Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Days Flow By Like Hours, Hours Vanish In Minutes, and Suddenly Another Year Turns To Dust

The last sunset of 2013 is nigh, and I'm looking out the window at a pair of chickens perched near the saddest kale plant in the universe. Sad because the chickens strip it bare, not giving it a chance to grow actual leaves. It's almost biblical in its cruelty.

Nearby sits the crow tree, or at least that's what it seems to be. The trunk splits into branches, and the branches support numerous crows. Actually, it's a persimmon tree, and the crows have decided that persimmons are the best fruits in known existence, so they flock to the tree murderously.

I haven't been to work in around a week and a half, and I have around a week of idleness left before I'm expected back. Christmas has come and gone, and all went as planned. Greg and Kat came down from Berkeley on Christmas day instead of Christmas eve because this year Willow spent Christmas eve with her mom and Christmas day with us. Presents were exchanged, and everybody seemed happy. We had all planned to go see the second Hobbit movie, but Greg and Kat got an irritated phone call from their cats, reminding them that supper time was imminent, Eva was busy watching Chucky movies, and Willow was getting over being sick, so Jeanine and I ended up going to see it by ourselves. It was good, in the usual over-the-top Peter Jackson sort of way.

I got Jeanine one present sort of early. It arrived right before the Winter Solstice and I didn't feel like trying to hide it somewhere, so I gave it to her. It's a small Gooty Sapphire Ornamental Tree Spider. At the moment, it's about the size of a Wolf Spider, but with proper care, it should grow to have a 6 to 8 inch leg-span. It will also become a beautiful metallic blue. Owning one of these is kind of like owning a fish though, since they're speedy and their bites are "medically significant". In other words, look but don't touch. It's captive bred, of course, since apparently wild populations are critically endangered due to habitat destruction. One of my friends is excited that it's the Metallica spider. Next on my list is to track down a Cthulhu spider.

I'm not making any vows or resolutions as such for the coming year, but I really do need to cut down on the amount of time I sit in front of the computer. That said, I don't feel bad sitting here typing this because writing is a form of creativity, and creativity should always be encouraged.

I've found the fountain of youth too, in the form of tea. Apparently, this tea ages for you:

The last musical event I attended this year featured the same band I started the year with. Here's what I said about the show at the beginning of the year, and here's what I said about the one at the end.

Greg and I went to Portland mid-month to hang out with friends and buy art at The Big 400 event. It was good to see Howard and Matt again, and then buy their art too. I ended up buying 7 pieces of original art, and giving two of them away as Christmas gifts. I always like visiting the Pacific Northwest, and I think that if I were to seriously consider moving out of California, I'd probably want to live in Oregon or Washington.

Happy ending and beginning to everybody. The years keep cycling by, and we may not be getting wiser, but we're sure getting older. Or something like that.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Home Schooling

Earlier, while we walked back from the ice cream shop, Willow half-jokingly said that she wished she could be home-schooled, to which I responded (also half-jokingly)that home-schooled kids sometimes grow up to be socially awkward due to lack of exposure to other students. Sure, there are plenty of exceptions to this, and I'm not at all opposed to home-schooling, as long as it's done right, but I have a feeling that it's often not done right (parents are likely to be busy slaving away at various paying jobs in addition to their noble attempts to play educator), leaving students under-prepared for real world interactions and other stressful situations.

When I arrived at work tonight, a couple of the volunteer cabin leaders were having emotional meltdowns due to the fact that a) science camp is very structured, and b) they were expected to be responsible leaders.

Both of them proved to be - you guessed it - home schooled.

Currently listening to: Natural Snow Buildings "Daughter of Darkness"