Archive for January, 2007

h1

Another Novel Nightmare Treatment

January 30, 2007

Parents of small children are no strangers to the effects of nightmares. We in the Wilcox family are no strangers to unorthodox approaches to treating them. (For example, see this post, which describes how letting David watch Jurassic Park at age 3 cured his dinosaur-laden nightmares.)

NaNi had bad dreams or night terrors of some sort last night. She started crying around 1:00, and wouldn’t wake up enough to stop, in addition to putting a stranglehold on Nichelle.

We’ve been through this before. It never ends well, because Naomi ends up restless or crying in our bed for a number of hours, and none of us gets the sleep we need.

Remarkably, probably because I’d left work a little earlier and taken a long nap before dinner last night, I was more clearheaded than usual, and came up with a plan that would give us all enough sleep, if a bit strangely distributed.

I said to NaNi, “Want to play some World of WarCraft?” She agreed, so we marched off to the family room, and within a few minutes of her sitting on my lap while I played, she had woken up enough to shake off the fear, and demand that she play using her character, so I ran the mouse while she ran the keyboard, which worked very well.

I’m not used to playing a lower-level character (my Gnome is now at level 38), so at first I kept getting us into situations that led to a rapid death. At one point we were outnumbered, and nearly dead, so we ran from the bandits we were fighting—not something that always works. When the last one stopped following us, I had her turn around and I ran the “/taunt” emote, which does a chicken imitation with arms flapping and clucking sounds.

Nichelle, rather than having to try to tend to NaNi, got her own much-needed sleep.

After about 40 minutes, I let NaNi continue playing—she definitely wasn’t ready to go back to bed—and I retired on the couch. I woke up at 4:45 a.m., to find she’d stopped playing, apparently also after spending some time coloring, and crawled onto the couch with me to go to sleep. So I got up and went back to bed, leaving NaNi sleeping peacefully.

Nichelle got enough sleep to pull off our morning preparations on time; she let me sleep a little bit extra to catch up enough for me to take the kids to school and drive to work, and rather than listen to NaNi cry while trying to comfort her, we had some great father-daughter time killing Defias bandits around Goldshire.

I suppose one would have to describe that as a win-win-win.

h1

3-Year-Old Geek Goddess Sees Future in Competitive Halo

January 25, 2007

Just a week ago, I’d written about how the Xbox controller, with its two thumbsticks, numerous buttons, and two triggers, was overwhelming for NaNi, who is now 3.25 years of age, even though she’d had no trouble mastering a computer mouse by age 2.5, just like her brothers.

Last night David, Isaac, Naomi and I were playing Halo 2. Despite the fact that Halo was the first video game name NaNi ever learned, she normally will ask to play, then get frustrated and leave after a minute or two, because she’ll have her character looking at the sky or the ground, and not be able to get oriented correctly.

Well, that all changed officially as of yesterday. She’d been playing David’s birthday gift, “Superman Returns,” on the Xbox. Being able to fly around Metropolis gave her the space and freedom of movement to really figure out how to work the thumbsticks. I also discovered she knows the four “lettered” buttons by name, and is learning what each does in the games she plays.

So, last night we were armed with rocket launchers, and I was tracking Isaac, when NaNi blew me away! A moment later she took out Isaac. The icing on the cake was her “vengeful” exclamation to Isaac afterward: “Isaac, don’t say my Barbie toothpaste is stupid! That’s not nice!

Then she did her victory dance (her own adaptation of the “gnome” dance from Blizzard’s World of WarCraft). It was sweet!

h1

And the Queen of Sarcasm Is …

January 22, 2007

Nichelle, of course!

Sunday morning I was teasing Nichelle, because she didn’t cook me an omelette like she does during the week. I said, “If you loved me, you would have gotten up early to make me an omelette.”

Her response: “I love you Monday through Friday; I have the weekends off.”

my pimped pic!


And, for those of you who are tempted to point out that I could demonstrate my love for Nichelle by getting up early enough to make her an omelette, I wish to point out that serving Nichelle any omelette prepared by me would not be considered an act of love.

h1

The Big Dream

January 20, 2007

I was on earth second not first because I was a alien from Criptton I flew back where it was but it was not there I found my class in space heading for part of my planet they saw me and let me in bot my planet was starting to make a radioactive cloud. thats wen everyone got there puers and I found my self on earth the next day flew back to see if my class survived and I saw everyone was alive with super puers I brought them back to earth and I went back to criptton.

h1

The Future of Computer Interfaces

January 19, 2007

(Thanks to Kevin Ilsen for pointing me to the video.)

This is absolutely amazing. With a few simple gestures, this is way beyond the “ancient” computer interfaces we use today, and is nearly exactly like what was seen in Minority Report, which is an excellent film despite Tom Cruz’s presence.

I was thinking about this recently. We complain about the mouse, but the mouse is incredibly intutive to use. All our children were computer-mouse-capable by age 2.5. Watching Naomi is interesting, though. She can use the computer mouse without difficulty. She’s learned to do pretty well with the keyboard, also, good enough to play World of WarCraft.

The Xbox controller, however, still befuddles her. She’ll try to play Halo 2, but end up with her character stuck up against a wall. We discovered yesterday, however, that she did much better with the “Superman: Returns” game, which offers more freedom of movement, and didn’t require her to stay alive by fighting.

Back to computer interfaces. One of the things that hasn’t “arrived” yet, despite the fact that our current computers are more-than-capable, is voice activated software. It just hasn’t caught on, which surprises me. Is is simply too complicated for most users? Is it merely too annoying for most offices?

Thoughts?

h1

Local Software Developer Achieves World Fame

January 15, 2007

Technically, we’re not supposed to BLOG about [the company for which I work], because it’s a public company, and [blah blah blah], but I think I can get away with this much, as I snagged a very brief spot in the video described below (which, if nothing else, has convinced me more than ever of my need to lose weight—something which is already in progress):

Over the past year [message redacted] has placed great effort in building a strong and expansive strategic relationship with Microsoft. We have continued to leverage and expand our use of Microsoft technologies as our two organizations come closer together to deliver greater value and powerful solutions to our mutual customers. Here is a three-minute video … for you to share with your customers/prospects. This video features executives from Microsoft, [message redacted], and a mutual customer and discusses the business value of this partnership and the powerful benefits it offers to [message redacted] and our customers.


One of my co-workers just stopped by and noted that our tarantula, Susan, is visible in the video. She’s in the blue-lidded, plastic box on the table that’s behind Bernard Farrell and me. Cool!

h1

Elementary School Children and Civil Liberty

January 14, 2007

Last week in the Junior Church class Nichelle and I teach, we began a lesson on the life of Josiah, who was the king of Judah. Josiah became king when he was eight years old, and was one of the better kings of that period.

To introduce the topic, I used two discussion topics, to get the kids thinking about the idea of the power and responsibility of running a kingdom.

The first question was, “What would you do if you were given a billion dollars?” The answers were interesting. Only about half were completely selfish. One of the younger girls said she would buy a new bicycle, so I went on to try to illustrate just how large a sum a billion dollars is.

The next question, meant to elaborate on the first, was, “What would you do if you were the absolute dictator of a country like the United States? What kind of laws might you enact?” The answers to this one were more interesting.

Top of the list for most of the kids was outlawing smoking and outlawing drinking alcohol. After that, most of the suggestions included personal security, such as “putting cameras everywhere,” allowing children to become police officers, creating anti-terrorist robots, or police robots that would be everywhere “to prevent people from stealing.”

To them there was no concept of civil liberty or Libertarianism, it was just, “If it’s wrong, we’ll get rid of it.”

h1

My Fortress

January 7, 2007

I was laying in my bed then I had a dream my dream was about a fortress today I bilt a fortress out of a blank a small chair but not to small and 2 pillows and a beanbag chair.

h1

Message from John

January 5, 2007

[Editor’s note: John e-mailed this to me yesterday. There’s much to respond to, but I don’t have sufficient time, and probably won’t for a couple of days. However, I promised to put it up today, so here it is.]

Dear all blog members

I am sorry for consistently lying on here about my life and all of my problems. The truth is ive been lying bout alot of things and I want to get everything straight. First off I would like to apologize to you about lying about my parents. I have said in the past that they had been controlling my life. But the truth was that I was controlling my own life and wanted to do everything myself and I made bad decisions. And the outcome of that I have lost the two people in my life that took me in and cared for me. And that shouldnt have been so. I should have made the right decisions and not blame them for all of my bad ones. Second off I would like to apologize for lying to everybody about my enrollment in the GED course. I was never enrolled into one. I only told all of you that and my parents that so that they would not think I would be a failure. But I would just like to aplogize for everything ive done. I am trying to turn my life around and my heart towards God again. So if you could please give me another chance and find it in your heart to forgive me I would really like to appreciate it.

h1

An Engaging Christmas

January 2, 2007

Well, I promised you Christmas news, and this year there’s plenty. I’ll start with the big ones.

We had two engagements in the family announced at Christmastime.

My brother Paul John surprised his now-fiancée Crystal Hughes, who expected a digital camera, with an engagement ring. When they phoned us on Christmas day, I explained that a digital camera would at least have been useful, but Crystal seems very happy with the deal, and we all share in her excitement, although it would seem to be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.


A rare photo of Hell on the day my brother became engaged.

When my sister Joyce arrived to visit us this Christmas, we learned that my Mom had become engaged to long-time neighbor and friend George Fortini. Mom turned 80 in September. Let me explain a bit.

First of all, we called Mom and chided her: “What?! You didn’t tell the whole family yet? The next time you get engaged you’d better call all of us!” Mom explained that she was working on it, but she didn’t want to eclipse Paul and Crystal’s news. (Mom was one of the few people who knew about that before Christmas.)

Dad went home to be with the Lord at Christmastime three years ago, after almost 60 years of marriage to my Mom. The same week, Ellen, the wife of their close friend and next-door-neighbor, George passed away. (Oft have we teased Mom about that “coincidence” in timing.)

George and Mom started hanging out together more and more. Mom was very concerned about what the rest of us thought about that, despite our constant assurances that we were very happy for them both. I did tease her, “You know, Mom, you can’t marry him because he’s not a believer.” I also gave Mom a lecture on the dangers of dating in a Postmodernist society. Behavioral standards have changed a bit since 1945, the last time Mom was “on the market.” She assured me I had nothing to worry about.

Not long after that, George trusted Christ as Savior. Mom, perhaps underestimating the power of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, declared, “George is saved, but he will never abandon his Catholicism.” A few weeks later George was regularly attending services at Heritage Baptist Church with my Mom.

On the Thursday before Christmas, George proposed marriage to my Mom, and she accepted. She was so giddy (I wish you could have heard the excitement in her voice), that she forgot about a weekly appointment for one of the “old ladies” for whom Mom drives.


Yes, my Mom is indeed of sound mind.

Mom and George have not yet set a wedding date, as they are working out legal and “estate” details. Maybe they’ll do a double wedding, although Paul John has been talking about a Hillbilly wedding ceremony …