Tag Archives: sarah

The travels of Daba The Bear

DabaLest there is any confusion about the fact that my daughter is the coolest 7 year old in the world, I offer as evidence Daba Bear. Daba has been to England and Wales, and has his own passport. Now, because Sarah cannot accompany me to Russia, she has renewed Daba’s passport, and has sent Daba with me. I have been commissioned to have every officious … um … I mean official looking person, and have them stamp the passport.

Thus, many of my reports from Russia will be Daba’s trip reports.

See? Told you she’s cool.

Here’s the intrepid bear preparing for his trip.


Yesterday we went to the Lexington Childrens Museum and several things struck me about the experience.

Of course, as always, it was a *ton* of fun. They’ve got some very cool new things, including a bubble wall – a horizontal pole that you lift out of a tank of bubble solution to create a vertical wall of bubble. When you blow gently on it, you can set up standing waves. It is *very* cool. I could spend all day in the bubble room, I think. To be honest we were in there for at least an hour.

Oh, and the new wind exhibit is amazing.

So here’s what struck me.

First, no dads. Why is that? This is the sort of place that the dads I know would *love*. Yet it’s all moms. And moms are, for the most part, *not* the folks you want at a place like this, as noted in some of my other observations below. This is the place for dads to come with their kids and teach them all the amazing stuff that there is to learn there. (Yes, I know, this is stereotypical and politically incorrect. Tough. I don’t buy the “men are exactly the same as women” nonsense. So sue me.)

Oh, and the few dads that were there seemed to be hanging back, playing “too cool to get in there and play”. What’s up with that? Sheesh, guys, your kids think you’re cool when you play with them, not when you act all stand-offish. My daughter thinks I’m cool, and I completely realize that this state of affairs won’t last for very long, and I intend to make the most of every moment of it. So what if I look like an idiot crawling around on the floor? Whose opinion matters more than my daughter’s?

Next, the most often uttered phrase was “be careful.” (Followed closely by “don’t.”) Um. Yeah. This is a hands-0n museum for kids. That’s the entire point – for the kids to get in there, get dirty, try everything out, touch it, knock on it, shove it around, sit on it, climb on it. “Be careful” is not a helpful phrase here. But all these over-protective moms didn’t want their kids to actually experience any of this.

Then, I was alarmed at how concerned these moms were that their kids do the experiments *right.* This seems to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the the scientific method, as well as a desire for their kids to learn only approved knowledge. I was very proud that Sarah found creative ways to do the various experiments. Her attitude seemed to be, sure, I can see what happens if I do it the way that you tell me I’m supposed to do it, but what happens if I do *this* instead? That rocks. And it means that she discovered things that maybe some of the other kids missed.

So, anyways, you gotta go. Visiting hours here. $5 for kids over 1 year old. If you’re not a kid any more, then send your kids with someone who is.


Yesterday, as I’m sure you know, was Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and Read Across America day. The school my daughter attends celebrated this day by having the kids come to school in their pajamas, and have guest readers come in and read to them all day long. I was privileged to be able to participate in this event, and I read Max’s Dragon Shirt, which the kids seemed to really like, and Thank You Sarah, which seemed a little less well-received.

One of the other readers was an author, having written a short story for a compilation of stories. So Sarah wanted to make sure everyone knew that her Daddy, also, is an author. I love my P.R. department. 😉

Helpful translation

For those of you who don’t have a 6-year-old, you may like to know that “Do you want to sleep in” is 6-year-old code for “Get up, Daddy, now, now, now, now!”

The radio show last night was at 7pm, Left Coast time, which means that it started at 10pm Real World time. I was already exhausted, since I’ve been trying not to be sick all week, but it was kinda fun to do the show. The idea of an AM radio station having a show with intelligent discussion of Open Source software is very foreign to me. Anyways, it won’t happen here in Lexington for a while.

Hmm. Which gives me an idea. …

Anyways, the show was over at 10:30, and then Tina, our fearless producer from ApacheCon, who had been instrumental in setting this up, called me back, and we talked about ApacheCon-related things until nearly midnight.

The question as to whether I wanted to sleep in came at 6:30. And at 6:40, and 6:50 and 6:52 and 7:10 and 7:15 and 7:17. I’m a little slow, but I eventually got the point that “yes” was not really one of the acceptable answers to the question.

So I’m just draggin’ a little bit today, but at least I think that my cold/flu/lurgy/creeping-crud has gone away, which is an improvement.

Anyways, the radio show got me thinking about the purpose of documentation. I have long thought of a division in audience, but I think maybe it’s simpler than that. Documentation serves two distinct purposes. “Help me fix it” (or get it working) and “Help me understand it.” These things are not mutually exclusive, but they have different emphases.

So, more on this later. I need to go make an origami star box.


Thanks to an article by Skippy, and considerable time staring at Postfix, The Definitive Guide, I’ve gotten a whitelisting system set up for my daughter. She can now receive email from a very select list of addresses. Anyone else gets rejected.

The second part is to get a whitelisting proxy server set up for her.

The goal is to give her her own computer for her birthday, but to make it completely internet-proofed. I want her to be able to go to her favorite websites, but not to other places.

And, no, I’m not interested in your remarks about how overprotective I am, or how I’m stunting her ability to learn, so don’t even bother.

I briefly considered using Squid, but I think I’ll try to do it with mod_proxy first. Probably not ideal, but I figure you should eat your own dogfood whenever possible.

A very merry Christmas

This Christmas, I got the best gift I’ve gotten for Christmas for many years. I took the entire week off of work, starting with the 18th, when Sarah got off of school, and spent all day, every day, with Sarah. Just hanging out. She attended a “Kids’ Craft Camp” at Michaels, where we made a variety of crafts. We read a lot. We played computer games. We went shopping. We watched Christmas movies. And we just generally hung out. It was awesome.

It’s going to be *really* hard going back to work next week.

Speaking of going back to work, I expect to have an amusing anecdote to share about work in about two weeks. but you’ll need to wait. Unless I already told you.

Wireless … and useless

I’ve been hanging out at Coffee Times for the last few mornings. Sarah is in a craft day camp, and they chased me off because they’re making something for me. In the past, the wireless network here has been wonderful, but today and yesterday, it’s been very painful. 15% signal strength, and it just goes away every 5 or 6 minutes, for about 2 or 3 minutes, then comes back. The folks here don’t know anything about it. A local ISP set it up and left it. So there’s nothing that they can do about it here. Very very annoying. I suppose I should just enjoy my coffee and read something. But I had hoped to get some programming done. Ah, well.

Small photographers, and living in an immaterial world

Ted mentioned today that he’ll be participating in DaddyCon while his wife is off presenting at a conference. Then he linked to a gallery of photos by his kids. Wow, Ted, what a great idea, and what a great perspective kids have. *Definitely* going to let my little person take more pictures.

Also, on the subject of small people, my Sarah made an interesting remark last night, which was a bit enlightening. I often sit with her while she’s falling asleep, and usually I’m working on my laptop, and often talking with folks on IRC. Last night, I was playing solitaire on my Palm. Sarah asked if I was playing alone, or with someone else. And, of course, by the time she has a computer, or a Palm, or whatever we’re using in 5 or 6 years, *everything* will probably be online all the time, wirelessly, so that makes sense for the world that she will live in. Presumably many of you already live there, with your PDA/Phone/Pager/Thingies. I’ve resisted that thus far, and not purely for financial reasons, although that’s part of it.

Being online all the time changes how we think about things, how we interact with people, and a lot of other things. Of course we don’t really know much about these changes, it being a very new phenomenon. One example, however, was brought to mind again this morning. Because I spend a lot of time on IRC, I’ve come to rely on the IRC bots. They store little tidbits of information so that I don’t have to. I rely on rosie for phone numbers and email addresses. I rely on fajita for Apache documentation, and the answers to frequently asked questions. I rely on Monty to … um … well, to be Monty. (If you don’t know Monty, no description is adequate, and if you do, none is necessary.)

So the strange consequence of this is that when I’m *not* online, I really want rosie’s help. She knows things that I don’t know, and would rather not have to look up. Of course, there are already folks who talk to their IRC bots by cell phone, or on their wireless PDAs, and I suppose I’m not far away from that. What I’d really like to do (and I hear it’s been done) is to hook up Sphinx and Festival, along with strategically placed microphones and speakers, so that I can speak to Rosie and Fajita as I move around my home.

Or, maybe that’s just a little too weird.

Teaching kids to code

Matthew asks for suggestions on teaching kids to code. This is actually something that I’m curious about, too. In the event that my daughter expresses an interest in computers that extends beyond gaming – and this seems pretty likely right now – I’m wondering what direction that will take.

She is now equally comfortable on Windows and Linux – indeed, she doesn’t really see that there’s a difference, as far as I can tell. And she likes to type. So I’m thinking Vim and Perl. 🙂 But I’m also going to look at some of the things that were recommended by various other commenters on Matthew’s site.

While I’d like for her to be a Linux Chick, I’m not planning to force free software philosophy down her throat. Well, anyways, at least until she’s 7 or 8. 😉


I was supposed to be leaving on Sunday for a week of training in West Palm Beach Florida. Turns out that Hurricane Francis anhiliated the facility in which I was to be doing the training. So, I’m out the $100 for changing air tickets, as well as indefinitely delaying the expected income from the training. But Sarah really didn’t want me to go anyway, so I suppose it balances out.

Oh. I need to remember to cancel the text book shipment. Oy. Almost forgot.