Wednesday, 20 August 2014

And suddenly we're smiling

I love those moments when you're just you and doing what you do and someone comes along and makes you better.

I had one of those about an hour ago. There are people in this life who, sometimes despite my best efforts, worm their way into my heart and I may not see them often or even speak to them frequently, but I love them dearly and they'll always hold a special part of my heart. Through a random comment, one of those people had a brief chat with me.

I wasn't sad or down or anything negative before hand, but now I find myself grinning for no reason and full of happy energy. Just better. All from a 1 minute sound byte.

Hug your friends today! Go share joy, even if it's a slight smile at the stranger next to you at the grocery store or (heaven forbid) on the metro. You can do it!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Howzit America!

Killing time in between working on my paper and playing Facebook games, I've been perusing my blog stats.

So this is a shout out to my American readers, or at least those readers reading from America. You seem to be my largest (albeit still small) audience. I don't know who any of you are and I don't know if you are repeat visitors or just passing through, but hello :) Nice to meet you.

Geniet julle aand. Sala kahle.

Monday, 18 August 2014


Where is the fine line between being justifiably put out and over reaction? I effectively got stood up for coffee yesterday evening. Long story short, I was being stubborn, waiting for the guy to contact me and settle on the precise time. He did ask me out for the coffee after all. So I waited. And waited. We had said 'early Sunday evening' so around 9PM I sent a sarky message along the lines of 'Guess that was a bust'. He responded that he was going to contact me at a precise time but fell asleep before it came by. I was miffed. A little disappointed the evening hadn't gone as planned, a lot because I felt slighted.

SO. When and where is the line between justifiably saying 'no, not acceptable' and being a twit and blowing things out of proportion?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Oh What A Night!

"Oh yes it's ladies night and the feeling's right
  Oh yes it's ladies night, oh what a night, oh what a night!
  Oh yes it's ladies night and the feeling's right
  Oh yes it's ladies night, oh what a night"
That song by Kool & The Gang (at Glastonbury) is exactly what last night was about. My best friend had bought a new dress and it needed a road test. The natural conclusion is to go to our local cocktail bar/restaurant for Thursday's Ladies' Night. My goodness!

We got dolled up, as much as we ever do, and went out. I had a lot of fun. The evening provided interest and entertainment and we were accused of being British. We also had to get bitchy unfortunately, due to unwanted crudeness from another customer. You know the person is very, very intoxicated when you blatantly insult them, and they still don't leave.

We met girls who had been accused (by the same lot) of being Australian and one of them later told me how much she coveted one of the sterling barmen. (They are all completely worth admiring!)

We had interesting drinks too - I had something called a Buzuzela which came in a very tall plastic 'vuvuzela-esque' glass, which I got to keep. Actually, I'd drunk out of a pink one but I got to take a blue one home as "I don't do pink". It's sitting on the dining room table now. Have no idea what I'm going to do with it.

We also tried their O.M.G.T.M.J.K.M. which I still can't get the letters right for when trying to say them. These are what they started out looking like...

And this is how they 'ended'...

I promise they are the exact same drink. We were trying to figure out why mine went green and my friend's went brown. Something to do with how much we drank before mixing. As we were warned, it's not the nicest tasting.

Actually, that reminds me of the Screwdriver debacle. I ordered one (a drink each being bought for us by some (gay?) gentlemen next to us - and they really were gentlemen, I quite enjoyed chatting to them) but it tasted vile. I thought it was the orange juice. Others disagreed with me and that somehow turned into five people tasting my drink to verify my story. A fruit buyer/distributor was among them and he unequivocally agreed with me that it was the orange juice that was deficient. Yay for me. That also unfortunately led to his work colleague hanging around and being the douche, requiring our inner bitches to leap forth. What sort of drunk idiot tells a woman he's going to get a BJ from her?! Repeatedly! I wanted to throw a punch so badly. Anyway.

The last bit of entertainment was a group of four who decided to chat to us. One was Irish who sounded English and the other two were very sweet but I don't remember much about them. I DO remember singing the first verse and chorus of Piano Man in front of them. Gosh. I must have been out of my mind, but it was incredibly fun.

The night ended really well as we relaxed at the bar after last round and chatted to the staff and just wound down. It's only today that I thought of Ladies' Night by Kool et al and realised that it was our theme song last night.

'Ooooh what night, yeah!' :) :) :)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Gonna be one of those days

My goodness I am grumpy this morning. The day is stretching ahead of me and all I want to do is punch it in the face. Technically have plans this evening with a friend to 'road test' a new dress she bought. Ladies night and all that. I am hoping that by the time that comes round, I will have found some pep and vigour and a smile. I'm not optimistic.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Quote record

Linked to this post, I thought I'd actually keep a record of the quotes I posted. So this will be that record, to be eternally edited.

  • "At first there was nothing, and then it exploded." -- Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies
  • "If you love two people at the same time, choose the second. Because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn't have fallen for the second.' -- Johnny Depp
  • "When it's raining, look for rainbows. When it's dark, look for stars." -- Unknown
  • "Yeah, I like cars and basketball. But you know what I like more? Bananas." -- Frankie Muniz
  • "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx
  • "He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or as his wife would have it, an idiot." -- Douglas Adams, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • "If you wake up and don't want to smile, if it takes just a little while, open your eyes and look at the day. You'll see things in a different way." -- Fleetwood Mac, Don't Stop
  • "I know Darth Vader's really got you annoyed, / But remember if you kill him then you'll be unemployed." -- Weird Al Yankovic, Yoda
  • "That's not even a real smile! Just a bunch of teeth playing with my mind." -- Templeton 'Faceman' Peck, The A-Team

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Songs I've had in my head today...

In no particular order:
  1. Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (from Wizard of Oz)
  2. Alice the Camel (The version closest to the way I remember singing it around campfires at Brownies)
  3. Ging Gang Goo  - Another Scout song brought to mind by the above, a fun song to be sung in a cannon
  4. The Zulu Warrior (apparently) - The closest version I could find. However, I remember this song as   
  5. "Hold him down, you Zulu warrior.
    Hold him down, you Zulu chief, chief chief chief.
    Izikka zumba zumba zumba
    Izikka zumba zumba ay."
And that's about it. Odd things to pop in and hang around. 

So what did you do last night?

It may be due to me only getting home after midnight, or the slight fuzziness of waking up after an entire evening spent at the bar, but today feels like Saturday. It's not, so I'm at my computer working, but I'm in my dressing gown as I do it, so still weekend-esque.

After a quick 17:00 drink, burger and intense conversation with a friend (I had opened a kettle of worms with some comment and it needed to be discussed further), I stayed on for a cocktail and invited my flatmate to join me at the bar. That quick cocktail turned into a very fun, and yet relaxed, evening that only saw us leaving the establishment just after midnight. Luckily we had no worries about pumpkin carriages.

As I've mentioned before, one of the things I like about Billy's is the ability of some of their barmen to surprise you when it comes to cocktails (or shots). Many places are extremely rigid in what they serve: if it's not on the drinks menu, they can't do it. Billy's is not like that. I will be more than a little sad when Guido leaves - he's the best at new, tasty cocktails.

This is one he made me last night. He dubbed it The Guinea Pig (or was that me?) but from the look of it (and the starry effect of this picture) I am leaning towards a Milky Way. I do not remember the full list of what was in it, but it included Vanilla Vodka, Butler's Rose, Banana Liqueur, Blue Curacao, and Havana Rum . It tastes very good, fairly sweet but not as bad as anything with Malibu. One thing, however: if you mix it you end up with a grey drink, which isn't very inspiring. Regardless, we can now add a cocktail to our short list of beverages we've helped 'invent' there: Top Deck with Amarula instead of cream, and the Bad Day shot - equal parts of Malibu, Archers Peach Schnapps, and Lime Cordial.

We 'met' a new barman, which just means we finally exchanged names with the guy. I won the bet about how old he was. Young enough to make us feel old basically.

I don't know if it was a Monday thing, but there appeared to be many groups of men at the bar. Some looked like they were work buddies, some perhaps just buddies getting together after work. Regardless, apparently us two females looked thirsty because about a half hour into the first cocktail (we still weren't half way through them!) the barman puts down two shots courtesy of 'the men over there'. Now that may happen to other women a lot, but to us it does not. The night was still very young so we accepted. Have you ever had tequila with orange and cinnamon? According to those who know, it's supposed to taste like chocolate cake. I disagree. Different though.

Later on the guy who'd ordered said shots came by and introduced one of his friends and left him with us. We were in a pleasant mood, in a place we felt comfortable, and so we were friendly and chatted and didn't chase him away. Vaguely remember his name and speaking to his son on the phone. That was ever so awkward. Mr Jo'burg then mentioned that our numbers had been requested but that we were under no obligation to accede. Obviously we didn't. When that group of men finally left, a French Belgian among them told us it wasn't the first time they'd seen us there and that they hoped we'd bump into them again sometime. Aw shucks.

So we had a night of laughter and blushing, weird 'Bibles', random conversations and a few free drinks. When we asked for our bill, this being almost 5 hours in, it came to less than R70 for the both of us! Now that was a new experience. We actually made them go and check they hadn't left anything off by mistake. Apparently not. R80 tip and lots of water later and we were eventually out the doors and on the way home.

I have decided I love nights like these. Unplanned, fun socialisation. I would say maybe we'll do it again in a few weeks, but that almost feels like planning.

Genie, You're Free

At around 2 A.M. SAST this morning my insomniac self logged onto my Facebook page and read sad news: Robin Williams is dead. I didn't bother reading the articles. There were enough posts for me to believe it to be true. All I saw was that they think it's suicide and that makes me sad.

One of my favourite Disney animations is Aladdin, largely due to the character of the Genie, voiced by Mr. Williams. His comedic style and amazing range of voices made him one of my favourite actors in general. I wonder how true it is that the clowns of this world, those who make other laugh and bring happiness into rooms, are some of the saddest people themselves.

It is with nostalgia now that I will watch Aladdin, Flubber, Patch Adams (one of his great films), Jack, Hook, Bicentennial Man, and even the first serious role I saw him in, One Hour Photo. And those are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. He has certainly left his mark on the film industry, at least for those of use who watch the output. Wherever and whatever his is now, I wish him peace.

EDIT: GOSH! How could I have forgotten Oh Captain, my Captain! (Dead Poets Society), What Dreams May Come, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Jumanji and Good Will Hunting?!

Friday, 8 August 2014


Sometimes you just need to spend time with friends. Sometimes you don't even know that's what you need, but you need it.

Just got back home from a relaxed dinner and drinks with two 'work' friends, one of whom has just left for a new job. First time socialising with him outside of work and it was so chilled. The venue makes a huge difference too. After we forgot to make a reservation at the first place, we ended up and what is fast becoming one of my favourite bars - Billy's. The staff there are great, and they made for an even nicer evening.

We're planning on starting a weekly games night so that a bunch of us can get together at someone's house and play boardgames and have old fashioned fun and destress from our work lives. Looking forward to it.

Now for tomorrow: knitting shops, rugby and then dinner with an old friend. Better get some shut-eye. Good night Earthlings.

Thursday, 7 August 2014


07/08/2014 - 22:30 SAST
Well my first night of observations for the new project is 4 hours in. I am thoroughly glad I am not having to type this from India. The student we sent across in my stead sounds like he's enjoying himself. I have to assume the lack of panicked emails means that all is going well and there are no hiccups. Here's hoping. Not much I can do about it if there are though.

10/08/2014 - 11:16 SAST
There had to be drama eventually. On Friday evening I was out with friends, with my next run of observations meant to start at 20:30 SAST. Midst laughing and evening enjoyment I get an email saying the command file won't run and the target doesn't exist and my heart just dropped. I wasn't quite sure what the problem was but luckily for me a collaborator who is based in India did and helped sort it out.

Turns out I had made a typo - instead of a 5 I had put a 9 in the telephone number of my source. Something so simple and not one of us, me plus two others, had picked it up when I got the scripts checked pre-sending. Thankfully it sounds like it was all sorted in time and my observations went ahead as scheduled. Bar the computer crashing towards the end of the observation, I should have a decent amount of data for that source. My third run starts in 9 hours. Been trying to download the data from the first night but my internet connection keeps dropping. The one file is 9.2 GB in size. Firefox currently tells me I have to wait 44 hours....

10/08/2014 - 20:46 SAST
And we're 16 minutes into the third observation... Waiting diligently by my email in case of emergency. After working on my paper today, I think I deserve some Sleepy Hollow to pass the time.

12/08/2014 - 08:48 SAST
There appears to be a problem with the data. I am a bit ticked off. After having servo problems on their side for the last observation, out of the 7.6 hours I was meant to get on-source, I only have about 6.6 and that's without any bad data removal. That one hour could mean the difference between finding something and not. Irked. Hopefully the extra half-hour tonight will be without hiccup. Last observation run starts in 9.5 hours....

13/08/2014 - 08:59 SAST
The observations are done. Still not heard a peep about the one last night. I have to assume no news is good news. Now if they could just send me the observing log and sort out my data on ftp, we can be done with this.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Big 100

I don't know how long this has been the case, but look what I just noticed!

100 people (I am guessing at least 20% of which I do not personally know) have me 'in circles'. In fact, it just so happens that those 8 shown fall into this 20%. I think I am going to be chuffed about this.

Going to go back to procrastinating now.

He said, She said

Taking a break from writing my paper has turned into at least an hour of fiddling with my blog. You may notice the slight change in layout...

I gave my National Science Week public talk last night. I think it went alright, wobbly voice notwithstanding. When doing research, I came across some apt quotes and put them in my talk. This has given me the idea to add a 'daily' quote to my blog (see above).

Now I say 'daily' because, let's face it, I am not the most regular poster. I will TRY make it a daily one, but steel yourself to accepting that it may very well turn into a weekly one instead.

If you've noticed that it hasn't changed in a while, please feel free to ping me by comment or via g+ and I will appreciate the kick up the butt to change it :) And yes, I am serious.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ethical defense

The news has been blowing up (excuse the pun) about this whole Israel/Palestine debacle recently. I heard this morning that a large group of pro-Gaza protesters had congregated outside the White House (the one in USA, not Russia). Looking at the photos, it seemed reminiscent of the global outcry over South Africa's apartheid back in the 80's. In that case it was good that the world got involved to put pressure on the current government to change my country's violent atmosphere. I am not sure about the Israel/Palestine thing.

I will admit straight away that I haven't been following the situation rigorously and much of what I 'know' is via other people who have read the articles or watched the footage. From all the hatred and condemnation being spouted towards Israel, I would think they were the instigators and the perpetuators of this violence. From what I understand, the Gaza Strip is a tiny piece of land that's been fought over for ages with no resolution. It's become one of those 'family feuds' where it's been going on so long that no one clearly remembers the initial reason behind it or perhaps how it all started. I tend to think if you can't remember why you're fighting, then you should put up arms and go play in your corners.

Now there was something about an Israel apartheid; something about big walls and them not letting Palestinians go around freely. That sounds a hinky policy to me, indeed. However I then hear that the leader of Hamas (sp? always makes me think of hummus) in Gaza blatantly told an international reporter that their purpose in life was to destroy Israel (because they're Jews). When asked why, he didn't think another reason was required. Now I may not have taken History in high school, but most people hated Hitler, right? They thought his 'purpose' was inhumane, cruel, racist, xenophobic, etc. Right? So why is it any different with the folks in control of Gaza?

As someone pointed out to me last night, if someone starts bombing you, you're not going to sit back and say "OK, we'd better let them do what they please so that no-one thinks we're mean." No, you're going to protect yourself and your people. All the Americans telling their government to withdraw support from Israel, if Russia or Mexico started bombing your country and killing your loved ones (because they reckoned you didn't deserve to live, just, well, because) would you be happy with your government doing nothing and just letting them, in case some casualties from the aggressors side were taken? No, you'd expect your army and your navy and your airforce to go at the aggressors full force and make them stop. So why can Israel not do the same? Why are very few not yelling at Gaza to stop bombing Israel in the first place?

I see far more 'Free Palestine' comments than I do 'Free Israel'. Does no one realise it takes two to tango?

Friday, 1 August 2014

Lacking Trust

Dating sites are quite useless if, like me, you have trust issues. I don't even know why I have trust issues. There is only one person in my romantic history that might qualify as having let me down. I seem to just distrust the human race in general. Being suspicious is not the best thing if you're trying to meet new people, expand the social circle, etc etc.

I have had conversations with some seemingly decent, non-psycho men via the dating site I am registered on. But when it comes to the "why don't we have coffee" bit, my feet get colder than liquid nitrogen and I back track. What is so scary about a hot beverage and conversation with someone new? Expectations maybe. I am only recently regaining my 'if you don't like it, you can leave it' attitude of not trying to mould myself into what I think others want me to be. Old habits die hard though.

There was a point to this post when I started typing, but it seems to have fled.