Friday, September 2, 2011

Silly New Project

Well, more than one, really. I'm sitting down, having a bit of a rest after landscaping around the new fire pit. I should probably take photos, shouldn't I? Nothing much to see, really. There's a hole in the ground with a stone wall lining it. And lining the circular stone wall is a wall of cement bricks, to keep the worst of the heat away from the fieldstone (which might, potentially, crack violently if overheated.)

The hole has about half a metre of gravel in the bottom of it, to keep rain from forming puddles. After the last couple weeks of weather, I'm pleased to say that it works very bloody well indeed for that job.

Near the hole is a nice, sitting-sized log. And today, I found some long-forgotten landscaping blocks and built a nice, curved, wall for sitting on. Then I took all the loose stone and earth, and piled it up behind my curved wall, and finally, I brought half a dozen barrows of mulch down to cover it all, and even it up.

It looks okay, actually. We'll probably have a fire in it tonight. It's a big fire night, actually -- we're going to try and burn off our three-year-old pile of old trees, timber, garden cuttings, etc. It's probably too wet to really go off, though. I'm going to have to go after it with the classic petrol/diesel mix the rangers use when they're setting up a controlled burn. I've got a twenty-litre container I can use for it, but it's a hell of a big pile, and I'll be surprised if it really burns. We'll probably have to do it two or three times.

Nevertheless, it will make for a nice evening, and there will be neighbours and many children, so no doubt it will all be fun. And yes, I'll try out the firepit, and if it works, we'll roast marshmallows and cook sausages and bacon and chops, and maybe throw in some potatoes. Hooray for springtime!

Now, as for the other silly project...

It's continuing to be difficult to find writing competitions or similar which will permit young Jake to enter. At eleven, he seems too young for most of them, which is just rude. I am, therefore, constantly looking out for stuff to entertain and challenge his love of writing.

Thus, when we were at our favourite second-hand bookstore last week and I found two old "Mandrake The Magician" comic collections, the germ of an idea settled. For those of you who don't know the redoubtable Mandrake, he was another creation from Lee Falk, who brought you the Phantom. And while it's purely a personal opinion, I feel that Mandrake (who is constantly 'gesturing hypnotically' and causing bad guys to hallucinate ridiculous crap) and his buddy Lothar (big, black, shaven-headed guy with a propensity for leopard-spot shirts) are possible the crappest ever comic-book action heroes.

They are, in a word, tragic.

Therefore, Jake and I have set upon them. I'm scanning the stories, page by page, and removing all text. Then he and I are reconstructing the stories, page for page. I get one page, he gets the next. The game is simple: whatever the storyline the previous player leaves behind, it is that which you must continue. And the story has to make some kind of sense.

It's not as easy as you might think. But it is fun. Thus, I direct interested parties to

You never know. It might bring a giggle or two.