Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Bad Dad

Birthday Cake V1.0 featured one large light bulb (requires 4 AA batteries) in a circuit with a touch switch. Although the snap circuit set came with two switches, Iris selected the touch switch so that she can make the light go off at the exact moment her daddy "blows" the candle out.
Iris had me stall her dad upstairs in the morning while she wrapped his present, a self portrait in pipe cleaners, and made his cake. When he came downstairs for breakfast, she surprised him with this. Awww.

After breakfast, Mark and I settled in with a Sudoku race and Iris played around with her snap circuit set. She discovered that the musical box in the set plays "Happy Birthday" and tried to put that in the circuit with the light bulb. No dice. Or rather, no light.

She tried the smaller light bulb that works with as few as 2 AA batteries. Still no light. She was about to give up when she tried the music box with only 2 AA batteries. It sang! She then built two separate circuits, each with a pair of AA batteries and a switch.

Birthday Cake V2.0 comes with musical accompaniment, albeit at the expense of a reduced wattage bulb.
She had gone to Fry's for a flash light bulb for this experiment out of Sandra Markle's Build a Room Alarm and 16 More Electrifying Projects! but impulse shopper mommy also bought her Snap Circuits SC-300.

We capped off the day with our own version of an electrical parade. We rehearsed before my shower. During the second rehearsal, while Bad Dad showered, she thrust a magnalite in my hand. What happened to the light bulb + AA circuit?

"We have a change of plans." Then she took the flashlight from my hand and handed me the circuit board. Another change in plans. She had switched the switches so that the light stayed on continuously but the music played only with my finger against the touch switch.

She ordered me to turn off the lights in the office/guest room. I complied. She told me to march in place. She swung the flashlight around in arcs. We could see the effect in the mirrored closet doors. Satisfied, she said we were ready to open the door.

We marched through the family room, into the master bedroom and barged into the master bathroom, turning off the lights. He started to get mad, but then he laughed. How can you not be delighted by your very own private "Main Street Electrical Parade"?

I bought Iris the Elanco 60-piece Electronic Snap Circuit SC-300 set. I didn't want to go one up to the 75-piece SC-500 set because I wasn't sure she would use it enough to warrant the extra cost. Now I wish I had sprung for the SC-500 set. She had so much fun with it on Tuesday afternoon (school and daycare closed, mommy busy at work, daddy on a business trip) and this weekend. She doesn't even follow the instruction booklet anymore, preferring to try her own ideas.

My real agenda at Fry's was to buy a IDE to Firewire 800 hard drive sled. Can you believe that they had not a single IDE interface sled in the entire store? I told the Fry's guy that Firewire is negotiable, I would settle for USB 2.0. But he said, "We don't have any IDE interface sleds period; we haven't had any in the past month."

So I am staring down 150 IDE hard drives containing about 2 Terabytes of data (you read that right, 2 Terabytes, not Gigabytes) which I can't read, and I was ready to cry.

My electrical engineer coworker saw my distress and said, "We'll go on the internet to buy components. I will build you exactly what you need. We can even build a dual or quad drive on a single rack." Then he went off to a meeting and came back to my office after the meeting to see how Iris was coming along with the snap circuits.

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