freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am extremely bronchitissed, and am dragging myself around in a pale and glandular state pausing only for demented and unnecessarily Gothic coughing fits. Also, my mother goes back to the UK today, or will do if she can persuade herself to untie herself from the leg of the dining room table. (She really doesn't want to go). We gave her larney High Tea at the Mount Nelson yesterday in honour of her 70th birthday next month, but it's hardly a consolation.

Fortunately, for woes such as the above there are marshmallow owls. Marshmowls. A concept so utterly logical it's unthinkable that no-one has thunk it before. I have somewhat repentantly stolen this off a Tumblr blog called Courtart, and suggest you follow the link both to assuage my guilt, and because there's an animated gif version where they bop.



She captions this "The rare, medium, and well-done marshmowls." Of course.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Because it's traditional, that's why. Also, weirdly enough, happy Alan Turing's birthday. I am very much looking forward to the new film about his life, not only because Benedict Cumberbatch.

I have horrible 'flu at the moment, which is a bit of an unkind way to finish up 10 days of leave. They were a very nice 10 days of leave, we went up to Bartholomeu's Klip again, and then I fuffled around the house for several days generally relaxing enough for my body to realise, "Right, we're run down!" and pick up lurgis. On the upside, I'm too out of it and generally disgusting to be at work, and Telkom have just left having performed mystic wossnames in my living room which have, miraculously, and in defiance of probability, resulted in a fully operational phone line (albeit with a different number to the one they first gave me), and ADSL. Apparently they dealt with the lack of ADSL ports in the area by creating me one, presumably out of cardboard and string or thin air or the tears and cusses of frustrated customers. Negotiating their helpline and mutually contradictory updates over the last month has been a deeply unpleasant experience, and I shall wait only until the end of the month before joyously cancelling my Telkom internet package and fleeing back into the welcoming geeky bosom of Imaginet. Imaginet's helplines are things of joy and relief.

I should dig up my Bart's Klip photos and blog about it. Yup. Getting right onto that, once I've stopped floating gently around the house in the 'flu-ridden state which means I don't quite connect with anything, ever. It's entirely unproductive but surprisingly pleasant.
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I am a sad fangirl. I still get an unholy kick out of sharing a birthday with Joss, who is 50 this year and still comfortingly older than I am, and who moreover validates my fangirling utterly not only by intelligently being born on the same date I was, but by producing things like The Avengers, thus neatly conflating several of my personal fixations. (I shall leave identifying the exact fixations as an exercise for the reader).

I have had a lovely birthday, doing not much in an entirely self-indulgent way - playing computer games (which is no different to a lot of other days, then, but without the guilt), eating chocolate, chatting to random lovely friends who dropped by for one reason or another, and going out to dinner with the usual crew to La Mouette, whose winter special tasting menu is a damn fine thing. There is still a ridiculous amount of chocolate in the house.

The computer games have not been materially assisted by the affectionate nature of the Hobbit, whose favoured position is recorded for posterity below. I need my right hand in Amalur for moving forward, parrying, swapping weapons and chugging healing potions, so it's not an entirely felicitous confluence of cat and gamer. The aching wrist from the heavy Hobbit-head, however, neatly balances the aching wrist on the mouse hand from clicking "attack" and clenching all my muscles while I swear.



I should point out that the weird brown box/paper thing behind Hobbit's left ear is my Evil Landlord's idea of a good birthday present, which is to wander into Tomes, the larney chocolate place in the Waterfront, and request two of every kind of dark chocolate they have except the ones with coconut. He is a civilised man and knows me well. Have also scored tea and chocolate biscuits, groovy clothes, cute cat-toys, interesting plants and umpteen wishes from people all over the show, for which my happy, grateful thanks.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Tuesday wol occurs in handfuls! I can't even remember who linked this. Possibly [livejournal.com profile] first_fallen.



Other than that, I got nuttin'. Change of curriculum is over, and the corridor outside my office is littered with the bleeding, savaged corpses of students who didn't read the notices. I seem to be excessively grumpy. On the upside, chilli chocolate steak at Bombay Bicycle Club last night. Also, happy birthday the Jo!

Subject line, of course, is Goats. Goats: overclocking your lemons since 1997. Good grief. Who even remembers 1997?

hydrocarbon Ragnarok

Saturday, 14 May 2011 10:01 am
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Still homicidally misanthropic, a state not improved by contemplating the need to interview 60 potential orientation leaders in three days next week after spending the weekend writing a report for the Dean. Eek. I console myself with random linkery, hoping thereby to also entertain you, because by gosh and by golly just at the moment in my own right I'm not entertaining at all. I also suspect I'm giving innocent Scrooges and serial killers the world over an undeserved bad name.

  • China Miéville does it again, where "it" entails being lyrically strange, wayward, incisively political, sad and haunting. I am completely seduced by this story, it has a beautiful, inscrutable and tragic inevitability, and some really weird literary echoes. Also, China Miéville is one of the few writers I can think of who could make the phrase "hydrocarbon Ragnarok" do so much work. Covehithe. You should read this.

  • Random Heartwarming Moment: Paul Simon makes a simple fan very, very happy by hauling her up on stage to sing and play guitar. She does pretty well, despite the inevitable hyperventilation. It's a sweet enough moment to penetrate even my current homicidal misanthropy.

  • Just for [livejournal.com profile] smoczek, chart porn. Many of these are witty and recursive to an extremely pleasing extent.

  • Fafblog, predictably enough, weighs in on bin Laden's death with the proper perspective. The mash-up of the "killed thing" with the royal wedding, while perfectly politically pointed in terms of media spectacle, cracked me up completely.

While I hate everything and everyone, I hope you have a lovely weekend. Please to raise a glass at some stage to my esteemed mother, whose birthday it is today - one she shares, weirdly enough, with the esteemed [livejournal.com profile] egadfly. Homicidally misanthropic felicitations to both of them.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Weather still stinking: I am negotiating the day by dint of dousing myself liberally with the mist sprayer at intervals, under the pretence of spraying my Japanese peace lily. It survived my three week absence with precisely one watering (I came in to the office specially) without dying, I figure it's deserved it. The weather, praise FSM, is supposed to cool down from tomorrow, and there should be rain over the weekend. Not a moment too soon. In the meantime, Cape Town is taunting me with small, fat, puffy clouds shaped like snowmen. Or scoops of ice-cream. Or other cold things.



In other news, Bohemian Rhapsody played with four violins. It would be better as a string quartet, on the Section Quartet principle, but this is rather fun. I love quartet versions of rock music, they strip the song down to its essentials so you can see what it's actually doing, musically - it's far more revealing than a full orchestral version. It's also odd, because generally I loathe violin. This, however, works.



In other, other news, eek. Today is the 6th. This makes it my Evil Landlord's birthday. I had totally not registered the date. Or, in fact, the year. Happy birthday, Evil Landlord.
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Need I say what an enormous and wonderful boost it is to my inner fangirl to share a birthday with Joss Whedon? It's fate. It's Kismet. It's the Cosmic Wossnames, telling me that I have every reason in the world apart from my recent acquisition of Still Flying to re-watch Firefly yet again (once I can tear myself away from the script iniquities of STNG), and in fact I should get my shit together and actually track down a copy of Dollhouse sometime, or surrender my fangirl buttons to the hollow square of drummers.

So, this birthday thing. I wasn't going to do anything about it this year, I'm still a bit shellshocked from my dad's death and the debt issues and the three-week glandular fever attack and what have you, and definitely don't feel partyish. However, the dread jo&stv persuaded me to do a small, spontaneous dinner thing this evening, so we're going to trundle into town and pig out at Jewel Tavern, my all-time favourite Chinese place. This is not a birthday celebration so much as an excuse for crispy duck with pancakes - I'm really not expecting presents from anyone this year.

Except ... I bumbled out of my bedroom door this morning, more than usually dazed after another night of sleepwalking (woke at 2am and 4am, turned bedside light on and off in sleep twice, and switched on heater for no adequately defined reason), and stubbed my toe on a large, square, gift-wrapped box sitting mysteriously outside my door.

"Hmmm," I thought.

The envelope on the outside was inscribed, in the Evil Landlord's characteristically precise capitals:
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY! ON AVERAGE, 41 IS JUST AS SIGNIFICANT AS 40 AND 42."

"Hmmm," I thought. Cute.

Inside the envelope was a copy of a certain recent XKCD strip, annotated thusly:

"Meanwhile, on a train in Glasgow..."



"OMFG!" I thought.

In side the box was a brand new netbook. Packard Bell. Black. Cute. Tiny. Just what I'd been planning to acquire for myself sometime towards the end of the year when I've placated my credit card and all, and very similar to [livejournal.com profile] d_hofryn's one that I drooled all over a couple of weeks back. Will allow me to stay connected to Teh Internets during this UK trip, and look up actors on IMDB while I'm actually watching TV, and not fool anyone when I take it to a coffee shop, and the whole thing. Did I mention, ineffably cute?

I have simply to say, eeeeeeeeeeeee! Best birthday present EVAR!, which is saying a lot given my significant history of incredibly cool presents from my lovely friends. I have a deeply, absurdly generous Evil Landlord who not only gets my cultural references 100%, but also clearly listens to my burblings a lot more than I think he does, as I don't think I've mentioned wanting one of these more than once in his hearing, in passing. I am a very happy Extemporanea, and have been joyously fiddling with it all morning in default of actually doing any work.

I also have to say, modern tech has revolutionised birthdays in more ways than one. Today I have received:
  • One Netbook;
  • birthday greetings via email from my mother, co-workers, the university Alumni association (with animated fireworks) and a whole bunch of friends;
  • birthday greetings via Facebook and Twitter from a whole bunch more of friends;
  • SMSes from three stores where I have accounts and even more friends (mad props to [livejournal.com profile] librsa for recursive self-referential email/sms greetings); and,
  • three cellphone calls from friends in two cities.
Thank you all! I was trying to more or less ignore this birthday, honest. Doomed. In a good way.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
So, a day of infinite distractions and minor crises, mostly for some reason related to the ceiling. (Giant leak! where the useless plumber people cracked tiles installing the solar water geyser. And terrain of terror for the phone cabling guy, who declined to fuffle around up there installing cables, on the grounds that it's full of great piles of cryptically-arranged Germanic junk and he was a short-arse type and the gaps between beams are rather long). This has led me to wander around all day vaguely convinced it was the 13th. Have just realised now that it's the 14th, and a bit late in the day to be phoning my much-loved and respected materal parent, whose birthday it is. Phooey. Sorry, mother. Happy birthday. Bugger. Where the hell did this month go, anyway?

Other than the minor floods, the continual threat of a short-arse cabling tech crashing through the ceiling, the cat lying on my mouse, the nice cleaning lady whirlwinding around the house and the fact that the Hobbit sat down on something very, very muddy about halfway through the day and insisted on wandering around the house with a black-stained butt and tail, leaving streaks, it was actually a fairly productive work-from-home day. I cleaned out my Inbox of Doom, did the last few credit transfers, and ruthlessly selected the interview pool for the next batch of orientation leaders. (They're still all prefects and Head Girls and stuff. I get intimidated, having never been either, owing, presumably, to being a Hopeless Dweeb at school). The mad productivity is managing to keep the Puritan Work Ethic under control, reducing the levels of hideous guilt about even legitimately not going to work. This weekend I finish marking the vampire essays. Such is my exciting life.

Also, the great, epic, three-month Telkom saga is possibly reaching a conclusion, with the cabling half done, and the nice man promises faithfully to come and finish it tomorrow, once the Evil Landlord has done all the roof-rootling bits. I hope this actually happens: he did seem a sweet tech guy, and I fed him tea and biscuits and everything, and ruthlessly suppressed the impulse to chain him up in the cellar so he couldn't vanish into the night leaving us half-cabled. To such desperate ends does Telkom drive us. Almost.
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Thought for the day: dear spammer, if your email has a subject line which reads "PLS OPEN YOUR ATTARCHMENT AND FEW YOUR WINNING PROCEDURE" it is so utterly doomed before it starts that it's causing me actual pain to contemplate the mere fact of your existence. Not that the existence of spammers is anything other than painful at the best of times, but I mean, really. If you're going to be a pestilential blot on the face of the modern internet community, can't you at least be competent at it? Incompetent evil gives me toothache.

Talking of which, I am still attempting to live down the fact that I inflicted G.I. Joe, now with added pointlessly inept bad guys, on jo&stv for our Friday night movie veg-out, on the grounds of (a) probable cute crash-boom special effects, for which I have a well-documented weakness, and (b) Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In the event we spent most of the movie wincing sympathetically on behalf of JGL and other unfortunate actors (Christopher Ecclestone? noooooo! Arnold Vosloo? shaaaaame!) clearly forced by incipient starvation to sign on the dotted line for the ginormous cheque. (Theory: JGL does this sort of thing to fund his next three indie movies of choice, and it is our duty to support him on the grounds that we might get another Brick.) G.I. Joe is a bloody stupid film. It has occasionally cute if somewhat predictable special effects. Channing Tatum is unexpectedly likeable if more or less mahogany all through - it's particularly interesting to see him doing the action thing given that I last saw him bopping around the show in Step Up, about which I decline to be embarrassed on the grounds that Jo gave it to me as a joke present.

Following the random association game, I have just scored a copy of Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing courtesy of Jo's birthday, since she received a duplicate present and passed on one to me. This is a weird, lateral, poignant, beautiful, delicate, intricate, heartbreaking and very, very odd piece of graphic art, and I'm more than slightly in love with it. Have a look.

I'm also slightly in love with the new version of Firefox, which has produced all sorts of minor innovations with things like new tab placement: it now all conforms much more closely to my personal logic, which either means (a) score, the design team think like I do, or (b) score, they've trained Firefox to read my mind so it thinks like I do. Not that I think much today, being still a little short on sleep after Jo's raucous party on Saturday night, with attendant booze levels, epic clean-up and more wine for dinner last night. I don't think I was hungover, but I'm a tad fragile still.

We also watched The Hangover on Friday night. I didn't expect to enjoy this nearly as much as I did. It looks as though it's going to be the usual horrible frat-boy dick-joke gross-out collection of misogynistic bullshit, and at every point in the film where it starts moving in that direction, it takes a sudden hard left turn and goes somewhere else instead. It was refreshingly unexpected. It's also more or less completely sold by its cast, who are superb, and by the pleasing levels of surreal generated by the flashback format. Drunken manly antics are much easier to deal with when they're all postmodern. Bonus tiger, Mike Tyson, Bradley Cooper giving a surprisingly good imitation of a total dick dead against type, and a completely inexplicable chicken.

I'm going to stop there, because this wayward puppy thing could get out of hand. Tomorrow I shall attempt to post about the house, which is almost finished and looking, while still inexpressibly grimy, rather excitingly new.
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Huh. Yesterday was, in fact, my blog's fifth birthday. Somehow I always miss it, which must be significant in some way or another. I always forget the anniversary, but during those five years of blogging I don't think I've missed posting for more than three days in a row at any point. Is this (a) obsessive-compulsive, (b) unduly verbose or (c) sad? Also, They Do Say blogging is dead (replaced, no doubt, by Twitter), which I take a bit personally and tend, in truly bloody-minded fashion, to set out to prove wrong out of sheer principled cussedness.

Today was completely unspeakable. I gave curriculum advice solidly from 9am to 6pm, finishing off by walking back to my office in tears owing to utter exhaustion. At this time of year I can't go anywhere without being stopped every ten steps by students for advice on problems which are clearly more important than anything else to which I could possibly be dashing. In this kind of space all I can think of is how much I hate this job, which is sad, because mostly I don't. Memo to self, must prevent self from succumbing to a frenzy of frustration and resigning from it during these hectic periods, I'd probably regret it. Probably.

Not even the vague desire to see if the tilers have actually tiled the kitchen is dragging me back home tonight. I think I'll take one look at the household filth levels and my soul will waft gently from my body, leaving a peacefully restful corpse curled cat-like in the grime, while my last remnants of consciousness drift off among the clouds in search of cleaner climes less filled with dust and the persistent narcissisms of students.

Lhude sing cuccu!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010 01:00 pm
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Yesterday was suicide hot. Ungodly hot. Possibly apocalypse hot. Hell may have opened, briefly. The English cricket team folded completely against South Africa, it was that bad (SA innings 312/2. Gawsh). Today is better, cloudy and slightly cooler. It's also the Evil Landlord's birthday, so anyone who knows him, please do the usual email thingy! it's his big 40 and he's trying to pretend it isn't happening. To which I say, bollocks.

Yesterday's heat also means I retreated cravenly into the arms of the air-conditioned cinema as soon as I finished work. It's a bit difficult for me to review 500 Days of Summer because I think the Pajiba review nailed it so cleverly, but hey, it's that or actually get on with reviewing excluded student transcripts, which is uniformly depressing. 500 Days, despite being a cute, quirky movie about falling in love, watched by me, single for the last 8 years, all on my own in the cinema1, surprisingly wasn't.I don't think you can actually spoil this film, but have a cut anyway. )

This has been a good decade for indie whimsicality. Shall add this one to Eternal Sunshine, Waitress and the rest on the Must Acquire list. The one Pajiba identifies as "whimsyquirkalicious", and about my fondness for the movies on which I am completely unashamed.



1 This is a rhetorical whinge, I actually love watching movies on my own.

untwinkle, little ee

Sunday, 28 June 2009 04:22 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Things I Learned At My 40th Birthday Party:
  1. The properties of thixotropic fluids. A sudden, entirely spontaneous demonstration of fluid dynamics in non-Newtonian fluids was perpetrated by [livejournal.com profile] smoczek, aided and abetted by various engineer types, who generated small pots full of a cornstarch/water solution and exhorted the unsuspecting to prod them, slowly and fast. That stuff is weird, having a sort of optional viscosity which solidifies, or not, depending on the kind of force exerted. Strangely magical, actually.
  2. All geeks, of whatever variety, can instantly name their favourite space probe when asked. This is a bit like the Zoobiscuit Test: a category of questions which, while bizarrely pointless, generate instant compliance when put, because the interlocuter clearly agrees that they're important. I didn't at first think that I fell into this particular geek category, but in fact mine is Cassini-Huygens, probably on account of my obsession with Saturn. (Its moons get in my eyes. Also, rings).
I am happily surrounded by geeks, who are excellent company and know me well enough to give excellent birthday presents. The house is full of booze, flowers, chocolate, books and cooking paraphernalia, and there is surprisingly little cornstarch solution tramped into the carpets. It was a lovely party, thank you all.

(The subject line, incidentally, appropos of absolutely nothing except that my mp3 player presented me randomly with the Magnetic Fields's "Wi' Nae Wee Bairn Ye'll Me Beget" as I was travelling back from visiting my dad this morning, causing me to laugh a great deal. It's a sort of evil-minded parody of Robert Burns meets the Childe Ballads, the young lady protecting her virginity via a fairly classic shape-changing competition, with the usual Magnetic Fields demented twist. The verse which made me nearly drive into a tree (again!) went: "I'll turn into a vampire and kiss you on the neck / Well I'll turn into a siller cross and send thee back to Heck..." Hee. Parodic bowlderisation of vampire references in the service of the rhyme scheme ftw.)

cthulhu callay!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009 03:25 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Because I have to: courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] grumpyolddog, "Hey There Cthulhu", a particularly iconoclastic filk which renders a slightly saccharine song pleasingly demented.


Several peoples have asked me what I want for my birthday. I'm personally totally terrible with gifts for other people, it's completely random whether I find something for you or not, so I truly don't mind if you turn up just with you, booze and the desire to party, it's karmically inevitable. But in case you're in the mad present-giving mood and want some hints, here's the Usual List:
  • Books, DVDs, cds, graphic novels always good. I have slightly random wishlists on both Amazon.uk and Loot.co.za, under my Real Name, TM. Anything on there is something I mean to acquire sometime. You probably want to ignore all the kids' books and music, they're there because I plan to get them for my niece. In the graphic novel arena I still only have the first Sandman volume, and am also pining vaguely after 1602 and pretty much anything Ultimate. Because they're so pretty.
  • Cookbooks are always good, my sister's family + dad just gave me a couple of massive and lovely British winter cookbook tomes which have made me Very, Very Happy. I don't own any Jamie Oliver (stv, stop spitting) or Nigella Lawson. These are my Secret Sorrows.
  • You absolutely, totally, cannot go wrong with either chocolate or flowers, love 'em both. Also vouchers, wine or exotic bath oil or bath pearls and other strange unguents.
  • Functional owls. You know the drill. I love owls but hate bric-a-brac, so anything owl-inscribed that I can actually use gets my vote. ([livejournal.com profile] first_fallen, I'm not sure the loopy owl pen with the eyes that roll back actually counts).
Mostly, though, it'll just be lovely to see everyone.

This post does have a unified theme, btw. [livejournal.com profile] pumeza's birthday card to me was this (by Ursula Vernon, naturally):

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Perfect birthday! wake up to bucketing rain and high winds, lie in bed enjoying it without having to dash off to work. When [livejournal.com profile] maxbarners arrives, tragically without [livejournal.com profile] smoczek because her work is being evil, hijack his plan to go out for a birthday breakfast and instead use him as an excuse to make waffles. With chocolate ice cream, because that's all that was in the house. Consume vast and unlikely quantities of same.

Read multitudinous birthday messages on Twitter and Facebook and email, being touched and surprised that so many people remembered. Realise that both Facebook and LJ send out reminders if you tell them your birthday, which I apparently did. Be touched and happy anyway.

Spend the afternoon in a warm kitchen with cats and tea and loud rock music, cooking enormous meals and chocolate cake for my favourite group of role-playing lunatics this evening. Why, yes, role-playing is my idea of a perfect way to spend a birthday evening. Why, yes, I am an enormous geek.

That Dreaded Age has apparently found me still firmly in the Cooking Huge Meals For Friends camp, to which I say, damn straight. It's also given me a bit of a warning about doddering dillyness, being as how I accidentally left my wallet on the counter in the liquor store this afternoon, necessitating one of those embarassing groping sessions at the Woolies checkout, immediately followed by fleeing the store without paying. On the upside, the Cosmic Wossnames dictate that I wasn't actually pickpocketed, and didn't drop the wretched thing in the street, and that the liquor store clerk returned it to me with the minimum of mockery, so I think we're ahead.

My subconscious seems to be firmly convinced that this is just another birthday and I'm really no more than a day older now than I was yesterday, so I seem refreshingly free of Milestone Angst. Thanks to everyone for wishes, will reply individually, eventually, but for now know that there's a Warm Glow that's not entirely about the Earl Grey. Also, looking forward to seeing a pleasing proportion of you on Saturday.
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I do love extended birthdays. Celebrations for mine this year started yesterday, owing to [livejournal.com profile] smoczek having the brilliant idea of using my birthday as an excuse to go back to Overture, which the Salty Cracker Club loved. So I was hauled out there for a birthday lunch with [livejournal.com profile] smoczek and [livejournal.com profile] maxbarners and the Evil Landlord and the [livejournal.com profile] friendly_shrink and her Internet Romance, now Internet Husband, and fed royally. Also wined a lot. You can do the Overture meal with wine by the course, and they give you a large glass of wine with each dish, impeccably tuned to the food, and fill it up if you ask. (Jo asked. Naturally). They are also remarkably understanding if you turn down the aforementioned impeccably chosen pairing, as I did, on the grounds that you can't stand muscadel and would rather have port, which they cheerfully supply.

The food was wonderful. The food is always wonderful. The waiter's mastery of the lifted eyebrow when Jo ordered pork belly for dessert was commendable. The company was perfect. Probably the best part of it all, though, was the view.



and:



and Jo, hauntingly backlit:



Memo to self: take mother there while she's visiting. It's the perfect excuse.
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One of these days I might actually get my ducks in a row1, life-wise, and afford things like, oh, I dunno, a new car. Or at least a newish car. Or at least a car under 15 years old, and one which doesn't react to the increased mileage of my dad being in Hout Bay (my fuel costs have exactly doubled since he's been here) by breaking down cheerily every week or so. In the last few weeks I have had to take it in for a leaking oil pressure gauge, a passenger window cowering in the bottom of the door and refusing to come out, and a slow puncture resulting in a new tyre. Today: on the way to Hout Bay, reaching the traffic light on the freeway intersection with the Kirstenbosch road, a sudden leap in the temperature gauge to maximum, and a madly flashing oil light.

Since I'm paranoid in the extreme about these things, I promptly turned left and coasted down the handy hill to the handy garage, where I ascertained that both the oil and the water levels were fine and the fanbelt was whole and apparently functional. Theories: (a) a kink in the cooling system so the water's not circulating; (2) a buggered fan, or (3) paranoid delusions in the temperature warning wossnames. Oh, or (4), see subject line. The invisible Diana Wynne Jones ones.

Either way, I managed to resolve the crisis by hitting my insurance company for a tow (they were polite, pleasant and efficient, provided a tow truck within 25 minutes and phoned me back three times to make sure it had arrived, so go A&G, apparently the anti-Telkom) and hitting jo&stv for a lift home (they were completely coincidentally on their way back from Hout Bay at the time). All in all, as breakdown crises go it could have been a lot worse. I definitely have to get a new cellphone, though, five calls and two SMSes and the battery is well nigh flat, from full.

After several months of wild pendulum swings for and against, I've eventually decided to have a gosh-darned birthday party, on the grounds that one doesn't leap madly and involuntarily off the precipice of one's thirties every birthday, or in fact every decade. I've sent out a bunch of invitationary sort of emails for the 27th June: if you're reading this, are in Cape Town at the time and are miffed that you didn't get an invite, please feel free to send me a motivation in triplicate as to why you should. The most likely explaination is that I had a moment of complete mental aberration.



1 Am I strangely alone in that this expression always makes me imagine them forming ranks and goose-stepping? Yes? Thought so.

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This is a public service announcement. Today is my Evil Landlord's birthday. Eschewing all pretence at being a Lawful Good Tenant, I am announcing this to the four winds of Teh Internets, wilfully disregarding his preference for sneaking this unGermanic birthday business in under the radar in the hopes that everyone will ignore it. It would make me strangely happy if as many people as possible would email or phone him with birthday greetings, which would (a) simultaneously annoy and amuse him, and (b) go some way towards assuaging my guilt at not having been able to think up a present for him. He's hell to buy for, and my inventiveness kinda dried up after the sizzling inspiration of the original Star Wars theatrical releases on DVD for Christmas. There should probably be a law against birthdays occurring too close to Christmas, it's wearing on the gift-provisionally-challenged. I'll wait for something to occur to me randomly at some later stage when he's least expecting it. Heh.

Life is a bowl of cherries this morning. Fresh cherries are reasonably cheap in the shops at the moment, and there's something curiously satisfying about cherries for breakfast. Although I have to restrain my impulse to spit the pips out of my third-floor window at passing students. Students have no business cluttering up campus at this time of year, they're probably writing supps or doing summer term courses, and are therefore academically dodgy and deserve aerial pip bombardment. Although the Dean probably wouldn't like it, so I merely think wistfully about it, instead. Lawful Good, that's me. Occasionally.

Edited to add: stvil has updated the Evil Landlord's blog, a sort of Baudrillardian simulacrum written by lots of people not including the Evil Landlord, with a fine and vintage display of Goon Show pseudo-German. Bring your own pickelhaube, and read at your peril.
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[livejournal.com profile] librsa bought me The Dangerous Alphabet, which is by Neil Gaiman with illustrations by Gris Grimly. [livejournal.com profile] librsa's superhero powers are Confusing Fog of Non-Sequitur, and Perfectly Chosen Gifts. Dangerous Alphabet introduces itself thusly:
    A piratical ghost story in thirteen ingenious but potentially disturbing rhyming couplets, originally conceived as a confection both to amuse and to entertain by Mr. Neil Gaiman, scrivener, and then doodled and elaborated upon, illustrated, and beaten soundly by Mr. Gris Grimley, etcher and illuminator, featuring two brave children, their diminutive but no less courageous gazelle, and a large number of extremely dangerous trolls, monsters, bugbears, creatures, and other such nastiness, many of which have perfectly disgusting eating habits and ought not, under any circumstances, to be encouraged.
I'm particularly fond of the "diminutive but no less courageous gazelle". It's bug-eyed and spindly.



Everybody needs a copy of The Dangerous Alphabet immediately. I'm just saying.

I am back at work today, hacking, snuffling and reeling slightly, but immeasurably better than The Great Flattened Horizontality that was last week. My day has also been pleasingly improved by the receipt of four SMSes, five Facebook messages and six e-mails in addition to a dangerous alphabet. Thank you, all you nice peoples.

all tomorrow's parties

Tuesday, 3 June 2008 10:36 am
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My Evil Landlord 1 is severely in the dogbox at the moment - not because I'm fulminating domestically against him (although I am led to believe that our exchanges about loading the dishwasher are worthy of an Old Married Couple) - but because he underwent a rare moment of unGermanic inefficiency over the weekend and missed his mother's birthday party. He was convinced it was on Saturday night when it was actually on Friday; various frantic relatives phoned all conceivable friends-of-Evil-Landlord2 with increasing desperation as Friday night wore on, but no-one's cellphone ring was loud enough to overcome the ambient noise at the steak restaurant where we were doing our usual end-of-month payday restaurant celebration with jo&stv. His mother is apparently severely narked.

The problem I have - and I'm surveying this anthropologically, from the point of view of someone with deeply civilised parents who I think would resort to ridicule rather than guilt-trip if I screwed up thusly - is that her level of infuriation seems to indicate that he is in the particular dogbox reserved for Offspring Who Forget Parental Birthdays, with a side-order of Offspring Who Forget Important Family Gatherings. This seems unfair, since he clearly remembered it and planned to attend - in fact, he's guilty of no more than momentary mental aberration, disorganisation and planning snafu, which happens to all of us, be we never so German. I suspect the guilt-trip response is partly because they were seriously worried he'd had an accident or something, and swung to the relieved/annoyed pole when they finally made contact. Which is understandable, but still a tad unfair.

Then again, the victim is my Evil Landlord, who has Shrug And Ignore It down to a fine art.

I have to say: Nelson's Eye? Seriously good steak. They proudly trumpet their basic disinterest in such frou-frou as starters and side-dishes, which they provide in more or less token form, and which are in consequence seriously behind those of the Hussar, my usual steak-house benchmark. This is problematical while you're actually eating the starter, because Nelson's Eye's prices are ... pricey. One and a half times Hussar, on average. You feel gypped for the duration of the starter. Then you wade into the steak, and All Becomes Clear. Those prices? Totally valid.

Last Night I Dreamed: I was trying to knit socks. This was a sad, frantic experience during which I became bogged down in morasses of multiple double-pointed needles in hundreds of sizes, circular needles like coiled springs and art deco representations of Shub Niggurath, and rope-like, writhing yarn in nauseating pastels. I think my subconscious is seriously threatened by my current vague leaning towards trying to knit a woolly hat for my niece. It seems a valid use for a skein of purple wool, but if normal needles warp space-time, imagine what I could do with circulars.


1 Who finally gets his own tag. Words cannot describe how little this would mean to him, given his professed and vindictive ignorance of all things bloggity.

2 If the EL had a blog, or thought about these things, he would presumably be apologising e'en now to all the people who had their Friday nights disturbed by frantic EL relatives, but he doesn't and doesn't, so this is about as good as it's going to get. I'm personally rather interested to see how far they threw the net.

Friday's child

Friday, 14 December 2007 03:16 pm
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I am happy to report that [livejournal.com profile] wolverine_nun and her husband are now rejoicing in the possession of Alexandra Stephanie, "weighing 2.7 kg and hale and hearty", according to her dad. This was a scheduled caesarian this afternoon. I am fulfilling my contracted duty of releasing this information to the world, or at least as much of it as reads my blog. Also, yay! congrats!

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