Justin Cawthorne (dot) com

read, write, ramble

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March 28

It’s one of those days with a non-stop morning. Get the kids to school. No time for coffee before my first meeting, which ends mere minutes before, my next meeting, which then sort of continues into a coffee-based post-meeting meeting. I finally grab some lunch and take it back to the office, and try vainly to escape from my 2pm meeting, but no dice. By then I give up on the forlorn hope of catching up on the rising swamp of work that I’ve fallen behind on, and do my best to pick a few of the less fetid scraps.

And tomorrow’s not looking any better either.

March 27

One of those days where even things falling over at work don’t really put too much shade on it all. The kinderbesten were good getting ready for school. The Elderbeast had done all his work by the time I got home, which meant I had to make good on my promise to play some Rogue Legacy with him. In the end, after sorting out dinner and everything else, I have about have about 15 minutes free before the bedtime routine has to start. We take turns and I am predictably rubbish, but the game is pretty good fun. Reminds me in some ways of the old ZX Spectrum games that I used to play when I was his age.

 

After the kinderbesten have finally been locked in the dungeon–I mean, have settled in bed, I remember that I wanted to check out some eighties synth soundtracks for the Elderbeast. He’s been listening to the Undertale soundtrack repeatedly, and it reminds me massively of the sort of music you’d get on cheap eighties horror/sci-fi movies.

I started out with some John Carpenter, and get hugely excited when I discover the soundtrack to The Fog is on Spotify. I cue it up and … nothing happens. I should be getting terrifying flashbacks to Adrienne Barbeau being stalked by fish-hooks and maggots, but there’s just silence.

Then I remember that the Kinderbeast had trouble settling, so I left my phone in his room so he could listen to some soothing bedtime lullabies on, you guessed it, Spotify. Except now the soundtrack to The Fog is playing in his room because the internet is just too damn clever some times …

March 26

After my adventures trying to clear space on my iDevices I spend the morning getting thoroughly distracted trying to clear up my PC. I tidy up some of my download folders and then tire of the ordeal.

Our various friends arrive for a crafternoon. I, as usual, abstain in the interests of keeping the Kinderbeast entertained. It’s not that I don’t enjoy crafting, or afternoons for that matter; it’s just that it’s much simpler to give the Kinderbeast my undivided attention at the times rather than suffer being interrupted every seventeen seconds.

We watch Jurassic World for about the eleventy-hundredth time. After that we almost watch  Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (except the Kinderbeast can’t quite remember the title and keeps asking for variants of Cloudy Is It Meatballs). For whatever reason the film doesn’t hold his attention. I get invited to play a round of Sushi Go while the Kinderbeast latches onto the one guest who is still actually crafting. Which, I guess, is standard five-year-old mentality: “All these people are sitting around doing nothing, but, no, I’ll pick the one who’s still trying to get something done.”

Later on we finally finish off The Power Of The Daleks, which is soooo good that I basically want them to animate all Doctor Who episodes in black and white from now on. (And I told you it would take us weeks to finish it, didn’t I?)

March 25

Rach is out shopping with her nan to prep for the trip to Melbourne next week. The Kinderbesten and I stick at home for Saturday Morning Film Club. The Elderbeast has the superb suggestion of watching The LEGO Movie, which I’m totally pumped for after watching the trailer last night. It’s far from the first time I’ve watched it since the cinema release, but it’s still brilliant.

I spend a brief period in the afternoon trying to clear out some space on my choked up iDevices. My iPad is particularly suffering, and I start to wonder why so few app developers include options for emptying the cache. my Netflix app, which I barely use on the iPad, has sucked up over 300mb. I can’t find any way to clear the cache so I just delete the app instead.

Later, for Saturday Evening Film Club, we almost watch Arrival but Rach is in the mood for a western (inspired by the inclusion of Unforgiven, Tombstone and True Grit on my trailer list). We settle on 3:10 To Yuma which proves a superb choice. The Elderbeast baffles us, though, by sitting with us for most of the film and then leaving just as the climactic shootout is getting underway.

Kids these days …

March 24

It’s Friday at last! Rarely has there been a week where I’ve so looked forward to the weekend. Not because it’s been a particularly hard week (it hasn’t), but my week just doesn’t feel right if it’s not ended with me lounging on the sofa, enjoying the company of Seb, watching crap on YouTube and drinking wine, or the nearest appropriate substitute. Last week did not end that way.

I start the weekend as I mean to go on: with minimal effort and surrender plans of cooking dinner in favour of getting pizza. It’s a good choice.

That said, I do put some time into creating a YouTube playlist of trailers for all of the films on my 46 films list. It takes nearly two hours to watch the whole thing, but it’s fascinating to see the how the art of trailer making has changed over the decades: from trailers that would tell us about the filmmakers as much as the films; to the standard 80s/90s style that would narrate the whole story; to the current trend of stringing together key moments from the movie so tightly that [some] trailers have become tiny works of art in their own right.

March 23

I get home from work and, as usual, the Elderbeast hasn’t done his homework yet (a.k.a handwriting practice). While preparing dinner I try to get him to do his work.

It does not go well.

Over dinner he finally reveals that he’s in trouble at school; bad enough that he’s come home with a note from the deputy principal. Bad enough that he’s pretty stressed about it. I decide to lay off on the homework. A little later on we go and have One Of Those Talks with him about it. It goes well. He accepts responsibility and suggests he should be grounded for a week when we ask what consequence would be appropriate.

It’s one of those odd times that should be a hard parenting moment but goes really easily. If only the stuff that was supposed to be easy could be the same.

March 22

It’s parent-teacher interview day, where we get to find out all the stuff we mostly already know about how the kinderbesten are getting on at school. Rach leaves work at 11:30, because they have to get the kids out of the school so they can then come back again, this time with their parents, and get told about how they’re getting on at school. I then leave work early so I get home in time for our first interview.

We’ve wisely staggered our interviews, but not so far apart that we’ll have to loiter awkwardly on the school grounds. The Elderbeast is at 3:10, then the Kinderbeast at 3:30. Naturally I get home and the Elderbeast is nowhere to be seen: he’s at his friend’s house. We head to the school anyway in the potentially vain hope that the Elderbeast will meet us there.

We’re outside the classroom by 3:10, but there’s little sign that the previous interview is wrapping up anytime soon. Then we hear the Elderbeast running over. In a touch of sheer brilliance he’s not only managed to leave his bike, but also his shoes at his friend’s house. Spectacular.

It’s 3:25 before we’re called in for the Elderbeast’s interview. We elect to split up, so I head off for the Kinderbeast’s interview. It goes much as expected, and afterwards I find that the Elderbeast’s interview is still continuing (it was meant to be 3:10-3:20 … it’s now 3:45). It’s another ten minutes, with at least two other sets of parents waiting at the door, before we’re done. I still need to take the Elderbeast to his ice-skating lesson (starting at 4:30) so he’s instructed to retrieve his bike and shoes and come straight home.

Many, many, many minutes later he finally returns and we just about make it for the start of his lesson. I go and sit in the cafe and have to endure the spectacle of my phone running down from 8 percent battery, to 4 percent for a while, and then no percent.

When I finally get home and have the chance to sit down (after dinner and putting the kids to bed) I end up spending two obsessive hours putting together yet another epic list of favourite films: this time running in reverse from the year before my birth. It’s fun but I’m stupidly exhausted by the end of it all.

Should you care to spend rather less than two hours reading it, here’s the list.

March 21

I get up to write and press on with the carousel story. After three mornings (and a bit of sneaky editing last night) it really feels like this opening scene is coming together properly. And I’ve even managed to shave a few hundred words off.

Rach is taking a day off to study today, so offers to drop the kids at school. However the morning routine (get Elderbeast out of bed, make breakfasts, get clothes ready, finished packing lunches, get myself dressed, etc) takes so long that I only get to work about 15 minutes earlier than usual.

After a long day at work trying to diagnose particularly enigmatic problems I come home and find the Elderbeast has his friend over. On his own, the Elderbeast can be loud, but when paired with his friend it’s like having a chorus of hammer drills assaulting your ears. It doesn’t take long before the stress makes me cranky.

After that it’s just a matter of making the dinner, emptying the dishwasher, filling the dishwasher, making the lunches, then realising the kids don’t need lunch tomorrow, then getting the kids to bed, then cleaning the cat trays, then showering, and then quietly dying in the corner …

March 20

It’s Fucken Monday, but as far as Fucken Monday goes it was a pretty good one.

I managed to get up for the second morning in a row for my morning shift. Still working on the exact same scene I was working on yesterday, but it’s getting there. The kinderbesten managed to not make me regret the day of my own birth during the preparations for leaving the house. The Elderbeast even joined us to help out with the Kinderbeast’s pre-class name-writing practice. And the debacle of the bottle shop being closed at 7pm last night was more or less atoned for by presenting me with a decent deal on the sought-after champagne (one bottle for $12; two bottles for $14: no brainer!)

The morning tea proved worth the preparation time, even though two of the team were off sick and will deservedly regret their absence for many, many days, if not years, to come. We did at least save them some cakes, because we’re not complete savages. Also there were way too many cakes for us to eat anyway.

There may even be too many cakes, full stop. But I’m sure that’s not a thing …

March 19

I finally get back on the morning shift today, after about two weeks’ of cabbage brain. I’ve got abut three stories on the go, but I return to the the spooky carousel one. The break from writing has given me a chance to figure out how to correct some of the structural issues with the last draft. It feels good to get back to writing, and it feels good to be working on this story again – which I take as a sign that I’m doing something right with it.

As my reward for wrangling the Kinderbesten solo yesterday, Rach takes them out for a few hours to give me some peace and solitude. I end up using the time mostly for housework and cooking, with a bit of reading in the middle. It’s blissful and all that, but I’m still glad when they come back. The house never feels right without everyone one in it.

As planned, I start Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Even after just one instalment I can tell that it’s a very different tale than the many film adaptations have suggested.

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