### When Out of Towners Blog

(Guest post by Stephanie and Matt Casey)

On Sunday, we celebrated Owen’s 4th birthday with inflatable swimming pools, slip and slides (plural!), and lots of bubbles to chase. All available adults worked feverishly up to the moment when guests arrived. Erin and Stephanie had stayed up late the night before adding layer after layer to a rainbow jello. Along with the hot dogs and ice cream cake, it was a big hit with children and parents. As Erin tucked Owen into bed that night, he told her that he had had a great day. Alas, none labored in vain.

Among other bits of knowledge, yours-truly learned that he has a future in children’s television programming if the whole Latin American/ Caribbean History thing doesn’t work out. As Owen and Stephanie were perusing some 30 second home videos on her computer, Owen expressed deep interest in a particular piano recital. Matt was hamming it up to his piano version of “I’m bringing home a baby bumble bee.” The video ends with a sudden burst of flailing arms and an uber-expressive “Ouch! It stung me!” In the 48 hours since discovering the video, Owen has asked to watch it numerous times. He is also fond of chanting “Ouch it stung me” in moments of solitude.

“Guests are like dead fish,” so they say, “in that each begins to smell after three days.” But this guest-blogger is hoping that Hawaii’s reputation as the land of fresh seafood will afford him (and his wife) a special exemption from the old adage. Metaphors aside, I like to think that all parties have benefitted a bit from this visit. Some low-impact babysitting has offered a brief reprieve for Erin and John and a dose of hands-on parenting education for Matt and Steph. We’ve witnessed how John’s level of detail and intellectual approach to the cosmos on a grand-scale is matched at the household-level by his interactions with his two sons. Let me tell you. Nothing is an accident. All has been carefully planned. Chaos can be understood and subdued with the right theory. Erin’s indefatigable patience and ability to know when to go with the flow and when to change course are not things easily learned, only easily admired. Does she ever take breaks? Methinks not.

Photos by Stephanie Casey Photography

blissful_e said…
Wow! When I saw the first photo, I knew something professional was going on! :) Glad you had a great party - happy birthday, Owen!

Fantastic family photo.
Missy said…
I love the pictures!!

Happy Birthday, Owen!! :)

Missy
Cory said…
Awesome pictures! Sounds like a great time! Happy Birthday Owen!
Cory
mama mia said…
What a great family photo by the palm tree! would make a great cheap grandparent gift...hint hint.
kel said…
That is such a cute family photo!
Papa John said…
Great Pictures! Wish we were there, but you will soon be here!
Love
NANA AND PAPA
best family photo! xo
Jackie O. said…
Love the pics! Girl, I am going to need to email u! Well, you guys take care! Much love, Jackie

### 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…