Friday, December 31, 2010

So ... 2010?

Meh.

For a lot of reasons.

Here's hoping for 2011 to be better. My bud Casso has agreed to be a scrivener buddy so I will finally complete another word project!

Anyway, have a great New Years peeps. See you on the flippies.

M

Imprint

We imprint the young around us.

This sometimes is not a good thing, especially for the negative stuff. Then there's the random, chaotic stuff that may or may not interfere with their future ability to pull someone they're attracted to.

I was out and out crazy as a kid in terms of loon-like behaviour. Always doing seemingly odd things to attract attention - such as bouncing around in my sleeping bag in my share-house screaming 'I AM A GIANT WORM' until someone trod on the toe-end and I face-planted into the kitchen door.

When theBoy was putting together one of his puzzles a while back there was a bear couple in the picture. Without thinking I declared they were 'Lord and Lady Douche-bag', in Eddie Murphy's voice, a line from a skit in Saturday Night Live where Eddie Murphy's character - an 18th century valet - would announce a series of improbable sounding upper class people arriving at a function.

TheBoy liked the sound of that. He kept repeating 'Lord and Lady DOUCHE-bag.'

While we've been up hanging with the fam in that glorious nebulous not-really-part-of-the-active-year phase of between Wobs and New Years, theBoy has been having occasional baths featuring a special guest star(1) in the form of his cousin S. Trust me I will remind both when they're older.

S tried to get theBoy to yell 'LADIES ROCK!'

He grinned.

'Ladies ... ' he began, ready to complete the required asked for word-string, 'Douche-bags...'

Yep, that's mah boy. One hundred per cent imprinted by Mikey.

Let's hope he doesn't try and impress the couch girls (2) by dressing up as a giant worm.

(1) In the series Melrose Place, Heather Locklear, Heather by thy name, was billed as the 'Special Guest Star' ... except ... she was in every single fucking episode that I saw. According to the wiki for Melrose she was a guest star in season one then made the regular cast and stayed there until the series end ... replete with the continued Special Guest Star billing. I think next time I am going to get business cards made - I used the 450 I had created in 2009 for an Internet website topic assignation exercise by printing labels on them and sticking them on the reverse - instead of my actual position I am just going to declare myself as 'Special Guest Star'. The only danger with that is however is a recipient then treats me as special in the sense of 'catching the shortened bus that bus leaves half an hour early from school' (3).

(2) The couch girls were the attractive twenty-nothings that was in my broadened social scene when I was an under-grad. So called because they would routinely snaffle the couches at the end of the union bar and sit there looking attractive while all the menfolk in that scene anguishly drooled over them. They would have parties in each other's group houses and break off into small knots and bitch about other members of other knots then, like in a speed-dating scenario, would form new knots and bitch about members of those knots often with people they'd just been bitching about (4). Mind you this was before both Friends (the couch sitting) and Facebook (the more-than-pathetic High-School e-bitching that seems to go on in them thar social networking). The couch girls would occasionally hang out at my group house because of R, my ridiculously good-looking (and thus a candidate for vaginal access granting) flatmate who was studying biology, practiced martial arts, and rode a motorbike around. As a student he once famously accidentally dumped a litre of radioactive left-over solution in an artificial lake down by the sports' complex where drunken rural students I suspect would go swimming on a self-assigned dare.

(3) Joke stolen from Chris Rock.


(4) You'd be right in thinking this all sounds like what went on in Melrose Place,. Indeed they all watched Melrose religiously as a pack complete with coffee, tim-tams, and cigs. Then, like parasitic fleas, they'd leap to new similar series as they came into being and almost certainly ended up then watching Sex in the City.

You know you've played Baldur's Gate a bit too much when ...

... you're sitting on the toilet trying to pass a particularly stubborn stool when you yell in pain from a full body spasm and your cry of agony sounds exactly like Montaron's when he is struck in combat.

Life fail.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nerd Paradise

I have recurring dreams.

One of them is that I am at high school - despite knowing I have a degree - and I just realised that I have several exams or assignments due for a course I had completely forgotten to attend lectures or classes for.


The other is stumbling into a nerd paradise filled with nerdy books at most cheap prices. Like Homer in the Land of Chocolate.

The latter was actually semi-true in reality when I lived in Belconnen. There was a second-hand bookshop called 'Alice's Bookshop' that carried a huge selection of role-playing materials at reasonable prices. When we were at nearby Westfield I'd often bid theWife adios and go off and spend many happy hours sitting on the creaking egg-cup style stool they had near the low rows of shelves that were devoted to nerdcopia, thumbing through various kewl books.

When Alice decided to retire and bulk-sell her stock to god-knows-who I was most sad.

In my home town someone has opened a nerd paradise. Not the full paradise Alices's was, but still it sells a collection of new and used sci-fi / fantasy books and has within its ranks role-playing games. I stopped off the other day, had a happy 10 minutes stalking the shelves and walked away with The Wyvern's Spur, a Lankhmar module for 2nd edition AD&D, and a replacement copy for my no-idea-who-actually-has-it Wizards and Ice Magic, the sixth of the seven Fafhrd and Gray Mouser books.

With my neat brown paper bag plus handle I then trekked off on my daily walk around my hometown's CBD.

At one point I ended up near the twin Anglican and Catholic churches, old-style 19th century efforts as opposed to that new-fangled 70s church architecture so ably depicted in The Simpsons.

So nerded was I from having had a delish buzz of nerdy book buying I decided the church + park + church combo before me looked like a Temple District from a fantasy city, such as that found in the city of Athkatla in Baldur's Gate II. I even texted someone that exact observation.

They responded to say that if I was so free and easy to be walking around my old hometown then I should have time to respond to their last move, sent Wobs day no less, in our Play By Email game of modified D&D 3.5 we've been playing since, I believe, 2002.

Yep, I am King Nerd. Bow down before my nerdy glory and cough up any spare d20s.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TheBoy Vs Kung Fu Panda

TheWife came across a cache of cheapo Dreamworks and Pixar kids goodness in Target so she grabbed a bunch. One of them is Kung Fu Panda.

TheBoy likes to hold the case when we watch movies - and get the DVD out which muchly annoys theWife because I've been happily allowing him to do it. We had not briefed each other on that 'now, we present a united front' parental meetings we have at the end of the day about handling efforts for the past awake cycle. So that laissez faire parenting I'd been practicing RE handling of DVDs was a surprise for her when she came across us opening a DVD case together and, like the gay aide to the PM in Little Britain, said 'WHAT?'

So because we made theBoy aware that there were new movies, and he had given suitable like-being-at-the-fireworks oooohs and ahhhhs responses when he saw each box and thus indicated his continued focused interest in this event, we let him carry Kung Fu Panda in the car on the way home so as to preserve his cool.

From the back of the car he then gave an assessment of the cover art.

'Pandas don't wear pants!'

Indeed.

Later he said the adoptive duck dad of the panda shouldn't have been wearing a shirt either.

What you can do for the environment

I have a confession. I fear for the earth. So much so now that I tend to not read stories about the environment because it reminds of this aforementioned fear. I get that sad little tingle in my tum of stress and I try and avoid those where possible.

I've been reading Robert Winston's "Bad Ideas?" An Arresting History of Our Inventions: How Our Finest Inventions Nearly Finished Us Off , in which the popular science presenter looks at technological milestones and notes that there's good and bad in each of the key ones ('fire/oil', 'medicine', 'agriculture', etc.(1)'. He talks about how our intimate interlink with oil is hurting us greatly but that while it is fair to debate the science on climate change because it is always right to debate about science (and we give him thanks and praise) we are in a cycle of temperature increase - whether by natural warming and/or man-made and, let's face it, a four degree rise will be pretty fucking fugly.

It's depressing. Very, very depressing. However very, very well written and an interesting combination of science history and polemic.

I try to recycle properly. I spent Christmas day for example filtering out Wobs paper from assorted shards of tape, lengths of knotted ribbon, then carefully pressing into the recycling bin out the back of my parents' place (A).

Assuming you're back here after entering the tangled words-woods that was my footnoting then here's something simple you can do.

After you tear off the toilet paper blow your nose on it before you wipe your arse. Because even if you blow out just a small bit of the nostril invader, in the long run that action likely adds up to a full tissue.

One leaf at a time, my planty brothers. One leaf at a time ...

(1) I have to admit I am paranoid about grammar now. I never really used to be - because I never really learned it despite the fact I have to edit people's work. But new boss, who is a trained professional at all of that asked the pertinent question 'well, why not' and forced me to eye-eat practically half the Government Style Manual - the grammar bible of the Commonwealth of Australia Public Servant staff. (2)

(2) Which is still not available as a searchable PDF. I wrote to ask them why. They said they'd look into it. Somehow I think the money they get from 10k+ hard-copies at $65 a copy ever five years (because that's when it dates like UHT milk tubs (3) Vs a PDF for $1 a PDF is why - though they could cut a macro-licence (14) deal with the Commonwealth - because after-all it is THE Commonwealth's style manual - so you'd think charging a million dollars per annum (4) so every-single public servant would have access would still be more valuable than the pulled-out-of-my-arse estimated revenue they'd get for printed book sales.

(3) The construction of the tubs (6) intrigues and fascinates me. The plastic seems so thin, yet it is pliant and strong, and it makes a delightful rrrhhuurb sound when strummed.

(4) looked up wiki (5) for per annum so I could note it's correct depiction. That's how paranoid I am now. (9)

(5) Remembered the thought process above for footnoting.

(6) I had rubs there for a second which is funny in the context of rub one out (7)

(7) Decided to pull the (6) out of the main text and give it its own footnote - and I correctly didn't put it's there which is awesome. L would be impressed. She occasionally yells at me if she sees one and says exasperatedly "Oh MIKEY!" like when we do theBoy when he drops one in his pants, and waves around her actual riding crop (it came I think with a stuffed horse). L also finds my occasional habit (8) of rolling up my pants legs while sitting at my work station distressing.

(8) I had wabit there for a second. Wabit ... hergh hergh.

(9) Oh ... that link was Wikidictionary. I totally did not know that existed (10)

(10) We just found this place existed - a lyric as sung by the bullies in The Simpsons when they found out that Springfield had a burlesque house. That ep is a particularly fine ep and when you spent the last 20 years typically having The Simpsons in in the background it's like having a nice dessert for tea when the Ep is a good one. For example the 'If there isn't a loose-leaf joke that isn't good I haven't heard it' (likely remembered it wrong). And Grandpa Simpson with hat on walking in whistling to put his hat up on the peg in the cloakroom and seeing Bart on the door - sent there to work off the costs of a gargoyle statue falling off the house's roof (11). Maintaining the exact repeat of his manuever with the hat, complete with walking and whistling, retrieves his hat and exits, clearly terrified at being rambled happily going along to see tits and bush and that (13).

(11) This reminded me of the 'save the brothel and the awesome whores; whores they are particularly fine and dandy and just ladies who love the sex lookin' for lurve in all the right ($200 to go bare-back, honey) places' episode of Firefly, also known by the working title of Heart of Gold (12)

(12) Which is also the known of the ship Zaphod steals in Hitchhikers.

(13) I have one of my word projects that has that line in it to do with P0rn, as spoken by a hideous bogan called Barry being forced to have a conversation with an outrageously gay website designer.

(14) I hate that blogspot has American English as its default - see L, got the its right again - because when I see the red underline under the English version I have to check I have it right.

(15) This should not be so high as a footnote since it's in the main text but since the others were already footnoted I cannot be arsed going back and changing it all. I may have to do that all the time at work. I should be allowed to do it here. Like when you can wear daggy festy clothes like crotch-split trackie daks to the shops and you don't giving a flying dutchman who sees you like that (16).

(16) I used to work with this famously flamboyant lady that is always immaculate and nicely dressed no matter time, day, or date. She's a very well preserved large-breasted woman and whenever we meet - with me typically looking stupidly dressed - I am reminded of the fact she's deathly allergic to bee-stings but can't be fucked carrying around an epipen - and that when I served as an administration functionary in my last job she failed to put in her 'what happened to me overseas when I went on holiday' mandated paperwork we all have to submit to make sure some nasty-pasties aren't setting out to mess with the Australian fucking Public Service! (17)

(17) If you've been following the foot-noting then you should have reached here with following the footnoting's entire string. I just wanted to add that Robert Winston is an IVF doctor and it is thanks to IVF we have our miracle man. I like to think of him as my little Ringwraith: Nine eggs were taken, five were viable, three made it to day three of the IVF fertilisation cycle and one (1) was good enough at day five to go into mum. He was the size of a pinhead as a blastocyst, and looked like a combination of soccer and bucky-ball, and I like to tell people that technically speaking, including all the doctors, medical-technicians, and soon-to-be-parents in the room, there were five people present when he was conceived (18).

(18) Not including theBoy of course. Because he wasn't a person then. He was a clump of cellular matter. But holy cats, even then I could tell he was packing some smokin' groin-kit (19).

(19) I told theBoy's cousins, my nieces, that theBoy's junk had been named by him as 'man-fury'. I shall tell them tomorrow that from now on they must call it that instead of 'his penis' because they take immense childish delight in asking my son 'Do you have a penis?' and him saying 'yeah' and them saying 'what do I have?' and him shrieking back ' 'GINA!'. (20)

(20) That was an awkward punctuation of speech. I used ' quote marks for speech, and double when a quote is spoken within speech - in opposition I might add to the Government Style Manual - and 'GINA is a contraction by my son of Vagina. Since it's a contraction I needed to also put a single quote mark at the start of the word to show that it is said contraction. Fuck, is it a contraction? I need to check. No, I think it's a shortening. Jesus-sadly I know so little about my job (insert sad emoticon here).

(A) This is the second footnote in the main body of text. Trouble is all the other numbered footnotes hang off that first one. So I plan for this to be the last mainbody footnote and thus I have gone Reverse-Alphanumeric on its ass. I have also note followed on footnotes direct from other footnotes above like I did previously (A1).

(A1) Ah nuts the (A) needed a footnote. A side-tale about the recycling incident. I did the recycling process with my dad as he was sorting bottles and cans etc. in while I was doing the paper. I mentioned something about how I was surprised councils weren't investigating methane reclamation plants at the rubbish dump or something. He then said that he was annoyed about how trivial politics had become when there was more pressing concerns. An example he gave was the 'hoo-hah' about gay marriage. Except he somewhat undermined this declaration of triviality by then somewhat ardently calling the word 'marriage' off limits to bum-boys and ladies-who-are-ladies-but-also-lick-ladies (A1a) [he didn't call them that but I am trying to give a kind of Are You Being Served esq glimpse to the sudden injection of hardened conservatism into the convo]. 'They can have their civil-rights, and unions, and full legal protection ... but they can't have our word. That's ours.' I have to confess I found his hands-off declaration of ownership over ... yes, a word ... to be both illogical and desperate but it occurs to me that for supporters of the rights of gays to wed then clearly it's important to them and it is symbolic and a sign of a gradual claim of actual equal rights and respect just because they trend higher on kinsey scale is no reason to deny them what those below them have ... so of course it is important to my Dad in the opposite way. Except, well, I fundamentally disagree with that view.

I know what it is like to be excluded. To be treated as different in the negative. I'm fat, weird and annoying. Now that's no comparison to what it is like to be treated negatively for being gay in terms of intensity of hurt and humiliation, though I suspect I could give them a run for their money in a one on one chat about social suffering.

Basically my dad was saying gays aren't as valuable as hetrosexuals are. That because their biology made them different in a non-great for the bloodline for replication purposes sense, that thinking, reasoning creatures should jump up and down, hooting loudly, then smite them with a jawbone of an ass or something (A1b).

I said something like 'so two adults in love shouldn't be able to stand up in front of others and declare this love in front of those that love them, no matter their sex?' and he said, again most ardently, they could do whatever they wanted as long as they didn't call it marriage. Which is kind of like the situation that went into the anger the Greeks had for the almost taking of the term Macedonia.

I then responded brightly with 'well they could add an extra r and call it mar - rrr - ridge!', inflecting upwardly as I pronounced the word as altered for hetro-sensibility.

I could have gone in it hard and fast, knees, elbows, fists, feet, and fire-extinguisher (A1c) on it, but, well, it was Christmas. So I just snuck in and told theWife and theSisInLaw instead.

(A1a) I wondered if ladies-who-are-ladies-but-also-lick-ladies was hard to say fast. It's surprisingly not. Try it ... ladies.who.are.ladies.but.also.lick.ladies (A1.1)

  • (A1.1) I changed the hyphen to a period because I wanted the reader to still get to clearly read the word but the . Vs - shortened the small pulse of time for which the mark is registered by the reader and thus they're encouraged to speed-say the words. Did ... did that work?

(A1b) Okay, I stole that from the opening scene of 2001 but you get my point I think (A1b.1).

  • (A1.b1) Fuck me what an awesome movie that was (A1.b1a). A couple of years back I read the biography of Arthur C Clarke - and no, he was not a pederast as pedophile crazed britons likely assumed he was (A1.b1b) - and the chapters on the process of how 2001 came to be were awesome.

  • (A1.b1a) When I went to wiki 2001 so I could link to it I accidentally pasted in the wrongly selected snatch of text 'awesome movie'.

  • (A1.b1b) I read somewhere - and it's likely apocryphal because no-one could really be that demented - that a mob of under-educated brits, likely fired up 'OOO WHOOPS WHAT'S UP YER SKIRT MINISTER?!' fleet-street tabloid press, once actually attacked a local medical clinic because the sign on the facility read 'PEDIATRICIAN'.

(A1.c) Seriously, how is it the referee never sees that number when it's introduced into a professional wrestling ring in direct opposition to the rest of the viewing humanity. It must be kind of like when theBoy is behind me, gripping on to my shirt and I shout 'Has anyone seen theBoy?' and all the other kids shriek 'he's behind you!'.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

You sir, have been pwned

YoungerB works in the Middle-East. He decided to give out geographically themed presents as part of his gifting.

The nieces got these small pink plushie camels that came with cute little T-Shirt shaped notepads and camel-themed pencils or some-such.

S, who is eight, was charged with creating a heroic portrait of me. ‘Building a bridge … or hanging off that part of a helicopter,’ I said, aping So I Married an Axe Murderer, ‘you know that part?’

‘Okay,’ said the niece who set off to create said heroic visage of my saintly person.

Here is the result.
























Not only did she make me a ballerina … but inadvertently a member of Rainbow Sash.

Gold.

Wobs Morn

Well it kicked off early. Woke up in tremendous pain having already stayed up with pain until around 4 am. So had four hours sleep. Had some more meds and was able to rise forth. I was on kidlet watch until pressie time. This involved playing Shrek Uno with the nieces and trying to stop them cheating while I made up outlandish completely implausible rules that never existed ('Yeah, if you play a four, a three, and a one you can totally then treat that combo as a Wild Blind card and you have to take a card from my hand while I choose the next colour"). Needless to say they're too smart for that crap.

Pressie opening arrived. TheWife navigated theNoo through the tricky shoals that's the communal unwrapping. We learned as we went. For example we learned we probably should not have given him the noisy toy at the start because naturally he wanted to press the on button down for the rest of the pressie session and we had to do a combo of flattering, enticement and misdirection to extract it from him.


But going okay. Xmas lunch is nearly here. Pain is pretty bad but I've worded Dad up that if I Captain Oates during lunch he shouldn't read anything into it.

The danger is of course inflicting the rest of Xmas tea with
Tales of a Gaseous Stomach and I really don't want to ruin the Xmas atmos...

The Xmas Service

I hadn't wanted to go. TheWife asked me to stay. But us three brothers were together for the first time - as calculated later - since 2006 and it'd be nice to present a sibling triptych to our dad as he cruised passed in his theologically themed barber's smock.

My OlderB and I got dropped in town and met YoungerB and his Brit girlfriend and we stopped off at a re-done up pub in town for a drink.

Stupidly I had one. And I'd promised myself I wouldn't. A scotch - on the rocks because of this pub rule about no neat spirits. I sculled it - because I am a drink-wimp - and a warm glow settled in my gizz. Only it turned to a gaseous non-glow and it hurt very, very much and led me to bleed sweat over my no.2 noggin and cause me to dab my overlong sleeve across my reddened glisten-wet scalp lest the sweat sting me in the eyes and salty-mist up my glasses.

The pub we had stopped at was the RoughPub of my town when I was a kid. But a decade past it was re-done as an up market $25 dollar steak-pub place.

RoughPub was where the local indigenous dudes gathered - in a big rough joyous mob of black and brown. Typically it got sneered at. I only ever went there twice - because olderB's band was playing there, but I got fully welcomed and not treated weirdly. Though once I got stuck air-drumming for twenty minutes because alas when I'd belted out a bit of DUNDUNDunDundundun-TISH! I'd caught the eye of a long-haired indigenous dude and he kept ADing back. I didn't want to stop in case I offended him and it sparked trouble. The same pub where I'd seen publican justice delivered to a patron by his slamming a drunk's head into the bonnet of a car out the back.

After the scotch, we group-went to the toot in case the return of the dreaded mid-service wee break re-occurred. Despite NicePub having morphed from being RoughPub alas there were still some vestiges of its past ... for someone had decided, as my niece would say "so randomly", to rip free the liquid soap container and kick-slide it across the floor to leave a gooey viscous trail in its wake.

We made it to church just ahead of the choir. YoungerB was too slow and actually had to follow them up the rear looking like a member who'd forgotten his kit (1).

Then into the service we went.

I normally mumble along with what is happening - the call and response prayers - and sing along to the hymns. But I felt it would be hypocritical to do so - to declare myself of having belief when I don't myself - so this year I kept my mouth shut. However I admit I did stand and sit when I was supposed to.

The standing - sitting thing is weird, isn't it non-Christians? That you stand up for that bit - because that bit's really important and God would like your full attention by rising on up like when a magistrate enters the court. Then you sit.

I'm glad we sat for the sermon. It started at 11.11 pm. It was still going - by YoungerB's girlfriend's watch, at 11.37 pm.

In that time three props made an appearance. One was the word 'SIN'. Yep, you read that right. 'SIN'. You see he'd cleverly drawn the word sin with a giant I. The idea being that I was selfish and when you sin you're being selfish. Putting yourself first in fact. Which is bad. He then went on to happily say that 'It's the capital I that makes it the sin and stand out from the other letters.' Except he'd confused the concept of capitalisation with differing font sizes, given the other two characters were in fact capitalized, not in lower case for that metaphor to grammatically carry. What really he should have said 'It's the Times New Roman 72 font I that makes it stand out from the 12 font Arial S and N', but that would have required the dominate demographic of grey-heads to have a working knowledge of Microsoft Word.

His oddly shaped escher-esq Sin (verbally labeled as a mixed lower-upper case sign when, in fact, it was in all caps with the I just being a larger font), was drawn on the back of a footy calendar, which kind of undercut the impact when his Sin twisted around to reveal buff dudes in mid-dive, their mouth-guard showing in a kind of coloured-in blue feline snarl.

Later he added to his prop mix a bowls ball. His idea being that we, like the ball, have a bias to sin because we made Jesus top himself all those years ago.

I wanted to stand up and say 'so does that you mean the Jews are the Christ killers as per anti-Semitic church teachings of times past given you're saying that we apparently sin from the moment we draw breath and we should spend most of our time apologising to God for doing so.'

But that would have been rude.

A final effort was his writing out a same-font-size JOY and saying Y stood for You, O for Others and J for Jesus and that your life should be run along in the same order as stood for by the letter in said choice of Joy. He then sang out a mnemonic of JOY ('Y is for yourself, you are bad etc.') to Jingle Bells and tried very hard to get the congregation to join in on a second stab at the chorus.

The JOY was also written on the back of a footy calendar.

Unfortunately for me the pain of the sculled Scotch was burning my guts and when the offering song came up I took that opportunity to slip out the door without being noticed. Alas I knocked book into the knave and it made a pleasingly attractive echo-y thump that dopplered the length of the Cathedral.

Yay.

Once out I found a safe place for a toot - because trying to urinate helps to pass gas because if you try for the super squeeze out chances are you will pop the seal on your bladder intake and need to piss anyway in some sort of biological Newtownian equal-opposite energy legal type thing.

But I was still feeling like shit, with bad cramping pains, so I kind of wandered around. I read a plaque to some presumed nice old lady dead now person who was being remembered in both bronze and the careful tending of surrounding foliage.

That's nice. Because she had a hell of a time.

Then I went up the road to see what the Catholics were doing.

I have never been to a proper Mass. The only one I went to was for a funeral (2). So I didn't know what to expect. I peered through the non-frosted side borders on the windows to see inside. More grey-heads than our one. More white inside - the Anglican church being all old-brick on the inside with exposed rafters and beams.

They also had what appeared to be a giant arc-of-the-covenant in place of where the altar would be in the non-popey CofE, only the "arc" had sandcastle-like conical turrets that have been lightly sprayed by surf and starting to melt.

I got a text from my OlderB checking I was ok. I confirmed a pain-spike and kept walking around. Eventually the service broke-up, and the Bishop kind of over-greeted those coming out the doors and there was quite the people bottle-neck as a result. I cruised up the side of the church to intercept the gang when my Dad came out of the side of the church from where he'd taken off his barber's religious-robe.

Alas there were past-people from 25 years or more chapel-past. I waited up the fence a bit, listening to the quite painful meeting of YoungerB and one of his friends from high-school, a professional online philatelist from Sydney ("What's it been, a decade mate?" said YoungerB to which philatelist replied "Approximately nine, yes." much to the enjoyment of my YoungerB).

Unfortunately my Dad spied me and forced me to come over and talk to them all. Philatelist asked me about where I lived. ‘Canberra,’ I said. ‘Only we didn’t do too much research about our suburb. At one stage it had the highest murder rate in Australia.’ That being on account of a love-triangle that went a bit pear-shaped causing one bloke to allegedly shoot one of the other three-beams and his mate over the whole unhappy situation. That kind of ended the convo.

Then we brothers squeezed into the back of Dad’s car, YoungerB kindly taking the painful middle seat. We laughed remembering equally painful car-trips as kids on holidays with that exact same situation (‘Dad, he’s touching me!’) (3).

We dropped my OlderB off at the place where he’s staying – friends lending them their house while said friends are away - then we went looking for Wobs-Lit-Up houses to perve at. Only it was past 12 am and a likely council-mandated switch-off had occurred. Finally we made it back home, with me riven by pain but not enough to not eat the stale wheaten biscuits left-over from visitor coffee, nicely augmented with some cheese.

So am I glad I went? Well yes, because stuff like this is always grist for writing practice.

Which reminds me again about the overly-long mixed-message sermon (which YoungerB had expertly divined suffered the problem of too many calls-to-action in it). At one point the Bish reminisced about the time he saw his Aunt cracking eggs one by one into a cup before adding the result to a big bowl of previously cracked eggs and he had wondered why she did it one by one - because - ‘and women will know why’ (as actually said by the Bishop) that way if you get a rotten one then you can sniff for it and dump it and not contaminate the entire batch.

He was talking about the presence of a small amount of sin and what it can do to the broader population.

Prior to this parable of the one-by-one broken eggs he said it occurred when he was a boy of 13 in Ivanhoe, a place where many Truckies would congregate when on the road.

As an editor I felt this added nothing to the story. I mentally deleted it and inserted a comment that ‘given the central point is about eggs the only back story needed is probably “Aunt” and less of the Ivanhoe and Truckies.’

But this post is essentially one giant stream-of-consciousness of recursive memories spilling out as what always happens when you return to the place where you had your formative years, stay with your parents, have all your brothers in town, and are sleeping in the room you had in high school where you masturbated furiously some 20 years before.

On that happy thought, Merry Christmas 2010.

(1) At the all boys private school I was sentenced to by my parents for being moderately different to other kids we had a bunch of hard-core P.E. teachers that were, in a word, C____. They for example made my life hell and despite having a medical excuse not to do sport due to water-on-the-knees, suggested I learn to be a basket-ball referee instead and demanded I read the rule-books so I could adjudicate games and make myself fucking useful to the world of high-school basketball instead of sinking into my preferred place of a fantasy world as needed because the real world sucked so very heartily. These pricks threatened that if a kid forgot his P.E. uniform they would be made to do the P.E. class in their undies. Sure enough one kid did forget. And sure enough they made him skin down to his undies and run around the inside of the gym doing laps to pay for his mistake. It’s good that the world of teaching has moved on since these no talent ass-clowns of educators were in the system. If I ever meet Mr H____ again and something is said about school I like to think I’d say ‘Actually Mr H____ I thought your were a right evil C____ and the sort of man who took sadistic perverted delight at distressing young men in front of their peers. People like you should never ever be teachers.’ I won’t, because I am in life one of its many, many wimps, but still I’d be thinking it. And probably flip them off when their back is turned.

One of the P.E. teachers had a Newcombe-Roach moustache – he was the Ozzer Tennis player that drove-drunk with George W Bush – and constantly wore a red tracksuit with white piping. He was balding too like Paul Simon in the early 80s. Basically he looked like a twat – and yet he had the gall to overtly mock me and tell me that when I stormed off after another kid suggested we need cattle scales to weight me told me I was being girly and precious and I should suck it up and be a man, fatty! Drop and give me 20 etc.

(2)
I once was in a choir as a supporting act for a Catholic's funeral - a teacher who died on a field trip in a fall - the choirmaster having accidentally conducted over the coffin during rehearsal. The dead teacher's wife was the lovliest woman and she later ended up working for my dad as his executive assistant. For some odd reason I once had dinner at her house along with her acne covered private schooled daughter and I remember we had brandy snaps for dessert and I asked to borrow a 70s era 'SUPERMEMORY' book which promised to dramatically improve your memory with some tips and tricks. Two months later I used one of them to remember a 12 digit number and repeat it in backwards order during a school mandated IQ test by the local counsellor, because I was sad and felt worthless and I was investigating repeating that year. It gave me an artificial boost on my result. Plus I failed the 'what is it puzzle?' component where you get a bunch of puzzle pieces and have to put it together and know what it is when I Mr Squiggled it and created it upside down. I thought it was one of the Aliens from Slaughterhouse Five. However when 'Right-side-up-Miss-Jane'd it turned out to be an Elephant.

(3) Recently at my work we had a directorate function where we went to a local Chinese place that clearly doesn’t understand the concept of maximum occupancy and you basically have to play human-Tetris to reach your table and take a seat (Being hefty you’re forever having your gut sawing into the table edge and having to suck in breath and scrape your chair in further to let someone Tetris towards the door.) On the way to the restaurant we got in practice by having three adults share a backseat. I was sitting next to B, a crusty older dude doing the job as a supplement to a generous pension he got in a previous occupation. As a joke I shouted ‘Dad, he’s touching me.’ B got all flustered and grumpy and muttered darkly about it. Later my hat on the table briefly entered is EEC and he pointedly shoved it away and said stuff about Hygiene. Which is kind of ironic given the large number of tatts scrawled into his aging flesh.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dinner!

I expect to hear the call for dinner any second. Well, Xmas eve - or Wobs in my case. Lots of shopping downtown. It seemed endless. Carparks full as and me convinced someone was going to clip us.

In hometown for Wobs. Worried I'd run into people I knew from long ago. Got passed by S. She was one of the "hot girls" of my undergrad uni hanging out area. She ended up massively sick with a poo-bag on her side. She had cropped dyed hair. She was still the same build as she was back then. She didn't stop. Thank god.

Bought Icewind Dale + all and Baldurs + all for use on the laptop. The versions on the tower have too many patches etc added to try and install again there. Hooray! I talked nerd with the salesman. He looked a lot like me 20 years younger but with a ponytail restored as opposed to my Friar Tuckness.

Spent the afternoon attempting to reset my parents' internet account password. They have a 2 gig plan - and there's eight internet using people in residence. I had to boost it.

It involved ... calling Telstra ... pretending to be my dad ... the Indian IT dude was not convinced and asked to speak to my memory ailing mother as the account holder ... she scootering in ... me asking her to tell the IT dude to let me organise things ... her rapidfiring giving her DOB - and I was panicked she'd not remember ... me resetting the modem ... me wanting to punch the computer in its bracket for not working right away ... me trying to log in and change the account details ... me nearly crying ... and all this with a mower outside, a screaming child and various other bits of audio bric-a-brac.

Anyway, dinner's on. It was a stressy day.

UPDATE:

Well ... it took me twenty minutes to eat my dinner, worried about food getting stuck and having to run off and yak it up. Earned a glowering apparently, according to my Niece, for using my finger to push the last of my red chicken curry and rice on to my fork. TheWife also copped one for mishandling of coriander or some such. Who knows? Of course I probably also got a glower for the following stream of consciousness commentary following one of the niece's suggesting we play Spongebob Bingo.

'We can play tomorrow ... strip bingo! ... I'll wear lots of clothes ... ladies bring your paper money ... no coins ... don't want my gusset to hang between my knees...'

Before we came up I had a big bitch to theWife about this still-being-parented crap. She did however force me to admit that I can and do say stuff that's borderline or even well-over-the-line knowing full well it will cause Sam-the-eagling from that end of the table to go the glower. So maybe I am being a bit of a prick with it all.

I told my brother about the glowering when we took the dog for a walk. He said as hard as it is to do that I should let it go because nothing I am ever going to do is to stop the glowering at me. He's right of course.

I did have a plan of drawing my age in numerals on a piece of paper handing it over and ask him to read it so he gets the idea that I am old enough to make my own choices on manners, consumption of food and drink, topics I am interested in and the way I raise my own child. But that's just causing a bunch of stress added on. I was half tempted to blow off seeing him perform in the local choir - as in why should I support what he does when he treats me like a fucking child all the time but well what are you going to do? Maybe he likes it when we go along. Maybe he doesn't really care. Still, I said I'd go.

We're heading to a local pub before hand. I'm not going to drink. Three years ago there was a massive electrical storm during the night service and I'd had about six beers. I kept having to nip out in the thunderstorm - and the crackle of lightning and boom of thunder kind up lit up the knave and made my coming and goings nicely noticed by the rest of the congregation - find a tree and have a surreptitious wee outside.

That and I had two glasses of sparking red wine last night - sculling them 'cos I am a wimp on sipping stuff that isn't sweet - and I bottom burped like a trooper. The last thing I need is a balloon-stomach full of arse wind that's going to potentially trumpets-of-the-lord out my pants at the midnight service.

TheBoy has been doing really well. Hardly any accidents. He loves his cousins to death which can make it hard to wrangle him. He's also discovered the giggling joy of running off with my hat and hiding it somewhere.

At night - as he snuggles on down in his nest in the corner of our room - I give him an extra-story as made up by Mikey. We mutually decided stories should star Russell from Up. So in this one Russell is playing in a car that gets balloons tied to it and an over-filled balloon carries him up, up, up into the air eventually he gets chased by an Ogre. At one point the car plus balloons is blown across the sea ... an isthmus in fact ... and I pause at that point and theNoo shouts "Isthmus!" with triumph. I bet that's the only kids' story with a fucking isthmus in it.

UPDATE: Someone pointed out the original text of 'getting blown in a car' when giving a precis of my copyright violating spoken-word Russell story sounded a tad sketchy so I changed it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well ... it's effective

Prior to the industrial revolution there were two main power systems; wind and muscle. The latter explains why slavery and / or bondage (not the good Las Vegas kind) existed for so very long. It was only after coal was pressed into service as a fuel source for the goodness of Steam that things started to get a skerrick better for the average man on the dirt rutted lane-way.

My alarm clock used to be my mobile phone. I'd set it for 7:45 on the usually vain hope that it would wake me in time to get ready to make work by 9 am. What usually happened is that I'd wake about an hour before, re-assess my fatigue, then re-key for 8.15 and go back to sleep.

That was then.

Now ... now my waking varies from 7.15 to 8.00 am. Why?

Because theBoy will sneak up to me then loudly announce the presence of a wee in his potty ("I DID A WEE!") and demand I come look at it. Within a minute there I am, standing bleary-eyed and half naked looking at the contents why he does some sort of happy Riverdance nearby.

Damn you human-based energy systems! Damn you all to hell!

UPDATE/SEGUE: I've been brewing up some abdominal badness for three days. We're about to leave on a day's worth of long-distance driving. Yep, now it's chosen to unleash forth. I say this with relish - Oh for Fuck's Sake!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I agree ... to XYZAAAB etc.

In the great unwashed white-collar world that is the Commonwealth public service, most of us bottom-feeders are signed up to performance agreements. Targets we agree to try and meet - where circumstances allow - over a six month period. Then your 'how did you go in the last six months?' document is assessed to see if you deserve the performance-linked pay rise.

And that's fair enough. Believe it or not when I joined the public service last millennium ... they didn't have them.

Of course, like databases, they've very much beholden on the content inputted ... and the energy put into deciding what are valid metrics and whether the person met them. You can have a lazy boss that doesn't really give a shit and will treat it like a tick-and-flick. Or you can have an intensely interested boss who does a line-by-line analysis of what you promised and at the end, after weighing up various considerations, only then makes a considered decision on your grading from the four levels of Outstanding, Competent, Okay... but, and SucksAnalHair. On the first two you get your money. On the third you don't ... and you receive a chat. On the last one that's typically when performance agreements start to come into play.

I've never gotten less than the top two. That's not pumping myself up with heroics. It's what 99% of public servants get as best as I can tell.

BUT ... I got smacked in November for some fails ... and there was a bunch of stuff that had travelled like a gypsy caravan from agreement to agreement. This was mentioned as being an issue.

So I did my best to resolve those outstanding ones. All stuff that didn't have any day-to-day impact on my job as is ... but stuff that needs to be done at some point.

Given this is the last week of the calendar year I looked up my agreement to see if I had any stuff that was tagged to be done by then. One I'd been working towards for some time but couldn't be finished due to technical queries about finalisation.

The other was a course I promised to re-do.

My work has hundreds of online courses you can do. Some of them end up in your performance agreement because your work likes to have a pool of peeps it can call on to participate in projects that needs certain merit qualifications for.

The one I'd agreed to re-do had an estimated completion time of two hours.

GROAN.

Two fucking hours!

Jesus cries into a big tissue - that's a lot of time to invest into a a course that I am only doing because I agreed to do it.

However ... I noticed that you could do the assessment without doing the coursework.

What the fuck, I'm a smart dude. I only did the course two years ago. How hard could it be to remember that stuff? It's mostly multiple choice.

So I clicked on. 30 questions. One hour. Pass mark was 80%.

Seven minutes later I'd finished. Score? 84%.

Suck it bitches, I got me my must-dos done and dusted. I rule the fucking roost.

I still wouldn't ask me to participate in said projects though. I am a gassy man and projects typically involve small groups of people in small rooms for long periods of time. There's only so many excuses I can make to go fart outside the room ... and what if I fail my Pants Osmosis Window timings?

Indeed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mr Whippy of the Apocalypse

We were at a local park for a kid's birthday. Then ... a Mr Whippy turned up.

For those of you not in the know Mr Whippy is the main franchise travelling ice-cream van operation in Oz.

Instead of Greensleeves as its 'come hither all the little children / adults who like ice-cream' it had that snatch of classical music that's always used for chocolate commercials for when liquid chocolate is seductively poured on screen which, as The Gruen Transfer has pointed out, is usually warmed brown paint.

However it's a gloomy old day in Canberra. The rain was coming in. So behind the Mr Whippy van were tall pine trees anti-illuminated by a roiling black bruised swollen sky.

The dude fired up his music again. It sounded tinny and discordant. It was like I'd made my Will save against enchantment and I could see it for what it was - a van of evil!

Then, later, I saw it had moved closer to the Jumping(-on) Castle people further along the park. I didn't see it move, or hear it move. I think it just teleported there.

So I guess when the end times come ... and the Four horsemen of the Apocalypse are storm lined atop a hill ... there will be a Mr Whippy Van idling behind them.

DADT repealed

The US has dragged itself kicking and screaming into the later half of the 20th century. The senate has finally voted to repeal 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' which essentially allowed gays to serve in the military only if they never, ever disclosed their sexual orientation or, get this, left any evidence from their private life around that colleagues or even IT lads monitoring email systems could find that revealed their orientation.

It's a good day for basic civil rights. The sad thing is that Clinton wasn't able to achieve it 17 years ago and had to settle for DADT as a compromise with bigoted Republicans that aren't afraid to use race or sexual orientation as weapons in their political fights. Because fostering a sense of bigotry works for them ... no matter the harm it does to the broader politic.

And the 31 fuckwads that voted against it deserve a kick in the anus.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Text fail

I work with a good-looking man. He's muscular, charming, and has a winning grin. He's also a kak. Yes, I know, it's weird that I am blogging this considering the previous post, but he's someone I've gotten to know and he likes me despite my obvious across-the-board fails.

In addition to being ridiculously good-looking, and a target for admiring glances from the nearby ladies and men who like men, he's also a bit of a polymath. He has IT skills out the ying-yang, is well-read, and, thanks to an odd childhood of working as a builder for his dad, he has manual tradie skills as well. So I can totally see the attraction the girls (and men who like men) have for him since he ticks both the brainy and brawny boxes*. He maintains his construction skill-set by doing part-time work like building decks and pergolas. I'm assuming that as it gets hot, he does a slow strip off of his sweat sodden shirt, and is perved out by surrounding attracted-to-him people.

He's also a ranga.

At the day care Wobs party I noticed there were a lot of blood-nuts running around. Knowing of S's construction moonlighting gigs I thought it would be funny to send him this text.

It's a total ranga fest here. Are you sure you haven't "serviced" the construction needs of the ladies of (my suburb)?

Despite being in his early twenties, he happens to be married with a one year old daughter.

He'd left his phone at home.

His equally young and attractive wife saw the message.

He had much explaining to do when he got home. It took some time but he apparently convinced her that weird ole Mikey from work was just hanging shit on him.

Still ... texting fail from Mikey...

* He should totally do a charity calendar. With the charity recipient being himself. He could alternate the pictorial themes between the two concepts, like chess-boxing, with a smart activity one month - say composing music - with a muscle-focused activity the next - like gapping spark plugs. Is that something muscled dudes do? I wouldn't know ...

PS He has said that if there is a zombie plague I am welcome to hold up at his family's farm. Score! I have a back-up anti-zombie bolt-hole ... my current plan is to head for Telstra tower...

Sometimes it’s not paranoia

If the world were divided into two groups – those who are blessed with good looks and those that are not, then I’m firmly in Camp Not. In fact if you went H.G. Wells on it, and labeled attractive Eloi and not-attractive Morlock, then I am a paid up member and likely precinct captain of my local Morlock community.

I’m weird looking, blessed with oddly sunken eyes that make me look like I am permanently deprived of sleep and a OCD-esq shambling gait. However added to that is a large apple-like stomach that protrudes forth in a most unsettling and unappealing manner.

Hooray for me.

For the past couple of years I’ve actually tried to be better about what I eat and how much exercise I do. I’m a bit better on the food front and a lot better on exercise – I went from a life of only incidental physical activity to one where I had at least a twenty minute walk a day. So far with that I’ve yet to miss a day where I didn’t go for a walk, save for one where it was me carrying 10 kg of child and 20 kg of luggage 300 m from a distant car park to the terminal at the airport (so it fucking counts).

I recently read that bio-mechanic physiology types have determined that an optimal pattern of exercise is two minutes moderate exertion interspersed with thirty seconds of heavy exertion. They gave the example of walking for two minutes then fast jogging of thirty seconds. The theory is that if you do this over an extended period of time that your body’s metabolism will continue to burn energy at an accelerated rate after the exercise period.

Well, I am one for science – even if I am ignoring some studies which indicates consumption of artificial sugar can artificially slow your metabolism.

So today I tried it. I started, fast jogged for thirty seconds, then slowed to a walk for two minutes – roughly counted out to get an idea of time and distance – then ran again. I alternated in this manner for the length of the exercise period.

So … why am I bitching about this?

Well because I was wearing cargo pants and it meant I had to grip my waistband tighter as I ran in case I jiggled my pants down with a bit of river-nudes action. With my other hand I held my pass so it didn’t fly around my chest in an annoying manner (though I really should have taken off).

On run attempt one I happened to pass an Eloi type, an attractive blonde girl in her mid-twenties. As I passed her I saw her expression.

She was laughing at me.

Okay, there’s a small chance she was laughing at something else but she wasn’t smiling when I started and she openly was when I passed her. She didn’t have earphones in so she wasn’t listening to something.

Fair enough I suppose. I did look pretty ungainly. Like Michael Moore fleeing from a murderous militia. But it was pretty disheartening.

All my life I’ve been laughed at for looking weird and then for being fat. To this day I still get bogan fuckwads abusing me from cars as they drive pass, though I have to admit as Patrick has noted that’s just what Bogans do and if it wasn’t that I was a fat cunt that drew their ire, it would be something else – (“Nice hat you hat-fucker”).

I recognize the weight gain I suffer from is due to behavioral failings on my part, in addition to genetics and having crap knees in school at the key moment where my body morphed from child to man.

But there’s a reason I don’t like good-looking strangers. Because at the back of my mind, hell, at the front of it, I assume I’m being judged as unfuckable and am gifted to them as a subject of derision and ridicule.

Eloi chick certainly didn’t help.

Thanks a lot you spack-brained ‘ha, ha, fatty go run, run’ piece of shit.

PS The other day some catalogues graced our laminate kitchen table top. One was a clothing catalogue for men. Gracing the cover was a pair of muscular looking gents in their T-Shirts looking all buff and attractive. Given I've felt pretty shit-about-self of late, something in me snapped. I grabbed a black marker pen and, like someone cursing a figure of hate by stabbing pins into a doll, I scrawled 'DIE HIMBO FUCKERS - DIE DIE DIE!' over their moronic vacuous visages before casting it into the bin. It made me feel better ... and perhaps the poor bastard on the conveyor belt monitoring the incoming refuse. Since I hardly think an Eloi would have that job...

PPS I am aware of the lack of logic for assuming just because someone is attractive then they regard me as a piece of shit. However near-40 years of experience has yet to convince me otherwise.

Ferrell and McBride goodness

Land of the lost.

Second wind and then some

I've had shit sleep in the past few weeks. The last week in particular has been bad.

Last night I was awake until 330 am. Tonight I was wretched tired, drifting off even as my delish dinner was cooking (baked potatoes added to which was cheese, sour cream, dairy-free butter and Paul Newman's South-wester sauce).

Then ... I got my second wind. It's here now. It's near 2 am and second wind I am blessed with.

Yay! I guess it's off to bed to read more of my Time magazines and Post-war history of Europe since 1945 by Tony Judt (thanks to Morton T Fogg for the recommendation). The latter I've been struggling with for a few weeks given my short attention spa-SQUIRREL!

I had planned to go in late y'day morning given how blargh I was feeling except I was prevented from doing so.

I woke not at the late set alarm but when my three year old son, a smile splitting his face, yelled from two centimetres from my own 'I DID A POO!'

Yes, sure enough he had. He'd woken up, let himself out, taken off his onsie and nappy, turned on the TV -though alas to the analogue signal so fuzzy crap - then done a poo. Then come and woken me up to tell someone about it.

The glorious poo surprise was such I was pretty much up so I helped wrangle and made it to work on time. Even if most of the day I was drifting in and out of a twilight state. Twilight being a description of that state you get before your sleep as opposed to the hideous sparkling melange that is the Vampire series (though all credit to the author for writing it - because actually doing that is harder than it sounds believe me - and for winning the author's lotto to become the next JKR).

Still, I got to leave early to go to a Wobs event for theNoo's daycare. I got to guess numbers of jelly beans in a jar; watch theBoy tackle the Jumping Castle - which as I texted to Casso pointed out should really be a Jumping ON Castle since the former implies it is the castle which is jumping; watch him get face-painted ("I'm a Tiger -RAAAAAAAAAAH"), and his head spray-painted. The last one looked fun so I signed up for it.

I had no idea just how cold the spray would be on my bald, bald crown. I screamed in an effeminate manner. Then I got my beard done, half silver, half green. I looked like that piece of bread I toasted when I ran out of money in second year and I was living in my friend's mother's house while she was on sabbatical.

Still, that was pretty sweet even if the residue was sticky and dried unpleasantly upon my fuzzy face.

Then after more outside work it was off inside to the "Disco". As theWife was bailed up with questions about if we were going to have another - we're not BTW - which apparently was designed so the mum could then launch into her number one gold standard "This ... is me" tale of a four day labour, I got to lie on the carpet and watch theBoy dancing around.

The DJ was the only male childcare worker I have ever met - a lovely guy in his early 20s that has an exceptional rapport with the kids, especially the boys. They love him. He had some disco light work going and, while the music was of the tott's variety, he did sneak in this little number.

I demanded he play Boom Boom Boom Boom* next; he laughed and instead returned to the kids' music with Waltzing Matilda.

I never noticed how much the lyrics of that song inferred that the Jolly Jumpbuck had more on his mind than just eating it before...

*PS if I was going to crank myself up the Kinsey scale I would totally go the cowboy.

Suck it Captain Dot Points

The wikileaks cable goodness keeps coming.

Here's today's effort - as reported in the SMH. It should be noted Rudd didn't look great either. But this bit ... this bit leaped out of the HTML page.

A cable obtained by WikiLeaks and provided exclusively to the Herald says an unnamed "key Liberal Party strategist'' told US diplomats in November last year that the issue of asylum seekers was ''fantastic'' for the Coalition and ''the more boats that come the better''.

Yep, there you have it, in black and white. The coalition sucking the blood from the neck of the refugee issue.

Fucking arse-hats.

My label printer gets me in trouble...

I have shit-house handwriting. I pretty much always have. It's a mostly childish scrawl that, if it were viewed by a profiler, would likely lead them to deduce I was a man-child who had a fixation on the boobies.

Years ago I decided enough was enough. Through my IT purchase system I put in a request for a label printer ... and just seven short months later it arrived.

The label printer not allows me to neatly print out address labels but instead of inflicting my Doctor's-esq script onto another human being, I can draft small notes to go with documents ... though I admit I have to stick the label onto a post-it so as not to mar the document.

Yes, yes, not exactly carbon friendly. But it saves me grief when people wander back Close Encounters return to the planet earth style with a quizzical look on their face as to what I was trying to write.

As people know I am also mischievous. A rascal. When I was a child of about five or six I was sentenced to star in a nativity play as an angel of the (I presume) Lord. Another parent was heard by my mother to exclaim 'Who on EARTH made Mikey an Angel?!'

The next year I served as the mascot for my primary school's sports team. My costume?

A devil.

Yep, I've served time on both shoulders.

Being the public service, Christmas decorations went up at the start of December. Basic at first, a quiet though overt acknowledgment that stand-down was coming. Then each week more and more decs went up. Now it's a giddy wonderland of Christmas. I half expect to see that fake snow painted in the corners of the windows to represent some bizarro world Christmas where it isn't hot as all fuck.

One of the decorations that re-appeared was this unattractive little effort. It basically looks like a mistake was made at the p0rn factory and they forgot all three holes.




















When it appeared, I decided that it needed some enhancement. Since it belonged to E, I printed out a cartoon speech bubble and stuck it on.




















The idea being of course that E was "naughty" and Santa was giving her Robert De Niro eye-fingers.

Noice.

Inflatable Santa re-appeared for Xmas* 2010. He still had last year's speech bubble.

C, late 40's reprobate that I find hilarious, demanded a sequel.

I thought about it. What could Santa say to top that effort?

Then it came to me...




















People complained that it was just too creepy. Ah, but I had a counter argument prepared.

'Yes, yes, but you forget one thing. Santa is an anagram ... of Satan.'

Q.E.D mutha fukkers.

* Today I summon the word Xmas in a text. My phone, being a lazy minor effort that has a piss-poor dictionary, suggested the following character combo instead: Wobs. I love it. From now on Xmas is Wobs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My hero

The other day theWife got a cold-call from "David", a man with a heavy Indian accent claiming to be from Microsoft and advising us that they'd detected a problem with our computer.

'Yes, I see,' said theWife. 'Unfortunately it's a huge scam and you should be ashamed of yourself.'

He hung up.

"David", take that into your back-face.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dungeon Bash

In fantasy role-playing games a "dungeon bash", also known as a Dungeon crawl, represents a style of play that is action heavy and is akin to a first person shooter in that you follow a set path around a complex.

Tonight we dungeon bashed.

I used a random Dungeon Generator for the base then added some Mikey touches and nixed some of the more ludicrous elements that can crop up thanks to lady luck and her dice of random wonder.

The dungeon was also slightly different in that instead of the player characters going to it ... it came to them, appearing like a Borg cube* high in the sky then dropped down to essentially mystically hook its force towbar up to the player's own floating cube fortress in the city of Stormreach then with nary a beep beep beep started towing it through the air towards the south.

The lads eventually caught up with it, and through various means, made the top of the giant cube. When one of the player characters blinked out of sight, the others correctly assumed he'd been teleported away and ran to where he'd been so they'd follow him.


Fantasy role-playing characters differ from characters from other fantasy mediums in that, especially at higher levels, the personas played by the players can become arcane cyborgs - a fusion of "man" and magic.


Characters from books and film tend not to have a lot of magic on them. If there is magic then it's either a MacGuffin that's driving the plot, the mysterious suitcase whose unknown contents glow, or it's an item of power that is wielded by a protagonist in furtherance of the quest; Bilbo's ring, Aragorn's sword,
Tomas' golden mail and tabard etc.

In FRPGs however as the characters progress in power then the kit and treasure and mystic doodads can and do become an integral part of both their abilities and even their persona. At higher levels chances are a D&D character will have magic clothes / armour, a magic weapon (and if a magic-user then rods, staffs, and wands**), many potions, rings, and scads of useful magic items like bags of holding, cloaks of resistance, boots of the elvenkind and so forth. Indeed, in later editions of D&D they even put a limit on the amount of magic that a character could access at the one time based on the part of the body where it sat.


Case example.
Here's a screen shot of my Baldur's Gate II character, Marcus Klenshier's inventory screen. He's a Fighter Magic-User Thief (levels 10/11/12) using 2nd edition AD&D rules adapted for the Computer RPG medium.

Baldur's Gate used the paper-doll method to manage character possessions. The ones down the bottom of the screen are those that he has in his possession, but not to hand. Those that ring his various body locations are the ones he can use in combat. He has a +2 Bow; a +4 Longsword (The "Daystar"); wands of lightning, wonder and fire; the ring of gaxx (various powers); a ring of wizardry (doubles 1st level spells); boots of speed; a cloak of non-detection; an endless quiver for +1 arrows (and a set of 40 +2 arrows and 40 fire arrows just in case); a robe of the arch-magi; a belt of hill giant strength; bracers of defence (which gives him the equivalent protection of plate-mail, which means he can cast spells as wearing armour stops him from doing that); a magic helm; and an amulet that gives him an extra spell slot. He also has various scroll cases, a wolf-skin bag that has its own internal possession slots, a wand of cloudkill and a bunch of other stuff.

He is Mr Magic Stuff 2010.


So at higher levels of play, where even choosing monsters factors in the fact player characters have uber stuff, plot elements that separate the player character's from their magic tat are typically regarded badly. Poorly even.


Indeed the Slaver's series of modules, re-released as a combined set, even suggested starting the players out minus their stuff and in the all together as galley slaves ("Naked, straining at the oars...") ... after they'd already started the adventure and at some point been captured.

When the lads ported in they arrived at the bottom of a 30' wide, 20' deep fighting pit which was rimmed with metallic crystallized iron spikes. Staggered around the pit's edge above were five
mind flayers.

The lads also arrived without their stuff. If it wasn't a part of them physically then "poof", it was
keyser soze'd. A trap that was loaded with a Greater Dispel Magic triggered and most of their already cast spells that boosted their abilities, known as "buffs", were dispelled.

So ... how did they go?


Well they didn't bitch - and being 10th level plus characters they had every right to bitch about losing all their stuff and "buffs". They just got on with it and took them on. It helped that I run a cinematic campaign in that I let them regenerate their action points - a pool of points that when a point is spent from it they can retroactively add dice to boost their results - each session. But, in short order, they were out of the pit and, mostly naked, took on the tentacle heads.


Within a minute of game time - which took about three hours to play - they'd cleared through the fighting pit "welcome" chamber, a room where five other mind flayers were seated in comfortable chairs hooked up to bags of nutrients - so a kind of chemotherapy chair set up, and another room lined with empty stone sarcophagi that was currently occupied by a pair of Green Slaad Guardians.


By the time we ended play they still had not found their stuff and were armed with some daggers and dungeon furnishings employed as improvised weapons. The latter included a half flagstone, a small cushion (that was used at a big penalty to do lethal damage), and finally a door with a hole in the middle where it had been punched free from its fixtures and bashed into the room, then picked up and used as a combo bull-roarer and improvised great-club.


Yes, that's right ... the players ... used my actual dungeon to beat up the monsters within it.


Now that's dungeon bashing.


*PS Here's a wikfin for you, in relation to the model for the Borg Cube. The look of the cube was achieved ... by a technique known as "greebling".

** In Rogues' Gallery, a1980 AD&D Supplement that had a randomly generated stats for 100 or so of each class for use by DMs in a pinch, the TSR lads had thoughtfully also included write-ups of powerful long-played player characters from their own campaigns. One of them was a female wizard played by Jean Wells, an editor at TSR. Her character had so many rods, staffs and wands she actually stored them in a golf-bag slung over her back.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If I could turn back time

No, this isn't about that time Cher was on Sesame Ship as the letter V.

This is about my under-dakers.

This morning I discovered to my horror that my ardent reminder to myself the previous evening had not been followed and I had not done the self-promised load of washing with a dominant entry being my smalls.

Yes, I'd run out of clean undies.

I briefly considered delving into my cylindrical dirty-clothes storage vessel for a not-so-dirty-pair but the contents were decidedly pungent.

I did a detailed search of my drawers in case a pair had been misdirected into the sock section or something but found no lurkers. I did however find something else.

My swimming shorts.

I'm a briefs dude, not a boxers man. But I figured the swimming shorts were akin enough to the later so I gave it a fling. This was actually a small blessing as it meant I could wear my not usually for public outings threadbare cargo pants of two cycles past, whose crotch blew out big time a while back, as the swimming shorts and cargo pants matched in monochromatic hue.

So on they went.

The result?

Uncomfortable. I felt like I had a nappy on, or like one of those poor boarding fuckers at the boys school I went to that was going to get the cane at 9 pm and donned several pairs of undies as cane absorbing padding just prior.

Plus the swimming shorts had a drawstring, which I was later reminded of when it pendulum-ed through my wee-stream.

Basically my overly stuffed pelvic region felt like it must have done when wearing one of those weird padded renaissance codpieces as per circa the period Blackadder II was set in.

So yeah ... I guess I did turn back time, at least, as far as underpants went.

Later, after having gratefully doffed my cargo pants, I had to go return a DVD. I decided just to head on out in the swimming shorts, which are a decidedly non-snug fit. I was worried the whole time that if I at all raised a leg that I'd potentially give someone a brief narrowed Sharon Stoning of my ball-sack.

I love this song

Is catchy and gives me the happies.

Here's the singer on Colbert.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Carnies!

The other day the fam headed out on the road on Operation Add Kays.

Yes, HM and Co a couple of years back decided to take on a salary sacrifice car-lease plan. Only problem with the plan was our belief we'd do enough kays each year to circumnavigate the globe.

In order we don't cop a Fringe Benefit Tax bill this means occasional weekends spent 50s style of family trips of going for a nice drive by way of entertainment.

Holy crap the 50s must have been a sad time where you actually looked forward to spending hours in the back of an environmentally primitive vehicle wedged in the seat next to your similarly Sunday best clad brethren as you took in queasy inducing surrounds as you juttered in rhythmic sympathy with the corrugation of the dirt road you were trapped on.


We try and have a destination in mind for these trips - like a town with a nice park to go to for the little man. On this occasion we went to the Young Cherry Festival - as even though the cherry harvest took a hit from recent rain the city fathers/mothers decided to hold festivities anyway.

After the long drive we parked at the local McDonalds - which was packed to the gills, many of whom students taking advantage of the WiFi - then with theNoo in a stroller headed up to where the action was.

There was not that much action.

However near the council chambers was set up rides, various jumping inflatable kids stuff and an honest-to-god sideshow alley. Clowns with the rotating heads, the darts balloons game, the scooping ducks up with a net and counting numbers to see what plastic tat you got as a prize with said prize costing much less than the price to play was.


Carnies! (shakes fist).

The sideshow alley and I have a long history ... of my failing to beat their system. That game with the knocking down the bottles with the ball, where the bottles have cash screwed into their necks, that the carnie seemingly knocks down with ease when demonstrating ...? I must have tried that game a dozen times ... and the only thing I ever got out of it was an Australian Flag pin - which broke - and a comedic false beard. Though the latter was actually used muchly and with great hilarity.

But ... what the fuck ... it was a day for theNoo and he got to have a go at sideshow alley - trying the scoop up the ducks and the rotating clown heads / shove a ball down their throat game.

I did laugh to see that the carnies! had updated their never-wons. You know the never-wons. They're the prizes they have on display that will never, ever be won by a punter because the game is set up so that will never happen. In this case they actually had flat-screen TVs as a possible prize - though I saw with some delight that the box was suitably handling scarred and ratty in spots indicating its longevity as a seductive siren to tease but never actually commit*.

I decided to have a go myself. My choice of poison? The dart toss.

The proprietor was an older guy who was deeply, deeply tanned. The sort of tan that can only be acquired from a life of exposure to sun. His great belly had an ant-road of hair trailing up over the convex of his stomach - which was gloriously hanging over the waistband of his shorts and which was framed above by his ridden up occasionally buttoned shirt.

It was five bucks for three darts ... then he made an offer '... but for you mate, five darts for ten'.

You know what? ... I fell for that.

I held my dart sideways, a trick taught by my ninja-skills polymath-esq friend M, then flicked it out. POP! First balloon gone.

I was giddy! A balloon right out the gate on dart one.

Yeah ... I missed with all the others. I did actually pop a second balloon but only after the dart bounced off the back wall and then dropped point down to take out the balloon on the way to the ground. Carnie! was surprisingly quick to blurt out that rebounds didn't count, rapidly shouting out the words by rote ("chequeswillnotbehonoured").

I forget what piece of plastic tat I got for my uno pop effort to add to theNoo's collection of side-show alley tat scored from his time of My Child Vs the Carnival Folk. But all up he won a mobile phone shaped water press game, a plastic truck, and a kewl mini-ping pong ball shooting plastic gun thing.

Much later, as theNoo was snuggling into bed, mummy did her trick of dot pointing the day's key events for him.

'Do you remember when you put your balls in the clown's mouth?'

Yep, she said it. Gold.

*Back in the 80s I remember one prize was a Millennium Falcon playset. If that's still in a carnie's lock up, which maybe the case given it was a never-won, that would be worth an absolute fuckload. Carnies start your engines.