Sunday, April 30, 2006

Inside Looking Out

Meanwhile in the guinea pig cage....

I think they are on to us. Those stupid mice messed everything up. We are going to have to shut down the operation.

Lightning: Relax Sister. Everything is going according to plan. These humans don't even know that we can understand every word that they say. If they did, do you think that they would talk in front of us the way that they do?

Thunder: But what if those mice squealed... I mean squeaked?

Lightning: I'm not worried about those mice. Wave a little peanut butter in front of their noses and they mindlessly climb into mouse traps. As long as these humans keep feeding us, we will have all the time in the world to accomplish what we set out to accomplish. Just remember to act cute and cuddly.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

National Junior Honor Society

Like most parents, Jake and Molly spend a lot of time running the kids between all of their various and assorted activities. Sometimes there are overlapping events, in which case Jake and Molly are forced to divide and concur. On one such occasion, Molly was taking Yellow Hair to one event and Jake was tasked with taking StarrySpark to another in which she would be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. For most people, escorting their child to a ceremony recognizing an achievement is a joyous occasion. As is often stated though, Jake is not like most people. As difficult as this may be to believe, Jake had never been anywhere near any type of Academic Honor Society before. Despite Molly's best efforts to put his mind at ease, Jake was convinced that there was going to be some type of entrance exam just to get into the ceremony. His mind was filled with a vision of being asked a question like, "What is the hypotenuse of an algorithm?" Then poor Jake would be left standing outside while all of the smart parents were allowed to enter. Finally, Molly had had enough of Jake's silliness and convinced him that he had to take one for the team. When Jake and StarrySpark got to the school, Jake was ready for a rumble. His Spidey Sense was tingling. OK Jake, put on your game face. Walk through the door. Don't make eye contact. So far so good. No one tried to stop you at the entrance. Quickly find a seat and sit down. Don't make eye contact. Pick a seat close to the exit in case a mob of slide rule totting academics come after you. Don't make eye contact. Well, that wasn't so bad. No one asked you any hard questions and you have a seat close to the exit. I think you are home free. Just then a women walked up and asked Jake, "Is that seat next to you taken." Jake momentarily considered saying, "Yes, I'm saving it for my wife.", but instead he said, "No........., you can have it." The woman then sat down. No problem Jake, just breath normally and don't make eye contact. The woman waited at least a full 20 seconds before she said, "I don't think these things have changed much since I was in the Honor Society." The voice in Jakes brain screams,"Ahhhhhhhh", I knew this was going to happen. Jake then replied to the woman, "Ya........, me too." Fortunately the woman didn't question Jake's academic creditials or challenge him with the honor society secret handshake. Unfortunately, she instead wanted to talk about how brilliant her child was. Thus started a 20 minute discussion about who's child was smarter. My child is working three grade levels ahead of most children his age. My child is taking honors courses. and my child is in band. Ya, well my child plays two instruments. And my child was reading before they were in kindergarten. Well, my child has a Phd from Harvard. Luckily the ceremony started before Jake had to explain the hypotenuse of an algorithm. In the end, the ceremony was very nice. StarrySpark received her certificate. Jake congratulated her on her commendable academic achievement and quickly ushered StarrySpark out of the building while periodically looking over his shoulder for any indication that a person or persons carrying a slide rule might be following.

PS. Sarah Ray was also inducted into NJHS. Click here to see her induction photo and story.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Welcome to the Jungle

Cutting the grass is not one of Jake's favorite tasks. Actually, it is pretty close to the bottom of the list and just above cleaning dead animal carcasses out of the hot tub. That is a story for another day though. Usually Jake at least makes an effort to keep the yard in some semblance of order. Unfortunately, circumstances during the last couple of weeks prevented Jake from taking care of his lawn maintenance responsibilities. After a little focused encouragement from Molly, Jake finally decided it was time to get the job done. First, Jake had to get the lawn mower out of the garage. As he was doing so, the next door neighbor spotted him, strolled on over and nonchalantly asked, "Are you going to cut your grass?" He didn't ask the question with any sort of malice in his voice, but the implication was there. "If you hadn't cut it soon, I would have called the neighborhood association." What? Not again Jake thought as he recalled a previous incident. Who knew you weren't allowed to have pink flamingos in the front yard? Now to fully understand the situation, you have to understand that this neighbor is what could politely be called a lawn care enthusiast. Where Jake's yard has that care free lived-in look, the neighbor's yard looks like a uniform dark green shag carpet with alternating diagonal marks from the daily croppings. This neighbor is also an amazing repository of lawn care trivia. As an example, did you know that there is a different recommended fertilizer combination for each month of the year? Did you know that you should sharpen your lawn mower blade after each cutting to avoid doing damage to the grass blades? And did you know that you can send off a soil sample from your yard to get it scientifically analyzed to tell you exactly the right amount and type of nutrients to add to maximize grass growth? Who knew? Well, not Jake at least. As far as he is concerned, fertilizing the yard is just a written invitation for the weeds to grow faster. Oh well, everyone needs a hobby. As Jake began the tedious task cutting down the vegetation, he couldn't help but think that there had to be an easier way to manage the grass. Hmmm, maybe livestock. A goat or a cow or something ought to do the trick. I wonder what the neighborhood association would have to say about that?

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Little Chocolate Anyone?

Jake, Molly, StarrySpark and Yellow Hair were driving across country visiting Molly's parents. While listening to the radio, they heard this announcement: "Visit the new and improved ride at Hershey's Chocolate World." As fate would have it, Chocolate World was right along their route of travel. As fate would also have it, Jake had not eaten for at least an hour and he began to beg Molly to let them stop. Finally Molly had enough of Jake's carrying on and agreed that they could make a short stop.

The primary attraction at Chocolate World is the Chocolate Tour. This ride is portrayed as an "Educational" experience that explains the entire chocolate production process from cocoa bean picking to chocolate bar wrapping. In reality the ride is a cleverly disguised marketing ploy. The ride blows chocolate smells on you during the ride all the while subliminally chanting "Hershey's Chocolate....Hershey's Chocolate." At the end of the ride Jake and Family were deposited in the middle of a vast chocolate warehouse. Remember the end of Indiana Jones where the Ark is stashed in the government warehouse? Just replace all of those crates with chocolate bars and you will have a pretty good mental image of the chocolate shop at Chocolate World.

Jake as expected had a bit of a melt down and began running through the chocolate warehouse all the while trying to grab at least one of each candy item. Let's just say that the resulting episode was not pretty even by Jake's standards. After the security guards managed to subdue Jake, Molly allowed Jake to purchase a small selection of the chocolate delights.

Other attractions at Chocolate World include the Factory Works Experience, The really big 3D show, and the Hershey Trolley Works. There are also a number of shops and eating options. The Pohick family gives Chocolate World 4 thumbs up.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mouse War - Fun with the King

So, today was apparently "Have fun at the expense of the King" day at the pohick castle. King Jake was minding his own business and doing some work in his upstairs den. Out of nowhere, Jake heard Queen Molly let out a blood curdling, "I saw a mouse" scream. "Rut Row", Jake muttered to himself. Here we go again. Jake wasting no time, headed downstairs ready to do battle with this latest beady eyed interloper. As Jake was enroute to the scene of the commotion he heard Queen Molly Shout, "Bring the mouse Jar! I've got the mouse trapped". Wow, Jake said to himself! What a stroke of luck. Maybe this time, I won't have to chase the mouse all over the house and almost burn the joint down in the process. Jake quickly grabbed the mouse jar and arrived at the standoff. Molly was sitting on top of a cardboard box. Again, Jake said "Wow"! How'd you manage to put that cardboard box on top of the mouse? A periodic thumping could be heard coming from underneath the box. Jake in his most knowledgeable manner explained that the mouse was jumping up and down trying to escape. "I have experience with these critters. I know every move their going to make." Queen Molly then said, "I'll lift up the box and you grab him." "Wait Jake screamed! He'll just take off running. Get a knife and we'll open up the top of the box." Molly grabbed a knife and carefully cut open the top of the box. Jake readied the mouse jar just as the box burst open revealing the biggest mouse that Jake had ever seen. Sometimes it takes a moment or two for the brain to register all of the conflicting signals it is receiving. For a heart beat or two, Jake's "Fight or Flight" systems kicked into high gear. We are talking about a serious adrenaline rush. Wait, that's no mouse. That's Princess Yellow Hair dressed up like a mouse. Hmmmmmm..... Oh Well, Jake is a big boy and doesn't mind a little harmless fun. It does seem somewhat cruel and unusual to take advantage of his vulnerable state of mind given his unfortunate ordeal with the mouse the other day. I guess this means that Jake can finally get out of the dog house.

Mouse War Index

Here is an index chronicling King Jake's ongoing battle with the evil Mouse Empire.

Feb 16, 2006 - Mouse Wars
Feb 18, 2006 - Battle of the Cough Drop
Feb 20, 2006 - The People Strike Back
Feb 21, 2006 - The Collaborators
Feb 22, 2006 - King Jake Goes Under Cover
Feb 23, 2006 - The Return of the King
Feb 24, 2006 - Who moved the King's Cheese?
Mar 29, 2006 - Return of the Mice
Mar 30, 2006 - Score One for the Good Guys
Mar 31, 2006 - The Trial
Apr 2, 2006 - Mr. Mouse Banished
Apr 19, 2006 - King Gone Mad
Apr 23, 2006 - Fun with the King
May 4, 2006 - One Mile
May 9, 2006 - Choosy Mice Choose Jif
Sep 24, 2006 - Mouse War Revisited
Sep 26, 2006 - Mouse Nabbed
Oct 1, 2006 - Dirty Dozen

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mouse War - King Gone Mad

Why is one of the royal living room recliners on the front porch? Why is King Jake holding a big stick in one hand and a flaming mitt in the other? This is the spectacle to which Queen Molly returned this afternoon. Would you like to hazard a guess as to what circuitous chain of events created this particular diorama? Truth is of course stranger than fiction and apparently King Jake went slightly insane today.
The mice are back you see. Jake dutifully dusted off the Victor Live Catch Mouse Traps, Baited them with a fine selection of peanut butter and crackers and set them out for some of the unsuspecting mouse marauders. Low and behold a mouse was caught (Number 7 by last count). Well, since Jake was off defending the Kingdom, Queen Molly decided to remove the mouse from the trap and place him in the mouse holding facility. Hurrah for the brave Queen Molly! Queen Molly then departed for an afternoon of instructing the young ladies of the kingdom in the fine art of basket weaving or some such.
Jake upon returning to the castle noticed the mouse and for some unknown reason decided it would be fun to poke and prod the mouse just a little. The mouse was not especially amused with this activity and took the opportunity to run up Jake's arm and scampered onto the kitchen counter. Thus began a tale of woe and misery.
Jake looked at the mouse and the mouse looked at Jake in the beady way that only a mouse can look at someone. Jake then began to mutter "Rut Row" and became fixated on the fact that he was probably going to be in a small bind with Queen Molly who left specific instructions not to touch the mouse other than march him far from the house and release him. Jake then began to beg the mouse to get back into the jar before Queen Molly returned. Unfortunately, the mouse did not consider this course of action to be in his best interest, so he politely but firmly declined. Jake then decided that brute force was his next best option and began chasing the mouse madly throughout the house leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. On several occasions, Jake thought he had the mouse cornered, but he learned that the mouse probably had at least a little Kangaroo blood in him as he had an impressive vertical leap.
Getting nowhere, Jake decided that he was outclassed and the clock was ticking ever closer marking the time of Queen Molly's return. Jake summoned Princess StarrySpark who inquired, "Why did you let the mouse loose? Didn't mother say to leave it alone?" Oh the anguish of it all. "Yes she did. Please help me catch it and quickly." With StarrySpark's assistance, Jake managed to corner the mouse under a recliner in the living room. Wait, where did he go? Mr. Mouse had climbed up into the hollow arm of the chair and was spread eagle across the top, looking like some ninja character from a kungfoo movie. But how to get him back in the jar. That's when the inspiration hit Jake. "We don't have to get him in the Jar. We just have to get him out of the house before Molly returns." They quickly grabbed the chair and ran to the front porch. At last, victory..... Just at this moment the fire alarm went off. Apparently, during the ruckus, Jake had knocked an oven mitt onto the stove which chose this moment to burst into flames. Jake grabbed the mitt dashed to the porch and was preparing to extinguish the burning mitt when of course what to his wondering eyes should appear? Queen Molly selected this moment to pull up in the driveway. She just starred at the smoke poring out of the house, living room furniture on the porch, Jake holding a flaming oven mitt and holding a stick. Then Jake, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible said, "Hello dear, how was your day?" Molly speaking loudly so that she could be heard over the smoke alarm said, "Jake is there something you would like to tell me?" Jake thought quickly, but decided that despite his ingenuity, he really didn't have a plausible explanation.
At this moment, the mouse decided that he would rather take his chances at some other location. He dropped out of the chair, scurried across the yard and never looked back. King Jake watched him go and wished he could do the same. Don't worry about Jake. He's been in worse trouble before. Maybe next time Jake will listen to Queen Molly. You never know.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Royal Inspection

During King Jake's fact finding tours, he likes to see how his citizens are living. As you can see, they apear to be living quite well. Here we see a typical dwelling in the Kingdom. As you can obviously see, it has ample space and all of the modern conveniences. The decorating style is called "modern animal pelt" which is quite the rage in the Kingdom. Well it is quite the rage with the people actually. The animals in the kingdom are a little less enthusiastic.

Royal Entourage

During King Jake's royal expedition to explore the four corners of the Kingdom of Pohick, he was joined by his royal entourage. On this expedition, the royal entourage consisted of the royal family and Sir Mike and Lady DJ. Sir Mike is the King's Minster of Transportation. His duties included overseeing all forms of transportation within the Kingdom of Pohick. Lady DJ is the King's Minister of Justice. Her duties include overseeing the court system with the Kingdom of Pohick.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Royal Expedition

From time to time, King Jake finds it expedient to go out among the citizens of the Kingdom of Pohick for a little meet and greet. This provides Jake the opportunity to leave the day to day hassles of life in the castle and survey the true state of the kingdom without the sugar coating that the ministers often add. These expeditions also afford the citizens of Pohick a rare opportunity to see their royalty up close and personal. Of course even though the vast majority of King Jake's citizens are very content and exceptionally happy with the way the Kingdom is run, there are always a few rotten apples in every bunch. Therefore, it is prudent that as Jake sets off on his journey, that he and the rest of the royal expedition don a little protection.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pohick Picks - Favorite TV Shows

Here are the favorite TV shows of the Pohick royal family. Tell us about your favorite TV shows.

King Jake:

1. Battlestar Galactica Humans vs Cylons. Who could ask for more.
2. Survivor Humans vs the environment and each other. Who could ask for more.
3. Deal Or No Deal Hosted by actor-comedian Howie Mandel, the show pits the contestants againt the evil banker. It's all about the odds. Of course King Jake is often heard to scream that the contestants are the stupidest greediest people in the world.

Queen Molly:
1. House an hour-long medical drama that stars Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning British actor Hugh Laurie. Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House, a maverick medical genius who heads a team of young diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Despite his abrasive personality, the members of his team remain steadfast in their loyalty, going to extraordinary lengths to accomplish a common task: diagnosing and treating unusual ailments.
2. Charmed is about three sisters who are powerful good witches known throughout the supernatural community as "The Charmed Ones." Each sister possesses unique magical powers that grow and evolve over the course of their lives.
3. The Apprentice is a reality television show that is hosted by Donald Trump and the final prize is a job with a starting contract of one year at a hefty six-figure salary.

Princess StarrySpark:
1. Suite Life of Zack and Cody Zack and Cody Martin (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) are identical twins whose single mother, Carey, has a gig as headlining singer at the Tipton Hotel, the swankiest hotel in Boston, and, as part of her contract, an upper floor suite in the hotel, which is where they all live.
2. Kim Possible is an animated television series about a teenage crimefighter named Kim who has the task of dealing with worldwide, family, and school issues every day.
3. That's So Raven The plot revolves around fashionable teenager Raven Baxter's schemes to get herself, or one of her friends or family members, out of a situation, usually by using her psychic powers and her skills as a master of disguise.

Princess Yellow Hair:
1. Suite Life of Zack and Cody Zack and Cody Martin (Dylan and Cole Sprouse) are identical twins whose single mother, Carey, has a gig as headlining singer at the Tipton Hotel, the swankiest hotel in Boston, and, as part of her contract, an upper floor suite in the hotel, which is where they all live.
2. Hannah Montana stars as Miley Stewart, who lives a double life as a normal girl at school during the day and a famous pop/rock star (Hannah Montana) at night. However, no one knows about her secret except for her widowed father, who is also her manager (played by Miley's father Billy Ray Cyrus), her brother, and her two best friends.
3. Deal Or No Deal Hosted by actor-comedian Howie Mandel, the show pits the contestants againt the evil banker. It's all about the odds. Princess YH has an uncanny ability to select the case with the money.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

King Jake Stands Guard

Pohick National News (PNN) - April 4, 2006 - Today at the little cabin King Jake was spotted while standing guard over the kingdom. Queen Molly was heard to say that Jake was probably looking for the invading mice army that he suspects is forming just outside the boundaries of the kingdom. King Jake however denied this was the case and muttered something about looking at the birds. Anyone who knows Jake would agree that bird watching is a very un-Jake-like behavior. Jake stated that he had seen a very large woodpecker which he later identified as a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) after consulting the internet. King Jake was so insistent he had actually seen the woodpecker that Queen Molly had little choice but to believe him. Later though, Queen Molly and the Pohick Princesses did have a lively discussion about which might be more disturbing, Jake standing guard for mice or Jake watching the birds up in the trees. They did agree that Jake's behavior might require a little closer scrutiny for the next while.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Royal Holiday

After all of the strife in the Kingdom during the recent unfortunate incident with the mouse, King Jake decided to raise morale. He decreed a holiday and a royal tournament. In most kingdoms a tournament involves jousting and such. In the Kingdom of pohick though the royal sport is orienteering. Orienteering involves roaming through the forest with a map and compass as your guide. The team that can correctly locate each of the assigned points in the quickest time is the winner. For this particular contest, King Jake teamed with Princess StarrySpark and Queen Molly teamed with Princess Yellow Hair. With a hearty high ho silver and away, each team was off with a shot. Each team was determined to out orienteer the other. Several hours later when the royal park rangers managed to locate the missing Pohick family, spirits were somewhat more subdued. Just kidding. Actually, both of the royal orienteering teams did quite well and found all of their points. It was almost perfect weather and an afternoon of strolling through the forest was exactly what the doctor ordered!!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Mouse War - Mr. Mouse Banished

Pohick National News (PNN) April 2, 2006 - Political turmoil reigned today in the Kingdom of Pohick. Despite a last minute appeal to the Pohick Supreme Court and a Writ of Certiorari issued by the court, King Jake ordered the banishment of Mr. Mouse from the kingdom. Rumor has it that Queen Molly put her foot down and demanded that the King carry out with the sentence. King Jake being more afraid of the Queen than the Pohick Supreme Court ordered the sentence carried out. The bailiff, Princess Yellow Hair followed the King's instructions. She transported Mr. Mouse to the edge of the Pohick National Forest and released him with this warning.

Princess Yellow Hair: I'm sorry Mr. Mouse, but you are forever banished from the Kingdom of Pohick. We wish you well though and hope that you will meet up with a nice mouse lady and raise a family some place far away from the Kingdom of Pohick. So Mr. Mouse, now that you've been banished, where are you going to go?

Mr. Mouse: I'm going to Disney World. I hear that they need a stunt double for Mickey. I can take a punch you know. And that Minnie... She's a looker.

With that, Mr. Mouse turned tail (literally) and headed down the trail in the direction of Disney World. Perhaps we will see Mr. Mouse again some day. We wish him the best of luck.