Tuesday, December 27, 2016


public service announcement: i've been trying to find out about the dangers of fluoride. after lots and lots of scientific-sounding articles that make general jack d. ripper's musings in dr strangelove sound entirely clearheaded and rational, i finally came across http://skepdic.com/fluoridation. okay! things makes a lot more sense now.

for interested capetonian parents: http://www.health24.com/Medical/Oral-health/Dental-care/Fluoride-to-supplement-or-not-20120721.
so far, the only fluoride-free kid's toothpaste we've found is the locally produced - and vegan - https://www.purebeginnings.co.za/shop/organic-baby/berry-toothpaste-with-xylitol-75ml/ and it's really good!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

happy holidays!

sunday 11th:

late to bed, early to rise. a regular morning with an aim to go to kirstenbosch, a little traffic along the way and turning around before we reached the entrance because gd's back and phobia got the better of her; getting stuck in rugby traffic for half an hour on the way back home.

exhausted and struggling to entertain mr smear while gd prepared lunch, unable to nap the minute i was given the opportunity

dr horrible's sing-along blog, taking mr smear for a walk through the green point park with my mom

prepping mr smear for bed, a great couple of episodes of 3%, going to bed early

monday 12th:

getting up after the midnight feed, a little bit of productivity and a lot of hacknet, very little sleep

gd still out of action, taking mr smear to the beach. mr smear loving the water! it's really difficult to manage a toddler at the beach alone, so leaving there with both of us full of sand and intending to shower immediately when we got home but he fell asleep in the car so that didn't work out :P

a bit of a rest, but not quite, then a chiropractor visit followed by mom visiting us followed by managing mr smear until bedtime while gd lay down.

getting back into work - stuck into the same problem i went on vacation with and it looked to be an issue with the version of visual studio we're using (figured out later it was even less sensible than that) - then a little ffix and dinner, then back to work, then crashing for a few hours

tuesday 13th:

waking up to continue the struggle - it's always harder when it's not a coding problem - finally calling it a night and then being kept awake by mr smear... who proceeded to make it look like he'd had a full night while we were shambling about

a mission to pick up my old comics from before i left cape town in the year 2000, then stopping at the new hospital for a script (seriously, it's an impressive hospital but don't they think people should be able to find it?!)

home, shopping, a little bit of neil gaiman's the ocean at the end of the lane (wow!), crashing, dr horrible's sing-along blog again (it's too good!), work / tweak copy / play with mr smear (who was being "pinchy"; it's bad enough he does it to us, but he's damaging beautiful books as well :( )

park mission with new old friends, winning the fight with mr smear over wearing his hat (for the moment), mom's visit and prepping mr smear for bed and frequency and a mosquito (and with gd really struggling, it's been days), ffix while installing vs2015 and finally getting it running with zero difference made in resolving the problem i'd been having

wednesday 14th:

3am bedtime after hours of fiddling to no avail

a better night, waking up to an alert that my money's back in my account but mislabelled (don't call it a "reversal" if it's not, i thought i was in trouble), cancelling my phone contract by accident (even though it's what i was trying to do, then being unable to actually cancel it because only one system registered the cancellation: THAT'S disturbingly bad UX)

a pleasant telkom visit, followed by trying (and failing) to get mr smear down for his nap, completing the ocean at the end of the lane and feeling a sense of loss combined with the excitement of reading it again when mr smear is old enough

mr smear being super clingy

a short nap, waking up to anxiety indigestion over our landlord increasing our rent and refusing to consider the impact of potential renovations

hitting the gym hard, the relief that mr smear played nicely at the crèche, coming home for a quick snack, running off to protoplasm's official launch and enjoying a beer while chatting with his folks for the first time since before i emigrated
car failure in the middle of the city but managing to get home on the broken gearbox

thursday 15th:

a night of mosquito (or black mold, we're still investigating), and finally figuring out what was disrupting my database queries (async entity framework calls don't always work with iisnode, but it's not clear when or why)
4am and feeling overstretched from the gym

a couple of hours' sleep, a relaxed morning, getting sunburned while the mechanic attempted to fix the car

naptime, work, and the last-minute discovery that the car wasn't fixed; quickly shopping before the mechanic returned, no luck sorting out the problem but fortunately my mom was available to help out, mr smear's fake tattoos and his launch for the toilet brush and his reaching over the counter and his ninja balancing on a toy to get into a box (i'm seriously excited about his motor skills)

walking mr smear, gd's horror when he dropped onto all fours while wearing his harness and my mom and i laughing uncontrollably
hot fusion, showering (and mr smear pooping in the shower - we knew it would happen some day, not a fun experience), work, car switch, sherlock and ffix and more work

friday 16th:

working through to 2am, then getting a good night's sleep

gd making playdough, checking out the new car, mr smear going down for a surprisingly long nap and using that time to play ffix - a little bit of guilt, but only a little...

apartment hunting - our landlord is being foolishly greedy and is pushing us out at the end of season and before renovations - then a short, wet walk on the promenade

bedtime prep, dinner, titus - norman rockwell is bleeding, and going to bed early

saturday 17th:

trying to teach mr smear that pinching isn't cool (it's been days), kulipari is great for kids but it's NOT a kid's show

a day filled with managing a busy mr smear, more trouble from me&you mobile: warning, don't use them, even telkom is better

an afternoon spent hunting property with my mom

meeting up with cousins i haven't seen in ages, then quickly walking home along the promenade in the cooling evening and needing to warm up mr smear with a shower before bed

trying to relax knowing that we have bedbugs. bedbugs!!! [and then finding out later that we didn't]

sunday 18th:

midnight explosion after mr smear started a bad cough, catching copywriter for an hour

a little sleep, a long morning with more kulipari, a great lunch with joburg cousins (and mr smear loves amba! very cool) on a hot afternoon, flea cleaning and exhaustion

fighting with css and being powerfully reminded why i'm not a front-end dev

sunset with mr smear, putting him to sleep with tool

titus - neverlution is just as solid the second time around, not in the mood for tekken, finally getting the css for my crowdfunding site more or less right, then sitting down for a few hours and making real progress on my work project

monday 19th:


car rental: everyone knows my name by now, but i don't know theirs...
telephone port attempt two
getting tired of smsing an ex-history teacher who's into the shakespeare authorship conspiracy (hint: it's bullshit)
great news about gd's surname! the south african government automatically changes it to mine so we don't need to go through another process
mom's shock over our lack of a prenup and planning a breakout from the rent cycle

mr smear's balance improvements and my heart nearly stopping when he walked across the bars that the bigger kids find tricky

getting home past his bedtime and rushing through preparations, a big dinner and passing out watching crazyhead

tuesday 20th:

two alarms before getting out of bed at 3am, then going right back to bed feeling awful... second time winning at office christmas parties while absent

losing at fleafighting, up early and working, a hilly walk with gd and my mom to check out a very dark apartment, hot fusion and knockout exhaustion with a tired mr smear refusing to rest until late

number porting issues again, taking hours to sort out but eventually coming right

emergency pesticide shopping and application, not being able to get mr smear to sleep at my mom's but at least being able to shower him and brush his teeth when we did eventually get home; a long time putting him to bed and a long debriefing afterwards followed by

wednesday 21st:

finally bringing all the infrastructure on my project to an operational state so i can focus on the bit that my bosses have been holding their breath for: 4am crashing and waking up at 7am for the early morning joy patrol and going to see an apartment across the road from the pavilion

nü breakfast and mr smear's literal fountain of joy, then another apartment in green point (nice but tiny), then an encounter with an inconsiderate prick who was blocking the road, then another apartment (nice but small and dark)

getting mr smear to nap and taking advantage of it for an hour or so but getting up restless; van helsing the series has a great start, then working and looking after a particularly mean mr smear until the evening, the fleas driving us nuts

crazyhead and dinner and passing out

thursday 22nd:

up around 3am and working until morning

sleeping soundly for an hour or two, then waking up to learn that my mom's home has been bitten too and she suggested that we may have picked it up from the new rental car...

pre-fumigator stress but getting some work done (albeit frustratingly unsuccessful), mom's safe house and showering and resting, abandoned coffee and 24 hour laundry services and driving to pick up flea powder

the quote of the day cannot be published, but it involves fleas hiding from pesticides

mr smear having an awful reaction to the insecticide and us following suit; an absolute nightmare night ensuing

friday 23rd:

intolerable burning skin in sensitive areas

xmas shopping
introducing my brother to my family, a few hours of chatter and then a few more running after mr smear
heavy rain
still struggling with our reactions to the pesticide
princess mononoke and early bedtime
restarting ffxv with subs

discovering an important article on invisible biting bugs


a much better night, although being forced up halfway through with burning skin again

a slow, chilly morning, listening to bill hicks

Sunday, December 11, 2016

that wasn't a vacation!

monday 5th:

mr smear waking up sick and asthmatic, starting the day with a doctor's visit, then hurrying to get all the preschool enrollment documents ready and dropping them off just in time in spite of a detour to tell the pharmacy manager that she's unprofessional and malicious after she continued to harass gd under the pretense of concern for our son's well-being; we've put in a complaint and we'll take it further as soon as we've heard from her employer

how surreal to enroll my child in my old school??
resting with mr smear on my chest for an hour and a half on a hot afternoon, my mom coming over so i could go to the department of home affairs to pick up a form, a pause in the day (including a good talk with a coworker), walking to my mom's with mr smear to sort out her printer and not find some stuff i was hoping i'd left there, then just getting started on our evening walk when i was called to rescue shadowslight... mr smear crying all the way to the car, then passing out before we got home; 3% for a bit then prepping mr smear for bed then two hours struggling to get him to sleep because his cough combined with his meds wasn't very soothing

tuesday 6th:

a nightmare for the whole family, impossible to get mr smear to bed and all of us on a minimum of sleep, his refusal to eat and oh! happy sixteen months!

the new copy of tekken 6 arrived, at least, and it worked so perhaps the faulty one i returned was due to a regional / format issue after all...

department of home affairs: really? i have to pay four separate times because i want four copies of a document? holding copies of mr smear's south african birth certificate felt incredible

running after mr smear's nose until late, with a lunch mission to knead - running into sandman's sister and learning why he's been off the map - getting proper shopping done but all three of us leaving wiped out; watching 3% while mr smear took his first nap of the day (aside from the dubbing, it's a really good show), then shower and dinner time and starting to come down with whatever mr smear had been going through

a little bit of tekken before going to bed early,

wednesday 7th:

sleeping most of the night and waking up early, too restless to sleep even though reading made my eyes shut... tekken and suicide squad (why did everyone give it bad reviews? we enjoyed it) and mom's quick visit and mr smear's recovery nap (3.5 hours!) and trying not to feel guilty about *really* taking a day off to recuperate

the first episode of fleabag

thursday 8th:

pilates and therapy, then using mr smear's nap to watch four episodes of fleabag
a pleasant evening's walk turning ugly, the final episode of fleabag, going to bed early

fleabag: very adult themes, be warned, but amazing writing and acting. gd thinks it's one of the smartest comedy shows ever written, and i'm inclined to agree.

friday 9th:

dreaming of fleabag theories and getting stuck in israel for a week

finally editing copy, struggling to get to the bank, a long time repeating the phone story in person (although it was encouraging to get some support from the teller), a positive telkom story, a quick break then a waterfront mission (tourist season is OPEN)
mr smear in his new harness running over to a newborn whose father told us the story of his brother who'd bought a harness for his quick toddler: the boy walked alongside them across the mall's parking lot but the moment they were inside the kid dropped onto all fours and began barking like a dog

the sound of concrete meeting mr smear's head (he wasn't cooperating when i tried to put him in the car and i didn't notice that the roof wasn't even); damaged flowers (still thinking about the concrete) and training day at the ice cream parlour with a broken freezer

canned ****ing mandarins, running into my mom at the supermarket

home to a lengthy resolution, preparing for dinner, forgetting the ice cream at home, reporting a dog locked in a car, needing a drink, a mostly pleasant dinner but lots of chasing mr smear and stress and leaving in a hurry, finishing a half-kilo tub of ice cream while watching 3% then going to bed

saturday 10th:

lying in for a while, then waking up to an alert that the money transfer i waited too long for had been reversed

slow morning with a dash or two of tekken, taking forever to get going and then arriving at the waterfront to find all the roads closed because of the "sevens" rugby games
a very spicy cape plate and gluttony over vegan cake
stopping in at my mom's and calling my canadian bank for 45 minutes of incompetence and then five minutes with a helpful manager who's sorted out what appears to be a good fix

mr smear reading the instruction manual

home, prepping for bedtime, the first and last attempt to get mr smear to sleep by himself until he's old enough to converse
a disappointing meal and a disappointing episode of 3%, an excellent couple of hours in ffix followed by

sunday 11th:

getting my pre-campaign site functional and looking pretty good, and now i'm ready for bed and i hope i've managed to reset my internal clock to fit my work schedule...

Monday, December 05, 2016

a long month

4am, after a frustrating week that SHOULD have been productive vacation but was instead just a financial nightmare on top of burnout. i was sleeping soundly until mr smear woke up unable to breath (he seems to have a bad cold), and as frustrated as i was to not be able to go back to bed this is surprisingly the first time i've felt okay in a while.

monday 7th:

waking up hours too early to look after mr smear and try to eat breakfast simultaneously; at least the music was awesome, because mr smear only wanted what he couldn't have and refused food

knocking things off my todo list, getting gd to acupuncture then coming home to feed mr smear before returning to pick her up, a short break for lunch then going to my great aunt's where mr smear went wild and i spent an exhausting hour and a half chasing him around a tiny lounge full of fragile items

getting a bit of a nap in before rls set in just before my mom came over
mr smear needing a lot of dancing before finally falling asleep, dinner and the intense end of jessica jones, chased with most of get him to the greek which i found surprisingly funny

tuesday 8th:

heaven is the morning's first hug from your child. hell is them waking you up ridiculously early to give it to you.

a meeting with an insurance broker that made me very sorry that i didn't use one before - the amount of money could've saved over the past month or two has been weighing on my mind

a big nap followed by a big shopping expedition with my mom; mr smear "wetting himself" for the second time in a row but we determined that a faulty sippy cup was to blame

gd and i feeling wiped out, mr smear enjoying his shower and his new fluoride-free vegan toothpaste and all of us enjoying gd's dinner

ali wong is amazing: funny, clever and tastefully shocking

wednesday 9th:

finally finding decent documentation for edge (unofficial, sadly)

the trump presidency horror and the gratitude for being in africa

operating on three hours of sleep as usual, unable to take advantage of our cleaning lady / nanny being around, dragging mr smear out of bed to take gd to the chiropractor, briefly home for lunch, meeting with a not-doctor who's peddling a good product but also some half-baked theories - mr smear struggling and screaming - and then the big mission to hout bay for the unofficial launch of an exciting new vegan restaurant. both of us exhausted by the time we came home, dinner and almost straight to bed

thursday 10th:

there's nothing quite like jumping out of bed with the sensation of something crawling over your feet; is it spiders?? fleas?? mosquitoes??

the realization that i've missed my 2016 deadline for launching my graphic novel

slow progress with my work but progress nonetheless

first attempt with new rls med seemed to work
missing pilates again
rushing to the hospital with maps giving terrible directions
a long but informative couple of hours
exhaustion, napping on the couch and being woken with angry cursing (dropped food in a playpen), herding mr smear the kitten until my mom arrived to rescue us and dropping for an hour's rest during which i had weird dreams ending with a child being elected american president and gushing "oy vey" before greeting each celebrity who came to his victory dinner, hugging michael j fox tightly while a sinister looking child prepared to trap him with mistletoe; as soon as he stepped under the mistletoe i expected the menacing kid to kiss him but instead he dropped the mistletoe and the two walked out of the marquee together while he matter-of-factly began saying to the new president that "we all know that most children hate their parents..."

herding the cat until bedtime, then getting in a solid night's work and becoming excited about microsoft's entity framework now that i've seen how it handles migrations with code first

friday 11th:

a couple of hours' sleep, then up for vaccinations; running into a girl i once knew who's just had a kid, mr smear playing nicely

the post office fail - "old school" means backwards, they have computers but they use a physical ledger instead - then dealing with the old woman locking up (and stinking up) the baby changing station who "didn't know" that she should respond to someone knocking on the door

quick shopping, a delicious knead lunch, rushing home to pay the cleaning lady, actually napping! then chasing after mr smear and getting a little work done simultaneously before going to my mom's for a really nice dinner with my aunt's family, mr smear tearing around until late and passing out only after we got home

feeling awful, going to bed as soon as i could

saturday 12th:

sleeping all night but waking up still feeling awful

rick and morty and a busy toddler, caffeine to the rescue and a fun swimming lesson, the food market in time for the great food, repeating the mistake of hitting the waterfront on a weekend and being trapped on the way out by the colour run

exhausted, being stood up by copywriter but getting started on my campaign (and it's related social media accounts), gd's facebook friend's faux pas in sharing a personal photo, jack the giant killer (pretty good!) and a bit of sherlock before crashing

sunday 13th:

another full night, waking up stuffy and tired. thought on waking up: "stenogasaurus, the dinosaur that sits quietly in the courtroom recording everything being said"

a slow start, a run at the gym and drinking coffee to stop the dizziness, mr smear playing well with the other crèche kids, knead for lunch joined by my mom, home for a quick stop that turned into we're-not-going-anywhere, campaign building including a couple of hours talking to copywriter, a bit of a louis ck special we'd already seen then more sherlock then back to work

finding an urgent email from my boss that had been waiting for me since the morning, some quick debugging and then finally hearing that my first project is a success (and praying that it stands up to stress testing)

monday 14th:

working hard and late on the prototype project

another insanely tough morning, looking after mr smear while gd did pilates then getting a nap in before heading out to renew the car rental; returning in time for gd's physio, picking up my mom and going to the bank to learn that they're not going to give me a credit card until i've been here for a full tax year. walking with the stroller against a strong wind to fail at the post office (forgotten slip), a very quick run through the pharmacy and back home

avoiding the rls medication due to stuffiness / headaches

becoming progressively more tired as the evening went on, getting up groggy from a short nap and making some great progress

tuesday 15th:

until crashing around 2.30am

waking up feeling MUCH better off meds, shopping mission and my excitement over installing tekken 6 disintegrating as my hour of playtime went by while it failed to install

taking mr smear for a walk to the doctor to pay a bill that had already been paid and ending up at a park enjoying watching him navigate a play area and interact positively with another kid, picking up sorbet on the way home and working and prepping mr smear for bed before dinner and finishing an episode of sherlock and

wednesday 16th:

working into the night

mr smear's horrible midnight hours (lots of frustration and carrying and tantrums)
a few good hours of sleep

gd joining me on a mission to retrieve our copy of the neverending story while the nanny looked after mr smear alone for the first time
a very positive and interesting therapy session
mom bringing car sun shields, taking advantage of mr smear's nap, visiting the telkom store to have them call billing on my behalf; it turns out that their landline billing is completely separate from their mobile, so signing up for a debit order for one doesn't have any effect on the other and while one billing department kept telling me i was in the clear the other was running up a large bill with interest.

wow. well done, telkom.

taking mr smear for a windy walk, being amused by him chasing a little girl for a bit, mom visiting, dinner and showing gd what rick and morty's s02e02 psychedelic number is an homage to (malice in wonderland); sherlock and paperwork (finally!) and a little work and then...

thursday 17th:

an actual night's sleep

waking up to the end of shrek 3, a tough but good pilates class, a hearty breakfast, showering, mom coming over to babysit and rushing off to the chiropractor a day early so going for lunch at simply asia and doing a big spar shopping instead
mom staying on so that i could nap, joining her and mr smear for a quick shop and a walk while gd cooked
prepping for bed, dinner and sherlock

friday 18th:

good work, going to bed at a reasonable hour (2am), waking up feeling alright enough that we could start the day at the gym; getting into trouble with gd over my cracked heels

have i mentioned mr smear's apparent growth spurt? eating lots and really learning fast

a good run playing angry birds on the treadmill, then pad work with gd which went very well, then rushing home to hand mr smear over to my mom and rush out again to the chiropractor (right day this time), picking up hot fusion curry on the way home (great food, crap naan and not the best attitude towards their staff), mr smear eating half my spicy chickpea curry and running between me and my mom because he didn't think either of us was feeding him fast enough, rick and morty and exhaustion and coffeeing up to help gd with mr smear and getting a little work done and prepping for dinner
mini-school reunion friday night dinner, coming home late with an exhausted mr smear, a little bit of sherlock and then passing out

saturday 19th:

and almost sleeping the night through, getting up still exhausted, running after mr smear and then being sent out to the doctor's because faxed scripts don't get renewed
mr smear napping instead of swimming, taking the opportunity to get comfortable with c# unit testing
rick and morty over lunch, then a long but pleasant insurance consultation (no way i would've managed those forms alone), gd cooking, taking mr smear to my mom's to undo the damage from installing adobe reader, driving there because the wind was far too strong to walk, then putting mr smear to bed as soon as we got home and eating and going straight to bed

sunday 20th:

early up to a happy boy and rick and morty, visiting my uncle with mr smear needing to be reigned in at every turn; back for a nap, then a mixture of work and managing mr smear before taking him out for a proper walk. shopping on the way home, working, showering and prepping mr smear for bed, patton oswalt: talking for clapping and a bit of sherlock and then fighting with unit testing asynchronous entity framework

monday 21st:

until 3am, waking up to mr smear being exceedingly loud, not going back to bed because we had an early appointment with a pain specialist, an afternoon working and looking after mr smear; the excitement when his new duplo blocks arrived and he now has enough for us to properly enjoy playing together with him (it helps that he's figuring out how to put things together); introducing a coworker to code-first in entity framework, hours of effort going into discovering that entity framework doesn't handle linked objects very elegantly, dinner and a bit of green lantern, crashing early after a long two days

tuesday 22nd:

trying to get some midnight work done but the words were all swimming in front of my eyes

mr smear falling asleep between us with intermittent cries for an hour and a half, getting up excited when his nanny arrived and running right past her

full day indoors, helping my mom with her website and breaking my head over an entity framework problem that was entirely due to a lack of accessible documentation, lots of taking care of / running after / entertaining mr smear (including introducing him to the graphic novel adaptation of coraline), being exhausted, working and documenting and watching penn and teller's fool me and the rest of green lantern and the tail end of the fundamentals of caring

wednesday 23rd:

kathleen madigan is really funny

waking up before the nanny arrived and being unable to go back to sleep
the pharmacist making gd feel bad about her prescription and then messing it up
a nap, at least
mr smear drinking my wazoogle's out of a cup
an afternoon fighting to get my websites up and running again after i broke them trying to fix a bad design decision i'd made when i originally configured the box
sorting out my mother's business email, struggling because google's documentation leaves out the most important step!
mr smear almost brushing his teeth and rinsing by himself
gd's neck going while getting ready for bed just as her back finally started feeling better after days of struggle
trying the oil for rls again and feeling like shit

thursday 24th:

waking up at 6.30 to take care of mr smear while gd slept in and really struggling to stay awake, the joy of seeing him wolf down a large quantity of the maize meal i made for my own breakfast
the exploding glass jar and the saga of the pharmacy manager
mr smear passing out on the way to the gym
hitting the bag pretty hard and hoping i wasn't injuring myself
post-gym dizziness, rick and morty and hot fusion lentils and leftovers and emergency espresso coconut water
the chiropractor and walking mr smear to the toy store
learning just how many facebook "friends" i really have by individually inviting all the relatively relevant ones to the page for my mom's new venture
walking mr smear to the lighthouse playground with my mom
showering mr smear and dinner and his bedtime and work

friday 25th:

getting into my work groove and excitedly breaking through a wall, going to bed at 4am only because i'd need to wake up early

7.30 up to take care of mr smear until the nanny arrived, then unable to get back to sleep. cancelling the preschool appointment, a long and difficult day, a nice walk with my mom and mr smear who loved the playground time, picking up hot fusion on the way home, the surprising relative expense of pad thai, staggered timing for friday night dinner, gd going to bed early and taking advantage of alone time to play an hour of ffix (focus on the card game)

saturday 26th:

working through 4am and finishing strong before my vacation; waking up three hours later to be dragged through mr smear's morning ritual (being angry with a kid's show - max and ruby - for pushing eggs for breakfast), taking mr smear to his swimming lesson where i was so tired that i was hallucinating and i was not impressed by the teacher attempting to comfort me instead of showing me what i was doing wrong

exhausted to the point of moody, gd managing to give me a couple of hours napping then taking mr smear for a big, tiring shopping expedition, a bad response to him sticking his fingers in the cup again, and throwing toys out the window, prepping for bed and delicious dinner and sherlock

sunday 27th:

does going to bed at midnight count as early? getting a solid six hours, waking up to kulipari, olive and a visit to the pharmacy; a very sore wrist, a mission to kleinsky's and a walk with my mom before rushing back so she could get to golf, a very tasty breakfast bagel, nap!, a little ffix (failing many times to impress the audience with blank and zidane), monitoring mr smear for a while then going to dischem before taking him for a long walk to and through the park; if you want to lose faith in humanity, the park on a sunday evening is pretty efficient.

was terry pratchett's dwarven bread a play on artisan bread? i haven't seen any that doesn't feel like it was intended to be used as a blunt weapon.

artisan bread. the gift that says "i really want to hit you in the teeth with a brick but this is the closest legal option available"

sharing a delicious bread with mr smear while walking him backwards into the wind; i couldn't see his face so i don't know know what he was doing to make the bicycle couple passing me go "he's so cool!"

feeding, showering, setting up business emailing with my mom (very grateful for mailgun's services because the tutorials for configuring smtp servers are all awful)

going to bed early

monday 28th:

getting a good night's sleep, a little bit of work research on waking up and then diving into the emailing, enjoying mr smear's nap then preparing (for ages) to hit my cousin's swimming pool

department of home affairs: a few unanswered calls and one misdirection, but eventually getting through and being put on hold for a few minutes before being (VERY) pleasantly surprised to learn that it appears that they're not interested in continuing to question my citizenship status and my son's south african birth certificate can now be arranged! this was the first and most important step in making sure we can stay in cape town, so we're extremely excited ^_^

an angry altercation at the end of a blocked road with a distant cousin and neighbour who didn't appear to recognize me

swimming and chilling, a lovely afternoon; mr smear really going wild as evening drew near, shower and hot fusion dinner and a personal chat with SxS for the first time in months

powder: i'm sure i've seen at least some of it before, it's a great movie although the ending didn't do it justice. it made me think, though: when dumb jocks watch movies where the bullied comes out on top, do they feel like the bad guys won?

tuesday 29th:

mr smear waking us up every hour for a long night of poor sleep

ffix: giving up on the minigame. fighting with chrome (my dns settings were fine, but chrome kept loading the wrong page even after cache flushing)

email tweaking, post office fails (it's possible my mail's been redirected to somebody else's box?!), shopping too cold for gd and returning a beach kit, getting mr smear to bed for some dev time, sudden exhaustion and nerve pinching

an expensive cash-only doctor's visit, walking into my sister on our way out, home for a bit then out for a sunset walk, mr smear vacillating between joy and frustration, hot fusion for dinner again, an efficient showering system, bedtime, thoroughly enjoying sherlock's best man episode, then spending a good few hours grinding in ffix as a birthday present to myself

wednesday 30th:

mr smear's tough midnight feed, a little work to relieve the gaming guilt before 4am

up early to messages and the end of legend of the guardians, a mission to pick up clothing for gd and the off with my mother to obs to check out dolce, the vegan friendly bakery that does great vegan pizza and delicious cake and crumble

a kiss from my son on my birthday, fighting with the bank on my birthday, troubleshooting an installation with SxS on my birthday, running into my niece on our walk, too chilly to continue, bedtime ritual

dinner and david blaine's real or magic, tired and struggling; going to bed stressing because my bank account wasn't being updated in time AND it became apparent that i'd need to borrow money to get through the month

thursday 1st:

waking up stressing after a full night's sleep; mom coming over to lend a hand, advice and serious assistance; pilates, doing well until i shifted something and triggered a neck spasm, though it would take a while before becoming a problem...

... the enrollment interview for mr smear, a surreal experience revisiting the nursery school i went to, hours of phone calls getting my mobile phone sorted out - lesson learned: stay away from me&you mobile - and determining that a visa direct stuff-up might delay my urgent transfers two more days, clearing my virtual desk for a while, getting some progress made when my mom came over in the evening to spend some time with mr smear and join us for dinner, the good wife

friday 2nd:

waking up around 4am and making some progress, an at-home health examination, an afternoon at the pool (bees, poetry), shadowslight waiting for us for a catch-up, posticino run and a laffa on the way back and mr smear's bedtime and sherlock and hours on the phone with my canadian bank trying to find my money and learning that my access card had expired, but they'd issue me a new one that expires in about 35 years - of course, to get my details the native english speaker had to transfer me to her supervisor who only speaks broken asian english and couldn't tell r's from l's or c's from p's and t's...

saturday 3rd:

tired again after another full night's sleep, waking up to find the first of my missing money in my account after all the stress and panic and expensive hours on the phone... godsdammit, end of 2016, could everyone PLEASE move to bitcoin?!

the continuation of the pharmacist sage, last swimming lesson for the year, driving to the vegan market and being forced to turn back because of gd's back, getting in a nap on the couch and my mom and a cousin arriving and then my nephew arriving for a lovely, busy afternoon

mr smear's nose trouble begins

ffix and lost eye drops and showering and more ffix and sailor coming over and walking to get dinner, catching and releasing the large cockroach in gd's mug, talking until it was way past our bedtimes

sunday 4th:

a couple of difficult wakeups with mr smear's stuffy nose, getting up at 7am feeling like shit, resting on the couch with evangelion 1.11, getting up when mr smear took his nap and playing ffix, getting shit done and really not feeling like it, a long walk with mr smear and my mom

monday 5th:

the 2am revelation that our son is 16 months old tomorrow and we still haven't gotten him used to self-soothing, mr smear really struggling with a runny nose and a long time getting him back to bed

trying to work on one of my projects but getting stuck with sub-par service providers...

Monday, November 07, 2016

november already?!

monday 17th october:

another complete night?! gd waking up feeling sick
a long and intriguing meeting with the tax consultant, followed by a big shopping mission cut short because gd couldn't go on; mr smear becoming highly agitated and tantrum-y
picking up lunch and running into an old classmate i barely recognised
eating and running after a very destructive little boy and then suddenly it was time to take gd to the chiropractor and have coffee with my mom at bootlegger and try to discuss business with mr smear wreaking havoc
a failed attempt to walk on the promenade, buying lego for hcc's kid

mr smear going down for a nap when it was already nearing his bedtime, i grabbed one of my own and woke up two hours later to find him properly asleep...

another fantastic page from my illustrator!

the woman moving in upstairs hammering at 9pm after catching us earlier by holding the elevator for ten minutes when we couldn't take the stairs: not the best first impression

a good work session

tuesday 18th:

ending around 4am, waking up for mr smear, then for rls, then for mr smear again, followed by a super early morning utterly exhausted with an even sicker gd and no chance of resting

finally getting a short nap after giving up on getting mr smear to nap, waking up groggy but a little better, mr smear sneaking into our bedroom and literally running back and forth for a great distance before we picked him up for a feed and i left for plant


as a husband to a woman who's managed to breastfeed a couple of months into her child's second year already, i have to say that breastfeeding is not only important for the child's immune system and the mother's psychological state but it's a remarkably beautiful bonding mechanism that's a joy to behold. but it's a surprisingly difficult thing to do, and many mothers don't manage it - i'm still amazed that gd stuck it out with all the horrible things that she had to go through because the "breastfeeding nazis" were more interested in applying pressure than in her - and her baby's - well-being. women who can't get it right, or can't make it work for other reasons, are deserving of sympathy, not scorn. they're not bad or irresponsible moms, we unfortunately don't live in societies where the whole village participates and provides support and breastfeeding is HARD in addition to all the other things that being a new parent engenders.


a fun working lunch with airplane, coming home to sort out security tags and pay the doctor's accounts when they weren't in and pick up drain cleaner and a lecture about sulphuric acid and return and convince our property manager that our sink needs urgent fixing and run around after mr smear

a long but not unpleasant afternoon (including watching some luke cage) and a simple dinner and an easy shower, putting mr smear to bed quickly and trying to nap myself before a 9pm meeting but getting hit hard by rls again

a slow (as in my brain - mouth connection) meeting interrupted by mr smear suddenly developing a really bad cough and being unable to feed without throwing up and then throwing a tantrum that lasted most of an hour until we'd taken every desperate nighttime measure and moved to daytime measures: to be fair, the cough and asthma meds had kicked in by then but it was ultimately the dancing to psybient trance that calmed him down enough to go back to bed

wednesday 19th:

working until 2am, finally getting some rest but far from enough
mr smear dragging us out of bed early again, kulipari: an army of frogs just keeps getting better

a partial nap while gd was taking my physio appointment, getting through lunchtime and paying the doctor a visit before big shopping and a visit from hcc, other parent observations

mom's arrival and mr smear climbing onto the couch by himself, crazy busy and showering and putting him to bed before putting together dinner and trying to catch a few z's

first night with rls meds

repeat performance and midnight antihistamines and high tension

thursday 20th:

finally getting a little sleep, but not nearly enough, just trying to get through the morning and failing to do so without tensions exploding

finally getting ready to go to the gym when a top shelf filled with glass jars collapsed on me while i was holding mr smear; fortunately i took the only scratch. we were very grateful to my mom for showing up quickly to help with the cleanup while i took mr smear for a walk outside and then looked after him while i dropped gd off at the gym and did some shopping.

a better (if not great) evening, getting some work done but being cut short by a telkom service outage

second night with rls meds

friday 21st:

working well until 2.30am, followed by a solid night's sleep ending in weird dreams: at a wedding in an incredible farmhouse discussing good taste and establishing the draw of nursing a beer in an old, broken place that visually tells the story of how you survived the apocalypse

an old acquaintance's ex who has a one month old baby and is stuck in a foreign country with no food or money and who won't ask her friends for help on the assumption that they won't make time for her? and who won't go to the authorities who can help because they're worried they'll take away their kid? sorry, little one, i think you have shit parents.

exhausted but forced to be functional as usual; doctor visit, gym, plumber and physio, feeding mr smear then showering him and trundling off to the pharmacy and walking right past mos def and shopping (gd being harassed by a beggar in the store while i was chatting with a staff member who was curious about going plant-based)

buying more domain names and selecting fonts for a company logo, playing with wix and friday night dinner and complete exhaustion

third night with rls meds

saturday 22nd:

not exhausted - sick. early up to rick and morty, news that my sister's friend finally passed away, mr smear tired but resisting a rest, finally getting enough, an ugly afternoon of miscommunications, weary evening

sunday 23rd:

long, weird dreams, then waking up to the previous afternoon (ignited by video games), a slow sunday, being thoroughly impressed by s03e02 of black mirror (e01 was only watchable at the end), a long walk with mr smear on the promenade and enjoying him running back and forth and his fascination with the waves and the blue train, finishing heroes: reborn (not a bad ending to an otherwise disappointing season) and watching joe rogan's latest special while discovering that gd's off pizza

monday 24th:

beginning the day on a sour note with gd in pain again, paying the doctor another visit and aside from a trip to the chiropractor spending the day moving from a greedy webhost (bluehost) and fiddling with domain registration and trying to sort something out on my mom's computer (gave up) while she managed mr smear for us

waiting for mr smear to self-sooth after taking meds and closing my eyes on very cool visuals

tuesday 25th:

in spite of some setbacks, working productively until 5.30am and going to bed excited and positive

getting up after four hours for a long, restless day; a successful mission to the department of home affairs including an awkward queue switcharoo and being well rewarded for double checking with the other lady who handled our marriage registration instead of making us wait; completing the first half of the first phase of the prototype i'm working on, and finishing the day with some of the hurt locker (giving up because showmax has bad audio and no subtitles) and more luke cage before diving into the second half of the first phase - microsoft's encryption package isn't complicated to work with, but it's unnecessarily complicated to integrate it with other languages

wednesday 26th:

another long night's work, another short sleep but waking up to the joy of mr smear being so excited to see me that he dropped breakfast and hugged me tightly for about five minutes before he was ready to continue eating

regaining confidence in 000webhost - i'm using their free hosting after bluehost got greedy, and setting up wordpress sites and hooking them up to my domains was only a little fiddly and the performance is great.

mom taking over for a chiropractor run, trying to nap when mr smear napped (for three hours!) but getting up exhausted and restless - an awful combination... lunch with gd and luke cage, sorting out my mom's new business website and taking mr smear to the waterfront to pick up the last winter gear i'll need for a while, watching bigger kids going ape at the playground (omg they have a lot of energy) and doing a quick shopping run (for the free parking) with a screamy needy child in my arms

showering, prepping mr smear for bed but him taking forever to actually fall asleep

another night with the rls meds, looking into the side effects and being worried enough to start thinking that maybe the rls is preferable

thursday 27th:

giving up on integrating microsoft crypto with an html client and getting good initial results using iisnode for interfacing

going to bed after 3am and being forced out at 7 by an energetic mr smear, starting the day with kung fu panda (still awesome) and emergency shopping (not awesome), scarfing down maize meal before pilates and then regretting it when the hardcore acid reflux began. a good - but painful - pilates class followed by taking care of mr smear while gd saw the physio and almost putting my back out reaching for a book he wanted

kiwis and psybient and getting overexcited when he caught something i threw to him repeatedly (until he lost interest), a good therapy session, mom visiting

taking mr smear to the park: too much wind for pokémon go (now that the excitement's over, i want to try), the joy on the swings, the post-swing trauma, the post duck pond trauma and the old lady trying to help out, non-stop crying until we got home except for the minute when we stopped to look at some seagulls and mr smear successfully threw his cap in the ocean; a half hour (at least) of screaming will wear you down

sorting out a new pc issue for my mom, dinner and luke cage and making the mistake of lying down immediately and then waking up with awful reflux

friday 28th:

a long night of crypto, it's like every package is incompatible and none of them include both keygen and encryption

to bed at 4.20 and then up for mr smear at 5 and then 6-6.30, then waking up at 9.15 having missed both alerts for a 9pm meeting to pick up vegan challah; arriving at 9.30 looking and definitely sounding a mess

the struggle to find non-fluoride toothpaste, then the traditionally horrible friday checkers experience followed by a series of assholes blocking me from leaving the parking lot followed by crazy traffic followed by asshole neighbours blocking the road and telling me to have a little patience and obviously i only thought of the right retort five minutes later and i stewed for much longer

second shopping with gd while wired from the sleep deprivation and then finally getting home and being unable to sleep: feeling like i was still affected by the rls meds, that feeling borne out later as i was actually high / manic at dinner

going out to return curtains - "our son ate the receipt" - and hitting the waterfront for gd to shop and us to try out their playground again, then home to shower and prep for a really nice dinner at my mom's with my sister and cousins

saturday 29th:

working well until 4.30am again, getting client side encryption sorted but struggling with node's crypto library...

... getting a few hours in with interesting, fast-forgotten dreams then prepping for a fun swimming lesson. as we got out the pool i felt a warm wetness down my side, it wasn't the first time mr smear's peed on me but it's the first time he's done so in public...

coming home to take advantage of mr smear's nap, watching another great episode of black mirror and putting up some of the curtains

too windy and too lazy to go anywhere, resting or playing or shopping and renting the 2016 release of the jungle book and getting mr smear to bed and vegan challah filled with baked beans and managing half the movie before we had to go to bed (first half impressions: excellent, excellent movie except for a couple of voice actor choices and they really shouldn't have shoehorned musical numbers in, baloo humming bare necessities for a few seconds as an homage would have sufficed)

sunday 30th:

3.30am changing mr smear with him screaming because he wanted to be fed instead; he's recently learned a particularly awful scream that totally kills sympathy but he's too young to learn that it's not helping him

appliance shopping with mom ending with mr smear's big tantrum performance, tea and breakfast

driving out to the muizenberg kite festival but not finding it, a long drive home after an incident with a bee, making the least of the afternoon, going for a walk in an icy wind, a nice visit from my toronto cousin's wife, feeding mr smear and getting him into bed and watching an episode of luke cage and getting into my work

monday 31st:

finally managing to integrate end-to-end javascript encryption and *just* before going to bed learning how and why RSA has to be combined with another cipher

... and rls hitting hard...

... and being woken up early to a power outage...

heavy shopping with no elevator, passing out after getting some chores done after mr smear went down for a nap, waking up completely wiped out, the chiropractor, big shopping

ska in the shower (the rudimentals, mr smear and i love three of the songs off their blaze up the fire EP), mielies, mr smear resisting a rest and using psybient to induce compliance

the weirdness of dropping $25 on a font for my illustrator

tuesday 1st november:

an awful night with mr smear up many times and for a while each time; working really hard to find an important crypto solution and getting it fleshed out and into bed about four hours before i had to get up to meet my cousin
a very interesting meeting, as much for familial stuff as for business, then coming home to find that mr smear had been giving everyone the runaround all morning. hard work getting him to nap, not managing to nap myself (rls plus general restlessness)

[forgotten afternoon]

great dinner, luke cage and working hard

wednesday 2nd:

until 4am, interrupted frequently by a very unhappy mr smear

at least i got a few hours' sleep... finally getting my end-to-end javascript encryption operational, finally seeing the sample comic pages with captions (and learning that captions are a lot harder to do well than i thought), a therapy session that dealt with sunday's unpleasantness, a doctor's visit and an unconventional prescription, visiting the discovery store to pick up a piece of paper, gd leaving me with mr smear for physio and a productive chat with mr cat and pre-date-night fatigue
mom's visit and prepping mr smear for bed

the season finale of luke cage - what a phenomenally great season!
going to bed early

thursday 3rd:

and actually getting a good night's sleep, getting up at 4.30 / 5 to work well before mr smear woke up

missing pilates because we wouldn't realize what day it was until the evening; the rick and morty picture mission, a big curry lunch and a nap, then mom taking mr smear for a deferred date night taken in the form of acupuncture (with lots of needles)

prepping mr smear for bed, working, thai dinner and returning to jessica jones, passing out

friday 4th:

and dreaming. a lot. ending with getting to the back of the wooden last car of a train still splashed with paint from new year's celebrations and inhaling the smell of the tobacco bowl burning and speeding into the savanna; watching the train transform into a dragon with a unicorn head and rainbow mane and a train body trailed by a long flowing robe. the dragon sped into tall grass as i followed closely until we reached the end of the savanna and came to the foot of a giant ice mountain. we began the ascent and almost got distracted when it became dark and we saw a lake with a wooden pier bordering it and people on the bridge and public toilets and an entrance to where we knew we would find food but be trapped as if by sirens

meeting the accountant, then putting mr smear down to nap, talking to an insurance broker, rushing out to pick up mom and meet my sister and niece at plant, quick spice shopping on the way home and giving up on free web hosting after 000webhost dropped the ball for the last time - and setting up my own damned server on digitalocean. a completely different experience, and suddenly i wish i had moved to them years ago instead of trying to go "the easy way".

mom's first vegan challah success

getting mr smear to bed at a reasonable hour that felt early only because summer's coming, an episode or two of jessica jones that have significantly improved since about halfway through the season, then putting in a massive effort to sort out my sites

saturday 5th:

totally worth it, running sites myself is infinitely better not only in terms of setup experience but in performance and capabilities too, and letsencrypt is a brilliant service!

a good night's sleep with incredible dreams that i can't recall

small site tweaks, a good chat with my boss (that could have been better if mr smear hadn't picked that time to start wailing himself to sleep), skipping swimming for a nap, having a great time with cousins at the farmer's market, coming home for a short nap and to get ready for my niece's surprise birthday party; a lovely soirée but more importantly an excellent opportunity for mr smear to interact and tire himself out :)

the discovery that what's been getting him to sleep quickly isn't soothing sounds or the dancing motion but the 32 beat psy structure

jessica jones and rls and vanishing to bed in a puff of smoke

sunday 6th:

up early feeling mostly rested after high school hunger games dreams, starting legend of the guardians (which is amazing, minus the awfully forced and exclusively-for-kiddies montage musical number)

the waterfront last-minute birthday present shopping expedition and second breakfast with incredible choc tahini fudge

signing up for a kirstenbosch membership and enjoying a couple of hours by a pond introducing mr smear to new foot sensations (including duck poop) and gd to one of cape town's particular privileges

getting home wiped out but dirty so showering first, then tweaking my mother's website and finally sorting out her email addresses (serious relief, this struggle has been going on since before i met gd)

a back spasm and pinching nerve but mr smear "forcing" me to dance him to sleep while demonstrating exquisite taste in music ^_^

jessica jones until gd and i both passed out


waking up around 1.30am and spending the last three hours fixing captions, posting this and the gods know where all the other time went. i should probably get an hour or two of rest in before another crazy week begins properly.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

rls is not cramps

this is a public service announcement regarding restless leg syndrome.

i've talked about rls before, i've heard a lot of suggestions from medical professionals and none of them have been helpful until now.

lots of exercise? never made a difference.
quinine (via tonic water)? inconsistent, perhaps it was a half-decent placebo.
magnesium? not even a little bit (apparently it works well for relieving night cramps, but rls is a different animal and getting a muscle to cramp painfully actually brings relief from the sensation).

the only real solution available to me until now has been marijuana, which is not only illegal (which is ridiculous) but it's also undesirable as due to its illicit status it's near impossible to get pure sativa and i've never enjoyed being stoned (indica = stoned and useless, sativa = high and functional).

for three days i've been trying out a parkinson's medication suggested to me by my doctor, and i'll be damned if for three days i haven't had any trouble! if you suffer from rls or know anyone who does, it's called oxpola.

taking oxpola was not at all a good idea. it's really effective for treating rls, but the side effects that i experienced were scary and the potential long-term damage is most certainly not worth it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


wednesday 5th:

codebase repository issues. another company looking for trouble.

fun, positive dreams, mr smear getting us up early, prepping for DoHA, bathing, then steeling up for the continuation of the telkom battle; walking in to loud, shit pop music, walking out with a modem that i didn't need and a lot of suspicion until i rebooted the router and everything seemed good; still worried that it wouldn't last...

lunch at the happy herbivore; overall a good experience, the meal was enjoyable but mr smear wasn't too pleased with us unless there was food going into his mouth

meeting the cape town shaliach to get his signature and taking it to the department of home affairs; a smooth experience - although touch and go for a minute due to a paper shortage for the photocopy machine - and we've finally sent in the application we've been trying to for almost six months!
it's cute that they all know how difficult it is to fill out their wax-paper forms with a ballpoint pen.

home and an episode of luke cage, then taking mr smear to the promenade to play with a friend's kids, then home to prep mr smear for bed and pass out

thursday 6th:

mr smear pulling me out of bed early for a grouchy start to a day with no rest

a positive therapy session, babysitting mr smear while gd went to the physio and a quick visit from my mother

clicking telkom's "send promo code" for showmax and learning that that meant "add R99 to my bill" forcing me to visit their store again to cancel because they don't answer their phones. and now that we've seen the selection available, we're definitely not interested.

the doctor, big shopping and mr smear scratching my eye on our way out - causing me to take a new tack and try the officer voice disciplinarian thing - which i would regret later

shower mats and sticky letters making shower time a lot easier and more pleasant

heroes: reborn and a haphazard dinner, tensions rising when mr smear woke up wailing inexplicably

friday 7th:

a long night, working until 6am then up at 7 and out to SARS an hour or so later. four hours at SARS, two outside the building and two in, the latter being under a form of psychological abuse where all the other query types were given priority tickets rendering irrelevant using the ticket numbers' order as a gauge. all that for literally five minutes with an efficient professional.

my phone dying as i was using it to pay for parking and being really lucky that i actually had cash on me

driving straight to my mom's and arriving just in time to meet gd and eat hurriedly and receive the washing machine top replacement we've been waiting for for five months and running after mr smear nonstop

home (parking blocked by disrespectful movers), shopping, and napping - waking up feeling like it was a couple of minutes rather than a couple of hours

mr smear and the word "no", discipline research followed by the guilt of we've-been-doing-it-wrong - apparently what we've been doing (mini timeouts) is effectively punishing inquisitive behaviour (clawing and slapping). this parenting business is decidedly counter-intuitive sometimes. at least the new approach (and attitude) appears to be working.

mom joining us in ordering from thai cafe (very good, and very fast), half an episode of heroes: reborn and crashing

saturday 8th:

the dangers of stevia chocolate - a painful night with an overactive stomach. the warning label says "may have a laxative effect", which is a severe understatement considering the fact that a slab has 30g of fibre in it! [and that's my idea of a serving]

sleeping in a little before swimming, but still way too tired to face the day. a pretty good swimming lesson anyway, this is all excellent incentive to find a private pool to practice in

home for lunch on our way to a birthday party, but mr smear passed out and then gd wasn't up for it but that turned out for the best, a bit of an episode of heroes: reborn before i gave up and put myself to bed - i think the writing is actually worse than the first series, and i didn't think particularly highly of it then.

an hour or two down, then driving to the pharmacy, then an hour or two sleepily passing the time with mr smear before dinner / shower / bedtime. the self-sticking alphabet we bought for the shower makes the experience a LOT smoother!

an hour or so of crash bandicoot, the secret wet bike level giving me motion sickness before going to bed

sunday 9th:

waking up to a bad postnasal drip and then some leftover damage from the night before prompting a bit of a scare, midnight fridge repacking

a slow, lazy day too tired to do much, watching back to the future (ii and iii) (did you know that rich biff's character was based on donald trump?), a surprise visit by sailor and then meeting up with my mom for a walk on the promenade but the wind was too cold

monday 10th:

dream: mongolian lords on the great wall ransoming between friends and preparing to fight, learning strategy

starting the day unpleasantly, putting on psytrance and mr smear falling asleep instead of dancing
selling the modem telkom forced me to take for a profit (and it still being a good deal, *somebody* lost out somewhere), clothing shopping and food court lunch

mr smear and i crashing on arrival home, a very long evening preparing him for bed, trying desperately to get him to sleep without valergan, giving up, and finally getting to work

tuesday 11th:

thank you, pseudoephedrine, thank you. i actually got to ignore my sinuses and focus properly for the first time in days, making significant progress

another night waking up wishing that i could record my dreams, both to share and for my own replay

finishing unfair: the new science of criminal injustice.
it doesn't matter if you're white america or black, or almost anywhere else in the world, if you're interested in crime, justice or security this is an important read - it's not very long, and it solidly shows up our media-tinted views with up-to-date science and psychology that explains why justice - every element from policing to corrections - is not just blind (and racist, sexist, elitist, etc), but has both hands tied behind her back.
i don't think the author's proposed solutions are far out enough, but they're clearly on the right track and the more people read this the more chance there is of there ever being reform.
driving to paarden eiland to get my license sticker replaced and almost running over an idiot who thought he'd help me by jumping behind me while i was reversing to stop other cars for me

department of home affairs:

1. there's a reason the "star employee" board is full of empty frames, i'm sure i know what it is.

2. personal space: after finally getting away from the woman who insisted on standing so close she kept bumping me, a man reached up to put his hand on my shoulder and tell me that short people cause trouble, referring to the couple in front of me whom i'd just helped. he was embarrassed by my response and had the grace to apologise, but *damn* that made me uncomfortable.

3. same ticketing system as SARS, where the numbers mean nothing

4. after being overtaken by about 60 people, finally getting dealt with remarkably efficiently

briefly going home and getting caught in erev yom kippur traffic then rushing out to meet my mom at checkers and run through a pretty big shopping

not the best of evenings, going to bed early

wednesday 12th:

getting a full night's rest, waking up to rango interrupted by a couple of emergency shopping trips. what a brilliant film! why do people only make noise for crap ones like frozen??!

taking full advantage of mr smear's nap (making good crash bandicoot progress), watching a couple of episodes of ru paul's drag race to generate a little extra regret (it was the day of atonement after all)

there's nothing quite like the maps app failing while you're driving into unfamiliar territory

a really nice evening at my sister's, mr smear staying up way too late but loving the extra attention from all the humans and animals alike

thursday 13th:

a good few hours of work, then waking up in time for my first coffee in a while and then my first pilates in forever

second breakfast, then a positive therapy session, lunch, gym, chiropractor, shower, crash bandicoot, bath, prepping mr smear for bed and being grateful for my mom's help as he really didn't want to sleep
a spicy dinner, a nap

the chinese restaurant across the road's insane midnight construction

friday 14th:

a rough midnight feed and then making good progress until 4am

taking the family out on a beautiful summery day to pay the car rental, gd's neck spasm on the way
subway snack and then a smooth experience applying for a local credit card
gd's haircut and mr smear being distracted by a swivel chair, an in-and-out bookstore visit, coming home, buying hacknet and being really excited about its soundtrack

friday night dinner combined with finally backing up and reinstalling my mother's laptop after promising to do so for seven months

friday night's awful music party at the chinese restaurant across the road driving us nuts and the police refusing to do anything about it

saturday 15th:

hacknet is a very, very clever game. and i got some work done on a friday night when i'm usually broken

a day in, lots of hacknet and trying (and failing) to amuse mr smear, finishing setting up my mom's laptop, a shopping expedition and the chinese restaurant manager's politely disrespectful assurance that the noises won't happen again
an episode of heroes: reborn in which gd and i agreed that everything about the series since season one has been a run downhill in both concept and quality

sunday 16th:

an actual complete full night's sleep but waking up early to make up for it, being thoroughly impressed by kulipari: an army of frogs, mr smear dancing to mumford and sons and crawling all over me when i tried to stretch
putting mr smear to sleep in one minute flat, taking advantage of his nap and taking a bath

getting mr smear from crib to car after an hour's nap and he only woke up half an hour later

butterfly world is really cool, i particularly enjoyed seeing the flying foxes and the iguanas.

play date mom and i disagree on a lot of stuff; today's uh-oh moment was on the topic of adhd meds (i was recommending that they read anatomy of an epidemic) and a bit later her husband and i resumed chatting about computer games and we hit that she's-anti-tech-for-developing-brains wall again. quick note: it's important to monitor screen time, and for kids to play outside and enjoy physical / social activities. but it's also important to let kids enjoy and learn from digital experiences. it's important as a parent to understand those digital experiences - you definitely should not just let your kids do whatever they want - and it's a very good idea to actively participate in (at least some of) those digital experiences. it's the new media, the new storytelling format, and if you avoid it a) they'll be missing out on an integral part of the education they'll need for the brave new world we're entering and b) they'll find ways to do these things behind your back and you'll have no say in anything.

overall it was a lovely day, the drives there and back weren't bad. unfortunately i returned home to an email from an associate of krybabie's who i'd agreed to advise and it turned out to be for dairy cow feeding automation, which i refused out of principle. the dairy industry is something that we as a species should be utterly ashamed of.

Hi name

When krybabie contacted me I agreed to help out in whatever way I could, but that was before I learned what it is that you're involved in.
I find the dairy industry practices distressing enough with the needless suffering it generates, what with the milking conditions, the forced insemination procedures and the separation of mothers and their children, and the very idea that their feeding schedules are automated as well just adds another layer to my disappointment in their inhumane treatment and I refuse to participate, however indirectly, in cruelty to animals.

I don't know if you have children, but if you have ever experienced or witnessed the pain of breastfeeding or the emotions of loving (and potentially losing) a child I'm sure that you would feel the same.



a bit of hacknet, dinner and luke cage before passing out.

Friday, October 07, 2016

vegan compassion

inspired by white vegans need to check their privileges - which i absolutely agree with. speaking of which, regardless of your skin colour or in which country you live i warmly recommend reading unfair: the new science of criminal injustice

just something to think about: there's a food economics issue i keep running into online, we're vegan and we need everyone to be vegan but a lot of us don't take into account that many people don't have the budget for meat / dairy alternatives and they need practical help for getting full nutrition on extremely tight budgets. we live in a country where a frightening number of people have difficulty affording bread, so when anti-science gluten-free* / non-gmo** / organic*** peddlers muddy the waters we're not helping animals or people. it's really important to consider everyone's situations and be supportive especially when they can't afford to live the ideal vegan lifestyle or need patient education before they can start switching.

* my apologies to the rare celiac suffer, but the rest of you gluten-free seekers are into something that's fad and not healthy in the long-run

** yes, there's bad gmo but there's a lot of good (and important) gmo, we need to push for regulation rather than boycotting

*** most organic isn't organic, and it's prohibitively expensive

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

happy new year!

sunday 25th september:

a night of unrest, tossing and turning and forgotten dreams and mr smear up a little more than usual

a pleasant morning, more cook, serve, delicious!, the surreal return to my old primary school and some awkward re-introductions, heading off to the hungry herbivore for lunch; the service isn't amazing and there're no baby facilities, but the food was great.

gd and i ending lunch on a sour note and taking it home with us. an extreme state of mind and utter emotional exhaustion to the point where i felt like i was high

monday 26th:

gd's back sprain killing all plans for the day, miserable weather, mr smear reaching the controls for the washing machine

resuming jessica jones in spite of the gratuitous sex scenes (they don't bother me as much as gd, but she's right about them not adding anything of value to the story)

tuesday 27th:

payday, otherwise known as debt management day. a frustrating few hours of work before going to bed (and managing to work in spite of my urge to sleep to the pouring rain), cold and wet weather and my first audiobook proof-listening


there's a volunteer organization called "tape aids for the blind" that produces audiobooks for the visually impaired. this is an important service, and it relies on volunteers for everything from selection to recording to editing... i'm almost 36 years old, and from what i've heard it sounds like i'm about half the age of the average capetonian volunteer.

they need young people, because the visually impaired deserve access to materials that are relevant and interesting and read energetically by voices from a much larger pool of talent. it only takes a couple of hours a week, it's actually quite fun, so if you can afford that time then please audition!

or donate audiobooks. if they're under a commercial license they can rent them out cheaply to the public as well.


still completely exhausted, napping only making it worse
finally regaining access to gd's microsoft live account in spite of their awful automated recovery system (just as awful as google's)
a failed attempt at taking mr smear for a walk (too cold)
jessica jones, elon musk live for an inspirational hour's talk on the tech to get to mars
slowly but surely getting a handle on our project's front end

wednesday 28th:

going to bed boiling with rage; human beings are infuriatingly stupid. if i told you that there was a kid dying in the hospital because his meat-eating parents forced their diet on him, would it not be interesting to learn that he'd been exclusively fed macdonald's his entire life? but when the parents are vegan, we don't care about what they did or didn't feed him? vegan parents throughout the world (long before the term vegan was coined) have raised healthy children, and decades of research have shown us (read: anyone who gives a shit about knowing things instead of believing in things) that these children - provided they're fed responsibly - are considerably healthier than those raised on any other diet.

waking up to write down my personal version of the serenity prayer:
be grateful for your family.
people are stupid.
channel your hate to productive.
(the second is the wizard's first rule, the third is pantera.)

"heroine of the cold feet covering her third eye to keep shooting her target in the mouth with a poison fart hidden from her spirit self": i need to establish some writing time

the ulcer, talking nutrition with the physio, mr smear playing gym, knead lunch and pharmacy and then nap time while the babysitter was here

bluetooth overear headphones ftw

a little work, mom's visit (the weirdness of her last days at her current job), feeling worn out and possibly ill

thursday 29th:

really feeling exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. avoiding caffeine for the ulcer obviously not helping

early morning caffeine free audiobook recording, realising after the session that if there's an existing audiobook it would be a better quality donation and use of my time if i just donated it to them

not enough time to nap before the therapist arrived, finally taking a step towards sorting out my citizenship status, rushing off to the gym

constant 10kph for 20min and finishing medium level sudoku in 14
stretching and being shown some good back exercises on the machines, then rushing home to get to the physio

leaving sore and light headed, showering and eating (gd's potato salads are awesome), locked in babysitting mode, mom's visit

resting before work, managing to get up in spite of the lack of caffeine but with such ulcer pain that i'd end up throwing up

friday 30th:

feeling a bit better, starting my day at SARS held hostage with our ids in the "special counter" queue and finally being dealt with after an hour and being told that i had brought the wrong bank statement

coming home angry, then driving to the bank to pick up the "right" statement and visit the doctor for an anti-allergy shot and a script for a medicine and some fun

quick lunch, an hour at the telkom store to be met with such indecency that i flew into a rage and was so close to literally picking shit up and throwing it at them that i had to walk out

the acupuncturist, big shopping and rushing to prepare for handing over mr smear to my mom and going to see henry rollins be awesome

saturday 1st october:

feeling much better, relief from the caffeine withdrawal and much smoother digestion
gd's first swimming lesson in a few weeks
almost not going to the vegan goods market, arriving at the wrong venue and getting a bit lost on the way to the right one; arriving too late to try what i wanted but getting some other good stuff instead (the liquorice ice-cream with activated charcoal was really good)

coming home to shower (and learn that we MUST get non-slip mats) and tidy up a bit before my sister arrived (her best friend's on her deathbed and is having a really tough time) followed by my mother

putting mr smear to bed, watching - and thoroughly enjoying - the first half of he never died

sunday 2nd:

4am up for work, finally finding what i was looking for
mr smear letting us sleep in on a gorgeous sunny sunday morning
breakfast and asterix movies and doing chores slowly
hours babysitting while gd cooked
mr smear's promenade pram push, visiting granny
a very nice new year's dinner, leaving exhausted
finishing he never died while fighting rls, it could have ended better but overall it was a great film

monday 3rd:

wasn't the doc's allergy shot supposed to stop me from waking up in the middle of the night with a stuffed nose?

sleeping in with mr smear again (not the most comfortable, but appreciated nonetheless)

document printing, an easy monday morning, beach prep, dropping gd off at the chiropractor and picking up towels at mom's and almost running over an old idiot who'd wandered into the street and camps bay in tourist season and mr smear's sorbet desperation

our first family beach experience, it was a beautiful afternoon for llandudno and mr smear was so excited to stand in the atlantic that my main job was preventing him from running in

traffic on the way home, filling up the tank and donating a hotdog, a mostly successful post-beach shower and dinner shopping optimisation, being very tired (possibly coming down with something)

a very nice dinner, although the effects of whatever i was feeling were the same as having drunk too much

mr smear sleeping through the return home and me passing out on contact with the bed

tuesday 4th:

a hot summer's day and we're not even close to summer yet...

a stuffed nose and complete exhaustion even after a full night's sleep, babysitting and then strolling mr smear to the police station for half a notarization, mr smear falling asleep just into paid babysitter time, resting a couple of hours and waking up feeling much better, spending most of the afternoon working (my mom joining gd for a walk with mr smear). mr smear being quite vicious. dinner and two episodes of luke cage - amazing - then more work.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

wanna look good for the summer?

watch this video.

1. body-shaming is bad. is doesn't matter if you're shaming thin women or fat women, or bodybuilding women (jesus, those women take a lot of flack from the insanely insecure).
2. don't be ashamed of your body as it is, but take care of your body and try to get it to where it needs to be.
3. where it needs to be has NOTHING to do with what it looks like*.
not thin.
not fat.
not tall.
not short.
not any of those things. where it needs to be is healthy. and healthy means eating well.

what is eating well? the nutritional quality of your food. not the amount of calories, or carbs, or fats, or proteins. you have access to an internet filled with good information - no, bacon is not a food group - and if you can invest energy and money in these magazines or stupid celebrity shows or beauty products that only exist because most people eat horribly, then you can certainly invest in a little research. eating well doesn't mean eating bland, tasteless food. eating well doesn't mean suffering. it's really not hard. and it's probably less hard on your wallet.**

it's not your genes, it's not your exercise, it's not your beauty salon. it's your food.

* your nose is fine, your lips are fine, your breasts are fine, your butt's fine, GODDAMMIT stop trying to "fix" something that isn't broken. you'll only make yourself attractive to the kinds of people who have no depth to them whatsoever.

** organic is a scam, and if you don't suffer from celiac (you probably don't) then gluten-free isn't good for you. also, microwaving is safer than any other cooking except for steaming. you're welcome.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

cook, serve, ridiculous!

according to steam i've just played five hours of cook, serve, delicious!. i'm not sure if i'm embarrassed about that or not, but i do know that i've learned something about being in the kitchen. according to my progress i'm not a complete failure, but i'm absolutely certain that that sort of thing is not for me.

sunday 18th:

a chilled wake up, mr smear enjoying his first reading of leah goldberg's "flat to rent"

a gorgeous day for a visit to hermanus for some whale watching, lots of sun, good food and drinks, most of the driving pleasant with breathtaking views but mr smear getting uncomfortable towards the end and me having to manoeuvre my arm in a painful way to shade him as we drove into the sunset

the disappointment of mr smear throwing up two hours' worth of food before bed

monday 19th:

not intending to stay up until 4.30am, mr smear passing out between us after his breakfast feed and giving us all an extra hour
slaughterhouse-five is such a pleasure to read, i've been playing around with goodreads and i was reminded how much i disliked infinite jest; in stark contrast, vonnegut's brilliance isn't overshadowed by tedium or inconsistency

quick shower, occupying mr smear (not letting him play with the screwdriver, but giving him an opportunity to admire it in action) until gd had finished rescuing our kitchen and then receiving another gorgeous almost-complete page from the illustrator

a productive home visit and mr smear asserting himself, gd's first potato salad WIN
lactation issues, another aggressive physio treatment leaving me quite sensitive, a delayed meeting that proceeded to go on for hours

gd holding the fort well with us wrapping up just in time to put mr smear to bed

tuesday 20th:

going to makro to check out their projector, being thoroughly impressed but not buying it immediately because i wanted to get a makro credit card so that my purchase could potentially win me a car - receiving a credit rejection message shortly after arriving back home and returning in the afternoon with family in tow in order to pick it up

gd cooking in the morning and proceeding to stuff me with food even after i'd taken care of mr smear's leftovers

telkom rage: after 50 minutes on hold for sales, being told that it's not possible to upgrade my account to uncapped. the only reason i didn't take uncapped in the first place is because the sales guy is an idiot and misrepresented the terms; the cap we've been dealing with has forced us to have two "internetless" month ends in a row and be extremely frugal with our usage this month.

the canon lv-x300 is not only an affordable projector, but it's by far the most solid one we've seen; it's bright enough to watch when the sun hits, the controls aren't finicky (and we don't have to find the remote's "sweet spot"), and even though it's not a wide-screen format the size is more than sufficient. we finally have a home entertainment system!

wednesday 21st:

a decent night's sleep after going to bed exhausted, storming out of pick n pay because they don't stock their shelves and driving to checkers to buy bread

slaughterhouse-five is pure genius and it's fun to read

looking after mr smear during gd's physio appointment, it was all fun and games until he almost lost a finger and that would totally have been my fault

our babysitter giving us space for bathing and errands (having a talk with the telkom guy), heading off to baby city and almost buying the wrong swimming gear

walking mr smear on the promenade, having a good time until he clawed at another kid's cheek - extremely embarrassing

mom's visit, dinner and the first episode of better call saul (pretty good), slow work progress and getting crowdfunding advice from an expert

thursday 22nd:

another mistake forgetting antihistamines. waking up to work and being sent out again for emergency shopping and losing my shit

a painful pinched nerve on the other side, gd dealing with a neck spasm and getting to spend my day alternating between looking after mr smear and trying to sort out a corrupt checkout

finishing slaughterhouse-five on a great note: it's rare to find myself this excited about a book that's received so much acclaim

killing my machine with a bad video driver upgrade

friday 23rd:

dreams: playing through a game / simulator so vivid that the last thing i recall was watching a character getting his genitals sliced for disrespecting someone and then switching to his perspective and feeling the combination of bleeding and peeing myself before finding myself on my knees facing a shotgun; there was a blank screen moment before the gun went off before a game over screen before continuing from another character's POV before i woke up

crash bandicoot while mr smear slept and my computer failed to resurrect; eventually realising that i was doing it wrong and beginning a serious backup as soon as it was rescued

an easy morning, then going to the shops and missing the alert for my physio appointment; rescheduling for the afternoon and then missing *that* alert :$

laughing like an idiot all the way home from SARS: i finally went to register for a tax number, and was told to come back next week because they've run out of numbers for the day. do little elves generate them overnight using special number pressing machines?

gd cooking an experimental dinner, eating with my mom, mr smear having a hard time getting to sleep, an otherwise lovely evening and an early night

saturday 24th:

waking up to exciting news: vegan donuts at kleinsky's! after breakfast (mr smear enjoying more kiwi than i did, that's love right there) we all went on the donut mission and were incredibly disappointed to find that they hadn't been delivered. we went to spar instead, running into krybabie's mother, then returned home. mr smear napped so we didn't take him swimming, i played ink, then in the afternoon we went to the aquarium which was a really, really good idea. afterwards we had late lunch at the waterfront's simply asia and bought mr smear new shoes and picked up coffee and came home, managing to get out of the parking lot in spite of the broken machines and exit signs all pointing in the wrong direction

mr smear passed out on the way home and gd was exhausted so i spent the evening preparing virtual food and managing a virtual kitchen instead of sleeping or tidying up our real one...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

returning to functional

saturday 10th:

arriving a bit late for swimming, but mr smear making up for it and making us SO damned proud

meeting my mom for lunch at plant and running into two fellow vegan dads with their kids

a fun first play date with a new friend

coming home tired and a bit cold

getting to bed early

sunday 11th:

an early visit to the waterfront to pick up birthday presents, then off to a dinosaur party at the museum where mr smear napped through most of the fun
mentioning my book project to the right person!

coming home to a mostly restful sunday afternoon (i was really stuck into the neverending story, DAMN michael ende gets it right), mr smear playing rough when he's not being needy and gd and i both passing out early

monday 12th:

waking mr smear for the chiropractor
post office, no trolley borrowing allowed (although my attempt was kinda dodgy)
shopping, mom's visit, unpacking: like a little kid on christmas morning, what a magnificent experience stocking our bookshelf with beautiful books that i bought specifically with the intention of sharing with my children

tuesday 13th:

dream: diving over the crowd into a small portal and proving myself by finding my way home through all sorts of adventures, remembering snow and piracy and boots in the water and climbing up wooden poles driven into an inverted slope

dream: clint eastwood and his buddies come to the diner we're in and they're threatening to kill us along with their target. i pretend to fall asleep and they're pretending to be gentlemen so they leave me be. i peep, through the window and spot a sniper setting up across the way (he's eating something and he either hurts himself with the spoon or he tastes something painfully hot), i manage to find an opportunity to sneak out and am just trying to subtly explain the situation to a curious waiter when mr eastwood arrives out of nowhere asking him for directions to the toilets and realising i was caught i was about to attack him with a chair before being woken up

mr smear falling asleep between us after his breakfast feed, giving us an extra forty minutes

gd's brother's heart attack, renewing the car rental, bad directions to makro and then taking an off ramp into what looked like oncoming traffic because there were no road markings

fixing my IIS installation and getting a little work done, affixing things (baby proofing and beautiful paintings i bought many years ago for someone's wedding and forgot to give to them), half an hour on the phone with revenu québec

mr smear clawing at noses and cheeks and lips, i'm not sure if our little punishments are making a difference or not but the behaviour is distressing and it's not clear how much he can understand at this point

big dinner, the neverending story

wednesday 14th:

a solid night of authentication groundwork, very little sleep and getting up to a beautiful spring morning

a telkom visit for a promise that i could only hope i wouldn't regret accepting; meanwhile, in retrospect the salesman's an idiot and i should've taken the unlimited lte offering from the beginning but he significantly misrepresented the limitations

town physio round two: keeping mr smear from certain death (a choice of open windows on floor level leading to a sharp drop or to sharp spikes) by focusing on a jump rope, medicine balls, weights and a mirror

lunch, nap, bath (the dark side of the neverending story where bastian really gets stupid), work, my turn seeing the downstairs physio
whatever was released in my lower back unbalancing me and making each step hurt
a promenade mission
mom arriving bearing very grownup pots and pans
a mixed first time with the mr d app
putting mr smear to bed
delicious dinner from shin thai

gd's id: getting beyond the labels

thursday 15th:

another tough night because i forgot to take an antihistamine

the audiobook audition was fun!
pharmacy / waterfront run
vegan marshmallows! amazing quality, minus a few of them that had tiny rubbery bits...

a busy afternoon looking after mr smear and not getting a chance to nap, trying to help my sister's friend who's struggling with cancer, has little support from her family and is seeing at least one oncologist who doesn't keep up with the medical literature; wtf?!

taking my pulverised* back to bed as early as mr smear would let me only to be stopped by rls, an hour unable to sleep but extremely tired

* gd knows what she's doing and i was in dire need

friday 16th:

making progress while updating ios and praying it's safe

working until late, struggling to sleep, short, intense dreams between mr smear waking up
returning mom's loaned pots, stopping in at the bank, breakfast and a little more sleep
cash stress, another telkom fail (my issue is not "resolved" if they closed it without doing anything) and giving up after half an hour on hold
getting stuff done, in particular sorting out clothing cupboards for the first time since we moved in
a short but productive gym visit (what do you mean, my activity doesn't count?!), a fast shopping (late on a friday evening) (taking photos for three young black men by the bakery - why the bakery??), rushing mr smear to bed and returning one of mom's heaters

giving up on matthew reilly - seven ancient wonders: a book with little to cerebrally engage that insults the intelligence that came highly recommended, the best timing for my mom to hand me my kindle fully charged and to (finally!) get into slaughterhouse-five, which is so far every bit as brilliant as the rest of the literary world seems to think.

saturday 17th:

not nearly enough sleep, a busy mr smear, daddy's third swimming lesson, comic progress, mr smear and his father thoroughly enjoying a good kiwi on a lovely spring afternoon

napping, last-minute launching off the couch to go to a play date, arriving first in a biting wind on an otherwise beautiful day, duck feeding and happy kids then coming back to our place for coffee where the three children played together nicely then suddenly it was bedtime for everyone

sunday 18th:

not an easy night so far.