Christmas 2012

We spent Christmas this year in Cincinnati with Melissa’s extended family. Everett received several costumes for Christmas including a knight and a pirate. Since then he has been running around the house saying things like “Avast ye scallywags! That booty shall be mine!”, a la B.O.B. in Night of the Living Carrots. Other funny quotes:
-Everett looked closely at Chris and said “Dada, let me see something. Oh yeah, you’ve got that pouncy look in your eyes!”
-He received an eyeball for Christmas, the kind that you can throw at the floor or a wall and it sticks and squishes flat and then slowly oozes back into its normal shape. He picked it up and asked “Grandaddy, does this terrify you?”

One special treat this year was the snow that fell in the days after Christmas. It snowed enough that Everett and Trinity spent a fair amount of time playing outside in it, and Grandaddy took Everett sledding with Trinity and Braden on Saturday. Everett was exhausted when he got home. We also heard that he ate every single crumb of his lunch, which almost never happens. Our view is that a tired, happy kid is a win for everyone. Good work Grandaddy!

Gingerbread houses this year were made on December 28th by the following teams:
-Amanda and Cress made a Hobbit house, partly because they recently visited New Zealand and partly because the movie just came out.
-Bob and Linda made the Orange Bowl stadium because their Alma Mater, Northern Illinois University, is going to the Orange Bowl this year.
-Terry decorated a gingerbread cookie.
-Chris, Melissa and Everett made a rather eclectic house. As soon as we started talking about preparations, Everett exclaimed that he wanted to make a gingerbread house from Zebblor 7, which as almost no one knows is the planet of tired chickens and orbits nearby Zebblor 8, planet of the annoying ducks. See Amazing Cows for details. Chris wanted to incorporate some kind of electricity, but wanted to avoid using batteries or any artificial power source. So he created a planetary power plant from two oranges, two potatoes, an apple and a tomato. This was able to power three LEDs.
-Trinity made a gingerbread house and a sugarplum fairy.
-Kirsten and Braden made a house that was carefully decorated with Fruit Loops and other circular decorations.

Note about fruit/vegetable LEDs: there are videos on the internet that show LED illumination by simply using a lime as a pincushion. Chris was highly skeptical about this for several reasons. First, a single fruit or vegetable does not produce much power, and the voltage produced is generally not enough to overcome the forward voltage of the LED. Second, LED pins are usually made of some ordinary conductor like silver, rather than combinations of metals that can act as electron donors and recipients. Nonetheless, Chris decided to give it a try. The results were disappointing but not unexpected.
Curiously, with multiple fruits and vegetable it did not seem to matter whether they were connected in series (adding voltage) or parallel (adding current). Maybe next year we will try a more traditional voltaic pile.

Photos from the trip are here.

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