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Showing posts from June, 2006

He's ba-ack!

Paul lands back in Durban today sometime after 12.

It was my intention to be super happy today. Pauls' return means presents and nookie- what more could a girl want?

However, work has conspired against me, dumping more and more work on my desk. I'm very stressed right now, particularly at the thought of losing the leave I asked for tomorrow. Here's hoping the grumpiness and stress doesn't go unnoticed and I can share out my workload with the other, less busy copwriters.

Where'd you go?

You probably never thought you'd see the day, but I am actually posting lyrics to a song on my blog. I've been really enjoying this one at the moment, for obvious reasons.

I think the music video portrays the song as some kind of anti-war message (young soldiers separated from their loved ones, who are left waiting for their return, or just any kind of news), but it very successfully captures the variety of emotions that long-distance separation produces - from sadness and longing, to resentment and anger.

FORT MINOR - "Where'd You Go?"

Where'd you go?
I miss you so,
Seems like it's been forever,
That you've been gone.

She said "Some days I feel like shit,
Some days I wanna quit, and just be normal for a bit,"
I don't understand why you have to always be gone,
I get along but the trips always feel so long,
And, I find myself trying to stay by the phone,
'Cause your voice always helps me to not feel so alone,
But I feel like an idiot, workin' …

Gotta love school holidays

Although I would love to be back enjoying those 3 to 6 week breaks from school and university - especially the not getting up at 6am bit - school holidays do have certain advantages for us wage slaves.

Free of disgruntled parents doing the school and work run, and badly driven buses packed with learners, the roads to work in the morning are so gloriously quiet...

The Weekend Recapped

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Friday

A very lazy evening of DVD watching. After travelling down to Durban with my mother to drop off my sister, I curled up on the couch under a blanket and watched some episodes of ‘Allo ‘Allo, followed by last year’s remake of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. At that point the long week caught up with me, and I was fast asleep by the time Violet chomped down on her snatched chewing gum.

Saturday

On Saturday morning I picked up the much belated Mother’s Day present I had ordered from Amazon.co.uk- a treasury of Mr Men and Little Miss stories for my mother.

Afterwards we went shopping at the Pavillion, where for the second weekend in a row I failed to find clothes that I like. I was specifically looking for a nice pair of jeans, and some long skirts. Despite trying, I could find nothing that I considered flattering. I must be in a weird inbetween size at the moment. Not even the R400 Levi jeans looked good. Either the waist gaped open or the jeans ended up looking like leggings, an…

Happy Birthday, Paul

Yes, he doesn't read my blog, but today (Tues 27th June) is his birthday. So send him an email or something to show you care.

When he's back from the UK (this Thursday) the idea is to go for the breakfast buffet at Joe Cools on Sunday morning to celebrate.

The Painful Price of Pride

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Murphy's Law. The minute you start bragging about how tough you are, you go and get hurt. Wednesday night’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, when it came to the grappling, was a bit of a disaster. It was frustrating submission after submission for me, where I was unable to get into a position where I could put a single learnt technique into practice.

Anyway, Chantelle got me into an armlock from a mount position, called a Keylock Armbar. You can visit this link for a written explanation of how to perform the move, but here are some pics I found online that demonstrate what happened to me.









Smart Noelle decided she could take it… and my elbow made an unusual popping noise.

It’s slowly coming right now, but I still can’t stretch my arm out completely straight or bring my right arm up to touch my right shoulder. It’s too bloody sore. I’m confined to mid range movement until the tendons return to normal. Micah has prescribed ice packs and rubbing on Voltarol Emulgel 3 times a day. He also smil…

Boobs in your face: A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu update

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I grappled with a girl for the first time on Monday. Having been practising for a few weeks with her muscled 6-foot boyfriend, who has been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a while, she is very strong and fast. She even managed to knock out one of the earrings I had put in on Saturday (you aren’t supposed to take them out for the first 2 weeks you have them).

Anyway, it was an unusual experience wrestling with a girl. As the title of this entry suggests, you often find yourself pressed face first against heaving bosoms (Suddenly class enrolment sky-rockets!). Fortunately I’m tougher than I look and she couldn’t get me to submit with either a choke or an elbow lock even though she was in a dominant position for most of the round.

My other grappling rounds these past 2 weeks have been up and down in terms of confidence boosting. Last week Monday I fought 2 bigger, more experienced guys and clung on through submissions. On Wednesday I grappled with a guy of my own experience level, in the sa…

Early anniversary gift... Ideas, anyone?

Paul is coming back from the UK next week with an anniversary gift for our 3 years together. Our proper anniversary is 24 August but he says he can't wait 2 months to give me the present (which apparently cost in the region of £50). So now I have to think of something for him at short notice...

My original plan was the award-winning train boardgame Ticket to Ride Europe (Paul loves trains and boardgames) but he's coming back loaded with similar loot. I don't think the game will feel special in that context. So instead I'm keeping that idea in reserve for Christmas.

That does however leave me clueless in terms of a special anniversary gift... Suggestions anyone?

More Football World Cup

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Yes, it's a powerful, attention-grabbing image of England striker Wayne Rooney splattered with England's St George's cross, but it hardly makes me want to buy Nike shoes. Yuck, too much 'blood' for my liking.





And while we're on the subject of English football, my oh my did the team suffer last night against Sweden when it came to defending corners... Terrible. I went to bed just after Sweden had equalised, and I was surprised this morning to hear the game actually ended with a drawn 2-2 score.

Anyway, there are a lot of emails circling at the moment of the world's hunkiest soccer players. England's Wayne Rooney, above, with his hooligan, 'I'm ready for a pub fight' looks is not one of them. Neither is the gangly, emaciated-looking Peter Crouch, who appears to have crawled out a chimney or a grimy clerk's office in a Charles Dickens novel.



Fortunately both players are very talented players, which is the most important thing. It's just am…

Humans are a disease...

Well, Agent Smith was mostly right. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that humans are diseased... At the moment my sister and father are both splayed out at home with severe, debilitating flu. They literally cannot get up.

I've taken to quarantining myself in my bedroom, and increasing my Vitamin C intake. If I'm sick when Paul gets back, or when the Vodacom July comes around next weekend, the Balrog in Lord of the Rings will have nothing on me!

A New Look

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I would say ‘Spot the difference’ but apparently people don’t notice or care about personal grooming…



Anyway, one of the two changes was a personal choice (a necessity in fact because of how it was starting to irritate me); the other was a thank you to Paul. It’s tit for tat in terms of doing something special for your partner…

I think shorter hair makes me look like Selma Blair in Legally Blonde.

The Soccer World Cup 2006

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I’ve haven’t seen many of the FIFA World Cup matches but some of the games I have seen have been pretty entertaining. Although I stick by my opinion that so many soccer players are drama queens, dropping at the slightest shin tap in the hope of landing a free kick, you can see soccer’s appeal.



The main advantage of the sport (soccer or football, depending what you prefer to call it) is a very flowing game- there are little to no long, tedious stop-start-stop-start moments that can make rugby such a staccato game. And some of the attempts on goal are extremely exciting. You really get caught up in the fast-moving action.

I’m particularly looking forward to the match on the 22nd between the USA and Ghana. Of the games I have seen, most have been in Pool A (I think), which contains, the US, Ghana, Italy and the Chzek Republic. Although their defence isn’t so hot, Ghana has been doing an excellent job as one of the few African nations in the competition. They’re an aggressive, attacking te…

Superman: True Brit

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This weekend, I finished reading Superman: True Brit, a stand alone alternative take on the Superman legend. Essentially the question driving True Brit is what would Superman have been like if his spacecraft had landed in England, instead of the United States?



It’s a great concept but unfortunately, it isn’t explored to its full potential. There are elements that do work- Clark Kent (here Colin Clark) works for English tabloid The Daily Smear, using his superpowers, like x-ray vision and super-hearing, to get the latest smuttiest scoop on celebrities. Colin’s Superman alter ego allows him to make amends for his unethical behaviour. As Superman says, ‘If I’m helpful, pleasant and nice, nobody will ever think I’m a tabloid journalist.’

Another major positive in True Brit’s favour is the beautifully drawn artwork by John Byrne and Mark Farmer, and bright colouring by Alex Bleyaert.

The problem is though that the story is very bitty, and ends up being very disappointing in terms of missed op…

F.E.A.R.

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I finished F.E.A.R. (the single player campaign) over the weekend, and I can honestly say it’s a superb game, in so many ways.



You cannot do better if you are in the market for a scary shooter. Call of Cthulhu has the creepiness, but can be frustrating in its difficulty. Doom 3 has the frights but its trap-setting gets predictable after a while- you know at that end of that armour shard trail an imp will teleport in behind you.

Certainly F.E.A.R. is of the same school of horror shooters as Doom 3. It’s beautiful looking, with amazingly realistic light effects. It’s definitely adults only in terms of intense graphic violence and language. Creeping around in dark passageways, you certainly become damn reliant on your torch. And you are regularly freaked out by flashes of disorientating imagery and superb sound editing.

F.E.A.R. also draws on a gaming heritage that includes classics like Half Life and Max Payne. The AI is responsive and smart (numerous times my flash light alerted soldiers…

Advice to writers

You know, I'm not one for just arbly posting links and articles. This isn't that type of blog.

However, I just read this over at Neil Gaiman's blog, (one of my regular haunts) and it just made me feel a lot better about how stagnant my creative writing has felt at the moment.

Although I have yet to read any of his novels (Stardust is sitting on my bedside table waiting for me once I finish Superman: True Brit), I have read several of his graphic novels, including Death, the High Cost of Living. Gaiman's career trajectory and biography (he has dabbled in all areas of writing and creative production) has really positioned him as one of my career role models, along with Tim Burton. Anyway, Gaiman regularly answers fan questions on his blog and this was a goodie!

Neil,
I am a huge fan of both your work and your advice to aspiring authors (I have a post-it note with a quote from you about bear wrestling for when i get discouraged). So I know that your most common advice to a…

The Weekend through Monday

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Phew, busy week so far, so I’m only getting this up today…

Paul was at the Download Music Festival this weekend, watching dozens of the world’s best alternative bands, like Metallica, Tool, Korn, Lacuna Coil, Deftones and Prodigy on an exceptionally hot and sunny English weekend.





Back in SA…

Friday

On Friday evening I met up with Kate and Warren at the Pavillion and, too late for the 7:45 movie, and fed up of shouldering our way through gangs of 15 year olds, we went to Fego to have drinks, snacks and just chat.

We also did some browsing around Exclusive Books (Kate shares my views about tedious traditional fantasy but recommended the Earthsea series by Ursula LeGuin, which I am far more receptive to seeing as LeGuin is such a literary legend), and Look & Listen, where I picked up a few very cheap DVDs (50 First Dates, one of my favourite rom coms of recent years, and Danny De Vito’s excellent family film Matilda, based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s story).

Afterwards, Warren an…

The Omen remake

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I saw The Omen remake last night and while it’s not a bad film it just feels kind of pointless. It’s pretty much a scene for scene remake of the 1976 original, no doubt released to cash in on the once in a lifetime 06-06-06 date.

If you haven’t seen the film, or read David Seltzer’s book, you’ll probably enjoy the fact that the film keeps the horror real. There are no swirling demonic minions; just ordinary people working for evil, and often regretting their actions.

Otherwise, if, like me, you enjoyed the original film and the novel, you may be a bit bored in parts, particularly during the mystery-solving scenes in which Damien’s origins are uncovered. The 2006 film adds nothing new for viewers familiar with the original story, apart from a few references to the early 21st Century being the End of Days.



Still, it’s not a bad film; just disappointingly average. Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles competently fill the original roles played by Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, and the supporting c…

Jiu-Jitsued out

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This last weekend was the first weekend of Paul being away in the UK. The emptiness hasn’t set in yet, largely because I’ve been so busy so far this June.

Friday

I stayed late at work just socialising by the boardroom bar. It turns out that every year the company throws a huge Vodacom July party, hiring out and decorating a tent at the racecourse. Everyone has to come dressed up according to the decoration theme. Although I always bet on the July, I’ve never been to the event, so this will be my first time at the races and I’m really looking forward to it. Partners are also invited so Paul will be coming to what apparently every year degenerates into a massive piss up.

Seeing as I had to be up early on Saturday morning, I had a quiet evening at home on Friday. I loaded and played some F.E.A.R, which truly is one of the best games of recent years. Every time you think it’s starting to get ‘samey’ something will happen to throw the game in a new direction, or rejuvenate the freaky factor. …

June GEAR column: False Prophets and the Gaming Holy Grail

Seeing as it's June, it's time to post my June GEAR column here. Unfortunately this month in the magazine the last 95 or so words were accidentally cut (From 'But perhaps...' ).

I don't know if it really makes a difference to the sense of the column, or the strength of the argument, but it was a concern since this is probably my most 'controversial' opinion piece to date... and, I think, one of my best. Anyway, here is the column in full...


False Prophets and the Gaming Holy Grail

Let’s set something straight, right now. Competitive gaming is not a sport.

Somewhere along the line, with the flinging about of bizarre, misleading terms like ‘cyber-athlete’ and ‘e-sports’, people have become confused by false prophets.

Jonathan ‘Fatal1ty’ Wendel, arguably the world’s best competitive gamer, suffers from just such a Moses complex. Proclaiming himself an ‘E-sports Ambassador’ Wendel has jumped centre stage, preaching that competitive gaming will soon be a legitimat…