Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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 :)


Sweets said...

you are so funny.... Father's day is huge!!! don't you DO father's day???... weird?!!! LOL each to his own

have a great day :)

The Jackson Files said...

Glad to have you back, philly.

Tamara said...

Glad you're back!

I am completely on your side with the whole farm issue. Hubby would do the same. I will not drive three hours unless there is a) a three-day holiday (or longer); b) a big pile of money, or c) a loved one in serious need awaiting me at the other side.

I reckon Deception was the worst movie I've seen this year. Followed closely by Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Jam said...

So glad to have glad to be a girl back!!!

Although retail therapy is supposed to be therapy, I usually come home traumatised. What's up with the mirrors and lighting and truworths! YIKES. Bring on the air and water!!!

phillygirl said...

@all - thanks for the warm welcome back :)

@sweets - yeah, Hallmark holidays in my house were never really recognised ... I'd be impressed if my dad remembered Valentines Day or his wedding anniversary actually! But we are equal opportunity ... we don't DO Mother's Day either. Although these days I do give the parent in question a call to say hello :)

@tamara - Admitedly when Varen was still trying to impress me (back in the day) we did do a one-day trip to The Farm ourselves.

I try not to think about my worst movies ... but my money's definitely on The Cook (give it a huge miss!)

@msmozi - I know !!

AngelConradie said...

i am glad you enjoyed your break- and impressed you made it to the gym!
i'm just as glad you're back!

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