ILUG 2008

Well after an amazing time at Ilug 2008 I have decided to return to bloggin, so if you wish to blame anyone blame Matt White , Paul Mooney and co., this time instead of just fencing im going to try to give a bit back with some tech stuff and general useful bits rather than the insane ramblings that were “stickfight”, i have never the less bunged the old stuff in as old entries. so read them at your peril.

Anyway back to Ilug, it was my first serious conference (rather than a feeble excuse to bunk off for a while), and i have to say it was well worth it, meeting good people (blogs made flesh), and learning a hell of a lot, doing the session with Ben Poole was a bit nerve wracking, but i now have the bug and am on the look out for more stuff to try and do sessions on (I have to put the muppets guide for my part of the session up here, just have to neaten it up)

never realised how much effort went into such a set up, and as we were all attending for free you felt a bit guilty, so hats of to the whole crew

Things I learnt over xmas

1) If you mix vanilla custard with Mascarpone it tastes like Walls Mr whippy icescream
2) The Popcorn Hour 110 is bloody marvellous!
3) A week is about my limit to be without my girlfriend before i start to pine (hoooowwwwl).
4) Thoughtful presents beat expensive ones every time
5) Once a tech always a tech: My father is able to take on ipods, podcasts, media tanks, nas, dvd ripping and VHS conversion in one day…Go dad!
6) Read the Bloody Manual!!!
7) i can survive about half a day with out the internet
8) God i needed a few days off!!!
9) Christmas is the worst time to not be seeing your children (worse that the rest of the year put together).
10) Family is best

Monday’s Admin….

Monday’s Admin is fresh of face,
Tuesday’s Admin can keep the pace,
Wednesday’s Admin is distrustful, rude and grim,
Thursday’s Admin has hair starting to thin,
Friday’s Admin is hiding in the pub,
Saturday’s Admin has joined fight club,
But the Admin who is born on the Sabbath Day, is a developer at heart and therefore fair prey.

Literature reuse at its worst, after a day performing my role as a ‘fill in’ administrator at my main client, when our main administrator is off for the day.

Sickly DNS

Even things you really on sometimes break, been having a rooting problem
with mails to yahoo.com sub address ( BTINTERNET.COM, TALK21.COM, etc. etc).

this displayed its self as the everhappy

“11/21/2007 09:02:48 AM Router: No messages transferred to BTINTERNET.COM
(host mx1.bt.mail.yahoo.COM) via SMTP: SMTP Protocol Returned a Transient Error
11/21/2007 09:02:48 AM Router: No messages transferred to BTINTERNET.COM (host
mx2.bt.mail.yahoo.COM) via SMTP: SMTP Protocol Returned a Transient Error”

now normally you just shrug and know its gonna fix its self, after all its
“Transient”, but this one just kept on happening, solution, its the DNS
resolution of the mx record,

TEST:
1) Ping the mx1 record to get an IP address from the effected server, and form
somewhere else, see if there is a different IP address
2) If yes, then edit you “host” file, (im assuming windows server so most
likely c:Windowssystem32driversetchost) and add the entries eg.
“195.50.106.135 host mx1.bt.mail.yahoo.COM”
3) save the file, then stop and start your domino router, to trigger a resend
(“tell router quit”, “Load router”)
4) see if the mail routes

if it does then, your dns is sucking

SOLUTION:

1) refresh you DNS cache, open DOS box and type “Ipconfig /flushdns”

2) if that does not solve you problem ( after you have remembered to take the
host entries out), then its time to switch DNS suppliers (or just winch and
your isp), Matt White (http://www.11tmr.com) recommended http://www.opendns.com
, who i now use for my hosting servers

hope that spares someone misery.

Rat Scratching 7

I tell you that sometimes life is just too stressful for complete happiness, with all this contract stuff hanging over me at work I just don’t feel like fencing, It’s not the fencing itself, it’s all the traveling when all you want to be doing is going to sleep, (or in my case work on a load of work related stuff). This has been my third week of skiving and is going to be the last!, cant do fighting tomorrow as I am meeting my accountant, so in the last 3 weeks I will have been to 2 club nights and 1 lesson (as well as 2 games of squash). That is so poo it is untrue, I should have done 12 nights and 6 lessons (plus 3 games of squash) but we will sort it all out and get back on form.

In the mean time has anybody else noticed that if you fence a lot it has really strange effects on other sports you play, for this example take squash –

I used to like squash and be quite good at it at school but now I am totally bobbins!! and it’s all fencings fault, I lunge for every ball, when it gets too close to me I attempt to prime it ( which by the way does not work in any shape
or form other than to make the person you are playing look at you in a funny way and point out that in hitting the ball it might help if you swing your arm not just flap at it ) also the unconscious desire to stab the person playing
you with the racket rather than chase after the ball does not lead to what I would call a “good sense of fair play” in the court ( though it does help with the score as the other sod just ends up hiding in a corner). Even things like
distance are all screwed up, I mean distance? It’s not exactly Mensa is it? You know you should be able to cope with more than one sport but noooo! If a ball flies over your head do you turn round and hit it properly, no you don’t, you
shuffle backwards and crash into the back wall (the ball then hits you on the head, further proving that this is a dumb sport) and if you can hide the fact that you are a fencer in your movements you find that you make little slipups
when talking about the game, these tend to make someone who does not know your sword-wielding alter ego a bit on the nervous side, as you describe each point won as a “hit”‘ and the match as a “fight” (people end up saying “its only a
game, its not serious” and you look at them as if they are potty [which all non-fencers are in my opinion] ) oh! And there is one final thing and that is, no matter how much you want too, no matter how much you think you need to. Do
not fleche!! There is simple not enough room and even if you can finish the move before the wall finishes you, you will never ever stop in time; for proof just go to the squash courts in Harbor Exchange and have a look at the walls
there are a number of Stickfight-shaped holes in them and the odd complaint of thunderous impacts. I have to say, though, that a fleche wins you the point if only for the fact that the person you are playing tends to stop and stare (or
run to get medical help) and this means they miss their shot, but you can only do so many of the damn things in a match before you are dead to the world (take my word for it squash gives a fencer more bruises than actual fencing ever will.)

There is good news in the up-and-down side of fencing in the real world, and that is with the t-shirts, someone has finally got one of the t-shirts from Zazzle and I suddenly realized that I had hardly made it easy for people to jump straight to their favorite designs, so I started to put links next to each of the Zazz-able designs, this as it turns out looks completely crap and a thing to be ashamed of, so it’s back to web development and out comes the CSS book (cascading style sheet) but you would hardly credit the complete pain in the arse it was to get it looking how I wanted on all browsers and not use tables (sometimes I think that mankind takes a special joy in going backwards to go forwards, see the new foil timings for proof of this) but finally I have done it [with a little help from a very helpful site that detailed the oddities of Internet Explorer) so we should a nice and clear t-shirt page, if you disagree please tell me so I can sort it.

Jo Maynard is really coming on great guns with the digital drawing and hopefully she will soon have her own area on here for her art, but in the meantime you can see her other work at http://pwincess.deviantart.com

Leicester soon – oooo eeerrr, I will not muck it up, I will NOT muck it up!!, I will get a good poule so I do not meet some evil sod in the 64, mind you its not like I have a lot of points to defend ( try none!!) , Leicester is normally
on my eldest Childs birthday, but this year they are all going to Euro Disney (the whole class plus mothers , that just sounds so like hell to me, trapped in a coach with 20 odd mothers and 30 odd screaming primary school kids, murder
would be done by the time we got to Dover) so I have been given the weekend to go fencing (the real reason for existence ) all I have to remember is what my coaches have told me (promise that you won’t tell anybody but I have roughly
worked out that if I get a good 32 then I might just make it into the top 50, but that kind of working out is sad and I should not do it ), talking of which have not given a progress on how Steve’s lessons are going for ages (like you care!!) ,

He is really starting to push it, and it is so much fun, he is making me think so much more, its not just a physical challenge anymore, its a mental one, more and more I can’t understand the way people go for coaches that do predictable
things and the same lesson each week, and the thing is that its not as if Steve does the same lesson with everybody for that week and just changes it each week, he does different lessons with each person (sure each of the weeks lesson
have some elements the same for everybody, but they are few and far between.) they really are good value for money, its just a shame that he has been ill recently, and that I might have to cut down on my lessons if I have to change
my workplace ( but that is the life of a contractor, if I was a permanent I would not be able to afford so many lessons, so it all evens out)

Well, at the moment I am a hobo (Have sword, will travel); until “42” finally gets his new house, I am sharing a room with Jo and Marc’s pets (at least I will have a snack in the night!) and to be honest it has been a total
revelation, I never realized how hard coaches work or how much mucking round goes into the whole thing (and I am not even going to start on the kit washing) each night there is a pile of office work, so just think of that when you think the swine’s in the black jackets are having it easy.

Well, that is about it for this Stickfight, I have put another couple of t-shirts up and the rest of the design should be sorted out dead soon…..

(long pause)

Ah its been a while, since I have had a good rant so lets set to it with avengence, Firstly Bristol, another comp and other cockup in the pool and another 64, its starting to get on my thungers, the only good part is that in my 128, I meet the bloke who beat me in the 128 at Bristol (or was it the welsh last year), sorry I cant remember the gentleman’s name or the comp, only the fight, and in hind sight it was a bad idea of him to mention the fact ( especially as he beat me 15-14), it turned a fight I was nervous about in to a killing session with a happy result of 15-8 to me, ah!! revenge is sweet (and none fattening), I then got slapped by Tristan Parris, who broke one of my swords left me covered in bruises and bleeding in 3 places, but at least he had a run for his money, so out at 64, but at least it let me get some good footage for the movie I posted last ratscratchings, (I want to thank all my loyal readers and site rapers, for getting stickfight into the top 20 fencing websites in the world YAHHHHH!!!!), I have no new movie for you this time nor will i be able to get the Sussex for you as my son tearfully demanded that I was at home this weekend (does this boy not realise that fencing is life!!), but I do have new t-shirts for you bringing the total to 54 (nearly half way to my goal), these t-shirts also contain a first for stick fight, its first
submission! this one comes from “Tarmac” he can be found on http://www.fencingforum.com , i hope you like it. also Heriot-Watt Uni up in Scotland are going to use the stickfight movies in their sports union fair Wednesday 6th at October, so double cool.

have just heard about the fun people had a Sussex ( especially Ben measures who came in the L4, and am now moping!! (come out and play with the other fencers
little stickfight, SHARNT!! :-< ) and I ended up sanding floors and more general home DIY, today is my first lesson with Steve for 2 weeks (the poor bloke has been off ill with back problems and I am dreading it as I have been a totally skiving swine and have only been fencing once in the last 2 weeks ( Do you have any last requests before are shot for being a skiving svine!!), so have to get back on form and ready for Lester in 2 weeks time, this in the middle of moving house, the terrible victimisation of the contracting professional by his main client and the fact that I had to deal with burnt toast today, Ohhh the terrible life I lead, the sufferance, the misery, and only 3 full means a day (pitiful snivelling), Ok that’s over!

I am sitting happily at work and just stretch my shoulders, my clothes feel funny on my right shoulder, I put my hand in and feel around (or..er..missis) and found a load of white paste covering my shoulder blade, in quite a bit of worry I grab a load of it and pull it out for examination, what could it be, its white with a blue and red stripe, surely not!!, I give a sniff and against all common sense a lick (most of my work colleges are starting to look a bit green at this point, there’s no dough of it, its tooth paste, now the million dollar question WHERE DID IT COME FROM!!, I’ve checked my shirt, my rucksack and when I got back to the flat I checked my bed and the bathroom for hidden tooth paste sprayers with out success, all my toothpaste was there (it was not hard , its not like I horde it or anything), I tried talking to the toothpaste its self, demanding of it the location of it hijacking confederates (it was at this point that my flat mate stopped helping me, and locked himself in his room), but it must have been specially trained as I did not get a word out of  it (damn inscrutable devil!) so I am putting it down as one of those insolvable mysteries such as why I can’t do flick hits. Ah…we return to fencing with a thump. I have joined haverstock traitor!!!) and its fun, there are people there who can beat the hell out of me which is what I am after, and I have had my first lesson with Marek, there is a gentleman with a lot of voice, I had been warned to expect hell in his lesson and indeed it was hell (at least it was a dry heat) but at the same time very satisfying, what I most want in a coach is for them not to give up on me when I cock things up. to bear with me while I get it right (both Steve and Jo are like this thought in very different ways.) Alex is also a very good coach and is nearly as patent as Steve, (does anybody
dare me to do comparisons of the coaches and risk being exiled to outer Mongolia). but the hall that haverstock “do their do” in really good, carpeted with enough room for about 8-10 boxes as well as a set of low steps to put your bags on, there is a stage that the coaches do their lessons on which means that you can tell at a glance if they are waiting for you, the rest of the facilities are OK, apart from the showers that although nice and hot and powerful enough, look as is they are designed for gang rape, I have started showering with my back to the wall even when their is no one in there. Back to Bristol, its on Saturday and I am in the female foil and sabre hall and
I can here this terrible noise, has anybody seem the Jane fonda file “Barbarela” well the black queen has these guards and when ever they appear their is this deathly scream, and I tell you its was exactly that noise, I almost ended up hiding behind the door, personally all foilist and people who do sabre should be locked up in a dark place.

(10/09/04) Well lots of updates for you to play with this time, rants

here I sit at the first comp of the season, and am sick to my guts with my body
evacuating every thing via one hole at speed and seriously considering using
another hole as way to relieve to congestion, luckily it is not epee day, its
when the whippy stick people are out, and although I entered for it, I was
advised not to take part so, I have 24 hours to get a grip, although in my
present state I would win tons of fights as no-one would let their nice white
kit near me (the cleaning bill would be terrible).

It is now after the epee day and I have done pants (last 64), I am an
embarrassment to my coaches, the pool was pants (3 up, 3 down) {did not have
the normal warm up session with Ben Measures}, and was only memorable in the
amount of embarrassment I suffered due to my habit of fighting at any club that
will have me, this meant that my pool had, out of a total 7 clubs represented 4
clubs I am a member of, so I got told off my 3 other people who are team mates,
for being in the same pool as them (the unfortunate fact that these 3 were the
people that I beat did not help matters), happily made it through the 128, and
then comes the 64, I was against the comp No 1 seed (some lad who was having a
very good day {he had beat Mr Cadman in his pool, but as was proved by his
victory in the final, beating Mr Cadman in a pool and knocking Mr Cadman out of
the comp are very very different things [one day in my dreams i hope to be good
enough to actually have a good fight with Mr Cardman]}), and I was 6-2 down at
the end of the first period, at which point Chris Howser came up to me (which
was rare as I don’t like being talked to during a fight, and anyway Jo Maynard
is my official coach) but I have to say I liked his comment (coaches usually
say nice constructive/helpful things) which was “your fighting like a fucking
muppet, rocking back and forward, get a grip and fight properly”, now I know
Chris is not like that normally with fighters he coaches, but it only shows how
he is coming on as a coach that he adapts to individually people rather that
using the same rote on them all. OK, so I think, this bloke is beating you,
just do as you are told and get a grip, so i return to the mealie holding
nothing back and thundering in and out, suddenly its next break and I’m 13-9 up
and what happens!, what HAPPENS!!!, I just run out of energy, it was like some
bugger had pulled the plug, I go all floppy and the bloke just takes me to bits
(all credit to him), and it ends 15-13 to him, F***!!!!, ah well never mind,
never mind!!! NEVER MIND!!, bugger that, I am cross as a ferret in a privet
bush (that is being hit with a stick), and I have to explain my failure to
Steve Paul with my tail between my legs.
there is however a prize to be given, it is a joint prize of sense of humour
and observation and it goes to Hugo from haverstock, how upon seeing me with a
camera actually posses properly and maintains the pose while both his opponent
and the judge look on in confusion, waiting for me to take the photo and
unaware that I was doing a movie (the pose was so good that I put it at the
beginning of the Essex movie).

As we all know the different fencing styles suit different personality types,
but how do you spot this in a small child so that they don’t waste time with a
weapon they won’t enjoy, thankfully this question has been answered in the case
of my son, I will explain, here is family Stickfight out on in sunny Boston in
the centre of town, finding a place to park, this we do in a none multi story
pay and display near the shops, I nip out to get the ticket and return to find
my whole family sticking their tongues out at me from inside the car, in the
situation, I did the only thing possible which was to put the ticket between my
teeth, turn round, drop my trousers and shorts and moon my unruly clan. had my
son been of the sabre persuasion he would have mooned me straight back, if he
was a born epeeist he would have got out and attempted to kick me, but Nooo!!!,
he says “Eurgh! he’s got the ticket in his mouth”, I morosely pull my trousers
back up and get into the car,

“whats up?” my wife says,

“Our son” I answer,

“what?” she replies,

“Foil!!” I say,

She turns to me in horror, “surely not??!?!” I nod mutely and hang my head. sweetness puts on a brave face “maybe he will grow out of it”, I sigh “we can only hope.

I am badgering 42 for another update but he’s having a blank spot, so we will
all just have to wait (sigh!!)

I have a load of other rants but I wanted to get the media up for Friday so
people could download it over the weekend, will up date the rants this weekend

Rat Scratching 6

Its a strange question but does looking good and being successful mean you are going to be a nasty person, I don’t know about fencers (we may get on to that later) but it is certainly the case with people in general, and for my case I put for Forward the different tube line and where you get on and off, for the last 2 years I have been at kings cross and using the silver link to get to canary wharf and it is full of the dregs of London ( yes that is why I am there) and no matter how busy it was people did not push, people weren’t nasty and people got to work in the best way they could ( and I am talking about the silver link here, the tube drivers call it the scum link is so grot grot) but as I have said before I am currently camping down at Jo and Marcs and have been travelling on the district line, and I tell you I have never meat a bigger group of nasty petty, rude, pushy evil little sods, for the first time since I started stick fighting I have wanted to get my epees out and lay about me until all are dead or dieing, and its all the more worse for the fact that they all look immaculate, all in posh suits and fancy clothes, but WHAT I hear you cry has this got to do with the wonderful sport of fencing, well I’m glad you asked (no really I am), the main difference to me between the people on the different tube lines is that the ones on the district are used to success (the areas are posher and cost lots to live in) and that makes them arrogant, but does that apply to the successful fencers that are always at the top of the rankings, now I don’t know about foil or saber but as far as epee goes I can happily say nooo!!, without an exception I have found the top fencers to be pleasant and none arrogant (the Sussex house epeeists are the perfect example of this) so why the discrepancy, after all in a lot of the large companies I have worked for the top ranked successful people are as nasty and little minded pile of sods that you ever want to see tied to post and covered in their own excrement, and I think it is the physical part, the fact it is all so temporary and that if you let up for one second someone’s on you and your beaten, so you never get time to become arrogant, what ever the reasons, I personally find it very refreshing to find the people at the top of the tree are bearing sweet fruit, without that nasty bitter ness that turns you stomach.

Lester, ahhh if have fucked up again, I mean AGAIN!!!! (I’m telling you its nuts it took my kids less time to start walking and talking from birth, than it has taken me to get good at fencing {mind you a lot of fencers cant walk and talk, not together anyway!!), pool went fine but ( 4-1 up with an +5 indicator ) but I banged into Mr. Bennet in the 128, he in a most gentlemanly manner took me to bits (15-6), I am past anger and upset and into disbelief, but their are some plus points

1) Mr. Bennet was most kind in pointing out my problems when I asked him, these are not extending my arm properly and being very easy to feint to that I parry cart{and its bad cart at that}, to this Jo has added poor lunge (I lean) which we will have to fix, and I am going to throw in poor distance control., so lots to work on,

2) I have no points to defend this year so I have not lost anything but the
opportunity,

3) when I explained what I had done to sweetness she was most supportive (she did not make that short silence that mean that I have sodded it up on her eyes) so all in all I could have been worse (it could also have been a lot bloody better), and in the fine tradition of finding someone else to blame other than yourself, I am going to pick Ben Measures, as he is having a good day and he was also in the pool with tom Bennet and beat him, so I am off to find some rotten eggs to throw at him in his fights)

Oh.. 6 new tshirts have been poped on the tshirt page

Jo and Mr. Bengry are fighting on and doing well in spite of being absolutely shattered after yesterday (Mr. Bengry looked as if he had no sleep in 2 weeks and had to wrestle rhinos each day)

update Jo has won, and defended her title, and so the trip back in the Maynard’s car will not be fill with black depression, also the waitresses at the little chief we stopped at did not get shouted at ether

SOD!! I forgot my camera so you have my profound grovelling apologies that their is no movie for the Lester open, this is of particular sorrow as I would have been able to capture the fight between Alistair and the elder barbasavich
brother, which was absolutely amazing and wins my award for the fight of the day, Alistair was totally on fire, and was moving around like a man possessed. Even worse was the fact that no one videoed it, thus meaning that a permanent
record of it was lost forever (if anyone has by chance I video of it, please tell me so that I might get a copy, I dare say Alistair would want one as well) to try and make up for the lack of movie I have written a little quiz for
fencers so that they can judge how much of a fencing freak they are (with any luck I will be able to get it into the sword, but due to its content I somehow doubt it….sigh):

Q1) its Sunday lunch and only the last drop of gravy is left (which you want), do you:

A) If you see anybody else reach for the gravy boat, you parry their hand in cart and riposte to grab the boat, thus claiming victory

B) challenge the whole table to a Sunday open, first having a round of pools, making them all wait ages while you do the scoring then finishing of your uncle in a titanic DE final in the living room before being presented with the gravy
boat and pouring the contents on your now stone cold meal.

C) Gently argue with the rest of your family over who gets the gravy, while you aunt (who pretends she is deaf) nips in and polishes it off

Q2) what do you wear for casual clothes when going out clubing/pubing on a Saturday night?

A) You fencing breaches sprayed gold with the most up to date Leon Paul jacket and a ryne stone encrusted plastron, as fencing gear is so “bling”

B) Normal clothes, what has fencing got to do with going out?? Weirdo!!

C) manly normal clothes but with something that show the rest of the world that you are a fencer, maybe a witty fencing t-shirt, or your fencing trainers (they cost bloody enough to wear out) just a conversation piece so you can get the
talk onto fencing with anybody you might meet.

Q3) does fencing and its kit intrude into you bedroom life?

A) No, fencing kit smells bad; it stays in the laundry basic or kit bag

B) Sort of, my partner likes to see me lunge and leap around a bit before hand, before leaving my kit and fencing ideas firmly on the floor.

C) I do the deed wearing my plastron and a mask.

Q4) how much do you talk about fencing to your none fencing friends

A) Sometimes, it’s more interesting that watching 22 men kick a bladder round a field for 90 minutes

B) They all put cotton wool in their ears when I open my mouth

C) You can have none fencing friends??

Q5) do you do other sports than fencing?

A) sometimes but only as part of a careful controlled training raysheame for the benefit of my fencing, such as swimming or wholesome racket sports

B) Other sports!!!, how could you try and tempt me with this, don’t you know all other sports are the work of the devil and there practitioners should all
be burn at the stake

C) hell yeah, I have a go at anything, as long as it fun, I just do fencing so I can stab people and get away with it.

Q6) Of your girlfriends/boyfriends what percent have been fencers?

A) 0%, ouhh! Nasty!! Not likely. That would mean just too much fencing kit around, and every body and I mean everybody would gossip about it, and anyway who would want to go out with a fencer…er..um.

B) 1%-50%, I can take them or leave them,

C) 50%-100% I must have them!, oh! the way they move, and their shear intellectual brilliance mean that fencers are the only ones for me.

Q7) how much care do you take of your weapons

A) Check them before a comp and if they stop working give them the minimum attention to get the light to start coming back on

B) I don’t, they live in fear of me, not working means I whack them on the ground, and in the case if them being the suspected reason for me losing a fight, I bang them on walls and kick them around, weapons must obey your every need with no maintenance and failure to do so means being given to a decorator to stir his paint with.

C) they are my babies, I check them each night, and have little beds for them to sleep in so that they don’t catch cold, all the way through a fight I constantly look along them checking for the slightest little imperfection in their less than 1 cm bend and gentle tease out any kinks, I take them on holiday so that they can get a bit of sun and fresh air (but I don’t feed them any foreign fencers as that would be bad for their diet)

Q8) how you prepare for a fencing completion

A) after going down extra early the day before, I freat and worry needlessly until I am a bag of nerves, I get accommodation so close to the venue (so that I won’t be late) that the beds are naff and I don’t get any sleep, but that does not matter as I have spent the whole night meditating in the on guard position with my swords laid out in a pattern of cosmic significance before me

B) p-r-e-p-a-r-e???, your kidding right? you just turn up and fight

C) beer, beer, beer!!

Q9) how often do you wash your kit

A) never, if it wants to be washed it can crawl in to washing machine and sort it its self out

B) never, I have a slave called “mommy” who does it for me.

C) When there are more than 3 forms of fungus growing on it

Q10) what happens when you lose badly in a completion

A) shrug, (there is always next year)

B) I burn my breaches, shave my head and become a monk/nun

C) I make all around me miserable for at least 24 hours (after all misery should be shared)

Q11) in you home what evidence that this is the residence of a fencer is there to be seen?

A) none the other members of the human race that I share the house with are normal, and insist that all fencing gear is confined to a cage in the back garden where it can still be heard growling in the night

B) there is a nasty smell coming from the wash basket, and of course you have just tripped over the fencing bag in the hall.

C) my house/room is a shrine to the gods of the duel, with special note given to the toilet carpet which is woven out of old fencing socks.

Q12) how much fencing do you do each week?

A) once sleeping, eating and breathing are done, all other time is dedicated to fencing

B) fencing is more important than eating, sleeping and on occasion breathing.

C) it’s a hobby for heavens sake; I do it when I have time

Q13) when you stop fencing, for example, when you go on holiday, how does this affect you?

A) I carry a photo of my favorite weapon and cry myself to sleep at night holding it.

B) I take my fencing bag on holiday (dealing with all the pain and crisis that brings), and try and find foreign fencing clubs to fight at

C) A break from fencing, horary!!, my coach wont shout at me for a couple of weeks.

Q14) what time do you arrive for booking at a fencing comp

A) On time

B) I sleep out side the fencing hall, so that I can be first in and start my warm up.

C) I do saber!, so I turn up when I feel like it.

Q15) can you remember your first fencing lesson

A) its on video, and I watch it each night, to keep the sweetness of the memory fresh

B) er…yeh…think so… we all stood in a funny position, and shuffled up and down, then we were given a sword and pretended to be Errol Flynn

C) Pain and terror has blanked my memory

Q16) what does the smell of a full fencing hall conjure in your mind

A) Time for my kit to have its yearly wash

B) The smell of joy and rapture, the smells of home and of happiness unbounded

C) What you get if 2 dozen rugby players are locking in a hot sewage farm for a week with a brace of badgers

Q17) if you were washed up on a desert island, what item would you most what to find there

A) The desert Island A-grade, open to last minute entries

B) A boat and supplies…I have to get back for a fencing lesson

C) The lost tribe of “beautifulrandynudes”

Q18) what are the contents of your car?

A) tapes/cd’s, maybe a half empty bottle of coke, some sweets, the odd magazine, just stuff

B) well yes, there is a copy of the sword in a side pocket and you can find about 4-5 half empty packets of sweets, and I will admit that 12 liters is a lot of water to keep in a car, but it is still a car first and fencing transport second (pass us the AA road map its got the location of all “near to comp” travel lodges in it and I will be lost if it goes missing!!)

C) its a sort of fencing scrap yard, bits of weapons, old raged plastrons, and wires fill every crack, weapon tips roll around under the seats every time I turn a corner, and there is the lingering smell of rotting bananas and old
sandwiches, to sit down you have to shift the dog eared a to z’s of places like Lester and Bristol, and never no matter how much you want to no matter how much I plead for you to “just check if my BFA card is in there” ever EVER venture
into the glove compartment.

Q19) how did you get your last injury?

A) I am currently suffering from a repeat injury caused by poor footwork and inadequate stretching pre fight, it has a name as long as my arm and I will describe it to you in minute detail as well as what I am doing to have it sorted, if you give me half a chance.

B) I was cruelly stabbed in the chest by a full on fleshe when I was thinking about something else (its left me with a bruise the size of an orange, that wakes me up when I roll over in the night, the SWINE!!)

C) I stabbed my self in the foot while raking the lawn

Q20) you’re caught in a pub fight!, someone crashes into you and a flailing fist catches you in the ear, what do you do?

A) parry their other hand in octave, enter corps – a – corps and knee them in the groin

B) Insist that the offender is given a red card for roughness

C) Smash you drink into your attackers face, kick them in the kidneys when they go down and leg it before their mates catch you

Q21) Have you actually written down all you answers and are taking this quiz seriously.

A) Naaa!! it’s just a laugh, and I don’t get half the jokes

B) Just doing it while I wait for the next round of the DE

C) damb right its serious!!, its taking about 2 hours to collate all the scores and I am submitting my answers to British fencing, and hope it will add to my ranking points

Scoring
Q1 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q2 A=10 B=0 C=5
Q3 A=0 B=3 C=10
Q4 A=3 B=5 C=10
Q5 A=7 B=10 C=0
Q6 A=0 B=0 C=10
Q7 A=0 B=7 C=10
Q8 A=10 B=0 C=-10
Q9 A=3 B=7 C=10
Q10 A=0 B=10 C=5
Q11 A=0 B=3 C=10
Q12 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q13 A=10 B=7 C=0
Q14 A=0 B=10 C=3
Q15 A=10 B=0 C=3
Q16 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q17 A=10 B=5 C=0
Q18 A=0 B=7 C=10
Q19 A=10 B=5 C=0
Q20 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q21 A=0 B=0 C=10

What kind of fencing freak are you?

0-40 Points

You’re not a true fencer, ether that of you have done it for so long that you
have burnt out all the freakishness, either way you are far too normal

41-129 Points

Ummm..You have potential to be a fencing freak, but you still need work, at the
moment you are just a general freak, I prescribe 2 Haverstock training camps
and a course of Alp parties, come back and see me next year.

130-200 Points

Ah!!!.. That’s what we like to see a nice well rounded freak, normal people run
shrieking at the sight of you, but you are truly an obsessive person and as
such fencing is your rightful home.

210 Points

FREAK FREAK!!!, get away from me, your just too much!!, you should be kept in a
box and only let out into the rest of humanity as opens.

Rat Scratching 5c

Rat Scratching #5c (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)

As stated in the last update i have been trying to get some art for the t-shirts, but it not been that easy. as to get to the best artists you have to go through agencies and even then you only rent to commissions, rent! RENT!!!, did the greatest artists of the world get their pictures back after 6 months, I think NOT!, did Michele Angelo say “you can have the Sistine chapel roof for a couple of weeks and then some of my boys will be along to pick it up”, I don’t think he did!!!! ………….right back to the point,
so far i have found 4 artists that do the kinds of styles that I am looking for and have asked for a couple of commissions from each of them (I have asked 2 artists of very different styles for the same commissions and we will see how they both turn out), and the reason that the artists that specialise in fencing art have not been contacted is that the current styles i am looking for is computer based anime art, if anybody starts asking for poetic/beautiful t-shirts they will be the first to know ( UPDATE: I gave this reason to Jo Maynard and was told that she could sure do the style that I wanted, so I have taken a how to draw manga book, some example comics, a pen table and some software over to her and Marc’s house, and we will see what comes out of the other end {I wonder what its like to have actual talent rather just being bad
tempered}) I am however having some problems understanding the mentality of artists, or is it that they are having some problems understanding mine (stop!
that laughing at the back), anyway the idea that I might be just giving away the commissions that I am getting them to do seems to strike a cord of horror in their souls, I have had a number of phone conversations which have a long quiet patch in them, that seem to be saying “is their some form of medication that you are on that I should be aware of”, but enough of my drivel the following are the site of the artists and a brief description

http://www.animespresso.com/

(This guy is a very very anime style artist, who does the stylish type of art that makes for good t-shirts, I am currently awaiting his commissions to come though as he has accepted and given me a price)

http://www.griffinator.co.uk/

(Now this guy does, an very British style of drawing, I reminds me very much of the work you see on gorillaz videos and in tank girl, he has produced a cool little guy for the more psychotic tempered t-shirts, the guy is so good that I have requested about 6 commissions as the character will the official logo of stick fight., here he is)

cool eh… (don’t pinch him unless you have permission from the artist)

http://www.moochoo.net

(An artist from new Zealand, who has completed 2 commissions for me {you can see them in the t-shirts section}, she does fab female faces, and is someone to watch)

http://www.rachaelhuntington.com

( now here I am stuck for something to say, this ladies work is past belief {the net is littered with praise for her work}, and unlike the other artists she is a professional, I only can hope that the ideas I present, interest her enough for her to accept my commissions, but go to her site that’s all I can say.)

Rat Scratching #5d (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)

right!! that’s it!!, I formally declare my self as cross as a ferret in a  privet bush, there is little enough fencing around at the moment (what with it being just after the nationals), without me mucking up what little I can get, my only lesson this week is/was with Steve Paul at 5:00pm at the Lansdowne, I leave work with time to spare and arrive at LTFC dead on time…., yes i did say LTFC, I open the door to the salle and look around, a wind whistles though the door and a couple of dust balls roll along the floor, my brain, which had been hammering on the inside of my skull for the last 30 seconds, finally makes its presence known and points out I had better phone Steve up and explain that one of his pupils is a prat, that over, I hunt down some small defenceless animals and torture them…

It may however have been an unconscious action, (unconscious rather than just stupid), as I am still recovering from the last proper lesson I had with Steve, mind you I can’t blame it all on Steve, I had an hours squash during lunch (at which I got thrashed badly), lunging at a squash ball just does not cut it, nether is it impress by a fleche or corps-a-corps), ran down to LTFC and had a hard hours lesson, then a good 3 hours of fighting, then tootle back to the flat happily in the certain knowledge that I am a fitness god, in the morning I roll over and get up, or rather I try, half of me gets up fine but is happered by the fact the left hand side of my body is still on the bed, nothing works, not good, NOT GOOD!!, it feels like someone has swaped the blood in the left hand side of my body for supper glue, I drag my self though the day and return to proper home in the evening to my darling female how gives me stuff-all sympathy pointing out that it is all self inflicted (my argument, to wit I am doing all for her so that she can have a husband with a Keanu Reaves body {when he was in the matrix} just did not wash), how ever it did cause some concern, as later one, she rushes to the sound of hysterical laughter coming from the toilet, only to discover that its me having just found out that I have had to change from the normal hand I use to wipe my arse as my arm hurts to much. but their is a cure, and was the massage a tried to get but they cancelled at the last minute, No, was it my manly physique combating the pain and rising above it, NO, was it my kinds finding out that there father was in an enfeebled state and spending 2 hours fighting with him YESS!!!, little devils. but I am now all fit and healthy and ready to hunt down my offspring with battling foam swords, which always results in a long period of happy squeals from the offspring, a lot of thundering around and the occasional crash of something delicate being broken. Gasp…I think that is it for this ratscratchings, I am going to try and make the updates in the future smaller and more often, but as for now I am going to see if I can get the artists I have commissioned to send me the stuff and even in some cases answer my attempts to commission them (that’s the problems with people with talent they are always doing something)

Rat Scratching 5b

Rat Scratching #5b (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)

You will have to excuse this part of the stickfight rant, as I am ratted. after having a lesson with Steve Paul (is it me or are morning lessons far more tiring than evenings ones) I have skived the fight night at Haverstock as well as Redhill and Reigate and gone out and got drunk with work, after a happy night which involved explaining about a blokes basic needs (1. feed me 2. shag me) to a woman who landed at our table who after becoming a spinster because she had note got a male after 9 months, I have finally got back to life and fencing (don’t ask me!!, in fact do ask, is it me or do all women apart from my wife want to keep a full table width away from me, as my wife says the words “rabid dog” best apply, but never mind that back to fencing)

this stickfight rant is mainly about club locations, and how they variety, some are custom built, some are just standard calls or gyms mugged for the use of fencing, lets take the ones I knew personally each in turn, 126 first (famous or rather infamous for being the only fencing club in Britain to be held in a bar) has now moved to County Hall hotel near Westminster bridge (thou the bar claim can still be kept up as the gym is on the 5/6 floor and their is a bar on the 1st, so in fact 126 is now “the only flub to be help 4 stories above a bar”) , a fabulous place (though the gym is quite small) for fencing in which I believe the gym gets more from it than the fencing club ( they have just got Jo Maynard to work as a personal fitness instructor) does, so the hotel can put fencing down as one of its sports and also put “fitness instructors include
members of the common wealth team”. (To give you an idea of how post this place is, you just have to look at the little hand towels they have for you when you are in the gym, they are PRE-DAMPENED!!, now this is officially to cool you off, but I think its so really rich people don’t have to sweat, I am willing to bet that the bottle they spray the towels with contains specially selected sweat from Russian sweat shops {sweat shops – get it SWEAT……SHOPS….. oh never mind}, but I ask my self if there is not a business opportunity here, could we not collect the sweat of nubile fencers and sell it to such rich people as the highest quality sweat, i mean if we out our feet in plastic bags while fencing it would work like a charm {URGENT EDITORS NOTE: if you see stickfight approach you during a comp carrying 2 small plastics, RUN!!!, make
it to the tree line before its to late}) The view from the fencing area is fabulous (though I have not personally partaken of it as 6’4″ blokes wandering
around on roof tops carrying swords attracts the kind of attention I would rather avoid) and as of this mo we have not been allowed access to the showers (Note: This has changed since writing {see my top 5 fencing wash rooms}), but there is no denying the in fact that you often get 1 to 1 training at 126 (Marc Bengry is always their, and sometimes people Like Joanne Beadsworth) and the facilitys some of the best looking (you get to walk in/out of a posh London hotel looking as scruffy as hell with swords trailing on the ground),

Next Redhill and Reigate, a club at a large school, getting their without a car is a total sod in the winter and a total dream in the summer due the fact that it is about 20 mins walk over a golf course, but when you are there, there is room for Africa (not to mention tons of working boxes) the hall you fight in is big enough for a comp. (e-mail Chris if you think this is a good idea), but alas no showers (and a very naff tap to fill up water bottles from, but as a compensation the club as a whole group goes to drink at one of the best pubs a have ever been to after each night. also the number do not fluctuate hugely as they do at other clubs, there is nearly always 20 plus people of all ages to fight.

Now LTFC (London Thames Fencing Club) a custom built salle with proper working metal pistes set at St. Paul’s school, it vies with Haverstock for the position of best epee club in Britain (although Sussex house seems determined to take that honour) when you enter the salle you are in no doubt that fencing is what is due to go on here, the club is a bit of a bugger to get to if you don’t have a car, and I personally find the buses a pain in the sword bag (I can make it in 12 mins from the tube train door to on pieste, but it does involve punting over a spiky iron fence and running across the field clanking and trying to ignore the stares of the people going over Hammersmith bridge { Oh.. I have a theory about Hammersmith station, I believe it is a cattle zone, i,e, people that go into it temporary turn into cows and sheep….No NO , I don’t mean literally, I mean their minds turn into cattle minds e.g. {and this has happened a number of times} you are getting ready to get off the tube and just as you approach the door someone steps in front of you and gets ready to rush out as soon as the door is opened, that OK you think, if we both whoosh out the door, up the stairs and out the station “fast through put, keep pushing that zar” {editors: What??} the train stops, i tense, the doors open, we both shoot forward, “SMACK”, me two swords and a bag with kevlar in it crumps into the bloke as with one foot on the platform he slows to snails pace, he turns as my impact cursing, and I see the eyes that were once quick silver now have the look of something that goes “MOO”, freaked out I Jink round him and start up the stairs only to find that people are not so much moving at working pace as plodding at grassing speed, trying to ignore the couple who look as if they are chewing cud and shutting my ears to the noise of bleating, I dive out of what I personally consider the twilight zone of the tube line and make my escape). it should be also noted that Hammersmith does a good line in night buses which go pretty much anywhere (a good one is the N10 to kingscross). the club does a have a good share of drinking fountains and even a chilled filter to fill up your water bottle, it is very well supplied on the coach side with 2 epee coaches and 1 sabre coach their at any time. but LTFC people could not queue if their lives depended on it ( I include my self in this description ) so it is very informal grab a box system with a lot of chattering ( sometimes the coaches yell at people to stop talking and get fighting), drinks afterwards are a strange thing, their is no specific pub or time and it is very much a case of which bunch of people you are talking to as the  here/whether you go.

Havestock should also be in here but, I am going to defer it for a couple of weeks due to the fact they are relocating to a school near the angel ( a good decision in my view as it has a lot of good pubs near it, in fact there is a good pub crawl you can do from Highbury/Islington down the main road to the angel, stopping at all the many many nice pubs on the way, and can you can get tanked up cheaply at the start of the crawl at the Wetherspoons just out side the station), I think the move is a good one for Haverstock and they are now near the not just the northern line but the silverlink and Victoria lines, not to mention a shed load of busses like the 277 to/from Docklands .

Lansdowne, a private salle which is part of a private club (as this translates and people will not nick stuff out of the changing room), with nice cold filtered water {Editor: WHAT is it with you and the bloody water??, you come from Skegness and they drink sheep urine their}, it is also where you stand the best chance of getting a private lesson with Steve Paul, the people are also very friendly and they have excellent piste with duel score boards, and no time limit as the salle is dedicated, but you have to get invited their (or be bloody pushy like me), they drink upstairs in the club afterwards, for which I think you have to get invited again, but I have not dared to go as when fencing I am a very scruffy sod {as an antidote from life in corporate London} (disqualified from the human race for pushing!!!) and most of these clubs usually make you wear a jacket and tie (suppose I better check on that before making final comment)

My top 3 fencing bathrooms (why???, don’t ask me I’m only writing this stuff)

3) LTFC – It at least has got one, although there seems to be a constant battle with the students over the shower heads, they are unscrewed and moved, and nicked, finally they gave been replaced with the kind I suspect you get in prisons, which are fine but means you have to flatten yourself against the wall in order to get wet which in turns makes a bathroom full of LTFC fencers look like a squashed from convention

2) Lansdowne club – nice bathroom NICE BATHROOM, free soap, soft white towels, and the showers OHHH, nice, they are the old style ones that look like a cross between a sunflower and a trifid, but throw the Atlantic at you in lots of little bits, as a visual guide it looks like an old style public school changing room (no surprise three) and a pleasure to use.

1) 126 – Oh heck, this is just heaven, when I for a sough it the first time, I went in and out of the place a couple of time to make sure that I had not stepped into a timewarp or something. but no it is real, perhaps a little guided tour would be best, ….and on your right as you go in you will see gentlemen that there are complementary bathrobes to wear and soft white towels for you to use, further in perhaps you would like to rest and watch TV on one of the many comfy chairs that litter the walls?..No..well let us progress…once you have got undressed and put your garments in the oak lockers in the oak panelled rooms, perhaps you would like a shower, this way please…yes sir that is a machine for drying you swimming trunks!! {weird!!!}, and on your right we have separate sauna and steam rooms, on you left an plunge bath and whirl pool…sir whishes to try that now…Ok please get in and push the large white button…No sir calm down…it OK..Godzilla is not coming to get you its just it gives off rather a lot of bubbles…next week have the showers..all individual cubical with little smoked glass doors and complementary conditioning shampoo and shower gel..no sir you can not have two people to help you stand up in the torrent, I am afraid you must handle it your self,..now once sir has get up from the floor, I can show sir the sinks with free complementary cotton buds and comb washer (you could not make it up)…… What a place to get wet.

Rat Scratching 5a

Rat Scratching #5a (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)
Ah. well here i sit on the Sunday on the nationals, risking life and piles writing this for your joy and confusion, while trying to understand the loud speaker announcements ( but as far as I can tell, it sounds as if the speaker is a concrete mixer gargling with horse radish while trying to shout out random lottery numbers, you think I’m kidding!!, I’m sure i heard someone shout “BINGO” last time), the last couple of days have brought pain and much happiness to many people (sort of like a group sex session and a box of nails), people crying/sobbing (NO! not from the nails), a couple of people wanting to REALLY kill each other, and some of the best team fights I have seen in my brief time in the fencing world, whenever I was not poorly savaging people ,I was happily clicking away with the movie mode on the digital camera that I have nicked off my wife (I am safe as she does not read this page), to download the movie click here (its 20Meg so I would be happier is you just downloaded it {right click “Save Target As”} if you are going to watch it more than once (the down load tends to be a little slow to kick-in but bare with it and it will
come), and yes I am aware that it consists mainly on men’s foil and epee, I couldn’t help it!, the sabre is over before you can get to the pieste and the women’s always seemed to clash with the men’s and the men’s is more interesting to me <> ) .Movie Link,

Ah first but a slight divergence from fencing, which involves the trip home from the nationals, in order to spare Mr Maynard ( A Long suffering human if there has ever been one) a Long trip round to Hammersmith , I spy a sign to Uxbridge (Ah Ha..Low and behold I think), yon tube station is at the arse end of the Piccadilly line, and mayhap it would save us both a lot of caking around if I just got on it and zoomed with the grace that only sore bum muscles and a bloody heavy fencing bag + Laptop can imbue, up the line to Caledonian road and my bed, SOOO! off we get, and thus starts a comedy of errors, come let us read on:

Stage 1) Its so late that I have to get the metropolitan line to action town then change, Cool we can do that,

Stage 2) Off at Acton town and ask guard which platform to wait at, “this one he replies”, Cool we can do that as well.

Stage 3) Silly bugger guard does not know what he is talking about, last Piccadilly train leaves from another platform (ARSE!!!), thus stranding me and a bunch of other blokes on station suddenly devoid of helpful people.

Stage 4) Find Silly Bugger Guard, and get cross, silly bugger tells me that I will have to get 3+ night buses to get back to my flat, I ask him for the map he is reading, he says it is the station copy and he cant give it out.

Stage 5) Silly bugger takes a look at my face and changes mind, I leave the station with map.

Stage 6) Read map and discover that silly bugger can read bus maps as well as he knows train platforms. and I can do it in 2 busses, wait on wrong side of road for 15 Mins.

Stage 7) see the bus I want coming from what I think is the wrong way, move very fast (could have done with that kind of speed during the 32 DE) and wait on right side of the road for half a milli second.

Stage 8) get right bus to Hammersmith, discover that bag is so heavy that it is destabilising the bus, however before the bus tips over an immensely fat man (and I mean totally SUMO) gets on bus, we sit at different sides of the bus and all is safe again.

Stage 9) wait at Hammersmith for the N10 (a very useful bus that goes from Hammersmith to kingscross all night), discover that not even drunken tramps
want to talk to me and even move always if I look at them (Shame).

Stage 10) Get to kings cross, and get off (fat man is still on! {when did he get on this bus???}, bus is listing badly!!, as I turn the next corner I hear the noise of what sounds like a sumo wrestler tipping over a bus, I just ignore it and keep going)

Stage 11) Wait for my final Bus, (its only 15 mins walk, but the weight of the bag is starting to get on my nerves and its 1:30 in the morning), I wait for 10 mins and thing bugger it, I’ll walk!!.

Stage 12) Of course as soon as I set off, the bus comes, I thunder to the next bus stop, waving frantically at the bus driver, as I am the only person on the street, carrying a huge bag, waving wildly and am about 2 yards from the bus stop, I feel that the fact that he drives straight past is a little unfair ( I of course do not yell BAS***D!!!! at the back of the buss and attack the bus station), I am a little bit peeved at this point.

Stage 13) My opinion of humanity is saved by a bloke who pulls up straight after the bus and asks if he can give me a lift any where, Cool we can do that!, next sec he drops me off at the flat, all done!, the I forgive the world its wrongs.

Stage 14) Sleep!!! (for about 3 hours before a sour throat wakes me up)

Rat Scratchings 4a

Rat Scratchings #4a (19/04/04 – 13/05/04)

This is just a quick note to say I have not stopped updating Rat Scratchiness I
am just doing other content on the site at the mo (you may have noticed the
very unfinished audio section, and a new t-shirt) I have a good rat scratching
to come, but I want to get the audio done, as well as a site translation into
other languages. in the mean time…..

Unofficial Fencing Terms #5

Angry Bunny – The result of an unspecified sequence of events, that turn a
normally mild mannered fencer into a raging banshee in a Kevler suit, symptoms
include but are not limited to a) Screaming after each point b) Banging sword
on the floor and swearing c) Bitting the president’s arm off and clubbing the
apposing fencer with it. d) Attempted genocide

Suitable Quote

A Sportsman is a man who, every now and then, simply has to get out and Kill
something

-(Stephen Leacock)