• A couple of days ago, I helped the gifted teacher at Melissa's school. They're participating in the ISTF; I assisted on the computer, and set aside some web space so they could test their project pages on line.

    She asked me to come back today to help the fourth graders.

    What does this have to do with EVs? One of the fourth grade teams is doing a solar car project, including a solar charging station. Rube Lab just completed a solar charging station, and I couldn't attend because the ceremonies are on my birthday. So I showed them the Rube Lab version, and explained that I had driven here in my own electric car.

    They were astounded. They thought I must be some kind of super-genius. When I explained to the teacher that the principal allowed me to recharge behind the cafeteria, and that the car was there right now, she asked if I could show it to the class.

    Well, of course! I've always wanted to do that!

    Continue reading "Judebert's EV Conversion Diary: Kids Love It"


  • Today Kayla went to the dentist to get her first cavity filled. Last time I was there, I took Tatiana and Melissa in the (gas) minivan. I asked the doctor if it was okay to charge up outside his office, and he was delighted to acquiesce.

    So today, we took two cars. Eri was driving the minivan, and I took Kayla in Silent E. I plugged in right next to the air conditioning condenser. The plan was to charge up while the cavity was filled, then split up: Eri would take Kayla home, and I could go straight to work.

    Everything went off without a hitch. I had plenty of energy, so I could even drive a little faster than usual.

    Thanks, Dr. King!

  • This weekend I was supposed to shuttle kids around (especially Tatiana's big Twilight outing), bus tables for a fundraiser, build a new ladder for Kayla's bed, replace the new hot wire on my EV (I haven't told you about that one yet, I think), and celebrate my father's and my birthdays at my parents' house.

    Four outta five ain't bad.

    I built Kayla's new ladder entirely from 2x4 pine. I got to buy a random-orbit sander to finish it. I was going to leave it naked, but Eri insisted on staining it. The stain we chose was much lighter than the container implied; it almost looks like it wasn't stained at all.

    Melissa, Kayla, and I built the ladder while Eri took Tatiana and her friends to Twilight. Kayla was delighted to use the power drill to remove screws. She lost control of it, but the scratch didn't even draw blood. I only let her use it because I figured she would lose control an learn a lesson in the process.

    We finished staining it just before the fundraiser (which went quite well, incidentally). The next day I drilled all the holes and screwed everything together. It's strong. Not exactly square, but very strong. Next time I'll do more math and more measuring; everything will come out straight.

    I didn't feel like getting all sweaty just before celebrating my birthday, so I skipped replacing the hot wire. The birthday was fantastic: we had spinach soup, with blackberry cobbler for dessert. Dad liked our present, a solar device charger. I got a wonderful yoga mat from my sister, which will come in handy with my Wii Fit workout. And my parents gave me $100. In dollar bills. Inserted into the pages of a Ray Bradbury book! It was fantastic! I wondered why the book wouldn't close properly, and when I turned it over (expecting a card to fall out), money started dropping out!

    All in all, a good weekend. Both productive and fun!

  • We took Tatiana to see Twilight about two weeks ago. She loved it. She figured that when it came out in the dollar theater, she and all her friends would be able to afford to go see it.

    I should've known what would happen right then. I should've nipped it in the bud.

    Last week we watched Bolt at the dollar theater with my brother. They're showing Twilight.

    Tatiana went crazy. She's spent the entire week phoning her friends, figuring out schedules, neglecting her homework, and pestering Eri and me with questions.

    Obviously, all her friends can't make it. Picking them all up is going to take an hour or more. I'm going to have to do something with the other kids, meanwhile. We have plans for the rest of the weekend. But Tatiana is going to go, come Hell or high water, and she won't stop obsessing over it!

    I warned her last night, as she was making Mapquest directions between her friends' houses, that if she couldn't let it go long enough to read a book and go to bed, I would take it away from her.

    I hate it when she gets like this. It's a movie outing. Don't turn it into a big production. Just get together if you can, and have fun as much as possible. Sheesh.


  • We got a nice bunk bed from Ikea for my youngest daughter, Kayla, a while back. The ladder was only rated to 200 pounds. The bottom rung broke off fairly quickly, but we didn't really need a bottom rung, so we ignored it.

    There are weight ratings for a reason

    Tonight, after I read her a bedtime story ("The Sneetches" and "Bartholomew and the Oobleck"), I stood on the bottom rung for two seconds — too long.

    Nice gashes, don't you think? Shallow, but long, and regularly spaced. Apparently my shin scraped along the bolt all the way down. The bolt actually bent, as you can see in the picture.

    Eri immediately went to purchase a new ladder online. (Gee, thanks, Dear.) I sat behind her and applied direct pressure to stop the bleeding. I discussed with Eri how any new ladder we purchased wouldn't be any better than the old one, but she wasn't paying attention.

    I got a nice, clean, damp paper towel and started cleaning the wound. It stung like the dickens, but it wasn't impairing my locomotion. I expressed to Eri how frustrated I was with her pointless ladder search; she gave it up, and walked off to find me a bandage.

    There was no way a bandage was going to fit on that.

    Eventually I convinced her. She recommended Liquid Bandage, an antiseptic that you brush on, then wait for it to harden.

    I applied it to a small wound about an inch away from the big one. THAT hurt. I can't believe someone actually thought this stuff was a good idea. I had to screw up my courage to apply it to the big wound. Even then it took three applications, with pauses in between for exclamations of agony. (I'm really trying to cut back on the cursing. And the dentist tells me I'm not allowed to grind or clench my teeth. This was a trial.)

    Worse yet, Eri kept asking if she could apply it! How sadistic is that?!?

    Ten minutes later, the pain was down to a dull throb, and Eri was saying that if we built our own ladder, it would take us six months. I really love that woman.