Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Worst Gaming Experience I Have Ever Had

OK, my previous two posts alluded to some jerk and also how I lost 2nd place based on sportsmanship…  This all ties back to what I am now calling “The Worst Gaming Experience I Have Ever Had” and it goes something like this….

The typical Blood Bowl player is not a teenage kid.  Most people think gaming is for little kids, but it is actually the realm of grown adults.  The average age would be a guy in his thirties with a significant representation of 40+ yr olds.  However, this tale relates to a guy who would easily be in his 60’s and perhaps late 60’s at that.

I had seen this guy around the tables and thought it was good that a guy at his age was still doing gaming and that it was great that his two sons (in there late 20’s) were playing with him.  I had played one of his sons in Round 1 and had a very enjoyable game.

So when I got drawn against the “Old Man” in Round 5, I was happy enough.

Also, I should say that the etiquette of CanCon is that all coaches are here to win, but to do so in the spirit of sportsmanship.  It is the primary tie breaker in splitting teams on the points table, so the most important thing is not to wrack up the score, but to win and lose gracefully and with dignity.  However, anything in the rule book is fair game and winning is still the primary objective.  So to reflect this, sportsmanship is scored after each round out of 10 and with the guidelines that were set; it is pretty hard to score below 8.

So the draw was made, and I got the “Old Man”.  Now as I have mentioned I have a very nice board and all coaches are very happy to have a game on it rather than the stock standard cardboard board from the box.  The Old Man however had made his own board as well, but it was a “large scale board” and he had made the squares easily 200% bigger than standard and also it was made from a sheet of Clark Rubber foam about 5cm thick.  Because of the scale, he had had to make passing templates of a larger size and to be honest, it was not in great shape despite being “non standard scale”.

I politely debated that I would prefer to play on mine, not on basis of looks, but on the basis of that mine was “standard scale”.  He grumbled, but came over to my board and one of his two sons played on theirs anyway.

The game was setting up and Niki and the Girls turned up to visit and to have a look around.  I started to talk to them but he kept asking me to roll dice and basically ignored my family.  Yes, I was at a game convention, but surely 5mins of chat to the family is OK… but no.  “Whats your Fan Factor?  …. Roll For Weather…. etc”  and Niki got the vibe it was a bad time and they left… much to my disappointment.

The game starts and he gets the ball.  He is playing Orcs, perhaps the only race capable of out grinding a Dwarf team and the general tactic most Orc coaches would apply would be to keep the ball out of the Dwarf team’s hands and grind out the entire first half.  Given that Dwarves score so slowly and are so poor on defence, this would guarantee you virtually a draw at least.  But he punches a hole, runs an Orc Blitzer through the gap and opens me up like a tin can.  My lone Runner is at fullback and has no real hope of stopping the big Orc Blitzer but then I realised he had made a mistake.  I saw that he had crept his thrower up too close to the line of scrimmage and with a great counter attack I could perhaps reach him.  So I employed this tactic of kill or be killed and instead of focusing on the lone receiver, I went for the glory and counter punched a hole back and sent my thrower through to sack him.  Sort of like an NFL blitz.  So my runner moves his maximum 6 squares and gets next to the thrower.  He says “excuse me, you moved 7” and I countered and showed him the square where he was and where he was going to and promptly re-countered for him the six squares.  He grumbled and said something that I should be more careful.  So I attempt to hit the thrower but luck eludes me and I fall over.  Now I am well and truly stuffed.  He throws the ball over the top to the Blitzer (who is now unopposed) and he strolls down the field.  Now this is important for later context – he keeps the Blitzer on the goal line but decides to neglect to score on the basis I cannot reach him.  In game terms, this is called “Stalling”.  I accept this because I took the risk and lost… so I proceed to ignore the ball and beat on his team in frustration.  If he is going to stand there looking pretty, then I will try to kill everyone else on his team.  I did enough damage to make him think twice of stalling for a second turn and he scores to make it 1-0 after 3 turns.  This is good for me as I have enough time to equalise before half time (which is after the 8th turn) and I consider in my mind he has made a major tactical blunder.  I can now have the ball for the remaining 13 turns and hopefully score twice …

And I do just that – in five turns I work my way through the field and I outnumber him dramatically because he keeps players close to the sideline and my Troll Slayers are able to use their frenzy skill and push them off into the crowd – and out of the game.  He repeatedly places players in such positions and I keep obliging.  His attitude changes dramatically when I roll the two dice and I roll a “Push” and a “Knock Down” with which I elect to take the “Push” to push his player one square closer to the sideline.  He says “Take the Knock Down!”.  I think he is joking as my frenzy will surely push him back again and into the crowd.  But he is serious.  I roll the dice again, get another push result and the guy gets badly hurt in the crowd.  The Old Man is now angry and says I am being very unsporting.  “What?” is my reply; “You shouldn’t leave your guys in precarious positions against Troll Slayers”.  He is silently fuming.  I storm down the rest of the field and equalise on the half time bell.

Second half, he kicks the ball to me and it goes very deep.  I pick it up and move my player towards a team mate and say “I will hand off the ball”.  He says “Sorry, you should have said that before I moved the piece”.  The letter of the law says that all actions must be declared prior to movement but game play etiquette says that handing off is so routine and because there is no game mechanic to stop it (such as interceptions or pass blocking) that nobody really does so.  I point this out and say that it doesn’t matter plus the fact that his nearest player is a quarter of the field away.  He is furious enough to attract the attention of the guys on the next table.  They proceed to agree with me and that whilst he is technically correct; convention says that he is being incredibly pedantic.  He allows play to go on after a heated debate with the guys on the next table and with his anger getting clearly more pronounced he calls me a cheat.

I let it pass.

The game goes on and I start to dominate more.  I manage to remove some more players from the field again by frenzying them into the crowd and he is now clearly angry.  We are sharing dice (as is convention) and he snatches them from me every time it’s his turn.  He swears every time a dice roll goes my way and belittles me every time he gets a favourable roll.

It is really starting to get nasty.

I drive down the sideline, caging the ball up in a wall of Longbeards and Troll Slayers and soon enough I take out basically everything on his left flank.  On turn 5 I get to a position where I can score unopposed, but he cannot reach me.  Knowing he can score in only two turns and easily if he has three, I “stall” on his goal line.  He goes ballistic.  “You dirty little coward” he says.  “You are very unsporting and I think you are the most selfish player I have met”.  He then says “that there is more to life than winning you know” and I look at him incredulously.  I snapped.  “Mate, one you stalled when it suited you, two it’s a legitimate tactic, three it’s a standard tactic for dwarves and four you’re a prick”

He whines on some more and berates me and I said something along the lines that if was a better player he’d have not got into this situation.  He is quietly yelling now – “I have played this game for 20 years mate” and the like but I ignore him and ask him to have his turn as I was not scoring.

He does so and perhaps anger made his dice work because he got a few decent hits on me and put me in a position that stalling one more turn would be very risky so I take the touchdown.  Its now 2-1 and he has 2 turns to equalise.

Snatching up his men, we set up the board for the final two turns.  He has a lone goblin and sets him on one flank and his two remaining Blitzers on the other.  I, worried about the Blitzers, set my defence on my right flank and mark the lone goblin with one Longbeard.

I kick off and he collects the ball.  I had ignored one of his Black Orcs (big brutes who are slow and poor ball handlers) and thinking of the next game decided to not mark him for fear of being needlessly pummelled.  Fatal error, I forgot that and with the Black Orc lurches across the field and takes out my longbeard marking the Goblin.  The ball then gets thrown to the goblin and the goblin scampers down my left flank with all my defence on the right.

It was a judgement error on my part and a poor one at that, but the Old Man leans over the table – “in my face” style – and says “That is the worst defence I have ever seen! You are pathetic!”  It all comes down to one blitz move by me on that lone goblin.  I have no rerolls left and its all or nothing.  I roll badly and only manage to push the goblin, but he has the ball in his hands.

On the final turn, the Old Man dodges the goblin away.  He needs to roll a 3 or better on one dice but has a reroll (dodge skill).  He rolls the die and it comes up 2.  He rerolls it, and again, it comes up 2.  The goblin falls, drops the ball, end of game.

What happens next will stick with me forever.  I look up, happy with the win, very flustered with the anger I have had come my way, but I reach up to shake hands.  He slaps my hand away and says “You are the worst coach I have ever played”

Now I will cop all the anger and the venting and whining that a guy can throw at me.  Its awful and its pathetic given it’s a game of luck and tactics and he being a man of his years, looked awfully childish.  But what I wont cop is having a handshake slapped away.  That is the ultimate sin.

He then proceeds to go through the after match paper work and goes through the checklist of “things to consider” in sportsmanship points.  He says after putting a lot of crosses against those that he is giving me “a mere 5” (where 8’s and 9’s are the norm).  I ignore him and write a zero on my paper.  Slapping handshakes away is the ultimate in bad sportsmanship.

Monday, January 30, 2006

3rd Place, Wrap Up and All Things Canberra

Game 7 vs Brides of Nuffle (Amazons)

My final game was against Ian “DoubleSkulls” Williams, famed UK ex-pat and scourge of the Blood Bowl world and I am happy to say I absolutely decimated his Amazons.  Having said that though, my Dwarves have a natural advantage over Amazons as there dodging abilities are nullified by my tackle skills and hence his team lost a lot of its potency.  He received; I swarmed, did a lot of damage to his team, took the ball off him and scored in only 4-5 turns.  He only had 8 players left, and it was all downhill from there.

He played dirty (because he had too) and killed one of my Longbeards with a foul, he also had hired a wizard who fireballed and badly hurt my runner as he was streaking away for what would have been my 2nd score, but it was still mainly one sided… I guess I can credit Ian’s ability that he only kept the score to 2-0.

Having said that, I took maximum points (6) in the final round and gave myself the very best chance of winning.  Results had to go my way and both other games that had an impact on the final standings were initially looking like going in my favour with the underdogs doing very well.

Because my game finished so early, I browsed the retailers and attended an auction of gaming stuff and generally kept away from the boards because I didn’t want to hover.  When I came back though, both games had turned and the two coaches I didn’t want to win were winning comfortably.  In the end, I got 3rd place and I am ecstatic about that.  CanCon was my first ever tournament playing to win (the first was Eucalyptus Bowl which I half attended with Halflings) and to play in front of the very best players between Melbourne and Townsville was a great experience.

My final record – 5 wins, a draw and a loss.  I actually came tied for second, but lost on the sportsmanship tie breaker (see the post to come behind this one).

Prizes:  Coming 3rd gave me third pick from a selection of three teams.  This is a prize worth $70-90 depending on foreign exchange rate as new miniatures are only available from the US or UK.  There was a Necromantic team, and a Elf team and third choice was a choice of any of the ShadowForge range of miniatures.  First and Second place took the two Games Workshop teams and I was left to choose from the Shadow Forge range which I was very happy about.  Shadowforge is a Melbourne company that specialises in fantasy and military miniatures but the twist is the miniatures are all female.  They do “Gridiron” teams and they make great Blood Bowl figures.  I thought about it and whilst I think the female Orc team is a great novelty, I actually have two Orc teams already, so I took the female Elf team.  In my opinion, these are the best looking miniatures going around.  I have seen a couple of these guys painted up beautifully and they look fantastic.  Very happy.  I also got a little Bronze Dragon statue trophy as well.

Other prizes were given out as well, and I came 2nd in the Individual Miniature painting comp with my Grim Ironjaw figure.  I was not even going to enter, but did so only because of the encouragement of others and came 2nd by a single vote.  Very stoked.  Also my Hyperpitch Board was 2nd in the “Custom Board” category but there was a strong protest vote because I had actually bought it rather than make it… I was going to give the prize to the guy who won anyway as I knew I didn’t deserve it.  However I got a lot of good ideas over the weekend and I am going to plan to do something with it to customise it some more… goal posts, team logos, etc etc…

There were lots of other prizes for wooden spoon, most touchdowns by a single player, most casualties done by a team etc etc but I wasn’t in the hunt for those.  In all, I have to say the organiser (Babs) did a great job and the sponsors put up a lot of gear to win.

Other Stuff:  Picked up a couple of half price D&D books as well and watched the auction and made some losing bids at some stuff, but wasn’t very serious about it.  Picked up a free roll of Citadel Miniatures grass matting (which is what my board is made of) because it was slightly damaged.  It retails for $45 so that was a very big bargain.  Next year I will be more prepared for the retailing side of the convention as there are some very big bargains to be had, but it is mostly cash only and a bit of a barter system.

Niki & The Girls had a wonderful time as well, and after I finished up yesterday at about 2pm, I went to meet them at the Big Splash water park at Belconnen.  They had been there since 10:30am and had not left the pool and slides.  I took Kate up on the big water slide and whilst she went up the stairs and came back down twice, she did eventually go down it.  First go was in tandem with me, but then she was into it big time and we couldn’t get her off it.  We stayed until nearly 5pm and then started the big drive home – and we got home around 9:30pm but we did stop for an hour for dinner on the way.  Also, the girls toured Questacon and Telecom Tower and did all sorts of other stuff and add in the Australia Day fireworks and it was all good for them.

Bring on CanCon 2007.



Sunday, January 29, 2006

Day 2 CanCon - Great Day, Can I Take The Cup?

OK, straight into the results for me today:

Game 4 - vs The Real Deal Returns (Skaven)
A game vs the very quick skaven saw me down 0-1 after 2 turns.  Skaven are the fastest things on the blood bowl pitch and against my Dwarves, which would be the slowest thing, I was in no way capable of stopping their Gutter Runners and after a neat pass, they were in.

My turn to score and again, my slow grind up the field commenced.  My opponent was no slouch though (the games are getting tougher) and he put up a great fight, but I did score to tie it up at half time via a methodical Dwarven cage.

My turn to get the ball for the 2nd half and I again I grind it up.  After only about 4 turns though, I had basically broken his back of his defence and I was able to make heaps of yardage.  I realised that this was going too easy and I decided to stall my score.  I knew if I gave him anything more than one turn he was going to score easily and tie the game up.  So I stalled.

He knew this and decided to bash and foul my team who were not involved in my stalled cage and I started to feel some pain.  Then he managed to clear his big and stupid, but very scary Rat Ogre and it then went for a kamikaze move into my cage.  It worked pretty well and I now was in real danger of being tripped up and leaving the game tied.  It took a desperate blitz move to actually shove my player into the end zone.  It wasnt graceful, but it was a win none the less.

Game 5 - vs SOME JERK (Orcs)

I am going to write about this game when I get back to Sydney.  Let me say this - when I went to shake hands with my opponent at the end of the game (which I won 2-1), he slapped my hand away.  I totally outplayed this jerk who was around 60yrs old yet was the most irritable, childish, selfish, rude prick I have ever met.  This one will get its own post.  Let me say I gave the guy a zero for sportsmanship.

Game 6 - vs The Stumps of Doom (Necromantic)

Necro teams are themed on the classic horror of undead, zombies, werewolves and flesh golems (Frankensteins).  They are scary because they're incredible resilient (being undead) and the wolves are nasty.  Being Game 6 and now currently running 3rd out of 40, this team was also good.   To cut a long story short, he scored quickly, I ground back for the 1-1 score at half time (see my pattern here) and then scored again, but only in four turns!  The reason was he was decimating my team and I was actually doing more casualties but his kept regenerating!  My Dwarves were bashing away, but these zombies and golems kept coming back.

I then had to defend for four turns with only 11 dwarves left (2 were badly hurt) and in the first turn after kickoff, he seriously injured my best blitzer, stunned 2 longbeards and knocked out another.

With 7 dwarves left, I held the line with great luck.  Then he made a really bad move and left himself exposed and I had a shot on the werewolf with the ball.  No luck and I was the one that fell over.

He screamed through the backfield and nearly scored but couldnt quite reach the endzone.  I put my lone Runner onto him to mark him, but didnt have enough movement to hit him.  He frenzied, I dodged and dodged again which meant he had to dodge away from me to score.  I had played freaky defence to stop him so far and he needed a 3 or better on a dice to dodge away and draw the game.  He did so and that was that - 2 all.

So with one game to play tomorrow, I have 4 wins, a draw and a loss.  Nobody is 6-0 and everyone has dropped some points.  I think if I win my last game by two touchdowns, I may actually win the whole damn thing.

Friday, January 27, 2006

CanCon - Day 1 Results

A great day for yours truly with me holding down first place after the first two rounds and probably dropping to 3rd or 4th after a 3rd game loss. The way it works is that after every round, the top team plays second place, 3rd plays 4th and so on down the list. Then after the results are fed through the computer, the leader board is re-shuffled and then the same method is used again with the only proviso that you cannot play the same person twice.

Scoring is a weird science as well. Maximum points you can score are 6 with 3 points up for grabs for the win and a bonus point for doing more casualties and a bonus point for winning by 2 TD’s or more. Lose by only 1 TD and you get a point, and if you lose yet do more casualties, the loser can get the bonus point. Its also +1 point for playing for both guys and hence a winner will get 6, 5 or 4 points and the loser could get 1, 2 or 3 points. A draw is 2 points each plus the bonus points… As I said, its confusing.

Also, you score your opponent in both sportsmanship (out of 10) and a painting score (again out of 10) and these points are used for tie breaks throughout the draw and standings. They are kept secret though and you can only award a score of 10 for sportsmanship once in the entire tournament.

So onto my games today:

Game 1 vs Lockheim Dockers (Humans)
A game against humans is a great draw first up. They are the ultimate generalist team and are basically able to run, catch and pass well and have decent speed and average armour. They are the epitome of “average”. I won the toss and surprised my opponent by electing to kick off and hence he received. I am prepared to do this against teams who are quicker than me. If they get past me, they’ll score quickly and hence I can grind out an equaliser before half time and then receive the ball for the 2nd half and then grind out the winning TD. Its not a pretty tactic, but it is the Dwarven way.

Anyway, I did very well and the Dockers actually got pushed back and I took out both his Catchers (receivers) early on so he had no passing game. The I ground his front line backwards before he eventually had to force a pass, coughed the ball up and I was away. 1-0 at half time.

The 2nd half was all mine and I ground him into the dust and scored with 2 turns to play. He went for the consolation TD, missed it and I took maximum points (6). 2-0 on touchdowns, 2-0 on casualties. The only downside was that I didn’t get any skill rolls.

Game 2 vs Crazy Ivans (Chaos Dwarves)
Chaos Dwarves are tough, I find them incredibly hard to beat. They’re Chaos Dwarf Blockers match equally against my Longbeards and they usually have 2 Bull Centaurs which are over twice the speed of my team and are the strongest guys on the field. Luckily, my opponent had one of his two Bulls injured in Round 1 and hence I only had one to contend with. Funnily enough that one had skilled up and he had taken the skill “Sure Hands”. Seems as though this big Bull was going to be his ball handler… which is not how I would exactly play them (that’s what the Hobgoblins are for!).

And it proved to be the downfall of the Crazy Ivans as again I elected to kick, turned him over as his Bull kept fumbling the ball (despite the Sure Hands) and again I lead at half time.

The 2nd half was a dour affair and he nearly turned the ball over from me and for a while there I thought I was done for… but my Runner got his 3rd touchdown of the tournament (and hence a skill – which later turned out to be Dodge) and I was off to the races with a 2-0 win. The Ivans though won the casualty count 1-0 and hence I received 5 points (now 11 out of a maximum 12) and I was ranked #1 going into Round 3.

Round 3: vs The Pissheads (Norse)
Would you believe that there are actually 4 guys from my home suburb of Glenbrook here and I met one of them in Round 3. The Pissheads (yes, Norse love their beer!) had also had two wins but were not winning casualty scores and had a TD against them, so they were on about 9-10 points.

The game though was a cracker with both teams dominating on defence. I won the toss again (!!) and again elected to kick. Norse are big hitters but have glass jaws with a low armour value. They can dish out the damage, but the key is to get amongst them and hit them first.

In hindsight, I probably should have received as the Norse stormed down and got only 3 squares from my endzone but because the weather was raining, the ball slipped out and it was spilt. The rest of the first half was a scrum in my own quarter of the field, but I kept him out and had inflicted 2 casualties. Nice!

But the 2nd half was a disaster. I had horrendous luck and struggled to beat the Norse armour (despite it being shit house) and he in turn inflicted 4 2nd half casualties and I was on the back foot big time. Eventually numbers took their toll and I lost the ball, it popped straight towards his team, he passed over the head of my ragged line and I was behind with a quarter of the game to go.

The restart saw the Pissheads get a blitz (free turn) and hence they crumbled my offence before it could start. Plus the ball from the kick off landed on my goal line which meant my slow dwarves needed to go 100 yards to tie it.

We tried valiantly and perhaps would have done so but my Runner failed a simple dodge roll (double 1’s!!) and the ball was spilt. I managed to defend him out to stop his 2nd TD and hence I received a 0-1 loss plus lost the casualties ultimately three to four. I scored 2 League Points and was back down the list.

Play starts at 9am tomorrow… I think (??) I am playing another Dwarf team but with the sportsmanship and painting points secretly in the mix, you never know.

I am missing one Blitzer for Game 4 as well, but that is the only big injury I have had so far. I have enough cash to hire my Star Player Grim Ironjaw as well… so that should give me a good shot.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CanCon Trip Day 1 - The Trip Itself and Australia Day

Set off early this morning on my lonesome to pick up Tommy "ozjesting" Dean for the trip to Canberra.  Niki and the girls took our other car via Niki's mums place to pick her up and then they would meet Tommy & myself somewhere on the road.

The trip to Canberra was actually very pleasant and didnt seem to go long at all.  After picking up Tommy from his place near Earlwood, we jumped on the M5 and before you knew it we were past Mittagong and going all downhill.

We met up at Goulburn with Niki and the girls and then convoyed to Canberra.  Dropped Tommy at his sister in laws place around 12:30 and by one o'clock we were having lunch in the Cockington Green cafe.

Cockington Green was great, the girls loved it and it brought back memories when I came here years and years ago.  It was very hot and dry but we saw all of the exhibits and slumped under a big tree in their picnic area.  I apparently dozed off on my back, in the shade under this massive tree on the softest grass i have seen in ages... very relaxing.

Afterwards, it was onto the hotel for a quick check in and a swim... but that was not to be as our bookings were stuffed up and at first they gave us a room with just 2 beds... bit hard when there is 4 of us.  We got upgraded after much protest to the girl at the desk (one of the stoopidest i have ever encountered) and then had to arrange for my mother in law to be moved closer to where we are relocated.

Then they gave us a room on the top floor where the A/C didnt work and again we shifted.

But finally, we were settled and got into the swimmers and had a swim and a spa.

Then the highlight of the day was we went into the city proper and caught the fireworks on Lake Burley Griffin.  It was actually very pleasant to basically rock up, park the car a short walk and find a patch of grass and watch the boat races and then the fireworks... whilst it took us an hour to get out of the said carpark at the end, that was just a minor irritation.

So that ends my touristy bit... tomorrow is Game On! and I hope I get some squishy Elves or Amazons... I have changed my line up a touch.  6 Longbeards, 2 Blitzers, 2 Troll Slayers, only one runner, an apothecary, 2 rerolls and 3 Fan Factor.  The apoth should save any casualties early on (whilst team lack killer skills) and then I can pick up a Longbeard with some cash... maybe even save for a second runner, but I really think one will suffice.

Also, have finished painting Grim Ironjaw the Dwarven Star Player, so I may slot him in for the odd game (if I have a lazy $70K).

Game On!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Go The Kings!!

Introducing the Glenbrook Kings! Once again, I blame my poor capabilities of my camera for close ups, but I am very happy who these guys turned out... Bring on CanCon!!

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Are Australians Racist?

With Australia Day a mere 48hrs away, I am a little saddened today by a couple of things arising from the cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka on Sunday.

Firstly, two of my mates (one who is of Indian parentage, the other Sri Lankan) went to the cricket and were members of the throng of Sri Lankan fans on the hill of the SCG.  Unfortunately their day was soured by a bunch of “Aussies” behind them who called them every name under the sun.  “Go Back To Your Third World Country You Black Bastards!” and “Sit the Fuck Down You Black Cunts” were some of the choice callings out to these guys.  Now I like to go to the cricket and I like to sledge the opposing teams but stooping to crude racism is just disgusting.  Even taking out the racist element, the general vocabulary was pretty off.

Now eventually one of my mates gets shitty and stands up on his chair, tells them to look at the scoreboard and flips the bird a few times which just incites them even more.  Of course the Yellow Shirt security guys can only see a guy standing on his chair flipping the bird, so they escort my mate from the ground much to the delight of the yobs who start making jokes of “one black fella down, 3000 to go”.

And to think that these guys were only drinking light beer.

Then following up from this, I hear on radio that various people have been calling in to the right wing redneck talk back stations complaining about the Sri Lankan fans and the fact that they make “too much noise” and that they should leave their singing and drums at home.  What the fuck?!  Seriously, are people so ticked off at some Sri Lankan fans who were getting excited with their teams performance that we need to get so uppity to complain to Alan Jones on the radio with racist undertones of “we don’t like that sort of thing in Australia”.

Well I am sorry, but I enjoy watching Sri Lanka play (chucker excluded) and find the fans of all other countries good value.  Nobody complains when the Barmy Army get tanked and sing songs about convicts and the crappy value of the Aussie Dollar all day… is it perhaps because the Barmy Army come from England and have a paler shade of skin?

Wake up to yourselves Australians – the “Ugly Australian” image is alive and well and perhaps we should take a good hard look at ourselves.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Late Post Today - Should Have Stayed In Bed

Overslept today… had a few too many beers at the Glenbrook Bowling Club and add a few late nights, I ended up turning my alarm off (rather than snooze) when it went off this morning.  I woke up at 7:15am… which is good considering my train left at 7:10am….

Wasn’t even going to make the late train (7:35am) so I decided to drive….

Hey presto, a motorcycle fatality closes the highway at Glenbrook that meant that anyone west of me has no access to the freeway.  I get caught in a queue of about 20 cars trying to use the back streets to divert around the accident so this turns my 3 min trip to the freeway into 20.

Travelling down the M4, the freeway is a carpark and it takes me 40mins to get to Eastern Creek.  The “Eye In The Sky” traffic guy on Triple M describes the M4 as “moving like a dream” and that its only 35mins from Penrith to Strathfield.  Considering it had taken me 40mins to move a third of that distance, I felt the sudden need to blow his helicopter out of the sky with a rocket launcher.

Finally the freeway opens up a bit and I get through the toll gates and all seems well until I get close to the end of the Freeway in which my friend in the helicopter informs me that another major prang has closed Parramatta Road at Five Dock and that traffic is a mess… so with a sense of futility I drive smack bang into another mess.

Basically crawl all the way into work with people criss-crossing everywhere down the side streets of Five Dock / Leichhardt and I get to the Anzac Bridge and the traffic is a complete nightmare over it.  I decide to bugger the queue into the city and take the evil Cross City Tunnel to William St.  I fly under the city and traffic easily (paying the massive toll I presume, but my e-Tag doesn’t beep??) and I get to the other end and U-Turn it back into the city up William St.  I then get caught in more lights, but finally reach my car park at 9:15am…. not too bad considering, but I now know why I don’t drive… complete nightmare on the nerves…

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Great Site For Music!

Our friend Con sent me a link to Pandora and I have to say I am pretty amazed. Put in your favourite bands and let the site act as your own personal radio station. It will throw up songs and bands that you perhaps have never heard of before and you can give songs a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" and it refines its music. Very quickly I found that it rarely played a song I didnt like and I am now downloading the songs via LimeWire.

Do yourselves a favour and check it out... and yes, its free!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lime Kettles - Cutting Edge of Journalism

Lets just say my scoop on Beefy Vanzino's Shark Catch was scooped here on Lime Kettles on the 16th of this month (see below) and yet beat the Illawarra Mercury for their lead story on the 17th!

Next, I want to break the story that Peter Costello is a reclusive homosexual who has been embezelling money from Iraq to fund an over inflated budget surplus to keep the public keen for a tax concession that will never come...

What? I can't write stuff like that?.... What did you say?... Sedition? Don't know what it means,,,, *cough*cough*

Illawarra Mercury Frontpage (170106).jpg

Oh how I love Tennis!

I am so glad Jelena Dokic is "back in the fold" so to speak... losing in Round 1 (very Australian) was excellent and now we get to hear more rhetoric from Dear Old Damir once again. Oh how I have longed for his theories on Life, The Universe, and Sausages...

Damir sees red: I nuke you - Tennis - Sport - smh.com.au: "'Australia is a spoiled nation,' Damir said."

CanCon is a week away...

I am travelling to Canberra for CanCon this time next week.  Followers of this blog will know I have been painting a team of Dwarves to take to the tournament and I am just about complete.

I have one more to do for the tournament and I have started doing the bases and then a varnish and I am all set.

The good thing is that it has turned into a bit of a family friendly event.  Given I had booked a hotel room in Canberra, Niki & the girls are going to come down as well.  The hotel room has the obligatory double bed and a set of beds for the girls so it isn’t costing anything more in accommodation.  While I am playing Blood Bowl at CanCon, Niki & the girls will do some sight seeing (Questatron, Cockington Green etc) and we will catch up for dinner after the days play.

I have settled on a line up with 6 Longbeards and 2 each of the positional Blitzers, Runners and Troll Slayers.  I am now whether to go with 4 Fan Factor and 1 Reroll or 1 Fan Factor and 2 Rerolls… I am leaning to the latter, but any blood bowlers out there with their view, let me know.

CanCon will involve 3 games on the Friday and the Saturday with a 7th game on the Sunday then presentations.  I think Friday and Saturday will be 9am – 6pm so they will be long days.

Also I am keen to check out the rest of the convention.  Apparently there is one Dungeons & Dragons session running plus all the other Games Workshop games (Warhammer, 40K etc etc).  I don’t play those, but I always like looking at the set ups for those games.  I never got into Warhammer because of the cost and effort.  I have taken weeks (months?) to paint 16 dwarves… imagine how long it would take me to do an army worth of miniatures!

I will be keen to pick up a new BB team as well for my next painting project… I have been bidding for several on eBay, but given they’re overseas and the Aussie Dollar isn’t as strong, I get easily outbidded (cant justify paying over the top just yet).  Perhaps I will find something in Canberra.

When I do finish my team, photos will follow here…

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I want to be back on holidays!

Day 2.  Overslept.  Had to catch the later train.  Was so late I had to go down to Emu Plains and catch up to the train.  Had to therefore park miles away from the station.  Pouring rain.  Trudged quickly through the rain in a suit with an umbrella and my laptop bag to get to the platform. Get to the platform and am informed that a) train is 5 mins late, b) is only 6 cars instead of 8 and c) that Car # 3 is locked up due to vandalism….

My journey was not pleasant.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Shark Attack

One of my mates from fumbbl Beefy Vanzino sent me some of his holiday snaps... now I am happy if I catch a Bream!

One for the fishermen amongst us :)

Beefy's Shark Catch

Best blonde joke ever...

I normally don’t like to pass on things via the email and only occasionally post other people’s material, but this blonde joke made me laugh…

Well, here we go...

Day 1 of the new working year today and I am on the train once again Dear Reader ready to bring you the cutting issues of 2006.  Issues such as train timetables, conks on the train, passenger etiquette and the like will be covered intensely with other commentary on such issues as World Politics and Peace to be intermingled on occasion.  At the moment though, I have nothing really as I have been living in a vacuum at home these past 3 weeks with nothing but my wife, kids and hobbies to keep me occupied and as such, I am bereft of anything news worthy.

The only news I have really caught these holidays was this morning in the car on the way to the station with an admission by “two of Australia’s leading super market chains” (um, who could that be?) that they engaging in the practice of “gassing their meat” and that the rump steak you buy “Freshly Plastic Sealed” could in fact be up to 4 weeks old!  Yee Gods!  Aren’t you glad I am here to bring you this stuff?

Anyways, I am sure I will have more to say about things as the days progress, but for now that’s about it…

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Christmas Holidays - Last Day

Today is the last days of my holidays... Tomorrow I am back to work, so today we decided to go into the city and spend the day. We went to Circular Quay first up looking for a Harbour Cruise, but before that happened, we got caught up in some street theatre and buskers. Here, Kate & Brooke burst enormous bubbles made by "The Bubble Man"...

Then it was onto a Captain Cook Harbour Highlights Cruise. For $55 for the family, it was great value and took about an hour and a quarter. We cruised from the Quay, around the Opera House, to the Eastern Suburbs forshore, across the middle of the harbour to Mosman, past the zoo and Kirribilli House and then under the Harbour Bridge to Darling Harbour (where you can get off) and the back to the Quay.

The only complaint was that the weather was a bit grey, but there was no rain all day.

After some lunch in the city, we took the Monorail to Darling Harbour where again it was all street perfomances (I think we sat and watched 4-5 over the day) and sight seeing. We went to the National Maritime Museum (which was packed) but it was a "bit boring" for the girls. We spent a good hour or so letting the kids run around Tumberlong Park.

And of course the obligatory ride on the Darling Harbour Carousel. All in all a good and tiring day out. Lots of walking, but we pretty much experienced a fair portion of the city. Just need to rest up and get ready for the train in tomorrow. :( Posted by Picasa

WARNING: Gross Picture Alert

As a postscript to today's cricket, here's my left leg... got hit today whilst batting and my leg has corked right up... thought it was worthy of posting :-) Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 14, 2006

And the Juggernaut Rolls On...

We're currently running 2nd and met today fellow semi final contender Baulkham Hills at our home ground (Daniel St Park) in the 3rd and final one day match of the season. After our obligatory middle order collapse (we were 5/60 at one stage) we finished our full allotment of 42 overs at 9/185. Top scorer and rescuer of the innings was Noyz Brewster with 60.

Highlight of the innings though was Joey's end of innings theatrics when we went to town with several boundaries and one all mighty six that cleared the fence, the 20 metres of grass where we were sitting and then the parks boundary fence to crash fair smack in the middle of our captain Terry's bonnet of his Subaru.

Of course before we had to go out and field, Joe had to pose seductively on the said bonnet with the dodgy bat he uses. This shot was taken very quickly though as Terry was at this time looking for a large object to bash Joe with...

We then fielded and made early in roads into the Baulkham Hills top order to have them 3/10 and from then on we really did cruise (it was hot!) to bowl them out for 112. I did get my first catch of the year too, so I was happy.

This final shot is when it was all over and were considering which pub to go to... of course it was the Coolibah Hotel - proud sponsors of Greystanes Cricket.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Stanwell Park

On a day when there was apparently sharks in the water, we went off in search of them to Stanwell Park, which is north of Wollongong. Its a great beach, and has all the great things for kids - patrolled surf beach, 2 lagoons for swimming in, a park with swings, hang gliders soaring overhead and of course a great shop that sells all sorts of beachy food.

This is Brooke and Kate enjoying the sand... they took turns at burying themselves in, but got too scared to go neck high...

Avert your eyes! Yes thats me in the surf sans shirt carrying Kate.

Dinner for us was a couple of Fisherman's Baskets... we stayed until 7:30 at the beach before heading up the hill to the where the Hang Gliders take off from...

And here we are on Bald Hill... thats a massive drop behind us and I cant believe people actually enjoy jumping off their in a kite...

Stanwell Park: 5 Stars.

Time has flown

Can't believe its Friday morning and I havent posted all week!

We have had a great time this week despite the lousy weather (which its
raining again today!) and managed to get to the beach and the pools
despite the rain periods.

Last night Niki & I were able to go out for a bite to eat and a walk
around Darling Harbour with ice cream as the kids were staying at Niki's
parents... Had a great meal at the Malaya in Lime St. I have eaten
there plenty, but it was Niki's first visit. Highly recommend the Salt
& Pepper Prawns and the Kapitan Chicken.

Off to pick the girls up from their Nanny & Poppy's place and then
ponder what we will do. We were going to go to Jelly Bean Pool today,
but the weather sucks. Could be a movie day.... :(

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Greystanes Cricket Recommences With A Bang

The second half of the cricket season began today with a one day match
against Wenty Leagues - our clubs arch enemy!

In the first game against these guys this year, we struggled to beat
these snotty 16-17yr olds who sledged us mercilessly regarding our
significant years on them and our, on average, significant girth on
them. But we won, and had the last laugh.

Today, again we were greeted by the same young guys (first year out of
junior ranks methinks) who basically didnt seem too fired up for the
game and were very much still on holiday mode. This showed on the field
as we ran right threw them to bowl them out for just 45 runs. Mind you,
they batted for 21-22 overs and their run rate was abysmal. Their
application to batting was horrendous and yet according to our 12th man
Enoch who was scoring; they seemed to continue to rate us as the "worst
bowling attack they have faced". Considering we are running 2nd to
date, this is a big call.

Anyways, we got to a tieing score of 45 without loss in only 12 or so
overs before yours truly got himself bowled trying to slog the winning
runs and then my opening partner Will got himself out next ball
LBW trying to do the same.

We sent in Big Nards (he of a significant girth) to slog the
winning runs over midwicket.

It was 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, some 2-3 hours short of scheduled
stumps. What to do in such a situation? We goto the pub of course...
where we probably had more excitement in trying to win the meat tray as
we discussed the need for Sydney's Greater West to have a classy topless
waitress bar with a good bistro... but that story is for another day...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Raining? Lets go swimming...

We went swimming today at the Springwood Acquatic Centre. Big milestone today was Brookie went down the waterslide (the one in the background) twice. She went once willingly, once with some coaxing, but not again until "she is five"... which is in 3 months anyway. The weather was pretty miserable today and to have an indoor swimming centre 15mins away is pretty good for lazy rainy days. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

These South Africans Shit Me

Went to the SCG for Day 3 of the 3rd Cricket Test against South Africa and on my perusing of the internet, I saw this article from the Sydney Morning Herald, which will undoubtedly be in hardcopy tomorrow.

These Sth Africans started the taunting when they arrived in Australia by saying "we expect to be sledged and will be disappointed if it doesnt happen" and then they feel free to shoot their mouths off in the press whenever it suits them. Now what really gets my goat is that today, Andre Nel spent a good part of his day yelling at our batsmen, playing up to the crowd and basically encouraging the crowd to sledge him.

All day he was waving, clapping, bending over deliberately to the crowd (a subtle moon) and really seemingly enjoying it. Now this article appears. Seriously, there are dickheads the world over, and as per The Yobbo's View, Bryce Courtney is responsible for bringing the word "kaffir" to the vocab of Australians.

But to be honest, surely a 6'4" Sth African can take a racial taunt (no matter its bad taste) without running to the umpire and complaining when he had originally encouraged the crowd to give him heaps? It is impossible to police 24,000 people to prevent racism. It doesnt happen in society, why should it happen at sporting events?

Racism is awful and I don't condone it, but when can we stop looking to the omnipotent "authorities" to save us?

Also, bring back full strength beer! To watch Graeme Smith butcher any chance of Sth Africa making a game of it was horrendous and the fact I had to do it sober even worse!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Eve - Pina Colada Remix

Well, NYE was better than I thought. We had an eclectic guest list that meant that everyone there new "of" each other, but no one really new the other people... strange, but it actually turned out quite good.

For example, my parents were there who know my best mate Noyz but other than the occaisional g'day at cricket, don't know each other... then Niki's girlfriends Julie and Teena and their respective husbands Con and Paul who had never met either. None of whom new my parents or Noyz and his wife Rachel but they new "of them".

So what I thought could have been a disaster was actually pretty good. The weather was stinking hot so apart from a few prawns out under the back pergola for the first few hours, we spent the bulk of the evening inside in the A/C.

Add in all the kids (10?) and there was a fair crowd gathered. 9pm fireworks came very quickly and I spent a fair whack of the time on the BBQ cooking (which I enjoy) and was still cooking when the first crackers went off.

The kids wound down after that in front of some DVD's and the adults got pretty drunk.

I drank way too much, including some Pina Colada's that were made up and I ended up passing out in front of Noyz, Rachel and Niki at about 3am.

Everyone stayed until midnight, but Julie & Con made a mad dash after the main fireworks as they had a taxi booked at 5:30am for the airport to go to Perth for holidays... I bet they are rat shit.

The night got fairly blurry after midnight and the second Pina Colada, but a good night was had by all.

Today has been a "quiet day"... hehe. Posted by Picasa

Photo: Kate enjoying a NYE Sparkler