Sunday, April 17, 2011

Milestones: School Camp

Jake is off to his first-ever school camp. He did the music camp thing over summer, so he's got the basic idea, but school camp is another step.

I believe they're going to be hanging around Port Arthur and various other convict-era sites. They've been studying colonial Australian history since the start of the year, so no doubt the programme for the camp will be aimed at tying into this stuff.

That will be a challenge, though. I turned up at the school this morning with Jake's case/pack in tow, and the newly built school hall was pandemonium incarnate. Kids, baggage, parents, and a few desperately harassed-looking teachers, ticking names off clipboards.

They're due to be gone until Thursday afternoon. The weather, naturally, is turning cloudy and rainy - as it should for a school camp. The kids are supposed to be doing the whole sleeping-in-tents thing, and Jake has taken a three-man job along. He's got a couple other lads assigned to the tent with him... which of course, is going to turn sleep into a non-event.

Jake's not much of a camper anyhow. He's going to spend much of the week being peeved about being wet, muddy, cold, crowded, etc. I've made him promise not to complain about the food, though. That would just be unfair. It's hardly the school's fault if they're not set to load him up with Oysters Kilpatrick and san choi bau and nasi goreng, is it? I'm sure the food will be perfectly healthy, and edible. He'll just have to deal with it.

Of course, we had to dodge the prohibition on snacks. It was a moral obligation. The kids are not supposed to carry any junk-food treats with them. I can understand that, but it's red-rag-to-a-bull stuff. Jake and I made a big batch of rich chocolate fudge, and now there are ziploc bags of fudge cunningly concealed throughout his luggage. Doubtless this will help assure his popularity for at least a brief period... until somebody blabs and the fudge in his socks gets discovered. But I reckon it's unlikely they'll find the rest of it!

Meanwhile, I'm prepping for the National SF Con. Doing a workshop on introducing fiction-writing techniques to RPG campaign/game design, with the aid of the inimitable Peter Ball -- another veteran gamer and fantasy writer. I'm also on the 'Great Debate', apparently. We're arguing over whether or not the universe and everything in it is actually a simulation. Those of you who have read Angel Rising will be aware I have a few thoughts on that, so it should be fun. Oh, and I'm also handling a storytelling game/event in the ballroom for one evening. Hopefully, there will be a few professional storytellers involved (as well as myself) and a couple bottles of wine. If it works, the meeting of the Gentlemen's Entomological Society should be a real treat. If it doesn't - eh, we'll drink the wine and improvise.

Right. Gotta go. Things to do today, and pretty soon it's time to go and collect my somewhat diminished school brood...


  1. Where is the National SF Con being held this year?

  2. Love the concept of smuggling chocolate fudge.

  3. The NatCon is in Perth. Bugger of a long way to go. But I've got so many friends in the trade, now -- and the only chance I get to see them is at these once-a-year events.

    Cat: I can't let the poor kid grow up with TOO much respect for authority, can I? And honestly, what's a school camp without the prospect of a secret, illicit feast of forbidden goodies with your friends in the middle of the night? That's such a basic, simple pleasure that I'd feel completely wrong if I didn't give him the opportunity to try it out.

    Yeah, he may cock up and get into trouble. And yeah, it may even rebound on me. But it's kind of hard to take penalties for 'fudge smuggling' very seriously. And the thought of the boy sitting up by torchlight, extracting bags of mushy fudge from his socks and sharing them with his buddies - it's just too good.