Saturday, January 31, 2009

Programming Fun

There's an astonishing amount of education going on here at the moment, considering our normal levels of chaos. Emily has become very interested in programming. We downloaded Small Basic and its little manual and she has been working her way through that, ably assisted and encouraged by Gramps :-)) She got the hang of it at lightning speed and has had great fun cobbling together some little basic programs and messing around with the code of example programs.

We had also purchased Game Programming for Teens; unfortunately, although the book looked excellent, the accompanying software was infuriating and refused to work properly, and even the free download from the book's website didn't fix matters and in fact made them worse. Very disappointing. Undaunted, however, Emily has been spending hours reading on the net about various programming languages, asking questions to which I have no answers and working with the small basic thingy. We're very impressed.

In addition to that, Emily's also been doing a lot of reading about evolution and Darwin, and I've been writing snotty emails of complaint after discovering that neither Survival Rivals nor The Great Plant Hunt were willing to send materials to home educators, only to "proper" schools. Fume, swear, fume. What else, education wise? Oh yes, lots of maths, lots of English, lots of logic work and some North American geography, modern history in the form of the Kennedy assassination and Nixon's resignation (courtesy of a free DVD someone lent us), law, ethics and morality in the form of much discussion after various crime dramas, and lots and lots and lots of cooking. That's *lots* of cooking, completely unsupervised and in most cases with us not even knowing where Emily's gone before she arrives back triumphantly announcing that such and such is in the oven, lol. We're being spoilt :-))

After a rather long lull, festival-wise, we hope to get back to celebrating various festivals imminently, starting with Imbolc next week.

Lulu seems to have come out of her psycho phase, lol. She's stopped being aggressive to Emily, I'm delighted to say. She's not exactly friendly, either - she's kind of indifferent at the moment, but it's a big step forward and a big relief all round. Lulu's happy enough around Emily, but she doesn't fly to her and won't step up onto her hand..... but she will soon, I'm sure. Emily's still being very patient with her and is totally in love with this parrot, lol. As indeed are we all.

Clever Gramps made Lulu a fabulous swinging climbing frame last week which she absolute adores, and she also became the proud owner of a new set of hexagonal swinging rings plus a ton of old baby toys, rattles and the like which she loves to play with. Next week, we'll be putting a rope across the dining room ceiling for her in addition to all her swings and perches down there. Parrot play room, lol.

Lulu's becoming very, very brave and bold, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's delightful to watch her personality really emerging. On the other hand....with five cats around.... it's "interesting". Previously, Lulu would sit quietly on my or Jon's hand or shoulder to make the trip from the upstairs sitting room (where her cage is) to the downstairs dining room when Emily and I are down there. This is quite a long trip, through and past various other rooms. Last week, however, she decided she'd rather like to investigate these new areas, and took to flying off for a good look round en route. Eek. One day, she flew straight into a window (because she wasn't familiar with the room) and crashed to the floor...Severus was in the room and had pounced before I could get to him.... he landed, literally, six inches away from Lulu who was then on the floor. That was close, and not pleasant. The following day, on the way downstairs, Lulu flew off into the big downstairs sitting room.... elderly Cassie-cat wasn't so elderly that she wasn't on her feet and stalking within seconds. Sigh.

If Lulu sits on a hand during the journey, we can put a thumb across her feet so she can't fly theory. In practice, she tries anyway and you end up feeling awful as this flappy thing tries to wrench its feet out of your hand. A little more training required in that department, I think! If it wasn't for the cats it wouldn't matter and she could fly around where she wanted, but we can never be sure where there is or isn't a moggy. We'll get the hang of it. Training-wise, we've been doing some clicker training and other bits and pieces and she's taking to it very well and seems to enjoy it.

Anyway, some more pictures, as if you aren't all fed up of parrot pictures! Here's Lulu with Gramps' hanging climbing frame:

Juliet waiting in prime position, hidden on a stool underneath the kitchen table, just in case Lulu decides to make an inspection flight of the kitchen on her way through. "You ain't seen me, right?"

Severus, a picture of injured innocence. "What?? I don't even like parrot!"
Lulu with her new swingy thing; she's certainly not frightened of new things, she was on this and Gramps' one almost before they'd been hung!

Playing in her "paddling pool", rofl :-)) She loves to paddle in there, but she *still* hasn't got the full idea of getting herself properly wet. She doesn't like it any deeper, but she does fluff all her feathers up as if she's *thinking* of having a in one of the photos here. She did finally get a wet tail and wet tummy, though and then celebrated by demolishing a corn on the cob ring - sweetcorn beak!

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