Wooden Cameras

Photojojo Wooden Camera Gift Set

Did you see this Wooden Camera Gift Set over at Photojojo? It’s pretty damn cute. I mean, a wooden camera…. who would come up with that!?

But wait… I present to you… a Wooden Camera!

This isn’t a “Wooden Camera Gift Set” but it is a “Wooden Camera Gift” because this is the present that my kids gave me for my birthday back in June.

I’m pretty sure they never saw the “Wooden Camera Gift Set” mentioned since: 1. Photojojo mentioned it in October, and 2. They don’t subscribe to the newsletter. Why do they not subscribe? Heck if I know!

This camera is black, which means it’s a “professional camera” and it shows a photo of me from my younger days (possibly taken by senator dingdong) which depicts me shoving something into my face. Probably birthday cake. Also, mine came with a case, which is also black, which means it’s a “professional case” obviously.

Whenever my kids ask what I want for my birthday, I usually respond “Whatever, you don’t have to buy me anything, just make me something!” so I’m glad that they finally did make me something… and, they also made me proud. :)


80’s Movie Night

The Doctor and I have been showing the kid’s movies from the 1980’s every few weeks, and we call it “80’s Movie Night” of course…

So far we’ve seen such classics as The Muppet Movie, Gremlins, Ghostbusters (1 and 2), and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. (The kids aren’t ready for The Breakfast Club yet, and yes, they have seen The Goonies…)

My next suggestion is Meatballs (even though it came out in 1979) but if you’ve got a suggestion for a 1980’s movie, let me know, and we’ll add it to the list.


Shooting Photos

I did a photoshoot with the kids over the weekend. The folks at Z2 Marketing were kind enough to let me use the studio. Here’s a few of the shots, and you can see more in the Flickr set.

Maddy slates

Maddy loves to have her picture taken, so it was pretty easy to get her in the mood.

Emma on chair

Emma is not as much an “in front of the camera” person, and like me, likes to be behind the camera.

Reflector in Black and White

I pretty much let them do what they wanted, and didn’t direct things too much. Next time I might push a little further and see how well they can follow directions, as long as they still have fun with it.



When I was a kid, you went to school, and the only time you had to worry about your parents knowing about your grades was when reports cards came, or when progress reports came (not good) or when there was a phone call made (really not good.)

But today there are things like WebGrader, which is an online system that schools and teachers use to let not just the students, but the parents know exactly what is going on. I mean exactly. (Hello Big Brother!)


So the parent in me who cares about my child’s grades and wants to keep tabs on things thinks this is a good thing. (Even more so as I don’t get to talk with my child each day about school.) On the other hand, the parent in me who wants to see my child be responsible for themself without me having to keep a close watch wonders what damage this close monitoring might do. (Honestly, I’m pretty lucky, as my child is quite responsible, in school and in life.)

The open-source, sharing, collaborating, and hacking parent in me wishes they provided an API or at least RSS feeds to make it easier to use. Like most apps in this genre, it suffers from poor usability issues. They do allow you to receive Inbox messages via email, so that’s a start, but honestly, I don’t know if they plan to innovate from there. (I did send them feedback about some UI issues, and they were very receptive, so that’s a plus.)

In the end, I think it’s a good thing, and here’s why: People make mistakes. My daughter is a good student, but she was a bit overwhelmed by middle school, so the first time I logged into WebGrader, I saw an F, and there was a note from a teacher about a missing assignment. I asked my daughter about it and she said she turned it in. I sent the teacher a message asking her to discuss it with my daughter, and it turns out it was turned in, but with no name on it. Simple mistake. The next week I saw another F and when questioned, my daughter said she handed it in, and got it back – with an A on it. A simple message to the teacher revealed that the grade was entered wrong, and was indeed an A. Again, a simple mistake, but one I am glad I could catch.


BarCampMilwaukee2: Session Ideas

I’ve proposed a few sessions for BarCampMilwaukee2. I really need to stop. I don’t want to do too much, and I want others to be able to get a chance, but dammit, I just get BarCampFever sometimes!

We will be doing intro sessions to start things off, and I think it’s really important to promote Creative Commons. We are going to suggest (but not require) that people post their photos, video, code, etc. under open licenses, and try to explain why this is a Good Idea. I’ve been wanting to talk about CC to many of the locals for a while now.

This is one where I don’t know how it will go, Internet for Kids. As a total net-nerd, with kids, I may know too much about how things work, so sometimes I’m not sure what I should or should not let my kids do online. Do we follow high-tech solutions (proxies, blocking) or low-tech (sit with them and watch what they do.) Mainly looking for advice and ideas here.

And of course, Popsicle Sticks 2.0… Yeah, that’s right. You think you’ve built things with Popsicle Sticks before? Total Popsicle Sticks 1.0 – this is the Next Generation of Popsicle Stick Building! (I hope…)

Oh yeah, I also tossed out the idea of a mini-remote-control helicopter rally, and at least one person seemed totally hyped up about it. Did I mention the ceiling at Bucketworks is like 50 feet tall in the big room?