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Showing posts from April, 2016

PAX East 2016

This year's PAX East experience was not as stellar as our previous ones, because 1) we had to constantly supervise our toddler, 2) hubby was not in top gaming form and couldn't crush all opponents as he usually does, and 3) I got sick.

That said, on Saturday we did get Junior a sitter, and we settled down at Tabletop HQ for a few hours of board game time. We played a zombie game (forgot the title, but not recommended) and Istanbul, which was loads of fun! I think hubby got one for us at home.

Here are some photos:

As ever, the costumes were impressive, the crowds were insane, and the food was overpriced and unhealthy!

The unusual thing that happened this year was hubby threw a hissy fit and walked out of a D&D session that he signed up for, because apparently they mess up the logistics every year and this year he'd had enough. He received some sort of rare pin as an apology later on from the session planners.

Anyway, now that I've done this for three years in a ro…

Language Development Study at Harvard


Background: Last week, Junior and I participated in a Language Development Study. The study's goal: to check for the correlation between vocabulary and speed of learning new words. The study's subjects: babies ages 16 months to 2 years old, and their parental unit/s.

Methods: The study was divided into three parts: a game between the research assistant (RA) and the subject; the parent reading a story and teaching a new word to the subject; and the subject watching videos and identifying the correct object via voice prompts. The primary endpoint was the subject's ability to accurately learn new words.

Results: Junior learned the new words, but only after two or three errors.

Conclusions: We got a First 100 Words book out of the deal, so now he'll learn even more words! Also, a baby's having a large vocabulary (i.e. 30+ single words) may be predictive of the ability to quickly learn new words.


Junior has been contributing to science from a very young…

Movie review: Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia is a gorgeously-animated, well-written story about Judy Hopps, a bunny determined to fulfill her dream of being a cop in the big city. The excellent voice acting, larger thematic elements, and the freaking adorable animals make this a great movie to watch with or without your kiddies.

In brief, the peaceful coexistence of predator and prey animals in Zootopia is shaken by a rash of predator disappearances. Thanks to the mayor’s Inclusivity Initiative, Judy – the city’s first bunny cop – gets a chance (eventually) to participate in the search. It’s easy to see why the force doesn’t have any bunnies: most of the officers are enormous rhinos and similar large beasts, while the chief is an intimidating water buffalo. Meanwhile, Zootopia citizens run the gamut from giraffes to lemmings – all land animals. WE’RE MISSING SEA CREATURES IS WHAT I’M SAYING, WHERE MY TURTLES AT.

Oh, Finding Dory? Got it. I'll wait.

The best part about this film, apart from my correctly identifying I…

Movie Review: The Boss (2016)

The Boss is an uneven comedy that coasts on the enormous goodwill earned by its star, Melissa McCarthy. It’s about the fall and rise of Michelle Darnell, a wealthy businesswoman with no family or personal connections. She's like a Tony Stark-Suze Orman combo minus the tech genius and philanthropy. Thanks to her former assistant Claire, played capably by Kristen Bell, Darnell gets back on her feet, overcomes her most persistent rival (Tyrion Lannister), and realizes the importance of family and friendship blah blah blah

Let's get right to it: the writing relies too heavily on McCarthy’s comedy powers, which are strong enough to distract on first viewing. Darnell is a broadly sketched-out stereotype of a business mogul, disdainful of the ordinary and hungry for profits. She drives the plot by persuading Claire, an excellent baker, to be her partner for her new brownie empire. For her brownie salespeople, she recruits girls through Claire’s daughter Rachel.

These are the best com…