Monday, October 29, 2007

News Flash

It's the spray cans that are causing it... it's the cars that are emitting it... it's our every day activity. The polar caps are melting and we're to blame.

News flash. Global warming is not a new thing. In fact, it's happened more than once before - and not because Dino was too liberal with the spray-on deo. I'm not being a conspiratorial freak, I'm sure our activities have something (okay, maybe a lot) to do with the rapid temperature change, but please can we all take a deep breath and realise that this has happened before?

I'm sick of hearing about it, bored of dinner talk about it. Option A: the human population will be wiped out and will be added to the long list of extinct animals. Option B: The more likely one, I think - we'll adapt. In the event of a nuclear fallout, it'll be us and the cockroaches. Humans have already adapted to just about every climate around the world - from really cold, to really swampy, to really toasty. We are the cockroaches of our world. What an honour.

One day, the sun (being a star and all) might go supernova on our asses and swallow the earth. Let's all have a fat panic about that and get it out of systems now. And... GO.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

In memorandum

After many trial runs, Freaky went belly up for good this weekend. He's survived by his mourning parents and his sibling/sometimes breeding mate, Deaky.

Wherever he is now, I hope he's swimming right side up.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Mills insisted that I post this link. I don't know why. Although I must admit, I do shake tush every time I hear HA-BAN-NANA!

I haven't set fire to anything this week, but I was thinking about my track record. As far as I can recall the following items have spontaneously combusted in my presense at one stage or another: one potatoe, one butternut, one heated teddy (the microwaveable beads kind), one towel and most recently, a bread roll.

You can stop applauding now.

I recently saw an advert for microwaveable slippers. I think I want a pair...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ever had one of those days..

..where your boss sends you home for fear of further damage to office property?
Let's take a stroll through a day with Koekie.

On Thursday night, guests arrived from London. Mills had taken the day off, so it was with great excitement that he and our guests sat up and shared a few more than two beers - until 4am when I lost patience and sent them to bed. After about two hours sleep, I got up and went to work on Friday morning.

I thought the cycle into work would wake me up. I can't decide if the insect that lodged itself in my eye helped or not. I got into work and had a bizarre interview with a 40-year-old woman who decided to share 12 pages of printed pictures showing herself at work and at team building events. When I tried to direct her back to the topic of the interview, she paused, looked at me... and dived straight back into pointing herself out in each picture. Seriously.. is this a new form of self-promotion? "And here I am playing beach volleyball with my boss and his manager..." Does this in any way indicate her level of skills??

Moving on.

Finally released from her holiday-pic-horror, I went upstairs to make me some lunch. Lunch involved some level of cooking - unbaked breadroll. Pop it in the microwave for 2minutes and voila - freshly baked broodje. In theory.

In practise, my roll caught alight after 90seconds. I whipped it out of the microwave and shoved it under running water with an extinguished sizzle and accompanying stench. Now would be a good time to point out that our office is not insured for fire.

Desperate to get rid of the smell, I opened the window as wide as possible. Unfortunately, the kitchen window opens inwards and in my haste, I failed to notice the glass light fitting hanging from the ceiling, directly in line with the window.



I decided it was time to start apologising to the boss (who had recently offered me a year extension on my current contract. I think she may be reconsidering). She commended me on my efforts. In fact, she laughed so hard she cried a little. At least, I think she was laughing... She then sent me home before I broke anything else.

The rest of the weekend picked up. We took our guests into the Red Light District, gawked at a few hookers, learnt the catchy phrase "stop masturbating, start participating" (must remember to throw that into conversation more regularly), watched even more hookers playing rugby (YES PLEASE*) and enjoyed a good catch up weekend.

*What is the with the engraving of the trophy as the final whistle blows? Talk about unnecessary pressure. It's not like the horseraces where an outsider might snatch the gold medal... "and coming from the 8th lane it's GEORGIA to take the trophy. GEORGIA ARE THE RUGBY WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS 2007!!" Surely it would make more sense to just have one base that says "SOUTH AFRICA 2007" and another that says "ENGLAND 2007"? That way all you need is a tube of Superglue and ten seconds to apply direct pressure. Of course, it could also be embarrassing if the gratuitous cute kid gets stuck to the glue. Could be awkward trying to pick up Thabo, holding a snotty 8 year old attached to the trophy by his right thumb... Although it would elimate the chances of the cup being dropped.

Okay, I might be overtired. Bed time for this shattered Koekie.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More from the Sheltered South African Kid

Her latest pearler: "I didn't watch the 1995 Final. I thought we were going to lose so I was asleep in my room."

When she uttered this little pearler this morning, myself and the other South African in the room had nothing to say. We looked at her, looked at each other, looked at her again. Eventually I laughed. What else could I do?

I'll readily admit that I was not brought up in a rugby-obsessed family. But even my hockey-playing relatives and I were watching in awe as Joel dropkicked us to glory. This was followed by a drive home with South Africans hooting on the roads, waving, shouting at everybody/anybody who looked in their general direction. I could be wrong, and I don't have any studies to back this up, but I think I'm working with the only South African who slept through the 1995 RWC Final and its subsequent celebrations.

She followed up by saying how she really, REALLY hopes SA can win this weekend, but she just doesn't think they can manage it. This from the woman who does not... I repeat... does not know who Bryan Habana is.

I ignored her after that.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Flying Habana

Why can't we play a match without face-slapping and hair-pulling? It's like a 7th grade girls' bathroom out there. The Koekmeister wonders how many Boks are going to be cited this week.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Go figure.

The Netherlands is dotted with what I call 'Haring stalls'. They're basically fish vendors on the side of just about every street corner (the equivalent of MacDs in the US). The speciality is raw herring (haring).

In May each year, these stalls go nuts with the news of "Hollandse Nieuw" - the first haul of fresh herring for the year. The very first bucket offloaded from the ocean is auctioned. This year the one bucket of smelly, ungutted, uncleaned, unpickled, swimming-in-their-own-poo herring sold for a mere 70,000 euros.

We have one just down the road from us. I gag at the smell every day on my way home. But cloggies love it - they have it for lunch. You can have it with broodje, or served with onions and pickles. But if you can ride a bike with both hands in your pockets, you pick the entire uncooked fish up by its tail and drop it down your gullet. Just like that.

Excerpt from

It has taken me some years to understand the fuss about Hollandse Nieuw, which I first learned to appreciate when an Amsterdam fish dealer refused to hand it to me after I asked for the usual side offerings of onion and pickles. He just served it to me as it was and it melted in my mouth! I enjoy any type of herring, but ever since that day I understand there is something special and unique about the taste of a fresh green herring.

So by all means, have a fresh cleaned herring if you wish, but please have it cleaned under your eyes and eat it within the hour, if not it will start tasting rancid. Also, avoid having the fish cut into little pieces (an Amsterdam habit) and refuse the onions and/or pickles that are usually offered on the side. They're offered in order to distract your attention from the taste of the fish! Do not eat it on a roll, only 25 percent of all herring is eaten that way.

The best and truly Dutch method is to take the tail between your forefinger and thumb, put your head in your neck and directly lower the fish into your mouth. Good green herring melts in your mouth, tastes soft and slightly salty. You can also wash it down it with a glass of Jenever (Dutch juniper berry gin).

As much as I love sushi, fish, seafood, shellfish... I haven't been able to bring myself to try haring.

Until today.

I did not eat it in the traditional drop-it-down-your-gullet fashion, but instead chose the more conservative approach of using a fork.

It was soft. And squishy. And slightly slimy. And tasted of raw fish. Not a totally foreign experience. Then the aftertaste hit - and no amount of swallowing could dislodge it.

It's not the worst thing I've ever eaten, and I'm sure I'll try worse things. But now I can say with certainty - I don't like haring. Thank you for offering.

ps. Regarding the expatica excerpt... sure, you can wash it down with a shot of Jenever. You'll be burping fish guts and fire for the next 9 hours. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


In the wake of the tornado that just hit Joburg, I'd like to send my love to all the survivors. I trust that family and friends still have all their limbs in tact. But wait, let's think about it... in the case of a real tornado warning, is your first priority seriously to sms everyone in your phonebook? Really?

Also, the nine reported changeroom rapes... didn't happen.

I don't understand who has so much time on their hands that they feel the need to create and then disseminate random hoax emails. Maybe they get a kick out of it when their own friends start sending it back to them, over and over again.

I understand that the forwarding of these emails are generally done in the 'interests' of loved ones. If gangs are initiating new members by killing unsuspecting drivers who flash their lights at them, then I should know. If the coke can I found lying on our street pavement truly is a sign for organised crime to ransack my house, I should know. But these stories have been circulating since the earliest conception of a chain letter. Seriously, some of these urban legends have been traced back to the days of paper.

As much as I love (most) of the people who include me on these emails, I think it's time to spread the truth... forwarded emails are almost always crap. So far, I have found one exception to this and that is the breast cancer awareness email. This is genuine. Verified. Click yourself silly in the name of all things mammory.

A surefire way for me to get myself off a group mailing list (usually titled "FWD: FW: FWD: FWD: DON'T DELETE! READING THIS COULD SAVE THE LIFE OF YOUR UNBORN CHILD!") is to reply to all of the recipients of the email, after a quick truthorfiction/ fact-finding mission. I hope that by pointing out that the missing girl/dying puppy/traumatised granny has, in several different email strands, supposedly lived in Badgers Bottom/Bluffton/Cluttsville and Skilpadvretvandorsfontein*, then maybe other people on the mailing list won't forward the same email on - and probably back to me.

It's anal, snotty, pernickity... generally just as annoying as actually receiving the stupid email in the first place. I don't get included in future group emails.

So please, let it be known... the SPCA is not closing down. You can ask them yourself. All it took for me was one quick google and then following a link from the official website. You see how easy that was to verify?

Don't get me wrong - I'm all for juicy gossip. But if you're going to send me scandal, please make sure there's substance to it.

*actual place names - except the last, which I think I made up, but I can't be sure.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A trying evening

Mills and I went to an engagement party last night. This is not going to be yet another rant on matrimonials. Even if this couple are openly getting married for the tax and... um, visa... benefits - they seem genuinely fond of each other and I know of other people who got married just so that they could have guilt-free sex. Whatever. Congratulations.

Anyway. This party was different because the bride-to-be comes complete with an 8 year old little person. And the 8-year-old has friends. Seventeen of them were there last night. Holy steaming poo on a stick.

If we're going to a function like that, Mills and I need to be mentally prepared beforehand. We were not. You think 'engagement party', you think champagne and awkward mingling. You don't think champagne, awkward mingling AND highly-strung preteens thundering after each other and pouncing on any piece of furniture not securely fastened to the ceiling.

You didn't need a degree in psychology to spot the parents (bride's guests) and the non-parents (groom's guests). The bride-to-be's guests were happily ignoring the children standing on toes, tugging clothes and pleading adults to feed them booze. The groom-to-be's guests were watching aghast as children selected decorative pebbles to drop from the second storey window into the street below (those were only the non-parents who didn't have their eyes tightly screwed shut in an attempt to block out the ear-piercing screams). A friend asked Mills and I if we could leave yet. Mills pointed out that we had only been there for 40 minutes, so probably not.

Children aside, I got introduced to another South African couple. I politely asked them where they were from. Pretoria. And how long have they been here? Just over a year.

She then proceeded to explain to me just how much she hates being in the Netherlands.

"There's nothing to do here," she moaned. I think you're wrong. Sports, parks, theatre, museums, travelling, dance classes, art classes, language classes. The Netherlands is hardly backwater.

"They hate foreigners here." No, they don't. Forty percent of the The Hague's population consists of international expats, who are welcomed. Besides, have you been to France or Spain?

"They don't speak English." I'm not sure what part of The Hague she lives in, but most people speak better English than in England (which is not hard). Still, another ignorant statement. Besides which... she's native Afrikaans. It's not like learning Chinese. And again... have you been to Italy, or Russia? THEY don't speak English.

"They are terrible drivers here." You come from Gauteng. The home of idiot taxi drivers. Here, they actually stop at red robots and pedestrian crossings. Again, I don't believe you.

So, I asked while trying not to grind my teeth, are you thinking about going back to SA then? Nope - she hated it there too.

Doing my best to keep conversation flowing, I asked her where she wanted to go... "oh I don't know. Anywhere but here," was the word-for-word answer.

I know... hate is strong word, but people like this - I hate. I want to spit venom when I get stuck in a conversation with them, their negativity oozing from every breath. 'Anywhere but here' mentality. Deciding not to point out that she would probably never be happy, I sidled away from that conversation before my head exploded from bottled up confrontational tension.

Back into the writhing pit of kids. Another friend of ours was standing rigid next to his 6-month-pregnant wife. His wife was smiling warmly at the throng of two-legged piranhas. His grin was fixed to his face and his eyes were glazed. Mills quietly requested confirmation of my pill prescription.

All 17 (hundred) kids were still going strong when we left. It seemed like a lifetime, but we weren't even there for three hours. Mills and I were still in a state of shock when we got home.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The name is Bank, Absa Bank.

Hello hello... welcome to my friendly corner store. How may I help you today?

You're wanting to make use of my service? Gladly! That'll be a R31,90 sign up fee.
Please... please... come in!

What are you actually needing from me? Loo paper and soap? Ah, the basics then. I'll get them from the back room just as soon as you've confirmed your finger print, your residential address and signature here. Thank you, thank you very much! Just one more thing... if I can just have a drop of saliva... thank you again, sir.

Right, let me see about that loo paper and soap... oh, I'm afraid our soap is on back order and is unavailable at the moment. How would you like to be notified of its arrival: by email, fax or sms? The charges are as follows: sms R2, fax R0.50 and email R0,60. Email? Right you are, sir. It's a wise choice.

That'll be R15,15 in total for the loo paper. Would you like a receipt with that? It will cost an extra R3,35 and we'll be needing a sample of your fingernail for cross-checking.

What? You don't think this is a good way for running a business? No, I don't think it's out of order to charge you every time I do my job for a service that you have already paid to receive. Well, I'm sorry you feel that way, sir. You can register your complaint with our call centre between the hours of 10am-11am on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or on Wednesday from 3pm to 4pm. We're closed on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and all religious and public holidays.

Funny you should mention it though... I simply based my business on the banking system in South Africa. They seem to be doing fine.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Meet Spongebob Squarepants on a bike.
(otherwise known as Mills cycling home from cricket.)

And yes Kop, I took this from my bike, while cycling behind him. I'm that good.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fish brain

Gawd, here she goes again... ranting about her pets. But at least they're not cats. And just look at the damn thing. It's wedged itself under the frekking filter. Freakin' Freaky.

Here's another shot, just to show that Deaky is still okay with the idea of sustainable biology. Fins up, butt facing downwards. Good job.

You think he's dying right? (And yes, it's a 'he'. Freaky is a hypochondriac. He gets man-/fish-flu).

But don't jump to conclusions. Freaky wedges himself under the filter, chills there for a bit, checks me out with one eye, then rights himself and swims around casually like nature intended - see below:

Speaking of fishbrains, SSAK's latest pearler: "I think I'm going to change jobs. I want to do marketing, or teaching, or event organising." I asked SSAK if she had any experience and/or education that pointed in the direction of any of the above, already knowing the answer. "Do you need to study for marketing?" was the confused reply.

This woman frustrates me. Granted, you don't need to study for any of the above but you do a) have to work your way up (she's not prepared to look at entry level jobs, she wants more pay for less experience. Klopt, ja?) and b) you'd have to show a certain level of aptitude, which I can assure you, she cannot spell.

And teaching? Dear god, please don't let her loose on a history class. Especially not South African history.

Ps. Don't believe what they tell you at the Oceanarium... fish love getting the glass of their tanks tapped and having their pics taken with flash photography. They thrive on the attention.