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Archive for September, 2005

One for the road…

There is a reality show on M-Net called Amish in the City. Yes, you heard me! Whoever thought up this show should be hung, strung and quartered and then fed to a thousand foul smelling maggots living on the genitals of the troll who resides in the swamps located on the seventh moon of the planet “KissMy-friggin-Ass“. If this does not epitomise the essense of what it means to “scrape the bottom of the barrel”, then nothing else ever will.

It is at times like this when a quote by Gallagher springs to mind:
Don’t you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There’s one marked ‘Brightness’, but it doesn’t work.

My sentiments exactly. Vodka Martini, anyone? Here’s to an absolutely “luvly” weekend!

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Splitting headache! Dog tired!
Pity me all good people who read this blog. No really, I mean it… so please, go right ahead and do it. I am as worn out as a cucumber in a convent and all I ask is to go home and sleep for at least an hour.
At 3:30 this morning I was jolted out of bed by the incessant barking of my two dogs. At first I thought it was nothing, so I called out their names and told them to shut up. Normally that helps and I am able to get back to doing what I do best… sleep.
This time however they keep right on barking. So I figure that perhaps there is an intruder in my yard. Yeah, I am friggin’ paranoid. My brain sped right past the neighbour’s cat scenario and headed straight for i-n-t-r-u-d-e-r.
So I get up and switch on all the lights. I figure that if there is an intruder on the premises, surely this would scare them off. Of course with the lights on, the dogs stop barking, so I reckon that whoever or whatever they were barking at, has left.
But just to be on the safe side I also decide to take a look outside by peering through the windows. Of course any old fool can tell you that if you have the light on in a room, there is no way you can see through the window as all it does is reflect your own image. (Look, mommy, there is a scary man at the window…. hehehe).
So I go from room to room, turn the lights off, pull back the curtains and look through the window. If the sight of me in my sleep shorts doesn’t scare them away, then nothing else will.
By about the third window, it suddenly dawns on me that if there were any intruders outside, me cupping my hands around my face and peering through the window, would prolly be a good target for anyone who wanted to harm me. So I abandoned that absolutely brilliant plan, turned all the lights off, set the alarm and went to bed.
About 5 minutes after I turned the lights off, the dogs start barking again. What was I thinking?
This time I am livid! Screw the intruders and the neighbor’s cat, I direct all my anger at the dogs and let lose with what can best be described as the theatrics of a madman. Think Rumplestiltskin (NO… not Donald Rumsfeld) dancing around and you get the picture. I think I set a new world record in how many times the word f&ck, various permutations thereof and the word neuter can be used in one sentence. I may also have woken up my neighbours, but who cares, the more the merrier. Why should I lie awake all by myself?
Anger and sleep do not go well together. So over the next few hours, long after the dogs stopped barking, I lie awake in bed and will myself to sleep. I bargain with God and even promise to give up on all sorts of things if he will only reach down from heaven and knock me unconscious until it is time for me to wake up. The funny thing about God is that he is not easily persuaded and my foolish promises must have had him rolling with laughter. Either that or he was fast asleep.
I started my day… at 3:30… AM!!! Try and top that! If you can’t, well go right back and pity little ol’ me.

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Into the future…

Ok… lets get down to the more serious stuff for a bit.
I have a job interview lined up for tomorrow evening after work. I am excited about having the interview, but I am approaching it with a certain amount of caution and skepticism as I am as yet not one hundred percent sure of what is expected of me. I guess all of that will be made clear to me when I meet with my prospective bosses.
What I do know is that the company I am interviewing for, has been in existence for about 2 years. This in itself scares me a little as I know, and there are many examples of this happening, that many small companies tend to do well initially and then away fizzle in to nothingness.
A small startup company, based in Cape Town, who in a very short space of time has become a significant player in the industry they operate in. They appear to have a pretty solid client base and a lot more that are willing to come on board, as I have discovered and have been told. Yep, I’ve been doing a bit of research of my own too. It is an advantage to be prepared and at least have an idea of who you are dealing with.
According to the company representative who contacted me, the number of clients in the Gauteng region has grown significantly in the last year and now represents a large portion of their portfolio. With the expansion, the increased workload and demand on their resources, it has become necessary to set up offices in Johannesburg. They are no longer able to see to and fulfill the needs of their Gauteng-based clients out of the offices Cape Town. A few names were mentioned and based on what I know, these are major companies in South Africa.
They need solid around the clock representation in Johannesburg that would be able to look after these clients. And that apparently… is where I come in. They are basically looking for someone who can set up (from scratch) and run the office in Johannesburg from an operational and marketing perspective. It is an exciting prospect and a great opportunity, one that I can exploit and leverage to my own and the company’s advantage. Hard work and long hours are the least of my concerns and have never been an issue for me. I am however naturally skeptical and before I make any decisions there are lots of questions that needs to be answered an many more assurances that need to be made.
My entire professional career has been spent in working for large multi-nationals. Job and financial security has never been something I needed to worry or be concerned about. There are many advantages/disadvatages to working for a multi-national, and so far I have been able to swing the pendulum in my favour. Lucky, perhaps? Who knows?
There are an increasing number of people out there who swear by th fact that working for a large company is not all that it is made out to be. There is also a growing trend globally and in South Africa towards moving to smaller businesses. Small is the new big ala Seth Godin and other ppl in the know. The concept appeals to me and has for quite a while. Perhaps the time has come to sit down and seriously look at the options.
Anyway, enough said for now. The meeting/interview will hopefully reveal all and help me to make an informed decision. What more could I ask for than to be given an opportunity to do just that?

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Nobody does it like me

Some day soon I am going to learn to do things the right way and NOT make an ass out of myself. In my defense, I ought to be able to get away with the same things others seemingly get away with.
You know what the worst thing about being pulled over by the traffic police is? The flashing blue lights and that uber loud and annoying siren! I ask you, could it get any worse?! You hear that siren, your blood freezes and every fiber in your body goes into shock… the kind of paralysing shock that says I-am-so-dead. They may as well have a big flashing neon arrow on the roof of the car with the word TRAFFIC OFFENDER written all over it, pointing directly at you.
It is Saturday afternoon and I am at the corner of Katherine and West when I realise that I am in the wrong lane. The lane I am in is for cars turning left only and I should be in the lane for cars turning right. An honest mistake and one that is very easily rectified. Just proceed to the next intersection, turn the car around, head back to the intersection you came from and get into the right road.
Not so easy when there is a NO U-TURN sign at the next intersection. Yep, the universe is conspiring again! So I look around and I see there are only two other cars at the intersection, no cars behind me, but more importantly, THERE ARE NO ONCOMING CARS! I figure perhaps I could make a quickie u-turn.
Who will ever know? It would be like the tree falling in the forest and nobody hearing… uh… yeah, perhaps not quite that easy. And if by chance someone were to notice, there’d be no harm. I would get back to where I should be, and in the end that is all that counts. (The little guy sitting on my shoulder is a charm).
Yeah, I know, I prolly deserve to be bitch-slapped, so quit shaking your head and waving your finger at me. What’s with the holier-than-thou attitude anyway… don’t tell me you have not broken a dozen or two traffic rules? Besides, the Chitster is genetically programmed to do stoopid things.
The traffic light goes green, I allow the other cars to move and make my “teensy-weensy” illegal turn. Whooo- peee… I made it… or so I thought.
The next minute, all hell breaks loose and there are sirens and flashing blue lights everywhere.
Where the hell do these police cars come from? How the hell do they manage to materialize out of friggin’ nowhere… like the goddamn genie from Aladdin’s’ lamp. And it is not only the police… suddenly the intersection is filled with cars and as if they had been summoned to witnesses to your heinous crime. And they all give you that look… the one that says, “You should be ashamed of yourself”.
Oh man, how embarrassing!
The cops of course take their time in writing out the ticket (so that more ppl can see you). They walk around the car and ask you questions that are designed to get you to implicate yourself.
“Good afternoon, sir. Are you aware that you just made an illegal u-turn?” Don’t you just love how they phrase the questions? What could I say to them? No and deny that the sign never existed? Where is all that crap about the tree falling in the forest when you need it?
A fine of R800.00 later and with the self esteem trampled to bits, I finally manage to get away from there.
No more, I tell you! No more!

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Spring break?

Family… can’t live with them and can’t do without them either.
The spring school holidays started today and my 13 year old hormonal nephew (He who showers with shampoo) asked whether he can come and stay with me for the next ten days. Grooan!!!!!
Don’t get me wrong I love the kid and he makes me laugh all the time, but I don’t know if I am up to the responsibility and the whole “loving uncle” routine.
My sister is only to glad to have him out of the way and she’s been phoning me almost daily to ask when I am coming to fetch him. I reckon she just do not know what to do with him and the thought of him at home for all hours while she is at work, terrifies the hell out of her. He’s a lot like me, and if I were her, I would take out insurance on all my belongings and my life for that matter.
The other day, and she still has not recovered from the shock, she came home with a workmate and found “Mister” watching TV in the lounge… practically nude and with nothing but a towel around his waist… with the girl from next door. She was fully clothed, thank God.
Yep, apparently he had a shower and she came to visit just as he came out of the shower. He didn’t want to leave her alone by herself so he stayed with her instead. Hey, hey, hey… it is plausible! I don’t want to think the worst of the kid. These things happen on TV all the time. Why just the other night there was this show on TV where… uhm… nope, that did not happen.
We are having fairly hot weather up in JHB, their aircon is on the blink and the swimming pool is not ready for swimming. So when you feel hot, you take a shower and when a friend comes by to visit, you wrap a towel around your waist and watch TV with them. Yeah, that bit is new to me too. I would have preferred if he had gone and put some clothes on, but what the heck, it is not like he planned it. Shame on his mother for coming home early and the girl for visting, unannounced!
According to my sister, he was completely unfazed (He’s either innocent or the kid has nerves of steel!) about the arrival of her and the workmate. He merely got up and walked to his room, leaving the girl friend with his mother. He got dressed and came back a short while later and swears that nothing out of the ordinary had happened!
My response was, “What you expected the kid to do, continue to watch TV and pretend his mother is not around? At least he’s not walking around in the backyard exposing himself to the neighbours (something my mates and I did do once… long ago) ” I could see her brain going into overdrive at that thought and then she accused me of not taking the matter seriously. I may mention that my sister tends to overreact a tad and may at times behave like a drama queen.
The workmate thought it was hilarious. Good on her! I suspect though my sister may be looking for another job. She has issues with being embarrassed.
Of course she blames this entire episode on me and swears by my deceased grandmother that his behavior is typical of me when I was a teenager. (Huh… how did that happen?). Funnily, I don’t ever remember prancing around in a towel when my friends came over to visit. Talk about getting the facts wrong. Now she wants me to take him for the next ten days and talk some sense into his head. She reckons since I “caused it”, I need to fix it. Grrrrrr!!!
Can you see what I am up against? I also mentioned that perhaps all she needs to do is put her foot down and lay down the rules, but she reckons a man’s influence is what is needed. And I am THAT man, it seems. She’s divorced and the husband has little or no contact with the kids. I still think he is merely pushing his boundaries and his behaviour, although a bit odd (ok, very odd), is nothing to worry about.
Jirre… I don’t know whether to laugh or jump off a bridge. A teenage boy whose brain and common sense seems to be on the blink, in my care.
In spite of my better judgment, I have agreed to let him stay over.
Now I have to hide the shampoo and move the TV into his room.

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Never, and I mean…. NEVER assume you are charming and smooth when you ask the cute waitress called Rosemary if the LAMB CHOPS WITH ROSEMARY means that she is having dinner with you.
Especially, when she has been on her feet for most of the evening and is speeding past you with four plates of quesadillas perfectly balanced on her arms, all the way from her wrists to her biceps. On both arms.
The amount of humour and charm one can take is apparently directly proportional to the number and size of the blisters on your feet and the hours you’ve been working.
And when she starts whispering and pointing you out to her colleagues, it may be a good idea to start thinking about having your dinner elsewhere. You never know what may be mixed in with that delightful green salad or the glass of ice water you have just ordered. And the lamb chops… well, they could very likely be the left-overs from yesterday’s lunch buffet.
You are better off eating at the blue-collar take away around the corner chewing on the ass of a rabid dog. You could not enjoy the meal if it came for free and with all the drinks you can have… on the house!
When single, misguided and testosterone meets tired and cute but humourless waitress… the outcome is seldom pretty.

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Who hasn’t questioned a choice they’ve made or wondered what their life would be like today if something that had happened in the past had turned out differently. That inconsequential decision, for example, that led you to meet the love of your life or that job that lead to financial independence and success. Sometimes, small choices change everything.
The boss and I had THE meeting yesterday (Again! Leave me be already!)to discuss my “future” with the company and revisit my decision to leave at the end of this year. Actually he had a discussion with me, because in my mind that ship had already sailed. I had said all I wanted to say to him the day I walked into his office with my decision to resign.
And having reached that point, I prefer not to be confronted by the alternatives, the pros and cons and the “what if’s”. Yep, I am an ostrich and sometimes, just sometimes, the world seems a whole lot better when you bury your head in the sand.
Admittedly and to some extend, I am being cowardly about it and do not really want to face up to the reality of what my life may be like a few months from now. I told myself I have plenty of time to figure things out. The naked truth is, I do not have the luxury of time. I may be out of work come December 2005 with no steady income, etc. The adventurer in me reminds me that there is world of opportunities out there and new things for me to do. But adventure and misplaced romantic notions do not pay the bills nor do they put food on the table.
When I walked into my boss’ office two months earlier, high on my own bravado and perceived self-worth, it took a lot of guts. I had spent many long hours mulling over my decision to move on and I have thought about it even more since then, and there are times now, when I doubt myself.
When I discussed the decision to quit with my father a few days prior to that meeting in July, I thought he was going to crucify me. My old man comes from a generation of people where providing for his family was a man’s ultimate goal. There was no time for dreams and frivolities. In his day, a man had to go out there and do what he needed to do, not only for himself but because other people depended on him.
He is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is man and the only person that can get him to listen is my mother. What he lacks in book knowledge he made up for by an abundance of practical know-how and, more importantly, a kind heart. He looked me in the eye and said, “You go right ahead and do what you feel is right. Life isn’t very long and you are the only person who can put a measure to your success”.
Knowing my dad, I expected a one hour lecture from him… but he didn’t. At most I expected him to tell me to let go of my foolish childish notions and be a man. None of that. He just left it up to me. Wow! [flashback to the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers]
So I sat there and listened to my boss going on and on about the job market, unmeployment and the scarcity of jobs, the bright future I have with the company, how I should not make hasty decisions and about the new position coming up in my department. All of which made perfect sense and yet none of it really spoke to me on my level.
Ok… at some point I may have spaced out and floated away on a bubble to a planet inhabited by female warriors and came back just in time to hear him finish off his inspiring soliloquy. But mostly… I listened.
What he doesn’t seem to understand is that I am no longer happy working there. The job is no longer a challenge and that I do not want to work as a marketer all my life. I don’t want to end up banging my secretary ten years from now because I am tired of life and need excitement. I do not want to look back in a few years time and regret that I have played it safe and sold out to my insecurities.
I don’t want to work here because of all the reasons he just mentioned. I don’t give a rats ass about the prospects and the security and all the crap he’s trying to shove down my throat. I am u-n-h-a-p-p-y. All the security and money in the world cannot buy my happiness.
So I waited patiently for him to finish and I thanked him for the time and the support. I jokingly told him that the next time I need advice, I will ask for it. My decision to leave stands and I will be leaving the company at the end of the year.
Do I have brass balls? I doubt it… not since the last time I checked. Am I a delusional fuckwit living in a wet dream? Most likely. Am I sticking to my decision to leave because I am too proud to retracting my resignation? Not a fucking chance! I have my pride, but I’ll get down on my hands and knees and do whatever I have to do while I’m down there, if I have to.
I don’t have a fuggin’ clue what next year will bring and what the bloody hell I may be doing. And that there is a pretty humbling and sobering thought, let me tell you. This is scary $hit! All I know is that whatever it is… I won’t be doing it by working here.
[There’s the soft ruffle of wings and I watch my last chance to change my mind fly out the the window]

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