Eating on the run

This post dedicated to Nix-Grim, who can (hopefully) now relax for at least a couple of weeks.

One of the benefit [sic] of our current Medical Aid is the Discovery HealthyFood™ programme, whereby members can get up to 25% off healthy foodstuffs bought at Pick n Pay supermarkets. I feel better because I’m healthier and saving money, Discovery feel better because I’m healthier and claiming less money from them and Pick n Pay feel better because I go there to buy my fruit and veg with 25% off and take the opportunity stock up on curry and chocolate while I’m at it.
So everyone’s happy.

As part of the enrollment for this ground-breaking new initiative, I was forced requested to fill in a Personal Health Review which covered everything from Smoking (I don’t), through Drinking (I do) and Stress (I am) to Physical activity (chance would be a fine thing). Prospective answers for each question were given from a drop-down menu, like this example from the stress section:

disc

Do I eat on the run? Well, not if I can help it, but sometimes it’s either that or nothing. So never is right out, but I certainly don’t do it daily either.
Which leaves me with “a few times a week” or “1-3 times a year”. Because let’s be clear, there can be no middle ground in the eating on the run scenario. Either you are a serial on the run eater*, eating on the run a few times a week or you eat on the run 1-3 times a year. Not four, not five: one to three.
That’s why, the first time you eat on the run each year (probably mid January, I’m guessing), you have to make the big decision – are you going to do it again a few times that week or are you going to limit yourself to next eating on the run only in July and then again once more in September? That’s a big ask, believe me.

Suddenly the mass fainting episodes at schools in KZN are explained. This isn’t a case of witchcraft, nor pollution, nor drugs. This is  an example of what happens when you foolishly take the 1-3 times a year option and then use up all your eating on the run opportunities by the first week in February. You go hungry and you faint.

Safer then, to do as I did, risk the wrath of your Medical Aid and tell them you eat on the run most days. Of course, in doing this, I suggest that I lead a high-stress lifestyle which puts me at greater risk of all sorts of nasty disorders and they told me that they’re pretty unhappy with me because of that.
A heated argument ensued over the phone, with Discovery threatening to increase my monthly premiums unless I cut back and only ate on the run 1-3 times a year. In the end, blood pressure sky-high and anxiety levels through the roof after a full-on 20 minute row with the dear Boitshepo in the Johannesburg call centre, I gave in and promised to eat on the run less often.
(She was ever so forceful.)

I put the phone down and had to have 4 beers and slab of chocolate to get over the stress of the whole situation.

* Note that this is different from eating cereal on the run.

More on those whales

Well, this looks like one of those stories that – much like the whales – isn’t going to go away until a digger picks it up and dumps it on a truck bound for the local landfill site. 

The outcry over what was and what wasn’t done to help the beached creatures, together with the hysteria over what might have caused them to run aground in the first place is amusing, to say the least. And while the experts have stepped back and refused to speculate as to what might have been the reason for the beachings, the Kommetjie eco-massive know exactly what happened.

Is it possible they are telling us that the toxin levels in the water are too high?
By diane on 2009/05/31 03:12:18 PM

It’s possible, Diane, but unlikely. It’s true that whales don’t like toxins, but they like sand even less. Once they ended up on the beach, they were in a bit of a quandary. Sand or toxins, toxins or sand? Whales are notoriously indecisive and it was probably this inability to reach a decision that meant that they dried out to the consistency of Pick n Pay biltong while still considering their limited options.

Harrold has other ideas:

WHALES ARE ACOUSTIC OCEANIC MAMMALS
Their primary means of communicating, navigating, locating food, and remaining healthy is through the use of sounds. Their sound frequencies are as necessary to them as breathing is to us. It is their lifeline…

No, Harrold. Breathing is as necessary to them as breathing is to us. That is their lifeline.

So if you want to know what is causing the whales to beach themselves you need to look at who has been making a noise in the ocean lately…
By Harrold on 2009/06/01 02:49:00 PM

Well, according to you, Harrold, it’s the whales. So they only have themselves to blame then. Daft bastards.

Hi i arrived at Kommetjie beach at 10am and at 1pm when i left after watching how it was going to be for the whales, the helpers and the people watching. why did the Navy which is 2 mins away come and help with tugsm divers and support to help the helpers already there. it does not makes sense for the whales to not get the helped that we could of given them, 2009 this is not 1909, if it were people to be helped there would be many heli and boats. come of people. and the amount of people that were just watching and getting in the way, why didnt you get you feet wet????
By karen on 2009/05/30 07:30:35 PM

Now, I can sense that Karen is a bit upset. (It’s a gift I have). However, I do have to take her to task over a couple of her comments. I’ll let her appalling punctuation slide, just this once. 

The Navy is not two minutes away. Except by jet. 
And if the Navy had turned up in a jet, Harrold would have been even more annoyed by the whole noise thing.

Also, I have been in innumerable situations where there have been many hundreds of people lying on beaches in the Western Cape – Camps Bay in early January springs immediately to mind. There were people drying out in the sun all over the sand and at no time did “many heli and boats” come to help them. In fact, I’d venture that if “helpful” people had tried to roll them into the water, they would have swum straight back onto the beach. Much like the whales. Then the authorities would have shot them and taken them off to a landfill site. (That last bit might not be quite right).

Talking of “getting in the way”, Karen – it sounds like you were one of the people who were on the beach against the wishes of the authorities. Authorities who had a plethora of rubber ducks and whale stretchers, but couldn’t get near enough the whales to actually use them. Just saying.

P.S. Technical question:
These “whale stretchers” that everyone is going on about – how does stretching a beached whale help? And what qualifications do you need to be a professional whale stretcher? It sounds like a great job.

Sunday evening quota post

I am literally shaking with lack of sleep. Or it could be lack of red wine. Or lack of hot weather.

On days like today – grey, overcast, chilly and damp – it’s sometimes difficult to remember the heady days of summer, even though they were here with us just a few short weeks ago. Here’s a quick reminder of those warmer times with Alex and I splashing in the shallows at Struisbaai.   

Of course, these days, the beaches of the Western Cape are much more famous for beached whales.

Surfers in South Africa are being warned to watch out for sharks off the coast of Cape Point where the carcasses of 55 whales are beached.
The stranded whales were found at Kommetjie Beach.
Hundreds of volunteers had tried to push the False Killer whales back out to sea – around a dozen of them later died of exhaustion and stress while 40 more were shot by authorities.
Although the authorities are clearing the carcasses, Ian Klopper of the National Sea Rescue Institute warned people to be on their guard because sharks may be looking for the whale carcasses.

The official line is that the authorities were shooting the whales because their cries of distress were attracting more whales onto the beach. However, it seems more likely that the whales were shot because South Africans enjoy shooting things and this was too big an opportunity – and too big a target – to miss. Like fish in a barrel. Sort of. 

Obviously, this sort of thing is very sad. No-one likes to see 55 whales dying on a beach. However, I do feel that the criticism of the council response by the local tree-huggers was a little melodramatic:

Carol Brown, formerly with the Durban dolphinarium, said Cape Town was clearly not geared for a mass stranding.
“There should have been rubber ducks and whale stretchers.”

Of course there should, Carol. Unfortunately, the 2009 rubber duck and whale stretcher budget was apparently cut after there were precisely zero mass beachings of whales in the last decade in Cape Town and was spent on something slightly more worthwhile; like building houses for those people living in shacks and providing food for hungry children.
Do make a submission to the City Finance Department for an increased rubber duck and whale stretcher budget for next year though, won’t you? Or better still, move back to Durban and waste their bloody oxygen instead of ours. 

Moron.

Lead balloon

Well, that was suitably depressing.

Same time, same place next year, I guess.

Think I’m still in shock, so more may follow, probably involving swear words and general anger.

 

My god, that Mike Dean is a complete twat.

Ooh look! It’s started already!

That’s the way to do it

Incoming from Reflex (thanks!), probably relating to this:

Was just wondering if you were going to pick up on this BBC news story

Well, I would just like to make it absolutely and abundantly clear from the outset, that I am in no way condoning this foolish, irresponsible and annoying behaviour:

Police are investigating after carpet tacks were spread across roads bringing a major cycle race to a halt.

More than 3,500 people were taking part in the Etape Caledonia, over 81 miles around Pitlochry in Perthshire.
It is the only cycle event in Britain where all the roads travelled on are closed – which has angered some locals.
Tacks were strewn on a section of the race, bursting hundreds of tyres. Police said it was a reckless act and it was fortunate no-one was hurt.

I am appalled that something so disruptive should have happened to so many people in such a beautiful part of Scotland and I can only sympathise with those people who were so very inconvenienced. It is an absolute disgrace that this sort of thing should be allowed to happen and I really hope that it doesn’t occur again next year.

Just to clarify – I’m obviously referring to them shutting the roads for the cycle race, not for the nail strewage (which was obviously very naughty but extremely amusing). 
Perhaps I can advise the Police to start their search for the saboteur at the local DVD rental store by asking if anyone has been regularly borrowing the box set of Wacky Races…