Future Ideas for What Will You Write?

With the first What Will You Write? finished and judging waiting to be done, I thought I’d let you know a few things about the future of this challenge.

I read a very comment by Tara Southwell.  This is what she said:

I think it might be cool if the winner of the challenge gets to pick the next blurb. Just a suggestion 🙂

Here’s my answer.  I will be doing this, but not right away.  I’ve been thinking about asking others to be guest judges, and was trying to think about how I’d go about it.  Of course, Tara gave me the most obvious answer.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  The winners judge!  Not only judge, but also choose the genre or theme and write the opening of the scene.  I already have the next two planned out, so I was thinking I’d start this with the fourth installment.  Oh, the third one will be a very interesting challenge.  I can’t wait to see the results of it.

My Daughter Has Science Fiction in Her Blood

My daughter is 2 years and 4 months old now, and hasn’t seen one bit of science fiction.  Well, maybe she has in the form of Little Einsteins, because in what world do young children have a rocket?

Well, she did something incredibly impressive.  Although she has never seen Star Trek, she very accurately reproduced a model of the USS Enterprise with giant Lego blocks.  I wouldn’t exactly say it’s the full-sized Enterprise, but probably a baby Enterprise.  Check it out.

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Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Baby Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new playgrounds, to seek out new children and new nurseries, to boldly go where no toddler has gone before.

Isn’t it an amazing reproduction?  I must get her to watch some with me.  Time to create a Star Trek fan!

SpaceX reveals the new crewed Dragon V2

This is incredible. Although it looks like a typical capsule design, from the pictures I’ve seen, it’s quite advanced. The interior is very sleek with huge touch screen panels. And the landing. You just have to watch the video to see how it lands. It seems so science fiction-like, but this is becoming reality. Visit SelfAwarePatterns to see the full blog post. And please comment there!

SelfAwarePatterns

Very cool.  SpaceX has been making a lot of news recently, announcing one breakthrough after another.  Their current unmanned Dragon capsule has made multiple successful supply runs to the ISS.  Now they’ve revealed a version that can transport humans.

The most eye popping aspect of it is the SuperDraco rocket engines on the capsule itself that allows it to decelerate and perform a controlled landing on land.

Spaceflight Now has a detailed write up.  Reusability appears to be incorporated into every component of the design.

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What Will You Write? Deadline in Two Hours

The deadline for the first What Will You Write? challenge is in less than two hours.  I’ll accept late entries for only a short time after the deadline, but I hope it’ll be before.

I’ll have the entries all read this weekend, and I’ll post the full text of the winner and provide links back to all entries.  Is there a prize?  Well, just knowing you did a good job.  And writing practice improves your writing.

I’ll likely have the second challenge by mid-week next week.  Thanks for joining!

Writing Course Week 5

For week 5 of the writing course I’m taking, we had to write a character sketch that was between 300 and 500 words, and was based on one of four methods of character creation.  We had to choose the one we were least familiar with.  I chose the autobiographical method, where I base the character on me, but make one really big change.  You’ll probably notice the change when you read it below.

Anyway, I’d just like to note that this was written quickly without any editing, and it has a lack of wonderful flowery words (that is, more descriptive words that aren’t so boring) that would be added after editing.  Also, while this is based on my feelings when I arrived in Japan, it is not autobiographical.  These events didn’t actually happen.  And while totally unrelated to the content of this post, this is post number 400!  Enjoy!

Jenna stepped off the train and onto the long platform. She looked left and right, trying to find the exit. She found it. The train doors closed, and the train’s songlike motors propelled it toward the next station. Everywhere around her, Jenna saw black hair. Her light brown hair contrasted with the monochrome sea of heads. Here and there, she saw another brown top, but thought it was probably dyed hair. She had never felt so out of place, an alien in another land.

Everyone lined up on the left side of the escalator down from the platform. She thought how orderly everything appeared. When she reached the bottom of the escalator, the line of people turned into a mob. Maybe not so orderly. She felt so closed in with such a large group of people rushing toward the ticket gates. She fumbled for her ticket in her pocket, and pulled it out. She approached one of the automated gates and inserted the ticket into the machine. It clicked and she passed through. No problem yet, she thought.

Jenna glanced around the street and couldn’t understand the signs she saw. Many shops had foreign letters and symbols. No, it wasn’t foreign, she was the foreign one. Everything was different. She smelled the distinct aroma of soy sauce, heard the incomprehensible chatter around her, and saw the tightly packed narrow buildings. A chill went down her spine as she thought about where she was. I’m in Japan. But she didn’t know where to go. She thought she must look like a lost puppy.

A passerby, a middle-aged woman with a large shopping bag, stopped and regarded her briefly. The woman spoke to Jenna, but she didn’t understand any of it. Strings of syllables.

“I’m sorry, I don’t speak Japanese,” she said.

“American?” asked the woman.

“No, I’m Canadian.”

“Ah, Canada! Very cold. Did you watch aurora?”

“Yes, I’ve seen aurora a few times,” said Jenna. What a strange question, she thought. “I’m lost. Can you tell me where to find this place?”

Jenna pointed at a hand-drawn map on a piece of paper.

“Very easy!” said the woman. She smiled. “Follow, please. I will teach you.”

“Oh, thank you. You’re very kind.”

Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad, she thought. If there are many people like this, I’ll be okay. At least I hope she’s a normal person.

Like it?  Hate it? Leave a comment.

Bilingual Development is a Challenge

My daughter is a lucky girl.  She has a Japanese mother and a Canadian father who speak different languages.  My wife speaks Japanese, while I speak English.  Sure, my wife speaks English, but not fluently.  I speak Japanese, but it’s really just survival Japanese.  But what will my daughter speak?

Since we live in Japan, she hears Japanese all the time.  She goes to a nursery where it’s all Japanese.  The only time she hears English is when I speak to her and when she watches Disney Junior on TV.  My wife does speak English to her, but usually uses Japanese.

So far, at 2 years and 4 months old, my daughter can say words in both languages.  However, she doesn’t seem to be able to string together words to form a coherent sentence yet.  Between 25 and 30 months, children are supposed to be able to say 2 to 4 word sentences, including verbs and nouns.  She doesn’t do much of that yet.  She’ll make single word requests, though.  For example, if she wants yogurt, she’ll say, “dodurt?”  If she wants to sleep in her bed, she’ll say, “bed?”  If she wants to watch TV, she says, “bee?”  She can say phrases such as “sit down” and “no no no no no.”  She mixes English and Japanese.  If she wants to be picked up, she asks in Japanese.  If she wants to eat something, she asks in Japanese.  She can count from 1 to 10 in English.  She knows the names of many fruits and vegetables, as well as animals.  She knows car, bus, and hikouki (airplane in Japanese).  She seems far more able to say phrases in Japanese than English, though.

Understanding is a different matter.  I can ask her to do something and she’ll do it.  Here’s a sample of what she knows.

  • Can you give this to Mommy?
  • Let’s change your diaper.
  • Did you pee?
  • Let’s go to the bathroom.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stand up.
  • Turn around.
  • Put it in the garbage.
  • Do you want (insert food of choice)?
  • Where’s (insert any word she understands)?
  • Be careful.
  • Slow down.
  • Leave it alone.
  • Don’t touch.

And so on.

She watches Disney Junior and she listens and tries to repeat a lot.  Earlier today, she had a Lego Dale and Lego Minnie Mouse and was pretending that they were doing something.  I have no idea, but she created a whole dialogue between them that consisted of a mix of English, Japanese, and gibberish.  She likes to sing, and she’s often trying to sing the songs she hears on her favourite TV shows.  She hums a lot.  When she hurts, she says “ow” or “ouch” or “itai (Japanese for ouch).”  When she’s hungry, she says, “gohan (Japanese for rice or food).”  She knows her name, but doesn’t use pronouns yet.

If you were to judge her language abilities in only one language, she would seem delayed.  But when you look at both languages, she’s doing pretty damned well.  Studies have shown that children who are raised bilingually appear to have delayed language skills until 3 or 4 years old, but by the time they’re 5, they speak fluently in both languages.  The apparent delay in language often dissuades parents from using both languages at home and focus only on one language.  I think this is a mistake.  Use both languages.  Keep using them and don’t give up.  Once the child starts school, he or she should be great in both languages.  Also, people who are bilingual tend to be able to learn new languages much more quickly than others.  Later in life, knowing multiple languages is a benefit for mental health, especially in warding off Alzheimer’s.

So, if you want your child to have many advantages growing up, don’t give up on bilingualism.  I definitely won’t.

I wrote this post as my opinion for the HarsH ReaLiTy Challenge.

Time? What’s That?

I think I’m experiencing an aspect of Murphy’s Law.  It seems that whatever can go wrong does go wrong.  In this case, things that suck up my time.

It’s really just a couple of things, but they are extremely time consuming.  The biggest issue is my daughter.  She’s been refusing to go to bed at a decent time, always waiting until around midnight or 1 am to finally go to sleep after screaming and crying.  I cannot concentrate on studying (which I need to get to work on) or writing (I must do this away from home).

But another thing that happened was that our wi-fi router died yesterday.  My wife bought a new one, could get her iPhone to connect to it and use it, but her computer simply refused to join the network.  When I got home, I tried it out with my computer and had no problem.  That is, I had no problem after I stopped it from attempting to automatically join a very weak signal with the same name as our old wi-fi.  I had to get my wife to do the same, but it wasn’t as easy with her old computer.  We finally did get it figured out, and now have fully functional wi-fi at home.

Another thing that’ll take up my time, but is actually a very good thing is the What Will You Write? challenge.  The response has been great, and there are already 5 entries.  I’m expecting at least a couple more.  Not bad for the first one, I think.

Well, I have a couple days off after today, and hopefully I can get caught up with studying and do some writing.