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theZEBRA
just spent the weekend at the army barracks
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Songs of the Plains
Family Court

One would be in less danger
From the wiles of a stranger
If one's own kin and kith
Were more fun to be with.

Ogden Nash
Thong of Destruction (F., N. U.)
Friday. 9.29.06 9:52 am
Wasps! Wasps! Crawling threateningly on the walls! Camping malevolently on door handles! Wasps infesting the house!

In the past two weeks, I’ve sighted and eliminated no less than NINE wasps in my Home. With my trusty Thong of Destruction (footwear, not underwear) in hand, I slip, shadow-like, from room to room and down long corridors, scouting for enemy troops. I’ve tried to locate their home base but it’s too well-concealed. Any attempts to torture prisoners for information have been foiled – they commit harakiri with their own stings or kamikaze themselves into the ToD (f., n. u.). The enemy has indeed been well trained.

The floor is littered with mutilated, barely-recognisable carcasses. All that remains of these once brave, but misguided, soldiers are bits of wing and legs lying haphazardly in a smudge of black and yellow. Their deaths serve a higher purpose, to warn their comrades off from entering these hallowed halls.

In the face of so much death and destruction, these wasps show no emotion. What monsters they are, to disregard their fallen comrades like that! Their own deaths are certain, but still they fly in only to die under the ToD (f., n. u.). They appear to have inexhaustible numbers and therein lies their battle tactic. My grisly attacks have not made a dent in their army, whereas all they need is just one true strike, one warrior with the blessing of Lady Luck, and there will be no one left to wield the ToD (f., n. u.).

I hear gasps of disbelief. Where are your comrades, you ask. Where are your fellow troops, your loyal brothers/sisters-in arms? Surely you do not fight this battle alone!

Alas, ‘tis true! Worse, my housemates mock and even condemn me for the murder of apparently peaceful insects. They say that wasps are not our enemy, that they will only attack if provoked. Ah, but their naïve eyes cannot see the inevitable. All it takes is a careless hand or a clumsy step. Though they be unappreciative of my efforts, I will not see them struck down by a vicious sting!

So although my body grows weary and my sight grows dim with fatigue, I still prowl the corridors mercilessly. The task is arduous and fraught with danger, but I will defend my home.

I will prevail.

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It's WAR
Friday. 2.10.06 1:47 pm
I’m in luck.

For the past week, Housemate P and I had been silently warring. It was a battle of wills, fierce and intense. But I prevailed, because the loser had to take out the trash.

When I first moved in on Monday, the garbage bin in the kitchen was already full. An empty Absolut bottle sat a good four inches above the brim, proclaiming itself as King of the heap. Obviously, HP would empty the bin soon, because nothing in it belonged to me.

I was wrong. A carton of chopped spinach and a Coke bottle soon joined the Absolut. Then an egg carton, a milk bottle and a greasy paper bag that used to contain pie. By Wednesday, we had to whisper in the kitchen, because anything louder would cause an avalanche of trash.

“The bin,” I whispered to HP when we bumped into each other by the fridge. “It’s rather full, isn’t it?”

“Hmm.”

“What do you think we should do about it?”

“Well,” he tossed at me challengingly. “I reckon someone should take it outside.”

“Hmm. Someone should.”

That night, the kitchen stank of the remains of someone’s vindaloo dinner. He was obviously trying to pong me into submission. Well, two could play at that game. I popped open an expired can of tuna that had been left in the cupboard and dumped it (carefully) onto the pile.

By Thursday, no one could cook in the kitchen. Or rather, HP couldn’t cook, while I couldn’t heat up a frozen pie in the oven. I was beginning to regret the tuna. But there was no way I would lose. Because the one who backed down would obviously be forced to assume the role of Janitor for the rest of the year. And if he thought that I was gonna be cleaning up after him, he was sadly, fucking mistaken.

This morning, I was awoken by someone dragging and thumping suitcases into the previously empty room next to mine. A new housemate. Curses.

About an hour later, I walked into the kitchen to find HP staring in astonishment at an empty garbage bin. He looked up as I approached, “Did you…?”

“Nope.”

We grinned at each other. We had found our Janitor.

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Where're My Human Sacrifices?!
Saturday. 1.7.06 1:54 am
It's been about a day since my last pool game, and I'm still preening over pocketing three shots in a row. Yes, I think I'm entitled to considering that this is the same person who once brought the cue down to line up a shot, but missed her hand completely, hitting the table instead and sinking an enemy ball on the rebound.

This warm glow of pride reminds me of another pool session:

//cue rapid rewind-action flashback effect//

I'm playing against Hustler Michael and I'm doing alright. He's leading by a bit, but he's a MUCH better player (not that that says a lot) and he's already had two beers to my lonely one.

It's a Sunday night, so the pub's practically empty. And that's good because I don't like an audience. A peanut gallery is very, very welcome when I'm doing something I'm spectacular at, like colouring within the lines or performing open heart surgery. Not when I'm playing pool, dancing, or opening a packet of peanuts.

So with a signifcantly lower number of potential screwup witnesses, I'm pretty relaxed. Shoot. Sip. (Accidentally) Nudge Hustler Michael's cue. Shoot.. Yeah, everything's good. Especially since I'm not betting anything on this round.

And then it happens. A watching friend (an audience of one is tolerable) leans over to whisper confidentially, "I just bet 200 bucks on you to win." Hustler Michael is on the job tonight after all.

I turn around and blink at her. Then blink at the table. There're three stripes and one solid left. I'm stripes (naturally).

"When?"

"Just."

Blink.

"How MUCH have you had to drink?!"

"Some. No pressure, yeah."

I answer by promptly sinking the cue ball.

Her jaw hits the ground so hard that my beer takes a suicide leap off the table.

In hindsight, my comment could probably have been a bit more sensitive. "Glad it's not my money."

Five minutes and (-)200 bucks later, I'm playing around with the leftover two balls (POOL balls, just so we're clear). I sink one, then line up the last one. And it must be something in the beer because Hustler Michael suddenly drawls, "Tell you what, we'll call it even if she puts this one in."

I cringe. It's at a weird angle, and any little confidence I ever had in my pool abilities has been shot down and stamped out by my earlier performance. I sigh in exasparation and shoot.

And fuck me, it DOES go in. I am a goddess. People must worship me. My back-in-the-clear friend agrees whole-heartedly.

"You are a goddess. I worship you."

Quite naturally.

And the bartender lets me pull my own beer from the tap.

It doesn't get any better than this.

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Of Suitcases and Stowaways
Tuesday. 12.6.05 5:38 am
Whenever someone tells me that (s)he's going away on vacation, I like to ask to be smuggled along in a suitcase (unless it's to Hong Kong). But it's always only been a half-serious request, since I naturally assumed that to fit in a suitcase, some breaking of bones would be required, and I balk at anything more than three toes or fingers.

Well, not anymore.

For this afternoon, wanting a break from the stress of our ongoing final exams, Jason suggested that I climb into his brand spanking new suitcase. Just for kicks. And by climbing in, he meant curling up in it while he zipped it up. You'd think that after being locked into a car boot, and only let out in the middle of a crowded Bangsar street after multiple bruises and speed humps, this would be a definite no-brainer. Yet strangely enough (probably due to exam stress), I gamely squished myself, fetus-like, into the 30" case. Sort of like how you'd expect to find a corpse hidden in a trunk...only giggling more. And strangely enough (also probably due to exam stress) he unzipped me again (the suitcase, you deviants!) right after. So apart from learning that Jason isn't as diabolical as once thought, I also discovered that I can actually fit intactly, and somewhat comfortably, in a suitcase!

I really don't see how people can refuse to take me along on vacation now. Apart from having an excuse to bring an extra suitcase over to carry holiday shopping home (alright, I'll hitch a ride in someone else's luggage for the return trip), there are so many benefits to adding me to your suitcase:

Worried that that dinky padlock won't stop a dastardly drug smuggler from sneaking illegal substances into your attractive-looking suitcase? No need to when you've got me waiting with a boltcutter to lop off mischevious fingers!

Don't want to be caught with the drugs you're smuggling? You won't! Not when I've got easy access to everyone else's bags in the hold. I'll even mark the "dirty" bag for easy retrieval after customs.

Afraid that hijackers may take control of your plane and force you to land in Hong Kong? Well, they won't be able to fight off the unexpected rebellion led by the surprise passenger whom they were unaware of!

Pissed off cuz your travelmate overpacked your shared suitcase and now there's no space for holiday shopping (every little bit counts!)? I'll repack it more sensibly (i.e. all his/her stuff in the cobwebbed corners of the hold), leaving more than enough space for that lovely new pair of shoes that won't fit even in the previously-James-containing-but-newly-stuffed-with-holiday-spoils suitcase.


Really, I could go on and on cuz there's no end to how useful I could be in your suitcase. So won't you take me along on your next trip abroad?*

* Priority given to New Zealand-bound suitcases.

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Cockroach, Foot, Nuclear Bomb
Friday. 1.20.06 6:34 pm
Scissors, paper, stone. The age-old decider of who has to eat the mouldy chip or who gets to be the designated driver. A classic game played by many.

But not anymore.

It's time to get with it. Did you not watch the episode of That '70s Show featuring Hyde's brainchild? Cuz short of being trapped in an underground bomb shelter for the last 10 years, there's really no excuse.

That's right. Now it's "Cockroach, Foot, Nuclear Bomb". And it's been this way for the past two years or so. So forgive me for sneering at you for starting the count with "Sciiiisors..."

And because I'm frankly quite sick of having to explain it over and over again to the cableless uninitiated, I'll do it just one last time. Here. With pictures. So let no one say that I care nothing for my readers.

Right. Pay attention, my hatchlings.

The three elements (courtesy of Laura):

COCKROACH
skitter

FOOT
stomp

NUCLEAR BOMB
boom


The rest is pure logic. Foot stomps on Cockroach, Nuclear Bomb destroys Foot, and Cockroach survives Nuclear Bomb.



It's really not rocket science.

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Aye Aye Cap'n!
Tuesday. 1.17.06 9:33 pm
Letter to Graham Henry, All Blacks coach:

Dear Sir,

It has now been a week since the All Blacks (ex-)captain, Jonathan Falefasa (Tana) Umaga, retired from International Test rugby. Since then, rumours have been circulating that Richie McCaw is almost certain to be selected as the new AB skipper.

In my opinion, this is a grave mistake. As a great fan of Mr. McCaw, I am in no doubt of his abilities as both a rugby player and a captain. After all, he has demonstrated these same abilities countless times during his captaincy of the Crusaders. However, I believe that in your consideration of the next AB captain, you have overlooked one very important candidate.

Me.


I KEEL YOU!!!


Consider the following points:

  • I am a great leader with experience.
    At the tender age of 10, I was selected as Project Leader by my class teacher. With hard work and discipline, I led my team to secure the award for Best Poster (Under-10's) in the school's Recycling Campaign 1995. Needless to say, with me as their captain, the team is sure to emerge victorious in the 2007 World Cup.


  • I have been trained as a touch judge.
    With such in-depth knowledge of the rules, I will be able to push the team to take every advantage on the field without giving away careless penalties.


  • I am a girl.
    But so is George Gregan.


  • I do not have a bunny nickname like "Fluffy" McCaw.
    'Nuff said.


  • I am not a citizen of New Zealand.
    A problem easily solved by granting me instant citizenship.


  • I have excellent ideas on how to improve team performance.
    One such idea is to have the team run with the bulls. With such motivation present in these training sessions, agility and speed will increase in no time at all.

These are but a few reasons why I should be the next captain of the All Blacks. And I shall be glad to discuss the rest of my qualities with the panel at a convenient time.

Yours faithfully,
Jamie

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Balls Debut
Tuesday. 3.7.06 3:17 am
The whistle sounds. Kick-off.

It's Curtin University vs. Fremantle United in the Women's Night Series. I've been training for three weeks now and this is my debut in the Curtin soccer jersery. The pressure's on.

I grind my studs into the grass nervously. Someone mentioned earlier that Freo had beaten another team in a previous game. 7-nil. Real confidence boost there.

We have possession. And I start yelling:

"C'mon, Hayls! Pass it! PASS IT!"

"Take a shot, Ash! Take a fucking shot!!!"

I'm not alone. I can hear screaming from a spectator as well:

"REF, YOU WANKER!!! That was a penalty, a PENALTY!!!"

"Offside! It's obviously offside!!! ARE YOU BLIND?!!!"

Soon enough, the Irish Freo coach decides to join in as well:

"??????????" (Sorry, I can't translate Irish.)

The opposing players look confused. Evidently, they don't understand Irish either.

The game is getting intense. We're slightly better, I think, but they're definitely making us work for it. I'm sweating already.

Suddenly, I spot a defender bearing down on our unsuspecting striker.

"MAN ON, JO--"

Our coach cuts in. "You're on in five minutes. Get ready."

Eh? I look up in surprise from my seat on the sideline. Something's wrong here - I only signed up for the jersey and the hot guy who always comes along to support the team. I can't play! I just stubbed my toe on a doorstop this morning!

But it's too late. The ref is signalled and a defender jogs over. And before I can fake an injury, I'm shoved onto the pitch.

Bugger.

Or not. Because twenty minutes later, we win. 2-1. And I didn't cock up at all. In fact, I'm quite proud of myself. The training sessions have obviously paid off.

Maybe I'll even get to touch the ball next time.

________________________________________________________________


Soccer-unrelated, but here're some pics from Daniel's grad party.


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Ride That Hog
Wednesday. 4.12.06 6:57 pm
I boot the kickstand and test the throttle a little. It makes a nice, growly "vroom vroom" sound.

Heartened by this, I rev it again. A lot harder. The growly "vroom vroom" turns into a roar and with a sudden leap of power, I'm off!

The Wombat helps me up off the ground and retrieves the metal beast. And holds it steady while I climb back on again. This time, I don't rev it so hard.

There's a slight tug and I inch forward almost imperceptibly. I'm moving!!! And I'm still firmly planted to the seat!!! I want to turn around and crow at the Wombat, but I'm afraid I'll tip over if I so much as blink.

Five minutes later, I'm breaking the speed limit.1 The wind is whipping through my hair (gods don't need helmets) and my nose is freezing, but I don't care cuz it's so exhilirating. I can't believe I've never tried this before. Forget the BMW Z4, this is the way to go!

I start planning a trip to the city to buy "appropriate" clothes. A black leather jacket's a definite must. I'm not sure about leather pants though, cuz there's always the danger of crossing the line from "sexy" to "tacky".2 Still, it's impossible not to feel sexy on this machine.

Damn, I wanna get one for myself. I hear it goes all the way up to 50km/h.

1 10km/h.
2 Unless you're Shane (Katherine Moennig) from "The L-Word", in which case you'll always be fucking sexy in leather pants.

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