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!