Message Sessions III

27 03 2012

Dear Department of Home Affairs

You better send me my new ID soon. The fact that you misprinted my ID and never let me know about it doesn’t put you in my good books… not to mention the inconvenience of having to fill in the forms again and getting that annoying black ink all over my fingers for prints. You better not mess up again, or there’ll be hell to pay. Why can’t you just get your sh*t together?!

Fed up,

A hard-working tax payer (likely helping to pay your salary!)

– – –

Dear movie people who determined the release dates of films

I read THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy at the beginning of last year and have been eagerly anticipating the release of the first film since then. However, for some or other reason, it only starts showing in South Africa on the 13th of April!! Now I have to try and avoid reading people’s tweets, reviews, memes et cetera for the next two and a half weeks. I don’t know why the release dates for films as greatly anticipated as this one need to differ from country to country (read: for us not living in the US), but just know that you have really ticked me off. And then you wonder why so many people download pirated versions of films…

Disdainfully,

An annoyed filmgoer

– – –

Dear writers of dystopian novels

I love you. There’s no better way of putting it.

Warm regards,

An avid reader

– – –

Dear work/job

Thanks for not accumulating while I was away for the last week and a half. It’s nice to think that all the e-mails I came back to this morning were only general updates/admin and the like. Now if only we could arrange for a salary increase with the new contract I received this morning… I don’t particularly want to be jobless from the 1st of April, but I also feel all the hard work I put in is worth more than I’m getting. Don’t worry – I’m sure we’ll work something out. I think I’ll go crazy if I have to sit at home, unemployed, with nothing to do with my time… unless I start a little home bakery… or the whole book review blog idea picks up.

Gratefully,

Obsessive-compulsive workaholic

– – –

Dear Significant Other

Thanks for the few ‘lunch dates’ while I was on leave, for helping me download books to read, for making me laugh when I felt bored/depressed/listless, for watching CONAN THE ADVENTURER with me (and enjoying it!)… and for just being you. Oh, and for reinstalling/fixing my laptop – you always know best *haha*

Oodles of love,

Me xxx

– – –

Dear Mr Awesplendmarkable

Thank you sooo much for sending me your latest novel a while ago – I read it in a day and LOVED it (I’ve told you that already but it’s worth repeating). If I were a publisher, I’d definitely snatch you up! Thanks also for being such a great friend and for letting me be one of the first people to immerse myself in (and comment on) your works of fiction. It’s much more fun than schools publishing. You ROCK!!

Signed

Your biggest fan… 😉

– – –

Dear life

Get yourself on track. I know I’ve been joking about having a mid-twenties crisis, what with the boredom and listlessness I endured while on leave, but that was probably to be expected after working hard for an extended period of time and then finding myself with no obligations and nothing to do. Let’s think about what we want to achieve in the year to come and take better care of ourselves (i.e. let the exercise regime & development of new interests begin!)

Tough love,

Yourself

– – –

Dear narcissistic people

You may think you’re amazing now; you may get away with being rude and obnoxious all the time, throw tantrums to get want you want, and only contact others when you want something… This, however, will not always be the case. Just know: your day will come. That whole “do unto others” saying has been around for ages, and it holds a lot of truth. I am not someone who gets angry often, but I am really close to giving one or two people a piece of my mind. Your distorted view on the world (and everyone who isn’t as marvellous as you believe yourself to be) is going to come back to punch you hard in the face someday…

Definitely not sincerely yours,

Unimpressed & edgy

– – –

Dear coffee

Stop smelling so good. I just might give up all restraint and fall back into your aromatic (proverbial) arms… which, after 27 java-free months, likely wouldn’t be the best idea.

Tempted,

An ex-coffee drinker

– – –

Dear daily headaches

Stop torturing me! You just seem to be getting increasingly worse, and I deal with it, but we both know this isn’t normal.

Quit it,

Un-amused





Scattered Brainings XV

26 01 2012

* What ever happened to common courtesy? Have we become so consumed in our own lives and problems that we cannot be bothered to even be the slightest bit friendly? We have an open plan office setup at work. At some or other point in the day, you are likely to cross paths with most of the people in your section, like when you go to pick stuff up or make copies at the printer. The least you can do is to give the other person a smile, or at least a nod of acknowledgement when they say ‘hullo’ to you (though saying ‘hullo’ back would be preferable). Many times, this does not happen. I’m not asking you to be the nicest person in the world, but if I say ‘hullo’ to you, would it really kill you to say ‘hullo’ back? I’m now at the point where I’ve given up trying and don’t greet certain people when I see them because I cannot elicit a response from them. Time to bake some murder muffins

* About a week ago, one of my colleagues asked me how I was doing despite – and I quote – “the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look” that can be seen on many a face when referring to the upcoming submissions. Being me, I immediate wondered how this would translate into fashion – what would the key colours, style and accessories be for that definitive deer-caught-in-the-headlights look? What will make you look confused, scared, and ‘cute’ all at the same time? (Confession: I think I may be losing it…)

* Saw this on Facebook and just had to share. As a Scooby-Doo fan, I approve:

* Last week, while dining out, my Significant Other asked me: ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ This is one of the most annoying/ scary/ shrug-inducing questions ever uttered by man. I had this sudden urge to answer, “About two and a half months away from turning 30”, but decided against it.

* Don’t you just hate it when something silly/ annoying gets stuck in your head for days on end? You have that song playing in your mind when you wake up; it sneaks in every hour or so while you’re busy working; and it might just make another appearance before you go to sleep. Oh, and don’t forget the accompanying imagery! I watched a certain YouTube video that has been ‘harassing’ my mind for perhaps over a week now. I have four words for you: “Every day I’m shuffling”

* I’m a bit worried (already) that I won’t reach the goal I set myself for my 2012 Reading Challenge on Goodreads. Last year I was able to read 145 books (yes I did!), with my initial goal being 100.  This year, I’ve decided to set the bar at 100 again, and then see how it goes. I was off to a bad start since it took me nearly two weeks to get through one book – not because I’m a slow reader, but simply because it failed to fully capture my attention. Luckily I’ve been able to pick up the pace and am ‘on track’, according to Goodreads… yet things are going to be super busy until mid-March here at work. I’ll just have to catch up…

* Paper cuts. (Enough said?) I am the self-proclaimed queen of paper cuts. It’s not that I get a paper cut every day or anything like that (although, yes, there are often days when they appear out of thin air and leave me exasperated as to their precise origin). It’s just how things turn out when I do get one. When I get a paper cut, it has to be exceptional. Take Tuesday, for example. Three paper cuts… on the same finger… at the Exact. Same. Time. (!!!)

* Yesterday morning on our way to work, I told my Significant Other that I’m not meant/ cut out for writing. (Haters gonna’ hate?) I just feel disconnected from my writing. Stephen King says that if you have any hope of becoming a successful writer, you should read a lot and write a lot. I’ve got the reading part down pat, yet I am lacking in the writing part. I have been consumed by the schools sector of the written word… I still enjoy reading other people’s manuscripts (not only at work, though it is part of my job – I’m talking about actual ‘real-world’ novel writers) and doing some editing/ providing feedback… but that makes me feel… I don’t know… like a hypocrite? They say those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach… or edit. Which has always bugged me. Because if you yourself cannot write, how can you teach someone else to do it and tell them what is right/ wrong (or grade them on it, *cough* one of my university lecturers *cough*)? In any case, I think I need a big nudge to get me started on my own writing again.

* Being home alone in the evening makes me want to bake and watch a Disney movie (usually THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG or TANGLED). Why is that? I ended up baking raisin-and-flaked-almond oats bars last night… and watching THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG… again…

Topped off with melted chocolate chips!!

* I say the word ‘um’ a lot… at work… while talking to my line manager. This annoys me. It reminds me of an English lecturer we had at university who would say “and, um…” before/ after Every. Single. Sentence. Not the best way to focus on PARADISE LOST, I can assure you.

* Since I have a pear-shaped figure, does that mean I should only eat pears? Or can eating a different fruit help change my shape? *Ponder* I’ve heard of people who are pear or apple shaped, but not a word about any other fruit. If you were banana shaped, would you be bent? Are small, plump/ round people grapes? And what about really large people – are they watermelons? I’m thinking about this too much!!





Some Christmas blog entries

19 12 2011

Well hullo, dearest blog readers!

I hope that you’ve all got your bells jingling and the halls decked, because there are only 5 more ‘sleeps’ until we hit Christmas Eve!

Many people are already on holiday (lucky them), but if you’re like me and still working until the last (which, for me, is Friday), then you don’t have to feel ‘ashamed’ if you haven’t been experiencing the feel-good spirit that the festive season is supposed to evoke. It still doesn’t feel like Christmas is around the corner. All I can think about is work, work, work…

I do have my tree up, though – that should count for something!! 😉

Small but suitable for our apartment

There's even an edible candycane on the tree!

Smudgy's very own stocking

Let's jingle some bells!

Ooh, shiny...

I spent last night baking some Christmas cookies while watching THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, so I’m sure that counts as getting in to the spirit of things… right? Now all I need to really get me going is to watch my favourite ‘Christmas’ movie: DIE HARD!

I know lots of people search for Christmas-related blog entries around this time, which is why I decided to share a few of my old entries that I thought you’d enjoy. I’ll see if I can find time to be cynical and get my “bah humbug” on before the 25th 😉

Yippee-ki-yay…

FESTIVE RAMBLINGS:

* It’s Christmas time

* Christmas: Fall Out Boy style

* Call me Cookie

* “Oh I’m the happiest Christmas tree…”

* Christmas carols with a twist

* Garfield – the 12 courses of dinner

* Christmas with South Park

* Christmas carols with LOLcats

* The 12 days of Christmas: Pokémon style

* Cartoon Christmas specials I grew up with

* Christmas sing-along with Garfield

* Holiday cheer?





Readers unite!

20 10 2011

I am so incredibly excited.

Why, you ask?

Because we’ve started a book club on Facebook!!

Okay, I suppose you need me to back it up just a little bit. Here’s the backstory:

At the beginning of the year (January/ February), I read the HUNGER GAMES trilogy – which I loved, of course. As the year progressed, I went on to read a lot of other books – and I mean a lot – but kept wondering how the film adaptation of the first book would turn out. I wasn’t all too happy to see who they cast for some of the parts, since they didn’t fit the descriptions in the book (don’t you just hate it when they choose someone who doesn’t even have the right hair colour?), but when I saw some pictures from the work-in-progress on IMDB, I started to think that perhaps they could pull it off. It’s amazing what a dye job, haircut and make-up can do…

Anyway, back to my story. I shared a link to the IMDB page with photos on my Facebook, and then a friend that went to university with me started chatting to me about the series and books in general. From that point on (probably at the start of September) we’ve been sharing and recommending books we enjoyed. She told me about the CHAOS WALKING trilogy, which I enjoyed just as much as the HUNGER GAMES (didn’t really like the ending, though), so I told her about the MAZE RUNNER trilogy – the final book came out a few days ago, making my timing for reading them perfect 🙂

You’ll note that all the aforementioned trilogies are dystopian novels (see my blog entry about it here), yet do not despair: we’ve shared other recommendations, as well. If you’re into light reads that include mystery and baking, you can try the Hannah Swensen Mysteries series by Joanne Fluke. If you still want a bit of mystery/ a ‘detective story’ and bring in the newspaper industry – and cats, don’t forget cats! – you can turn your attention to The Cat Who… series. My friend, Ms. Booklover, has introduced me to the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – a cross between detective stories and wizards. To quote Wikipedia (and yes, I am going to do it, even though it isn’t always a reliable source), the series is pretty much “Dirty Harry Potter”… get it? Dirty Harry + Harry Potter (a hard-core detective and plenty of wizardry)? Ah, forget it.

Okay, one  more recommendation, then I’ll shut my trap. If any of you liked THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, I’d give THE WASP FACTORY by Iain M. Banks a read. It’s odd, interesting, destructive… Not everyone’s cup of tea. I won’t take offense if you read a few pages and then discard it. As long as you’re reading and engaging with the wonderful world of words, it makes me extremely happy. I’ve always have a great fondness for books, which is why I am glad to be sharing the experience with others… and to be able to do that. Not a lot of people have or make time for reading; others simply say that they don’t like to read *tsk-tsk* Where would we be without literacy? Without imagination, some form of escape?

If you love to read, feel free to post books you enjoyed in the comments section (which should be at the bottom of this blog entry). You can also share books you have started – perhaps a few times – and just cannot seem to finish/ get ‘into’. I’m always looking for new books to read…

Yip, pretty excited about sharing book recommendations with friends. Pretty darn much.

Readers unite!!! 😀

[PS: Do I even have to say that I recommend each and every work by the literary master writer Stephen King? No, I didn’t think so.]





Scattered Brainings XIV

31 08 2011

* Old school video games are awesome. We didn’t play a lot (our SEGA machine had Alex Kidd in Miracle World built in), but my limited ‘experience’ won’t stop me from having fun… even though it probably accounts for why I get my behind kicked when playing against my Significant Other. That, plus the fact that he has been gaming for many a year.

* Finding new things to do is fun. I might not be very good, but my Significant Other and I are having a blast playing video games… which makes two and a half hours disappear each time, somehow… We also bought a Monopoly board on Monday – the South African version – and might start making mosaics/ building small things. Having to teach me all these things (excluding the mosaics) probably ties in with that “Love is patient” line.

* It’s ‘scary’ to realize how much you have in common with someone you find a tad annoying and, yes, sometimes overwhelming. Betty Bright drinks green tea, loves cats, doesn’t like rugby… and believes that the two of us think alike. Really?! This coming from someone who thinks she can do everything / knows best and whose species is most likely extinct already. [Sorry, couldn’t resist an age-related joke!]

* Sometimes I think I should either opt for the book or the film version thereof and not both. Just by looking at the cast for the first PERCY JACKSON film – along with what I heard about it from various sources – I immediately knew that I should steer clear. I had the same feeling when I read up on the cast for THE HUNGER GAMES. Yet, in this case, I am willing to wait it out and let the film decide it for me.

* Baking is awesome. What makes it even more meaningful for me (childhood memories aside) is how much people appreciate something as seemingly insignificant as a cookie or two with their morning coffee/tea. I brought some of the cookies I baked on Sunday to work yesterday, and my co-workers were delighted 🙂

* Speaking of which, when our Publishing Manager came to thank me for the cookies, she said that she didn’t see me as ‘domesticated’. This does not make sense to me… unless I am actually a household pet or something *laugh* I think she meant she didn’t see me as the domestic type, and not as someone who isn’t house-bred.

* Why are people so curious? I’m convinced that motorists are the people with the most curiosity. Just look at the excruciatingly slow pace of traffic when an accident has occurred, or when a truck has pulled over, and how immediately after you pass the vehicle(s) things go quicker. And why? Because everyone was staring and turning to look at what happened. Ogling should be a (criminal) offence.

* The fragrance of the air freshener cans in our Ladies Room at work is called “Baby Caress”. I find this highly unsettling…

How do YOU know what baby would taste like, kitteh? Also, with the air freshener: does it smell like dirty diapers and spit (like babies do), or is it the powdered, clean, 'new human' (baby) scent that's enticing...? *shudder*

* In just under a week, three or four people’s fathers have passed away (said people work for OUP). This makes me appreciate the fact that I still have my dad even more… and also makes me worry about his safety/ health/ longevity. Three deaths related to the (people in our) workplace is kind of eerie.

* I was having such a dull day at work yesterday that I actually started jotting down my brainings for today’s post. Talk about being constructive!





It’s almost over…

12 07 2011

The long wait is almost over.

Tomorrow evening I’m going to see the final film instalment of the Harry Potter series. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to end up crying, yet I know that it’s going to be magnificently brilliant.

I just hope my Significant Other appreciates the fact that I haven’t given anything away (since he hasn’t read any of the books). I’ll watch his reactions throughout the film… if, that is, I can spare a moment to tear my adorned-with-3D-glasses eyes away from the screen.





Scattered Brainings XIII

29 06 2011

* I cannot stop thinking about the fact that I (supposedly) blink a lot… and thinking about it makes me act on it! —blinkblinkblink—

* I wish that all the Naruto Shippuden episodes were dubbed. The subbed episodes are fine, I guess, since you get used to reading it pretty quickly. I just miss the characters’ English voices.

* We bought a table and six chairs for the apartment on Sunday and they delivered it yesterday. Accordingly, my Significant Other and I rearranged the whole living room when I got home from work in order for it to ‘look right’. Now all we need is new couches.

* Oats cookies/ blocks are ‘healthy’, right? I mean, it has eggs, brown sugar, oats, raisins… it’s like having a bowl of oats for breakfast, but in a compacted form. Hey, for someone who doesn’t actually eat breakfast, it’s a step in the right direction. [And yes, I baked them myself.]

* My Significant Other and I seem to be in popular demand when it comes to lunch/ dinner invitations. Everybody wants to feed us! We had a BBQ at our neighbours’ apartment on Friday evening; Saturday my sister and her husband came over for a BBQ; and on Sunday we had lunch at an uncle and aunt’s house (on the in-laws side). However, we were also invited to a BBQ at our friends’ new house on Saturday, and my father wanted us to come over on Sunday – but since we had already made our plans, we had to turn the invitations down. We’re already ‘booked’ for this coming Saturday… any takers for Friday and Sunday? 😉

* Smudgy has been a little bit more of a house cat since we’ve been back. She loves cuddling up on or under the new duvet – which she has practically claimed as her own – and she comes to curl up beside me on the couch, since there’s enough space for her, my Significant Other and myself… and even if there wasn’t space, she’d get it. I cannot deny her what she wants… mostly.

* I finished reading the Hannah Swensen murder mystery series last week. That’s 14 books and two novellas. Now what am I supposed to read? [Aside: in case any of you know the books, I’m pro-Norman.]

* I’ve read 80 books this year (including two manuscripts) and am currently busy with number 81. At this rate, I’ll be well over my goal of 100 books by the end of the year.

* When we bought Smudgy, I signed her up for the Whiskas Kitten Club, which sends e-mails with tips etc. After a year, they e-mail you to let you know that you won’t be receiving any more e-mails from them since your cat is no longer a kitten. I have been receiving these e-mails on the first of every month since January. Not only do they send the same e-mail every month, saying that I won’t be receiving any e-mails anymore because my cat is a year old already, but they messed up because Smudgy’s birthday is in December *shakes head* Wonder if I can block them…

* It’s so strange to go visit my parents and Mewsy’s not there. I miss him 😦

* Still waiting for our wedding photos. Starting to get annoying. Apparently our photographer took leave from work so he could finish our photos! Let’s hope I hear from him by next week…

* Everybody excited about Pottermore? And the last Harry Potter film?? The 15th of July can’t come soon enough!!

* Speaking of films, I’m not sure when was the last time I went to the cinema. Want to go watch KUNG FU PANDA 2, but now it’s school holidays, and I’m not particularly in the mood to sit there with a bunch of kiddies who cannot sit still, are noisy, don’t understand what’s going on… and all the other annoying things kids do.