There’s No Need To Hide!

March 18, 2008

I am afraid I am going to get all political on you again.

Mrs Geek told me that a friend of ours was given a booklet outlining the places within our town where it is suitable to breastfeed her baby.

As much as it is wonderful that certain establishments such as Mothercare and John Lewis provide a place for mothers to go if they are reluctant to breastfeed in public, but I fear that the implication is that these are the places where it is acceptable to breastfeed whilst out and about.

Now I understand it may be unusual to here a man who is so worked up over the rights of mothers to breastfeed in public, but I think it is abhorrent that we as a society are so repressed that we find it acceptable to see a mother bottle feed her baby, but if she chooses to do it the natural way then it makes people squeamish.

I have every sympathy for mothers that can not get their baby to breastfeed, I really do. It is often a difficult, painful and exhausting process to get a baby to breastfeed, and a process that many mothers do not manage to achieve. Thanks to organisations like La Leche League hopefully more mothers that want to breastfeed can find the support that they deserve.

I am also not a “Breastfeeding Nazzi” as I once heard someone describe their health visitor and I have no objection to mothers who choose not to breastfeed, that is not my business. Everyone should make the decisions for their own child that they are comfortable with. However, all medical evidence points to the fact that breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to both mother and baby.

So as a society we should be actively cultivating an atmosphere in which a mother successfully breastfeeding her child is seen as an achievement, while nobody should be made to feel like they have “failed” if they choose not to breastfeed, it should be something that is actively encouraged, we should not be putting up further barriers of social exclusion.

The fact that women get asked to “use the facilities provided” and are expected to sit in what is often not much more than a converted toilet is appalling.

OK … rant over (And I managed it without using the cliché “the most natural thing in the world” once)


My name is Mr Geek and I am an amazon addict

March 16, 2008

Those of you that know me may know I have a slight fetish for amazon. Books were my gateway drug … but later I moved on to DVD’s music and I have even been known to use them for light electrical items and soft-core photography kit.

So imagine my delight when a friend talked me into another means of donating money to help swell their coffers.

DVD rental. To begin with I was sceptical. I stopped using blockbuster years ago, because I could never be bothered to go to the store and pick out a movie and when I did I could not make up my mind what to get. To top it off I would then get fined when I failed to take it back. All in all it is not what I consider to be a great arrangement.

However, it would appear that amazon DVD Rental is not like this. Basically you browse the site, and it seems to have as comprehensive a selection as the purchasing experience with which to build up a wish list. Then, subject to what level package you choose, they send one of the DVDs that you have chosen. When you have watched it, you simply put the DVD into the postage paid envelope and pop it in the post and wait for your next DVD to arrive.

The best bit is … There are NO LATE FEES.

The only thing holding me up is the Negotiation process with Mrs Geek as to what level we should get. Personally I would like to get the all you can eat plan … but so far I have only managed to talk her into the 2 per month plan … wish me luck!

P.S. You notice that I have not even mentioned Handbrake … the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind 😉

P.P.S. They are currently offering a 2 week free trial

Console Envy

March 14, 2008

X-box 360 Elite

Guy (My obviously over-paid best mate) happily informed me today that the X-Box 360 has just come down in price again.

It is apparently now ONLY £249.99.

Just another thing to add to the wish list (To be honest it is well below the IPhone and the MacBook Air … but a Geek can dream)

Actually now that we have another child on the way … How much do you think I could get for a second hand, slightly soiled, rather noisy 7 year old on e-bay?

I’ll keep you posted

Brock Bottoms

March 13, 2008

This Sunday was a cold crisp day, one of the first really nice crisp days that we have had so far this year, so we took the opportunity to get a little bit rural.

I had also bought a new prime lens for my camera (Dirt cheap, but I must say it seems rather good), so it provided me with an opportunity to try it out!

Oi Sunbeam

It had been raining a little so, we went prepared, kitted out with welly boots, coats and hats …

Keep Warm Hat

Which proved to be great fun for my little girl …

Paddle Trip Trapping
Muddy Puddles

But why is it that her brother always has to go that one step farther…?

Tarzan Out of his depth

The Artful Dodger

March 12, 2008

DodgerToday my son’s school is going to watch Oliver! So they have all been given the option of going in dressed as a Dickensian street urchin.

Now this is no real stretch for my son as given the choice he would wear his oldest, scrattiest rags. He is 7 and I kid you not that some of his favourite trousers are from half his lifetime ago!

I just hope he is not the only one that turns up in fancy dress, or we could be in for some expensive therapy a little further down the line.

Make it a Shay Day!

March 11, 2008

Although obviously intended as more e-mail drivel, I originally got this posted to me on Facebook. I repeat it here as although it is rather preachy, I must say it spoke to me. It is both heartwarming and melancholy at the same time. I know not whether the story is fact or fiction, neither do I care. I only hope that am able to make the difference when the opportunity arises.

Two Choices

What would you do?….you make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: ‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. ‘I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ Shay’s father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay’s father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father’s joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’ Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’ Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball … the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay’

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

AND NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you’re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you’re probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’ So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them

You now have two choices:
1. Delete
2. Forward
May your day, be a Shay Day

Cosmetic Injury

March 10, 2008

Once again I am have been given a gentle reminder that my indestructibility seems to have worn off.

Let me start by saying that as captain of my team I am responsible for ensuring I have a team for the match, and as things stood on the Saturday morning I was still a player short.

Now it sounds simple enough that the team below us is supposed to pass up their player and request downwards etc, but alas it is all too easy to come up with reasons that any given player is “unable” to change plans. Thus it is always wise to go with a some form of leverage, and being that our game was due to finish before the start of their game I suggested that some of my players might be interested in a second game and thus quid pro quo.

However our game did not go overly well and all of a sudden the international match looked more appealing to many of my players than the thought of staying out in the rain and getting battered and bruised any further. I attempted to remind them that this is what they choose to do for recreation, but to most the allure of a warm bar and a big screen was too great, so as seems to be the way I had to fall on my sword and offer myself up (Does it sound like I may be protesting too much? I must remind you that Mrs Geek does occasionally read this so it needs to be convincing … shhh).

In all honesty it was rather pleasant to play for them. It meant that I didn’t walk away from the day without tasting victory at least once (don’t even speak of the International debacle that I was all too lucky to have missed).

Too Old For ThisIt did also leave me with another souvenir of the day.

To be honest it looks worse than it feels and at least it gives other people the opportunity to be a stand up comedian. It is what we always used to describe as a “Cosmetic Injury” as it makes it look as though you have been doing a lot without the associated pain. Unfortunately Mrs Geek’s well of sympathy regarding rugby injuries seems to have run dry, but that makes me feel less guilty about telling everyone I meet that it is a result of her temper at my leaving the laundry discarded on the bedroom floor once to often.

On reflection, maybe two games in a day is a little too much at my age. If nothing else maybe I should take care to protect my ravishing good looks.