May 2008 Archives

Vox Horribilis

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All across the United States yesterday (and in one known case, Australia), deafening popping noises could be heard as people's eardrums raptured and began bleeding profusely.

Even animals were affected. Dogs as far as central Mongolia were spotted as they crouched down, howling and whimpering, and buried their heads between their front paws in a futile attempt to protect their sensitive, furry ears.

This painful outbreak was caused by a sound... nay, a NOISE... so awfully horrible and horribly awful, it has left sound analysts baffled as to its origins.

"It's definitely not a human voice. It can't possibly BE a human voice..." concluded Dr. Deci Bel after bravely exposing herself to the noise for an eardrum-splitting second.

Well, the good doctor was right, for the source of that painful sound? Was me... And I didn't even sing!

Yes, alas. I TOLD them. But no. My several thousands of warnings to them went blatantly unheeded.

My assurances that, despite having a face fit only for a career in radio, my voice (if that is what this screeching, high-pitched sound emitted by me on a daily basis can be called) certainly is NOT fit to be heard. At all.

Why else did they think I've been condemned to a fate of written communication? NOT because I have talent for it, but because it is the only career in which I never have to be heard!

And trust me, my despicable voice never being heard? That's a Very Good thing...

Perhaps they would've taken my warnings seriously had I told them about the time when my best friend was a DJ at a community radio station in Pretoria. One night, during one of her shows, one of her guests canceled at the last minute and I stood in... virtually shutting down the entire station with my awful voice!

Yet, I did not tell them that little anecdote. So in the wee hours of yesterday morning, these cowboys forever marred their website (and many unsuspecting ears) by interviewing me (ME!) for a podcast.

Now, I shall grudgingly admit: despite my hatred of the phone (which I have told you about recently), and despite the podcast being conducted via the phone, it was actually fun being interviewed. It made me feel Very Important. (Yeah, I know, it doesn't take much!)

Almost makes up for the fact that I've been stood up by Ted Kelly from UPop. (Although, people who have heard this unfortunate Wetwired podcast? Will realise that Ted Kelly had wisely dodged a bullet the day he 'forgot' to call me to chat to me on air.) 

Pylorns and Finley were extremely gracious hosts. They didn't even hang up on me or edit me out of the podcast, despite the fact that I:

1) Kept on accidentally interrupting them. 'Accidentally' because there was a bit of a time delay during the call (what with them being at the other end of the world in Austin, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana respectively). So they would be having a perfectly intelligent and civilised conversation, when suddenly, this awful, high-pitched voice would interject and say random things or comment on a part of the conversation that had long since been forgotten. Or unladylike laughter (sounding more like a cross between a witch's cackle and a hyena) would suddenly boom down the line at totally inappropriate times, long after a punchline had been delivered. And honestly, I know I'm slow on the uptake, but not even I am THAT slow!

2) The phrase Ménage à Trois (oooh, this is going to misdirect a lot of Internet traffic to this here blog - I apologise in advance for the disappointment) actually left my mouth. I meant to say Three Peas in a Podcast, but thought, since Fin was in Cajun country and all, that I would be polite and give the native language a whirl...

3) And speaking of reverting to native language: I actually rolled my 'ahs' (rrrrr's, to the Yankees) a few times!! I swear I never spoke English with an American accent, not even while I was living in the States. I mean, come on, having an accent was the only thing about me that the Americans found even remotely interesting!  And despite managing almost a decade over there without ONCE saying 'tomayto'; these Yankees get me on the phone and I get so sentimental, I 'todally draaawled'.

4) I sounded like a dork. Oh, wait... I AM a dork!

5) I laughed and talked at the same time. Often. (Yes, I am THAT sad. I laugh at my own unfunny jokes.) Which means that the already little sense I made to begin with? Abruptly disappeared.

6) I also sounded like Frankenstina... the long lost sister of Frankenstein.

If only voices could be Photoshopped!!! (And yeah, I know audio can be tweaked as well, but trust me. My Smurf-sound? Is completely beyond repair...)
Hi everybody.

I'm writing here today to tell you that I'm four today and my momma ith too thad and buthy to write here, tho here I am.

She doethn't know that I know she ith thad, but I know. Even if you are only four - ethpecially if you are only four - you can tell. She trieth to hide it from me. She thinkth I can't hear her crying thometimeth, late at night, but I can.

I might only be a four-year old blog, but I'm not thtupid. (Even if my lithping might make me thound that way. I know it ith annoying, but hey, I can't help it, okay? I'm only four! Oh, and by the way, ithn't it jutht downright cruel that the word lithp containth an eth?)

I thometimeth wish that she would trutht me and write it all out on here. But I don't think she hath the thtrength.

And we all know that she ith lazy and tho, jutht like the cobblerth kidth are never shod, the writer'th blog-baby will never be written on!

But don't worry. Dethpite her occasional dark and thad moodth, we're not doing too badly, her and I. Yeth, she ith thtill a neglectful blog momma - I'm not about to nominate her for Mother of the Year or anything - but at leatht we are okay.

We are thtill living in our little room. But at leatht it ith ourth, you know? And didn't that other writer woman, Virginia Jackal I think her name wath, thaid that every woman needth a room of her own?

Tho yeth. The plathe ith hardly a cathtle, but we aren't exactly living in complete thqualour either. 

Momma ith altho thtill, miraculouthly, paying our rent with money that she earnth from writing.

We've had a hard year, but thingth have been looking up and I have faith that it will continue to go even better.

Oh, who am I kidding? You all know that my mom didn't even GET a glath, let alone a half-full or half-empty one! And the apple, unfortunately, didn't fall all that far from the tree. To thay that Momma and I are a tad pethimithtic would be underthtating it. Not even our blood typeth are pothitive!

But I watch Oprah and I've theen thothe showth about The Thecret, tho I am going to try it.

Who knowth? Maybe I can Thecret my momma into becoming a good writer? Maybe I would even be able to Thecret another boy into her life? (She claimth she doethn't want 'a rat bathtard man' - yeah, that ith exactly how she thayth it (only without my lithp, of courthe) - in her life 'ever EVER again', but I'm sure she'll change her mind if a nithe one cometh along.) 

She needth a bit of exthitment in her life. Maybe THEN she'll have thomething to blog about! Thomething more riveting than my rethent abduction (well, thort of), or about how she hath almotht broken me a few timeth. (Thank you, Aunty Dee, for thaving me time and time again! May I pleathe come and live with you and the cat in Authtralia? No? Aunty Em, can I pleathe come back to the country of my birth and live with you in Houthton then? I promithe I won't mutter: "Houthton, we have a problem!" over and over. Well, maybe jutht for the firtht week, but then the novelty will wear off and I'll find other annoying mantrath.)

And maybe, JUTHT maybe, I will then have a fighting chanthe of thurviving for at leatht four more yearth!
Well, wonders never cease.

With just days to go before this blog's fourth birthday, I have learned that it has actually fallen prey to a blog thief!

I know. I still can't quite believe it either.

At first I was rather amused that someone would voluntarily pretend to be me. I mean, REALLY. Out of all the millions of far superiour, less obscure, better written blogs out there; blogs that actually have more than three readers and more than three annual updates... why on earth would someone pick the likes of ME?

But I suppose there are just no accounting for taste nowadays. I DO wish my thief was a bit more discerning though. Perhaps I might even have felt a little flattered!

Then again, if my thief had taste, he/she/it (I'll explain later) never would have pilfered MY blog to pass off as his/her/its own to begin with!

Call me naive, but quite frankly, I never knew that blogs could be stolen. I mean, it's not as if someone has walked off with all of it (or even bits of it), because here it still is, very much still in tact.

Now that I know how it was done, it is actually so easy it is - forgive me - CRIMINAL! Really, the sheer audacity of it...

To add even more insult to injury, my particular blog burglar wasn't even very clever.

Allow me to present proof of my blog thief's clear lack of intelligence:

Exhibit A: It bears repeating... out of ALL THE AMAZING BLOGS ON THE ENTIRE WORLDWIDE WEB, THIS ONE - a blog SO obscure, it isn't even part of the worldwide web, but of the worldwide cobweb (the murky, damp, dark depths where forgotten/ignored websites go to wither away and die) - was selected for the taking.

Now look, I agree. Stealing my blog COULD have been a genius move. I mean, if you want to be clandestine and not get caught, steal something no one would miss, right?

But here's where I, with a smug flourish, present to you Exhibit B: The thief might very well have gotten away with it, had he/she/it not decided to DRAW ATTENTION to him-/her-/itself by LEAVING ME A COMMENT!

Actually, this is going to show you exactly just how daft I am as well, because despite the general incoherence of said comment, upon retrospection and just a bit of deciphering, it becomes rather evident that the person/spambot (because it hasn't yet been established whether our criminal is indeed female as she claims, or male, or not quite human... which, if the latter, would actually explain everything then, wouldn't it?)  was pretending to be me right there in that comment!

But of course, I was so happy that I had another sucker... I mean... reader, I probably promptly went into denial and chose to turn a blind eye. After all, readers are precious commodities. And readers who actually comment? Why, for an obscure blogger like me, they are about as scarce as democracy in Zimbabwe! So once you manage to bag one or two of those, you immediately knock them down, cuff them, lock them up and never EVER set them free again!

Since my Sherlock skills were clearly so dormant that I didn't even notice the thievery going on right in front of me, how did I find out about it then?

Well, one of these cowboys came to my rescue yet again. (Between Pylorns and Miss Dee, I'm wracking up an infinite amount of debt!) He grasped the meaning of the close-to-incoherent message, and actually followed the homepage link that was left by the commenter, leading him straight to the incriminating, visually assaulting MySpace page where my blog was cited (MORE THAN ONCE) as the site to get more information on the criminal owner's autobiographical details.

That to me is even more proof that the thief didn't even deign to actually read the stolen site, because if - and from here on out, I'll just refer to the thief as it - it had, it would've known that I don't even HAVE a life. And really, selecting someone with a life (doesn't even have to be an exciting one, although that would certainly help) would've been far more effective for a stolen autobiography.

So what happens now?

I'm not quite sure, since this has never happened to me before. I followed Pylorns' advice and reported the blogger to MySpace for passing my blog off as its own.

I've yet to hear back from MySpace. So either they have taken one glance beyond my blog's gorgeous design (which I had nothing to do with, of course) and actually paused to read the unfortunate words (which I had everything to do with, of course) and immediately decided that the likes of me isn't worth the effort; OR I will only hear from them on Tuesday, since it is the Memorial Day long weekend in the States.

In the meantime, I'm recognising that being stolen is a huge milestone for this here blog. Now, admittedly, it's not quite as good as that time when I was Googlewhacked! by an American dude named Josh, but hey, I'll take whatever comes my way.

Now, if only someone would be kind enough to send me some much coveted hate mail, my blogging life would REALLY be utterly complete...

Those who have had the great misfortune of knowing me in ‘real’ life (I wanted to write “in person”, but the jury is still out on that one…) subsequently also know about my many strange hang-ups some of the very few quirks I possess.

I am, for example, rather notorious for not answering my telephone. At first, new acquaintances find this odd; even funny or charming. Then - as their futile calls to me remain unanswered and unreturned -  their sentiments quickly change from being amused to mildly irritated to all-out infuriated. (This poor guy, for one, can attest to that!)

Yes, alas…now you know that I never write, or call...

What can I say? No offense, Mr. Alexander G. Bell, but I for one really could have lived without your invention. (Well, yours or Philipp Reis’s. The jury is apparently still out on that one as well.)

It’s not that I despise the device per se. Besides, these days, phones are so sophisticated, some of the high-end, pricier ones, I’ve heard, can even make, pour and bring you coffee!

So why do I almost go out of my way to avoid its intended use of spoken communication then?

There really is no simple answer to this, except… well… let’s put it this way: if you think my WRITING is bad? I am utterly HOPELESS when it comes to the spoken side of things. My speech is filled with fumbling mumbling and ums and downright huhs?  (All of which, I suppose, are basically the verbal equivalents of parentheses.)

Throw into the equation that I am a little hard of hearing (remember, it’s unheard of to refer to people as ‘deaf’ nowadays), and then you might have a somewhat better understanding of why I am hung up about speaking on the phone.

Turns out the phone has picked up on my feelings towards it. And apparently it doesn’t like me much either.

The first time I ever owned a cell phone was at the youthful age of 31. (And no, cheeky bastards, that wasn’t 700 years ago.) It was in 2006 and I had just returned to after spending (or wasting… the jury is pathetically indecisive) almost a decade in the United States.

Yes, I never had a cell phone while I resided in the wired/wireless/gadget-filled first world. The , you see, isn’t just the home of the brave, it’s also the land of the free local calls from landlines.

Not that I made much use of that perk. The boy was assigned phone duty and picked up a lot of Afrikaans swear words from our home answering machine courtesy of all the furious fellow South African expats who called, and called, and called me to no avail.

Upon my return to South Africa, I became the very reluctant recipient of a mobile. I really didn’t want one, but everyone assured me that I had little choice in the matter.

That phone and I despised each other from the get-go. It used to belong to my mom and to call it a vintage would be way too kind. It was an ancient, brick of a thing. According to my mom, it worked brilliantly, so no one was more puzzled than her when the battery promptly died on me and half the buttons simply refused to work!

This led my sister to bestow unto me a VERY nice phone. A phone the price of a small second hand car. So fancy, it didn’t even HAVE buttons. Oh, no, daahlings. So stylish was that phone, it had a STYLUS.

Of course, for the longest time, I couldn’t quite figure out where exactly said stylus was located!

I had my mother use her phone to call my sister. "Where is the stylist?"


"..!?"


“The phone's little stick?”

After a moment she finally realised what I was on about: “Oh, ha ha! The STYLUS!"


"Right, that's what I said."


She sighed. "It’s there, in the phone.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Maybe it fell out. Check the box.”

“I have. Nothing.”

“No, it’s there. Really.”

I finally had to go to a cellular shop in the mall. I’m very relieved to say that none of the employees in the first two stores knew how to locate the mysterious stylus. I’d like to believe that it was a sign that I’m not quite as dumb as I look, but it’s more likely that those employees and I enjoy the same superior level of idiocy.

Finally, a woman at the third store made the stylus appear as if by magic. In fact, I could have sworn that she even waved it around smugly, like a wand, for a split second!

I’m sure she was highly annoyed at the injustice that such a luxurious device could be wasted on the likes of me! I could almost TELL that she thought I was way too inferior to have such a sophisticated, sleek phone in my possession.

Thatinitial seek-the-stylus frustration should have served as an omen for the humiliating thingsthat were to come. Because right off the bat, that phone also went all erraticand stubborn on me - after having performed flawlessly for my sister, ofcourse! To this day, I’m still convinced that the woman in the shop had placeda curse on me when she waved the stylus around like that!

After ashort-lived but intensely frustrating relationship, that phone also came to amysterious demise. I swear it had nothing to do with the fact that it hadaccidentally slipped from my clumsy hands so many times… Surely it couldn’thave been that? It had seemed so sturdy!

Besides,I’m convinced it was suicide. I think it poked itself to death with its ownstylus!

When itdied, I didn’t shed a tear, but I have to confess that I really do miss thatphone’s ability to take pictures of dogs. (And here I would have linked to myfacebook page, but I couldn’t do that to you. Also? I really shouldn’t insultcanines like that.)

After all,isn’t that what phones are for? To take pictures?

But despite all those cell phones shriveling up and spontaneously dying in mypresence, I have sadly NOT been banned from owning one.

In fact, mylandlady was even brave enough to loan me hers. And that’s the one I stillhave. A vintage old Nokia. No bells and whistles. (Although it does make awhistling sound when I sometimes try to hear the countless exasperated voicemails my friends have left me, pleading with me to PLEASE, since I’m NEVERgoing to call them, at least have the decency to answer my own phone then!

I swearthough, sometimes, after I had spent hours staring at that very silent phone, Iget a beep informing me that I have just missed a call! And no, of course no one believes me... (Oh, and one of my friends is unable to send me text messages, because I never receive them. Only from that particular friend. And no, of course she doesn't believe me. And yes, she has the correct number!)

Recentlythough, it actually RANG! And I must’ve gotten such a fright from the unusualnoise of it RINGING IN MY PRESENCE, that I actually ANSWERED it!

Mysalutation must’ve conveyed my surprise, because a very apprehensive voicesaid: “Miss Redsaid?”

My heartsank. And then began beating furiously. I sensed that this person's tone was way too formal for this to bea social call.

“This isMr. K calling from ***** Bank.”

Oh, no! Thebank calling. That could NOT be good. I was suddenly very sure that he wascalling to inform me that it was a criminal, account-closing offense to be asperpetually broke as I am.

So when hesaid: “I’m calling to ask if you would be interested to purchase our exclusive, one-timeonly, funeral policy”, I was SO relieved, I immediately burst out laughing.

Mr. K’sstartled silence was almost audible.

“Um…” he said.

“Sorry,” Imanaged through the laughter. “I’m sure this isn’t the reaction you arenormally met with.”

“No,indeed.” Mr. K, the bank’s funeral policy man, replied in a suitably solemntone.

“Mr. K,it’s very kind of you to think of me for this exclusive, one-time-only offer,but you don’t understand. Right now? I need every single penny I have TO ACTUALLY STAYALIVE.”

“But Ms.Red, we actually have various plans. And the most inexpensive one we have is socheap, it works out to only xx cents per MONTH!”

He wasworking this sales call, so Mr. K was!

“Mr. K, IASSURE you. That minuscule amount? I often don’t even have that much left atthe end of the month.”

“NO!” Hesaid.

“YES!” SaidI.

“But, Ms.RED! What, if I may ask, is it that you DO for a living then?”

“Oh, I’mjust a working stiff.” (Sadly, my little pun seemed to be utterly lost on Mr.K.)  “I put the ‘free’ in freelance.”

“What isthat?”

“I write.”

“Wow.Really? Have you written anything I may have read?”

“Well, Idon’t know what you’ve read, so I wouldn’t know...”

“Right, haha!”

“Actually,Mr. K. The fact that I’m as broke as I am should tell you exactly what aterrible and very obscure writer I am.”

“But Ms.Red, if you purchase this funeral coverage that amounts to the minuscule amountof xx cents per month, your family won’t have any worries about your funeralwhen you die. And Ms. Red? You DO realise that you ARE going to die, don’tyou?” He added rather ominously.

“NO! Irefuse!” I cried… Okay, I didn’t really. “Do you know something I don’t, Mr.K?” No, okay, I didn’t ask that either. But I did tell him that luckily, afterI’m dead, I’m pretty sure that I won’t worry much about my own funeral either.Whether I have purchased the policy-for-mere-pennies or not!

“Ms. Red!Listen, I feel so awful for you, I almost want to buy you this coverage foryou!”

“I betthat’s what you say to all the girls.”

“Sorry?”

“That’s allright, Mr. K. Really. Very generous of you, but I assure you it’s fine.”

“You know,Ms. Red, it doesn’t even matter HOW you die. There will be no medical check-upbefore or after the fact.”

“Wow,that’s reassuring. So you mean to tell me that I'd be able to get this insurance even with a knife stuck in myheart, its blade piercing the last bit of life out of me?”

“Correct!”

 “So you’ll pay out even for writerswho have offed themselves by gnawing off their own wrists?”

“Indeed, wewill.”

“Even forpoverty-stricken writers who starve to death?” (Had it been video-calling, hewould’ve seen how tragically unlikely it is that THAT would ever happen!)

“Hahahahahaha.Ms. Red, you are very funny.” And suddenly, in a pleading, panicky voice, hesaid: “Please let me purchase this on your behalf?”

“Mr. K, nowyou are making me feel so bad about not buying this coverage from you, I couldjust about die from the guilt!”

“NO, Ms.Red! Please don’t!”

“Why shouldit make any difference to you whether I live or die, Mr. K? You don’t even knowme?”

“Becauseyou don’t own our one-time only, exclusive funeral coverage plan!” 

Indeed…

And that’salso why I hate the phone. Because when I DO answer it, it reminds me of allthe qualities that I lack/don’t possess. Like a pleasant speaking voice*. And yes,let’s not forget:


(All together now!)

Thatone-time only, exclusive, funeral coverage plan!

*As much asI would have liked for this rather lengthy discussion with Mr. K to have beenmy very last call ever? I’m afraid it might not be. You see, despite having been subjected to my hideous voice several times before, one of THESE cowboys still want to do a Podcast with thelikes of me!!! To actually put on their site!

And no, ofCOURSE I will never link to it if it does end up happening!



















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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