Posts Tagged ‘humor’

So I’ve launched my new blog site: re-education.net with help from colleagues at work and students who I teach who are all champing at the bit to “sell” me photos that I can decorate my site with.

 

Now I’ve made my first discovery in stepping out of the wordpress.com roost… any post, even when I put tags and categories will not appear in the WordPress reader…

 

A depressed man sitting on a bench

Epic… fail? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyway, I’ve decided to celebrate this discovery by… starting another wordpress.com website, which aims to capture a-post-a-day for the 7 months I’m on long service leave… I’ll launch that on Saturday (Sydney, Australia time)…

 

Happy days…

 

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Reader Safety Notice: NO show spoilers appear in this Post

I’ve just finished Season Three of Breaking Bad. This might seem like ancient history for some, but I’m trying to eke out my addictions. As a result, I’ve now switched to watch the final season of Dexter. As each episode is complete, I’m acutely aware that the end is becoming ever more nigh for this show.

Breaking Bad - Adventure Time

Breaking Bad – Adventure Time (Photo credit: B_Zedan)

Around me I have colleagues and students who are just finishing Breaking Bad and are aghast that I’m not doing likewise. One friend has gone from “no” to “whoa” in the space of a two week school holiday timeframe. All of Breaking Bad in two weeks?! Now I’m agog.

While all this is going on, I’ve become aware of how our viewing habits have changed. I say “our” as I’m wondering how many of the following applies to you. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • Impatient at waiting for a show to come – week to week feels forever. I’d rather wait until I have the whole lot in my hands before starting viewing, rather than come to an abrupt halt at the end of the ep and have to wait a week for the next instalment.
  • We have lost our viewing discourse, as we are all on separate paths. The days of discussing an episode the day after are gone.
  • As a result of our viewing “alone”, we have to feel around, perhaps using careful euphemisms, to determine where we are up to in relation to others, even if across seasons.
  • I’m living in the moment, thus I’m ready to discuss the revelation of the previous episode, but often struggle to recall events for those playing ‘catch up’. By the time that someone has reached a cracker moment in a given episode, I’m struggling to recall the critical details of the episode.
  • Shows are like wine. One more glass before bed? We look forward to anticipate what time the next episode will end. Is that too late? What about if I bypass the opening credits and the “previously on…” (insert your show of preference here). Suddenly my wife is advocating a four show stint of Downton Abbey that will see our going to bed at 1:50am.
  • Suddenly, hearing the HBO white static at the start of a prospective show is an invitation to viewing nirvana.
  • I’ve started to notice (read “guess”) that each series is now following its own kind of arc – a bit like how you might have Joseph Campbell’s/Chris Vogler’s perspectives of the hero’s journey. Is it the case that a season of twelve episodes will describe a similar kind of arc as that of a quest movie (The Matrix is an example that comes to mind).

So as I finish this post, I’m about to watch the fourth episode for Dexter… and who knows, maybe the fifth… I just don’t want to run out too quickly…

I’m in the middle of reading George R.R. Martin’s (first thought… why the need for two ‘R’s!) Game of Thrones at the moment. I’ve seen to the end of the second season of the show and am hoping to get ahead of my reading in the novels before watching any more. My main reason stems from my reading of this first book – it reads very much like it views, as if the producers of the TV version decided that they would do a scene by scene replication of the book. As a result, I feel a bit like I did as a boy, reading the film ‘novelisations’ of the Star Wars series, such as The Empire Strikes Back, which I recall getting via my school’s Lucky Book Club affiliation, replete with glossy photos in the centre of the book. The book felt very convenient as it faithfully plodded through the action that we saw on screen. There wasn’t a lot of flavour… or imagination.

Not that I am suggesting that this is the case with Martin’s epic – it obviously predates the show. It’s just that I can’t really tell. I’m not reading it particularly quickly, but I find it hard to clear my head from the action that I have seen on screen, as I read. I’ve heard that the second series starts to deviate from the book and look forward to seeing the evidence of this when I get to the second book – and as mentioned, moving on to the third before I catch up on “that” season. It reminds me a little of my reading of the Harry Potter series. I had my ‘own’ Harry Potter in my imagination before the movies came along, but I can’t recall him now. He (and other characters) have been well and truly replaced by Daniel Radcliffe et al. I find it sad that I can’t get that imagination version back… and probably never will.

So back to the title of my post… I love literary page turners. Those books that you are almost apologetic about reading. In Australia (and perhaps more broadly internationally now) we have Matthew Reilly. 25 words or less for the uninitiated: super hero defies (multiple) deaths from super villains and overuse of exclamation points while solving international mysteries!!! (more or less)

The boys I have taught over the years have loved Reilly’s work and when asking my opinion of it, have been surprised by the fact that I haven’t jumped on board more enthusiastically. It is a certain guilty pleasure and I enjoy it every now and then, while I am consuming the work. But like eating the fairy floss/cotton candy (love the international use of alliteration to describe spun sugar!), one feels strangely unsatisfied (read ill) sometime after completing the work.

Not like some of those authors who present works that are more like a fine dining degustation dinner. Writers like Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, or even the short stories of Alastair McLeod. You might not want to have this level of readership every day, but when you sit down, one can feel sated with the beauty of the words… how they are chosen and placed on the page, in a short period of time.

For now it is George and I am on page 461 of 780 (before we get to the House history stuff). So it is Friday night and, for now, I’m still at sideshow alley and the junk food abounds… and I’m happy to give in to it for the time being.20130816-213642.jpg

Well, someone in the next day will be – it could be you and this post might well tip the scale over – currently my blog sits on a modest 1994 views (I know, distinctly small fry for many). I would love to be able to let you know if you were my 2000th viewer. Maybe if I’m vigilant, I’ll be able to tell the country that you’re from. If the first six viewers all ‘liked’ this post, I could tell that number six would be the one. Maybe I could even do a feature on the person receiving that milestone…

English: The Grand Prize for the winner of a g...

A good year thus far… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ironically, the one year anniversary of my writing – NOT my joining WordPress, which took place seven months before as part of a work ICT activity – is also coming up on June 25th. This was a post on students doing ‘TED Junior’ talks. It took me that time to work out what I was going to write about (and feel confident to press that ‘Publish’ button), one reflecting my work and ideas in Education, which, as you might expect, has also undergone some changes in that year.

Back to my title – how many times have you been the “999,999” visitor (or one millionth)? In thinking about this post, I reckon I’ve won about 50 of these things (and have of course, clicked on none of the cheery, cheesy banners when they’ve popped up). I even typed the phrase into Google and got all sorts of discussion about the possible scams and identity compromising consequences of clicking on these spots.

So anyway, to give you something in the same vein, here are some stats reflecting your relative chances of a number of events occurring – just to give you pause for thought. I’ve made them ‘Australia’ based, to reflect some of the idiosyncrasies of my country:

Chance of winning the big division prize in Lotto – 1 in 45 million

Chance of being killed by a shark –  1 in 292, 525 (chance of drowning at the Australian beach, by comparison, 1 in 3,362)

Chance of being struck by lightning – 1 in 1.6 million

Chance of dying in a car accident – 1 in 12, 500

Chance of winning anything by being the “Xth” person to visit a site – nil?

But, getting away from the darker side, it has been a great year thus far. I’ve learned so much and thank you all for popping by, whether this be a first time, or a return trip. Looking forward to even more in the coming twelve months. I’ll keep you posted on the 200th viewer… if I can 😉

You don’t need to like or dislike Arnold Schwarzenegger to appreciate this. I’m just using “Arnie” as a guide. You don’t even need to have seen Terminator (1 or 2) to understand my use of it as an example. If you’ve ever seen a film where there’s a high body count by closing credits, you’ll get the gist of the idea.

Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 (Madame Tussauds).

Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 (Madame Tussauds). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had my movie ‘pitch’ for several years now. I’m blogging it here, because I can’t see myself ever making it (at this point, anyway). Basically it goes like this:

The screen is split in two. On the left side of the split, the audience quickly recognises Terminator (or other equivalent film) is playing. This film plays in its entirety.

On the right, the alternative film plays. In this instance, it might open with a policeman, sitting down having breakfast with his family. Subsequent scenes might show him doing relatively routine activities; dropping off his children at school, buying some take away coffee, doing paperwork. The actor playing this role should be relatively unknown and the reason why would become apparent in due course.

About half way through Terminator, the left and right screens would start to come to reflect one another. Thus the policeman seen doing run-of-the-mill activities (as I understand most policing is on a day-to-day basis) would come to have an interaction with Arnie. For these moments, the screen would show only the ‘original’ film. The policeman might die in the police station shootout, perhaps he is collateral in another scene where his car is crashed by Arnie’s truck – the more obscure it was, in many ways, the better. The audience will now recognise that the small time extra in the big budget film is actually the ‘star’ of the film that has been showing on the right hand side of the screen.

At this point, the screen would split once again. Terminator (or X) would continue on, as before, while the camera on the left would remain with the dead policeman. Over the course of the remaining film, the scenes would return to everyday life: his family receiving the news; their shock at his sudden demise; preparations and the subsequent funeral.

The point? Not much really – just to show, using an unorthodox method, how we overlook details and the casualty count (or take it for granted) when we watch an action movie. Just something a bit different. Hope you liked the idea.

Further tales of the sub-villains who cause merry mayhem in our household…

Mr Slops

Slops works on creating culinary chaos. If you are born after 1990, I suspect you won’t even be aware of his existence. He loves operating on the periphery. So, if you are sitting at the table, having a meal, you may only be aware of him when you aren’t looking at your son or daughter. That’s when he strikes. But while your sight may let you down, your hearing won’t. You’ll recognise the tell tale signs, the sibilant smacking of lips, of saliva and food that can best be described as ‘cud’ that emanates from your child’s mouth.

English: When this shorthorn heifer in the Uni...

I know what you’re thinking… there are no cows at my table, but Mr Slops has powers far and wide… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Should you turn to engage Mr Slops, one-to-one, he will immediately take over your child’s mind. You can tell this has occurred when they look at you and, through a combination of steak, mashed potato and mushy peas state, quite blankly, “Whaaaat?”

As if this weren’t enough, he has compelling powers of camouflage. Should you ask:

“Could you please chew with your mouth closed?” of your offspring, Mr Slops will once again take control of mental and vocal faculties. This can be confirmed with any response resembling:

“But I am” or thereabouts. At which point, Slops will play the final card in his deck, the capitulation card.

What does this look like? Again, no one is sure, but telltale signs include a slumping of shoulders from any parents within earshot, or perhaps an extended and quite exasperated sigh…

The last (I promise!) domestic sub-villains installment to come shortly…

It’s a great time to be alive. My son is 9 now, and if you’d ask me if I thought I’d be sharing a passion for Dr Who with my own child, say 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s great that the show that gave me so much pleasure in my childhood, is now providing a connection for us in the present.

At present, he has a vivid imagination that has created a range of super heroes. At the same time, I’ve had to balance the books. But I’m not looking to tell you about his creations here.

Instead, I’ve watched the domestic disarray that two children represent. And there are a whole stack of household, less-than-super, heroes living with us. I can’t draw, so for the time being, descriptions will have to suffice. Do you have children? Perhaps that “slack” flat mate? If yes, all this may sound familiar. Here are the ones that I’ve identified to date:

The Amazing Distracto –

Distracto is a master of mischief.

A pile of Lego blocks, of assorted colours and...

Has Distracto been at your house? Lego is a tell-tale sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He appears at the oddest times, like when you send your son/daughter/flatmate to go clean their room. Come back X minutes later to discover the chaos that Distracto has wreaked! In my son’s case, he is “cleaning” his room, but when Distracto strikes (and you subsequently enter), you’ll find him playing with Lego or reading a graphic novel of Indiana Jones. I’ve never seen Distracto, but understand that he wears a large dark coat and his eyes, which seem to emanate out of the dark recesses of the top hat he wears (that shroud most of his features), are two spirals that swirl in opposite directions. My son says that he wants to clean his room, but when Distracto appears, he stands before him with something shiny in one of his hands. I’ve heard that in the other hand, is a picture of what he should be doing – in this case, cleaning his room. But (and here is the cunning part), Distracto  gets you to look at this… only briefly… before he hypnotises you with the other, shiny object. Once you’ve had a glimpse of that… you’re gone.

But, if you’re really unlucky, his brother…

The Amazing Destructo

will appear. I’ve not seen him. According to my son, no one really has. All he can say is that he goes in, with the firm intention of cleaning the mess in his room… then when you come along to check, it is clear that Destructo has been present. Whatever detritus may have existed before has been sent to the four winds in a Twister like Display of Destruction. Destructo is fast, furious and unpredictable. No one (including children) know when or where he will strike…

Anyway, that’s the first two for now…

Part Two (Orange Tooth, Mr Slops and Whingo) to follow!