And so we’ve joined the growing ranks of dyslexic Kindlers

I wrote the following to post in the comment area of a home educator who had recently gone Kindle. But then I couldn’t get the board to accept my comment so I decided to just post it here. Why couldn’t I get my comment to post? Because I got caught up talking with H.o.p. about all kinds of things and then I also did my yoga. I had the comment ready to post all that time but, being dyslexic, I tend to take a while to sculpt a comment and I like to write it and return to it to make sure it reads as I want and that I haven’t left out words or mixed them up, which I will often times do when commenting (though I rarely comment anywhere). So, when I finally had the comment ready to post…well, the page said I had timed out and refreshing didn’t help.

So, we finally went Kindle. Of course, there are a variety of e-readers out there and we looked at Nook readers but ultimately went Kindle. Tit for tat in way. I saw many reasons to go with the Nook as well.

H.o.p. is a very visual kind of guy, and I’ve posted here before that we’re dyslexic around here. H.o.p. is. His dad isn’t. I am. Our dyslexia works in some very similar but also different ways. As of yet, H.o.p. doesn’t get as much out of long selections of text (like books) if he reads them on his own, and he doesn’t get as much out of a book if I simply read it to him. I’m not saying he won’t enjoy and get the story–he will–but I want him to see the text in conjunction with hearing it.

If we’re both reading the book at the same time, to each other, we have rewarding discussions, and I like using novels etc. as a launch pad for learning, exploring a number of different subjects in a linking manner.

With each of us having our own Kindle tablets we are able to share books that we purchase on it, not to mention also share all those books we get for free that are out of copyright. There are many, many titles out of copyright I’m hoping to cover over the next few years, and that these are free for e-book was attractive. We could also read them on the computer–which I’ve done many times–but that would mean being tied to the computer and the Kindle is a friendlier experience. I did not want to have to go through the trouble and expense of purchasing two of each book at a used book store.

With a physical book my son would have to go to the dictionary to look up words he didn’t understand, which he wouldn’t do on his own, and which meant breaking flow. With a Kindle, you tap on a word and the definition comes up right there on the screen, then you tap the definition away and go right back to reading. Less break in the flow. Much less break in the flow for him as a dyslexic reader.

I have the Kindle Fire version (he has the touch screen e-ink model) and when we have questions about things the writer is referencing that we don’t understand (which can happen regularly with pre twentieth century lit, many references that are peculiar to the day, more peculiar terms and people mentioned that 19th century readers would get and we may not) then I can tap to go to Wikipedia or Google and look up the subject and then tap my back button and go right back to the book.

It was a major financial investment for us to get two Kindle tablets, but I went with the Fire and got my son the touch screen e-ink version. Two Fires were just too expensive for us. Also, I didn’t want my son to get into the gaming aspect on it. He has other platforms that he uses for games, and I would prefer, right now, to keep the Kindle distinct as a reading experience for him. And he is fine with that. He loves the look of his Kindle and finds it very easy to read.

Which is another reason I decided it was time to go Kindle–my son has an easier time reading off a screen. Reading on the Kindle is easier for him, being able to work with the text to suit him, and I noticed immediately that he doesn’t lose his place near as often, and when he does lose his place it is easier for him to find where he was. When he needs to, when reading on his own, he sometimes uses text-to-speech. He used to use text-to-speech when reading on his computer, but he has over the past two years moved past that and now uses it rarely, though he is always information harvesting on his computer. But reading on the computer, such as on Wikipedia, is in shorter bursts. The Kindle has text-to-speech capability, so when I’m not reading with him, and he feels he needs it the capability is at least there.

Seeing how he likes reading off the Kindle, I’m feeling rather bad I didn’t make the move to Kindle before now, because I have long been aware that he has an easier time reading on the computer screen. But I wasn’t aware that Kindle did text-to speech. And wasn’t aware that an e-ink reader would be that comfortable for him to read on. And I wasn’t aware of some other features.

We’ve read “The Time Machine” and are now reading “A Christmas Carole”. Ironically, we will be tying ourselves to the computer as well as our Kindles tomorrow. Why? Well, sometimes reading out loud isn’t very easy with my dyslexia. What I can read silently I can have a difficult time translating to speech. And I’m admittedly having trouble with reading “A Christmas Carole” aloud while H.o.p. follows along. I looked up audio books on Youtube and found a nice series of “A Christmas Carole” as an audio book. So we will be reading while listening to Youtube, and will be stopping to look up words and discuss.

I may write something on “The Time Machine”, which we greatly enjoyed.

Unexpected Conversation

“Hey, hey, hey, happy birthday!”

I look down to see a quarter moon sliver thrust at my face, and it’s not even my birthday but that escapes my notice as the fingernail is so unexpected.

And I take it, assuming the intent is that I throw it away. Of course.

“No, no, no, wait! That’s my fingernail. Give it back!”

He heats himself a slice of pizza and I ask, “What did you do with the fingernail?”

“I put it in your pocket.”

The thing is, I knew that it hadn’t lasted two seconds after being snatched away from the prospective trash can. “No, you didn’t. Where is it?”

“I don’t remember.” He laughed at whatever he was watching on television.

“Your pizza is ready,” I told him.

2011 Dragoncon – Aaron with Owly’s Creator Andy Runton

2011 Dragoncon - Aaron with Andy Runton

Here’s H.o.p. with Owly’s creator, Andy Runton, who was extremely nice to H.o.p. and gave him all kinds of helpful advice.

Dragoncon ended yesterday and Aaron’s floating on Cloud 9 today. It was a great year with everything he learned from Bakshi and Runton.

Plus he got to hear Wil Wheaton and Slyvester McCoy yesterday and met Brent Spiner. Nothing to do with comics and animation but on the final day it was fun to just attend a few presentations only for entertainment’s sake and hear some funny stories. Wil Wheaton and Syvester McCoy were quite humorous (I knew Wheaton would be, I recommended they see him). They never got to see Brent Spiner at a talk but briefly greeted him at his table and Aaron was able to tell him how much he’s enjoyed his acting.

Special Moments at 2011 DragonCon

H.o.p. and Ralph Bakshi. 2011 DragonCon.

Long before H.o.p. was born I was taping those Ralph Bakshi episodes of “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse” to make sure I had them when they were no longer airing.

Then here was H.o.p. and it was obvious he was on the art track. I pulled out those Bakshi tapes and made them a big part of his animation appreciation from early on. I put them on. Said, “This, now this is some great animation, courtesy Ralph Bakshi.” And he loved them, memorizing all the episodes that I had.

This was H.o.p.’s third year at Dragoncon. And who was there this year? Ralph Bakshi. Talk about dreams come true. All H.o.p. could think about was how Bakshi was going to be there. Every day was planned around when Ralph Bakshi would be presenting. H.o.p. had me sit down and watch “Wizards” with him in preparation. He made it an official, totally devoted screening of “Wizards” so we could discuss it together. He wasn’t going to let me be distracted by anything else. And discuss it we did. He kept stopping it to talk about it.

He was determined to buy Bakshi merch, too, to help support Bakshi’s new animation. H.o.p. has seen how we try to support in our little ways what other artists do, and I don’t know if that’s influenced him or if he’s a natural for it but all he could talk about was wanting to buy Bakshi merch to help out.

He did a drawing for Bakshi.

H.o.p.’s going to remember 2011 Dragoncon for a long time to come, as can be attested by this photo of him with Ralph Bakshi.

I had no idea those many years ago when I was taping those Mighty Mouse episodes that one day there would be H.o.p. and he would be a Bakshi freak, would meet Bakshi at 2011 DragonCon, and that Ralph Bakshi would turn out to be such a fantastic soul!!!

Thank you to Ralph Bakshi for such great, educational presentations and for taking the time out to give encouragement to a devoted Bakshi fan and hopeful future animator.

Wish I could have been there but DragonCon is expensive so H.o.p’s dad has always taken DragonCon duty for some good father-son time. Maybe next year.

P.S. You can order Wizards through Bakshi’s website. And the New Adventures of Mighty Mouse is now available at Amazon.

H.o.p.’s 2011 DragonCon Costume

H.o.p.'s 2011 DragonCon Costume
H.o.p.’s 2011 Dragoncon Costume
View On Black

Yes, it may look like a cape/cloak and a felt top hat, but to H.o.p.’s mind, even at thirteen, it is so much more, and he spent at least a couple of months contemplating and planning his outfit, abandoning here and there an elaboration which he realized he wouldn’t be quite able to implement as he doesn’t have the know how, and I don’t have the know how. We finally purchased the cape from a woman on Etsy, and it turns out to be a very good and solid cape, very well made, and fits him so perfectly I doubt that he will be able to wear it past this year. H.o.p. had a cartoon figure in mind that he had hopes of decorating the cape and hat to imitate, but comprehending finally that the cartoon figure would never translate into reality, he settled on the staples: the hat, the cape, the white gloves. And he is happy with it.

Dragoncon and Andy Runton


Owly Toy

This is H.o.p.’s third year at Dragoncon. This year, as well as the past two, he has sought out the booth of Andy Runton, the creator of Owly. Andy remembered him from last year and spent a good bit of his time speaking with him, listening to his planned projects–and I’d like to thank Andy for the great bit of advice he gave Aaron, which was it’s one thing to come up with a great idea and another to see it through to completion. Anyway, stopping by and seeing Andy Runton is one of the treats of Dragoncon. Aaron has several of his books as well as the Owly toy which is a very sweet plush.

The Dali Exhibit was Crowded

2010nov26_IMG_1240
At the Museum Series: The Dali Exhibit
Light box link

We went to the Dali exhibit at the High. It was crowded but we had reservations and moved through the outer queue fairly quickly. I’m not a big Dali fan now–enjoyed his work in high school. But I wouldn’t mind visiting again. The exhibit was massive and crowded enough today that I was overwhelmed, could only absorb so much and didn’t feel free to really examine the works as there were so many people.

Caught these photos of H.o.p. waiting in the queue in the lobby. Given a couple of hours after working on them and I don’t like much what I did with them.

H.o.p. Waiting in Queue at the Dali Exhibit
At the Museum Series: The Dali Exhibit
Light box link

A Real Live Film in Our Back Yard

Some people from the university are shooting a film out back of the building for a couple of days. We asked if it was all right for H.o.p. to watch. So, that’s what H.o.p. did all day. Tonight he asked for a clapboard.

I thought it would be good experience for him to watch and get an idea of what making a film was like as he’s so interested in films.