Friday, March 1, 2013

My Kids Really Enjoy Liquor

Daughter: Daddy! My teeth are sweaty!

My daughter told her brother yesterday that, "You're a pretty fast runner for a boy!" Which she was very sincere about. Every now and again she'll emphasize a gender divide - in a social sense - that is typical. Lately I can wind her up quite easily by saying, "I'm so pretty!!!" and she is unable to not point out that I'm a man and ergo cannot be pretty. Which leads me to poke her in the eye again and say that, "some might say that Grandma is handsome". Which usually prompts her to tersely bark back, "Grandma is not handsome." Which makes me want to record the whole thing like some odd Alan Lomax field-recordings thing and then loop it together in some odd psychedelic, post-rock spoken-word thing. Because out of context a lot of what she says sounds delusional. Here - this is our actual conversation at the dinner table.

Me: I guess I'm going to have to call someone soon about that big tree. It's leaning toward the house!
Daughter: What cake?
Son: A big train!?

Honestly - what are you supposed to do when the three of you are mentally in three very different universes? Although I have located the source of some of this. I made some odd dinner tonight that involved celery, salmon fish-cakes and french fries. My children wanted blue cheese dressing for the celery, ranch for the fish (I'd made a garlic mayonnaise but that revolted him them) and ketchup for the fries. Which is ludicrous - but it's the end of a long week and I just wanted them to eat it. My daughter ate like a champion. My son licked all the wet stuff. I reminded him that all that he had eaten so far wasn't dinner. His sister responded, "No - that's licker. We love licker don't we Owen!?"

Oh I'll bet you do. Actually that's all an absurd framing of it all because a lot of what my kids say in context sounds like that as well. For example, after her, "you're fast for a boy" comment I pulled her up on it. Her instant go to response was, "girls can run faster because they have more hair." Which sounds like some bastardized, feminist adaptation of Samson. And then later in the evening my son - quite annoyed - accused the wind of blowing off his fingers because it really liked his legs. "....Really....?" I countered. "Yeah. Rocket booster raspberry legs."

Liquor, indeed.

Yesterday morning my daughter also misremembered something from school to amaze her brother. They had been watching the Misty Island Rescue DVD in the modern Thomas The Tank Engine franchise. I was actually happy enough for them to watch that because it isn't the appalling sack of spunk that is The Magic Railway - what with it's very tenuous links to spirit of the Thomas books. This is nowhere near as awful but certainly operates in a weird Thomas-by-numbers sort of universe - where characters speak in stunted rhymes and cliched catchphrases. I was going to mention the storyline is based on an absurd and mean-spirited concept (one of these Amazon reviewers calls it "dark" and "not quite Tim Burton, but headed in that direction") and that it was entirely unbelievable at almost every juncture. But then I remembered it was about talking trains who work for an apparently buffoonish tyrannt who seems obsessed with having children shipped to his island to watch. It's almost Saville-esque. Add it has a sort of Lost vibe to it in that - without any dalliance to how silly it would be - the trains find a new island right next to the one their already on. Overlook the fact that the island they are on has been operated for decades as a bizarre version of Thomas More's Utopia Island, being absolutely pumped with investment by a mufti-billionaire who ships everything he needs from, "the mainland" to build his paradise. You'd imagine that by now the fact a bloody great big island that you can see from the main dock of the main island (they literally do this as part of the story line) would have come up. But no. Not only that but the new island is connected to the one we all know and love by an underground tunnel and is inhabited already by other trains.

See - that's the thing. In this movie the notion that the trains are operated by human beings is almost completely removed with each character as independent as Hal 9000. The trains on the new island don't have a station. They don't have a civilization to work within. They do run a weird, rugged logging company. But the idea that they have people around is completely absent. The whole franchise has drifted to that now. To the degree where one train steals stuff and a Dock Yard manager is convinced by another one train to forego the health and safety regulations and tie an engine to the back of an ocean-going steam boat with an old chain. If you do pretend that there is some sort of unseen human-element and that a driver is doing the trains bidding it actually makes the whole thing worse. Because then it would mean that the railway appears to be run by a collective of genocidal lunatics who's one unifying, common element is that they are all abysmally incompetent at doing anything to do with trains. But my biggest chagrin is that Sir Topham Hat seems to have become a weirdly camp, ultra-buffoon. One who speaks like a shit Brian Blessed keychain thing that only has 5 different phrases. Not sure what why he's ended up like this - although the progression from weirdly, stern dictator in earlier shows, to an arrogant incompetent man in over his head, and now to this thing is interesting I suppose.

Still - my son thinks it's fantastic. Even my daughter enjoyed it in a completing-the-circle sense. In that it connected together the story lines of some of the other DVDs together. And it's not shockingly bad or anything. My greivance is more with the fact that there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to shoe-horn in an overriding moral message into each episode and DVD - only for that idea to be negated when you consider that all the trains behave like childish arseholes and that (as I mentioned) if there are people running the place then they should be in prison.

Anyhoo - look what we saw yesterday.

Yep - the snow drops are peeking through. We also heard some of the geese who'd chanced their arms and come back from their migration already. Add that together with the fact that the ground has melted enough to randomly douse my basement with a 1/4 inch of water and that when I go running all I can smell are the skunks milling about - then it's possible that Spring really is on it's way. Mind you of the years we've been back in the US we have photos of us at Easter. All of which have been generally later than it is this year. And in all but one it is bitterly cold. But you never know.

Anyhoo - here's the rest of my sons interpretation of the Thomas nightmare from yesterday. I think it encapsulates the sheer clusterfuck-nature of it all.

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