Tuesday, August 29, 2006

"Look at the size of that thing..."

I was woken up this morning at 3am by a familiar series of noises :

Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-THUMP !

Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa ! Thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa-thumpa! THUMP !

Thumpa-thumpa ... etc.

I knew pretty much what it was straight away. It was our cat Shadow racing around in the hallway outside our bedroom. She only ever does that for one of two reasons:

1 ) She is playing with one of her toys - catnip mouse or catnip ball ( or, more likely, I am using the laser pointer to get her to chase the "Red Dot of Mystery" round and round the house. Best cat toy EVER ).


2) She is 'playing' ( ie - torturing slowly to a painful death ) with some small creature she's managed to catch ( usually a mouse - but there have been skinks, cicadas and the occassional weta. She LOVES catching birds - but she doesn't really do well in stalking avians. I'm not sure why. ).

Seeing as I am in bed - and NOT in the hall with a laser pointer - I'm pretty sure that it's the latter. She's been better with bringing in her kills lately - usually I take them off her and let them go ( not that I want to save the life of vermin - but usually because I don't want them getting away from her and escaping somewhere in the house. We've had mice on the loose for up to a week before she manages to catch them again and finish them off - and there's at least one skink who died in the ventilation tubes by getting into the grills in the floor while Shadow was feigning disinterest. ) so she's learned NOT to bring them in until they are dead ( or so rooted that they aren't fun anymore ). I really can't be bothered to put myself on vermin extraction duty at three in the freaking morning - and it sounds like she has things under control, so I drift off back to sleep.

When I get up to do some exercise ( it's a Tuesday, so that's a StepMania morning instead of a run ) I'm pretty wary. The last thing you want to do at 5.30 is step on a partially eviserated rodent ( like I did in a certain flat while I was living in Wanganui - mouse guts are a freaking pain to get out of a carpet, let me just tell you that ! ). My eyes adjust to the dark, and I don't see any unusual shaped objects about. "Sweet" I think "She took it outside when she was done. Good kitty".

I get on my track pants, a t-shirt and flick on the lights to downstairs.

And discover the RAT halfway down.

And not just any rat ! This was some BIG freaking rat ! It must have been about quarter of the size ( at least ) of Shadow herself ! We're talking KING-SIZE rodent here. Man. Gross. I think it might have been just a little bit alive too ( I think it's tail moved ).

I scraped it onto a spade with a rake - and then took it to the corner of our street before launching it into some bushland, catapult-like.

I'm just glad that Viva didn't get up while Shadow was finishing off Ratty. I think she would have royally freaked out. Heck - I would have !

Monday, August 28, 2006

God is fickle !

We've recently had a leaky roof. A section of our rumpus room ceiling collapsed as a result. Large and distrubing water stains appeared in our downstairs guest room ( which we like to call "The Yellow Room" - because ... it's painted yellow ... ). We got in touch with a guy who knows about these things. He did stuff - he checked things out - he came back with an estimate on how much it would cost to fix.


Or - if I were to use the words I used when Viva let me know that wee price -

( Ah-hem )


Apparantly it's more than JUST the roof. The whole extension downstairs was built "badly". Water is pooling on the walls and then seeping through. A window in the upstairs kitchen needs to replaced. He's getting a list of things for us.


So that's bad.

Needless to say - we're getting an independent inspector to assess what he thinks the damage might be. Personally - I'm hoping for a shade cheaper that 30K.

Say goodbye to getting a Playstation 3 this year, I think ... ( wahhh ! )

And ... maybe food ...

Seriously SERIOUSLY uncool.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Oh - now it's freaking ON...

If there's one thing I can't stand in a student - it's freaking defiance. It REALLY makes me see red. Early on in my teaching career I did actually lose it totally with one little defiant punk - grabbing him by the shirt-front and slamming him against a wall. Okay, okay - sounds bad. And I DID get in a teensy-weensy bit of trouble for that one - but, to be fair, this kid was a little criminal-in-the-making-son-of-a-bitch, and believe me - if YOU had been there and YOU had had to try and teach this mongrel, you would have agreed that a good, hard planting of the boot to the groin wouldn't have been out of place at the time.

Anyway - we had a house meeting today ( yup - we do the whole house thing. Kinda strange sometimes, not having come from that environment myself. No house system in sunny Oh-TACKY(!) college. Feels like being in a Harry Potter novel sometimes - y'know, just without any of the magic stuff ). We have a house singing competition coming up soon. The assembly area is in the big drama room in our block. So - as the boys can't seem to go freaking FIVE MINUTES without wanting to cram food into their bottomless gullets, a bunch of them start ... well, cramming food down their gullets ( I really can't say that they're actually EATING the food, because that would imply some kind of civilization ). I go to one guy, let's call him Zeke. Zeke is an idiot. One of Zeke's parents is on the board - which is the only reason I can see for him actually still being here. Zeke is eating, in defiance of all politeness, not to mention room rules. I say to Zeke "Please put the food away - or bin it. We don't want you eating in here and making a mess. You can eat at interval - it's, like, in only 15 minutes."

Now - to any normal, rational person - that would seem pretty straight foward. right ? DON'T EAT NOW - DON'T EAT HERE. YOU CAN EAT SOON - JUST SOMEWHERE ELSE.

I have to repeat this message to another couple of people - before I blew my black-whistle-of-doom, and told the assembly the same message ( please put the food away - don't want it in here - it makes a mess - eat in interval, it's only in a few minutes ). So - Zeke has heard me say this AT LEAST TWICE.

A short time later I'm helping to move students into their positions for the singing - and what do I see ? This little bastard has only grabbed the food BACK out of where he put it, crammed the golf-ball sized lump of it RIGHT into his mouth, and is trying to chew it, turning his head away from me in a fiendishly-cunning bid not to be caught !

"You." I say, "Out." I point to the hall.

He has the nerve to look surprised !

"What?" he answers ( only, with his mouth still partially full of food it sounds more like "Wuhhhuuu ?" ).

"OUT!" I repeat.

He starts walking in the opposite direction !

"OOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUTTTTTTT!!!!" I enunciate - now stabbing my finger repeatidly in the direction.

"But I just need to get..."

"DO. NOT. CARE. OUT. NOW. MOVE. GO. OUT. OUT ! OUT!!!", my fists are unconsciously balling up with such force I'm surprised that black holes weren't spontainously generated.

So - I have a nice private chat with him about how his behaviour, while probably not seeming like such a big deal to him, was defiance of the lowest and worst kind. He was given a reasonably request by a teacher clearly, he was given it AGAIN, and he STILL decided to do what he wanted to do. He is to write a report for me on his behaviour ( four questions which I write for him - giving him a sheet of paper to answer on ) at interval and present it to me at the start of lunchtime.

This should have taken 15min MAX. 10 ( maybe ) to write. Possibly 5 at lunchtime at most to work through with him ( though more likely 20 seconds - I say simply "Thanks, don't do it again, get out." ).

Did he turn up ?


Dirty mother-f**ker.

So - I am going to foward his name into the school detention list ( there's an hour after-school picking up litter ) for the defiance, and THEN he can come and spend a lunchtime with me writing out that original report under my watchful eye ( becaause he almost certainly hasn't done it ).

That might sound petty and small-minded, but it's the "broken window" theory in action. You crack down hard on the small stuff - you never have to deal with the escalation to the big stuff. Not that this is actually small - it's just a punk-arse student thinking he doesn't have to do what a freaking authority figure reasonabally asks him to do.

All part of the teaching mantra I've had since my very first days ( at a pretty tough school ) - "No snot-punk kid gets the better of Seraph!". It may not be terribly enlightened, PC, caring, or much in the spirit of furthering the future of NZ youth - but hey, it works for me.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

There is a god !

Seraph is ONE happy guy.

Why is Seraph 'ONE happy guy' you are wondering ( as well as why Seraph is talking about himself in the 3rd person ) ?

The collective powers of all that is right and good in the universe have decreed that "Alexei Sayle's Stuff" shall be available on DVD ! Seasons one and freaking two !

I never dared hope for such a joyous ... thing ! At last - a chance to see the "Manly art of verbal abuse" sketch again. *sigh*. It shall be a day long remembered.

Now - what's the chance of getting the original animated "Tick", "Eek the cat" and the 80's "Twilight Zone" ?

( and I also figured out how to create a hyper-link dealy all on my own ! This might not seem like much to you - but to me, it is a golden victory in the grand quest for blogging enlightenment. So there ! )

Monday, August 14, 2006

"That was a quiet sounding party..."

So. There was a reunion get-together thingy for our 48hr film team on the weekend, hosted by the crime-fighting duo of Jenni and Lee.
Viva and I get into some decent "time to meet people - not lounge around in track pants and sweaters" clothes, get into the car ( braving what seemed like at the time to be sub-arctic weather ) and drove to their apartment.
I announce our presence at the intercom outside ( I said "It's me" - which I shouldn't really say. Like Jenni's gonna know who 'me' is. Also it apparantly sounded a lot like I said "It's LEE" - which made Jenni wonder just who it was who was with her in the flat. Never a good thing to do to your friends ) and we get buzzed in.
"Wow" said Viva "That was a quiet sounding party.", as we head up the lift.
"Yeah" I reply "... Maybe ... they were ... busy... eating.", giving the tupperware container of savoury scones I had baked ealier in the day a small shake.
We knock on the apartment door, and enter into the scene of Jenni and Lee, playing an x-box game. That was it.
Hmmmm. Something was not right in this picture. I'm no party-animal, I'm pretty sure that 'get-together' usually involves slightly more people.
"Hey guys" said Jenni - slightly warily I thought, and who could blame her ? - "What's going on?"
"Ummmm ... wasn't there a, y'know ... party ... here tonight ?"

Goddammit. I didn't really read the instructions all that clearly. I think I just saw the word "get-together" and naturally thought Saturady night. Duh.
Sunday was unfortunately pretty booked out for me ( desperately trying to catch up with some school work, and making papermache masks for my Y13 Drama class - we're doing a Greek comedy and EVRYONE needs to have a mask ... though I'm not too sure how I got lumbered with making them ... ), so I didn't get to the party/get-together at all. Gah.

Still - it was nice just hanging out with Jenni and Lee for a little bit. So not a total loss.

I've REALLY got to start reading instructions more carefully though.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Slightly more pro-Satan than expected

So - what happened to a student who extols the virtues of the Dark Lord himself at a Christian school's 'Battle of the Bands' ?

Why - he gets a big 'ole slap down from the man ! ( or principal, in this case ).

An earlier band member had explained to the audience that the hand gesture, where you form a fist, then raise your pinky and index fingers translated into "Rock On" in the world of hard rockin' dudes everywhere. Fair enough I guess.

A couple of bands along and who do we get ? A Y1o Death Metal band. The lead singer was more laughable than anything else. His 'singing' consisted of guttural howls which was more like a pack of rabid wolverine duking in out than anything resembling singing in my book ( but, to be fair, I'm not really a fan of Death-Metal. Maybe this type of singing is good - who knows ? ). However, when the crowd started chanting this kid's name - I think he lost touch with reality. "You are no longer a wimpy little fourth former !" I'm sure his ego assured him, "You are a ROCK GOD !". And with all the arrogance of a tragic Greek hero, he began to tell us what that hand gesture REALLY meant.

"It doesn't mean 'rock on' !" He cried to the assembled school, "It means 'SATAN'!!! Yeah ! SATAN ! HAIL SATAN !!!" It went on. He inverted a nearby thing which looked like a cross.
He hailed Satan a couple of more times, before launching into the band's second song.

Oh dear me. Things were not pleasant. Most of the staff looked pretty stunned. A few of the more "school spirit" orientated 7th formers had to be restrained from rushing the stage to put the smack down on him. The head boy hurled a shoe at him ( it missed ).

Not the smartest move this kid could have made. Yeesh - and that's coming from ME.

Consequences ? He got a four day suspension, his band has been dissolved ( with the members not being allowed to play music at school together - ever, I think ), he is not allowed anywhere near a microphone again and I think there might be secret plans to have him spade. Y'know - just in case.