Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Life 1, Dan 0.

Well, it's been a while again.

My mother-in-law came to visit. Alex had really been missing his Mimi. It made all of us miss Sarah's family in Utah. Everyone wanted to be back together again. We took a nice trip downtown to The Tattered Cover (one of the better bookstores in the state, so I'm told).

Alex is enjoying a lot of Sesame Street characters now, especially Elmo. We've been getting him books and watching the show more. He's learning to count from them. In one particular show, The Count is out, so Ernie fills in for him. However, after Ernie finishes counting, there's no melodramatic thunder or lightning flash, so Ernie has to do his own effects. "Eight... Nine... Ten! Ah ah ah! ... Uh... THUNDER! LIGHTNING!" Now when Alex counts, he says it and we say it. It really cracks him up.

He can also do most of his alphabet, and he's up to subject-verb-object syntax. Of course, it's stuff like "I love Elmo" and "I play soap", but it's been a marked improvement.

Sarah and I have been pleased to find a church. Check it out at Personally, they had me at Caedmon's Call concert (a Christian band, that plays acoustic and world music). One of Alex's classmates goes there with his family, and after the mom found out from Sarah that we were still church-hunting, we figured we'd give it a try. For the past couple of weeks, we've enjoyed their service. There is a young married people-type sunday school class during the second service, so we'll try that next time.

It has been a bit exhausting trying to live without that kind of community, without meeting people regularly. The best I have done is bonding with the guys at work. Our families and faraway friends have been valuable in this respect.

My dad turned 49 yesterday, and we spent a very pleasant conversation on DDR, memory and the neural networks of the brain, his new classroom, and such. I gave my DDR setup to my mom. It turned out I couldn't play it after Alex went to bed because it was too noisy, so there was no good time to work out. Mom is going to town on it, getting Bs on songs. My cousins Riley and Shay come to stay with my parents, and it turns out that the best babysitter is DDR. They're about... I want to say 10 and 8, but that might be wrong. Anyhow, Dad reports that tiring them out has become very easy because they play the dance game 3 hours a day during their visits... this boggles my mind.

Dad always wants us to come back to Seattle. He hasn't had a crack at his grandson yet, but they miss us too. I suppose if I got the right offer, I could see it... Sarah wants to get settled here so Alex can go to school and life stays a little predictable, though, so it would have to be a pretty big improvement on the status quo.

I finished another Discworld book by Terry Pratchett. This was #2, The Light Fantastic. It is almost pointless to tell you the plot. However, it's just great for what it is, which is humorous fantasy satire with a playful philosophical nugget at the core.

I also ripped through V for Vendetta the comic, once again. I basically read it all in one sitting. It is hard to read the glib protestations of V now that he was 'liberating' Evey without a bit of a chill. The point of the story in general is that the proper answer to tyranny is violence, that violence can be a tool of the liberator who the government calls the terrorist, and that destruction, not conciliation, is the proper response to this. Along the way, V kills instruments of the state, but also causes, directly or indirectly, the deaths of many more people. His motives are also very murky, in that he is not just carrying out a program of asymmetric insurgency, but also prosecuting a vendetta. He is a serial killer, but he is the hero of the story. The story in the comic books is violent, but not very gory. Aside from the somewhat goofy storyline where the AI computer controls the country, it is very powerful. So, once again, I strongly recommend you read it.

Quicksilver, a historickal tale of science and piracy set at the dawn of the Age of Newton, has been going really well. It is insightful, and big somehow, and rollicking hilarious. It shines a light from a very interesting angle on our contemporary situation. It came from an unexpected quarter, written by a science-fiction author of high distinction. It's bawdy and violent and ludicrous, but also amazing.

I finally got started learning GNU Emacs. World beware.

Also, Arc, a new programming language has hit the web. I am following this development with great interest. This is the goal:

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