Thursday, July 28, 2016

Alex At Lake Tahoe - Nevada Beach / A Flame Sunset



Song:  Nuvole Bianche

Artist:  Ludovico Einaudi


Today...
as it was uncharacteristically hot in Reno...
and there were clouds in the sky (which gives great potential for a beautiful sunset)...
we went back to Lake Tahoe so Alex could swim at another beach...
and so we could catch a nice sunset.

This time...
we got a very beautiful sunset...
thanks to the many clouds in the sky over Lake Tahoe.

As Lake Tahoe is just one hour away from home...
we didn't leave until after 4:30 PM.

We had arrived at Nevada Beach with plenty time for Alex to enjoy a swim.



The skies are usually crystal clear in Reno and Lake Tahoe.

However, there have been several forest fires in California lately.








Just after 7 PM...Alex then dried off and we prepared to leave
to go to a beach trail to see the sunset.


We were leaving Nevada Beach here.


We were on our way to the beach trail.


We only walked about a tenth of a mile along the trail...
as our goal was to find a nice vantage point to watch the sunset.

Next time...
we will go to Hidden Beach.



We had found many nice photo vantage points...
but we kept going until we were satisfied.





 This was our spot.


Alex sat on a rock as we watched the sunset.


Although the sunset was initially a bright amber one...
it soon became a beautiful flame sunset.




We then started walking back to catch the rest of the sunset from different 
vantage points.




The sky started to take on reds...
and even had a 'candle flame' just above the sun.


This was not a lens anomaly.

The appearance of a flame like apparition just above where the sun had set
looked the same in real life as it appears here in the photo.











 The reds deepened and became the intense colors of hot burning embers.


The intensity of the 'flames' gave way to gentler pinks.


We then drove back to Reno to have supper at the Atlantis Casino.

We went to Sky Terrace Sushi and had all you can eat sushi.




These are 3 of my favorite sushi...
salmon with lemon slices...unagi...and grilled scallops with tobiko and green onions
(these was just the starter plates.  I kept ordering until I could not eat any more  :)


While we were eating...
the towers above the sky terrace jetted their flames.



We finished our meals fully sated.

Alex had another fun day under the sun...
and we finally got our beautiful sunset at Lake Tahoe.

















Alex's First Driving Lesson



Song:  To Zanarkand (Extended)

From:  FF X



Alex started on a journey of danger and adventure...
no less deadly than the many monsters of Final Fantasy X.

Alex had his first lesson in driving today.

His Zanarkand is mastery of the basics of safe driving...
and the safe arrival at all of his future destinations.

In the meantime...
I am his teacher...
I am his guide...
and through careful and graduated experience in all the various driving scenarios...
I will teach him how to keep himself...
and all who will eventually ride with him...
safe.



This is our car...
and it will eventually be Alex's car.

I first drove us to a nearby elementary school parking lot so Alex could get use to
gently accelerating and stopping...turning and parking.






We started at around 7:15 in the evening...
and after about 1.5 hours here...


I drove home...
and I then had Alex get back into the driver's seat.

Alex then spent another half an hour driving around the neighborhood at night.

My main lesson for this night was for him to stay in his lane as he drove 
through our neighborhood.

At first, Alex was apprehensive when another car approached from the opposite direction...
but overall, he did well in keeping in his lane, while keeping correct distance from the 
parked cars on his side of the road.

He did some Y turns and some 360 roundabouts...
and he used his turn signals correctly.

His stopping and acceleration had also greatly improved over the night.

So...
for Alex's first night's lesson...
he had accomplished much.

He had gotten a feel for the car...
and he learned how to not fear driving by concentrating 
on staying on his portion of the road regardless of distractions.


Alex at home after his 2 hour lesson.

Alex feels comfortable in his new glasses.

Barring a vacation away from home...
I will be teaching Alex to drive on a daily basis...
at least 1 hour's worth...
every day or night.

I will ensure the basics are thoroughly learned by mastery through repetition...
until everything becomes second nature...
before I advance him to the next task.



----------------------



I am going to be honest...
I had to go drill sergeant on Alex a few times
(as a last resort...after numerous attempts of more gentle persuasion).

In driving...
it must be taken with the absolute and utmost seriousness...
for the consequences of anything less given...
is death.


Although Alex was very serious...
he was initially too apprehensive and prone to a panic response
as opposed to a smooth and gradual application of his motor skills
(my glasses flew off my head more than once as a result of 
his too vigorous application of the brakes).


I had to have him temporarily fear my wrath more than
his apprehension of driving.

After he settled down...
and we concentrated on just one skill at a time...
he ended up doing quite well.

After the night's lesson...
we talked on the sofa about what had transpired...
and the reason I had to get loud and profane...
or what I call...
going drill sergeant.

As I had told him...
when all else fails...
in the end...
it is the safe and successful accomplishment of the mission that matters...
not a person's feelings.

The number one mission all throughout his life is one of safety.

Safety is mission critical...
and mission number one.

I will do anything to ensure Alex stays safe in life.

He could end up with some hurt feelings...
but he SHALL be safe.

------------

For those who think that a child should never be yelled at...
you are wrong.

Now...
it shouldn't be used as a first response...
but when all else fails...
going drill sergeant is sometimes necessary.

I am still thankful to all of my drill sergeants in the Army.

They did what had to be done to get us to perform at levels
we initially hadn't thought we were capable of.

Just as we had...
a child knows when something is necessary.

He appreciates it if it improves his life.


What is most hurtful...
is to be abandoned...
to have an adult not care enough to ensure 
the child is guided on the correct path in life...
even if he has to be knocked back in line sometimes.

To be deserted by a laissez faire attitude from a parent...
is laziness of the parent...at best.


-------------


My last message for Alex for the night was what was drilled into us in the Army:

'You don't have to like it.
You just have to do it.'

These words were not expressed for obedience.

The message was that the mission is what is important...
not the feelings of anyone involved.

Or more aptly put:

Needs come before wants or desires.

You simply must do what must be done to effect a later and greater good...
regardless of any desires to the contrary or to escape discomfort...
including those of pain or fear...
 those of fatigue or lassitude...
or those of pessimism or the pursuit of hedonism.


The mission here is one of mastery of a very necessary life skill...
and one where any lacking thereof...
can be life altering.


'You don't have to like it.
You just have to do it.'...
applies to me as well.

I hate having to go drill sergeant.

But sometimes...
I must...
to ensure the ultimate safety of my son...
Alex.


The mission is that of safety...
regardless of the fear of the journey.

I had to get him over the fear of driving...
so he could truly start to learn.

On this first night...
mission accomplished.

By the end of the night...
his driving was much more natural and smooth...
for he no longer feared the car...
or the other cars on the road.

He may now learn in small easily mastered steps...
and it will then be a simple matter of placing the left foot forward and then the right...
and repeating.


-------------------


Why yell at all?

Why not just gently repeat the lessons until the person gets it?


BECAUSE...
in real life...
in many situations...
there is not the luxury of time.

A man must sometimes do something at that time.

He must be able to conquer timidity when necessary...
on the spot...in the moment...right then and there.

If he never had to conquer a fear...
if he always had the time to do something over again and again...
 he will most likely fail...
or never even attempt...
a greatly rewarding path in life...
due to fear.


A person must realize that sometimes...

'You don't have to like it.
You just have to do it.'...
and sometimes...
it must be done right then...
and right there.



















Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Alex Goes To Northstar's Open House





Song:  Moonlight Sonata Mov. 1/2/3

Performing Pianist:  Valentina Lisitsa



Northstar is Alex's online high school.

Today was their open house.

Although the new academic school year doesn't start until August 8th...
today's function was designed to welcome potential newcomers...
as well as to welcome back returning students.



A local radio station was broadcasting from outside the school today...
and the DJ had interviewed one of the staff during his program.


This is the K through 8th computer lab.


This is the high school computer lab.


This is a presentation room.


Another shot of the high school computer lab.


Something new this year is 'zSPACE'.

It is a dedicated room for virtual reality learning on special computers.


The student wears head tracking 3-D eyewear as he manipulates objects on the screen
with an optical stylus.

There are multiple programs and uses for these machines.

They are designed to take the place of hands on labs in many instances.


Alex was doing a virtual dissection of a human body on one of the Biology programs.

Alex then switched to a Physics program.



With dedicated or open roaming and variable input possibilities...
the students may learn from a teacher's lesson plan...
or they may discover on their own.


This is Alex's new counselor. 

My wife had discussed Alex's desired schedule of classes with her.


Alex will be taking the following this semester from Northstar:


AP Literature

AP Micro Economics (and AP Macro Economics the following semester)

AP or Honors Physics (we are unsure if AP Physics will be offered)

Honors World History



Alex will be taking the following from Brigham Young University online:

Japanese 2


And Alex will be attending the University of Nevada Reno for:

Mathematical Analysis I

(and Mathematical Analysis II the following semester).


--------------


Alex now has his glasses.

We are going to the DMV in the morning...
and in the evening...
I am going to start teaching Alex how to drive.


It is too bad there aren't any available virtual reality driving simulators
for Alex to start out on  :)

















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