Friday, 30 January 2009

Get It Off Your Text*

My housemate Eyes and I have a problem. Owing perhaps to our hard partying in our younger years, or maybe just to family traits of forgetfulness, we are exhibiting signs of early onset dementia.

I have lost count of the number of times stuff has gone missing recently when I've been on a night out. In January last year, my bag containing my passport was stolen from my work local just four days into my new job. A few months later, my bag was stolen again in the SAME pub....I'll stop there because sometimes stupidity is such that it needs no further explanation (and I still cringe in humiliation when I think about, so case closed). Over the course of the last 6 months, I have been through 3 phones, 2 mp3 players and had to replace the contents of my make-up bag twice.

The obvious explanation for this is that I must have been blitzed out of my head to be so careless. In some cases, yes, I admit I was far from sober and probably not as careful as I should I have been, to go for the massive understatement. In others, however, such as the case of the two bags in one pub, I was completely sober both times.

Eyes, on the other hand, does not lose his own stuff. He does things on a grander scale, such as leaving our front door open when going to work in the mornings - 5 times now and counting - and leaving the iron on all night, and sometimes all day too. Whereas my indiscretions lead to me having to spend a lot of unecessary cash on replacing things I already had, his have so far not had any nasty consequences, but have the potential to bring our carefully built lives crashing down upon us like a tsunami. I dream sometimes of coming home to find our house ransacked (hey look everyone, it's like living in Jozi!), or getting a call from our landlord telling us the flat has burnt down, and my enormous, painstakingly put together wardrobe is in a pile of ashes at his feet. I sometimes wake up shrieking from that one.

In other mishap news, I have just had a Most Embarrassing Moment, which I shall share for your amusement.

I have a good mate in SA named Dave, and today is his birthday. So this morning I texted Dave to wish him. I got a reply saying thanks dude, but it's not my birthday, from Dave S. A classic case of saving the wrong number under the wrong name - Dave S is a guy I went to primary school with. But wait, it gets better..... I have been sending texts to and receiving texts from "Dave" all through Christmas and New Year. It did strike me at the time as kind of odd that the replies were pretty generic, and a little impersonal for a good friend. But I let it go, and peppered my own texts with things like "I really miss you" and "can't wait to see you". I can only imagine what Dave S has been thinking as he received these mushy messages from a girl he hasn't seen in 15 years.

To top it all off, after I replied to Dave S this morning explaining my mistake, I get this text back:

Sure I saw you in Sainsburys in Colliers Wood a few weeks ago?

So not only have I practically been declaring undying love to a man I barely know, but he also lives nearby and I am very likely to run into him at some point in the near future.

I think I need Alzheimers if only I could remember where it is.

*stolen shamelessly from the London Lite

Friday, 23 January 2009

Baby I Got Your Number

Ok, this is too much. I am having one of those truly annoying days where one person has my self-control by the throat and is poking it with a knife in an effort to get a reaction. Either that, or he is a certifiable idiot and does not fully realise the level of oafishness he is currently currently batting at.

How many times do you think is reasonable to ask one person for a phone number?


Lopz: T-Mac, can I please have the number for (client)?
TMac: Sure, I just need to wait for my machine to boot up. It's really slow this morning.
Lopz: Ok.


Lopz: T-Mac, that number please?
TMac: Man, my pc is slow. It's nearly there, I'll get it for you in a minute.


Lopz: T-Mac, Big Boss needs that number this morning, could you please send it to me? I need it now.
TMac: Erm, yes yes, coming.... I just..... (picks up phone to make yet ANOTHER "very important" call)

I like TMac. I do. He's 39, married with 2 kids, a regular guy with a loud, slightly brash personality who enjoys being the centre of attention and is always the first one down the pub. He has a fairly high opinion of himself, but he makes it work and is usually very entertaining. He is not, however, to be relied upon even for the simplest tasks. Clearly.

It is now 11:03am and he has just left his desk, still without getting the number to me.


Have gone across and found the number myself in his e-mails. It took me 10 seconds. Seriously. Please let my day improve.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Like a What? Just Like a Circus

Overheard by Shoes last night at the dinner table (mercifully I was in the shower at the time):

Eyes: (watching Scarf with interest) Hey baby, you don't normally cut your potato like that!
Scarf: What? Yes I do.
Eyes: No you don't. You normally do it like this. *demonstrates by cutting own potato*
Scarf: Oh yes, you're right!
Eyes: Why did you cut it differently?
Scarf: I don't know. Weird. I'll cut it normally now.

You know what they say about couples who spend too much time together, right? They drop right off the radar of Conversations Suitable For Public Consumption and find themselves languishing in the murky depths of Conversations You Should Never Have Around Other People For Fear They Will Have You Committed (And Rightly So).

I've had a very hectic week at work. So busy in fact, that by Wednesday I was contemplating pulling a sickie to recover from my first two days, which felt like two years. But then I couldn't, cos I had to much bloody work. Today is the first time I've had some breathing space. For the most part, it has been busy but smooth. One event stands out though, as being a disaster area. Think Ground Zero, or the aftermath of Chernobyl. Think the worst case scenario and then add a healthy dose of how the fuck did that happen. How not to pitch to clients 101. Here's how it went down.

Two of the girls on my team, Shiv and Lils, had a presentation to some very important clients. Clients they have been nurturing, ego-stroking and subtly coercing for the last three months. This was the Big Pitch. Cue high adrenaline on Tuesday morning. I help them set up the room: tea and coffee, our best china (which is not very good, but hey ho), water, fruit juice, biscuits, fresh fruit, sweets, mints - The Works. We are putting on a show, and by george they will be impressed. Ok, time to get the presentation ready. Connect laptop. Shit, projector not working. Call JJ, fabulous general maintenance man, to plead for help. JJ not in yet. Call Al from the post room. Al bumbles around a bit, gets projector working. Grand.

Clients arrive. Presentation begins.

11:07 - Projector cuts out. Is given a firm bang, and starts up again.
11:09 - Projector cuts out again. Shiv barrells into reception and grabs spare desktop projector.
11:12 - Desktop projector connected. No picture. Lils making frantic calls to JJ.
11:13 - Main projector comes back on. Happy days! Presentation recommences.
11:17 - Laptop dies. Reserve laptop brought in and hooked up. Presentation recommences.
11:24 - Second laptop dies. Lils starts telling clients about what she did on the weekend. Shiv running around in circles, a crazed look in her eyes.
11:30 - Third laptop connected. Picture up. Presentation recommences.
11:37 - Third laptop dies. Lils telling clients about her daughter's first day at school. Shiv leaving death messages on JJ's phone.
11:39 - Shiv still crawling around on hands and knees in front of client, bum stuck unceremoniously up in air. Lils passing round baby pictures.
11:43 - JJ rocks up, nearly turns tail and runs when sees unstable state of Shiv.
11:50 - JJ plugs last wire in and switches on laptop. Collective intake of breath..
11:51 - Picture up! Round of applause. JJ retreats to safety of kitchen and proceeds to discuss with me the mentality of people who do not connect IT equipment correctly first time round. Presentation recommences.
11:53 - Shiv bursts through kitchen door, hair standing on end, eyes murderous. Speakers not working.
11:56 - JJ trying to get sound. Shiv changes her mind (by now bordering on criminally insane) and says sound not needed. Cannot delay clients any further.
11:57 - Presentation recommences. Get to end without further mishap, but all videos are watched in silence, like olden day movies.
12:20 - Wrap up. Shiv and Lils take clients to lunch. Bribe them with very expensive wine and premiere tickets for Seven Pounds.

Shiv and Lils subdued to the point of chronic depression for rest of week. Many, many angry e-mails fired off to CEO. People sympathetic for about 30 seconds, then enthusiastic piss taking ensues. I love this team!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Dear Boots Part II

So a couple of weeks ago, I wrote this letter to Boots, complaining about their appalling lack of online customer service (it's not as boring as it sounds. I always think if I was a customer services person, I would appreciate humorous letters, as they would be bright spots in an otherwise very drab day filled with other people's ire). I wanted a refund for an order placed in error, and stated in my letter that I did not expect any freebies, but would be delighted to receive them should Boots feel compelled to do so.

This reply came for me the other day in the post:

Dear Lopz

Thank you for contacting us about the difficulties you have experienced with our online ordering facility. I am sorry to hear about this and appreciate you letting me know this.

Blah blah blah.....*the letter bangs on about what exactly happened to me, in case I'd mysteriously forgotten*

I have spoken to our technical team regarding this (their inability to cancel an order placed online), and they have assured me they are looking into introducing this facility in the future, to ensure this does not happen again.

I have also spoken to the manager at our Kingsway store, and he has passed on his sincere apologies for this issue and has advised that if you wish to discuss the further matter with him, he would be pleased for you to do so. *What, over a glass of wine at his local? I thought he was a bit over eager last time I was in there*

Having investigated this further for you, I am happy to inform you that I have been able to issue a refund of £42.92 for your order. *Cause for great celebration, as Kingsway manager had already refunded me in store*

In view of the disappointment that has been caused, I have also enclosed a gift card, which I hope you will accept with my best wishes (Giftcard value £15). I do hope that you are able to purchase a nice gift for yourself on my behalf this Christmas. *Is it my imagination, or is there a hint of sarcasm there?*

Your sincerely


So, to recap, I received the following products from Boots:

1 x FCUK overnight bag filled with FCUK products
1 x Soap & Glory Travel Toiletries Case filled with S&G minis
1 x Boots No 7 Cosmetics Case filled with No 7 Cosmetics

For a grand total of NOTHING.

Plus a £15 voucher for my troubles.

That's it, I am going to start complaining about every single thing that goes wrong - and sometimes even those that don't. Stale crisps? I want free super-size bags for a month. Cold Starbucks? I want a Starbucks card pre-loaded with £20. Had a bad night's sleep? I want M&S vouchers for upgraded bedding, a new mattress, a year's supply of free heating in my room and a hot water bottle for my feet. Or is that going too far?

I am an ACTIVIST. I have a CAUSE. Me. Check how I roll.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Eight Below

I promised myself I wouldn't do this, but I can no longer resist the temptation. I swore I wouldn't become the British cliche, but either I am too Londonised to care, or the circumstances are so extreme they deserve, nay, INSIST ON, a mention. I am talking, of course, about The Weather.

Who wants to read yet another post about the bad weather in England? If you're British and you're reading this, you'd probably far rather stand around the water cooler in the morning and have a good bitch than read a stranger's gripings (we all know how the Brits love a moan). If you're South African and living in SA, you're probably feeling pretty smug right now. I shall refrain from telling you where to shove your smugness, but please do go ahead and read between the lines. If you are any other nationality, you are probably wondering how in God's name I have managed to crap on about essentially NOTHING for the last 5 sentences, and bewildered that I plan to continue in this fashion. I say to you, until you have lived in the UK, you are not qualified to speak on The Weather.

I'll keep it short. Factual. Simple. The short and simple fact is, I am freezing my fucking ass off and I am miserable about it. I've accepted that living in London means I will have to put up with shitty excuses for summers and frosty cold winters. And for the most part, it's ok. I'm not going to be here forever, and the trade off is excellent: incredible gigs / events / parties, travelling opportunities that you simply don't get in SA, a job market where the world is your oyster and let's not forget the experience of Living in London with some of my very best friends.

But it has gone too far this time. I am now in a winter-induced huff. For the last 3 weeks, the average - AVERAGE! - temperature has been zero. We have had days with "highs" *cough choke* of 1 degree, and the other night temperatures dropped to minus 8. No matter how any layers I wear or how many winter accessories I add, I am still cold - no wait, make that frostbitten. I have a semi-permanent headache that only goes away at night when I am tucked up in bed with the heating going full blast. My veins are standing to attention like soldiers in a parade of purple uniforms, and believe me, this is not attractive. I am grumpy because everytime I start to thaw out, I have to go outside again and this negates the effects of what is a very painful process. My joints are aching and creaking as if I have aged 20 years in a matter of hours, and the first half of my cardio workout at gym is agony as my frozen muscles try to warm up enough so that blood can flow freely.

Even the Brits are complaining. London simply does not usually get this cold. But here we are, defying the credit crunch with our take away coffees, not because we can afford it, but because we HAVE to - if we don't have something warm to wrap our hands around we risk having them fall off.

This better end soon, otherwise I cannot be held responsible for my actions. Is there such a thing as Cold Rage?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Hamster on the Wheel Goes Round and Round

There were many New Year's Resolutions in my spinning class last night. You could spot them a mile away - baggy t-shirts down to their knees, faces an attractive shade of puce and all of them emitting a distinct lack of sound apart from breath ripping painfully from dry throats (noticeable as this particular class is quite vocal and tends to heckle the poor instructor when she bullies us into pedalling for one more song).

If I were starting a new exercise regime in preparation to unleash the new me on the world, I so would not start with a spinning class. It is torture in its cruelest form; a dead end experience that literally leaves you going nowhere, no matter how much your instructor encourages you to "Go, go, go, you're nearly there!" Nearly where? I'm on a bloody stationary bike, for Pete's sake! I've got more chance of getting somewhere if I simply pushed off the pedals and launched myself into the atomsphere. The road less travelled? Try the road NEVER travelled. Not only that, but pedalling like a maniac while staring at the unmoving wall / giant behind in front of you is demotivating at best, and strangely reminiscent of a hamster in a wheel at worst. This is just not a description that should apply to intelligent people.

As much as I hold this class in the lowest possible regard, I find myself going back for more every Monday. As disciplined as I am about my gym routine, I have a tendency to do my work out at 50% capacity when tired (often), and then tell myself I've done my bit and can therefore take the next few days off / snack my way through the week / have a whole (extra large) slab of chocolate after dinner. Spinning is the one class where I am pushed to my limits each time, and no matter how much I hate it and swear never to go again (usually about 15 minutes into the 45 minute torture programme), I always do. So hats off to the brave NYR's who attack their goals with gusto and make spinning their first port of call. No matter that over half will bail by the end of January. It is the blind enthusiasm and dogged determination of the freshly motivated that counts. It's a good thing I'm not an instructor - I'd have the class breaking for energade and power bars every 10 minutes.

Monday, 5 January 2009

New Year's Resolutions

You gotta love them. Not only do we have to deal with the inevitable January depression caused by back to work blues and the anxiety of facing yet another year of aging, but those pesky resolutions - usually made when inebriated and convinced one can do anything - come back to haunt you as January rolls on and you break one after the other.

Here's how mine have gone so far:

New Year's Resolution 1: To go on a month's detox. This involves not drinking or eating junk food for the month of January.

January 1st - at home.

3pm - So far so good. Recovering from NYE party, although, somewhat mysteriously, hangover has not yet hit. Still waiting. Am going to have tuna with brown rice for supper.

6pm - Making tuna and rice. Shoes and Miss M pop out to get KFC.

6:15pm - Cracked. Am sharing Shoes' chips. Oh well, at least no drinking.

January 2nd - at private screening of Nicole Kidman's new movie, Australia.

7pm - Walk into screening area with Scarf, determined not to drink complimentary Jacob's Creek wine.

7:03pm - Cracked. Took glass from smiling hostess without blinking eye.

7:35pm - Accepted top up. Dammit. Try again from tomorrow.

January 3rd, at home with Shoes and Miss M.

6pm - Shoes grumpy. Says life is no fun without alcohol. Is going to open bottle of wine. Miss M concurs. Hold out for about 5 seconds....

6pm & 5 seconds - Cracked. Had glass. Then top up. Need AA.

New Year's Resolution 2: To write stuff every month (book, articles, essays - not sure yet, but writing must be done).

January 5th - at work.

11:30am - So far so good, am writing blog post. Cheating? Ok yes, but still have 26 days to go. Still holding out hope for this one.

New Year's Resolution 3: To not shop at all for month of January, and to only buy one very small thing per month for rest of year.

January 2nd - on ebay.

1pm - Bid on book, Is Harry On The Boat? Oops. But maybe will get outbid.

5pm - Win book. Ok, bad, but it's only £2.45 including postage. No more books.

January 3rd - on amazon.

6pm - Buy first book in Conn Igguldsen's Emporer series. Really, really want to own series. Only £3 per book. NOT POINT!!!! Must stop shopping!!!! Must prove it can be done. Feck. Ok, start again from Monday.

6:15pm - Have cracked already, might as well make use of guilty time left. Buy second Emporer book. NO MORE!

January 5th - So far so good. Must hang in there - first week is hardest. Cravings will subside soon. Be strong. January Sales.....NO! Stay in office on lunch. Read about poor people who have nothing. Think beyond shallow self. Can do it. Will do it.....Physically knotting hands together to prevent self from opening ebay window. Not great start. ;-P