Sunday 28 February 2010

Get busy, Mom!

The other night at dinner we ended up on a discussion of selling off obstreperous children. Charles immediately began considering this, announce that he wanted $300K for Alice. I noted that given Alice’s age, $5K was a more reasonable. Charles said that wasn’t worth it, not enough profit for him. Mom unfortunately noted that babies in the 6 to 12 month range got the best prices, to which Charles replied “Mom! Make some more babies so I can sell them!”. Alice objected to selling any Mom produced babies and discoursed on naming and gender. I thought about all of the junk email I am getting concerning Russian mail order brides but declined to mention this as an option for Charles with regard to Corwin. I wonder if, reading this years later, Charles will curse me to not getting him started on the road to riches.

P.S. At least we know Charles places some value on his sister.

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Saturday 27 February 2010


Mom’s spent the last week or so getting ready for a big junk garage sale to benefit the group that sponsors Charles’ string band. They filled most of the church annex with stuff. Mom said the sale regulars invaded at 8 AM when it opened and started grabbing things. According to Mom they didn’t even much look at what they were buying, just grabbing anything that looked potentially valuable. Mom’s main goal was to not get in between them and merchandise.

They sold a lot of stuff, even a couple of old TVs which I thought you couldn’t give away. Mom had to buy some thing the for the kids, Charles of course getting another stuffed cetecean (Beluga whale, I think) because he’s short on those.

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Friday 26 February 2010

Week of Music

Last week was busy for me. It was a week-o-music. I had four different music concerts and contests. I had the solo-ensemble contest, the strings concert, the concert orchestra concert, and the concert orchestra contest.

I had to practice my solo-ensemble piece for a couple weeks, and I had to practice even harder with my accompanist. I got to practice with her four times. I was supposed to only practice with her three times, but I got an extra practice because my piece was so hard. The concert was in Bloomington. My mom drove me there along with my accompanist. We got there around noon and had lunch. I had to play my song right after lunch. After I played, I had to wait till two because we had to take my accompanist home. My song got a one.

Next, I had a string festival. This was for my school group. There were also a group of fifth graders, a high school orchestra, a group of sixth graders, and a chamber orchestra group. My group played Allegro in D and Fantasia Espanola. The concert was so big, it had to be held in the gym. The concert lasted till around 8:30.

A few days later, I had a concert orchestra concert. We played Shaker Variants, Irish Party in Third Class, and Russian Sailor’s Dance. There was also concert band and 8th grade chorus. The concert lasted till around eight. There was also a contest on friday. It was for concert orchestra. Our group only played for a little, and since I didn’t have a book, and couldn’t eat because my teeth hurt like heck, I was bored.

That was my week-o-music, and now I get to look forwaard to a week-o-ISATs. Yay?

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Thursday 25 February 2010


Charles’ flag for when Dogbert takes over the world.

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Wednesday 24 February 2010

Less discrimination

Alice decides to authorize the presence of people wearing glasses in the basement.

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Tuesday 23 February 2010

Relationship advice

Charles and I went to Cub Scouts this evening and the den mother’s older (5th grade) daughter Chelsea was there as usual. She was in a feisty mood and started messing with Charles as things were breaking up. I tried to hurry things along by going out to the car but it still took Charles about 5 minutes or so to get free. He commented when he arrived that “Chelsea hates me”. I countered with the observation that girls don’t touch people they don’t like. “She wouldn’t spend five minutes grabbing you if she didn’t like you, she’d just ignore you”. This did not cheer up Charles.

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Monday 22 February 2010

Big concert

Yesterday the Bowdacious String Band (featuring Charles!) played at a retirement home as a public outreach. Charles went grumpily along but Mom says he actively played while the band was performing.

Tonight, Corwin had another concert this evening at the middle school. It was a large combined string concert with groups from 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th and 8th^ grade (featuring Corwin!) and two high school groups. I felt somewhat sorry for the kids, having to sit around most of the time while other groups played. Corwin did well, as best as I could see and hear. I had Charles and Alice with me and they spent the time drawing in books. I tried to get Charles interested while a cello solo was being performed but was most unsuccessful.

It’s just the busy season.

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Sunday 21 February 2010

Back to the information age

The last few weeks have been quite a trial for Charles, banished back to a more primitive age.

It all started with Mom’s efforts in advanced audio visual technology which caused me to think about optimal resource allocation in our local computation matrix. It seemed to me that the computer attached to the TV was rather over powered and would do better as a computer for one of the boys.

At the same time Mom had been doing her work I had been restructuring my home office, a tale I need to write up at some point, but the relevant result was that I demoted one of my computers to replace Alice’s old computer, which was Corwin’s old computer, so it was somethign of a relic. With Alice upgraded to semi-modernity it just made sense to start bringing the boys forward on the technology curve. Neither, however, seemed enthused at the prospect so I picked Charles as the victim beneficiary.

Unfortunately, Charles’ old computer proved resistant to being upgraded to something useful for being a media server. It was weeks before I finally got it to be sufficiently stable, during which time Charles was basically reduced to experience reality or using Alice’s computer. He did not bear this indignity well.

Eventually I was able to move Charles’ old box (an SN21G5) upstairs as the media box (named “VIDIOT”) and upgrade the previous media box (an SH78H7) and put it downstairs for Charles with the name “SPARKTOPOLIS” today. Charles was, well, not exactly happy, but willing to un-grump a bit. I tried to make it up to him by

  • Setting his logon image to a picture of Dogbert on SPARKTOPOLIS, VIDIOT, and PONY (Alice’s SX38P2 computer).
  • Loading Spore on VIDIOT so he could play it on the big screen.
  • Pointing out that Corwin now had the slowest computer of anyone in the family.

The one long term negative is that I don’t Corwin will ever let me upgrade his computer, although Mom thinks that is a feature.

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Saturday 20 February 2010

School violinence

Corwin and Mom went off today to the IMEA auditions where Corwin was to play a violin solo with a piano accompaniment. Corwin has been struggling with this piece for quite a while and apparently the piano part is very challenging even for a professional accompanist. She had to send over a tape to play for Corwin so he could practice with the piano as Mom didn’t have the hours needed to play the actual piece. The accompanist had to loan us her tape player as well because we gave away our nice cassette tape player 5 or 6 years ago and this is the first time since then we could have used it.

I stayed home with Charles and Alice and was told afterwards that it went well, with Corwin getting a first rank (an absolute, not relative, award).

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Friday 19 February 2010

Blue and Gold

This evening we went to the annual Cub Scout Blue & Gold dinner. Charles has now advanced to be a Webelos which means he’s old enough to be sent out camping without other family members. Mom is determined to make him give it a try this summer. I know we did that with Corwin but Charles seems so much younger, although perhaps his budding cynicism will help.

Other than that it was a good evening. There was a lock in afterwards but Charles was very not interested. Now I just have to get working on his Pinewood Derby car.

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Is our childs learning?

Today we had parent / teacher conferences for Alice and Charles. At the middle school they have so many kids that students who aren’t having problems are discouraged from having conferences. Both Alice and Charles are doing well, although we need to work on Alice’s reading skills a bit more. Charles’ teacher thinks Charles is doing fine although we noted that Charles had missed some questions on one of his math quizzes. I told Charles that had better not happen again. We discussed Charles’ use of sarcasm which the teacher gets, noting that he can tell if something was written by Charles just by the authorial voice. Social Charles is doing OK, apparently stunning the other boys in the class during kickball with his superior kicking power. It seems that they expected much less from someone as normally geeky as Charles. I have to assume that none of them play on the soccer teams or it wouldn’t have been a surprise.

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Thursday 18 February 2010

Writing as expected

Charles is already learning to fake sincerity. I suspect his teacher realizes that Charles is messing with him. I asked Charles about it and he just smiled his “I am being clever” smile.

I wish that there was no war, no guns, and that everyone is safe. There will not be any assassinations or dead. I wish that everyone is happy and healthy and enough money. I wish that everyone will be eco friendly, no fossil fuels and litter. I wish that we won’t kill any animals. And the world won’t be a wasteland. I wish school was only 5 seconds long. I wish earth wasn’t the only habbital [sic] planet.

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Wednesday 17 February 2010

Valentine's Day Card

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Tuesday 16 February 2010


This evening for Cub Scouts the pack went out to visit a local police station. The highlight for Charles was getting to sit in a real police car. It was not quite as thrilling as he had hoped because it turns out that police are cars are mostly normal cars with a police coloring scheme. Charles’ comment was “it’s just a Ford!”. I inquired as to his prior view and he said he had thought there were special police car brand cars. I disillusioned him completely by letting him know that it wasn’t any better at any other police station.

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Monday 15 February 2010

Spot the problem

It was another day for a learning experience. Today’s lesson was for Corwin and his siblings.

Josie was over visting. He and Charles decided to play Parcheesi and Alice tagged along to help. They came to me because they couldn’t find any dice. I went looking and finally found some but decided to have some fun by giving them 4-sided dice. They seemed OK with that, although Corwin immediately realized that it’s really hard to roll the ‘5’ you need to get out of home base on such dice. They went around the table 4 or 5 times, failing to get a ‘5’, before Alice of the three said “I don’t see any fives on these dice”. Charles and Josie were not nearly as amused as Corwin and I. I made sure to point out to Corwin that the subtle efforts were the msot rewarding in the end. I think he understood what I meant.

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Sunday 14 February 2010

Zeno-Corwin effect

There is an old aphorism “a watched pot never boils”. This turns out to be something you can demostrate in certain quantum mechanical systems where a particle won’t change state as long as the experiment is watching.

Now, I have discovered a similar but opposite effect with Corwin. If Corwin is left alone to dress, it can take him an extremely long time (30 plus minutes) to dress. But if I watch him, it only takes a few minutes. He’s kind of like a movie that turns off when you look away. We think this may be why he takes so long in the bathroom as well. I am considering putting in a webcam to see if I can demonstrate the same anti-Zeno effect. Nobel Prize, here I come!

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Saturday 13 February 2010


Charles has been pestering Mom on and off since before Christmas to get a snuggie, one of those blankets with arms. He has been especially interested since we got the couch because he finds leather “cold”. Today Mom was finally overwhelmed by Charles’ big blue eye technique and she let him get a snuggie. With his own money, though.

You can see Charles here playing Mario Kart Wii with his snuggie in an off-shoulder style.

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Friday 12 February 2010

The younger perspective on skiing

Last Saturday, my family and I went to visit my grandparents and to go skiing. We left to go to my grandparents around noon. On the way, I watched some DVDs and messed with my dad’s new Ipod touch. Charles felt really sick and laid on the couch the first night. I watched T.V. and also messed with some LEGOs. Since Charles had the couch I had to sleep with Alice. I also had the choice of sleeping on some cushions with a blanket. I chose the cushions.

In the morning, Charles felt much better and kinda wanted to ski, but Alice did not want to ski at all. So she stayed at my Grandparents the whole day. The rest of us went to SnowStar ski resort. It took us about half an hour to get all our stuff, but we did get on the slopes eventually. We first did some bunny slopes for Charles, but soon my mom and I went on a blue a couple times. We then went on a terrain slope with some hills. I didn’t jump on the hills, but I did go over them. My mom crashed and burned though. She got snow in her pants! Then we went to lunch. I got burnt pizza that was surprisingly good, a pretzel with cheese, and water. After lunch, Charles went with on a blue with us. He crashed a couple times and ran into a person, but made it down. Charles got better until he was a blur on the slopes (he kept his skis straight and didn’t trie to slow down). Charles gradually got discouraged enough to stop wanting to ski. So the rest of us went on a couple more slopes then packed up.

We went to my grandparents to spend the night and I got the couch! On the way back, I mainly read or messed with my dad’s Ipod. When we got back, I had to work on a lot of homework, but the ski trip was worth it.

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Thursday 11 February 2010

The Wedgie of Instruction

Charles and Corwin were laying on the couch watching TV when it became time for bed. I was sent over to encourage them to depart the couch and retire to their bedroom. I decided a wedgie threat would do the job.

Dad: Hey, Alice, should I try for a double atomic wedgie?

Alice: Oh, OK.

[Dad grabs Charle’s underwear band and reaches for Corwin, who does a good job of protecting it. Dad decides he is too tired to finish and releases Charles]

Charles: Haha, you didn’t even get one wedgie!

[Dad, of course, will not allow that to stand. There is much screaming and begging for mercy as Dad attacks, but he doesn’t quite get to Corwin]

Dad: Allright, just go on up to bed, Corwin.

[Corwin sits up and starts to get off the couch, giving Dad a perfect shot at a wedgie hold]

Dad: I can’t believe you fell for that! What are they teaching you kids in school these days? What kind of friends do you have that you didn’t suspect anything?

[Dad fires off his double atomic wedgie]

Dad: Woo! Double atomic wedgie!

Corwin: That wasn’t much of a wedgie.

[Dad demonstrates that he can still give a real atomic wedgie if he’s motivated]

Dad: That’s two mistakes in a row for you Corwin.

Corwin: Ow! Ow! That was an awesome wedgie!

Dad: [To Mom] Now that is learning in action.

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Wednesday 10 February 2010

Cold fun

Way back at the end of January, my Boy Scout troop and I went to Camp Drake for the Klondike Derby. The Klondike Derby is mainly a series winter camping challenges. One was the Blind Man maze. I got to lead my group through an obstacle course while they were blindfolded, and I did not lead them off a cliff. Another challenge was orienteering. We had to use the compass to find these milk jugs that had names and the next set of coordinates on it. For lunch there was hot dogs, soup, and chips. I didn’t have the hot dog, but the other food was pretty good.

After lunch we went to the fire making contest. We had to build a fire without matches, lighters, or batteries, and we had to make it big enough to snap a string about a half a foot above the ground. It took us about ten minutes. There was also a pancake flipping challenge. You had to flip a pancake to the next person then flip it into their pan. The last thing we did was the sled race. For the race, you had to have one person in the sled, and the rest pushing or pulling. We got last because a person on our team wasn’t going fast enough and got run over. After the race, there was an award ceremony. Surprisingly, our cub scout patrol in our troop actually got an award. My patrol beat the pirate ninjas, the other boy scout patrol, by one point! When we got back to the church, I had to call my parents because we got back early. I got home though, and I didn’t freeze my butt off!

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Tuesday 09 February 2010


The kids were home today due to bad weather. They spent a lot of time watching Dilbert again. I explained to Charles that he reminded me most of Dogbert because he was cynical and manipulative. Corwin seems much more like Dilbert to me, a basically trusting soul who tries to do well. Charles is much more comfortable with Machievallian plotting and emotional manipulation. Alice tries it but she’s not nearly as self aware about it.

Charles did ask me what “cynical” and “manipulative” meant but fortunately it doesn’t take long watching Dogbert to see excellent examples of both. I love educational television.

P.S. Everyone agrees that Alice is just like Mom. It’s also funny when something happens in the show and I say “I’ve been there”.

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Monday 08 February 2010

Quotidian Notes

Charles stayed home today, recovering from his ski sickness. He spent the day laying on the couch and making very elaborate drawings. I think he spent most of it on just one drawing. He was mostly recovered by the afternoon, planning to taunt Alice with his enjoyment of his day at home, until I pointed out that Alice got to have two days at home last week.

Alice spent some time yesterday working on signs. I think she was planning on making “no eye glass wearing people allowed” but decided to be more accepting. She came in to the office singing a tune from Sunday School, “just say yes. Say ‘Y’, ‘E’, ‘S’ — yes”, after which she asked me “how do you spell ‘yes’?”. So I know at least one child that the lyrics aren’t reaching.

Corwin was studying for a test on magnetism. Mom said I couldn’t discuss spin glasses, nor electro-weak theory, or even how magnetism is not a separate thing but simply a relativistic effect of moving eletrical charges on the grounds that it might confuse him. Pshaw! I could see the eagerness for learning in his eyes when I mentioned all of this.

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Sunday 07 February 2010

Hurling down the road

After a not very restful night, we headed back home. We had a bit of a problem with the sleeping arrangements. The first night, because Charles was sick, he slept on a couch. Alice and Corwin were allocated the fold out bed but Corwin was afraid of Alice cooties so he slept on some piled up cushions. Last night we had planned for Charles and Corwin to have the fold out bed while Alice slept on the cushions but she refused because that’s how she is. Corwin decided to sleep on the couch while Charles was willing to tolerate an Alice infected bed so the two of them slept in the fold out.

The trip home was mostly uneventful except for Charles throwing up some chocolate milk and cookie. It was quite disgusting and we had to stop to get the car and Charles cleaned up enough to proceed. Other than that it was a pleasant drive. Afterwards, though, Mom made everyone take a shower (except for Alice who got a bath).

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Saturday 06 February 2010

Family ski

We had to leave Alice at Grandma’s because she was such a Princess Grumpy-Pants about going to ski. Charles wasn’t very happy about it either but he was easier to suppress and was feeling better. The four of us got to the ski place around 10 and were out on the slopes by 10:30 (I think — it was already blurring for me by then).

Mom decided, based on her experience with Corwin, to take Charles to the bunny slope first before trying him on a real slope. Unfortunately we did not realize at the time that the place had two bunny slopes, one for beginning skiers and one for begining stunts. Naturally we ended up at the second one, which had a tow rope which Charles found very frustrating. I am not sure what his problem was, although reaching out forward while leaning forward to grab the rope was not a good technique. Eventually Charles managed to get most of the way up the slope after several attempts, at which point, having lost a ski, he popped the other one and trudged the rest of the way up. After a few crashes on the down, while heading directly for the bunny stunt features, Mom sent me off to locate a better practice area, which I did, complete with the “magic carpet” return. I stayed there with Charles for until lunch, helping him practice.

While we were there a cute red headed seven year old girl latched on to Charles and tried to chat him up. I found out later by overhearing that her name was “Maisy” because Charles couldn’t be bothered to find it out. She said that she would like to do some runs on the bunny slope with Charles. She turned out to have been going to the ski place since she was four, so I had her try to help Charles. This despite the fact that we she first started talking to Charles, she asked if I was his father or his grand-father. Poor Maisy tried to hard to get Charles to interact but I think she only managed to get three or four complete sentences out of him. Sadly Mom came to take us away for lunch and then the big slopes before Maisy had penetrated his aloofness. I did like when she asked “can he carve?”. Sadly, due to various constraints, I was unable to get a picture of this little snow bunny that was so attracted to Charles.

After lunch Charles was introduced to the big slopes. It went non-disastrously but not smoothly. Charles was actually doing reasonably well until he ended up behind a young woman. I was expecting him to turn as he had done so on the bunny slope to avoid a collision. But he plowed right in to the back of her in what one onlooker called “an excellent tackle”. Fortunately the young woman was understanding and not seriously injured. Charles, however, was psyched out by the collision and barely made it down to the bottom, where he faced the terror of the ski lift. Getting on wasn’t much of a problem but dismounting was too much.

As a result Mom took him back to the bunny slope while Corwin and I terrorized the main slopes. Mom resorted to monetary bribes to get Charles to continue practicing. After a long while Charles came back to the main slopes and had some good runs, eventually starting to master the “small child plunge” technique of blasting down the slope without turning with just a little bit of snow plowing to keep under control. I tried chasing him with the action camera and had a hard time keeping up. Sadly he had a couple of wipe outs on the slope and then dismonting from the lift which, along with his getting tired, that caused Mom to decide to pull him off the slopes for some hot chocolate and nachos. Charles actually considered going back out later which is a hopeful sign.

Mom had the big wipeout of the day, trying to go over one of the ramps and not landing well. I tried it myself later and went fast enough to just get an inch or two of air, which was all I could handle landing (like flying, getting in to the air was simple and easy — landing was the challenge). I caught an edge once but somehow I managed to get the ski up before that dumped me. Corwin dumped me a couple of times with his skis, once in the lift line by running over my ski so I couldn’t move it leading to my other ski slipping until I couldn’t stay upright. I got dumped a couple of times coming off the ski lift, one of which wasn’t Corwin’s fault.

After a hard day, we headed out. I had been told that we were going to home right after skiing but Mom decided we’d spend the night at Grandma’s because everyone but me had left things there. And apparently Mom wanted to pick up Alice as well.

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Friday 05 February 2010

On the road again

We had extra kids this morning while we were trying to get ready for Mom’s ski getaway on Saturday. The plan was to drive up to Grandma’s house today then hit the slopes in the morning at place about 90 minutes from Grandma’s. Despite the time not being critical we did manage to get on the road less than an hour after our scheduled departure time. Mom’s big goal was to get Charles and Alice on the slopes for the first time, presumably to build family pressure for a bigger ski vacation later.

The drive up was uneventful, I had downloaded a few mini-games to my iPod Touch, primarily for Alice because the boys have their Nintendo DS systems. Except, of cource, Charles couldn’t find his, not that he mentioned this before we left despite Dad having mentioned that it would be good to take along. Charles claimed he had has asked us specifically about it but neither Mom nor I had any memory of that and I find it a rather implausible claim. In any case, Alice enjoyed a couple of the games which made it worthwhile (since they’re only $1 - $2 each).

The only downside was that Charles got sick shortly after we arrived at Grandma’s and crashed out early. We just had to hope that he would be feeling enough better to ski the next day.

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Thursday 04 February 2010

Double Trouble

Normally on Fridays Charles goes over to Josie’s house but there is no school tomorrow. Either Mom or Charles decided that instead Josie should come over Thursday night for a sleep over. This lead to Mom deciding that Corwin should have a friend over as well. She bugged Corwin all week until we threatened to invite Josie’s sister over instead. That got Corwin on the phone to Jack who generously agreed to save Corwin from that fate.

The two extra boys arrived and everyone got involved in eating pizza and having fun. Oddly the kids spent quite a bit of time playing as a group, although they did spend some time in solitary side by side computer gaming. Mom phased out early in the evening despite it being her plan to have extra boyen. I was left to prepare sleeping places for them all. I offered to let Charles and Josie sleep on the couches in the basement but they preferred to use the fold out in the living room which came with a free dog. They crashed out around 11. I didn’t go to sleep for an hour or two after that and I left Jack and Corwin running hot. I don’t know when things ended for them.

A concept picture of Corwin and Charles playing foosball

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Wednesday 03 February 2010

The Big Four

This is the 4,000th post on this kidlog. I bet you never thought you’d read that many posts about our wonderful children. But I can hear you now (and you sound just like the voices in my head) that it’s kind of cheating to just write about the weblog and not the actual kids because you can hardly have had enough after only 3,999 posts.

So our little Charles story is that Mom reports that he does very well at chess club and sometimes makes the other kids cry when he crushes them. He would be higher ranked except he spends too much time toying with his soon to be crushed opponent in a cruel and heartless display rather than dispatching them in an inhumanly efficient manner. I can’t decide which approach I should encourage.

I have nothing about Corwin except that Mom had to pester him for several days to get him to invite a friend for a sleep over on Thursday in honor of no school on Friday. He’s also way behind on his weekly writing.

For Alice we have this lovely picture of her. Or is it just a cut out Alice doll made by Alice? See if you can guess which.

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Tuesday 02 February 2010

We call it cute because we have to

Alice: [farts] I like the sound of farting. That’s why I like to fart all the time.

Thanks for sharing! Despite this, she objected to being nicknamed “gassy girl”.

Alice spent the day watching more “Hello Kitty” cartoons. There’s a limited set and I swear I saw bits of all them at least three times just from wondering out to get coffee and lunch. Alice still cried when Mom shut the marathon down.

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How to jog a child's memory

Charles stumped me on a word the other day. He was reading his Battleship Yamamoto book and came upon the word “paravane” describing part of the ship. It was not a word and I knew and the drawings were inconclusive. Charles and I argued about it and a day or two later I remembered to look it up. It turns out we were both half right and I was able to explain it to Charles. Charles denied having ever asked about it at first but eventually had a dramatic memory recovery triggered by the magic phrase “I think you were right”.

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Monday 01 February 2010

Sleepy girl

Alice stayed home today. She’s not been failing well for a day or so. Mom made Alice go to her room on Satuday afternoon and she ended up falling asleep until 7 the next morning. She was still kind of tired and a bit cranky on Sunday. She ended up napping a bit after our exciting church outing (in which the youth directory was ordained as an associate minister). More concerningly Alice had a bloody poop. At least she mentioned this to me. Of course, she ended up mentioning it to the rest of the family at dinner. She seemed quite excited about it. Alice didn’t report any soreness or aches so I didn’t think a single incident was too serious but we told her to report any recurrence. She fell asleep early and we put her to bed. During the night she threw up. Mom was impressed that she just barfed a little bit on her bed and finished up in the bathroom sink. “The boys would get barf everywhere!” Mom noted.

In the morning Alice was still tired and a bit feverish in the morning so we kept her home from school and then Mom took her in to the doctor. The doctor said to just keep her off spicy foods and keep and eye on her. Alice has spent most of the day watching Hello Kitty, various movies, and sleeping. We check her breathing every now and then — she doesn’t wheeze like Charles used to so it’s harder to tell from a distance. We’ll see how she feels in the morning.

Meanwhile Charles has been waxing eloquent about how much he likes being sick because he can stay home from school, watching all the TV he wants, and a better choice of food. He said the perfect disease would be one that made him sick only during school hours.

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