Heat does not exist in this dojo, does it?

Saturday evening I was informed that my niece had a Karate competition day on Sunday, and that she wanted me to go and support her.  So there went my plans of a productive Sunday catching up on my ever-growing todo list. OK! by productive day I mean a day playing “Call of Duty: Black Op’s” which I purchased Saturday.

I don’t normally mind going to support her, since it makes her happy that someone cares, and she likes to talk about the different matches with me, and its normally an interesting day out.

My niece does Shotokan Karate, and the club she goes to is associated with several others in the area, and they take it in turns hosting the competitions. This time there was even some clubs from Luton & Yorkshire along for the day. And the even was held in Hawrden High School’s sports hall.

Now I should point out this is a sports hall with brick walls half way up, then metal sheeting the rest of the way, a metal sheeting roof, and plain concrete floors. There is also building work going on so part of the walls are simple boards while work is being carried out. Oh, and did I mention there was ice on the ground outdoors, and no heating on indoors? The poor kids in bare feet, and Gi’s that are no more than pyjamas really must have been freezing, cos the adults watching were and they had big coats on.

First off was the Kata rounds, so Niece and another girl get up, do their kata and sit down. The next person to get called was called alone, and the ref informed them they were through to the next round. In fact three of the four people in the final to work out places never had to compete against anyone, they just got given their placements. (Can anyone say fix?)

This shall we say for legal reasons “Apparently biased marking” turned into the theme for the day, when you had matches and all four (or six depending on match) ref’s holding out the same colour flag to show who was winner, and main ref (always after quick look to people in background holing forms) would award fight to the other colour.  At one point one of the local Sensei’s told his students that one of the clubs who had travelled four hours to turn up were being marked up as a thanks for coming all this way and to not take it personally. Well by the end of the day, the local students had lost all heart and were barley going through the motions in their rounds.

The other let down of the day was the fact that the club that was being allowed to win everything may have been the “Cobra Kai” in disguise. Well they were as dirty fighters as the Cobra’s, with sneaky leg swipes, feet stomps, and face/eye shots. The list of injuries to the local kids was, several broken toes, and sprained back, and several kids with smashed and bleeding eyes.

The Adults associated to the club were even pointing out nice spots on the face to go for to slow down, or take out their opponent, and congratulating them while the other kid would be crying on the floor with medics dealing with them.

I know full contact Karate competitions can be violent, and lead to injuries, but this was a Children’s competition, and the local clubs do not do much full contact fights, and it was supposed to be friendly.

I must admit it was the most badly run & organised rip off I have ever seen. The matches were all fixed and they did not even attempt to hide the fact. There was no food laid on for the kids (they normally lay on food for them out of the attendance fee’s), No heating, The hall rental was a school gym that they normally use, so would not have cost much. The medals were of poor quality, and for the first time in the years my niece has been going there was no “competitors medal or certificate” to give to those who competed (apparently there was no money for them). And yes on the Saturday traiing day there was 100 student (approx) and there must have been 60 or so on the Sunday (all at £20/day).

Parents, Who’d have them?

Last week at a festive board there was a discussion on “kids, and the annoying requests they ask of you” The general opinion of the parents present was that in their days if you had a problem, like you broke down, or ran out of petrol you sorted it out yourself, and did not phone your parents expecting them to help.  My father was one of the strong voices against annoying kids expecting you to go out of your way to help. This conversation was brought back into my mind yesterday. And as a none-parent I want to point out its not just Children/Grandchildren  that are guilty of this.

Yesterday about 7pm I get a call from my mother. Turns out there was family up in the area on a canal boat holiday, and my parents had gone to visit them for a pub lunch. Only after the lunch they decided to travel along the canal for a while to enjoy the day, and my father had always fancied having a go on a canal boat. So at 7 when they decided to call it a day and come home after a day on the canal they realise they are now several miles or more away from where they parked their car.

So pour coffee down sink, take a moment to morn its loss, and jump in car to drive to the middle of nowhere to pick up parents.  I arrive at a small car-park near the canal, its miles from the nearest street light so its dark, cold, and abandoned. I am the only person about, so I phone my father to say I am here, and where are they?. “Oh, we had to move on. We’re a couple miles down the canal. We are just mooring up which should take twenty minutes or so, then we’ll walk the mile or so back to where you are. so just wait there

Right, so I am to wait in a cold, dark, abandoned car park. And I can’t leave the engine running as I’m a bit low on diesel and probably shouldn’t waste it. Now the smarter amongst you are probably thinking . o (err. they were only guests on the boat, and they knew you were on route to collect them, so why did they not leave the boat at the location you were driving to, and wait for you to arrive?) The answer would be, they did not think of it.

About a half hour later I get a call from my father asking was I still there (like where else would I be?) and informing me they stopped off at a pub, so I should drive to pub to meet them. So it was a case of relocate to pub, (OK I did get a pint for my troubles. Not off my parents but of some random friend of the family who I do not know). Then a quick ten minute trip to go drop them off at their car, before I was able to go home.


I think the worlds trying to tell me something.

I have recently had an epiphany, and I thought in my egotistical way (Hey I write on a blog, and have a Myriad of personal websites, of course I’m an egomaniac.) that I would share it with you Dear Readers.

Now I am used to seeing people find this blog with the following search terms, or variations. “pure evil“, “kill everyone“, “evil“, etc. Now, as I said, I’m used to seeing them I don’t understand why these searches find me, or what kind of person google’s “Kill everyone”.

And I will also admit to being used to friends & family joking that I am evil, and denying my claims to “niceness”. Yet on top of all this, I was shocked at the weekend. Let me explain :-

My Niece loves playing “The Sims 2“. and at the weekend she got an expansion pack for it called something like “Apartment Life“. Now one of the extras this gives you, is the ability to became a magical being. A witch or Warlock. Now my niece wanted to be a good witch, only she was unsure how you do it. So being a good uncle, I looked it up on google and explained it to her. I also figured I’d test it myself in case she needed further help.

So I created myself a Character, I based it to look as close to me as I could, I set it with my star sign, my interests and personality (to the best degree i could), and i was ready to go.

According to google, you simply go to a community lot and hang about. After a while a Witch will pop up. Easy enough, I load up my Sims and head over to the library. A short while later the Good Witch turns up, so I go over to greet her. That was when things went downhill. Within a minute the good witch had gone from a friendship score of 0 (don’t know me) to -30 (hates me) and she would walk off if I went anywhere near her. “OK. maybe I just not any good at this game“.

That was when the Evil Witch turned up. So I went over to greet her. Within a minute our friendship had gone from 0 to 98. Not only that but she was in love with my Sim. WTF?

Is the sims trying to tell me that my Star Sign/Personality only matches with evil?

I think more research is needed. So watch this space.

Full House: What do I win?

Due to a very lucky (for me) set of events at the weekend I now have a PS3. (On top of having a XBOX 360, Wii, PS2, DS, Saga Mega Drive, etc.)

My eldest Nephew decided to watch a film with his girlfriend Saturday night. He got the film, and just before going to watch it he remembered the video lead for his PS3 was at a friends house, and he was unable to retrieve it till Monday. So he popped to an acquaintances house, who he knew was after money and had a spare lead.

My nephew being who he is, ended up buying a full PS3 system off him, since the price was so low. He used it that one evening to watch the film, with the intention to sell it on the following day. Only since he bumped into me before he had a chance to sell it on, I picked it up from him for pennies.

I now need suggestions of good games that are only out on the PS3.

Who said Romance Was Dead?

You cant beat a “good ole family barn raising“.

Well, technically there was No barn’s raised, Or any Barns at all really. And the closet thing to an Amish was a tall blond in skin-tight jodhpurs who walked past at one point. (What is it about boots, & Tight Jodhpurs? Sorry was distracted there….)

The other weekend there was Three generations of my family doing some work at my parents place. (Gen1) My Father (Gen2) Me (Gen3) Two of my Nephews. We were rebuilding some wooden parts of the garden that have started to rot from old age, and repaint the wooden fences, etc.. (This is Just Scene Setting)

While we were having a much needed Ten minute Coffee break, Nephew No1 was talking about a row of houses near where he lives where they all got a government grant to do work on the houses, apart from the end house in the terrace who’s door is on the other road so missed out. So it got mentioned that the grants been going round for ages now (Slowly) and that My Grandfather had it for his place, had the whole place gutted and rebuilt with the grant paying 70% of costs.

This led to the story of the rebuild. Which was such a touching story of Love & Romance that I thought I’d share it with you Dear Reader.

My Grandparents house then was built over an old mine shaft, meaning you could not get a mortgage on the building, and it was a bit unstable. This did mean they were able to buy it for very little money. So when they had the option of a 70% Government grant for building work, My Grandfather jumped at the chance.

After discussions with the builders it was decided to strip building, fill the mine shaft with a concrete plug & cap, rewire the house, re-plumb, Install new central heating, re-plaster, the works. This would involve the floors Upstairs, and down being removed, the walls stripped of existing plaster, and the electric/water being off. Basically the house would be unsuitable to live in for roughly a month.

Now my Grandfather being a practical man, he decided that was no problem. They would simply move into the garage for the month.

I should point out here, the garage was a large building, Brick walls on three sides. The roof was Tin sheeting, and the front wall was a full length wooden door, which only partially fitted with huge gaps. So all in all, a draughty cold room

To make it more liveable he put the carpets from the house down on the concrete floor, he put a bed, sofa and TV in there along with a kettle and cooker. Now, my Grandmother was not a plan of this idea. She was not living in a cold, spider infested garage.  She wanted to go on holiday while the work was being done, or at least stay in a B&B or Hotel.  So my Grandfather sat her down and explained that they could not go on holiday as someone needed to stay and keep an eye on the builders. Also if the builders saw “an old woman” living in such a bad place they would work harder and get the job done.  He also pointed out that they had a daughter living next door, so they had access to a bath, toilet, and such. After much discussion she finally decided to do what he suggested. So she helped him make the garage more homely and comfortable. After all, they had lived through the War, what was a few weeks of discomfort, as long as they were together.

Two days before the builders were due to start, my Grandmother walked into her bedroom to check everything had been put away. There she saw my Grandfather packing a suitcase with some clothes. Confused she asked him what he was doing. “Didn’t I remind you? I’m off to Australia for a month tour with the choir. Its been booked for over a year.

He’d never had any intention of living in the garage himself.  He had made it as comfortable as he could for his wife of many many years, he was just not staying in it himself…

Who says chivalry is dead.

I should point out before anyone gets upset about my Grandmother. After a long monologue of mostly very bad words that would make a sailor blush, my grandfather was forced able to get a second plane ticket, and upgrade his hotel room to a double, so she could go on holiday with him.