Sun, Oct

Ancient Tinkertoys


I realize, upon titling this post, that I may have inadvertently insulted my father-in-law, Wendell. I suspect these tinker toys are his. But no offence is intended, and the fact is, toys can become ancient before people do.

Besides, they could also have been Erin’s and Wendy’s. I myself remember those days when Tinker Toys were wooden rather than plastic, and far easier to break. I even remember my father making the merry-go-round detailed in the photograph below.

This picture was taken during our visit to California at the beginning of the summer holidays. I came into Wendell and Judy’s living room and saw the kids happily playing with these antiques, and Wendell and Judy watching them, smiling.

I suspect these toys could fetch a pretty penny on eBay these days, but who can put a price on that moment on the living room floor?


It’s been a busy summer, and I have more writing bylines beneath my belt. Here’s a selection:


Image courtesy the BBC…

If I could, I would start this review with a blast of electric guitar, possibly riffing on “Pretty Woman”. It seems only appropriate as the signature to launch the ninth season of the Doctor Who revival. After spending a year warming up, Peter Capaldi has made the Doctor his own, riffing his tunes and rocking his shades. What’s even more remarkable is that I hadn’t realized that the eighth season was his warm up.

Fundamentally, I love the two part season opener by Steven Moffat, entitled The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar. It swaggers. It exudes a confidence that I had not realized had been lacking in the program this past while. It reinvigorated me, and it also left me thinking hard about the implications. Even though I was spoiled, it genuinely surprised me. Moffat may have come down for criticism recently about the quality of his product, and while I liked Jenna Coleman’s performance as Clara through season 8, I’ve argued that it’s always better to leave them wanting more, but the opening two-parter for season 9 shows that there’s life in this Doctor Who yet. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy to still be on for the ride.

I can’t go further without giving spoilers details about this story, so I’ll break it here. You really should watch all of it with an unspoiled mind. Once you’re ready, click on the link below, or jump the line, for my full spoilery review of The Magician’s Apprentice/The Witch’s Familiar.

When fruits have faces, things have the potential to just go wrong…


One of the most impressive things about the new house is how much more we are walking, and how much less we are driving.

You wouldn’t think that moving one kilometre away from our old house would make a difference. Both neighbourhoods, while not suburban, are not downtown either. The house we live in now is the first detached house I’ve lived in since I moved out from my parents’ home, eighteen years ago. I’m pretty sure the townhouse condominium had greater density.

Yes, the house we live in now is closer to the school the kids go to. We’ve basically committed ourselves to walking to school in all but the most extreme weather, especially because the parking situation at the school itself is so problematic, we’d have to park so far away, we’d walk half the distance to school anyway. Why waste time getting into a car, buckling up, starting her up, driving, then parking and unbuckling when you can get get walking?

But it’s the walk to the supermarket that has been the most pleasant surprise for me. The current walk is roughly 500 metres, while the old walk is a kilometre. That’s twice the length, and I hadn’t realized that the difference is that great, but I still felt it. I’m not sure if it was the extra kilometre that was more daunting, or the semi-industrial scenery that I had to walk beside. Either way, I only miss the car when I come home with heavy loads, and we now have a cart that can handle that.

I’ve been trying to get more active. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to visit the fitness club of late. However, my iPhone does have a pedometer program and it has been keeping tabs on my steps. Supposedly some expert somewhere said that one had to walk 10,000 steps in a day to have a healthy, active lifestyle, and for months while living in the old neighbourhood, I was lucky to get 5,000 steps a day. This past month, I’ve had several 10,000+ days. My average this week is around 8,000.

All I need to do is have a dog to walk, and I’m sure to consistently go above the bar.

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