Porcupyn's Blog

June 24, 2018

Becky … and Margaret – a Katya Tale

Filed under: Family,Humour,Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 7:48 pm

Katya and I recently visited Magic Kingdom on our annual pilgrimage to Walt Disney’s World. Because of intermittent showers, thunder and lightning activity, it was not the normal fruitful trip – many of the rides were cancelled for the most part of the day, especially the outdoor ones. As a result, the queues for those attractions were astronomical even by recent Disney standards – and the resultant spillover because of closures force-landed on the inside attractions such as perennial favourite Space Mountain.

We were forced to wander around looking for something that had a shorter queue. We saw this raft ride that we had usually skipped; this ride was a two-minute ride to a small island – “Tom Sawyer’s Island” – that we’d never been to (other attractions were more attractive to us). After we landed on the island, Katya asked me whether I knew who Becky Thatcher was – I said sure I did, “She was Tom Sawyer’s girlfriend!” Apparently, I had failed to notice that the raft that had helped us cross the moat to the island was named after her (a typical Disney touch).

Anyway, we had fun exploring the little island in the rain, until the authorities were forced to close it due to inclement weather and “extradite” us back to Magic Kingdom.

So, today, we were recounting the incident to Mrs. Porcupyn.

Katya: So, do you know who Becky Thatcher was?

Mrs. Porcupyn: Well, I had forgotten but now that you talked about her, I remember. (Counter question) Do you know who Margaret Thatcher was?

Katya: Ummm… Becky Thatcher’s mother?

Porcupyn: #Facepalm!!

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April 22, 2018

My reputation for honesty is in tatters …

Filed under: Family,Humour,Tennis — Porcupyn @ 7:22 pm

… and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it back with that set of kids.

Let me tell you how it happened.

Our group of tennis hackers was playing tennis on one court of this community whereas a group of about five little kids (<7 year old, if I may hazard a guess) where on the next court getting a group lesson. Now, as you can probably understand, with the group lesson, there was a whole host of balls near the fence of the kids' court. The group was on its haunches, diligently picking up one ball after another, when a ball hit from one of my buddies went over and joined the conglomeration of yellow-dot, red-dot, green-dot and dotless balls (belonging to the kiddos' coach).

Keeping my eyes trained on the one ball that mattered to me (and my buddies), I darted over to the kids' court avoiding the debris strewn all over their court … and gathered our Wilson 2 (or was it 3?) ball.

One kid: Hey! That's our ball.

Me (calmly walking back, ball firmly in my grip): No, it's ours.

Kid #2 (thankfully not running after me): That's our ball. Give me it.

Me (running back to our court now): No, it's our ball that rolled over.

Kids: That's steeeeaaaaaling!!

Me:

Our game resumes …

Kids (slightly muted) chorus from across the court: He’s stealing our ball.

… after a couple of points …

Kids (a bit louder): Stealer Stealer Pumpkin Eater.

Not that it was among my top favourite pies, but I certainly don’t think I’ll have pumpkin pie again!!

April 18, 2017

And I thought you were smart – a Katya tale

Filed under: Family,Humour,Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 7:18 am

As I was cleaning up around the house and trying to remove traces of my packratism one paper at a time, I came across an unbound tome – it was my doctoral dissertation from more than two decades ago.

Some background aka “flashback”: Katya goes to a school whose director has his PhD. As a mark of respect, everyone refers to him as Dr. ___. It so happens that his daughter is Katya’s classmate. So, each time she refers to this gentleman, she uses “Dr. ___”; I, on the other hand, have never had anyone calling me “Dr. Porcupyn” so it is obvious that Katya has no clue. So, one day, I informed her that I too have a PhD and am within my rights to demand to be called “Dr. Porcupyn”. Katya laughed at me, “No you don’t! You are kidding.”

It took some effort on my part to convince her, though truth being said, I was never really convinced that she was really convinced.

Back to yesterday: Now that I had proof of my “Doctor”ness, I promptly took the sheaf of papers over to where Katya was and said, “Look, here is the dissertation I wrote that made me a PhD!”

Katya: “What is it all about?”

Me: About traffic studies.

Katya (rolling her eyes): Traffic? I thought you were into maths and science!

Me: Well, it needs maths and science.

Katya: Traffic? Who writes all that much about traffic?! Traffic needs maths and science?

Mrs. Porcupyn (coming to my aid): Yes, sure traffic needs maths and science.

Katya (disgusted): You got your PhD in (with extra emphasis) traffic? And I thought you were smart!!

Me (thinking to myself): At least Katya thought I was smart … though it is now in past tense! 😉

December 10, 2015

Whatever happens in Las Vegas …

Filed under: Family,Geography,Humour,Travel — Porcupyn @ 7:02 am

… obviously, stays in Las Vegas. But I surely can talk about what happened outside of Las Vegas, no?

During the Thanksgiving hols (for kids, more than us parents), we had an opportunity to claim a decent hotel rate and airfare, so decided to take the plunge and plan a trip to Las Vegas. Mrs. Porcupyn and I took three days off work apiece for this purpose.

The original plan was to leave on Friday evening, the week before Thanksgiving, and return next Friday, i.e., Black Friday. However, Katya’s soccer schedule interfered (which, in hindsight, was good – she managed to participate in her first non-loss game). As a result, we rescheduled to leave on Monday morning and return on Saturday night.

Our initial thought was to hang around Las Vegas for three days and then head over to San Diego and spend three days there (or the other way around) before returning. However, the changed schedule resulted in the loss of a day. Besides, by this time, I had realized that though Las Vegas proper might not be my cup of tea, there was plenty to do in the surrounding area by way of nature. So, even a week exclusively devoted to a stay in Las Vegas appeared to fall short of stuff that I wanted us to do.

So, we decided to limit ourselves to Las Vegas. In spite of starting to plan a couple of months before the trip, we soon got bogged down in our respective schedules, with the net result that even the week before, none of us had a concrete idea of what we were going to do, except fly out and back!!

In a frenzy during the week prior to our departure, I managed to ask around (on and offline) and get information about the basic nature attractions in the general vicinity that could be visited as a day trip. Here was our short list (some of the names might not be the official ones):

  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Zion National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Death Valley
  • Hoover Dam
  • Some place with sand dunes (that I had read about somewhere but did not remember when and where)
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Arches National Park

As you can see, the list got out of hand pretty quickly. There was no way we could have gotten to some of these places with the five-six days we had in mind, and even to those we would have gotten to, we could not have done much.

So, we decided to play it by ear based on weather conditions. Fortunately, the weather was not going to be too bad – I had worried that we might run into snow and/or ice/sleet. In hindsight, once more, it appears that I had not done my homework properly – even the weather we encountered was apparently colder than normal. It was ironic to face weather in the 40s in Las Vegas while friends visiting the Atlantic coast up north got 60s!! Oh well … [more to follow]

September 28, 2015

Countries and capitals

Filed under: Family,Humour,Parenting — Porcupyn @ 7:47 am

I have started a new game with Katya and her carpool buddy. I say the name of the country and they have to come up with the capital. To provide some background, Katya is not into geography and bees (of any kind) – carpool buddy, though three years younger, is into the Geography Bee (at his level). Needless to say, the experience has been slow going so far and fun. Sample these:

Porcupyn: What is the capital of Pakistan?
Katya: Give us a hint …
Porcupyn: Isss …
Katya: Islamabad. ding-ding-ding

Porcupyn: How about Afghanistan?
Katya: Give us a hint …
Porcupyn: It ends with ‘bul’
Katya: Islamabull? boink-boink-boink

Porcupyn: Capital of Russia?
Katya: It starts with an M …
Porcupyn: Yess … complete it!
Katya: Give us a hint …
Porcupyn: It ends with ‘cow’
Katya: Mocow? boink-boink-boink

June 3, 2015

Sense of Humour – a Katya Tale

Filed under: Humour,Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 7:37 am

It has been a while so I have forgotten the context. It had something to do with me complaining about folks in the household lack a sense of humour.

Katya: Appa! You have only two senses – a sense of humour and a sense of anger.

Porcupyn [Taken aback]: What do you mean?

Katya: Well, you have a sense of anger because you are mean to me sometimes, and you have a sense of humour because sometimes you laugh for no reason at all!

March 8, 2015

A Hiranyakashipu-Prahlada moment – A Katya Tale

Filed under: Family,Humour,Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 1:51 pm

Katya is learning about gravity; Mrs. Porcupyn is trying to explain that all objects exert gravitational pull against each other. I had to step in to clarify some things that, thankfully, I still remember from my undergrad education!!

Just like Hiranyakashipu points to different objects and asks Prahlada: “Is God in this object?”, similarly I was being asked whether books, animals, planets etc. exert gravitational pull!

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