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Monday, 28 November 2011

Idiot's Guide to Internet Trolls ... What?!?


troll 1 | trōl|
noun
a cave-dwelling being with a dwarf intellect making rude comments online, typically having a very ugly appearance despite claims online to the contrary.

troll 2
verb
sending an e-mail message or posting on the Internet with the intention to provoke a response, hateful interaction or draw attention to themselves by being &*$#@.

________________________________

Until the other week, I hadn't had even one 'hater message', let alone a 'troll', on my YouTube channel since I started posting. But even so I developed a contingency plan just in case - a YouTuber's creed - for when the inevitable happened.  It was:

Do not respond. Perhaps thank them for their opinion, but don't engage.

That motto, however, went out the window when I received my first trolling comment.

Said troll wrote:


This was just way too funny not to respond. I HAD to respond, and so I wrote:


Note: It was for my bowling prank video.

I thought to myself, if you're going to call someone an "idiot", at least get the basic punctuation right. That's three words he's written, and he managed to screw up two out of three. That's an amateur troll's mistake.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't make a habit of fixing people's grammar up, even if they are freakin' hilarious mistakes (because I know I make mistakes on my blog).

I didn't, for example, draw attention to the irony in this statement made on YouTube (despite the temptation):


But seriously, rule number one of trolling must be to not call someone an idiot (a stupid person) - or "a idiot" - and make mistakes primary school kids do not make. 

Mind you, if I called him an idiot for making elementary mistakes, I guess his rebuttal could be "it takes one to know one". That ALWAYS worked in the playground, and if we were to take this premise to be correct, it would confirm his initial analysis of me to also be correct.

Anyway, by being called an idiot it came to my attention that that qualifies me as someone who could write the "Idiot's Guide to Trolling"
 Idiot's Guide to Internet Trolls

So here it is, the definitive guide for any troll or troll wannabe.  I've already mentioned the first rule ... (don't call someone an idiot with bad punctuation, unless you believe it takes one to know one, and you used the bad punctuation as a ploy to confirm the previous statement) ... so here's the second rule.

Rule #2: The Law of Getting Attention


As you can see from the graph above, the more of a tool a troll is, the more attention they'll get... until it gets to a point where everyone realises they are a complete waste of oxygen and decides to no longer engage with them. When this happens, it is time for the herd of trolls to move onto a new video or article.


Rule #3: Less is more.

Often it is tempting for a troll to try to compete with someone who has well thought arguments, or big words... just don't. 

Trolls have limited capacity for insight or retrievable knowledge. Their brains are filled with other things like... well, I'm not sure on the contents (unfounded prejudices, perhaps?), but they don't have any room for any of that "smart stuff".

So the motto for trolls should be: less is more. When someone speaks to a troll using unfair and confusing words with 7 or more letters, combat this with four letter words and personal insults that you claim are true based on your mentalist perception of their words and opinions.


Rule #4: Claim credibility.

Why have credibility when you can just claim you have it?  It is much easier, and can be changed to suit the argument.

A good tactic for a troll is to say they went to Harvard or Oxford (or both) and studied in a relevant field relating to the video. It is common knowledge that Harvard and Oxford graduates trawl the Internet looking for petty fights and cannot spell - so when trolls use this tactic they are taken for their word.

They can also claim good looks, an abundance of sexual partners, or a high IQ. These too are believable and help win any online argument.


Conclusion

If you're anything like me, you are probably tired of the trolls. They can go back to Middle Earth I say! 

Anyway, if you think I have missed out any Rules for Trolls, feel free to use the comment form below and tell me.  Have a great 'troll-free' day!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Nerdiest Superhero like EVER: Dainty Green Tree Frog Man (Pt3)

Above is a  visual representation of the totem animal of our favourite hero, but not necessarily the correct species.
Below is part three of the Dainty Green Tree Frog Man series.  If you haven't read the first two parts, then click here or here and stop being the nerdiest kid in class.  If you have read the first two parts, then you are probably the coolest person you know, and you are totally underground, and you should read on before the story becomes like so mainstream that it stops being cool and whatever and gives you Bieber Fever.

Back at the Dainty Green Tree Frog Hideout.

Stefan the hair dresser and Todd Grayson were deep in discussion, when suddenly the lime green phone in the middle of the garage began to ring.

‘Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ they said in unison as they jumped up from their seats and ran to the phone.

‘Hello Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ said Todd as he picked up the receiver.  ‘What’s going down?’

‘Todd, I know where The Lungfish Lair is… I’m on my way there now.’  There was a pause on the other end of the line.  ‘I think Joanne, the journalist, might be following me.  Can you stop her?  It could be quite dangerous.’

‘I’ll see what I can do,’ Todd said.  ‘Be careful.’

‘Aren’t I always?’

Kangaroo Point. Entrance to the abandoned bunker behind the hospital. Night time.

Dainty Green Tree Frog Man waded through the long grass towards the hidden bunker.  He pushed through the shrubbery and overhanging vines that had grown over the entrance, and carefully stooped inside.

Inside the bunker there was a series of stone passageways.  With his superhero instinct guiding him, and instructions scrawled on the wall by The Lungfish as reminders, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man was able to creep through the maze towards the main chamber. 

He stopped all of a sudden before turning the last corner.  He could hear The Lungfish in the next chamber.

The Lungfish sat at the back of the chamber on a throne made of coral, with a squirming, silvery-flashing fish in his scaly hand.  The walls of the chamber had been taken over by moss and seaweed, and in the middle of the stone floor there was a pool of water.  On closer inspection, the pool was very deep and seemed likely to be part of an underwater system that led to the Brisbane River.

‘So, that’s how The Lungfish has been able to escape my clutches so many times,’ whispered Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

‘Do you know that lungfish eat frogs?’ said The Lungfish all of a sudden as he took a bite out of the raw fish in his hand.  ‘It is pretty daring for you little frog, to come into my lair like this.’

Dainty Green Tree Frog Man didn’t come out from the passageway.  He reasoned that The Lungfish could not see him.  ‘He must just be practicing a speech for next time we battle,’ Dainty Green Tree Frog Man thought.  Kind of like the speeches he himself practices in front of the bathroom mirror.

‘Come out Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  I know you’re hiding there,’ said The Lungfish.  ‘I can smell your foul odor from here.’

Dainty Green Tree Frog Man eased out from behind the wall.

‘We meet again fish-brain,’ taunted the superhero in a very childish manner.

‘I see you worked out my haiku riddle.’

‘As always.’

‘Ah.  But have you worked out my genius master plan?’  The half-fish half-man sniggered.  ‘I didn’t think so.’

‘Whatever it is, it won’t work,’ replied Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  ‘I won’t let you escape this time.’

‘Is that so?’ said the fishy man with an amused expression behind his mask.  ‘I have a newsflash for you, you puny amphibious loser, my ingenious plan will work.  I’d get you to tell your little journalist friend that newsflash, if I thought you’d ever see her again.’  The Lungfish’s shoulders began to bounce as he suppressed a string of giggles.

‘Newsflash,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog man, desperately thinking on his feet for a rebuttal.  ‘Newsflash says I will… see her… again.’

‘Not likely, my friend.  You won’t be able to stop me this time.  I am so confident you won’t be able to stop me, in fact, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m going to do,’ The Lungfish mockingly retorted. 

This seemed a highly risky move by the super villain, but… I do digress.  Back to the story…

‘As you know, humans do not respect the animal world,’ started the villain.  ‘They do not respect me, and they do not respect you.  For a long time, I asked you to be my partner in crime, because you, like me, did not gain respect for the animal you represent.  But always you protected the humans that ruin our habitat.  Your betrayal of who you are makes you an even more sad being.’

‘Get to the point, Lungfish.’

‘That night on the CityCat, you sucked up the gas I used and handed it to the boys down the lab as evidence, yeah?’

‘They had never seen anything like it before.’

‘Exactly.’  The Lungfish paused as he squeezed out of his coral throne.  ‘Because I made it myself, and that night on the CityCat, was just a test.’

‘I sucked it up before it hurt anyone.’

‘Aren’t you just the Citizen of the Year?’ he said dryly.  The Lungfish put a chubby cigar in between his yellowing teeth.  ‘But not hurting anyone?  That is where you are wrong, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

‘The boys down the lab, have you seen them recently?’

‘No.  What did you do to them?’

‘Nothing.  They decided to test my mixture, didn’t realise how potent it was.  Now they are swimming with the fishes.’  The Lungfish gave an exaggerated cackle.

‘You killed them.’

‘No, better.  My gas turns people into Queensland Lungfish.’

‘You wouldn’t.’

‘Why not?  I am a mad, eccentric super villain who knows no limits.’  The Lungfish raised his arms in the air dramatically.  ‘I am going to change every man, woman and child into Queensland Lungfish.  No one will be spared.  The entire world will be populated with lungfish. 

‘They would not listen to our pleas to save the animals of the world.  But they will listen now, and they will understand.  Swim a mile in a fish’s flippers and see things in their perspective, hey?’

‘Well, if nothing else, you are a big dreamer, fish-face.’

‘And tonight, at Riverfire, as the last fireworks go up,’ said The Lungfish between his teeth, which were beginning to rattle like a machine-gun as he got more excited, ‘my special gas will be released into the air, and thousands of people will be turned into fish…’

‘And have to squirm to the water,’ Dainty Green Tree Frog Man said, finishing off what The Lungfish was saying.  ‘Not if I can help it.’

‘I haven’t forgotten you, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ smirked the stocky fiend.  ‘I have something special for you.  It seems you have a certain resistance to my gas, or otherwise you would not have been able to activate your little toy and save the day.’

A blue boulder, with chains suspending it from the ceiling, was slowly lowered to the ground.  The boulder began to glow as it came near Dainty Green Tree Frog Man, and the man in lime green fell to the ground clutching his head.

‘Stop it.  I can’t stand it,’ cried Dainty Green Tree Frog Man as the veins in his head and neck began to swell.

‘I call it Brisbanite,’ started the villain.  ‘It has similar properties to Kryptonite, but I found it in the Brisbane River, not on the planet Krypton.  And, as I suspected, you become helpless when you come in contact with it.’  The Lungfish squealed in ecstasy, and then in short quick bouts, convulsed with laughter.  ‘Goodbye Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  I’m sorry I can’t be there for your death, there are going to be a lot of fish-out-of-water that I’m going to have to rescue.  I could be a superhero after all.’

As The Lungfish disappeared into the waterhole in his lair, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man’s eyes rolled back in his head.  Would this be the end for our fearless hero?  Would the firework-lovers of Brisbane be mutated into lungfish?

The answer to both those questions is ‘yes’.  Well, it would have been ‘yes’ if not for an extraordinary occurrence that could only happen in a comic-book-like story.

Suddenly, two figures raced through the entrance to the chamber.  Dainty Green Tree Frog Man quickly turned to see both of them racing towards him.  One was female with slow-motion-flowing auburn hair, and the other was a male without a neck.

The female wore lime green PJs and lime green slippers.  The male wore an akubra hat with corks dangling from it, a scarf over the bottom half of his face, a Brisbane Broncos jersey, and maroon thongs.

‘We’ve come to save you Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ said the male superhero in a familiar voice.

‘Who are you?’ croaked Dainty Green Tree Frog Man in reply.

‘I am Captain Brisbane,’ said this new male superhero, putting a fist to his chest.

‘And I,’ said the female superhero, ‘am Dainty Green Tree Frog Girl.  Although I prefer to be called “Litoria gracilenta Girl”.’

‘Do I know either of you?’ said the man in green.

‘Peter,’ said Captain Brisbane as he took off the scarf, ‘it’s us.’

‘Todd,’ exclaimed Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  But although the girl in PJs didn’t have anything over her face, he didn’t recognise her.  ‘But who’s…’

‘Joanne Gardner.  The journalist you dated.’

‘Oh, I didn’t recognise you.  You’re not…’

‘Not wearing glasses.’

‘Yeah, and your hair is different.’

‘Thanks to Stefan.  Great disguises, hey?  We had to make them at the last minute, and all I had that was lime green was my PJs.  The only problem is that without glasses I can’t really see so I keep bumping into walls.’

‘So she knows who I am?’ asked Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

‘I filled her in on the way here,’ said Todd.

‘We were worried about you, and figured Brisbane needed more than one superhero to fight crime,’ added Joanne.

‘Well, get me out of here.  My legs have stopped working,’ Dainty Green Tree Frog Man said with some urgency.

The two friends grabbed him from either side and took him out the way they came in.

‘Where are we going, Peter?’ asked Todd.

‘The river.  He’s planned an attack for Riverfire,’ answered Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.


By the Brisbane River.  In a crowd.  Just before the fireworks starts.

The three heroes pushed through the crowd looking for The Lungfish.  Suddenly, the ground began to shake and a noise like explosions reverberated through the crowd.  Everyone looked up and pointed at the sky.

‘The F1-11s,’ someone said, as what looked like a fiery comet blazed across the sky.

‘Do you think he is up in the plane?’ asked Todd.

‘No, I don’t think so Captain Brisbane,’ replied Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  ‘He likes to keep close to the river.  And it is unlikely he could get a license to fly those highly complex aircrafts, even in a very fictional setting like this book.’  He nodded at the river.  ‘We need to push to the front.’

In the sky, fireworks burst into greens, pinks, yellows, reds, blues and oranges.  The crowd, transfixed by the explosions of colour in the night's sky, ooh-ed and ahh-ed.

The three heroes pushed to the front, to the displeasure of the crowd, and then hurried across the bank, silhouetted in the pyrotechnics.

‘Do you think he is somewhere here on the bank?’ asked Joanne.

‘He could well be,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  ‘But my superhero instincts tell me, he is here.’  Suddenly, the superhero in lime green plunged his hands into the Brisbane River.

The water splashed and bubbled, but with super-human strength, he pulled the fishy villain out of the water.  The Lungfish’s body clenched in the shock of being plucked out of water, and with a wild swing, punched Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  Dainty Green Tree Frog Man dropped him.

The Lungfish crashed onto the wooden planks of the bikeway, but quickly leapt onto his feet to land another punch on the scrawny man in green.  Dainty Green Tree Frog Man staggered to the ground. 

The Lungfish disappeared into the crowd.  Dainty Green Tree Frog Girl and Captain Brisbane leapt into action, and began to chase him.

‘There is only one way to catch a fish… bait,’ Dainty Green Tree Frog Man said aloud, although his voice was drowned out by the fireworks above.  And as the fireworks built to a crescendo, our favourite superhero’s mind raced.

All of a sudden, a smile crept to the edges of his face.  He quickly pushed through the crowd towards the refurbished State Library.  He unclipped a machine from his plastic utility belt.

‘This should do,’ he said as he activated the machine.  ‘My Dainty Green Tree Frog fish-odor creator.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier?’

As the stench of dead fish filled the air, people began to groan and back away from Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

‘What is that awful smell?’ spluttered one man.

‘That’s rank,’ said another holding his nose.

‘Johnny, have you got wind again, darling?’ said a mother to her son.

But one person in the crowd was not backing up.  He was violently shoving through the crowd towards it.  The Lungfish could not resist the tasty smell coming from the Dainty Green Tree Frog fish-odor creator.

‘It seems, Lungfish,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog Man as his two accomplices grabbed his flippers and hand-cuffed them to each other, ‘that in fact, I have out smarted you.’


Middle of Queen Street Mall. Middle of the next day.

Two wart-covered hands picked up The Courier Mail.  Their owner scoffed at the front cover.  The front cover had a large picture of Brisbane’s three superheroes handcuffing The Lungfish, with the headline ‘More fireworks than expected’.  The story was written by the distinguished journalist Joanne Gardner.

Brisbane was blessed to have Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ said the boy behind the counter of the newsagent to the man with the warty hands.  ‘And now we have Dainty Green Tree Frog Girl and Captain Brisbane to boot.  I feel so safe coming home late at night.  Don’t you, Mister?’

The boy’s accent and diction was perhaps more at home in an Oliver Twist high school play, than in a newsagent on the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane.  But, I’m just telling it how it was.

The man with wart-covered hands lowered the newspaper, and stared at the boy with two large yellow eyes.

‘Evil will prevail, son.  Mark my words,’ croaked the man with warty hands and strange yellow eyes.

‘Who are you?’ said the boy as he stumbled backwards into the wall behind him.

‘Doctor Toad,’ said the man simply as he threw the newspaper at the boy.  ‘Dainty Green Tree Frog Man’s worst nightmare.’

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Brisbane's Third Best Crime Fighter: Dainty Green Tree Frog Man (Pt2)


This is a continuation from part 1, and therefore is naturally called part 2.  This made more logical sense than calling it part 3, or part sandwich.  To read part 1 of this free story, click here.  Or alternatively, use a time machine to go back to when it was first posted.

If you choose option 'b', remember not to step on anything in the past, because as Grandpa Simpson always says, "even the slightest change can alter the future in ways you can't imagine."  Okay.  Now for the continuation of the story...

Press conference outside Brisbane City Hall.  Sometime the day after The Lungfish's (super villain) attack.

Dainty Green Tree Frog Man stood between Stefan and the Lord Mayor as the crowd of journalists gathered.

‘Citizens of Brisbane, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man has…’ began the Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor was interrupted by a faint coughing noise.  He covered the microphone and turned around to Stefan and the superhero.

Litoria gracilenta Man,’ squeaked Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

‘Sorry, what did you say?  I didn’t quite catch it,’ whispered back the Lord Mayor.

‘He prefers to be called Litoria gracilenta Man,’ Stefan replied.

The politician nodded his head and turned back to the journalists.

Litoria gracilenta Man,’ he continued, ‘has agreed to talk to you today about the villain who attacked a City Council CityCat last night.  He does not usually talk to the press, so please make him feel welcome.’

The journalists politely clapped as the superhero slowly approached the microphone and murmured a greeting.

‘Speak up,’ yelled a voice from the back of the crowd.

‘Sorry.  I’m not very good at public speaking,’ Dainty Green Tree Frog Man responded.  The reverb from the microphone made everyone cover their ears.  When it died down, the superhero added, ‘Not a subject I took at Superhero school.'

A journalist towards the back stood up.  ‘Hi, Joanne Gardner, The Courier Mail,’ she said as she adjusted her glasses.  ‘Is it true that The Lungfish was responsible for the attack on a CityCat last night?’

‘Yes, Joanne, I can confirm The Lungfish was responsible,’ responded the superhero.  ‘But the public need not fear, as we are doing everything we can to find him.’

‘What are you doing to find him?’ Joanne pressed, looking for an answer for the front page of tomorrow's paper.

‘Well, for a start,’ said the Dainty Green Tree Frog Man slowly, ‘the police investigators have taken the CityCat down to the police labs to be tested for any traces of evidence, or a motive for randomly attacking a ferry.’  The Dainty Green Tree Frog Man bit his bottom lip.  ‘Any other questions?’

‘Arthur Tate, Brisbane News.  Who is The Lungfish?’ came another journalist, talking over the other journalists fighting for a question.

‘Before the Lungfish was the Lungfish, he was a law-abiding retiree with a keen interest in fishing,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  ‘And it was this interest in fishing that turned him into what he is today. 

‘One day, when fishing in the Brisbane River, he was bitten by a radio-active fish, presumably a lungfish, and somehow, after that bite he developed supernatural powers and a unique empathy for Queensland Lungfish.

‘He has since become the super villain we love to hate, and also a champion for native endangered species everywhere.  However, although the Brisbane City Council and yours truly are all for looking out for endangered species, we do not condone killing humans in revenge attacks... obviously.’

‘So the pollution in Brisbane’s water created this monster?’ asked the Brisbane News journalist.

‘That is correct, Arthur,’ clarified Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

Joanne Gardner from The Courier Mail stood up again.  ‘So, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man, who is the man behind the goggles?  Who are you really?  How did you become Dainty Green Tree Frog Man?’

‘My identity, Joanne, is a secret,’ responded the lime green superhero.  ‘And that is the way it shall stay.  Thank you, that will be all for today.’


Back at the Dainty Green Tree Frog Hideout in the basement of a house somewhere in East Brisbane, later that day.

Peter Wayne-Clark, alter-ego of Dainty Green Tree Frog Man, lounged back in his leather couch with a cold XXXX beer in his delicate hand, relaying the press conference and events of the previous night to his best mate, and confidant, Todd Grayson.  Todd rested opposite him on an old exercise bike.

‘So, I’ve forgotten.  How did you become Dainty Green Tree Frog Man again?’ asked Todd, whose memory had never been the same since his Jet Ski accident.

‘You know, the whole frog in the toilet thing,’ Peter replied, as he waved away the question.

‘Yeah, I remember you had that whole episode at camp, but I seem to remember you saw a bat.’

‘No, that’s Batman.  My experience was completely different.’  Peter stood up, still cradling his beer, and looked wistfully at the garage roller door.  ‘You see, just before I went to camp, Mum’s purse had been stolen.’

‘Hadn’t she just lost it behind the sofa in the TV room?’ Todd piped in.

‘No,’ Peter said shaking his head and squinting his eyes.  ‘It wasn’t behind the sofa.  We checked.’

‘Are you sure she didn’t lose it?’

‘We don’t know,’ snapped Peter.  ‘Point is, it was gone and it got me thinking about all the criminals lurking in our streets, okay?’

‘Didn’t she find it when we got back from camp?’

‘No.  That was another purse.  She had bought another purse.  Do you want me to go on?’

‘Yeah, sorry.  So you were thinking about criminals on the streets.’

‘I was thinking about criminals on our streets, and it kept me up all night.  Then, in the middle of the night, I heard a frightening noise.’

‘The sound of a bat?’

‘No.  It was an eerie croaking sound coming from the outdoor toilet.  And I was pretty scared, and had the sudden urge to…’

‘Release?’

‘Yeah.  I held on, but as my bladder became so full it started hurting.  I had no choice but to face my fear or wear the consequences.  So, I crept into the loo, and there, in the toilet, was a Dainty Green Tree Frog.’ 

‘Couldn’t you have gone behind a tree if you were that scared?’

‘No.  I have a hygiene issue remember.’

‘No.’

‘Well, I do.’  Peter paused.  ‘I knew in that moment, in the toilet, as my face turned white and my shaking hands failed to undo the zipper in time, I would be Litoria gracilenta Man.  And I would frighten evil back into the shadowy corners, like the frog had done to me.’

‘Dainty Green Tree Frog Man…’ said Todd.  ‘That’s hardly intimidating or scary.’

‘Look, it is a scary animal if you see one up close,’ said Peter, ‘and if you remember at the time I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, and educate people about endangered native animals, so I was going to bring attention to this endangered species of frog at the same time as kicking baddies’ arses.’

‘By wearing green lycra?’

‘Don’t you start with my costume,’ said Peter, pointing a finger at Todd.  ‘What’s the time?  I’ve got a date with Joanne Gardner.’

‘The pretty girl who asked you who you were behind the mask?’

‘Yep.’

You had the confidence to ask her out?  And you’ve been acting cool this whole time not telling me you had a date with her?’

‘Yep.’

‘What are you going to wear?’

‘My Litoria gracilenta Man outfit.’

‘So you didn’t ask her out.  Dainty Green Tree Frog Man asked her out.’

‘Maybe.’  Peter paused.  ‘But you’ve still got to give me half a point for asking her out.’

‘At this rate Dainty Green Tree Frog Man is seven points and you’re half a point.’  Todd shook his head.  ‘You know relationships never work out when you’re Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  Remember your motto: “With great power comes great responsibility”.’

‘That’s Spiderman’s motto.’

‘Is it?  Well, it’s a good one.’

‘My motto’s good too: “Kids, be good to your mothers, and be good to Mother Nature”.’

‘Nah,’ said Todd frankly, ‘you need a new one.  Something more catchy.’


At the Café San Marco, South Bank. Sitting near the hedges overlooking the Brisbane River. Hours later at dusk.

‘I could never resist a man in flippers,’ said Joanne Gardner putting her glasses on the tip of her nose and glancing under the table. 

‘Well, they make it hard to chase after criminals on foot,’ pointed out Dainty Green Tree Frog Man as he pulled his feet under his chair. 

Joanne circled the rim of her glass with her index finger, and at once, our favourite superhero and The Courier Mail journalist giggled together.

‘Do you like the restaurant?’ asked the superhero in green.  ‘It’s usually a lot more romantic when there aren’t all these workers around.  I think they’re getting ready for Riverfire tomorrow night or something.’

‘It’s just nice to be out on a date.  Usually I’m stuck in my office at bloody Bowen Hills staring at a computer screen all night.  I don’t get out much really.  And how could I turn down a date with Frog Man?’ she said.  ‘Can I call you Frog Man?’

‘Frog Man, hey?  Not bad.’  He paused to give her a smile.  ‘To the point.’

There was an awkward silence filled with quick smiles and scanning of the dessert list again and again.  Joanne couldn’t imagine that a superhero would be interested in her work, and these days it seemed like that was her life.  Dainty Green Tree Frog Man on the other hand, had to be careful with what he said so he didn’t reveal his true identity.

‘I read your article about Brisbane’s Batman building in today’s paper,’ Dainty Green Tree Frog Man said, breaking the silence.

‘Really?’  Joanne was genuinely surprised that a superhero would read her articles.

‘You know there is a building in Gotham City affectionately nicknamed after yours truly.’

‘Yeah, and I worked with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet.’

‘No, seriously.  The building looks like a Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ said the man in green lycra with a wink.  ‘Terrible architecture really.’

‘You must be the dorkiest superhero in the world, Frog Man,’ Joanne laughed.  ‘I’m beginning to think my mother’s right; I do have a strange choice in men.’   

Joanne began playing with her long auburn hair, and her voice became considerably softer.  ‘Will you ever allow any woman inside that hard, slimy suit you wear?’

‘I dream of that day, Joanne,’ he replied quickly.  ‘And I hope I can trust a woman with that secret one day.’  The superhero thought of what Todd had said earlier.  ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’

‘That’s a great line, Frog Man,’ she said.  ‘Can I quote you on that?’

‘No,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog Man looking over his shoulder.  ‘Let’s keep that one to ourselves.’

‘Oh, I almost forgot,’ Joanne said suddenly.  ‘This came into the office for you.  It said “private”, so I made sure no one else saw what was in the envelope.’

‘No one else?’

‘I had a sneak peek.’  Joanne handed him the envelope.

The envelope was tattered and muddy.  Frog Man, as Joanne now fondly calls him, opened the envelope and read the letter.  It read:

an old pond—
the sound of a frog jumping
into water.

‘It’s from The Lungfish,’ said the superhero pensively.  ‘Before he was The Lungfish he attended a poetry workshop.  There he became obsessed with these haiku poems.  And now, as a super villain, he sends me riddles in this form of poetry.  He likes to rub my nose in his evil plots with his upturned-nose poetry.

‘This is a classic haiku by a Japanese poet named Basho.’

‘What does it mean?’ Joanne asked.

‘I’m not sure,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog Man honestly.  ‘I think it might be the answer to where The Lungfish Lair is.’

‘An old pond,’ said Joanne as a thought came to her head, ‘old may mean that it isn’t being used anymore.’

‘And pond,’ added the superhero, ‘could be somewhere to hide; go under the surface.’

‘Okay, what does “the sound of a frog jumping into water” mean?’

‘Well, what other animals jump?’

‘Kangaroos.’

‘Exactly, Kangaroos jump into this point.’ 

‘Kangaroo Point,’ they both said in unison.  

Note: Kangaroo Point is not really a good suburb for a super villain to hide.  Too many police patrols.  But it does have access to the river if you're an aquatic super villain.  So, swings and roundabouts I guess.

‘But where in Kangaroo Point?’ asked the young reporter.

‘Somewhere that isn’t used anymore, but was previously used for hiding.’

‘I know.  The last piece to the riddle.  The sound.  They were hiding from sounds like frogs jumping into the water above.  They were hiding from bombs.’

‘The abandoned World War Two bunker behind the hospital at Kangaroo Point,’ the two of them said together.

‘I’m sorry, Miss Gardner.  I must leave at once,’ said Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.  ‘I think it’s on the bikeway if I’m not mistaken, so I’ll take the Frog-cycle.’

‘I’m going with you.  This could be a great story.’

‘No.  You’re in too much danger as it is.’  Dainty Green Tree Frog Man handed her a slip of paper with a phone number on it.  ‘This is my friend Todd Grayson’s phone number.  You are welcome to use his house as a refuge whilst I catch The Lungfish.  Au revoir.’

Frog Man quickly paid the bill, hopped onto his bike and rode off into the distance.  Joanne gathered her purse, picked up the slip of paper he gave her, and called the office on her mobile.  She wasn't going to miss this for anything!

‘Au revoir?’ she said under her breath.  ‘Doesn’t he know the French eat frog legs?’

Click here for part 3.  Subscribe to this blog to follow the crazy adventures of Dainty Green Tree Frog Man. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Free Story: The Adventures of Dainty Green Tree Frog Man

On a sticky Brisbane night, the CityCat ferry glided past New Farm Park; its twelve passengers watching the shoreline pass, unaware of what was lurking in the waters below.  For just under the surface of the water, a dark, sinister character slithered after the ferry. 

The CityCat jolted to a stop.  A pungent, putrid, fishy smell assaulted the air.  The passengers and captain looked about frantically. And when the culprit appeared, their eyes widened and mouths dropped comically.  There, rising from the Brisbane River, was the most feared super-villain this fine city had ever let escape from prison.

‘It’s The Lungfish,’ one woman cried, as she clutched her baby.

‘I could never have imagined something so… disgusting,’ proclaimed another woman putting her hand over her mouth.

The Lungfish wore a maroon wetsuit, crimson boots, and a crimson gas mask.  He pulled himself up onto the ferry with his flipper-like arms.

‘Beware citizens of Brisbane, for I have had enough of your environmental negligence and ignorance,’ cackled The Lungfish.  ‘When my evil, unassailable plan goes ahead without disruption, it shall be the “Human Brisbanian” who will be endangered.’  He bellowed with laughter, but the passengers did not share in his amusement.

Suddenly, a big curling letter ‘F’ was illuminated onto the clouds from the city’s Skyneedle. 

‘Look, we’re saved,’ yelled a man gaily as he pointed to the symbol in the sky.

‘Damn it!  The captain must’ve contacted Stefan the hair dresser, the owner of the Skyneedle and close friend to my arch enemy,’ growled The Lungfish, explaining parts of the story that the reader might not understand the significance to.  ‘This means I’ll have to skip my usual spiel about caring for the environment and introduced species, and just release the bloody poisonous gas.’

‘Not if I can help it, Lung-face,’ came a soft, high-pitched voice from behind The Lungfish.  The Lungfish swiveled around.
‘Look, he’s here,’ called one of the passengers.  ‘It’s Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.’

‘Yes,’ came the voice, ‘but I prefer to be called “Litoria gracilenta Man”.  It’s my scientific name: a little more Latin and a little less vulnerable and pretty.’

Dainty Green Tree Frog Man, or “Litoria gracilenta Man” as only he called himself, stood for justice, freedom, democracy, barbeques on Sundays, beach cricket, drinking locally produced beers, metro-sexual men’s rights, and the Brisbane way.  He wore a lime green lycra suit, big yellow goggles, a plastic utility belt, a lime green beach towel around his neck like a cape, and a lime green bathing cap.

‘Nice of you to hop on in, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man,’ sniggered The Lungfish.  ‘But I’m afraid frog soup is on the menu tonight.’  Slowly, a brown gas began to envelope the boat.  ‘Sweet dreams, Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.’

‘That’s Litoria gracilenta Man”,’ choked the lime green superhero after The Lungfish.  If only – I – could – get enough – strength – to follow him – then – I – could – find out – where – The Lungfish Lair – is, thought Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.

Splash. Lungfish disappeared into the sluggish river while Dainty Green Tree Frog Man and the passengers of the CityCat fell to the ferry’s floor and desperately struggled for oxygen.

‘Never fear law-abiding citizens, my “anti-poisonous-gas-vacuum” will save us,’ announced the hero in green as he weakly pulled a machine from his utility belt.  He fiddled with the dials on the machine, and the gas suddenly dispersed.

Click here for Part 2.  Subscribe to this blog to follow the crazy adventures of Dainty Green Tree Frog Man.