Saturday, 23 October 2010

Remember Lemmings? GliderPRO? Tetris?

In the search for fun, challenging, non-nasty computer games for Joshua to play, I thought today of Lemmings.According to Lemmings Universe, "Lemmings is a puzzle game in which the goal is to guide a certain number of Lemmings to the exit on each level. The Lemmings enter the level through one or more hatches somewhere on the level. They can be assigned skill that are used to help them get to the exit."

Originally an Amiga game, a version of Lemmings was given to me free with my first Apple Mac, when I bought it straight out of Uni. Unfortunately, I don't have the CDs for it now. But I found an online version here. This javascript version (it plays in a web browser window) only has 10 levels in each of the four ratings (Fun, Tricky, Taxing and Mayhem), rather than the original 30 for each, so the jump in skill level between level 10 in Fun to level 1 in Tricky (etc) could be a challenge. But Joshua managed, with my help, to get through the 10 levels of Fun, and I enjoyed it even more than he did, I'm sure.

Another favourite of mine from the free games that came with my Apple Mac was a paper plane game called GliderPRO where I had to fly the paper plane through a complex series of rooms in buildings, never letting the plane fall to the ground.You can download it for free from the author John Calhoun, here. That game was an enjoyable challenge for me through my first year of working as a teacher and beyond. And it didn't involve teaching maths to teenagers, which was not such an enjoyable challenge of those times. I think Joshua will enjoy this one as well, but he may have to fight me for the computer to get at it!

Now I'm off to play an online version - unfortunately not a clone for the original Tetris:How well I remember the hours spent playing Tetris on the uni computers when I should have been writing code for my programming classes!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Abigail's First Day of Away-School

Abi joined Joshua and Anna at their away school today. It was a busy day for me, since Jeff flew down to Albany to be with his mum and step-dad for a few days, as Ron is sick in hospital. It was also a work day for me, so I was glad I'd asked our babysitter to arrive a bit earlier than usual. We managed to only be 5 minutes late for the school assembly. There was lots of excitement as it is the children's first day in the new school buildings that have been being built on site for the last three terms. The classrooms looked very tidy and crisp, and Abi looked very neat and crisp as well, at the beginning of the day.At the end of the day it was another matter - she was tired, disappointed about a few expectations not being met, and quite upset over (of all things) the fact that she had to leave her hat in the classroom and not bring it home overnight.Wednesday and Thursday saw a gradual improvement in her response to school, as she grew used to the routine and the way things work at school. The best thing from my point of view was having her tell me at the end of Thursday's school day that "You can invite those two girls with the black hair and the ... um ... blond hair to my birthday." Incidentally, Abi's birthday isn't until next May. That was Abi-code for "They are my friends."

PS And I enjoyed my time alone with Sam on Wednesday and Thursday as well.

Monday, 11 October 2010


Sam: I would like a dog pet.
Dad: Sorry, our landlord says we can't have dogs here. What about a pet tiger?
Sam: No. Tigers are too scary.
Dad: What about a pet snake, a long snake?
Sam: Nope. Snakes are too scary.
Dad: What about a spider, a really big black spider?
Sam: Nope.
Dad: What about a pet elephant?
Sam: No. ... They sit on little boys.
Dad: They sit on little boys, do they? Well, what about a pet camel?
Sam. No. Camels live in the desert.