Hoist the Jolly Roger

This page written circa 1 July, 2004.

"Your daughter has received an invitation to piracy", Merinda said enthusiastically to me last evening. "So have I", I replied.

Meanwhile, Kay had been explaining to Edwin that there are now less than 14 pull-ups (daiper-like pants) left, so he has less than 2 weeks to accommodate to the idea of using a potty or toilet, because she is not going to buy any more. He is clearly capable of using a toilet, but has been refusing to do so, preferring to race into the bathroom, pull off his pants, and put on a pull-up in response to a call of nature.

Merinda has been watching the recent version of Peter Pan, and Wendy delivers the piracy line to her brothers as a matter of pride. These evenings, our carpets are increasingly littered with cardboard swords and coloured scarves in place of the usual trains, blocks, and small plastic animals.

Though I was once apparently a Peter Pan fan, I remembered nothing of the story. We have now various versions, including the new version with real kids on DVD. I was not expecting there to be much depth to Peter Pan. In the Disney versions I was not disappointed. The new version, however, is subtly brilliant. It portrays the beginnings of sexual tensions, the emotional responses to distracted frendships, and the demands and rewards of growing up, all with accuracy and delicacy. It took me a couple of viewings to wake up to this.

In fact, Peter Pan addresses the very dilemma that Edwin is facing. He wants to stay a kid like Peter Pan, doing whatever he wants and in particular having someone else clean up his bottom for him. He wants to stay as a kid so much he is counting his underpants, working out how much longer he can refuse to use a toilet for himself before he runs out of undies. On the other hand, Merinda like Wendy wants to grow up. It is a hard choice.

My offer of piracy came with the recent acquisition of a Lite-On LVW-5005 DVD+/-R/W machine. This excellent device will record video on any media, from CDRW to DVD-RW, from any format (PAL and NTSC), and play it back in any format, and will even do so via firewire, S-video or Progressive-scan Component interfaces. I have wanted for a while to be able to put valuable old video onto DVD, but the anger and frustration of finding that a recently-purchased, expensive DVD carried multiple previews past which one cannot skip drove me to the purchase. There is a simple hack to turn the player code-free using the remote control, and I rapidly implemented that. There is another hack that involves modifying its operating system to disable macrovision protection and then flashing it into the player. I did not intend to bother with this, but when it refused to copy a 1983-vintage Australian video I got rather angry... surely backing up old videotape material is the reason most people buy a DVD recorder? I did the macrovision flash and got a 3-hr recording mode and a more stable picture as bonuses for my effort.

So here I am, with the same offer as Wendy. To paraphrase a favourite contemporary of J.M.Barrie, "Now I am six I'm as clever as clever, do I want to stay six for ever and ever?".

| Home | Back |