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Archive for March, 2007

You got mail

You got mail!It’s been a long time coming, but I officially have utterly contradictory feelings about office Emails: a true love/hate relationship.
On the one side Email is incredibly useful because it allows me to send information to people without having to hand write, print and mail it. It is immediate. It gives the person at the other end the ability to easily re-use the information. If I send instructions to a colleague and (s)he decides to delegate tasks to someone else, (s)he can easily cut, paste and email information to those who are going to do the work.
It’s a cheap and effective way to stay in touch with family members in other provinces. I don’t need to run to the post-office and stand in long queues. It is cheaper than a phone-call and when I send an e-mail to someone in another country, I do not have to worry about waking them up at 2AM. Trust me waking someone up at 2AM to discuss business is an incredibly bad idea.
At work, it allows me to focus my ideas. If I can’t describe something in about 100 words or less, then my thoughts are muddled. A long e-mail is frustrating and a waste of time.
I also love my “Sent Items” log. It allows me to go back and see what I’ve sent people so that when I forget what I’ve asked someone to do, I can retrace my steps.
So, why do I hate email? There are as many reasons. But here is one that truly grates my Gruyère.
Two days ago I asked a colleague for input on a proposal I am putting together. When I asked him about it again this morning, the answer was, “Check your inbox. I sent an Email to you an hour ago”.
Nothing wrong with that I suppose, other than the fact that I easily receive up to a hundred Emails a day. Some good. Some bad. Some just aren’t worth reading.
Here’s the frustrating part. His office is two doors down from mine. Why could he not pick up the phone or walk over to my desk and tell me exactly what he wanted/expected/agreed/disagreed with?
Since when has Email become to the substitute for discussion and talking to a person face to face? What if I need further input or require clarification? Do I reply to his original mail and by doing so set in motion a back and forth Email exchange that could last for days?
Being the impatient, ill-tempered, cocky SOB that I am, I was furious with him. When I got back to my office, I checked my inbox and true blue there was the Email from him. It marked “high priority”. That which Microsoft Outlook highlights with a red exclamation mark. Bloody friggin marvelous! It was Christmas in March and I was about to come in my pants.
It must have taken him at least an hour to put that Email together and to check and re-check it for grammar, content and/or spelling mistakes.
Call me a crazy critter, but here’s a far-fetched idea. If it is important and if walking is too much trouble, pick up your phone. Make your voice heard. Let’s have a discussion and get on with our miserable corporate lives.
Email is handy, but it can never replace a conversation, especially when time is not a luxury. Pipe it and smoke it!
(As you were, soldiers).

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Thinking bloggers

Thinking Blogger badgeImagine my surprise when I discovered that I’ve been given a “Thinking Blogger’s Award” by Andrea over at Colouring Outside the Lines. I suspect that I got the award for the tongue-in-cheek nature of my posts rather than my ability to make people think. I am not choosy, so Ill take what I can get, thank you very much.
It is quite a task, I discovered, to choose 5 people I can pass the award on to. I have many favourite blogs, all of which leaves me with something to ponder about on a daily basis.
After giving it some thought, I decided to tag five special ladies on my blogroll, three of whom (Michelle, Beauty and Andrea) have already been nominated by other bloggers. (Do I know how to pick them or what?)

  1. Moonflake. I have admired her razor sharp wit and dedication to debugging many of the myths, urban legends and unfounded claims, I come across in newspapers, magazines and the web. Call her my “go to” girl, if you like. Her “Midweek Cuckoo” is a joy to read and she pulls no punches and leaves no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of things. Intelligent content and well thought out arguments, guarantees her a spot on my list. (Did I mention she HATES memes?)
  2. LiveWire at In the blink of an eye. From battling with re-location, new jobs, buying a new car, sticking it to the man and hilarious commentary, there is always something there that I can identify with or relate to.
    LiveWire, or Lucy as I call her, has been a regular visitor to my blog for as long as I can remember. Her no-nonsense attitude and sharp wit always puts a smile on my face. This is one lady who always speaks her mind.
  3. Katt at The Katt Box. What do you get when you put take a city girl and leave her on a farm on the outskirts Port Elizabeth? You get Katt of course!
    From Flyboy and his flying antics, to knitting jerseys, outdoor camping or dealing with bugs and the many other animals that plague her life, her writing is open and honest and speaks volumes to the type of person she is.
  4. Buddess at Oodles of Noodles of Fun. The only things bigger than heart and her love of people is her love of rugby and her positive outlook on life. She is the kind of woman you’d want to take home to meet your parents any day of the week.
    She plays a mean game of pool (gentleman beware!) and as they say in Afrikaans, “sy vat nie kak van kabouters nie”.
  5. Terri at Terri’s Web Stuff. An aspirant writer. A salsa dancer. A traveler. A biker chick. A working mom. A Saffa in a strange land. Need I say more?
    It is impossible not to be drawn to her blog and be mesmerised by her writing. For a taste of what it is like living in the land of the leprechaun, hop on over to Terri’s site asap.

The Thinking Blogger Award Rules:
If you were named above and choose to carry this meme forward, remember to tag only those bloggers who stimulate your cortex … or something like that. Please make sure you pass the rules to the blogs you are tagging.
If, and only if, you have been tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Link to the original post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
Optional: Proudly display your ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

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ThornsFeminism, self-identity, and professional identity are some of the reasons why many married women decide to keep their maiden name. In addition to the option of keeping their maiden name, women are also hyphenating by combining their maiden name with their husband’s surname. Sometimes the new combination is even passed down to the couple’s children. It can be downright confusing.
The fundamental rationale for women changing their names upon marriage is based on the idea that in marriage, a woman subsumes her identity (I should be arrested for making that statement) under her husband’s. For many women this contradicts a principle to which they are truly committed, the equality of partners in a marriage.
Personally I am neither for nor against it. Call me ignorant if you like, and perhaps it is because I am a man, I just don’t see why it is that important and whether it makes a real difference. All I ask for is that you don’t wave it around like a banner at a political rally. It is the same with guys who have names like, Simon Edcott III or who name their penises.
If you need to ride the coat tails of your family name to make a statement or get somewhere in life, then what does it say about you personally?
Calling yourself Ms. used to be a feminist standard. It declared who you were: a liberal, a supporter of women’s rights, an independent thinker, a working woman, an admirer of Gloria Steinem. Now it has become an almost quaint moniker.
You are probably asking yourself why I chose to blog about this when by my admission it means so little to me.
Well, I was attending a reception on Friday night when I was introduced to a married couple. His name was Steve Jones* and she went by the name of Jennifer Smith*.
I found this very unusual, so I politely inquired why this is so.
The husband kept quiet. I guess he was just tired of being asked the same question. The wife however launched into a lengthy discussion on women’s rights and why she chose to retain her maiden name. She cited all of the aforementioned reasons. From being equal partners to how odd it is that men aren’t expected to change their names to her self-identity. I expected her to break into a rendition of “We shall overcome” at any minute.
I was slightly taken aback, if not surprised by her “passion”. It just seemed that she was making too much of an issue in answering a simple question. A simple “I chose to keep my maiden name for professional reasons” would have satisfied my curiosity. After all, I was just trying to make polite conversation.
Unbeknownst to both of us a young black man was listening intently to our (or rather her) conversation. When she was done speaking, he interrupted and said.
“If I understand you correctly… you chose not to take your husband’s surname as a means of asserting your equality and your independence as a modern woman.
“You could put it that way…yes”, she said.
“So you decided to take another man’s name instead?”
“I think you may have misunderstood. Smith* is my maiden name”
“But you maiden name is really your father’s name, is it not?”
[silence]
I politely excused myself and walked away. The guy may no have been very original (I’ve actually heard this used before), but damn he was spot on with that comment!
(* not their real names)

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FlowersWhat are blogs for if you can’t milk your readers for advice? Right?
The gf and I have an important relationship anniversary coming up. I know it to be so because she’s been dropping not-so-subtle hints all month long.
I have racked my “small” brain on what to do for her or buy her as a present. It is not that I do not know what her likes and dislikes are. I want to give her something that’ll fit the occasion and convey the right message.
When it comes to buying gifts for a woman it is never as simple as “it is the thought that counts”. You may have been told it is, and the media would like you to believe it is, but chances are that that particular “thought” you are having may be the stupidest one yet.
I discovered the hard way is that it is never a good idea to give something practical. Women do not appreciate practical gifts. Just because her eggs always stick to the pan does not mean you can go out and buy her a Teflon coated frying pan. Non-stick my friggin ass… that pan will stick to your ass (in a manner of speaking) in so many ways, you’ll lose count.
A mate once bought his gf a pair of jumper cables. See, he was being practical and thought they may come in handy if she ever traveled alone or had a break down. They are no longer together. If it were at all possible, she would have preferred to jumpstart his testicles.
Early on in our relationship I learnt a very important lesson. Small things count. And I do not mean small as in small boxes of jewellery. Been there, done that… way too many times.
She is a sucker for when I duck out to the shops for provisions on a Saturday or Sunday morning and also return with a box of Smarties, a Magnum ice cream or a Cadbury’s flake. She also likes it when I call her up on the way back from the mall and say, “I’ll be at your flat in 10 minutes (which in womanese translates to take all the time you need). Put on something sexy, I’m taking you out to lunch”. Little, seemingly unimportant things like watching an entire season of Smallville in one go (because she thinks Tom Welling is hot) or letting her fall asleep on my chest while reading a book.
Teddy bears and other furry creatures, I’ve realised, are the devil’s spawn. They are evil… with their beady little eyes, tartan bows and artificial hair. So are mugs and other schmaltzy goodies from kitsch outlets like Cardies and CNA. They are good things to buy when the fair is in town, but not as a gift for when something important is celebrated. A grown woman may accept them with grace, but chances are she’ll turf that little sucker the moment you turn your back. These gifts lack creativity, initiative and thought. The same goes for gift certificates.
All in all, I have a pretty good idea of what not to buy. It does not help me much, since I still don’t know what to buy her. I could pump her friends (let it go Kyknoord!) for information, but if word gets out, I may just as well relocate to a remote outpost in Russia.
Decisions, decisions, decisions… it sucks being a modern man! Any gift ideas?

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TeacupToday started off really good. When I walked into my office this morning, I had a spring in my step and a song in my heart. Aah… to be young and carefreee!
That was until I realised that a colleague of mine (call him Salem) had purposely NOT invited me to a key senior manager’s meeting.
Now normally I’d consider not being invited a bonus. Meetings are a drag and the less I have to attend the better off I am. The problem with this meeting is that it probably the most important meeting of the first quarter of the year. It is the kind of meeting where you can make your career.
How do I know he did it on purpose? Well, our boss retires at the end of this year. It has been made clear to both Salem and me that one of us will be appointed as his successor.  Needless to say there’s a fair bit of jockeying and friendly rivalry going on. We are each trying to position ourselves as the guy who can take over from him.
I have no doubt that he, as I am, is doing his bit of campaigning behind the scenes. No harm done, a bit of competition is always good. May the best man win and all that shit.
Provided of course that it stays within reasonable limits.
Not inviting me to this meeting was a brilliant strategy, albeit a devious way of kicking me in the corporate nuts. (Damn! I wish had thought of it first) Not only is this an opportunity for him to shine, but my absence will undoubtedly cast a shadow on my eligibility. I can complain afterwards and kick up a fuss, but the fact of the matter is, he was there and I was not. Bastard!
That great political philosopher, musician and poet Niccolò Machiavalli, prescribed a generous dose of DEATH when dealing with one’s enemies. He recognized that throughout history successful leaders eliminated their enemies by killing them dead. [Is there any other way to kill, other than dead?)
You do not exile your enemies nor do you negotiate with them. You do not throw them in prison or yell at them in a very mean way. You take them outside and chop their silly little heads off.
There are many stories of enemies who, when allowed to live, came back and caused a whole lot of distress.
It’s the not-so-nice part of ongoing success. But if you want to make it to the top and outlast your peers, you’d best keep a few sharp knives in your drawer. Very sharp knives. Like Nikkei or something similar.
“So bring it on Salem!” The game is on and we have just made it to the next level. I don’t care if I lose. I just don’t want him to win.
A world without idiots is what I’m fighting for. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and I’m doing it one idiot at a time. To infinity and beyond! (Oops… that’ll be Buzz Lightyear)
Oh yeah, and if I do get that promotion, that’ll be nice too.

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By the nose

MagazinesI abhor the news titles that scream at you from the cover of magazines. This is why I try and avoid magazine stands in supermarkets and do not read publications like You, Heat, People Magazine, FHM, etc.
Catchy one-liners that appeal to your curiosity, insecurities and your overactive imagination. All designed to make you want buy the magazine right there and then. Things like:

*20 sex secrets she’d like you to know but will never reveal
*Her hottest sex spots revealed
*Build rock hard abs that will make the girls swoon – see results in seven weeks

I said I try and avoid, but even I am a sucker for a good, clever headline. If these don’t make you sit up and think, “I have to have this magazine!”, then is very little else that will. Consider yourself immune to the temptations that plague us normal folk. Savour your divinity and relocate to that place in the sky right now. There is a halo with your name written all over it.
I picked up a magazine last night while waiting for a business acquaintance in a hotel lobby. It was an old copy, but it was a good way to pass the time.
The cover page hinted at an article…

More sex than you can handle

I am a single guy. Sex interests me… all the time. Admittedly, I am not available, but that does not mean I am not interested in finding ways to up my quota. One never knows when something you’ve read may come in handy. She could kick me in the nuts tomorrow and when that happens, I want to be prepared. Call it forward planning or call it “being a guy”. Either way you get the drift. More sex can only be a good thing. “More sex than you can handle”… that right there is when you hit the friggin jackpot.
I fumbled through the pages, got to the article in question and began reading. Boy was I wrong in my assumptions!
According to the article the state of the ultimate sexual nirvana can be attained in three easy steps
Step 1: Deny yourself – that’s right, folks… deny yourself and your partner intercourse for a few weeks and you will experince more pleasure and perform better sexually than you ever thought possible. [What was the title again?]
Step 2: Talk it up – Make time to schedule sex. Communicate your likes and dislikes, How you like to be touched by your partner. Exercise and train your muscles and identify the physical sensations you desire. Practice Kegel exercises. [Huh? You mean I have to work out?]
Step 3: Have more fun – watch porn, use lubricants and other aids, slow things down and keep it simple. [I can see this working, but how does this translate into to more sex than you can handle?]
Now I may be a complete arse when it comes to certain things, but when I read the phrase “more sex”, it can mean only one thing to me. F-r-e-q-u-e-n-c-y. An increase in frequency, to be more precise.
I conjured up images of sleeping with a different woman every night, of threesomes, foursomes… hell, orgies. More sex meant my penis was going to become the most used muscle in my body. I thought I was on my way to becoming the first man ever to suffer from penile muscle fatigue.
These 3 steps can definately make sex hotter, longer and better. It was about getting more out of sex as opposed to getting more sex.
Talk about a twist in the plot. This mag should be adapted for the big screen. It made me assume one thing that turned out not to be true later on. Yet another 10 minutes of me time down the proverbial drain.
Didn’t see that twist coming, did you, Chitty? Nope, not in a million years!

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cross the lineI have a workmate who’s always complaining about not being able to get the girl, even though he does everything right. The answer to his problem is actually not hard to find.
He is a nice guyand the nice guy in my experience, always gets the shaft.
In most cases, being nice usually means that a guy is insecure in one way or another. Confidence speaks to a woman’s biology. It speaks of finding a mate who can handle himself and who can protect her and the nest. It speaks to his manliness.
“Nice guy” does not say any of that. It says you are an equal at best. Women look at the nice guy as a friend, a trusted companion. One whom they can tell their sad stories to and complain about their boyfriend. In the long run the nice guy may actually be the one to bet on, but then even bad boys mellow out with age. And if there is one thing bad boys aren’t short of, it is confidence in themselves and their abilities.
One only needs to do a bit of channel surfing and tune into one of the many dating shows on TV to see this phenomenon in action. The girls will without fail eliminate the shy, nice guy before they get rid of the bad boy.
There’s always one bad boy amongst the four/three guys competing for the girl’s favour who is a total jerk, isn’t there?  A guy we’ve all seen and who should be avoided like herpes on a hooker in Amsterdam. It’s like watching a train wreck unfold before your eyes, only it is much more fun to watch.
He may not always get the girl, but he is not the guy who gets booted off after the first round, which means he is in there with a chance. Even when he is a loutish yob, at least he succeeds in letting the woman knows that he is interested in nailing her.
When you are a guy who somehow failed to allay the girl’s reservations about being a good mate and how badly you want to hide your salami in her hooha, you should leave. It is a deadly sin and a complete “failure to launch”.
The girl’s probably thinking, “Perhaps the bad boy will trip and fall on his head before we go on the sponsored getaway, and maybe he will start to behave like a normal human being”.
Either way, she is in for an exciting adventure. And if it does not work out, well, she can chalk it up to experience.
The poor, shy, nice guy? There is no hope for him. 
I am not saying one needs to be a bad boy to get a woman interested. But if you want to get it right and make it across that finish line, create some sense of attraction, ambiguity or indifference, all of which will get a woman’s attention. Be a man, not manhandled. Nice guys don’t always know how to do that and those that do, need to flaunt it more.

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