Nykolai meets the X-Files – ooops

I picked up Season 1 of the The X-Files as it’s a series that Kitt and I want to work our way through. We thought that Nykolai might enjoy watching them too but tonight we discovered that we may be a couple of years too early. He made it through the pilot episode but it spooked him and left him uneasy about it.

He acknowledges that, like Batman and The Lord of the Rings, it’s made up and its on TV so thus it’s not real. BUT… Seems he just can’t shake that creepy, spooky feeling and so isn’t interested in watching any more of them.

Oh well, I guess that this series will be joining Battlestar Galactica, Family Guy and South Park in the pile of “Watch while Nykolai’s not around” DVDs…

More Culture than a tub of Yoghurt

We’re having a go at being cultural types lately and have been catching exhibitions instead of going to movies. Don’t worry – we’ve been seeing a few of them too, but I’ll update you about them in a later post.

The first exhibition we went to was the Art Deco exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Em & Jeremy were in town from Sydney so we caught up for lunch on Degraves St and then staggered over the river to the NGV. NOTE: we crossed the river via a bridge – it’s not *that* polluted.

While Kitt enjoyed the exhibits (especially the fashion), Nykolai and I were through the whole thing in about 15 minutes, dodging the crowds and getting a quick look at the items. Our favourite pieces (the ones we stopped and really enjoyed) were the two old cars. Awesome beasties – especially the old Cord that has a Lycoming V8 in it (they make the engines in the aircraft I usually fly). There were also a couple of snake-based items – a lamp and a vase – that warranted a pause as we passed by.

So, Nykolai & I were out pretty quickly and after a quick drink at the cafe, decided to go explore the rest of the NGV. After breezing our way through art from all ages we finally wound up hanging out in the back garden where Nykolai and some other kids were climbing a rope based installation (don’t worry, people were allowed on it).

Kitt eventually made her way out while Em & Jeremy spent a bit longer really drinking it all in.

A couple of weeks later, Nykolai and I went to see the Game On exhibition at ACMI with Kitt’s brother and his two kids. Ahh, the joys of those old arcade games that I sunk hundreds of 20c pieces into all those years ago. So much fun to go around and show them to Nykolai in their cabinets and tables. Of course, he’s played a few of them in the “retro collections” on our consoles or his DS. The kids really enjoyed the handheld collection (all chained to tables but running so the kids could play them) and spent a bit of time playing the old Star Wars arcade game. Man I loved to play that one back then.

I held off on playing any games – partially to prevent embarrassing myself when I couldn’t clock a high score, but also as it was pretty crowded and I didn’t want to get in the way.

We checked out the other exhibits (history of various games & genres, well known characters, etc) and the kids got to play a bit of Halo 3. Eventually it was time for Stuart and the kids to leave so we all split and headed for home.

OK – so it wasn’t quite as cultural as Art Deco, but at least Game On was an exhibition!

Next Saturday we’re off to see the Bell Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, at the end of the month we’re seeing Devo live and then in September we’re taking Nykolai to see “Just MacBeth” – the Bell Shakespear Company meets children’s writer Andy Griffiths on a Scottish moor – woo hoo :)

So much for “one week” :)

OK, so in my last post I said I’d get the remaining “Thai holiday” content up that week. HAH! So much for that…

On Nykolai’s first day back at school after the trip, he winds up with something like gastro (flu like symptoms with an urge to hurl and stomach cramps). It’s taken a couple of weeks to get him over that and back to normal and then another week to get back on top of everything myself. Between trying to work from home, Kitt & I also coming down with the same bug and general craziness at work, it’s been “interesting” to say the least.

At least now we’re back to something approaching “normal” (well, what we consider normal) and I can consider wading through my own “to do” list. Watch this space…

Kiss the snake…

Songkran was over (road toll over the 4 day period was just over 400 people dead), the squirting was done and now any time we returned to my parent’s apartment soaking wet it was thanks to the heat & humidity. For a bit of a distraction, Kitt, Nykolai, my father & I went to the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute in Bangkok, the home of a Snake Farm run by the Thai Red Cross.

Nykolai had been with my father about 5 years ago when I had been working on a project in Korea. On a lark they’d gone down and 5 year old Nykolai had been draped in a python (the snake, not the programming language) and had everyone going crazy when he kissed its head. Sadly, dad had not taken the camera so we missed out on having the moment recorded visually.

This time we went loaded with camera and spent some time touring the new museum they’ve set up. It’s an amazing set of exhibits with live snakes, samples, replicas and multi-media shows describing everything about snakes. Well worth the visit.

After checking the displays we watched the live show where handlers bring out a king cobra, siamese cobra, pit viper, rat snake (not venomous) and a couple of other snakes. You’re right up there with the snakes so it’s a great show. The final part of the show is the python. Before they brought it out, they asked who wanted to hold it? Nykolai’s hand shot up and, Thai’s loving kids, he was chosen to go down and wait as a handler brought this huge snake out. The lady running the show had Nykolai looking the wrong way so the snake appeared rather surprisingly from behind, much to everyone’s amusement (even Nykolai’s).

So, we now have a few photos of Nykolai holding a Phython and photos of the other snakes. I’ll get around to loading them eventually.

Easter hunts – more fun for those watching, perhaps?

So, it’s Easter Sunday and the tradition in this house is to hide a stack of chocolate easter eggs for Nykolai to hunt down. We put a few out in obvious view so he knows it’s definitely on, then we sit back and watch the fun begin.

He usually manages to miss a few of the obvious ones and needs LOTS of hints for the more deviously hidden ones. I guess if it happened more often he’d remember to look inside large candles, overlocker trays and aircraft carriers :)

My god, it’s full of nothing…

I spent most of today cleaning out Nykolai’s bedroom. It’s amazing how much crap one 10 year old kid can accumulate. I dragged 5 jumbo garbarge bags out to the trash today.

I’d been warning him about it and told him that if he didn’t clean up, I would (which implies a massive purge). He seemed to indicate he wanted me to do it – oh well, it’s done now.

All we have to do is try to keep it clean going forwards :)

Busy day

What a day – I’m trying to work from home on my current project with Sensis while also looking after Nykolai and two of his mates. Add to that I’ve got Robert over who’s downloading a couple of Gb of data required to repair his computer (hard drive fried in the middle of touring Australia and he’s got a gig next week – oops). He’s having some problems getting it all sorted out and testing it but it looks like it’s getting there.

One amusing side to Robert’s hassles is that I discovered I used to date his girl friend in Berlin when she lived here in Australia. We were talking on the phone sorting a few things out and I recognised her voice. Amazing to find that sort of linkage and coincidence in the world. I think someone’s been stirring up a really hot cup of tea :)

So in the end, I’ve managed to get stuff done but have not been as productive as I thought. Mind you, it’s been a fun (although, at times, “interesting” :) day so I’m certainly not complaining.

Sporty Weekend

Here in Melbourne we’ve just made it through a major sporting weekend. On Saturday was the AFL grand final and on Sunday was the NRL grand final (admittedly held in Sydney, but televised down here). For the sports mad people here in Melbourne, it was one hell of a weekend.

For the rest of us, we mostly managed to avoid it :)

We went shopping on Saturday out at Chadstone which is usually packed and very difficult to park or move around in. This time it was almost pleasant to be out there (almost!). We were coming home and it was close to “kick off” for the AFL final so we dropped Nykolai off at a friend’s place for the afternoon (family was watching but the kids just wanted to play) and then went home to relax. Very peaceful :)

On Sunday Nykolai wound up spending a few hours with another friend and then I picked him up and took him out to his horse riding camp at Underbank Stud. Due to the Horse Flu problem there were signs warning that horses were not to be removed from the property and non-resident horses were not allowed on. At least the camp was still going ahead.

The camp is happening out at Bacchus Marsh which is where my flying school, TVSA, has their HQ. We dropped in briefly for a quick chat and to check out the place – very nice.

Sadly, I didn’t manage to avoid the sports for the whole weekend – I wound up watching the NRL final on TV at a friend’s place when we went over for a BBQ dinner. One of the guys had put it on so we wound up watching it. While I much prefer Rugby Union over Rugby League, it was fun to watch.

Not something I’ll do often, but occasionally watching football can be fun. Given my last blog entry was about soccer, it does seem as if September has been my “football month” for the year :)

Australia vs Argentina @ MCG

Nykolai and I went to see the Australia vs Argentina soccer game at the MCG tonight. We went with our friend Nick and two of his kids, Darte and Violetta. Given they’re from Argentina and we’ve got strong Argentine connections, it was a given that we’d be in the middle of the Argentine contingent.

Much fun was had, the game was pretty good (Argentina won, 1 goal to nil – woo hoo :) ) and the crowd was pretty well behaved all round. An Argentine supporter was removed near us (no idea why) and some dickhead set a flare off over in the Australian supporters area. Otherwise, all good and friendly.

The game did get a tad slow towards the last 10 minutes or so when Argentina had their goal and were delaying to keep possession and prevent Australia from having a go. After a few substitutions on both sides, things got exiting again as both sides had a few attacks.

Weather stayed good, if cold, and there was only a very small shower just before kick off, otherwise dry. We were just under the edge of the layer above so we had cover.

The official attendance was 70,171 – not bad given max capacity of the MCG is about 98,000 (including about 3,000 standing area tickets).

The only complaint for the night was the big screen – you’d be getting ready to see a replay and they’d pop up a page which said “Australia” on it and that was it. This didn’t always happen – some times you’d see it, some times you wouldn’t – very annoying and definitely the worst part of the whole show (especially when we were trying to see what went on there).

Oh well, all up a lot of fun, Nykolai had a great time and Argentina won. Got to be good :)