Archive for April, 2007

As easy as riding a bike

Posted in Family, Meanderings on April 30, 2007 by weirleader

So Quinn needs a new bike (he’s way outgrown his 16″ one).  We go to Toys ‘R Us for a sale and we’re convinced, focused, set on a 24″ bike – the way he’s been growing he outgrew that other bike in a little over a year, and we don’t want to keep buying a bike every year or so.

The poor kid couldn’t stand over the cross-bar, but we were so focused on showing him how to do it (and convincing him that he really could, despite his better judgment) that we reduced the poor guy to tears.  I was very impressed by the salesperson – she had the guts to speak up in what was becoming a very tense situation and point out that they are required to have both kids’ feet on the floor when sizing a bike for someone.

That snapped me out of it and I realized how insensitive I was being.  (Plus, she assured us that her 13-year-old just graduated from a mere 20″-er).  It’s sad how easy it was for me to put unreasonable pressure on a 7-year-old just to save $80.

I’m already missing the stage when he was so small I could easily flip him over my shoulder. 😦  But every stage has its perks and disadvantages, right?

Of course, after all that “drama”, it turned out that the bike he finally wanted was a floor model only and the one hand-brake was broken as well.  We waited a day and drove to another store where they had one in stock – only to find out that a) it too was broken, and b) it wasn’t on-sale (woulda been nice to know that before this whole fiasco).  But the salespeople were very helpful and apologetic for all the runaround we’d been having.  Hopefully today Quinn will finally get his new bike – with 7 speeds (he insisted) so he can keep up with his friend up the street.  😉

Splitting Beer Atoms (or Why Math Is Important)

Posted in Humor, Music, Movies & Entertainment, Science, Technology on April 27, 2007 by weirleader

Young Einstein, starring Yahoo Serious

For those of you who don’t follow movie trivia, my title is actually a reference to Young Einstein – a silly look at how Einstein might have made use of atomic theories to carbonate beer. Not exactly a classic, but funny. (Starring the oh-so-famous Yahoo Serious).

But seriously (shameless pun intended), it turns out that mathematics can finally predict “how the frothy head on a beer changes over time.” I always knew we’d prove to the world (and my skeptical students) that math really does have important uses! Sure, it also has relevance in controlling the heat-treatment of metals – but let’s not forget where the real value lies.

Test-Drive a Good Book Lately?

Posted in Education, Literature, Music, Movies & Entertainment on April 27, 2007 by weirleader

It’s been too long since I’ve had the leisure to read through The Mental Multi-Vitamin, but I had a few moments at lunch today and stumbled across a gem of an article on books, collecting them, reading them, purchasing vs. borrowing from the library.

Due to similar constraints in my life (that is, lack of funds for unlimited literary purchases), I’ve become quite the patron of the Lakeland Library Cooperative – borrowing loads of books, videos, and music.  Also, as I believe I mentioned back in a previous post, with an MP3-playing stereo in my truck I now have been listening to quite a few books-on-CD (VERY nice for my 30-minute-each-way commute).

But back to the point – I liked the discussion of what constitutes a “keeper” and I’d like to work on becoming more discerning of those books which join my “keeper” collection.  It also reminds me of what Pete and I talke about a while back: the ability to mark all over my books and really make them “my own”.  Of course, that last is more useful for non-fiction than fiction – but I don’t do nearly enough of it.  I still have this ingrained conditioning that says that books are never to be written in (but I’m working on it! slowly!)  😉

And the good news is that summer is on the way – and with my teacher’s schedule I stand a much better chance of getting some reading done during the warm months than the cold.  (If I can squeeze in the time around the schedule of my pesky [yet immensely enjoyable!] Master’s program).

Well, lunch is over – back to our alternative energy projects!

The Morning Commute

Posted in Meanderings on April 26, 2007 by weirleader

I know I have a tendency to easily jump on the bandwagon (any bandwagon – I’m too interested in just about everything!), but the previously mentioned site, The Situationist, has another great entry today about commuting.    For one thing, people who commute an hour or more to work need (subconsciously) an extra $40,000 to make them feel their commute is worthwhile.  Pretty interesting bit of info – I suspect many wouldn’t have realized the threshold was so high.  (Myself, on the other hand, you couldn’t pay enough to take such a long commute).

But the part I found the most fascinating was a bit about the triangle between where you live, where you work, and where you shop.  The article boiled it down to the idea that the smaller the edges on your “triangle” are, the happier you are with your situation (as a general trend) – so my 13 miles work to home, 3 miles home to groceries, and 15 miles groceries to work are probably pretty good compared to many.

The Situation

Posted in Philosophy, Science on April 25, 2007 by weirleader

this is both a bump to what I see as a pretty fascinating blog and a reminder to myself to check into it more. I hope I’m not doing a disservice to the site if I describe The Situationist as a blog about how aspects of our environment (our situation) drive our behavior – but it’s aimed at areas in which our assumptions might be wrong or areas we perhaps have never considered, things which have been glossed over in an overly-simplified manner in the past.

I can scarcely claimed to have read it in-depth, but I figured I’d share it with the two of you 😉 and read it as I get a chance.

Bearing the Ring

Posted in Music, Movies & Entertainment, Religion on April 10, 2007 by weirleader

Just came across this post while doing a bit of research and although it didn’t quite fit with what I was looking for, I found it worth highlighting for my friends. Being a huge LOTR fan, it’s nice to think of a way to apply the lessons of the story in my daily life.

edited 4/12/07: fixed the broken link

Flixster

Posted in Music, Movies & Entertainment, Technology on April 4, 2007 by weirleader

Not sure what to make of it yet, but willing to give it a try.  Got referred to Flixster.com by one of my students (surprised she even remembered my e-mail address) and it looks pretty interesting.  For those who don’t know, you just rate a bunch of movies you’ve liked/not liked and then you can invite friends with similar interests to compare notes.  Seems to make sense to me that people who tend to like the same movies as you will be a pretty good indicator of movies you’ve not yet seen.

If either of you (i.e., the two people who actually look at my blog) think it’s a good idea, join up (it’s free) and I’ll add you to my list.

While you’re add it, try out this quiz (I thought it was pretty fun, even if I didn’t do so well…  50%).