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Archive for November, 2005

Cigarette in the rain

There is no escaping the madness that is Christmas, is there? Even the bums/beggars who stand on the street corner have joined in the revelry by wearing all manner of Christmas decorations around there necks and their bodies.
A bunch of walking, taking Christmas trees appealing to your humanity. The irony of the situation does not escape me and I am left to wonder what exactly I am to make of all of this. Which side of my humanity are they appealing to? Am I supposed to feel sorrier for them than I do on any other day?
It does however bring a smile to my face and I guess in doing that they have achieved their objective, so I give them the change I have in my pocket. They will prolly use the money to buy cigarettes or alcohol. I am not about to fool myself into thinking that the money I had just given them is going to set in motion a miraculous turnaround in their fortune. Short term relief is all I could hope for… in whatever form.
Isn’t it funny (in a weird sense) however that a homeless person or charity worker would say to you, “God bless you,” especially when you don’t/can’t give them anything?
What exactly is the deal with that? As if in that very moment they morally rise above you and reserve the right to bestow a blessing as if they forgive you for not doing the “right” thing. I usually look them right back in the eye and say, “God bless you too”
Hell, there is nothing that gives them exclusive rights to bestowing blessings on others so I may as well get in on the action, right?
Come to think of it, if I had it in with God, I would not go around at Christmas time blessing some asshole who is too stingy to spare me his loose change. Would you?
Not to be selfish and smug, but I’d be sitting there saying, “God, I am but a humble beggar and You know that I usually ask You to bless those who do not give me anything, but could You find it in Your heart to let the fella, who just walked past me, come down with some annoying disease for the holiday season? Nothing serious, Lord, I’d settle for him getting a case of crabs or a spell of herpes. And while you are at it, Lord, could You please bless me too so that I do not have to wear these ridiculous decorations and hold this stupid paper cup?!”
Yep, that would be me. And I’d feel a lot happier too knowing that there is a slim chance that perhaps my wish may be granted.
Bah, humbug!

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I bleed for my country!

I sacrificed a whole pint of fresh A-grade blood for the People of South Africa today. And excuse the obvious pun, but IT SUCKED!
Giving blood is not at all what you see in the vampire movies. You know, that near orgasmic moment when the vampire finally sinks his fangs into the aorta of the victim. Yeah, I know… the old adage, “Only in Hollywood”.
Mind you, Kate Beckinsale , was über-sexy as Selene in the vampire movie, Underworld. She can sink her fangs into my aorta anytime!
Swiftly moving along. I only agreed to donate because Anna in the office next to mine asked if I would go. I did not want to wimp out on her nor did I want her to beat me to the post in being smug and virtuous.
The whole idea seems wholesome and innocent enough on the surface. The poster on the notice board said, Give Blood and Save a Life. A noble cause. No-one, other than me, seemed to think that the act of donating blood is probably as close as one can come to the embodiment of evil.
Luckily there were no long queues when we got there. Can’t say that I was at all surpised. It is not like we were going to watch Robbie Williams live, were we?
I don’t think I could stand to watch blood being siphoned from the bodies of other people by narrow tubes spiraling from their outstretched arms for longer than necessary. Freaky!
“Oh, look dear! I think your blood is turning bright orange. I think perhaps it would be a good idea to call a doctor!” I had the urge to say this to a woman in her 50’s as she laid there on her little trolley bed gazing up at the ceiling looking all sweet and serene. Somehow I did not think anyone would have been enjoyed my attempt at humour. Vampires, I mean nurses, have no sense of humour.
Donating the blood is not the problem for me. It is all the friggin array of paraphernalia that they use for extracting it. The sharp needles, the rubber tourniquet, the plastic bags and the tubes running from your arm. Did I mention the friggin sharp needle? And why do they always talk to you as if you are retarded? “Don’t worry, dear, it won’t hurt a bit”. Really? Do you mind backing that up by sticking the needle into your arm?
I don’t dislike nor do I have a phobia about sharp needles. I just don’t appreciate them in my body. Of course I am too proud to admit that it does in fact hurt a little, so I looked away when the nurse pushed it into my arm. When she asked me if it hurt… I feigned surprise and said, “Oh are you done already… didn’t even feel a thing”.
And just like that my precious blood is being harvested. It flowed out of my arm up the narrow tube and into that damned little plastic bag. I always wonder what would happen if they forget to turn the damn thing off. Would it just keep on draining until there was nothing left of me but a bag of skin and bones? Of course these strange thoughts are brought on by the lightheadedness due to the slow loss of blood, but they seem very real at the time. I prefer my lightheadedness when it is brought on in tablet form, in case you were wondering.
The whole procedure only took about ten minutes. Then it was out with the offending needle, and on with the complimentary alcohol swab with which to apply pressure to the “open wound”. They also encourage you to go to the recreational area and have free biscuits and tea with your fellow bleeders. Yep, they fatten you up right away in preparation for the next bloodletting.
There is nothing quite like swapping stories about the pints of blood you have donated over the years with your fellow bleeders. And if you are really lucky, you may run into someone who has a rare blood type. Why, they are the royals of the bloodletting fraternity, aren’t they? [Bow down, commoner]
I am not quite sure whether the tea and biscuits were worth the price I had to pay. It seemed like a bum deal to me. Surely a pint of blood could justify a cream-filled doughnut from the bakery up the road?

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Housekeeping

The Slipstream has been rather quiet over the last few days and with good reason. I am nearing my last days at the company I work for, with 23 November being my last official day of work. (Will someone give me a hallelujah?!)
And being the kind of person that I am, I hate leaving behind any unfinished business. As a result, I am frantically getting all of my things in order, such as updating my work and project files, both electronically and on hard copy and making sure that whoever takes this position will know exactly what is going on from the minute they set foot in this office. Given my workload and the number of active projects I work on, it is not an easy task… but nothing worth doing well ever is. The good news is… I am almost there!
I know from personal experience that a lot of things are blamed on the guy who leaves. Firstly, he is not there to defend himself and secondly, there is no way of knowing what the truth is. It is an ideal opportunity for those who are less than perfect to duck and dive.
Why do I care if it is going to happen anyway? Well, it has a lot to do with my own personal and professional pride. I am a finisher. There will be no unfinished business/work and all other work will be taken to a point where the next phase can begin. I’ll be damned if I am going to let anyone criticize my work, say (or even hint) that I was incompetent at my job and that I left things in a mess, even if I am not there to hear them say it.
I also take pride in knowing that despite being weird and wacky; I am extremely good at what I do. There are few people out there who know me that would disagree.
Cleaning up and getting my office in order has also presented me with the opportunity to get rid of all of the things I do not need. So there is a lot of shredding and throwing out going on. It is amazing how much one can amass in such a small period of time!
Of course the fact that I am a compulsive hoarder has lots to do with it. I brought things with me from my previous company, which if I really have to be honest with myself, has been of no value to me and prolly never will be. I don’t want to make the same mistake again and take with me more things that I may never need.
If all goes according to plan, I will walk out of here next Wednesday with all my goodies neatly packed into a shoebox. Now that, my dear friends, is what I would call traveling light!

SHOOOW MEE THE MONEY!!!!

[Damn, don’t you just love this picture?]

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The gf had just called to remind me not to make any plans for this coming Saturday, since I had promised to go shopping with her for Christmas gifts. GRRRR… !!!
Why we have to do shopping this early in November is far beyond the intellectual and comprehensive abilities of my male brain. I mean, there is enough time for all of that between 20 -24 December, isn’t there? I sort of understand that buying the right gift is a very, very difficult thing to do or at least that is what she says when I ask her about it.
I always think that if somebody is so difficult to shop for that you have to do it a month in advance, then you really have to ask yourself, “Why am I even a friend of this person?”.
I wanted to remind her that gift certificates would be brilliant idea, but I didn’t want to risk her telling me again that I am unimaginative and have no Christmas spirit.
So maybe I don’t actually hate Christmas. What I do hate is going to the mall, and being bombarded by glitter and tinsel, flickering lights, fake snowflakes, sprigs of holly, hand-drawn reindeer and cherubic Santas. It is the only time of the year I condone the wearing of sunglasses indoors, even on a cloudy day.
I really cannot see why the stores must decorate so early. It is like going to a party and putting on your party outfit a month in advance. By the time you finally get to go to the party, the outfit is no longer new and you prolly hate wearing it. All that the stores are basically doing is doing a number on our eyes, ears and wallets.
Personally, the worst thing about Christmas has got to be… the Christmas jingles. And topping the list of the worst Christmas jingles of all time has to be… Jingle Bell Rock! There is no more god-awful, suicide begging, suck-the-joy-out-of-everything sound on the face of the earth, than that little song. (And in case you wondered… yes, I do know the words to the song. Isn’t that always the case?) The absolute worst thing about going to the mall is that every store plays it. Like it is the friggin number one song on the annual Christmas jingle hit parade.
Of course, there are people out there who are really into Christmas. Like the gf. People who, unlike me, find the idea of charging three months worth of salary to their credit cards – 90% of which will not be appreciated, wonderfully appealing. I can only begin to imagine the thrill there is in finding a size 48 underwear set, with a large sunflower print, for 80 year old Aunt Octavia.
It is usually at this of the year that I seriously begin to consider conversion to one of the other mainstream religions. But I am told that since South Africa is largely a Christian society, this will not solve my problem.
I wonder if can immigrate to Iran for two months of the year… somewhere near the Caspian Sea would do just fine.

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Egg on my face

The phone rings.
LINDA: My hands are full. Could you answer the telephone for me? (She’s holding a large pile of files in her arms)
ME: Sure. Do you want me to take a message and tell them that you will call back?
LINDA: Yeah… ok. Just find out first who it is and what they want first.
ME: Ok

ME: Good morning. This is Linda So-and-so’s desk. How may I help you?
VOICE: Good morning. May I speake to Linda, please?
ME: I’m sorry. Linda is not available at present. Can I take a message and ask her to call you back?
VOICE: This is Linda’s mother speaking. I need to speak to my daughter urgently. (Her tone of voice tells me she is not about to take no for an answer)

I put my hand over the receiver and relay the message to Linda, who’s still standing there with the pile of files in her hands
LINDA (panicky): I don’t want to talk to her! Tell her anything… tell her I am in a meeting and will call her back. Tell her the building is on fire! Please, I cannot talk to her… please?

ME (in my most sincere voice): I am sorry Mrs. Blah-blah-blah, Linda is in a meeting right now. I will ask her to call you back as soon as she comes out of the meeting. I’ll be sure to tell her it is urgent.
VOICE: You call her out of that meeting right now, young man. It is a matter of life and death and I have to speak to hear. (She is practically shouting at me down the line at this point in time)
I have to talk to my daughter, do you hear me?! (I hear you woman… but your daughter does not want to talk to you!)

I cup the receiver again and tell Linda that her mother is friggin hysterical and that she had better take the call because I am starting to feel really uncomfortable.
Linda just looks at me, still holding the friggin files in her arms. Why on earth she hasn’t put them down yet is beyond my comprehension.

LINDA: Please, I cannot deal with her right now. (As opposed to whom… me? Do I look like I have experience in dealing with the family matter of others?)

ME (curtly): Mrs. Blah-blah-blah… I cannot call Linda out of her meeting. It is obviously a personal matter, so I will put you through to her voice-mailbox and you can leave a message for her. (That sunny disposition I’ve been nurturing all morning, has just flown out the window)
I frantically press the re-call button and punch in the extension number for Linda’s voice-mailbox. Oh boy, the recall button on the phone does not work. Fuck this, I am not dealing anymore!!

ME: You have reached the voice-mailbox of Linda So-and-so… Please leave a message after the beep. (I punch the one of the buttons on the keypad for the sound effect) BEEP!
VOICE: I know you are still there. I recognise your voice from earlier on. (Fuck… In my ruffled state I had forgotten to disguise my voice. Caught out! The old hag is on to me)
ME (knowing the game’s up): I am sorry. The voice mailbox you are trying to reach is unavailable at this time. Good bye and have a nice day.
I slam the phone down. (Linda can deal with this)

LINDA: Chitty, I am so very sorry. I promise to make it up to you.
ME: Shut up. I am not listening to explanations. Your mother will prolly call back, so I suggest you get as far away from your desk as you possibly can.

I take a brisk walk to the men’s room. I barely make it inside and I burst out laughing. I laugh so much, I have to sit down on the floor.
Dammit, that was badly executed. That has got to go down as one of the worst bluffs in the history of the telephone.
Linda does not know it yet, but I am getting her back for this one.

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I did not recognise then number on the screen, so I let the phone ring until it stopped. Perhaps my mysterious caller would leave a message. “They” did not.
My curiosity got the better of me and I called back. I recognised the voice immediately and for some unknown reason my heart lodged in my throat like I swallowed a jawbreaker.
“Hello”, she said, “It’s so good to hear your voice”. (It is?)
“How have you been?”
“I am doing great. Never better” (Would I admit to anything else?)
After just over 2 years(!), the ex g/f calls and starts chatting away like no time had passed at all! Some people sure has that “move on with life” scenario pegged down.
Although I can hear her speak, I am not really interested in what she has to say. This is the woman who gave me the old” It’s not you, it’s me” speech. It that was not a big enough insult to my intelligence, she now reserves the right to call me up.
She will be in town this coming weekend and wants to meet… catch up on old times. What old times?
She called from work, but has to attend a meeting and asked if she could call me back. Yeah sure, I have nothing better to do than wait for her call. I switched the phone off. Let her call back and leave a message.
I don’t want to meet with her. I don’t want to catch up on old times. I don’t want to be friends… because what exactly would the point be?
A better man would be above all that and I am. So there is really no point in meeting up, is there?
Did I mention that the phrase “f*ck $ff, b&%*h” passed through my mind several times? It sounded exactly like one of those formula 1 racing cars speeding by.

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Well, the shit is hitting the fan. My work computer has been rendered completely impotent.
I cannot get access to the databases I need to do my work and the internet is just barely working. It crashes every 5 minutes and I am super-duper pissed off because I hate hanging around doing nothing.
After logging a call with the IT Helpdesk, I am told a technician from Dell will be in later today to take a look at my machine. It is now 12h30, how much later can he get here?
So, since I have some free time on my hands, I’ll share with you 3 of my current pet hates.

  • The drunk debaters:Two guys from the office invited me out to drinks after work. While I enjoy their company, I hate the fact that they have heated arguments/debates (take your pick) every time they have too much to drink. These two will debate(argue about) every thing under the bloody sun, from French foreign policy, the war in Iraq to Britney Spear’s ass. While the rest of us are trying to unwind and have a good time, they are off to the side talking about stuff that can only make sense when your blood alcohol level goes above the legal limit.
    They should just get a room, draw an imaginary line down the middle and beat the crap out of whoever dares to cross it first.
    Yeah… don’t think I’ll be going with them tonight. Mizz Vodka Martini and I will have to meet up on another night.
  • The whole gay marriage debate: I got drawn into this debate a couple of weeks back and it sucked BIG time.
    Come on lets be realistic people, does it really matter to me if two gay people get married?
    And as for “compromising the sanctity of marriage”, where have you been the last 50 years? We passed that milestone a long time ago. Getting a divorce and having extra-marital affairs are the favourite pastimes of South Africans.
    Everybody gets divorced these days, children! Do we get our knickers in a knot when that happens? Do we quote passages from the Bible and have debates in parliament? Of course not! In fact, if you are married and have not contemplated getting divorced yet, you are officially in the minority!
    Surely all that energy can be directed to do something else, like getting your ass of the couch, eating less and getting in shape. How about spreading some love around?
    I have a friend who is gay. He is the funniest, decent and most considerate person I know, myself included. If my girlfriend dumps me, I am so marrying him. It will piss off everyone I know and they can debate it for hours on end. Whatever the reason, you are all invited. Hehehe…
  • People who invite me out for coffee: When did you become so self-centered?
    These are people who know for a fact that I cannot and will not drink coffee. I seriously don’t get the whole coffee fad – literally or figuratively. I guess you have to be a coffee drinker to be able to do that. Much in the same way a sane person could never understand what it is like to be crazy, or vice versa. To my taste buds, coffee manifests itself as an abnormality. In any case, one does not actually taste coffee. I am told one can only smell(?) it.
    I don’t get how drinking coffee became such a social symbol or how ppl savour and crave the taste of it.
    “Let’s meet for coffee or “I am a complete wreck until I have my first cup of coffee”. Whoop-de-doo… good cheer in a cup of hot water flavoured by a South American bean. Why not just ask me to meet you for meaningless sex? I am a helluva lot more likely to accept and at least then I know what I’m being used for. It will be a lot of fun too and you won’t have to pay.
    Has anyone checked the price of a cup of coffee lately… with or without the dollop of whipped cream and complimentary chocolate sprinkles? We complain about the price of petrol being more than six bucks a liter, yet will happily pay more than twice that for a 250ml cup of coffee. Do the math! And then we say the oil producing countries are profiteering at our despair. How about those rich plantation owners instead? Coffee screams “Rip off”
    I realise that I have just pissed off a whole horde of Starbucks/Mug’n Bean fans, but I don’t care. So there… bite me!

Ok… I’m done. As you were soldiers!

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