Fish tank cleaning, den meeting, biking, and some random things

Our strawberry plant has survived its first weekend in our garden.  (I think it needs about a dozen more plants to keep it company.)


Found a slide of my grandmother Bernice.  I caught a picture of Christopher looking at it.  I thought it made a nice effect.  What do you think?


At the cub scout den meeting today, Christopher learned about birds and made a bird feeder out of a pine cone, string, peanut butter, and some bird feed.  (And of course we brought some cupcakes.)

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Cleaned the fish tank





Also, bought 10 ghost shrimp, a plecostomus, and a small crab.

Went bike riding with Sonia and my mom


Had our family meeting to plan and discuss the week


Father – Son baking contest for Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet

I’m there at the soccer practice/game wondering if we should go to the Blue and Gold Banquet and participate in the father-son baking contest.  The leader of the event sent out an email saying that even if you had not signed up, then you could still come and participate.  I was looking at the rules and saw the category that I thought we could participate in.  Here are the different contests:

Prizes: To winners in a variety of categories. And, to all, a chance to share some delicious dessert with everyone else. The judging categories include: Best Scout-Themed; Most patriotic; Best sports-themed; Yummiest looking; Most unappetizing looking; Tallest; Flattest; Most original; Most colorful; Most elaborate; Judges favorite.

I saw the “Most unappetizing looking” and I thought back to the birthday parties that we used to go to.  Hemma used to make a cake in a bucket that looked like colorful soil with gummy worms.  It seemed like a simple thing.

After the soccer contest, I talked to Christopher about my idea, and he wanted to do the tallest cake instead.  We got this idea of having a pole in the middle, attached to the base to hold it up, and to cover it with cupcakes.  The rules seem to allow this:

Rule 2. The cake and all decorations visible must be completely edible. You may use non-edible items for support, but they cannot be visible. Remember, this is a cake contest and we will be eating them for desert at the banquet.

This would require a lot of cupcakes, Christopher and I got to baking:



I went to Home Depot to find the supporting structure:


There I met the absolutely best person to help me, Don Alford.  If you have a home improvement project, or any other project that Home Depot might be able to help you, then you want to go to the Home Depot on 249 between Louetta and Jones and ask for Don Alford.

He listened to the project:


Helped me find the boards to use for the base


Helped me find the wooden rods to use to support the cake:


But also suggested looking at the metal rods which we ultimately went with.  And helped me find all the screws, nuts, bolts and everything else.


He cut up the boards:


And attached the brackets on to the end:


Don was absolutely fantastic!!!   Because of him, I plan to do all of my future home improvement shopping at Home Depot.  Thanks Don!

Then back at home we made a lot of cup cakes:

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Then we went to the bake contest and put together the stand.  Everything was going as planned:

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But then the tower of cupcakes started to shrink.  It was slow at first, and it just looked like normal compression at first, but then we noticed that they were actually breaking off at the bottom:


I got the idea of using the extra plastic wrap we had to wrap around the pole and support the cupcakes.  Unfortunately, by the time we had finished getting it set up. the judging was over, and we did not get considered for the cake.  But I still insisted on building it, because I wanted to see what the finish product might look like:



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It was pretty impressive.  It was the only cake you could see from outside:


We were very proud of our work:


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When it came time to announce the awards, the leader, Scott Peterson, game special recognition to our tower.  He said that this kind of thing is what is going to get us to Mars.  We were very happy and thrilled that he started out with that.  We were a little sad that we did not get the tallest cake award, but we are very glad we did it!!

Sonia made a nice poster with pictures on it describing the making process.  It was great.

Can you guess what we did when we got home?


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We ate cupcakes.  And we will probably be eating them all next week..

We also went to a friend’s house and guess what we brought them?  Cupcakes.

Now after having cleaned up the kitchen, we are all ready for bed.

Christopher’s Soccer, Cake Contest at Cub Scout Blue and Gold and Stephen’s TMSCA competition

Sonia, Stephen, and I got up at 6 AM this morning to get Stephen to the school to take a bus to the TMSCA contest at the Village school.  As soon as he left, we all went back to sleep, and got up again at 9:40 so that we could make it to Christopher’s soccer.

Today he played goalie and defense.

There was a really funny event that happened at today’s soccer game.  One person on our team was trying to make a goal.  There was a parent from the other team standing by the goal and directing the goalie for the other team.  I think he was standing a little bit in front of the goal, and our team member bounced the ball off of him and it landed into the goal.  Everyone from both teams was shocked, and we all started laughing.  It was a good thing it counted because it allowed for us to finish with a tied score.


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Pretty much the rest of the day was spent making the cake for the Dad and Son cake baking contest.  That is going to get its own post.

Also, Stephen did well at his contest.  He scored 1st in the calculator contest and placed well in several of his other contests.  Here are the trophies and medals that he one from today’s event.



search for ENT doctor, trip to Coldspring, interesting Ted videos, and finally a chess tournament

5:55 AM woke up went running

6:40 AM checked on kids at the tennis court

6:50 AM started making breakfast.  Pancakes – plain, banana, and walnuts

7:40 AM took son and friends to math club

8:00 AM returned home.  Worked on finding Sonia an ear nose and throat specialist.  Called several places, and was only able to get in touch with one

Houston Ear Nose & Throat
18220 Tomball Parkway
Methodist Willowbrook hospital facing 249..

While looking for this one, stumbled upon this website:


When you first go to the pages, a video of a lady telling you about the page is played at the top.  It adds a really nice touch. 



Burned several DVDs for my dad and Carole using Roxio MyDVD.  Lots of features here that I need to explore.


Got ready for the day and headed out about 9:15.

Went to Office depot to pick up dad’s fixed computer, toner for the HP printer, cordless phone, and some other small items.

On the way to Coldspring, I listened to Dr. Rupert Snell’s Hindi Conversations.

I also listened to three videos:

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.

Here is a transcript of it.

Several interesting ideas about how gamers online will stick with a problem until it is solved.  They will network with each other and help each other achieve “meaningful” work (in the game).  What we need is to be able to take these attributes into the real world.

Does work at the Institute for the Future

Image of a gamer on the verge of an “Epic Win”


This was captured by the photographer Phil Toledano.

“I’m not good at life” face:


5.93 million years of collective WarCraft playing


10,080 hours from 5th grade to 12th in classroom if you have perfect attendance.  Kids in western communities spend about 10,000 hours playing online games before graduating.  This is tied into Malcom Gladwell’s book “Outliers”.  Which I am currently reading as well.

Economist Edward Castronova is referenced.  He is looking into why so much is invested in online games.


Ancient dice made out of sheep knuckles.

Mentions a story from Herodotus

Invention of dice game by Lydians

Also watched Tony Robbins speech about why we do what we do

An interview with Madelein Albright: ON being a woman and a diplomat


The visit in Coldspring went well.  Got to see the family.

Then I went to pick up a friend from the airport.  When I got home it was time to take Sonia to the eye doctor.  Found out that she has a case of episcleritis.  The eye is made of similar material as that which arthritis attacks in the bones.  Very interesting..

Then got home and made some chopped steak for my guest.  And then we were off to play chess at our weekly chess event.  Two of the people that I took there won a trophy.  I ended up losing all of my games.  But I felt that I had the advantage at some parts of the game.

Got home about 10:30.  Ensured Sonia took all her medicine.  Not it is 11:16PM and heading to bed.