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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, June 30, 2012

Sick

Blogging on this page has been temporarily disrupted due to the flu. Stupid flu I hate you.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - A Review

It's finally happened. Something I've been holding out for since the day I became a Father - my three year old has reached the age where we can not only watch movies together, but movies that I might enjoy without being intellectually clubbed to death by the simplicity explicit in most shows made for her age group!

Last night we had our first "family movie night" and kicked it off with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs...

...the story of Flint Lockwood, a young wannabe inventor who up until recently has failed brilliantly at everything he has put his inventiveness to. From spray on indestructible shoes which can never be removed to a species of flying rats which plague his small island town of Swallow Falls, a sardine fishing community on the verge of rebooting its run down economy by opening a colossal sardine themed tourist park.

Flint has invented a machine which transmogrifies water into any food you can imagine, which he hooks up to the town's power supply on the day of Sardine Lands grand unveiling. All goes horribly wrong as the new attraction is ransacked by Flints reckless machine and amidst the wreckage flint is berated and all but hated by the whole town... including his own Dad.

That is until cheese burgers start to fall from the sky. Yummy cheese burgers. And the stage is set for a story replete with mayhem, dry humor (almost Seinfeld style) and some serious themes.

Without remembering a single joke from this film I do know there were certain points which really made my wife and I laugh, and genuine laughter too, not the strained "man this movie is so lame" laughter that comes from watching a movie that only the youngest person in the room wants to watch! I do recall that the adult humor in this movie didn't hinge on sexual innuendo either, something a lot of kid's films are notorious for, because of the belief that sexual allusions will fly over the kid's heads, except in my opinion it just goes crashing into their subconscious... But in all I found the dialogue to be sophisticated enough to keep me entertained but simple enough to maintain my Child's attention...

The movie carries two obvious themes, the value of being a nerd... Well not really, the value of being yourself, even if you are a nerd and the value of having a Father's love and pride.

Throughout the movie Flint strives for his Father's acceptance, his Father a simple and quiet fisherman who runs a bait and tackle shop and struggles to communicate with his son. They might as well be from different planets!

There was a particularly insightful scene where a completely defeated Flint finds himself in a rubbish bin because everything has gone to pot and it was all his fault. His Father asks him why he is there and Flint explains that it is where he belongs because he is junk.

My Step Father use to say to me, "whats the moral of the story?" and make me think about the underlying message of the film rather than the face value. The scene above for me exemplified the Moral of the Meatballs, that without a Father's love and acceptance children believe they are trash. I know this is true. To succeed children need to hear their Father say, "You can do it!" which is what finally happens in Cloudy and Flint goes on to save the day.

The music in this movie was noticeable too, the opening credits made me feel like I was watching an 80s adventure flick, only cooler.

The only draw back was that at parts my young one did get scared. To my grown up mind there was nothing in the movie that was obviously frightening but when the storm clouds swirled or the creepy town mayor got more creepier she let us know that the movie was scary... But those scenes were over quick enough and we had no nightmares to contend with so it may depend on your child's own sentimentality.

I give Cloudy a 7 out of 10, for originality and the promise that this movie will make you feel hungry. I ate a lot of ice cream after watching it. I also give it such a generous score for featuring the voice of Mr. T, after all, how can you go wrong with Mr. T?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prometheus Revisited

I know I've already written about this over exposed religious space epic but I couldn't resist coming back to it after having seen it again last night.

I didn't see it twice because I thought it was worthy of a second look but merely because a friend wanted to see it and as a cinema employee I get in for practically free so why not?

This is not a review by the way, just some random things I thought of during the revisit...

The thing that really bugged me about this film was that the space suits were inconsistently strong or weak depending on what scene they were in! In particular during the massive wind storm that blows Dr Shaw away, battering her body with cricket ball sized scoria, and not a single crack in her space helmet! Then as the film progresses the bearded geologist, now transforming into a bearded something else, can smash a helmet open with one punch! I'm not happy with these helmets at all!

The second thing was that the alien nazca lines that lead the Prometheus to the alien domes of terror, apparently visible for thousands of years, are somehow impervious to such colossal rock storms!

There is a sort of stick it in your face yet sympathetic blow to Christianity in this film as well. Shaw wears a cross because her father was a missionary and yet she has chosen to believe in the Engineers, the "true" makers of our species. One thing I noticed, that could be my own spiritual paranoia, was that when they find the first evidence of a fallen headless Engineer they date it's demise to 2000 years ago, a date which coincides to the beginning if Christianity. Was the film saying that just as the Engineers were on the brink of wiping out the human race in a sort of genetic holocaust the majority of the western civilization were about to embrace the Christian faith. In other words just as the world was about to reject their "true" engineers we decide to embrace this Jesus and become worthy of extinction?

Maybe I'm going to far, but in this movie you can't help but try to decipher it's religious or anti-religious over tones, as well as it's almost evangelical approach to the ancient alien hypothesis which I am convinced, after weeks of watching History Channel's Ancient Aliens, that this pseudo-science is the seed of a new religion to satisfy those who can't stomach either random Evolution or the Christian God.

Anyway, a sequel is eminent and the question rises, where do you go from here? Shaw is speeding off to find the Engineers home world while more horrors remain undiscovered on the planet. I want to see what happens to Shaw but I also want to know if a follow up expedition come to the planet to get wiped out by the giant worms that have nothing else to eat!

I thought one interesting idea for a sequel could be another prequel, go back several thousand years to the origin of disease, maybe they could suggest that the engineers first tried to control us or destroy us on a microscopic scale by bringing Pandora's Box to planet Earth? Pandora, the prequel to Prometheus.

The possibilities for more of Ridley's space saga are various and tempting.

I only have one request - put David's head back on his body! I keep trying to figure out if Shaw can fix it because why else would she have taken his body if not to return his head to it. But can she trust David not to carry out his original mission and bring the horrible cargo back to Earth?

There is a lot being said about this film. Half of all who have seen it seem to be in the "hate it" camp while the rest of us like it.

As a Christian the whole ancient alien thing doesn't phase me because I know it's nonsense, and although I disagree with the overall message of this film I do think it's new seat in pop-culture makes it worthy of attention and thoughtful criticism.

Two days later...

Ok I'm still thinking about this movie and realized that if Ridley wanted to take the film's connection to the Greek myth further than just the name of the doomed ship then it's possible that there are more "engineers" involved than just the ones in this film. In the Greek story Prometheus was the Titan responsible for giving humans fire or in other words the ability to advance technologically, a crime that led to his eternal punishment by Zeus.

In Greek mythology the Olympian gods came from the Titans.

So here is where I am going with this:

Applied to Ridley's story it could go something like this...

Millennia ago something older than the Engineers created them only to be overthrown by their creation which then went on to create the human race for their own purposes. But the Titan remnant then helped the Human race by giving them technology which made the Engineers realize eventually that we would soon do to them what they did to their originators. So they create Pandora's Box to control the human race with disease and limit our life span. But it doesn't work and the human race poses an imminent threat that must be stopped, so the engineers on LV- 426 set in motion a final solution which backfires and destroys them instead. Only to be discovered by the Prometheus and her crew 2000 years later.

But wait there's more, the humans have begun to do exactly the same thing, repeating history by creating androids like David with the ability to become an eventual threat to the Human race.

The android David seems to go to great pains to free himself from Wayland's control by leading him to his demise at the close of the film. History repeating itself.

Which takes me to my next line of thinking. Bladerunner.

Though currently Blade Runner has absolutely no connection to the Alien franchise there are obvious similarities such as the human-android tensions. In the movie Bladerunner Androids have been given a reduced lifespan to lessen the perceived threat they pose to humanity - this is eerily similar to what I suggested above, that the Engineers may have introduced disease to reduce the human life span and make us more controllable.

Going with the idea of history repeating itself an interesting direction the Alien franchise could take could be to suggest that in the same way the Titan Prometheus gave fire to the Humans which made us a threat to the Olympian gods, then the Engineers could do something to the androids to make them a greater threat to us; give them emotions perhaps? Or maybe even a soul were that possible. Or maybe Shaw could just arrive at the Engineer's home world only to discover the entire thing has been xenomorphed or destroyed by their creators!

One thing is for sure though, given the loose link to the myth of Prometheus, the Engineers can't be completely alone, something must have come before them, and that something made the human race too scary for them to allow to survive.

Anyone familiar with the newer version of Battlestar Galactica will recognize the obvious likeness in plot also!

And I'm still going. Having dwelt on this for as long as I have I can't help noticing the similarity with my own Judeo-Christian accounts of the Garden of Eden and the story of Prometheus. There are too many parallels between Prometheus and the Devil to be ignored. In the Book of Enoch (non-biblical text) the Devil tricks the watchers (a group if Angels charged to watch and guide the human race) to breed with human women, an event also touched on in Genesis Chapter 6 before the flood of Noah. One thing the Watchers also do is give humans technology, which they were also punished for, something strikingly similar to the Prometheus myth. Going back to the Garden if Eden, we see the Devil promising Eve that consuming the forbidden fruit would make her like a god (or God depending on the translation)... Something else that Prometheus is also championed for...

Of course I've wandered away from the film and am now dealing with spiritual and historical truths. But regardless of your's or my beliefs these stories resonate with something in either our psyche or soul because they touch on something that most if us can only grasp on the furthest corners of our consciousness - that there is a truth behind them about our past that we ought to take seriously. And that is Ridley's true genius, he has used source material that pinches the nerve of cultural or perhaps even genetic memory and that will be the thing that propels the popularity of this film.

I for one do not believe in the Ancient Alien theory. As I've alluded to above I believe that Angels are Angels and the ancient gods are the Devil's distractions against the the truth of the true "Engineer" of our existence. After all if the Engineers made us, who made them? Which is a valid question if the Engineers are bound to time and space, but if your Engineer is not limited by the laws of the Cosmos then you can end the need for endless Engineers with him, because outside the confines of time that kind of Engineer can create creating itself and therefore does not need to be created. That's my Engineer. That's my Jesus.

I hope Ridley leaves Jesus alone so I can continue to enjoy thus franchise and it's many speculations...



If I think of anything else I'll mention it later... But hopefully I'll just stop thinking about it altogether!

Sorry about the spelling, I texted this entry!

21st July - still thinking about this movie... Ok, not exactly, but I caught up with a mate I hadn't seen in a while tonight and of course Prometheus came up in the conversation. My friend didn't like the movie of course and for some reason I felt compelled to fly to it's aide. And in the course of the discussion I found my mouth blurting out something I hadn't previously considered, not consciously at least, and that was one very obvious similarity to Blade Runner which I can't believe I had missed - in the movie Blade Runner the militant android Roy Batty seeks Tyrell of Tyrell corporation, the "engineers" of the Blade Runner androids, because he wants an extension of life to his soon to be "dead" self. I thought it was very interesting that in Prometheus the character Weyland is seeking his creator for exactly the same thing!

What a strange coincidence! What is Ridley's personal interest in that theme? Does he seek immortality himself I wonder?

Anyway, I might as well add here that this week I got out Lawrence of Arabia so that I could figure out what David's obsession with that movie is all about and all I can say is wow, the impact of LofA on Prometheus is quite staggering, ranging from uses of dialogue like "there is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing" or "Big things have very small beginnings" and those are just the obvious ones.

What struck me the most about the two films though are the similarities in location. Some of the desert landscapes with towering rocks that look like structures are so similar I could almost think both stories took place on the same planet if it weren't for the difference in light and space suits! Some of the camera angles and shots are almost identical as well. I got all excited when an Arab guy dropped a goat skin into a well in a shot airily familiar with the hole in the Pyramid where the Prometheus crew first discover they can breath the air down there...

Most of all though, watching Lawrence has totally changed my perspective of David's motivation throughout the film. David adopts Lawrence's mannerisms, quotes and style if speech to such a degree that you have to wonder if he has also taken on Lawrence's attitude to authority. Lawrence is very much his own man and moves as he sees best despite the orders of his superiors. He does his own thing and acts according to his own sense of moral justice even to his detriment. So I think that David is like Lawrence. I don't think he is following orders at all when he puts his fellow crew mates at risk or when he speaks to the engineers, not now that I have had the education of his favorite movie. Although I've only seen part one, I might find myself proving myself wrong in a couple of days!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pimp My Twenty Bucks Part Five

It has been five weeks since I began the arduous task of becoming a Hundredaire (that’s like a millionaire only 10,000 times poorer) and I am proud to announce that I have finally earned enough to retire on, that is, if I was an ant.

However I do feel that I am finally getting some traction on the whole enterprise and as slow as it has been I’m definitely moving in the right direction – forward!

If you’ve just walked in on this series and can’t be bothered going back to the introduction to figure out what all this is about then allow me to bring you up to speed.

I had a dream. A dream that by manipulating the forces of the internet, I could turn a simple $20 note into a more appealing and usable $100. To be specific, I proposed to utilize my love and knowledge of popular fiction, by purchasing cheap editions from local opportunity shops and selling them online via Trademe, otherwise known as the Kiwi alternative to eBay.

With that $100 I would go on to greater things like adorning my feet with hole less shoes or visiting my dear old Mother who lives 300 kilometers the wrong way from here, or the even darker and dire possibility of paying a vet to castrate my testosterone heavy cat.

Armed with the optimism that believes I can achieve such things with only $100 as if it were 1985 I took that $20 and used half to credit my Trademe account. I then used the remaining $10 to purchase 9 paperback novels at 50 cents to $1 each from a local op shop…

But that was then.

This is now.

If you have braved the jungle of my last four blogs in this series you will notice that I have been making this up as I go along, feeling my way around like an entrepreneurial Tarzan swinging from one vine to the next, never knowing when I was going to grab the tail of a hungry snake instead. But I think I have the hang of this now. It’s a bit like farming really. Farming in a completely unpredictable environment that may or may not reap a harvest…

Last week I listed 26 books. I sold three. That’s like sowing 26 seeds and getting three cabbages back, except thankfully these seeds are magic and I can sow them again and again until they bear fruit (or vegetables).

I sold:

Whirlwind by James Clavell for $3
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole for $3
The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank) for another $3

That’s $9 for me to brag about this week.

My cat Felix, skeptical to the end regarding his eminent surgery, just raises his eyebrow at me. I didn’t even know cats had eyebrows!

I’ve been gathering my takings in a bank account I’ve named the Dog Ears Account; currently it is the lavish home of $17.

Last week’s sales left me with $3 in the old Trademe account.

Plus $9 equals $29!

It took me nearly five whole weeks but I have proven none the less that I, a dim-witted financially illiterate moron can, with persistence, patience and personality, can make money grow.

Now I just need some sort of financial growth hormone to make it grow bigger and faster!

Never the less I will soldier on until Felix raises two eyebrows in disbelief and faints in the vet clinic!

This week I have replaced the three books I sold with 6 books which I have now relisted at 30 cents per listing. I now have 31 books listed. (As an interesting side note, if I do ultimately fail in this endeavor I could always repackage this series as a guide to turning $20 into 100 books!)

Having spent $3 on the new product, $1.80 on listing fees and $10 on topping up my Trademe account I now have $11.50 in Trademe and $16 in Dog Ears.

Now I only hope I can make this project into a proverbial snowball… only is that one of those cartoon snow balls that grows exponentially bigger as it rolls down a mountain or is it one of those snow balls that hits you in the face when you aren’t looking?

Only time will tell…

Tune in next week when I let Felix write the next entry!

Click Here to read Part Six of this series!

To view this weeks listings click here!

Click Here to read Part One of this series!

Click Here to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to listen to a completely random piece of music by me that has nothing to do with this series!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

21st June on Planet Fatherhood

I’ve learned that the strength of being a Dad is found not in intellectual brilliance, physical strength or thickness of wallet – a Dad’s real strength can be seen in his ability to sacrifice anything for his kids. At least this is what I tell myself when I eat my Sultana Bran in the morning and my two girls, like a pair of starved sea gulls swoop to my side with open beaks and their fingers, sticky with snotty goodness, reaching into my cereal bowl.

Another night shift the evening before and yet another bed time taking place almost six hours after when I should have gone to bed. The last thing I see before I close my floppy eyelids is my iPhone telling me that it’s nearly 1:30 in the morning and then everything goes black…

… for about 5 hours until the shuffle of tiny feet in the kitchen is my first warning that whatever dream I was having is doomed in a sea of damaged dreams, where all the ships of broken sleep sink in a Bermuda Triangle of unprocessed thoughts. I flex the muscles responsible for my ability to surrender to consciousness. Miraculously they’re still there.

The routine that follows I could almost do in my sleep now. But good Dad’s don’t sleep. I open the dish washer to discover I once again forgot to put it on before I went to bed and all the bottles are blemished with the dregs of milk from the day before. As I clean them, I know my three year old shouldn’t have a bottle but her 18 month old sister still has one in the morning, and the effort required to reason with the little big girl over the politics of bottles is still in its recharger somewhere. I am a jelly fish washed up on the beach.

Thankfully Mum rescues me this morning by giving me half an hour to myself to jump start my batteries in a hot bath of bliss to contemplate the day. This week I’m determined that the day not turn into a merry-go-round of madness like last week when I battled rain, cold and even Hedgehog poo (long story) to get the laundry done, only to end up asleep on the couch with Haydn who innocently and unconsciously marinated the couch in a puddle of warm piddle, not excluding the remote control from that mess. In the cacophony that followed I put the remote intending to clean it later. Later came when at the end of the day I called out from the bath to my wife, “Honey, the remote is under the entertainment unit.”

“Thanks love.” She called out. There’s a pause and I can hear the surf of changing channels crashing on the shores of the living room. “By the way,” I remember. “There’s pee on it.”

“Now you tell me!” She cries.

Flash forward to this week and I leap out of the bath with uncompromising vigor. “I won’t need the car today, love.” I say to the gorgeous mother of my children, “I’m going to take the girls on a bus ride today; we’ll pick up the car from your work and then go to...” I wish I had of contented myself with letting her take the car and then said nothing after that. As soon as she left, I took all that enthusiasm, that gusto to embrace the day and the impetus to give the girls an adventure - and did the laundry. About four loads.

The laundry in our house is like mould in a Petri dish. Scientists would marvel at its ability to divide and duplicate itself exponentially until you can’t see our bathroom floor anymore, but instead a mountain of filthy attire. It is a living entity that feeds only on copious amounts of time, effort and good weather. Three things we don’t seem to have a lot of except for on our days off. If our laundry was a pet I would be jailed for animal cruelty or neglect, but as it is the laundry seized me in its unforgiving jaws and did not let go until the morning had left me to the whims of the afternoon.

After valiantly fighting back the third load of laundry into the gaping mouth of our seizure happy washing machine (on the spin cycle this thing acts like it swallowed a hurricane and has cracked all but three tiles in our bathroom, practically). I realize that I’m losing the battle. The still cold air on the porch is refrigerating the washing rather than drying it out for its ultimate destination – Mount Laundry Couch; the chair in the corner of the living room where no bum has sat for many a year because of the perpetual pile of unfolded clothing that grows there. There are mountain goats living on it.

Not one to admit defeat I decide it’s time to bring in the big guns, its time the dryer came out of retirement.

See Dearing Dad haul the massive white dryer up from under the house. See how Father arches his back and supports the mighty dryer on his belt and bears it like a quintuplet filled pregnant belly up the garden steps. See how the old man staggers in a stupor across the deck, shouting for the kids to get out of daddy’s way, pulled by the weight of the white good and the need to just get the darn job done. See our living room now complete with a puppet theatre, the entertainment unit, a dryer, Mount Laundry Couch and so many toys the floor is building muscle just holding it all.

As difficult as the whole ordeal sounded, I felt a certain swelling of my manly pride at having managed to achieve a masculine task while playing solo dad for a day. Heck, only an hour before I was on the couch with a needle and thread mending a hole in my daughter’s knitwear. It felt good moving from work that my mother would have done to something as full on as breaking my back under a heavy piece of machinery. In any case, at least I’d have dry pajamas tonight!

Yet an hour and one sound asleep toddle later, there is still laundry to be done! But the day is fast disappearing and I ask Haydn the million dollar question, “Will you be disappointed if we don’t go out?” But in truth I am really asking myself the same question. Cooped up in this house with nothing to do but laundry and Barbies! We’ll wait for Chelsea to wake up at least.

14:00 – we’re out the door, Dad, three year old and 18 month old – and no push chair. It’s in the boot of the car I so lovingly had my wife take to work. But not to worry, after shifting that two ton dryer, I’ve decided I’m a “real man” and this is the sort of thing a “real man” should be able to handle. Baby steps to the bus stop a thousand meters away.

The bus ride itself was a magical experience for at least two of us. Haydn just loved the magic of doing a new thing, the bus to her probably being as exciting as hitching a ride on a camel armed with nuclear missiles, while I’m just loving being witness to the way a child can turn something so normal and common place into a once in a life time experience. Chelsea on the other hand simply looked grumpy. She doesn’t trust anything new and has a standard Winston Churchill Bulldog like gruffness that she puts on for all occasions and people she is unfamiliar with.

We get off outside Rialto, New Market and then it dawns on me. I’ve done something that only a professional dad could do. I’ve managed to bring spare nappies but no wipes. Snacks but no drinks. Spare coats, but no spare underwear!

We go into the Rialto building to at least solve the drink problem where in the food hall I’m met with the sight that meant two completely different things to each party; one of the best in store play areas I had ever seen. To the girls it meant play time. To me, it meant rest!

The girls must have played on the enclosed play set for half an hour while I sat there and simply breathed. It was going so well until the one that could talk says to me, “Daddy, my pants are wet.”

I was sure that at that moment a scratched record could be heard throughout the building. In my imagination everything went in slow motion and someone inside me screamed, “Noooooooooo” in that sort of deep drawn out way a desperate man shouts when time has been cut in half and something truly tragic is about to happen.

Except I check and the pants are dry. Relief.

“But daddy, I need to change, my pants are wet.”

It’s after the third check that I become aware of the squirt. How do I describe this? Somewhere in the hadron collider of her trousers a fart smashed into a number two and exploded into the minor but very obvious mess I now beheld.

“Oh dear,” I said, “Daddy doesn’t have any spare undies for you.” If my car ran out of oil on the motor way or I went on a hunting trip and forgot my tooth brush, these things I am wired to deal with. My man brain has filing cabinets full of natural information for any adventure crisis. But a miniature diarrhea in a food court with no wipes or undies for damage control… the instructions for this predicament are filed away in a cabinet in Mum’s brain and I’m like a gold fish that just discovered the furry thing in my bowl with claws has a cat attached to it.

But it gets worse of course.

I grab the 18 month old who, still intent on the play gym, squirms like an eel and squeals like a mauled rabbit at our sudden departure. I look for the signs that tell me where the parent’s room is only to discover that the parent’s facilities are in the female toilets. There is no where I can take her except the disabled loo because there’s no way I’m taking a three year old girl and an 18 month old into a male toilet for an operation of this magnitude and need for privacy.

Inside the Disabled Toilet the juggling begins. With nowhere to hang my coat it goes on the floor on top of my bag. To most people this is no big deal but I’ve always had a thing about floors. Especially floors attached to a porcelain bowl into which strangers make “regular” deposits. I put it down to another sacrifice made for the love of my progeny. The next 10 minutes is spent trying to keep the 18 month old from investigating every unholy surface in the cubicle while trying to extrapolate the splashed out undies. Of course there is nothing for her to lie on so the whole procedure is done while she stands and with nothing to lean on ten small fingers suddenly entangle themselves in my hair and I’m immediately recalling that the initial discovery of this dilemma started with her feeling the inside of her pants and saying, “Daddy, my pants are wet.”

Great, so now I have poo in my hair. Fantastic. “Chelsea, don’t touch that bin! It’s yucky!”

Sacrifice. I flushed my dignity down the disabled toilet, washed every little hand I could and cursed the day I ever forget to go out without wipes again. I left that toilet with an oblivious 18 month old eager to get back to the play equipment, an undiless three year old and a nice little parcel of soiled knickers wrapped in loo paper in my satchel. Nice.

The next half hour I try to rejuvenate my sanity while the girls play in the play pen. This is hard to do without coffee and I can’t walk away from the children to get one. So I sit at the table and across the way I notice a mum frowning at me. Her kid is playing with my kids but the mother’s eyes seem to say, “My kid was here first, you poor excuse of a Father”. I check to see if I’m being paranoid, this is done by looking away and then casually looking back in her direction and sure enough she catapults her frown my way before throwing another at my girls. I’m sorry lady, I think, but I have poo in my hair that I would love to share with you right now.

But she leaves with her business suit clad Husband, who seems unaware of the silent exchange between her and I, and I lure my girls to the table with veggie crisps, juice and a muesli bar which Chelsea chokes on, and given the complexity of the Food Court’s High Chair that she is sitting in, I end up being the Crazy Guy Theatre, being watched by an audience of non-parents as I hold chair and choking girl, dangling in the air with one hand, while smacking her back with the other in a mad panic to save her from the killer oat inside her throat. Moments later she wants more muesli bar. The other patrons are pretending not to look at me. I’m running my hands through my hair and marveling at the snow storm of dandruff flakes falling on the black table in front of me and wondering if I could write my name in it.

Sacrifice. I’ll spare you the harrowing trip to the Museum, a baby step journey of 2000 meters. But you know given no man in my home has ever conquered Mount Laundry Couch, that a dryer nearly snapped me in half and that I ended up with traces of human waste in my hair, they are all sacrifices I am willing to take again times a hundred, for my kids at least, because my laundry, my back and my dignity aren’t worth a scratch of the value of these girls. Besides, the day is coming soon when they can do my laundry!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We Bought a Zoo - A Review

You know you've just watched a feel good movie when the credits have rolled and well, you actually do feel good.

Cameron Crowe directed We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon and Scarlet Johansson, tells the tail of Benjamin, a solo Dad, 6 months after the untimely death of his wife, desperate enough to break away from the familiar surroundings that haunt him with the memory of her - by buying a zoo.

Benjamin is a writer with a history of chasing adventure but the purchase of the zoo anchors him to the adventure of real life as he, his son and daughter and die-hard zoo staff race against time (and depleting finances) to bring the dilapidated menagerie up to standard.

The rebuilding of the Zoo works as a great juxtaposition against his own personal struggle to rebuild his relationship with his son and to finally let go of his lost but not forgotten wife.

For years my experience of Matt Damon has been marred by Trey Parker and Matt Stones portrayal of him as an enthusiastically jiggly marionette puppet who answers every question with an announcement of "Matt Damon!" but I am glad to say that this film has finally broken that spell and as a Dad myself I could really connect with his portrayal of a father trying blindly and desperately to do the best by his kids without the compass of his wife to guide him.

Maybe I clicked with the film because minus the loss of his wife this is the exact sort if thing I'd like to do if I was crazy and rich enough.

Anyway, the slow romance between Benjamin and Johansson's character is tasteful and not at all gung ho, but only adds to the warm emotional goodness of the film. Given the most recent thing I have seen that features Scarlet was Avengers, I was most impressed that she could so easily lose the Black Widows sultry demeanor to play this farm girl version of the girl next door. She actually looked like a normal person, blemishes and all. Good acting Scarlet!

My wife and I couldn't help but joke that we both expected John Cleese or Kevin Kline to suddenly waltz into a zany scene due to it's vague and very distant similarity to the 1997 comedy Fierce Creatures, except that this happens to be the serious version and actually based on the true story of Dartmoor Zoological Park in Devon, England. Although We Bought a Zoo is in California, USA. So the connection to reality is only a loose fit..

Although wikipedia describes this movie as a comedy-drama I'd have to say it's not really a comedy at all - not that funny but not too serious either given the deep themes if life, death and letting loved ones go.

Over all I give this film a 7 out of 10 because I can't be bothered disliking it. So if it's not worth the effort of negativity it must be because it was a good film for my wary soul.

With that I'm off to check the realty papers for my own zoo.

For now here's a link to the trailer, will imbed later!



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pimp My Twenty Bucks Part Four

Can we skip any mention of my cat this week? I'm still recovering from the grotty thing he did to me this morning.

Do you really want to know? Yes? No? Well, if you're grossed out easily don't read the next paragraph, but if you're the brave or deranged sort, and can handle nature at its most vile then read on...

I was up watching Sunday morning cartoons at around 6 this morning (don't ask me why) and as I lay shivering in the seemingly arctic cold of my living room, under a thin polar fleece blanket, I become vaguely aware of the scrunching noise small paws make when shifting the crystals in the litter tray. This is Cat for, "Flushing" the toilet. Moments later Felix comes waltzing into the living room as if he's achieved a breakthrough in physical chemistry, jumping onto my cozy spot to snuggle up to me - only he hasn't wiped his furry butt and wants to share the fact with yours truly in no uncertain terms. He's an evil cat and I'm reminded yet again of my dire need to succeed at this epic venture to quadruple my twenty bucks, to have his masculinity cut down to size! Needless to say, he and his stinky brown matted ginger dags spent the rest of the morning outside where I hoped he would die of embarrassment when he discovered his mistake. But my suspicion was that this flash of indecent explosives was a calculated rubbing of my nose in his his preconceived victory and my destiny to fail. In other words he wanted to show me in as descriptive way possible what he thought of my plan to have him neutered.

Wretched Cat. He even dumped a dead mouse in my potato stash as if to say, "I provided this meat that I caught with my own teeth, and the best you can do is write a blog that less than 6 people will read. You pathetic Human." And he still wants me to stroke his back like I'm an astronaut who has traveled 1000 years into our future to discover a world run by ginger cats and an enslaved race of mute sub-humans.

Anyway, that's enough of an introduction don't you think?

I have to clear the air, not just because of the smell of Felix still fresh in my nose but because I kind of lied in my last installment about where I was going with this past week. I had intended to replace last weeks sold items with the addition of another 7 items but I came to the realisation that I was getting myself completely confused with listings that were now utterly out of sink with each other. So I decided to stick with the 18 books I had already relisted and hold onto the ten I had purchased and wait until all my current listings had closed. Which they did last night. I sold three out of that 18, making another $8.50.

And the crowd goes wild! Ok, not really but I'm happy and that's all that really matters. Sort of.

Here's how it went down.

I sold George Orwell's 1984 for $3
When the Lions Feed by Wilbur Smith for $2.50
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for $3

Before going to bed last night I relisted the remaining 16 books automatically for free and listed $5 worth of new stock, totalling ten new listings, costing me $3 in listing fees. Once again, I could have listed them for free also but I took advantage of the special gallery offer, being that for 30 cents per listing I could feature a picture of the item in the search gallery and will be able to do so for up to 3 times should the books fail to sell.

Notice how I only pay for new listings and not for previous unsold items. My logic, if it can be called that, is that if I keep paying for items that don't sell by the time I've listed it the third time I've already spent more on trying to sell it than the original cost of the book, and I just think that's bad business. Well, for what I'm trying to achieve at least.

So now I have 26 items listed and more than a pinch of faith that this is going to work! It appears I'm going to need it.

The recent sales and relistings took the $9 I had left in my Trademe account down to $4.50 so I will need to top that up again... the question I suppose is whether to do that now or wait and see if I sell anything this week?

You might remember from my last rant that the old Dog Ears bank account had a grand $2.50 to prove that my quadrupling system was working at all. But I fudged the numbers by adding the outstanding $6 to my profits, but really I've known all along that that $6 will ultimately end up as food for the fees.

Mathematically speaking (and that's a language I don't actually speak very often) There is:

$8.50 in Dog Ears from last week.
$8.50 of profit from yesterday's sales
$4.50 remaining in my Trademe account.

Put together that's $21.50.

From where I'm sitting that looks like I've gone backwards. I now have the original $20 with a remainder of $1.50. But don't write me off just yet - I have 26 books listed when I started with only nine. Surely that's got to count for something? I can't shake this crazy notion that the more stock I have the more sales I will make, and yes I know that's probably wishful thinking but I'm not going to stop until this $20 has had its $100 face lift!

The other thing to remember too is that during the past week I was running on old stock and nothing fresh. That could have contributed to this weeks small returns... well, it could have!

In any case I've decided to keep my Trademe account at $4.50 to cover any sales I make in the next six days, while banking the remaining $8.50. At least that way when I check my Dog Ears account I can smile at my $17 and make myself believe that this is working well beyond my wildest dreams.

Having just injected ten new items into my stream of listings I will also hold off on buying anything new to add until next week when I feel better about where this ship is heading!

I hope you will keep reading to see how I fail.... um, I meant to say succeed!

Until next week...

Click here to read Part Five in this series

Click here to read this series from the beginning!

Click here to view my listings

Click Here to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to listen to a totally random piece of music by me that has nothing to do with this series!




William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Kerin Gedge - A Serious Parody and Tribute to George Lucas' Original Creation


A round about introduction:

Recently I applied for an acting related Job which I came very close to obtaining were it not for the fact that someone better than me had also applied. Oh well...


I actually got quite a way into the whole interview process before I was pleasantly rejected by the potential employer. I say pleasantly because it was the best rejection I've ever had to suffer, mainly because I did not suffer at all!


They told me the thing that attracted them to me the most was my cover letter. They had asked for a cover letter that was beyond the ordinary and said that boring/standard cover letters would immediately experience swift deletion.


I sat down to write my cover letter amidst great pain and sorrow, as is usually the case when I am trying to give birth to something without the seed of inspiration to impregnate my imagination.


But then it came. What if William Shakespeare wrote my cover letter? And so, with the help of much plagiarising from the first scene of Hamlet, the ultimate cover letter was born.


It had them in fits and stitches. So I am told.


Anyway, fast forward to the near present and my dashed hopes. I pondered what to do next. Then came the logical question:


What if Shakespeare wrote Star Wars?


Well, it seemed logical at the time. After all, if Trekkies can boast Hamlet in its "original" Klingon then why can't Star Wars have a scribble from the Elizabethan genius?


And so the seed was planted for William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Kerin Gedge. (That's me)


I would now like to invite you to the germination and eventual maturity of this project. Please understand this is a work in progress so you'll have to keep coming back to watch it grow like the flower it is.


On another note, this is intended to be a serious parody, while simultaneously a tribute to George Lucas' and his original creation. I would not seek to steal his work and call it my own. In fact, in the tradition of true Shakespeare it can be said that some of the Bard's stories were not actually original but rewrites of lesser evolved tales that already existed (not to say Star Wars is lesser evolved of course!) That said I'm not sure if the laws pertaining to copyright and parody will protect the epic verse that follows. Nevertheless it is my hope that fellow fans of the franchise will freely share this work among themselves and perform it in their homes to their children so that one of the greatest tales to come out of Hollywood in my generation will continue well into the centuries to come.


So with out further introduction I present to you:




William Shakespeare's Star Wars

by Kerin Gedge - a serious parody and tribute to George Lucas and his original creation.


 

Prologue

Narrator:  A long time ago indeed it was
                       in a galaxy so far away...

                       Civil war has stained the starry arm.
                       The noble Rebel ships of outer space
                       from their hidden base have struck and won
                       their first triumphant victory against
                       the evil Galactic Empire's stolid face.


                       Amidst the frightful battle of bold fire
                       the Empire's diagrams of death revealed
                       stolen by heroic spying hands
                       and with the Rebels safely now concealed.
                       Dire plans of potent dread it seems
                       spawned from Evil's shadow's darkest dreams
                       of an armored rock of planet bulk
                       with the clout to sprinkle worlds like salt.


                       Agents of the Empire sinister
                       now pursue the Princess Leia's race
                       in haste aboard her star craft to deliver
                       the plans of which would save her home and space
                       the plans with which to murder tyranny
                       the plans to render free the galaxy...

Enter Captain Antilles:






Antilles: Bound were we in flight to Aldoran
                   When down upon us fell the dark triangle,
                   An Imperial Cruiser tainted by the blood
                   Of a thousand fallen ships whose only crime
                   was to dream to live in democratic space…
                   And spewed upon us blades of emerald fire,
                   While our red sparks were weak as burning sticks
                   We like a rodent caught in the embrace
                   of a flying feline that swallowed us entire
                   And took us deep into the depths of death
                   It plucks now from us all our failing breath
                   Above the blistered Sphere of Tatooine
                   a world I never deemed to be my tomb…

Enter crewman

Crewman: Sir, we are boarded and undone


Antiles: Then our doom and death of hope have thus begun.



Exeunt. Enter C3P0 and R2D2 as various other crewmen run across the stage in arms. There is a loud rumble and the faint sounds of battle in the distance. For comical effect have the actor playing R2 read the lines as they are written and not try to sound like actual beeps, this will offset C3P0’s serious nature.


C3P0: Did you hear our vessels dying groan?
              They have plucked it’s heart from where it rests
              And now we wear destruction’s dangerous vest!


R2D2: Beep beep bip beeeeeeep bip beep.




C3P0: This is madness in its strongest hour!




More crewmen run across the stage in arms.



C3P0: Our doom is surely tightly set in iron
              and escape has thus escaped the sweet Princess






R2D2: Beep bip beeeep


A crunching noise can be heard which startles the two droids. More crewmen now enter and take defensive positions on stage. All characters look up and around as if something is happening over them.






C3P0: What in the impossibility
              of everything in space that is unseen
              could have consumed a vessel such as ours?
              Do I dare ask or do I dare find out?






An explosion is heard and storm troopers suddenly appear with guns blazing. There is a battle as the storm trooper advance and the crewmen fall back while C3P0 and R2D2 are caught up in the midst and yet completely ignored. For comedic effect have the actors make the lazer gun noises as they “fire” their weapons.




Most of the crewmen fall to their deaths while a small few flee off stage followed by the pursuing storm troopers. Exeunt C3P0 and R2D2.






Enter Darth Vadar, breathing heavily, with an entourage of Storm Troopers. He surveys the carnage with his fists planted firmly on his sides. Exeunt.




Enter R2D3 and Princess Leia.


R2D2: Beep beep beep beep.




Princess Leia bends over and inserts something into R2D2’s side.




Enter C3P0


C3P0: Oh R2, R2! Wherefore art though R2D2?




Exit Princess Leia.



C3P0: At last I find you here wretched machine
              for the sake of falling stars where have you been?
              Heading right for us those troopers come
              where can we flee if nowhere we can run?
              The mines of Kessel’s spice will be our home
              Or this ships demise to be our own.
              Who knows where us fate now thus is throwing?
              Wait a minute wherefore are you going?


R2D2: Beep beep beeeeeeep beep.


Enter Storm Trooper stage left with prisoners, including Captain Antiles and Darth Vadar Stage Right.

Storm Trooper: The designs of death Lord Vadar we desire
                                   on the Computer we cannot acquire.


Darth Vadar: Where are the transmissions you received?
                              What actions have you acted on our plans?



Antilles: Truly we intercepted nothing such
                    the purpose of this ship is consular
                    on a mission diplomatic in nature!

Darth Vadar: If indeed this ship be consular
                              Pray tell me where is the Ambassador?


Antilles dies.

This is still a work in progress, please return in a few weeks to see more! If you are a Star Wars fan please let me know if I get anything wrong, I haven't delved deeper into the Star Wars Universe than the movies!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Week on Planet Fatherhood

(To save on Day Care, as well as not actually wanting our children to be full time Day Care Casualties, I have changed my weekend to be on Thursdays and Fridays. Here’s how this “weekend” went… oh, and due to sleep deprivation, this may or may not be entirely accurate.)


Its two o’clock in the morning and I have been abducted from my sleep by the horrific screams of my three year old in the room next door. It’s as though at that moment the kid’s room has become the tangible imagination of Stephen King and I am lying in my bed, half in shock and the rest of me in delirious denial. The screams continue unabated. I’m trying to gather together my fractured consciousness, wondering at the terrible torment obviously taking place in the other room, thinking, hoping, maybe she’ll just go back to sleep?

“DADDY! DADDY!” She cries from a throat that has become the very trumpet of fear in its most concentrated form.

I try to go back to sleep. Am I a bad parent? Only if this was the first time this has happened but in truth it’s happened almost every week for the past 3 years and I’m at the “if you ignore it, maybe it will go away” phase. Though for a moment I wonder if just maybe there is a genuine alien abduction taking place in the adjacent room? That wakes me up a little more. The screams continue.

“Daddy, Daddy! Don’t go Daddy! I want to go with you!”

Nope, not an alien abduction at least. A legitimate Nightmare featuring the Fear of Abandonment. And of course this one is my fault.

A few weeks ago I had spent a relentless hour trying to get her ready for a small trip to the shops. After what seemed like a geological age of trying to get my wonderful child dressed I finally snapped, having asked her to find her shoes for the fourth time in the space of ten minutes. There seemed to be a million other things requiring her attention before she could carry out my complex request. So I grabbed my keys and simply said, “That’s it, I’m going, see ya!” And walked out the door, pretending to stomp to the car. This tactic went down like a last second tsunami warning and she came running with sprinkler like tears ejecting from her eyes. Of course I was waiting around the corner, ready to say, “Well, I told you to get your shoes!” But mum wasn’t very impressed with my style that morning, and in truth I had just reached breaking point and wasn’t thinking clearly about the consequences of this sort of undisciplined discipline.

Which brings me to the now, paying for my bad parenting.

“Daddy! Daddy! I want to go to the shops with you!” At two in the morning. How long has this been going on for now, five, ten minutes? My wife stirs and I calmly say, “I’ve been hoping she’ll go back to sleep.”

We both get up and what would normally take me a glacial era to achieve, my wife does it in less than 5 minutes – she settles her down, at least enough to stop the screams.

The worst part is Haydn NEVER remembers the actual nightmares! Being a man, I want to know what could possibly make a kid scream as though visions of Armageddon have coursed through her tiny uncomprehending mind. Surely it can’t really just be about shopping? Can it?

I end up climbing into her 5 foot long toddler bed next to her, in a sort of bent “S” shape to help her back to sleep and spend the next 3 hours in that position, caught in that realm between consciousness and paralysis, where you know you should just get up and go back to the mother ship but your whole body is asleep despite your ticking brain that is well aware the child next to you has been picking her nose and is now stroking your numb face. I have just entered the nightmare.

That was Wednesday morning. Not quite my weekend yet.

My actual weekend started in the same middle of the night battlefield where an explosion of cries thrust me from my bed, my brain stabbed with the shrapnel of my second child, Chelsea’s, screams. It’s her turn for a night terror this time, but she has subliminal cause – in about 8 hours time she’ll be getting her 15 month vaccinations and maybe her dream machinery is giving her ample warning?

Haydn by this time is already in our bed from a previous sleep attack and after changing Chelsea’s nappy we realize that there’s no way the two of them are going to sleep soundly between us. So again I find myself in that 5 foot long toddler bed, with Chelsea squirting her bottle on my face once she’s had enough, followed by the occasional poke in the eye before she drifts off to sleep.

At least this time I got to sneak out without disturbing her so I could catch the last hour of the sleepy morning in the coziness of my own grown-up bed. Dozing off amidst fears of the wind changing, and my body permanently taking on the shape of that famous archaeopteryx fossil for having slept in that bed yet again.

The morning is a smudge on my memory but Haydn is concerned as Mummy explains that we’re going to the Doctor’s so that Chelsea can get her needles. We of course try to explain the science behind the necessity but all she hears is “We’re taking your sister to the Doctor so he can stab her with needles, want to come?”

It’s comforting to see that even after nightly trying to drown each other in the bath and the constant rumbling over toys; she would still prefer to be the one who kicks her sister over having this Doctor man stick her with pins’.

But not to worry, I try my hardest to turn the horrific event into a fun family occasion, suggesting that we get the Doctor’s visit over and done with quickly, then we can visit the Pukeko Reserve to feed the birds before ending the morning with a 60 cent icecream from McDonald’s. Except I forgot a certain constant of the universe that in the same way that complexity declines to chaos there is also no such thing as getting a Doctor’s visit over and done with quickly!

I would pay for this oversight for the rest of the day.

Because getting children dressed on time is an oxymoronic notion we were running late enough for me to cut off a fellow road user. Not something I would normally do but I was paying more attention to the distractions in the car than the ones on the street. My bad. Except the guy I cut off also pulled into the Family Practice car park and he gave me those evils that only a sick person suffering also from vehicular injustice can. I might as well have parked in a handicapped zone.

Once inside we wait. The kids play with the toys that a thousand sick kids have played with before in the waiting room. Somehow this doesn’t bother me because they’re having fun and keeping out of trouble. In my efforts to avoid the belligerent gaze of the man I had tried to play dodgems with earlier, I pick up a women’s magazine and wonder how much of Rachel Hunter’s face has been photoshopped. Two magazines later (having gotten frustrated once I reached the recipes section of each) I finally pick up a real magazine about real things and begin to read an interesting article about the New Zealand Conservative Party’s Leader, no photoshopping either. Before I can read two paragraphs the nurse comes in and calls us to her dungeon.

It dawned on my wife on the way here that I haven’t been involved in any of our children’s vaccinations so far, so it’s my turn to hold the tortured child. I do this with the utmost reluctance. Stripped down to almost just a nappy the nurse lunges in with three different needles. Chelsea doesn’t understand why this hornet like women keeps jabbing her with her sting. She cries, both clinging to me for comfort and pushing away from me from a sense of infantile betrayal. I don’t feel the stabs, but my eyes well up anyway. The needle must have been two inches long!

Chelsea’s cries are quickly silenced though when the Jelly Bean Jar appears, thankfully the nurse offers me one two, and like one of the girls I take one in unto my quivering mouth to free me from the moments trauma.

We still have things to wait for though so it’s back to the waiting room and back to that interesting article when Chelsea starts to lose it. No longer do the sick touched toys do the trick. The illusion of being somewhere fun has been shattered and I have to leave my article a second time to take her outside to look at the flowers.

This is one of those treasured moments where the child realizes she’s alone with daddy and she just looks at you with that smile that says, “Hey, I know I’ve just been stabbed three times by a woman I don’t know, and I know that you had something to do with it, but Daddy, I love you and I want to sit out here with you forever.”

My heart is melting when a car pulls into the driveway. A door slams. A teenage boy in a grey School Uniform is walking around the car like an angry orangutan. His mother winds down the window and in that wobbly tone that only the mother of a teenager can match she yells, “Don’t you slam t my #$&@ door when I’m talking to you! I should just leave you here and you can walk home!” He looks at her like the Orangutan I’ve already described him as. You can almost imagine him flinging feces at the car at this point. He says, “Why don’t you just go then?”

She gets out of the car. They both look directly at me who, I realize, has been watching the whole drama like it was one of those morning soaps I’m currently missing out on. I pretend, badly, that I wasn’t watching. My lovely moment of enjoying my baby daughter forever; shattered by a vision of things to come. Still 15 years to go at least.

The Doctor’s visit wiped an hour from our morning and my wife needing to go to work leaves us with only enough to time to get that ice-cream.

“Daddy, can I have chippies on my ice-cream?”

“You sure can!” I said.

In the old days Ice-cream with the kids was a difficult task of wishing the youngest wouldn’t somehow manage to eat the ice-cream as if every part of her body was a mouth. However I have learned the trick of ordering just an empty cone with a plastic spoon, that way you can give her a fake ice-cream with just the smallest amount.

We sat, we ate, and we laughed and just enjoyed being a family dunking French fries into our ice-creams. Does anyone else do this?

Unfortunately with the last bite of McCreamy goodness Haydn comes to the realization that we have abandoned the expedition to the Pukeko Reserve and Mummy and Daddy have robbed her of the fruition of a perceived promise.

Don’t promise or even hint at things you might not be able to deliver. Ever.

The rest of the day was punctuated by demands to visit the bird colony and no amount of explanations can change the fact that we said we were going to go so why aren’t we going already? Never mind the fact that mummy has taken the car to work and that it’s too far to walk. The never ending request becomes a virtual torture device in a medieval prison, a broken record with sharp edges, a constant dripping.

Once home from our outing and ignoring my child’s admonishments over a promise broken, I take to the laundry like a nun to a leper colony.

To be continued.... Eventually...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quote for the Day

Feeling like a failure doesn't make you one, but giving up does!

From The Book of Kerinthians

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pimp My Twenty Bucks Part Three

I’m well into week three of my ostentatious attempt of turning $20 into a chubby $100 and Felix, my testosterone factory of a cat has that snide look on his face as he licks his furry thighs while not taking his eyes off me. Oh yeah, he’s saying to me telepathically, you’re going to fail and ain’t nobody going to take my stones away from me!

I burst a vain in the side of my head trying to relay my unspoken reply through the ether between us – better clean those things while you still have them cat! The war between cat and man has been declared, yet Felix with his claws has left me in the dust of the arms race as I wait for my slow economy to grow…

Let’s recap quickly before the four legged ginger ninja manages his next strike!

Last blog you saw me with $4 still crediting my Trademe account and a return of $17.50 from the original 20 that I “invested” into my Small Change Growth Plan.

From that $17.50 I topped up my Trademe account, spent $6 on new stock and saved the massive profit of $1.50 in what I call my “Dog Ears” bank account (as in when people bend the corner of a page to mark their place, thus creating a Dog Eared book… yeah I know, I’m a dork.)

I relisted the 11 books that did not sell at no extra cost, and also listed 11 new items at 25 cents per listing.

Then I saw to the gradual extinction of my fingernails as I bit them in my fear of failure for the next seven days.

Unfortunately the Queen’s Birthday weekend saw a noticeable drop in the week’s online shopper traffic and books that had received multiple hits and watchers in the first week were like the symbolic sage rolling in the wind of a bad western. I caught myself rehearsing how I would try to convince my readers to keep following this series, I even blamed the Queen.

Again, don’t watch your listings religiously like I do because in the end it counts for nothing until the fat lady sings that your listings are about to end and she ends up buying a book. (Not suggesting my customers are in themselves fat ladies, it’s just a bad metaphor.)

Out of 22 listings I sold three, but here’s the full scoop:

John Marsden’s Third Day the Frost went for $3

BFG by Roald Dahl went for $3

A Brief History of Time by Prof Stehen Hawking got me $6

Giving me $12 in the hand, and $9.26 still in my Trademe account to service this week’s listings.

This is the point where I sort of start making it up as I go along and take a date with Mrs. Risky with some of my decisions. I’ve made slightly less than the week before, with only $1 to add to Dog Ears, bringing my profit to date up to $2.50. Ouch! At this rate I will have successfully reached my goal with about 100 weekly blogs documenting the two years it took me to do so, not to mention Felix will have spent that time generously making genetic contributions to the local cat population.

So I need to be a bit flexible and ready to change the rules when I feel it suits me to do so.

Thinking about my need for new shoes, my desire to visit dear old ma and that evil cat that thinks he has indestructible gonadss – here’s what I’m going to do:

This week I’m going to take the risk of not re-crediting my Trademe account. After all there’s already $9 in there and I currently have 18 items relisted at no extra charge. I figure that $9 can cover my new listings and success fees for this week.

In the next Day or so I will replace the stock I sold this week using 5 of the $12 I made back from the last round’s sales. If all goes well I should get about 10 books and end up with about 28 listings, getting close to double the 16 books I started with. Theoretically, the more listings I have my chances of making a sale increase. Theoretically that is.

This will leave me with a total of $8.50 in the old Dog Ears account. Great, now I only have $91.50 to go!

Until next week, I have to go and build up my defenses against this smelly ginger door rug of a cat!

In the meantime you can click here to browse my listings

Click Here to read Part One of this series!

Click Here to follow my progress on Facebook!

Click Here to listen to a totally random piece of music I made that has nothing to do with this series!




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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Cleverly Devised Poetical Dictionary of Difficult Words

Attention Regular Readers!!!

My "little" dictionary now has a new home! Please check out:

The Vocabuverse


In my effort to take writing seriously I've realized that my vocabulary needs some renovating - extending to be exact. If the linguistic center of my brain could be described as a floor plan it would probably resemble something like a two bedroom unit with a living room full of children's toys and an over-sized coffee table, which strangely enough resembles the very house I live in. What I really need is to push out a bit with some bigger and more complicated words to make my tongue more mansionesque, to impress the onlisteners with words I didn't just make up.

But let's face it, the dictionary is a boring read, which is just as well, because in this series I don't intend to read the dictionary so much as re-write it! Poetically.

Join me here every week as this blog expands to become the one and hopefully only Cleverly Devised Poetical Dictionary of Difficult Words by me...

Please also join my fanpage on facebook for weekly updates!

Oh,and by the way, please be so kind as to share this epic attempt on all your social media vices! Here are a few buttons to help you get started...






Let us start with the letter A shall we?



A



Abacus


If you are investigating
how to do your calculating
without using your fingers or your toes,
then the Abacus will do
the arithmetic for you
by organizing beads on rods in rows.

The word originated as
has been so speculated
from "abax", spoken by the Ancient Greeks.
A table for the purpose
to do math on its surface,
used exclusively by ancient geeks.

Check out the song below!

Abalone

This is the testimony
of the noble abalone
a shell fish from the bottom of the sea.

Its mother of pearl interior
beats its rough exterior
and makes for some exquisite jewellery.

Check out the song below!



Abate

When things seem much to fast for you
or there's just too much to do
and you find you need a little break,

To lessen in intensity
its clear your best defense will be
to slow down or in other words abate!

Check out the song below!


Abattoir

If indeed you are like me
And like to eat dead things for tea
but not to dwell on where the meat comes from

You're best then to stay where you are
and not visit an abattoir,
the slaughterhouse where beasts don't live for long!

Check out the song below!



Abdicate

If the burden of the throne
seems too big for you alone
or you dislike responsibility,

To abdicates the thing to do,
give up the power bestowed on you
and relinquish your authority.

Check out the song below!

Abduct

There are two ways one can abduct
a chicken or maybe a duck
depending on the goal you have in mind
You could kidnap it from its home
or remove the meat from off its bones
to serve it with ginger and lemon rind.


Aberrant

Something that is unusual
and not exactly typical
in which its deviations are apparent.

Something that is strange
or maybe a bit deranged
can be described as something that’s Aberrant


Abeyance

If you ever find that I’m
out of action for some time
please accept this short but true conveyance

my suspension will be brief
my inactivity succinct
because you see I’m only in abeyance.

Abhorrent

I did a most repulsive act
to say Abhorrent would be apt
but loudly I broke wind before the Queen

The odor gross and hideous
Abhorrently insidious
made her inquire if I had eaten beans!


Abject

If something is miserably grindingly wretched,
pitiful, shocking and mostly dejected,
shameless, brazen or despicable

or Humble, respectful, rightly differential
modestly civil, meekly reverential
the word Abject is still applicable


Abjure

Once I was an obese man
weighing lots of kilograms
until one day from junk food I renounced.

Formally I did abjure
from foods that used to make me purr
and now truly I only weigh an ounce.



Ablution

There is in some religions a
Traditional condition that
An individual practice good hygiene

So the ultimate solution
Is the action of ablution
The washing of the body till it's clean.

Abnegation

A scenario that makes me quake
Is when there's one last piece of cake
That occupies another's aspiration

I'm much too nice to claim the slice
And will commit self-sacrifice
And offer it to them in Abnegation


Abolish

If within society
Are certain things that shouldn't be
Perhaps the social order needs a polish

It's possible to pass a law
Against the things that aren't adored
And ending them by having them abolished.


Abominable

Let us now deeply discuss
A thing that causes much disgust
The likes of which induces much repulsion

Abominable is he who eats
His boogers as if they were treats
And the thought of kissing him gives one convulsions!

I should lend another verse
Before things go from bad to worse
And bring to end this dirty contemplation

To say that any sordid act
Exemplifies the dire fact
That foul misdeeds are an abomination!


Aboriginal

It often pays to understand
The native of a mass of land
Is in fact the aboriginal

Inherently indigenous
It's far from being ambiguous
They are not foreign but original!


Abrade/Abrasion/Abrasive

If you dare to listen here
I can swear you can impair
a smooth surface by rubbing it away

For example take some wood
and with sand paper rub it good
and thus you've demonstrated an Abrade

Which is a word one can upgrade
a trade that can be simply made
should you find the need on an occasion

For if you accidentally
should fall and graze your skin you see
the thing you suffer from is an abrasion!

But wait! There is another thing
to this discussion I can bring
just to make the matter more exhaustive

The thing that does the abrading
the wearing, rubbing or scraping
that of course is known as an abrasive!

And last of all, just as you thought
about this word that all was taught
it can be used a way that's more abstract

I can assert that words that hurt
language cruel and harsh and curt
are in point of fact abrasive acts!


Abscess


A pus filled blister, boil or bump
Pimply bulbous, filled with gunk
Is the bubbly lumpy taut abscess

I hate to say it but it's true
Squeezing them is fun to do
Just keep a tissue handy for the mess!

The word derives in history
From the word abscedere
Which is Latin for "to go away"

Used by doctors who believed
Squeezing sores could cure disease
Such was the pseudo science of the day...


Abscond

You've just committed burglary
A most successful robbery
The best thing for you now is to abscond

Flee the scene and run away
Or else the cops will make you pay
A punishment that's worthy of your wrong!


Abseil

If you're standing on the edge
Of a steep cliff's scary ledge
And you need a quick way to get down

As long as you have rope to grasp
Tied around you for the task
You can abseil quickly to the ground...


Absolutism

Totalitarian
Authoritarian
Describes absolutism true

A dictator's tyranny
A despotic monarchy
A form of government that's absolute!


Absolve

When your crimes are purged away
Your name set free of blame
When the shame of sin has been dissolved

When offenses you've committed
Are pardoned or remitted
Celebrate the state of being absolved!


Abstemious

Such a one who demonstrates
discipline and great restraint
especially with food and alcohol

A person so impervious
is one who is abstemious
over whom no vice will have control!




Abstinence

If for a certain while
you practice self denial
perhaps for health or acting out a penance

When saying no to drink or food
or anything you love to do
the thing you’re doing is called abstinence.



Abstract

Disassociated from
any specific case
is the hard to grasp abstract concept

Expressing then a quality
or perhaps peculiarity
that is apart from the discussed object

Or put in simple words
art that is absurd
and makes you wonder, “What the heck was that?”

Void of beings and things
what the painting really means
can only be discussed in terms abstract!


Abstracted

At certain times you might well find
I'm in a certain state of mind
seeming kind of vacant or distracted

The mood I'm in then is the sort
when so engrossed I'm list in thought
I guess you could well say I am abstracted!


Abstruse

Something too cerebral
For a mind simple and feeble
Something that's too tricky to deduce

A concept that's been rated
Massively complicated
Is said to be a thing that is abstruse


Abut

When two things are neighboring
So close they are adjoining
When two things that one another touch

The situation in that case
When two things are so closely placed
You are describing two things that abut!


Abysmal

If something is deeply and profoundly bad
appalling and awful more than just a tad
the adjective to use is abysmal

As in "the most abysmal dish
is custard fried with rotten fish"
it adequately denotes things dreadful

Of course it is quite hard to miss
the word is kindred to "abyss"
a hole that's truly dark, deep and dismal

Aid/Aide

If someone lends you a hand
it would pay to understand
that such an individual is your aide

But the action in itself
When someone gives you help
the thing that they are offering is aid

It’s important that you see
that the little letter ‘e’
actually can make quite a difference

Although it can’t be heard
adding the letter to the word
separates assistant from assistance


Alcheringa

According to the natives of
Dusty Australia
There was a legendary Age
That they called Alcheringa
That is to say the "dreamtime" when
Everything began
The arrival of the animals
And eventually man...


Ambassage (Old English)

The enemy is coming
And the drums of war are drumming
As they approach intent on war to wage

We must send a delegation
And pray that the situation
Can be averted by the ambassage

A certain type of embassy
Armed only with diplomacy
Intent on calming our opponents' rage







B

Babushka

The word babushka sounds absurd
its clearly not an English word
That's because it hails from Russia

It is a peasant girl's fashion
The headscarf tied beneath the chin
or a woman with the air of a grandmother!


Bora

If you happen to be a
native of Australia
by that I mean an aborigine

Chances are you understand
that a boy becomes a man
as part of the bora ceremony





C


Cabal/Cabala

A plot or group of plotters who
In secret seek to rule
Bent on influence that can't be quelled

A faction set to dominate,
Who in secret manipulate
Is a covert group called a cabal...

Another word Cabala
Is the mother of the other
And is itself concerned with secrecy

Being an obscure view
Of the Scriptures in Hebrew
And revealing mystical philosophy


Concision

You'll find this rhyme is short and sweet
to the point, compact and brief
purposefully written with precision

Written thus to demonstrate
a model so to resonate
the definition of the word Concision




D


Dacoit

When traversing Burma's hills
You do so at your peril
One may become a target to exploit

To a breed of bandits who
Are armed so they can steal from you
Known by the fancy word Dacoit




E


Eagre

Near where the mighty river meets
The open hungry sea
Your eye might catch an eagre as it flows

A large wave driven by
The breathing currents of the tide
Against the flow upstream the eagre goes...

Now just to be pedantic
so you don't misunderstand it
It's not pronounced a thing like eager either

To say it properly
Then just forget it starts with "e"
And remember the word eagre rhymes with tiger!


Ensample

Not so much in use today
but still read in the old King James
is the middle English word "ensample"

Don't be puzzled by the "n"
replace it with an "x" and then
you'll have a word that means the same - "example".





F


Fabergé

Way back in the olden days
Lived one Peter C. Fabergé
A goldsmith who made ornamental things

Especially he specialized
In golden eggs with gifts inside
To satisfy the likes of queens and kings.





G



Gaberdine

A worsted fabric overcoat
Not unlike a wizard's cloak
Was the medieval gaberdine

You'd find it hard to buy in store
A robe the same as Gandalf wore
It's something out of fashion now it seems...




H



Habeas corpus

Allow me now please to explain
That if a prisoner is detained
It must be ascertained before the court

Whether his detentions fair
And whether he should remain there
And so before a judge the suspects brought

So Liberty is not abused
We call the writ then that is used
Habeas corpus terming the concept

The process that ensures
A persons rights are not ignored
And that one can not be unfairly kept!




I


Iatrogenic

I went to see a doctor where
I put my health into his care
But boy did I get more than bargained for!

Thanks to the "experts" negligence
I caught from him a pestilence
And left the clinic worse off than before.

Thanks to iatrogenesis,
The doctor's dodgy practices,
I can say I am in way more pain

Not only from his fees
But because now I am diseased
And my dull-brained doctor is to blame!


Indefinite article

"A" or "an" are words we use
when we wish to introduce
something before making known the noun

Although a tiny particle
the indefinite article
can in many languages be found

It/Its/It’s

It’s worth elucidating
when referring to a thing
we give that thing the designation ‘it

But add the letter ‘s’
and the meaning will address
the things relating specifically to it

Like, “that dog loves its bone”,
or “that cat has lost its home”
hopefully by now you get the drift?

Just don’t make the catastrophe
by adding an apostrophe
or else the grammar police will get miffed!

So the word is not abused
an apostrophe is used
with regards to “it has” or “it is

Like “That dog, it’s got a bone
it’s the cat that had no home!”
Then the grammar goblins won’t get in a tizz!




J


Jabberwocky

A Jabberwocky is a thing
That's not a thing at all
A piece of writing that's nonsensical

Like if a dizzy donkey ding
Barked a warbling apron string
That would be incomprehensible!

This limerick though sweet
Would indeed be incomplete
If I didn't take the time to pass

The information that the name
Jabberwocky found it's fame
In a book called Through the Looking Glass...


Jabōt

Although it seems unlikely that
This verse will come in handy
I suppose one day it just might pay to know

That mostly on a woman's clothes
The pleated frilly thing that goes
Down the front is known as a Jabōt




K



Kabuki

The country famous for it's sushi
Also gave us the kabuki
An art specific to the Japanese

Costumed in complex detail
The female parts performed by males
Singing, dancing, acting to appease.



Laager

Here's a handy thing to know
If in a caravan you go
And suddenly a battle must be fought

Arrange your transport in a square
And I purport you fight from there
Inside your laager or your wagon-fort!





M



Macabre


Death is not so nice a thing
its aspects can be frightening
especially when amplified in scale

Macabre then is the horrible
grizzly and deplorable
relating of one’s death in grim detail

Danse macabre, said the old French
that is the Dance of Death
Probably a reference in those days

To the ancient Maccabees
who were slaughtered so horribly
depicted in a medieval play…





N



Naafi

Naafi is an acronym
of British origin
Navy, Army, Airforce Institute

Providing shops and things
pubs, clubs and canteens
for soldiers on base in need of new loot



O

Oakum

Oakum is an implement
made of jute or hemp
used for sealing pipes and things that float

It will keep a pipe from leaking
or a wooden ship from sinking
handy to know when plumbing on a boat!





P

Pabulum
Food that is easy to chew
and simple to Digest
can be designated pabulum

But another denotation
is insipid information
mental fodder bland and trite and dumb!





Q

Qua


If you want a word that means
the same as the word "as"
but in the context of "virtue of being"

Then substitute with "qua"
to sound much smarter than you are
as in "cats qua cats have difficulty skiing.







R

Rabbet

Sometimes you just might find
a piece of wood that is designed
to fit together with another bit

A type of groove that has the point
of fitting with a matching joint
such a groovy thing is a rabbet!



S


Sabbatarian

A person whose conscience reserves
Saturday to be obsesrved
As the sabbath day of holy rest

Is the Sabbatarian
For whom all work and play is sin
When done upon the day the good Lord blessed!


Shew

If you ever take a look
inside an older English book
here's a tip that is handy to know

If you come across a "shew"
a word that our ancestors used
remember that it means the same as "show"




T


Tabard

In the medieval days
the knights back then liked to display
their coat of arms when they were fully armoured

So they had a tunic stitched
to fit over their armour which
was known across the land as a tabard



U

Übermensch

A super duper human being
formidable and staggering
superior is what I'm trying to say

Impervious to bumps and dents
is the splendid übermensch
a superman in every kind of way

The concept is a feature
in the thought of Frederick Nietzsche
in the latter nineteenth century

Suggesting through philosophy
that the übermensch should be
a goal to set for all humanity




V

Vaccinia

Way back in the olden days
it happened that some dairy maids
touched the ailed udders of a cow

And none of them were very pleased
to catch from it a skin disease
which gave them blisters and a furrowed brow

Cowpox was the malady
that put the maidens I'll at ease
a virus passed on from the cow to them

Related to vaccinia
but not so much to tinea
A shame there were no latex gloves back then



W

Wacker

Apparently if you are one
born a Liverpudlian
then you're a Wacker so I've heard it said

But if you would prefer another
Scouser is a name that's uttered
named after a stew that there is fed



Who/Whose/Who's

When of a person you must show
which or what one is then know
the interrogative used for such is “who

As in “who stole my pajamas?”
Or “who here likes piranhas?”
Are some examples just to name a few.

But something you must learn
the word “who” can be turned
into a word relating things to it

That certain word is “whose
and here is a small clue
to help you to ensure you don’t abuse it:

“A person whose pajamas
were eaten by piranhas”
Is a phrase in which it seems to fit.

But now here’s the trick
so that no one thinks you thick
and to give your grammar razzmatazz

Remove from “whose” the little “e”
to it add an apostrophe
and “who’s” will now mean “who is” or “who has

“That man who’s in pajamas,
who’s screaming loudly, ‘Argh! Piranhas!’”
Exemplifies the essence of these truths

So when writing keep in mind
that your audience don’t find
improper use of who and who’s and whose!







Xanthippe

A woman who is quite bossy
domineering and haughty
is the overbearing Xanthippe

Argumentative at best
the name apparently possessed
by the younger wife of Socrates

Y

Yagi

I'm yelling you the truth
that the antenna on your roof
necessary if you watch TV

Is a Japanese invention
that enables good reception
named after the engineer Yagi


Z

Zabaglione

If you like to flirt
with the idea of dessert
may I suggest you try a Zabaglione?

Whipped egg yolk and sugar which
with Marsala wine is mixed
I'm sure you'll find it satisfactory!



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