Cape Town Book Fair 2010: the fun begins

30 07 2010

I love the smell of fresh books in the morning… 😉

So, this weekend has finally arrived: the four-day stretch known as the Cape Town Book Fair (CTBF), held at the CTICC from 30 July to 2 August. A great time for publishers, booklovers, and those aspiring to work their way into the wonderful trade of print media.

I arrived there this morning at about 09:25, although I only needed to be there at 10:00. Today was just a relaxed day: meeting the other interns who flew in from Johannesburg; walking about the huge centre to look at the various stands; talking about the internship programme; and looking at possible workshops or talks to attend. The Book Fair is only officially open to the public as of tomorrow – today was merely a trade day, giving all of us a chance to scope out the ‘competition’, but also allowing us the luxury of enjoying what is on show/exhibit before having to appeal to the needs of the masses (or, perhaps, just ‘the public’, if they don’t come streaming in by the thousands) by answering questions and being polite.

They shouldn’t just come about asking for freebies, though. That would really be annoying.

I had to control myself in there, what with all… those… books… *excited squeal* I swear, I could have blown my pro rata monthly stipend (14 days’ worth) there easily. Bargain Books had beautiful hardcover copies of Dan Brown’s THE LOST SYMBOL – the only book of his I don’t own – for R99! Not sure whether I’ll find time to go back there tomorrow or the day after that; I have some workshops and talks to attend, plus two-hour stints at the PASA stand. Perhaps I should bribe plead ask some to buy the book for me, then I’ll pay them the money back… or they could present it to me as a gift… *hint hint* So, what do you think I ended up doing today before leaving the Convention Centre?

Bought myself three books, of course… all for a mere R99. At least I was shopping sensibly.

I’ll be working at the PASA stand – K16 – tomorrow from 10:00 until 12:00 and on Sunday from 16:00 until 18:00, so if you’re interested in the industry (or know me and want to come say a supportive ‘hullo’), please feel free to come around. Everyone is very friendly, and this is the one time of year the people in the industry are setting aside their time for your queries and interest. And if you’re interested in a few workshops/ talks, here are some I think will be pretty good – I’m hoping to attend most of them:


11:00 – 12:45 Access to knowledge in Africa (the role of copyright in Education) – Room 1.43-1.44

12:00 – 12:45 Quickfox Publishing (discussion on self publishing) – Room 1.42

13:00 – 14:00 How to get Published – Pan Macmillan stand K13

14:00 – 15:45 What is the future of the book in the Digital Age? – Room 1.41.

16:00 – 16:45 The self-publishing shift [Crink] – Room 1.41

16:00 – 16:45 So you want to be a copy editor (mini workshop) – Room 1.42


10:00 – 10:45 Exploring the right brain (creative writing workshop) – Room 1.42

11:00 – 12:45 South Africa in 2010: Development or Decline? – Room 1.63-1.64

11:00 – 11:45 Recurring Super Sleuth of Crime fiction – Poetry Café

15:00 – 15:45 The self-publishing shift [Crink] – Room 1.61

16:00 – 16:45 So you want to be a proof reader (mini workshop) – Room 1.62


10:00 – 10:45 PASA; where the story begins – Room 1.41

12:00 – 12:45 So you want to be a sub-editor – Room 1.41


Scattered Brainings VIII

29 07 2010

* I’ve read in many magazines how a snack of apple and peanut butter is good for you – filling, nutritious, and bound to fill you up better than all those nasty calorie-loaded quick snacks (like chocolate, crisps, and sweeties). You know what? The combination is delicious! They really know what they’re talking about. Hey, it has peanut butter, so I’m happy.

* I’m getting pretty sick of that Miley Cyrus song, CAN’T BE TAMED or whatever it’s called. Every time I get into the car, it starts playing on the radio…

* …speaking of which, it puts a smile on my face when I notice that other people in traffic are listening to the same radio station. This morning, the guy in the car in front of us was making silly meow clawing gestures at the girl next to him. Yip, he heard Miley on 5FM and was having some fun each time she said “tamed”.

* Maybe the second point is why I don’t listen to the radio much: they’re always playing the same songs, morning and afternoon, every day. I thought that it might be limited to the time I’m in the car on my way to or from work, yet now I’m starting to think that it might go beyond that… which is why I put on a CD when driving for leasure.

* I cannot remember the last time I was in a cinema. There was ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and then before that AVATAR… yip, it’s safe to say I’m out of touch with the cinematographic world out there. Maybe I should make the effort to go again – once there’s a decent film, that is. Or I could read. That seems to be the better option. I can wait for DVD releases.

* With work taking up all my time, and weekends spent with my Significant Other (visiting family, sleeping, watching DBZ), I don’ read much now – unless it’s work-related, that is. As such, when my S.O. had to work late last night, I devoured most of the second DARK TOWER book. Absolute bliss. Only 140 pages left.

* Bad pizza is bad pizza, never mind how much you try to tell yourself that it was ‘sort of all right, actually’. I had one of those experiences last night. Too much overly salty feta cheese, and a pizza base that was half raw – no amount of spinach or bacon (the bacon highly lacking on that ‘pizza’, I’ll add) can make up for that.

* Apparently they’re still putting up some 2010 billboards and such in some regions of the country. Uhm, guys? … it’s over… really. No more soccer. But thumbs up for the enthusiasm.

* Neurologist. Cool word to say, huh? Neeeeuuuurologist… Apparently I need to go see one for these headaches/migraines of mine… Another cool word: gynaecologist. Or, basically, any profession that ends on things like –ologist/ -ist. Maybe not exactly ‘cool’, but now that I’ve got it stuck in my hand, I’ll start thinking up some silly, make-believe professions by adding those suffixes (that is what they’re called, right?) to words.

* My Significant Other pointed out that I’ve worn a different shirt to work every day for the three weeks I’ve been working here. I’m still in the early, don’t-want-to-repeat-a-shirt-I’m-being-professional-here phase of employment.

* The new HARRY POTTER film better get here fast… I’m waiting in not-yet-but-later-to-become-desperate anticipation *sigh* I’ll just have to read the seventh book… again… for the umpteenth time…

* What do you think my superhero/villain name should be, if I ever needed one?

"Who IS Mysterion?!" 😉

The benefits of a good education

28 07 2010

Sometimes I feel like moping and whining because it doesn’t seem like my university education (of great quality!) is getting me anywhere. Okay, perhaps I should say I used to feel like that, up until the point where I landed this internship, yet that doesn’t stop me from still feeling cheated when thinking of the jobs you cannot get just because you don’t have any experience… besides, who cares if you’re an English major anyway?

It would seem that, finally, my two university degrees are going to pay off. (I’ll mention, at this point, that your basic school education – Gr. R-12 – is important, too, thus it shouldn’t be neglected or taken as a given, as a lot of children do.) When you read so many books you start wondering what kind of relevance it’ll ever have in your life. Sure, I’m able to say that I’ve read Dickens and Chaucer and Shakespeare and whoever else, but that isn’t the best conversation starter. It can actually be a mood killer, since nobody really wants to talk ‘academics’. The Classics seem to be a love only of sophisticated (read: moved on in years, i.e. older) people and university students. Isn’t that a shame…

However, I now find myself in a most wonderful situation – one I have willing thrust myself into, with as much enthusiasm as I can muster, and working at a great (but efficient, I’ll add) speed that makes the whole university experience gratifying. I am currently proofreading part of a series for a specific age group/ school phase. And you wouldn’t believe the titles I’m dealing with…

I have proofread OLIVER TWIST (Charles Dickens), KIDNAPPED (Robert Louis Stevenson) and THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) already – not the English books, though, but the translated versions thereof in Afrikaans. The books are aimed at children of about 9 or 10 years of age (Grade 3/ 4 learners). The other books for this phase include TREASURE ISLAND (Robert Louis Stevenson), ROBINSON CRUSOE (Daniel Defoe) and JANE EYRE (Charlotte Bronte).

Oh, how my inner English scholar is rejoicing right now!

I’ll admit that I’ve never read or even heard of KIDNAPPED, yet I have seen two film versions of OLIVER TWIST, and have read TREASURE ISLAND and THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES for my own pleasure. ROBINSON CRUSOE and JANE EYRE were dealt with at university (so I’ve read them), along with other Classics, thus it would seem that having a broad literary background (and a broad spectrum of reading pleasures) is really a good thing.

Now I don’t have to talk about the content of the texts themselves, but rather just the fact that I’ve been proofreading (and editing) them for younger readers to enjoy and learn from. That’s right – going for the ol’ I’m-making-a-difference-and-helping-children-with-their-education stint. I don’t really care whether or not they like the books. As long as they’re being published, distributed to schools and read in classrooms, I at least want the texts to be free of many errors.

So yes, finally I’m reaping the rewards or benefits of my (academic) education. If I didn’t possess the skills to read, write, edit, use logical thinking and have decent grammar skills, I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now… although, I’ll admit, it all depends on the individual, so I’ll allow myself a small pat on the back for having come this far.

My own little patch of town Under the Dome

28 07 2010

I love Stephen King.

That said (for the how-many-ith time), I can continue with my entry.

At the end of last year, the King of writing publishing a fairly long novel titled UNDER THE DOME. Wonderful, to say the least, and filled with so many small town truths that King has become a master in depicting with modesty.

Every time I think about that novel, I remember the full cover I’ve seen around the internet: that hazy, almost never-minded shades of pink purple turning to blue, from a ‘happy’ light shade to a darker, more sinister (and, I suppose, foreshadowing) shade as the minutes under that strange dome tick by… In a word, the cover is Lovely. One thing I like about a book is the appeal of its cover. That’s not to say that I won’t buy a book just because it’s cover isn’t all that snazzy, but it’s an added bonus to have such a wonderful work of publishing and design (‘design’ referring to the layout people and artists) art.

You must admit, you’d rather pick up a book with a fetching cover than one that seems dull and ‘ordinary’.

Lucky for me, Stephen King’s novels (a) always have great covers, and (b) have such great content, the cover probably wouldn’t bother me much.

Whenever we drive to or from the apartment on a certain stretch of road, there’s a section of town I like to think of as my own little patch of Under the Dome Town. It doesn’t have a huge, mysterious obstruction surrounding it, and I’m not sure what kinds of people inhabit the various domiciles, yet it’s not the people or their personal/social politics that interests me.

The thing I love about my patch of Dome Town, is… the sky.

Different hues of purple, sometimes tinged with the softest of pinks (or the sunniest/brightest, depending on the lighting and the clouds), turning purple-blue as the evening draws out… ultimately plunging the vulnerable little houses – all seemingly the same on the outside – into darkness until another day dawns.

And you know, I haven’t really ever seen clouds there. Plenty of stars, and sometimes none, but clouds? They seem to be limited.

Come to think of it, I don’t believe that the cover of UNDER THE DOME has that many clouds floating majestically above the ant-sized town from so high up. Perhaps that’s what makes the image so much more appealing and ‘apt’ to me. I wonder what kinds of lives these people lead, whether they have pets and/or children, how they get along as a unit of the broader community – in a nutshell, whether the microcosm of such a society actually exists here in South Africa.

I know that the section I’m referring to forms part of Durbanville, just a stretch of housing, which means that it isn’t your run-of-the-mill small town whose mentality and ‘essence’ can be stereotyped. But still, how many kids in those neighbourhoods actually know each other and play together? I wonder…

Share the LOLz: office kittehs to brighten your Tuesday

27 07 2010

LOLcats always have a profound way of putting a smile on my face… or, maybe, it isn’t really as profound as I’d like to think it is: it’s simply appealing to my love of cats. Hope you’re all having a great Tuesday. If you’re in Cape Town this weekend, come pop in at the Cape Town Book Fair, which is being held at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention Centre) 🙂 Here are some office related LOLz – enjoy!!

How LOLcats make me feel ❤

...and Tuesday's almost over, as well!

Reminds me of myself, actually

Not much at this point, in my case, but I'll get there

Because I'm not lucky enough to be a pampered cat

Sad but true...

Just make sure they keep me on after 6 months!

Hope I never look like this

I'm working on it 😉

And that's the honest, modest truth!!

Curse of the genes (?)… stupid ovaries…

26 07 2010

So I have an appointment with my gynaecologist tomorrow. Just a check up, two-and-a-half months after the operation, to see how I’ve been doing and such.

My answer?

‘I’m going to hurt you…’

I’ve kept it no secret that this has been an awful experience. I don’t feel better at all. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I feel worse. I’ve gained weight. Some of my shirts won’t fit. I have constant pain and don’t know what I should or shouldn’t eat. I’ve even considered joining a gym – something that is way out of character.

I probably shouldn’t blame my gynae, but I don’t think blaming my genes is going to help my.

I mentioned a while back that all three of us sisters seem to be cursed when it comes to our female reproductive bits. My older sister with twice removed cysts; myself having polycystic ovaries and undergoing the laparoscopy for endometriosis (which I did have); and my younger sister, Addy, with a high testosterone count – one that outweighs her oestrogen; naturally not a good thing.

She (Addy) actually had her first gynaecologist appointment last Thursday to see what’s ‘wrong’ with her. Turns out that she, too, has polycystic ovaries like yours truly.

Curious-er and curious-er, to quote ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

I just hope that it’s going to be a good year for Addy. She already had a shock earlier this year when she found out that she had growths called nodules on her vocal cords – for someone studying music, with singing as your key instrument, this is one of the worst things that could happen to you. She went for treatments, learning some exercises that could help and being told to lower her voice a bit (yes, I’ll admit, she does tend to get loud at times).

Luckily, at her last appointment, she found out that the nodules are completely gone.

That said, now she has to take so many different kinds of pills for her gynaecological problems, some might mistake her for a junkie of some sort. And on top of all of that, she has to have her wisdom teeth removed at the end of the year (after her final exams)!

Makes me feel grateful that I didn’t have similar things to deal with during my first year at university.

In the meantime, I’ll get my head around this whole gym-joining thing – something my Significant Other is quite keen on – while contemplating going on a diet. It couldn’t hurt… and if it does (the gyming, not the dieting), I’m blaming him. He better make up for it with a massage or two…

Re-trenched: keeping the coat a fashion necessity

26 07 2010

Who ever turned the trench coat into a fashion item, anyway?

When I think of a trench coat, images of days long past come to mind… I think about movie stars and glamour; Dick Tracy hitting the streets; people standing in the cold mist under the zooming rotors of a plane about to take flight; private eyes waiting for that big case to land up on their desks… and memorable ‘real life’ people like Jackie O and where she fits into both the micro- and macrocosm that is society (our history).

But even my take on it is wrong, already filled with glitz, already making it a part of popular culture and turning it into a beautified item with both mystique and appeal.

The fact of the matter is, the trench coat, like any other item of clothing (okay, maybe not any other, as a lot of clothes are simply designed and produced for reasons of being fashionable) was created out of necessity. It was created as an “alternative to the heavy serge greatcoats worn by British and French soldiers in the First World War”. For the full article/summary, check Wikipedia – not exactly a literary reference, and especially not something university professors deem a worthy source, yet concise enough for the purposes of informing the general public nonetheless…

Anyway, the item became “optional dress” for members of the British Army, who certain members could obtain it by private purchase. Veterans returning from the war kept their coats, which started to turn it into a sort of fashionable item to have, and later the trench coat was even used during World War Two, as well. Of course modifications were made to the design and pattern, and the item wasn’t exclusive to those participating in just the two World Wars. Other nations and armies developed their own sort of trench coats, and from a post-WWII standpoint, it started to become ‘trendy’. To quote Wikipedia:

“Their original role as part of an army officers’ uniform lent the trench coat a businesslike respectability, whilst fictional heroes as diverse as Dick Tracy, Mike Hammer, Jack Harkness, The Crow, The Phantom, Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine from Casablanca and Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau kept the coat in the public eye.”

I suppose it’s from this “keeping it in the public eye” vantage point that I have come to find my notions of the trench coat validated. It gives it a bit of glitz and glamour, true, but still (I feel) within some sort of contextual point where romanticizing the image of the coat is ‘all right’. Nowadays it’s all about fashion trends, and even people who look ghastly in the trench buy and wear it because it’s a ‘must have’ *sigh*

In a way, I guess the fashion statement comes close to all the various forms of media that have influenced my thinking of the coat. Comics, television series, movies, science fiction… even wrestlers (?!!)… the trench coat has found a home in some many places, it’s no wonder it always comes back as a reliable item of both stylishness/trendiness and durability.

You know who else wears trench coats? The cast of THE MATRIX… there is no spoon… or, should that be ‘coat’?