Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You don't see that everyday

The school where I work is situated in a bit of a military zone. We have a military training camp or some kind pretty much next door, and on another 'next door' side - there is the NZ Joint Forces Command Center. Lots of uniform types walking around - and I'm always laughing at the Navy dudes. Man - what IS it with the Navy and stupid uniforms ? They used to be cool around the 18th - 19th century - hit WW2 and beyond, they look like berks. The air-force generally look pretty cool - the army, y'know, pretty standard army guys. But the Navy - they've got silly white shorts and those dopey round hats ... yeesh.

Anyway - being so close to such military institutes provides a bit of interest around the place. Dudes running around in full camo gear, big ole army trucks crusing about, the odd helicopter landing next door, that kind of thing.

But today there was something different - there was a full-on bomb disposal exercise going on. It was pretty full on too. It was odd - I was walking from the performing arts block to the library ( pretty much the two furtherst points from each other at school ) taking in the limited scenery - and then BAM ! Craziness ! My internal monologue was something like this -

"Clear sky ... hedges rustling in wind ... car, car, SUV, car ... ah-freaking rubbish ! Damn freaking lazy students ! Just WALK the ten seconds to the bin will ya ... car, car ... police car ... police van with lights on .... light tank ... army guys with assault rifles - they look like styres - and full combat gear ... oooo - guys in bomb disposal suits - ha, our ones are BLUE ? The yellow ones on 'Metal Gear Solid 2' looked much better ... weird tent thing ... robotic disposal thingy ... more guys with guns, one is talking on walkie-talky ... APC - I didn't know they mounted machine guns on those ... police car ... officers looking on with clipboards ... car ... car ... more rubbish - jeesh, I swear - the amount of RUBBISH I have to pick up round here ... library !"

I REALLY wanted to shout out "Cut the BLUE wire ! It's ALWAYS the blue wire !" - but I figured they wouldn't really appreciate it. It looked like they were taking things pretty seriously.

You don't want to piss off guys with guns - that's my philosophy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Instead of writing ...

So - this is the painting so far. I just spent the evening painting in the light blue bits ( while Viva was busy killing robots and aliens in Ratchet & Clank ). It's starting to come together. I didn't plan for the whole pastel shades thing which is going on so far - but I'm kinda liking it. My writing is taking a bit of a back seat to this right now, though I don't think Jenni is going to be berating me too much for that.

Can YOU spot "The Rascal" ?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

They like fruit ?

Poor Shadow. Viva and I noticed that kitty's face was looking a bit weird on Sunday - or weirder than usual anyway. On closer inspection we found that the right side was quite swollen, so we rushed her to the local vet right away.

Shadow does NOT like being in a box - and indeed will start to try and claw her way through the cardboard after not too long, or try to get out of one of the air holes - nose first. So getting her inside her kitty transport was a fun exerise.

The vet took a quick look and said she had an abcess on the inside of her lip. Ouchie. There were a number of pet emergicies that particular Sunday, so the vet couldn't do a 'drain and clean' that day - we had to bring her in the following morning. Which meant that we had to keep her inside overnight. Again - not a fun prospect for a cat used to the freedom offered by a cat door. A LONG night of kitty TRYING to get through her ( locked ) cat door, meeping in puzzlement / frustration and sitting in a sulk in the hallway - staring at the cat door and trying to summon all her psychic power to WILL the door open.
Also - she couldn't eat after 8pm. Another source of misery - Shadow likes to graze from her bowl every now and then. So the mysterious disappearence of her food bowls was insult to injury.

Next morning - had to stuff Shadow back in her box and take her to the vet. It's amazing how bad a animal, without the power of articulate speech, can make you feel about leaving them at the vet.

Her wee operation went fine and she was VERY happy to be back home have her freedom back again. It took a couple of hours for her to have trust in the cat door again.

Now we have a new challenge at kitty mealtimes - antibiotics. We have this liquid stuff we have to force feed her - talk about a performance ! You think we were trying to make her ingest broken glass or something. She was sneaky the first time too - she seemed like she was behaving and let me prise open her mouth without too much trouble - but as soon as Viva started to squirt the medicine with the eye-dropper, the little bitch deftly twisted her head out of my grasp, dodged the medicine and I ended up with it on my shirt !

We had to wrap her up in a towel this morning. That helped a lot.

The weird thing is that the antibiotics are banana flavoured.


Yeah - I'm ALWAYS having to dig kitty out of the fruit bowl !

"Bad kitty ! Bad Shadow ! Bananas are HUMAN food ! For HUMANS ! No bananas for kitty ! Here - have this guava instead ..."

Who was the vet who thought that was a good idea ? I'd hate to find out what gorilla antibiotics taste like...

Monday, November 20, 2006

"The Rascal" saves the day !

I'm doing a painting for my friend Jenni. It's going to be another of my 'pop-art' video game ones - this time based on the classic coin-op arcade game Bubble Bobble. If you've never played the game you've really missed out - it was a classic. You controlled a very cute little dragon-thing, and instead of breathing fire, you breathed out ... well ... bubbles. Maybe they knocked back a bottle of dish-wash liquid or something. Anyway - you ensnared these other kinda cute monsters in the bubbles, and while they were trapped inside you had to jump on them and pop them - the monsters then turned into fruit which you ate for more points ...

There really was a great deal of LSD around in the 80's, huh ?

Anyway - I thought that the little monsters would make a good painting. I talked with Jenni about the kind of canvas we could do. Either a square shaped one, which would have a 3x3 grid - having one dragon and all of the main monsters. OR - we could go with a rectangle, which would give me a 3x4 grid, with BOTH of the dragons, all the monsters AND Baron Von Blubba ! The white 'death-whale' thing that comes to eat you if you take too long to clear a stage.

The rectangle seemed the way to go !

However - when I started tracing the monster pixel designs onto the grids ( I had to rule up 12 freaking 18x18 square grids ! Yeesh - that took forever ! ), I discovered I had made a fatal error ! There were only 8 main monsters from the game ! Even with the good Baron AND both Bob and Bub ( the two dragons ) there were only 11 spaces accounted for ! Feck !

Lucky for me I had the trusty internet ! Turns out there WAS one more monster hidden in the game. I had never seen it before - but apparantly he does exist. He was called 'The Rascal' - and he turned up and killed you when you hung around in the hidden treasure rooms too long. He does kinda look like a gherkin with a face and isn't as 'cute' as some of the others - but I guess it is a more true and complete representation of the characters from the game.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I shudder to think...

Ah - NCEA research marking. My year 10 class ( 4th form for all you people who don't know edu-new-speak ) have just completed their submissions and I have started marking.

Here's a nugget of knowledge worth knowing about the NZ gang, The Mongrel Mob :

"They just hang out get drunk stoned and try start fights which sometimes end up with a stabbing or the extremely rear killing"

An extremely REAR killing, you say ? *ouch*

You gotta love spelling errors ( unless you've been telling them ALL FREAKING YEAR to be more careful with their proofreading - then you gotta hate them and drive a Black and Decker cordless drill into their eye-balls ! ).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A beginning ! Of sorts !

I feel my last post was possibly too negative ( and hey - probably childish as well ), so in order to be a little more positive ( and to dwell in a more mental 'happy-place' ) I thought I'd share a piece of creative writing with you.

But also because :

a) Hix said I should try and use my blog to be more creative, or to HONE my creativity. This sounded like a good idea.
b) My crippling 'blog-envy' leads me to think that few people are actually going to read this anyway!
c) It might encourage me to keep on with the story.

It's the start to a story I've had kicking around in my head for awhile. It's hard to describe - but ultimately it's about the war between Angels and Demons, and how both sides employ technology to different ( and questionable ) ends.

It's a first draft - and not very long - but see what you think.


The Blade-Ships screamed in towards Harmony 16, low and fast, blur shields masking their already indistinct outlines in the burning sky. Threads of crimson energy lanced down from the orbital defense platforms, desperately trying to lock on to the raiders as they twisted and rolled, their outer hulls seeming to waver and seethe – angry wasps seen through a highway mirage.

Weaving though the suppressing fire from the ground batteries - the odd singularity shell tearing dimension rips, unreality trailing in their wake - the bomb hatches slid open, payloads of Spring Blossoms dropping over the shield dome of the central cathedral. The broad, curving bodies of the petal bombs tumbled slowly, end over end, seeming almost to dance like autumn leaves in their slow decent.

The orbital platforms turrets scrambled into overdrive – lock on the crazily tumbling casing, fire rift cannons, acquire new target. Lock – fire. Lock – fire. The boiling skies raining shafts of searing light, Spring Blossoms caught in the deathly assault bursting apart as their chaos guidance systems ruptured, shards of petal bomb skipping crazily off the arcing city defense screen.

Too many – no way for the central computer cores to anticipate all the potential trajectories, no way to stop all of the chaos weapons.

As the Spring Blossoms entered the energy field of the city shields, their suspended power sinks switched from dormant into active. Gorged on the very power supposed to keep them penetrating last line of Harmony, they suddenly dropped screaming into the empty streets and highways. But there were no explosions, no mushrooming plasma storms, no cataract-whiteness of EMP detonation.

The petal bombs had been specially modified for this particular attack.

Jury-rigged personal shields hummed into activation around the slick crimson casing, scanners swept the surrounding buildings. Satisfied that the next stage could viably be completed –they engaged their inter-dimensional links, silently calling back to the Abyss as the fabric of the D-Bridges generated around them.

The infantry were coming.


It still needs some work and editing ( there are some repetitious wording and clumsy structure that seriously bug me ) - but it's a start. I liked the idea of bombs or missiles using chaos theory to beat a defence system.

Next time I might share the VERY different first-person account of a teacher punching out a student ( yup - based on me and an unfortunately all too real student who I seriously considered decking once ) which is supposed to fit into the same story.

Don't ask me how.

10 Question Quiz B@stards !

Being partially Itallian, I take a particular interest in revenge as a concept. I've never been one to think of revenge as being particularly 'hollow' ... I must say that the moments of revenge I've been able to deal out have been ( usually ) honey sweet.

But then - that's probably BECAUSE of the Italian blood. Revenge is an art-form in that culture.

The reason I'm dwelling on revenge is to do with something that happened this morning. Something small and probably insignificant to most - but something which irked a central tennet of my being.

To put this in context - I very rarely hang out in the staff room of a morning. I'm usually feverishly trying to throw something together for lessons that day ! But - now that the seniors have left ( cue the choir singing "Hallelujah" ) to go on study leave ( read "sit around and play video games / watch day-time soaps / pick nose leave" ... ) I had a little more time up my sleeve that usual. So I thought it might be nice to go and partake of a glass of water with my colleagues.

When I got there the usual gang of like-minded staff I generally 'hang' with were all doing the 10 Question Quiz thing in the Newspaper. As I sat down the "Quizmaster" was asking "Which film features a character saying, in response to the question "What are you rebelling against?", "What have you..."

"Oh - 'Rebel Without a Cause' ! No - wait, it's actually 'The Wild One' " I said happily - pleased to be able to answer a question.

At which point I get verbally savaged by three of the others ! "HEY ! Don't answer a question BEFORE it's finished !", "You're not a REGULAR at this Seraph ! You can't break protocol !" and various other crap. I was pretty shocked - it didn't sound like they were joking. I tried to laugh it off - "Well - I'm that kind of guy ! I break rules !" I replied airly.

"Not these rules you don't !" was the somewhat harsh reply.

"Crap" I thought to myself. Now - teachers CAN be funny about these sort of things. There are weirdo's who have little enclaves where they can be exclusionist and have strange little rules and routines about how things get done ( well - the CLASSROOM would be the first place I guess ... ). I certainly didn't want to be rocking any metaphorical boats - and I did feel kinda bad / embarrassed about it. I got the whole 'hot-blushy-feeling-cheeks-but-not-in-a-remotely-good-way" even.

So then what happens ? The quiz-master starts the next question "What would you do with a Sally Lunn - would you ..."

"YOU'D EAT IT!" say THREE of the bastards all at the same time !

"HEEEEEEEYYYYY !" I interject "What the hell happened to your 'Don't answer until the entire freaking question is read' freaking rule? Didn't you three just break it then and there ?"

"... We're 'charter' members here. We don't have to wait. You're not even a 'provisional' member..."

Sons of miserable running dog BITCHES !!

Okay - I'd fully agree, as one of the freaking 'founding-members' said later on in the day when they discovered that I was still somewhat upset by that, that I'm being like "one of the kids in not letting that go" - but somethings will not be bourne ! Dammit - there is a line in the sand and it has been freaking crossed this day !

I do not know what shape or form my revenge will take - but revenge I shall have for this day's work ...


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In no particular order

I have been very boring and haven't posted anything in over a week. To try and remedy that I present some of the more interesting highlights :

1. Munted my right foot playing soccer with some guys at work.

Yeah - that wasn't fun. I'm not the most sports-abled person I know - I think all those genes went to my much more sporty sister - but in a bid to keep more fit and healthy I've been trying to do more 'active' things. Every friday a bunch of guys from the staff get together after school and play soccer on the astroturf tennis courts. It's fun - in a kind of run-madly-till-you-can't-breathe-and-your-heart-finally-explodes-in-your-chest way.

In the last few minutes I had the change to score a KILLER goal - goal was open, all I had to do was tap-tap-tap it in. Just give it a little ol-tapperoo. What did I do though ? In a fit of excitement at the possible rare glory I would recieve I ran too fast and ended up in the wrong place - I couldn't actually kick the ball at all from where I was ! I twisted around trying to get it - and twisted my ankle / foot in a combo of horrible pain !

Driving home was fun. I couldn't really move all that well that night, my plans for going to the movies were dashed and I had a pretty bad night's sleep. Saturday things were a bit better - I kept it bandaged pretty tight and liberally applied ice ( seeing as I couldn't use ice the Friday night - as Viva had used all the ice trays to freeze lemon juice. Damn. ) and things were pretty good on Sunday - only a slight limp.

Managed a reasonable jog on Monday morning, and though it was a bit twingy today - it didn't keep me from my "stepmaina" dance pads thing morning !

2. Bought a new rain coat / jacket and some new t-shirts and TWO pairs of jeans

Alright - this might seem quite mundane - but considering how much I hate shopping for clothes, I tend to think of it as quite an achievement. Naturally - had to have Viva with me ( in fact - the whole mission was her idea ). I can't clothes shop by myself. Terrible things happen when I clothes shop by myself.

But my new jacket thing is really cool ! And really cheap ! ( Gordon's in Dressmart - that's the place for a kick-arse new jacket at reduced prices !! )

3. Got a replacement 'Egyptian Chronicles" jigsaw from E-Bay.

I've not gotten anything from e-bay for quite awhile now - but it's the place to go if you're looking to find a "buried blueprints" jigsaw. I LOOOOOVE the Buried Blueprint series - but I only discovered them AFTER they had been discontinued ( typically ). I've gotten a lot from trade-me of late.

The "Egyptian Chronicles" one was really cool. I lent it to my mum. My sister "borrowed" it from her. Her cat Iggy proceeded to eat 32 pieces from the 1000 piece set. 32 freaking pieces !!! And not just chewed - totally eaten ! Digested ! No trace left !


So - my sis said she would replace it, though she didn't seem to be making much headway. I think she got annoyed at me for telling her when copies were surfacing on e-bay - eventaully telling me just to buy one and she'd give me the cash.

Works for me.

4. Discovered the joys of "Spaced"

My pal Hix is going to be shrieking something along the lines of "Why the hell didn't you watch the video I lent you of it TWO YEARS AGO ?". To which I would reply - "Haven't got a clue."

It's a comedy series written in part by Simon Pegg - the guy who wrote "Shaun of the Dead" and starred as the lead role.

It's funny, funny stuff. But I've watched all of the two seasons - and now I'm sad 'cos I don't think there's any more. *sigh*

5. Playing too much of "Lego Star Wars" on the Ps2.

Much more fun than a lego game really should be.