Having Fun Right Now

Another Family Planning to Travel the World!

Category: Games and Toys

Lego Sisyphus – JK Brickworks

We watched in amazement as Adam Savage built this amazing JK Brickworks Lego Sisyphus build:

I highly recommend checking out JK Brickworks if you a) enjoy Lego, b) enjoy having your mind blown, or c) all of the above!

Germs & Genes

I’ve just finished a course on the History of Science and wanted to share some neat resources:

Philip Ziegler’s The Black Death is a fascinating read about the spread of the bubonic plague throughout medieval Europe. Thoroughly gross (pus, pus, and more pus) and decidedly depressing (“Let’s blame the plague on the Jews, round them up and slaughter them!”), it is also useful for increasing the amount of trivia you have at the ready to gross out your friends and family. For example, to prevent contracting the plague just hang out around latrines and breathe in the fumes, it worked (not really) for the Europeans!

Ziegler

Continue this theme with a rousing game of Pandemic and feel completely paranoid and compelled to wash your hands repeatedly.

I was also fascinated by this great video by CGP Grey on the importance of the environment on the spread of disease:

I also wrote a paper on the controversy surrounding Watson & Crick’s Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the structure of DNA. Check out Watson’s “memoir” The Double Helix.  It is a quick and entertaining read, albeit rife with sexism. Sexism you say? Hoho! If Watson isn’t busy playing tennis or going to cocktail parties, he is criticizing Rosalind Franklin’s looks and dismissing her brilliance. Franklin was one of the many scientists that Watson & Crick took advantage of in their personal race for Nobel glories. Check out Brenda Maddox’s book on Franklin to learn more.

Scratch – How to Make Your Own Video Games

JBot and I have played the long game on this one, and this week – success!

G-Man has had a burning passion for video games for almost five years now. We have done our best to help educate him while making it fun. JBot has gone above and beyond to teach him about the history of video games, by introducing him to older styles, playing with him, and even adapting modern games to his younger sensibilities.

I was visiting the bigger downtown library last week, looking for ideas and extra reading material to have around the house for March Break and found two new books about Scratch. Added them to the pile, didn’t think too much of it. I have brought other books home before, but they were sort of dense and, well, boring. Like a “For Dummies” kind of reading experience.

Coding for Beginners

Coding for Beginners Using Scratch” by Rosie Dickens, Jonathan Melmoth & Lousie Stowell

How to Code

Super Skills: How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons” by Sean McManus

These two new books really grabbed G-Man’s attention. He read them voraciously in one night. He woke up absolutely vibrating with excitement to try programming out for himself two days in a row. I mean, hey, if you would rather wake up at 6 a.m. on your holidays to make cool stuff, go for it!

You can use this site run by MIT to try out the Scratch software.

G-Man had a lot of fun. Great stuff!

Dealing with the Fallout

It would come as no surprise that a nerdy kid from the 80s would be interested in video games, and that his own son would most likely get into video games by extension.  Some of my favourite games were either based on religious themes (again, no surprise for anybody that knows me) or post-apocalyptic story lines.  Post-nuclear holocaust games like Metro 2033 (2010), based on Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novel of the same name, is an excellent example of a beautiful dark story that delves into moral and ethical quandaries.  Similarly, Valve’s Half-Life 2 (2004) shows a dystopian Earth in which the interdimensional Combine have harvested nearly all of the planets resources.  The worlds in these games are dark and bleak, giving an oppressive feeling to the player (and thus, adding to the tension).

Metro 2033

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