Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ta-dah !

I have spent the first couple of days of the REAL holidays finishing up the "Little Monsters" painting for Jenni. Here is the finished work -

I took it round to Jenni's right away because it would get too hard for me to give up if I kept it around here ! I really liked it in the end as well, though that's good in a way - as if I DIDN'T like it I'm not sure I'd be too comfortable in saying it was finished. Or in giving it to someone.

Jenni seemed to like it a lot, so that was good. Now - to start work on the painting I promised my sister.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Let's find out who the chapel ghost REALLY is !

This is very very cool indeed. My pal Andrew, who has done some very cool stuff with light in theatre ( projected images and the like ) has made a haunted church ! So cool !

Here is part of the 'official' release :

Andrew Brettell creates critically acclaimed video projections (most recently for the plays Democracy, and Dr Buller’s Birds). He has ‘haunted’ the Futuna Chapel in Karori - with video projections of ghosts and stories from its past.

The chapel will only be haunted for 3 days – this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s free admission,

Futuna Chapel is at 62 Friend Street in Karori, and the display goes from 10am to 10pm

Oooo - spooky - the 'official' relase fragment is invisible ! JUST like a ghost !! If you highlight the black void above it will magically reveal the information. JUST like a ghost !!!

Doesn't that sound cool ? I'm going tonight - you should go too ! All the cool kids are going !

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Co-ordination issues

It's much nicer NOT to have to write reports all weekend. Sure - yesterday was so freaking freezing we had to start a fire to keep warm, but it did mean that I got to make some forward progress with "Little Monsters" -

The first step was getting some more background colours on. That was actually getting tricky - I guess I should have planned how to spread the colours better so there was more definate balance present, rather than just plowing in with what I thought was "A good idea at the time".
Still - there are no major problems there ( yet ).

I'm not sure about the yellow backing for "The Rascal" there. I think that the gray dragon will get a dark gray backing. I'm really not sure about the pink dragon though. It might have to be a straight white. I've left myself very few options. The only other thing I can think of is purple - but with the Beluga right next to it, there might be too much concentration of purple at that corner. Hmm. No - definately white. I don't want to even think about the springy guy ...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yellow and red !

Okay - so "Little Monsters" now has some warmer tones with added yellow ( I could have SWORN I had a tube of yellow when I started ... ) -

And also some red -

What I'm really pleased with is the effect I almost accidentally created with the purple colour of the "Beluga" ( bottom left corner ). The previous purple colour was much too dark - so I knocked up another lighter purple, but when I repainted the critter, I left a slight edge of the dark around it. It kind of has a 'glow' to it now - it's hard to explain, but it looks pretty cool.

I think I'll be blacking out some of the areas next - eyes and such. Hopefully it'll give things more definition without deadening the thing. We'll see I guess - it didn't seem to hurt the Stoner none !

Dangerously Obsessive

I feel pretty fortunate that I don’t have any significant physical addictions or compulsions. The closest I get is with video games – and even than I can be pretty good in moderating the amount of time I spend on them ( I’d say the “first term cold turkey” I’ve done for the last few years is a pretty good sign of that – though I AM getting pretty twitchy around Easter ! ).

BUT. I do get odd phases where I suffer from strange obsessions. I get totally fixated on something for awhile. A couple of months ago it was for light-gun games. I HAD to have a light gun ! HAD to ! And I obsessively picked though TradeMe till I got one. Well – two actually. And two games ( see what I mean ? ).

My current obsession is kinda odd – and I’m not entirely sure where it came from. It’s for Blood-Bowl. Right – for those of you without a knowledge of Games-Workshop games, Blood-Bowl is board game, a fantasy ( and that’s swords-and-sorcery fantasy too – not leather and latex styled fantasy ) parody of American football ( and not, literally, a bowl full of blood. That would be icky! ). You have little miniatures of the members of your team and you try and score touch-downs without being horribly maimed. I LOVED Blood-Bowl ! The really cool thing was if you played as part of a continuing league – your players got points based on what they managed to achieve, and eventually you started getting other player skills … oh, it was great !

Because I worked in a games store for a bit, I did manage to pick up quite a few of the miniatures fairly inexpensively, and I have a fairly good range of teams. I can field a team of humans, orcs, undead, wood elves, dark elves, chaos warriors, skaven rat-men and ALMOST a goblin team. Not bad.

It was the miniatures that I really liked – and I always slightly preferred the older 2nd edition figures.

I wandered into a Games-Workshop store* and asked if you could still order the older figures after I didn’t see them in the on-line catalogue. They seemed to think you should be able to – so I was happy.

But no – having done some more research on-line, I find out that a LARGE number have been pulled from production and you can’t get them made anymore ! Gasp !

Good news – I already have the majority of the pulled figures ( well – that I WOULD want anyway ).

Bad news – I find myself with filled with an almost overpowering desire to acquire a 2nd ed skaven team.

These out-of-production figures are coming up on E-Bay, but they can get pretty pricey – especially when they’re for pounds sterling. American dollars are bad enough !

What is interesting is that a new range of figures ( 5th ed ) seem to have been made from last year – which I didn’t know about at all. I didn’t think that BB would still be that popular – looks like I was wrong. The new werewolf looks pretty cool. And they’ve finally got a decent figure for the human star player Griff Oberwaldhe no longer looks like a guy with a duck on his head ( and that’s GOTTA be good ! ).

I might try and start up a BB league at school next year. It’s been something I’ve been thinking of doing for awhile now. And if I’m really sneaky – I can tack on a request on student orders and not have to pay for postage ! Hee hee hee !

… Next post I’ll update my “Little Monsters” painting. It won’t be nearly as geeky as this one ! I promise !

*And if I hadn't been rapidly cornered by some scary employee's - I would have ran out soon after. If you ever find you HAVE to go in - don't make eye-contact and pretend you're deaf.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Grinning Black Despair

You know you've spent too long writing school reports when you're tempted to write "JUST F**K OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE YOU B@STARDS !" for every remaining student you have.

77 out of the 96 I have to do done. Only 18 left !

Rapture !

Mind you - then I have to enter all the comments into the freaking electronic markbook ... as well as all the grades I haven't entered yet.

Damn !!!

In other more geeky news - played the BEST game of "Shadows Over Camelot" last night at Jenni and Lee's. Freaking 11 white sword to ONE black ! All the artifacts won ! NO-ONE dead ! I think there may have been under 7 seige engines on the board at the end too. Goddamn - we were so lucky !

Right - I'm going to sit in the sun for a half hour and eat my lunch - before I steel myself to returning to the dungeon of the office and finishing off these thrice cursed reports.


Friday, December 01, 2006


Shall we see how "Little Monsters" is progressing ?

Oh all right then ! Seeing as you asked so nicely.

I had it up to this level on Tuesday :

And here is a shot of the painting I just finished not ten minutes ago :

I'm really liking the "Stoner" now that he's pretty much done ( top - second from left ). Now that I actually have some yellow paint, I'll be able to introduce some warmer colours into the mix very soon.

Not that I'll get much painting done this weekend. I thought I had an extra week to complete my school reports - they're actually due Monday. How many have I done ? NONE !

I'm so freaking boned. One very grim and frustrating weekend is coming my way ...

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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Drop down ! Increase speed ! Change direction !

I know - two posts in ONE day ? Wild man ! But I finally got round to charging the batteries in the digital camera, and I thought I'd show you the set of paintings I finished not too long ago.

So - what do you think, huh ? I really like them ! Even if I do say so myself. I've had the idea for AGES, I just needed to get off my arse and actually paint them ! The top two ( the third tier alien and the mothership ) are a LITTLE adjusted to fit in the canvas space ( I think the alien is a bit taller, and the mothership is definately wider ) but most people wouldn't know that. I've never really done anything quite to "pop art"ish before, though I'd like to do some more video game icons. I've been thinking of a bunch of tiny squares with things from "Centipede" on them ( the mushrooms, the spider, segments of the centipede, that kind of thing ), Pac-Man and some of the ghosts, dudes from Dig-Dug ( maybe being exploded ). I was even thinking of some really retro Commodore 64 things - Paradroid, Impossible Mission, Gribbly's Day Out ... BOULDERDASH !!!!

That would rock a great deal !

So - some art from me. You can't get better than that ! A game review AND art in the SAME day ! Wow.

Shadows Over Camelot – vague review

With birthdays happening recently, I decided to support a friend’s business venture and treat myself ( as you do ) to a new board game or two. It kinda sounds funny to say that you really like playing board games when you’re ( nominally ) an adult – but these aren’t the board games I used to play as a kid ! There are some bloody good ones out there – and they allow a sports-challenged individual like myself to be good and competitive in a more social setting, because above all else – you gotta have people to play against.

So – I got hold of the recently re-released “El Grande” ( a masterpiece of gaming, though maybe not one for the newbies – it can be a bit of a brain-burster ) and this game I’d been hearing a bunch about – “Shadows Over Camelot”. It won the category for “theme game” at this year’s German Game Awards – so that was a good sign, and I had a chat to me pal Jase ( who has a considerable collection of BG’s ) – who said that he enjoyed it a lot. And all the pictures of it I had seen looked so pretty !

I’ve played it twice now – and it IS very good. Though it is also pretty difficult to beat.

Situation is this – you are a Knight of the Round Table ( or – if you end up being Arthur – you’re the King, baby ! ) and Camelot has seen better days. In fact – it would be fair to say that Camelot is looking pretty boned. Lancelot has run off with Guinevere and they are happily shagging their brains out somewhere, the Picts and Saxons are arriving with ominous looking catapults and plans for urban redevelopment, the Grail is STILL missing, Arthur put down Excalibur “only for a minute” and it ended up back in the freaking LAKE, and there’s some guy in black spiky amour down at the tournament lists with a banner saying “Black Knight smash Round Table girly-men!”.

Something MUST be done !

So the knights must undertake a number of quests in order to preserve the might and majesty of the kingdom. Succeeding in a quest ( defeating Lancelot and nicking his amour, finding the Grail, slaying the dragon, etc ) earns you white sword tokens ( among other goodies ), while failing quests ( losing Excalibur to the Lake, getting the bash from the Saxons, getting made into a ‘knight-kebab’ by the Black Knight ) generates black sword tokens. Game ends when there are 12 swords on the round table ( though there are things that can end the game prematurely ). You win if there are more white swords than black. Yup – it’s a co-operative game, so bear in mind everything you learned about that in Sesame Street – it’s going to be important. You ALL win, or you ALL lose.

Each knight has a special ability, and the careful use of them is an important part of achieving victory. Every turn you have is in two phases : “Progression of Evil” and “Heroic Action”. In “Progression of Evil” you have to do one of three pretty bad things – draw a “black card” ( which usually is fairly bad – they increase the odds of losing a quest, though sometimes they are “special” black cards – which REALLY do freaking bad things … ), add a siege engine outside Camelot ( got 12 siege engines ? You LOSE sucker ! Game ends there and then – Camelot and all her hand-crafted charm gets smashed to bits by massive Welsh boulders ! Ha ! ) or sacrifice yourself and take a point of damage to your knight ( did you lose your last life point ? Then you’re DEAD ! Game over for you ! Shame for your family ! There are village idiots Cornwall laughing at you ! Oh no ! ). If you’re still alive and the game’s still on – then you get a heroic action – which is usually playing a “white” card in order to further a quest.

There’s an interesting wrinkle that I haven’t played yet which is “The Traitor” ( dum-dum-DUMMMM!!! ). At the start of the game you shuffle and hand each of the knights a “loyalty” card. Seven of them have “Loyal Knight” on them. One has “Traitor” – get this card, and you’re actually working AGAINST the group, subtly trying to aid the forces of evil and hamper the good. If you get revealed as the traitor ( someone uses a heroic action to accuse you ) you lose a good amount of power to really screw things up, so you want to be sneaky about it. We haven’t been brave enough to play with the possibility of the Traitor yet ! If you’re the Traitor – you win if Camelot falls. If the loyal knights win – it’s oppositesville for the Traitor.

First game was with a group of six. We won – though it was a close run thing. We had taken all three relics ( Grail, Excalibur, Lancelot’s Armor ) fairly early, which really helped. All six knights were alive at the end – thanks to a well timed use of the Grail ( restore a dead knight to 4 life – remove Grail from game ). Afterwards though we found we had misinterpreted one knight’s special power – and were using a MUCH improved version, which I’m sure is one of the main reasons we got the relics so early.
End result – eight white swords to four black.

Second game was with a group of four – which I think made it harder. There weren’t as many knights available to team-up for certain quests. While we got hold of Excalibur and Lancelot’s Armor – we just COULDN’T get out greasy mitts on the freaking Grail ! We came SOOOO close ! But a bad run of “special” black cards really screwed us. I think we had 4-white/6-black on the table ( we couldn’t win – but we were trying to get 6 white swords on the board ) – when one particularly nasty special black card wiped us out. I had already laid down my character’s life ( we had 11 siege engines on the board – I couldn’t risk a card which would to the same thing, and I only had one life point left ! Crap ! ) – and everyone else was left on one life. Someone ( it might have been Viva, it may have been Lee ) drew a “Morgan” card – this one was “All knights lose one life” ( there are five different “Morgan” cards – they all do pretty suckful things ). So everyone was dead – another condition which loses you the game. Knackers!

“Shadows Over Camelot” is certainly an exciting and tense game – even without the Traitor ( the possibility of the Traitor alone is pretty scary ! ). The boards and components are excellent – pretty pictures and great little figurines ( even if the Picts do look a bit like Maori warriors from behind ), and it is a game with a very strong theme. Criticisms so far are that there’s a fair degree of down time in-between your turns ( but the cooperative nature of the game does tend to keep you involved ) and it does seem to get VERY difficult with fewer players. Three is the minimum you can play with – max seven. It’s the best cooperative game I’ve played so far – and triumphs over “Lord of the Rings” because it does actually seem possible to win !

Scores a 7 out of 10 White Doom Rabbits on the Seraphometer at this stage.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Photos from the production - let's see if they work THIS time...

Right - I have learnt ALL about resizing images for the interweb now. Let's see if Blogger is going to let me put the photos on now ...

HEY ! What do ya know ? It worked ! So the problem all along was that I was trying to load on 15megs worth on photos ! Who would have thought it ?

Here we have Dionysus berating his slave, Xanthias, for riding the donkey instead of him. Note the great pastoral scene in the background that I painted.

Dionysus reveals his master plan to Heracles.

The "muscle body" was recycled from a previous Stage Challenge entry on the theme of body image and media. It was a last minute idea of the student playing Heracles - I thought it worked pretty well.

Dionysus is supposed to have a large club - but I forgot to make one - so we used a big wooden hammer.

The chorus - singing the praises of Iacchos. I'm not sure if that's especially kosher at an Anglican school, but what the hell.

I really like this photo. It looks kinda spooky. Especially that guy on the far left. Freaky-deaky.

Right - now here's the real meat of the play - the debate between Euripedes ( on ground, center stage ) and Aeschylus ( seated, on right ). Euripedes is pointing out how Aeschylus' characers ( Niobe, in this case ) take freaking ages to actually SAY anything - they just sit there and look cool.

When WILL you learn about the inherent value of stillness on stage Euripides ?

Nearing the end now. This is where the their poetry gets weighed in order to see who's poetry is best. Apparantly that's on some kinda wacky literary psi scale. Those crazy classical chiton wearing guys ...

I made the scale by cutting corners off a big speaker box and threading in two broom sticks. I got rather lightheaded spraypainting the broom with silver spray-paint. You can't even see the silver colour in the photo ! Knackers.

So - a small taste of the production. A little late perhaps - but better late than me hunting you down and forcing you to ingest molten lead.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

And speaking of RE...

Do you own a PS2 ?

If so - good news ! Looks like "Resident Evil 4" - one of the BEST games ever made, is being released on the Patinum range !

If you enjoy action, suspence and shooting Spaniards ( it's okay - they're SORT of zombies ... ) - you owe it to yourself to step into Leon S. Kennedy's shoes once again and freaking deal to some kidnapping cultist scum-bags !

I got this game for my sister for Christmas ( she got me into RE in the early days of the PS ) - but, seeing as this one sorta plays more like a FPS, rather than having the fixed angle views of it predecessors ) it ended up giving her motion sickness and she couldn't really get into it. Pity. But the good news was that she recently said I could have her version ! Yay sis !

So while I might not have to get the Platinum version - you really should !

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This comes of playing too much R.E.3

You are in an arena the size of a basket ball court. You are armed with a hefty fire-axe and a Colt Anaconda ( a magnum to you normal people ) which is fully loaded - but you have no more ammunition. Only the six shots.

Which would you fight - a giant hunting spider ( lets say the size of a horse ) or a pack of twenty zombies ( medium level decomposition ) ?

Tricky eh ?

So - the spider would have range and speed over you ( coupled with a nasty leaping ability ) - BUT there's a pretty good chance you could blow it's spider guts out with the magnum without having to go toe to toe ( or toe to chitinous hooks ) with the axe.

Your zombies would be slow ( these would be your average "Day of the Dead" zombies - not your more speedy / savage 'Rage' victims . We do classic zombies here at Death From Above ! ) - but persistant. You might get a good number with the gun - but you'll have to be accurate and get 'em in the head, and you WILL have to go hand to hand with the axe. Not a pleasant thought. You don't want to get surrounded by the shuffling bastards either.

Then - who would you rather be eaten to death by if you lost ? Zombies ? Erk ! Slow and horrible feasting on your body-meats ! Mind you, if they crack your skull open FIRST and eat your throbbing brains as an entree rather than a main - it would be quicker. BUT you'll come back AS a zombie ! Not nice for friends and family !

Giant spider ? Double ERK ! Having your insides dissolved and slurped out of you ? That's unless the thing decides to 'keep you for later' !

Not good either way really.

If forced into aforementioned death-match by a suitably horrible twist-of-fate - I'd have to go with the zombies. While the odds are less favourable that with Senor Spider, I would certainly go into some sort of catatonic fear induced coma when facing a arachnid the size of a horse ! I'd be dead in the water before I even bagan ! And I'm pretty sure I could out-smart a bunch of freaking zombies.

Stupid zombies ... think they're so cool ...

This is the sort of thing that I think about when I have to put stapels in the few dozen mock exam booklets by hand, because I forgot to program that function into the freaking photocopier.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Captain's log ... toot toot, chugga chugga"

So, my sister-in-law’s husband, Dan, tells me the BEST story about my young nephew.

Seems that Dan was watching an episode of Star Trek TOS. It was that classic one where there was that lava creature killing guys ( ***SPOILER*** It was only defending its eggs ***SPOILER END*** ).

Nephew ( 2 yrs old ) looks at the screen, and the Enterprise crew in their groovy federation uniforms, and says :

“Wiggles !”

Ha ! Classic ! Apparently he was a little confused as to why there were multiple "blue" guys. I’d love to see Kirk driving the Big Red Car though! A few photon torpedo launchers, a phaser array, shields and transporters – that Big Red Car would be getting pretty fly.

Can’t wait to see what the kid makes of Imperial Storm troopers.

Wii are not amused

No ! Stupid freaking Sony has delayed the launch of the PS3 in all the PAL territories ! Though not in the flipping US of A or Japan. Fecking typical. Apparently it’s because they don’t have enough ‘blue laser diodes’, whatever the hell they are.


Oh well – I guess it’s not like I could afford one really anyway. Hopefully it’ll mean there are more decent titles available when it does launch here in March.

I am vaguely tempted by the new Nintendo Wii. Even though it does have the WORST name for a video game system EVER. Cripes man – what the hell possessed them to name it “wii” ?? Okay okay – I’ve heard that it’s supposed to get across the idea of unity and ‘togetherness’ or something, which prompts me to think “Do Nintendo REALLY know they’re target demographic ?”. I can’t think that ideas of unity / togetherness are really all that important to gamers. Well – not that I know of anyway. They should have called it something like “Babe-Magnet 6000”. THAT would appeal to a great many gamers I think. Sure – it won’t WORK as a babe-magnet ( Sony have that whole sing-star thing sewn up … Nintendo aren’t getting in there ! ) but that doesn’t matter. Anything’s gotta be better than something that sounds like urine.

Had an odd take on the system’s name last week at my role-playing game group ( disclaimer - the following conversation has been modified to make things more funny. But it’s pretty much what happened )

Hix – The Wii’s controllers are super-cool.

Seraph – Agreed. Their super-coolness is not in contention. The name, however is bollocks. I mean – ‘wee’ ??!?

Roleplayer X – I’m not calling it that.

Short stunned silence

S – What do you mean ?

RX – I think it’s pronounced differently. You pronounce the “wi” in “wi-fi” like the word “why”. I think that’s how you say “wii”. Like “why”.

Jenni – No. It sounds like “we”.

RX – How do you know that for sure ?

J – The company said so.

S - So did everyone in the world who knows about it.

RX – I still think it’s “why”.

S - … You’re wrong.

RX – You don’t know that.

S – ( trying very hard not to scream, seeing as the group took a joke death threat FAR too seriously last week ) Yes I DO know it. Everyone knows it. The name is “we”. That is its name. It is not “why”. I’m sure we would all like it to actually BE ‘why’. I wonder WHY it is not ‘why’. But, alas, it is not. It is “we”. It sounds like “bee” and “pea”. You can pronounce it “why’ all you like – but that does not make it right. Because you are wrong.

RX … I’m not convinced.


Jenni and Hix proceed hiding cutlery and other sharp or pointed things.

Or something like that.

The controllers ARE very cool though. The things you could do with them … in the demo movie you can use them as a virtual golf club, gun, sword, fishing rod, steering wheel and a bunch of other weird things I don’t have nouns for. And, comparatively, the Wii is pretty cheap. I think it’s around $500 bucks here. The X-Box 360 9s around $700, and the PS3 is going on $1200. So that’s a bonus too.




Saturday, September 30, 2006

Back from the semi-dead !

Ah – holidays.

Man – did I NEED these ! Which is why I haven’t updated for awhile. I have been knitting together the frayed ends of my sanity. Mostly through the medium of video games and watching comedy DVD’s. On that video game subject - Starwars Battlegrounds 2 is freaking awesome !! The ability to play 'hero' characters is soooooooo cool ! A quick ranking of some of the ones I've encountered so far :

Obi-Wan Kenobi + Luke Skywalker - A
These guys are great - really fast and both can hurl their lightsabers at opponents. I think they both have force push too - which is pretty cool.

Darth Vader + Boba Fett - B+
Yeah - I know. Sacrilege huh ? Well - they are both still very cool - it's just Vader isn't all THAT fast ( that'll come of having cybernetic limbs and NO SKIN I guess ... ) and Boba has the new "Jake the Muss" voice. I prefer 'classic' Boba. Still - that repeating blaster is pretty freaking nifty ...

Jango Fett + Count DooDoo - I mean - Count Dooku - C-
Meh. Jango is really just Boba with a more pants gun and a gayer suit ( it's kinda pink ! What kind of Mandanlorian wears pink ??? ). The Count at least has force lightning ... but the cape ? C'mon ! What are ya- a Marvel superhero ? Yeesh ..

The Emperor - D
Yerk. He is slow AND ugly. Sure - the force lightning is nice ... but a CIS droid can be quite happily shooting you in the face with a missle launcher while you're trying to swing you're lightsaber at the stupid fucker ...

Princess Leia - F-
OMFG ! She SUCKS ! Her crappy blaster overheats after 3 shots - and her 'special' ability of making OTHER people tougher is NOT fun. She's not even wearing the slave girl bikini !!

Anyway ...

The last couple of weeks at school were really mental. Mostly due to getting the play together. I gotta say though – it went REALLY well ! The first night had some line malfunctions … but still, it was pretty good. But the second night – they freaking nailed it! It was just so good ! The students did REALLY well – I was very proud of them. Greek comedy – you gotta love it.

Also – my birthday this week also. I had a nice, if rather solitary, day. Viva got me the two DVD’s of Ricky Gervaise’s stand-up stuff ( and pretty damn funny it is too ). My sister-in-law and their family got me some book vouchers ( haven’t decided exactly what to get with those yet. I see that there are some nice hard-back re-releases of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy – they are tempting, especially the first two which I only have in paper-back ). My parents and sister are visiting in the weekend – which will be very cool too. I just got a call from my best pal Conrad in London ( which was great ! ). Viva and I went out to “The Flying Burrito Brothers” for dinner that night ( after I spent the day lurking around town – I like a bit of lurking I do … ). You ever had a frozen strawberry margarita ? Fecking hell – those things are great !

I also got my expensive new mouse today ( that’s a computer mouse too – my solid gold vermin arrive next month … oh come on ! That was KINDA funny ! ). I cashed in some points we earned on our credit cards ! Ha ! I forgot about those ! So it turns out I CAN justify a stupidly expensive mouse ! Yay reward points ! I love the little ajustible weight pack you get with it so you can 'customise the heft and flow' of the mouse. That's JUST what my life was missing !

Hmm - I was trying to load some photos of the play on here ... but it didn't seem to want to. Damn. I'll try again later.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Here they are !

These are the masks that have so dominated my life of late. I think the neatest one is Euripedes ( bottom middle ) - though I quite like Dionysus ( middle, second from right ) and Pluto ( middle, far left - the blue one ).

I'm going to be freaking happy when this production is over !

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ted ... I'm going mad...

Right - well, the MASKS are done now anyway. Fifteen of the bastards ( or it might be fourteen - I kinda forget right at the moment ... ). AND a giant pair of scales prop made and painted. AND the reverse side of the flats painted with a fetching pastoral scene. Sheesh.

And you know how much help I got from the freaking students ?

None !

None at all ! Not even from the guy who's supposed to be doing all the tech / stage stuff !

DOUBLE bastards !

I was going to take a photo of them to put on the ole blog with the dept. camera ... but SOMEONE has taken it and NOT put it back in the electronic equipment drawer !

TRIPLE bastard !

Hmmm ... maybe triple bastard anyway ... I could well be the HOD who took it for the arts awards evening on Friday ( that went to freaking ten thirty - that's a REAL fun way to spend a Friday evening too ... actually, it was a nice event - but it's not so nice when every fibre in your body is screaming at you to sleep and you've spent the last three Friday evenings threading wool hair into masks or constructing supports for the flats in the production without any help from the QUADRUPLE bastard students who are supposed to be doing this stuff ... argh ! ).

Sigh. So I'm very tired now. A weekend working at school will do that to you.

I think I just want to go home and play video games - but we've still got the food shopping to do ( and with Viva being on call till 11, she really can't go out ( yay ), and then there's the ironing.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Masks draining my will to live - New mouse dilemma

I spent most of the weekend threading hair into a series of masks I've been making for my 7th form production of "The Frogs" - a Greek comedy.

Not that it was real hair or anything - it was bargain basement wool ( hopefully from some kind of sheep - but at the price I paid I'm sure it might well be from some kind of South American killer bat. You can get wool from a bat can't you? I'm sure the witches in 'MacBeth' had some ... )

I've had more enjoyable weekend activities - but there was something kind of fufilling about it.

I'll try and get a photo of how they're all coming along a bit later.

Our work laptops got upgraded - which is good. But it won't use my old laptop mouse now - which is bad ( I freaking can't stand using touch pads - they NEVER work properly and they're too damn fiddly ). I have to get a new mouse. I figure I should upgade my home PC one to a cool new laser mouse ( with a freaking laser ! How cool is that ? Sure - you can't shoot someone with it - but it's only a matter of time ... ) and then I can use my old optical USB mouse on the lappy - which is good. But the laser special gaming mouse that looked like it really rocked cost around $125 ! Which is bad ! As much as I would like it - I really can't bring myself to pay THAT much for a mouse. So screw it - I'll get a decent mircosoft / logitech optical one.

Beh. So - ruminations on buying a new mouse arn't all that interesting.

I think I'll get back to painting my masks and making noses for the ones I still need to.

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.

Monday, July 31, 2006

And now - a maths joke

Why did the chicken cross the mobius strip ?

To get to the same side !

Wah ha ha ha ha !!!

Okay - kinda geeky, but really - "the same side" ! Comedy gold.

Did you know that the international symbol for recycling is a mobius loop ?

Don't say that you never learn anything with your ole' pal Seraph !

Friday, July 28, 2006

What was the damage then ?

Turns out I had lost a kilogram ( down to 92.5kg ).

Freaking weird. Last week - I was really good, I exercised a bunch and I didn't lose a GRAM. This week - I'm a little piggie - BAM ! I shed a K.

I don't get it.

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Revenge of the Scales

Viva and I have been attending a "Health and Fitness" thing on Thursday evenings for the last month or so, in a bid to ... well ... be more healthy and fit really. Duh ! The evenings are always just a bit weird though. I'm the ONLY guy there. The trainer ( who I'm beginning to suspect is actually an android. No human should be able to withstand the kind of punishment she does without breaking a sweat ... ) is always saying things like "Okay - make sure you're really stretching your chest out in this exercise - really get your boobs stuck out ... except YOU Seraph!". Thanks for making me really feel like part of the team, coach !

Anyway - I have been doing reasonably well. I think I've dropped a few k's, I've been losing centimeters off all the right places in my body, and I think I've been getting fitter ( my tri-weekly morning runs are averaging out at about 25-26 minutes ( they used to take me 35+ minutes - and I couldn't keep up the pace for the whole thing. AND I can consistently jog up the 210 steps from the train station "short-cut" to Fox Street ! Whoop ! ) and generally eating less crap.

But this week. THIS week. I've been BAD.

I've eaten so much crap. Pizza on Friday, curry on Saturday, ... I forget what I ate on Sunday - but there was much too much bread ... I know that, pizza AGAIN on Monday ( had to stay at school late and get food for the student actors in my play - I blame them ), a Subway sandwich on Tuesday and burritos last night. The burritos weren't TOO bad I guess ( there was lettuce and carrots in 'em ) ... but still ! And I've done little exercise other than my morning runs and StepMania games. Eeep.

I fear the weigh in tonight.

Seraph's Raro Holiday Top Ten !

1. Managing to lie down and watch “Desperate Housewives” ( and half of “The IT Crowd” before I was made to go to sleep ) after many hours of queing in Wellington and Auckland airport. Our 6am connecting flight ( that we got up at quarter to five for ) was delayed because of stupid fog in Auckland. We got a flight at 11am, only to be sent back to Wellington when we got there because the fog had come back. Yay.
After standing in various lines to get ready for our new flight to Raro from Auckland, we were told that that flight was also delayed. Instead of departing at quarter to ten, it was now departing at quarter to one in the morning !
Viva and I decided to go to some crummily cheap airport hotel just so we could relax for a moment. Sure – it looked like a few people had been murdered, and the driver who picked us up smelt like he had been eating a bushel of raw garlic with a chaser of teargas … but at least we got out of the freaking departure lounge for a few hours !

2. Actually arriving in the Cook Islands ! When we got to the place we were staying we crashed and slept for a good five hours or so. Woken by the cleaner who thought we had gone out.

3. About five paces out of our villa was the beach. Very nice. You could borrow kayaks and paddle around in the lagoon. I had lofty plans of kayaking out to one of the small islands nearby, jogging around it and zapping back across the water as an exercise routine. It never eventuated, funnily enough. Though I did wade across to closer of the two mini-islands ( a lot faster than I kayaked too ).

4. Sitting our Cook Island drivers licence so we could legally drive scooters while there. It consisted of driving about two hundred meters up the man road, turning around in a supermarket car-park, and driving back. I’ve had more difficulty getting drunk ( and I’m one CHEAP drunk ! ).
I was listening to some American guy in line who had failed it once by driving on the wrong side of the road. He mentioned that he knew some guy who had failed it three times in a row. The mind boggles.

5. Driving scooters. The crazy bastards don’t wear helmets there ! It was awesome ! I had a great time hooning around at 40-60km’s. I saw some pretty mental balancing acts by some of the locals. I finally started to understand why the police station had a sign saying “DOGS AND BIKES DON’T MIX !”. Truer words have not been spoken.

6. Going on a cross island hike. Some parts were pretty insanely steep – but I managed okay. Our guide was pretty cool – though I began to question some of the stories he was telling us… I believe that he met the Dali Lama and all, but there is NO WAY that guy was sixty. NO way !
Got to try some of the native chestnut which our guide has prepared ( or, in other words, boiled ) earlier. It was sort of like a waxy potato which had been boiled in a pot along with a pile of lamb chops. If offered – decline politely.

7. Umbrella drinks ! I had an umbrella drink a day. Best one – a Venetian Lemonade ( hand-squeezed lemonade, Bacardi, lemoncello and mint leaves ) at the Portifino restaurant. Nice place – they did a good pizza too.

8. Snorkelling ! That was the most amazing thing. So many bright coloured fishes ! Giant freaking clams ! Clouds of tiny fish hiding in coral ! Managing NOT to choke to death when I inhaled sea-water !

9. Being vaguely near the filming of “Survivor” ! We went on a day trip to another one of the islands (Aitutaki). We couldn’t go to where the snorkelling trip usually went because the new series of Survivor was being filmed on that side of the island – and NO-ONE was allowed to go near the freaking place.

10. While hanging around in the sun, wearing t-shirts and shorts while everyone was freezing back in Wellington was nice – I was glad to get home again, see Shadow ( who had been pretty unfriendly to Hix during his third tour of house sitting at La Casa Seraph, weirdly enough. ) and have my lost luggage returned to me after only a few hours.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The word is 'love', people!

Yeah yeah yeah. So I haven't written anything. So what ? You gonna make me ? Huh ? You think you're all that ?

Oh. You really ARE all that ?


I'd better write something then. ( Don't hit me )

Okay - I guess mostly the reason I've been quiet is that I ( somewhat foolishly ) reinstalled "Heroes of Might and Magic 3" on my computer. If you've never played this game, you are both cursed and blessed. Cursed - because it's one hell of a good game. Blessed - because you're probably using your time in persuit of art, or truth, or a REALLY good grilled chesse sandwhich, or something OTHER than sitting in front of a computer screen going "I REALLY have to upgrade my army's archers ! Where can I find another lumber mill ? Where the hell did those dragons come from ? OOooh - My hero learned the 'chain lighting' spell - yay !".

I've got it more under control than my "Diablo 2" addiction ( that was bad - I can really never play that game again, as much as I loved it ... ), so that's gotta be worth something.

Viva and I also were in the Cook Islands for a week ( more on that later ), so that made updating difficult.

Anyway - I want to talk about langauge, funnily enough. In fact - the heart symbol. Having fuitlessly searched through all THREE freaking sets of 'win-dings" in Word ( does anyone ACTUALLY ever use these goddamn things ??? ) and not found ONE heart symbol, I am forced ot resort to this - *heart*. So - whenever you see that - imagine the heart symbol. Okay ? Okay.

You DO know that that wee heart symbol actually stands for the word 'love' - right ? It really does. So - when you see the title of a film like "I ♥ Huckabees" ( yeah - I know, I found one on the net just now. I shoulda looked there first ... ) - It actually MEANS "I love Huckabees". "We LOVE Katamari!" "I LOVE New York". No one EVER says "I heart New York!". Y'know why ? It makes no freaking sense ! That's why !
It's BAD English ! I mean - you don't ever say "That shirt costs dollar sign three hundred ! There's no way I'm shelling out that much asterix hash-symbol ampersand at-symbol pi leo-sign money for that !", do you ?

Well - not when you're sober anyway.

That might sound like a pretty harmless think to get annoyed about - but I am still nominally an English teacher, and I still want to jam a working chainsaw in the ribcage of any student to uses the word 'alot' in an essay.

I think I knew I was in trouble when my pal Hix, when we were talking about some actress ( it might have been Uma Thurman ), said "I heart her!". You never want to think about impaling your good friends with rusty gardening tools. It's a bad place.

So - just make sure you English speak good !

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bubbajay and the boys - a pretty furious Dracula

Gargh - JUNIOR reports finally done. I was here at school ALL weekend, and till eight last night. It's my own fault really. I should have gotten my arse in gear ealier. Ah well.

I took Friday off to have some of the guys round to waste time playing games and drinking beer. Not that I actually drank any beer I think. It was good times all round - cos not ONLY were my cronies Hix and Richardo present, my long time ( and well missed ) buddy Bubbajay was in town on one of his semi-shady business trips. I'm not sure exactly what it is he sells - but I think it might be kryptonite to various super-villian leagues.

Anyway - fun all round !

I discovered that I can get MUCH better points in SingStar if I sing in a stupidly squeeky voice. Go figure.

Gem of the nights gaming was a round of "Fury of Dracula". Once again, I donned the cape and pointy teeth and rampaged across Europe in a torrent of blood and ... more blood !

Huh - I WISH that's what happened anyway. Yeesh - I got OWNED in that game ! In fact, I'd go as far as to say I got p0wn3d ! Cripes. I was all like "Foolish mortals ! To challenge the might of Dracula ! ... Hey - where did they get all those suspiciously glowing crosses from ? And what's with those bullets in the boxes marked "Specially Blessed by the the Archbishop" ? Should they have a lynch mob on their side ? ... Maybe I'd better get my vampiric ass outta town ..."

So about three of the hunters caught me in London in the middle of the day. Ouch. I pretty much got the crap slapped out of me - I managed to get back to the mainland - but Van Helsing caught me and popped a cap in me. Exit Vlad Tepes - stage left.

Still - a very fun game, and a very fun night.

Next time - I'm playing a hunter though.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Seraph for minister of foreign relations !

I had one of my laughing seizures in the staff room the other day. It was quite a eye-opener for most of the staff in our conversation conclave ( though if you've known me for any great length of time you'll know that these fits of uncontrollable laughing and giggling are pretty regular ).

It has been much remarked on already.

The reason for my mirth ? It all started with one of the staff recounting her experiences with food in her worldly travels. Y'know - all the gross things she's sorta been forced to eat as not to cause huge amounts of dishonour to her hosts. Live baby turtles, dog stew, various forms of locust or grasshopper, even a 'monkey pie' ( hell - isn't that one of the funniest things you've heard ? A MONKEY-pie ? Even the word is freaking great ! If you wanted specifics - apparently it was a 'mostly-baboon-pie'. She didn't really want to know what the other stuff was ).

But that's not what I was laughing at.

I started thinking along these lines - what if that while 'dishonour' thing is a scam ? ( yeah - I KNOW it isn't really ). What if these people were just trying to see what horrible stuff they could get these western tourists to eat. You could imagine these guys heading off to the bookies afterwards - "Hey Achmed ! Those backpackers totally ate that bowl full of fried pig ovaries ! That was, what ? Ten to one odds ? It's time a started getting some money back from you after the whole mashed locust patties ...".

But THAT'S not what I was laughing at.

Logically - after a train of thought like that, you start thinking of payback ( because if there's ONE thing that 'ole Seraph stands for - it's REVENGE ! ). I started to imagine volunteering to host a visiting teacher from one of our sister schools overseas, and seeing what crap I could get away with feeding them on the pretense that it was a "great honour" to be served such a delicacy.

And I was laughing about that for a good long while.

"Oh - you're in for a treat tonight Mr. Chang ! A New Zealand national meal - Lawn-clipping Surprise ! Down in one ! Down in one ! Down in one !"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The reason for my silence

Report writing has been getting me down. It freaking sucks. I was in here all day Sunday - trying to get my comments done. I probably could have finished the whole process much faster than I did - but I just couldn't stay "on task" ( a phrase I myself typed a great many times over the long stretch of Sunday ... ). In the end I threw in the towel and went home at around 6pm, because I was feeling pretty sick. I was here till about half six last evening too finishing the bastards off.

Usually I can get into a sort of report writing 'zone' - this special headspace you can occupy to dance the patterns of linguistic subterfuge needed these days so young people's delicate self-esteem isn't irreparably dinged. You WANT to say "Quentin is a piece of human shaped filth and a prime example of all that is wrong with mankind. I recommend he be used for live organ harvesting so that a worithier soul may enjoy the gift of life. The sooner he is moldering in his grave the better for all inhabitants of the universe" ? Well you have to say something like "Quentin is a lively individual, but would be better served focusing his attention into activities within the scope of lesson activities. There are promising developments ahead in the subject area of science, with definate interest in surgery". Or something like that.

And I still have my JUNIOR reports hanging above me, sword of Damocles like ! They'll be even worse. Sigh.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Monster film hijinks - in with a chance !

Last night was the heats showing of my teams 48 Hour Film Competition entry "Monster Hunter IV : Beyond Repair".

Man - it ROCKED !

It was the first time I had seen it ( most of the other members of the team saw it on the Sunday night - I had gone home by this stage. I was tired, I had to iron clothes, I was hungry - and seeing as mushrooms make me sick, I decided not to partake of the mushroom pasta that was kindly whipped up for the team. I appreciate the gesture though ). It looked good! It sounded good! Debz was amazing as Diana Jones - the badass monster hunter! Luke was disarming as Robin Slade - the upbeat monster diffusing kinda guy! We had wicked looking stunts ! I looked good as a corpse !

The weekend was fun - though there was a lot of waiting ( a good amount of it in the rain ). I've learnt that there's a lot of this in films if you act in them. Viva was, on the other hand , gloriously busy in her role as assistant-director ( she did such a great job I thought - sure, I'm biased - but she was still great ! ).

My contribution to the film was being one of the mooks - or in more un-hip parlance, one of Diana Jones' elite monster hunting thugs. I had to stand and look mean in one shot with the rest of the mooks ( there were five of us ). I had to also stalk through mud in a combat style ( I also learned to hold a hand gun in a 'proper' way ). My big moment was my 'hero' death. I was actually kinda nervous about the shot - it was one of those "You get ONE crack at this - don't screw this up" moments. I had to stand back to back with another Mook - turn slowly ( scanning the surrounding bush ) to face her. THEN I had to see the monster ( who was a melty faced guy ) off screen behind her. I had to register shock/horror/revulsion - and then my Mook partner was supposed to get glooped off frame - and that's when two guys off frame were going to splatter me with fake blood ( make from golden syrup, chocolate sauce and food coloring - I hope that doesn't violate some kind of secret. Don't want Peter Jackson kicking my arse - though I'm pretty sure I have the weight advantage on him now ...). Then I freak out - then the monster kills me. Fun !

The first time the guys were supposed to "gore" me, they missed completely - getting my co-Mooks shoulder instead - though they DID manage to get a bit of blood on me too - just enough so it was a pain to get off. Ah well.

I was really worried afterwards - cos it didn't feel like I had really nailed it. It didn't look too bad on screen - though I know I could have done it better...

The last thing I did was to be dead in a frame with my likewise dead co-Mook - the whole eyes staring lifelessly from my expired corpse. Now THAT was alright !

To be honest - even if I had had nothing to do with our film, I STILL would have ranked it at least second. The "road-movie" from out heat was pretty funny, and I gave the "Based-on-a-true" story a second place - even though it wasn't REALLY in genre ( but it WAS pretty freaking funny ). I hope we win that round - I think we deserve to.

I now want to learn some mad animation skillz - so I can create a logo piece as cool as the "Long Live Megatron!" teams one! Nothing says cool quite so much as a mental looking robot firing a automatic weapon wildly while screaming "Long Live Megatron!" ( So cool ! ). I'd love to know what application they used ...

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Mystery is Solved

So my pal Hix found the book. It was wedged into the passesnger door compartment thing that I forgot was there. I have NO idea how it managed to get in there. We were making a mad dash from Porirua to Kingston to deliver the last tape from our team's 48 Hour film shoot - and he just yanked it out and said - "Hey, I found 'The Gunslinger' ".

I was so sure I throughly checked the car. Damn.

I'll write something about the film competition experience soon. Briefly - it was another cool experience. I didn'y have nearly as big a role in it this year - but I got to get blood splashed in my face and then I had to play dead in a shot.

All very fun.

Fake blood tastes a lot better than real blood too. In case you're ...y'know... interested.

Not that I drink a lot of blood or anything.

I'll stop talking now.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Mystery of the Lost Book

The production is FINALLY over. Yay! It's so good not to be consumed by fear and doubt anymore!

As is the way with students, they pulled themselves together remarkably in the last two or three practices. The started actually DOING the things that I had been asking/telling them to do since the start. I think I said to a staff member sitting beside me in the final dress rehearsal "When the hell did they start doing this ? Which practice did I miss ?".

The production went very well. All the staff members who saw it said it was great - so that's cool. Most of my puppetry ideas worked really well, so that too was a bonus.

And now it's time to drink until I forget about the WHOLE thing...

In "infuriating things happening to Seraph" - I have lost a book. It has been pissing me off no end. I got a second hand copy of "The Gunslinger ( revised and expanded version )" which I had never read before. I started reading in Saturday afternoon before I went in to the theatre for the final performance of the production. I put it down SOMEWHERE ... and now I can't find it. I just have no idea where I put it. What makes it doubly annoying is that I had thought of taking it in with me to the performance ( in case I had some down time where I didn't need to be running around like a headless chook, or if I had to be backstage during the performance - to make sure the kids didn't trash the green room ). I have no clear memory of actually taking it with me though. I turned the house upside down on Sunday ( working myself into a stress induced breakdown of sorts ). I searched my satchel, I searched my car. I checked the lost property that we brought back from the play. I called the theatre itself. Nothing.

It's really making me quite cross.

I have also found some other items hard to track down recently. Some of my toys seem to have disappeared ... as well as the "County Love Songs" CD I borrowed from my mum ( not ACTUALLY real country love songs - more humour really. There's a song on there called "Took a lot of pills and died" which is hilarious. Seriously ! You'd like it ! ).

And Viva WAS at home with the book for some time ( presuming I did indeed leave it at home - which does look increasingly likely ).


I wonder.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

That's what those smily things are for !

The lights come up on our stage. Theatre flats have been arranged to form a corner, facing out into the audience at a 45 degree angle. We see the back of Seraph. He is facing into the corner wearing a large white paper cone on his head. When he turns to face the audience we can see a large letter 'D' printed on the front in vivid marker.

Seraph - "What? You're kidding me, right ? I don't have to tell THEM about this, do I ?"

Disembodied electronically disguised voice - "It's the LEAST you can do - you scumbag."

S - "Hey ! That wasn't cool !"

DEDV - "You're telling me it isn't warranted ?"

Seraph sighs.

S - " ... No"

DEDV - "Alright then. Get on with it."

Seraph faces the audience.

S - "SOooooooooooo ... I bet you're wondering why I'm wearing the dunce cap, huh ? It's a symbol of contrition. I did something PRETTY dopey earlier this week. But I DID learn a valuable lesson. I learnt that things that I think are funny might not be received in the same way ... Especially if said funny thing is transmitted through the medium of an e-mail."

"I'm at work - and I'm in a good mood even though the production is KILLING me, because our office is FINALLY getting the renovations done to such a degree that I actually get a proper desk. Life is good ! I get an e-mail from a friend - who has just done an incredibly cool thing for me by downloading a large and rather silly piece of animation via broadband. She jokingly refers to a couple of my fellow teachers as scumbags - they missed out on some cool deal or something because they didn't reply to an e-mail.

'AH ! She just called D. And C. A scumbag ! They are so not scum-bags ! I delight in the contradiction !'. I have no real idea of what kind of deal they missed out on - there was technical language. I copy and paste the comment into an e-mail to both of my colleagues - 'They'll know what this means better than me ... and they'll enjoy the scumbag reference as well ! Laughs all round !". I mention in the e-mail ( in what I thought was a pretty clear way) that I "didn't know if M. is joking or not !". I title the e-mail "And the horse you rode in on !" - referencing a well known joke ( what I thought to be well known anyway ).

I then have to lose my connection to the network while some renovation things go on.

When I get back onto the network ( it must have been an hour or so later ) - there were two e-mails waiting for me.

One was from my colleague D. It simply said "I'll deal with this personally."

Uh oh. I didn't like the sound of that tone.

The other one was from M. It said something like "Holy crap S ! It was a JOKE for Christ's sake!" Following it was the message that D. had sent her. The 'I'll take care of this' one. It was pretty stone cold ! It went on about how he did not appreciate being called a scumbag. He did not appreciate his colleague being called a scumbag. There were other words. They were bad.

Fuck !

I felt pretty bad about the whole thing. Needless to say I apologized to both parties ( with a more 'how the hell could you NOT tell this was a joke?' vibe to D. ).


DEDV - "This isn't the first time your so-called sense of humour got you into trouble, is it ?"

S - "What ? You're not going to mention - "

DEDV - "Remember how Jodie broke up with you after that joke you made ?"

S - "Shut up man ! I don't want to think about that ! That was freaking traumatizing !"

DEDV - "Or what about the time you told that bunch of vegetarians that you hated vegetarians because they were taking an evolutionary back-step ?"

S - "Oh come on ! They weren't listening to the tone ! It's all about the TONE ! Those fuckers needed to chill out ! It was a party for crying out loud !"

DEDV - "I think it was when you said that they didn't deserve to have eyes on the front of their face that really offended them. You should have seen the way they looked at you when you asked how a lack of peripheral vision hampered their chances in the herd ..."

S - " ... You might have a point. Okay - so I should be more careful about sharing things that I think are funny. Especially in e-mails. But YOU have to concede that SOME people should lighten the hell up !"

DEDV - "Fair enough"

S - "... Does that mean I can take this thing off now ?"

DEDV - "Oh, I think you'll have to be wearing that for a while yet."

Lights fade

S - "Awwww man."