Saturday, 28 February 2009

Stuff ups

I am still a bit sleepy.

This is just a sleepy thought that occurred to me and possibly I should not write it down until I am awake.

South African politicians and desicion makers have made some huge booboos for which they have taken huge amounts of flak. The press does not let them get away with anything, and what press does? The electricity saga, the Scorpion saga, corruption sagas and the list goes on.

The world dismisses the place as "Africa", therefore relatively incomptetent and they treat these stuff ups as to be expected.

So then what I want to know is, how certain decision makers in the US thought it was ok to give homeloans to people without jobs, and how in the UK they gave mortgages to people who could not afford them, and how they and people from a few other countries managed to create a recession that affects not only their own countries but the entire world?

These decision makers are people from first world countries, whom we assume to be, well, intelligent, well educated and efficient. And this recession was something that we plebs could see coming from a mile away.

I think there should never be another comment about why "Africa" cannot sort itself out again. Stuff ups are a worldwide phenomenon. Africa most certainly does not have the patent on that one.

Although I do not include the AIDS stuff up in this category. That one is on a level all of its own.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Almost post

This is a picture of a dot. My computer died yesterday, taking all my pictures with it. I have had to improvise on the blog decor.

I am currently trying in a thousand different ways not to expire messily all over my lab bench.

The Killers killed me. Snigger. How is that for a sentence that should never have been written down?

It was so worth it though. There were violins, bubbles, rains of fire and confetti, and mr Flowers in an incredibly tight pair of pants.

And I could swear that I heard him sing: "are we human, or are we hamster?"

In fact I do, I swear it on my voluptous D cups that I do not have.

Not only that, but the line "I got ham but I'm not a hamster" was definitely a possibility too.

The hamster lives.


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Wonder Years

Being Brazen tagged everybody who reads her blog to post a picture of themselves from their youthful days.

I was nearly too chicken. I value my anonymity here. But I decided to put up a picture for one day. I tag anyone else brave enough to do it too.

I have only a few blurrily scanned photos of my youth.

Here is one. I feel like I am appearing nekkid in front of the world right now:


I think I am about 10 or 11 here. It was somebody's birthday party and I was busy stuffing myself with sweets.

The person I could not quite edit out of the photo is my brother. This photo really does portray the Wonder Years then, seeing as he is now dead.

I really don't feel sad any more when I see pictures of him. We may have had some terrible times, but most of my photos of him portray happy times, and these are the best memories to have in the end. The only ones worth dwelling on. Judging from the rest of the photo, this was a happy day.

My look seems to be one of both amused bemusement and suspicion. Which is much like how I still view the world today.

At least some things have not changed then.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Strange Shores 4, or Monty Po-thon's flying circus

Roll up, roll up for the latest edition of Strange Shores.

I think it is fitting that the theme for today's edition is Monty Python's flying circus, because it is English, and England is where I now pat my ex, and seeing as before I came here I had based my opinion of this country mostly on Monty Python episodes, well, I thought they were very strange shores indeed. And mostly they are. But with less spam (and eggs and spam, chips, eggs and spam, spam spam, bacon eggs and spam...) than I was led to expect. Thankfully.

I shall get myself out of the way first. Here is a post I wrote about grappling with the finer points of English -er- English. I should really just say "I am South African. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent? I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. I fart in your general direction." Or something.

Next up is Ladyfi, a Brit in Sweden, whose posts about the the weather, the moon, and ducks have me thinking that logically, if she weighs as much as a duck, well then she must be made of wood. And if wood and ducks can float, she must therefore be a witch. Logically.

Then we have Louise, another Brit, this time in Italy. Her post about the sky makes me wonder, do coconuts migrate in Italy too?

Cairo typ0, an American woman in Cairo, writes about the trials of finding work in Egypt. Well, if you take advice from Monty Python, you could always become "a lumberjack" and be ok. I am sure you have no problem wearing women's clothing and pressing wild flowers?

Next is someone who seems to be doing a cultural exchange with me, since he moved to Cape Town roughly the same time I came to the UK. I even ended up working in the same English city as he did. 6000's first post is about domestic workers, sore meninges and bees, which brings me to the thought that "half a bee philosophically must ipso facto half not be. But half the bee has got to be a vis-à-vis it's entity". Not so?

His second post is about death by giraffe headbutt, which is always unfortunate. Pity the person never took Monty Python's self defense class, good for fending off wayward bananas, and possibly banana-shaped giraffes?

Dora from Hong Kong, Toronto, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Bangkok and Rayong now in London met a drunken man hanging from a fence and tried to find out what he wanted. Was it..."a shrubbery?" Or merely the meaning of life?

Paddy K, an Irishman, tells us about naughty number plates in Sweden (nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?), and about a situation that is frankly so Pythonesque that it needs no introduction, a driver recieving a reduced sentence because he was drinking.

PiNG, an American in Denmark, cannot understand why locals keep staring at her. You would think she belonged to the Ministry of Silly Walks or something.

And now for something completely different. Dash is an Australian currently in Kathmandu. In this post he makes a bit of a faux pas with his cleaning lady and communes with his dirty underwear.

I am most disappointed that there were no expats in Norway this time round, because I was itching to quote the "dead parrot sketch". Oh well. If you did not participate this time, please join in for the next edition.

This round of Strange Shores is "bleeding demised, it has passed on, it's expired and gone to meet its maker, bereft of life it rests in peace, it is no more, it has ceased to be... this is an ex- parrot post."

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Where I bean


I tend to post stuff on weekends that I would never post during the week (ie. real low quality twaddle) because I assume no one really pays attention. Lately I have been proven wrong.

Please don't feel obliged to read this just because you follow me. It is unadulterated navel gazing.

Places I have lived:

Age 0-1: Someplace, Debbin, SA

Age 1-7: Jwaneng, Botswana

Age 7-18: West-Evil, Debbin, SA

Age 18-23: Various bits of Cape Town, SA (Rosebank, Rondebosch, Mowbray)

Then it all gets a bit hazy:

Ash, Kent, UK (1 month)

Chartham, Kent, UK (6 weeks)

Yeovil, Somerset, UK, (2 months)

Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK (on and off for about 2 years in between all this other manouevering, including while working in Cambridge)

Fernedown, Dorset, UK (More specifically: a field in the middle of somewhere. 7 weeks.)

Hampton Magna, Warwickshire, UK (4 months)

ROYAL Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, UK (last 3 years)


The BFG's list is far more interesting than mine, and includes Dubai, Antarctica, and most exciting of all, Potchefstroom.

We are nomads. We have moved around a lot. We always have a move in the back of our minds; of house, of town, and of country.

It makes much sense for us to move now, to another town so I can be closer to work, or at least another part of this town. But we are both resisting strongly. 

We have had a chance for the first time to put out little rootlets and shootlets and pretend that we are settled. It is just an illusion. But it suffices for now. We may live in Poo Palace, but I think we have embraced our inner drug dealer- junkie thieves. Because we are tired.

And anyway, in what other town can you see two drunken old men singing and playing a beat up grand piano on the side of the road that they wheeled out from who knows where?

This neighbourhood has character. Too much sometimes, but it reminds me that life is not always a box of chocolates. Sometimes it is a pile of poo.

(Really I just stay here so I can blog about it. Of course.)


(((Although I did just blog about it. Again. But I don't get danger pay for this stuff.)))

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The pies and the lies.

Fat panda Po

I don't mean to be running an illicit Womens' magazine here (although that does sound intriguingly naughty) but I am back on the subject of the boy creatures.

Usually when I write something, be it an assignment, or a blog post or just something random, I show it to the BFG. And always, always, he is brutally honest. He often tells me that it is silly, or that he doesn't get it, or else he just makes a grunting noise. And I am so grateful for this.

Of course I am crushed at the time, but I value his honesty greatly. For the times when he bursts out laughing, or says he really likes something. Because then I know that he really means it, and is not just humouring me.

So where does this brutish honesty disappear to in other areas of life?

Like, for instance, I have been eating like a possessed Pac Man lately, and my clothes are feeling suspiciously tight. I do not own a scale, for they are mean and probably lie anway, and cause scary obsessive behaviour that is best avoided.

So I thought I could use the BFG as my fat barometer. All I wanted to know was if I should eat one less crunchy nut cornflake per day, or try to relocate the gym (it appears to be hiding from me at the moment). After all, he does see me nekkid every day and spoon me every night in a loving embrace (puke now if you must), so he should know.

I asked if he could tell if I was getting fatter.

His answer was: "WhatNO I don't know, you are a bit cuddly maybe, please don't beat me, am I in trouble now?"

So silly. Men are always going on about women being complicated, and not knowing what we want. Let me clear it up for you once and for all. Except on certain occasions, which should be glaringly obvious*, when we need you to lie and to lie well, we want your complete and bare-faced honesty.

Of course the truth hurts, and you are likely to recieve a verbal lashing, a thorough beating, and no sex for quite some time, but in the end we will be grateful to you. We just want you to be straight with us. We rely on your honesty because no one else will give it to us.


*please don't tell me you can't tell? What is wrong with you? You are so insensitive, are you blind? You know nothing about me after all these years, you have no feelings I hate you...

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Strange Shores: Unbunged

I am the host of the next Strange Shores blog carnival, started up by two alien invaders of Sweden, Paddy K and Ladyfi.

Strange Shores is a bloggy festival celebrating the madder side of being a foreigner in a strange land, with or without shores. An cowpat expat is a pile of poo person from one country who has settled in another country. Does this apply to you?

If so, and if you have a funny, interesting or just plain mad story of your experiences in your adopted country, you can send me the link, either in the comments section of this post, or to:, and I will put the link up on the Strange Shores carnival day, which is this coming Sunday.

If you have no clue what I am on about, (I get this a lot), then here are the previous three editions of Strange Shores:

What is in it for you? A dose of madness and mayhem? Likely. Fame, fortune? Possibly not. Although I do get a few hits now and then, usually from people looking for things like "seamonkey fun", but you never know, you might get read eventually.

If you are not an cowpat expat, well, sorry. At least you don't smell.

May the flies be with you.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Interview with a brine shrimp

I have been interviewed. I know, I know; it is hard work being the most sought after seamonkey in the whole of my block of flats, but somebody has to do it.

Medio Pomelo has interviewed me. I love her blog. I am not even sure how I found it. It was a serendipitous event. Her writing style is beautiful. It inspires me. Thanks for the awesome questions!

I in turn must offer to interview anyone who wants to be interrogated by me.

So if you want to be interviewed, please say so in the comments and I will think up 5 questions for you.

Unfortunately I am still in a rather negative frame of mind, so these answers are a bit morose. I feel like I am exposing a raw, dark side of myself here. But it is a large part of me. So hold onto your hats.

1)What achievement/possession/quality of yours are you most proud of?

This is so hard to answer right now.

I try to be non-judgemental. I hate being judged, so I try not to do it to others. People have reasons for doing things that we usually know nothing about. Does that count?

Otherwise, I am proud of my capacity for sleep. My body, if left to its own devices, will happily sleep 12 hours a day. I am part seamonkey, part sloth.

2) If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

My belief that I do not have the ability to do anything. My low expectations of myself. I could go on forever...

3) What happened in the happiest day of your life?

Um, maybe it is still coming up?

I have had many really happy days, but none stick out as the happiest.

Here is one:

- when the BFG came home on the boat from Antarctica after 15 months away, I was sooo happy. It was strange, it was as if he had never been away. Except he had a huge cloud of hair. We went straight to the beach. He was so white and he got fried by the Cape Town sun.

4) If you looked into a magic mirror and saw your life in 2020 what would you like to see?

I find it hard to picture more than a day ahead in my life. I would be 40. Oh. my. word. I hope I am still alive, still with the BFG, and have my sister close by me. I hope I have not allowed myself to wallow in some pathetic misery to the point where I could not find a way out. I hope I am not bitter. I hope I am still brutally honest with myself. I hope my seamonkey fame has taken over the world. Of course.

5) What do you miss most from SA apart from the sunshine? And least?

Hmm, I have been trying to avoid this kind of topic. It seems to be touchy and troublesome. But for you, Medio Pomelo, I shall unleash my best answer:

I miss many superficial things. The outdoor life. I miss going climbing or hiking after work, or playing beach volleyball. I miss belonging, or the illusion thereof. I miss not thinking about South Africa. I only ever started to think about the place a few years after I left. And it drives me nuts.

I do not miss the crime. Or the weird confused guilt that only a pathetic angsty white person such as myself could feel. You can lecture me about this being silly and dated and whatever, and I know. I am just being honest. It's not like I felt it all the time. Mostly I was too self absorbed to notice anything or anyone else.

I don't miss the crappiness of the poverty and anger created by such a sick system. And the sense of inevitability that tainted everything that happened. And still happens.

On the flip side, I miss that incredible resilience in South Africans that I have not found so much elsewhere. People who have nothing still smiling good morning to you as if they really mean it. And they do.

But what I really miss, I do not know. I feel like I am physically missing a part of myself. I associate this loss with South Africa, but it may be something else that caused it. It could also all just be in my mind.

Isn't everything?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Just a thought

cowabunga fellow mutants

Here is a nice, relaxful point to ponder to ease you into your restful Sunday-before-work-remember-work-don't-get-too-comfortable-because-there-is-work-tomorrow routine.

"The identity between the identity of identity and identity, and the identity of différance and différance, is their différance."

I heard this on an iTunes U lecture on deconstruction. I only had to play that sentence, oh about 800 times, before I could figure out what it meant, and even then it was a brief flash of understanding, which is since long gone. Anyone care to explain to me what it means, and how philosophers can get away with such crap, just by playing silly games with words?

(P.S. Too orange? Be blunt. I need to know. I love all colours and combinations so I have no clue what looks good).

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Urgent advice needed.

I need help!

My colleagues at work keep telling me that I need to eat broccoli. Apparently the stuff not only helps to prevent cancer but may even help to cure it. It is one of those superfoods or something. I know this is possibly spurious but I eat almost no green things. I want to learn to eat broccoli.

Over the years I have formed abominable eating habits. To the point where I really feel I should make an effort to be healthier. But broccoli is pushing my vegetable spectrum to the extreme. I just cannot stomach the stuff. It is foul, vile and possibly the snot of Satan. I would rather lick toads than eat it.

So who out there knows a way to make broccoli taste ok? A way to disguise it so that the putrid taste is eliminated? So that it is broccoli but without the broccoliness? Anyone?

Help a seamonkey to be healthier, please?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Biology is a beach.

I am not quite so sad any more. I am pretty blue but I can at least “smile like I mean it”, as the Killers would say. I have a plan to try and be more active outside work, to help me forget about what goes on at work. Ok. That is a lie. I have a plan to make a plan. Soon.

There is not much I can do about what happens in the lab though, except prostrate myself in front of the Biology Goddess.

The Biology Goddess is an irrational bitch to work for. When she is in a bad mood, you know all about it. Your experiments won’t work. Things turn out to be turnips, say, instead of fruit flies. And when you start it all again, you will get completely different results to the time before.

So what you have to do is, you have to appease the Biology Bitch. You have to make a sacrifice, or wear a special symbol of respect. Biology may as well be voodoo or witchcraft for the way most scientists behave. They will have their lucky charm; their favourite pippette, their special red jocks, their monkey mascot, whatever it is that they had or wore or did when something went right. They will try to replicate that glorious day each time they do the experiment, or surely it is doomed to fail? The Goddess must be appeased.

You will see many a scientist, lovingly fondling their tubes while whispering powerful incantations over their DNA potions.

I happen to know a good spell that cannot be repeated here for it is like gold. But the abridged version goes something like this:

“you little fuckers, you had better do what you are supposed to, or I am going to spit on you, pee on you, stomp on you and feed you to the incinerator. P.s. iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou please work."

My supervisor said to me the other day that I have the touch or the knack for a certain technique. Erm, no. Logically there is no magic touch. If you follow the protocol it should work. Logically. It didn’t work once because some of our sequences were faulty. The next time it worked because we fixed them. But logic does not apply here. We put it down to magic and mysticism in the end.

And of course what I did not tell my supervisor was that I was wearing my uber special lucky left purple stripy sock at the time, folded exactly once, two fingers above the ankle, and that is why my experiment worked that one time. Now I am going to have to wear that bloody sock every day. I wonder if washing it will remove some of its good luck potency?

You may think I am joking, but from what I have seen, for a bunch of people who supposedly lean from agnosticism towards severe atheism, Biologists are all superstitious voodoo priests.

If I had known this before, I doubt I would have taken up Biology after school. Who would, unless you enjoy constant failure, a mad logic that no one has quite yet deciphered, and a bitchy goddess who is impossible to appease?

And quite frankly if some guidance counsellor had told me that at some point in my career I would need to delicately massage some fragile tubes in order to ease a “blocked orifice flow”, well I would have thought twice. But I don't know. Maybe I am just picky.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Sad Po

I am struggling right now. I have that drowning feeling. I am just so very sad. I thought that it would go away but I have felt like this for a while . I'm hoping it will disappear in time. It usually does.

This mostly relates to work, one way or another. I am not coping very well at work. There are so many interwoven and interconnected reasons why work is dragging me down that I don’t even know where to begin unravelling them in order to make sense of it all. Never mind trying to explain it on this blog. In fact I have decided to start a new blog for my eyes only, in an attempt to figure it all out. This stuff is not for the eyes of the blogosphere. Not because it is too private, but just because no one else should have to be subjected to such miserable negativity.

What I really need is some space from work in order to think things through. But therein lies part of the problem. All I do right now is work. I get home at 7pm or after and then I find it impossible to distance myself from things when they are going badly. And going badly they are.

But there I am trying to explain things and that is not my intention.

I need to hide away from this blog until I can unravel the confused strands of my misery to at least think of ways to make the situation better. My self confidence and self-belief, always low, are at rock bottom at the moment.

So I am going to go and crawl into my sad little hole for a few days (I hope that is all it takes) until I can be persuaded to take the mickey out of myself again. That always makes me feel better.

If I tried to write anything now it would just be sad and twisted, like me.

Monday, 9 February 2009

A paradox?

In South Africa, white South Africans are not supposed to be able to call themselves Africans, for the obvious colonial reasons. Please, I don't want to dredge up that ancient debate. We are supposed to call ourselves Europeans.

Here in Europe we are not allowed to call ourselves Europeans. We are most definitely African.

As in, for instance, my mom and I cannot donate blood in the UK, because we have had relations with an African male. The same males who are European in Africa. Needless to say, these men cannot donate blood in Europe either. Europeans have a special blood type or something it seems.

So what this means to me is that we are nothing. We are in-between, in no-man's land; the flotsam of confused cultures.

This distresses me sometimes. Mostly it is alright. I suffer from chronic existential confusion anyway. I feel permanently confused, not-belonging, identityless. I often feel as if I do not own my life at all.

It is my state of being. So it suits me just fine being AfriPean.

{As a complete aside, what exactly does a seamonkey look like? I have never seen a full grown seamonkey before. And what do they eat? Teeny tiny sea bananas? You see how bad it is? I am having a species-identity crisis as I write.}

Saturday, 7 February 2009


You know how last week I wrote about this general fury I was experiencing, at everything and nothing all at once?

Well, it turns out it was maybe definitely  hormonal  after all.

But all the points I brought up are still perfectly valid and would piss me off anywa...

Ok no it was just the hormones talking. I am a placid person.

I should write a post entitled: 
Women. What planet?, right?

Peace out, make love not war and all that shizzle.

K, bye now.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Which tree would that be?

In cases of severe snow: Build giant ball. Uses up the snow, see?

Continuing in the Men. What planet? theme, here is a conversation between me and the BFG to illustrate my point.

Whilst we were walking in the snow:

BFG: Check out that tree.

Po: Which one?

BFG: The one without any leaves.

Po: Sweetie, none of them have any leaves. It's winter.

BFG. Oh. (looks around at all the trees) good point. Ok, the big one.


I rest my case.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

That One Time

This topic is old and lame, so sorry if I bore you. I just can’t seem to get over it. The ole blog seems good for helping me past such blockages. Where extra fibre is not doing the trick.

Men. What planet?

BFG is very domesticated. Far more so than me. I am a lazy sloth. He often washes the dishes, and this is much appreciated, bits of stuck-on food aside. 

For me it is all in the finer details. How come after he has finished using the sink, he never cleans it out? I will come to use it later and find ancient bits of food clogging the drain, and general scaly griminess adorning the basin. 

Same when he shaves or uses the bath. He never cleans up afterwards. 

Training a man is a lifelong commitment. I have tried the nagging, the subliminal messaging, the blackmail, the  bribery, the reverse psychology. At the moment I silently sneak after him and clean up. Until I find a better strategy.

As much as all this irks me now, I know I don’t have it too bad. At least he cleans. And when his trail of muckiness gets to me I can always think back to That One Time.

That One Time was when BFG decided to clean the bathroom from top to bottom, including the sink and bath, completely voluntarily.

I walked in and found him wiping down all the surfaces: the window ledge, the sink, the tiles. With the toilet cloth. With the cloth he uses to wipe the toilet. I asked him about this. Turns out he had wiped down deep within the toilet bowl, and then proceeded to continue wiping down the rest of the bathroom. Not even a rinse of the cloth.

At this point I needed to go and lie down. 

I am pragmatic about bacteria. I studied Microbiology, and my philosophy is, if it doesn't kill you it will make your immune system stronger. I have no problem eating food off the floor. But even I have my limits. 

I have no idea how BFG proceeded to cleanse our bathroom: how many times he wiped off our faeces-encrusted surfaces, and how many times he rerinsed.   I was lying on my back with my eyes closed trying to picture fluffy hamsters waltzing. While fanning my face.

So it really is better that I do the wiping up. It really is.

I love my BFG to bits. He is one of a kind, and anyone could have made that mistake so I tell myself every day oh excuse me I need to go and lie down now.