Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep 56

These questions were lifted from episode 7 of last December. That was the year of selfie toaster. This is the year of the sweetheart sweatshirt.

1. What is your favorite thing to do during winter?

Crash: Have a snowball fight and make our big igloo
Bang: Build snowmen

2. What do you want to get your brother for Christmas?

Crash: A Lego mini figure, tape and a huge coloring books with the giant pages
Bang: Bey Blades

3. What has been your favorite thing that Woody and Elfis has done so far?

Crash: I liked when Elfis trapped Woody under a glass and wrote HAHA on it
Bang: Give us calendars with chocolate in the them

4. What 2 things do you want for Christmas?

Crash: Super Mario Oddessy and a Google Play gift card
Bang: Bey Blade Burst and a Hatchimal

5. What do you think Mom wants for Christmas?

Crash: Jewlery maybe? Peace and quiet, too
Bang: Jewlery and lipstick

6. What do you think Dad wants for Christmas?

Crash: Probably books and headphones for editing videos
Bang: Toy to play with me like a board game or something

7. How old is Santa Claus?

Crash: 73, but he’s probably way older than that…
Bang: 150

8. Why do we celebrate Christmas?

Crash: Because it’s Jesus’s birthday and that’s when our saviour was born
Bang: It’s Jesus’s birthday

9. If we made a snowman and he came to life, what would you want to do with him?

Crash: Have a snowball fight because having a snowball fight with a snowman isn’t something you see every day
Bang: Ride him like a sled

10. If Baby Jesus came to our house, what would you want to tell him?

Crash: If it was Christmas I would tell him Happy Birthday and thank you
Bang: I love you

Now hop your jolly old self over to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and follow me there, too…

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Go Ask Your Father: Straws, Pink Stuff, Christmas Trees, and A Fly In The Truck

 

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I’m loving the questions this week. Very science oriented. Physics to be exact. There are a couple of science YouTubers I already follow (VSauce and Veritasium). However, thanks to this week’s questions I found Physics Girl. She made a really neat, easy to make, electric “train” using a coil of copper wire, an AA battery and some neodymium magnets. I’ve always been science oriented. I enjoyed physics class in high school, though I wasn’t nearly at the top of my class. I was lucky if I was in the lower middle average kid in class. So to have kids who are as equally interested in science makes me happier than a astrophysicist with a super nova.

1. How does milk come up the straw when I suck on it?

I’ll forego all the sucking jokes, for the moment. Believe it or not, you are not pulling the liquid up the straw when you suck. It is getting pushed up from the bottom. When you suck on a straw you pull the air out of the upper part. This creates a low pressure area. The relatively high pressure (I say it’s relative because the pressure in the bottom of your milk cup changed only in relation to the space inside the straw) in the bottom of your milk cup pushes up. It’s the opposite of blowing into a straw to shoot a piece of corn. If you blow air into it, air pressure build up until the corn flies out and hits another kid in the head and you make a trip to the principal’s office. With a low pressure above the liquid in the straw, the liquid on the bottom rises to fill the space. The longest straw you could theoretically use is 10.3 meters. However, I’m not sure you suck enough to create a perfect vacuum required to use such a big straw. Speaking of vacuums… A straw will not work in outer space because you couldn’t change the air pressure because there is no air pressure. It will work inside a space ship, aka the Space Station.

2. What’s that pink stuff in the humidifier?

It could be my loofah, but it’s not. This stuff grows on the ledges in the tub, on the shower curtain, and in the humidifier. It’s pink. It easily washes off with cleaner. Then it comes right back in a week or less. It’s not mold. It’s an airborne bacteria. Don’t get all freaked out and panic, though. The science world calls it serratia marcescens. The rest of us call it a harmless nuisance. No matter what you use to clean it, it will return as it is airborne. It thrives in damp places (hence the growth in humidifiers and showers). The best you can do is clean to manage, not clean to rid. Make sure you ventilate the bathroom sufficiently during and after your daily scrub. If your like most normal households with young kids, the bathroom door is always open, anyway. No place is sacred.

3. Why do we set up Christmas trees?

Why exactly do we bring the outdoors inside? It’s so Santa knows where to leave all the presents, of course. I can only imagine how confused he might be in a house without a tree. Where do the presents go? According to History.com we have 16th century Germans to thank for the tradition of decorating the tree. Ancient peoples believed the evergreens would ward of witches and evil spirits during the months of little day light. They would decorate their rooms with boughs of holly along with pine and spruce branches. Christian Americans of the 1600’s thought it an odd tradition. Some even went as far as creating laws against it’s observance. Until Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert appeared as a drawing in the Illustrated London News in 1846. Much like today, if it was good enough for the royals, it was good enough for the people. It only took a few hundred years for it catch on.

4. If a fly were flying in the truck and stopped flying would he hit the back window?

I was grinning from ear to ear when Bang, the 6 year old, asked this question as we pulled into the driveway one afternoon. What a question! Imagine holding a baseball while riding down the road (someone else is driving). Toss the baseball up and catch it and to you it appears to have gone straight up and straight down. To the hitchhiker on the side of the highway that ball flew in an arc, a rainbow, a parabola. What about a fly, though? Thanks to YouTube, I discovered an answer. A dude flew a drone in the back of his van while his wife drove. As his wife slowly accelerated the drone stayed with the van. It didn’t drift to the back like I expected it to. However, with all the doors and the hatch open the van drove off and the done stayed put, effectively exiting the van without moving. It turns out that the drone provides sufficient downward force to keep it stationary inside the van when all it’s doors are shut. However, with the doors open, it has nothing to push against so it can’t remain inside. Would a fly, which doesn’t have nearly the same force as a drone, have the same effect? Or if it stopped flying would it smash into the back windshield? Like trying to drink through a 10 meter straw, that would really suck (for the fly).

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The Daily Elf: Dec. 4th

The excitement was palpable this morning. Bang found the elves and he loved what he saw. Woody was atop our printer while Elfis was sandwiched in the scanner. Woody was making copies of him. Bang then took the copy to school to show his teacher and classmates.

Later, while the boys were at school, the elves moved. It was Elfis’s turn to copy and he chose to copy Woody’s hat. I’m just glad they chose NOT to sit on it and make copies of their elf butts…

The Daily Elf: Dec. 3

Again, they’re hanging around. Today they chose the kitchen. Probably because that’s where the food is. I don’t blame them. The kitchen is a good place to be (unless I’m cleaning it, then I hate to be in there). They chose a nice high vantage point to watch from, too. They could see everything from up there. Me. Mom. The boys. Dust. Grease….

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Questions I Asked My Kids

I hope all my American family and friends enjoyed a very happy Thanksgiving. I miss the days of gathering at Grandma’s house. We’d feast, we’d slip into a turkey coma for a bit then we’d play some football in the front yard. I wish the boys were able to experience it, too. Not to worry though, we’ve got our own traditions going. We normally cook a turkey and stuff today to celebrate. However, today was just too crazy. This weekend will be for putting up outdoor decorations. As of this typing the only decorations we have up are the count down chain that’s currenly at 32 more sleeps. Have you started decorating yet?

1. What would be the best Christmas present for you?

Crash: A million bucks

Bang: Bey Blade Burst

2. What would be the worst Christmas present for you to get?

Crash: underwear

Bang: Coal, sticks and blueberries

3. What’s your favorite smell?

Crash: The lemon orange and cinnamon you boil on the stove

Bang: Hockey players

4. What’s your favorite thing about dad?

Crash: That you have cool glasses

Bang: That he’s really skinny, too, and not fluffy

5. What’s your favorite thing about mom?

Crash: That she lays with me for a long time at bedtime

Bang: That’s she’s really fluffy

6. Where is your favorite place in the house?

Crash: Living room where the Nintendo Switch is

Bang: In the basement or living room

7. Where is your favorite place to hide when we play Hide-n-Seek?

Crash: In the box in my closet

Bang: Basement corner in the toy room

8. What’s your favorite time of the day?

Crash: I like it from 8:30 to 4:30

Bang: When we have gym at school

9. What’s your favorite word?

Crash: Lightning

Bang: Boobies

10. What part of your body is your favorite?

Crash: My Hair

Bang: My ribs

If you ever question where else you can you find me, look no further than Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Letters to my Daughter

Go Ask Your Father: Howling, Mia, Seasons, and Zero

They’re getting married! Bang and the neighbor’s 9 year old daughter are getting hitched April 5th. They’ve spent two days planning it, too. They’ve set a $60 budget and have planned a menu of grilled cheese and ice cream sandwiches with sticky hot fudge. The planned ceremony is to take place in the backyard where I’m the priest (I’m to end the ceremony by saying “You may not kiss the bride”), Crash is a watcher because he’s rude (though he might get to be the best man) and the bride’s sister will be a flower girl. The young couple will then honeymoon at one of two public pools here in town.

Then they’re going to get divorced. Why?
So they can get married again!

It seems they want a wedding, not a marriage.

1. What the difference between a coyote call and a wolf call?

The long distance charges. Those wolves call family to family and they’re always calling long distance collect. Coyotes howl as part of pack behaviour. If the howling is all at one high note, it’s for calling the family together. Coyote packs are usually smaller than wolf packs, usually with no more than half a dozen coyotes joining in the conversation. You can tell the pack has arrived when the howling gets higher in pitch, mixed in with high-pitched yelps and yips. Howling is also used to warn rival coyote packs away from a pack’s territory, like Jets and Sharks. There’s westside coyotes and Eastside Coyotes. Or maybe it’s the Greasers and Socials in coyote Outsiders.

Wolf howls are far more sophisticed. They speak proper, very unlike the slang those Westside coyotes howl. Wolf packs are rarely smaller than a dozen and can have as many as thirty six. They will harmonize with each other to bluff rival packs into thinking they’re bigger than they really are. Howling isn’t just for family calls, sometimes it’s for business. Hunting howls are the shortest and highest pitch of the wolf howls. While coyotes howl on one, high pitch, the wolves howl alternate between two pitches. When they’re very close to their prey it almost turn to a bark. I’ve kayaked with whales and dolphins but hearing a wolf howl would rank even higher in lifetime achievements for me.

2. When did Mia Hamm stop playing?

Ahh, Mia. I may have had crush on her in high school. I got all glassy eyed my freshman year in high school back in ’91 when Hamm played in her first World Cup in China. She was a powerhouse on the pitch. She’s done big things for women’s soccer and women athlete in general. And I’m not just talking about winning two Olympic gold medals and two women’s world cups. She’s helped bring women’s sports to the forefront. She helped shine light on the discrepencies in the pay scale between male and female athletes. She held the record for most international goals scored by a man or woman until 2013. Now she trails third behind teammate Abby Wombach and Canadian Christine Sinclair. Still respectable. She’s been inducted into four halls of fame. She is now co-owner of The Los Angeles FC and a global embassador for Barcelona FC. Her last game was August 26, 2004 where she led the team to a gold medal in the Olympic games in Athens. Now, if she’d just give me a howl call I’d mark that as a lifetime achievement even higher than kayaking with whales and dolphins.

3. Why do we have seasons?

Baseball season. Hockey season. Dear season. Christmas season. The dreaded tax season. Of course, these aren’t the right seasons. I think we all have a favorite. I like them all. Until the end of them, that is. I enjoy summer, but by September I’m ready for cooler weather and all the things of fall. Same goes for the other three seasons. There is a reason for all the changes, though. The Earth is tilted on its axis, like drunk trying stand. This creates times when the northern hemisphere is receiving direct sunlight and other times the south gets it. The way I liked to explain it to my fourth graders is to imagine a bon fire being the sun. You hold your hands up to it to warm them. However, if you hold your hands directly over it you’ll probably get burned. That’s the difference between summer and winter. If the Earth were not tilted it would be spring eternal. It has nothing to do with distance. The northern hemisphere is actually closer to the sun in winter. In winter, I snuggle a little closer to my little furnace, DW, too.

4. Is zero even a number?

There are imaginary numbers, which we use to do squares and square roots of negative numbers. There are real numbers, too. Those are all the numbers that have a home on a number line. There are rational and irrational numbers. Rational numbers can be expressed as a fraction, decimal, or whole number. Irrational number cannot be expressed as a fraction. Like pi, they are decimals that go on and on and on on an irrational rant. Zero is real, found on a number line smack dab between 1 and -1. It’s rational. You can add, subtract, and multiply by zero. You can divide zero (just don’t try to divide by zero, the universe will implode). So yes, zero is a number. It’s the exact amount of dessert you’ll get if you don’t eat your supper. It’s exactly how many f***s I give that your friends don’t have to do chores and get to stay up late. It also happens to be the number of times you’ll win an argument with me or your mother, young man.

Speaking of numbers, there are three more places you can stalk follow me: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Questions I Asked My Kids: ep55

1. If you opened a store what would you name it and what would you sell?

Crash: I would name it RC Cars and Trucks and and sell remote controlled vehicles – cars, trucks, hamsters, drones…
Bang: I would sell cans of soda, chips, some cakes and name it “The Junk Store”

2. If you could grow anything in the garden, what would you grow?

Crash: Jack’s giant beanstalk
Bang: More of me

3. If your stuffie could talk, what would it say?

Crash: He would say a lot of stuff like Lets play Minecraft and Can we snuggle?
Bang: I love you (and mom and dad, too)

4. If you were to draw me a picture right this instant, what would you draw?

Crash: I would draw that car on TV that goes 360 miles per hour
Bang: Scribbles

5. What sound do you like?

Crash: Chicken noises
Bang: Cats purring and sneezing dogs and cannons blowing off because they’re sounds I can make

6. If you could ask a wild animal anything what would you ask it?

Crash: I would ask a cheetah, “Can I adopt you?” so when I miss the bus we can zoom there
Bang: I’d ask a giraffe to lift me way way high

7. If animals could drive, which one would be the most fun to ride with?

Crash: An elephant
Bang: A giraffe

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8. What are three things you want to do this winter?

Crash: Build an igloo, have a snowball fight, and snowboard
Bang: Snowball fight, jump in gigantic snow piles and biff Frizbees

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Crash: A racecar driver… actually no. A robot designer
Bang: A cat sitter

10. What’s the funniest word you know?

Crash: Quack
Bang: Poopy (then whispers “type a-r-s-e”)

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I’m Not Ready For This

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I’m not talking about the snow we got last night. That cold, white, fluffy stuff can fall all it wants. I’m comfortable driving in it (once we get our winter tires put on). I love playing in it. I love how it makes the world look clean again. We really didn’t even get that much. It was enough to make the roads wet and the grass white for a couple hours. It was also enough to excite a certain 6 year old.

I can’t believe it’s Christmas and it’s only November 14th!!

In truth, what I’m not ready for is the excited 6 year old’s brother to take an interest in girls. I always knew it was just a matter of time, but I didn’t think that time would ever come. It would eternally be “just a matter of time”. Girls are supposed to be gross. Cooties and all…

We’ve now come to a new bridge. One in which we’ve never crossed before. Preferably, I’d like to go ahead and burn it now and make him swim across when he’s 25. On the other hand, I don’t want him to drown or eaten by a manipulative crock when he starts swimming the strange waters that are relationships when he’s 25.

I’ve been trying to think of myself when I was 10. From what I can remember I was a fairly shy little dork back then. The only difference now is that I’m less shy. More importantly, I’m trying to remember how my parents handled me back then. Did I express such an interest in girls in fifth grade? Did my parents let me handle it how I wanted? How much more did they know than they let on to? Should I handle Crash’s love interests the same way?

My God. I’ve got a thousand more questions now than I did when I started writing this post.

I would love to be a hands off, watch from a distance kind of dad. At the same time, I don’t want to be watching from a distance if it’s going to be a trainwreck. But at the same time, it’s his trainwreck and he needs to learn how to handle it. But at the same time, maybe it won’t be trainwreck. I do have an extra tool that my parents didn’t have. Texting. He’s learned to text others from his tablet. This means, unbeknownst to him, we can read his conversations. On one hand it sounds like a breech in privacy and trust. In my head, we’re the parents, he’s 10, and we’re keeping him safe. Right? As of right now he doesn’t know that we DW figured out the password he put on his tablet.

The advantage is that it gives us an insight into what’s going on in his head. It’s easy to forget that he’s got more going on than just going to school and learning. He’s learning to make friends and be a friend. He’s learning about this girl interest. He’s got everything going on at home… being a son, being a brother, his own interests and desires. He is his own person even if he’s still growing into the man he’ll be one day. It’s our responsibility to help him grow into that man. Help him navigate those new waters, new experiences, and figure out how to grow up.

For now, I’ll just keep snooping, keep my trap shut on what I know, and try to show a little more patience.

Then I’ll cross my fingers and hope for more snow.

Go Ask Your Father: Yogurts, Bats, Parrot Speech, and Light Years

I’m a sucker for those sappy, highly predictable Christmas movies. Lucky for us there’s a channel for that. DW and I started watching one before supper. Christmas In The Air. We didn’t have time to finish it before the boys’ bedtime, though. Thankfully, with today’s technology, we can record TV without a big, clunky VCR. With the heathens are asleep, tucked in their beds with visions of slugs, snails and puppy dog tails dancing in their heads, DW and I made ourselves comfy cozy on the couch. I with my blog and her with her crocheting, a couple glasses of wine and the sappy, highly predictable movie we started earlier. It did snow here, today. It was also freezing cold. Winter is coming and Christmas is just a couple corners away. 44 corners, to be exact.

What’s the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt?

I really don’t care. They’re both gross to me. The boys, however, both enjoy their yogurt for a bedtime snack. Bang loves his plain vanilla stuff while his brother enjoys berries in his. Except, just recently, he discovered a seasonal flavor – pumpkin spice Greek yogurt. This kind of yogurt is strained more than the regular stuff. This takes out the whey – the watery part of yogurt. Taking the whey out also removes the sugar and carbs. Sugar and carbs are the bad guys these day. They’re the assholes of the food world. It used to be fat, but fat got pardoned. Sugar and carbs have become the Bonnie and Clyde. That’s another difference – Greek yogurt is higher in fat and lower in sugar and carbs than regular yogurt. It also has more protein which means it will keep you feeling full longer than that sugary regular stuff.

Why can’t bats stand upright?

It sounds like the opening line of a joke. Like a hockey joke that goes “Why don’t Canadians drink tea? Because the Americans have all the cups”. Bats, however, are no joke. They can’t stand up. Their legs are too short and undeveloped for standing. They’re perfect for hanging, though. This is good because it’s the only way the bats will achieve flight. With legs shorter than the Maple Leafs win streak they can’t achieve enough lift from the ground. They can climb, though. So they climb to gain height then fall into flight. Like me sledding off my neighbor’s garage roof.

If parrots don’t have vocal cords how do they talk?

While some parrots, like our Piper bird, learn just a few words, other can learn nearly 2,000. It is true that parrots do not have vocal cords. I know a few people who shouldn’t have them, either. I won’t name any presidential names. Since they have no vocal cords, they use a syrinx. Located at the base of their trachea, its walls vibrate as air passes through it. By adjusting the tension of the syrinx, they can change the sound. In this manner they mimic everything from the smoke detector, to other animals, and learn speech. Alex, an African Grey parrot, understood categorization like “same and different” and “bigger and smaller”. He could identify objects by their shape (“Three-corner”, “Four-corner”, up to “Six-corner”) and material: when shown a pom-pom or a wooden block, he could answer “Wool” or “Wood” correctly as often as a presidential tweet made no sense. Alex could identify the difference between yellow and green same-sized objects by saying “Color” or identify a larger one by naming its color. If asked what the difference was between two identical blue keys, Alex learned to reply, “none.”

What’s a light year?

It’s to infinity and beyond! It’s not a measurement of time, as the word year might suggest. Instead, it’s a measure of distance. It’s the distance light travels in one year. Since it can travel 186,000 miles in one second, you can just imagine how far it goes in a year. You have to multiply that one second by 60 seconds in a minute. Then multiply that by 60 minutes in an hour. Then multiply that by 24 hours in a day. Then multiply that by 365 days in a year. 186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 = about 5 trillion 900 billion miles. For comparison, the sun is only 8 light minutes aways. Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, is 4.4 light years away. For comparison, if the distance between Earth and sun were shrunk to an inch, Alpha Centauri would be four and half miles away. Our universe is huge. In fact, it’s so huge that light hasn’t had enough time to travel from one side to the other of it. Yet, here we are, on this little, blue marble hurtling through all of it.

Questions I Asked My Kids: Ep 54

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It was that time again. My 17th time in Canada, to be exact. I gave 16 times in the US. I’m done until January now. I gave blood this evening and as usual, the boys joined me. Bang is so curious. The nurse who took my blood was seriously impressed. He watched her swab my arm to clean it. He watched her put the needle in and fill the bag for testing. He then wandered over to watch a teacher from his school have her arm pierced, too. Then he watched the nurse pull the needle from my arm. He wanted to see where the needle had gone it but I didn’t remove the gauze for fear of blood spurting out and me bleeding out. The nurse even let him feel the bag that contained my pint of blood. He was intrigued by how warm it was.

If all goes as planned, he still wants to be a neurosurgeon when he grows up.


1. Where does wind come from?

Crash: Warm air collides with cold air and they make wind some how
Bang: Trees sneezing because I know what humility is (for the full explanation, see Instagram)

2. Why do I give blood?

Crash: So that if people have surgery, like me for example, and they need blood then they can use yours
Bang: So it doesn’t rot and you die

3. Will you give blood when you are old enough?

Crash: Yeah, if they invent a needle that you can’t feel at all. And I mean at all.
Bang: No, because I don’t want to get a needle

4. If you could change anything about our family what would it be?

Crash: Nothing or that my brother is never annoying making supid faces or makes fun of me when I’m humming
Bang: Our last names… we’d be the Michaels

5. What is your biggest worry?

Crash: That the sun will eventually will grow big and cover up all the planets and make Pluto warm
Bang: When I came in the house and no one was here and there was creepy music on but dad was really just hiding upstairs (I did this for Halloween)

6. Where is somewhere you would never want to live?

Crash: Afganistan because there’s war there
Bang: In Africa because their dances are really hard (he had an African dance/drum demonstration in school today)

7. If Taylor Swift came to our house right now, what would you tell her?

Crash: First I’d call my friend because she’s a “Swifty” then I’d tell Taylor to sing I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball I mean All About That bass No! Not that one… Shake It Off
Bang: To sing Shake It Off

8. Why do you not like to go to bed?

Crash: It takes me forever to fall asleep and there’s a ton of better things I could do like livestream Minecraft on YouTube all night
Bang: Because I want to stay up late and watch Justin Time on TV

9. How much wine will mom and dad drink after you go to bed?

Crash: 3 cups then fall asleep under the table
Bang: 15 million gallons

10. Which book character do you wish you could meet?

Crash: Alex and Conner from Land of Stories (I, Crash, highly recommend that one!)
Bang: Martha the trucker because I want to sit in the driver seat and drive a transfer truck

 

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