Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Back from the bush and ready to (not) work

*Sigh* I had a lovely weekend away with hubby and our 'couple friends', Richard and Ania. So hard to find a couple that we both like, and it's lovely to have these guys whom we just adore. Our weekend was filled with good conversations, good wine, good food and a very hot (to the point of scalding) jacuzzi, as well as giraffes walking past our windows and warthogs chasing their chihuahuas, which they had smuggled into the resort. It was bliss.

And now I'm back at work, typing away at a deathly-dull corporate report and trying to phone sources who are all on leave for the week. *double sigh*. Sucks to all of you away on some stunning holiday for the week.

Jealousy makes me nasty.

Anyway... A pic for the day:

Friday, 25 April 2008

Eskom (again)

Yes, it is time for yet another Eskom rant. I haven't had a moan about this in awhile, and, while you may be sick of the subject, they keep providing us (and the Madam & Eve cartoonists, it seems) with more material and reasons to complain.

Our dear power utility, which can't provide enough power, despite this being its sole purpose on God's green earth, now wants to charge us more money for something they can't provide. Old news, yes. But now it appears that we Saffers have been subsidising the costs of electricity provided by Eskom to neighbouring countries for years. Get the full story here.

I dare any shrink to ask, 'How does that make you feel?'

Thursday, 24 April 2008


We have this cellphone chat application phenomenon called Mxit that has proved hugely popular among SA teengagers. Unfortunately, like the Internet, some people use in in not-so-nice ways. Teenage girls started taking porn-style photos of themselves and sending them around, and then some psycho abducted one, so parents around the country freaked out and Mxit got a bad rap. Then I got this, entitled, ANOTHER MXIT VICTIM!

I guess we cope by making a joke!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The joyful life of a journo

I have to post this series of work emails from yesterday so that you too can have a good laugh at some of the twits I come into contact with. But let me give you a bit of context first: One of the publishers I work with calls me and tells me I need to do masses of shmoozy interviews with a client of theirs to go into one of their annuals as the client is pretty much paying for half of the publication. Fine. I call the company and begin the process. It takes forever, because they are completely useless and inefficient bureacrats. Eventually I get the info and send it to the publisher. Months pass. Then this...

Hello Tamara

Hope you are well. I was amazed to be informed that the _____ publication has since been issued. I was expecting that as contributors at least we would be informed and get some complementary copies for internal use and showcase. Since this correspondence I have not heard form you. We were not advised how to access this magazine. Outsiders are calling some of our employees featuring on the magazine informing them that they saw them on it. When our own employees informed me and asked as to why there is no copy for ______ I got embarrassed. When employees were asked to participate I indicated to them that they will be the first ones to know about the magazines and perhaps even get them some copies

The bottom line is I am very disappointed with how things turned out after such hard work from myself when you were sitting on my back to deliver your content. Will you please make complementary copies available to us and also advise where and how this magazine can be accessed.


Useless Twit*

Completely out of the blue! I mean, I assumed seeing they were star clients the publishers would send them some mags. Also, I'm a freelance journo - I have absolutely nothing to do with distribution. So I forward the message to the publisher, asking how I should respond. He says he'll deal with it and that they've been sent 1 000 copies. Then I get CC-ed into a mail from the above twit's superior...

Dear Useless Twit*,

I was informed yesterday afternoon that there are 30 boxes of the publication at receiving. Simple Moron* will deliver them to you.

Superior Twit*

30 BOXES!!! I ask you - is it my fault if they don't talk to each other? I reiterate my previous theory: all journos should be afforded free (and compulsory) therapy.

*names have been changed to avoid lawsuits

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A post for Bridget

In response to B calling me a lazy journo in my comments section, I am putting up a new post. I had already planned to do this, for those of you who may believe I am under her evil control, but had a 9am meeting and have been frantically trying to get through all my emails and meet deadlines in between.

Excuses, excuses, I hear you cry. Ok, fine! I am under her evil spell and will soon be found dancing like a white man. This would probably be an improvement on my current dancing abilities, which are strangely like a duck on drugs, waddling back and forwards flapping its wings aimlessly and losing the beat.

Coming soon to a street near you, I will also be removing 'for sale' signs and transplanting them to houses that look deserving enough.

I will not, however, be visiting Gold Reef city with pickles or pub-crawling with trolls.*

If anyone knows of a cure for this kind of behaviour... Stick it, coz it sounds like I'm gonna be having me some fun :)

*Sorry, B. Not even your influence can get me past my scared-witless-of-having-kids-ness or induce me to hang out with hubby's less hygienic mates.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Extremely random question

Who decided we should eat lettuce? I mean, I have nothing against it. It doesn't taste bad. In fact, it doesn't really taste. But who decided it should be on the menu? Did some ancestor way back take a stroll through the garden and think, "Wow, here's a weird kind of ball-shaped plant. Isn't that strange? Let us eat it. I'll call it... let us. Yes, what a good idea!"

It probably wasn't the same ancestor that said, "Ooh... here's a plant with pretty flowers and waxy leaves. Oh, Leander, don't you think we should eat it?"

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Sparkly stones from lifeless bones

Here's a weird thought... what if you could turn the ashes of your departed loved one into a beautiful diamond to treasure forever?

Well, now you can! Yes, strange and macabre though it may be, the Americans (who else?) have come up with a process that allows the carbon to be extracted from the ashes of your cremated pooch or great aunt to be made into a sparkly roack - your choice of colour and size. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the technology is available in SA! Don't believe me? Visit www.lifegem.com and you'll see what I'm on about!

I discovered this through a friend at my cell group that runs a pet crematorium. He has now brought this technology into the country and they've already transformed some lady's dead dog into a pretty piece of jewellery. Charmed, I'm sure. Anyway... trying to convince one of my editors to let me write a story on this. She's (understandably) worried that it may just gross people out.

What do you think? Could you wear your dear departed husband/granny/cat around your neck or on your finger forevermore? I reckon this is taking the whole reduce, reuse, recycle thing a little too far!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Is your security guard named Albert?

I have come across an interesting phenomenon (interesting to me, that is). First, context, for those of you who do not live in Gauteng, South Africa:

Gauteng is known for its crime - pretty much anyone who lives here has either experienced a violent crime personally or knows somebody who has. As such, many of us live in so-called 'security complexes', which are basically made up of a bunch of apartments surrounded by a high wall (usually with electric fencing on top), with a guarded gate at the front and 24-hour patrolling security. This is considered perfectly normal.

I live in one such complex in northern Johannesburg - one of the many typical try-hard Tuscan wannabees with an exotic name that populates the Jo'burg landscape. Up until recently, we had a set of very dopey guards at the place. One of them was named Albert. I found this quite a coincidence, as the beautiful security estate where my parents live* in Pretoria also employs a guard named Albert. Both are friendly and like to chat at the gate as residents go in and out and both are considered the spokesperson by the rest of the security chaps.

A few weeks back, our dopey guards were replaced with a bunch of much smarter-looking uniforms from a different company. Upon introducing myself to the leader of the pack, I discovered that he too is named Albert! Weird, right?

Then, the other day, I visited a friend in her security complex. Guess what? Yes... you have picked up on the pattern - the head guard who met me at the gate was wearing a name badge that read: ALBERT.

I figured there might be something in the name, so I googled it. According to trusty Wikipedia, it means 'noble-bright' - a perfect description of what you'd want in a security guard.

Is it some sort of noble conspiracy - to place an Albert at every complex to serve and protect? Probably not, but you've got to admit that it's still weird that there are so many of them.

Are you an Albert? If so, are you a security guard? Or do you know of one called Abert? I'd love to know.

*a security estate is much the same as a security complex, except usually bigger and with houses and gardens instead of apartments.