Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Fergus the space traveller and other misadventures

Quote of the month: Fergus, while emptying his bladder on a tree, “one day I’m going to pee on another planet”.

Someone’s been watching the period movies again:

Spidey times two...

Fergus, the wishful pet owner, finally got himself some pets! Courtesy of Rachel, he now has (a minimum of) four Sea Monkeys! And he’s taking pretty good care of them too. So far they look nothing like their depictions in the back of comic books. I’m used to the disappointment however… those x-ray glasses never worked out as advertised either.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Blissful Week

Mirror post WITH VIDEO here at Rachel's blog

We came back from “the most talked about event of the summer” on Saltspring Island with a convoy of Americans in tow. The Fullers, of Albuquerque-tribe fame, stayed one night while Rachel, Max and Otto, 3/4ths of the infamous Chicagwigians, stayed for a week. Kevin made fun of Canadians, the peasants that we are, while we in turn made fun of how Rachel pronounces Saltspring “Salt SPRIIIIIING” and how Beth pronounces Saltspring “Deer Island”!?!? Yes, you had to be there. Perhaps next year?

After a full week of “living our life as rural-dwelling Canadians”, I believe Rachel now understands what we mean when we say that Gillian only manages to occasionally use her “special pass” to leave the compound. A vast tour of Victoria and the local environs this was not… though we did manage one evening downtown (somewhat stressful given all four kids like to run everywhere) and one evening at the Lagoon (which Gillian missed through built up exhaustion).

And hey, I love hanging with unschooly families more than anything but... when ever-enjoyable Helen and kiddos were over the other day, I admittedly did state that “this is what it would be like if I had three wives and 7 kids… and it’s not pretty”. No offense to anyone!

Here’s the only documented proof that we had Albuquerquites in our house!!!

A dead deer on the property brought much intrigue. What started with “hmm, maybe we should leave those bones where they lay” ended with a full-on archaeological reconstruction project. I’m not sure we would have thought to do something like this on our own… a clear indication of why we need to hang more often with fellow unschoolers…

I’m positive we would never had thought to do this without Max, the concoction king, in our midst. Our back patio has been a fragrant haven of late as many bags of spices (RUFun remnants) have been deployed to great concoctitory effect. Many a faux meal has been constructed and deconstructed with sand, apparently, also a key ingredient. And I don’t care if concoctitory is a real word or not, I like it…

Sunset over the inner harbour shortly after we watched a very good street entertainer. Max was the guy’s biggest fan and proudly laughed at all his jokes, in turn making the busker laugh and nearly propel his juggling chainsaw into a row of tourists from Switzerland…

Boys grazing on blueberries…

Water ballooning fun:

It looks like we had a computer lab type thing going on here...

We spent an evening at the lagoon bird watching, hunting for clams, digging for treasure, collecting stones and driftwood, burying Playmobil and riding on an anchor. All of which was quickly abandoned when the ice cream truck ventured by. A real treat for us since the one ice cream truck that ever gets near our place zips by, music blarring, at a very high rate of speed on its way to more profitable sales at the lake. Max and Otto apparently have three different trucks that stop along their street EVERY DAY. They didn’t seem to mind yet another trip to the ice cream truck…

What a great and wild week we had: double the fun, double the exhaustion, double the laughs, double the mess (haha - as if that were possible).

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

RU Redux

Observations from the inaugural RU Fun unschooling retreat/ gathering/ non-conference on Saltspring Island…

To feed 47 fish eaters, apparently you do not require fourteen whole salmon. A more accurate number would be about seven! Or maybe ten - that way we still would have had enough for salmon mousse and the “most excellent salmon-salad sandwiches ever”. But who knew everyone would contribute such plentiful and succulent side-dishes (though we should have known Frank would turn plain old shrimp into an appy no one could possibly resist and get full from)?

Through our RU Fun t-shirts, I managed to trick 60-odd people into becoming James fans by sporting not only James’ logo (the daisy) but also a quote from “Waltzing Along”. Bwa-hahaha.

By simply plopping the odd frozen blueberry (courtesy of Rachel) into the pancakes I managed to make a lot of people really excited about their pancake dinner and, in turn, fool them into believing they were eating something exotic from some sort of superior chef. Little did they know that I normally cook my pancakes in nothing but my underpants.

Not only can Ronnie spend HOURS at a time playing on the beach with a HORDE o’ kiddos… she can take pretty darn good pics of them too.

Guitar Hero is gads more fun with people who don’t really know what they are doing than with people who can rattle off of the hardest song on the hardest level (while employing their chin on the frets no less). The interloping axe-man may have had crazy skills but our unschooly guitar had stickers!

Despite a huge assortment of child-centred/ ultra-aware parents permanently in attendance at the beach, it was astounding the number of times children under 5 managed to seemingly appear out of nowhere out on the dock… alone. Ahem, twice in Fergus’ case!

I’m most disappointed I didn’t manage to slip “Fergalicious” by Fergie into the dance playlist. Not that the Ferg-meister was anywhere to be seen after the first song. I also conceded to 70’s and 80’s era tastes as opposed to venturing off into the world of obscure 8-bit driven electro-dance like I had hoped! So, out of the 272 songs I had tagged as danceable, here is what ended up getting played (somewhat in order and probably a little incomplete since I left the iPod unmanned at one point to go put a kiddo to bed):
Axel F - Crazy Frog
The Hampster Dance Song - Hampton the Hampster
Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
See You Again - Miley Cyrus
The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
Love Shack - B-52’s
He Ya! - Outkast
I’m a believer - Smash Mouth
Super Freak - Rick James
Dancing Queen - ABBA
Come on Eileen - Dexy’s Midnight Runner
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
December, 1963 (Oh What a Night) - Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
What is Love - Haddaway
Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
Pass the Dutchie - Musical Youth
Groove is in the Heart - Deee-Lite
Ma and Pa - Fishbone
Blister in the Sun -Violent Femmes
Gone Daddy Gone - Gnarls Barkley
Technologic - Daft Punk
Tainted Love- Soft Cell
You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) - Dead or Alive
What I Like About You - The Romantics
You’re The One That I Want - Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta
I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Let My Love Open The Door - Pete Townshend
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John and Kiki Dee
Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
Low Rider - War
In the Summertime - Mungo Jerry

I shall NEVER AGAIN hang my freshly tie-dyed t-shirt directly above the previously oh-so immaculate hot-tub in breezy weather while the View-Master-Shades-Wearing/ Skimmer-Sporting Property Manager is nearby and on the warpath.

I shall NEVER AGAIN hang my freshly tie-dyed t-shirt directly above the previously oh-so immaculate hot-tub in breezy weather with the View-Master-Shades-Wearing/ Skimmer-Sporting Property Manager nearby and on the warpath.

I shall NEVER AGAIN hang my freshly tie-dyed t-shirt directly above the previously oh-so immaculate hot-tub in breezy weather with the View-Master-Shades-Wearing/ Skimmer-Sporting Property Manager nearby and on the warpath.

I shall NEVER AGAIN hang…

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The week at RU Fun

Well, a pile of Unschooly families came by plane, car and boat to Saltspring Island this past week to play in the sun... here's a quick review of THE BEST WEEK EVER in pictures.

Raft builders:

Floating the RU Fun/ Swedish Flag/ Cedar Beach Resort raft:

Hamish the non-conformist:

The white shirted "team":

Jon and Ferg


Fisherman Dan: Dan has since informed me that he was not fishing but rather was holding the pole for someone else... Pole-holder Dan:

MJ with two targets of many a kidnapping plot:

Conor and Madeline rescue a wayward inner tube:

Effie giving James a tattoo:

Chief cook/ bottle washer/ salmon de-boner:

Millions of shrimpies on the barbie:

Unschoolers and schedules don't quite mesh - but we had loads of scheduled funshops nonetheless. Rachel's sandcastle building funshop was strangely given a four hour time slot and we had fun making her stay out in the hot sun and the stinky wet sand for the full amount of time:

Some fruits of the tie-dye funshop:

Emma, Beth and Emma's big beer:

Unschooly campfire sing-a-longs include guitars, keyboards, electric bass and upright bass:

The Wahoo Winklers fish with their Shrek fishing pole:

Effie and I given (a modest version of) the James Fish Eye treatment:



you bet we are...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Dah da da DAH, Dah da da

Indiana Jones has now officially supplanted Star Wars as the inspiration of choice around here lately (so much for living on the fringe of society and rejecting the trendy offerings of corporate America). Indy movies, Indy books, Indy music, Indy Lego and the Indy Lego Wii game all combine to fill the kiddos heads with endless ideas, situations and opportunity for exploration. The house has been transformed into an Indiana Jones battleground with multiple Indys zooming around and shouting out the theme song (“Dah da da DAH, Dah da da”) repeatedly and at high volume. The stairs, once a boring/ unencumbered feature offering safe travel between floors, are now a death trap of tangled rope used for zip-lining dollys and various mountain climbing pursuits (actually, I have no idea if the ropes are part of the Indiana Jones theme or not!?!). As well, Fergus has taken to digging up the back yard/forest with his shovel - digging with a shovel being a key component in the Lego game.

Here’s a picture Effie recently drew, depicting her view of Indiana Jones’ world:


And in nowhere-near-related news, but speaking of “Dah da da DAH, Dah da da”… I ask the following deep, ponderous question: is there a finer laugh-out-loud cinematic moment than the “Da-Da-Dun-Na” scene in the cruelly underrated teen/surf flick “Blue Crush”? I think not.
Video :: Da-Da-Dun-Na

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Saltspring planning

The BIG unschooly gathering starts next weekend on Saltspring, so the locals convened an important planning session at the Swede-up-the-street's house. We've planned to have everyone build a raft for the lake. Murray's nearly got it pre-built already...

Fairy door and name-tag production line:

Women work. Men drink.

Little Blue Boy

Friday, 4 July 2008

Meanwhile, back in the modern world

Finally! After months and months of strenuous workouts, I managed to concentrate long enough to make it through a song without missing a note!

Upon my grand accomplishment, Effie says to me: "hey Dad, now you're as good as MJ. Remember when she got 100%? You know, young people are able to learn things quicker."

But never mind all that.... YEEEEEE HAAAAA.... 100%!!!!!!!

Thursday, 3 July 2008