One Year with A GoPro

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Lights. Camera. Action!

I finally got another video uploaded. Since you’re here to read instead of watch a YouTube I’ll tell you about it.

Last August I received a GoPro for my birthday from my brother and his family and our parents. They went splitsies on it and surprised me. Over the past year I have, of course, been using it. I wasn’t content to simply use it to video action shots and underwater, though. I know that’s GoPro’s main attraction and it does it well.

I wanted more.

I learned that birds aren’t camera shy. I set the camera on the bird feeder stand and got great shots of the finches feeding. I set the camera on a tripod just a few feet from the bird bath that we converted to a bird feeder. Though it was for bigger birds – blue jays, crows, stupid pigeons, and the occasional grackle. We put peanuts in it.  They loved the peanuts and we loved watching them pick the nuts from the shell. The camera got them loud and clear while we were inside not scaring the birds.

I learned that I can use it to spy on my kids. I set the camera up, slightly hidden, in the bathroom. I would then wi-fi connect to it on my phone and DW and I could easily watch the boys “get ready for bed”. Here “get ready for bed” means wrestle, play in the water in the sink, scare the shit out of each other, and generally not “get ready for bed”. They never did figure out how we knew what they were doing without being up there.

I learned that it’s good for all 4 seasons. In the summer we take it pools and the beach and bike riding and roller blading and kayaking. In the fall it’s good for all that except the pool and beach, but it’s good for hiking then. Come winter it’s good for sledding and ice skating. In the spring we’re back to biking and blading and trampolining.

It’s also good if you just want to talk to your camera viewers. I still find it a bit weird to do, but if you see the video you’ll see that I do talk to it sometimes.

Anyway, the show goes from 40th birthday party to my 41st birthday party. I had to take a break after the clip of my birthday last year. DW’s dad is there and his arms are just a waving, conducting our severely out of tune, yet strongly heartfelt tune of Happy Birthday. I had to leave the video editing until the next day.

I’m still toying with the idea of a “sister sight” on YouTube to accompany my blog. Essentially, I would just be covering the same material only I would do it for others to watch instead of read. But really… where would I find the time to both blog and YouTube? Not like I have anything else to do…

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This Is the Boy…

You know the cliche, the days go slow the years go fast. Today before me stands a six year old. Yesterday he was five. He started school this year and is learning in leaps and bounds. He’s stubborn but loving. He’s quite the comedian, too. If you’ve read any of the Questions I Asked My Kids posts you’ll see that humor shine through. We never know what’s going to come out of him.

This is the boy who talks to himself while doing his business in the bathroom. He pretends to make YouTube videos. 

This is the boy who loves kayaking. His first time in a kayak he paddled away like he’d been doing it for years. He was 5.

This is the boy who still loves trains, trucks, ships, diggers, dumpers, dozers and crossing bridges. He puts his window down to “hear the bridge” whenever we cross one. 

This is the boy who love dirt more than trains, trucks, diggers, dumpers, dozers, and ships. Dirt loves him, too.

This is the boy who loves to do homework with his brother. It won’t be long before his brother will be paying him to do his homework. 

This is the boy who is a half inch taller than what his brother was at the same age. 

This is the boy who’s taught to say “I love you” without saying “I love you”. “I like your face” has become the new quote around the house. “Night night, like your face”. “Bye! Like your face!” Or at some random time when we’re just sitting around watching TV. 

He’s stubborn as an old mule. He’s got his grandfather’s (Guppie) temper. But he’s a lovey boy who sits with the old ladies in the church choir, who has hugs for his teachers every day, who shovels the neighbor’s driveway. 

Happy birthday sweet boy. 

This Is the Boy…

You know the cliche, the days go slow the years go fast. Today before me stands a six year old. Yesterday he was five. He started school this year and is learning in leaps and bounds. He’s stubborn but loving. He’s quite the comedian, too. If you’ve read any of the Questions I Asked My Kids posts you’ll see that humor shine through. We never know what’s going to come out of him.

This is the boy who talks to himself while doing his business in the bathroom. He pretends to make YouTube videos. 

This is the boy who loves kayaking. His first time in a kayak he paddled away like he’d been doing it for years. He was 5.

This is the boy who still loves trains, trucks, ships, diggers, dumpers, dozers and crossing bridges. He puts his window down to “hear the bridge” whenever we cross one. 

This is the boy who love dirt more than trains, trucks, diggers, dumpers, dozers, and ships. Dirt loves him, too.

This is the boy who loves to do homework with his brother. It won’t be long before his brother will be paying him to do his homework. 

This is the boy who is a half inch taller than what his brother was at the same age. 

This is the boy who’s taught to say “I love you” without saying “I love you”. “I like your face” has become the new quote around the house. “Night night, like your face”. “Bye! Like your face!” Or at some random time when we’re just sitting around watching TV. 

He’s stubborn as an old mule. He’s got his grandfather’s (Guppie) temper. But he’s a lovey boy who sits with the old ladies in the church choir, who has hugs for his teachers every day, who shovels the neighbor’s driveway. 

Happy birthday sweet boy. 

Geeking Out

I’m still a kid at heart. DW can testify to that. I enjoy games. Sport games. Video games. Board games. Word games. Picture games. Though my taste in toys has changed over the years. No longer do I ride Big Wheels (though I more than likely would if they made them my size). No longer do I play with Speak-n-Spell (though I probably should because my spelling can be atroshus). Now my toys involve a bit more technology.  It will come as no surprise for two items on my “after we get rich” list. Naturally, these are items strictly on my “want” list. There’s no way I need these things other than to make life a bit more fun. But still… I can’t wait to get rich.

The first item is kind of like something I already have except about a million times better. You may have seen a video I made with this techy toy. It’s a small drone. When I say small, I mean that it doesn’t have any bells and whistles. We’re lucky if the battery lasts ten minutes. It has the power to carry a GoPro, but if I lose sight of it, it’s gone. If a gust of wind blows, it’ll be gone. So we’ve limited ourselves to flying it just in the backyard. It’s still fun. But this new one, this high tech one called a Mavic that’s made by DJi, has all the bells and whistles. The battery lasts for nearly a half hour. It folds up small enough to (barely) fit in your pocket. It has a wicked camera. It has GPS so that it can hover in one spot no matter the wind speed. It can fly 4 miles away and return with the touch of a button. It can follow you! Okay, so it costs as much as a new computer, but how much fun would that be? Granted, I’d still be filming our family 99% of the time with it. However, imagine filming yourself, or the kids, or all of us, from the air as we go zooming down the best sledding hill our town has to offer. Imagine a birds eye view you could of yourself, of the kids, of all of us, kayaking a forested, lazy river. It’s taking home video to levels never seen before. If anyone knows where I could get my hands on one, I would LOVE to fly one of these. 

The second toy I have my eye on is a new gaming system. We have a Wii and have had it for many years. It’s easy to use. Both of our boys were using it by the age of 2 or 3 (with supervision, of course). Lately, we have spent two or three nights a week having a “family night” after supper and before bed playing four player Mario Kart. The boys laugh and laugh when DW lets slip a bad word because she fell off the track, again. In March, Nintendo has a new system coming out that’s getting a fair amount of hype called The Switch. It seems to be part tablet and part console in the sense that you can dock it to your TV to play, but once undocked you can continue playing your game as a tablet. It even has controllers that fit the tablet portion. I’m curious to see if it can still play four player games locally without having to be online like the Wii can. Also like the Wii, it relies on controller motion, not just joystick movement and button pushing of it’s competitors. Crash has asked me to print a chore chart again so he can start earning an allowance to save up for this. I’m curious to see how it does once it hits the market.

What’s on your wish list?

A snow at Night

I’ve got 17 minutes while my video Crash and I recorded this evening finished rendering so I can get up on the channel. Crash wants it on his channel, too.

Anyway, Bang is off to a sleepover at Nanny and Pop’s house. The snow is flying here and we’re supposed to get 4 inches tonight and another possible 12 inches tomorrow night. The winds were calm so I suggested to Crash, “Lets take the drone for a fly.”

“But it’s dark and snowing!”

“So. It’ll be alright. There’s no wind.”

The grin he gave me nearly split his face in two. First, we were going to fly the drone. Second, it was slightly risky because it’s dark and snowing. Good father/son times. Excluding severe weather,  wind is our biggest enemy with this toy. Since there was none, we strapped on the GoPro (which doesn’t mind extreme weather) and took off.

It was calm enough that I fairly comfortable handing the controls over to Crash. Allowing a 9 year old to manoeuvre a done that doesn’t have GPS capabilities isn’t highly recommended. He didn’t do too bad. I was there to coach him. His only mistake was that he kept throttling down too fast so he kept “bouncing” it off the snowy ground. Fortunately, it was only falling from a few feet. No harm done and he got to experience handling the controls.

I got some neat video at the end, but because I had forgotten to wipe the snow off the camera on the last bounce there wasn’t much to see. You can just barely make us out through the snow crystals clinging to the lens.

Anyway, this little toy of ours has become something he and I can do together. Granted, the battery only lasts about 10 minutes… it’s still time together. After our flight, it was snack time, teeth time, then read time. We’re on chapter 29 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – another us time moment that we both look forward to every night. Now I’m looking forward to spending a few minutes with DW before we both crawl into bed between our new microfleece sheets.

Click here to see the drone in the snow at night video…

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STEM Girls

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My aunt posted this article, Why Girls Need Stem and Why Stem Needs Girls to her FB. I was intrigued. I knew I was going to write about this so I saved the link in my drafts. A week or so later I was watching TV.

Do you remember that show with Corey and Topanga- Boy meets world? Well, they made a sequel to it. Corey and Topanga grew up, got married and had two kids. One is a teenage girl. Hence, it’s called Girl Meets World.

I found myself watching an episode of it (again) the other night. It was my sign that it was time to write.

In this episode titled Girl Meets STEM (see the theme, now), Riley takes a stand when she notices that it’s just the boys who conduct the science experiments. The central problem of this episode revolves around the fact that the female characters were at the age when most girls start dropping out of STEM classes.

Science
Technology
Engineering
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These are the areas where the greatest developments occur. Marie Curie and her
radioactivity research. Sally Ride, the first woman in space. Antonia Coello Novello, the first female Surgeon General of the United States. Kari Byron, a co-host of Mythbusters. Ms. Frizzle.

Okay, so that next to last one doesn’t have the staggering STEM resume the others do. But, she is in the field of science working to make science exciting for teens. And the last one isn’t real. Still, I think girls appreciate the show just as much as the boys do.

The first article reports that about 10-30% of STEM occupations are female. A quick google search reveals very similar numbers for the number of males in the teaching profession between elementary and high school.

Why this odd imbalance? Historically speaking, that’s the way it’s always been. This is the 21st century. It doesn’t have to be like that any more. Women have proven over and over again, they are just as capable as men.

We need to rethink how we treat the girls in these classes when they are still young. Stop gender stereotyping and allow kids to explore, engineer, build, study, think whatever it is they can dream up. I’m certainly not saying take away their dolls – that how they learn to be mothers (just as our boys have Sweet Baby to practice caring for to be good dads). I’m saying give them that which they can discover and reinvent the world. Building blocks. Science kits. Solar powered robots. Lego is for everyone!

Allow them to explore the world and the world will be theirs.

Do with boys, too. They love it just as much.

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