Category Archives: family

Science Fiction/Double Feature

Michael Rennie was ill the day the earth stood still
But he told us where we stand
And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear
Claude Raines was the invisible man
Then something went wrong for Fay Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace it came from outer space
And this is how the message ran:
Science Fiction – Double Feature
Dr. X will build a creature
See androids fighting Brad and Janet
Anne Francis stars in Forbidden Planet
Oh-oh at the late night, double feature, picture show.

WP_000692

Seriously, that is how I felt in the early hours of Saturday the 1st of September 2012…I was Brad helplessly watching my Janet fight androids in her belly and just hoping that somehow I would survive the ordeal with my Janet safe and the android bundled neatly into a wrap…

Well, everything turned out great, in the end, the labour wasn’t fun, Emma somehow managed to hang on for more than eight hours without any drugs and I survived the full ordeal with no broken fingers. The emergency procedures and the panic at seeing my strong wife so beleaguered after such an epic struggle was the hardest part for both of us but once we were holding the new addition in our arms it all got forgotten rather quickly.

Mi Joolie!Julian Elwood Danger Gill (registered as Wyatt Harvey Danger Gill but we reserved the right to change our minds :) ) was born to us as a tiny little human weighing in at 3.26 kilograms and looking like a wise little monk.

I know he is wise, he is, after all, my son…

Be that as it may, my previous blog post was on August 31st and was published at noon. Who knew that a little over 12 hours later I would be crying and smiling and hopping around with joy and relief?

Who knew that a little under four months later and I would be on the edge of 2013, looking back into 2012 to see all the things that had come to pass and to plan the things still to come and be thinking to myself… “Self, this was a fucking good year! Let’s have some more like that!”

The Suns
The Suns

Refocussing parental energies around two kids from having only one is no mean feat. Emma and I have worked hard to ensure that Griffin still feels like he is the centre of our universe and only that he now shares the centre of the universe with another little being who adores him and whom he adores.

This has kept us busy beyond anything I thought possible, to a point where even my idle time pursuits have all been shelved in light of spending more play time with Griff or sleep time with Emma when the chances arose.

The past four months have seen us not only celebrate the birth of little Julian Elwood Danger, but also seen my mom come to visit from the USA to meet her new Grandson, Emma and I decided to become vegan’s with a softer start at vegetarian, Griffin started karate, we had a wonderful Halloween, Griffin turned 8, we celebrated our 3 year anniversary in this house, changed real estate agents three times, Christmas has been and gone and my mom came out for a crazy four day whirlwind visit then too, JUST to keep a promise she made to Griff! I aspire to be the kind of grandparent she is :)

I mention Griffin started karate, this is a big thing for him and a massively difficult thing for me…

 

How to beat up your dad…

Watch this video on YouTube.

 

Ok, so maybe you didn’t want to watch 10 minutes of me being beaten up by my eight year old, but he will be relishing these moments where he gets to shout “NO MORE MR NICE GUY!” for years to come.

I, sadly, will be feeling the bruises for as long as he thinks he still needs to hit me with all his might… Even sadder is that Julian is going to grow up watching his poor old dad being beaten by his idolized big brother and he will want to follow suit… What have I done?

While Emma and the kids are the focus of my entire existence, there are many other things that I do and want to do that help me remain defined as who I am.

Watching another year roll towards me I have decided to focus a small part of my attention to something i have wanted to do for as far back as I can remember, all the way back to Standard 2 when I first read “The Hobbit”.

I want to write.

Not the corporate stuff I output on a daily basis, but fictional work that tests and works my creativity and imagination in ways I have hitherto not yet fully explored. To that end, after a wonderful chat with the fantastic Nerine Dorman, I am all charged up and ready to go.

In the coming months you will see this humble little blog start to put out weekly short stories as I feel my way around story writing, please feel free to comment and critique, both good and bad, let me know what you felt and what you’d like to see more of.

Interspersed through that you will find the usual fare of family life updates and other bits that tickle my fancy for my blog is my musing point, it is where I store my thoughts for posterity…

So roll on 2013, raising babies, writing stories, growing, developing and living life, for if there is one thing the MBE has taught me, it is that a life unlived isn’t a life at all.

Peace.

Emma and Julian

August and the Baby has not cometh…

August has been a month of complete madness here in the Gill household.

Griffin has been in his summer holidays, I have come home to work full time while waiting for Axel Harvey Danger Gill to grace us with his presence and Emma has gotten steadily bigger.

Add to that Emma and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary!

End of anniversary sherry, with gorgeous pins alongside <3

I mean, we have actually done a huge amount of stuff, considering we have been hoping to have a little baby join us for the past few weeks already. I would hazard a guess that there are no women out there who are as strong as my wife, not that I am biased or anything, but she is an absolute pillar of magnificence and a continuous inspiration to me.

In the past month we have gone caravanning at Fishguard, a nice weekend away to get both Griff and Emma out and about because the confines of a home get rather dreary after too much cabin fever has set in.

We have also enjoyed almost every break in the weather and had MANY trips to the beach for evening swims or kayaking sessions. These are no mean feat for a pregnant beauty, let me tell you. The beaches around us are super wide, required extended walks to get to the water and with a 7 year old son who just wants to rough house and surf and kayak, preggie mum is less exciting than crazy dad, so Emm has largely had to fend for herself in many of these trips to the beach

We have had the Gower Show (at which I bought a gorgeous new hat), we have had blue skies and rain rain rain…

Griffin and I have played football, played the fool and have kayaked so much we have become professionals.

All of this while waiting for a little baby to come and join us.

The “Name Game” has really heated up too.

We currently have a whole load of names that we are looking at.

We have a series of variation of all of these names and every day we try out something new.

The current favourites seem to be sticking at Axel Harvey Danger Gill, Wyatt Elwood Harvey Gill, Wyatt Harvey Danger Gill and Fergus Harvey Danger Gill.

All things considered this baby is going to be a humdinger for us as if we can’t decide his name this close to birth, how are we going to decide what his first cool onesie (baby grow?) is going to be? Ok, who am I trying to kid, that has already been decided because Emma has packed the hospital bag and loaded it into the car.

Anyway, I know that over the next month I am not going to have much time to post many blogs so I will leave you with this image of Griffin contemplating how far out we have paddled.

 

 

The onwards progression of mankind

Having just come back from Toronto where I stayed for a week while attending the incredible Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2012), I have had a fair amount of travel time to think and reflect on all manner of things.

Admittedly, most of this has centred around Microsoft and their technology and Mimecast and our partner ecosystem.

As usual, he rest of my thoughts have been focussed on my family and how they are getting on without me, when I will next speak to them and what surprises I will get them for letting me go away for so long.

On this train on the way from London to Swansea, I engaged in a text mesage string with Emma, letting her know which train I was on and my expected arrival times, while she filled me in on her movements for the day, typical logistical stuff. Typical that was until I received

opp

“Opp”? I was more than a little flummuxed so I texted back saying “por que?” [side note: I know that por qué means 'why' but I have always used it in the 'what' context because its all Greek to me...]

A good few minutes later I got

Don ‘ t de silly Bazza it’s me griffin

Ok, so my 7 year old son has commandeered Mum’s iPhone. That makes sense… Not to be outdone by my son, I wrote back a little mood booster so that the next few hours with Mum pass without incident. I told him he was beautiful, clever and strong. I also said that I have lots of surprises for him.

I got back

Okay

Followed by

Yay thank you and I can ‘ t wait for you. By Griffin . I roat my name so you would reemembir.

After I had finished laughing and beaming with pride, i got to thinking about what this means and I came up with a few thoughts about the development of mankind.

Firstly, it is no secret that children are losing their childhood faster than we as adults did. Much of this is attributed to the content so readily available to them on the Internet, television and cinema.

I have always largely agreed with this and tried to appropriately shelter Griffin from the horrors of the world and let him keep on being a happy and healthy child that develops at his own rate.

Today that changed.

Now I don’t claim this to be an original thought, nor have I researched it in any way, I have simply decided to capture my unfinished thoughts into this post and see hat others think.

After receiving that text I spent a little time reminiscing – with pride I might add – on the things that Griffin does to emulate me.

He idolizes me, he wants to be me, he wants me to be happy. Ok, most of the time he ants himself to be happy, I am just a by product of that :)

Griffin reads his bedtime story to me via Skype when I am away

Griffin sees me working all day at my computer and heading off to London every week to work in the offices at Mimecast and he wants nothing more than to have his own computer and in fact a room in my flat in London of his very own so that he too can come and work at Mimecast. He has asked me on many an occasion to get him a job there, telling Mum that she must “look after the house while Bazz and I go to work”.

He has even gone as far as basically booting Mum off of her own desk in my office and claiming it as his own so that he too can “work” in “his office” – just like Dad…

He wants to drive cars like me, he wants to have a cell phone like me, he wants to have money like me and he wants to be able to make decisions like me. Granted, this is not all about me and me alone, much of this is also an emulation of Emma too, I am just looking at this from my perspective.

Griffin has already “owned” two laptops. He was a little too young for them and ended up breaking them through his lack of understanding of how to be careful with something as delicate as an old and falling apart laptop… He had Windows XP on one and an educational Linux distro on the other and both of them very slowly beaten into submission by his accidental knocks and drops.

Every time he sees another child with a mobile, he tries desperately to get Emma and I to give him one, using the fact that other children have got them as his justification for us to get him one. We have pseudo-capitulated and he now has an old Nolia feature phone that I have been keeping in my office as a backup in case of emergency…

Every night at bed time, Griffin asks us the same question

What time are you going to bed?

Every night we tell him that we are going to bed later as we have grown up things to do.

When he sees us looking at film previews and we say we want to watch them, so does he and he is very quick to tell us how unfair it is for us to be able to watch things that he isn’t allowed to simply because he is too young.

Anyway, are you seeing the pattern here?

He wants to be just like his parents, the people he knows the most, loves the most and idolizes more than anyone else he knows. This is perfectly natural.

It is also I believe the primary reason that children today are growing up so fast.

Lets take a look back at the past. My past specifically.

When I was a child, my parents both worked. They dropped my brother and I at nursery school in the mornings and collected us some time in the afternoon. We had sitters and nanny’s looking after us while they were at work.

When they came home, they did so without shiny gadgets and 24 hour availability, they came home and played with us, ate dinner and took part in family life.

Granted, my folks got divorced when I was about 4 years old, but that pattern continued with my mom. Work happened at work, play happened at home. If we weren’t playing at home, we were helping clean up the house, cook the food or doing homework.

I still wanted to be able to drive the car and in fact occasionally got the opportunity to steer the car sitting in my Mom’s lap, driving down the dirt roads on the way to Tante Hannah’s farm, where I would run around with the other kids chasing chickens, looking at tortoises and begging for rides on the tractor.

If I wanted to watch a movie, we had to travel all the way to Film Fanatix in Craighall Park to rent an 8mm reel with something or other on it, hang a sheet across a window and wait for it to get dark so we could actually watch the thing. We had a small slice of time available in the afternoons to watch children focussed broadcasts and a single five minute cartoon during the breakfast broadcast in the morning.

Television simply wasn’t a focal point.

We had the TV on while we ate our evening meal, but the kids sat with their back to the TV and the adults watched the news in the background.

I remember thinking that I wanted to be a cowboy, I wanted to be a fireman, I wanted to be a policeman. Later, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I don’t recall ever wanting to be an engineer like my dad?

Our parents had no ipads and smartphones, computers at home didn’t happen until we were signficantly older and talking on the telephone to someone in another country was a big deal.

These days, non of that holds true and I think it is this invasion of our homes by the technology and work practices that we as modern humans have been perpetuating that is causing our children to grow up faster than needs be.

Why should they settle for playing cowboys and indians when they can play on Mum’s iPhone? Mum plays on her iPhone ergo it is a suitable entertainment device.

Why should they stay little when they are trying so desperately to grow up – LIKE WE ALL DID – and are being given the tools to do so by their own parents?

I work from home all the time, Griffin sees me working from home and he wants to work. I never saw my parents working and so I never wanted to work like them. Not until much later in life anyway. I use a Windows Phone – Griffin wants a BlackBerry (I used to have one of those so its validated in his mind…) I stay up late, travel and watch whatever movies I want and he wants all of this and will fight tooth and claw to grow up.

Children get exposed to adult themed content accidentally all the time. They listen to what their parents are talking about and they apply their own context to what they hear. They see the news, the see the newspapers, they are exposed to humanity on a daily basis and let’s face it – that is probably the most “adult” theme of them all. We rape, burn, pillage and destroy without a care in the world.

On one hand we talk about cruelty to anumals being appaling and on the other we smile while we carve the flesh off of animals we have bought at the supermarket.

We tell them smoking is bad and come home reeking of smoke (well i used to – almost 5 months without a drag now) and we tell them booze is bad while sipping our chardonnay.

I propose that it is not television, cinema and the Internet that is causing our children to grow too fast but rather that it is societal change that is introducing work and technology to the home that was never there before.

Comments welcome!