Sunday, January 9, 2011 in thoughts

If I didn’t blog it, it never happened

I was reading this post from Anil Dash, entitled, If You Didn’t Blog it, it didn’t happen when it struck me.

I haven’t updated in well over a month.

Well, not here.

I’m extremely active on twitter, and before you dismiss that as fluff please realize I do the bulk of our marketing and customer support on twitter. :) I also still upload pictures to Flickr, but even that has gone down some. My tech blog didn’t see any updates in December either. Support forums that I volunteer on (either through benevolence or in order to support my products) saw the bulk of my words, because I can assure you I have gone to bed many a night with sore arms from typing.

There were time over the holidays where I did consciously make an effort to not blog. to not tweet. to not record what was happening around me as it happened.

Christmas Eve I lay on the living room carpet, lit tree to one side, family all around, and belly full of good food. I played airplane with my granddaughter, who giggled and squealed. At other points, she waved to me when I came in the room, her face breaking out into smiles.

And that? That was living. That was me just enjoying to moment to the fullest.

As for the writing thing, I did occur to me on reading the post linked up above that for all my good ideas, they don;t really count unless and until I actually post them somewhere other than twitter, or a chat room, or a private spot somewhere as a joke between friends. So, you know, for that whole writing thing, I have to actually write. Good, bad, whatever – at the very least some of it should be out there.

So for a bit, as far as this blog is concerned, I will be typing up some quick entries and backdating them to the appropriate timeframe. Not as much for you, dear reader, though as always you are welcome to read along, but for the me of the future – the ones who reads the archives and goes, “Oh yeah, I remember that now….” Because as awesome and special and funny and emotional and whatever anything is now, I always forget something. :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010 in thoughts

On the reading of books

I got a new book out of the library yesterday. They have a display by the door, themed according to season or the librarian’s whim, new releases or just books to highlight. Please, somebody check me out and read me, they say. I swept my arm along the row and took the whole lot.

Not really, just three.

One of them looks brand new, never read, pristine. It is thick, easily four hundred pages. Maybe more, I haven’t checked to be certain. If I do, I might read the end, because I do that to books sometimes. I prefer paperbacks as they are easier to hold up in bed, and they hurt less when they inevitably crash down towards my head as my eyelids struggle to stay open.

Besides, I am one of those people: book manglers. Hardcovers don’t mangle as easily. I dog ear pages, and I (God forbid) crack spines.

This book is pristine; I feel bad for it, being the first person to read it. I am struggling to hold the left side down with my plate over lunch, it’s that thick. A few pages in, I am hooked. I try and remember to take it upstairs for bedtime. I read faster, skimming, to get further into the story before my lunch is finished and it’s back to work time (or blogging, yes).

Alas, I turn the page and see it: a dog-ear. Someone has been here before me. The next page has words carefully underlined. Invigorating, convalescent, effervescent, efficacious, elixir, expectantly, epigrams. I wonder, why are these words in particular underlined, and not ones on previous pages? Why invigorating and expectantly, fairly common words? The previous reader seems to have gone no further, exhausted by the vowels and consonants lined up in unfamiliar arrangements.

My lunch is done. I put the book down mid-stream but satisfied. There will be much spine-cracking this evening with far less guilt involved. The book will eventually return, a little worse for wear, but letting other patrons know, I have been read. Read me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 in thoughts

Wife Swap Application Synopsis

There has been an extensive discussion of the offer made to a number of homeschoolers to appear on ABC’s Wife Swap program. We have researched the program a little bit. The format has changed since the last season. As far as we can tell, this year, the visiting mother does not get to tell the host family how to spend $50,000. There is no mention of $50,000. At Spunky’s, the original offer of $10,000 has been doubled to $20,000. (see the comments) So, what happened to the $50,000?

Now, the swap lasts 2 weeks instead of 1. And the kicker is that the first week the guest wife has to ‘follow the rules’ of the host family the first week and ‘make the rules’ and the family is obligated to follow them the second week. Already, it’s sounding like it’s not quite the deal that it was made out to be in the first season.

We took the liberty of hunting down the application for the show. At first glance I felt that many of the questions on the application were too personal. After I thought it over for a while, I also realized that there were a number of questions there which weren’t relevant to the show. And that put me in mind of statistics class. One of the common methods generally used in gathering statistics is to ask a lot more questions than the ones you want the answers to. And then the answers to the extra questions help the statistician determine whether the answers to the original question(s) ought to be used in the statistical result.

Looking at the application, what I believe are the determining factors in whether the application gets accepted are the answers to the following 4 questions:

Where do you stand on politics? Race/interracial marriage, homosexuality/gay marriage, Welfare/unemployment?

Does religion play a part in your family’s life? How so?

What pushes your buttons? (Both in your family and in general)?

Is there any feuding in your immediate or extended family? If so, please elaborate.

Lori, the casting director for the show said,

If a family comes off as looking a certain way, its probably because they REALLY are that way.

So, the fact that the show’s producers have had lots of warning as to how they would look (or could be made to look), has nothing to do with how they do look after the editing staff has selected which parts of the ‘documentary’ to include in the program?

The last question on the survey that is worth mentioning, since I think its answer would be somewhat different among HSers than it has been on the applications they are used to seeing

How do you discipline your children?

In my opinion, this is actually asking, how do you control and punish your children? I would expect that most homeschoolers do relatively little to none of either. In our case, we train them (in areas where discipline might apply) by example. What I have discovered is that because HS children do not go to a place which is run via control, reward and punishment, they are much less prone to developing behaviours and attitudes which require what is considered typical parental discipline.

Any takers?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 in homeschooling, thoughts

Tax Breaks

Andrea and I have had 3 chances in the last 3 months to discuss the issue of tax breaks for homeschoolers. The first 2 of these were with other homeschoolers or relatives of homeschoolers. It sounds like there are moves afoot here to provide them. The last opportunity came from Chris.

The first person we talked to said he spent about $500/year/child homeschooling. And I suspect that might be within the range of what alot of homeschooling parents spend. (It’s quite a bit more than what we spend). In a comment I left at Chris’ blog, I said I thought that would be a minimum amount to get a child ready to go to ‘free public school’. But with clothes I could also easily see it being $1000.

Once you’ve got them in the door, you have to provide them lunch every day. For our 3, let’s say a conservative additional $60/week (or another $2200/year). Then there are the extra trips to the dr. and associated prescriptions because of all the colds and flus they pick up in buildings with several hundred children in them. Many of which should be home because they are sick, but their parents can’t afford to take the time off work to keep them home. So there, we probably lose a few thousand in lost work time, not only taking care of the children when they are sick, but also when we are sick because we get whatever they do.

In this first discussion, we heartily agreed that we did not want any such legislation to pass. We both realized from long experience that homeschooling saves us a pile of money. And second to that, it would likely turn into more government oversight and interference.

The second conversation turned to the funds the school receives for each student. Here it’s about $6000/student. This includes such things as busing. Since I tend to think (and a $75 tax credit confirms) that any help we are likely to get will be, at best, lip service compared to what is spent in the PSS, I don’t expect that I’m going to get the whole $6000. (Wouldn’t that empty the public schools of about half the students?) I expect a tax break to be in the range of less than 5% of what the schools get. So, what are they going to do with that other 95%? Likely, create positions to oversee how that money is being spent. That’s 1 position for every 20 children. And how many visits a year would we get out of that?

If you linked/browsed through to Chris, you’ll know about the ‘stupid’ description. It is used to describe anyone who doesn’t want tax breaks for homeschoolers. You’ll have to count me in. Although I didn’t know it at the time, homeschooling was one of the best financial decisions I made in my life. If we sent our kids to PS, we would have to seriously cut our budget in other areas or Andrea would have to get a decent paying full time job for us to just keep up what we are able to do now. To top it off, when I’m working, almost every day, I get to come home for lunch, sit at the table with my entire family, eat and briefly catch up on how the day is going. And to me, that’s priceless.

What prompted me to write this post is the statement that homeschooling is expensive. On the surface, if you only look at the money you spend on curriculum (including field trips), it might seem that way. But, compare your household & school budget with a few friends who send their kids to PS and you’ll find that PS isn’t as free as it sounds. I have had alot of people tell me that they couldn’t afford to homeschool. Unless they’ve gone far enough in debt that both incomes are required to service it, most families could.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005 in thoughts

Futzin’ around

Just playing around trying to set up a “blog” for Ron by using a category from WP and excluding it from the main page.