August 2007 Archives

Ancient

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Today I am older than I have EVER been before!

And yes, I know I said that last year, but this year it is really true, because last year I wasn't THIS old.

Luckily, to soften the blow a bit, I'm not the only one ageing today. Today is also the Ageing Day of an ex-boyfriend. (Happy birthday to us, Johnny Boy!) He is calling me from Mallorca later, the bum. Oh, well. At least he never forgets!

It is also Cameron Diaz's birthday.

And Mary Shelley, who scribbled Frankenstein. She created the monster when she was a mere 18 years old. In those moments when I suffer from delusions of grandeur, I pretend that I'm her reincarnation. WHADOYOUMEAN I'm more Frankenstein than Shelley?!?

My mom called me just after noon today to wish me. She waited to phone, she said, because I wasn't born until midday.

"What?" I asked. "You mean to tell me that there is actually a time of day before noon? I had no idea!"

Let it be known therefore that it is my birth right to sleep until noon. If only because I was such a considerate kid. You have to admit, it WAS rather nice of me to wait until the doctor was fully awake.

I had some more good news today. After some minor adjustments to it, the scale told me that I was 5 kilos lighter than I was yesterday!

They say with age comes wisdom. What about senility then? How do they (whoever THEY are) explain that then, huh? In my case, it's definitely more senility than wisdom. So I've decided to call it wisdumb.

Tomorrow I shall tell you about some of the wisdumb I've acquired through the years.

For now, my arthritic fingers need to rest.

Curled around the biggest cup of coffee it can find.

Stupefied...

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... And totally mystified as to how it could have happened to ME, of all people. But very, very grateful that it did.

I honestly can't believe this!!!!!

Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Where'd you all COME from?!? (And no, I don't mean those of you who voted under duress. Oh, right. That means everyone who voted for me, then.)

Seriously though, I've read all the other entries, therefore I know for a fact that this was DEFINITELY not a case of the best writer winning. You guys all wrote rings around me. I want to live in all your versions of Utopia too!

Congratulations to all of them - and especially Yebo and iMod, the runners-up.

And of course, a big thanks to Accelerate Cape Town and the great Web AddiCT(s) who allowed me to join the party (even though I was way more than fashionably late), without even deducting points for my procrastination! You guys have seriously made my year! Congrats on pulling off a successful contest and on your site's stylin' new design!

I know there are other people to thank (I believe that I've actually WON AWESOME STUFF!), but I'm so dizzy with delight that I'd better lie down right now before I faint on the spot!

Updated to say: I think you should please go and vote here instead of in my comments. Don't even scroll down on the other site. Just look at the stars and mouse over them to rate my story. When you give me a rating, it automatically registers the click as a vote! Not as labour intensive as it sounds. Honestly.

The following is an entry into yet another blogging contest! This particular contest was initiated by Accelerate Cape Town. It is called The Perfect City Challenge and contestants have been asked to come up with their own idea of Utopia. It is hosted by this amazing site and there are some cool prizes up for grabs, including free blog hosting. The winner will be determined by reader votes. So if you read it and like it, kindly vote for me!

My Perfect City.

The city of my dreams has the seductive romance and chic of springtime Paris; the dizzying dazzle of Rio de Janeiro during Carnivale; the year-round pulsating vibrancy of New York City; the distinguished and stately air (that can’t even be drowned out by the constant drizzle) of foggy old Londontown; the distinct and oddly delightful neon kitsch of the Sunset Strip in Vegas.

It hums to the rhythm of the beat poets of San Fransisco; to the jazz splashing out of the Bourbon Street bars in the French Quarter of New Orleans; to the intimacy of a late-night band moaning out a sensual tango in a tiny club in Buenos Aires; to a haunting Puccini aria soaring up from a stage Vienna; to the Islamic muezzin melodiously beckoning the faithful to prayer in Mecca; to the contagious laughter of happy people, young and old, anywhere in the world.

My perfect city has the tapped potential of an Oscar winner in Hollywood; the intellect of a Harvard graduate; the creativity of Leonardo da Vinci. My Utopia is beautiful, yet its beauty isn’t without flaws, for flaws, after all, are what lends character to people and places. It is as safe and comforting as a mother’s embrace, as welcoming as an old friend, as comfortable to be in as a favourite pair of jeans.

Every morning, it flings open its windows and doors to a new, sun-drenched, wind-swept, or rain-slicked day. Commuters and tourists hop on and off the efficient, punctual and fast public transit system – rides are free within city limits. Telecommuters who wish to get out of the house for a change of scenery set up shop at the charming sidewalk cafés, benefiting from the city’s free wireless and uncapped (uncapped!) fast (100 gbps) broadband Internet connection.

The architecture is diverse and interesting and steeped in history – or, if the buildings are modern and new – the stories behind their design. No more mind-numbingly boring carbon copied houses and buildings like those found in suburbia.

However, without the people living, working and loving in its buildings and moving through its streets and parks, the city would be a mere ghost. Therefore there are no abandoned buildings. No deserted alleys. The people are everywhere, all the time. Cyclists zoom past on the city’s winding bicycle paths. Others simply walk, and not just for the sole purpose of getting exercise. No, they walk (or jog, or rollerblade), simply because it is futile to resist the urge to be swept up in the energetic vibe of this city.

Children play safely in the parks – fragrant, lush havens throughout the city. At every park, street artists vie to show off their skills, leaving onlookers gawking in amazement. Grinning dogs strain at their leashes while walking their owners through the parks, on the sidewalks and on the beaches.

Entrepreneurs and artisans sell their wares at bustling, colourful markets. Housewives shop for fresh produce and use the time to linger, chatting with neighbours and vendors.

There is a library in almost every neighbourhood. They are free to join and open seven days a week. But for those of us who simply can't resist owning yet another tome, there are plenty of interesting little bookshops to feed the addiction. (And hopefully, an insatiable hunger for knowledge and books will be the only thing associated with the word addiction!) In my city, books are cheap, untaxed and in abundance.

Schooling is free in the city, and the standards are high, because in my dream city, teachers (and policemen, paramedics and nurses) are paid more than rock stars.

In my ideal city, residents promptly receive all their mail. It is delivered to their doorsteps, six days a week.

Every night, as the sun drowns somewhere beyond the far reaches of the ocean, my dream city dons a glittering gown of winking lights. Electricity is plentiful and cheap and generated by solar power and unobtrusively placed wind turbines. Buildings are sufficiently and inexpensively heated and cooled when necessary.

The streets are swept clean before everyone goes home. (Not that anyone in my dream city litters!) And in my dream city, everyone has a home to go to. There are no more homeless people. No more shabby street urchins. No more prostitutes. No more souls decaying in their own despair. There are no more chokingly, smoky, dangerous slums or depressing shanty towns. Proper homes – albeit modest and small – have been erected to house the poor and the formerly homeless.

The sweet, heavy scent of freshly-made coffee and newly-baked bread waft through the streets of my dream city. It mingles with the spicy, mouth-watering aromas of the cosmopolitan cuisine being cooked up in homes and restaurants. No one in this city ever goes hungry. No citizen is without hope.

Some might scoff at this description of the Utopia of my imagination. They might tell me that developing such a place would be impossible, impractical, illogical.

However, if those naysayers would only take a closer look at our very own Cape Town, they would see that the possibilities to make that city even greater are endless. It already has so many of the qualities that I have described. In many respects, I believe it is South Africa's version of Paris, San Fransisco, Rio, Buenos Aires, London...

Yet Cape Town is no cheap imitation. It is utterly, divinely, unique. With the buildings and people nestled safely below her ample, mountainous bosom - often modestly covered with a cloudy shawl - she lives up to her nurturing title as South Africa's Mother City.

As all three of my imaginary readers know by now... someone has actually been stupid gullible enough to employ the likes of me. To blog.

To BLOG!

No, not on here. Geez, I KNOW I'm lazy, but not even I am THAT much of a slacker!

No, I actually write a few times daily on that other blog. Besides, it's so much fun, it hardly even feels like work! (Better not repeat that "W" word again, lest my body catches on that I'm actually being productive and immediately seizes up.)

What's that? Oh, you want to know what I blog about?

Well... Oh, look! It's a nice day today, isn't it?

Okay, okay, fine. It's not THAT bad, even though the beat I cover is widely considered to be at the very bottom of the journalistic totem pole - although I have been (unconvincingly) consoled by well-meaning folk that it is definitely still higher up than horoscopes and obituaries.

That's right. I'm a celebrity gossip blogger.

Before you mock my profession, I want to remind you of all those times that you have sneaked a peek at the tabloids while standing in line at the grocery store check-out. And all those times that you have gone even further than that and actually paged through, for example, Heat (if you're in SA) and the National Enquirer (if you're in the States) while you wait. And all those times that you went beyond that and actually slipped it in with the rest of your purchases, to secretly read at home/work/wherever later on! Yes, see? I KNOW.

Well, rest assured that you are NOT alone. I know that too, because that blog actually receives more than 0 hits a day, and boasts more than three imaginary readers. (There are at least seven imaginary ones.)

Although I write a lot about the shenanigans of Britney and Paris and Lindsay and Nicole and the like, I do actually try to give some coverage to South African celebrities as well.

Now, keep in mind that many people in South Africa still don't even have Internet access. (Internet access here is RIDICULOUSLY expensive.) So needless to say, many people here don't quite know what exactly a blog is. (Or a blob. As my mom calls it when she tells people about her daughter, the blobber.)

Funnily enough, those South Africans who have come across the blog, haven't been shy about commenting on some of the posts. Especially the ones dealing with their favourite local celebs.

But don't be mistaken: their comments are not at all a sign that they actually like my writing. Or even, more likely, hate it! In fact, I might as well be chopped liver, because I am entirely ignored. Instead, all of them direct their comments to the celebrity I have written about.

That's right. I am actually getting celebrity fan mail! Only, it's not really mine, because it's not addressed to me. It is really, really strange. As if I'm a medium through which they can communicate with their favourite stars.

Just this past week again, an Afrikaans guy left me (or rather, a local female singer) a lengthy ode about how he absolutely loves and adores her and how he thinks she is the absolute BEST singer EVER in the ENTIRE South Africa. After buttering her up with compliments (and he really lay it on thick!), he abruptly changed his tune: "Look, I just happen to also be a song writer. Here are just some of the songs I have written for you to sing..." and here he proceeds with a lengthy list of titles so sappy, even Mills & Boon would flinch and possibly throw up from it. If you don't believe me, I have taken the liberty to translate some of the titles he sent: The Orphan (Sweetest gift), Lonely without You, Another waltz with my father and - because singing songs that don't contain actual words are huge in Afrikaans circles - Ting Tong Tingeling Too (Deceased Soldier).

I am totally not even kidding about the parantheses and its contents. Just when you think: Ting Tong Tingeling Too! That sounds like a really cheesy but upbeat song! Then you are instantly deflated and brought down to earth by the Deceased Soldier bit.

Now, usually, I let those Dear Celebrity-in-question comments slide, because who am I to burst their bubble? So I allow them to think that their comments probably reached their desired targets.

This time, though, the guy just seemed to have so many career aspirations riding on his comment. It is also evident from those song titles that he is a really sensitive type, no? So I took the trouble of sending him a personal e-mail back:

Dear *Guy's real name inserted here*

Thank you very much for the comment you left at Jetstreaker.com We wrote the article about Afrikaans Singer that you had commented on. Unfortunately, we are unable to relay your comment to her, since we do not have her personal information. Who knows though? One day she might just stumble on to your comment and get in touch with you!

Good luck!

Sincerely,
The Jetstreaker Team.

As you can see, I stopped just short of telling him: She does not actually live in these pages...

But I have to admit, I was rather charmed. I mean, it's probably the closest that I myself will ever come to being adored by legions of fans, and to see how devoted some of them are is really touchy AND creepy at the same time!

So my job? It is totally akin to being a celebrity.

In your Facebook

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I don't even recall signing up.

Until one day, earlier this year, when I received an e-mail cheerfully informing me: Red! So-and-so has written on your wall! Click on this link below to see what they have written.

Huh? I thought, as eloquently as always. And clicked the link anyway.

After a few incorrect password/member name combinations (why don't I, who can't remember what I've done even five seconds ago, just stick to the same password/member name combos for all e-mail accounts and subscription sites I belong to? But no. Why make something simple if I can make it complicated?) I eventually entered the correct combination, and... well, that's pretty much when my life stopped being my own.

Suddenly my day consisted of a barrage of poking and being poked back (ooh, sounds almost naughty), being bitten by chumps, being turned into a zombie, writing on walls (in short, almost everything we have been forbidden to do since Kindergarten), commenting on pictures and finding people. (In fact, all three of my imaginary readers already know the story about how I even found my high school boyfriend on facebook.)

I didn't quite reckon on being found myself!

For some reason, I am not facebooking (is it a verb now?) under my own full name. Just my initials and surname. (Yes, indeed. Who DO I think I am? J Freakin' K Rowling?)

I'm not saying I consciously didn't want to be found, but perhaps it was definitely in the back of my mind when I signed up and had to fill in my name. Kind of like when I was a kid. I was too shy to play, but I didn't want to be entirely excluded. So I merely sat on the sideline, watching from a distance. That way I still knew what was going on without being swept up in the action.

Besides, it's kind of difficult to be 32(!!! I still think I've made a dyslexic mistake and that the numbers should be typed the other way around. Hold on, all ye young ones. The ride of youth is fleeting) and to be starting over at the very bottom like I am right now. Especially when I just know that most of my peers are, if not close to the top of the corporate ladder, already more than halfway there! It's enough to make a girl feel very loserish indeed.

Maybe that's why I just typed in my initials and surname under my name.

I should have known that the powers of facebook extends beyond a mere technicality like that, though.

I honestly didn't. I mean, I had tried without success over the years to track down my best friend from high school. She has a very unique and beautiful name, so when the Internet came along, I thought that it would be relatively easy to find her. For years I played an Internet sleuth, spending hours online searching for her. Good ol'e Google was the magnifying glass to my Sherlock Holmes, but unfortunately, all I saw when I typed in her full name was thousands of hits... for beer.

I finally figured that she was probably married with a new, less beer-sounding surname. With a heavy heart, I gave up my fruitless searches.

Until facebook. Right around the time that I stumbled onto High School Boyfriend, I searched her name on there as well. Just for in case. But I got zero matches.

About a month ago, I received an e-mail. "Red! Best Friend From High School, still with beer-sounding surname, has written on your wall!"

I had to blink several times to make sure that it was true. When I realised that it was indeed her, I burst into happy tears.

I have not seen her since 1993, during our first year of college. We met when I was 14. I was the new girl at Performing Arts High School, and due to my spectacular failure of mathematics, I was promptly moved from my seat at the back of the class to the front row, where the teacher could keep a close eye on me. Not to give me extra help - I think she realised that I was long beyond help and hope - but because she had never in her entire teaching career encounter anyone quite as absolutely illogical (okay, plain stupid) as I was when it came to mathematics. Who could blame her for wanting to keep close tabs on such a freakish creature?

However, my dark cloud had a decidedly silver lining, as I ended up being seated next to one of the best friends I would ever have. But believe me, she was not seated in that row because she was slow on the uptake like me. No, she was in front because she was actually fascinated with the class. A very clever eager beaver. Until I came along and ruined her academic career with my bad influence... Well, ruin is not exactly the right word. Because despite me doing my best to distract her with lame jokes, she still aced everything, because she was That Clever. Unfortunately, none of it ever rubbed off on me. Even more unfairly than that, though, was the fact that she was both the brains AND the beauty of our dual operation!

The two of us became inseperable. I even spent some of the most amazing vacations I have ever had with her and her family. I had a crush on her big brother. I ADORED her mom. Her mom was not only the coolest mom I had ever met, but she was also incredibly kind and very sweet to me. Some of the happiest times I experienced during high school was spent with Best Friend and her family.

I have to admit though: despite my excitement of being reunited with her, I definitely had reservations too. I AM embarrassed about the current state of my life. There is no getting around it. I wasted a lot of years and energy chasing my American Dream, and when that didn't pan out it was really devastating to me. In fact, I still cry when I think about it! Anyway, the demise of my American Dream led to me coming home, defeated, tail-between-the-legs and with nothing to my name.

I just knew that she would be successful, and I was correct. She IS well on her way up the corporate ladder. About the only thing we have in common now is that we are both unmarried after having had long relationships in our 20s. She is super independent though and her life is more fullfilled than many of the married or coupled-up people I know. The girl has seen a lot of the world. She still takes classes and has a varied and rich life, both socially and intellectually.

I have been so touched, because upon finding me, she immediately wanted to book a flight and come and see me. As in immediately. I was honest with her and told her what a bugger up my life has been, and how shy I am to see her again (especially in my current state), but she has been completely amazing and non-judgemental.

So facebook? Yes, it has the ability to mysteriously suck huge chunks of time from your working day - which is why many South African companies have recently blocked it on their employees' computers - but oh, it rocks.

Because it also has this ability to reunite people who never should have lost each other in the first place.

Late this afternoon, I went to a shopping mall with my mom, my aunt and my sister.

Unlike most girls, I loathe shopping malls. But that's another story for another day.

On the way there, we drove on the three-lane highway, passing many subdivisions filled with identical houses. We also passed many advertising billboards, a big Toys "R" Us, a KFC, and a McDonald's.

At the mall, I wandered past a Nine West, a big local clothing store advertising that they're now selling clothes from the Gap, a Claire's and a Guess store.

But I almost wept from happiness when I discovered that this place* had just opened at the mall a month ago, and that they are the very first one in South Africa.

I immediately ran up to the shop, shrieking with delight. It was only once I had flung my entire body across the display counter, hugging it, that I overheard the manager telling one of the very stunned looking staff members: "She must be American. Only the American tourists have been reacting that way."

Now I only need a Starbucks.

Then again, a Green Card and a plane ticket back to D.C. won't hurt too badly either!

*What, surely you didn't think that I had gained weight in the States through sheer osmosis, did you?

Re(d)vision

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Whoa... no update in July.

That is scandalous, even for me, the World's Laziest Blogger.

The blog has been on my mind a lot. I've had every intention of writing posts in glorious prose... but no matter how hard I thought about it, no such posts appeared.

I ask you, why couldn't my pure intent lead to amazing blog content?

Of course, the upside of leaving the blog dormant for weeks at a time is that now I actually have some things to tell you. As opposed to before, when I just made stuff up.

Okay, so I don't really have THAT much to tell you (I'm still me - unfortunately - and even though I haven't been blogging, that doesn't mean I haven't been tethered to my bed or my computer for most of my time), but in the following days, you will hear - in no particular order - about how I made wine (I did!), how I was taken to a concert by another blogger (I was!), how my past is haunting me on (and off) facebook, how I went to a big birthday bash in Cape Town and met a million more people to add to facebook, how I've been propositioned by a man (I was! And yes, he is alive... but he is also very married!!!! So no, don't even gasp because I SO didn't and won't EVER do that. I know full well what it's like to be cheated on, courtesy of my former long-term American boy and his female co-worker. Feel free to insert a number of creative and yet very insulting adjectives here, because I can't even be bothered. I'm getting my therapy regarding that vicariously through acid-penned-when-it-comes-to-descriptions-of-her-sleazy-loser-scumbag-ex, Guardian columnist Liz Jones. Therefore I shall never even consider a relationship with someone who is already committed (be it by law or by his word) to someone else. Whether that word or law means anything to him or not. And for that matter, which is why I shall never again consider committing myself to someone who isn't canine.)

Where were we?

So what would you like to hear about first?



















about
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!)

online


comments
  • 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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