The Stars of Tomorrow

So exactly when did watching you tube videos of someone (usually fully grown adults, complete with hairy wrists) opening kinder eggs and playing with playdoh become a form of entertainment?

The mentalist seems to have a new hobby or at this stage should I be calling it an addiction? She’s fascinated with these channels. Watching endless kinder eggs being opened and little toys constructed as well as watching a multitude of shapes being formed on those playdoh channels! I mean, where does it end? The answer to that is… It doesn’t?! There seems to be hundreds of videos dedicated to such things.

Now here I am working at the dinner table ( yes, yes it’s a weekend and I shouldn’t really be logged in, but hey needs must and besides its the best place for optimum wifi ) and what do I witness but my very own mentalist emulating these YouTube videos. Buttons being part of the audience (obviously) as she talks through her recent playdoh creation ( hey, don’t ask me it all looks kind of the same. A big glooopy multicoloured mess) ‘welcome, boys and girls to my YouTube channel’ she begins adjusting her spectacles. ‘I hope you enjoy what we have today’ hmm she knows this a little too well, which makes me wonder… How many of these videos has she watched?!

As she continues to talk through her playdoh set and the various tools she uses to form a mountains of multi coloured gloop, she turns and hands me her ipad. ‘Now, pray tell what am i doing with this thing?’ She smiles her little toothy grin and replies ‘ can you make a video of me daddy?’ Hmm, should I or should i not I think to myself. Either way I won’t get any work done, as il either be sat there recording her efforts or be met by constant whining as to why her creative efforts are not being recorded.. So lose lose!

Fine! I resign myself to being camera man, but I do take a little moment to resign myself to the fact that my mentalist is going to be a bit of an attention seeker! So here I am holding up an iPad listening to the mentalist waffle on about playdoh, she carefully constructs a round figurine complete with multicoloured blobs which vaguely resemble hands and feet.

After a lifetime of waffle and careful moulding she finally finishes her latest masterpiece ‘now here…’ She continues presenting her piece to the camera ‘is my daddy…!’

Cut!!! That’s a wrap !

This is Mr J signing out


The Stars of Tomorrow

The Ghosts of Childhood Past and Future

Now I wouldn’t say I’m much of an attention seeking individual, nor would I warrant any attention of any sort I’m more the male version of plain Jane. A Simple Simon? Tim nice but dim? Something in that vain quite possibly (of course I’m being modest, I’m glorious (I kid of course))

See, growing up I do think I was more the reserved, shy, keep myself to oneself kind of child. I had a few friends, I wasn’t the popular sort more the nerdish, geeky guy, mop like hair and a little too much tooth in that toothy smile.

Thinking of how I was and watching my mentalist, currently prancing around with buttons. Carefree, boundless, energetic and completely happy I often wonder how different we are, was I this happy as a child? Now don’t get me wrong my childhood is nothing to complain about. I honestly do think I never wanted for anything, I got all I wanted. My father is and was stern but his bark often worse than his bite, and growing up with my siblings was an experience in itself. Did we get along? Nooo, not in the slightest, but I think this forged the strong bonds we have today, regardless of what we did and said we were always close and still are to this day (at least I think so anyway!)

I do wonder how similar we ( the mentalist and I) are. She’s so carefree and happy. Whereas I’m
More the quiet, calculating super villain. Anyhoo I digress, where was I… Ah yes childhood, would I change mine? Not in the slightest, of course there were ups and downs. But they’ve helped to mould and forge who I am today, am I happy being the person I am? Most days.. Yes

So what do I want for my brats as they speedily veer in to their teens and soon into adulthood? The answer to that of course is happiness, to grow up knowing they were loved, cared for, and look back on a childhood which included all the above ( love, laughter and happiness) what more could a parent ask for.

This is mr j signing out


The Ghosts of Childhood Past and Future

Glasses for classes

In an earlier submission, the much loved yet crazy mentalist had an eye test. This test was a little cause for concern as it could possibly mean she may have to wear glasses.

So off she went to have her eyes checked by the professionals, I did see her off in the morning and lo and behold she returned with not one pair of glasses but two. It appears the mentalist has something known as ‘Astigmatism’ which basically means…

Astigmatism is a common and usually minor condition of the eye that causes blurred or distorted vision.
It occurs when the cornea or lens is not a perfectly curved shape. Most people who wear glasses have astigmatism.
– quoteth the NHS

Now, cause for panic? Maybe in the first 10 minutes. A few questions racing through my head, oh you know the obvious things like.. ‘WHAT?! ASTIG WHAT?!’ Dargnabit!! Speak English, enough of this medical mumbo jumbo!?

Can she be cured?! What is this circa 1970?! .. You get the picture, anyhoo after all my fears, questions were put to rest. It appears the mentalist is fine, she will probably have to wear glasses but she looks darn good in them (imagine putting glasses on a red panda… That kind of cute) so she doesn’t look half bad in them.

The trouble tends to start when she manages to leave them somewhere and has no recollection of where in gods name she put them.

The conversations are often in the same vain :
Handsome rugged father (me): I see you’re not wearing your glasses
Mentalist: (smiles, looks coy)
Me: can you put them on please
Mentalist: * silence*
Me: anytime today would be great
Mentalist : but daddy …
Me: here we go..
Mentalist : I don’t know where, they are I had them.. Now they’ve gone ?!
Me: so you’ve lost them?
Mentalist : *shrugs*
Me: have you tried retracing your steps?
Mentalist: what does that mean? Are you joking? You joker? (Edit – more on the whole joker thing soon)
Me: ive told you … im batman..let’s go find them!

And off we go in hunt for the fabled glasses of the mentalist! This usually results with me on my knees crawling around, under various tents, beds, castles trying to find them. Which in turn leads to an aching back, due to the mentalist wanting pony rides. And the constant need to jump from a height and land on my back!

We do find them in the end,in the most awkward places, like in one of the vases, or one of the pots in the kitchen and even in a Wellington once. So there I am, all tuckered out usually laying flat on the floor from the hunting, back broken but victorious In a manner of speaking !

The mentalist puts her glasses on and shuffles off while I lay there in thought… Am I hungry? I deserve a treat! Do I? Well I did help the mentalist find her glasses? Sold! Bring on the cake!

Once that’s settled with my inner self, I attempt to roll to my feet. When in walks in the mentalist with a book

Mentalist : can we read daddy?
Me: of all the rooms, in all the house you had to walk into mine?
Mentalist: *giggles* but it’s my room daddy?!
Me: (looks around) so it is..?!You win this round!
Mentalist: falls to the floor laughing
Me:(I should do stand up)
Me: wait.. Where are your glasses?
Mentalist: (stops laughing, smiles) *shrugs*
Me: *facepalm* (with a healthy dose of laughter in the background)

This is mr j signing out


Glasses for classes

The Wait…

I wait outside the school gates, surrounded by the usual groups and cliques. The air thick with activity and chatter, a few laughs, a few giggles and the odd squeal breaking the constant stream of babble.
Any second now I think to myself, trying to anticipate that one sound I am longing, nay dying to hear. My brain counting down the seconds… 3,2,1… Grrr… Nope… 3..2… Rrriinng… And so it begins!

The waves of children slow at first then amassing into a wave of heads and boisterous activity. I wait in line patiently for the reception class doors to open, standing behind parents that have been there waiting. As the doors open, the parents start shuffling forward all trying to get through a tiny gate some having the common decency to wait and queue patiently, others tend to squeeze through the tiniest gaps on order to get through the gate, some use their not so secret weapon their other children ! They casually push and coax their offspring to make their way to the front and collect their sibling (note to self have more children.. Scratch that train my cat to go forth and paw at the reception doors, further note to self .. Get a cat.. Oh and pick up milk )

As I queue patiently, while children and parents weave and push past me, I always tend to look for those parents who cut the line. It’s just interesting to watch, the technique and the response of the parent they’ve just pushed past.
There’s the ‘I’m on the phone’ technique, so I’m oblivious to any such queuing system or line, line?! What line?’

There’s the ‘shuffle and merge’ il just stand along side the front of queue, shuffle along and merge with queue as it progresses forward. ‘What?! I’ve been here all along!’

There’s also the (as mentioned before) send your children to do your dirty work. Push past the various other parties, parents and go collect your sibling. ‘Ah kids will be kids right?!’

So as I wait patiently and finally get to front to collect my dear mentalist. I am beckoned by the teacher ‘uh oh’ I think to myself. A whole host of scenarios run through my head … ‘Is she hurt.. Nah?! They would’ve called me otherwise!’

‘Has she been fighting?’ Nah she talks a big game, well as big as a 5 year old can do! But she’s a biter not a fighter. So she’s bit another child? Yes? No? Maybe?! She doesn’t really bite ?! Does she?!

As this plays over in my head I finally get to the teacher, and she asks me to take a seat. I do catch the mentalist from the corner of my eye sitting there all smug! I shoot her a glance and she responds with a toothy smile. ‘Great! I think, whatever crime she may have committed she looks quite proud of herself’

I give the teacher my full attention, as she talks to me my fears and worries are put to rest! Turns out they had eye tests, and apparently the little mentalist needs a further appointment. I begin to wonder what it would be like to have a bespectacled mentalist. But hey! As long as she hasn’t branded a fellow classmate with her teeth. With that we leave hand in hand, off home for more fun games and shenanigans!

This is mr j signing out


The Wait…

The Phantom Pain

I make the usual trip to school, walking past the various groups and see the usual faces as I walk, waiting outside the school gates which holds the reception class. Awaiting the grand opening of the gates which allows the parents to enter the school yard, now this is a little fun to watch. Watching all the parents pile in eager to grab their children and leave, this seems to be getting a little aggressive amongst some parents. A little pushing and shoving to be the first ones in to grab their children.

As I wait for for most of the crowds to disperse, I get a little hand gesture from the reception teachers to come forth. Uh oh, I think… The mentalist has probably done something, as I walk and weave past the various parents my mind tries to come to some conclusion on what she may have done? Has her eccentric nature become a little too much? Has she said or done something to call my parenting into question?

I walk into class, I see the mental one sitting on the carpet. A grin spreading across her innocent face, I’ve seen this look before and recall the various times I’ve seen such a grin after she’s done something she shouldn’t have. So at this stage I know shes done something unruly.

Eager to know of her transgressions i quickly get the pleasantries out the way, I get asked whether the mentalist has been to the dentist lately? I respond with ‘yes quite recently?’ Apparently she’s been complaining about her teeth hurting…? I assure the teacher that the mentalist had had her teeth checked, I ask when exactly she’s complained about her teeth… ‘During lunch times’ was the response. ‘Ah!’ I exclaim, as the pieces start falling into place. I tell the teacher I will get to the bottom of the problem, as we skip to the car I begin to question her about lunch and what she’s eaten. I’m met by a shrug of the shoulders, hmm I think.. I ask whether her teeth are hurting and she says no she’s fine and can she have some chocolate ?

At this stage I pass this off as a one off incident, well up until the next day. Where I go through the same thing with the teacher, the mentalist is still refusing to eat due to her teeth hurting. After a couple of days the teacher takes her out the dining hall to eat in the classroom during lunch times, now in the classroom she seems to be eating perfectly fine the teacher putting it down to the noise in the dining hall. I’m not convinced…

So I make her favourite meal of fish cakes and coleslaw and sit with her asking about her friends and her days at school, we touch on a lot of things, with a few musical interludes. Until finally we get to the truth, the reason she’s been how she is. There’s been a dinner lady at school who’s told her off for not finishing her lunch, I can’t seem to get out of her whether this has happened on a regular basis. And I’m sure it’s not been said with any malice or for the need to cause upset (well I hope not). So I’ve relayed this back to the teacher, who has taken the mentalist under her wing during lunchtimes to ensure she’s eating, and eating in the dinner hall with the rest of the children.

So.. For me this begs the question, should i have caught this sooner? Am I spending enough time with my kids?

God I hope so.. There’s only so much peppa pig one can watch!

This is Mr J signing out


The Phantom Pain

The watch list – Ray Donovan

What’s it all about then, who is this Ray Donovan character, and why should You be spending your valuable time watching season 1 of this show?

Well as per usual lets go to IMDB for the plot :

Ray Donovan, a professional “fixer” for the rich and famous in LA, can make anyone’s problems disappear except those created by his own family. — IMDb Plot: Ray Donovan (2013)

Now I have to be totally honest with you, I was extremely reluctant to watch this series. I wasn’t so much a fan of Liev Schreiber who plays the fixer Ray Donovan, well up until I saw the first couple of episodes and I was hooked.

The story itself revolves around Ray Donovan a fixer who can almost fix and resolve problems for the rich, famous and often undeserving. From the outset Ray comes across as a strong, very put together, smart and calculating protagonist. But the more you watch the more you realise he’s not as put together as he seems. The story itself sets a dark tone from the beginning, even if it is based in the land of milk and honey, the glittering and luxurious surroundings of Los Angeles there is an underlying tone of darkness and filth

Ray Donovan centres around control and manipulation, the reins of control firmly in Rays hands, well up until his father mickey played by Jon Voight gets early release from prison.

As well as being a fixer, Ray is a father, husband and brother. We have the usual medley of problems that tag along with some of these relationships the school problems, teen angst and marriage issues.

The main focus is upon Rays relationship with his brothers, Terry a former boxer dealing with his injuries from being in the ring and Bunchy a disturbed individual suffering from addiction and sexual abuse

And it is this abuse that haunts this band of brothers, a past shared by all three being revealed as the show progresses. this past sprouting further problems that Ray tries to control.

These problems seem to amplify when their estranged father Mickey makes a
Surprise visit, causing a bit of a power battle between Ray and Mickey. The arrival of mickey unlocking a wave of bad memories and a horrible past

In essence the show can be categorised as a thrilling drama, a brilliant cast with some outstanding performances.

So is this worth a watch ? It is indeed, with a whole of stars, twists and drama I’d recommend this to most people who want to see the sleazy side of fame and fortune in LA.

Pros: good story, great cast with some good well rounded performances

Cons: some characters could have been developed a little more

9 out of 10

This is Mr J signing out

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The watch list – Ray Donovan