Friday, 12 February 2016

Anchorman: Kissing Day

monty pythonesque fish attackFridays are always groovy but this one was bigger as it marked the half-term break. Things were wrong from the start, Bud gave me breakfast and Jof didn't even hear us leave the house over the noise of the hairdryer (that's what we call the shouty woman next door - not really).
So I was driven to school right on time and I showed Bud the selection of psychedelic computer-generated patterns in the IT suite (next year I get to make 3-D layouts) and then he hid in the assembly hall while I did registration. He has experience of being invisible from previous employment.
This performance of the year 5 play was for the rest of the school, all of the normal parents having been royally entertained yesterday, as on the invitation form I brought home. But 2 stragglers remained and one was my official photographer and supporter.
flower designs from computerThe play is based on Star Wars and was a vehicle to show off the work done by the pupils of Year 5, for which the parents pay so much. Because of the fractured, fractal and fractious nature of the display, an anchorman was required to hold it all together (as in "And now it's back to the studio") and that was my task, shared with Ingrid and Grace. Or was it Liberty. I think they swapped half-way through.
Anyway, the overhead giant screen showed various images and video clips as the revue progressed.
The capture of Princess Leia's transport kicked it all off and that's when VaderVader and his Cohorts of Doom marched up the central aisle to the Imperial music which had to be played twice to accommodate the many marchers. Then us Judges commented on the spectacle, me with my fake spectacles, and then we handed over to roving fashion news reporters on Alderaan.
This meant the girls (and one boy) who wanted to look stylish and thin sashayed up the catwalk in pairs and did such a short pose that no pictures could be taken without one of those cameras that does the slo-mo of the bullet going through the apple and anyway they're 10 so it doesn't count.
meon junior school play Then some of my colleagues did the advert breaks and features on storytelling and bold artworks in hallucinogenic colours and VaderVader got to kill an art critic which is no bad thing and it's back to the studio.
On the giant screen we displayed some excellent 'Join up now' posters which had their roots in the Hitler Youth and the Deep Red Soviet, I mean, if that's fascism, count me in. There was a quick spot on the Latin derivation of the word 'Propaganda' (which Jof thought was a particularly well turned-out goose) and it was onto the Millennium Falcon for a game-changing scene in which Luke (broken arm, female) and Solo (forgot lines, edgy hairstyle), Chewy (authentic noises, giant teddy) and Leia (male, nope) changed the face of the future and it's back to the studio.
Then I presented a special update on the sleepover and the associated missing persons report of Paige, who was the only kid not discovered in the intense game of hide'n'seek, we really ought to do something about that smell and the flies coming from the basement.
The VaderVader held up a sign saying "CLAP NOW" for those hard-of-thinking children in the audience and then Mr B came up and did yet another 10-minute recap and acceptance speech (I think he believed that Chewy was actually making those noises, not the electronic device cunningly concealed in his face-mask) and it was all over, our reputations intact until the next time.
darth vader and empire propaganda postersDuring school, I had finished my homework so I got AN HOUR on the laptops.
After school, it was half-term, hurrah! So we waited in disguise by the traffic lights (not kidding) and videoed the youths that kick our front door every day on their way home from school. They hadn't seen us so we intercepted them and we know one of them so we leant on him (literally, he nearly fell off his bike) and did the whole "You insulta da family, I thought we wuz friends" thing and threatened to release said footage to their headmaster and asked nicely if they wouldn't mind stopping.
Then the rain stopped so I completed my 2.5K run, because you have to do these things. My teacher asked me today how my runs were going, and in a separate incident, he stumbled across an online image of Ben and I playing Lego and I think he's jealous.
In Normal Swimming I did such an epic dive I banged my teeth on the bottom of the pool. It takes a certain amount of skill ...
Oh, apparently this Friday used to be 'Kissing Day' in Olde England where the girls couldn't refuse a kiss. Perhaps that's why the 5th of November used to be called 'Gosh what a lot of babies night' before Guido Fawkes did his thing. Way after what was supposed to be bedtime, we laughed each other into intercostal pain about a game that I shall tell you all about .. tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Cock-up on the Scheduling Front

untalented younger brother gets bit part in school productionAt last! The day of the school Star Wars-themed play. I had my updated script, my mug, my fake spectacles, my tailor-made suit, my adoring crowds and my confidence.
But I had no cameraman. Due to idiocy, which I hope does not run in families, Bud read my invite for 1430 today as 1430 tomorrow, so carefully failed to turn up today and missed the epic performance.
In addition, he sulked and blamed me until sight of the original document proved beyond a shadow of the flames of the 10th circle of hell that it was all his fault.
106 year old armenian woman with ak47Anyway, he'll attend the early matinee tomorrow while whipping himself with birch twigs and specially-imported nettles.
During recent rehearsals, R2D2 (played by the slightly undersized Gene in a wheelie bin) rolled away out of control and fell over which was so funny we kept it in, with C3PO chasing after him.
When he tweetles and beeps, he has to lift his bin-lid and hold up 2 beeping noise generators. Today, his beep-boxes overheated and he had to eject the smoking contraptions, luckily not gassing him in the process.
The girl playing Luke Skywalker (don't ask) had broken her arm yesterday but in true stage tradition, the show went on, she just didn't gesticulate so much. Everything went off fine, but you'll just have to take my word for it due to the missing cameraman/witness.
eastney esplanade marines museum portsmouthIn other news, the IT teacher showed off the tweet from the New Scientist magazine with me stuck to a metal shipping container using super-magnets, a good laugh.
polished silver spoons from ebayIn extra-swimming, I changed my tactics and held back during the warm-up and initial races and when it came to the proper races, I stormed it completely and won totally. Hurrah! Then, in a change to my usual afternoon run, we simply ran along the seafront to the coffeeshop and back, which was 2.5 kilometres in very different surroundings. We didn't have to cross any roads, the course was flat, and many other joggers were taking advantage of the evening light.
At home Bud showed me my new yogurt spoons. OK, so they're Victorian silver plated serving spoons for Xmas and other events, so I've got them like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The 6th Day which was a funny film with helicopters and the same bad guy as in 'Ghost'.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Proof: Spirit of Enquiry

scatter remains at disneyland post mortemAbout three and a half years ago, we posed a perfectly reasonable scientific question involving the neodymium alloy hard disc drive magnets that Bud can get from his work.
Considering we have used them from time immemorial to stick things to the fridge (like certificates, colanders, the dates the recycling lorry comes round etc), it seemed only logical to ask, how many hard disc drive magnets does it take to securely suspend one child, attached to a steel shipping container?
Well, we've all asked this question, there are internet forums for it and Anneka Rice once presented a show where professors with bushy eyebrows argued over it. Well, it takes a special sort of Professor to answer it, and the answer was 20, see original post here. The years passed and I was just answering a question in the august publication that is the 'New Scientist' magazine when I stuck this photo on, and they loved it and tweeted it to their million and a half Twitter followers.
neodymium alloy hard disc drive magnetsSo today I took in my Predator model and the teacher said how come you know so much and I said from watching the films of course, and he said gosh you can't possibly, that's a little above your age grade. Then he asked how many pupils in the class have Instagram or Facebook accounts and more than half of them put their hands up and he said he would write to the websites to get us deleted because we're too young, probably just jealous.
We did a rehearsal for the play and I've been given some extra lines and because I'm a Newsreader, I have a natty suit and people kept stopping and looking at my suit when they were supposed to be doing the Imperial March and well, I'm not taking it off, they'll just have to get used to it.
boy gurning for photo
Funnily enough, Valentine's Day has been a bit issue of late. There is a rush to declare yourself attracted to somebody due to the sudden focus afforded by the date and many partnerships have been forged, so I owned up about Sydney at my acting class. Jof says it is no bad thing that my partner is outside school.
So I decided to get a Valentine's card. I am past the awkward stage of carding my own mother, we all are. But also, not really ready for all the big pink declarations of undying love and semi-nudes on offer at the corner shop, so I settled for a simple one which only said 'I've thought about it long and hard and that's the way I like you', and there were hardly any hearts at all. But when the parents saw my choice, they indicated it might be wrong so I'll go to Card Factory and try again. I mean, how was I supposed to know, I'm 10.
So we took half a million leftover sausage rolls and ham sandwiches to Wednesday Park because Robert complained last week that we didn't bring food any more. We were on our own for ages until Ben and Owen arrived to help eat them, something must be wrong, hardly anyone was there. But we got our exercise and distributed some largesse, just not to Robert. Later we got some props and costume together for the Newsreaders - 3 mugs and a pair of old glasses with the lenses taken out. It's going to be epic!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

♪♪ They Zika him here, they Zika him there ♪♫

engrish product name fail
The aroma of sausage rolls pervaded the house this morning as Jof baked her way towards 500. Feeding the 500 is something that we've heard of before, but the modern-day equivalent is sausage rolls, carrot sticks, cucumber slices etc. I elected not to attend the Valentine's sorry, Friendship Disco and of course I changed my mind later, but it was too late.
In school swimming my relay team were definitely going to win until Child C took 3rd length and floundered like a slug drowning. I am wondering whether sabotage next week to get us a replacement swimmer might not be a good idea.
The rain stopped just in time for my afternoon run and I chatted and walked so much to recover from the chatting that it took 25 minutes. At least we didn't go through the Slough of Despond today. I have found yet another new epic awesome game on the tablet called BoomBeach, in which you build bases and train armies and launch attacks and it's absolutely identical to all the other ones only slightly sandier.
party food sausage rolls carrot sticksSo Jof spent the day preparing food for the Disco and working herself into the ground again. She hates kids which is fine but didn't add arsenic to the food. But they ate all of the cucumber and carrots and left half the sausage rolls, pizza and sandwiches (kids are as mad as barnacles, and those barnacles are barking), so boy O boy do we have a lot to hand out at Wednesday park tomorrow.
I did the best in my gym class for the cartwheel-onto-padded mat and remembered that I hadn't done my homework. I therefore knocked up a thesis on one of my favourite aliens, which was the Predator from such films as Predator, Predator 2 and Alien Versus Predator. We even have a Predator model from one of the film festivals. I shall have to say I have memorized all the details from stories told to me, those film certificates are just guidelines, right?

Monday, 8 February 2016

Stormogen: Whistling into the Wind

cherry picker access crane high lifterGood old Storm Imogen was doing well today, shame I had to go to work or I could have gone to the seafront to watch the waves, although the road was closed. Incidentally, it's national kite-flying day in the States, they would have done well over here. I got published in the monthly newsletter, reviewing the Year 5 sleepover
As you know, I am 'Newsreader #2' in the school play, which makes me a total anchor, apparently. So I took in my new whistle (Whistle and Toot - Suit) as my costume but didn't get to show it off today, it isn't dress rehearsal until Thursday.
signed photos from the red dwarf crew
So we had a full day of script run-throughs, and any student silly enough to forget their script received ritual humiliation at the hands of the sadistic teachers, with big gaps and everyone staring. And what do you know, Bud had taken my script to photocopy it, as part of saving my archives for the nation before I win my first 7 Oscars. Tomorrow, we aren't allowed to take them in as we're supposed to have learnt them all by then. He doesn't make it easy.
After school I went for my 2 1/2 kilometre run. I am fed up of going round and round the park so requested a new route which turned out to be down to Tunnel Park, across the grass and back down the pub passage. Of course 6 weeks of rain had left the park a quagmire so I needed to change trousers and socks and shoes (and mess up Jof's laundry rota) and the wind always blew in my face, didn't matter which way I was running. We saw many broken fences and lifted conservatory roofs and unhappy dogs.
In Scouts Flynn visited my bedroom and liked my signed photos but mostly my Nerf guns and then we did first-aid training for burns, lacerations, broken bones and so forth. We took it in turns to phone the emergency services and be the ambulance controller or triage nurse and bandaged or cling-filmed each other depending. Later Jof and I practised my lines while I still had access to my script, humph.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Gorilla Gardening

deceased estate house sale moggs mead petersfieldJof was up last today which just goes to show. But while she had all the interesting jobs to do such as laundry and shopping, we picked up Obscure Cousin Margaret (78) at the station and drove north.
Petersfield is a 'historic market town' apparently, or so the sign says. Many of the houses are big and old and expensive, particularly in front of Heath Pond. I've been there a few times because it has some nice shops and an epic swingpark by the lake and top quality ice cream at the little kiosk. But we were there to do gardening. Margaret's friend had a house there before he died and she is in charge of selling the house so she asked us to make the garden nice for the estate agent to take the photos.
She had already cleared the inside of the house so we inspected it and it was empty, even the carpets had gone although there were quite a few dead bluebottles on the windowsills. He built up a fair old collection of flies in the months following his death but his body had been removed before I got there, for which I was thankful.
It is a 2-bed house in the less expensive end of town only but looks big and airy inside.
So I gave myself the job of chopper, and I chopped the hedges and bushes and raked the lawn and filled the green bags from the Co-op and chopped some more, however many times I was told to stop. We gardened for over 2 hours, surely I can get a Scout badge for that?
housing estate back garden petersfieldAnyway, it all looked a lot better and you could see the path and we got rained on a bit and we swept the moss off the conservatory roof and Margaret gave me a tenner for my hard work chopping and I shall spend it on Pokémon cards. When we dropped her back at the station, we were so skilful, her train was actually sitting there so she didn't have to wait at all.
At home, Jof cooked 500 sausage rolls for the school Friendship Disco (NOT the Valentine's Disco, you can't call it that, apparently) and I got bored. The wind made woo-ing noises as Storm Imogen passed overhead.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Aurorus Maximus

Today was one of those days you don't want to end, absolutely full of stuff and things, including victories.
First, I had a 3-rasher bacon sandwich, another culinary delight inherited from my dear mother. I had the shower I failed to have last night and went off to my acting lesson. Of course the Panto season has finished and there really aren't any other suitable stage productions for me to be in currently so the whole Drama School will be doing another Showcase next month to show the poor old parents that they aren't wasting their money on moderately expensive childcare.
aurorus ex giant pokemon card frozen charm crystal breathSo we were making up a story using pictures printed out on our parents' work photocopiers and I helped so much by ad-libbing a script workaround for one of our number who just wanted to be a Zombie that I won the Oscar for Best Actor Of The Week, I told you it was only a matter of time before my talent was recognized. And then the pretty girl with the smiling face and I reached a special understanding and sadly it was time to go home.
But we didn't. Because one of Jof's customers had mentioned a jumble sale at St Swithun's church so we went there and Bud found another book about war and I found a Die-cast Star Wars Clone Trooper (2006) in its own display case on a plinth and it's metal with moveable limbs and it looks really cool. I saw it and thought of Ben, because he's really into Star Wars (or his Dad tells him to be) so I bought it for him.
We fought our way through the football-related traffic jam and I absolutely insisted on opening the Clone Trooper I'd bought as a present for Ben and I ripped the box and basically I really wanted one for myself so we had to battle our merry way right back through the football-related traffic jam to the same Church Hall and I ran in and bought the other one, unmolested by me, un-shredded, not interfered with and virgin clean inside, honest.
Then I couldn't open the first one because I didn't have a screwdriver on me.
So, (football traffic) we wended our happy way up to Toys'R'us where I knew that there was a special Pokémon set for £15. I did not find it, but there was a better and more expensive alternative with a giant card (next to a normal sized one in this picture so you can see the difference) and 5 packs and I got lots of EX's and ultra-rare OP cards and you'll just have to believe me on that, for I sure do.
We didn't have enough time to visit the Harvester restaurant because of the Clone Trooper-related detour so we got sandwiches at Tesco, gosh, we certainly know how to have a good time. Then we met the Scout leader at the Scout lock-up and took out 4 old POD tents which we shall try to sell on ebay, unless you want to take them off our hands. Then (still not finished) I did my run around the park but got the stitch from hell and walked most of the course, and on a day when I wanted to time myself as well, what a bummer.
As you know, I am to play Newsreader #2 in the school play so I needed a smart suit. Bud found one in a charity shop for only £8 and so here I am accepting my Oscar at the appropriate ceremony. Poor Jof had a headache for which the only cure was boxes of chocolate so I tested them all to make sure they were good, someone has to. My choice for supper viewing was 'Rambo' so Jof went off to do laundry and us chaps talked about knives and snowlines and typecast special forces Colonels.