Friday, October 25, 2013

New Pengin Exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo (Photos)

Today, Henry went with our friends Nicole and William to see the newly-opened penguin exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo. We spent nearly our entire visit in the penguin exhibit, though we visited a few others, like the sea lions, on our way. It was a long wait in line for the penguins (Henry got antsy in his stroller and had to get out to play mid-way through), but it there were volunteers along the way dispensing interesting penguin info.

The wait was totally worth it. It's so nice seeing penguins in the zoo again! They're some of my favorite animals, and the exhibit was full of brightly-displayed information and photographs, as well as the adorable little fellows themselves. Henry had a blast running around looking at everything.

What's your favorite kind of penguin? I think the Humboldt ones are the cutest!

Related posts:
Lion Guardians
Now and Then at the Kansas City Zoo
When Pigs Ruled the Earth!
When Elephants Rule the Earth!
Report Reveals Birds on Public Lands Need Our Help

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Grim Reality Behind Sid the Science Kid

Image property of the Jim Henson Company

Henry likes to watch PBS Kids shows in the morning, including Sid the Science Kid, which drives me nuts! But since I have to watch it, I started to notice that the things that bothered me (besides some of the characters' personality and voices) all pointed towards a dark post-apocalyptic backdrop to the otherwise innocuous children's story.

For those of you who don't know (lucky you!), Sid the Science Kid is about Sid and his 3 school friends making scientific discoveries together. Each episode is based around a question Sid asks his parents before school. The kids then discuss his question on the playground before school starts, and pose it to their teacher once they're inside. The rest of class time is spent answering the question and "making discoveries." Then Sid's grandma picks him up from school and drives him home. Before he goes to bed, Sid makes up an invention related to the day's discoveries, and that's the end of the show.

Seems pretty innocent, huh? Until you look closer, that is.

 Image property of the Jim Henson Company

These are the things that bothered me about the show until I came up with my brilliant "fan theory." In no particular order:
  1. There are no books anywhere in Sid's house or school.
  2. There are no other people living in town besides Sid's family (including his little brother and grandma), his friends and their families, and the teacher, Susie. Sid and his friends are the only 4 children in the school (2 boys and 2 girls).
  3. The only subject studied in school is science, and the only career paths promoted are science-related.
  4. The kids are always waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too excited about doing their scientific discoveries outside in their "super fab lab."
  5. Sid's parents "work" but only seem to do so from home.
  6. Sid's family never goes anywhere in town except to school or to get supplies from "the store." (The second one is only mentioned, never shown, and might not actually exist.)

One day I was thinking about all the things that seemed wrong about the show and I suddenly realized: if you set the story in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited only by scientists and their families, then everything in the show makes perfect sense!

  1. There aren't any books because they were all burnt as fuel during the apocalyptic phase of things. The scientists and their families hid in vaults (Fallout style) while everything went down. I like to think that a disease, affecting only humans, swept the globe, causing world-wide societal breakdown. The scientists found a cure, but most people were dead at that point. They cured themselves and their families, built robots to rebuild parts of the world they wanted, and re-emerged to take charge of a much less populated world.
  2. The "town" Sid lives in is actually one of several breeding colonies established throughout the world. The families were specifically put together because there are 2 boys and 2 girls of the same age. When they grow up, they'll be expected to marry one another and advance the state of the human race by making babies.
  3. Because scientists are the only people who survived, they are in charge of everything, which makes science the most important topic of all. And since most humans are dead, studying the natural world on Earth and other planets is one of the only occupations left anyway.
  4. Being outside is still a big deal because the kids spent the first years of their lives in the vaults underground for safety.
  5. Sid's parents work with other scientists long-distance via e-mails, etc, which is why they always jump to answer any prompt their computers give them.
  6. There's no where to go in town, because it's mostly a ghost town built up by the robots to give the children an illusion of having a "normal childhood." Which is also why they go to "school" every day.

Makes perfect sense, right?


Yes, I do spend too much time thinking about children's programming these days. :)

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

May and Matt Go Camping

Matt and I went camping this past weekend, because we promised ourselves we'd do it this year.. and we almost missed all the good weather. As it was, it got quite chilly, but we still had fun spending time with one another. It is fun to eat food you cooked over a fire you built, and watch the fire as you fall asleep. After breaking camp, we hiked out a different way than we hiked into the woods and got to see different scenery. I'm glad we squeezed it in!

The photos were taken with our phones, so please excuse the graininess.

Bigfoot ;)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blog Action Day: Stop Forced Evictions in Kenya

400 Kenyan families were forcibly evicted on 10 May 2013 from an informal settlement in the capital, Nairobi.
They are homeless and in urgent need of food, water and adequate accommodation.
Police, who were present during the eviction, used live ammunition and teargas. - © Amnesty International 

Today is Blog Action Day, a time when bloggers from around the world join together to write about a universal problem. This year's theme is human rights, and I will be focusing specifically on human rights violations in Kenya, where many people in Kenya have suffered from forced evictions. Amnesty International defines these as "evictions carried out without legal protections. This means those affected are not consulted about suitable alternatives to eviction nor are they given adequate notice. Communities are not compensated for the loss of their homes nor are they offered adequate alternative housing."

This sardonic video gives you an idea of what it is like to be forcibly evicted:
(Click here to see embedded video)

According to the Amnesty International report on forced evictions in Kenya published earlier this month:
Amnesty International...found that even if the eviction had been legally justified and the court had indeed ordered an eviction, the authorities failed to put in place the safeguards required by international law. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has emphasized that even when an eviction is considered to be justified, “it should be carried out in strict compliance with the relevant provisions of international human rights law and in accordance with general principles of reasonableness and proportionality.
Forced evictions not only make people homeless, they can also lead to loss of livelihoods and loss of access to education and health care. They are often violent. International human rights standards are unequivocal: forced evictions are illegal; they are never justified and they constitute a grave violation of the right to housing. Moreover, they can lead to violations of a number of other human rights such as the righ ts to life, food, water, sanitation, health, education, work and security of person. The UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement underline that: “Forced evictions intensify inequality, social conflict, segregation and 'ghettoization’, and invariably affect the poorest, most socially and economically vulnerable and marginalized sectors of society, especially women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples.” 

If you would like to help, please sign this letter to the Kenyan government asking for an end to forced evictions, and share it with your friends.

Related posts:
Blog Action Day: Water for All
International Literacy Day
Women Bear the Brunt of Hunger
World Aids Day

Friday, October 11, 2013

May and Henry Have Fun with Glasses!

My fantastic friend Nicole got me a badass birthday present in the form of a voucher for Shawnee Optix. Through some Amazon Local deal, she'd got a great deal. And since she got herself one as well, she and I and our sons went shopping for glasses together!Henry and William (who's about half Henry's age) had fun watching the store cats and Henry played with the drawers and then asked to try some specs on himself.

Nicole and I picked our frames and, as we left, I asked Henry if he wanted to wear glasses. He nodded his head yes, which I found utterly adorable. And since he may well end up wearing glasses someday, it's nice that he thinks they're cool.

So today, we went back and picked them up! Once again, Henry was all about the drawers, but he wanted me to try on the glasses this time. But he didn't get to play long, because we were in and out again in a jiffy.

He said he likes my new glasses, but since he kept wanting me to try on wire frames, I'm not sure if I believe him. :)

I like these new frames a lot. Thanks, Nicole!! You're such a sweetie!

Also, it's super cute how well Henry and William get along. (I watch William once a week so they see each other regularly). Henry waved at him, all up in his face, and William grabbed his hand and smiled. They are so cute! Eek :)

Related posts:
Now & Then at the KC Zoo
What We've Been Up To
I Just Wanna Show Off Cute Henry Pictures

Friday, October 4, 2013

Haunting Video Art by Javier Perez

Image via Bored Panda

I found this ballerina dancing on knives through a discussion board about knives and it fascinated me! So intense and far more primal than ballet tends to seem. Check out the video:

I then fell into the rabbit hole of Javier Perez's videos, which have been gorgeous, odd and haunting -- perfect for this time of year! Enjoy!

JAVIER PÉREZ - EL CARRUSEL DEL TIEMPO Salzburg Music Festival 2012 from Javier Pérez on Vimeo.

JAVIER PÉREZ - LAMENTACIONS Museu de Montserrat from Javier Pérez on Vimeo

JAVIER PÉREZ - POST NATURA, at the MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art, Vienna, Austria from Javier Pérez on Vimeo.

This one is NSFW:


JAVIER PÉREZ - NOCTURNO from Javier Pérez on Vimeo.

This one is also NSFW...and super creepy!

JAVIER PÉREZ - LÁTIGO from Javier Pérez on Vimeo.

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My Part in the HyperKewl Relics Project
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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Experiment in Art and Awareness with Michael Garfield

 Image via Michael Garfield

I meant to post about my friend Michael Garfield's fundraising project sooner, but I kept forgetting. So now there are only 4 days left! The great news is, he's reached his original goal of $3,333 and is now shooting for $4,500! I've talked to you before about the multi-threat awesomeness that is Michael Garfield, but this project takes everything up to a whole new level.

Check it out:

Please visit his campaign page to learn how you can contribute ---> Through a Glass Brightly: Art & Consciousness in the Age of Surveillance

Related posts:
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Michael Garfield: Glass Chrysanthemum
Michael Garfield: Writer, Painter, Songbird