September 2005 Archives


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You all know that the A - Z Time/Life Medical Encyclopedia is one of my favourite reads. I highly recommend it to anyone*, but especially to those of us who take ourselves seriously as practicing hypochondriacs and lay doctors.

Don't be deceived by the book's modest size either. Sure, it might not be the thickest medical text around, but trust me, it contains diseases and possibilities for self-diagnosis that you haven't even DREAMED of yet! (And if you haven't dreamed lately, well... according to the book a state of constant dreamlessness smacks of serious underlying psychological issues. Or a severe case of insomnia. Either way, it's bad.)

However, this bug my sister brought with her on her recent visit from South Africa and - when she couldn't stuff it in her suitcase along with all the shoes she bought - decided to leave here when she went home again, has turned out to be quite difficult to shake.

At first I thought it was the flu (after all, I have all the symptoms as listed under "F" and "Flu" in the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia) and I thought I would get better when I resumed my regular schedule of rest and relaxation.

So as soon as my energetic sister with all her draconian demands (like telling me to get UP! EVERY day! Before the crack of NOON!) went home, I dove back into bed, only surfacing every couple of hours to replenish my blood coffee levels.

It worked. One day I woke up and knew I was feeling better when I poked my nose out from under the duvet and I was able to actually smell the coffee again.

I celebrated my recovery by immediately taking a long nap. I was viciously shaken awake a bit later as rasping, racking coughs were sending spasms through my body. Talk about a rude awakening!

This specific symptom - illusion of wellness only to then get sick all over again - can be found nowhere in the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia, which has left me to draw only one conclusion: If the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia hasn't even heard of this flu yet, then it MUST be serious and indigenous to Africa. (And usually "serious" and "indigenous to Africa" go hand in hand. I mean, just look at me! Do you get anyone more serious and African than me?? Exactly. I didn't think so.)

The last time I veered off my usual serious, soft news blog subjects and mentioned this Afri-flu I have been struck with, Tim T. wanted to know if the African flu roams the savannahs with the zebra, lions, etc. That is sooo typical of Tim T., asking all the hard-hitting questions without batting an eye. (Granted, even if he HAD batted an eye whilst typing that hard-hitting question, I wouldn't have seen it. Which in turn bodes the question: If someone bats an eye and no one else is around to see it, did the person really bat an eye?)

I don't know, Timmy T. While I believe the Afri-flu HAS been spotted stalking prey on the savannah (causing lions to cower and elephants to plunge trunk-first into watering holes, causing all the water to instantly depart from said watering holes with one gigantic, sweeping splash, which of course had other severe consequences like drought), sightings of the Afri-flu have also been reported (in wheezing, rasping voices) from several night spots in and around Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

According to the most recent sighting claims, the Afri-flu was seen gnawing another hole in the ozone layer, this time above Bloemfontein. At first the claim was dismissively filed away in a government folder under "R" (for "Rubbish, blatant rubbish!"), because it was suspected that the whole thing was a desperate attempt by the Bloemfontein Tourism Board (but "Bored" is how they've been spelling it on their official stationery) to try and finally convince the world that things really DO happen in Bloemfontein. (Even if it IS only sometimes, and, technically, only ABOVE the city.)

However, the file was promptly removed from the "R" "Rubbish blatant rubbish!" folder when several other witnesses stepped forward, because not only did those witnesses have matching reports of the sighting (this may have been due to the fact that they were all interviewed together, in one room, but never mind), but they also had very concrete evidence (called "indisputable" by the government representative (the vice-chairman of the Afri-flu subcommittee) during his lengthy television news appearance. He insisted on using up every last second of his fifteen minutes of fame).

The "indisputable" evidence? Identical and very prominent farmer's tans, inspiring the vice-chairman to point out: "Those tans are indisputable evidence of another hole in the ozone layer! Bloemfontein residents used to have impressive farmer's tans before, but THESE!"

He paused dramatically, allowing the glowing tans to speak for themselves.

"As we all know, a good tan can only be judged by its tan lines, and we, the government of South Africa, believe that these tan lines are so impressive that these Bloemfontein residents will, for as long as these tans last, look as if they are wearing clothes, even when they are not!" That last remark had the Bloemfontein residents in question (who were already beaming brightly thanks to their ozone-free, early spring sun exposure), positively oozing with pride.

After the chairman's lengthy speech (during which he had managed to smoothly divert the attention away from the Afri-flu epidemic by convincing the Bloemfontein residents with the farmer's tans to help prove his point that they look clothed even when they're not) aired on television, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was flooded by letters of complaint from the South African Skin Cancer Prevention Society (SASCPS) and the South Africans Against Nudity on Prime-Time (Or Any Time For That Matter) Television Society (SAANPT(OATFTM)TS). (And just as a quick, but fascinating aside: the SAANPT(OATFTM)TS is the first Society in sub-Saharan Africa (and the world!) to have parentheses within its acronym.)

Anyway, the Afri-flu is highly contagious. It spreads from animal to human (and vice versa), from fauna to flora and - as I've concluded from the sputtering noises and anguished beeps that came from the laptop before it froze, then overheated, then turned itself off (but not before it deleted all my work, including this and a few other words-in-progress blog entries. Alas, I'm afraid the laptop ate my homework!) - from human to machine.

On behalf of the chairman of the Afri-flu Subcommittee, I'd like to thank you for taking part in this voluntary experiment to see whether or not the Afri-flu is able to penetrate computer screens and infect readers of this blog, who, according to the chairman, are probably already a bit soft in the head (and therefore probably have very low if not non-existent immune systems) for subjecting themselves to this mindless, nonsensical drivel on a regular basis.

"In which case," he said, "contracting the Afri-flu would only do them all a world of good in the long run."

* The Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia makes a great gift, especially to hospital patients who can't sleep. Give them this book to read, and I guarantee that it will cure their insomnia. Because after reading this book and reading about all the things their doctors are probably NOT telling them, it won't be insomnia keeping them awake at night!

If I felt any crummier...

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... I would be a loaf of bread.

My sis is gone and suddenly the house seems unbearably quiet and empty.

Her 18-day visit flew by so quickly, it felt more like 18 hours.

Luckily, she left us with a rather distracting memento... the flu.

Not just any flu either. A potent, monstrous South African flu! (This after I'd TOLD her that I didn't want any gifts! Next time I'll ask for Pro Nutro* instead.)

Seriously, my poor sis fell ill shortly before leaving South Africa and unfortunately she didn't quite shake it while she was here - even though she did so generously pass it on!

The boy contracted it first and I managed to proudly dodge their germs. All these years in the U.S. must've made me soft though, because I was finally struck down last week.

So here I am... a pathetically sad and sniffling heap who is feeling completely crummy.

Which is why I'll be loafing some more until further notice... (Not too much longer, though, I promise!)

* Pro Nutro: A South African breakfast cereal. I've been a proud, life-long addict. Knowing this, my sis DID bring me a couple of boxes of the stuff, even without being asked!

Separation Anxiety

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Why why oh why does time seem to fly by when you least want it to?!?

My sister will be leaving again on Saturday and I'm already suffering from severe separation anxiety...

I don't know how long it will take me to recover from the trauma of saying the much dreaded goodbye, but as soon as that happens, I promise to resume my regularly scheduled leisurely blogging.

In the mean time, I'd be happy to receive overnight shipments of all your spare Valiums!

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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