Go Ask Your Father: Earth, LED Bulbs, Antibiotics, and Graffiti

Fall’s first day has come and gone. The leaves haven’t started changing quite yet. They are, however, starting to fall off. On the road, piled against the curb are all the leaves that make autumn lovable. Light and crispy on top, moist underneath. Just like I like my brownies.

Speaking about brownies, I found this recipe for some that look and sound amazing. They’re called Peanut Butter Cup Crack Brownies. You can find the recipe at CookiesAndCups.com. I checked the recipe. Crack isn’t an ingredient. With all that yumminess crack isn’t necessary.

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photo courtesy: Cookies and Cups

Now that you’re done drooling all over your keyboard, lets answer some questions.

How does the earth move?

In simple terms, gravity. Gravity makes everything fall, though it’s not responsible for people falling in love (thanks, Einstein). The sun is huge, mammoth, massive, gargantuan. The easiest way to imagine it is that it creates a bowl in space fabric around it. The planets then roll around the rim in their orbits.

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I once read a book on antigravity. I couldn’t put it down!

You have to remember that while the Earth is orbiting around the sun, the sun is also moving through space as our galaxy travels. So we’re not going in circles so much as a downward spiral. It’ll be more a plummet than spiral should Trump get elected.

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How does an LED light work?

We just replaced our poisonous, mercury ridden, twisty light bulbs with LED light bulbs. I explained TIE fighters and ion engines the other day. In my “research” (does Googling it count as research?) on how LEDs work I discovered that it’s over my head. Way over. Like, it’s up there where the overseas jumbo sail in the jet stream. Here’s how I have come to understand it. LEDs are completely different from incandescent bulbs in that they use a different technology. An LED uses a semiconductor (a solid material that conducuts electricity like rush hour on a Friday – slowly). It’s usually made with aluminum-gallium-arsenide (aka metals, I just wanted to say arsenide). This semiconductor has a positive side and a negative side. The positive side has “holes” while the negative side has electrons. When electricity passes through, the electrons on the negative side rush over and fill in the “holes” on the positive side (like that idiot on the motorcycle squeezing in between you and that truck your tailing). When the “hole” gets filled energy is released (road rage, probably) as photons. Photons = light. There’s more to than that, but that’s as much as I can understand it. My monkey brain can’t comprehend it beyond that.

What is an antibiotic?

Our bodies are in constant warfare. Fortunately, they’re equipped with a military that is armed and ready for the battle. Gorilla warfare. Black Ops style. These white blood cells attack bacteria without mercy. But sometimes the bacteria attack in such force that the white blood cells become overwhelmed. That’s when we get sick. Our white blood cells need reinforcements. Antibiotics. Bactericidals, like penicillin, kills the bacteria by interfering with the bacterium’s cell wall formation or its cell contents. Bacteriostatics stop the bacterium’s growth. There is no debate that they cause autism or if they really work. However, there is serious debate about too much antibiotic causing bacterium to become immune to it. Once that happens the antibiotic is no longer effective. Like listening to Let It Go too many times, we don’t even hear it. Also, antibiotics are as useless as screen doors on a submarine against viruses – colds, sore throats, the flu, chicken pox and measles.

What is graffiti?

There’s American Graffiti – George Lucas’s 1973 film about some high school grads cruising town before they leave for college. We’re not talking about that Graffiti, though. We’re talking about the art work. In general, graffiti can be described as writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. This is what some local graffiti looks like (I left out the foul language and drug references)

However, some graffiti is much more elaborate. Some work on public surfaces like Picasso worked in blues.

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Graffiti artist Odeith “Welcome to Baton Rouge”

This is yesterday’s post. Yesterday’s Taboo word was “of”. To read more posts without the Taboo Word (of) or to join the challenge just click the blue frog…

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The Seastar Thrower

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*I heard/read this story long ago so I don’t remember the specifics. I have adapted it to my own storytelling abilities.

The beach was small and quiet, tucked out of the way. There were some small houses nearby, but nobody important. The surfer enjoyed the beach for its solitude, peace and waves that were just good enough. That’s how he found it that morning, surfboard tucked under his arm, sand in his toes. As he approached the shoreline he noticed something odd. Thousands and thousands of seastars lay on the cool, wet sand.

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Meet & Greet…Hypervigilant Style

A Hypervigilant meet-n-greet! Link up, read up and she’ll pay up!

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5609784286_bbc60fca66_z-1 “Ooooooh, you were right. I DO like her!”                                                                                “Dude. I said you could MEET her. Hands off.”

Photo by Peter Nijenhuis

We’ve all seen (and occasionally participated in) a Meet & Greet post. You know, “drop your link in the comments and maybe someone will click.”

Instead of posting a hit-or-miss link, let’s change it up. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: 

1.Describe your blog in nine words or less.

2. Paste a link to a post you’re proud of writing. Bonus points for adoption, mental health or parenting themes*, but it can be anything.

*With your link, please note the post theme, e.g., “Adoption,” “Mental Health,” “Parenting,” “My…

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Better Than Star Wars

Sometimes when you write one post it inspires ideas for your next. That’s what happened when I wrote last week’s episode of “Go Ask Your Father“.

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Crash asked what TIE stands for. A T.I.E. fighter is, of course, a Star Wars vehicle. It’s what Vader and his Empire gang fly. T.I.E stands for Twin Ion Engine.

 

While I was researching that answer I discovered how a twin ion engine works, I found a real life NASA story about ion engines. To put it as simply as I can, an ion engine takes a gas, like xenon, smashes them off each other so they lose electrons and then shove it through an electric field. When the ion is shot from the engine the rocket/spaceship/probe/whatever it’s attached to, it’s propelled forward. Thanks to Newton and his third law; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, when the ion goes backwards, the rocket goes forward. If you’ve ever inflated a balloon just to let it go and watch it zoom around the room then you understand Newton’s third law. There’s your physics lesson for the day. There will be a test later.

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A long time ago, the year of 2007, NASA developed and successfully tested an ion engine (NSTAR). While the force generated was equal to the force needed to hold up a sheet of paper it could generate that force for incredibly long periods of time, think years, with incredibly little fuel. The DAWN mission, a mission to send an orbiter to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to study Ceres and Vesta, uses this engine. It reached speeds over 41,000 kmh (25,500 mph).

“If you remember the TIE fighters that Darth Vader and the Evil Empire used to fight the rebel alliance, TIE stood for ‘twin ion engines’,” he said. “Well, Dawn does the Star Wars TIE fighters one better because we use three ion engines.”

However, NASA has improved upon that engine from 9 years ago. The NEXT (NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster) produces up to 3 times the amount of force as its predecessor and was tested continuously for 51,000 hours (6 years). Imagine having to fill up once every 6 years!

It doesn’t stop there, though. There is yet another ion engine being developed that will far exceed the performance capabilities of NEXT. The first engine (NSTAR) would be the equivalent of a ’92 Toyota Carolla. The NEXT would be a Corvette. The NSTAR a Lamborghini. Perhaps one day these engines will power our own vehicles and finally end our dependency on fossil fuels. Gas stations will look extremely different by then!

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Research gathered from:
NASA
New Scientist

This Taboo Word Challenge wasn’t too tough today! Today’s word was “in”.
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Open Farm Day- The Alpaca Farm

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The view from the house. The alpacas are to the left of the lane.

Once upon a time, 3 year ago, we took a trip. On this trip we encountered a petting zoo which had a donkey and an alpaca in a small stable. We approached the stable to see the animals. There was a four foot wall (not a fence) enclosing the animals so when we entered the stable we couldn’t see any animals. DW was holding 2 year old Bang and they went to peek into what appeared to be an empty pen.

Suddenly, the alpaca who was laying against the inside of the wall they were going to peek into, stood up. You can imagine a two year old’s shock at suddenly being face to face with an animal who wasn’t there just a second ago.

He was traumatized and probably will need counselling as an adult and all his fears will lead to this single incident. If we wanted to keep him out of something (the basement at Nanny’s house) all we just told him there were alpacas down there. He wouldn’t even touch the door after being told this little white lie…

But then he turned three. A three year old’s curiosity is formidable. He wanted to see the alpacas in Nanny’s basement. We were busted in another lie. (see The Death of the Claw for our other big lie)

We heard a friend of ours was raising alpacas and welcomed visitors to her farm. So we went not knowing how Bang would react after his traumatizing incident with the “pop-goes-the-alpaca” of the previous summer. Turns out he loved them. The boys got to feed them, too. One of them was being greedy so Crash had hidden a carrot behind his back so he could feed it to a different alpaca. Miss Greedy Alpaca wasn’t impressed so she spit on him and knocked him down. He was okay, and we all had a good laugh.

So we went back yesterday. There were some extra alpacas! Some babies were born in January/February. The boys got to pet them. One of the babies hadn’t been sheered yet so it still was still fluffy. If you haven’t seen a baby, fluffy alpaca, I highly recommend you find one and go pet it. Alpaca wool is warmer than sheep’s wool and it’s not itchy!

We also discovered our friend got some chickens. She had three hens for laying eggs. Unfortunately, a fox or coyote got two of them. She also has 20 “meat birds”. They were a month old so they weren’t yellow, fluffy chicks any more.

We started naming them: Nugget, Shake, Bake…

You can visit her facebook page for more info and tons more pictures.

  • Alpaca wool is light but warmer than sheep wool and not itchy
  • It lacks lanolin which makes it hypoallergenic
  • Their fiber is flame resistant
  • It is water resistent, too
  • They come in 16 different colors
  • I love my alpaca socks! That`s a fact!

This Taboo Word Challenge is getting tougher! Today’s word was “that”.
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Sunday Share September

We took a trip to an alpaca farm today.  The boys loved it. We had been there before but it was 2 years ago. We know the lady who raises the alpacas so it was nice to see her and hear some stories since we’d last been to the farm. Their wool is amazing! Softer and warmer than a sheep’s wool. Perfect for Canadian winters. There will be more on that tomorrow.

The Beauty of Doing Nothing
Being a good dad is tough…

That’s What Anxious Mom Said
I’m a Sith Master named Baham Binarblast, who are you?

Pencils and Purpose
Making high tech low tech and bringing it to the classroom…

Build A Dean
Now I’m feeling sleepy…

Back To School Margaret
Kids these days…

And shameless plug for my YouTube page. I have uploaded a few videos since I last gave myself a shout out. I’m up to 13 videos and 9 subscribers! 9 is my lucky number. 999 would be even luckier (just sayin’)

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Or laugh at you when you do stupid stuff like trip and almost put your head through the wall.

 

Saturday Sillies

You know when you have this awesome idea and you can’t wait to get started on it? You plan carefully. You get everything set up just so. Everything is going exactly as you expected it would.

Then it doesn’t.

I think that’s how Bang felt…

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Hope all y’all are having a good weekend!

Go Ask Your Father: Days and Nights, TIE Fighters, Vaccines, and Flight Fees

Why is there night and day? 

globespinThere are nights so we parents can get a break from being parents and just be adults. We can drink alcohol and watch shows with bad words. We can use the bathroom alone. We can eat junk food without having to share it. There days so you kids can drive us bonkers again.

In truth, there is night and day because the Earth is rotating. It takes the Earth 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds to make one complete rotation. It rotates counterclockwise at about 1,040 miles per hour at the equator. But why does it rotate? The Earth spins because it formed in the accretion disk of a cloud of hydrogen that collapsed down from mutual gravity and needed to conserve its angular momentum. It continues to spin because of inertia. WTF? Seriously?

Don’t worry. I didn’t understand that either. What it means is that when our solar system was first forming, atoms were colliding. When they would collide they would stick together and average their movements. Imagine rolling two magnetic balls toward each other. When they collide they stick and spin. This collection continued building and continued spinning until this thing we now inhabit and call Earth was formed.  No one knows why it’s called Earth.

What does T.I.E. stand for?

Ah, yes! A Star Wars question! T.I.E., as in T.I.E. fighter, stands for Twin Ion Engine. It’s tiefightertwo engines that created positively charged particles (called ions) using a gas (like xenon) then accelerating the ion through an electrically charged field. When the ion is accelerated from the back of the fighter, due to Newton’s 3rd law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, the ion is shoved backward and the fighter is pushed forward. This is real science, not science fiction. NASA has it’s own ion engines currently in use! They’ve just upped one on Mr. Lucas though. The probe used in the Dawn mission to study two protoplanets in the asteroid belt , Vesta and Ceres, do one better than TIE fighters. The Dawn probe uses three ion engines.

What’s a vaccine?

The vaccine debate! I’ll keep it short. Some believe that vaccines cause autism and therefore do not vaccinate their children. PLEASE! Check out this fantastic study on how vaccines cause autism. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Bang had to get two shots (by needle, not by gun. That’s a different debate) before he could go to “big kid school”. DW and I also realized our tetanus shots were out of date so we got our vaccination as well. Vaccines prepare your body for an illness without exposing it to the disease’s symptoms. Immune cells, called lymphocytes, respond by producing antibodies to combat the disease and thereby making you immune to it should you come in contact with said disease. Your immune system recognizes the foreign body and is able to kill it before it can make you sick. Much like you recognize broccoli on your pizza before you eat it and thereby saving yourself from horrible pizza toppings.

How much does it cost to fly on an airplane?

An arm, a leg and a blood oath.

Depends on where you’re going. Are you flying domestic or international? Are you flying near or far? When I bought DW’s (back in 2003 she was DG – Dear Girlfriend) first plane ticket to come visit me in Virginia I paid $297. Today I could get it for $393 on a seat sale. Otherwise it would cost $479.

However we are not just one person any more. We are four. If we were to fly to BWI (Baltimore/Washington International) from YHX (Halifax) it would cost $2,734 for the four us according to one travel website. We can drive the 1,100 miles in our truck, as we did last summer, for $500.

Fuel prices, airport landing fees, supply and demand all play a role in driving the cost of flights.

Unfortunately, to fly to Hawaii for a week would cost us over $6,000. If only we had twin ion engines…

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This Taboo Word Challenge is getting tougher! Today’s word was “have”.
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Questions I Asked My Kids: Star Wars Episode


1. If you were a Jedi, what color light saber would you use?

Crash: Most likely an orange one, but it could be green
Bang: Blue

2. Would you fight for the Rebels or for the Empire?

Crash: The Rebels have Luke and Leia and all the x-wing fighters and snow speeders and the emperor has stormtroopers and Red Guards. The Rebels.
Bang: Empire

3. Would you live on Tatooine, Hoth, Degoba, or Coruscant?

Crash: Tatooine is hot with no water and jawas can take your droid. Hoth is icy, cold and has an Imperial probe droid. Degobah is swampy, has lots of water and you can live with Yoda. Coruscant is a big city. So probably in Coruscant.
Bang: Hoth

4. Using the Star Wars Name Generator what would your Star Wars name be?

Crash: Gacrux Deleat- A droid dealer from the Haruun Kal sector.
Bang: Skeet Gianttreader- A Jedi master from Nam Chorios
Dad: Baham Binarblast- A master of the Sith from Sarcophagus
Mom: Okerth Zosma- A starship racer from Iego

5. Who is prettier, Queen Amadala, Princess Leia or Rey?

Crash: Princess Leia
Bang: Queen Amadala

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6. Which vehicle would you drive? A speeder bike, AT-AT, X-Wing fighter, TIE Fighter or Millennium Falcon?

Crash: Millennium Falcon
Bang: X-Wing fighter

7. Who is your favorite character?

Crash: Han and Luke
Bang: Queen Amadala

8. How would you escape from Jabba the Hutt?

Crash: First Rancor would have to be defeated. Second we would have to get out of there. And third, sneak away.
Bang: With a TIE fighter

9. What would you use a droid for?

Crash: Sending messages, searching stuff and asking it questions, it’d be my Google.
Bang: Destroy the windows. So if there was like a fire in the house it could destroy the windows and we could jump out.

10. Who would win in a duel, Kylo Ren or Darth Vader?

Crash: Vader. But maybe Kylo because he’s stronger with the Force.
Bang: Darth Vader (pronounced thader (“th” sounds like the “th” in the)

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This Taboo Word Challenge is getting tougher. Today’s word was “I”.
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Minutes to Memories

Last night I was pondering what to write. I thought of telling you that a friend of mine who works as a radio morning show host shared my last YouTube video on the radio’s Facebook page and my views shot from 15 to 487 in just a few days. I thought of telling you about my first day substituting (that’s today). It’s great to be back in school and seeing all the familiar faces and some new ones. I asked Crash last night what I should write about today. Naturally, he said something about Minecraft. I’ve been playing a bit with him and he loves when I play too. So much so that he did three chores yesterdays to earn some extra time. But I have no desire to write about Minecraft. We did just finish the fourth book of Harry Potter and we’re all set to watch the movie this weekend.

But then I came into the class I’m subbing for, an English class. Ironic, eh? Then today’s blog was handed to me. Their assignment was to dissect the song “Minutes to Memories” by John Cougar Mellencamp. Have a listen. You’ll thank me.

Imagine getting on bus and taking a seat next to an old man who appears to be sleeping against the window. When the bus begins its journey the old man wakes and begins tell you his life story. His story is a happy one, though full of tidbits that you almost grasp. Friends and family are most important. Money means nothing. A clear conscious will help you sleep at night. Many years later, to late to change the past, you realize the old man you sat next to was your future self trying to tell your younger self the path to happiness. You didn’t understand at the time, so you took the difficult road and now the minutes you spent toiling away are now just memories.

Days turn to minutes and minutes turn to memories. The title of the song itself whispers of time passing us by. All we have is right here, right now. The future hasn’t happened yet. For all we know, the future won’t happen. The past is gone, already happened, just a memory.

Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned

That’s the way of life. How many times have we wanted to do something and never followed through because “life got in the way”. We grow up, get jobs, get married, have kids, pay the bills. Life happens. We can’t change the fact that time is going to pass. We can’t change the fact that one day all we’ll have are memories of the way things used to be. However, we can change how we spend our minutes. We can create memories worth remembering.

Life isn’t about how many minutes you get. Life is about how you use those minutes. Spend your minutes wisely. You’ll never get them back.

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This Taboo Word Challenge is getting tougher. Today’s word was “it”.
To read more posts not using the Taboo Word (it) or to join the challenge just click the blue frog…

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