Double take

The nicest thing happened to me on the way home from work… I got one of those movie-perfect double takes from a guy I passed.

Of course, it was probably due to the pretty rainbow umbrella I was carrying, while cruising along on my unicycle. Years ago I realized that if it’s a grey rainy day it is nice to have bright colours overhead. Black umbrellas should be outlawed!

A Dinosaur Story

Once upon a time, long ago, long long ago… no… long long long ago, lived two dinosaurs. They had a wonderful life to themselves, since they came after the plants but before the humans. They had a land full of plants with no humans to bug them. They had clouds and rainbows and rivers and waterfalls. And they had plants. Lots of plants.

Which was a good thing, because Bobby the Brontosaurus loved eating plants. He ate like this: “omm nom nom” and he even ate while he talked like this. (Add omm nom nom’s into your talking. If your kid laughs, your doing it right. Then again, if he laughs he won’t go to sleep, so you might not be doing it right afterall.)

Bobby the Brontosaurus didn’t have any friends because all he did all day was eat plants. He liked it that way. He said “I have all the plants I need and I love eating them.” (Mix in lots of omm nom nom’s in there.) But Ptommy the Pteradactyl didn’t agree. He thought it would be nice to have a friend. Ptommy could fly far above the valley and look at the rainbows and clouds and waterfalls and plants. He wanted to talk about them with Bobby, but all Bobby was interested in was his plants. Bobby never even looked up at Ptommy, he just kept eating and eating. But if Bobby never looked up, how would Ptommy ever get Bobby to see the wonderful things?

One day, Ptommy discovered a place where the plants grew right up to the edge of a cliff, which dropped away, and below were waterfalls and rainbows and clouds. He told Bobby he’d help him find more plants to eat. Bobby liked that plan, and so Ptommy said “eat over to the left a bit”. Then Ptommy said, “eat up ahead a bit”. Every time Ptommy gave Bobby a direction to eat, Bobby found good stuff, and Bobby started to realize having a friend wasn’t so bad afterall. But Ptommy was laughing to himself all the time, because he was leading Bobby where he wanted him to go! And finally, Ptommy said, “eat that nice bush there in front of you”. Bobby did, gladly, (omm nom nom) and then he was shocked, because now he could see out over the cliff. For the first time ever, Bobby the Brontosaurus saw clouds and rainbows and waterfalls and mountains.

He stopped eating (he’d never done that before!). He looked left and right. He looked again. He was amazed.

“Ptommy,” said Bobby, “that’s really pretty.” (no omm nom nom’s here!) “But do you think you could tell me where to find more plants?”

Prommy rolled his eyes. “Sure thing, buddy. Just eat a little bit more to your right…” said Ptommy, smiling.

This story is based loosely on On Top, by Marilyn MacGregor.


I had a great first Sugru experience! I scratched my finger on the way to work on my unicycle. I thought, dammit, I’m gonna fix that! So I bought some from my phone on the train. Cool!

A few days later, it arrived in the post. I was having a hard time explaining why I was so excited about it to my wife. So I sat down, cut open my first packet and started fixing. My wife got interested, fast! She asked, would this stick to the door handle to make a bumper? I said, go try! And off she ran with my Sugru, leaving me grinning and cutting open a new packet…

Thanks, Sugru, for our new door bumper and unicycle seat bolt covers! You made two new happy fixers.

Correction: Three new fixers, including Elio, age 2 and a half:

Two more stories

Here’s two stories that worked their charm on a not-very-sleepy little boy, turning him into a sleepy one.

Bep and the Giant Pumpkin: It is October, the official start of pumpkin season in our house. That means it is time to start talking about pumpkins and where we get them. So mommy, daddy, Elio and Emma got in Bep and went for a drive. They drove up up up to the top of Lausanne and then up up up to Mont sur Lausanne, then up up up more to the little self-service vegetable stand above it. Everyone went in and chose their pumpkins one by one. Emma got a little pumpkin because she needed to hold it between her feet in her maxi-cosi. Elio got a bigger pumpkin because he’s strong (Elio e forte!). Mami chose a good pumpkin for soup because she makes the best pumpkin soup. And daddy chose one to make a yummy pumpkin curry. Daddy was about to pay and go, but Elio asked, “What about Bep?” So they looked but none of the pumpkins were big enough for Bep. They went out back and found a perfect pumpkin, 1 meter across, 3.14 meters around and weighing 200 kg! They went to get Bep and asked, “can you carry it?” Bep said “beep beep vroom vroom, no problem” and drove the whole family home, each with their pumpkin on their lap (except mami, who was driving) and Bep with his pumpkin right in the middle.

The Little Red Robot: Once upon a time, there was a little red robot. (Elio was wearing his red robot pj’s.) This little red robot could do everything the master programmer taught him. He could dress himself, go poo poo, feed himself, read books, etc etc. He even knew how to initiate the food processing unit decontamination procedure (teeth brushing) and the light delumination protocol (turning off the bathroom light by head butting it). But each night, when the little red robot went into sleep mode, something magical happened. He got to do things he never did in the day. He ran programs for flying on clouds, climbing in trees, (around this point Elio interrupted and asked that the story should include a “motoschlitta”: snowmobile), and ride lunar snowmobiles across the moon through craters and over the horizon, far from the robot base. That night, the little red robot ran the snow mobile program in his processing unit all night. In the morning when he woke up, he went to Central Dispatch and found that his job that day was to go drive lunar snowmobiles for real! And so he did.