### The Way of the Brick

A brand new Lego Store (Hawaii's first) recently opened at Ala Moana Center and Owen has already been there twice and come back richer in lego bricks each time. However, while Owen is a frequent customer, until today I hadn't yet visited the wonder that is the Lego Store. As a kid I played with Legos just about daily from age 6 through high school. But since leaving home I've rarely made enough money to indulge in Lego kits, and to be honest I haven't had much time. But now that Owen is 4, he has the hand-eye coordination and patience to build some pretty impressive creations.

So today I decided to make my first visit to the Hawaii Lego Store. Owen, of course, joined me. He has had his eye on a yellow Creator prop-driven airplane for some time, often walking around the house with his catalog letting us know that today would be a good day to buy the plane in case we were interested. But what I didn't recognize from the tiny photo in the catalog is that the yellow prop-driven plane is AWESOME! It's much bigger and more detailed than the red Creator jet Owen purchased with his birthday money last month. And compared to the clunky airplanes I used to build back in the day? Forget it. Legos have come a long way in the past 15 years.

So when I saw Creator #6745 in the store I felt a rush of memories about constructing an intricate model starting from the myriad tiny pieces and slowly building toward the final objective. I needed that kit. Owen needed that kit. But I don't want to spoil the boy. He shouldn't think that just because we go to a toy store that he should get something new. And I don't want Owen to be one of those kids who has so many toys that he's bored with them.

I stood there with Owen, mesmerized by the brilliant illustrations on the Lego box. I then started hearing the voices of the proverbial devil and angel resting on my shoulders. The devil suggested that it wouldn't be Owen's toy, it would be mine. I've had a really productive year, so I should reward myself! But then the angel chimed in and said: "Dammit, just buy it!"

So it was unanimous. Here's a time-lapse video of the plane's construction, followed by some photos of the finished model. Oh man, I'm hooked once again! I know what Owen and Marcus are getting for Christmas...and Thanksgiving and Halloween...

(The time-lapse was shot at 4 frames per minute and play-back is at 24 fps, shot with Gawker and my iSight camera. It took us almost exactly an hour to build the plane. Facebookers, check out our blog for the video if it doesn't show up here.)

blissful_e said…
Ben says you always had more legos than anyone else he knew! We're glad to see the tradition continuing. :)
JohnJohn said…
Yeah, I loaned those legos to the child of a friend and I haven't seen them since 1998 or so. Ah well, it's fun starting over again. I predict that Owen, Marcus and I will surpass my old collection in no time!
Amy Pousson said…
You know what that plane needs? Pew-Pew guns!!
Jackie O. said…
Erin- jonah and noah LOVE legos! have u guys seen the new legos that have letters on them that the kids can make word with? they are so awesome and educational (there goes my teacher self)!

### 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…