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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Doctor, we have a pulse!

Hello!Psssttt! I just wanted to let you know that I am still alive. I haven’t posted at all since I changed companies, and it kinda feels like I’ve been cheating on the few of you who read and comment regularly. That does not however mean that I haven’t been reading or following the escapades of my favourite bloggers online.
To be honest, the change has been a bit tougher than I thought it would be. But, I am an optimist and I’m hoping that things will smooth out a bit over the next few weeks. I’ve been really really busy and have not had time to write a decent post or anything remotely meaningful.
Long hours, even longer meetings and a never-ending induction programme have taken its toll on me. In some ways I almost feel like Santiago who’s hooked the big fish and is struggling to get it to shore (Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea) (corny reference… I know!!)
In hindsight I probably should have negotiated a January 2008 start date, but it is too late now and I am stuck chasing my own arse for the next couple of weeks until I go on holiday. Yeah, I managed to get them to agree that my going on holiday, after a less than two months of work, would be both beneficial for the company and for productivity. What can I say, other than everything is negotiable.
On the plus side, my new colleagues are very friendly, supportive and helpful (the quiet before the storm?) and I am feeling right at home. I have already identified a few accomplices whom I know I can rely on should the need arises. It may or may not last … sooner or later they’ll get to know the strange personality behind the calm exterior. The job prospects are truly exciting and I have a bona fide shot at doing something that I genuinely like and am particularly good at.
Is it just me or do you also sense a parody in the making?

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Money treeI resigned from my job today (again… hehe). One of the companies I interviewed for a couple of weeks back came through with an offer that was too good to pass up. I start my new job on the 1st of November.
When I handed my boss my letter of resignation, he questioned my decision to leave (as he is entitled to, I suppose) and asked if I am sure that this is what I wanted to do.
When I said yes, he remarked that everyone has a price.
While I realise that more money is not the only reason why I’m leaving, I have to admit that it played a considerable role in the decision making process. There were other things such as job satisfaction, my ambition, career prospects and my sense of self-worth to consider, but I probably would not have made this decision for less money.
Everyone has a price. This kind of thinking leaves me cold and filled with dread to some degree. On the one side it says you are jaded and cynical and basically have no faith in humanity, while on the other you might argue that you are just being realistic and recognising that “the love of money”, as the saying goes, “is the root of all evil”.
Some people claim they would do anything for money. Like the movie Indecent Proposal would you sleep with someone for a million dollars? What other crazy things would you be willing to do if you were paid enough? Would you sleep with the boss for that job promotion? Would you mooch off of your rich friends. Would you evict a poor tenant who cannot pay? Pollute a community? Cheat on your taxes?
You are prolly shaking your head right now and saying, “I wouldn’t do any of these things… not for any amount of money”. But what if your circumstances were so dire and so desperate that you really can’t see a way out them? Why do people sell out on their moral beliefs? Is it because they believe that money can buy happiness, or is it more likely because people think that money can buy security? Or at least give the false impression of security.
Rarely are the circumstances as straight forward as when you ask a straight guy, “Would you French kiss another dude for a million dollars?” is it? Without hesitation 99% of the guys asked would say no. But how different is this situation really from the hot girl at the church fair who charges two quid for a kiss on the mouth? “Ahh”, you say, “but it is for a good cause. It is for charity”. But then you could also argue that you are your own charity. Or is it ok because she kisses members of the opposite sex, despite the fact that many of the men she kisses are married?
Just for the record (and please, do not over-analyse this!), show me a briefcase with a million in cash and I’ll be the “pretend fag” with the bottle of Listerine Mouthwash and a packet of Wrigley’s gum. I am confident enough in my own skin to know that one kiss does not make you a gay man. Let’s talk again when I walk away with the million, and when no one remembers what I did a month from now.
I guess the real question (imho) you need to ask yourself is whether you will be able to live with yourself (and the consequences) knowing what you had to do to earn the cash. Perhaps my view is too simplistic and I am not really thinking about this clearly and rationally.
Some things are morally inexcusable and regardless of which way you slice it, no amount of money could make what you did seem right. For other things it is truly up to the individual and what direction you moral compass points to.
Do I have a price? In as much as I would like to believe that I don’t, I guess I do. It all depends on the situation, where I draw that line in the sand and what the mental impact of my actions will have on my life and the lives of others.
Do you have a price… or don’t you?

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Handful of sand

I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. (~Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Book 14, lines 131-153 as paraphrased by Matt Damon in The Good Shepherd)

Two posts in three weeks! Does not bode well for the blog, does it? In spite of it being spring, I’ve been kinda(?) lazy as well as low on inspiration and will power.
The birthday was last week Friday and hence the quote. Of course it coincided with the start of the Rugby World Cup which culminated in a drunken debauchery of epic proportions. The less I say… the better. And the less I have to force myself to remember.

If there is one thing that drives me insane, it is when married friends have a joint email address and they don’t tell you about it!
I sent an e-mail to a married friend a couple of days ago to bring him up to speed on a few intimate details of my life. We’ve been best mates since primary school.
Imagine my surprise when he called back a day later and not only shared with me his view on some of the issues raised, but also that of his wife.
“You told your wife what I wrote in the e-mail?”, I asked.
“No. We have a joint e-mail account and she read it when she checked the account for messages”

I felt like he had just slapped me! Why would she read an e-mail when it was not addressed to her? And even after she had opened it, why did she not close it when she realised that it was of a personal nature? I don’t want him to put me before his wife, just my right to privacy.
Now I know some people see this whole “there is no secrets between us” as a gesture of their undying love and commitment, especially when they are newly married. But does sharing necessarily mean you have to include your friend’s secrets?
To me personally it screams of a lack of individuality and some form of over-possessiveness. Being in a relationship (marriage) does require that you share some details of your life with someone else, but does it have to be every detail?
Right at the heart of the matter, is the fact that my mate did not tell me that the e-mail addy was for a joint account. It is a big deal to me and although I am not going to launch a formal protest… but I don’t like it one bit. Not one bit!
To me it is akin to pillow talk. Laying there, completely relaxed with someone you’re starting to trust entirely (or just had sex with), it’s easy to find yourself passing on secret hopes and fears… as well as the secrets of your friends that they would prefer kept hidden.
Personal, embarrassing, humiliating or harmful secrets about your bros are best kept between the two of you. In revealing these, you’re trusting someone else equally or perhaps more than your closest friend. And perhaps you do.
It’s however doubtful that he’d be happy if I aired his dirty laundry to his wife, nor would I tell my girlfriend’s secrets to him.
People!

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Retrograde

Man walking tightropeIt’s been a kak week and it feels as if I am in limbo. It is nearing the end of August and at work we are already planning ahead for 2008. And even though it is not necessarily a bad thing, it reminds me that 2007 is starting to circle the drain.
While I am happy(!!) with what I have accomplished at work, I can’t shake the feeling that I dropped the ball when it comes to my personal life and the goals I set at the beginning of this year. What the fuck happened?
I believe that every person in my life is an example of something. Sometimes good… sometimes bad. They are my beacons and serve as subtle reminders of who I want to be and who I do not want to be. I navigate my life to some degree by what I see in the people around me.
I have a good friend who is a social worker. Her job entails that she works with orphans and abused children (of which there are plenty in this fair country of ours!). Kids who come from broken homes. The ones life has kicked to the curb so many times, it is a wonder they are still alive… let alone standing.
She is probably the most devoted person I know. She spends more hours on the job than I than anyone I’ve met. She is always at the office, always doing some form of case work and always talking about how she really should be doing more. I don’t quite understand what exactly she is doing all the time, but her compassion and devotion is unending.
While I greatly admire her, she is a prime example of someone who IS her job. She is unable to talk about anything without relating it something that happened in her job. Every story she tells becomes a life lesson. A reminder of how bad things can get out there. Her friends (myself included) become her students. It’s tragic really, but also interesting to see how her whole identity is shaped by her profession and the people she comes in contact with.
I find a lot of joy in what I do for a living. What I do may not be as profound and selfless as what she does, but without my job/profession I probably would not be who I am today, let alone sustain my bad habits. Yet, I do have other interests. I have hobbies and activities I like to participate in, and I can carry full conversations that don’t involve using the buzz words that are typical of my profession. Perhaps I have learned to find my identity in other things and perhaps the way I identify myself is just as bad… but surely if your job spills over into your normal life to the point where you basically have no life at all, that has to be a bad thing?
I feel sad for this friend… sad for what she has to deal with and sad for the children she so desperately wants to help. I worry that she has no life of her own. I sometimes wonder if in dealing with the problems of others she shies away from dealing with the problems in her own life.
I am also keenly aware that she is an example of someone I hope never to become… someone whose whole identity/life is DEFINED by what they do.
Perhaps I am just selfish or perhaps I feel this way because I see myself becoming a bit of what she is for reasons that are less noble?

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[Beware: non-specific rambling]
Man on the floor I spoke to a friend of mine who lives in Australia earlier this morning. He insisted on doing what he always does when he speaks to me, throwing in veiled barbs about when I am coming to visit, and why I don’t consider working overseas for a couple of years before I am too old to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to me. Bleh…
The truth is I am quite happy where I am and even though the thought of gaining international exposure/work experience does sound appealing, I am just not ready to take on new challenges for now.
“When will you be ready”, he asked.
“I don’t know… but when I am, you will be the first to know”, I said oozing with sarcasm.
For some reason the call upset me (I cursed him and his offspring and all future generations of his family). I had to lie down on my office floor for a while. Thank God the floor is carpeted. I know it is a strange thing to do, even for me, but lying down was more appealing than pacing the floor. I quickly realised two things: I have two many dust bunnies under my desk, and the whiteness of the ceiling reminds me of a mental hospital.
While I was lying there, a colleague walked in.
“What are you doing down there”, he asked.
At first I didn’t respond. True thinkers (not me, per say) never speak. But he persisted, so I said it helps me to gain perspective. I sounded like a pretentious prick.
I thought of telling him that I got electrocuted by my computer, but I feared that he would take me seriously and call one of the first aid officers. That would not be funny. One of them is an overweight sweaty woman and the thought of her touching me would consign me to years of therapy. Mostly I feared I might like it… heheh. [Joke]
“I see”, he said. “Erm… do you mind getting up so that I can talk to you about the latest corporate marketing proposal?”
I actually just wanted him to get the hell out of my face, but instead I said. “Sure. Just gimme me a hand and pull me up”
I extended my hand to him. For some reason he missed grabbing hold of it and poked me in the crotch.
“Sorry”, he said. [Awkward moment]
I know that it was an accident, but it was just the cherry on top of what was already a weird morning for me, so I said, “Why don’t you come back later and we can talk about the strategy at length. I just need to recover from the extreme awfulness of getting felt up by one of my male colleagues”
I realised it was a rude and uncalled for, so I apologised and suggested that he takes a seat.
“It was an accident, you know”, he said as he sat down.
“I know. Don’t mind me, ok. I have a gargoyle on my shoulder and it’s been spitting in my ear for a while.”
“What does that mean?”
“Fucked if I know. I am just making up strange metaphors to shock myself back to reality” [I know… pretentious prick, again]
He shrugs his shoulders and we get down to discussing business.
I’ve just realised I can be unbelievable annoying and strange. If I were other people, I would quite frankly just stay put of my way for the rest of the day. I think I’ll get back on the floor again and bang my head some more. Perhaps play with a game of football with the dust bunnies?

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Behind the maskHave you noticed how people always hang out in groups? You see them at the malls, in restaurants, at movies and even at work. They herd together like cattle and they all look like deer caught in the headlights.
It makes me wonder how many of the people you hang out with are really your friends, and how many of them are just people you spend time with because you have nothing better to do. How genuine is the laughter and how good is the good time really?
I must admit I am guilty of the same. I currently have more “friends” than I can handle. The strangest thing is… there are a some of my newfound “friends” that I can hardly stand. (Don’t remind me, I know it is makes me a hypocrite).
If I were to run into some of them on the street, I would hardly know what to say to them other than talking about the other friends we have in common.
I find that the only friends I am really comfortable with are the ones I grew up with. The one’s who were there through my formative years, who saw me at my worst/stupidest, and also at my most brilliant, and who can laugh with me at the things I did back as a teenager, a university freshman or even later on in life. The rest are just acquaintances. People I have met along the way and who fill a gap, whether it be real or imaginary.
I also find that I tend to like or dislike people almost immediately after I meet them. Many times I am wrong in my initial assessment, but most times I am not. But because they are a friend of someone I am really close with, I will bite the bullet and pretend that I like them too.
My buddy Brad and I have been mates for as long as we can walk. Sure we have gone our “not-so-separate” ways over the years, but I could always rely on him to be there for me when I need him. We have learned to look beyond the obvious frivolities of friendship and focus on what lies deep beneath the surface.
Lately though I find that we have grown apart and spend less time together than we used to. Where as before I would literally just “rock up” at his place or he at mine, we find ourselves making appointments to see one another. What the fuck is up with that?
Have we just outgrown one another, and if that is so, how do we sustain the new level of friendship we have? Surely we cannot rely on our past history to carry us through, and if we do, are we just flogging a dead horse?
Priorities change, people change…. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, etc. Life goes on and shit happens when you least expect it. A part of me wants to cling onto the past, but I know that it is going to become increasingly difficult to do so.
I don’t have the energy to make new best mates (Is the whole concept of best mates juvenile?), or to start up that whole process of exposing myself to others. Words can only do so much. It is the memories we share and the experiences we had, many of whom are totally random and completely off the chart in terms of rationale and absurdity, that bind us to the people we love.
When you have had so many things happen in your life that they either hold you down or kick you to the curb, it is hard to put your trust in new people, and even more difficult to trust in yourself. It’s not rocket science. It’s a need for self preservation, and that is the truth.
It is a scary thought, and as outgoing and extroverted as I am, I’m just not up to dealing just yet.
I bet by know you are rolling your eyes… heheh.

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Ain’t no mountain…

boulderingAfter weeks of teasing me about my limited athletic ability, I allowed a mate to bully me into doing some indoor rock-climbing. Now I don’t usually partake in anything that involves being suspended in mid-air, but he promised me there’d be hot girls there. Yeah… he is quite the motivational speaker.
After completing a series of intricate warm-up exercises, during which I basically twisted myself into a pretzel, I headed to the rock wall with him.
Now I’ve watched people climb before, and it seemed really easy to do. You’ve got resin hand/foot holds strategically positioned on a vertical wall, which you use to position your hands and feet, while pulling yourself up.
I’ve scaled a few fences in my life, so how tough could it be, right? I was mostly drunk or trying to get away from an angry dog, but that was just added motivation.
After five solid minutes of pulling at the straps and tightening me into the hired gear, I followed him to the beginner’s wall where there were lots of pegs and holds to climb up.
I was doing pretty well at first. Then we reached the top of an intimidating 3 metre wall. You never know what vertigo can do to your stomach muscles until you find yourself clinging to a vertical wall for dear life. Standing on the roof a building is nothing compared to this.
“Just let go and gently push yourself away from the wall”
he encouraged me. “You’re attached to the automatic belay system; it will stop you from falling”. “Nice to know that,” I told him, “but right now my only goal is NOT to splatter myself all over the crash pad at the bottom.” Naturally, my hands slipped and I found myself free-falling. Much to my surprise, I gently glided down to the floor. Although, with the flailing arms and legs, it looked suspiciously like I was trying to fly away. All that was missing was my friggin bat cape.
After about an hour of climbing and panting, I was dog-tired. My legs jittered, my arms and back hurt, and I had enough of putting my crotch on display.
My first outing on the rock climbing wall went pretty well. I made it to the top of the beginners wall (Ha ha!) a couple of times by myself – which was more than I had expected. At the end of it, I was covered in sweat…. cold sweat.
Despite my misgivings, I had a good time. Perhaps I need to update my repertoire and it could be that I am ready to embark on new experiences that do not involve alcohol and late nights?
On the other hand, you really should know me better than that.
Now this post would not be complete without me making adding a thought of my own. So here goes…
Rock climbing, I discovered, can be a very sexy activity, albeit it from a somewhat perverted perspective. It’s an activity where you can learn all about the physical dexterity of your fellow cimbers in a matter of minutes. Call it a crash course, if you like. The harness alone will tell you whether a relationship is physically worth going the extra mile for. It’s an ideal setting for a first date… he he.
Every so often a woman will get what I can only describe as a severe case of camel toe. I couldn’t believe how much that harness can flaunt a woman’s womanly parts. Factor in the tight fitting clothes with the bobbing boobies and you may as well be at an exhibitionists’ convention. In all my years, I have not experienced anything like it.
As for the guys, well their bulgy bits are on display at all times. Judging by the way in which some women were ogling the guys and giggling and taking amongst themselves, it is NOT the motion of the ocean that counts. Size or the illusion of size matters a great deal.
My mate commented that no-one really pays attention. Yeah right! He must be immune. I was not and so it seems were the men and women standing at the bottom craning their necks to get a better view. Perhaps they were just looking at the wall?

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