Tuesday, January 31, 2006

After Dinner Walking

With Summer, the best time to go walking in Brisbane is either early evening, or early in the morning. As my wife is NOT an early riser, if we are going to go out for a walk it will most likely going to be at night. Tonight was one of those nights. After a BBQ dinner, we all hoofed it out of here, and even Wednesday got to come. Wednesday is the family German Shepherd, but more on her in another post.

I can't imagine what it is like to see us walking around. Most people must think "Oh look at that lovely family, how together are they." To top it off, they also must think how sociable we are, especially with that little boy who says "Hello" to everyone they meet. That's part of the problem, Aidan does say "Hello" to everyone we meet. This is fine when you walk past someone in the street, as they just think he's being courteous. "How cute" is often the reply. The only way to distract him is to have him ride his bike. Here's what he looks like then!

I read another Blogger's post on The Normal Family Show. The gist of this was that in sitcom land, the normal family always looks normal. Think Full House, Neighbours, EastEnders or Malcolm in the Middle. Ok, maybe not Malcolm in the Middle. The point being, if we were in sitcom land, us walking down the street would look normal. It would only be as you zoomed in on us, you'd get the weirdo picture.

Ethan walks along with the dog. The dog poos probably three or four times in a half an hour walk, and also pisses every fifty metres. Ethan thinks that it is better to drag her along whilst she undertakes these activities. If not dragging the dog, he is talking, talking, talking. Incessant talking. He has to tell you every activity of the day, and of the walk, and of the future, and of the moon, and of the stars. Not necessarily a bad thing, but continuous.

Aidan has to talk to everyone, but if there isn't anyone in sight, then he has to walk like a zombie. This means he is in a constant state of 10 steps behind. The only thing that makes him walk slightly faster is to push the pram. Then he looks like a zombie pushing a pram.

I guess ultimately he's taking after his parents. Anth and I are generally look comatose, as most of our conversation revolves around saying "Yes, Ethan". If we try to start our own conversations we get talked down.

The only one who is actually normal is the baby, although tonight he squawked for half the trip, which meant he had to be an appendage on Anth for half the trip. I, of course, had to comment smarmily that she wouldn't be able to walk far with him attached. She, accepting that challenge, walked far enough until he fell asleep. Touche.

Ciao for Now, Zombie Angry Dad.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Karate Kid

About a fortnight ago The Karate Kid was on television. This was the original movie from 1984 with Ralph Machio and Pat Morita as Daniel and Mr Miyagi. We stumbled across it in the middle of a lazy weekend, and I relived my late teenage years when I thought I would become a Karate Man. I became about as Karate a Man as Ross Geller from Friends. "Kar-Ahh-Tay!".

The great thing is that Ethan was intrigued by it. He has since been walking around trying to punch in the Karate style, and today he had his crowning glory... on the toilet. Anth SMS'd me up to tell me that he was sitting there saying "Wax on. Wax off. " Now, if he could only do some of that movement when he manages to block up the toilet, leaving me to troll in behind him to clean up his mess. I don't, however, think that was what Mr Miyagi would have had in mind.

In relation to cleaning up after themselves, we heard a new parenting technique today for making kids keep things around the house tidy. One of Anth's friends suggested that what she does is to take all the kids toys which are left out, and put them in a plastic bag. She then tells the offending child that the toys will be put away for a few days. After the few days pass, she takes them out, and dumps them in the offending child's bedroom - with said child watching on. The child then has 30 minutes to put away the toys, with the ultimate punishment being that if they're not put away, they go to the Salvos. Suffice to say, she says she hasn't had to go to the Salvos yet, and the kids rooms are now nice and tidy.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Countdown to Technology

Last night I stayed up and watched a repeat episode of Countdown from Dec 12, 1982. Countdown was a seminal popular music show when I grew up. Last night, it was on the ABC around midnight. Although this was 23 years ago, I can remember it like it was yesterday. Culture Club mixed with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Even Molly Meldrum's ramblings, including that Japan were going to be big (They weren't, even though I liked David Sylvian back then - see "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence" for a great pretentious soundtrack!)

The point is, television these days seems to be focused more on marketing to my era. There are many shows, particularly in sitcom and reality land, that cater for the 28 -40 year old taste. I suspect this is because the next generation aren't as fixated on television as we were, and they are finding other mechanisms of getting their mass media fixes, such as the Internet. I've only rediscovered some of the things that are out there, including Blogging, and Social Networking on computers. Here is a great article on the impact of blogging in the business world, which was published in business Week.

Back in the mid 80's when I started my IT career, I used some of the original pieces of what would become the Internet. In Australia, we had the AARNET, and I used to attend the Net workshops (or Nerd Workshops) too see where it was all going. Even then, we could see it would change the world, but we probably didn't understand the full implications. I believe that the impact of this technology will change the landscape of media, information and knowledge, with far less emphasis on the traditional sources of knowledge distribution. Our children will be the beneficiaries. Debate will continue to rage on this throughout the world.

Unfortunately it won't be for everyone. As pervasive as the Internet has become, it still doesn't get everywhere. Censorship is still rife in some quarters. And the millions that live in poverty would much prefer food, water and shelter over time sitting at a keyboard.

All this technology still doesn't change some aspects of the here and now. Here are some things from just this morning which show life will always triumph over technology. Ethan, when he shoves half a roll of toilet paper down the toilet, will still block it. This causes me to yell at him whilst I fish it out of the said blocked toilet. Aidan, although he is full proficient at using the DVD player, still can't work out why if he bites the DVD's and smothers them in slobber, they don't work anymore. And my wife will still yell at Crash Bandicoot when he doesn't jump through the fire like he's supposed to.

Ciao for now, IT philosophical Angry Dad.

P.S. As a total aside, I've put links throughout this post - mostly to the Wikipedia. This is the most amazing application of knowledge collection I have seen, even better than Google, because it is self authenticating.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Roll out the Barrel

I'm not sure what it is about kids, and I'm not sure if this is an activity is just one of mine or not. I suspect that a lot of parents do it. I'm referring to the uncanny ability to make up songs with alternate song lyrics when doing things with your children. Here is an example of one, to the tune of the Beer Barrel Polka (or Roll out the Barrel, as it is commonly known).

Lets change your nappy.
You've had a nappy of fun.
Lets change your nappy.
Get rid of that stinky bum!

This occurred this morning after spending an hour or so lazing around in bed with Anth and Callum for the Saturday morning sleep in, chat, and laze. Of course, we were invariably interrupted by The Boy (Aidan) as he came in and told us how he wanted to watch Jamie (Jamie Oliver), The Simpsons, and Kath and Kim. When we finally got up it was Nappy changing time, and the song just wrote itself.

Callum is a fantastic baby. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better kid. He sleeps through the night (well, I don't get woken up). He's always happpy. He smiles, and now he's rolling around. Today, he, I and Aidan also ventured to the local shopping centre to do our grocery shopping together. Not a peep the whole time, just lots of looking at everyone and everything around - as well as a little kip on the side. What a life! His only problem will be when we go onto the bottle, and to reference the Simpsons episode "Whacking Day", he'll no doubt think Das ist nicht einen Booby!

Ciao for Now, Fantastic Baby Loving Angry Dad.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Baby in the Bed

I thought that since this was meant, in part, to be a blog about parenting, that I should raise some of the parenting questions which plague me from time to time. My current concern relates to the Baby in the Bed.

Callum has been sleeping in our main bed almost since birth. This isn't anything special, as both of the older boys did this. I had a look at the Super Nanny (my idol) and Bub Hub web sites, but it wasn't until I went to Google and did some specific searches that I got a bit more guidance on whether the parenting community thought this was a good idea or not. Basically, its still divided! I found an article on The Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping, which in its pros section, confirms my feelings on the subject, and most of the cons are relevant as well!

We did at the start do all the things to get Callum ready to sleep in his own cot on return from the hospital. I even had to go and get new bolts for the cot to put it together again after a four year absence. I think we used it twice before we both thought that we'd get a better night's sleep with him in bed with us. It does work. Since that time, I've pretty much got a full night sleep every night since, and although Anth still wakes up to breast feed, he feeds, its done, and they both fall back straight to sleep. We're both conscious of him enough that we don't roll on him, so it is working for all of us.

If you want to know the Cons, have a look at the article and you'll get the picture. I'm not too fussed about the wriggly baby issue, although I am a bit worried about the transition phase which will probably happen soon. Then again, it could last another 12 months yet!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Australia Day

"I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains..."

So said Dorothea Mackellar in her classic Australian poem, My Country. I count myself and my family blessed that we live in such a wonderful place as Australia. Australia Day can mean many things. At the moment we're being pumped with good ol' Sam Kekovich eating lamb, or alternatively we can listen to Triple J's annual top 100. An Australian, Bernard Fanning, got the Number 1 song for the year with "Wish you Well". If only I could get the chords for the guitar just right on the song (there is a wacky 6th or 7th in there somewhere!)

I was fortunate when I grew up that we had a very multicultural neighbourhood. We had English (as in from England), Greek and Italian neighbours down in Melbourne. Up here in Brisbane, things are a bit less of a melting pot, but there are other influences with many islanders and Kiwis. In the end, regardless off race, colour or creed, we are all at our heart Aussies once you live here.

As it was a national holiday, we did what most people do today, which is to laze around, enjoy the sunshine, watch the Australian Open tennis, or the One Day Cricket. We had a swim in the pool, and took the kids out for a bike ride as the afternoon cooled down a bit. We didn't have a BBQ, but that was probably our only break from a true Aussie experience. I spoke to my sister in the U.S. and told her she had to impress on her family there to uphold the flame of our proud nation.
Now if I could only stop Aidan from saying "You Ess Ay, You Ess Ay" whenever he cheers for something...

Ciao for Now, Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi Angry Dad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Pillow House

This evening, I took the boys out for a walk to the local Woolworth's supermarket. It is about 15 minutes each way, and all we needed to get was milk and bread. The ulterior motive was that it would wear them out that little bit extra after dinner, and hopefully by the time we got back and settled into an episode of The Simpsons, followed by an episode of Futurama, they would be well and truly ready for bed.

Ultimately, this worked on Aidan (the eldest), and although Callum (the baby) did fall asleep in the pram, he was awakened when I got home and tried to move the pram into the house without waking him. You see, I am technologically inept when it comes to prams. I tried to lift it on what turned out to be the part of the joining mechanism, which releases to fold up the pram. Of course, my lumbering lift managed to separate the join slightly, and as I realised this and dropped the pram back down, it resealed over the webbing between my thumb and finger. Ouch. I let the pram know it, I let Anth know it, and baby Callum knew it because he was then awake. Stupid pram.

Anth knows better than I how to have fun with the kids, whilst providing a practical means for getting them out of her hair, even if it is only for a few minutes. Ergo, the Pillow House. With Aidan asleep, but Callum and Ethan still active, she decided to create this new structural wonder. She first got a base of pillows together, and plonked Callum amongst the retaining walls. Then she and Ethan gradually got more and more pillows to build up the house to the point where Callum was sealed in well enough that the walls would hold him up.

This amused Ethan no end, and no longer did Anth have to hold the Appendage herself. This worked for about 15 minutes as Ethan amused Callum with toys and keeping the structure intact, and Callum was grateful for the attention. I, of course, remained active photographing this marvel of modern architecture for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Ciao for Now, Webless Angry Dad.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Theoretical Parenting

I had an interesting night last night. We had a friend, Brooke, over for his birthday. As it was his birthday we decided we would take him out to the local tavern for dinner. Normally, the tavern serves reasonably decent pub style meals, and they have just added a "Gloria Jean's" coffee outlet, so their deserts and coffees are also quite nice. Not last night. The service was atrocious, and to top it off, we had to wait for close to an hour for our meals. Brooke's meal came out cold, and my meal of fish and chips managed to repeat on me for most of the rest of the evening, resulting in a lack of overnight sleep, and the hot/cold sweats at around 3:00am for two hours! Probably not a place we'll be going back to for a little while.

The tie in to Theoretical Parenting is that Brooke, being a single middle aged male, has his own opinions on how children should be raised, and is quite vocal about it. Here is a quote from his blog about our discussion on one aspect of parenting, relating to how our children eat:

I raised with Wes the fact that I think his children drink too much coke and soft drinks (our society is too fat and unhealthy and so I don't like to see this happening before my eyes). He said that its the sugar, not the acid in the coke, and Coke doesn't have as much as processed OJ (I said the opposite). He said that processed OJ is worse than coke. Maybe so, but feed them fresh OJ. I said I don't understand how difficult it would be to raise children, but I would lead by example from the start - good food, drink and exercise. Sorry to say these thing, but you know I like to say what I think and feel. I apologise Wes and Anth as I know you are likely to read this post.

I agree that our children probably could eat better. I also think that it is none of his fecking business on how I should raise my children, unless I was physically or mentally abusing them. The Apology will largely go ignored, as will most of his regular diatribe, which doesn't mean he's not still my friend - we just know what he's like.

Both Anthea and I believe that we do quite a good job in raising our children, and given that our eldest child is intellectually disabled, we have more on our hands than most. To have a person who has no real clue on how we work with our kids comment indirectly to us without right of reply is offensive. This is based on some obtuse observations, by someone who also does not have to live the way we do. Hence, this is my right of reply!

Coke and soft drinks are bad for children and adults alike. This article (although I am unsure of its true validity) indicates it is both the sugar and acid which make it bad. As is the majority of processed Orange Juice. Anyone who has children knows that kids are also highly selective on their food choices, and that they go through phases. One week they love something like tomatoes, then the next they hate it. They have heavy influences not just from us as parents, but from their own social peers at school or pre-school, and from television and advertising. Regardless of how great a parent you are, it is hard to shield them from these things. We attempt to provide our children with choices for their food, and admittedly, we too enjoy things like Coke and Orange Juice - so it would be hypocritical for us to tell our children they can't have these things in moderation, when we also have them.

When I was a young single man I naively and ignorantly subscribed to Theoretical Parenting ideals. The reality is somewhat different.

Ciao for Now, Angry Reality Dad.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The first day of school

Today was one of those days that you remember. For one thing, it was the first day of school for 2006. This meant the house was going to be free of the two older boys, and that once 8:00am hit, Aidan would be out of the house for the day. It also was Ethan's first day of school. In Queensland, there was no "prep" or preporatory year like in some of the other States. This meant it would be the first time he was going to Big School, and he will be away all five days of the week.

Everyone in our household was excited. Anth was excited because it meant that she wouldn't have to spend the entire day trying to find ways to amuse the kids, as she had done over the school holidays. It also meant that when the appendage, A.k.a., the Baby, decided he wanted to have a sleep, she could put him down without fear of the other two rapidly awakening him. The kids were excited as they knew that they were going to get a break from us. I was excited in that I would get a break from hearing about how painful the kids were, being home all day!

However, most of the excitement for today centred on Ethan's first day of school. After Aidan was off on his school bus, we were able to focus our attention on getting Ethan ready for school. Aidan's first day was somewhat different to Ethan's. In Ethan's case, as he was going to the local State School there were a lot more people, a lot more parents than I thought there would be, and a lot more kids! Everyone was running around with school bags and school materials. Ethan was really well behaved, and there were no tears - he was just happy to be there.

At the end of the day when I rang him to see how he went, he thought it was great. They got to have play time, then he got to eat his lunch, and then they got to play in the park and had the Humpty Dumpty story read to them. What more could you ask for? Overall, I'm glad he enjoyed himself. One more milestone ticked off on the list!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Last Day List

Why is it that on the last day of any set of holidays, I tend to try to do all of those things which I've been putting off all through the holidays. This morning, I had to get the 3 monthly buzz cut. As I was sitting there with my wife running the clippers through my hair, I grabbed a part of the daily paper which detailed that the way to get things done was to make a list. So once the hair was cut, and my Samson like locks were cleaned from the floor, I pulled out a pen and made the list.

First on the agenda was to clean out a part of the garage so that I could cater for items two and three. These were respectively to shift an old microwave which had been sitting in a box in the kitchen, and my old cassette tapes which had been sitting in boxes in the hallway, from their static positions in the house out to the garage. Fourth was the easy task of going to get the dog from the kennel. I don't know why I put this on the list, as it was a done deal anyway. Fifth was to fix up the computer chair in which the holding bolts had fallen out. Other than the dog, all of these things had been little niggly activities I've kept putting off.

I wrote the list at around 10:00am. By lunchtime I'd managed to not do anything at all, and then Anthea decided she was going shopping. I sat on the rocking chair with the baby, and watched the cricket. Around 1:00pm we had lunch, then it was time for more cricket, more baby, more rocking, and a little kip. Around 4:00pm Anth asked if I'd done anything on the list yet. Nup. Nada. Nyet.

However, the principle of the list must get some credence, as I lifted my bum out of the rocker and went outside and cleaned the garage. Between 4:00 and 6:00pm I did the garage, shifted the microwave, and the tapes, and went up and got the dog. I also went to Bunnings and got screws to fix the chair, and then fixed the chair. All this included having the kids "help out" where appropriate.

I have read that if you are in the habit of making lists, you should treat them as though it is the last day of the activity, and get everything done early. Its not for me. I know how I work, and I'm not gonna change now. Viva the Last Day List!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Kippy Kid

The Macquarie Dictionary of Australian Slang defines kip as:
noun 1. a sleep. --verb 2. to sleep. 3. to stay (somewhere) on a temporary basis: He's kipping at Tom's for a couple of days. [earlier meaning `bed', `common lodging-house', `brothel'; see Old English cip brothel]

After a week of having Aidan wake up consistently between 6:30 and 7:00am each day, it finally came to the last day of our holiday, and he decided to sleep in. When he wants to be, he is a Kippy Kid, although why he has to do it on the one day when we weren't meant to sleep in on our holiday, is anyone's guess. Every other day I would have loved to have slept in until 9:30am, but instead we had to be awake to cater for our beloved child. Today, he crawled in to bed with us at around 6:30am - and promptly went back to sleep. This is understandable, as we did have a very late evening by the kids standards the night before, as we had Sebastian, Katrina and Graham come and visit us.

Ethan and I did manage to get one more swim in this morning. I had commented earlier on how good the pool is, and you can see from these pictures that it is pretty nice. With all the rain over the past few days, the water temperature had dropped. The main pool was a bit chilly, however the heated pool was still nice, and the spa was great for getting that last little bit of niggle out of my well relaxed muscles. This was probably good for Anth as she got to do all the cleaning and packing without us under her feet. From her perspective, she probably thought "Yeah, thanks for leaving me to do all the cleaning and packing, while you go and have a swim..."

The trip home was uneventful, and we got home back to domestic domesticity. Wednesday, the dog, will be home tomorrow, so everything will be back to normality in the Angry Dad household. I must note here also, that the crazy national enquirer has started his own blog, so feel free to go and read his diatribe at some point!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Rainy Days, Maths and Space

It rained again today. This is good because we need it, but not so good when you’re on holiday. We, like the several thousand other holidaying people on the Gold Coast, decided that we would get out of our resort rooms and go to the main shopping mall here, Pacific Fair. I can’t understand how businesses wouldn’t know that with a deluge outside, they would be likely to get a deluge of people to their shopping centre. Suffice to say, that the café we went to for lunch couldn’t quite cope with the influx of people, and that meant an hour wait to get a rather mediocre meal.

I’m not sure what the mathematical calculation relating to should I stay or should I go is, however, after half an hour of waiting, and then being told that your meals were “only five minutes away”, there has to be something. I believe it must be an exponential relationship between anger, annoyance and frustration levels and minutes which pass from that five minute mark. Exponentially rising anger and frustration on behalf of the parents, and exponentially rising annoyance factors of children who are hungry, tied to time.

Ethan kept himself on a positive streak, as he was edging to go to the Spacewalker exhibit up at Surfer’s Paradise. This is an interesting little tourist trap. They have done a reasonably good job in creating something that is inherently scientific, and then moulding an “entertainment” factor around it. This comes off as really cheesy for some of their exhibits, but overall the information they provide, and the space walk with a view to elements of the universe, are quite well done. Each time you visit you can take a slightly different path through the exhibit – there are three variants. I do personally think it is too expensive, and if we didn’t get to do two visits, rather than the usual one, I would have been pissed off.

The only mistake I made, was at the end of the visit, you have the choice of going through a Black Hole or a Stargate. The Black Hole is a nice serene walkway with lots of stars. The Stargate has Alien monsters in it, and I’m talking like the Aliens from Alien. I took Ethan, the six year old, through the Stargate. Big mistake, as when the Alien flashes at you from the pitch darkness he screamed the high pitched Ned Flander’s scream, and I had to quickly drag him out into the lights of the Arrival’s Lounge to calm him down. Nice way to scar a child for life. Hopefully, there will be no nightmares tonight.

Ciao for Now, Angry Space Dad.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Natural Bridge

It’s hard to be an Angry Dad when you’re presented by nature’s beauty.

Today we headed up into the Numinbah Valley to the Natural Bridge National Park. The first venture into the park didn’t quite go as planned. We arrived to a downpour, and Aidan screeching at any other tourist that was around that he needed lunch. As we weren’t prepared for a rainy walk, we decided to succumb to the screecher, and head back down to the Natural Arch Café Restaurant.

We were served by the lovely Judy, who did an excellent job in getting our mob served and fed, as well as catering on her own with other patrons. Her co-worker had been flooded in, so she was doing it all on her own – and dealing with our demanding brats going “When’s lunch coming?” would have tested the most tolerant of café staff!

The pre-feeding of the animals worked a treat, as on the second take to the National Park we all alighted without complaint, and the weather had cleared enough that we were able to enjoy the walk through the rainforest without much whining. As you can see, the rainforest is magnificent, and the formation of the Natural Bridge itself is pretty spectacular.

The Park is very close to the New South Wales border with Queensland, so after finishing there, we drove up to the state crossing. I just had to do the standard Dad trick of driving over the border back and forward, saying, “Look, we’re in Queensland. Now look, we’re in New South Wales”. God help the family if I ever make it to places where there are multiple states attached to the one point.

Ciao for Now, the all-natural Angry Dad.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Movie World

Today we went to Warner Brother's Movie World. This could have been a disaster for me, as I had succumbed to Gamblor last night. In a future post I will explain this more, but suffice to say that I had an evening of gambling at Jupiter’s Casino and didn’t get back to the resort room until after 1:00am. I ended up having around six hours sleep, so a day at Movie World, with a lack of slumber, would clearly be a challenge.

It was another hot day in paradise. Combined with a car park full of black bitumen, the heat levels when we arrived were nice and steamy. As we’d arrived at close to opening time, there were several hundred people waiting to line up.

Here is a curious fact. Whilst waiting in line, the woman who came up behind me, decided that she had in fact gotten in line before me. She proceeded to stand as close as possible to me, and as I moved, she put her foot just that little bit before me. Normally I’m as pig headed as the next guy, and more often than not, I would have been an arrogant ass and deliberately stood my ground. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, perhaps it was the forethought of child battles to come, or perhaps I thought I’d be nice for a change – so I let her move in front of me. She then of course thought that one of the other lines was moving faster, so she dashed a few rows down dragging her kids with her. All of a sudden, the heavens must of shined on me because the group of about 20 kids in our line just up and left, and the queue shortened from a 15 minute wait to about 3! I bet if I had stuck to my usual guns not only would I have had a furious woman breathing down my neck, I would have had to endure it for a hell of a long time.

The kids were surprisingly good, and we somehow managed to avoid the main heat of the day by doing Air Conditioned activities – the Matrix exhibit, the Loonee Tunes Musical Revue, and lunch in Rics Bar and Restaurant. We also got to go on most of the rides we wanted to, except for the new Superman’s Escape rollercoaster, due to both technical difficulties and not wanting to leave Anthea with all three boys at a theme park. As you can see from this photo, we’re all not that cooperative.

The only slight hassle was three attempts to get on the Scooby Doo Spooky Coaster before actually riding. This was not due to any technical hitches. Rather, I fear my middle son Ethan has inherited my childhood fear of the dark and ghost trains. The ride is a “dark ride”, combining traditional ghost train like elements (skeletons/monsters that pop up out of nowhere, sharp turns, spooky music), with a “mad mouse” rollercoaster component. The theming is based on the first Scooby Doo movie, so it is more comic gothic than anything else. To a six year old, I can imagine it could be quite scary.

For the first two attempts, at about 30 minutes into each queue waiting time, Ethan decided that he needed to go to the toilet to “do poo.” The first time, we just left the queue, and of course at the toilet he said “Oh, poo’s not coming!”. The second time, I told him we were staying in line unless he really, really needed to go. This sufficed for an extra few minutes, when he said “I’m scared, and I really need to go to the toilet.” This time around the poo did come, and fortunately it was on the toilet. The third time, just Aidan and I went on the ride!

A note on Aidan, for anyone who does have an intellectually disabled child, you could consider letting them try out some of these activities. The first time we went to a theme park, and Aidan wanted to go on a ride which was something simpler than a carousel, I was petrified of it doing “more damage”. I now think he could almost go on anything, barring the height restrictions. He simply loves these fast and wild rides!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Battle for the Front

Throughout history, War is littered with examples of the Battle for the Front. Our forefathers often had huge casualties for the gaining of small patches of turf, merely a few yards or metres. This war continues today, and the battle that gets played out each day in our household continues to be a battle for the front, the front seat of the car.

If I take the elder boys out driving anywhere where it is just the three of us, Ethan normally gets to sit in the front on the “way there”, and Aidan gets to sit in the front on the “way back”. This works fine for single destination journeys, but add a third destination and war breaks out. The bickering between the two is incredible, and there never seems to be any happy medium. I am at the point where I don’t believe either should get the front position, and I’ll force both of them to sit in the back. That too has its own punishments, as if they do sit together they niggle and pinch and poke and prod each other to the point of distraction for me, the driver.

This culminated tonight when we went to get fish and chips for dinner. Our first failed attempt was at a shop which claimed to have Fish and Chips, but really had no variants, and the mangy piece of fish sitting in their display window turned me off pretty quick. I went back to a fresh fish place I’d seen in Broadbeach mall, where I knew it was fresh and there was some variety – but I also knew we’d have to wait. This also meant that we had the notorious “third destination” and the conversation when we got to the car went something like this:
Ethan: “So I’m sitting in the front.”
Aidan: “No. Me.”
Ethan: “But you had your turn, its my turn again.”
Aidan: “My turn in the front.”
Ethan: “No. Aidy.”
Aidan: “Yes. Aidan.”
You get the picture, with me of course yelling at both of them, much to the amusement of a group of surfers sitting on their balcony sucking back stubbies.

The weird thing was I ended up getting complemented on my parenting skills at the fish and chip shop. We knew we had at least a half hour wait, so we went off after ordering and played in the park for about 20 minutes. On our return, a nice gent in a beautiful safari suit happened to be waiting. Aidan started up a conversation with him, and after I first got over what he was wearing, which seems to be standard attire for oldies on the Gold Coast, he was a very pleasant man. I was more interested in how he was there to “sell horses” – knowing that the Gold Coast Magic Millions had just been on, but he was more interested in speaking with Aidan, and telling me how he was a retired school teacher. After about five minutes he leant over and said how proud of me he was, and how he wished there were more parents out there like me, looking after two wonderful boys. I told him that if he had seen me about half an hour prior to that he probably would have had me arrested!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Britney or Cameron?

This morning I spent most of my time in the pool. I took Aidan down at around 9:30am. Ethan, who was meant to come, was also meant to signal Mum as to whether there were any shaded areas. Instead of staying with Aidan and me, he ran off, ran around all the pools, and then ran back to the room. I, of course, thought he was still in the pool area. Once he was out of sight I madly dashed around trying to find him. See how well “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt” (FUD) does get in to the average Middle-Australian mind-set. After a five-minute search, I dashed back to the resort room to warn Anth he was missing. He was there, and when I tried to tell him he shouldn’t run off he decided he’d rather stay with Mum than swim with me.

Ethan wandering away from us is becoming a common occurrence. I like that he feels independent enough that he can do his own thing, however, in unknown shopping centres this isn’t a great thing (see above FUD comment!). He is just emulating what I did as a kid. My day record for getting separated from Mum was three times in one shopping centre, at Northland in Melbourne. Its one of the few times Mum actually smacked me, and I think it was mainly out of frustration of having a shopping trip go so terribly wrong – and the embarrassment of having to go to centre management thrice probably didn’t help.

So I went back down to the pool with Aidan, and we swam and had fun for an hour before we did the swap over and Ethan came back down. Aidan is quickly making friends with everyone in the resort. This allows Ethan to also make friends, and they are both quite sociable kids. Ethan has made friends with one of the other boys staying here, and together they decided that I would have to chase them, and they would chase me once caught. I quickly got them, then went and hid in the hot spa area.

Whilst waiting for the kids to find me, there were two sixteen (or around that age) year olds hitting on each other. This intrigued me, as these days it seems to be the girls hitting on the guys rather than the other way around. The line of questioning from the young lady was a question/answer thing. I wasn’t really getting the whole conversation, but as the spa bubbles cut out she said
“Britney or Cameron”.
The guy got quite uncomfortable, glanced across at me and said
“Umm, Cameron”.
“Really? I think Britney is heaps hotter.”
At that point, the kids found me, so I had to dash off before I was caught.

This hasn’t stopped me from thinking about the answer. I pondered this with Anth, and although I think that Cameron is pretty hot, I do have a soft spot for Britney ever since I heard a live spot she did during one of her first visits here. She’s Toxic, even if she is a redneck. Fortunately, in the spa I kept my big mouth shut. As my wife said, “If you had said anything, you would have just looked like a creepy old man”.

That I am. Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I'm participating in a Blog game of tag, on behalf of the Snow Trapped Southern Girl. At least now she know's I've participated! It goes against the grain of this Blog a little, but what the hell, I'm on holidays.

1. What time did you get up this morning?: At 6:30am, when the Boy decided that we all had to get up.
2. Diamonds or Pearls?: Is this where I go all nerd and say "Perl"...
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?: Valiant
4. What is your favorite TV show?: The Simpsons (well, D'oh!)
5. What did you have for breakfast?: Weetbix and Milo.
6. What is your middle name?: Well today it was remorseful, as in Angry remorseful Dad (See previous post)
7. Favorite Cuisine?: Donuts. That's a form of cuisine isn't it? Actually a well done Barramundi is a treat you can't defeat!
8. What foods do you dislike?: Brussel Sprouts - its a long held fear.
9. What is your favorite chip flavor?: Chicken.
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment?: Jack Johnson "In Between Dreams"
11. What kind of car do you drive?: My Car is a gradually decaying 1994 Toyota Camry Wagon.
12. Favorite Sandwich?: Chicken, Cheese and Avacado toasted.
13. What Characteristic do you despise?: Anger (go figure)
14. Favorite item of clothing:? The Shorts, T-Shirt, Thong combo. Oh Baby.
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?: Egypt and the Pyramids - if money was no option.
16. Favorite Brand of clothing: I think it's pronounced Tah-Jey?
17. To where would you retire?: Noosa, Qld, Australia.
18. What was your most memorable birthday?: 30th, which I shared with Erv. Great night!
19. Favorite sport to watch?: Australian Rules Football (AFL) - Go Blues!
20. Person you expect to play this the quickest?: She already has!
21. Goal you have for yourself?: To survive the year relentlessly recording this year of my negligible parenting skills for any reader's pleasure, and so my kids can grow up knowing I really am an Ass.
22. When is your birthday? Whenever 50 cent (or Fiddy as I like to call him) says it is, and whether anyone down's Bacardi like its my birthday.
23. Are you a morning person or a night person?: With the Boy it's become more a morning thing.
24. What is your shoe size: Thong size is Homer (well, that's who's on my thongs!)
25. Pets?: Wednesday our German Shepherd, who still remains after being number one child, then number two child, number three child, and now in the dog house.
26. Any exciting news you would like to share?: I just broke wind, and it truly does stink. (Nothing like a good fart joke near the end of a list)
27. What did you want to be when you were little?: Big.
28. What is your favorite flower?: Frangipani. Smell it, and there just ain't another.
29. Where is the furthest you have ever been from home?: Probably Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
30. Small things you really enjoy?: At the moment, whenever Callum (the baby) smiles, 'cause he really is a cute kid - and 'cause I have to say nice things about him after dropping him (Again, see previous post).

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.


This post is entitled Gypped. I don't know if I've spelled it right. It could have also been titled "The perils of last minute holiday accommodation". Why do I feel gypped? When selecting our holiday accommodation, I basically ran with the main criteria of It's peak season, what the hell is available? The follow up criteria related to having two rooms so that we wouldn't have to share with the older kids, and that it had a decent pool to swim in. In the end, we chose the place we were staying mainly on facilities focused on the kids - which the resort we're staying at has. What I stupidly forgot all about was air-conditioning.

Queensland during summer is hot. Damn Hot. And Humid. Damned Humid. So I of course assumed that we would have air-conditioning in a four star resort. Alas, when I walked in the room, within 30 seconds I knew there would be no air-conditioning. Lack of air-conditioning has been a common theme already this year. My wife followed me in saying

"You knew it didn't have air conditioning, didn't you. It said so on the Internet..."
"No I didn't. What a gyp. We paid good money for this."
"I think you can get it for an extra $8 a night."

With that comment, I stormed over to reception.
"Do you have any air-conditioned rooms we can shift to?"
"Sorry sir, none of the rooms are air-conditioned."
"But it said on the Internet..."
"No sir, I can tell you now that none of the resort rooms here are air-conditioned..."
She then went on to explain about lack of electricity, how owner's wanted it, how people complained. Damn straight they'd complain. Even as I'm sitting here typing this I'm getting a lovely sheen of sweat, and it's 9:00pm at night!

Of course, Angry Dad came out pretty much straight away as I stormed back to the room. Everyone got yelled at about how peeved I was not to have air-con. There really was only one solution, which involved going straight to the pool to cool off. Fortunately, the pool here is excellent, fully themed, with two lagoons, a toddlers pool, and two spas. On reflection, I understand that most people who come up here don't actually spend that much time in their rooms. They are usually on the beach, at the pool, or at the various theme parks around the area. That said, its unlikely I'd ever want to stay here again. They probably wouldn't want me given that my solution to a hot room is to flounce around in just jocks to avoid getting too hot.

That was Saturday, and Sunday hasn't been too bad, although living in close proximity together certainly has tested family bonds today. I think the only one who hasn't complained has been the baby, except when I left him to fall off the couch onto the floor. He's just started rolling and whilst my wife and the other boys had gone down to the pool, I was left to look after him. After I managed to get him to sleep on my lap and a good 30 minutes had passed, toilet urges called. So I carefully put him on the couch on a pillow. I even laid a pillow on the floor on the off chance he rolled off. I went off, let nature call, then went to the fridge to grab some grapes. As I looked over the edge of the kitchen bench, I saw a little hand lift up. Too slow, Angry Dad. I bolted around the bench and got to the couch just as he rolled off, of course missing the floor pillow, and coming down on his back and head on the floor. The howls started, and it was another 30 minutes before he even came close to settling, at which point Anth came back and yelled at me for completing the trifecta of having all three of our children neglected in similar manners over the years (ie - falling off couches after me leaving them for food or bodily functions).

Ciao for Now, Angry remoresful Dad.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Holiday Packing

Some people just know how to pack. I had a friend, Erv, who no matter what size vehicle you had, and no matter what collection of things you needed to get into that vehicle, he could always get it in. He seemed to have an in-built instict for packing that allowed it all to happen. I have seen this parodied on The Simpson's 300th episode "Strong Arms of the Ma" when Homer turns all the suitcases into a Tetris game for the purposes of loading up the car for a holiday.

I, unfortunately, don't have this knack. Everything turns into a huge squeeze, where it all just gets shoved in with the knowledge of when we get out at the other end all packages will eitehr explode out of the car, or be squished flat as a tack, with lots of damaged contents. Always a great way to start a holiday.

I've done my own packing of clothes. I always pack three times more stuff than I actually need. I think that I like the idea of "choice", although I alwys end up just wearing the same thing - shorts, T-Shirt, thongs (the flip flop kind - not the G!). My wife is far more efficient at getting it all done, and she also does all the kids. If I did the kids, it would just be to shovel up all the stuff they leave on the floor. Anthea actually knows what she's doing. There should be parenting classes on this kind of thing, as it would sure make getting out of the house a lot easier. If Erv ever needs a new career path, that could be it!

Holidays await, happy happy joy joy. Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Chips and Chops and Eggs...

Friday night is normally take-away night. We usually have Fish and Chips from the local shops, who we have established quite a rapport with. Actually, it is Aidan who really established the rapport, but that is another story. Tonight, as we are going on holidays tomorrow, we had the choice of either cooking up the mid-loin lamb chops I had bought earlier in the week, or I could go a get take-away and leave the chops to mould up. In the end, the toss up was that it would take about 20 minutes to cook, or 30 minutes to go the T/A route, so home cooking won.

This lead to a household discussion about what to have. As it is traditionally a "take it easy" night, we decided to resurrect one of our old dinner traditions. This one goes by the name of "Chips and Chops and Eggs", or in other terms, an "Old Fashioned Fry Up". Basically, you fry or grill the b'jeebers out of the meat, deep fry some potatoes cut into strips (chips), and add butter to a fry pan and fry up your eggs. Anyone on a diet is probably cringing about now. Add in some toast with butter, perhaps some grated cheese, and there you have it - an Angry Dad staple!

I realise that the modern Australian diet has largely gone to ruin, and eating like this certainly isn't giving a good impression to our children, but it does highlight some of the good fried food groups doesn't it? On other days we actually do have meals with salad and/or vegetables, so we're not all that bad. Getting the kids to actually eat them is a whole other matter, although I know as a child I had distinct aversions to peas and brussel sprouts. I know Aidan "Not Like Eggs", and Ethan has his moments with beans ("Ewwwww - I'm not eating That!"). I do, however, use those other old dinner traditions of "No desert if you don't eat your greens", or "You're NOT leaving the table until I see how much you've eaten."

So there you have it, do what Elvis did and fry to live! Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Holiday Accommodation in Peak Season

Have you ever tried to book holiday accommodation during peak season. In Australia, that season generally runs through Christmas through to the end of January. Previously, we've taken holidays outside this timeframe, where you can get great accommodation deals through the holiday sites like Wotif and Lastminute. This time, because Ethan is due to start his first year of School on the 23rd January, and Aidan is also back at school on this date, we decided that we should have our holidays earlier. You know what that means, peak season.

Peak Season is a free for all with the hotels and resorts. They jack up their prices by up to twice the going rate. In our modern capitalist society this is fair enough, and I understand the economics of supply and demand. All of us rat race suckers don't really have any choice, and its also guided by our school systems and their holiday time frames. When I went to find out what was available down on the Gold Coast, it quickly became obvious that the great deal I got last year just out of season wasn't going to be available this year. After a few days searching the Net, I decided in my frustration, to ring a travel agent. Here's how the conversation went.

"Hi, I'm Tamara, how can I help you?"
"Hi, I'd like some accommodation for the 14th through to the 21st. I understand you represent the Bel Air. We've stayed there before and would like to stay there again. I checked the internet and I was wondering if I could get a better price."
"Certainly sir, let me just check for you. How many of you would you like to book for?"
"A family of five, two adults, two kids and one infant"
"Sir, there is no accommodation available at that resort, for a two bedroom apartment. We have one bedroom apartments, but they only sleep 3."
"Well, that wouldn't be any good, as I need it for a family. Tell me, the Internet is saying that there are two bedroom apartments available, should I ring the resort direct?"
"We represent the resort sir, and there are no rooms available?"
"But what if I rang the resort."
"We are the resort sir."
"Yes, but aren't you really a booking agency?"
"Yes, but we represent the resort."
"But the Internet says that there are rooms available."
"The Internet won't tell you availability, we don't put that information up."
"You can try an Internet site if you like sir, but I can guarantee you won't be able to get a room. Goodbye Sir."
Suffice to say, Tamara was right. Pity she had to be such a bitch about it. I then rang the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau who were far more helpful. They did a search for me, and found an appropriate place. We're staying at the Diamond Beach Resort, which we have wanted to stay in before, so that should be good. It's Kid Friendly, so hopefully that will keep them occupied whilst I laze on my big fat behind in the pool!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Being tired - The Internet is bad Mmm-Okay...

The Internet is Bad. Broadband is bad. Blogging is bad. Poker.com is bad. Well, its mainly that last statement which is bad. I've been staying up late at night playing poker. I decided I'd get on the whole "World Series of Poker" bandwagon, and see what it was like to play online poker - on the possible expectation of sitting down at a Poker table at a casino. Given how rapidly I'm losing play money, this could be a very bad situation using real money. It's pretty sad isn't it. I finally got around to getting Broadband, a new home PC, and updating my whole suite of programs, and I spend most of the time surfing for crap and gambling.

This has subsequently led to a number of late nights. Late nights followed by early mornings result in me having a lack of sleep. This culminated tonight in falling asleep with the baby in the recliner chair whilst trying to watch the Simpsons, at around 7:45pm. This must be a signal for the older kids to play up, because I woke to them having much merriment throwing clothes all around the lounge room. Of course, I woke up in true Angry Dad fashion and yelled at them to get to bed. I must have still been groggy, as they just laughed as they bolted off.

To top it off, my late night internet philandering is followed by a nightly reading of a novel by James Frey called "A Million Little Pieces". Basically, this is about drug abuse and rehabilitation, narrated first hand, brutally honest and incredibly frustrating. You don't necessarily get a sense of why this guy wasted his life in the first place, but he definitely wasted his life. That said, I'm only half way through at the moment. I hope I can steer my children away from ever getting a heavy dependency on drugs. Quite ironic coming from a guy who in his youth smoked dope and used to get spifflicated (read drunk) at the drop of a hat. Fortunately for my wife, in 15 years she's never seen me drunk!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hi 5 and Lazy Kids

The children's group "Hi 5" are an Australian musical act that we should be proud of. The aim of Hi-5 is to cater for a wide range of young children, acknowledging the span of cognitive abilities and learning styles. I know that it works for our kids, and I'm glad that when the kids actually watch them on TV, they don't just watch, they get up and mimic what the team does. However, for us, the popularity of Hi 5 does have its drawbacks.

One of these is with our eldest child Aidan. Aidan is intellectually disabled, and is tentatively diagnosed with global developmental delay. He is a happy, active, and socially outgoing 8 year old. He does have his quirks. This evening, when we went to the local Kmart, one of our regular "arguments" occurred. Hi 5 DVDs are prevalent in the DVD section. We only need to walk past a display, and he will have grabbed a DVD and start saying things like "Hi 5 for Christmas", or "My Hi 5 DVD". I'm trying to teach him that he can't have it every time we go to the shops, and there is no fun in dragging a screaming, crying little boy throughout the shop, who also will then tell everyone he meets that he "Wants Hi 5". The only way around this is to try to get some other distraction into his head to try to steer his mind away from it.

As I just outlined, Hi 5 does get kids out and about. I had an interesting situation with a colleague walking back to my car after work. We passed some kids on electric scooters. This of course started a rant from my colleague about how we train kids now from an early age to be lazy, and how when he was a boy you had to push your scooter. In some respects, he's right. Why can't we have our kids on push scooters to get them to exercise more, when we have a real and growing obesity problem with our children? That said, if I could have ridden an electric scooter back to the car, guaranteed I would have been on it!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Crying Baby

I'm not sure what it is about babies, but sometimes they are happy and sometimes they are sad. This often occurs within the space of minutes. I'm having a slight issue at the moment. Here is a picture of happy baby. Well, in this case he's not that happy, but at least he's not screaming. Maybe he's a bit interested in what's going on around him. Maybe he's just noticed his father coming at him with a camera.

Now, here's the same baby after he has realised that it is his dad taking the photo. Note the angst. Note the pursed lips. Note the pensive eyes, and that "I'm just about to scream, so you better get away from me" face.

Gentle reader, I'm not sure what it is about this particular baby, but he sure is picky. At three months old, he's quite active and aware of his surroundings. He's also a bit of a mummy's boy, and spends a lot of time on the hip. That said, when he does eventually get passed over to me, it is not much that takes him from moving from Happy Callum to Sad Callum. My current beef is that I can't even sit back on the couch. I have to perch my big behind right at the edge of the couch, just so he pivots on the edge, and that seems to keep him happy. If I move back into the couch, the tears start. I've tried to break this habit repeatedly over the past month, to no avail. I'm not quite sure what to do in this instance, so any advice would be appreciated.

Ciao for Now, puzzled Angry Dad.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Little Fish

We have a swimming pool at home. Swimming pools are great, and trust me, in a Brisbane summer, there is nothing better. The upside of course is that during the summer months you can go out and soak at any time of the day or night, and the water usually retains the temperature of a warm bath. It cools you down from the humidity and heat. The downside is that pools require maintenance. Pools go green if you don't keep them at the right balance. Pools get dirty if you don't keep the vacuum cleaner un-knotted.

As we have a swimming pool, we also have the requisite toys that go with the pool. We have pool noodles, swimming mats, water pistols, and things - like pool rings - which sink to the bottom of the pool and you then have to dive down to retrieve. This Christmas, we got a new set of toys known as Little Fish. The problem with Little Fish is just that, they are little fish. They are about the size of a large stone or rock, made of an incredibly durable plastic, and sink to the bottom of the pool when thrown in. When our kids threw them in the pool, they stayed on the bottom of the pool.

Twice now, I've had Little Fish stuck in the pool vacuum. Twice now I've had to cut open the vacuum hose to retrieve the stupid Little Fish which has wedged itself into the hose, and cut off water flow. Twice now, I've had to make running repairs to the skimmer box and re-check all of the filter piping to make sure the Little Fish hasn't made it into the filter piping (at which point I would really be screaming). There won't be a third time for the little fish. I realise this isn't necessarily about parenting, but no amount of good or bad parenting would be able to stop children from throwing Little Fish into a swimming pool, because it is fun!

Ciao for Now, from a fishless Angry Dad.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Stalling. We all do it. I had an example thrown back at me from the middle child today, and its worth noting he's starting to do it more often. It probably is all part of the "what are my boundaries" which all human beings seem to learn at an early age, and then continually press. The scenario from this morning was going to Grandma's, but also involved having to go into the city to pick up a friend.

When Ethan found out we would have to go into the city, effectively adding extra travel time to Grandma's, rather than a direct trip, he decided that he didn't want to go. That was at around 8:30 am. Expected departure time was 9:30am. At 9:15am he began his stalling strategies. He put on a movie he wanted to watch. He delayed cleaning up his breakfast meal - and when he did go and pick up his meal, he managed to spill half of the leftovers back on the table. Peanut Butter leaves a nice mess. This was followed up with not being able to get his shoes (thongs) on properly, and also a stint of crying in his room. What should have been a 5 minute activity suddenly turns in to 20 minutes, causing lateness and angst.

I definitely can't complain about this type of behaviour, because if anything, he learnt it from me. I'm notorious at not being able to keep to timeframes, unless its something specific that I've organised and hold a vested interest in. My wife has now introduced a habit of setting everything half an hour before the actual "real time" of any activity she needs to get to. This ultimately will backfire and really get me in the poo, when she doesn't set the time, and I deliberately delay even more thinking I still have half an hour up my sleeve.

Ciao for Now, and quit stalling. Angry Dad.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thunder and Lightning

This evening has just seen a huge thunder and lightning storm come across Brisbane. It appeared to be two layers of clouds, with most of the lightning just acting like a light switch being turned on and off, with rumbling thunder and a few periods of heavy rain. Its weird because just before it rains the humidity really wraps you in its blanket, and then everything goes quiet. Then it hits. If I didn't have a pool and airconditioning I don't know how I could handle it.

It does appear they finally fixed the airconditioning at work. If only I could have a personal air conditioning bubble as I walk from the car to work. I must have the most overactive sweat glands a person can have, because a 15 minute walk results in me arriving at work as if I'd just got out of a swimming pool. Not a pleasant look. Same thing walking back to the car, but in that case I don't really care because its only me that has to put up with the sweat stench in the car on the way home.

Tonight I took Ethan to see the movie "Valiant", an animated cartoon about pidgeons and World War II which was quite enjoyable, and had a lot of "big name" voices, including Ewan McGregor and Ricky Gervais (from the Office). Ethan seemed to enjoy it, but I'm wondering if we've been spoiling him a bit much over these holidays, because as soon as it was finished he demanded to go and see "Chicken Little". I have to learn how to explain to the children that just because you got one thing that was fun, doesn't mean you're going to get the next fun thing straight away! How does a man with no patience teach his children patience.

Something to ponder. Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Back from grandma's house

I came home tonight after another day at work trying to escape the "No Airconditioning" heat trap of my workplace, to find that the changeover had occurred for my two eldest boys. Ethan had come back from grandma's, and Aidan had gone. This actually makes the house a lot quieter, so that isn't too bad a thing! The thing was, grandma had tired Ethan out so much, that he was half asleep in his bed, and my wife told me that he had been good most of the day, but turned into a monster at the local shops.

What had happened was that my wife had taken Ethan to pick up a few of the things he needs for this year to start school. This of course meant he got new clothes, new stationery, and new shoes. With all this new stuff, he thought could get a DVD of "Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D", but was told "No". I am reliably informed that he was very good at the shops, and it was only once he got home that he decided that we were all terrible parents because we hadn't bought him his DVD.

I'm not saying SBLG is not a great film. I wouldn't say that at all. But it isn't too bad for kids, and if I had millions of dollars like Mr Rodriguez, I'd probably play to my kids whims as well, and make a movie based on a 5 year olds dream. However, when I got home and get accused of being a "Bad Dad" and being told "I don't love you anymore" wrapped in a swathe of tears because I even suggested that buying a new release DVD of said movie might be a bit expensive at the moment, it gets a bit much.

Good thing with kids is that tomorrow I'll be number one, and there'll be a new toy or present which will kick start the whole process all over again. Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Another Day, No Air-con

Another hot day, and another day of no air conditioning on my floor at work. Fortunately, I managed to decamp again to another floor. Unfortunately, I had to make the odd sortie back onto the heat box floor to gather bits and pieces. Man, now I know how a roasting chicken feels. They tried to help the situation by placing industrial strength fans on the floor, but all that did was change the over from "bake" to "fan forced". I presume it must be great for the body to be in a continual state of sauna. Can you believe that some people even stayed in it to further cause?

Tonight, in an effort to maintain family togetherness, I am attempting to do a self connect to Broadband. What joy. I like to think I'm technically savvy, however, I am not organisationally savvy. By this I mean that all the paperwork I had, which includes all the set up details, I've magically misplaced. This of course means that I stomp around the house trying to find any remnants of the paperwork. Being the technical guru that I am, I also had disconnected all the old dial up capabilities, so then I had to reconnect it all, and try yet again to get to my old account (where all the new account details were sent - go figure). You have to love new technology don't you.

Now its time to reminisce. In the good old 1980's, I used to be ahead of the game in all technologies. I had one of the first CD players. I could work the video recorder. I was the main man when it came to anything IT. I even had an IBM 8088 PC with a Hercules Graphics Card. These days, its taken me a year to upgrade from my old 486 to a Pentium spec once I blew up the motherboard, whilst all the while toying with the idea of getting a Mac, and also complaining to the family that we didn't need a new computer because I had to sit in front of one all day anyway. Selfish aren't I. Lucky the kids are still young!

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

No Air-con

Imagine walking to your work in about 27C degree heat and high humidity for about half an hour, and on arrival at said workplace you find that the airconditioning wasn't working on your floor. Now, that's just YOUR floor, not any of the other floors in the building. So you get into the elevator already sweating, and then you sit at your desk and sweat some more. This was the lovely scenario which greeted me on my first day back at work for the new year. After about two hours I had drunk well over a litre of water - and still didn't have to take a leak. I probably had sweated out about 2 litres by then.

The one sided conversation one of my work colleagues had with our maintenance team, when he finally got on to them, went something like this:
"Hi, did you know there is no air conditioning here on level 7?"
"Oh ok, I'm number 17 am I?"
"So when do you think they'll fix it?"
"Ok, well, it would be good if they did it sometime this year, I guess thats a pretty wide spectrum of opportunity for someone to come and look at it"
"No, thank you - you've been soooo helpful"

Of course, the obligatory "Cockhead" was spoken as the phone was placed back into its cradle.

This would normally have been the situation which would have made for a very stressful day, leading in to a stressful evening with the kids, however, I managed to get off the floor to a cooler office for most of the day, and on top of that, we got to go home a bit earlier due to those working on that floor being able to leave earlier due to the 40C+ temperatures reached by lunch time.

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The last day of Holidays

Don't you just love Christmas?

The last day of the holidays, and I'm all nice and chilled. I even took the family out for a nice lunch at a pub near Manly, right near the water here in Sunny Brisbane. It was stinking hot, but fortunately the bistro was air conditioned, so it was actually quite pleasant. We also managed to beat the lunchtime rush too, for whatever reason. I think I'm on a lucky streak at the moment so my anger levels are at lows for the moment.

I even took the kids for an afternoon swim in the pool, which was also good - except when our loving middle child decided that it would be fun to shoot me in the ear with a water pistol. Nice one, yeah. Looking forward to going back to work with an ear infection. I had mainly been getting him to shoot the dog. Speaking of the dog, we've decided that the dog is NOT allowed in the pool area any more. She gets in the water and not only stinks up the water, then she stinks. Having a 12 year old German Shepherd who think she is still a puppy isn't really cutting it. We're more tolerant of her now that she's getting older, but of course, when you treat your dog like your child - as she was for the first 4-5 years of her life, then you should expect what she turns into. Like the children, a spoilt, annoying little monster! Nah, she's not that bad - and its still got to be the best burglar alarm money can buy.

My wife had the night off tonight to go and see "Just Like Heaven" with Reese Witherspoon. I've had a good run of movies over Christmas, getting to see "King Kong", "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Fun with Dick and Jane". I also watched "Crash" and "White Noise" last night on video. An interesting and eclectic mix, no doubt. I love movies.

Well, work starts again tomorrow, so my Dilbert inspired life will no doubt come back to haunt me. If I was to classify it cartoon/comic sense, I'd probably rate it as parts Simpsons, parts Calvin and Hobbes, parts Hagar, part Wizard of ID, with a strong smattering of Charlie Brown for my childhood. If only I'd collected the Batman as a kid.

Ciao for Now, Angry Dad.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Parenthood - Happy New Year

You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father. Keanu Reeves as Tod Higgins in Parenthood, 1989.

Happy New Year. The movie "Parenthood" was on last night, and I watched it again, with the above line being one of my favourites from the movie. I can really relate to this film being the parent of 3 children, one of which is "emotionally disturbed". No doubt I'll write more on that in the future.

I thought that today would turn out to be a disaster, but so far its turned out quite good. On Friday night I went out to the Treasury Casino here in Brisbane, and stayed out quite late. In my indominatable style, I didn't win - but in this case I didn't lose either. After about 4 hours of on and off gambling I came out with an extra $5. Woo Hoo. However, when you don't get home until around 2:00am it usually sets you up for a horror next few days as you try to catch up on sleep. In this case, my wife let me sleep in for a few extra hours on the Saturday, so I wasn't too bad off.

To top it off, this morning when I opened the papers and read out the lotto numbers, they happened to match a few of the numbers that I had on a Quick Pick - so you've got to love that. Enough for an extra Pizza for the week, but not enough to quit my job yet. This has put me in a reasonable frame of mind, and the kids haven't pushed my buttons yet. I think also, that after having a few days off over Christmas helps to soothe the soul a bit, and we'll see how we go once I get back to work.

One of the presents I got for Christmas was a Simpson's Hot Dog radio. This, of course, has been picked up by the eldest son as "his". He's at present running around with it tuned in to the local ethnic radio station, so we're getting a loud blast of Indian Bollywood music at present. Not that everyone doesn't love Bollywood, but a few hours of that and I should turn into the monster we all know and love.

Ciao for Now, and Happy New Year from the Angry Dad.