CTICC signwriters demand increase

And who can blame them?

Cape Town welcomes The World Congress


Link

A conference so dull, it’s guaranteed to put you to sleep. But at least that’s the idea, so it’s still one up on accountancy.

More diary entries please

Actually, there wasn’t a “please”.

I may be 34 years old, but despite my distance (both physical and chronological) from the family nest, the voice of my mum (now often experienced via email) still carries that air of authority. Apparently, there aren’t enough “diary entries” on 6000 miles… Nor should I be drinking beer during Lent. This despite the fact that both my mother and I are committed atheists and drunkards.

So. Diary entries.
Well, this evening, we attended the Summer Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens under threatening, but lenient skies. Arno Carstens was performing, and any South African will tell you that you can’t miss Arno.
Once again, he performed some of his great music and totally failed to connect with the audience. Except for that expletive when he got a blast of feedback, which sent several old people home in disgust. Probably mostly retired mixing desk technicians.

I’ve uploaded a few pics from the concert. I’ve got to be honest: once again, it was primarily about the people watching and less about the music. Don’t get me wrong – the music was excellent – but the opportunity to gaze at and comment upon the population of Cape Town’s southern suburbs is not one that can easily be passed up.

   
Click for bigger versions of each pic

First up, we have a lady who we know, but we don’t. Yes, that friend of a friend thing strikes again. If the wife wasn’t pregnant and had a brain consisting mainly of freshly boiled porridge oats and if I hadn’t had a skinful of Castle Milk Stout, we would remember you. Sorry. I feel that I should offer some sort of reward for your name. I’m thinking “Dave”, but that just doesn’t sound right.

Secondly, an aggravating old bloke who wanted to stalk watch Arno with binoculars the whole time. Creepy. He kept getting irritated with people for standing up and blocking his perving.
Fancy. Standing up at a music concert. Whatever next?
His lady* friend went on to ignore the no smoking signs and exhaled her fumes all over my pregnant wife. Bitch.

Lastly, a shot of Arno on stage, doing his thing. I may have got a bit of my beer bottle in shot. Sorry about that. Photography isn’t my strong point. Drinking is though and one out of two ain’t bad.

So, Mum; I hope this pacifies you a little. I sat next to a really iritating bloke and his filthy missus just so that I had some stuff to tell the world about.
It was worth it though: as I lay back with my 5th bottle of beer and gazed up at the lack of mountain, Arno did his best to sum it all up:

Can you feel it?
Can you feel it?
It is heaven on earth

Well, Arno – perhaps for you.
Personally, I was missing the naked dancing girls, the masseuse, a Debonairs pizza and some sunshine.
I guess you just set your standards a little lower than I do.
I’m surprised. You always struck me as the naked dancing girl type as well.

* It might have been female, anyway.

It’s a father’s job, right? Wrong.

Shameless plug 1: My RSS feed is here. Subscribe now!
Shameless plug 2: Long overdue pics on my flickr.

There are certain things that only a dad can do for his son. Buying him his first razor, teaching him how to shave, driving him to the nearest hospital with a blood bank and so on.

Of course, little Alex is some way off those days. Although that doesn’t stop him experimenting with my shaving foam if it’s not strategically placed out of his reach. He is growing up quickly though and indeed, he starts playschool on Thursday. It was this momentous occasion that tempted me into an extravagant, yet important purchase this lunchtime: A Winnie the Pooh backpack. Too cute.

The boy loves Winnie and since Disney took over the rights to his image (the bear, not my son) and americanized it, there’s no shortage of Pooh-related merchandise out there for parents to waste money on. Yes, it’s horribly commercial, but worth every penny when you see the look on his face (my son, not the bear). And I do draw the line somewhere safely on the sensible side of large purple dinosaurs.

The backpack is great. I brought it home this evening, beautifully wrapped in a plastic carrier bag and presented it to Alex in the living room. He tore it open impatiently, desperate to get a better view of the smiling ursine visage within. 
Winnie may have been grinning inanely, Alex may have been giggling gleefully, but his mum’s face was a picture. A watercolour of rage. Rage, disappointment and a touch more rage. And then a little more disappointment on a sideplate. Would you like fries with that?
Hell hath no fury like a woman mother scorned.
Somewhere just next to my left ear, a little voice whispered, “Oops. You just broke another one of those unwritten parenting laws, didn’t you?” I glanced down to see who it was doing the whispering, just in time to see a fluffy little bunny wabbit blasted from my shoulder by my wife’s laser eyes. I swear I heard it let out a fluffy little bunny wabbit scream.

It has left an unsightly burn mark on my t-shirt.

Alex likes the backpack, although it irritates him that he can’t see Winnie and friends when he has it on. Also, by the time it’s got everything he needs for playschool in there, he won’t be able to lift it either. But these are mere details.

The fluffy little bunny wabbit was correct. If you’re a dad, you must stick to the birds and bees, football and shaving. Son’s first backpack falls strictly under the heading of maternal duties.
Fathers across the world, you have been warned.

R437 is a poor effort at the Nellie

From news24:

Cape Town – A man who duped a bartender at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town to serve him with liquor to the value of R437, but could not pay for it, was fined R3 000 or six months on a charge of theft on Monday.
Dean Jacobs, 43, was also sentenced to an additional R3 000 or six months for the theft of a TV set that was attached to a wall at The Bay Hotel in Greenpoint.
Lawyer Sharon Williams told the court that Jacobs falsely informed the reception at the Mount Nelson Hotel in October 2006 that he was waiting for a friend to bring him his wallet so that he could book into the hotel.
In this manner, he was given a bar tab which permitted him access to the bar where he could drink on credit.
It is only when he already owed R437 for drinks, food and cigarettes, that the bartender approached him for payment. In his inebriated state, he admitted to the barman that he had lied and that he had no money.

Among the items listed on the charge sheet were a burger costing R60, eight beers, four Jack Daniels whiskies, a gin and four Amaretto liquers.

A number of thoughts spring immediately to mind here.

Firstly, how thick are the Mount Nelson’s bar staff? Why did the bartender not think to question why Jacobs had a television set, marked “Property of The Bay Hotel, Greenpoint” and still resplendent with twisted wall brackets, on his lap?

Secondly, why did it take the bartender 17 drinks (and a burger) to work out that Jacobs’ “friend” might not be turning up with his wallet? I wonder if it was as Jacobs crossed the unwritten threshold of R436 that the barman suddenly thought he’d better step in and ask for at least the first installment? Thanks to news24’s detailed reporting on how to dupe the Mount Nelson, I may pop in there tomorrow with a stolen tv, then carefully add up drinks and snacks to the value of R435 before I get sozzled, fall over twice and head for the car park.

Working on my average drinking rates, I’m going to say that we’re looking at an absolute minimum of 2½ hours of boozing there. Although, Jacobs is obviously an expert. Still, you can tell how bad things were getting as he slipped from the staples of beer and JD into the shady underworld of gin and almond liqueur. It’s the alcoholic equivalent of allowing one’s standards to drop and taking the ugly girl home from the nightclub. Actually, thinking about it, almond liqueur sounds more like he was ready to take the ugly bloke home… 

Thirdly, why on earth did he not go for a few stupidly pricey drinks at the start? The Mount Nelson is notoriously posh and expensive – to only rack up R437 (that’s about £32 or $63 for my non Saffa readers), well… it’s actually a damn poor show. Pathetic, even.
I would have fined him another three grand just for that.   

Finally, you’d think that news24 (South Africa’s premier news source) would have a spellchecker that might notice the fact that the word liqueur actually has two U’s.

Picky. I know.

Ooh – and photos from Franskraal, as promised in my last post, are now available at my flickr.

Hole    Franskraal    Boo!    Hello!    Rock    Sunset

 

Up the mountain

“Two out of three ain’t bad”…

So fat, sweaty rocker Meatloaf told us back in 1977. He went on to say that he wanted me, he needed me, but there was no way he was ever going to love me. I could have told him that.

We went up Table Mountain yesterday evening for sundowners. Sundowners is a South African tradition whereby you drink beer and watch the sun set. It should not be confused with other South African traditions, such as drinking beer while watching the braai, drinking beer while watching the rugby, or smoking tik while you rob someone’s house.

So, three things we need for our sundowners up the mountain: Beer, cash and camera.
And thus, we took: Beer and cash.

No camera*. Words cannot express how annoyed I was at this. The first three beers barely touched my rage. The next two were slightly more pacifying. By the sixth, I was chatting with all the little goblins and they pointed out that the whole scene was blurred anyway. They were right, everything was all hazy, including my speech.

I suddenly remembered Dave – my trusty Sony Ericsson w900i. I’d never called it Dave before, but the beer was talking and saying that perhaps I should have done. While Dave’s primary function is actually as a telephone, when it comes to taking pictures, he is the canine’s bits (as far as 2 year old camera phones go).  And while the images would have been sharper and potentially lovlier had we not left Malcolm the camera** at home, I think Dave did a pretty good job as a substitute. Especially if you don’t look too closely. A couple of the goblins did dare to comment on Dave’s poor resolution on low-light images and were immediately flung to the dassies, who pounced on them with eager goblin-devouring delight.

And so I’m especially proud of these efforts, one of the queue for the Cableway on the way down and the second, looking over my beautiful city at twilight. Remember – these were taken with a phone. Imagine how good they’d be if I’d had Malcolm with me… Grr.

Catching the last car down   Table Bay by night

Thus, the flickr set Table Mountain – Dec 07 was born. And I urge you to view it. Several litres of beer and a whole gaggle of critical goblins died bringing you these photos.

* There are decent reasons why the camera was left behind. I’m not telling you want they are though.
** I’d never called it Malcolm before, but…