### Owen: Downhill racer extraordinaire

A friend of mine from work, Larry, let Owen have his son's LikeAbike that he had outgrown. LikeAbikes are great: they don't have pedals or training wheels, and they're made out of a relatively light-weight wood. They're simple, strong and excellent for learning balance.

Owen first rode his "Running Bike" last Wednesday. The video is below (and here) where you can see that even though he's a bit wobbly, he's able to ride down the small hill in our driveway without trouble.

The second video below (and here) shows Owen this past Saturday at the Punahou playground. He rode his bike the half-mile there, and immediately started attacking the hills, which probably have a 60-70% grade in some places (the neighborhood kids sled down the hills on pieces of cardboard).

Owen loves his running-bike so much that he even rides it from the living room to the bathroom. We have a feeling the training wheels on his Gary Fischer will be coming off soon!

mama mia said…
newest Los Bike member?
mama mia said…
Los Bike...watch out! there's a new sheriff in town...and his name is Owen Johnson!
jcom said…
Go Owen go! His journey to the 2024 Olympics has begun!
blissful_e said…
Cool! I've heard good things about those pedal-less bikes, and it's great to see Owen in action!
Amy Pousson said…
I love how is his total Aloha-style with his flip flops, sorry...slippahs, in the driveway. :)
mama mia said…
watching both biking videos for the umpteenth time, I notice that videos from your island home always sound alike a bird sanctuary....tropical style! it is so lovely to hear that background to all of your filming...even outside your windows when the boys are doing something inside...so lovely, the paradise?

### 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 started by downloading a stock photo of J.J. from NBA.com, which I then loaded into OpenOffice Draw:

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…