2020-08-03 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, r/orgmode, r/spacemacs, r/planetemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacslife.com, YouTube, the Emacs NEWS file and emacs-devel.

Monthly review: July 2020

  • LEGO Heroica was the big thing this month. After some initial anxiety, A- jumped right into the world. She loved playing the wizard, and she loved pretending to be a goblin or a golem. We tried a paper-and-pen RPG for little kids, and she got the hang of that too.
  • I experimented with different mask sewing patterns. Quilting cotton made a better outer layer than softer fabric did, and Procool interlock was nice for the inner layer. A mask bracket was great for breathability.
  • I added sketches and more features to my journaling system.
  • I reflected a lot on early childhood education. We’ll probably do junior kindergarten at home, and we’ll experiment with mostly child-initiated activities instead of focusing on crafts.
  • We worked up the courage to use the library again. Whee!
  • We spent some time outside exploring art and bubbles. A- seems a little hesitant about mark-making, but playfulness helps.
  • A- enjoys doing Khan Academy Kids. She was initially frustrated by an activity involving counting syllables, but she seems to have gotten the hang of it now.
  • We’ve been making great use of the popsicle mold that W- got. We use a base of Greek yogurt and vanilla or coconut milk and pandan extract, and then we add fruits.
  • A- discovered my little toy penguin. She had fun imitating its sounds and actions.

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 30.3 31.5 1.1 54.7 1.9
Discretionary – Family 0.4 1.2 0.7 2.0 1.2
Personal 3.8 4.3 0.5 7.5 0.9
Unpaid work 3.0 3.3 0.3 5.8 0.5
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Business 1.2 0.5 -0.7 0.9 -1.1
A- 51.7 50.7 -1.0 88.1 -1.6
Discretionary – Productive 9.6 8.4 -1.1 14.6 -1.9

Weekly review: Week ending July 31, 2020

  • I picked up books from the library. Wheeeeee! Now that books are back in circulation, we can learn about all sorts of stuff.
  • I wrote some Python code to compare my Bricklink carts in terms of average prices. It’s probably overkill, but it was fun to code.
  • The silicone mask brackets did a great job of making our fabric masks more breathable.
  • We made the LEGO Heroica Ilrion set following the instructions. It was a bit challenging to play through, but we persisted.
  • We had enough curved pieces to make the LEGO Friends Lighthouse Rescue Center, although we didn’t have the cylinders and the light brick for the very top. I showed A- a video about wildlife rescue, and we pretended to rescue a seal and a bunny. I asked A- to scribble where the animals had broken bones, the treatment, and the starting letter of their names and her name.
  • I was looking for more popsicle recipes. A- pointed to my screen and said, “What’s that?” I asked her if she could read it. She said no, so I said we could just scroll past. W- was curious about my refusal. I told him, “It starts with c-h-o-c-o.” A- leaned closer and read it out loud: “chocolate coconut cream popsicle.” She really likes being able to read things for herself.
  • W- printed out two simple D&D-style adventures for young kids that just focused on fighting four monsters with various abilities. I was the DM. I also controlled one character (the fighter) while A- played the wizard. We used Heroica microfigures and cones to keep track of heroes and health points. A- got the hang of it quickly.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 31.6 34.7 3.1 58.2 5.1
Unpaid work 2.1 4.1 2.0 6.8 3.3
Discretionary – Family 0.2 1.5 1.3 2.5 2.2
Personal 4.3 5.5 1.2 9.3 2.0
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Play 0.3 0.0 -0.3 0.0 -0.5
Business 1.2 0.0 -1.2 0.0 -2.0
Discretionary – Productive 7.6 5.0 -2.6 8.3 -4.4
A- 52.8 49.4 -3.4 82.9 -5.8

Weekly review: Week ending July 24, 2020

  • I watched some presentations from the Play First summit. I think some of the ideas might be a good fit for A-. I’d like to get better at supporting and building on her play.
  • We did lots of sensory and art exploration outside. That was lots of fun, and A- really liked painting with her feet.
  • I made PDFs to share with Lola during video chats. A- seemed to like that too. She asked me to make a PDF of Tagalog words using our cat pictures, so I made a book of opposites.
  • We dove into building lots of things with LEGO. Microscale tutorials are fun to work through together. We also made things up ourselves. A- liked the model of our kitchen.
  • I made a goblin mask for A-. She liked pretending with it. We swapped wearing the goblin mask when we played the monster player in LEGO Heroica. I wonder if I can get her interested in decorating masks.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 29.0 31.6 2.6 53.1 4.4
A- 50.7 52.8 2.1 88.7 3.5
Business 0.4 1.2 0.8 2.0 1.3
Personal 3.9 4.3 0.4 7.2 0.7
Discretionary – Play 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.5
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Family 0.7 0.2 -0.6 0.3 -1.0
Unpaid work 4.4 2.1 -2.3 3.5 -3.8
Discretionary – Productive 10.9 7.6 -3.3 12.7 -5.6

Expanding our pretend play with roleplaying games

When we reorganized our living room to bring more things down to A-‘s level, W- thought of bringing the LEGO Heroica games down even though the boxes said 8+ years old. A- noticed them, of course. We built the different game elements and started playing. At first, she was too anxious to go near monsters. Her voice quavered and she made amusing attempts to distract us from the game. We said she could pick the wizard, hide behind our characters, use her ranged attack whenever the opportunity came up, and dash in to grab the treasure. She did so gleefully.

2020-07-01 Heroica #sketch #moment.png

She eventually worked up the courage to deal with monsters with 1 strength, and then 2 strength, and even the occasional 3-strength final boss. She mixed in elements from other LEGO sets and invented her own rules, like letting cupcakes and cookies restore 1 health point. In pretend play, she fluidly shifted between being a golem, a goblin, and a wizard. We made up stories about a LEGO Friends cupcake cafe owner making friends with goblins by giving them free samples. She mixed game terms into everyday life: “I rolled shield!” She played with words like ranger and ranged. We took turns reading the comics and the manuals, and she had plenty of questions.

W- was curious about whether A- was ready for other roleplaying games, so he printed out Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod and The Champions of the Elements. I acted as the dungeon master, she played the wizard, and I played the fighter as well. We used the Heroica figures instead of the paper hero tokens, and we used LEGO cones for health points instead of shading in circles. She got the hang of rolling the dice and taking off the monsters’ health points whenever she landed an attack. (I did the math for her.) It was lots of fun.

I wonder if I can enrich our pretend play to expand her world knowledge, help her practise solving problems, and maybe even motivate mark-making. We’ve been doing a bit of pretending with our improvised version of the LEGO Friends Lighthouse Rescue Center. I’ve shown her a few videos of veterinarians working in rescue centres, including one of a fish getting a prosthetic eye. She pretended to rescue some LEGO animals we had. I asked her to draw diagrams of where the animals were injured, come up with names for them, and write down the first letters of their names and the first letter of her name.

Amazing Tales released 2-page quickstart rules and lots of adventures for free. I might be able to adapt A Very Rainy Day to a wildlife rescue scenario. Hmmm…

2020-07-27 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, r/orgmode, r/spacemacs, r/planetemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacslife.com, YouTube, the Emacs NEWS file and emacs-devel.