Holiday-ness

In an act of supreme bourgeoisie fuckery I am blogging from the poolside on my iPad. It’s harder to type like this than I anticipated… so the act itself is quite willful. Truth be told I’m bored. (And getting fidgety) I’m also not entirely sure what I’d rather be doing… but baking my dermis to resemble either a jacket potato or lobster thermidor (basically the only two skin tones in my current field of vision) seems like conceding to peer pressure. And so I’m blogging.

I’ve been up since about 5am. Been for a run along the beach every morning. A couple of kilometers in either direction before eating my body weight in bacon and sunny side up. I’m trying to zero out the effect of being a glutton, with, if the bathroom scale in the hotel room can be believed, less than stellar results. Will have to take on more substantial measures when I get back home with some heavy lifting and not eating for a week.

Done some obligatory touristy stuff. Took my daughters to the aquarium. (Feels weird using plurality since the other one is only ten weeks old and generally not really appreciative of anything except the boob… but singularity also doesn’t sit well with me)

The older one loved it. Had to drag her out by her ankles eventually while she left claw marks on any available surface area that provided grip. I’d love to be able to experience that sense of wonder again. But alas, at this point in my tenure on planet earth, I am mostly just jaded.

Echoing this sentiment is my selection of pool side reading. Ha ha.

I’ve noticed some disapproving looks. I’m one of the few people with a paperback. And people are nosy to see what you’re reading. There’s a guy three loungers down from me reading ‘the subtle art of not giving a fuck’, with its garish orange cover. He occasionally pauses to recite a particular profound passage to his significant other… I resist the urge to walk over there, take his book away, smack him across the face with it and then drown him in the swimming pool. This is for your own good I will shout (and maybe for the good of all humanity).

So far I find myself mostly agreeing with ‘Against Empathy’… although, as usual I’ve found myself thinking ‘this could have been half this size’ and still conveyed all the critical concepts adequately. Publishers don’t like 125 page works though (neither do we) and so writers are forced to waffle, equivocate and add fifty page apologetic prologues and forewords. Ergh!

The time has come the walrus said…

I haven’t been on holiday in what feels like forever. Work and breeding have really cut deep into any vacation respite that might have been on the cards. Pre-progeny you are inclined to imagine that the little sperm-ovum combo will simply merge seamlessly into your existing life with scarcely a ripple. Post-progeny you know better (and have become an expert in all things tsunami)

Don’t feel too sorry for me though. This is my digs for the next couple of days.

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Courtesy of my wife, who likes me. (Its part of my birthday present)

We used to come to this part of the world quite often when I was a kid. The surroundings have unfortunately become somewhat gentrified (in a gross commercial sense) over the intervening decades and the charm of the small town is gone. (look at me, recollecting the times of yore when everything was better) The hotel is still really nice though. I think it won best hotel in South Africa on Trip Adviser last year.

In any event I plan on doing as little as humanly possible (in between bouts of toddler wrangling) Except maybe read. And achieve some semblance of beach running (with which I may cause a fair number of fellow holidaymakers to amble towards me in a concerned manner, wet towels at the ready. Eventually, despite my protestations, they will push me ‘back’ into the ocean). ‘Go home Shamu, you’re free now’.

Ignominious end doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Sadly I had to take my laptop. Because well… I can’t really afford to take a holiday (in terms of responsibility that stems from this entrepreneurship hell I have created for myself) Joey teeters back into self pity and general whine for the briefest of moments. I’ll probably be okay though *slurping his pink umbrella drink* I’ve endured worse.

Vaguely he wonders if this all sounds pompous and self involved enough. (not being much of a travel blogger and therefore having limited experience in the prerequisites) After brief consideration and a failed attempt to guide a piece of pineapple into his mouth using only a straw, he decides its a good first attempt. As usual, since no one else will congratulate him, he congratulates himself. Well done Joey. Well done!

Good deeds rarely result in hotdogs

I gave a hitchhiker a lift this morning. A veritably rare occurrence. I was feeling magnanimous or maybe I mean altruistic. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is (and I’m too lazy to look it up). To be completely fair there were mitigating circumstances that allayed my usual reticence to convey these vagabonds of the freeway from point A to B…

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… like my Glock*. And the fact that he looked old and wizened and didn’t (really) look like someone likely to be wearing my head as a hat (while sating his thirst with my internal lubricants) towards the midpoint of our journey.

*although it would have upset to me to have to paint the inside of my Jeep with the cerebral cortex of someone I’d just met (even if they were trying to stab me with a rusty screw-driver)

Our trip was eerily silent. Him not being able to speak English and my conversant Zulu (in terms of a franca lingua I mean, I don’t want to be presumptuous about his ethnicity) being limited to cuss words, insults and being able to tell someone to get down on the ground and put their hands on their head (while useful chasing cattle rustlers through the veld at 3am in the morning it is less useful in a more civil context)

In Fanagalo we managed (more-or-less) to determine an end point for him which was sorta on my way and once we’d reached it he simply disembarked, inclined his head slightly towards me and was on his way. I immediately felt a surge of Light-side points flowing into my character sheet. (god this feels so weird)

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Of course because of my ‘good’ deed the rest of my day turned into a vicious clusterfuck of malaise and discombobulation and by three pee em my total contribution towards humanity was well back into negative figures. (which to be completely honest is a much more comfortable environment in which to dwell)

Which I realise is a bit defeatist. But being German you come to appreciate that long campaigns mostly end in defeat. Being Catholic, you appreciate that after defeat comes hell. Its one of those things. You are also precluded from dating Jewish girls. Ever.

Once upon a lunchtime dreary

..while I sat wondering, meek, (and not at all) leery…

img_2560.jpgIf a Hadeda really wants your left overs.. maybe you should just let him have them. Seems like a silly thing to loose an eye over. On the plus side I’m glad this happened to the table next to us… which meant I didn’t have to shrilly express my alarm in falsetto at the sudden addition of a plus-sized avian into my personal space… and then (potentially) inexpertly tumble backwards off my chair. All of which may have cast doubt on the (toxic) masculinity I’ve been at great pains to cultivate lately. I’ve actually never seen a Hadeda be this brazen before.

The guy who was seated at the table handled it with enviable poise uttering, ‘You cheeky bugger’… which I’m inclined to believe, is potentially the most British thing he could have said (under the circumstances) and I am unbelievably jealous of his cool factor. Is that an innate cultural thing? Like a German feeling serious physical discomfort when he’s running thinks he might be running late? In any event, I was impressed by his nonchalance. He then self deprecated even further post event (underscoring his Englishness) by telling me that it was nothing, and that the Gulls in Brighton (or maybe it was Bristol… something with a B) were especially predatory in relation to your takeaway dinner and he was quite capable of handling their antics. Which leads to me believe he has experience in matters such as these, possibly getting pugilistic with an impudent seabird in the past.

In any event, well played sir.

Take your German Shepherd to work day

I started out fighting the good fight. But my day has started going distinctly sideways on me. I can tell because I’ve given up on work and am listening to Nine Inch Nails (at volume) on my headphones. The self destructive, depressed, Courtney Love banging, drugged up Trent Reznor. Not the much more together and totally less rage filled (and some might argue less edgy) individual of we have today. Further down the spiral.

My excuse (currently*) is that we’ve run out Arabica, so I’m drinking instant. It was either that or drink toilet water. Well, my dogs would probably prefer toilet water (now that I think about it), but their palates are unrefined and they likely fall somewhere just above philistines on the chart de gastronome.

*I tend to cycle through excuses as to why things have gotten so BAD. A lot like the rest of humanity, only my excuses are real.

Oh. Its take your German Shepherd to work day. Maybe I should have led with that. Not a real day. But since I’m the boss I can arbitrarily make up stuff (which as far as I can tell, is basically the main requirement of someone in a management/leadership position)

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I needed to take break from the one hundred and sixty four unread emails and the dangerously stacked monuments of paperwork on my desk that are beginning to lean precariously to one side. One ill considered move could spell disaster. Although I suppose it could also spell something else, depending on how they fall.

I’ve been awake since about 2am this morning, wrenched from REM sleep by a Basset Hound who wanted to go pee (in the rain). A quick resolution to the bladder crisis didn’t seem to be on the cards and by the time he did feel the need to lackadaisically wander back, he was of course soaked (much to his surprise I imagine). By this stage I’d irradiated my shadow into the bedroom wall with blue light waiting for him to complete whatever predawn shenanigans basset hounds get up to snuffling around in the undergrowth. Of course then he wouldn’t settle until I’d dried him and re-furled him into his blanket. After that sleep (for me) was largely a parody.

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The German has hurt her shoulder chasing Hadedas. Which… are… eh… um… I suppose I need to explain this non South Africans…… Imagine Dantes inferno. Now zoom to the seventh layer of hell. Hadedas are basically the avian equivalent of whatever dwells there. Devil birds. Anyways, I took her for physiotherapy that she might recover quicker and continue her sacred duty of delivering my garden from this blight/scourge. (I couldn’t decide which noun I preferred since they are both relatively apt). She takes her job quite seriously and tends to over commit to the charge, hence the injury.

 

 

Unspecified whine

I fumbled and dropped my Tupperware on the way to the kitchen this morning, which resulted in my chicken being distributed in a large circumference around my personage. I briefly considering eating it anyway. But the questionable hygiene of the office firma and the judgmental stares of my co-workers swayed me away from this endeavour.

This, as it turns out, has been indicative for my day so far – basically rubbish. I’m trying to take it my stride with stoic resolve and fortitude but I’m hungry and entering the realm of ravenous hostility that comes from not eating for three hours.

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I’m wallowing, (mostly) in self pity but also achieving some more general type wallowing that comes from feeling disconnected from my privilege. I’ve tried to infuse a modicum of imperturbability into my psyche by looking at pictures of suffering. I have a folder for just such occasions, aptly named, ‘Pictures to make you sad’.

Its not doing anything for me today. As an aside, Kevin Carter (who took this picture, that won the 1994 Pulitzer prizes for photography) killed himself in a park near my house. As a child I used to catch tadpoles and crabs in the river there. Unfortunately these days as an unsupervised minor undertaking such a venture you are more likely to catch Diphtheria, experience unbidden sodomy and then have your organs harvested in room lit by single flickering light bulb. Which as I understand it, is less amusing than keeping river creatures in a glass jar until they belly up and die after a few days. I’m glad I got to kill larval stage animals without compromising my sphincter integrity or losing a kidney. It doesn’t seem like a good trade off. (ah, the good ol’ days)

Speaking of creepy crawlies (after reading Caroline Paul – Fighting Fire) my wife and I have become very cognisant of not letting my two year old daughter develop irrational fears. Ie. We have been super careful not to unfairly demonize snakes, spiders and hexapodal invertebrates… its cute when she says ‘hello’ to the Daddy-long-legs or the Christmas beetle. But obviously less endearing when she tries to offer salutations to a Black Widow or tries to high five hornets. My mother muses out loud that her grandchild is a Hindu. I think she means a Jain… but I don’t really want to get into it with her. To my mother all Indians are Hindu. In any event I have become this weird black-helicopter parent*. Which in invalidates 90% of the concepts I imagined about being a parent. It certainly wasn’t how I was raised…

* which is basically like a regular helicopter parent, but supposedly working in the background in stealth mode (with varying degrees of success) and only intervening under dire circumstances. Sometimes I wonder if I’m coddling her.

In other news I’ve taken four Tramadol (not all at once) in an effort to rid myself of this throbbing headache. So I’ve been pumping myself full stimulants and opioids since I woke up. I marking today down as a failure for cleaning living. Just thought I would mention it.

 

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NOT a murder mystery

I forgot to lock my front door last night.

Terry Pratchett has this great paragraph about how, in Ankh-Morpork, there are actually very few murders. Mostly dead bodies are considered suicide. Walking in the Shades after dark for example, is suicide.

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While Johannesburg likely wasn’t used as a template for this Discworld metropolis (as far as I know) I feel it definitely ranks in the top five most Ankh-Morporkian cities on this particular plane of existence. The most glaring difference (which precludes Jo’burg from the top spot) is that instead of a brass bridge lined with hippos over the river Ankh (primarily used to dispose of dead bodies) we have a bridge over a train yard. (which broadly serves the same function). Also a bridge made of brass would have been stolen ages ago.

In any event, not locking your front door in South Africa is broadly considered suicide. (glad we made it!)

In all fairness in order to get into the master bedroom to murder us they’d still have to make it past the booby traps (the playroom strewn with caltrops/Lego), the vicious guard basset (oh who am I kidding) and there’s always the chance they might trip over the German Shepherd in the passage. I sleep like the dead, but all the commotion might wake the missus (who will then punch me, ‘Your turn’.)

Back when I was an (irresponsible) bachelor I slept with a Glock (.40S&W) underneath my pillow, 1UP and ready to rumble. It caused me endless frustration when girlfriends wanted to sleep over. (where is the Glock going to sleep?) Although savvy enough NOT to suggest they go sleep in the other room due to their presence deteriorating the defensive integrity of fort Joey, it generally elevated my already simmering levels of anxiety. (Clearly I had other qualities which glossed over some of the other more serious psychological… eh…  deficiencies)

Marriage has mellowed me somewhat (or turned the liquid cloudy, depending on how you look at it). These days instead of rolling out of bed and into my body armour I first have to go the cupboard and take it off a coat hanger. I also have to waste precious time taking my Glock out of the safe and cycling a round into the chamber. All this while under the added pressure of being murdered.

Its all very inconvenient.

 

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