Friday, January 28, 2011

Finding the value of tumpty

So this morning I got up, was turning on the computers and changing Andy's diaper, and I don't know what I was thinking about but suddenly the line "Thus ___ doth make cowards of us all" popped into my head.  I couldn't remember what the word was.  It'll come to me, I thought.  I waited a moment.  It didn't. 

I went back to the bedroom to ask Doug,
"What is it that makes cowards of us all?"
"Thus something doth make cowards of us all."
"No, it's two syllables."
"Ah. Tumpty."
"Yes.  Thus tumpty doth make cowards of us all."

Doug couldn't remember either.  I went to Google to look it up.

One of the many handy things about Google is that you can use an asterisk as a wild card in a search.  So I typed in the phrase like this, in quotes:

"Thus * doth make cowards of us all."

And up popped the answer, right away.  Conscience.  Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all.  From Hamlet.  Of course. 

I'm still not sure where that came from.  I'm reading Alcatraz Versus The Shattered Lens,and last night got to the chapter where every line of dialog is a quote from Hamlet, but I don't think that line was in there. Or maybe it was. I'll have to go back and check.

(I should specify that almost every line of dialog in that chapter is from Hamlet--one of the bad guys quotes a line from Macbeth and Bastille kicks him in the groin.)

Tumpty is of course the placeholder for words of two syllables.  Frequently combined with its one-syllable companion tum. Used memorably by Nanny Ogg upon her first encounter with iambic pentameter:

"I suppose you're an expert at theater words?" said Granny sarcastically.  "They'd have to be the proper sort, otherwise people would suspect."

"Shouldn't be too difficult," said Nanny Ogg dismissively.  "I've been studyin' it.  You go tumpty-tumpty-tumpty."

Granny gave this some consideration.

"There's more to it than that, I believe," she said.  "Some of those speeches were very good.  I couldn't understand hardly any of it."

(From Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters)

I love the internet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Letter Boy

Andy has learned all his letter sounds.  He's been interested in letters for quite a while, and went through a couple of weeks where all he wanted to do was have us write the alphabet over and over.  Then he started saying a few sounds, and before we knew it he was saying all of them.  Or almost all of them, I should say--he still has a little trouble with Q and X.

Besides learning from Mom and Dad, he also got a lot of reinforcement from and the LeapFrog Letter Factory video. I think that's how he ended up saying the sounds rather than the names of the letters.  Kate really enjoyed both of these too.

Sometimes when we're driving somewhere, he'll sit there in his car seat and say all the letter sounds to himself.  In order.  He seems quite pleased with himself.  And when we're having dinner and he's sitting in his highchair, he'll look up at the bookshelf and start picking out random letters.  We think it's hilarious that he still doesn't talk but apparently he's trying to read.

Andy also learned to use the computer mouse about a week before he turned two.   Kate learned to point and click in July (when she was two-and-a-half).  Andy got her beat by over six months.  I think he was highly motivated.

"Ooh, Mom's got her camera.  I must look at it!"

He likes to draw on my graphics tablet, too.  I've seen him sit like this with the pen in his left hand and his right hand on the mouse.  Ambidextrous and ready to go to work.

Now he's working on learning numbers. He says "One! Two! Eight!" It's just too cute.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You too can get a $5 Amazon gift card

I recently joined Swag Bucks (that's my referral link) and in just a week was able to get enough points to get two $5 gift cards for (And that was with taking Sunday off, too, so really it was only six days.) It's kind of fun. Like a treasure hunt. Or like skee-ball for adults, or something.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Picture books on Kindle

Kate and I just finished reading My Father's Dragon last night.  I spotted it in the Kindle storeand it was only 99 cents, so I thought it would be fun to read together.

We've read a couple of heavily-illustrated books on the Kindle.  It's been interesting to see how it handles the pictures. I took some screen shots, in case anyone else is curious about this.

Apparently the way the text splits around the pictures in the book is a bit different from what they chose to do in this ebook edition. I can see why they changed it, but for some reason they felt the need to insert "illustration appeared here" in the text, often right in the middle of a sentence.  I found this annoying.

These drawings are so cute and detailed. The small screen size is a bit of a disadvantage here. (The original illustrations are also black and white.)

Vertical pictures fill up the screen pretty well. Horizontal pictures come out much smaller, since of course they can only be as wide as the screen.

You can change the orientation to landscape, which increases the available width and makes the picture bigger, but it's awkward to flip back and forth. (Unfortunately there isn't a quick and easy way to do this--it requires multiple clicks each time.)

Kate and I both enjoyed the story (we read it in three installments). It was fun to see the pictures but I do think we would need to read the paper book version to really appreciate the drawings properly. We'll have to get the other two books out of the library to find out what happens next.

We also read Dick King-Smith's Funny Frank. Many of Mr. King-Smith's books feature animals behaving in unconventional ways, such as a pig who wants to fly,or a cat who keeps pet mice.This one is about a chicken who wants to swim.

There are quite a lot of illustrations--pretty much one per page. The drawings are small and simple, so I don't think you really lose anything viewing them on the Kindle screen.

The spacing of the pictures leads to large blank areas on some pages, which can make you think you're at the end of a chapter when you really aren't.

And there was this one egregious formatting error. Grrr.

This is a short chapter book for young readers. It's a cute story, if you can suspend your disbelief enough to accept that someone could make a wet suit for a chicken out of a hot water bottle, and that it would actually work.

Dick King-Smith is also the author of Babe,of course. He just passed away on January 4th. I have fond memories of reading some of his books to my siblings. I think Kate would enjoy hearing more of his stories. Another trip to the library!

Monday, January 17, 2011

All Dogs Go to Heaven

We are sad to report the passing of Angie the chiwhatwhat. She was my sister Betsey's dog for over fifteen years. Bright, agile, and surprisingly fond of cauliflower, she was a loyal and loving companion who will be greatly missed.

It's strange to think that the next time we go out to Ohio, she won't be there.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Because sick people are hi-larious."

It is the season of illness and computer crashes. Simultaneously. Which is why you haven't heard anything from me for a while. I am going to go back and post pictures from the kids' birthday as soon as I can. I picked up some malware somewhere and the anti-virus software we were running on my computer was inadequate to the task, and it completely messed up my registry. So, with much cursing of the perpetrators of such evil, we had to reformat the C drive and reinstall all programs.

Doug's had a cold with a lingering, annoying cough which he is finally getting over. When I came down with it it settled in my ears. (Painkillers help with this sort of thing--Yay.) Andy spiked a fever on Tuesday night and was quite miserable.

It started snowing that night, right at bedtime, and was coming down pretty heavily. Kate wanted to go out and play in it right then, but I told her she could go out in the morning. The snow continued for several hours, and early the next morning we got the robo-call that Kate's school was on a two-hour delay. Doug checked online and found that his morning classes had been canceled. So we got to have a snow day. Or at least a two-hour-delay snow day. You know, as much as one can enjoy that sort of thing with a miserable feverish child who just wants to be held all the time. Especially when you aren't feeling so great yourself.

Sure enough, when Kate got up she said she wasn't feeling well either. This was no surprise--I'd been just waiting for her to come down with it too. I took her temperature and it was 101.9, so I figured I'd keep her home from school. And then she didn't even get to play in the snow at all because it started raining. Pretty hard. I think the snow was all washed away within a few hours. (Not that I was monitoring it closely, or anything--I had a lot of other things requiring my attention!)

Kate's "not feeling well" didn't last long, though--as she was playing and having a great time, I mentioned to Doug, "She's not acting very sick." And then at about 1:00, I thought, "Hmmm... I guess I could have sent her to school after all." She was practically bouncing off the walls by then. I remember my mom would call it "Funny Fever," when we had a slight temp that made us kind of punchy. Seemed like that sort of thing. Though by that night she was pretty draggy again and went to sleep very quickly. She ended up staying home Thursday, too, though once again I'm not completely sure it was necessary. Hard to make these calls sometimes.

I took Andy in to the doctor and found out his ears were infected, so we got him on Amoxicillin. He's feeling a lot better already. We had a couple of really bad nights, but last night he slept so much better (and I did too, of course) and today seems positively perky by comparison.

As I said to Doug the other day, "There's nothing like being sick to make you appreciate not being sick." You know how, once you're finally feeling better, your body just goes Ahhhhhhhh! and starts pumping out those endorphins? That's a great feeling. And then there's the deep sense of relief and well-being from knowing that your kids are finally feeling well and resting comfortably. That's a great feeling too.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Kate's first Primary talk

Kate gave her first talk in Primary on the first Sunday of the year. I wrote out the talk for her and she wowed everyone with her mad reading skills. Here she is with her "Happy Birthday" sticker and her "I gave a talk in Primary" sticker. Big grin!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 morning

In Korea they like to get up early on New Year's Day and watch the first sunrise of the year. (Or stay up all night, I guess.) I didn't do that, but I did take a picture out Kate's window at 8:30 this morning.

We went swimming for New Year's Eve. I think that was a first. Our (church) stake had an activity at the YMCA, so we took the kids to the pool. The logistics were complicated (clothes, dressing rooms, two kids, in December) but we had a good time. We took two cars so I could get Andy to bed at a reasonable time, and then Doug brought Kate home around 10:30. After all that swimming Andy just slept like a log. (Perhaps I should try giving him a really long bath tonight and see if that has a similar effect.)

I've been doing some de-cluttering today. Seemed like a good way to start off the year. We've been making some good progress in that area lately. A few other things that I'd like to do this year:

Finish painting the train backdrop
Read some good chapter books with Kate
Get back to work photo archiving
Draw or paint something to enter in the fair
Try to be more patient with my kids
Spend less time doing things that aren't important
Continue practicing Korean conversation

Happy New Year everybody!