Monthly Archives: April 2013

Sizing Woes

I was in a shop the other day which has strong links to the United States. Okay, I’m not going to lie, it was Gap.

Gap is a cause unto its own and has scared me off ever going on a shopping trip to the States. I basically like Gap jeans because they come in a variety of cuts and moreover have very little detailing on them. No rhinestones on the pockets. No big fancy label stuck on the back advertising what size my waist is and the length of my leg (which is irrelevant as I am so stunted I generally have to cut the bottom off my jeans anyways. Moreover the jeans come in standard dark blues with no urban cool fading, precreased creases or strategically placed wear holes. I don’t want used looking jeans when I buy them, I want neutral ones that could almost pass as dark coloured pants if I want to wear them to work.

What does irk me about Gap though is their sizing. The Americans begin women’s sizing at 0. Oprah once had a huge uproar on her show when she claimed US manufacturers had moved the sizes down two spaces to make people feel thinner without actually getting thinner. This is possible but it does get a bit silly because some people are actually going to be a 00 or something. Which is like saying if 0 is nothing you have actually gone beyond nothing into the negative count.

The issue is Gap tells me smugly I need to look on the label and they give UK/US sizing conversions. These damned conversions do NOT work.

I try the size I think I am in the UK but it turns out to be too big. So maybe I am meant to be the UK size but as a US size? I try a size down from what I think is my size and it is still too big in one style but fits in another. I try one size down again in the style that was still too big. It turns out I have a retarded body. I am now two sizes too small according to the fittings guide but it is too loose on my hips and I feel like a sausage around the legs. There is nothing ‘skinny’ about skinny jeans – or rather the jeans may be skinny but if you are not also like a beanpole around the legs, good luck to you.

Of course, the problem may not be Gap. It may just be that I have short stumpy legs. I choose to believe it is the former not the latter. A girl has to at least TRY work on her self esteem.



Filed under Fashion

Office Lunch

The problem with modern technology is just how cheap appliances have gotten.

In some parts of the world you still have an office tea lady/cleaner. But even if you don’t have her anymore (it is about 70% of the time a ‘her’), you can still invest in a dishwasher and a microwave at very little cost.

So practically every place I have worked at has had some form of kitchen(ette).

In my last office this was taken to ridiculous heights because they were located in this huge old country house. This meant that in addition to two tiny microwave/sink points, they had a full kitchen downstairs.

Some of the guys used to put frozen pizzas into the oven at lunchtime.

This was also partly because the country house was, well, in the country and finding a variety of meals in walking distance was not going to happen.

In my current office we have a number of people with odd dietary requirements.

So called ‘fitness freaks’ on low carb high protein diets exist. They microwave frozen vegetables in their packet to keep up with this diet. When you open them up the entire place smells like old farts and cabbage, broccolli being one of those vegetables that does not steam/boil/microwave well.

Others seem to think microwaving raw fish is a good idea.

Or just buying fish from down the road. Or really strong curry. Or smelly soups.

All of this wouldn’t be so bad if there was a designated seating area you ate this in. A sort of equivalent to those horrible smokers holes where the smoke hovers in the air as they puff frantically away, nicotine sticking to their clothing, the secondary smoke alone bringing about a contact high. The same could be done with a dining area where all smelly foods would hover in the air like a venue where Gordon Ramsey meets a dumpster.

The fact of the matter is a lot of offices do not have allocated seating for eating. So even if you inherit a machine from someone who only ate sandwiches you are likely to discover your keyboard is full of dried crumbs.

But there is the unhygenic-ness of a scattering of old bread and then there is the plain rudeness of foods that noone should eat never mind smell polluting public air.


Filed under Food

All kinds of crazy

The other half and I have been arguing about the merits of moving in together. He reckons part of the sacrifice on my side should be a willingness to commute from further away into work because property prices fall and we could potentially afford to rent a larger place. (Forget BUY because I’d need to sell a kidney or something to get the necessary deposit.)

This is a huge bone of contention because I want to still be able to ride my bike in. It is true while I could cycle for a fair way, after a certain point from a time standpoint and a sweat standpoint it becomes unrealistic to do so.

Part of my issue is I do NOT like using public transport. We rode the bus the other day for about five stops as we were really late. On the second stop some guy climbed on the back without paying. I never noticed because I was doing my makeup. (YES, I am one of those people who will do this in public even if some people think it is like picking your nose.)

I did hear him shortly after. A skinny white guy who was a bit more Vanilla Ice than M&M – freestyling his rap out to the whole bus. Mostly about how he never caused no trouble for nobody that caused him no trouble.

Unfortunately after about two stops he was starting to stand really threateningly up against the lady near him, everyone was starting to treat him like he was invisible (they are very good at this here if you act odd) and his language was starting to deteriorate. Eventually a tall guy got up and told him to stop because there were kids on the bus.

Rapping guy was not amused. His rhythm started to fall away as he sing songed how we should be more sympathetic because he was ‘wwwwwwwwwwwway out there man, ‘Cos he aint had his meds today having escaped the mental asylum.’

I’m not sure actual crazy people broadcast they are crazy? Do crazy people know they are?

There was a case of a girl in the UK who was in a clinic and they let her out, she begged to be readmitted, went off the walls and killed someone. So maybe in some cases they do know.

Either way, I got off the bus at the next stop just in case.

And tried really hard to stay as far away from the sing song rapper while doing so, (No mean task with him taking up three quarters of the double door.)

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My boss is currently trapped in Mozambique. They took a charter plane somewhere up north to discuss opening new business up there. Apparently the plane now has a problem. With the landing gear. You can come up but you might not like the journey down. Or you can head south in a car. For a VERY VERY long time.

I was reminded of a story, I’m not sure if it is true or urban legend, of how a certain airline belonging to a country very near South Africa was unable to fulfil a regular flight time on their schedule.

Apparently the airline had a very small fleet. Basically only one plane was operational at that point – not to put too fine a point on it. And the president had decided it was his African Air Force One for that week. No plane, no commercial airline.

I wonder if that is allowable.

I once flew to Florence on a ‘budget’ airline. On landing, many of the passengers clapped. Usually I believe applauding a safe landing is a bit passe 1960s when planes must have fallen out the sky more often and there was only a curtain separating the pilot from the passengers so he could hear them clap, instead of being sealed off by a security door against terrorists.

This time round I think I clapped with them. I can’t honestly say my life flashed before my eyes. But for a reasonably sized commercial plane, that was the bumpiest ride I had ever experienced. We roller coastered up and down and when we hit the runway it felt like it had a hunderd potholes in it.

Needless to say,  I have never flown THAT airline again.

Why chance it?

I’m not that lucky with planes. The last trip I did, one airline went on strike with the rest of it’s country. Another went into administration which I only discovered the day before the flight.





Filed under Holidays

Banking Woes

I went out the other day and tried to pay with my credit card. I’ve been a bit adverse to using it since I put an airline ticket on it and since I am not really the most responsible being around.

I only used it on the delusion idea they would ‘reward’ me about 20p if I used it at a certain restaurant. Yes, I was actually cheap enough to think the equivalent of R2.50 might be worth ‘earning’.

Anyways. The machine told me I had the wrong pin number. I have done this before. And continued to type in the same wrong number another few times. At which point the ATM swallowed the card. It was just as well it was not MY card the machine swallowed and the girl it did belong to was surprisingly relaxed about it after the fact. (Then again, who trusts some random person with their card and pin anyways?)

I was now a few drinks down and not really able to think what the pin could be beyond what I thought I had typed in. And I didn’t want the card cancelled on me. It is a such a nightmare trying to get the thing reactivated or resent.

So I panicked and didn’t earn about 20p and used my debit card instead. And then spent the next four days panicking that sober i couldn’t think of another four numbers than the ones I thought I had typed in that were obviously wrong.

I finally went online today and couldn’t figure out where to find the pin and called the bank instead.

Electronic bank voice: ‘ You can still use the keypad but feel free to just speak into the phone and I will assist you.’

Yeah right. Electronic bank voice had very set moments you could either tap in the numbers or speak to it. It was like dealing with Stephen Hawkins’ voice as they had clearly stitched sentences together (I’m not even sure if the words were spoken by the same man) but with the intellect of a German Shepard. Probably a fairly smart one but still not exactly on a human functional state.

After a number of menus that included useless facts like my bank balance which I did NOT need to know I managed to get an operator. I’m sure they do this as bank phone charges are high.

The operator told me he would send me a reminder of what my pin was.

I told him that was no use to me as I had kept the bank’s standard pin so nothing was going to manage to remind me of any random four numbers. There was no memory tree so to speak to figure this out on. And no, I did not write the pin number down somewhere as people tell you not to.

A silence on the other end. Oh dear.

After a few moments the man finally pointed out that there is a new function where you can view your pin online.

Who knew.

And apparently according to the internet it is the same four numbers I THOUGHT I slightly tipsily typed in the other day when they rejected my card.



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My colleague has resigned.

This opens up new possibilites for me in the future.

However, I have to follow his inexplicable movements over the next few weeks to get there.

I always thought that even after you resigned from a place you were obliged to carry on actually working there til the day you left.

Apparently this is not so.

He has taken like a duck to water to watching the stock market (the business I am in has NOTHING to do with stocks or commerce), reading facebook on his iphone, taking phone calls from real estate agents for a new flat, reading the news and watching the stockmarket. Blatently and openly. In the past he did all of the above but at least tried to hide it a bit. And he certainly didn’t smirk and ignore us when asked to perform a task which is his current attitude.

Slightly frustrating. Very frustrating.

Is this normal behaviour? Am I deluded in thinking professionalism has a part to play?

My only satisfaction is he will probably get very fat over the next few weeks. Boredom has also necessitated numerous little walks to collect numerous little snacks to keep occupied.

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