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Can someone develop inertia?  It sounds a bit like reversing backwards.  Well whatever it is, I’ve got it.

When my mum died, my happy pills kept the black dog at bay for the first few months.  Its departure was replaced by an emptiness, a desire to do nothing.  So that’s what I did.

Now, twenty months later, mum’s boxes are still littered around the house, their only movement being from the spare room to my study when Clare came to stay for a few weeks.

Each time I open a box, I am assailed by memories and doubts.  How can I disrespect my mother by throwing away her memories, her cherished possessions?  So instead, I spend hours on Facebook, playing stupid games, surrounded by boxes.

The only thing that motivates me is a deadline.  So, in the last year, I’ve performed, directed, designed and built more sets than ever before.  And while I’m doing it, I love it.  But when I get home, I go straight to the computer and kill vampires, harvest crops and hunt for treasure.

Then, last week, I was chatting to a friend whose mum died late last year, and she remarked how, since then, she’s had no desire to work in her garden.  She despairs at how bedraggled it looks, remembering how much she used to cherish it.  She wasn’t very impressed when I started smiling, and was even less impressed when I laughed at how many boxes she’s got in her spare room…all filled with her mum’s belongings.  What’s more, she said, all I want to do is read.  And even then it’s only because I’ve got to get the book back to the library before due date.

Sound familiar?

So we’ve come up with a plan.

Each week, for two hours, we’re going to take turns visiting each other.  The visitee will decide on the highest priority – emptying boxes, weeding or clearing out cupboards.  The visitor will comply and be rewarded with tea and chocolate biscuits.  Or red wine, if we’ve done really well.

I went to her house yesterday.  It was great.  There’s a long way to go, but it’s a start.

Who knows, I might even be able to empty a box or two myself before she comes around next week…

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I feel a bit embarrassed today.

I have no idea what I was doing twenty years ago when Madiba was released from prison.

I do remember that I on 11 February 1990, I was 24, lived in Tableview and drove a 1976 Ford Escort called Sunshine. I don’t think I even knew who Nelson Mandela was. I grew up in an apolitical, irreligious family, and kept those blinkers on until well into my thirties. All I was interested in was boys, parties, getting to work sober and submitting my Unisa assignments on time.

So I looked it up in my diary: It was a Sunday. I had a rehearsal, and my folks came round for a braai, which was apparently very relaxing. Some oke called Ian invited me to Villa Revue.

Villa Revue! Now THAT I remember! It was a scaly club in Maitland which was open on Sunday evenings – unheard of in the old South Africa. Late Final played. Jislaaik, it rocked! Late Final still plays in the Beer Tent at the finish of the Argus Cycle Tour. Which is where, for the last fourteen years, I’ve stood and drunk beer for four hours after spending six hours on a small black saddle.

Oh dear. Just more proof that the more things change the more they stay the same.

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In October, I committed to writing a 50,000 word novel during November. 

 Being the serial procrastinator that I am, I knew I’d have to prod myself, and I did this with several support groups – I recruited writing buddies online and in the flesh.  

It’s been an awesome experience.  Worldwide, 170,0000 lunatics submitted 2,017,483,647 words to the NaNoWriMo website.  50,101 of them were mine. 

It’s more like a series of words lumped together in a semi-coherent salad than a book,   but I believe it has potential and I will be spending the next few months editing, editing and editing some more.

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The Flip Side

I went to a rehearsal at 19h30 last night, and traffic cops prevented me from going onto Wynberg Hill, which had been the scene of a horrific accident. I stopped and asked for details, expecting to be shooed away. But the officer was very polite and told me that a truck had overturned, and both lanes of the M3 had been closed. They’d been redirecting traffic since 16.30, and didn’t know when the road would be opened.

When I returned at 22.30, they were still there, in the rain, diverting traffic. Instead of just feeling sorry for them, I converted Mr Muffin’s car into a mobile café bar for the next few hours, as I dispensed about 50 cups of coffee and tea to the traffic officers, firemen and City of Cape Town emergency workers.

Apart from the feel-goodness from a random act of kindness, I got a rare glimpse into the life of our much-criticised civil servants. And I have a new respect for these people. There was not one word of complaint that they’d had to give up their evenings, cancel plans, and report for work the next morning. This was all part of the job, and it just had to be done.

As the tea lady, I got to hear conversations Joe Public wouldn’t normally hear. And guess what – these guys are normal. They’re just like us. They bragged about their kids, wondered when they’d be able to take leave, and complained about queues in banks.

I also learned why the road takes so long to clear: About 20 tons of manure was on that truck (which weighed about 15 tons). And because there had been a death, the cargo had to be reloaded onto the same truck, for the forensics. This means that a grader had to clear the manure from the road, wait for the truck to be righted by a crane, and then put all the manure back onto the truck. Only then could the truck and its cargo be towed away. Not a speedy process.

Some of the personnel at the scene expressed a regret that the grader had taken so long to arrive. They knew that today’s radio and press would be inundated with complaints of incompetence from people complaining about how they’d been stuck in traffic for two hours.

But they were very grateful for the coffee. I just wish I’d had rusks with me, as by the time I left at 1am, most of them still hadn’t had supper.

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So which one did you think of? Neil or Lance?
 

Both of these men have had massive media coverage in the last few days: for Tour la Lune and Tour de France.
 

Forty years ago, Neil and his mates were toasting their successful return from the moon landing. Springbok Radio captured the moment. Colin Cullis played the clip on Cape Talk’s Hard Drive on yesterday afternoon.
 

I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes wonder if the moon landing was a hoax. The conspiracy theorists can be quite convincing in their arguments, particularly the ones about the psychological advantage of winning the
Space Race
against Russia. And Hollywood was big enough back then to have been in on one of the biggest scams in history.
 

And it doesn’t help that NASA admitted that they no longer have the original tape of the landing. “We must have taped over it,” a spokesman said. Hollywood to the rescue…
 

But I digress. Cullis played this clip as an introduction to Google Moon, which provides even more proof that the moon landing was not faked.
 

Cullis said that the lack of technology in 1969 forced the world take America’s word back then. Even so, it would have been one hell of a stunt to pull off. But now Google Moon is the ultimate argument settler. Just like Wikipedia, right?
 

So, says Cullis, with all this new technology, providing all this irrefutable evidence, how on earth can anyone not believe that Lance Armstrong walked on the moon?
 

‘strues Bob. That’s what he said.

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Sometime last century I did a degree through Unisa. We only had two lectures a year, so we formed study groups and scrounged old exam papers. We worked hard and were proud when we got a distinction.

This week I wrote two Theory of Literature papers. There have been no lectures and only one video conference with Pretoria. As usual we asked the professors what we could expect in exams. The reply was standard – just concentrate on your second assignment. We asked if there were any other areas we should focus on, and were told that they are not allowed to examine us on anything new.

I’m a bit thick, and this didn’t sink in. I went home and diligently revised the entire syllabus.

In the first exam over half the paper was taken directly from the assignment. So I know I did well.

But blow me down with a paper cut, the second paper was a direct crib of the assignment. I had a rant and was told by a fellow student that it’s been this way for a few years (her dad used to mark for Unisa).

So 120 ToL students are going into the wide world thinking they are Brilliant. And the professors? There’s no way they can feel a sense of accomplishment. They’re probably paging through the ‘Employment Offered’ section.

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Started at 7.30 this morning.

No survivors.

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Story and some pics here and here.

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In other news, North Korea says it has carried out its second ever nuclear test.

“As with all marine mammals pilot whales are very sensitive to seismic disturbance” (Source: indymedia)

Are there any dots to join in this picture?

Just asking.

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