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Saturday, July 29, 2006

I hate the 1st world...

Hi all

It has been quite some time since I last updated here. My excuse is that I was rather tired. I have been geting to bed rather late lately because I have been working on my video thing of my coastal holiday. It's rather annoying to get the video going. I have to write a song for it and I have no clue what to do. I mean, I know how to write a song, it's just that I can't seem to come up with anything good. A sort of song-writers block if you will...

So on Thursday morning, I was supposed to go and see Althea, one of the keepers at the zoo about my access card for next year. However, literally at the last minute she canceled on me saying that she had to participate in somekind of assessment thing that was happening at the zoo. I am kind of stressing about it because I'm supposed to pick them up for both Neville and I to have access, and Neville gets back from his leave next week. He asked me to have it done by the time that he returns.

But, fear not! I have organised a meeting on Monday for exactly that. Neville only gets back on Tuesday.

Yesterday at Wits, I downloaded all of the Cell C adverts. You can download them off their website. They are hysterical! My favourite is the very last one that you can download. It is the one with the woman who walks through her house and everything is perfect. Things then go horribly wrong when she knocks her head on an open cupboard door. It is brilliant!

So anyhoo, I watched the movie 'The Constant Gardener' last night. I first saw it on a plane when I was returning to South Africa after my December European holiday. It is a brilliant movie and I recomend it 1000000%! However, I find it very sad because for most, that is all it is! Just a story. They don't realise that, while the subject matter may not be truthful, the basic storyline is happening every day all over the third world. The first world countries screw the third world over in order for them to live the comfortable lives that they lead, while millions die from diseases, starvation and a lack of sanitation!

Another movie along the same lines that I think everyone should watch is 'Hotel Rwanda'. That is a true story. All of what happened in that movie happened to real people! It makes me so mad to think that people around the world have watched that movie and walk out of the cinema thinking, "What a terrible thing to have happened! Those poor people..." and yet there is no actual reaction! No pressure on governments to alleviate poverty. No pressure to stop dictators such as uncle Bob over in Zimbabwe. It makes me sick sometimes...

I really think that a prerequisite for anyone doing politics or international law should be that they are required to do one years community service with a humanitarian aid organisation! That way they will be forced to see, smell, taste the lives that the third world lives every day and see that these people are not just numbers or aids patients or the kids with flies on their faces in the pictures in 'TIME'.

Sorry about my ranting but I just get very upset when I think about the way that the first world fucks the rest of us over...I have been over to Europe and have seen the attitudes and ideas that the people there have and so, to a degree, I'm not just pulling this all out of my arse.

Well, on that cheerful note, I bid you all farewell. Have a good day and I'll write again soon.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

About being late

Hi all

There are different types of people in this world, everyone knows that. We all have our little niche which we occupy and our own quirks. It appears that my role on this planet is to be the one that is perpetually late. Or just never pitch at all...

This morning, I went to brunch with my friend Alice, who's brother passed away last week. My mother has been meaning to get her a card but never got round to it until last night, when I mentioned that I was going to brunch and she decided that she was going to go to buy one on the way home from dropping my sisters off at school. However, something happened to my grandmother and she had to be taken to hospital to have her hand looked at, so the responability of the card fell onto me.

So, on my way to brunch today I went and got the card at a CNA. Naturally, my indecisiveness at card selection lead to my being late for brunch. I arrived at the Mugg & Bean at Killarney (Shout out to all my peeps at Killarney!) and I gave her the card and we all started chatting and stuff. Then, a little later, a friend of Alice's arrived and produced a gift.

It was at this stage with horror that the reality of the situation dawned on me. It was Alice's birthday and I had completely forgotten...

My mental train was late. Severely overdue. In fact, it never pitched at all.

In a lame attempt to save myself I mentioned in passing that I hadn't had time to go buy her a present yet. However, I'm pretty sure she know's that I am a nitwit.

Then, after we had all ordered food and stuff, the Mugg & Bean people took SO long to bring my food that I ended up late for another thing today! I was supposed to be teaching Eebee and Brian how to do dung analysis and arrived 20 min late, and then took another 10 trying to organise all the stuff that I needed to do it all!

The rest of the day went relatively smoothely but the night is still young! I am supposed to go off to the movies tonight with Eebee and Helen to see 'Over the hedge'. Undoubtably I'll be really late for that too!

A photo from my beach holiday:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's the truth, I swear!!!

I tried to blog yesterday, I really did! But the internet went on the brink and as a result, I couldn't get online to blog!

Anyway, The last two days were rather dull. I just stayed at home as much as possible and did as little as possible. I don't really remember what I did all day appart from composing some music on my laptop and doing dung analysis at Wits in the evening. I is very sad that I went in to University voluntarily on my weekend but I have a fridge full of baboon crap and I need to get through it all!

Dung analysis isn't quite as painful as you might think...I thought that the stench would be overwhelming and that I would have lost all traces of appetite that I may have had. But it is not so! To be honest, it really is a (excuse the pun) shitty thing to have to do but it's not as bad as you would imagine. Especially if you have music to listen to.

I am tempted to post a photo or two of the dung but shall not for the sake of my somewhat diminutive number of readers. I can't afford to loose any!

Today was much of the same. Visited my grandmother who managed to fall and hurt her knee's literally about 4 times in one week but is okay now. Helped prep lunch. Finished the song I started yesterday. Did more dung stuff at Wits. Returned home...Found the following...

Check out this's just bizzare!

Tomorrow is Eebee's 21st birthday and seeing as how he hates cats and all I sent him the following with a birthday message:

I have a feeling that this hasn't exactly made my number of readers skyrocket...

That's all for now. Will write tomorrow! Cheerio!

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Well this is crap...

Hi guys

Another late post, another hectic past-few-weeks. So much has happened in my life and I feel really crap about it at the moment. I'll start at the beginning.

After returning from my fieldwork where I attained an impressive half hour of data (This is distinctly unimpressive by the way- I was being sarcastic...), I had one of those get-your-life-in-order fits that happens every now and again. They are generally not too bad but once in a while I do them and end up tidying stuff away, never to be seen by human eyes again. It is the famous incidence of 'putting it somewhere safe'. I'm sure you know what I mean.

This particular fit was luckily not one of those. I went in to Wits and typed up all my data that I have collected for my baboons over the year. To my horror I discovered that I had a grand total of...wait for it...two and a half hours of data!

That is NOTHING! As a scientist you can't even dream of producing a paper with data like that! I have to have 200 hours by the end of the year in order to be able to write it up! So I had a mild panic attack.

Actually, it wasn't mild...

I just remembered that Laura has returned from London. She said it was brilliant.

So in mid-panic, I sent an e-mail to Neville, requesting an emergency meeting. He granted me this meeting and I went off to see him a few days later. It was the only time that he had available on such short notice, so I took it.

At the meeting I explained the situation to him. He was rather surprised that I had as little as I have but then proceeded to tell me not to panic. He then explained that the 200 hours I need to write up is not 200 hours of DATA, it is 200 hours of TIME SPENT IN THE FREAKING RESERVE LOOKING FOR THE BLOODY ANIMALS! Inside I wanted to kill him...

I have been under the impression that it was the latter for a good majority of this year! If I had known the truth, I would not have been as stressed out as I have been for so long! I have been so worried that my project would be a complete flop. Neville does have a tendency to do these kinds of things. For example, in my project proposal, I said that I would try to sample baboon troops from both the northern and southern parts of the reserve to compare their behaviour. Neville said this was okay and let me discuss it in my proposal presentation. After my first fieldwork session, he asked me how the north-south sampling had gone. It had not worked at all! We had seen two troops, both in the north. I told him this. He giggled at me and said, 'I knew it wouldn't work...'

So, after all that, the next phase of my hectic week began. We, my mother and I, had to go and collect my sisters dog from the airport, which my dad had sent down to South Africa from Italy. We got to the airport and as we arrived, the vet arrived as well. Now, before you can take your pets home, they have to be examined by a vet to ensure that they are okay and that they have not picked up some kind of nasty bug along their way across the globe. The vet entered the building, we were still in the car by the way, and exited 5 minutes later. He then got into his car and drove off.

We, and the dog, then waited another 2 hours for the oversized vet to arrive and start to do all the paperwork so that we could take our dog home! Eventually, we got all our stuff in order and were able to leave with our dog who insisted on sitting on my lap as I drove home along the highway.Luckily, my mom was with me to take the dog so I could actually drive properly.

Then, on the Friday morning, my dad arrived from Italy for the funeral. My mom and I went to fetch him from the airport. My sisters were at school for a play practice or something. We ended up waiting forever for him to come out and never really found out why it took so long. Apparently the passport control people are really slow at their jobs.

We later had the funeral which was odd. I always feel that family funerals are odd. Somehow, they seem different to what I always expect. After the funeral, we all came home and just chilled. My dad stayed for the weekend. He left on the Sunday evening.

I then went off to Suikerbosrand to do some more fieldwork, but this time with my field assistant, Jeffrey. He is the son of a family friend who needed to do some job-shadowing in his holidays. He alledgedly aspires to be agame ranger some day and so he came along with me on my fieldwork. I soon discovered that he had no intention of gaining any experience while with me or doing anything at all. He pretty much just sat around and listened to music on his mp3 player. Strangely enough, I am not ever taking him with me again...

From that point on, a lot happened! I rescued my cousins cat from a tree, went to the south coast with David and Alice for 4 days, Alice's bother died, I returned to Wits as the term has started, did lots of reading for my masters project and have started my dung analysis. The latter is not very pleasent and I regret that I was so enthusiastic in collecting dung in the past...

This post is severely overdue! So...I will post it immediately and will try very hard to write again tomorrow.