Jack and Sam's

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dangerous Thing #1: Lick a 9-Volt Battery

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Taste Electricity

Location: Austin, Tx.
Date: May 3 & 9, 2010
Objects: 9-volt battery and aluminum foil

This photo speaks a mouthful. Sam was NOT a fan of this dangerous thing. We tried this together, me first. Nervous, not knowing what to expect, I was stunned by the shock it produced. Sam was game to give it a go despite my reaction, however he was none too pleased afterwords. He reported that the quick touch of terminal to tongue resulted in a jolt that “hurt”. And not a momentary experience of pain, but one that lasted “too long” … “for hours!”

We followed up a week later with the alternate, aluminum foil version. We both don’t think we felt electricity, but it did leave a less than good taste in our mouths. The action of eating foil was fun, bizarre! Personally, I love doing these experiments with Sam, we are connecting and being silly and recording our experiences helps to integrate and synthesize “what just happened?!”

Dangerous Thing #42: Break the Recipe Rule Book

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2010 at 2:35 am

Create and eat your own confection

This was so incredibly fun. Jack said this afternoon, “I wonder what peanut butter and milk together would taste like” and I was so glad I had the book to bolster me up because I realized, “Oh, it’s one of the dangerous things, let’s do it!”
He was so into it, very intent. It was harder than I would have thought, sitting on my hands and not interfering! First, he added milk ( a LOT of milk, and it was hard being chill about the use of all that expensive organic milk, but what’s a few bucks to further the tinkering cause…) and then peanut butter and lemon juice. He tasted it and, “Oh. I forgot to add sugar.” Added sugar, still wasn’t quite right. Maybe some jam? “Now it will be like a smoothie, this is like the fruit for a smoothie!” But after a taste… still needs something else. Absolutely seriously and not facetiously at all, he decided to add a pickle. Then tries to correct the pickle flavor with some honey. And then again quite seriously decided to add a chunk of cheese. It’s beyond repair now and we chuck it, but then he decided to go back and reunite some of the flavors that worked for him… lemon juice, milk, and sugar. Delicious! Isn’t that amazing?

Dangerous Thing #4: Kiss Hello Like the French

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2010 at 1:11 am

Faire la bise

Location: Austin, Tx.
Date: April 5, 2010
Object: Deux persons et deux joue

I admit, it’s hardly hard to do, I am a Francophile. J’adore everything French! Sam and I have been having a blast reading Le Petit Nicholas series and we went to see A Town Called Panic at the Alamo… I think he has the Paris bug as he’s asked to visit! So he was game to try Dangerous thing #4 on for the camera.

It was shocking to learn we have been attempting this sassy greeting w/o the sage guidance and context of Gever Tulley. As opposed to our doing it privately, it became far more silly when we were mugging for the camera. Sam is intent on actually kissing my cheek, which goes against the directions, but rules are made to be broken, non?

In the end he made like the French.

His review of the experience? “It didn’t count because we aren’t strangers.” Well, I am more than happy to indulge him if he suggests we must go to the land of liberté, egalité, fraternité, to get this one right.

Dangerous Thing #30: Dam Up a Creek

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 at 2:49 am

Change the course of history (momentarily)


I was glad that this was included in the book. While not dangerous per se (unless you’re planning on upping the ante by sandbagging a raging river) it is, to me, one of the great joys of childhood. We had this big dirt pile in our backyard when I was a kid. That dirt pile saw a LOT of action. We were back there every day with our Star Wars figures. I would construct these intricate waterways with rivers, dams, and lakes… would work on it dry for hours, and then the big moment would come when I would bury the hose in the side of the pile so that the water would spurt out from the head of the river as if emanating straight from the aquifer. I was filled with satisfaction as the raging headwaters coursed down the winding path I had built. So anyway, that was loads of fun and I always notice kids are drawn to it. This summer we had the fun of going to Mt. Bachelor in Oregon where we actually got to play in a snow drift in July. The snow was melting and there was a tiny little creek running from the snowdrift and down the mountain. This kid and his dad arrived and this kid just went straight to work building a dam. I could see he was completely absorbed and could have stayed there for hours. His dad, on the other hand, pitched a few snowballs and was ready to get back in the car. I felt bad for the kid, but anyway…. something about dams and creeks is primal and universal. Unleashes the inner workerman or workerwoman in every kid.

50 dangerous things author in Austin THIS WEEKEND!

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Not to be missed!

Dangerous thing #13: Boil Water in a Paper Cup

In Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 at 2:13 am

The intersection of incompatible elements

What we learned from this experiment was that Starbucks cups are HEAVY DUTY. That thing just sat there on the open flame and the water boiled and boiled for probably about an hour. Jack decided to try boiling a hot dog. And then Bruno wanted one, so he boiled a hot dog, too. And the cup and boiling water were still going strong.

Unbelievable! So now you know, if you’re ever out camping or something you needn’t even necessarily bring a pot with you… your cast-off paper coffee cup will work just fine. Gever suggests an option of folding an origami box if you can’t find a paper cup. I’d like to try that one and see what happens with really flammable paper.

Dangerous thing #20: Squash Pennies on a Railroad Track

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Leverage the force of a locomotive.

West Texas holds many opportunities for dangerous thing-ing. Including an accessible and safe opportunity to test more speed related experiments. An active commercial railroad passes through the center of town day and night, with ample and obvious warnings, via train horn, crossing bells and gates. So we were safe and ready to go.

Location: Marfa, Tx.
Date: March 13, 2010
Speed: Unknown
Object: Penny

First time, Sam and his buddies all placed a single penny on the rail. We failed to tape it down since, surprise!, I didn’t read the instructions. We discussed what results we thought would occur, and got 3 different answers:

1. The train will totally squashed the penny
2. The train will knock the penny off the rail
3. The train wheels will collect the penny and take it away

All three thoughts were verified! The coins were indeed (1) totally squashed, the ones we easily found. One coin eluded our search until 67 rails later (2) it was discovered… totally squashed. And on the second run, after I read the taping down the coin thing, the train seemed to have melted the penny onto its wheel. For a length of the track we saw tiny impressions of rounded shapes on the rails, but no penny. We concluded that (3) the train took the coins with it.

Some coins were so squashed that no traces of the penny’s design remained. But on some you could still identify Abe Lincoln, etc.. We attempted squashing a quarter as well. The result was similar, but delighted in the discovery that the grooved edges remained. Cool stuff.

Dangerous Thing #45: Play with Fire

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2010 at 5:03 am

Harness the most awesome force in nature.

Dangerous Thing #15: Throw Things from a Moving Car

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Play with speed, gravity and wind resistance.

A road trip to West Texas gave our family an opportunity to finally dive into the 50 Dangerous Things. True to form, I didn’t read the instructions stating that this dangerous thing was best experienced at 40mph. And, if I read the instructions I also would’ve known that we should’ve tried multiple kinds of perishables. Oh well, typical me. However, this offers an opportunity to revisit this dangerous thing, right?

Location: Rte 67, Alpine, Tx.
Date: March 11, 2010
Speed: 60mph
Object: Banana

Regretfully, Sam wasn’t that impressed. He was pretty disappointed that the banana (we tried this 2 times) followed the wind patterns and landed behind the car, not on the side of the road as anticipated. Upside: He knows more about aerodynamics now! I think an explosion would’ve elicited a more enthusiastic result… I have a feeling we can arrange that. Stay tuned.

Dangerous Thing #3: Master the perfect somersault

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2010 at 1:53 am

Before they are banned at your school.