Welcome to Munchkinland. We represent the Computer Science Guild!

Oh bloody hell, what have I unleashed?

So yesterday, to give the kids a bit of a break as the exams are in full swing, our after school club became game central. Mainly because they needed some downtime and I’m fed up with them getting teary from overtiredness (expected this time of year, but they don’t need me barking extra orders at them). One young man rocked up with three volumes of D&D player guides and dice while I arrived with a set of Munchkin cards that I’d payed stupid amounts to get delivered in time for yesterday’s geek-fest.

So, Munckin grabs their attention as a quick play option and off we go…. Except they’ve sent me the French version! WTH?!


But we are resilient geeks, and not only do we have Google translate, but we also have a languages scholar and Mrs B with her GCSE in French from 17 years ago (le sange a dans le table – I remembered more than I realised!). And we made it work. And oh my, it was funny. If you ever want to see people who will do essentially anything to sabotage their best friend’s chances of survival, give a bunch of 13 & 14 year olds Munchkin.

Why Munchkin? For me, it’s the obscure geeky references and it’s a gateway to slightly more in depth games. Because its silly, anyone can play. And if you needed more persuasion, check out these as cards with their occasional reference to Pratchett:





Now all I need to do is convince LSH to play with it with me over half term! (Not much hope there)


Questions to be answered.

The brilliantly funny April’s A-Z has nominated me back for the Leibster, and seeing as I’ve already bored you enough with facts about me, I’m just going to answer the questions!

1. What are your thoughts on decaffeinated coffee?
It’s evil. Fact. Who in their right mind would drink a something designed to perk you up without the perky bit?! I did find out this week that if you drink coffee before a nap, it makes the nap even more effective!
2. What shape or character would your 7th birthday piñata be?
A replica of the current UK Education Minister, Mr Gove. That way the kids could bash him with a big stick, much like he’s doing to their schools!
3. Pigtails on adult women: yay or nay?
No. Not unless she’s in cosplay. At which point it is totally acceptable, and at times required.
4. What time do you usually wake, alarm or not?
Too bloody early! During term time, it’s 5.50am, although it takes a little while to drag my carcass out of my pit.
5. Given the opportunity, would you use a slip ‘n slide?
A what? (Hold up, I’m going to need to Google that)…… Ooh! One of them! Hell yes! Actually, we have one in the shed – I just need it to be warm enough to throw me and the family down it!
6. What was the last thing you ate?
Meatballs and pasta made by my lovely husband.
7. Have you ever weighed yourself before and after a bowel movement?
Who hasn’t? I never understood why it didn’t make a jot of difference.
8. Do you play an instrument?
Indeed I do. I play guitar (classical & steel string) and piano.
9. What’s the top item on your bucket list?
Try out for roller derby. It’s just mental enough to grab my interest.
10. Do you have pets? If so, what type and what are their names?
Yep. You want the whole list?
Cat – moggy – Tom
Cat – moggy -Yzma
Cat – Turkish Angora – Greebo
Fire Eel – bollocking enourmous (currently just under a foot long) – Charles
4 Clown Loaches – approaching equally enormous
Angel fish – pure evil, jet black
Catfish – William
Various guppies
Two children
One husband

11. Do you like your name, or have you ever thought of changing it?
It’s not a grown up name. I’ve actually had people say to me when I’ve turned up for official appointments “oh, I was expecting a little girl”. Well, people, little girls grow up.

The Leibster Award. I have it.


Liebster (requirements consist of naming your nominator and providing a link to that person’s blog, posting 11 facts about yourself, answering your nominator’s 11 questions, nominating 11 more bloggers, and creating 11 questions for those bloggers to answer) :

11 facts about myself:

1. I’m having more fun than the kids painting the Warhammer figures.

2. I am rubbish at being overtired.

3. I wish I had more time to play games.

4. I’m a slow reader. But I get totally lost in stories.

5. My faith is rather dented and I’m leaning towards agnostic.

6. I’m determined to learn to speak Spanish, even though I’m finding it really hard.

7. Just occasionally, I wonder what would have been if we’d had another child.

8. I’m having great difficulty in thinking of eleven things about me!

9. I have several friends that I’ve never met, but I consider proper friends.

10. I want to travel more. The idea of warmer climates appeals.

11. I’m not very good at being girly.

Answers to DepressionBlogger’s questions:

1. Who is your favorite author? Terry Pratchett, without a doubt.

2. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? Southern Spain. Andalusia.

3. What kind(s) of music do you like to listen to? Ska, rock, occasionally thrash. And then baroque just to throw you all off

4. Name something you would love to be able to do that you haven’t done yet. Retire!

5. What is your proudest accomplishment? probably when my book was published last year. That was pretty cool.

6. What is your name? whatshername, or more often than not Spanners

7. What is your quest? Mostly anything the dude with the exclamation mark asks me to do.

8. What is your favorite color? green. Was purple.

9. What is the capital of Assyria? there were 4, which one do you want?

10. What’s your favorite comfort food? carbs carbs and more carbs.

11. What’s your favorite activity for a rainy day? ahem. Actually, no. It’s roller discos or crocheting (how sad is that!?)

Ask your nominees 11 questions for them to answer:

1. Who was your childhood hero?
2. Who would win in a fight: Cthulhu or the behemoth?
3. Tell me about your most memorable teacher.
4. What was your favourite age?
5. What happened on your 10th birthday?
6. What does your sock drawer say about you as a person?
7. Paper books or ebooks? Why?
8. If you could be a book character, who would it be?
9. Describe yourself in five words or less.
10. How do you take your tea?
11. What classic novel do you wish you’d actually read as a child?

Nominate 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.

1. Smile me Happy
2. Daniel Is Funny
3. Goodnight Mush
4. April’s A-Z
5. Derby+Diapers+Daily
6. It’s Been a Slice!
7. Fully Myelinated
8. The Gypsy Tree Newborn Photographer
9. Objectpermenanceblog
10. Map Without Borders
11. Burned Out Parent



A Trip to the Hobbit Shop

As now coined by TinyPants. Technically called Games Workshop, but Hobbit Shop is just way better.

In an attempt to grab their imagination in a non-computer type way, we’re introducing the kids to gaming. D&D seems a bit complex for them at age 7 & 8, so Warhammer it is. LSH played 40’000 as a kid (read before we met) & looked like a pig in proverbial when we walked in and the girls went crackers over the Hobbit style game (hence the shop name), so we compromised and went with the fantasy version. Elves and ratsBloody hell, that got expensive. But the reason for a short post tonight? I’m off to dab primer onto my army of rat people!


Smug Married Couples

How do you find that one person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with? I have no idea.

I didn’t so much find LSH as acquired him. In the true sense of the word, I had no idea we were dating for a while… We were friends. We did cool stuff together & his recently ex girlfriend even joked we should get together. But when we did…


I’ve been trawling through the photos I have on Facebook I have of us and there’s a couple of running themes…

When we dress up, we do it well!


(Ok, in this one we had a good excuse!)


And in every photo, we look at each other in the same way…



Now, in 2013, we’ve resorted to taking selfies, but it’s still us as a team.


Welcome to the offline world kids – the graphics are awsome.

I should blog something profound. The whole point of the Internet was to create easy and cost effective access to global knowledge, and yet here I am about to blog about my insignificant day, thus taking up more space and power…

I did something today that was totally unrelated to academia, but may just maybe inspire the next generation to use their imaginations rather than rely on MMORPGs for their fantasy fix. I agreed that as part of my farewell gesture, I would use our usual Thursday afternoon of computer related geekdom to finish the academic year by playing D&D with them.

Ultimately, the point of this diversion is to set them up with some team work and moral support in a world where the sports captain and dramatist rule. They will have each other, and know that this inclination towards the odd and away from jumping on each other on a muddy field has bred some of the finest minds known to man. They will know that it is ok to be an individual and I’m proud of them.


Bring out the dice 😉

Well that esculated quickly…

Think back to your childhood, do you remember watching a teacher properly losing it? I do. I remember watching this poor guy crack in a truly British way by standing up and eloquently telling us all exactly what he thought of us (his opinion of our academic prowess was a little jaded, but spectacularly accurate!).

My Goddaughter watched a similar scenario today, although scarily she is only 8 and doesn’t have the level of nonchalance that a stroppy teenager applies to this situation. It got me thinking though. Exactly what does it take to make a teacher risk losing their dignity, their control and quite possibly their job?

In a word, stress.


May is a horrible month for teachers, and having just been told by Beanpole that I must be ill because the bags under my eyes are black (thanks kid), I’m aware that while I’m dealing with my stress, it is having a physical effect, and not just through increased chocolate consumption. Burnout is a very real thing and those helpful media people who drone on about teachers leaving by 3pm and having constant holidays don’t help. My average day is in excess of 12 hours – as a fully qualified software developer, if I was in it for the money, I wouldn’t be teaching. But there is no piece of software that gives the same level of job satisfaction as seeing a spark of lifelong interest.

But job satisfaction does not shield you from stress or the changing nature of our profession. I have heard many older teachers of a bygone generation lament the loss of status within society – where once the academic was respected for the academic and social lessons that were imparted upon the young, they are now more likely to be blamed for the failure to make the horse drink the water they were led to.


And this shift in the status of a profession is invariably passed on to the younger generations.

But what can we do? We can learn to consider our position as a frog. Calmly survey the surroundings from the lily pad and jump when the water is warm and danger has passed. Ultimately, all things will pass and tadpoles will eventually grow their own legs. Oh, and try not to crack up in front of the kids. A large glass of wine is generally much more productive (after school).