Get a Spring in your step

31 08 2010

Hmm… everybody is excited that tomorrow, the 1st of September, is the ‘first’ day of Spring.

Spring Day, huh?

You people really need to get your dates right…

Although I’m not one to argue if everyone wants to get excited that September through November sees the joyous time of Spring to bless our patch of the globe, I must point out that the vernal equinox (Latin, ver = spring) only occurs in the latter half of September – 03:09 AM on the 23rd of the month, to be precise (thank you Wikipedia).

Anyone who lives here in SA will tell you not to get too excited that Spring time is upon us. Today is a cold, windy, rainy day, with weather conditions looking pretty much the same for the rest of the week. Winter came a bit late this year, and it cannot seem to make up it’s mind if it wants to rain or give us bursts of sunshine with a slight chill. Either way, I see no decrease in degrees Celsius… and the fact of the matter is, I love it.

Rainy weather, you lie close to my heart.

I’m not saying I want it to be cold all of the time, definitely not up to the point where my feet are permanently freezing and I have to restrain myself from keeping the heater on high for hours on end. I simply prefer the cozy atmosphere such weather creates. Sunshine is fine, and I do like Spring… but it’s Summer that I’m dreading.

I hate Summer. Don’t try to change my mind.

It’s incredibly warm. Nothing seems able to cool you down. The heat increases the intensity of my daily headaches. I’m not particularly fond of the beach. Feeling sluggish is a total drag. Blah, blah, et cetera. I think I’ve talked about his before (perhaps I should search my blog folder on my laptop).

Canola fields: breath-taking

One thing I most definitely do love about Spring is the tell-tale signs that spread the country side. The beautiful Canola flowers are a rich vibrant yellow standing out against the getting-greener-still grasses and vineyards. The trees in Victoria Street will start to become lush and paradisiacal (like a paradise, for those of you struggling to pronounce that word). Ice-cream will become a diet staple when nothing else seems to ‘work with’ your system or the ‘effort’ of preparing a meal and eating in such heat. Lots of tasty fruit will help detox the system post-Winter hibernation (excess kilograms and body fat likely).
Spring Day: an excuse to expect or give flowers, to celebrate the beginning of another season, to perhaps get a bit healthier and more disciplined…

…and to welcome the new CO2 emissions tax (which applies to new passenger cars, incl. SUVs).

Time to take care of the earth, go green, and put a Spring in our step!! Be happy, healthy, and look to the horizon!!

Optimism… I’m not sure how much it agrees with me…

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Unexpected gems = great reading

30 08 2010

The first day of the Cape Town Book Fair was Trade Day – the day ‘we’ (I hope that I can be counted as inclusive and worthy) in the industry had a chance to mingle, observe, and enjoy the show before opening to the general public the following day. You might remember that I told you how I couldn’t resist purchasing some books before the day was out – something I cannot be blamed for as a book lover/ avid reader.

What these books had in store for me, I never could have guessed. I unwittingly stumbled upon true gems in that treasure trove of books stacked and jumbled together at the Bargain Books stall – rows and stands of books mixed together, and myself digging around for both interesting covers and blurbs on the back.

And, as stated, I was in for a treat with my loot.

I made my first contact with Glenn Cooper.

I’m sure many (if not most) of you will have no idea who he is. Neither did or do I – I suppose I can read up on him now; I’ll admit I had a look at his website on Saturday when I noticed, to my sheer delight, an extract from his third book at the back of his second novel. I immediately felt the urge need desire to procure this third novel of (what-will-certainly-contain) greatness at the most convenient time possible… which, in this case, will have to be ASAP!!

So, what got me ‘into’ his first two novels? It’s such a mix of things, I don’t even know where to start. First off, their covers caught my attention, and the blurbs on their backs intrigued me. Mystery, suspense, serial killers, and uncovering one of the greatest secrets mankind is unaware of? Sounds good to me. The characters are solid and believable; the jump between time periods in the first novel help the reader complete the metaphorical puzzle and solve/understand the mystery a bit at the time, although not all is revealed or explained completely, which is why the fact that there is a second (and now third!) novel is wonderful – for it will certainly help feed the reader’s insatiable appetite for a good story and information.

Want to know what else these novels look at?

Area 51.

The truth behind it all. Government cover-ups. Life and death.

And the End of Days.

What would you say if someone told you there were about 700 000 tomes in an ancient library, containing the dates of birth and death of all the people in the world… written centuries in advance… and all the dates noted were/are true…?

It makes you wonder about a lot of things, like destiny and futility and all the things in life you work so hard for that seem to be pre-determined, meaning that you have no free will or choice of your own. No matter what you do, that’s what’s destined for you, and your date of death is established.

Sort of spooky, wouldn’t you say?

All I know is that, with such wonderful titles as LIBRARY OF THE DEAD, BOOK OF SOULS and THE TENTH CHAMBER, I cannot wait to see what other interesting titles and novels this author has in store for us over the years to come… But first, I need to buy that third novel!!





Death, where is thy sting?

27 08 2010

…in my arm, it would seem.

‘Death’ probably isn’t the correct word here, but it feels more appropriate than just saying ‘pain’. Last week, Wednesday or Thursday evening (most probably Thursday), I met with the unfortunate event of burning myself with the bottom edge of a way-more-than-just-tepid pot fresh off the stove. It’s no secret that I tend to cut or burn myself, injuries seem to be part of my genetic make-up, yet these are always minor incidents. How this particular occurrence came about I have not a clue, but I do not that it hurt like the dickens.

It’s not a big mark, only 1.5 cm by 0.8 cm (approximately). The new layer of skin it started to make came off over the weekend, and since then it has been a downward spiraling battle I think I am going to lose.

Death by hot cooking pot – not the way I thought I’d go, it’s seems pretty odd/ strange. But Mark Twain said: “Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense”. Don’t we all know it.

A whole section of my forearm (close to my wrist, that’s where I bloody burnt myself!) ended up swollen, dark pink, and seemingly infectious. Ointments didn’t seem to help; we cleaned it and put on bandages, only for it to get stuck and make the wound bleed; I’ve even been taking Nurofen Plus to try and alleviate the pain and burning sensation – because for some reason, one week later, what looks to the naked eye like a minor burn is giving much more trouble than it ought to.

Yesterday I was sick. My whole body felt ill, my head was pounding, and my arm was giving me grief. I don’t even know how to sleep, because a slight turning of the arm causes a dull throbbing sensation. My Significant Other insists that the wound is looking better… I simply keep being dramatic and say this is such a anticlimactic way to die.

You’ve got to keep life interesting, after all.

Speaking of which, you wouldn’t believe what hair-brained scheme he came up with yesterday. I wanted to take a shower in order to wash my hair, and he kept insisting that I shouldn’t get the wound wet – so he came up with this ‘brilliant plan’ of his: wrapping my forearm in cling wrap and securing it to my arm with sticky tape.

I kid you not.

Apparently it doesn’t matter if you feel stupid doing it, because nobody’s going to see you anyway…

And what happens? First, the circulation is slowly but surely cut of from my arm, causing the outline of the wound to stand out even more, a hideous red ring like a mark left on a branded cow. Second… his scheme wasn’t successful… some or other way, water still managed to enter this whatever-it-is he created, and when I wanted to dry myself off, a jet of water squirted out *sigh* But hey, precaution is better than cure, right? R-i-i-i-ght…

I hope this literal sting of the metaphorical ‘death’ of a section of my arm is short-lived. It’s not healthy to think about amputation on such a fine, cold Friday morning in August…

…and it just had to be my good (writing) arm, didn’t it?

That’s enough drama from my side. Have a lovely Friday, everyone! Only one third of the year left.

Battle scars - i haz them...





I’ll Admit (Part IV)

26 08 2010

I’ll Admit:

* Having wedding-related dreams two nights in a row probably isn’t uncommon if you’re getting married in a bit over eight months’ time… what doesn’t make it so great, however, is dreaming that a huge mechanical structure is floating in the sky, and that a huge chunk breaks of and falls downwards, and you are told that your Significant Other has just died. Like not getting your hair right wasn’t bad enough.

* I am very tempted to go to the Bridal Expo in Tyger Valley this weekend, although there’s probably no use in my going. I only need someone to do my hair and make-up (have two options already), and a DJ for the evening (and we have a few numbers we can phone). Plus, yesterday was payday, so I’m not too keen on spending an hour or two in an over-crowded shopping centre.

* NARUTO is far better than DRAGONBALL Z. Things aren’t drawn out to the point of boredom, there’s depth, and it’s about ninjas. (I love Kakashi-sensei!)

* Not being able to go to work due to complete bodily illness and an intense headache to boot is a major ‘bummer’ for me, since I actually enjoy what I’m doing. I may be only an intern… but I’m a valued, can-do intern!

* One of the most wonderful things in life is family. I don’t know what I’d do without mine. I prepared a lovely home-cooked supper for my older sister last night, and it was great to have a face-to-face chat (other than our daily e-mail correspondence). I suppose I’m pretty lucky, because I have an ‘extended’ family: my parents and sisters (biological), my second parents/ future in-laws, plus my Tennessee ‘parents’ 🙂

* It irks me that Smudgy seems to prefer my Significant Other above me. I feed her, clean her dung box, play with her, talk to her, stroke her, and want to accommodate her as much as possible… but when we’re sitting on the couch, will she jump up to sit on my lap? Nooo… she’ll sit on the person’s lap who doesn’t ‘play nice’ with her and gets her all worked up – the one who gives her baths and taunts her *sigh* Guess she isn’t my cat after all.

* Being called a ‘language expert’ (although I know I’m not one) by my mentor at OUP feels like one of the greatest compliments I have ever received. She says I have a can-do attitude and accommodating manner, and that my contributions are valued. Maybe I’ll do all right in the industry.

* I dislike myself for not being able to write at the moment. I’m not sure if it’s writer’s block, no self-confidence, or feeling that what I’ve done thus far isn’t really worth much… But, there is a writing competition I want to enter, 500 words, any genre. This just might be a good exercise for me. Any ideas what I should write about? Or at least a suggestion for genre?

* It’s probably no coincidence that I love both SHERLOCK HOLMES and SCOOBY-DOO. It’s like the cartoon version of the fine master sleuth, wouldn’t you agree?

* I want a cake like this one:

* …and I’m planning on baking a special cake for my second mommy, who celebrates her birthday next Friday. Just hope it’ll turn out decent enough.





Chocolate: (delicious) over-the-counter drug

23 08 2010

     I love chocolate.

     I am a woman, after all… even though I don’t crave chocolate every single day, and I know that I can go a week (or more) without it – it’s useless calories, after all. No matter how ‘happy’ they make you feel (at first).

     When women (a) want to indulge/ treat themselves, (b) get upset – crying may or may not be included, (c) feel down, (d) hear good news, (e) are in the mood for dessert… oh, wait. Basically, at any time at all, most women will opt for chocolate. The question, of course, is why. Sure, they’re filled with antioxidants and get those endorphins pumping, causing the ‘happy’ trigger in your brain to lift a few notches. But afterwards, a lot of women end up feeling guilty, griping about the kilojoules and getting fat and having to exercise as a consequence.

     Apparently, chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine, something that is released into your brain when you fall in love. No wonder women feel that Chocolate = Love, and vice versa. That’s probably why men present the object of their affection with chocolate as a symbol of their love… usually with roses, which also contain phenylethylamine.

     When Ke$ha sings that “your love is my drug”, we can replace “your love” with “chocolate” and understand that yes, indeed, we were right all along – we cannot help our addiction to chocolate, because it is enticing and intoxicating, a wide-spread drug that is sold almost everywhere, openly. It’s enough to get you obsessed… and that’s why you always want more: enough is never enough; no matter how much of it you get, that fix isn’t enough – you’re always itching for another shot of silky smooth ecstasy.

     This is why (studies allege) women prefer chocolate to sex.

     After intercourse, you’re body produces/ emits endorphins, which is exactly what happens when you eat chocolate. With chocolate, at least, less effort is required… and it is always satisfying. Of course, presenting your lady with chocolate would be a smart move, since it can work as an aphrodisiac, and then get her in the mood to thank you for the ‘thoughtful’ gift. However, this can be said of sex: unlike chocolate, you don’t really have to worry about moderation. You can have as much as you like, and it’s healthy to boot. [Please note: I’m not trying to promote sex. This is just some findings from articles I’ve read here and there, as well as people’s opinions.]

     Women crave chocolate more than men do, whereas with sex it’s the other way around (in most cases). Chocolate makes women feel ‘empowered’ – by giving or receiving chocolate, it makes you feel loved and cared for (and yes, on the flipside, it’s sex that makes men feel powerful and satisfied). One thing men and women seem to have in common when it comes to chocolate, is that both love dark chocolate, which is a good thing, since this variety in particular contains chemicals that may lower your risks of getting cancer or heart disease… although, naturally, just because you’re eating chocolate doesn’t guarantee you won’t get it – it’s just one of those little factoids you can use to your advantage and defend your chocolate eating habits: it’s healthy *nom nom nom* It’s a mood enhancer, a natural drug and an illness preventer *wolfs down 200g slab*

But I’m bored with the topic now, so I won’t go any further into it. All I know is that, strangely enough, I prefer a nice packet of Sparkles sweeties above chocolate. They’re tasty, good to have with you for a bit of sugar, and no threat to your hips and waistline/diet (since you probably won’t finish a whole packet in one go like a slab).

     Here a list of the top 30 reasons why chocolate is better than sex (not my words!!); if you want a longer list – 125 reasons in all – click here. Have a happy Monday, everyone!

TOP 30 REASONS WHY CHOCOLATE IS BETTER THAN SEX

  1.  You can GET chocolate.
  2.  “If you love me you’ll swallow that”; has real meaning with chocolate.
  3.  Chocolate satisfies even when it has gone soft.
  4.  You can make chocolate last as long as you want it to.
  5.  You can have chocolate even in front of your mother.
  6.  If you bite the nuts too hard the chocolate won’t mind.
  7.  Two people of the same sex can have chocolate without being called nasty names.
  8.  The word “commitment” doesn’t scare off chocolate.
  9. You can have chocolate on top of your workbench/desk during working hours without upsetting your work mates.
  10. You can ask a stranger for chocolate without getting your face slapped.
  11. You don’t get hairs in your mouth with chocolate.
  12. With chocolate there’s no need to fake it.
  13. Chocolate doesn’t make you pregnant.
  14. You can have chocolate at any time of the month.
  15. Good chocolate is easy to find.
  16. You can have as many kinds of chocolate as you can handle.
  17. You are never too young or too old for chocolate.
  18. When you have chocolate it does not keep your neighbours awake.
  19. With chocolate size doesn’t matter; it’s always good.
  20. A chocolate never forgets to tell you they liked you better with long hair.
  21. A chocolate never snaps your bra or pinches your bum.
  22. Chocolate can stay hard for a week, and satisfies even when it has gone soft.
  23. You can safely have chocolate while driving.
  24. You can have chocolate on your desk without upsetting your workmates.
  25. “If you love me you’ll swallow that” has real meaning with chocolate.
  26. It’s easy to find 9 inches of chocolate.
  27. Chocolate doesn’t make you preggers.
  28. You don’t have to wait until half-time to talk to your chocolate.
  29. You won’t find out later that your chocolate is married.
  30.  You won’t find out later that your chocolate is on penicillin.

My Significant Other should get himself one of these...





Let me forget that red, red shoe

20 08 2010

They say everything in life happens for a reason, although the why thereof is not necessarily evident.

That said, I strongly believe that rules of the road have been set up for good reasons – like keeping people alive and safe. But oh, the bitter results of the saying that ‘rules are meant to be broken’…

When my Significant Other came to pick me up from work yesterday, the traffic was absolute murder. We were backed up pretty far, and none of the lanes seemed to be moving. A bit further on one of the electronic notice boards informed us that we should expect delays as an accident had occurred, resulting in the closing of two lanes. My mind kept trying to come up with possible scenarios that necessitate the closure of two lanes: car crash, truck tipped over… stuff like that. What actually happened dropped a lead weight in the pit of my stomach.

The first thing I saw was a shoe (funny how seconds between noticing horrible things seem to stretch out for what feels like hours) – a pretty, red sandal with a slight heel lying on its side in the middle of the road, almost as if someone had kicked if off nonchalantly. Next cam the bag of oranges, some of its contents spilled across the road in a trail of clues leading you to the scene of the crime. They didn’t seem squished to me; it merely seemed like someone had dropped the bag, and that a few oranges had rolled out of their own accord. Nothing extraordinary, just part of your average, run-of-the-mill day (it’s not uncommon for things to adorn our roads like embellishments or glitter on a funky shirt).

Yes, the traffic had been murder… literally (although I suppose ‘accidental manslaughter’ is closer to the truth). There, under a pure white sheet lay a form – a body, a corpse, a no-longer-among-the-living human being. Most probably a woman, the red shoe is evident of that. Absolutely horrible (although no blood could be seen on the scene). What made it more horrible for me as the day progressed is the fact that, but an hour later, I saw a pair of shoes on a poster that looked almost exactly like the one lying on the N1, separated from its mate in lonely isolation. Why did the woman find herself in a position where it was necessary for her to walk/run across the busy highway? What was she thinking? And what happened to the person who ran her over, since he/she was nowhere to be found between the fire truck and police vehicles? How must something like this weigh on your conscious? God, it’s so awful

And what about the woman’s family? What will happen to them? How long will they wait and wonder where their mother/wife/sister/cousin/niece (and friend) is? Will they expect the worst?

Life gave her oranges – and the results of her decision led her to her end.

Since I’m currently busy reading the DARK TOWER series (currently busy with book 4), I couldn’t help but think back to the scene where Jake dies and gets transported into Roland’s world for the first time. He dies while crossing the road… And then, naturally, I started thinking how it would be if this woman had, perhaps, crossed over to another plain and found herself in a different world – a flight of fancy (and fantasy), I know, yet you cannot blame me. Seems like my mind is preoccupied with that Tower, and where things will lead the gunslinger and his friends. But despite my ‘natural instinct’ to see a real life incident and transpose a story idea on it, I still feel slightly mortified (if that’s the word I’m looking for) for doing such a thing. What does that say of me? Am I a wishful thinker? Do I believe in other worlds and a life beyond what we have here? I don’t think so… but, in my version, at least the woman gets a second chance to live.

Something that never happens. One mistake or incident that can never be changed.

And that is the uncertainty and precariousness of life, my dear readers. Be wise, and keep your lessons (what you’ve learnt, rules, etc.) in mind. Sorry for being so morbid. I just cannot seem to get the image of the red shoe out of my mind. Perhaps if I write about it, the image will start to fade and move to the back of my subconscious, into the pool of ‘forgotten’ things, to linger there until some force deems it fit to dredge it up and remind me of it once more.

I’m surprised I didn’t have a dream/nightmare about it last night.





Expect Delays [poem]

20 08 2010

red
shoe lying there at
the centre of my gaze, flat
on your side, seeing
the world from a different
perspective (lost)

how did you get there?

looking like a picture you
would expect on a billboard
promoting
fashion and human
folly (so-called necessities)

and the image haunts me still

oranges
close by, scattered
like clues leading
back
to the scene of the crime
plastic bag futility
half empty (not half
full – no
optimism) and despair
comes quickly

how did they get there?

red like fresh
bright blood droplets
missing

orange
bruised flesh soft
and tender(ised) like what i
cannot see, yet
know lies

under the white
sheet pure unstained, or maybe
i am too far to
see

droplets
red
flesh
orange
body
corpse

lying in the middle
of the busy N1