Here’s the reason I want to take more road trips with my family, all in one small [series of photos](http://imgur.com/a/qlPqj).
One of the things most overlooked in discussions about search and searching is the fact that adjacency, also known as happy accidents, plays such an important role in some forms of thinking, and living. Yes, being able to drill down into results is something I want to be able to do, but I cannot enumerate now how often my own intellectual development was forwarded by a book that I found that wasn’t the book for which I was looking but the one next to it, or one shelf up, or one bay over, or one aisle over, or … “what’s this corner of the library full of” over.
Sometimes the web delivers similar results, and this is one of them:
Now I know what I am getting for birthday presents for family this next year. [Laudun Cosmetics: Passion is what drives us](http://www.thelaudun.com/).
I have a trio of quotations from my grandmother, Verna Lauden. The first is from 1987. The next is undated. The third is from 1992, two years before her death on 1 April 1994.
On my first birthday in Syracuse, New York, in response to my wistful remark that I thought, at the ripe age of 23, I would feel grown up at some point, she noted:
“Oh, cher, I felt like I was fifteen until I was forty-five.”
“What happened then?” I asked.
“I just didn’t feel fifteen no more.”
At some point in response to my complaining that I had had a run of bad luck. “Oh, that’s Laudun luck. If it weren’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all.”
And, just now, I came across a note from a journal I was keeping at the time dated 25 April 1992. I don’t know anything more what we were talking about than what the entry provides:
> In conversation Grandma Laudun noted about the future:
>> “It’s always coming. It never gets further, only closer.”
In my first few years here I recorded a number of conversations with my great aunt Ann Laudun Mayfield. Aunt Ann had an amazing memory and she seemed to have had in her youth a keen sense for her elders who had similar memories. Now and then I want to add to the general knowledge about the Laudun family — and other families that compose my own current one — and so I thought I would begin with a description of the first Laudun in the historical record, the mysterious M. De Vallette Laudun, whose journal is remarkable for being [one of nineteen travel journals][wiki] from the eighteenth century to have survived. The Historic New Orleans collections describes it as follows:
> *Journal d’un voyage fait a la Louisiane en 1720* is a rare account of a French scientific expedition to Louisiana, the French West Indies, and the Gulf of Mexico. M. de Vallette Laudun, com- mander of the Toulouse, which sailed from Toulon in March 1720 and reached Dauphin Island by early July, composed this series of 132 letters written to an unnamed French lady. Vallette Laudun led the first detailed survey made of Louisiana by the French government, three years after the founding of New Orleans and at the height of public enthusiasm for John Law’s Company of the Indies. In his letters, Vallette Laudun recently acquired by The Collection appeared in 1768 as a response to the Treaty of Paris (which gave Spain con- trol of Louisiana), a reminder to its readers of the possessions the French were conceding. (2009.0053) [*HNOC Quarterly*][hnoc]
The [full text of the original][text], in its native French, is available from Google Books.
With the recent trip to Indiana behind us, we find ourselves planning the next trip. We’re not entirely sure where we’re going, but go we will (at some point). With the heat pressing down here, we can’t help but think about cooler climes and the gear we might need:
* Like a decent backpack: The simplest would be the [REI Zip Travel Daypack][rei] which is 1200 cu in and is $30. The [Talos 22][t22] by Osprey has 22 liters (1800 cu in) of room and looks to sell on Amazon for about $90. (For the record, I like all the [Osprey packs][osp].)
* And maybe a better jacket: [like Eddie Bauer’s 365 system]
A comparison of the two Osprey bags I like:
Bag | Size | Price | Features |
:——– | :——: | ——- | —————————- |
Talon 22 | 22l | 99.00 | Full-fledged waist support |
Helix | 17l | 68.95 | Webbing waist support |
On our recent trip to Indiana and back, we carried with us two devices that were dedicated for our daughter’s use: a Leapster and an iPod video. The Leapster had a range of, hopefully educational, games for her to play and the iPod contained a dozen episodes of [_Fetch with Ruff Ruffman_][frr], one of the [PBS Kids][pbs] shows she likes to watch and that we think has substance.
At one point during the trip, Yung was in the back of the car with Lily and they were playing the Leapster’s version of *I Spy* and Yung kept commenting on how hard it was to see the screen. Indeed, I have looked at the screen of the thing, and I don’t know if it began life brighter, but it is now a dim thing.
“Why not,” I wondered, “go with a better screen and with a device that is more flexible as she grows up?” The Leapster is going to fade in relevance at some point soon, and its maker will want us to buy the next device in the line-up, much as we moved from the Leap-Pad to the Leapster.
And did I mention the cartridges are expensive? Approximately $25 per cartridge for a limited set of new features/games.
Add in the better, bigger screen of an iPod Touch for watching videos, and suddenly it just seemed like the right thing to do.
A quick search of educational apps for kids turned up the following results:
* For $11.99, iPhone owners can download *Starmap*, a “pocket planetarium” that helps users easily find constellations, planets, or shooting-star zones.
* *Flash My Brain Flashcards* and *StudyCards*, both costing $9.99, allow users to create their own flash cards.
* *Lexicon* ($9.99) is an animated flash-card application designed to help users learn more than 70 languages. Users can quiz themselves and record and play back audio on their iPhone to hear how they’re progressing with the language.
* The *Atom in a Box* application is a tool to help users visualize atomic orbitals, showing what the hydrogen atom looks like in three animated dimensions for $9.99.
* There is also a [Maps of the World][mow] application that has 20 historical maps in it.
* [I See Ewe][ise], described as “an educational game for the iPhone and iPod Touch that helps your preschooler learn to recognize shapes, objects, colors and animals and to learn their first sight words through two simple yet engaging games” sounds a little too little for Lily, but might be useful for someone else.
* There are several math apps, most starting at age 7 (*PopMath*, *Basic Math*), but some at age 3 (*Cute Math*, *Dotty Shapes*) as well as one enigmatically titled miTables Lite.
* There is a *Memory Match Kids* game.
* Something called *Pre-School Adventure* that Dad-o-Matic loves.
The *New York Times* has their own [listing][nyt].
*Wired* recommends: *Wordex*, *The Secret Garden*, *Shape Builder*, and for adults *Shadows Never Sleep* and *Knots*.
The “Travel Savvy Mom” blog has [a few suggestions][tsm].
**Update**: To some degree, the listing from _AcadianaMoms_ got this ball rolling, and so I would be derelict in my note taking if I didn’t include a few apps that came from their page:
* *Shape Builder Lite* got Lily’s attention right away, and she burned through the sample shapes in no time.
* *Trace* is a lovely basic side level game, but it requires a bit more than Lily could process when I showed it to her. (The player can trace bridges and ramps to get your little guy where he needs to go.)
* Finally, there is *Eliss* which is described as a “puzzler set in space where supernovas and vortexes are the norm” — er, shouldn’t that be *supernovae* and/or *vortices* — “as the screen fills with newly formed colored planets you must work to keep different colors apart while combining like-colored circles.” Eh, sounds a bit complicated, but its space theme may appeal to the Bean.
On our way back down, we decided to stay again in Nashville, which meant that our best bet was to push past Memphis, our usual midpoint stopover, and head to Jackson, Mississippi. (Not Jackson, Tennessee, which is one hour east of Memphis.) We have had such good luck, and experience, with the Memphis Hilton that we decided to try the Jackson Hilton, whose location we already knew. The reservations person we called said rooms were available, they just weren’t available at the state rate. Mind, this was at 3:30 in the afternoon, so why they were holding onto rooms at that late of an hour is beyond me.
It all worked to our benefit. While we went ahead and scouted possible Hamptons, we decided to wait to see if there was something like a Courtyard by Marriott hotel near the shopping center where we had spied a Barnes and Noble — books, coffee, and a decent play area are all admirable qualities in a place. B&N scores a perfect 3. As luck would have it, there was a new Hyatt Place hotel, which had an indoor pool, a great room, and a great rate. What a delightful surprise.
After an hour or so in the pool, we cleaned up, had some pizza at a nearby local restaurant, grabbed a few groceries at a Fresh Market, and eyed the Apple Store. *Alas, there was no time.*
1 Celtic place name “fort of Lugus”
This is the basis of the present-day place names in Continental Europe, via the Latin form Lugudunum / Lugdunum:
(1) Lyons (south-eastern France)
In Wales there is an example with the elements reversed – Dinas Dinlleu ‘hillfort of Dinlleu’ (locally pronounced Dinas Dinlla).
Dinlleu = Celtic dun- (= fort) + Lug- (= Lugus, name of a God)