Monday, February 29, 2016

No More Basketball

Today began the post-basketball part of the year. Sam’s team lost their playoff game yesterday to the heat (Ethan, Joseph, and Dylan’s team). Pete came to the game, so he helped Dad keep track of some important things, such as how mad Joseph was getting, and why coaches don’t put the backups in when it’s a 16 point lead with 90 seconds left in the game. Now all that’s left is the team party at Fuddruckers.

Then it will be time to find a way for Sam to get exercise for something besides his fingers on a Gamecube controller.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

DMV #2

Dad went with Pete today up to the DMV in Leesburg, to take "the photo" that you have to take when you get your Learner’s Permit. Of course, they did not go with the standard photo. They did one from a distance where you could see all the letters, which allowed them to play around a bit with Photoshop. Then they did a closer one of Pete lighting his permit on fire. Pete drove to the DMV and back – some good practice driving in Leesburg and dealing with the Sunday church traffic. He also drove later in the day to Sam’s basketball game, the car wash (closed), and later Popeye’s.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ray's The Steaks

Today Sam was at the Merit Badge campout with his Troop. Mom/Dad/Pete went to dinner at Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington. The people at the next table were quite the treat. The guy sounded like Boomhauer from King of the Hill. At one point he said to Pete: “I’m so glad you picked up that bone and started eating it, because I’m planning to do the exact same thing.” The lady sounded like Lois from Family Guy. On the way home, they stopped at the garage in Dad’s office and Pete drove the rest of the way. It was his first garage and highway driving experience.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Driving Practice

Tonight was Sam’s campout with his Scout Troop. He decided to go to the ice house with his friends, and Mom agreed to drop him off in the morning at the campout in Great Falls. While Sam was skating, Mom/Dad/Pete had dinner at BGR in Sterling and then saw “The Revenant” at Regal Countryside. Pete got some practice driving to Sterling and back home.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nyet Credit

Pete was having some trouble with his math homework, so Dad stayed up until 12:30 to help him. They were doing limits where the denominator approaches zero. Dad showed him how to do it, and then the shortcut to do it instantly using derivatives. Pete thought that was pretty cool. Let’s just hope he doesn’t try using a derivative on the exam, or the anger of Mrs. Littlefield will rain down with great fury. 

[Russian accent:] This quiz not derivatives. This quiz limit as approach zero of function x plus delta x minus function x over delta x. Nyet credit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Today was Sam’s monster homework day, with 5 assignments due tomorrow (Science Project, Science worksheet, History worksheet, English analysis essay, and English word study). He came home and got right to work, with only a brief break for dinner. His basketball coach even sent him home early from practice so he could focus on his homework. His Science Project “Apples To Astatine” turned out pretty nicely (see photo). And he wrote an amazing English essay in about 20 minutes. He even had about 45 minutes to spare after finishing everything; enough time for a few games of Melee in the basement.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Morning Appointments

Pete was in no rush to get to school today (B Day), so after his allergy shot he went with Dad to Coney Island Diner for the $3.99 breakfast special. Of course, they get you by charging $2.50 for the juice (not included). And by Pete coveting the chicken tenders and fries when looking at the menu. Dad twisted his arm and convinced him to get the $3.99 breakfast this time, however.

As usual, the allergy place did not disappoint with their zaniness. This time Krista put a massively aggressive X over the “Additional comments” section. She must have known that Pete and Dad were up to something.

Sam’s procrastination is getting to the chronic level. If you ask him to work on his Science Project, he gets upset and states that he has everything “under control”. He quickly returns to spending the evening on Kaizo Mario 3 and reading Super Smash forums. Then in the morning he freaks out when he realizes the volume of work that he has left for himself.

Monday, February 22, 2016

No Jacket Required

Dad went to pick up Sam and William at the Troop meeting. When they were ready to leave, William said his jacket was missing. Dad, William, and Sam looked all around the meeting room but could not find the jacket. They decided that maybe someone else took it home by mistake. Upon arriving home, William realized that he had never brought the jacket to the meeting in the first place. Other than that, and William’s Dad getting lost on the way to the meeting, everything went pretty well.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kaizo Super Mario

Pete made it past levels 1 and 2 on Kaizo Super Mario 3. This is possibly the hardest game that has ever made it into the house. Pete would be spending many agonizing hours over the next few weeks on this game. Sam’s controller is coming in a few days, so there will be at least double the agony in the house after that. Dad also helped Sam get the Xbox controller working on the PC today, which was not without its share of pain and misery. They did finally get it working though, around 10pm.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Twists and Turns

Today went a little bit differently than expected. Pete was going to drive with Mom to his District choir event at Dominion High School, but due to an unexpected separation of the front bumper when backing out of the garage Mom had to drive Dad’s car instead. This meant no car for Dad to get a donut for Sam before his basketball game (which they lost badly, but Sam played well). After the game, Mom and Dad got the bumper back on and took the car to Maaco. Then Mom, Dad, and Sam went to Dominion High School to see Pete in the All-District choir. There was just enough time for Mom and Dad to finish assembling the new barbecue grill before taking Sam to the Pack 1151 Crossover and Pete to babysit for Jackson, Reagan, and Kellen.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Retro Controller

Pete’s package arrived today from Amazon, so he was able to spend the evening playing Super Mario 3 on NEStopia with his new USB NES controller. Also arriving were Mom’s fabric and Dad’s gas grill.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Double Stuf Backpack

It is hard to predict what direction Sam and Dad will go with their bedtime conversation. This evening, they started out discussing the chances of snow next Tuesday and ended up discussing how many packages of Double Stuf cookies Superman could carry, either with or without a backpack.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Math Award

Congratulations to Sam for receiving the Thunderbirds Math Award for the top Math student in the second quarter. On a related note, Sam brought home his Spectrum folder today and everyone had some fun working through the Continental Math problems at the dinner table. Mom brought home some problems too that she had been working through at her school.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Learner’s Permit

Pete turned 15 and a half today, and school was closed for the snow/ice, so after lunch with Dad and Sam, he went with Mom to take the test for his learner’s permit. He needed 100% on the signs and 80% on the written questions to pass. He was proud to say that he scored exactly 100% on the signs and 80% on the written questions. Dad will need to take him over to the DMV in Leesburg to get the celebratory picture, since apparently they don’t have the brick wall with the letters at the Sterling ("ghetto") location where he went with Mom. After passing the test, he went to his dentist appointment, which due to a scheduling mistake by Ronald Ray DDS took about an hour and a half.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Speed Dentistry

Sam had the fastest dentist appointment ever today. He was in and out in 18 minutes. It was their last appointment of the day and there was an ice storm coming. If he ever goes on trial for murder, hopefully his case will be the last one on the judge’s docket on the Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Golden Valentine

Mom and Dad went out to a romantic lunch at Golden Corral in Manassas. They squeezed into a delightfully cozy table for two, shoved up against the wall and in between two parties of twelve. 

They made it home in plenty of time to have Taco Night dinner with the boys:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Second Win

Sam’s basketball team got their second win of the season in a nail-biter. They played against the Warriors, a team which was pretty horrible with no Steph Curry or Klay Thompson anywhere in sight. Apparently their good player (Atticus) was not there, which was the key factor. Today was Sam’s chore day, so he spent the afternoon working on dusting, vaccuming, and the bathroom. He decided to save the mopping for Sunday.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Top Hat Day

Sam enjoyed wearing his top hat to school today for “Top Hat Day”. This evening he went to the ice house with his usual squad. It was an especially good night, since he got them to play the new song “Death of a Bachelor” - and they also played “Stressed Out” by his favorite group (21 Pilots).

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The V

The boys joined Mom and Dad at “The V” for a Thursday dinner. This was to celebrate their report cards, which technically haven’t arrived yet. Dad assured everyone that if they did not get good grades they would be paying him back for dinner. They were seated by Kyle and Tyler’s sister (Madison) and had an enjoyable evening. Unfortunately Pete’s friend Chandler was not working tonight, as he is away at school in Europe this semester.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spring Musical Call-Backs

Pete had call-backs today for the Spring musical, which will be “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. This is likely to be Miss Halloran's first and last production at the school, since she is likely leaving next year to return to  New Jersey with her fiancee. Hopefully they can bring in a new Theater director next year who will be committed to the school and the program. The choreography for the show is also being done by Ms. Hicks, whose specialty is unfortunately Biology with a sprinkle of Ballet. It is shaping up to be an interesting production.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Straight Face

Sam is convinced that the guy who plays Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds (Shemar Moore) is the same guy who plays Phil Miller on Last Man on Earth (Boris Kodjoe). Yesterday at dinner he was asking people to “look at this picture [on my phone of Moore] and tell me with a straight face that it’s not Phil Miller”. Then he would make this goofy face so that it was impossible for the person looking at the picture not to laugh. Perhaps Marco Rubio should try this same tactic in the debate. He could ask Ted Cruz to “tell America with a straight face that there is no such thing as global warming”.

Monday, February 08, 2016


Dad and Sam were talking about trans-Atlantic communication. Sam pointed out that technically you could also call it trans-Pacific. Dad noted that for phone and internet, it is actually trans-Atlantic because the wires run across the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. Sam thought it was pretty funny that Dad thought there were wires running along the entire bottom of the Atlantic ocean. It is kind of embarrassing if you think about it – one would hope that by 2016 we’d have figured out a better way. In the meantime, Sam will only believe in the existence of those cables when he sees them for himself.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Super Bowl

Today was the Super Bowl party at the Kinney’s house. Dad got 3 squares for Pete, 3 for Sam, and one for mom. One of Sam’s boxes was a pretty lousy Broncos 6 / Panthers 1 but he actually had a decent chance to win when the Broncos were ahead 16-7 in the third quarter. But the best chance was Pete. He had Broncos 2 / Panthers 0 and with the Broncos leading 16-10, they scored a touchdown with 3 minutes left. Not only did this give Pete the exact numbers he needed, but it also meant the Broncos would go for the 2-point conversion! If they missed the conversion, Pete would have won the jackpot, but sadly Peyton Manning hit Bennie Fowler (who?) in the end zone. It was the last 2 points of Peyton Manning's career. It was yet another victory for the Onderchains, with Pete, Sam, and the entire family maintaining their streak of still never winning a single quarter in the pool. Note: Pete spent the game working with Jennifer and Alesia on their singing Valentines, and Sam also skipped the game to work on his Science project hang out at home.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Tournament #2

Dad and Sam went back to university of Mary Washington for the bi-weekly Smash tournament. This time Sam entered in Melee, Smash 4, and Project M. He lost his first Melee match, then won several matches in the loser’s bracket before getting knocked out. He lost twice in the Smash 4 and Project M tournaments. Dad worked on his laptop next door in room 329, which was rather convenient. They had their usual dinner at Vocelli before the drive home. Next time they will stop at Sam's Pasta and Pizza a little down the road.

Friday, February 05, 2016

A Jay at the Movies

Pete and Sam were home from school today. After lunch at Ledo, Dad dropped Sam off at the new “Starplex” theater over by the future Metro station. He saw The Fifth Wave with Jennifer, Jacob, and Jack. Perhaps he should have changed his name to “Jam” to go with the group.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Dad and Pete were in the car. Dad asked Pete if he was aware that there was a chance of some snow the following Tuesday. Pete replied emphatically: “oh yes, I’m aware of it”. Dad began to picture a team of people in Pete’s lair constantly monitoring the weather forecast. This also gave him the idea for the following graph:

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Dinner Discussion

Dad took Sam to Wendy’s for dinner and then dropped him off at basketball practice. Then he brought Popeye’s home for him and Pete. Mom was taking a nap, so Pete and Dad talked for about an hour at the kitchen table. They discussed all sorts of things, ranging from Obamacare to theater to philosophy. It was very enjoyable for Dad. Pete manages to mix compassion with libertarianism and sense of humor which is a rare combination that Dad does not often get to experience.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

One Acts

Tonight Pete’s theater class finally got to perform their “One Acts”. Sam was spotted hanging out with Jack near the back of the auditorium, and Mom and Dad got a good seat near the middle. The four plays were Mirrors, Hard Candy, Superheroes, and Boise Idaho. Pete played Batman in Superheroes. He got a lot of laughs. All of the productions were pretty good. Dad stopped on the way home for some late night Chick Fil A, where the attendant was Jennifer, who had given Pete a ride to school earlier in the day during the 2-hour delay for “black ice” so they could go in early to work on their “Singing Valentines” project.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Trumpet Lessons

Sam received his prizes for selling popcorn today at his Troop meeting – two knives and a rocket kit. He was the top seller in his Troop at $390. Not bad for one hour of work. Dad tried to convince him to go out for four hours next year. While Sam was away at the meeting, Pete also had his first trumpet lesson with Eric Blanks.