Blog-o! Notes from

Tue, 30 Sep 2008
iTouch coolness…

What more could I say?


Yeah, it’s my Windows box, displaying my iTouch’s screen, over VNC.

Pure coolness.

(Oh, and the song it’s playing is Fancy Footwork by Chromeo.)

[Posted at 17:03 by Blake Winton] link
Wed, 24 Sep 2008
iPhone games…

A co-worker recently got a new iPhone, and I since he didn’t have many apps on it yet, I thought I’ld send him a list of the stuff I had bought/downloaded and enjoyed. So, without any further ado, here are a few of my favourites, all available on the AppStore.1

Toy Bot Diaries. (The link is to the free version, but I bought the full version.)

Galcon. (The link is to the free version, but I bought the full version.)

Line Rider. ($2.99, but c’mon, it’s Line Rider. How can you not get it? ;)

Twitterrific. (Free, but only useful if you’re on Twitter. Which I am. As bwinton.)

TimmyMe. (Free, finds the closest Tim Hortons to you.)

Tap Tap Revenge. (Free, like Dance Dance Revolution, but for your fingers. I actually don’t play this much, but it’s free.)
Ba dum dum dum!

PapiJump. (Free. By the guy who made the world’s most addictive Palm game, SFCave.)

Labyrinth. (The link is to the free version. I didn’t buy the full version of this.)
Easy now!

Cube Runner. (Free. I got this after watching someone play it on the subway.)

Enigmo. ($4.99, but really impressive. Really, really impressive.)

That’s about it…

  1. As opposed to Jailbreak apps, which I’ve got a few of. They tend to be more productivity/programming apps, which I didn’t think he’ld be interested in.  

[Posted at 13:58 by Blake Winton] link
Thu, 18 Sep 2008
Home alone

As Amy mentioned in the previous post, her father passed away. So she’s gone out to Saskatchewan to spend some time with her mother. This means that for the next seven days, I get to stay home and take care of the kids, making sure that they have food to eat, clothes to wear, and get to wherever they’re going when they need to be there.

The first day went pretty well, the only casualty being a slightly-charred side of a grilled bacon-tomato-cheese sandwich. And today has been going pretty well too, with a load of laundry washed and hung, the dishwasher currently running, and tonight’s meal (beef stew in the crock pot) already cooking.

A large part of why it’s all running so smoothly is my parents. They have totally stepped up, helping me by taking Delphine and Cordelia places, or just looking after them while I do the stuff that needs to be done around the house.

Delphine has been a huge help too. This morning, while I was in the shower, she got dressed, came downstairs, got out three bowls and three small spoons, some cereal, and the milk from the fridge. She then poured cereal for herself and Cordelia, and the two of them were done breakfast before I was dressed. I know she’s five and all, but sometimes she’s so grown up it astonishes me.

Anyways, they’re currently out on an adventure with Zaida, so I’ld better get to folding the laundry, because it ain’t gonna fold itself.

[Posted at 10:12 by Blake Winton] link
Tue, 16 Sep 2008
Dead Dads Club

My dad died today at 4:15 am Saskatchewan time, which is 6:15 am EST. So fifteen minutes before I woke up this morning my dad was quietly dying two provinces away.

My mom called at 6:37 am to tell me. I was only half-awake, and so my first thought was "How did they know it was 4:15?" My dad wasn't on any kind of life support, so barring the unlikely event that someone was in the room with him and noticed him go, 4:15 is surely just a best guess. Which is fine, really, but my early morning pedant wanted that to be clear. 4:15? Really? Or 'around 4:15'? Which is, I'm sure, exactly what my mother needed!

Actually apparently what she thought I meant was "How did they know he is dead?" which is a valid question because lately the difference between my dad dead and my dad alive has been a subtle one. When we all went to see him in August he was largely unresponsive, and in an unguarded moment (I have a lot of them) I described him to the girls as Mostly Dead. Which he was.

So now he's Completely Dead, and it's a bit weird how that's so very different that him being only Mostly Dead at, say, 3:15 this morning, while also being so much the same. My brother and I and probably my Mum are having trouble with this state change, this passing from being Mostly Mourning to Completely Mourning.

Right now the girls are with their Baba and I suppose I should be doing grown-up things like getting a flight home, but really I just feel like baking a giant batch of cookies and sitting down with a magazine and some tea.

One last whine — our terabyte drive crashed so we don't have any music, and I don't have a single Requiem on my ipod. Not Mozart, not Faure, not even the fairly alarming Brahms we started practicing yesterday. So I'm stuck listening to some random mass, which is nice but not the same.

[Posted at 09:51 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 09 Sep 2008

Last Tuesday was Delphine's last day of summer vacation. We stuck labels on her new backpack, lunch bag and shoes, and speculated about her new teacher, which of last year's kids would be in this year's class, and whether the JKs would be cute or not. While we were eating lunch I wondered how we had felt on the same day last year, Delphine's last day before Junior Kindergarten. Were we excited, were we nervous? I don't know, and I never will because I never wrote it down.

This year Delphine was a little nervous. She was scared that the teacher wouldn't like her, although that fear was largely soothed by the arrival of a lovely letter from Mrs Thompson to Delphine (in the mail, no less!) saying how excited she was to meet Delphine and what fun they would have in kindergarten, learning letters and numbers. Delphine was a bit offended by that last bit — "I already know letters and numbers!" — but I said Mrs T probably sent the same letter to the SKs and JKs, who might not know their letters and numbers yet.

I, too, was a little nervous, probably more so than last year because this year I know what is coming — a lot of getting people places on time and not much time in between to take stock. But only a little nervous, because this year I do know what's coming, and I have a plan, and perhaps most importantly I have accepted that taking people places is my main job during the school year (well, along with feeding and clothing them), and anything else I can get done apart from that is pretty much bonus. So rather than regarding the commuting as an inconvenient interruption to my life, I now just go along with it. Think of all the exercise!

Delphine's first day of school was last Wednesday. She's still in afternoons, and she's in the same classroom as last year, and as it turns out, all the Seniors were in her class last year. The first day of school was only Seniors, so she got to renew some old friendships and get to know her new teacher. Delphine loves Mrs Thompson! Mrs Thompson smiles a lot, and on the first day she wore a pink dress — I don't know if that was calculated to win the favour of a roomful of five-year-old girls (the Seniors are six girls and two boys) but if it was, it worked. Delphine says Mrs Thompson does everything in the wrong order (which is to say, not the way Mrs Hollister did it) but she seems willing to indulge her errors. Mrs Thompson taught her a new song! In fact, yesterday Mrs Thompson taught her the Macarena! And they say public schooling is inferior!

Delphine has now had four days of SK. She wasn't impressed by the JKs on day two — they were noisy and talked too much — but yesterday she kind of made friends with one of them. She had gym on Thursday (her teacher's name is Mr Laundry! Actually it's Mr Landry, but 'Mr Laundry' cracks her up) and Library on Friday, and everything seems to be going fabulously.

Since Delphine learned to read over the summer, and SK/Grade 1 is supposed to be when you learn to read, I'm going to talk to Mrs Thompson about what, if any, other goals Delphine should work towards over the school year, and what kinds of enrichment she can offer her. She's beyond the basic "k-k-k-kite" Jolly Phonics stuff this year, so I hope we can manage not to bore her out of her tree. Especially considering there are only eight SKs. But I'm borrowing trouble, I'm sure we'll work something out. Now it's time to make lunch and haul everyone off to school, at least once I manage to get some clothes on Cordelia.

[Posted at 14:59 by Amy Brown] link