Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Fork Is In


For anyone still reading this I'm afraid the time has come - the blog is done. I moved and slashed the readership (most of whom think this place died already - which sucks) and temporarily held off the spammage and people looking for utter filth. But not for long. Add the old URL is still getting hit with filth. I can't be bothered with all that. I realize that I have attempted to quit this once before - well this is the real deal. Tis done.

But for those of you who came to actually read - thank you very much. You have no idea how honored I've been to share the last ludicrous 18 months of being a stay-at-home-Dad with you. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Monday, December 17, 2012

King Of The Jungle

Before I get going here are some obligatory photos of our Christmas tree I let my daughter take one, my son and then I set the timer. None of them worked.

Here's the one my daughter took. Annoyingly she chose a close up of herself on an ornament. That kid of vanity worries me. It's a bit like watching Olympics coverage on US netowrk television - not a single idea about the context or broader picture whatsoever.

Having said that it's less worrisome than the only picture my son took.

And as the pièce de résistance - I did this one. And my daughter ran away before it went off making it look like all the females in the family have either fled or been bumped off.

I'll obviously have my wife take a real photo with her good camera that isn't blurred, doesn't have toys on the floor or isn't too far away, isn't just of my daughter's face or my crotch and has all of us in it. Basically every single element of the above three photos will be different.

Moving on - there's a show on TV that I've mentioned previously that is unlike any other kids show on. It's called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and is based on an old segment from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Here's a clip.

It's quite nice I suppose. But after a few it begins to hurt your brain. It's mainly different from other shows for three reasons.

1) It's cloyingly nice - except when it's terrifying. When someone does anything they'll gush about how much they love it and everyone and how special it is - and then they'll sing a twee song about it. An example being today's show the main character is told to put his shoes on. He finds them - says how much he loves shoes - sings about how much he loves shoes, feet and walking - and then puts them on. Then his parents sing the same song about how much love they all have for shoes. Which would reek of a fetishism if it weren't for the fact that they did it about toothpaste, bathing, boats and not being alone. Which is unbearably saccharine. But what makes it worse is that for almost every single situation these moments are invaded by a horrifying neurosis that the kid tiger has. So after they've all sung a song about how bath bubbles are like a blanket of fluffy love a brooding minor-chord swells up and the kid asks, "what if I get sucked down the plug hole....." before his mother reassures him he isn't about to drown to death. Again - as a one off it would be fine. But in the last five minutes it's been on Daniel has said he's scared of going to bed in case he never wakes up, and he's afraid of the dark in case there are killers hiding in the shadows. And my word is that tiger afraid of his parents leaving and never returning. It all conveys the idea that whoever wrote this show was left in a cardboard box outside an orphanage as a child.

2) My son laughs at a few things - but he laughs all the time at this show. Not at jokes or anything obviously amusing. He just explodes with laughter at random moments. I have no idea why. I tried videoing him but it's so random I kept missing it. He just laughed because the kid sang a song about brushing teeth. Not during the song, or because there's a tiger with tooth paste - but randomly in the lull between when the kid expressed how much absolute love he gets from pleasing his mother by having healthy teeth and wondering if he's brushed them well enough to die from virulent gingivitis.

3) The male tiger characters don't wear pants. Everyone else does. Even the Mom tiger does. It's patently a choice by the illustrator. I can overlook the fact that - for some odd reason - anthropomorphic jungle animals seem to be living amongst the human population. And I could even overlook the fact that the tiger family just had a "healthy dinner" that mostly involved spinach. But why on earth is EVERYONE wearing pants except the male tigers? Not believing me? Here -:

That's bizarre. So weird in fact that it took my wife mere seconds upon seeing the show to ask why the boy and his Dad naked from the waist down. The only explanation I can think of is that - in a world where animals live with humans - the best way to emphasize their "King of the jungle" status is to have them prancing about with their lion-bars wobbling about all over the place. I can envisage some odd Crocodile Dundee-style "that's not a knife - THIS is a knife" willy comparison going on somewhere. It even brought to mind an old Jack Dee joke where he said after holding his newborn child he feared he may not be the real dad because of the enormous appendage - until the nurse pointed out, "that's the umbilical chord Mr. Dee."

And if you don't believe me why don't you take a stroll around town today in just a hoodie and running shoes and see how long you go before being tasered.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Whoopsie Vision News

Yesteryda my daughter argued vehemently with me that spaceships go into "outor space". I used to correct her when she was wrong about a particular word. But that was when she couldn't spell very well so it would just end up with her mouthing the word back to herself and then angrily telling me I was wrong. Fine examples being her insistence that molten lava comes out of a, "bolcano" and that I sometimes play the "gintar". But now she can spell. She can write anything you explain and can read most things to determine what they say. So after saying "outor space" I told her helpfully that it is actually "outer space". She argued with me and accused me lying. So I wrote it down. Nope  - she pointed out I can't spell because it's supposed to be, "outor".

Thing is now it's my responsibility to tell her flat out when she's wrong lest that single instance be the reason that she develops a stunted vocabulary with bastardized words in it that are clearly pronounced incorrectly. In other words like she lives in central NY. So I put my foot down and told her it definitely is "outer space" and I won't hear any more about it. I reveled in that victory all day long. That was until later on in the day when she asked me to look at the, "papor" that she drawn on. It wasn't a one off - she was intentionally trying to win me up! How can she be that old already?! The icing on the cake was at 5.30pm when she declared loudly that, "it's time for dinnor!" Not only that she's really over-emphasizing the weird Savannah-drawl that has her somehow inserting 4 syllables into the word "and". It's like living with Crabtree from Allo Allo. Even her mother laughed at her deviousness. Which I think means I now will endure intentionally horrific pronunciations until the day we send her off to join the French Foreign Legion.

Actually one thing I am happy about is that my daughter thinks patches on clothes are amazing.I remember being able to buy patches that were allegedly cool - with phrases and pictures and whatnot on them-  when I was younger. And that for a short time teenagers like me wore patches on their denim jeans/jackets with the names of favorite bands on them. But these ones are just bland-colored ones from a bulk JoAnn Fabrics mending kit. But she still thinks they're amazing. Which is useful because she's going through the knees of pants like her knees excrete acid. And - amusingly - her school friends think her patches are amazing as well. They told her they go really well with her ninja hood.

Lastly my daughter made her first report on Whoopsie Vision News. She made it this morning because her mother got up to go to work at 5am and - as I was already up - they both got up. They were off the wall demanding that I dance with them. So instead I lay under a blanket and let them jump on me. Always works. We all look like we've been dragged through a hedge backwards being as it's so early but that makes it more charming. Anyhoo - my daughter wants to be like Francine on The New Electric Company and make news reports about absurd situations. On the upside that's a good show that is made funnier by constant appearances from the guys from The Daily Show. It's a bit "stage school" but that actually makes it oddly appealing in the format it's in. On the down-side Francine is the cunning, mean character on The Electric Company. And guiltily I had a weird dream a few weeks back in which she showed up at my house trying to sell her services as a "personal pony". Which is based on a song sung by Davy Jones that my daughter liked 2 years ago about penguins. Which makes it evil. This pony request wasn't rude or anything but I still felt weird about it. I woke up before anything occurred but it the dream had that annoying feeling that your private inner mind has been invaded by someone who then defiles it. Still - here's Whoopsie Vision News with a report titled Whoopsie Whipsie Lemon Squipsy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Owl Of Scorn

Daughter: Drinking tea is hard because you have to hold a cup like a crab.

I wasn't going to write anything today. I was busy doing other things. But I thought I should at least mention why this blog moved. Firstly the name it was hosted on was awful. It was a juvenile joke from years back based around a forum named I had until recently. Basically I picked the name of a disease - an unfashionable one with connotations that some people find amusing - that made Googling it annoying. Because I'd become known as that name on a forum, I picked that as the name of the URL for this blog. I KNEW at the time that was stupid and childish but did it anyway. Because I was just that risque and hilarious. Anyhoo - you could say I didn't just grow tired of that silliness but I grew up out of it. That's not who I am. To put it dramatically - Herpes Is Dead. And I'm very happy about that.

Secondly the traffic over the last month rose considerably. And I mean four or five-fold on some days. Mostly that appeared to be genuine readership. But annoyingly I was also getting spammed to death. A lot was stat websites and those sites that look to see if you're content is original or stolen (as if anyone else would write this silliness?). Some was from odd Eastern European sites that I wouldn't click on if you paid me to. But a few posts in particular (for whatever congruence of reasons) would get spam-comments so frequently that I could spend an annoying portion of the day deleting them. After speaking with a few others they said that you can change your URL and shake that off. That frankly makes no sense to me - but since moving over I've had not one occurrence. And worse - the routes and types of people getting here was awful. Just nasty, evil horrible stuff that made me ill. I reveled in the amusement of the lighter jokey stuff. But seriously - very sick, very frightening people were looking up awfulness and getting to me. I don't want that kind of creep in my families' life - even via this route. And while I'm sad that some people will see the, "Blog Has Been Removed" warning at the old URL and not give it a Google to double-check, I was pretty much a day or so away from packing it in just for the annoyance and creepiness of that. And again - I'm tenuously hoping to shake the nastiness off.

Thirdly I've changed. I'm still an idiot. And I'm still the same guy that wrote all that silly stuff. But I'm also not. I ended up going through some old entries a little while back and thought some was funny - but that some didn't make me feel good about having written it. And then I heard from a few old friends who ONLY know me via what I'd written here and maybe Facebook. And that character was a bit of a dick. That's all they know of me for the last 2 years. Which feels quite hollow actually - especially as I'm not thinking about life the same way. Not to sound like "one of those people" but rediscovering my faith is playing a huge part. So I want to sort of demarcate my life into an old and new period. I hope that doesn't sound as precious or off-putting as I imagine it could.

Also it was like a reset. This blog started a long time ago with a handful of weird aims. One was to tell my wife about the day. One was to record things for my kids. One to maybe make a good go of it all and write something worth buying. One to record things and write stuff that I thought was funny. My wife doesn't have time to read this these days. Add all the silly things I'd made a note of - ideas and silliness that I'd ever taken but not published - pages and pages of them - were inadvertently deleted. Not sure how but the fact they were was oddly a big relief. When it was gone I didn't write for 3 days. As opposed to 3 posts a day at the time. That felt pretty good! So I had to start fresh. But more importantly I was already doing something else with that energy. All the original aims seem silly now. And I'm enjoying the reset very much. Except this post - this seems too twee.

And frankly I wasn't too happy with the idea of telling people - let alone my kids - "hey read this thing I wrote about us! It's on a blog named after a virulent STD!" It's also probably apparent that I write a lot less than I used to. I'm doing more with my son (he's that age) and using my reading/writing time on other things. Things I feel are more worthy. So I'll still do this. I enjoy it when I have some fun things to talk about. But I'll likely post less (watch me make a fool of myself there) and the content will still be similar but just not as dickish. I hope you like it when I do write.

And for that I give myself the Owl Of Scorn.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Little Acorns

Been out all day. But first my son made sure we fed the squirrels....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Spy

Yesterday my daughter pretended to be a dog all day. Today she's pretending to be a spy.

His Most High Cheesestick

 For much of yesterday morning my son insisted on calling me, "Mr. Daddy".  

And not in a nice way. I could tell by the look on his face that says "I sense that this is royally pisses you off - but technically there's sod all you can do about it." It wasn't originally irritating until an hour had passed and he'd started saying things like, "Mr. Daddy gets me something to eat." There are all kinds of things wrong with that sentence. Such as the fact that the tense is all wrong and that there's no please involved. And I distinctly remember a conversation where I told him that - once his speech becomes more developed - that he shall refer to me as His Most High Cheesestick at all times.

But the unspoken wrongness of my newly ordained title was worse. My son knows the names of the people he associates with. All are referred to by an actual name or their descriptive relationship - like Grandma or The Garbage Man. There are very few people or things that he has seen fit to include the title "Mister" for. The only innocent one is Mr. Horse - which is a cuddly toy he got last Christmas. Outside of that he also knows a Mr. Bumcheek and Mr. Winkie.I feel I should mention at this point that sometimes when I put my son to bed he will joke, "Mr. Horse is going to eat you..." followed by a higher-pitched squeal of, "Oh no! Mr. Horse ate your bumcheek!" In other words - any and all instances of the title of Mister include references to an arse or a groin. Which is pretty much what he was smugly calling me. The little snipe. And to think he was calling me that after getting Nutella all over his fat, arrogant face. That's quite a decent Ron Swanson chocolate-tache he's got there, mind you.

In equally worrying news my daughter saw fit to tell me - without any prompting or context, "there is absolutely no kissing in school Daddy." Okay. I had to ask if she meant between the school kids and she said yes - because that's included in touching. And touching other people is wrong. I felt the need to cunningly inquire about how much was included in this warning for kids not to kiss each other. Was this just part of a broader No Touching rule wherein the teacher had said, "so no pinching, no kicking, no hitting, no squeezing, no hair pulling, no kissing, no smacking, no anything each other - okay?" to them. Or had it been a set of rigid, dry instructions about inappropriate behavior that had been divided into sub-groups? Meaning one about aggressive physical contact or inappropriate touching between kids. And then possibly even a moment where the teacher had had to explain the uncomfortable message to kids that there are definite, rules in place where adults can't break those rules either - and if they do here's what to do if that happens. That's unpleasant but it has to be done. That's the bursting of innocence right there - because that's not your parents telling you about it (and it likely not making any sense) but another person your parents told you to trust.

Now obviously the single most powerful factor about children of my daughter's age is the enormous sense of innocence they ooze. It's a startling thing that I couldn't appreciate until I had kids of my own. Obviously I'd heard about the notion of it  many times - but frankly it had nothing to do with me so I didn't invest any energy into understanding it at all. But now I have kids and it's so apparent in everything they do. We live in such a hyper-sexualized, body-obsessed, smut-peddling society. That pervasive everything-is-sex image encroaches on almost every facet of life. So much so that it's warped our sensibilities to not only picture innocent behavior as innately sexual, but more-so to fear that other people will judge that innocent behavior as having sexual undertones of some type. I'm not going to even get into the darker, evil side of things. I'm just referring to the fact that things like kissing means a very narrow thing to kids. They don't even have the ability to comprehend what it can mean in other contexts. Instead to them it's forbidden for them in an almost rude sense. It's like saying "poop" in class. It's an entirely different dimension. For example I recall looking through the underwear pages of a Littlewood's catalogue as a kid with my sisters and counting all the bellybuttons we could see. Every other part of the women in underwear was completely invisible - but we knew that those bellybuttons were naughty. It's wrong, but only on that level. In broader terms my daughter not only doesn't know where on the Venn diagram of sex that kissing is, but she doesn't even know there is one. That sense of innocence is mindblowing.

All of which made it much more amusing when my daughter then followed up her, "there's no kissing at school" announcement with, "And if the teachers are caught kissing too they have to go and sit in the principal's office until the end of the day." Which was interesting to hear - especially if it's a real policy. Is there a special chair? Do they have to write lines on a blackboard? Actually these days it's probably a "cut and paste this on 500 pages in Microsoft Word - with a line break on every page". It was much more amusing though when I recounted the Teachers Cant Kiss Either rule back to her teacher later the next day. Instead of just laughing at how kid's take information that crosses those dimensional boundaries of comprehension she immediately wondered if there was any juicy gossip being missed. Oh I'll bet there is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Couch Potato

He's got a set of lungs on him...

Platitudes and Man-Trums

This morning my son (and his mother) got up before 5am.

She went off to work leaving a very grumpy boy with me. After a few minutes where he felt the need to hammer home how annoyed he was with how the morning was going he settled down to doze in front of a Thomas Tank Engine DVD. I was half-listening to it whilst learning how to tie a scarf properly (apparently my haphazard chuck it around my neck method amuses some of the mother's picking their kids up at school) when a ridiculous song came on. This is an actual line of the song that someone deliberated over as a way to teach young children something -:

"Thomas was having a wail of a time - he's trapped inside a disused mine."

Now I think that's promoting the wrong message myself. I don't think kids should aspire to be trapped in disused mines based on the notion that it would be immense fun. And nobody should be gathering kids together to sing songs about it, record it and then put it on internationally sold DVDs so that other kids could hear it. In fact everything about that is demented. The notion that someone in the UK either had a song about being trapped in a mine or was asked to write one for children is beyond odd. Then I - grumpy myself because my valuable Me Time had been trampled upon - found myself snarkily telling my son (who was under a blanket laughing) that a mine is no place for hijinks. He didn't seem to understand it mostly because he doesn't really know what a mine is. But now - annoyingly - all he does know of them is a romantic scenario that involves good times and singing. I might have to force him to watch Brassed Off (amusingly tagged with other movies on IMDB with "ticked off at the establishment" by the way) later just to get the miserable flip-side of it all.

All Saturday morning my kids and I played a game where I was a useless general contractor namedut  Bill The Bobber. He can't measore anything correctly and goes about his jobs with his clumsy cack-handed assistants Crash, Bash, Dizzy and DT. "DT" didn't originally stand for anything because my daughter made it up - but I've since come up with a back story that he injured himself on the job and his friends playfully call him that because the nickname "Distended Testicle" isn't quite as friendly. Anyhoo - they were arguably the worst contracting firm in history. Periodically whilst smashing things over and making a general pig's ear of everything we'd all sing "Bill The Bobber! NO WE CAN'T!" Which again showed that my son takes after me (he thought it was funny). My daughter would occasionally remember that this was wrong and would feel the need to publicly declare that the correct name of the real correct guy is Bob The Builder. The story ended with Bob having a "man-trum" because he's just realized he's in his upper thirties and is infamous in his community for being a lousy contractor.

Later on in the day I played another game with my kids where I tell them things and they have to guess whether I'm telling the truth. Except to help out I'll usually look off to the side and look like I'm trying not to laugh. An example...

"So many years ago there used to be an orange bird that could talk, It had a green tuft of hair on it's head and could see really well in the dark. It's called the Carrot Parrot..." (Snort)

"So there's this animal in New Zealand that is covered in wool and if you get to close to it an amazingly loud alarm goes off to warn people that someone is trying to steel it. It's called a Beep Sheep...." (Fnar)

"Years ago there was a dog that would dress up as a log and other dog's - also dressed as logs - would sometimes poo a log (but not one that was really a disguised dog) on it whilst singing the song In An English Country Garden. They were known as the Log Dogs..." (Ewwww)

All of which ended with a vile tale about a three legged wonkey donkey, an animal called a Platitude (a platypus with attitude...), the Moose that Looked Like Robert The Bruce and - I'm ashamed to say - a disturbing story about a grumpy ale-sodden police-horse that drives a Jaguar called the Inspector Morse Horse. I even managed to shoe-horn in the notion of Slutty Putty just because it sounded funny - but then quickly flushed that from the convesation when my brain dared me to make a joke about how's it;s used for filling cracks. Amusingly all of these made my son laugh but made my daughter angry. She initially started off being suspicious but thinking she was clever for noticing the incredibly obvious faces I was pulling. Then she became indignant about the whole thing and kept telling me that none of this was real and in fact could all be described as lies - and lies are wrong.She did though check with me the next morning - asking me to confirm that the Carrot Parrot was a made-up thing.

Lastly my daughter wanted me to put this photo on. They're two wool snowmen (although that red cape seems feminine) I got from a Salvation Army last week for 10 cents. Bargain.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Little Cave

Each night when I put my daughter to bed she asks me to tell her a story. It always follows the same format with her asking me to tell her about a time when I was a little something. It can be anything. She could ask me about when I was a snowball, a kangaroo, a doughnut or a cloud. Basically whatever thing she is currently thinking about would be in the story. I used to have to pretend to actually be the thing that she suggested. Nowadays she just wants me to tell a story about whatever she thinks up - but it must start the same way that the old stories used to. Lately she came up with the idea that I was a little cave. She loves this story. She likes the way that you think you know what is happening all the way through and then at the end there's a twist. For whatever reason she squeals and laughs so hard at the last line that it makes calming down to go to sleep seem a million miles away. I did try adding another line to the end but she told me flat out that it's better this way. Anyhoo - here goes...

Daughter: Daddy - tell me a story about when you were a little cave.

Me: Once upon a time there was a little cave named Daddy...

...and one day a little girl named Evelyn was out one day walking and it started to rain. She looked around for somewhere to stay dry and found a cave near her house that she hadn't seen before. So she went into the cave to stay dry. It was small and warm in the cave and there was a fire lit inside it. The light from the fire meant that Evelyn could see around her - but it was still dark toward the back of the cave. She wasn't sure if anyone else was in the cave so she thought it best to check.


A moment later she heard the reply, "Hello?" The voice didn't sound scary at all. More like someone checking to see if anyone else was in the cave. "Oh!" thought Evelyn. "There is someone else in here!" "My name is Evelyn" she said. The voice replied, "My name is Evelyn." Well what do you know - they, had the same name! So she thought about what else to say to show that she wasn't scary either. Then she said out loud, "My favorite color is purple!" And the voice replied, "My favorite color is purple!" Evelyn thought for a moment. Then she said, "I like to play Jump On Daddy!" And the voice replied, "I like to play Jump On Daddy!" Quickly Evelyn added, "I have a dog named Weston." Then the voice said, "I have a dog named Weston." Now there's a coincidence!

Evelyn was excited - a new friend! A moment later - whilst feeling hungry - Evelyn told her new friend, "I like hot dogs." Her friend replied, "I like hot dogs." Wow - another thing in common! They like the same foods, like the same games, they both had a dog named Weston and they both had the same favorite color! What were the chances of that!? "I think we're going to be good friends!" said Evelyn. The voice said the same thing, which made Evelyn smile.

A little while later Evelyn's friend from school (we'll call her Judy) arrived at the cave. She had been out walking too and had looked around for somewhere to stay dry too. "Hi, Evelyn!" said Judy. "What are you doing in here all alone?" Evelyn grinned and said, "Oh, I'm not alone - I'm here with my friend Evelyn." Judy looked around the little cave and couldn't see anyone else. She scrunched up her face and said, "I don't see anyone else?" So Evelyn explained all about how her new friend had the same name, had the same favorite color, liked to play the same games, had a dog named Weston and liked to eat hot dogs.

Judy chuckled and said, "Don't be silly. That's not a new friend - that's an echo!" Evelyn didn't know what an echo was. "An echo is when you say something out loud and your voice bounces back to you a second later," said Judy. "Look - I'll show you." Judy thought for a second and then said out loud, "My favorite color is pink!"

Then a moment later the voice replied, "Mine isn't. My favorite color is purple." 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Crumpet-Squirting Oxpecker

My son wants an Oxpecker.

When you look at the below you can see how two beasts of the wild have come to an agreement of mutual benefit. One gets clean - the other gets to eat.

Now, my son saw that this morning on an episode of The Cat In The Hat. Since then he's taken it upon himself to be an Oxpecker. Except one that is unbearably boisterous and apparently feeds by licking. Which would be somewhat amusing were it not for the fact that his nose is oozing green evil. And - may I add - it means that in this new relationship I'm a massive hippo.

Regardless - after some quite brilliant Jujitsu on my part I managed to prove to him that because I hadn't agreed for him to lick ticks from my back that he wasn't actually an oxpecker. At which point he fell back to his default position - asking if he could have one. He managed to ask repeatedly for about 45 minutes. We aren't the child-has-spiteful-tantrum-and-gets-stuff kind of family. Never have been and I pledge to never allow us to become one without a bloody good fight taking place. And thankfully he didn't become upset about it but he did convey that air that we had signed some sort of contract. And that when he mentions it loudly later on today in public that I will be the one that will look like I've been making promises I can't keep.

On an entirely different subject below is a photograph of my daughter's watch. She loves this watch. She has very little idea who Hello Kitty is - she thinks it's more a Super Kitten superhero accessory item. Anyway - she likes it very much and it was a nice gift to her a while back from a relative. And I for one am very happy that she likes it. But even my daughter thinks it is somewhat strange that the people who designed this watch didn't think to actually put a watch in it. As in - something that tells the actual time. As you can see from the digital display - that does work - the current time according to this is 14. That's right - just the number 14.

Anyhoo - I am seriously thinking of driving an absurd distance just to buy Christmas crackers right now. We're having the wife's family over here for Christmas dinner and I dearly want my kids to have some remnant of Britishness about their Christmas. So aside from forcing Cliff Richard on them (oh dear...) or having a very poor 70s-style silver fake Christmas tree I'm opting for crackers. My conviction on this matter has been swayed by watching hours of back-to-back Youtube videos of Stephen Fry talking about all and sundry at the Hay Festival. Many of which deal with the differences between the UK and the US. All of which make me want to get on a plane and go home. Not because he's negative about the US - he isn't at all - but because the kind of thing that Stephen fry simply oozes doesn't exist here. So in some sort of sad, pathetic alternative I've clung to the idea of buying Christmas crackers. Quite how I've equated crackers with an English, upper-class, Jewish Cambridge-educated intellectual I'll never know. But nevertheless - somehow I'm going to remind my kids that Christmas as is a religious event I hold dear, but as a cultural event it's equal parts Santa and equal parts English. 

Street Ninjas

Officially the worst ninja demonstration evah.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Attack Of The Finger Worm

I beseech you - if you have a weak constitution DO NOT watch this appalling assault.


Once - when I worked in life insurance - a woman told me that I sound like cheesecake.

Actually said something like, "Honey - you have a voice like cheesecake." Now I took that as a compliment as opposed to her basiclaly saying, "Honey - every time you speak I get much fatter." I was reminded of that particular compliment yesterday - and then again this morning - whilst watching old British versions of Thomas The Tank Engine. It's narrated by Ringo Starr. My son - wrongly may I add - has taken to yelling "that sounds like Daddy talking!" You may have heard me muttering away on a video or two. I don't sound like Ringo. In fact if we applied basic scientific testing in auditory differentiation I probably sound more like cheesecake than Ringo. So obviously this claim by my son led me to feel that perhaps his mental development has gone awry.

But that's obviously not the case. He's taken up some of the main pillars of his parent's intellectual makeup. From me he's inherited music, the healthy suspicion of the garbage men and a talent for letters. Take the following phenomenal display of writing. I'm not claiming I have that talent. But his knack for incoherent madness is clearly inherited. He told me he was writing a story and then rushed it out. It's amazing.

Way ahead of his time, obviously. And he didn't stop there. He picked up his pen and wrote the sequel immediately.Which was not just a by-numbers follow up either. No - it was a two-part companion monster-novel that pushes the boundaries of what we know as literary art.

Then - bored of the written word he immediately plunged his efforts into his true love - trains. Now he can put the track together now. Which has come as a relief to the annoyance of having to rebuild the thing every 90 seconds because he's wriggled all over whilst playing. But it tended to be a long, meandering snake thing that didn't connect and often went under furniture that you couldn't actually get a toy train under. And then a few days ago he seemed to understand the entire principle of it all. At some point I refused to help put a bridge back together because the entire point of his game was that it falls over. After 30 times that becomes absolutely boring. So he put one together. But not any old bridge. Oh no - this is no track goes up - connects - track goes down. It's some demented engineering advance the likes of which even Brunel couldn't even envisage. Seriously look at it -:

Yes that's right - THREE BRIDGES IN ONE! Complete with tunnel and - somehow - a forked bend in it. It was solid as a rock as well. It got put away with my naively thinking I could recreate it. I even have this frikking photo of it and I can't get it to stay together. He's achieved a whole other-worldliness of structural engineering that I'm too mentally feeble to replicate. He's blurring the lines, Man. 

Of course all of that was put wholly in it's place when he started claiming that "Mr. Winkie" had a dream about oatmeal. Which doesn't gave the impression that he's thinking on a different plain. It makes it seem like he's Hunter S. Thompson. And his sister is very clearly Dr. Gonzo. What else explains why they both had an actual dog tug-of-war battle over a plastic candy cane stuck in the ground out the front of the house?

I know - your eyes hurt from that diabolical 80s coat. Don't worry though - he's taken that "look" to a new level. Apart from the Chav-riddled tracksuit bottoms that he likes to wear he also has been parading about the house this morning in this cheesey Santa sweatshirt. And it's just a vicious rumor that those are girl's jeans (they are though...). 

Oh - and the title of this entry is based on the Bacon, potato, cheese and egg fritatta I made for dinner last night that nobody ate. But this morning my son ate half a 9 by 9 pan of. He must like it because right now he's pretending that his trains are crashing off the pathetic bridge track that I built for him and are landing in it and screaming, "Oh no! Bapocheeg!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Actual Post For A Change

Me: We're having a bath tonight!
Daughter: I know why daddy.
Me: Okay - why?
Daughter: I'm having one so I can find all the cuts on my body. You're having one because you smell.

I think it actually means more when a five year old tells you without prompting that you smell. Bath night it was then. My son also chimed in and asked why he would be having a bath. He did so with a wide-mouthed goofy innocent grin on his face - much like the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme of late. Did I mention that he was wearing a piece of bread and butter on his face as well? I might have forgotten that part. So yes - he was having a bath because he been wearing butter like it was Paula Deans' warrior face-paint.But me - it's because I smell.

Before I get into the meat and two veg of this post the below exaggerated woe-is-me pose my son has been radiating all day long. No - that's not accurate enough. It's more an, "oh when will the criminal injustice metered out to me by an uncaring overseer end? The only one who comes close enough to understanding my pain is Sysiphus - and even his tribulations are utterly dwarfed by my struggle" affectation. Purely based on the fact that he can't breathe through the mushy peas style gunk that's clogging up his nose. He literally will refuse to play games or even move from his martyr-pose because then it won't be obvious that he has been hand-picked to endure the worst injustice of all. Moan, whinge, complain.

Anyhoo - there are a few things in life that trigger an feral rage in me. I get angry at some things. But some things are so indefensibly evil that the torch-paper is lit and a volcanic eruption gushes out of me. I'm not talking about injustice, cruelty or  being witness to brutality. Oh no - I mean small moments that make me snap. Like today - when it was 41 degrees AND SNOWING and a wasp emerged from nowhere and started beating on my driver-side car window whilst I was doing 55 mph. The level of immediate anger at the very notion that the little bastard was a) somehow still in the area, b) magically holding on to the car somehow, and c) threatening to figure out a way inside my window had me genuinely seething with anger. That sort of heathen witchcraft has to in some way be linked to foulness that is John Terry. This is Level One of Illogical Blistering Rage and sits snugly alongside not being able to scrape food off a frying pan regardless of tool used or brute force applied (which is scientifically impossible, by the way). A worthy mention at this level should also be given to the feeling reached on the fourth consecutive day of making your child oatmeal that they won't eat despite begging through tears for you to make it for them.

The next level of illogical anger is the wonky cornflake. I can recall moments of violent screaming as I poured milk innocently into a bowl of cornflakes only for it to hit a wonky flake and somehow the entire stream was funneled out of the bowl and all over the table. Again - a Noel Edmonds-level of nefariousness is afoot here based around an implausability or complete inability to explain what ton earth is going on. Like seeing Stewart Downing's name on the team sheet. Or another marvelous example being that in the last fortnight I've encountered something that makes no sense in any way. My son discovered on the ground where I always park an unopened tampon. He held it aloft his ahead like a tampon trophy as if to exclaim, "what a prize!" Two weeks later I found another one - unopened and pressed into the ground. Nobody parking anywhere near there has anything to do with tampons. So their presence is completely and totally bewildering. Are the squirrels (I'll get back to those bastards in a minute) using them? For bedding I mean? Shudder....

At the top of this list is the realization that a bee/wasp is in my home (All Shall Be Murdered). Also upon hearing my children repeatedly screaming from another room for me to come look at something inane - but absolutely refusing to either come to where I am to show me, or stop screaming about it. Or the fact that my dog seems to think a fun game is dragging pieces of masonry out onto the grass and shoving them into the dirt a little bit so that I can't see them - and then I consequently damage the lawnmower. Add the oft mentioned exceptionalist attitude of people who don't believe parking rules apply to them. Or when your nose starts to run like a fully turned on hose with no prior warning. Or when you're talking to someone and you inadvertently gob on them - giving the impression that you do this all the time because you have a lazy mouth. I also have a special accelerated-rage based on the ultimate in back-seat driving mentalness of when my wife screams/jumps/grips the inside of the car because she is certain we are all about to die - but we are driving at a leisurely 30 mph on an open road with no traffic in sight.And nesting atop this pile is - of course - using clingfilm.

But today I added a new one. But there's a surprising ending to it. And that was finding a squirrel sat on the window ledge of my living room window and not giving a single toss that I was stood the other side of the glass. I saw what the little red bastard was doing as well. I'm not claiming to have intimate knowledge (cough) of squirrels but the fact is it jumped up on the ledge - left a walnut in the corner - then buggered off to get another one and came back to eat the second one. Meaning - it thought my window ledge was a cracking place to keep a walnut for a later time. Now - I have a special place tucked away in the dark recesses of my soul just for hating squirrels. On a species-level I don't hate/fear/plan-their-joyous-genocidal-death anywhere close to the scale that I do of bees and penguins. But the fact remains that the house I live in was - for a decade - the abode of tens of neighborhood squirrels. And they hate me and my family for moving in. And - like a pathetic child - I hate them back solely for that reason. The little bastards try and get in the attic. They run around on my roof. They bury arseloads (that an imperial measurement calculated by the Queen herself and - in American - would approximately equate to a 64 ounce cup of Mountain Dew) of walnuts all over my yard. I haven't even mentioned the black-magic insanity of seeing a neighborhood squirrel a few days back dragging a half-eaten slice of pizza up the road.

But the worst is that they yell offensive things at me and my children (yes - you heard me). Take this this is where the red squirrel lives. It's one of the many suspicious lumps I've had around my property over the years. 

Basically it's a collection of felled trees and half of the flooring from my old dining room that failed to get burned because it seems to have rained pretty much every day since it was taken outside. Into which moved a very happy but very gobby squirrel. Every time I venture outside it stands atop it's castle - that it appears to think it defeated me to win somehow - and chirps angry, screeching noises at us. I can't speak squirrel but I know a swear words when I hear one. I will admit to covering my son's ears when it gets particularly colorful.

All of which leads up to the moment when I not only observed this same mouthy bugger sat on my window and the realization that I was about to transform - like being possessed by Cthulhu - by the sheer audacity of it all. I felt the rising tsunami of anger swell up as I could see the little red fucker turning his back at the same speed as to match where I was stood behind him. But then - nothing. The red mist evaporated instantly and I didn't care at all. In fact I realized that while I had now added this instance to the pantheon of weird irrational rage - it had completely dissipated. The weirdo-level of contentment, happiness and blissful love that I've been bathing in non-stop for a good 8 weeks or so now is impenetrable - even by cheeky red squirrels dropping their nuts on my window ledge.

Do your worst Google - I've already won.

Daddy For Breakfast

I swear I'll actually write something at some point. Just not this morning. So in the meantime...

And this - I moralized over posting this one. My daughter is refreshingly odd (a family trait) but this is in an entire other pantheon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 5am Train

This is what we do. We go in the spare room where the creepy Santa lives. He plays trains - with all the voices and story-lines to boot. I play guitar and drink coffee.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Afraid We Had To F8 Your Daughter

My daughter is mocking me.

First off - she's home from school. She has the cold. And I had estimated that at lunchtime she'd have sufficiently coughed and wiped her nose enough for the right number of people to have commented that she was sick. And for reasons that escape me the three times I've been called by the school nurse have all come when it was noticed at lunchtime that she was sick. In short - the lunch aide is a warrior fighting illnesses. Or ejecting them from anywhere near them, at least. My favorite part of this particular nurse-call though was when I was told my daughter has a very sore throat and runny nose, and that her temperature is 100.6. I asked what the nurse would advocate. Because I'm happy to come get her if that's what the nurse wanted, but you know - if she is fine other than a cold then it's likely in everyone's best interests if she stay in school. The nurse instantly replied, "well, what did the doctor say?" I informed the nurse that I obviously hadn't been to the doctor because it's a cold. Not only that - a cold that had manifested very recently. The nurse then gave a nice big fat dose of judgement by saying, "well when you do take her to the doctor they may give her antibiotics". That's right - the school nurse who is an actual medical professional - just recommended I take someone with a day old cold to a doctor. So we just came home. If she's sick in a few days still then we'll go the doctor route.

Secondly - I showed my daughter that awful video in the last entry where I told a very bad joke and then hammed it up. She quickly remarked, "I couldn't laugh at that Daddy because it wasn't funny." Ouch. So she then insisted I make a quick video of her showing me how it's really done.

Seriously? Tola? That's not even a real word.

It's Not Easy Being Green

I have a great idea for a television show.

It's called Grumpy Little Bastards. It uses the exact same format as Grumpy Old Men . Much like the BBC2 Whine-fest of having a bunch of men - many of whom aren't even close to being "old" -  complain that they can't figure out how to use Instagram properly my version involves various cut-together scenes of my son just having irrational tantrums. Like this mornings demand to have some juice to drink. Followed quickly by a complaint of, "I don't want any juice....". Then ten seconds later moaning because he can no longer reach his cup because he's pushed it too far away across the kitchen table. Which I shove back toward him and he ungratefully moans about how I always treat him like a baby. And the juice is crap anyway. That and his litany of moans this morning about how he wants me to carry him into the living room - but that I did it completely the wrong way and that no, he won't explain why it was wrong and if I don't know why then I clearly don't really love him anyway. Which was a nice echo of yesterday when he wandered into the living room and started barking angry comments incomprehensibly at his mother. It felt very much like we were in an old English pub and the very old drunk man that they always have in them got up and was yelling at us. Anyhoo - if I could somehow get Arthur Smith or John Sessions to narrate Grumpy Little Bastards I think it'd be dynamite. 

Feeling somewhat under-appreciated and sensitive this morning due to this abhorrent cold I took to trying to make my children laugh. First I suggested we play a game of Squasages. Which is basically rolling up in blankets and wriggling around on the floor on each other. But as fun as that was for me and my son it didn't really hit the spot for my daughter. I could tell becuase she gave me something called a "school punch". Which felt an awful lot like a regular punch.She did it with a half-hearted seriousness which usually means she's upset or feeling off. Which in her case is the awful cold. I let her know that she's going to school and that her mother and I are not of the opinion that a cold should keep you out of anything. Unless it's a really gross green-leaking one obviously. Which my son should get to tomorrow as he seems to be half-a-day more advanced than the rest of us.

That didn't cheer her up so I admit to lowering myself to just telling awful jokes. How awful?

Me: What do you call an angry platypus?
Daughter: (blank face)
Me: A platitude! No?! Not funny? Not chuckling at the duck-mole? Hello...?

At which point I shamefully hammed it up. I donned a jester's hat, got out the Sid The Science Kid doll and told her I'd do a comedy routine for her. With The Best Joke In The World as well. Which I did. I completely over-hammed it though. No-one on earth has bombed more than this.Underlined excellently by the barely-audible grunt at the end.

At least though I have a Christmas sweater for the year. I picked it up at a thrift store for 25 cents. Amusingly it isn't really a Christmas sweater - it's just a regular one that look this terrible. It's almost as bad as my hair.

And lastly my kids went to a birthday party. The theme was a Princess Tea Party. So my daughter got dolled up and my son went in his dinosaur outfit and pretended to be a dragon. This is pretty much the only decent photo I got of my daughter. Her mother made her hair look like a crown - which was pretty impressive.

Didn't get a photo of my son in his costume. But I did get one of him dressed in chavvy tracksuit bottoms, wearing a Santa hat and wiping his nose. It has a redeeming Rab C. Nesbitt quality to it.

Lastly I wanted to at least mention that I started another blog about Jesus. I made it separate from this because a) it's not about parenting, b) then you don't have to look at it if you don't want to, and c) it deserves to stand on it's own. It's a different style and language. I'd advocate starting at the beginning if you're interested.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


My family are being ravaged by a cold.

Not my wife as of yet. She always holds out longer than the rest - with them often skipping her entirely. But my daughter began lashing out like a whirling dervish sometime in the middle of last week. I reminded myself that this often means she's about to come down with something. Sure enough Thursday the cough started and she practically begged to go to bed early without stories. Friday her cough had become prickly and gargling - like she was scraping custard every time she coughed. Then she had a full-bore meltdown right before bed. Yesterday she had the tell tale red hue to her face to go with the cough and the runny nose. Throughout the day her brother came on rapidly with his own cold. I could feel it in my throat yesterday but hoped it was just dust from getting the Christmas decorations out of the attic. It wasn't. I knew really because while I did manage a 7 mile run yesterday it was very hard going when it shouldn't have been at all. Although during it I found my self directly in the middle of a flock of migrating Canada Geese. So for a brief period I felt like I was in the documentary Winged Migration alongside them all. Except I wasn't - I was below them for about three minutes very aware that I would probably get goosed on. Thankfully that didn't happen.

By bedtime my own head was burning with the embryo of a cold. Bedtime being at 8.15pm when I just couldn't take it any more. I got up at midnight to chug on NyQuil. Then I woke again at 1.15am with that annoying situation where your nose is running so much that you can't keep up. Then at 2am. I gave up at 3am and have been dabbing my snotty nose ever since. My son got up not that long after 5am and has been horrified at how quickly the snot is emptying out of him. Weirder is that he refuses to keep a used tissue near him because it's just too disgusting. He's more than happy to double-dip tortilla chips but won't use a tissue more than twice. So I tried the old method of filling him vitamin C and we sat around the kitchen table in the dark-light while he ate clementines and I played a song very badly on guitar (I hope you can hear the spirit of it amongst all the mistakes - some dayst he fingers don't cooperate!).

I did want to mention though that my son thinks counting involves covering your eyes a la hide-and-seek. Yesterday while putting up decorating hooks his mother asked him to help her count to ten. Each time she did he covered his eyes and made the "here I come!" noise when she was done. Which is much, much cuter than his other recent habits. The first being helping sort out the clean laundry by wrapping whatever comes out of the dryer around his neck like a scarf, and then crawling across the bedroom floor yelling, special delivery!" Truth be told the first few days he did that I swore he was saying "special lady" which was beyond disturbing.

His other recent quirk is much more worrisome though. His nipple-touching habit has returned with such frequency that his mother and I are constantly telling him to cut it out. Then in the middle of last week he swapped ot grabbing the dog's tiny, stumpy tail. I tried to reason with him and didn't get very far so idiotically tried to convey the scale of his misdemeanor by saying it was worse than touching his mother's nipples. A day later he was wandering around the house fondling the dog's tail and chanting "worse than mommy's nipples" over and over again. Minus ten dad points (and probably twenty husband points as well) for that. Although I surely regain some Dad points by bringing home a bunch of Terry's Chocolate Eggs and this shirt for my daughter, which she thought was fantastic.

Anyhoo - I have to hunt for the menthol stick thing that you jam up your nose and huff on. I don't know if it works but it sure does smell good.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Real Man

Once again my son exemplifies a real man.

He's been telling the same joke over and over again. It goes, "Knock, knock. Who's there? YOU!!!" So I tried to video that. He wasn't having any of it. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Quite Busy

 I have quite a busy morning planned doing other things. So I won't be writing anything on this until this afternoon (my time) at least. I asked my daughter what we could give as a gift to you all instead while you wait eagerly for some meaning to fill your day (ha!).

This was her idea. IO wish she'd agreed to have him lick her instead.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Actually Scary


Apparently the Man With Pants On Head video wasn't scary enough for some of you. Well these are the two photos my daughter took right after that one on the camera. First of all here's my son not at all impressed that his sister is taking photos of him. Feel his contempt....

And this is truly frightening. I'd just taken the garbage out and my daughter started taking photos of me singing and dancing (majestically - as I'm sure you'll agree) in the mud room. For the record I was singing the theme tune to Danger Mouse.

This is how my daughter spent her morning. I find this quite disturbing.

Still not frightening enough? How about this appalling piece of history. University does this to you. This is 1998 (or was it 97?). I hadn't gone to university after school but went when I was 22. So I'd been looking like a complete weirdo for years at this point. And I'd toned it down an awful lot in this photo. I was wearing that girl's blouse (she was tiny so how I got it on I'll never know) and another girls fake-fur coat. I have a lot of hair-ties in and much makeup on. And I still had an annoying plethora of body piercings about my person - of which the lip one is the only one you can see here. That was the most normal color my hair was for about six months as well. Thankfully I was sat in a lecture shortly after and noticed the swathe of lip-pierced weirdos about the lecture hall. I then realized that there were an awful lot of very similar looking so-called individuals that looked ridiculous - not for what they were wearing (patently a lie...) but because of the obvious strain to hide a genuine identity underneath all that crap. It actually amuses me that I secretly tried both a local and the campus church on and off around this time. 

Now that is scary.

The New Terror

My daughter told me that it hadn't been scary enough since Halloween.

I imagine she's been lamenting the fact that I put that scary mask away that I insisted on wearing at all times. Anyhoo - in an attempt to scare the wits out of her I sent her a scary email. Actually I sent myself an email with "EVELYN'S SCARY EMAIL" as the subject title. In which was just this video.

Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Haircuts

My son says no. 

I am contemplating no shaving or hair cutting for myself until my wife comes back from her January conference. I'll look delightful (Disclaimer: The fact that I might look like a small, deformed Thundercat is neither here nor there). I feel like actually having a good go at a winter beard. I often imagine I'll look like a handsome Viking. At the very least I'd like to have a somewhat enchanting-but-scary Roy Keane look. My son agrees. Mostly because his mother has been repeating, "....your hair is getting interesting..." at him. Which it is. It's more stylish and awesome than any young twenty-something could hope for. He makes no effort to do it either. I wish I had his hair. But what his mother is forgetting is that every single time she cuts his hair she regrets having done it. He's a cute little boy - but with a haircut he does have a bit of a potato look about him. And nobody thinks a potato is attractive. I'm sure none of you have ever read a gushing magazine article about how gorgeous human-potato Wayne Rooney is. Which reminds me of something I was thinking about a month or so ago. Do you remember years ago when they had those clocks powered by a potato? Whatever happened to that design concept? Just imagine it - an enormous Wayne Rooney powered clock.)

My daughter loves getting her hair cut. And now that every trace of red hair and all remnants of any of her ludicrous curls are gone a shortish haircut is the best bet for her. It certainly is easier at breakfast to not have to remind her that he hair is in her oatmeal. Or that she's dipped it in her paint/glue/filth. And having just put a balaclava thing on her to play in the snow I can't articulate enough how annoying it was when her long hair kept sticking out and getting caked in snowballs and snot. Shorter hair wins for her.

As for me - I always look better with short hair. And I always threaten to leave it grow out just because it sounds comfortable to have a fat head. We shall see. But I thought I'd propose the options to my son. And then enrage him (not caught on film, thankfully) when I let him know that I'm not cutting my hair or shaving.