Archive for September, 2006

Sharks, Streakers and Serious Comedy

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Thursday was Comedy Festival. We managed to get centre front row seats for the danger zone (oh dear). Fortunately we did not get picked on too much; there were other more unfortunate souls who got that job 🙂 What we did have to endure before the show started was this terrible (c)rap set by DJ Azul. I’m not sure how the organisers read their target market, but very few of us were driving Toyota Corrolas’ with dropped suspensions and neon under lighting. The show kicked of with an intro by Australian Brendon Burns, who played the host for the evening.  First act was Martin Davis, who is an old favourite of mine. The years however seem to have caught up with him and with his current choice of hairstyle he and Iggy Pop could be brothers. Next up was South African John Vlismas. He was excellent and had a really good routine on affirmative action for sharks. Then there was Andrew Lawrence with a song about ripping people’s heads of in the library, which was entertaining, but the innocent shy boy act just didn’t do it for me.

I briefly ran into Martin during the break who scores a fat zero for fan appreciation. He shook my hand and shrugged me off with a “Sorry mate” and carried on walking.

From here on the show declined in enjoyment. The sound effects dude, Reggie Watts, was entertaining, but dull in the end. The Capetonian who replaced Mel Miller (his name long since forgotten), was the best of the second half. Come to think of it, it is rather lame that it was never announced that Mel was no longer in the show, and that new person who replaced him is not mentioned on the site. The last act, Jason Rouse, was crude and generally unfunny. He ended off the show by coming back onto the stage naked and terrorised one of our friends by giving him a hug, so I spanked him on the ass!

Overall I really enjoyed the show. What was very obvious is that South Africa can hold its own when it comes to stand up comedy. I would rate their acts much higher than any of the international performers.

InCite Smart Services Suck!

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Living in a new development does have its perks, one of those is 24/7 internet supplied by InCite Smart Service. Hey I thought, no having to deal with Telkom, befok! Well the grass is pretty much the same on this side. This is a long story so lets start at the beginning….

Shortly after we moved in (the month was April) I connected my laptop to the jack in the kitchen (of all places!), called the number, got an IP address and network details and was up and running in 5min. I thought to myself, what a pleasure! The speed was (and still is) very decent. Nothing compared to the River Ankh speed experienced at the Tygervalley Waterfront units.

A month or so went by and then suddenly the internet would just be down in the evenings and over weekends. I then discovered the first problem, no after-hours support, which is exactly the time I use the internet. One particular Saturday I called the office number, the voice message said to call an 0860 number for after-hours support, so I called the number and got the same message! I then called in the week and got the cell number for the after-hours support person. Not long thereafter something broke on a Saturday. I then happily called the number only to be told that they could not help me (probably because the only person who could was not on standby) and that it would only be fixed in the week. Bloody useless I thought. I poured my frustrations out on the poor technician. Thereafter I also had a very long chat to Karen, the support person. Anyway they did seem to get their act together and started sending out notices when things went down and things seemed to stabilise.

In July I acquired a wireless access point. Due to the size of the IP range I was originally given I could not add the access point and required a larger range. On the morning of 10th July I mailed Karen at InCite requesting a new IP range, and waited. I followed up by phone the following day and was told the technical people are not in the same office as Karen. She would send the request again. I then phoned again later in the day and got told by Karen that she would call them. I expressed my unhappiness and left it at that. By the 12th I still did not have my new IP range so I called Karen and told her I could not understand why I had to wait 3 days for a new IP range. She said she would contact the technical people and get back to me. By about 2PM I still had no new IP range, so I called. Karen was unavailable so I explained the the receptionist what I was waiting for. She promised to give Karen the message. Not 5 min later the receptions calls me back and says they are already dealing with my request. At this point I lost it. I told her that I was not happy that I had to wait 3 days for something that would take 5 min to do and that I wanted my IP range before the end of the day! 30 minutes later there was an email in my mailbox with my new IP range. Why, why, why do I only get helped once I start shouting at people?! Fortunately for them the new range worked and I could now sit in the study and surf rather than in the kitchen.

So this is now where things get interesting. Included in the levy of the unit is 250MB worth of internet traffic. If you go over that it costs you 50c/MB. There are also data packages of 1/2/3GB. Which if you do the maths, the 2GB is the cheapest per MB (go figure). I did look at buying one of these packages but there was no tool to monitor your usage, which I believe is crucial, so I gave it a miss. Anyway I don’t really download much while at home, and I have a rough idea of what my usage is in a month. I did think I was over once or twice, but well within the realms of reason. I was also not sure if the bill would end up with the landlord or with me, but I never heard a thing, so I just forgot about it. Imagine my surprise when on 7th September I received my first bill for internet, a whopping R409.10 (June R407,57 and July R1.53). I replied, requesting a usage report, but got no response. Then on 13th September I receive an invoice for August amounting to R310.49. Once again I requested a usage report and pointed out that they have been promising a tool to monitor internet usage online for months now. Again no response.

Then on the 14th a circular was sent out by Marshay Daniels signed by Alan Dean (too much cut’n’paste?) requesting that everyone sign up for one of their data packages no later than Friday the 13th (is that not the 15th Marshay/Alan?) or have their accounts capped at 250MB. The attached application form also indicated that non-payment would result in the suspension of your account. Lovely stuff! So I replied to Marshay indicating that I would not sign up for any of their packages until such time as they make the tools available to monitor your traffic. I subsequently noticed that the message had been CC-ed, exposing my and about 40 other peoples private email addresses. I started fuming at this point. So I hit reply to all and sent the following:

Dear Marshay

It is obvious that you and your company still have much to learn in they way of net etiquette. By cc-ing everyone rather than bcc-ing them or using a proper mailing list you have just exposed a large number of people’s PRIVATE email addresses to everyone included in your mail. This kind of thing makes me really unhappy. I also feel sending out a mail 24hrs before the deadline is rather rude.

Regards

I have yet to receive a reply from anyone at InCite. I did exchange some email with another resident who had huge problems simply getting connected. His problem was only resolved after speaking to the complex manager. I think I might just give him a call myself.

So the moral of the story: we may all hate Telkom, but you don’t have to go far to get equally shocking service. This is not over… As they say; watch this space!

Update: I just noticed there is now a Monitor Usage button on their home page. Pity no-one has sent me a user name and password yet…

Sad news

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

My Gran passed away suddenly on Sunday evening. You will be missed dearly!

Aristocats

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

So we took Anubis off to the cat show on Saturday. As a domestic entry you are encouraged to decorate your cage. The theme this time round (drum roll) was: “spring has sprung”. Salomé and Henriëtte did a wonderful job of the cage decorations, and we felt we had a winning combo 🙂

We only got to bed at 03:30 after getting home at about 02:30 (remember the cage decorations) and then having to look for the papers containing  the inoculations for Anubis, which we needed for the show. We got up at 05:30 on Saturday to get ready to be at the show at 07:15, which we were stuck at till 4pm. It was an exhausting day!

Anubis came second in his section and won a certificate (there were only two cats in the domestic long hair class :P). So we held thumbs for a first prize for best cage, but the competition looked pretty tough. The judging for the cages was done by the Hill’s pet food representative. The winning cage she picked, was probably the best of the lot (it also happened to be the same cat that beat Anubis), but the shameless Hill’s plug by the owner (a empty packet of Hill’s food acting as a vase) probably clinched the top spot. However her second place pick was exceptionally questionable. The décor consisted of 3 sheets of flower print wrapping paper stuck to the sides of the cage (they did not cover the sides completely, so you could still see the metal) and a pretty average set of potted flowers on top. Ho hum.

So our illusions of  grandeur  were dashed, but it is obvious that one should not take  these things too seriously. On the plus side I caught up on a pile of work (we camped out in the refreshment area) and managed to get some really nice pictures of Anubis on the day which I’ll be posting shortly. I also got some pictures of other cats, with my favourites being the Norwegian Forest Cats and the Maine Coons. Pity they were all stuck behind cages…

From reading up on the link in Wikipedia on Maine Coons. It very much sounds like Anubis has some Maine Coon blood in him somewhere. Befok!

Oontz! Oontz! Oontz!

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

I have been meaning to do a music post for a while now and finally its here. I have recently acquired Mesh “We Collide” and “My Hands Are Tied / Petrified”. Both albums are absolutely amazing. The more I listen to them the more elements I find that make for enjoyable listening. It is still very much follows the struggles of love theme Mesh has been famous for over the years, however the sound is more upbeat and the are lyrics strong and well written. Songs like Crash and remixes of Petrified should get some decent club play. No Place Like Home is a haunting tune and beautifully written. The cover of Document, originally by Assemblage 23, holds it own. I can highly recommend both these albums.

And One is another band that has been around for years. I happened across their latest single “Military Fashion Show”, and was really impressed with the pumpy sound and sometimes tongue in cheek lyrics. It makes for blissful SynthPop and is receiving some solid play in my car! They have also release a series for singles for “So Klingt Liebe” which, amongst others, features a number of live renditions of some of their older hits. It is a perfect teaser leading up to the release of “Bodypop”, which should be on the shelves shortly. This is on my shopping list.

So now for the disappointments. The new VAC, not surprisingly, is terrible. It’s all dreary dark electronic soundscapes, with faint raspy vocals. The upbeat yet twisted days of “Fun With Knives” is long forgotten. I doubt they can pull of such a brilliant album ever again. I don’t think I’ll file the new Delerium under bad, but the problem is its not great either. It’s the kind of album you hope will be really cool, and then all it does is disappoint you. I suspect it is a case of trying to get the very last drop of money out of a tired formula.

Mews!

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

I have uploaded some pictures of our cats as well as some pictures of other peoples cats (yes we love cats!).

We will be hiking at Silvermine tomorrow. I hope the wind subsides a bit before then, but otherwise the weather is looking good.

The first day of Spring

Friday, September 1st, 2006

First a few updates. So my fiancée’s mother went back to the traffic department on Monday to get her name cleared, but was once again told that they could not help her (this was now trip number four!). So she shoved the paperwork into the attendants’ hands and said “sort it out yourself, I’m not coming back for this”. My finger is still stuffed. I have called the doctor to make an appointment to go and see the specialist . Sterkinekor did phone back. I have the managers’ number and can call her to arrange some free tickets when I am next in mood for a movie.

We went to Cape Point Nature Reserve on Sunday and did the walk up to Kanonkop. We started down at Booi se Skerm and followed the path up to Kanonkop which the circles back down to the parking area again. It is a very easy and scenic walk. It was slightly overcast when we started but quickly cleared up turning into an absolutely stunning day. Afterwards we went to the point to take some pictures. I have uploaded them to the Gallery.

We also went to the information centre and obtained some wild cards. This costs R45 and allows you 12 entries into a certain number of national parks around the cape peninsula. What was very cool about this is that they refunded the R45 we paid to get in to be used to purchase the card, which costs R45. The only catch in this whole deal is you need proof of address, who walks around with a utility bill in their back pocket? Really!

Our landlord is now thinking of selling the flat. The rental agency called me a few weeks ago to offer me the unit, but I declined. Last week we came home to find estate agents waiting at our front door. “Can we please come in, if it’s not too much of an inconvenience?”, what does one do in this situation? So armed with digital camera they storm they unit, “mind if we take a quick walk through the place?”. On second thought I should have sent them packing. Sometimes I’m just to accommodating. They have assured us we won’t be kicked out when the unit gets sold, but I’ve heard that one before. I do NOT want to move any time soon.

Glorious news! Alphamanbeast will be in Cape Town in November for a quick visit. Also our Kontiki depature date is getting nearer. Just 3 and a half months till we fly. I can’t wait!

Oh and it’s now officially spring. Befok!