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!