Flu. Not “flu”. Not “manflu”. Actual flu. Influenza A virus H1N1.

The next time someone tells me that they were off work yesterday because they had “flu”, I’m going to punch them in the face. That is, assuming that I don’t have flu, because if I do, I won’t even be able to lift my arm up. If you’ve ever had flu, you’ll know what I mean.

For the first two days you think you’re going to die. For the next five, you wish you had.

For minute after minute, the King Kong that is my immune system fended off the pesky virus biplanes. But then, eventually overwhelmed by their sheer numbers and tenacity, it chivalrously placed the beautiful lady carefully atop the skyscraper roof before dropping, Rand-like, into the street below. Across the family 6000 city, similar dead primates were being dumped on low loaders and heading off for the Vissershoek landfill site.
What ensued was a catalogue of vomiting, sweating, aches, pains, rigors, fevers, coughing and general high fever malaise which I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. We lost days. The drugs were of little assistance, offering scant protection against the onslaught – like holding up a pillow to protect you from a freight train.

This all began (for me) on Saturday. Today is the first day I’ve started to feel even vaguely human. And in that time, REM split up, the Rand… just… died (what happened there?!?), I missed out on a birthday and my dad’s knee exploded.

I think – I hope – that we’re through it now. But if you have a little sniffle, then don’t call it “flu” unless you’re going to do that hard yards like wringing the sweat out of your t-shirt, losing 3 kilos in as many days and wondering who stamped on your head.

Notably (and unsurprisingly), the only people in and around our family who didn’t get sick were those who had the flu jab earlier this year – on my recommendation. Next time around, I’m going to take my own advice.

Behold “The Ultimate Snacking Experience”

Need a snack? Of course you do. You need a really great snack.
Maybe you need even more than that.
Maybe you need The Ultimate Snacking Experience.

Only THE MUNCHIE MAN® – instantly recognisable as a furious gentleman surrounded by eggs – can bring you The Ultimate Snacking Experience.
Want to play? Obviously. But we need to start with a disclaimer. Legal spiegel, capisce?
Before setting off on the journey that will bring you to the nirvana that is The Ultimate Snacking Experience, you should be warned that once you have experienced The Ultimate Snacking Experience, every other subsequent snacking experience that you experience will be a disappointment. That’s why this is called The Ultimate Snacking Experience and not Just Any Old Snacking Experience.
This is it.
It gets no better than this.
By definition, there can be no great snacking experience than The Ultimate Snacking Experience, for it is The Ultimate Snacking Experience. Beholdeth it.

But why, you may ask, why is this The Ultimate Snacking Experience? How did THE MUNCHIE MAN® come to create The Ultimate Snacking Experience – what steps were taken to ensure that this would become The Ultimate Snacking Experience?
That’s easy. THE MUNCHIE MAN® began by using First Choice Quality Nuts & Dried Fruit. When it came to the handing out of choices of Quality Nuts & Dried Fruit, THE MUNCHIE MAN® was there at the front of the queue. No-one ahead of him. Not Chuck Norris. Not Bakkies Botha. Not even Riaan Cruywagen in a jacuzzi. He was there. Number one. Numero Uno.
And THE MUNCHIE MAN® chose wisely. And first.

But it could all still have gone horribly wrong. There’s more to creating The Ultimate Snacking Experience than just utilising the First Choice Quality Nuts & Dried Fruit as your staple ingredients. Far more. Watch and learn.
Once he has his First Choice Quality Nuts & Dried Fruit, THE MUNCHIE MAN® adds those two qualities that lesser Ultimate Snacking Experience maker wannabes often omit.
I’m talking Extra Care – Extra Freshness.
First, THE MUNCHIE MAN® treats that First Choice Quality Nuts & Dried Fruit with kid gloves, he treats them like a good wine, he treats them like a lady, like a newborn baby duckling, he takes them dancing on the lawns of stately homes. Motherly love ain’t got nothing on this. This is Extra Care.
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, THE MUNCHIE MAN® adds the Extra Freshness. We all know that legend states that only THE MUNCHIE MAN® and Willy Wonka can do this to a snack, and – sorry to break this to you so bluntly – Willy Wonka is merely a fictional character from a children’s book first published in 1964.
Game over. You lose, William.
By a process of direct elimination, that just leaves THE MUNCHIE MAN® with the ability to add Extra Freshness to that First Choice Quality Nuts & Dried Fruit.
It’s possibly where the word unique comes from.
It’s what makes this The Ultimate Snacking Experience.

Hey, hey, I hear you at the back with your concerns about your religious sensibilities limiting your snacking choices.
Don’t. Panic. THE MUNCHIE MAN® has got that all in hand.
It’s covered, bru. Covered.

THE MUNCHIE MAN® studied The Torah before he embarked on project The Ultimate Snacking Experience. Extensively.
THE MUNCHIE MAN® read the Qur’an. Twice. Cover to cover.
You’re in the clear with The Ultimate Snacking Experience. Completely.
When you choose the The Ultimate Snacking Experience, you get Banana Slices Choice. No flying, creeping things here. No beasts having fangs. It’s all street legal, Musa spp.
It’s what your religious elders would choose if they wanted to snack.
Why would it not be? This is, after all, The Ultimate Snacking Experience.

Look, I’d like to think I have amply explained this product, together with the derivation and appropriateness of its nomenclature to you. I’d like to think that you have learned something from my brief presentation.

Take it to the rugby. Take it to a picnic. Eat it instead of toast.
Isn’t it time that you moved up to The Ultimate Snacking Experience?

The Pick n Pay Cycle Tour Coffee Table Book post

This all started with a comment on a post here a few weeks back. The comment was unrelated to the post in question and it had the commenter’s cellphone number on it, so I didn’t publish it. It was merely a means of making contact with me [you can do that by email here].
Here’s the comment, with the cellphone number removed:

Hello there. I am publishing a book on the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour,. I’d value chatting to you or communication via e mail if you have the inclination?


To which I politely responded:

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your comment on 6000 miles…
How may I be of assistance?


Bing! Incoming:


I am publishing a coffee table book on the history of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. It’s the tour’s 35th anniversary next year. I would like to invite you to consider writing a piece for publication in the book that shares your reminiscences and experiences of the tour, together with a possible for photgraph/s for inclusion.

Let me know your thoughts?

Richard Webb

I had to read it twice just to make sure I’d read it right the first time. Then I had to go away, have some coffee, have some more coffee and read it again. I was unsure how to respond.

For new readers, who may not know my feelings on the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour (and cyclists in general), here are some few soundbites from this blog (all of which can be seen in context by clicking the links):

More cyclists on the road means more red lights and stop signs ignored, more 6-wide pelotons to avoid and more wobbling, weaving idiots more concerned with their chat than with their direction. [link]

Better not have a heart attack today if you live on the route. Getting an ambulance to you will probably take a bit too long. Anyway, it’s far more important that some poorly-prepared 55 year old from Bloemfontein gets to the local cardiac care unit first, because he has a bike and is wearing lycra. [link]

And all the parlance in all the local pubs is about “going sub-three” and stuff. (I was hugely disappointed when I found out that this was time to do the race and not metres underwater.) [link]

As hundreds of cyclists veered and wobbled all over the Main Road and ignored the traffic lights through St James and Kalk Bay this morning, as they do most Sunday mornings, I came up with a brilliant new Sunday morning drinking game. [link]

All of these are topped, however, by the annual hits-fest that is the Those Cape Argus Results In Full post, written for Argus Day 2009 and which is a MUST READ. Especially each Argus Day when it gets MUCH READ.

If only Richard had done that first.

I thought it was about time I did as Richard said and let him know my thoughts. To that end, herewith my response to him, post coffees and re-reading:

 Hi Richard,

I wish you well with your endeavours. However, I think you may have contacted the wrong person for this.
While I appreciate the business and publicity that the cycle tour brings to the Cape Town area, I loathe the disruption and inconvenience it causes and the arrogance and selfishness of the cyclists that it attracts to the Mother City.
I’d be happy to write something to this end for your publication, however, I feel that it might not be in keeping with the image of the cycle tour that you wish to portray.

All the best with your work,


But hey, what do I know? Maybe Richard’s book is actually an honest appraisal of the Cycle Tour – accepting that there are negatives with the positives, that there are tales of annoyance alongside the tales of achievement. Maybe this is going to be a watershed moment among the plethora of blinkered, sycophantic books about the wonders of the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.

Or, er… not:

Thanks, 6k.

You are right, I probably don’t have the right guy.
All the best and thanks for communicating with me.


And so it ends.
My name will not be in print on coffee tables across the world.

On a serious note, if you feel that you may have something to contribute to Richard’s book, I am happy to put you in touch with him and him with you.
Just make sure your story has at least three superlatives per sentence, ok?

Some good service

Sadly, SA is not noted for its customer service. Or rather, it is, but not in a good way. That’s why when I have some good customer service, I like to tell people about it. And this week has been a revelation in what other countries would call “service”, but what we here in SA call “fantastic service”. These companies should be celebrated and rewarded. I will do the celebration bit here, you sort out the rewards bit by doing business with them.
Companies must adapt or die. As this unnatural form of natural selection proceeds, so poor customer service will die out like the dinosaurs (but without massive meteorite involvement) and good customer service will evolve to be the dominant species.

Hi-Q Wynberg
After my op, I wasn’t allowed to drive for a while. And when I did want to drive, my car wouldn’t start. Even trying  to jump-start it via its big sister didn’t work and I deduced that it needed a new battery. Cue a call to Andre (021) 761 7063, who did exactly what he said he would, exactly when he said he would and got me back on the road.

Having decided that we needed to save money on electricity (who doesn’t?), we turned to Geyerwise for assistance. They got one of their distributors – Leon from Geysol (076 036 0623) – to pop around and fit our unit for us. One prompt, fast, friendly, helpful and clean job later, we are saving money on our electricity. How much, I’m not sure yet, but I’ll let you know. I’m hoping that the unit will pay for itself inside three months. After that, it’s pure saving goodness.

ADM Home Appliances
With two kids and an annual Cape Town winter, a tumble dryer is a luxury necessity. And it’s only when it goes wrong that you realise how much you rely on it. Not so much yesterday, with its 29.5°C temperatures – more on days like today with its 29.5mm+ of rain.
Ours went badly wrong last Friday and so we called in Deen from ADM Home Appliances on (021) 797 2321. He came, he saw, he took the machine away, he gave us a quote, he fixed the machine and he brought the machine back. What’s not to like?

Pool Doctor
Ironically right next door to my friends at Hi-Q (see above), Pool Doctor (021) 761 9121 dropped in right when they said they would to sort out my leaking pump. Then they sorted out the leaking pump and my pool is looking ready for summer already. This seemed like such a good idea in yesterday’s sun. Today, I’m going to see how the overflow works.

So, if you need bits for your car, to save money on your electricity bill, an appliance repaired or your pool sorted out – please give these guys a call and do your bit to promote decent customer service.

The Plan To End All Plans

Or so they say…

Incoming from the 6000 miles… hosting company far, far away – via The Guru:

Domain: 6000.co.za
Server: walter
Plan: The Plan To End All Plans + Turbo Package

We are scheduling maintenance for your server (Walter) on September 8,
2011 between 4:00am and 7:00am CDT in order to switch from the
standard MySQL to Percona – an improved version of MySQL. The process
will take at least 15 minutes and involves shutting down MySQL,
installing Percona, and starting Percona. During this time, anything
that requires a MySQL database will be unavailable. Examples include
WordPress, Drupal, and similar script applications. Websites that do
not utilize a database, email, and ftp will remain online and
operational during this maintenance.

While this maintenance can sound worrisome, fear not! This change will
not negatively impact your websites! In fact, database performance
should actually increase! Additionally, Percona allows us to view
statistics on a user by user basis which in turn will allow us to
better identify those users abusing resources. This alone will help us
to provide a more stable server for everyone involved.

Basically, at first glance, it seems like it’s just a quick heads up about a bit of server downtime for an upgrade, but apparently there’s so much more to it than that. The “The Plan To End All Plans” label suggests that the installation of this Percona thing (which I think is a small town in central Italy), is the biggest, best and indeed, ultimate attempt to increases database performance, detect abusing users and provide greater server stability on “Walter”.

The upshot of naming it thus does, however, create some concerns. If I should find that my database performance is not increased to my satisfaction, then there’s actually no point in my hanging around and waiting for the next upgrade  – this, after all, is The Plan To End All Plans. There is no plan after this.
If I am dying, post-upgrade, for better server stability than I am getting – I should go elsewhere. After The Plan To End All Plans, there are, by definition, no further plans to improve my user experience.

Of course, on the flip side, should I be an abusing user (wittingly or not), and my user abuse is unidentified, even after The Plan To End All Plans, then I’m home free. After all, if the local Carabinieri are unable to detect my naughtiness now, they never will be. There are no further plans after The Plan To End All Plans. This is it – the final throw of the dice.

All in all, it seems to suggest that once we’re all done here, I will be stuck with a hosting package which will never be upgraded again; and while it may be fitted with a Turbo Package and a Tuscan conurbation, even when a new, improved Turbo Package and a town with more residents, charming houses and fantastic cuisine comes along, given that the final dice is to be thrown between 4:00am and 7:00am CDT September 8 2011, those things will pass me by.

Of course, in the meantime, before those improvements aren’t made, 6000 miles… will be the ultimate display of rocket-fuelled, Turbo Package-charged, database-refined wonder.
It will be The Blog To End All Blogs (again).

Although we might not be around for 15 minutes around lunchtime tomorrow.

You have been warned.