Sunday, February 22, 2009

Robbie: Link and Friends 3

After looking at the Link and Friends web comic (again) I decided to make a sequel to the comic. This sequel is called Link and Friends 3 where Link (from Legend of Zelda) goes to Super Mario Bros 3. The plot and Link learning the Ways of Mario Bros are in the actual series. Full Idea credit goes to Wolfenhex and Charybdis. Here are the first two episodes.

I will make more of these and (hopefully) publish two a week.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Robbie's LEGO (and K'NEX) showcase

In this post, I decided to add my eight-wheel-drive K'NEX car(?) I decided that I didn't have enough images so I made a Wiimote holder.
Technic Rocket/\
8-wheel-drive K'Nex Car(?)
Skiimote holder/\      With the Wiimote\/
I will try to post more often but it's hard with the ____loads of homework.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jane: Hughes in the News

There was another story in the local news about our dojang.

OK, the focus wasn't on TKD, but on the steam heat situation in Cedar Rapids. But still, there's some footage of kicking and punching!

Enjoy the video here!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jane: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

This is one of those books that you finish, and then you have to let it sink in a while. I finished it yesterday, but it'll be a while before I'm ready to start another book, despite being an avowed book addict.

I summarized it to Ken as "Hamlet in Wisconsin with dogs," and that's what it is, but it's so much more complex. The author is one of those writers who can draw you in with luscious prose that builds suspense and reveals characters so well that you're glad the book is 560 pages.

The descriptions of the landscape--it's near the Chequamegon Nat. Forest--help you feel like you're there. And I've never owned a dog, but the details about breeding, raising and training the family's special breed of dogs made me think that maybe someday I'd like to own a dog like that.

Because it's Hamlet, it's a tragedy, no surprise. But the ending seems so grace-filled and touching--free of revenge and somehow redemptive.

Tell me if you read it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jane: Brain Slugs

Oh no! Robbie didn't use garlic shampoo and now he has . . . brain slugs!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jane: Belated Happy Darwin Day

Yesterday was Darwin's birthday. I began the day with an NPR "driveway moment"--actually a grocery store parking lot moment--when I heard this wonderful story on Darwin and how personal tragedies affected his work.

That evening, we all went to a lecture called "Three Cheers for Charles" about Darwin, evolution, natural selection, and how it's all viewed today. Apparently, scientific discoveries in the last few years--from experiments with bacteria and fruitflies, new fossils finds, and DNA research--have helped us understand more clearly how evolution actually works.

The speaker shared some stories about "Creationism" and "Intelligent Design." This illustration made me laugh, especially the way it shows that among the fruits of evil evolution is "dirty books."
After the lecture, there was birthday cake, and then fireworks on the quad, something I've never heard of before. I wonder what people in the neighborhood thought! It was all in celebration of Darwin Day, orchestrated by the Biology Department!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jane: Foodie

Ellen and Ken got me The Splendid Table How to Eat Supper cookbook, filled with wonderful (and easy) recipes--things to make for supper at the end of a busy day.

I've tried: their tips for roasting vegs, the Sicilian White Bean and Pasta, and--last weekend--the Orange Scented Coriander Lentil Soup. That was a big hit!

Tonight I made risotto. This one was a "Winter" risotto, with roasted yams and spinach. It was delicious--comforting and warming. And it was easy, too. I served it with a salad.

Here's what's left--I'm taking this for lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jane: Japanese guests

These young men are Yuki and Kanae, two Japanese students here in Cedar Rapids to study ESL for 2 months at Coe. The students in this program get to do a weekend homestay with a local family, and Kanae and Yuki stayed with us.

We had a great time with them, despite the fact that their English is very weak yet and our Japanese is non-existant (except for Robbie, who remembers some from a summer program). We took them out to see the river and the Nature Center, and we took them to the Band Carnival at Kennedy High School, where Robbie's Jazz band played and Eli won a cake in the Cake Walk.

Besides music, nature, and food, the international languages we discovered were video games and old coins. Robbie played them at Mario Kart on the Wii, which they enjoyed very much. And Eli showed them his coin collection, which they found fascinating.

We took them to church this morning, too. There was a baptism, which is always great theatre. Before we went, Eli asked "what religion are you?" This question was confusing to them. I added, "Are you Christian? Or Buddhist? Or Shinto?" They shook their heads and spoke to each other in Japanese. Then Yuki spoke. "We are Japanese."

I think we will see them again. Kanae was interested in the Maple Syrup Festival, and Yuki thought he might enjoy going to the coin show with Eli.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jane: Garage door project

The workmen are almost finished with the carpentry part of the garage door project. Tomorrow at this time, we will have one door instead of two!

Why am I so excited about such a boring occurrence? Because I will no longer have to get out to open the door on the right--the garage door opener will work. And I no longer have to worry about knocking the mirror off on the narrow opening. Yippee!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jane: Heavy Bag Blues

So we black and brown belts were working out with the heavy bag on Saturday at Tae Kwon Do. The drill was to hit it hard with 5 roundhouse kicks in a row. BamBamBamBamBam. Put your foot down only briefly in between.

I turned to Master Hughes at one point and said "you know this isn't my favorite."

I hate the heavy bag. It hurts to hit it--with the top of my foot (roundhouse kick), with the bottom of my foot (side kick, or reverse kick), with a punch. It hurts to hit it with a flying side kick and have my foot bounce and roll off it, twisting my ankle.

The others, mostly teen boys like Robbie and his buds, were having fun. They wailed on the thing, making satisfying noises and making the bag swing wildly. When I hit it, it barely moved. I felt bad--sore and wimpy.

But as I went up to steady the bag from (barely) moving after I kicked, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before.

Where I kick it--kind of lower than where most people kick, due to my . . . . lower height . . . the bag is rock hard. All the sand, or whatever it's filled with has settled to the bottom of the bag. Where I am hitting the bag, the bag is like a bag of cement.

Right above that, where these lanky teens were kicking, the bag had a bit of slack. The sand or whatever wasn't packed down so much. It has more give to it. If I could REACH there, I could kick without getting hurt so much. Maybe I could have Master Hughes build me a little podium for kicking :-)