larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (enceladus)
In honor of today's end of mission, here are some Saturn flyby movies using Cassini photos. (via)

ETA: Animation of some of Cassini's last photos, showing Enceladus setting behind Saturn.

The world's oldest known trigonometric table is a 3,700-year-old cuneiform tablet. It is, to boot, highly accurate. (via)

Rocket Man, Elton John (Official Music Video), directed by an Iranian refugee. (via Janni)


Subject quote, also in honor of Cassini, is from the "The Earthly Paradise," Introduction to March, William Morris.
larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (astronomy)
Three obviously related links of awesomeness:

The motion of 2 million stars over 5 million years. (via)

All of NASA's photos and videos in a single, searchable website: Aw, yisssss. (via)

Prince and Muppets. You're welcome. (via)


Subject quote from "Stanzas in Memory of the Author of "Obermann"," Matthew Arnold.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (twirls)
For Epiphany, All Of Bach brings us a lovely cantata for the day, BWV 65. (See also, or rather hear, BWV 225.)

Ukulele Batman vs Bagpipe Superman. Exactly what it says on the tin, only even more so. (via)

"Adjectives of Order" by Alexandra Teague. (via?)


Subject quote from "Early Spring," Alfred Tennyson.
larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (astronomy)
Why we shouldn't bother colonizing Io: every time it's eclipsed by Jupiter, its sulfur dioxide atmosphere freezes out, only to sublime back into a gas when warmed by the sun. (via)

The biggest ant war ever is still going on right now. (via)

My brother-in-law gives a TEDx talk: introduction to the double-bass, including some wicked playing.


Subject quote from "Mount Vernon," Grenville Mellen. Yes, that's in Spenserian stanzas. Really.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
Three extraordinary things:

Many lichens are not a symbiosis of algae and fungi, as we've long thought: large numbers are a symbiosis of algae, fungi, and yeast. (via)

On June 20-21, Icelandic state television RÚV did a 24-hour live broadcast of a drive on the Ring Road, all the way around Iceland, to the soundtrack of a procedurally generated 24 hour remix of Sigur Rós's "Óveður." I caught parts of this livestreamed online, and had fun recognizing places I've been. The recording is finally up on the band's website: "Route One" Content warning: hypnotic Icelandic landscapes. (via)

Via All of Bach (previously): Der Friede sei mit dir (BWV 158).


Subject quote from "Everybody Got Their Something," Nikka Costa.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
How tone policing protects privilege. (via Janni)

Magnets and Marbles. (via)

Sandra Boyton and the Highly Irritating Orchestra give us Bolero Completely Unraveled. It's even better if you imagine it performed by cattle and poultry. (via)


Subject quote from "Simple Gifts," Joseph Brackett.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
A quick note following up this post:

Babymetal has appeared on Colbert. (via) Make of this what you will. Of course, you will anyway.

*exit stage left, headbanging*


Subject quote from "Better Days," Goo Goo Dolls.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
TBD is two years and eleven months old, and it's even harder to remember not yet actually three.

Friends who haven't seen TBD for several months (or in a couple cases a year) have been struck by the changes: this is now a much more secure child, with a confidence in people and the world, not to mention self. Also a child who takes comfort from both parents -- sometimes preferentially Janni yays.

Achievements unlocked in the last month include playing the harmonica (breathing both out and in), using a screwdriver (with assistance steadying it), and chained "Why?" questions (though current favorite question is "What's that sound?"). More singing in general both learned and invented, both in English and otherwise -- including belting out "Twinkle Twinkle" and a "Baba Finger" variant of "Father Finger". There's also an obsession with making certain that I don't sing "Low Bridge" at bedtime, with the prohibition repeated at least once a day (though twice the song has been demanded, go fig).

Invisible friends come and go like soot sprites. Speaking of which, Dhowie may or may not have been a soot sprite (from known from My Neighbor Totoro), as at least once she was clapped between hands before disappearing. Others since then have been even more transitory -- names get mentioned, most of them invented rather than borrowed from people she knows, and then dropped with sometimes bewildering speed. "Where's X?" remains the most important question about them, though.

We've discovered -y as an all-purpose diminutive, adding it to all sorts of nouns (including globe-y and the stuffie now named Sheepy). Intermitently, though -- and with the flip side of Mommy/Daddy sometimes getting shortened to Mom/Dad. More interesting, Mama seems to be moving into a name for mother, with grandmothers shifting over to Grandma or Gramma (the pronunciations are nearly the same). Baba still is grandfather, though. Another amusing address is Mommydaddy, generically meaning "one of you two", which has been taking on almost pronominal usage.

Other pronunciations are clarifying, though th- remains elusive and likely will for some time. Syllables more complex words sometimes get shortened, such as s'ghetti with meatballs. Other talking, talking:

Auntie Y: "Do you know how to say strawberry in Chinese?"
TBD: "Yeah."
Auntie Y: "You do? Can you say it?"
TBD: "Strawberry in Chinese."
(concrete thinking in action)

TBD: "It died?"
Janni: "Yes, the flower died."
TBD: "Died like people?"

"Where do fish go work?"

(I jotted down a few more that trod into privacy areas and supressed -- something I suspect will happen more and more.)

And yeah, we're already planning the birthday party for the end of the month. Such is the life.


Subject quote from "Strength," Roth d'Lux.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. Do you take the one less traveled by or the one more traveled by? (via)

This post about extra trigonometry functions has a figure with the caption "A diagram with a unit circle and more trig functions than you can shake a stick at. (It's well known that you can shake a stick at a maximum of 8 trig functions.)" How can you resist the clicky? (via)

Even though there's no Wolgemut, this is still a rocking party mix of medieval music. (via)


Subject quote from "Love and Sleep," Algernon Charles Swinburne.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
I've been monkeying around with the folk process again. My current favorite bedtime song* is "O Shenandoah," to the tune found in one of TBD's song books with extended verses from a book of sailor shanties. Only, I've been reordering the verses and monkeying with the words, to unkink the narrative line, such as it remains. In my defense, in its sea-shanty life,** the leader constantly changed up the free lines anyway (the refrains, when sailors pulled, were fixed solid), so I figure I can continue that license.

Anyway, here's how I'm singing it now:
O Shenandoah, I long to see you
Way away, you rolling river
O Shenandoah, I long to see you
Away, I'm bound away
Across the wide Missouri

O Shenandoah, I love your daughter (x2)

O Shenandoah, I'll not deceive you
O Shenandoah, for I must leave you

O Shenandoah, I've got a notion
To sail across the stormy ocean

O Shenandoah, time 's come between us
It's seven years since last you've seen us

O Shenandoah, I long to see you (x2)
It makes a good lullaby, with its deep slow lines.

* TBD's favorite is unclear. Or possibly it constantly shifts.

** It started as a fur-trapper ballad about a white man who falls in love with a native chief's daughter, became a shanty (hauling song) on the Mississippi river boats, then migrated to the ocean in the mid-19th century.


Subject misquoted from "Puff the Magic Dragon," another bedtime song.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (run run run)
TBD is two years and ten months old, and as of last week suddenly looking, moving, and acting like a three-year-old. Next to actual three-year-olds on the playground, I can't tell the difference. Above and beyond this, I've been getting glimpses of older-child face in certain moments and moods, which is a little startling.

Forgot to mention last update: there's now a marked preference for using the right hand for many tasks, including screw-top containers -- which is another new achievement unlocked. Also unlocked, since then: taking a DVD out of the case, putting it into the player, using the remote to start the movie (this is the hardest part), and then putting everything away and turning it all off. We are starting to sort objects by color (such as bowls or plates), and getting more accurate with counting small sets.

This kid sooo wants to grow up already. We've been informed that when dressed in a dragon costume, TBD is a grown-up dragon, not a baby dragon. For a while, every kind of interesting truck, we were asked whether you have to be a grown-up to drive it (as opposed to just a "bigger-bigger kid," as with a pickup).

We spent half this past month sick, which meant far more TV than usual, possibly more even than reading. Media consumed the most includes My Neighbor Totoro repeatedly, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (favorite character: Katerina Kittycat, to which both Janni and I are all Of Course, since Henrietta was our favorite as a child meow-meow), and nursery rhymes from the Little Baby Bum channel on YouTube. Oddly, I've been banned from singing "Low Bridge," aka the Erie Canal Song -- the prohibition has been repeated every bedtime for a month. Other songs are still welcome, and sometimes TBD can repeat one after hearing it just a couple times.

We've made the acquaintance of some invisible friends: Gina, Dhowie, and Hahee. Gina is human -- she's at the same preschool and sometimes comes over for a play-date. Dhowie is capable of hiding in very small spaces, and sometimes seems to exist only in order to ask, "Where's Dhowie?" Hahee is more shadowy and has little discernible personality, that I can see.

Talking, talking includes more, and more complicated, complete sentences. Pronunciation sometimes is a struggle: "shoulder" and "stroller" are hard to resolve, and they are very different means of travel. And then there's some idiosyncratic names for things: ramen and udon noodles are both "ramen" -- oops, made the wrong one. Another developmental milestone: enumeration by exhaustion -- "I want that one and that one and that one and ... "

Didn't write down many good conversations, though:

TBD: "I'm a baby grown-up."
Me: "That's right."
TBD: "You baby grown-up?"
Me: "No, I'm a grown grown-up."
TBD: "Yeah."

TBD: "I want to fly on a top like Totoro."
Janni: "Me too. I would love to have one of those."
TBD: "Target?"

Would that we could get one there, kid -- would that we could.


Subject quote from "I Know What I Know," Paul Simon.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
TBD is two years and nine months old, and looking and acting even more like a small child.

I've only recently come to appreciate how much repetition is essential to toddlers -- not just for comfort, but how they process this big, confusing world. It's developmental. Conversations and questions are repeated because that's how the content gets internalized, confirming that things haven't changed in at least this one way. Ditto all the play working on processing emotional subjects and states.

The book collection is getting out of control -- we've 'sploded the bookcase in TBD's room, and piles are constantly falling off the coffee table. Books are starting to be requested, especially ones advertised in books in hand -- and if the library doesn't have something, "Bookstore?" Needless to say, the solution is not fewer books but better storage. "Daddy, read book" is a hard plea to resist, as is "More book." As for subjects, non-fiction is trending, and not just about trucks and construction equipment but the natural world.

Favorite TV right now is Ponyo, and we sometimes play-act Ponyo searching for Sousuke or the reverse. Other media enjoyed include Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and some Winnie the Pooh movies, but they're running a very distant second at the moment.

As for speaking, for a couple weeks TBD sometimes swapped syllables in unexpected ways: "holeman" for manhole, "backypig" for piggyback. This seems to be passing, though. OTOH, stumbling over words while trying to get out a complete sentence continues, and remains adorable. Emotions are getting more expression, directly, in conversation, and in play. And this time, I did manage to note more talking, talking:

Enough of them, they get a cut for length )

As you can tell, there's more singing. Music class has started a new term, to TBD's joy, and the song parts of library story-time get all the interest. That, and picking out another two books to check out. *glances again at book piles*

And so it goes -- life as fast as a toddler on a bicycle.


Subject quote from "Tightrope," Janelle Monáe.
larryhammer: a wisp of smoke, label: "it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls" (curlicues)
While it is physically possible to play "Scarborough Fair" on an ocarina tuned to C6, it can be argued that the shrill upper notes, which must be blown hard, makes this tonally inadvisable.

Or at the very least, something that should only be done out-of-doors.


Subject quote from "Chevy Chase."
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
TBD is two years and eight months old, and has lived in this house for over half that time.

And now, suddenly, has that gangling older-toddler look. With this comes more activity/energy and longer attention spans. Imaginative play has overtaken reading as an activity, timewise. The toy kitchen (the big Hanukkah gift) was a big hit, getting several play sessions a day -- playing with trucks is second place (and that's sometimes combined with cooking, heh). How extensively play relates to things going on in daily life is something of an eye-opener -- we knew it happened, but it's practically everything at this point. The first future career to be announced was "I going to be firefighter!" -- others include driver of a dump drunk, doctor, driver of a train, and a grown-up. Basic emotions (happy, mad, sad) can be identified when felt, and the proximate cause sometimes described, with prompting.

Another seasonal gift, a picture book of English and Mandarin nursery rhymes, immediately went into high rotation, with songs from both languages being requested. Things related to China are of strong interest, especially people or animals there. (Time to collect a couple coffee-table photobooks.)

Speaking of English, there's been more talking talking, of course, with more attempts (with adorable fumbling for words) at full sentences. Some pronunciations remain unclear -- the newest hard-to-distinguish pair being "my"/"Mommy," where the latter's sometimes rendered as "m'y" -- but others improve. "You" remains a name for self, as well as a pronoun for someone being addressed, but uses of personal name to mean self have shown up (along with "I"/"my" as first-person pronoun). Wrestling with idioms and abstractions gave the most amusement:

After playing "Twinkle, Twinkle" and "Row, Row, Row" on an ocarina and showing TBD how to blow into it,* then playing them again, I play another song:
TBD: *sitting up startled* "'Sing Roo'?"
Me: *nodding while still playing*
TBD: *wide-eyed* *taps ocarina* "That['s] in there too?"

When told about picking me up after work:
TBD: "Daddy too heavy?"

As we start driving to grandparents:
Janni: "Let's hit the road!"
TBD: "Owie?"

(Surely I jotted down more? Apparently not.)

Said Christmas visit with grandparents went very well -- TBD especially loves grandpa ("Baba," which is "Daddy" in Mandarin, to everyone's amusement), but now sometimes follows grandma ("Mama," or "Mommy" in Mandarin, to everyone's confusion) around the house and gives her spontaneous hugs. We again took two days driving there, but given TBD's increased endurance in the car-seat we made it all the way home in one, spending 10 hours on the road -- though it took promising we'd see our cats and a visit to the local Children's Museum to get over the disappointment (!) of not staying in a hotel.

More and more singing as well. TBD was surprised we knew "Jingle Bells," since we'd never sang it, but greatly enjoys singing it with us (favorite part: shouting out "HEY!"). Little songs get made up, mostly sung to self, and songs on random topics get requested of us. Janni is excellent at improvising at length. Much better than I am.

So it goes. May the wintertide holidays have been good to you all.

* FWIW, it is completely my own fault that I need to replace my ocarinas. TBD handles them with all the care due to breakable ceramic ("glass," which makes owie shards). I just need to learn to put them in jacket pockets that close.


Subject quote from "Spring View," Du Fu (tr. Mark Alexander).
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
TBD is two years and seven months old.

Talking, talking continues, but more dramatic is the singing, singing -- fragments of known songs throughout the day, both while chattering to herself and to us. Including at least one invented song -- as taught to me, it goes "I'm a small rainbow / Bay bee boh boo BEEEE!" I almost never get the accent quite right on that last line, leading to several rounds of laughing corrections. When singing "Twinkle, twinkle," at the 4th line, TBD sometimes puts thumbs and forefingers together to make a diamond shape.

More imaginative play, both with us and alone, often working through recent experiences. Cooking is a favorite one, especially making something we had that day, but playing with trucks and buses and the people who ride them is also common. Role-based pretend showed up this weekend -- saying "I'm a firefighter. Help people!" while climbing a playground ladder, and at the top taking my hand to help me to the slide so we can escape the burning building together. Reading books remains more important, though, at least around me -- Richard Scarry is the current Most Favored Author.

Trick-or-treating was enjoyed, but up and down one block was definitely Enough. Our zoo visit a few weeks later, however, we went through the whole place in three hours, returning to the elephants when we ran out of animals. Endurance: still growing.

Achievements unlocked includes *ahem* unlocking the front door bolt -- something both admirable and unwanted. Also zippers, simpler screw-tops, the radio, buckling her seatbelt, a mad face, and an emphatic desire to be a "big kid" leading up to changing rooms at preschool. The you/me distinction still gives trouble, but "you" is tipping toward pronomial rather than nominal use. I'm starting to be addressed as Daddy outside of commands. Questions are becoming more sophisticated: "What's that sign say?" And generally words are running together into phrases, even while being stumbled over.

"I do it!" has been largely replaced by "That's my do it!" (an occasional variation is "That's my choose!") and "Oops" displaced "Uh oh" as the something-went-wrong word. And I keep not jotting down the better exchanges -- here's two I did:

me: "How are you this morning?"
TBD: "I'm doing well."
me: *silently* What, are you a little old lady?

(After a couple teary preschool dropoffs, as we prepare to leave in the morning)
TBD: *serious face* "Daddy, I'm crying waa waa." *mimes wiping eyes*
me: "Are you sad because I'll be leaving you at school?"
TBD: "Yeah." *looks more cheerful*
(It was still a teary dropoff.)


Subject quote from "Sonnets to Orpheus," 2.xiii, Rainer Marie Rilke (in honor of that last conversation).
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (iceland)
If anyone knows of a way to make the lyrics to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" not so relentlessly heteronormative without reducing the pacifist message, I would appreciate the tip. Because, yanno, it makes a great lullabye otherwise.

Or maybe we can brainstorm here.

larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (romance)
Update on yesterday's post:

Twice last night, TBD sang, "Row row row boat down stream / Merr'ly merr'ly merr'ly merr'ly dream!" more or less on tune all the way through.


Subject quote from "Rowing Song," Patty Griffin.

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