Archive for July, 2011

Boy Volcanoes

July 16, 2011

I met Nichol and her two sons on the beach yesterday.

The elder boy decided he wanted to be buried and have a fake mermaid tail sculpted over his legs. So he lay down and we proceeded to pile sand on top of him. As I recall we didn’t do a very good job on the tail, but we did cover him.

But we didn’t put enough sand on him, and he was up again soon enough and into the water.

Then the younger son decided that he wanted to be buried too. I couldn’t quite figure out what he intended as the first thing he wanted was a narrow and fairly deep hole. And then another. It turned out these were for his legs, and he planted a foot in each hole (about knee high or so) and stood.

He wanted to be buried standing up.

I don’t think it had ever occurred to me that this was an option for burying someone, but, on the other hand, it would immobilize him in a way that a conventional sand burial would not. So I set to work and soon had the sand up to his shoulders.

Just as I’d gotten him trapped, his brother came up and decided that he too wanted to be buried.

Both boys want to be immobilized? (They tend to run around and fight each other, it’s very distracting, but now they both want to be forced to stand in one place? I couldn’t resist.)

The elder brother is taller than his sibling. I hadn’t quite realized what that meant. Now the volume of a cone is (π × r2 × h)/3. And the radius of a pile of sand is related to its height by the angle of repose. h = r × tan(θ). Wikipedia says the angle of repose for sand is 34°, while I measure a value of 32° on the photograph below (close enough). Anyway this means that the volume of of sand that I need to pile around a boy is proportional to the cube of his height (π × h3)/( 3 × tan(θ)2) = (π × h3)/1.2.

I need to add a lot more sand to the taller boy.

Luckily he also wants a hole for his feet (he only gets one hole containing both feet while his brother got two, one for each foot). But it takes forever to cover him up to his shoulders.

Unfortunately, before I finish, the younger brother gets bored and his volcano erupts and spews forth a boy. I have failed in my diabolical ploy to immobilize both of them.

Sour grapes

July 9, 2011

I’m not in Sacramento. I’m not running in the World Masters’ track meet. And a good thing too. It’s in the 90s there. I’m glad I got injured!


July 7, 2011

I’m not sure if that’s the proper term for a flower lacking pigment, but then I don’t know what is. At any rate, this year I have been struck by a number of white flowers in close proximity to their more colorful siblings. It appears to be — well, hardly common — but still not uncommon to find a flower that is all white when it should be red or blue or whathaveyou.

Where possible I compare a white flower to an immediately adjacent colored flower.

The first white flower I noticed was a figwort. It was growing on Buena Vista trail, there was a large plant and all its flowers were white. Near-by were many other plants with the normal dark maroon flower. Jepson doesn’t recognize a white figwort, so I presume it is just a variant. The plant continued to bloom through the spring until it was mown down during a trail clearance operation.

These white Clarkias were blooming amid a stand of pink ones. I can’t identify the species. There are white Clarkias in California, but not, I think, in SB. So I presume they are again a color variant. This variant is moderately common and I’ve saw it in several places this spring and in one place last year

Chinese houses are usually blue, but for the past two years I have seen one all white plant on Arroyo Burro trail (back side). There is a closely related species which is all white, but it’s leaves are recurled, and anyone there’s just this one plant surrounded by normal Chinese houses…

On 16 April 2011 I saw this white Delphinium growing amid a patch of purple Delphiniums. Now there is a species of white Delphiniums which is found in SB but it needs special soil; I doubt it would grow where normal D. parryi are found. This particular white plant looked spindly and only had one bloom.

Another white Delphinium found amid a stand of scarlet ones. This one looked (in growth pattern) exactly like all the scarlet ones around it, so again, even though there is a species of white Delphinium in SB county, I don’t think this is an example.

There is a local white snapdragon, but these flowers don’t look like its flowers; these are shaped like those of the sticky snapdragon and this plant was surrounded by sticky snapdragons

This monkey-flower might be within the normal color range for its species (which varies considerably), but it looked so very white when I saw it. The plant had another bloom which was a more normal orange.

Albino Blue Dicks
One Blue Dick plant with white flowers immediately adjacent to another with blue flowers (Apr 2014)


My brother
This is another variable species as far as coloration is concerned but I happen to know that my brother is a true albino.