### Hitting the links with Owen

I think it happens to all parents. It feels like you just give and give and give, and in the short term you have nothing to show for it except two screaming kids and a bunch of crumbs and smashed banana on your spot on the couch. Last weekend I had all of the above, plus a host of work-related deadlines and general grown-up pressures of the difficult type (like a letter in the mail from the city zoning office).

All of the stress piled up and turned an otherwise mild-mannered Daddy into a raging bull. I was over being a grown-up in general, and a parent in particular. I was having vivid fantasies of an alternate life as a dual-income, no kids (DINK) lifestyle. Just imagine: sleeping in on the weekends, long drives with no specific destination in mind, watching a full basketball game without a child getting injured in front of the TV. I must admit, there were more than a few instances last weekend when I was far from a model parent.

But then at some point during this week I got over my fantasies and realized how lucky I am to have two smart, sensitive, loving and hilarious little boys to call my sons. So on Saturday after putting in a half-day at the office writing telescope proposals I decided to take Owen on an adventure to a putt-putt golf course. As with many things in the greater Los Angeles area, the putt-putt golf course was about 25 miles, 4 freeways and 35-50 minutes away. Because of a major accident on the 60 West, the 60 East was backed up for miles and it took us about 45 minutes to get there. But it was worth it when the windmills and castles of the Golf-N-Stuff appeared on the side of the freeway. Owen said, "Whoa! Is that our adventure." It sure was!

Owen thoroughly enjoyed knocking the golf ball around the course using his signature, extremely-awkward golf stroke. Imagine a combination of hockey face-off, croquette stroke, and jungle explorer using a machete. On hole 8, Dad struggled on the par-3 volcano, ending the hole +4 because I couldn't get it over the lip of the mountain and into the caldera. However, Owen teed up, hit the ball through his legs standing backward and got a hole-in-one.

Later, on hole 11 the situation reversed. I got a birdie while Owen struggled to get the ball up the ramp and into the skee-ball like receptacles. So he decided to eschew the golf club and went for a more direct method of moving the ball:

(In the video, after I say, "Over there!" Owen says, "What the heck?! I can't believe that!")

After the golf course, we went inside to the arcade where we raced cars, shot some hoops and mini-bowled. We had enough tickets for two Blowpop suckers and a foam dart-like projectile. It was a good day out with the boy.

Oh, and on the way home I took the 60 W to the 710 N to the 10 W to the 5 N to the 110N, which was way better and only took 25 minutes!

blissful_e said…
Your description of Owen's signature style is fantastic, and I can see him there in my mind's eye. To have that followed by "Owen teed up, hit the ball through his legs standing backward and got a hole-in-one." I'm as astonished as you must have been by seeing it in person. Way to go, Owen!!
mama mia said…
Hilarious post on parenting, and just keep enjoying the ride..love the reality of it all....you're not alone there daddy!

### 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…