One Poison Dart Frog at a Time

This is the point where I cannot believe in the nonsense of Intelligent Design.

Seriously – what super-natural drugs are out there for some all-high deity to think HOT PINK with blue legs is a great colour for a frog?!?

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand that not ALL colouring is supposed to be perfectly matched to the environment. And we ARE talking about Poison Dart Frogs here. They have a built in defence mechanism that I am attempting to graft to my current test-subjects minions. At least with evolution, we can theorise that these ‘party-goers’ have survived over the millenium because most of the other smart wildlife has figured out pretty colours = bad mojo.

But otherwise… These are the frogs that Intelligent Design licked.

“Oooh. You taste like Strawberry Sundaes. Let’s make you HOT PINK!!”

Purdy. And poisonous. Highly. Tribes in South America used to dip their arrows and darts into these frogs, and others like them. Apparently, the brighter the colouring, the higher the toxicity. I wonder if that applies to the night-club scene as well…

Unfortunately, all my testing shows the poison is not just from the frogs. In fact, I have to hunt them directly from the wild. Yep – it comes from the food they eat. The ants, the bugs, the plants. All that stuff. Breeding these guys in my lab is simply not going to cut it. The best result I could hope for would be putting EG Dad to sleep – and I’m not so sure if it would be the dart or the movie I made him watch (Of course the Devil Wears Prada – because she can’t get her hands on my Converse Batman sneakers).

Additional problem: damn things are critically endangered. No, not because we keep trying to collect the shiny. More like, we are terrified of the buggers and keep cutting down their jungle. So not only do I have to haul my arse through the Amazon, but I have to keep my eyes peeled for dwindling numbers. At least they are brightly coloured to help me find them – all 2cm of them.

Of course, there is one way to find out how these frogs fit in Intelligent Design. In fact, I would love to see the look on the pastor’s face, when Sinister takes a Poison-Dart Frog to school for (non-)Scripture.

Methinks there might be some frog-lickin’ theories on that one.

Evil Genius Parent Award #7 – Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en. Sure, most of us think that it is just an opportunity for Cadbury’s and Allens to make a mint *grin*. It is supposed to be a festival. Lots of ghouls, science experiments gone wrong, that sort of thing.

Gotta love the pirate skeleton in the web

With Halloween, there’s not much opportunity to really practice your evil genius. Most of the best stories have been taken, and most of the really cool stuff is expected.

So let’s ease back for a week, and instead appreciate the creative genius of those parents (and honorary parents) out there, who have made the extra effort to really work Hallowe’en up.

For me, I think it takes a special level of creative genius to design and make food that truly has the potential to turn off the people you are feeding. And you know what? If you can turn the kids off eating it despite it being junk food then wow! Kudos to you.

Which brings me to this week’s recipient: 3AM Dad. And yes – you may be familiar with 3AM Dad – he has been a previous recipient, and is definitely moving up the minion ranks.

This week, 3AM Dad has been busy making Halloween treats:

Witches broomsticks, ghostly strawberries, severed fingers, and other treats.

Particularly check out the severed fingers. They are officially enough to  some 6yo boys from the table. The choc-covered strawberries will entice them back but watch the fingers – they look divine.

So, 3AM Dad – well done on your second award! Let this be a lesson to you lesser minions!!

Forensic Friday #1 – Snappy Ruler

Fridays are now “Forensic Fridays” – or “How to Avoid Forensics through your Knowledge of Science – Fridays”. Batman would be proud.

Big thanks to EG Opa for buying Sinister the “365 Science Experiments Book” … and a contribution towards the Home and Contents Insurance.

We’re starting off small. Don’t want the kids too excited too early. Today’s experiment: Snappy Ruler

  1. Take the ruler and place it so that it is half on the table and half off.
  2. Firmly hold the part of the ruler that is on the table. Use your other hand to pull up on the part of the ruler that is off the table.
  3. Let go and listen to the sound. Keep repeating this action, testing out ways to make higher and lower sounds by moving the ruler.

I then asked Sinister why he thinks this happens:

“It’s all the energy in the ruler. You flick the ruler and it puts energy in the ruler, so the ruler tries to shake the energy out.”

That’s the 6yo definition of ‘vibration’.

And of course, Sinister wants to take it a step further. So he keeps flicking it. Hard… And the ruler breaks. *sigh* Rather than waste good science-time being mad at him, I simply ask why he thinks the ruler broke.

“Well, there was too much energy in the ruler. It couldn’t handle it. So it broke. That was the best way to release the energy.”

I’m pretty sure he is talking about the snappy ruler experiment, and not The Snappy Ruler (me).

His punishment – to write a science report explaining what happened and the steps he took. Not really a punishment – more a lesson in the steps of science. And he only protested a little. Three sentences seems fair to both of us. Nefarious draws a ‘picture’. I’m pretty sure it is the ruler exploding, but his minimalist approach leaves a bit to the imagination.

While writing his report, Sinister turns and asks

“Is Lego Batman’s sonar gun like the ruler?”

He then starts asking me about vibrations, directed sound, and frequencies. Although the discussion starts innocently enough, both boys seem fascinated with police using sonic weapons against protesters. Nefarious starts to ask how many rulers need to shake in our bellies before we stop being naughty. Sinister asks how many machines would be needed to control the minions.

I suddenly see a glimpse of where these Forensic Fridays are taking my children… and I sniff back my pride and excitement, lest they see it as a moment of weakness and attack.

Making a catapult out of a Totem Tennis set

The Sun is shining. The sky is blue. Small birds are twittering around. Our kids are in the garden, making a catapult out of a Totem Tennis set. It is simply an awesome day.

How are they making a catapult out of a Totem Tennis set?

3yo Nefarious is standing on the balcony holding the pole; 6yo Sinister is pulling on the tethered ball from below the balcony (it’s a metre drop), springing it back up to Nefarious. At first, it was just the ball flying up. Then it was the stuffed toys riding the tennis ball up and over the balcony. There’s been a couple of BANG sounds, and endless laughter. It potentially could be the most ridiculously dangerous thing ever. But no-one is dead yet, and I loathe to interfere with such creativity, and such maniacal laughter.

So why I am letting it be?

Why the hell not?

Often I am asked, what is the difference between Evil Genius potential and Mere Minions.

The Answer: Bugger off and figure it out for yourself.

Oh, fine. The answer is: Creativity.

Our greatest long-term experiment is the creation of our little spawnlings, so I am not about to allow them to kill themselves (or each other) and waste the last few years of hard work. But on the other hand, this is the expression of creative genius. Expanding their boundaries. Proving to themselves that some limitations are merely suggestive. Their imaginations are their greatest weapons.

An Evil Genius is the Genius who has the idea that everyone moans about but no-one can resist. Minions whine “but no-one else has done it, so it must be crap” or “Mr Snooty Pants said it can’t be done, so I won’t think about it ever again“. Wow – I don’t even know where to start on that.

Actually, yes I do. Minion. There are so many things we wouldn’t have if that was what EVERYONE thought.

And if you want to continue down that path, go for it. You’re a boring shit who wasn’t going to amount to anything beyond one of my test-subjects or minions anyway.

There is a certain gift to looking at an every-day item and suddenly seeing a new purpose for it. Another use. A simple modification. When Sinister and Nefarious change the use of the Totem Tennis set to be a catapult, they are not just using their imagination. They are developing their understanding of basic engineering principles. They are working with physics, and showing how they see these basic lessons in anything lying around. Next thing you know, they’ll be building a Lego robot to catapult each other across the park. EG Dad has to first go.

Yes, they are only 6 and 3. But this is where it begins!! An ordinary parent would tell them to stop using the Totem Tennis Set in that way -to only see the Totem Tennis Set as a Totem Tennis Set. Shit – you may as well start teaching them 2 + 2 only equals 4, and welcome in the rest of the Orwellian World of 1984. This is what separates the Evil Genius from the Minions and Test-Subjects.

Now I have to go and remind them to collect their stuffed test-subjects from the other side of the balcony. Collateral damage in the early test examples.

Evil Genius Parent Award #6 – Ejector Seats

Sometimes, it’s not enough to convince your kids you have evil intentions. Sometimes… you need to convince other kids too.

Take Cheryl G for example. This week’s recipient for the Evil Genius Parent Award. Now, let me paint the picture for those who do not know Cheryl – lovely, sweet, innocent looking lady. Never raises her voice in public. I would almost go as far as saying she is my arch-nemesis for niceness, but since she makes an awesome cup of tea, we maintain a great level of friendship and respect instead. Plus, she’s just taken up Doctor Who for the first time, so there’s hope for her.

Anyway, I digress. All this sweetness is hiding an Evil Genius, who knows how to use her ‘facade’ to convince others. Here’s the story:

Cheryl was taking home three energetic boys from school – one is her own; the other two are friends. With the amount of noise in the back seat, Cheryl asked a few times – in her very sweet motherly voice – for the boys to calm down. Failing this, Cheryl threatens to use … the Ejector Seat.

Silence.

One of the friends pipes up: The Ejector Seat?

Oh yes. We have an ejector seat in the car. And when you misbehave, I just push the button and pop! Up you go through the sun-roof.

Really? (*Now this part I love – it is so typical of child-like curiousity). Which button is it?

Without pause, Cheryl points to the big Red Button on the dash.

Really? (again… pause) Geez, in our car that just puts on the flashing lights.

The resulting silence on the way home evidence she had convinced the boys there really is an ejector seat in the back seat.

The true impact of this kicks in a few days later when one of parents walks up to Cheryl at school, and says “I just had to tell you. D asked me the other day if we had ejector seats in our car. He asked with such a SERIOUS FACE, I’m still trying to figure out if he is disappointed we don’t have that model or if your threat worked. Either way, it’s great!!”

Congratulations Cheryl!! Methinks it is time for the Evil-Genius Mobile to upgrade.

Evil Genius Parent Award #5

It takes a special skill to include your neighbours in your … activities. This week’s recipient has not only done that, but he has established a convincing defence.

Reservoir Dad is a pretty established blogger, with an excellent library of Evil Genius Parenting Examples. It helps that he is a dad of 4 kids (yes they are boys – but Evil Genius Grandma will be happy to point out not all the best stories are kept for boys alone). The Chicken Rustler is an old blog post,  revived this week due to popular demand. Check out the whole story and learn from his display.

Well done, RD!! You have shown that EG parenting is both entertaining and visually stimulating.