Davao-CDO-Camiguin 2004

I've posted some of these pictures here before. But now they're on FB too.

Davao-CDO-Camiguin 2004

Also, John has some new videos:

Spider John:




Andrew Zuckerman's BirdBook is incredible

I can't stand all-flash websites. I always make fun of any that I see. I make an exception for birdbook.


Too sweet

mirrored from my facebook note of the same title

Last night I *loved* Alison Holst Decadent Delight Muesli.

Generous quantities of plump, moist apricots and flaked almonds; tossed in a delicious mix of oats and wheat germ; drizzled with honey and flavoured with essense of almond - toasted to perfection and then sealed to capture that just cooked flavour.

Today, it's too sweet. Good for eating by itself. Timmy liked it as a snack last night. But too sweet with milk. Even if I were to add oatmeal it'd be too sweet.

Maybe I'll try the less decadent flavours.

Huh, en-GB spelling even. And facebook's "Format your note" tips doesn't mention blockquote. But it works above.


Recent videos

John Walking:

Eating Rice Rusks
We bought John some wheat rusks a few weeks ago. He didn't like that very much. A few days ago though, Sol found something he likes. Very convenient snack since Sol and Timmy like it too. We need to buy some more.

Hmmm, "Baby Mum-Mum Original, Premium Rice Rusks". And on the box there's a picture of an eager toddler looking up with the words "WANT-WANT" under him. The branding could be improved.

John says "Tee!". I often count to three (with emphasis on the three) when playing with John, e.g., when raising him high. Now, when I say "Threeeeeee!" he says "Teeeeee!"



Healthcare experiences in New Zealand

This post on our experiences with healthcare in New Zealand was originally on Facebook. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to make it available to the world (access control is "Everyone", but that's just everyone on Facebook). Please click there for the full context (pictures and text).

Initially I'm posting the text here. I'll probably push the pictures up too, at some point. Or I might not.


Experiences with Healthcare in NZ

After I posted a link, David asked me,

So how's healthcare down there tigs? Free everything and no pre-existing clause? :)

I started replying but gave up because it was getting long for a comment and FB would reject it. A reply in status would also be too long. Thus the note.

The following is just a narrative of our experiences, it's certainly not complete. I'm sure there are broad areas that we have absolutely no hinanawan about :-).

Not everything is covered by government healthcare. My eyeglasses, for instance, and (I think) dental care, need to be paid for individually or by insurance. There are government hospitals and private hospitals. If you don't like government healthcare because you don't want to wait for that elective surgery, you can go to a private hospital. You might even buy health insurance so that you can experience the private hospital experience (anecdotally, at certain levels of care, you get good wine with your meals :-).

Visits to a general practitioner are subsidized by the government (and, possibly, by the locality also). Currently the nominal cost of an adult's visit to a GP at our health center is around NZ$75 (exchange rate is currently around .70 USD per NZD, although it's been as low as around .52 in the past year or two, I think) for an adult. There are government discounts/subsidies. After those are factored in, I pay NZ$45 to see the doctor.

Timmy's and John's visits are NZ$15. Except when they go to see the doctor for vaccinations. Those are free and performed by nurses (they stick the needles in better than the doctors do :-).

So not all healthcare is *free*, but it's reasonably priced. The fee is a very affordable deductible and a speed bump against people abusing the front-end system (the GPs and nurses who will treat anything that doesn't need specialist care or equipment).

The local clinic has maybe 7-12 doctors on staff (not all at the same time) and the same number or maybe fewer nurses. Doctors visits (and nurse assistance, e.g., for vaccinations) are by appointment although they're always available for emergencies. The local clinic closes at night though, and on weekends. When it's closed emergency cases go to any of the nearby hospitals. There are three or four hospitals within 20 minutes drive. Doctors appointments may have a wait period of a week. You can see the same doctor every time, if you want, but your waits will probably be longer (particularly if the doctor goes on his month-long vacation). You can also just see any available doctor. Your health records are in a centralized system and any doctor in the Wellington area can see your records (no data about how private hospitals interface with that database, they probably have access).

Government healthcare isn't run for profit, so it will never reject you for treatment due to pre-existing conditions. You might need to *wait* for treatment, and the hospitals might not be as flashy as in the U.S. (and certainly there are fewer tests and MRIs and such) but you won't be refused treatment.

A friend at work has a son with leukemia (I think). He's been treated at the Wellington hospital cancer center. He needed some treatment that they couldn't do here, so he now goes to an Auckland cancer center. Next week (I think, I was chatting with my friend on the bus the other day), he goes to Auckland for his bone marrow transplant. If that's anything like sol's giving birth to John, it'll be all free. That he has to go to Auckland means that the family still needs to pay out some large sums, but they can cope since they don't need to pay for the healthcare itself, just the travel to Auckland and lodgings there for the parent who brings the child.

When Sol's mother was here, she had to go to the doctor for prescriptions for her vertigo and high blood pressure. We paid NZ$75 for the doctors visit and the meds were subsidized (in the same range as Philippine prices, *much* cheaper than in the U.S.).

There's a prescription refill service (Sol says it costs NZ$15 for a refill, and it can only be refilled once). So it's possible to get prescription refills cheaply while cutting doctors visits in half. I wouldn't be surprised (but have no data) if the number of refills can be higher than one for things like blood pressure, heart or diabetes meds which the patient is probably going to need for the rest of his life.

When Sol was pregnant with John, we were lucky that a midwife we met at the hospital lived near us. She became Sol's midwife. She'd come to the house on Saturdays to take Sol's blood pressure, weight, and fetal heartbeat monitoring (she brought the doppler device to the house, I got to hear John's heartbeat :-) etc. She arranged for the gestational diabetes tests and told sol what the results were. If there had been a problem, she'd have told sol what adjustments to make.

Sol had a choice of home birth, water birth (I think at the hospital, but I think also possible at home), or hospital birth. Since Sol had Timmy via caesarian section, we decided on the hospital option in case another one was required.

When Sol went into labor, we waited a long while because we (and the doctor) wanted to try for a normal birth first. After sol had tried for the normal birth with no success (the doctor and midwife were very impressed at her efforts), the doctors (with 2 and 3AM phone consultations with a specialist) decided (and we agreed) to go with the C-section.

Sol in the delivery room, being prepped for C-section

The view from the other side, doctors hard at work.

First picture of John

At the maternity ward, John slept beside Sol's bed.


Just like Timmy, John had jaundice. Sol stayed a few extra days at the hospital because John had to undergo UV treatment for the jaundice and they were taking blood samples to monitor improvement.

The maternity ward was our least favorite part of the whole experience. We weren't in a private room (we were spoiled by St Lukes Hospital :-), so John would wake up when the other babies would cry. And there was one baby who cried a lot since he couldn't feed. He figured it out after a while, but it was very stressful the first few days.

They wouldn't let me stay in the hospital overnight, so I couldn't help Sol with picking up John when he needed to be fed at night. That was hard for Sol since she was recovering from the C-section. The nurses and doctors were very good though. And the nurses, particularly, were a huge help to Sol. She'd press the button, they'd come over and help with the baby (for feeding or diaper change).

So it's not all roses. On the other hand, I didn't have to pay multiples of my monthly salary for the C-section (at St Lukes, we paid 3x my monthly salary, I think, and that was with the doctor's fee discounted by half!).

There's also a compulsory (for workers) accident compensation system (www.acc.co.nz). So anyone who has an accident at a workplace is going to get compensation. You don't even have to be working there. We were confused when we got an ACC letter one day. Apparently someone had reported Timmy's accident at school (when he cut his eyelid) and so we were entitled to refunds for any health care costs.

As it happened, Timmy had just the one NZ$15 doctor's visit when the doctor applied glue to the wound. We didn't bother to claim at the ACC. We're hoping to avoid future dealings with the ACC , but if I get carpal tunnel syndrome or similar, I know who to go to. A friend of ours (and his wife) got physical therapy treatments via the ACC. There might also be some situations when eyeglass prescriptions would be refunded by the ACC, but I haven't looked closely enough at that. Maybe with my next lens purchase.


No, stay in your country

Some anti-republican wants nutjob rabid republicans out of the U.S.A.

No, keep them. Work out your differences in your own country, peacefully if you can, but any which way otherwise, just keep them away from us. Don't send them to Iraq. You've done enough damage there. Sending them to Iraq would make you (non-nutjob republicans, and non-republicans) just as bad as the nutjobs. It's not your country. Your country is right there. Stay home, work out your problems. Don't involve us in your stupidities and hate. We have enough of that and we're working out *our* problems -- and sometimes, not, but this is *our* world out here. You stay in yours.

John's first steps

John took his first steps today. This was also (as far as I know) his first long period of standing on his own.

There's also some contact of John's teeth with Timmy's forehead at the end :-).

The long period of standing was because he was watching TV (behind Sol).


Uncertainty makes me say No

A lady knocked on our door today. She said, "Hi, I'm fundraising for X charity, are you interested?"

I said no.

I would have been open to giving a certain amount without any hesitation at all (say, NZ$10-15, larger amounts I'd have to think about and even larger amounts I'd have to talk to sol about :-). Unfortunately, her question was too open ended. We have two children, one was in the living room at the time (being angelic just then, but things change) and I'm babysitting a dist-upgrade on one laptop just now. There are house chores I haven't done yet.

So I said no, because I didn't know what the range of the donation would be, I didn't know how much time I'd have to spend chatting with her and I didn't know whether I'd have to *think* about anything (to begin with, how much to give). If she'd said,

"Hi, I'm fundraising for X charity, we're selling these 15 dollar T-shirts." Or these 5 dollar chocolates, or even these 2 dollar raffle tickets (*even* because I avoid games that involve pure randomness), I would have said yes immediately.

Money is tight, but time is far tighter, and frankly, I don't have any brains left to use on the weekends. Sometimes, I run out of brains on Thursday.


John saying "Stay!"

John says "Stay!" a lot lately. He's learned it from us, since we say it to him a lot in the imperative when we're changing his nappies or clothes. He's very wriggly. And strong.


Vodafone fail

Vodafone need to disable logging to the page. They're leaking information (hostname, port, that they're using weblogic). I don't know if that's exploitable... but even if it isn't yet, it might be sometime.

I was going to add credit so my BestMates rate wouldn't expire. Maybe I'll just let it expire if they won't let me pay for it. This has happened before. I also pay for Sol's and her sister's prepay accounts and I had a similar problem with trying to pay once before.

Huh, I gave up on posting to their forums since it requires logging in. And when I tried to "contact by email", after I typed in the message (just a link to her and some short text suggesting they turn off logging to the page) and gave them my email address, the next page was a registration page. I'm already registered. I don't want to register again. I don't want to login. Damn. I think it might be time to switch to 2-degrees. And if I do, we'll switch as a family.

The other time this happened (weblogic errors on the top-up page) I called the 777 support number and was confronted with a call tree. I don't like call trees. When I pressed zero though, I was informed that talking to an operator would be pay-per-minute. I'm even more averse to paying for support. So I cancelled the call immediately.

Aha, I could probably click on the "Top-up online now" link and prepay with no problems. But that requires registering the credit card with them. I don't want to do that either. I'm a Luddite in many ways. I want to type in the card info everytime. It probably doesn't help security any, but I feel better about Vodafone (or any other company that uses my credit card) having one less place it stores my credit card info. It's bad enough that they actually take the credit card information instead of having the credit card company and not storing the credit card information locally.

top-up does finally succeed a few hours later. But this isn't about eventually topping-up (if I forget to try on the same day, BestMates *will* expire and then I might cancel it because I don't really need it anymore), it's about that logging error. Don't log to the browser in production pages.


Waiting in Acapulco

Sol thought out loud that it would be nice to bring the children to Disneyland. And then she said it's too bad we couldn't go to the one in California, or the one in Florida since I wouldn't go with them.

I was being too linear (and insensitive) when I replied that they could go to Disneyland and I'd wait for them in Acapulco. As much as I'd love to visit the U.S. and see friends and beloved, I won't do it. Until the U.S. pays reparations to Iraq (and preferably Afghanistan) for the deaths it's caused, I will leave the U.S. alone with its iniquity and wait (probably beyond death) for it to receive what it deserves. And as a practical matter, the U.S. never pays reparations, because it can do no wrogn. And anyone who says otherwise gets shot.

There is also the simple (and perhaps irrational and innumerate [because I'm an inconsequential little fish and it's not like anyone would actually care what I think, but I ignore the statistics and worry anyway]) fear that if I do visit the U.S., if anyone at immigration or customs googles my name they might find their way to this blog and subject me to a cavity search and other indignities. And frankly, if I'm on my way to american gaol (no matter how temporary, even if it's only a small holding cell at an airport), I'm going to fight until somebody dies (and the firepower curve being what it is, that's probably me). So I'm just not going to the U.S. I've got children to raise to manhood, and my children are dearer to me than anyone in the U.S.

But sol wasn't serious. American Disneyland isn't a big deal. And maybe the kids won't grow up wanting to go there anyway. For preference, I'd rather we visit, e.g.,

The Okinawa Aquarium

or maybe travel through India, Nepal, Bhutan. We'd love to go through Morocco, maybe Egypt (I'd rather not visit Israel until the Palestinians have a state). Spain, France, Italy, Greece would be good (but I'm just dreaming online here, I don't know that we'd be able to afford those :-).

I bet the whole family would love to visit Acapulco :-). Even if, after so many years in New Zealand, my intestinal flora will no longer be strong enough to fight off Montezuma's revenge.

We're certainly going to visit only a small fraction of those places. But visiting any at all will be the fulfillment of dreams I never thought could be fulfilled, just two years ago.

Diving at CamiguinAction in Jun 2007

Sol and I (and Timmy) went to Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin in June 2007. This was for Timmy's baptism, and also a vacation.

Vacation pictures are at:



Without a sense of irony

Palestine 305 Israel is forcing arabs out of their homes, homes they've occupied for decades, to make way for new apartments for jews only

This is Israeli apartheid. Halfway to fulfilling my prediction that eventually they're going to have to kill off all the arabs. For now, all they're doing is killing a few thousand here, a few thousand there, keeping a few tens of thousands of arabs in jail and torturing a few thousand of them.

Personally, I won't have anything to do with anything Israeli. I won't buy their products, I won't go there, and I'll do all I can to convince people who want to make the pilgrimage not to do it. That won't do much good, people who want to do the pilgrimage will go anyway, regardless of the evil they support which they willfully misunderstand, but I'll say it anyway.

Are there Israelis they are creating? No doubt, maybe even a large majority. But that doesn't matter. A complete boycott is what I'm for. No exceptions. The arabs are going to be starved of food, space, life and hope anyway, regardless of how well we discriminate between good and bad Israeli products.



Return on assets

This is the second article I've seen recently strongly suggesting that bank performance should be measured on return on assets rather than return on equity.

I don't understand finance and accounting enough to know what's what, but it sounds good :-).


One week off

Sol and I are taking the week off from work. This is mostly to recover from stress. We'd like to drive around the Wellington area too, if the weather is good. Options are Kapiti, the Wairarapa (unlikely, since John is still small), parts of the Hutt valley.

We'll probably mostly just be resting at home though. I've been sick since Monday with a sore throat and tonsillitis, and some flu-like symptoms. The tonsillitis is finally almost gone (should be gone tomorrow). I'm still exhausted, despite the weekend, so the week off is going to be great for recharging.

I've got some code I'd like to work on (will benefit work, but not something we could bill to a client), and there are some things I'd love to do for work with no pressure to enter them in my timesheet :-). I'll only be working/playing online around 4 hours a day though, probably. I've got to be better about taking care of John since Sol does such a heroic job taking care of him when I'm not around, and still she's able to work 4 hours a week. I don't know how she does it, frankly. And we're all very lucky that she's so much more healthy and sturdy than I am.


Yes, but

What are "Perks" and "Choke"?

I'm too uncaring to look it up though. This post entirely rhetorical.

I don't know what a hipster is either. And I think I might care less. But I'm not sure. I'd know for sure... if I knew what a hipster was. Probably some sort of dumb-ass.


Timmy and John

Recent videos of John and Timmy, pasted together without any editing at all :-).


For men this means no bachelor party, tuxedo, strippers or Best Man.

On Shrink Talk there's a section that says "3) There is far too much emphasis on 'weddings' as opposed to 'marriages.'".

As hit happens, I had no bachelor party, no tux, no strippers and no Best Man. And I liked it that way :-).


Sol is driving

Sol passed her practical driving test last Wednesday. Before that, she got a perfect score in the theory test. I'm very proud that she passed her practical test on the first try. Not everyone does, in NZ, and she wasn't an experienced driver when she came to NZ. In the Philippines she learned just enough to get a license, and then she didn't use her license for years.

She took a lot of driving lessons here though (expensive, but worthwhile), and she practiced with a good friend as her supervisor, and every day with her sister, when her sister was here.

Since she can now drive legally, she went shopping with Timmy twice last week, and she's gone to pick him up at daycare today. I just bought a carseat for John, too. So starting tomorrow, she'll be picking up Timmy at school and I'll no longer need to leave work early to pick Timmy up. Unfortunately, this will entail some disruption in John's sleep schedule. She needs to get him into his car seat and he'll accompany her to pick up Timmy. That'll take a week or two of adjustment, but I'm sure it'll all work out.

I'm relieved that I'll finally be able to spend more time at the office. I *do* work at home after bringing Timmy home from daycare, but this is no time to seem to be slacking at work. And while no one at work has said that, New Zealand work culture being so supportive of family I'm very glad we moved here, I'd rather head off any such thoughts than deal with them when they come up.


forgot to take out the garbage

Monday is garbage collection day here and I forgot to take out the garbage. So we've got last week's garbage sitting in the back.

I didn't take out the garbage because I was exhausted and went to sleep at the same time as I was putting Timmy to sleep on Sunday night. I was up much of the night anyway, making sure he was Ok, so I didn't wake up early on Monday. The garbage truck goes by close to noon, so I could have put the garbage out. But I was very busy chasing Timmy around and trying to get some work done, and I just completely forgot that it was garbage day. I hadn't even checked my email or SMS messages over the weekend, so I missed paying the rent on Saturday. That's no big deal, it's due on Monday, and I sent it in on Monday afternoon, but I almost missed a whole day there.

It's all Timmy's fault :-). He's had a fever since thursday. No vomiting or diarrhea this time (well, wet stool that runs out of his diaper, but only once or twice a day). Last week I had two all-nighters trying to get some critical work done. I finally got it deployed on the weekend. But with the all-nighters, and the bad sleep because of Timmy being uncomfortable at night and having to take his paracetamol at the right time, and comforting him when he's uncomfortable but can't take his paracetamol yet, well, things got hectic.

I brought him to the doctor on Sunday, but they all do the same thing here. On the first visit to the doctor (typically 2-3 days after the first fever), they'll prescribe paracetamol and send him home for observation and have him seen by his GP two days later. That's fine, since it's often a virus that'll go away by itself after a few days. If it's something that antibiotics can handle, they don't prescribe the antibiotics because usually it'll go away in 5 or 6 days anyway, and they're minimizing the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

So it's all very reasonable, but it sure is putting me under quite a bit of pressure. I take sick leave when I'm sick and when Sol is sick, and when either of the kids is sick. I don't want to be taking that much sick leave since it could put my job in danger. Well, not really, Catalyst IT is a really great place to work and they're understanding about family and personal problems. But I do take my work seriously and in the current economic climate I want to be optimizing my chances of doing well until the recovery. Sick days don't help, and *5* sick days because the doctors won't prescribe antibiotics or take blood tests to see if it's something antibiotics would help, are a big problem.

Timmy has been very needy too, wanting to be carried all the time. That's normal, given the fever and body aches he must be having. But carrying him *does* take a toll on an older father :-).

We've got his doctor's appointment tomorrow. I hope he's given a clean bill of health so he can go to school on Thursday and I can go to work.

On another note: I've been leaving work early and working a few hours at home this last few weeks so that I can pick up Timmy at school. Sol is taking driving lessons and will be taking her practical driving exam next Wednesday. I hope she passes on the first try. If not, well, I hope she passes on the *second* try. When she passes her driving exam, she'll be able to pick up Timmy in the car and I won't need to leave work early. I actually *like* leaving early and picking him up and working two or three hours at home, but again, I need to be doing as well as possible at work, and while Catalyst is, again, understanding about the need to leave early, I'd rather not rely on that but instead build an image for being reliable and *being*present*at*work*.


facebook slow

I have a facebook account. I don't do much with it. It's really just a placeholder so that people can contact me if they know enough to find me. I don't make it easy for people who don't know my secret nick (i.e., the one I'm posting this under on blogger) since my real name doesn't appear there at all.

So facebook isn't important. I'm resisting posting pictures there mainly because I'm comfortable with photobucket and blogger, and partly because I don't care enough to figure out how to do things on facebook.

Today though, I'm trying to add a friend and comment on a picture of me that someone else posted, and it's taking forever. Well, it's been thirty minutes and the facebook tab is still going.

Likely it's some batch job running around now (noon New Zealand time). Of course facebook is optimized for read (with some massive caching). And writes are going to be many times slower than reads anyway. But there must be some batch updates running. There's no reason adding a friend or commenting on a pic would take more than an hour to complete :-). Well, it's been 30 minutes so far. If it's not done in an hour I'll give up and maybe try again another time. If I remember.

(Hola mylene, *of*course* i'll remember :-).


John Laughing

John Christian is growing very quickly. He sleeps really well at night as well as in the daytime. He eats a lot, and he's very alert and observant now.

He's also very ticklish. Got it from me, I think.


Tummy bug

Timmy started daycare on Monday. He loves it there. On Wednesday night though he didn't have a good appetite, he had liquid diarrhea and vomited out both his dinner and his bedtime milk. Since these were different occasions, he had four baths and changes of pajamas that night (the first one was the regular bath and change for bedtime).

I've taken Thursday and Friday off to stay home with Timmy. I take care of Timmy and Sol takes care of John. We don't swap because we want to have Timmy get rid of whatever the bug was and we want to avoid having John get the bug. So there'll be no cross-kissing or hugging until at least tomorrow (Saturday). Timmy will go back to daycare on Monday.

Timmy is slowly recovering. He hasn't had any further diarrhea or vomiting, but he's not as active as usual. Some of that is because he's eating less and avoiding his milk. We convince him to have some milk anyway, but he's down to about a third of his normal milk intake. Some of that is just him avoiding the milk because he associates it with the vomiting. A few more days of lower milk intake with no vomiting should see him let go of the association.

As it happens, Sol's mother and sister were due to leave for Manila on Thursday morning. So the vomiting and diarrhea came at just the wrogn time for them, when they were already working through the idea of missing Timmy and John. There was no slack in their visas though, since both visas were to expire today.

We hope to see Sol's sister back in a month or two, and perhaps her mother in 9 months or so.

Hmmm, my stomach is a bit unstable too. Not to the point of diarrhea or vomiting though, so I might have a touch of what Timmy has, but my body is fighting it off.


John Christian Quimpo

I have videos of John Christian, and a particularly great clip of Timmy with John, but I don't have the time to edit the videos into shape just yet. It doesn't help that kino on Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) is ridiculously unstable (and PulseAudio makes it worse).

I just got around to selecting a bunch of John Christian's pictures, from when he was born to just a few days ago. I've pushed those up to Photobucket and now here they are:

In the operating room

In the maternity ward, waiting to go home. Sol and John had to stay an extra two days because John had jaundice and had to have ultraviolet light treatment

And finally home. He still had a little jaundice, so we had him in the sun for ten minutes or so every day. Fortunately, unlike at Sta Mesa, we have sun right in the bedroom and in the living room.

We bought John a bassinet. Sol has since removed a lot of the cushions and other material since they might contribute to SIDS, so now it's just the cane bassinet and the main oval cushion and a flannel sheet. That second picture is a huge favorite of mine.

Timmy loves playing with John. He's just lent John his small bear

John, of course, is oblivious. All he wants to do his eat, sleep and poop. All of which he does A LOT.

John has gained a lot of weight by Christmas. He's a bit less than 1.5 months here and he laughs when mamang babbles at him.

A week or two later he's almost twice his birth weight and he pretty much completely fills his bassinet. We have a swing/rocker for him, and he definitely fills that up completely too. We thought he'd use that swing for six months.

I expect toria will appreciate the way those toes have personalities of their own.

He laughs when tickled, and (in the bottom pictures), he loves his bath, so he feels really good and laughs from pure pleasure after a bath. At the bottom there, Timmy loves his baths too, but for some reason he chose to look cute and pensive in his monkey bathrobe.


Timmy games

Timmy is 26 months old and he loves copying what sol and I (and my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law) do. The ladies all love watching cooking shows on Food TV, so Timmy also loves to "cook". He plays pretend cooking in the walk-in cupboard, where the pots and pans are kept (as are flour, salt, cookies, canned goods, honey and spices, all kept on shelves he can't reach).

Since I'm always on the computer when at home (either just reading, or working remote, he also likes sitting at a computer and typing. He's not content just to play with his Fisher-Price Laughtop now (although he really loved to play with it a few months ago and learned his alphabet with it).

When I (or sol, or my sister-in-law) am at the computer, he'll walk over and force his head under my arm. Once he's got his head in the door, so to speak, he'll then climb up on the chair and eventually onto my lap.

Usually I can dissuade him when I'm working, but when it's time for a pause, or when it's time for a cuddle we play some flash games. Before I thought of flash games, I'd just click on a folder of family pictures and videos and either set the pictures to display in slideshow mode, or have the videos play one after another. That still works, but now he wants to interact with the computer more, so we play flash games.

He really likes the Fisher-Price ABC Zoo game. He sings along to the alphabet song intro and then likes pressing keys and having the corresponding animals come up and make their signature sounds. I think he'll tire of it soon though since there's only one set of animals, so pressing a letter always results in the same animal coming up.

Fisher-Price also have the Animal Sounds game. The URL is bogus though, it's only accessible via javascript from: here. Oh, I could probably read the source of that page and figure out how to get to the game directly, but I don't care enough to do that. I'll just say it's a stupidity to have games or other resources that are accessibly only through javascript. Timmy doesn't like this game as much as the alphabet zoo. But maybe he'll grow into it.

Orisinal has some incredibly pretty flash games for kids. But Timmy can't play any of them yet since they're all mouse oriented and I bought a full size mouse. I should have bought a mini-size mouse (they were discounted at Dick Smith's Electronics when I bought the full size mouse at a second hand store, so I didn't save much on the mouse), so that it would be easier for Timmy to hold. Well, my old laptop is sitting idle right now since I've switched to an oler but faster widescreen desktop-replacement laptop. If I can find a reasonable place to put it, maybe I'll let timmy use the old one with an external keyboard and mouse so he doesn't touch the laptop directly.

Timmy will enjoy playing the Orisinal games when he learns how to use a mouse and gains some more manual dexterity, focus and attention-span. That's probably another two years away.

The Jackson Pollock flash app is probably just right for him now though, and he'll enjoy playing it since it doesn't take any skill at all, just moving the mouse and random clicking. That'll get him to learn how to control the mouse a bit, which may make playing Orisinal come around earlier than I think :-).

Having him sitting on my lap pressing letter keys to have the letters and corresponding animals come up is very restful and enjoyable. He's not hard to distract away from the games for now. I hope that continues. I doubt it though. I'm sure it'll get more and more difficult to pry him away from a computer as he grows older :-).