Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Iron Man

Like most sentient beings our 8-year-old is well acquainted with the theme to the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon. I think he may have seen some clips on YouTube but mostly it's from me putting it on a playlist we played in the car many times. (The playlist also included the Ramones excellent cover.)

Last week I mentioned there was a song called "Iron Man" and he was interested, figuring it must be about the other Marvel superhero. I pulled up the Black Sabbath track on my phone and played it for him, and... he lost interest partway through and had me stop when it became clear it was not about that subject.

Fair enough.

Then yesterday he was humming the riff to "Iron Man" quietly to himself, despite it not having come up in the interim. So apparently that had made some impression on him. 

And last night before bedtime he started singing this:

"Iron Man
Iron Man
Does whatever an iron can"

Then he chuckled softly, amused at himself.

Kids make you proud in the most unexpected ways sometimes.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Daylight Saving Time proposal

An imagined discussion of how it might go if someone were proposing Daylight Saving Time as a new idea now:

So you're saying we should all just get up an hour earlier?

Yes.

And get our kids up an hour earlier for school?

Yes.

And why do we do this?

So it's daylight a bit longer in the evening.

And?

Well, that can save some energy.

Only if we don't turn our lights on, which we probably will anyway.

You can be outside later.

Are you suggesting we're afraid of the dark or something?

No, no.  But you won't need lights out there until later.

Yeah, I think you really need to go back to the drawing board on this one.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

When I didn't meet Weird Al Yankovic

On the Late Show with Stephen Colbert the other night, the actor Thomas Lennon told the story of how he met "Weird Al" Yankovic (in an office supply store), which, along the news of a biopic of Mr. Yankovic starring Danielle Radcliffe being in production, reminded me of this:

A custom Lego mini-fig my wife
got for me a few years ago,
not from the event chronicled here.

Back on November 9, 2018, my wife and I took our then-pre-school-aged child to Disneyland. It was not the first visit for any of us, but this was the first time any of us went there on the first day of the park having its Christmas decorations up (or, at least, having the big tree on Main Street; there were parts of the park where the decorations were still in-process). 

Unsurprisingly, it was a warm autumn day in Anaheim, so it didn't really feel like the holidays but such is often the case in Southern California. Being a Thursday the park wasn't super crowded, which was nice, but being Disneyland there still were thousands of folks there with us.

At one point in the middle of the day I noticed that one of those people also at the park was "Weird Al" Yankovic. Yes, the Weird Al. Or just "Al" as I'll refer to him for the rest of this post; even though we aren't friends I feel like he wouldn't mind.

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Jury Duty in the Time of Covid (a case for pessimism)

When I received a jury summons last March, it was particularly unwelcome. It's not like most people look forward to jury duty, but in the middle of a pandemic where we'd spent a year working from home, where our son spent all of first grade on an iPad in his bedroom, and where we'd not gone pretty much anywhere, the thought to going to a courthouse and being around a bunch of strangers in an enclosed assembly room was worrying. This was prior to vaccines being widely available, and way before our child would be eligible for that.

So I postponed my service as far out as I could (five months) to August.

By then my wife and I had been fully vaccinated. While the state of Covid in our area wasn't as bad then,  again, our son was not yet so I postponed it a second time, again the five months I could. By the first week of February 2022 we were hopeful he'd be vaccinated and the pandemic should be in a much better state. 

Oh, how quaint we were. Well, at least our son got his shots, but Omicron made February arguably worse than August would have been.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Square math and the middle-aged mind

[Continuing my theme of revealing things to undermine what little confidence the world has in me...]

The other day my second grade son was watching a cartoon about blocks that do math. It was on Netflix I think; he has mastered all the streaming apps on the TV, and when he has free-viewing time (when Mommy and Daddy need a break) he is more than capable of selecting a show to watch, so I was not paying much attention to how we go there. [Wow, I'm really knocking it out of the park with this introductory paragraph! How can the reader not want to see where this is going?] In this instance, it was something that seemed more toward teaching pre-schoolers or kindergarteners about math--well below where he is in school, but maybe he gets nostalgic for that period of his life; it was at least educational, and certainly far less bad than a lot of shows he could have selected.

As I noted, I was only vaguely paying attention and likely because of that seeing the blocks make square shapes made me think about squaring numbers--1x1, 2x2, 3x3, etc.--and remembered that a number squared is the only way when represented with blocks that it creates a literal square; the units on the vertical axis and horizontal axis obviously must be the same or it's merely a rectangle. [Finally got to the topic, proving that first paragraph was a digression before I even started. Readers love that.]

Squaring numbers is a concept still a few years in the future for my son, but obviously way from way back in elementary school (probably) for me. Still, I hadn't thought of it in such rudimentary terms since... well, probably since I was in elementary school over four decades ago. [Yowza! I am old.]

I then paused and thought about the results of those squared numbers:

1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81...

And how they incremented in a pattern--by 3, then 5, then 7, then 9, then 11, etc.