Monday, June 30, 2008

Second bloggirls Lunch

So Friday started out innocently enough and ended up impacting the thoughts of the rest of my weekend.

Fairly early on in the day (before lunch), I got a call from a good friend of mine who told me a rumour was going around that another good friend of mine (from a few years ago, who I admittedly haven't had much recent contact with) had himself a boyfriend. This is surprising in itself because a) he's well past the age I would guess that folks generally figure out their preference and b) cause he's had a couple of long-term girlfs in the time I've known him.

So I immediately dropped him an email. The way I figure it is, if the rumour isn't true, the boy should at least know what's being said about him and well, if it is ... I'd hope we'd once been good enough friends that he'd be honest about it.

Turns out it's all True. He mailed me back and laid it all on the line. On the plus side his current group of friends and his close family have all been very supportive. But it still kinda left me feeling weird. Not because it bothers me ... I guess just because I'm wondering about the person I knew. Inevitably by lying to himself about certain things, he must've ended up lying to other people for everyone to be so surprised by this news. Meh, I don't really care about that but, it's also started me wondering about another thing regarding "coming out". This boy has quite a developed group of guy-friends (being that he's slightly older than me already) which makes him quite lucky cause they've mostly all been mates since varsity or school or whatever. So these friends of his just have to accept him (which they apparently do). Whereas (and I could be wrong here) I don't think most boys who come out at say 21 or thereabouts have such a firm group of solid male friends ... they tend to have a lot of very good female friends (I'm not saying they have no male friends, I'm just talking majorities here, people). So I can't help but wonder if realising it (or rather, just admitting it - I'm a pretty firm believer in the genetic argument, with a sprinkling of nurture thrown in on top) later in life has been better for him? But then again pretending for so many years as he must've done (Can you really not know, is the mind that powerful?) must've taken it's toll on him too. Sigh. As long as he's happy, hey?

Anyhoo. The weekend. Varen & I headed over to his folks place (they're away at the mo') for dinner Brother Swoop, his girlf and Brother Zion to celebrate Brother Zion's 21st birthday earlier in the week. I must say, it turned out to be really nice evening. And I for one and really glad that Brother Swoop & his girlf are back together :) Saturday was a truly lazy day, with no pressing admin to be done and Varen & I both still quite exhausted from our busy week. We watched movies at home and got take-out (from Ghazals!) and pretty much lolled around doing *nothing*.

Two faiths, two empires, two rulers - colliding in 1588. Papist Spain wants to bring down the heretic Elizabeth. Philip is building an armada but needs a rationale to attack. With covert intrigue, Spain sets a trap for the Queen and her principal secretary, Walsingham, using as a pawn Elizabeth's cousin Mary Stuart, who's under house arrest in the North. The trap springs, and the armada sets sail, to rendezvous with French ground forces and to attack. During these months, the Virgin Queen falls in love with Walter Raleigh, keeping him close to court and away from the sea and America. Is treachery or heroism at his heart? Does loneliness await her passionate majesty?

I was looking forward to this cause I remember enjoying the first Elizabeth movie that really launched Cate Blanchett's career. Sadly I felt this one fell short. Was kinda weird to watch it so closely after The Other Boleyn Girl, and I will say that Cate has certainly gotten older than the first movie (a good 10 years ago, so fair enough). I dunno, I just didn't think the story they chose was that interesting. Although Clive Owen was lovely, as always :)

Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead. Now, upon the news of Detective Kerry's murder, two seasoned FBI profilers, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez, arrive in the terrified community to assist the veteran Detective Hoffman in sifting through Jigsaw's latest grisly remains and piecing together the puzzle. However, when SWAT Commander Rigg is abducted and thrust into a game, the last officer untouched by Jigsaw has but ninety minutes to overcome a series of demented traps and save an old friend or face the deadly consequences.

Sigh. I'd heard that this Saw movie would be going back to the good old days of the original clever and twisty Saw movie. I honestly didn't think it was that great at all. I mean it's gory in the true Saw sense of the word, but I had to read up on Wikipedia to try and figure out the ending. Not a good sign and I'm usually quite quick with these things. So, in my opinion, they tried to be far more twisty than I think they managed to successfully achieve. Disappointing.

A year after the accidental death of their father, three drug-addicted brothers -- each suffering from depression - meet for a train trip across India. Francis, the eldest, has organized it. The brothers argue, sulk, resent each other, and fight. The youngest, Jack, estranged from his girlfriend, is attracted to one of the train's attendants. Peter has left his pregnant wife at home, and he buys a venomous snake. After a few days, Francis discloses their surprising and disconcerting destination. Amid foreign surroundings, can the brothers sort out their differences? A funeral, a meditation, a hilltop ritual, and the Bengal Lancer figure in the reconciliation.

Okay, this is for all you folk who loved The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. We did watch the "short movie" before hand, Hotel Chevalier. I thought that was most bizarre and I don't know if it affected the movie, knowing some background, as it were. But I enjoyed the movie in a light-hearted sorta way :)

Sunday was the 2nd bloggirls lunch. I am disappointed that neither of the other's (Cape Town or Durbs) actually got off the ground (as far as I know) and I must say our 2nd attempt up here wasn't nearly as well attended as the last one. I sorta felt like I ended up at The Bad Mommies Blog lunch, surrounded by Angel, Exmi, Ydnic and Bridget :) Was especially fabulous to meet 3 new bloggirls. Was awesome to meet Exmi, since I've been reading her blog for absolute ages now ... and I'm thrilled to say it seems she's back online after an extended lack-of-internetless :) It was also very entertaining to meet Bridget. I've never really followed her blog daily but have visited it occasionally and I must tell you she is absolutely lovely in person and far more crazy and funny than I've found her blog to be ... if you can even imagine that!

Oh, and I almost forgot, the lunch was at Cool Runnings, a favourite haunt of my youth (the one in Observatory, Cape Town ... which has apparently closed down. An end of an era!). Let me tell you, the cocktails went down swimmingly. Even tho I was supposed to be off alcohol (I know, I know ... but cocktails, people!) I thoroughly enjoyed my Vanilla Mojito and Feeling Erie :) For lunch I had Chicken Nacho's - haven't had nacho's in ages and I did enjoy them ... but they probably could've been better if there'd been a little salsa alongside.

After the bloggirls lunch I ended up having a afternoon nap (while Varen read his book - a little role reversal from Saturday afternoon!). And that was about the weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Exhausted Friday

So this is a boring post, I'm afraid ... but it wasn't a quiet night. I had book club and Varen had poker & whiskey night with the boys. Book club was at J9-double0blonde's house which was great because we were treated to home made Minestrone soup (by Squeak) and their delightful fireplace - what more could a girl ask for in winter?

In typical boy-style, Varen got in after 1:30am this morning and then proceeded to snore all night. I barely got a wink of sleep ... which is why I'm in such a fabulous mood :P Oh well, at least it's Friday people :)

Oh, and I've decided (after the excessive week) to try and "go dry" for a week (till dinner with JofH next Thursday) ... I've really over-done the alcohol this week, that's for sure!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh, What a Day!

So there's a quite a lot of catching up to do here ... where was I yesterday, you ask? Silly me forgot to mention that we had a Company Away Day (more on that later, naturally). Which is why I cunningly left you with some belated book reviews.

Now, casting our minds back to Tuesday evening. I dutifully went out shopping after work to ensure there was something to masquerade as dinner and chilled at home with Bell & Henna waiting for Varen to get home from work. Then we went thru the usual gym discussion:

She said: "Do you wanna go?"
He said: "No, why do you ask me, of course I don't. Plus, I'm still sore and I'm not feeling 100%"
She said: "But we really should"
He said: "I know ... "

But she was determined that gym was the right thing and even went so far to say: "Well, I'm going to go, you can join if you want but either way, I'm still going".

See, I was going to be good, I was determined. And then Squeak called. Turned out that Tuesday Dinner group was at J9-double0blonde (formerly GalleryGirl) and Squeak's that night. I know, I know, why would we even care, right? But the two ladies in question who have excommunicated me (after this and this - okay, so I also still don't really know why they're not talking to me anymore, but they're not and that's that) happened to both have other commitments for Tuesday evening. And, as the beta group, we cracked the nod and dutifully skipped gym to go hang out with the the girls, Koet & Nambi and Zej. It was a lovely night, with a nice warm fire and some delish home made (by J9-double0blonde - jees, but both of those girls can cook!) Cassoulet (hers looked wa-ay better than that dodgy pic on the wikipedia site, I can assure you!). I'd never even heard of it before then, but it was so yummy!

Zej regalled us with one of the *most* horrendous stories I've ever heard. Now, either it's an amazing experiment in social networking (like how fast can you start a new urban legend), or it's true. Zej tells us earnestly that it in fact happened to his brother's girlfriend's friend ... even tho it sounds like something out of an urban legend or horror movie and I haven't seen a word of it in the news (and I can't imagine it wouldn't be reported)! So, with that in mind, I make no claims of validity or truth about this ... but if it turns out to be true, it's some scary-ass shit! Anyhoo, the story goes like this (if you're eating or just not into this stuff, scroll past it, I'll highlight a marker telling you when the hideous story is done) ...

So the girl is question was out at The Hat (a local Joburg night club) and met this nice boy who she proceeded to spend the night kissing. It was getting late and the frisky boy asked her if she wanted to go back to his place. Apparently she just wasn't *that keen* on him (and really, she didn't know who the hell he was - that'll be the moral of our story here folks!) and said that she had to drop her friends at home but if he gave her his address she'd meet up with him there later - delicate, polite and lying like a politician ;) She proceeded to leave the club with her friends and dropped them all safely at home before heading back to her own bed and proceeding to fall asleep.

She woke in the morning to find this giant rash spreading over her lower face and down her neck and rushed herself off to the emergency room (don't ask me which). The docs and nurses swab her and take blood and do all the usual doctor-y stuff needed for diagnosis. They come back with stern faces and tell her she needs to go thru her entire week with them and tell them everything she's done. Nothing out of the ordinary, she assures them. But when she get's to the part about kissing the stranger in a night club they become far more interested in him. Do you know his name they ask? No, but I have his address (she tells them, still pretty confused till here). Thanks, we're going to need that, they say.

Turns out she has some kind of bacterial (if think ... or viral, it's always one or the other) infection ... (and here's the frightening bit) that you can only get from corpses. The hospital called the police who headed on over to the creepy dude's house and discovered 3 dead girls that he'd been overly playful with. This girl had narrowly escaped becoming number 4.

Now everybody say it with me: Eeeeuuuuw!

---> you can start reading again, the story is over.

Wednesday was fabulous, we started the day (later than usual for me, which caused no end of traffic chaos) at the Mangwanani Spa at the Indaba Hotel. It is a very nice Spa venue, they've done the decor and gardens really nicely and you feel like you've stepped into the bush, although you're still on the doorstep of Fourways. The treatments themselves were also wonderful. We started with a Head, Neck and Shoulder massage and ended with a Foot and Calf treatment. Pity we were so rushed and promptly told that we couldn't hang around after our treatments. Pretty rude, if you ask me.

After that we headed to Da Vincenzo's for lunch. The girls arrived long before the boys and were well into a 2nd bottle of champagne by the time they joined us (they went quad-biking). It's not my favourite restaurant and I won't be recommending it, but then again, I've been told, I'm a restaurant snob and I've heard people rave about it :) I prefer what I refer to as boutique restaurants. And although this place isn't a chain, it's a spralling faux Italian (I think?) stereotype. But, since we were a group of 32 they could comfortably accomodate us in a separate area (although there were maybe 2 other tables there, maybe). The food was decent in typical set-menu style. I had the chicken. And the chocolate mousse was also very good.

I'll also say that I was thrilled not to be driving when the 3rd and 4th bottle of champagne and the round of tequila's got ordered :) I ended up getting a lift back to JofH's house with him where I was collected by Varen en route home at 6pm.

We didn't even head home, I'd finally booked our anniversary dinner at Casalinga (silly going to another restaurant on the same day, but it slipped my mind). Now this, this is a restaurant.

Varen ordered us a 400-rond bottle of Meerlust Rubicon 2004 (very good) and I started with Haloumi and Zucchini Fritters (which were divine!!) while Varen had some truly decadent Salmon Pancakes. I honestly couldn't tell you which was better. Yum :) For mains we were very boring, both ordering the Veal fillet topped with Parma Ham which was also superb but a bit of a big portion for me, which I think Varen quite appreciated :) And yes, being our anniversary (and even tho we'd both eaten out for lunch earlier), we decided to splash out and have dessert ... a heavenly slice of lemon meringue pie for me (the only one I've had that tasted just like mom's, which is a truly high compliment for me to give food!) and white chocolate tiramisu for Varen (he love love loves tiramisu, I just don't get it?)

It was an amazing day, although I'm definitely feeling like I ate the export produce of a small country :) And I must say I really did enjoy my drive into work with Varen this morning.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Time of Angels by Patricia Schonstein

Primo Verona is born with a gift of clairvoyance so strong that he is able to predict his own mother's death while still in her womb. Brought up on a rich diet of astronomy, philosophy, and storytelling, Primo accurately reads the futures of the local community who pay him in honey cake, tiramisu, and other delicacies. Pasquale Benvenuto is the owner of a beloved wine bar and delicatessen whose culinary reputation rests on recipes for the fruited breads and salamis his father taught him to make.

Together Primo and Pasquale form an easy friendship triangle with the beautiful Beatrice, Primo's wife and Pasquale's former girlfriend. But when Beatrice leaves her husband for her old love, Primo is devastated. He casts spells to spoil Pasquale's creations and to win back Beatrice -- but inadvertently conjures up an unexpected visitor.

So this is most definitely on my top 10 list of bizarre, unexplainable, how-did-you-get-paid-to-publish-this list of books. Seriously. I totally did not get this plot, although it's fairly nicely written but there's plenty of additional detail that just makes zero sense (not least of all the "unexpected visitor", the angel Lucifer). Oh, and the gift of clairvoyance barely rears it's head thruout the story either. Hello? So yeah, I really can't say (even after reading this) what on earth it was actually about. If you've read it and you have a clue, then please, please let me know!

The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland

The first and only story of love and looming apocalypse set in the aisles of an office supply superstore. In Douglas Coupland's ingenious new novel - sort of a Clerks meets Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf - we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged “aisles associate” at Staples, condemned to restocking reams of 20-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And Roger’s co-worker Bethany, in her early twenties and at the end of her Goth phase, who is looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in aisle 6.

One day, Bethany discovers Roger’s notebook in the staff room. When she opens it up, she discovers that this old guy she’s never considered as quite human is writing mock diary entries pretending to be her: and, spookily, he is getting her right.

These two retail workers then strike up an extraordinary epistolary relationship. Watch as their lives unfold alongside Roger’s work-in-progress, the oddly titled Glove Pond, a Cheever-era novella gone horribly, horribly wrong. Through a complex layering of narratives, The Gum Thief reveals the comedy, loneliness, and strange comforts of contemporary life.

Coupland electrifies us on every page of this witty, wise, and unforgettable novel. Love, death and eternal friendship can all transpire where we least expect them …and even after tragedy seems to have wiped your human slate clean, stories can slowly rebuild you.

This book was mostly pretty peculiar, with only the vaguest hint of discernible storyline. But, the characters (of the book and of the book within the book ... eep) are entertaining in their peculiarity. /*Spoiler Alert*/ Seriously tho, I thought Roger & Deedee would totally hook up in the end. Clearly one too many a Hollywood movie for me! Meh, this book was neither here nor there for me.

Bunny Update

Well last night was fairly quiet, as usual for a Monday ;)

We skipped gym cause Varen was still feeling sore from practicing his golf-swing, hell and my shoulder was pretty stiff too. And I proceeded to give myself a seriously painful bruise on my calf by almost slipping in the bath. Seriously, it's sore when I walk even ... this morning still. And it's raised a nice bright colourful mark! Sigh.

But I thought that perhaps it was time for another bunny update - I even took some more pictures of them yesterday afternoon :) Mostly cause it's I arrived home to find Varen playing on his laptop and the bunnies running in the garden. Sounds about perfect, right? So I went outside to say hello to the buns and found Bell to be less than her sparkly white self. Turns out someone had managed to chew thru the charcoal bag and began rummaging in the coal, giving her quite an amusing grey face and paws :)

She was also terribly difficult to get a good pic of because they've both become very friendly and she keeps moving and running around me when I lie on the grass to try catching a good shot.

Henna has also become a real little darling. We've taken to hand feeding them the basil and mint or whatever (so that we can make sure that they mostly get their fair share because Henna eats like she thinks she might wake in a desert tomorrow morning!) and she'll jump up onto my lap to eat and follow me around when it's gone, just in case I have any more. It's too cute :) She's also grown a lot and developed this hysterical (Varen & I try not to laugh too much at her tho!) orange stripe on her forehead. I mean, it's probably the same colour as the bulk of her body fur, but her ears are tinged darker by the "blue" genes and because the darker fur extends down around her eyes, it ends up leaving this orange-looking stripe (as you can quite clearly see in the photo!). I must say she's far easier to photograph than Bell :)

She also supremely impressed her mom on Sunday evening :) They've gotten to the stage where they are smelling the ground to determine where to do their business and regularly going in the same place, prime time to start potting training! So we bought (an in hindsight too small) pot-plant base to use as their "potty", lined it with newspaper and set it in their current spot of choice (this is only for when they're inside the house, obviously). While Varen & I were cuddled watching The Other Boleyn Girl, Henna climbed into the pot-plant base and turned around abotu 3 times before perching. I was hoping she was going to the loo, but she looked like she just might've found somewhere slightly warmer than the floor to sit. But when she got up and ran off, she'd made her mom very proud and used the "potty" for the first time :) We didn't have as much luck last night, but Rome wasn't built in a day ;)

Am so loving these cute little bunnies :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Improve your Golf Swing

Well another weekend come and gone. But it was a good one ... although we started out with very little planned. Friday night was very quite hell, i barely remember what we did. I don't think anything except chill out at home.

Saturday morning we were up early-ish for climbing. I realised that it's not a great passion for me and although it's sometimes fun to do, I doubt I'll extend my membership when my month is up. It's a neither here nor there thing for me ... does that make sense? Anyhoo, I realised I neither missed it or minded that we hadn't been for 2 weeks. But I did have a good time on Saturday morning and made it to the top 4 times (on two different (grade 13 - the lowest) courses - although I tend to do a bit of a smartie course ;) I'm convinced they've left out some protrusions in each colour!)

After that we did some general admin type stuff ... hmmm, I don't rememebr exactly what actually. Varen had his hair cut. I stayed home with my bunnies. And then we got to gardening. My previous attempts failed simally, except for 1 thriving spinach plant. Me thinks it's because for some peculiar reason none of the 3 pots I bought came with drainage holes. So I dutifully emptied out all the potting soil and Varen drilled me some. After that we hit the nursery and restocked on potting soil and some yummy plants for the bunnies ... and a handy fence-type thing to stop them getting to the plants before they've had a chance to grow. It was a nice ordinary Saturday afternoon spent gardening :) more relaxing and fulfilling than one might realise!

That evening we headed off to dinner with GalleryGirl (soon to be redubbed J9-double0blonde, a recent more suitable nickname she's been given ;) ) and her sister Squeak, at Plaka in Illovo. Dinner was delish, I do love a meal of tapas and picking at different flavours. And when we were all done we decided that we weren't quite ready to go home just yet so headed off to Melrose Arch to enjoy a cocktail or two at JB's Corner. Yum, I really can recommend their Chocolate Martini and Black Forest Gateau (consider these cocktails a replacement for dessert!).

On Sunday we skipped climbing and we were supposed to go to a potjie at one of Varen's friends, but it got cancelled. Instead we did a little more admin - headed to Makro to get myself a shiny new keyboard & mouse for work to replace the awful others I'd previously returned. And let me tell you that this morning I'm very happy with the purchase :) We also took a wander around Clearwater Mall - Varen has a compulsive needto visit the Apple Store every so often and drool ;) While wandering around, we decided to stop at Milky Lane for a waffle. I can't even remember the last time I had a waffle! The were as good as I remember and after scooping off half my ice-cream and only finishing three quarters of it, I'm good for waffles for another few years ;)

After that we headed to Vodacom's World of Golf. I'd decided a little while ago that there were a few weekend activities (like climbing, golf and berry-picking etc.) that I'd like to do. So this weekend we dusted off Varen's very old golf clubs (or sticks as I prefer to call them) and went a-swinging (also incorrect lingo). It was quite fun, as an occasional activity ... it seems I feel much the same for golf as I do for climbing: can be a few hours of fun, but I wouldn't want to plan my life around it. I'm not too shabby, but I certainly hurt afterwards (as did Varen who hasn't played in ages!). I couldn't find any details on the website about day-entry fees, but it's about R120 to get in there as a non-member. No doubt we'll go back for another afternoon on the driving range (or Target Tess as they call them), but probably only in a few months! I had a laugh remembering the good old days when I worked in Cape Town (2003) and the boys and I headed down the road to Pollsmoor Prison during lunch to use their driving range.

After that we had a little bit of a snooze (well Varen did, I read my book) and later watched The Other Boleyn Girl.

A sumptuous and sensual tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in European history: two beautiful sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, driven by their family's blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII.

It was quite an entertaining movie, although I'm pretty certain (even without the obvious knowledge that it's a Hollywood film) that it must be historically inaccurate, I still enjoyed it. Anne was portrayed as quite a conniving, egotistical bitch (and quite insane towards the end) whereas Mary was quite clearly the one you were supposed to feel sorry for, chasing after love and all. The King of England, I thought came across as quite a weak character. I thought both girls were fairly well cast. Generally, I liked it :) For further reading, check out Wikipedia.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Banking Secrets

So, I've just been on the phone with (one of) my bank(s), Standard Bank, and it's prompted a second post this morning.

I simply wanted to move some money around, transfer some cash across to my FNB Credit Card. But I noticed that my Monthly EAP Limit had shrunk, it was sitting at like a third of what I'd just bothered to go into the damned branch (hate having to do this!), queued and increased it to prior to making my holiday payment last month.

As per SB's website: What is an electronic account payment limit? An electronic account payment (EAP) limit is a monthly limit that you load to your card that allows you to make electronic account payments using Internet, telephone or cellphone banking or an AutoPlus machine. The limit is reduced every time you make an electronic payment. If you have loaded future-dated payments, the limit will be reduced on the day of payment. An EAP limit can only be loaded at a branch.

See, I need this amount to be huge, otherwise my money (and savings) are pretty much inaccessible to me. So I call them up to find out what happened. I mean to increase it I have to schlep to a branch, but I know I can decrease it via their Internet Banking. But I also know there's no way I've done this. Oh and also, the rule (as I understood it) is that you could increase it to whatever amount you liked, as long as you had those funds available in your accounts at the time.

Turns out they've just (01 June, I guess) implemented a new policy (post some kind of audit on they system) that will automatically reset your Monthly EAP Limit back to your salary each and every month. So please understand this: If you increase it today, it'll be back to your salary amount on the 1st July. What's even more annoying to me is that at The Big Corporate, my bond amount was deducted off before I got my salary (don't ask too many questions here, it didn't affect my tax one bit, sadly!), so the amount that they are using as "my monthly salary" is like just over 50% of what it actually should be! Which means I have *the most useless* Monthly EAP Limit in the world! And I'm now going to have to reset it on a monthly basis. Double sigh.

20080620 @ 15h50 Quick Update: I forgot to mention that you actually can save yourself the hassle of going into the branch to increase your EAP limit. You can send them a "secure message" (don't worry, it's one of their menu options) from within your Internet Banking Profile asking them to increase it. But you're still gonna have to do this on a monthly basis.

Needless to say, they haven't bothered giving anyone a heads up about this new little gem, apparently there were too many people to tell or something equally ridiculous. And naturally, I hear, they've been getting complaints a-plenty.

So aside from really needing a good moan about this, I thought it only fair that someone should be letting all you unsuspecting banking victims into the loop ;)

20080623 @ 09h35 Follow Up: So I got a call on Saturday morning from good ol' Standard Bank regarding my Secure Message requesting an EAP increase. Oddly enough (and in complete contradiction to what I'd been told on Friday), the woman asked me if this should be a "permanent increase". I don't know how long the non-permanent increases last for, but I definitely opted for the permanent option! I mean, hello? So fingers crossed that this monthly EAP revert may not be a definite thing :)

A Quick Update on Work

So last night was another quiet one, nothing much to report.

In other news, work is going nicely. I got assigned to a new project (or rather the second phase of the project I was busy with last week) on Tuesday and am proud to say that although I'd been assigned to it for 3 weeks, I had it all done and ready to be tested yesterday afternoon :) So, Friday morning has started out nicely with me feeling quite proud of myself ... and hoping I get a relaxing day at work! But apparently it's probably not to be, I hear murmurings of other work my names been scheduled on ... sigh. Back to the grindstone, but I'm really loving it!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hmmm, F!sh

Last night was pretty fab. Went out for dinner with Varen's family - his folks are jetting off to Canada & USA for 2 & half weeks. Was minorly disgruntled since I had been planning our belated anniversary dinner for last night, but when they're leaving the country, what can you do?

Luckily the evening turned out nicely and they even met us half-way (another of my minor in-law pet peeves) at F!sh in Rosebank. Wow, this restaurant is definitely moving onto my Top 5 list! This time we skipped starters (a good idea, leaving space for our mains) and I re-ordered the Grilled Salmon Teriyaki I'd had last time (incidentally Varen also order the same dish he'd had last time, the Seared Tuna). I highly recommend you order the Salmon seared as well tho, it definitely makes for a melt-in-your mouth meal :)

In other news, I've recently joined the world of the podcast listeners ... what with the iPod set up in my car, it makes for interesting drive-time listening. My current favs are Skeptoid (these are nice 10 minute bite-sized information chunks) and the BBC Documentaries. If you have any good (and free) podcast recommendations, please let me know :)

Oh, and ps ... I added a pic of the adorable lion cubs to yesterday's catch-up post! Didn't have enough space there for this one tho, so I'm including it here. See what I mean about those giant paws (that's my adult-sized hand holding it!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Double Cross by James Patterson

From the man the Sunday Telegraph called the 'master of the suspense genre' comes the next high-velocity thriller in the Alex Cross series - James Patterson and Alex Cross fans cannot wait to read DOUBLE CROSS. Alex Cross rejoins the DC police force to confront two of the most diabolical killers he's ever encountered. Just when Alex's life is calming down, he is drawn back into the game to confront a criminal mastermind like no other. The elaborate murders that have stunned Washington, DC, are the wildest that Alex and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. This maniac adores an audience, and stages his killings as spectacles in public settings. Alex is pursuing a genius of terror who has the whole city on edge as it waits for his next move. And the killer loves the attention, no doubt -- he even sets up his own website and live video feed to trumpet his madness.

Now this book I raced thru, maybe because the last one had dragged so. Or maybe because I had so much free time this long weekend. I'm sure it was both of these, along with the fact that I was quite eager to be reading some crime fiction after the last two non-fiction books I've read.

It's a pretty easy reading novel and not that in depth plot-wise (although it's clearly trying to be ... but I find that a lot with James Patterson's books, maybe it's just me?). Read it, or don't read it. Either way, it's probably not going to make it onto your Top 10 Reads list but it's still a fun piece of distraction at the end of the day :)

Back by Choice

So I'm back from my brief Internet hiatus. It's the first time ever that I've actually chosen to be "offline". I didn't open Google Talk, I didn't blog, I didn't update my twitter status. Admittedly I did keep on reading my favourites on rss, but as an anonymous reader rather than myself. I didn't comment on other blog posts and I didn't poke anyone on facebook (do people even still do that anymore?).

I am sad to admit that it was great. And having the long weekend (and our work internet connection down since yesterday) certainly helped :) But blogging has become part of who I am in the last 3 years and I refuse to let certain incidents and people get me down about it. So, although I don't really want to, I've decided to turn on those comment moderations. I've also read quite a few other opinionated blogs (easy to find on Thought Leader) and I'll be taking a page out of their book ... I won't comment back to everyone who deigns to say hi (well, maybe the people who just say "hi"). But, if you're missing my point, I'm not going to try drumming it into anyone. And if people want to disagree, I'll be leaving them to it and not getting embroiled in any sort of debate after I've stated my piece. Because, really, I've found it doesn't really accomplish anything healthy in this environment (there are plenty of other places where it can, tho). And hell, if something I've said really gets you thinking, chances are if you're commenting here, you probably have a blog yourself, so rather use that energy and tell your readers your detailed point of view :)

So, here's the lengthy catch-up, you didn't miss out on much! Thursday and Tuesday night weren't worth mentioning ... just the usual hanging out at home with Varen, Henna & Bell (must take some more pics soon!). But, we did have a long weekend here in South Africa and I *was* looking forward to mine. Not least of all because of the distance it would provide me mentally, but more because we were headed to The Farm with Varen's family.

But first, we had a dinner to attend. Singher had organised a semi-work dinner for Friday night - let's just say that everyone round the table (except one!) had either worked at The Big Corporate or was still working there. She'd chosen Wombles, with my help and as far as I know, all 16 of us enjoyed the food. I tried something different (my last meal there, although good wasn't exceptional). Tomato and Basil Soup to start and their grilled Gammon steak (honey glazed and served with pineapple) for main. It was yummy although the portion size was more than adequate (which I think Varen quite appreciated!).

Unfortunately I wasn't in the best of moods as I had found out shortly beforehand that our restful family weekend at the farm was off the cards. Varen's dad had invited his whole family (that's 6 of them and a possible 3 "extra's" if all in tow) as well as two other family's (of 4 and 5 people respectively ... one including 2 kiddies under 6!). Now whether or not I'd be interested in a weekend away with Varen's folks friends isn't even relevant, there's simply not that much sleeping space on the farm. So Varen & I got into a shouting match because (hello?) if you want your fan-damily there for Father's Day (something they're into but, my family isn't so it's a hard enough concept for me to grasp ... more on that another time, perhaps?) surely you either a) stay at home where you're accessible to be visited and showered with cards, attention or whatever your thing is or b) you make a plan to provide enough available space to accommodate your family where ever it is you might be (and as far as I'm concerned, I'm not entirely sure a one-way 3 hour drive is in the realm of "close-by" enough to warrant a Father's Day visit). But apparently I'm wrong on all accounts because my weekend plans got canned and Varen (and his 2 brothers) drove himself (and his car as you will hear later) silly to get himself there to share Father's Day (and the barely available floor-space for sleeping) with 13 other people. He stayed over (no point in spending 6 hours driving there & back in one day - at least we agreed on that one). And yes, I could've gone ... but I just wasn't up for the schlep of it to hang out with his family and 9 other random people, sleep on the floor and share a single bathroom. That was not what I had envisioned for my restful, relaxing long weekend at the farm. I'm now determined that we go there another weekend by ourselves tho, even if it gets down to minus infinity degrees at night, it's still always a fabulous break-away!

Sigh, so we tried to make the most of the one day we had together on the last long weekend for a while. We went for breakfast (very boring, at Europa) and even both did some spontaneous shopping! In the afternoon we visited the Lion Park - I'd been once before with Mom when I'd first moved up to Joburg ... before I started working even! Unfortunately the maid hid the camera download cable so pictures will follow (good thing Varen found it last night, but now the camera battery needs charging first too!).

We had a lovely time and got to play (read: touch ... when they stopped moving about, they're energetic little things, but sooo cute!) with the young lions. They were about 3 & half months old only ... but such big paws already. And we also drove around the park, into their lion enclosures.

And then we decided to do a double feature at the movies. We started with The Incredible Hulk (hmm, I wonder who chose that?), followed by Deception.

The Incredible Hulk kicks off an all-new, explosive and action-packed epic of one of the most popular superheroes of all time. In this new beginning, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately hunts for a cure to the gamma radiation that poisoned his cells and unleashes the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk. Living in the shadows, cut off from a life he knew and the woman he loves, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler), Banner struggles to avoid the obsessive pursuit of his nemesis, General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), and the military machinery that seeks to capture him and brutally exploit his power. As all three grapple with the secrets that led to The Hulk's creation, they are confronted with a monstrous new adversary known as The Abomination (Tim Roth), whose destructive strength exceeds even The Hulk's own. One scientist must make an agonising final choice: Accept a peaceful life as Bruce Banner or find heroism in the creature he holds inside: The Incredible Hulk.

This was surprisingly enjoyable :) But I am untainted by the mediocrity of the first Hulk movie ... It was all fun and action in the typical marvel-comic to big-screen sorta way that these flicks are.

"Are you free tonight...?" Four simple words, but the way one man answers that question will change his life forever. Jonathan McQuarry (Ewan McGregor) is that man. An anonymous corporate auditor adrift in a sea of New York's power elite, "all work and no play" isn't quite Jonathan's problem. He's more "all work and no life." A chance meeting with Wyatt Bose (Hugh Jackman), a charismatic corporate lawyer, introduces Jonathan to a New York City that exists only for the privileged - a decadent playground for Manhattan's executive upper crust. In Wyatt's world, the men wear four-thousand-dollar suits and, when they loosen their ties, they frequent steamy underground bo'tes, where the women are drop-dead gorgeous, and available. And for those power brokers whose eighteen-hour workdays don't leave time for a personal life? For them there's "The List," a sex club, of sorts, where, with the right cell-phone number and those four simple words can lead to an evening's sexual fulfillment. It's a world of "intimacy without intricacy," Jonathan's first conquest explains to him, and through it Jonathan discovers a side of himself that he didn't know existed. But an affair with a ravishing and mysterious stranger known to Jonathan only by her first initial, 'S.,' (Michelle Williams) will expose him to yet another world he never imagined - one of treachery and murder.

Now this was so nearly a good movie ... if it wasn't something that'd been done so many times before, making it *completely* predictable! I'm sad to say that this disappointed in much the same way that Fracture did.

And then at 9am on Sunday my man was gone and I was left to my own devices with not a single thing planned. I didn't do much. I did a little more shopping - sigh, retail therapy is worth every cent! And I read my book and lazed with the bunnies at home. I watched another movie before spending an hour & half scanning in old documents (what I actually got the scanner for ... thank goodness I can report it's finally working wonderfully). I know that all sounds terribly boring, but it was actually nice to find some time to get started. Oh, and the movie in question was Dan in Real Life.

The Burns clan is gathering at their vacation place on the Rhode Island shore: Dan (a widower with three daughters), plus his parents, various brothers and a sister and their families. At a bookstore the first morning he's there, he chats up a woman, bares his soul and feels a connection before she gets a call and bolts. She's seeing someone, who turns out to be one of Dan's brothers. It's a dicey couple of days at the house as Dan can't keep his eyes off her, his brother is obviously falling in love, and everyone thinks she's great. In this big supportive family, who will be the first to find the tension too much to bear?

This was sweet and also would've been supremely better if the concept hadn't been done a zillion times ... seriously, who is budgeting these re-charactered same-old plot movies? Steve Carell was very lovable in the role tho.

Monday wasn't any more exciting. Varen got home around 13h30 ish after a flat (should I rather say sliced and diced) tyre on his car caused an unscheduled stop. Hey, at least he can fix a tyre, I dread the day I ever have to attempt such a thing! Oh, and I did manage to make it to gym on Sunday & Monday so am feeling quite proud of myself ... although the clothes shopping has lead me to believe that I should fast be starting a diet of air and water!

We ended the evening sitting on our lounge floor surrounded by the bunnies playing Fluxx and eating pizza from Sugo, which was recommended by JofH, but I wasn't that impressed - they have very few pizza choices, most of which involve either mushrooms or olives, neither of which I eat. But the evening at home together was still lovely :)

Angels of Death by Marsden & Sher

The Hell's Angels leader, Sonny Barger, is toasted as an American legend, and the bikers work hard to promote their folk-hero image. But the facts tell another story. The Hell's Angels are America's major crime export. Their membership has spread to 25 countries including the UK, Australia and Holland, where they have inspired a violent subculture of biker gangs who traffick drugs and suppress any attempt to stop them. Angels of Death opens at the darkest moment of the Hell's Angels story, with the beheading of a woman at a chapter meeting.

It tells the true story of the bikers, their crime empire and the attempt of the police to stop them - with only a few successes. With eyewitness accounts from police officers who have infiltrated the gangs and gang members who have turned informers, and undercover interviews with the bikers themselves, this is a chilling insight into the world's fastest growing crime empire. It also includes exclusive material from the leaders of the Hells Angels - Sonny Barger and George Christie - who have agreed to be interviewed for the book.

Well Varen and I both read this book ... well let's be honest, only I finished it. And that's just because no matter how bad a book is, I can't not finish it - I'm the same with movies. I envy those people who have the gumption to get up and walk out midway. I can never be certain that it won't get any better, so I stay. Oddly enough, the owner of the book (Bug - Lady brought it to book club for us to read), raced thru it and declared it un-put-downable. Curious what piques different people's interest!

This book was interesting, but dragged ... a lot. And as Varen said, kept re-telling pretty much the same story just changing the characters and countries. It's interesting to have read since I've never put much thought into "biker gangs" nor have I ever thought of them as a mafia-type organisation. And even tho the South African Hells Angels get a mention here and there, I still can't quite picture them ... clearly they are not in my sphere of focus. I mean you see bikers riding about on Sundays, but I would never say "Oh, there go the Hells Angels".

This book also highlighted for me that I just don't get gang-culture. It makes no sense to me, but then again I've never been a very peer-influenced type of girl. Still, if bikers are your thing, then you should probably give this a read :)

> Follow Julian Sher on Twitter

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Delish Home Cooked Meal

Sigh. Sometimes I wish I could ignore things and insulate myself from things better and it really does amaze me what causes ripple effects. My (hopefully) last thoughts on the current on-going issue (that seems to have expanded more than I ever imagined - out of respect and at special request I've removed the link to the "online expansion"): I think people need to be aware when they are saying things (on or offline) that even tho they may not see anything wrong with what they've said, it may be hurtful to someone else. I've learned the hard way (and yes, I know I still often get it wrong myself) that it doesn't really matter if what you say wouldn't hurt your feelings if someone said it to you. It's not being said to you, it's being said to someone else and it's them you need to remember. That said, if you're not saying anything to anyone specific, then it probably gives you a loop hole to give your uncensored opinion (aha, paving the way for blog-posts worldwide!).

My personal issue had nothing to do with comments hurting me (although I got the impression there were people who might've been hurt by some of the comments), it had to do with the fact that no matter how hard I tried to convey my actual point, it was constantly being missed (probably my fault, but still). I was exhausted by *that* fact. Which is why I gave up bothering to try to defend my original point (And I can sorta see that happening all over again with the issue over it ... do I convey my thoughts and opinions that badly?). I still remain quite confident in my beliefs on the original point.

Also, debate (on or offline, again) assumes that there are two (or more) willing parties taking part in a discussion. Randomly shouting out your opinion (pro or against) in a comments section does not make something a debate.

So ye, I'm exhausted by this discussion now too ... so you all go right ahead and do what you like, with no regard for anyone else. Leave comments, don't leave comments. Agree, disagree. Sigh, whatever. I'm beginning to be sorry I ever brought it up ... or shared my original opinion for that matter. Perhaps in future I won't ... not, if this is where it gets me.

But on to last night. Varen was home even earlier than I was yesterday afternoon, it was fabulous! So we hung out at home for a couple of hours and by the time we headed out to GalleryGirl & Squeak's for dinner, it felt like we'd had almost a whole evening at home together already (the early darkness helps with this illusion ;) ). Dinner and dessert was absolutely delish. I got to try gnocchi (home made by Squeak herself even ... although Varen & I helped a little!) for the first time and it was really good. And then she spoiled us with creme brulee for dessert (also home made)! How lucky were we?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oh The Fumes

Yesterday afternoon didn't start out fabulously ... along with the continuous hammering below us (apparently should end this week?) there are now paint fumes infiltrating our air. And sadly, rather than making us all happy and high, I left work with a blinding headache.

But with a nice quiet evening at home with some yummy home-made pizzas for dinner (those weighless pizza bases, again!) and Varen home from work earlier than I expected and in a much better mood than the day before, things quickly improved :)

Very boring post, I know ... but sometimes I have too much to tell and sometimes nothing at all. And I think that's just how it is in life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

1, 2, 3, 4 ... I Declare a Comment War

Okay, so this is a post I've been mulling over since Friday evening. It's not leaving my head so I feel the need to finally write it down.

I'm tired. I'm exhausted in fact. I'm tired of feeling like I constantly have to defend what I say, think or do to other people. It started ages ago with the whole Games Night fiasco ... thankfully that has died down - as one would expect when the people involved all just stop speaking to each other. Not an ideal resolution and it wouldn't have been my choice but I'm respecting other people's decisions here, so anyway. And then I wrote a post that got a fair amount of comment attention, far more than any other I've written for sure.

In fact, I even had a long conversation with JofH about this at lunch on Sunday. He writes a column expressly called Opinions that cause Trouble. Sometimes he's serious and truly believes what he's writing. A lot of the time, I think, he just knows which of society's buttons need pushing. He said he's just stopped reading the comments people leave on his posts altogether. Invariably (because of their own personal Sacred Cows), they misread something or take one of his comments completely out of context and end up lambasting him in the comments section. He feels the similar exhaustion I have at constantly commenting back, trying (in what becomes an exercise in broken-telephone) to explain that the commenter in question has missed your point entirely.

So here's what I have to say. I have never really outlined this previously on my blog anywhere, but I'm at a point where I feel it needs to be said. And please pay attention here to what I'm actually saying and not what you chose to read from these words.

This is *my* blog. My space online to say what I think and put my ideas and opinions out there. Mine. My ideas and opinions. And I have plenty of them, on restaurants I visit, movies I watch, books I read etc etc, the list goes on and on. Friday's post was no different, an opinion made up from my own experiences and thoughts on a subject. And I'm not trying to convince you one way or another with these opinions of mine. I'm merely saying what's on my mind and what I think about something.

Now, I realise I'm putting them up on a very public forum. And I am always thrilled to hear what the world out there (the ones who bother to read my insignificant little ramblings) has to say about it. If my opinion makes you try a new restaurant, that's fantastic :) If I hated the movie but you read the book and thought it was far better, by all means I want to know. And naturally if you think I'm wrong, you are equally welcome to share your views too.

But now here's the thing I want to be clear about. Share your views, positive or negative ... but don't for one second think that the comments you leave are a platform for you to convince anyone of anything. I don't want a comments section that turns into a half-hearted debate because debate, at very least, usually has a person's tone-of-voice in it's favour. Any comment (or post, for that matter) written will always be read in the tone the *reader* projects onto it.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is: Please share your views and differing opinions, but don't spend 800 lines trying to convert readers. That's not what this is about. Everyone is welcome to their opinion and a comment left on a blog somewhere is never going to change that. Hell, in some cases not even an entire afternoon's conversation with a person will convince them that they are wrong and your are right. So in future, if you miss my point entirely, I'm not going to bother trying to defend myself (or other commenters) in my comments section, it's just to exhausting emotionally for me. After all, this is my space.

Oh, and this post is not directed at any specific commenters from Friday's post, so please don't feel the need to defend yourself against this. It's more as "A Little Friendly Advice when Leaving a Comment" (and I imagine it should actually apply to any blog, not just mine) going forward :)

Last night was quiet, but Varen & I made it to gym and had a nice dinner at home. Sadly he's taking a bit of strain at work at the moment :( Other than that life continues as normal. Yesterday I did my first real work (post-training) at The New Job :)

Monday, June 09, 2008

One Year Later

What a lovely weekend. Friday admittedly wasn't that great tho, but that was long ago already now ;)

After work on Friday I headed over to Computicket (who I hate but have no choice to deal with - aargh!) to collect our tickets for Saturday only to get a call from Varen saying he had to work late. Damn annoying since I hadn't seen him at all on Thursday eve. But, I decided to take the opportunity to go and watch a late afternoon movie :) I saw Made of Honour (yes, I could've choosen Sex and the City, but it just didn't appeal as a solo watching experience)

Quick aside: OMG I think I'm going to go nuts here! It started on Friday afternoon and has been going again this morning since 7:30am ... they are doing some kind of renovations to the office below us and I can literally feel the vibrations of the drilling and hammering under my feet. And that's saying nothing of the non-work-inducing noise we are having to endure.

Made of Honour chronicles the relationship between Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Claire (Michelle Monaghan), who have been friends for over 10 years. He's a serial dater, while she wants marriage but hasn't found Mr. Right. Just as Tom starts to realise that he may be relationship material, Claire gets engaged. When she asks Tom to be her 'maid' of honour, he reluctantly agrees - only so he can attempt to stop the wedding and win her back before it is too late.

I completely enjoying it. Perhaps it was my mood at the time, but it was just what I needed. I mean, it is, of course, completely predictable, but in that comfortable, familiar way of all typical Rom-Coms. And the eye-candy of Patrick Dempsey was much appreciated :)

I still managed to get home before Varen, but when he did get home we enjoyed a nice quiet evening with an early bedtime - we were both a bit exhausted after little sleep on Thursday night.

Saturday we were up early to try our knew "gym-routine" which consists of climbing on the weekend (for toning and cardio during the week ... well it's the plan anyways). I managed to get to the top of the blue-13 wall ... although admittedly it was a bit of a "smartie run" (which means I used a few other colours in my quest to finish). But, I still did it. The sense of acheivement of reaching the top still has not convinced me that climbing is all that and I'm still always completely amazed when I hear about how many other people are climbing (and how many of them are completely sold on it). I still don't really get it, but it's nice comunal excercise for Varen and I - I actually really do think I get even more excercise from belay-ing him while he climbs than while I'm climbing, tho ;)

The best part of the climbing tho was the surprise I got when we got into the car on the way there. Saturday was actually Varen & my official dating anniversary. Which we weren't really paying attention to since we'd already booked up the day in advance. But I got into the car and found a beautiful bag with a lovely card and two books :) It was so special and unexpected! I am planning a special dinner out next week (this week already has a few too many dinner dates already planned!)

A little later (once we were home and showered), Bokkie, EvilBob, GalleryGirl and Squeak arrived at our place and we all headed off to Casalinga for their Groves and Vineyards Festival. It was a great way to spend a Saturday ... plenty of wines to taste, a lovely lunch and lots of other nibbly bits. I must say I was most impressed by the Leopard's Leap wine-cocktails!

That evening we headed over to Lady's birthday party and it was fab to see so many of the old faces again ;) It was a fab evening but quite an exhaustingly busy day all in all.

On Sunday we were up early again and hit the climbing wall again. I was far less enthusiastic and way more yawn-y this time around. But we thought we'd better get 2 days in since we'll be away the whole of next weekend (it's another SA long-weekend!). And then Varen had to go into work :( Luckily I decided to get some shopping done and met up with JofH for some lunch. We met at Cafe Espresso in Parkhurst. Lunch was yummy, I had a pizza with Chicken, Avo and roasted almonds :) Varen's lucky to have my left-overs for lunch today - he stole it out from under me this morning ... otherwise I would've gladly had it! It was also fab to finally get a chance to catch-up properly because we haven't done that in ages. He's always refreshing to talk to.

Varen went to visit his folks after work but we ended up home around the same time and decided to end the weekend off with Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a 2008 adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, from a story co-written by executive producer George Lucas. Set in 1957, the fourth film in the Indiana Jones film series pits an older Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) against agents of the Soviet Union, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett), in the search for a crystal skull. Indy is aided by his former lover Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), the greaser "Mutt" Williams (Shia LaBeouf), and fellow adventurer Mac (Ray Winstone). John Hurt and Jim Broadbent also play fellow academics.

I actually am sorta glad now that I at least watched the first one again. I learned from that one just how far-fetched Indy movies always were, which left me easily able to accept certain aspects of the film - although there still were some giant gaping "holes" (not necessarily things left out but often some unlikely inclusions!) in it. Meh, it was still fun but I really think they should let the series die a respectful death now ... Oh, and I thought Cate Blanchett was fab in this!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Book Club and Poker Night

So I'm only just in at work now. I'd love to say it's because I slept late and just didn't give a damn, but it's not, only boys can do that - more on that thought later.

I went for an ultrasound this morning. No, I'm not pregnant. It was one of those "annual" breast check-ups that we girls are supposed to get done. Annual is in quotes because I haven't had min checked since before I move to Joburg - bad phillygirl, I know. It didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Like a whole whack of women out there, I have fibroadenoma. Mine is slightly more prolific than most, but it's nothing serious. In which case, I really should start sticking to that "annually" bit ;) Oh, and so should all of you!

Last night I went to book club. It was fab as always. While I was out, Varen had planned himself a Whiskey & Poker night with the boys. As you can imagine I came home at a reasonable hour after booklub to find them well on their way with 3 whiskey bottles and a bottle of red wine (for 5 guys!) and pizza boxes strewn across the kitchen. Varen stumbled up to bed just after midnight. Which is not especially late really, except for the fact that we'd (I'd) been up at 6am that morning and had to be up again that early this morning. Technically so should he, but he doesn't seemed too fussed about a) spending an hour in the traffic or b) getting home before 6 or 6:30pm (seems early for some people, but I'm home at 4:30pm to make sure the bunnies get to spend some time outside in the daylight - I guess it's about priorities).

And now we're back to my thoughts on the differences between boys & girls. I truly believe that men (in general here, if it doesn't apply to you, you're a special case) don't think consequentially. What I mean by that is that they don't think about the results before making a decision. Ooh, I know what will be fun, let me slide down this 90 degree hill on a skate-board. The fact that there may be no way of stopping himself is of little consequence to him and does not in any way deter him in his decision making. Girls on the other hand, I believe, are all about the consequences. Our minds are running at double time thinking about the possible outcomes of any decision we need take (maybe it's just me ?). Yes, sometimes we may throw caution to the wind, but I believe that's when we've decided that the consequences are manageable or acceptable to us personally. And back to last night. Knowing I needed sleep, I left book club early at around 22h15 having only had 2 glasses of wine with a very nicely cooked meal. Varen and his buddies on the other hand, I'm guessing, didn't think once about the effect their evening would have on them today. And I'm not in anyway saying they shouldn't get together, have a few drinks, a laugh and play poker. I just sometimes wish they'd realise the effect. I did manage to get some seep while they bellowed and screeched at each other downstairs. But Varen certainly wasn't in any waking form when I hopped into the shower this morning. And as much fun as he had last night, I bet he's feeling rather fragile and sleepy right now.

Okay, perhaps this example isn't ideal, because plenty of us (boys and girls) do it while in college etc. but my point wasn't about the drinking and stayin up late ... it's about considering the consequences of your actions before your act on them and knowing your limits. Why is it that women seem to learn their's so much easier than men? Sigh. Too much for a Friday morning. Back to work ...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

And Then There Was Frost

This morning my car was frozen, like a popsicle. I first noticed it's new white rooftop (which should ordinarily be a thunder grey type colour!). Then when I hopped inside, and turned it on, I got an Ice Risk warning. It was a balmy 2 degrees C. I couldn't even use my windscreen wipers, they just scraped over the ice-encrusted windscreen like sandpaper. Eventually the car-heater kicked in and melted it enough to move it to the sides with the wipers - yay, I could see enough to drive!

I drive along a river bank on my new route to work and it was especially stunning this morning, perhaps only because it's the first ime I've seen it white with frost (almost like snow but not nearly as much fun!). This river itself looked like it was steaming, obviously the rushing stream kept the water far warmer than the dew on the grass. And the little temperature guage in my car ... which for the last week or so has sort of hung about at 8 or 9 degrees was down at 2 or 3 this morning. Eep.

Oh and another thing about the morning drive (okay, this is a general traffic rant), people who think they're being "nice" or "kind" by letting someone into the lane in front of them irritate the crap out of me. I mean it makes total sense to do it when it's part of the road-law. Like letting the poor people at a stop street into the no-moving traffic in front of you on a one from your lane, one from mine sort of basis is comppletely acceptable. Same for general feeder lanes that just join up. But when someone has deliberately taken the wrong lane to get ahead in the traffic and then wants to jump to the front of the queue, that annoys me (although if they have a CA number plate, let them in, they probably have no idea where they are or that they were in a turning only lane anyway!). And the irony is you think you're being nice or kind (as I said before) but you are only considering 1 person, the car you're letting in. What about he 50 cars behind you who have dutifully queued in the correct lane?

And yes, maybe it'd be fine if only 1 car was let in front of you, you're right, it wouldn't make that much difference in a person's journey or traffic-wait-time. But when there are 10 people in the lengthy traffic queue in frnt of me, each being "nice" to 1 other person ... well then my wait has now doubled. Now, admittedly, I've been known on occasion to make use of this idiocy of people to my own advantage. But hey, if everyone's going to be stupid about things ... But I don't do it often and I'm always quite aware that I'm taking advantage of people's annoying and misplaced "kindness". Come on people, take a stand ... don't let the arrogant and opportunistic folk jump to the front of the queue, they're relying on people like you!

Disclaimer: Please note that I did state above that this does not in anyway apply to people a) trying to cross lanes in traffic (let them thru or they end up waiting for ages!) or b) people coming into your lane via a stop street or feeder lane ... then it's practicalyl the law to be nice and let them in politely ... Use your own discretion her but have a think about *everyone* else in the traffic, not just about he dope who sped up the fast lane to jump the queue. Say no to Queue-Jumping :)

In other news, last night Varen worked late and I finished Lost S4 ... sheesh. Now I really can't wait for S5. Which I guess was sorta their intention ;) I also watched P.S. I Love You and made a fabulous dinner :)

Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life - a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry's life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it's a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly's 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and "celebrate herself". In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly's mother and best friends begin to worry that Gerry's letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, but in fact, each letter is pushing her further into a new future. With Gerry's words as her guide, Holly embarks on a journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life.

I kinda liked the movie, even tho I really don't think Hilary Swank is all that (there's something about her mouth/teeth that irritates me). It was lovely in a girly, romantic way - every girl dreams that her man will have as much love and foresight :)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Finally, Another Music Group

So last night Varen & I went to our 2nd (?) Amazing Music Group Meet. It was fab because everyone except partners, Varen & YogaCherryl, and one other member were all from The New Job (see, I told you I knew loads of people here already!). Okay, there are actually quite a few more non-New Job members, they just happened not to attend last night. So in light of this, we had decided to hold it in the (fairly) new offices (The New Job has just been thru a rebranding and office move ... everyone had seen the old offices at The Music Group Xmas function last year, a sort of party send-off for those offices).

It was a fun night and one of the guys even brought his Irish Setter puppies along (well they were 11 & 4 months so not tiny puppies but rambunctious non-the-less). And we listened to an intersting vareity of music over the clash of thunder and lightning - sheesh, was it a hectic storm last night, what is up with this weather?

And that was about that. Good music (some of it ...), snacks, wine and entertaining company :)

In other news I'm still just generally down in the dumps but there's no need for reminding on that front ... it's all always the same thing, I'm disillusioned with people. And I don't have many people in my life right now that are fixing this (hopefully) warped perspective of mine :( Sigh. Vicious circle, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Who Moved My Ladder by Fiona Coyne

Who moved my ladder? spells out – in no uncertain terms – why so many apparently confident, poised women are taking strain and struggling to find contentment and success. With her signature take-no-prisoners style, Coyne spells out who and what is impeding the working woman's progress, both personally and professionally. She goes for the jugular at times, but her insight is acute and she offers the kind of practical solutions that can help women find their authenticity, and their ladder to the top.

This was a brilliant read and I'd recommend it to any working-woman who can stomach non-fiction. I read it at a surprisingly appropriate time - not because of having recently changed jobs because, although the work-oriented stuff was interesting, the more generalised in-depth look at female psychology (psychsis, perhaps?) is what I found truly fascinating! And it was this that kept me reading (although I admit to having skipped over some "What to do vs. What not to do" sections). In a time when I'm feeling so much personal turmoil and sadness regarding my supposed friendships with other women, reading about the natural-but-depressing PUTD interaction and the different "types" was what I got most from this read (and yes, I was also thinking I didn't fit into anyof them ... until I read the one that fit me to a tee! And no, I won't be telling). I don't know if I can use this knowledge to help me in future, but it's definitely good to have in the back of my mind. I am also not quite good enough yet to analyse many of my friends into their "types" either tho, which I think would also be helpful.

Oh well, I guess it's like with all self-help type books ... you take from it what you can and hold thumbs for all the rest! I must say also that I loved Fiona's chatty writing style :) Kinda weird after having seen her on Weakest Link ... you'd think that might've been her in character, but it seems like she was fairly well suited to the part ;)

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