the pressure

August 24, 2006

i feel a need to blog
the only problem is that my blogging attitude seems to be going through a phase of dissatisfaction at the moment.
this blog has gone through a couple of variations in the past and probably will go through many more.

its been a kinda diary thing
its been a source of odd news
its been a rant page
its been a humour column
its been various permutations and combinations of the above
there have been pictures and trivia

the problem i have now is: where do i go from here?
currently i find my hobbies (the bountifull plethora of them) to be running short of time. this means i have to prioritise things and recently i haven’t had anything good to blog about.
normally the prioritisation tires me out and i need a nap.
in fact napping often takes a very high priority.
i must be getting old.

it just seems like my available time is always inversly proportional to my required time.
i really don’t feel like coding at 04h30 in the morning again.
i wake up with my eyes feeling like pieces of coal after nights like that.

so what’s next?
i don’t know… things’ll probably be a little sporadic.
i may do the diary thing again.
who knows?
i guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!



August 23, 2006

synkronos is blogging again.

i can smell the crazy

August 16, 2006

so i’m out with a few friends over the weekend and after a nice supper we head on over to the local pool hall.
now this pool place is on the first floor and has an outside balcony bit where you can go when your ears begin to bleed from the music inside.
3 of us planted ourselves there and began to chat about the meaning of life, world affairs, descarte’s philosophies, the dichotomy of good and evil, the nature of the human soul, etc (read: “we talked shit for a long time”).
suddenly michael jackson on crack appears.
it was like a thriller flashback… if his leather jacket had had any red in it i would’ve hidden the children right then and there!
this dodgy looking black guy (i make reference to his race only to strengthen the mj image and because it becomes important later) in a black leather jacket and 80’s style black jeans oozes onto the balcony and stands *right* next to us (in spite of the balcony being 90% unnocupied due to the cold) like he’s trying to huddle up for warmth.
he also puts his back to the wall and sneaks glances through the door like some sort of smooth criminal hiding from the law. made me wonder if there were any children crying inside, but since its a no under-18’s place i thought not.
you could smell the crazy!

smelling the crazy is a survival tactic that needs to be learnt if you want to survive (especially in south africa).
in fact you need to learn it if you just want to have a successful relationship that doesn’t end in attempted homicide.
forget all that bullshit relationship advice out there about what to talk about and how to have the perfect date etc…
guys, you want real relationship advice?
learn to smell the crazy!
and don’t be a dick…
women aren’t looking for crazy dicks unless its a one-night kinda affair. and even then they’re looking more for freaky than crazy.
your best relationship tool is your crazy-o-meter.
if the girl is coo-coo for coco-puffs then you need to bail like sane rats off the crazy ship.
some helpful indicators of crazy (non-gender specific):
eyes twitch randomly.
when blinking, one eye starts first and then the other.
froths at the mouth.
likes celine dion.
compares everything to the ex.
says thinks like “i’m the illest mutherfucker you ever saw.”

that’s right. mj pretty much introduced himself by informing us that he “lived in a world that we will never know” (its called crazytown you freak!) and that we “lived in a world that [he] would never know” (its called reality).
and then he told us that he was the “illest mutherfucker [we] ever saw.”
by this point the smell of crazy was turning into something more like a palatable taste of crazy like bitter honey that warned of bodily harm.
this guy definitely had the attitude that said: “i wanna be startin’ somethin’.”
we tried the tactic of smile slightly, nod occasionally, and avoid eye-contact, but he just wouldn’t go away and he kept talking until eventually one of my friends cracked and tried to reason with him.

reasoning does not work with crazy people!
how do you tell someone crazy that they’re crazy when they’re obviously the only sane person in the world, right? right??? right!!!!??!
unfortunately, by acknowleding his existence he had been given power, just like the staypuff marshmellow man was given form.
and from there it went downhill.
mj decided that my friend didn’t like him and so he did the only sane thing: ask my friend to hit him. in fact he offered us his hands so that we could hold him while our friend hit him.
we refused. i think that may have confused him.
that’s about when he broke out the good old new south africa classic:
(this is where his race becomes important. all 3 of us are white. he’s black)
he calls us racist.

being “fucking nuts” (clinincal term) is not race dependent.
we didn’t like you because we could smell the crazy on you. and because you were aggressive and trying to start a fight.
but that’s just a part of being “fucking nuts!”
you could be green with blue polka-dots and we wouldn’t have wanted to talk to you – Because You Are Crazy!
not because you’re black, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.
if you call racist without an actual reason then you fall into the “fucking moron” category. If you don’t have the brainpower to actually formulate an opinion or response, but instead simply shout “racist” when someone disagrees with you then you are a waste of biological material.
so: moronic, agressive, *and* nuts.
wow. i wonder why people don’t like talking to you.

that attitude definitely won’t heal the world.
luckily bullshitting is an art, and my friend has done a degree in fine arts (which is like refined bullshitting).
with some flair (and the phrase: “waxing the cryptic” which reminded me of the phrase: “bite the wax tadpole”) the verbal war began.
mj started to become more confused and went on about “talking straight” and actually asked my friend not to use such “large terminologichal” words.
eventually i think he relised that we weren’t going to fight and we didn’t give a fuck if he thought we were racist or not.
he mumbled something about his “three-fifty-seven” and “coming back to the club tomorrow and killing every mother.”
now i’m fairly sure that he was trying to be all self-debasing to highlight what he thought was racism here. problem was that with that amount of crazy you never can tell…

the night resumed to fairly pleasent after he fucked off back inside. we even spoke to some not crazy people (some of whom were, in fact, not white *gasp!*).
turns out mj had been bothering people inside too, we discovered when we met up with our friends again.
people like that make me want to scream.

locked in a box

August 4, 2006

varsity air, being half-way to space, is obviously depriving our sys-admin of vital oxygen supplies.
i say this because we’re all using firefox on kubuntu.
while they do the job that they were designed to do, so does your ass (unless you’ve got a colostomy bag), and some of the features of both resemble each other.
for example: the kubuntu colour scheme is very brown.
i’d say “baby brown” or even “purity veg brown.”
but certain special things that firefox does, especially when combined with the kubuntu operating system, make it extra, super-number-one, hyper, anime-style-over-the-top crappy.
the equivalent “ass” comparison would be to spontanously start shitting out of your belly-button because you accidently changed the tv to the wrong channel.
annoying? yes!
uncomfortable? i’d say so.
messy? certainly!
unwanted side effect? most definitely (unless you’re some sort of freak)!

what am i talking about specifically?
well… you know that F5 is the refresh key right???
(for those non “tech-savvy”: F5 is, in fact, the refresh key)
and you know how web pages can get cached so you get yesterday’s news when you want today’s?
(for those non “tech-savvy”: again, true… just believe everything i say from this point on… send all your money to me and you’ll have a better life!)
now a normal pushing of F5 results in a refresh that calls the cached page again.
to refresh through the cache you need to push one of the following:
shift + F5 or
ctrl + F5 or
alt + F5.
now i never rember which combination it is and i come from the old school of computing where such long combinations as “ctrl” + “alt” + “del” + “swear at bluescreen” were commonplace.
so my solution to the problem: ctrl + alt + shift + F5.
kubuntu’s answer to this unique and wonderful solution of pure elegance:
switch off the gui (graphical user interface to you… the “windows bit”) and dump you into the DOS-like “konsole”
(stupid fragging kubuntu and its “k” names. was it designed by the kreators of mortal kombat?)

now while i grew up on DOS and feel very komfortable in it i do not want to try surf the web or check my mail in it.
(besides: ascii porn just isn’t where its at)
the worst part about this invasive interaction: no konfirmation box!
no little window popping up saying “we’re about to ram something unpleasant up there without using lube. are you sure you want to kontinue?”
they just go right ahead and shove you’re lovely windows interface where the sun don’t shine.
when people tell me that linux/unix is better because you have more power over things etc i think of this and am reminded that i don’t mind the odd prompting and forward thinking of a good operating system.

now i see you’re all a little konfounded.
“what about firefox?” i hear you wail with gnashing of teeth and klenching of sphincters.
how is firefox involved in this other than the katalyst for the “everything + F5” shortkut?
i’ll tell you how:
firefox is stupid!
to prevent you accidently running multiple kopies that access the same profile and screw things up firefox writes a kouple of “lock” files.
if the lock files exist, then you kan’t access that profile (including bookmarks and kache etc).
sounds like a good idea right?
when firefox krashes (or if you accidently dump yourself to the konsole and need to reboot) the lock files get left behind.
what does this mean? this means that next time you try to run firefox it tells you to go screw yourself and doesn’t run.
back to the ass analogy: firefox has applied duct tape to the whole area, sealing off all access and blocking proper flow of execution.
now the problem is fixable if you know where to look and what to delete… but delete too much and you’re losing the profile anyway.
why it doesn’t just check if firefox is actually running (check what services are running) before telling you that “firefox is already running” i’ll never know.
and i don’t know why it doesn’t pop up a helpful little window saying: “we think this profile is already in use, but if things fucked out and we’re currently dicking you around then press the ‘reset your stupid locks‘ button and firefox will be start to function again.”
(so much for all your supposed unix/linux power and kontrol)

for the non tech-savvy lets have a more real-world analogy here:
you need to use the photocopier and you have your own photocopier in a special room in the photocopier building.
you go over to the building, find your photocopier room and begin photocopying.
(i don’t know what you’re photocopying… some important documents or your ass or something)
unbeknownst to you, the photocopy machine has locked you into this room while you’re using it and the keys have been hung on the back of the door, amongst a whole set of other keys.
you accidently push the wrong button and the photocopier explodes, blowing your shoes off, and a man in military uniform appears.
let’s call him colonel crash (*snigger* techie joke).
the colonel drags you out of the window and dumps you in the street outside (where everything is black and white and very sparse).
you replace your missing shoes, or re-boot (*sigh* terrible techie pun) and head back into the photocopier building to finish your work only to discover…

your door is still locked.
not only that, but all doors are locked now and every time you try to open one you hear a voice saying “this door is already open. to open this door you must close it first.”
now there are a couple of solutions to your problem here:
1) climb in through the window, search through all the keys and find the right set of keys, unlock the door and walk out so that you can turn around and walk back in (only to get locked inside again).
2) knock down the building and replace it with a sleek office-block where you don’t get locked into rooms and helpful people ask you if you want to be an idiot before hitting you in the face with a klub.

the climb to enlightened violence

August 3, 2006

i woke up early this morning.
i woke up really early this morning.
i woke up really early after going to bed really late.
i woke up really early after too little sleep just for the purpose of getting up to varsity without needing to rush and hurry like the last few days.
i made an extra-special effort to set my alarm early and wake up super-early so that i could amble up to varsity in a relaxed manner so that i was fully prepared to absorb knowledge in my comsci lecture.
i made a superhuman effort to prepare myself for an early morning in spite of the evils of television reduceing my sleeping hours to but a scant handfull.

i then went back to sleep and had to rush up to varsity.
i rushed up for my one and only lecture of the day.
on thursdays i have one lecture in the morning and that’s it. no more. no less (or so i thought).
and it was cancelled (definite possibility of less then).
thoughtlessly and inhumanely cancelled.
i could have woken gracefully into the day and done all sorts of useful things instead of being dumped into an awake state like a bum off a train cart before it pulls into the station.

the excuse given was that the lecturer was sick.
she could be no worse off than i.
i’m still suffering from some bastard cold from outer space.
every time i get to campus my left ear gets block from the change in altitude and refuses to unblock until just before i decide to leave, providing hours of amusement on the way home as i return to a more normal atmosphere remember… my university is a short mountain-climb away from actual civilization.
its kinda like a shaolin temple, only filled with idiots in stead of monks. And the buildings are nowhere as nice. And i don’t think there’s a prayer wheel anywhere to be found.

but my impending eardrum rupturing fun and search for enlightenment in the freezing dark of the winter morning is not the point.
the point is she shoulda sucked it up and come in to lecture.
if i have to drag myself out of bed before riding a mountain goat to the lecture venue (ok… its a bus… but i have to walk to the bus) then the least she could do is drive in her comfy car, park in her reserved spot, and bore us to death for 45 minutes.

hmm…. actually that doesn’t sound so fantastic.
ok. what about this:
she can take as many sick days as she wants as long as she phones me to let me know that i don’t need to break out the ice picks and carabiners in the morning.
then i can lie in bed comfortable in the knowledge that i’m not learning important information that will be asked in the exams at the end of the year.

hmm…. actually that doesn’t sound so fantastic either.
all right:
she can be as sick as she wants as wants as long as i get 5% added to my final marks every time she coughs, 8% for a sneeze, 10% per sick day, and a whopping 20% if there are any technicoloured yawns involved, 25% if there’s blood.
that sounds fair to me.
i could pass with one conversation to god on the big white phone followed by a “get well soon” baseballbat blow to the face.
of course i’d have to claim the wheeze of air leaving her body was a cough.
And no-one would be able to find out who spiked the drinking water at the lecture podium otherwise they might claim something about unfair marking practices.

you know something… i’d do a lot more varsity courses if that was the marking scheme.
hell! with some of the lecturers i’ve had, i’d be doing so well people would be sponsoring me to stay in varsity.

“resonant attack wave of doughy flesh”

August 2, 2006

you know what really pisses me off?
stupid people!
you know what pisses me off more than stupid people?
stupid people who don’t understand the concept of “personal space!”
you know what pisses me off more than stupid people who don’t understand the concept of personal space?
obese stupid people who don’t understand the concept of personal space.
and you know what pisses me off more than obese stupid people who don’t understand the concept of personal space?
having to stand in line with them!
if there is a hell then there’s a long line in front of the entrance.

now i’m not talking your average, run-of-the-mill overweight person here…
i’m talking full-blown, knee cracking, deadly sin style obese where the person wheezes because the weight on their chest is causing breathing difficulties.
the type of person that somehow defies the laws of physics because their leg bones should splinter as soon as they take a single step…
maybe they’re walking on solid fat? maybe it calcifies in the center and forms a kind of fat-bone?
i mean the american indians used to use every part of the bison, but these people would eat the whole thing in a single sitting… as a snack… and still be hungry!
now there seems to be a certain culture in south africa that values massive, death-star proportions in women (something caveman-like about wealthy due to being well fed.) but you see it in almost every culture…
i think its a “trash” thing: you know, trailer trash, ghetto trash, etc…
it always seems to be the people that can’t afford to live and requires a handout that looks like they spend more than you earn on food every day.
now i know the arguments about junk food being cheap etc… but that’s not what i’m talking about here so go argue with someone else about why their fat.

all i’m saying is that if you wire their jaws shut then they wouldn’t be so large.
and genetics has nothing to do with it. genetics say you put the fat on your ass or on your nose or whatever… unless you have whale genes in you, you have no excuse to be obese.
overweight i can understand and i have no problem with. overweight is a lifestyle choice and doesn’t make someone cough up a mouthful of vomit when they see an overweight person eating.
obese is just plain disgusting.

now the real reason for today’s blog:
standing in line with the type of person who looks like they have their own gravity. (maybe that’s the problem? food gravitates towards them and they need to eat their way out of a debris field of doritos and chocolate bars so that they can see the tv from the couch where they park their lazy, truck-sized asses!)
i try to avoid lines if i can as i’m sure we all do. no-one likes to spend time staring at someone else’s back and drooling quietly, but sometimes its unavoidable. sometimes you just need to see a bank teller or (my more regular problem) you need to wait in line to catch the bus up to university.
unfortunately i have to do this almost every morning. i would walk except the geniuses that built my university decided to put it halfway up a mountain. this means that i could kill myself walking up in the mornings and not be able to hear the lecturer over my gasping cries for air in the rarefied atmosphere that comes with high altitudes, or i could catch the bus up.
i walk down from varsity and am quite happy to get the exercise, but in the morning i need to get in line.

now whenever i’m standing in line there always seems to be one of these obese people that enters the line behind me… and that’s when the jostling begins.
until you reach the front of the line and escape, or until your sanity cracks and you run away (vowing never to return, yet you always do) you will be bumped and shoved and prodded by whatever flabby part is closest at hand, or stomache, or elbow…
for some reason these obese people think they need to stand closer to me than a skinny person does.
hey! man who looks like he just ate his way to this point in the line… don’t you know where your body ends?

seriously… do obese people not have a spatial awareness of their size? surely they can see the horizon of their distended bellies encroaching on me as they waddle down the line?
maybe excess fat results in bad eyesight?
either way i get continuously and annoyingly jostled… and it really annoys the fuck out of me!
i make sure that i’m not bodily violating the person in front of me by keeping a step back from them so that we both have a little space to move and breathe, and it really fucks me off when someone else doesn’t do the same for me.
i don’t want to be touched by you and fondled by your protruding nipple-flab-spears.
so what ends up happening??? i have to close the gap with the person in front of me to try get some distance from the cloying tentacles.
what does mr/mrs 5-chickens-for-lunch do? they think the lines moving and so they move forward.
maybe their trying to hook a roll onto me so that i carry some of their weight for the wait???

of course in south africa whenever you get bumped you think you’re getting your pockets picked. well, i do ever since i’ve caught people trying to pick my pockets (and not in the good way). so whenever i get bumped i begin patting myself down to check everything is still there.
of course jumbo will continue to bump you over and over and over and over like chinese water torture and involving more chicken grease!

maybe obese people do stop before getting to you and their momentum simply carries loose weight round to their front where it ends up in some sort of resonant attack wave of doughy flesh that they are somehow unaware of.
or maybe their nerves are streched so much that the messages get tired before reaching the brain and give up so they are never informed of the fact that their bellybutton keeps trying to make intimate contact with your ear.
or maybe they’re just used to things poking them as they walk down corridors and walkways designed to accomidate people of the same dimensions of the family they just ate and not someone who looks like they’ve just eaten a family of people.
so used to being poked that even short elbow jabs are ignored, leaving you iritated and madly doing train impressions with your arms trying to fight for a little breathing space before jubba completely crushes you.

and then there’s the obese woman with her handbag!
a true demon who has studied the art of creatively getting you to lose your cool and kill.
why do you need to keep turning around and hooking my back with the corner of your ugly, unwieldy, apparently metal, bag of pain?
what do you need such a massive bag for anyway?
is it refridgerated?
i assume its a pantry in case you get stuck more that 5 minutes away from an eatery of some sort and need to sustain yourself until the sun burns out and the world ends.
get your giant sack of hurt away from me and take your giant sack of fat with you!

i’d suggest that these obese personal space offenders walk around with a hoola-hoop around them to learn the “comfort zone” of people, except i don’t think they could get the hoola hoop over their 27th chin, nevermind around their waist.
next time i need to get in a line i think i’ll take a donut with me and when the staypuff man decides to hump me with his belly i’ll just throw it towards the back of the line and hope i get someone skinny and xenophobic behind me.
then i’ll cough!

universe conspires to prevent internet access to information-starved student

August 1, 2006

so i’m back at varsity now (actually i was back yesterday, but i had stuff to do in the afternoon) which should mean that i’ve got net access again.
unfortunately all the machines were off when i went to the labs today. probably a server down again.
you’d think that a computer science department could keep a small computer lab up and running for a few days without major problems.
you’d be wrong of course, but you’d think it anyway.
so this is a notepad/dialup colaboration again.
hopefully tomorrow things’ll be sorted and i’ll have actuall access again.
i have notes to get, blogs to read, and stuff to download dammit!
good side of returning to university: i got my marks back from last semester.
apparently it was too much effort for the computer science department to put marks up on the web.
in fact it was too much effort to even send their usual little letter.
“what did they do?” i hear you wonder with anticipation…

they printed out a list of the marks and stuck it on the notice board.
whoo. tech savvy! you need to know how to use a printer *and* thumbtacks!
i guess they didn’t think that students who were working during the holidays didn’t want to know their marks (unless they wanted to risk being assaulted on campus in the dark hours. btw: another proffessor got attacked at uct these holidays)
i guess students who don’t live in cape town and were spending time with their parents don’t care about their marks either.
and it was some mix-up with just me (i checked). other students only got their marks upon returning to campus at the start of lectures.
maybe its a computer science thing. they have websites and news forums for every comsci course but they can’t maintain a working lab and use hardcopy printouts as the only means of comunicating important information.

so i’m listening to the radio as i walk down from varsity today and the dj is giving tips on “how not to have a breakdown at your desk just before leaving on holiday.”
now correct me if i’m wrong (actually… don’t) but holiday season just ended here didn’t it? school holidays ended just a short while ago and university holidays have just come to an end. talk about horses, bolting and doors.
anyway, the (airquote) advice went something along these lines:
start winding down before going on holiday. start about a week early.
(this sounds like some hippy scam to get paid for a week’s holiday already)
gather supporters: tell people that you’re going on holiday in a week and that you are begining to wind down now so if you’re late for a meeting they’ll know and say (and i quote here) “she’s going on holiday soon. she’s allowed to be 10 minutes late.”
(wtf? this dj has obviously never actually had a job. i bet she’s some homeless person that found a microphone and accidently hooked it up to a transmitter)
incorporate other people into your work early so that you don’t leave with unfinished work. (sounds plausible so far) do the work with them so that by the time you leave they’re doing the work that you’ll be leaving with them.
(ah… stop working a week early and tell people they’d better do your work because they’ll be responsible when the deadline hits and you’ll be on a beach in mexico, unreached by the blame)
there was more to the list that she promised to read out later.
i’m waiting in anticipation… no wait. that’s not what i meant. i meant that other thing: who cares!

basically the dj is saying “don’t do any work and you’ll be nice and relaxed when holiday time comes along.”
you know what? holidays are meant to be the time you unwind. work time is the time you work. (wow! what an odd notion)
if you don’t do any work you don’t need a holiday!
look at homeless people… they don’t have a job and they sure as hell don’t need a holiday.
a homeless person needs a holiday like they need another diploma in html design.
i’m not trying to poo-poo html designers here, i’m just saying if you want a good looking website hire a homeless person.
the site may smell a bit like fish and the home button may look like a cardboard box, but it’ll be swish.

ok… maybe you gotta be in the states to get good homeless html.
here in south africa if you hire a homeless person to design a websit for you, you’ll probably end up with vomit on your keyboard, your dustbin upended with that 3 day old sandwich crust missing, and the homeless guy will be nice and cozy at night snuggling up to his new monitor while he sleeps under the bridge at night.
“it was thrown away… i swear… some guy ran past and just gave it to me.”
seriously… i’ve seen homeless people with monitors.
perfectly good looking monitors.
ok, they may not be 19 inch plasma screens, but if you’re homeless you’ll make do with a crt i’m sure.
especially when you’ve got nothing to plug it into. and that includes power.
fuck knows where he got that from. i’d say he stole it, but even that is too much work for the standard south african homeless person to do.
i mean, i’ve seen homeless people wet themselves because they couldn’t be bothered to stand up and piss behind the phone exchange box like they normally do.
and it’s not like he didn’t have the energy or anything. 5 minutes later the same guy was standing outside a tv shop watching some football or rugby game.
he just couldn’t be bothered to stand up to piss. or even unzip to piss…
its why they don’t make pants waterproof right? so that liquids can pass straight out… i mean if you smell that bad already then what’s a little extra urine gonna do?

well that’s it for today.
hopefully i’ll have real access again soon and blogging will return to normal (and i’ll be able to read some blogs too).
btw: half of this post was written on my laptop while i sat on the toilet.
not because i was lazy (i actually pulled my pants down before abluting) but because i didn’t want to forget that “home button may look like a cardboard box” bit :)
man that’s some funny shit.
what do you mean “no it wasn’t?”
it was if you had a sense of humour you damn comedy fascist!
go away and do some real work now you slackers!