Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The funny side of politics

Our intranet page scrolls the latest news headlines in the sidebar.
Two of today's headlines (in this order) were...



Am I the only one who finds this incredibly funny?

On the same topic, actually, though on a slightly less humorous note, I overheard a conversation between two colleagues this morning that sum it all up perfectly:

Pleb 1 (voice dripping with sarcasm): "So did anyone watch the 'coronation' on TV yesterday?"
Pleb 2: "Ah c'mon, dude, give Obama a bit of a break, willya? Even I, the hardened cynic, want to believe in this guy. The world needs a bit of hope, man."

'Nuff said, I reckon.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Randomness: the good, the bad and the odd

Is the Universe smiling on me?
Everyone told me, when I got to my home town in December, that I must've brought good weather with me. It was gorgeous the whole week, and only on the day I left did the wind pick up and was blowing at around 110 km/h when we took off. When I got back to Dublin I was told how shockingly cold it had been while I was away, but the day I arrived the sun was shining and we had a really mild Christmas. I think the Weather Gods are finally on my side...
Even today when I really needed the roads to be dry, I couldn't have asked for better (not at this time of year, anyway). My prayers were answered and I now have my full bike driving license.
(Hooray for me!!!)
I'll try keep the blizzards at bay a bit longer, 'kay?

Oops, I did it again...
Speaking of driving tests; I booked last May to take the test, thinking it would be a clever idea to do the thing sometime over the Summer months. Who knew there would be a 6-month waiting list?! (The website said 10 weeks; I think I can be forgiven for my naivety)
The day before I went to SA, I had a lesson with a driving instructor - not to learn how to ride the bike, but to learn about the things the testers would want to see on the day. Like spending more time looking in mirrors and over my shoulders than in front of me, and keeping my right foot up off the ground, on the rear brake pedal, when at a stop (and praying at the same time there aren't any strong crosswinds about, no doubt). And that they would ask me to do a U-turn. What I learnt that day was that although I have no problem turning sharply to the left, the U-turn in question would be to the right, and that I wasn't so very strong at...
So after Christmas I took the cover off the bike to go practise my U-turns, only to find I'd ridden over a nail and the tyre was flat. Ever tried getting a new bike tyre over the Christmas season? It's somewhat like trying to find snowballs on the beach in South Africa at that time of year.
Nonetheless, we finally got a new tyre fitted on Saturday morning, leaving me the weekend to practise my U-turns. I did so in the parking lot at the local train station. That was when I dropped the bike for the first time since I started riding about 2 years ago. I almost dislocated my body from itself trying to lift the poor machine off its side, before finally admitting my limitations and calling Hubby to help.
The bike was OK (it had been going really slowly when it fell) and I continued my practising until my Prince Charming told me I was doing fine and would have no problem in the test.
That was Today's test, on the way to which I thought I would quickly practise just one more U-turn. And I promptly overbalanced again, this time with the bike ending up in the middle of a busy road with no Hubby around for miles.
But within seconds a kind young man stopped and helped me pick it up, and then I had to go directly to the Testing Centre. Um, no nerves at all, really.
The good news is that the U-turn went fine in the actual test; the Universe must've been smiling on me again :-)
And the bike is still fine.
And don't panic; it's my 'old' bike I was on, not the new one. Perhaps it was acting up because it knows it's been replaced by the Baby Bird. I haven't shown you a side view of it yet, have I? It was hard to get a good angle while it was still in my kitchen!

Best of the Worst
The worst part about flying home to SA is, well, flying home to SA. There were no direct flights this time, so I went via Paris on the way there, and via Amsterdam on the way back. On the long leg going there I managed to get an aisle seat, which was OK because at least I didn't have to clamber over people to get to the bog.
Coming back there were no aisle seats available, and no window seats. I feared the worst but was pleasantly surprised to see a young, slim woman on either side of me. It could've been worse... and it very nearly was when the young lady on the aisle seat, to my right, was switched with a woman so large she couldn't fit in her own seat in the front row because the armrest was fixed. As she spilled over onto my seat I decided that this was one occasion I was prepared to be That Passenger; you know, the one who bitches & moans until she gets moved. As it turned out, all that was required was a mild - and not even remotely rude - objection. Next thing I knew I was across the aisle, not only in an aisle seat but in the front row, with all the leg room I could have wanted, and more! My companion was a young Ukranian girl, a delightful slip of a thing with whom I became friends for a few hours as we flew 10,000km around the globe and then wandered the maze of Schipol airport looking for the smoking area.
(There is one, by the way, but it's so small and horrible I wouldn't recommend it. Just so you know.)
I even managed to get some sleep on the 'plane and had enough energy and wakefulness in my body to squeeze in a spot of airport shopping before boarding the flight back to Dublin.
(I think the Marijuana-patterned boxer shorts I bought for Hubby may have seemed a tad less generous than the motorcycle parked in the kitchen, for me, from him, but how was I to know?!!)

And on a final, totally unconnected note...
There's a book called "PS I Love You", written by Cecelia Ahern. When it was released it went straight onto the Bestsellers list. I specifically didn't buy it because the author is the daughter of the former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister). I like books to earn their spot on their own worth, not because the author's daddy is Top Dog in the country. I figured I'd wait until I found someone else who had a copy, and borrow it, instead, to see if it was worth all the hype.
Well I have yet to read the book but on Sunday night I watched the movie on TV.
Yes, this is a movie review of sorts.
And what I have to say is that it was a really, really good movie. The story was heart-rending, the performances real (although one of the Irish accents sounded a bit iffy to me). But most of all, do NOT attempt to watch this movie without a box of Kleenex handy. I bawled my eyes out on a number of occasions (and it was quite tricky putting them back in, I'll tellya!)(mwahahahaha!).
Anyway, as far as I'm concerned any movie that moves me from tears to laughter and back again a few times in the space of 90 minutes (I'm guessing) is a good movie, because isn't that what it's all about? Hooking in the audience and having them feel what the characters feel?
But I did have a very strong urge to watch some sitcoms afterwards.

OK that wasn't the final note, this is:
Because that last bit just didn't feel like an ending, y'know?
So here's a better one for you:

May you all have enough random goodness and oddness in your lives to keep you happy and interested in 2009.