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    Baby Signs


    2013 - 02.06

    Just wondering if there’s anyone we know who has some experience with Baby Signs or Baby Signing.  It seems as though there’s a few different options out there, and perhaps a few schools of thought.

    The original book that started it all seems to indicate that you should see what signs your baby is already making when they are trying to communicate and to largely adopt those as the language you use (this is a gross simplification).  We probably all at times growing up either had secret languages, or fantasized about having them.  That said, secret languages are most useful not in communicating but in keeping secrets, and that’s counter to our goal here.

    Other advocates seem to use primarily ASL (American Sign Language which is the official sign language for English speaking Canada), which makes sense to me since it would be a larger life skill for both the baby and us, if we started to become fluent in it we could actually use it for something else, whereas the secret language wouldn’t provide this benefit.

    One thing that I found especially odd is that as far as I can tell none of the programs are endorsed or provided by Deaf organizations.  It seems at least on the face of it that would be a natural fit, good outreach and a valuable revenue stream.  Also the fact that those organizations don’t seem to be involved at all triggers some cynicism for me at least.  Regardless, at this point we’re still planning on going forward with it.

    So I guess the questions that we’d like answers to are:

    • have you tried signing with your baby, and would you recommend it?
    • what resources if any did you use?
    • did you use ASL based languages or something else?
    • did you take a course, and would you recommend it?
    • did you teach everyone in the family the various signs? how about baby sitters?

     

    Castle and Dresden


    2012 - 12.09

    We currently have the most recent books by Richard Castle and Jim Butcher out from the library.  We haven’t finished reading them yet, but let us know if you would like to read them before we return them to the library.  The books are:

    • Frozen Heat – Richard Castle
    • Cold Days – Jim Butcher

    Decluttering


    2012 - 11.06

    We’re planning to move on December 1st. We’ve both been very comfortable and happy where we live now (a two bedroom condo) but with The Passenger on the way, we want to try and find something larger and cheaper (we’ve heard a rumour that babies sometimes need “stuff”). It’s tricky because between the two of us, we’ve only moved three times…and I don’t really count the time my parents moved me when I was eight months old.

    Staying in one place for a really long time (27 and 29 years for Dave and my first houses, then five years here) means that a lot of stuff gets accumulated. It doesn’t help that we both have hobbies that require a lot of stuff to do them. We’re also both bookworms and have many, MANY books, not to mention DVDs, kitchen things, clothes, video games and computer equipment.

    Our somewhat excessive Costco habit doesn’t help. :/

    It’s time to start purging, even though we’re planning to have a larger place. With luck, we’ll get rid of half of our belongings (eek…) and have a much easier move and a fresh start in our new place.

    The Body Finder – Kimberly Derting


    2012 - 10.24

    I’ve been using good reads for a while now to find new books to read.  It’s the disadvantage of out reading most of your friends and running out of word of mouth recommendations.  This book (which is the first in a series, currently 3 are published, with a 4th coming) “The Body Finder” was recommended because I liked the John Wayne Cleaver series (trilogy) by Dan Wells.  The target age group is similar, as is the book length.  It’s a good recommendation, as I did like both books.

    One of the interesting things about the book (and perhaps the series, although I don’t know that yet) is that there is a supernatural element to the story, but just one.  It is introduced early and as long as you can accept that particular premise it is otherwise a fairly normal mystery story.  Definitely worth checking out, if you’re looking for something new and don’t mind reading young adult fiction.  Oh, and for those of you who don’t like vampires and werewolves and such, the supernatural premise in the books is not a typical supernatural premise and there are as far as I can tell no vampires or werewolves or what have you.

    Nadia 3 – Kelley Armstrong


    2012 - 10.01

    Got the quarterly Kelley Armstrong newsletter today, which is one of those things that I get infrequently enough that I make sure that I actually read it.

    That and there tends to be cool little easter eggs in it.  This time around, it was the reference to the fact that there’s going to be a third book in the Nadia Strafford series and that it’s coming out next year.  Since I love the books in the series so far, I’m pretty excited to hear about that.  Especially since it wasn’t clear that there would be more books in the series (it’s been 4 years since the last book).

    The other cool thing in the newsletter (even though I knew this already) was that she’s getting a TV series for fall 2013 on Space (13 episode order) called Bitten and based on her first book in the Otherworld series (although they probably won’t limit themselves to the first book).

    BPL Speed Reads


    2012 - 08.04

    Burnaby does things well. I was a Coquitlam girl until I moved out here about five years ago with Dave, and I love it out here (not that there’s anything wrong with Coquitlam!). One of the things that I find awesome is that the Burnaby Public Library now has a category of books they call “Speed Reads”. They’re on a shelf at the front of the library with bright neon stickers on them. They can’t be requested, put on hold or renewed, so it’s kind of like a nifty treasure hunt to see what’s there. Last time, there were two copies of Mockingjay and a new Charlene Harris book. Another time, the newest Laurell K. Hamilton book was there, and I’ve seen very popular books waiting. It’s a great way to avoid wait times!  Just make sure you’ve got the time to read them…they’re only a seven day loan, and the overdue fines are $1/day. Ouch. Flashbacks of SFU library… :/

    John Carter


    2012 - 03.21

    David wrote a post for Abandoned Towers about John Carter and its source material. Since then, Disney has announced that it is going to be the biggest flop ever.  I’ve been wandering around the internet and found some links to various thoughts and articles about it.

    John Carter may set Guinness record for biggest box-office flop of all time: National Post
    Thought on the whole John Carter ad campaign debacle: Bamboo Killers
    John Carter Flop Shows Disney Too Big to Fail: Chicago Tribune
    The biggest movie turkey of them all?: Mail Online
    Why did Disney’s ‘John Carter’ flop?: LA Times

    Some Twitter reactions that amused me:

    @brubaker John Carter is a flop when it makes 31 million opening weekend, 21 Jump St is a hit at the same number. I know why but its still interesting

    @mattbuchanan does somebody want to go see john carter 200 million times with me this weekend?

    @brendankoerner There are nine nations with GDPs smaller than what “John Carter” is projected to lose:

    We’re still planning to go see it. Anyone want to come with us 200 million times?

    Hunger Games (the book)


    2012 - 03.15

    So a while back I asked whether I should read the book before I watched the movie or not.  This decision was partly made for me as the book materialized on the nightstand.  It took me all of a day to read the book, which is related to the pacing and the relative size of the font in the book.

    Overall I enjoyed the book although I found some of the writing style employed to be odd, particularly around the dialogue where we would be in the midst of a section of dialogue and then we would be told that additional things were said as narration.  Whatever, threw me a few times because I needed to see where the quotation marks were, but otherwise it worked well enough.

    The story didn’t seem totally original too me, although it blended sufficiently many elements from other stories I was familiar with to make an original story.  The characters were well developed, had unique voices and were sufficiently compelling that you cared what happened to them.  So it worked.

    Worth reading, but the mature content warning on the cover is appropriate.

    I wonder what they are going to do in the movie, given that there’s a lot of nudity in the book, and although it may not be deemed inappropriate in a book for 16 year olds to be naked, or for younger children to read about them being naked (and it certainly isn’t inappropriate in the setting of the story itself), it is not the case that it would be deemed appropriate by the people who rate movies…

    I guess it’s likely that in most cases the story could be changed for the movie in such a way that you wouldn’t notice unless you had read the book.  Which is probably fine except for all the teenage boys who read the story and are hoping to see Katniss naked… (what are the odds we get some weird search engine traffic because of that phrase?)

    A Dance with Dragons


    2012 - 02.26

    Picked up A Dance with Dragons today from the library, don’t know if I’ll actually read it or not.  We did watch the TV series on HBO (A Game of Thrones), but it’s been years since I’ve read any of the books.  Karin’s currently reading them in eBook form (although we own them, she has been unable to locate the physical copies of the first two books).  So I guess I’ll try reading book 5 and see if enough of it makes sense to warrant reading the whole thing, or if I’m going to have to re-read the series (in which case I’ll probably put it off for another time).  The dangers of epic fantasy I guess.

    The Hunger Games


    2012 - 02.23

    So the movie adaptation of the Hunger Games is going to be opening soon… so here’s a few questions:

    1. Have you read it?
    2. Do you want to see the movie?
    3. Do you think someone should read the book before seeing the movie or after?

    I personally haven’t read it.  Karin has, I expect that she’ll want to see the movie (given how she loved the book).  So I’m mostly looking for a recommendation as to whether I should read the book before or after watching the movie (although I suppose if I don’t read it before the movie and don’t like the movie, I might not read it at all).