Archive for June, 2011:
Okay – this is about private parts. You’ve been warned. As a parent you deal with this a good bit. And I just thought I’d share.
When my son was little, we didn’t have any trouble coming up with a name for his boy-bits. It just made sense. But when our daughter came along, it wasn’t as clear for some reason. We didn’t have any acceptable terminology at the ready.
Now, I hear from a lot of people who say “what’s wrong with penis and vagina?” And honestly, nothing really is, if it’s okay with you. It just wasn’t for us, though initially we couldn’t have told you why.
We asked around a lot. Clearly, we were not the first people to have had this dilemma. Other people had solved this problem (though clearly we did not believe any of our parents had come up with anything satisfactory.) People gave us all sorts of possibilities . . . and all of them sucked! (At one point, my sister got tired of our search and suggested “UCC – the Universal Credit Card”. Sis was disowned for a while that year.)
If you’ve been paying attention to the other Smart Chickens posts, then you know that my sister and I have each inherited teeth that chip fairly easily [see Dream Weaver post]. When you add in that my sis is one of those people who will always be honest when she can be, you get a conversation like this one.
Dentist: And how often do you floss?
Sis: Do you really want me to tell you?
I love that about my sister. Most people lie to their dentist thinking it will make the doc feel better. But I think dentists can usually tell. Unlike my sister, I’m not a ‘never’ flosser, but I totally see her point. My dentist keeps trying to get me to floss regularly – to which point he uses this argument: “But it only takes five minutes a day.”
I just love a good roller coaster. Turn me upside down and shake me and I am a happy camper. I would have called myself an ‘aficionado’, but then I found out that I fall far short of achieving that title.
My friend Alex disavowed me of that notion real quick. Alex is the real deal. He can spout heights of the tallest peaks on the twenty highest coasters in the world. He can name the top speeds achieved by each kind of propulsion system and refers to coasters as classified by their builders. It turns out I am only a mere ‘fan’.
Apparently, when it comes to the world of “Coaster Enthusiasts” – as they like to be called – I have another problem. My rankings of the ‘scariest’ coasters are way off from everyone else’s.
Here are my rankings of the three scariest amusement park rides ever.
(If you want real ‘Aficionado’ rankings check out ThemeParkReview.com)
#3 – Tatsu. Magic Mountain. LA.
FX in the movies and in TV have come a long way. I look back on the TV shows I watched as a kid and now I see wires and green screen edges everywhere. Models and painted backgrounds are oh-so-obvious. But – though we have gotten much better – we aren’t there yet where FX are concerned.
I honestly think we’ve hit that point where the effects are cool enough that we use them when we don’t have to. Directors have gone overboard . . . and underboard – thinking that if they have CGI they don’t need anything else. Did you see Transformers? I can only suspend my disbelief so much. Cars just don’t unfold into building sized robots. Has anyone called Michael Bay and talked to him about conservation of mass?
CGI can be good even when the movie has holes. Avatar is a great example of special effects use. Having whole portions of the film be CG from top to bottom really helps. (It didn’t help the story, but we are all allowed our opinions, no?) District 9 was another film that had great effects that wound seamlessly into the plot . . . yes, the plot had holes, but the effects didn’t. And an even better achievement was that the effects fit very well into the actual footage in the film, which is quite a tough feat.
A few weeks ago my brother-in-law had his birthday. And he’s a science geek like me. (Last year we got him lab glass-like kitchen ware.) This year I found a cake idea so big I didn’t want to tackle it all by myself. Luckily, each spring a bunch of friends get together and stay at my house and my sister’s for the week. As they are all science geeks, too, it seemed the perfect time. . . I’d not only have help making this gargantuan cake, we’d all have help eating it, too.
I emailed around before hand asking a few others with kitchen skills if they’d help. Everyone opted in. (It’s a cool cake!) . . . although we decided to go with brownies instead of the suggested cupcakes. Brownies would be easier to frost and would better retain the necessary square shape. Also, we could make them a little smaller than cupcakes . . .a good idea since we were going to have 114 pieces of ‘cake’ by the time we were finished.
We were going to make a periodic table of brownies!
During this early round of emailing we went a little nuts. By the time we were done, it wasn’t just a periodic table of brownies . . . no, we had four different kinds of brownies to make. Dark chocolate brownies would make up the Alkali and Transition metals. Blondies (chocolate chip cookie-like brownies) would be the Noble gasses and non-metals. And we had half-n-halfs for the area where the two met. But then we had all the ones at the bottom to deal with . . . After several emails we came up with tuxedo brownies: milk chocolate brownies with cheesecake swirls.