Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-visit student pack

As part of our job, we hand out teacher’s notes, giving teachers further information on our program and follow up activities. Theoretically, they’re also provided with a pre-visit pack containing info on what to expect and how to prepare for us. I’m thinking of extending the concept and sending a pre-visit pack to each student. Nothing complicated, just a few thinking points that it would have been best for them to think through before they see us.

Ahem, if you happen to be my parents, you probably want to stop reading now.

1) When we visit you, you will miss class to come and see us. Think about that for a gad damned second, Because of us YOU ARE NOT IN CLASS. Show us the damn respect that that kind of magic trick deserves.

2) If that doesn’t convince you, please keep in mind the following. We are a free program. That means that you pay nothing for us. It also means that your teachers can’t refuse to pay us if we make you cry or wet yourself. Don’t fool yourself. You wouldn’t be the first.

3) We perform for a living, we have all spent several years at university earning various degrees. Those degrees are not in Tourism. You are not clever enough to take us on in verbal debate. You are welcome to try, but do keep in mind point 2 above. Also, “I won’t need maths because I’m going to be a model” is not a clever rebuttal. It’s a good way to get your self-esteem shattered as we list your numerous unsubtle flaws.

If you were actually to clean up your skin, fix your teeth, lose your likeness unto a globe, develop visually pleasing features when you go through puberty, or some serious corrective surgery, and somehow obtained your dream career, you would still need maths to know how to cut your cocaine properly so you don’t snort a lethal dose, and die convulsing painfully as drool and blood froth bubbling through the scars from your facial ‘work’.

Don’t worry, it almost certainly won’t come to that. You’re not going to be a model.

4) Yelling ‘69’ to answer every question involving a number is not clever, or funny. In fact, let’s take that a little further. 69 is not an inherently funny number. It’s not even remotely funny until you’ve undergone the hilariously acrobatic antics required, at the point it becomes intensely hilarious, but then again, so does all sex.

Yelling out 69 does not tell your peers that you are sexually experienced. It tells everyone in the room that you’re still a virgin. Is this really a statement you want to make?

5) A smurf is a god damned blue critter from an eighties cartoon, I think their village was recently carpet bombed. Stop asking what they are. It’s called class, if you don’t have it, at least fake it. Yes it was better than this dragon ball crap. There may have only been one smurfette, but apart from that it actually made sense. Logic and consistency are what is missing from the junk-food like pop culture that you little cretins have been brought up on.

6) You are not cool in high school. Nothing will ever change this. No-one is cool in high school.

On a more personal note, I went to buy the DVD of Danger Mouse I had seen in the Kurri-Kurri video shop, but they’d sold out. Why oh why didn’t I buy it when I had the chance? Taste my tears of bitterest regret.

I think I’m getting sick.

Monday, October 30, 2006

So ridiculously teenage

I'm unAustralian. It's the only possible explanation. I spent the entire weekend at a lovely beach house bare metres from the sand. The only time I got wet was in the shower. I only went down to the beach once, at night, and even then I was only there for as long as it took for me to get through my phone conversation.

Saturday I didn't visit the beach because I was in a reading and 'leave me the hell alone' mood. So I lay on a couch and finished my first book of the tour. An embarrassing state of affairs that I shall attempt to remedy this week with a bout of good ol' page turning.

That night we played a game of Catan. A necessary condition of my taking part was that I could be a bad loser, and sulk if I wanted to. This was to counteract my excuse for not playing, that I was turning into a bad sport and didn't wish to sulk afterwards.

I had a glass of wine, a wild turkey was off my nut. Apparently I have my mother's Cadbury tendencies. My brain was addled, but not too addled for the bout of extreme logic that sluggishly crawled through it. Firstly, I was much drunker than anyone else, despite having no more of the devil's drink. Secondly, if I couldn't win sober, there was absolutely no chance of me winning with one foot already under the table.

So I played like a monkey, made madly generous trades, viciously defended worthless territory, and snuck up on the win so subtly that people were still trading with me on the final round when I laid the smack down and played 3 points at once. Usually, when you're ahead, no-one will trade with you for fear of giving you a win, but for some reason a giggling fool lying on the floor playing with exercise equipment isn't perceived as much of a threat.

I was a little bit shocked, and a little bit disappointed that I wouldn't get to sulk after all. There's nothing more fun than a good old tanti. That's two wins to uncountable losses since the tour began, but it was such a fun win hat I may be willing to play next time.

The night continued from there, and I felt very, very juvenile. We drank, we played playstation, we debated very deep discussions that made no sense, and worst of all - we saw the sun come up. It was like being a teenager all over again, without the inconvenience of someone kicking down a fence. The flashback experience was assisted by there being three boys to one girl, about the right ratio for the hallowed Easter parties.

All that changes next week with the arrival of the long suffering maths groupies. As they are generally more important than the squadders, they shall receive complete pseudonyms instead of the lazy *! pattern that I've been following so far.

Joining us next week will be the lovely Floor, D'Urberville and Tick lady. I'll leave it to them to discern who is whom.

Not really maths thingummy #1

The words 'that' and 'had' have something very special in common. What is it?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jungle fever

There is a tradition on entering the Outreach program. J! offers each person, on their first day, the chance to trial some of his insanity chilli. I, being well aware of my chilli woos status, declined. G! not only accepted the challenge, he’s been back to the bottle repeatedly since. He says he enjoys the hallucinations and that cheese dulls the pain.

Tonight he met his match. G! could not master the Jungle curry at the Thai restaurant we visited tonight. He started on it, and was sweating almost immediately. About a quarter of the way in, the restauranteer shouted him some extra rice. About half the way in, he brought out some complimentary cucumber, that I enjoyed very much, as G! is allergic. By this point he had gone quite white. He gave up not long after. The sweating did not stop for some time.

Four shows today, my voice failed on the third one, but was a fair bit better by the fourth. J! is saying that we’ll get a PA to protect my voice, but I honestly don’t think I can use one, just feels unnatural. Just call me Kermit.

Our landlady seems slightly shocked by us, I don’t think she was expecting what she got. We’re not like holidayers, we’re a tad more messy, and a tad less likely to eat out. We’ll clean the place before we leave, and we would do dishes if we could, but the accommodation simply doesn’t have the amenities. Still, we’re here fore two more weeks, so we have to keep good will going for that long at least.

Saw a wonderful shopfront for Vile & Vile Solicitors today. Also saw a board outside a church that listed what the minister was praying for

1. Family
2. Rain
3. World Peace

Now I don’t mean to be rude, but aren’t those priorities just a little bit whacked?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pet peeves

Sometimes, people just refuse to avoid stereotypes. Today, I successfully navigated us to our destination, a small school a little way from Maitland. All fine and dandy. We did our thing, had a good day, packed up, tried to go home.

This time I was driving and A! was navigating. At one point I seriously questioned her directions, feeling that the scenery we were viewing now, was not at all the same scenery we passed on our way in, and that we had twice travelled contrary to signs that read ‘to Maitland’. She said ‘no, it’s right’ pointed at the map authoritivly and on we went.

Further and further from our destination.

Eventually, I requested the map, and pointed out that if we were in Woodville, then we had most definitely come the wrong way, and that the gravel road should have been (and was) our first clue. Never trust an authoritive map poking unless you actually take the time to realise what they’re poking at.

Also, as I seem to be whinging a bit, I’d like to give my ‘up yours’ award to Sanity music Maitland, whom had season five of Family Guy on display, had a price tag on the back of the box, and had it mixed in with the other Family Guy seasons, but nevertheless, did not actually have it for sale. The product was apparently not released yet, but I was more than welcome to reserve a copy. I checked afterwards, in not a single of the three locations was there any indication that it was a ‘coming soon ‘ advertisement. I don’t like deceptive advertising. It’s obnoxious and arrogant. While I have avoided purchasing from Sanity in the past, I will now endeavour to never enter one of their stores again.

I also dislike banana, ginger, dogs licking, the Wiggles and the letter 'W' as it takes too long to say.

Oh, and the fact taht there are only three vegetarian jokes in the world, yet everyone thinks they're so clever when they repeat one.

At least today

I’m fickle like that.

/end whinge

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I am Buster, hear me croak!

Firstly, yes, the site needs updating, I am no longer in the NT, I am in the Hunter valley. Secondly, happy birthday, hope you had a great Singstar experience.

Today I took an objective, balanced, test of my skill. It was a mechanicl test of skill or ‘skill tester’ if you will. A robotic crane was harnessed to retrieve a desperate giraffe, haphazardly piled on top of other unlikely animals.

Thanks to me, Yuli, the giraffe, was rescued, and now sits in my bedroom awaiting his presentation to Floor, who will carefully rehabilitate him.

Yes, my skill was tested and I was not found lacking.

In another test of skill, a rematch of Catan vs. G! had a much more satisfying result, with me managing to utterly slaughter him in the first round, and he narrowly winning the second game. I think that means the night goes to me. I don’t think I can play it again tomorrow.

J! has finally made the TV work. Which is a problem, as it is pay TV. There’s a problem with pay TV, although there may not be something good on, there’s always something that you’re willing to watch anyway. For normal people of strong will and character, this does not pose a problem. For people like me, who remove themselves from a form of entertainment only when it ceases to be entertaining, it can be deadly. Curse those clever bastards who invented the comedy channel.

My voice started to go today. Anyone who still remembers when I used to do birthday parties with any regularity will remember the croaky monstrosity that plagued my vocal cords after a couple of hours in the trenches. Some will also remember that I continued to do parties for hours afterwards, and could wreck my throat for days, giving my voice the richness and deepness that puberty so cruelly neglected.

I’m afraid that that might happen to my voice this tour. Four weeks of constant vocal cragginess, I’d like to avoid it if I can, but now it’s set in there’s no way. Oh well, maybe the extended duration will give me those lower octaves I’ve been searching for.

Here's more boring than the NT

Those of you who know me well, will probably be aware of a game called ‘The Settlers of Catan’. A board game I find irresistible. Tonight J! and I played this clever little game against G!, who had never played it before. He thrashed us. Twice. Soundly.

I don’t think I can play anymore. Maybe some poker instead tomorrow night, so I can get enough money to buy back my dignity.

I dived into the horrors of the tax system today, to provide for my paltry refund. A! mentioned a number of ways in which I could increase my take. I was shocked. Shocked, appalled, and took notes. I chose to avoid major dodgieness becase in some small way I agree with taxes and think that we Australians don’t pay nearly enough. I’m sure many of you will disagree with me. We’ll have to agree to disagree, but you’re wrong.

Its odd getting back into the mainstream schools, if there has been any epiphany arising from the experience, it’s that kids are kids everywhere. In other words, they’re all shits.

They other thing I learnt was that my reaction to libraries has changed. I walked in today and thought “I could sleep here”.

Memorable quote from today “Little Johnny came to school without underpants today”

The context isn’t as interesting as a lack of context, so I’ll let you all mull over that one.

The accommodation’s feeling a little cramped due to having only a single living area. We may have to hold a survivor like removal of a team member. I vote for G! for his being unsportingly good at settlers.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm back.

Well, after feeding the native fauna with electronic devices and droping into sacred sites willy-nilly, M! has decided to leave our little team for the happier prospects of evil Phil's playground. Apparently J! was too much for her. There aren't many people we couldn't say that about though.

G! has joined our little team, and with even more cursory training than M! and I recieved has been thrown into the deep end and is accompanying us on our tour to the hunter region.

We're trapizing the maitland/musswellbrook area. The observant will notice that the touring area is closer to Canberra than the distance we covered in a single day -from Katherine to Lajamanu - on our last tour.

Interesting things I saw today

'Organic Water' for sale. Ummm... yeah... those with any knowledge of science need no explanation, those without will probably not accept any.

'5 star toilets' or so they said, with one backed up urinal, two covered in black plastic garbage bags, and a sink with motion sensors.

Sinks with motion sensors have always seemed a good idea to me. You wave your hand in front of a sensor and the water runs, meaning you don't have to put your hand on a dirty faucet that Steve the raincoat wearing trucker has had his hand on.

Unfortunately, the soap was still operated by push button. Somewhat defeating the exercise.

It wouldn't have been so bad, except that "5 star toilets" was their main selling feature, it was on a giant banner outside the Cafe. 2.5 at best.

This tour's a little different, we have a home base we're staying at / despoiling during the week, taking away the whole nomad culture I developed last tour. I'm going to miss that a little I think.

Maths thingumee #n+1

There's an island with an odd custom. If a man is unfaithful, his wife must kill him if she finds out. Apart from this (or perhaps this is because) they are very logical and intelligent people.

Despite this, every one of the women likes to gossip and every one of the women know the faithfulness, or lack thereof of every man on the island except her own husband.

A missionary stayed with the villagers for a few months, when he left he gathered them all together and said he was disappointed in them, as during his time on the island he had witnessed at least one man being unfaithful.

Nothing happened the first night, nothing happened the second, third or fourth night, but on the fifth night, shots rang out, and in the morning the corpses were counted, and all the unfaithful husbands were dead. How many were there?