Tar and Abby

Monday, June 30, 2014

who doesn't understand this?

"A woman was arrested after officials say she lit a pile of towels on fire in attempt to kill a spider."

I suggest The Engineer's flame thrower weed killer instead.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lady bug army

Bought another batch of lady bugs to deal with the current crop of aphids who are infesting one plant. They chowed down and now are branching out to other plants. Abby likes having an army at her disposal.

Friday, June 27, 2014


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Celebrate dyslexia


This fellow, Thomas G. West, has written a number of books about dyslexia and provided me with a lot of comfort over the years.
All three kids are dyslexic, to some degree, like The Engineer. Youngest is the most severe.
One thing Youngest has noted is how many dyslexics he runs into in the computer field. They have talked about it informally online.
Mr. West is giving a talk at SIGGRAPH (computer graphics and interactive techniques) - a few takeaways from his proposal -

"in recent years in many fields, it is becoming increasingly clear that dyslexics are capable of creating scenes and devising solutions that are beyond the reach even the smartest non-dyslexics. It is also becoming increasingly clear that all of this is because of the dyslexia, not in spite of it."

and

"Accordingly, they say it is high time for us to begin to recognize and understand and learn how to deal with these puzzling extremes in talent – the unexpected academic weaknesses that are often associated with special capabilities and success in both life and work. Schools, they say, almost never teach or test what dyslexics are good at – but life does. This is especially true for the many artists and technologists who work in computer graphics."

They put them in special ed. They fail them at tests which require extensive reading and writing. They do not let them use adaptive technology. They fail them at state tests. They put them in the ER with anxiety attacks about the next test. While other kids are enjoying summer they are put in more writing classes. 

  West's post here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

bureaucracy n. The application of order to prevent active chaos, resulting in inactive chaos.

Today the city sent us our utility bill.
It included helpful hints for saving energy during the summer.

- Do not use heat generating appliances during the day such as
washing and drying clothes, ironing, showering, cooking or
washing dishes.

- Do not use any energy during peak hours from 5pm to 7pm.

So...


quote found here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Black tomatoes

So I saw these black tomatoes.... I could not resist them.
Right now they are half black, half green and green inside.
SIL says they have to be all black before they are ripe.
She also says that she only has flowers on her tomato plants (zone 4 to our zone 7)
so to hangeth in there.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chamber of Secrets

Well, not really, just my Harry Potter nerdiness showing up.

Former USS Indiana battleship steel was "made into a 12-foot-long, 8-foot-wide, 8-foot-high chamber called the Palmer Room. The 12-inch-thick battleship armor plate is lined with layers of lead, cadmium and finally burnished copper that give the small room a rich glow.
When its 10-ton door is swung closed, it creates a chamber as free of radiation as possible in an Atomic Age world."

All workers, out in the area, wear radiation monitors. The Engineer has one.  This room is designed to even more closely monitor those who work in contact with Cold War stuff.

It has a dramatic history and the full story is here.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/06/21/3031440/safety-in-steel-hanford-workers.html?sp=/99/177/&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

Friday, June 20, 2014

the gnomes consider the summer solstice

I told the gnomes about the time we were in England and visited Stonehenge. This is as far as they got in their attempt to replicate it but should get it done next year.

Tar and Abby are going to have a dog sitter

We have run out of teenagers on the block. We are going up to the family farm for the 4th. Up and back in a day to introduce Eldest's fiancee to as many people who make the trip. Tar and Abby have to stay home - they have not been to the farm yet and not sure how they will react with all that wide open space and if they would take off after a moose or elk or wolf. Also not sure if we will have little people - Tar would be tempted to wash all available surfaces. And pigs. And chickens. And cows. And horses. (One of our other dogs went to greet a mule there and got kicked in the head.) And barn cats.
oh. my!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

open congressional seat in SE WA - this is one of the frontrunners - dear gawd

There are 12 people running in the August primary for a retiring congressman's seat. Top two vote getters run on the November ballot. 
It is expected this fellow will be one of those two. Has been around, run before, well known. Deeeeep breathing. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

How hard do you think it would be to give the world's smallest labrador a bath?

Abby stole one of The Engineer's protein bars.
The protein bar came out the other end. Not in a good way.
All over her bedding and all over her.
It  was an epic morning.
Pretty sure we rank up there with The Squirrel on Abby's list.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Legalized marijuana = Krispy Kreme

SE WA has always wanted a Krispy Kreme but we were denied for a long time. For fund raisers someone would drive over to the coast, buy a whole bunch of boxes and we'd sell them by the roadside to commuters. Sure fire money-raiser for PTA.

Now we've legalized marijuana in WA and all of a sudden Krispy Kreme is moving in and setting up shop.

I wonder....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mad Scientist Alert

One of the reasons I like living here is you never know who you are going to run into. (Which can be a bit intimidating when you work in a science classroom on back to school night...)

So they are building these devices to clear 300 tons of strontium from contaminated water at Fukushima. The previously built devices to remove cesium from that water (the first and greater threat).

Full article here

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ladybug Commando reporting for duty!

We also bought a sack full of ladybugs this spring (along with the praying mantis egg cases). We let the ladybugs go in the rose hedge (wait until night fall, sprinkle the bushes with water and let them go).
Ladybug checked in this morning to investigate aphid crop.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Agent Praying Mantis on duty

My first sunflower opened up yesterday complete with aphid interlopers. I caught a couple baby
praying mantis and transported them with orders to eat the aphids. Too small to see here but it is an epic battle.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The goosling goes 'cheep'

The babies are growing up and are fuzzy gray. They still are cheeping and so adorable.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The computer age - it not SkyNet, it is Google!

Youngest and five other college students are working for a computer company over the summer. The company found them short term housing and, helpfully, sent them Google directions on how to get
from their apartment to the company headquarters in downtown Seattle.
Google sent them over a toll bridge. A toll bride that costs $3.95 to cross. Once. The toll bridge is so expensive as they have cameras that catch your lisc. plate number and mail you a bill to your home address.
I say Google is going SkyNet.
The Engineer says if you hire a bunch of computer geeks and they can't figure out how to get to your location then you should fire them.
This is particularly current with us as we drove with Youngest down to Portland and Google sent us into tiny streets in East Portland instead of over the river to SW Portland. Youngest was able to rescue us with his cell phone nav app.