A day in the life…

It really sucks, you know. The doorbell rings just as I’m feeding my hair, and for one teeny moment I forget, and open the door without putting on my glasses first.

Poof. One stone television repair person on the porch.

I drag him inside and close the door before I notice anyone else. Shame, he looks like a decent sort, too. His heels scratch furrows into my linoleum as I manhandle (excuse me, wrestle) him to the back door and out into the yard. There he joins my unfortunately growing collection of statues. Some are nice and mossy by now – I’ve been here a while – but there’s a distressing number of them wearing twentieth century clothing.

My hair starts hissing for their food, so I go inside and resume feeding them white mice, bought yesterday at a bargain price from the pet shop. I’m his best client, I’m sure. He thinks I keep pet snakes. He’s not wrong.

I put on my make-up, my hair humming contentedly now that they’re fed. That thing about mirrors … you have to understand, the guy had a magic mirror. Normal ones are not a problem. So I put on make-up, noting that the skin still looks pretty good after all these millennia. And I put on the wig. My hair really loathes the wig, I can tell you. But there’s really no blending in with a head full of snakes, now is there?

Finally comes the momentarily forgotten glasses. Lead-impregnated, specially imported from Switzerland. They think I’m working with seriously weird radiation. It depends from which side you’re looking, I suppose.

Then I’m off to work. I have a job as a lawyer’s receptionist. Just typing, making appointments, the usual. People tend to freeze when I glare at them, but at least the glasses ensure that they resume moving afterwards. It’s kind of useful, that way. I always have their full attention.

I remember to call the TV Company to complain that the repair person had not fixed it. What’s a girl to do but watch TV? It’s not like I’m much into dating these days. There’s the age difference, for one.

On the way home I stop by the supermarket for a TV meal, only to remember the TV is still broken. So I get McDonald’s and watch the sunset from my statue-filled garden.

And life goes on.


Author’s note:Β  This was written back in 2008 for the Redbubble Bestiary – this story got an honourable mention.
This is a work of original fiction and I reserve all rights to it.
(c) Leoni Venter 2008

Mosquito Hunting

<An entry for the Real Hitchhiker’s Guide>

The Earth, although mostly harmless, is infested in places with some very irritating life-forms (excluding humans). As an alien visitor you can choose to avoid these places, but if you absolutely have to see them, here are a few tips about mosquito-hunting.

The irritation level caused by mosquitoes is determined by a number of factors. If you’re unable to hear high frequency sounds and have a blood chemistry based on copper in stead of iron, you will have no trouble at all with mosquitoes. In fact, you can stop reading this right now and go enjoy the interesting experiences these places have to offer (such as being eaten by alligators.)

Right, if you’re still here you’ve got a problem. Mosquitoes are tiny flying insects that attempt to drive you crazy by emitting a high-pitched whine. They also sting and drink the blood of certain organisms. You can use various types of poison to kill or discourage them, but mostly those still leave you with a period of listening to that maddening whine. The most immediate method is to manually squash the mosquito. This is not easy.

First you have to locate it, and the only way is by ear. You have to triangulate its position based on that irritating sound. When you’ve located it, NEVER take your eyes off it, you’ll just lose it if you do. If this means walking backwards and falling over your suitcases, so be it.

Also, do not try to catch it with your hand. In my experience this is extremely likely to fail, and you’ll lose the mosquito while checking your hand to see if you’d caught it.

The best way is to have a (medium to hard) pillow ready, for best accuracy and squashing effectiveness. Follow your mosquito around until it is close to a level, solid surface (such as a wall or ceiling) and then throw the pillow at it with enough force to squash the mosquito without damage to the wall or ceiling.

If you’re lucky this will leave the mosquito stuck on the surface as a trophy of your victory. Otherwise, you’ll have to locate it and try again.

Anyway, this provides a lot of excitement in some very boring places, unless of course, you like being eaten by alligators.

Dual-booting the brain

What does it mean to dual-boot a computer?

In simplest terms, it means that you have two different operating systems (OS’s) installed, and can choose which one you want to run when you start the computer. The two OS’s have no communication with each other. When one is running, the other is effectively dead. But both, when running, make use of the same set of hardware. The same processor, memory (RAM) and storage devices.

Operating Systems use RAM to do all their work in. It’s like the work table of the OS. It might get cluttered because OS’s never tidy up. When the table gets full, the OS simply overwrites any old, obsolete data that might still be sitting in RAM with new data being used now. Technically, if one could boot up into the other OS without losing power (because RAM needs power to keep data in memory), it should be possible to access fragments of data that was used by the other OS when it was running. But the longer an OS is running and working in RAM, the more of the previous data will be overwritten and lost.

Which finally brings me to the point of all this: Dreams.

When I wake up, I can remember varying amounts of detail from my dreams, but they soon begin to fade. Am I not just accessing my short term memory (RAM) and catching glimpses of the old data still sitting there? Sometimes they make no sense, but they’re fragmented and being overwritten even as I think about them, so that is understandable. Or perhaps my dream OS – the one that runs when I’m sleeping – is a completely different one, like Linux in stead of Windows. It uses another language altogether, which is why I can fly in my dreams. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It works the other way round, too. Many times a dream incorporates fragments of waking experiences – retrieved, of course, from memory. And sometimes very weird things seem to happen. That is because you have a situation of trying to make sense of a dream that was trying to make sense of a memory.

All this fascinates me, but what I would really like is to get my dream OS to store my dreams in long-term memory (the hard disk, so to speak) so that I can get to them when awake. Might need a special “reader” to translate the dream from Linux to Windows file formatting. Any programmers out there who’d like to give it a try? πŸ˜‰

Frog Serenade

On a hot summer night, humid and sleepy, the pond and its surroundings resound with amphibian revelry. Marveling at the many tones and patterns, I sneak out with a torch to get a look at the members of the chorus. As I step close the chorus falls silent, and in the light a dozen pairs of accusing frog eyes stare at me. I beat a hasty retreat. It is embarrassing to interrupt an orgy.

Beware Exclus1ves.co.za!

I’ve been a Fanatics book club member for years, so when they sent me a letter about their new online shop I checked it out. They gave a R50 voucher for first purchase so I ordered the Avatar soundtrack cd. At checkout there was an error. Two days later the money went off my credit card, but there is no order on my profile. I sent them a message, I called their office, then I sent them a long e-mail, and to all of that I have had no response. In my opinion, they are either THIEVES, or their client service sucks!

Just looked at their site again, and they have “no products to display” and I am unable to log in. It’s a mess…

Meet the Zazen Studio

Meet the Zazen Studio

I’ve been working the last 3 days on a new website for Zazen Studio. I’ve been staying in the Studio while working on the site and it’s been a great experience.

Go see the website for photos of the Studio. It offers beautiful and tranquil accommodation in the Gauteng area. Close to Sandton, Randburg and Fourways, you easily forget that you’re staying in the middle of a large city.

The Grey Wanderer

The Grey Wanderer

Vue render of my favourite old wizard. I’ve been playing with and extending my skills with Vue the last few months – it’s getting easier to get the look I want.

Full view here.

In other news – I won a challenge at RedBubble with my “Golden Dragon” fractal. See the entries here.

And I’ve sold two mounted prints of other fractal images (This and this). It’s ironic that I get recognition for randomly-generated fractals but the 3D renders that I struggle with for days are completely ignored. Ah well.

We’re having a drought while the rest of the country is getting more rain than they want or can handle. Strange. It’s raining less than 100km away but not here. Not since last year.

Dinner for two

Dinner for two

Been a while since I posted. Can’t be bothered most days. Anyway, the picture today is a Vue render with a bit of postwork in Photoshop and Picasa.

In other news, the new year has finally started, work is still a bit slow but I’m hoping it will pick up soon. It’s a beautiful January on the mountain – we’ve had quite a bit of rain so everything is lush and green. The days are not too hot and the night air is like champagne. I love January on the mountain! πŸ™‚

Lakeside morning

Lakeside morning

Vue render, no postwork.

Full view here.

If you’re observant you may notice that this picture and the previous one is of the exact same spot – I just changed the atmosphere, added water, removed the maize πŸ™‚

Been a busy week, worked in the shop every day from 9am to 5:30pm. And cutting stuff evenings. I feel like I need a holiday!

Stars fall down