ImaWestie

Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Bourne Legacy

I absolutely love the whole Bourne series of films. They do a fantastic job of setting a stage within a very close-to-real universe which could believably overlap with the one the rest of us happen to inhabit.

Then along came The Bourne Legacy.

A fantastic cinematic experience with a great cast, and a great storyline. Without going too deep, it just happens to be very similar to the movies that came before. It relies on those movies to set the scene. But if you think your experience with the earlier movies is going to tell you everything there is to know about The Bourne Legacy … well you’re in for a shock. You may even get upset that it’s not what you were expecting.

Just like getting on an airplane bound for Rome, and hopping off in … Holland?

Or expecting that your experience with previous children – maybe even children with a disability – will prepare you for a child with Autism.

Taken as an experience on their own, a child with Autism on the most part is a joy. One that may be a lot of hard work. But in the main, Autism itself does not preclude a full enjoyable relationship between child and carer. Let assumptions based on other children assume control of the journey though, and everyone involved will become confused, upset, and possibly needlessly angry.

Enjoy the movie you have. Stop wishing it was a movie that was never made.

Ubuntu Messiness

For a while now I have been running Ubuntu on most of the equipment that I could. With the recent hard drive failure of my media server, and motherboard failure of Bec’s laptop, I have been down to just one desktop PC running Ubuntu.

And with me in Canberra, that one PC had gotten a fair bit out of date – I think it was running 11.10 (released October 2011) and getting annoying “your version is obsolete” messages for some time now.

So today I tried to update it. I tried from the GUI. I tried from the Command Line. Both attempts failed. I downloaded the software to a USB stick and installed it. I found that while I still had everybodys home folders, I had lost all the user accounts, so I had to recreate the user accounts, then modify them to match the user ID numbers which had access to the home folders.

Keeping the passsword file should be a pretty easy thing to script.

Manually fixing things when the password file had not been kept was harder than it should have been.

Working now; but not too happy about it.

Stretching

Lizzie… on one of her cleaner moments!

Today was a bit of a big one at Westie Central. For the first day since I came home from working in Canberra, Bec had to work, leaving me with all three kids all at once. Which of course is a Big Deal for a dad, even though I’m one of the first to say if they are my kids it’s parenting not babysitting.

There has been far too much electronic time happening in our place since Christmas (or even since Magpie’s birthday). Yesterday I thought that Bec’s return to work was a perfect opportunity to do something about that. So the kids were put on notice that once I returned from my own run, they would be coming with me for a run. So I ran my lap of the suburb, did a few chores and we hit the pavement.

There is a very convenient landmark which is almost exactly 1km from our front gate, which is right on the path of a running track. So all of us headed for that landmark (it’s a bridge), me leading he way with BTB Fan and the dogs. Given the dogs had already finished about 8km, Howie was still eager to go while Lizzie was a bit over it. Yet in only a small fraction longer a time than my standard time, there I was at that bridge with BTB Fan and two dogs.

About a minute later up came Princess P.

Several minutes later again… Magpie finally staggered up. Grumbling about not being at home.
My understanding is the run home was quicker by all parties – except me, who at this point was pushing 10km for the day, and had mown the lawn as well…

Hitting the pool

Later we headed off to the pool. Both Magpie and Princess P had been told point blank that they would be requried to swim a lap of the full size outdoor pool, because with all the pool time they have had they have spent none of it improving their swimming. I take responsibility for that, but I will reqiure them to put some effort into improving the situation in my own way, if they don’t fix it themselves.

This was accomodated quite readily by Princess P. But somewhere it seems the message had not filtered all the way into Magpie’s head.

As a result… he was less prepared than I had thought he was.

So I had my first in-pool meltdown. In front of some of his school friends, as well as a lifeguard…. Which ended with him swimming his first ever lap of the Olympic pool, back-stroke. Well done mate! At which point I told him that he needed to do it “freestyle” (meaing “front crawl“), and we had another meltdown. In the pool. But again, I perservered, and he swum the lap in the stroke I expected him to use, albeit freaking out and grabbing the lane rope every three to ten strokes.

At the end of it all, he was glad he’d done it, though.

Later, I went through much the same with my littlest Westie, “swimming” (with me supporting his hips) two lengths of the outdoor childrens pool.

Not the best trip to the pool for us. We had been going so well before Christmas, too, but with our routine broken… it was as good an opportunity to establish the routine I need these kids to follow, if they want me to take them to the pool every day while it’s hot and I’m not working.

Stretching our boundaries will bring some growth. One way or another.

Now on YouTube – BestieBest3000

BestieBest3000Everyone who follows my blog.

I would absolutely LOVE it… as would my son… if you could pop over to youtube and check out BestieBest3000. This is the work of my son Magpie, who turned nine years old only a few days ago.

Working on quite a low spec PC running Ubuntu, he has been working out how to do a wide range of tasks. How to find out what version of Java he has, so he can work out how to install Minecraft in user space.

What software he needs, to record screen movies.

How to then record what he does on the screen, so once he works something out he has his own video tutorial to watch until he can remember how to do it more easily.

How to upload his own tutorials to youtube, so he can share them!

I’m really proud of what he has done. So far it’s pretty simple videos… but I have real thoughts that with the way he is going with the latest, he is going to come up with some real surprises sometime soon.

My second Fitness blog

My second Fitness blog.

Westie Fitness

So far I’m still in my first week of training. It has been rough!

My thighs are killing me! The temperature has been swinging like a pendulum, hot now cold and raining. My technology assistance has been a bit sporadic, I started with one app which let me down – not only the app but also the support. However, Map My Run has been looking after me quite nicely. So far I have tracked my run “around the block*” twice with that application and it’s served the purpose splendidly, as well as helping me track my cool-down walks, my trips to the swimming pool, and my swimming sessions.

However, one of my swimming sessions had to be cancelled – due to the massive storm we experienced on Christmas Eve, the outdoor pool was closed in case of lightning, while at the same time the indoor pool is closed for repair.

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Christmas 2012

Taken from my profile on Instagram, tagged with #Christmas2012.

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Launching Westie Fitness

Westiefit BlogAfter some mild experimenting with apps, I worked out that my own fitness is important enough that I should microblog, photograph, and full on blog about it.

Yesterdays post really belongs in the final category. I would really like to rabbit on about fitness enough that doing that here would probably be distracting or annoying. So… I’ve launched my fitness blog at Westie Fitness. So far it’s off the ground with an About page, and not much else.

So I hope I haven’t caused too much rucus with my app experimentation. From time to time there may be an announcement about the other page… but it will be low key!

Runkeeper – an iPhone app review

T

20121223-134104.jpgToday I set out to make good on some poor habits I have been living to over the last ten or so months in Canberra.
While there has never been a problem with the food I’ve been eating, my activity levels in Canberra were far lower than up till the end of 2011. So I thought I could employ some tech to help put my body back to normal.
First cane a surprise that I’m no heavier than I ever have been, but the waistband of my pants says that’s because fat is bigger than muscle.

I went to the apps store and downloaded RunKeeper, and found it to be easy to set up a profile and navigate. I went for a run and found it easy to use, and the voice prompts were enough to motivate more effort than I had been putting in.

Then I got back home.

I wanted to tweet about my running.
I ended up logged out, which is no big drama. Except it wouldn’t let me back in, and even though it has sent me one email it tells me that my email address is not registered.
Not only that. Their help page says to report this, I should submit a ticket.
Which requires of course that I log in …

Fail, guys. It was good till you locked me out but now it’s just dead storage on my iPhone.

Madness or mayhem? Time may tell.

Well it seems we are still here so unless that was a spiritual or emotional end of the world, they were wrong.
As has been stated, the Mayans seem to have successfully predicted the end of employment for a bunch of people I have been working with. I’m too tired to get over that quickly I think, but I should be fine by the time 2013 rolls around.

Today is the 22nd of December. A Saturday. Three days before Christmas. and I am taking one child diagnosed with Autism and his two siblings – one under assessment for Autism – to the shops.

Why?

Great question. There are a few answers.
Autism should not rule you put of experiences. It should not be an excuse to opt out of every experience you are not 100% equipped to deal with right now. But parents should be right there to support monitor and intervene.

On top of that. I’m time poor this side of Christmas. That is not my preference but comparing the certain money available last week with the uncertain money available next year it was not s difficult choice.

I will take some pics. There will be more to follow. I will celebrate my kids success. I may also mourn if it becomes too much.

End of the world

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Today, as predicted by the Mayans, the world ended.

Not only for me, but for many of my colleagues in Canberra. Today, regardless of how much of the job remained yet to be commenced – we were directed to down tools and return home.

At this stage for most of us it seems there will not be the same job to come back to next year. For some of us there may be a new job in much the same team. For others comes the chance to “pursue other opportunities”. Yeah, right, as if any us wish to do that at Christmas?

For a second year running, I am facing Christmas “between jobs”. This year I am better prepared.

Four days, and the countdown is on.

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