Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

My bank account has ebola...

No wait it is SARS!

Today is D-day for paying my provisional tax return, and yes I have left it to the last minute...

Up to now it has been a matter of filling in a form and posting it off, as I have had to pay PAYE upfront on all my earnings. But now that I work for Canonical, I get my gross salary paid to me (from the Isle of Man nogal) and I have to figure the taxation out myself.

I have really enjoyed having all the extra cash sloshing around in my bank account and making things feel nice and bouyant. ( Are you getying the puns on liquidity?), but sadly I have to dosh over basically a full year's tax TODAY. I have had to phone the bank to up my daily trasfer limit.

I have beeen sure to make my estimates a little conservative, because for once I don't want to have to claim tax back in my return. So when I get my tax return fully completed and checked over by a more qualified person, I am sure I will need to pay in some more to square things up.

For now I will lament that sweet moolah which was doing such a good job of lining my bank account, and making me feel opulent and secure. I am also going to need to watch my budget closely again.

I see RED.

Monday, 27 February 2006


I did not grow up in a very sporting family, in fact as far as I am concerned instead of being encouraged to participate in sport, we were actively discouraged. My parents were disparaging about sport and people who watched and participated in sports. It was seen as a silly waste of time and money. Also, as it would have envolved more complex time tables for us kids and lots of fetching and carrying, I think it was seen as too much trouble, particularly on week-ends - since my parents had 4 kids and I can see how that can become a pain...

Anyway primary school went by with very little sport involvement from me and by the time I got to high school I wasn't much interested and didn't volunteer to spend any more time on the school grounds than I absolutely had to.

As a result, I have never been very fit and never developed much hand-eye co-ordination or aptitude for sports either. I have always favoured solitary or one-on-one games (like fencing), as I have always felt uncomfortable in a team and like I will be the one to let the team down...

When it came to beach volleyball or frisbee I would normally try half-heartedly, expecting to be bad at it, and would hand off to someone else as soon as I could.
Quinn batting at cricket practice on Friday.
Fast forward 10+ years.

I started doing yoga weekly 8 years ago (which I still do), 4 years ago I joined our local gym and did aqua-aerobics, bums & tums workouts and walking etc, and I now do kata-boxing (martial arts style cardio kicking and punching etc) once a week, and have done for 2.5 years. In September I started running, and I have run over 500km since...

I feel stronger and fitter than I ever have, and I actually can't believe I didn't participate in sport at school, because judging by my current abilites I think I could have been pretty good!

Quinn has started Cricket and tennis at school. I went to his Cricket practice on Friday, and he was not doing particularly well. The result was he tried less and less, and didn't really bother to get back in line and so was not even getting much practice at all. Also, with some of the boys already looking very professional, I think it was intimidating for him... (I have included some pictures from the begining of the practice when he was doing ok - very cute!).

So on Saturday morning I bought him 4 tennis balls and a tennis set (complete with racquet, sweat bands & head bands etc ). We then took his cricket bat and the tennis gear and balls to our local park and got busy.
Quinn catching ball at cricket practice on Friday.
We had SUCH fun.

It turns out Richard is a star bowler (a talent he'd kept well hidden from me).

Quinn batted, bowled, caught and chased the ball and got more confident, and even Griffin was running after stray balls and getting in on the action.

After a while I got a long turn to bat, and I surprised myself by being far better than I thought I would be - but put it down to Richard being an accurate and consistent bowler, but still I was imagining joining a cricket team I was having so much fun!

We ended up going back again on Sunday afternoon, and I even convinced the boys to run right around the cricket field, to earn an ice-cream. Which they both eagerly did.

Quinn's battling and bowling has improved dramatically since Friday, and he even managed to hit all 4 balls in a row at times. Now that he has had some success he is also far more keen and excited about it, so I am sure he will enjoy the school practice much more this week and will start to try harder.

I had a turn batting again, and this time Richard got adventurouse with spin bowling and high-speed bowling too, with a combination of cricket bat and then tennis racquet I was able to return most of what he threw at me - even when he fired all 4 balls off in quick succession. I reckon I was hitting at least 90% of the balls.

Quinn bowling at cricket practice on Friday.
I can feel that it was a work out too, even thought at the time is seemed quite effortless and natural - my bum knows it's been working!

I am really going to try to instill a love of sports and physical activity in the kids because it it so nice to be active and to feel in touch with your body, and because I think it harder having to learn that later in life.

Gold Bug

On Friday while having a swim after work, I found the most amazing beetle in the swimming pool.

I have never seen anything like it.
It was completly gold and at first I thought it was a gold plated toy or piece of jewelry, but when it moved I realised it was a real live bug!

It immediately made me think of Richard Scarry and his Busy Town Books, which always feature a character somewhere in the page titled 'Gold Bug'. I gave it to Quinn and asked him to put it in a bottle thinking it would be fun to keep it and/or take it to school for show and tell, but alas it was set free during the evening. I guess I wasn't specific enough about the putting it in a bottle, because although it had been put in a bottle, the bottle had no lid! *roll eyes*

I did a quick search and discovered it is a Fool's Gold Beetle or Aspidomorpha tecta , they eat Morning Glory leaves and our next door neighbour has one growing on our adjacent wall so that must be where it came from.
Edit: I just found another reference to it as a
Golden Tortoise Beetle - Charidotella sexpunctata which looks exactly the same, I wonder if this beetle has been classified twice...?

I'll have a look around to see if I can find any more...

Here is some more info:
From Bug Guide and from wikipedia.

Thursday, 23 February 2006

Guess what?


The Dapper Rats

We have had our rat-critters for 2 months now, and so far so good. They are actually pretty cute, and it's nice to see how they have bonded with the kids. In fact they are far tamer with the boys than they ever are with me.

I can not get them to keep still at all - which makes photo taking with a not very fast camera quite difficult!

I am assuming at over 3 months old they are about at their full adult size.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Quinn the Athlete - maybe not

Quinn ran in his first inter-house athletics event on Friday. It was a fun and festive event and the whole junior and senior school was there, making it quite crowded, loud and overwhelming for the Grade 1s.

Quinn is in the yellow house called Andrews.

I think he had fun, but he was not exactly the star performer. Unfortunately - like his parents - he is a bit self-concious, so spent more time looking around to see who was watching him, than getting on with running!
In the end after his 50m dash - with gigantic big tackies on, he managed to come in second last. Which means someone else was slower than him - yeah!

Next time we'll get him to run sans shoes which will probably help.
He is however telling people he came second. We'll not burst his bubble this time.

Monday, 20 February 2006

The dirty week-end

After already been spoiled on Valentine's day, I was taken away for a spectacular week-end too. I was expecting it to be nice, but I wasn't prepared to be treated like a Queen from start to finish. *grin*

Richard had been given a free week-end at any City Lodge after having a very bad experience there during a Johannesburg trip last year. He decided to cash it in at the Courtyard in Cape Town, which is one of the nicer hotels...

I was told to make myself available from 4pm on Friday and to pack a bag for Saturday. Which I did. I did not at all expect what followed...

Richard and the boys collected me at 4pm and took me off to the Courtyard, where I was to kiss them all goodbye, as they left. I was then handed a bag by the hotel doorman William. He ushered my to a cloakroom and handed me a note. The note told me to change into my swimming gear (which was in the bag, along with snacks, sunscreen, hat and a magazine etc) and then follow William. I did this and he showed me through to the swimming pool deck, and prepared a lounger with fresh towels for me. I relaxed in the sun for 20 minutes and was then summoned by a friendly-looking lady.

She showed me through to a room which she said was my room. It was a thatched cottage with downstairs living area and upstairs bedroom and bathroom. There was a massage table set-up in the living area. A note told me to go upstairs to undress for the massage. There was a robe and underwear waiting for me.I went back down and had a lovely massage. A combination of aromatherapy and reflexology and shiatsu etc. The result was very relaxing and calming though. Simply lovely. When she was done she slipped away handing me another note. This one told me I had some time to relax and look around, and then to get ready for dinner. I had about an hour and a half. The living area had a kitchenette. Richard had provided red wine, sparkling wine, beer and tequila. So I made a shandy and went back upstairs to look around.

It was simply over-whelming. There were helium balloons tied to the banister, and the whole room and bed was decorated with candles, scatter cushions, scented pillows photos, flowers, cards etc. As well as a gift bag with lotions and massage oils etc. My clothing for dinner was laid out on the bed with shoes, hair accesories and jewelry and everything. I don't think a single thing was overlooked.
The roses on the bed were beautiful - with the flower part made out of feathers The bathroom contained all the toiletries I could possibly need, all beautifully packaged in a pink netted bag, and the bath was filled with red rose petals.

Then I saw a package on the bed, I had thought it was my present from Valentines day a few days earlier, but then realised it was a different parcel.

It was a package containing La Senza lingerie. WOW
I spent some time bathing and getting ready for dinner, and then made my way down to to the Wild Fig Restaurant's bar as instructed in the note on the bed.
(photos were forgotten after this)

I ordered a glass of red wine and waited, after a while Richard arrived looking very smart, in a new shirt and tie, which matched my outfit.

He had made plans for the kids to sleep out and taken care of packing their bags and getting them there etc. I had not had to plan anything or worry about anything or co-ordinate anything. It was nice to be able to just relax and go with the flow instead of having to be in charge and looking after everything!

We had a delicious dinner before returning to our room...

The next morning we woke up late and had a slow start to our day. At about 11:30 am we went to the gym, where we worked out a bit and met up with the kids and let them swim. We then all went for breakfast (at lunchtime) and had bacon and eggs.

After that we went through to our friend's renovation-completion- house-warming. We were planning on just stopping to say hi and dropping the kids off, but we ended up staying for quite long and having a wonderful time. We also made and ate sushi rolls and had the most delicious crayfish and litchi salad *YUM*, as well as looking at photos of some other friend's recent engagement in Zanzibar - it looks stunning. We had a good giggle about what was being called our 'dirty week-end' and I think the rest of the guys are going to be expected to be at thoughtful and creative now. (I hope they do it, because their ladies deserve it!)

We finally trundled off into the thick mist back over the mountain to our hotel...

We had another late morning, waking to a massive Cape power failure.
We finally made it back over the mountain after dropping all our luggage at home and collecting a take-way lunch for everyone at about 2pm.

We relaxed and chatted while the boys played and played. We took them home at about 6:30pm, both boys passed out on the way home, and were put straigh to bed.
With the power still out, we had no option but to continue our romantic week-end - by candle light - there was nothing else to do! ;)

I think it was a simply perfect weekend.

Am I lucky or what?

Memories of an Angel

We were just reminded of our baby Angel, while looking through some old photo directories... after a week-end of fun, and happy gentleness, a wave of warm sadness fills me.

She would have been 8 years old this year.

Angelique, I hope you are happy and at peace. We love you.

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Wellington's Day

Although we had discussed not doing anything on Valentine's Day this year. (Especially since we were going away for the week-end).

I decided it would be fun to dress up...

and I got REALLY spoiled as a reward... (Temptations lingerie, as seen on Lee-Ann Liebenberg)

I could definitely get used to this :)))

Friday, 10 February 2006


No really I am!

Take me back to London please. The room I work in get's up to at least 30 degs celsius each day, often much higher.

When the wind blows it's just bearable, but when it doesn't - it's smeltingly hot. We have a lovely cool swimming pool about 20 meters away, but sadly that is out of bounds until the work day is done.

Until then, I guess I will have to keep this freezer block shoved down my shirt! ;P

I gave way to censorship

I have been posting my photos on flickr for a few months now. I think it's a fantasic site, and a great way to share pictures and anecdotes with friends, family and other strange people...

However, sometimes those strange people seem to be more strange than you'd like... I happened to browse through my photos in order of most viewed earlier. Unsurprisingly my Edubuntu cake sits at the top with 2006 hits - because it has an Ubuntu tag...

What was a little surprising was to find a pretty innocent photo of Griffin bathing with over 1400 views... hrm. I looked a bit more closely and a vague murkey outline of little boy genitals is visible through the pretty opaque water. It is similar to this picture. Had the views been more proportionate I would not have taken issue at all, but the dispartity between the number of views of this picture and most of my others was quite startling.

It didn't feel right, and although I was a bit conflicted because censorship is not my style, I decided it would be best to remove it.

Get your thrills somewhere else sickos!

Quoted in the press...

I was asked for comment on whether Ubuntu will support the new IntelMacs or 'Mactels' for Computer World the other day.

I have been quoted in the subsequent article, although I think refering to me as 'Jane Weideman, a spokesperson for the Isle of Man, England-based company.' is a bit ambiguous.

Still we'll take fame and celebrity where we can get it ;)

This is Jane Weideman reporting for Jane's Blog trivia and other useless commentary.

I will write about Camden sometime soon. I promise!

Camden fantasies

On arrival in Camden on Sunday, the street was bustling with activity. Evidently Sunday is the busiest day to visit... normally I am not a fan of crowds, but it added to the excitement and atmosphere on the day so I didn't mind. Also with so many other people around the stall holders were generally busy, so didn't bother me or push their wares on me. I prefer it that way.

There was a surge of people heading out the tube station and along the main street so I followed them - taking in all the amazing sensations around me. I saw, heard and smelled an extraordinary array of things. There were weird and wonderful people all over the place. Including some rather cringe-worthy Afrikaans in shocking accents.

Aside: I find myself becoming very critical of bad South African accents when I am away. I think I tend to over compensate as well because my well spoken Cambridge based colleague said I speak 'the Queen's English' and 'like I have a plum in my mouth' - doesn't sound like a compliment does it? But then I guess he hasn't heard how SOME Souf Efrikens speak, so I'll take it as a compliment!

However, I must point out that on the way to Camden there was a Jamaican sounding woman and a younger girl. The younger girl appeared to be speaking Hebrew or some other strange language, but I could understand the mother speaking an Island-accented English back to her. It was only after listening intently for quite a few minutes that I realised, OMG the younger girl was speaking in a totally unintelligible version of English. wtf?! Anyway I digress..
Jostling my way up the street I stopped to browse in small shops, side alleys and markets. The whole place is like a fractal, with alleys inside alleys inside alleays inside alleys - I don't think there really is a beginning or an end to it.

I was in awe of most of what I saw and was really having style-schizophrenia. I was drawn to one particular style but rather loved the boho, modern, rave-bunny, Gothic, S&M, fetish, Thai and island style wear - pretty much everything I saw *blushe*

Unfortunately shopping wasn't really much of an option for me, considering our very bad exchange rate (around R11 to a single British pound after converting), but I literally feasted my eyes on stuff. I probably looked quite a sight too, looking all normal and probably quite conservative and staring at corsets and stiletto-heeled ankle boots, and with my imagination running wild.

I also had quite a strong urge to do something weird and wonderful with my hair, many people had extensions or dyed highlights in bright colours, and some more extreme with not only the bright colours but odd punky hairstyles too. For me time and money limited that option.

Some really nice photos of the Camden stables market can be found here.
I went into one strange shop after hearing people chuckling outside saying 'That's place is REALLY dodgy', so I was all like yeah I got to go in there!

So in I go. The place is literally FULL of black t-shirts, from floor to ceiling, they are hanging everywhere and many have fallen and lie where they fell. There are also flags, pants, PVC clothing and other oddities. I paused to look at the latter when this weird short-round-eastern-European man with the strangest accent grumpily ordered me to continue through the one-way channel down the centre of the dingy store. Not wanting to speak I obliged, and then realised I was just getting trapped at the back in a mass of black t-shirts, and other strange foreign people. If it wasn't so funny it would have been scary. I waited for a gap in the queue and tried to make my way back to the middle section where the odd things were. I got there as another flood of people were ushered through by the grumpy brusque man. I stepped aside as well as I could and tried to manoeuvre my body into a small gap in the t-shirt pile chaos, to allow grumpy bastards customers to pass. What does the shit do? He yelled at me to move! That was it, I was officially affronted and not-impressed so I marched out. I heard him call me back, but couldn't be bothered so went on my way... thinking assholic-weirdo.

I moved on and took in the clothing market in the Electric Ballroom, the punks who hang out around the bridge, and various other stalls and markets. I spent quite some time looking at rings, as I have been wanting one for my right hand for some time and just haven't found anything I like. There wasn't anything that really spoke to me though so I gave up.

After a while I moved on to the food markets. Wow the selection of foods on offer lwas astounding. I walked for probably half an hour looking at everything and smelling the delicious smells on the air. I eventually chose a Thai chicken and rice dish, mostly because the serving lady was very friendly and held out a sample of the chicken to me, and also because she acted so thrilled to hear me say 'Korb khun ka' (Thank-you). hehe. I have strange selection criteria sometimes - read on.
After my lunch and looking at all the horrendously priced Thai and Bali artefacts - which could be bought by going on holiday to Thailand and fetching them yourself for around the same price - crazy prices really, it was almost time to go.

I ambled back down the road. I tired to take a photo of some of the punks but one came galloping over. I had visions of being beaten to a pulp, but the dude basically said I was welcome to take a photo, they even pose with me, but I'd need to pay them for the privilege. I declined and walked away - I got a surreptitious shot anyway ;)

As I neared the tube station I passed the weirdo's shop again. I was compelled to go in again so I did. I ducked past the weirdo to the back, and I could hear him arguing with a girl at the front. I soon realised it was an employee and she was cursing and yelling at him for kicking her bag and he was degrading her and saying various vile things about her. I was thinking to myself what a terrible miscreant he was, when a young girl arrived and wanted to exchange a pair of pants with him. He started insulting her, and she was smiling through it all. After observing for a while I realised that that's just the way it works there. he puts on an act of being obnoxious and grumpy and basically insults and degraded everyone and they smile at him and like it.

After a while he saw me and said, 'Ah YOU. Why you run away earlier?' I told him because he was rude and chased me away. He said, ' I not rude, you rude. You were standing in my office!' - the hole in the debris is his 'office'!?

We bantered a bit and then I said I had been trying to look at his odd garments.
He asked me if I wanted to try one on and was being all creepy and suggestive. I told him I would actually, but not with a creepy guy like him as an audience thanks.

All the while he was prodding people with a stick and telling them he would cane them because they 'know they like it' etc. He was actually hilarious in the end and I found the more badly I treated him the more lewd and animated he became.

In the end I did try something on and even bought it, after haggling a 30% price reduction. What did I buy? Wouldn't you love to know!? ;)

Camden was quite an experience and rather fun. Go there.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

London is brighter on the dark-side

So my second week-end in London turned out to be much more fun (and far seedier) than my first - and I have a whole new outlook on London Town now.

On Saturday night we wrapped up the sprint, and even had time to change before dinner - a first at any of the Canonical events I have been at (and why I ended up going clubbing in Montreal in an Ubuntu t-shirt, I was hoping I looked cool, but sadly I think I just looked lame and geeky). We then headed off to have dinner at Tartufo Restaurant in Soho. It was a nice, if not slightly cramped restaurant. I had Gnochi with mushrooms and a creamy blue cheese sauce, which was nice and tiramisu, also yummy.
Afterwards we walked the streets of London looking for a pub, but being after 11pm these were not that easy to come by, after a while and a bit of group confusion I split of with Jeff, Scott and Tollef in search of a suitable club instead. Scott being a local UKer knew the lay of the land and took us via the London Millennium Footbridge, where we saw lots of the London sights by night. Very pretty. I am glad I got to see it all. Big ben, Tower Bridge, The London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Canary Wharf etc.

After our London at midnight sightseeing tour. We were taken to Heaven , which according to the website is the most famous gay club in the world... It certainly had it's share of yummy boys. I think Scott was amused at watching me watching them ;P
It was rather pricey (in Rand terms) to get in, and cost 14GBP including coat check - that's over R150! I hadn't realised the evening was going to be so expensive and had only taken 30GBP along with me. Scott very kindly bought us a couple of drinks - which I will make up to him next time I see him.
We had a great time there and danced for several hours. The club itself was pretty impressive and I really liked it. I have the feeling that it would really ROCK if recreational substances were involved... I may just need to go back sometime and test that theory ;)

After experiencing a ride in a London taxi we ended up back at the hotel at about 3am. I got to sleep at about 4am after thoroughly convincing myself that there is NOTHING to watch on TV at the time. I got up again at 8am, because we had agreed to rendezvous in the lobby at 9am to leave, I had arranged to take my bags to the office (in South Kensington) where I could collect them again on the way to my flight.

It took a while to get the group out of the hotel. After consultation we discovered, and then all decided, that we could leave our bags at Paddington Station so we headed there. I can see how poor Paddington Bear got lost there!

I then tagged along to the office. Only after some time did I realise I really didn't need to be there and was just wasting time, so I said my farewells and left on my own and made my way to Camden Town.
W-O-W. Is how I would describe Camden. It pretty much blew me away. If you have never been to Camden, or worse never even heard of it, you can find out more about it here.

More in the next post...

Gastro Sprint

So the Distro Sprint I have just been at could have been called the Gastro Sprint, with almost everyone coming down with a terrible gastro-like bug. It made it very not fun.

Jonathan Riddell summed the sprint up pretty well saying we were 'locked in a bland hotel in a bland part of London ... and told to work on things in return for Amarulla (sic).'
I for one could have actually done with getting The Plague (TM), as I had no respite to gorging on hotel food, which I am now regretting. All I got was lethagy and tiredness. Yay.

Despite dutifully dragging my ass out of bed early and going to the hotel gym about 6 times I ate FAR more than I should have and far more than I ever usually eat, including indulging in cheese and pastries etc. The worst part of it is that much of the food wasn't even that great, so it wasn't even worth it really. It was just something to do aside from work. BLAH.

I now have to get my body used to NOT eating every 2 hours and get rid of the craving for refined surgars.

I managed a quick run earlier and am planning to run to and from yoga later. I can't wait to streeeetch again. It will help me on my way to feeling healthy and like myself again.

I hate the bloated and sluggish feeling.

Friday, 3 February 2006

Yes, he cut his hair...

For some reason people are very preoccupied with Mark Shuttleworth's haircut, frankly I think he can do whatever he wants ...

Well he has now cut his surfer-style hair *and* donned a suit.

More photos of his new look can be seen here.

I think the new look suits him (excuse the pun), and looks rather dapper...hmm I wonder if this is an intentional image change to usher in the Ubuntu Dapper Drake release in April?

I am a survivor!

Although I did not take part in Fear Factor in the end, which is frankly a good thing considering how insane the current local series is, I have survived the 'London Distro Sprint Plague of Death'!

Yay me!

The following documents the progression of the plague, through the sprint daily reports I sent to Ubuntu-Devel-Announce - also on the Fridge.

"Sadly today was beset with illness, as a deadly plague struck the majority of the Distro Team incapacitating them for most of the day.

At one point we were down to a valiant team of 6 (out of a total of 16) - who so far have evaded the evil attack. Luckily the team fought back strongly and most are on the mend. (Flowers, Get-well-soon cards, stuffed toys, chocolates, alcohol, electronic gadgets, money etc gratefully accepted!)"

Even the relentless Matt was struck, and even though he true-to-form fended the disease off with more speed and impressive efficiency than anyone else he was caught napping on the job! Shock and horror! ;)

"This is Jane Weideman reporting for **Distro Sprint News**.

In the aftermath of the Distro Plague of Death the score is now.
Plague vs Survivors - 12:6

In response to the rumours, I can confirm with a fair level of certainty that Paul Sladen is in fact *not* the cause of this particular outbreak, as he has not been present - however I know he has been in the vicinity of London so it can't be fully ruled out ;).

Most of the team members are now recovered enough to be hard at work again. "

"This is today's installment of **Distro Sprint News**.

After hearing the news of the Distro Sprint 'Plague of Death' Paul Sladen could not keep himself away, and has joined us in our den of infirmity.

In related news, 'the plague' seems to be fairly widespread across the charming place that is, the UK in winter. Not only have half the hotel staff and other guests had it, it has now even caught the attention of the BBC. [1][2][3][4]. Clearly while Linux itself may remain steadfastly
virus free, it's developers are not as resilient to attack."

[4] "

Clearly this thing means business, and I am lucky to have survived realatively unscathed. I have 'outlasted' it and 'fear is evidently not a factor for' me :P