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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bow's reaction to being filmed

Uploading a video is taking longer and longer these days. For instance, that tiny snippet in yesterday's blog post took well over an hour to upload. There was a companion video that I wanted to upload with it, but I just gave up because it would have taken all day.

Today I have some other things to do on my computer, so I cannot take the time to process videos and upload them. But we did do some filming yesterday, and I want to tell you a little about Bow's reaction.

We used to film every day, but that was when we had interns, and there was a fuctioning video camera, and we had a whole routine for the interns of exactly how to go about reviewing the footage and how to index it. It's been ages since we had interns, and so the routine has changed. We are in survival mode. Bow has to be taken care of every day, and played with, and fed, and all his needs have to be seen to, research or no research. Survival comes first.

Lawrence is Bow's sitter, who comes and plays with him when I have to run errands. He is not an intern, and he doesn't have any research duties. Bow talks to him, because kids usually talk to their sitter. It's a way to communicate, but it's not a "scientific experiment".  I couldn't ask Lawrence to help me document, because there is not time or money enough for that. And our camera has gone dead, on top of everything else.

Anyway, yesterday, just for the fun of it, I showed Lawrence how to film Bow using Bow's computer's built- in webcam. The resolution on it is pretty bad, and the lighting in here is not so good. (We used to bring in extra flood lights when we were filming for real.) But Lawrence was game to try this, and he even decided to see if he could get Bow to ask for his afternoon snack while the camera was running.

Now, Bow likes the camera. He gets very excited when you turn it on. He likes to use it as a mirror, to examine parts of himself that he can't usually see. Lawrence practiced filming Bow, and Bow was fine with that. But I guess he didn't realize that Lawrence had kept the camera on. Lawrence kept trying to hint to Bow that it might be time to ask for a snack, because he wanted to show on film that it was Bow who initiated the conversation.  So there he was, muttering to himself about how nice it would be to have some apples for a snack, and there Bow sat, not taking the hint.

And then I came in for a moment, not knowing that Lawrence was trying to film, and I asked whether Bow had had his afternoon snack yet. (Sword had a friend over, and right after I had to take her to her music lesson.) Lawrence said that it might help if I just brought the apples into the pen. So I did, and then I left, and Bow got excited and asked for a green apple, and then he had the green apple and Lawrence had the yellow apple.

Lawrence kept talking to Bow about why Bow preferred the green apple, when the yellow apple was bigger. By then, Bow had finished his green apple and asked for Lawrence to give him what was left of the yellow apple Lawrence was eating. So Lawrence gave him the apple, and eventually he stopped filming.

 When Lawrence decided to watch the video he had just filmed, Bow went nuts! He started screaming, as if he were trying to articulate words, and he ran around in protest, and he looked really upset.

When I questioned him about this later, Bow said he hadn't realized he was being filmed. It upset him, because he wasn't used to it.

Next time, we'll have to ask for his permission to film!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Capturing footage on the Laptop

We went back to using the old potty, as we had fewer accidents with it. Meanwhile, I've been experimenting with my laptop, to see if I can use it as a video camera, in addition to a source of still shots. Here is a video I shot this morning using video capture.

As I was trying to film, Bow decided that what he wanted to do was to type. I think he likes real keyboards better than touchscreens. If only we could find one that he can't destroy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Potty; Fast Food

I've been rather preoccupied with opening a new website for Inverted-A Press, so I have been neglecting this blog. But that doesn't mean that nothing has been going on in Bow's life. For one thing, he has a new potty.

That happened about two Wednesdays ago, I think. Bow is growing, and the small potty that he was using was meant for a two year old. He's nine now. We found this new potty for five dollars. It's meant for adults, and has a much bigger holding capacity. Bow likes it, because he can climb up on the handles and do his business while perched above the target.

Bow knew at once that he wanted this potty, as soon as he saw it. "I want the potty," he told Lawrence. This was good, because without Bow's permission, we couldn't have brought it in. Bow attacks items that are brought into his living space without his okay.

Not only did Bow want the new potty, he knew exactly what it was, and how to use it.

Today, I was watching the latest video uploaded by Reason.TV. It happened to  be about fast food being banned in LA. If you want to watch it, you can see it here.

Bow got very excited during the viewing. I was eager to hear what he had to say. Was he against the ban? Was he for it? But this is all he had to say: "Give me food!"

Those mouth watering hamburgers on the video had made him hungry.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Classifying bananas

Yesterday at dinner, in addition to other choices, Bow had three bananas to choose from. One was very fresh and had completely yellow skin. The other two were a bit over ripe, with brownish mottled discolorations.

When Bow decided that he was done with apples and was ready to start choosing bananas, he told me: "Give me the good banana." Since it was obvious he meant the one that was not overripe, I went ahead and gave it to him. When he was done, he spelled: "Give me the good bad banana."

"What does he mean by that?" Sword asked.

I looked at the remaining two bananas. One was somewhat less ripe than the other. "I think he means this one," I told Sword. "It doesn't have as many brown spots."

When he was done with the second banana, Bow told me he wanted the "bad bad banana." Since there was only one banana left, nobody asked which one he meant.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bow lost a tooth

Today Bow lost another baby tooth. It was his left bottom canine. He showed me that it was loose, and it seemed to be troubling him. I asked him if he wanted me to help him pull it out. He acquiesced, and I had my fingers in his mouth for a really long time, wriggling the tooth back and forth. When it came out, he let me keep it.

In the past, I used to offer Bow a dollar per tooth, but he never spent any of that money. This time I decided to reward his cooperation with candy. I gave him a mint. It's worth a lot less than a dollar to me, and a lot more than a dollar to him. So it seemed like an equitable trade. Here is a picture of the tooth lying on the mousepad of my laptop:
Lawrence will be relieved to know about this. Last week Bow lost his other lower canine in the midst of rough play with Lawrence. Lawrence was afraid he may have unintentionally hurt Bow. I wasn't sure at the time whether it was a baby tooth. But this pretty much clinches it.

Bow was nice and cooperative when I asked him to pose for pictures showing his current lack of lower canines. He knew just what I wanted him to do.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Banana

As a chimpanzee entering puberty, Bow has his good days, as well as days when he is not so good. It is not always that anything bad has happened. Sometimes he's just irritable and on edge and nothing satisfies him.

Today has been a day of getting into trouble, but only to a moderate degree. I try to accomplish as much as I can, no matter what mood Bow is in, but the truth is that this morning, after I submitted the latest corrected version of Ping & the Snirkelly People to CreateSpace, and after I had checked on my Facebook and Hubpages news, I was kind of out of things to do. Or rather, even though I have list of things to do, I didn't feel like doing them.

Hubpages has been hit hard by the Google algorithm change, and so my traffic there has diminished considerably. A lot of people blame low quality hubs for the Google backlash, and while everyone is sure their own hubs are wonderful, people are casting aspersions on other hubbers, saying their hubs are too short or not meaningful enough. I'm staying out of that. I have long hubs and short ones. I think each of them is just the right length for what it was supposed to accomplish. About the time of the algorithm change, I published a very long hub about National Anthems. It is over 4000 words, took me over a year to write, and covers some interesting historical facts about specific national anthems, as well as dealing with the whole issue of nationalism. To date, I have had only three hits that came through Google. This is discouraging.

Of course, like most people, I have short hubs, too, that didn't take me long to write and are not all that deep. This morning, I went to look at my We have no bananas today hub. It's very short and rather shallow, but I don't think there's any reason to discard it. I played the embedded song, and went in with Bow. Bow became very animated, put his hands on my waist, and insisted I dance with him. We danced all around the pen.

When the song was over, I went to check my email, but then Bow made raspberry sounds, and I went to ask him what he wanted. "More banana," he spelled.

"Bow, it's not time to eat yet," I said reflexively. Then I looked at him, did a double take and asked: "Do you mean that you want me to play the banana song again?"

"Yes."

So I played it again. And we danced again. Bow definitely prefers that song to the Marseillaise!