Work geek feeds the starving

As I sit here, cozily ensconced in the blogosphere, I am thinking about my newest online obsession. I’m not usually one to encourage web surfing, if only because there is so much else to do away from one’s computer. That said, I find a lot of value on the internet, and I’m glad you visited my little corner of it today.

My friends and family are judicious about passing along web sites, as it’s too easy to get sucked into the screen and not come up for air. My brother passed along a gem I’ve decided to recommend right here. It’s called FreeRice.com. This website features a multiple-choice vocabulary quiz. Every time you get one right, the site donates twenty grains of rice to the hungry.

I love this site, and not just for altruistic reasons. It’s great that my online games are feeding people, and I’m all for it. I’m more excited by the words. The program adjusts the difficulty as you play, so that everyone is at a challenging level. That means a language junkie such as myself is exposed to loads of words I’ve never seen, and so is a young student. The words repeat, too, so that you learn through repetition. I was able to guess some that I did not know, and I’ve learned some really cool things.

Have you heard the expression “kith and kine?” I had, so I was able to guess that “kine” meant cows. It’s archaic, but cool. I was similarly able to guess “counterpane,” which means bedspread. The Land of Counterpane is a favorite poem of mine. It’s about a sick child who is stuck in bed, where he rules his own small kingdom. I never thought to question the title, and now I have another reason to love the poem. I also realized that there are words I thought I knew, but I cannot quite pin down their definitions. I’m sharpening my writing tools while I play.

This program scores the player to fifty-five levels, so you can keep trying to increase your score while you learn. You can compete against yourself while you feed people and learn to better communicate with those around you. If you must surf, and I must sometimes surf, this feels like a great way to do it. Now, how do I work the word “hallux” into casual conversation?

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

53. Wander on over to http://www.freerice.com/ and give it a try. You know you want to.

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Last time I got a rubber duck and Pop Rocks

How long has it been since you went to your local toy store? I hope it was yesterday, because that’s the best place I know of to find bubbles, and I really do hope you accepted your last assignment. If you didn’t go yesterday, when was the last time? Going to buy toys for your children or other small assorted beasties doesn’t count. When was the last time you shopped at a toy store? Just for yourself?

I go all the time. You may have guessed this already, but I am really in tune with my inner child. I let her out to play with finger paints and yo-yos. She touches the fabrics on the brightly colored sweaters when we shop, just to see how soft they are. She even gets treated to pineapple gelato. I suppose I spoil her, but she deserves it. She’s a good kid.

I don’t know who got the idea that adults should be serious all the time. We’re supposed to play with martinis and loud music. We like dark colors and intellectual pursuits. We’ve put all that kid stuff behind us. Bah Humbug. Martini glasses are cool, and I love to dance, but I am not willing to limit my fun to certain sanctioned activities. Adults need games. We need bright colors. Sometimes we even need kits with sequins and sparkles and stray bits of yarn. At least I do. So I buy them.

What else do I get at the toy store? I get things that make my heart sing. It really is that simple. If I can afford it, and it makes me smile, I bring it home. If I can’t afford it, I save up. I don’t want my inner child to run away. She might get lost and scared.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
7. Take yourself on an outing to your local toy store and buy something nifty. If you are in Seattle, I highly recommend The Magic Mouse in Pioneer Square. This is something you must do in person, so that you can shop like a kid. Touch all the marbles, test out all the sock puppets. When you find the thing that truly delights you, take it home and play with it.