A blog about life - the good, the bad, the people, the books, the games, coffee, and food.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Review: Conversations with My Sons and Daughters

Title and author: Conversations with My Sons and Daughters by Mamphela Ramphele.

What is it about aka the blurb: Ramphele has stated that she wrote this book in response to the many mentorship requests she's received. It's because of that, that there are many questions and challenges posed to the reader. So it's no surprise that the blurb starts with: "Where did we lose our idealism and why and at what cost?". She does partially answer this but, as throughout the book it's about more than what she thinks should happen or the answer to the questions she poses.

Readability and who would enjoy it:  This is an intensive read, it is a book that you need to take chapter by chapter - maybe even section by section - because you need to really reflect and have what she's written sink in. It also happens because you're calling out facts to your husband as you go along and something interesting takes root in your mind. Something that really stood out for me in this book  - and her earlier one Laying Ghosts to Rest [I'm reading it now] is that we really should have history be a compulsory subject. She'll mention a person, say many don't know who this is/or this person has been written out of history, I'll go I know who this is, check with others around and they won't, so high school history ftw! Although this does tie into her discussion on education, and history of course.

The sections that really grabbed me, and had me feeling somewhat ashamed at my lack of doing anything to better the country were those discussing education, language and values. Granted though the feelings of shame were taken down a notch by her saying many of us are still searching for definitions of our generation's mission, it helps a little. Although then there are the discussions on being engaged citizens, or more like becoming proper democratic citizens and removing our 'subjecthood', which both add to your desire to do something, but show that figuring out what it is, how to go about it and doing it is something that the nation needs to grapple with.

This is one of the few books this year that has made a real, and probably lasting impression on me, and chances are it will make one on you  too. Without a doubt, everyone from 18 and up should read this. Not only does it present you with things to ponder, it adds to a more rounded, full view of our country's history and how we can all become full citizens of our nation.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The weekend that was

  • I'm feeling the bullet points, I think I'll be using them for all the weekend update posts. It's much easier.
  • Saturday was a morning dentist trip. To say that I was afraid is putting it mildly, but I survived. The dentist was great, he explained everything and it was the first time I was given a mirror to hold to see what was going on. It helped calm me down a little, but sadly did nothing for my gag reflex, it got so bad towards the end that he had me sit up 0_o. 
  • Another not so nice part was the injections, or finding out that I'll need extractions - the full number to be confirmed once I see the orthodontist, and he gets a panoramic x-ray [gag reflex made it hard to get one :-/] but it would be a minimum of two - and that braces are a must now. It turns out I have a few submerged teeth.
  • You're probably wondering why I'm only finding this out now, but coupled with having only ever gone once when I was growing up, a chunk of fear and two really bad dentist incidents before, it kind of makes sense.
  • Post dentist we gamed, and my character died :(.
  • Post gaming was dinner at Vovo Telo, yay for cake :).
  • Sunday was a day of sleeping late, taking it easy, lots of reading and finally meeting my sisters foybriend.
How was your weekend?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Five for Friday: Not so bright and shiney

So this is brought on in part due to an early morning conversation with my sister, and also due to seeing someone's blog and admiring her honesty with just expressing almost all that's on her mind.
  • I hate feeling like a mean, stingy cow just because I don't have the money to give my family of origin when asked. The family I prioritise is the unit Jerall and I make, end of story. Now just to learn to let go of that guilt, and not feel like less of a person for it :-/.
  • When stressed or anxious about something, I get chest pains. I know it'll happen, but just not what to do to counter it or get it to end soon. Sometimes things just suck.
  • I've become slightly obsessed with how bad my teeth are :-/. Seeing the dentist tomorrow, it's a bit scary.
  • I need to write my review on Conversations with My Sons and Daughters by Mamphle Ramphele, it has made such an impression on me. I believe that everyone leaving school or university needs to read it. I attended her launch at Book Lounge, and had a question that she seemed to like, and referred to when answering another. She also remembered me when I went up to get her to sign my book :). Yay me.
  • I need to have more yay me moments, and in general need to believe in myself more. This was highlighted by someone that I respect passing an advertisement on to me for something I don't think I could do, but she clearly does.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Book review: The Edge of Nowhere

Given that I'll be writing a few more of these, I'll be giving some takes on format a whirl.

Title and author: The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George. The author is known for her Inspector Lynley novels - I haven't read any of those, but might just give them a try based off this novel. The Edge of Nowhere is her take on YA, and is the first in a planned series.

What is it about aka the blurb: I'll try not to use too much of the blurb here, but it is one handy thing to use for this part :). The protagonist - Becca King  - is on the run from her stepfather. Her mother hatches a plan, but it doesn't go as planned. In trying to survive she befriends some people, and gets involved, full well knowing her safety requires her to keep a low profile. Keeping a low profile for Becca is important, not just because she's on the run, but also because she has a special gift/ability/talent to "hear" other people's thoughts.

Readability and who would enjoy it:  I found this well written. The chapters flowed into each other seamlessly, even the change of perspectives didn't effect the ease of reading. Normally, I'm not a fan of the perspective character change, but when it's done well you remember why it's a tool used by authors to further the story. Anyone who isn't instantly put off by the YA tag could enjoy it. Added to that anyone who reads crime fiction or might want to try crime fiction out could enjoy this. This is a book that could do the rounds in a family, well those with 15 year olds and up in it. All in all it's a light, non intensive read, and I'm looking forward to the second book.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The weekend that was

  • Bullet points because I'm feeling lazy.
  • Friday was a take it easy night, we watched a few  -  but not enough - episodes of Hunter X Hunter.
  • Saturday morning we went to Bread for breakfast, then hit up Biscuit Mill for chocolate and hummus.
  • Saturday afternoon and early evening was spent at a birthday get together for a pal. Cocktails in the sun = good times :).
  • That was followed by dinner and games back at our place with another friend.
  • Sunday was all day gaming, all the monsters were slayed :).

Friday, 12 October 2012

Five for Friday: Some random

    Spotted in the parking lot at Kirstenbosch Gardens. Yes, it is a tree stump under the tar.














  • I'm in  "time to cut my hair" mode. Mostly it's been brought on by me being really tired of taking about an hour and a half to straighten it whenever i wash my hair, and also because recently people have been pulling my hair. Yip, random people have been pulling my hair. To be somewhat fair, it has only been happening on the taxi. My ponytail gets tugged by the person behind me, because they just don't care/notice that they're being asshats. What makes it worse is that it continues despite the person being made aware that they're pulling my hair.
  • We've been trying to cut down on our meat consumptions, aiming for three vegetarian dinners a week. So far so good, although it has been made easier by the fact that whenever we go grocery shopping the meat looks awful and we just don't buy any.
  • Aiming for getting something right three times a week has helped a lot. It's paid off in our take lunch to work more often quest, now with the meat-free dinners and I'm going to try and apply it to getting back into the swing with my physio exercises.
  • I've had a quote from Criminal Minds on my mind a lot lately - sadly I can't remember who said it or which season it was from, so if you know please share. Life it's a hell of a thing to live through.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Book Review: Delusion in Death


If you missed it I'm a big J.D. Robb fan, and so it's no surprise that I let out a little squee when I got to work on Friday and spotted that we had her newest title, Delusion in Death. This one has mass murder through unknown means, and the usual crazy baddie. What I enjoyed is the progress that Eve is making in working through what happened in New York to Dallas - the only title in the series to not follow the "... in Death" naming convention. Yes, some of what happens does feel a little formulaic, but this is a thriller/murder mystery/cop series so there will be some elements that are the same in all of them. And honestly the big draw of a series is the learning new things about the characters, and seeing what is happening with them. Don't characters feel like friends to you too?

I digress, the action in this one is a bit disappointing - Eve kicking ass is always fun, but the interview room scenes are as good as ever. The Somerset and  Eve one liners are still there adding depth to both of them. Roarke, Peabody and Dr Mira are their usual self, but we do read/see more of some of the smaller newer characters added along the way. All in all, if you're a fan this won't disappoint. If you're new to the series, don't read this one until you've at least read New York to Dallas.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The weekend that was

This weekend was a lovely, easy-going one. On Friday evening we went to Canal Walk to go check out the sale at the Cape Union Mart there - both of us are in need of boots. Sadly although they had some lovely boots, none of them fit :-/. That was followed by dinner at Cattle Baron, which has a good burger for a good price, and very good double thick milkshakes.

Saturday was all about gaming. First there was the PFS game at Fanaticus, followed by boardgames at friends. I finally won a game of Agricola - it only took something like 40 games 0_o. Sunday morning was a take it easy morning, we watched some shows, Jerall played DoA 5, I read the new J.D. Robb and then we went off to have an early dinner with friend M who just moved back to Cape Town. We checked out the Readers Warehouse, and I picked up a great cookbook, and filled some of the gaps in my J.D. Robb collection. We tried out Vovo Tello for dinner, the food was great, especially the bread and cake :). I loved the lattes, sadly the service was a bit slow, and there was an issue with one of our meals. Overall though it was/is a great place.

One of the chandeliers at Vovo Tello.

Lamb burger and sweet potato fries.

Chicken, cranberry and whipped brie salad.

A design point on the wall near the staircase.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Five for Friday: Books I've recently read, and want everyone to read

For some reason, despite books being such a big part of my everyday life, I tend not to talk/blog about books often. I'll be changing that. You won't be overloaded by book talk, but it will feature more often, starting today.

  1. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Hilarious just doesn't seem to cover how funny this book is. You'll find yourself stopping between chapters simply because you're either out of breath or your stomach muscles just can't handle it anymore.
  2. A Bantu In My Bathroom by Eusebius McKaiser. Thoughtful, well written and something that gets you examining your views on the subjects covered. The essay on coloureds in Cape Town really got me pondering, a week later I'm still considering what was raised.
  3. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Funny, well written fantasy with an adventure that happens in a book, you can't go wrong.
  4. Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter. Sci fi where the science makes sense :) Interesting characters, well written and something that just keeps you absorbed.
  5. It's a three way tie between: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, Spud: Exit, Pursued By A Bear by John van der Ruit and Unedited by Jane Raphaely. They're three very different books, but all are entertaining, keep you in the world, and just all round enjoyable.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Meme: How do you read?

I came across this at Gina's blog, who of found it elsewhere...and it's spreading all over.

How do you organise your books?
Those that are on the bookshelf - we only have one, it takes us awhile to find shelves we both like - are in sections: completed series, graphic novels, Pratchett books, hardcovers, cook books and then the bottom shelf has the rpg books. Each section is in alphabetical order. Those stacked all over the flat, and in clear plastic storage boxes are in alpha order too.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
I read them all :).


Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
No, I just read whenever, wherever I can.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time?
I used to be the one book at a time person, but I've turned into the many books on the go person over the past year or so.

What is the last book you bought?
The Rogue by Trudi Canavan, and The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones.

What are you currently reading?
I'm reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) , Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb, and Secrets by Freya North.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
It depends where I am, if I can then I do most of the time.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
It's another, it depends question. So I suppose it's a sometimes answer ;).

Monday, 1 October 2012

Catching up

I know, it's been a month since the last post. This time though I have a really good reason for not posting, no internet. When we left our wifi contract had just ended and we got back and took our time finding a new internet solution. There's not too much to tell, but here goes:
  • the permanent job I was promised, by the director of the company, didn't happen.
  • I got a higher rate, but now have gone from working full weeks to about 12 - 15 hours a week. It's like they want me to leave.
  • I should consider leaving, but we might be heading back to NL in December, so even though it's not the best job option it is one I can have right now, and have it work till we leave. If we don't go then it's clearly something that needs another think.
  • I'm looking into going into teaching. This comes from my constant back and forth between what it is I want to do. I know I like being around people, and I want to do something that makes a difference, so teaching seems to be something that makes sense.
  • It's been a battle to get back on track with eating correctly, and doing all of my physio exercises. I'm almost there with the eating, but still a long way off with the exercise.
  • In random news, Dredd is a very violent movie, but not terrible. The new Rowling, The Casual Vacancy, is a surprisingly good read.
And that is that. How are you doing?

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Me in a nutshell: I game, read, tweet, enjoy good food, have bouts of red pen rage and I'm a coffee snob.

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