Thursday, 15 March 2012

So THAT'S why I like to read!

The Ender Saga (or at least the first two books, which is all I've read so far) is the most powerfully realized representation of the reality of human interaction and motivation that I have ever read. It has reminded me of why I enjoy reading, and not just froth-prose, but actual literature. Of how the words of another can challenge one to question one's own life and motivations and interactions.I ask myself: if I could have a Speaker for the Dead at my funeral, what would he or she say? What have I done that is requires illumination and explanation and airing? Also, how can an entirely alien scenario speak so clearly to an entirely pedestrian psyche?

I had read and enjoyed an Orson Scott Card novel (The Memory of Earth) as a teenager, and I had heard or read that he was credited as one of the names in sci-fi. So when I heard that Ender's Game was being filmed I was thrilled, even though I had never actually read it. Being a dedicated nerd with aspirations to full geek-hood, I immediately sought to increase what I now know to be my woefully inadequate knowledge of the greater Orson Scott Card canon. To that end, I found a copy of Ender's Game and not exactly read it, more absorbed it. It was as revelatory to me as the first time I saw the original Star Wars trilogy, or the first time I read the Lord of the Rings. (See? Geek.)

It's an incredible work. The only problem is  that, like the Star Wars prequels (sorry George Lucas) and the LOTR movies (sorry Peter Jackson), the transition from page to screen is likely to detract from and cheapen what is truly one of the best moral tales of our time. And, as we are NOT a generation that reads, the true greatness of the book is likely to be lost  in the mediocrity of the movie. The cast gives me some hope, but I've been wrong before.

So, if you have not read the book, do so. And do it now, before the movie comes out. Because, despite being a dedicated addict of the cinematic medium, I cannot see how that book can be honestly captured visually. In fact, I would recommend that you read the series even if you have no intention of ever seeing the film. It's that good.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Moving on up...

Shortly after my last post, my huge plans were somewhat derailed by the announcement that the house in which I am a tenant is up for sale. Since moving to Natal at the beginning of 2007, I have moved no fewer than 5 times, excluding the initial move down here. If you consider that prior to that I had moved 10 times in as many years, my life assumes a nomadic quality worthy of epic literature. If only I had a ring to destroy, a dragon to slay, or a world to colonise!

The growing herbs project has been put into temporary abeyance as I can't actually do any gardening when I may have to up sticks at any point, although the basil is, shockingly enough, still alive in its seedling tray. Can't say the same for the parsley, but since all I've done is put them outside and let the rain water them, a 50% success rate isn't half bad. Ok, yes it is, but you know what I mean.

As for the exercise plan, that has been postponed indefinitely due to paralysis caused by deep depression brought on by the idea of having to pack and move yet again.

But since the prospect of a move is looming largely in my future, I have decided to be proactive and keep on top of current real estate trends so that I know what is available in my price range. As it turns out, the answer is nothing, especially since I have a cat that I am almost pathologically attached to and unwilling to live without.

However, I accidentally found an ad for a flat in the Cape, which not only falls in my price range, but is also an actual apartment in a complex, as opposed to the "granny flat on shared property" option which is all that is available to me here.

After a bit more research, I have discovered that in the Cape it is not only possible to rent a reasonable dwelling for a reasonable rate, one can also get a job for an actual living wage.

I therefore find myself asking a very serious question: why am I struggling to make ends meet in a place that I cannot afford with a salary that would be at least 50% higher in any other province, when I can just live in another province, get paid properly, and be able to afford a lifestyle instead of merely an excuse for a life?

There are a few pros to staying where I am. First of all, my family, and especially my nieces, are here and leaving them would be like ripping my heart out. Secondly, I really do love my job. I love the work, I love the people, I love everything about it except the salary, which is actually as good as I would get in Natal. Thirdly, a big move across the country would be outrageously expensive.

And yet I find myself contemplating doing exactly that on an increasingly frequent basis. There are at least as many pros for moving as there are for staying, such as the rugby team, the aforementioned income vs rent disparity, and the proximity to wine farms (which ties in with my long term Zombie Apocalypse goals). And if any good concerts come to SA, they always go to Jhb and Cpt and bypass Durban completely, so there's the chance of actual cultural stimulus as well. And there are more jobs in the field that I want to enter (publishing) in Cape Town (some) than in Durban (none).

I actually found a job today that is very similar to what I'm doing at present,  so I sent in my CV. To be honest, I"m not entirely sure what response I'm hoping for.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Next (Literal) Step

So last week I bought some herb seedlings, which aren't dead yet, and I have decided to move on to the next portion of my planny plan.

As everyone knows, farmers, and those suffering from PIZZA (Paranoid Independent ZombieZ Avoidance), need to up at the break of dawn to do farmery-type things. Also, I've heard that the "picking grapes and stomping on them" portion of my future will require a reasonable amount of physical activity. Since I currently do an average of negative hours of exercise and often take more than two hours to get out bed in the morning, I feel that it is vital for me to break these habits in order to succeed in my chosen path of hermitude. And also, despite my moniker, I am a bit tired of looking like the balloon-animal version of a grasshopper.

To that end, I am starting an exercise program (I know - again). On Sunday I started a daily 5am walking plan. Since I went out at 7 on Sunday, not at all yesterday, and at six this morning, I am exactly on schedule.

And I am performing a vital neighbourhood service by getting everyone out of bed on time to the barking of the local dogs.

And I get to put together posts like this one in my head while I'm walking.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Looking forward

I have decided that my life’s ambition is to own a vineyard in Tuscany and become entirely self-sufficient. Since it does not appear to be my destiny to win the lottery, I’m going to have to obtain this dream by hard work and determination, blah blah blah.

Considering the mountain of debt that I have to clear before I can consider investing in property, I have decided to make this a 5-year plan, and take it step by step. To that end, I have decided to chronicle my efforts here.

Step 1: see if I can actually make stuff grow. So far in my life I have not had much success with this, so trying to produce vegetables when I have very black thumbs may be a bad idea. For my next trick, I will attempt to grow my own herbs, starting with something easy like basil and parsley. Watch this space for many plant updates!
This is not the first “life’s ambition” that I’ve had. When I was about 6, I wanted to be a cowgirl, and I seem to remember wearing WAY more plaid shirts than can be healthy for a girl of that age. Then, at age 12, I was 100% focussed on becoming a game ranger/conservationist and living in Kenya. Joining the army put me off a bit, though, so I gave up on that. Then I went through various phases of marine biologist, vet, zoologist, archaeologist and mission doctor. Then, when I got to know myself a bit better and realised that I preferred being indoors, it was actress, travel journalist, or book editor.

I am currently combining a couple of those ambitions, much to my surprise, since I do proof-reading and layout for pet magazines. But I have now decided that I need to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse by becoming entirely self-sufficient and generating all my own food in an isolated location far away from the major city centres that will be hit first by the Dread Scourge, and in a house that has already withstood generations of wars and so forth and is therefore secure against marauders intent on eating my brain. The fact that I will also be producing wine to see me through the long nights of vigilance against the evil undead is just a bonus.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Horror novels, anyone?

The other day, I was wondering around what passes for a book store in the biggest shopping centre in my area, and came across something truly horrifying.

All the classic novels that millions have loved and learned from have been turned into grotesque clones of the Twilight novels that millions have lusted and yearned for.

Why does it take such blatant commercialism to sell good literature? And what does it say about the state of today’s reader that they are more likely to buy an Austen novel simply because it says “Bella and Edward” on the cover?

I am shocked. Shocked and stunned. Shocked and stunned and not a little amazed.

Saturday, 21 January 2012


Last night, I did Tae Bo, had a shower, and then danced like a crazy person in my living room, to a playlist that went from Adele to Rob Zombie to Jimmy Eat World to the mariachi theme from Desperado. And there was cricket on the TV in the background and a glass of red wine in my hand.

Sucks to all you losers with families: my life ROCKS!!!

Oh, and I had chocolate muffins for supper.

Insert raspberry here.

My Playlist:
Adele: Rolling in the Deep
Green Day: American Idiot
Marcy Playground: Comin' up from Behind (from the "Cruel Intentions" soundtrack)
Dire Straits:
Hugo: 99 Problems (from the "Fright Night" soundtrack)
Matchbox 20: Bent (from my high school soundtrack)
Pink: Bad Influence
Prime Circle: Hello
Queen (feat. Armageddon aka Geddy): I Want it All/ We Will Rock You Mash up (from the "Sucker Punch" soundtrack)
Antonio Banderas: CanciĆ²n de del Mariachi (from the "Desperado" soundtrack)
Tricky: Excess (from the "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack)
Rob Zombie: Dragula (from the "Matrix" soundtrack)
Lit: Over my Head (from the "Titan AE" soundtrack)
Sandi Thom: I Wish I was a Punk Rocker
Blur: Country House
Billy Joel: River of Dreams (because it's my all-time favourite song by my all-time favourite poet)
Freshlyground: Fire Is Low
Flogging Molly: Worst Day Since Yesterday (from the "Stargate: Universe" soundtrack)
Danny Elfman: The Little Things (from the "Wanted" soundtrack)
Kansas: Carry on my Wayward Son (from the "Supernatural" soundtrack)
Jimmy Eat World: The Middle
Don McLean: Miss American Pie (because I was on hold for six minutes the other day and got to hear most of it)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Blogger heaven

I have a new favourite blogger! Matt Posky of You Monsters are People is awesome. This is not instead of Hyperbole and a Half, but as well as. In fact, I believe that if Allie Brosh and Matt Posky ever hooked up, their union would result in the creation of a new race of super-beings.

And they would create an awesome race of dats: dog/cat hybrids that would rule the world, much like Dogbert and Catbert. In fact, Dogbert and Catbert may very well be the result of a secret liaison between Matt and Allie anyway.