Kindergarten Practice

There are roughly twenty-five days of summer left for A-bear. Once they’re gone, he’s going to Kindergarten. This is a big new experience for our little guy, and so I’ve been examining our options. The duel questions — how can encourage him to be excited in anticipation of this new experience (even though it sometimes seems overwhelming and scary) and how can I, in parallel, continue to carve out enough time for me to write, has been riding on either of my shoulders.

Aral_lunch

Practice Lunch

Today we woke up sorta late, but that’s okay because practice Kindergarten didn’t open until 10:00 AM. Our Island Library is librarian-ed by late risers apparently, and that’s not a bad thing because practice Kindergarten should allow for late summer mornings.

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Fire Train

Right now he’s happily working on a rather complicated maze and deeply engrossed in the activity. Unlike the iPad I have to stop what I’m doing from time to time, but the interactions are all part of the process. It’s just going to slow things down for me a tad. The library is an optimal place to do this because the expectation is that he will moderate the volume of his voice. There are rules as well as social expectations here that he doesn’t necessarily encounter elsewhere, and learning to live (if not thrive) within these confines is going to be one of his chief challenges once school begins.

Via a convoluted path, I suppose, this all gets back to empathy. Teaching children the ability to imagine themselves in a situation, one in which they comprehend how other’s think and feel, is a HUGE challenge. It’s also a skill that they have to practice to perfect.

In a little bit, we’re going to head out to the adjacent park and eat lunch and play with the other kids. An obvious reward for working so hard this morning. I’m pretty excited to see what we can accomplish together in the time we have before school starts.

Picking out some books to read

Picking out some books to read

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Toxicity

The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm a being varies, but it’s something we can study. Toxic behavior, especially on the male side of our society, is apparently growing like a algae bloom in an over-heated Florida lake. It’s everywhere and it’s perhaps the saddest component of our shared American cultural heritage.

Yesterday, a collection of bigots dog piled Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) after the recent opening of her movie. You can google the trash that was flung in her direction if you really want to, but I don’t recommend it. Here’s one more example of popular culture and technology colliding in a fantastic mess. And that’s how many are describing this instance, which makes me feel an additional level of sickness.

As the world adjusts to the post-Bowie era I believe it may be important for us to describe train wrecks like this with precision, to identify and even persecute those responsible. The public calumny that @Lesdoggg experienced didn’t just happen. Even if it wasn’t organized, or orchestrated, the result was the same.

Sure there’s no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, but that’s no reason it should be condoned. Twitter is a private platform, and even has policies in place to deal with this kind of activity.

  • Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
  • Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
    • if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
    • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
    • if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
    • if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

It is, on the whole, miserably bad at enforcement of its own rules. So, how does anyone find accountability, let alone justice, in this situation?

Legally, quite a bit of what was lobbed is not protected speech. SCOTUS has ruled time and again that “true threats, fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action, criminal solicitation or defamation” are not deserving of First Amendment protections. Twitter should be working with local law enforcement to track these folks down. And before someone starts to mansplain that this is “impossible” let me just point you to The Geography of Hate. Yes, you’re looking at geotagged tweets in the US, add the dimension of phone owner and guess what, you’ll get addresses (IP and physical).

The future of law enforcement is in data analytics.

Second, shame. It’s a powerful motivator that isn’t used effectively in society. Imagine, what if your hate speech cost you your job, your friends, and even your close or intimate relationships. Imagine if your racist uncle Bob was relegated to the back deck every Thanksgiving dinner? Let’s not tolerate this sort of BS even for a second. Learn how to correctly identify and respond toxic behavior.

For my part, I’m sorry to have seen one more woman on Twitter treated like this. It’s sick and sad.

Friday Fun Day

Rosie on the Beach

Rosie on the Beach

I’m having much difficulty digesting the idea that anyone, let alone a majority, would vote for Trump. For anything. But there it is, apparently some of you find something appealing about this two-bit flim-flam man that I just can’t see, and this has bothered me greatly all week long.

The good news is that I have outlets. I’ve written a fair amount. I’ve cleaned. I made some excellent udon. I’ve even finished re-mounting racks to my fat-bike and this morning I got out for an early season shake down ride. That was excellent! I had to turn back because of responsibilities, but man the sensation of knowing that I had everything I’d need to keep on turning the cranks for a long, long time was liberating.

Tonight I may settle down for a cuddle and a marathon session of Fire Fly with my honey. So there’s plenty to love. Plenty to be grateful for.

Birthdays and Milestones

 

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A-Bear and T-Mama like chocolate

 

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of the best woman I’ve ever met. We went out on the town, as a family, and even though we didn’t get to visit SAM (Tess’ original desire) we enjoyed each other’s company and a rare adventure in the city.

Tess, thanks for being there for me, for your son. Thanks for pushing me in the right direction when I needed a shove. Thanks for being my first-best reader. Thanks for being my friend.

Getting Ready

Yesterday morning was spent stripping parts from Rosie and cleaning up the garage. I had to do this in short bursts because the garage isn’t insulated and it gets cold in there. Plus, I’ve been dealing with a secondary sinus infection bequeathed to me after the passing of a cold. The thing is that I’ve been making steady progress on a long-term goal.

Piece together a topo map of the whole Colorado Trail and hang it up on the wall, write a couple of thousand words on DISTANCE; this has been the pattern. Apparently, I need to get things done to write. I describe this to myself as a function of obsession. Clear the board before you start marking it up with mental notes.

Today Justin picks up his new fat-bike. He’s pretty excited, I am too. More time cleaning, more time writing. Soon this will be done.

IOTD

“daily sketch 4240” by nosoart

My friend Jim Hines is at it again. Operation Cover Pose, in which Jim poses uncomfortably like women featured on the covers of science fiction books, intends to raise $10,000 to help end violence against women. The Pixel Project‘s Indigogo page has already met it’s opening goal so now we’re just adding cream.

Now there’s an idea! Jim in whipped cream.

Thanks!

Administrative Announcement

Vashon Island is, apparently, a Key Lime free community. I looked, and looked again, but all I could locate were the big Mexican limes. No Key Limes, no Key Lime Pie. I was a sad panda for about seven and a half minutes. Then I got over it by eating a piece of chocolate.

Speedpaint #43 by Sylar113

A Broadspectrum Thank You

For my forty-third Birthday, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who took a moment to wish my good fortune.  This thank you is social medium agnostic and intended to trickle out into the ether for full saturation.

Now onto the first day of my next year!