Sunday, April 19, 2009


I have had the most exhausting week, and hence my blog posts have fallen by the wayside (as has sleep and sanity, really)!

The past two weeks have involved enormous amounts of work, because our Honours research proposals had to be handed in on the 8th of April, and we then had to present our proposals on the 16th and 17th of April. The entire experience was incredibly stressful, as in the midst of writing a 20 or so page proposal, we also had a research design test and I had an essay due for a course that I’m doing through Unisa. The major problem was really that I didn’t allow enough time for my supervisor to correct and edit the proposal, and so I was printing drafts and editing ethics forms about twelve nanoseconds before the proposal was meant to be handed in. It wasn’t great. In fact, it was utterly awful, and I’ve now decided that for all future deadlines, I will have completed to work a week ahead of time so that this doesn’t happen again. Aside from all this, I was also running on very little sleep and incredibly stressed about some interpersonal issues I was having with someone, so my general state of mental health has been somewhat lacking for the past two weeks. It all culminated in a small psychotic episode in the Honours room on Tuesday morning – an event which was witness by 3 of the boys in my psychology class. I have since had to do damage control and have told them it was a combination of PMS, sleep-deprivation and stress. I’m not sure if they believe me…

Despite this, the proposal presentation itself went incredibly well. I was one of the few students who had everything approved first time, and the readers liked my writing style and my project. I’m extremely relieved about this, because I suspect that I would’ve dropped out and become a yoga instructor in Tahiti if they had told me that I needed to start from scratch. It also means that I only have to make some minor changes to the proposal before the final hand in.

In addition to this, I managed to sort out the interpersonal issues that I was having (which is an enormous relief, since I’ve been terrified of confronting this issue), managed to successfully teach my second year stats students the section that I absolutely dread (and which I now actually understand too!) and finally bought a new cellphone. The week was also filled with some amusement:

• Sleep-deprived quote of the week: “There are Mondays in every week” (me, trying to explain that there are stats tuts every day)
• Anti-technology quote of the week: “Just f*%k off!!!!” (Granville, trying to get his laptop to cooperate with him).
• Nervous breakdown moment of the week: watching my computer switch off due to a power failure, as I was finishing an essay and preparing to email it to Unisa (they let me email it that evening when the power came back on)
• Good judgment call of the week: staying home and doing my essay instead of watching people ice-skate for 3 hours
• Surprise of the week: the approved proposal, and Luke suddenly appearing at movies with Duncan and I on Saturday night (I had no idea that he was coming).
• Assorted moments of joy and bliss: having my stitches taken out, getting my new phone, finishing presenting my proposal and having it approved, the end of Pesach and going to movies with Luke and Duncan

And, because I'm really not in the mood to do the prep work for my stats tut this week, here are my answers to the "getting to know your friends" spam mail that landed in my inbox last week.

1. What time did you get up this morning: 8:05am (utter bliss, considering I'm usually up at 5:30am!)
2. Diamonds or pearls?:
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
"Slumdog Millionaire"
4. What is your favourite TV show? Um... At the moment, the "X-Files" DVD's I got from Helen!
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Oats
6. What is your middle name? I don't have one!
7. What food do you dislike? Brinjals
8.What is your favourite CD at the moment? The Blue Album by The Beatles
9. What kind of car do you drive? A 1996 Ford Tracer
10. Favourite sandwich? Mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil pesto
11. What characteristic do you despise? Hypocrisy
12. Favourite item of clothing? At the moment, my new dark blue jeans.
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would you go? Italy
14. Favourite brand of clothing? Nike. I am in love with Nike Air running shoes. Pity they cost R1200!
15. Where would you retire to? Borneo, so that I can help look after the baby orangutans!
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? My 21st, and the tea party which accompanied it!
17. Favourite sport to watch?
Cricket (or bob-sledding or figure-skating!)
18. Farthermost place you are sending this? Cape Town
What happened to number 19?
20. When is your birthday? 22 June
21. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Morning (one of the 3 on the planet!)
22. What is your shoe size? Depending on the type of shoe, anywhere between 3 and 6!
23. Pets? One kitten, and 2 dogs.
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? My Honours research proposal was approved! Woo hoo!
25. What did you want to be when you were little? A dolphin trainer (and I couldn't swim)
26. How are you today? Tired
27. What is your favourite sweet or chocolate? Lindt chocolate. Failing that, any chocolate will do!
28. What is your favourite flower? Red roses
29. What day on the calendar are you looking forward to? 17 October (the day after our research projects are handed in!)
30. What is your full name? Candice Schneider
31. What are you listening to right now? Bubble Toes by Jack Johnson
32. What was the last thing you ate? A chocolate biscuit
33. Do you wish on stars? Sometimes...
34. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
35. How is the weather right now? Nice and warm.
36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? No one yet!
37. Favourite soft drink? Vanilla Coke
38. Favourite restaurant? Mike's Kitchen (or any really good Italian restaurant)
39. Real hair colour? Brown
40. What was your favourite toy as a child? Probably crayons and paper!
41. Summer or winter? Summer, provided that I can swim, or winter, as long as I'm inside!
42. Hugs or kisses? Depends on who is giving them! ;)
43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.
44. Coffee or tea?
45. Do you want your friends to email you back? Only if they have some important work to avoid!
46. When was the last time you cried? About 2 weeks ago, in the midst of research proposal hand-in madness!
47. What is under your bed? A heater, and probably some dead creature that my kitten brought in.
48. What did you do last night? I went to movies with Luke and Duncan
49. What are you afraid of ? Snakes
50. Salty or sweet? Sweet
51. How many keys on your key ring? Probably about 8
52. How many years at your current job? Over a year and a half
53. Favourite day of the week? Fridays and Saturdays
54. How many towns have you lived in? One
55. Do you make friends easily? Yes

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Graduate

I can honestly say that I have never been so glad that a week is over! This has honestly been the worst week of the past 4 years that I’ve spent at Wits, and it feels somewhat miraculous that I’ve survived. The trauma was as a result of handing in my research proposal, and the less said about the circumstances surrounding the entire thing, the better. All that I will say is that my proposal has been handed in, and I’m holding thumbs that my presentation on Friday will go well – or that I won’t be required to start from scratch (and at this point, that seems to be the slightly more realistic goal).

After the stress of this week (part of which involved nearly bursting into tears in front of Luke. Again. I’m sorry), the Easter weekend has come as a bit of a shock to my system. I feel as if I’m currently in limbo, awaiting feedback about the proposal, and not really being able to change or correct anything in the interim. Fortunately (?), I’ve got 2 essays to do – 1 for the Unisa logotherapy course which I signed up for, and 1 for my Freud elective at Wits, so I can sublimate my energy into those (although my energy reserves are a tad low at the moment). So far, neither has really got off the ground, as I’m still busy doing research for both of them, and I suspect that the rest of the weekend is going to be spent staring at my computer screen, as usual. I just feel weirdly guilty not working at the moment – I have a feeling that this is some strange symptom of Honours. Thank heavens for sublimation – Freud would be thrilled.

Some respite did come my way in the form of the graduation party that I held on Thursday night. Unlike most other faculties, Humanities graduations stretch over weeks because there are so many students. Thus, I graduated with only 2 of my friends, and no one made any concrete plans to celebrate. So, on Thursday night, those who could make it joined me at Mike’s Kitchen in Parktown for dessert and drinks. The group was a slightly unusual crowd, consisting of Kirstan and her new boyfriend Just Plain Chris, Stead and his girlfriend Chantelle, Chris Fisher, Sarah (Duncan’s sister) and her hubby Graham, and Paul the Frog. Somehow, commonalities were established, mostly surrounding tactics for getting rid of Kirstan’s sister’s crummy boyfriend (we eventually concluded that an attack by a goat would do the trick) and the correct usage of the term “heteronormativity”. I eventually left at about 11pm, after a long conversation with Stead, Chantelle and Paul, and some very nice dessert.

As an aside, I finally made crème brulee a few weeks ago. I must confess that it didn’t go particularly well – mostly, I suspect, because I didn’t correctly heat and then cool and then heat and then cool (and then heat and then cool) the mixture as well as I should have. In short, I discovered that it is bloody difficult to make crème brulee (or at least crème brulee that is set all the way through). I will try again at some point (after all, I spent R60 on ramekins) – hopefully when my ankle is fully healed and I don’t mind having to stand and stir a custard mixture for 20 minutes. The sugar topping did come out nicely though. I’m counting this as a completed “20 Firsts” task though – mostly because I’m running out of time, and because I didn’t really specify that the crème brulee had to be made successfully.

And finally… A little something that I stole/borrowed from one of my favourite blogs, Being Brazen (mostly because I love summarizing my life in the form of lists):

1. Thought for the day: Wherever you go, there you are.
2. Song of the moment: “Don’t look back in anger” – Oasis (the explanation to this deserves a blog post)
3. Drink of the moment: Tea. Nothing new there!
4. Next thing you want to buy: The electric blue long sleeve t-shirt I saw at Woolies. And a new cellphone.
5. Word of the week: heteronormative. He he…
6. Currently annoyed by: Standard Bank. Simpler, better, faster? I don’t think so!
7. Currently reading: Douglas Adams’ “Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and avoiding 4 Melanie Klein readings for my psychoanalytic theory class.
8. Last movie you watched? “Emma”. I really have to write a blog post to explain how much I love this movie.

Friday, April 10, 2009

You've Got Mail

I love my Hotmail account! While I know that GMail is vastly superior, etc, etc, nothing can compare to the amusement which my Hotmail account brings me, mostly thanks to the junk mail filter. Somehow, whenever someone I don't particularly like emails me, their message automatically ends up in the junk mail folder. I find it very reassuring to know that my email account has my best interests at heart! Additionally, I also get very interesting emails (far more exciting than any of the ones ever sent to my other Hotmail or iBurst email addresses). Here is the latest gem which found its way to me:

"From: Mr Abu Musa
African Development Bank
Burkina Faso (ADB)
Ouagadougou - Burkina Faso.
Tel: 226 75 06 15 32

Dear friend,
I am writting to seek your coperation over this business, Please due welcome this letter.

I am Mr Abu Musa, the director of the accounts & auditing dept .at the African Development Bank Ouagadougou-west Africa . (A D B) With due respect, I have decided to contact you on a business transaction that will be beneficial to both of us.

At the bank's last accounts/auditing evaluations, my staffs came across an old account which was being maintained by a foreign client who we learnt was among the deceased passengers of motor accident on November.2003,the deceased was unable to run this account since his death.The account has remained dormant without the knowledge of his family since it was put in a safe deposit account in the bank for future investment by the client.

Since his demise, even the members of his family haven't applied for claims over this fund and it has been in the safe deposit account until I discovered that it cannot be claimed since our client is a foreign national and we are sure that he has no next of kin here to file claims over the money. As the director of the department, this discovery was brought to my office so as to decide what is to be done. I decided to seek ways through which to transfer this money out of the bank and out of the country too.

The total amount in the account is ten million five hundred thousand dollars (USD 10,500,000.00).with my positions as staffs of the bank, I am handicapped because I cannot operate foreign accounts and cannot lay bonafide claim over this money. The client was a foreign national and you will only be asked to act as his next of kin and I will supply you with all the necessary information and bank data to assist you in being able to transfer this money to any bank of your choice where this money could be transferred into.

The total sum will be shared as follows: 50% for me, 50% for you and expenses incidental occur during the transfer will be incure by both of us. The transfer is risk free on both sides hence you are going to follow my instruction till the fund transfer to your account.

Since I work in this bank that is why you should be confident in the success of this transaction because you will be updated with information as at when desired.

I will wish you to keep this transaction secret and confidential as I am hoping to retire with my share of this money at the end of transaction which will be when this money is safety in your account. I will then come over to your country for sharing according to the previously agreed percentages. You might even have to advise me on possibilities of investment in your country or elsewhere of our choice. May God help you to help me to a restive retirement, Amen.

Please for further information and enquiries feel free to contact me back immediately for more explanation and better understanding.

I am waiting for your urgent response!!!

Thanks and remain blessed.
Mr Abu Musa
Tel: 226 75 06 15 32"

Friday, April 3, 2009


As usual, I must apologize for the belatedness of this post. I’ve been meaning to blog for the last few weeks, but unfortunately the pace of Honours has picked up and I just haven’t had the time. My days have become whirlwinds of activity, consisting of lectures, tutorials, tutoring the second years, hunting down my supervisor, avoiding my supervisor, writing my research proposal and working at the vet.

This past week provided a bit of a break, since it was the mid-semester vacation for the undergrads and a “research break” for postgrad students. I was looking forward to getting a lot of work done – and to finalizing things with my supervisor – but it just hasn’t happened. Monday was spent shopping and collecting my passport (hurray!), Tuesday was spent at the hairdresser and organizing graduation stuff and Wednesday proved to be rather traumatic, thanks to a visit to the dermatologist (details to follow…). I don’t quite know where all the time has gone, and I’ve only got 3 days left of real “holiday”.

I really need to complete my research proposal, which has turned into a bit of a disaster area. I spent most of my time last week working on it (including 15 hours on Thursday), and still haven’t finished it. I don’t know why it’s taking me so long. I desperately need feedback from my supervisor, but she has decided to take advantage of this week’s “holiday” and looked at me as if I were crazy when I asked if I could meet with her this week! Somehow, Luke and his supervisor, Neville, have been more help with the project than she has! Due to all the chaos this week though, I haven’t really touched the proposal, but need to complete it in the next 2 days. As such, I switched on my laptop for the first time in a week today, and had a mini flashback of how horrible last week was, complete with the sensation of panic and a sinking feeling in my stomach. As such, I decided to make myself a cup of tea before continuing – and have since decided to write this post, in the hope that my heart will stop racing.

The other great trauma of the week was my visit to the dermatologist. She was recommended to me by a family friend, and I’ve been trying to get an appointment with her for 5 months. I eventually saw her on Wednesday, and she really is excellent, although a tad scary (i.e. insane). It was my first appointment with a dermatologist, and I was quite glad that I had chosen a lady dermatologist when she asked me to take off my shirt and pants. She then proceeded to examine all my moles, and photograph them, and decided that 4 of them would have to be removed, right then and there! I was a little surprised – especially since I like to mentally prepare myself for surgery – but she insisted (probably because she has a 3 month waiting list for appointments). So, while shouting at the nurse, she proceeded to inject me with local anaesthetic and to remove moles from my arm, shoulder, leg and calf, and then stitched me up. The worst part was the injection – I didn’t feel anything else – and her shouting at the nurse while she did the excisions! I don’t really like angry people brandishing scalpels near me… I now have bright blue stitches all over me, and I’m still really creeped out that all this was done while I was awake and that I didn’t feel a thing!

So, my ankle is a lot better (although still swollen), but I now have all this creepy stitches. I’m not feeling much love towards the medical fraternity at the moment! While I’m on the topic of the ankle though, I need to announce that I’ve added on 6 extra weeks to the “20 Firsts” list’s deadline, because I haven’t been able to do very much because of my ankle. This gives me the June/July break to hopefully complete the list, provided that I don’t fall down any more hills!

Okay… Enough procrastinating and avoiding! I’m off to finish the proposal – or going to at least start finishing it!