Attention Grammar Police!

If you should find offenses to the English language in any of my articles please leave a comment and let me know so that I can obliterate it forever! Thanks!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stay Tuned

To those of you curious enough to return...

Thank you - come again!

I promise I'll be back with something shortly, all this living out of a suit case business robs me of the internet sometimes...

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, January 8, 2010

This Week on Planet Me

For the first time this week I’m sitting here staring blankly at the screen and realizing I can’t be bothered writing anything.

But the show must go on even when I have nothing to say.

One of my many New Years resolutions is to read more this year. This is one resolve I don’t want to see in the Grave Yard of New Year Promises. In 2009 I probably read a total of 3 books and yet saw over a hundred movies (slight exaggeration). Even scarier is that I wrote more than I read and when you read a blog by someone who talks more than he hears and writes more than he reads you know you are going to walk away from this hopelessly misinformed!

Actually I’m reading a book on Prayer at the moment by the late great Derek Prince. It’s called “The Secrets of a Prayer Warrior”. It’s a pretty good Biblical perspective on how to pray and have your prayers answered, and goes about shattering the myth that so many of us hold on to – that prayer is like reading a shopping catalogue and unconsciously we treat God like some kind of divine shopping assistant; rather prayer is a way of inviting God to do his will through us and when we pray according to His will, as revealed in his Word, then our prayers will be answered. Of course there’s a lot more depth to the tome but I’ll write a review about it some time.

I watched two very unusual films from either end of the spectrum of unusualness – The Forbidden Planet and this other drug induced John Carpenter space comedy called Dark Star… which was like an American parody of Red Dwarf except 20 years before Red Dwarf was even conceived. Expect to see a review on those classic time wasters in the near future…

It wasn’t really such a waste of time as I got to eat a large dose of curry with friends and drink 2 beers, because that’s about all I can handle. But now that they have gone home and I have work tomorrow all I can think of is creeping downstairs, switching the old Xbox 360 on and escaping to the wastelands of Fallout 3 which is occupying more than a generous amount of my spare time these days…

And as for creeping downstairs… I’ve been house sitting for a family from my church. Lovely family; lovely house, except I had grown so accustomed, in the last 9 years, to having a dog around to warn me when a cat or a homicidal maniac was lurking about in the darkness outside. Now all I have is a security light that activates when a fly moons past. Every time a cat runs along the roof tiles I instantly freeze at the thought that it’s something other than a cat, like a giant Cray fish from out of space or a zombie horde. I told my friend how I feel about being alone in a big house all by myself and he told me I sounded like an old woman. His wife told me I sounded like an old woman. But they don’t know what its like, especially after the tomato robbery. The what? I hear you say… Well, the owners have a superb garden out the back. Designed to survive a nuclear holocaust, provided it happens somewhere else. They keep the tomato plants in a giant cage to keep them from running away, or probably to keep out the possums. Either way there was a juicy red tomato I had my eye on several days ago, but then the next day it was gone, having escaped the confines of its cage. I’ve decided that tomatoes don’t just vanish into thin ear unless they are from the future. No, there must be a tomato bandit and the noises I hear on the roof at night are somehow connected.

Actually I figured out who it was in the end and it was too much of an anti climax to write about so for now I’m going to stick with the tomato bandit story.

It’s been a stress ridden week of me being alone while my wife and child bask in the Australian sun. Training a uni student at work, who reminds me constantly of my less than academic mentality and staying in a big lonely house where my diet of baked beans on corn chips, curry and horse trough loads of Uncle Toby’s Cheerios has left me with enough gas to fly my own private air balloon to work tomorrow… now that would be a great blog…

I had over 40 page views yesterday, a tremendous feat for someone who never knows exactly what he’s on about. In the odd chance that you come hear regularly to laugh at me or with me or perhaps you appreciate my serious side and get something out of this site I strongly urge you to find me on facebook and become my “acquaintance” so I can up to date you constantly… that would be nice. Another thing you can do is whenever you read something on here that you particularly like then please forward the link to your chums or chumettes so I can get these Google ads working for me!

In any case, I’m now going to play computer games until my eyes can’t stay open anymore and just maybe I will wake up in a heap on the living room floor tomorrow morning. At least I’ll be closer to the kitchen!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Christmas in Peregian

I returned from my week off in the sunny Sunshine Coast and was asked by my jealous co-workers how I enjoyed my break.

My honest reply was of course that it wasn’t really a break, at least not in the holiday sense of the word.

My idea of a break is going to a place where people are a figment of someone else’s imagination, where you can leave your towel on the floor, walk around wearing the same pajama pants 24 hours a day, grow your beard so long so that your face becomes its own buried treasure and you can fart out loud and compliment your effort because there’s no one else around to criticize your personal escape to mandom.

That’s a real holiday.

But let’s face it, that sort of get away is boring, makes for an arcane blog and doesn’t present you with the mental and social challenges of Christmas with the family.

And what a setting!

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, and that’s the earth’s bottom for those of you who are wondering, you don’t just dream about a white Christmas, you scratch your head and wonder what one would even be like, the very concept of snow at Christmas time is foreign and almost as fictional as Santa Claus himself. (insert disclaimer for those of you who still believe in the jolly fat man).

The only equivalent to a sleigh ride here is catching a wave on your boogie board, and the warmest Christmas attire for us Aussies and Kiwis is a bikini or a pair of budgie smugglers. You need flip flops, thongs or jandels (as we kiwis call them) to stop the sand from char grilling your feet until they look like something from a burger king bun. Instead of snow warnings the weather man with zinc on his nose warns you of the danger of a heavy cloud of potential skin cancer moving in from the east with occasional thunder storms.

Actually the difference between an Aussie summer and a kiwi one hit me square in the sun burnt parts of me this year! It’s like the difference between a cat in a potato sack and a wombat in a frying pan!

In the weeks leading up to my holiday I was in Auckland complaining about the December “heat” debilitating my motor functions and harvesting sweat beads all over my hot oppressed self. I was still wearing jeans though, and I slept under my cozy covers.

My first night in Queensland and I was wondering if taking your skin off would help cool you down; jeans were now a thing of stupidity and bed covers were decorations to be kicked off before you went to sleep.

But I can’t complain, our room faced the wonderful expanse that is Peregian Beach, so the sweet sea Breeze came in through my window and had its cool way with me while I slept, only to be greeted by the sun at 5 am, the fiery red bugle boy in the sky, beckoning me to watch him play regardless of whether I liked his flaming hot jazz.

It was nice for my baby though. Being a winter child she has never been 10 minutes out of a jump suit. Now she was free to have fun in the sun with nary a covered bum and little else.

Peregian is beautiful. Alien compared to New Zealand beaches; a strange land full of gum trees, other trees and Bush Turkeys. They came out to look at us once but were suspicious and wouldn’t eat the dried apricot I threw their way, but instead ran away from it like it was a time bomb or a cautiously disguised laxative – more on that later.

In the Sunshine Coast the Beach never gets lonely. We were some of many visitors who offered their bodies to its open arms on a daily bases. One day in Noosa, another in Peregian, you can’t seem to run out of beach there’s so much of it.

In Noosa there’s a bay you can swim in with the fishies and then bake on the sand while parrots in the trees above drop seeds on our head, showing their contempt for the tourist industry or upset that the majority of topless sunbathers consisted of fatties like myself.

Noosaville was a pleasant scene, on a river where you can hire a boat or a barge for an afternoon and travel to a secluded spot, light up the Barbie and feed the sausages you don’t eat to the hordes of fish watching you from under the water’s surface… a mate and I spotted a cloud of little fish, no bigger than my pinky, only better swimmers. They traveled in a thick cloudy mass. We jumped on them to try to separate them and they still stuck together like there was a mysterious gravitational force pulling them together… then they started biting us and the game wasn’t fun any more.

The wild life in Australia is always present it seems. No matter where you are. We ate fish and chips, wonderful fish and chips, by the river in Noosaville under a huddle of palm trees where an Aussie Bat bullied us with a steady rain of miniature coconuts, although missing every time. I threw one back to prove my superiority but failed.

These Queensland Bats are amazing. If you can imagine a Walla bee in a Bat Man costume, that’s a Queensland Bat; only imagine 10,000 of them flapping their way across the sky in the twilight, probably all holding miniature coconuts ready to pelt at the next unsuspecting tourist they see.

I saw a dead bat once on the side of the road in the Gold Coast, like a giant winged teddy bear only smelly, rotten and hardly cuddly. There was is nothing cuddly about the occasional crispy bat you see dangling quite dead like from the power lines in the middle of the day either! A friend of mine once told me a story of when he went to take a bite out of his precious ham burger when suddenly a giant fruity poo landed splat bang in the middle of his dinner still clasped in his hands. They’re a beautiful nuisance and a spectacular treat for a kiwi like myself who knows the only exciting thing in the sky back home is the great big invisible hole in the ozone layer.

Incidentally if you are a kiwi planning a trip to sunny QLD then don’t bother purchasing your sun screen until you get there because the Aussies have obviously cracked the sun screen code, having found a way to provide their citizen’s with cheap lotion, like it was a basic human right or something; unlike New Zealand, the skin cancer capital of the world, where you have to be a suit to get the required amount of UV protection.

(Mental note to self, bring back sun screen next time I go to Oz)

The conundrum of Queensland is people need to wear more clothes, and yet they can’t. Fashion designers have the impossible task of inventing new outfits using the least possible amount of fabric. It gives a hot blooded male the wrong impression when the ladies in the shopping mall are wearing almost the same thing as the ladies at the beach! But it’s the sun that wears the Prada and dictates what people don’t wear, which is practically whatever they can get away with… The ancient Victorians of 130 years ago would not like present day Noosa for that reason, and I’m afraid I must be two thirds Victorian…

Christmas Eve came and my wife and I took a lovely stroll down to the Peregian Township by the sea to listen to the Carolers singing a song called “6 White Bloomers” which I assume is some Australian folk song about underpants. I was hard pressed to hear what it had to do with the true meaning of Christmas and even the usual Christmas intruder, Santa himself, would be confused. It sounded like Karaoke on the beach so we turned around and put the nightmare behind us.

That was the night I ate half a bag of dried apricots to naturally push the indulgent holiday food of the previous 4 days out of my constipated self. It worked like a treat but made for an extra long game of Scruples that night as I politely disappeared from the gaming table to do what can’t be written about. It’s a curious thing about me and holidays, its like my bowels go on holiday too and refuse to do any work and every one wonders why I’m not as mobile as they are!

So apart from the violent tendencies of the wild life, the half naked Australians and the potent apricots I would say Christmas in Peregian is a delightful cultural experiment. A far more enjoyable pass time than hiding in a hole on your holiday or watching the snow land on your windowsill!

So I came home after a week of shorts and an open shirt and quickly put my jeans on. The blankets are cuddly at home in Auckland and I can drive with my windows wound up and as I sleep I wonder if the Christmas Turkey I ate was what was left of one of the locals after feeding him an apricot.

Next Christmas we’re aiming for Fiji…

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dream Sequence 3

In a perfect world one intending to record a dream would get up early and make it the first thing he does before he goes to hades… sorry, I meant to say work; but I would rather trade a perfect world for a perfect nights sleep, which is what I was experiencing this morning as I slept through my alarm and it was a pure miracle that I woke up at all…

The dream was intense, so intensely intense. I found myself in my pajamas and on a road trip with two other people who are rather close to me.

We were travelling in my second car, a white Hyundai Excel with no air conditioning and therefore no soul. It was night and we were on our way to a camp called Chosen Valley, where I used to go as a child as both a camper and eventually a camp counselor. On the way we stopped for KFC but ended up getting ice-cream instead. I got mine first and got fed up with waiting for my two companions so I said I would walk along the road until they caught up. But as I walked I grew tired and pulled a blanket over myself and went to sleep on the foot path until I was awoken by the familiar sound of my Hyundai’s engine chugging past.

I jumped to my feet and waved but they did not see me. I ran onto the road and waved some more but in the night no one can hear you scream at their rear view mirror. I was furious that they hadn’t noticed me though, even though it wasn’t really their fault. I whipped out my cell phone and called one of them but got their voice mail instead. I left an abusive message along the lines of, “This is the worst birthday ever!” I didn’t even know it was my birthday until then.

As I sulked down the road I decided to call Chosen Valley to see if they could send my companions back my way. A girl called Briar whom I did not know, but according to the dream we were old acquaintances, answered and said she would let them know for me as soon as they got here. I blinked and in the twinkling of a raspberry I was right there talking with Briar in person about how I wanted these friends to go back and get me even though I had already arrived ahead of them.

The conversation changed into something much more personal like, “Its been so long, how are you these days?” Then I saw another girl from my childhood all grown upand very pregnant. We hugged and I kissed her on the cheek which was totally out of character for me because I hate kissing people on the cheek, its awkward and I almost always end up biting their ear or something equally upsetting. Its one of those family rituals that doesn’t occur in my family but it does in just about everyone else’s.
But in this case it was a sign of my new found and acute confidence…


Well I have always thought of cars as representing my life and the direction it is going, i.e. “Life is a highway” and “How many roads must a man walk down” blah blah blah…

The two people I am travelling with remind me of nothing else except they both make considerably more money than me and are happy in their jobs, so they leave me behind in my pajamas by the side of the road.

My Pajamas are interesting because I tend to sleep in the promotion shirts that film distributers give my employer. Lately we’ve been forced to wear them as a uniform, even though projectionists stay well and truly hidden from the public eye. I could grow an eagle’s nest on my face and crack a dinosaur egg on my forehead and no one would know about it, let alone care. To me they constitute a free shirt and are only good for wearing under the covers, collecting night drool and bed lice. Just today I was looking down and cringing at my Alice and Wonderland t-shirt which I refused to wear to the super market because the idea of Johney Depp’s transfestilic face gazing out of my chest seems less than ideal to me.

So I’m unhappy with my career. That much is apparent.

When a person is in that state its an effortless step to view those around you who are “doing better” (in this case my overtaking companions) and sometimes even curse them under your breath for travelling faster than you but in the end I needed to pick up the phone.

The cell phone is most likely prayer. I had spent time under the blanket on the side of the road escaping from my problems. I had spent time eating ice cream escaping from my problems (I’ve been playing copious hours of computer games and cat napping recently to escape the harsh world around me) but when you pray it is the polar opposite of escapism. It is when you lay everything before God and say, this is it, this is all I’ve got, now what can we do with it?

I left a message on my friend’s voice mail which is acknowledging my issues.

But then you have to move on and actually take action, so I called the destination for help.

I’m thinking of that verse, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added until you.” It’s Jesus speaking in Matthew 6.

The thing I want more than anything is to be in ministry. You may have heard me mention already that my calling is to be a pastor and a preacher of the gospel. Chosen Valley represents that Goal and my sudden translation there is indicative of my need for supernatural/divine intervention to get me there. Only God can open the doors for me to serve him in that capacity. I must not worry about what those around me are doing or how fast they are getting there, but instead keep praying and focusing on the destination like Abraham and the Promised Land.

As an afterthought

I realize these dream sequences are rather personal. Some people might read them and wonder what the dang I’m on about, but in my boredom I’m just scrambling for things to write about.

My Christian reader’s might find it a bit too mystical and are probably wondering if I'm on some sort of New Age slant but I simply believe that God gave us dreams. I know there are heaps of examples in the Bible where God spoke to people through their dreams so I’m open to the possibility he still does, even though I also have noticed the quietly loud absence of Dream Interpretation from the spiritual gifts mentioned in Paul’s letter s.

But in any case if you find the more personal blogs to be mind-numbing and hazardously dull, then by all means drop me a line and ask me a question about anything and I’ll answer it as incorrectly as possible!

Calamari and Me

Tonight I am rather exasperated and my heart is decaying for lack of company. I’ve been on my own for nine days while my wife and wonderful child are in Ozzie lappng up the sunshine and all the other glorious gems in that great big red treasure chest.

Here I am in cold but beautiful New Zealand, alone in am empty house that is so quiet I can hear my fingers banging away on the keyboard like they were angry chickens who had just walked into a KFC and seen what was on the menu…

Because I am in this despondent mood I would like to talk about something that brings me much happiness. Something other than my wife and wonderful child because although they make me happy, their absence and the steady reminder of it makes me sad and leads me to iniquitous thoughts of eating more of those “hundreds and thousands cookies” I found in the pantry or the box of Cadbury chocolates that doesn’t belong to me…. Nope, I must harmonize my thoughts to brighter and nobler affections - such as Calamari.

I love Calamari. Squid makes my blood thinner and my head dizzy just thinking of dipping it on a fresh bowl of thousand island dressing and planting it firmly in the soil of my lips so that a smile may grow therein…

When I was a child, growing up in the small community of Maraetai Beach, a lovely place full of hardly anybody, there was the occasion where mom would say “we’re having fish and chips tonight” and we would cry “yippee” and “choice!” Because getting take aways was a big event not dissimilar to Christmas Eve or wagging school. I would be given a small fortune, an entire $5 note bearing the queens lovely smile that said, “Go get em young man” and her advice would carry me down the hill to the shop by the beach where this mega amount of cash would get me a parcel made of actual news paper covered in real ink that told stories that no one cared about any more; stories that willingly forwent their lives for the sake of my Friday night meal.


And as the rest of my family sunk their slippery fingers into the mess of chips, battered sausages (we call those hot dogs in NZ) on a stick, or deep fried Pineapple fritters laced with sugar and cinnamon like they were donuts with a soul made of fruit, or the crumbly snapper or whatever their personal request from the take away man may have been – I had my squid rings, my lovely chewy fat filled squid circles that I ate slowly, proudly and delectably.

There is something sacred about a ring. Tolkien knew it and published a whole anthology about a magic one that almost brought an end to a world that never was. People have used the ring as a symbol of eternity to seal their marriage vows and the fish and chip industry has set in the stone of my heart the sacred squid ring to remind me that so far as sea food is concerned I am married to the squid.

And so were the first 19 years of my life, when asked, “Do you like sea food?” I would answer, “No, I hate it… except for… Squid rings….” While licking my quivering lips.

But I was in for a rude awakening. One that would rock the foundations of my culinary empire that up until this time had no natural disaster or calamity besiege my tongue strong enough to shatter my illusion that when it came to squid I knew what I was talking about…

I moved to Australia.

I can not remember the exact location of this fish and chippery except that it was in Melbourne, near a beach somewhere. I was only 19 when my taste buds bowed down to something they were not expecting…

I looked at the menu and could not see Squid Rings but rather something else, C-a-l-a-m-a-r-i… which I vaguely understood to be squid related but under a more cultured guise, which I was not prepared to discover in this land of Australians (sorry I couldn’t resist making an Aussie joke…) so I orderd it…

What I got was a box which contained two slices of lemon and these very large circular things that looked like Squid Rings except they were some how larger and more tyre like. I squeezed the lemon juice over the fare, more out of curiosity than anything else and tentatively proceeded with the eating of the C-a-l-a-m-a-r-i..

My eyes went wide when I realized that something wonderful was happening. It was like the fourth of July on the tip of my tongue, like every 5th of November took place inside my mouth and any false idea I had beheld about what made a jolly good squid ring was shattered. I was caught in a mixture of anger and ecstasy, like someone had thrust me in a machine that squashes strawberries and mixes them with frozen yogurt, painful and yet incredibly delicious….

The thing I realized there and then was this – the Aussies beat the kiwis hands down in the match for who knows how to prepare Calamari.

And so it was on that day in 1999 that I was converted and became a follower, a loyal disciple of the Australian TakeAway shop.

The shocking truth is that here in NZ your average local fish and chippy place has no clue when it comes to preparing Calamari… but even more appalling is that I’m not sure they even know what calamari even is! That’s right, the thing I had been wolfing down my whole young life pre take out conversion was not Calamari at all but rather some kind of fish paste or reclaimed meat of some description, squeezed into circlets, deep fried and passed off as squid, whereas in Australia at least what you are getting was caught, killed and cooked – simple as that! Between Byron Bay's tea room, that served a sweet chilli calamari salad that likens the dining experience to your first kiss and Alaxandra Heads own Mandolin Seafoods that thinks outside the box and serves its Loligo opalescens in finger shaped cuts that make you want to cut your own fingers off and replace them with what you are eating,you can find a myriad of take out joints all ready to rain their delights upon your plate...

But not here I'm afraid.

In the odd chance that I actually have some fellow Aucklanders reading this and you happen to know where I can get real tentacle meat then please pleasure me with you’re your comments, because I am yet to find such a place…

Its sad that we live in such a ridiculously beautiful country as New Zealand with all its native wonders; rolling green hills and sheep and flightless birds and hot mud pools and richer that Aaustralian culture and yet we can’t get our Calamari right! It’s a travesty, pure and simple!

When I was in the Sunshine Coast a few weeks ago I made sure I downed a bucket load of the stuff in an effort to savour the flavour and cherish the memory of that great white rubbery meat of the sea….

Which brings me back to where I started, darn it! The best Calamari is in Australia, along with my wife and my wonderful child and I am here in this miserable lonely house with its pink icing cookies and my xBox begging me to stay up until 2 a.m.

At least I can console myself with this truth … we still make a darn good steak and mushroom pie!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Fatherhood 7 Months in…

Recently I found myself locked in a dark room with a 21 year old university student and before your mind wanders in the wrong direction I should point out he was a new employee I was training at work.

In between threading up movies and watching the clock we began discussing more topics than your average chimpanzee might over a bright yellow banana from religion, political philosophy (whatever that is) to the life and death hypothetical’s they throw at students these days, like “If you were in a life boat with five other people and one of you had to be thrown overboard to save the other 4 then what would you do?”

He couldn’t get over how my Christian beliefs would throw me overboard as the one most likely to live forever while giving the other 4 a chance to live long enough to meet their creator this side of the grave.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, as most such discussions go it came to the age old questions about the ethical demise of abortion and people like me who refuse to be anything but black and white on the issue.

This chapter is not about abortion but rather the direction the conversation went. He wanted to know what my view would be if an 18 year old girl were to fall pregnant after taking all “reasonable” precautions, with her sparkling career before her and a whole life about to be shattered by the arrival of a baby; would I consider it reasonable for her to have an “a” word ?

Did I mention that this article is not about abortion?

My answer focused on the following.

The fact that any of us are here at all is an absolutely phenomenal miracle.

Before we got married my wonderful wife and I were surrounded by couples who were wrestling with their unfulfilled desire to have children. It’s painful to get caught up in a conversation with a woman longing to duplicate her genes but for whatever reason, often an unknown reason, can’t. Seeing someone in that sort of pain, trapped in longing, can only be compared to someone who is mourning the death of someone they loved very much, only in this case the person they loved dearly hasn’t even been born yet and the grave is her own empty womb.

You can pat these people on the back and say “there there” but what else can you do?

It was in these later months of our 7 year “courting” that Sarah and I decided to pray about our own hopes for a family and this is what we said, “Dear Lord, we would love to have a family but only if and when you think we’re ready. Otherwise we will be happy just to serve you, in Jesus name, Amen.” (non verbatim)

We fell pregnant the week we got married.

Someone might argue it was all the zinc in the shell fish I was eating that week or even the impeccable timing of our wedding day but I believe God didn’t just answer our prayer; he also complimented us by saying, “Yep, I think you’re ready.”

That was miracle number one.

Then comes the next 9 months of your wife changing experience, like she was Doctor Who or a caterpillar, and in my case it wasn’t a bad thing. In my younger years I thought pregnant women were as attractive as a tyre factory; but that wasn’t my experience at all. My wife was beautiful.

I better not get too carried away here, I am after all meant to be talking about the Miracle…

When you’re a pregnant Dad for the first time you become a sort of freaked out wide eyed hypochondriactic nutrition ridden wombat. Seriously, not that I know what a wombat does when its at home but over and over again you are reminded of all the things you can eat, all the things you shouldn’t eat, all the things you actually ate but wish you hadn’t eaten. Too much fish has too much mercury; no pate, no Christmas Pudding, no hot pools no sky-diving, everything becomes a matter of should I shouldn’t I. I must have woken up 270 times during the course of the pregnancy to remind Sarah to roll over onto her left hand side because if you lie on your back there’s some artery your baby can squash and consequently kill you. Frankly you get the impression that when you become pregnant you become this great big self destruct button that just about anything can successfully push. You wake up a further 3 times a night because you’re being kicked in the ribs by something inside your wife’s stomach that feels like a chipmunk with a jack hammer!

Then there are the medical things like my wife happened to be O negative. So what? Well turns out when you’re O negative and have a baby with a positive blood type you can potentially develop anti bodies that might kill off any future babies with positive blood types, provided their blood comes into contact with yours. Its called Rhesus negative and it sucks. But don’t worry, the doctors have a special vaccine called “Anti D” that will save the day and keep you populating the globe for as long as you can before the Carbon Taxes stop you. (Thankfully our little tiger was A negative so we got a green light for more youngsters to join the Gedge army…)

Then there are the multiple things that can go wrong when the baby is born. Some ladies can get a thing called Group B strep which is a nasty bacteria that would otherwise be completely harmless if you weren’t about to cough up another human being the wrong way out. Baby comes into contact with the stuff and bam you got a very sick and potentially dying baby.

The head has to be in the right place, the cord can get wrapped around his neck, her hands can get in the way, and did I mention the long list of pain killers and apparatus they show you at Anti Natal class that get Dad thinking he’s about to walk into a torture chamber and participate in some sick ritual that will potentially cost him his consciousness and/or sex life?

Hence the miracle.

On the one hand you get these people who can’t reproduce and wish and pray that they could. On the other hand you get the ones who brave it through the most bizarre, surreal and yet rewarding ordeal to get this thing that despite all odds popped out just in time to say hello with its little screams and twisted fingers and kicking legs with feet that looked like they fell off a porcelain doll…

I can’t honestly say that there would be any such thing as a “reasonable precaution” when the thing precautioned against is something so incredibly remarkable as your own child.

And along came Christmas…

As my wife handed me 7 pairs of socks she apologized because we’ve been so broke and that was the best we could do. I felt shocked that she forgot to mention on the Christmas card “I got you socks because I already gave you a baby as an early Christmas present!”

Haydn Emma herself gave Daddy a few presents this year and she didn’t even need a wallet. I will have to find out how she does that, it would save me a lot of money!

She is saying “Dadadadadadadadadad” a lot now. Of course I don’t think she knows what she is saying or has associated it with this bumbling big buffoon who can’t stop cuddling her but at the very least I wonder if she says “Dadadadadadad” because it must annoy “Momomomomomomom”? Well, it would were it not for the fact she says that occasionally too. (But she says “Dadadadad” more)

Present number two was when she was on the bed watching me wrap the secret Santa’s. To keep her occupied I let her play with some paper while I concentrated on the intricate sticky taping of a book until I looked up to discover my little girl now had a purple face, purple fingers and a great big purply tongue! Naturally I freaked out and stuck my finger in there to get whatever was in there out again. We think Kids aren’t very smart because they’re kids but after that experience I realized that a child is only as stupid as their parents.

The purple dye must have contained a mutagen or steroid or something because on that same day she got up on her hands and knees as if to take off like a thunder bird but then she stopped, probably deciding to save that discovery for when no one is looking.

Her Granddad had the privilege of giving her her first taste of ice cream. Her reaction wasn’t quite as exciting as when I gave her her first Lime only a few days before but at least she enjoyed the ice-cream. I have a nice picture of her painting her face with it after she grabbed the spoon from Granddad and proceeded to continue with munching on it by herself. She does that when she gets enthusiastic about her food.

She even got a cool toy that projects teddy bears and stars onto the ceiling. The idea was to use it to help her get to sleep at night but she’s onto us; she knows when we’re trying to put her out for the night and will stop at nothing to stop us from succeeding…

To be continued...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sherlock Holmes: An Elementary Review

I find myself torn by my normal desire to tear through a film like the toilet paper it might have been or praising it for the simple fact that Robert Downey Jr was his usual brilliant self as he expertly portrayed someone else - in this case the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.

In fact Robert Downey Jr is one of the only reasons I consider the acting profession a real art form, because he does it so well, and after seeing him in this role of the clever detective I've also come to the conclusion that he just might be the only American capable of one day playing the role of Doctor Who, if only the producers of my favourite science fantasy would cast but a glance in his direction.

Jude Law is ok as Doctor Watson but always under the bright shadow of the better actor of the two. Jude has slain his thousands but Robert his tens of thousands so to speak.

Anyway, the story is obviously a prequel of sorts, or rather a set up for a bigger production soon to come, although I haven't checked elsewhere on the net to find out, but one doesn't need to be a detective to spot the hints and clues that this plot was the foundation for more big bucks to be made in the future. The two detectives are on their last case together, a fact that Holmes is finding hard to come to grips with as is seen later as he subtly undermines Watson's efforts to leave 221 b Baker's St to join in Holy Matrimony to a young Governess in pursuit of a less exciting life... But back to the scene of the crime where a bunch of dark robed devil worshippers are performing a sacred ritual on a poor young woman who holds a knife in her hand ready to sacrifice herself but is saved by Holmes just in the nick of time! (Who is the Nick of time anyway?)

The leader of the cult is one Lord Blackwood who is tried and hung for his misdeeds only to be resurrected again 3 days later - all by himself. And the game is well and truly afoot! Holmes and a very reluctant Watson must uncover a plot so thick with intrigue you could lather a Chelsea Bun with it, the way Auntie Marge used to with thick chunky butter, leaving you wondering where the bun begins and the butter ends...

There's some explosions, some questionable science and some weird love interest with that girl from the Notebook whose name I can't remember right now. But the brilliance of it all is in the fact that in the very far far back background there is Professor Moriarty, whose face you never do see, manipulating events and pulling strings, not attached to the main story at all but cleverly preparing something dastardly for the next movie.

I love when you never see the bad guy, it just makes him a hundred times more eviler than the guy you actually see, like Sauron from the Lord of the Rings and all you see is this great big flaming eye on top of a dark tower; in this film Moriarty is the elusive black figure hiding in the shadows with a neat party pistol he hides up his sleeve...

The movie also comes complete with some dead frogs, pigs and a man who is murdered in a bath tub - everything you want to see on a Saturday night when there is nothing better to do.

It was interesting that the Villain, Lord Blackwood, had a moment where he quoted Revelations 13:4 and then rose again on the third day to set in motion his plan for world domination as if he were the anti-Christ. The reason I find this interesting is sometimes, occasionally you see in movies or stories an unconscious understanding of real Biblical truth - that one day there will be an Anti Christ who will seize the reigns of society with clever tricks and loyal followers, but alas there will be no Sherlock Holmes to rescue us. Though seriously, not to go too deeply into it, its like the god/man myths of the ancient world where a man who is half god dies and goes to Hades only to ascend later into Olympus as if they knew, maybe on a spiritual level, that one day in real history God himself would become a man, die and ascend into heaven... maybe I got bored and read a bit too much into it?

I certainly ate a lot of popcorn and drank most of my mother's coke. Naughty me I hear my teeth chide.

Despite the occult imagery you can rest assured that this is not a horror flick and I wouldn't worry too much about the undertones of witchery because at the end of the day, in true scooby doo like fashion, Sherlock unravels everything and exposes the supernatural activity as simple fraud and slight of hand, and maybe feet as well.

I would give this film a 4 out of 10 for plot and originality, sorry it just wasn't clever enough and didn't capture my interlect more than it caught my eye for good old fashioned clothing and wondering how they made London look so old and muddy again. (and yes, I know I miss spelt intellect)

But for fun it deserves a 7, that is if you go to the movies for fun that is.