Justin Cawthorne (dot) com

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March 4

Kid’s birthday parties. There is no purer form of hell on this earth. Today the Kinderbeast has failed us once again by getting himself invited to yet another birthday party.

On the upside it’s in a park just down the road from us, and the morning weather is perfect for chilling in the park for an hour or two. After having to determine which of the three parties happening in the park is the correct one, we settle down and let the kids do their thing. We’re pleased to discover that a cafe has been added to the park since the last time we were there, so we stock up on coffee and croissants. Meanwhile the Kinderbeast somehow manages to win himself two party prizes.

I randomly decide that we should adjourn to the shops afterwards and hunt down a copy of Just Dance: the Elderbeast stumbled across a demo of it some months back and seemed to really enjoy it–I figure it’s a good way to get him some free exercise and get him playing something a bit different for a change.

The quest proves surprisingly complex. There are four shops that sell games in our local shopping centre. There are several different editions of the game (one for each of the last few years). Many of those editions are available across multiple platforms. Most of the available options were, well, more than we were willing to pay. In the end we find a cheap copy of Just Dance 2014 for the Wii U, which has a much funner selection of songs than the later editions anyway.

And, guess what? We also picked up Arrival.

The kids have a blast trying out their dance moves after dinner, and I have a blast watching them (I do NOT dance). It’s money well spent.

Afterwards, because we like to keep the universe guessing, we do not watch Arrival. Instead we watch Doctor Strange, which we have failed to catch up with so far. It’s a good choice.

March 3

Friday. I pick the kids up from the in-laws, along with Rach. We have a birthday party tomorrow, and I decide we’re better off stopping at the shops on the way home to buy a present, than rushing it before the party tomorrow. We reckon we might pick up Arrival too, but in the ongoing conspiracy to prevent us from ever owning a copy of Arrival we find that JB Hifi closes earlier than almost literally any other shop in the centre. Slight exaggeration there: most of the other shops are also closing. But the slight still burns!

Luckily Big W is still open. We grab some suitable presentage from Big W before heading home for another relaxing Fridate.


March 2

The sky is still grumbling when I get up. I’m told there was some particularly violent thunder at around 4am, which failed to wake me up. I enjoy a good storm, but last night’s was pretty intense. I get to work and find out there’s been at least once instance of a house losing its roof. I feel less ridiculous for worrying about ours. And also a little bit more nervous …

We say goodbye to one of our colleagues today, who’s heading off to an entirely different country. Parting, as they say, is such sweet sorrow. I’ll miss him, but I’m incredibly excited about the adventure he has ahead of him.

Emotions are clearly high today. I go to another meeting later on, during which another colleague leaves in floods of tears. I feel slightly bad for not having mentioned anything, having noticed what were clearly a few signs of stress earlier on.

For dinner we enjoy Rach’s famous lasagne, which comes with a twist tonight. As Rach is now vegetarian, she tries making it with Quorn. The results are impressive – possibly even better than a meat lasagne. Possibly.

March 1

Obviously the most exciting thing about today is the release of the new trailer for Alien: Covenant. I feel that the return of Ridley Scott to an honest-to-God Alien movie would be a lot more exciting if Prometheus had never happened, but the trailer gives me plenty to get excited about. I even have a nerd moment and screen-cap the final shot (the money shot of the xenomorph) so I can geek out over it for a bit.

Later in the evening, almost fittingly, we’re hit by a series of thunderstorms. The thunder is so loud I start to wonder if the roof can withstand the deep, seismic rumbles. I turn my lights out, ready for sleep, but then spend a few moments looking out of the window. I don’t see any actual lightning, but the sky is alive and flickering with light in a way that I’ve never seen before.

(Note to self: keep an eye out for martian war machines in the morning).

Never blame the other side

So, it’s the last day of February and I’ve compelled myself to do four blog posts this month. Not counting my diary entries, I’ve done three. This means that this post–my fourth–is pretty much going online as a first draft! Wish yourselves luck, and then read on!

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February 28

Carter leaves PEAC with homework: his writing is once again holding him back, and he hasn’t finished the assignment they were working on in class (which is to choose three ‘great’ people and write out ten facts about each).

We’ve set out a program of daily writing exercises for him. All good in theory. Getting him to sit down and focus on them? Another matter entirely …

February 27

Today was defined by two things: extreme tiredness and extreme dizziness.

I’m slightly puzzled by the tiredness, given that it wasn’t a late night and my trip to Rottnest wasn’t particularly active (unlike my fellow travellers who are all saddle-sore). Seems that any break from the norm takes its toll these days.

The dizziness is even more unexpected. It’s akin to your ears still ringing the day after going to see a concert. Except this is more like the ground magically transforming into rolling waves every time I sit down. It’s disconcerting, nauseating, and gets so bad that I think about heading home early. I don’t. The feeling starts to wear off later in the afternoon, but I’m amazed that a one hour boat trip can come with such a physiological after-shock.

February 26

So it turns out that we have an awesome friend, whose dad not only owns a boat, but was awesome enough to let us all tag along on a trip to Rottnest. So this is the story of how a random idea about a Pokemon hunt turned into a family outing.

Originally I wasn’t going to tag along, thinking this literally was just a Pokemon hunt, but the whole family were invited and it seemed mean to deprive the kids of an extremely rare chance to take a private boat trip to Rottnest. That said, it wasn’t until the morning that I finally decided to go along.

In the end there were well over a dozen of us hitching a ride (some of whom, in true Perth fashion, it turned out I knew from twitter). The Kinderbeast proved to be a big hit all round, managing to get all manner of strangers/fellow passengers to lug him around the various parts of the boat. The Elderbeast scored himself a co-pilot’s seat. Finally everyone was assembled and we were set for a pleasant cruise over to Rottnest.

Or so we thought.

Let’s talk a little bit about seasickness.

I’ll say quite honestly that the thought of being sick on the trip hadn’t even remotely occurred to me. It was a small boat, short trip, fine day–in my naiveté I figured that meant seasickness just wasn’t a thing that was going to happen. So I settled in the main cabin, with a few others, including Stormy and prepared to enjoy the ride. After twenty minutes or so of constant bumping around I’ll confess I did start to feel a mite nauseous. Fortunately, sitting back and closing my eyes seemed to help quite a lot. Then I become aware of some movement beside me: one of our friends is cleaning up the sofa with some handy kitchen roll. I realise that the Kinderbeast has puked all over the seat. And all over himself. And also all over me. I look over and the cabin has turned into a pukefest: one friend with her head in a bag, the other looking pure green while presiding over a formerly empty cardboard box. Our friend with the kitchen roll wipes up the worst of the damage, then flies to the back of the boat to join in the chorus. I continue to wipe up while just about managing to retain the contents of my own stomach.

Fortunately it’s getting near the end of the journey. The Kinderbeast is distraught, but we’re moving slowly enough now to go and stand by the back of the boat and get some fresh air … while I continue to mop up the apparent acres of puke that he’s adorned himself with.

Then, finally, land! We stagger onto the island and find a shady spot to relax in, and perhaps eat a tonne or two of crisps. Salty goodness! Must be my sea legs kicking in. After that: pie, because Rottnest is all about the eating. As we eat, the Kinderbeast starts to really kick it off with our host: it makes me very happy and proud to see him bonding so well with someone he’s never met before.

The decision is then made to hire some bicycles in order to achieve the Pokemon hunting goal of the day. I abstain, deciding that cycling with the Kinderbeast in tow will be too much hard work. We find a nearby playground to hang out at, and I watch the Kinderbeast as he successfully engages in a game of imaginary pirates with some other five-year-olds … and then less successfully with a group of ten-year-olds that show up a little later. I call him over and suggest he tries being a little less bossy, but I think he quietly decides I’m just full of crap.

It seems almost no time before Rach comes to join us, having decided that cycling isn’t agreeing with her knee, and we abscond to Dome for some much-needed coffee. Shortly after, we’re also joined by the Elderbeast and Hedgie. I grab twenty minutes of peace and quiet, while the others go to return bikes and look for more Pokemon, and use the time to get started on Hidden Figures–which I’m already hooked on by the time everyone returns.

We regroup with the others and decide it’s time for more pie, but somehow pie turns into ice cream and no one complains about that at all. Apart from the Elderbeast who seems to not like ice cream. I wonder if he’s really mine sometimes …

Once ice cream is consumed, the various members of our party disappear in search of further Pokemon. We few who remain take the bus over to Longreach Bay, where our ride is docked. The others gradually join us. Much fun is had taking the tiny dinghy back over to the boat (which, we find out, almost drifted away earlier). We have an hour or so to chill out and snack. Some people go for a swim. Stormy renews his acquaintance with the various other passengers. Then it’s time to leave.

We learn from our mistakes and chug down some anti-nausea tablets, and choose different seats. The Kinderbeast sits upstairs (the scene of No Puking on the outbound journey) with Rach, and I decided to stand at the back of the boat, in the open air: I reason that staying on my feet will make it easier to move with the boat and hopefully not end up feeling less sick.

Something works, or everything does, because no one pukes on the way back. I visit the top of the boat a few times, and get to enjoy the sight of a speeding boat being pulled over by the river police. I find myself marvelling at sheer number of huge cargo ships that line our path. Fremantle may be tiny on the map, but the docks sure seem to bring in the big business.

Then we’re back at the boat club and, in the nicest way possible, urged to leave the boat quickly so the owners can get on with the cleaning up. We head home, relax for a bit on the sofa, then head to bed. Shattered.

February 25

Today is a Very Hot Day. Like, way too hot to do something stupid like invite a bunch of friends round to watch a movie. We’ve been meaning to have an Awesome Film Night (where a bunch of us get together to watch an awesome movie) for a while, and apparently have even scheduled the date for it: today. However, since our entire social collective has lost the ability to plan anything since 2016 happened we’re not even sure whether we’re doing it or not. Spoiler: we are.

The chosen film is Airplane! (or Flying High for the heathens among you). We realise, with much internalised–and externalised–disgust, that we don’t own a copy on Blu-ray. It’s off to the shops! We find Airplane, filed under F, and also see that Arrival is out. Mostly as an excuse to go and buy other things we decide to check out Big W in case it’s cheaper there. They don’t have it. So we go to Target, where they still don’t have it. $110 later we’re too tired to hunt elsewhere and leave the shops without Arrival.


But we have Airplane. And it is indeed awesome.

But we defnitely won’t talk about the saga of the Awesome Film Night guest who ran out of petrol on the freeway and had to walk to the petrol station in her pajamas…

From the Department Of Words

For my fourth third#yoyo blog post of February I’m going to take a brief look at something that I find really interesting: language policing. I don’t know if that’s the correct term or not but, hey, who’s gonna tell me I’m wrong? I have a few opinions–which I will, of course, share with you–but I don’t have any firm conclusions on any of this. One day I’ll look more closely into this, but for now I invite you to read this hastily scribbled post and comment below.

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