Briefly…

I’m beginning to think that “Freshly Pressed” is a lie. A ruse even.

Here’s this weeks 100 Word Song… you in, Jaxqi?

And, assuming you’re a Whovian, here’s a little something to blow your mind. If for some unknown reason you find yourself not being a Whovian, then seek help. Call the Doctor.

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Daleks & destruction: The stuff of childhood whimsy

Lines, drawn in a haphazard and rushed fashion, roughly form the sideview outline of a Dalek when connected. No mere drawing of childhood whimsy, this was created as the basis of a overly detailed and rather intense instructional piece instead. Drawn not by a child who is merely filling their hours but rather, one who is hellbent on pretending to be the very space and time terror he drew for Halloween. An idea two years in the making.

Now to those Whovians among you “in the know”, I apologize for my need of explanation to follow (not to mention the explanation itself). And for those of you who have no earthly idea what a Dalek – or a Whovian for that matter – is, then I would highly recommend you break open a book or two and begin culturing yourself. Your education can even start here:

Daleks are the most dreaded, feared and hated enemy of Doctor Who ever to appear on screen. Doctor Who, in turn, is the time-traveling Time Lord created by the BBC to be the main character of a television show by the same name; both to keep the masses entertained, and possibly hoodwinked as to the whole thing being actually based on real events, versus imagined. Admittedly not nearly as cool as the Cybermen, the Daleks still reign supreme in the Whovian universe’s hierarchy of villainy. Personally speaking, I’ve always found them to be a bit irritating. What with their rolling about in a fashion similar to that of an infant captaining a wheeled baby walker, all while in a high-pitched voice incessantly bleating out “Exterminate, exxxxxxtermmmminate!” Screaming as they do, they simply roam space, time and even dimensions in the hopes of destroying every living being that crosses their path, and sometimes they’re quite successful at it. I mean, when they’re not busy serving tea.

And my youngest son wants to be one for Halloween.

Now it’s important to note that my youngest does not, in the normal course of his day, attempt to destroy every living being that he sees (that’s much more his older brother’s “thing”). In fact, if I had to compare him to an average household item, my choice would have to be a feather-stuffed pillow – squeezably comfy, and wonderful to snuggle with, with only the occasional prick. He’s probably the jolliest of the three, and usually the one who tries hard to keep everyone “playing nice.” You may recall he is also prone to forget things. Quite readily, and shortly after they plunk down in his head. And he seems to simply glide through life, most often and quite organically making all the right decisions. But his forget-ability has held no sway in his desire to “Dalek up” this halloween. I too have tried to dissuade him, based on the idea that if this thing does come to life, it will be me doing all the actual engineering to make it so. And let’s just say that I “engineer” about as well as I give birth. But to no avail, he is soldiering on with his plan.

What follows is the actual list of items he feels we’ll be requiring to make this Dalek thing happen, according to his “elements and instructions” sheet, and I’ve left all the spelling in tact:

• Robot Voice Translator – can be found at Vidler’s or Toys R Us • glue • wood • wisk • plunger • telescope • cardbord • ball joints • 2 lightbulbs • pencile • movable seat • 3 wheels • rubber • normal rounded glass • screws • nails • lights to see inside • paint is a given •

When I asked him how all these items were going to be put together, he simply stated “duh, I included nails and screws, daddy!” And the ball joints, what are those for? “They’ll be used on the side plates” But those are huge! This suit going to weigh hundreds of pounds! “Well that’s why it’ll have wheels.” But how are you going to push it? How are you going to get it up the front stairs of each house in order to get candy? “I’m not.” Then how will you get candy? They’re not going to come and bring it to you, you know. “I’m won’t get any candy.” So you’re just going to spend your Halloween rolling a several hundred pound Dahlek suit up and down the street? “It’ll creep people out.

Now here’s the rub, the Daleks aren’t even his favorite. No, he much more fancies other villains. Villians with LEGS. Villains like the fore-mentioned Cybermen. And the Sontarans. And of course there’s the Judoon as well. Not to mention Captain Jack. Yes Whovians, I actually do know that Jack isn’t technically a villain. But you have to admit, he was sort of a self-serving ass at the beginning. And that’s not even the whole point. The whole point is that he wore CLOTHES. Just clothes. No ball joints glued to wood being required. No swivel seat and interior lighting either. And while he could still purchase the robot voice translator if he wanted to (available at either Vidler’s or Toys R Us), it wouldn’t be a necessity.

Now, although he discounted being the Doctor himself, because his favorite is David Tennent and “I’m much too short to be David” (also suggested was that he be an Adipose, but in the normal course of our family chats, this ended with him simply running about naked while waving at people, so the plan was quickly dropped), he could be any one of these other characters instead. Characters that could be created with simple cardboard, clothing and paint (being a given). Instead, he’s stuck on this whole Dalek thing.

I told him he had better start saving his money if he really wanted to pursue this. And if nothing else, that will be my saving grace. For he saves money about as well as I engineer. Even if the plan doesn’t come to pass (please Jesus, don’t let the plan come to pass…) I’m keeping the instructions he drew up. Not because they’re overly detailed and rather intense, but simply because they capture perfectly a bit of my youngest’ childhood whimsy.

12/7 conversations of Santa and Cybermen

The walk from my house to that of my parents is a scant six blocks. And while that’s a short enough distance when walked alone, when traversed with my three children, a great deal of conversational goop can accumulate well before the journey’s end. We went en mass this past Sunday to clear out my folks gutters from their leaves of Fall – a task that ended up being much more enjoyment than doldrum, much more bonding than chore. And within our brief walk over we discussed the following very important items of Christmas interest:

1. The flying sleigh of Santa is all a carefully laid-out ruse, set up by the man himself. He started the rumor long ago that had us all looking up, when we should have been looking down. In our shared brilliance we deduced that instead of flying across the globe, delivering toys through chimney, window and door, Claus actually has access to every house via sumps from each and every basement. That’s right – a web of catacomb-like underground trails connect us all to the pole of North, and the jolly man simply travels from hall to hall – from sump to sump – in delivering each package to each house while the residents within sleep unawares. It has to be the only plausible explanation. Even if they did exist, flying reindeer would NEVER be able to haul around not only themselves, but the sleigh and the loaded sacks – not mention the Man himself – through the sky as well. Not without some serious assistance from prevailing winds, or the hand of God holding them all up there at once in the wafer-thin air, that is.

2. As noted before, the tunnel travels take place with all of us being safely tucked away and none the wiser. Should however, some child wake to see the man of red unloading his bag, then they are quickly muffled, shuffled off and transformed (in a process very similar to that of the Cybermen of Doctor Who’s fame) into Christmas elves. That’s right, according to my children, elves are in fact formerly human children who, once seeing the truth of Santa’s existence, must be assimilated into becoming one his own – just to keep their mouths shut, and the secret safe. Now, i’m none too sure if it would be a wise thing to speak of this concept in an effort to get your young ones to sleep on Christmas eve – in that there might be the occasional daredevil who tries it simply TO become such an elf, but i’m pretty sure for the rest, it would only serve only to scare the living bejesus out of them.

3. Ninjas. Don’t ask me how this came about, but it did. Apparently all the elves, to the very last, is also a ninja. According to my first-born, the proof of the matter works something like this. “Do you know how you sometimes notice a hole in your wall, which looks like it could’ve been made with a nail, but you don’t remember ever placing a nail there? Well, that’s from an elf’s shuriken (throwing star).” Now, you may be wondering where he was going with that, but since i know him well enough to know that it could be a very difficult place indeed, i decided not to ask him to expound upon his theory, leaving you gentle reader, in the lurch (and probably a lot better off as a result, seeing as my first-born can take you into dimensions that you never knew – nor wanted to know – existed). My youngest, however, did take the opportunity to explain that the ninja theory had to be true, as there was no other way possible that children who see Santa could ever be corralled up to the North Pole without dispute. And he further proved his point by making random and Jerry Lewis-esque kicks into the air while the rest of us continued on our walk.

4. The conversation took a somewhat somber note as it began to dawn on some that – while even though the tunnel system saved numerous man-hours – it was still unlikely that Santa could ever get all the houses done in one night. Even considering that he did have a cushion of multiple time zones to play with. To my surprise, none of the children brought up the possibility of clones being used. And none brought up the idea that Santa might in fact be a large, octopus-like creature, who twirled out massive gift-laden tentacles that delivered all the presents of the world in one fail swoop. No, nothing so cool as that was mentioned. Instead, all three fell back on their Whovian (Doctor, that is) roots and came up with the idea that Santa was somehow allowed to stop time in order to get all the work that needed completion done. It was a solid idea, and sounded plausible to all, but there was some concern over where he would ever have obtained such a power from.

5. Being a dad always on the look-out for opportunities to pontificate my beliefs, and realizing that our walk was just about to come to an end, i used this turn of the conversation to both share my faith with the kids AND look like a dammed Smarty in the process by stealing an idea by C.S. Lewis. i stopped all three on the sidewalk leading up to my parents front door, and i told them that the only way Santa could circumvent time would be if God allowed it, and if He did, then that would mean that Santa was actually “above” time. The blank stares alerted me that an explanation was required even before they asked for one. Pointing to a seam in the sidewalk i told them to imagine that it represented time, and that the little leaves tucked within it were each a person, each to it’s own place in the line and each looking forward or back, but all being unable to move in either direction under their own will. i then told the kids to now look where they were in relation to that line at that moment – all of them being “above” it. And as a result, all of them able to move anywhere (or any time) along the line they wanted, as needs or desires dictated. This, i explained, is how i think God views time. And guessing that God might actually be a bit like i imagine him to be, i was pretty sure that he would also allow Santa to do pretty much the same.

To my knowledge, none of them have yet realized that i took the opportunity to turn an incidental conversation about Santa and Cybermen into a chance to teach them about my faith. And had i my druthers, i would hope that none of them do figure it out anytime soon, as i’m of the belief that the best lessons learned in life are the ones we never realize we were taught in the first place.

Just between you and me, i also hope that the idea about Cybermen elves isn’t true, seeing as i can think of three children (two at the least), near and dear to me who may very well be the type of “occasional daredevils” willing to try it on for size.