freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Life got a bit complicated recently, what with mad fraudulent incursions on my credit card (my bank is on it) and the discovery of potentially dodgy moles on obscure portions of my anatomy (my dermatologist is on it). I am also, reluctantly and with trepidation, looking for my own place to rent, thus disrupting a working relationship with the Evil Landlord which has lasted for 15 years, but which has become a somewhat different space-sharing prospect with another human being in the mix. I'm feeling a bit ... beleaguered.

I shall thus distract myself randomly with random things. We keep a notepad stuck to one of the kitchen cupboards, with a stub of pencil balanced precariously on top of it (it only falls off frequently rather than continuously), for purposes of a running reminder list for groceries. While this normally reads, with a moderate degree of sense, things like "Trolls" and "Eggses" and "Earl Grey, dammit!", on occasion (usually following a Sunday night in our kitchen with added jo&stv) it blossoms forth into what I can only describe as cryptic graffiti. I have taken to carefully preserving these effusions for posterity, and the other day found a whole stash in a random pile of paper on my desk, which I have scanned, and which I reproduce for your delectation. (I cannot reproduce the one that read, in shaky trailing letters, "SEND HELP...", because I left it incautiously on my printer, which this morning grabbed it and madly overprinted it with four different entries denoting the $1 attempts of TENSO COM TOKYO to fruitlessly charge my credit card. I apologise for this careless trashing of a possibly priceless artwork. For a given value of "artwork").

The ones I can reproduce are more in the order of a free-form, possibly avant-garde, artistic riff on the genre of shopping list. Thusly:

fridge 1 fridge 2

"Honey" was actually a shopping list item and is actually in my handwriting. I should hasten to report that as yet Chez Extemp/EL is not graced with flamethrowers, trebuchets, robots of any size or a small cow, although all of the above would be handy for my current sense of beleaguerment. Also, I could do with a touch more surreal in my weekly grocery quests. (If "Trolls" aren't surreal enough).

Have a lovely weekend!
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
It's happening again! Chez Evil Landlord is once more infested with an Army of Reconstruction, only four years after the last one, and with the traditional pinpoint accuracy the blitzkrieg has been unleashed just in time to coincide with my exhaustion-making orientation frenzy. This time the panzer divisions are rolling only over the front wall of the garden, which they are assaulting for processes of dismantling the gate where I park my car and moving it five metres to the right, lowering the ground by a foot or so, paving, and installing a carport. I should add, for posterity, that the conversations around this particular proceeding have gone as follows:

(Approximately four years ago):
ME: Gosh, you know, that extreme right-hand corner of the front garden under the plane tree is an awful little space, nothing grows there, it would make more sense to move the second gate there and use that space for a carport. We might actually get something to grow in the space where the car currently stands, which is further away from the plane tree and has more light.
EVIL LANDLORD (dismissively): Nah, it'll never work, there isn't enough space for a car in that corner.
(Invoking the well-known "Well it's his house anyway" clause, I give up and go away.)

(Approximately a year ago, on a more or less averagely drunken Sunday evening):
JO: Gosh, you know, that extreme right-hand corner of the front garden under the plane tree is an awful little space, nothing grows there, it would make more sense to move the second gate there and use that space for a carport. You might actually get something to grow in the space where the car currently stands, which is further away from the plane tree and has more light.
EVIL LANDLORD (struck): You know, you're right!
(Various tape measures are unleashed and measurements slightly wildly made; it is determined that there's plenty of place for a car if you remove the small sad mirrorbush. Plans are submitted to Council for the necessary delay, circumlocution and meaningless quibbles, and Kurt the Amazing Builder and his panzer division are contracted. I roll my eyes. Memo to self, next time suggest interesting renovations only when the EL is safely sloshed.)

The blitzkrieg started on Monday, and by yesterday evening they had already cleared the corner of the tree and all the associated guff that's accumulated there over the last few years (piles of branches, decaying veggie boxes, the old birdbath, weird bits of broken garden ornament, small pocket universes, the like), dismantled the wall where the new gate is migrating to, and dug a large and mysterious hole under the current one. My vague theory that this was probably foundations for the new wall was proved correct when I came home today to find that a new section of wall had mysteriously sprung into being in the gap.

I note, also for posterity, that this has done exactly what I gently suggested it might, which is to block most of the light from the front garden so that nothing much is likely to grow there anyway. Within the terms of the Well It's His House Anyway clause this is covered by the fact that the EL is more interested in privacy and security than in flourishing gardens, which sunk my suggestion that they stick in a lower section of wall with iron palings atop it. We're getting the extra bit on the whole wall anyway, with electric fencing, which I have to admit is something of a balm to my wounded druiding. It is difficult to overestimate the extent to which I am now bored with being burgled.

I include for your amusement pictorial evidence of (a) the chaos, and (b) the size of the gap which will contain the second car and carport. (As of today it's about a foot lower). The presence of the elderly tumble drier is somewhat mysterious, but I think represents a migration from where it's been standing for a year or so in the back courtyard after it died and the EL replaced it. I think it may have been some sort of shrine.


I also hasten to add that, theatrical whinging notwithstanding, I am delighted by this development and ecstatic at the possibility of a carport which will prevent the damned birds roosting in the plane tree from crapping all over my brand new and recently washed car. (Last weekend I drove it back from the carwash and emerged from the car exactly as a hadeda let fly all over the roof. Actual time between stopping and desecration: fifteen seconds). The EL, while somewhat impervious to suggestion from the Lawful Good front, is a kind and generous man of whom I am somewhat fond even while I gently mock his idiosyncracies. I shall also attempt to forgive the Army of Reconstruction for disconnecting the grey water system without warning, plonking their ladder on top of the struggling plants in the bed below the bottlebrush, and piling sand in front of the pedestrian gate so it narrowly missed bouncing back and clonking me in the teeth when I opened it yesterday. These things are sent to try us. Car port, I tell myself. An end to the bird crap. It'll be worth it.

I came, I saw, Ipad

Sunday, 10 March 2013 07:10 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
The Great New Year's Eve robbery relieved me of Winona, my netbook, whose petite Goth self I sincerely mourn. In a bizarre and unprecedented move straight out of left field, however, the insurance has actually paid out for more than the replacement cost of a low-end netbook, as a result of which the whole "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" thing has kicked in, and this morning I toddled forth (with Jo&Stv for moral support and hand-holding) and acquired myself an Ipad entirely within the bounds of the insurance proceeds. While I still regard the whole Apple cult-edifice with a fair amount of distrust, I also feel that I badly need to acquire tablet and touch-screen skills, on account of how my tech cred is slipping and I'm becoming obsolete. So far I have resisted Itunes, which I loathe with a passion born from actual experience, but I have ordered the cute keyboard-case thingy that Claire had, which looks as though it'll make actual typing actually possible.

It's all very exciting, and I am not significantly deterred from my geeky "new tech!" dance of joy by the inevitable intervention of my personal techno-jinx, which promptly stalled the setup of the new Ipad by two hours while it meditatively downloaded and installed an OS upgrade. This is, alas, simply par for the course. It's all working now, and is offering me a friendly and intuitive interface with which I am becoming rapidly acquainted. I'm taking suggestions for a name for the new creature, though - I'm reverting to "Cupcake" in moments of stress, which is simply silly. (As in, "Please don't do this to me, cupcake!" in tones of plaintive despair).

I forgot to do month-end quotes again! I am a bad academic. Herewith the intellectual debts for February, which is fortunately a short month in which I haven't blogged much owing to thing, and have descended to actual originality in subject lines more than once.

  • 4th February: I quote a newspaper headline from E. Nesbit's fairy tale "The Deliverers of their Country", which features alarming plagues of dragons infesting Victorian Britain strictly according to the dictates both of Darwinian evolution and of the St. George narrative. Also notable for beautiful Victorian magical tech in the form of the Tap-Room, which controls the weather. One of my favourites, and I really must buckle down and write that damned Nesbit paper.
  • 12th February: a line from Thomas Moore's "The Fire Worshippers", which is one of the four poems in his Oriental romance Lalla Rookh, a marvellous concatenation of swooning emotion and sultry, exotic atmosphere. Also the poem which features the famous bit about dear gazelles gladding maidens with their soft black eyes, and thus a source from which I am frequently driven to quote more or less ironically in the context of students.
  • 14th February: a quote from Nimona early in the web-comic, while she's fangirling all over Sir Ballister Blackheart's villainy and trying to persuade him to take her on as a sidekick. Nimona rocks.
  • 23rd February: Tony Stark in the Avengers movie, as any fule kno, trying to dodge a call from Coulson. I'm madly amused by the Life Model Decoy reference, as it's one of the recurring elements in the comics which they use to retcon character deaths and behavioural weirdnesses - LMDs are S.H.I.E.L.D. robots programmed and constructed to replace and be controlled by actual people, and thus to serve as a plausible decoy for attacks. A beautiful narrative kludge, in other words. We like those.

Today I celebrated the new bookshelves by relocating a swathe of my sf collection and opening up shelves to store my DVDs, which have outgrown their cabinet by a factor of two, which is coincidentally the factor by which, it turns out, my collection of superhero films outnumbers the fairy tale ones. This possibly suggests the need for a change in my academic focus. I'm down with this.
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I am sternly informed by my fellow New Year celebrants from last night that I am not in fact permitted to consider the burglary the first act of the new year, but the last act of the old one. To which I say, gee, thanks, 2012. Way to exit with an over-dramatic flounce like a complete arsehole.

We had the usual giant multi-course New Year meal for eight of us last night at jo&stv's, which was just getting into gear around Course 3 (those amazing Vietnamese rice-paper spring rolls Jo made after stealing my cookbooks for inspiration) and my third glass of champagne (needle indicates "slightly incoherent but passionate holding forth about fan fiction" on the drunk-o-metre) when a complicated concatenation of events caused Karen to phone Jo to tell her to tell me that the house had been broken into. It appears the bastards kicked down the front door, rushed in while the alarm wailed, stole the television (again) and Winona (my netbook - woe!) and ran away quickly before the armed response arrived, which they apparently did in under three minutes. ADT hauled in the police, but repeated phoning of my cell was bootless as it was in another room and we were making a fair amount of noise. (Phoning the Evil Landlord was absolutely bootless as he's hiking somewhere in the Cedarburg and is likely to be entirely without either reception or the actual phone). So the nice policewoman apparently sat in the house for an hour twiddling her thumbs in between phoning down the entirety of the list of numbers tacked up next to the phone, which is how she reached Karen, who phoned Jo.

It all makes perfect sense, really. For a given value of "sense". Given that this was at about 10.30pm, my apologies to anyone else who was randomly phoned. (Including the Evil Landlord's sister, who came rushing through from Paarl as a result of a garbled voicemail just as everything was over and we were departing to resume our rightful year-end gourmandising). The Nice Next-Door Neighbour is of the opinion that the unfortunate officer was prodded into the above slightly excessive action by Mrs. Cake, who was rampaging around in her usual busybody fashion when I arrived, and it does seem in character.

I am beyond pissed off. New Year's Eve is logical if you're a burglar, everyone is either out or drunk, but it's bloody rude, and we ended up delaying Robbi and Vi's delectable smoked ribs main course by over an hour. I was deeply attached to Winona, and hadn't backed up the last two hours of LARP writing I did on her, which is making me spit. The TV was six months old, we'd just replaced it after the last burglary, and I shudder to think how the insurance premiums are going to skyrocket. The front door is trashed, the security gate is trashed, and I spent the night at Jo&Stv's rather than alone in a house I couldn't lock properly, fretting about the cats and the unspecified hordes doubtless carrying the house contents off into the night. (Fortunately they didn't).

The marvellous handyman sort of person Claire's dad unearthed for me has just left, having hauled himself out to work cheerfully on New Year's day for a complete stranger, and equally cheerfully accepted whatever the hell I wanted to pay him as he didn't think he'd achieved much. (I showered him with everything in my wallet). Since the security gate tends to the cheap and nasty his efforts to repair the lock were fruitless, but he has nailed the security gate to the front door frame, which means I'll have to do all entrance and exits via the back courtyard and the shed for a bit, but am unlikely to be murdered in my bed tonight unless they bring Grond or a tank or something. I feel very maiden-in-tower. Fetch me flowing golden locks and a prince, stat.

There is probably a stern Dutch Uncle talk I shall be giving the Evil Landlord in the near future, once he's staggered back from his four-day hike, which will entail pointed requests for a better security gate on the front door, a serious repair to the door frame, which has now been multiply splintered by callous door-kickers-down, and something baroque involving electric fencing. This morning's breakfast with Jo&Stv featured blueberry pancakes*, on the grounds that there were blueberries left over from last night's dessert, and a spirited debate on the relative merits of moats, bear traps, bears, bears in boats**, alligators, sentry guns, and something more lethal which explodes the heads of any unauthorised personnel over 20kg in weight, suggesting we'd be fine barring incursions of midget ninjas or (Jo's rather rude contribution) Hobbit.

I need to do That Post, all year-end reflective and resolvey, but right now I'm too narked. However - and I say this with something of forced cheer - happy new year.

* New recipe I wanted to try for the hell of it. I approve.
** I have no idea. We did conclude that the bear traps would probably simply sink.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
This is an interesting, if slightly superficial, article from New Scientist about game transfer phenomenon, which is effectively the response to real life as though you're in a computer game. The article drifts off a bit into burble about visual hallucinations, but what really caught me was the writer's description of their own experience driving icy roads and pulling out of a vehicle slide by instinctively using a move from a computer driving game.

Embedding yourself in a computer game for extended periods can have really weird real-life effects, particularly if you're tired and a bit spacey - after the Dragon Age marathons earlier this year, I would catch myself coming out of a social interchange or work interaction and thinking, "Hell, that didn't go well, I need to reload and make different conversation choices". A sort of mental groping for the escape key to access the menus. But it particularly interests me because I think there are similar effects with non-computer gaming, specifically roleplaying.

About fourteen years ago I was the victim of an armed robbery/home invasion; the guy barged into the house, waving a gun, when [ profile] bumpycat opened the door to him, and proceeded to tie up both of us and force me around the house at gunpoint, demanding I show him where all the valuable goods were. (A bit doomed; this was back in the impecunious grad student days, and there really wasn't much of value in the house). Fortunately the burglar slamming the door behind him had set off the house alarm; I'd heard the fracas at the front door and, while half asleep, was able to answer the phone for about three seconds when the armed response company phoned to check, and tell them to come quickly. Which they did; but there was an incredibly surreal moment when the armed response guy, receiving no answer from the front door, came round to the bedroom window, to see me, half naked and with my hands tied behind my back, kneeling on the floor. (I'd just woken up, and was wearing only a dressing gown, which had fallen down around my waist. I still remember the puzzled, slightly embarrassed tone of voice in which the guy asked "Is everything all right, ma'am?" I think he was afraid he'd interrupted kinky sex games).

The burglar, hearing the knock at the door, had moved himself out of line of sight by putting his back up against the wall next to the window, keeping the gun trained on me; he'd hissed at me to send the armed response away or he'd shoot me. The interesting thing is that I still have a very vivid memory of exactly how I reacted, which was to suddenly see the whole thing like a hastily sketched roleplaying tac-map - room layout like this, threat here, ally out there, these are your resources, what do you do? It was an astonishingly clear mental image, I can still see it in my head. I reacted exactly as I would have done in, for example, a cyberpunk scenario with [ profile] rumint putting us through the wringer again: tactically, and with an analytic calm which detached me from the situation in exactly the same way you are detached while gaming. However emotionally invested you are in the moment, there's always a meta level of thinking about what's happening. I told the armed response guy that there was a burglar with a gun, but he'd gone round the back of the house. The armed response guy promptly rushed off after him, allowing the burglar to leave via the front door without actually shooting anyone. It was very neat. Serious experience points there.

The thing is, the response wasn't just about using gaming tools; it was, effectively, for those few vital seconds, to access the game mindset and, vitally, reflexes. I didn't have to think about it; there was no conscious decision of "OK, let's think tactically now." I think you have to be a lot more experienced with having guns pointed at you in real life to be able to consciously employ tactical thought in that sort of situation. I didn't have to; the gaming reflexes kicked in. I honestly don't think I would have been able to respond as cogently if I hadn't had that experience behind me, and that mindset to access.

I'm playing through Skyrim at the moment as an archer. It would be fascinating to see if the repetitive experience of focus/draw/aim in firing a computer game bow actually had any measurable effect on my extremely basic real-life archery skill. But in a more global sense, shouldn't the in-game experience of a tactical approach to efficiently completing quests give me more facility with real-life goals? I might attain a job I actually wanted if I collected all these journal articles before speaking to the key person at the other end of the map. And, to return to the tabletop issue: we played Fiasco! last night. The reflex in Fiasco! is towards making each particular scene punchy, cinematic and dramatic, with a slant towards disaster. If there's any logic in the world, habitual Fiasco! players should be self-destructive drama queens. Probably it's a good thing we don't play more often.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
The Avengers trailer has been tabbed in my browser for about four days, which means it auto-plays every time I boot up and load the browser, forcing me to watch it yet again. Oh, fiddlesticks. Oh, darn. All those lovely men being superheroic and flip with authentic Joss Whedon dialogue. Daily. Oh, woe is me. Of course, a superhero movie doesn't have to be particularly intelligent or actually good in any way to make me ridiculously happy (viz. the Fantastic Four Secret Shame), but I'm really looking forward to this one. Apart from Scarlett, who's just a pain.

So, update on the Great French Bank Account Fiasco! I attribute solely to this recent experience my sudden need to re-read Going Postal, which I did yesterday, possibly in morbid fascination with successful cons. Last week's unsuccessful attempt to illegally boost EUR4150 from my account has been superceded by this week's perfectly successful removal of EUR4150 from my account. (This bastard is nothing if not consistent). The bank are being very sweet about it and managed, after much scurrying, to reverse it yesterday, but apparently the thrice-accursed spawn of financial evil (the thief, not the bank. The bank are lovely) actually sent them a hard copy transfer request with all the correct banking details and (drumroll!) my correct signature. This is, to say the least, disturbing. We seem to have ruled out Eric the Hedge-Trimmer, the nice policeman assures me that said Eric has been righteously incarcerated for the last two weeks, so unless he's part of a Ring, it's probably not him.

What it is, is someone who has laid hands on enough of my private documentation to include both a bank statement and a signature, a conundrum which my immersion in Ngaio Marsh and her ilk is responding to by causing a little-used detective gene to come to attention. The availability of my signature is not surprising, I must sign several thousand pieces of paper every year in pursuit of my legitimate admin activities, but its coincidence with the bank statement is considerably curiouser. The bank statement must have come from my study, or from the postal service before it came anywhere near me - I don't carry those around. (I still think it's mostly likely that someone nicked it from the postbox outside our gate). The signature could have come out of something in our recycling, I suppose. Both together could have been accumulated by a half-hour spent sitting outside our house sifting the recycling in conjunction with rifling the postbox, but it would have been rather obvious. Both could also have been lifted off my desk, but I don't really see how. (Apart from anything else, the giant pile in my inbox is giant, and frequently weighed down by the Hobbit). I am gently revolving a third theory, that both were the result of someone digging around on the hard drive of my old computer, the one which was stolen a couple of years ago. But I really don't think the French bank details were ever on there; hell, they're not on the current one, which means it's not even that my nice new wireless wossname has allowed someone to hack me. In the immortal words of Detritus, it a mystery.

The whole thing is causing me (in addition to the moments of incandescent rage, because how bloody dare he) to become horribly paranoid, and to spread that paranoia around a lot. Anything that goes into recycling, for example, is going to be shredded into teeny tiny bits. All correspondence at all about anything whatsoever is going to go to the box number, not the postbox. I've put another padlock on the postbox, in a futile stable-door-horse-bolted sort of gesture, but I don't trust it. I shall discuss with the nice bank people the possibility of simply shifting the whole bang shoot to another bank account, although that's going to be a royal pain in the butt. But I ask you, nice witterers: do you know where your bank account details go? what bits of paper are innocently being recycled? Can you say you are safe? she says in the thrilling tones of a bad drama trailer or an insurance sales pitch. It happened to me! it could happen to you!

And while we're at it, are you making sure you exercise your feet on long plane journeys, too? My mother didn't raise me to be a cautionary tale, but if it's a gig that ends up being any use to anyone else, I'll take it.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
So, yesterday I committed a stupidity. Well, really, technically I committed the opening stupidity on Monday, by having a truly horrendous migraine the whole day, which means actually I committed the stupidity several decades ago, in being born into a body which is permanently Scraaaatched in a number of creative and interesting ways. I haven't had a proper migraine since I was in undergrad, but the vague, dissociated migraine symptoms which have been randomly floating about all year (occasional horrible headache with nausea, occasional aura symptoms without headache) finally coincided on Monday with a distressing accuracy. I spent the morning throwing up. It wasn't pretty.

As a result of the above I was still headachy and nauseous on Tuesday, and trotted off to my lovely doctor for serious migraine meds, which, while zotting the headache in short order, caused me to be sleepy and spaced all afternoon. Under the influence of drugs I was thus insufficiently alert when the nice man rang the bell at the gate. He said he was working for the next door house, cutting bushes away from the telephone lines, and he needed access to the other side of the hedge from our side. In my vague and unthinking state, I let him in. I didn't even think about it when he asked for an extension cord, which I set up for him so he could use an electric trimmer. Since it started to bucket with rain about three seconds after he left to collect his tools, I wasn't even surprised when he didn't come back.

You've seen this coming. Sometime in the approximately 20 seconds during which my back was turned in fossicking for extension cords, this curiously plausible "workman" nicked my wallet and cellphone out of my handbag, which was in the study. This has left me poorer by a cellphone, about R400 in cash, all my bank cards, various store cards and, adding insult to injury, my Zimbabwean driver's licence. It has also left me gibbering slightly, along the lines of "oh gods what was I thinking, he could have raped and murdered me, aargh!", and tending to kick myself repeatedly while muttering self-directed imprecations about stupidity and uselessness.

I spent an hour phoning to cancel cards yesterday, and four hours replacing things this morning. The infernal bureaucracies involved in cellphone theft require that you go to the cellphone place to block the SIM and phone, then to the police with the block codes, then back to the cellphone place with a case number and affidavit to activate the cellphone insurance. Since I went to the police first - twice, because I forgot we fall under Mowbray rather than Rondebosch and went to the wrong precinct - I have thus visited the police three times and the MTN store twice this morning, as well as the bank. I have a new wallet, bank card and cellphone, the latter without undue outlay as by a bizarre coincidence my contract has just come up for renewal anyway. It's not really a consolation.

The complete bugger, however, is the driver's licence. Three seconds of halfway intelligent reflection suggest that it's going to be quicker and easier to simply apply for a South African learners and take the damned test than to try and extract a duplicate licence from the chaos that is Zimbabwe. I am, shall we say, unamused, although wryly aware that I had this coming, having failed dismally to apply for a South African licence on the basis of my Zim one for approximately the last decade.

It's all terribly "want of a nail". There's one tiny moment yesterday which is the hinge-pin of events, where if my fuzzy brain had simply swung one way rather than the other, the last 24 hours would have been much less stressful. When the man made his request I actually thought "I should tell him to ask his employer to phone me." Then I thought, but that's such a pain, and besides I might have to give Mrs. Cake Next Door my number, which is not going to end well, and the "nice and trusting, if somewhat drugged" response kicked in, so I let him in without actually thinking about it further. I shall not, shall we say, be doing that again. But I also rather resent the way in which this erodes my door response. Quite a lot of people who ring our doorbell aren't actually crooks, but they just lost the benefit of the doubt.
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Phooey. Unspecified bastards leaped over the garden wall this afternoon and kicked down the side door into the garage. This did them no good at all, as the alarm promptly went off, and they seem to have departed without actually taking anything. Annoying for us as well as them. I must say, though, it's curiously comforting to arrive home to an unexpectedly kicked-down door, to find the armed response company already reassuringly in possession. Wandering through a potentially devastated house is much less unpleasant when there's a nice, large dude with a gun taking point. For some reason, however, this is making me want to re-watch all my Vin Diesel movies. I may be incurably frivolous. It'll also have to wait until I've finished randomly watching Lord of the Rings, which is reassuringly full of nice, large dudes with swords.

I was off work yesterday with the gastric bug which seems to be doing the rounds, and am consequently disclaiming all responsibility for the more than unusually wayward nature of this post. Not eating much for thirty-six hours is making me rather light-headed. This is, however, possibly why, despite the assaults of South African crime and the lining of my own stomach, I'm in a vaguely up space. I shall now go and hit [ profile] d_hofryn for all the latest in Castle, Fringe, Supernatural and Vampire Diaries, and then shall callously ignore it in order to vaguely perve Arwen, Aragorn and, for some reason, Boromir. I really like Boromir. I think it's the way he says "They have a cave troll."
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I love the internet. I whinge wistfully about my lack of a Castle fix, and have three offers to supply the goods in the space of twenty-four hours - one from a lurker who I didn't even know was reading. (Hi, Andrea!). I also hope the Powers That Be get their arses in gear and produce the Region 2 DVD eftsoons and right speedily, as I'm suffering gnawing guilt from all this piracy. But not, may I add, enough guilt to make me stop watching them. Gosh, no.

The piracy karma is probably what caused yesterday's merry little instalment of the South African Experience, viz. being dragged home at lunchtime by the armed response guy because, yet again, we'd been burgled. This was completely inevitable: we've had renovators in the house potentially casing the joint, and besides they managed to put a chisel through the alarm sensor cables, which means the alarm hasn't worked for a couple of months. Last week we had the sensors rewired, but the damned thing is still not sending an alert to the company even if the alarm goes off, which is Dead Suspicious as it was working fine before the renovations. The Evil Landlord is locked in an epic battle with the alarm company owing to their pathetically transparent attempt to make us buy a new system by dint of refusing to even look at the old one because it's "too old to repair". Pshaw, and likewise phooey. However, my money's on his Germanic Stubbornness quotient, which is ideally suited to these little challenges.

We were thus set up nicely by circumstances, and given the last burglary it was all curiously familiar. The bastards once again levered the burglar bars off the window in the Evil Landlord's bedroom, leaving chunks of wall all over the floor. They seem to have gone through a random selection of the house, including his gym bag and my dressing table, but yet again they don't seem to have taken any of my jewellery, which I kinda take personally since it implies an aesthetic rejection I find hurtful. Nor did they touch the CD or DVD collection, which is always my primary fear. Computers all OK, electronics untouched - in fact, the only thing they seem to have stolen was a pair of the EL's track suit pants, which seems a mite fetishistic to me. I think the slightly dadaist break-in was because they were interrupted, by (a) the alarm going off, (b) the crazy next-door-neighbour hearing it and pushing her panic button on paranoid reflex, and (c) the presence of the other next-door-neighbour's visitor in the road outside, where he was ideally positioned to watch the burglar jump over the wall and pause to put on his trousers before running down the road. (Don't ask. I suspect they may have been the missing EL trousers).

Is it just me, or are we inflicted with particularly odd burglars? Not to mention, of course, burglar bars that are attached entirely inadequately. Future plans (apart from Fix Alarm, which the EL is onto): weld bars to iron bars sunk into wall and themselves welded to iron bars sunk into floor and chained to iron bar which Hobbit is sitting on. Also, follow the XKCD principle and get a laser pointer for the cats. Irritation at future attempted burglaries will be largely assuaged by having to clear up the small piles of ash.

with cat-like thump

Tuesday, 8 July 2008 12:46 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Gah. Likewise, phooey. Had another Great South African Experience yesterday, wandered home after work to find the house ransacked and mysterious thumping noises in the Evil Landlord's bedroom. Stood on the patio for approximately three hours, although in hindsight it might actually only have been ten minutes, feebly pressing my handy-dandy key-ring panic button and hoping the intruders were as cowardly as I was. Fortunately they were, and presumably made good their escape through bedroom window (they levered off the cast-iron burglar bars) while I was still waiting for the armed response. At any rate, when the nice gun-toting security guys arrived the house was empty of burglars. Also, of computers, monitors, stv's DS console, jo's leather jacket and my nice little Grundic CD player that was a communal gift from friendly friends lo these many years ago, plus various sundries. Even as I write the sweet constable lady is sitting in my office re-taking my statement, on the grounds that the one the cops took last night made no sense. (I think this may have been them rather than me, although I wasn't at my best owing to the wibbling).

We got off lightly, actually - all our data is more or less backed up, and supposing insurance pays out, I was due for an upgrade anyway. The thieves, clearly lacking all taste and discernment, either spurned my CD, DVD and jewellery collections or were interrupted before they could grab them. (They did, oddly enough, steal three bars of soap and a pair of my socks, which they subsequently dumped by the rubbish bin. The modern burglar appears to lack all coherence as well as taste). It would have really burned if they'd taken the discs and jewellery, those collections are highly personal, selective and amassed over a process of years and continents.

The whole thing was probably the EL's fault, since his early-morning fog caused him to wander off to work without setting the alarm, under the vague delusion that jo&stv were still in the house. In revenge, he gets to deal with the insurance. Heh. Also, I now have absolutely the best grounds in the world for seriously nagging him about fixing the bloody front gate.


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