Monthly Archives: August 2011

WWW Wednesdays – August 31, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael ScottMy bookshelf

– What I’m currently reading
This past week has been extremely busy on the work front (I have a large writing project in progress) and I’ve also had the kids full-time since there’s no preschool right now, so I’m still reading The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. I like it so far and find it quite entertaining for a Young Adult novel. I’m surprised nobody has made a movie out of it yet.

What I recently finished reading
No update since last week…

– What I think I’ll read next
The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal, the true story of a serial impostor, or I’ll have to return it to the library in a couple of weeks. Since it’s new and quite popular, I doubt I’ll be able to renew it.

My kids’ bookshelf

The cow that laid an egg by Andy Cuthill– What they’re currently reading
The giving tree by Shel Silverstein. A lovely story about a boy who makes a tree happy by playing with it. Eventually the boy wants more, and more, and the tree keeps giving to please him, until there’s nothing left to give. It’s quite a sad story with no specific message/moral but I can see it makes my kids think about giving and taking.
Press here by Herve Tullet. I’m plugging in a French author today, who’s got the talent to create interactive books for little kids. The illustrations are very basic but each page asks the child to do specific tasks to make things happen on the next page. Who said reading had to be passive?
Toot & Puddle by Holly Hobbie. A very cute story about two pigs, Toot who likes to travel around the world, and Puddle who entertains himself quite well staying at home.

– What they recently finished reading
Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson. You get to read two stories side by side, Cinderella’s and her neighbor Cinder Edna’s, and find out which character will really live happily ever after.
The cow that laid and egg and The cow that was the best moo-ther by Andy Cutbill. Marjorie the cow happens to think she’s laid an egg and this premise sprouted two hilarious books, with the perfect illustrations for these stories. If you’re looking for a story that will make you laugh and cry (of laughter), I recommend these two books.
The plot chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. If you want to know what happens when a chicken decides to become a writer, this is the book for you!

– What I think they’ll read next
My youngest has requested the “Fly Guy” series by Tee Arnold and I just requested them today. We enjoyed them a few months ago and obviously they’ll be back by popular demand!

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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Interrupting learning with typos at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

As a communications professional and a linguist, I have a sharp, intolerant eye for spelling errors, poor grammar and awkward syntax. When I notice them, I can’t help but be annoyed. I believe most typos are avoidable and a not-so-subtle sign of illiteracy. As people get to write more and more in abbreviated form (LOL, u r l8, TMI) they seem to lose their grip on the English language. And not just its intricacies, but also its basic spelling and grammar rules.

I can’t stand the confusion between the “possessive s” and “plural s”. How can someone think “I love my kid’s” makes any sense? Yet, I see this misuse over and over. And don’t let me start with the hard-to-believe confusion between you’re and your, it’s and its…

I tend to opt for leniency towards small business owners and youngsters in training. But I draw the line at public signs (not “pubic”, another common yet atrocious typo) aimed at large audiences. So when I noticed these typos in a museum last week, I was not only surprised. I was shocked.

Typos at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

Typos at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

In case you’re having a hard time spotting them on my not-so-sharp photo, I’m talking about “Sahara Dessert” and “Escape Vellocity“. Here my child, have a mouthful of sand for dessert!

These typos appear on an activity screen at the brand new SPACE exhibit inside the San Diego Air & Space Museum. I thought I’d do the public institution a favor and share my findings through an email message, since they obviously didn’t notice the typos themselves. Their response was prompt, but quite disappointing. Here’s what the museum curator had to say:

“You are correct noting the misspellings that you did. Unfortunately we cannot fix them because they are permanently imprinted on the touch sensitive screen as supplied to us by the manufacturer.”

Say what??? Have you ever heard of a computer program that can’t be updated? Neither have I. So I sent the curator a kind but firm reply, asserting that these typos can be fixed, possibly with a little effort. As a public institution and a place of learning attracting thousands of visitors every month including many, many children, the museum should display higher standards of literacy and aim for accuracy and perfection. In my opinion, these typos affect the entire credibility of this specific activity. What makes me think the rest of the data on the screen is true and not completely made up?

It’s been four days and I’ve received no additional response. Apparently silence is golden and ignorance is bliss at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. So I’ve decided to shame the museum expose the museum’s poor practices share my “embarrassing typo moment” with you. There’s no doubt the same museum in Los Angeles, New York or Washington D.C. would get these errors fixed immediately (would they ever have occurred in the first place over there?). Too bad we can’t expect our lazy San Diego museum to get it fixed and get it right. Yes, this is a clear example of laziness, nothing else. There’s a reason we call it “taking the easy way out.”

Have you ever told a business or institution about blatant typos? What kind of reaction did you get?

Disclaimer: This post may contain typos, grammar and syntax errors. The author tried her best, but s***t mistakes happen. This post is electronic and can be fixed, so please forward all typo comments for prompt correction.

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www Wednesdays – August 24, 2011

WWW Wednesdays

If you’ve read the same books I read this past week, I’d love to hear what you thought about them.

My bookshelf

The lovely bones by Alice Sebold– What I’m currently reading
Tonight I’ll be starting The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. What? Michael Scott from NBC’s The Office wrote a book? Not really, but I hope this story is a lot better than The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

– What I recently finished reading
I read two books this past week. The first one was Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan. This book is what happens when a journalist who went to Smith College decides to write a fiction novel rather than a non-fiction essay on her alma mater. I didn’t find the story of these four young women that interesting and many of the dialogues were boring, sometimes silly. What happens to April is borderline ridiculous – how gullible can she be? I found most of the book stereotypical and I’d expect more fruitful discussions and behaviors from Smith graduates.

I also read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I know some people loved the book while others hated it. The latter think some of the story is hard to believe and I think this point is not relevant. The whole story is narrated by a murdered teenager from her in-between/heaven world. If you believe this is even possible, why not believe the rest? After all, it is a fiction book. I’m a fan of the supernatural and one of my favorite TV shows is Medium, so I’m open to reading about “irrational” events. To me, a good book is one you don’t want to put down as it sucks you in, and this did it. The only thing I didn’t like was the violent and gruesome, but necessary, details. They were very difficult to read, especially as a parent, but overall I liked this book.

– What I think I’ll read next
I just got a whole bunch of books from the library and I have a feeling I won’t have time to read them all before their time at my house is up. My next book will probably be The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal, the true story of a serial impostor. Fascinating!

My kids’ bookshelf

The mixed-up chameleon by Eric Carle– What they’re currently reading
We discovered several really nice books recently and the kids can’t seem to get enough of them:
The Trucker by Brenda Weatherby (cute story about a very boyish boy whose mom tries to make more sensitive by giving him a cat)
Alice the Fairy by David Shannon (hilarious story of a girl who tries to do magic on her belongings and family – my kids loved this one!)
The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle (I love the cut-outs throughout the book, a great addition to a story about a confused chameleon)

– What they recently finished reading
We finally got to read a few of the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park. Junie B. has to be one of the funniest kindergarteners we’ve ever met and my kids (mostly my 5-year old) enjoy reading her adventures. However I can’t get past Junie B.’s atrocious English grammar. At five years old, she doesn’t know any of her irregular verbs and clearly doesn’t understand adverbs, so some sentences look like this: “I shaked it real good” (and no, I’m not making this up!). I just don’t get it. Even my youngest speaks better English. Since I’m the one reading the books out loud, I’m correcting the grammar as I go. Somebody please teach Junie B. proper English!!!

– What I think they’ll read next
Good question! At this point, I don’t know but we’re planning a trip to the library this week, so we’ll see.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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More thoughts on sensible parenting and the trouble with hovering parents

The trouble with hovering parenting

The trouble with hovering parenting

A week ago, I shared my thoughts on what makes a resilient and perseverent kid, who can grow up to become a person armed with a no-can’t-do attitude. I would like to thank everyone who provided feedback and shared their own experience as a parent. In particular I’d like to say thanks to Kristen at Motherese for sharing a wonderful article from The Atlantic Monthly on this very topic.

I found this article quite insightful and the people I shared it with enjoyed reading it too, so I thought I may as well share the link to this article titled “How to land your kid in therapy” right here and see what you think. The main point of this article is, if you do everything to make your child’s childhood happy and as painless as possible, you may end up with an adult who can’t face challenges and failures. Go figure! As parents we all want our kids to be happy and enjoy life, but by doing that, they may not be happy and enjoy life as adults.  I especially like the part about organized sports, where coaches are starting to find ways to reward ALL of the kids on the team. Yes, it is getting that ridiculous.

Enjoy this very complete article and share it with other parents who want to do the best for their kids. Life is full of surprises, many of which can be unpleasant, so the biggest favor we can do our kids as parents  is to teach them how to best face the bumps on the road.

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