Random Thursday: Dimples, Flash Mobs, and Ice Lobsters

It’s random!  It’s Thursday!  It’s random Thursday!

The temperatures have been well below zero and the wind is slicing down the plains like Hel’s ice machete, which is wreaking the other kind of hell with my Internet connection.

So this is what I could compile five minutes at a time, between random bouts of cursing.


Summer Has Mosquitos . . .

You know it’s cold when the ice lobsters come up to the house to get warm.

Ice Lobster

It’s not the crustacean that gets me, here, it’s the trap.


It’s Street Art, Charlie Brown

A friend sent me this in response to last Thursday’s graffitipalooza:

Snoopy Shadow

It’s a great piece . . . but I want to throw a blanket over him.

(thanks, Kev!)


Code to Joy

Phones these days aren’t just smarter than I am.

They’re better singers, too.


John Adams’ Dimpled Balls

Last week was the kids’ Academic Fair.

Sunny did a report on the second President of the United States, complete with “Bottle Buddy”:

John Adams Project

The cravat was her idea, but her father helped her with the lapels.

Her favorite fact was that he and Thomas Jefferson were “besties”.  I think that might be verbatim from her presentation.

Janie did a science project on the difference that the size and number of dimples on a golf ball can make make to the distance one can hit it.

Golf Project

Oddly enough, the hexagonal ones—which were the closest to “dimpleless” that we could get, since every store in the country who sells them has them on backorder and the manufacturer is not directly selling them at this time—did much better than expected, leading us to conclude that dimples do affect the distance one can hit a golf ball and also one’s chances of getting one’s father to spring for snacks from the bar of the indoor driving range.

Her other secondary conclusion was that pink golf balls with overlarge dimples were not only sexist in color, but a fear-based attempt on the part of the patriarchal establishment to keep women golfers from hitting the green.

Shame on you, [brand redacted].  Shame.

This year was relatively panic-free, since the school allowed most of the work to be done during class time.

But Jane still thinks she’s like to recreate this one for next year:

Science Project Project


Flashing Beethoven

On the 5th of February of this year, students of the Collegium Musicum of Heidelberg  surprised people eating lunch with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Kudos to the percussion section.  Awesome!

(I think I stole this from Dee’s Facebook page—thanks, Dee!)


Kī tōnu taku waka topaki i te tuna

Grandpa and Friend2

This morning,  Janie and I wrestled a tri-fold foam board festooned with all things New Zealand— including charts, timeline dates, photos, economic facts, phrases in one of the three official languages and a big, green map—in and out of the car, along with a box containing a traditional Māori design, if the Māori culture had ever favored burlap-covered foam board.  The six-page New Zealand Gazette: the Awesomest Kiwi News Evah!* and the thirty-slide PowerPoint project was e-mailed to her teacher Sunday afternoon.

Two glue sticks, twelve sheets of red and blue construction paper, three cartridges of printer ink,** an entire roll of double-sided tape, a photo album of my parents’ precious vacation photos that I carried safely through a snowstorm and back again to scan,*** a brown marker swiped from Sunny’s vast collection, and an adorable stuffed kiwi bird.

Yes, it’s Academic Fair Week.

Jane’s grade did states last year—remember Delaware’s State Macroinvertebrate?  I do.

This year, they’re doing countries, and we all now know more about New Zealand than any non-native on our side of the planet really needs to.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s an amazing place.^  But we’re experiencing the giddy joy of finally checking off everything on the Academic Fair Project List.

All Jane has left is a short class presentation Tuesday and all the rest of us have to do is show up on Academic Fair Night Thursday.^^

The kids will be celebrating a job well done with a skiing day this Friday.

The parents are resting up for next year—My husband and I are especially looking forward to both kids having projects due on the same day.

Until then, E āta inu ana au . . .


*Hey, it’s not our project, it’s Janie’s project.  Which is why the map is . . . not quite how a couple of forty-year-olds would have done it and why my husband and I have bite marks halfway through our tongues.

**New Zealand is a gorgeous country, but does it have to be so green?

***Beat that, Bilbo.

^Jane and I are about ready to pack our bags.  Did you know that New Zealand was the first country to install sign language as an official national language?   And the first (self-governing) country to give women the vote?  And the first country to legislate an 8-hour workday?  Or that the temperature in Central Otago got down to -25.6°C (or about -14°F) in 1903—and there hasn’t been a recorded temperature that low in the country since?   Dude, that last one  alone is almost worth the hassle of expatriating . . .

^^With my laptop, so everyone can see Jane’s PowerPoint show, which includes images of my then-68-year old father (the gentleman being menaced by the Kiwi at the top of this post) bungy jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in 2000.  I’m serious:


Academic Fare-thee-well

Seal of Delaware.Signed. Sealed. Delivered.

This morning, Jane and I wrestled her Academic Fair Project into the school: a large tri-fold presentation board festooned with all things Delaware, including a timeline, an economic collage, a biography of Annie Jump Cannon, a map, and a letter from the governor with autographed photo, etc.; a huge foam-board-backed image of the Rock Monster from the Dover international Speedway to top the tri-fold; and a box containing a labeled map of the Speedway, a foam board beach house, a diorama of the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, a couple of matchbox cars, and a stack of hinged explanations for each and every piece.  Plus a roll of clear packing tape suitable for attaching huge foam-board-backed Rock Monster images to things.

All complete and turned in on time.

Dear Lord, it took a village.

Her aunt helped with the images.  Her mother helped with the writing. Her father supplied foam board 3D effects.  My MIL provided cookies and cardboard boxes.

And we all encouraged, reined-in, applauded, and nagged, either in tag teams or in tandem.

The actual Lower School Academic Fair is Thursday  evening (Happy Valentine’s Day, school board!) and Jane still has to practice her presentation in front of the class this week and decide if she’ll be passing out complementary and culturally-significant cups of sarsaparilla soda, but those are not the village’s problems.

It’s over.  It’s done.  It’s Miller Time.

Until next year, when Sunny is a first grader and we’ll have two simultaneous projects to complete.

We’re gonna need a bigger village . . .