July 2009

My scale is trying to kill me.

If you have a Boardman’s BF103 Digital Scale, take note.

yin This symbol denotes female,

yang and this one denotes male.

If you get it wrong, the POS will look things up in the wrong table, and pronounce you, the guy, underweight, and her, SWMBO, the love of your life, the one you promised to love and cherish,  and the person most likely to kill you if you Don’t Watch Your Step, as obese.

You Have Been Warned.

Scalzi rocks

Marko pointed me to Scalzi. Being of the opinion that Marko knows what he’s talking about most of the time :-) I ordered a copy of Old Man’s War from Amazon. Just finished it, and it rocks.

A bit rough around the edges, couple of things he (in my opinion, of course) missed, but not bad for a young ‘un (Mr Scalzi is two years younger’n me :-)

I can’t help but to compare OMW to Neal Stephenson‘s first book, The Big U. I really really like Stephenson, Diamond Age, Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon are highly recommended [1] — but The Big U, while having excellent ideas, is way shaky.

But let’s face it — I expect that from a first novel. And that’s why Scalzi rocks. If he improves like Stephenson improved, or for that matter like Pratchett improved [2], it’s going to be phenomenal. If he just maintains, it will still be good.

The other three books in the trilogy immediately found themselves on my Amazon wish list.

Now I’m into Parker’s Devices and Desires, the first of a trilogy. Someone recommended it, but I can’t remember who. Looks like it might be good.

[1] You have to be really into Stephenson to read the Baroque cycle :-)

[2] Go read The Colour of Magic again — it’s shakey :-)

End of an Era.

Giovanni came to South Africa some 45 years ago [1]. He was one of the first people to cut my hair, at Salon Etna, on Thibault Square in Cape Town (my grandmother worked next door, in the Medical Centre).

Over the years Giovanni became a Cape Town landmark, to the point of briefly appearing in a Vodacom advertisement (13 seconds in).

Well, I went there this morning, and Giovanni is now called Eleanor… he retired in May, sold the place to her. She tells me he still checks in every week, and that one of the two barber’s chairs is on loan from him (he imported four chairs from Japan, waybackwhen, and vowed to give one chair to each of his sons and to keep one chair to himself [2], leaving Eleanor with a solitary chair — she will have to make a plan sometime).

Anyway, I shall toast the memories of his haircuts at sundowners tomorrow.

[1] My father can tell the story in the comments if he feels like it [3].

[2] Pieter can tell the story in the comments if he feels like it.

[3] Pieter can help my father figure out how to :-)

My twin brother came by for a visit


His name is James and he’s been building satellites  in Surrey for more than a decade.

And he’s not really my brother, people just mistook him for that at my (first) wedding, which is pretty much when I saw him last.

Anywayz, sounds like he might be coming back to SA, but that would still put him 1500km north of me… at least I’ll see him slightly more often :-) Also, he can collect the six huge boxes of crap he stored at my place before he left.