DevonDad

Something About Procrastination

Love this. I came across this while doing some research for work, but caught myself relating to this… a little too well..

Love how he talks about wikipedia.

Love how he checks the fridge in case the contents have changed over the last ten minutes.

Love how he talks about the lack of deadlines.

I would say how much we use reminder apps to great effect, but that’s probably not the case, the Instant Gratification Monkey finds something better to do. Like looking at the wikipedia entry for Doctor Who, The Angels Take Manhattan.

I’m off to fall down a Youtube type rabbit hole.

Celebrating Apples at The Apple Festival

The Apple Festival at Killerton National Park

It seems that National Apple Day is “a thing”, and that an Apple Festival is a place to be to celebrate.

The Killerton Apple Festival is on the surface, an almost bizarre event that on the surface seems to be all about apples. Picking Apples, juicing apples, toffee apples, apple juice, cider… you get the picture… But once you start having a nose around you also find… Story telling around a fire… Insect hotel building… Face painting… Making apple people…Live music… Archery… Axe throwing… Chain saw carving… and apple runs.

Basically, if you’re not sure if you want to go. Go. Its a lovely family trip out, with a great laid back feel around the place, and apple juice.

Here’s a sample of what we saw there…

Quick cheeky plug for my instagram stories of the day…

Oh. And the juice you get is amazing…

See the Killerton website for more information about it all.

Bing on Cbeebies. A Few Questions.

What is the deal with Pando’s trousers? - On Cbeebies Bing

Our Little One was very very much into watching Bing on Cbeebies, and because of the series record feature on our YouView… she discovered the joys of binge watching Bing.

Obviously this means I have also discovered the joys of watching Bing (and learning how to make the most use of its 7 minute run time). While watching the same episode for what felt like the 20th time, my wife and I started to ask ourselves a few questions, and generally over think about Bing and some of his friends:

What is the deal with Pando’s trousers? - On Cbeebies Bing

What is the deal with Pando’s trousers?

Whenever you see him in the TV show, the guy is running around in his underwear, except for one moment at the very start when he takes his trousers off. Why doesn’t his carer type character put his trousers back on?

I guess yellow doesn’t look great on him.

On the subject of the carer type characters…

What is Flop on Cbeebies Bing?

What the actual heck is Flop?

The Cbeebies website describe Flop as Bings carer, but where is his parents?

Flop is there when Bing goes to bed, when he wakes up, Bing looks after Flop when he’s ill. If it was just Flop and Bing, I’d suggest that Bing actually had a heart breaking back story, but other characters seem to have similar carer figures. Maybe all the parents have disappeared? Maybe the carers are aliens?

Again, on the subject of the carers…

How do they get Charlie up these stairs?

Sarah and Duck. Some Questions

A couple of years back. our Little One went through a stage of binge watching Cbeebies shows. The most charming of them was by far, Sarah and Duck. Ok, I admit it, I still enjoy Sarah and Duck when its on.

There’s a sense of innocent joy mixed with humour that is captured in the episodes, which makes them fun to watch. Even more once we got Sarah and Duck dvds (Affiliate link), as this meant we didn’t have to switch between episodes on our DVR every 5 – 7 minutes.

As we watched the adventures of Sarah and Duck, Mrs Sofa, and I started asking ourselves a few questions about the world that Sarah and Duck live in…

If Sarah is 7 years old, why doesn’t she go to school?

I guess she’s kinda smart, even for the lack of school attendance, but I guess in a world where a cake can talk back to you, school must be quite interesting.

For all the scenes set at home, why don’t we see her parents?

Seriously. WHERE are they? Is she left home alone all day, with nothing but a duck for company?

Sarah and Duck on Cbeebies. A Few Questions

If Moon can be seen walking around the shop, where does the Sun go?

I kinda wonder why we don’t see Sun wandering around when its night. I guess its ok that we don’t have a massive ball of fire walking around the place… but what impact does moons actions have on the worlds tidal levels? What we don’t see, is that every time that Moon walks around the Big Shop, are there massive floods elsewhere?

How do children and birds understand each other so well?

I tried talking to a duck once.
It was a boring conversation. But people walking around me thought I was quackers.

Sarah and Duck on Cbeebies. A Few Questions

Isn’t bread meant to be bad for ducks?

Duck seems to be tired on a regular basis, maybe he’s just a bit poorly?

What is the narrator?

I have a few theories about this guy. Is he an invisible man? I did wonder if he’s God, and all the  characters can hear God really really well, but thats kinda deeply religious for a cbeebies show. Therefore I questioned if he was Sarah’s conscience, but the thing is, all the characters can hear him. This makes me wonder; Is all of this in Sarahs imagination?

The thing is, If Sarah and Duck is all simply set in Sarahs imagination, then that suggests that real life is a bit of a dark place for Sarah. And thats something that I’d prefer wasn’t true.

Sorry, that got a bit dark there towards the end.

Have you got any questions about the world of Sarah and Duck?

Doctor Who – Mission To The Unknown

Well this is something. Way back in Doctor Who’s third series there was a story called The Daleks Master Plan. An epically long 12 part story, it even had its own 1 part – Doctor-lite story to introduce it, Mission to the Unknown*.

Pretty much all of the above visual recordings have been lost since then. (The BBC had a policy…)

A group of students from the University of Central Lancashire have set about recreating Mission to the Unknown, and from the looks of the trailer its looking pretty faithful…

Hopefully if well received we might one day see The Daleks Master Plan on screen!

*Yes… I know it also acted as a pilot episode for a Dalek TV series that never actually appeared in the end.

Moving (Web) Home

Have you ever had a thought that you couldn’t get rid of?

A while back, I wondered about this blog, and wondered why it was used to be called “Dads Sofa”. While it made sense at the time, it didn’t seem to make sense now. After all, I seemed to find myself posting more about activities and family like around Devon, rather than posting about stuff on TV.

So I figured I would change it, and move the blog to devondad.co.uk.

And here’s “Devon Dad Adventures”. Same me. Different name.

Computer Games, Loot Boxes, and The Gambling Question.



I’m not sure if it was a tweet I replied to about Loot Boxes, or a previous blog post about computer games, but I recently received an email asking for an opinion on whether In-game spending should be regulated by gambling laws, and so-called loot boxes banned entirely for children.

While I didn’t have the chance to reply in the time frame needed, I also wasn’t sure if I had any thoughts or opinions to share.

So here is my attempt at forming some.

In my defence, most of my gaming experience is around playing Mario, or Sonic The Hedgehog. And for years, the iPhone has been the most up to date gaming hardware I owned, but that in turn gave experience of In App Purchases. In App Purchases (Referred to above as In-game spending), is simply the option of buying extra services within the game or app you’re using.

This I would argue can be a good thing. It can give the user a chance to try out software that would normally cost to try it out, or let them have basic functionality of the app, while keeping the high end stuff for people who are willing to pay for those services.
It can also be a bloody annoying thing, as anyone who plays an EA game on the iphone can testify to. (EG “Do you want to play this game quicker? Pay some money”).
Its that second point which could make in game spending a bad thing…

Adam Alter, in his TED Talk below talks about how media is getting rid of Stopping Cues. A stopping cue is basically a signal that it’s time to move on, to do something new, to do something different. And — think about newspapers; eventually you get to the end, you fold the newspaper away, you put it aside.
Netflix, works by removing the stopping cue that is the end of the episode. (Autoplaying onto the next episode). Netflix binging is officially a thing. We as a human race, are not good at stopping an easy or fun task without being told to stop.
I wonder what happens when people are playing a game, come across a stopping point, but have the ability to go on, even if at a price?

Loot Boxes, from what I can gather, is this, but the next level up…
In video games, a loot box is a consumable virtual item which can be redeemed to receive a randomized selection of further virtual items, or loot, ranging from simple customization options for a player’s avatar or character, to game-changing equipment such as weapons and armor.
The contents of the Loot Box don’t have to be predictable.
It feels we’re now talking about gambling.
But not just gambling.
If you’re playing a game, and given the option of spending money to progress, there has been a lot of thought put in to get you to pay for that progress.

Its your willpower against expert user design.
Good Luck.

Read More on bbc.co.uk.

PC Gamer.

The Guardian.



That Summer Holiday Bucket List

So at the start of the Summer, I put together an incredibly cheesy list of things that I wanted us to do as a family this Summer… It wasn’t very ambitious, but here’s how we got on…

  1. Try one of the Gluten Free Cones at Orange Elephant. DONE. And they are awesome. If you’re Gluten Free, and bored of being surrounded by your icecream cone eating family? Get yourselves here.
  2. Tidy the living room. Yeah. That was dumb.
  3. Pick sunflowers at Darts Farm. DONE. Mental note for next year to go at the start of the season!!
  4. Explore a different beach to normal… – Meh. We live in Devon. There’s always the chance for another beach.
  5. Take a boat ride.DONE. We jumped on the ferry from Topsham to Turf Hotel, which… well is basically found deep in the Exe estuary. If you’ve not been, go there. But remember it is a little like a pilgrimage to get there.
  6. Go fruit picking. DONE. Want to go fruit picking in Devon? Google thornes farm shop. Worth it.
  7. Jump around Dartmoor. DONE. Went exploring. In sandals. Got wet feet.
  8. Get the paddling pool out, spend the rest of the summer trying to fix that part of the lawn. NOPE Didn’t do that since the start of the holidays. I believe the lawn is kinda thankful for that.
  9. Think about looking for the big tent. DONE. And put up. And slept in. And felt tired the next morning.
  10. Drink Cider. By a river. (And repeat). DONE. And it was good. (Thank you Turf for being you.)
  11. Actually finish painting the shed. – Nah… that thing is like the flippin forth bridge….
  12. Remember to defrost burgers before the BBQ is lit. #WIN
  13. Tidy the living room. DONE. HONEST. No, please don’t ask for pictures…
  14. Just move the flipping stuff around the living room, so it appears to be tidy in Instagram photos. TOTALLY DONE

Now… we just need to survive the new term at school…