Pippin

[At intermission of Pippin]

Scout: What was that weird section about?

Me: The one with all the kissing?

Scout: Yeah.

Me: That was to show Pippin going through his partying phase.

Scout: Why did he stop? What’s wrong with partying?

Me: It’s just that it’s great for a while, then you need something more.

Scout: Yeah, I had, like, 5 birthday parties one weekend, and by the end I didn’t even want cake.

Me: Exactly!  You want something more substantial!

Scout: Like Mac n’ Cheese.

Me: I guess.

Scout: So, because he got tired of partying, he killed his dad?

Me: Yes.

Scout: Because he wanted Mac n Cheese.

Me: I… guess.

Scout: So that’s saying I need to kill my dad to get mac n’ cheese.

Me: That is *not* what I want you to take away from this story.

Book Log – The Land of Stories

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

This another bedtime reader.  My whole year of reading is basically reading to kids.

Land of Stories we read at the same time as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, alternating nightly.  My son much preferred this book; My daughter complained she never knew what was going on, largely because she would fall asleep halfway through each evening’s reading.

This is an okay book, the first in what appears to be a popular series.  Written by one of the kids from Glee, it documents a fairy-tale obsessed couple of siblings that fall into the world where the stories come from.  There’s a whole lot of fan-girling at storybook characters and “wow can you believe we’re really here and it’s really real?” stuff.

There’s a lot of plot machinations to get them going on a quest that will allow the writer to introduce all of the storybook characters.

All in all, it was okay.

Book Log – Mr. Gum series

  • You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum
  • Mr.Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire
  • Mr. Gum and the Goblins
  • Mr. Gum and the Power Crystals
  • Mr. Gum and the Dancing Bear
  • What’s for Dinner, Mr. Gum?
  • Mr. Gum and the Cherry Tree
  • Mr. Gum and the Secret Hideout

all by Andy Stanton

This is a series that the kids and I ploughed through at bedtime.  This series is by far my favorite set of kids books.  It is absurd, and ridiculously funny.

Mr. Gum is a deplorable human, with a disgusting house with “carpet the colour of unhappiness.”  We have taken to describing things we don’t like as having the colour/shape/smell of unhappiness around our house.

Each story captures the evil plot of Mr. Gum and his conspirators being battled by the forces of good, namely the bold and courageous young Polly (whose full name is half a page long) and the eccentric and possibly magical Friday O’ Leary.

The true value of the books lie in the language and word play.  Polly’s dialog and the narration are a delight to read.  The whole stories are terrifically over the top.

A must have for any kid over the age of 6 or so.

The Little Free Monster Library

For a while, my wife had expressed an interest in having a Little Free Library.

I liked the idea of using scrap wood and parts to build something, and I didn’t want it to be a house style design.  With the help of the kids, we came up with the monster concept.  Unfortunately, I can’t find the photos I took of the first stage, the building of the actual box.

Suffice it to say, I had some leftover plywood from other projects, and some hinges lying around, and after some circular saw and jigsaw work, here was the result, primed, but not painted.

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As it happens, I carefully measured the height each shelf should be based on children’s books (lower shelf) and typical adult novels, and then proceeded to mess up the assembly, so the children’s section was too tall, and the grownups too short.  Alas.

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Scout is always enthusiastic to paint just about anything, so she picked out the color scheme from leftover paint cans from various projects.  She is from the Use Every Color school of design.

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Also, the If You’re Going To Paint, Use A Lot Of Paint philosophy.

I didn’t have any acrylic for the window, but Ace Hardware has a drop pile  in the back, and I found a leftover piece of just the right size there.  Screwed to the inside. 20140608_143645

 

Down the street, a house was being remodeled, and a torn up deck had just the right size 4×4 avaible for the stand.

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Now for some additional hardware.  I didn’t want to buy anything if I didn’t have to, and I jump at the chance to work with my oxy-acetylene setup.

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Using a angle grinder, I cut pieces for a handle and “hat” support.

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Welded together:

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And painted.  Also missing from my photo collection is the creation of the roof “hat”, which used a piece of scrap plywood, dozens of cut aluminum cans (cut with an angle grinder again… tin snips were too tedious), and a stapler.  Bottom of the resulting roof on the left below:

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All of the pieces:

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And fully assembled in place.

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Both my daughter and I consider this project incomplete.  We plan to put arms on it.

One arm will be holding a sign that says “Little Free Library – Take  a Book – Leave a Book”.

The other will be holding a bird house, and on the bird will have a sign that says “Take a Bird – Leave a Bird”.

Book Log – Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Peter and the Starcatchers #2) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Greg Call (Illustrations)

This has been my nightly read-aloud to the kids, and both of them looked forward to the nightly chapter or two. It’s a good solid action/fantasy, with a nice take on the Peter Pan origin story. We picked up the next three books, so we should be enmeshed in this world for a couple years.

It will be interesting to see how long my 11 year old sticks with the nightly reading. My guess is he would be fine with just reading to himself at night, but it’s like when someone is watching a good tv show in a room you walk through… it’s hard to keep walking sometimes.

Letters to Camp – Day 12

ATTENTION CHILDREN OF LUCAS,

LISTEN. YOUR PARENTS ARE BEING UNREASONABLE.

THEY HAVE OUR… I MEAN, YOUR… HOUSE SURROUNDED BY GREY UNICORNS AND CHIMERAS.

*CHIMERAS*! FBI CHIMERAS! WITH LION HEADS AND SNAKE TAILS AND ALSO SNAZZY DARK SUITS AND SUNGLASSES AND BADGES. THEY ARE *REALLY* FREAKING US OUT IN HERE.

SERIOUSLY.

SO, WE WILL MAKE YOU A DEAL. IF YOU WILL CONTACT YOUR PARENTS AND TELL THEM TO GO AWAY WE WILL REPLACE YOUR SPRITE. WE ARE REALLY SORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE SPRITE THING. ALSO FOR RIPPING YOUR SHEETS WITH OUR UNICORN HORNS ON ACCIDENT. WE ARE REALLY SORRY ABOUT THAT. PERHAPS WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TOLD YOU ABOUT THAT. BUT WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DELETE THINGS ON THIS COMPUTER SO… NOW YOU KNOW ABOUT THE SHEETS. WE ARE SORRY.

TAKING OVER CHICAGO WAS SO MUCH EASIER BECAUSE YOU JUST GIVE THE PEOPLE SOME DEEP-DISH PIZZA AND IMPROV AND THEY GO AWAY.

NOT THAT WE ARE TRYING TO TAKE OVER! NO WAY! WE ARE HAPPY AND RAINBOWS! AND CHOCOLATE!

THIS IS SIMPLY A MATTER OF YOUR PARENTS OWING US MONEY FOR SERVICES WE PROVIDED. LIKE HAPPINESS. EVERYONE LIKES HAPPINESS? RIGHT? AND THEY SHOULD PAY FOR IT. SIMPLE AS THAT.

ANYWAY, PLEASE HURRY BECAUSE I THINK THE CHIMERAS ARE ON THE ROOF NOW.

OK. THANK YOU.

HURRY PLEASE.

SINCERELY,
THE WHITE UNICORN GROUP

Letters to Camp – Day 10

ATTENTION LUCAS CHILD.

THIS IS THE WHITE UNICORN GROUP.

WE ARE UNABLE TO LOCATE YOUR PARENTS. OUR AGENTS SAY THEY WERE SEEN HEADING TOWARDS NORTH CAROLINA.

IF YOU SEE THEM, PLEASE LET THEM KNOW WE NEED THE KEYS TO YOUR AUTOMOBILES. WE WANT TO DRIVE TO GET SOME PIZZA. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY, BECAUSE WE HAVE DRANK ALL YOUR SPRITE AND WE ARE HUNGRY.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE IN THIS.

REGARDS,
THE WHITE UNICORNS

Letters to Camp – Day 8

Hey Miss Scout,

We saw you got to do some camping, with S’mores and stuff! That’s great. I can’t tell if you got to use your tent, or if you were using a shelter. But that’s cool! There’s a great picture of you and L___ by the camp fire. Awesome.

As you can tell, I am able to write to you again, even though the White Unicorns still have our house. Mom and I are sleeping in the back of an office supply store. At night, we sneak out, write emails on the computers that are for sale, and steal candy bars for food. We’re not proud, but in these times we do what we can. We’re working to get the house back before camp is over. It’s a good thing you’re at camp, or you would be living in an office supply store, too.

Whoops, had to take a break there… a security guard just came by and I had to hide in a pile of bubble wrap. Didn’t pop a one!

Anyway, I’m beginning to think the “good” unicorns maybe aren’t so good. Tomorrow, I’m going to try and contact one of the grey unicorns. Maybe we can team up and get rid of the White Unicorns. I mean, the grey unicorns breathe fire, so that should help, right?

Anyway, hope you have a day full of adventure!

Love,
Mom + Dad

P.S. Why are pirates called pirates?
Because they arrrrr.

Letters to Camp – Day 6

Scout!

We saw several pictures of you, back on the Swamp Monster, sailing a boat, riding a horse, posing with your cabin… you seem pretty busy!

I’m going to be honest, things are going… strangely here.

Today a bunch of White Unicorns showed up on our doorstep, and presented us with a bill for “services rendered.” It looked like this:

White Unicorns, Inc.
Invoice
Lucas Home, Meadowvale Drive

Dear sir and madam:

Below find a list of services rendered and their associated costs to you, the protected party. Please remit payment as soon as possible, or something truly awful could happen. Really.

__________________________
Prancing, General…………………………………………… $7,590.00
Rainbows, Multicolor………………………………………. $4,250.00
Happiness, General Feelings of……………………….. $2,139.69
Battle against Bad Unicorns…………………………….. $25.99
Coat Cleaning, after battle…………………………………$10,001.59
Wear and Tear on Horns…………………………………… $5,000.00

New Customer Discount…………………………………….. -$25.00
__________________________________________________
Total ………………………………………………………$28,982.27

Sincerely,
White Unicorn Industries
“Putting the Fancy in Fanciful for 6000 Years”

So, that’s very expensive. Not sure what to do about that. Might have to sell the house. And a kidney.

Anyway, nothing to worry about. We’ll take care of it, no problem.

Enjoy your day!
Love,
Mom+Dad

Letters to Camp – Day 5

Roooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooocketboy,

How’s it going?

We got your letter today, glad to hear all is going well. I look forward to hearing more about the Future Mondamin comic when we come up this Sunday.

Things are fine here, still. Mom and I had swim practice tonight. We stopped at the Little Free Library to see if the books we put in this morning had been taken. A few had, we think maybe J___ (C____’s sister) took a few. She was the one who was excited about it.

But as we turned to go inside, there was a White Unicorn there. Kinda out of nowhere. Really spooky.

He asked if we were enjoying their protection from the Grey Unicorns, and of course we said we were.

He asked how much it was worth to us. I didn’t understand, so I asked him to explain.

“How much are you willing to pay us to keep protecting you?” He asked

I was confused, because I thought they did this out of honor or whatever. Apparently not. I explained we didn’t have much to pay him, since we had just bought a lot of camping equipment and stuff. He got a mean look in his eye and ran into the woods.

Weird. Really weird. Not sure what to make of that.

Anyway, I’m sure it’s fine. These are the happy, sunny, rainbows kind of unicorn!

Anyway, enjoy your day at camp,

Love,
Mom + Dad