Does Time Fly?

“But I don’t want to read!” She screams as I sit at the dining table waiting for her latest little tantrum to blow over. I watch her stamp her feet and crawl under the table in protest. Great! I think to myself as I munch on the almonds and nuts that were supposed to be a light snack for my little mentalist

Now this gets me thinking, where in gods name has my sweet girl disappeared to? Where is that sweet adoring little toddler that use to hang on my every word?

Well she isn’t that bad, but does tend to have a lot more little tantrums. As she makes herself at home under the table my thoughts turn to her younger years. I still cannot believe my youngest is now going to be turning five and my oldest thirteen! The phrase ‘time flies’ gets thrown around a lot, but for me it’s only at moments like this it really hits home and I begin to realise just how true that is.

My brat storming into his teens, my youngest turning into a little diva (okay, okay she’s not bad) its at this point a question brings itself to the forefront of my mind. A question I really don’t want to pay attention to nor is it something I want to answer, but the question still remains …. ‘Am I getting old?!’

The answer to that question I’m still not ready to answer, I’m sure I’ll have to address the whole age thing one day.. But not today, not this month, Not this year (you get the picture). So as I sit there contemplating my age, she pokes her head out from under the table and with a giggle invites me to her new digs and it’s at that point I realise, i may be getting older but it’s my brat and my mentalist that keep me young…

This is Mr J signing out

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Does Time Fly?

Parents Evening… And Strops

So it’s nearly half term, the mentalist I’d say has pretty much settled into the school routine. Saying that her crankiness levels seem to be hitting new highs, there are a lot of tears and sulking if she doesn’t get her own way. This tends to include the whole falling to her knees and screaming ‘daddddyyyy’! To which I calmly respond with ‘yes dear’ again to which she replies with ‘stop calling me ‘thaaaaa *sob* aaaaaaat!!’

But i think that’s more down to her being tired after a long day at school. I have noticed a few changes in her though, not anything too drastic but she tends to show off her little achievements. Like things she’s drawn or created ( which usually consists of random pieces of paper stuck onto another piece of coloured A4 paper), I often try to instigate conversation with her in order to find out what she did at school on that particular day or ask what she’s eaten. To which 90% of the time I get a smile and a shrug of the shoulders to which I incredulously reply ‘what?! You didn’t eat today?’ To which she giggles and tries to recall what she’s had and what she’s done , which usually results in her stopping mid sentence and running off.

So, the first term of school is over and it’s that time of the year where they call the parents in and give you a view of how your child is doing …. Yes the evening catered to parents, the eve of parents, most of you will also know this eve as the parents evening (*queue dramatic music*). So I stroll in, pleasantly greeted at the door by various teachers, the odd tables littered with drinks and biscuits that people are wary to touch. I tend to go straight for these tables as during most evenings that’s probably the first time I get to eat anything, besides I tend to get there quite early. So after I’ve helped myself to some biscuits and cordial. I look at the time and it’s time to see the teacher, this is aspect of the eve I think is where the nerves start kicking in. Will I get a glowing report? Or will i get the whole, your child is probably one of the most disruptive pupils I have ever encountered in my 39 years in teaching, and let me tell you Mr Jacobs I’ve seen it all!

I sit across from the teacher with bated breath, she smiles and puts me at ease. To my surprise it’s not such a bad evaluation, most of the things she tells me I’m well aware of. Things like her attention span, I know she has a short one and i get told about her addiction to playdoh (which again I am we’ll aware of). Other than that, I get told shes very well behaved and a pleasant member of the class. Which I do hope she is, I do try and instill a sense of being polite and respectful. So I’m glad she’s taken most of it on board.

Coming away from the evening, I do think to myself. Should I be reading so much into this? She’s only 4, she’s still growing, maturing, still trying to understand the big bad world. Personally as important as her development is, I personally feel being the age she is. It’s still a little too early to be worried about things like a short attention span and things. She’s happy, healthy, looks forward to going school, learning and embracing new things.

What more can a proud father ask for?

This is Mr J signing out

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Parents Evening… And Strops

Breaking Dad

It’s 7pm, I’m sitting in my man cave the lights are off, I switch the TV on as it starts up I start to reflect on the past, present and future… Of Breaking Bad! How it all started, how it progressed, escalated and most importantly…How’s it all going to end?!? As I start the penultimate episode, and watch eagerly, excited and nervous on what in gods name is going to happen to Walter white (or hank from Malcolm in the middle for those of you familiar with the show, love hank ).

Perviously on breaking bad …Here we go…

As I watch in anticipation, I hear the basement door creak open. I look to the top of the basement stairs and see a mop of hair staring back at me… I hit the pause button and turn my gaze back to the top of the stairs which now seems to be vacant of hair, I move my gaze further down the stairs and see a shuffling mentalist, buttons (her stuffed giraffe) in hand moving down the stairs. I await her arrival, she stands before me holding buttons by his tail, the end of his tail in her mouth.

Me: well hello, aren’t you supposed to be in bed?
Mentalist: what you watching dad?
Me: you know you shouldn’t really answer a question with another question
Mentalist: why?
Me: *sigh*
Mentalist: can I have a piggy back?
Me: nope!
Mentalist: I want to stay with you
Me: you can’t, look how dark it is outside, it’s bedtime !
Mentalist: are you watching Breaking Bad?
Me: I am
Mentalist: me too ( promptly sits herself down beside me )
Me: whoa whoa whoa, bedtime!! C’mon! up!! Besides I don’t really want you to be THAT good at chemistry!
Mentalist: can I have a donkey ride?
Me: nope!
Mentalist: can I dance dad?
Me: ok ok.. 5 minutes
Mentalist: watch me!!
Me: I’m watching
(Queue 5 minutes of slow ballet like movements with a lot of spinning around and falling to the floor)
Me: that was glorious! C’mon! BED!!
Mentalist: Can I have some water dad?
Me: sure there’s some right there
(Now at this point she sits and slowly sips her water, watching me intently as I watch her swirl the water in the glass)
Mentalist: Daaaaad?
Me:(frustration starting to build) Yes…
Mentalist: when I was a little girl…
Me: Never mind that …bed!!
Mentalist: will you pick me up?
Me: Noo my shoulder hurts.. and you weigh a ton!
Mentalist: *giggles*
Me: Right I’m going!
Mentalist: ok.. Can you play breaking bad for me, before you go?
Me: il give you breaking bad.. Grr…
(At this point I pick her up, swing her over my shoulder as she laughs maniacally)

As I walk up two flights of stairs, the mentalist singing some ditty from school, my thoughts return back to Breaking Bad.. My excitement returning, anticipation building…

I plonk her in bed, tuck her in kiss her goodnight and return to the man cave! I settle in, grab the remote, glass of water in hand ready to watch. Before I hit play, i hear the familiar now terrifying sound of the basement door creaking open, the mentalist runs down the stairs…

Mentalist : I forgot baby buttons
Me: well you have him now … Can you please go to bed?
Mentalist: can I have a piggy back?
Me: (holds my head in my hands)

For those of you not in the breaking bad circle as of yet, where have you people been?!? Give it a whirl, I promise you you will not be disappointed.

This is Mr J signing out

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Breaking Dad

Writers Update

So I started this blog in the hopes of being published, this goal/objective/milestone/dream Is kind of two fold. I’m looking either for one of my screen plays to be taken up by a studio (which I think is a long shot, looking at the masses of competition out there) or convert one of the screenplays to a novel and self publish (which is a more achievable goal I think.)

So what stage am I at? I hear you ask in wonderment and anticipation… Perhaps a little bored of my droning…

Well, so far I have written two screenplays. Both thrillers, both stories quite unique (well I think so anyway… I may be totally wrong but I do think I’m quite objective when it comes to assessing my work, besides I do get put in my place when I get feedback off the people that actually review my work) I’m currently in the middle of another..

I’m actually thinking of putting one of the screen plays up, a few pages each week just to see the general reaction from yourselves my dear bloggers. But it’s just a thought as of yet, a thought that I would certainly like your opinion/feedback on.

Anyway, the main reason for this post was just to give you guys a heads up on the various opportunities that are available with the BBC.

They basically have various workshops, and opportunities to submit your work. Every month seems to be quite different, some times offering workshops providing help and advice on potential scripts to novels. Other aspects include script submissions for various competitions and things. As well as holding a library of helpful hints tips and resources, do go check it out.

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Links and all that jazz;
BBC writers room


Writers Update

The Watch List – The Conjuring

As a rule I tend to stay away from most horror movies, not because I’m scared, frightened or afraid of nightmares… After all I am a man grr!! (Bares teeth and flexes muscles)

I just get tired of the same age old formula, you expect something like…a creaky door followed by a long pause then the usual demon, possessed victim or spiritual entity popping out giving you a little jump. I think most of us can usually predict when and where the next jump and/or scare is going to come from. Especially when it’s based around a haunted house, with the ever present basement… As no haunted house is complete without spooky basement.

So what’s it all about? Lets first move onto IMDB for the plot line..

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. — IMDb Plot: The Conjuring (2013)

So the movie itself is based on true events, but more on that later. The story revolves around the Perron family who move into the house and as per usual start hearing things go bump in the night, as well as the usual initial sightings of strange figures.

The story itself is two fold, on the one hand we are given a quick glimpse into the lives of the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine. Kind of like the ghostbusters for the paranormal, disproving any fakery and helping those being haunted by evil spirits.

On the other side we have the Perron family who move into this home and gradually begin to experience a lot of supernatural occurrences. As usual, starting with the children. Then moving on to the adults, needless to say we have the formulaic and usual case of jumps, scares, possessions, exorcisms and ghostly figures.

So is it any good? The answer.. Well it’s a mixed bag. We have some good scenes, a little jumpy at times and tells the story more from the paranormal investigators viewpoint rather than the Perron family.

It does sometimes feel like there is a little too much going on, bouncing from one family to the other with some references made throughout the film that don’t really tie in. For me it was a little too predictable, it’s all been done before many a time and in most cases done a whole lot better.

Now back to the ‘based on true events’ tag line …

What I think puts me off these kinds of film, is the whole ‘based on true events’ tag line. For a movie like this I always think the truth is bent a whole lot, or a small element of the truth is used to justify the based on true events caption. Probing into the back story further, I did learn that the Perron family have backed the movie.

Explaining the movie does paint a realistic and accurate portrayal of life in the house. Oh and one of the sisters has published three books about growing up in the house. So as you can imagine, they are speaking very publicly about their time growing up in that house and speaking a lot about the movie.

So I guess it’s down to you dear blogger whether you think these things actually happened or is it a convenient way to promote your book and make some extra cash (cha-ching!).

So all in all, some good bits a whole load of predictable bits and a so-so storyline.

5 out of 10

This is Mr J signing out

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The Watch List – The Conjuring

Haunted memories

So, a while ago I took a picture on my phone. A picture which my daughter, the mentalist, found and has ultimately kicked off a, lets call it, “phase”. More on this phase later, what is this photo I hear you ask?

Well for the past couple of years I’ve been renovating my home. Not exactly the extreme makeover home edition type renovation but close. I’ve gone through the whole caboodle of knocking down walls, rewiring, plumbing, tanking! You name it and it’s probably been done ! Never again let me tell you ! NEVER!!

Well… Maybe a little ..

So this is a picture of my landing, looking into one of the rooms where I’ve photoshopped a spectre, a ghostly figure (with an app of some sort. I can’t remember what it’s called) When I did show this to my friends and family, they outright refused to come to my home (especially my mother ) great I thought! They’ll leave me alone to get on with what I have to do, and not give constant tours around the utter shell of a mess which was my home. On these tours I’d hear a constant barrage of disbelief and disapproval. Muttering things like ‘he’ll never get this done’ and my favourite… ‘worst renovation idea…everr’

Well needless to say the house is more or less done and as with any home, the adventures in DIY. There’s always something to do! (And always something to break).

But I digress, back to the picture. The mentalist found it on my phone and asked ‘Daddy … Was this ghost here when I was a little girl?’ And I reply .. ‘My dear mentalist, you’re still my little girl and yes there was a ghost. And she’ll come back if you don’t finish your food and be a good girl’.

Now, this seems to have opened some door in the mental ones head. Or it could be mere coincidence, she’s starting to check her cupboards for ghosts and now she has an imaginary friend who I haven’t met as yet but I shall disapprove of this friend in a fatherly way especially if it’s a boy!

So this imaginary friend and all the ghost talk reminds me of the time I played a similar prank on my sister (@notmyyearoff – her twitter and blog documenting my little nephews adventures) telling her our kitchen was haunted by some bearded dude. Where I once, just before she woke, crept into the kitchen and left the doors to all the drawers and cupboards open. As you can imagine she kind of freaked out and I got into a little trouble.

It is amazing though, how the lives of my children’s day to day is bringing back memories of my own childhood and how it does leave one a little nostalgic of days gone by. So, I’m sure I’ll be introduced to the mentalists new found friend sometime soon, I shall keep you all upto date if that ever does happen!

So my dear bloggers … Question of the day:

What have your kids, friends, family done recently to take you to the heady heights of nostalgia?

This is Mr J signing out

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Links and all that jazz
Notmyyearoff blog

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Haunted memories

Shopping for ideas

As I stand next to a mannequin in monsoon trying to blend into the chique surroundings, while my mentalist tries on some shoes. I look over at the many shoppers bustling in and out of the aisles going through various racks, just daydreaming really…

And bang a whole litter of shoes are on the floor surrounding my mental one, a grin spread across her angelic face. I immediately look up and see one of the shop girls looking over and I think uh oh she’s going to think I’m an unfit parent.

I can imagine the looks and judgement, I’m already being eyed up by a number of customers who’ve stopped in their tracks to watch the drama unfold. I can see it now the pointed accusations, the shouting, the uproar… ( I kind of want this to happen so I can end the scene with phrase ala Ron burgundy …’well that escalated quickly’)

‘Can I have these ones dad?’ She says as I scramble on the floor picking up the various shoes and placing them where they need to go. ‘Okay okay… Give me a minute. Can you help me please?’ As I expect the answer is a straight no followed by ‘you do it daddy!’

As I begin to place them, the shop girl comes over asking whether I’m ok, I explain ‘yes … Fine. I think my little one has found some shoes though!’ *queue nervous laugh* the shop girl looks over at the mentalist who is doing a sort of waltz with the shoes (don’t ask me where she gets her moves ! I have no clue!). The shop girl laughs and says she’ll sort the shoes, I decline and insist on putting them back in place, shop girl seems relieved and walks back to her station.

Phew ! I think… Then I think back to the shop girl and the day she must’ve had, then I look at a shopper and think hmm the day they must’ve had … Then I think hmmm there’s story here somewhere and the little disaster turns into a potential script or story… Thank you mental one ! (Who’s now wandered off into the changing rooms..)

So ideas… Be it for a new story, novel or even your blog. Seem to come from all sorts of places, events and even disasters. But are these ideas any good? Sure I have an idea but can I integrate characters, a plot, a beginning, a middle and an end to this idea? Well I suppose only time will tell, or wait up until you get the chance to put down your ideas and drill through the events leading up to your ending.

But this is often not the case, sometimes as good as an idea seems it doesn’t pan out the way you want. You get stuck, think gah! That’ll never work, the reader isn’t stupid, nor do they want to read something as silly as this! I’ve had many of those moments where I just shelve the whole project. But saying that I’ve gone back to some of those shelved ideas and borrowed aspects and scenes for another script, so not a total loss ( so don’t ever entirely delete or scrap something, you never know you may be able to use it for spare parts)

Anyhoo, today’s question of the day my dear bloggers! What’s the weirdest or most memorable way you’ve generated an idea!

This is Mr J signing out !

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Shopping for ideas