Friday, July 30, 2010

Knock-Knock Jokes Redux

We've had a lot more fun with knock-knock jokes lately.  I taught Vinny some pretty hilarious* jokes, including:
A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Boo.
B: Boo who?
A: Don't cry, it's just a joke!

A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Ach.
B: Ach Who?
A: Bless you!

A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Anita.
B: Anita who?
A: Anita tissue! Achoo!

The entertainment value of that last joke has just been priceless.  When I first told Vinny that joke, he then responded with the following joke:
Vinny: Knock knock!
Me: Who's there?
Vinny: Roger.
Me: Roger who?
Vinny: Roger, I need a tissue!  Achoo!

I didn't understand the connection until I remembered that Anita and Roger are the dalmatian-owning couple in 101 Dalmatians, which then made the joke hilarious**.

This past weekend, I taught him the banana/orange knock-knock joke:
A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Banana.
B: Banana who?
A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Banana.
B: Banana who?
A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Banana.
B: Banana who?
A: Knock knock!
B: Who's there?
A: Orange.
B: Orange who?
A: Orange you glad I didn't say banana again?

We have gotten tremendous mileage out of this joke too.  He was able to tell it to Daddy, who laughed heartily (as required).  But it has now hybridized with the "Anita" joke to become
V: Knock knock!
M: Who's there?
V: Banana.
M: Banana who?
V: Banana, I need a tissue!  Achoo!

* hilarious to a three-year-old, that is...
** even to a thirty-something

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Foods I Cannot Bear to Buy

If you come across any of the following foods in our pantry or refrigerator, it is not because I bought them:
  • Honey.  When I was a kid, we had a beehive in our back yard.  Yes, in the city.  I can't imagine that this would be legal today, but my dad kept bees in our backyard back in the day.  Anyhow, the point is that honey from the beehive in your backyard is way better than anything you can buy on the shelf.  And freshly harvested honey in the honeycombs... chewing on that is like eating a piece of heaven.  Nothing can compare, which is why I pretty much never eat honey anymore.
  • Blueberries.  We also had blueberry bushes when I was a kid.  You could go outside on a warm July morning and pick yourself some blueberries for breakfast.  These blueberry bushes had been planted by the previous owner, so they were an older variety that produced berries that were much smaller than the ones you buy in the store.  But, my theory of berries is that there is a set amount of flavor per berry, meaning that these small blueberries had more flavor per unit volume than large berries.  I can't bear to buy blueberries at the store because they don't taste as good and they are so expensive!
  • Raspberries.  We also had raspberry bushes, which produced berries twice a year.  Like the blueberries, they were so delicious to just eat straight off the bush.  Those overpriced things you get in those tiny clamshells just cannot compare.
  • Blackberries.  We had blackberry bushes, and I associate blackberries with August.  There is nothing better than a blackberry fresh off a blackberry bush.  I loved biting into them and tasting the unique combination of sweet and sour that is a blackberry.
Luckily, this year I've gotten to enjoy farm-fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries from my CSA, which is about as good as having the bushes in your backyard (almost as fresh, but a lot less work!) so I have been able to enjoy those fruits.  But I don't think I'll be able to find the honey anywhere.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Adventures with Grandpa

We had a relaxing and enjoyable weekend with my dad.  He came down for a visit on Friday night.  Vinny and I went to the city pool with him for a couple of hours on Saturday.  The pool was really nice -- very big, not too crowded (at least in part because it was overcast all day), and had a large section that was just the right depth for a three-year-old.  Vinny had a blast playing with Grandpa and Mama in the pool, and was pretty disappointed at having to leave.  But, he was exhausted, and when we got home fell asleep while playing with his cars on the living room floor.

I was really glad that my dad came and that we were able to have such a relaxing weekend together.  Vinny was very sad to see him go on Sunday morning, but I reassured him with the promise that we would soon see Grandpa again.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Adventures in the Mountains

On Saturday, we took a little road trip to see Fontana Lake, which is a human-made lake dammed by the largest concrete dam east of the Rockies.  It is TVA's largest dam, and it was built to power the Manhattan Project.  We plugged our destination into Gladys the Map (our friendly GPS), and off we went.

What we didn't realize was that Gladys was sending us on US-129, an eleven-mile stretch of which is known as The Dragon, and quite popular with motorcyclists.  There are supposedly 318 curves in those eleven miles, which my stomach can attest to.  Vinny had asked me to sit in the back seat with him, and I acquiesced.  I was feeling pretty sick about halfway into those 11 miles, and requested that Jeff pull over so I could get in the front.

On our way home, I drove, again back on US-129.  (I did not get carsick at all while driving.)  It was challenging, especially because I was not driving the car I usually drive, but I got the hang of it quickly and did not get in any accidents or anything like that.  But I did get home 20 minutes later than Gladys had originally projected, because that road is harder to drive than she thought.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Hello, World!

Hi!  Yes, I do have a blog, even though I don't seem to have enough time these days to write anything on it.  Sorry about that.  Things have been extra crazy here lately -- supervising three students is a lot of work.  It could be a full-time job unto itself if you let it.

In addition, I've suddenly been given another big task (supervising the hiring, care, and feeding of ten postdocs, most of whom have already been hired).  It's an interesting task, and allows me to learn a lot of new things about hiring and supervising people, so in that way it is a really good thing.  But, it is pretty time-consuming as well.  I have inherited this task from someone who didn't quite have enough time for it, and I'm planning to take it and run with it further than was expected.

The postdocs are computational scientists in different application domains, and I don't directly supervise them (but technically, they report to me).  They have mentors in their science domain who have provided them with projects and supervise their daily work.  But I plan to help connect them with different resources on the computational math and computer science side, to round out their computational science skills.  The whole rationale behind hiring ten postdocs in science domains was to train them to become great computational scientists.  So, I plan to help them develop their high-performance computing skills.  In some cases, this requires a lot more work than in others.  One of them never even said the word "computer" when giving the interview talk.  So that will be quite a challenge!

In other news, today is my sister Rachel's birthday.  Happy birthday, big sis, pioneering the way through the ages!  (In other words, I think you're old!  Hopefully this ruins your life once and for all.)