The Hess Report

Saturday, March 20, 2004

It's been almost a month since I've written anything, and that's mostly due to pouring a lot of time into my software project that I mentioned here. It does large scale crowd simulation, designed mostly for hand-to-hand combat. It's coming along really well. In fact, the first half that controls gross actor motion across the field is finished. I've put a GUI on it and "released" it to very good (albeit necessarily limited) response.

If you're really interested, you can follow its progress in this forum thread. Or, you can just watch a sample video (1.1 MB, DivX 5.1). In case you (masochist) do read the thread, I'm "harkyman".

So this crap bores you? You like stories about pooping in the tub instead? Try this:

Since she was tiny, Maddie has had her Lovies. They were originally a satin nightgown that belonged to her grandmother. We let her sleep with it one night. She liked it, so we removed the spaghetti straps (no strangling!), cut it in half and made it hers. We bisected it so that we'd always have a fall back Lovey in case the primary one was lost, destroyed or otherwise defiled in some unrecoverable manner. Wait! Did you just hear that? I think it was an Abrams tank backfiring!

Instead of having one Lovey with a backup, she ended up having two, both of which became required bedtime friends. She's six now, and still loves them. They used to follow her everywhere. Fortunately, they were small enough that she could stuff them in here little coat pockets if she needed to. These days, they're mostly only used at bedtime, or when she's sick. But she still loves them like crazy.

A week and a half ago, they went missing. The first night, she was upset. But she is getting older, and her fears/tears were quickly quelled. We knew they were in the house somewhere, but due their aforementioned compressibility, they could have been anywhere. Stuffed into an old slipper and popped in a closet. Crammed between a mattress and a wall. Zippered into one of the many play purses/backpacks/handbags that litter the place. Who knows? Throughout the last week, she would joke about it:

"I think Lovies are swimming in the ocean!"

"I'll bet they got eaten by a cat!"

To me, it felt like she was trying a little too hard. But the true test of her affection for the little things would be when we found them. Would she simply say "Oh, there they are," and return to doing somersaults? Or would there be a party with full course meal and brass band?

We were cleaning the house this morning, and looking, incidentally, for another missing item so we could play "Robot Grabby Arms". The search was failing, and she was becoming frustrated. Suddenly, she squealed "Lovies!"

She had found them. They were underneath the piano, which is a baby grand, so it's not like they were crammed somewhere nigh-invisible. She had crawled under there to make a secret hideout of some sort and apparently dragged the Lovies and a stuffed animal along with her.

Maddie sat on the ground, clutching her Lovies. I knelt down in front of her and told her how happy I was. And I was very happy. She started to smile, but tears welled in her eyes. Then, she was sobbing into my shoulder. Joy suggested that she might have been crying because she was so happy. But Maddie shook her head.

As I held her, I told her that she had been brave about it all week, and that sometimes when we're brave about things that really scare us, when we don't need to be brave anymore, all of our scared feelings come out at once.

Of course, she's been wreck all day. I think she's cried on average every two hours. But we all have bad days, and I've never been a six year old girl, so I'm not going to even comment.

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