Friday, January 29, 2010

To solve all your problems

These leaflets and signs have been around for years, generally not around the area I live in, but enough that I would see them and chuckle a little bit sometimes. I was aware of the following in certain areas, as I’ve been to pharmacies near campus where I’ve actually seen ‘Luck Oil’ on display (the things I’ll do for antihistamines) and I’m very aware of the following that traditional healers have around here.

Recently they seem to have… exploded. There are people handing them out at robots (traffic lights), they’ve been appearing in my letter-box (we live in the Northern Suburbs, not somewhere we thought there would be much of a following for miracle oils - although if they can make you win the lottery, you never know…), in the newspaper, stuck to lamp-posts…

So as any good scientists would do, we started collecting them, giggling over them, sighing over the way that they seem to be targeting groups of people who would have to save for the R100 consultation fee and then further to buy the magic oil/stick/love remote (really). From there we began to compare the grammatical errors, testimonials (Rosie van Wyk from Morningside – who has recently moved to Witbank – and Andre Mpho from Kathlehong share a cellphone number…, making sure than none of the “Healer of the Year awards coincided, as well as followng the blossoming careers of some of our favourite healers (Prof. Lumumba is doing particularly well, with almost ten different leaflets and four healer-of-the-year awards!).

We’ve collected well over a hundred (my very precise estimate from glancing over at the pile) over the last few months, from as far afield as Nelspruit and Polokwane and I felt that I must share these gems with you (click to enlarge I think):


you have to wonder what he means by “some conditions applied”… note the matching phone numbers too – they didn’t even put them on separate leaflets!


So are you disappointed in your living life? And I know I totally identify with problem 14. Although I wonder about the ‘chronicle diseases’


Ah, Professor Sir Apollo… my personal favourite, and one of the first leaflets we collected! Plus he’s one of the top 10 in the world; SCORE!


  This guy is a close second for awesome name-ness, although I worry about the stress of keeping a marriage AND an affair together…herbalist3

One of many Mamas…herbalist3aAnother ‘Mama’! Anyone got any idea why there is a picture of a hand there? High five?herbalist3b

These guys went to Harvard! The Harvard University of Witchcraft… in the U.S.A! And they can give you Great Success in Life Foreverherbalist4

Prof Dungu gets bonus points for the lion pictures AND the pixellated Africa background! Plus he can remove bad luck to good luck!herbalist4a

I do not even want to know about the Love Remote, K? But he does have a picture of a lion too, which has to count in his favour.herbalist5 Not to mention the Sex Low Drive.

There are others, but I try to keep this child-friendly(ish). Seriously, there is even a small selection with visual aids…

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Falling slowly

So when I was a lot lot LOT younger I used to ice-skate. Yip, every Saturday morning my Dad and I would get up super-early, drag ourselves out the house and make Die Groot trek to the other side of the world (i.e Krugersdorp).

I skated for a few years, loved it at first and ten as my gawky teenagerliness started taking over I began to not enjoy it as much, then hate certain steps and then resent it completely. And then I stopped.

Recently, as we’ve been going skating relatively often, She-Who-Has-Yet-To-Be-Named and I decided to sign up for classes. They’re not too expensive (I think it works out as the price of a session plus R10 or so per lesson), and I was frustrated at my general lack of confidence in trying anything I used to be able to do, while she wanted to be more confident and do a few tricks rather than clinging onto the side.

So last night I battled through some delightful traffic to find that She-Who-Has-Yet-To-Be-Named was nowhere to be seen. I found her eventually, stressing out like crazy over the average age in the previous classes (it’s around 5-8 years old I think), the fact that the classes are visible from the rest of the centre and that she didn’t want to fall. By the end of it all I was terrified too, particularly when we’d signed up (and had to fight a nasty stage-mother and inefficient admin person), put our skates on and found a small group of people over the age of 5 to hang out with.

The adults class was nicely placed out of general public view. It was also a nice size, with lots of really friendly people. Unfortunately I got kicked out within the first two minutes because I could actually skate, and I was sent off to meet my new classmate (yip, singular), a terribly shy girl who might have been six or seven years old.

It was the weirdest thing though: I’m comfortable on skates. I can zip around the rink quite happily, do one or two cool things and avoid the crazy skaters who always seem to try and trip me up, but I had never realised how slightly-nervous I am all the time. after two or three steps with a coach-guy explaining and critiquing and helping I suddenly felt SO much happier and more in control – to a point where I did a lot of steps that I’d tried recently and wobbled/freaked out/wussed out completely.

By the end of the lesson I think we’d covered the entire class syllabus (this guy hasn’t had time to become immune to my “what’s next? Teachmemoremoremoremoremoremoremoremoremore! attitude – the tai chi teachers are completely desensitised by now) and I’m hoping to move up to the next class next week. I tried out my nemesis-of-a-step last night and it didn’t end well, so I will need all the help I can get with it (and it’s in the next class).

After the lesson I went and found She-Who-Has-Yet-To-Be-Named who had had an equally fantastic time (from clinging on to the side they had her calmly zooming around forwards AND backwards) and we went around and she practised very diligently while I bounced around in total over-excitement and tried out everything I could think of and I managed most of them! And I (sort of) managed my FAVOURITE step from back in the day which totally made my night and had me dashing around squealing and (yes, I admit it clapping) in joy.

I think the other people there think there is something wrong with me…

But I’m so excited and I can’t wait until next week!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today I am:

  • Annoyed that I hit ‘cancel’ instead of ‘snooze’ this morning and missed pilates.
  • Sore from tae bo (which is SO much fun, even if it still gets me too hyped to sleep).
  • Loving the idea of Operation Beautiful, and thinking very seriously about startng to participate.
  • Actually getting work done (hence bullet-list vs real post).
  • Excited to be unleashed onto a fresh batch of first-years tomorrow *evil cackle* if they only knew…
  • Sick of annoying undergrad O-week noise. Vuvuzelas are SO not hot right now…
  • Amused by the first-years who always dress up like crazy for the first week, then have loud conversations about how few clothes they have (wearing a school uniform Monday to Friday made it easier) and then become normal people.
  • Shocked by how many new students are walking around with their parents. Registration was last week, it’s time to let go…
  • Missing holiday traffic
  • Nervous to be doing real teaching, but excited too. I get a Real, Teacher-style desk!!!
  • Nauseous from the welding-smell coming in from the passage. what’s scary is that nobody seems to know what they’re welding or why, but we live with it.

Yip, it’s January on campus!

On the plus side, they’ve started baking donuts again, so we’ll get a donut-day this week!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

well THAT was fun

(More) Things I've learned
  1. It can be really difficult to do the right thing.
  2. It doesn't matter how many times you practice a speech, once you're trying to give it to someone, all the preparation goes out the window.
  3. You can find comfort in the strangest people (like the best friend of the person with longer hair than me, or the Ed-Hardy-Girl piner).
  4. If you have to be horrible to someone, the worst outcome is when they try to be nice about it. Why can't they get angry and call me names or something? Don't apologise!
  5. That was the worst saturday night ever.
  6. A cup of tea doesn't solve everything, but it does help!
I need soup.

Friday, January 22, 2010

the aftermath…

So I took the shiny (literally, it ROCKS!) new hat out last night and it was a major hit! too bad my phone is dead and so there are no pictures, but I can safely say it was loved by everyone, tried on by everyone, and it still looks better on me :) Well it looks best of CG, but she won’t believe me…

And now I’m exhausted, and confused, and I have a weird bruise on my back (I think from when someone tried to pick me up when they hugged me) and trying to finish a batch of data-fiddling before going off to meet the Oracle and the Oxfordian (I will never call her an Oxonian, it makes me think of those stock cube thingies) In the spirit of getting things done (and stopping the awful waffling i seem to do lately)

Things I have learned:

  1. I will never be able to play pool as I seem to get worse every time I try. This doesn’t stop me from loving it and doing a happy-dance whenever I sink anything!
  2. Hats rock!
  3. I love this site
  4. Sometimes you run into people you thought you’d never see again
  5. This can lead to very strange situations
  6. I like having my own hat!
  7. It is SO awesome having the group back together and drama-free, I knew I’d missed CG since the mega fight, but I don’t think I realised just how much she holds us all together and how she calms us down when we start going a bit too nuts.
  8. I think it might be OK to date someone with longer hair than me.
  9. I love my friends
  10. Sometimes you have to be nasty if the other person doesn’t know how to take a hint. I’m dreading it though.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Sorry to Sarah (again) but Hatting must wait, it’s been a tough week…

On Tuesday Laura came to visit! She’s been based in Oxford doing scary things like a masters in running around Columbia and a doctorate in visiting SA often and having a ridiculously dark tan for someone who lives in the rainlands…

Halfway through an awesome chat with her and The Great One (she’s like an oracle of advice for people like me who have no idea how to speak human half the time) I got a phone call from my mother to say she’d been in a car accident so I rushed off to fetch her.

She’s fine (albeit a bit shaken up), but the car isn’t, so after much paperwork (insurance accident reports and so on) and my mild freak-out at having to be the responsible adult for my mother (thanks for listening Luke), we’re also trying to figure out how to deal with being a car short, with me pulling long hours in the lab, my Dad (who came back from a business trip yesterday) working like a maniac and my mother’s tendency to never stay in one place for more than a couple of hours (her work involves lots of travelling and is relatively close to home so she’s used to driving backwards and forwards several times a day).

So I’ve been playing taxi-driver a lot, which means I have to limit time in the lab a bit so I have to focus more. It also means I’m three steps from foetal position under my desk most of the time, as my mother likes to schedule meetings in/around rush hour. There’s a reason I leave home at 5:30am twice a week and after 9 the other days, and why I never leave the lab before 6pm… People in Joburg can’t drive. Seriously!

At least nobody got hurt, the other person admitted to being at fault and has insurance and it was on a quiet street so there weren’t too many problems post-crash. I’m also hoping to use this as an opportunity to get my mom to go to the gym with me a bit and get some exercise, I nearly got her to dancing class this morning so maybe next week…

We’ll make it work, we have to, her car needs a new front axle, so it’ll take a while. I just feel like I’m living in a sitcom: “Sorry, I can’t go out tonight, my mom has the car!”

Oh and my phone died. As in the three buttons I absolutely cannot use the phone without (like the ‘ok’ button) don’t work…

Because this week wasn’t being nasty enough. On the plus side I get to use my dad’s old phone (which is like one of those nokia blackberry-esque thingies) which is AWESOME! and I’m about a year overdue for an upgrade anyway, so I’ll be phone-shopping with my father soon. Maybe me awesome cousin who knows about these things can suggest a new phone? I’m not handling the QWERTY keyboard well, I keep pressing letters more than once because I think of ‘L’ as ‘555’ and so on… I’ve also got longish nails right now so the tiny buttons are being really difficult. Any suggestions are welcome!

And Luke and Leia are back this weekend!

And I just had such awesome coffee!

Oh, and a preview, just for Sarah (and for Tamara considering you can just see the edge of one of the earrings I got at her open house last year!):

me and drummer 2

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Over my shoulder

So I never did the whole 2009-in-review thing. I tried and this is the list I came up with:

  • Finished mega-fieldwork. it was more emotionally taxing this year than ever and I did go a bit nuts, but I also got a lot of decent thinking done.
  • Got closer to a few friends. I'm not good at talking about my emotions, but I'm working on it, and it has been very scary and very rewarding at the same time.
  • Let go of control and just had fun! A year ago I would never have borrowed hats, started group yelling at random restaurants, played pool and not minded losing, jumped off a bridge or any of the other incredible things I've done/had happen to me over the last year.
  • Balanced a little bit better. While I miss my workaholic-type productivity, I don't often take work home on weekends anymore and I've tried to keep work and my social life and me-time balanced. It's not right yet, but I'm doing better and definitely feeling more of a person than a lab-monkey.
  • Got a sword (Tai Chi today *happy dance*)
  • Improved my pipetting technique (it's awesome and you know it!). Not that I HAD a pipetting technique, but I do now :)
  • I was in a little bit of a sad-phase then so I didn’t want to delve any deeper, but today as I’m STILL waiting for photos (no fault of anyone’s except a dodgy internet connection and a badly timed holiday) I thought I’d steal this from Kath Lockett. She stole it from someone else which makes it ok. It’s long. Be warned. But it’s my blog and I can write what I want!

    Where were you on New Years?

    At a braai (barbecue, whatever) at the place a friend was housesitting. There was swimming and food and good company and many games of Jenga and I got to sit on the roof and look at the moon a lot.

    Did you drink?
    Not really, I was pretty sure I would have to drive back that night and I didn’t want to have to make That Phonecall if something bad happened. Nearly being squished between a taxi, a citigolf and a concrete barrier on my way there kind of emphasised my point slightly.

    Did you kiss anyone when the ball dropped?
    Nope. I was trying to see the fireworks in the area ut always turned a millisecond too late!

    Did it snow at all during January?
    No, we’re in the southern hemisphere. it rained a lot though.

    Were you single on Valentines Day?
    Yip. I actually can’t remember what I did for it last year either, probably not much!

    Were you in school?
    *ahem* university! Yes. As always.

    Any new addition into your family?
    Well the lab-family got Leia, as well as two little mice (R.I.P.), Norbert, Kermit the Selaginella (R.I.P.) temporary custody of a spider, some orchids and several fish. Otherwise I got a new cousin and I’m soon to be welcoming another one as soon as they set a wedding date.

    Did you wear green on St. Patrick's Day?
    I did, but it was entirely accidental.

    Did you graduate in May?
    Graduate? What’s that? Nope, but I hope to do that soon. Hence the unoriginal posts lately, I have my coffee-break rushing to an end and then its work time!

    Summer 2009 - Who did you hang out with the most?
    My lizards, some random farmers, the kudu in the garden, the giraffe when they stopped by. Back ‘home’ it was CG, La and the other one who I have yet to name, as a core-group within a pretty dynamic social circle. Also Luke and Leia and friends quite a bit too.

    Where did you go?
    Wherever the lizards were. Or wherever they were hanging out giggling at their plans to thwart me (remember the Jamaican accents…). In Joburg it was the lab, goth clubbing, sokkie clubbing, CG’s house, the ice-rink, playing pool and various places in-between.

    Did you still work?
    Not as much as before, I cut down my teaching pretty drastically as well as limiting part-time work to Saturday mornings. I have a degree to finish!

    Did you end any relationships?
    I don’t know if they could be classified as ‘relationships’ but I did date a few people and then tell them that they should probably leave me alone… The closest to ‘relationships’ tended to dump me instead. No hard feelings.

    Did you go swimming or tan more?
    Swimming a little bit although the farm has no pool, so it was tanning-by-default (the rocks get pretty toasty).

    Where did you spend the most time?
    In the field, in the lab, at CG’s house on weekends (at one point I was waiting for them to start charging rent)

    Did you take lots of pictures?
    Not as many as I’d like, I’m feeling very rusty with the SLR lately, and I’m planning on taking it out much more in future!

    What did you do for Halloween?
    Sat in the farmhouse, I think I may have watched a movie.

    What did you do on Christmas?
    Had an impromptu Christmas-eve party at CG’s house, Rushed around helping get everything ready for the Arrival of the Family, ate too much, slept.

    Did you get good presents?
    I did! I got a lovely charm bracelet (something I’ve always wanted) and actual useful stuff, like jumper-cables for my car and a cooler box (I have a small room so more clutter is generally a bad idea). I gave myself blue hair as well.

    Did you have a good birthday this year?
    I think so… I don’t really remember doing anything on the actual day last year. The co-superVii tried to hug me which was awwwwwwkward (more that I jumped back and put my arms up to protect myself). The celebration was fun though, we went ice-skating and had a great time!

    Drink alcohol?
    While ice-skating? No…

    Went to a crazy party?
    Several! The best ones involve hats ;)

    Spend too much time online?
    I’m addicted to email. Seriously half an hour without checking it is like… torture…

    Did you watch lots of football?
    No, I watched quite a bit of cricket though. I guess as we’re living in the host-country for the 2010 world cup i should probably get more involved.

    Did you learn anything new?
    So much I can’t even begin to write it all down. how about: learned to respect myself more, learned to let go a bit, learned to have fun, learned about the joy of tai chi and sword-wielding, learned to deal with issues, learned to be more real and hide less, learned to appreciate the quiet people and the friends who don’t make as much noise as me.

    What do you wish to accomplish this year?
    Graduate, take more (and better) photos, run 10km (in one go), keep living and trying new things and meeting new people and just having fun!

    Do you snore?
    According to my family: yes, according to people I’ve stayed with: no. Both of my parents do as well as a grandparent on either side, so I guess I’m pretty much destined to rattle the ceilings at night.

    Lover or a fighter?
    I don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it’s not pretty. Don’t mess with my friends or my family or anything with more legs than me and I will hurt you. No pressure!

    What's your worst fear?
    Failure, rejection, being alone (type 2, not 1), ending up selling mangoes at the side of the road (thanks mom for using that as a cautionary tale every time I got my report from school).

    As a kid, were you a lego builder?
    Not too much, I liked it but I wasn’t obsessive like I was with tree-climbing, epic battles with plastic soldiers in the sandpit, bandaging up dolls (I would throw them outside, wait for it to rain and then cut my clothes into strips and bandage them (sorry Mom) and reading reading reading… plus the mission to do a cartwheel in the deep end of the pool. It’s harder than you’d think!

    Were you a cute baby?
    I will have to hunt down a picture and see what you think.

    Do you sing in the shower?
    Nah, I think too many showers at the gym cured that one for me!

    Have you ever bungee jumped?
    No, and I don’t plan to! I have a few issues with heights, with being out of control and with the risk of retinal detachment.

    Any secret talents?
    I can tell the difference between decaf and normal coffee by smell. Sometimes I can even figure out the coffee brands. I can recite conversations word for word months (sometimes years) after having them. I am very good at getting people to lend me their hats (yes Sarah the hatting post is on its way!). I can talk non-stop for ages and ages (at superspeed), but I don’t mind being totally alone for months. And I can still do a cartwheel!

    What's your ideal vacation spot?
    I would think a road-trip rather than a spot, maybe from here across to the west coast and then up into Namibia? I’d also love to go to Lake Malawi (or any of the Great Lakes).

    How do you like your eggs?
    I don’t really. Scrambled if I must have them so that I don’t think about the fact that I’m effectively eating placenta.

    Do you cry at weddings?
    Not usually, although my brother’s was a close one.

    When was the last time you said, "i love you"
    In what context? I’m not big on talking about feelings, so it’s probably been a while.

    What are you allergic to?
    Honey, although after about 10 bee-stings I’m still not allergic to those…

    Do you like your handwriting?
    Well it’s almost completely illegible… I had a friend in undergrad who had the most beautiful handwriting and sometimes if we were having coffee and she got bored she’d rewrite my notes for me and then I’d WANT to study from them! And that’s how I passed Chemistry 1.

    What's your stand on hunting?
    Real hunting (i.e. you walk and track and stuff) I’m OK with as it makes conservation financially rewarding. Plus hunters like that actually have a quota and after that they have to hunt with blank rounds so they don’t end up with more meat than they can use. Farming game is also significantly better for the environment than farming cows. I don’t think I’d ever do it though, I don’t like the idea of killing something. And sitting on the back of a bakkie with a rifle is Not OK! and what is up with trophies? I do not like the idea of something I killed hanging on my wall thankyouverymuch.

    Do you give a darn about the ozone?
    Not as much as I should I guess. I try and keep polystyrene CFC-free, and cut down on aerosols and stuff but beyond that I just wear lots of sunblock.

    Have you seen the movie "Donnie Darko"?
    Cool movie! I have the soundtrack!

    Have you ever hitch hiked?
    I live in Johannesburg. Are you flipping crazy?

    Are you wearing socks?
    Yip. they’ve got cartoon chickens rocking out on guitars on them.

    Is drug free the way to be?
    Yes. I’m not a fan of seeing things that aren’t there, I get that enough with my lab chemicals. Caffeine is not a drug, OK? (and I can quit whenever I want?)

    Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
    no. I always wanted to so that I could play with the siren! I’m tough as well as accident-prone.

    What are you addicted to?
    Coffee, I’m in the process of rediscovering chocolate (badbadbad), good music, hats, good company, eyeliner, tai chi, maybe running in a kind of masochistic way…

    Do you prefer baths or showers?
    I like both, I usually shower because I have a lot of hair and washing it in a bath is just not possible. Sometimes it’s nice to have a good soak and scrub though, I always have horrible visions of slipping and cracking my head open when I scrub my feet in the shower…

    Do you like your life?
    Most of the time! I’m a bit of a mood-yoyo-er sometimes, but I have a slightly annoyingly resilient optimistic streak and I have found fun in the strangest places and in the strangest situations and with the strangest people… and I think as long as I can do that, life is good!

    When's the last time you cried?
    New Years day, I got some bad news.

    What color are your eyes?
    Amberish-Brown. My contact lenses are blue-tinted so I can find them in the dish thingies, which makes them hazel sometimes. I think it depends on the batch.

    Have you read "Catcher in the Rye"?
    Yes, I was forced to in high-school when we had a particualrly uninspired English teacher (he wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t exactly jump for joy about the book). I had much the same response to catch-22, not bad, but why all the fuss?

    Do you play any instruments?
    I used to play the recorder and the piano, and I started the viola when I was 10 and played until I was 19. I’ve recently been promised guitar lessons by she-who-has-no-codename-yet. I don’t have time to really practise anything, but I really miss playing in orchestras and I hate playing on my viola because it sounds so bad, but I have fun messing around on the piano sometimes. And I rock at guitar hero. Does that count?

    Do you like camping?
    I don’t mind it, as long as there are decent bathrooms. I sleep as well in a tent as I do in a  building and my sleeping bag is awesome (although not as waterproof as it used to be, as I found out when the tent leaked last year). And it’s a nice cheap option considering that you pay about 6x more for a chalet than a camp-site, why would I be spending half my monthly petrol budget on the place where all I do is sleep?

    Do you snort when you laugh?
    Not that I know of.

    Can you do the moonwalk?
    No, although a friend of mine is trying to learn from a bunch of youtube tutorials – with mixed success.

    What was the last thing you ate?
    Pre-pilates yoghurt, I’m’ going to hunt down some unch soon, before the undergrads (*shudder*) reappear.

    Do you wear nailpolish?
    Not often on my fingernails as I tend to scratch it off and it freaks my birds out (they will not climb onto a hand with brightly-coloured fingernails), but I keep my toenails painted most of the time.

    What's the most annoying tv commercial?
    the awful Animax ones for their reality shows. I’m just there for the joy that is Takeshi’s castle and no amount of watching Kenny (or is it Spenny) peeing in his pants will make me change my mind.

    Do you like someone right now?
    No comment…

    Back to doing analysis while chair-dancing to Duran Duran (try it, it’s fun!)

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    I'm colourful found a link to this quiz here
    and while I'm a bit concerned about the changing sexes, I think a lot of it hits the nail on the head beautifully!
    I have TONS to write about, but I'm waiting on pictures so it'll be a while. In the meanmewhat's better than a comprehensive quiz based on abut 4 questions? Excuse the formatting, I think it hates me.  

    Your Existing Situation

    "Creative and emotional, looking for ways to further expand those qualities. Looking for a partner who enjoys the same activities. Seeking adventure and new and unusual activities."
    Your Stress Sources
    "Needs to meet people who have the same high principals and values as himself, but finds the need unfulfilled. her need to feel dominate and superior leaves her feeling isolated and does not allow for her to give freely of himself. she would like to surrender and let go, but sees that as a weakness she must not give in to. Holding back will allow her to stand out for the crowd and earn a higher status, recognized by others as unique and important."
    Your Restrained Characteristics
    "Feels she is getting less than she deserves for all her hard work; however, she makes no effort to change things and tries to make the best of the situation."
    His confidence is low but she is unable to admit that is the reason for her avoidance of conflict. Feels it is a situation out of her control and she is making the best of it.
    He is being forced to be happiness and pleasure on hold for new due to her limiting circumstances.
    "Insists her hopes and ideas are realistic and achievable, but needs encouragement and support. her self-centeredness can cause her to take things too personally."
    Your Desired Objective
    "Looking for a loving relationship, which brings happiness and contentment. Brings emotional excitement to the relationship. Helpful and willing to give as much as she takes, and requires the same sort of giving relationship from others. "
    Your Actual Problem
    "Wants to be valued and respected, seeks a close and peaceful relationship with a shared respect of each other."
    Let me know if you do this, it's quite fun!
    Have a FABULOUS week!

    Friday, January 15, 2010

    Sometimes the geeks really get it right…

    Yip, I’m in love with XKCD

    Yip, I’m 12

    So there was groot drama over the weekend and it upset me. It upset me to a point where running made me angry rather than calming me down (I use running to think things through, and I kept reaching the angry conclusions). The only things that really helped were tai chi (to a point where I refused to leave after one of the lessons) and ice-skating.

    I’d forgotten how much ice-skating cleared my head. At one stage I used to go quite often during the week and just skate until my problems were gone. We went on Wednesday and as it happened people either forgot or couldn’t get hold of me or changed their minds and it was just two of us, so I had a blast seeing how fast I could go and getting a random ice-hockey player to try and teach me hockey-stops.

    That said, it all came to an end when I got a message at 4am to tell me that I was no longer welcome as a friend to a certain person. I got it this morning and I was so angry I sent them an epic-long angry sms and unfriended them on facebook.

    Which made the making-up process kind of tricky…

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    give a little bit

    Its being one of those weeks. I have my closest friends at war with each other over something that was technically my fault (and I do admit it, but it also wasn't such a big deal. People must relax, seriously). Did someone forget to tell me that we're all back in highschool or something?
    The university rejected my scholarship application based on the fact that, as a good student, I took a fast-track route and skipped a degree and therefore I confuse the people wth the rulebooks. They generally try and hide their confusion by rejecting me outright, and I responded this morning by yelling a bit and looming over one of the guys in charge until he told me to take a seat and agreed to look into it further. I didn't work this hard to start paying tuition again. Seriously, don't overachieve, it makes way too much admin later.
    Tomorrow the labmates are off on a fieldtrip and leaving me alone. I'm happy that they get to go, it's an awesome trip, but it hurts a little bit that I wasn't invited again this year. I know that the Powers That Be don't like me, but I don't find it fair that I get rejected and then I have to spend my time helping the other two prepare. Not that they seem to notice that my lack of enthusiasm for checking their lecture notes might not be due to my being a mean person.
    I've been battling to sleep and the stress over the fighting friends gave me a rather charming three days of nausea, headaches and general death-l-feelings.
    Candice had some horrible news and it makes me so worried for her and He-of-Many-Sports-Injuries. Why do these things happen to people who don't deserve them?
    I finally cut all ties with someone who made me unhappy, and it hurts more than I'd like to admit. In the meantime I've met some lovely people and not been particularly nice to them. I tend to be mean to nice people, and nice to people who are horrible and mess with my head. I think I need to print out a warning sticker and put it on my forehead or something.
    Running has remained the thing that I do when I need to clear my head, but I've found that my response is increasingly not a feeling of calm when I'm finished and my issues are resolved ro I have a plan. Nowadays I stop running and I realise that I feel angry. Life shouldn't be like this. I don't want to have to work to be happy. I want to go back to the days when nobody confided in me and I could go off anad borrow hats and listen to angry-yet-epic music and my friends didn't get jealous of me and I never noticed anything outside my little bubble.
    And my data is NOT cooperating! I just spent a week doing some unbelievable calculus and all it did was get me from point A to B,C,D,E, W and then straight back to A again...
    On the plus side Tai chi was so amazingly and unbelievably awesome last night! I have no idea what it was, we didn't do anything special, we just went through the exercises with me joining in where I knew them and copying to the best of my ability for the rest. And it was weird, maybe it had something doing with doing weird wooden 3D puzzle things at a braai right before, but my brain was functional! I was able to follow the others and recognise steps as they started (from other exercises) and so I could follow as far as the start of each step and then finish it on my own.
    The sword felt right in my hand again and I remembered almost everything I learned before fieldwork. I didn't fall over in the weird kick things. By the end of it the nausea was gone, my headache was faded to something I could ignore and I was bouncing around as usual. I even stayed for an extra half an hour, trying things out, ike doing things backwards, or with my eyes closed, or standing rather than crouching, or crouching further...
    And tonight I get to do the other thing that makes everything ok (no not eat soup, I did that last night though :) and it was fabulous), I get to go to the ice-rink and skate mindlessly in circles until I get so into the rythm of it that I can pretend I'm flying and everything around me stops mattering.
    I refuse to think of links between my behaviour and that of zoo animals. If you feel like mentioning it I will blame you for trapping me.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    The muscle... it hurtssss!

    Nope, not the usual muscles (well they hurt too, it seems that eating milktert for dinner motivates me to overdo the who gym thing... But it was SO good!

    I've started doing brain training! It's this thing on the BBS website where you do their little braintraining exercises for 10 minutes 3 times a week adn they see how you improve. I figured that it was a double-win - improving my concentration AND procrastinating!

    Now if only I could play the games without a)getting a headache and b)getting quite involved and screeching at my computer screen...

    Check it out here if you're interested!

    On a personal note everything has been drama-filled lately and Im trying to avoid thinking about things. Fortunately I have a couple of fantastically wise friends who have assured me that it's not my fault and everyone else is just crazy.

    I like that philosophy :)

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    Revenge of the ear-worm

    Tired of humming along to the dancing fruit? Maybe the 80’s are the answer?*

    I’m just sayin’

    This is inspired by my insomnia-inspired trip to the gym yesterday where I found out there was a 6am dance class! It was hilarious, as I joined in and did the cheesy dance moves with a bunch of adorable old ladies and their daughters.  Its very hard to take life seriously with cheesy choreography that belongs in the 80’s while picturing everyone around you in legwarmers. Too bad we had to use current music rather than the more appropriate classics, but I’m sure we can work on that! Not too much of a work out body-wise, but more than worth it for the boost it gave my mood for the day!

    *And don’t pretend you didn’t at least think about trying some dance moves!

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    You want me to WHAT?!?

    When I was eight years old I tried to jump off a high-dive board into the swimming pool at school. I realised for the first time that I was afraid of heights as I sat down, clutched the edges of the board and shook uncontrollably until I was able to crawl back to the platform.

    By the time I reached 15 or so heights had become such an issue I found myself unable to stand on a desk without shaking, and walking over bridges made me incredibly nervous.

    So anyway when I was fifteen I went on a school camp where rock-climbing and abseiling were two of many incredibly cool activities (like archery and raft-building) and I decided that it was time for me to get over all of my nonsense and climb that silly rock face.

    Much screaming and crying and shaking and swearing in front of the headmistress later I got to the top! Unfortunately abseiling did not go as well, as I freaked out, went into hysterics and clawed my way up the rocks to the top again (I tried about five times, including once with an instructor next to me holding my hand).

    Since then I’m largely better with heights. I climb things whenever I get the opportunity (kind of like poking at an old scar to see if it still hurts) and I discovered years ago that if there is a lizard to catch I lose all fear of anything, and so I’ve become relatively comfortable scrambling around rocks.

    The fear of abseiling stayed with me though, and even though I was invited a few times I was always too scared. At the same time it was annoying. How can I be the fearless lizard-hunter if I’m terrified of dangling off the side of a cliff?

    Anyway on Saturday evening as I was fixing up my nap-smudged eyeliner (I know you’re not supposed to sleep with makeup on, but does taking a nap count?) I got a call from Leia inviting me to go abseiling on Sunday. I agreed immediately (which was rather funny because I think she was expecting to have to beg and stuff).

    So early on Sunday morning, she arrived with coffee and took me off to meet the other crazy cliff-danglers. And they pointed out the first place we’d be abseiling from/off/at/on (?)


    You have got to be kidding me!

    “Don’t be silly it’s only 50 metres! You’ll be fine…”

    By this stage the others went to admire a little waterfall (complete with dismembered cow-head)


    while the view of the bridge started doing this to me:


    We got to sit around and wait for Leia and another guy to set it all up, and the bridge loomed over us, looking higher and higher by the minute. Fortunately the others were really nice and one of them even had blue hair so we compared notes and all chatted about silly things while I felt my heart-rate rising with each passing moment.

    By the time we got to the bridge I felt like I was somewhere between throwing up and passing out. One of the other guys went first so that he could help people at the bottom and he very happily climbed over the edge and slid off.

    And then it was my turn.

    Let me just say: kneeling on a tiny little pipe while shaking (and apparently ghostly pale) and being unclipped from the safety line because it got tangled is NOT fun at all.

    It is a good thing I hadn’t had breakfast.

    I didn’t cry (yay!) but it was close.

    I clung onto the bridge so tightly I ended up bruising my palm.

    And for some reason once I had finally done the ‘letting myself slip off the bridge’ step (talk about going against every instinct known to man…) while being photographed a LOT and not really caring much at all (I cared later). I opened my eyes and looked around and… it was really pretty up there!

    So i said so, and everyone laughed a lot and took MORE photos of me (smiling and with my eyes open this time) and then i got to work getting down to the ground because the harness had shifted slightly and become rather painful.


    (this isn’t me, as I kind of had my hands full while trying to avoid an ugly death)


    It LOOOMS!


    (This isn’t me either)

    All this next to the crazy bungee jumpers leaping around…


    (I thought they were supposed to go straight down?)


    (It may look graceful here, but you didn’t hear the guy screeching like a girl…)

    From there we had a lunch break and then headed off to the next spot – a cliff-type thing that looked a lot shorter from the ground than from the top. We got to swim in the river, take a nap and generally enjoy the scenery for a few hours


    While Leia and co set up the ropes.


    For the record, I don’t care that those ropes can theoretically hold up a car. They’re SO thin! And the little spindly trees…

    I had a full-on freak out and said lots of nasty things. To help matters my ropes got tangled up again which meant I had to do some square-dancing on the cliff-edge (step left, then right, turn around, turn back, step right…). Leia responded to my stream of verbal abuse (I don’t remember much of what I said, I was terrified and having nasty flashbacks to my previous experiences) by laughing, which made me yell even more. I do remember her explaining that she was giving me some slack on the safety rope and I yelled at her and made her take the slack in immediately.

    Slack is scary.

    and of course once I’d got going, yelled at her for laughing (you can’t grip properly if you’re laughing…) and had to negotiate the whole falling-over-backwards thing after a pesky ledge I made it down, collapsed into a quivering heap and confirmed via the radio that I was alive, albeit shaky (you should see the photos I took after this point, they’re completely blurred…).

    I felt kind of bad for all the things I’d said, particularly since I hadn’t died and so most of it was entirely unfounded. Plus I hated that although I had finally ‘beaten’ the fear, I was still scared and it didn’t feel like I’d accomplished anything. A few minutes later the guy in charge radioed to ask if he could use my camera up top (I’d left it up there), so I gave him one condition:

    “Can I do that again?”

    And I managed to smile most of the way down the second time!

    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    on the upswing

    Sorry guys, after I ignored this for ages I proceeded to whine and whine and whine..
    I'm trying to pull mysself out of the silly mood I've been in lately, so bear with me - I'm working on it. 
    There are awesome things that I have to write about, I just have to get there! and I will. Soon.
    Have a great weekend!


    So it appears that hermit-ing is my natural defence mechanism...

    The last few weeks have been insanely hectic. With christmas- and the
    associated stress and frayed tempers, seeing people I'd missed, trying
    to deal with the fact that facing fears doesn't eradicate them
    completely and life in general, I realised that a lot of life was just
    going through the motions.

    I was going out without enjoying it as much as usual- hating it with
    some people, but loving some as well, fighting against the
    super-controlling family which uses guilt to trap me and being too
    busy to sleep properly (it was too hot to sleep in). Life stopped
    being fun.

    As it progressed I felt more and more disconnected from the people I
    thought of as among my closest friends. La and CG going away didn't
    help, although I'm glad they got a break and some QT together.

    I think being away so much has made me desperate for human contact
    though, and I found myself hitting a pretty bad low, and searching for
    someone to confide in. I found the people I had hoped to talk to
    either busy, just plain disinterested or not understanding that I
    needed to talk. At least I'm hoping they didn't get it and it wasn't
    option a or b...

    Fortunately I got to spend some time with some new friends and an
    opportunity to spend a few days away from home, albeit still in the

    And partly from my own reclusiveness and partly from being let down by
    other people I've had a chance to hide away for a bit, watch way too
    much tv, and while I did chat to an old friend quite a bit, I spent
    time just being me with me. I think retreating a bit was the best
    thing I could have done.

    So it's 2010! And I'm lonely. I rejoin most of society tomorrow
    afternoon, lets hope it improves!

    New years resolution? I guess to continue on the self-discovery route,
    figure out what I want from life, let the superficial friendships be
    what they are without expecting depths that aren't there, get over the
    silly BT who made me sad... Oh, and graduate. 12 months should be more
    than enough for that!

    Happy New Year!