Nothing to say, just the photo…

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I hope that those wearing skirts or dresses are not put off by this store entrance…

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My first post for 2015 brings a smile to my face. We have returned from our Christmas holiday travels to the UK and France and spent copious hours travelling in planes, trains and automobiles. To which ‘The Pok’ (AKA my four year old son) quickly learned the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors” or as he calls it “Scissors, Paper, Rock”. The concept of one tool trumping another was difficult for him at first, but he quickly figured it out.

So as we were sitting at my father in-law’s place on Boxing Day he asked me, “Daddy, can we play a game?”

I duly responded, “Sure, what would you like to play?”

His response, “Scissors, Paper, Rock.”

I restrained displaying my disappointment at not being asked by my four year old to play Chess or Risk and told him – “Let’s play!”

As the first round went down it was a draw – two rocks

The second round was a draw again – two rocks

The third round was a win to me! – paper over ‘The Pok’s’ rock (I am not competitive – honestly).

The fourth round was another win to me – scissors to ‘The Pok’s’ paper

At this point, he was visibly unhappy at his burgeoning losing streak.

The fifth round produced a wildcard result – I was scissors, ‘The Pok’ was a fist with his index and middle finger extend making what looked like a knife.

I asked him, “What is that?”

He replied gleefully, “Daddy, it’s a ‘super cutter’! It cuts through scissors.”

I tried to explain to him, “you can’t have a ‘super cutter’, it has to be either a rock, paper, or scissors.” But it was no use, he invented the new tool and it was good against scissors.

Round six I decided to pull out a rock to bash this new ‘super cutter’. But NO!!!!

‘The Pok’ schooled me, “Daddy, the ‘super cutter’ cuts through everything – I win!”

Since then, several other tools have been invented to combat the ‘super cutter’. We now have the ‘super claw’ (crushes the ‘super cutter’ and all the regular tools), and the ‘super shooter’ (which blows away the ‘super claw’).

He is busily scheming up other tools as I write this (BTW – this is his game face).

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Christmas has arrived, and I am happy. I am enjoying Christmas Day with my wife, son, daughter, and in-laws. My son has been spoilt, and we are enjoying a cold Christmas for the first time in years. Here is to a chilled Boxing Day (maybe watching some football or cricket – or both), and in parting I wish to repeat the annunciation to the shepherds by the angels.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Merry Christmas all!

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Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 4-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

My Christmas holiday has finally commenced, with only a few more sleeps till the big day. On the weekend we had family and friends over our place for a bit of an open house BBQ session, which gave ‘The Pok’ an opportunity to play hide and seek with his extended family. After a few lame rounds (from the young ones), I had to get in the mix and show them how it was done [translation:- Adult turns into child after one too many ciders… that 5 Seeds is yum]. So I took my son’s hand and showed him how I play the game.

Of course, home ground advantage kicked in and we knew the choice spot to conceal ourselves – the basement level garage. In the counting pandemonium we snuck away down the stairs very quietly beneath everyone. The other kids were quickly discovered, and then the hunt for us began.

We could hear the commotion above us, and we waited for the inevitable descent by our pursuers. Being kids, they made enough noise to wake sleeping elephants as they banged, chatted, and clattered down the stairs.

‘The Pok’ said to me, “They are never going to find us down here.”

I replied, “[Pok] let’s go and hide in front of the car.”

What was unbeknownst to us was the reason for our pursuers making so much noise. They were scared sh!tless going into a basement level that they had never seen before.

As they opened the door one of the kids yelled out to abate his fear “Are you guys down here?”

‘The Pok’ held up a finger to his lips, i.e. Dad don’t you dare give us away. Silence was our response.

That was too much for the our pursuers and they hurried back up the stairs, confident that they had thoroughly searched the scary basement.

I was quite chuffed, we had evaded capture [it doesn’t take much for to amuse the adult]. I turned in joy to look at ‘The Pok’ but instead of seeing a look that reflected our little victory, a shocking look descended upon his faced. He had realised something…

“Daddy, we could be downhere forever!”

Yep, no confidence in our pursuers’ search capabilities whatsoever.

So I pulled the pin and asked him, “Do you want to go back up and surprise them?”

He nodded eagerly, keen to hatch another sneaky plan.

We stealthily climbed the stairs, hands held in the dark to maintain our element of surprise. Listening and waiting for our pursuers to walk past the basement door again, we burst into the hallway and both shouted “BOO!” That proceeded to scare the living daylights out of them (and they were already a bit frazzled from the earlier basement search).

Even in defeat we achieved victory, and ended our “eternal” concealment.

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It has taken me a bit of time to work out what I would write in this post. By now the majority of people who will read this post know what happened in Sydney just over 24 hours ago. And I would be lying if I did not say that the incident has shook me up.

I was never in any danger, Sydney is a big city after all with over 4.5 million residents. But I think the siege hit home because at one time I was close to the cafe where the tragedy occurred. I worked directly opposite the Lindt cafe for over three years. Out of all the surrounding cafes, this was my favourite. After all, the Lindt cafe does the best hot chocolate in Sydney. That’s my pick me up – not coffee. Of course, it is stocked with all sorts of chocolate goodness as well. I would love meeting up with co-workers for a sneaky chocolate snack in the afternoon, in the guaranteed knowledge that the Lindt cafe would have a dark chocolate goodie. And a workers in the cafe would always hand me the snack with a smile.

On the day when the criminal assailant walked in, we received an email informing us that something was going on with our office across from the cafe, and the physical lock down procedures were put in place. I sensed something was wrong. Then the TV in the kitchen started to show our NSW Police Officers deploying around the cafe. I have worked very closely with the Police in the past, and I knew immediately that I was watching the Tactical Response Group in action – things were serious. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the NSW Police and the job they do. They deal with bad and the ugly on a daily basis, and very seldom the good. What was unfolding before my eyes was bad. I rang my wife to tell her to stay at home and not meet me for lunch. My wife was confused, until she saw the TV coverage. My son was upset that he would not see me for lunch, but my wife lovingly shielded him from the real reason. At the time no one knew whether this was a coordinated and planned attack – or the act of a lone deranged criminal with a completely shattered moral compass.

Most people now know how the events tragically unfolded…

It all came to an end while most of Sydney slept. We woke up to the awful news. As I kitted up to go cycling training, I could not clear my head. To say this totally clouded my thoughts is an understatement. As I pushed the pedals I could not think of anything else, and my session clearly reflected that. I was not the only one, we were all collectively flat. I was sad, angry, empty, all at once. I waited for any news of who the hostages were, and whether any of them were my old work colleagues. As the reports and the names came in, thankfully none of them were.

Putting it in perspective, this is not about me. Two people lost their lives to a criminal who should have been locked up – not out on bail. He likely planned the murder of his ex-wife and was up on 40 counts of sexual and indecent assault. He took the p!ss when he applied for asylum into Australia under false pretenses, and should never have been let into the country. Then when he got here, he actively fought against the fabric and foundations of our society – flaunting our faces incredulously in our own tolerance. Even when he got here he should have been extradited back to Iran because he was a criminal fraud over there. And all the while our NSW Police knew exactly his character and pleaded with our Legal system who failed to lock him away. He even smeared his own religion with his unconscionable actions, trying to tarnish thousands of Australians of the same faith.

It would be too easy to call this terrorism, the fact is that is was an evil crime.

While I read today about over 140 children who were killed by extremists in Pakistan, the tragedy of my own city is what is occupying my thoughts. I know enough about the world to know that this can happen in my home city. I am not that naive. But I can’t help but feel an indescribable loss. My city was attacked by one person who wanted to take down my fellow Sydneysiders, for no reason other than his own evil motives. My city fought back, and did not allow him the vehicle or platform, and people were hurt as a result.

For Sydney and all those who were dragged into this horrible ordeal, I say a quiet prayer. No photos, no hashtags, just a quiet prayer. And maybe one day I will be able to explain to my son and daughter the real reason why they could not meet me for lunch that day.

Nothing to say, just the photo (with a little help from Pixlr on my Android).

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My kids have brought me a lot of joy this year, with the addition of number two and our 4 year old son (AKA “the Pok”) with all his crazy antics. One of the highlights would have to be taking my son to the local bike store and putting him on his first pedal bike. He has already been scooting around on his balance bike since he was about 1 1/2 so I was hoping the graduation to pedals would be smooth. I would be lying if I said it was. I had to shave 20mm off of the seat post so he could put his feet down, and the pedals were just getting in the way, collecting his legs as he comes to a Fred Flintstone stop (you know the one that relies on a solid pair of shoes underfoot to avoid gravel rash in your heel).

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I thought that for the first couple of goes I would leave the training wheels on – MISTAKE! He loved them a bit too much and there was much rancor when I pulled them off. Even flat out refusal to ride. The reality is he was scared of falling. So after following him on a couple of rides (translation: running after him to catch him if he fell), he has found the courage to pedal. This is not the first clip of him riding, that will always just be for us, but now look at him motor!

Yes he has a rubber neck, but I am one very proud Dad! The cyclist in me says look at his cadence. The Dad in me says I hope he learns to stop before I have to buy a new pair of shoes. Now to get him primed to go over jumps!

My wife planned a date night for this last weekend a while ago with tickets to John Legend. A few of life’s dice did not roll our way in the last week, so when we got to Friday I was not in the mood. But my wife did not entertain for one little bit missing out on the concert – and I am glad that she didn’t. After a quiet evening stroll to the Entertainment Centre, we arrived at our seats about a minute before John Legend took to the stage. There were no gaudy stages or extravagant smoke displays, just a well lit stage and a fantastic backing band including a four piece string quartet.

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I love going to see John Legend play. He is a cheeky musician who writes some saucy songs, but all with a veneer of clean music over the top. And I suppose there is no shortage of ego either. But he is one very talented musician! Maybe he was onto something when he moved on from being a management consultant to tour and travel the world…

Nothing to say, just the photo (with a little help from Pixlr on my Android).

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