Saturday, October 09, 2010
Last Saturday's adventure involved Sweetie, too, but the Babies! were there, and it was a very photogenic location, so I got more shots. We took the boys to a farm that's actually run by Sweetie's cousin, the Treinen Farm, which was holding its annual fundraiser for autism research. (Oddly, the fundraiser day is free admission, so there's something about research funding that I'm missing...) So here goes with
Adventure: A Day At The Farm.
To get to the farm, you should not listen to your father-in-law when, a few days before, he tells you "Oh, yeah, I think that's by Sauk City and you just turn off on Highway 60." It's not. It's not by Sauk City at all, so far as I can tell, except that both Treinen Farm and Sauk City are located in roughly the same geographic area of the state. I'd asked Father-In-Law on Wednesday night, when they were here, how to get there, and that's the directions he'd given me. On Saturday morning, though, as we got ready to go, I agreed with Sweetie that we probably ought to actually look up the directions. Once we did that, we saw that we'd actually have to head the opposite direction Father-In-Law suggested.
We did that, and about a half-hour, and some french fries and cheeseburgers from McDonald's later (and don't get on me about the cheeseburgers because I'd eaten Raisin Bran for breakfast and I didn't have fries with lunch and the next day I jogged five miles, so my heart's doing just fine, plus I lost another pound last week, okay, and we only bought the cheeseburgers because the Babies! like french fries, they never eat the cheeseburgers at all, but we get them fries and white milk, and buy the Happy Meal because they usually like the toys, only this time the toys were lame tiny Star Wars skateboards, and what's that about?)
You know, come to think of it, I should've taken a picture of the skateboards so you'd know how lame they are.
I'd also like to point out that right now, I'm typing this on a keyboard that for some reason has no working shift key; the one on the right is missing, and the one on the left, for some reason, doesn't work, so when I want to use parentheses or questions marks or other shift-necessary keys, I've got to stop, pick up a ballpoint pen, and touch it into the missing shift key area while typing the symbol I want.
(Like I just did, there. Ball point pens, like butter knives and duct tape, are part of the universal tool box of modern man. My dad had levels and table saws and hammers and something called a "vice grips," and I have some of those things, but 99% of my home repair projects are done via ball point pens, butter knives, and duct tape.)
Also, my shift key works perfectly fine for capital letters. Just not for punctuation. So it strikes me that maybe the key is just fine but there's something else going on here, the sort of thing that happens when you hit a weird key combination and end up typing all your papers in Sanskrit. Computer programmers are smug jerks, aren't they
Anyway, once you're at Treinen Farm, you park across the street and get to the farm itself via a tunnel under the road, which is both safer for the kids and cooler for dads who like that sort of thing (guilty!). I lagged behind Sweetie and the Babies! to take this shot:
Once through that, the farm looks like... what a farm is supposed to look like. I haven't been on a lot of farms in my life, but I've seen a lot of farms on movies and TV, so I know that they're supposed to have red barns and lakes and picturesque houses and some horses and roosters and chickens walking around, and Treinen Farm was ready for its closeup:
That's actually a shot from behind the barn at the front of the house. I wanted to take a picture of the Pumpkin Slingshot ($1 for three shots)(and remember, everytime you see a symbol or parentheses I've just done that ball point trick again) because I kept asking Sweetie if she didn't want to try the Pumpkin Slingshot. I kept asking her that because I kind of wanted to try it, but I wanted Sweetie to go first, and also because, for some reason, Sweetie seems like the kind of person who would really enjoy a Pumpkin Slingshot, but she just doesn't know it yet.
Sweetie declined the offer. From that shot, the Babies! played in a sand pit for a while, and then looked at the horses and some roosters walking around, before we went to the other barn, where Mr F found himself a pit full of corn. Seriously: a giant room full to about halfway up to my knee with corn to walk around in:
I thought he'd really like that, but he wasn't so crazy about the corn getting into his shoes, as you can see. He did like the next room where they had baby chickens and some farm-style toys to play, but Mr Bunches wouldn't come in the barn because he'd seen the Inflatable Jumping Room, so we had to go over there and watch him bounce around. Mr F at first wanted to go, too, so we paid the fifty cents for him, only then he chickened out and wanted to only watch. So, technically, we tipped autism research fifty cents.
While Mr Bunches went on the bouncer, Mr F roamed around the Giant Tractor Tire Jungle Gym, but then quickly got enthusiastic about the Giant Tunnel Slides -- these three huge pipeline-type slides built up on a hill about thirty feet off the ground. I walked the Babies! to the top of them while Sweetie waited below.
Once up there, Mr F loved them. He went down them about 10 times. This shot is looking down the Tunnel Slide at him heading towards a dimly-seen Sweetie below:
Mr Bunches, meanwhile, wouldn't go down them at all. He kept almost going down before chickening out. He did walk through the tunnel that goes under the Slide Hill, but that's flat:
After that, we made a brief stop at the goats, where Mr Bunches fed the goats while Mr F insisted that I not put him down. Sweetie took this picture:
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Weren't we supposed to be saving the environment, and doing all those little things to help make the world a better place. True, those little things don't actually do anything, but at least we could all feel better about doing something, right?
Wrong, apparently, because now we're not even willing to do the little things.
I'm talking, of course, about the recent decision by Big Snack to cave into consumer demands for quieter-but-more-environmentally-damaging snack chip bags:
Frito-Lay, the American snack maker, will switch back to its old-style plastic packaging for five of its six SunChips flavours after receiving complaints that the new bags were too stiff and too loud. The old packaging should be restored for all five flavours by the end of the month.
So, just so we're clear, it's the young, idealistic people who are bailing on the environment? It seems so -- since the pressure primarily came from Facebook groups:
customers were unhappy with the product and it was lampooned on the internet, spawning Facebook groups such as "I wanted SunChips but my room-mate was sleeping ..." and "Nothing is louder than a SunChips bag."
Do you kids understand you're not supposed to eat the bag? And that you could (God forbid) pour the chips into a bowl and eat them?
I assume this heralds a return to anything goes with the environment, and we can look forward to "tossing plastic bottles out car windows" as the next challenge on The Amazing Race. Because if the environment matters less than a slightly crinkly chip bag, it's game over, Earth:
Sunday, October 03, 2010
If you announce that you're thinking about warning the public not to travel to Europe, as US officials did recently, haven't you just warned the public?
Or will we, the public, not take any threats seriously until a warning is official?