Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Milestone

Comparison shopping is very hard for Patrick.

I suspect it's some combination of I'm-a-21-year-old-guy impulsiveness and the fact that comparison shopping requires a few higher-level thinking processes, not the least of which are (1) delaying gratification (not buying something cool the moment you see it), and (2) understanding that some nebulous something you might see later might be cooler than this REALLY COOL THING you see right here and now.

We worked really hard on the idea at Disney World this past winter (see, there I go again, making a trip into a CBI (community based instruction) experience ;-)).  Patrick's plan is always to get one shirt at each theme park, and in the past, this has meant grabbing the first cool shirt he sees and running with it.

This year, we (mostly jointly) decided to look in all the shops first, and go back and buy whichever shirt was best.  Patrick was skeptical at first, until I talked him out of buying some generic shirt at Mouse Gears in EPCOT -- and then he promptly found a really cool (to him) shirt at the Mexico Pavilion.  I pointed out (and emphasized heavily) that he would never have found that shirt had he bought the first one.

This time he got it.  He carefully perused every shop in every other park -- with the exception of Animal Kingdom, which is a hilly, bumpy, difficult place to walk around if you don't see too well, and which had utterly exhausted him -- and ended up finding some really nice shirt, including his bombest shirt.

Meanwhile, Patrick had been hired by my mom to help her catch up on the shredding at her office.  Patrick has been slaving over a shredder for months, with the ultimate goal of earning enough money to buy a video camera so he can take ride videos at Disneyland and Disney World.  He is nearly done (half a box more) but was a little crestfallen that he wouldn't finish in time to buy the camera for his birthday.

Today, with the intention (though she didn't tell him that) of taking pity on him and advancing him the money for the camera, we all traipsed to Fry's and Best Buy to look at cameras.  He found one at Fry's that he really liked, then willingly -- and without any prompts -- walked away to browse the DVDs, planning to go to Best Buy next.

Without any prompts.

Even though he'd found one he liked a lot.

So we went to Best Buy, and lo and behold, he found one he liked even better.  It was available in bright red, and had night vision -- a plus for dark rides.

He perused them, and walked over to browse the DVDs.

(That's kinda a Routine.)

Anyhow, at dinner (mmmm...Bear Pit), my mom asked him which camera he'd liked the best.

(We'd told him he was getting a surprise after dinner, but hadn't told him what it was.  In a testament to his growing maturity and responsibility, he never once -- not until after we'd parked at Best Buy -- thought that his surprise might be his camera.)

He said the one at Best Buy, then went back to writing in his notebook.

So, we parked at Best Buy, and Patrick frowned.  "We're at Best Buy?" he said.  "My surprise is at Best Buy?"

Then it hit him.

"My surprise is my camera?!"

It turned out they were out of the red ones, but he was happy with his glossy black.

A whole day of comparison shopping.  Go Patrick!

Monday, March 09, 2009


A while back, I posted a Shakespeare quote that had appreared -- I was certain -- on Star Trek at some point, though I was not at all sure where. Googling the quote hadn't helped.

So, tonight, while I was waiting for my update (please have bug-fixes!) for Communicate:SymWriter to download, I tried something more generic: I googled "Star Trek Shakespeare" in one tab and the quote "I shall not look upon his like again" in another. The former didn't help much, although it did link me to a general page reminding me of other Shakespeare quotes in Trek.

But armed with my new knowledge -- namely, that the quote itself was from Hamlet -- I googled "Star Trek Hamlet" and...eureka!
In 2366, when Data was abducted by Kivas Fajo and presumed dead, Geordi La Forge returned Data's volume of the complete Shakespeare to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. He read two lines from Hamlet Act I, Scene II to himself:

"He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again." (TNG: "The Most Toys")
Ironically, after my initial googling a while back, I was fairly certain that the quote had come from "The Most Toys" -- which, along with the episode in which the bad guy takes over Deanna and makes her age precipitously, is the only TNG episode I've only ever watched once -- or "Time's Arrow" (a.k.a. the "Data's Head" episode, in which the writers take the mind-numbing "predestination paradox" to new heights, where Data found his head under San Francisco and travelled back in time to investigate how his head was buried in San Francisco, only to lose his head in San Francisco, resulting in him finding his head in the future and...yeah.).

Meanwhile, having more or less struck out on Amazon, I've been searching Google Images for pictures from Nepal, in order to write a short adapted book about it. (One of our staff members this year, Long Term Sub Aide R, is from Nepal, and the kids are dreadfully curious about the place.)

Also, I may be getting Student #12, although I haven't heard back from Program Specialist PM after the parent visit, so it's still up in the air. Turns out Teacher M used to sit in on the student's IEPs as a special educator, because the student was homeschooled. He's sixth grade age, but considered a fifth grader, which would bring me up to six fifth graders, four sixth graders, and two lonely fourth graders.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Back at Christmas, I was the happy recipient of a "nifty 50" -- a Canon 50 mm prime lens that costs around $100.  It's mostly plastic and -- as with all of photography -- not the best 50 mm prime lens you can buy.

However, it's a 50 mm f 1.8 lens, so I happily brought it along to ride the new it's a small world and to take some pictures.

I got a couple of good shots, but my favorite of the night is this one, from the also newly-refurbished Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through.

This one was taken with my trusty kit lens from way back when I bought the camera, but I'd paused there to wait for my mom to buy a coffee, and I never take photos from this angle or vantage point.

A couple of small world shots.  I like Woody the best, but to be fair, I tried to get away with an ISO of 400 in an effort to reduce noise.  I got a surprising number of usable shots, but I think next time I'll go for 800 and see what I can do with that.  There's always 1600 if I must.

Meanwhile, still slowly going through San Diego pictures from...ahem...the day after Thanksgiving.  Lots of neat Balboa Park architectural pictures, with some Seaport Village thrown in.

Seaport Village:

Balboa Park:
And that's all she wrote, for now.