Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flawed marketing plan

I went to pick up my pill this evening. It's the third renewal on the same prescription, at the same pharmacy. Nothing much has changed... I'm still using contraception, and guess what... when this lot runs out, I'll be back for more.

Why then, did the pharmacist feel the need to hand me the pamphlet on Kinderwens?

Do I fall into that target market, just because I'm female? Does he think that I'll see the note on fertilisation techniques and suddenly feel an overwhelming need to hump myself a baby?

Kinderwens handed out with every pill prescription. Talk about contradictory contraception.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another one year anniversary to celebrate

At the end of this week, I will have been in recruitment for a whole year. It's been a steep learning curve, filled with targets and KPI's (unheard of in the newsrooms of my previous experience).

I was thinking about the different characters that I've met in my year so far...

There was the lady with the glass eye, and breathing disability. It didn't affect her working potential, although the glass eye would not be recommendable for cosmetic promotions. But the breathing was distracting. I couldn't quite figure it out, but I think she actually had some form of apparatus, that made a "psssssh" sound when she exhaled. Quite distracting.

There was the dwarf. Giant personality and cleavage to boot, but 1,34m in height (yes - they have height measurements on Dutch passports).

Another fave was the lovely Indian lady who lost the bones in her right arm after a car accident. The bones - not her arm. She owes what remains of her limb to the sexist regime of Indian matrimonials. You see, the kind doctor realised that she was unmarried and was unlikely to find a good husband if she only had one arm... so he surgically removed her humerus, radius and ulna in order to at least keep a semblance of her arm. What remains is similar to a thick wad of rubber. I've seen it, she even demonstrated it's bendy abilities for me. She still has all the bones in her hand though. It was fascinating.

There were also the super-bright, super-posh and super-boring... And don't forget the preachers and self-righteous (who get very upset to learn that I am in the country with my boyfriend... not my HUSBAND. God forbid).

I think my personal favourites, though, are the Big Fat Liars. These are the people who 'can't remember' what's on the CV; when questioned, admit that maybe they didn't actually have the position of sales manager, maybe they were interning under the sales assistant, but they saw what the sales manager did and they know they could do that. And besides, they have a diploma in Business Management, so they think they should start in that position. Big Fat Liars are fun when they squirm.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What would you do?

A friend's dad-in-law has recently been diagnosed with intestinal cancer. Not the 'cancer CAN be beaten' kind of cancer, but the bad kind. The kind where doctors admit that it wasn't caught early enough, there is no chance of chemo or operation and nothing further they can do.

My grandpa died of bowel cancer, I was young and it was a long time ago, but it was a painful loss and I can only begin to feel what my friend is going through now. Her dad has been sent home - a good and bad thing in the circumstances. A good thing because now the family can visit him without worrying about hospital hours, they can visit him in the 'comfort' of home. A bad thing because all he has now is morphine, and a waiting game.

One aspect that I had not thought of, was the Dutch approach to terminal diagnosis. I forgot that euthanasia is an option in this country - and it's an option that this patient has chosen. I can't say I blame him. His internal organs are riddled with cancer and he was diagnosed with days to live, a month ago. Perhaps the worst bit is that he is fully aware of what's happening (well, as aware as the drugs will allow him to be). How much longer can his body hold out?

So, euthanasia it is. This process has required a second opinion from another doctor, the papers had to be signed by two family witnesses (his wife and his son), the decision had to be legislated and agreed upon by a judicial body... and finally a date had to be chosen.

Can you imagine making that decision? The whole process has to happen while you can prove to be of sound mind. As much as he's aware of his surroundings, and technically hanging in there despite the doctor's dire prognosis, if he wants to opt for euthanasia, he has to start and complete the process before his brain gives up on him.

He's selected the day after his birthday this year. Imagine chosing your own death day?

The whole thing puts me in mind of family pets, who get too old to eat, move... they get taken to the vet and get put down, humanely without suffering. I agree with that concept, just as much as I fundamentally agree with the notion of euthanasia. But can you imagine actually making the decision? Or being the family member who as has to sign off the papers of a loved one's decision?

I also wonder - or presume - that there must be a "get out of jail free" clause, if you are still sound of mind on the designated day and have a change of heart. Technically, only the the euthanasee can make the call. Technically. A major concern from objectors is that there is still too much room for manipulation and abuse, despite the 13 or so signatures that have to be collected before the decision is approved.

This family hopes that it won't come to celebrating his birthday, followed by his death day. They're hoping that he will pass away naturally before it comes to that.

I'm glad I don't have to make that decision, either way.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Making headlines

This story is not funny.

It is not funny because two men died. And men dying is not funny, even if it is due to mature poo. It is also not funny because it mentions bull sperm. And bull sperm equals porn.

In other news, joggers in North Holland have more to worry about than mere muggings. Apparently, after four years of harrassment, an evil eagle is finally making headlines. She's probably just pissed off that she hadn't been allocated her 15 minutes of fame yet.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Enjoying it while it lasts

Hi - have you missed me? The reason for this recent hiatus is the fact that Spring has in fact springed, sprung and sproinged into Western Europe. Hoorah. We've spent the last two weeks or so doing as little as possible indoors and staying out as much as possible. It's been twenty-frikken-five degrees people. 25!

Although... (look how pessimistically local I've become)... they say the weather is going to turn from tomorrow. So I may just have more time to indoors and online. Summer could be over by the weekend. I'm lapping it up while it lasts.

Also haven't been online due to the fact that we was visiting 'em folks in London. Jolly good show and all that. Except that... once you hit Clapham Junction, you don't hear toff or chav accents, just Saffers. I didn't even hear that many Aussies. You know how we feel about Zimbabwe immigrants? That's how Londoners must feel about us. Bloody African infestation.

Anywho, lovely weather for that good ol' London tradition... braaing. It's been a while since Mills and I have enjoyed boerie and biltong. Delightful stuff to the palate. Was good to see most our graduating class while we were there, and the picnicking in Regents Park was particularly good for our souls. Here's a picture I took, to prove what a softy I've become, with all this heat going to my head and everything:

In other news, I dreamt that I was pregnant. Yes. I was pregnant with a black baby - which actually didn't even freak me out that much. It was more the fact that I was preggie that was perturbing me, and I was crying a whole lot in my dream. Very upsetting stuff that was. Now that I think about it, I wonder who the father was? Unless Mills's wonder ginger genes are hiding some 'dark' secrets... hahaha. I kill me.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just your average day at work

I was eating snoepje (sweeties) today, and thoroughly enjoying it too. The Dutchies are known for their dropjes - licorice drops - and I love them.

Anyway, so I'm shnacking away on my shnoepje, when Jejo walks up and helps herself while casually stating.. "they use bull semen to make this stuff."

Bull semem?

I repeated. "Bull semen?"

"What the hell are you guys talking about?" said Duckface from across the room.
Jejo repeated her statement. The fourth (loud) utterance of "bull semen" got KC's and SSAK's attention too.

Right, so now we have five colleagues productively discussing whether there could possibly ever be bull semen in something as pure as licorice. Think of how many child-like palates have been corrupted if this is the case...

Of course, I refuted her claim and turned to google, as one does, in absurd instances such as these.

'Licorice ingredient bull'

Nothing of interest in that search. So narrow it down a bit more. Offer a bit more info... at this stage, I had everyone gathered behind my computer, still twittering about the possibility of dropje containing anything more corrupt than aniseed.

'Licorice ingredient bull semen'

Result! "black... licorice... contents... semen... bull..."

Can anyone guess where this is going?


My colleagues collapsed with collective shock and mirth behind me, while I squealed and frantically tried to click away.

Stop it, stop it, stop it! Faak! Make it go away! AAAAAH! Oh god, faaak! This is NOT funny! Jejo, if I get fired I'm dragging you with me! You and your fucking bull semen!

Full frontal, penetrative porn. And it wasn't just one image. No no, this was one of those charming websites that open more windows the more you try to click away.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

There's something in the water

Today, another of my team mates announced her pregnancy. That makes three since I joined the team just over a year ago.

At work, in an office of just 16, two ladies have just had babies and one is 6 months pregnant.

And I can't even begin to count the preggie bellies at Mills's work - basically if you're female and working in that department, you are highly likely to be pregnant. If you're a partner of someone working in that department, you're pregnant. Every time I go to a work function with them, I meet another distended stomach. And with every announcement, the department turns as a team to Mills and I... Never mind the wedding pressure (which people have apparently lost interest in), now we just deal with baby pressure.

Sometimes it seems like everyone greeted the new year with "Happy 2008, here's your fertility shot."

And then, as if the distorted torsos weren't enough, they bring the babies in to show them off at work, just a few weeks after birth. I don't get this. I know this is going to sound callous, but what is the point? Congratulations, you popped one out. There's nothing new about it, in fact... if there was, you probably wouldn't be showing him off so happily. Your eight week old is hardly up there on the entertainment ranks. It's either crying, or sleeping - the first is annoying, the second is boring.

I don't hate babies, I just don't particularly like them. They tend to hold my attention for a very short age bracket - from when they start to develop a personality (around 9 months, me thinks) to when they start talking (which is when they start telling stories and asking questions, around 1 year, 18months? My baby book knowledge is hazy). Anyway, bring your baby in that gap. That's when they're getting interactive, but aren't yet annoyingly cocky.

Bringing children into the office is the best time to catch me at my most productive. Quick dial a number! Act busy! Don't get caught in awkward conversation about how fast he/she/it's growing. She's not pretty, she's not showing visible signs of genius and she looks like a monkey. And I know changing her nappy is perfectly normal for you, but could at least point her legs in another direction while I'm trying to eat my lunch?

So it's breeding season in the Netherlands. A recently relocated couple mentioned that they have been trying for a baby for the last three years. I'm fairly certain that after drinking this water for a few months, they'll be showing off sonograms too. No worries, baby.

I know it's supposed to be that stage of our lives. The 21st are over. Sigh. Now we're in the throws of the wedding and breeding age group. But I do think this whole pregnancy spurt is a little extreme. Suffice to say, I'm keeping my legs tightly crossed just in case it's contagious.