Life Lately: 15.1.30

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BIRTHDAY!!

I’m super old now, but somehow I’m not really feeling any different. The only strange thing this year is that I’m very relaxed over my birthday – I just want happiness and peace and not a lot of fuss. We went to the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens on Sunday and it was very lovely. The weather agreed and it was all sunny and pretty and green. I consider those Gardens as my second favorite place to go to in Johannesburg and it was so nice to visit there again.

House Break in and other criminal activities

I don’t think any particular law abiding South-African will take offence when I say that we have a huge problem with crime in our country. We have so much amazing things in our country to be proud of, yet we are still faced with senseless crimes that mostly gets justified or ignored by our ruling party. My big issue with the world, but South-Africa in particular, is how easy we can ignore or forget crimes we’ve heard of. Look, if you live in my country you do need to somehow block out all the negativity you hear or you will constantly live in fear, but it is too easy to forget horrific events. What I’m basically trying to say that you feel removed from violence and crime when you are not physically involved.

Earlier this week we heard that one of the ladies at work had been held hostage and that her car had been highjacked when she was sitting with her boyfriend as he was stocktaking at work. I was so furious on her behalf – her car had been her pride and joy and she had only had it and her license for about three months before this happened.  I am so relieved that she and her boyfriend made it out unharmed – shaken, sure, but not raped or killed, which is very rare nowadays.

Just as I was getting over my anger for that incident, we received a phone call from my brother in law. He had just gotten home and the second he walked in he noticed that their television was missing. Further investigation showed that the house had been ransacked and numerous precious items were taken – the TV, his computer screen, his brother’s home and work laptop and a large amount inherited jewelry that had been in the family for decades. There are miracles in this horrible tale: miraculously the cats and dog are fine, they weren’t hurt, the thieves couldn’t access the safe that holds the family guns and cameras, the thieves didn’t find  the (a spectacularly large and irresponsible amount of) cash. My sister’s brother in law’s girlfriend usually stays there in the week and works from there but she was home with her parents – another miracle that can’t be ignored.

So I am relieved but I am furious. My friends and family work hard for what they have and take pride in what they’ve accomplished for themselves and then some entitled idiot walks in and takes everything just like that (The security footage showed this went down in all of ten minutes)

Another disgraceful talking point is our Police Service. There is a station less than fifteen minutes where my sister lives and the police took AN HOUR to get there, because they “couldn’t find the place then turned back” Yep, those were actual words. They’ve obviously never heard of these miraculous inventions called cell phones or GPS because who could have possibly used those to quickly get the directions again that had already been given?

After this I heard that a girl I’ve known for years had been attacked while jogging close to my house. The area I’m living in is supposed to be extremely safe, so I went through such a crisis after this attack.

Oh, a note to everyone out there: Don’t ever tell a person that they need to be thankful in such situations. Yes, these were all miracles, but I personally feel that the notion that we have to be thankful that our houses were only partially ransacked is mad.

Some questions asked by the police:

“Did you give anyone permission to break into your home?”

“Did you see any fingerprints?”

That is not to mention that the one officer sat texting for ten minutes before she even got out of the police vehicle.

So yeah, I’m pissy about this. We live in a country that tells you when you get robbed that it happens to everyone, be glad you’re alive. OR: you should protect your house enough that no one can break in. This sounds exactly like the type of culture that teaches women to not get raped instead of teaching men not to rape (that is another mindset you get in this country)

So here’s a notion:

What about we get a police chief with actual credentials instead of a membership with the ruling party?

What if we train police officers properly, teach them how to appropriately react in crisis situations?

Actually work on stopping crime instead of sympathizing with perpetrators?

Okay, now that that is off my chest, I will stop moaning and somehow remember how miraculous my country really is.

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Housesitting and Kitler the Cat

I am currently housesitting for a friend and having loads of fun. It is quite lovely to be on my own and do whatever I want. I have to admit that it’s a huge adjustment to be solely responsible for feeding myself! I’m getting better at it but I can see when I have my own place there won’t be a lot of cooking going on. Also, washing clothes is such a schlep.I am also the current feeder of Kitler, my friend’s kitten. We have a very abusive relationship. I am scratched all over and regularly get jumped against.

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True Blood Season Five:

People really weren’t exaggerating when they said this is the worst season of the lot. It is SO bad. Every character is up to his own business, the plot does not thicken it just becomes painful and unbearable; the acting becomes worse and suddenly the vampires’ eyes bulge when they get killed. I finished it by watching it and alternating with other stuff just to give my brain a rest from all the “What the fucks” that were running around. I’ve started Season six now which is miraculously better than season five.

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Reading:

I’m still reading Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead. It’s not bad, I’m just not really focused on reading right now while I have so much going on at the moment. I’m probably going to try and read the Night’s Circus first to understand what Zoë is trying to express about it 😀

Watching:

Series wise I’m going to trick myself into watching True Blood Season 6. I have a yen to watch Game of Thrones again before the new season airs and the same goes for Sherlock (although there is still way too much time left before the new season starts). Someone let it slip to my sister that Rob Stark dies and now she’s refusing to continue with it. I don’t even blame her, though.  #FuckFiltch

As for movies I’m steering clear of the cinema until the Jan/Feb slump is over. I have a few films of 2014 I still want to watch and am nearly finished with the Theory of Everything (Sob, it’s fucking glorious).

Unisa

I’m hopeful that this is my second last year with Unisa. I have two practicals this year and it is quite debatable how I will get everything done, but hopefully with some super hard work and excellent planning I can master it all!

And some True Blood Memes, because it’s weekend

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(You’d think for such a ridiculous show there’d be more memes around)

What’s up in your life?

Have a great weekend!

 

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Book Review: The Collector (Nora Roberts)

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Plot:

Lila Emerson moves into an apartment in New York City temporarily because of her job. In addition to being a YA writer, Lila is also a successful house sitter. She doesn’t have a place of her own and lives with her best friend when she needs a few weeks between jobs.

Her current job brings her great satisfaction and gives Lila the opportunity to spy a little on her neighbours. She regularly looks at an attractive young couple in the flat across from her, and although there isn’t any violence, they do quarrel a lot. Lila is thus horrified when she witnesses the murder of the beautiful blonde woman. After calling the police and giving her information, Lila learns that the male inhabitant of the flat, Oliver Archer, was found dead in an apparent overdose.

Establishing that life really does suck, she moves on, and after a final visit to the police she plans to put it behind her. That is until she meets Ashton Archer, brother of the deceased and famous artist. Ashton is grieving for his brother and unable to reconcile either death of the doomed flatmates. After meeting for coffee, Ashton asks to see the flat his brother lived in from Lila’s flat, and although initially suspicious, Ashton later gets the go-ahead from Lila.

In the flat Ashton gets Lila to see what he is saying: that his brother’s deceased girlfriend would have been dwarfed by Oliver’s size, even in heels, and that means the killer was shorter and that rules Oliver out. The police also later establish that the drugs didn’t kill Oliver, and Ashton starts searching for answers.

Ashton receives intriguing mail from Oliver, sent shortly before his death, and Ashton finds a priceless treasure that is likely the reason his brother is dead. As more bodies turn up and Ashton and Lila becomes the target of a mad assassin, they can only trust each other and try to find the killer. Will they both be able to survive? Can the Faberge egg be kept from the reclusive Collector and his killing employee?

Rating: 7/10

Ah, a new book by Nora Roberts. It is probably the best news someone could give me as she is one of my favourite authors. Her writing and storytelling has increased exponentially over the decades. In her empire of published works, The Collector is a great addition. I wouldn’t classify this even maybe in my top ten favourite reads by her, but it is definitely something I would read again.

I really enjoyed Lila and Ashton, but the love story was completely implausible once again. You have to wonder about the sanity of people who try and catch a killer instead of leaving it to the police, even if they are factionary.

Lila’s gypsy lifestyle is fascinating and I adored her outgoing character (completely the opposite of myself) and a lad that is genuinely interested in other people. I did wonder how she would keep up her housesitting, something she clearly enjoyed, adMaking her an author of teenage books was funny and it somehow made me more forgiving to authors that actually write those books – every author probably puts their heart and soul into their literature, no matter the questionable quality.

The antagonist was once again obvious from the start, having whole sections devoted to it (I am keeping the gender neutral, clever me), and while it takes away the who-did-it? question, it builds suspense and fear as you get to know the ruthless killer behind Oliver’s death. It is NOT the scariest of killers Nora Roberts ever created, but the cold-minded cruelty was freaky in some parts.

Cellphones, laptops and Facebook all worked themselves into the book to make sure you understand that this book was actually released the other day, in the 21st century*. Is it idiotic of me to be slightly bleak about it all? I really like reading books that seem a little old, without the constant social networking presence we already experience.

Recommendation: A definite read for established fans, but don’t try this as your first Nora Roberts book, because it isn’t even close to her best.

*Confession bear: I had to Google what century we are in. I am slightly ashamed.

Book Review: At Risk (Patricia Cornwell)

At risk book

Book: 73/100

While perusing the books in my favorite second hand bookshop, I discovered a (freaking awesome) special – Three books for 50 bucks. No self-respecting book reader shall ever walk away from such a thing.

One of the books I chose was At Risk by Patricia Cornwell. I’ve never read anything of her before, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore. I enjoy really good crime novels and I hoped this would be one of them.

It was not. I found the first person writing to be confusing and the writing style sketchy. Most of the time I wasn’t sure what was happening to either of the leading characters. The end was unsatisfactory and didn’t clear up my confusion.

What is it about?

At Risk is about Defense Attorney Monique Lamont, a fierce feminist who hopes to become the new governor through the work of a new initiative. At Risk states that any crime is important at any time and new technology for DNA identification makes it possible to solve old cases. While a good idea on paper, implementing it would make the solving cases a nightmare, with current cases never getting solved.

To endear the initiative (and her) to the public, Lamont employs the help of Win Garano, an attractive detective. Win has issues of his own, including his ego, and is angry that he is being forced to take the job. He starts investigating an old case chosen by Lamont to prove that the idea works. When Lamont doesn’t answer his phone calls one night, he heads over to her house and finds her tied up and raped. He kills the intruder, and there is immediate public frenzy. Lamont has no scruples taking Win down for killing her rapist, even though he saved her life. What will happen to Lamont, Win and At Risk? And who is behind Lamont’s brutal attack?

Rating: 5/10

Just a solid Meh. I couldn’t enjoy this book if Chris Hemsworth read it to me in that gorgeous voice. I couldn’t enjoy it sitting on a beach in Mauritius with a cocktail next to me. I just couldn’t. Both leading characters are selfish, egotistical and harsh. Lamont’s imitation of a strong business woman irritated me to no end. I felt slightly sorry for her after her rape, but honestly, that is the only kind emotion I felt at all. Win is this selfish, overly confident cop who has no morals or courage. He seems so surprised to find himself on a case, and flustered when everything goes wrong.

At least I read a new author for my challenge.

5 things Friday – 5 things

This week went by fast – I only started working again on Wednesday, so it wasn’t much of a week. For a quick one it has been quite eventful. Here are Five things that either happened to me or in the world this week.

Independence

While my sister is on her honeymoon, I am taking care of their flat. It is unbelievable how free it makes me feel to be completely on my own. The independence is staggering and very educational. It isn’t so easy to take care of yourself, is it? Funnily enough, I miss my parents. It is natural to want to live alone after a certain age, and I can’t wait to be out on my own, but I still miss them when I don’t see them after a certain period of time.

Friendships

I mentioned last week that I recently got contacted by a person who I banished from my life a few years ago. The banishment was justified, and in the last while I haven’t given it much thought – it is natural for people to go on with their lives. It was all well until the contact happened. I am supposed to see said person tomorrow. I think I will only be certain tomorrow if I will do it.

Then there is another person who is extremely close to getting an earful from me. She has been my friend since we were seven years old, and I really thought we would be friends forever. I am in no way saying that people should put their relationships before friendships, but there has to be a balance. We had arrangements this week to meet up, and once again, she cancelled. Not only did she cancel on me, she cancelled after she told me at the wedding she would certainly be there – I suspect that she knew then she wouldn’t come. There is no way to say this nicely, but her new boyfriend is an ass. He is most definitely behind this as I know he dislikes me. So for once (apart from a slightly childish Facebook post from my side) I walked away. I discussed my feelings with someone I trust, and just left it there. I am not sure what I am doing right now about our friendship, but I have mastered the ability to keep my mouth shut – no small feat.

A quote from my diary at work – very apt.

“Wisdom is divided into two parts: (a) having a great deal to say, and (b) not saying it” – unknown

So, the idea of friends and what it means have been bugging me. My friendship group is big and complicated, full of fights and drama, but also of love and laughter. These two people above are not part of my intimate group of friends, for which I am grateful, but shutting them out permanently will break my heart. I really have no idea what to do with them.

South-Africa blushes – again

SA is known for many things – braaing, beautiful scenery, crime, and corruption, a president without basic education, Oscar Pistorius, crime, corruption, and crime.

After the terrorist attack in Kenya at the Westgate mall, where more than 70 people were killed, it is rumoured that a woman nicknamed the White Widow was one of the masterminds. There is now a red alert issued from Interpol to find her. What does this have to do with South-Africa, you ask? It would seem that this woman lived in SA with an illegal South-African passport for three years, while she was still being searched for by the United Kingdom for suspected terrorist involvement there.

Let’s all just hang our heads in shame, SA. Our country is not only a hotbed of criminal activity, but apparently also a convenient hideout for terrorists.

*I really love South-Africa. This just seems like a bit much.

Branding

Last week Friday my blog broke its record for most views in one day – thank you! It was amazing to see when I logged back on after the weekend. I am so excited about my blog – it is constantly growing. I finally have an outlet for all the opinions I have.

I have been playing with the idea of a second blog, focusing on fashion and beauty. I love both, and would be incredibly happy to start a blog for it. I am still planning and organizing my thoughts, as it would probably triple the amount of work and writing I am currently doing.

Personal branding is very important, especially on the internet today. I want to find a name for my work that will be instantly recognisable – I don’t think my blog’s title is very memorable right now. That said; I am worried if I change the title again, it will confuse my current users. Any comments or suggestions?

Love for RPattz.

I am watching all the Twilight movies again, and I have been reminded how much I liked Robert Pattison. For some reason, I forgot how looky he is. I have been reminded. Thank you, Twilight.

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Have a good one!

Valentine’s Day crapathon.

I am so sad. This year so far is not living up to the excitement I had to finally finish the disaster of year I had in 2012.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. (I suspect everyone knows this, since you either need to be blind, deaf, and have no social contact with the world to not know this). I suspected it to be terrible, for numerous reasons. And it was

Valentine’s Day will always be a testimony to my bad judgement.

Yesterday, a year ago, I started dating a man who was so completely wrong for me, because I was bored, and bowed to pressure from our friend group. I shouldn’t have done it, since I never admired him, and now I will always face V-day with the reminder that I allowed someone like that into my life, and let him fester himself into a core group I thought unshakable. Yes, I obviously still have a lot of anger towards myself and him, but I am in a much better place about it than I was.

Driving license test

I am renowned for stressing my ass off. Yesterday, I was supposed to do my driving test. My dad helped me wonderfully, and I was somewhat confident upon arrival at the test centre. Just when I started my pre-trip inspection, the instructor failed me on my brake lights that didn’t work – lights that had worked half an hour earlier. I do not know what made the brake lights to fail, either someone put a voodoo spell on me, or I have incredibly bad karma, or I really am bad luck Brian. I didn’t even get to test.

Vampire diaries season 4 sucks.

Enough said about that. 

Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp

South-Africa suffered another incredibly sad shock yesterday. When I saw on my twitter feed that our golden boy, Oscar Pistorius, had been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, I refused to believe it. I went onto a reputable news agency’s website, and there it was. Reeva was shot in the early morning on the 14th of Feb, by the Paralympian wonder boy. At first, rumours started that he thought her an intruder. Then, after SAPS confirmed the rumours false, it came to light that there had been domestic disturbance calls from their neighbours to Pistorius’s home that night.

It is heart-breaking. SA already has such a bad rep across the world. Recently the spotlight in this country has been on the atrocious sexual and domestic violence that dominates in South-Africa. We as citizens of this country lost another hero. I do not know any South-African that wasn’t shaken by the news.

So all in all, it was a terrible day. I am in serious need of some happy today.