February 4th, 2007


What if...

Isaac Newton had written The Compleat Angler? Principia Anguca?

Would bobbing for apples have a whole different meaning in today's culture? Would he have been hit on the head by a trout?

Catenary arcs across the winter sky

Off to Omaha tomorrow. I'll be there through crack of doom Saturday, with the usual Omaha Beach Party festivities, and dinner with garyomaha and M. Then down to Dallas for one night to hang with (step)mom and dad, then home late Sunday. Expect continued light blogging after today, interspersed with travel bitchiness and weather reports.

Also worthy of note is that I'm off to RadCon three days after returning from this trip, in the company of the inestimable frankwu, tillyjane and the_child, along with a host of other Pacific Northwest LJers. In fact, if you're going to be at RadCon, feel free to say "yo" in comments here.

Star Wars parenting update

the_child and I have watched ep II, Attack of the Clones. Having recently reviewed all three of them, I think this is the most regrettable of the trio. (Though honestly, that's diving pretty deep.) She responded a lot to the young Boba Fett, and had a lot of questions about Anikin's character arc. Me, I'd managed to blot out how fundamentally cheesy the "love" story is, but that's old, old ground for most of you, so I don't need to go there.

However, in reviewing ep III, Revenge of the Sith, I've realized it's much harsher than the other two. There's a lot more very personal violence (as opposed to set piece battles or spaceships dogfighting). There's children being killed, there's graphic (for Star Wars) renditions of severed body parts, the betrayal theme is right out front and being hammered down hard.

I'm going to have a tough time arguing to her that she can't watch ep III, having recently seen eps I and II. Generally, neither her mother nor I parent by fiat, and she's learned to expect both consistency from us, and explanations where warranted.1 At the same time, i think she's going to be distressed and threatened by what she sees when and if she watches ep III.

Given my imminent travel, it's not a problem for today, but I need to come up with a strategy soon.

1. "Because I said so" has never come out of my mouth to her, that I can recall -- I detested the Argument from Authority when I was a child, I detest it even more as an adult [which explains much about my response to contemporary conservative politics and Bush in particular], and I'm not going to inflict such a travesty on the_child.

Creators vs Consumers

the_child and I had a longish conversation this morning about why Rancho Lake does not feature any videogame consoles among its richly appointed amenities. Her mother and I have always been quite strict about making sure than most of her activities are active, rather than passive. Hence she's had very little exposure to broadcast or cable television (none at home), pretty carefully controlled access to videos and film, and her only games have been electronic versions of chess, backgammon and solitaire, plus a few education games.

Since she goes to a Waldorf school, the vast majority of her peers have grown up the same way, in some cases even more strict. She has some classmates who've never seen a video or DVD.

I don't expect to hold the line on video games all that much longer. Her cousin's household has videogames, her friend Z down the street has an X-Box, etc. It's not like they're a secret from her.

So I spent a bunch of time talking about the difference between being a creator and being a consumer. How her mother and I both pursued creation (fiber art and writing, respectively, with various sidelines on both our parts) over consumption. The difference between active imagination and passive, and how once the creativity had been built and nurtured, it was simple enough to understand consumption, but much harder to go the other way.

Her response: "I have a great imagination. I just want to play games."

Fair enough. Ghu knows I've played enough games in my life. And I don't want my prejudices and preferences to inform her life choices -- she has to find her own path. But to me personally, the value in being a creator is so profound and so obvious that it's difficult to contemplate letting her slip away from that.

I know she won't. Video games don't poison the mind, any more than television does. She'll be fine, no matter what happens. But she's going from accepting the boundaries we set to questioning them in very specific, reasoned ways.

I'm proud of her.

Ricocheting off of Sunday, heading into Monday

Garsh. Sunday night. Where did the time go? Attended a fantabulous dinner at the home of maryrobinette, with davidlevine, kateyule, the delightful C., and some folks whose LJ handles I don't know -- a few new friends and more old ones.

Now packing for Omaha. According to weather.com, it will be a high of 10 degrees tomorrow. Joy. If I get asked (as I sometimes do) why I don't want to live there, all I have to do is point out the window. Long week ahead, methinks.

Also, don't forget to vote in the Canticle for Lebowski poll. And thanks everyone for the great commentary on the whole Star Wars/video game posts.

Off at the crack of doom. Posting as travel time and airport facilities permit. Y'all play nice while I'm gone.