January 2005 Archives

Hope you enjoyed the break from me, because I'm back to once again torture you with my verbosity, to assault your senses with my bad tenses and yes, let's not forget my gross overindulgence in parentheses and exclamation points. (Why wait? Let's start immediately!!!! My frozen fingers need the exercise!)

Seriously though... sorry if I worried you! I'm really okay now. I just needed a bit of time away. Thank you for your patience during this time and for all the concerned and witty comments and the private e-mails to check if I'm still alive. Yes, alas, there is life in me yet. But is it intelligent life? (Don't answer that unless it's a resounding YES!)

I might eventually go into more details about why I had the blues, but for now I'll just say that it has a LOT to do with my life (or lack of) as an outlawed alien and for the fact that my AV (Alien Vessel. Yes, it's sounds almost like RV because it bears an uncanny resemblance to a flying Winnebago) has been in the same holding pattern for a very long time now.

On the upside: Apparently I couldn't have picked a better time for my bout of depression. I'm sure a lot of you heard about the British shrink who declared that last Monday (the 24th) was the worst Monday of the year.

In case you didn't know that last Monday was supposed to be the worst Monday of the year and you wish to believe that TODAY is the worst Monday of the year, I can only say that you need to take it up with Dr. Cliff Arnalls himself. Besides, he cited concrete evidence like self-loathing due to derailed New Year's resolutions, fading Christmas memories, debt, foul weather and the lack of coffee and a canine companion. (Okay, not really the last two. I just wanted to see whether the boy is paying attention to my not so subtle hints.) He even wrote a formula for his calculated Day of Misery: 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA.

Just change the 3/8 into 2/4 and the D-d into an R-r and accept it as my doctor's note for why I was absent for so long.

(Oh, and don't forget to put the whole thing in parenthesis.)

Red is Blue

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Red has been quiet
Because Red has been blue
And she doesn't want
To depress you too

Fortune Cookie

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Since I know that I'm supposed to be watching what I eat (and I really do! I take a close-up, intense look of every fork- or spoon- or chopstickful that passes under my nose on the way into my mouth), I've decided to follow the advice frequently offered by nutritionists and to write down what I eat.

But since I don't really like to make lists, I've decided to do it a bit differently. So instead of writing down "Today I ate chicken cashew, rice and a fortune cookie," I'm just going to write down what fortune I got in the cookie. That way I'll not only remember that I had Chinese takeout for dinner on Thursday the 13th of January 2005, but it would be interesting to look back say, a year from now, and see whether or not that particular fortune befell me.

I've even created a whole new category especially for the Fortune Cookie.

However, being the juveniles that we are, the boy and I've decided that no Fortune Cookie fortune would be entirely complete without adding the words 'in bed' at the end of it.

So here, with that little modification at the end, my first Fortune Cookie fortune:

After months of being largely ignored studied intensively yet from a safe distance, I'm releasing the D*R*E*A*D*M*I*L*L from laundry drying duties and... sit down for this and clutch your trembling heart...

She recently wrote an oh-so-enviably-eloquent and amusing account about going to the dentist in England. And since her dentist turned out to be good, harmless and South African (of course! You should've known that after I had used "good" and "harmless" in the description), I think it calls for a celebration, because I absolutely LOVE the fact that South Africans pop up anywhere and everywhere. (Don't tell anyone, but it's all a part of this little plan we have to take over the world. Shhhhh!)

So since we're celebrating an imminent global South African Invasion, I shall promptly proceed to torture you by relating my very own recent dental experiences here in the United States.

It's Friday!

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And aren't you glad?

Because I have absolutely NOTHING to say!

A few years ago a friend gave me a t-shirt containing a slogan that accurately sums up the state of my life: "God placed us on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I'm so far behind, I will never die."

I don't have the t-shirt anymore, but I still haven't caught up on the "things" (whatever it may be) that I need to accomplish.

Legend has it that I was born two weeks early, thus robbing my parents of precious personal time (despite the presence of my three older sisters, but according to them, they were fiercely independent from the second they gasped their first breaths).

In retrospect, I'm sure that is where things started going awry. I'm adamant that those fourteen days extra of resting cozily in the womb would have been crucial to my development. The result of my premature arrival was the delivery of a very lethargic child who, right off the bat, decided to compensate for lost snooze time by postponing all activities that would be remotely strenuous - which pretty much includes everything that involves being awake.

It turned me into a masterful procrastinator. In fact, I even have the ability to procrastinate procrastination itself!

If I get around to it, I will tell you how I manage to do that. See you next week!

Just kidding…

Seriously though, how do I get anything done, ever?

Last minute. In the nick of time. And the completion of a task is always nothing short of miraculous.

Procrastinators thrive on deadline. Which is our main excuse for putting things off. We love the adrenaline rush that comes with the territory. And just because it's a tad safer than bungee jumping or skydiving doesn't mean that we are lesser adrenaline junkies than those who literally put their lives on a line!

During my days as a reporter (yes, alas: long ago, during the more productive time of my mostly misspent youth, I was actually a Professional. I'm not quite sure what kind of Professional I was, exactly, but I was a Professional!), I used to love that panic-stricken look - which almost borders on raw madness - in the eyes of a desperate editor, mere minutes before a due deadline. And then there was the admiration of colleagues and the astonishment and relief of the same editor moments later when the completed copy was delivered.

According to an unidentified source, procrastination has quite a lengthy history of which a large part remains unrecorded. Well, that's a shocker! Of COURSE it remained unrecorded! The fact that someone back in the 17th Century never got around to sitting down to wax lyrical about procrastination is enough proof that it existed.

Anyway, it's been around long enough for Samuel Johnson to write an entire essay about it. Ironically enough, the inspiration came to him along with a messenger boy who had arrived to pick up a piece of writing due for publication. Rumour has it that our good Mr. Johnson, who had nothing to give the boy, shut himself in his study where he momentarily came up with his famous procrastination essay. Whenever I read it, I love to imagine ink flying from the inkwell as he frantically dipped his quill into it. I'd hate to think that he eased through it without even breaking a sweat.

I have also read somewhere that perfectionists tend to procrastinate because they can't bear doing something half-heartedly, therefore they'd rather not do it at all. That is by far my favourite (and perfectly valid) excuse.

But trust Americans to not merely let us procrastinators be. Here they have support groups (complete with a twelve-step program and bad coffee) to help you break the off-putting habit of putting things off. I think it's rather ambitious of them, because I can't imagine anyone showing up on time for the meetings!

In my ideal world, I would have a PRO-Castinator (as opposed to ANTI-) support group where the motto will be: "Why do those things today that you can put off until tomorrow?"

Besides, as a born and bred South African, I also have the unique (but valid!) excuse of still operating on "African Time", that mysterious but fabulous time zone where tomorrow is always another day. As PRO-Castinators, our only aspiration has to be to live up to the following wisdom from Don Marquis: "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday."

So if anyone's looking for me, I'll be on the couch, pondering yesterday, when I was also on the couch.

At a few minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve, in what can only be described as a major mid-air scuffle, Santa Claus and his team of faithful reindeer were intercepted by the Tooth Fairy in the moonlit (or was the glow caused by the blinding holiday lights decorating the houses below?) and cold, clear skies above Hampden, a somewhat quirky neighbourhood in Baltimore, Maryland.

According to riveting eyewitness accounts of the event, the Tooth Fairy (who was described by one very puzzled witness as a gravity defying, large, hairy man with a tiny wing span, and wearing a torn but frilly, pink dress. The police took this description with a grain of salt, calling it "preposterous!", "inaccurate!" and "highly unlikely!", and saying things like "we all KNOW the Tooth Fairy is a dainty and very aerodynamic little girl". At first police ascribed the inaccurate eyewitness account to the witness suffering from what is clearly a case of Post Traumatic Stress disorder (a common affliction among eyewitnesses), but the department quickly retracted most of the above statements (it's hard to tell which ones) when a few other eyewitnesses nervously came forward, one even delivering a very grainy and blurry but undisputably credible (even though it had no sound) video tape recording - which shall henceforth be known as Exhibit A - of the whole affair)... now where was I?

Oh, yes. According to the wildly different (but variety is the spice of life) eyewitness accounts, as well as the blurry but soundless images amateurishly captured on Exhibit A, the Tooth Fairy (who from that angle did indeed look very much like a large man in a dress) in a shrewd (but despicable!) manoeuvre, derailed the reindeer from their high speed gift delivery path by spanning dental floss across it, thereby causing the first two reindeer (Rudolph, Dancer and Prancer. Yes, I know I wrote "two", but the eyewitnesses swore that Rudolph, Dancer AND Prancer were the two reindeer in question. Apparently eyewitnesses don't have to be highly skilled in mathematics) to trip over it. This resulted in an unpleasant chain reaction crash and dominoe effect topple of the whole lot of them.

Poor Santa was tossed from his wrecked sleigh, catapulting through the sky as if he was a weightless entity, and gifts of various sizes were scattered everywhere, the wrapping torn to shreds and the bows askew.

"It was utter carnage!" The police spokesperson declared in a solemn tone. (Even though there were no known fatalities among the victims.)

According to more conflicting eyewitness reports, the Tooth Fairy then ransacked the gift bags, looting several home dental care and tooth whitening products.

Even after hearing this, (and Santa's Elves later confirming the conspicuous absence of those objects from the salvaged gifts) the police maintained that there was still no known motive for "what can only be described as a very unfortunate accident." (Even though the Tooth Fairy was captured in close-range on Exhibit A and can be clearly seen (it was actually the only bit on the whole video tape that was in focus) mouthing the word (and this was later confirmed by a hearing, lip-reading expert) "Sabotage!"* while sporting a wicked and - as can be expected - toothy grin.)

* The lip-reading expert would later reluctantly admit - but only after increasing pressure - that there may have been a teensy tiny, itty BITTY chance that he could've misunderstood, and that what he had interpreted as "Sabotage" may very well have been "Open the Garage" or "See That Mirage" or, in the unlikely event that the Tooth Fairy is French Canadian or even just French, he may have an accent and so he could've said: "Take out the garbage", because his pronunciation would've caused "garbage" to sound more like "gar-baaaaaahge", thereby rhyming with "garage" and "mirage". The moral of this bit of the story is that one should really never trust in a hearing lip-reading expert. Unless of course you have absolutely NO other alternative.

Anyway, the police claim that they are still working hard to solve the case, but - if you will forgive me editorializing for just a moment - I think they're only saying that because the Elves have been withholding all the gifts that were supposed to go to all the members of the Baltimore City Police and their immediate families, refusing to hand it out until the case is solved and the stolen goods recovered. So the police are much more interested in appeasing the Elves in order to get the gift embargo lifted, so that "our poor kids and wives can finally get their presents and stop driving us crazy. You can't blame them though, because it's almost January!*"

* Of course, that was said on December 31st. So then it WAS just almost, but not quite yet, January. Of course, now it IS January.

But all of that aside...

Back to Christmas Eve, when Hampden children small and a bit larger (like me) were fighting sleep while eagerly awaiting Santa's arrival, oblivious to the pandemonium carrying on in the skies high above their neighbourhood.

I myself was drifting off when I was suddenly jolted awake by a loud bang on the roof of our house.

I bravely ran downstairs (away from the sound). Honestly though, I wasn't just going to cower in a corner, I was really going to cower and peek out from behind my teddy bear (tightly clutched and held up in front of me like body armour) to investigate.

It was during this time, as I was peeking out from behind my teddy, that I happened to look out the window and see something flash and fall from the sky.

(To be continued...)

Dear Phantom Readers,

Okay, so three of you are real (or spambots freakishly good at creative writing), because you comment regularly and say nice things to me and pretend to like what I write. (See why I suspect that you are not real?)

Thing is, I've been reading a lot of other blogs and online journals, and every once in a while, the authors of some of those sites disable their comments because of hate mail.

Now, don't get me wrong: I love the fact that the three comments I receive on a regular basis are always nice and funny and sunny and fill me up with fuzzy, uplifting feelings and build up my self-esteem.

But I have to admit that I'm a little bit jealous of those lucky recipients of hate mail.

I see it like this: If people take the time out to comment on your site (whether it be fluffy, fuzzy nice comments, funny comments or even hateful comments), they obviously care enough about your writing to take the trouble to leave you a few words.

Even if those words can't be repeated in polite company.

See my point?

So, this year, I want to be like those very popular recipients of hate mail.

Please help me make my dream come true! I am the perfect candidate for hate mail: I'm a pale, freckly redheaded immigrant (so if you're a Xenophobe or simply anti-immigration... what are you waiting for? Don't even finish reading this, just go straight to the comments and go for it!) and my posts are often times so lame that I really have no business of having a blog in the first place. I'm also clumsy, "dislecksick", lazy and I procrastinate. (And I grossly overuse parentheses.)

Go ahead, give it your best shot. (Please?)


P.S. Happy New Year to you all!

P.P.S. I didn't mean that! I didn't mean to be nice, so I take that back. Now, insult me!


is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
  • Terra.Shield : OH! ... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: Be a bit like serving drinks at AA?... [go]
  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Ms. Crazy Cat Lady Pants!!! Squeeeee! Sooo good to see you! (I thought NO ONE was bothering to read ... [go]
  • Ms. Pants : Kitties don't get enough credit sometimes. (All times, if you ask me, but I'm a Crazy Cat Lady.)... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Hey Tamara! I know, right?? That is a tough act to follow indeed. I adored that dentist. He used to ... [go]
  • Tamara Tipton : Well, I am not sure how any dentist could live up to that standard! LOL! I hope your appointment was... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
  • Po : Those questions run through my heads for various times in my life too, that is for sure!... [go]
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