Monday, October 06, 2008

Other Projects

While I spend all day at work doing project-related stuff, my projects at home are less intrusive.
Gwynyth brought home an assignment from school, so I naturally latched on to that.
She was tasked with building a model of a Native American structure. Since there were no guidelines for building materials or styles, I submitted a project plan to the family for approval:

This was voted down almost instantly, in spite of my argument that there were no published guidelines clarifying our direction.
Apparently, Social Studies does not change with the times.
At this point, I began to argue in favor of a longhouse made from sticks from the yard.
I could see where this was going, and I started to panic a little.
See, I grew up in the desert. Everywhere I looked was sand and dry earth and scrub brush.
And one year, my family dragged my sister and I on a vacation to New Mexico.
We spent (what seemed like) years looking at about a zillion buildings made from adobe.
I came to hate that monochromatic mud with a burning fervor normally reserved for vinyl siding.
I mean it is the same color as everything else! And it isn't like you can even pretty it up with decorative plants because it is out in the freaking desert.
I argued and whined and begged all the way through the store where we bought a couple of pounds of tan clay.
I'm a professional.
So when we got our supplies back home I demanded sketches from Gwynyth so that we could clearly document her vision.
Her vision, it seems, involved a Native American high-rise apartment.
They had those, sure. They built them into cliff faces and used ladders and (I would assume) fireman poles like in the Bat Cave.
But, I argued, there was probably not a Starbucks in the original dwelling.
So we built a smaller house.
I tried to add some drama to the diorama by placing a clay snake inside, but Gwynyth added another snake and set them up so they look like they are kissing.
I did manage to sneak in a few touches for the final product:

I'm pretty sure there were ninjas in your typical Native American dwelling, like the little guys up top fighting to the death. At least, the textbook did not specifically state that there were not ninjas.
If the ninjas were worth their weight in sticky rice it's not like they'd have left evidence of their presence anyway.
And we were limited on tiny plastic livestock, so the goat-looking thing in the bottom right is a unicorn. Again, there is no note in the book about there not being unicorns.
And, standing next to to the noble shirtless guy on the left, are some pirates.
Because if there were, as we have irrefutably established, ninjas there, then they would no doubt still be there unless pirates chased them away.
History doesn't have to be as boring as I'd feared.

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