Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tech Hypocrite

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Funny thing this, I never imagined I would ever post anything substantial from a phone, except perhaps a “message” or “status update” on Facebook! But today, yet another thing I’ve just done was to finally join rank with thousands, if not millions – and have myself a Blackberry!?! I believe that this will be the only time I will ever write a blog this way… It’s far too painstaking and have since established that my fingers, the same ones I had previously believed to be quite dainty and agile are not and are seeingly larger and far more clumsy… I’m pretty sure nothing beats an actual keyboard. But, it’s something I can now say I’ve done 🙂

[Please NOTE: Due to my obsessive nature, this post has since been edited from the computer – only because of spelling & grammatical errors, as well as not having been able to appropriately ‘tag’ or ‘categorise’ as I should have.  Listed below however is the post as it had originally appeared]

Funny thing this, never imagined I would ever post anything substantial from a phone, except perhaps a “message” on Facebook! But today yet another thing I’ve just done was finally join rank with thousands, if not millions – and have myself a Blackberry!?! I believe that this will be the only time-I will ever write a blog this way… It’s far too painstaking and have since established that my fingers, the same ones I had previously believed to be quite dainty and agile are not and are seeingly larger and far more clumsy… I,m pretty sure nothing beats an actual keyboard. But, it’s something I can nom say I’ve done 🙂

Dean Koontz and heroism

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I have a profound interest and unnatural obsession when it comes to all things Dean Koontz. He’s just awesome. His mind is fabulous.

Honestly, if I could trade minds with one person, for just one day… it would definitely be his.

I recently finished reading ‘Icebound’ which was re-released and retitled after a previous novella written by the author, under the pen name of David Axton and initially titled ‘Prison of Ice’.

It was reissued because he was inundated with thousands of requests to bring back into print some of his older works. ‘Prison of Ice’ however was in a much rougher form [apparently], and hence was revised by Koontz and updated according to newer technology and cultural references while still trying to maintain the entire plot line and original feel of the overall story.

I enjoyed it tremendously as it was a refreshing change from his ‘normal’ work, but after reading the “Note to the reader” at the back – it was duly noted that this was because he had wanted to pay homage to a man he deemed as ‘the master of adventure-suspense’, Alistair MacLean, who penned The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare and Ice Station Zebra. ‘Icebound’ was written using the genre predominantly used by MacLean to see if he ‘could pull it off’. I would say he succeeded, as it was suspenseful and tense – definitely fast paced and contained heavily detailed information on a number of topics ranging from submarines, polar ice caps and communism. The also thorough portrayal of his characters, accompanied by their ‘indepth’ histories [which I believe is one of Dean’s best tools in immersing the reader into his believable characters and hence almost believing that such ‘devilish’ things could possibly exist].

Upon reaching the end of ‘Icebound’, I was profoundly struck by pages 150-151 and feel that a direct quote is in order to convey this message that obviously only Koontz fanatics will have the pleasure and privilege of reading…

…The theme would definitely be heroism. He had come to see that there were two basic forms of it.  Heroism that was sought, as when a man climbed a mountain or challenged an angry bull in one of Madrid’s rings – because a man had to know his limits, heroism sought was important.  It was far less valuable, however, than heroism unsought.  Harry, Rita and the others had put their lives on the line in their jobs because they believed that what they were doing would contribute to the betterment of the human condition, not because they wanted to test themselves.  Yet, although they would deny it, they were heroes every day of the week.  They were heroes in the way that cops and firemen were heroes, in the way that millions of mothers and fathers were quiet heroes for taking on the ominous responsibilities of supporting families and raising children to be good citizens, the way ministers were heroes to dare talk of God in a world that had come to doubt His existence and to mock those who still believed, the way many teachers were heroes when they went to schools racked by violence and nevertheless tried to teach kids what they would need to know to survive in a world that had no mercy for the uneducated. The first brand of heroism – heroism sought – had a distinct quality of selfishness, but heroism unsought, was selfless.  Brian understood now that it was this unsought heroism, not the tinsel glory of either politics or bullrings, that was the truest courage and the deepest virtue.  When he had finished writing the book, when he had worked out all his thoughts on the subject, he would be ready to begin his adult life at last.  And he was determined that quiet heroism would be the theme…

 

You’ve got to love it. How profoundly true is that.

Honeymoon Adventures! (PART 1 – Knysna)

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Honeymoon Adventures! (PART 1 – Knysna)

If you say that word to yourself, “Honeymoon”, it makes not sense.  When you look up the etymology of it, the meaning is also somewhat obscure. However, the general consensus is that…

Originally having no reference to the period of a month, but comparing the mutual affection of newly-married persons to the changing moon which is no sooner ‘full’ than it begins to ‘wane’ – now usually the holiday spent together by a newly-married couple, prior to settling down at home

After our glorious wedding day, the following morning [Sunday, 24th July] was spent waking up far too early, followed by a quick breakfast, a trip to the house to unpack and subsequently repack for the honeymoon and then to go to the venue to clear out the last of our things from the night before. Aside from being tired and our minds still in a haze from how quickly it all ‘went down’, we finally found ourselves ready to embark on our honeymoon – the first two days of which I had booked as a surprise [with the help of my awesome mother, who managed to pull a few strings…] and for the rest… well, we simply decided to take each day as it came and ‘wing it’!

(Left) Me with my little pumpkin a little bit before our 'departure' (Middle) In the car on Monday, 25th July on our way to Knysna (Right) The oddly placed 'speed' camera on the pedestrian walkway which I later discovered was put in place to keep an eye on 'jumpers'

As would be the case, the weather on the day of the wedding had been most spectacularly beautiful… followed by a weather warning for potential cyclones and/or a possible hurricane, with a definite chance of heavy rains, fog and grey skies. Thankfully our first ‘Port of call’ was my mothers guesthouse in Port Elizabeth, which under normal circumstances takes approximately +- 3 hours, and that’s traveling the speed limit. This time however, it took us a staggering 5+ hours. Upon arrival we were greeted with miniature dams of water and a torrential downpour.

It was already 18H30 at that stage, and once we’d eaten our supper, unpacked, showered and warmed up, that brought us to about 20H30 at which point we turned in for the night, because you just have no idea how tired you are after a wedding! Wow. I slept dead and for a solid 12/13 hours. After a lazy rise and slow breakfast, we decided to make tracks. Opting for the more scenic garden route – which took us on a lovely, lush little excursion with many roadside stops, ‘padstalletjies’ (basically meaning roadside stalls/stands) and various ‘touristy’ places – we made it to Knysna at about 15H30.

The Garden Route

A Map of the Garden Route

After arriving at Lightleys Holiday Houseboats, we checked in and were subsequently shown the 10 minute instructional DVD on what NOT to do and where NOT to go in a houseboat, followed by a daunting run of things that could possibly go wrong, tide times to avoid and possible stranding on sand banks in the river, so after we were made to believe that this was to be a terribly scary and difficult adventure… I assured my husband that “he’d be just fine…” With temporary skipper license in hand, we offloaded our luggage and explored the small vessel. After which we went grocery shopping [only to establish the prices on everything to be even worse than in East London], followed by the hunt for the ‘cheapest yet fluffiest’ towels, as the ‘self-catering’ boat only came with 5 Litres of drinkable water and two additional blankets.  Our first evening was spent making ‘breakfast in pita’s’, followed by some reading, coffee, a trip to the ablutions and a fight for space on the ‘not-so-spacious’ double bed.

The following morning after breakfast we embarked on our first ‘boat ride’, towards Belvedere. We were forewarned not to stray off course by an inch, as recent storms had left sand banks in odd places and the whole route hadn’t been entirely ‘secured’ as yet. We insisted that one of the deckhands accompany us on our maiden voyage as I think we both had visions of being out in the water until the tide rose to free us from a sandbank or from us unwittingly ‘sailing’ into an oyster bed!

(Left) Me in My PJ's on our first night, catching up on some reading (2nd) Me standing out on deck on the first morning, drinking some coffee! (3rd) The view of the houseboats from the guests parking lot (Right) Hubby and the deckhand going out on our 'maiden voyage'

Once we returned from our little outing onto the Knysna Lagoon, ruffled by the fresh air and inspired for some adventure… I suggested that we would go in search of a castle. The Noetzi castle specifically. I remember spending a weekend in Knysna during my youth and venturing to the very same ‘castle’ with my mother and father – but all I recall from that trip was much rain, many stairs and a sickly baby brother. Upon arrival at the obscure destination, I had no recollection of what it was supposed to be like or where exactly we were supposed to go – there were however no stairs but a ridiculous decline of a road leading to the beachside… So we first scaled this pathway, only to discover that the ‘newer’ castle had been converted into a guesthouse, and the ‘older’ castle had been abandoned! This prospect excited me muchly!!! So I decided we would pay an ‘uninvited’ visit to the old abandoned place and get some strange pictures… see below!

Pictures taken inside the abandoned 'castle'

It was awesome, between feeling like a ‘criminal’ and getting some really ‘artistic photos’ – we were famished and headed back into town and in search of oysters. Knysna at one time had been renowned for their oysters, but more specifically for harvesting their own fresh oysters from the lagoon, only to find out that they no longer produce oysters locally but bring them in from Port Elizabeth. Disappointing.

There was exactly one interesting shop in the centre of town and an interesting ‘all day’ African wares market, with various crafts brought down from countries such as Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe – but when you’ve seen one African mask, you’ve seen them all. The only other point of interest was the wharf. There were some genuinely ‘different’ little shops, interesting sculptures which promoted local industry and trade and far too many restaurants. We had seen this really quaint pub on our drive down to the wharf and after enquiring as to ‘Where the locals hang out?’, it was confirmed as the same place – our late lunch/early supper was divine, the atmosphere relaxed and prices within reason.Which leaves nothing much else about Knysna to visit, aside from ridiculously priced groceries and a surreal sense of quiet and isolation. The ‘locals’ don’t seem to want the tourists around and have thwarted attempts made by industrious businessmen in their attempt to promote the town. On the garden route however, en-route to Knysna, there is much to see – but I suggest that unless ‘dead quiet’ and paying through your nose is what you’re looking for, give Knysna a miss. The houseboating was fun though, but it was too cold (mmm, good weather for a newly married couple to snuggle in 🙂 )  I think for the houseboating to be a true experience, it needs to be a team effort – like a group of friends in the summer, where lazy warm afternoons are spent sunbathing and evenings spent with a barbeque on deck accompanied by sundowners… this would be more appropriate and scene-setting.

By wednesday morning we’d seen enough of the wet, expensive little place, with the all-too-confined sleeping quarters… and so the second part of our honeymoon trip beckoned…

to be continued

A [candy] blast from the past!

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A [candy] blast from the past!

It's like taking a step back in time....

Ok, we all love sweets and candies, even if we claim not to – and secretly have a little unmarked box hidden in your ‘clutter’ cupboard, harbouring some candy stowaways.

I was presented with somewhat of a challenge when I wanted to incorporate my ‘eccentric and unique’ tastes, with a splash of 50’s – but NOT in a way that was entirely cliched… so I had decided that I would throw this unique ’50’s hint’ into my guest gifts at the wedding. I firstly resorted to Google, then a local website and lastly a British website, who being the main distributor for sweets after which I sought…didn’t deliver to South Africa. I was annoyed. In this world which ‘techies’ and cyber-junkies refer to as a ‘global village’, due to the fact that the internet has made the world ‘a smaller place’… I was like, “…and you don’t deliver here, HELLO! Who doesn’t deliver here?”. Apparently them.

Not being one to give up easily, I decided to persist in my search for ‘Love Hearts‘…. magically and purely by chance I stumbled onto the most incredible website ever, EVER!

http://www.hometownfavorites.com/

I nearly fell off my chair at the sheer awesomeness… the fact that I had never heard of such a marvel before, or seen it any of the few places listed as being advertised, was shocking!

I found their prices to be reasonable [since this was a rare and almost extinct species…], plus, they delivered to South Africa! Considering the quantity needed had to be enough to suffice for over 100 guests, include the transport costs to get from there to here and with their exceptional, helpful and friendly service being an added bonus – The total sum paid was well worth it!

Any persons 'fantasy-come-true' and it's REAL!

 

I would use them again in a [love]heart beat.

Extinction of the species…?

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Extinction of the species…?

Apparently, well it seems that we’re headed in that general direction – and as much as I would like to attach this claim to certain individuals, my unfortunate epiphany is directed at books…

I found myself in a debate with a friend a little while ago on their attachment and adoration of such electronic devices along the vein of ‘Kindles’ and ‘I-Pads’ – to which I argued that they could never take the place of real books!?! NEVER.

There is something almost magical about opening a book, new or secondhand, that is so comforting and reassuring… because it’s real. Tangible. Between feeling the texture of the pages and the smell of freshly printed books, to the knowledge of secondhand books being loved and cherished by one or many previous owners, leaves you in a mist of nostalgia. Reading an actual book evokes thoughts of soft woollen blankets, cool winter evenings, mugs of hot chocolate and lovely inviting fireplaces.

Most nights I sneak off to bed early to get my ‘special time’ in with Dean Koontz, where I find myself peacefully drifting off to ‘lala’ land, with the book mostly having closed itself and fallen to the floor or having closed itself and being gently nestled amidst the duvet with me. It’s always an interesting endeavour to find the ‘lost place’ and restart the read the next eve, but sometimes in reading to find where I’m at – provides me with the fortune of ‘reminding’ me which of the stories I was on, since I usually have at least 3 on the go, at one time. Aaah. Awesome!

...and the winner is...Come on, NO CONTEST!

With the price of secondhand books and even the ‘nice new shiny ones’ being within reason, I don’t mind having them drop off the side of the bed. However, when reminded of the price of a Kindle or alternatively the I-Pad, which I will say are both ‘snazzy’ little devices… I shudder to think of the recoil factor of either one bouncing and rebounding upon impact with the bedroom floor tiles. Or, what if it should per chance find itself in the hands of my technologically intrigued 5-year old, I dread to contemplate that very expensive ‘adventure’.

If I need information, I can bring my sometimes ‘lazy arse’ to type in the web address for google…from the computer.

 I wouldn’t want to be able to reach everything and anything from anywhere?!?

 I get annoyed when my cellphone rings on the weekend. I couldn’t imagine becoming one of those individuals who, in the midst of company, turns a cold shoulder of isolation and delves into googling or searching for some inane random thing like the ‘current moon cycle’… That’s just rude and bizarre. Also, an air of ‘snobbyness’ surrounds most individuals I’ve seen, lounging at coffee shops or streetside cafes and browsing/reading/googling from such a device… much the same sensation I derive from driving my car to and from work.

Anyway, good for you if you like the feel of cold hard plastic and using your finger to touch, rub and move on the little device as if you were playing your bit in The Minority Report. Sadly, I find myself in the minority… The only plus side to such a device, is that it saves the lives of trees, for which most of humanity has lost all respect. They help us breathe people, as do my books, as I curl up and cuddle with them every night.

I hope for the sake of my child, that when he reaches ‘his mothers current age’, that there will still be books to feel and appreciate, for without them, we also would never have known Shakespeare, TS Eliot or Dean Koontz and the people who invented things such as the I-Pad, wouldn’t be where they are today 🙂

Tru+h is str@nger than f!cti0n

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So is finding a teenager who can spell correctly or more importantly who can read actual words as they were intended.

Bizarrely I have also noted that with my ever-increasing number of blog posts… is the seemingly strange accompaniment of ‘smiley faces’, little tongue-pulling faces and the like – it is somewhat like experiencing ‘reverse intelligence’ on my part.

At least I don’t use ‘tween shorthand’, i.e. GR8 / WTF/ ROFLMAO / CU L8R. Really now…

My sincerest apologies.

I will try to keep ridiculous facial expressions for all intents and purposes – delegated and used appropriately.

Now please, let me not find fault with my spelling, syntax or grammar…

How ridiculous.

Isn’t it the oddity of the internet and the infinite possibilities and capabilities thereof which make it so very awesome…

Yet once again, my sincerest apologies for any offenseful remarks, comments or misspelt shorthand or misrepresentation of the language, because there’s also the whole confusion between American and British spelling, etc. I was born in the 80’s when a phone was merely a phone and the english language was just that… an actual spoken language. Not the missing link between teenagers and their parents.

Grrr.

It is the only time I will ever be annoyed by technology – in that as intelligent as it is, its increasing ability for creating and generating utter stupidity is astonishing.

I don’t quite know what irritation compelled me to type this itty-bitty random post, but let’s just say – that this time…I took my inspiration from Dean Koontz. I pondered his perspective in ‘Demon Seed’ and now it seems all too clear. The computer made me do it.

Read HERE to find out about how phones can make you do it too 🙂 lol

Just Married :)

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Officially. The date… the 23rd of July 2011. I can now actually claim the redundant title of ‘MarriedWife’ 😉

The father officially handing over the daughter, most gratefully I'm sure 🙂

Many, if not all of the ‘brides’ I had spoken to [prior to MY big day], all had something or other they would have changed or done differently. I am fortunate to fall into that category of,  “I was happy with everything”, in hindsight that is.

The day was beautiful – not a breath of wind, the winter sun shining gently and instead of dowsing any nerves with champagne or sedatives, I spent it jovially having breakfast with a friend at the guesthouse I was booked into, then checking in on the venue and cake-assembly, followed by my hair appointment which was relaxing – drinking lattes and surrounded by my three best friends, two of whom had travelled from afar just to be there for the day and the other, my bridesmaid.

Once done, I sent my co-conspirators on a mission to obtain a banana, vanilla and almond smoothie while I popped into the bank to draw some money, after which I chauffered myself back to the guesthouse with my bridesmaid in tow, at which point we commenced to sit on the sundeck talking nonsense while I finished the smoothie. I was so calm infact, that when the photographer made an appearance, she queried whether I had moved the time of the wedding to a later slot?!?

After applying my make-up, getting dressed and posing for a few photos – the rest of my entourage arrived. Namely, my son [the pageboy or ‘ringmaster’ as he termed it], the flowergirls, my brother [the bestman – who needed the transport], my two friends, my mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and the maid, Beauty! After a few photos in the lush gardens, it was time to head forth. I had promised my ‘husband-to-be’ that this would be the one instance that I would most definitely be ON TIME. But alas, my mother who had fallen into position of ‘bride chauffer’ decided that it was unfashionable to arrive either early or on time – and that it was customary to arrive at least 5 minutes late!! After possibly the slowest drive of my entire life and my mother actually cursing the non-appearance of ‘red lights’ and then still choosing as a last ditched attempt to delay the inevitable – by going into an abandoned parking lot en-route…and doing donuts?!

We arrived at what must have been about 15H32, with the wedding having been scheduled to start at 15H30. Apparently I wasn’t the only one running “late”, as my Aunt and Uncle decided to show up after I had been met by my father, posed for photos and even after having given a strategic breakdown of the ‘grand entrance’ to the ‘mothers’, my sister-in-law with the two flowergirls and my bridesmaid. In their scurry past us in order to make it to their seats, they had still attempted a greeting, at which point I ‘shoed’ them off and cursed under breath at their being late!!! Once my Aunt and Uncle as well as the remainder of the bridal party had precursored my entrance, as I had envisioned this grand dramatic moment of silence at the back end of the aisle, followed by the start of the wedding march…but alas, I experienced what felt like an eternity of silence before my future husband began waving his arms frantically to cue the DJ to start the song.

It was possibly, if not definitely – the ‘fastest’ recorded marriage service in the history of the world, but beautiful and effective none-the-less. After which we signed the register and walked back down the aisle. Everyone however, remained seated. Awkwardly some of them turned their heads to view where we had exited to, at which point I simply flapped my arms about, gesturing them to stand and proceed with moving out of their seats, as the service had not been performed in a chapel, but out on a verandah overlooking the harbour, the overall tone was rather relaxed – so I don’t think they really took too much notice. I received what felt like 1 000 hugs and kisses, which was rather wonderful yet bizarre and left my lips feeling awfully numb 😛

After downing a cocktail, we briefly departed for the official photoshoot – which took place on an old railway bridge and railway tunnel, accompanied by my husband, brother [bestman] and my friend [bridesmaid]. After much posing, more kissing and some weird photo ops with random passing-by-ice-cream-vendors… my brother received a rather menacing phone call from my mother, who was expressing something or other rather loudly, but at my enquiry, my brother chose to tell me that the guests were impatient and that we were taking too long with the photos. After our entrance into the reception, I was accosted by my mother… at the bridal table, right up on the stage – albeit in a very quiet and underhanded manner, “about how my father was simply incapable of saying a speech and how dare I NOT have mentioned this to them well in advance so that she could have advised against it”.  I took a deep breath and momentarily excused myself from the table, escaped to the upstairs deck, had a cigarette and ordered both my mother and father a shot of tequila. Everything after that was just dandy 🙂

I always seem to have so much to say 🙂

The rest of what happened is nearly as long winded as this beginning bit, but to say that I was truly blessed, would be the understatement of the year… Without so many helpful and loving hands to hold, help with the hard work and heavy lifting and those very much needed hugs, it would not have been nearly as awesome. My two special friends who undertook a great trek of their own, just in order to be by my side on this day made the whole experience far better than it possibly would have been, without them there. The table arrangements came out perfectly, the evening was mild, the food divine, the cake heavenly and the company even better than all of that combined, what with these ingredients forming part of the perfect recipe for joy, love, happiness, fun and sheer enjoyment 🙂 Plus, I’m married now.

A series of pictures taken throughout the evening by one of my best friends, I don't think he even realises his hidden potential and ability in capturing true moments

And guess what, so far… it’s been everything the ‘happy wives’ have said it would be 🙂 Now wait until you hear about the honeymoon!