Friday, August 22, 2008
Wedding Bells Are Ringing
More pictures to follow!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Back to School
Sanity has returned to Casa De Kline now that all the kids are headed back into the classroom. Of course, they ain't too excited about it. But it gives me and Rachel time to be productive around the house and an opportunity for moments of quiet.
It was a rather emotional morning in some ways, since it was Ava's first day of kindergarten. I wasn't sure who would break down first, mom or daughter. In the end, they both hung in there pretty well.
The older girls seemed to be in good spirits, both excited to see how the new school year was going to start and unhappy to give up the free time and leisure days of summer. Hey, that's life girls!
Anna was her amiable ol' self. And although it's not possible to rush the girl, she got out the door in good time.
Katie especially was not happy to be going back. She complained loudly that it wasn't going to be any fun. Look how excited she was. LOL!
Savannah and Kaylee had to deal with all new schools and none of their old friends to see. But they'd gotten to know quite a few kids from our church and so, when they finally got into their classes, saw that they were completely at a loss
for the kids they were with.
At the end of the day, the kids made it home safe and sound. Ava had been really worried about how to ride the bus home. But Katie and Anna reassured her that they'd be there to help her home along with her two big sisters.
It all seemed to go just fine, as it should.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Do Too Many Bumper Stickers Make You Mad?
Have you ever seen a car who's tail end was covered in 50 different bumper stickers? That's just totally excessive. And on top of that, what person following the car in question could read all or even a portion of that? Of course, anyone with 50 bumper stickers on their car IS sending a message: 1) that they think they're cooler than you, and 2) that they have ADHD and can't concentrate on anything.
One bumper sticker is about all I can tolerate on a regular, non-insane person's car. Two, one on each side of the license plate, is unpalatable but ok too. More than that, and you're just asking for me to judge you. OTOH, some people really want
you to judge them. Now try this one on for size...
What I want to know is why do whoremongers get the big, red letters? Liars (a.k.a. politicians ) are on the same list, but don't seem to earn this person's ire. Unbelievers are similarly on the list. And so are murderers. But whoremongers get the big, red letters? It sounds like a personal grievance to me and tells me a lot more about the driver of the car than perhaps they meant to convey.
Got any other good bumper sticker stories? I'd love to hear 'em!
Labels: Humor, Thoughts
Monday, August 11, 2008
Cool Websites and Articles
Here's a collection of tons of websites and webpages that I've been reading over the past couple days.
1. JournalNow.com has an interesting article about why parents and kids pick very different types of mates. Kids tend to pick smart, funny, and attractive mates. Parents tend to pick socially and economically superior mates for their kids. (Read it at http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2008/may/15/checking-mates/?living
.) It also brings up the very interesting point about how marriage used to have no relationship with the concept of love. That'd put an interesting spin on the whole gay marriage controversy, wouldn't it.
2. Traffic. Love it or hate it, it's a major part of American culture. Read an interesting interview with Tom Vanderbilt, author of the book Traffic
, at http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/hows-my-driving-a-qa-with-the-author-of-traffic/
with more links on the topic there. One great travel tip - don't drive with divorcees. I especially liked the entry on why people never pay attention to traffic signs, no matter how they're displayed.
3. Bill Gates' very good speach on creative capitalism at http://www.gatesfoundation.org/MediaCenter/Speeches/Co-ChairSpeeches/BillgSpeeches/BGSpeechWEF-080124.htm
4. Gapminder World, a free tool at http://www.gapminder.org/
, enables you to manipulate all sorts of worldwide data to see all sorts of interesting and beautifully rendered data, such as what a small change in infant mortality does to the whole world. An extremely cool presentation using the tool is here
5. Fareed Zakaria. This guy is the most brilliant foreign policy mind out there. I always want to know what he thinks - http://www.newsweek.com/id/150460?from=rss
6. 4 Ways to Use Wikipedia Like a Pro - http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/search-wikipedia-the-pro-way/
7. Dartmouth's Intellectually Hostile Environment or "I'm insane, but I'm a professor" at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120995103004666569.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries
Well, seven is my lucky number today, so I'm stopping here. I'll put in some more promising web articles soon.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
This Art is Amazing!
You simply must
check out the art of Felice Varini
. He takes a large space and paints an image within the space that is only properly viewed from a single angle. If you look at it from any other angle, it distorts to the point of being unintelligeable.
The following image is a good example. When standing in the proper location, you'll see two circles. When standing in any other position, you'll see something very different.
The Gang's All Here
While I was recovering from surgery, I had the good fortune of having most of my family out for a two week visit ending on July 8th. I spent a boatload of frequent flyer points and brought out everyone I could get my hands on. Above is a picture of the whole gang as we were about to get on board the General Jackson
riverboat for a trip down the Cumberland River. In the back row, from the left, is Emily (daughter), Wendy (sister-in-law), Dan (brother), Jake (nephew), Shirley (mom), and Chuck (step-dad). In the front row, from the left, is Katie Jo (daugther), Anna Lynn (daughter), and Dylan (son).
We got to hang out a lot, but I was still pretty weak at the time. So we didn't go out a whole lot while they were here. We spent an evening downtown listening to music at Mulligan's Irish Pub. Dan and Wendy browsed some antique shops and 2nd hand stores, which are evidently few and far between in Alaska. I know that Wendy loves to geocache
, but I'm not sure if she did any while
they were here. Otoh, I did get her to help out with pressure washing my deck. She sort'a went into a Zen-like state and finished half of the deck before long. You can really see the difference in the dirty and clean wood in the picture of Wendy pressure cleaning. Thanks Wendy!
I especially enjoyed getting to spend time with everyone. I really loved getting to spend time with my nephew, Jake. I wish we could've had more one on one time, but it was great to see how much he's matured and, frankly, what a fine young man he's become. One funny story about Jake - I now call him "the wrecking ball". He's grown so much in the last year that he's not used to where his head, hands, and feet are. So there was more than one occassion
where he mashed up something in the house by accident. I know he was really upset about the path of destruct he wrought, but I hope he know that I don't really mind. That's simply what happens when a young man grows 6" in one year. It happened to me too!
The kids all seemed to have a really good time with the family too. They got to do several fun excursions, such as the riverboat ride and a trip to the Hermitage
. Katie and Anna really enjoyed having their entire family here. Katie and Anna also really looked forward to spending time with "Fungal Dan" and having a "fungal toe" painting extravaganza. When it was all done, I, Dylan, and Dan all had our right big toenails painted. And Grandma and Grandpa were a lot of fun too. Grandma was a little disappointed not to have a nice big TV to watch, since I hadn't been able to replace my stolen TV. Grandpa, though, was as vigorous as ever and even spent several days in the backyard practicing shotput for an upcoming Senior Olympics event.
Dylan and Emily were really helpful while I was on the mend and helped keep everyone fed and comfortable. With as many kids as I have, we didn't have extra beds for everyone. So we made use of these new deluxe aerobeds
that are just awesome. They're inflatable, but just as big and comfortable as a regular queen-sized bed.
My only disappointment about the trip was that my brother's oldest son, Sam, wasn't able to come down for the trip too. He's preparing to depart for Depauw University and had a trip to Spain
and Equador that conflicted with the trip to Nashville. Depauw is about 5 hours drive from our home in Nashville, so I hope to see him on holidays and during breaks from school.
Labels: Experiences, Kids
Friday, August 01, 2008
An Exciting New Development in Solar Energy
I've always been a bit of a conservationist as far back as I can remember. Maybe it was all of those lazy summer afternoons spent looking through my family's decades-long collection of National Geographic magazine. Maybe it was the conservation badge I got as a Cub Scout. Maybe it was from my dad's love of trees and my mom's love of gardens and flowers. I'm not exactly sure, but I got the bug early.
One thing I've been strongly interested in is viable alternative energy sources. For years, I'd thought that wave power
was the best alternative to our fossil fuel needs. I felt like wave power was superior to wind power because waves come tides which in turn come from the moon's lunar cycle. We'll always have the moon and the seas, but we often can go days at a time without much if any wind. I also felt wave power was superior to solar power because solar is so expensive and, let's face it, solar doesn't work well under cloudy skies nor does it work at all at night.
As it turns out, scientists may have overcome one of the most critical technological problems with solar power, as described here (http://www.sciscoop.com/story/2008/8/1/4847/54240
), but figuring out a new method for long-term storage of the power collected by solar panels. The technology is based on the fundamentals of photosynthesis and is a major leap-frogging past current techniques for storing the energy captured by solar panels. Experts in the field who were not involved with the project say that the technology, once perfected in 10 years or so, will completely change the energy game. Homes may not need to be on the grid at all or, if they are, they'll be able to sell their net surplus of energy back to the grid. Wow! That's progress!