Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

CHICKS!  Chicas!  CHICKS!  Chicas!
 Mamacita Zelda!  Mamacita Puff!
Four so far... Paradox, Kamen, Mini-Bot, and  St. Louis!


Pink Pig Puppet and Friends

Maria found pink paper. She made a pink pig. It's a puppet. And it has a curly pink pig tail. Look at that snout. Perspective. She did this all by herself. I like it. She asked me to take a picture of her creation, then she decided the pig needed friends to pose with her.

Left to right: Frosty the Snowman, Pink Pig, Love Bear, and Beanerina Bunny. (Beanerina Bunny has been to Europe. She misses Switzerland most.)

Alex started a list of words Maria taught us. To this list I would like to add the expression: Groundhogging.

"This yogurt is so delicious, I am groundhogging it all."
"Chango, won't move over... he's groundhogging the bed."
"There are no more cookies. Who groundhogged all the cookies?!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

With Heavy Hearts

Our compassion, prayers, and deepest concern go out to our neighbors across the Pacific. I imagine the magnitude of the earthquake, and subsequent tsunamis, will continue to shock us... this is a disaster that touches us all, as we see the stories of destruction unfold.

I imagine that if we were not committed to other things, I would spend the rest of the day watching the news, reading updates, in a state of sympathetic grief. As my dear friend, Tarie, remarked... these events can leave us feeling lost and helpless. She is in the Philippines, where they are on tsunami watch.

That lost and helpless feeling is creeping in on me as well.

Today is the first day of the robotics competition we have been preparing for. I should be asleep... the day ahead will be long and arduous enough as it is. But turning off the news, turning off the sympathy just enough to close my eyes and rest... it seems impossible, and even disrespectful.

So... besides my prayers, I offer this: Today we are going to San Diego FIRST Regional Competition to support the sixty teams of high school students who have gathered from all over this small planet of ours. In honor of the victims, their families, our fellow beings... I will focus my actions on making this a successful, supported day for those bright and dedicated students... they are our world's future, our hope for innovations in engineering and humanitarian acts. I see these talented and sympathetic children as our most certain source of new technology that will save lives, and improve the living conditions of all people. FIRST students are diplomats, artists, scientists, doctors, engineers, and humanitarians, now and tomorrow... they are gaining and honing the real and valuable skills that will be a gift to humanity.

The loss and helplessness I feel will be assuaged by focusing my energy and attention on the days ahead. My faith in learning, the exchange of intelligent knowledge between us all, and fostering friendships with everyone gathering at today's event will have good, valuable results... benefits that will go back to Japan, all places, all people. I hope we each find a means of holding hope, keeping faith, and taking action to provide care for earthquake and tsunami victims. It won't be an easy day, my heart is heavy, but my beliefs are strong, my convictions certain.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Properly Attired

I was so happy to find this shirt for Maria. It's hasn't been easy to find her a team colored shirt in her size. When I showed it to her... Oh, yeah, she was excited! But she had her own reasons to rejoice, and the first thing she did was cheer: "Boys! Boys! Now I can wear a boy tie!"

Alex loaned her his. She wore it to school. The funny thing is, it was Dr Seuss' birthday, and people thought she was honoring the Cat in the Hat.

Which is silly, really, because she wasn't even wearing a hat to school.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Civil Disobedience

When you are in the company of the nicest, smartest, best looking kids around... a little civil disobedience is good. Fun. Spirited. Safely executed. And destined to be a huge success.

With permission from at least one instigator and fearless leader, I will tell the censored tale of how the Kook came to join FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, supporting his district's high school robotics teams.

No names. No locations. Participants may not be who they appear to be... make no assumptions. This venture was thoughtfully and respectfully planned, with provisions for restoring the Kook to his former, board shorts self. No animals were harmed. Chaperons were on hand, and may or may not have carried ladders, provided zip-ties, fed participants, given rides.

Some were promised complete anonymity. They may come forward, but will not be coerced, harassed, or bribed.

So, several people had the idea to play along in a tradition of dressing the surf statue, affectionately, (or disdainfully... there is more than one camp on this point) known as the Kook. A home base and supervision were procured. The assigned day for the operation arrived, and began as a mini-bot build day, then was joined by a Chairman's Award work party. Marketing, outreach, corporate, and build were well represented.

Wardrobe options were planned, then implemented.

Did you like the skirt? Nice touch. I don't mind saying. *ahem*

Look at my kitchen!
Here is the metal shop. This is where a lot of the mini-bot building happens. And it was also a good place for finishing an English paper, scrap booking, ssstube cutting, pizza eating, and mascot design.

Perfectly innocent.
You are not looking at the girl who voiced the idea, or made a big, beautiful sign. You are not looking at the girl who rounded up the troops, and found a secret lair. None of these bright youths were up past their bedtime.

Working on school projects, and FIRST interview preparations, snacking, watching movies, even having a chance to talk to an engineer from one of our great sponsors... the waiting was full of activities, both fun and productive.

Team members of the robotics club are the most involved, busy, active students in school... they represent in almost every single school club! It makes FIRST 2102 Team Paradox a club well represented by interesting and talented people.

The threat of inclement weather led to a decision to wrap the sign in plastic, which was a good choice. And when all the details of the Kook's new look were made, someone got everyone a specific task assigned. A scouting party headed to the Kook's pedestal and surveyed the scene. It was determined to be too busy at 10:30 pm, and it was noted that the Kook's pedestal is pretty darn high up!

This is just a random photograph from my files. Typical Saturday night.

One more movie. Adventures in Wild California, actually, which is not only a good film, but also kind of appropriate. The bigger ladder loaded... and an hour later...

How to respectfully be a bit wild, and enjoy a moment's civil disobedience:

1. Find adults willing to condone said behavior, and provide supplies etc.
2. Plan your ensemble, and delegate tasks.
3. Make provisions to undress Kook and thoughtfully bag and preserve whatever outfit he was wearing. That group was called "the str!p club," which of course is inappropriate, and funny.

Up top someone is busy, and below many someones are busy. Like a fine oiled machine.
Like FIRST 2102 Team Paradox!

4. Be sure you have a message, and see that it is clearly and concisely expressed. In this case the message was an invitation for all to come out in support of area high schools that are participating in San Diego's FRC Regional Robotics Competition. The message was about community, gratitude to sponsors, team spirit, school spirit, and good-natured fun.

5. Watch the time. Parking along that road after midnight is a no-no.

6. Watch for Sheriffs, and smile, wave. Thank them with your positive, respectful attitude. Gratitude is a good thing.

7. Make sure to clean up. Aced this one.

8. Step back and take pride!
And take pictures!

I do not know these people.
But they look like a fun bunch of kids...

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

It's True: I am Predictable

Maybe it's because he is a blogger too... My friend Michael said: Ah, for your blog, when I started pointing my camera at CC and their new hens.

And I said, Nah. It's 'cause I love the chickens, which is true. I mostly cannot stop taking pictures any minute of the day, and when chcikens chickens are around, taking pictures is compulsory! So, I happily sat in our friend's field of late winter greens, watching bunnies frolic, and chickens scratch... and I took some pictures.

Georgette reminds me of our Luna. Dear, sweet Luna. She was a good, fat hen too.

I must remember to ask Helen what kind hen the white chica is. She is pretty, and makes me think of a lady in a shawl. Most hens remind me of ladies in a Jane Austen novel, or of Tasha Tudor... ladies dressed in beautiful layers of fine cloth, busily going about their day, chatting amongst themselves. Time spent barefoot in the garden, they might at any moment go in for tea.

Some days I cannot believe our luck. Most days.
We have our own home, and chicas of our own!
And... we have wonderful friends, and they have chicas too!
Life can be so beautiful, it can make me laugh and cry at the same time.

Well, I did not intend to take pictures for Chcikenblog Chickenblog, but I guess I am predictable. I woke up this morning, full of the hectic plans for the week making my head throb a bit, and I just had to get immersed in something meditative and relaxing... like watching chicas in a beautiful garden. Chickens are a therapy for me. They make me smile... a deep smile that takes a good, strong hold of my soul. Is that strange?

They make me laugh too.

They can also make me quite cross.
No, not you, CC.

I am thinking of Tesla, our freak rooster. He has gotten mean. Seriously. Because of his scoliosis, I do not think I could give him away... except maybe to the coyotes. Yes, he has gotten that bad. He intends to hurt me, and I intend to stop him.

Oh, dear.

I just need a few more moments reverie, and happy meditation.

The buzzer on the dryer has already beckoned me to the laundry room, and all other duties of the day are creeping into my moment.

Takes a deep breath


Monday, March 07, 2011

Mini Parrot-Ox Around Town

This dude is legend. Maybe not for the reasons the artist had intended, but I think Matthew Antichevich should be happy for the attention his statue has attracted. It is a community focal point, that gives people a unique opportunity to enjoy creative, civic, humorous, artful expression. Some very famous cities thrive on the appeal of their small works of art.

Anyway... I know a few people who appreciate the Cardiff Kook. He is riding a magic carpet of good-natured FIRST 2102 Team Paradox spirit, and it's only right for the community to know that their local high school students are engineer wizards, brilliant artists, and all around marvelous beings!

Honestly, the Kook looks so spot-on FRC Paradox authentic... I feel as though we already were at an awesome, spirited FIRST Regional Competition! Our weekend made a good warm-up for the week ahead!

William, Rebekah, and Maria get ParaKooky!

Hey, did You get Parakooked? Send me your Parakooky picture to share on Chickenblog!

In gratitude to our great community, and to make a FIRST 2102 Team Paradox show of gracious professionalism and outreach, Mini Parrot-Ox and I made some deliveries.

FIRST stop<--- love puns! Our first stop was to the sheriff's department. They need to know they are appreciated and respected. Respect and appreciation can be expressed with donuts, right?

Next delivery... the firehouse! Mini Parrot-Ox was delighted to see her friends, and give them some local treats. They also have an invitation to FRC San Diego from San Dieguito Academy's FIRST 2102 Team Paradox Robotics Club!

Open up the bay door! Maria Mini Parrot-Ox saved the best for last, because at the second firehouse they recognized SDA's robotics club, and invited Maria to pose with a firefighter and a fire engine! FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, you and your sweet metal shop skills have made a very fine impression on this team of supportive firefighters! They have an invitation to San Diego FRC, and a warm place in their hearts for San Dieguito Academy.

For our schools!
For our community!
For our teachers, mentors, and families!
For our sponsors!
For Team San Diego!
For math and engineering!
For art and business!
For the Love of Robotics!
For FIRST 2102 Team Paradox!
We are proud of you!
Say: We are proud of you!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Local Kook Makes a Splash For FIRST Robotics

This dude needs goggles and some closed toes shoes, otherwise I see someone is totally ready for San Diego FIRST Regional Competition! Go Robotics! Pom-Poms waving for FIRST 2102 Team Paradox!