Sunday, August 31, 2003

Tonight's the big sleepover, and the living is antsy.

My daughter's having two friends over. Both are qualified as 'her best friend' (despite her grandmother insisting that you can only have one best friend, my daughter says that she has two; my feeling is, have as many as you want, kiddo). One was over last week for a play date which went so badly that at one point my daughter was in the kitchen complaining loudly to her mother about injustices past and current perpetrated by the other girl, while I was in the living room holding the other girl while she cried into my shoulder. The other is the offspring of some well-off people, and so is used to a certain degree of pampering that we're unlikely to meet. She's a decent kid, though.

My daughter has a series of games and events that she wants to do because she saw them in American Girl, and the girls there were clearly having fun, so she is sure she will, too. We've advised her not to take their reluctance to play to her agenda as a personal affront, but that didn't fly with her. She's not a control freak but she does like being in control, which the other kids don't like. She doesn't know how to let that go, and neither do we.

We are holding our breath. My daughter's take is, if tonight doesn't work, she'll never do a sleepover here again.
I'm interested in distance learning.

From what I see in the ads, the elapsed time from thinking about a distance degree to acquisition of the degree is about thirty seconds, which certainly fits in with my schedule. Okay, that's dumb, but the original statement is true. I like the idea of being able to get learning without physically attending a school. Some things can't be taught remotely, I know this, but most can, with varying degrees of effectiveness, so I'm going to look into it. Anything that keeps me from having to go to one of the local colleges, where the staff is an average of one hundred and nine years old, and therefore regards me as just a kid who needs to be strictly controlled and coerced into doing things Their Way, is a good thing.

No courses in being a cowboy, though. Pity.
I haven't been blgging for a while == I know you've noticed == but a couple of events of late impulsed me to do it again, at least for a while.

In one of the Star Trek flicks, there is a scene wherein Spock gives Kirk a birthday present. I think that it's just a quick shot in the flick, but in the book, there is a moment where Spock watches a woman creating elegant package wrappings in an origami style, and purchases one; later, after Kirk has taken the present away, Spock stands and absent-mindedly folds the now-empty wrapping closed again. Most origami leaves me cold -- yes, a dancing mantis, how nice; oh, look, a hopping frog, how creative -- but the image of the wrapping folding silently back to the original perfection of the box has attracted me since first I heard of it. I was therefore delighted when a relative showed my daughter how, with a series of simple folds, and ordinary paper, she could create a cube. I searched for instructions on the Web on how to do it; I came across a number of pages that speak of it, each requiring some level of knowledge that was beyond me. The best of these was here, titled 'Origami for Everyone'. The page is not perfect -- at the end, my daughter had to point out to me where the 'hole' was that you blow into to inflate the structure -- but it's pretty good, and better than the rest. The cube -- now a little battered -- sits on this desk, and pleases me when I see it.

I'm still not going to make any hopping frogs, though.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

I've been doing a lot of reading of other people's blogs of late. I'm amazed at the quality of writing that is out there to be found. Some of it is good enough to be publishable.

Because I'm interested in the area, a substantial portion of the blogs whose address I've saved (in Ampehtadesk, if they have an RSS feed; in my favorites folder, if not) are medical blogs. About three fourths of those are written by people in the early years of medical practice; of the remainder, most have been practicing for multiple years, and a couple are in ancillary support positions -- transcriptionist, EMT, and so forth.

I like seeing the enthusiasm and intellectual curiousity of these people, even as I am irritated at their occasional presumption. Like the last 'new crop' of federal legislators, many of them come into medicine swearing not to become arrogant and unfeeling, but rather to remain sensitive and to listen more than they talk. Usually, they keep to that. Sometimes, they don't. Some have already made the leap to regarding patients as either interesting, meaning there's something wrong with them that's unusual or difficult to treat, or tedious, meaning this is the twentieth of this type they've seen today, how boring.

Interesting reading, though -- particularly folks like Doc Shazam and A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure.