Showing posts from September, 2005

Love is… getting up at 6am to stalk garbage trucks

This is kind of a second part to last week’s post, but today (Wednesday) I was up from 6am driving around Yellowwood Park with Paul, counting garbage bags and then following a garbage truck around the suburb, to check out vehicle speed and routes for Paul’s Simulation Honours Project.

At least this time, it wasn’t boring like last week. The whole experience, particularly the search for the garbage truck, was weirdly Grand Theft Auto-like. Anyone who has ever done the “Collect unusual vehicles” missions, they’ll know what I’m talking about. The other funny moment was when the garbage truck men came to pick up bags guarded by a nasty little runt of a dog (think Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell). The one man simply picked the dog up like one of the bags and dumped it back on the pavement.

Anyway, in other news, my Media assignment has been postponed for a week so that means I get to have a weekend after all, as opposed to stressing over a Monday deadline. So I’m going for a train ride on the Umg…

The Weekend

This last weekend was mostly consumed by a weekend at Mark’s place while his parents were away. Paul and I arrived there midday on a very hot Saturday and didn’t end up leaving till past 4pm on Sunday. It was a really cool, game-centred weekend, in which there was much gaming (Quake III, Warcraft 3 and FlatOut on the PC, a Capcom Marvel Fighter and Mario Warriors on the X-Box, and the boardgame 30 Seconds), as well as raiding of hard drives, swimming, TV watching, drinking and eating.

Pictures speak so much better than words, so here is a selection of pics from the weekend, with commentary where necessary.

Gaming underway. From left, G, Natasha, Paul, Mark, Matt and moi.

Gareth in the background, getting his Quake III shit on.

I found the most awesome skin on the PC I was playing on- Batman’s Harley Quinn- but her unfortunate habit of yelling “Wheeeee” every time she jumped wasn’t the best for sneaking up on people. For the record, Gareth emerged as the LAN’s Quake III champion.

G and Shi…

I’m a Bad Person

Clearly I’m a bad person. At the moment my mother has a bad cough. And I can’t help but glare at her when she has one of her incredibly loud retching fits. I just can’t stand it. Despite it being a dry cough, I keep expecting her to bring something up. It’s like living in a TB ward.

And that makes me think that if, God forbid, either one of my parents were ever to develop lung cancer (my mother has been a second-hand smoker to my father’s Peter Styvesant Reds for 35+ years now, and my father’s dad died of lung cancer before I was born), I don’t think I could handle being around them. On so many levels, I wouldn’t be able to take it.

Persistent coughing is really nails-on-chalkboard stuff for me. But actually, thinking about it, I have a similar reaction to the sounds of most body functions. My grandmother’s indigestion-induced burps have me clenching my teeth in irritation. And if I hear, see or smell vomit, the gag reflex is automatic. I just have to get out of there.

Love is… getting up at 6am to count cars

That’s exactly what I did today (Thursday). I got up at 6am to sit in a car at the Kingfisher intersection in Yellowwood Park (by the Spar and civic centre) to count, and monitor the speed of cars. For two hours. Actually, I did it twice in one day, also counting cars from 12:00 to 1:30 at same spot. After that, Paul and I spent an hour driving around Yellowwood Park, checking distances, and car speeds, as well as marking a map with every speed bump in the suburb.

All this tedious work is for Paul’s Computer Science Honours Project. Think Sim Garbage Truck. He’s making a game / programme that is intended to simulate a municipal garbage truck’s movements on garbage collection day. The idea is that it can be used to optimise the collection process- avoiding traffic, reducing unnecessary back-tracking over the same routes, and minimising the number of times the truck has to return to the dump to offload the trash. (Anyway, it reminds me that I need to get the questions ready for my proje…

Girlz N Games #11

Here's the latest- inspired by real life events:

What's Up

If I seem a bit absent these days from online life it’s for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I’m on my Spring Break this week, and away from university so I don’t have access to their free, though extremely slow, Internet. That means I’m falling back on my home 56K dial-up connection for my Net fix. That in turn means I have to put up with parental scrutiny of the phone bill.

Secondly, I have a couple of essays due in the next few weeks, so I’m busy with those. The topics, in case anyone is interested are:

For English:

Write an essay in which you compare and contrast the representation and treatment of women’s experience in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Forster’s Howards End. In considering this question, you should give particular attention to the implications of the chosen narrative technique.

And the other assignment, for Media, is:

Choose three commodities of different kinds (both material and intangible goods and services) known to be widely marketed in South Africa, and point out ways in whic…

New Sunglasses

Either my ears or the bridge of my nose is crooked because it is very rare for sunglasses to sit straight on my face. Wire frames are the absolute worst. As a result, buying sunglasses is something like my own personal equivalent of the quest for the Holy Grail. And there’s no Dan Brown book to shortcut this process.

Anyway, I was messing around at the sunglasses stand in Clicks while my mother was buying prizes for her school’s fundraiser Big Walk, and I actually found a pair of wire frames that fit well and (I think) look really good.

I’ve been without sunglasses for a few months now since my beloved, much dropped, much chewed R90 pair snapped at one of the hinges after 3 years. Before that there was my identical R10 flea market specials, which are now chilling with a pineapple under the sea somewhere near Margate (When the wave flattened me I had to make a decision of Sophie’s Choice proportions- save my shades or my bikini top).

I was intending to buy another cheapo pair next time I…

Wednesday Night

Wednesday evening was a lot of fun. We managed to get pretty much the entire Durban Pond collective (see together with less than 24hrs notice. I had posted these pictures on The Pond, but due to offending and hurting someone, which made me feel pretty guilty, I removed them.

Anyway, the night out started first with dinner at Mimmo’s at the Pavillion. We had time to kill before the bowling leagues finished their use of the lanes so it was off to the pool bar for some fun and games.

Ashley, Paul and Mark around the table:

Umm, Natasha and moi assume the position… (This is what happens when someone won’t calmly pose for her photo):

Toti Gareth looking suave. (Ignore the mad chickie in the background):

Time for a turn at the foozball table:

After Shirley was bounced from the bar for not having her ID (in all fairness most of us 23+ year olds were asked as well), we finally got to bowling. Guess who?

A really nice pic of most of the gang (G, Shirley, Gareth, Paul and Mark):


Slick-tongued Students

It’s amazing. Whenever its time for First Years (or is it under-graduates in general?) to hand in essays, or take tests, the South African mortality rate soars. People’s grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and brothers drop dead in large numbers. Very often, more than one relative pegs on the same weekend.

Meanwhile, mothers and fathers are fighting for their lives in hospital. Or the student is them self recovering from double pneumonia.

Now I don’t mind the personal illness story. If the student doesn’t actually look injured or ill, a doctor’s certificate can be requested. (Apparently we can ask for death certificates too. And that could be interesting).

However, my main point, and anger, is directed at the shameless way these 18 year olds lie. And the way that they are quite content to fabricate something major like family deaths to get away with something trivial like their own laziness. Perhaps I’m superstitious, but as far as I’m concerned that is something dangerous to do.


Gaming Time-stealing

There’s nothing quite like electronic gaming to time steal. Apart from a few random games of Desert Combat with Paul, I hadn’t played any PC games lately. My two games in progress, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time required more concentration, effort and time than I was prepared to give.

I didn’t mind leaving KOTOR because, as an RPG, it does require attention, and long sessions of playing to get the most out of it. You can’t rush it.

I started playing Sands of Time while I was on holiday back in July. I breezed through 80% of the game in about 3 days. Then I got to a damn sequence in an elevator in which I had to defend a princess, and myself, while fighting reanimating corpses and trying to charge up my super-power. I repeatedly failed, and left the game for a month. On Thursday evening, I tried once more, and, unbelievable did it. By the next day I had finished the game. Although I felt the ending, though clever, was a bit flat (the final f…

And the Award for Worst Emailer of the Year Goes To…

Me, of course. I used to be excellent when it came to keeping up with my friends worldwide via email. Now, I’m slack.

Don’t get me wrong. I check my email regularly, and if you send something to me, chances are I will read it within 3 days, at most. I’m also making full use of blogs now to keep up to date with people’s lives. Even if I don’t read them entirely online I’ll save them to browse offline (Ian’s unique fascinating blog for example, requires time and attention I don’t have when I’m online counting the rands being added to the phone bill)

So there’s Firebird Paul, Leyla and Lindy in the UK, Ian in Burundi, Yelena in the States, Bonnie in Taiwan, Andrew (presumably) still in Pietermaritzburg, Nick and Wez in New Zealand, and the magical disappearing marrieds, Hayley and Greg in Secunda, Karen and Andrew M in the UK, and Bronwyn and John floating around Durbs.

Anyway, I’ve decided to give my blog’s address to my friends. That way the burden of keeping everyone up to date is off m…

A Relaxing Weekend

After last weekend's dramas, this weekend was a pleasant relaxing change, involving socialising and sunshine:

The day spent outside in the sun, tanning, and doing preparation for the English 102 tutorial that I lecture on Monday.

In the evening, a braai at G’s place. G, Shirley, Gareth, Paul and myself there. Got to briefly meet G’s brother- another shorty of Mauritian descent. Anyway, a really fun, relaxed evening with much eating of honey glazed pork rashers, and (as a relief for Paul) minimal forum-related talk.

Home to work on my English Honours presentation (on Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway) for a while. Also go grocery shopping with my mother and check my name on the Municipal Elections voting roll.

In the later afternoon head down to the Absa Stadium for the Natal Sharks vrs Free State Cheetahs. Appalling fumbles and forward passes by the Sharks, combined with a horrifically biased referee, led to the Sharks’ first defeat of the season.

Afterwards, we had KFC …

Quarter Life Crisis

Considering something I saw on a friend's blog, and considering that most of us here are in the same boat, I thought I'd post the following that someone once emailed me:


They call it the "Quarter-life Crisis." It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job... and it is not even close to wha…

Masturbating Dolls

The Chucky / Child’s Play series of films is of the same horror sub-genre as the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street movies that were so prevalent in the 1980s and early 1990s. Essentially these films reject psychological terror in favour of cheap ‘Boo!’ moments, extreme, unrealistic gore, a little nudity and colourful villains impossible to kill (Most film-makers seem to have given up trying to explain the repeated resurrections, with audiences expected to simply accept them as fact).

The latest Chucky film, Seed of Chucky, continues this trend.

With deliberately cheesy puppetry, gore and special effects, the film chronicles the adventures of sexually ambiguous, extremely ugly doll child, Glenn / Glenda (voiced by Billy Boyd), as he strives to be reunited with his plastic parents, Chucky (voiced as always by Brad Dourif) and Trish (voiced by Jennifer Tilly).

Most of the action takes place in Hollywood on film sets and mansions, as the dolls centre their murderous schemes o…