### Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Owen loves garbage trucks. Whenever we put our car in reverse and back up, we hear from the back seat, "Boop, boop, boop." Fortunately for our little sanitation department aficionado we're staying in Waikiki, which is apparently garbage-pick-up central of Oahu. Trucks drive by every day except Sunday, and FOUR different kinds of trucks come by Saturday morning! Oddly, not one of them is a recycling truck. You'd think a community living on an island would be particularly interested in a single-stream recycling program. If you were thinking about Hawaii, you'd be wrong.

Owen's love of garbage trucks is not too surprising. When I was his age, I'd make piles of toys around the house and push an old suitcase from pile to pile. I'd then throw the toys onto on half of the open suit case and then dump the toys from one half into the other. "MMMMMMrrrrrr mmmmmmm RRRRRRRRR, buuhhhhssshhhhh!" Memories of my own experimentation with a career in trash removal inspired me to build a trash truck for Owen. So Erin and I took an old Costco diapers box (Super Couches, which we call "Super Coochies."), and an old wipes box ("Booty wipes"). Since we don't have any tape, we attached the boxes together using a plastic bag. Talk about recycling! Talk about ghetto toy!

Here's a couple videos of Owen the Garbage Man in action. In the first one he's figuring things out. By the second video, he's mastered it.

mquinn said…
Dude, it looks like you need to order a bunch of these.

When I have kids I'm gonna buy me.. err buy THEM a whole bunch of these fasteners to build stuff with.
JohnJohn said…
OMG, we are so getting some of these to connect all of our moving boxes after our stuff gets here. It'll be the best toy ever for Owen's new room. Thanks for the link, Quinn!
Anonymous said…
Ask Erin to tell you about the cardboard box village we had in the living room one summer. I think there was a hot water heater box, refrigerator box and washing machine box...many markers...many nights camping out in our own little 'houses.' Oh wait, I just told you...MAN those were F. U. N.
mquinn said…
Reminds me of that Far Side cartoon with the two scientists standing next to a giant missile. Next to the missile is the giant cardboard box it came in. Caption is something like "Hey, your kids got the last one."

JJ: glad I can help. All that screwing around here at work paid off for SOMEBODY. Too bad I can't get a Ph.D. in cardboard box. "Cardboard Box Construction... for... Distributed Camera Networks" - just doesn't work. Dang.
Anonymous said…
If I were ever on a game show where I got to call a friend for help...that person would be Quinn...I don't know anyone else who knows as much random stuff as he does.
Cindy said…
Erin & John,
Just got home from a visit with the MN duo and enjoyed reading your blog so much! Brings back memories of Jerry's and my hippie days in Hawaii from 1972 to 1976. Yeah, we're old! Have you had hot malasadas yet? I'm assuming they're still around - they used to be made by Leonard's. Wait till Owen starts to talk pidgeon - you'll be ready to hightail it back to the mainland. Just wanted you to know how much we're enjoying your news.
Cindy Hey
Cindy said…
John & Erin,

I just got back from a visit with the MN duo and enjoyed reading your blog. Brings back scary memories from our hippie days in Hawaii from 1972 to 1976 - yeah, we're old. Have you had Leonard's hot malasadas yet or gotten food from an Okazu Ya? Of course, these may no longer exist. Keep the entries coming - I love it!
Cindy

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…