The Lemonade Stand

Two weeks ago I was about to recycle a box when Conner stopped me.

"Daddy! Don't break that box! I need it!"

He was very emphatic so I gave him the box and went in the back yard to continue some yard work.

I returned ten minutes later to discover that Conner had built a lemonade stand. He had convinced Christine to help him make the lemonade and a sign and and then he carried everything outside and set it up in our driveway.

His brother and sister soon joined him and they proceeded to sell me $1.50 worth of lemonade while aggressively sampling their own product.


I'm not sure where Conner got this idea, but they had a lot of fun. My little capitalists. I'll have to work on market timing with them. Note the snow still lingering behind them.

Video of Kids at the Lemonade Stand

More pics of the Kids Lemonade Stand are in this set on flickr.

Strangest And Most Helpful Tech Support Call I've Ever Made

Last Monday I tried to send my insurance company a pdf through their online message tool. It had a button labeled "Attach" that did't work.

In an act of the purest optimism I called their tech support line.  A really friendly sounding woman named Mary answered the phone and explained that the reason I could not attach files was because I was clicking on the "Attach button." No that's not a typo. Keep reading.

The conversation went something like this - I rattled off a bunch of info: Browser version, OS, Steps to reproduce the problem in multiple browsers.  I was a veritable fountain of debugging information. She listened patiently and when I finished...

Mary: "Have you tried clicking a half inch to the right of the attach button?"
Me: [stunned]: "That honestly did not occur to me."

To my pure astonishment it worked.  I've used a computer 5 days a week for almost 11 years and never seen anything quite like this bug.

Thanks for the help Mary! We only spoke for a minute, but you'll be long remembered as having provided the weirdest working technical solution I've ever heard.

Running the Numbers with Alex

Running The Numbers

One of the things Alex and I did at the Boston Museum of Science was visit the  Running the numbers. Portraits of Mass Consumption by Chris Jordan gallery. There are these huge pictures on the walls made up very tiny images.

From the MOS website:
Sociologists tell us that the human mind cannot meaningfully grasp numbers higher than a few thousand. Yet, understanding the consequences of our choices requires us to comprehend the incremental effect of millions or billions of small acts. How can we sensitize ourselves and, in turn, change our choices?
Photographer Chris Jordan's large-format prints, assembled from thousands of smaller photographs, dramatically translate the raw language of statistics into powerful images of global mass culture that we can respond to emotionally. Seeing the cumulative impact of individual actions through this talented artist's lens awakens us to the enormity of our personal decisions.

I'd seen examples of this work online before, but seeing it in real life is a completely different experience because of the size.  The sociologist are right and these images are terrifying.

Alex and the Bottles

The card next to this image reads "Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes."

Online these pictures are interesting. Seeing them full size is shocking. The canvas is so large you have to step back half way across the hall to get the entire picture into view.  At the same time the images that make up the whole are so small you need to get inches away to make out each individual one.

I hear about numbers like  two million, and it seems manageable. But when Alex and I saw 2 million bottles right there in front of us I was shocked. And I believe this was the artists intention. In 5 minutes we (just the US) went through more plastic bottles than my mind can comfortably comprehend. It begs the questions - Where did all that material come from and where did it go? When will it run out?

 It's a powerful exhibit and well worth the trip to the museum.

Dr Seuss's Birthday At Home

Last night we were supposed to take the kids to a Dr. Seuss Birthday event at Barnes&Nobel. Unfortunately my work and something that we have come to refer to as the spaghetti sauce incident forced us to cancel.

Alex was disappointed but he got over it in a pretty cool way. While Christine and I were running around dealing with work and sauce Alex decided to create a Russell home Dr. Seuss party. He got to work decorating and transforming the living room into a stage.


P3030047 Christine got into the festive mood and switched  Taco Tuesday for Green Eggs and Ham.

To say this was badly received would be a massive understatement. 

The kids unanimously insisted they did not like green eggs and ham.

Christine made an elegant argument to try to convince the kids.

You do not like them. 
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may I say...

The kids were not impressed...

They do not like green eggs and ham. End of story.

After Dinner we checked out Alex's awesome book display...


and then sat down and read some books.


All in all, Alex took an otherwise disaster of a night and turned it into a fun time. I think he gets that from his mother.

The rest of the pics from the night are in our Green Eggs and Ham Flickr set.

I Say Clean Sideboard, Alex Says Empty Canvas

Our dining room side board is usually covered in big piles of mail and kids art projects. Last week Christine cleaned it off and left only a simple hurricane lamp on it as decoration.

Apparently Alex saw the newly cleared space as a canvas that needed his touch because we came downstairs the next morning to discover a proud 6 year old eager to share his new "Display." 

Alex Builds a Display