Archives for category: The Pok

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, says some really funny things with the reasoning of a 5-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

The Pok has started school this year and it has been an experience for both him and his teacher. His teacher has been formally introducing both him and his classmates to words and letters. Each week there is a ‘letter of the week’ in which the children are asked to come up with words that start with the designated letter. The letter of the week is the only piece of learning that he is keen to share with us after school at home.

A few weeks in, it was with great joy at the dinner table that The Pok blurted out,

“Guess what this week’s letter is?”

I responded with “C” (I always say “C” – what’s in a name?).

He shouted, “Nooooo! It’s ‘F’ silly.”

My wife asked, “Did any of the kids say some ‘F’ words?”

The Pok recalled, “Somebody said ‘fish’ and someone else said ‘four’, but the class didn’t guess too many.”

I then asked, “Did you come up with an ‘F’ word?” Hoping to the heavens that our son did was not the kid to drop the “F” bomb in kindergarten.

The Pok pondered…

“Daddy, I said ‘fart’ and the whole class started giggling”.

Phew – at least he reached for flatulence and not profanity.

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In my last post about my son’s birthday party preparations I wrote about the construction of lightsabers. That was a surefire opportunity rev up the 4/5 years into bashing each other for hours with what they thought were laser swords. But I could not rest on my laurels – R2-D2 had to attend this party. I asked myself what would be the best way to do that in a fun and interactive way with the kids without taking a year to construct a droid, but also not have it look like crap. The answer:

R2-D2 Keg Mode

Or more correctly, an R2-D2 that functions as a drink dispenser for the kids to keep hydrated with. Here is the end result, and I got quite a reaction from the kids and parents. While it took considerably longer than the construction of the lightsabers, this was definitely more fun.

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I gave myself three weeks to build this, and most of the work was done at night after work in the garage. I looked on the internet to see if anyone else had done something similar, but alas my plans are original. While it was not quite to the same standard as the little guy below, I tried to get my Artoo as accurate as possible in its construct.

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Raw Materials

I put some thought about what was needed, and in the end the construct would come down to three main components:

  • I would make his legs out of construction grade pine. Strong enough to support 10L+ of drinking water plus the weight of my “keg” droid.
  • His body would be formed from what he is commonly criticised as looking like – a “bullet” waste bin (domed lid with cylindrical body).
  • A water bladder to store the drinks.

He would need to be painted and decorated to add the features. This would all be through paper, card, and a bit of art material – as well as a whole heap of concentration and improvisation. But he had to look as real as possible.

The Legs and Body

So I constructed his legs out of a couple of 4 by 2 pieces of wood. The mitre and saw came into good use again. From the two pieces of wood came his legs and feet. I went on feel this time in terms of proportions instead of direct measurements. And of course the dimensions would have to line up with the size of the body.

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The off-cut would end up forming the feet. No rollers on this droid though (or rockets embedded in the legs).

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The bullet bin itself was sourced from my local hardware store. I knew exactly what I was after, but surprisingly it was not easy to find (there are a lot of square bins out there). The domed lid would form Artoo’s head, but obviously the colours were wrong – he needed a paint job. But to prepare the paint job I needed to rough up the smooth surface of the lid to grip the paint. The rest of the body needed a good clean with soapy water.

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I quickly sized up the proportions of the legs and did a bit more trimming of the legs with the saw. You will also notice the cross-bar piece of wood, this would form the support of Artoo’s body as the attachment of the body to the legs was going to be a couple of screws through the plastic into the wood – maybe not strong enough to support 10+kg worth of load. My son, “The Pok”, wanted to help me do the building but he had no idea what I was doing until I sized him up. I asked him “What do you think we are building?”

He paused and then realised with a massive grin on his face, “Daddy, are we building Artoo?” – you bet.

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After the main bit of cutting was completed, I wanted to kick over to the fun but toxic bit – paint time. I set up a little paint box in the corner of the garage and had purchased a couple of cans of acrylic spray paint. I ended up putting on three coats of white paint for the body and 3 coats of grey paint for the domed head. This was three nights of drying as well – hence why it took me a few weeks to pull together – a lot of elapsed time.

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On the nights that I was not applying the paint, I continued with the construction of the legs. The next step was to trim the feet, which were generally trapezoid in shape. Again the mitre proved its value with the pre-defined angles coming into use. The initial angle from the base of the leg into the foot would then be overlaid with a second steeper angle where the real cut would be made.

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Once the feet were trimmed I was able to then start with the join. There were a couple of ways I could of done this, but I chose a simple gang nail plate that I bashed into the wood via a mallet.

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The next step was to get the legs together against the supporting cross-bar. With the aid of four “L” brackets and their screws, I joined the legs and cross-bars together.

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Now we are talking! Artoo, we are beginning to see you.

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Now that the leg construct was coming together, the first reassembly of the painted body was needed. My son and I began to get excited on first viewing – Artoo was shaping up quite well.

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A quick test for fit by inserting the body was required to take in any further adjustments on the legs or cross-bar. I ended up having to shave of 25mm off the cross-bar to have the legs more closely aligned to the body.

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I removed the body after this so that I could spray the legs with multiple coats of white paint. The wood didn’t take to the spray paint as well as the plastic body of the bin.

Detailing the Droid

Here is where the fun, and most of the time came in. Artoo is a droid with much detail on both his head and body. To be accurate, I needed to detail the construction of Artoo with more decoration. Rather than settling for paint markings directly onto the droid, I detailed paper and card with blue, white, and silver pens to represent his arms and hatches. But first I started with the eye which has seen the full history of Star Wars and never had its memory erased.

I took a multi-layered approach with some 12mm foam card where I carved the back end of it to be more circular in line with the dome. The black card was then detailed further to represent a faux reflection of the glass eye itself. The shinyness of the glass eye was done via a transparency sheet over the top of the black foam card. To top it all off I placed the final bit of blue card to represent the top plate.

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A bit tricky, but I think it achieved the effect. You can see the first set of markings on his dome placed on as well. I am not entirely happy with this detail as it was quite hard putting flat paper on a spherical surface. My patience with geometry was well out of the window at this stage.

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The remain detail on his body was probably more time consuming just trying to get right the proportions of all the hatches and his arms. In the end, I landed on it, with a bit of eye judgement and the eye and dome as a reference point. I also used copious images from the internet to see as much detail as possible. This is definitely beginning to look like the droid that I was looking for.

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The Bladder

Now here is where I had a major decision to make. Do I put the water valve in the centre of Artoo for symmetry, or put it off to the side? Given that it was a kids birthday party and I didn’t want to create a “urinating” Artoo, I decided to offset the water bladder and valve. But first I needed to cut a hole out for the valve. To protect the paint and the detailing on the body, I put a plastic contact sheet over the patch for the valve before I made the cut.

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I thought that the cut hole for the valve was going to be difficult, but in the end the scalpel blade cut through the plastic body like butter (or should I say as easy as a lightsaber). Inserting the bladder through the hole, the valve fit perfectly.

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Looking inside Artoo’s body, you can see the 10L water bladder. You can also see the screws from the inside attaching the body to the legs. I sourced the bladder from a camping shop and had to be careful to get one that was safe for drinking use.

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With the final bit of detailing done, Artoo was ready to roll and meet the 5 year olds. I was quite chuffed with the result, but being the perfectionist I would like to finish him off with the rounded detail on the top of his legs. That may come at a later date.

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Our Artoo is now available for weddings, funerals, baptisms, and BBQs. And we now have a droid sitting at home looking at us as we go about our business.

Only 6 more sleeps to go before we see him in action again on the big screen. Next year, it will have to be a BB-8 lolly tub.

As I wrote previously, I turned my son ‘The Pok’ into a first rate Star Wars nerd. So when his 5th birthday came up, you can guess what he asked for – a Star Wars party. We were a little stumped as to what we should do for his party. Games, costumes, decorations, themed food, and well… all of the above. The first thing that came to mind that ticked off two items on the list was toy lightsabers for the kids. I have to admit that this idea was not original, but I thought that I would bring it to life in the most perfect way.

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First I had to source the blades, and foam pool noodles were the trick. I went to Kmart to grab six of them. In doing so I whacked some poor young woman three times while navigating the aisles (after the third time she thought that either I was annoying or trying a very bad pickup routine – the former was the truth). I grabbed two of each of the major colours seen in the films; blue, green, and red. Grab the hollow ones if you can, the solid ones hurt a bit if you get properly whacked.

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The tools required were:

  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Coping saw (not essential and can be swapped for a Stanley knife)
  • Permanent marker
  • Electrical tape to represent the lightsaber hilt (different widths and colours – but make sure that you have a grey colour on hand)
  • Some sticker dots (again not essential but adds to the detail)
  • Mitre guide on horse (not essential if not using the coping saw)

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The six noodles would end up making 12 lightsabers. First we had to measure the halfway point so we could do some cutting. The Pok was obviously getting frustrated with my perfectionism. The noodles I bought where exactly 1500mm so a cut at 750mm would do the trick.

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Then the noodle was cut in half using the guide and saw. The ends that were cut would end up being the hilt part of the lightsaber (so that the hilt could cover up any rough sawing and pen marks).

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Now I had to measure the hilt, so from the edge that I cut I measured in 200mm. I came to this measurement as a good length for little 5 year old hands to be able to double grip the lightsaber. This length also offered enough room for detailing the laser sword’s hilt.

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I wrapped the first band of electrical tape was around the noodle at the 200mm marker – which represents the emitting part of the hilt.

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Then I wrapped the end in tape to top and tail the hilt of laser sword.

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Filling in the gap with additional cuts of electrical tape allowed me to detail the hilt. I decided to be creative here and use varying cuts and colours of electrical tape to make a unique design for each lightsaber. A finishing touch was for the placement of one or more sticker dots representing the buttons to activate the blade (yes I am a perfectionist).

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The end result was a collection of unique toy lightsabers for each child attending the party to could grab and play with, and at the end of the party take home along with their goody bag.

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The Pok loved them, and as the birthday boy he received an extra special one with additional custom detail and some unique colours.

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Kiki simply thought that her Daddy had just made up the largest ice lolly she has ever seen (then proceeded to try and whack her brother).

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This was relatively cheap, a few dollars per noodle along with the cost of the electrical tape and a Saturday afternoon. The key was to make them unique. But watch out for; the kids fighting over the colours, little people ganging up on the parents, and a couple of bruised child egos from being left wanting in their fencing skills. As I was making them, my wife asked me “should we organise any games?” No need with these things, give them to the kids and let them whack each other for a few hours.

Last point – as a father yours must be red and of a b@d@ss design.

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, says some really funny things with the reasoning of a 5-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

Last night, after our first Friday dinner at the beach for the season (we are lucky us Sydneysiders), we drove back home via Oxford Street. If anybody is familiar with what goes on at Oxford Street you will of course know that it is the centre of nightlife for the Gay and Lesbian community. Anything goes after dark down that stretch of town. And I mean anything.

As we came to a stop at one of the many sets of traffic lights, The Pok got an eyeful of a drag queen dressed in a ballooning frock with a light blue bouffant as a wig – the whole shebang! My wife and I were both hoping that the Pok didn’t notice.

But the Pok was half stunned and half bemused, and had to know more.

“Dad, why is that woman wearing a funny dress and has blue hair?”

Searching for an answer I replied…

“um, [Pok], that is not a woman.”

Pausing to contemplate my response, he came back with one word,

“Why?”

I was speechless.

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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.

I never realised that becoming a parent would involve me having to give up large amounts of my part of the household food to the littlest mouths in the house. The Pok is always coming up to me with “big eyes” whenever I sit down to eat, with the phrase – “Daddy, I’m Hungry.” That is code for “Daddy, give me some of what you’re eating.”

So when my wife announced last weekend that she was cooking pancakes for breakfast, my sleep-in was interrupted by the need to protect my share of the yummy food. In the past he has stolen pancakes made for me before I could get to the breakfast table.

The Pok raced off downstairs after his mother as I yelled out to him, “[Pok], you are not having more pancakes than me this time!”

The reply – “But Dad, I am still growing and you are not.”

Such is my lot in life.

And I had to document the same “treachery” displayed at Easter this year on our fridge with regard to chocolate Easter buns – guess which one I am?

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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.

Our nightly ritual is to wash, brush, and read before we go to sleep. His current collection of books is not challenging his vocabulary or comprehension in any way – time for the next level. In the meantime I am trying to get him excited about some of the stupendous advancements in science, engineering, and technology.

What better way to do that than to show him a YouTube video from SpaceX. For those of you that don’t know, SpaceX is the company that Elon Musk (of PayPal fame) started after he made a windfall in the sale of his internet start up. They are doing amazing things by being a private company who are preparing to launch manned vehicles into space to not only dock with the International Space Station, but eventually to travel to Mars. My kids are about to grow up during the next space race, and I want them to share in these advances. So here is the video that we watched, a simulation of their second generation space craft, the Dragon V2.

I paused the video several times.

Father of Pok: “See those panels, they help get energy from the sun to make electricity” (the Dragon V2 solar panels)

Pok (sleepily): “That’s cool! Where is it going to?”

Next pause.

Father of Pok: “That is where it is going – the International Space Station. And it is flying above us right now.”

Pok (now intrigued): “Up in space?”

Father of Pok: “Yep, and it is going very fast circling us.”

Pok looking at all the modular components of space station.

Pok (puzzled): “Where do people live in the station?”

Father of Pok: “All those cylinders are the rooms in their space house.”

Pok laughed: “That’s funny Daddy, people living in space!”

We continued watching the video of the docking, separation, and then powered landing (uber-cool).

Then when it was all finished, and a pregnant pause, the Pok asked the most pressing question on his mind.

Pok: “How does the parcel man deliver them parcels?”

Elon Musk, you have your next employee living with me 🙂

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This is a slightly different from my normal ‘World According to Pok’ posts in that it is a story of a different kind rather than the usual anecdote of what my son blurts out. The stars of this post are ‘The Pok’ (my 4 year old son) and ‘Kiki’ (our 7 month old daughter). And this story is told by photos.

The Pok, running onto the bed where his sister is lying: “Daddy, come and take a photo of me and [Kiki]”

Father of the Pok (me) – fumbling around: “Hang on, let me get my phone”

Moments later, with my phone in hand…

Father of the Pok: “[Pok], can you hold your sister and give her a hug?”

Kiki [non-verbal]: “I don’t want to take a photo, have it!” [WHACK]

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The Pok [non-verbal]: “What the heck?”

Kiki [non-verbal]: “That got him!”

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The Pok [non-verbal]: “That hurt :-(“

Kiki [non-verbal]: “Hey Dad, check out my follow through.”

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The Pok [non-verbal]: “Hey Sis, why did you do that? I was trying to give you a hug for a photo.”

Kiki [non-verbal]: “Quick, his guard is down.”

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The Pok [non-verbal]: “You’re lining me up again? C’mon”

Kiki [non-verbal]: “Right uppercut, karate kick”

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Needless to say, I did not get a photo of the two together during this photoshoot. And Kiki was not able to land the karate kick.

 

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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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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This is a guest post from my young niece JY! She is the eldest among the kids (though she is a young lady now), and finds it hilarious what comes out of my son’s, AKA “The Pok”, mouth.

During one of my many Skype conversations with my little cousin “The Pok”, we engaged in our usual conversation. As usual, we began by asking each other what he had eaten for breakfast. He racked his brain for all he had eaten throughout the day and delighted in the culinary exchange.

Once our “food conversation” was over, The Pok suddenly grew very excited to demonstrate what he had recently learnt – how to count!

First, he started to count my fingers as I held them up in front of the webcam. Each time, he would not get the amount of fingers correct. Curious, I asked him how many fingers he had.

Cousin of the Pok: “[Pok], how many fingers do you have?”

Pok: “I have all of them!”

With that we all laughed hysterically, including “The Pok”, though I knew that he didn’t understand that what he said was funny.

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