Sunday, November 04, 2012

Feeding the Fish at Chaparral Park

Here is my daughter feed the fish at Chaparral Park.

Now I know what you're thinking: "What do you mean fish, she's feeding the ducks!" Well that's where you're wrong. You see you aren't allowed to feed the ducks in Chaparral Park anymore so we have to feed the fish now. Just that those bloody ducks keep on stealing the fish's food.

This is Sonali's reaction when we told her that she shouldn't let the ducks get the fish food:

Kai decided that it wasn't worth taking the risk that the police might think that his fish feeding was a ploy to feed the ducks so he ate his bread:


Romney Sky Writing

I was doing some yard work this afternoon and I looked up and noticed a strange pattern in the sky. Turned out that someone had scribbled ROMNEY with smoke. I calculate that this was just south of Scottsdale Airport.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

You are so cute

A lot, and I mean a lot, of very good looking women have been coming up to me in the street, no the mall, and telling me how cute I look. I obviously thank them and then they say "no not you, the little one." This is what he used to look like and why they thought he was cute...

So there was only one thing to do. Decute him to reduce the competition. The result is...

Now who's cute?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Your first two syllable word

Do you remember your first two syllable word? Unlikely.

Three years ago I read that the most common two syllable word that's first spoken by children is story

My first child had just been born so I mentioned the word story to her for the next two years. When she finally came up with her first two syllable word it was YouTube.

I did the same with my second child. It didn't take him as long to speak his first two syllable word but that turned out to be waffle.

I'm wondering how accurate that "most common" fact is...

What was your child's first two syllable word?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Semi-Dwarf Navel Orange

A couple of days ago Costco had a bunch of citrus trees for sale. Costco never ceases to amaze me with what it will sell. I found a semi-dwarf navel orange among the collection and picked it up for $20. Today (25 September 2012) I planted it in my yard and hope to monitor its growth by keeping notes in my notebook (this blog). Here is the tree, dwarfed by the bushes around it.

My favorite type of orange is a navel and as such I've always wanted one in the yard. I never considered that you couldn't grow a navel from seed but because they don't have seeds it should make sense that they have to be grafted. My tree is still small enough that you can see the graft on the tree and some paint markings showing the two different trees that have been joined together.

The red paint marks the part of the tree that became the root stock and part of this is also the node you can see above it. The blue paint shows the branch that was grafted on from another navel orange tree.

The info that comes with the tree states that this variety (Washington Navel) came from Brazil around 1870s. I'm guessing that it's going to be a few years before I see an orange.

30 September 2014 Update

It's been 2 years since I planted this tree.

This spring it flowered and some fruit set. Nothing held although some of them grew to the size of small grapes.

Looking at the top photo of it I can see that it's grown a lot more than I thought it had. I've been fairly aggressive at cutting the branches that have been growing down to allow it to focus its energy in upward growth for now.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Homework Audit

When I was around eleven or twelve-years-old my primary school implemented a homework audit process. You were required to copy a list of homework tasks off the board and into your homework book. Once the homework was completed that evening one of your parents would sign and date the bottom of the list and you would then show this to the teacher the next day. The system was flawless.

I have a brother that's a year younger than me, let's call pick a random name for him and call him Mike, and another who is five-years-younger, let's call him Pat. At our school there were another three siblings who shared our ages and were in our classes. Two girls and a boy, let's call them Sandra, Wendy and Ian Hooball, for wont of better names.

The Hooball's parents decided to go on a long vacation to Europe over a number of weeks and it was decided that their kids would stay with us because we pretty much did the same things and there wouldn't be any extra effort with school pickup/drop-off.

The problem started on the first evening after school. Sandra and Wendy, I should add were diligent students and consistently scored As in everything. My brothers and I got by with the absolute minimum amount of work we could. If 50% was the pass mark and we got 53% then that was 3% of goofing around we'd missed out on, an attitude I'm still paying for decades later.

We were all in the living room and Sandra and Wendy quickly finished their homework and took their homework books over to my father to sign. I remember watching from the sofa and when I realized what they were doing a knot formed in my stomach and I started to feel slightly unwell.

"What is this?" My father asked.
"It's our homework book for you to sign," the girls sang in unison.
"What do I need to do?" My father asked now looking somewhat surprised.
"You need to check that we've done our homework and then sign it," one of the swots said.
"Why don't Guy and Michael have to do this?" Father now looked as confused as I had ever seen him.
"They do," was the girls reply.
"Guy," my father said looking over at me, "bring me your homework book."

Dragging my feet I took it over to him. He opened it and examined the forgeries I had perfected. In order to get Michael on-board I'd had to execute the same in his homework book.

"I didn't sign these did I?" My father asked me.

This was a tough question. It let me know that the forgeries were perfect and that he was questioning his own memory. It could have gone either way at this point. I could have insisted that he'd done them or come clean. I came clean.

To my surprise I wasn't punished. I was told how wrong it was and to never do again. We also had to do our homework until the Hooballs left and we managed to work out another work reduction program. We couldn't do that while they were there because there was a cross-audit problem between what they had done and what we were doing. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) only became possible once they had left.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Backward somersault did not qualify for Olympics

Here was my entry for the Olympics.


Unfortunately I did not qualify. Although the judges (my children and wife) all gave me 10s the submission was deemed to be invalid because the noodles floating in the pool behind me were not Olympic colors.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

How to dunk a baby

This is the second baby I've tried to dunk and I've discovered that the first and most vital ingredient in "dunking the baby" is a willing baby.

A couple of years ago I tried to do this with our now-three-year-old and then one-year-old and she screamed blue murder when she came out the water. I tried it again with her when she was two and then again this year at the age of three. She hates being dunked so I'm rarely do it and only to see if she's got past that stage. This year she watched me dunking the one-year-old and asked to be dunked but it turned out not to be as much fun being committed and we ended up with the same screaming.

So the technique that I use (I did not invent it) is to:
  1. Hold the baby under the armpits with both hands.
  2. Tell the baby that you're doing to dunk it. Use the word dunk (or pick a different keyword if you don't like dunk) several times when talking to the baby about what you're doing to do.
  3. Count to three in as many seconds.
  4. Blow into the baby's face.
  5. Dunk him or her below the surface and immediately pull them back up again.
It'll be obvious how much the baby likes or dislikes being dunked. If he or she doesn't enjoy it then there's not much point in pursuing it. Wait a few weeks and try it again. There's always next summer and no point in traumatizing them.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Citrus Tree Project

I have 5 citrus trees in my yard. First names are Harry, Fred, Tom etc. with employee numbers of one through five and Common names of Mystery, Mystery, Mystery, Grapefruit and Lemon.

The three mystery citrus trees bear fruit that looks like this:

(Update 11-July-2012: According to the guy from the nursery the fruit from trees 1, 2, and 3 are small because the trees haven't been watered for a long time.)

Tree One, fruit is about the size of a golf ball:
(Update 11-July-2012: Most probably a Valencia Orange.)

Tree two, fruit is about 3/4 the size of a golf ball:
(Update 11-July-2012: Most probably a Tangelo.)

Tree three, fruit is about 3/4 the size of a golf ball:
(Update 11-July-2012: Most probably a Valencia Orange.)

Tree four is a grapefruit tree, most of it has been cut away at the base but there are a couple of small branches/trunks left and the are extremely fruitful considering what the base of the tree looks like:

Tree five is a lemon tree.

The first part of my project is to identify what types of trees number one through three are. I have tasted the fruit from all of them and it is terrible. Probably some of the sourest most disgusting citrus I have ever tasted. If anybody can identify this fruit I'd be most grateful.

The second part of my project is to replace these trees with consumable fruits. I'm thinking a Navel and Valencia orange, maybe a Cara Cara Orange, and a lime tree. Tree number five, the lemon, will stay.

My initial thought was to cut down and dig up the old trees but I have since started to read up on grafting. If I can, I'll leave the trunks as they are, remove all the branches of the current tree and then graft on branches from tastier citrus fruit trees.

So I'm looking for advice on how to do this? Also, I need the tastier citrus branch to graft on, does anyone have a citrus tree with really tastier fruit in the greater Phoenix area that can spare me a couple of buds, branches or scions from these trees?

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake

Costco make a cake called the Tuxedo Chocolate Mousse Cake. It is very good. If you like dark chocolate I can't think of anything tastier than this delicacy.

I've been trying to work out what makes it taste so good. When reading the ingredients I came across the leavening: Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate.

Digging a bit deeper I see that the Sodium Aluminum Phosphate is synthetically produced from aluminum, phosphoric acid and sodium hydroxide. As a food additive is has the E number E541.

It has to be the Sodium Aluminum Phosphate that gives it that thick, dark, creamy rich texture and taste...

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Mystery Drawer

We've moved into a new house and in the bathroom there's a tall narrow draw with six shelves and metal rails to "hold" items in it. I'm trying to work out what the purpose of this drawer is. i.e. what is it suppose to be holding?

The rails are too ineffective to hold anything I've tried so far and also extremely awkward and inconvenient to pull items out of. The few things I've tried to put in there have rolled out when I open the draws making the unusable for roundish objects that can roll.

Ideas? Do you know what this could or should be used for? Do you know if this type of drawer has a name?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Ovulation Negative

When I went to pee this morning I noticed my wife's pack of ovulation sticks and so I thought I'd try one. You'll be ecstatic to know that I'm not ovulating.

What surprised me though is that the control line showed up in pink. I would have expected that a man like myself with oodles of testosterone pumping through his veins would have caused the control line to show up in blue, a manly color.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Pedia Poothie

Last night's smoothie was particularly tasty and I've named it The Pedia Poothie.

  • Dark Sweet Pitted Cherries (Frozen bag by Townsend Farms).
  • One orange peeled.
  • Three cubes of frozen ginger.
  • One cap of LaxaClear powder
  • One cup of Acai Berry Juice
  • One cup of water
  • Half a mango because that's what the babies left over.
  • Quarter bottle of vanilla-flavored PediaSure because the 3-year-old drank the other three-quarters.

Mix in Vitamix and bring up to full speed over about a 15 seconds.

Makes enough for two slightly constipated adults.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Vagrant with cash

Here's the problem: On Monday vagrant comes up to you in a parking lot and asks you for money. Later you see the vagrant buying booze or cigarettes with the money you gave him. On Tuesday day the vagrant comes up to you and instead you buy him a loaf of bread and then later see him buying booze and cigarettes with the money that someone else gave him.

On Wednesday the vagrant brings along a dog and asks for money to feed the dog or take the dog to the vet. On Thursday he asks for a bus far to visit his sick mother in hospital.

At what point do you stop giving money to vagrants?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Random text chat

While I was doing my morning rituals and checking my email on the phone I end up in the following text chat:

Him: Hey. U awake?
Me: Yes
Him: Alright... what u need to talk to me about?
Me: Who is this?
Him: Wait... is this taylor? This is brad :o
Me: No
Him: LLolk. Cyas.

I hope Brad finds Taylor.

A few years ago I kept on getting text messages from someone in Flagstaff who thought I was their boss. Twice I told them that they had the wrong number but for whatever reason they chose to ignore me. One day the conversation went something like this:

Him/Her: Hey, I'm running late and I'm not going to get into the office for a couple of hours.
Me: Listen, you've been working hard and doing a great job, why don't you have the day off on me.
Him/Her: Thanks so much, you're the best, I really appreciate that.

After that I didn't receive any more text messages from this person.

A couple of decades ago I was working in a large shared office with 14 others scattered around the outside of the office and each person had their own switchboard operated phone. In the middle of the office on some filing cabinets there was a direct line phone. Nobody knew why it was there and nobody used it. About once a month it would ring and if you answered it the person on the other end would try and order pizza. Our guess was that it had a very similar number to a take-out pizza company.

Most of the time the person who answered it would just let them know that it was a wrong number. However, one day the conversation went someting like this. James was my coworker:

James: Hello
Customer: I'd like to order some pizza.
James: We have a special today. Free 2 liters of Coke with each purchase.
Customer: Great
James: Also free garlic toast.
Customer: I'll have a large mushroom and olives.
James: What's the address?
Customer: [provides some address]
James: Your our 10,000 order, you're getting this one for free. Congratulations.
Customer: Thanks so much.

We never heard back from that customer so I have to assume they called the real number the next time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First time in pool 2012

For the record, so I can check and compare in future years, today, Saturday 21 April 2012, is my first time in the pool this year. The water was cold but not freezing.

I had no intention on going in but I took the 2-year-old out to the pool and she jumped in immediately and was insistent with a "come on daddy" so I eventually dived in. Took about 10 seconds to get used to it and it was beautiful. I can't imagine living in Arizona without easy access to a pool.

Today and tomorrow will peak at 100F (38F) so it won't be long before the pool is luke warm again.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cherry Lemon Smoothie

Every now and then I make a smoothie that I'm proud of. Today was one of those days. I'm going to start recording these so that I can recreate them.

  • Dark Sweet Pitted Cherries (Frozen bag by Townsend Farms)
  • Three quarters of a lemon (because that was what was left after using the other quarter for fish at lunchtime)
  • One Fuji apple
  • One navel orange peeled
  • Four pitted dates
  • A cup of Acai Berry juice
  • A cup of water
  • One mango pitted and skinned
  • Small cube of ginger
  • Quarter teaspoon spirulina powder
Mix at high speed in Vitamix or other turbo blender for around a minute.