Monday, May 19, 2008

Goodbye 30-39

That's it. It's done. I made it to my fortieth birthday. According to Bowflex commercials, I'm the perfect age to join a rock band or something.

The multitude gathered to see Prince Caspian on Friday, my one request for my birthday celebration. It was priceless to hear my girls squeal "Reepicheep!" when he first appeared on screen. Reepicheep, the noble mouse who appears in both Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was their single favorite character from those books. I think he was given good treatment in the movie.

Later, we all went and had pizza at Tower Inn. The kids had a "make your own pizza" thing, where the waitstaff would bring them raw materials from which to manufacture a mini pizza, which was then cooked and returned for them to eat. Okay, people? If you want to eat anytime within this age, do not choose a meal option that lets six children both choose from a long list of options and then perform some action that must be completed before the mere cooking of the meal can commence. Simplify.

My personal approach to giving children choices is that each option of roughly equivalent value beyond two will double the amount of time the decision takes. I say roughly equivalent because some options will artificially weigh the decision. "Do you want a spanking or a bowl of ice cream?" for example. "Do you want a popsicle or a bowl of ice cream?" would be more valid, assuming the child being asked actually likes both popsicles and ice cream. Adding a third option to the decision, "Do you want a popsicle, a bowl of ice cream, or a king-size candy bar?" doubles the decision time, as each option is weighed against every other option. Adding a fourth option will multiply the decision time to 4x the time it would take to choose between two options. Now, for just a moment, imagine a box containing twenty shiny rocks. Imagine handing that box to a child and say, "Pick one." To the child this really means "Choose one of these to keep. The rest you will never see again, so consider this decision as if your very life depended upon it. Alternately you may choose in a brief, cavalier fashion then cry later when you see another child with a rock you want more than your own." This brings us to our correlary: the level of dissatisfaction a child will have with any given choice, once made, is directly proportional to the number of children in the immediate area who chose differently from the same initial choice set.

For the past two nights there have only been five people in my house. For such a small place it almost feels big.

I have been invited to the beta test of Kongregate's online card game "Kongai." It is fun, but it is clearly not complete.

No comments:

Post a Comment