Scattered Brainings XVI

27 07 2012

* Anyone else have a routine they follow when they first arrive at work? For me, it’s simple: I go through my e-mails, have a mug of tea… and have a look at some comics & memes on my favourite sites. It only takes about 5 minutes, if that, which makes me feel a little less guilty about going onto these sites in the first place. At least I’m a diligent worker for the rest of the day.

* Smudgy might be against healthy snacking. Why else would she steal the apple I wanted to take along to work from the kitchen counter… twice? Oh, wait, that’s right – (a) it was small enough to be considered a toy, and (b) she’s a cat, so she does whatever she wants. Like sleeping on my brand new coat before I even wear it.

* Not having drowned thus far during aqua aerobics feels like a great accomplishment to me. Yeay exercise!

* I know you’re supposed to feel flattered when people think you’re younger than you really are. I’m just wondering at what point in your life this is supposed to be complementary and when the guesstimated difference is a bit too extreme or even astonishing. The women in my aqua aerobics class thought I was only 15 or 16 years old! (I’m told it’s because I’m so small & ‘skinny’.) Now imagine their expressions when they hear that I’m married and how old I actually am. The shock value / surprised faces are really quite amusing.

* The weather is cold, and for the past week I’ve been wearing not-really-heat-inducing jerseys at work with the sleeves rolled up because I feel warm & semi-claustrophobic. I’m too young to be getting hot flashes, right?

* Pink macaroons taste like Bakers Zoo Cookies. If you live in South Africa, go buy one at a Limnos Bakery and tell me I’m wrong. They are awesome!

* We’re watching the second season of GAME OF THRONES at the moment. While interesting, I can’t help but want to groan in joint despair and annoyance when we have to see another person’s naked form and all that hoo-ha. Get on with the story already!

* Also, has anyone else joked that Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly are like Frodo Baggins & Samwise Gamgee in LOTR? Come one: Samwell – Samwise? Both a bit portly, well-meaning, supportive and a true friend? Jon and Frodo each with their own type of burdens to bear and roles to fulfil / adventures to go on? No? Just me, then…

* Is it weird that I find it weird that people don’t think it’s weird to have a whole conversation while in cubicles/stalls at a public/work restroom? Weird.





Book spine poetry: Attempt 1

20 06 2012

Something for all book lovers to enjoy and engage with:

I recently discovered the ‘art’ that is book spine poetry. It is described as an “emerging form of expression” that became popular during April, aka National Book Month (not sure if it’s limited to America or not… as if you need an excuse to read books… but at least it encourages both adults & children to delve into the wonderful world of books).

What I like about this is the fact that you don’t have to create something out of nothing. You can look at the titles of books that are available to you, and use them to make something new – the authors of said titles indirectly ‘inspiring’ and aiding you in a journey of self-expression.

I know, I know, how cheesy does that sound?

Since I am an avid reader who still loves physical books (i.e. hardcopies), I find book spine poetry as another way to engage with the beloved books on my pretty-full-already shelves. It makes creation tangible – literally holding and weighing what you are about to make in your own hands. (Yes, again, super cheesy.)

That said, I’ll bite the proverbial bullet and share my first attempt at one of these poems. I took the photo at the beginning of the month already – just shows you how lazy I’ve been with posting things on my blog. (Note: the poem is a bit long. Perhaps I should opt for something shorter next time. Blame it on my enthusiasm for working with books.)

It’s such a pity that most of the books I’ve read over the last two years have been e-books – it would have been nice to have them on my actual shelves for later use. At least they’d help diversify things and add more flavour against all my prescribed books from when I was at university.

It’s not the best photo ever, so I’ll type out the actual ‘poem’ underneath it for easy reading. Next time, I think I’ll try using only Stephen King titles. Now that will be fun!

Diary of a bad year

 

Bleak house

Catching fire

Just after sunset

 

The whole truth

and the chamber of secrets

Twisted echoes

Persuasion

 

The husband

The lover

Out the door

 

Disgrace

Misery

Our tragic universe

 

Things fall apart

Under the dome





Happy (or should that be lucky?) Friday the 13th!

13 04 2012

Morning, readers

And happy Friday the 13th! *cue eerie music*

But don’t worry, there’s no reason to hide under the covers and lay trembling in fear until the Day of Bad Luck is finally over.

It’s not like a psychotic serial killer is going to spontaneously appear out of nowhere at the exact location you find yourself and start picking you & those around you off one-by-one until someone miraculously comes up with a ‘plan’ to save the day… with said person  being the sole survivor… and all of this only happening at night (I’d argue that the last man standing was the killer to begin with, but oh well…) See – nothing to worry about! *shifts uncomfortably in seat*

Have you ever taken the time to think about how utterly silly superstitions are?

Many superstitions we hear or read about today are rooted in mythology or came into existence because something bad happened to someone and they needed to find an explanation/scape-goat/excuse for it – no matter how ridiculous it might sound. The word ‘superstition’ means stand(ing) over, perhaps in awe of or as the survivor/witness of something. It is “a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary” (not everyone who comes across a black cat, cuts their nails/hair, walks under a ladder, etc.  on Friday the 13th has bad luck…and what is luck anyway but another sort of superstition?); “a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.”

So sure, let’s all blame our problems on Friday the 13th. Anything unfortunate that happens to you before then can be explained as a build-up to the actual day… and then, depending on the amount of misfortune, you could argue that you had suffered enough and that’s why you were ‘spared’ any misfortune on the day itself *roll eyes*

Anyone else hearing how ridiculous this sounds?

 

 

Okay, another example: If there are thirteen letters in your name, you will have ‘the devil’s luck’. Really? Isn’t this just people/society trying to find a reason why some people do terrible things? Like Jack the Ripper (not even a real name), Charles Manson & Theodore Bundy? [Notice how all of them are men? And even if the same applies to women, would that be with their maiden name or does your married name, i.e. surname change, count?] Why can’t people accept that there are truly horrible people in the world who make their own sick decisions and that they cannot blame an invisible force (like the devil, who not everyone believes in) so that they at least feel better about mankind?

Anyway, let’s not get into the whole ‘God needs the Devil to prove that he is good’ PARADISE LOST discussion. The fact of the matter is, anything can be bad if you make a point of believing that it really is. Watch THE NUMBER 23. Or start believing that not colour-coordinating your wardrobe and organizing your drawers will lead to unspeakable things *cue eerie music again*

Enough rambling for one morning. Let’s all go hug a black cat, not care about stepping on cracks in the sidewalk, and only feel anxious about the long, nearly impossible to pronounce names for the fear of Friday the 13th: friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia.

And if you stillwant to go ahead and feel superstitious, I can only quote THE HUNGER GAMES and say: “May the odds be ever in your favour.”





Gifts for a cat lover

28 03 2012

Morning, blog readers!

So I ‘survived’ my first day back in the office yesterday by reading the last third of the novel I was busy with plus two thirds of another novel (and I don’t feel guilty about it… not really…) It looks like today is going to be pretty much the same. There isn’t much for me to do besides archiving, which I am definitely not in the mood for.

Other than that, I’ve been thinking about how quickly the year is going by. I mean, it’s the end of March already. I’m at the end of my fixed term contract at work. Soon by younger sister will be turning 21. Doesn’t it feel like we were just celebrating Christmas yesterday? Or like I got married & went to Scotland a few days ago?? I don’t think time flies by any more – I think every year, the speed increases so much that, not too long from now, we’ll be reaching warp speed or something… Perhaps I am having weird mid-twenties delusions, instead of a ‘crisis’ – I sound a bit crazy even to myself!

Anyway. Next week is going to be a busy one: my parentals-in-law’s 30th wedding anniversary; Pesach; my father-in-law’s birthday; my ‘cousin’s’ birthday… oh, and my (25th) birthday, of course. On Easter Sunday. Don’t I just feel special.

So, in ‘anticipation’ of another increment (which doesn’t really matter to me anyway, nothing special, but protocol dictates I at least portray an outward air of excitement), here are some gifts that a self-proclaimed cat lover would find *cue terrible pun* absolutely purrrfect.

Enjoy the pics, and happy Hump-Day!

No cats were harmed in the making of these treats

This dancing kitty would distract me from 'normal' life for hours... if I had an iPhone

Doctor Tinycat to the rescue!

I love kitties, AND tea, AND cookies - this ring is a WIN

Hypnocat says you must love the cute

If there's space for my cell phone & keys, I'll take it 😉

These would make super wedding rings... though I don't think my Significant Other would EVER agree to wear one!

Some days you're good, some days you're evil. Show your mood with a Longcat or Tacgnol scarf. Who hasn't ever wished they could wrap their warm, soft kitty around their neck? ...even if it sounds creepy/inhumane...

Nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan

Face it: girls who wear glasses can be smart, sassy & cute (not sure whether I fall into any of those categories, though). Forget hipsters and their faux coolness





Holiday cheer?

5 12 2011

I’m not sure how festive this season will turn out to be…

We’re standing at the 5th of December, and I have yet to hear any Christmas music blaring in the shopping centres. The closest I’ve come to this was when my Significant Other and I were sitting in a restaurant last Thursday evening and a total of two (if even) Christmassy songs played softly in the background. The only thing going on in the shopping centres is absolute madness. This past weekend proved it, and I am glad that all my Christmas shopping is done… because if it was bad last weekend, it’s only going to get exponentially worse once schools close this coming Friday. Having the kiddies around the complex is going to be a reeeaaal treat for my Significant Other…

One of the local radio stations launched the Boney M Acclimatisation Program (BMAP) in November. Every other morning, they play a Boney M song, allowing people to get used to the so-called ‘brainwashing-waves’ (brainwashing + brainwaves, get it?)  in hopes to help them from spending all their money on gifts when their ears are assaulted by the festive tunes. Although this is cute and funny/ silly, I find it rather hard to swallow how people use aforementioned music as an excuse for their excessive shopping. ‘Oh, it wasn’t my fault – the Boney M music started playing, and it was like I lost control of my mental faculties. Really, I couldn’t help myself!!’ *roll eyes*

Okay, everybody, let's put more spendy frenzy into the chorus!

Great, so now everybody is against Christmas music… religious nuts, shoppers, my Significant Other… I started listening to some festive tunes yesterday, then felt ‘guilty’ because my S.O. doesn’t much care for it (even though I had my headphones on and he wasn’t there), so I turned it off.

Then there’s the little matter of Christmas trees. I wrapped all our gifts yesterday (hurray for me!) and will be putting up our little tree this evening, which is a step in the festive direction for our domicile. I’m not sure the same can be said for my parental home. It’s the first year since forever – probably since my older sister was little, which makes it 27 years ago – that my parentals will have a fake Christmas tree. Although it’s nice to have a real tree, it just becomes more and more expensive every year, and if you add all of that up over the years, it’s a lot of money! With a fake tree – nice and tall to fit into their living room with the high ceiling – you save money in the long run, plus you help to save some trees. All that’s good and well, but the reason I don’t think that things are all tinsel and baubles and happy sparkling lights, is the fact that my younger sister Addy refuses to decorate the fake tree… which she calls ‘that thing’ with great antagonism.

My work here is done...

Oh, and did I mention how I was looking forward to the release of the latest edition of the Sarie Kos (Sarie Food) magazine, only to find nothing Christmassy about it? *shakes head* Perhaps I should have some of those ‘Christmas’ truffles I bought to make myself feel better.

I could always spread some of the holiday cheer around the office by baking some cookies! My Significant Other bought me some more cookies cutters over the weekend, so now I have a Christmas tree, snowman and reindeer I can use! Since I’ll be working until the 23rd of December (and I think others will, as well), I’m sure we’ll be needing those sweet treats to boost our morale.

Plus point: summer hasn’t been very summery over here thus far (yesterday’s 37 degrees Celsius excluded), so I’m hoping for a cool Christmas. It’ll sure beat unbearable heat and help fight off sluggishness and irritability (not the best combination for happy faces and feelings of harmony)…

So, how do you feel about Christmas 2011?





Dystopian delight

26 09 2011

 

Warning: this will most likely end up being a lengthy blog entry.

I have come to the realization that I take infinite joy in reading dystopian novel(la)s.

[Or should that be ‘novel(la)s that explore a dystopian society/ state/ world’?]

NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR by George Orwell; THE LONG WALK and THE RUNNING MAN by Richard Bachman (actually Stephen King); the HUNGER GAMES trilogy by Suzanne Collins; the CHAOS WALKING trilogy by Patrick Ness; THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner… the list goes on and on.

‘Joy’ in the opening sentence of this blog entry – quick, go read it again, since I’ve probably distracted you with the list of book titles! – seems to be an ironic word to choose, since people who live in said societies rarely know joy, living in the awful future times and circumstances as they do…

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, what is this Dystopia I speak of, you ask?

You probably all know the word ‘Utopia’, which refers to an ideal world or kind of paradise. Greek: eu (good) + topos (place). Compare this to the Greek dys, meaning “bad”/ “ill”, and you’ll see that Dystopia is the complete opposite of Utopia. In fact, I’ve read that it is regarded as “the evil twin” of Utopia.

In a dystopian setting, you usually deal with a society that lives within a social control system – a system under which they are oppressed, controlled, and living in fear of saying a word of protest against the corrupt ruling government. There is great suffering, pessimism and uniformity – the people of those times being manipulated to serve the purposes of those in power, often becoming indistinct through strict presiding regulations. Bubbling far below the surface, there is talk of a revolt, or rising up against the oppressors and building a new society.

Brutality is implemented for amusement; survival a daily hope. Friends are pitted against each other, sometimes having to take sides to ‘ensure’ their continued existing – more of the disturbing sort of amusement that those in power revel in. What could be better than spinning fine threads of false hope, then tangling everyone up in the web of deceit and resulting difficult choices?

Take THE HUNGER GAMES, for example: where the Capitol selects two young people (one male, one female) in each District to compete in what can be seen as ‘the most dangerous game’ – an arena where your survival depends on being the last person not killed. How do you kill other innocent people? How do you kill someone from your own district?? How do you keep from being killed, yourself, having to depend on your own skills to procure food, water, weapons? And all this while the entire world watches your every move, sees every killing, every hardship… and are glad that it isn’t them in there.

Because that’s how the government works: keeping you in captivating horror, making you believe that this is how the world should be and that you are powerless to stop them. The social norms set in these times might be disturbing and cruel, yet the people have been brainwashed to believe that it should be so.

Of course, propaganda also comes into play, making people believe that the government/ state is just, that things are how they should be, that they are being taken care of and that all rules must be obeyed without question…

Queue the hero/ heroin of the story to take a stand, to not give in, to survive and rise up and renew hope for a better world and sometimes even unwillingly rally others to join in the fight.

All of that said, why would anyone enjoy reading these types of books?

Is it because we want to see good triumph over evil? Do we take pleasure in seeing those misusing power get their comeuppance? Are we glad that at least we do not live in such extremely oppressive times? Or is it because we can feel a spark of ‘recognition’ in what is being written – that we can, to a certain degree, relate to what is said?

These novels are set in the future for a reason: they look at social trends we are currently living in, then take them to the extreme, thus serving as a sort of warning by showing us the ‘what would happen if’ situations (i.e. the horrifying consequences and ramifications that today’s world and technologies could have on the future – always with the worst case scenario depictions…)

These books want us to be voyeuristic, to see what could happen to society by injecting bits of the familiar and building it up to uncomfortable proportions. You know how they say familiarity breeds contempt? That’s pretty much what’s happening here.

I could probably make this blog entry run on forever if I start talking about how wonderful I think the HUNGER GAMES trilogy is, how scary it would be to take part THE LONG WALK (mental breakdown practically assured), how I wish things could have turned out differently at the end of the CHAOS WALKING trilogy… but that can wait for another day. I think I’ve loaded your minds with enough noise… errr, ‘information’ to make you not want to think about society and our own corrupt governments (fat chance of that) for quite some time.

But I hope I’ve also interested you in these types of novel(la)s. If I can get more people reading, it will be reward enough for me 🙂

Oh, and did I mention how these types of novels often have an ending where issues are unresolved or you don’t feel satisfied with how things turned out/ are left unexplained/ just don’t ‘feel’ right to you?

Yeah, that’s always lots of fun.





Work musings

18 07 2011

* I wonder how self-conscious people feel when they go to the bathroom to have an explosive bowel movement at work. I have noticed that they tend to stay in the stall until they think everyone is gone, or at least until they feel that it’s ‘safe’ to escape while the other stalls are still occupied. In fact, it happened when I went in there to wash my hands about half an hour ago.

* Last July, when I started my internship at OUP (can that really have been a year ago already?!), I mentioned the reproduction of the Mona Lisa hanging in the ladies room. In case you were interested, it’s still hanging at a slightly slanted angle. My obsessive-compulsive tendencies are going haywire.

* Wouldn’t having a massage at work feel weird? Do they do it at your desk, or in another room? And how are you supposed to jump back into work after that if you know that it’ll lead to stress and tension and the necessity of another massage that you have to pay for…? At least our company is taking the initiative to look out for their employees’ needs and well-being.

* Are vending machines at work really such a good idea? Even if you have a healthy variety of muffins to choose from (such as spinach and feta)? Just let me mention that these muffins aren’t packaged individually, put in packs of 3 or 5 (not sure about the exact amount at the moment).

* The fact that I am working has caused me to start eating ‘breakfast’, which is a good thing because it is alleged to be the most important meal of the day. True, ‘breakfast’ consists of only an oats-and-raisins cookie/ bar, which I ingest while sifting through my e-mails during the course of the morning… but that’s beside the point. At least it’s filled with fibre and iron! (And isn’t eating something better than eating nothing?)

* Working also ensures that I drink a lot of water throughout the day, something I do without even noticing. I bring about 1,5L of water to work with me, and by the time I leave, I’ll have drunk it all. I don’t even have any tea while at work. Only water. Not only is it cleansing at keeps me hydrated, but it means that I don’t have to get up from my desk every now and again to make tea, which takes time.

* LOLcats can brighten up any workday and should be shared with colleagues. Just be sure to look busy when someone approaches you.

* I’ve been pondering the possibility of having the company come up with an agreement to have us finish work earlier on a Friday. If some government employees only work until 1PM, why can’t we clock off at 4PM, at least? One hour makes a big difference. [Note: this is simply wishful thinking… though I’m sure that many of the employees here would agree if we were ever to take a poll/ vote on such a decision.]

* If it weren’t for lunch times and a few minutes here and there waiting for correspondence or documents to arrive, would I have read as much as I have already this year? I think you appreciate your spare time much more when you’re working and then use what time you have to catch up on things you enjoy. When you’re sitting at home all day, you become lazy and usually end up doing not much of anything.

* Just because I work at a publishing house doesn’t mean that I’m a walking dictionary/ thesaurus/ encyclopaedia.

* Having someone who you can talk to, who understands you, who knows exactly how you feel about certain things, and who you can share a laugh/ smile/ look with adds so much more value to a workday 🙂

* Never would have thought I’d be comfortable wearing jeans to work. During my internship, I only wore my jeans once or twice. Now that I’m here as a Project Manager, I’ve started wearing them far more regularly (though, at least, they look very neat and are black, thus they don’t look as casual as faded/ blue jeans).