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just spent the weekend at the army barracks
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Everything in Transit
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Lick Those Stripes!
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The Herd
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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
Tortoise from Hell
Wednesday. 8.18.04 9:37 pm
The other day, a lecturer of mine gave us a horrible assignment to complete. We were to write about a childhood memory. The horror. I was forced to revisit the darkest corners of my mind where my traumatic experiences are kept locked behind sturdy doors. Where I hide all memories of my childhood.

It was a beautiful cool evening. I was at a park with my parents. But this wasn’t your average park with crummy swingsets and scraggly trees which wouldn’t have offered relief to a scorched squirrel. No, this was a Park. Lovely tall trees with great leafy branches spread protectively over those nearby, squirrels included. A charming pond, with duckies splashing cheerfully in it. Lush green grass – the kind that makes you want to lie on your back and roll around like a dog.

But rolling was the last thing on my mind that evening. I was four years old and bored to tears. The lousy park didn’t have a swingset. I scowled and scuffed my way to the pond where I tossed some rocks moodily at the ducks. Unfortunately, my aim at that age was such that I might as well have been trying to hit the ice cream man at the other end of the park. Who I was also not allowed to approach as it was too close to dinnertime. My mood darkened even further, and I turned away to search for an easier target.

Just then, a movement caught my eye. I walked over to the edge of the pond to investigate. A tortoise! Paddling sedately in the shallow water. It obviously wanted to follow me home. I thought of my previous pet tortoises. Rather entertaining creatures, even if they were absolute rubbish at surviving 7-floor falls. Still, they made pretty patterns on the ground.

I poked the tortoise experimentally. Perhaps I should have introduced myself first, for it seemed instantly peeved and chomped down on the offending finger.

I flew to my feet in shock and indignation, my captive finger yanking the feral creature out of the water. I tried to dislodge it by shaking my hand violently. The hellbeast responded by grinding its slavering jaws even more firmly into my fragile flesh. It evidently wanted my finger as a trophy…if it didn’t drown on my blood leaking steadily down its throat first.

I did the only thing left for me to do in that situation. I howled and ran for Daddy. Wailing, I charged across the park. Blinded by tears of pain and anger, I tripped over some brat’s inflatable ball and crashed to the ground. The impact left me with skinned knees, and wrenched the Favoured Pet of Lucifer off, sending it sailing into some bushes.

I sniffled and clambered slowly to my feet. My finger hurt like blazes. I felt utterly and downright wretched. Would I ever recover from the horrific attack? Even my vengeance had been denied. The Diabolical Shelled Fiend had escaped, leaving only a tortoise-shaped hole in the bushes and a bloody strip of finger flesh.

I sniffled again. Then I spied a sharp-looking stick by my feet and the blasted ball which had got in my way. A loud bang soon ensued. Huh. I felt better already.

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When Ducks Attack
Monday. 7.17.06 2:09 am
"A team of Australian palaeontologists say they have found the fossilised remains of a...'demon duck of doom'". (Reuters)"

C'mon. You don't need to go 40,000 years back in time to find a Demon Duck of Doom. You can catch, behead, and pluck your very own Demon Duck at the nearest duckpond.

That comical waddling isn't fooling me. Not anymore. Oh no, I've learnt my lesson.

Innocent child that I was, I believed in the propoganda fed to me. Squeaky rubber duckies, ducky stuffed toys, and an endless stream of cartoon ducks. All of which led me to believe that the most I had to fear from our web-footed "friends" was an impromptu shower from friends trying to imitate Daffy Duck. Growing up on the likes of Disney and Darkwing Duck, it was inevitable that the only souvenir I chose to take home from Disneyland was a Donald Duck cap, complete with a duck bill...bill.

Foolish times. Of course, this misguided affection could not last. My parents, fed up with the hysteric fits over roast duck dinners, decided that I needed to learn the ugly truth. They brought me to a duckpond.

Picture in your mind a young, carefree child (cute as a button, needless to say). Her face lighting up with joy as she catches sight of feathery bottoms upturned. She wriggles out of her father's arms and runs to get a closer look, bread slices falling from the bag in her exuberance. At first, the ducks are considerably unimpressed with the repeated shrill cries of "HULLO DUCKIES!" But after a well-aimed hunk of stale bread clunks one in the head, they realise that "HULLO DUCKIES!" is in fact a feeding call. And as one, they rush to answer it.

"Mummy, they like me! They lik-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" The child's initial joy at finally being acknowledged by her feathery friends-to-be turns into terror as the whole flock charges at her. Her parents watch grimly from the sidelines, they know that the lesson is necessary. She runs along the bank towards her father but the ducks cut off her escape. In the unholy din of quacking, she panics and backs away. Sensing victory, a seasoned tactician waddles quickly behind the child and neatly trips her...into the pond. The mother starts forward, but her husband holds her back. "It's a shallow pond," he comforts her. True, the water only comes up to the child's neck. But the mother is not worried about the depth of the pond. No, she is concerned about the hungry swan paddling towards her daughter with cold intent.

Unaware of the danger behind her, the child is too busy fending off flapping ducks to scramble to safety. The swan, having already acquired a taste for toddler flesh after one too many duck-engineered 'accidents', goes for a sample. The child screams as her hair is yanked sharply from behind and the sudden pain lends her the courage to flail her way past the henchducks to solid ground.

But her ordeal is not over yet. The swan follows her and continues snapping at her hair, trying to pull her back. The ducks continue to peck at her ankles in the hope that she will give up and allow herself to be eaten without anymore unnecessary fuss.

Finally, she is rescued. Her parents are convinced that she now knows the evil ways of waterfowl and so, she need suffer no longer. It was painful, but the children must be taught. When they arrive home, the child gathers all her duck-related possessions to be burnt. It was a lesson well learnt.

And so, the next time you spot a duckling, do not hesitate. Stomp on it, drop-elbow on it, chuck a bowling ball at it, do anything as long as you KILL it! Or that unassuming ball of yellow fluff will grow up to be a Demon Duck of Doom.

The creators of Negaduck had the right idea.


In other news, this blog can now be reached at http://thezebra.nutang.com. While the older url (http://www.nutang.com/members.php?user=theZEBRA) still works, the new one's much shorter, rememberable, and easier on the fingers. Yes, now you too can have fat fingers like me!

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Play That Funky Music
Wednesday. 8.31.05 4:40 am
I've recently taken up the guitar again. And I'm sadly forced to admit that a rock star career may not be in the cards for me.

It's not like I can't play the damn thing, if by play you mean "strangle some sounds out of" (and I do). I can. And very loudly too. It's just that the dog runs yelping tail between her legs the moment I even reach for it (guitar, not dog). Something in her manner reminds me of the time my parents thought I might be a musical whiz with the organ.

Young impressionable thing that I was at that age, I quite readily embraced their notion that I would one day spread joy throughout the world with these talented fingers of mine. Monks in Tibet would cease chanting and babies in Ethiopia would stop suckling hungrily at their mothers' breasts when the first strains of my music came wafting through the still air.

But alas, my dreams of glory and theirs of royalties were soon dashed when my first music teacher ran crying to his car in the middle of our lesson. His many successors also ended our lessons in a similarly distraught fashion. Still, I must have been some good at least. After all, the neighbours never complained. We did always find a bag of flaming turds on the porch after every practice, but in Ancient Memzambotec, that was a gesture of deep respect and admiration. So it was a sad day when I woke up to find that the house had been broken into during my peaceful slumber, and nothing damaged but the organ. Perhaps "damaged" is a little mild a word, "obliterated" conveys a better sense of the condition it was in. We moved away soon after.

The point to all this is that my organ-smasher might have had the right idea after all. The clothes do maketh the man, so should not the instrument maketh the musician? My slashed tyres may simply be a hint that perhaps its time to invest in a better guitar. So the question of the day is, do I fork out for a better (i.e. more expensive) model?

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Saturday. 5.28.05 1:47 am
Where did they go?
      Sunday morning cuddles
      midnight car rides
      stand-on-your-feet dances
      you-and-me camping trips on the beach
      tennis games that you let me win
      Scrabble games that you didn’t
      smiles that were just for me
      secrets that were just for the both of us.

You say that you’re getting old, and it’s true
But why are you growing old on the inside too?

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