Showing posts from December, 2005

The Festive Girlz 'N' Games


The Christmas Period

I’ve been too busy or away from the PC to update my blog over the Christmas period, so here is a summary of what has been going on over the past week, with a few pics.

Despite finishing my shopping early on the week of the 19th December, I found myself at the Pavilion and Musgrave shopping centres, typically to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen for ages, including Hayley and Greg, and Ashley. Fortunately, our get-togethers tended to be around 9am, early enough for most people to still be getting going for the day. Although the centres didn’t feel too chaotic inside, parking was stop-start nightmare any time after 10am. I tried to be home by midday, and off the roads.

Friday evening was my Christmas get-together, and it actually turned out to be very well-attended: me, Paul, Mark, his sister Lauren, Gareth (accidentally groping Shirley during the evening) and Denbeigh, G and Shirely, Hayley and Greg, Warren, Bronwyn and, back for Christmas from the UK, Scott Miller. Ash, Lara and Kirst…

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

I went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on Tuesday with Paul and his cousin. The film is a spot-on adaptation of CS Lewis’s children’s story / Christian allegory, right down to the little details, like how many mothballs fall out of the wardrobe when Lucy opens it and the titles of the books in faun Tumnus’s home.

My mother reads The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to her class every year, and I was raised on the Narnia series as well. When Aslan, the lion, appears for the first time in the film I was overwhelmed.

Looking at the film, I would go so far as to say it’s more fantastical (and colourful) than Lord of the Rings which limited the diversity of it inhabitants to humans, ghosts, hobbits, orcs, Nazgul, dwarves, elves and Ents. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the variety of magical inhabitants is far wider. One exciting, strategic battle scenes involve centaurs (stunning in their visual realisation), minotaurs, hags, griffins, fauns, …

King Kong and Prince of Persia

Not much on the personal news side. After I got back from seeing Hayley, a school friend, and her husband, at the Pavilion on Tuesday, I pretty much played Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones the whole day (breaking, of course, for the Survivor: Palau finale. The Prince of Persia games always put my life and other hobbies on hold.

Anyway, in terms of Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, this is thee worthy successor to Sands of Time, the first in the newly revived Prince of Persia franchise. The plot involves many of the same characters from Sands of Time, and is a lot more straightforward than the horribly convoluted time-travel tale that was Warrior Within, the second game in the series.

The Prince has redeveloped a personality (and his Sands of Time voice) after his grunting, bland incarnation in Warrior Within. Voice-overs and the use of a story teller (a device from the first game) to advance the plot, are also back.

Most importantly, in The Two Thrones there is perfect balance between…

Sankey Claus

I went to the post office today (Monday) to collect a parcel waiting for me. Ian had said in an SMS, and on MSN, that he was sorting out Christmas presents for everyone. It tuned out that mine had arrived. The brand new Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is now sitting on my bed. I am very keen to play, and get right back into my favourite game series. However, I know that as soon as a start, I won’t actually get anything done for the next few weeks at least. And there’s the big decision of playing it using the keyboard or with my gamepad.

Regardless… to Ian, thank you for your generosity. It really is endless. We’re all looking forward to seeing you again.

And now I’m going to go and help my mother with preparing salads since we’re having a braai tonight for my father’s birthday.

The Long Weekend

Christmas is only a week away and the long weekend was really a start to holiday spirit and relaxation. I think it would be a bit boring giving a day by day account, so here are some of the highlights, in brief.

End of year University of KwaZulu-Natal marks were made available on Thursday. Of course, the phone and Internet systems crashed under the influx of students after their marks. As a result, I only found out my marks on Friday morning. Anyway, I received 84% for Media & Communication: Strategic Corporate Communication and 85% for English: Gender and Writing. I worked my ass off for the horribly airy-fairy Strategic Communication course, so that mark was understandable. I am a little confused about the English mark though- it sounds 10% too high. I went into the exam on around 78-80%, and I thought one of my two essays was complete waffle. I was expecting 76% for the exam at the highest. Maybe moderators were upping marks- I have no idea.

Meanwhile, my sister meanwhile has com…

Lord of the Shopping Bags

Apart from Paul’s grandparents and his sister, I’ve pretty much finished my Christmas shopping. I’ve spent the past few days mostly fiddling with Premiere, editing 2+ hours of animal footage from the Kruger National Park holiday I went on with Paul and his family back in July. An hour long DVD is going to be my present for Paul’s parents.

Anyway, after editing the film together in Premiere and enduring the 10 hour rendering time, I’m now currently playing with Sony DVD Architect. G introduced me to the programme and it’s fantastic. It seriously is a professional DVD creation tool, allowing for animated chapter selections, music playing while menus are on the screen, and it is even possible to insert a little introductory logo or copyright notice before the main menu loads up.

Today (Wednesday), I received my Christmas present from Paul. Or, rather, I chose it and will have to wait until Christmas Day to see the presents again. I’ve been needing new casual-wear sneakers for a while now,…

Better Days

This blog is developing a severe case of bipolar disorder. After how down I was feeling yesterday afternoon, the rest of the weekend was actually very nice.

Just before I headed down to Paul’s place on Saturday evening I bumped into Ian on MSN and it was great to have a chat. I’m sure he was similarly relieved to find someone online. Anyway, I’ve decided that from now on Ian is going to be known as Sankey Claus because of his generosity- he even generously topped up my airtime for me.

At Paul’s, G and Shirley were there and it was nice to see them too. I’m really happy that Shirley is now at a place that recognises her design talent and actually treat her like a human being. The EvilCorp experience, I think, tends to leave a bitter aftertaste in terms of believing that there actually are good companies out there. As another bonus on Saturday evening, we got out of watching Top Secret, and instead watched several episodes of The Family Guy. I really love that show. Plus, late in the even…

So Tired…

Saturday afternoon, 10 Dec

You know, I’m so tired of this. Anyone who has been reading this blog will know how sensitive and emotional I’ve been lately, particularly to being left out of and missing social activities.

I was having a really good Saturday (I’d seen Paul on Friday evening; we’d had fun and everything), and I was looking forward to spending the evening with Paul doing something social, whether with the usual gang, or Paul’s cousin. Afterwards, I was thinking of doing something romantic / sexy for Paul.

At this moment in time I don’t even feel like going to Paul’s house. I’ve been crying again even since I phoned Paul’s house to be told that he had gone to the beach that morning with G and Shirley.

I phoned Paul on his cellphone and immediately receive a joyous account about how they had such a nice day at the beach, enjoying the fresh sea air, complete with going afterwards for jam doughnuts. Everyone sounded so happy on the other side of the line.

I’ve wanted to go for the be…

Christmas Shopping Breakthrough

After yesterday’s very focused shopping expedition at the Pavillion, I’m approaching the end of my Chrismas shopping (with 2 weeks to go). I would say that my bank balance has dropped a bit, but I forgot that my sister and I tend to split the costs of presents (despite me usually doing the investigation and buying), and the boyfriends also contributing, so I’ll be getting a bit of money flowing back into my purse.

Anyway, I have no idea how fascinating the following will be to anyone but myself, but here’s the Christmas present run-down.

For my mother:
A 128MB memory stick
A homemade refill for her CD box desk calendar
A Christmas book I found at the Kloof SPCA second-hand bookstore

For my father:
The Old Mutual Cricket Annual
Cadbury’s Whispers or a pool thermometer (still to get)

For my sister:
The Pig Out drinking boardgame

For my grandmother:
A Woolworths T-shirt
Cadbury’s Whispers

For my uncle and aunt:
A new golf glove
A strappy top from Edgars
(Possibly some nice coffee or the Titanic special e…

Hogwarts Bird Flu Scare

Beware spoilers if you haven’t read Harry Potter and The Half-blood Prince. Oh, and please feel free to circulate this around is it tickles your funny bone.

Bird Flu Strikes Hogwarts

A Daily Prophet Exclusive

In the latest in a run of bad luck for Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, avian flu has plunged the school into chaos.

Dozens of students and at least 2 teachers have been admitted to St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries after their fevers and severe chest colds did not respond to conventional treatment.

Unconfirmed reports suggest St Mungo healers are baffled about the disease, which has already killed over 70 people in Asia. Apparently healers are even consulting with Muggle doctors about how to combat the highly contagious illness. The Ministry of Magic has refused to confirm these rumours.

Until now the wizarding community has been untouched by the bird flu panic sweeping the Muggle world.

Apparently the epidemic at Hogwarts stems from close contact betwe…

Weird Situation

It’s a weird situation with Paul right now. Sometimes when I talk to him on the phone, or see him, it’s like things are back to normal. Then there are other times where I am not happy at all. Like Wednesday night for example.

Granted I wasn’t really in the mood to go out anyway- I was relaxing on the couch watching the Ben Stiller / Drew Barrymore black comedy Duplex- but I heard nothing about the plan of going out to Burn (Mark had mentioned it on Sunday but since I didn’t hear anything, I presumed it had fallen through).

When I SMSed Paul before going to bed, apologising for not phoning, I received the surprising reply, ‘I’m at Burn… Yeah… Came with Mark… At moment playing spare wheel’.

I was more annoyed than upset by being shut out. Mostly I was wondering if Paul had said anything about why I wasn’t there. I just think that at the moment Paul seems to be attempting to enjoy the best of both worlds- having a girlfriend while fantasising about singledom. Although it’s not usual, he lo…

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire

Paul and I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last night, and while it’s definitely a good, watchable film, it definitely had faults. Of course, anyone reading this blog entry needs to bear in mind that I really enjoy the books, and have just finished re-reading Goblet of Fire, so I’ll be a bit uptight about fidelity to the novel, and the way I always imagined things. Also, please beware Spoilers below.

On the positive side:

- Out of all the Harry Potter films, Goblet, despite showing the least school work of all the films, really captures the sense of Hogwarts as a school: there are the popular groups, the boys making snide comments about ugly girls, the emotional chaos caused by school dances, gossiping during silent study sessions etc. The school atmosphere was very credible.

- The Weasley twins and Neville Longbottom finally received the handling they deserved as likeable characters, and not just simple comic relief.

- Madame Maxine, Rita Skeeter and the Rasputin-like Karkaroff …

Weekend Round-up

The weekend was a hit and miss affair. Mostly miss as I sat at home the whole time until Sunday evening, and was woken at 5am on Saturday with a touch of gastro/food poisoning (I blame Centre Court at the Pavilion, where myself, my mother and my sister had lunch on Friday).

Anyway, After Paul’s big relationship talk on Thursday I promptly didn’t hear from him for a few days. I knew he was going to be on his sister’s farm on Saturday (taking G and Shirley up to do graphic design for Megan’s horse therapy company), either heading up there early on Saturday morning, or late on Friday. So I wasn’t too bothered that I didn’t hear anything from him then.

I was mildly annoyed when I went online on Friday evening and discovered him on MSN. It turns out he was going to the farm early on Saturday but hadn’t bothered to call me and tell me that he was sitting at home.

The kicker was Sunday morning when I received an SMS that he was going back up to the farm to help his father with manual labour in…

Gaming Update

I finished May Payne on the hardest Dad On Arrival setting, where you have 7 saves per stage. I’m not even attempting New York Minute, where you have a minute to complete every stage. It’s just too damn difficult. I hate games with time limits.

Anyway, my time filler game of the moment is the deluxe version of Zuma. I just had to beat my sister’s highest score at the addictive puzzle game, but I can’t seem to get past Level 9-4, which I presume is 3 or 4 stages from the end of the game.

Other than that I’m torn between carrying on with Knights of the Old Republic (which, once I’ve completed, I can delete off my PC and open up some space), or, move onto Max Payne 2, or even a Hitman game. But then Prince of Persia 3 is coming, which might scupper all of these plans.

So, of the brand new games coming out, definitely on my ‘To Play’ list are:
- Prince of Persia 3: The Two Thrones (I adore the acrobatics/puzzle solving/combat combo of the series)
- Total Overdose (Mexican GTA meets Max Payne m…

Christmas Present Plans

I pretty much have ideas for everyone in my family for Christmas. Paul’s family is another question but the usual plan is for Paul to do the buying and I attach my name to the tags. In turn, I add Paul’s name to my presents to my family.

Anyway, I’ve got a few options for presents for Paul from me. I’m definitely having his company logo embroidered on a cap to give him some alternate headware to his browny-grey, formerly black, Tool cap.

As for the remainder of his present I’m torn between buying him one or two DVDs that I know he’d like (things like Snatch and There’s Something About Mary)… or… maybe a copy of the Worms 4 Mayhem game. The latter would be something we could play together. So, instead of flipping a coin, I’m asking my blog readers which idea they think is better.

The Big Relationship Talk

On Thursday night, late, Paul and I had a long conversation about our relationship. Apparently Mr Cancerian has been brooding over ‘us’ for a while, but was waiting until exams were over before discussing anything with me.

The abridged version of the whole thing is that we’re not breaking up. However Paul isn’t sure where we’re going as a couple. Honestly, I share the same feelings. Marriage is an impossibility for us; we’re unemployed; just coming out of studenthood; still living at home with our parents. We’re at a point in our lives where everything is frozen up in the air. If this was 20 or 30 years ago, I think we’d probably already be married with children, in our own place by now.

Essentially, Paul is uncomfortable with the fact that this is his first serious relationship. Its mine too, but for whatever reason the fact that there might be ‘other things’ out there doesn’t bother me. We spoke for a long time about there being a statistic somewhere that couples whose first serious r…