Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Why I should never be hired as a house-sitter

I am currently babysitting a house and five dogs.

I have already:

  • locked myself out the house (to be fair, I had the keys, but the lock was jammed)
  • set the burglar alarm off about 8 times, had the security company call the owners every time the alarm went off (which means they call me, and I apologise a lot)
  • Broke into the house by borrowing my bosses small children and sending one of them in through a window
  • Had a dog climb into my car and refuse to get out, including growling and snarling when I tried to coax her out before she drooled on my iPod too much
  • Had flu and spent a weekend on their couch in front of the TV.
  • Watched soccer for half an hour before I realised that it wasn’t cricket
  • left the dog beds out in a hailstorm (again to be fair, the summer storms here do come up pretty darn quickly, and I was on the couch with the flu at the time).
  • And had one of the dogs decide that chewing on the carpets is a fun pastime.

Friday, December 17, 2010


This is the awesomest song ever! I can’t believe it’s taken this long to find it… And I don’t care if it’s so last-July, the vuvu still ahs a special place for me. Plus if I’m thinking round-up thoughts, then the 2010 thing needs some reminiscing.

My dog is at the vet today, probably trying to attack my bosses (again), but he’s actually got some vaguely worrying symptoms and I’m hoping they can fix him.

To apologise for his impending day of stress (on Tuesday I took him to work with me and he scraped the top of his nose off on the cage and generally freaked out until he had an upset stomach, the P1 and I took him and my other dog for a long walk along the river yesterday. It’s insane, after two days of torrential rain the river was higher than I’d ever seen it, including little waterfalls and rapids!

Besides being all virtuous and walking dogs, we also went for breakfast, worked on a puzzle and ate a scary amount of macaroni cheese. My kind of public holiday!

On another note, these things are why I don’t have a credit card…

huggable sushi!


ninjabread men!

Rainbow showers!

Cleaning-slippers (and they’re pink!)


And the Schrodinger’s cat is dead/alive shirt just got beaten by this!

Onesies for adults!

OK enough random rubbish for today, I must go and rescue my puppy.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I am entirely aware that this is a very bad idea. A set of those rattler-magnets (the two bean-shaped magnets that you separate and throw up in the air and they rattle) nearly destroyed my third-year academic results.

But I WANT one!

In related news I went to the doctor today and he gave me a rather scary regimen of various antihistamines/antibiotics and all kind of fun things. As someone who has never been able to finish as much as a tub of multivitamins before their expiry date I’m kind of terrified of being stuck with a very long course of antibiotics. And hints on how to remember them? I’m thinking I might be forced to get one of these:

but they scare me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thing's I've learned

  • Being busy and being productive are two very different things.
  • Photographing weddings is exhausting
  • exercising too much after a couple of weeks of couch-potatoeness is fine, until you overdo it on the core exercises. do you know how much you use your core muscles? Particularly the lower-back region...
  • threatening Paris Hilton moviesd Twilight is a good way of making people make movie-choices quickly ("the Hottie & the Nottie" anyone?)
  • How I Met Your Mother is hilarious. Suit up!
  • Driving in fog is scary. How do Capetonians manage it all the time?
  • Plants vs zombies is evil.
  • I'm officially c25k doomed. Getting past week 4 is an impossibility.
  • turns out that when you need to leave the house just before 6am, setting the alarm clock for 5:45 doesn't really work. Odd...
  • It took me 4 days to figure out why I was always late in the mornings.
  • Being friendly to crazy-cat ladies is the worst idea ever.
  • Woolworths makes amazing malva pudding. Now to try and find a recipe to make it at home...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The cutenessnessness!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why marketing sucks (or rather I am such a sucker for it…)

Note: this was written under the influence of antihistamines and should not be taken seriously. Or should it? I don’t know, I’m still taking them.

I hate marketing. Not so much the adverts and shiny sparkling things that make me buy things that I don’t need and generally shouldn’t be able to find a way to afford (and then leaves me scrabbling around my car for small change by the end of the month so that I can buy petrol). sparkly things are my kryptonite, right up there with blue things, yellow things, things that make a noise with you poke them (this includes people), hats and anything cute (including things so ugly that they are adorable).

No, I HATE special offers.

Exhibit A:

So I stopped on my way out the other night to buy petrol and a bottle of water. I can’t drive without sipping water at every robot along the way, but lately with the warm weather I keep leaving the current bottle in my car and coming back to find it inflated to roughly the shape of a rugby ball and then I start having BPA-induced paranoia. I bet BPAs are more marketing tools to get me to buy more water. anyway, not the story I was planning on telling.

Ahem. Anyway… they have a special promotion where every time you spend over a certain amount (like R15 or something) they give you  sticker. Once you have 40 stickers you get to pay a ridiculous sum of money for a kind of ugly stuffed-toy of a dog. BUT if you get 75 of the stickers they give you one for free.

Despite all my weaknesses, I’m really not into stuffed toys. I have the sheep I got in Ireland, Elvis the travelling penguin, the teddy my dad gave me when I was born and the Jersey cow my mother got in Jersey (it’s kind of disturbing, with a MASSIVE hand the size of its head giving the thumbs up, and a normal hand on the other arm. Do cows even have hands? criticism aside I appreciate that on the last overseas trip she got me frog earrings and that documentary so she is learning and the effort much be appreciated and encouraging by proudly keeping the cow in my cupboard and hoping I don’t find it during one of my sleepwalks because I could go all Carrie on the world from shock). I used to work at a place that had one of those claw-machines and we played it enough for me to have a sizeable heap of them, which I have been giving away to random charities and stuff ever since (except for Elvis, he stays).

So I decided that it couldn’t hurt, I’d keep the sticker-book thingy in my car and if I happened to go to one of those outlets I’d get the sticker and one day if I ever get to 75 I’ll get the toy and give it to a charity or use it to distract a scary kid or something.

Which made sense until I drove about 5km out of my way to go to a garage that would have stickers yesterday. WTF?

Exhibit 2:

I bought airtime for my phone a while ago and got an sms to tell me that I got however many free minutes between midnight and 5am. Great. Thanks. Way to encourage drunk dialling? So is that why I organised to drive myself around on Saturday night, while keeping in constant phone-contact with a friend who could give the police details if anything happened? (and for you sticklers for safety, I had the phone in my lap, on speaker-phone).

I’m beginning to think that my weakness for ‘free’ stuff is getting out of hand. I bought an sms bundle today as I seem to be flying trough my phone credit far too quickly, and now I’m sitting and twitching, wondering who I can send messages to…

So if anyone wants to get me to go to an event? Make sure there’s free stuff. it doesn’t seem to matter if I like it or not, I’d probably go to a polka-revival event for a free decapitated barbie doll.

Because I NEEEEED it.

Which is why I should never have children.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



Scary stuff. Well it was 6 months ago when I got the same email. And two months before that. And a few months before THAT.

The thing that confuses me is that it’s not like one of the LOLcat emails that people have sitting in their inboxes and then randomly see and decide to ‘brighten my day.’

And if it was so scary you’d think it would be sent out quickly so that we were all aware and then it would stop.

So are the gangs copycatting each other so it all starts again? Or are some people just really slack with their forwarding?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to send out the occasional message to say “OK ladies, the crime stats are still pretty scary and Joburg is a pretty nasty place to be stuck alone on the side of the road at night. Please be careful.”

On a serious note, be careful and keep safe, or you might end up having your story repeated on email indefinitely.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I tried to find a picture of a lot of tissues ‘exploded’ over a room, but then I ended up seeing a lot of sad photos of people with injuries and now I feel like a bad person for being so overdramatic about my hayfever.

That said, do they make tissues out of sandpaper? I may need to skin-graft my nose and it’s only day 3…

Monday, October 18, 2010

I think I am in love

With Werner Herzog

Since Grizzly man introduced me to the joy of meeting the love of your life at a mediaeval-themed diner, and the song of the coyote:

if you didn’t get that far, listen to the song here instead:

I want to sing along in a helicopter too!

Anyway the point of all of this (besides sharing the total awesomeness of being completely random), my folks were overseas recently, and my mother got me a documentary by Werner Herzog called ‘Encounters at the end of the world’ –

basically he goes to Antarctica and interviews some rather interesting characters.

P1 says as much as they were all crazy, I’d totally fit in down there. I might have been offended if I didn’t agree.

Can I go and find interesting people now please?

Friday, October 15, 2010

ah, the joy of filling eager(?) young minds with knowledge

Ok, so I may not be the most passionate, but I do try. and teaching, as much as I whine about it, is one of the very important parts of my life. After all, education is the only thing that can make things right in this country, and as a kid who had the best education that money could buy I figure that it’s my duty to pass that on and help where I can.

So when I’m not in the lab helping the kiddies build models out of plasticine (they won a contest and one of them rushed up and said “But we weren’t even competing! We were just being ourselves!” I was sad at the lack of hollywood-inspirational music at the time), or trying to convince them that drawing out of a textbook rather than using a microscope is a bad thing (you want to be a doctor? So what, you’ll take an appendix out of a dummy and ignore the sick person because it’s easier?) I am in a classroom with 16 of them, trying to shut them up and get them to concentrate.

When I’m not seething at the attitude-problems (they ARE teenagers after all) where they act as though their attendance is a favour to me, or trying to keep them quiet so that they don’t bother the class next door, we have had some interesting discussions.

  • We all know the famous one: “if you are not a virgin and you have to go to the doctor, you can fool them but shoving chicken livers and skin up-“ *ahem*, right…. I told them that if they were uncomfortable with talking about sex then they most definitely shouldn’t be having it.
  • “If Adam and Even were the first humans then their children would have interbred and left them disfigured. why aren’t we weird-looking?” “Well did you ever see Adam and Eve? Maybe we are. Now please do your assignment”
  • “If there is a green mamba in the toilet you should leave it there because it is an ancestor.” Sure, leave it there. Just run like hell while doing it, K?
  • “Poor people don’t sort their recycling”
  • “Poor people don’t cause global warming”
  • “It’s not fair that cars cause global warming because not everyone has a car so it’s not our fault. If we have cars we’ll deal with global climate change.”
  • “We don’t have the right proportion of genes in our group because our parents weren’t all purebred.”
  • “We should cull half the people on the planet. No! We should make it a sport and have people hunt people and if they get caught then the government should give money to their family.” (one of the other students stopped gasping in shock and pointed out that they’d already seen that movie).
  • “If I’m from a rural area and I become a doctor can I skip community service? I don’t want to work for poor people.”

To be fair, they’re good kids (mostly), if a bit lazy and looking a bit far ahead to the ferrari’s in their futures. They generally speak pretty good English and they don’t really show as much entitlement-mindset as a few of the previously-underprivileged kiddies I’ve taught before.

And, I’m finished with them now, so I can safely say that I will miss them – as long as I don’t get them back!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You know when something seems like a good idea at the time?

Like finishing a power-boxing class and deciding to stick around afterwards and try out Capoeira…

This is what its supposed to look like:

Me? Not so much.

Although I desperately want to learn to do cartwheels again, but I told them I’d only attempt handstands and walking on my hands if we were practising somewhere squishy. And I’m in a significant amount of pain today so I’m guessing it’s good for you… although I’m sure it’s not as much pain as the terrified old lady who was repeatedly kicked in the head…

In other news: I have officially bought a dress, but might have to go and swap it because I think it’s too big (and this makes the neckline somewhat inappropriate). CG took me shopping and it was much easier to make decisions, plus she has magic powers (if she is there everything you touch is on sale, it’s WEIRD).

And P1 took me to the cricket on Sunday (my first real live sports event) and I had a blast! I’m so glad my first sports thing was for a game I actually understand. On the downside I have a farmer-tan, but avoided bad sunburn by liberal reapplications of spf-40 and P1’s gift of a massive white hat (that combined with my sunglasses made me look like I was headed to a day at the races).

The guy he got it from said something like “Try it on darling, oh yes you look like a queen, quite fabulous, let me get my camera, we must get some shots of this!” which for a side-of road hawker was enough to keep me entertained for most of the walk to the stadium.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Just so you know…

I give up.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Who killed the music?

I confess, I am a music-killer. I find a song I like and put it on repeat until I reach a stage where merely hearing the opening bars makes me want to punch something and then I put the ipod back onto shuffle until I find the next song.

This week it’s this one:

Before that we had:

The one I always pick on the jukebox:

The one that makes me think of being a little kid again:

this one still makes me smile:

And this one (my one and only itunes purchase was this album):

Apparently I’m in ‘sad phase’ at the moment. all I know is that I wish I knew where I was going to be this weekend. I need to find a rock to sit on and think about life, and I’m just hoping that I find out soon so that I can go and see my other home for a couple of days.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random thoughts in traffic

Forget early edition, the coolest thing ever would be to get
tomorrow's TRAFFIC report!

I really hate traffic in Joburg sometimes. People get really
aggressive. I refuse to be intimidated.

my dreams have been weirder than usual lately. Last night the labmates
and I went for lots of testdrives and then took a random Subaru for a
testdrive, going at 230km/hr. In a parking lot.

if driving at speed with your window open uses more fuel than using
the airconditioner, how is this affected by the degree of openness of
said window? Is a half-open window causing more drag than a totally
open one or not?

my students asked me to 'be a parent' to them and give them life
advice today. It was awkward. And ageist.

why does a truck carrying a gigantic pile of peanuts have to travel at
20km/h on the highway?

at least I can keep my window open :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The whole family spent the weekend in the Drakensberg to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. It was an awesome weekend, with the perfect hiking weather and enough of a mix of people that everyone had people to hang out with – the toddlers had the kids activities, the pregnant ladies had the toddlers, and the older folks had the pregnant ladies and the toddlers.

Me? I dragged my father up a mountain. And the next day I dragged him up a different mountain and made my brother come along too. It was quite odd – I spent most of my childhood holidays in the Drakensberg struggling to keep up with them as they sprinted along hiking trails, and this time I left them behind repeatedly until they organised someone to walk in front of me and slow things down. I wasn’t hurrying! i guess growing up is weird like that.

Unfortunately as much as my father and I bonded a lot, my mother and I are still really not seeing eye-to-eye. I think she struggles with her idea off what family relationships are and what she actually has – my father and I aren’t the most demonstrative people and seeing my brother and his new family who are all so close must be difficult for her. That said, she can’t hike and I refused to go all the way to the mountains to sit around, particularly when she was all difficult and snappish. I tend to respond by snapping back (I’m generally laid-back but my mother has a way of pushing buttons…)

We rushed back form the weekend away to get to my cousin’s baby-shower which was interesting. The scariest point being the number of times I was asked if I had any kids. People get offended when you aren’t flattered by the idea of having offspring floating around.

But I got thumped back to reality when I went to the salaries office today to find out why the university hasn’t paid me for teaching this year. Turns out they switched my forms with someone else’s, so my ‘salary’ has been paid to a stranger. And to make it trickier they lost all the original paperwork too. and they ‘don’t feel like going to the office’ – can’t I just call the guy and ask him to give me the money they paid him by mistake?

Can I go on holiday again please?

On the plus side, although our SA vs Ghana tickets fell through, we’re going ice-skating tonight! On the coldest day EVER! Yay!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


  • This story. It makes me happy to think that normal people out there really can make a difference. It makes me kind of teary, but in the best possible way.
  • Having fun when you don’t expect it: last night I was exhausted, but dragged P1 out to have sushi with the labmates and had the most awesome time! Between the awful CD of cheesy ballads, sending stuff around on the conveyor-belt, my actually enjoying sushi for the first time (the totally did something different to the seaweed) and the dance-dance-revolution and bowling afterwards (there are videos, they’re not pretty) was just fantastic. And totally worth today’s zombiedom.
  • Working at the vet. Yes we have crazy cat ladies and all the rest, but we’ve also got a bunch of clients who have rescued dogs from appalling situations and do whatever is necessary to look after them. It makes me all warm and fuzzy :)
  • The kiddies: OK, so they whine and mope whenever I make them work, but I’m really enjoying my new group of student, who are quite vibrant people with interesting ideas and philosophies. While we do get their work done, we also end up in weird philosophical debates – which is what university is all about!
  • This guy:

I hope I am as energetic and uninhibited at that age!

Have a good Tuesday!

And stuff…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And they didn’t ask me for a guest performance?


Picture from here

Drama updates to continue tomorrow when I feel able to deal with them.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

bang-head-bang-head-bang… and so on

I guess I should just kick myself for whining about not having anything particularly blog-worthy…

This week has been absolutely drama-filled! I actually want to go and hide under my bed until it all passes right now. Between realising on Tuesday that pretty much everyone around me is unhappy. It upsets me to see people I care about hurting and I ended up feeling very useless and helpless at my being unable to change anything for them.

I’m also house-sitting at the moment which has been completely and utterly drama-filled as one of the dogs developed a nasty stomach-bug a few hours before I got there. So besides figuring out where the cleaning supplies were within 1.2 minutes of getting there, I’ve had an unhappy dog at the vet (who is the best boss ever and I’m so glad I could take her there) and a stressed-out owner who needs details on her condition 24/7, another dog who is missing his friend and owner and a mysterious and large hole in the duvet that totally wasn’t there yesterday.

I generally avoid house-sitting as I stress out about looking after other people’s stuff, but this ne has been remarkably relaxed, possibly because of everything going wrong so at least I’m not worrying about what might go wrong, and instead I get to deal with it.

It’s also a friend’s birthday today and she lost a family member this morning so I’m worried about her as well.

As I said drama-drama-drama! I may have to go and hide until it all goes away!

Oh and as promised: 


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Not quite sure what to say

I’m kind of annoyed with this at the moment… it’s become the ‘what I did on my weekend’ rant rather than anything vaguely interesting as I’m too busy being busy to actually do much that’s interesting.

So what can I say?

People have been disappointing me a lot lately, from people who hurt my friends (or don’t make them happy but are OK with not-unhappy) to people who were friends who have to one-up me all the time.

The first story isn’t mine to tell, other than that I hope it all resolves soon in one way or another, and if my kneecap-removal skills are required I’m more than happy to use that crazy-frog-blaring-plastic-axe from chinatown. Seriously, pass the cactus.

The second story is hard to explain. I guess sometimes when people wake up and realise that life isn’t really what they’d planned they attack anyone around them. I’ve been saddened to find one of my good friends is so angry right now that she has turned very hostile. I am trying to rescue the friendship based on many years of good memories but I’m getting very tired of letting things slide. Maybe it’s better to cut ties and remember her as who she was? Or is it better to hold on and work at a friendship that meant so much to me and risk destroying the memories completely?

We went to Chinatown today to get Leia a tiara except that the tiara place closed earlier than we had expected. Either way we got a mildly ill-making lunch at Good Luck Fast Food (they serve vegetable and chemical egg soup), stocked up the party-drawer in the lab and got big buckets of slime for myself and Luke. There was also the awkward axe incident…

I’m house-sitting for a friend from today so lets hope I don’t break anything, have any major issues or get attacked by the giant dogs (my mother’s particular worry)…

Have a great week and I’ll try and find something interesting to say tomorrow!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Don’t look back, all you’ll ever get is the dust from the steps before*

It’s no secret that I have mixed feelings abut the past. On one hand I love thinking back and seeing how the past has shaped who I am. On the other hand I am so so glad to be away from a lot of it and I try and focus forward as much as possible.

Anyway a bit of a L. M. Montgomery obsession when I was younger inspired me (I think it was from the Emily series but I could be wrong) to write letters every birthday to myself, to be opened 10 years later.

I put them in a box and put the box on a bookshelf and pretty much completely forgot about them except every few years when I’d stumble across it and read through the letters I’d missed. Which I did again yesterday.

Mostly they’re actually a bit disappointing. I learned that my handwriting and general language has improved, that my aims and ambitions in life are vastly different to what they were in early adolescence and that what seemed important at the time is much less important now. And I learned that I was a really angry teenager.

Oddly enough three of them really stood out: one from my 15-year-old self where in barely legible handwriting it says “You’d better be happy, if I have to survive adolescence for you you’d better enjoy adulthood for me!” Another that I wrote when I started my PhD to check on general progress and re-motivate (I was quite the pep-talker at 21) and one that I wrote while I was still an undergrad at university.

I think I wrote it having realised that my teenage self had very little of value to say and so I wrote a letter for five years later before I stopped writing them altogether. I read it this morning (a year later than it was intended for but moving on) and I found it quite entertaining, so I thought I would share. It makes me cringe a little bit, but it makes me smile more.

It’s so hard to write to someone I know so little about. Four and a half years is a long time. I just read the letter I wrote when I was 14 to be opened when I was 18. It sounds so exuberant, expecting great things. It scares me that I may have lost that.

I want to change the world, to really make a difference. This world isn’t what it’s meant to be. I want a job I love. i feel like I  MAY have found it here, I know for the first time ever my holidays have a countdown to going back (37 days and counting, for the record).

this is your life, are you who you want to be?

Anyway I’m writing this partly as a reminder – I want you to sit and think: is what you’re doing good enough? Is it REALLY what you wanted all along? Do you wake up in the morning morning excited to go to work? Is it the first thing you think about in the morning and the last at night? Do you discuss it over cappuccinos (and PLEASE tell me you still clean your spoon first!).

If this is not the case get out. Leave. Quit. You’d be better off selling dogfood again, even busking or selling mangoes at the side of the road like mom used to threaten. Don’t get trapped where you aren’t happy.

Are you who you want to be?

Now for the fun stuff!

Last 10 messages on my phone:

1-4 whining from ______ Did she EVER stop? It’s not that these things only happen to her, it’s that other people shut up about it. And saying ‘oh poo!’ and ‘vomit’ I mean REALLY. Grow up!

5. S telling me I forgot E’s birthday. oops.

6, 7. _______ ditto

8. Brother’s girlfriend organising a church thing.

9. ________ ditto

10. CR, organising new years photos

Cards in my wallet: drivers license, movie card, bank card, Mugg & Bean card, student card, Scuba Diver and Advanced diver card, Exclusive books card, Videostore card, Gym card, Organ Donor card, Blood donor card

Last movie: Oceans 12, ________ whined the whole way through.

Currently reading: Garden of Beasts by Jeffrey Deaver

Number of ‘what are you doing with your life?’ talks this week?  Once so far but it’s still Sunday…

Anyway that’s about it. I’d ask questions but that’s a bit stupid considering you can’t answer them unless technology REALLY improves in the next few years. Which I doubt.

I hope you’re still diving and you still love the sea.

Did you ever get a chance to go in a submersible? I think that’s so amazing! I want to do mid-oceanic ridge biology research someday. Just a thought. Don’t tell mom.

Keep being more than just fine!

H (09/01/2005)

P.S. Your drivers license is about to expire, and I’d check my passport and ID if I were you..

So that was me at 19. Even then I appreciated that I’d probably forget to renew my passport…

*from the new She & Him album. Isn’t it awesome when the song stuck in your head fits in with life in general?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Out from under the covers

It is FREEZING at the moment! I’ve been very tempted to call in sick and hide in bed for a few days until it gets bearable. Plus my bed is right by a window that for some reason lets in a draught. I’m thinking of duct-taping any possible gaps before I wake up with a sore throat again…

I’ve been kind of absent this week as I finally got some lab equipment that I ordered in February (yes, FEBRUARY) so I dusted off my lab coat and got to work. I actually chose the world’s worst time to work with frozen samples as I think my hands actually turned purple.

That said, I am quite proud of myself for using the public holiday on Wednesday to get my samples sorted and packed in order which made Thursday in the lab a whole lot faster (what usually takes about 6 hours I had done in two because I’d got so much pre-prep done the day before). It also (hold thumbs) looks like things worked out ok this time which is a huge relief since last time they didn’t (hence the redo).

And I’m sure my mother is glad for the extra freezer space now that a third of the blood samples are gone!

Wednesday was also a day for rediscovering the joys of a north-facing room as I finished work, took a shower and then curled up in the patch of sun on my bed and spent the rest of the afternoon only moving to follow the warmth, until I was woken up by P1 who kindly brought me coffee and found me a spot by a fire to keep warm.

I will say a few things about the soccer:

  • I can totally get a noise out of a kuduzela now! It’s tricky, although my vuvuzelaing skills are still somewhat inconsistent.
  • I felt for Bafana Bafana, playing out in the freezing cold and for the amount of pressure they must be under. They did their best and I’m still proud of them.
  • I don’t understand soccer enough to complain about the refs decisions although that red card is not going to be easy for the team to come back from. That said, after watching Italy and Paraguay the other night where after a tackle one of the players from one team helped up the player from the other team and they carried on, I felt like Uruguay has a bunch of prima-donna players. Seriously, if you’re afraid of getting hurt go and play croquet. A foul is a foul, but seriously.

Anyway I’m off to find pancake toppings and have the Oracle to visit. And then go looking for a fathers day present… any ideas?

Monday, June 14, 2010


What will I do when I run out of world-cup slang?

First things first, I would like to point your attention to this article which says everything I’d like to, but so much better than I ever could. Particlulary this bit:

Of course I have only lived in Johannesburg, city of terror and dread, virtually all my life, so don’t have the in-depth knowledge of say, an English broadsheet journalist who has been in the country for the weekend, but nevertheless I will share some of my observations gleaned over the years.

So Bafana Bafana made us all very proud on Friday. Unlucky that shot that bounced off the goalpost and yay for the offsides rule which i think I actually might semi-sort-of-no-not-really understand now! it was a lot of fun to watch it, once the opening ceremony started and suddenly the crazy traffic evaporated and the chorus of vuvzelas went silent until 4pm when every TV set as surrounded by fans and the vibe was absolutely electric.

We were planning on trying the fanpark near my house but gave up when it got so crowded that people driving there just turned their cars off in the middle of the road and walked. Talk about gridlock! And the vuvuzelas weren’t packed away afterwards, we went out alter and people had taken them along and would randomly blow them between mouthfuls of pizza or on the dance floor.

Sunday we went off to the airport to drop someone off and look around. And WOW, I’m so impressed by the revamped O.R. Thambo, particularly since my dad has always travelled a lot and I spent a lot of my early childhood sitting around the ugly concrete slab with brown and green tiles that used to serve as the departure area. Now it’s spacious and light and pretty and has a cool cool ceiling with wavyness. The Gautrain station looks pretty cool and I’m excited to go one day and take a ride on it.

And I learned the Diski Dance on Saturday. CG was most disapproving but hey, laughing at exuberant patriotism is totally not Ayoba.

Either way it was a really nice weekend of just enjoying the country that I live in. I love South Africa and always have, but something you just forget about where you are a little bit, or else spend more time thinking about the faults. So for me, despite all the new experiences and stuff that this world cup is bringing, I think what I’ll get out of it is a flag on my car (it’s pretty) and rediscovering how much I love this place.

Waka waka :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ke Nako!

I’m totally loving being South African right now. Not that I don’t always love South Africa, but at the moment the feeling of unity and excitement is unbelievable. It’s also strangely normal. I mean I’m used to listening to the sounds of traffic nearby, nowadays it’s traffic+vuvuzela as people lean out of passenger windows trumpeting away.

I took my car for a service this morning and got stuck several times as people offloading from taxis broke into spontaneous diski-dancing and random people on the street rushed over to join them, vuvuzelaing the whole way. It’s kind of hard to believe how grinchy I felt about all this just a few days ago.

Anyway last night P1 and I went off to a talk that my mother had organised (it was very interesting and totally another story entirely. I’m going to attempt to stay on one topic for a few minutes – for once) and then we headed off to Melrose Arch because I'd promised to get P1 a teapot.

For those of you who don’t know, Melrose arch is about a school away from being a fully self-sufficient little district. It’s kind of european-vibed with restaurants opening out to cobbled streets, apartments over the restaurants and shops squished in-between. A lot of businesses are based there too and it’s somewhere I’d love to live one day when I’m a multimillionaire.

Anyway it started badly when my favourite place (upstairs couches) were closed off and everywhere was crowded, until we realised what was going on. It was the official World-Cup opening concert being shown on giant TV screens everywhere. And wherever there was an open space hordes of people had gathered. it was really funny considering that Bafana Bafana is playing Mexico tonight and we ended up as the only South Africans in a huge crowd of Mexicans at one stage (they even had sombrero decorations), we also hung out with the Brazilians and the South Africans at different points.

What amazed me was how the vuvuzela has stopped being exclusively ours – everyone had vuvuzelas and clapper-on-a-stick things and weird outfits and cameras swinging around necks openly (that one might not end too well, as I’m sure ‘camera shopping’ will take on a new meaning. Just sayin’…). It was also incredible to feel the excitement from everyone. Nobody cared who supported which team it was just fun and exciting to all be there together.

And the moment that got me the most – more than the five hundred goosebump moments over the course of a few hours: we were sitting in a restaurant watching the concert. It wasn’t too crowded anymore, the tourists with young kids had all left and the people haivng dinner had gone back out the the parties in the street, but there was still a decent crowd. Anyway a Brazilian family and a Mexican family started waving their vuvuzelas around and one of the waiters got his vuvuzela and started making a noise. I’m not sure what happened, but the vuvuzelas started getting passed around from table to table with everyone wiping the mouthpieces discreetly and then trying to make a noise.

And it wasn’t just that – if someone got it right the whole restaurant would whistle and clap and get all excited.

And I totally got a sound out of a vuvuzela for the first time ever, and it felt AWESOME!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Building up to the big one!

So yesterday a gazillion soccer supporters basically took over the country. Even at almost 7pm, you could hear the vuvuzelas going on campus. It’s a weird nose, that kind of goes right through your skull even from several hundred metres away.

Which was quite annoying as I went off to dinner with a friend, and while the setting was fantastic, sitting by the fire with really good food and chatting away, it was kind of ruined by the girl at the next table in her massive sunglasses blowing away at her big purple vuvuzela.

The weekend away was a lot of fun, where there was no stress, almost no planning, and the most strenuous activity involved a slightly energetic round of charades, or getting competitive in boy vs girl teamed board games (we played all kind of games and divided teams in all kinds of groupings, but the boys vs girls games always got very tense). As always I had my camera with me most of the time, and came home with well over 300 photographs of us being sill, and one or two of a cool spider.

Anyway it’s been a week of much introspection, even more tea and a fair amount of sleep.

And I’m getting so excited for the world cup! I guess it’s almost overdue but I kind of find myself wanting random flags on my car, humming along to waka waka and wondering if I’ll make it home in time to go join a gazillion people watching the soccer at the nearest fan park.

South Africa rocks!

Although why we used Shakira instead of a local artist still has me confused. Freshly-grounds 1 line is better than moving along before I get angry…

and of course:

This song  still gives me goosebumps! I like this version better than the official video:

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I stole adopted this from Ashwini today because, as much as we may whine about these things, we all love a decent meme (or an indecent one I think).

1. Mood: A bit apathetic, and wanting to stop trying to work and go back to bed where it’s warm.

2. What do you do for a living? Mooch off the parents? I work at a vet and I teach to stay as self-sufficient as possible. My real ‘job’ is doing my PhD and stuff…

3. Who’s in your posse? I have a posse? AWESOME! It kind of depends on the situation. I have a few very close friends and a few groups of friends that I do different things with. They all rock.

4. What projects are you currently working on? Finishing the PhD, decluttering (I am such a hoarder it’s ridiculous) and running 10km (I can get to 7 at the moment, but that was before I got all fluey).

5. If one were to open your bedroom closet, what would they find? Clutter. A lot of black cardigans (I’m thinking they breed when I’m not looking or something), scarves and hats.

6. Where do you find inspiration? From music, friends, keeping my eyes open and seeing interesting things happen around me.

7. When you aren’t working, how do you like to unwind? I’m pretty insanely busy most of the time, but when I’m not I like to drink tea and watch movies, listen to music and find new bands, generally talk rubbish with my friends and basically do as little as possible. Alternatively there are hats…

8. Where are you right now? In the lab. I just had a minor alteration with the Russian and needed a break.

9. Outfit: As many layers as I could wear while maintaining joint-flexibility. So 2 pairs of socks, tights, jeans, 2 shirts, pullover, jacket, scarf. I get cold really easily when I’m sick and the flu is setting in nicely at the moment.

10. Your weekly goals: I’m working on a few things research-wise at the moment, so that’s first priority. Otherwise I’m going away this weekend and need to pack and get my camera batteries charged and ready to go, book my car service and all kinds of little things like that. And get better of course.


And a photo of me hiking, just because I can! I thin getting away this weekend is exactly what I need at the moment!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I’m alive… sort of

Been feeling very hermit-ish this week. The headache to end all others isn’t helping either (I calculated my aspirin intake just now and was shocked and horrified… ). I think the flu is beginning to attack.

Not much to say except that i think I might just go home ad have some soup, and not think about productivity and stuff until tomorrow…

Anyway as I feel somewhat over-medicated and sleepy, I'm going to stop there and attempt to get some work done.

Have a great Thursday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Real World

So I’m not very interesting at the moment. I’m pulling ridiculous hours in the lab and not making much progress – I got some bad news and had a major setback yesterday which means that time = essence and so on…

If you want adventure, you hold totally check out Leia’s blog where she’s writing about her recent trip to Malawi and the various catastrophes along the way.

In other news, I’ve decided that although the end of the PhD doesn’t really feel like it’s anywhere near, I have to start planning for it anyway, and I started applying for a job today! not that I’m in a rush, ,it’s just that the job of my dreams just became available.

I have never been more scared in my life! On one hand it’s the perfect job for me – involving the things I’m good at, like fieldwork, logistics, dealing with scientists and normal humans and generally just sorting stuff out. I’m perfect for it! On the other hand it’s the real world! I’m not sure what’s scarier – that they might not want me, or that they might hire me…

Anyone with tips on applying for jobs please let me know, I’ve never really done it before… I think I might even need to rewrite my CV as last time I used it I was about 18 and working at a pet-shop!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Whatever you do

Do NOT click this link. I’m on question 92 and have lost the will to live.

The nameless one is back from her adventures overseas, so it should be an interesting weekend of catch-ups, pool and possibly even sokkie-dancing (yes, I missed her that much). Joey’s also using me as a model for a makeup artist’s portfolio which should be… interesting! And maybe even a little bit fun!

Have a great weekend! 


Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome back princess!

Leia is home from Malawi! It’s been been very calm and quiet in the lab without the other crazy one, and she’s seeming very cool and intrepid after all her adventures!

And we have a new coffee machine!

Coincidentally I spent last weekend house-sitting for her parents, which was an interesting experience. The dogs are awesome, but the house was so clean I spent most of the time terrified of making anything dirty. White bed-linen is not for the faint-hearted! It was nice to have some calm and quiet and time to just be alone with myself and think things through.

It’s also quite odd that over the last few days Plus-1 and I saw 3 movies: 1 zombie (I’ve imposed a 1-zombie-movie-a-week law), 1 horror (but where’s Kyle?) and one live-action anime. The non-anime-anime was super-cool, and now I need a scabbard for my sword so I can practice the uber-cool kicking it out over my head and catching it by the handle move. I may die.

Anyway it’s totally normal that I’m excited to have Leia back, considering that she proposed…

DSC01712 Romantic, no?

So welcome back Leia, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of stories of your adventures to giggle over soon!

megs not posing Leia, looking adventurous. Or intrepid. There should be a word for that, like intrepiventurous!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

I must warn you…


I was at work at the vet yesterday training the new receptionist, who is also a long-time friend of mine and is currently studying in my department.

So I showed her the computer system and everything she needed to know, and we both pulled out laptops and got some work done which degenerated into a discussion on anthropomorphism and the semantics of calling facilitation what it is or not and equally nerdy yet fascinating stuff.

And after a few hours my bosses’ three year-old arrived and climbed onto my lap and I ended up sitting on the floor with her while we squeaked the dog-toys at each other and giggled.

It bothers me that I can swing from academic the babysitter so quickly, and even more that hanging out with a toddler can be the high point of my day sometimes!

ME! Me! Mememememememe

I stole this from Tamara because I’ve been super-busy and haven’t posted forever. Stuff I’ve done is underlined (because I’m cool like that). It feels kind of… American biased…

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to DisneyWorld
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bunjee jumped (I’ve abseiled and rock-climbed… isn’t that enough?)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (I paid a kid’s school fees when I was in high school, does that count?)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own veggies (not on mega veggie-garden scale, but I have grown a few things and when I was a kid I had a mega-crop of calendulas that we used to make a super-awesome ointment that I used on everything for years).
19. Seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
20. Slept on an overnight train (I’ve slept ona  regular train?)
21. Had a pillowfight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not sick
24. Made a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Ran a marathon (I walked one once. Watch this space for the running).
27. Went skinny dipping
28. Rode in a gondola in Venice
29. Witnessed total eclipse
30. Seen a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (only in softball, we don’t really do baseball here)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace/ home of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish country
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (does living here count?)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Taken a ride in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (I had a cartoonist draw a picture of me once. I’m counting it)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower
50. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
51. Kissed in the rain
52. Played in the mud
53. Gone to a drive-in theater (Leia an I spent the whole movie on the swings and ignoring the adventures of Jackie Chan. It was fun!)
54. Been in a movie (been on TV…?)
55. Visited the Great Wall of China
56. Started a business (I was totally a fudge-tycoon for about 2 months until it got to be too time-consuming).
57. Taken a martial arts class
58. Visited Russia
59. Worked at a soup kitchen
60. Sold Girl Scout cookies
61. Gone whale watching
62. Gotten flowers for no reason
63. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
64. Gone sky diving
65. Visited Nazi concentration camp
66. Bounced a check
67. Flown in a helicopter
68. Saved a childhood toy
69. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
70. Eaten caviar (did not like it AT ALL).
71. Pieced a quilt
72. Stood in Times Square
73. Toured the Everglades
74. Been fired from a job
75. Seen the changing of the guards in London
76. Broken a bone
77. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
78. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
79. Published a book (I wrote a poem as a kid that was published in a book a few years later, if that counts?).
80. Visited the Vatican
81. Bought a brand new car
82. Visited Jerusalem
83. Had your picture in the paper
84. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
85. Visited the White House
86. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (which is why i fish without bait nowadays).
87. Had chickenpox
88. Saved someone’s life (a bit overdramatic, but once I pulled a little kid out of a swimming pool when she wandered too deep and sank. Her parents were very exuberant in their thanks although it was more of a 'pick up and dump somewhere shallower moment than a heroic rescue).
89. Sat on a jury
90. Met someone famous
91. Joined a book club
92. Got a tattoo
93. Had a baby
94. Seen the Alamo in person
95. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
96. Been involved in a law suit
97. Owned a cell phone
98. Been stung by a bee
99. Swam in the Black Sea

What about some cool South Africans ones? Have you ever:

  • Been to the desert
  • Avoided a sudden-stop taxi and a pothole at the same time
  • visited Pofadder
  • been hiking with someone who thinks that everything that moves is a green mamba
  • had a chat about life in general with the check-out lady at the local supermarket
  • locked your keys in your car and been unable to retrieve them for fear of the helicopters, SWAT teams and secret agents arriving thanks to Tracker and all 25 different alarm systems in place.
  • Been on a game-drive
  • Been on a night-drive

Anything else you can think of?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On a brighter note

I’ve been cleaning some of the junk out of my computer since it’s been getting harder and harder to find things lately, and I came across this hidden in a folder:

I love it! Particularly the dancing!

And I totally respect them for performing so wholeheartedly even though they aren’t the most… conventionally talented.

In other news:

  • I’m working like a maniac at the moment and may even be making progress!
  • Flu is attempting to take hold. I’m defying it with vitamin water, peanut-butter and exercise. So far so good. Pass the medlemon.
  • A bunch of awesome people are going on holiday with me in June! Yay!
  • Since yesterday I’ve had a flood of support from people who are aware of the situation of much drama. It’s a relief to know that I’m not overreacting as badly as I’d thought, and from people getting angry, to people offering to swing cacti to general supportiveness I’ve realised (again) just how lucky I am***.
  • The mega-massive spider-bite (didn’t I mention that?) has stopped swelling so much, so I no longer have a second chin sticking out of the side of my real one. Thank you anthisan, antihistamines and a LOT of germolene!
  • Our next-door neighbour died. I ever really knew him more than the occasional wave when I saw him walking his dog and stuff, but it was a real shock.
  • Went back to tae bo on Monday. Ow. So awesome!
  • Saw How to Train your Dragon on Tuesday. I want a dragon! Any crazy scientists out there feel like making me one?
  • Some idiot has brought his vuvuzela along today. I may have to wrap it around his neck soon. Pass the cactus?

Have a wonderful weekend! I’m going to be MARKING! Woo-hoo!!!

Maybe they’ll get around to paying me one day, it’s only 6 weeks too late already…


***OK, OK,  fine, situation in nutshell: the social engineers out there had other plans for the Plus-1 until I came along and are attempting to dig for information and trash-talk me to my friends, as well as making some interesting claims on my being nasty, manipulative and ‘changing’ people. Like it’s any of their business. After a few months of this it got a bit upsetting. Pass the cactus. Please.

Friday, April 23, 2010

until further notice

It's been a weird week. I've been getting lots of sleep but not feeling rested, and I've been asked repeatedly why I'm so pale and deflated-looking.

Thanks guys.

I have a 21st tomorrow, these children make me feel old…


The vet has been overrun with crazy cat-ladies. i agree that their work is valuable, I just wish they didn’t feel the need to share the awesomeness of their hard work.


In other news, life is pretty good, just not particularly noteworthy right now. I’ll try to write more next week (when I’ve had some more sleep).

Have an awesome weekend!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Ooooo-AAAAAAAA woooo-AAAAaaaaaa

Mango Groove is on the radio and the guys at the vet are singing along. From the last time this happened I know that I’ll be hearing random ‘Wooo-aaaaaaaaah’s from the back off the practice for the rest of the day.

there is a lump on the side of my tyre, which one of them pointed out when I arrived. I blame the gazillion potholes in Joburg. Next week is payday at least so I’m hoping to make it until then and then get it replaced. I should probably get new tyres all around, I’ve had these ones for a longlonglong time.

I swear the vets are eskimos. Every day when I arrive the air-conditioning is pumping out air at a blistering 17 degrees. If I decide that turning blue isn’t so much fun and turn it up it mysteriously migrates back to 17 or 18 degrees by the end of the day anyway. I’m the only person I know who wore a jacket to work all the way through a South African summer.

I’ve been reading updates from a friend who is doing fieldwork in Botswana. It makes me want to go back on fieldwork now, being in Joburg has been a bit exhausting lately.

My birthday was fun! I made fudge, got sung to by my students, got to see my brother and sister-in-law for dinner (the joy of my family being ‘nice’ and not interrogating the plus-1 in favour of awkward silence is indescribable) and got a fantastic new hat from Candice! And a cactus that needs naming…

Which led to a mega hat-dilemma on Saturday when I had spammed my friends (they don’t RSVP so I send emails until they do) to meet up for dinner/drinks and I couldn’t pick a hat… So I took both of them!

It was a fun evening, although unfortunately several people (Oracle included) cancelled, pleading laryngitis – and from the attempted singing over the phone I was very inclined to believe her. Tamara and TSC came along which was fantastic and she gave me ANOTHER hat and some earrings as well as giving me boundless entertainment when she knew all about the people sitting around her and they had no clue who she was! Fortunately I had mentioned this blog to a couple of them so it wasn’t a total shock!

From there we went off goth-clubbing where we met my awesome cousin and Mr Thursday and I managed to end up knighting people with a ‘magic’ wand (I still have no idea who owned it originally, or who took it away when I left in on the table a few hours later).

We also met a vaguely creepy giant (he was relaxing by standing with one hand on the bar ad the other on the ceiling) who very kindly agreed to pose with the shortest person in our group. She didn’t appreciate my volunteering her as such, but it made for a memorable picture! That and the three hats in circulation…

And now I’m all birthdayed out. Did I mention I got drumsticks?

Rock on :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Because all the cool kids are doing it

I’m feeling lazy, rushing around getting stuff done before work this afternoon, and recovering from going out for ‘a little bit’ last night and getting home at 1:30. Whoops.

So I figured as the cool kids in the bloggy-world are doing I would quiz you guys!

  1. how are you today? I am doing well, just tired and a bit sad that it’s my last day of ‘early twenties’ – I intend to mild the ‘mid-twenties’ label until I hit 29-and-364-days. Just so you know.
  2. What annoys you most right now? For me it’s bad drivers, I seem to have a way of attracting them
  3. Chocolate or vanila? I had to ask. Vanilla!!!
  4. What would your reaction be to purple snow? Probably hide under the blankets until I’d seen if it made people’s fingers melt. Then make snow angels. Be grateful I wasn’t in the yellow snow region.
  5. Favourite song at the moment? I’ve been rediscovering Garbage lately and had the song ‘Drive you Home’ on repeat.
  6. What’s making you smile today? The puppy is visiting! Puppypuppypuppy!
  7. Sword or crossbow? That’s a tough one… I’m loving the sword stuff right now, but crossbows really do send a nice ‘leave me alone’ message. I think longbows are pretty, but could be inconvenient on public transport.
  8. What do you want for Christmas? A trapeze! I’ve been watching ‘The Flyer’ again.
  9. Sorry, I had to end it here!
  10. just kidding!

You know what to do! Answer in comments pleasepleaseplease!

K, baai!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Llama-llama duck!

Leia is going on a real adventure to Malawi and Mocambique. I’m working semi-full/part-time at the moment so I wouldn’t be seeing her much anyway, but I’ll still miss the mouse-munchkin who sets tents up with me and made awesome coffee this morning when I was semi-comatose from oversleeping and having to teach for two hours without added caffeine.

My family is taking me (plus one) to dinner for my birthday on Friday, and I’m half-heartedly making plans to celebrate on Saturday but not really getting into it. Too much to sort out elsewhere! Plus, why celebrate impending decrepiditude?

Can you watch this without it getting stuck in your head?


How cool?


Yip, day in the life…

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Because we CAN!

so Leia and C and I spent the morning putting up tents in the lab. Why? Well why not? People seemed oddly confused by our behaviour, although Candice came along for tea and was much more accepting than the odd postdoc who couldn’t quite figure us out. I’m beginning to think tat the people in the building view our lab as somewhere scary to be avoided…


Tent number 1


The trusty coffee-machine!


Leia checking for scorpions (that tent hasn’t been used since the Kalahari and we all know that those little guys are tough and stuff.


“All clear!”


“the ground is rather hard’ (yip, I actually said that.)


A tight squish, plus we matched our outfits tot he tent and had to show it off, shoes and all…


Tent 2, and by now we had out Rambo-gear in place.






Can’t… hold… Rambo…Face…


Son of Rambow-face


Golf with tent-poles


It’s been a long day already…


“What ARE you doing?”


Yip, really. It’s stitched into the lining nogal!