She’s Going Against Code

, , , , , , , | Related | December 13, 2017

(I grew up in the DOS era — pre-Windows — and started programming with GW-BASIC when I was maybe twelve. As a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none hobbyist, I moved through QBasic, making video games for myself, then in college through Visual Basic and C++, as well as HTML, SQL, the text-adventure engine Squiffy, and game engines like RPG Maker, Game Maker, and Unreal Engine. As a lark, I learned ROM hacking enough to alter text and graphics in classic video games, and even, one summer, tried to learn Assembly Language. I was a programming tutor in college, and, after seeing the same problems crop up repeatedly, created a “Common Errors in Visual Basic” hand-out that got passed around by professors for a while. Now that I have nephews and nieces — six so far, ages 11-19 — I’ve been trying for several years now to get them interested enough in programming to actually work at it on their own steam, rather than by my prompting. I’ve gotten them to make little tiny starts on Game Maker, and two of them went to a robotics class that they really enjoyed. Now I’ve got a niece, age 11, and nephew, almost 14, working on Khan Academy’s “Hour of Code,” which teaches them the basics. My niece must have taken well to this activity, given that she just sits down next to me, as she is getting ready for bed, and offers up this cheerfully energetic advice:)

Niece: “You should learn how to code.”

Me: “…”

Pimping Out Your Understanding Of That Word

, , , , | Related | December 11, 2017

(I’m joking around in my bedroom with a friend and my five-year-old niece is sitting nearby, wanting to be one of the “big kids.” She’s usually very quiet and reserved, so it’s easy to forget she’s there.)

Me: “That guy is totally her pimp.”

Niece: “What’s a pimp?”

Me: “Uh… Pimp My Ride is a show that was on TV a long time ago. Basically, you take your car to these guys, and they make it look crazy.”

(I showed her some pictures to make my cover-up more credible. She was really interested and asked if she can watch some of the show. I agreed and showed her some clips. Now, she asks to watch “Pimp My Ride” every day, and she tells everyone with a car that they should get it pimped.)

Eaten Too Many Buns In The Oven

, , , , , , , , | Related | November 8, 2017

I’m a heavy-set man in my early forties. My sister has twin boys that are around three years old. She is pregnant with her third child, and her sons are excited to know that they’ll get a little brother.

[Sister] has told them all the classic stories: there’s a baby in Mama’s belly that will come out when he’s big enough, Mama’s belly is so big because babies need room to grow, the boys have to be calmer around Mama so the baby isn’t hurt, etc. She has also told them that if they caress her belly, they’re caressing the baby.

I’m visiting with my sister and we’re sitting on the couch with some space between her and me. [Nephew #1] comes to sit in between us and gently caresses [Sister]’s belly. He then sits back a little and looks at me, and with a smile of recognition caresses my belly exactly the same way.

Not A Living State

, , , , , , | Related | November 1, 2017

(A close friend has recently had a family member pass away. My entire family knows this friend and has offered their condolences. One evening while I’m helping make supper, my niece comes into the kitchen, getting ready for work.)

Niece: “How’s [Friend]?”

Me: “She was okay last I heard from her, but I haven’t spoken with her today. I think she’s driving back down from Tennessee, though.”

Niece: *horrified* “Why is she in Tennessee?”

Me: “For the funeral?”

Niece: “Oh.” *she opens the fridge before scoffing* “Who lives in Tennessee?”

Me: “Well, they’re not living anymore.”

Stop A**-ing Around

, , , , , , , | Related | October 25, 2017

(My aunt and uncle have recently moved from a big city to a small farm out in the country, and they’re planning what to do with their new land. Mom happens to mention one of the things my uncle plans to do now that he has some space.)

Mom: “[Uncle] says he wants to buy a miniature donkey now.”

Me: *without thinking* “Well, if he’s going to have a midlife crisis, getting a little a** is better than chasing after a lot of a**.”

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