Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pizzas for Lunch

Went to this fab little Italian place for lunch with some of the work gang here at the Second Site ... finally got ourselves organised! Okay, okay it is all the way out in the West, but the pizzas were divine and it was worth a mention :)

It is called Il Capo and unfortunately they have no web presence :( But it's at The Berg Shopping Centre, Gordon Rd in Roodepoort (011 477-8117). The venue leaves much to be desired ... you know the sort, those sticky plastic table cloths and dingy interior. But, their service was good and their pizzas were a fabulous balance of 75% topping to 25% base! Which is just how I like it :)

It's book club this evening and I'm looking forward to it :) This week has certainly sorted itself out. With only one quiet night on Monday, I ended up out for dinner at Lady & Bug's on Tues, last night was Music Group, tonight is Book Club, tomorrow Loulou has tracked down a party for us or apparently Flat Stanley is playing somewhere. Saturday night, Loulou is hosting a fondue dinner at our house and apparently there's another party on the go we might head to after ... and then there'll be much recovery sleeping on Sunday.

So it looks like, aside from the rough start, it's certainly turning into a fabulous week with lots on the go :)

A Night With the Amazing Music Group

Last night I went along to my second Amazing Music Group evening. It was held at a little restaurant in Norwood called, Siam I am (no web presence: Royal Thai Cuisine - 011 728 8972). It's not a bad restaurant although I think it was empty aside from us. The reason it's perfect for Music Group evenings is because they have a separate room at the back we can use and not disturb and other customers they may (or may not) have.

Other than that it wasn't a particularly spectacular Thai experience. The food was fine, not bad at all - I had Red Duck Curry. But I wasn't feeling well last night and I had to leave early (10:30). Aside from not feeling fantastic, Music Group was fun and it's always interesting to be exposed to different types of music, things you'd never hear on the radio ... I may not like all of it, but it's still a worthwhile experience. It's easier to make up your mind about what you do and don't like after you've actually listened to it :) Me, my favourite is still the stuff I can sing along to.

In a total aside,
this new place I'm in emotionally is quite strange to me. Sometimes I'm totally fine - sometimes this happens when I'm surrounded by people and distracted, sometimes it happens when I'm alone. Sometimes I miss Bean. I miss what we had, the easiness of knowing someone that well and being completely comfortable with them. Sometimes I miss Varen. I miss his enthusiasm for everything, including me. Sometimes I just miss someone ... does that make sense? It's not a specific person it's more like I'm missing sharing moments with anyone. Last night I wasn't feeling well and I especially missed having someone to come home to and cuddle with and fall asleep next to, someone loving me. Those are the hard times and I think they're worse in the dark. Somehow daytime makes life seem manageable and fires up my independent spirit and assures me I will survive and life will find it's way thru to the place it's supposed to be ... But sometimes, even the daylight isn't enough to assure me that things will be okay and that I didn't give up on something amazing ... twice. I guess it's all just part of the process. I find myself yearning for my life to start - like back in matric where you just knew everything was going to get better once you finished school and started life for real.

Anyway, I can't explain things much better than that ... but that's where I find myself, in a state of constant emotional flux. It gets quite exhausting actually.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm a Thai Massage Guinea Pig

I'm starting to get nervous about Friday. I'm having my third and final wisdom tooth out - yes, I am evolved and didn't develop all four. I know there are plenty of wisdom tooth and general dentist horror stories but, I've been particularly lucky in this regard, having never had a filling yet - touch wood. But I have had my other 2 wisdoms removed. Thankfully none have impacted and the first two fully erupted before having to be removed because they were rubbing against the inside of my cheek. Both were done under Local Anesthetic in the chair and were surprisingly pain free. This one hasn't yet fully erupted ... and wasn't even supposed to be moving around any more (considering my age) but in the last year it's started poking it's enamel head out of my gum - nothing better than teething pain at the ripe old age of 27 :P

So after much procrastination, I have finally booked my appointment for Friday morning and am taking off the rest of the day. And now I'm getting nervous. Even tho I've done this twice before, the anticipation kills me! I think it might've had something to do with the dentist telling me last time that the bottom jaw is much tougher and therefore harder to anaesthetise. Not encouraging. But I'm sure he's done this loads of times before ... right ?

Anyway, enough with the worry,
last night turned out to be surprisingly fabulous. I thought it was going to be another mundane evening at home: exhausted after yoga and spent watching more tv series. Lucky for me, I have friends to look out for me when I hide in front of my laptop for too long :)

I got a surprise sms from Lady yesterday afternoon inviting me over for dinner and a Thai Massage - yes please! It was especially fab since I haven't seen much of her or Bug lately and now that she's joined book club, I think we've become complacent ... since we know we're seeing each other at least once a month :) Anyway, we'd said it would be great to get together for a long-overdue catch-up before book club, but I really didn't think it would end up happening ... we all have busy lives and things tend to get in the way too often.

But she surprised me with this fabulous invitation, which was exactly what I needed after the emotional up & down's of this week ... people who care about me who I can trust to be honest and supportive.

So I rushed from work to home and changed for Yoga. Then off to Yoga for my 90 minute session - it is still harder than ever this week cause of such a long break! Then back home for a speedy bath and then off to theirs.

Lady made us a fab dinner and Bug settled down to copy all the series-loot I'd brought along in lieu of wine or flowers ... I figured they'd appreciate it more in the long term, plus I had no time to scrounge up anything else. And then after all the detailed stories were told I settled down on a blanket on their lounge floor to play guinea pig for Lady's recent Thai Massage training. Oh the flaming pain ;)

It was fab and I enjoyed every minute of it, although I think I provided her with more of a challenge than usual since my back is particularly knotted at the moment ... in fact I was thinking I might actually need to get a proper massage to sort me out asap.

So that was my evening, finished off with a nice hot choc and then a freezing drive home. it was a much needed nice quiet night spent with good friends :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quiet Times

Last night wasn't very exciting ... I did make it to Yoga tho. It was helluva difficult after having missed it all of last week. That and I had hurt my knee yesterday in a freak accident of smacking it full on while opening a door ... I was in much pain.

Anyway, other than that I started a new series, the last of the lot I got from Varen, The Lost Room. Only watched the first episode and although I started out confused it is starting to make more sense.

I'm also proud of myself after yesterday. I spent the week at the leadership course learning all about ways of improving myself when interacting with others. And yesterday, being the first day back at work, I took up the challenge (and it was) and really concentrated on tempering my gut-reactions (luckily nothing too frustrating happened!). I'm not sure how long I can maintain this demeanor in the face of abject annoyance but, for the mean time I am trying ... and that itself is a step in the right direction.

So, off on another tangent, I have some books to review. First, I finished Mark Billingham's Lazybones.

Someone - a woman or somebody pretending to be a woman, is writing to convicted rapists in prison, befriending them and then brutally killing them when they are released. DI Tom Thorne must discover the link between these killings and a murder/suicide that took place twenty-five years before; a tragedy to which the only witnesses were two small children, now adults and nowhere to be found...How can you escape a past that will do a lot more than just catch up with you? And how can Thorne catch a killer, when he doesn't really care about the victims?

This was a good read with a nice twist ending ... even tho you knew the twist was coming and I was concentrating pretty hard to figure out whodunnit, I didn't get it right.

Then, I finished Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

I enjoyed it. Not quite as much as Extremely Loud tho. I like the way both these authors have managed to capture the honest and directness of a child-like mind. Before all the pre-conceived notions of adulthood step in.

And that is as exciting as life gets ... which is apparently not very. I guess I'm in that phase of "going thru the motions". Which I know does end eventually. It's just hard to see a way out right now. But it will come, it must. This is, after all, life.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back at Work

So I'm back at work this morning ... it's a rough adjustment after being away all week in a 4-star environment with soft skills training.

So, let me recap. Friday was pretty decent and we were pretty much the only group left by the evening (the stagger the groups, one starts on a Sunday afternoon and another, like ours, starts on a Monday afternoon). We spent the evening in the bar drinking Amarula on ice, playing a few rounds of pool and loads of 30 seconds (I love that game).

Saturday was a fairly hectic day. Not only was it a Saturday and we had to effectively "be at work" till 5pm, we had to check out before class in the morning and run a 3-year financial institution simulation. This turned out to be a far better day than I expected ... since I didn't think I would have much to contribute in this sort of simulation at all, being from an IT background (and not business or marketing). Turned out I did have plenty to contribute and most of it was even useful :) Did wonders for my levels of confidence, even tho I still haven't quite learned to control the initial automatic anticipation reaction of fear and worry and intimidation.

Anyway, went home round 5:30 on Saturday afternoon and am definitely looking forward to the second week of the course in June.

Loulou was huddled under a blanket in the lounge when I arrived back and the two of us proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend watching the entire first season of How I Met Your Mother. Literally, we did nothing else. I meant to go out and do some shopping (since I had pretty much nothing in the fridge after a week away from home) ... but that never happened.

So at least I felt like I'd had a bit of a chance to relax before the week back at work.

And that is pretty much it. Haven't done or thought about much of anything at all ... pretty much let my brain switch off after a whole week spent in deep concentration.

Oooh, quick update: During our Customer Services module on Friday, we got to spend a couple of hours at Sandton and I finally managed to find myself a new hand bag at Accessorize - my birthday present for mom. It is fabulous :) I am thrilled ... more so because I have been looking for a new one for a while.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Am I Just Part of an Experiment?

So i find myself in a fairly interesting new age situation. How many other people can honestly say they know what this is like ... ?

Now I love blogging and I won't be giving it up any time soon, assuming nothing steps in the way of that. But things get interesting when: Girl meets Boy. Girl shows Boy her Blog. Boy reads Girl's Blog. Boy starts own Blog. Girl reads Boy's Blog. Boy and Girl break up. Both keep Blogging.

Now, in my current situation where there is now no contact between Girl & Boy (at Boy's request), the Blogs are really all we have left to go on. So, perhaps I'm wrong in saying that the Varen & Philly show is truly over. I know he's still reading this - no doubt to check out the aftermath ... which he seems to assume implies I'm coping just fine, obviously he's not reading it too closely. I am wounded and hurt and sad and angry and have currently no outlet but the blog. He's been posting some interesting stuff on his side of the Blogosphere too. And he knows I'm still keeping tabs.

So here we are, in a very new age situation. We've broken up and essentially, that should be the end of it, right? In the old world you'd cut ties in much the way he listed in his email (quoted in a previous post) and probably delete each other's number from your cell phone too. And although he may have done all that, we are still exposed to each other by a morbid curiousity ... since I guess we could just as easily stop reading the other's blog. But I won't and I'm not yet sure how he'll handle things. Although we want to cut the ties that are continuing to remind us of the hurt and pain and unfortunately just as much of all the good times (harder to remember right now tho), we just can't stop ourselves ... well, I can't. I want to know what he's up to and how his day was just as much as if yesterday never happened. I'm just no longer allowed to get this information in a private capacity. And as a girl who regularly Google's her ex's, this should come as no surprise :)

It's weird and it seems to be causing a fair amount of confusion and more hurt currently ... I guess because we only hear what's written in the voice we read it. Which is usually, no doubt, not how it was intended.

Anyway, I must be off back to course ... but these are my musings. Yes Varen, you still occupy a fair amount of my head space, even tho you seem not to think so.

Report Back: Night Four

Had a fabulous night out over-compensating for the day I've had ... after dinner I took a long walk around the "jogger's track" in the cold and dark, spending some reflective time in my own company feeling hurt and upset.
Now it is 12:30 and I'm just back in my room after an evening spent at the bar playing a little pool and networking with the guys on the senior course, impressing them with much 30 seconds skill and some toothpick logic ;)

It turned into a good night with lots of laughter which is really what I needed since I was feeling quite crushed this afternoon. I know what has happened with Varen was essentially inevitable, but I don't have to like it. I hope he will be happy with the choices he has made ... but right now, they do nothing to convince me that we'll ever speak again - although I have received one sms and one blog comment from him since his extrication from my life entirely.

Interesting times. I hope I can stay awake for the course tomorrow :) Perhaps I'll just have to skip breakfast!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Brief Aside

So, while I'm supposed to be away on this course, a course that takes you away from the daily stress of your work environment and the traffic as well as the distraction (?) of your friends and family and has really done everything in it's power to ensure you build new networks and can concentrate entirely on all the good things they have to impart, I have my life poking it's nose in.

For those of you who have been watching series after series of the Varen & Philly show, it has now come to a rather definite but abrupt close. Yes, I know you all thought that happened on Sunday, and to all intents and purposes it did. But to my surprise, we still were in contact ... not immense contact, no emails and only a very rare and functional sms but messaging on facebook every so often none the less.

And this afternoon, while I was in a class none the less, I got a simple (and functional) sms that merely said "I'm sorry. Bye." Hmmm, this got me thinking ... what could this mean, coming completely out of the blue?

Apparently we're over, not friends, not aquaintances, nothing, over. According to his explanatory email that I've just managed to get to read: "i've resigned from facebook, removed you off my blog, deleted you from my googletalk authorisations etc etc." That is how over we are.

still don't quite know why or what I did that caused this all of a sudden, much the same as I still am not sure what triggered this entire downward spiral in our relationship on Sunday either. Obviously in my absence he has figured out all sorts of things that he couldn't while I was around (which was just as much his fault as mine).

That, or he's found someone else and can't just tell me that since he was the one supposed to be more invested in this, how would it look if he were the first to move on and so quickly? Anyway, who knows ... I doubt I ever will. But certainly after his abrupt manner in handling this situation (which is obviously how he needed to do it to ensure he would), I am not inclined to be interested in any of the reasons.

It's over. We won't be speaking again, no doubt ever (we're both stubborn like that). It's sad and I wish I'd known that the last time I saw him was going to actually be the last. There's not much more I can say, but it has certainly put a damper on my mood today ... which was mostly boredom as we spent the day on Strategy. But still, it's not a nice way to receive bad news and I don't really have anyone here to share my emotions with (we're not all that close yet). So here I am finding an outlet for the upheaval in my life and the inability to act on any of it by writing it all down.

No doubt he won't be reading anymore anyway :P

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Report Back: Night Three

Today has been interesting and, although there was much teasing everyone over their inherently Red/Yellow or latently Blue/Green behaviour, we covered a lot. Today's topic was EQ.

It's mostly educational and I know I have a lot to learn when it comes to this, specifically in the work-place. I am definitely a gut-reaction type girl and often far too direct and honest for my own good and those around me - shoo, it's taking a lot to actual admit that here in the Blogosphere, obviously I have been learning something ;)

And the relationships between the people who were total strangers a few days ago is clearly evident as each session the noise levels rise and people take longer to stop their individual conversations and chattering - I've even met a few people who I'd like to keep in touch with (I can say that now, it has after all only been two full days spent together ;) )

This evening we had a "social mixer" with all the groups in the bar. It started out in quite a stilted manner where we mostly stuck to our own groups till they handed out question cards ... the trick was to find a person in the room who filled the 5 requirements on your card. These were things like "Have you Scuba Dived in the past 12 months?", "Do you own 3 or more cats?", "Have you swum the Midmar Mile?", "Have you ever traveled to Tasmania?" etc. It certainly got conversations flowing and people interacting as they searched thru the big group for the few people who would complete their card and allow them entry into the final draw.

It's been interesting, I've heard some serious stories about the parties that go on here during the course ... now either we have a fairly restrained group or we are still holding back in a "work-environment". Only time will tell :)

In other news, it was fairly interesting to be handling the EQ portion of the course on a day when I received some news that I'm not quite sure how to handle. It's not my news, so I can't feel anything directly and I'm too removed from the situation to have any sort of concrete gut-reaction to it so I find myself taking my emotional queues from the people involved. Dad's job is on the line. This is quite serious for a man who is not yet 55 although technically he is done raising his family and mostly finished providing for his daughters (except the Peeb occasionally), he and Mom still have a far amount of life ahead of them and the very real possibility of finding himself without a job on Friday is fairly daunting, well for me anyways. He is not being retrenched, there is nothing respectful or graceful about this process. He is being Fired. They are having a disciplinary hearing for whatever they can scratch up in the dirt just simply because a few years back the company was bought out and they have been trying to find a way to get rid of all the old staff ever since. To be fair, he has outlasted many, but unlike some of the others at his age he has no where to go from here but home.

I know he will remain strong thru out and even now he is adopting a wait-and-see strategy (how typical, as I now have him figured out as a Blue) .... really, what else could he do? And it leaves me really very unsure of my own emotions on the subject. Yes, we knew it was a possibility for the last year or two, but I never really thought it would actually happen. I feel quite helpless to suggest anything or support him or who knows what all the way from up here in Jhb. But he is my dad and he will be fine and he will survive this and we will still be there beside him no matter what the outcome :) Daddio, I'm thinking of you ... and I hope you show them what's what on Friday!

And now I'm off to do our assigned reading for the week ... although I'd much rather be settling down with my latest book, I'm loving it so far ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Report Back: Day Two

Just bashing out a quick post here before I head off for a free evening, which hopefully means a little pool, a little foosball, some dinner and good conversation (not sure about that last one yet tho).

Today was the first real day of our leadership course and very interesting. The afternoon was spent learning about the Insights Profile and receiving our evaluations. It was very interesting reading and although there were one or two things I disagreed with (naturally), I eventually figured out where they were probably coming from.

So far it's all good. And I can say that I'm glad to have the distraction of this course for the week (post Varen). Although I regularly have to resist the urge (and I've so far been successful!) to head back to my room and it's connection to the internet, email, facebook, google talk and my blog-stats in every 10 minute break we get. Thus far I'm happy to relegate my internet usage for a quick squizz before breakfast and a more lengthy involvement in the evenings.

But I must say that once I sign off this, I doubt I'll be on again tonight ... unless the company is particularly boring and I lose every game of pool I'm invited to join ;)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Report Back: Night One

So it seems that blogging of any form this week is going to have to be night-time blogging ... which goes against the norm and we'll have to see how that works out. I'm not sure that I'll manage every evening, apparently this turns into quite the party spot once you get to know your fellow course-ees (what's the right word for that, anyway?). But for now, it's night number one and although the get to know each other has begun, it's far from downing shooters and playing foosball (yes, they have that too!)

So far orientation was interesting. I figured out I don't know anyone else here (and there are 5 courses currently on the go, each with about 30 people). We had an amazing talk in the Auditorium by Nick Binedell from GIBS. It was fantastic and he is completely listenable.

So, so far so good. I am impressed ... and I don't think that's too easy a task. Then there was dinner. Apparently the average weight gain for the full two week training period (I'll be back for the second week towards the end of June) is 4 kgs. Better keep and eye on that ... do need any extra help in that department! Although there is a gym, but it's a small consolation for the three yummy 3-course meals provide daily. I kept it to a minimum for dinner ... will see if I can maintain constraints thru out the week :) No promises.

Oh, and the shower wasn't all it was cracked up to be ... the hot & cold markers on the tap thingy were opposite! Annoying, but luckily I figured it out eventually. But, the pressure was good, which is crucial to shower-ranking. And I had to figure out how to turn off these bizarre lights - you have to dim them within an inch of their life ... and then they switch off for real. It's like a tease, really.

So, now, at the surprisingly early 9:30, it is off to bed for me ... No doubt I'll start on my new book :)


So, I'm all checked in and in my room awaiting the Leadership course orientation at 5pm. It's marevelously handy to have internet in all our rooms :) But, I fully intend to only use the internet for blogging, checking my mail and facebook - no work! Yippee.

Oh, and the rooms are amazing! Almost the entire bathroom is shower :) My kinda place ... and you can sit down in the shower. Can not wait to use it. And there is a heated pool, a gym ... I guess they kinda need all that since we're not allowed to leave the hotel/conference venue for the duration.

Unexpected Ending

So this weekend was good ... up until Sunday round lunchtime. But more on that later. Probably sould've written this all down last night but I was busy (luckily) and now I'm in a bit of a rush since I only have half a day here at work before I'm off on the leadership course this week.

Friday I was in a pretty peculiar mood (see the post) but, even so Varen wanted to do lunch before he headed off to Umkomaas and I was gone for a week. Lunch wasn't a spectacular event, I wasn't in the best of moods, but it was nice to see him :)

Friday evening Loulou and I had a quiet night at home with mini pita-pizzas and a couple of dvds. The dvds were not ideal since I've generally seen just about everything on big screen, so I was holding out for saw 3 and accepted there'd be at least one that I'd already seen.

We ended up with Deja Vu & Borat (hadn't seen this for reason that remain obvious after watching) since saw 3 had not yet been returned - annoying

Deja Vu I've reviewed already.

Kazakh TV talking head Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the greatest country in the world. With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson.

It's rubbish. I was never a huge Ali G fan either. And I'm not a huge fan of this sort of humour. That's really all there is to say about it.

Then I was up early early on Saturday morning so that I could get myself to the 8am Bikram Yoga class. Was a good way to start the day ... even tho the Yoga was more difficult in the morning. I think because the room hasn't spent the whole day being heated and because all my muscles still thought they should be lazing in bed :)

Then I went on a bit of a shopping spree before I had to head to work for another implementation. This one went smoothly :) Then there was more shopping ... since I was missing the rugby already, might as well make it count ;) I thought I'd be one of about 3 people in the malls but I can tell you that I didn't even notice a thinning in attendance. Oh well.

Then it was home to wait for Loulou to get back from the rugby. Started watching a new series called Extras. I preferred it to The Office.

The Loulou and I got all dolled up and headed to her friend's 31st birthday. Stayed for about 2 hours or so and then headed to a house party we'd been invited to by Phlippy & Lord Wiggly. That was quite a fun evening :) Better than most house parties since they had a barman and a DJ. But didn't really meet too many interesting new people ... at least no one I'd ever need to see again.

nd then it was home fairly early at midnight since the few people we knew there had all just about left themselves. I think it was my early morning Yoga kicking in too ... plus I'm out of practice at the whole party-scene.

Then I had a good laze-in on Sunday morning. Finished reading my book. Then Loulou and I went and had sushi for lunch.

And this is where things took a turn for the worse. I'm still not really sure what happened, but it did. I chatted to Varen, on his way home from his diving weekend. I wanted him to join me for movies later in the evening, since he'd said he'd be popping in on his way home anyway. And he got really angry with me about having been to the party the night before. The conversation ended abruptly and led to a number of confusing smses. I could tell he wasn't happy.

So I left things alone for a while to cool off and finished watching Extras. Then I called him. I'd decided to do a double feature at the movies (haven't done that in years .... since I dated ActorWriterDirector, actually) and would therefore not be able to chat to him when he arrived home. I invited him to join me for the second movie, if he was in a better mood. And here, on the phone, while he was driving with 2 of his friends in the car, the conversation got heated.

I'll never know if he was planning to end it on Sunday evening all along, was that the reason he was gonna come over? I'll never know if it's because he had a far better time on the weekend away from me and our continual ups & downs. I'll never know how much he got talked into finally making the decision by his friends who were there with him ... they don't really think we're such a marvelous idea. Either way, things are really, no-speaking even, over. I guess that's what happens when you end things (can't really say break-up since I couldn't really say we were dating) over the phone. It's far more final and you're not there to hug the person and see their emotion.

I am sad about all this, but I understand why it eventually had to happen. So, I couldn't stop it happening. With an ultimatum like date me or nothing, when I clearly can't date him, what options am I left with but to gracefully bow out and let him go. He'll survive this, I'll survive this and maybe one day we'll even speak again. It's hard to realise that this is really the end. I'm going to miss him. There'll be no one to watch series with and no more bike rides.

And I wish I could figure this whole thing out. I don't know why I couldn't date him. Things were sometimes so good between us, but Ijust couldn't commit to it and have it turn into a full-time thing. I wish I knew what was holding me back ... but I don't, it's just a funny feeling inside me that stopp
ed me every time I thought maybe.

So there you have it. I am really single now. He won't be speaking to me again for a very long time, I'm sure. I wonder if his blog will still be up when I get back to work next Monday? I hope he'll be happy. He is a lovely guy :)

So after that I went to hide. I watched my double feature of Fracture & Spider Man 3.

If you look close enough, you'll find everyone has a weak spot. Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling star in the dramatic thriller Fracture. When a meticulous structural engineer (Hopkins) is found innocent of the attempted murder of his wife (Embeth Davidtz), the young district attorney (Gosling) who is prosecuting him becomes a crusader for justice. Fracture is packed with twists and turns that weave in and out of the courtroom as the pair try to outwit each other.

Fracture looked to be good ... but turned out not completely fabulous. I spotted the twist the instant it happened and boredly waited for the characters to catch up.

How long can any man fight the darkness... before he finds it in himself?
In Spider-Man 3, based on the legendary Marvel Comics series, Peter Parker has finally managed to strike a balance between his devotion to M.J. and his duties as a superhero. But there is a storm brewing on the horizon. As Spider-Man basks in the public's adulation for his accomplishments and he is pursued by Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard), who rivals M.J. for his affections, Peter becomes overconfident and starts to neglect the people who care about him most. His newfound self-assuredness is jeopardized when he faces the battle of his life against two of the most feared villains ever (Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace), whose unparalleled power and thirst for retribution threaten Peter and everyone he loves.

Spider Man 3 I found as disappointing as it seems everyone else has. It's pretty slow and I thought quite tedious. Oh well, it had to be watched.

He didn't show up for the second movie. I still thought he might and make everything okay again, but he didn't. It really is over.

And that was my weekend. Things are strange this morning. Got a good-bye email from Varen. I can't deal with this right now. I only have a morning at work this week and I've spent half of it blogging so far. I need to finalise and pay for my Kenya-Uganda trip and go to a couple of meetings. I am sad. This is life.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I Hate The World (or Myself?)

I'm having one of those "I Hate The World" days, one of those "I Hate Myself" days but more a "I Hate The World" day. You know the ones. Your head settles in for a real attack on your psyche and sends messages of doom and destruction coursing thru out your body. And then there are all these other people you have to deal with. And since I'd rather not go into all the things I'm hating about myself right now (no need to wallow, right?) and all the things I think is wrong with my pitiful life, let's focus on The World.

It's nothing particular ... it's just that general overriding feeling that makes me log out my Google Talk and my phone (handy being at the Second Site!) and deal with people only thru manageable byte-sized (pahahahaha, excuse the Computer Geek pun - see what a dreadful place my mind has taken me to) emails. Thank Goodness for my iPod that blocks out all the people around me at my desk going about their daily business.

It's one of those days I should've rather just spent in bed with my book and a few episodes of something to watch so that I could deny the existence of The World at large. Nothing would exist outside of my bedroom, except perhaps the loo & kitchen (both for purely functional reasons, of course). Then perhaps around now I would've been alright enough to venture to the garden to bask in the sun ... that would improve my mood :) Varen always said watching me walk into the sun was like watching a flower opening. I dunno about that, but the sun is pleasant enough.

I'm in one of those moods where it doesn't matter how many nice or encouraging things someone says or how much you nod and smile to their platitudes, deep down your head is swiping them to the side as absolute lies ... all lies! And it doesn't matter how excited I am about my upcoming trip which should be providing me with brag rights for having experienced one of those once in a lifetime things, usually delegated to something you see on tv by the rest of the population. Or that I'm being my usual independent self about it all ... my mind can take the "Kapow!" right out of all that cool stuff that should be making me feel better. See, my head hates me.

Maybe I just need to eat. Although I've been enjoying my recent breakfasts of strawberries and banana's.

Get Your Free Hugs Here

Another boring evening at home including a Yoga visit, dinner, a little reading in the bath with bubbles & candles for ambiance and Grey's 3. I'm cramming in these nice quiet evenings while I can ... I gather the nights during the leadership course can get rather raucous. Plus I have a serious Saturday lined up :)

Oh, and on the emotional side, here begins interesting times with Varen. He's off to Aliwal for a spot of diving this weekend. And then I'm off to the course next week with no email, blogging, facebook or Google Talk to keep me company (I hope I survive a whole week of that!). So we are all sitting on the edge of our seats (by "we" I mean: me, Varen and you lot) waiting to see how this ends up affecting our generally fragile status quo.

So, before I dash off to do some actual work to minimise the work I'll have to be doing for *another* implementation tomorrow (luckily this should be the last for quite a while!) I thought I'd leave you with some More Internet Madness.

There's this site documenting one man's campaign for free hugs: The site tells the story of how it all started at an airport in Australia, got banned by the local government and he ended up on Oprah.

Strange. Strange but interesting ... in a humanitarian kinda way. I can't say it's something I would get involved in, but I'm all for passing on the message and, to me, it's like an interesting experiment. So there ya have it.

Have a fabulous weekend :) And miss me next week!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quick Post Before Work

Just a quick post because I have a busy day ahead training someone ... unusual, so we'll see how it goes :) I may have wanted to be a teacher back when I was in Standard 8, but I quickly learnt, I simply do not have the patience for it.

Last night was nice. I wasn't feeling 100% so skipped Yoga and Varen came over for dinner (Chicken & Broccoli bake courtesy of Woolies) and we watched some Heroes and House. I'm horrified to say that I'm starting to really enjoy Heroes ... yes, it's a bit annoying that it only really gets good (in my opinion) after about the first 15 episodes, which is really long to wait ... Dexter was only 12 episodes for the whole Season and that was brilliant from the word go!

So, that's life in a nutshell. Nothing too exciting, but I did get sent a very cool site this morning :) Mice and More actually supplies these very cool computer mice in South Africa. Yes you read right, this is one of those very rare situations where you spot something cool online and can actually get it in SA! Which is all the more reason I'm blogging about it :) Plus these mice look so fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Upcoming Excitement

Righto. Big things happening here people! And I'm getting all nervous and excited and swirly :)

Quick head's up. I'll be off on a training course next week from Tuesday - Saturday. Who's bright idea is it to organise these things to end on a weekend, hello? But apparently it's quite a blast even tho you're not allowed to leave the conference centre for the duration ... but they have a gym and who knows what all else so shouldn't be too terrible! Like staying in a hotel :) Looking forward to it ... even tho it'll mean no blogging :( But I'm sure it'll warrant a marathon post on return!

And then, the even bigger news ... I have sort of maybe been toying with ideas for my 2007 holiday. See, since 2004 when the travel bug hit good and proper, I try to take at least one major international holiday per year of at least 2 weeks. In 2004 I went overlanding round Southern Africa for 5 weeks (Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi & Mozambique) with Wagon Trails - brilliant. In 2005 Bean & I went to Singapore & Thailand with Imaginative Traveller - highly recommended. And in 2006 Bean & I went to Egypt with On The Go - amazing.

So now I'm alone again and have been mulling over the idea of heading to Uganda to visit the Mountain Gorilla's in person ever since Band's boyf got to visit them thanks to CNN. I've been browsing around online and yesterday I started sending out some enquiries ... and today I'm almost booked. I'm nervous about how fast this has all happened, but I found an overland tour that's in my price range and covers all the things I want to see: the Gorilla's as well as the Wildebeest migration at the Masai Mara ... hell, while I'm there I'd better make it worth my while ;) So, I'm looking at going on Go2Africa's Gorilla's & Game Parks tour (okay, I don't know why the hyper link isn't working, it seems to be messing up the little wriggly things ... so here is the proper link, if you're interested you'll have to cut 'n paste it: frompage~overland/TourID~36 -> remove the space, it's purely there for display purposes!) in August. Yikes, I'm nervous and excited ...

Oh, and last night was pretty boring. Made it to Yoga - yay. Had Salmon Fishcakes (from Woolies) as an attempt to eat more fish ... apparently it's good for you and at the moment all I'm getting is from the sushi I eat regularly, which is also generally mostly prawn ... so insufficient, I'm sure. And then some time in the bath with my book and a few more episodes of Grey's 3.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Monday's Gone

I'm not really in the mood for posting today ... not sure why, things are a bit weird in my head right now. I'm kind of hiding I guess. Nothing exciting happened last night. Got home after 8pm, enjoyed a relaxing bath, had a cereal supper and watched some Grey's Anatomy Season 3.

But I do have a book to review ... so here I am bashing away at my keyboard to provide you, the reader, with Jeffery Deaver's The Cold Moon.

It's the night of the full Cold Moon - the month of December according to the lunar calendar. A young man is found dead in lower Manhattan, the first in a series of victims of a man calling himself the Watchmaker. This killer?s obsession with time drives him to plan the murders with the precision of fine timepieces, and the victims die prolonged deaths while an eerie clock ticks away their last minutes on earth.

this book was fab, as Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme's novels usually are (I'm still undecided about the rest of his stuff tho). Although it starts a little slowly, it twists and twirls it's way to the end ... any book that causes a gasp out loud because you can not believe that just happened, is definitely one I'd recommend reading! And this one does just that :)

> Follow Jeffery Deaver on Twitter

Now, let's just keep our heads down and hope today is an improvement on yesterday and that I manage to get to Yoga tonight.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Such a Monday

I am still at work ... Blegh, production issues. How annoying. Hopefully things are en route to being resolved and I may even be home in time to get some sleep before tomorrow :)

A Lovely Spoilt Weekend in Madikwe

So for weeks Varen has been planning this surprise secret weekend away, and finally the day arrived.

We set off early, leaving work at 1pm for our 4 hour journey. I had no idea where we were headed, and that was fantastic! We drove up thru Magaliesburg ... which momentarily scared me after my experience there with Mom, but I soon realised that Magalies was not near far enough away to warrant a 4 hour drive.

We drove and drove. Thru Koster and up towards Zeerust - I had no idea where the hell these places were, but there were plenty of signs to Gaborone ... he didn't tell me I might need my passport!

I didn't, we stopped about 30kms from Gaborone at the Buffalo Ridge Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve.

We arrived fairly late, at about 7pm - we'd had some lunch along the way. But it was beautiful. There were oil lamps lighting the road to reception and we were greeted with a sherry on arrival.

We were shown to our chalet which was spectacular. Although it would've been completed perfectly with a huge spa-bath, the shower more than made up for it. I have a bizarre fascination wiht outdoor showers and it's a sure way to impress me. This one was a combo ... indoor and outdoor because it had massive sliding doors that you could open to the outside. Perfect! And the bed was gigantic, you could lose someone in there :)

After a few minutes to settle in and look around, they came to fetch us for dinner - you can't walk around on your own at night.

We had a lovely dinner - I even ate a black mushroom, but it was hidden with feta in a phyllo pastry parcel with basil pesto ... and did not taste a bit like a real mushroom! I despise mushrooms and make it a rule not to eat grey food ;)

Then it was back to the room to try out the shower after our long drive and to get some much needed sleep, we had an early morning wake up call for the game drive.

This is the morning view from our chalet -> Enchanting. We were up early, at 6am for the game drive and in the 3 hours bouncing around on the back of the land rover, we managed to see lots of game: Lions, Ellies, Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest and a vast amount of buck.

After the game drive which finished at about 9:30am, we enjoyed breakfast and went back to our room for some reading, relaxing and a snooze. Lunch was at 1:30 and after that we lazed in the sun on the pool deck (the pic Varen posted on Friday). Although the evenings and early mornings are quite chilly, the days in the bright sunshine are wonderful and warm. Then at 4pm we met again for our evening game drive.

This was fabulous because we ended up at a huge watering hole with a huge herd of Elephants who were trying to get to the water. They were very skittish because there were 2 male lions, millions of Vultures and a few Jackal enjoying the remains of a Rhino carcass that had been killed by an Elephant on the Monday. It was very entertaining to watch the Ellies become more assertive, especially because they had quite a few young calves with them. They did eventually chase off the one Lion and I have a fantastic video clip of it :) Highlight!

Then were enjoyed a few sundowners and made our way back to the Lodge in the dark. We even managed to glimpse 2 Rhino with the spot light.

Thne it was dinner time ... one of the best meals ever. It was Ostrich fillet with a mango mint coulis, butternut and peppadew risotto. Delish!

The next morning we decided to laze in bed and skip the early game drive ... it was weekend after all and really, how much better could the sightings get? At about 7am tho, we got woken by a determined tapping on the glass doors. We had a very determined visitor, two Yellow Hornbills were obviously protecting their territory from their reflection. It was such fun to watch!

We had a very lazy morning reading while waiting for the game drive to get back and breakfast to be served. I had the best omlette ever for breakfast, and I am not usually an omlette fan - I like my omelettes like I like my pizza. Light on the base / egg, heavy on the topping / filling!

Then we lazed a bit more ... had to soak up the fabulous setting as much as possible before heading back to Jhb. We left at about 12:30 and made good time back to Joburg. We ended the weekend with a few episodes of Heroes and sushi at Sakura.

All in all a spectacular weekend: Thanks Varen, you did good, really good! I was a spoilt girl and we had a really good time together. It's little snippets of time like this that make me sad that I'm not in a space to give him what he wants, a real boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. But we did have fun, we have loads of photo's to prove it and I doubt the experience will be forgotten :)

This morning has been tricky so far, he's dealing with the fallout of such a fabulous weekend and the lack of real relationship, but hopefully we'll survive it because really, we do have a blast together when we're not arguing about the state of things and who's right and wrong!

And now I have to try to get back to work and I have that funny dread feeling in the pit of my stomach about this week, no particular reason, it's just a feeling ... hopefully nothing.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Off To Wonder Land

So this is a bit of a random day ... certainly very little work getting done! Had an awesome night out last night with DJMike and Beukes who was up from Durbs again.

We were meant to meet up at Cranks at 7pm for dinner, but in the most bizarre twist of fate, Cranks was closed ... this is only the second time I've ever seen this with my own eyes! So we headed to Doppio Zero instead, an acceptable replacement, but I was really craving Thai food !!

We had a spectacular evening with conversation ranging from the old-time reminiscing of playing King's Quest at DJMike's, pub golf and the night Green Day, Marilyn Manson and Britney Spears went out to the far more adult political debate - Beukes, you win this one hands down ... either you know way more about what you're talking about than either of us, or you fake it much better ;)

Later in the evening Mitch arrived and another round of coffee's was ordered - not by me, obviously ... I don't drink the stuff, hot drinks make me feel funny. Yet soup is one of my favourite things ever. And on the up side, it looks like I may get the chance to join in the Amazing Race - Joburg next weekend after DJMike bailed on me. Mitch has a team that needs a girl. Hey, I survived pub golf all those years ago, how bad could it be ?

Update: Oooh, I just remembered the most hysterical story Mitch arrived with. Apparently he get's on pretty well with the kitchen ladies at his work ... better than he realised even. Yesterday he was chatting to one and she was telling him how empty she felt after her husband left her. And then asked if it was okay for her to use one of these ... and she whips a huge vibrator out of her handbag. Yes that's right! Hysterical. I wish I'd been there to see his face :)

And then I had to head home and pack for this weekend in a mad rush. Leaving work at 1pm and then it's apparently a 4 hour drive. Varen's posted a pic on his blog ... it looks stunning!

And that's that :) The fish are doing fabulously, let's hope they survive my weekend away. Everyone else I know is headed to the German Beerfest - if you are, have a fabulous time.

Which reminds me, the German Beerfest marks my 3 year anniversary in Joburg. The Saturday I arrived (late) I was supposed to go to the Beerfest with Bean, instead he went on his own and I caught up on some much needed sleep after my exhausting journey. Let me give you a head's up, if you're wondering ... it is not a good idea to see your new boyf for the first time in weeks after he spent the day at the Beerfest. He will disappoint you and he'll be too drunk to realise it. And that was just the first Beerfest experience I had. Last year turned out to be equally un-spectacular ... although the day started out well with good friends, the ending left much to be desired. As it does when you are herding a couple of fall-down drunk boys around a field while they search for the last drink before closing.

So, I am not the least bit disappointed by missing the Beerfest this year. Besides, I'm sure I'll be having fun ... where ever I am ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Viva Mental Health Days!

So I'm back after my mental health day yesterday :) I normally never do that sort of thing, I'm a good girl. I have serious eldest-child syndrome and ordinarily wouldn't do things like that ... but hey, why not? There's not been much going on at work and I needed one of those days just to chill out and laze in bed and get some stuff done. Stuff I never seem to find the time on weekends to do.

So I had a relaxed Tuesday evening with some delish Ghazal's take-out and spent Wednesday morning in bed with my book. Then watched a little Grey's and went for lunch at Mochacho's with Varen. After that I got my car looked at again. Thankfully the leaking oil had stopped but the little flashing oil light would not switch off. Apparently I needed a different width valve or something. I got it this morning and would like to say a *huge* thanks to Dion at the Garden Service Centre on Hans Strydom! You saved my car, man.

Then I went to get my long over-due snail mail at the currently most chaotic centre in Joburg, Benmore. Bean's got another speeding fine :P And then went off on a mission for my fish.

I've always avoided getting pumps and filters since I usually don't go for your conventional fish tanks and these sorts of paraphernalia rather hinder the aesthetics of my "vase" tanks. But the new fish of mine, I rather like and figured it was time to attempt the pump option. It turned out not to detract from the aesthetics of my bowl and it is working fantastically! I've now got a wall of bubbles floating up from under the rocks on the bottom and it swirls the plants around ... and the food, feeding time has become as entertaining as a lava lamp :) The fish seem to be doing much better and I'm loving the bubbles :)

That evening Varen came over to watch some more Heroes. We've been rather disconnected since Saturday, but we seem to be mostly, sort of back to our abnormal normal again. Good thing too, he's taking me to a secret location for the weekend. He's getting very excited about it, I'm dying to find out where we're going. It should be fun :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm Such a Girl When It Comes To Cars

I'm in a foul mood. Well, it's not that bad and at least I know it'll be gone by the time I'm done with this post - ah, the real reason we blog :)

Firstly there is the Car Issue. My car is old, a VW Chico with about 160000 on the clock. But I've never bought a new one since I struggle with the "a car is not an asset, it just chews cash" concept, it irritates me supremely. And I don't know if I'm going to London or not ... it just doesn't make practical sense to get a new one if I am. But that means it is slowly falling apart as I drive the acceptable million miles around Joburg every day - yes, a million miles is how far everything is from where ever you are in Joburg ... it's a mathematical constant :)

So let me start at the beginning of the story. The car trouble goes all the way back to my drive up to Jhb 3 years ago this month. Mom and I planned a reasonably timed journey over two days with a half way over night stop in Colesburg. We were making good time to arrive in Colesburg at 5pm. Unfortunately we ground to a halt at about 4pm, 10kms past Richmond. We called Dad in a flat panic. He called back with the number for the local mechanics guys in Richmond and left us to it while Mom tried her reiki skills on the steaming engine. We called them and they toddled out in their battered old Ford. Seems we'd burst a water pipe. The detached the pipe and left us girls stranded on the side of the N1 while they took it back to Richmond for repair - no sense if having them tow us in if that's all the problem was.

Turned out it wasn't and we ended up spending the next 24 hours at a "hotel" in Richmond while they sent the cylinder head gasket to De Aar to be skimmed. The "hotel" in Richmond is literally attached to the only Petrol Station in the small town. It was not the most pleasant experience.

So at about 4pm the following day we managed to set off on our journey again. Everything seemed fine and we stopped for dinner along the way, deciding to drive straight thru to Joburg during the night. Mom had a plane to catch the next day.

At about 10pm, 20kms out side of Kroonstad, we ground to a halt again ... in the skinniest yellow lane you've ever seen on a dark higway surrounded by metre tall grass. Fantastic. Called Dad again. We managed to get the local tow-truck to come and get us. Turns out the guys in Richmond hadn't attached the petrol pump to the engine properly and it had come loose, clearly not ideal in a driving situation. They towed us in to Kroondustria and had the 24hour mechanic take a look. He reattached it, filled the oil and water and declared us fit to go. We followed to tow-truc k to a local petrol station while the mechanic locked up shop so that we could follow him back out of Kroondustria to the highway and complete our journey to Joburg.

In famous last words, I said to Dad on the phone that the next time I spoke to him, we'd be in Joburg ... or have broken down *again*. While at the petrol station, the tow-truck's starter motor went ... which in hind sight was terrific for us. It kept the mechanic around long enough for me to notice the engine light kept flashing.

You'll never guess? The water bottle needed replacing. At now about midnight on the day we were supposed to have already arrived in Joburg, we now another 12 hour stop-over. We spent the night at the Hacienda Hotel in Kroonstad ... memorable simple because the entire front of it is air-bricked up. Yes, right up over the windows, perhaps they have a high-percentage of visitors who turn out to be jumpers, I don't know. But it doesn't make for the best experience.

We finally managed to leave Kroonstad at about midday on Saturday and reached Joburg about 2 hours later, after leaving Cape Town at about 8am on Thursday morning. I took mom directly to the airport (Dad had changed her flight a couple of times already) and headed to Bean's.

So that was the beginning and the car had quite a job done at it's next service. There haven't been too many other car problems, really ... had to get a new Battery a while back.

But now, there were oil problems. I don't know if they're resolved. Luckily this morning I stopped at a garage with a workshop. They replaced some oil do-hickey that plugs into the engine and loaded my empty car up with 4 pints. I hope it's fixed - fingers crossed because I can't hear any of those "car-noises". They all sound like perfectly normal car noises to me. And I freak out when any of the lights start blinking ... I don't understand cars!

And then there is the small matter of the giant tent-shirt I am wearing today. I have mentioned before that I am a member of the People Forum at our office (like SRC but at work ;) ) and we got ourselves personalized polo shirts tha twe can wear on days when we are hosting a function (like today). We only got these shirts last week and this is my first attempt at wearing it. Ordinarily, I am a medium ... this shirt is almost down to my knees, the sleeves end at my elbows. I feel like I am in a men's XL. It does not improve my mood.

So there you have it. All vented and I'm feeling better and ready for the day. I do have another post planned about the current blog-flaming going on ... but I'll let it brew a little longer, this subject was far more pertinent today!

Oh, and no exciting goings on last night ... went to Yoga, had dinner, watched some Grey's. The end.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Another Weekend Rolls By

So the weekend was fabulous. Actually it's quite something to say that overall my view of the weekend was good since it had quite a few ups & downs.

Friday afternoon saw Varen & I in quite a serious argument ... one that saw us canceling our evening's plans to watch Hannibal Rising together. With many an angry word typed on Google Talk and a heated telephone conversation, things did not look good.

We worked thru it, well I did ... I'm not the sort of person who can maintain an angry mood for long. I vent, tell you exactly what I think and then move on. Varen doesn't, but I only found that out later.

So being that I was fine and he was clearly dangling one of those typical "tests" by saying he was still going to see the movie since he'd bought the tickets on his credit card. So, I figured I'd succumb and surprise him there. Hey, I wanted to see the movie and needed to fix things.

So I called to check how angry he actually was and make sure he was really going to still go to the movie and hadn't given my ticket to one of his brothers ... or some new girl he met on his way home :P

Off I went, all the way to Bedford Centre to meet him. And what a waste of time. He acted like I was barely there. And the movie was rubbish too. I did finish the book this weekend (after seeing the movie) and both are fairly boring all round. The movie sticks fairly close to the book ... not exactly, but that's to be expected.

It started with revenge…
Based on the new Hannibal Lecter prequel novel from author Thomas Harris, which centers on how Hannibal watched his young sister get killed and eaten by hungry soldiers in war-ravaged Lithuania during WWII. The movie will take place at three pivotal moments of Hannibal's life. It is the fourth book dealing with the Doctor, who first appeared in Red Dragon, and subsequently in The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.

Then I left and went home. He thought I'd cave again and follow him home, since he lives closer. Wrong. I was angry with him again by this point. Hello, I put in the effort, I should've passed the test by my mere arrival. He wanted to talk (on the cell phone while I was driving home) I told him he'd had his opportunity and I was now driving. Too bad.

Little did I know, he followed me home. He arrived shortly after I did and I was fairly surprised, since I knew he was still annoyed. We had a long heated discussion and things ended up fairly resolved ... well as resolved as things can get in an anti-dating relationship, I guess.

Saturday was busy. I hit Cresta and did some serious shopping :) I had birthday presents to swap and got some cool new jerseys too.

Unfortunately while in the check-out queue at Edgars, mom called me. The Peeb had been to the Rheumatologist on Friday to see if they could find out what was causing all her pain. They found out what it was, she has Psoriatic arthritis. Yes, that's right, at the ripe old age of 24, my sis has been diagnosed with a lifelong condition that is apparently genetic (that's what the doc says). Anyway, I was pretty shaken as you can imagine, but I gave the Peeb a call later in the day and she calmed me down. So far she seems to be fairly upbeat about it and taking it all in her (tiny) stride. Fingers crossed, Peeby!

And then I had to go to work for another weekend implementation. That was fairly mundane. After that I went home and relaxed ... it was my weekend, after all! Chatted to Varen on the phone, I needed to talk to someone about the latest news on the Peeb. He suggested possibly going for drinks later, hell yeah I was keen after the day I'd had.

Turned out to be just the two of us and we headed off to Cool Runnings (both the Melville & 4Ways one, since Melville no longer offers hubbly's). We had a spectacular evening, which was pleasantly surprising after the previous one. Things seem to be more stable between us, we seem to be able to be more honest about when we do and don't fit into each other's lives.

I told him I was trying to get a transfer to London thru work. He told me he was going to Australia on holiday in December. I told him I was trying to go see the Mountain Gorilla's in Uganda later this year. None of these plans involved the other person and we were both fine with that.

Sunday was fairly lazy ... lay in bed watching Grey's till about midday! Then Loulou took me with her to visit her "kids". On a regular basis, she goes to a kid's home and volunteers by spending time with the children. It was interesting and fun, except for the chaos :)

Sunday evening comprised of more Grey's :) Oooh, and I bought 5 new fish ... very exciting, they seem to be doing well so finger's crossed! Hopefully I'll eventually move a few of them to the outside pond, but in the meantime their all together in the giant bowl in my room and I'm quite enjoying having a "full house".

And that was my weekend, in a nutshell :)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Here's One For The Readers

Here's something light (ish) to buffer my earlier rant and to celebrate the fantasticness of a Friday afternoon.

It wasn't my idea, it was Varen's, but being the stats-whore I am, it piqued my curiosity. I wanna know who you are ... I use so some of you are fairly easy to spot either by your host name or using your IP address. Some of you, regular readers I can tell, I have no idea who you are. And others of you, it's impossible to tell apart thanks to the vast monopoly Telkom and Internet Solutions seem to have on the South Africa web market!

Here are your details - if you don't know if it's you or not, use this handy IP Lookup to check, drop me a comment and tell me who you are ... and why you find yourself a regular reader, it's curious to me :)

Irish Visitor:
Someone I labeled FNB @ Waverly:
Durban Visitor:
4. UK Visitor:

So come on readers, put yourselves out there like I do every day and let me know who you are :) Please ...

Job Creation - Blegh!

So last night was quiet ... again. I went to Yoga - yippee, that's the third time this week! It's an achievement, okay? If you doubt that even for a second, you remain completely unaware of my sheer lack of gym-enthusiasm in previous months. But I'm turning things around and putting buckets of effort in ... and waiting patiently for the yoga to kick in and provide me with a fabulous bod in return for the hours I spend sweating and bending away. Needless to say, it hasn't happened yet :P How long, people, how long?

Anyway, after Yoga, Loulou and I headed off for sushi at the usual, Sakura. I was still nursing my craving for prawn maki that went entirely unquenched on Monday evening. I made sure I fixed that problem ... 5 plates of prawn maki later and I was sated. Loulou out did herself and had about 10 plates (not of the prawn maki tho, she's more a fashion sandwich sorta girl). The record has recently apparently been usurped from Koeties (a massive 19 plates) and handed over in a ceremonial manner to TheBrad's baby brother who managed a whopping 31 plates in 2 hours. Well, this is what I hear ... I wasn't there to witness either of the record breaking attempts. Me, I generally max out at around 8, and that's good enough for me :)

Anyway, sushi was followed by the last episode of Grey's Season One ... the one where Addison arrives. And then CSI on the telly. And then a little reading ... and the dawning of the knowledge that in order to have actually finished Hannibal Rising before watching the movie this evening, I would've had to take the day off! Which clearly I didn't because here I am with you :)

And now I have to vent about something that has been annoying me for some time. And I know there are people out there (probably they're not reading this, anyway ... but if you are) who will disagree and the like, but this is my spot for my views and here they come:

I live in South Africa, a well known point, I'm sure. I always have and what really annoys me is the random job-creation that we are becoming famous for.

It's no secret, I work at a fairly large corporate. And we've just gone thru the process of building additional offices. I now split my time between the two sites.

So here's how it goes at the original Primary Site. I scan my garage access card to get my car into one of their Parking Garages. And then I have to scan my personal access card to get thru the main door, one person at a time, like at the banks. Then my bag and laptop and whatever else I might choose to bring to work goes thru a scanner, like at an airport. Just to make sure I don't have my handy pistol with me, since I will be dealing with Project Managers during the day. And that's pretty much it for security, but it get's the job done.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, they did many things wrong when designing this Second Site. The building is essentially far more atttractive than the older one, with more glass and what not. But they've gone with "Barely There" Security. What were they thinking? It's turned out to be ridiculous. And it's turned into a Security Person nightmare ... for me! I scan my personal access card to get into the office complex where they (the 5 security guards for as many booms - Job Creation Point 1) check that I do in fact have a little sticker on my windscreen - that's right folks, merely having an access card that makes the boom go up and let you in isn't enough for these people! Then I drive to the parking garage and scan yet again. The theory is that the little sticker on my windscreen will tell the wandering security guard (no idea how many of these there are - Job Creation Point 2) whether I am actually allowed to park in this specific garage. Again, notice my utter shock and horror that the mere fact that my access card will open the boom to the parking garage and allow me entry is not enough to proof of that fact.

Then I have to go up in a lift, but only to the ground floor at reception. Since my access card that allows me entrance to the office complex and to the parking garage cannot possibly be enough to prove that I am allowed into the building. Once at reception, I have to go thru a ridiculous human boom type thing - again with the very same access card. Only to be greeted by 5 more security guards who just stand around there watching these gates to ensure that only one person goes thru at a time (Job Creation Point 3). And then they all proceed to greet me. This annoys me. Perhaps it's rude of me, but I have no interest in engaging with someone who is probably just being paid to greet me. It's annoying. And as I said there are 5 of them! All I want to do is get to my friggin desk thru all these ridiculous security measures.

And no, it's not that they are mere security guards that I do not want to greet them. I actually have quite a nice morning conversation with the security guard at our Primary Site and I even find myself mildly disappointed when someone else is there instead of him. But to them, the army of security guards at the entrance to Second Site, I say nothing. Occasionally I grunt hello ... which just encourages them, and more join in. I am at a loss as to how to handle this situation, I wish I could just say: "Shut the f**k up you anonymous person who is just being paid to greet me and doesn't otherwise care about my day?". It is far to early in the morning for me to deal with things like that, and I am far too polite.

And this is not the only spot of Job Creation that irritates me ... ever been to Rosebank Mall? Yes, the place where they have the usual machines controlling the parking entry and exit. But here they have a prime example of Job Creation (Point 4), they have added a second boom. So off you go and finish your shopping, pay for your parking get into your car and head for the exit. Then you wait while Job Creation (probably his real name) manually lifts the first boom. Only once thru this point, can you input your ticket and let the computer open the second boom for you. Hello? Is it just me who finds this all terribly frustrating ?

And then there are those fabulous instances of Job Creation (Point 5), the Parking Guards. Now, I know it's not just me who finds this lot an absolute waste of time. Although people seem to allow the situation in Parking Lots around the country to perpetuate. Now, this isn't really a Job Creation concept that I understand ... the theory is that they will protect your car while you are at the shop / mall whatever with no form of defense. So they stand around with their yellow or orange vests (if they're lucky enough ... I'd like to find out who is handing these out!) and point you into parking bays. Now sometimes this can be useful, like at Cresta on a Saturday morning, but they'll do it just the same if there are 40 parking bays in plain sight. Even I can appreciate this service, but honestly, I can survive just as well without it.

They "protect" your car. Now, I've never heard of an actual case of a car guard saving a car from being stolen or anything, perhaps their mere presence is the deterrent, but I doubt it would be since someone stealing a car would no doubt be armed somehow and these car guard are not. So I see no threat to a determined car thief there. And they "protect" your car (and the other 100 cars closest to yours) with no incentive, only the hope that you'll give a sympathetic few rand when you get back and find your car right where you left it. They do it regardless because they don't know if you're gonna pay them or not. And then this lot, my guess is that none of them have ever driven a car themselves - else they'd no doubt be taxi drivers!) proceed to direct you out of your parking bay.

Now I know upfront that I'm no forking over any cash to these people for their "service". But I also make sure that I check all my mirrors as I reverse, I don't need their help reversing. I spent time and effort getting my license I plan to use it myself.

My absolute worst was the instance I saw a parking guard in a parking lot where you had to pay to park anyways (yes, Rosebank again). Hello, I'm paying to park here already, what on earth would I be paying you for. Admit it, you're just begging.

Now, the idea of security in parking lots I can get behind. But the Shopping Centre should be paying for this service to encourage people to come to their shop.

Anyway, I'm sure there are many more instances of Job Creation I can come up with, but that is enough for one morning. Perhaps this has been a little extreme, perhaps I've been reading a little too much Dr Marcus on 1000BrownMnMs ...

Have a fabulous Friday :)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Is My Email Even Working Anymore ?

Righto,I think it's time for a bit of a rant ...

Yesterday provided two incidents that got my blood to boiling point. One I've just remembered I can't post about because the end result of all the phone calls and lack of response and fighting with call-centre drones is supposed to be a surprise for someone who gives me a read whenever she can manage to connect to the net. And in all honestly the company in question has just about redeemed the stupidness of yesterday, today.

Let me, however, explain the First:

I noticed last week that I had not yet received the monthly levy account for the apartment Bean & I own (yes, for the mean time we're keeping it ... it's an investment okay and there is no emotional attachment because we never lived in it together or anything, it was bought purely for renting out). Unfortunately what with all the public holidays, I was left a little distracted.

Which means I only began to deal with it yesterday morning. I called the Property Managers, Trafalgar, and explained that the last levy invoice I received from them was on the 19th March and asked why I hadn't received the current one yet.

So they tried mailing it to me again. I phoned back a little later. Then I tried mailing them to ensure they had my address correctly spelt - How on earth could they have it wrong, I've been successfully receiving these things for months ... till now.

** Okay, a quick aside ... the idiot Second people, after all the effort they put in this morning and letting me for a second think that they had redeemed themselves, screwed up yet again ... on very specific email instructions that were, in fact, even highlighted in RED. How idiotic. I will have to rant about this post surprise-arrival.

So anyway, they try mailing it again. After some distraction, even I have work to do, I realise I *still* have not received it. So I call again. They'll try to fax it to me now.

The fax arrives successfully. It's for the wrong month ... it's the last one I actualyl successfully received via email, in March! /* slaps head in frustration */ So I call them again and ask them to fax thru the latest one. You think that'd work, right?

You'd be wrong. Say it with me people. So after another 2 attempts to fax it, we give up for the day and I send a fairly pointed email outlining my frustration and their failed attempts. If they want their money, they've gotta work for it.

So this morning I arrive at work and they' ve finally found a way to send it to me ... in excel format. Belgh, oh well. At least it is sorted :)

A Bit of a Catch Up

So, last night was fairly uneventful. Yoga ... but Loulou came to try it out for the first time so that was cool. Except for the fact that the class was packed! Literally zero space between mats. Me, I like a quieter class. Anyway, Loulou seemed to like it so I think she'll be back again. And then home for some dinner and a muscle-relaxing bath with my latest book (Hannibal Rising) ... I'm trying to finish it before seeing the movie, which is currently scheduled for Friday night! And I even managed to squeeze in one episode of Grey's.

And then there is some catching up I need to do here. I've been reading like a demon what with all these public holidays, so I've got two books to review. The first was The Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre.

With one of the most baldly obscene opening paragraphs of any modern novel, The Sacred Art of Stealing slaps its way into orbit with more expletives than prepositions. But get through the gang-rap obscenity nonsense and there's a clever, off-beat storyline handled with funky dexterity. 30-year-old Detective Sergeant Angelique de Xavia is taken hostage in a bank robbery, run by a bizarre quintet of robbers dressed as clowns who entertain the bank staff by creating artworks on the blanked-out windows. De Xavia connects uncannily with Zal, one of the gang, and there is a mutual magnetism, even though the only part of him she can see through his mask is his fearsome blue eyes. Siege over, robbers on the run, they meet up face to face and she is much taken by the art-loving Las Vegas criminal. He understands her, the pressures of her job - well, he would, wouldn't he?

I loved this book. It starts out a bit like Lock Stock or Snatch. And it has some fabulous twists which, if you've been paying attention, you'll know usually make a book for me.

The second was David Hosp's The Betrayed.

Washington D.C. A woman is found murdered in her own home; her throat slit, her corpse brutalised, subjected to the most appalling torture before she died. A piece of incriminating evidence leads to the swift arrest of a local drug dealer. Case closed. But local cop Jack Cassian has questions. The victim came from one of the city's wealthiest families. So why was she living in such a rough part of town? Why is her mother, the icily formidable Lydia Chapin, so hostile and unhelpful? Teaming up with the dead woman's sister, Sydney, to find the answers, Cassian's investigation leads him from the crack dens of the inner city to the country clubs and gilded offices of the nation's political elite. The answers lead only to further questions - and, before they know it, Sydney and Cassian are slipping deep into a labyrinth of money, power and deceit to uncover a decades-old conspiracy and could rock the nation. Can they survive long enough to learn the secrets of ...the Betrayed?

Blegh. This was decidedly average and you can figure out exactly who dunnit towards the end anyway. Not merely because the kill off half the cast in the process :P Not very impressive.

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