Monday, June 30, 2008

Hair wax and puppies

I'm currently house-sitting for my aunt and uncle who are on holiday. It is one of my favourite things in the world, house-sitting. I love the freedom that one has to eat when one feels, sleep when one feels, do whatever you want, watch whatever you want on TV; it's fantastic! Naturally, with all of this, comes the responsibilities of looking after the house. In this case, they include feeding and caring for a black Labrador puppy and a cat.

I have not had a puppy in a long time. We last got a puppy when I was still in high school, over 7 years ago, so I'm not all that familiar with puppy behaviour. I should have gathered some insight when I read my list of instructions from my uncle which included things like, '...and ensure that all chewable items are well out of reach of the dog!'. While I heeded the warning, I don't believe that I grasped the full extent to which this rule should be applied.

Along with the 'chewable items' rule, came one regarding the feeding of the dog. It's a process that requires confining the animal to the kitchen and feeding him, without allowing him to escape because, according to the instructions, he would run off with his food bowl. So I fed the dog as per the instructions and to my amazement, after wolfing down his meal, he grabbed his bowl in his mouth and ran to the door with it! I retrieved the bowl and examined it. I then understood why him running off with the bowl was a problem.

He had been chewing his own food bowl! But it isn't a plastic one! It's aluminium! So I conclude that the dog is insane.


A while back, a good friend of mine was travelling in Italy and was given a free sample of some hair wax. He, never using the stuff or any other hair product really, gave it to me when I saw him next. I never use hair wax but decided I'd give it a try at some stage and placed it into a bathroom cupboard, never to be seen by human eyes again...

...until now...

So, while packing for my house-sitting stint, I found said hair wax. I decided that I would take it with me and give the stuff a try the next day. So, today I tried the stuff out.

I've used gel before, but hair wax was alien to me. I glanced at the package and noted that all the instructions on the side were in Italian, rendering any effort to come to terms with the use of this, futile. In truth, I probably could have read it but I was just feeling too lazy.

I figured that it can't be all that difficult to apply and that it probably behaved in much the same way that gel did, only a little more firm. So I took a little dollop, placed it into my hand and ran my hand through my hair. The result was what looked like a head-on (excuse the pun) collision with a candle. I had wax all around my fringe and nowhere else on my head.

While this was happening, the puppy was outside barking madly at the cat who ignored him as I imagine Marie Antoinette had ignored the revolting peasants outside he chateau during the revolution...

I decided, after a little contemplation, that hair wax was, indeed, retarded. It had to be washed out. So I grabbed the shampoo and washed my hair. After the rinse, I realised, to my horror, that it had done little to remove the wax, but, the action of washing my hair had spread the wax a little so that I didn't look quite as waxy. I did some fiddling and managed to get it all looking relatively decent.

I later learned that one should rub the wax in one's hands first and then, when it it warm, apply it. If only they had said that, in English, on the label...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Compliments and murder

Firstly, compliments. I never know how to take them. I always appreciate them, as does everyone (or maybe I'm not as weird as I think...?). I just cannot help but cringe every time I get one. I am always thrilled to receive them, but there is still a part of me that really wishes that I wouldn't receive them. As anyone who knows me can testify, if I am given a direct compliment, I tend to either go crimson (Helen can testify to this one...) or I try to leave the situation asap! I recently received, what I consider to be a compliment from my cousin, Duncan in a post dedicated to me and it made me realise just what a nutter I am with regard to compliments.

Bearing this in mind, I am still open for compliments by whomsoever wants to dish them out! Ego-boosts are always great!

Secondly, MURDER!!! For the last two and a half years, I have unwittingly been witness to one of the most longwinded, drawn-out murders of all time. It is not technically a murder, but that depends on your interpretation, I suppose...

There is a building that I walk past on a daily basis from my parking to the building that I work in. It is the campus canteen/shopping centre. Now, somehow, whenever I walk up past this building, I am unfortunate enough to experience the slaughter...of a trumpet.

There has been someone who, all this time, has been 'practicing' on their trumpet. And I put practicing in inverted commas because it implies some sort of improvement over time. And apparently nobody has had the heart to tell this person that:
  1. What they are doing is cruel
  2. Sometimes, things just don't work out, and you need to know when to quit (in this case, over 2 years ago!)

Here is a clip which I recorded on my phone today while walking up from parking. It's not great quality, but you can experience the full horror for yourself none the less...

I can't figure out how to load the sound...Any ideas? It's well worth the listen, in a sort of watching-horror-movies-is-well-worth-scaring-yourself-shitless kinda way...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I have balls! Now all I need is a screw with a nut...

So the hunt for the balls for my devices continued on Tuesday. I arrived at Wits depressed and despondent as I had gone to practically every Asian wholesale retail outlet in the greater Johannesburg area, and returned completely empty handed. I followed my normal morning routine and checked my e-mail after having dumped my jacket and set up my laptop. While doing my e-mail check, I was greeted by Sneha, one of my fellow masters students. We got chatting about the weekend and her birthday, which had been on the Friday. I happened to mention to her that I still hadn't found the balls and that it was stressing me out.

She suggested that I try out a place called 'Discount Cash and Carry'. I was somewhat sceptical but felt that even the tiniest lead would be great compared to my situation at the time. So, after much searching for directions on the net, I left to find the store.

I got lost.

Following the detour, I managed to find my way and arrived at the store. It was really more of a warehouse than a store, but as I walked through its dodgy, fetid rotary gate, I was amazed to discover just how massive a store it was! They had tons of stuff of every kind! It was HUGE! After asking a few people for the toys section, I eventually found it. All four aisles of toys. This discovery was followed by much searching and finally, the discovery of the sports toys section.

I went up and down the aisle but didn't see the type of ball I was looking for. My heart sank. I decided to walk in the direction of the check out tills and, should I by some bizarre twist of fate find what I needed along the way, so be it.

So it been!

I walked past a cage filled with mini soccer balls. Now, my original plan for the device was to use mini soccer balls as they are quite tough and about the size I was thinking of. But these ones looked a little small so I was still not convinced. But I took one and after consulting the aisle attendant on just how big the balls could get, I went off to pay.

Once back at Wits, I pulled out one of the devices to look at how the balls size would compare to the hole of the device. The device already had a ball in it, but I tested it anyway.

In one of those moments that, had it been a made-for-TV-movie, would be characerized by celestial voices and a bright yellow back light, the ball didn't fit into the hole! It was perfect! I was so thrilled that I immediately dropped the ball, grabbed my car keys from my desk and hurtled off to ask Helen if she wanted to join me in my revelry and go buy the remaining 60 balls I needed.

The pair of us arrived at the store and minutes later, walked out with a very large bag of mini soccer balls. I can't speak for Helen, as it probably wasn't nearly as exciting for her, but it was the most amazing sense of relief as I dumped them into the car.

The rest of the day progressed in just the same serendipitous manner. I received a travel mug (it can be plugged into my car or my laptop to keep things warm!) and two bottles of blue creme soda (its so artificial tasting that nobody else will drink it. I LOVE it!)!

Now, the only remaining search I have to do is the one for the screw with a nut. My bicycle seat is held in place by a bolt and a nut, but both appear to have disappeared. So I need to find those and return my bike to its complete state...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

MIA...and screwed

Howdy blog folk!

I've not blogged in some time now. It's been a little frustrating because I've really wanted to but of late my internet connection has been playing up. To be fair, it really was more the fault of my laptop, more than the internet connection...(Note to self: NEVER buy a celeron based computer ever again unless it is to be used in a capacity that is intended to hinder one's life...)

So, not really much to report. I've had a bit of a frustrating last few days. For the chimps that I work with, I am building a type of feeding device. I've mentioned them before and at the moment I'm having a whole lot built to put into the chimp enclosure at the zoo as part of my experiment. Now, part of this device requires that I place a number of durable balls into the device. The idea is that they obstruct the chimps and make it a little more time consuming to get the food that will be in the device.

Last year I built a few of these devices and I managed to find (what I figured was) as perfect a ball as I was going to find to put into the devices. The really cool thing about the balls, other than the fact that they were the right size and all, was that they were ridiculously cheap and availible freely from China Town. So I got the balls I needed for the devices for last year.

So this year, I return to the same stores in China Town (actually, it's called Asia City, to be precise) to find more balls for the new batch of devices I'm having built. To my horror, none of the stores stocked them anymore! Not only that, but they all seemed to think that I was insane and that there had never been such an item invented my a human mind, never mind being sold in their stores! So I freaked out a bit and spent much of time for the last few days trying in futile despiration to find the damn things!

So if anyone knows where I can buy 'Monster balls' at a relatively cheap cost, PLEASE contact me asap!!!! They look a little like tennis balls with a thyroid problem. They're just a bit smaller than a soccer ball but larger than a tennis ball, but still have the shape and pattern of a tennis ball.


PS. If you have not yet seen it, go see The Happening. It's tre cool!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ironic title

For those who don't know me all that well, I am a huge fan of the TV series 'Lost'. I was introduced to the series by Helen, and I have never looked back. It's fantastic!

So, tonight was the finale of the series. And, I have to say that I was most impressed. Not only did they tie things up, but they left you feeling as if you had less understanding of what was actually going on than when you watched the first few episodes! It's great!

Now I know that most people would find this infuriating to watch, but for me it was perfect! I especially liked the cliff-hanger ending! Brilliant!

I also now realise the fantastic irony in the title of the series. It describes how one feels after watching it! Completely lost! Yay!

That's all...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Please Flush Urinal After Use!

Today, I went to one of the bathrooms in the building in which I work. As I walked into the room, I realised that something was different. Something had changed. My eager bladder overcame any thought processes and I moved quickly, to the urinals. It was then that I noticed what had changed. There was a large sign above the urinals that said, ‘Please Flush Urinal After Use!’

My initial reaction was to find this a little amusing. I do have a little toilet humour (pun intentional) in my head, so this wasn’t all that odd. But soon thereafter, I began to think to myself that it was not so funny that that sort of thing was necessary. I mean, it should come as second nature that one flushes once one has emptied! This sort of thing would never be needed in a woman’s loo!

This then got me thinking. Guys are not the most skilled, not considerate bathroom users. We have been blessed in so many ways! We can stand and pee at the same time! We don’t have to go through childbirth (Adam must have done something right, at the beginning, to get that one!), nor do we have to carry our developing offspring! It’s fantastic! We don’t have to worry about having periods! It’s fantastic! And yet, we often take it all for granted.

The sign shows just how little we appreciate it. I mean, flushing is SO simple and yet there are people out there that don’t! Horrors! Our inability to be courteous in the bathroom extends to many other areas. For example, guys, if you have really bad aim, please learn to aim! Practise if the years leading up to your current age have not been practice enough! If all else fails, and you are still battling to hit the target, please don’t leave evidence of your willy’s triumph over hygiene all over the toilet seat! Clean it up for crap’s sake!

At this point I imagine all female readers of this blog are sitting thinking smugly to themselves, ‘Finally! I guy who sees our side of the story!’ Women are not blameless in this regard! I’ve learned many a thing about the internal workings of the female body from the contents of a toilet bowl…considerably more than I’d like to know, let me tell you! And women, it’s really not all that hard, just lift the toilet seat UP when it’s down, instead of bitching about it!

In short, let’s all make an effort to make the bathroom experience a pleasant one! Happy bathroom’ing people!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Another Saturday, another Matric dance...

For those of my readers who are not South Africans, nor do they have or have had any contact with a South African there are some things that one must know about our culture. Apart from having words which have no other equivalent in any other language, one must understand that when one is in their final year of high school (termed 'matric'), one of the ways in which one is permitted to celebrate the finality of the year is through a matric dance. Basically the same as a prom, or a farewell dance for the final year, this is an event which all South African youths must enjoy/endure (depending on your stance) as a rite of passage into the final exams and eventually, the rest of your life. I am one of those that endured.

My cynical view of the event is purely to be blamed on women. For reasons which, after years of contemplation, are only beginning to become apparent to me (and of course through various explanations from the women in my life - thanks guys!) women tend to become possessed by 'the spirit of the matric dance'. This basically means that, much like most things female, logic gets tossed out of the window, along with a sense of rationality and they become hyper-sensitive, obsessive lunatics who place the event on a pedestal which would make the colossus look like a Lego man. They get themselves so hyped up about this evening and spend thousands (if they have any say in the matter) of their parents monies on clothes, hair and make-up, only to realise, halfway through the evening that they really can't dance in stilettos and that the pain from their feet is in fact very real. This is usually accompanied by much complaining to the partner...

So, being a person who cares about those who I surround myself with, I always feel that the event practically is designed to disappoint, of which I do not approve.

So, when I was invited to go to matric dance by someone from the zoo, I was not all that happy about the idea. The enormous age gap aside, I did agree to it, knowing that the person in question had been trying to find a date, but had failed to do so, for some time and was not very happy about the situation. And so, things went ahead and, as it happens, the dance itself was last night.

It has to have been one of the most eventful dances I've been to in a very long time. My date was pestered every two seconds by people screeching, 'Oh my God! You're in a dress!', as if they had expected her to arrive in scuba gear. She grew weary of this very quickly but the relentless classmates continued.

I also met Helen's cousin, who teaches at the school of my date. She also seemed to have heard of me long before I had even arrived (I assume through Helen or one of her parents) which was kind of freaky.

Then, there was the waitress who slipped on the floor next to me, fell, dislocated and fractured her knee and had to be taken away in an ambulance by paramedics. It was really terrible! The poor girl just lay on the floor, crying in agony and clutching her knee and there was nothing we could do! (It turned out that my date and half of her friends are first aid'ers so they all flocked to the scene, leaving the dates to stand around awkwardly).

There was also the usual matric dance cheek ache which is characteristic of having to be photographed by absolutely every human being you come into contact with during the course of the evening.

And finally, at one stage my date decided to take off her shoes because the pain was getting a bit much, and the whole thing would make dancing that much easier. As it turned out, this was not a good time for her to do so because she returned to the table moments later, having been stood on by some other girl in stilettos on the dancefloor and had a large sheet of skin removed from one of her toes. However, this didn't slow her down at all.

Overall, it was one of the best matric dances that I have ever attended, and I have attended a few (approx. 5). Which is why I have decided that I will end it all on a high note. No, suicide is not on the cards just yet, but I will no longer be attending matric dances. Also, the fact that I am old enough to be the teacher of the girls that are in matric at the moment, adds weight to this decision. So girls, I'm sorry to say, that I am retiring from the field of the matric dance. You will have to look elsewhere for partners, from now on...