Homework

I am under very strict instructions to share this with “the whole world” so I though that the blog was as good a place than any to access the “whole world” from. The reason and what is below. My son Angus was requested as part of his school work to do a piece on “Should Children Do Homework?”. This is what he wrote:

“Should Children Do Homework?

I don’t like homework. It stops people doing what they want to do. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense how kids are supposed to learn with it. We also do enough at school. Maybe we should go to school for longer to do our homework at school. Homework is a bad thing especially for people to learn.

By Angus Gray”

Personally I don’t think it needs to any more than that Angus. Who I might add has some pretty valid points. I might decide that there is some merit in learning discipline but then I had a hard time accepting that homework was good for me.

Angus; I hope that this was “whole world” enough for you. But just to be sure I’ll post it on facebook and share it on twitter as well!

I also added a poll, I thought that Angus might be interested in the opinion of the world:

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Angus’ Ant Trap

My eldest son built this contraption this morning. After a very long explanation I got out of him that it is in fact an ant trap. After it traps them it kills them. I have labeled the image on Flickr in case you want to know what the components are to build your own.

Beware ants, Angus is onto you… I am pleased to see that he not only has a vivid imagination but also some emerging architectural and building skills.

I am scared looking at it. Dunno what the ants think!

Ant Trap

Moving House

So no blogging, I know… But I have a really, really good excuse. We have been moving house! Right now I am still breathing a sigh of relief.

So the blog has been neglected and we have taken a short hiatus from the Podcast to enable myself and attached family to move and settle in. I have enjoyed the break and it is one that was needed. We are currently not working and taking some time for us. It has been good although we really have not stopped. Settling into a new house has it’s teething problems. However, things are starting to get sorted and we are feeling like this is more home than not.

The move was a huge one, we moved from Cairns in Far North Queensland to a small town in Northern New South Wales called Modanville. A distance of 1, 876 km. Interstate and to a much cooler climate, well one that has a winter at any rate! The weather is actually one of the things we are finding that hardest to get used to. To top the whole weather thing off, it is one of the coldest on record! We arrived right in the middle of it. We think it is cold when the temperature gets below 20 degrees Celsius and I think we have one or two days when it has been above.

So as you might imagine pretty big and unsettling. The kids have found it tough but adapted quickly and are now having fun and like the house. Although the 2 year old is asking every now and then when are we going home.

The great thing for us about moving this time is part of a dream realized. That is that we have finally got out of the suburbs and into a semi rural setting. We have come from a block that was 800m² to a block that is over 2000m². The gardens are beautiful and will be better as we work on them as we did at our previous home. The gardens as they are okay but in need of a bit of attention. Pruning and cleaning up mainly. As we start to do that, I will add some features and “interestingness” to the garden.

We are enjoying the wildlife that is attracted to the large native garden. Already I have seen an echidna and today I have spotted a Satin Bower bird. There are heaps of other birds that visit and we are loving it. As we move into warmer weather we hope to see an increase in the visitors as the native trees flower.

The house is great. It has the start of everything that we need and want. One thing that we did not manage was the inclusion of an office to house the computer and a getaway for me. But we have a heap of ideas about how we are going to get this much needed feature added onto our new house. We are hoping to get some advice in the next couple of weeks.

So a lot has been happening and we have been very, very busy. My apologies for the comments that have not been moderated and the lack of posts. But as things settle things will get back to normal. We are hoping to resume the podcast soon and look forward to a great year. We have a great promotion in store and some interesting guests coming up.

Please check out the Flickr page for more photos of the new place!

Our New Driveway

The Staple Diet of Dragons

I had a very interesting conversation with my four year old last night. He is apparently the resident expert on the diet of dragons. Which he says don’t exist, they used to… but they are dead now. Not sure what that means, but it makes perfect sense to him.

The following dialogue made perfect sense to him also:

Angus: “Yeah Dad, you know about dragons… got big teeth and have fire”Dragon Picture

Dad: “Sure yes, I know about dragons. Dude do you know a lot about dragons?”

Angus: “Yup, I know lots about dragons… like what they eat”

Dad: “Cool, what do dragons eat then?”

Angus: “Well, dragons eat muesli Dad…”

Dad: “Oh, they do?”

Angus: “Yeah and rubbish…”

Dad: “Rubbish?”

Angus: “Yes Dad, rubbish. But you have to watch the young dragons they will run off with your rubbish bin and won’t play. The older ones are nice they will play and then eat your rubbish.”

Dad: “Great, I’ll remember that. What do they have for desert?”

Angus: “Shampoo”

So today’s hot tip is to watch out for those young dragons.

Christmas Lights

Evey year I am faced with the same dilemma, to do the whole Christmas light thing or to save myself the pain and agony and give it a miss. This year I should have listened to the inner voice in my head that was saying “no, don’t do it. You are crazy”. Why? Well as a result I have a broken foot and have to spend at least 2 weeks on crutches.

First off I would like to say that lighting in general drives me mad. We can launch a space shuttle 9 times out of 10 and it won’t explode. We can build an international space station and people can live in it. You would think that we could make reliable lighting, nope. My pool light that is a mere 2 foot underwater floods all the time and the $50 globe blows (the last one was 2 years ago and I have not fixed it). Now the Christmas lights are a similar deal.

We bought new lights this year, three times because they were faulty out of the box, the first warning sign. We eventually had two working sets of lights. Great. So I hang the patio lights on Friday night and they are all working, that was a fluke. Then On Saturday afternoon I go to hang the lights out the front. I got about three quarters around when disaster struck.

So there I was standing on a plastic chair in the garden hanging lights just above my head and the front two legs of the chair snap clean off. That was behind me. So the chair collapses backwards and I go one way and my feet the other. I end up on my arse in the garden looking at my foot. I immediately notice that my 4th toe is not where I left it. Now there is a very small window of opportunity when you dislocate something. Before everything swells and it becomes impossible… I grab the toe and reduce the fracture and relocate the toe back into the joint. No it did not hurt, it was sort of “numbish”, uncomfortable yes pain; no.

So my foot is now killing me and I finished putting the lights up. Then we switch the lot on to make sure all is okay. Remember the lights that I put up on Friday… Only half are working! So we go to the shop and replace them. Put the new ones up again (that is light set number four). Don’t get me started on the whole blown globes thing or the fact that they change the design every year so the globes you got last year won’t fit this years.

So I had an Xray on Sunday (pays to know a radiographer) and had a Radiologist look at them and it turns out that I have a spiral fracture of the toe (no kidding) and a proximal fracture of the 4th metatarsal (See Diagram Below), nice one. Now I am laid up for at least two weeks at this stage. Check Xray then and we shall see. So now I can stay amused buy the ever changing colours of my foot, blue, black, red, yellow, purple…

If it ever crosses my mind next year please someone stop me from putting up the damn Christmas lights! But then it is for the kids and they love it, not sure it was worth the injury. Alternatively please someone make some bloody lights that work!

The moral of this story is ignore the urge to get festive and buy a good ladder!

Another Sad Departure

Sam with GilbertThis year has been a strange year for me, I have had a few more losses this year than I would have preferred. In April I lost my dog Amos. Last year there was yet another, but that is far more personal and I am not ready to blog about it yet. This afternoon we lost our very old bird, Gilbert. You might think losing a bird is not blog worthy, but read on. As with all our animals they are and were a part of our family and losing one is like losing a part of yourself.

We were given Gilbert as a wedding gift from very good friends of ours. But “Gilly” as he was known was not just any bird. When we got him, he might have had feathers but was just a chick. I remember having to come home from university at lunch time to hand feed him! Unfortunately I do not have any pictures in digital form to share with you. But we hand rared Gilly until he could eat on his own. Because he was hand rared he has always been tame and would roam the house and sit on whoever he liked. The cat came off second best on more than one occasion.

The pictures that appear in this post is testament to how long we had him, nearly 12 years. Our children have enjoyed him as much as we have. He was always happy and fun to be with.

Please don’t feel sorry for me or the family as we feel privileged to have had him as long as we did and he died in the way that was very befitting and due to him. If I were him I would have been contented.

I went outside after posting the last post and I was setting the hose up to water the lawn. I finished that and I was standingAngus with Gilbert next to the cage. I heard a scrapping noise and Gilbert was on the bottom of the cage in a bit of distress. I reached into his cage and got him out. I held him in my hands and sat down. Kate my wife called my eldest boy to come and see him. He is three and we felt that it was better that we included him rather than try to hide it from him. The latter would have been impossible anyway.

Angus and I sat there and scratched Gilbert’s head, just the way he liked and he passed away in my hands. He died where he was meant to and I feel that in some ways he chose it to be that way. So my son had some difficult questions after that which I answered as best I could. He reconciled that we would bury him in the yard, with his favourite toy. Angus although upset wanted very much to help, which he did.

My son placed Gilbert in the hole that I had dug and placed his favourite toy on his head (he used to scratch his head with it all the time). Angus was teary; as I was too, we filled it in and placed a cross near the hole. He was satisfied that it was right and he said he liked it and thought Gilbert would be happy there.

Now he is gone and I know there will be more losses, I dread each one as my pets are hardly that at all. I am not sure what is harder, the loss of another mate or that fact that my son now grapples with the realisation of his own mortality and that of all living things. Perhaps I lament the loss of innocence.

I do not regret sharing the experience with Angus, it was right and we shared something beautiful and sad together.

James’ Take on Skype and Family

Tonight my brother and I had a chat via Skype, it was great, plus our families got together on the video. I blogged about this sort of thing before, technology making a real impact on people’s lives and making a difference to how they communicate.

I think James had a think about all this and he blogged about it. His words are touching and for me ring very true. Nice blog post mate and I think others should read it too. So go and check out The Gray Matter and James’ take on Skype and what it meant to him.