March 2008 Archives

homeschooling lane


While we were on our vacation, we made a decision to start homeschooling Lane. Gerald and I felt that the school he was in had become a toxic environment for him, slowly killing off his self-confidence and love of learning.

Today I read a horrifying NY Times article about a young man being bullied in an Arkansas school district, and I couldn't help but wonder why these parents continue to send their child to that school. To make a point? At what cost?

To homeschool a young child requires privilege--enough money and resources to be able to serve as both parent and teacher, enough patience and social support to be able to manage your kids 24 hours a day without public school teachers to take them off your hands for 8 hours a day.

But to homeschool a teenager requires far less of that privilege. I hope that Billy Wolfe's parents can find a better solution for their son than sending back into that horrific environment day after day.

firing on all cylinders

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This quarter there's a lot going on for me...I'm teaching yet another new class (not just new to me, but completely new, meaning I have to create it from scratch), we're about to roll out a brand new website for my lab as well as bring Julian Dibbell in as a speaker, I'm helping to recreate our departmental advisory board and run the spring meeting for it, Lane's being homeschooled as of last week, Weez and I are finally getting back to the gym on a regular basis, and the new dog requires an inordinate amount of attention and energy.

But rather than feeling overwhelmed, at the moment I'm feeling quite happy. Almost everything is going reasonably well, and I feel as though I'm functioning at a better and more engaged level than I have in a long time.

Some of it is that I've managed to find a solid cohort of talented and energetic colleagues--both in the game design & development program and in my lab--whose enthusiasm and competence help to motivate me. Some of it is that the days are getting longer, which always lifts my spirits and energy level. Some of it is probably because I took a real, honest-to-goodness vacation over spring break. But whatever the magical mix is, I'm happy to have it.

The downside of having so much engaging and motivating me is that I'm completely and totally exhausted. Mentally and physically. What with getting up with the dog before 7am on a regular basis and taking her for walks, lifting weights and doing cardio with Weez at the gym, and putting a significant amount of energy and thought into classes, the lab, and Lane's homeschooling...well, I'm definitely feeling like tomorrow needs to be a rest and recuperation day.

julian dibbell @ rit on april 2nd

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This is an early heads up to my Rochester-area readers that Julian Dibbell will be speaking on campus on April 2nd, at 7:30pm. I'll be posting more information soon, but this lets you get it on your calendars :)

in search of a story


Many years ago, when I was an insatiable consumer of science fiction, I read a short story in which a human being was temporarily given the ability to experience a performance given by aliens--but the caveat was that the ability was temporary, and could never again be experienced. I believe it was an Isaac Asimov story, but I'm not 100% sure.

Does this ring a bell with anyone? I was discussing my memory of the story with Lane the other day, and he'd really like to read it. Unfortunately, I've had no luck finding it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Ten minutes after I posted this, I found the story. It's called The Secret Sense.

best family vacation ever

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I now understand why so many people are cruise addicts. We had an absolutely wonderful time on our cruise, and I can hardly wait until we can afford to take another.

I put a full trip report up on the Cruise Critic website, but short version is that Norwegian Cruise Line's "freestyle cruising," which allows you to eat whenever you'd like, was absolutely perfect for our family. The kids had a degree of freedom on the ship that we simply couldn't give them on most land-based vacations, and we not only survived but thrived on a week of no Internet and almost no TV.

Coming back was not particularly fun, since most of the Rochester flights out of JFK were canceled on Saturday due to weather. We managed to get flights on JetBlue's last flight out, which was delayed until 1:30am, and didn't get back to our house until 5am on Sunday morning. Still, even with that, we're all still in excellent post-holiday spirits.

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