Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Beaten by time
There are various things going on that I could go into in great detail – such as completing the first two rooms worth of renovation, and being absolutely delighted to discover that the colour scheme really works; or that we got to play with power tools on the weekend and cut a ruddy great hole in the floor at the old house to enable a pest inspection to take place; or that we expect to receive the deposit this week, which will pay for the kitchen, ceilings, doors and lighting renovations; or that settlement is due in early December, which is when we will be in the market for amateur removalists – but the main point I need to get across in a single sentence is that Fiona and I will be away for a week from tomorrow for our second anniversary, so I have a million things to do at work before I go home today.
Here’s something a bit political and depressing, based on an American version of same.
Managed to kill off a character last night, but not the one I expected to. The cliffhanger from the last session ended with Jimbo’s druid being dragged into a niche by a subterranean strangler thing, but Chris’ barbarian bravely interposed himself into harm’s way to save his little buddy and got throttled in his place.
I also managed to give the survivors a run for their money with two goblins and some imposing bugs. For those not in the know, goblins are amongst D&D’s least dangerous monstrous opponents (no, really, they’re about as nasty as an over-friendly dalmation). I may have to downgrade the threat levels on my adventure designs…
9 smartarse remarks
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
The house transforms
We’ve had three designer/builders through the house for quotes to build us an entirely new kitchen. The consensus view so far is that we want more appliances that we have space to put them in, and that it probably won’t be practical to put the washing machine in a cupboard.
Hmm. Well, I suspect in the end that we’ll go with the one that can do it most cheaply and doesn’t plan to install a toilet in the middle of the room…
Things seem to be getting more complex and busy than I have the patience to endure at work. Lots of conflicting agendas, lots of people unsure what they want me to do form them. But it appears that I have some useful purpose to serve until at least March next year, by which time I imagine I’ll be ready to do something else. And in the interim, I continue to hope for some kind of infeasible windfall that will allow me to walk away from my “career”. I’m starting to get extremely caught up in the notion of buying, renovating and on-selling houses as an alternative to the public service.
Resumption of play
Following a clandestine rendezvous at the Civic Starbucks with a girl we met on the internet (ooo-er!), Chris and I have rejuvenated our Monday night roleplaying by roping in the new blood. Jimbo, Chris, Ginge, Al and newcomer Emma are all playing in a light’n’easy D&D game that I’m more or less making up as I go along. I’ll do a web page up for it shortly, mainly so I can keep a track of the NPCs.
So far it’s been fun. Last night, the shoulda-been-slaughtered heroes of Ripplesand managed to kill a giant bug in all of twenty seconds without serious injury, and I managed to throw in a cliffhanger in the last few seconds…
Of course, I keep having to restrain the Frustrated Novelist and keep from writing dozens of pages of backstory and unnecessary details, when all anyone who’s playing really wants is to find some clues, banter wittily with villains, and bash some monsters (or pirates, to cite Emma’s character’s newfound obsession). I just need to keep repeating – Keep It Simple, Praise the (Elemental) Lords and Pass the Dinosaurs…
1 smartarse remarks
Friday, September 17, 2004
It’s been ages since my last Lexifab update. Lots of stuff has happened, but I haven’t felt like typing much of it in. I shall explain. No, wait, there’s no time. I shall summarise:
One house.To go.
The guy who was interested in the house - whose name can now be revealed as Richard, since he is no longer a Nameless Entity but a Someone in our book – last Thursday night came back with an acceptable offer (albeit our minimum acceptable offer). Since then we’ve started the ball rolling on the legal and financial hoops, and contracts should be exchanged in the next week or so. What this means for Fiona and I is: a) a big fat deposit cheque, followed some months hence by a significantly fatter final settlement cheque; b) a relaxed two-three months to pack up and move, which will be balanced by c) a frantic rush-around to get professionals in to make the new house as habitable as possible before we get there.
We’re still not definitely in the clear, and I don’t think we’ll be breathing easy until legal things are signed in blood and non-refundable deposits are deposited, but we’re close enough to see the end in sight now.
Linda’s animal refuge rescue, a muscly tortoiseshell cat called Skinner (known to me and Jimbo and eventually everyone else as ‘Doctor Monsteroso’, or just ‘Doc’) had to be put down earlier in the week. Poor little bugger had a tumour that swelled up from nowhere last weekend. He thwarted early attempts to take him to the vet’s by running away and hiding until the vet closed. Then he came back, and then he ran away again. Once he finally made it to the vet’s, there was nothing that could be done for him.
Damn animals. They never make it easy for you.
There’s more, but it will have to wait
We’re taking Linda out for beers and dinner. And weeping, probably. Damn animals.
2 smartarse remarks
Thursday, September 09, 2004
So, then, politics
I’ve been following this election campaign with a slightly more keen interest than in the past. I have no particular insights to share. I just have a passionate enthusiasm for the immediate ousting of the incumbent and a small-l-liberal, greenie, pinko, elitist incredulity that anyone could support the openly dishonest Mr Howard. This letter, posted on the SMH website of the admittedly (and admirably) left-leaning Howard-despiser Margo Kingston, pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter, although crucially, the author fails to mention the significant and abundant shortcomings of the current Foreign Minister in her indictment of this Government. Which is a pity, because he should certainly be included in any comprehensive assessment of the failures of the Coalition.
Somebody (no fingers pointed yet, but I imagine that the radios are chanting JI as I type this) has detonated a bomb in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta. I have several good friends working there. The newspaper article says that no Embassy staff are among the casualties, but I’d say that it’s a bit early to be certain about that.
grrrI’m picturing someone in the government appearing on the Channel 9 news tonight –probably the aforementioned Foreign Minister – glib-smugly implying that a vote for Latham is a vote for a worsening terror situation. Prove me fucking wrong, just this once, please.
1 smartarse remarks
Monday, September 06, 2004
Do we have a deal or don’t we?
So there seems to be another couple who might be interested in making an offer on the house. One of them visited last weekend, and brought the family back this weekend. On Sunday afternoon the daughter’s boyfriend came around for a second opinion. This is at least promising. We haven’t heard back from the guy that made the offer last week yet, but we may do. Hope springs eternal.
It’s really good. It’s so good, I like watching it even when I can only view about three minutes of it before the DVD resets. Quote: “Dear Diary: Today I was pompous and my sister was crazy. Today, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.” Even in three-minute chunks, this show rocks.
Reeling from the turps fumes
Startled by the sudden possibility that we might have to move in soon, Fi and I redoubled our renovation efforts on the weekend. I painted several doors blue, while she painstakingly coloured in the slats on a built-in wardrobe. Then we bought some curtain-making materials.
This is gonna take forever.
1 smartarse remarks
Friday, September 03, 2004
Thoughts about The End of Evangelion, which was on the telly last night
- It lost me a couple of times, but overall it makes a lot more sense than the final two episodes that actually aired. Plus, everybody dies! But they don’t! But they do! Or don’t they? Not sure.
- Go Asuka! Kill Angelic Robots for Freedom and Icky Maternal Vengeance!
- Shinji wins the award for Least Functional Protagonist Ever, hands down. Katsuragi should’n’a wasted her breath. She should just have shot him in the knees and plonked him in the EVA.
- I reiterate: ewww!
The sorta offers sorta roll in
The prospective buyer who came over on Wednesday night made us an offer on Thursday, but unfortunately it was about thirty grand under our minimum. Still, at least my wish for insulting offers is starting to come true (on reflection, I regret not wording that wish a little more carefully – a lesson you would think I would have learned after so many years playing D&D…).
There’s one fish still sort of half-struggling on the line, though. One guy who couldn’t quite manage our bottom line price has decided to speak to his bank about whether he can go a bit higher. It’s possible he’ll come back with a better offer in the next couple of days. If he does, even though it’s less than we would have liked or think the place is worth, we’ll probably take it, if for no other reason than it will free up our weekends and let us get on with our lives…
0 smartarse remarks
Thursday, September 02, 2004
The Firefly DVD’s persist in their refusal to collaborate with our lousy bloody player to show us anything after the first scene of the third episode. Tried to watch again last night, and failed again. In frustration, we watched the X-Men 1.5 DVD instead, which worked perfectly (after from one small screen glitch late in the movie which didn’t lead to any further problems).
As I mentioned, we’ve had the same problem with the Buffy and Angel box sets, leading me to conclude (employing my famous powers of rigourous technical deduction) that 20th Century Fox use really cheap, shitty discs and crap quality control in the production of their television series DVD releases. And, furthermore, that we need to take our DVD player in for a checkup. The only things stopping us from doing just that are the twin certainties that (a) the repairer will not be able to reproduce the problem, and (b) it will be cheaper just to replace it than it would be to repair (I just went into JB HiFi, where they are selling exactly the same model for under $200).
Yet another shiny sliver of hope
Yet another person came over to look at the house last night. She seemed serious (at least, serious enough to look at the pest and building inspection reports). I’ve given up wondering whether anyone will ever buy the house. It is now apparent that we only think we have the house on the market, and that all the people that we imagine to have come through our doors over the past seven months are, in fact, the restless ghosts of the damned, shrieking and wandering the suburbs on their unholy mission to share their misery and despoil the hopes of the righteous.
X-Men is a very good movie. It would have been better if Halle Berry had remembered to act, but it was still much better than a superhero film has any right to be.
Coming up in Potted Superhero Movie Reviews: Dave likes Spider-Man too, and cannot believe he did not see the sequel on the big screen.
5 smartarse remarks
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
No house party yet
After the usual promising-but-no-promises open house on the weekend, we got a call on Monday night from a guy who made an actual offer. Sadly, it was short of our minimum price by too large a margin for us to consider it, but the guy said he’d go away and think about whether he could afford a higher price. From talking to him, Fiona thinks he can probably afford it but has a slightly warped view of house values in the area because some friends of his managed to pick up a bargain (never mind that it was a dingy, unrenovated rat hole).
So, maybe getting closer to a sale, but still not there yet. And now it’s officially spring – aka the House Selling Season – so we’re now likely to be competing with a flood of new properties on the market…
Jimbo and Chris introduced me to the HeroClix game on Monday night. I ruled their lowly arses, thanks to the (implausible) team-up of Xorn, Storm, Callisto and Hellcat. All I need to do now is learn a MTG-load of rules before I play them again, because they aren’t going to cut me the same kind of slack twice.
After that we played us some Starship Manticore, which I need to tighten up considerably with some more interesting and motivated antagonists to distract them from the minor crime they seem intent on solving. They’ve admirably thrown their characters into getting to the bottom of a strange incident from the first session, but neither of their characters has any particular crime-solving skills or interests and it’s slowing things down a lot. On top of that I’m feeling simultaneously over- and underwhelmed by the situation. Anyone feel like fielding a plot synopsis and suggestion a few new plot developments or characters?
You can’t take the sky from me
…but you can make it too painful to watch. Fiona and I started watching the Firefly box set last night, so of course the DVD player took the opportunity to go nuts and cease functioning. It has a long history of difficulty with 20th century Fox discs (hey, don’t we all?), which made watching the Angel and Buff sets occasionally incredibly frustrating. The screen would lock up while the soundtrack continued (or didn’t), or it would just spontaneously reset to the start of the first episode. We made it through the double-length first episode – which I had already seen – and only started to misbehave during “The Train Job” (which was fun, if a bit lightweight). It went absolutely berko during “Bushwacked”, so that after a half an hour we’d only seen the first ten minutes of the episode, which was enough to make me give up.
History suggests that the next time we attempt to play this disc, there will be no problems of any kind and we will go on being lulled into a false sense of security by our malicious tormentor. If I were rich, I would secretly murder and replace the player…
Work is also a game
0 smartarse remarks
I continue to have a box seat for some spectacularly inept and unsubtle office politics at work. It’s very educational. Amongst the lessons I am learning is that I would do well to manage my associations very carefully so that when the inevitable detonation of egos occurs, I am not seen to have supported any particular brand of explosive.