Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dream Away

At the University museum in Utrecht, there was a game, where you create your dream future, and see how it would be for the ecosystem, where red is bad and green is good. It was fun seeing how our dream Future would be, dad chose a 5 star hotel for his vacation!! whereas I took a tent, now it is quite obvious which is better for the enviroment, but a lot colder since we both chose snowboard holidays!
There were different sections for the game,including food and vacation. There were  3 other things but I didn't remember them. We also went to the Spoorweg (Railway) Museum on the left, and the Speelkloek (Musical Clock) Museum on the right.
There was also a counter in the University museum that counted different things, when we were there, there had been over 1 billlion cell phones bought!! On the right is a monkey sculpture made from old sandals and handbags, and believe it or not, at the Utrecht Centraal station they had a vending machine for dim sum!

Monday, 10 December 2012

1st Lego League

On Saturday we went to our First Lego league regional tournament, this was our first year of being a team, and we came first!! We had lots of fun, we had 4 robot matches and 3 judging sessions (Project, Robot design, and Core Values).  our robot started the day by being very crazy, but we figured it out by the 3rd round,in the third round we got 373 points, which put us in first place until we got bumped to 2nd. we had lots of fun, after all of the real matches were played, there was a little playoff which was just for fun we got to the finals and then lost to the team that beat us in the robot game. There were 15 teams at the competition, and every team got a medal. Since we came first we got the big gold trophy. We were one of five teams to qualify for provincials from this region; the five teams are The Lego da Vincis (us), The Fatima Falcons (the winners of the robot game), St. Alexander Senior Sleuths (also from Fonthill), St. Anns istallions (also from Pelham), and St. Philomena Bulldogs.
This is me doing the skit, with Connor beside me. I was playing the part of Dr. Adkin from Brock University.  I am in the big flat screen TV!! (which was made out of cardboard)
We all wore Christmas hats, and here is Jacob wearing his cute little elf hat.

Here is me, and Scott, doing the robot game, you can see part of the table in front of us. The rest of the team is where you would be standing in this picture to cheer us on.

Here we are at the Core Values judging session, There was one person who was behind a board, who had something built out of Lego, and the rest of the team was at the table, with one person building what the person who was behind the board said, and the rest were handing the "builder" pieces.

Here is me wearing a Santa Claus hat with my Flamingo sunglasses.

We came second in the robot game, so here we are at the playoffs which were just for fun.
Here is a picture of us at the robot judging session.

Here are me and Scott making some modifications to our programs.

This picture is of me and Jacob looking at the scoreboard.

On the left is Scott with the trophy, and on the right was me, The trophy was very breakable, because it wasn't glued together. 

On the left here is a picture of all 3 teams from Pelham, on the left is St. Alexander, in the middle is us and on  the right is the team from St. Anns. In the picture on the right is our team with the trophies.
Here is a picture of our 2 trophies.

This is at our after competition party.

here is a picture of our debriefing meeting.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Daddy's feet returns!!

On the 21, we went to the ZuiderZee Museum at Enkhuizen, it was an Open air museum which was on an island. there was a place where you could try on some old types of clothes and also clogs. We went there with Hein and Elly, there was also a cafe where we had something to drink.

After the ZuiderZee museum, we went to a town called Markham,where we had dinner, we had Bacon and Cheese pancakes, and fish soup. We walked around after dinner in the town, and saw a memorial from world war 2.
Went to the fishing village of Marken for the evening. It's formerly an island village with very distinct houses built up high together on mounds against the tides. Now there's a causeway to the mainland and lots of tourists, kind of like a Dutch Peggy's Cove.

The ZuiderZee Museum was quite neat, and you can even get freshly caught and dried fish and smoked herring there! Jacob with his vintage car on the right.
Pez socks and clogs!

Henry V-Stratford

On Thursday we went to Stratford, to see the Shakespeare play Henry V. before the play we also had a tour of the props warehouse, where they had all of the costumes, and the props they use in the plays stored. There were many different types of props including Food, Chairs/couches, and daily household items.
Also there were medieval props as well, we didn't get to see the weapons, but we did see some armor, and a fake horse with armor.

It was a good play, it is about an English king named Henry V, he invaded France with his small army and subdued it. The play had the whole plot, starting from back in England where Henry makes up his mind to go to France, Then he goes to France, and fights many battles, (The only 2 in the play are The battles of Harfleur, and Agincort,) in the play they simplified the battle of Harfleur so there was no fighting. But for Agincort They made a full scale battle, with both armies rushing across the stage, and afterwards with all of the wounded going across the battle field. in the play they have many French and English flags, but at the end, after everyone bowed the put up a Canada flag.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Kobe Earthquake Museum

My final morning in Japan, Nari took me for a drive from Kobe over to the nearby big island, though it was impossible to see anything across the long suspension bridge due to heavy rain and fog. Our target was the museum for the earthquake that rocked Kobe on January 17, 1995.

The museum itself was pretty amazing, as it was built right on part of the fault line from the large earthquake. About 6,000 died and much of the city was wrecked, with the epicentre right between the island and the city. So the bulk of the museum runs the length of 150 m of the fault line, largely preserved as it was from the quake.

So you can see on the left the big section of the fault line that's preserved at the museum. On the right you can see the actual shift that occurred ifyou look at the orange flags. In total, the ground shifted upwards about 0.5 m and right by 1.5 m, after a lot of shaking and shifting of course. They also had an earthquake simulator at the museum, where you sit down in a mock dining room and they rumble and shake the whole place like what happened during the quake! Unfortunately, a good portion of my flight home also consisted of heavy turbulence, so I got a lot of shaking into me over the course of the day! 
A cross-sectional view on the left of the fault line. Part of the museum also includes this house (aerial shot on the right) that the fault line ran right through the middle. Amazingly it shifted but still stood, and Nari tells me that the people even lived in there for another 4 years! 
Nari also asked me what I wanted for my last lunch in Japan - ramen obviously!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Extreme Tree Trimming

Last saturday we went to our freinds treee triming party and there was a lot of food. there was rice krispy squares, maple bacon chips, salt and vinager chips, alphabet pretzels and cookies.
my favorite part was putting the lights on the outside oak tree because me Zach and our friend got to climb up and Zach was about 5 meters above the ground. there was also  fizzy lemonade and apple cider.
The Way Up High Gang!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

More Robo Madness

Here are some more videos of our lego Mindstorm Robot doing the FLL Seniors Solutions missions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MId-yuS72A&feature=plcpthis mission does similarity, planting, dog push and chair return.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbszsk9_Rz8this one does blue quilts and chair grab

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gmUW-bpH4kthis one does orange quilts and retrieves the dog

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOOMNcAaBBA this one does 5 things, it does cardio flexibility, bowling, weightlifting and stove.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Genbaku Dome - A Bomb Memorial

Among the places Hiroshi and I visited during my quick visit to Hiroshima was the Genbaku Dome in the middle of the city. A building from the 1880s, it gained fame and infamy August 6, 1945, when the fireball of the first atomic bomb exploded about 600 m overhead and slightly southeast. Being ground zero for the A-bomb, ironically it was also about the only building in town standing after the explosion. Check on Google and you can find iconic photos of Hiroshima after the bomb, and the Genbaku is the only building you'll see standing. Post-war, Hiroshima was rapidly rebuilt, but in the 1960s it was decided to keep Genbaku as it stood as a permanent memorial. It was pretty powerful to stand there on a beautiful quiet night and realize that such horror occurred directly above your head.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Movember Freak Show!

By the time this is posted, hopefully the horror that is Movember will be over for another year! I went with not shaving the whole 2+ weeks in Japan to have something to play with, and decided to go with big long Wiggins sideburns and also the chin beard to give something horrible to look at from each angle! There's a LOT more grey than 3 years ago! Who knows, I'm getting a bit fond of the sideburns...

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Soldering Fumes

On November the 20/21, we went to daddy's lab, and helped Geoff do some soldering, and other things to help fix the equipment. First we soldering some wires together to make some cables, Then we put together a box used for the metabolic cart, which measures how much work we do. we also put together another box with all of the wires in it, but I don't know what it was for.

when you solder, you are pretty much gluing the 2 pieces of metal together, by melting the solder,(which melts very easily) and when it cools, it hardens and sticks the 2 pieces of metal together firmly. There is also a little gun for sucking up the extra solder, when you get too much, Geoff says the problem most people have is that they put too much solder on.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Miyajima Island

After giving a talk and touring Hiroshi's labs at U. Hiroshima and a yummy udon noodle lunch, we took a drive over to the city itself and Miyajima Island that sits right offshore. Hiroshima is quite beautiful, with a setting right one the water with massive mountains all around. Descending into the city, I got the distinct impression of being back in Vancouver, which led me to thinking of what a horror it must have been to have the city obliterated.

The centre-piece of Miyajima is the Itsukushima Shinto shrine, another UNESCO site that I keep bumping into here in Japan. First built in 593 AD, it was rebuilt into its present scale in 1168 AD. The main corridor is about 280 m long, incorporating over 20 buildings. The main entry gate for the shrine is built right on the water's edge, so that the ebbing and flowing of the tides determine whether you can get near it. On the right is another family celebrating the 7-5-3 years. Didn't get to see anyone playing the massive drums, although I did hear them from afar.
I've got to say that fall is my favourite season, and it's not just because of cyclocross! I especially love the way the angle of the sun makes things just glow, like the shrine gates on the left and especially the red/golden pagoda on the right. Take a look on the left and tell me it doesn't remind you of Vancouver?!
The fall colours were getting very nice now in Japan! And oysters are a specialty and favourite around here. There's an oyster far between the island and the mainland, and the products are grilled all around at different kiosks.