Saturday, March 31, 2007

I finally did it!

No, not THAT. That still has to happen.

So what did I finally do? I went out and bought myself a bike. In fact, I bought two, one for me and one for my son. His has a few gears, not that he needs them on this flat terrain, so it's not a traditional Dutch 'omafiets'.

Mine, however, is.

It's not quite as mouth-watering as the mountain bike I had in Cape Town but it feels right having an 'omafiets' here in Amsterdam even if not having brakes on the handlebars feels very weird.

The weather promises to be very good tomorrow so we'll probably go for this ride.

Here she is, parked outside my front door. Such serenity, don't you think?

ouma fiets

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Page 158

page 158My copies of 'Shaggy Blog Stories' arrived today!

Actually, they arrived yesterday but the package was too large to fit through the door so they had to be picked up from the post office today. My son picked them up for me while I was at work today.

Opening the parcel was such fun! Paging through the book was even more fun. Finding my own contribution was like finding a favourite jumper that had got lost at the back of the cupboard. I immediately looked for the 'truly awful howler' of a typo that Mike mentioned as having crept into my entry:

Where the text says "Three hundred and (*)", you need to add an R, thusly:

"Three hundred Rand (*)"

That was our one truly awful howler. The rest, I can live with.

It wasn't there! Nor were any of the other typos Mike and others picked up. Seems like I don't have a rare first edition with its valuable typos.

my copiesmy entry

As of yesterday at 17:30, 430 copies of 'Shaggy Blog Stories' had been sold, making a £1910.06 contribution to Comic Relief. That's a great contribution but an amount of £2000 would look so much better.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Tailored for expats

Being tagged can either be tedious or great fun. But, either way, tags can be quite illuminating. I've been tagged by chocolate girl, an expat in Germany. It's a great tag and one that most expats should enjoy being tagged with. And since it's one I think expats should enjoy, I'll actually being tagging someone with it. You'll only find out who the unfortunate soul is after reading my answers.

Name 5 things you love in your new country:
  • The ‘different-ness’ of the place that gives me a constant feeling of being on holiday
  • The continuity between a long, glorious history and a very modern present
  • Quirky, interesting shops dotted all over the city
  • Fresh produce markets
  • Great public transport and bicyles
Name 4 things that you miss from your native country:
  • Blue skies and warm weather
  • Feeling completely at home
  • My children
  • The feeling of being in Africa
Name 3 things that annoy you a bit (or much) in your new country:
  • The way the Dutch pour beer
  • Strange electrical connections and not enough of them (maybe that’s just my flat)
  • Over-crowdedness , both with locals and tourists
Name 2 things that surprise you (or surprised you in the beginning) in your new country:
  • How tall so many people are
  • How wet and windy it is
Name 1 thing that you would miss terribly in your new country, if you had to leave it:
  • How cosmopolitan it is
The unfortunate soul? Well, there are six of them:
My son arrives in about 10 hour's time. I feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My son

My son finished school last year and is taking a gap year before going to UCT next year.

He arrives on Friday to spend some time with me in Amsterdam. With a bit of effort on his part (he's never had to earn a cent of his own), he'll be finding part-time work here to fund his travels elsewhere. His first port of call will be here.


  1. Come to terms with your own gayness before disclosing to children. This is crucial. The father who feels negatively about his homosexuality or is ashamed of it is much more likely to have children who also react negatively. The father must create a setting of acceptance by first accepting himself. If he tells his children when he is ready and comfortable, it is likely to be a positive experience for everyone.
  2. Children are never too young to be told. They will absorb only as much as they are capable of understanding. Use words appropriate to the age of the child. Details may be added as they grow older.
  3. Discuss it with children before they know or suspect. When children discover their father's sexual orientation from someone other than the father, they often are upset that their father did not trust them sufficiently to share the information with them. It is exceedingly difficult for children to initiate the subject, and they will not bring it up even though they want to.
  4. Disclosure should be planned. Children should not find out about their father's homosexuality by default or discover it accidentally or during an argument between their parents.
  5. Disclose in a quiet setting where interruptions are unlikely to occur.
  6. Inform, don't confess. The disclosure should not be heavy or maudlin but positive and sincere. Informing in a simple, natural, or matter-of-fact manner when the father is ready is more likely to foster acceptance by the child. If possible, discuss or rehearse what will be said to children with someone who has already experienced a similar disclosure.
  7. Inform the children that relationships with them will not change as a result of disclosure. Disclosure will, however, allow the father to be more honest. Children may need reassurance that the father is the same person he was before. Younger children may need reassurance that the father will still be their father.
  8. Be prepared for questions: Some questions and possible answers are:
    • Why are you telling me this? Because my personal life is important and I want to share it with you. I am not ashamed of being homosexual, and you shouldn't be ashamed of me either.
    • What does being gay mean? It means being attracted to other men so that you might fall in love with a man and express your love physically and sexually.
    • What makes a person gay? No one knows, although there are a lot of theories. (This question may be a childs a way of asking if he she will also be gay.)
    • Will I be gay, too? You wont be gay just because Im gay. Its not contagious, and it doesn't appear to be hereditary. you will be whatever you are going to be.
    • Don't you like women? (The child might be asking, "Don't you like Mom?" or "Do you hate Mom?" If this question is asked by a daughter it may also mean, "Don't you like me?" or "Do you hate me?") I do like women but I'm not physically (or sexually) and romantically attracted to them as I am to men.
    • What should I tell my friends about it? A lot of people just don't understand so it might be best to keep it in the family. You can discuss it with me any time you want. If you want to tell a close friend, go ahead and try it out. But the friend might not be accepting, and she or he might tell others. You should be prepared for those possibilities. If you do tell somebody, let me know how it turns out.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

I came, I drank, I went.

I came:
I almost didn’t - I very nearly wasn’t allowed to board the Nottingham flight at Schipol. Blame that on me leaving the flat late, the tram breaking down, and a delayed train. It’s really not that pleasant plonking yourself down next to a fellow passenger, huffing and puffing, dripping sweat everywhere. Less pleasant for the fellow passenger, of course. Mike put me up even though he was already tripping on ‘Shaggy Blog Stories’ adrenaline. Thanks, Mike. Despite the adrenaline, he looked just as he did when I saw him in Amsterdam a few weeks ago.

I drank:
We met up with several friends at the Lord Roberts. It wasn’t a particularly late night but both of us felt the effects of beer on us in the morning. A few hours later, after several cups of tea and a slice of toast, we were in the café at the Broadway Cinema, the venue of Nottingham’s first blogmeet. Thanks for organising it, Mike and Lisa. A very successful event, in my opinion.

I wasn’t the only international guest as Rob had travelled all the way from north of the border. Besides Siobhan, everyone else was local: Lisa, Mike, James, Michelle, Neil, David, Sarah, Lord Bargain and Alex. Most of us had not met before but we got on surprisingly well. The topics of conversation ranged from gap years to local politics to oiled Nubians. More beer was consumed. No food was eaten. Well, not by me even though the place serves food that is more than acceptable.

The pink contingent (a disproportionately large one) accompanied by our favourite honorary pink lady, Michelle, decamped to the Lord Roberts. Lots more beer. Still no food. Apparently, I got rather drunk even though I succeeded in not embarrassing myself. Had I not been taken home by D, a man known to be quite a dab hand with a hammer, I’d probably have done a good job of embarrassing myself later on that night.

I returned to Mike’s to get changed and pick up my stuff before we went to Michelle’s for brunch. Ah, at long last, food!! Food, glorious food! Thanks, Michelle. No beer but lots of Bloody Marys and Bucks Fizz. Red wine too! Thanks again, Michelle.

Back to the Lord Roberts for a last pint with Alan. Make that two pints. Oh, and another half, please.

I went:
I almost didn’t - I missed the last bus to the airport. That bloody bus driver wouldn’t wait even though I was only a minute late. He drove past with a dismissive wave of his hand. Bastard!

Thank god for taxis! Mike, James, et al probably thought the same as I’d have been spending the night with one of them had it not been for the taxi.

Friday, March 16, 2007

shaggy blog stories
After a marathon effort, Mike (and several very hard-working people who assisted him), got the book out in time for today, this year's Red Nose day. Read about it here but, more importantly, go order it here.

Go on now, you know you want a copy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My head hurts, does yours?

My daily metro journeys are simple affairs. I read if I have a seat; I stand and switch off if I don’t. Yesterday evening was different. I was standing but not switched off. I was thinking so hard that my head hurt.

I stood there wondering if my fellow-passengers had been created by me. I wondered if the friends that I’d seen in Nottingham this past weekend no longer existed now that I wasn’t actually seeing them. My son is arriving on Friday next week to spend part of his gap year with me. He’s in Cape Town at the moment, out of my sight. Does he exist?

I’d been reading this article (by Robert Lanza) in the office just before leaving for home. You need to read it to get a clear understanding of its implications but I’ve summarized it for you. I used to read a lot about this kind of stuff but, in recent years, my mind has got lazy, happy to read nothing more complicated than the Sunday papers. I think Lanza’s article manages to get a bunch of concepts across in 7500 words whereas it takes many other writers a book to get across.

Be prepared for a long, roller-coaster journey from ancient Greek philosophy to modern-day scientific reality. A scientific reality that, despite the theories of quantum mechanics, largely fails to recognize those special properties of life that make it fundamental to material reality. To recognise how the subjective experience relates to a physical process you need to take a biocentric world view.

Read more..
Do you see what I mean about a sore head? Are you wondering if I actually exist? I’ve never seen most of the people who read this blog so I really can’t be sure if any of you exist. In fact, I can’t be sure that those I’ve actually met actually exist. Although I saw Mike last weekend and I’m sure that his collaborative book for Comic Relief, ‘Shaggy Blog Stories’, will be available to buy from tomorrow (BUY IT!!), I’m not sure if he exists right now.

This kind of sore head feels so different to the one I had on Sunday morning after a night out in Nottingham.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shaggy Blog Stories: a collaborative blog-stunt for Comic Relief

red nose dayMike over at Troubled Diva has come up with a great idea for Comic Relief's Red Nose Day. He's proposing to assemble and publish – in the space of just seven days - a paperback anthology of blog writing, that can be sold to raise funds for the charity.

The book will be called 'Shaggy Blog Stories: a collection of amusing tales from the UK blogosphere'.

Go here for further details.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My favourite jumper

As soon as I woke up, I knew that the previous night had been overly indulgent, even by my standards. My throat was so dry that I couldn’t swallow without grating off bits of it; my eyes rejected the aggressive daylight streaming through the skylight with such a vengeance that you’d have thought a transplant had gone wrong; the thud in my head was like that of an onboard motor.

Thankfully, I was alone in my bed.
Read more..

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

SA Blog Awards 2007

SA blog awards 2007Although I've been aware that nominations were taking place, unlike last year when still very much a blogger newbie, I've not paid much attention to this year's South African Blog Awards. That was until today when I noticed that my reader stats were swelling with hits from this year's awards site. To my surprise (and delight), I've been nominated in two categories, 'Best overseas South African blog', a category I won last year, and a new one, 'Best GLBT blog'.

I confess to not having nominated anyone (not even myself) so it's with cap in hand that I thank all of you who nominated me. Thanks, I really appreciate it!

Now that I'm in the running for two awards, I urge all of you who nominated me and the rest of you to vote for me. And, of course, vote for the others who are nominated in other categories.

To vote, click on the logo or go here.

Several of my favourite blogs have also been been nominated so I'll not only be voting for myself.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Three Things

I've been tagged by the mad, wonderful Babs to reveal three things about me in a variety of categories. So, here you have them:

3 Things That Scare Me:
My habit for living in the present (and in the past) but never looking to the future
The taxman
Disappointing my children

3 People Who Make Me Laugh:
My kids (I don’t mean to copy Babs, it’s true)
Myself ( in a kinda pitying way)
Victoria Wood

3 Things I Love:
The smell of the sea and the smell after it has rained after a really hot day
Buying people presents
Sex (sorry to be predictable)

3 Things I Hate:

Having to work for a living
Bigotry and intolerance
Doing things I don’t like to do

3 Things I Don't Understand:

3 Things On My Desk:
Red wine
Headache pills

3 Things I'm Doing Right Now:

Making green masala paste
Listening to music
Drinking red wine

3 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

Write a novel
Meet my half-sister (my father allegedly had an illegitimate child before meeting my mother)
Be at peace with myself

3 Things I Can Do:
Put my legs around my neck
Put my head in the sand (figuratively)
Lie convincingly

3 Things I Can't Do:
Spend time in the company of bigots
Network (horrid buzzword, but you know what I mean)
Be responsible about things financial

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To:
Adagio for strings in G Minor by Albinoni
All along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan's song) by Jimi Hendrix
The things said about you by those closest to you

3 Things You Should Never Listen To:
The things said about you by those closest to you
Politicians who profess to speak for the ‘man in the street’
Religious fanatics

3 Things I'd Like To Learn:
To speak Xhosa
How to laugh
How to worry about the future

3 Favorite Foods:
Piri piri chicken
Roast lamb (all sorts of ways, but especially the way the Greeks do it)
Braai-ed (barbequed) yellowtail

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly:
Coffee (especially cappuccino and espress)
Red wine (is it a beverage?)
Beer (is it a beverage?)

3 Shows I Watched As A Kid:
I was 17 before I watched TV (no, I’m not THAT old!), but here are some shows I’d like to have seen:
Courage the Cowardly Dog (didn’t exist when I was a child)
The Addams Family
The Avengers

3 Bloggers I've Tagged:
To The Bowlines

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Cast your eyes heavenwards tonight!

lunar eclipse
Tonight's lunar eclipse begins at 2018 GMT, with the Moon totally immersed in the shadow of the Earth between 2244 and 2358 GMT. The next to be seen over western Europe will take place on 21 February 2008, but in the middle of the night between 0300 GMT and 0400 GMT. (BBC Report)

It's very cloudy outside so I suspect I won't be seeing it. Damn!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Amsterdam Scarab

canal railing

Just be yourself?

From someone's profile header on a gay dating (*) site:

FUCK! AND LIKE CRAZY! LOVE HARD AND DEEP! going crazY! role play a lot! chemsfriendly! Just be yourself!

Let's hope he's better in the sack than he's at logic.

(*) sordid sex site