innocent_man: (shark)
So check it out. Dad of an autistic 10-year-old boy was wondering why he was getting reports of his son hitting teachers, but when a behaviorist was called in to observe and tried to deliberately set up a situation that would set the boy off, nothing happened.

So dad stood up.

He didn't get violent. He didn't reach for a gun like some moron I could mention. He put a wire on the boy, and recorded 6.5 hours of audio footage. In it, the teacher and the aide bully the kid, talk about sex and booze, and (though I didn't hear this clip) colluded to fuck with an IEP meeting, which is, by the way, against federal law.

The aide was fired, the teacher was not. Now, I suspect that's because of union regs. It's actually pretty hard to fire a teacher (it's not at all hard to lay them off, most places). And to a certain extent, that's good, because the last thing we need is our notoriously teacher-averse culture firing teachers at the drop of a hat. But this woman needs to go. There's no debate about it, presuming what's on the tape is accurate.

But I'm not really thinking about that. I'm thinking about the dad, and what he as a single parent must be going through. I understand the need to protect your kids - hell, to protect kids in general. To send your kids to school at all is an act of trust, and these people violated his trust in a really heinous way. And for him to do what he did - to call them out, but to make clear it's about dignity, not money - speaks to someone who's on the right side.

I listened to the whole video. It's hard. Do it anyway.
innocent_man: (teagan crazy)
Yesterday I wanted something to do with my kids that didn't cost much and wasn't outdoors (because it was rainy and then became cold and rainy). I started thinking that we'd go to the zoo, but again, cold and rainy. And besides which, Teagan's out of school at 3:30 and the zoo is only open until five.

I like playing with my kids, so I figured we'd have a little game. I knew Teagan wanted to go to Wendy's for dinner, so I had Michelle call my cell and leave a message using her awesome German accent as the evil Dr. Twistybread, claiming to have kidnapped Wendy in order to obtain the secret of delicious Frostys. Teagan was appropriately horrified. Cael decided he could use his super punching power on the evil Dr. Twistybread.

We talked about where to start looking for clues, and I told Teagan to think about "twisty bread." That suggested pretzels, so we headed to the mall, since that's where you can get big pretzels (Auntie Anne's, y'see). I slipped my GameStop card into the pretzel bag when Teagan wasn't looking, and from there just kind of winged clues, sometimes with the help of mall store staff, until we wound up at the arcade. We needed at least 20 tickets to free Wendy from Dr. Twistybread's clutches, but we managed it, and then headed to Wendy's for a celebratory dinner.

If I'd had more time to prepare, I'd have made up better clues rather than winging it, but that just gives me something to shoot for next time. In any event, the kids had a blast playing sleuth. :)

I, however, am home sick today. Michelle is done with her exam (yay!) and I woke up feeling crappy, so I'm taking it easy so I can go to the movie tonight (John Carter, y'see). For now, I want to make a character.

The Game: Sorcerer
The Publisher: Adept Press
Degree of Familiarity: None. I read it on our trip to Kentucky and it kind of screamed "Run me!"
Books Required: Just the core.

A demon cannot be hurt. )
innocent_man: (haveaheart)
So, you may have seen this floating around the Internet a bit. I've seen a couple of folks link to it on Facebook, f'rex, sometimes with the tag "for my friends who are Dads" or whatever.

I'm gonna kind of be a stick in the mud, here.

I don't find this shit funny. Not in the slightest. Now, before we get started here, you may feel free to say that when my daughter reaches dating age, I might change my tune. And that's possible. I suspect that there will be boys that Teagan will bring home when she's a teen that'll make me narrow my eyes a bit (it might even be true that Cael will bring home girls that will make me do likewise, and this is assuming that both of my kids are interested in the opposite sex, which I'm not really taking for granted, it's just that the versions of this meme I've seen are universally about boys dating one's daughter). But a lot of that is how we're hard-wired; of course I'm going to be protective of my daughter. Of course it'll squick me to think of her as having sexual desire, and of course I'll probably think she's too young when she does start dating.

But see, here's the thing. I started dating at approximately 14. I started having sex at 15. I got a girl pregnant at 16. The only one of these things that was really problematic was the last one, and that happened in large part because the messages that I got from the adults in my life regarding teen sex were variations of "Don't." That's not helpful. What I want for my kids is for them to be confident enough in themselves to make decisions about sex responsibly, and when they make mistakes regarding such relationships (because we all do) for there not to be permanent consequences.

That's tall order, I grant you. But threatening to shoot potential suitors is not going to help matter. Pretending that if I just say "Don't" loud enough, it won't happen is not going to help matters. Pretending that teenage girls are still six years old, under our control and unable to make decisions about their bodies is not helping matters. I might not be able to realize my goal, but I'm damned sure not going to short-circuit myself by being a sexist prick about it.

And that's really the crux of this - it's sexist. It's saying that I control another person's sexuality. And it's threatening someone that, presumably, my child cares about with physical harm. I don't like that. I don't find it funny. And I don't want my daughter or my daughter's someday-boyfriend (or girlfriend, FTM) to see me as someone to be feared and, therefore, avoided.

Points. )
innocent_man: (lingling)
So, a buddy of mine linked (on Facebook) to a charming video about a man upset with his daughter. You can go here and watch it if you want, but I'll give you the quick-n-dirty summary.

The dad sits down in a lawn chair, apparently filmed by a tripod, and reads off a post that his daughter (14, I think) made on her FB wall. She's complaining about her parents. More specifically, she feels that she since she does a lot of chores (and indeed, the list of chores is daunting - it's more than I do on a daily basis for my own house), she should be paid for her efforts. She also mentions that she has to lock her door on weekends, else her little brother wakes her up at 6AM, which the dad acknowledges is accurate.

The dad takes exception to the daughter airing family business on Facebook, with how "disrespectful" the girl is being, and chastises her for giving him her laptop to upgrade (one which, he says, he spent $130 in software) but not thinking he'd see the post.

He then puts her laptop on the ground, pulls out a .45, and empties the mag into it, telling his daughter that she owes him for the software he put on the computer and the bullets he used to shoot her computer. Oh, and if she's ever not grounded, she can buy her own computer.

This was presented as an example of "tough love" or "parenting for the Facebook generation" and the comments on the page where I watched the video (which wasn't the link above; I can't get to FB here so I can't find where I watched it) talk a lot about how "entitled" and "spoiled" the girl is and how she deserved it.

OK, first of all, I have no way to verify any of this. I have no idea whether it's fake or not, and I recognize that there are people on the Internet who think it's funny to produce things like this and then yell "Gotcha!" when people respond. So fuck those people, first of all, but I'm going to proceed as though the video is genuine. If it's not, well, you GOT ME! I suppose now you get to say "lulz" a lot or something. Good fer yew!


I think the father, here, is utterly and completely in the wrong. I think what he did was monstrous, childish and shameful. Here's why.

Let's assume that what the girl said in her FB post was accurate. If it is, she's doing at least a couple of hours of chores every day, on top of her schoolwork. That she's not getting paid for the work isn't relevant - she's doing the work, and to me, the amount of work seems inappropriate for a teenager (especially since, she says, her parents also hound her to get a job). I don't know what things are like in North Carolina, but teens are often overburdened with homework, and they need sleep. Asking for a bit of leisure time is not unreasonable. Likewise, on her FB post the girl (who's 15, sorry) complains that when he folks track mud into the house, she's asked to clean it up. Seems to me that, if all this is accurate, she's living in a tightly controlled and somewhat unreasonable environment, and her family justifies that by saying, "Oh, it's much better than when I was a kid!"

But let's go the other way. Let's assume that things aren't really this bad for her, and that she's inflating the work she's asked to do or that she doesn't do it and she's defiant (which seems to be what the dad is suggesting). Let's assume that dad is really frustrated and has tried to communicate with the girl in other, more appropriate ways, and that he's really feeling hurt and disrespected by what she wrote.

So he reaches for his gun.

Does anyone else see the problem, here?

It looks great on a video because we get to say, "Oh shit! It's a gun! Oh-ho, that snotty teenager is in trouble now!" But let's look at what this guy did. He took his daughter's property, which probably included all manner of pictures, files, music and so on that she can't replace easily. He took it out and destroyed it. He didn't seem angry, he seemed utterly controlled. He shot the computer and then calmly insisted that she pay for the ammunition. Now, what exactly does that say to you?

To me it says, "I am strong because I am armed. I will do what I wish with your possessions, and make you financially responsible for my actions. You will do as I say, or I will use force and violence to control you." (And if you don't think shooting a computer is an act of force and violence, then I don't know what to tell you.)

What exactly does he hope to gain by this? Is this going to open up lines of honest communication with his daughter? Will she see what he's done, and that she's been humiliated on the Internet, and think, "Oh, geez, I must really have hurt my father's feelings, I should endeavor to keep things like this to myself in future."? No. I think, more likely, she'll lash out, or else she'll think, "Shit, he shot my computer. What if I bring home a boy he doesn't like? What if I get angry and say something that pisses him off? What's he going to shoot then?"

Message to dads: Yes, you can rule through fear. I hear it doesn't work well. I wouldn't know, because I treat my children with more respect than that. And I have no idea what they'll be posting on FB when they get old enough, but you can bet that if my kids complain about their parents online (because complaining about parents isn't exactly new, just the medium is), my first response is not going to be, "Ooh, do I get to shoot something?"

Now, points. )
innocent_man: (absurdities)
So, today I made dinner for my kiddos and my girls, we watched A Bug's Life (mini-review forthcoming) and then the kiddos went to my mother's and we played Misspent Youth.

Persimmons, chicken breasts, corn mush, Gouda cheese, asparagus.

What? Asparagus again? )

Oh, so one other thing first. I took the kids roller skating on Saturday; here are some pictures.

Cael skating.

Teagan skating.

Both had fun. There were some spills, but they bounced back and both said they enjoyed it. Cael has a pretty impressive sense of balance for his age.

Right, so, Misspent Youth, then. )
innocent_man: (cookbook)
I'm very seriously considering porting this journal over to Dreamwidth. Anyone have opinions? I know several folks have already made that switch.

Last Tuesday, the country pulled its head out of its ass just a bit. Hopefully, this continues for, oh, the rest of my life at least. As I've said a couple of times, now, when you screw the poor long enough, what generally happens is that they rise up and eat you. I'd like not to have to raise my kids during a societal collapse, as much as I enjoy post-apocalyptic games.

On that subject, work continues on curse the darkness. Nothing really new to report; another photo shoot next weekend, which I'm greatly looking forward to, and we're looking for someone to do graphic design for the book.

Misspent Youth Sunday, Hunter Monday (which will need some prep), and Changeling next Saturday (also need some prep). I'm happy we got to play Leverage last week, 'cause I was getting shaky there. :)

OK! Heather and Aaron are out of town this weekend, so I'm taking the kiddos swimming tonight and roller skating tomorrow. So must wrap up here, wake the boy, go fetch the girl, and hit the pool.

Skate, mandarin oranges, Israeli couscous, asparagus, cinnamon-apple white cheddar.

That's a weird cheese, yes. What would you do? )
innocent_man: (oogie boogie)
Lots to do today. And before 3PM, when my players show up for Misspent Youth maybe a game, but we're not playing Misspent Youth because we're down a player. So, what's on the docket?

  • Clean kitchen (which is mostly a matter of doing the dishes).
  • Call Wells Fargo.
  • Call Erie.
  • Call Sprint.
  • Do write-up from last night's curse the darkness game.

  • Write up and send notes for the upcoming Leverage game.
  • Do write-up for Brokeback Mountain
  • Do write-ups for a million Chopped dinners (resolution: get better about doing those daily, especially since I'm likely to be doing a bunch of them next week).

  • Maybe make a character? It's been a while.

But now the general update.

Halloween was fun. Teagan went out as a black cat:


Cael went as Buzz Lightyear, but he didn't actually trick or treat with us. He was under the weather and slept through most of it, and then went out and hit a couple of houses with Aaron. But here's a picture of him in his wings, romping through leaves:

To Infinity and Beyond!

Let's see. I'm getting adjusted to the new living arrangements (that is, Heather and Aaron have their house, Michelle and I live here). The kids are over here a few nights a week, generally Tuesday night plus some time over the weekend. I like having them here and I'd have them here more often, but with my school schedule it's hard - Teagan goes to school and hour and a half later than I do, so I can't take her, and Michelle generally works in the morning so she can't be kid-responsible. It's kind of becoming hard on me, some days. I do miss seeing them every day.

Next weekend, Heather and Aaron are going out of town and I get the kiddos all weekend, so that'll be fun. I want to take them roller-skating. Well, Teagan, anyway - I mean, I could strap skates to Cael, but I have no idea if that'd be fun for him or now. The kids are reaching that annoying stage where Teagan is too old (or too big) to run around on mall playgrounds and Cael is too little to do some of the things that Teagan likes to do (laser tag, movies in theaters). This will resolve soon enough, of course, but at the moment it does mean I have to either arrange Caelbysitting or make plans accordingly. Is what it is.

My neighbors remain. Went to court on Wednesday. Jill should have showed up, dropped the charges, admitted she was wrong, and been done with it. Instead, we have to set a trial date. I'm hoping the prosecutor will realize there's exactly zero evidence here and drop it. But failing that, getting around a table and being able to say, "OK, do you realize that everyone in my house is conditioned to jump up and check the windows the instant we hear a dog bark? And that's because we don't want to bug you?" would be good.

Assassin's Creed: Revelations comes out next week. For which I am well and truly jazzed. (Seriously, look at the trailer. And what is that awesome song?). I have decided, however, that after this I'm not buying any more video games until I finish that, Dead Island, LA Noire, Mortal Kombat, Batman: Arkham City, and what the hell, a coupla corndogs. Unless they do Left4Dead 3.

Anyway, with all of that in mind, I have much to do. I shall start, I think, by making a phone call, then cleaning the kitchen.
innocent_man: (safe)
The scene: Dinner with Sarah, Michelle, Heather, Aaron, Max and the kiddos. Sarah's birthday was Monday, so it's dinner for that. Teagan gave her a present - a box with a pencil, a picture she drew, and some weird clapper hands.

SARAH: Thank you! That's so sweet!

TEAGAN: Thank you. You can keep the pencil and those clapper hands.

CAEL (holding up one of Teagan's soccer socks, dirty and inside out): Here! You can have this sock!

That's Cael. He just wanted to be part of the giving.
innocent_man: (cael new)
Conversations you have with a 2-year-old:

ME: Cael, poopie goes in the potty.

CAEL: No! It goes on the FLOOR!

And, on we go.

The Game: Dresden Files
The Publisher: Evil Hat
Degree of Familiarity: A goodly amount. I've never run Dresden, though I have run Spirit of the Century and I've been playing Dresden for some time now.
Books Required: Just the core.

And there's porn in Blood Rites! )
innocent_man: (Default)
OK, fun stuff first. Yesterday I took the kids to the grocery store and told Teagan to pick ingredients for me (we all love Chopped, you see). She picked (imagine this in Ted Allen's voice) nectarines, snap peas, brick cheese, and baby corn.

No problem. At least there was no octopus (which I love, but wouldn't know how to cook).

So I took some taters, chopped 'em up and threw 'em into a skillet with some onions. When those got crispy I threw in some chopped-up bacon (mmm, bacon) and then the baby corn, and then grated the cheese over that mess and popped it in the oven to bake until the cheese got melty and bubbly. Voila, hash. Baby corn added a fun crunch and tang to it, and of course, bacon.

The peas I just boiled and shocked and then threw in a pan to warm up. Wouldn't win me any creativity points on Chopped, but dammit, Jim, I'm an SLP, not a chef.

The nectarines I cut into segments, popped into a pan with some orange liquor and set that fucker on fire. Ahem. That was fun. Booze cooks off, and you're left with yummy fruitiness.

So that was good.

Now for the other stuff: Bullying. Been in the news a lot lately. I'll say what a lot of other folks are saying: Let's us stop hiding behind the notion that ignoring it will go away. Let's start calling out bullies for what they are: assholes. Now, to that, I would add that the bullies generally have something going on, too. Yes, the cliche of the bully being a social failure who's just insecure is often bullshit - a lot of bullies are over-privileged, spoiled and want for nothing, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own demons. But here's the difference - I don't say that as an excuse, and it's nothing that the victims need to worry about. I think that as adults and educators, it's something that we should take note of (but again, it's no excuse).

My own experiences with bullying weren't nearly as horrific as some of the others I've been reading lately. I got some shit for being weird, which I was, and once in a while that got intense or physical. I never really felt like I dreaded going to school because of it, though, because I always had friends (theater FTW). And on the rare occasions that it did get physical, I could fight back (one dude kicked me in the junk with cowboys boots on. I knocked two of his teeth loose. I got in trouble, but I think I was in the right and it wasn't more than an intense conversation with the principal).

So I'm lucky. I never got called gay in high school (though in fairness, I did get a girl pregnant, so y'know), and considering that I classmates saying "kill the homos," that's probably good. I'm not good at keeping my mouth shut and I suspect if I'd known I was bi back then things might have gone differently.

And I don't know, but I think it might be worse now anyway, what with these Intertubes and all. About all I can do for my children is do what I'm doing - foster an atmosphere of trust and support, so Teagan and Cael know that they can come to me and I'll believe them and support them and protect them.

And they've gotta know - someone bullies them, they scream about it. They call the bullies out as the assholes they are, and if the district pulls the "they're basically good kids" on my family, bad shit will ensue.

We cannot expect children to solve this problem on their own. It falls to us, the parents, to change the game, and we cannot keep using "Oh, they're just being kids" or similar bullshit as excuses for us not knowing how to approach it.
innocent_man: (teagansephi)
Time flies. Six years ago today, at roughly this hour, I was trying to get some sleep. My wife was in the hospital, doing likewise (I had to go home and let Sephi out). Teagan, not quite seven hours old, was in NICU.

I've talked to parents who felt a profound sense of their own mortality when their children were born. I've felt that feeling since my kids were born, once or twice, but no more frequently or with more intensity than before. What I did feel when Teagan was born was amazement, humility, and love. And when she was born, tiny and helpless, I made a vow (that I would later repeat for Cael) that I would love and protect her, that I would teach her and nurture her, and that while I would not give her more knowledge than she could handle, I would never lie to her.

Man, that last one is hard. It's hard to avoid telling Teagan that Netflix just isn't working when she's got her heart set on watching something from there rather than one of her own movies. It's hard to avoid buying into the fun of the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. It's hard that I have to tell her that her grandfather is gone. Not waiting for her in heaven, not hanging around the house, not in a better place, just gone.

Tell you what, though: I gave Teagan the Lego test a few months back. We were driving by the cemetery and, as usual, she started talking about death. I asked her: If you make a house out of Legos, and then take it apart and put the Legos back in the box, where is the house? And she answered correctly: Nowhere. (Yes, I stole that from xkcd, and I'd link it if I had time to find it. EDIT: here. Thanks, [ profile] anivair!) Teagan's smart, and she's intuitive.

I've kept my vow to Teagan. It's hard sometimes. I get frustrated and angry like anyone, and she's six, and she gets whiny and needy and defiant sometimes and all those other things that kids get. But I think about the kids I see. I think about the kids that are disabled, that are born of parents who are addicts or broken or angry all the time. I cannot forgive what some of them do, but I can be thankful for what I have, for the growth that I've made and the wisdom I've accrued.

I came very, very close to suicide last year. The reasons aren't important (and here's the funny thing about depression - in retrospect it doesn't seem that bad. At the time, it's never seemed worse). My therapist told me something I should have known: Children of suicides are far more likely to become suicides.

I know my children are in for pain and fear and heartache. That's how life works. I remember being a teenager, and I have no rose-colored glasses about the subject. It sucked. I remember being a child, and I remember feeling afraid and alone. I cannot save my kids from the demons in their own heads, but maybe, just maybe, I can foster enough of an atmosphere of trust and love that when they hurt, they will seek me out and know that I will do anything within my power to protect them, to help them stand up, and to help them find their centers.

I won't break my children. I worked with a little girl yesterday who'd been broken. Or rather, I think the process is ongoing. I helped her with her homework - which she could do, she was just either unwilling or overwhelmed - but it was pretty obvious to me that what she needed was a safe space, if only for a while. She's not one of my students (not yet, anyway), just someone who needed someone to have her back.

Tonight, I'm taking Teagan to the movies and to dinner and to get a Build-a-Bear for being a trooper at the dentist (three freaking times. Little cavities, but I'll tell ya, I have a pretty good instinct to sock anyone who comes at her with a needle, even if it's for her own good. Damn Daddy alarm).

So wish her a happy birthday, if you would, so I can read it to her later. :)
innocent_man: (teagan)
Yesterday Teagan had her first day of kindergarten. Heather dropped her off, and she walked into the building (at her own request!) with no accompaniment. I picked her up, and she seemed good. She likes her teacher, she likes her class. And she liked eating in the cafeteria.

I may an observation here that I'm sure every parent ever has made: It's weird seeing independence. I have no other experience with my children except that they are dependent on me for security and direction, and as school begins, they lose that dependence and receive guidance and structure elsewhere. I'm happy that Teagan is enjoying herself and I'm sure she'll have a good experience in kindergarten ('cause if she doesn't, I'm going to have to have unpleasant talks with her teacher), but there is part of me that wants to cuddle her and say, "no, I get to be the one to teach her."

But I want her out there in the world. I want her to love it as much as I do, and I want that love to start earlier than it did for me. I spent (read: wasted) a long time being a misanthropic jerk, and I don't want that for her.

In related news, I need a new Teagan icon, methinks.

Right, speaking of school, I'm at one. Must be to workin'.

All's Fair

Aug. 12th, 2010 09:58 pm
innocent_man: (teagan)
Today, we went to the county fair with the kiddos. It's the same as when I was a kid: Overpriced food, cheap prizes for which you pay an extra buck for the privilege of throwing darts at balloons, clunky rides.

The kids loved it. So it was totally worth the money.

The closest thing they had to a roller coaster was this thing called the Dragon Wagon, a 9-car coaster that just goes over some bumps. The line was long, and Cael was tired (and too small to go on it anyway), but Teagan had expressed interest. When she saw the line, she balked, but we made her stick it out.

The ride's operator would let it go round the track once, then stop if anyone needed to jump off (some kids scare easier than others). I was worried for Teagan - she likes rides, but sometimes she gets freaked out by new things.

I needn't have worried. She went around once with that "um, OK" look on her face, and for the next 10 rounds or so, she was grinning like a fool. She had the smile that only a child can have, missing her two front teeth and her hair streaming out behind her, grinning at us but never daring to take her hands off the safety bar. She squealed at the hills and bumps, and smiled that same smile at us every single time, and for just a moment, I remembered, fondly, the nights I spent at fairs as a boy, walking across the street from the house at Parkside Boulevard or as a camper at Falcon Camp. I remember the cheap fried food and the Barnum-esque freaks, and the spinny rides that made me sick. I remember how everything was big and bright and tempting, and I saw it again as Teagan rode the Dragon Wagon.

She got off when the ride was done, and said, "Can I do it again?"

Cael, watching from my arms, yelled, "Do it again! Do it again!"

Yes, my loves, you can. Maybe not tonight, but soon.
innocent_man: (Default)
THE SCENE: Yesterday at Red Robin. Fred, Dawn, Keith, Gavin, Teagan, Cael and I went to dinner and then headed over to the mall so I could run a mysterious errand and the kiddos could go to the playground. Other drivers were just going to follow me over.

FRED (to me): So if we end up in the wrong place, it's your fault.

KEITH: Yeah, but you know that means if we end up in the right place, you have to give him credit.

FRED: No, that's just God!

ME: I will stab you, Fred.

TEAGAN (cheerfully): With what?

Now cleaning out paperwork in my office. One more day here, then off to Seattle and the wilds of...whatever's between Cleveland and Seattle!
innocent_man: (punk rock)
OK, check this out.

If you don't want to click the link, it's an awesome little playhouse for kiddos. Now, in a perfect, Rockwellian sort of world, I'd have the time, resources and know-how to construct such a thing for my kids. But I don't. So I'm asking for a little help.

If you've got a few bucks to spare, would consider tossing them into a jar (below: a jar)? I really do mean "a few bucks"; the thing is only about $300, which ordinarily I would be able to afford without too much trouble (for reasons that are probably pretty clear if you live near Cleveland, I'm concerned about my income next year and I'm trying to watch finances).

If you can't spare a few bucks, no worries at all. This isn't a charity that's going to save lives, it's just going to make my kids really, really happy. If I can bribe you by, say, writing up some NPCs for your game or running a one-shot for you (provided you're relatively local to me), I'd be happy to. :)

Thanks, all!

innocent_man: (teagan)
THE SCENE: At Teagan's kindergarten meet-n-greet this evening. Basically the kiddos got to run amok on the playground, and then go inside and have a drink and a snack while the PTA (which I'm joining next year - any bets on whether I'm the token male?) told us a little about the coming year.

There are a couple of Indian families there, and one of the little girls has some odd pigmentation. She has blotches of white on her feet (wearing sandals), her arms, and her face around her eyes. The patches are white, and it's something Teagan hasn't seen before, so she points it out as we're walking into the building...right behind the little girl and her mother.

TEAGAN: Oh, look. That little girl has powder on her. (pause) No, wait, that's her skin. Oh, it's on her face, too.

HEATHER: Yep, she does.

TEAGAN: She looks so pretty!

I saw that little girl look up at her mother and smile. I grab Teagan up and gave her a squeeze.

TEAGAN: Daddy, why'd you hug me?

ME (what I said): Because I love you. (what I thought) Because you wouldn't understand if I told you how proud I am of you.

Teagan doesn't look at the unusual and become afraid. She looks at the unusual and becomes excited.

innocent_man: (Default)
That ought get me on some weird searches.

THE SCENE: Headed back from the zoo. Cael, as usual, gets about 60 yards from the zoo and is out like a light, which also means he won't take a real nap, but whatever.

ME: Is Cael asleep?

TEAGAN: Yep. The baby is caramelized.

ME: ...caramelized?

Conclusion: Teagan hears the words when she watches Chopped, but doesn't always get the context.

And then later we went to the playground so that the kids could exhaust themselves (mission accomplished, I think). On the way home, we're driving down Big Creek Parkway, which is a one-lane street. Some dude behind me is trying to pass me on the right, so I pulled over a little to let him know that wasn't a good idea. His driving was erratic, and I was wondering what I missed, and then he zoomed around me on the left and pulled into the left-turn lane, with his right-turn signal on. I slowed down, bemused.

And then he started yelling obscenities at the car next to him. That guy got out, and they started yelling at each other, puffing chests, and the like. I have no idea why, though I surmise it was road rage. I had my phone out to call the police, but then the light turned and folks honked at them, and one went straight and the other turned left.

Teagan gets lessons in life every day. Today she learned about pythons and why snakes shed their skin (didn't get to see it, but still). And then she learned that sometimes people get so angry over stupid stuff that they hit each other. On the plus side, no one actually did get hurt, and the cops in my town don't have much to do so I'm sure they'd have been there quickly if I'd needed to ring them up.

Anyway. Later on tonight I think I might start work on my upcoming Trail of Chthulhu game. I also need to actually think about what kind of system I want to use for curse the darkness. FUDGE might work, and that's OGL.
innocent_man: (safe)
OK. Circumcision.

Huge topic. Gigantic, in the right company. Very touchy. And one I cannot, for the life of me, keep my mouth shut about.

Look, this article sums up why you shouldn't circumcise a baby boy*. Read it if the subject matter is interesting or if it's likely to become relevant. The arguments for circumcision are so monumentally stupid that it boggles my mind. Some of my favorites:

1) It'll prevent masturbation. Um. Yeah. Sure it will. Actually, studies have shown the opposite.

2) It's cleaner. No, no it isn't. You wash your junk regardless of whether you're cut or not. Duh.

3) It prevents STDs. This is my favorite. This claim is based on a highly fallacious study performed in Africa. Read, if you want the skinny. Bottom line: It's bullshit.

4) God wants it that way. God is imaginary, so this is bullshit. OK, so you might not buy that, and that's fine. How about this: If your God wants you to mutilate a helpless baby, He isn't worth your worship. Still not convinced? OK, fine. If your baby boy grows up and decides that he wants to have his foreskin removed to make God happy (is that really fucking perverted, or is it just me?), then let him make that decision on his own.

5) We want him to look like his Daddy. OK, this is a sick argument that seems understandable until you think about it. First of all, I didn't shave my head to look like my dad when I was a boy, even though Pop was bald. Second of all, Dad and I didn't stand around comparing penises.

The more I read and learn about this topic, the more I'm convinced that this is a moral issue, and it's pretty goddamned black and white. Basically: If you circumcised your boy, you made the wrong choice. Now, that said, it's not a choice that's going to fuck him up forever or anything. I'm cut (not exactly much debate one way or the other in 1974), and I've never felt that it's really making much difference...but how would I know, right? Yes, we can function just fine without the foreskin. That isn't the point. The point is, it's there for a reason (kind of like the appendix - you know, that organ your middle school health teacher told you was useless?), it hurts to chop it off, there are proven bad effects of circumcision, not least of which is that it fucking hurts.

Dads, especially: YOU ARE THERE TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD. That is your most important duty. I'd almost call it sacred. And sometimes that means you protect them from sketchy dudes in refurbished ice cream trucks, but much more often, you protect them from subtler threats, like bad science.

When Cael was born, the nurse asked if we wanted him circumcised. I said, "Hell, no."

Heather said, "You can write that on the form, if you want."

I now brace myself for discussion.

*Yes, there are medical reasons that circumcision may be necessary. That doesn't mean you do it when it isn't necessary. It can be medically necessary to remove all kinds of body parts, from limbs to breasts to eyes. That doesn't mandate removing them without that medical reason.

Super Bowel

Feb. 7th, 2010 11:28 am
innocent_man: (Default)
Apparently there's some kind of American Football Championship Game on today.

Anyway, that doesn't matter much to me. But, as always, I approve of people grooving, so if that's how you groove, g'head on and do it. Knock back one for me.

I would really, really like to make a character today. It might happen. But Heather's dancing this weekend (all weekend. It's like a con, except she comes home), and I'm watching my kiddos. I explained to Teagan how the ear converts the physical energy of sound into electrical impulses and then into meaning (with help from the brain), and she thought that was just awesome (boom-de-yada, boom-de-yada).

Taking her to see The Princess and the Frog later today, as it is an Oscar-nominated film and, y'know, that's my Superbowl. There's one animated film nominee that there's no way to see. That'd be The Secret of Kells, and it's not opening in the States until March (outside of LA; had to open there somewhere to be eligible, I think). Which is annoying, because it's Irish and hand-drawn and I'd love to see it before the telecast, but ah, well.

I was happy to see Coraline got the nom. It won't win, because Up is going to win, but it's a fun film.

Teagan watched Jumanji with me last night. I like that she's starting to enjoy live action movies more now, because as much as I love cartoons, y'know, variety. I almost showed her Dark Crystal, but caught myself - she'd never make it past the Garthim (seriously, I barely do. Yi).

Just so Cael doesn't feel left out, he's been a sick babby lately. Does this thing where he flings himself on the ground piteously, but wangs his head on the floor, which doesn't improve his mood any. Fortunately he doesn't have far to fall, but still. Presently he's happily watching Teagan blow bubbles, so there's a mercy.

And on and on we go. Oh, having a Rock Band gathering next week, if anyone wants to show up, PM me or email me or whatever.
innocent_man: (bender)
While I'm printing character sheets for the Alpha Omega game tonight, a little anecdote.

I took the kids to the zoo the other day, mostly to have something to do for a morning that wasn't hanging about the house. Yes, it's winter, but the Cleveland Zoo has lots to do. Anyway, we wound up in the rain forest for lunch, and then looked at some of the animals there. There was a volunteer hanging out with a boa constrictor in her hands, telling the kiddies about snakes.

TEAGAN: I want to know all about this snake.

VOLUNTEER LADY: Well, ask me questions and I'll tell you about him.

TEAGAN: Why does he have those spots on his back?

ME: (silently) Don't say it's the way God made him. Don't say it's the way God made him. Don't say it's the way God made him.

VL: Well, honey, about all I can tell you is it's the way God made him.

ME: (facepalm) OK, honey, imagine that snake was on the ground with dead leaves all around. Would you be able to see him?

TEAGAN: No. Oh, it's camouflage!

See, what I objected to with the lady's comment was not them mention of God. Teagan doesn't have any real context for that word anyway, and if she'd asked I'd have explained it. What I object to is that "it's the way God made him" shuts down any opportunity to learn anything. There's no exploration of the why there, no attempt to figure out what purpose that coloration does serve. Just, yep, that's how Epimetheus wanted it (he made all the animals, remember? Lavished the gifts on them, so Prometheus had to steal fire? That's in the Bible, right? Oh, wait, wrong myth).

OK, printing is done, so now to make a bunch of characters. Wish me luck.


innocent_man: (Default)

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