Monday, May 31, 2004

Every night and day 

Working all weekend - is it weird to quite enjoy it? We've got a busy week coming up in consulting land, and so a couple of things to prepare, hence late nights in the office, living on junk snacks and deliveries from local restaurants. The good news is that Telkom finally figured out how to connect us to ADSL, so we've got a big fat pipe for all that important research work on the web. And listening to Virgin Radio from London. 80s Saturday, and I still know all the words.

Having got home (at about 10 on a Saturday night) I'm now sitting up in bed and typing all this on my new gizmo. It's a Tungsten T3, which is rather nifty - a forced replacement of the plain old 'T' that got run over. Long story, but I think it's safe to say that the damage sustained is not covered by the warranty, and takes it well beyond economic repair. The impressive bit though, is that Palm, bless 'em, assume that the conversion is an upgrade, so plug the thing in, hot synch, and Bob's your uncle. Very slick.

The downside to spending all my waking hours in the office is not spending any time with the kids, except the brief burst of breakfast chaos before I go. People aren't meant to do this kind of thing in Cape Town - the Big Sleepy. To be fair they don't really. The easiest way to find your car after a day's work at a client with a large car park is to wait until about 5.30 before you leave the office, then the car park is about 80% empty. Sometimes that kind of job appeals, a comfortable office with a big desk and a secretary, lots of golf days, and bored out of my skull. So much for that idea.

Listening to: The Vapors, Blondie, Bowie, The Clash, Aztec Camera... All on my tinny laptop speakers.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Fade away 

Ageing is an interesting and disconcerting thing. I have always maintained that it’s the mileage that counts, but even that fudge doesn’t account for the differences in the wear and tear some people show. My rugby-battered knees make pretty good barometers, and make some interesting noises when I’m climbing stairs, but as far as my head is concerned, I’m still 21. That’s as far as the hair on my head is concerned, anyway. I discovered my first long, grey, Dennis Healey-style eyebrow the other day. It’s vaguely reassuring to have some sign of ageing after an adulthood spent denying my apparent youth.

It seems to run in the family, although whether it is growing old slowly, or just refusing to grow up too fast is up for debate. My father would pass for a good ten years younger than his passport shows, and my grandfather is not showing any signs of slowing down, still mowing his own lawn and seeing a younger woman, and heading for 30 years post retirement. Having survived his first wife, then divorced the second, his current, delightful, companion is a lady who is younger than his younger child, and much younger than my Dad. She’s quite a handful even though she too is getting on a bit. My brother nearly sprayed his mouthful over assembled party frocks at my wedding when she asked him, in her gentle Irish accent: “are you familiar with the word ‘gobshite’?” Not what one expects from a retired teacher.

Listening to: Bob. To dance beneath the diamond sky...

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Dreaming of the quiet life 

I can’t summon the energy, or the focus for a coherent piece, so here are a few things that I need to get off my mind:

The bloody mechanic did a really crap job on my car. He’s a very likeable bloke, but way too sodding casual. He’s got the width of the boot to traverse with wires for the fuel pump, and a fuel pipe. In that space he doesn’t use one wire, or one pipe, he seems to have used spare bits he had lying around, then cobbled them together: in the case of the wires, with tatty electrical tape, and the pipe with jubilee clips that scrape the floor of the boot. I could have done it better myself. And he broke the seatbelt clip, and he didn’t fix the steering like I asked him to, and paid him for. Fucking hell. OK, I’ve finished now.

On a happier note, one of the nice things about this whole blogging vibe is the virtual community. I find from the (very sparse) comments that two of my favourite bloggers visit me from time to time. I’m thinking of adding it to my header “Pom du Cap: as read by Black Rat and Scaryduck”. Thanks guys! If there’s anyone else from the sidebar list sneaking in anonymously, please let me know!

Holy crap, my Dad has a blog! (Hello Dad, if you’re reading.) Don’t they have an age limit for this kind of thing?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

On the road again 

At last. I collected my car tonight, after about two weeks of “probably tomorrow” from the mechanic. It’s great to have it back, but it’s bloody annoying to find that the – admittedly fragile – seat belt clip is broken. More serious is that the boot will no longer stay up. My guess is that he got fed up working with the boot lid falling on him, and took it off for better access to the fuel pump, which is in the boot. Now he’s put it back, probably in a hurry, and he hasn’t got it right.

It’s the same kind of thing with the house - once you have moved in, the builder is gone, so getting him back – like taking the car back – to fix the small things is not worth it, and I just end up doing it myself. While I am doing this, of course, I am working on new swear words and curses to bring down on the half-finishers of jobs. Don’t get me started on the Italian kitchen installer – nice kitchen, but take your attitude and stick it up your arse.

Maybe it’s a working environment where I am dealing with clients that makes me so terribly demanding. I can see it now: “Well, we’ve done the analysis for your start up opportunity. We might have made a couple of mistakes with the financial projections, but we figured you’d pick those up after you’ve invested the funding and employed the first 20 or so people. I’m sure that will be OK?” Or maybe not.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Green green 

Where does snot come from?!? I’ve got pocketfuls of it, carefully wrapped up in hankies. One bonus of being sick is the feverish dreams you have, fuelled by overdoses of Lemsip and vitamin C. I thrash about in the bed, getting all sweaty, which isn’t half as much fun as it sounds, while my brain churns out seemingly wonderful ideas and visions. The problem with these nocturnal strokes of genius is that it’s impossible to remember them in the morning. I am left with a vague memory of something great that I lost, like a missed chance for a snog. Like that wasted opportunity it seems to become more significant the more I try to remember what it was. I bet Edison kept a pad and pencil by his bed. And a box of matches for his candle, come to think of it, at least until that one great sweaty rush of inspiration...

I don’t like cricket 

I spent most of my sporting life (such as it was) playing rugby at various levels. This means that I am more than capable of holding my own around the braai, since the average South African sofa based expert is no more familiar with the intricacies of his game than his equivalents in other sports and countries around the globe. This, despite the national obsession (among the white population at least) with rugby union and its psychological role as proof of the South African’s physical superiority.

The only problem with rugby as a sport is that it doesn’t have anything like the same richness of anecdotes as, say, golf or cricket. We’re only counting on the field exploits here, by the way. I played cricket from the age of 8 to about 10, and play golf about 5 times a year. My golf tends to the embarrassing, and I don’t remember my cricket being much good either. Despite the vast disparity in actual playing experience, the relatively few games of golf and cricket have produced far more incidents worthy of being recounted over a drink than the rugby has. Maybe it is a competence-based thing, if that doesn’t sound too much like my day job. Maybe if you’re reasonably good at something you don’t get yourself into the sort of situations that make for a good story.

Having said that, my proudest cricketing moment was at least based on a suggestion of competence, or perhaps just brute force and luck. There we were, several wickets down for not very many in a crucial house match at school. At the fall of the latest wicket, yours truly strides forth. I like to think I was swinging my bat around and grinning confidently like Botham, but I was probably just trying not to trip over my pads. Three balls later, I was trudging back again, our team’s hopes sliding away. Out third ball. For twelve. What a strike rate: two nose-height full tosses that we used to call donkey drops, both hooked for six. On the third I did the same thing, and was caught on the boundary. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Listening to: the radio on my wife’s car, since my car is still at the mechanic, and all my tapes are in the boot. (CD player at home? Forget it – either the telly is on, sprog or sprogs are asleep, or it’s just too damn loud!)

Friday, May 07, 2004

Depending on you 

Nicked from Blackrat, since I'm short on time and inspiration:

I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions: no more, no less. Ask me anything you want and I will answer it. Then, I want you to go to your journal, copy and paste this allowing your friends (including myself) to ask you anything.

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