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January 16, 2010

Help Bungie Help Haiti

In case you're not already aware, Bungie, developer of the Halo series of first-person shooter games, is putting some cash toward the American Red Cross' efforts to aid those affected by the earthquake that struck Haiti a few days ago. They have special T-shirts on sale and are donating revenue from the Bungie Store, but as they don't ship outside the US, they're setting up a way for the rest of us to contribute just by playing Halo 3 and/or ODST:

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September 10, 2009

The Big Catch-Up Post: September 2009

You know, it's amazing how – not addictive, that's not the word I'm looking for – no, how criminally easy Facebooking is. Now, I know all you futureheads out there have probably ditched Facebook like it was MySpace and are tweeting away like crazy or somesuch, but I don't even do any of the funkier stuff like send Facebook posts from my phone and I still feel like I'm blogging without, you know, blogging. It's a good chunk of the reason why my last sizeable post on IMAGinES was, let's see... Yep, around a month and a half ago.

Out of interest, you futureheads, what are you using as your preferred social communication tool nowadays? Is it all about the Twitter? Does Facebook still come in handy for inviting people to parties? Should I have not closed my MySpace down?

Anyway, I'm going to try and bring you folks back up to speed on what's been going on at Chez Serenity lately. (Yes, we call our house Serenity. I have to tame some photos and show you exactly why.) I'll probably have to refer back to my list of Facebook posts as I go.

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September 10, 2008

Flying Visit to Sydney in October

My apologies for making the big announcement on Wednesday instead of Sunday as promised, but I needed to get a couple of things sorted out before I did. A couple of friends of ours are finally tying the knot in October, and I'll be flying down to attend their wedding (the only thing stopping Vickie from coming with me is the fact that we can't afford two air fares). Planes permitting, I touch down in Sydney at 2:15PM on Thursday, October 23rd and fly out again at 7:15PM on Sunday the 26th.

Friday will be the wedding and Saturday will be a day with my family, and I do want to spend some time with the good mate who's doing me the huge favour of putting up with me - er, putting me up for three nights. Still, if you're keen to catch up, let me know and we'll see what we can work out. No promises, though.

September 04, 2008

Semi-Medium-Biggish News on Sunday

Yeah, er. A handful of my reading public know about this already, but there's one more person I want to tell before I whack it up here. This will probably be sometime Sunday.

So watch this space.

On Sunday.

June 21, 2008

Pr0 at B0wl1ng

Just this evening, I went to a work social club function at the Cairns Goldpin Lanes. It was the last chance I'd have to get to hang out with a mate who's heading off to Brisbane, so I thought I'd better bring something special.

What did I bring?

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May 26, 2008

Feng Shui Forsaken

It was a pretty geeky weekend. Friday night saw some of The Forsaken Ones getting together for a training session. Karlos had found some neat cubbyholes in the geometries of the Halo 3 maps Guardian and Construct, so we spent a little time getting to know them before launching into a game of Team Oddball using the AussieXbox.net Team Rumble variant. I go into some more detail here, but suffice to say I found out a few things about how my fellow clan members play, especially those who reckon they despise the objective-based gametypes. I’m hoping we can get some more training in this coming Friday evening, and I want to try and give the session some more structure.

Saturday was busy. My former mentee got back in touch a couple of months ago, and Vickie and I have been hanging out with him and his family lately. Mid-last week he called and asked whether I’d like to go and play some laser tag at Crystal Cascades with him and his stepdad; unfortunately, when we got there for the early morning session no one else showed up, so I wound up driving back home a half an hour later. Kid and his stepdad are pretty cool, though, so I had a good chat with them in the meantime!

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January 28, 2008

Ten Fantastic Days

It’s been a great ten days off work. Vickie, thankfully, cracked the whip and got me cleaning and tidying up before the arrival of the Cazman and his lovely lady Linda, and we got the spare room looking great for them. Although we weren’t able to spend much time with them as we’d hoped, we just appreciated their company the more. I didn’t know, for example, that Linda was part Chinese, nor that she has a hilarious, trash-talking competitive streak, which came out during a few games of Uno! Speaking of which, I’m starting to think Uno is more fun than Chez Geek.

I fully intend to do a better job of keeping up with these two (ideally using Skype a lot to cut down on those pesky phone bills) and I’m sure Vickie does also. We also (yeah, yeah, I know, but it reads better than “in addition”) must get back in regular touch with Caz’s Mum and Dad. We got a great Christmas letter from them!

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November 21, 2007

My Position on GenCon Oz

I’ve been asked recently whether I'm going to the first GenCon Australia next year. I have to say, it’s a tempting proposition. For those who don’t know, the original GenCon (which moved from Milwaukee to Indianaoplis, I think) and the already-established spin-offs in Southern California and the UK are major events in tabletop gaming geekdom. Having never been to one, I don’t know whether it’s “The Best Four Days In Gaming” as the advertising states, but the thought of finding out has definitely piqued my interest.

Now, the first version of this post was a long bitch and whinge about various things which no one cares about, basically making excuses. In the end, though, my position on GenCon is this: The investment in money and organisation would only be worth it if I went for all four days, and as Gencon isn't Vickie's thing (yes, I've checked) I'd be going on my own - which means I'd be spending a heap of money to leave my love alone at home for four days (plus a round-trip flight). That’s just not cool.

Continue reading "My Position on GenCon Oz" »

June 13, 2007

Fuck and Double Fuck

I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now. It's kinda good news, but it's sort of not, you know?

So one day, I get this e-mail from the Steely Dan mailing list. They've already organised a 2007 tour of some US based venues, but now they've extended it: they're hitting Europe, Japan and - for the first time ever - Australia. They're playing a few venues for one night each, and they hit the closest venue to us, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, on September 16th.

I'm not going without Vickie, so we'd be looking at two concert tickets (either $99 or $140 each), two return airfares and one hotel room; a pretty pricey endeavour, I'm sure you'll agree. After the recent splurging, I'm not sure we'll be able to cram this in.

But what arrives in my inbox a few days later? An e-mail from the Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds website: Jeff's sellout tour of the UK is ALSO coming to Australia, and it plays the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on September the fucking 13th.

So unless we can somehow swing a four-night holiday in Brisbane (two words: win Lotto ), it's one or the other - and given the choice, I'd be off to the Dan. But why did they have to be so close together? The bastards! The cruel, heartless bastards!

In the meantime, please consider this a heads up to any fans of either or both acts. Go and enjoy!

April 01, 2007

The Return Of The Grin With Legs

Well, as half the people I know in Cairns are doing it, I figured I maight as well jump on the bandwagon and get myself a MySpace. If you're reading this, Jonathan Geoffrey Hughes, Esq., the name is all your fault.

It's my intention to keep this web log as my main web log (i.e. all about me!), whereas My Space will be all about connections with friends and where (and when) I'm going / I've been out and about. I'll put a post a week up there, at the very least with links to the week's posts over here, ideally also with what I've been up to and what I'm getting up to. So "Events & Get-Togethers" will probably be over there instead of on here.

March 18, 2007

Axe The Gaming; Let's Just Hang Out

Vickie pointed something very interesting out to me earlier on. Every time I try and orginse a meeting with the folks whom I've met through a common interest in the roleplaying game hobby, it's always gotta be about the hobby. It's either one of the gaming get-togethers or an actual game session. And you know what? Once again, she's right. Outside of birthday parties I've not once organised a "let's hang out" get-together for any of my gaming friends.

The only reason I can come up with that fits with how I've been acting and my mindset at those times is because I've simply been fixated on gaming. The thought of just hanging out with these people hadn't really crossed my mind. It's odd, because I've been readng a lot lately about how the best gaming comes from gaming with friends and roleplaying as a typical, socially integrated practice and agreeing with what I'm reading, but somehow I've avoided comparing the content of those articles to my personal approach to the hobby. I'm trying too damn hard to get a game going; I'm so invested in my self-identity as a gamer that my lack of actual, you know, gaming is driving me up the wall!

The best thing to do about that, I think, is to set it aside for a while and do something else social. As such, I've cancelled my plan to get some fellow gamers together this coming Saturday and hash out campaign concepts for Heavy Gear. Instead, I'm going to try and get as many friends, including gaming friends, as I can over our place on the afternoon/evening of Saturday, March 24th for a barbecue. If interesting, involving discussion happens, fantastic; if it happens to involve the RPG hobby, gravy, but no big deal if it doesn't.

I'd just like to end this post by acknowledging something I don't realise enough - the amount of work Vickie does in helping me stay sane and stable. It's not easy, especially as I tend to over-react and clam up whenever I get criticised, no metter how constructively. But she keeps at it, and occasionally, she gets results! :-)

February 17, 2007

Burning Empires: Who Got Game?

I got game!

Post-game dissection of GM technique here. Also, mostly-burned world for new campaign here.

February 04, 2007

Mentor Training

A few hours ago, Vickie and I got home from our second day of mentor training with the Cairns Youth Mentoring Scheme. Frankly, I think it’s the most honest-to-God challenging and exhausting training I’ve ever done, and for all the right reasons. I’ve read somewhere that the human brain actually uses no less than forty percent of the energy that the human body generates to power itself, and after this weekend I fully believe it; even though we didn’t do anything physically strenuous, Vickie and I were both knackered, last night and tonight.

I won’t go into too great a detail about the minutiae of the training course, but I will say that the most surprising thing was how much I learned about myself. The main goal of the mentoring course isn’t just to teach you techniques for communicating with your mentee, it’s about getting straight with yourself so that you can clear your junk out of the way when your mentee tries to communicate with you. Ladies and gentlemen, readers all, let me tell you that that can be a pretty scary thing.

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January 13, 2007

Gamers' Get Together II

Okay, now for some good news.

Today was the second Cairns Gamers’ Get-Together. You may remember that I organised the first in October last year. This one was also a success. Attendance wasn’t perfect; Vickie has unfortunately been under the weather for the past few days, Scott cancelled last night due to family commitments and I called Bruce half an hour into the get-together to discover he couldn’t come along (snowed under with school stuff). However, I was very glad to see that both Simon and Cristel, whose attendance was contingent on the availability of babysitters (which is why they couldn’t make it to the October meet), were indeed able to come – in fact, they arrived within a minute of myself, and I was a quarter of an hour early. They got to meet Tracey and Brett, and I was glad to see that everyone got along great. I took a camera, but forgot to make sure it had batteries, a fact that made Cristel and Tracey happy.

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January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007!

Happy New Year, everybody! Sorry about the peons crack earlier – well, okay, I’m not, really. I just get so few chances to gloat about living in the tropics! I assure you, the fact that your New Year’s Day is probably more comfortable than ours is revenge enough; I’m sitting here at my keyboard, sweat pouring off of me.

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November 27, 2006

A Chilly Eve in Cairns

Saturday just gone was the company's Social Club's Christmas Party at the function rooms of the Shangri-La Hotel in Cairns. The Social Club tries to run an event for employees and families as an addition to the regular, employees-only event; there wasn't one last year, but they certainly made up for it this year. We had to put a little cash toward it, but consiudering the victuals, the view and the company were well worth it!

The theme was a masquerade ball, and as soonas Vickie saw the invitation (prizes for best costume), she asked, "What're we going as?" Being the punster she is; Vickie decided she'd go in a dark, starry cloak over a black dress with "December 24th" pinned to it - The Night Before Christmas, you see - while deciding on Jack Frost for myself (hey, I had no bloody idea what to go as). As I think I mentioned a while ago, we had to do some shopping for material and make-up; Vickie's original plan was to make her cloak and mask, plus a whole costume for me. She got as far as making a good pair of white, draw-string pants before chucking it in; the huimidity isn't exactly conducive to dressmaking. Around that time, she spotted some promotional stills for the upcoming seasonal kids' film, The Santa Clause 3 - The Escape Clause and promptly decided Martin Short's business-suited Jack Frost was the look for me. Thankfully, I already had a business suit; a trip to a charity shop nabbed a spiffy silver tie and a can or two of Santa's Snow took care of the rest!

Continue reading "A Chilly Eve in Cairns" »

October 18, 2006

The Jury's In: A Successful Get-Together!

I’ve had a few people asking me via IM how the gamers’ get-together at the Courthouse Hotel went. The simple answer: Very well. More complicated, you say? Hokay, let me list the high points:

High Point #1: Everyone Turned Up.
Yep, that’s a big deal considering the last get-together I tried to organise. Now, not everyone was there at the same time, and not everyone could stay for long, but everyone who said they were coming came – which made that afternoon a gratifying one in my book!

Everyone turned out to be five people: Bruce, the local RPGA supremo; Tracey, our Shadowrun GM; Shaun and Renee, whom I’d met a few weeks ago through Gerry Webb of Castaway Arts; and finally, Brett, who e-mailed me in April after seeing my RPGnet post looking for Cairns gamers. Renee, it turns out, used to be one of Bruce’s pupils at Trinity Bay High. She, Shaun and Bruce wound up talking a lot about the local gaming scene, which, it seems, is fairly transitory; people keep moving in and out.

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October 14, 2006

Gamers in Court

The kitchen and dining room are almost entirely painted. Actually, the kitchen itself is done, aside from a couple of touch-ups. The dining room still needs a little work, though; the skirting boards need a thorough sanding-off before they can be painted. There’s also a vertical trim in each corner where the dining room walls meet that needs a good smoothing-over. I’ll get those jobs done this weekend; we want our dining room back soon!

Still, we’re going to be a little busy. Today at midday, Vickie and I are meeting some local gaming friends at the Courthouse Hotel for lunch and a few games of Chez Geek; Vickie once said that a few of the people coming will probably be glad that they'll just be meeting people without the expectation of having to play an RPG session. It’ll be just seven of us today, Vickie and I included, but I’d like to make it a regular, maybe monthly thing. Getting together with friends has become a tricky proposition lately, not just because of the renovations; I think people’s schedules are getting a little more crowded. Having something regular that you can plan for in advance would help people keep in touch.

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September 25, 2006

We Have Our Living Room Back!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen; thanks to some dilligent and hard work by Karl (with assistance from yours truly), we now have our main room back and looking far better than it did a couple of months ago! Our furniture is all back from Karl's and we're slowly re-assembling the entertainment appliances; I'll be spending this evening re-organising the cables behind the TV in order to prevent another rat's nest. Once we've put some decorations up on the walls, I'll take some photos for you folks.

The deadline pressure is off, although we wish it weren't. I got a call from Dad on the weekend; Heather had called him and told him that she'd just been in to see the doctor with eye problems, which turned out to be a burst blood vessel. She's in the public health service waiting queue to have it seen to, and until that happens she can't fly. It's a bugger, as we were all looking forward to Heather being here, but at least it ddn't happen midair. I've been meaning to give Heather a call; she's too old to go to pubs and tell the football supporters that they're all Southern pansies.

So the week of leave I was taking before she arrived, whch we were planning to spend frantically dusting and clearing up, will still be spent frantically dusting and clearing up, but in addition, we'll de-wallpaper and paint the kitchen and dining room (another long-overdue job).

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August 19, 2006

The Mountain Comes to Mohammed

Just read about this in the Perrenland mailing list.

GenCon Oz.

Holy Fuck.

August 01, 2006

The Reefcon Report: 2006

Now that Reefcon’s over and done with, I want to review my experiences there, filter them through the lens of my tastes and learn as much as I can. I’ll break this up into two posts, a straight up report with my initial impressions and some general conclusions.

I wound up playing in two sessions. The first, on Friday night, was a Living Greyhawk module. I was one of seven players, most of whom were hormone fuelled teens (early to late) still in that phase where you’re always trying to verbally one-up everyone else (I know how that feels; I can think of several instances in my youth when I was right there). As an example, my character, the first-level half-elf sorcerer Horst Buholt (the Perrenland region has a distinct Northern European flavour, so I went with a Germanic name), likes travelling on foot (you have to pick a deity for Living Greyhawk characters, and of what I read from the two-hundred-plus page deity document for LG, the god Fharlanghn seemed the most interesting choice) and owns a pack donkey. Of course, once the other players found out, a good chunk of session time was occupied by tittering threats to the donkey’s life. Most of the session was pretty much occupied by that kind of sugar-buzz smack-talking. I took it with a smile and did my best to ignore it, but the session was slow and boring as a result. At the end, the DM said, “I hope everyone had fun; I did.” I couldn’t help thinking, “What - really? You seriously had fun? When?”

Continue reading "The Reefcon Report: 2006" »

May 01, 2006

Not Just One, But Two - And A Half!

Looks as though the curse has been broken, folks - Rhys, Kev and I didn't get a single session of gaming in yesterday, we got two, and Kev's talking about running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for Rhys and I! (He even borrowed my 3.5 Edition books!)

The lads got over here a little late. I figured it was a sure sign Rhys was becoming a gamer (see various prior comments re: herding cats), but later I discovered that Rhys had in fact tried a game out at one point, but was presumably bored to tears - as I was dropping Rhys off last night, Kev made a comment along the lines of, "See what I told you, it can be fun with the right people."

Per my last post, I decided to run InSpectres for the guys. Of the two games, InSpectres was easily the most fun. Our boys were Jim-Bob Smith (Kev) and Steven "The Shark" James (Rhys) of RPI (Randomly Precise Investigations), Sheridan Street, Cairns. Here are the things that really stick out in my mind:

  • Rhys detailing the corporate vehicle: a battered, gunmetal Kombi van with "RPI" spraypainted on the sides using a crude cardboard stencil. During the course of the job said van got a rather nasty gash down the side thanks to a botched Stress roll and very nearly had a tree fall on it.
  • Kev introducing the Mystery of the Plasma Rifle, an advanced piece of ghostbusting tech that somehow appeared in the Kombi one day. (This is yet to be solved.)
  • My detailing (after a bad Technology roll) that Albert, the CEO of RPI, had horrid mental scars from a bad experience with a DOS-based IBM XT computer back in the late eighties, refusing to equip the office with any computer more advanced than a scientific calculator as a result.
  • All of us creating a working adventure based on nothing more than the characters, the franchise and a roll of "Frantic, Monster, Infestation, Underwater" on the Client Contact table, which became a bunyip evicted from its home in Copperlode Dam by the sudden appearance of voracious beasts with big teeth.
  • Jim-Bob hauling the industrial-strength vacuum cleaner (ostensibly ghostbusting equipment) down the stairs to the underground bunker-cum-library of Musty Tomes to do some cleaning. Sadly, vaccuming was all the vacuum cleaner was used to do this time around.
  • Both Rhys and Kev using Confessionals to slap "Scaredy-Cat" characteristics on each other after some nasty Stress rolls.
  • The defeat of the nasty monsters using water-balloons, acidic pus and a self-propelled giant cattle syringe (yep, the Plasma Rifle never got used).
  • Lots and lots of laughter at the absurd situations we were all creating for Jim-Bob and the Shark.
  • Oh, yeah, and my turning Albert the CEO into a caricature of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen (the distinctive and oft-lampooned mannerisms, not the rampant paranoia and abuse of authority - although there's an idea there...).

In short, we definitely want to follow the progress of RPI, and I'm hoping the firm can hire Vickie, Simon and Cristel soon! It'll be interesting, as the firm, which started on six Franchise dice, wound up with only five after clean-up and vacation, even after a six was the high die on two Bank dice rolls (which nets the franchise an extra Bank die each time). Can the new blood turn a profit?

Continue reading "Not Just One, But Two - And A Half!" »

April 27, 2006

More RPG on Sunday

Well, well, well! Looks like I'm gonna have yet more game this coming Sunday!

I get a phone call from Vickie yesterday afternoon. She told me that we'd be having a couple of guests for dinner; Rhys, her first grandson, and his sales partner (Rhys is working for Austar as a salesperson), a gent from Canada by the name of Kevin. I say, okay, cool.

Then Vickie drops the bomb: Kev's a gamer, who's been out of the hobby so long that he's itching to game. Coming on the heels of a rather grinding day at work, this was bloody good news.

Continue reading "More RPG on Sunday" »

January 14, 2006

You Probably Saw This Coming.

Yep, Gaming Night crashed and burned. One of the folks who was coming called at about half seven. He'd only just got home after working back. He even asked if something might be happening if he tried to make it out, but as it's an hour-and-a-half trip, I figured we'd probably be buggered by the time he arrived. (And an hour and a half back again if it doesn't pan out? That's a bit much to ask of him...)

I wound up calling the other guy at his home (found his number in the White Pages) - he and his friends tried to get out here and got lost, and he didn't think to write our phone numbers down; his friends said 'screw it', so they all went home. He was about to write me an e-mail when I called him. So, yeah, whatever back at you and your friends, other guy. At least the first guy had the good graces to call.

And you know what? He offered before and I was pretty non-committal (the dungeons and the dragons and all that), but if the first guy wants to do some Eberron sometime, I'd be up for it. He's got good manners, I'd like to play at his table.

Vickie suggested inviting Deena and her man Pete over; we might be able to get a little Chez Geek in after all.

I'm just damn glad I told Vickie she didn't need to cook for the party...

Continue reading "You Probably Saw This Coming." »

Gaming Night Tonight

Remember the gaming night that I mentioned last year? (Shit, 2005 is "last year" already...) Well, it's January the 14th already, and three people have replied to the e-mail I sent confirming they'd be here. (Technically, it was five, but two had to pull out due to family commitments.)

Exactly what'll happen tonight, I'm not sure, but I'm hoping it involves some play of a roleplaying game. I'll let you know how things go.

December 02, 2005

Food, Food and More Food

What's been happening over the past few days? What's happening tonight, and again tomorrow?

Food, that's what.

  • Firstly: David, one of my colleagues, finished his advertising sales traineeship with flying colours today. Of course, big Morning Tea was had, including a platter of lavish rolls (I feel sure that should be lavash rolls, but hey) from Woolies' Deli, plus bread, stuffed peppers, olives and salami from Dave's dad's deli, as well as sausage rolls and spinach and fetta rolls from Brumby's (for those of you down South, Queensland competitor to Baker's Delight). As I'm fond of saying, with a morning tea like that who needs lunch?
  • Next, today is Vickie's son Karl's birthday, so barbecue at our place tonight with yours truly on the tongs. Steak, snags, the works.
  • Thirdly - okay, this one needs a little back story. The admin team of Renee and myself have been busting our humps while some of the sales reps have taken their dseserved annual leave. Although mistakes have been made (on my part mostly), we've done a damned good job; so much so that the firm has sprung for an all-expense-paid lunch for each of us (and our partners where appropriate). So Vickie and I are going to be having a nice, relaxing long lunch at Tides, a waterside bar in Cairns, tomorrow afternoon. Toni, my manager, has assured me that we should not worry about cost. (I think she knows that we don't get that hungry...)
  • And finally, our traditional Pre-Christmas Bash is barely over a week away. On the evening of Saturday, December the 10th, family, friends and colleagues will be charging over to Riverstone Road for some food and fun (booze BYO). Batteries for the camera will be charged and photos WILL be taken.

Somehow, I don't think Vickie or I will need to eat at all until Christmas Day...

November 22, 2005

Gaming Night

Following on from this post, here's the e-mail I sent out:

    Vickie and I would like to invite all of you over our place on the evening of Saturday, January 14th (after the Christmas / New Year Danger Period) to Play Some Games.

    What games? Anything that can be picked up, learned, played and enjoyed in a short space of time. Now, I know you're thinking board or card games, and those are fine for Gaming Night. If you have one or some you enjoy, please bring 'em along.

    But here's the thing: There are roleplaying games that can be picked up, learned, played and enjoyed in a short space of time. There are roleplaying games DESIGNED to go from blank character sheets and no GM prep to a completed, satisfying first session in four or five hours. (No, no pre-generated PCs.) Even with two players and a GM.

    I have some. And I'd really like to play 'em with you.

    So if you're interested, please get back to me on or before Saturday, January the 7th and let me know whether you're coming. If you have freinds who might be interested, please pass this on to them - better yet, just tell them to keep the night clear and drag them along with you!

    You'll need your dice collection; a deck of playing cards would be a bonus. An item of food (bag of chips, a container of dip, whatever strikes your fancy) and a bottle of drink (alcoholic or otherwise) would be a good idea. Again, please bring along anything you'd like to play. I'd like to get a game going by eight o'clock at the latest, and while you're welcome as early as six, please aim to get here around seven.

So far, I've had one reply. Yes, it was positive, schedules pending.

October 08, 2005

Speaking of Serenity...

So yeah, Vickie and I went and saw the Big Damn Movie on Thursday night, for her birthday.

Wow.

And, Oof.

And, bring on the next one!

September 12, 2005

Much Ado Aout Nothing

Folks, if its not already toured in your area (which it might not have, given that its doing Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory at the moment) I wholeheartedly recommend you catch the Australian Shakespeare Companys musical production of Much Ado About Nothing. Vickie and I went to see it last night at the Flecker Botanical Gardens up here in Cairns, and it was absolutely hilarious. Theyve turned most of the major soliloquies into musical numbers specifically, country rock and roll numbers and they work very well. Not only that, the cast had a great time, with Brendan OConner worth particular mention for his scene-stealing performance as the wicked bastard brother Don John (when he did his numbers, I couldnt help but be reminded of Bon Scott).

It looks as though this production is coming to the end of its run up here in Cairns, but if it or another production makes its way to you, any other way you could use the cost of a ticket or two would only be a waste of money. If nothing else, its worth it for the song performed by the two roadies/gig security (formerly constables) Dogberry and Verges, He Called Me An Ass.

September 11, 2005

How come all the exciting stuff happens after we leave?

Joss Whedon recently got himself a sign-on over on the Serenity Oz forums, and just this morning made the following announcement:

    So I'm here in Sydney and tomorrow I've a monstrous bunch of yakking to do, press and all that, a screening -- you guys know the drill. But today, being as that I'm footloose and fancy free, I thought it might be fun to sit down with a few peeps over a foamy beer and be a little less structured. I'm staying near the Orient, which is in the Rocks, so around 5:00 pm I figure to wander down there and hoist a few (just a few). If you're free and bored swing by. I'll be the one with the white carnation and a copy of "War and Peace". (That might be not true.) I'll be the one that looks like Joss, only more tired. (Wait, I always look tired. Maybe I better bring "War and Peace" after all.)

I've already phoned Gav and Sim, and ICQed Boots. The rest of you Firefly fans out there - don't say I didn't try.

August 20, 2005

They're Mad, I Tell You! MAD!

Let me direct you, gentle reader, to this web page about Walsh's Pyramid. This is a free-standing mountain situated to the West of Gordonvale. Not far west, mind you; it pretty much dominates the town. Make careful note of its height, and the estimated round-trip time for experienced hikers.

Continue reading "They're Mad, I Tell You! MAD!" »

July 02, 2005

Funerial Visit

I had a chat with Dad on Thursday night. Nan's funeral is at 1 PM on Tuesday, and I'll be flying into Sydney on Tuesday morning and leaving on Tuesday evening. As things are a little tight up here money-wise right now, Dad offered to pay for the tickets.

I'll be arriving at ten past ten in the morning and flying out again at seven, so with the funeral and wake I doubt I'll have time to stop off anywhere to say hello to anyone. In case you're wondering, no, I can't stay any longer; my contract is pay-by-the-hour, and if I don't work I don't get paid. Vickie and I can't really afford for me to have a short week right now (we've already had a few unpaid public holidays recently).

January 16, 2005

Last Sydney Party at the New Orleans Cafe

Well, in a dual celebration of my attaining that glorious state known as Unemployment and our last Saturday in Sydney, Vickie and I invited some friends to dinner with us at the New Orleans Cafe last night. The food was fantastic (try their cajun cheese burger with the guacamole and bacon sometime, you won't regret it).

Continue reading "Last Sydney Party at the New Orleans Cafe" »

January 03, 2005

Christmas Party 2004 Photos

Today I finally got around to processing the photos I took at the party Vickie and I held the week before Christmas, making these photos a few weeks overdue.

  • Mid-Evening
    From left to right: John Osterberg, Tara, Jason, Andrew Hilton, Gav, Pirotess, EvilHayama
  • On the Porch
    From left to right: Jason, Sim, John Osterberg
  • Mandi On the Porch
  • Tall Tales by Lamplight
    From left to right: Pirotess, EvilHayama, Gav, Andrew Hilton, Tara
  • Late Evening
    From left to right: Jason (half-visible), EvilHayama (almost invisible), Sim, Pirotess, Gav, Tara, Mandi, John Osterberg, Master Chief

Unfortunately, in an extreme bout of slack-bastarditis, especailly considering that this was pretty much the last time we'll have that gang together at our place the last time, I didn't get any group "Everyone say Cheese!" shots. My apologies to everyone who didn't get their face in a photo.

December 12, 2004

Halo 2 Caption Comp Winners!

Ladies and genlemen, after careful deliberation over the entries received, the Judges are glad to announce the winners of the IMAGinES Halo 2 Caption Competition!

Our winner is Sim "SimLauren" Lauren, with the first place entry:

Sleep? - you need to EARN sleep! - Pick that controller back up!

Continue reading "Halo 2 Caption Comp Winners!" »

December 02, 2004

Everybody's Doing It

No no no, you dirty-minded Huns! Caption competitions! Everyone's doing caption competitions!

Okay, this one's not quite a caption competition, but it's close. Steve Jackson Games is working on a supplement to their Ninja Burger game, and Evil Stevie himself needs some help with a title. Enter, and if you submit the winning entry, you get free copies!

Oh, and speaking of caption competitions, the total of entries to the Halo 2 comp has gone up - to three! Ladies and Gentlemen of my reading public, I ask you, are you going to let these people walk away with a prize just for entering? You don't have to enter three captions, you know; one or two will do fine! You have just over a week left to go, so you'd better not let it slide, or else you might realise too late that the deadline, which is, I'll remind you, ten PM, Friday, December the Tenth, has slipped by!

November 29, 2004

If You Build It, They Will Come

Thats the theory or maybe the blind hope Im operating on by establishing a Cairns Roleplayers Group over on Meetup.com. I found out about this service via The Forge, and it looks like a good way of organising a gathering of like-minded people.

In fact, here are some existing groups in Sydney that I think will appeal to a broad segment of my readership: Firefly, Roleplayers, Xbox and SciFi/Fantasy.

Oh, and here's one for a certain Melbourne reader: Buffy.

November 23, 2004

Meet Memento Mori

I just got back in from a quick after-work trip to Cammeray to meet with none other than Jared A. Sorensen, the demented genius behind Memento Mori Theatricks and his lovely wife Rebecca. They were out here to catch up with Rebecca's extended Australian family, and were able to spare an hour and a half to catch up with the RPGnet Forum Memento Mori Sydney Posse - which turned out to be just myself and Ken Finlayson.

Continue reading "Meet Memento Mori" »

November 21, 2004

Garage Sale December 12th

On the general topic of selling stuff, Vickie and I are having a Garage - well, Carport - Sale on Sunday, December the twelfth, starting at 9 AM and ending at 5 PM or when all the items we have up for offer are sold (whichever is earliest). We'll have gardening books, clothes, craft books and materials, household items, cookery books, novels, magazines and the odd computer game. Please wander along with your cash and take away a bargain!

If you need our address or contact details, please send me an e-mail. We'll have signs posted in the area, so you shouldn't have much problem finding us!

November 18, 2004

Put the Game Down and Step Away from the Xbox!

[UPDATE 10:02PM December 10th:] The competition has been closed; winners will be announced in a separate posting at 8 PM Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Sunday December 12th, 2004.


After showing some friends the Busted! image I whipped up, I came up with another caption (specifically, the one in the heading) and started wondering, What could the IMAGinES community come up with? Immedately, an idea popped into my head: Why not actually run a caption competition and give the best caption a prize? Heck, the Penny Arcade guys give stuff out all the time!

So here it is: The first ever IMAGinES Caption Competition! Tell us what the Master Chief, zealously guarding the IMAGinES Xbox, is telling the mysterious interloper bearing a sneakily-procured copy of Halo 2!

Continue reading "Put the Game Down and Step Away from the Xbox!" »

October 25, 2004

Rob & Vickies Infamous Christmas Party 2004

Well, as were now precisely two months away from the Big Event, I think its time to answer the queries (all one of them) weve had about this years Christmas party. As were buggering off to Cairns in mid-January, and are probably going to be busy with packing and sorting in the weeks in between, we figure on making the party a combined Christmas/going-away function (yes, weve had someone else ask us about a going away party, too).

So, as we know how long it takes you lot to get organised [ ;-) ], weve set the date of our Christmas party for Saturday, December the 18th. That puts it precisely a week after Macquariecon XX, so we wont be conflicting with your gaming schedules. Well be sending official invitations a month beforehand, but please pencil it on your calendars.

September 23, 2004

DVD Days: RvB and/or Firefly

Well, as the Battlestar Galactica and Pitch Black DVD Day suggestions didnt go down well due to the lack of interest in/aversion to the subject matter, Im having another shot this time with some stuff that Im pretty sure will keep peoples interest!

Continue reading "DVD Days: RvB and/or Firefly" »

July 11, 2004

Early and Late Sunday

Well, Vickie and I got in about an hour ago from the Greengate. A fun night was most defintely had; I was well pleased with how smoothly things went.

Here are the photos:

The Early Crowd (around 6 PM)
From left to right: Joe, Juene, Dad, Mum, Nan, Trish, Gav, EvilHayama, Pirotess, SimLauren, Jason, Vickie

The Early Crowd, Plus Rob
From left to right: Joe, Me, Dad, Mum, Nan, Trish, Gav, EvilHayama, Pirotess, SimLauren, Jason, Vickie

The Late Crowd (around 9 PM)
From left to right: Gav, Boots, Jacinta, Dizzy, Deb, Charisse, Vickie, Notlih

The Late Crowd, Plus Rob
From left to right: Gav, Boots, Jacinta, Dizzy, Deb, Charisse, Vickie, Me

June 20, 2004

In Praise of the Playlist

Ive read several columns on the use of music in gaming, and for every RPGnet column that expounds on the incalculable enhancement that music is to the gaming session, there are at least two comments that the mechanics of including and managing music during an adventure, plus the potential for distraction, add up to a royal pain. Music is nice, but GM and players are here to game, first and foremost. Music should be an aid to roleplaying. As soon as the music or the management of it music intrudes on gameplay, youre not gaming any more.

Ive come to the conclusion that the best soundtrack to a session is one that supports the overall mood of the game and that can adapt to specific moods without requiring a significant break in the flow of the session. The problem is that, up until the past few years or so, such a goal has been difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

Thankfully, the advent of the MP3, the ever-decreasing size of computers and the capability of ripping tracks from CDs have put the minimal-maintenance soundtrack within the grasp of Joe and Jane Gamemaster. In fact, the convergence of modern technology has given this goal a name the playlist.

And why stop with just one? Take your CD collection and a few hours, and you can put together several playlists, each one suiting an individual mood within your campaign. All you have to do when the mood changes is swap between playlists and make sure the brick is still on the Track Shuffle button!

Continue reading "In Praise of the Playlist" »

June 14, 2004

Pitch Black Pre-Riddick

Ive been talking a fair bit about DVD showings lately. Theres the instantly-popular Red Vs. Blue Day, of course, and then theres the not-quite-so-popular Battlestar Galactica showings I keep doing. Recently, though, theres been some talk of doing another DVD showing at my place.

Now, I think its a fair bet that you know how keen I am on the upcoming SF film, The Chronicles of Riddick. Its come to my attention that some of you havent seen Pitch Black, the film that Chronicles is the sequel to. Its also come to my attention that some of you would actually like to see Pitch Black before Chronicles hits the big screen.

Continue reading "Pitch Black Pre-Riddick" »

June 11, 2004

Important Notice: Upcoming Birthday

As some of you may or may not know, my birthday is precisely one month from today. You may also be aware that Boots' birthday is precisely one week after mine. As such, he and I are attempting to combine birthday parties by having a nice, relaxed get-together at the Greengate Hotel on the Pacific Highway, Killara on Sunday, July the 11th.

Boots is still a little unsure whether he'll be there; mid-July is getting into crunch-time uni-wise. Still, Boots and I figure that the Greengate is a nice compromise destination that shouldn't be too far out of the way for the slack buggers we call friends. ;-D

I think Boots will be there. After all, if he's not he'll probably get bothered by drunken phone calls all evening, so he won't get any work done anyway!

June 04, 2004

Red Vs. Blue Day

At least a couple of friends - Sim and Mad John, to name names - have been agitating lately for a Red Vs. Blue Day at my place. The one thing that's stymied any plans is the fact that Trent still has my RvB Season One DVD. Mate, is there any chance we can get together soon so I can get it back from you? And who else is interested? Not only will I have Season One, but all the episodes thus far of Season Two. Right now they're on my PC, but with a little network fiddling, I can get them onto the laptop - which I can now connect to our TV!

April 23, 2004

Galactica Day, Take 2

Well, I now own the new Battlestar Galactica miniseries on DVD; nipped down to HMV the day of its release and snapped up a copy before they'd had the chance to put it in the store shelf!

So, the last time I ried to organise a screening, I know I had expressions of interest from SimLauren, Trent, Dan and Christian (even if to do the tortured martyr bit). Would you guys still be keen if I organised it for, say, the evening of Saturday, May 22nd? Anyone else I've forgotten? Anyone else intereted, or changed their minds? Gav? Boots? We can always watch some Red Vs Blue as well - well, if Trent brings my DVD back! ;-D

Oh, yeah, by the way, Christian: Have you heard? Richard Hatch, the original Captain Apollo, will be guest-starring in the new series!

Wednes[DA] and Anzac WAN Party [DA]

It looks as though Wednesday evenings have become the game time of choice for the Battlefield 1942 clan known as Dad's Army. Pretty much every week has seen a fairly regular crew of four to six players join up on a server and kick some arse.

It's actually been quite easy for us to do so and more fun than I would have expected, thanks mainly to two free programs:

Continue reading "Wednes[DA] and Anzac WAN Party [DA]" »

January 24, 2004

Galactica/Red Vs. Blue Day

It's been almost a week since I asked the IMAGinewS Group whether anyone was interested in getting together on February the Seventh and taking a look at the new Battlestar Galactica. I've had no replies, and I'm not sure whether that means the seventh is bad for everyone or whether you're just not interested.

Although I did mention at the time that the recording was "slightly-inferior-to-VCR", friend and group member Pierre has put a from-TiVo DVD recording in the mail to me, and while it's not official DVD quality, Pierre assures me it's superior to VHS. With any luck, it should be here by next week.

Also, the Red Vs. Blue DVD should also have arrived by the end of next week; we could show both. (And there's always the option of nipping down to the Normanhurst Pizza Cafe in the intermission; they do great pizza, and I've been meaning to get everyone down there for ages. Vickie and I are willing to sacrifice the diet for one evening in favour of supporting local business.)

Anyway, as Lauren, whose idea this was in the first place, is going to be working on the seventh, how about Saturday the twenty-first? That gives all you cats a month's notice. Could you reply this time, even if your answer is "I have zero interest in Battlestar Galactica, old or new", please? (Except for all you overseas readers/members; you're naturally exempted.)

Continue reading "Galactica/Red Vs. Blue Day" »

January 16, 2004

Battlestar Galactica Day

I've finally sorted out how to get those BSG files Mike Z sent me running on my TV. I didn't get any expressions of interest after I mentioned a possible BSG date last time, but perhaps that was because it was in with a few other items at the time.

So: Is anyone interested in seeing (a slightly-inferior-to-VCR recording of) the new Battlestar Galactica? And is Saturday, the Seventh of February all right? (Vickie, we don't have anything planned for that day, do we, love?)

December 31, 2003

NYE '03

Morning all! Thirty-first of December, Twenty Oh-Three, and I'm spending the morning mowing the lawn and making sure it's ready to receive guests - assuming any turn up, of course, as I've heard neither hide nor hair from anyone.

Just a reminder: if you plan to come along, please give us a call or e-mail to let us know. You'll need to BYO nibblies and beverages (alcoholic or otherwise).

To everyone who won't be turning up, whether you already have plans to go to (or host) an NYE bash or whether you're just going to spend a quiet night in (frankly, we can't blame you), all our best wishes and may it be a great night for you!

December 27, 2003

For Your Attention

In the post-Christmas period, I'd like to draw the attention of me readership to a few things:


  • Firstly, as you all know, New Years Eve is coming up. I know that a few of you are planning shindigs at various spots, and considering the hosts, they're going to be bitchin'. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Vickie and I can't make them. However, we will be holding an open-door New Year's party at our joint for anyone who'd like to come along. It's going to be BYO nibblies and beverages (alcoholic or otherwise), as we're a little strapped post-Christmas, and it's probably going to be small and comfortable, with the option of watching the fireworks on TV (spotty reception and all) at midnight. If you'd like to spend a comfortable, (comparatively) quiet evening with friends, please give us a call or e-mail.

  • With many thanks to Michael Z in Canberra, I have my hands on the Scifi Re-Imagined Mini-Series of Battlestar Galactica.Vickie and I have seen it, and we reckon it kicks serious arse. SimLauren suggested organising a Viewing Day sometime soon; it'll mean connecting my PC to our TV screen, but I'd like to do it. Is anyone interested? (And does anyone have a cable that connects a standard stereo headphone jack to the red/white audio ports on a TV?)

  • Still on the get-togethers topic, but moving from physical to virtual, I'd like to direct your attention to an MSN forum known as Jakes Bar. Vickie is a moderator there, and as we've grown dissatisfied with a lot of other forums we've spent time on (they've gone from social chat to political bitching), we want to give Jake's a kick-start. We need more regulars, though, so if you have an MSN Passport, please wander over, sign in and say hello!

  • And finally tonight, I'd like to suggest that those of a PC gaming bent check out a little game called Star Chamber. It's this odd, addictive hybrid of turn-based strategy and collectible card game. Not only is this 10MB download really good, but it's also entirely free - although that only gives you some sample star-maps and card decks for five of the major races. If you want to seriously get into it (which I'm not yet), you're looking at buying virtual starters and boosters, which are still much cheaper than most collectible card games on the market today. Even so, the sample stuff really gives you a good taste of how the game works, and you can probably play with those for a while. If you download it, give me a hoy, and we can organise a few games (it's strictly two-player).

December 14, 2003

Pre-Christmas Party '03

Good morning everyone! The party last night went well. I think it actually wound up being more pleasant than it would have been with more guests - not that we didn't miss the people who couldn't make it, but it's just one of those things.

Lauren and co. were actually the first to turn up, a fact that surprised Lauren greatly; she's never first to a party. She even offered to go and come back later! Still, she can relax with the satisfaction that she turned up over an hour after the start time. We said it was a bring-a-plate party, but Lauren and Jason (Lauren's squeeze) came with plate, pan and ingredients; although Vickie had been busy in the kitchen before, making salads and cooking turkey (she figured on making some food just in case no-one bought a plate; I think she just wanted to cook), but Lauren and Jason simply took over, making lots of won ton and a bread-and-cheese concoction called a trencher.

Continue reading "Pre-Christmas Party '03" »

July 11, 2003

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me...

Morning everyone! Today, I am officially twenty-six. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was just a wee slip of a twenty year old. Very odd, the passage of time...

Well, as can be expected, I already have a few prezzies, including what I think is the niftiest one I'll probably get this year - a little hardback volume called Schott's Original Miscellany, by Ben Schott. Grandma and Aunt Heather in the UK sent it to me. It's this fantastic little collection of facts, quotations and other assorted stuff (including a complete list of the twenty Official Bond Films, with Bonds, villains, Bond Girls and Key Cars. It also has the NATO Alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc.) which I've been looking for for ages (I didn't know it was called the NATO Alphabet). I already have, and will be getting, some great presents, but I don't think any will beat this one for sheer niftiness.

Continue reading "Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me..." »

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me...

Morning everyone! Today, I am officially twenty-six. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was just a wee slip of a twenty year old. Very odd, the passage of time...

Well, as can be expected, I already have a few prezzies, including what I think is the niftiest one I'll probably get this year - a little hardback volume called Schott's Original Miscellany, by Ben Schott. Grandma and Aunt Heather in the UK sent it to me. It's this fantastic little collection of facts, quotations and other assorted stuff (including a complete list of the twenty Official Bond Films, with Bonds, villains, Bond Girls and Key Cars. It also has the NATO Alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc.) which I've been looking for for ages (I didn't know it was called the NATO Alphabet). I already have, and will be getting, some great presents, but I don't think any will beat this one for sheer niftiness.

Continue reading "Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me..." »

July 01, 2003

Hookin' Locorriere

Whee! Two newsposts in two days! Haven't done that in a while. A Happy Independence Day to all you United States readers, and please be careful with them fireworks.

Vickie justifiably razzed me last night for failing to mention what we got up to last Friday night: we went to The Basement for the first time in several months. A fine gent by the name of Dennis Locorriere was doing a one-man (plus guitar) show there that night. For those of you who don't know (don't worry, neither did I before Vickie heard him om the radio and told me), he was the lead singer/frontman for a little band back in the '70s/'80s called Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show. (Don't give me that blank look now, you liars, you've heard their music.) Dennis was everything I could ask for in a live act; he was fun, witty, energetic, a great muse-o, and really loved the music he was playing, which was Doctor Hook ("When You're In Love With a Beautiful Woman", "Cover of the Rolling Stone", "Sharing The Night Together", "Sylvia's Mother") with his own originals and some tunes written by the late Hook songwriter and novelist Shel Silverstein. It was easily worth the dinner/show rate The Basement charge. I am very glad Vickie suggested we go to see him.

Continue reading "Hookin' Locorriere" »

June 10, 2003

What I Did on the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

Hi all! I've taken today as annual leave so we could stay out late at the Con*Descending Wrap Party last night. This morning, I think it's entirely appropriate that I give my:

CON*DESCENDING 2003 POST-CON REPORT
or
What I Did on the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

To provide background information to those unfamiliar: Con*Descending 2003 is a convention of table-top roleplaying games, free-form roleplaying games and collectible card/miniatures games. There are approximately five or six each year in Sydney alone, usually over public holiday long weekends. It's being run by a few friends of mine, one of whom (Mandi, for those interested) pestered me into writing a "module" - in general RPG-speak, a single adventure sold as a booklet, but in con-speak, a short adventure designed to be completed within roughly three hours - for the con. Rather than writing a module based on an established game line, I decided to do something a little different: make a module based on the InSpectres independent roleplaying game. It was Vickie who came up with the idea behind the module: Set it at the Sydney Opera House, during a production of Macbeth, with the dreaded Curse in full swing.

Continue reading "What I Did on the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend" »

April 18, 2003

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Ahh, nothing like a good four days off work to recharge the batteries, eh? Time to relax, catch up with family and friends, maybe do the odd chore around the place... and consume lots of chocolate, of course. What's your favourite brand of Easter egg? Mine's the Cadbury Creme Egg, which is rather annoying, as it's sold year-round in the U.K., but is only available around Easter in Australia.

So what's been happening in the last week?

Well, work's still been an uphill slog, although I managed to get almost on top of the e-mail and task queues yesterday. The raise finally came through, although I'm not going on a splurge just yet. Well, okay, I bought the Star Wars Revised Core Rulebook on Wednesday night, but that's because I have a Star Wars con module brewing in the back of my mind.

Continue reading "Happy Easter, Everyone!" »

April 06, 2003

Elephants and Restaurants

Hi everyone! We've had a fun-packed seven days (well, not all of them, but the majority were fun-packed).

While I was working on the database stuff, Vickie made a trip down to HardWareHouse and picked up an orbital sander, a jig saw, a small hand saw and baldes for the latter. We took to the book case from Dan and Lesley with the sander and varnished it; it's now nicely stained and positioned in our living room. It has no books on it, though; it ponly has three shelf-pegs, and we can't seem to find our supply so we can put a fourth in. I'm thinking of using the jigsaw for hacking my desk to pieces, and the hand-saw for any case mods I cecide to do. We still need a workmate (you know, one of those fold-out work benches), though.

After work on Wednesday, I took the train to Kingsford Smith Airport's domestic terminal, met up with Vickie and hopped on a Virgin Blue 737 to Melbourne. We spent Thursday nmorning being given a tour of Melbourne Zoo by Jacqui, Vickie's eldest; they have a pair of Asian elephants named Mek Kapah and Bong Su, and a wonderful new elephant enclosure with lots of space for them to roam in. Taronga may have a better view, but Melbourne has much more room for its animals, so that they don't get bored. In my opinion, that makes it the better zoo.

Continue reading "Elephants and Restaurants" »

March 30, 2003

Invitations and Upgrade Plans

Morning all! I think I'm going to have to make a minor change to the way I use names online. Jake has now established himself an online presence, and now that I'm getting advice from PC hardware guru Cameron K at work, I want to avoid confusion between himself and my old mate Cameron. So, henceforth, Jake shall now be referred to by his nom de Net, EvilHayama, whilst Cameron (the old mate one, not the PC guru) shall be referred to as Cazman, or the Cazman, whichever works.

Vickie won a competition! She did, she did! As a donor member of the Art Gallery of NSW, Vickie received an entry form in the e-mail about a pair of competition for some free tickets for movies at Fox Studios' Cinema Paris. Vickie entered immediately - and was notified in short order that she'd won both! She scored herself four tickets, two to see Real Women Have Curves on Tuesday, April the 8th, and two to see Nowhere in Africa on Monday, April the 14th. She'll be taking me along to see both. ;-D

And on the topic of movies, I had a phone call from Gav last night - he was off to see Daredevil at Hornsby and wanted us to go along with him. Not thirty seconds later, Boots, with whom I was chatting via ICQ when Gav called, told us he and Jacinta were off to see Ned Kelly at Hornsby and that he'd like us along! We had to decline both - Vickie has a middle-ear infection, and was feeling especially wonky last night. Instead, we spent the night in, watching the Stuart Little 2 DVD we'd bought at Kmart that day.

Continue reading "Invitations and Upgrade Plans" »

February 08, 2003

Slack Day January 03

Good morning, everyone! Today has been officially declared a Slack Day. We were planning to head to the Summit Restaurant for dinner tonight, but as we've splashed out enough on good food over the past few days (Doyles, Le Kiosk, Toscani's, the Swagman's Post, etc.), and Jillian's reason for coming here was to see us, we've decided to have Jillian's last dinner in Sydney comfortably, at home.

Boots did in the end drop over on Thursday, at half past twelve. He and Jillian got on great; they sat for ages, discussing history, wars, social issues, it was great to sit and listen (and occasionally contribute) to. He had to head off to work at three thirty, and Jillian didn't get any photos, unfortunately.

That night, we were off to see Orpheus in the Underworld at the Sydney Opera House. It was the first show I'd ever seen there, and it was hilarious. If you're worried about it being an opera, don't worry, it was entirely in English, although the nature of operatic singing made it difficult to hear what was being sung at times (they projected supertitles above the stage, but craning the neck to read what was being sung was a little annoying), and loaded with topical references: for example, Orpheus' costuming and hair were suspiciously reminiscent of former British pop star Gary Glitter, and when Orpheus, the pre-eminent violinist of ancient Greece, brought out his "cute" class of students, none were older than fourteen. We also had the character of Public Opinion, who was very much based on Pauline Hanson. Oddly, we didn't see much of the title character, but I couldn't fault the production at all (ladies, you'll want to go to see Pluto in his tight vinyl trousers).

Continue reading "Slack Day January 03" »

December 28, 2002

2002 Christmas Report

Good afternoon! Recovered from all the cheer and the over-eating from Christmas Day yet? We're working on that ourselves.

Now, hands up who's seen The Two Towers already. Come on, you can be honest; the only thing that hasn't stopped us splurging on a pair of tickets ourselves is the fact that we're a little skint after splurging on Christmas prezzies.

Christmas Day actually turned out to be more positive than we'd otherwise thought it would be. We popped around Mum and Dad's for the planned couple of hours before we went over to Dan and Lesley's. We were expecting things to get a little tense between Mum, Dad, Vickie and myself (as they usually do), and there was a tense conversation about the future and grandchildren, but it felt like we'd all finally said some things that needed saying and that it's okay to get along now. After that, things went great, and after having Christmas lunch at Dan and Lesley's, we went back to Mum and Dad's again for a few hours!

Continue reading "2002 Christmas Report" »

December 25, 2002

Merry Christmas 2002!

Hello everyone! We hope you're enjoying your Christmas Morning and that you'll have a very enjoyable Christmas Day!

Rather than ramble on any further, I'd just like to re-post some very wise words that Vickie sent to the group on our behalf:

It's been a great year for us and the increased interest in the Newsgroup has been an added bonus. It's truly become a gathering of friends both near and far.

It's been a pleasure hosting parties and games, where so many of our friends can be together in the one place. We hope that you've all enjoyed yourselves and will continue to consider Fraser Road, a place where you are always welcome.

Here's looking forward to a great 2003!

Love,

Rob & Vickie!

December 23, 2002

A Pressie from Aston Martin and Q

Evening one and all! Two sleeps to Christmas! Are you counting down the days too? We've got almost all our Christmas stuff - cards, pressies and decorations - done; I think we just have one more pressie to buy tomorrow and we'll be all done! (Thank God!)

Die Another Day was fun. The attempted use of camera-rushes and Woo-esque slow-mo largely detracted from the film, and the tech sometimes stretched the suspension of disbelief, but Brosnan was in form, Berry was having a ball and John Cleese was perfect as the new Q. Oh, and the final few minutes showed us something we thought we'd never see... What really surprised me though, was that Madonna's cameo performance was better than her theme song.

Nothing much to report this evening. Response to the Spirit of Christmas v-party on Christmas Eve has been low, but I was expecting that - after all, I only posted the notice yesterday, and I don't think there are many on the list who actually own Neverwinter Nights (Philistines). Still, I'll be fiddling with the network tonight, as an experiment and a learning experience. Please, though, I'd still love to read your e-mail/vote if you plan to drop in. Once again, the Spirit of Christmas hakpak can be found here. The primary pak is a little over 12 megabytes in size, and the supplementary one is closer to 1.2 megabytes. I'd love to see you there!

Oh yeah, by the way: For all you cats out there waiting for the PC version of Halo, GameSpot have an update from Gearbox, who are working on the port.

December 22, 2002

You'd Better Watch Out...

G'morning, everybody! Three sleeps to Christmas! Looking forward to it?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was good. If you've read the novel, there's very little to surprise you - and on the other hand, I don't think there's anything you can get miffed at the movie-makers for changing. Richard Harris was great, as usual, and although he has a great body of work behind him, his warm and humourous portrayal of Albus Dumbledore will see his memory remain in the minds of the current generation of youngsters for years to come.

It's interesting to see the three stars of the film grow up as they do in the stories, although you start wondering (a) whether Daniel, Rupert and Emma will "out-grow" the shooting schedule, and (b) whether it's good for them to remain on what potentially is a seven-film (if J. K. Rowling keeps to her schedule of seven Potter books) series for their entire adolescence. When will they have time to be teenagers?

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December 01, 2002

Shelving, Shopping and Shlepping off to a Party

This also allowed us to re-organise the book shelves in the living room (they're now organised roughly by genre) and made some more room on the computer room shelves for me to put the RPG books I retrieved from Mum & Dad's. I also put my miniatures gaming boards (two thin 3' by 4' pieces of wood painted green on one side and gray on the other) in the wardrobe in the spare room, covered by a plastic drop-sheet so they won't rub against - and possibly leave paint on - any clothes in there. (Yes, folks, this does mean I'm now fully geared up again for Necromunda or any other mini gaming you cats want to do.)

We also bought a new computer chair for Vickie (the gas bottle on her old one had given up the ghost) and some china cooking bowls. All up, we paid $60, including delivery, for the lot. Good shopping on Vickie's part, eh? After we paid for the lot and arranged for them to be delivered, we replenished our pantry at Coles Asquith (which is a much more pleasant shopping experience than the one in Hornsby; we might just make it our regular shopping venue) and headed for home, wherein we re-organised the shelves and took delivery of the new ones.

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November 17, 2002

Two Redheads

Morning all! Big tidy-up day today; our real-estate agent is due over tomorrow to perform the mandatory bi-annual inspection. Steve the Handyman is also due to turn up today with a load of soil and assorted garden stuff.

Well, yesterday was good fun. I had my haircut in the morning, and the girls at the hairdresser's down the road insisted on putting some colour through my hair! They decided on red, as they thought it'd match Vickie's. So I came out of there with a nice shade of mahogany, which surprised both Vickie and Notlih! Vickie actually thinks a cobalt blue would suit me better. I tell you what, though; having a bit of colour in my hair was fun! It washed out in the shower, though (which I had before going to bed last night).

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October 23, 2002

Rebuilding the Red Dragon

Evening all! Or, I suppose, Morning All would be more appropriate. It's twenty minutes to midnight as I start writing this, and considering the reason I'm up so late, it'll likely be gone twelve by the time this gets posted. Ah, well...

So what am I doing? Re-installing Windows XP on Vickie's PC. For some odd reason - and I have this sneaking suspicion that the "odd reason" was the drivers for the CanoScan FB610 - it kept blue-screening during shutdown or restart, and would automatically reboot, which is annoying, especially if you're trying to turn your machine off. Still, a clean re-install and a careful following-of-instructions when it came to the drivers seems to have fixed the problem. I'm just re-loading all Vickie's documents from my hard drive now.

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October 07, 2002

Long Drive on the Long Weekend

Ahhhh... I love long weekends, don't you?

Yesterday was interesting. We drove up to Old Sydney Town, and spent an hour or two there, wandering around, watching the blacksmith and the NSW Corps recruitment (which was hilarious). Lunch there was also very nice; they do a great battered fish, and Vickie loved her ploughman's lunch.

Terrigal fell flat, though. We left Old Sydney Town earlier than we'd planned; we'd missed half of the shows and demonstrations by the time we got there (around midday) and weren't too interested in the rest at the time, so it wasn't long before we'd seen almost everything. We arrived in Terrigal at around three - and the amount of traffic just trying to get into the town was horrendous. Vickie would have liked to have gone shopping, but the only place we could park was over in the large car park on the head (near the famous fish & chip shop), and getting back into Terrigal proper would've meant a walk up and down the big hill. So, we stayed for ten minutes and got the heck out of town (and the inbound side was still thick with people trying to get in).

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