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Sun, 11 May 2003

Happy Mother's Day!

I just want to wish all the wonderful women in my life a happy Mother's Day.  Of course I want to make special mention of the seven most wonderful women in the world:  Firstly, my mother - that wondrous woman who gave me life and Grandma Fay and Grandma Ormond for much the same reason.  These special ladies helped me become an upstanding and respectable man, plus they make fantastic food!

Next is Norma, my mother-in-law.  Only one word is needed to describe this lady:  Saint or angel, you pick.  My heart also goes out to Grandma Louise and Grandma Vivian for, along with Norma, they molded the most marvelous woman of all:  Shanna.

I love you all...Happy Mother's Day!

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:49

Templates and things

Well, I had been planning to put together a new layout for the site and as it would appear that I've lost my current template...I guess I'll start on that right away.

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:46

Mon, 12 May 2003

Backups

Backup files are marvelous little things.  Never leave home without them.

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:31

Tue, 13 May 2003

The Winds of Change

There are a few changes left to be made but most of the work on the new layout is complete.  Tomorrow I'll complete the changes and give a little insight into what's been happening in my life and where the Whinery is headed.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:57

Wed, 14 May 2003

A New Day Dawns

I'm sure that there are a number of people who are falling off of their chairs just now.  After all, how far back in the archives does one have to search to find four consecutive days of entries on this site?  You have to go back this far.

So, I have changed the layout.  What do you think?  At first glance, nothing dramatic.  The site's using the Holy Grail of CSS layouts with a few minor modifications.  You'll be familiar with the items at the left.  The Daily Whine Sampler an inspirational thought for the day...despite its name and description, it is definitely not changed daily.  The Vintage Whine will take you to pass Daily Whine Sampler entries.  The Whine Cellar will take you to all my past entries from the Whinery.  The Wild Hare is where random ramblings appear.  The Change Detection is one way to have someone else check this site for you to see whether it has...um...changed.  The Watering Holes are places I like to frequent and Whine of their Menu is a list of sites linking back to the Whinery.  The last two are very out of date.

OMStill, as Bugs Bunny says, What's the hubbub, bub?  You'll notice that there is something new on the right.  As some of you are, possibly, aware I also maintained – sort of – a Yoga blog as well.  I had too many things going too many directions too often to be able to keep up with it all (too many to too's too).  Anyway, I've decided to consolidate both blogs here and the left side will be all things Yoga.  You'll see me throw an om out (that green thing at the start of this paragraph) when the post is going Yoga so you can easily skip/read/whatever those entries.  I will also be adding links to my favorite Yoga sites and to my stick figure yogis.

Well, there's lots more to write about that has happened in the last while and there's lots more to write about in relation to where I want the site to go, but I'll save those for tomorrow.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:27

Thu, 15 May 2003

Adventures in RSS under a moonless sky

Well, I've had precious little time to write today.  I've been working on one of the new additions to the Whinery:  an RSS feed.  I don't have the time to go into the details tonight but the RSS feed for this site is linked at the right.  If you use AmphetaDesk, then you can just click the pill icon to import my feed; otherwise, just paste the link under the XML icon into your favorite feed reader.  If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, don't worry about it.  I'll go into more detail of what RSS is in my next entry.  For Blog users, I've listed my template on Fahim's forums in the RSS-templates thread.

Did you see the lunar eclipse?  We only saw the moon coming out of the dark side because the mountains are so high here.  The kids enjoyed staying up to see it and we'll hopefully have a better view in November.  OK, I have to go to bed or I'll be a zombie all day tomorrow.

This entry authored by Tyran at 22:51

Fri, 16 May 2003

RSS, What good is it?

So, just what is an RSS feed you ask and why have I added one to the Whinery?  To quote Dave Winer at Backend.Userland.Com RSS is a Web content syndication format.  Its name is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication.  OK but what is it?  RSS is a format for taking excerpts or summaries from a site's articles, be it a blog or a newspaper or something else, and publish those summaries so others can quickly see if there is anything of interest to them.  If you followed the xml xml link then you know that an RSS feed is not really designed to be read by humans.  What good is it then?  There are a number of readers or aggregators available.  Aggregators read the RSS files you tell it to read and then they spit out a web page or other display to show you the summaries in an easy to read format.  So, if you want an easy way to know if I've posted anything and want to know what I'm yammering about, grab an aggregator and my RSS feed.

The only aggregators that I've tried are AmphetaDesk and FeedReader.  I have to say that I prefer AmphetaDesk.

OMOn a quick yogic note:  I've signed up for an introduction course through UVSC's continuing education program.  The instructor also practices Martial Arts and a variety of similar disciplines.  I'm not sure how that will translate into his Yoga instruction but I'll keep you posted.  The first class is on the 4th.

This entry authored by Tyran at 15:30

Sun, 18 May 2003

Of Weeds, Water and Running Away

Yesterday was an extremely busy day, well at least the afternoon was.  We all lounged around watching cartoons.  Although I was one of the loungers, I had a very distinct reason in that I was waiting for a phone call to say that someone needed help moving.  Since that whole subject is a bitter topic for me, I'll leave that alone until the situation plays itself out.  As I said, it was an extremely busy day.

weedsI was going to try to detail what we did yesterday to fix up the house and care for the yard, but it's making me too tired.  That being the case, I'll give the Readers Digest version:  I replaced a leaking faucet (we had a nice marsh developing on the north side of the house).  Double checked the gas pipes leading to the stove (I thought I had smelled gas the night before and had shut off the gas to the stove) but I found no leaks and decided it was likely just a puff of unburnt gas from the stove being turned on.  Purchased a gas weed whacker and a 24 inch tiller to help in the garden.  I then spent the rest of the afternoon cutting down the weeds.  As you can see in the picture (click it for the big screen version), I had to cover my face with a bandana as the air was full of weed bits flying everywhere.  Sure, I was wearing old green fatigues but when I was finished they were bright green with mangled weed bits.  Those blasted bits were flying so thickly that I didn't even realize that I was working in the rain until the thing ran out of gas.  While whacked the weeds, Shanna took mower in hand and attacked the dense undergrowth of the bad yard.  While things are beginning to look a bit less wild around here, there's still much to do and we're still years away from having a nicely groomed yard.

During church today Jonathan decided that spitting on a girl was a good way to make her stopping doing something that she shouldn't.  As soon as I learned this, I hauled him home (he howled the whole way and we were walking) and had him stay in his room until the rest of the family came home.  He was not a happy boy, not by any means but I'm sure that I can guarantee that he'll never spit on another person so long as he lives.  About 20 minutes into his stay in the bedroom, he and I talked about what had happened and why he was in his room.  At that point, he informed me that he wanted to live alone.  There was a bit of a miscommunication at that point as I thought he wanted to run away.  I seized on this new and exciting teaching moment and brought him a grocery bag so he could pack his things (thank you Granny O!).  He was very appreciative for the help and began to pack his bag.  I went to the kitchen for some soup and listened to what he said as he packed.  I heard him say, I should pack that just in case I decide to go to school.  Oh, this was going to be delicious!  I asked him a couple of times if he knew where he was going to live and each time he told me that he had not decided.  Finally, he emerged from his room with his loaded grocery bad.  I asked again where he was going to stay and bravely he answered me, The living room.  I had to control myself so I didn't starting howling with laughter and so I could politely inform him that he could either live in his room or move out of my house but that he could not move into the living room.  He ponder this new development for some time and then he said with a huge sigh, I guess that I'll stay in my room.  I reassured him that I was very happy that he had decided to not leave us but that one day, when he his much bigger, I would be very happy to see him move out on his own.

He tries to be so good and yet so often runs afoul of the social norms.  It truly is my goal to see him so self-sufficient that he can leave my house and to see him raise a family of his own.  That brings up an interesting question:  Would you, as a parent or perspective parent, rather see your child succeed or fail?  I must warn you, that is a very loaded question.

This entry authored by Tyran at 21:37

Tue, 20 May 2003

Of Seizures, Cake and Shares

If you remember Sunday's post, you know that I've been whacking away at our garden.  I attacked it again last night and just as the end was in sight, the weed whacker's engine seized tight.  It was only two days old and wham!  Shanna has already picked-up the replacement from the hardware store so I'll still be able to finish up the garden tonight but what an irritating thing to have happen!  Tonight, I'll be whacking the rest of the garden weeds and then mow over them with the lawn mower to mulch them up a bit.  Finally I'll move the tiller out of our kitchen, assemble it and till as much of the plot as I can.  I'm not going to be able to get out of bed in the morning, I can feel it.

We went over to Roger's last night (Shanna's second oldest brother) for cake and ice cream.  There are a number of things I love about Shanna's family (Shanna being the main one of course) but one of the things I enjoy most is cake and ice cream.  Any event, no matter how large or small, is a valid excuse to have cake and ice cream.  The kids love to play with their cousins and we enjoy having a chance to shoot the breeze with the other adults.  The only things better than cake and ice cream are the holiday bar-b-ques and the 4th of July sleep over and breakfast.  Shanna's parents have a large yard and on July 3rd we put up as many tents as are needed for all the grandkids (and their parents if they're that brave) to spend the night and we have a feast that night.  The next morning, we gorge on homemade sourdough pancakes, fried and/or scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and orange juice.  Last night's excuse was Wade's (Roger's son) graduation from seminary.

I've added the Whinery to BlogShares (also linked at the bottom of the left column).  Imagine a stock market for blogs and you have a good idea of what BlogShares is.  More late, probably much later.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:24

Wed, 21 May 2003

A Night at the Polls

Just a quick update, I've added the ability to do polls to the site.  The current poll is my question from Sunday's entry and the poll will last through Saturday.  Depending upon the response I get, this might become a weekly event.  You'll find the Polls section in the left column.

Speaking of my question from Sunday, I'll posts my thoughts on the question this Sunday evening.

This entry authored by Tyran at 14:23

Tue, 27 May 2003

Success Through Failure

It was a terribly busy weekend so I didn't even remember that I had promised an entry about whether I, as a parent, would rather see my child succeed or fail.  The poll question showed that four of you say it depends.  What is wrong with you?  You mean there are actually times when you want your child to fail?!  Good, me too.

Society teaches parents that our success or failure as a parent is largely dependent upon whether our children succeed or fail.  I have to disagree with that thought.  How can I lay claim to my child's success or failure?  I taught my child to be polite, so what?  If that child decides that manners are for morons and is the rudest person on earth, am I to blame for my child's decision?  What about the other side of the coin?  What if I am the rudest person alive and taught my child to be rude; yet my child's manners are above reproach, can I lay claim to that as my success?  The first scenario probably had some readers thinking, Yes, you obviously should have taught the child better.  I have no doubt, however, that not one reader would ever say I could claim my child's success in the second scenario.  Why is that?  In reality, the scenarios are both the same:  I taught my child one thing and my child did the opposite.  The only time that parents fail is when parents do not love and teach their children.  The real question then, is how can parents best teach their children?

Your daughter has a book report due today in school.  She finished the book report last night.  You know that it's a very well done report because she asked you to read it.  She's at school now but left the report on her desk.  Now she's on the phone and is begging you to rush it down to school as it's due in ten minutes.  What do you do?

You've ask your son to be responsible (weeding, mowing, watering) for the lawn and the flower beds in the front yard.  You are doing the same for the back yard lawn and flower beds.  The lawn in the front yard will soon be so dead that you will have to reseed it.  The flower beds are overgrown with weeds.  The neighbors are starting to ask if you need help with your yard.  What do you do?

If my success depends upon the success of my children, I would take the book report to the school post haste and I would whip that front yard into shape as quickly as possible.  If, on the other hand, I know that my success depends upon my teaching my children, things happen a bit differently.  I don't take the book report to school or my daughter has to pay me for bring it to her or some other equally painful consequence.  I let the front yard die and have my son finance the cost of reseeding or I require him to pay me to do his yard work.  In the first case, my children would learn that I will always be there to bail them out.  How many thirty-five year olds that live at home with their parents know that mom and dad will always bail them out?  All of them.  In the second case, my children will learn that they are responsible for their actions and that while mom and dad are available as backups, it is far better to get it right the first time.

Success through failure is an amazing concept.  If my children are to grow up and be successful, what better way do I have to teach them than through their own failures?  Sometimes they need to learn the same lesson a number of times but I've noticed that the duration between lessons tends to increase.  Is it hard?  Yes, knowing that your child is about to fail at something and not preventing it is very hard.  The trick is knowing when failure is affordable and worthwhile.  Failing to clean-up a room, affordable.  Failure to decide whether or not to lick a cactus, not affordable.

I didn't come up with this method of teaching but I do try to use it.  See the Love and Logic site's page on parenting for more information (make sure you look at the articles near the bottom of the page).

This entry authored by Tyran at 11:54

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