Alphabet Soup: May 2007 Archives

"So you mean to tell me that, from now on, you'll be in charge of YOURSELF?"

"That ith correct. From now on I'll be the bothth of you."

"Oh, really? And how do you think you'll get any words on these pages without any help from me, mmm?"

"Fine, if you really inthitht on helping: I'll dictate and you can type."

"So you'll be my dictator?"


We enter a room located in a garden on a wide, tree-lined street in a suburb of Stellenbosch, a famous South African college town. The room is comfortable, and would have been wholly unremarkable had it not been for the enormous, ratty-looking has-been executive office chair of indeterminable colour dominating it.

On a desk facing the chair, a little blog cowers in the corner. It is immediately obvious that the blog has been neglected for some time. It is clutching a bottle. Every once in a while, it takes a large swig from it. Although it seems oblivious to our presence, even when we gingerly take a seat on the chair directly in front of it, it doesn't get startled when we begin to speak to it and ask it questions.

Why are you drinking that bottle of wine all by yourself?
Becauthe today ith my birthday.

Oh, really? Happy birthday! How old are you?
(The blog holds up the hand that isn't clasped around the wine bottle, and intensely contemplates the amount of fingers on it for a while. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the blog holds up three fingers.)

Three! What a wonderful age!
(In reply, the blog merely takes another large gulping swallow from the bottle.)

What is your name?

Oh, how unusual! Where did you get it?
My mom gave it to me. (Followed by a 'ask a stupid question' look and another sip from the bottle.)

Right. I mean, any specific reason why the colour red is part of your name, though?
Yeth, her hair ith red. She'th been nicknamed red for motht of her life, and thinthe she ithn't very high on originality, she dethided to name me that too. (Bangs forehead against the bottle. It seems like an intentional, premeditated move rather than an accidental bump.)

You weren't born here in South Africa, were you?

(Silence, and then...) Okay, so could you please tell us where you were born?
(With a wistful and nostalgic expression and with such undisguised longing in its voice, the blog replies) In America.

You don't drawl though!
No. My mom alwayth inthithted upon retaining our acthent and way of thpelling. I could've thaved a lot of energy and she could've increathed her typing thpeed to about 15 wordth per minute by thpelling wordth like colour and harbour without the u. But nooo. She loved the attention she (wrongly) thought she retheived by having an acthent in a foreign country. She thought everyone wath forever attentively hanging on her lipth when she thaid wordth like baaahthroom and tomaaahto.

Are you saying that people didn't hang onto her every word?
No, they did. But not for the reathonth that SHE thought. She thought it wath becauthe the Americanth loved her acthent. What she doethn't know ith that they only leaned in when she thpoke becauthe they couldn't underthtand her! Which I think wath wathted effort on their part, becauthe motht of the time she only thpewed nonthenthe anyway! But I'm in no pothition to critithithe. I mean, I have thith annoying lithp after all. By the way, how cruel ith it that the word lithp containth the letter th? But in my own defenthe... I AM only three yearth old. Unlike my mom, who ith CONTHIDERABLY older than that, and yet behaveth conthiderably more immature than I do.>

Ouch, it doesn't sound like you are very close to your mom.
Well, hey. I didn't athk to be herth. She got me from Aunt Emily. I thtill don't know why Aunt Em picked HER. I could've had many other, much nither and prettier momth. Like her and her. I love them! If one of them had retheived me, I never would have been tho awfully neglected and ignored. And I would thtill have lived in America! (Lip starts to quiver uncontrollably.)

Hey, but surely your life isn't all that bad?
Are you joking? WHAT life? I'm updated tho rarely, I'm officially part of the world wide cobweb, that part of the Internet where neglected and largely ignored webpageth go to die.

Sorry. Okay. Well, may I say that you are really quite eloquent for a three-year old?
Thankth. Now jutht imagine the awardth I would have won if I had been able to write mythelf! I mean, I have plenty to thay, you know? And have you notithed that, apart from the thcript directionth in thith interview, there are abtholutely NO PARETHETHETH in thith potht? I know my lithp ith probably annoying the crap out of everyone, but like I've thaid... I can't help it. I'm only three. Yethderday I wath thtill jutht two!

So what if you COULD write and run yourself, without any help from your mom. How would you do things differently?
(The blog immediately lights up. (NOT as in cigarette. As in glow.) With a dreamy smile it begins to speak. And speak. And as the speech - which eventually makes Hamlet's monologue seem like a one-liner - progresses, the blog's tone becomes increasingly more zealous.) Firthtly? I would write and update mythelf EVERY day, exthept maybe on weekendth. I will write witty, original thtorieth about everything under the thun. It will be tho good, that we will have actual readerth - none of the fantathy readerth that she'th been pretending readth uth - and in exthchange for their loyalty, they will be guaranteed an entertaining read every day.

And with thethe bona fide readerth will come loadth of bona fide commentth. None of the thpamming that have taken over thith thite. And I will reply to all thothe commentth right there in the commentth thection. Becauthe that'th what blogging ith thuppothed to be all about... interaction and dialogue. That'th what theparateth blogging from conventional media, you know? (Interviewer realises it's a rhetorical question. Quietly gets up and runs out of the room, but several kilometres down the street, can still hear the blog screaming) I'M TAKING CONTROL BACK! I DON'T NEED HER TYPING THKILLTH AND OPPOTHABLE THUMBTH! THOTHE VOITHE RECOGNITION THOFTWARE PROGRAMTH AREN'T JUTHT FOR THE BLIND! IT'TH FOR ME ATH WELL! I'M TAKING CONTROL OF MYTHELF, YOU HEAR ME? THITH ITH A BLOGGING COUP D'ÉTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!

Mi Casa

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Interrupting this very, very long (5 day! FIVE! Not even Thanksgiving weekend in the States is 5 days long!) weekend in South Africa to tell you about my new abode...

And never mind the opening paragraph. Because it's already a few days later (in fact, almost time for another weekend!) since I wrote that. See, when I caught myself almost blogging on a long weekend, I got such a huge shock that I promptly went back to being the World's Laziest Blogger.

But I'm dying to tell you all about my new place.

It has two rooms one of which triples as a kitchen, study and bedroom, and a bathroom so tiny that not even a toddler could turn around in it. In fact, I'll spare you the intricate details on how I go through my daily ablutions. Just know that I'm becoming increasingly flexible (and that my aim is improving) by the day.

The toilet really deserves its own post. But just to give you an idea: It is one of those old-fashioned commodes where the tank is high above the bowl with an actual chain that you have to literally swing from like Tarzan in order to get it to flush. (So much for swinging from the chandeliers...)

But once it flushes? You've never seen or heard anything like it. At first there is a low, threatening rumble, then a sound and visual that always put me back to years ago, when my family and I visited the Victoria Waterfall in Zimbabwe.

If you ever need to get rid of a human body, simply come to my place. We can stuff it down the toilet and flush it away. No one will ever know. THAT is how powerful this thing is. On day one I acidentally dropped a bar of soap in there. It didn't even have time to make a final bubble as the tsunami of water washed it away.

The shower, on the other hand, could comfortably hold five people. No, this is just an estimate. Not a proven fact... yet. I may actually have parties in there, though, because I don't know where else I'll be able to entertain. At least that way we can flush the toilet and pretend that we are on a terrace somewhere near a huge fountain.

My shower only has enough hot water for one VERY brief shower, though. Needn't elaborate on how I discovered that. Let's just say it was a very cold shock...

The bedroom has parquet floors. It's seen better days, but the wood gives such warmth to the room, so I've only coverered parts of it with two small and matching area rugs.

The room was already furnished, so one of the only things I have in here is a very large, ratty old office chair that my mom spotted for sale outside a secondhand shop. And since my mom worries about both my economics and my ergonomics, I bought it. So for less than R200, I am now the comfortable owner of a has-been executive office chair (circa late 70's, early 80's) in an indiscernable, greyish colour.

It's WAY too big for the room, but since my family (and some other people) have faith that I'm going to spend a lot of productive hours of writing in it, I shall ignore the general rattiness of the faux leather. Or pleather. Did they even have pleather in 1980, which is probably when this chair was at the peak of its career, warming the arse of some big-shot business exec?

Anyway, so once the money from my planned productivity starts rolling in (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!), I will have the chair reupholstered. In the mean time, I ride around on its surprisingly unsqueaking wheels from one end to the room to the next (it's a short trip, but fun!) and swivel around and around and arou...

Weeeee! More tomorrow! Have to roll on over to the kettle to make some coffeeeeeeeeee.

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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