Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

I'm wrapping presents -- the one part of this holiday hoo-ha that I'm any good at -- and Tom wanders into the room. I pick up an empty paper roll, hand him another and start making light saber sounds as I tap them together. He stares at me.

"Like this," I say, and wave my roll around. "Bbbbwwwew! Zzzew! Bkkkkt!"

An enormous smile breaks across his face and he waves his tube back and forth excitedly.

"That's it!" I say, as he continues to swing the cardboard back and forth. "That's... Um."

He wanders over into the corner of the room and reaches behind a chair, still waving the tube. He leans as far back as he can, poking the nose of the roll deep into the shadow.

He's vacuuming.

"No, no, Tom," I say. "Light sabers! Weapons! Fighting!"

He pulls his tube out from behind the chair, points to it, then to another room. "Ee!" he says, and wanders off, still waving it at the ground, sweeping it in small arcs in front of him.

"But... Fighting!" I say, as he disappears out the door. From the next room, I can hear Joanne say, "Oh! Are you vacuuming? Good boy!"

And suddenly rushing out and getting him a good, old-fashioned, stereotypical-gender-role-affirming laser gun for Christmas doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic and Buzz Clock), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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