Another Day, Another Blog

August 22, 2007

Strange days

Filed under: curiosities, random, the joy of life — iamza @ 10:15 am

British drivers in a nutshell. Yes, VW drivers really are the British equivalent of Mercedes and BMW drivers in South Africa.

Had the oddest dream last night. I was visiting a college residence which had been taken over during the summer months by a film crew, who were filming who knows what. The college residence was part hotel, part shopping mall, and was bordered on one side by a soil-packing plant, complete with cranes and heavy machinery more likely to be associated with a large shipping port.

I didn’t have a room, so I spent my time sneaking into various crew rooms, and stealing naps on their very uncomfortable twin beds, nicking coffee from the neon-lit coffee shop, and relaxing in a cane chair in the glass-walled lounge which overlooked the soil shipping yard.

Then, all of a sudden, this huge mound of dirt just fell out of nowhere, and crushed the corrugated tin-roofed building next to the lounge, taking out two cranes and a couple of bulldozers. The lounge was half crushed, and I had to make my escape through the shipping yard because I was cut off from the door back into the college residence.

I was locked in a shipping container on my way to who knows where, when, thankfully, my alarm clock started beeping insistently. It’s not often I find myself so happy at the arrival of morning…

August 21, 2007

Dear brain, please die…

Filed under: ficlet, random — iamza @ 11:45 am

“The problem with lambs,” said Mary, “is that all that gambolling leads to shake-and-break brains.”

Miss Muffet leaned back against the tree trunk behind her, and sighed. “But they look so cute.”

“Cute, yes. Clever, no. Just the other day, I found them curled up in Jack Horner’s oven. He’d promised them a dinner of roast grass and mint sauce.”

Miss Muffet gasped. “He didn’t!”

Mary nodded grimly. “He was just about to turn the oven up when I walked in.”

“Really, that man thinks he can have his cake and eat it, too.” 

August 2, 2007

Random inanity in all its glory

Filed under: random, the joy of life — iamza @ 4:30 pm

My lavender bushes are loving the English weather. I’m not so sure about the bumblebees, who more resemble bedraggled black clouds as they buzz about. When the bumblebees start wearing Wellington boots, I’m building an ark.

The pansies in the crack in the patio by the kitchen are wonderfully happy, despite being run over weekly by wheelie bins. I am tempted to use this method of getting the grass in the back lawn to grow so that I don’t have so many bare muddy patches. On a vaguely related side-note, it’s amazing how often I forget about the mud puddles until after I’ve stepped in them.

The goldfish appear to exist on water, weeds, and the occasional neighbourhood cat. I have decided not to interfere any further with their diet.  

Someday, I really need to sort out the plastering on my walls. Tapping the walls is a perpetual adventure — half of the walls sound like they are hiding secret passageways. Possibly the secret passageways are, instead, doorways to dimensionless points where time ceases to exist…?

June 6, 2007

Excuse me, have you seen my mind?

Filed under: books, random, the joy of life — iamza @ 4:20 pm

Ever have one of those days where you’re convinced it’s another day of the week? Today, for me, feels like Friday. It is maddening to realize there are still another two days remaining in the work week.

On the whole, I think I prefer days when I think Thursday is Tuesday. At least then, Friday’s there before you know it.

The other thing slowly eating away at the few brain cells I still retain is waking up each morning at 4 a.m. For some reason, my internal alarm clock has gotten all screwed up. Alas, I have yet to find a reset button for the brain which does not involve medical intervention in the form of a resuscitation room, an electric current and some paddles… 

On the plus side, I am really enjoying Frank Schatzing’s novel, The Swarm, an eco-thriller in which the marine world suddenly goes crazy, making for all sorts of mayhem for us poor terrestrial folk. Reading this novel makes me wish I’d paid more attention in university when such interesting topics as methane hydrates were raised. But then, in my defence, I don’t think we ever discussed in class how methane hydrates might cause tsunamis…

Other sparkly moments in life recently: the discovery of Michael Buble (thanks, Claire!) and mint Aero bubbles, a working gate for my new fence, flowering lavender shrubs, the death of the evil thistle that was lording it over the pond, and finding that my eight goldfish are still alive despite being accidentally sprayed with weedkiller.

March 23, 2007

Shallow thoughts

Filed under: ficlet, humour, random, the joy of life — iamza @ 8:00 am

1) Ruminations are over-rated. It is possible to think too deeply and too critically about mundane trivialities — often precluding the realization that life is passing you by.

2) Despite what The Matrix would have us believe, sometimes a spoon is just a spoon.

3) A tale of two chickens

Two chickens were standing by the side of the road. Chicken A looked at the vast expanse of tarmac before them, then reached into his backpack, and pulled out his brand new laptop.

Chicken B watched curiously for a moment. “So, what are you doing?”

Chicken A, typing furiously, didn’t look up. “I’m writing a quick script that will tell me how long it’s going to take me to cross that road.”

Chicken B glanced at the road, and then looked back at Chicken A. “Why don’t you just run across it, and time yourself?”

“Because if I do it this way, I can find a way to do it with optimal efficiency,” said Chicken A, then added derisively, “But, hey, if you want to run it, don’t let me stop you. Go, knock youself out.”

Chicken B stiffened, and took a step back. “Fine,” he said, and reached into his backpack to pull out a stopwatch. “I’ll do just that.” He shook out his legs and flapped his wings, kicking up some dust.

“Watch it!” Chicken A squawked, “You’re getting dust all over my brand new machine! What are you doing, anyway?”

“Warming up.” Chicken B was unperturbed. “If I’m going to take my best shot at this, I need to be physically prepared.” He flapped his wings one last time, then leaned forward, left wing over knee.

A shadow racing towards them caught Chicken A’s eye. “Uh–”  

“Ready?” Chicken B clicked the stopwatch, “Here I go!” And he launched himself onto the road.

“No, wa–!” cried out Chicken A, but it was too late. Chicken B had already been squashed by the car.

Chicken A looked for a moment at the forlorn pile of feathers that had once been his friend, and then turned back to his laptop. “Always too eager,” he clucked sadly, and got back to his code.

After an hour of experimentation, and a dozen plots, Chicken A was sure he’d found the optimal speed with which to cross the road. He sighed, clambered to his feet, and packed his laptop away.

“Okay, let’s do this.” Beak raised determinedly, he walked to the edge of the tarmac. He checked, then checked again, that there were no cars. And then, with a whistle, he jogged onto the road.

“I’m doing it! It’s working!” His beak widened in an excited grin, as the sand on the other side of the road drew ever closer. “I’m nearly there!”

And then, with one final step, he was on the other side the road. “Yes! I did it,” he crowed, dancing cockily about. “I crossed the road!”

Unfortunately, Chicken A was so excited by his great achievement,  that he didn’t notice the eighteen-wheeler pulling off the road for a rest break until it was far too late.

Moral of the story: Fools rush in where chickens fear to tread Look both ways before you cross the road Coding only gets you so far Crowing gets you killed Chickens and roads don’t mix.

March 15, 2007

Bigger is scarier

Filed under: random — iamza @ 2:45 pm

Why are we so fascinated by creatures so much larger than us? Think of the dinosaur craze a few years back, when every second film and TV show seemed to feature the T. Rex. Or look at the number of stories that incorporate super-sentient whale-like creatures–from Star Wars (with the Hammerheaded general) to Stargate Atlantis (e.g. season two’s ‘Grace Under Pressure’) to Moby Dick. Elephants feature heavily in many of South African author Dalene Matthee‘s books, often standing in for nature in the eternal battle between man and his environment. And then there’s stories like Dumbo, and Jungle Book which aim to make the big and scary seem less so.

Why is size so important? Does it hearken back to some still lingering deep-seated fear we have from when we were the ants, and dinosaurs the giant feet waiting to stomp us into oblivion. Like picking at an old wound: “Once, there were dragons and all manner of foul beasts. Come and sit, weary traveller! Rest up your feet, and I will tell you a cautionary tale of the bad old days, when we were but snacks for the beasts that roamed this Earth.”

Is it just hard for us to imagine being any different than we are? There are stories which focus on small as well — offhand examples include A Bug’s Life, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Innerspace. But even then, the focus is on how being small can be very hazardous for one’s health — because everything else in the world is so very much larger than one.

I guess “big” equates to “scary”. And giant scary monsters are even more terrifying. Think of the giant spiders in both the second Harry Potter film, and in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Or the giant ape in King Kong, or the giant lizard in Godzilla.

And scary, when we know intellectually there’s nothing to be scared of, is a turn-on because we get the adrenaline rush without having to face the threat of impending death. It’s a controlled release of fight-or-flight, without the downside of sweat or the stitch under the rib or wheezing for that next gasp of air.

March 7, 2007

Never, in a month of Sundays

Filed under: random — iamza @ 2:05 pm

A month of Sundays would be nice, except I’d end up going to bed early each night, dreading a Monday which took ages to arrive. All things considered, a month of Saturdays would be preferred.

March 4, 2007

One won

Filed under: random — iamza @ 10:19 pm

Having a party for turning eleventy-one sounds like fun. Personally, I’m holding out for an eleventy-eleventh, though.

March 1, 2007

When moons go boom

Filed under: random — iamza @ 10:41 am

Some days, I think we ought to blow up the moon. At least then I’d know if the special effects in the digitally remastered Star Wars: Return of the Jedi DVD were worth the extra money I paid.

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