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January 28th

Be a Saffie, too!

My ex-landlady phoned me last night. Apparently there was some post for me at my old house. So I went to pick it up, and it was my South African ID book. I am now a South African citizen. It has been a long, long, long, long time coming. But now I can finally say that I am PSA!

January 15th

January 8th

Lente in die Boland

This post is so late, it's not funny.

I live in Stellenbosch now, also known as the Boland. It is also home to Koos Kombuis and Valiant Swart. There is an awesome song by Koos Kombuis called "Lente in die Boland" (Springtime in Stellenbosch). Claire Hawkridge references it in her beautiful post from late last year. The song is awesome to listen to, it really gets you in the mood.

Here are the lyrics:

Lente in die Boland

by Koos Kombuis


Daar's 'n dorpie wat ek ken daar tussen die blou berge
En die lower van die eike oor die straat
Dis die land van Adam Tas en Simon van der Stel
Waar die mense van Gauteng soos die Capies kan leer praat
Dis daar waar ek gewot het, ek het daar leer skryf en lees
Maar die meeste van die tyd was ek in 'n party gees
Wie kan die werk verstaan, wie kan die drank weerstaan
As die onderdorp jou roep vir 'n groot, groot fees

Chorus:
Dit was lente in die boland, in ons mees gesuipte jaar
Daar was Tassenberg in elke glas, al die hormone het baljaar
Stellenbosch was niemandsland, eksamens ook net om die draai
Maar ons was jonk gewees en ons was dronk gewees
Die hele lewe was 'n bring en braai

In die Akker en Die Dros het ons oor naweke gedrink
en vir vriende en mooi meisies hulle glase vol geskink
Na die riviertjie by Die Laan het ons al steierend gegaan
om te kafoefel en te vry in die lig van die maan
Ek het haar daar ontmoet, sy was so oulik en so soet
Die nooentjie van my drome, ja, dis waar
Nou woon ons in 'n huisie, maar ek onthou nog daardie wysie
Van die gejol en die gefuif van ons beste jaar

Roughly translated:

There's a village that I know between the blue mountains
And the lower branches of the oaks over the street
It's the land of Adam Tas and Simon van der Stel
Where the people from Gauteng can learn to speak like the Capies again
It's there where I studied, it's there where I learnt to read and write
But most of the time I was in a party spirit
Who can understand the work? Who can resist the drink?
When the village is calling you for a great, great festival.

Chorus:
It was Springtime in the Boland, in our most drunken year
There was Tassenberg in every glass, all the hormones were raging,
Stellenbosch was Terra Nullius, with exams just around the corner
But we were young, and we were drunk.
Our whole life was a bring and braai.

In the Akker and the Dros, we had our weekend drinks,
And filled the glasses of friends and pretty girls
To the river at Die Laan we went, staggering
To kafoefel and to vry, by the light of the moon,
I met her there. She was so sweet and so cute,
The girl of my dreams, it's true.
Now we live in a house, but I still recall the tune
Of the parties and joyfulness of our best year.

Dis mooi. (Thanks to Deon Erasmus for the translation help).

A Series of Most Unfortunate Events

Happy New Year anoll.

I went to Joburg for New Years, to see Tim and the Family girls. Let me tell you a bit about my holiday.

We went out for Thai food on Thursday night, and for drinks on Friday night, where I saw Avri, which was nice. The main event, however, was Saturday, of course. For this, we went to Makro and bought ingredients for Pino Coladas, Strawberry Daiquiris, Mojitos, and Frozen Margaritas. I'd like to say for the record that as we were walking out of Makro, for the first time ever, I could actually see myself living in Joburg, being a real person, and living a real life. Not now, not soon, but one day, maybe.

A bunch of people came round to Tim's complex (named "Graceland", for some reason. I couldn't find any fat, dead singers on the toilets, but still...), and we made cocktails and swam and played volleyball and had a braai. It was good. I took lots of really awesome photos. Then I put my camera down to let Avri and Cindy out the gate, and ten seconds later, when I went to pick it up again, it was gone. That was US$350 worth of excellent camera, and a whole bunch of priceless photographs. We were in the common area of the complex, so it could have been anyone from the area. Most unfortunate.

After the braai, we all trooped round to Guy Taylor's parents' house for the actual New Year's party. The house was absolutely massive, two swimming pools anoll. Very good. After screwing up my introduction to his mother (just because his surname is Taylor doesn't mean hers is), we went outside. His parents and their friends were being quiet and civilised inside. At one point, I decided I needed to go to the bathroom, so went inside. Now, the main thing about glass is that its see-through. That's the point of glass. That's why we use it. But why would you make a door out of glass? Honestly? It's just asking for trouble. Anyway, after I had recovered from a near-broken nose, wrung most of the red wine out of my shirt, apologised to the surprised adults on the other side of the door, and returned to the party outside, very embarrassed. Most unfortunate.

Just before twelve, we were invited to go upstairs for the countdown. Midnight came and went, as it tends to do. We then went back outside, whereupon Toni decided that I needed to go into the pool. I grabbed the nearest thing I could to stop myself going in, which was a tree. No, it wasn't a tree. It was a bloody great pot plant. So there was soil all over the pool, and I was sodden, as were my phone and wallet, which had been in my pocket. R.I.P. phone. Most unfortunate.

Finally, on our way out, I was trailing wet clothes everywhere, and they have a tendency to catch onto things. I don't know whether it was a two thousand year old Ming vase, or just a glass bowl, but it went *pangalangalang* in a most heart-rending way as it hit the driveway. Most unfortunate.

By Monday, I was ready to just get home, please, with no further incident. So Tim drove me to the airport, where we discovered that I'd missed my flight. Most unfortunate.

I managed to get on standby, and got home in the end. Also, my phone started working two days later, although it was too late as I'd already bought another one. All in all, the weekend gets a 9, though, it really was fantastic. Thanks to Megan for the photos. She, too, by the way, is absolutely fantastic.

To round off the whole episode, Tim got his car stolen from Rivonia on Thursday night, with two sets of golf clubs, a Nokia hands-free kit, a CD rack, and his ID book in it. Which really sucks.

In other news, I have just handed my thesis in.

December 27th, 2005

Red Christmas

I've kinda held off blogging for a bit, because I wanted to properly finish writing about California, but then I just didn't have the time or energy. I had so many song titles to use, too! Ah, well. Sometime, when I get round to it, I will write up one of the seminars that I went to at ISPCon, though - I found it interesting.

It's the day after Boxing Day, which should be a public holiday, if the government were playing by UK pool rules, but nooo, they don't carry public holidays. Pah. I'm waiting for Tom and his girlfriend Michelle to come down to Stellenbosch for dinner. I haven't seen him since about 2002, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Christmas was, well, Christmas. The usual, you know. For New Years, I'm going up to Joburg to see Tim and the Family girls, which I am really looking forward to. Some of the Family girls were down a week or so ago, actually, and we went wine tasting and Out in Cape Town, which was excellent.

Anyway, just checking in. If you watch this space, and if I have time, you might get to see me ponder about the Corporation Part Two, Religion, Narrative and Identity, and AliceBot. But I doubt it.

October 29th

Fatboy Slim - Kalifornia

The three days of the convention were spent going to seminars, which I will write-up shortly, and wandering around the stands in the expo hall, talking to people who wanted to sell you their products, and trying to wangle free stuff. I did quite well on the last count - I got 37 pens (my boss got 43, and beat me), and a bunch of stuff like a coffee cup, a Rubik's cube, some lanyards, and so on. There were also two keynote speeches, the first of which was a marketing ad by Covad ("Convergence of Voice and Data" - actually quite exciting! A full-on provider of digital voice/data services. Convergence realised.), and the other which was

Having left South Africa on Sunday, spent Monday at the Smithsonian, and flying, the convention took up our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. open source So, Californian toilets. They

The Eagles - Hotel California

I had to share a room with Petrus, which, I must confess, was not pleasant. He snores like a steam engine, and I have video footage to prove it. He also sets his alarm for 7am, so that he can get up and play Civilization on his new laptop. Now, maybe it's just me, but I think it's a bit antisocial to set an alarm when you're sharing a room, especially if you're only setting it so that you can play games.

We spent most evenings drinking Jack Daniels ($20 a bottle), and playing bridge, in Jac and Gideon's room. The hotel is a pleasant place, the indians who run it are really nice people. I enjoy hotels - the beds are comfortable, and the facilities are looked after, and you really just don't need to care about anything. You wake up, shower, and leave, and when you come back, the place is spotless, the bed is made, and you can roll into bed and pass out.

You wake up in the morning, and breakfast is made. In California, we had the choice of bagels and cream cheese (I really like this as a breakfast. A bagel is like a doughnut, but not sweet and soft - it's much harder bread. You can toast them and whack the cream cheese on. It's good), and cereal, and waffles, and cake stuff (Americans all eat cake for breakfast! What the hell?), and toast. And coffee. It's just really enjoyable. I suppose I've never really stayed in hotels before. I like it.

We stayed at another hotel in Washington DC, whose name I forget. This place was huge. It was a proper hotel, like you see in the movies, and all, yes? The beds had a little gadget you could use to adjust how soft/hard the mattress was! I mean, come on.

The Propellerheads - Take California

I bought a camera and an iPod Nano while in California, and I'm really pleased I did.

The Nano is the sweetest little device - mine's a sexy black thing, so small you could probably swallow it. It holds 4 gigabytes of music, and has really good quality sound. I also bought a sort of arm-band thing that you can put the Nano in, for when you go running, for example - I've tested it once, and it works awesomely.

My camera is a Canon Powershot A620, and I'm really pleased with it, too. I've started experimenting with it, and I'm quite pleased. I still haven't worked out where I'm going to put all my photos and how I'm going to organise them and stuff. We'll see.

The Beach Boys - California Girls

... are not a patch on Western Cape girls. The OC lies! There were the usual complement of "hot" girls hawking wares at the convention, but they were actually really rather manky. The best looking girl I saw the whole trip was from Canada.

In fact, the whole of California, while very similar to the Western Cape (there were often times when we were driving, and I looked out of the window, and thought, heck, this could be Cape Town), is actually not nearly as nice.

Viva South Africa!

Rob Zombie - Go to California

Claire picked me up from work on Friday afternoon, took me home, gave me a beer, and packed my bag for me. Then she took me to Cape Town, dropped me off at the Morreira's house for supper, and I met up with her and Adeline at Stones later, and we went to Cornerhouse till 4am. On Saturday morning, Adeline picked me up from the Morreira's, and took me to the airport, where I met up with my boss, Jac, and we flew to Joburg. Tim picked me up from the airport, and we went to his flat, where we had a braai and made cocktails with the Family Girls (represented by Megan, Noodle, Jess, Bronwyn, Laura, Toni). The cocktails were strawberry daiquiris, frozen margaritas, and mojitos, and were a great success. We then went to Tiger Tiger until 4 in the morning, which was awesome. Tim dropped me off at the airport the next day, and we went to America.

The flight was long. They only gave us three whiskeys and a carafe of wine. I watched three movies and slept a bit. We landed in Washington at about noon, but it was only 6am there. What's that all about? Can't Americans tell the time? I had a bagel and cream-cheese for breakfast, as seen on the OC. We then went to the Smithsonian Space and Flight Museum, which was excellent. We watched two iMax movies, and saw all the planes and whatnot. I saw the Enola Gay!

Finally, we got on the plane to St Louis (pronounced Lewis, not Looie, apparently?). It's very green and swampy. There, we caught a connecting flight to Santa Clara, California, where we arrived at about 9pm. We were picked up at the airport by the owner (manager?) of the hotel we were going to be staying at. He was a really lovely guy, an indian called Jay Shah, but known to us as "An' All" (or "En Alles"), due to his constant use of the phrase. The hotel was quite nice, too, although we never really made full use of the facilities it offered.

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