Sunday, 28 February 2010

So what do you do when it's your kids that scare you ?

A disturbing revelation was made when I was talking to my daughter on
the phone on Friday night. It transpires that on Thursday evening, my 10
year old daughter took it upon herself, and against her mothers
permission to walk to the centre of town, on her own.

It's one of the few times in my life when I've been short of words, when
I really don't know what to say. I got off the phone, and as it
happened, was at a train station at the time. It was all I could do to
stop myself from bursting into tears there and then.

When we are teenagers, we take much stock from knowing how painful it is
to grow up, how constantly pushing and shoving to find your place in an
already crowded world takes energy and passion, (just as well that it's
the teenagers doing it, because the rest of us seem to surrender ours
with every passing year). What I hadn't, of course counted on, was the
hurt and pain of being utterly scared out of my wits and not knowing
what to do for the best. There are no manuals that prepare you for this.
Are there ? If there are, perhaps a visit to the library is in order.

I feel bad, that because my daughter spends so much more time with her
mother than she does with me, she is getting more than the lion share of
this behaviour. I've had some before, but I can't think that it is nice
for anyone to be living in that sort of situation day in, day out.

There was about an hour on Thursday night when, technically, my daughter
was missing, and I knew nothing about it. Anything could have happened
to her.

Thankfully, despite her best attempts to catch up with her, or locate
her, my daughter's mum got a call from our daughter, telling her where
she was, and asking her to come collect her.

I can't even imagine how that must have felt for her. It's every parents
worst nightmare. I wanted to let her know that we are going through this
together, and that she is not alone in this.

Sometimes we are utterly powerless to stop events, prevent them, and can
only hope that things turn out and deal with the aftermath in a very
reactive way.

I tried to get my daughter to explain to me over the phone what it was
that made her think that doing such a thing was a good idea. She was
very sheepish and wasn't really inclined to tell me what had motivated
her. Not the type of conversation that is best had on a dodgy mobile
connection. What I really wanted to do at that point was to go round
there, not to have a go at my daughter by to try and understand why she
had done it. I also wanted to see for myself that her mother was ok.

Luckily for her, she lives very close to her parents, so will have them
to fall back on. There are people around her that can help, it only
remains to be seen how much she wants to accept the help that is

It also means that they have been the target of some more behaviour. She
won't tell me exactly what it is that our daughter has been saying to
her grandparents, only that it is rude and disrespectful. It's not a lot
to go on, but having overheard her shouting that 'they deserve it' when
we are trying to discuss it tells me that it's something more than
talking back or being cheeky.

And there's more.

Our daughter, communicated her feelings towards her mother the other
night (I think this occurred the same night that the 'walk' did) by
emptying the contents of the cat litter tray into her bed, for her to
find when she went to bed.

Where the hell does that come from ?

The questions that remain for me... what is it that causing her to
behave in this manner ? What's going on in her head that makes her think
these actions are a good idea, or at the very least the course of action
she should be taking.

Our daughter is clearly strong willed, she is clever, intelligent,
witty, funny.... how do you allow those attributes to grow into the
strengths that will be the hallmark of her personality as she gets
older, without welcoming the serious risk taking that comes along with
such traits ?

When I was a child, I was strong willed, if I believed something to be
right, no one could tell me otherwise. I don't think that has entirely
changed, I have learnt though to be more open to challenge from others,
and to be better (although I wouldn't say good) at justifying my
position. If you're way's better, don't just tell me mine is rubbish,
help me to see why yours is better than mine, and I will recognise that
and change my opinion accordingly.

There's a lot of stuff in the press lately about Gordon Brown being
'bloody minded'. Do we really only want or need people that are 'fluffy'
and willing to be swayed by every single weak argument that panders to
an ever swaying consensus of opinion, which changes with the breeze and
is dictated to by the random selection of people that just happen to be
in the room at the time. Do we need people that are something to all
people, or do we need people with depth. Character, individuality.

The difference between arrogance and being right, is...well, being
right. Trouble is most people don't like to be confronted with people
that are right, and very right at that.

I want our daughter to be free to be her own person, I want her to make
a mark on the world in all the good ways I know she can. I'm so
desperately proud of some of the things she says, some of the things she
comes out with, or her ways of looking at things are brilliant, and
amazing. I know that I am biased, but her teachers have said before that
they cannot believe that she is the age she is, because she comes out
with such insightful things.

Is she angry at the world because she feels it is holding her back ? I'm
trying to find excuses now, when there can be none for the way she has
behaved, but to prevent her feeling that the only way to get people to
stop and listen to her is to behave like that again, I need to
understand her.

She's such a fantastic person, I'm just frightened that if she carries
on doing things like this, she's not going to get the chance to grow up
and show us all how good she really is.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

This was the week that was, the week that was the week...

Where do all these damn weeks keep disappearing off to ?

It's been a shame that we haven't gotten any filming done this week, or
last week for that matter, but these things happen. They just happen
that much easier in a group that's actually so small that one person not
turning up means a 25% drop in attendance.

Still, there's been plenty of creativity flashing about. I've even made
progress with the script.. just no where near enough. I haven't even
been making that many blog entries (sorry).

Steve asked me to submit a small piece about the premier last night,
which I have done, so that was some writing I got done today. Best
intentions. It's that bloody box in the corner that I'm addicted to, the
one that has all these pretty images on.

Just how riveting is Australian Masterchef anyway ? I can't really stand
the home grown version, but somehow theirs is different, and I now know
how to cook a steak properly, and how to make a red wine sauce. (Like if
I had any good quality red wine knocking about the place it'd have a
chance to be used in cooking). I've been catching up on some of the
recorded shows that I actually do want to watch.

Some Skins, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Brothers & Sisters, Question
Time & Survivors, now that I've listed them all, no wonder I didn't get
anything done. Dammit.

Tomorrow some friends are bringing round their old sofa, which they have
said that I can have. I just hope that we can get it through the door,
and their journey isn't in vain. Even if it is a success, that will
leave me with the challenge of trying to figure out what to do with my
current sofas, whose better days are somewhat behind them now.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

underage facebook use, chinese takeaways and pet gayers.

Have I really only been back at work a week ?


Can I have another week off now ?


Dammit !

Actually, this week hasn't been too bad, it's certainly been no picnic
(the weather was wrong and the dips were spoiled), but I do feel like I
have done a good job. Others may not, but I'm setting my own standards
now aren't I.

There's drama in the drama world tonight. The lead for the new Beacon
series 'The 9th Man' has disappeared off the face of the planet. Aside
from not responding to any attempts at contact from anyone, he also
hasn't apparently done anything about the episode he's meant to be
writing for the forthcoming series. Not to mention, failed to contribute
his share toward the upkeep of the club.

Steve, who is the head of all things Beacon, has made the courageous
decision not to allow him to take part in any productions unless he
settles up. There have been many times in the past when I have been
confronted with a similar issue when bringing shows to stage in amateur
theatre, and despite my statements to that effect, not always had the
strength to take the hard (and I think right) line on it.

It's a club for crying out loud, and in this instance, we are talking
about £12. It's exceptionally good value for being involved in something
that keeps you busy all year round. Shame on you !

I've had what can only be described as a lazy-ish Saturday. I've done
the shopping, done half the cleaning, done some washing.. what's a guy
to do on a Saturday off with so many things on his to-do list ? Waste
half the day watching Star Trek Voyager is what.

Last night, I was excited to have got to the end of the week, that I was
going to celebrate with a McDonald's. Alone. Ahhhh. Big sad face.

As I was standing at the bus stop, waiting for the bus home (why else
would I stand at a bus stop, I wonder ?), and I received a string of
text messages, but the identity of the sender was not known to my lovely
BlackBerry. This conversation evolved and continued... there was the
initial hope that my mystery texter would turn out to be someone
fascinating, exciting, and who was about to sweep me off my feet and
'rock my world'.

It was my friend, and exflatmate Kelly. She was at a lose end (which is
not like her on a Friday night) and fancied a Chinese (takeaway as in,
she knows I am English). It doesn't take a lot to tempt me, and the idea
of unexpected joyful company, and a chinese was more tan I could turn
down. I also got a free lift home into the bargain.

Just as I was about to get into the car, I received a call from my
ex-wife to let me know that our 10 year old daughter has been
deceptively going on the internet, and has in fact signed up for a
facebook account. Knowing that we have both told her she is too young
for this (and she is, their minimum age is 13) and that she is not to. I
guess all kids rebel against their parents, and push their luck doing
things that they have been told that they are not allowed to do. The
thing that worried me was the ease with which she lied to the pair of
us. She isn't even into secondary school yet, and she's hiding and lying
and doing things behind our backs.

It is good that her Mother and I are singing off the same hymn sheet
with this one, it has not always been the case, but in the last couple
of years we've been able to talk better about how we approach
introducing the world to our daughter. It's only fair we warn them.

Switching back conversations, when Kelly came round for the takeaway,
she listed her facebook status as 'I'm having a chinese tonight, with my
gay'. So I'm like a pet now ?

One of the guys at work on Friday said that he thought I'd lost a lot of
weight lately. I thought that was a nice thing for him to say. I
haven't, as it happens, (and after last night's gastronomic indulgences,
I'm headed in the other direction weight wise) perhaps its because I've
been wearing some slightly different clothes lately.

Really, does my bum look better in these brown jeans ?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Don't look back in anger

..and I wasn't. I thought I looked positively chipper.

It's been a tough, but rewarding week at work so far, or at least
toughly rewarding. I've got up early today, so I can take my daughter's
bike to the repair shop to get it fixed (why else would I take it
there ?). On my way back, after stopping off to get some milk and some
chocolate (all things begin, and end with chocolate - those that don't,
begin and end with vodka). I passed this man in the street, and
completely out of the blue, he tells me 'don't look back in anger'.

If random Oasis song quotes is your thing then I guess that's cool, but
I'm more used to 'hello' or 'good morning' - but this being Portsmouth
it's more likely to be a cursory grunt if you get any acknowledgement at
all. Just count yourself lucky it's not a smack in the face.

Now to prove that while I wait for my lift into work, I've not turned
into a curtain twitcher 'angered from Portsmouth', the post man has just
been along, bless him, and moved one of my neighbours' recycling wheelie
bin, but moved it so that it blocks the path out of where I live. Grand
isn't it ? Shall I a) pick up the phone and moan at the council for not
training the wheelie bin men to leave things in the place they got them
from, or b) call the post office, to have a go at them, that their guy
(and it was a guy, I'm not generalising - either a guy or a very
unfortunate looking woman) has 'created a hazard' - or, now here's the
killer question for 10 points... c) go out there and just move the
bloody thing.

I'll give you some time to think....




Is that you're final answer ?

You're right, I went for C. I stopped short of actually putting the
thing back where it's meant to go. I'm not a complete pushover.

This as well as helping push start a car on the way home from work last
night. 'Oh it's a man !' said the woman when she saw me coming over, and
offering to help. I had to look round, just in case she didn't mean me.
You never can tell.

I'm not expecting my OBE any time soon, these are simple things that
normal people do, right ?

Normal being an entirely subjective term, which actually I hate to use,
and am normally (ha !) offended by being labelled as such.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Insomnia's nothing to lose any sleep over

...or so the (tired) joke goes.

First day back at work, I'd have to say felt like a success. Lots of
work to do, tough times ahead. Nothing that shocks or amazes me. None of
these are surprises. Nice to see that people around me are upbeat and

Spent most of the day lurching from one meeting to another, and feeling
a welcome sense of disconnection with everything that was going on. Made
sure that my attitude on return was that of someone that was going to
carry on and get things done regardless. That's exactly what I did.

If anyone was expecting fireworks, or toy throwing then they were sadly

Offices were created so that there was a place for office politics to
play out, without really effecting anyone with an undue sense of reality
or value.

Drama being good tonight, the second film attempted with 'Scientific
Simon & Dismal Dave'. A lot harder to get done than last weeks effort.
This took about 6 takes to get right, either there were problems with
the performances from the artists (me - Ian was great) or there were
issues with the lighting, the camera, the camera angles... etc etc.
Ironically, unlike last week, the issues about converting and uploading
the film did not arise. Thankfully. This week we were using the hard
disk camera, which does make such things marginally easier.

So why the hell, am I sitting here at this time of the morning, when I
should be asleep ? Well, because I can't sleep. I've tried, and no
cigar. Too many things rushing around in my head (sadly, all about
things I want to get done tomorrow - today - at work). After trying all
reasonable remedies known to man (well, ok. This man) I have given up,
and decided to 'capture my thoughts' as 't were.

That was them, if you've scrolled down this far without reading what's
above, you've missed 'em.