Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Kite Flying

Mostly the downs…

Today we flew our kites. Scratch that. Today we all ATTEMPTED to fly our kites. Ah, who am I kidding? Today all our kites failed miserably. Some failed less than others. Mine was one of the ones that failed least, I suppose that’s something to be proud of right?

*Cricket Chirp*



At least it looks good. Smile

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I added a lanyard hook to the string so that I could use the string on another kite easily if I ever decide to make another one.

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And from today’s performance, that was probably a wise decision. It started out well enough.

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One of the girls launched the kite for me, and for a few seconds it looked like it would be a successful flight.

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Then suddenly the kite began acting like an intoxicated falcon and began repeatedly dive-bombing the poor girl who volunteered to be my kite launcher. Sadly I have no pictures of this, as the guy who I gave my camera to passed it off to a girl who decided that her shoe and the windows were more interesting.

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Everyone else is watching me and the girl trying to fly the kite, while she’s busy taking shots of their reflections. Oh well, our teacher filmed all our attempts, and after class I asked him if I could have a copy of my test flight. He said he’d burn me a disc, so I may have a video to share sometime in the future.

After being mercilessly attacked by my kite, the girl was rescued by my teacher who shut off the camera and came down the hill to try to launch it instead.

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He got it to fly for a few seconds longer, but it still didn’t want to remain airborne, and plummeted back to earth. We tried about three more times, but it never stayed up for more than a few seconds.

Back inside, the teacher told us that the point of the project had been to show us how hard it is to design and build something, even something as simple as a kite. From the sound of his lecture, it apparently doesn’t even matter that none of us were able to successfully fly them, that wasn’t what the project was about. At least I know I won’t fail the class because of this. Smile If we were to be graded based on how well our kites flew, mine would probably be one of the highest, as most of the other kites sustained damage. Mine was built to be taken apart, so it has no permanent damage, the same could not be said for the girls whose box kites fell apart, or the guy whose pig kite went into a manic spin, tore off its plastic, and dropped down dead. The only other kites that didn’t have damage was a girl who basically made a giant wind sock, (Nothing in it to damage) and the girl who couldn’t even get her kite in the air because it was made out of PVC pipes.

From now on I think we’re going to go back to doing smaller projects. Back when we first began this project, my teacher said that this is usually the last project in the class, but since weather plays a big role in the project, he moved it up so we’d be done with it before winter sets in. Today he told us that since attendance dropped considerably in the last few weeks we’d be having projects due just about every week, to try to get people to attend like they’re supposed to. I had been noticing fewer and fewer students showing up, especially the last couple of weeks. I think they just got frustrated with the kite project and gave up on the class. It was frustrating at times, but I don’t like giving up on anything until I know for sure I can’t do it, so I stuck to it. Apparently a lot of people in my class do not share this trait. There were only 6 kites flown today, and there were four students who had not been able to finish their kites on time. I just checked our student web site and there are eighteen students total in our class. That’s how much attendance has gone down.

All in all it was a fun day. Really cold, since it was so windy out today, but fun. Even though my kite failed to fly, I am still glad I had the chance to do this project. It was fun to make, and I learned how to sew in the process. I can’t wait to find out what we’re doing next. Smile


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or as major consumer product manufacturers call it “Slap-a-pink-label-on-everything-so-people-will-think-we-care-and-they’ll-buy-lots-of-our-stuff-month.” I work in a grocery store and I have found it ridiculous the number of things that we are selling that have suddenly become “Aware.” I have nothing against the companies who are really trying to find a cure, and I applaud their efforts, but there is a point where it just spirals into ridiculousness how far some companies will go to make it look like they care. This is not counting merchandise designed solely for raising awareness. These bags for instance.
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Pink 031Hy-Vee itself has even gotten into the spirit of Pink Appreciation Month Breast Cancer Awareness Month, And have put up displays, brought in special merchandise, had special grocery bags created, and have even put pink labels on a bunch of their products. The only problem is, they diPink 008dn’t even bother to add a ribbon so that people would know why the label is pink. If you weren’t aware of breast cancer by now, the choice of a pink label for these products is just bizarre. If they want awareness to be raised, they need to tell people why their chicken noodle soup is suddenly being packaged in a pink can.
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In fairness to Hy-Vee, that last label is probably pink regardless of what month it is. Smile with tongue out
Tonight after work I went through every isle in Hy-Vee taking pictures of all the products that are suddenly aware.
Pink 028I will start off by saying that I am giving Yoplait a complete pass, because they have had their pink lid promotion going on for years, and they are not one of the companies that has all of a sudden jumped on the pink bandwagon. I remember when they started, and it was long before the rest of these companies. I used to buy their yogurt for just about every break when I worked at Fareway, so I noticed when the lids changed. Oh, and Cherry is the best BTW. Smile

Some of the products that have suddenly “Gone Pink” make a little bit of sense.
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Breast cancer is primarily a woman’s disease after all, though if anything really needs awareness raised about it, it’s the number of men affected by the disease. Most people don’t have any idea that men can get breast cancer too.
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Dannon really got into it. Pretty much all their products had pink labels. This also makes a small amount of sense. From what I’ve seen coming through the checkouts, women are more likely than men to buy yogurt. But then we get back to my other point. Who really needs to be made more aware of breast cancer? Maybe if they started putting Bud Light into pink cans… Smile with tongue out
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Pepsi/Lays is also way into the pink movement. Which is not really surprising from such a big company.
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Doctor Pepper 7up, wasn’t quite as committed. They just stuck ribbon stickers on their stuff. I think they want to people to think they care, but they don’t want to make a whole new label to prove it.
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There were a few cereal with pink labels.Pink 015 Including this one, which led to me finding a whole bunch of similar labels.
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Apparently General Mills decided to come up with their own slogan to help fight the battle. Yeah. Pink Together. So creative. *Rolls Eyes*
Other than these, the other products I found were pretty random.
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I also found a couple that were just downright bizarre.
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Onions? Kitty Crunchies? Yeah. They’re totally not cashing in on the fad with those!
I want to say that even though I find all this ridiculous I have nothing against those who have fought the fight, are fighting the fight, lost the fight, or are looking for a cure for breast cancer. It is a serious disease, but this seems to me to be the latest fad that’s “sweeping the nation” if you will. I don’t see much difference between this stuff and all the products that have “Gone Green.” I have nothing against helping the environment, and I am all for recycling, but all these big companies are doing is cashing in on the latest popular trends in order to make more money. I rather doubt that they give two figs about how aware people are of breast cancer, and they probably care even less about how green they are. If they really cared, they’d act more like Yoplait. Set up a good program and keep on making donations, regardless of what month it is. Go Yoplait!*

*No, Yoplait is not paying me to promote their yogurt. Smile with tongue out

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For the Birds

I am a huge bird lover. The more colorful, the better. Even totally weird birds, like the spoonbill or the shoebill. So I collected most of the pictures of birds that I took at the zoo for today’s post.

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I would count this one as a weird looking one too. It’s a Saddle-billed Stork.

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Macaws are some of my favorites. They are so colorful.

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I think they are also big show-offs. Smile

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I don’t know why these two macaws weren’t allowed outside with the others. Maybe they were afraid they’d fly away. These two were pretty crazy. It was funny to watch them.

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I think this one wanted to shake my hand. Smile with tongue out

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When most people think of swans they think of a beautiful white bird, but there are more types than just Mute Swans, the swan most people think of when you say swan. This one is called a Black Swan.

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These two were separated, but it looks like they didn’t much care for that arrangement.

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“See ya later!”