The Good News and the Bad News

So wow!  I can’t thank you folks enough for all the well wishes on my behalf after I shared my basically nauseating tale of having a mole on my upper back removed. 

The good news, though?  The little creep was innocent of all charges, and had been taken to the slammer unjustly.  However, as a result of the experience, he has decided to travel from school to school as a cautionary tale of what can happen when you forget to use sunscreen.  Be looking for him at an assembly near you…

On a totally unrelated note, however, I’m sad to report that my eldest son also has a growth that I have no idea how to get rid of.  It would seem that he and his netbook have become a single entity. 

Where my son goes, the netbook goes.  Coffee shop, grocery store, church, mall, homeschool gatherings. 

In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw him take it with him to the bathroom yesterday.

It’s becoming a little worrisome.  I’d like to separate him from his new gadget, but I fear it may take more than a visit to the dermatologist to get rid of this foreign body.  I’m not even sure a surgeon has got the skills needed for an excision like this one. 

Nope… this one is going to need some heavy-duty psychoanalysis, I think.  If I could only remember how I got H-T to finally give up that pacifier…

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Who Is This Linux Guy…And What Does He Want With My Son??

Computer rigeneriamoci

Image by rigeneriamoci via Flickr

I’m not sure how your family actively studies vocabulary, but we have our own unique strategy around here: give birth to a geekling. 

Our 15-year-old has a new passion, and I can always tell, because a whole new crop of words begin cropping up in his daily conversations. Now I like to think of myself as somewhat of a word nerd, but I quickly realize I am out of my league when the following arcana starts to infiltrate our life:

Ubuntu

Root (and I don’t mean like the plant!)

open-source

Debian

partition

desktop environment

I kind of get the whole “desperate parent” thing Jon Voight has going on.  It is not exactly easy to be completely bypassed by the person who was asking you to help them tie their shoes not long ago! 

So to stay in step with my son it means I have to embrace the idea of Linux. 

Lordy, do I feel old today.

It’s a Major Award!

Cover of "A Christmas Story (Full Screen ...

The movie A Christmas Story is a major part of our holiday traditions.  Ralphie, Flick, Schwartz, Farkus, and yes…even the Bumpuses’ dogs are more familiar to our boys than Dasher, Prancer, or Comet could ever hope to be.

We have watched the movie as we’ve decorated our tree every year since the boys were knee high to an elf.  (Ok, there was that one year when we had too much eggnog and decided that we’d give Polar Express a try instead, but we kindly refer to that as the “Christmas Debacle of 2005”)

Of course we know every line by heart now, and we use dialogue from the film in every possible holiday situation.  Every time a package arrives in December, we always shake and declare it to be “fru-gee-lay.”  We can’t even listen to Deck the Halls without chiming in with the correct pronunciation of the chorus: Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-rah.  And no dinner that includes mashed potatoes can be finished without someone doing the piggy noise.

It’s just OUR movie.  I can’t explain why.  We just GET IT.

So with our new Blu-Ray barely a month out of the box, we knew what our family Christmas present to each other was going to be.  The ULTIMATE COLLECTORS EDITION of…A Christmas Story!!  Not only did it include the beautiful, crystal clear Blu-Ray quality film, but an incredible bonus…

A STRING OF LEG LAMP LIGHTS FOR THE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!

You have no idea how much fun it was to add “the soft glow of electric sex” to our beautiful tree this year!! 

I dare you to figure out a more fun way to celebrate the big day…in fact, I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU…

(Note: If you have recently returned as a POW from Vietnam, then you have a valid excuse for not understanding anything about this post.  Otherwise, there is no credible reason I will accept for not having seen this movie multiple times.)

We’ve Still Got It

Increased Geek Quotient

Image by bpende via Flickr

So from time to time, I look back at my bloggy beginnings, and I’m a bit in awe of the way things have taken shape over the last couple of years.  I wish I had a saved screenshot of Topsy-Techie in it’s humble first months…it would be a hoot to do a before & after shot here!

But I also occasionally look back to my goals for what I wanted to accomplish with my blog.  I happened to think a wanna-be techie mom, raising two geeklings – – one a techie-genius and the other a techie-addict – – was somewhat hilarious, and I hoped other people might find it to be so as well.  And then, of course, I wanted to share all the fun ways I had found to integrate technology into our day-to-day homeschool lives.

In some ways, I’ve really stuck to those original ideals.  My Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints series, for instance, has been a way to share my favorite educational technology for homeschoolers on a weekly basis.  But in terms of other content, I’m usually all over the map.  Maybe that’s not a bad thing…it might possibly get REALLY boring to regale you with the tales of Uber’s latest programming conquests.

But today, I’m heading back to my roots.  Gonna fill you in on a little of the true geekiness that’s been going on around here in T-T land.

  • Uber loves coffee.  He loves coffee shops even more.  Our town has its fair share of ones to choose from, and several are within walking distance of our house. So, Uber starts out many of his mornings by walking to a local coffee shop and chilling.  This morning when I asked him what he did while sipping his java, he matter-of-factly explained that he was working through some hexadecimal problems and figuring out how they could apply in real-life situations.  He then told me he had given the barista there his email in case she needed some tech support.  I didn’t bat an eye at any of this.
  • H-T loves video games.  You would think I mean that he loves to play them, but trust me – – that is a secondary interest.  His first love is watching videos ABOUT video games online.  Ratings, reviews, cut scenes, and sometimes people actually just acting out the game as the game characters.  Scary thing is, I’m pretty sure H-T would be making these videos himself if he weren’t so pre-occupied with watching them.  It’s the weirdest pastime I’ve ever heard of.  And he can spend HOURS at it. 

The thing about raising two geeky teens that I find the MOST hilarious, though, is listening to them call each other to their respective rooms:

Hey Uber!  Com’ere!  You’ve got to see this new video game trailer!!

Hey H-T!  Com’-ere!  You are going to FLIP when you see this new Linux interface!

I consider myself fairly technologically savvy, and I assure you that this is all greek geek to me.  But I adore it.  It is a unique and unusual way to live…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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You Know You Are Raising Geeklings When…

You head to the microwave to warm a cup of tea, and discover that the clay version of the angel of death (complete with sword) beat you to it…

HPIM5959

 

(warning: this could become an occasional regular feature.  You have no idea the crazy things that randomly show up around my house!!!)

Some Weeks Are A Little More Topsy Than Techie

So I came home from that glorious Camp Greenville field trip on Sunday to a message in my inbox from one of the members at my SecularHomeschool.com website.  It seemed that while I was hiking and dosey-do’ing, a major tool of a person was busy hacking into the site. 

I didn’t want to believe it was true, but alas when I arrived at the homepage, I was greeted with an ominously evil looking “you’ve been hacked” screen instead of the screenshot that I’m so used to – – the one that has my blood sweat and tears all pixeled in the right places. 

Following that lovely revelation was the realization that even my admin page was out of access to me.  This asinine evil-doer really had my “balls in a vice”, as my hubby is wont to occasionally say.  Topsy-Techie was feeling a lot less techie, and a lot more topsy.  I had to call on my back-up crew…the REAL techies…who know what to do in these kinds of instances. 

It was degrading and demeaning on so many levels.  If you’ve been following T-T for long, you will know that there are few things I detest more than having to grovel at the feet of the Geek Squadhands in ears My idea of “technical support” is anyone who is willing to replenish my coffee cup, take over the cooking duties, and ignore my language while I am tackling a particularly snarly technical difficulty.

But I knew immediately that this particular snafu was way out of my league.  The stupid site had started hurling racial epithets and extremist Islamic propaganda by that time, so I knew it was time to call in the big guns. 

Anyway, as humbling as it is, I’d like to dedicate this post to M and I.  My two knights in shining pocket-protectors who not only knew just what to do, but how to handle an renegade would-be know-nothing know-it-all techie.  Thanks to them, SecularHomeschool.com is back in business and humming along like clockwork. 

Me?  Well, I’m still licking my wounds a bit.  All will be better soon, I’m sure.  Anyone have any easy technical glitch that they need advice on to help boost my morale???

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Something Weird This Way Comes

So something eerie has happened to my two sons this week.  This whole interest-led, unstructured approach to learning has had an incredibly strange backlash-effect.

My sons started SETTING THEIR ALARM CLOCKS.  And even weirder, Uber got up three mornings this week BEFORE his alarm clock went off.  Do you know why??

He said he wanted to go…wait for it… JOGGING!!!

That’s right.  You heard me.  My techno-geek son decided to get up before 7 a.m., grab his breakfast, put on his sweats, and JOG through the neighborhood.

So I barely was recuperated from the shock of that, when this morning, I noticed that Uber was sleeping in.  Didn’t blame him a bit.  But I heard a noise coming from the bathroom.  What in the heck??!!

It was H-T.  Getting dressed to go JOGGING.  At 7:00 in the MORNING!!  It seems that he thought brother’s idea was “pretty cool,” and decided to try it for himself.

So, am I to take it that if I remove the structure from their learning, that they are craving to instill it somewhere else?? 

Jena???  Karen???  Sarah??? 

SOMEBODY help me figure out who these young men are and what they did with my sons, please!!

 

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