Friday, August 15, 2014

10 Dates on a kids Calendar

The adult world is full of dates.  Thanks to technology we are even more tied to our calendars.  I remember when technology was limited to large business basements and overly nervous business types were relegated to day planners.  They had special boxes to keep the old ones so you could reference them which of course you never did after 1 month.  Now thanks to smart phones, we can be on the spot with everything.  Well Kids have always had calendars, they are just different than ours.

1 - Saturday - This is used to be important as a kid way back when.  That's because this was when you were going to watch cartoons.  Cartoons were on from 8 am to noon and you had your stable of shows you were going to watch.  Now every day is Saturday thanks to cable tv, so it's not at the forefront as much.

2 - Birthday - In the adult world, your birthday is looked at increasingly with disdain.  The cruel march of time plots a path right through your birthday.  In the kid world, your birthday is the most important birthday there is.  Your friends show up and give you presents and you are pretty much allowed to be the brat you are for the better part of the day as long as you don't play it up too much.  Usually a month away from your birthday is when you start really paying attention to how long it takes to get there.  Probably one of the very first days you notice.  Unless you are a member of a multiple birth or share a birthday with a sibling or parent, you also feel like you are probably the only person with your birthday.

3 - Dentist appointment - Besides inoculations, the dentist is your first brush with necessary pain as a child.  You know you hate going and yet your parents, who supposedly love you, are forcing you to go to this madman and his instruments of interrogation.  This is a date of dread.  You don't look forward to it, but rather you look for a reprieve.  With any luck, it won't come.  Your teeth are important.

4 - First Day of School - A new slate, a new dawn!  Same old friends, and some new ones coming.  Really the first day of school and the first couple of weeks are terrific and a great alternative to the doldrums of summer.  Others see it as the first day of your next stretch in the big house.  Nothing more than prison that you have to endure.  At least you can break out those school supplies that your parents bought and show off your new shoes.  2 weeks later, you are reduced to 1 broken eraser a short pencil you found and some paper you jammed into your backpack.  The shoes are a bit scruffy but still very fast and won't see a hole until springtime at the earliest.  Good or bad, Kids know when school is going to start.

5 - Vacation day! - Every family has their own travel traditions.  Some go visit Disney or any of the other fun theme parks.  Other tribes go camping.  Still others have other places they traditionally visit.  Whatever it is.  When you first take off for that vacation it's a magic time.  Junk food restrictions are lifted unless of course your parents are real militant hippies.  You are going on an adventure and it will be nothing but wonder.  At least that's how you'll probably remember it.

6 - TV Day - This is different than Saturday. But another call back to a different time.  During the course of the year there were a few seasons for interesting TV that you would put on your kid calendar.  There was a preview show on network TV that gave you previews of coming Saturday morning cartoons.  Talk about gilding the lilly!  All it really did was make the first episodes of the new cartoon season seem like reruns.  Of course the Holiday shows were all good.  Even Peter Cotton Tail with the Dastardly Iron Tail was worth watching.

7 - Cousins - Actually any family coming over for an extended stay is great if they have kids.  You've got new people to play with!  Usually it's accompanied by going out to eat and maybe seeing a movie.  It usually happens around the holidays or in the summer, but really good cousins make everything better.  In controlled doses.

8 - Last Day of School - With the exception of the first few days of school, school is the child equivalent of a soul crushing job.  You realize that is true once you get your first real soul crushing job, but until then it's school.  Summer represents the freedom that you dream about all year.  No more homework, no more mean teachers.

9 - Holidays - All holidays are counted in a child's mind and are the primary reason for calendars.  Christmas is of course on top of the list followed closely by Halloween.  Then comes Easter and the 4th of July (assuming you are American).  Thanksgiving holds a spot of it's own  and Presidents day and St Patricks day round out the list.  Memorial day, Labor day, Columbus day and Arbor day are not on the list because they have no theme or no day off or represent extra school work.  Those days take you by surprise if you get them off or are nearly completely ignored in the case of Arbor day.

10 - Camp - Camp is a strange place because it's really the first place where you will be given time to be on your own.  Your own boss.  Captain of your own fate.  Sure it's only in stretches of one or two hours, but you know that you are able to determine the direction of those hours.  Camping away from family vacations require a lot of planning and packing.  You need to be able to pack in to where ever you end up.  Usually the first few camping trips are plagued with bad packing putting many items you have no business taking camping based on the 'might need it' principle.  Sometimes Scouts, Sometimes Church, Sometimes just a kids camp in the summer.

Every other day in a childs life happens organically.  You never know where you are going or why.  The actual marking of time is pretty difficult and doesn't develop very well until school.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

10 Great inventions we don't pay a lot of attention to

We don't really think about these things, but they really are INCREDIBLE.  We live in an age of wonder and we really can't even see it.  There are things around us that we enjoy and use without thinking about all of the trouble and time that went into them.  These are a few things that might not be so obvious and others that might be.

10.  Mylar - Seems like mylar has been around forever.  Candy bars fall out of their wrappers (Wax coated paper before this invention. In fact, many wrappers use mylar because it doesn't stick.   Balloons that have shiny pictures on them and take weeks to go flat.  Mylar holds our electronics static free.  Mylar is all over the place and we should be glad for it!  If you ever get stuck on the moon, those reflective heat blankets saving your lives?  MYLAR!

9.  Utensils - Wait, like knives forks and spoons?  Yes.  Before we were mass producing our own place settings having your own set was kind of a big deal.  People used to carry their own around though usually the spoon wasn't included, you just drank your soup out of the cup like your mom told you not to.  Now we have the common utensils and just pull them out of a drawer.  We have special ones for special occasions.  Yet there was a time they weren't to be taken for granted.  Here is a tip.  take a set to work and keep them in a drawer.  INDISPENSABLE when the company buys lunch but furnishes those bits of plastic to eat it with.  You'll be the envy of all your co workers.

8.  Batteries -  What's the big deal right?  We always know what the big deal is when our car battery goes dead.  We certainly don't like it when our cellphone batteries go out.  We only really appreciate batteries when they are dead.  We do have an interesting habit with them.  When we think there is some power left in them, we put them in a drawer.  The only time they have a ghost of a chance of coming out in public is Christmas when you forgot to buy batteries for that one toy and then you load it up with the drawer batteries and it works for about 3 minutes.  Better than nothing I suppose.  Here is something interesting.  If you take a lantern battery and take it apart, you'll find a boatload of AAA batteries but I think it has to be the right lantern battery.

7.  Digital Sound - We go to the movies now and we are bathed in sounds both amazing and true.  We have near equal sound at home.  If you close your eyes in a theater and concentrate on the sound, you will immediately realize just how amazing it is.  Only a short time ago the best a movie had to offer was SENSURROUND.  They could have called it mega-bass because that's really what it was.  When I was a kid, I saw Rollercoaster in Sensurround.  Loud bass heavy stereo.  That was pretty much it.  loud enough to make your seat shake.  What was I thinking it was going to be?  Almost exactly I thought it was going to be D-Box.  It wasn't.

6.  Cloth - Woven fibers creating cloth are as old as humans.  An amazingly delicate process and yet all too common.  Cloth used to be hand woven and very labor intensive.  It was a big deal to have fine linen because it took a lot to make linen.  If you are a REAL crafty person you have your own loom and create your own custom cloth designs.  We don't pay attention to it because we are so very good at it we use it for all kinds of things.  Bandages, Duct Tape, Fiberglass and the same technology that gives us cloth gives us things like Kevlar with some different base materials.  CLOTH!  It's like a miracle made of strings.

5.  Lasers - I remember when I was a kid, Lasers were weapons fired from a pistol shaped device.  A light saber was sometimes mistakenly referred to as a Laser Sword.   Amplified light of single wavelength is used in so many technical applications it's staggering.  We use them as pointers and they make our digital sound we talked about earlier.  We use them for a lot of measuring applications.  The laser level assists builders in making sure the entire room is true by spinning around and creating a uniform line to use as a guide.  Here is something fun to try.  Take a laser pointer and point it across the room.  the longer the distance the better.  It looks like the point has gotten a bit bigger.  It hasn't.  If you have a friend hold the laser pointer and you go to the wall, you'll find the point to be pretty much the same size.  It's strange.

4.  Recycled Content - More and more we use recycled content.  We don't think about it much, but there it is in our containers and cartons.  When you separate your recyclables it appears you are actually helping out!  We don't think much about it other than that we separate certain things for recycling based on where we live.  When I was a kid, recycling meant turning an empty milk carton into a puppet.  We don't take for granted the recycling thing.  That's still kind of a hassle, but for some reason you feel like you might be doing something good if you do it.  It's when things are made out of recycled material that we don't care.

3.  Zippers - We just use these little marvels over and over and over and expect that they will last forever.  When a zipper breaks you try desperately to realign the teeth so it will work again.  Once in a while we are successful, but it's temporary at best.  When a zipper has lost it's zip, there is only one thing to do and that is scrap it or use safety pins.

2.  PVC - Like Mylar PVC is used increasingly in homes and underground. It doesn't oxidize and it rarely breaks (unless you are talking about sprinkler pipes seems like those need to be quite a bit thicker).  PVC is great for water, but it's also handy for making conduits for wires and even furniture!  Wanna go back to copper, lead, or Galvanized pipes?  I didn't think so.

1.  LED lights - These seemed to break onto the scene about the same time as lasers.  Before LED we used flashlights with regular light bulbs in them.  They tore through batteries like your uncle goes through butter-mints at a wedding reception.  Seems like you could never have flashlights last that long, in fact they made lantern batteries for more life, but now everything that makes a light seems to be made of LED.  They use much less electricity and they are very bright.  They aren't the same as yellow lights, but more and more they are in places you don't think about.  Traffic lights, Car indicator lights, and TV.

Well, clearly this well is drying up.  But just a bit of brackish water will probably show up in another 15