Sunday, December 28, 2008

Miss Congeniality

I am including this post for two reasons – firstly because Luke thought that this story was hysterically funny, and secondly because I hope that it will serve as a warning to those of us who have an altruistic nature, occasionally to our detriment. I realize that my second reason makes this post sound fairly ominous, and so I suggest that you divert your attention to the humour of the incident.

On Saturday morning, I was running some errands for my family. I stopped at Norwood Pick ‘n Pay, and was en route to the vet where I work to pick up the kittens who were due to spend the weekend with me. The roads were almost completely deserted, on account of the annual Johannesburg mass exodus to the coast, and I pulled to a stop at the traffic light on The Avenue in Norwood. As I waited for the light to change, I glanced at a thin, middle-aged white woman, who was standing on the corner, attempting to hail a minibus taxi. She was unsuccessful, and the oncoming taxi zoomed past her, obviously taking full advantage of the quiet roads (not that taxi’s generally pay much attention to other cars anyway). I leaned forward to glance at this, and as I did so, the woman noticed me, and ran towards my car. “Maybe she’s lost, or from another country” I thought, as this would surely explain why she was standing on the side of a suburban road, trying to get a lift. She came round to the driver’s side of my car – where my window was rolled down – and politely asked if she could have a lift. Rapidly glancing at her before unlocking the passenger-side door, I concluded that she seemed harmless enough. Petite, thin and dressed in jeans and a bright pink t-shirt – to match the awful pink sunglasses that she was wearing -, she seemed to be relatively ordinary and not particularly likely to endanger my personal safety. Besides, I was only going about 500m up the road, as I assumed that I would drop her at the intersection at the top of the road. The traffic light finally changed as she got into the car and I made my way towards Grant Avenue, while she rapidly explained that her car was being repaired and that she was eternally grateful to me for giving her a lift. And then she asked if I also had R60 for her. She had only been in the car for a minute and I was now starting to wonder if this was such a good idea! My doubts continued to grow as she asked what my name was, and then declared that Candice was her favourite name - what a serendipitous occurrence! She introduced herself as Jan. By this point, I had carefully stowed my handbag behind my seat, and was silently counting the intersections until her designated drop-off point, which I decided to confirm. As it turned out, she actually wanted to be dropped off at the KFC on Louis Botha Avenue. I weighed up my options – on the down side, this was not actually on my route to the vet, but on the plus side, Louis Botha is quite busy, even on a long weekend, and it was only 2 minutes away. Besides, Jan was now chattering to someone on her cellphone, asking them for 150 grams of chocolate (as I began wondering whether her skeletenal frame was due to Weight Watchers – or possibly anorexia) and so I kept driving. Having finished her call, she turned to thank me once again, although I noticed that despite Candice being her favourite name, I was now being called Kim. I also noticed a somewhat alcoholic aroma wafting from her. Counting the minutes until I could drop her off, I pulled onto Louis Botha, and decided to compromise by dropping her off at the BP Garage, which is about 100 metres from the KFC, as I concluded that I had done my good deed for the day. Pulling into a side road, she thanked me, wished me all the best for the festive season and hoped that God would bestow his blessings on me, hugged me and alighted from my vehicle – much to my relief, especially since my handbag remained untouched.

I now vaguely remember being warned about this woman a few months ago – a warning which I obviously forgot on Saturday! It was certainly one of my less-than-sterling judgement calls – one which I plan to not repeat in a hurry, not because I’m overwhelming paranoid about my safety, but rather because I need to learn to stand up for myself and know when to say no because my gut-feel is telling me to do so and to not feel guilty about it – even if it means saying no to a random stranger named Jan. I think I shall limit my good deeds to looking after kittens and volunteering on suicide hotlines instead.

The upside (?) of this incident has undoubtedly been the amusement factor of seeing straight through someone (that “Candice/Kim” thing just reduces me to giggles) – as well as Luke now recounting to everyone how I picked up a woman on the side of the road! For the record (just in case he tells you this story), she was not a prostitute (despite the unfortunate dress sense) – or at least, I didn’t stick around to find out! The fact that she asked me for money will be ignored…

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Surviving Christmas

The annual interrogation has begun! Every year, people ask me how my Christmas was. And every year, I politely explain that I’m Jewish, and that my Christmas day was thus not spent cooking, carving turkey or comparing gifts with family members around the Christmas tree. Looking suitably mortified, people then begin apologizing profusely for the misunderstanding and then generally ask “So, it’s just a normal day for you then? So, what did you do?”

I probably have a little more experience than most people in terms of religious holidays, as I have spent quite a few Christmases with my Christian family members, as well as having celebrated Jewish holy days. And so, I have developed an interesting religious understanding of both sides of the coin, which has come in rather useful! I always look forward to Chanukkah and I succeed in doing Christmas shopping like a demon (as an aside, I am extremely chuffed with the gifts I chose for people this year), while not getting overly bogged-down by the commercial nature of the holiday, as I always find something creative to do with each gift (although baking and making my own wrapping paper may have been going too far this year). It basically comes down to the fact that I really draw satisfaction from finding the perfect gift for my friends and then adding a personal touch to it, and I like being able to do something special for those around me, regardless of the religious connotations of the holiday. And I’m not at all bothered when people wish me a “Merry Christmas” – I just take it as them wishing me well over the festive season! Oddly enough, this year really has felt a bit strange, and it may well be because of me wishing people a “happy Chrismukkah”! Yes, I did say Chrismukkah – I have combined Christmas and Chanukkah to form this unique holiday, and have used it to convey general festive greetings to people, with some degree of amusement!

And now allow me to provide a little cross-cultural insight into what I have done today, on the 25th of December! I woke up at 6:21am, to the sound of my phone receiving a text message. I was still slightly asleep, and so didn’t bother to read the message, but rather rolled over and went back to sleep until 7:30am or so, at which point I woke up and wondered who on earth would have sent a message so early. I narrowed it down to 3 guesses – my boss, Richard, who could be at work, checking up on the dog with tick-bite fever, Helen, the other receptionist from work, who has a 6 year-old daughter, or Anthony, who has notoriously strange sleep-cycles. Having read the message, I discovered that it was Helen, and guessed that her daughter had likely woken the entire household on Christmas morning in anticipation of opening presents! Having had breakfast and then retreated back to bed to read for an hour, I decided to wash my hair, in the hope of feeling more human. It helped, but only slightly, as I realized that my Myprodol hangover was here to stay. I had taken 1 tablet the night before because of the intense pain which has been creeping from my left hip, along my leg and down to my knee for the past 2 days, and with little hope of seeing a physiotherapist, I had decided to drug myself to see if it would help at all. Unfortunately, the Myprodol only succeeded in knocking me out for 10 hours (explaining why I fell asleep after receiving the 6:21am SMS), and did little to ease the pain in my leg. Having checked my Facebook account and email, and feeling terribly unmotivated, I retreated to my room to elevate my leg (which only made my foot go numb) and lost myself in Marion Keyes’s “Sushi for Beginners”. And believe me that when I say “lost myself”, I really do mean it! Somehow, the Myprodol hangover produced not only serious fatigue (which is still present, 25 hours later!), but also resulted in me empathizing with the characters in the book to a rather extreme extent! I not only read 300 pages of the book in 1 day, but also felt like I had become a character (and not in that wretched post-modern way of ‘relating to the text because of individual subjectivity’ stuff) in the book! In 1 day, I feel like I’ve moved to Dublin, become a magazine editor, fallen for a stand-up comic and been cheated on by my stand-up comic boyfriend with my best friend, and ended up… Well, I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, in case you ever feel compelled to read the book! Fair to say that at this point, I’m quite glad that I was reading light-hearted chick lit, rather than some murder mystery or the usual books on mental illness that I usually read! I also feel compelled to explain that I don’t usually read chick lit – I got the book from book-club, and having enjoyed some of the author’s other books, decided to read this one as a change from my usual reading choices!

So, other than having sorted through my interesting stash of Christmas presents, and having sent a few “happy Chrismukkah” SMS’s, today has been a rather relaxed day! I have also received a few interesting SMS’s, from Kirstan (who hopes that I find a special someone beneath the mistletoe), Paul (who wished me a “Messy Chris Hani Car”) and Luke, who sent a suitably “normal” message by comparison! And that has been that – aside from having spent the day wondering whether mistletoe is a shrub, tree or vine, and whether I could buy a pot-plant of the stuff, just for fun!

Please note though, that this is by no means an accurate account of what most Jewish people probably do on Christmas! This is just what I happened to do today, on account of some Myprodol, cloudy weather, a sore leg and a good book! In any case, a happy Chrismukkah to you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This post was actually supposed to be about something else – the topic came to me the other day while I was swapping CDs in my CD player and I thought that I should write it down so that I wouldn’t forget it. Naturally, I didn’t write it down and I now have no idea what the fantastic blog topic was. Maybe it will come to me again sometime…

So, by default, this post is going to involve some reminiscing – not about the forgotten topic, but rather about a really amazing thing that happened a month or 2 ago, and which I haven’t had the chance to write about. I am an avid 94.7 listener (alternating every so often to 95.4, UJ FM, mostly because of the alternative rock music which dominates their playlist), and listen to the afternoon drive show with Alex Jay on most afternoons, especially since that is usually the time when I’m at work, and the radio is normally on in the background (provided I can hear anything over the barking dogs). Aside from the “5 o’clock Funnies”, one feature of the show which I really love is “The Drive Song”. Basically, Alex has spent the past 4 months or so asking listeners to let him know what their favourite driving song is, and every day at 17:35, he calls someone who has emailed in a suggestion and has a chat to them and then plays their song. There have been some really good suggestions over the past couple of months, and the songs themselves have been quite diverse – everything from London Calling to Bohemian Rhapsody. It got me thinking about what my favourite drive song is too.

And then one morning, I woke up with Greenday’s cover of John Lennon’s song Working Class Hero in my head, and realized that it would make a pretty good drive song, mostly because I’ve had a couple of moments of doing 90km on the M1 while singing along at the top of my lungs to it! And so, giving it no further thought, I emailed Alex Jay and sent in my suggestion. No sooner had the email gone, did I realize that I might have to speak on radio if my song was chosen! I panicked for a couple of minutes and then calmed down, assuming that the chances of him calling me were as slim as any self-respecting emo boy’s skinny jeans.

There I was, a week later at work, when my phone rang. I ignored it, because I was helping a customer, and didn’t get the chance to check my voicemail until 15 minutes later. The voice on the message was awfully familiar – and then I realized that that was because, at the same time, Alex Jay was speaking on the radio behind me. He called me back an hour later, just to make sure that I would be able to answer my phone at 17:30 so that I could chat to him about the song, and having got permission from my boss to drop everything – including abandoning any clients who might be waiting at 17:30 - I anxiously awaited the phone call. And so, at 17:30, Alex called me, and I listened to the sports report while I waited for him to introduce my song. I was marginally terrified – despite having done public speaking for 12 years – but managed to chat to Alex about the song, explaining that I loved to head-bang to it in traffic, and dedicating it to all my friends who were writing exams. Alex was incredibly friendly and fun throughout, and most of my nervousness subsided. And then he played the song and wished me luck for my exams! And those were my 15 seconds of fame, which, while rather unexpected, were awfully cool too, even if only 1 of my friends actually heard me on radio!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stranger than Fiction

This is probably the quickest update on my “20 Firsts” list so far! I am pleased to announce that I have finally finished reading “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, and have thus completed the entire series. This probably doesn’t sound like much of an achievement, but I have waited 4 years to actually do this! I still remember debating possible plots with Dean and Thomas in 2004, just after the sixth book in the series had been published, as we tried to figure out what J.K. Rowling had in store for Harry in the final book. While it was published in 2006, I didn’t buy a copy for a couple of months – mostly because my mother was hunting for a copy that didn’t cost R300, and since I was immersed in tons of reading for my English literature courses at the time, I didn’t even have the opportunity to read it when we eventually bought it. And so, the book has been sitting appetizingly on my shelf for the past year and a half or so, waiting to be read. I eventually gave in last December, and decided that in my 2 month long holiday, I would read the entire series, but I ran out of time – especially since I was presented with two 900 page books to read for my course (as an aside, I would just like to warn everyone never to read “Middlemarch”. It is amazing – nothing happens in it, consistently, for over 900 pages, and then it ends. I am 1 of probably 5 people in my course who have read the book, and I suspect that 3 of the other people actually only read the Sparknotes). I did manage to re-read the first 5 books, and as soon as my academic work came to an end this year, I reached for the sixth book, which I finished about a week ago, and then moved onto the final book. It has been nail-biting stuff. I must confess that if one were to walk past my room, you might also hear me exclaiming aloud, to no one in particular, as I read about the final exploits of Harry, Ron and Hermione, and, as many predicated I would, I even cried as I read the last few chapters. I finished the book about an hour ago, feeling a tad emotionally drained, as well as rather elated, and a little sad that there will be no new tales about Hogwarts, Gryffindor and Blast-Ended Skrewts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dressed to Kill

I have recently realized – with a bit of panic – that I have just over 6 months left in which to complete my “20 Firsts” list. With almost 2 months of holiday still left, I hope to get at least a few more of them completed soon. One which has been completed, however, was my mission to find somewhere to wear my little black dress. I’ve had the dress for at least 4 years, and have just never worn it, mostly because a suitable occasion has never really arisen for wearing the dress, since I don’t get invited to too many cocktail parties. The dress itself is a knee-length halter-neck, with a rather plunging neckline. In fact, the neckline probably accounts for at least 80% of the reasons why I haven’t worn the dress! As much as I would look good in it, it has just always felt a little too risqué to wear to a birthday party or dinner. It should probably also be mentioned that I actually didn’t buy the dress myself, as it was a gift – and I know that my taste is clothes is a lot more conservative!

Opportunity finally called a few months ago though, when Chris – of all people! – announced that he was having a semi-formal theme for his 21st birthday party! The theme was “Jo’burg Society”, and Chris’ vague description of suitable attire stated that boys should wear collared shirts, ties and pants which were “not jeans”. Girls were to wear whatever the female equivalent of the male attire was, and between us, Natalie and I assumed that this hinted at the cocktail dress department. And so, I decided that this was finally my chance to wear the dress!

The party itself was actually one of the most enjoyable 21st’s that I’ve been to this year! I had decided to drag Luke along, as my partner/date/plus-one, as the prospect of driving to Fourways alone was not one which I particularly relished. Having arrived at Luke’s house to find him picking out a tie, and after a quick (and very strange) chat with his dad, we were off, dressed to the nines – and personally, I was feeling a little nervous, on account of the somewhat daring dress. I really didn’t want to tarnish the impeccable reputation that I’d established with Chris’ family! Upon arrival at Chris’ house, we were greeted by Chris, Natalie, Dione and Morgan. It really was strange to see everyone dressed up, after having only ever seen each other in our casual, everyday outfits – usually jeans, t-shirts and comfortable shoes – for the last 3 years! After some socializing (and the awful realization that some of the students who Luke TA’s were around), we wandered off the other side of the house, where tables had been set up for supper. Having found our seats – each marked with a tiny wooden animal (which Chris assured were not chosen as a result of any personal resemblance to any of us) – we enjoyed the food, as well as some amusing video footage of Chris’ life and his dad’s emotive speech. Chris’ own speech was even more entertaining – mostly on account of his dry wit, as he told us how lucky we all were to have made the guest list for the party! And then he sprang a surprise, by telling us all to look at the back of our seats, where a new name tag was hidden, and to get up and find this name tag. This was Chris’ way of getting us to mingle – at least for dessert. It worked fairly well – I ended up the midst of his high school friends, but soon escaped when Kirstan and Marc arrived. After dessert, as everyone else either settled around the fire or went to dance, Kirstan, Marc, Luke and I amused ourselves by holding a spontaneous photo-shoot, assisted by the big, white wall which served as a background, as we spent the next hour striking increasingly ridiculous poses. This would later explain why the photos from Chris’ 21st only featured about 5 shots in which Chris was present – the rest were filled with Luke and me pretending to be matric dance dates or all of us posing as ninjas. We eventually exhausted ourselves, and spent the rest of the evening sitting outside, with Luke and Marc delving into philosophical discussion, while Kirstan and I dashed off to dance to the occasional song.

CD cover for our nonexistent band pose.

Matric dance shot

Super-ninja shot

All in all, it was a greatparty, and I finally got to wear my little black dress somewhere appropriate – and turned a few heads in the process! Hopefully, I’ll get to wear it again sometime soon!

Proof that Chris was actually at his own 21st!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Wedding Crashers

As promised, here is my update on my search for a date for the wedding, or as it should be called, the “Wedding Date Woes”.

Sadly, my previous post did little to inspire guilt in any potential dates, and so I resorted to subtly making it known that I needed a partner by changing my Facebook status to assorted variations on the theme of “Candice is wondering if there are any eligible bachelors out there who would like to come with her to a wedding”. After 3 weekends of this, I only got 1 response, from Thomas*, who sounded eager, but then realized he was going away with his family that weekend. It was a case of “so close, and yet, so far” – something I have got used to in the last few weeks. After realizing that Luke, Duncan and Chris – all perfect, eligible bachelors - were unavailable, I moved onto the less obvious candidates on the bachelor list. First up was Shaun*. We get along fantastically, but having just returned from Cape Town*, and leaving for Austria* in a couple of days, the date of the wedding was a bit problematic for him. And so, I moved on to Alex*. This was a little more complicated, given that he is actually my ex-boyfriend. Nevertheless, he is a great guy and we still get along very well. I also knew that he would be the perfect person to take on a road-trip, because he loves travelling! Alas, it turned out that he was travelling to Sabi Sabi for the next few weeks… At this point, I must admit that I was starting to panic. The requirements for the date were moving away from “eligible bachelor” and towards “available and willing”, or at least “unlikely to make too much fuss if I abduct them”. Peter* seemed to fit the first category, and was thus the next option, despite having only known him for a few weeks. After much emailing, however, I discovered that, with his sister away and his grandparents being old and frail, it was a less than ideal time for him to disappear for 3 days. And so, I moved onto my last real option, Aaron*, an engineer, who was unfortunately writing a supplementary exam in the week after the wedding, and needed to commune with his maths textbook. Between these individuals were a few less notable others, who were not really options, based on their current girlfriends. Awkward!

And so it was on Tuesday morning, when I phoned Becka and told her that I wouldn’t be coming. I felt really bad about this, especially since I was the only school friend of hers who would be going. I was also incredibly disappointed, partly because I was looking forward to a weekend away, the wedding itself and just having fun, and partly because of the date saga. I know that the level of disappointment is generally proportional to the level of expectation, and so, if one has little or no expectation, one will never be disappointed. The thing is, I don’t think my expectations were unrealistic. After the engagement party, I really thought that getting a date would be easy, as I thought that I would either be in a relationship, or be able to find a date fairly easily, especially since I have a lot of lovely guy friends. Clearly, I was not meant to go to the wedding! My only consolations are that the guys all had legitimate excuses (none of them were like “Sorry, I can’t, I have to cut my toenails that weekend”) and that I have now well and truly got over any fear of rejection that I might have had! I have also saved a heck of a lot of money on petrol and accommodation (part of which I’m going to spend on getting my passport – and maybe a massage, as Luke suggested). And, I got a really gorgeous, (albeit horribly expensive) red dress out of the deal – one which will hopefully eventually be worn to a wedding, along with a lovely, eligible bachelor on my arm!
*names of people and places changed to protect the identities of the innocent/guilty/unavailable.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Wedding Planner

As I mentioned in my previous note, I’m attending a wedding in 3 weeks time. I’ve been extremely excited about this for most of the year – although the excitement has turned to panic in the last month.

The wedding is that of my friend, Rebecca and her long-time boyfriend, Danson. I’ve known Becka for most of high school and we’ve remained friends during varsity. She and Danson are one of the nicest couples I know, and while I’m usually pretty adamant that people should avoid getting married young, I’m certain that Becka and Danson are perfect for each other. The wedding itself is being held on 29 November, at Cathedral Peak, which is where Danson proposed, and Pietermaritzburg is Becka’s home town, so the area has special significance for both of them.

In my experience – mostly gained from watching numerous TV shows and movies - it is perfectly normal for the bride to be in a state of panic – or moderate anxiety – prior to the wedding. As far as I know, the guests are not really supposed to partake in this worry – they are supposed to show up at the wedding, comment on how lovely the happy couple looks, have a good time at the reception, smile in photos, eat some wedding cake and then go home. Easy. Fun. But somehow, with 3 weeks to go until the wedding, I am a bundle of nerves, for one simple reason: I don’t have a date!

Now, I should’ve learned from my previous experience with dates/partners/plus-one’s. When I was invited to Becka’s engagement party at the start of the year, I struggled to find a partner. I asked Luke and Duncan (both of whom were away for the weekend), Steven – who had a braai to go to – and Chris, who had to go to his brother’s birthday dinner. Just under a week before the party, I managed to get my friend, Ben, to come with me, and we had a fantastic time.

I seem to be experiencing déjà vu, ten months later… I have the wedding gift, a gorgeous red dress, and have organized to drive down to Cathedral Peak and camp at a camping site nearby. Alas, my search for a date has not proved fruitful. Luke is travelling to the other end of Kwa-Zulu Natal to complete his scuba diving qualification, Duncan is unavailable and Chris is away for the weekend. And now I am stuck and confused. I honestly have no idea who to ask! In my mind, it really shouldn’t be this difficult to find someone to come on an all-expenses paid trip for a weekend and to look good in a suit for a couple of hours! It’s pretty much a free holiday!

But, it is proving surprisingly difficult to find someone – and I don’t think this is because I’m being fussy. I don’t particularly want to take someone I don’t know very well, because the 5 hour drive - and 3 days together - could be a bit of a problem if it turns out that the random brother/best friend who is “so hot” proves to be seriously lacking in the frontal lobe department. On the other end of the spectrum, I know at least 2 guys who would give their left arm to come with me, but I’ve worked really hard to draw boundaries with these individuals, and taking one of them to the wedding will probably give them false hope about romantic possibilities with me – something I definitely don’t want to encourage! But because desperation is sinking in, I have now even seriously considered calling my ex, Alastair, out of sheer desperation, because I’m considering not going, because of my datelessness – and because there is no way I am driving to Pietermaritzburg by myself (for the sake of both my sanity and my safety).

At this point, I am holding thumbs and hoping that some lovely (or at least “alive” - because beggars can’t be choosers) boy-person appears and says “I’d love to come with you!”, or at least shuffles his feet, puts his hands in his pockets and says “Okay, fine, I’ll come”. Either way is fine with me!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Holiday

As usual, this post begins with an apology for the sparseness of my blogging in the past few months. This has mostly been due to varsity work and exams, which have taken up most of my time recently. Fortunately, exams went well, and I’m now waiting for the results – and hopefully my acceptance into Psychology Honours at Wits!

Needless to say, the “20 Firsts” list was also put on hold, due to time constraints. Luckily, I’m now faced with the prospect of 3 months’ worth of holiday, and so I should be able to tick off at least a few more items from the list. This is likely to be my last “proper” holiday for a while, because of Honours – and hopefully Masters. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do for the next few months, but so far, I plan to go to work at the vet, as usual, read (both psych textbooks and all the books I’ve received this year, and which have remained on my bookshelf while academic texts have taken priority), sketch and paint (especially the half-finished works which are lying about), learn how to use Photoshop, potentially house-sitting, and hoping to catch up with friends (who I hope will not be joining the annual exodus from Johannesburg to the coast). I’m also going to a wedding in Pietermaritzburg at the end of November and hoping to go to Cape Town in January to visit assorted friends and family. Other than that, I’m pretty much going with the flow and seeing where things take me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


When I started my “20 Firsts” challenge a couple of months ago, for the most part I pretty much just wrote down random things that I wanted to do, and that’s how the list was compiled. One of them was going camping – not because I’ve never been camping, but because I really haven’t been camping since I was about 12! Since I wrote the list, I haven’t given very much thought to how I’m going to accomplish the items, mostly because I’ve been incredibly preoccupied with varsity and other “stuff”. So, I was amazed when I was actually invited to go camping by someone who doesn’t even know that my list exists (unless Dustin happens to read my blog and I don’t know, which is a little creepy!)!

The camping trip itself was centered around my friend Dustin’s 21st birthday party, and the theme was “Survivor” – inspired by the TV series. The invitations were scrolls, which told us that we were challenged to “out-drink, out-party and outlast!”, while surviving 21 hours! I was a little nervous about the party itself – not for fear of being devoured by “lions, tigers and bears”, but rather because I would be camping with 30 or so engineers, who form the bulk of Dustin’s circle of friends, and for those of you who don’t know, engineers are generally quite weird, especially en masse. Nevertheless, my friend Brad and I drove off to Dustin’s house at the Vaal River – aptly named “Vaalium” – on a Friday afternoon and prepared ourselves for the festivities (or having to crawl through mud and climb trees)…

Having arrived, we were greeted by Dustin, who handed us our buffs, splitting us into either the purple or orange team. We dragged our bags down to the river (a move we would regret at 4am, when the temperature dropped severely, but which was done based on the spectacular view), and set up camp. I set my 2-person tent up by myself, while next to me, 3 engineering guys (Andrew, Jonathan and Malcolm) tried to figure out how to put up their 2-storey mansion of a tent, and ended up with a couple of extra tent-poles, which was somewhat suspicious. So far, we had completed challenge #1: building shelter. We then walked back up to the house, where a ferocious game of volley-ball was underway. I took this as an opportunity to practice my photography skills, because I’m a hazard to myself and others on the volleyball court, although the engineers did eventually convince me to join them (and then spent the rest of the match deflecting the ball away from me).

How many engineers does it take to put up a tent? (Jonathan, Andrew and Malcolm)

With most of the survivors having arrived by this stage – and having suitably exhausted themselves with building their “shelters” and defeating one another at volleyball and pool –, it was time for supper. The most challenging part of this for me was not eating the entire garlic bread myself. Yes, as much as I am generally a picky eater, I can’t resist garlic bread! Luckily, I was soon distracted by the salad – and Malcolm kindly agreed to move the bread to the other end of the table…

The majority of the rest of the evening was spent playing pool, meeting engineers and listening to the merits of aeronautical and mechanical engineering over industrial engineering, playing “30 Seconds”, learning how to sokkie with Malcolm, listening to the merits of aeronautical and mechanical engineering over industrial engineering, eating chocolate cake, sitting around the campfire while discussing the merits of aeronautical and mechanical engineering over industrial engineering (which almost ended with me asking Richard if engineers EVER talk about anything else), and eventually ended up on the tennis court, at about 00:30am, playing doubles tennis matches with Malcolm, Rob and Andrew, and then action cricket with whoever was still awake and sober enough to participate at that hour! The most impressive part of this was definitely Rob, who is a lovely indie-emo boy, who became strangely enthusiastic about tennis at 1:30am, and was tearing around the court, drink in hand. Tennis was actually a lot of fun – although that might just be because Malcolm let me serve, and because Dustin really did look like John McEnroe!

At about 3am, we wandered off to our tents to get some much-needed sleep, and we woke up at about 8am, where we traded stories about who snored, who had kicked who in the head, and whose feet were the most frozen (I’m pretty sure I won!). Then, it was time for breakfast – lots of coffee, left-over cake and some scrambled eggs, mostly eaten by very tired, somewhat hung-over groups of people – and the packing up of tents (and the question of how to remove tent-pegs from the ground when they’ve been hammered in much too hard), and the eventual trek back to Jo’burg!

And that was my camping trip! It was certainly not what I expected, but most definitely enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the next one – regardless of the scenery, activities, company and food!

The Vaal scenery - worth freezing for!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Music and Lyrics

I am going to apologize for this post before I even begin it. For all of you who are not into somewhat pathetic, adolescent romance or who are likely to throw up at the mere suggestion of the age old scenario of “girl meets boy, girl likes boy, girl thinks about boy and wishes for more than a platonic relationship”, I suggest that you skip this post and return to my blog in a couple of weeks, when I am sure I will have written another far more cynical, saccharine-free post – most likely about some more death-defying moments on the M1 highway.

For those of you who have chosen to keep reading however… You have no one to blame but yourselves!

For the record, I don’t generally like posting “stuff” about my relationships – I can’t stand people who brag about how awesomely wonderfully fantastic their sweetie honey-bear significant other is. I also can’t handle long posts by the “desperate and dateless” contingent, as they bemoan yet another Saturday night spent at home by themselves. I’d like to think that my situation is at least a little different, although I’m not so sure about it.

So, I like a boy. It has been a long time since I have found someone who I like this much and who is incidentally a real person (I frequently fall for movie and TV characters, as well as lines in emo songs). I will not bore you with descriptions or details of his looks or personality – for your own sanity, and for fear that he may read this post. Nonetheless, he is lovely, and the kind of boy-person I would like to refer to as my “boyfriend” – if I may be so bold as to use that term. Oddly enough, I would probably also settle for him just knowing that I like him and him being okay with me liking him, because I am a little nervous of rocking the boat, and that is why I have not told him how I feel.

Before this gets any more nauseating, I will get to the point of this post. Basically, I was driving home the other day, thinking about the relationship between him and I and wondering what will come of it all, when a song came onto the radio that ironically epitomized my situation. The song is by a South African band called Freshlyground, and it’s called “I’d Like”:

What would you do if I kissed you?

What would you do if I held your hand and laid you down?

Would you find me overly familiar towards you? Would you call me insensitive, and say that I deserve to die?

What do I do with all these feelings tearing me up inside?

What do I do with all these wasted hours dreaming of you at night?

I'd like to call you sometime…

What would you do if you knew the truth?

What would you do if I told you the story of my life?

Would you find me overly familiar towards you?

Would you call me crude, fling me aside to the birds?

What do I do with all these feelings holding me back inside?

What do I do with all these wasted hours dreaming of you at night?

I'd like to call you sometime.

I'd like you to need me one time.

I’d like to call you sometime.

What would you do if I kissed you?

What would you do if I held your hand and laid you down?

Would you recognize it’s a need I've been fighting for so long? Would you recognize it’s a hunger only you can fill?

What do I do with all these feelings warming me up inside?

What do I do with all these precious hours dreaming of you at night?

I'd like to call you sometime.

I'd like you to need me one time I'd like to have you all the time.

I'd like to call you...”

So, there you have it. I don’t know what he would do if I kissed him, or if I just told him how I feel. Admittedly, the situation is not quite as romantic as the song itself, but it comes pretty close. I have no game plan at this point – just lots of uncertainty as I wonder about the situation. All I know is that if he asked me out, I would say yes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Before I begin this post, I must apologise for having neglected my blog in the last month. While I have been extremely busy, the main thing that has prevented me from writing has actually been the title of this post. I've had the idea for the post for at least 2 months, but haven't been able to think of a suitable title for it! It would appear that by choosing to make each post title the title of a movie or TV series, I've seriously limited my options! This post is supposed to be about my yoga class, and I have noticed a severe lack of movies entitled "10 Things I Hate About the Lotus Position" or "My Big Fat Greek Sun Salute". So, in desperation, I have opted for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", as it is at least Eastern (though Asian, and not Indian) and sounds somewhat yogic. If anyone has a better suggestion, please let me know! Now on to the actual post...

I love yoga. I've been doing it for over a year and I love the serenity of the movements, alongside the challenges of some of the postures. Plus, I have the coolest yoga teacher, who was incidentally also my matric English teacher! There are a lot of things that I am really good at - like balancing - and some things that I still haven't managed to get right, like the "Little Bird" posture (your knees balance on your elbows and you support your body weight on your hands). Classes are always interesting - and often amusing! For example, a couple of weeks ago, we had a new teacher, who was filling in while my usual teacher was away. She has just qualified as a yoga instructor, and was extremely keen to show off her abilities. As such, she manically corrected every single position we did - including "The Corpse" (lying flat on your back. How hard can it be to be a corpse? If you can sleep, you can do this!). Having repositioned all my limbs (and even my toes) for The Corpse, she proceeded to lead us in the usual end-of-class relaxation and meditation session. Yoga teachers love tell people to do mystical things, like synchronising their "inner" and "outer" breath, and breathing colours. This teacher told us to "harmonise our life currents", which almost sent me into fits of giggles (while everyone else in the class lay in their perfected Corpses, harmonising away). Oddly enough, I do believe a lot of the concepts that go along with yoga, like chakras and auras and such. It's really just the "mystical" way that yoga teachers incorporate them into classes that amuses me!

The "Little Bird" pose

Nonetheless, I am proud to announce that I have made progress with the "20 Firsts" list, because on the same night that I learnt how to harmonise my life currents, I also managed to do a shoulder stand! I was tired of doing the "easy" option at the end of the class (I usually do "The Bridge", which isn't too difficult), and so decided to give the full "Shoulder Stand" a shot. Much to my own surprise, it was actually quite easy, and I got quite comfortable, with my legs dangling above my head, in a suitably controlled, yogic way! And the rush of adrenaline (or possibly all the blood rushing to my head) was amazing!

The Shoulder Stand

I haven't quite got to the full "Head Stand" yet, but I'm working on it, one yoga class at a time. Updates will follow! Maybe I need to fully harmonise my life currents first...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Wedding Singer

As I mentioned in my previous post, wedding bells have been ringing for my friend Duncan's sister, Sarah and her fiance, Graham. I was lucky enough to be invited to the wedding on the 28th of June, and I was incredibly excited (and somewhat nervous) about it - excited because I absolutely love weddings (it's a girl thing) and nervous because of the prospect of finding a suitable dress and wearing heels for a couple of hours!

The big day arrived, and I set off for Duncan's house, dressed to the nines in my gorgeous red dress and black satin heels. I was greeted by Duncan - who looked dashing in his kilt, despite his uncertainty as to whether or not his knees were supposed to be visible - and ushered into the house, where assorted family members were gathered. I was duly introduced by his dad, and chatted to the bridesmaids, who I knew from my high school days. After a few more minutes of milling around, we set off in Duncan's car with his mom and the makeup artist, with me holding the buttonhole flowers and spare bouquet. I have noticed something about weddings - despite the facade of calm and serenity which the photos show when you glance at them a couple of months down the line, the behind-the-scenes preparation always involved panic, a late bride, forgotten garters and general stress for the family of the betrothed! And this chaos is capable of permeating innocent guests as well, as I discovered travelling in the car to the wedding, with Duncan's mom brushing his hair as he drove and telling him that getting speeding fines was okay, provided we got there on time (we were already 20 minutes late), worrying about whether we had lost family members who were supposed to be following our car, and wondering whether Sarah would be on time!

We did get to the church though, and by the time Sarah walked down the aisle, to the sound of bagpipes, all the panic of the afternoon (and probably of the prevailing 8 months) was forgotten. The ceremony was beautiful, the bride looked amazing and yes, I cried (and amazingly not because my feet were aching in those heels)!

Having made it through the most important part of the wedding, we drove to the reception venue, where I found myself among an assortment of Duncan's family again. This was initially somewhat terrifying, but I recovered after a cup of tea (caffeine and sugar being the surest way to regain sanity) and actually managed to remember most people's names. I was seated at my table - along with 6 people I had never met - and told that we were playing a game in which we had to identify the movie that the song which was currently playing was from. This proved to have great entertainment value, and we were undoubtedly the most jovial table - although this may have been because we were the closest to the bar! Dinner was lovely - even in my humble, vegetarian opinion - but the highlight of my evening was undoubtedly Duncan's singing. Yes, in case you were wondering who the said wedding singer was, it was Duncan, who has been doing opera for the last few years. He and Sarah's friend Xena sang "All I ask of you" from "Phantom of the Opera". And yes, I cried again, because it was beautiful! And I'm pretty sure that I wasn't the only one crying!

The rest of the evening was filled with dessert (lemon meringue pie!) and dancing with Luke and Duncan, garter-throwing and bouquet-catching (I failed miserably, but maintain that I'd had enough of the bouquet, since I'd held it for Sarah for most of the afternoon). And, in case you were wondering, my photographic skills did improve enough to take some decent pictures of the wedding! All in all, it was a fantastic evening, and my feet did eventually recover from those heels, which I actually managed to dance in (although I did take them off during dinner and the speeches), and which almost became comfortable at a point!

So, here's to weddings, kilts, handsome young men singing in kilts, heels, and good times with friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Just Shoot Me

It has been just under a week since I posted my “20 Firsts” list, and so far, things are going really well! I decided that starting small was probably a good idea, and so the first item to be ticked off the list was buying my digital camera.

I’ve never really taken a serious interest in photography, and I’ve got used to my little low-tech traditional Kodak film camera. I’ve limited my photography efforts to holidays, dances and birthday parties, and I’ve been quite happy with the results. That said, a digital camera has started looking increasingly appealing, mostly because my friend Kirstan is a professional photographer. She is forever taking gorgeous pictures, and this has made me take photography a little more seriously. Additionally, I like the instant gratification aspect of digital photography! As fun as film is, it gets a little pricey…

So, last week, I set off to buy my camera. Fortunately, I have “connections” and my friend Brad helped me to find the perfect camera at a really good price! It’s a Sony Cyber-Shot, with 8.1 megapixels. Having paid and got all the bits and pieces that needed to go with it, Brad handed me the camera and told me to go home and read the manual. And yes, I did in fact RTFM, mostly because this camera has so many hi-tech features that I really did need help! It has been a week of trial and error, but things are slowly improving. At least I now longer switch off the camera every time I try to take a picture, because the “power” button is next to the shutter button, and I kept confusing the two! I can now also use the zoom function, shoot in black and white and sepia, and no longer blind people with the flash! My pets and friends (I needed willing, somewhat gullible, subjects!), have suffered as I’ve slowly learned how to use the functions and I can now almost take decent photos, provided that the light is right and the subject stays still. The ultimate test will be this weekend, when I attempt to immortalize a few moments of Duncan’s sister’s wedding, and it should be something of a challenge!

Perhaps I should have specified on the list that I wanted to buy the camera and learn how to use it properly, but I’m sure with enough practice, I should be able to capture some memories on my camera, even if they are blurry or look dazed having been blinded by the flash!
Luke, being blinded by my photographic efforts...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

21 Grams

Tomorrow I will be turning 21. In the past while, I've realised that there are an awful lot of things that I would like to do, and while some of them are a little crazy, a lot of them are really ordinary, and most of them will be things that I have never done before (i.e. firsts). As such, I am setting myself a challenge - in the next year, I will do all 20 things on the list which I am entitling "Twenty Firsts".
As such, the twenty firsts are:
  1. learn to ride a bicycle
  2. make creme brulee from scratch
  3. watch the entire "Star Wars" movie series
  4. go on a roller-coaster and other amusement park rides (particularly those that involve heights!)
  5. go for drinks at the Bowls Club (lame, I know, but I've never done it!)
  6. go to the Johannesburg Art Gallery
  7. go for ballroom dancing lessons
  8. host a dinner party
  9. buy a digital camera
  10. overcome my fear of snakes (*shut up, Freud!*)
  11. go rock climbing
  12. read the last "Harry Potter" book
  13. watch the entire "O.C." series
  14. learn to do a shoulder balance or head stand in yoga
  15. go horse-riding
  16. attend an event where I can actually wear my little black dress
  17. learn how to apply eyeliner (there are emo-boys out there who put me to shame!)
  18. go camping (okay, I've done this before, but not in the last 8 years)
  19. get my passport
  20. paint a landscape

So, that is the list. I will probably post updates about my successes and misadventures as the year progresses. And, if you're interested in joining me on any of the escapades (or you're willing to teach me how to ride a bike!), let me know, because the company (and a cheer-leading squad) is always welcome!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Scary Movie

On Saturday night, after my birthday party, Luke, Duncan and I headed off to AFDA to watch the student film festival. I was very excited, because the last AFDA film screening I had been to was incredible, and I was really looking forward to this one. Duncan and I were also trying out his new "English literature tutor" disguise, consisting of a smart shirt, tie, ponytail and glasses, and I thought he looked pretty impressive.
We got to AFDA at about 19:30, and soon realised that we had missed the boat, because the students were packing up and the last screening had just finished. We wandered around for a bit, and then got back into the car and decided to head off to Hyde Park to watch a movie instead. The boys had decided that M. Night Shyamalan's new film "The Happening" was the way forward, and I didn't protest, because he is one of my favourite directors. "The Sixth Sense" is one of the best movies that I've ever seen, and I prefer his atmospheric thrillers to the usual blood and gore of most horror movies.
So, having booked our tickets, we walked into the cinema just in time for the start - Mark Wahlberg teaching a science class, while outside in New York City, thousands of people start dropping dead. I won't go into details about the actual movie, just in case you want to see it, but the basic pretence of the film is that "something" is inexplicably making people commit suicide across the state of New York. Is it the government? Brain-sucking aliens? Cellphone radiation? No one really knows, but people continue to spark their own demise in a number of creative - and surprisingly gory - ways.
Now, I didn't mind the fact that the plot was pretty far-fetched, that a lot of the acting was bad, or that a lot of the dialogue was somewhat ridiculous. I didn't even mind the gore (but by the way, since when does Shyamalan use the gross-out factor? Okay, admittedly, it's not nearly as bad as most horror movies, like "Saw", but it was a little strange). What I did mind was the tension and the surprise factor. I have now realised that I am probably the worst person to watch horror movies or thrillers with. I spent most of the movie with my hands clutched around Duncan's arm, and whenever there was the threat of blood, I buried my head into his shoulder. At one point, I even had my hands over my ears. Duncan was quite tolerant of this - seeing "Pan's Labyrinth" with me had probably prepared him for it! At one point, Duncan went to the bathroom though, so Luke was forced to put up with me grabbing his arm and doing the head-buried-in-shoulder thing. This would've been okay, had I not screamed audibly just as whatever was coming to attack the innocent victims suddenly emerged.
I survived the movie - and may have almost enjoyed it - but I was significantly freaked out and rather edgy for the rest of the evening. I have to conclude that I am a terrible person to watch thrillers with - unless the other party happens to like losing circulation in their arm and can put up with me hiding behind them for most of the movie, and I have a feeling that those individuals are few and far between.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Layer Cake

I must confess to having neglected my blog over the past few weeks, mostly because of exams. This is partially because I have been devoted to my studies and partially because nothing particularly exciting happens during exams – which is usually for the best, because exciting things tend to get in the way of academic endeavours. Actually, most things seem to get in the way of studying, because suddenly everything seems a lot more interesting than having to sit down and concentrate. And I do mean everything – cleaning my room has begun to hold a strange attraction for me…

So, after a few weeks of isolation, I was extremely excited about this weekend, because it was my 21st birthday party. I was rather nervous when I first planned the party, because most of the 21sts that I have been to have involved either clubbing (*shudder*) or large quantities of alcohol (*shudder*) or clubbing and alcohol, and none of these options looked particularly enticing. So, inspired by my friend Kirstan, I decided to have a tea party, and as strange as it seems, it was a huge success!

I spent the majority of yesterday morning baking, arranging plates and chairs and making tiny triangular sandwiches, and I was barely finished by 14:30 when guests started arriving. Having employed Luke and Duncan to direct parking, I ran around, frantically setting things up and organising tables. I was really stressed, because I wasn't quite sure how people would react to a tea party, and my guest list was somewhat interesting. Basically, I have a lot of very "diverse" groups of friends, i.e.

  • people I've known for ages, like Pam, who I've been friends with since I was 6!
  • high school friends, like Stead, Becka, Danson, Dustin and Brad, who I've somehow stayed in contact with over the years and who I reminisce with and annoy on a regular basis
  • BA varsity friends - like Chris, Dione and Natalie, who have suffered alongside me and borrowed my notes in English lit and philosophy
  • super-awesome friends, like Kirstan, who suffer alongside me in psych, analyze my dreams and try to find me hot dates
  • super-awesome plus one's, like Marc (Kirstan's boyfriend)
  • assorted random people who have accumulated from various events, and who are pretty darn cool, like Steven and Andrew
  • my knights, Luke and Duncan (the most awesome guys on the entire planet)

And somehow, it all worked out! Everyone had someone to chat to (even if it was my parents - sorry Luke!), and between eating lots of cake, brownies, sandwiches, quiches and various other baked goods, it was a very successful party. The weather was lovely, with not a cloud in sight and the engineers even remarked that it was a really good idea (so, apparently chocolate cake can compensate for a lack of alcohol), which assured me that they were having a good time! All in all, it was a really great afternoon, I am one of the few people on earth who will actually remember their 21st and I got to spend a fantastic afternoon with my awesome friends. And, despite having spent 2 hours washing dishes this morning, it was definitely a good idea and something which I plan to do again. In fact, I just might have to do it again, because we have so much leftover cake... Anyone interested in coming for tea?

Monday, June 2, 2008


After my last post - and the psychological trauma which accompanied by highway experience - I feel obliged to explain a few things...
Firstly, the incident was NOT Luke's fault! This is for all of you who may believe that Luke is a bad driver or an uncaring person who abandons people on highways. He definitely doesn't fall into these categories. He called to try to find me and was very, very concerned! I'm sure that if we had made it through that traffic light together, we would have got to Bedfordview quite easily!
Secondly, I have forgiven Luke for the trauma caused by this incident. This isn't really exceptional, since I generally let Luke get away with things no one else can. Case in point: he is the only person in the known universe who is allowed to call me "Candy" without me kicking them in the shins. Somehow, while with everyone else it seems like a porn-star name, with Luke it is strangely endearing. I have NO idea why...
Even if I had been annoyed with Luke for the highway saga, my anger would have been short-lived, because we spent a lovely hour watching the chimps on Friday afternoon in the winter sunshine at the zoo. I love watching the chimps - especially Charles, the youngest one. On Friday, he was trying his hand at being arboreal, and hanging from a tree branch which was only barely in his reach! It was too cute! We recorded some data from one of the older female chimps, and then Luke and I had lunch at the zoo restaurant. I wasn't really hungry, but Luke insisted on ordering me a gigantic slice of chocolate cake, despite my protests. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a chocolate cake addict, so I was in awe and a state of joy when the enormous dessert arrived. It took me forever to eat it, and I eventually enlisted Luke to help me, because otherwise we would be there for 2 hours! We sat and discussed movies and script-writing and other arb topics, and Luke was instantly forgiven (not that I had been particularly upset before). Yes, forgiveness is chocolate-coated...
So, let it be known that a) Luke is innocent, b) I hate being called Candy and c) I love chocolate cake. If in doubt, revert to d), which is that chocolate cake, sunshine and chimps can solve any problem!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Fast and the Furious

I have just had the most horribly nerve-wracking experience of my entire life!

It started innocently enough. I was at Wits today when Luke and I realised that we both needed to go shopping. I wanted to buy a gift for my friend's baby shower and Luke needed tyres for his bicycle, highlighters and a black shirt. We decided to go to Eastgate, since it was fairly close to his house and somewhat close to mine. We agreed to take the highway, and we would meet at his house.

Now, I have only had my licence for a little over a year and I only ever drive on 2 highways - the M1 and the N3. And, I only ever drive certain parts of these highways. So, Luke agreed to let me follow him and promised that he would not lose me. I should have got him to write this in blood...

I followed him out of Wits and through town to get to the M1 South onramp. So far, so good. Right up until the traffic light before the onramp, because Luke drove onto the onramp, while I was stuck at the traffic light, waiting for on-coming traffic to pass. I watched him drive off as slowly as he could, and then I gunned it up the onramp and onto the highway. I was nervous from the instant I got onto the highway - for some reason, traffic was incredibly heavy. But, I could see Luke just 3 cars ahead of me, so I felt okay. This didn't last long though, because traffic sped up and Luke and I were separated by more cars. I thought that I would be okay though, since I was sure that the road stayed straight. Except that it didn't. I suddenly realised that the highway forked, and that while I was on the left, Luke had gone right. So, I panicked. And slowed down and tried to speed across the painted lines which separated the 2 diverging highways. Why I did this, I have NO idea! It is SUCH a stupid thing to do. My brain and all reason had shut down by this stage. I now realise that I should have just gone right and not risked a gigantic accident. Except that I was so worried about getting lost that I pulled to a stop in the middle of a highway.

Luke was no nowhere to be seen (in fact, he may have actually gone right, for all I know). I managed to pull off and then heard my phone ringing. I never, ever answer my phone while driving, but figured that these were exceptional circumstances. I answered Luke's call - just as I happened to drive past a Metro cop! I really hope that they were preoccupied... Luke gave me some directions, which I forgot instantly, due to my panic and the fact that I was shaking like a leaf. I told him that I would meet him back at his house. Yes, I still thought that I would somehow make it to Bedfordview. Still panicked, I carried on driving (all while watching my petrol indicator drop lower and lower), and eventually took an off-ramp which looked somewhat familiar, since it was labelled "Joe Slovo Drive". I followed it, thinking that it would soon lead me somewhere, except that it didn't. There was another familiar-looking road which apparently lead to Bruma (near Bedfordview), but I misread the sign and went straight instead of left. And so I ended up in some dodgy part of the CBD, took a couple more wrong turns trying to get back to the Bruma road, and eventually just gave up and continued down Joe Slovo Drive until I found Louis Botha. The irony of this is that I am normally terrified of Louis Botha, but by this stage I was so relieved to have found it that I even drove home along it!

So, needless to say, I never made it to Bedfordview and Luke went shopping by himself. I arrived home and had a very sweet cup of tea and tried to calm down.

I realise that no one will ever come driving with me in my car ever again. But Luke, maybe next time we should just go to Killarney, or in one car? Please?

Monday, May 26, 2008

James Blunt (and the blue-horned lesbian)

As sad as this may sound, I not only went to the James Blunt concert on Saturday night, I also paid money to go to the James Blunt concert and I even like James Blunt! There! I said it! I am a fan...
I've actually been a fan for a couple of years (I own the CD's, know all the words to the songs and have watched the interview on "Oprah" a couple of times). So, I was ecstatic when I heard that he was coming to South Africa. I admittedly procrastinated about buying tickets, wondering if R500 for golden circle was a good idea and subtly trying to find out if anyone I knew was also going, because I had no idea who to go with! I eventually managed to convince Duncan to come with me - although that makes it sound like there was begging and pleading involved. Really, I just asked and he said yes. In his version of events though, I paid him to accompany me and I'll be making him breakfast for the next 4 months...
In any case, we set off to the Dome on Saturday afternoon. The reason for this early departure was because the Dome is a) notoriously difficult to find - at least for a gigantic white, circular structure and b) the parking at the Dome is awful! Leaving events there takes at least as long as the actual show, so we planned to park near an exit to at least minimize this problem.
So, armed with ice-cream (a necessary part of any excursion), we set off in Duncan's Batmobile. We only got slightly lost, and I was forced to read a map (*panic*), but we got there, found parking close to an exit and set off in search of supper. Northgate proved to be strangely confusing, but we eventually found a Fontana, and after much negotiation with a very confused cashier (who didn't know that they sold toasted sandwiches, and didn't understand the concept of change), we managed to get something to eat.
It being 19:00, we decided that heading into the Dome would be a good idea, because the queues are usually really bad. I must explain that between Duncan and I we had both had our fair share of traumatic Dome experiences (2 of which were at Westlife concerts, which is probably not a coincidence), so we were expecting the worst in terms of crowds, queues and abuse from security guards. But, we got to the doors, had our tickets checked and just walked in. No queues, no questions. It got stranger... We walked into the Dome, expecting to see crowds of people, and were greeted by 80 confused looking stragglers and CHAIRS!!! Rows and rows of chairs! This was very strange, as most concerts (i.e. all concerts) that I've been to have involved standing ankle-deep in beer, staring around a very tall, very drunk rugby player. But for some reason, the concert organizers had decided to forgo this tradition in favour of comfortable seating. It was then that I decided that I needed the bathroom, which is always a mistake at the Dome, because the queue goes on forever and then forever again and there is never toilet paper. But, lo and behold, this time there was no queue and toilet paper! James Blunt fans, we concluded, are definitely a different breed!
We then set out to find our seats. I was firmly convinced that we were at the back, but the young, pimply (and broken-armed) usher pointed us towards the front. The venue slowly started filling up and Duncan and I spent our time counting the number of very chuffed girlfriends with very miserable boyfriends - I believe the final score was 579. We obliging listened to the support act, Josie Field (who was wearing a very nice dress, and had an even nicer drummer) and then waited in anticipation for the man of the moment, Mr James Blunt. And he was worth it! I am completely aware that I sound like an obsessed groupie, but he was awesome! He played almost all his songs and between his band, the lighting, the cool graphics and his promise to participate in a giant orgy with the fans, he rocked my world! My personal highlights were the opening song "Give me some love", "No Bravery" (I'm still smug - I have my reasons), "1973" and "Out of my mind". And pretty much all the other songs! He even jumped off the stage and went running through the crowd - you could almost hear the security guards having heart attacks! And, let's not forget the blue-horned lesbian... There was a lesbian couple sitting about 5 rows in front of us, and the one lady was wearing a pair of glow-in-the-dark blue horns (another Dome tradition). For some bizarre reason (probably alcohol-induced), they insisted on dancing through all the slow songs. And not just any dancing - slow sokkie dancing. It was partially annoying (as they kept waltzing across my line of vision) and somewhat amusing. Besides, the term "blue-horned lesbian" has such a nice ring to it...
Having done the obligatory encore (and screamed my little groupie heart out) and been decidedly disappointed that no fan orgy ensued, we made our way to the exit, tired, but content, and awaiting the traditional hour-long exodus from the parking spot to the exit gate. But, as with everything else, we were pleasantly surprised, and made it out in 2 minutes (including my bad directions) and I was home before midnight! I'm still confused by how pain-free the whole experience was, and really have to conclude that James Blunt fans (and the blue-horned lesbians... ) are definitely a different breed! I hope my next concert experience is just as exciting!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The English Patient (a.k.a. Patience)

This week has been one of triumph and torment at the hands of a treacherous adversary - the English literature essay. I now realize that this description is somewhat flawed, since my essay doesn't actually have hands - or limbs of any sort - but you get the general idea...
The torment began a few weeks ago, when I read D.H. Lawrence's "Sons and Lovers". It's a Modernist novel, which basically means that it's the type of literature which likes asking thought-provoking questions and then leaving them unanswered. Nihilism is the order of the day - in 400 pages, nothing really happens, and the novel prides itself on this emptiness. That might be a bit of an exaggeration though - "stuff" does happen in the book. The main character's parents meet and get married. They live happily for 6 months. Then, he starts drinking and wasting money and she starts trying to make him a better person. They argue for 20 years, but manage to have 4 children during this time (so they can't dislike each other that much). One of these children is the delightful Paul - possibly the first book character that I've ever wanted to slap. Lawrence's claim to fame with this novel is that it was considered rather outrageous at the time, because he explored the concepts of sex and sexuality. There's nothing particularly graphic in the novel, but the fact that Paul sleeps with not 1, but 2 women, was deemed particularly transgressive when Lawrence wrote the novel at the start of the 1900's. Not only does he sleep with these 2 women - Miriam, who is an extremely chaste religious girl, and Clara, a divorcee (even more scandal...) - but (horror of horrors!) he doesn't marry either of them! *gasp* Paul's approach to sexual relations isn't what gets to me. I have no problem with him deflowering the local maidens. What did drive me nuts though was the fact that he is a girl. Not in the biological sense, but in the way he complains about everything to his mother! Basically, when his mom asks him why he refuses to marry, he complains about how he loves the girl in some ways but not others, how he doesn't love the girl, how the girl loves him too much, how he loves the girl too much.... You get the idea. He's really whiny and annoying, and the fact that he complains to his mom about these women drives me mad.
In any case, I read the novel, and received my essay topics from my delightful lecturer, Tim Trengrove-Jones. He is convinced that it is the greatest novel ever written. No comment. So, this week, I started pondering what to write, and picked a topic which looked at gender relations in the novel. I wasn't looking forward to the essay, but it needed to be written. And lo and behold, it went really well. I found tons of stuff to write about - and good stuff too (not "Paul is a whiny mommy's boy" type stuff) - and lots of journal articles to back up what I'd written. I wrote 3000 words and I'm quite chuffed, although it turned into a battle, because I had TOO much to say! Serious editing was required, because I ran out of time! I also discovered that, having avoided the "Paul's sexual confusion" narrative, the story of his parents' relationship wasn't half bad, and I have become quite intrigued by it. The essay has been handed in, and I'm now waiting in anticipation for Tim's judgment...
That essay was a bit of a battle, but not nearly as much as the one I wrote for "The Picture of Dorian Gray". I had very little time to write it, finished it the night before and really doubted that I had said anything of value in 2000 words. Oscar Wilde is very difficult - I couldn't tell if he was revelling in intellectualism and decadence and being over the top, or making a statement about how silly people who are intellectual and decadent are. The whole book goes around and around and comes out... nowhere. And I was pretty sure that my essay was much the same. Until I got it back this week. And this is where the triumph part comes in - I got a first! *gasp* I am a little confused, because the essay was very confused, but Tim seemed to like it. My only other conclusion is that he was just as confused, but felt that I must have said something deep and meaningful somewhere and just gave me the mark. I'm not sure... Either way, I'm relieved. It just makes me wonder what my mark on the second essay will be, considering that I thought that it was well-written and researched. I will laugh if I get a better mark on the Oscar Wilde essay than on the Lawrence one. I will then know that my mark is directly proportional to whether or not my marker ate yoghurt for breakfast, which is how I've always suspected Tim marks... I guess I'll wait and see...

Friday, May 9, 2008


Before formally beginning this post, I must apologise to Duncan, who will be most disappointed that I have actually written something that has nothing to do with my reasons for blogging. Sorry Duncs, but I had to start somewhere...

The topic of this entry concerns my trip to the dentist today. Despite the fact that my dad is a dentist, I have not been to see a dentist in almost 3 years. I have made multiple visits to the maxillo-facial surgeon, but I haven't had my teeth checked since I was in first year. I think this is because my family don't tend to do "annual checkups". My dad likes to wait until something is really, seriously wrong and then consider having it looked at. It would appear that the Schneider's like to suffer. Either that or my father has some sort of professional pride which deters him from making dental appointments...

In any case, my teeth have been feeling a little weird of recent. Not toothache, but definite sensitivity which seemed to be indicative of something (and probably not a good something). Add to this the enormous gap since I last saw a dentist, and you can understand why I walked into the surgery with very little optimism today. I was about 80% sure that something was going to be drilled and filled. I had accepted that I would be painfully prodded and poked, injected, filled, sanded and then sent on my way. I wasn't looking forward to it, but I was fairly sure it was on the cards. So, I waited in trepidation as I prepared for my consultation.

I was a little thrown by my new dentist (he is about the 8th dentist that I have had. No one is good enough for my dad's standards in dental hygiene) - he looked like a comic character: tall, skinny, greying curly hair and glasses. Very strange, in a mad scientist kind of way. Nonetheless, I was seated, and he took a look. And found.... NOTHING! There is nothing wrong with my teeth! They are fine (as my dad smiles proudly in the background). All the dentist could do was to polish them, which was somewhat traumatic (because my jaw was a little tense after the stress of this week) and involved water and horrid fake strawberry flavour gunk on my teeth. And that was it! The weird sensations are apparently inexplicable...

Truth be told, I'm relieved. I doubt that anyone looks forward to fillings or any dental procedure in any case. But my visit was rather anticlimactic, although my teeth do look nice and shiny now... *smile*

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Notebook (the sequel?)

I have spent a few days further contemplating my motivations for blogging, and have to admit that I have come to some more conclusions about my reasons for blogging:

  1. I am writing exams in a couple of weeks, and I need new ways of procrastinating and avoiding studying. Sad, but true...
  2. I have been inspired by my favorite blog: A Beautiful Revolution by Andre Jordan. It is possibly the most depressing, insane, amusing emo site that always makes me laugh (occasionally from discomfort, but mostly because of the sheer insight which he provides).
  3. My stalker has not yet learned nearly enough about me. While they know where I live and work, I'm pretty sure that they have yet to discover my favourite colour, food, song and where I spend time on the weekends. So much potential awkwardness and so little time...

I think that these are probably all the reasons that I have started blogging. And speaking of starting blogging, I should probably write something of real significance soon...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Notebook

I suppose that, as this is my first blog entry, it might be a good idea to explain why I've decided to start blogging in the first place. It has not been motivated by some of the more common reasons for blogging, such as using it as a way to meet other people (since I have recently discovered that I know pretty much everyone, due to what I have renamed "1.2 degrees of separation) or to rant about Eskom and taxis (which seem to be very common topics in blog ranting) or to express my worldly opinions on life, the universe and chocolate cake.

No, the existence of my blog has been motivated by far more subtle reasons:
  1. Luke told me that I should start a blog. I think that this is partly because Luke has a blog and wishes to share the joyous experience of blogging with me, or because he's tired of me wandering into his office and telling him random stories about helping to deliver puppies at work. I find myself unable to disagree with Luke, and thus the blogging has begun.
  2. I have recently remembered that I do actually enjoy what the Wits English Department refer to as "Creative Writing", and that I am rather good at it, as my matric English marks and English Olympiad results prove. I had completely forgotten about this until a conversation with Joe reminded me that I had won "stuff" for my creative writing and I realized that maybe I wasn't so bad at it after all...
  3. I have promised myself that I will write a book. This has always seemed very scary to me, and yet something which I have always wanted to do. So, perhaps blogging will help me along my journey to become the next Dan Brown/Virginia Woolf/JK Rowling (genre seems to be a bit of a problem when it comes to writing "the book").
  4. Occasionally, random amazing things happen to me, and I think that they are cool enough to be shared with whoever happens to be trawling the Internet at 02:43 in the morning.

And that is why I have started a blog!