Another Day, Another Blog

August 4, 2009

Current cogitations

Filed under: curiosities, the joy of life — iamza @ 12:09 am

Why is it that space exploration is suddenly the network flavour of the month? All of a sudden, the new in-show seems to be one that includes a space-ship, a small group of slightly incompatible crew members, and a strange other intelligence guiding things from behind the scenes. (See also: Virtuality, Defying Gravity, and Stargate: Universe).

Is this just a subconscious reaction to the 40th anniversary of the moon landing?

Also, why is it that all the publishing houses are busily churning out books about vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and/or ghosts? And let’s not forget the sudden spate of tragically romantic vampires and other assorted monsters on screens both big and small! (See also: Twilight, True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse novels, Moonlight, The Vampire Diaries, Blood Ties/Henry Fitzroy novels, Supernatural, Being Human, etc.)

When do we get a vampire who is neither tragic nor romantic, but rather a bit of a buffoon? “Hey, meet my friend, Jack. He’s funny, with fangs!”


October 31, 2007

This and that…

Filed under: the dandelion wars, the joy of life, writer's block — iamza @ 1:44 pm

It’s Halloween already! Good grief. Where did October go?

I have bulbs and roses ready to plant in the garden. Sadly, my garden has been sorely neglected over the summer, and it now more resembles a weedforest. I weeded a patch about a week ago, and chortled a bit at the thought that any bugs that haven’t already migrated south for the winter (not that they’d get very far without a bug ark of some description, given that there’s a sizeable channel of water between here and somewhere warm like, say, Spain) are probably even now writing to their local Bug MP about the problems of deforestation and desertification.

In other news, I am contemplating doing a nano-NaNoWriMo. It’s been ages since I last tried to write original fic. If I wrote 100 words a day for each day in November, that’d give me a 3000 word story. No, it’s not quite a novel, but it beats not writing anything.  

September 11, 2007


Filed under: the joy of life — iamza @ 1:43 pm

Round about this time six years ago, I was preparing for my thesis defence. I’d just handed in the monster thesis, having spent night after night slaving to get the words strung together in the right order, and fixing headers and spelling, checking page numbers and figure formats, and occasionally making desperate ice-cream runs to the A&P across the way from my apartment in a vain effort to stop my brain from melting.

So the thesis was in, and had been handed to various examiners. I was in that nerve-wracking three week interval where you’re supposed to be getting your final presentation sorted, and reading every folder of notes you ever took on anything to do with your thesis work, and making sure you understood everything you’d written — including the stuff scrawled at three in the morning when you were operating on half a brain cell and a sugar high.

It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning when I woke and stumbled out of bed to the couch, and I was happy and relaxed, and looking forward to taking a walk that day along the river. For just a few hours, I planned to forget all about books and papers and slides and everything to do with geophysics.

As soon as I turned on the TV, I forgot about the thesis all right. That morning was September 11, 2001.

I can remember watching with disbelief as the towers fell — it was like watching a disaster movie, and I kept waiting for the end credits to roll. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the people aboard the planes, sitting and listening to the hijackers, and knowing, long before the rest of the world, that something awful was about to happen. The passengers couldn’t have known the towers would come down, but, at the end, they knew the planes were flying into the towers, and that they were about to die. That thought haunted me for months. 

In the years since 2001, I’ve felt anger and impatience, and an utter bone-weariness with the whole thing. I think I burned out on the wall-to-wall coverage back in 2001, and it seemed like the media, having scented a good story, were not at all keen to let anyone forget that 9/11 was to be ‘the day that changed the world’.

But this year, what I felt most on the anniversary of 9/11 was sadness. Because, at the end of the day, there are 2800+ people aren’t here who should’ve been.

September 10, 2007

Just say no!

Filed under: curiosities, the joy of life — iamza @ 4:09 pm

I have this thing about swallowing pills, especially capsules: I’m convinced that they’ll get trapped in the back of my throat and result in a minor inconvenience called death.

I am currently taking a course of antibiotics to help stave off a brutal invasion by evil jaw-germs. My antibiotics are in the form of capsules.

Have you ever noticed how doctors and pharmacists get very militant about antibiotics? “Now, I’m going to prescribe these antibiotics, but you must finish the full course. Don’t stop taking them until they’re all gone!”

Yes, sir!

Adding to my misery, opening up the capsules and dissolving the powder inside in a glass of water is apparently a no-no. It messes with the rate at which the antibiotics are released into the body.

Can one even overdose on antibiotics?

“I’m sorry, Za-parents. Your daughter is dead of an antibiotic overdose. If only she’d left the capsules well enough alone.”

My friend, Jaye, takes these huge horse pills to beef up her Omega-3, or Omega-12, or something, intake. She offered me some, once. Za-parents can be proud for they taught me well; I just said no.

August 27, 2007

Food for thought

Filed under: bright ideas, the joy of life — iamza @ 8:03 pm

At last, I own my very own kettle braai/barbeque. Woo! Charred sausages on demand, any day (well, night, anyway) of the week.

It only took us an hour to put together (or “ten minutes” according to the box and paper directions), but that was mostly because we spent “ten minutes” searching for a lock-washer that I dropped in my newly-cut lawn. I swear, it’s easier to find things when the lawn looks more like an African jungle; I am never cutting the grass again.

Once the kettle braai was assembled, it took us another “ten minutes” to get the “easy-to-light” heat beads (a.k.a. super charcoal) to catch alight. Two thirds of a box of firelighters, half a cylinder of lighter fluid, a can of gasoline, a box of dynamite, and a tank of jet fuel later, the heat beads finally started to glow red. So did the house, the neighbour’s house, the other neighbour’s house, the house out back, and the house across the way. We did what any good neighbour would do, and ran down to Sainsburys to pick up some extra sausages. Good thing, too, because when the fire service showed up, they were really hungry…

August 24, 2007

Writer’s block: Time travel

Filed under: the joy of life, writer's block — iamza @ 1:38 pm

If you could travel back in time to spend a day with someone, who would it
be and why?

Nobody. I think I spend too much time thinking about the past as it is, and I’d prefer to save my energy for something more useful, like planning for the future.

I’d like to travel into the future, though, to see how the world might look sixty, or a hundred, or even a thousand years from now. Will people be looking at this as the Stink/Pollution Age? Or will they think of us as living in a golden age, full of hope and wonder?

Then again, I remember watching James Cameron’s Aliens, and pitying Ripley because she’d slept through her daughter’s life. Here’s this woman who finally gets to sleep after an incredibly traumatic ordeal, and when she wakes, she finds herself trapped in a world she never wanted. Her family is gone, and she is alone. So, perhaps travelling to the future isn’t such a good idea. What if I can’t get home again?

August 23, 2007

Lessons learned from Mills and Boon

Filed under: books, the joy of life — iamza @ 5:36 pm

1. The unknown female ringing him at odd hours is the pet goat he adopted on his travels through war-torn Africa.

2. A night spent making passionate love makes even the most insufferably arrogant man look sensitive and caring in the morning — especially when he remembers to turn on the coffee machine.

3. To really get to know somebody, you need only have two fights, a bit of snarky flirtation, and a steamy night in bed. Really, if you time it right, that works out to three point four days.

4. Deserts are full of mysterious princes, and the American midwest is populated by about a billion (plus or minus three) hunky, but angsty, cowboys. If you’re looking for a husband, those are the places to go.

5. No means no except when it means yes, and he’ll always know which one you really mean because he’s a mindreader. (Except when he’s not, but that only happens twice; see point 3 above)

5a. (Corollary:) She’ll never know what you’re thinking, so, for God’s sake, man, just spit it out and save us the thirty pages of abject misery and self-doubt before the happy ending.

6. If there’s a car to be crashed or a horse to fall off of, she’ll do it. But she’ll do it with a spirit he can’t help but admire.

7. When he says something unforgivably mean, she’ll realize she’s in love. (Also known as the WTF?! clause).

8. Nobody works for a living in romance novels. Or, if they do, they’re having it on with the super-hot boss, and not the kinda ugly person in the next cubicle. 

9. If you’re a writer, an artist, a journalist, or a business prodigy, and you’re still single, don’t despair. You’re about to meet your soulmate on the next page.

10. (Mills and Boon) love is more about lust than it is laughter. Too bad, because laughter is likely to last longer and bring one more joy.

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 20, 2007


Filed under: the joy of life, what not to say — iamza @ 8:33 am

Dear Virgin Media,

Thank you so much for responding to my email notifying you of a fault with my phoneline, and for reconfirming that, if I call you on 151, I can speak with your customer services team for free. Unfortunately, I have no dial tone on my Virgin phoneline. This makes the free call somewhat problematic.

No love,


August 7, 2007

Postcards from the other edge

Filed under: bright ideas, the dandelion wars, the joy of life — iamza @ 8:25 am

Me: “I’ve got a huge thistle growing in the lawn!”

Mother: “Just cut it off at the stem, and use some weedkiller.”

Me: “But the weedkiller won’t work without the leaves.”

Mother: “Oh, okay. Wait, do you have a drill?”

Me: “Ye-e-es.” 

Mother: “So, drill into the stem, and pour some Jayes Fluid into the hole.”

Me: “And then sit and wait for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants to come knocking…”

Mother: “Use a silencer on the drill, and nobody’ll know.”

Yes, I love it when a plan comes together.

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