Saturday, August 23, 2008
There has been a clamouring from the mob for more Henry on this blog, and never let it be said that a baying mob cannot frighten me into a response. Quite unlike Leonidas at Thermopylae, I am not prepared to deny the teeming masses the object of their affection. So here he is, my first born, the hulking beast that is Henry Fitzgerald McCracken.
Actually, I am quite proud of Henry today. As ever, we traipsed off this morning to play group, and as ever, a horrid young man – who I shall not name for reasons of decorum – was there again. This young man (some deal older than my Henry), is not popular amongst the group. Clearly a spoilt child – a ‘Hutchins man’, at three-and-a-half no less – he lacks in comprehension what he does in manners. Even at this early age, he is what one might call a ‘taker’ in life, empowered in his selfish ways by parents seemingly ignorant to his effect upon others. Truth be told, I feel him to be a simpleton. The lack of any awareness of the withering glares cast upon him (by children and their parents) far and wide certainly suggests so. The complete lack of any verbal skills beyond wild shouts or animalistic grunts merely confirms it.
To expand, this unpleasant little character has a habit of – upon seeing a smaller child enjoying a small toy or game – charging in and grabbing the source of whatever petit amusement he can, all the while wailing like a banshee. This, along with hitting other children on the head with whatever is at hand; or grabbing and emptying the cups of children capable of utilising cups (this imbecile has – of course – stalled on a ‘sippy cup’); or just wailing and shouting at random. Suffice to say, he is quite exasperating.
I resist the urge to offer what I would dearly love to advise my Henry (which runs something along the lines of: “Henry, smack this little thug right between the eyes with that truck, he’ll drop like a sack of s%&t, mark my words; all bluff, no stuff”). I instead take the moral high road and tell my lad (who to his credit, offers little more than a contemptuous gaze to the moronic child, no tears), “ignore the boy Henry, rise above it, and we can find plenty of action outside of this”.
That said, upon thwacking Henry on the noggin for the fourth time (and the tenth such assault that I witnessed), I did firmly grasp this cretin by the wrist, frustrated by the lack of parental response, and slowly, calmly and (most of all) firmly inform the child that, “seriously mate, one day you’re going to do that to the wrong person and they will hurt you, and you’ll be in no position to complain”.
I only wish that I could be there to see it.
A severe shortage of sleep can bring out his baser instincts, I will admit.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I am unsure if this has already been around the Internets three times already, but I like it. I am on the record as being keen on new ways to present data. Check out Fleshmap's info-graphic of body parts mentioned in song lyrics, sorted by genre. I do like the stark difference between Gospel’s fixation on hands, eyes and faces, and Hip-Hop’s concerns that are of a more carnal nature. There are some slightly NSFW pictures, but it’s all very tasteful (not to mention discrete).
[With appreciative nod to Waxy.org.]
[With appreciative nod to Waxy.org.]
By golly, this child finally slept from 2:30 am until 6:30 am! Now I know how it must have felt when Neil Armstrong played cricket on the moon (that was cricket, wasn't it?)
You know that it's a good day when a) you're not at work; b) the sun is shining; c) the baby slept well; d) the toddler hasn't assaulted anyone; e) you have five loads of washing drying on the line; f) the Olympics are nearly over; and f) Colin the baby whale is finally dead so the TV can show something else for a change.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
As Chrissie Hynde sang in 1982, back on the chain gang for me today. And wouldn’t you know it, more meetings. Seven-point-six hours in a day and already three vanished in bloody meetings. One has to smile. Throw in catching up on correspondence and pleasantries, and can understand why I am pressed for time.
Of course, I have not let this prevent me from getting a big ol’ bunch o’ snapshots this morning on the way in. Thankfully, it was a crisp but clear winter morn, rather than an overcast beginning to the day. The light, it must be said, was tremendous.
But I want, for a moment, to comment on other matters. Despite making little effort of either keep an eye on or steer clear of them, I am already mightily sick of these blasted Olympics.
It is the media you see, as usual they are starting to get my goat, and he doesn’t like it one bit.
You see, Australian ‘journalists’ (as a pack) can be an infuriating bunch. When we’re doing well, it is all “GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! By Christ We Aussies Are Tops!” When others (the poms in particular) are doing slightly better, whaddaya know, sometimes silver is better than gold. Yeah, it’s suddenly about big hearts, big efforts and beautiful, bounding, bouncing babes (come on, do you really think Stephanie Rice is that interesting?!?)
Just a bit of free form thinking here, but maybe the thing that has ruined it for me is how the Australian Institute of Sport in set about churning out dozens of elite athletes across the disciplines, but somewhere along the way ensures that each and every one of them is completely and utterly sterile and devoid of any personality. You see, they are just so profoundly dull.
Oh yes, they each wave their little flag with a bit of a wink and a giggle that suggests naughtiness, but even that looks coached. You can’t help but feel that anyone with a bit of go in them, with a bit of flair or (heaven forbid) character was screened out long ago by some faceless apparatchik of the automaton factory up there in Canberra. As my teachers used to say to me: “nobody likes a smartarse”. Weet-bix don’t want a threat to the brand on the box, they want a big smile, nice abs and bronzed arms.
You want character? The Beijing 2008 notion of ‘character’ doe s not extend beyond wheeling out Laurie f@$&*#g Lawrence with a poem about ‘Aussie Grit’ or ‘the Larrikin Aussie spirit’. Quite Laurie, nothing says ‘larrikin’ like rhyming couplets!
Let’s face it; the Australian Olympic committee don’t want characters. The current crop is reminiscent of the interminable gangs of Big Brother contestants: young, fit, toned and easy on the eye, but not a whole lot going on underneath. It’s battle of the bland here. Ho hum, what else can be expected of the hot-housing of kiddies from age ten that professional sport has become these days?
Where are the fatties? The moustached blokes in headbands? The angry lesbians? Where are the blokes chucking their silver medel in the river because being the first loser is just not good enough?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The world itself is the will to power - and nothing else! And you yourself are the will to power - and nothing else!
A two for one deal today. I couldn't resist posting this one. I have mused quite a bit on young Henry's dictatorial tendencies, and this image today gave rise to thought that perhaps Ezra will join the totalitarian tot in his approach. Look at that stern gaze, that stiff arm salute. He could be anything. Even the scantest knowledge of recent history will tell you that it is a worrying sign.
People ask me what it is like to have a couple of little potential Übermenschen here, and I reply that it is best to always be on my guard. As one of the ruling elite in the household, I am always on the lookout for potential coups, and the evidence thus far indicates that it seems to be in both of these fellow's blood. Power-sharing agreements might buy me some time, but how long?
No bile and venting today, despite another night's interrupted sleep, it has been a pretty good day thus far. Henry and I mastered a number of new bits of playground equipment, and Ezra slept. Note the little snick on Ezra's eyebrow there, courtesy of a stinging right jab from his brother. He still hasn't mastered the art of keeping the gloves up at all times. He'll learn.
So yesterday was the day that Ezra and Henry finally matched up. That is, Ez arrived nineteen days earlier than his due date, and Hen was twelve days overdue. Although I am skeptical about the lack of scientific rigidity that informs due dates, it struck Jen and I as an appropriate time to reconsider the differentials in size between the imperial toddler and his little brother.
And wouldn't you know it, the big weigh in confirmed that Ezra is exactly the same weight as Henry at birth. It seems that the non-stop eating has done him good, gaining one-and-a-half kilos since birth. Time will tell whether he can match Henry's whopping seventeen point five kilos at twenty-one months, but he's on the right track.
A new toon. It's been a few weeks, but I always like to share the one's that make me LOL (I hope that means what I think and not something utterly filthy, you never know online).
This one is from Phil at The Rut. I've been following it for a while, and it constantly amuses, so is well worth checking out if you like that sort of thing.
I'm not much of a Star Wars fan these days (although I did see Return of the Jedi a few times at the cinema a very long time ago), but always thought that there was something special about C3PO's relationship with R2D2. It's good to see the tenderness translated into all areas.
[Note for uninitiated: WD-40 is the trademark name of my favourite 'penetrating' oil, and it's a ripper cleaner and anti-corrosion spray, but best of all is its all round use as a lubricant to all things metal.]
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Here is the standard view on the bus on the way back home from work. Stimulating, no? Even better when you're so tired that you struggle to remember if you've read the same sentence in your book seven, or eleven, times. I try to avoid talking about work here (last week was about TECHNOPARK, not work), but I just get something off my chest and I am wagering that no attendees would be aware of this part of teh Internets. Oh the joys of posting under your real name!
Yes, I was back at work yesterday, and despite some tight deadlines, I found myself inevitably drawn into another of an ongoing procession of catered meetings. I find that each of these events very much blends into another, with the ever-present key theme of ‘going forward’. Quite how ‘going forward’ relates to a fixation on the past and an endless narrative of ‘need more money, need more money', I am not so sure.
I did enjoy one new fellow sharing with the group that his role is one of “doing a lot of co-ordinating and networking. You know, inputting into things that I can.” I am not sure I do know what he was talking about. For a second, I thought that he might have been touching upon other people’s manholes, but I could not testify to that. I do, however, believe that it is safe to assume that his ‘work’ involves lots of meetings, cake and catered lunches.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Now and in time to be, Wherever green is worn, Are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
I cringe whenever I hear war employed as analogous to sport, so I apologise in advance for this post. You see, I appreciate very clearly the temptation to employ what we think we know of war (understanding that thinking that we know something about something is very different to knowing about something). So, please forgive me for clutching at the metaphor. In my defence I offer my own well worn tale of child-induced weariness.
The cumulative effects of a new baby with still-confused patterns of sleep, and an older prime physical specimen who has appeared to have prematurely entered that phase famously called the “terrible twos”, have wrought a grave toll on my nerves. I feel for my health.
Even without concerns about the security of my manhole, it is safe to say that both mind and body are struggling at the moment. I have endeavoured to keep the intake of fresh fruit and veg up, and the reliance on caffeine down, yet the constant interrupted sleep is inevitably taking its toll.
While I was at work (at a very important meeting, upon which I shall expand tomorrow) Jen, Hen and Ez met up with Alice from the West today, and took some sea air along the Bellerive promenade. I was heartened to hear that the stroll did something to improve the imperious infant's temper. Perhaps it may also help knock the spritely newborn's understanding of day and night into shape. At the very least, I was relieved to hear that Henry did not dump Alice into the drink. I doubt very much that she has had the time required to adjust properly to Tasmania's frigid winter waters, being more used to dodging the sharks on Perth's warmer beaches.
But I digress, I was talking toddlers. The older infant strikes me as existing on a plane somewhere between classically-understood bi-polar disorder (manic depression, for our older readers) and a charming – but ultimately ill mannered – drunkard. One moment they are the life of the party, the most amiable, charismatic and generous-natured chap that one might ever hope to meet. The next, they have spilled their drink, thrown a chair at you, spat food on the new carpet, kicked you in the shin, soiled their pants and are curled in the foetal position on the floor, wailing about how all the inequities of the world are loaded against them (and only them).
The stereotypical image of familial bliss most commonly found in baby powder commercials this most certainly is not. Think more a mobile triage unit located on the Somme in 1916, and you might be getting closer to the mark.
Yet, as in war, often the most heart-warming examples of the human spirit can be found in horrors like this. It can be seen in Ezra’s sweet little smile (so what if he is only doing a poo, it's still real to me, damn it). It exists in Henry’s kind offer of a kiss and a hug (even as I nurse the black eye from that kick to the head at breakfast). It is no clearer than in Jennifer’s stern command that she will take sole sentry duty, ordering me off to the spare room at three in the morning because I have not slept a wink all night. In these moments, beauty is magnified ten-fold. Just as in the work of Paul Nash, there is a kind of terrible, but moreover beautiful exquisiteness that can only be appreciated because of the brutal exertion that has preceded it.
As you can see, today’s ad is not of vintage origin. Perhaps it reflects a dynamic market response to a new consumer concern. Personally, I have not dwelt too much on the topic of the violation of one’s manhole. However, I do believe that a man’s manhole is a man’s castle, and nobody should enter that castle without permission. I myself have chosen to avoid using a security lock on my own manhole, but then again I have never felt that my manhole has been under particular threat.
Looking at the fellow in the ad, he does look to be an anxious chap. Look at his eyes: tense, on edge, almost frightened; I have to wonder what all this talk of protecting one’s manhole has done to his nerves. Sure, he has the peace of mind that should anyone try and surreptitiously infringe upon his manhole, there is a guard there, but at what cost to his sanity?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Here is Henry at a few weeks old, as a point of comparison to the photo of Ezra earlier today.
As for a commentary, well, I subscribe to the maxim that says if one doesn’t have something nice to say, it is better to say nothing at all,
I am rather tired, have just fed one wife, one toddler, two magpies and will soon set off to a truckload of ducks and two geese (with the usual sundry of seagulls).
So rather than construct something terribly witty and humourous, I am just going to post this photo of Ezra and his mum. In the interests of fairness, I have a picture of Henry lined up to follow later in the day.