Sunday, July 31, 2005
I was born.
In honour of this event, my weekend has been filled with festivities. They have brought me much joy, as well as the usual disappointments that I have come to expect from this time of year.
For logistical reasons I was forced to split my celebrations up into three separate events: Friday night I went out with the geeks, last night I had a birthday party/house-warming at home and today I had a picnic lunch with the family.
The number of people who turned up at these events served as a reminder of how lucky I am to have so many people in my life who care for me.
I have friends prepared to drive a long way to spend time with me, I have others who will knowingly face uncomfortable encounters for my sake, and on top of that I have the coolest house-mates in the world.
As I expected, my sisters and father forgot my birthday. They do it every year. If my mother hadn’t given them all a hard time they wouldn’t have bothered to pitch at the picnic.
However I over-estimated their interest in my life. I was rather surprised that none of them were interested in seeing my new home… even though it was right around the corner from where the picnic was held. I now realize that my surprise was foolish. I should have expected that.
I was treated to an awesome dinner this evening by a gorgeous blonde of my acquaintance, but yet I seem to once again be conforming to the pattern that has emerged over the last three years: on my birthday I’m going to be sleeping alone.
A depressing end to a generally very enjoyable weekend. I’ll try not to dwell on the negative.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
A growing, starlet, fascination with the sun
A complication… when worlds collide
The ebb and flow of emotion builds up inside
Just leave me alone 'cause I'm not all right
Just leave me alone
You're beautiful, it's gonna take a lot of time just to get my mind re-aligned
You're beautiful, out of sight doesn't necessarily mean out of mind
You're beautiful, ah ah ah ah
You're still beautiful to me…and always will be
You take me away… from this place
You turn me right around from what I've got to face
Where will we be… when this is over
Will the music break us down or will it make us stronger
Just leave me alone 'cause I'm not all right
Just leave me alone
‘Cause you’re beautiful
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
CNN.com - James Doohan, 'Star Trek's' Scotty, dead - Jul 20, 2005
Although I never met him I feel as if I knew him personally.
His charm, wit and the affection and admiration he had for his fans will be missed.
Good journeys, Jimmy.
Here's an excellent article celebrating his life.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
I was distressed to learn that the only I would be able to get my hands on one was to win a HeroClix tournament at Icon, the major gaming convention this weekend.
To my joy and surprise I got a call from the WizKids distributor yesterday. This morning I arrived at the con and went straight to the WizKids stand where I picked up my surplus issue Dark Phoenix.
She cost me an arm and a leg, but a quick glance at eBay confirmed that the collectors’ value is already several times what I paid for her. Excellent investment.
She’s a thing of beauty. And when I get to use her in a game, she’ll be worth it for sure!
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Next to Superman, the Hulk is my favourite superhero.
I’ve always been able to identify with the thing of transforming into another person - a giant monster - whenever his emotions get too much for him. I feel the urge to do that as well. Sometimes I even give in to the urge.
Today was a day when I felt that urge. I can’t discuss the details of it, but thankfully I didn’t give in to it this time.
One quote kept flashing through my head this afternoon. If I remember correctly it’s from The Incredible Hulk #250, June 1994 (I have the holographic variant cover edition). It goes something like this:
“I heard a scream. I wanted to laugh, and cry… and kill… and kill… and kill… and keep on killing until the green is washed away with red!”
Today that is how I feel.
There doesn’t appear to be any bruising, and I don’t recall doing anything funny with it recently.
Maybe it’s related to the weird dream I had last night. Something about a tornado glowing with rainbow colours and being in bed with the Ex.
There’s some bizarre stuff running around in my subconscious.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
As a result of that, I have a lot of friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very lucky fella to have so many people in my life that care for me. I really am. Despite the loneliness I sometimes experience, I’m never really more than a phone-call away from someone to talk to or hang out with.
However, this gives rise to another problem.
I might be a big guy but there’s only so much of me to go around. I wish I could devote equal time to all my friends, and my family, and my responsibilities, and to myself… but it’s just not possible. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
So there’s always someone who gets the shaft. Someone who really wants me around, but I have to turn them down because I have other people to see and places to be.
Ironically, it’s usually the people closest to me that get the shaft more often. This is a habit that contributed significantly to the demise of my relationship with the Ex.
Once someone becomes really close to me, I tend to think of them as an extension of myself – a part of my identity. And when I make personal sacrifices in order to fulfil my various obligations, I tend to make sacrifices on their behalf as well.
I suppose it’s quite selfish, and possibly even a manifestation of my low self-esteem. I assume that people don’t really want me around, and they only invite me to social gatherings out of courtesy. So if I decline the invitation, it’s no skin off their nose, just one less person they have to cater for.
HippyClimbGirl has to put up with this all the time. She frequently organizes get-togethers for her friends. I always make an effort to go, but I often have to arrive late or leave early so that I can make a partial appearance at another gathering elsewhere. Sometimes she gets quite angry with me about it – understandably so.
I know the logical solution to this problem is to prioritize: decide which social gatherings are more important than others. But I can’t do that. I can’t decide which friends I must choose over others. It’s not fair to have to make that choice.
I have a rough guide as to what type of event is more important than another – like weddings and funerals are the most important, followed by milestone birthdays, then regular birthdays and so on. But even that doesn’t assuage the guilt. And what if two of my friends have regular birthdays on the same day? Which one do I visit?
I hate it. Any suggestions?
Thursday, July 07, 2005
This is Loch Ness. I've spent easily five minutes inspecting it on the highest resolution possible, and I don't see any monsters. Well that's cleared up. Another victory for science.
I got this from my new favourite toy Google Earth.
I've spent the last two days playing with it, and I still haven't had enough.
I've visited the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Area 51, Mt. St. Helens, the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Colosseum and the Bosphorus. Plus I've also tagged all my friends' houses in Joburg and around the world.
This is so cool!
You want to go download this. I promise, you want to download this.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I just got official notice that my ship's website won the STARFLEET Award of Excellence.
Even though I built and administer the site, I had a lot of help. Especially early on. So, as much as I'd like to take all the credit, I must share it where it's due.
Greenie and her brother helped me get the Content Management System set up, Lily gave me some excellent advice on the look and feel, and other crewmembers have given me loads of images and content to put on there.
The certificate will look really good on my wall though. :)
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
"The Intelligence Trap (ii)
Highly intelligent people are often inclined towards negative
thinking. This is because they know that they are clever and they want
to get a sense of achievement from that cleverness; the quickest form
of achievement is to criticize someone else and prove that other
person wrong. This is an immediate and complete achievement that makes
one feel superior to the other person. To put forward a constructive
idea is less satisfactory because you have achieved nothing until you
can actually show that the idea works - and that can take time -
unless it is a mathematical problem for which you can demonstrate the
answer. Negative thinking is, of course, an important part of thinking
but it is never enough by itself. You cannot grow a garden just by
wielding the shears.
Intelligent people who are not masterthinkers do not like being wrong.
Their ego and sense of personal worth has been built around their
intelligence so it becomes very difficult to admit and error. This
means that such people do all they can to avoid admitting an error.
This makes for inefficient thinking. A masterthinker admits an error
at once since his or her concern is for objective thinking. The fear
of making a mistake keeps some intelligent people from putting forward
speculative or creative ideas because these might turn out to be
wrong. Such people do not like taking risks with their thinking.
Taking risks is at times a necessary part of thinking.
Because an intelligent person's mind works very quickly such a person
may jump to conclusions very rapidly. At times this can be useful. At
other times it may be dangerous. A slower thinker may need to take in
more information before jumping to a conclusion and so may actually
come to a better conclusion.
Perhaps the biggest danger is that many highly intelligent people
(especially when young) tend to be very arrogant about their thinking.
This is unfortunate since there are no grounds for arrogance about
thinking at any time.
I want to make it clear that not all intelligent people are caught in
the intelligence trap. Nevertheless the danger is there. If you are
driving a powerful car you have to be even more careful as a driver
than someone driving a less powerful car. So the intelligent thinker
may have to pay even more attention to thinking skills. Certainly, he
or she should not assume that being intelligent is enough. "
I had never thought of it like that before. Time to put my thinking cap on.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
My first car was a 1978 Ford Escort 1600 GL – Banana yellow. She was a total rattle-trap that spent more months motionless in the yard than she did in service. We had some adventures together, but I wasn’t exactly sad to see her go.
My second car was a 1994 Volkswagen CitiGolf Shuttle 1300. She served me well for five years, but since I was a student when I got her I couldn’t afford to maintain her properly. Late last year she was getting dangerously close to the end of her life, and since I had just started a new job I was looking for a significant upgrade.
I fell in love with a 2002 Ford Focus 2.0 Ambiente. My finance didn’t come through, so I had to settle for something cheaper. I was disappointed to have to go for the 2003 Ford Ikon 1.6i CLX. She was the top of the line Ikon, but she was no Focus.
She gave me a little trouble in December which made me even more disillusioned.
But since then I have fallen in love with my Ikon.
This morning I fell in love with her all over again.
As a combination of my anger from last night, from LD canceling on me for tonight, not much traffic and Rob Zombie playing too loud on the (standard but still impressive) sound system, I decided to push the Ikon a little.
The spec sheet says she’s capable of 187km/h… I got her up to 185. I’ve never traveled that fast in a car before. It was a thing of beauty. She sailed up to it like she was meant for it – like she was aching to please me.
I think it’s time to give her a name. I’ll have to think of one that suits her.
I know, I know... it's reckless and dangerous to drive so fast, especially on South African roads. But I wasn't about to let the BMW 323CI in the lane next to me get the better of me. He pulled away when I tried to overtake him, and that pissed me off.
He capped it at 150km/h, but I was enjoying myself too much to stop there. The Ikon was begging for more, so I left my foot flat. Even at top speed she hardly shuddered. She just didn't have the revs for any more.
Sure, she's nothing fancy. Just a jazzed up entry-level family runabout. But she has enough power to give me the acceleration I need when I need it. I still underestimate her sometimes.
She even has cornering ability comparable to the Focus... the European benchmark. She can handle corners at speeds more powerful cars wouldn't dare attempt.
I was thinking of upgrading her for the Focus as soon as I could get the finance, but somehow I don't think that will be necessary. Besides... who needs ABS and Airbags anyway?