Friday, October 28, 2016

Alex Submitted His 'Voice Of Democracy' Essay




Song:  Comfortably Numb

Artist:  Jamie Dupuis



A couple of days before Alex had written and submitted his 'Voice of Democracy' essay...
my mother had treated Alex and I to supper at the Atlantis.

Alex had eaten a pound of crab...
while my mother and I had AYCE sushi.

I had decided not to take my camera in...
but on our way back to the car
the pillars were jetting their flames...
so, I ran back to the car and grabbed my camera and quickly grabbed a shot
of Alex and his grandmother with the flames in the back ground.



I then tried to get a close up of the flames, but I had only just took it as they shut off.

You can just make out the last of the flames in this photo.




A couple of days later...
Alex typed up his essay in about one hour.

He had been working on the outline of his essay...
off and on, over the summer.

He then made a vocal recording on disc of himself reading his essay
(a requirement of the contest)...
and the next day, Alex and I drove to the local 
Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting hall to submit it.

The 'Voice of Democracy' is a national high school essay contest.

We won't know how well Alex had done in this contest
for another four or five months.






Even though the deadline for submissions is next week...
until we get the results...
I can not post his actual essay.

However...
I think Alex did a such a good job on this year's essay.

It was succinct, and his thoughts were not only very well thought out...
the whole essay just flowed.

I think this year's essay was his best.

Alex has matured so much...
and his writing has improved markedly this year.

-------------------

Alex's 2015 local 1st place win.

The following is a video of Alex reading his first place local win
at the Veterans of Foreign Wars dinner honoring the 
1st place essay winners of high school and middle school for last year's contest.

(Although the actual essay was submitted in October 2015...
the dinner awards ceremony didn't take place until March 2016).



In middle school...
Alex had taken second place in the State with his
submission to the 'Patriot's Pen' essay contest.

(We hadn't even known he had typed up and submitted an essay
until he had done it through his school  :)


The 2015 essay win (above video)...
and hopefully, his 2016 and 2017 essays, will become part of his portfolio
for his future university applications.

(They generally only accept evidence of excellence from high school and above).


-----------------------


Many of the veterans were surprised at Alex's extensive vocabulary.

This is a direct result of his reading habits...
much of which involved extensive reading of the classics...
and of Western philosophy, and the sub-category of logic and reasoning.

Alex has loved reading all of his life.

I will say this once again...
and this is not an exaggeration in the slightest...
Alex was reading young adult books when he was three years old...
still in diapers and still sucking on his pacifier
(Alex was a late talker.  He only said his first words at three and a half years old.
However, they came out in fully formed sentences.  
Alex was reading and writing well before he could talk.
He wrote sentences at two years old on a portable electronic unit...
and he would spell out words and the full alphabet at one year old...
with plastic letters...one of his favorite toys).


And once again...
I will relay this true story of Alex demonstrating 
his reading capability in public to prove a point:


When Alex was still just three years old (nearing four years old)...
still in diapers, and still sucking on a pacifier...
my wife had taken Alex out to one of his favorite places...
Border's bookstore.

Alex loved going to the bookstore to pick out some new books.

While there...
Alex went over to the young adults section...
sat down on one of the chairs...
took out his pacifier...
and began reading aloud...with perfect pronunciation and annunciation...
and with a full flowing reading of the book...with no hesitation
(he has a naturally loud and full voice)...
a Star Wars novel.


Within a few minutes...
Alex was surrounded by teenagers and adults who were 
staring with disbelief, pointing and smiling
at this young boy in diapers with a pacifier next to him...
reading a young adult's book aloud.


Yes...
Alex is profoundly gifted
(even more so with math...his true strength).

However...
so many children could perform amazing feats with an abundant
quantity of quality educational stimuli...
and a great amount of love and affection.

Alex's greatest advantage was his full time mother.

She had dedicated herself to her son...Alex.

There was not a day where she had not read to him...
and with him...
as she cuddled him...
and loaded him with plentiful amounts of affection and laughter.

Also...
every night was a reading ritual...
until he fell asleep next to his mother...
who had to keep reading to him until she knew he was fully asleep...
lest he awaken and demand that she stay next to him to read some more  :)

It all starts out with reading...
and a love of learning...
as guided through positive reinforcement.


------------


For any readers new to my blog...
especially for young parents...
I highly recommend you read my early articles.

I go in depth...
much of what we had done to stimulate Alex's love of learning.


------------


One other thing.

As I have said before...
my apparent misuse of ellipses ( ... )...
is purposeful on my part.

As the English language has nothing to mark time in sentences...
I use them to indicate a pause...
as if I were directly speaking to the readers...
almost Captain Kirkishly  :)

When I was much younger...many decades ago,
I had to modify my speech pattern, as I have a tendency
to speak too rapidly...to the point of unintelligibility.

I still sometimes revert to my old speech pattern...
along with the hyper emotional tonal changes and physical flourishes
which many mistake as aggression
(I become highly animated when I get excited about a topic of discussion)...
and which has lost me many a potential friend...
especially when I get angry or frustrated

(It is a little sad that, even as I approach 57 years old...
I still have problems maintaining the emotional filters we all install as we mature).

And so...
I must write as I now speak...
so as to not allow my pinball mind to wreak havoc upon my writing  :)














Sunday, October 23, 2016

Alex's Parallel Parking



Song:  Poker Face

Artist:  Lady GaGa


Alex had done so well on his parallel parking practice that we will be moving on
to other skills.

I had first had Alex practice on a couple of cars in our neighborhood at night...
and I then set up a couple of trash cans in front of our house.

At first...
I had made each about 5 feet from the ends of the car...
and I then had Alex practice his parallel parking with the extra room.

When he had gotten the hang of this distance...
I then decreased the distance to just two feet from the ends of the car.

This was to have him practice minor corrections in a tight space.

For his next lesson...
I had him drive to downtown Reno to practice parallel parking
under real life conditions.


Alex had just parallel parked into this spot.

There was a car in front...
and behind our car.

Alex had practiced this maneuver over and over again.

Each of his parallel parkings took only from zero to one correction.

Alex applied well the initial set up for his parallel parking.

Most people make the initial mistake of being too close to the side of the car 
they wish to park behind.

When they do this...
they cannot make the necessary turn soon enough.

The initial set up makes all the difference.


Yes...
those are Star Wars pajama bottoms...
and a Batman T-shirt  :)


This waterfall near our home will soon be turned off...
as the depths of Winter will soon be upon us.


Autumn colors are just now finishing up in our neighborhood.


This photo is from a neighbor's yard.

----------

We were going to see the Autumn colors at Lake Tahoe last week...
but that storm had moved in.

We may go in a couple of days...
or we may not.

We will have to see.

-----------

This song reminds me of Alex...
as he often wears a poker face.

Alex tries to suppress any outwards emotional tells.

It is actually a good general trait.

This way...
only the deepest and most spontaneous emotions show...
which others see as very sincere.

Alex is a very genuine and deeply sincere person.

------------

The ones people should avoid is the person who wears the...
Joker Face.

You know the ones.
They have the grossly exaggerated wide and toothy smile...
all the while, their eyes are devoid of any involvement.

Their eyes are dead because their soul is dead...
and because they are concentrating on monitoring the people around them
to see if they are buying the act.

Their heart is filled with deceit...
and their ego is inflated with the self aggrandizement 
and arrogance of one who thinks he / she is fooling the world.

Hmm...
I wonder if you know of anyone who fits the bill?
(or rather, whom is one with Bill  :)








Saturday, October 15, 2016

Alex's 100th Hour Of Driving Lessons - Rain



Song:  Pipeline

Group:  The Chantays



Alex has been doing very well with his driving lessons.

For the past week...
I have been having him concentrate on city driving...
highway merging...
parallel parking.

Since a storm blew in today...
and to celebrate Alex's 100th hour of driving lessons...
I just had to get Alex on the highway to practice driving in the rain.

Before Alex gets his driver's license...
I will have given him many more hundreds of hours of concentrated driving lessons.


I had Alex practice highway merging in the rain.

One of the first things Alex had noticed was the greatly reduced speed of the highway traffic.

I had Alex extend his following distance and greatly reduce his speed...
and I told him to notice the spray patterns of vehicles ahead of him.
Large amounts of spray tells where deeper spots of water lay...
and so, where he needs to be extra cautious by slowing even more
 before he reaches the same spot, to prevent hydroplaning.

On one of our highway merges...
a highway patrol unit passed us with his lights and siren on.

There was an accident farther up the highway.

I pointed out to Alex the number of idiots on the road during heavy rains
whom have no sense...whom have no care for other drivers...
the ones who keep the same speed during heavy rains as in perfect conditions.

These are the idiots who hydroplane and cause accidents.






Alex got a little nervous when, during heavier rains, the lines on the road 
started to disappear.

I told him to use the left or right most side of road paint lines,
or road separators, to gauge where his lane is.

I also told him to look forwards several hundred feet and use the lines he can see there 
to keep him centered in his lane.

As a last resort...
I also told him to follow the most conservative driver on the road...
and to stay at least 5 seconds behind him...
and that if he is driving much slower than the rest of the traffic...
to use his emergency flashers as he drives.


-----------------


Alex is doing so well learning how to drive.

He still makes rookie mistakes sometimes...
but, as I have told him...
that is because he is a rookie.

He knows that he does not know...
and so...
that is why he keeps learning.



Believing to the contrary is the big problem with so many knuckleheads now a days.

They have been taught that they are just as good as anyone else.

They don't even stop to think how foolish this line of non-thinking is.


A person whom is just as good as anyone else...
HAS NOTHING TO LEARN...
and so...he doesn't.


Alex knows he has so much to learn...
and so...he does.









Thursday, October 13, 2016

Alex's Help With His Grandmother's Library


Song:  Take The Long Way Home

Group:  Supertramp


Alex had helped me take the fish tanks to his grandmother's house...
and he helped me take in a heavy massage chair.

Now my mother's library is almost completely set up.

My mother loves to sit in this room and watch the fish in her 3 fish tanks:

1 - 36 gal. nursery / breeding tank

1 - 54 gal. female corner isolation tank (to prevent breeding)

1 - 75 gal. main tank

Each tank is freshwater, and each is filled with live plants.

My mother wishes to breed miniature red shrimp.

In 6 months time...
with just 10 mating pair of shrimp...
one thousand shrimp will have been born...
and it will increase exponentially unless you control the breeding 
with a female isolation tank.

These shrimp are just so interesting to watch.


This is the 36 gal. breeding / nursery tank.


These are some of the red shrimp.


In front of each tank is a padded seat for close observation.


This is the female isolation corner tank.

The one year sapling Japanese Maple is only inside until I plant it in the front area
for my mother.  It had only just arrived today...and I must wait for another few days
before planting it.  A storm is moving in with expected high gusts of wind.








This is the main tank.




I had also ordered my mother a simulated stained glass window covering.

In the daytime...
it will be very colorful in this room.

It should arrive next week sometime.



This is the space chair (massage chair).
Alex had helped me put it in the house.


My mother loves this chair.

This is the perfect sleep inducer just before bed.


It has pre-programed massages...
or one may manually input their own.

I also really like it.

It massages in multiple ways...
from rollers to timed inflatable bags and pressure balls or vibrations...
and all, with or without heat.






This stand had also arrived today.

I had put it together.

My mother's iPod and speaker set will be playing beautiful music whenever my mother 
relaxes in this room.  She will also burn some incense whenever she wishes.
My mother also wishes to place some flowers on top.

Just below the table top...
is a second shelf.

This will have books on it...
and so...she may call this room her library  :)


My mother also has one other tank.

It is a special hospital tank used just when a fish needs to be medically isolated...
and treated.


My mother loves watching the fish and the shrimp swim around and eat.

My mother now spends many hours a day in this room.


My mother treated Alex and I to dinner for our help.


I had a three taco plate.


My mother and Alex had taken the fried Tilapia.



After our meal...
Alex went back to his grandmother's house to try out the space chair.


My mother just reclined in the big chair.

This chair is so comfortable.

Earlier in the day while I was reclining in it...
I had fallen asleep.


Hana also enjoys this chair.



Although Hana loves to sometimes sit on the big chair...
her favorite spot is on her pillow in her corner...
just on the other side of the big chair.





I call the massage chair a space chair because it resembles an astronaut's chair 
in preparation for take off...
when the massage chair is put into 'zero gravity' position.

'Zero gravity' position is when the feet are placed higher than the rest of the body...
with or without heat or massage.

I had found this chair to be very much worth the money.

My mother loves it.

She will be using it everyday...
and she will then recline in the big chair.

However...
I think she will spend most of her time on the chairs in front of each aquarium.


Alex got a big hug from grandma for all of his help.


Alex's grandmother is really happy with her relaxation room.


Alex will be visiting her house every so often in the future.


-------------


Hopefully, we will have a heavy rain storm in a few days.

This will be a perfect opportunity to take Alex out for some storm driving lessons.

















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