What I did today

We got hit with 2 school projects this weekend, one for my nephew and one for my niece.

My nephew's was to carry the class mascot around all weekend and take pictures of it, then write up his adventures with the stuffed chimp. So, yesterday, we dressed it up in all of our bear-sized costumes, including Batman, Spiderman, and Superman. For the Spiderman one, we got down the spider webs from our last Halloween party and tied him onto it. For the Superman one, I made a semi-elaborate rig to suspend him over a bunch of fake pumpkins. Today, we took the mascot to the Tar Pits.

But today was mostly spent on my niece's project: a presentation on pencils. So, I spent about an hour gathering together all of the pencils in the house and taking various pictures of them. We spent some time researching pencils, and tangentially Henry David Thoreau--whose father was a pencil maker. It turns out H.D. Thoreau was an inventor and actually improved the way pencils were made in this country. He built his own graphite milling machine and experimented with clay/graphite blends. He also was a man after my own heart, and often referred to himself as a "civil engineer". Who knew?

Of course, that little bit of research wasn't enough. Oh, no, I had to volunteer to help her build a webpage for her presentation. (Her class has a "Smart Board" basically a big touchscreen at the front of the class that can be used to show webpages.) Problem was, the only web authoring software I had to use was the really, really bad and bloated Microsoft Word (and I though FrontPage was bad!!!) I ended up going back to basics and making some of the pages from scratch. Still, the presentation even includes a video of a CT of a man's abdomen--after he swallowed 42 pencils. (Yes, the man was insane. [I even had to make the movie out of still slides.])

Here's the webpage she and I put together. Unfortunately, thanks to doing it in Microsoft Word, it only really works well in IExplorer, and a lot of it just plain doesn't work in Firefox or Safari. If you want to see the page with the video, click here. (I did the tech stuff, but she decided on the content and layout.)

Update: I YouTubed the video (my first time YouTubing.)