Thursday 31 March 2011

What gushes around comes around

Mom has, in the past, encouraged Charles to focus his wugging on my not completely fat stomach. Recently this has come back to haunt her as Alice took up wugging and subsequently started wugging Mom’s “gush”. “Stay away from my gush!” I hear, now and then, echoing sweetly through the house. It was even better when Alice starting referring to Mom’s “muffin top”. Oh the tangled web we weave when we first teach our children to tease a spouse.

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Wednesday 30 March 2011

High impact learning

Everyone’s been sick lately. Charles was the latest to succumb …

Charles: My head hurts.

Dad: Welcome to the club. Everyone’s head hurts, except for Corwin.

Corwin: Haha!

Dad: I can fix that, you know.

Corwin: How could you do that?

I think I should get “Parent of the Year” for not taking a blunt object and pounding the information in to Corwin.

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Tuesday 29 March 2011

Packing Theory

Watching a movie the other night we discovered that the entire family can fit on the leather couch, if certain parents are willing to be squashed under child loads.

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Monday 28 March 2011

Getting certified

In preparation for our trip to the UK this summer we’ve been working on passports. Mom has been bugging me to get one for several years now (my old one expired a very long time ago). I tried to take the pictures but I couldn’t get the background sufficiently neutral white so I ended up having them taken at the Post Office when I dropped off my application. A few days later I tried to take Charles in for his but for children you must have both parents along which is quite the scheduling problem for us. Mom did manage to get us all to a copy shop to get pictures of everyone except me and then, with some more effort, we were able to all go to the Post Office to apply. Naturally I had messed up the pre-printed forms so we had to fill them out again. But finally all of the applications were submitted and now we just have to hope the passports arrive before it’s time to leave.

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Sunday 27 March 2011

Succumbing to peer pressure

I finally succumbed made the sacrifice for the family and purchased my own copy of Minecraft so I could bond with the children. I started building a house for myself a little ways over from the main kid area. Corwin, just be annoying, built a tower right next to it, encroaching as closely as possible without crossing over my border. I pondered my options for a bit and then picked up an editing tool to let me modify the game data externally. This allowed me to move my house over to another location a long distance from the kids (where I had gotten lost one day because I didn’t realize at the time the game area expands automatically as you explore so there’s no edge). I showed Charles were it was and he immediately ratted me out to Corwin who then built another tower right next to my relocated house. I retaliated by editing his tower over to the nearby shore (I put my house in the middle of a lake to discourage Corwin, clearly a failure). It’s the new hot spot now, with Charles developing there as well. Someday we’ll build a railroad back to the original area, as it’s quite a hike now.

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Saturday 26 March 2011

Mom's April flowers have started



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Friday 25 March 2011

Ponds of turtles

Alice and I went out to take Polynomial around the pond today and we saw quite a few turtles. One I saw sunning itself on a log, but it jumped off in to the water rather than let Poly sniff it. It was a good sized one, with a shell about a foot long. As we continued our walk we could see little turtle heads sticking up above the water as they swam in the pond1. I spotted one of the big fish near the edge fairly close in. I tried to show it to Alice but she couldn’t see it even though I tried to point her head at it.

1 Later observation indicated these could have been duckling heads.

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Thursday 24 March 2011

Dinner vocabulary

Today’s mixed blessing once again involves dinner conversation. The kids, especially Alice, normally turn this to subjects adults find best not discussed at the dinner table and we eventually have to make everyone eat silently to be able to get our food down. On the other hand, the kids can now all use the word “scatological” correctly.

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Wednesday 23 March 2011

Return from Camp

The family has been reunited, Mom and Boyen have returned from their expedition. They were happy to see me because I am the Official Tick Removal Officer for the house. Charles got two and Mom got one, which Mom tried to remove in the field somewhat unsuccessfully. I was given the task of finishing up by getting the heads out. I insisted on showers first so I didn’t spend time trying to remove ground in dirt.

Mom’s was easy — it was just on the side of her knee and the remains came out easily. Charles had one in his armpit which was a bit of a challenge, and another right in the middle of his lower back. That one I had to spend quite a while digging at and I’m not sure I actually got everything but I decided I wasn’t making progress so I let him go.

Corwin was inappropriately proud of not being tasty to ticks.

Other pictures

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Tuesday 22 March 2011

TP in the house

While the rest of the family is gone, I get to work with Alice on her toilet paper habits. At least (unlike the boys at that age) convincing her to use toilet paper hasn’t been very difficult. Putting it in the toilet afterwards, that’s not quite penetrated. Part of the problem stems from Alice not wanting to close the door when she’s on the potty and (relatedly) tending to hang out near the door when she’s wiping (just as she does for dressing, and brushing her teeth — apparently for Alice rooms only exist in order to create doorways in which things are done). Our progress to date is to have the used toilet paper mostly confined to the bathroom and not extended out in to the hall, even if that means sometimes discovering a good sized pile hidden behind the door. Little steps …

P.S. Of course, Polynomial likes the debris which helps it spread so it’s not entirely Alice’s fault.

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Monday 21 March 2011


Mom, Corwin, and Charles left on their camping expedition today. Mom had originally hoped to leave yesterday but despite the preparation they just weren’t together enough. The evening was instead devoted to getting ready and they managed to get out on the road by 9 AM. Now it’s just Alice and I and sadly I am not allowed to chain her in her room until Mom gets back. The one thing that makes it bearable is that all activities

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Sunday 20 March 2011

Locating the blame

Alice and I were discussing weight, being skinny and fat (my rule being “if you can see ribs, you’re too skinny”) and she exclaimed “you were skinny until Mom made you fat!”. Exactly, sweet little beloved daughter.

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Saturday 19 March 2011


Charles, Corwin, and Matt have been collaborating on a (for them) large scale Minecraft project, building a model of a StarCraft Terran Battlecruiser. They finished recently and were showing it off for Mom and Grandma on the big screen in the front room. It’s big enough to have two levels inside and the boys have put in some guns, a control room, captain’s quarters, an archery range, storage rooms, and barracks.

The game has also been updated to have wolves, which can be tamed by giving them food. Charles built a disco hotel for them with blinking lights and rooms for himself on the second floor. He’s been out collecting wolves diligently enough that it’s starting to get crowded in there.

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Friday 18 March 2011

Dad Project

Over the last couple of weeks I have had my two main computers fail. One just stopped turning on, and the other became gradually more unreliable, locking up at increasing frequently intervals (sometimes during the initial power on test, before it even got to the memory test). I ordered one prebuilt computer as my primary computer and decided to try building one of my own from parts. The last of the parts arrived a couple of days ago and I got started on the project.

I tried to involve the boys but we didn’t get very far before they wandered off. I don’t know if they got anything out of it other than computer have parts. Despite that, I got the system together and working. The case is an unusual style, we’ll see how it works out. The main difference is the cables come out of the top instead of the back. This allegedly helps with cooling although I preferred because it will go under my desk next to a cable hole so that everything should feed up to the desktop very nicely without sticking out so far from the wall. It also pulls in air from the bottom which should actually help with cooling as when the air conditioning is running that’s where the coolest air will be.

The case is somewhat compact so it was a challenge to get all the cabling placed. It seems to run reasonably well, although time will tell.

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Thursday 17 March 2011

Wug spread

Alice has started “wugging” in the Charles’ style. I suppose it’s been such a social succcess for Charles that Alice felt compelled to get in on the action. This means Mom is back to earlier days when she had to manuever through stores with small parasites, except now they’re medium sized parasites. Charles, in response (I think) has upgraded to rubbing and patting so I get the fun of having Alice hang on me while Charles rubs my tummy. At least he’s not rubbing my butt in public as he has to Mom in the past.

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Wednesday 16 March 2011

Charles was debraced today

Brace on

_Brace off!

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Tuesday 15 March 2011

Lego Work

_Charles’ version of a Wraith

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Monday 14 March 2011


One of Alice’s little habits which are trying to modify is her habit of dressing in the hallway instead of in her room. We have managed to get to move in to her room most of the time but she prefers to be just inside the doorway with the door open, which is not quite what we had in mind. I asked her about it and Alice told me that she is uncomfortable being inside her room when she can’t see the hallway. She was unable to explain exactly why this was, no little girls having ever been eaten by wild bears while the door was closed. But somehow it’s just wrong and as a result the top of the stairs is frequently littered with Alice clothing.

P.S. This wouldn’t be all that bad if it didn’t take Alice up to 30 minutes to get dressed. If I pop out in the morning I will generally find her, mostly naked, just sitting in the doorway of her room, with her brain turned off. She’s better these days about picking something to wear, it’s the task of actually putting it on that’s apparently overwhelming.

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Sunday 13 March 2011

Confirming experiences

Corwin is continuing to be pushed work on his confirmation. One of the congregation has the desparate task of being a mentor for Corwin. This means that now and then he gets the pleasure of Corwin’s company on a church related activity (setting up Communion, food pantry runs, etc.). Corwin has enjoys has become resigned to this, so there’s hope he’ll actually be confirmed.

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Saturday 12 March 2011

Outdoor plans

Mom’s big plan for spring break is to take Boyen camping down in Shawnee National Forest. Corwin’s Boy Scout troop has been discussing having a camping trip down there and Mom decided she should scout it out and get some camping time in. The boys are about as excited as you would expect given they’ll be hiking 4-6 miles every day.

On the other hand Mom has been able to buy some camping gadgets (like a high grade water filter). We already had a new tent which had been buried in the garage so she’ll be taking that (it’s big enough to squeeze all three of them in it). Mom of course has been doing tests on the water filter with the help of the boys. So far it seems successful. This means that the stove top espresso maker I got for Mom a while back will get some real use. That will also raise the boys’ chances of survival.

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Friday 11 March 2011

Engineering Open House

We all went out this morning to visit the Engineering Open House at the local University. I only stayed until lunch, while Mom kept the rest of the kids till mid afternoon. We toured some robotics exhibits and dropped by a student rocket group that our club has been helping out. We watched them fly a couple of rockets on cables over the creek, which was OK — the motors were a bit under powered. I suppose they were concerned about hitting the bridge at the other end of the cable at high speed.

Corwin’s primary goal was to try as many flight simulators as possible. I think he got to do three, two of planes and one of RC craft (so a simulation of a simulation of flight). One had a big three screen display with a hat that tracked where you were looking so we could all get motion sick as Corwin looked back and forth and the display shifted in synchronization.

We tried a nanotech exhibit but the kids didn’t seem to get why Mom and Dad thought it was cool. Alice’s big thrill was getting a yo-yo at one building and flinging it around so we feared for everyone in the local area.

Corwin flies

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Thursday 10 March 2011

He sure is popular with the girls

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Wednesday 09 March 2011


The kids have developed a new gaming passion — Minecraft. It supports multiplayer so that all the kids can play in the same “world”. The world is made out of unit blocks which can be manipulated by the players. It has sort of a Lego™ feel to it. The kids have been spending a lot of time building things. Even Alice built a house. Charles and Corwin have been building much larger structures, exploring caves, and making towers. The game lets you create water and lava features, which has been a lot of fun for the kids. There’s also TNT which has been even more fun. I’ve been impressed by the scope of some of the constructions they’ve made.

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Tuesday 08 March 2011

Holding on to what's precious

Mom’s next big project for the house is a fence. We’ve been feeling the lack over the last year or so, with complaints about Polynomial rampaging through the neighborhood and the chickens looking pathetic, locked up in their coop. So we’ll be putting in a fence around the backyard so the animals can roam about. The kids we let free range — our pets we want to be safe.

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Monday 07 March 2011

I'll take what I can get

Mom had a jar that needed open so naturally she hands it to me so that I can provide, if so very briefly, some tiny justification for why Mom married me. Alice observed this and for some reason1 decided to go on about “Oh, Dad, you’re so strong! You opened that jar right up! No wonder Mom married you!”. The whole “happy medium” thing just doesn’t seem to occur to our spawn.

1 Certainly not because Mom made a sarcastic comment about my utility.

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Sunday 06 March 2011

Digging out

Yes, I got way way behind on keeping up the kid log. I decided to back fill because I do have quite a number of things I should actually write up and I would prefer to have them somewhat close to their actual times. So expect some rapid updates for the next week or so, on the hope I can get caught up.

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Saturday 05 March 2011

Pinewood Derby

Today was the Pinewood Derby. The cars were noticeably better done this year. There was a workshops that Charles had to miss that helped the kids get the cars tuned up. About half the cars were right on the weight limit when in previous years it would generally just be a couple of them.

I thought Charles’ car turned out to look good, very Lego like. We put the E-lites and those were nice looking. Unfortunately Charles’ car ended up in the middle of that pack in both looks and racing. I thought Charles wasn’t that concerned but he won his first few races and then when things turned against him he became sad. But we made it through the event and I think he had forgotten it by the next morning.

I didn’t get a lot of pictures because I was tasked as usual with arranging the heats. I should have prepped better and found some software to do the scheduling. Instead I used my big pad of paper and a marker. Good enough I suppose.

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Friday 04 March 2011

First things first

Corwin is back to playing StarCraft again. Matt has the new version, StarCraft II and Corwin wants to play it but I won’t let him until he finishes the original and original expansion. He’s been working his way slowly through the missions. Charles has tried it a bit as well but it doesn’t have a difficult adjustment so it’s been a bit much for him. Corwin should be able to handle it but he doesn’t seem to get the spirit of the thing. He wants me to just give him a recipe for each mission which will ensure victory. The sense of playing doesn’t seem to be catching. He doesn’t like to try things and see if they work if there’s a chance they won’t. Despite his pleas I limit my help so that he has to do some work himself and so I don’t spoil the plot, which is one of the better parts of the game1. Besides, it covers up what I’ve forgotten and also that I still remember mission details 15 years after I played the game myself2.

1 Corwin does that with movies too — even for mysteries and suspense / thrillers, he wants a complete plot synopsis before he watches it. That seems somewhat counter productive. Maybe it’s a time saving thing.

2 Mom thinks that perhaps I might use that sort of detailed memory for other things. Like stuff about those kids in the who’s names escape me at the moment.

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Thursday 03 March 2011

Race time is racing upon us

This weekend is the Pinewood Derby, Charles’ last one. He’s been not at all enthusiastic about it but today I finally forced him to pick a car design. He decided to go with a Lego brick because it involved a minimal amount of work. We sawed off thin sections from a dowel and glued them to the top and plan to paint it red. We may try to put the “E-lites”: on it to make it look a little better.

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Wednesday 02 March 2011

Keeping what's hers

Alice has turned against having little siblings. She stated that she enjoyed being the baby darling of the family too much and didn’t want to share. Unfortunately I think she realizes Mom and I are stuck and don’t plan to change her status in that regard so she doesn’t have to act in a way that makes us think she deserves it.

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Tuesday 01 March 2011

After the lightning has faded

We’re starting to recover from the lightning strike. As best as we can tell the strike actually hit the cable system and came in through the co-axial cable from there. The cable company had to come out and replace the ports on their equipment to get us connected again. We popped out and got a new cable modem and it all seems to work now. The kids miss the Internet and local networking. But we have network cards on the way which will hopefully mean the kids can interact with each other purely electronically while in the same room once again.

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