Christmas Tree maze

Posted by jdg | 6:41 AM

This year's trip up to Eastern Market for our Christmas tree (an annual thing for six years now) was a good one. The kids spent the entire time running around getting lost in the maze of trees, shrieking with delight. These kids were so excited about going up there to get the tree I was able to use this trip as an incentive for good behavior all week.


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Posted by jdg | 8:39 AM |

We live in a co-op, so all our yard maintenance is taken care of by a landscaping company. This year I had to bring a rake to a public park so my kids jump in a gigantic pile of leaves. Next year I should really offer my services to a someone who needs some extra help (so long as my kids can jump in the pile when I'm done).

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Show Flat Stanley Around Town

Posted by jdg | 11:31 AM

The kids' cousin in Vienna (who we visited earlier this year) is doing the Flat Stanley Project in her school, and sent us a Flat Stanley to show around Detroit and send back some pictures. First we went to the westernmost tip of Belle Isle to take a picture of the strait between the United States and Canada that gives the city its name.

The we took Stanley to see the General Motors world headquarters at the Renaissance Center.

We figured we couldn't ignore what is fast becoming Detroit's number one tourist attraction. When we write the Austrians, I think we'll say, "Like Greece and Rome, Detroit has beautiful ruins. But unlike Greece and Rome, there are people still alive who were born before many of these buildings were built." It was fun to talk to the kids about what places we should share with their cousin, and what we should say about them. It's a great project, I think.

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Posted by jdg | 11:15 AM |

My kids are going to be so pissed at me someday when they understand what photoshop is.

But for now, somebody thinks he can fly.


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At the intersection of I-94 and the Southfield Freeway. See also: Creepy Detroit Playgrounds.

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Star Wars Day at the Ballpark

Posted by jdg | 7:18 AM |

Last weekend my son and I went to the ballpark. I was eager to see the surging Tigers in the middle of their 12-game winning streak, and he was extremely excited to see the generous members of the Great Lakes Garrison of the 501st Legion and the Great Lakes Base Rebel Legion scattered around the stadium in full costume. Those costumes are serious and clearly represent a significant investment of time and money. Seeing a bunch of adults dressed up like their childhood heroes is a lot less strange at the ballpark, where you can see also hundreds (thousands?) of lumpy middle-aged men dressed up like Justin Verlander.

He thinks those guys are called "Snowtroopers," and this was the "nice snowtrooper."

We did some minor improvements on my son's Luke Skywalker outfit, wrapping his legs in canvas and adding some leather Yugoslavian 7.62 cartridge pouches, that, in our case, were used for smuggling in juice boxes.

While walking home from the ballpark (one of the best parts of living where we do is being able to walk to the ballpark), we fought off some enemies near the steam grates.

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The place where my daughter takes riding lessons serves as a community center of sorts and it recently hosted a community-wide garage sale. After the sale was over, everyone apparently just left all the crap that nobody wanted to buy in a giant pile out by the dumpsters and we showed up before it all got hauled away to the landfill. Score! While my daughter was ahorseback, my son and I climbed the garbage mountain looking for treasures. A vintage 1970s Hot Wheel garage with the little winch that moves the elevator up and down (yoink: taken for the neighbor kid who loves cars). A box full of canning supplies from the 1950s (yoink). A spiderman! A naked faux-barbie! A smelly box of wet auto manuals! Then we found The Body Crayon Book with six colored body crayons, and it still had the plastic wrap on it. Yoink.

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S'Mores on the Shore

Posted by jdg | 1:07 PM

Pro tip: forget Hershey's bars. Use Nutella.

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Play in an Open Johnny Pump

Posted by jdg | 6:52 AM

How lucky were we to come back from walking the dog to find city workers had opened a fireplug right on our block on one of the hottest days of one of the hottest summers ever? Even the city workers came and filled their helmets and dumped them over their heads.

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2011 Detroit Maker Faire

Posted by jdg | 1:42 PM

I had the pleasure of escorting Tiny Robocop to the 2011 Maker Faire on the grounds of the Henry Ford Museum yesterday. Bringing Lil' Robo didn't occur to me until 11:00 a.m. and after I asked my son if he wanted to drag out the robocop costume once again (answer: affirmative) I was sent scurrying to find hot glue sticks and costume parts.

We were in New York last summer for the inaugural Detroit-version of an event we enjoyed during our San Francisco days and were really sorry to miss it. Dale Dougherty from Make even came to our house when he was scouting the area in 2009. So we were super excited to be in town for the Maker Faire this past weekend, and it did not disappoint. The Detroit version was very family friendly (less Burning Man stuff, more DIY toys), and I can't imagine a better location for a Maker Faire than the Henry Ford Museum. We loved seeing the Greenfield Village threshers and bailers working, as well as the early-automobile tinkerers (and I hope to see more integration between the Maker folks and the museum in coming years). I think there was electricity coming off my son when he spotted those storm troopers. He was like an adorable cyborg tesla coil. Eventually they put up their hands in surrender. Camera phones were held up everywhere.

Then Tiny Robocop took on a fire-breathing dragon even more intimidating than ED-209.

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me. . ."

"They'll fix you. They fix everything."

Tiny Robocop is not impressed by fire-breathing My Little Pony.

He did ask the Rankor if he could get a quick picture though.

Even crime-stopping cyborgs appreciate cold-extruded dairy products on a hot July day.

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He came up with that getup all by himself. Zed would be proud:

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