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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Koevoet

Koevoet was the colloquial name given a police paramilitary unit based in South West Africa (now Namibia) during the South African border war in the 1980’s. Its official name was SWAPOL-COIN (South West African Police counterinsurgency), but Koevoet (translated as Crowbar) was just easier for everyone concerned. It compared the  insurgent to a nail, buried in the wood, which would then be pulled by Koevoet.

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During the ‘war’, Soviet and Cuban trained insurgent troops were crossing the Angolan border on foot and then heading south into the interior of the country to wage asymmetric warfare against soft targets. It was very difficult to track and kill these insurgents with conventional military forces. As in Iraq and Afghanistan, these insurgents looked exactly like the local population, spoke the same language and were very difficult to differentiate by foreign troops. Koevoet developed very unique tactics to fight these insurgents effectively and had the highest kill ratio for any unit in the conflict.

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