Avengers

A day outside in the – wait for it – warm Yorkshire sunshine……

An afternoon of outdoor table tennis. An afternoon of losing my pride. It’s never been my sport. One of the few sports I can’t pick up.

Dad Table Tennis is a MARVELlous sport. You do know the sport should be played like a game of chess. Carefully moving your opening around the table until an opening appears. That’s the idea. Your approach Dad is basically the Avengers Strategy. HULK SMASH…”

No need to mess about with the delicate strategy. Why waste time when with one massive swing of the bat you can immediately move to the ENDGAME

But Dad you are supposed to play with VISION.

Ok I’m out now, you win the pun war. Pick up your crisp packet. If you do then you can be scaAVENGERS hero.

I never THORt of that one Dad. Best keep the envIRON MANaged. I wonder if anyone else would understand these puns other THAN US.”

*********

Lets not forget the stereotype. Asperger Kids don’t have a sense of humour and can’t have fun ……….

Man of action

That’s as good as the weather has been in days. Apparently there is still blue sky up there.

I like to still see myself as a MAN OF ACTION. Unbounded reserves of energy. Chiselled, carved out of granite, built like Thor. I do try lots of exercise. Increasingly heavy weights and kettlebells. More and more sit-ups, press-ups and planks.

Sadly the reality is some what different.

Permanently feeling tired, trying not to nod off. A constant battle with my weight. A body more Homer Simpson’s than Superhero. AND I strongly suspect that any self respecting MAN OF ACTION won’t have Pirate George on his duvet cover.

The secrets out now…

Movies

We are running out of sun cream this summer….. So need protecting from the unbroken sun beating down on parched Yorkshire……

Over time you find ways to protect your inner self and your family. Unlike sun protection, these things are needed frequently here. With Son’s Aspergers he can suffer with severe anxiety attacks. To be fair I struggle as well. But over time you find ways to block out the anxieties for a little while. For me the best blocking techniques are running, exercise, music and climbing. With Son it’s dreaming, talking and watching wrestling. One thing that works for BOTH of us is watching movies.

I remember being told by various parents that I should limit screen and TV time. It’s bad for all kids. Apparently it’s ok for the same parents to watch as much TV as they like. Ok. We need to remember that all kids are different. Unique personalities. What works for one child may not be suitable for another. In the case of our Son, movies help brake the downward descent into an awful anxiety whirlpool. So when he needs to, he can watch a movie. If it takes two movies, then it’s back to back cinematic viewings. I guess the ultimate would be to watch the entire Marvel Universe in one sitting…..

The other upside to movies is that it helps with my anxieties as well. It’s good sometimes to forget the current world and just escape. Son tends to be in full control of the movie schedule. His choices will work for me. Often these are cartoons. That suits me just fine as I’m a big kid at heart. Nothing better than 90 minutes of ScoobyDoo or Ice Age. Part of me secretly would love to be deposited in one of those cartoon worlds. They always feel so much safer and more fun than ours.

Well the other night we both needed a bit of cheering up. So we sat in front of the TV and Son scanned the available options. Which Scooby movie would he pick. He might even pick a Marvel epic. This is going to be so cool…. Five minutes later we were watching the Playmobil movie.

Now that was not what I was expecting. Son hasn’t played with a Playmobil toy since he was about 4. Ok I will just grin and bare it. Well I will go to the bottom of our garden. WE both loved it. So much so that when I couldn’t sleep during the night, I watched it again. Ok that’s my rock and roll credentials blown out of the water but so be it. Yes its not going to get any Oscars but it certainly wins on the anxiety blocking scale. Now am I too old to get out the Playmobil figures……

Unbelievably while writing this ….the sun has come out. Where is the sun cream.

Ratings

It’s December. Its still sunny and its that time of year when you watch those movies you wouldn’t dream of watching during the rest of the year. It was like that before the world changed. It’s like that after the world changed.

But one teeny weeny request.

Please filmmakers and TV schedulers can we try not to do Christmas movies that at some stage involves death. Death of a parent, death of a lover, death of a pet, death of a main character. Last year we watched festive movies which without warning introduced the mum dying (3x), the dad dying (x1), grandparent dying (x1) and the family pet dying (x2). Really it’s CHRISTMAS. I know it’s hard to believe but many of us out here in viewing land will be going through grief. But it doesn’t stop there. I remember our son saying this during one particularly happy start to a film.

Why is it that so many films have a single dad whose either bad tempered, drinking and gambling. And the child who is behaving badly, has no friends and is being bullied. It’s never just a nice dad and child who are doing ok just a bit sad.

So what’s the answer apart from watch Guardians of the Galaxy on loop. Oh hang on that’s got a mum death. Ok apart from watching Big Hero 6 on loop. Oh hang on the robot dies. Ok part from watching Muppets Christmas Carol on loop.

Well the answer is a new movie classification system. One which actually tells you what the movie is really about. So for example if a PG movie contains a parent death you could label it PG-PD. Or if a pet dies it could be labelled PG-PED. Or if a loveable main character dies PG-LMCD. So as a parent I would be pre informed of the upcoming sadness. That way I can make an informed decision on if we should find another film.

So Big Hero 6 would be classified in the UK as PG-LMCD. Guardians of the Galaxy would be 12-PD.

But the new movie classification system could go further. Suddenly the movie watcher could be truly enlightened.

-JWTT all the best bits are in the movie trailer (Just Watch The Trailer)

-F movie contains super delicious looking Food (helpful for those trying to stick to a diet)

-A movie contains alcohol drinking (for those trying to give up)

-K movie contains Kissing (this ones for our Son, he doesn’t like kissing)

-ET movie contains Expensive Toys which kids may start wanting

-S movie contains Snakes and Spiders (useful for Ophidiophobia and Arachnophobia)

-L movie is Long so you had better go on the toilet before hand

-I movie is so boring that it’s a cure for Insomnia

-TD movie contains a Transport accident or Disaster (for those travelling tomorrow)

-AC movie contains Alvin and The Chipmunks

-NPCS this ones really important to stop wasting 10 minutes waiting for the Credits to finish at the end of the movie. It’s always a bit awkward being the only ones left in the cinema. No Post Credit Scene.

-W movie contains a Wrestler trying to act (think Hulk Hogan)

-WR movie contains The Rock acting (we like him)

-ANS movie has Action but No Story so you can safely fast forward between the action scenes

-HD movie claims to be true but is Historically Dodgie (think Braveheart)

-Q movie is very Quiet so probably not a good idea to get a mega sized popcorn tub

-U2 movie contains a grotesque playing of a Bono song.

Scene Cuts – Sci Fi (2)

Thank you to King Bens Grandma for the tag on this week’s Scene Cut Challenge. Scene Cuts is Rory’s (A Guy Called Bloke) great idea. It’s all about the love of movies. What are our favourite movie clips.

GUIDELINES: SCENE CUTS!

  • SELECT THREE FILM CLIPS FROM THE MOVIES GENRE OF THE DAY
  • THANK THE SELECTOR
  • SELECT 3 READERS TO TAKE PART IN SCENE CUTS

DOESN’T GET MUCH SIMPLER THAN THAT DOES IT ……

Yesterday I nominated our son to pick his 3 Sci Fi clips. Here goes.

Independence Day (1996)


https://youtu.be/vjFG-4Ge668 – Clip of times up….

Life of Brian (1979)

Not a Sci Fi movie but as son points out it has a 2 minute epic Sci Fi scene with one of the first swear words he heard from the TV.


https://youtu.be/pSY4fEEg4j0

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

One of sons favourite movies. The initial movie start is bleak especially for those kids who have lost a mum but the intro dance scene is as son puts it “cool beyond coolness”.


https://youtu.be/NbweNU-iU6c

The tree of hope

Three years ago I was trying to get my head round organising my partners funeral. At the same time I was trying to empty my mums house and wrap up her loose ends. My head was completely spinning. I was in full zombie grief mode.

One family personal trauma doesn’t stop the world from spinning. It carries on regardless. So I was immediately faced with continuing the application for our sons Education Health Care Plan. Sat bewildered at my partners desk trying to find on my own the words for the final application form. The words came so easy when it was two minds. Now the one failed me. Then the black pen stopped working. Couldn’t find another and the form had to be completed in black on the pain of ……

So I set off to the shops to buy a pen. But quickly I was lost in a sea of grief and unanswered questions. An hour later I found myself at a random garden centre. Clearly a good choice for stocking up on pens. I wandered around aimlessly looking at plant after plant. The cctv must have been focusing on me as I was clearly not acting like your ordinary shopper. Then I came across a sad looking tree. Actually more like a snapped twig. The label said ‘discounted Pear Tree due to damage’. I felt sorry for this broken life form pushed to a dark corner of the store. Now no more that an afterthought. It felt like me.

So I went in looking for pens and came out with Groot (Marvel Universe).

Over the next three years Groot has grown and is now about 5 feet tall. Looks surprisingly healthy. AND this year for the first time it’s produced pears. Just FOUR pears. But it’s not the fruit crop which is important here. It’s something completely different. It’s HOPE. When personal tragedy strikes your whole world is turned upside down. It will never be the same again. You move from creating memories together to replaying memories in isolation. But you can’t live your life in those memories. Life has to go on. In my case life did go on. Yes I miss her dearly. Yes sadness always feels just round the corner. Yes I’ve become increasingly isolated from society. But life has gone on. Sons Education Health Care Plan was approved. I’ve changed careers. Progress has been made with Dyslexia. The house no longer feels like a funeral parlour largely down to the addition of a barking mad dog. I’ve increased the range of foods I can destroy. And Groot is thriving. That gives me hope.

A brief moment in time

Off to see the birds. We set off for the RSPB reserve at 8am in glorious weather. Son was in great spirits happily firing facts in my general direction. I certainly upped my Puffin knowledge which sadly is not difficult.

Unbelievably I found Bempton Cliffs first time. Everything is going to plan. Even remembered not one but two pairs of binoculars. One pair being so old it predates the discovery of glass.

Son had drawn up a detailed itinerary which included a picnic. I wasn’t particularly hopeful on the picnic front. The chef conjured that up at 3am in a state of some disrepair. Not so much Gordon Ramsey more Gordon The Big Tank Engine.

As per the itinerary we visited the first viewing location. Absolutely stunning. Son spotting many different types with the newer binoculars. The view was not so clear with my prehistoric viewing aids. The combination of lens scratches, permanent fogging and the inability to focus took me back to my University Drinking Days – and that was just my knackered old eyes. As for the ancient binoculars – might as well have been trying to look through two Yorkshire Puddings.

Unfortunately at the second viewing point the plan went to pot. Before I could react the really helpful (and clearly very nice) bird expert suddenly approached son and asked him if he wanted to see a juvenile Gannet taking its first sea swim. The sudden and unplanned social interaction completely spooked our son. I could see the terror in his eyes. Bravely he took a very quick look through the bird experts spotting scope to see the swimming bird. A minute later we were quickly exiting the reserve – meltdown in progress. An hour later we arrived back home.

That’s just part of our Aspergers world. You can plan all you like. Risk assess to the finest detail but you can’t plan for everything. It’s nobody’s fault. Not the bird experts, not the parent, certainly not our son’s. These things just happen. All you can do is get back to the safety of the home, pull up the drawbridge and settle in. Try to come up with as many distractions as possible. Red Dwarf and Marvel are great. Football outside is a winner. Important point to Dad – we have a small garden so don’t try to hammer the ball with a bit of bend in to the top corner of our small goal – son will wet himself as I launch the ball into orbit – somehow it landed in the garden TWO houses away.

Three big pluses from the day:

  • RSBP Bempton is absolutely stunning so well worth a visit.
  • The Gordon the Tank Engine made picnic was not to shoddy at all.
  • If you have your picnic on the trampoline with the safety net closed it keeps the bugs off the food.

And above all at the end of the day son is smiling and that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter how you get there – just end up smiling.

Storm Bunker

We had a large thunder storm pass over this afternoon. The cat was taking no chances. After the first bang he made his way to his storm bunker.

Unbelievably the early morning cinema screening was very full. The cinema was mobbed. Not seen crowds like that since the ‘Everything for a Pound’ Store had a sale. It’s not a statistical significant sample population but from the early morning hordes I guess that The Avengers movie is going to pull in some astronomical numbers.

And yes it is an astonishing movie.

Yes the crowds unsettled our son but we took our customary place on the front row so no one could be in front of him or to the left of him. It’s so close to the big screen that I come away feeling like I’ve been chewing on magic mushrooms but it works for him.

For 3 hours we both lost ourselves in the Marvel Universe. All our problems and anxieties forgotten. Heroic deeds fill your heart. With even a bit of free grief counselling thrown in by Captain America. But sadly it doesn’t last. You eventually find yourself back in the same place with the same issues.

In fact it feels like we have regressed. Fifteen months ago we eventually secured some anxiety counselling for our son. I say ‘we’ as the fight to get some help started while my partner was still very much with us. It seemed to really benefit him. Progress was starting to be made. But now due to cutbacks that support has dried up. The anxieties are building and it feels like the system has cast him adrift again. We have been lucky really – far too many families get zero help – all they get is patronising comments from politicians who have no interest beyond their off shore bank accounts and rich friends.

So as the thunder rumbles on we try to fight demons. Health anxieties, fear of death, school anxieties, friend anxieties, social anxieties, reading anxieties, fear of being left alone anxieties…..

I’m no psychologist. I’m no health professional. I’m no education specialist. I’m not a grief counsellor. I’m just a parent trying to figure out this increasingly bizarre world with no one to help guide me. Doing the best I can. Deep down this scares me as what chance do I have when I can’t even come close to fixing myself. Queue worried face. 😱

Pleased to report the immediate threat to life and property must have passed as the cat has made his way back to his favourite chair again. That’s one less worry to deal with.

Bath time

Some pets are clean and tidy. Some pets are not. Some pets are dogs…

Captain Chaos won’t pass up the opportunity to roll in any unsavoury object. Mud, cat poo, soil, bird poo, grass, sheep poo, hay, cow poo…. You get the picture. You get the musty aroma.

Cometh the smell, cometh the bath. The dog bath doesn’t last long. Most of the water ends up on the floor, the walls, the windows, the ceiling, on me. Then you do your best to dry him then it’s release the mad one and he’s fully into his even madder 10 minutes of madness. Followed by you have guessed it, some more rolling about…..

It’s the early hours. We need a bit of a lift so in 4 hours son will get up and off we go to see an early morning (and hopefully relatively empty) screening of The Avengers – End Game. A screening starting at 6.30am – how mad is that. Thanos will still be in his pyjamas.

Captain Dumbo

Friday was a teacher training day so it’s a long weekend.

“Can you check if the cinema is empty. If it is can we go to see Captain Marvel”

For some reason the 12.15 showing only had 3 seats occupied. So off we went. Unusually for us we arrived early. Plenty of time to buy popcorn and a coffee for me. We took our seats in Screen 1. We sat on the front row – Son finds that less stressful.

We sat and waited. The adverts didn’t come on. Eventually 20 minutes late the pointless adverts about BMWs and Breakfast Cereals commenced. Then the movie trailers, Bizarrely nothing about the upcoming Avengers movie. Finally the lights go out – it’s show time. Bring on some Stan Lee magic.

Hang on a minute why is the film in double vision…

Hang on a minute why is that a Disney logo not Marvel…

The blurred film starts..

Dad this is Dumbo”.

It was. Wrong film. We would have sat and watched the film but it was the 3D version. Looking round the other people in the cinema had glasses on. That’s forward planning….

We quickly did the walk of shame out of the screen. Passing those smirking faces – ‘look at those twits – you can’t watch 3D without special specs”. The cinema has about 12 Screens. All the screens have double doors. One to take you to the right side and one to take you to the left side of the seating area. All except Screens 1 and 2. They only have one door. I saw the sign for Screen 1 and just assumed the right door took us to our side of the screen. Wrong that was the door for Screen 2.

Is it just me. Can’t we just have a routine day. Am I just completely incompetent. Good job that you don’t need to pass a test to become a parent.

So new tickets bought for the next showing in 1 hour. A quick Burger King. New pop corn purchased – didn’t have the heart to go and retrieve the ones we left with Dumbo. And finally we sit in the right screen and watched Captain Marvel.

I suspect I’ve blown my chances of making the Avengers Team although I could make a case for taking the lead role in Dumbo 2.