Stylin’ in vintage threads

Yesterday we got a box of goodies from Nonna Janke in the post, including fun stuff she had knitted for Benne when he was a baby. She also sent his old bear, Ursus (aka Susses), wearing this cute sweater that Benne only fit in for a week or two. The good news is Charlotte still fits in it! And Ursus will get it back when she grows out of it.

Charlotte day 2 and 3

Visiting hours for dads are from 8 am till 9 pm (although I stick around till they kick me out…). Boo! But I try to take as many pictures as possible, sooth Charlotte when/if I can and generally help Robin out. So far so good. Charlotte is eating ok & we’re all learning the tricks &c we need. Many people came over the last few days but not so many that it became overwhelming. Many thanks to Carol, Jeanny & Dominik, Kerry, and Ed & Cornelia for visiting.

Below some of the random pictures of the last two days:

I know 199 people! On FB…

I noticed a few day back that I know 199 people on Facebook. Okay some of them are not people, like the Hubble Space Telescope, so I guess these are my imaginary friends today. But still. It is strange that I am apparently that social or adept at clicking on FB buttons.

An more netiquette is coming to the fore. Is number 200 special? Are you allowed to count people on FB as your friends, even if you never met them? But read their papers, emailed often etc?

Oh and how long is FB allowed to be a distraction at work? Or blogging for that matter? Better get back to writing paper, not blog entries.

South-African – English translations

SA – English translation
robot – traffic light; discussed already We grin every time.
just now – in a little while; But to us it means just before the present moment. And there was much confusion.
now now – still a little while from now but shorter than just now; What? You don’t mean Right Now?
rock up - to arrive; I like this one and have started using it. US use would be roll up.
boot – trunk of a car; This annoys Robin and amuses me.
Geiser – water heater, not old man. Pronounced like Geezer though. I think of lock, stock and two smoking barrels every time.
biltong – jerky, but not jerky. Chewy dried/cured meat. Did I mention it’s not jerky? Yeah it’s jerky but you’re not allowed to call it that. Biltong is tasty and jery is not etc etc.
biscuit – cookie; no end of confusion for Robin.
cookie – many things, among other slang for the female nether regions. Does not mean the same as biscuit though.
scone – not a biscuit. Similar-but-not-quite-unlike the scones Robin knew.
rusk – a kind of dry cookie. Apparently this is supposed to be a Dutch thing. How come I’ve never heard of it? Can be anise flavored. Very yummy.

Eeriely prescient comic

The postdocs at UCT talked to the head of Research on monday about our experiences working as a Postdoc at UCT. Getting paid on time is high on this list, as is the word “process” and the fact that we are “neither student, nor staff”(helpful description eh? a guarantee that we fall through the cracks of the system pretty much.)

And then I saw the phd comic for today:

PhD comic for 24-11-2008

I mean come on, that is right on the mark. The PhD comic guy is getting eerie.

I, for one, welcome our Robot overlords

As we blogged before, Robin and me are still getting used to the English use here. The most glaring example of that are the “robots” or “traffic lights” as the rest of the planet knows them. I thought for the longest time that it was just slang but we are warned for “robots ahead” with official signs on the road and everything. It keeps throwing me off when someone gives me directions as well.

I do the job, and then I get paid

This is a quote from my favorite SF-series (Firefly) and is said after some violence before collection of said payment. I was starting to feel that I needed to not just threaten violence before I actually got paid (Dekneecapification anyone? Left or Right? Choice is yours, I’m not an unreasonable person). But paid I was. Partly. A month after starting the job. I received the “top-up” part of my salary. The part that it is supposed to top up is not there yet. But still, I got paid my Rands, almost as good as peso. We get to feel rich for a moment, right before we realize it’s 3 months of my salary and not in US dollars or –even better– Euro.

Ah well. I get to celebrate and splurge on a 20 Rand (yep 2 dollar) toasted sandwicht with cheeze and chukka (spicy veg sauce). Yum.

Everyone stop winding me up about SA crime!

There are two reactions I got from people when I told them that we are moving to South Africa. First one is “How cool and exotic, good for you! It’ll be an adventure.” Good, positive, nice to hear when your stuff is on a boat already, you’re on a one-way ticket there, Robin is locked in as well and I won’t have a job in 2 weeks at STSCI anymore.

The second comments really really bugs me now. “Isn’t crime a huge problem there?” Yes. yes it is. I did hear a great comment about that regarding someone coming from Columbia, one of the few countries with a worse crime problem. “It’s never like they say in the papers. Millions of people live there just fine. Just be aware and you’re fine.” But with SO many people knowing this one fact about SA, including apparently the Onion’s Our Dumb World, I am getting wound up about hearing this. Yes I am aware that a lot of people get murdered. I tried to be humorous about it and say that per capita the murder rate is the same as in Baltimore so we probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference. yes it IS a huge problem and it’s not going away. Should I just blow the whole thing off as a result?

Why are people saying this? I know it’s natural to furnish the one piece of information on the country you know, but it’s pretty obvious that I probably have come across this bit already.
And I did notice that the Europeans are particularly good about bringing this bit up. Either I’m already dulled to living in a city with a ridiculous crime rate or they enjoy raining on my parade a little. I think the latter is a little typical of general European culture. Good news must be balanced out with some minor gripe. It’s like the ‘balance’ in the news-kinda thing.

But I just want to say one thing: people? cut it out. I’m freaked out about the move as it is. There were xenophobic attacks which turned out to be blown out of proportion and the leadership crisis in the ANC, which is making things interesting on a political level.
But that’s it! Stop telling me about the crime thing!

Movies tips from the US.

Every time I visit Holland I notice that the release date of movies is later here than in the US. Yesterday, Ina, Ernst and me went to see the dark knight. I had seen it earlier. Funny thing was that when Ina asked me which movies they should go see, I could hardly name any. These days, I’m happy if the impression the movie made lasts longer than the movie. Possibly, this has to do with the fact that they’re ALL 3 hours or so! People it’s not lord of the rings. I can tell. There’s no walking trees, except in the Sex in the City movie but that could be a misinterpreted outfit.

So cranky old man moment: why are movies so long when they have to stretch the plot to get them there?

Still here are the movies I recommended to Ernst and Ina for when they come out here in Holland, or on DVD:
Mongol
Iron Man
Wall-E
Juno
Once
Pan’s Labyrinth
the last three Woody Allen movies because they’re surprisingly ok.

On the flight here I did see Indiana Jones and the Pointless Sequel and the second Narnia movie, Prince oh who cares I lost interest already. So I did not include those. I do need some movies to put on my new netflix list though. Better compile.