Archive for July, 2008

Jul 29 2008

The Summer of Ethan’s Discontent

Published by under amy's head

At our kids’ school, they have “summer camp.”

For the preschool kids, this entails some fun, at-school activities each day. There’s “Imagination Station,” “Splash Day”, “Movie Day,” etc. For the school age kids, this means they actually get to GO places.

Monday = Roller Skating
Tuesday = Mini Golf
Wednesday = Pool
Thursday = Bowling
Friday = Big Event (at the school)

It also means that for the first time, Ethan isn’t just in a class with kids his own age. The summer campers range all the way up to 12 years old, and while they are separated a bit (he’s a “Jr” camper, older kids are “Sr.” campers), he still is interacting with older kids quite a bit.

Pretty early on into summer camp, he’s turned into …. well, a cynical teenager, is the best way I can put it. The excitement that little kids get over normal every day things (like seeing a train, or getting ice cream after dinner, or picking raspberries) is no more. Phrases like, “I’m SO BORED,” and “There’s nothing TO DOOOO,” “I just wish I could watch TV,” are common place around our house now.

Which is fine. Yes, it sucks that my little boy is growing up and the little kid excitement over everything is mostly evaporated, but what is NOT fine, is the rude, snotty little brat that has suddenly moved in.

Suddenly, he can’t bother to ask someone to move out of his way nicely, he hollers, “MOVE IT!” and tries to shove his way in. If someone accidently bumps him, there’s no leeway, it’s an immediate, “HEY! You bumped me!”

If one suggests an activity he might try, his response is probably, “That’s so BORING. I HATE that.”

If one tries to warn him that rude snotty behavior might result in a new favorite toy being taken away, he simply hollers, “I don’t CARE, I don’t even LIKE my nerf gun!” (despite all evidence to the contrary!)

We actually completely took away a tv show that he and Jocelyn had been watching. “Ben 10″ is a kid who has this watch that turns him into different aliens when he slaps it. He runs around with his sister? cousin? and his uncle, and fights aliens. He’s usually pretty rude, thinks he is the greatest thing on earth, and everyone else can go jump in a lake. By the end of the show, sometimes he’s learned some “lesson” that puts his ego in check, but the fact remained that my son was spending 20 minutes watching some kid being totally rude and snotty and it wasn’t helping our household any. After some smartass incident we said that’s it, we’re done with Ben 10.

Taking his Nintendo DS away usually made him toe the line pretty quickly, but unfortunately, it was lost/stolen (oh don’t get me and james started on THAT!) about a week and a half ago.

I find it especially taxing because no matter how nice I try to make things and how excited Ethan was about it, the minute I say “no” to something, it’s like I am a mean wart-hog of a mother who does nothing but plot all day long on how to ruin his life. I could take him to the pool for 3 hours, order pizza, stop and get ice cream on the way home, and then say “no TV”, and I am the evil snow queen of narnia who never lets christmas come. And the worst thing is it’s all rubbing off on Jocelyn.

This morning was fairly unpleasant. It all started when instead of making him bread, butter and honey on his favorite WHITE bread, I made it on whole wheat bread. This tipped off a whole exchange with his daddy on brushing his teeth and the amount of toothpaste on his toothbrush, and ended with him sitting on the stairs in time out (where he no doubt rolled his eyes a lot, and sighed with extreme angst over and over).

I let him cool it there for a while and then finally went over and talked to him. I tried to think of some consequences that would make him shape up (the earlier mentioned nerf gun being taken away).

I tried to threaten with not letting him go with the campers to the pool tomorrow, with little affect. (Pool day is his FAVORITE day.)

Even though he had this shield of bravado and ennui up and was deflecting my every word, I could see his eyes were welling up with tears. I could see how this summer, he’s a small kid suddenly thrust into a big kid world and he’s just trying to see how he fits into it.

I sat there silently a minute, thinking.

“Ethan, you can either give me a hug and we can snuggle a minute and I can try to help you feel better, and then you can apologize to daddy and we can go on about our day, or you can sit here and pout and be rude some more and you won’t be getting anywhere.”

He turned around and said, “Snuggie!!” (which is what he and Jocelyn say for “snuggle”) in his “i’m being so cute” voice, flung himself at me and tried to reform his body to fit into mine.

When we got to school, I talked with his kindergarten teacher (who is the summer camp coordinator) who confirmed what I was feeling, and also said that he is probably exhausted, both physically and mentally, and that all this unstructured time can be telling on a kid his age.

We have 3 weeks left of summer camp, and then we are moving both kids to another daycare, closer to home and closer to the public school Ethan is attending in the fall. I’m so sad to be leaving the school they’ve been at for so long, but change is also always exciting. The kids across the street from us also go to this school, and I know they’ll be thrilled with that. I’m also worried about the trouble this rudeness may land him into, especially when he starts up in 1st grade, but hopeful that school starting will help alleviate some of this trouble as well (more structured time).

I guess it’s just hard to see you child grow up. (Especially when they grow up into a little snot.)

One response so far

Jul 29 2008

Top 10 Best and Worst iPhone Apps/Features

Published by under amy's head,moblogging

I’ve been fiddling with my iphone for a week now, and while I first added EVERY free app there was, I’ve since gotten happy with the delete, and been reorganizing my home screens. Here’s the apps I love the best, and the apps/features I think are worthless or are in need of some desparate HELP.

Top Ten Best iPhone Applications! They’ve Made the Cut!

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    Tap Tap Revenge by Tapulous

    This is my very favorite app. A song plays and bubbles come down 3 separate “tracks” and you must tap the bubble as it crosses the bottom of the screen in time to the music. Think Dance Dance Revolution for your fingers. I need to figure out some tricks for higher scores though, because I play all the time, and then I go and pester James (who NEVER plays*) to play against me (they have a 2 player mode!) and he kicks my ass. Consistently. Grrrr.

    *Unless maybe he’s secretly practicing and pretending to not be good. I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Love me some tap tap revenge!

    Even though I REALLY suck at the super duper hard songs (the range is Easy, Medium, Hard and Extreme) I still try them out all the time. My high score for Canonfire is 73,245, which I have never come CLOSE to since (I usually range around 20-30k for that one.)

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    Twinkle also by Tapulous

    Not only can you twitter away, but it will take your current location, and show you tweets of people within 5, 10, 25, 50 miles of you. Very groovy. I kind of wish it would reverse the order of the tweets so you can see older ones first, but that’s a small pet peeve. I have a bigger pet peeve — which is it is very unstable. In fact, as of writing this, I can’t get it to load all the way. But when it works, I love it.

  3. WordPress

    I see myself using this more and more. Before this came out, I had to set up a whole “email posting” thing on crazymokes, only to be frustrated by the automatically getting the mail and the lack of iphone’s ability to include more than one photo in emails. I can happily ditch the ‘email in your post!’ method and open this up for quick posting. I tested it out and found a few bugs, which I hope will be fixed up quickly. The major bug was, the “save” button disappeared after I added some photos to my post, which sucked. Don’t want to “cancel” and lose my post! Somehow I got it to come back and didn’t lose my post. Hopefully that will be worked out quickly. WordPress app gets the primo front page real estate on my iphone!

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    Zenbe Lists

    Zenbe Lists is – you guessed it! – a list maker. But not just any list maker! It’s especially nice because you can send a list to anyone and then that list will sync with each other without any fuss. And I mean without ANY fuss! At first, I just logged in with james’ zenbe account, not realizing that the sync feature was so cool. After heading through the grocery store with it, checking things off with just a touch of my finger, I got home and made my own account and tested out the sync. Once you “share” a list with someone, anytime either one of you change something, it’s changed for everybody. There’s a little “sync” button at the bottom for easy syncing, which only takes a second. You can also manage your lists on the website. Overall very intuitive and simple to use and easy sharing/syncing of lists between users.

    I am actually not a list maker by nature, but when things grow hectic and chaotic and I start to feel weird and out of control, that’s when I grab my notepad and start listing everything in my head. It’s as if, once it’s out of my head and down somewhere where I don’t have to remember it anymore, I’m able to breath more easily. So this is a list application that will get used at least weekly for grocery lists, and then probably more heavily off and on as life shoves stuff at me.

    Props go to James for finding this one! Definitely a front page app for me.

  5. Pandora Radio

    Pandora has been around for a while, but I have been clueless about it. No more! I can’t believe how cool this is! To start off, you have to get your account going in a browser. I did this on my desktop rather than on my iphone, but it could be done there as well. You enter some of your favorite artists/songs and it will create a channel for you. When you play that channel, it will start to pull in other artists/songs that it thinks you might enjoy, and you can rate them with a thumbs up or down. You can also add other artists/songs to the same channel for a broader mix. Switching back to my iphone, all the channels I created online were there, and when you play a channel, you have the option to bookmark the current song, bookmark the artist, or buy from itunes. I tend to be pretty cut off when it comes to new music (and I don’t even mean newly RELEASED music, just music I haven’t heard before, which could be old music!) so this is a great way for me to find new artists that I totally love.

  6. Shazam

    This one is pretty cool, but I see it being deleted after the novelty has worn off. Basically this application listens to a song for a few seconds, and then tells you what it is. Very handy for when you’re in the car, or in a store, or on hold, hearing a song that you’re totally digging, but don’t know what it is. It shows you the song/artist and you can save the information for later, visit the itunes page for that artist, or even buy it. Awesome! So far, I have only used it to show others what it can do, not for it’s intended purpose. Not sure I will actually have a NEED for it, but it’s just so cool, how can you not have it? Hollering, “SHA-ZAAAAAM!” as it pulls up the found info not required (but still fun!)

  7. Google Maps

    This is a built in iphone application. It’s basically google maps on your phone.

    I use google maps way too often just when I’m sitting at my computer, even as just a basic phone book for finding nearby businesses, so having it when I’m out and about is just pretty darn nifty. You can get directions from your current location (or somewhere else) to a specific address, and it also has a toggle that will show you current traffic, although on my daily trek up and down I-66, that can be touch and go as far as accuracy.

  8. Phonesaber

    Pretty basic geek-boy (and girl!) app that loads up a picture of a lightsaber, with colors to choose from on the side. Once you’ve chosen a color, the saber lights up with the requisite lightsaber sound, and as you move the phone around, it makes the nifty lightsaber crashy noises. How can you not love it? Light saber is still on the front screen for now, but I see that going away as the novelty wears off. However, with my kids, that won’t be anytime soon!

  9. And finally, myLite
    Who hasn’t crept into their bedroom with their sleeping spouse snoring away, lighted only by the glow of your cell phone? This application lights up your screen so you can tip toe into your kid’s room and not trip over Woody and Jesse, or the latest Geotrax creation. And to set it apart from it’s “FlashLight” competitor, you can change the settings to strobe, including changing the color and speed of the flash. For you know, when you come home from Mamma Mia and just need to disco it up right. Ahem. Not that I know from personal experience or anything. It’s on the front page, baby!
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    Google Reader

    This technically isn’t an app. It’s a bookmark that sits on my home screen. However, it’s made the cut to be on the front page of my home screen, because google has really optimized their reader for the iphone. My only beef – I wish it would inherit the settings your normal google reader has, such as, sort from oldest to newest, as I like to read everything chronologically. I also haven’t tried adding any feeds, so no feedback on how that process is — or even if it’s available.

Top 10 Did-Not-Make-The-Cut Apps Or Otherwise Sucky Things That Are iPhone Related or Maybe Stuff That’s Really Not That Sucky But Bring The List Up To Ten Anyway
  1. Check Please
    This is the first application I tried on my phone, and the first that got cut. It is to be used in a restaurant for splitting a bill between several people. It’s for those kind of groups of people where you don’t quibble over who got what and just split the check evenly, even though yes, I got a diet coke and you only got water. We do this at my work on a nearly weekly basis, so I was interested in checking it out. I found it to be kind of confusing. You enter the total bill, and then the tax, and it has a slider bar to use to increase the amount of a tip you want to give, and then you enter in the # of people dining and it will split the check, dynamically altering the split number as you slide the slider back and forth. It pulls up the regular keyboard which is overkill, since you only need numbers, not letters. A somewhat useful app, but I deleted it. I will just use the iphone’s built in calculator, which pops up a calculator screen instead of the keyboard, and does the job just as well. If it got rid of the tax field and brought up a number pad, I’d probably get it again. But as is, plain old calculator wins out over this one.

    From here on out, I don’t dis any apps actually, just iphone capabilities.

  2. Calendar

    I haven’t had a chance to even use the calendar, which is too bad because I LOVE my calendars! However, I use google calendar, and the iphone will only sync with ical (on a mac) or outlook. I’m keeping my ear to the ground on other ways I can sync with google calendar. I have heard of a few jailbroke apps that do this, so once all the jailbreak app builders have caught up with the new 2.0 software and jailbreak software, I will check into it. For now, the calendar just sits there, unused. If anyone has any tips for this, I’m dying to hear them!

  3. No cut and paste.
    Um, hello? This is kind of basic.. This sucks.
  4. Adding contacts from missed/received calls
    If you get a call from someone not in your contacts, there’s no way to add them to you contacts. I would love to be able to tap a phone number in my calls list and have a “Add to contacts?” option. You would have to go into contacts and add them in manually. I am actually hoping I’m wrong on this, and just missing something obvious, so if I am, please enlighten me!
  5. Contacts
    It will sync with google contacts in your gmail account, but it won’t import the photos you have set up in gmail to your iphone. Bummer. I have also experienced some wonkiness with losing some info I put into my phone, after I synced, but I can’t rule out user error in that one. It flashed a popup about adding and deleting and I just shrugged and hit the ok button and then feigned ignorance when I couldn’t phone up my dad anymore.
  6. No front camera – which makes taking a picture of yourself pretty tricky. Never realized I would miss this ability from my old phone, but I do. This was one of the “will it have it? won’t it have it?” features that people postulated about wildly before the 3G announcement came out.
  7. I know I said it already. But the whole google calendar thing it REALLY sucks.
  8. YouTube app. It doesn’t suck, but I’m not sure why it needs a permanent position on my home screen(s). I’ve moved it to the last screen, because whenever i watch somethign on youtube, it’s because someone sent it to me, and i will click on it from there.
  9. Clock – I have set up a few daily alarms/reminders (do your timesheet!) but other than that, fairly useless. If you really want to know what time it is in London, good for you. I don’t though. Last page of home screens.
  10. Notes
    Just your basic notes. When I need to make a note of something, I’ll open up zenbe instead. I guess you can email your Notes. I’ve stuck this one on the back page of my home screens.
  11. Stocks – This is probably nice for some people, but useless for me. No need for me to check on cow futures. Although we do own a few shares of IBM… Last page of the home screens.

Well, there you go.

I have not yet taken the plunge to purchase any applications, being stingy and worried that I would try it out and not like it. Mostly it’s been a few games I’ve wanted to try out. I will probably bite the bullet in the future and give some a try, but for now, aside from some bugginess, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got.

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Jul 28 2008

a realization about jack black

Published by under amy's head

I watched “The Holiday” last night, and something was nagging me about Jack Black. I finally put my finger on it, and I have at least one person backing me up on this (James). Something about his eyes being just a wee smidge too far apart.

Jack Black looks just like the Master Control Program in Tron.

Don’t take my word for it! Just take a look!

This picture doesn’t *quite* convey the feeling like I had when I was actually watching the movie, but you can still kind of see it.

Am I wrong?

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Jul 28 2008

Jocelyn this morning

Published by under amy's head

This morning Jocelyn was sitting on the floor, shirt on, skirt awaiting to be put on. She pointed straight at her crotch and announced, “This is SIX FEET WIDE!”

I have no idea how to take this!

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Jul 25 2008

Post Seen On Craigslist

Published by under gardening,likes & irks

FREE GRASS CLIPPINGS

Makes great compost.

You cut and rake.

(the listing was already removed or I’d link it.)

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Jul 23 2008

war games

Published by under amy's head

Remember “Would you like to play a game, Professor?”
Remember the W.H.P.P.R.?
Remember Defcon 5??
Remember Global Thermonuclear War?

You don’t?

YOU DON’T?????

Well that’s ok. Because tomorrow is the 25th anniversary (ok, i feel old now) of War Games, and it’s playing at a theatre near you! One night only, check it out! Go see it and refresh your rusty old memory!

Will I be going? I damn sure want to be going. But I’m going somewhere tonight and I have a thing on Friday and hmm, my kids *might* want to see me at some point.

BUT IT’S WAR GAMES! I don’t know about you, but War Games is right up there with Sixteen Candles, Better off Dead, and, hell, Labyrinth!

I don’t know though. I’m thinking it’s call-the-sitter time and hit the movies!

WAR GAMES!!!

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Jul 22 2008

Testing out iphone wordpress app

Published by under amy's head,moblogging

Nice app. Let’s me put in a whole mess of photos. Hope it resized them.

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Jul 22 2008

Testong

Published by under amy's head

Test.

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Jul 21 2008

And then there were two

Published by under Uncategorized

Sent from my iPhone

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Jul 21 2008

Red

Published by under Uncategorized

Sent from my iPhone

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