Archive for June 2010

Smiles, Everyone… Smiles!   2 comments

Day Nineteen: Something That Made You Smile Today

I woke up this morning, and remembered yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that… all the way back to a particular day in 2002.  I love my wife.  She’s too damn good for me.

Posted June 21, 2010 by padraic2112 in memes

There Can Be Only One!   2 comments

Day Eighteen: Favorite Board Game

This is a tough question.  I *love* games (more on family game dynamic over at Meg’s post).  Saying “pick your favorite board game” is way too general.

Favorite two person game?  Backgammon.  Both strategic and tactical, with a large luck impact, but the game goes so fast you can play a dozen times in short order.  Long games with a large luck factor (e.g., Monopoly)… annoying.  Short games with a large luck factor, fun!  Play again!  I’ll beat you 8 of 12!

Favorite three player game?  Pinochle (not technically a board game, obviously).  Carcassone might be a good contender, I haven’t played it as a three-player game enough to know for sure.  Cribbage is fun with three players, as well… most good three player games are card games.

Favorite four player game?  Acquire.  Doesn’t matter how much time you have to play games, you can always sneak in a game or two of Acquire.

Favorite five player game?  Settlers of Catan is great fun, but if you have more than 5 players, it starts to run too long and then the luck/strategy balance gets out of whack.  Rail Baron is good with five players, it’s too weak with four and too lucky with six.

Favorite six player game?  Illuminati or Diplomacy.  Illuminati is outrageous fun, as is Diplomacy, but they’re both the sort of games that encourage the most ruthless possible zero-sum game behavior.  In other words, don’t play it with people who aren’t very good friends, or fisticuffs might break out.  Actually, fisticuffs might break out anyway.  They’re that sort of game.  There is no “good sportsmanship” in either, you must break alliances and trust and gut your opponent as mercilessly as Ming if you want to win.

Favorite seven player game?  Pictured above, Civilization (Advanced Civilization is actually better, but I played Civilization first).  Very strategic, but the main way to win is to haggle your butt off in the resource trading, and there’s lots of interesting dynamics involved there.  Very close runner up is Arkham Horror, which is a cooperative game and requires good team play to win, very much the antithesis of Illuminati and Diplomacy.

Posted June 20, 2010 by padraic2112 in games, memes

We’ll Need A Recent Picture…   1 comment

Day Seventeen: A Childhood picture

From 1973.

Posted June 20, 2010 by padraic2112 in memes

Mobile Device Apps for Emergencies – iResus   Leave a comment

Original source: The Mirror

Found via EMS Village.

An iPhone application which could save the lives of hundreds of heart attack victims a year has been invented by a British medic.

The free iResus app gives on-screen, step-by-step guidance to resuscitation in emergencies.  It has already been downloaded 5,000 times despite having only been available for three weeks.

Developed by Dr Daniel Low, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, the app asks users a series of questions about the victim and provides instructions on giving the kiss of life.

It even tells how many chest compressions to perform and uses a metronome to ensure their timing is correct.

Dr Low, who has worked alongside air ambulance helicopter pilots using instruction cards to guide them through emergencies, realised a similar system could also help medics and the general public when faced with a cardiac arrest.

He said yesterday: “Even though doctors and nurses are trained to deal with someone having a cardiac arrest, it’s not a situation they face every day. I thought both medics and patients would benefit from an application such as this.”

Dr Low developed the app with an expert in computer software design and has produced two versions – one for medics and one for untrained members of the public.

Posted June 18, 2010 by padraic2112 in crisis-response, tech

Hey, What’s That You Got On Your Face?   1 comment

Day Sixteen: Future Tattoos

I have yet to find it necessary to embed either artwork or a pithy phrase in my epidermis.  I don’t object to it on any grounds, I just haven’t been touched by the idea that a particular something belongs permanently etched on my flesh, and I’m not the sort of dude who is going to get a tattoo for the hell of it.

I’ll go darkly dystopian for a minute and predict a bar code and a number.  It’s just as likely as anything else.

Posted June 17, 2010 by padraic2112 in memes, noise

Can You Beat 21 Seconds?   Leave a comment

Is this really the fastest possible game of Monopoly?  I’m nerdy, but I don’t care enough about Monopoly (which, after all, is a pretty naive set of game mechanics) to find out for sure…

Posted June 16, 2010 by padraic2112 in games, noise

These Things I Assume To Be True   3 comments

Household work is not the sole responsibility of either the male or female partner in a relationship.  Any gender linkage to job roles should be cosmetic, not causal.

More generally, it’s not the sole responsibility of either partner in a relationship.  Sorry for the assumed bias in the previous statement.  Down with 8!

If someone is a stay-at home person, household work (including child care, if relevant) will be a major part of your time contribution to your relationship’s underlying logistics.

It is commonly the case that people assume the previous statement, but not the ones immediately prior.

There exist gender-linked preferences to certain types of housework.

The jury is still out on the correlation vs. causation aspect of the previous statement, however, it is staggeringly likely IMO that the relationship is one of nurture, not nature, with the obvious exception of breastfeeding.

In other words, two X chromosomes don’t automatically prejudice you to dislike taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn.  An X and a Y chromosome don’t automatically prejudice you to being bad at doing laundry or the dishes.  However, the fact that the male adult saw the previous generation’s male adult mow the lawn while the female adult did the dishes may factor into the current generational male getting some level of satisfaction out of mowing the lawn that he doesn’t get out of doing the dishes.  This is because people (self included) are generally creatures of habit, or they’re stupid, and in either case they’re riddled with biases and self-examination is an ongoing job, no matter how hard you work at it… and really, who’s going to be thinking about self-examination when it’s time to mow the lawn?

If you avoid some household chore out of some belief that you are bad at it or don’t like it, pretend for a few minutes that you’re not a 5 year old and try it with an open mind.  Eat your vegetables, you might like them.  If you still don’t like it, tough.

Men ought to change diapers, when they’re full of crap.

Men ought to clean a toilet, if it hasn’t been cleaned recently.

Men ought to vacuum the house roughly half the time, if both adults work.

Oh, and women, by the way, ought to take out the garbage, if it’s full.  Really.  You get a pass if it’s the only chore your dumb husband will do, of course.

Women ought to mow the lawn, if it needs to be cut.  Ditto previous qualifier.

Unless, of course, you’ve decided to divvy up those chores ahead of time.  Even then, you should be careful the distribution is fair, given your other responsibilities.

Generally, if you’re both working… dividing up the household logistics, from who pays the bills, arranges for service for the cars, does the routine chores, deals with the children’s education and social demands, and so on, is a joint duty.  You’re going to have to work hard at this guys, since you probably don’t see all of these duties going on unless you really pay attention to them.

Corporations need to stop making advertisements that suggest that men, as a class, are incapable of any of the above, or that women, as a class, have some magical inborn competency, or vice-versa.  You’re part of the problem.  You’re also deeply, gravely insulting.  My wife can use a monkey wrench and isn’t afraid of a spray bottle full of Roundup.  I can mop a freaking floor.  I don’t even use a mop, I do it the old fashioned way, hands and knees and scrub until it’s actually really clean.  All you commercial women with perfect teeth and faux dirty floors that you turn sparkly with one sweep of a mop, I’d kick your ass in a “clean the floor” competition.  Twice on Sunday.

Yes, I realize you need to advertise to your market to get the biggest return on your dollar.  I also realize that in a practical sense, many of these gender-linked chores mean that your target market for your cleaning supplies is going to also be gender-linked, suggesting you should market the way you do.  Stop anyway.  You can do it.

Seriously, cut it out.  Feel free to trumpet your own horn while you do it.

There are men who are like me.  My wife will attest that I do at least a halfway decent job of helping out around the house; while we currently live in a state that we both regard as little better than squalor, we’re both willing to admit it’s a time-limited problem, not a gender-based one.

I delude myself into thinking that my wife spends more time on the school-related functions because she works part time and thus knows the kids’ teachers better than I do.  The truth probably is more along the lines that she does it (at least partially) because she’s facing a lot of societal pressure to be a perfect mother in addition to the previous factor.  Acknowledging that this is at least possibly the case is something that we all need to do.

I freely admit that I have a difficulty with this whole gender-bias thing, and I’ll claim that I actually actively try to deal with it.  My father was a stay-at-home dad for periods of time that exceeded the periods when my mother was a stay-at-home mother.  Dad cooked, Mom baked.  Dad cleaned the house.  Dad did watch sports on Sundays, but both parents were disciplinarians when they needed to be.  I don’t come from the same world from which most of my peers do.  I don’t even recognize some of the pressures that people talk about having to deal with in their lives.

Hell, if I was a Stay-at-Home Dad and somebody started giving me a ribbing because my wife brought home the bacon, I’d probably look at them like they grew a second head.  I certainly wouldn’t be feeling any sort of shame, in the slightest (except maybe a little sympathetic shame for the moron with two heads).  It sometimes requires me to stop and think about people who do have to deal with this sort of situation simply because it does bother them.  My family and upbringing isn’t like theirs, I have no right to wave my hands and say, “Well, gee, just get over it.”  Yes, they probably should get over it, just like everybody should get over external validation as a mechanism by which they judge their worth.  That’s a human problem, I’m not thinking it’s going away anytime soon.

I have friends who have reversed “traditional” roles, I ought to ask them how they feel about these situations, as they certainly have occurred.

Thus, there’s undoubtedly plenty of occasions when my wife does do stuff because of socially-imposed gender roles, or I wind up doing them without noticing it, and since I’m preconditioned not to see those influences, I might miss ’em.  Yes, we all need to be alert to this sort of thing.

And we probably ought to be careful to preface commentary about gender roles with a nice, solid statement about the way we think things ought to be, before we start talking about how people might cope with things the way they are.  Leastwise, unless we want to come across like some boneheaded advertiser, assuming that the context that is is also the context that should be.

Post sponsored by solidarity with some of the feelings expressed at the above-linked blogs, plus this one.  For the most part, commentary worth reading.

(edited to add) – so tempted to remove a link in that last paragraph (“plus this one”).  The blog owner locked the comment thread and ate a bunch of my time when the lock burned my last comment.

Very irritated at the moment.

Posted June 16, 2010 by padraic2112 in parenting