November 21st, 2013


pre-holiday thoughts on goldieblox, and other girly engineering toys

We were at Exploration Place last weekend and they had a Goldieblox set out for sale at the gift shop... I'd read about it. The gist is that a stanford engineer developed a story-driven toy for girls to play with mechanical stuff and get into engineering.

I'd already written that I felt a little uncomfortable about buying Josie Lego Friends, the girly legos with houses and cute pinkness, because I didn't like the idea that there should be legos "for girls". But playing with goldieblox those legos started sounding better and better because I wasn't really impressed with the goldieblox set. I want to support it, hell I want to support anything thrown at the gender imbalance issue, but buy it for my daughters? It's got some competition.

Goldieblox and The Spinning Machine is basically a pegboard with thread spools that you wind ribbon around... kinda cute but after ten minutes, I felt like I'd done that. Flipped through the book, it's curriculum-y. It retails for $30, you get 33 toy pieces and a storybook. Ouch. If I were to compare to to anything, I'd say it's like high-quality designer tinkertoys... spools, sticks, you get the idea. Except not very many.

On the other hand, the LEGO Friends City Park Cafe is a restaurant, which is Josie's favorite game right now, playing "restaurant", she just wants to make up her own stories. It's $33 and comes with over 200 pieces. And let me be honest: the first time I saw a LEGO friends set, I secretly really wanted it. You know, the little science labs? I talked shit on the skinny chick and liberal use of pink but it was cute. In fact now I'm kinda depressed that the science lab doesn't seem to be around anymore... but whatever.

I realize that my three year old is not the target age for either of these toys, and neither am I. But even my friends with 8-10 year olds, my woman engineer friends who plunged into Goldieblox and Roominate, aren't gushing about how their kids spend hours and hours fiddling with their toys. They're educational, and kinda feel that way.

You know what? I grew up on legos and barbie houses and turned out just fine. There was cuteness. There was shinyness and sparkles.

In fact I just had to look up my favorite ever lego set... this hovercraft. I know these pieces are still at my parents house. Be still, my heart.

I'd be lying if I said my favorite part was the wings or guns or whatever, no, my favorite part was the pretty "lights", the translucent bricks. Anyone else with me on this one, or is that just a quirk that happened to people who fell into aviation electronics later in life?

Anyway the point of this entry is that I kinda want to get Josie some Lego Friends for christmas because they don't make these spaceships as pretty as they used to... you know what, screw it, nothing is as good as it was when I was a kid. But I turned out okay and she will to. I'm going with my gut and buying whatever makes me say "OOOOH I WANT IT!"

dispatch the dreamlifterlifter?

The bad news is, a very large airplane landed at the wrong airport in my neck of the woods last night, about 8 miles north of McConnel airforcebase.

The good news is:

1) Everyone was safe, airplane unharmed, and safely departed after a night of calculations to find out whether they could take off of a much shorter runway. No WATC students were sucked up by the ginormous engines.

2) Wichita made national news and it wasn't about those koch brothers being assholes.

3) If you've ever wanted to fly a dreamlifter to cargo boeing parts around, we hear there's a job opening.

Most pilots around here are really scratching their heads about how this could happen... I mean you plan a descent at a certain point of your flight, you're generally at a much different altitude 8 miles from the airport than you are 2 miles from my airport. And although many airports look the same, you try to note things like "I'll be flying PAST a city".

But hell don't ask me, I fly 172s. Based on their distances, I can land at about whatever airport I want.

I've landed at Jabara lots of times. It's nice. Gets kinda busy though... I'd be very upset if I flew there to practice pattern work and found a boeing on the runway.