Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Our dirty phone that we use for oafish companies

Meet our dirty phone.

It only took me 18 years of having a mobile to work out that having a fake phone number that isn't so fake that you can't get in there to confirm it's real, but very very dirty.

My mate Rob grew up in Leytonstone, which meant he was cursed with a home number that started with the code "555".
And the next 4 digits were really easy too - I remember them clearly 25 years on.

I saw girls literally roll their eyes on seeing the phone number being handed over to them.
It could not look more fake if you tried.


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My list of all the indulgences that stop me earning cash - (adventures of a tightwad dad)

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Monday, 16 February 2015

How to Lego Party - (another adventure of a tightwad dad)

Had a Lego party, for a load of 5 and 6 year old boys, and this is how it looked.

Pulled from all over the web and our heads, so no idea who did them first:

First off get yourself some Lego baking moulds via ebay or Amazon.

Use them to make Lego mini-figure chocolates...

Or if you can melt down old crayons in the oven, Lego minifigure crayons...

Or confuse the kids with both. They'll Lego mini-figure it out, right?

In my head, we can get these in packs of 3 from the 99p Shop.
But, like all my 99p Shop head wishlisting, think I completely made this up.
Anyway, the idea is that when the 'constructors' arrive... everyone gets a hi-vis vest.

Any Dad who has been anywhere near a party knows, you need name stickers, so you're not impolitely asking "erm... you there"... to stop rubbing cake into your TV screen.

Square and rectangle sponge blocks, with marshmallows for the nubs, primary colour icing, and decorated with minifigures standing on top.

Maybe a construction crew? Or firefighters for the candles?

Choose a RED or a BLUE brick from the bag of red and blue bricks when you arrive.
You get a Red or a Blue sticker for your hi-vis vest.
(OR Red or Blue laminated card on a lanyard?
We haven't got 14 lanyards.
They'd probably end up strangling each other with them anyway.)

There's a big scoreboard on the wall, totting up the Red Team/Blue Team points.
We've not thought through the team scoring system yet.
I know that this will fall apart - like sticking to the rules of musical statues.

When the constructors turn up, there's a big crate of lego and 13 baseplates
(Yep, managed to invite an uneven number, but the birthday boy can be the demonstrator, or something).
Anyway, during the free play, the best lego model using only SEVEN pieces wins - judged blind.
Judging/Prize-Giving at the end of the party, but that was too organised.
They just wanted to get building and talk minimally to each other.

COLOURING IN - a.k.a. Design a Lego Man
A4 sheets of a plain lego character, and some pens.
Probably biggest hit of the party.

This is weak but could be done at the start of the party too.
Needed a jar, and some things to put in it.
Plus paper for the entries (Name and Number)
This was never going to work, and everyone was enjoying the freeplay and drawing too much to pull this out.

The music played during the rounds will of course be from the... Transformers original movie score by Steve Joblinksy. It's mixing up the theme and brands, but it's got that right sense of urgency and action tension.
I see it as exposing my son to the wonders of Classical Music.

Big box of lego, 13 base plates, 1 minute, and more music
Who can build the highest tower without it toppling.
Win points for the team - and having worked out a really complicated scoring system, realised we could just add up the numbers of levels.
Lined ths up and didn't even bother needing it.

This is my favourite one.
Each party goer chooses a blown up balloon - which all have a small piece of lego inside.
In our heads, we want this to be a 2x2 (or as I'd call it a "four" brick).
Dunno if I can get those into the balloons we've got.
Then they each pop them (thought they'd love this but had to pop some for them).
With B&Q safety goggles for the PPE look.
ONE BALLOON has a 'Golden brick' - which wins a prize. That team gets 5 points.
HALF THE BALLOONS have white bricks - they get two points.
HALF THE BALLOONS have black bricks - worth one point.

Okay, alright. running thin now.
But all we'd need is 13 straws - and the format of this contest was:
"who can blow their brick across the table first".
Either all in one go, or heats, or timed with a stopwatch
Didn't need to bother with this one.

Every team member gets the same 5 different shaped legos
(in their team colours of blue or red).
They throw them into the two buckets which are worth 1, 2 or 3 points.
We add up the points to add to their scoreboard.
Maybe spot prizes for anyone who gets a brick into the "3" bucket.

This was a terrible idea.
Tried googling Lego Bingo Cards to print off, but it was never going to happen.

We've got winter birthdays, so this didn't work, but for a garden...
Run to the end with lego in the cup? - Not sure about this
Doomed to failure. Especially in February.

Primary colour bags, with circles for nubs, and a minifigure head as tag.
Try this link for a minifigure head template as a word document.

Legal disclaimer:
Lego is, of course, a phenomenally dangerous substance.
You should under no circumstances attempt any of the activities described on this website.
If you do, let me know how you get on by clicking on the tiny word "Comments" below.
Or tweet me.


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I walk too slowly down Leather Lane - Dad stuff for my kids

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Monday, 26 January 2015

I walk too slowly down Leather Lane - Dad stuff for my kids

Sauntering down Leather Lane the other day - had someone right behind me yelling:


A bloke off a building site burst round me, all red face and hi-vis vest, shouting in my face.


I was walking too slowly.

On the pavement.

Trouble is, I go from nought to chopsy in under a second.

But it was one of those situations that was so stupid, so massively dumb, that it was delicious.

Everything went like a Matrix-style slow-mo.

I was kind of enjoying this curveball.

In that split second I went from rage to feeling sorry for this man.

That the work he has to offer the world is so immense, that people walking on a pavement are actual physical obstacles to him.

So I offered my profuse apologies.

And then some more, just to make sure I could take it to the next level of sarcasm.
(There we go.)

The words didn't even come out right, but it was something along the lines of

You've clearly got some very important business to attend to right now.

And he turned round, almost broken, but indignant - like he's nailed some great argument that never happened - and replied.

Yes. Yes I do, actually.

And with that, he purposefully strode off.

Which would have been his win.
Had his destination not been 3 metres later, here.

Where he had to sheepishly join the end of the queue at Chicken Cottage.
And stand there.

While I walked past.
Very slowly.

The less I say, the bigger people come off as pillocks.

And probably the saddest thing is, I always, always, forget that.

All my Dad Stuff For My Kids is here

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Even more new rules for our house 2015 (adventures of a tightwad dad)

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Thursday, 22 January 2015

More questions from my kids that I can't be arsed to look up on wikipedia

All fielded and written down.

None researched or answered.

Why do we have to wear clothes?

Why do we have to pay for things with money?

They're called Missiles, so why do they have the word "miss" in them?
Shouldn't they just be called bullets?

The buttons at big junctions that say "WAIT" don't really do anything, do they?

What happens to coins when they get lost?
Down the sofa, or overboard a ferry, in the loft, or a German's jar.
Do they make new ones, or guess how many might be gone?


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The Dads favourite bit from "Frozen" - adventures of a tightwad dad

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Monday, 19 January 2015

I was a terrible terrible script ripper - (Dad stuff for my kids)

(picture credit)

These days, I'm a script writer.
When I first started in TV, I was a script ripper, for CNN.
It involved literally ripping the scripts that churned 5-ply from a printer, and handing them out to the control room, the autocue... and the presenting news anchor.

They'd often try out anchors from Atlanta on the shows from London.
One day, there was yet another one in, and I dashed in last minute to dump the wadge of scripts in front of him.
"Hi, I'm Rick Sallinger" He said.
"Oh, hello!" I beamed. And replied "I'm Neil, Neil Mossey"
I thought he looked at me like I was a bloomin' idiot.
Confused at this bit of weirdness - and frankly, rudeness - I exited the studio door into Main Control.

And on all the screens there, realised that he was just trying to do the main intro.

All my Dad Stuff For My Kids is here.
Sort of. when I get round to pasting them all in.

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More new rules for our house 2015 (adventures of a tightwad dad)

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