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Holy crap, I’m so busy and so tired.  I have a long list of things to blog about, a few of them quite interesting, so I hope you’ll stick with me until I have more than a moment to spend writing.  In the meantime, here’s Samantha’s idea of how to apply makeup.  She wore it all day.



Link Fest

More lazy blogging in the form of links:

The Objectivist Round Up lives at Titanic Deck Chairs this week.

Adam has posted 5 more installments in his Sewing Machine thread on Volokh.  The entire series can be found here.

Live Kitten Cam.  It’s amazing how much time I can spend watching cats on my screen while my real live cat is playing in the room right next to me. (HT: BAW)

Check out these dolphins blowing bubble rings and playing with them.  Apparently, they’ve taught each other the behavior.  It’s pretty neat how they can make the bubble rings in the first place, but the way they swish them around and pop them is so cute.  It really seems like they do it purely to amuse themselves. (Via List of the Day.)

The Only One

It’s nice to have a unique name:
Logo There are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

(HT: Rational Jenn)

It’s actually quite convenient that I married a man with a rare name since I don’t have a middle name to distinguish me.  My parents thought it unnecessary, given that my maiden name is Afflerbach.  That fact accounts for my short first name as well, which I appreciated very much growing up, having to write Afflerbach over and over.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Adam doesn’t have a middle name either, but we did give Samantha a middle name, Miriam, after Adam’s mom who died about 13 years ago.  I’m not a fan of naming children after relatives, but this was a special case.

Speaking of names, it looks like Samantha might become a Sammy.  She calls herself Sammy most of the time, even though Adam and I use it rarely.  Now that she started it, though, we’ve been using Sammy more often.   Whatever you call her, she is unique.

Since I’m reading the bible right now, this quiz was extra fun:

Your morality is 8% in line with that of the bible.


Damn you heathen! Your book learnin’ has done warped your mind. You shall not be invited next time I sacrifice a goat.

Do You Have Biblical Morals?
Take More Quizzes


Like Greg Perkins at NoodleFood, I answered the question about how to curry favor with god according to my knowledge of the bible, not according to what is right, since there is no “right” way to treat a figment of one’s imagination.

Bippity Boppity Bacon

Bacon has been making the rounds on the blogosphere lately.  Thanks, P., for finding this long-lost favorite for me, from comedian Jim Gaffigan:

Me, playing solitaire on my Palm Pilot:  No, Samantha, you can’t play with it because this is mommy’s toy.  You have your toys and I have mine.


Me: Yes, Toby has his own toys.


Me:  Yes, Jinx has his own toys too.  What about daddy?  Does daddy have a toy?


[pause as her eyes rove around the room, wheels obviously spinning]

Sam, with a shy smile:  WORK!


Over a week ago I mentioned that a post about selfish parenting was imminent.  I know you’ve all been holding your breath ever since, but you’ll have to wait a while longer, as I’m too sick for anything very demanding right now.   In the meantime, this video cracks me up:

No Respect

Here’s a video example of what not to do to your child (and I don’t mean the blood). I’m guilty of doing it myself occasionally because sometimes these kids are just too cute/funny.  I’ve got to work on that.  NOT FUNNY.  (But sort of funny.)  Where do those Buckingham Palace guards get their training, anyway?

dooce Update

I’m ignoring my child right now, reading dooce archives again.  I’m up to Leta’s 27th month, so I’m only a few months behind.  Here are a few highlights:

dooce encounters The Patriot Act.

Chuck gets ice cream.

Leta turns 26 months old and dooce makes me cry again.

dooce brings music back in to her life, and writes about it more eloquently than I do.


It finally happened!  Somebody found my blog by searching for “how to clean moss off of a sidewalk.”


This was the Christmas of Bananagrams and Finding the Ghost.

Bananagrams is Scrabble on speed.  You use the same kind of tile letters as in Scrabble, but you don’t use a board and you don’t keep score.  You start with about 15-20 tiles (depending on how many players) and just start building words in a crossword pattern.  There are no points for using uncommon letters – it’s all about using them up.  When a player uses up his initial set of tiles, he shouts “PEEL” and then everyone, including the peeler, picks up one more tile and tries to finish again.  There are 144 tiles so the peeling is a big part of the game.  When you build a good base, you can add single letters to your board as quickly as you can pick them up, so the peeling can be a real thrill.  When there are no more tiles to peel, the next player to use up his letters wins.  You can also play Banana Smoothie where you simply divide up all the letters at the start and try to be the first one to use them up.

I think the best thing about Bananagrams is that everybody plays at once, unlike Scrabble, where you spend a lot of the time just waiting your turn.  The game can be serious or raucous depending on your mood, the concept and the rules are simple, it’s super-portable (just a bag with tiles in it), and you can play with only 2 people if you want to.  Just like Scrabble, you get the pleasure of using your mind - concentrating, being creative, and drawing upon a huge storehouse of knowledge.  And the feedback is immediate – win or lose – but completely inconsequential to your success in life. 

Thanks to Adam’s sis (is that a word? I need a Scrabble dictionary) for introducing us to this fabulous game!  The adults played it endlessly the whole week. 

Samantha and her second-cousin (cousin-once-removed?) had their own game: Find the Ghost.  It was nothing more than hide and seek – another game that has a simple concept.  Adam’s dad had joked about their new house having ghosts, so when the ten-year-old cousin gave me a wink and then snuck upstairs, I told Sam to go find the ghost.  That girl is a master hider!  The girls had so much fun with this game that the first thing Sam said the next morning was FIND GHOST FIND GHOST, as if she had been dreaming about it all night. 

Games are fun.

Chain Blogging

Ok, so BAW didn’t really tag me, but I don’t have friends either and I can’t resist a game where I get to write about my favorite subject: me!  Also, I’m desperate for easy ways to promote my blog.

Here are the rules:

Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on your blog.
Write 6 random things about yourself.
Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1.  One of my biggest hopes is that before I die, I will be able to slip the surly bonds of earth, to touch the face of my own god.  I want to see the Earth from space.  Thank you, Carl Sagan, for helping me hone my reverence for the mind of man. 

2.  I can’t see out of my right eye.  Actually, I can see a little bit, but that eye is legally blind.  I have a birth defect in my optic nerve and most of what I see is dark and there is a huge gap in the visual field.  With my good eye closed I can walk around without running into walls, and I can even tell you how many fingers you are holding up, but I can’t read.  I couldn’t even read the big E on the eye chart if I didn’t know what it was.  I was curious about this because that big E is bigger than fingers held up a couple of feet away, and it only has four elements while a handful of fingers has five.  Why can’t I tell that it is an E?  I decided to practice reading with my bad eye.  I used a word processing program to make a column of random letters, one letter per screen.  At first I could not identify any of them, but after a bit of practice I started getting some right.  After about a half hour I could get any letter or number, so I reduced the font size.  I spent another half hour working on it and eventually hit a wall with how small I could go.  I also was unable to identify any letters when they were in a horizontal row.  They had to have enough space around them or it just looked like random lines on the screen.  When I had had enough I opened my good eye again and I’ll tell you, I had the worst headache ever.   Obviously, I was exercising my brain, not my eye.  My mind had to learn how to connect the sense data from the eye to something it could recognize as a percept.  Since I had never used my right eye to do this before, it had to be learned, just like a baby learns (automatically).  There may be some truth to the idea that humans who are deprived of sense data early in life are never able to learn to process certain data later, but I proved to myself that there are some neural pathways that can be forged as an adult.  It was a fascinating experiment but that headache was so bad I never tried it again.  I get along just fine with one eye.

3.  I’m a Valley Girl.  Like ohmigod, fer sher, I’m really from The Valley, ya’ know.

4.  I dropped out of college my first time around.

5.  I named my first cat Geddy, after Geddy Lee of Rush.

6.  One of my biggest regrets is that I never made good on my dad’s offer of $1,000 if I could learn how to play Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto.  I still hope to play it someday.

Woohoo!  That was fun!  I also had a lot of fun reading back through the chain.  I loved the one about the physics major who was convinced that time travel would not be invented in his lifetime because otherwise his future self would have come back to tell his present self.  Ha!

I hope these folks join in:

Rational Jenn
Diana Hsieh

Doing His Job

I love my dog.  I take him for walks and he obeys.  He plays with the cat.  He is waiting for me in the car when I come out of the store.  He sleeps under the bed and farts and groans and makes me laugh.  But now that we have a toddler, he’s actually earning his keep.

First of all, he’s a vacuum cleaner.  I’m not sure what people do about all the food under the high chair if they don’t have a dog.  I mean, you’re not going to clean up under there 5 times a day, are you?  I wouldn’t.  But Toby does.  This skill alone pays for all of his pills and shots and vet visits.

Toby prompted Sam’s first giggle when she was just a couple of months old.  Adam came home and chased him around the house like he always does.  Sam must have heard me laughing at this dozens of times, and one day, she joined in.  This pays for the hell he put me through as a puppy.

Samantha is old enough to play fetch with him now, too.  For some reason, this Labrador Retriever will not fetch for Adam or me, but he will for Sam.  If we throw something he might bring it back once or twice but then he’s done.  For Sam, he’ll fetch as long as she’s interested.  Maybe it’s because she can only throw the ball a few feet and he figures it’s worth the trip.  Maybe he enjoys the way I clap and say, “yea!” in my cutsie voice when Sam is involved.  Or maybe he finds her as adorable as I do when, after throwing the ball, she turns around and runs the other way, squealing with delight.

TobyWhatever the reason, it’s our favorite game right now.  I get to lie on the couch and just watch them play.  Toby usually brings the ball back to me, not to Sam, so I tell him, “drop it,” and then hand it to her for the next throw.  I’m trying to teach her to give him the “drop it” command, but she can’t get the syllables straight.  She is, however, getting the hang of giving him other commands.  She can tell him to fetch, which she says very clearly.  She also delights in telling him he is a “bad boy.”  But the best one is when she tells him to sit, which she pronounces, “shit.”

Yep, that dog is in the black now.

Two of a Kind

Today is Sam’s third birthday, if you count the day she was born.  She turned two years old at 11:37am this morning.  We’re all still recovering from the three day party we had over the weekend with grandma and grandpa Mossoff, so I’ll just post this old video today.


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