Thursday, December 20, 2007

Weather - again

The Netherlands is truly beautiful - when the wind's not blowing and the rain's not bucketing... I'm almost sad to leave it at this stage. With temperatures not rising much above zero, the still tree branches look like they've been sugar-dusted and the smaller canals are almost completely frozen. It's quite surreal - I'm used to seeing frost, but it generally melts off by 10am. The tree icicles last all day. I find the whiteness mesmorising.

But I'm not appreciating it as much as I feel I should... that's largely because tonight I'm too busy trying to squash 43kg worth of shoes, clothes and jewelry (but mostly shoes) into 20kg worth of baggage allowance. One day I'm going to get this right. One day, but probably not today.

Mills and I leave our winter wonderland and fly home for summer and sunshine tomorrow. Yes, I've heard it's been doing nothing but raining in SA at the moment. It is dampening - to say the least. But as long as the temps are over 25+, I'll be happy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Office

It's frikken minus-1 outside. Literally. It warmed up nicely during the day though, I think we almost hit 2+. Fortunately, I got to work nice and early, to discover that there was no one to let me into the office... for the next half an hour. Which gave me plenty of time to appreciate just how pretty all the cars look with an inch of frost on them. By the time my first work mate arrived, I was sure I had frostbite in my toes and on my nose. Friggen hell.

Anywho. This weekend was the work office party. I've really been so lucky with my new employment. They dig me, even though I never had commercial experience and I tend to knock things over. Often. We all socialise easily and have fun in the office, which really makes such a difference to a work environment (thank you, Captain Obvious).

Despite the awesome sociable colleagues, the Xmas work party was still like any Xmas work party ever scripted by Ricky Gervais. Initially everyone clusters in small groups, sticking to their group/comfort zone. Awkwardness. The hired singer tries to get the dancefloor going with a remix of Tina's Simply the Best, which only manages to interest the not-so-undercover gay guy and a few of his fag hags. Relentlessly, the champagne flows; the inhibitions loosen. Before you know it, the dance floor is warmed up and your boss is accidently kicking his shoe off, connecting directly with your team mate's head. You know how it goes.

I had an awesome time lang-arming with a newly acquainted colleague from Potch. Not that I have any clue how to lang-arm, but as long as he's leading and throwing a few twirls and dips, I'm game. We even treated the office to our (now choreographed) dance of The Rockstar (grab right ankle and hop in a circle on one foot, while pointing at the ceiling with free hand), followed by The Sprinkler (right hand behind head, left arm out straight, bring elbows together in time to the beat). Sometimes I make Mills so proud, he cries a little.

It's always good to give colleagues a little something to talk about the next week. Although, our dance routine was easily out-shadowed by the fact that our *ahem* Executive Recruiter was later thrown out of the ladies' bathrooms for attempting indecent dodginess with his missus. That's sure to get the tongues wagging around the water cooler.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eau de toilette

I went to the toilet today, for a wee.
The end.

No, not really. That's just the beginning. So, there I was, sitting... as one does... when I noticed a small nondescript box under the basin. I've never seen the box before so, being catlike in nature, I picked it up. It was heavy, and floral and pink. I flipped it upside down (remember, still sitting on the loo) to investigate further. Turns out it was liquid soap - and it was open.

Unfortunately, I only realised this after I had released a few gallons of hand soap directly into the crotch of my pants. Not a problem - I'll just wipe it out with wet toilet paper. Undiluted soap + water... you can see this going wrong, can't you? I didn't.

Not only was my crotch reeking of lavender, now it was also looking rabid and foaming to boot.

I figured my two options were: remove pants entirely and rinse. Or attempt to wipe area dry with paper towels and deal with it later. I went for the latter. Reeking of toilettey freshness, I eventually made a beeline for my desk and remained there until it was time to put on my overcoat.

I think I just brought a whole new level to the term, feminine hygiene.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Who the hell moved Zimbabwe?

Facebook is addictive, but for the most part I've managed to avoid making my profile page look like a cancer-riddled colon with ridiculous amounts of application additions.

But I have added the Travellor IQ quiz. This is especially handy because the evenings are dark and cold and our TV is broken. I'm actually pretty proud of my geographical knowledge - and my North American knowledge turns out to be quite sharp too, which was pleasantly surprising. I can safely pinpoint Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, New York and Calgary (okay, that was a lucky guess).

Closer to home, I had a slight problem with differentiating between Botswana and Zimbabwe. For some reason, I have decided that our neighbouring countries go (from left to right): Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. I KNOW where the Vic Falls are. And yet I still clicked on Botswana every time I was asked to point out Zim. Own up... who switched them? Personally, I blame Mugabe - but I have nothing to back up that accusation.

There are also more specific quizzes. I tested my knowledge on both Europe and Africa. I particularly liked the bit where they ask you to pinpoint historical monuments in each continent. In Europe, the monuments are listed by name and country. Ie. "Buckingham Palace, England".

In Africa, the only clue you get is the historical name. Ie. "Carlton Tower" and (I shit you not), "Independence Monument".

Please pick one random Independence Monument in Africa. What's that? They ALL have independence monuments? No.. no, but this is THE independence monument...

A quick google search for Independence Monument and Africa shows that the answer could be Ghana, Uganda, Mali, Cambodia (just to throw another option in there), Tanzania, Zambia...
which frekkin country do you have in mind, you geographical twits! They might as well ask us to pick a number between one and fourty two.

Besides this random discriminatory annoyance, I shmaak this application. I can also test my flag knowledge (which is very, very kak).

Would you recognise the national flag for Latvia?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

What's the point?

Shewwie... what a can of worms religion spews forth. What is it about religion(s) that gets the blood boiling? Why can't we all just shrug and say, "I don't buy it, but if that's what you believe that's cool." Why do we have to make other people accept our distorted truths?

Yes, distorted. There is always more than one truth. That's my belief anyway. Now you'd better accept it, else I'm going to stomp and shout and scream until you admit that my truth is more righteous than yours.

I've only really been exposed to one religion in my life - Christianity. It was never forced on me, my parents were very adamant about that. If I chose to go to church, I could go to church. If I'd decided to become a buddhist, I think they would've been okay with that to (but I didn't, because Tibet was too far away and apparently there's that vow of silence thing, although shaving off my frizzy hair would've definitely been appealing). Anywho, so I learnt about Christianity and made what I think is an informed choice by naming it my faith.

This is where it gets complicated. You see, I believe in God. I believe in heaven and hell. I also absolutely accept evolution. And I blaspheme on a fairly regular basis. My soul is a seething pit of contradiction.

I don't think that the Bible is THE word. I think it is alegory, fables, street performance on paper - all rolled into one. A whole of lot of stories, ala broken telephone, through the ages. And it makes a good read. I don't believe the universe was created in seven days (although I know people who do wholly/holy prescribe to this - that's a bit silly, but hey); I don't believe that Jacob and his kin lived for centuries.

I don't think that people who don't believe in MY god are going to hell. From what I've been told, MY god is not a vengeful god. He is a personal god. I know 'good Christian' people, 'good' people and 'Christian' people. There is a difference between each. I reckon that when we get to the end (of what?), it'll be up to JC to decide who deserves to be partying behind the pearly gates. Not me - or anyone else in this lifetime.

I may have mentioned my unhealthy passion for Terry Pratchett. In his Discworld all religions are valid: whatever a particular individual buys into is what he receives in the afterlife. If someone believes they'll go to heaven, they do. If they believe in nothing, they drift along in blissful nihility. If they believe we all turn into potatoes on snuffing it, they reincarnate into a happy little spud. Why can't we all just get along?

It matters not how much we argue for our beliefs now, we're not likely to come to a conclusion in this day and age, are we? Sure, at Armageddon, it may all become clear. We may have a few embarrassed, "sorry for calling you and your belief the festering wound of civilisation" apologies. We may all shake hands and have a group hug. Or not.

Maybe we'll never know. Why argue? Right now, I'm going to put on a good tune and try to convince my heathen boyfriend to dance like no one's watching. No point to that either really, but at least it'll make me laugh.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sinter Klaasje

Happy Sinterklaas allemaal!

Tonight is the evening of real festivities - Sint and his Pieten have been working hard to ensure that everybody gets a chocolate letter (I got four chocolate letters, because Mills informed Sinter Klaas that lots of chocolate makes the overcast Koekiemonster very happy).*

Everybody gets their naughty-or-nice presents this evening and we can finally stop being asked, "voor sinter klaas?" every time we try to pay for something at the shops. There is also a tradition of writing a naughty/mocking poem or riddle about the gift receiver. Fortunately, for the less creative, one can simply refer to the Gedicht Generating websites.

Insert name and present and run with it:

Pieter m'n knecht keek door de schoorsteen
En wist Koekies wensen meteen
Weet je wat Koekie in het schoentje vindt?
Een dildo met de groeten van Sint

Dit cadeau uit de zak van Zwarte Piet
Is iets waarvan Koekie heel veel geniet
Voor iemand die alles al heeft
Is het vinden van cadeaus iets waar zelfs Sint van beeft

Bij dit geschenk wil Sint nog even kwijt
Dat je voortaan heel voorzichtig rijdt
Ook al is de Sint heel erg oud
Hij hoopt maar dat dit cadeau hem niet berouwt

De heerlijke avond is bijna voorbij
Sint moet weer verder bij het kerend getij
Bedwing nog heel even je ongeduld
Wees dan maar blij en denk niet aan je schuld
*Seriously - it's chocolate moulded into the shape of a letter. It's as simple as that. I got four K's.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Whether the weather...

It's that time of year.
I've been through this before.

The rage.
The frustration.

The Weather.

I gnaw on my lip on the ride into work, dreaming of how I want to throttle people for sitting close to me. Sniffing. Coughing. Talking on the phone. The all-time favourite... spitting. I want to push people in front of oncoming buses.

I actively fantasise about headbutting colleagues when they repeatedly share bad jokes. I got the punchline the first time. I gave you a gratuitous guffaw. Can we please move on now? I would also settle for grabbing them by the shoulders and screaming directly into their confused faces like a feral degenerate.

It's dark when I get up, it's dark when I come home. The sun doesn't come out in between - and if it does, it's only to dash behind the next cloud like a self-conscious streaker. When it's not lashing down with rain, then it's drizzling a thin mist of precipitation - just enough to settle on you eyebrows and frizz the hair.

Small things irritate me. More than usual.

A colleague who moans about his work load when he has just as much work as the rest of us, irritates me. Bad emails irritate me. Sow does not equal sew. Their and there are not interchangeable. The space bar is not an option to be used like a thumbtack in pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. People who've bought Christmas presents, irritate me.

Unhelpful customer service...

Me: "I need to book an appointment please."
CSR: "We don't do that here any more."
Me: "Oh? Since when?"
CSR: "Since yesterday."
Me: "Awesome. Who should I be speaking to then?"
CSR: "I don't know."
Me: "So they've changed the system and offered you no forwarding information."
CSR: "Yes. Anything else I can help you with?"
Me: "I think you've done enough for one day. Why don't you have a lie down."

...irritates me.

I'm not depressed, per se. Actually, I'm very happy (irritably happy). I like where we live, I like who we socialise with, I love my job and - aggresive fantasies aside - my colleagues. But I could really do with some Sunshine D - au naturel. Plus the TV's not working.

Okay, maybe this is all een beetje overdreven, but thinking about my upcoming time in South Africa consumes me. I'm already wondering how I'm going to deal with the weather when I get back after three weeks of heat and traces of sun.

Monday, December 03, 2007

8 random things you wished you didn't know about me

A tad late after being tagged, but the TV is kapot and football was cancelled (but not before cycling to the pitch in RAINRAINRAINFEKKINGRAIN), so here we go:
  1. A quote from my book of the moment: "Leonard's incredible brain sizzled away alarmingly, an overloaded chip pan on the Stove of Life." - Terry Prachett, Jingo.
  2. I have been told that I look like Sigourney Weaver - more than once, by completely unrelated people. They generally mention it when I'm in a foul mood. I reckon its the pinched mouth that sells it.
  3. I neglect my one remaining goldfish. Sucks to be Deaky.
  4. I talk to myself. In Dutch.
  5. I was reciting nursery rhymes by the time I was two. My parents thought I was a child genius. I soon learnt them wrong.
  6. I have been known to swear like a hardened sailor brandishing his Tourettes talents like a weapon. (oooh... double simile. I impress me.)
  7. My boss introduces me as follows, "this is Koekie. She breaks things."
  8. I'm really thinking hard about actually getting around to that Christmas shopping list.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Pardon my Dutch

While trying to defrost my bones in the shower this afternoon, I was thinking about the worst weather conditions I've ever played hockey in... Sleet? Check. Wind? Check. Frozen pitches? Check. Not all at the same time though.

Today, we played in driving rain with bowl-you-over gusts of wind. And a maximum of 5 degrees C.

Kutweer. Pardon my Dutch.

The rain was unbelievable. We only played half a match (which felt like eternity) because eventually the match officials decided that the pitch was too water-logged. You don't say - we'd been gamely splashing around for 35 minutes, trying to play a ball which is not known for its floatation properties.

The events leading up to the game were entertaining - we got lost on our drive to the hosting club and decided to ask a passing police car for assistance. We arrived at the club via police escort.

We piled into the changing room, only to find ourselves locked inside. Tugging hard on the door handle simply pulled the knob out of its socket. Considering the weather outside, none of us were particularly keen on leaving the changing room anyway. Unfortunately somebody rescued us so we had to make a pretense of playing.

The shower when I got home was orgasmic. I can almost feel my toes again.

I curled up on the couch to watch some classic E! Network entertainment. Just as I was about to discover whether Lindsay Lohan's boobs were real or fake, our TV very quietly and sedately fizzled out. Mills is blaming me for breaking the TV.

The wind is howling, I'm finally warm and dry.
I have no TV. I'm going to bed now.
Bring on Christmas in SA. I need sun.

ps. By some miracle, Mills and I both passed our fluitencursus.