Archives for posts with tag: Scheming

My first post for 2015 brings a smile to my face. We have returned from our Christmas holiday travels to the UK and France and spent copious hours travelling in planes, trains and automobiles. To which ‘The Pok’ (AKA my four year old son) quickly learned the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” or as he calls it “Scissors, Paper, Rock”. The concept of one tool trumping another was difficult for him at first, but he quickly figured it out.

So as we were sitting at my father in-law’s place on Boxing Day he asked me, “Daddy, can we play a game?”

I duly responded, “Sure, what would you like to play?”

His response, “Scissors, Paper, Rock.”

I restrained displaying my disappointment at not being asked by my four year old to play Chess or Risk and told him – “Let’s play!”

As the first round went down it was a draw – two rocks

The second round was a draw again – two rocks

The third round was a win to me! – paper over ‘The Pok’s’ rock (I am not competitive – honestly).

The fourth round was another win to me – scissors to ‘The Pok’s’ paper

At this point, he was visibly unhappy at his burgeoning losing streak.

The fifth round produced a wildcard result – I was scissors, ‘The Pok’ was a fist with his index and middle finger extend making what looked like a knife.

I asked him, “What is that?”

He replied gleefully, “Daddy, it’s a ‘super cutter’! It cuts through scissors.”

I tried to explain to him, “you can’t have a ‘super cutter’, it has to be either a rock, paper, or scissors.” But it was no use, he invented the new tool and it was good against scissors.

Round six I decided to pull out a rock to bash this new ‘super cutter’. But NO!!!!

‘The Pok’ schooled me, “Daddy, the ‘super cutter’ cuts through everything – I win!”

Since then, several other tools have been invented to combat the ‘super cutter’. We now have the ‘super claw’ (crushes the ‘super cutter’ and all the regular tools), and the ‘super shooter’ (which blows away the ‘super claw’).

He is busily scheming up other tools as I write this (BTW – this is his game face).

Pok_RPS

My little man, The Pok, likes spending time with his Dad (me 🙂 ) scheming and building grand constructions. Well he does have an equally playful “child” friend in me for his indulgence in grand designs. A couple of weekends ago, he dragged me from my lazy Sunday on the couch to insist that we make a grand construction – a bridge for his trains.  We live quite close to Sydney Harbour’s other great bridge – the ANZAC Bridge, so this was going to be the inspiration for our creativity.

ANZAC_Bridge_Sydney

Material of Choice – Lego Duplo

Th Pok is enjoying getting stuck into building stuff more and more (he also enjoys destroying stuff – but that is another conversation), and the material of choice for this construction would be Lego Duplo. The blocks were laid out with meticulous planning. The Pok had great fun arranging all of them before construction began. In that respect my little boy is displaying tendencies to compulsiveness about how all things should be done. I also think that he is a bit bossy – which he doesn’t get from me.

The first part to construct would be the deck and we wanted to build big and to scale. We started in the middle working our way out. I would do one side and I would ask the Pok to match the bricks that I had connected. It was a symmetrical bridge after all.

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The deck of the bridge was quickly consuming bricks.

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We soon realised that this was going to be a big bridge, and were quickly running out of blocks.

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The I reinforced the bridge deck near the tower foundations. It was starting to get heavy and like any real-world bridge would have to primarily support its own weight.

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The Pok tested the width of the carriageway for trafficability. It was wide enough for a single lane.

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The towers were to be constructed next and were proving difficult to source a sufficient bricks in quantities of four. But after a few variations we were able to come up with something that we would be able to duplicate on the other side while still looking vaguely similar to the ANZAC bridge.

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Of course The Pok wanted to check for water clearance in the best way he knew how.

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Meanwhile, the Mother of Pok fabricated a road deck to overcome the grade of the bridge deck. Cardboard and scissors were put to good use to achieve the result. Testing of the road deck was required.

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At over a metre long, The Pok was sufficiently happy with the Grand Design. It didn’t have the cable stays, and in truth The Pok would have done his best impersonation of Godzilla if I had installed them.

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Mini-Thomas the Tank Engine was happy too.

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The next Lego creation will have to be The Eiffel Tower made out of Lego Duplo to celebrate the Tour de France.

OK – first thing to set straight – I LOVE LEGO!

Good that is out of the way. Even now as an adult, I achieve the same sense of wonderment from a simple set of plastic bricks. For me it is like building a puzzle, but with no set form and untold number of possibilities (and the most phenomenal statistic that I uncovered was that for 6 – 6-sided 8-stud bricks, the classic Lego brick, there are 915,103,765 possible 6-brick combinations – I have found that statistic out on How Stuff Works).Left to my own devices I could build and build and build, restricted only by the time commitments of being an adult and father.But I have not gone down the path of master builder as this would also probably be the path of divorce for me.

6 Lego BricksBut with the birth of the Pok, I have a new reason to play Lego! I probably pushed it a little too early, buying him way too much and constructing a lot of it for him when he couldn’t possibly interact. I do remember him sitting there in his first year watching me as I built him towers and cranes whose arms rotated above his head. We are not playing with Lego proper just yet, more Duplo, but it is great fun nonetheless. Below is our latest incarnation of a tower building, our Lego rendition of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) – not quite the match that we would hope for, as we are stuck with the 90 degree angles that Duplo blocks push you towards. Obviously, the real thing is the one on the right.

Lego Duplo Burj Khalifa - for PokBurj KhalifaLego Duplo Burj Khalifa - Helicopter ViewWhat is funny is that the civil engineers who design these buildings do so to account for huge wind loads. We have to contend with apocalyptic Godzilla like attacks from none other than the Pok. Which shouldn’t really be much of a surprise given that there are not many real play opportunities for a big tower made of plastic bricks after it has been built. Hmmm… maybe a Lego Duplo Godzilla may be next on the cards – Pok would love that.

Lego Duplo Burj Khalifa - CrashHmmm… notice how he looks innocent again?

As he has been growing, I have waited patiently for him to connect two bricks together. You can imagine my joy when I saw him for the first time connecting the bricks, and then over and over again as he discovered a new found dexterous ability. But now our plotting and scheming is lifting up a level in our creations. The Pok has become quite interested in all things mechanical, and Lego is a great avenue for this. We were watching Cars 2 the other day and saw Mater become a secret agent with all sorts of gadgets. That gave me an idea, how about we make a cannon! But not just any cannon, a proper cannon that can target anything in the room. Below is the creation we landed with.

Lego Duplo Turret CannonYou cannot believe that amount of cheeky giggles that we have got out of this contraption. First target of course was Mummy of Pok. We sat on one couch and shot at her on another – 100 times. The beauty of this little contraption is that it has a full 360 degree arc of fire in the horizontal axis and 90 degree arc of fire in the vertical axis.

Lego Duplo Turret Cannon - Trajectory arcs of fireNow he is probably too young to learn trajectory physics just like a little Napoleon.cannon_trajectoriesI will wait until he turns three years old before I teach him this. The creators of Lego Duplo would probably have a heart attack when they found out that one of their customers was building mini projectile weapons systems from the pieces of the Agent Mater set (the cannon), The Deluxe Train set (the blue struts), both the Play with Numbers and Play with Letters (the support bricks for the bridge), the Stone Quarry set (the turntable to support the base platform) the Car Wash (base platform), and the Big City Zoo (the tiger log bridge which rotates on its supports).

Some people would probably call me a bad parent, but I think that every boy (big and small) needs an outlet for these militaristic tendencies. Hopefully I am nurturing a young engineer, let’s hope he doesn’t turn into a fiendish weapons manufacturer – like Tony Stark.

Lego Duplo Turret Cannon - manned by the PokPlus, he has his mother to teach him about cooking, music, and all of that stuff. 😉

Sometimes, it is too much for the little man and he has to do his own thing. More creations another day.Lego Man pondering and Pok asleep

So for you non-cyclists you are going to find this a bit strange. Over the last couple of years as I have got right into my bike riding (no I have never really had an interest in golf), I find myself doing something bizarre. And I believe I am not the only one.

I picked up my MTB steed today from City Bike Depot after they installed a new set of forks in the ongoing scheme that is my custom MTB build. Custom in that I have not bought the bike all assembled, but rather it is the sum of a set of separate parts whose conglomeration is continually evolving as I can afford it. I didn’t bring my helmet or riding gear, so walked the bike home past some well used bike paths here in Sydney. But as each pedaling rider passed me I found myself perving, and not at the riders.

You see, us cyclists have got many reasons why we ride and enjoy the two wheel thrill. Some of it is the freedom of travel and adventure. Some of it is the speed. Some of it is the fitness and challenge in pushing yourself. Sometimes it is the mateship. And for a lot of us it is the machinery. I, along with and many of my mates who cycle, find myself constantly checking out other people’s bikes and the sum of their parts (or components) as they rush past. It is strange! Sometimes I am not even noticing the rider. But I am looking at the bike, its colour, its frame geometry, and its components. It says a lot about the engine moving the wheels along. Sometimes it shows how serious they are about their riding. Often it indicates how well they take care of their steed. But in some cases it shows a unique aspect of that rider’s personality. A couple of days ago walking home I noticed a rider on an old steel frame Peugeot bike. These bikes always pique my interest in the same way that some people look at vintage cars – they are classics. But on further inspection, I realised that this classic had a top end groupset installed throughout with race level aluminium clincher wheels. The equivalent of a guy who owns an old Holden Monaro, but under the bonnet was a top of the line V8 engine with electronic engine control and a set of modern mag wheels. This rider was serious about his riding! And yet it also told me that he respected the past and the art that was the old Peugeot bike.

Respect!

Not envy, but respect. Many of us are looking at other people’s steeds with a hint of jealousy, but the thing I focus on is what can that rider unleash on those two wheels? What adventure will that steed bring to their rider and will they unleash it’s potential.

So I will probably continue to check out other bikes, and allow my mind to wander about where they are going to take their set of wheels – and my wife will still never understand.

But back to my MTB steed, the new set of forks are wicked! I got them for less than half the original price, as they were old 2012 stock being run out. Still they are awesome, and my custom build is not far away from its final evolutionary state. Throughout the build I kept a running blog of the build on schemer as to how it was all coming together. I made a couple of people laugh when I broadcast the fact that my wife found out I used her kitchen scales to weigh the components. The bike has come together through a combination of some parts I had from my old bike and old season (2009, 2010, 2011) components that were top end at the time but were being flogged at 40-60% of their original price. Bargain build all-round.

I love it, and my little Pok does too! Tomorrow I will take him out riding with me, and he will be in the trailer attached on my rear wheel – either blabbering away with joy or asleep. He too will probably be checking out some other bikes too.

MTB Steed

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