Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Best music video I've seen this year...

Watch in HD if you can. Choice tune too.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

2009, a year of awesome firsts

I've never done a best of list, and this won't be my first. But I am excited to summarise all the things I managed to do for the first time ever this year.
  • Made my own, edible, and awesome, hollandaise sauce
  • Learned to scuba dive
  • Surfed (a bit)
  • Went to Swaziland
  • Went to Chicago
  • Went to Melbourne
  • Bought a tent
  • Won 6 bottles of 1975 Nederburg cab sav
  • Bought a dining room table
  • Read 'Everything is Illuminated'
  • Ate chicken feet in old chinatown
  • Ate fish for the first time in about 4 years, and didn't die
  • Explored constitution hill properly (it's massive)
  • Visited the Hector Pietersen memorial
  • Shouted indignantly at lawyers without looking like a buffoon
  • Went to the Old Mutual Trophy Wine show, which is like the best, ever. Will definitely go back next year. Will buy much Kleine Zalze shiraz in the meantime.
  • Went to Clarens
  • Finally made it to one of my niece's birthday parties (viva government leave, viva)
  • Went to a lesbian wedding, which was totally awesome
  • Started playing hockey again
  • Hit a six in our cricket league (got hit for many sixes too, but hey)
  • Beat some wily ou ballies at the squash club, so I must be improving
  • Stopped smoking while at the office (technically this is accurate, but it doesn't mean I don't smoke the odd one during working hours).
  • Got a PO Box
  • Opened a Capitec account
Roll on 2010!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Best of 2009 Part 1 (a little early I know)

Okay, so it is that time again for some reflection...

It's great once things start slowing down at work, we actually have time to think about things other than the next meeting and or daily task. So we reflect - what went well, what didn't and what we'd like to focus on in 2010. Looking back to the beginning of this year it is quite amusing to see the 'best of 2008' lists what we posted as well as some new years resolutions. How often do we carefully craft resolutions that we don't revisit? and how often do we inadvertently achieve goals that we forgot we set?

So my reflection goes a little something like this...

BEST OF 2009

Most played Album: Vampire Weekend, Dear Reader,
Best concert: # 1Dear Reader & #2 Vusi,Habib & Lady I can't remember the name of at Bushfire Festival in Swaziland
Best wedding: Mez & Lara
Most expensive purchase: Plane tickets to CT
Most missed Birthday Party: Al’s 30th
Series most addicted to: Gossip Girl (Have just finished season 2!), Spooks
Best (& most rewarding) Holiday: The Otter Trail
Best Books: The Bookthief, Stieg Larson’s Girl with the Dragon tattoo (& other 2 books)
Best new form of exercise: Nia dance
Best movies: Drama: Rachel getting married, Comedy: The Hangover,
Proudest moment: Completing the Otter Trial
Most Challenging : The world of banking
Best Breakfast: Fry up at Parks Cafe in Parkwood
Most stupid: Chasing dude (i.e thief) who broke into our bedroom on the weekend of my 30th
Best old hobby that I have started again: Photography
Best restaurant: Hartford House in the Midlands
Best cultural experience: Seeing Eyton Road production in CT
Best new find in CT: Picnicking at the RoundHouse Camps Bay
Best new find in JHB: Pecha-Kucha evenings
Most grown up : Finally getting my own financial advisor

Rap freestyle battle translated

From the TTL blog...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

A corporate finally stands up to a trade union

So Ramond Ackerman of Pick n Pay (please note no apostrophe on the n) just told Saccawu to get fucked... admittedly in slightly more acceptable language. The union has said that Pick n Pay is historically a racist organisation, so they are going to go on strike in the middle of the Christmas season. It stinks a bit too much of an opportunistic ploy to demand an above inflation pay rise. In response Ray-Ray told them to take their ungrateful arses off to another employer. PnP have sited many policies and practices to refute what Saccawu have said. Helz might be able to tell us if what they are saying is founded from her time at PnP.

This might seem like just another ordinary left vs right tif, but I think there is something more to it. If you remember, a couple months back Trevor Manuel told business (quite rightly in my mind) that they are a bunch of pussies, who keep on complaining about the strength of the labour movements in the country, whilst always giving in to their demands. This might be the first case of business heeding Trev's call and showing a bit of backbone.

If this does become a trend, there will most probably be a power struggle in the next year or so. The unions will not give up their power too easily, and therefore will try and flex their muscles. Maybe a municipal strike just before the World Cup? But union membership has been decreasing since 1994 (i think?), so something like that might cause a backlash where the unions lose favor in the country. So any such struggle could in in turn could affect, or at least reveal, their influence in the political arena.

Just a thought.

Charlie and Cleo

Here are some pics of my new kitties - have a nap in the kitchen while I was cooking. They are incredibly cute, despite what you dog lovers may think! (Charlie is the ginger boy and Cleo is the Tortoiseshell)

RIP Manto...

And hopefully her crazy HIV / AIDS treatment ideas will die too....

Monday, 14 December 2009

I know no-one cares, but

Because I work on banks I'm becoming a little obsessed. I'm doing my own consumer research so I have nasty anecdotes to drop into the endless conversations I have with these bank dooses.

I opened a Capitec account because Capitec is awesome and will hopefully end up fixing most of the problems I work on all by itself. It wasn't a great customer experience, but who cares when its so cheap, and when I get like 7% on positive balances below R10,000. I just haven't had a chance to start using it, because they don't offer to switch your debit orders across for you - a project for the Christmas break.

Enter the latest experience, with FNB. They have online account applications, which is awesome. Their site also says clearly that debit order switchin is available for most new accounts, including the one I wanted to open. So I applied online for a Smart Accout. It's the cheapest transaction account from FNB at R59 a month for unlimited electronic transactions and FNB ATM transactions. Huge penalties for going outside this bundle (like using another bank's ATM), but it's still a very competitive offering. It isn't a cheque account, so no cheque book and no overdraft, and for that you save R20 a month. Worth it.

Of course with our anti money laundering laws you still have to physically enter a branch and verify your address and and ID number in order to open an account. So I went on Saturday morning, to the shiny Melrose Arch branch. Highlights are:
  • The online application process creates a pre-populated customer file for cheque account applications only. So for lowly Smart Account customers, applying online is a waste of time. Site doesn't say that.
  • Then, after about ten minutes of her doing stuff in silence, I asked about the debit order switching. She said no, that's only for cheque account customers. So I said ok thanks then not to worry, I don't want the account. Made a point of telling her the website doesn't say that either. Blank face.
  • Now the customer file has been created but the account is not yet active. The only way to get rid of it is to open the account then close it. For that I have to sign a lot of stuff. So I must wait. It's been like 20 minutes already, and I have other things to do.
  • She wants R50 deposit to open the Smart Account. I said I had no cash, and besides I don't want the account now that I have been told that FNB's website is misleading about the debit order switching service (or she's poorly trained).
  • Another wait while she talks to her manager. Ok no deposit needed as the account will be closed immediately.
  • Sign sign sign.
  • Type type type.
  • Ok I need R8 to close the account please sir. What? You must be joking. No, to close a Smart Account FNB charges an R8 admin fee. I said nooit, not in a million years will I pay R8 to close this account.
  • Another wait while what is probably a very similar conversation with the manager goes on.
  • Manager comes to ask me a bunch of questions about my employment status and salary, and tries to sell me the R79 cheque account. I explain that I have a bank account and want the Smart Account with debit order switching or no FNB account at all. He says ok fine, we'll write off the R8, as if he's doing me a favour.
  • Write it off? Write what off? This account has been open for a maximum of ten minutes, and never used.
What a joke. And of course they don't care that I spent nearly an hour in their branch without buying anything, because they'll always make massive profits from dopey South African retail customers. Just not from ME!

Nedbank is next.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Jewish humour that isn't lame

Thanks for that lame-o video Phil, but you aren't doing the yids any favours.

Jews, like any other cultural/religious denomination, have strengths and weaknesses. Some of our strengths are creating insular communities, nepotism, and xenophobia.

Some of our weaknesses are our general lack of sporting ability (that American swimmer and Joel Stransky aside), and for the most part, being dorks. Dorkdom is pretty hot right now though, and one Jew that does dork to the max is John Safran. He made a series a few years ago called John Safran Vs God, which is one of my favourite tv shows ever. His latest show is called John Safrans Race Relations, in which he explores issues of cultural identity - specifically whether one should marry/procreate within ones race or religion. It's a pretty broad topic, and he doesn't really do it justice, rather, he focuses on his own conundrum about feeling that he should marry a Jew, but being attracted only to Eurasians (pretty hot eurasians i might add). If I'm honest, this show isn't as good as his last but GADDAMN he does some stupid shit and it's funny all the same.

The website is here - made up cleverly to look like facebook (note his eurasian friends), and you can watch the last episode (screened last night) here. This last one was one of the best, so check it out sharpish before they take it down and make you buy the dvd.


Interesting Sidenote : Talya once met John Safran, and while her description of their meeting suggests that he may have been flirtatious, he never requested her number, and now we know why.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Monday, 7 December 2009

World Cup tickets

So stoked! I got Argentina vs Nigeria (Ellis Park) and Netherlands vs Denmark (Soccer City) for my group games. And will most likely have Mexico (maybe France) vs Argentina in my round of 16 game (also at Soccer City). Rocking!

I work for it so I am allowed to poke fun

Like Jews telling Jew jokes - it's OK.

New Element Discovered in South Africa to Be Included On The Periodic Table:

The Nuclear Physics Department of the University of Stellenbosch has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 - 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each re-organization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

World AIDS Day

Good News on WAD in RSA... Sorry to blog, but its hot news in the office and I reckon should be everywhere. These changes are long overdue, yes... but very exciting to see them being brought in as policy for April 2010.
Provided these changes can be managed properly this will have significant effects on prolonging lives!