriend Sandy is a moron as well, but that is purely accidental. Sandy’s actual role in the show is to promote diversity. Sandy is a minority in the undersea world. You can tell because she speaks with a Southern drawl, and she is also the first squirrel known to humanity to have survived underwater for longer than five seconds. (You can test this by catching a live squirrel and immersing it completely in water. Don’t forget the egg timer.)
EXTRA: Rug Rats – babies in diapers taking to each other, using that special brand of baby language normally only used by the least bright of adults! How original! I’ll have to give my children credit – they hated this show.

4. What was the worst thing your kids made you do that is related to cartoon viewing?
They made me watch “Pokemon Movie 2000” on big screen from beginning to end. That was even worse than “Titanic”!

5. If you could meet any of the kids’ cartoon show creators and ask them one question, who would you meet and what would you ask?
I would meet the creators of Pokemon. I would ask them, How the heck do the Pokemon procreate? I’ve sat through, possibly, a hundred episodes, plus the movie. I’ve paid for about a thousand trading cards, plus a board game. And I never saw any of the Pokemon having sex. If they never do it, then where do all the new ones come from? This has been plaguing me for years.

It’s your turn now… if you feel like answering my questions, then consider yourself tagged. If you don’t feel like it, then don’t. Happy Monday!

The Goldie has spoken at 10:37 AM

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I Want To See Before and After Pictures

Hey, guess what happened yesterday – I’ve been the lone voice of dissent at Michele’s again… This time, it was regarding this article (the post is here).

The 20-Minute Toronto Makeover
It’s back by popular demand! Get ready
Toronto. It’s time to commit your participation in the City’s 3rd annual
20-Minute Toronto Makeover. Just like last year, Mayor David Miller is asking
all Torontonians at work, school or at home to stop what you’re doing on Friday,
April 21, come outside at 2:00 p.m. and do a 20-minute clean-up blitz around
your office, school or neighbourhood. Think how quickly we could clean and
beautify the City with just a small amount of time and individual effort!

Everyone seemed to think it’s a good idea. I, on the other hand, found myself greatly annoyed and pissed and I couldn’t even explain why.

Of course, there were negative flashbacks to my own childhood. Growing up in the USSR, we had a lot of these mandatory cleanup events. Some of them worked, others didn’t. Like, when we all spent two Saturday mornings every year cleaning up and winterizing (or de-winterizing, depending on the season) our campus in college, that worked great. When, in my first job at a manufacturing plant, we all got a day of work in spring to clean up the campus, that worked great. On the other hand, when we had to go door-to-door as kids, collecting old newspapers to be recycled… this, in retrospect, probably wasn’t such a good idea after all. Etc. etc.

I think what made an event like this successful was a combination of the following:

- It was our neighborhood. Our campus, our plant. We had a vested interest in keeping the area clean.
- We worked hard and were able to see the results. We had four to eight hours set aside specifically for this job.
- Tools were provided or we were asked to bring our own. At the plant, we received rakes, shovels, brooms, etc. etc.

In comparison, what we have here is:

- 20 minutes.
- Everyone receives a garbage bag and one plastic glove.

This is so pathetic. What can you clean in twenty minutes using only one hand? Allow me to illustrate. Do you have young children? If yes, then I would like to make you an offer. I would like to babysit your kids, absolutely free of charge, for a period of 20 minutes, with my one arm tied behind my back. It is a win-win situation. I get to feel good about myself and you get the rest you so badly need… Wait, what do you mean you don’t get any rest? I’m offering to slave for you for a whole twenty minutes using my one whole hand, you ingrate! Oh well, your loss. Deal’s off.

Another question I have is, is this 20-minute cleanup really mandatory for everybody? What about people working mission-critical jobs? What about policemen, fire brigades, EMTs, ER surgeons? If I am having a baby, will I have to wait twenty minutes before I can get on with my childbirth? What about the banks, will they lock the place down for 20 minutes or will everyone just walk out and leave the place wide open? Please help me out here.

I guess what aggravates me about this thing is an extraordinarily high level of bullshit it carries. I really have low tolerance for that. I’ve thought of it and I’ve thought of it and I just fail to see it as people helping their neighborhood. What I see is large groups of people who believe they are doing a good thing for their neighborhood, while in reality they are doing absolutely nothing. Oh well, everybody’s self-esteem will skyrocket. Something good at least will come out of this.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for volunteer work. However, I believe that it should be: a) voluntary; and b) work. This one is neither. It is instead some 20-minute, mandatory crapshoot.

Thanks for letting me vent. I feel better now.

The Goldie has spoken at 12:47 PM

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Confessions of a New Puppy Owner

(written hastily in the bathroom)

There comes a time in everybody’s life when we get bored. It is the same old routine, day in, day out. We used to be challenged, but we no longer are. We need something new in our life, a new thrill. This powerful feeling drives otherwise sensible men and women to do all kinds of wild and crazy things, such as divorcing your spouse of twenty years and marrying someone old enough to be your daughter, joining a cult, moving across country, drastically changing careers, or buying a red sports car.

In my case, I went out and got a puppy.

Don’t get me wrong, I had solid reasons for getting a dog. (Heck, I always have solid reasons for anything I do!) To name a few:

1) ChinchillaBoy really, really wanted a dog since pretty much the day he was born.
2) I was slowly coming to realize that, in another couple of years, ChinchillaBoy will be a teenager and will want to have nothing to do with me, therefore, I wanted a companion.
3) With both kids over 10, I suddenly found a lot of free time on my hands, and developed very sloppy time management habits. I have taken to cooking elaborate meals and then eating three helpings for dinner; laying on the couch with a good book for hours; or watching reruns of my favorite shows until I passed out. I also started spending an unbelievable amount of time on my favorite Internet forum, as well as in the blogosphere. I was losing shape, gaining weight, and had no motivation whatsoever to start working out. My reasoning was that the dog would force me to get my ass of the couch and start moving.
4) Our current pet (Nicky the chinchilla) was boring as heck.

So, on April 6th, we became proud owners of a 3.5-month old male Sheltie. We named the dog Sparky. Our other choices included Courage, Scooby, and I was at one point considering the name Brian. This should tell you that we watch entirely too much TV.

“So, Goldie, what happened to your goals?” – you ask. – “Did it work out as planned?”

You bet your ass it did! Here’s a brief overview:

1) ChinchillaBoy loves the dog. What he doesn’t love is the amount of work the dog has created for everyone in the family, but mainly him, because he’s the one that wanted the doggy in the first place. (He was actually the one that picked the breed. Bless your heart, ChinchillaBoy – I shudder to think what would happen, had we got a mastiff like I wanted.) He’s so tired, he passes out cold at 10 PM where before he wouldn’t even consider going to bed before midnight. That, of course, is on weekends. On school days, he passes out cold before it’s even 9.
2) I got myself a companion that demands 100% of my free time and then some more. Some days I forget that there are other kids in the house. A few days in a row, I forgot to feed LilProgrammer. Fortunately he’s a big boy who knows how to raid the fridge.

This is totally like taking care of a baby. You get up at some ungodly hour like four or five in the morning, thinking how much you will get done today since you got such an early start. Next thing you know, it’s seven PM and you’re still in your pajamas and you haven’t showered yet, and nothing got done because you spent all day playing with the dang baby puppy, and your husband is back from work wondering how come there’s no dinner.

3) My time-management skills have definitely improved. Too bad there’s no actual time in which to do anything. Take, for example, my cooking. Remember those recipes I posted? That is a thing of the past. These days, an average dinner recipe in the Goldie household would look something like this:

1. Wait until the dog is not underfoot.
2. Very quickly, open the fridge.
3. Use your left foot to hold the fridge door open. Use your right foot to shove the dog from underfoot, where he has just magically appeared.
4. Very quickly grab a medium-sized something from the fridge.
5. Keeping the something away from the dog, place it on the kitchen counter.
6. Shove the dog away from the fridge so as not to hit him by the fridge door.
7. Very quickly close fridge.
8. Chop up the something. Warm in the microwave if needed. Serve.

(makes 4 servings)

So much for the cooking. Working out? HA HA! Good one! Oh, and as for the weight? I’m still gaining it, because I don’t get enough sleep and that always causes me to gain, plus I have no time to work out to work the weight off. I thought I’d be taking nice long walks with the dog, but it turns out puppies cannot walk far. Last weekend ChinchillaBoy and I did take a nice long walk and we took turns carrying the puppy. It’s like a walk with weights. Now that was a decent workout!

4) I will tell you about the chinchilla later. For now, I’ll just say that Nicky is slowly coming around, and has started to eat and drink again.

“So, Goldie,” you say, “is it that bad? Hasn’t anything good come out of this at all?” Sure, of course it has! For example:

1) I had never before realized how supportive my family is. Everyone, and I mean everyone, helps me with the puppy. Had I received this much support and help with my babies, I’d probably have gone and had more kids and would be even more exhausted than I am right now.
2) The puppy is adorable. He’s cute, he’s smart, he’s loyal and cuddly. Finally, after two not-so-perfect kids, I got myself a perfect dog!
3) I really did get better at managing my time. Hope this sticks after the dog gets older.
4) My parents have finally stopped babying ChinchillaBoy (long story...) and started babying the puppy.
5) ChinchillaBoy is no longer the baby in the family and is learning to care about another creature. This morning, the creature woke him up at seven AM (he’s on spring break so could technically sleep till noon) and demanded that ChinchillaBoy play with him. I think he is acquiring some very good skills that will come in handy if he ever decides to have his own kids, or pets.
6) I realized that I should never, ever, under any circumstances, have any more kids or pets. I just cannot handle it anymore.

So this, in a nutshell, is why I haven’t been around lately, either writing on this blog or reading you guys. I hope you understand.

Arf, arf!

(This is dog speak for “have a good day”.)

The Goldie has spoken at 9:15 AM

Friday, April 07, 2006

Animal House

This is the reason why I won't be blogging much for a while.

I am kind of tired right now so I will write more later.

The Goldie has spoken at 2:23 PM

Technorati search

Powered by FeedBurner

Graphic Design by alla_v