The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Final 2016 pics, and some 2017 pics.

| April 4, 2017

Kids – 2016

Kids – 2017


| January 4, 2017

So, it’s all yeecheyed up now because of the rain, but, on Saturday, we did have a good amount of snow and got Miles out in it and convinced him to walk around, play and go down the hill on a sled. He also asked to go back out and play on Sunday. Woot! Max was less interested, but he’s been sick and just kind of wants to stay inside and play with his toys. I get that.

Anyway, link to some snow pics (and, eventually, videos):

Pics for 2016

| December 22, 2016

Finally got around to sorting through all of our pics.

Kids – 2016

Also, we went to Disney

So, I’ve been dark for awhile…

| June 2, 2016

I’ve been away for a bit because I’ve been working on other things; specifically:

Now that I’m finished with those projects, I’ll likely be posting more. Still have a lot of hobby stuff to talk about, pictures to post, and some website maintenance to do. I’ve enabled a markdown plugin, so I can use markdown for my formatting, but that required disabling another plugin I was using, so most of my past 3 years of entries need to be edited to use markdown. Since markdown is a standard, hopefully this is the last time I’ll have to do this.

Once that is all sorted, I’ll likely go through and start converting pages from my old site into WordPress.. This has been outstanding for years, and I really should get around to it at some point.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep

| April 12, 2016

For all the parents out there, this book seems odd, but totally works. It’s basically hypnotic relaxation techniques. I figured it worked because it was just boring (and, I mean, it’s REALLY boring), so I tried reading the kids the AD&D 2nd Ed Players Handbook in its stead, but this actually worked better.

Updated kids gallery – now with more sorting!

| January 6, 2016


Also, the latest Owncloud release (the software I use to host it) includes support for sorting, so I’ve set it to sort them chronologically with the newest at the top. So, folks can scroll down until they see pictures they recognize and can then stop looking at old pictures.

On toddlers and property rights

| December 4, 2015

So, as most of you know, I have twin sons who turn two in a week. As is normal for children, they tend to fight over toys. However, I’ve observed the following, which I find very interesting:

Private property

They share a bedroom, but within this bedroom they have their own beds. Ownership was presumably established by the fact that they’ve always slept in the same beds (they convert from cribs to beds). I expect if we were to switch their positions in the rooms, they would continue to sleep in the bed in the same position, since the beds are otherwise identical. (This would be an interesting experiment, come to think of it).

In addition to the beds, they each have the following items over which clear ownership has been established1:

  • a baby blanket
  • a small stuffed animal (child A has an elephant, child B has a lamb)
  • a large stuffed tiger (child A has a Bengal tiger, child B has a Siberian tiger) The ownership of these items has never been in dispute. They do not need to be told to share these items and, in fact, A will often bring B B’s blanket (and the converse). They do not fight over them, and they do not share them. A taking of one of the above by the other does not even seem to be considered – it just doesn’t happen. In fact, if we do something like switch the large tigers so they are in opposite beds, the children will either cry and complain that the tigers are in the wrong beds or, more recently, will fix it themselves, as they now have the strength to do so (these stuffed tigers are the size of a Labrador).

1 I have no idea how this was established. This was emergent behavior. No one said “this is yours”. If I had to hazard a guess, I would speculate that ownership was established out of chance, because we tossed one animal in one bed and another in another bed.

The Commons

By contrast, when dealing with what is essentially “communal” property (toy cars, blocks, stuffed animals and the like), all of the standard clich├ęs of learning to “take turns” and “share” apply. They will fight over a much-desired toy, in many cases even when there are multiples of the same toy! Two toy cars, exactly the same, one child will have both, and the other child will have neither and be upset by this. There is a theory that shared property encourages overconsumption and/or hoarding in order to ensure the ability to utilize the property when you wish to do so – and that the children seem to intuitively realize this!

My part in teaching them

Of course, all of the above touches on how do you teach children about property rights, sharing, and their expectations. While I try to impress upon my children that it is nice to share, I also tell them that it is not required, and I never take toys from them to facilitate sharing. I do intervene in order to stop one child from taking a toy from the other (essentially acting as an enforcer of property rights), but that is the limit.

I do, however, encourage the child who who wants the toy to offer something in trade. Sometimes, this works well. The child with the desired toy likes what is being offered, and they engage in trade in which both are made better off. If the trade is not made, I tell the one offering the trade good that he needs to find something better, but I’m not going to make the other child give him something when he doesn’t want to. I then reassure the child who has retained the toy that he has done nothing wrong even though his brother is upset by not having the toy. If he wants to be nice, he may share it, but he doesn’t have to.

Another common trope (at least in my upbringing) was the “if you’re going to fight over it, nobody gets it”, which I absolutely abhor and have had to stop both grandmothers from instituting. After all, if you were sitting minding your own business playing with your phone, and someone came up and said “I want your phone”, and you said “no”, and then a fight ensued, and, when the police showed up, they took away your phone because “you’re fighting over it, so no one gets it”, you’d be retaining the services of a civil rights lawyer as soon as you can get to a phone (civil asset forfeiture laws notwithstanding). So, how is it suddenly acceptable to use this disciplinary logic on children? (I expect the answer is “lazy parenting” because the parents simply want the children to shut up and leave them alone so they can do whatever it is they’re trying to get done, but I’d be speculating).

You know it’s fall when…

| November 9, 2015

Actual conversation in my house:

Hey, can you hold off going to the range? I need you to watch the boys while I help my dad follow a blood trail.

Updated kids gallery

| October 7, 2015

Clicky the linky.

The pirate ship is completed!

| September 23, 2015



We added a safety railing and a hatch to cover the ladder down belowdecks…


Because, as you can see, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll fall down pretty badly.


We also added this gate by the rock wall..


Again, because it’s a pretty big drop – and you can’t always count on Diesel dog being there to catch you.


Miles approves of the portholes.