Sunday 31 October 2010

Halloween!

Halloween night was busy for the kids. Charles got together with Matt and Josie to cruise the neighborhood. We decided they could go out with Corwin for a chaperone. Alice went out with Alexis, Mom, and Alexis’ Mom. Mom told me later that they hit every house except one circle in the neighborhood.

After the boys worked our neighborhood for a bit, I took them over to Josie’s house to work that neighborhood which has a much higher candy density. Corwin abandoned them at this point, apparently having acquired sufficient candy.

I stayed home where it was not so busy. Only one group of four kids come by that weren’t our own and I was out running Charles and crew over to Josie’s house at the time so I didn’t hand out any candy at all. Bit of a bummer.

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Saturday 30 October 2010

Soccer Report

Today was Charles’ last soccer game. They played against Josie’s team for the first time (the only local team they didn’t play twice). The game was supposed to be a few weeks ago but it was rained out.

Charles’ team played well and was rewarded with a 3-0 victory. The other team played well too but were not playing as well as a team. On the other hand, all three goals were by the same player on breakaway plays. A couple of the opposing goales did quite well against other attacks and at least twice the opponents didn’t score only by pure luck (one scrum in front of the goal with no goalie, and another a good shot bounced off the side post — 3 inches the other way would have been a clean score). Again, the score was noticeably more lopsided than the game in my view.

Charles played well, helping out on defense and offense, although he wasn’t a goalie. He took several shots at the goal but wasn’t quite accurate enough to get the score. The team did some actual passing. They’re also starting to do better about staying forward rather than everyone rushing back on defense, although perhaps a bit too much as several times the opposing team had a good attack of 4 or 5 players going up against just a goalie and a defender. The midfield, at least, should have come back to help but luck was with Charles’ team and the defense managed to hold off.


Charles not quite scoring

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Friday 29 October 2010

Chicken brush

We have been accumulating this large brush pile in the back yard on the burn pile. We kept saying “we’ll burn it Real Soon Now” but it’s still there. With the plastic chicken fence up, igniting it is even more problematic as it will certainly melt the fence. It’s been there so long that some old tomato was from last year’s garden sprouted and generated a couple of tomato plants with tomatoes that never quite ripened. They eventually fell off and were eaten by the chickens.

Meanwhile the chickens have created a couple of nesting places inside the brush. I discovered this one day by finding 8 or 9 eggs there. Unfortunately that many eggs meant several days production and since we couldn’t be sure how long the eggs had been laying there we couldn’t eat them.

We check the pile regularly now, both for eggs and when we can’t find all the chickens.

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Thursday 28 October 2010

Hard Selling

All these posts about Scout parties and no mention of the true joy of scouting, selling popcorn. And now, Christmas greenery!

None of you noticed the little “Buy Scout Popcorn” link on the upper left, but that was part of our effort. One can now selling online, although the selection there is a bit limited. On the ground, we sent out Charles to push popcorn in the neighborhood while Corwin worked on greenery. For some reason I don’t recall, Mom ended up taking Charles around while I helped out with Corwin. We were too busy to make a real effort on the popcorn front so we had our company donate a lot of popcorn to the troops to get Charles’ sales level up.

Corwin we made use a list of targets previous customers who live in our neighborhood, provided by an older scout who is finishing his Eagle and graduating. We did OK on that, doubling the minimal sales target and adding a couple of names to the list.

All that’s left is to hope that everything comes back and gets delivered before we leave for Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday 27 October 2010

Boy Scout Halloween

Corwin’s Boy Scout Halloween party was last night. Not much to report as I didn’t attend. Corwin’s big concern is that they have a “candy mix” event. Every boy is supposed to bring a bag of candy. All the bags are dumped in to a large bin, mixed up, and then divided among the contributors.

The real excitement was a couple of days earlier, when Mom noticed that Corwin had a school orchestra concert scheduled for that evening. Corwin was debating on whether to rebel and insist on the party when, in the morning, we received news that the concert was actually the next week. Corwin was very relieved. I was left wondering if Corwin had noticed the conflict earlier and “forgotten” to mention the concert. Normally that would be obvious but Corwin had done it before with no purpose. Unless … he was setting us up to avoid suspicion later.

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Tuesday 26 October 2010

Chicken Heating

Mom’s big project over the last week or two has been preparing Chooks for winter. Even though I think chickens are native to the area and should survive just fine, Mom thinks they will need heat or something. She’s being going at the chicken coop with spray insulation so it looks like caterpillars with too much roughage in their diet have been all over it. The kids have been drafted cheerfully volunteered to help out. Corwin put shingles on the roof, while Charles cut a new floor to put over some insulation. Charles also had the privilege of putting some primer on the outside to prevent things from rotting quite as fast.

One thing Mom wanted to do was put in a lightbulb for heat. I think it will just make the chooks stay up all night partying but Mom insists on doing it. She’s been looking at having an electrician come out to add an external outlet but while we were out discussing the best place to do it, I (me!) discovered that there is an outside outlet on the back of the house. We’ve been living here for almost seven years and we had always lamented that lack. But there it was. I think it might have grown there over the summer. But now the chooks will have a heated coop for their parties.

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Monday 25 October 2010

Little Bunny Alice

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Sunday 24 October 2010

Trunk or Treat

Today was “Trunk or Treat” for the church. There are games inside and some of the adults decorate their cars and hand otu candy to the kids as they make their rounds of the parking lot. I went as a “Mad Rocket Scientist”. Charles was a wizard again and so was Corwin. It was a popular theme — four other kids came as Harry Potter wizards (2 Harry, 1 Ron, 1 Hermione).

Charles decided his costume from “Tuesday” wasn’t good enough so I took him out running errands so he could get accoutrments to improve his look. We dropped by a costume shop but Charles didn’t like anything there. In the end I had t pick up some more model spray paint from a hobby shop and Charles decided to get some green felt and fabric “dimensional glue. At home Charles (with some help) glue the felt to the front of a shirt, let it dry, then drew on it with the glue. It turned out well, I thought, except for initially getting the ‘z’ in “Wizard” backwards.

Corwin once again “volunteered” to help out with the games, while I manned the car to hand out candy. I mixed some “champagne poppers” in to the mix which turned out OK. They were very popular but I had work at restricting them to one per kid and not letting the younger children have some (because they lack the strength to make them work).

Alice dressed as a bunny based on her ballet outfit. It was at least easy to get together. Alice reprised Corwin’s cake walk adventure, playing over and over until she got a little plate of cupcakes. I think she ate one at home and forget the rest until they got stale.

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Saturday 23 October 2010

Soccer Report

Charles’ team had a rematch which went better, a 4-0 victory. I was surprised by the score because both teams were playing well and if anything, I think the other team did (a little) better on field control. They were playing a more forward defense as Corwin’s team did in their last game with a similar result of being scored on by break aways.

Charles, however, was on fire that day. He played goalie for the first quarter and, in my view, basically won the game for them by absorbing the best attacks of the opponents. He was running, blocking, and jumping on the ball with abandon. He took multiple hard shots and stopped them all. The opponents had the field tilt and a moderate wind for help and never really recovered after that quarter in terms of bringing that sort of attack to bear on the goal. One of the other parents said that he’d never seen a kid that age play goalie that well before (probably something of an exaggeration but Charles did play exceptionally well).

Charles was in as midfield the second quarter and did quite well at that, then was out for the fourth quarter. He was offense in the last quarter but both teams were starting to wear out by then. Charles played more strategically, staying very far forward while avoiding the offsides and did get a few good passes from his team to take in for attacks. Unfortunately for Charles he’s not quite master the off-angle kick and the opposing goalie was actually quite good. She stopped a couple of outside Charles shots and one where she charged in so close she’s lucky Charles didn’t kick her in the face. But that’s how you stop the offense so I salute her bravery.

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Friday 22 October 2010

Daddy Points

I was driving back from somewhere with Corwin and Charles. Charles did something good, what I can’t honestly remember, but I awarded him one “Daddy Point”. Charles thought that was awesome and immediately started singing “I got a Daddy Point, I got a Daddy Point”. Corwin became concerned that he didn’t have any Daddy Points. He went through anger, denial, and then disparagement, asking “what good is a Daddy Point?”. Charles replied “It’s good because they’re so cool”. I noted that they were also good for using to lording over one’s sibling which Charles proceeded to demonstrate with vim and vigor.

Charles has since tried using unctuous praise to acquire more Daddy Points, but I don’t hand them out for mere words. Corwin tried to get some, then decided he would prove his despite by trying to get negative points, and has since cycled back and forth between those positions inconclusively.

Alice is starting to wonder how she can get some Daddy Points. If only Mom would catch the fever …

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Thursday 21 October 2010

Our Family


By Alice

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Wednesday 20 October 2010

A forward looking leader for our time

I saw this and thought “gosh, it’s a great shot for when Charles takes his DNRC gang out on a putsch”.

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Cub Scout Halloween

Charles’ Cub Scout pack had its Halloween Party early this year because so many of the parents also have Boy Scouts and a lot of the dens have Boy Scout helpers. None of them are going to miss the Boy Scout Halloween Party the next week which pushes the Cub Scouts forward a week.

Charles dressed as a wizard this year, basically a cape, a hat, and a wand. I found some wrist bands from a previous year’s costume which we added as “power bands” and they looked decent. I thought the party itself went well although Charles was a bit of a lump. Still, he got some candy and that’s the important thing.

Corwin “volunteered” to help out which kept him busy and out of trouble for an hour. Every little bit helps.

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Tuesday 19 October 2010

Darkly Funny

It’s getting dark earlier so Corwin’s soccer practice has been curtailed to end at the same time as Charles’. This presents a problem because they now practice at different fields.

Corwin: Were you late or did we stop early today?

Dad: You stopped early, it’s not even 7 yet.

Corwin: We’re going to be stopping at 6:30 because of the sun setting earlier.

Dad: I can’t get here much sooner — Charles and I left as soon as his practice was over.

Corwin: I don’t want to wait. Maybe we could force Mom to come pick me up…

[pause]

Dad & Corwin: Hahahahahahahaha!

Ah, those moments of shared absurdity!

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Monday 18 October 2010

Chow town

Back on the first weekend of October Corwin went to the “Feast of the Hunter’s Moon” a historical recreation fair. I would like to write about it but Corwin was uncommunicative even for Corwin. They left early Saturday morning and returned Sunday afternoon. The only thing we could get out of Corwin was that there was a lot of good food. And activities of some sort. But there’s a price for attending — Corwin now has to write up the experience for the troop website. Maybe we’ll find out what happened then.

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Sunday 17 October 2010

New pup in town

The big news around here is that Alice’s friend Alexis has a new puppy. It’s fourth months old, and a medium brown poodle. Alice came home bursting with the news — it’s possible she was more excited than Alexis. I passed the word on to other local neighbors because around here, that’s what passes for interesting gossip. And just think, it was Alice who got it started. Such a precocious child!

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Saturday 16 October 2010

Soccer Report

Corwin had an interesting game in the afternoon. The other team seemed to do better at field dominance (at least for the first three quarters) but Corwin’s team scored more often for a 4-1 victory. I honestly thought Corwin’s team was going to lose after the first 5 or 10 minutes.

Corwin did not have a particularly active game, even for Corwin, and was delighted that I achieved almost no action shots of him. I am not convinced that’s a good team oriented goal.

The team played generally well. The other team, as noted, seemed to play well but just didn’t seem to be able to push the last bit in to the goal.

Corwin’s team did have one goal called back because of offsides. The referee said it was a grey area, but what happened was the offense took control of a kick from the goalie which landed on the opponent’s side of the field. At the time of the kick the players were past all the defenders except the goalie. Apparently, though, it’s unclear if you can be offsides when the goalie kicks it. As the game turned out it didn’t matter.

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Soccer Report

Charles soccer game went well even with a loss of 1-3. This was considered a good result because the previous game had resulted in a crushing 0-5 that was worse than the score sounds. This time the game was actually tighter than the score makes it seem, with the final goal scored just a minute before the end of the game.

The team played much better than they had that first game. They still need to work on their passing and follow up. They had too many nice saves in defense that came right back because they were kicked past the entire team with only one or no players charging after it. This varied, though, and they were better in the first half at keeping players downfield and pushing on offense. This kept the first half scoreless with a number of close calls on both sides, although the other team definitely had better overall field control.

Charles went in for offense in the fourth quarter and he did better about staying downfield, near the middle to push on any kicks that came out. However, the team was starting to fade by then and he didn’t get any good opportunities as had happened in earlier quarters. Charles should, though, have charged back a couple of time when the ball was kicked in to open field with him as close as any other player. At least he’s got the basic theory right, he just needs to work on execution.

Charles did have several good saves while he played defense and midfield earlier in the game. He also managed to fall down while trying to execute a pick without touching the ball or the other player. He did do better about taking charge of the ball instead of waiting for another player to take it. I did yell at him once to not defer to opponents like that. One of the other parents thought that was very funny for some reason.

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Friday 15 October 2010

Guinea Peek

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Thursday 14 October 2010

The surprise under the bench

Charles and I went over to pick up Alice from dance one evening because Mom was being a church lady. Charles wanted to stay in the car but I forced him to accompany on the philosophy that I had to hang out with little girls in leotards, he did too. Charles had a different idea. As soon as we got inside he crawled under a bench in the waiting room. I got up to see if I could spot Alice on the room monitor. While I was up another young girl in a leotard, about 14 or so, sat down on the bench. She looked a bit askance as I came back to sit by her, so I advised her “watch out for monsters under the bench”. At this moment Charles chose to emerge, leading to a rather startled girl. She just commented “Gosh, I have never had that happen before!”. That’s Charles’, bringing new experiences to everyone he meets. And always meeting new girls.

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Wednesday 13 October 2010

Yet more Kapla

Corwin wanted me to show you a picture of some of his Kapla work.

Charles and some others (not sure exactly who) built this, which I thought interesting.

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Tuesday 12 October 2010

Soccer Report

Corwin had a game last night. Unfortunately it was late, cloudy, and drizzling so no pictures. It was a game against a team they had played previously away, this time it was a home game.

Although they lost 1-4 it was a good game, the team playing quite well. Ema in particular was playing up, striking out of nowhere and winning one on ones. The problem was mainly the opponents are a very good team and played even better. The previous game had ended in a ignominious 0-6 loss, so they were definitely doing better. Two of the opponent scores were on really nice kicks — rather than trying to power pass the goalie, the kicker was able to punt it just enough to go over the goalie while still dropping enough to make it in the goal.

The forward defense that Corwin’s team was using was a bit fragile as well. The other team was able (using the same punting technique) to have one player pop the ball over the defensive line while another ran through to penetrate without being offsides. Since the attacker was faster than any of the defenders it was then a straight solo run at the goalie.

Another technique I think Corwin’s team should pick up is the double teaming. The opponents were quite good at having someone “sneak up” behind a player while that player was trying to get past another opponent. For some reason it’s far more common for a second supporting player to also be in front of the target, which means the target can watch both of them. If the second player comes up behind, the target doesn’t even know he’s there until he loses the ball.

Corwin’s team score was on a very well done play, a hard drive to the side with a cross pass to a waiting teammate who put it in before the goalie could switch direction.

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Monday 11 October 2010

Star Trek meets Kapla

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Stellar waste material

On the way back in the car the subject of “poop” was somehow introduced in to the conversation (I suspect one of the kids). Alice and Charles started listing off different types,become more fanciful until one of them mentioned “star poop”. I interjected that all of them were made out of star poop. Corwin and Charles immediately believed me and thought it was a wonderful thing, but Alice was very dubious. Eventually, though, with the help of the brothers, I brought her around. I can’t wait for her to mention this to her teacher.

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Sunday 10 October 2010

Soccer Report

Yesterday’s soccer game for Corwin was an away game. The team was a bit short and had to borrow two players from the team they played last week (a former teammate and his little brother) to get up to having two substitutes. The other team had only one substitute and had already played a game that day. A few of Corwin’s teammates had run a cross country meet so it was a hard game all around.

It was a reasonably even game, but Corwin’s team definitely had better control of the field for most of the game. The opponents had a good comeback in the third quarter with several strong attacks on goal but they had faded back by the fourth quarter. Their best attack was one that bounced off the cross beam. I thought it was out but it dropped forward in to the mass in front of the goal. Our goalie managed to literally swat the ball out of the air to prevent a follow up score. A very close shave.

Both teams had tough defenses leaving the final score 1-0. My favorite bit was listening to the opposing goalie complain to the coach about being goalie, because he was (he claimed) also a good forward. Not a minute later he made a spectacular save. One of the other parents noted “maybe that’s why the coach has him in as goalie”.

Corwin’s team played well, not quite as together as the previous game but definitely working as a team and individually. Corwin had a very easy game. Due to field dominance he didn’t get a lot of opportunity and what he had he politely deferred on to his teammates. Such a considerate boy. Corwin did have one opportunity to impress the team when he used his butt to deflect a ball. He’s got the hip strength and derriere expanse to make that work according to the comments I heard afterwards from his teammates.

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Saturday 09 October 2010

Catapulted in to the deep end

Corwin has come to the end of a school saga. He was assigned the task of building a catapult out of a mousetrap and duct tape capable of somewhat accurately flinging a marshmallow 5 meters and 7 meters. A superficially interesting project but as far as I could tell it was just assigned but not discussed in class. Kids with older siblings who had done it before were able to finish early during the “pre-test”. Corwin, on the other hand, struggled with his for several weeks, on and off. He ended up building 3 different models, none of which really did as well as required. He eventually had to settle for a B on the project because he couldn’t get the 7 meter accuracy. We found out later that the brand of mouse trap mattered, even though the school didn’t mention that and had the kids buy the mouse traps on their own. Not a very pedagogical experience I would say. Corwin had been doing very well in grades this year, with A/A+ in all his classes but he’ll have to work to get back to that now. He’s starting to have problems from “forgetting” assignments again. What’s depressing is that I have no doubt he actually did forget and isn’t just dodging the assignments. Mom has been trying to get him to use an assignment book but he forgets to do that too.

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Friday 08 October 2010

Regretting what you wished for

Alice is learning to write along with reading. It’s just her list of important words is not quite what I would prefer.

“big boom”
“nice”
“ice”
“Alice”
“poop”
“bob”
“the”
“YES”

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Thursday 07 October 2010

Holding out for every advantage

Mom took Charles off on an errand this afternoon, convincing him to go with her by promising to buy him a cookie (that wasn’t enough for Alice, who stayed behind). As they were leaving I noticed that Mom let Charles sit in the front seat. Charles immediately reached for the butt warmer even as Mom tried to dissuade him. With just a little prompting (as a good Dad does) Charles countered with ‘I will stay home if I can’t use the butt warmer” and Mom gave in. Charles will stand up to Mom but not Poly.

P.S. I should note that it was about 72°F out on a beautiful sunny day so it was likely that Charles’ butt would have remained unfrozen and attached even if he had not been able to use the butt warmer.

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Wednesday 06 October 2010

Pushed to the side


Poly demonstrates who’s really the omega in the family

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Tuesday 05 October 2010

Soccer Report

Corwin had another soccer game yesterday evening. I am not so fond of evening games, especially as autumn wears on and it gets dark so early. But that’s the way the ball gets kicked.

Corwin’s team was playing the same team as two weeks ago when they got crushed. Corwin’s team played much better this time, dominating the field for most of the game and running up the score 4-0 before the coach dialed back the offense. Corwin was playing about average but the rest of the team seemed very on their game. I don’t think strategically they played much better but tactically they were winning a lot more of the one on ones and doing (somewhat) better with passing quickly before the opponents could swarm them. Ema in particular had a very much better than average game, making excellent kicks all over the field and mixing it up successfully with opponents multiple times. On the other hand, poor Josh, who had an otherwise good game, missed three goal shots by less than a foot too high, one bouncing off the cross beam. But at least his little brother scored and I am sure Josh will take much solace from that.

Corwin had a few nice returns and didn’t get beat out as regularly as the previous game with this team. At the end of the game the coach put him offense and he actually attacked. Some. I was … encouraging him to be more persistent in his encounters. He finally tried it after getting the ball picked. The result was he recovered control and was able to execute a nice pass to a teammate. I thought this positive result would help him understand why I wanted him to do that but it doesn’t seem like any learning occurred.

I did see a couple of double headers, but no triples.

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Monday 04 October 2010

Alice the Builder

Alice has started working with the Kapla like her brother. She built this by herself. It’s a platform on which the royal family can review their adoring subjects.

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Sunday 03 October 2010

Blessed Chook!

Charles’ soccer game was canceled due to rain, but it cleared up in the afternoon so we could go the annual pet blessing. We took Polynomial, the g-piggies, and a representative chook. Charles was squeezed out of his seat on the way over by Poly, who apparently is no longer the low status member of the household. Once we got there, Alice (loudly!) told many people “We have a chicken! A real chicken! Right here!”. A very exciting time for her.


The chicken is blessed

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Saturday 02 October 2010

Super Squash Brother

A super acorn squash plant which has also been very productive. The garden beds look like this on the other side as well, although I don’t know if it’s the same plant.

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Friday 01 October 2010

Gratuitous Picture of the Day


You can see a shock wave from the impact in his cheek

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