Weekend at a glance

  • Friday
    • Brenda took Danielle and her friend out to eat and then they were going to go skating at Great Skate.  Great Skate had a line out the door and into the parking lot, so they decided to go shopping at the dollar store instead.
    • Justin, Allison, and I decided to try Ethyl’s Smoke House.  The food was fantastic – I can’t believe it took me this long to try it.  Justin devoured his BBQ beef sandwich (which is saying something – he’s a very picky eater).  The meal I had was more food than I needed – I ate it all anyway, but I was stuffed (and that’s saying something).  The only downside was that the restaurant was smoky, even in the non-smoking section.  I was told that it pretty much turns into a bar later in the evening, so I guess that explains it.  Both Allison and Justin said they would like to go back again.
  • Saturday
    • 7:00 AM – Justin had his last hockey game of the season.  His team is finally starting to improve, but he ages up for the next session, so that is no help for him. 
    • 9:00 AM – Danielle and Allison start selling Girl Scout Cookies.
    • 10:00 AM – Pack all three kids in the van and go to Justin’s Pine Wood Derby. 
      • Some of the cars were pretty damn cool.  The best was a bathtub with Sponge Bob and Patrick in it.  It looked like porcelean instead of wood.
      • Justin’s Car took 3rd in his Den, which was good enough to make it into the Pack finals.  Before the finals I got to re-graphite the wheels and noticed that one of them was sticking.  I loosened it a bit, and his car had it’s best time on the first race of the finals.  His other two runs in the finals were good, but not quite good enough.  I think he took 5th overall in the pack.  Next year I will make sure to have the car exactly 5.0 oz’s (it was 4.7 oz’s this year).
  • Sunday
    • Cleaning and homework.
    • Picked up dog crap in the back yard.  I think the bag was over 15 lbs. when I was finished.

Bad Pun Friday

From CNN.Com


LONDON, England — Fears are growing among marine experts who are trying to coax a deep-sea whale back to sea after it swam up River Thames into the heart of London.

One rescuer, Tony Martin, said the mammal, believed to be a Northern Bottle-nosed whale, would require a specialist rescue operation.

I guess if they can’t save it, they can always turn it into sausage

It was the beast of Thames, it was the wurst of Thames.

Ali Ali Umscum Free

Conversation of 5 minutes ago:

  • Me: What are you doing John?
  • John: Hiding
  • Me: Is it working?
  • John: No, because you found me.
  • Me: But I forgot to count and didn’t yell Ali Ali Umscum Free.
  • Me: Or do you yell that when you give up and you want the person to come out of their hiding place?
  • John: I don’t think I would ever yell that.
  • Me: Come on, sure you would.

I remember the term “Ali Ali Umscum Free” from playing Hide and Go Seek as a kid.  So the question is, did we yell that when we were done counting and going to look for people, or did we yell it to have people come out of their hiding places because we gave up?

Word*a*Day calendar

Brenda bought a Word*a*Day calendar for Justin, but the first several words were a bit intimidating, so I was given the calendar instead. I was peeling off the words from the weekend, and came across –

Saturday – 14th: bowhead n. 1) A whalebone whale of the Arctic seas having a very large head and an arched upper jaw.

Surprisingly, they didn’t have

2) A Sorority girl –  a college girl that is a member of a greek society.  So named because they are seldom seen without a large bow protruding from the top of her head (circa 1988-????).

Education Note

Passive voice is a problem for writers of all ages (<--- NOTICE THE IRONY 🙂 , so I was glad that Justin's homework last night was to write a three paragraph story using action verbs and descriptive adjectives.  Although Justin is only in third grade and hasn't written very much, I could see him struggling to reword sentences to avoid passive voice. "It was a cold but sunny day," seems like pretty good sentence to a third grader.  "Cold" and "Sunny" are nice adjectives, but "was" is a horrible verb.  I tried to explain the need for action verbs and suggested ways to improve the sentence - "The sun glared off the morning snow." - now we know that it is cold and sunny, but we have some action - the sun is glaring.  I worked with him as he composed his sentences to eliminate as much passive voice as possible, but I had to keep myself in check, so that he authored the story instead of me. So, back to the first paragraph of this post - I intentionally wrote as much of it as possible in passive voice.  I should have written it more like this Many writers fall prey to writing in passive voice.  Justin’s grade school is addressing this problem by assigning writing assignments that focus on using action verbs.  Justin struggled with the concept of passive voice, but with a little guidance he managed to reword most of his sentences to use action verbs.
Your assignment – Look at your own writing.  Avoid passive voice in any emails or blog entries you write today.  Reread each sentence you write and verify that someone or something is doing whatever action, not just that the action gets done.