Monday, September 29, 2008

Sitting on the bathroom floor

As I write this, I am in my pajamas sitting on the kid's bathroom floor, watching over the bearded dragon, who we are giving a bath, in the hopes that he takes a dump. Ah, what depths we sink too as parents. You see, bearded dragons relax in baths. The relax so much that they let loose. Draco hasn't taken a dump in about 3 weeks or so, and he has to be mighty clogged up, if you get my drift. So, I sit, waiting for him to sh*t. I actually doubt it will happen. He is too clogged. We have done this before, and typically it takes about 15 minutes, but it has been 30 or so. F*ck. This is bad news. Come on, you little dragon, sh*t.

I am listening to the new Coldplay disk. It is very good. I imagine that I have blogged about this before. Since I ran out of disk space, I moved all of my music off my hard drive and onto a portable disk that never seems to move around. So, when I get a new CD (e.g., Coldplay), and rip it to mp3s, it is the only music I have on my computer. I guess I listen to it a lot.... well, only 10 times since ripping it....

I got the new Metallica album also. It is pretty good. The first few songs are fantastic, but some of them are a little boring. I was majorly impressed with the album, then I read a review and they railed on it (lame, nothing new, same old crap as on all the last 5 albums), and I felt like a dumb-*ss, since I liked the album. Now I hate it just like everyone else. It's a good thing that I can think for myself. Actually, I like the album. A few of the songs rock pretty hard.

I have got to rant here for a couple of steps:

1. If McCain and Palin win, we are f*cked. I guess I don't have to say much more than that.

2. If we bailout Wall Street with $700,000,000,000.00, I will be disappointed. The whole US budget is $2.5 Trillion dollars. Something like $625B is paid in interest every year already. Can you believe how much money we owe. I mean, holy sh*t. We, the people of the United States of America, owe China and other countries so much money for wars and other crap, that we are drowing. The value of the US dollar is going down because we owe so much. Then the cost of oil goes up because it is traded in US dollars, and people can put gas in the guzzlers. Which causes people to not be able to buy all the crap that they want too, which then causes the economy to go into the crapper. Now, if we give Wall Street $700B, people can borrow more money to buy their crap and jump-start the economy. Maybe if we used the non-existant $700B to bailout the people who can't pay their mortage, instead of the banks that gambled with the money that they thought that they would get with they ever-increasing house valued mortages, it may actually do some good - the banks would stop failing and Americans would be saved from increasing interest rates and such. (Is this a run-on paragraph?)

3. Did I mention that I think that this $700B bailout is complete sh*t?

4. GM and Ford and Chrysler buried themselves with crap cars for a long, long time. We lost a lot of jobs in Michigan, and did the US come and bail them out? Well, oh, I guess the auto industry just got $25B from congress also.

5. The stock market took a dump today. Draco needs to learn from the stock brokers. 780 points. Ouch.

6. I need to work more. I don't think that I am actually dead yet. I'll try harder.

7. I feel like I am actually getting into shape. I was riding my bike all over today and actually felt good. I didn't feel too much like hurling. Now, I am sure that once I feel really good, winter will set in and I won't be able to exercise for 3 months, thereby turning my *ss into flab and my rock-hard calves into jello (or ice cream, ummmmm, ice cream....)

Ok, I done with p*tching a b*tch.

Palin for President!!!! Oh, God, no!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Week

Wow, I am starting to feel pretty lame. I am overwhelmed by my class. By the time I get done with my lecture for a Monday, I still have to make the homework. On Mondays, I am overwhelmed by meetings and teaching class. Tuesday is probably the best day of the week for me, since I have many lectures done for Wednesdays. In a few weeks, this will change. On Fridays I am doing demos and discussions about bad movie physics. I have no lectures done, so Thursdays are pretty tough coming up with a lecture. Sundays are horrible also, since I have to come up with Monday lectures. Blerg.

Crab Boy's fish had babies. We now have little itty-bitty fish living in the tank. It is pretty cool. We cleaned the tank out yesterday, and hopefully we didn't kill too many of them....

Wow, that is probably the most exciting thing that has happened this week. Holy Crap.

I am going to Clemson in a couple of weeks. Then to Alaska a few weeks after that. Then San Fransisco in December. Then, maybe Chili in January. Then Hawaii in February.

Oh, here are a few things:

1. Our soccer team has lost 3 games in a row, although we play better each week.

2. Metallica released a new album. The critics seem to hate it. There are some pretty rocking tunes on it.

3. I destroyed Crab Mama's bike. Imagine, if you will, driving into a garage with out taking the bike off the roof rack. Ah, you get the general idea.


Monday, September 15, 2008


Well, it has started. Classes. I have pretty much disappeared off the face of the Earth and am working like a dog for the 3 hours of lectures that I have to present each week. Then there is the homework. Luckily, we have figure out how to get a computer to grade them all, instead of us (I have a graduate student helper!) having to grade them.

The kids started school last week - or was that a couple of weeks ago? Holy crap, this month is going fast. Like a blur. Ok, the kids started two weeks ago. They seem to be loving school. Crab boy now has some friends in class, which is fantastic. Crab girl seems to love being in middle school right now. Hopefully, that will continue. If she starts hating school and is permanently marred by the experience (and who was not marred by middle school), my wife will kill me. I will never, ever, ever live it down. All I can say is:

I am sorry dear. I know that you were right and I was wrong. I am slime.

Hopefully, I will never have to use that line. Well, maybe I will just put it out there, knowing that it is pretty much applicable everyday....

Crab girl is now at middle school camp for the week. It is the first time that she has been away from home without a parent or grandparent present for any length of time. I am sad. My little girl is growing up.

Ah, another thing that I have been doing is playing soccer on Thursday nights. It has been pretty crazy, since the games start at 11 PM. I have to admit, if you didn't know, I am typically in bed by 11 PM. Asleep. Like, really asleep. So, to start playing at 11 is hard. The game ends around midnight, home by 12:30, sitting around sweating until 1:30, then try to fall asleep by 2. Up at 6:45 to start the day. Kids to school by 8. Teach at 9. F*ck am I tired.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Salsa Experience

Crab-Mama has gone insane, in case I have not mentioned this before. She is canning everything she can get her hands on. It is crazy. In the middle of the summer, she canned 42 jars of strawberry jam. Then a few weeks ago, she canned a b*tt-load of blueberries. Then a mountain of peach jam. Well, when we got home from our vacation, there had been a tomato explosion in our garden. Something like 45 kilo-tons of maters ripened while we were away. What to do with this many tomatoes? Easy - can them!

So, she made a lot of tomato sauce, some pureed tomatoes, then went out on a limb and made some catsup. That was insane. Do you know how many tomatoes you need for one pint of catsup? Something like a million. Then you boil and boil and boil until it gets down to a paste. After 3 hours of slaving, she got one pint. You could say that she was rather disappointed. I am not sure when we will ever use it, since it is like gold to her now. I can envision the dinner table conversation, when Crab-girl slathers the catsup on her fries - "That's too much! Do you know how long it took me to make that! Jesus-H-Christ!" (what does the "H" stand for anyways???) Anyways, it tasted good, so I am going to try to get her to make more.... Or not....

Next, we decided to try Auntie-Crab-1's recipe for salsa. (Well, I didn't decide. I am not the decider. I am the follower.) We end up having almost everything to go into the salsa, except some of the hot peppers, so we go to the farmers market and get some there. We then figure out the Auntie's recipe calls for some dried peppers, but we only had fresh peppers. I say that it is all right, call Auntie up to check, she says it is ok, but the dried peppers are more intense and concentrate the flavor more, so Crab-Mama decides that we have to do this. Everything is put on hold while we dry out some of the peppers in the brand new-to-us, slightly used, food drier thingy. The next day, we pick up where we left off and make a bunch of salsa. Did you know that salsa is like a fine wine? It has to age for a while before it is good? Auntie says at lease a month. A month? I can't wait a month! I want to try the salsa that we made now! Crap! Did you know that you can go to the store and get salsa and eat it in seconds after to pick it up from the shelf? Man, this waiting crap is for the tree-huggers. What I want to know is if you make a nacho cheese dip with homemade salsa and Velveeta, will I go to Hell?

Crab-Mama planted a few stalks of corn in the garden a few months back, and it is starting to produce ears. Well, three ears to be exact. And at different times. We picked 2 and put them in the fridge. Then the other day, we picked another ear and decided to see if the rumor that corn is best within 30 minutes of being picked is true. Holy crap - it is! The ear that she just picked was the best corn we had ever tasted! The other two ears, picked a couple days back, were complete crap compared to the super fresh corn.

Fresh veggies have taken over our lives! Someone help!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Vacation - Part II

Alright, where did we leave off? Oh yeah, in "bed". Reason number 462,747 to love backpacking - sleeping on the rock-hard ground. Ok, enough on that subject. Needless to say, I hurt in the AM.

I got much better in the morning making hot water. It turns out that you have to pressurize the gas can a little bit more to get a hotter flame. Oatmeal for breakfast for all of us except for Crab-Girl, who doesn't like oatmeal. Luckily we brought some Honeycomb(tm) (subtle product placement) along.

Now, for those who are faint of heart (or don't like discussion of poo), you should skip this paragraph. After breakfast, we all decided that we had to use the bathroom, but did not want to use the pit toilet. Crab Kids kept running right by the pit toilet, refusing to enter it. So, after a family vote, we decide to walk 1.5 miles to the nice toilet, then walk 1.5 miles back before actually starting the all day hike. While walking the 3 miles, we discussed how to design a good pit toilet (Leslie Science Center has a great, poo-ready pit-toilet with a composing poo-poo bin! Or so Crab Girl informs me.) So, what will people do for a clean toilet with running water? Oh, I know, walk a really, really, long way!

After unloading, and walking said 3 miles, we started the day. We walked to a shipwreck, well, not to the ship wreck, but to a bluff overlooking the shipwreck. Along the way, we saw many mini-bears, a few giant millipedes and a mess-o-snakes. Then, at the shipwreck, we saw about 450 million birds.

Here is the point in the story in which the brand new camera stops working. Suck.

Then we walked to a gigantic sand dune, which was somewhat like a bluff. We walked and walked and walked some more, and then seemed to loose the trail. So, we had to make a choice of going down the bluff (at around about a 75 degree angle) or turning around and walking back. Well, Crab Mama was all for going back, since there was danger involved in falling gradually (or quickly...) down the bluff. I was all for jumping, but I am a chicken sh*t, so my vote didn't really count for much. Crablets voted for running off the edge. They won! So, we sat on our a**es and scooted down the 1000 foot drop to the beach. I had so much sand up my pants that... well, you get the general idea. I have to admit that I was still a chicken sh*t and went down last, supposedly to make sure that the kids were getting down OK. Here is a picture of the slope with the kids half way down. Oh, wait, no camera.

Walking down the beach, we saw some crazy crap. There were millions and millions of shells on the beach. At one point, the entire beach was made up of little shells. Something like 1 foot deep by 15 feet from the water for 10s of feet. Huge number of shells. Absolutely crazy. Here is a picture. Oh wait, no pictures.

Crab-boy basically falls apart here. Pretty much stops walking and things just go to pot. So, we take a break. I carry him for a while, which makes him perk up. Then, after a few more miles of hiking we make it back to camp.

Dinner tonight - noodles! More boiling water. This time the noodles are pretty thick, so, even with my pump action pressure build up and turning the knob 10 times (max recommended: 3), we still got to wait for about 45 minutes for the noodles to soften up. At one point Crab-boy takes a noodle, sticks in his mouth and instantly says "it's done!", even though it took him about 5 minutes to finish chewing the thing. Needless to say, everyone was hungry and willing to kill the "chef" for some food.

It was around this time that we learned the true destructive nature of the "micro-bears". Even though we had (laughingly) hung our food from a tree in a sack, a chipmunk somehow climbed into the sack, and ate a bit of our food. We have no idea how. Maybe we didn't pull the drawstring on the sack? Who knows. But the d*mn thing got into the sack (while hanging from the tree), ate food and somehow got back OUT of the sack (while hanging from the tree). WTF?

Now, keep in mind that Crab-Mama had carefully considered everyone's eating habits and caloric needs when packing, so having a chipmunk eat away at some food is bad news for someone. Also, it should be noted that the chipmunk did not properly eat the food - i.e. maybe munch on a single pita with a little peanut butter slathered on it, no, no, he (or she) took a little nibble out of everything that we had left. If we were back in civilization (i.e. some place with clean toilets and pizza), we would have pitched the food on the idea that we could get some horrible disease from the little rodent (wasn't the plague spread by chipmunks???) But, these were extenuating circumstances - I was hungry. So, I took all of the food and just striped away the parts that the chipmunk chewed on. I am not proud of this moment, being an American, willing to throw away "tainted" food for the good of our family (even though I was brought up to not waste food - what would the starving children in Africa think?)

After dinner, washing the dishes, and cleaning up a bit, we sat around wondering what to do. I suggested that we go down to the beach and look at stars. So, we did. Except that the sun hadn't set yet. You would think, being a physicist and all, that I would know how long it takes the sun to go down and the stars to come out and such. Well, time has a way of slowing down when you have two kids running around proclaiming how boring it is to sit on the beach and look at a dark blue sky that has no stars in it. After about an hour with only seeing one star (I think it was actually Jupiter or Mars), more stars started to pop out. Slowly. I mean really slowly. Like, every 2-3 minutes, you could see one or two more stars. So, 15 more minutes of "I'm bored", and we gave up. Oh well. We have vowed to go outside at home and look up more. When it is dark. Maybe we will see shining objects in the sky. Well, this is Michigan, so we will probably just get rain in our eyes.

Bed time! This time, my left side hurt all night and my right side was fine, while the last night, it was exactly the opposite. Who can figure this camping crap out?

We wake up, eat some breakfast, break camp, and haul all of our stuff back to the boat launch. We were told that we should show up as the boat is getting there (about 11:30), since they may spontaneously decide to not stay for the day and just leave the island. So, we make sure we are there (bonus - we get to unload in the nice bathrooms again! Although after eating noodles, oatmeal, and chipmunk-chewed-on pita bread for a few days, there isn't much to unload....) Since the boat didn't leave immediately, we had 4.5 hours to kill. It turns out that the boat people give tours of the island. So, we see a group forming and quickly butt in to go on a tour (via truck - no walking!)

We go around to all the cool places on the island that we had not gone to before (the one-room school house, a couple of farms, the graveyard, the lake in the middle of the island, etc.) The tour killed about 2 hours and educated us greatly. One problem - the tour actually cost money. Oops. We didn't actually have any money. The tour guy got out of the truck at the end and said something like "ok, you can all pay me now." At which point Crab-Mama and I looked at each other and sh*t our pants. Luckily there was nothing to sh*t. We talked it over with the guy and he says that we can just pay when we get back to the mainland. Whew.

After that, we played cards for a while and waited for the boat to leave.

Once we got back to Leland, we got ice cream and took off, stopping in some town on the way home to grab a pizza to stop the hunger pains. Arrive home at 11:00 PM, unload the car and go to bed. Home sweet home!