A Year Ago

30 11 2010

A year ago…

…I was getting into the Christmas spirit, in my own way, blogging about songs and the commercial season and how I love the fact that my genes are those of the love-to-bake variety.

Now…

…I think the only reason I ‘appreciate’ the season to be jolly is because I’ll be getting a week off from work since our company is closing. Nothing like a job (and no more long university holidays) to put things into ‘perspective’. But that doesn’t change my view on the commercial nature of it all.

A year ago…

…my younger sister was annoying me due to her habits: re-watching films like HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; blaring her music; having an attitude – all those kinds of things.

Now…

…I may not be at home anymore, and for most of the year she isn’t either, yet her attitude seems to have become worse (short tempered, mean, at times self-centred and only focused on the me). She might be rude to me at times and lose her cool, but she’s still my little sister, and I love her. I just don’t want to get into a fight with her.

A year ago…

…I was worried about going to the gynaecologist and hearing what he/ she had to say. I was expecting the worst. How could I not, when at that point I had suffered from 7 years of daily headaches?

Now…

…my head is still a ‘mess’. The headaches are still pretty bad, a lot of the time borderline migraines, and now it’s time for the next step: tests at the neurologist’s office. How fun.

A year ago…

…I had my eyes tested and got new lenses. I had to wear my glasses more frequently, but it was still all right.

Now…

…though one usually has to go for an eye test every second year, I am strongly contemplating going again. I have to wear my glasses for most of the day. I don’t know if the lenses are strong enough anymore, and when I wear them for a substantial time, my headache worsens. Plus I’m greatly inclined to get contact lenses, as well. After all, I can’t look like a nerd on my wedding day, can I?

A year ago…

…(or a little bit less than a year) I decided to have my hair cut. After much shock and unhappiness at my very short hair, I simply had to accept it.

Now…

…I’m still not happy that it was cut shorter than I had asked and paid for. Still, I think it’s okay, since it gives my hair a chance to grow out again and be healthy.

A year ago…

…I had finished my second degree (Cum Laude), attended the ceremony, and found myself unemployed.

Now…

…despite failed attempts and sitting at home for eight months, I am happy with where I find myself (though uncertainty has a way of creeping in sometimes). I have been at Oxford University Press for four and a half months. The internship is going well, they are impressed with my work, and it seems like I shall be missed come mid-January. Ironically, I find myself in the same position I was last year: having to look for a job… and not having any luck.

A year ago…

…I moved in with my Significant Other and his brother. We were hoping that I would have a job by January, which is partially the reason why I moved in: so I could drive to work with the two brothers and save my father the trouble.

Now…

…we are still staying there. My Significant Other’s brother moved out in March. We got a cat at the end of January. My Significant Other does drive me to work… and yet, ironically, since mid-April, he has been working from home.

A year ago…

…I was reading Stephen King’s latest offering, UNDER THE DOME.

Now…

…I have already purchased and completed my reading of the now-latest King book (FULL DARK, NO STARS). Guess I’ll just have to wait for the next one *sigh*

During the course of a year…

…we had the best of times and the worst of times. Relationships blossomed and broke apart. Families lost loved ones. New acquaintances were made. We’ve had to take the good with the bad. Working out budgets. Planning and attending weddings. Laughing and crying. Getting angry at the b*stards who broke into my parental home and being extremely excited about the new Harry Potter film and Stephen King book. It was a year probably much like any other year, but through everything, it was a good year, and we have much to be happy about and thankful for. May your year ahead, dear readers, be a good year – and even if, sometimes (or many times), it feels pretty awful… there will always be something to make you smile again 🙂

[Okay, enough of the sentimental happy crappy – someone hand me a murder mystery to read…]





Book Review: ‘Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy’

29 11 2010

You’ve probably wondered what it would feel like to get into someone else’s head, right?

And if you ever had to get lost in another person’s thoughts, I’d wager that you’d never find your way out of those of Bradley Sands…

…because with every twist and turn, this author delves further into the bizarre.

I recently had the opportunity of reading Master Sands’ latest offering of all things mind-blowing and unsettling and perplexing and absolutely bizarro: SORRY I RUINED YOUR ORGY. ‘Strange’ is a word that doesn’t quite cover it, and if things that seem disjointed or unrelated aren’t your cup of tea, then I wouldn’t recommend this book. I’m sure it’ll make your logical mind bleed while screaming a silent ‘no no no’ in the deepest recesses of human rationality.

That said, I quite enjoyed it – even if a lot of things didn’t make sense to me.

[There’s only a scarce chance that I’d put down a book without finishing it, anyway.]

From time travelling giraffes, lunch with Hitler, the mountain attempting to climb the man and Hallmark cards gone terribly awry, this short story collection spews up imagery and prose (with long descriptive story titles) in both long and short bursts – like a spastic volcano or faulty (and jaunty, I might add) kitchen tap.

Readers of Afrikaans literature might be able to draw a comparison with some of the works of Breyten Breytenbach, though his writings seem to make far more sense than what truly bizarre fiction has to offer. I suppose it is this correlation that ‘stopped’ me from rejecting Sands’ work and sending the PDF to the unknown depths of the Deleted Items receptacle.

My ‘favourite’ story, only one page long, has to be “The Ghost Parade” – the man’s cat ‘saves’ him and becomes a multi-millionaire, so if you know me (and I hope that you as readers do by now), there’s no question why this tale of the surreal and warped should stand out above the rest for me.

Though I do not feel myself to be much of a critic and thus find myself unable to truly rate fiction – writers know how this feels, since the fear of your own work being rejected always seems to come into play here – but I will say that lovers of bizarre literature will be clapping their hands in apparent glee once they get their hands on SORRY I RUINED YOUR ORGY.

Sometimes a man in a bear costume isn’t just a man in a bear costume…





Scattered Brainings XI

29 11 2010

* I think Friday was pick-on-me-and-my-cat day at our apartment complex. First I greet someone who commences to give me a nasty, unfriendly and eyes-blazing-into-my-skull-look before turning around and finishing his cigarette. Then another neighbour blames my cat for making so much noise and keeping him awake, when in fact I keep my cat indoors at night because the one cat terrorizes all the other cats.

* The kiddies at our complex have been eerily quiet for the last few weeks. Not entirely quiet, but sometimes you almost don’t even know that they’re there… except for the one crazy little girl who tells you to go away and drive her little bike into the steps repeatedly and won’t get out of the way of approaching vehicles.

* I love listening to our next door neighbour play the piano – it’s lovely. Reminds me of home. Now that it’s the festive season, she (I presume it is the woman) is practicing Christmas carols. That’s probably the closest I’ll get to hearing it before the 25th, since my Significant Other isn’t partial to it (Christmas music, I mean).

* Speaking of which, while my Significant Other was playing games on Saturday, I was able to listen to some Kenny & Dolly as he wasn’t really paying attention to what was playing in the other room… or to me, in fact.

* Note to self: when my Significant Other asks me if he can play one more game on a Saturday, don’t make plans for snuggling on the couch and watching a movie or perhaps having some wine – because a game is never quick. He asked me if he could play one more game at five-thirty/ six-o’clock. At quarter of eleven, I decided to get into bed. I have no idea what time he decided to come to bed and sleep.

* I have been neglecting my LOLcats and seriously need to catch up with the cute! Nothing to brighten you day like LOLcats in your inbox 🙂

* This year, I won’t just be having two Christmases, but three! We’ll be spending the 24th with my parentals and the 25th with my soon-to-be second set of parentals, as per usual. In addition, our group of friends is going to have a small get-together to fa-la-la-la-la and deck the halls with a bit of good cheer and nyummy food on the 18th.

* Why does that blasted black-and-white cat have to pick on my cat so much? Sure, he ‘picks fights’ with all the cats in our complex (and there are a lot, though policy states there are only allowed to be three in the whole complex), yet he seems to derive the most pleasure from chasing and harassing my cat. I had to get out of the car this morning to chase him away and close our open apartment window so he wouldn’t jump in and have Smudgy whimpering in a corner… if cats can be said to whimper, that is. ‘Cowering’ is probably a better word here.

* It would be nice if someone would be me a flat iron so I can add a bit of a wave/ curl to my hair on a regular basis – my hair and make-up trial proved that this suits me (*cough* hint-hint *cough*)

* Why are there so many really nice specials on when we cannot afford to buy anything for the apartment due to having to save for the wedding?

* Home: a place where people are glad that you pop in for a visit, no matter how long you stay… and even when you bring along a batch of laundry to wash.

* Home is also a place where I feel compelled to do the washing up (dishes, cutlery, etc.) even after I’ve told my father that I won’t do it. I also go do the ironing every second week.

* I try to stay away from places that sell cheesecake, yet if it cannot be helped, my headaches intervene, saving me from myself and keeping me from ordering some anyway.

* If you had to ask me why they split the last Harry Potter book into two movies, I’d have to say it’s in order for them to capitalize big time – if you can make a hell of a profit, then why not? After watching the first instalment, it felt like I could have sat there for another hour or two. Now the waiting begins again.

* My working day usual starts off with raisins and almonds. At least I’m getting in some iron!

* Whole wheat pasta tastes the same as ‘regular’ pasta, though it does help along digestion.

Uhm, no kitteh, he was borned, but that's kewl... Ooh, a shiniez!

* Ooh, almost forgot this one: Stages of waking up my Significant Other – sweet and loving, understanding, neutral, slightly irritated, frustrated, resigned. Only takes about 25 minutes.





Have you read more than six of these books?

26 11 2010

It’s always interesting to see what you can find on Facebook: laughing or cringing at status updates, seeing which groups your friends join, perusing photos… and taking a peek at their notes.

And it’s one of these notes that the title of this blog post refers to.

According to the note I read, the BBC believes that out of the list of 100 books that follow, the majority of people (not that you can say that all of them are readers, of course, so who do you include as ‘the majority’ or ‘most’?) will only have read 6 of these books.

Far be it from me to raise an eyebrow or pull up my nose, as I have read 32 of the books (and 5 partially/ mostly), but I do have to wonder who exactly set up this list, as many of the books on it are Classics. I love the Classics, I honestly do, yet many people won’t share my enthusiasm. Add to that the fact that some people have only read these books because they were prescribed at some time or another (high school/ university), and then you cannot help but think that some or other ‘snooty’, hoity-toity, ‘I’m-so-well-read’ person created the list in the first place.

But anyway, let’s not gripe on and on about that.

Facebook stated the instructions as follows, so this is your ‘guide’ to understanding it: “…Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.  [Tag other book nerds]…”

So, which of these books have you read?

[Aside: I think I’m going to take the list from the top and put in the effort to read all of them. If not, why not, as my Significant Other says.]

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series –  J K Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo





Christmas with South Park

25 11 2010

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have an unusual Christmas?

Sure, I suppose a lot of people feel that having Christmas with their families is unusual (haha). But seriously, Christmas probably cannot get any more odd or unusual than what they have to offer in SOUTH PARK.

We’ve met Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo (and his family – boy, did they have a crappy Christmas!); spent Christmas with Eric Cartman’s family (including a jail break and Charlie Manson); seen Santa’s sleigh go down as he tries to bring Christmas to Iraq; celebrated with the Canadians (lots of jolliness and gung-ho and even Saddam Hussein); and heard Cartman’s twisted tale with the Christmas Critters (cheerfully wreaking havoc with ‘hurrahs’ and smiling faces).

Keeping with my last posts about Christmas carols – and tales – with a twist, here are some of the songs performed in the episode called “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics” (Season 3, Episode 15). If you’re a SOUTH PARK lover (or someone with a sense of humour), go watch it (again). It’s only one month before Christmas, after all, so you might as well get into the spirit 😉

Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics:

* “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo” – performed by postman

* “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel” – performed by Kyle, Eric, Stan and Kyle’s parents and brother (Ike)

* “O Tannenbaum” – performed by Adolf Hitler

* “Christmas Time in Hell” – performed by Satan

* “Carol of the Bells” – performed by Mr. Makey (m’kay)

* “O Holy Night” – performed by Cartman (wrongly, I might add)

* “Merry F#cking Christmas” – performed by Mr. Garrison [where’s Mr. Hat?]

* “I Saw Three Ships” – performed by Shelley (Stan’s sister)

* Christmas Medley performed by Jesus and Santa, which includes: “Joy to the World”, “Up on the House Top”, “Away in a Manger”, “O come all ye Faithful”, “Hark! The herald angels sings”, “Silent Night”, “Rio” and “Let it Snow”

* “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas” – performed by Mr. Hankey and the cast (sadly, Kenny dies)





Garfield: The 12 Courses of Dinner

24 11 2010

How many of you used to (and still do) watch Garfield? Episodes, TV specials for the holidays, short ‘films’ – the joys of watching everyone’s fat cat and the situations he manages to get himself into.

Well, if you did (and/ or do) watch Garfield, you just might remember the episode where Garfield finds different ways to remind Jon that his birthday is coming up. Having ‘fled’ all the way to Mexico, Jon finally gives up when a native approaches him and tells him that “the birthday of your cat is tomorrow”. Jon relents to give Garfield anything he wants…

…and from there, we have a parody on the Christmas song “The 12 Days of Christmas” – forthwith, in my mind at least, (forever) known as The 12 Courses of Dinner. Garfield has a whole stage set up, kitted out with a choir and everything. Lesson: if you’re going to celebrate your birthday, you might as well do it properly.

Although I remember most of it from memory, I was able – to my sheer delight – to find a write out of the whole scene online. As it is about a month before Christmas, I thought this post would be fitting, as it ties in with my post of yesterday – not the psychotic conditions and whatnot, but rather giving a twist to and having fun with what is actually a Christmas song. This blog post goes out to my two sisters, who I know (and hope) will sing along while seeing the episode in their heads. Love you two! xxx

Garfield: For the 1st course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me, lasagna primaverde.
For the 2nd course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 2 prime ribs,
Garfield and chorus: And lasagna primaverde.
Garfield: For the 3rd course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 3 bean salad,
Chorus: 2 prime ribs,
Garfield: And lasagna primaverde.
For the 4th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 4 pounds of shrimp,
Garfield: 3 bean salad,
Chorus: 2 prime ribs,
All: And lasagna primaverde.
Garfield: For the 5th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 5 onion rings,
Chorus: 4 pounds of shrimp,
Garfield: 3 bean salad,
All: 2 prime ribs,
Chorus: And lasagna primaverde.
Garfield: For the 6th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 6 sausage pizzas?!
Chorus: 5 onion rings,
Garfield: 4 pounds of shrimp,
Chorus: 3 bean salad,
Garfield: 2 prime ribs,
All: And lasagna primaverde.
Garfield: Notice a pattern forming here?
For the 7th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 7 baked potatoes,
Garfield: 6 sausage pizzas,
Chorus: 5 onion rings,
Garfield: 4 pounds of shrimp,
Chorus: 3 bean salad,
Garfield: 2 prime ribs,
All: And lasagna primaverde.
Garfield: With extra sauce on the side.
For the 8th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 8 chili burgers,
Garfield: And all that other food,
Chorus: And lasagna primaverde.
Garfield: We all know the menu by now.
For the 9th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 9 sukiyakis,
Garfield: And all the food I listed,
Chorus: And lasagna primaverde!
Garfield: In larger portions!
For the 10th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 10 beef burritos,
Chorus: And all the food he listed,
Garfield: And lasagna primaverde!
2 more to go, folks!
For the 11th course of dinner, you’re gonna make for me,
Jon: 11 veal cutlets,
Garfield: And other things quite yummy,
All: And lasagna primaverde!
Garfield: For the 12th course of dinner, I’d like seconds, please.
Chorus:
11 veal cutlets,
10 beef burritos,
9 sukiyakis,
8 chili burgers,
7 baked potatoes,
6 sausage pizzas,
5 onion rings,
4 pounds of shrimp,
3 bean salad,
2 prime ribs,
ALL: AND LASAGNA PRIMAVERDE!!!

(Only 365 more days until Garfield’s next birthday…)





Christmas carols… with a twist

23 11 2010

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone gave Christmas carols an odd twist? Like changing the lyrics to make them funny or ironic, or putting a new-aged spin on them. Disney has done it with typical movie plots (fairytale clichés), and many children (and adults, I’ll admit) love changing the words of a rhyme or song to provide themselves with gleeful giggles.

It was with this in mind that I decided to search online for Christmas carols with a bit of a twist… what I found wasn’t really what I was expecting or looking for, yet I thought that I’d share it with you, getting you – and any disorders or personalities you may or may not have – in the mood to celebrate… or feel paranoid and uncomfortable. Whatever works for you.

So, here are some Christmas carols with a twist:

1. Schizophrenia – Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder – We Three Queens Disoriented Are

3. Amnesia – I Don’t Know If I’ll Be Home For Christmas

4. Narcissistic – Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic – Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and fire Hydrants and…

6. Paranoid – Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder – Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Full Personality Disorder – You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, Maybe I’ll tell You Why.

9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle…

10. Agoraphobia – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn’t Leave My House

11. Senile Dementia – Walking in a Winter Wonderland Miles From My House in My Slippers and Robe

12. Oppositional Defiant Disorder – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House.

13. Social Anxiety Disorder – Have Yourself and Merry Little Christmas while I Sit Here and Hyperventilate.