Zorbit’s Math (not a typo) at E3

06.16.13

If you ever want to feel like the mommiest mom blogger in the world get yourself a pass to E3 and behold long lines of (young) adult men waiting for the chance to play a video game. When I say long I mean LONG. Like remember when people used to wait in line for movies or concert tickets? Like that. It was crazy.

There were niche sections at E3 and, of course, Nintendo skewed a little more feminine and less warlike. There was also a video game museum which is not exactly filled ancient relics but well it has the stuff my childhood was made of.

Okay so Beazerk wasn’t exactly a learning tool.

Then I went to meet with Zorbit’s Math, which is likely to reflect be your child’s memory in 20 years. It’s a new app for the ipad that teaches pre-math skills. I’ll be working with them for a bit so get used to hearing about this one from me. It’s the first time having a master’s degree in education has actually proven to be useful. After 953 years of school I am an actual authority when I tell you that Zorbit’s Math Adventure is a fantastic game for your preschool child.

Kids (mostly four year olds) will learn sorting, colors, larger, smaller, in, out, left, middle, right, above & below and so much more. Best of all they’re playing. Oh wait, I lied. Best of all they’re playing independently. Zorbits doesn’t require reading. If you do decide that you need a little quiet time and kids put on a headset to play the sound automatically lowers, no blowing out little eardrums.

Sugar and I got a little demo of the app and fell in love with the characters. The game designers were there and we were like, “Do kids want to play it after they’ve finished all the levels?” That was a yes. “And what about little siblings?” Apparently they like popping bubbles with their fingers too. The word edutainment was everyone’s favorite and when we talked about math readiness and developmental stages they got all jumpy and excited and showed us a zillion ways that Zorbits was teaching kids to count even though they didn’t know it.

Most importantly I felt good talking to them in my penny dress. I know, tangent. I got this dress for a penny at Bloomingdales. I really liked it and I was all excited to be there on a 30% off day but when the sales clerk told me it was a penny I just about screamed and I’ve decided that I’m going to wear it every week until it’s threadbare. So enjoy a picture of Zorbir, Sugar, me and my penny dress.

E3 mom bloggers

Santa Monica Macaroni Kid gave a great breakdown of the app and it’s worth reading while we’re waiting for it to show up in the app store. Of course every Mamvation requires a Dad so Mark Segedie got to go to E3 (the guys at Zorbit’s Math gave him a bucket list day). Mark also goes into a lot of detail about the game.

In the interim you’ve got three short days to enter to win a $100 gift card from the store of your choice. All you have to do is say why you love your dad. The contest is on Zorbit’s site.

The Craziest Day Ever: Brought To You By Microsoft Kinect, Mc Donalds and The LAFD

06.15.10

Yesterday was the first Monday of Summer Vacation. The kids went to camp, and I began to tackle the 800 chores that were neglected for end of school festivities.

In the early evening we were invited to the Microsoft X Box Kinect reveal. The kids and I went with Tiffany and her son downtown to the Galen Center where we would meet up with my husband and family. Tiffany boldly navigated traffic the likes of which I have never seen before, and then we all waited in line. Oh, and then we waited some more.

There was no food, there were no drinks, there were no vendors. There were water fountains inside, but nothing for the wait in line. This was an event where you could RSVP your children. Note to self: do not bring children anywhere free. The cost of free is high.

After we made it in we put on these wacky white ponchos with shoulder pads that channeled Joan Collins circa 1985, and we took our seats. There was a weird screen between the seated audience and the audience on the floor. The audience on the floor was interacting with the Cirque Troupe while the seated audience watched through a mesh screen. Weird. Not good, not bad, weirdly engaging.

The reveal was amazing.

Seriously amazing. I sat there and poked Tiffany about three hundred times saying, “I want that.” and “Oh wait, I want that too.” And she never ever poked me back, nor did she shush me. I’m pretty sure it’s because she was tired. I’m pretty sure everyone knows that Kinect was previously called Project Natal, and it’s an XBox that watches how your body moves with three little cameras. Instead of holding numchuks like on a Wii, you simply stand in front of the machine and move as if you were¬† in the game. There are no controllers. It will be available November 4th, and I’m pretty sure that everyone will want one for the Holiday Season. As the parent of kids who have mostly outgrown the Wii, I see this as the next logical step. Oh, also, I want the yoga program. Like I really really really want it.

Here’s a snippet of a family playing a car racing game:

Now I promised you crazy, and I’m going to give you three crazy things that happened last night. I’ll give them to you in chronological order, though certainly not in order of import or oddity.

At the Kinect reveal event I could not find my brother (who I was really looking forward to spending time with), but I did accidentally sit down right behind my ex-stepbrother, his wife, and their two children. The ex step brother and I have no real contact, it’s always strange when we bump into one another. Every few years there’s an awkward “Jessica? Jessica Wilzig?” and I have to remember that I had a different name once upon a time. Our parents divorced in the late 80’s or perhaps the early 90’s? I was absolutely delighted to see him, and it’s been fun watching his wife’s star rise. I tried to explain to my friends who he is, but one guy just looked at me and said, “How does that even happen?” I don’t really have a good answer for that one. It just does.

When we left the Galen Center my husband was ravenous so we drove through Mc Donalds. In my head I’m screaming, don’t do it. Don’t buy this shit, don’t have a salt lick and dogfood for dinner. But the outside of me smiled, and recognized that I’d asked my family along to an event that delighted only me. The kids got hamburgers at 10PM. I said nothing. Everyone in the car recognized the oddity of my silence.

As we turned our car onto our street I glanced at a neighbor’s house and saw smoke billowing from a window. “Honey, I think the pink house is on fire.” As I said the words I thought, oh I’m overreacting, there’s no possible way that the house is on fire. Indeed I was not overreacting, the house was very much on fire.

My husband pulled the car over, told me to dial 9-1-1 and then he went to the front door of the smoking house, and started banging on the door. We could see lights being turned on, and smoke filled every inch of that home. After a moment a man answered the door, I watched my husband talk to him, and then the strangest thing ever happened.

The man walked back into his smoky house.

At this point in time the LAFD was en route, and I was still on the phone with an incredibly well trained dispatcher giving him details as I had them. The dispatcher didn’t react at all as I told him, “the man is going back into the house.” Nothing, no reaction whatsoever. Good work, LAFD our city needs unflappable. I did have the house confused with another, and I was terribly concerned that there were children inside, so it was only after my husband came back to the car and reassured me that that homeowner was not Indian that I exhaled. You see their immediate neighbor is a young Indian family, and the thought of children being in there was just too much to bear.

After fourteen minutes, 29 firefighters were able to put the flames out. My children huddled with other neighbors and we all looked on with horror as flames licked the sides of the pink house. I looked on with horror as my children ate McDonalds.

The homeowner eventually came to our side of the street to talk with the Battalion Chief. His hair was as wild as his eyes, and there was a trickle of snot coming from his nose. The kids wanted to see what would happen, but I had to take them home and to bed. My neighbor was having the worst moment of his life, and now that we knew he was safe it was time to go.

Every part of the evening conspired to have us drive down our street from the wrong direction and notice a plume of smoke.

Thank goodness.