Friday, December 26, 2008

A late gift

Well - I don't know about you, but I find this whole parenthood thing does muscle in on my blogging time rather significantly.

Here's a late Christmas gift for you.

What? I shouldn't have ? Oh come now ! Nothing is too good for you !

If you're like me - then you like stories read aloud. So then audio books are pretty groovy things ! I discovered in my meanderings though the interwebs a trio of podcast sites which cater to specific forms of short fiction, all three of the genres being particular favorites.

First - science fiction. Escape pod is the one for you. I recommend the Union Dues stories. They are very cool ( if pretty dark ) superhero tales.

Second - horror. Pseudopod is the place to go. This was the first of the sites I found - with Boing Boing recommending "The Sloan Men" - which was pretty cool. I tend to find that the stories on Pseudopod are a little more hit and miss - but there are some really great ones there. I particularly recommend "The Skull-Faced Boy" - which is a great little zombie tale. Go listen to it now.

Third - fantasy. PodCastle awaits ! I've tended to enjoy the stories here slightly more than the others. You definitely should tune into "Cup and Table", which was the first Pod Castle story I heard - and I thought it was one of the best Hold Grail stories I've heard.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have been !

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fictional slang

Okay - serious question.

What would be the slang term that super-powered teens would call those that had the power of flight ? In a , say, post-apocalyptic world ?

Or super-strength ? Speed ? Energy manipulation ?

Best I've come up with is 'zip' for a speedster - but I'm not sure it's something a teen would say.

Typical. I'm surrounded by them everyday, but the way teens think is still freaking alien to me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sage Advice

So I'm finished. Finished those bloody films.

Thank the gods ! Thank Krishna ! Thank Allah ! Thank Mohammed ! Thank Buddha ! Thank Hastur ! Thank Ishtar ! Thank every freaking god in the book ! My long and arduous journey is at an end... *sob*

Here is a short list of advice of what to do if you ever plan making a film with teenagers.

1. Don't.
2. See 1. Seriously.
3. Okay - if you're going to do it - DON'T let them write it unless you know damn well they can write okay. And even then - be VERY careful about what you get them to write, lest they hand you three scripts in succession that the special character of your school ( and society in general ) will never let you put on screen. Have a CLEAR word / page limit - and enforce it with ruthless and cruel means ( set fire to their work if it's a single character over the limit would be my advice ).
4. Don't be a control freak about it. Force people to help you. At gunpoint if necessary.
5. Capture your footage as soon as you can. DO NOT lose tapes with valuable footage that took hours to do.
6. While editing - hit that control + S OFTEN. You don't want a sudden system crash to scrub away that sequence you've painstakingly edited over the last two hours.
7. Do NOT work with year 7 students. Not unless you want to have to do even the simplest shot about 13 to 17 times. Do not be fooled by their enthusiasm - they have NO idea what they're doing !
8. Do NOT write down the plans of how you will MURDER that little red-haired bastard who hassled you day in and out about WHEN you were going to start, and how MUCH he wanted to do things - and then a week after shooting when you needed the little punk to actually do something important he quits to play hockey. The legal system will take note of these things quite seriously if found,
9. Steal all the equipment and sell it on trade me before you begin. Use the money to buy to buy limited edition comics or something. Blame the red-haired kid and see if you can get him lynched.
10. Just don't do it ! Okay ? Trust me on this !

Right. Now I'm going to go and hit my head against a wall until I forget all about it...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dude ! What gives ?

So - no post in over a month. I know what you're thinking :

"Ah Seraph - you slack gitt ! Stop lounging around on your mink chez-lounge, sipping mulled wine and nibbling on raspberry slice and write something to make me giggle !".

How I wish that were true.

In short - I have been receiving a right royal pummeling from both of my jobs ( daddy and teacher ). The production-film for school has been doing a REAL number on me. More later ( when I'm a few steps further away from insanity ).

Thanks to all those who sent / phoned / posted birthday wishes a month ago - it was really nice. Special mention to my ole pal Mark ! Sorry I wasn't home man ! I lost your number somewhere in my labyrinthine domain - gimmie another call some time !

Right - back to the madness. You're regularly scheduled show will return shortly ...

Monday, September 22, 2008

4th Anniversary

So Viva and I have now been married for 4 years ! Wow ! Where did that time go ??

I was in a bit of a dilemma coming into this one though - namely because of the gift. I am trying to go the traditional route with anniversary gifts - and so is Viva. Our first anniversary ( paper ) I got her tickets to something ( a show of some sort - damned if I can remember right now what it was... ), and she got me a book of the 'Indian Ink' play scripts. We both flagged the second anniversary gifts as cotton was too hard. The third anniversary gift ( leather ) was a nice pair of gloves from me ( I know what you're thinking - and the reason I didn't go for THAT idea was that I didn't get her measurements in time. You can't just get that stuff off the shelf y'know ! ). I received a pretty sharp belt ( not round the head either ! Tee hee ... ).

But the 4th anniversary ? Flowers and fruit. Hmmm.

Hard to get something really cool there. I mean - there's the obvious idea I guess, but who wants to be obvious ?

I was quite stumped. And then I had a odd ( and mildly disturbing ) dream. I was a student in this bizarre Tim Buton-esque school. I was in a science class of some sort - and a Goth girl student was having an argument with the crusty old professor about the chemical symbol for silver ( while a hulking, shaggy haired behemoth of a student was lurching around behind us - he had rope nooses instead of hands - which was the mildly disturbing part ).

'Silver!' one would shout - pointing at a symbol on the board.

'SILVER !' the other shouted back - pointing at a different symbol.

On and on it went until I woke up - crying out a strangled 'Silver!' myself !

And then it hit me - a silver charm bracelet ! I had seen these really cool 'Pandora' ones in the window of Pacific Jewelers in Johnsonville. I did some research on line to see if there were any fruit or flower charms, found that there were, and zapped in to get one !

Freaking genius !

Viva really liked it - and it has the bonus for me that I can now get OTHER charms as other gifts !! Everyone is happy !

Thanks strange and mildly disturbing dream !

( Viva got me a selection of fruit based sweets, and a bottle of apple wine - and freaking yummy they are too ! :-) )

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fathers day and Bill Bailey

This entry is mostly to answer Debbie's comment from the last post, seeing as she has been nice enough to be leaving them !

My first father's day was very nice indeed. I spent the lion's share of the day with Angelo - who had got me a lovely framed photograph of himself for a present ( got through his PA I think ). We had visits from friends for lunch - and Grandma and Grand-dad visited later on ( which, yet again, made doing any marking difficult - but screw it ! ).

The Bill Bailey concert / show / gig / whatever was very VERY funny - my face was hurting for a good hour afterwards and I think I damaged my friend's hearing. We had KILLER seats too ! We were three rows from the front, pretty close to the middle.
As is always the case with comedy - I remember very little about the show ! Why the hell is that ? Anyway - some of the funny things I remember him talking about were :

- England's potential opening ceremonies for their olympics, with a giant inflatable Winston Churchill dancing to a drum and bass 'God Save the Queen', and a robotic Queen shooting corgies from her neck
- His deep suspicion of joggers - who always find the bodies...
- A hilarious emo self-hurt song
- The Bucharest flag being two bears fighting over a pineapple ( which, I was sorry to discover, it isn't )
- An argument with various parts of his subconscious ( 'I control you!' 'No ! WE control YOU!!' )
- Satan singing Lionel Richie songs.
- How England's national anthem should be changed to "The Pink Panther"
- NZ's border patrol being obsessed with finding illicit potpourri

Laugh ? I almost died.

It was a nice break for Viva and me too - I think it might have been a little more scary for her to have been away from Angelo - but his aunt looked after him really well !

A great night out, and worth every cent of the ludicrously expensive tickets.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sister and Babysitting

Here follows a transcript of a conversation between my sister and my father concerning the baby-sitting that she's going to do for us on Friday night so we can go and see Bill Bailey ( yay ! ) :

Dad - So ... I hear that you're going to baby-sit Angelo on Friday night.

Sis - Yup. It'll be fun.

Dad - ... Do you need any help ? I can come down you know - I should probably come down.

Sis - I've got it under control dad.

Dad - But, it's a baby - you haven't baby-sat before, have you ? I think I should come down.

Sis - I've baby-sat LOTS of times. I'll be fine.

Dad - But you might not be ! What if he needs changing ? Can you change him ? Have you even changed a baby before ?

Sis - Yeah. Loads. I'll be fine.

Dad - But ... um ... what if he starts crying ?

Sis - Oh, I'll just shake him until he stops.

Apparently a lot of conversations between my dad and sister end with my dad telling my sister to "Shut up!".

I wonder why.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Seraph's Questionable Take on World Events

Okay okay - so this hardly current in terms of events, but I've been mulling this over in my mind for a week or so and I wanted to get your take on this. Now, I'm hardly the most clued up on on the political scene of Europe or anything - but certain events there made me think of the computer game 'Civilization'.

Stay with me here.

Right - so when you're playing Civilization on easy ( and I hardly ever play on any other difficulty setting. I like to win ) and you're in the mid to end game zone, a peculiar thing often happens. You'll be advancing nicely, science and research are reaping healthy rewards. You've made many impressive monuments. The Church of Seraph-is-a-Groovy-Cat has throngs of worshippers and generally things are, y'know, quite peaceful.

And then you get an ambassador from some back-water nation demanding an audience. You graciously usher him into your palace to hear what he has to say.

"Hey!" he says "You have stuff we want ! Oil and gemstones and lumber and such ! Here is a stupidly unfair trading deal ! Give us heaps of your great stuff for our world-map !".

"But, o-honorable delegate from Retardostan" you patiently explain "We have already mapped the entire world. Whereas you have gone only twenty meters from your coast-line. I think I shall have to decline your offer, with the utmost respect to you and your proud ( if somewhat pig-headed ) people."

"Mwargh !" the ambassador shrieks "You suck ! Your country sucks ! We hate you now ! Give us twenty million euros or there'll be TROUBLE !!!!".

"I have no desire for war ! But I will NOT be giving you ANY Euros. Please leave now - and AS you return to Retardostan, you may wish to note the way the fusion-missile silo's the boys at the lab have knocked together in the last 10 years blend in cunningly with the natural beauty of Seraphi..."

The ambassador leaves, pausing only to hurl abuse at your bodyguards, shout something about 'diplomatic immunity' and 'oppressive yolk' and 'you'll be sorry'.

Later that month the glorious Crimson Legion of the proud nation of Retardostan - resplendent in their shining bronze armour, shaking their flintlock muskets above their visored heads, cross the mountain range separating your country from theirs on their trusty yak mounts. They throw themselves at the city walls of one of your weaker border cities singing their war-song "Death to the enemies of Retardostan - There will never be consequences for our actions !" in the full-throated manner so steeped in their rich military tradition.

The ECM Death-Commandos ( skull and crossed bones division ) on garrison duty there, armed with state of the art pulse-rifles, and aided by a few trusty marauder-class attack helicopters, easily hold off the attack - reducing the entire Glorious Crimson Legion to a finely textured squishy pulp.

Within a day your superior rail system has delivered ten units of stealth-tanks ( plus a few of the atomic powered mechs those boffins down in the labs suddenly got a whole lot of money to finish ) to the front lines.

Within three days you have crushed their pitiful armed forces and their border towns lie in ruin. The barded yak-steeds of the Retardostan army are simply no match for your gigantic robot and tank blitzkrieg.

Town by town, city by city - Retardostan begins to fall.

An emissary is sent to have talks with you.

"Hey you blood-thirsty monster ! You suck ! We hate you ! Even more ! But we're sick of having our arse handed to us by giant atomic robots !"

"Hey ! You freaking started this ! You attacked us ! We had a treaty and non-aggression pact ! What the hell ?" you state.

"But that was when we thought we'd win ! It's not fair that we're losing ! You suck so much for winning ! Bllleeerrrghhh !".

"Very well - I'll give you peace, but you'll hand over these three cities as a sign of good faith."

"WAAAAARRRGHHHHHH ! You unbelievable prick !! That's SO UNFAIR !!!! Gosh - how we HATE you !!"

"Look - it's up to you. Either you give me those cities, or I take over your entire country, you flipping dick-head !" you respond.

"Grumble grumble ... mutter mutter hate you mutter ... grumble alright ..."

"What was that? Did you just agree to have peace ? Did you ?"

"Grumle grumble ... YES .... ( gods we so totally hate you we hate you so much ! We hate you a whole DUMP-TRUCK full of hate ... hate you Seraphi ... think you're so cool with your running water and trousers ... )"

And so you have peace ( until Retardostan inexplicably attacks you again out of the blue and their memory is purged from the history books forever ).

That seems to happen all the time in Civ.

Now - is it JUST me, or did something not too dissimilar to that happen in real life recently ?

Like I said - NO understanding of Eastern Europe political situations. Just putting it out there.

* And big thanks to Jenni for telling me how a bunch of people of the State of Georgia in the US of A were wondering where all the Russian tanks were. I laughed and laughed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A new low

So, I was running a warm-up exercise with my Y12 drama class this morning - and managed, in an exuberant show of energy, to punch myself right in the eye.

My students thought that was suitably hilarious.

It freaking hurt.

I blame Monday morning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Things I have learnt about parenting #2

I never could have imagined how joyful a thing it is.

If you've known me for any length of time before becoming a parent, you'd know that I'd never been fond of babies. To be fair - I actively disliked / feared them. They were bewildering things which would decalcify your spine with their screams and expel vile matter on you from any number of orifices ( often simultaneously ! ).

During Viv's pregnancy I had pretty much steeled myself for a long, hard, grueling haul of care afterwards - and when the child was a couple of years old, THEN it would be a happy time.

I really didn't expect to be so attached to Angelo as quickly as I was ( instead of years - it was hours ). I had once ( internally ) scoffed at the talk of 'how amazing' a smile was from a baby. Now I know better.

It is hard at times ( it's awful when he cries and cries and CRIES and you don't know what's wrong or how to make him STOP... ), and certainly it's poor Viva who has to deal with more hard times than I.

But I miss him heaps when I'm at work.

And while, on some level, I am biologically hard-wired to feel this way at an evolutionary level - I really don't care.

I just feel very fortunate to have such a happy, healthy little guy.

*** Normal curmudgeonly transmissions will be restored for next post

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drawless Animation ?

Here's a 4-minute film school vid by Rob Schrab where he talks about drawless animation. It's pretty interesting stuff - mostly using green-screen techniques.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Crooked Teeth !

Don't you just LOVE discovering a cool new song? I was watching this thing about 'Drawless Animation" by Rob Schrab - and he talked about a video he did for a song by the Group 'Death Cab For Cutie' - which is also one of the best names for a band I've heard for awhile too.

I found it on YouTube - and proceeded to watch it about twenty times !

Fantastic stuff - and I SOOO want to make a wee film like this some time !!

Monday, July 28, 2008

It seemed like a good idea at the time...

If I EVER suggest / say / hint / communicate in anyway that doing a film project in a co-curricular way with kids at school is a good idea in future, you have my permission to dunk my head a barrel of piranha fish. HUNGRY piranha fish. Having fist glued a tomato flavored stetson onto me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Classifying Angelo’s crying

In the last three months I have been learning to interpret the different kinds of crying that Angelo does. Hey – it passes the time when the poor little guy is crying ( far from a pleasant thing – but not as bad as I thought it would be ). Here are some of my findings, in order of severity :

The Houdini Grumble
Largely a thing of the past now. This was a regular when we were swaddling him before we put him to sleep. He didn’t seem to like his hands being restricted, and had an uncanny ability to wriggle out of the tightest of my swaddling ( until I was almost at the point of duct-taping him into a blanket ! ). The Houdini Grumble was the grunting exertion noises he made as he worked his way to freedom.

The Lah
Another one which seems to have largely passed now – though I’m not entirely sure why ! A cry indicating a moderate level of being upset, this was a series of short wails which would sound like he was saying ‘Lah!’. Would be almost cute, if he wasn’t feeling bad !

The Squeaky Lah
A more severe version of the Lah. The extra-loud expelling of the ‘Lah!’ would result in a sharp intake of breath, making a squeaky noise, so the overall effect sounded like ‘Lah ! Squeak ! Lah ! Squeak ! Lah ! Squeak!”. Like the Lah, seems to have gone ( for now – at least ).

The Black Lagoon Special
Angelo is getting pretty beside himself at the point of the BLS. He thrashes around making a lot of snorting / grunting sounds. He does sound a bit like a wee creature from the Black Lagoon ( hence the name – though in all honesty I can’t remember what noises the creature from the Black Lagoon made, if indeed it make sounds at ALL. Maybe

The Banshee
Baby def-con 2. Really just screaming. Not nice at all.

The Machine-gun
You can tell when Angelo is REALLY REALLY upset when you get to the machine-gun stage. This is a weird little stuttering that he does with the cry ( the side-benefit seems to be that it required more breathing power - so the actual noise level diminishes a little ... ), which sounds a bit like an uzi. Just as long as he doensn’t get HOLD of an uzi at these moments – I think we’ll be okay !

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bad Family Art Assignment

My good pal Hix is publishing his RPG 'Bad Family' ( formerly known as 'The Lucky Jones' ) and he asked me if I would help by contributing some art for it. Hey - I'm up for helping out a pal in a artistic way - and seeing as it was the holidays and I would have the necessary time, I was up for the challenge.

Seeing as Matt has put his contributions up ( and a fine collection of images they are too ), I thought I'd do the same.

Hix gave me a number of starter ideas to work from - and this is what I came up with :

1. A little girl being taunted by the tree she's scared of climbing.

I had initially worried that the tree looked a little too evil - but Hix had way more problems with the tree's non-pointing hand ( at first it was wrapped around it's tree-like belly ). Got it sorted in the end though !

2. A grandfather being pursued down the highway by cops, cars and helicopters

I had to change this to a grandmother as Matt had done a grandfather in a hi-tech wheelchair. I like the grandmother better !

3. A drunk mother trying to deliver a lecture to her kids

I went for only the one kid. I thought the sermon on the horrors of soda-pop while wasted out of your head was a nice ironic touch.

I fair degree of work here, but time well spent I think ! Hix liked 'em I think, and I'm looking forward to seeing them in print !

Monday, June 30, 2008

So the Prophecy was true...

You heartless bastards ! You can't do this to me ! I have a child now ! A CHILD !!!

( Now it this post should make a lot more sense ! Thanks to Jenni and my Mum for pointing out that the picture had vanished ! Jeesh ... )

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I have never been so consistently tired in my life.

I am so behind in everything.

It's report season at school.

I am almost single-handedly running the school film production ( THAT was a great idea ... ).

And yet - when I sit down with my wee boy, bounce him on knee and he smiles / gurgles / laughs - it is all worth it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Think about the logistics !

It was probably not the best thing for my sleep-deprived mind to see, but you really owe it to yourself to watch this brain-mangling piece of animation I just saw on BoingBoing. It is just amazing. I hate to think of how long it would have taken to do ...

In other news - Angelo is smiling a lot more now, which is quite an amazing thing to see as a father. He had his first jabs this week - which he didn't like AT ALL. Poor wee guy.

To all those in the 48 Hour film comp - I salute you ! I am sad that family matters keep me from the competition this year ... and also happy about the same family matters as well. Rest assured - you haven't seen the last of Rebel Faction !

Give 'em hell for me !

Friday, May 09, 2008

There's a market for this ?

Saw this on Boing-Boing - toy road-kill. Complete with plush intestines and innards popped from it's tire-marked corpse.

I like it - though I'm not sure that I'd get one for Angelo...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shadow adjusting

I was really worried that Shadow wasn't going to adjust well to Angelo. In the past she has been REALLY freaked out by babies. Wall-hugging-low-to-ground-run-a-mile-the-moment-they-make-a-sound FREAKED OUT. I was worried that she wouldn't take well to something else other than her getting a lot of our attention ( as pretty much SHE'S been the baby for the last four years ).

I've been really surprised at how well she's been coping with the change so far. She's actually been pretty patient with waiting for attention, and with Angelo crying ( far from running away - she'll usually get in her wee 'cat-tent' and watch with an interested feline bemusement ). She'll even give him an experimental sniff now and then , before beating a leisurely retreat to somewhere else near-by.

The only time approaching a 'serious' incident was the first day Angelo was home. We but him in the bassinet, and Shadow jumped in too - not knowing he was there. Shadow did a double-take of Warner Bros intensity and promptly ran for it !

I think she's still trying to figure out exactly WHAT Angelo is. I'm just glad she hasn't been traumatized or has run away or something equally distressing for me !

And - as this photo shows, she's not adverse to taking advantage of ole Seraph when he's been beaten with the fatigue club !

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Disturbing implication

Viva and I went to the Baby Factory to buy a pram the other day. We suffered from the WORST add-on sale I have ever encountered - we got some kind of pram 'sleeping-bag' thing, but then no-one could seem to work out the routine for actually clipping it into the freaking pram. Calls were eventually made to reps. It was a long drawn out affair - one which I would have terminated after around 5 minutes, but which Viva clung on tightly till the bitter end.

During the intervening time I wandered hither and tither around the store, clutching the baby capsule with the soundly sleeping Angelo - looking at the various baby wares housed within. Eventually I came to the mobile section,

I noticed an offering in this arena from the Sesame Street providers. It was a pastoral scene ( in as much as you can get a SCENE in a mobile anyway ) consisting of two sheep / lambs at diametrically opposing sides of the rotational circle, and in-between them - a baby version of the muppets Elmo and Cookie Monster ( they were wearing nappies ).

Fair enough I thought.

Then I noticed that each monster clutched something in their furry little hands. I looked closer.

Elmo had a rather large carrot. "The nutritional angle" thought I, "Well played Sesame Street Corp."

My eyes searched out what Baby-Cookie-Monster might be holding. "Surely it won't be a cookie - now that they have been a 'sometimes food' by the man. Perchance a cabbage ... or grapefruit ?"

A turn of the mobile 'axle' revealed all. Baby-Cookie-Monster held a bright yellow baby chicken to his fuzzy blue chest.

It took a moment or two to process the information.

What was being said here ? Cookie Monster ( surely the muppet character MOST associated with the act of ravenous, bestial eating ) is holding a LIVE BABY CHICKEN.

... is he going to EAT the live baby chicken ? Mashing it up in his pac-man like jaws until the giblets spray out in a bloody parody of cookie crumbs ?? Will Baby-Cookie-Monster be deaf to the plaintive 'peep-peep-peep' of the chicklet - begging for mercy ?

Shouldn't Baby-Elmo have the baby chicken and Baby-Cookie-Monster have the carrot ? Just to be safe ?

I could well be reading too much into this ( and sleep deprivation isn't helping matters one iota ) - but it's a disturbing implication none the less.

Just look at the crazy little bastard ! Look at that twisted Hannibal Lector grin ! You just KNOW he's going to start chewing on that chick's head and it's brains are going to fountain out it's beak ! Get it offa him for the love of all that's holy !

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Things I have learnt about parenting - No#1

When changing a baby - make sure that they stay in the MIDDLE of the change table. That way they can't kick you in the stomach / testicles with their surprisingly strong little legs.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Funny thing said of my sister

My sister recently got hold of the PS3 game 'Rock Band'. She heads a band in her flat called 'The Perverts' ( which is a great name for a all-girl punk group ! ).

One of the other band members on their cash-flow

"Yeah - we were doing pretty well ... but then G spent every cent she had on a small hat."

Ain't that true of life ?

I thought so.

Commodore Ryan

Just finished this ( while Angelo was having a sleep ). The proportions aren't great - but I'm still fairly pleased with it.

Ryan and Slake have some kind of history. While being on opposite sides of the recent conflict between Albion and Atlantis they have a respect for each other as able warriors and leaders.

I repeat - there's a story in here somewhere !

Monday, April 07, 2008

Freak Angels ( nothing to do with Angelo ! )

I've been meaning to recommend this for a bit now - just didn't get round to it.

Warren Ellis ( 'Transmetropolitan' ) is writing a free web-comic called "Freak Angels". It's up to issue 8 ( each issue being 6 pages or so ) and I'm really enjoying it so far.

It had me hooked on the very first few lines :

"23 years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment.

6 years ago, the world ended.

This is the story of what happened next."

You should check it out.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

10 Things about the kid

1. His name is Angelo Mario. 'Angelo' is what my sister would have been called if she had ended up my brother. 'Mario' is my dad's name ( so Angelo is not named for the internationally famous, Gorilla-bashing plumber - it's just an added bonus ).

2. Other names that were considered were ; Orlando, Marco, Vito, Tarquin-Durwood-Alan, and Squiglet.

3. His mum nicknamed him 'Snuffles'.

4. He has received 4 toys since he was born ; a blue elephant, a small lion, a dangly spider and a multi-coloured / multi-textured inch-worm. His dad has played with them all much more than he has ( which is 'not at all' ).

5. No matter how tightly his dad swaddles him, he always seems to get at least one arm free through his incessant wriggling.

6. His eyes have a blood-shot ring around them at present - giving him quite a 'Damien' look.

7. He can say 'Lah' - but only when he's really distressed.

8. He managed to kick himself in the bollocks once when he was being changed. He didn't seem too bothered about it. That could work out to be quite a party-piece.

9. His first lullaby was "Still Alive" from the 'Portal' video game ( sung by dad ). He seemed to puzzle him somewhat.

10. Apparently there has been some debate in the Wellington gaming community as to whether he's going to be a :
a) Pirate
b) Robot
c) Ninja
d) Cyborg
- kid. My money's on 'Robot'.

Friday, April 04, 2008

El nino

So I'm a father now. It is a strange and wonderful thing. I have a little boy ! He came into the world VERY quickly - at 8.32, on Wednesday the 2nd of April.

Viva and I were both born on a Wednesday as well. And don't you love the exponential curve of his birthday ?

2 / 4 / 08 ??

Cool or what ?

'Death From Above' is not the venue for much of what I want to say / show about my son ( man - it is weird saying that ... 'my son' ! Sheesh ) - so if you want to see the little guy ( name in process of being decided - we have a short list ! ) - then I urge you to make the long and peril-filled journey to his blog page, where there are some pics waiting for you !

Right - back to the hospital !

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Captain Slake

Here's a wee sketch that I managed to salvage over Easter. It was pretty crappy before - but I dialed back the far-slung sci-fi and turned it into more of a steam-punk thing. After the sketch was saved I put it through photo-shop, where I experimented with different levels for highlights and shadows. It could do with a background - but hey, don't look a gift post in the mouth !

So ... Captain Slake. Yup - he is a fish. A fish in a mind-linked battle chassis. He's the head of the security detail protecting the ambassador from the technocracy of Atlantis. I imagine that Captain Slake is the hero of many adventures above and below the waves ... and the suit chassis is legendary piece of ancient technology from before Atlantis sunk beneath the waves.

There's a story that deserves closer investigation here somewhere ...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Critical Mass 4 - Litter

Finally ! This took a long time to finish, I'm not sure why - not as many text boxes in this one for a start...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Did you bring enough for everyone ?

You may ( or may not ) know that I work at a special character school. While I hold no especially strong religious views - it's no bad thing to work at a religious school. In a lot of ways it's pretty nice. There are times when it sticks a little in my craw - Christmas is a good example. There are days when I want to run through the school screaming "Christmas was stolen from the pagans ! Nowhere in the bible does it say when Jesus was born ! Don't even get me started on the Council of Nicea !".

Easter is another time.

Our school holds an important Easter assembly / chapel service kind of a deal. The students have to wear there formal uniforms all day - which, considering the bizarre mirco-climate of the school ramping temperatures into the 'please-someone-scoop-out-my-brains-through-my-nose-with-a-soup-spoon-so-I-don't-have-to-endure-this-miserable-HEAT!' range, is far from a pleasant thing.

Also, not only is it a day on 'assembly' times ( where the normal timetable is hacked into a tattered mess, which sucks - because students never remember the NORMAL times ), but the times are extra-mangled because the assembly had to be at the end of the day ( kids have NO freaking idea of what's going on ). So - yay for that.

Anyways - the assembly. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

As I was saying - the Easter chapel service is supposed to be a fairly serious thing. This one was off to a fairly deep start - with reflections on the nature of sacrifice, scenes from "The Passion" ( man - I am NEVER watching that movie ) and various other spiritually uplifting things.

And then one of the student leaders was talking, and pulled out a medium sized easter egg. It's the size of, oh, half a rugby ball. Y'know - not huge.

This student says he going to break up the egg and hand it out to SOME students - because there isn't NEARLY enough for everyone ( which really - should have set off warning bells in this student's mind RIGHT THEN ). Maybe he thought this was a brillo way of demonstrating the nature of sacrifice. If so - this theory was severely flawed.

So - as there school captain comes forward, two seniors start to hand out these bits of chocolate.

What happens next ? Oh - I saw it coming. I think you do too !

Pande-FREAKING-monium !

Students are crying out, some literally screaming, for a miniscule amount of diary milk ! ALL over the auditorium ! And it wouldn't stop ! The Chaplain growled at the school over the microphone, with the principal scowling his disapproval at his side. "This is an important part of the school calendar ! Show respect for your fellow students" and other such platitudes were fired into the assemblage , but with NO change to the chocolate-infused frenzy !

"Give me some chocolate!"
"Hey! Over HERE!"
"Gimmie !"

So much for Christian sacrifice !

Seriously - I've never seen anything like it happen in an assembly in my ten years of teaching.

In the end the remaining chocolate had to be removed FROM THE AUDITORIUM for them to settle down again. It was insanity !

I tell you - BEST. Assembly. EVER !

Monday, March 10, 2008

Firmer than expected

Not that I have the weird fetish that so many other people have about touching pregnant women's tummies - I have, no occasion, done so with my wife. Mostly to try and feel the little punk move. It is quite a sly little creature - it will move a whole bunch ( apparently ) and as soon as I get there it will stop straight away.

This can only mean trouble ahead.

Anyway - the real thing I wanted to say it I was surprised how ... hard, for want of a better word ... the pregnant tummy was. For some reason I just had it in my head that babies were kinda squishy ( they're not supposed to have bones for crying out loud - that sounds pretty squishy to me ! ).

So all those times we were in the gym when I was in secondary school, and I would stuff a basketball up my t-shirt and go "Hey look at me - I'm pregnant ! Haw haw haw !" - I was, in a tactile sense at least, more correct than I could possibly know.

Believe me - I'm as surprised as you are.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Return of the Blue Sock

I was overjoyed to see that Viva had found my missing 'blue Monday' sock. It had been gone a week and seriously threatened to disrupt my morning routine.

I got a set of these black socks last year from the Warehouse - black socks with a difference ! On the heel and toe of each pair is a colour - and written on the 'sole' of each are the days of the working week. What is groovier is that the colours follow the progression of rainbow colours ( albiet in reverse ) :

Monday - Blue
Tuesday - Green
Wednesday - Yellow
Thursday - Orange
Friday - Red

Kinda neat huh ?

After one of the Blue Monday socks vanished ... it didn't feel right wearing the others. My whole dressing routine for the week - cast to the four winds ! It was a bleak time my friend. Bleak !

But - joy ! The lone sock turned up - much like a lost tramper in the Tararua ranges, it had simply stayed where it was until it was found. It was in the dryer - stuck to a weird upward area due to static.

Does this make me slightly OCDish ?


In an associated idea - am I the ONLY one who thinks 'Trinny and Susannah' are a pair of heinous bitches in need of a slow crushing via a steam-roller ?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This does not bode well...

So I was leaving work. I packed up my computer, and my briefcase - walked out the office door and locked it.

I noticed then that I was still wearing my whistle ( used to get attention in class - 'The Black Whistle of Certain Doom' is what I've playfully christened it ). I like to leave it on my desk when I go. I'm wondering if I can be bothered unlocking the door and going back in when I remember that I left my lunch box in there ( a plastic old-school style design - neon pink in colour ).

Two items push me over the door-unlock threshold. I zap back inside, get items, lock door, set alarm, lock building, go to car.

It's not until I open the boot that I notice that I'm not in fact holding my lunchbox. I have instead, inexplicably, my stapler ( which is about 1/16 smaller, and blue ).

Something is very wrong here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Just don't ask me again, okay ?

So I was walking past a meeting the HOD music was having with the itinerant music teachers. They were deep in discussion. They were trying to think up a name for a senior singing group. Something which would encourage them and not put them off the idea of singing.

I heard names like "The Lumberjacks" and some other equally painful ones that my mind has blocked out.

They asked me if I could think of something.

Hell yeah - I could think of something !

"The Totally Heterosexual Senior Crooners" !

They didn't seem to like it much.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Seraph's totally awesome solution for the tagging problem

Institiue a bounty.

Taggers captured by a registered bounty-hunter ( along with evidence of the crime, naturally ) are organ harvested - with 25% of the value of the organ going to the bounty hunter.

First conviction - a kidney.

Second conviction - a lung.

Third conviction - full organ harvest. Heart, lung, kidney, liver, retinas, bone marrow, blood, the freaking lot.

Viola ! The criminal has both paid for their crime, and contributed to society by donating their vital organs to someone who deserves them a hell of a lot more. No need to waste hard earned tax dollars in prison sentences or time-consuming community service.

I bet the problem would be significantly lessened. Sure - my answer for a range of crimes tends to boil down to 'organ harvesting' - but dammitt, those Greys had a damn good idea there when they were hovering aroung Roswell.

( sorry for Totalitarian Seraph voicing his vitriol here - I just watched a documentary on tagging and I am very angry indeed ... )

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Future of Gaming ?

Even if you only have the most casual aquaintances with video gaming - you really do need to check this the hell out. Freaking amazing. I can see one day I shall have to get hold of a Nintendo Wii ...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

baby class - part 1

Soooo - last night I went with Viva to the first of our antenatal classes. I was kinda dreading it, but I guess it wasn't that bad. There were some nice people there.

However - there was a bit of a weird thing half way through. We split into man and women groups, and the guy who was talking to us in the guy group kept telling us how we could get involved with the child, but he kept adding the phrase "because you wouldn't hurt the baby".

I'm guessing that the was trying to reassure us that we won't 'break' the kid - but it started sounding like a bit of an accusation after a while, like he wanted to add '...would you?" on the end.

"You won't hurt the baby by giving it a bath ... would you? You wouldn't smother him with a rubber duck or garrote them with the activity hanger ? You wouldn't booby-trap the buggy to shoot the child out like a circus cannon into the ionosphere ??? WOULD YOU ??? YOU FREAKING MONSTER !!!"

Or maybe it was just me ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another visitor ...

So this is what I've been doing instead of writing on the blog. It's a little piece for my good pal Bubbajay. Those of you who had a C64 computer should recognise the jumpman and robots from Impossible Mission.

It's called "Stay Awhile ... Stay Forever!" which is what the Prof. Atombender says to you right at the beginning of the game, in what was some damn good voice sound fx for the day !

I considered calling it "Destroy Him, My Robots!" which he also says at various points. Bubbajay suggested "AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhh......." and "ZZZZZZzzzzzzZZZZZZZzzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzzz!!!" as well - but I thought they were a bit to hard to paint onto the side of the canvas.

So Bubbajay - there you have it ! Sorry it wasn't done before you left - but art takes time. I'll post it to you or something.

Next art project - Pacman !

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nozing around !

In summation :

- Tibia healing nicely.
- Blood test turned up slightly elevated liver enzyme count. Have to have another blood test. Hopefully nothing to worry about.
- Finished a new video game painting for my main man Bubbajay - will put a pic up soon.
- 'Portal' is a freaking great ( if somewhat short ) video game. Play it if you get the chance.
- Team Fortress 2 is also fun !
- "Knocked Up" wasn't nearly as funny as everyone said. I think I prefer my comedy more surreal / black. So there you go.

And something to make you smile to finish up. A line from one of the junior plays at the end of last years classes :

"The bird fell from the sky like a ball of cake."

Hee hee hee !