Tombowling

Oh good, you’re just in time for some mummyblogging.  Gather round, mummies, and put on your fucken smocks or whatever is called for.


*except using Comic Sans MS as a legit font,
which is obviously an idea of timeless genius.

Craftblogging in particular has taken off a bit in the past few years (doubtless the catalyst being my feted mural made out of bits of old kids’ paintings I wanted to chuck out, or maybe the melted crayons inspired by the Virgin Mary herself).  Look out because I’m going to take things in a new direction – whereby I don’t actually do the craft, I just have the awesome idea, and then hopefully someone else does it up right and points it out in a comment, and this post is forever linked to great examples of a craft I never actually did.  I’ve been holding onto this logic for about eight years until I thought the internet could handle this sort of reverse psychology without breaking.  PCCW breaks our internet enough without any help from my advanced metaphysical binar-ology.

There’s a park near us called the Sai Kung Nullah.  (According to Wikipedia, “A nullah is a concrete-lined canal or an re-inforced creek bed used to contain run-off. Nullah entered the English language from Hindi. The word nullah is used almost exclusively in Hong Kong.”  I wasted hundreds of dollars trying to get my Cantonese teacher to explain to me what nullah means in Chinese.  You know, how all the words have a meaning, like the word for chewing gum means “fragrant mouth plastic”?  When really I could have given HK$10 to the guy at the chapatti stand and got the answer AND dinner.)  The council recently did up the Sai Kung Nullah.  New features include grass, a little playground, and this big model ship.

Because I’m doing that big case involving ships at the moment, I can tell you with authority that this photo is taken athwartship across the midships from the starboard hull.  And if you want to know anything else about ships, feel free to ask.  At this point I know enough about naval specifications to make it a weekly column, though I’d have to make another header with pictures of me measuring aluminium thickness with calipers, performing crude fully-loaded inclination experiments on paper boats in our village creek, and wearing goggles and shit.  *Files away for a rainy day*

The kids and I were recently loitering around the Nullah, trying to avoid the finger-wagglers who pervade this whole country making sure you don’t do anything wrong like touch grass with any part of your body.  My eyes strayed to the plants lining the sides of the ship:

Not the plants so much as the round rocks they were all nestled in.

The next time the nearest finger-waggler was occupied with another recidivist grass trampler, I picked up a handful to inspect.  They were really light and papery, and I was sure they were fake.  Or else the work of a fibre-ridden marsupial with a particularly round arsehole.  But actually it’s called scoria, a volcanic rock composed of glassy fragments.  I found this out after the risky poo photo above which was brave.  A lot of bloggers call themselves professional writers; I certainly don’t, but I AM prepared to go all the way when it comes to grabbing handfuls of putative shitballs for you guys.

I then realised that we could use the scoria balls to play marbles, classic children’s game since the time of flatcaps and pushing a wheel down the street with a stick!  I’ve often wanted to get marbles for the kids but a few things have stopped me.  Here are those reasons, and then the reason scoria balls don’t have the same pitfalls.

1.  They’re dangerous and kids can choke on them.  Looks like they’re too big to block a kid’s windpipe.  Look at me doing real mummyblogging!
2.  If anyone’s gonna do a pratfall on an errant marble, it’s me.  These things would shatter underfoot before my legs shot out in front of me.
3.  They’re in that category of kids’ toys that we all hate – ones that contain multiple pieces and even if you only have a pack of 10, one of them will turn up under the couch or in the fridge or in the washing basket every day for the next six years.  These things are free from the park.  When you’ve finished playing, chuck them straight in the bin.  Just get more next time you’re passing a facility decorated with standard municipal flowerpots.
4.  I don’t even remember how to play marbles.  Hmm.  Yeah this is pretty much still relevant to scoria balls.

No problem, though!  Like pioneers we racked up a game on this handy pre-made square thing in the floor of the “ship” (reasonably confident it’s the limber hole for the bilge pump).

I quickly made up some rules that sounded feasible (I don’t think I actually ever played marbles – I was probably too busy playing elastics or making up dance routines to Girlfriend.)  They involved flicking your marble into the rink, with the aim of either having the most marbles in at the end of the game, OR flicking out your opponents’ marbles.  These seem kind of counter endeavours but that in itself wasn’t our biggest problem – we had three players with five scoria balls each, and by the end we had no idea whose were whose.  I hastily called a three-way tie, and quits to the session.  The finger-wagglers were approaching, and we had some council property to rack.

The next step is going to be to paint the scoria balls.  This is not a step I’m going to actually do, obviously – paint is so messy and the whole process is just a pain in the arse.  Can someone tell me if they do it and it works out?  Also if you know the actual rules of marbles?

29 Comments

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29 responses to “Tombowling

  1. My kids (four year old twins) are just getting into marbles. They don’t know how to play (and either do I), and I like the idea of them picking up shitballs and flicking them around at each other. . . like monkeys at the zoo w/ fesces. . . fun, fun. . .

    • The grouse things you could get up to with 4-year-old twins! Including shitball duels! Yeah once I saw a monkey at the zoo throw a poop at its mate…who rolled it up in a leaf and ate it??? So maybe don’t try that one at home.

  2. I think the real crafters out there would probably have a dozen bright ideas of what to do with those balls of volcanic rock composed of rocky frangments. Gold mind!!! My mind pretty much stops at painted marbles too. And my hands stop, like yours, before they ever get pained.

    Oh and, love your snark as usual. Especially: “A lot of bloggers call themselves professional writers; I certainly don’t, but I AM prepared to go all the way when it comes to grabbing handfuls of putative shitballs for you guy”

  3. I too, appreciate your willingness to go for the poo balls.
    My mom used to make elaborate cardboard marble shoots when we were kids. You would put the marble in at the top and it would go through a series of obstacles to reach the bottom. I always loved her mad genius tendencies

  4. I’m not crafty either, nor do I know how to play marbles, so I admire that you could make up a game out of these things.

  5. dmh222

    I’m impressed that you were creative enough to think of a fun use for a bunch of poo balls in a pot. If a game of marbles doesn’t pan out, you could take paper towel rolls and shoot them like spitballs.

  6. Very funny. I love the idea of just coming up with craft ideas, but never actually doing those crafts, and then taking credit for them anyway. Awesome!

  7. First off, what is playing elastics??

    Ok, your marbles game sounds like curling, so it’s totally plausible that that’s how you would play with them.

    Glad you escaped the finger-wagglers, and I love the tone of this post :D

    • You didn’t have elastics? Surely you did. Where you have a big loop of elastic, and put it around your ankles and stand about six feet away from another kids. Then someone else jumps on the elastic, and in and out, usually saying “England (jump) Ireland (jump) Scotland (jump) Wales! (jump) Inside (jump) Outside (jump) Inside (jump) Tails!” etc.

      Doesn’t curling have brooms?

      • Hmm, we definitely didn’t have that rhyme, and I really don’t think we had that game…maybe something similar by tying a skipping rope around our ankles. I’m foggy on it.
        You’re right, curling does have brooms, but the object of the game is to get your rock as close to the bullseye or whatever and knock out as many of the opponents’ rocks as you can. (That’s not the official explanation, I’ve never actually curled.)

  8. You’re my kind of crafter! I have no patience for snipping and gluing and folding and blah…

  9. I’m not a crafter either. But I admire your willingness to risk excrement fondling in the name of motherhood and art. The only kind of marbles my almost five year old is interested in are the kind that come with those marble magic slides and shoots to you can build up and then watch the marble travel down. I’m sure some crafty soul on Pinterest has done a DIY version of that constructed solely from mason jars, old t-shirts, incredibly elaborate nail polish, and smugness.

    • Thank you for saying “excrement fondling”. I look forward to seeing who visits by way of that particular search term ;)
      You’re so right about Pinterest. SMUGNESS! And Mason jars. I keep seeing people raving about how good they are to eat a layered salad out of. What happened to a bowl?

  10. I like your ideas. And Comic Sans.

  11. I am so not a crafter so I won’t be the one painting them (assuming could even get them in NJ!)

  12. Playing marbles with what looks like poo-balls is one thing, just don’t ever get the real ones. I’m almost positive my MIL had radar for when I’d finally gotten ticked off enough to chuck every single one from the house, because sure as shit she would buy the kids more. I think I may still find the occasional one and it’s been at least 12 years since the last time they entered my home.

    • SEE! They multiply! And they’re SOOOOO rolly and dangerous! Does she not care about the choking-hazard factor? Gah! Also at the start where you said “Playing marbles with what looks like poo-balls is one thing, just don’t ever get the real ones”, I thought you meant don’t get real poo-balls at first. I was like “I don’t really intend to” ;)

  13. Ugh. I hate crafting too. But I have to say, you are pretty damn creative to make a game out of poo balls. Impressive.

  14. What a fun game you made up! See, you ARE creative!

  15. These remind me of the buckeyes we used to collect as kids back in Cleveland, Ohio. We never thought to make a game out of them. That’s really creative!

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