Wednesday, February 27, 2013

yet more bullshit delivered by the SA Post Office

hi there

i am writing this whilst on hold trying to speak to someone at the SA Post Office customer help line. if you like the idea of hearing someone say "thank you for your patience all of our agents are still busy" in a rather whiny voice every three seconds then stop reading this and call 012 401 7902.

the Post Office have, believe it or not, condescended to give another update on the strike that isn't a strike but is a strike. they have at least had the decency to stop issuing meaningless apologies, as you will read :

actually, i've just had a chat with a lovely lady at the Post Office. i will not name her as anything other than N, because i would imagine that on the basis of what i have seen and experience the Post Office are a vindictive lot and would probably single her out for being competent, honest and rather good at her job.

anyway, N advised me of what is going on. as is well known, the strike is on because of the fact that the Post Office, for the most part, hire either criminals who run scams or people that are stupid enough to fall for idiotic scams. and when i say idiotic scams, i now know the full extent of how idiotic.

the reason for the scam can be found earlier on my blog, with a link to it here for your ease. the staggering stupidity of the scam was revealed when N advised me that the strikers are expecting R100,000,000.00 (one hundred million) each as this was the compensation they would have got from the lawsuit. that translates around the world as ₤7,142,857.15 or US$12,345679.01.

the strikers, not appreciating that there was not a lawsuit and they have been conned, are on strike because they still expect the Post Office to pay them R100,000,000.00 each before they go back to work. as you can imagine, and in a rare show of sympathy from me for the Post Office, it is somewhat unlikely that they are going to have these demands met. at present there are 3,000,000 (three million) items sat at the postal depot waiting to be sorted and delivered. add to that the amount of mail still to be collected from various branches and you have one hell of a backlog and delay on your hands.

i expect the SA Post Office to hand over not one single cent to these utter morons who are so easily duped that no doubt they have cupboards full of magic beans at home. hopefully, as the strikers are all engaged in illegal activities simply by striking and indeed are also in violation of the Postal Services Act, i can only hope they are all dismissed and have legal charges brought against them. perhaps then the Post Office can hire staff who both want to work and have a basic level of intelligence. a level of intelligence, at least, that they can spot there's something dodgy about an unspecified lawsuit that will deliver to them R100,000,000.00 in return for a large chunk of their salary.

i don't understand why the Post Office just doesn't put the outlandish demands from these strikers in their adverts. why the hell not? humiliate the fools that dug themselves into this hole and show how they think the best way out is to just keep digging with the same shovel.

more updates as and when i get them, although of course at this stage i would be pretty sure that one of the updates will not be "yay, my birthday cards have arrived at last".

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

tattoo you, R2

hi there

i have no particular feelings on the subject of tattoos. that is i really don't have anything against them at all, but also have not really ever had much of an inclination to go ahead and get one myself. the one and only tattoo i have ever given thought to is getting the Frankie Goes To Hollywood logo done on my arm, as displayed by Paul Rutherford on the inner sleeve of the Welcome To The Pleasuredome album. as i have been umming and aaahing about that for, oh, 29 or so years now, i wouldn't expect to find me showing it off here any time soon.

in more recent times, i have considered getting the following done, probably also on my arm :

1 JULY 2012

but up to now i have not even bothered to investigate how much something like that would cost, let alone find out how much it would sting or absolutely knack. 

not wishing to have a tattoo does not, as indicated above, mean that i have all that much against them. i've seen a few around that are most impressive, as it happens. like this one here that caught my eye today.

quite impressive, isn't it? the image of Darth Vader looks class, if somewhat frustratingly cut off, and that rendering of R2-D2 on skin with ink is a first class job.

if i were to ever go the way of getting a Star Wars tattoo, i think one like that is the way i would go. well, i would probably want Boba Fett included, now that i think. i am not too sure, though, that it would look as good on me as it looks on this particular Star Wars fan.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

the SA Post Office delivers more bullshit

hi there

as you can no doubt guess from the title of this post, the SA Post Office strike continues onwards. we now, at least, have a reason for the strike, but it is not a particularly good one and if anything causes more concern.

the Sunday Times newspaper, like all news outlets here, are far too busy worrying about court cases involving death and the Pistorious family to, you know, investigate and report on anything that is of relevance to millions of people. qualified credit, then, to the Post Office for taking the time to run an advert on the situation.

slightly less credit to them, as you can read below, for the content of the advert and the statement they have issued. i think clicking on the below pic makes it bigger.

yes, assuming the above is clear enough, you are reading right. the Post Office, in their wisdom, have admitted to the fact that they presently employ people who are either criminals running a scam or stupid people thick enough to be duped into the scam run by their colleagues. on that basis, it is something of a minor miracle that any post has ever been delivered at all.

i quite like how they say that the matter is "impacting on service delivery". yeah, that's a bit of an understatement - no post at all, either delivered or colllected, for the last two weeks.

it is high time that the legislation in place in South Africa was used to stop this utter nonsense. with thanks to someone elsewhere on the web, here's what Parliament has in place to protect postal delivery :

Postal Services Act, No 124 of 1998

Wilfully obstructing or delaying mail
70. Any person who wilfully interferes with the conveyance of any mail or through whose act or neglect the conveyance of any mail is interfered with, is guilty of an offence
and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one
month for each hour or part of an hour during which the delivery of the mail is delayed
in consequence of any such interference or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

Wilful opening or delay of postal article or telegram
71. (1) Any person who wilfully opens any postal article or telegram which he or she
knows ought to have been delivered to another person or does any act or thing whereby
the due delivery of that article or telegram to such other person is prevented, obstructed
or delayed, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment
for a period not exceeding two years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

with the above in mind and looking at the last part of the advert (the bit before the comical "we deliver whatever it takes" advert), the Post Office executive team can, to paraquote the wise Liam Gallagher, take their apology and stick it right up their arse until it comes out of their big toe. i can only hope that someone with considerably better resources than me goes and lodges a complaint against this executive team in regards of the law, see if that fixes things. probably not, but it would be worth a try.

thank you for reading this, and you never know, one day those who get things from me in the post may one day do so again soon. i am, however, presently expecting an advert similar to this one to appear next Sunday.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hello there Quinn!!

hello there

yesterday it was the case that, perhaps rightly, Richard told me off about my blog. he was somewhat puzzled about the fact that i had "gone off on one" about things like postal strikes and bad editing in newsletters instead of, for instance, reporting on his and Erika's new baby boy arriving. i did point out to Richard that with no pictures sent to me it was quite tricky to do what he expected, but now that i have some i have no further excuse!

ladies and gents and all other readers, say hello to Quinn Aaron!

a most handsome chap he is, if i say so myself!

for those Richard enthuisasts out there who are only too aware of his devotion to that team that play in bar-coded shirts, making it easier to sell the players when they have an average game, yes i was a bit baffled when they told us they were naming the new baby after a Sunderland legend. Richard tells me, though, that the name rather comes from the ace song The Mighty Quinn and it has nothing at all to do with Niall Quinn. hmn.

as for the Aaron part, well, i think you can guess whose middle name that is!

the above picture seems to show Quinn smiling. this is probably due to me wearing a red and white striped shirt, although obviously with the stripes running in a different direction from those worn by Sunderland. Quinn is also no doubt "relieving himself" in Uncle Lee's hands!

welcome to our crazy family, Quinn! big congratulations to Richard, Erika, Lyla and Ruby-Lee!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscar Pretorius

hey there

no, i am not discussing the case. i am simply pointing out a spectacular success by News 24 in their reporting. you would have thought it was all but impossible for anyone, let alone an SA based news outlet, to not know the name of the accused in this rather long, drawn out bail hearing. applause, then, to them for managing to get his surname wrong in the first paragraph, despite it being there in big letters in the headline.

let us hope that both sides in court invest a little bit more time in looking at the details than the media outlets seem interested in.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

meanwhile in other news........

hi there

ignoring the big story down here at the moment, let me cast some attention on one that does not involve a firearm but does affect many people - and i mean millions - rather more directly. the media here has mentioned it in passing, which is nice but does not help.

we have not had a postal service to speak of for the last two weeks. why not? the workers, or rather people who are supposed to do a job they are paid for and indeed do it every now and then, at the sorting offices are on strike. what is the reason for the strike? that's a good question, as no one seems to know. there has been some rumblings that it is about "some money that some staff are owed from several years ago".

the result of the above is, as you might expect, the strike goes on for no reason and no one seems able to do anything about it. with a 30 minute bail hearing dragged out to 5 days for the benefit of the world media, no one is reporting on it.

what does the Post Office have to say about it? well, here's their bullshit statement from a week ago, the only "recent" news from them :

if you click on that picture i think / hope it will make it bigger. basically, it seems that the Post Office is claiming that this strike has been "contained". this is, of course, bullshit. no post delivered in the last two weeks, and no post collected either.

the assurances that they are working to resolve this issue "swiftly" does not fill one with confidence, considering the amazingly slow way they "swiftly" deliver mail. this means that i have not had one single birthday card in the post for starters, and i expect many others have missed out on important post.

to any of these self-righteous strikers who are reading this instead of doing the job they are paid for - if you don't like it, why don't you piss off and get a job you like and let someone else prepared to work take your job?

i suppose as and when my cards arrive, i can scribble out "birthday" on them and just write "Easter" underneath.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

handling every single book in New Zealand

hi there

there are some interesting consequences of having my Dad as a Dad. by interesting i mean "unusual" and not quite what you would expect. it's widely known to readers of this blog that he's a photographic enthusiast with little in the way of an equal. it would be fair to suppose that i would then get quite a lot of pictures of interest through the electronic mail. i would imagine that you imagine, dear reader, that i get pictures with words along the lines of "here's your Mum and I out and about", or "here's your sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew visiting us". that sort of thing, you know, family stuff.

alas, i get very few pictures - and yes Dad i know you are busy - and those that come through tend not, on the whole, to be as suggested above. instead, they are mostly of the nature of these, where he decides that i might quite like to see what over 2000 books in boxes looks like.

it looks, if we are in the business of honesty here, like quite a lot of books.  i would not have objected, out of curiosity, to some sort of picture showing what a few of the titles are, but i can't make any of them out on what i have got here.

as you may have concluded, the vast number of books on display here are intended to meet the very healthy and good to hear of demand for books from customers at Old Grumpy's Gallery in Mount Maunganui. whatever the titles are my Dad keeps getting his hands on seem to be going down very well indeed with visitors to the Gallery. nice to know that New Zealand has a love of reading!

i am pretty sure that Dad's masterplan is to make sure of every single book in New Zealand passes through Old Grumpy's Gallery at some stage. it's an ambitious plan, granted, but one that might well work. i for one am certainly wishing him good luck with it!

i may at some stage get the odd accidental picture of family or places of interest in New Zealand, but for now i am pretty sure that the next pictures i get will not be too different from these. should they be of interest, i'll certainly share here!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trevor's gift

hi there

well, more birthday related posts for you!

a birthday is a time for gifts. whereas i was very fortunate to get a number of most excellent presents (more on that in another post), it is not always the case that most excellent presents have to be big and expensive shiny things. the very best gifts are often not.

a very good example of this would be the great pictures that my dear Uncle Trevor found and sent on to me yesterday! i've not seen these before that i recall, so i am guessing that he has only found wherever he had kept them safe recently!

here's a fantastic picture of me and the very much missed, dearly loved Grandad Stanley for a start!

what a fantastic picture, even allowing for the "what are you looking at" pose i seem to have on the go in it!

on that note, it seems rather straightforward as to what i am looking at in this next excellent picture, showing me with Grandma and Grandad!

the above was taken down near Low Green in Great Ayton, the place that i suppose shall always feel and seem like home for me. the next pictue, the last but certainly not the least of the ones Trev sent on, was also taken there.

behold, here i am looking rather small with my Mum & Dad!

quite smart pants my Dad has on there, both of them look like they should be on their way to a Stone Roses gig, or whatever the equivalent of The Stone Roses was 40 years ago. Mott The Hoople, probably, or possibly the Faces!

what brilliant pictures! thank you very much indeed once again Uncle Trevor, a great thing for me to get in my email!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

nice one Sinbad

hi there

thanks to another great miracle of the Post Office - they are on a "go slow" at the sorting office if not an actual, official strike - i have not as yet received any birthday cards via the post as yet. cheers for that, but i am sure for whatever reason they are not working this time it is a valid and brilliant reason.

despair not, however, as my chum Sinbad had no need of the postal system and all its problems to get this super card to me!

no doubt fellow fans of the magnificent show Bottom will appreciate the above a great deal!

there is a case to suggest that the inside of the card is even better than the front, but as the wording on the front already pushes the boundaries of language that i would normally have here there is no way i can show it off here, sorry!

many thanks indeed Sinbad for the gesture and artistic card, and a big thanks to both Sinbad and Maria for the amazing gifts!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fat, forty and maaaad!

hi there

well, if you can spot where the title of this post comes from, well done to you! for those of you wanting a clue, it's from a live album that was recorded in 1996, perhaps only released in 1997. best of luck!

with all the excitement and celebration of today being the The King, Elvis Presley karate-chopping someone's lights out i seem to have forgotten that today is also my birthday. go figure!

fortunately the kind people at verk did not forget at all, and we've had some celebrations here which have been generous and kind. of the exceptionally generous and very kind, my dear friend Ronel arranged this sensational, fabulous cake for me!

it is a beauty, is it not? smart to show off what i have a good name and reputation for! i can assure you that it tastes as good as it looks when consumed as a cake, lighting it and inhaling has proved to be rather difficult so far!

my regular personal photographer, Trigger, is presently away bothering sailors or something. whereas the above was taken with my somewhat wanting blueberry phone thing, the below pic was very kindly taken by Thabiso with one of them "Tab" or "Tablet" thingies.

i have been fortunate enough to get some brilliant gifts (will try and post pics later) and indeed a large number of messages of congratulations and good wishes. many thanks to all for that!

more on the day and the celebration shenanigans later!

a very big thank you to all at verk who have made this birthday on a Monday as brilliant as it could be!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

do not mess with The King

hi there

18th February 2013 marks the 40th anniversary, or if you will "birthday" one of the most extraordinary things that i am aware of. it was an event that, perhaps surprisingly, isn't spoken of or as well known as it could be, and it's also something that, so far as i am aware, has only happened the once.

i speak of course of that astonishing event on 18 February 1973 when four people decided to get on stage and tackle The King, Elvis Presley at one of his celebrated Vegas shows.

 during the usual intermission in a show by The King, Elvis Presley, four men out of the crowd of about two thousand that were bearing witness to the greatest decided to get up on stage and approach The King, Elvis Presley. most unwise of them. other than the fact that most of the people who have ever lived on this planet would not think twice before laying down their life in order to protect The King, Elvis Presley, there's the small matter of The King, Elvis Presley being perhaps the greatest ever practicioner of martial arts.

this should come as no surprise, really - The King, Elvis Presley laid one single class karate chop on one of these idiots, instantly knocking him out and knocking him off the stage. the band took care of one of the others, and the other two tried to run away.

whilst there's an obvious and rare level of honour to having your f****** lights punched out by The King, Elvis Presley, neither He nor anyone else was impressed with the clowns. the four were arrested and spent the night locked up, but were not charged for The King, Elvis Presley did not press charges.

The King, Elvis Presley is a merciful King as well as being quite class at karate. it is of course the business of The King, Elvis Presley to pass comment and indeed judgement as and when He sees fit to do so, and he took measures to assure the rest of the rather more appreciative crowd that all was OK.

as he spoke :

"I'm sorry ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry I didn't break his goddamn neck is what I'm sorry about."

another possible reason that  The King, Elvis Presley did not have charges brought against the stage invaders was that, in His infinite wisdom, He believed that they were assassins hired by the karate sensei that was dating Priscilla at the time. the reports are that He instructed his entourage to make sure that this person was "rubbed out". the entourage of The King, Elvis Presley as you would expect were prepared to follow any order that He had issued.

in His eternal wisdom, however, The King, Elvis Presley - in an incredible act of generosity that i trust the person in question spent the rest of his life on his knees giving thanks for - withdrew the instruction when his entourage reported back that the task would cost some $10,000. that is quite a bit of KFC and Cadillac money, especially in 1973 and in particular by the standards of The King, Elvis Presley.

thanks to the magic of bootlegs and the wonders of internet downloads, it is with some ease that you can obtain a recording of The King, Elvis Presley administering a sound beating to the stage invader. one of the recordings, I'll Whoop His Ass! is quite tinny (well, they did not have iTwat devices to record on back then), but you can hear the sounds of the crowd as they scream the name of The King, Elvis Presley in concern for his well-being, and hear a pretty good recording of His comments after the fact.

Kicking And Rolling, a recording that is of better quality than the one above (ahem, click here for details), is the one i suggest you go for. it has a bit more bass to the sound, and the sound of a lady saying "oh my gosh!" at the point where the four idiots try to get on the stage.

there's also that YouTube thing for those of you who can't or won't obtain a full recording of The King, Elvis Presley administering a great gig and administering a sound beating. clicking these words will take you to such an "upload", this one featuring the "oh my gosh!" lady.

those lucky people who were there 40 years ago, you have to say. not only did they get to see and hear The King, Elvis Presley deliver a usual top level performance, they also got to witness The King, Elvis Presley unleash his devastating and unequalled skills in the art of karate on someone.

i know a great many people will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of this peculiar event, and i am certain that i shall be one of them. there's one or two other things that i could celebrate the 40th anniversary of, but nothing that really features the same level of karate.

many thanks for reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


hi there

well, just like his older brother before him, and indeed like many other fortunate children, William every now and then gets to play "baker man" at his daycare / creche / school place. for those of you not familiar with the concept, the idea is that children (or most likely their talented Mummy) take it in turns to make treats for their classmates and either hand them out or, in some cases, sell them.

here's William showing off his ace baker man hat, and his even more ace baking treats!

as i am sure you can make out, that's a biscuit which has been converted into a racing car by means of icing sugar, jelly tots and a pig shaped sweet taking the place of the driver. they are very excellent and indeed very popular!

here's William handing the packages out to his classmates!

and here, if i am not very much mistaken, is William refusing to accept a bribe in the form of a packet of crisps (or chips if you like, if you are in a country that speaks an odd variant of English) in the hope of getting another baking bag!

William and everyone else really enjoyed the class biscuit cars! i have no idea what they taste like myself as there never seems to be one left for me to try! no doubt it will be his turn to do the baker man thing again in the near future, and no doubt there will not be any of what he and Mummy makes left for me!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

messing about with a new camera

hey there

well, this post pretty much does what it says on the box. thanks to a deal that was so good as to be ludicrous i am now the owner of a shiny-ish new camera. well, that and an utter beast of a new printer.our existing camera (the "proper" one and not the rubbish blueberry thing that crops up on here from time to time) is about ten years old. so i suppose it was due a replacement.

what better subject could i possibly have or ask for to try out the new camera with than the boys messing around in the garden? exactly, so on that note, here's William hiding amongst the palm tree leaves!

i perhaps need to take Mr Saw to the palm trees again, looking at that. the branches are hanging down rather low!

this new camera has 16 of something called "megapixels" in it. by comparison our existing camera only had 5.1 of these "megapixels" in so i am assuming that the new one is better in that regard. well, maybe not. perhaps megapixels, whatever they are, are actually quite bad for a camera and thus the challenge is to get one with less in. the only scientific measurement thingies i am well versed in are midichlorians and flux capacitors. not that it matters all that much, i suppose - i reduce the size, and presumably quality with it, of all pictures i put up here to allow for faster loading of this site for you, dear reader. no thanks required.

moving on, and it was time to give this new camera (a Canon something or other, i am sure the word "power" is in the name) a run at some 'action shots'. James was only too happy to oblige and promptly went mental on the swing.

a few shots were blurry, to say the least, but i think this one came out rather well!

and speaking of action shots, here's one of the boys together.

the above is pretty much what living with and looking after the two of them is about all day, every day. they surprisingly don't do that much damage to each other, and there's not nearly as much picking on each other as you might have thought. it's more "rough play", especially when they are clattering each other with lightsabres!

with some good fortune pictures taken with the ace new camera shall feature on here going forward. every now and then, though, all i have on me is my blueberry so don't expect this quality all the time!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

discussing Tolstoy with a 7 year old.....

hi there

one of the things at school James is most enthusiastic about is the visit to the library every week. he has a love of books that i and indeed his mother (and just about everyone else in the family) has, which no doubt goes some way to explaining the good marks he gets for reading!

as part of usual conversation, i asked James a couple of weeks ago what book he took from the library that particular week. he paused to think about it, and then said "something like Peace and War". i asked him if he by some chance meant that the book was called War and Peace, and he said "yes, that one".

i found this a most peculiar choice for him to make. i mean, there's advanced reading and then there's really advanced reading, with the work of Tolstoy usually being found in the category of super deluxe advanced reading.

i asked him if his teachers knew that he had taken that book out and was told "yes, of course". i further commented that it was quite a big book, which he agreed with. that i knew of the book made James quite alert. he asked if i read it and i replied that indeed i had (sort of), at college or university.

he was quite excited to be reading the same book that i apparently had. meanwhile, i was wondering if he was on Tolstoy at 7, exactly what books would he want by age 8?

then along came one of those truly priceless moments. one of those moments where i found that i had to use every calorie of energy i had to focus on driving and not burst out laughing. what moment? well, James asked me the following question :

"Daddy, when you read it at school, did the book also have a big lion and a hedgehog fighting on the cover?".

i somehow managed to squeak out a "no", and i was now really very interested in what book he had taken from the library!

a-ha. not quite the Tolstoy version of the book that sounds a bit like War and Peace, then!

to be fair, the version James has looks as if what it lacks in Napoleonic content it more than makes up for in fun!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Old Grumpy's in February

hi there

many thanks to Mum & Dad for sending on some pictures of what's going on at Old Grumpy's Gallery at the moment. as usual, you can connect on a social (or professional i suppose) level with the Gallery by following this link to their page on the more famous of social networks. not sure when they will have a twitter account open as such, but you never know.

it looks like the Gallery has had a subtle change about in layout. i am not as good with colours as i could be and thus am not wise to the ways of artistic changes as i could be, but i do know that it looks good! 

it looks like Dad is busy running one of his off the beaten track promotions inside the store, too. seems to be quite a sensational prize one can claim!

the phenomenon known as Murphy's Law is often called something else, starting with the letter S, that i am pretty sure my Dad wanted to call it. presumably Mum stepped in and stopped that one!

Old Grumpy's is proving to be a very popular place with both locals and visitors to the area, which is exceptionally good news to hear, and great to see!

now then. whilst i said, and stand by, that there are certain current events i am not going to post much of anything about, it's understandable that my Dad having what he has so far away from the story would put it on display for those rather curious.

i don't think my Mum and Dad particularly liked the film Blade Runner as much as i do, but it's nice to see them using the name of the film in the other way it has come to be used. well, he has rather gone from famous to infamous in the last couple of days, so a subtle display like this is bound to be of interest.

moving on amd something in the next picture caught my eye!

on display there, if i am not mistaken, are baseball caps showing off the "Old Grumpy's" logo! now normally i wouldn't wear a baseball cap, preferring instead my ace Reni hat, but i do wear them from time to time. the class Mercedes one Grant sent me springs to mind, for a start.

i know full well what the answer will be if i ask for one of these class caps, so instead i will just leave it until such time as the Old Grumpy's online business is up and running and order one then!

many thanks again for the pictures! glad to see and hear all is going well and that you're having fun!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

free online gig, tonight, 16 February 2013!

hi there

in the world of rare, unusual, generous, flattering and kind gifts my good friend Jonathan has arranged a spectacular one in advance of a certain event next week. for my benefit he's doing an online gig tonight! wow, that's quite something!

an even better part of this is that you can all come along, assuming you have electricity and an internet connection! by clicking these words right here you will be taken off to his channel thing on the internet and can watch from wherever you are in the world!

there is no catch - it's free and you don't even need to register to watch. i think you might have to log in with one of your social network media account things to make comments, but that is up to you!

UPDATE  : just noticed i didn't say the time! it starts at 6pm UK time, 8pm SA time.

as the set will feature a special "Bowie mix", you are advised to click on the link (here it is again for you) and join us!

clicking that link now will take you to a selection of his previous perfomances, all of which i am sure anyone reading this will enjoy!

a major, big thank you in advance to my friend for doing this, and hopefully some of you reading this will be "at" the gig with me!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

creative card creation

hi there

well, far be it from me to point out that today is Valentines Day, or Hallmark Day as my good friend Jonathan Granville calls it. a big part of this day is, of course, exchanging cards. in days gone past it was fun to send anonymous ones, but when one is in a relationship you kind of (hopefully) know who has sent the card to you. or, maybe, not.

my considerably better half and i have a sort of informal, formal, unwritten, unspoken, never really quite agreed on arrangement whereby we do or do not buy each other cards. it is as pretty much a straightforward arrangement as that sounds. anyway, this year i thought that we were not doing the card thing, leaving the fields fallow and all that. well, as it turns out, a card was bought for me, so i felt an obligation to get one in return.

the trick was that i discovered this at around 9pm on, erm, Valentines Eve. not really much of a margin to go and buy one, then. i had little choice but to make one. make one i did, then, and what can i say but ta-daaaah!

pretty bloody amazing, isn't it? i am thrilled that i was almost able to match the font on the card when i wrote Valentine on it. 

i would admit, if i had to, that yes the feathers on the arse end of the arrow through the heart are not as good as i would have liked, but the surface of the card was all shiny and the pen i used kept on smudging.

the stickers were a well planned, specifically designed last minute after thought. i was particularly pleased with the one of the kid out of Peanuts that isn't Charlie Brown, Snoopy or that one that plays the piano (Litmus or something)  with some very Valentine-esque lovehearts. the best, of course, has to be the Star Wars ones. nothing screams the love of Valentine like an AT-AT and an image of a planet, probably Alderaan, blowing up.

erm, yes, that is an image of screwdrivers, spanner things, a hammer and some things that you twat in with a hammer and spanner things on the card. i think i intended at some stage to fob this card off on Dad or Richard, so apologies in advance to the two of you.

the outside, if nothing else, hides the masterpiece that i created within the card.

yes, that's another of them Peanuts stickers, with Charlie Brown and that other one i do not know the name of.  it looks Valentines-ish, and if that one that i do not know the name of happens to be a girl, well, so much the better.

certainly showing off Valentine-esque stuff is the other sticker, featuring Ariel and him off The Little Mermaid. i have not seen the film so i am not sure if that's a romantic scene or not but it probably is.

and if you think that the above show off all there is to show of the card you are wrong. wrong, do you hear me. the back was, ignoring the bar code and that, a bit of a blank canvas. time for some more romance Star Wars style, then. 

now fair enough, some of you might not consider Jabba The Hutt enslaving Leia as one of the romantic corners of the Star Wars universe, but it was the best i could do. what i wanted was a sticker of that bit when Han says "i know" to Leia just before he gets frozen off Boba Fett, or perhaps even that bit when Wicket expects some sexual favours from Leia after she gives tacit consent to such things, in Ewok terms, by offering him a biscuit. i could not, alas, find any stickers of those bits.

looking at what i constructed, i feel nothing but pride. the most important thing is my considerably better half loves it.

i hope that your Valentines Day was all that you wanted it to be!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a sense of perspective

Hi there

today started off with tragic news, sadly. to limit what has happened to only officially stated rather than the speculation floating around, earlier today Oscar Pistorius was arrested after apparently shooting dead his girlfriend in the early hours of the morning.  the first reports to come out suggested that his girlfriend was trying to sneak into his house via a window and, believing it to be an intruder, Pistorius shot the person he saw, leaving them dead. the police have since stated that they are "unaware" of this scenario, and confirmed that Pistorius will appear in court on Friday to face a charge of murder.

whatever actually happened, someone is dead that should not be and an athlete who was an inspiration to millions is tainted.

sadly,  as is the nature of the beast, the media outlets are not leaving it at this. wild speculation, stories and discussions - some informed, most wildly ill-informed, have been the order of the day. this has of course been the case on the self-important, sensationalist small radio station that believes itself to be the biggest and most important in the world.

i bring it up and post here because this time they have perhaps gone way too far with their sensationalist approach. the wretched, talent-free woman who hosts a show on that station on afternoons solicited a message saying that this unfortunate and tragic event was "like 9/11". she then went on to say how much she agreed with that statement.

i cannot be bothered to put pictures of her up here, so i have just selected images - entirely at random, of course - for your viewing pleasure. if you wish to see her and read her further insights, clcik here, but you do so at your own risk.

so, in the world of this woman, the shooting and death of a woman, whether accidental or planned, is "like" the single biggest attack on mainland America, and event that saw thousands killed and wars of vengeance be declared for the next ten years (and counting)?

i am really hoping that whoever sent the message in has a sinister and wicked sense of humour and didn't actually believe the comparison themselves.

i decided to play along a bit, of course, and sent in a message saying that this story of Oscar Pistorius was far worse than the events of 9/11, suggesting that instead it was like the Holocaust, a tsunami, Spanish flu (whatever that actually was or is) and the death of all dinosaurs rolled in to one. i have no idea if she read it out or paid attention, my tolerance level for listening to her was well and truly reached and so i wisely switched her off.

as for my message, well, in poor taste i will admit, but that was the point - to highlight the outlandish comparison made and underline the poor taste of her endorsement of it. if she wishes to be sensationalist, why not go the whole distance?

her insights did not end there, of course. always keen to indulge the world with just how (ahem) clever she is and what a grasp of language she commands, off she went to describe the sad news of today as being Shakespearean.

let me confess up front. i have only two degrees in literature and just a handful of things published around the world. i would not dream to compare myself to her astonishing use of language, and i certainly do not have ego-fluffing adverts about me that suggest i have an "intrinsic link" to books. i am struggling, however, in my understanding of the term Shakespearen to grasp how any of the news today either reminded me of anything in the life and times of William Shakespeare, and nor do any of the events feel like they have been conducted like one of his plays. if she had perhaps used the phrase "like a Shakespearean tragedy", well, it would have been to my mind still incorrect, but to use her ways with words, "much, very less incorrect" that the way spoken.

the media here, and in particular this little radio station and that particular woman, are no doubt going to milk this terrible event and turn it into a sensationalist soap opera for quite some time.

as for why i should bother highlighting the crass ways of this radio station in general and this woman in particular instead of turning them off, well, i probably should but they just invite comment such as this. they are rather in your face about being "the number one" radio station (via an interesting annual award ceremony where judges appear for the most part to have, um, 'links' to the station) and insist that they are the ones to "lead" the country morally. if that is the flag they want to wave that's fine, but if it looks like they are holding it the wrong way around then one has to question them.

i hope the victim is at peace and i trust that justice and the truth will be reached. due to the famous person it involves this story shall be all over the media around the world for quite some time, but i really doubt any more on it will feature here.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Valentine gifts!

hi there

well, today is the day for gifts of lurrrve and thus so it was that i was lucky, fortunate and happy enough to receive some ace gifts from what Basil Fawlty would call my "little nest of vipers". i am not sure that vipers call their home a nest, but who am i to question John Cleese?

much like a Monet, Da Vinci of that chap from Amsterdam who did that thing with his ear or something could not possibly hope, even with all their talent, to capture the true beauty of my valentine, so too it is the case that my rather lacking blueberry camera doesn't cope at all well with the demands of taking a picture. here, though, for your pleasure, is an attempt at a picture of my many splendid gifts!

my dearly beloved, with absolutely no assistance or hints from me (honest, yeah), managed to get me two CDs that were sadly missing from my collection, as well as some most class Thorntons chocolates and a red heart thingie full of chocolates! 

one of the discs there is indeed The Final by Wham!, a top notch collection. two of my top tunes, Edge Of Heaven and I'm Your Man, are on there, with the latter of course sounding somewhat different today than it did at the time, us knowing now things that we did not know then. moving on and the other disc is Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf (yes, and Jim), a major omission from my collection. actually, it wasn't a major omission - i did have it, but a certain friend called Norman Bastard borrowed my copy at some point in 1988 and has yet to return it. he might as well keep it, i suppose!

thank you very much for spoiling me, my dear!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

an apology from OREX

hey there

fair's fair, here's an apology i received from OREX, who you may recall had a driver do a very unusual thing with a pavement recently.

Hi Lee,

Firstly I want to apologise for the inexcusable behaviour of my driver. I can assure you that this is NOT standard practice. We at OREX take pride in what we do and the service that we provide. Not just delivering parcels, but also making sure that all our staff, at all times conduct themselves  in a very professional manner, hence the continued training that we provide.

(JHB Branch Manager), please investigate, and provide full report. Disciplinary action will be taken against this individual, and the emphasis is on  individual, as this is not standard practise at OREX, or any off our staff.

Lee, again, my sincere apologies.

i would imagine anything further that they do in regards of this matter is none of my business, so long as they take measures that their drivers do not do that sort of thing again! 

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rock n Roll star.....?

hi there

normally i would swerve away from any sort of religious content to any of my posts. i've read up on all faiths and my view is very much one of being that those who have found peace in any religion should be left in that peace and respected. there's far too much arguing for and against religions in this world. if those who are of faith and those who, for either valid or simply image reasons, are anti-religious stopped arguing with each other and left each to it then both would be better off.

that said, the news today of Pope Benedict resigning has just about as much historical impact as it does on the church. fear not, for that is as far as the religious conversation goes.

i mention all of the above as an excuse to put here the below picture, doing the rounds today.

is it just me, or is in this image Pope Benedict giving it large, Ian Brown / Bez / Liam Gallagher style, in front of a massive image of Dave Gahan out of Depeche Mode?

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

38 hours without power.....

hi there

it's 3:25am at the moment. there have been no updates here for the reasons suggested in the title, and this post will very much do what it says on the box. i'm posting this to rant and complain but also to try and give some advice if people end up stuck in the same predicament as us. if you don't like it, don't read.

our electricity went off at 11:24am on Saturday morning, coming back on at aroun 1:15am this Monday. i've had not much sleep at all the last two days, and with the power back on i found myself unable to sleep, my brain rushing around thinking of all the things that needed doing. with the rest of the house sound asleep i can't tackle clothes washing, but things are being charged, boiled and washed as far as i can do them.

why was the power off and did we know when it would be back on? no one is saying and no idea. here comes the depressing tale, broken down into rather fetching headings.

No Communication Possible

when the power first went off, we didn't bother phoning the "Joburg Connect" line. why not? no matter where you are in the world reading this, i would imagine you have heard of the numerous and frequently violent "service delivery" protest actions and strikes in South Africa. i can understand both the frequency of them and why people are so desperate that the protests get destructive and violent whilst in no way approving of or endorsing the latter. the complete lack of service and support the fine people of this country suffer is shocking, and it is little wonder so many simply leave.

a big clue as to how ineffective anything to do with Johannesburg services are is right their in the logo they proudly show off. have a look.

yes, ignore the "a world class African city" bullshit (and be warned this post will contain strong language) and look at the top - "To be a world-class electricity distributer". what morons. a distributer is part of a car engine. the word they were looking for was distributor.

anyway, after more than two hours (the standard blackout time for "loadshedding" schedules that they claim not to be doing any more, and if you believe that i have some magic beans to sell you) we called and found that we need not have bothered. The standard numbers, 011 375 5555 and 0860 562 874, just went to some fucking awful hold music. trying to conserve battery power, we gave up on hold after 30 minutes on 2 instances.

trying another department, for the hell of it, revealed that the City Power "communication network" had been down since Friday afternoon. no other department had any information about electricity. when i asked what the Plan B was for emergencies, i was informed that there was not one. brilliant.

eventually, and with great reluctance, they gave me an apparently "secrect" number to get hold of City Power on, 011 490 7000. they need not have bothered, as no one answered this phone.

City Power Employ Morons

on Sunday morning, with no further information and certainly no power, i decided to take a drive around to see if i could spot anyone actually doing anything about the power. to my surprise and delight i found one or two City Power vehicles around, with their staff digging holes. i decided to stop and ask them what the story was. my surprise and delight soon turned to further frustration.

the questions "what's the problem" and "when do you think the power might be on" were answered with the words "don't know". fantastic. so why are you digging holes and messing about with high voltage cables, then? 

i didn't bother to converse further or get angry with them as both were clearly pointless. i did, however, notice later on a whole range of people seeking them out and doing just that. i drove on, but i really don't blame them.

Traditional Media Is Useless

At the 20 or so hour mark it was clear that there was a major issue with the power. i was surprised, then, to discover that none of radio stations in the area were making any mention of it at all. this was particularly surprising in regards of the self-anointed "number one radio station" if you wonder how this station keeps getting declared "MTN Radio Station Of The Year", just search out the judging panel and seek out details of either their current or previous employment.

it is truly sad to have seen this radio station fall from a vital and important source of news, information and discussion to being a self-serving, cronyist vehicle to promote itself. once a vital cog in the early days of democracy in this country, now they cannot even run a quiz show properly, having in the last week described the Caribbean as an ocean and claiming that Australia is the only country in the continent of Australia.

that said, i had hoped that it was the case that they still had some lingering interest in actual stories that affected the community they claim to serve. it was a blind hope, really, as in the last few years their attention has turned from actual help to the lazy, mostly free advertising farce that is 'Lead SA'. this is an initiative that makes a lot of noise (making sure you know the station is behind it) but doesn't actually do anything. oh sure, they go on and on about how bad Rhino poaching is, which it is, but then just talk about it. they also enagaged in a campaign to have everyone drive with their lights on all the time, telling everyone - despite no research - that this would cut down on road accidents. their latest initative, to play a beep every four minutes (except when adverts are on) to remind everyone how bad rape is, is ineffective to the point of offensive and doesn't actually do anything.

needless to say, alerting them to the fact that (a) thousands of families had no electricity for a very long period and (b) no one had any information, what with City Power being "offline" was of no apparent interest to them at all, as it did not feature on the news or in any editorial comment. obviously it was too difficult for them to investigate this matter, but never mind - i am sure they will put themselves forward for more awards for their sterling work in showing how to bribe vehicle inspectors and indeed, most memorably, sending an overweight cross-eyed journalist off to show how dangerous it is to use a phone whilst driving. oh, and of course, writing a letter of complaint "on behalf of all South Africans" when a members-only club or organization has a members-only meeting and have the audacity and nerve to refuse entry to 702 on the basis that it is a members only, private function rather than a public thing.

it's always interesting to listen to them, by the way, and hear how many adverts they carry for things like Eskom and City Power. i am sure that this does not in any way affect their editorial content. just like, when the SA Post Office was advertising heavily on the station, it in no way influenced their editorial view that "people were stealing parcels that they had not received" rather than the Post Office staff doing this around the time blacklisted South Africa as a delivery destination due to theft in the postal system.

Modern Media Is Useless

with all conventional means of finding out when the electricity would return, i turned to using the few moments of power left in a netbook to try and find something out. a google search provided no information, not least of all because the City Power website, presumably as an integral part of their "communication network", was down. not that the site tells you anything of use like where power is off and when it will be on.

considering that this 'twitter' business was so wonderful in things like the Egyptian uprisings i figured it would also have some info on what was going on. twitter, alas, is only as good a tool as the people who use it.

i am pretty sure you can guess this part. nothing at all on the, and i hope this is the right terminology, "twitter feed" from Eskom or City Power, and of course no response to any message i sent. as a Plan B twitter would have been a good idea, but as you are no doubt aware by now City Power simply do not have good ideas.

off to the local news web things, then. EWN, the "independent" news source for 702, owned by someone and indeed has all its news bulletins sponsored, was fucking useless. under the local news there was something about some American and a drug test, and no word on the power. i went off to News24, then, who seem at least to be less inclined to lean towards sponsors, do usually carry actual local news and allow users to post stories.

a fail, alas. no news at all on the power outage, and an article i wrote, explaining that the power had been out for quite some time and that no one could contact anyone, was apparently declined for putting on their site. thanks for that.

as for the daddy of modern technology, facebook, well i am greatly appreciative of the fact that some friends tried to offer support and had spotted City Power in my area. it is not really a channel or conduit for news, though, so in the end i just used it, with the last of the power in the netbook, to fire off some venemous rants about our predicament and what i thought of those who had left us very much in the dark.

this country is a wonderful place, and full of many fantastic people. there can be little wonder that so many, though, and so many of all colours, eventually say "fuck this" and leave. it's all well and good saying that the nation is in a "building phase", but that doesn't quite cover why perfectly good infrastructre has been allowed to go to ruin, and it certainly doesn't cover a complete lack of communcation in a time where more channels of communication are open than anyone could have possibly imagined a mere 20 years ago.

when there's a power blackout in less well known areas of America it for some reason becomes worldwide news. here, 38 hours of no power does not even register on the locally based news. alarm bells should be ringing, especially in the realms of those with the audacity and nerve to suggest they "lead SA", but the bells are silent.

one often hears of the apparent "meddling" and the concept of a "nanny state" in the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and certain parts of Europe. i am certain that if what had happened to our area had happened in a subburb in any of those countries one would certainly hear news coverage, be able to contact someone and be kept informed of what was going on and when they expected things to go back to normal. such things, in fact, would be taken as a given. i am sure anyone reading this from the rest of the world will be baffled at just how poor service and information is here.

the only thing i can be certain of from this whole sorry, frustrating incident is that it will happen again, either to us or another area, and all of the above will be exactly the same again. why those that clearly care the least for this country are allowed to control and run it is beyond me, but i am pretty sure when the lack of care is asked of them the answer will not be pleasant.

thanks for reading, and if you have complaints you were warned that this was a rant!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!