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The Space Cadet. 9/30/2004

Many ages ago, when I still had the use of many of my brain cells, and was still a student, a group of us used to rent a house. We lived in ‘The Swamp’, as we called it, in a very happy mix of guys, girls, dogs, cats, cars, motorcycles and booze. In and amongst this chaos, we actually managed to get degrees and Masters in various subjects, get pregnant (both humans and animals), get jobs, and generally live life in a hedonistic fashion. If you think you’re having fun, you have absolutely nothing on what we got up to. Some of which involved explosives.

It was during the month of July when the mayhem reached it peak, it being the height of summer. Every one was on summer break, and there was much merriment and joy. And fireworks. Lots of fireworks. Considering what some of our majors were, we had ready access to various sorts of chemicals and the know how to use them. One of the things we used to set off, to the general amusement of all, was something we called ’squibs’. These were short firecrackers that you lit, and they would go off with a very load bang, about half the length of a cigarette. We would ride around on our motorcycles, terrorising the neighbourhood by riding past and throwing squibs at all and sundry.

One dark night, after a long session of booze and mind altering substances, we suddenly decided to ride around the block, to spread our cheer. Remember the said friend with the Water Buffalo? Well, he was now riding a brand new VF750F. Now, there is a thing about said friend. This guy had the physical co-ordination of a potato. How he had mastered act of walking was beyond us, let alone learning how to ride a motorcycle. He also had a very voracious appetite for a certain plant. As in smoking the leaves. Hence, we started calling him Space Cadet, because of the perpetually glazed look in his eyes.

We got on our bikes, sans helmets, and started riding. The art of throwing squibs was to have a lit cigarette in your lips, bring the squib up to the lit end, and throw the squib at teenage girls, household pets, whatever. And then ride off laughing like fuck. Thus, we were generally having a good time, when Space Cadet spotted a rather large dog up ahead on the other side of the street inspecting the urination possibilities of a large bush. Space Cadet maneuvered his bike to the wrong side of the road, and brought a squib up to his cigarette, ready for ignition. He was concentrating on getting close to the dog, when out of the corner off his eye, he saw an oncoming car. He then decided he’d better light this squib and throw it, and quickly bring his bike back to the right side of the road.

In his haste, he lit the squib, placed it between his lips, and threw the cigarette at the dog.

He brought his bike back across the center of the road, with much flashing of lights and blaring of horns from the oncoming car. And looked in horror at the thing now sizzling between his lips. The dog, alerted by the sound of bikes, and blaring horns, gave up his inspection of the bush, and looked with interest at Space Cadet. And started to give chase, barking and snarling. Space Cadet quickly brought his left hand up to his mouth and tried to snatch the squib away. He almost made it…the squib went off with a loud bang right in front of his face.

Space Cadet promptly loses control of the bike and it starts wobbling violently down the street. He tried to control it, but to no avail, and drops the bike and goes tumbling after it. The dog has now caught up with the bike, and stops in shock at his quarry suddenly falling down in front of him. Forgetting that there was a bunch of bikes right behind him. One of the friends runs right into the back of the dog, falling over his handlebars. I tried to avoid this dog cutting in front of me in fright and 2 motorcycles on the road and run my bike onto the sidewalk and straight into a brick wall. Another friend tried an evasive maneuver in the other direction and clips the wing mirror of a parked car, dumping him and the bike onto the road.

Naturally, we were all riding wearing t-shirts and shorts and shower shoes. We all lie there, trying to collect our breath and our thoughts, wondering if anything was broken. The dog bolts off in fright back to his home. Space Cadet’s bike was lying in the middle of the road, looking much the worse for wear. The householders in the neighbourhood were coming out of their houses wondering what the fuck was going on. Several of them came to help us, and one of them told me he had called an ambulance. And the police.

Some of the householders were trying to lift Space Cadet’s bike from the middle of the road, when one of them shouted, “It’s leaking gas!” This caused them to drop the bike in shock, and the impact of the bike hitting the tarmac caused the fuel tank to seperate from the bike, causing fuel to spill all over the engine. The hot, smoking engine.

When the paramedics arrived, they tended to us in the light of the fire coming from Space Cadet’s shiny new VF750F.

Leaks and lamentations.

Guess what? It leaks. My phone is going to ring in the next 20 minutes and someone is going to bark orders for an emergency meeting. Hoo-fucking-ray.

The Pour. 9/29/2004

There was a small emergency today. Well, it’s still small, and will continue to remain so, until the god damned pool collapses.

There is a pool installed on site, and the floor of this pool is able to be raised and lowered. The floor is connected to the wall of the pool using a 260 x 12 mm drop anchor. When the drilling was performed for the installation of the drop anchor, the concrete cores were taken out and examined. And someone remarked that the concrete was a little sandy. I concurred, and now it has gone to the highest level, and various idiots are asking me for information I do no have, and have no desire to go searching for.

Someone in the engineering side specified the concrete, and obviously the contractor cut a few corners. And no one checked the fucking pour. No one. And now they’re saying I should have checked it. Fine. You can all go get fucked. If the damned pool collapses because your contractor was underpaid, tough shit baby.

And I’ve already given the order to start filling the pool, which is now halfway filled. We shall see.

Copy cats. 9/21/2004

plagiarism

n 1: a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work 2: the act of plagiarizing; taking someone’s words or ideas as if they were your own [syn: plagiarization, plagiarisation, piracy]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University, www.dictionary.com

The recent controversy over the copied question in the recent UPSR exam, and the high handed attitude taken by the Exams board over the fact that the question (or parts thereof) was indeed copied from a workbook published by a private company has got me thinking. Is anyone’s head actually going to roll for this? The DG of the board? The person who set the question? If a student in a university was caught plagiarising, that student would be expelled, or at the very least penalised.

The Star had something interesting to say about the way that questions for national exams are formulated and put together on last Sunday’s edition of their paper. Apparently the teachers who are in charge of setting the questions for the paper are sent off to a resort somewhere and work on it. Sounds like a free holiday to me, and this was admitted as much anonymously by a teacher who had been involved in the setting of exam questions. Makes you really wonder about the efficiency of Government departments (they suck) and where your tax money goes (into a black hole).

Doom and Gloom. 9/20/2004

I have just realised that it has been the best part of 5 years since I had a real holiday. The last time I was actually out of the office for more than 48 hours without the phone ringing was about 5 years ago. It was a good time, I enjoyed it. It was on a resort island, cut off from everything. The bad thing was that choices for food were extremely limited, but we made do. Flying in on a puddle jumper was a nice experience. Sort of Fantasy Island like. And no one knew we were there.

We had a meeting this morning, playing catch up with each other, and it’s pretty obvious the deadline is going to come and go and the damned place will be no nearer to completion. We haven’t gone panic stations yet, simply because some people right at the top have their heads buried in the sand, and choose to believe lies and pipe dreams. I’m guessing the situation is going to be very different when LAD notices start landing on the Project Director’s desk. But I really don’t give a flying fuck. I’m outta here 31st October. At which point this place might go quiet for a while.

I need a holiday.

More Whee! 9/17/2004

Wheee!

Hot Wheels, 3 for $10. I went crazy and bought too many. At least 2 people will be happy at home. So never mind. Also had lunch at the Genki sushi. Not bad, but the prawns weren’t fresh. And the salmon wasn’t anything to write home about.

I think I’ll go back later and get some more.

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