Todo Sobre Mi

Last weekend Dani made a poster for another school project.

Last time his class did it in English, the project was called “This is me.” This time they have been doing it in Spanish and it is called “Todo Sobre Mi.” Literally ‘everything about me’. Well hardly everything for obvious reasons but still. More like whatever they can cram onto a poster and be bothered speaking to their class about.

This time just like the previous project, Dani was the last member of the group to present his work of art and speak to the class. Was it a case of saving the best till the last? Let’s see…

Making the poster

Top of the poster was a photograph he had made himself using one of the features on his camera. An arty little composition of four different facial shots in one photo. It always amazes me how quickly he has managed to self learn all this  latest gadget shit  nonsense stuff.

This time he didn’t include any dislikes. Only things he enjoys. Among these he included some old favorites; Lego (naturally), SuperZings and Star Wars. For his favorite book he put “Greg” – meaning “The diary of a Wimpy Kid” books. He doesn’t actually read those himself. They are perhaps a little too difficult, but I think he is not far off. Right now, he prefers me to read them to him. But he has discovered the movies and has watched those more than a few times.

He added some photos of his sporting activities – swimming, running and chess (is that a sport or a game?). Plus, a couple of fancy dress (disfraces) photos.

Finishing touches

Towards the end of the poster design he was trying to fill the last few spaces while eating another one of his favorite things. Shortbread biscuit. That good old British classic. Who doesn’t love those? While he was making his usual little pile of crumbs on the table, I suggested that he could pick them up using sticky tape and then apply the tape to the poster. Hey presto! Another one of his little preferences captured for posterity. Needless to say, he loved that idea and thought it was hilarious. Fully aware that his classmates would ask him about it.

The last time he did a presentation like this one it was difficult getting any information out of him. That kids secret-school-service thing. This time he was a lot more open and actually talked to me about it. Only after I had asked (several times) however. I think the offering of such information voluntarily could still be another two years away.

Who can tell me? When do they start offering information without being interrogated?

Did his classmates ask him what was that stuck on with transparent tape? Of course they did. And he loved explaining it to them.

LEGO Review – Hidden Side Haunted Highschool

LEGO Set number 70425 – Hidden Side; Haunted Highschool

The Hidden Side Lego theme is set in the quiet town of Newbury. Presumably not the Berkshire town in England. The sets are based on the adventures of teen vloggers and intrepid ghost-hunters Jack Davids and Parker L. Jackson as they uncover a hidden world of ghouls and spooky events in Newbury. Other characters include Paola, Professor J.B., Elton Douglas. and Spencer the ghost dog.

The sets in this series are also supposed to tie in with something called a “Reality App”. Although it is not clear how the use of the word ‘reality’ has been manipulated here…

Animated TV series

The animated TV series of Hidden Side is expected to hit the screens early in 2020, months later than originally planned apparently and thereby missing out on this year’s Christmas rush. All that should not matter however. If previous Lego series such as Ninjago and Nexo Knights are anything to go by then the kids are going to love it. Once the TV series is aired the sets will sell.

The set….

The haunted high school set has several moving, spooky parts and countless little touches like hot dogs, pizza, fruit and even a school trophy cabinet. Meanwhile, the reverse of the house is split into classroom areas with an anatomy class complete with skeleton. There is also a co-ed toilet and school refectory zone.

 The set is aimed at age 9+. However, it is split into nine separate packages and the instruction manual is over 300 pages long. So the process is broken down into very easy to build steps. Dani has just turned six years old and managed to do most of it with only the minimum amount of help from his mum or dad.

Costly but still….

This set is not cheap. At around €125 in Spain and about £110 in the UK this is the biggest and most expensive Hidden Side set. Personally I think it is over-priced but this was a birthday present bought by Dani’s auntie Natalia.

How collectable the sets will become is not so clear at this stage. The haunted high school set being expensive enough will mean that not too many will buy it. My money would go on the ‘Paranormal Intercept School Bus 3000’ – Lego set number 70423. In my experience great Lego vehicles tend to become at least as collectable as the bigger and more expensive buildings. And definitely cheaper.

Plans for the Haunted Highschool

Dani saw that the Hidden Side sets had their own story but he always knew what he wanted that haunted high school building for. This set is destined to be a University for past, present and future Avengers.

Like all kids he enjoys mixing up the different themes. In this case the Marvel superheroes universe with a paranormal ghost series. That’s the beauty of Lego and certainly the kind of child’s mind interaction the Danish constructors have always encouraged.


Dani is six.

Yet again time has flown by. So; let’s catch up… Starting with last weekend’s election.

As predicted last week’s Spanish elections saw no change in the parties’ abilities to form a government. Stalemate again. If you are a betting person I would recommend that you put money on the same happening in the UK next month. The overall result will leave us exactly where we are now.

Sixth birthday

Last week (Tuesday) saw Dani’s sixth birthday. I missed the actual day as I was working. I am hoping that never happens again. But being in the middle of the week and me working away can be tricky.

It dawned on me the day of his birthday: This is my 6th job since he was born. Six jobs in six years. Not bad going I suppose. Or is it really bad? I guess it all depends on how you view these things.

I think this could be my last (serious) engineering job. I have had enough now. The jobs hold nothing for me and I miss my son too much. Maybe a part time job. If that even. This one seems to be dragging… there’s that old saying in some jobs; ‘the days drag but the weeks fly by’. This sixth job since Dani was born is certainly like that. The weeks are flying though. But what about the years? Six of them!!? In another 6 years he will be 12 years old and almost certainly won’t want to spend so much time with his old dad. For the moment however he still enjoys watching complete nonsense with his dad. Like the animated WWE wrestling match between Rey Mysterio and Spiderman. Yes; that is what I thought. Even more incredible is the fact that Spiderman somehow lost that match! Who would have thought that the California born luchador of Mexican heritage would beat the New York based super-human web-slinger? I would have put money on Spidey for that one. It just goes to show eh? Anything can happen on youtube…

(Very) Quick Film Review

So, this weekend we have been reliving Dani’s birthday – like opening my present before going to the cinema, followed by some more WWE Smackdown. We saw the latest Shaun the Sheep movie – “Farmageddon”. If you ask me the story was a bit of a rip off of E.T., but the kids loved it. I have to admit to almost falling asleep at one point but not sure why; because I enjoyed the film also. It had the usual mix of silly and more grown-up humour that we have come to expect from these plasticine farm animals.

The E.T. style storyline got me thinking. Here we are being treated to a second Shaun the Sheep movie. Undoubtedly there will be more to come now that Shaun’s creator (Nick Park) has relinquished control of his ovine character to a company called Aardman Animations. But why did they never make a sequel to E.T.? Or did they? If anyone knows please let us know.

At the end of E.T. the alien points at the kid’s (Elliot) head and says that he will always be there. In his mind, or thoughts, or whatever…. It seemed obvious that they would make another movie when the kid was a little older or even an adult. But I don’t think they ever did.

The Isadora Moon books (again)

Just throwing this one in…

Last weekend a few of Dani’s classmates celebrated their birthdays. It turns out that the mother of one of the birthday kids is the Spanish translator for the Isadora Moon books by Harriet Muncaster. It means that the kids in the school get several free copies to read. Great eh?

Elections and the Fall of a Wall.

Politics – again…

While Dani and his old dad watch WWE wrestling on TV some people in Spain may be talking politics. The reason? Because tomorrow (Sunday 10th November 2019) Spain goes to the polls to elect the next government. Well at least that is the theory. This is the third election in just over three years. The second this year. And there is no sign that it will all be resolved.

While the current (supposedly socialist) Prime Minister has the biggest number of seats he cannot form a government. After seven months! Yet last week he managed get the body of Franco exhumed from El Valle de los Caídos. Something many previous socialist governments had failed to do. (Read more on that here.) Not that there are more important issues in Spain right now eh?. Of course not! How could there be? Right?

Meanwhile. In the UK…

Then again, it is not much better in the UK. A month and 3 days from now the UK goes to the polls for the third time in four years. Fourth time if you include the EU referendum. In the UK it’s all been about “Brexit”. Or rather all about stopping or delaying Brexit.

Now there’s a good job. Member of Parliament. Get paid a reasonable wage. Probably in the top 0.5% of world-wide earners. Plus, a raft of expenses. And basically; do nothing.

In nearly three and a half years the UK parliament has done nothing apart from discuss/debate (more like argue about) Brexit. Doesn’t this just prove beyond any doubt that while Europe makes all the decisions our own lot do absolutely jack shit??! The same goes for Spain, as the very recent events show.

It begs the question: How many more elections will there be before Dani is old enough to vote?

And History?

As if all the political mess is not enough, what about this one? (We are heading into grumpy old dad territory here.)

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Not exactly the “fall” but certainly the beginning of the end of the wall. I was there a few days later. I stepped through a hole someone had hammered out of the wall so I could have my photo taken. Only to be punched and shoved back through that hole by an angry east German guard.

There was an article celebrating the event in the easyjet magazine which I read yesterday on my flight. And it kind of pissed me off. I need to quote this word for word:

The Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart as its east German builders officially called it, separated two very different ideologies, with the authoritarian communism of the Soviet-controlled German Democratic Republic (GDR) effectively using the Wall to block the influence of the more liberal, capitalist, US-controlled West Berlin.

I feel I have to call out this shoddy piece of writing/journalism (or whatever it is). What are they teaching kids these days? The commies may have wanted you to think that they were trying to keep westerners out, but anyone old enough to know better, knows that the wall was built by the east German communists only to keep their own people in. Yet he never mentioned this. Here we have a modern day ‘writer’ trying to twist history. Trying to pretend that it was somehow both sides to blame. Was he taught that in school? If not then where does he get this false information?

Let’s look at that again;  “…effectively using the Wall to block the influence of the more liberal, capitalist, US-controlled West Berlin.

Where do these people get these ideas from? And more importantly why are they putting this shit out there to deliberately tell readers the wrong things. Why can’t these so-called writers tell it how it is? Or was in this case?

The writer’s name is Thomas Hobbs. Shame on him for not knowing (or at least telling) the real story here. I am sorry to tell you Mr. Hobbs, but you are wrong and should have used this opportunity to tell the real story of why that wall was built.

Anyway, Back to the Wrestling…

Meanwhile I just watched a wrestler win a fight by pinning his opponent down with a fork-lift truck. Work that one out!?

How I would love to see the politicians slugging it out in this way. We can all dream eh?

Halloween – First in UK

Dani’s favourite fiesta

He has only been old enough to really get in the party spirit in the past couple of years. But I have missed both of those Halloween nights. So not only was this Dani’s first Halloween in the UK; it was my first proper Halloween with him.

A bit of history…

When I was young I remember first hearing about ‘trick or treat’. We tried knocking on doors one Halloween night after seeing something on a kids TV show called Blue Peter. We never even made any effort to dress up etc… Unsurprisingly Most people either looked at us as if we had just climbed off an alien spaceship or politely told us to feck off!.

I always thought that this form of celebration/begging was just an American thing. I still do really. It never really caught on in the UK until recent years. Now it is fairly common and as long as you approach a house that has decked out with pumpkins and/or Halloween decorations then you are fine. In Spain it is only just breaking through as the “thing” to do on ‘all saints eve’.

Not unlike the subtle (enough) difference between Spain and her former colony Mexico. In Central America the day of the dead (el día de los muertos) is a much bigger celebration taken far more seriously….

Spooked out!

 Even Dani’s old dad tried to look the part in a themed T-shirt with a kids’ “Scream” mask. A bit small admittedly but some might consider it an improvement – of sorts.

Pounding the streets asking for sweets and chocolate with little kids. Hmm… Then it started raining. Typical!

Some places made a real effort with one having a full skeleton in their car. I managed to sneak a quick snap…

OK, I know it’s  little out of focus but I didn’t want to be seen taking shots of someone else’s property so I made it quickly. And anyway, by now, it was raining.

Halloween costumes

One of Dani’s cousins made a real effort. Emily started high school this year and I thought she may not be joining the party. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Like many kids her age – and certainly many teenagers – she pushed the boat out and really went for the full-on costume. Naturally Dani had to try Harley Quinn’s wig.

Drama Queen….

At the end of the evening while driving back to his nana’s house Dani did something he has done before, and no doubt will do again. He went into full melodramatic mode.

He sighed and said; “I think today was the best day of my life.” That brought a smile to my face. At least it meant that he had enjoyed his Halloween day in the UK. As for being the best day in his life? Well, I am sure there will be many more to come… Probably starting with his sixth birthday in a few days’ time.