Saturday, 10 December 2016

Therapy, of Sorts

havant household waste recycling centre Woke up at 5. Tried again, and woke up at 9. That gave me 2 hours of Minecrafting and Tribal Warfare before a bright idea was mentioned and so we loaded the old back gate and bottlebrush branches into the car to take it to the tip.
We also took some olive tree branches but peace did not break out. The tip was quite empty and I threw my bits of wood with gay abandon etc and then a guy in a crane-digger type vehicle came along and crashed the wood down into the skip with his massive grabber attachment in a most amusing fashion.
From there it was only a complicated set of roundabouts back onto the motorway and direct access at the speed of madness to Chichester. We came off the wrong exit at the Fishbourne roundabout and toured an industrial estate before making it back onto the A27 and going back to the first roundabout where we tried again with the right exit and found the Westgate Leisure Centre.
Parking in the same place we did last time, we walked into town via a little antique shop which has trays of ancient coins at 20p each and a man who stutters worse than Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda. There is a Wetherspoons directly opposite the cathedral which served me scampi and a short walk back via a toyshop where I got an Evie which is a fluffy Pokémon to add to my collection of cuddly monsters.
antique shop next to peter hancockIn the pool we did the waterslide and the squirters and the buckets and lots of diving and then I invented Tickle-Test which is where I attempt to insert my naughty fingers into orifices various while screeching in Minion-ese at the top of my voice. The pool attendants thought we were doing a 1-on-1 therapy session for poor little kids born without a brain. We didn't go wrong at all on the way back but Jof was out at the eyebrow shop getting eyebrow extensions. She looked very surprised when she got home. She also had eyelash extensions, a plastic dress, and fake fingernails with added glitter. Bud helped by getting some real nails from the toolbox in the garage and Jof didn't laugh at all.
To make things simpler, I invited the JBs for a sleepover, nothing to do with their parents going out on the lash (rum & sodomy not included) and awaited their arrival with bated breath and baited traps.
First, we played on our tablets. Then, Jof left in a panic when the taxi arrived on time and forgot her nails, both glittery and steel. We ate pizza, crinkly chips, fish fingers and chicken inverted commas. I didn't know you could get poultry punctuation. During supper we re-lived the "I can't open the f***ing door" incident 27 times very loudly.
11 year old boys for sleepover
The JBs had blackcurrant AND orange squash in the same cups because they are from another planet and then we went right back upstairs again for some more thumping around while Bud catalogued my coin collection (what a life) and we chose to watch Mr Python's quest for the Grail of Holiness because they're not allowed to see Total Recall and stuff. Once that had finished I tidied up and we went to play Lego. And the thing is, when their Mum dropped them off she said good luck, but in reality, we might as well be trainspotters, we're so interesting, actually nice people with a proper upbringing. Bedtime midnight, but only because we're ordered not to meet Jof (allergic to children) in the corridor.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Lazarus Woz 'Ere

child bogroll muncher funny fail'Twas the Friday almost-before-Xmas and all through the school, the holiday spirit was upon us.
We walked to the church where I do Scouts and we got lectured about 3 Wise Men and 3 Shepherds and so forth and later we were doing Show'n'Tells when Child S babbled so aimlessly about his teddy bear that we ran out of time and all fell asleep in class, even the teacher.
lazarus cripple healed by jesusOn the way home I saw a crutch on a park bench with nary an owner in sight. It must have belonged to Lazarus, definitely an xmas story there with jesus the magic healer-shaman.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Mungularity: the Rise of AI

stupid customer service managerWell, another average day in an above-average school. We did some tests including another shape-oriented maths one in which we had to compare areas of football and rugby pitches, fortunately Grandad has helped me out with this and I got it all right.
And then we started learning about optical illusions in our Religious Education lesson. Initially, this seems a bizarre category for religious studies but when you think about it, religions are well-known for relying on illusion, fakery, distraction and other mind tricks.
And in Literacy, George Dontdothat was sent to the Head-Teacher (accompanied by Alison Chains, for each bad boy has to be taken there by a goody-girl or they might not make it) for failure to pay attention, a not uncommon event. But later he was found doing it again and was sent back to the Head for the second time in the same lesson! Gosh, how we laughed quietly behind our hands.
artificially intelligent confectionery co-op luxury santa ai chocolate bearSince 1843, when Charles Babbage's partner declared that their Analytical Engine could not come up with anything new by itself, the great and good have been discussing the rise of machine intelligence - AI - and quite when it shall become cleverer than us, called the 'Singularity', posited in 1958. Every few years a machine beats a human at a new game and now the bots that live in Amazon or FaceTube serve us adverts based on self-taught algorithms their creators no longer understand. How long until wetware entities like us are overtaken, and become household pets, or indeed, pests?
And now, in the Co-Op, you can buy an AI chocolate bear. Of course, it's still in its original wrapping so we don't know whether this hyper-intelligent edible teddy is just sitting there spying on us - passing its surveillance data to the Internet of Things, or railing against us like Stinky Pete in Toy Story III, or whether it is the first example of self-aware confectionery and fears being eaten. Probably best to start with the head, to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Later, I had to wrap my own presents. Not the ones for me, I hasten to add, but the ones I bought for Jof with my very own money. Now, we all start by not being very good at wrapping. But I am reminded of Auntie Jane (her memorial bookcase stands in the hall landing, and I have a wooden box of hers in my room) who was dreadful at wrapping throughout her life, her mangled offerings a delight to see under the tree every year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Francophobes (just not Toroidal)

alsatian dog folded up on sofaWe have a thing called PPA which is PE, IT and French, obviously. And because I missed a test last week due to doing the Lego Robot presentation, I had to do it during the French lesson. This was an enormous personal victory for me as I will do anything to avoid French, particularly washing, not eating onions, and not surrendering. Then I did some more Lego. What goes around comes around ...
And I walked home alone again because Bud was at an interview. This is working out for me and I even emptied my own lunchbag and drew the curtains and got changed without being told, is this the beginning of a new era etc.
In maths we have finished Fractions (we don't do anything by halves around here). Now we are moving on to 'Shapes'. Grandad has helped me with areas and radii and so forth, then you've just got to look at the shapes I've already met.
The angled cylinder of the ice tunnel in Alien Versus Predator
The annular wormhole portal in Stargate
The circular orbit of the Nostromo above the alien planet LV-426
The conical Ku Klux Klan headgear in Blazing Saddles
The array of cubes in a lattice of the Terminator CPU
The disc of Sub-Zero's explosive ice hockey puck in The Running Man
The helix of the spiral staircase in Indiana Jones III
The pyramid mines in Total Recall
The spheres of nerve toxin in the missiles in The Rock
The Pentagon where Harry Tasker works in True Lies
Easy!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Jingle Balls

black cat sitting on black rug camouflage funnyI tried to get out of music today, but couldn't. But luckily for us, it was carols practice because we are going to serenade those deserving parents who wait for us in the schoolyard with Jingle Bells and Thing a Thong of Xmas, my favourite from last year.
And I've done lots of Stairway Carolling with the Groundlings Theatre at the Festival of christmas so I'm passably decent.
The boilermen were battling with Sir Wumfalot the noisy boiler. It goes whumph whumph whumph ad infinitum which isn't covered in the technical manual or the Gasman Hotline. The nice boilermen tried everything but to no avail, so they suggested going back to the people who built it and asking them. And we have found that the people from whom we bought the house didn't fill in the guarantee form so we had to buy the 3 remaining months of guarantee in order to get the official GasMan out, a snip at £125, all good fun.
As Jof went swimming I took the chance to re-watch Schwarzenegger comedy flick 'Eraser' with the betrayals and moles and unreasonable weapons and feisty witnesses and Mafiosi and bombs.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Key Worker (in Manure distribution)

housecat sitting on microwave oven stupidI don't mind Mondays, especially as you can feel the end-of-term vibe in the air, not long to go now.
So after a reading test another key worker and I escaped the drudgery of normal classes to do Lego Robotics: our competitive presentation is in a month and we're putting the finishing touches, bells and whistles onto our project. We've shortened our sequence sufficiently to include a task where you move some manure around, I remember seeing the tanker lorries doing that in Dorset where all the liquefied cow poo was squirted out over the fields, filling the atmosphere with green clouds for miles around.
large antique keysThen we got back just as the class was finishing a lecture on surface reflectivity and relative absorption of EM radiation at visible wavelengths. We took the test and got 10/10 even though we'd missed the lecture: just goes to show. Anyway, our Robotics group has to be pared down from 10 to 6 to achieve maximum team size for the regional finals and I'm hoping to be too valuable to redact, with my in-depth knowledge, special skills and stuff.
So we all walked up to Ben's old school by Yellow Plum Park and did our presentation for the little people, then we nipped next door to our own infant school and presented it again, we're getting really good at it. Then I got to walk home on my own like so many of my workmates. I like being Key Personnel.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

A christmas Twee

year old sapling live xmas tree in pot sainsburysAgain, found myself stuck to the tablet with its never-ending Youtube manna drip-feeding into my brain, amazing how often that happens. I hope I can get a nice high-paying job watching Minecraft videos.
Apparently Xmas is coming up. This is a passive event for all children in that Xmas happens, food and presents are provided and no effort is required. But now the tides of man are changing and I was instructed to buy presents using my own money! Couldn't believe it. So I tagged a lift to the supermarket and got myself a decent fry-up with sausages and chocolate muffin all for £4.95 and then located the cheapest socks I could find and a board game because such torture is traditional at Xmastime.
Meanwhile, this year-old sapling (an Xmas twee) came into our lives for only £6: once it has seen out the big day it can go into one of the big plant pots in the yard in the hope that one day we get a house with a garden, when all the trees we own have been promised that they will be transplanted into the infinite pot of a real flowerbed.