Yearly Archives: 2006

A brief reflection

On the 23rd of December, various notables were born: Akihito, current Emperor of Japan, Eddie Vedder, frontman for Pearl Jam, Alexander I of Russia and Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, amongst many others. But towering as high above the names of these pathetic mortal weaklings as their own pitiful human flesh towers above that of a mere ant is a birth that shook the very fabric of the universe, for I was born upon that most tremendous of days. Yes I, rooijan, Destroyer of Worlds, Ruler of All That Is, Lord of the Skies and Prince of the Morning, Supreme Commander of… yes nurse, I’ll take my medicine now…

So I hit a quarter of a century yesterday. This is a big number, but I’ve never been bothered by age – I’ve long felt a little older than my current age, and I’m now getting to the age I felt like I’ve been for a while (this doesn’t make much sense, but read it again, and you’ll know what I mean). Besides, how can you feel old if you keep a few older friends like and around? 🙂

In very brief reflection, it’s been a great year. I’ve finished my first full year at a job I love doing, and been promoted with a handsome salary increase to keep doing it. I’ve been memorably and enjoyably overseas on business for the first time, to a destination I doubt I would go to on holiday. I’m starting to see fruits with the efforts I’ve been part of for some time to bring our young people back to the Catholic Church. The music group I’ve been playing with in the same Church has had a great year and I’ve had massive amounts of fun playing with it. I lost a good car (:-( ) but gained a great new one in it’s place (I consider myself well up on that transaction). And I went out with a girl (for the first time in my life) in early October who I’ve now fallen deeply in love with.

Yes, all told, a great year. Since I also get a birthday so close to Christmas, Merry Christmas/Hannukah/<secular holiday> to everyone – may it all go very well.


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voyager42‘s rather cryptic message about accidents happening is a reference to the rather painful injury he caused me while we were playing squash yesterday evening. The ball passed very close to me and he moved to strike it from a distance of (at the very most) a meter behind me. Unfortunately he mis-hit it a little and it travelled straight into my arm and side. I should probably have been moving aside, but for some reason I wasn’t. We don’t strike the ball gently, so it was travelling with some pace. This nasty looking blister-like thing immediately appeared on my arm:

(You can see the wound on my sexy arm in full-sized gory 1600×1200 detail here)

What baffles me is why he chose to do it in the second game, when he was 3-1 up, rather than during the first game, when I was actually winning 🙂

Of course, you’d think he’d let me win after that, but no…


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Combat card

Jumping on ‘s post, here be my combat card:

watch rooijan fight

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I was recently sent this, and if you know anything about SA cricket I’m sure you’ll find it pretty damned funny:

There are a few rules to every Smith acceptance speech and we’re going to run through them. You could set a clock to this guy. Here are the rules for writing your own Graham Smith acceptance speech:

Begin with “Ja, no the boys showed a lot of character out there”

Move on to: “Ja there are still a few things to iron out”

Thereafter, you need to mention the individuals that performed really well on the day, and add a “Y” to the end of their names:

“Ja for sure, Kempy, Hally, Polly, and Macky really did a great jobby”

Then say “The Boys” a further 10 times, throwing in verbs like “rallying”, “support”, “teamwork” and “getting behind each other”.

Rattle off something about “moving forward” and “awesome crowd support”.

Don’t ever attempt to add any charm, wit, individuality or character to your speech. It needs to sound like a long voicemail greeting.


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Another good service

In a follow-up to the recommendation I made of the 9th Avenue Bistro yesterday, I must also highly recommend Gateway Toyota, if you find yourself in possession of a Toyota needing servicing. They were efficient, quick, courteous and professional – everything the Mt Edgecombe Fiat guys were most certainly not. I was most impressed with the job they did yesterday and the speed with which they did it.

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My parents took me and my family out to dinner last night to celebrate my recent promotion. We went to the 9th Avenue Bistro, where I had one of the finest meals I’ve ever had. An extract from the menu will help:

Roasted Loin of Veal
Fresh chanterelle mushroom & pea risotto, crispy fried onion strings, rosemary veal jus, port reduction

Good heavens but that was amazingly good.

My dad also splashed out on a bottle of Rupert & Rothchild 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – one of the best wines I’ve ever had. In fact I had a little too much of it – my girlfriend drove us home 🙂

If you ever get a chance to go there and there’s a fair amount of money burning a hole in your pocket, it’s well, well worth it.


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I received my long-awaited (yet still early) promotion today! I’m now officially an Engineer, as opposed to an Engineer-in-Training. It comes complete with a 55% pay increase.

Damn, but it feels good…


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Banking update

I attempted to collect my new ATM card today from Nedbank Gateway – the reason my old card stopped working is that it does that 4 days after ordering a new one. Pity they didn’t tell me that. In any event, I was called yesterday by the Customer Manager for Go-Banking as a personal response to my vitriolic diatribe. He told the new card was at the bank and I was already FICA verified, so all I needed was ID.

So this morning I picked up my passport and left home, figuring it would do (my ID book is difficult to get hold of at the moment, being elsewhere in the safe, and I was in a rush.) I strolled into the bank and they told me that I wasn’t FICA verified, and I would need my ID and a proof of residence – the very thing the Customer Manager assured me I wouldn’t need. I had a copy of my ID in my desk back at work, which they said would be fine. I was extremely pissed off since I’d have to go back to work for stuff they specifically told me I wouldn’t need. I took my passport because I figured it was valid ID (which it is) but not for the bank – they insist on barcoded ID – nice of them to tell me beforehand.

Getting back to work was an even bigger problem though. My garage card hasn’t been functioning well, so I figured I’d have them test it at the bank, and not fill up until I had my new card and I could then get back-up cash. When I went to the bank this morning I had all of R3.50 and no means of getting more until I got a new card. Now I needed to go back to work before I could get cash, and my car was running on fumes – it wouldn’t get me to work and back. Fortunately colleagues were coming to Gateway for lunch and I managed to borrow R100 from a friend (very embarrassingly).

Problem solved… except for the fact that Gateway’s parking machines don’t take R100 notes. I needed R6, I had R3. Hmmm. I managed to scrape a further R3 out of my car (which is all that was in there) and pay for the parking and scream back to the office in a towering rage. For those who know me, I’m incredibly easy-going, but when I snap, I snap big. I had snapped.

I left a message for the customer manager dripping with such malice he’s probably hiring a bodyguard and sped back to the bank with my ID copy in tow. There I had to fill in the FICA document (for at least the 3rd time) and they finally gave me my card.

While I was having lunch, still at Gateway, the Customer Manager returns my call, and assures me the branch shouldn’t have said I needed verification becuase I already had it, and he’s chewed out the branch manager over it. Whether they should have or not, they did, and it was incredibly frustrating. All is solved now at least.

The Customer Manager assured me all would be well from now on, but I can’t see it. I’m seriously considering moving to another bank, but I pretty much know all the others are equally as incompetent. Can anyone assure me their bank is not as idiotic, or am I better of just taking the low charges and high interest I get and fighting with the bank every now and then as needed?

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The last straw

My bank card was rejected at Waxy’s last night, trying to cover a R200 bill (I was paying for jerith as well). Rejected indeed to the point of the receipt instructing the waitress to hold my card, which she fortunately didn’t. I suspect it’s due to my card expiring this month and my charming supermarket (I refuse to call Go-Banking a proper bank anymore) cancelling the card before they send me a new one. Of course, it was up to me to organise a new one anyhow. I’ve been patient long enough, in my extremely easy-going, let-it-slide manner, but last night was the last straw. I sent the following email to them:

I bank with Go-Banking (or at least try to - it's made difficult at times by the bank's apparent ineptitude), account number xxx.

I am distinctly dissatisfied with the service I have recently been receiving from this bank. I have been a customer for more than a year. Recently, my debit card has been refused from several merchants. This is most annoying - fortunately I had the cash to cover the debt in all cases, but I carry a debit card to avoid needing cash, after all. I presumed that perhaps it was the impending expiry of the card that was to blame - I notice the card expires this month. However, I have never been contacted regarding the expiry - I had to contact the call center myself, when I was informed that the card wasn't expiring. Since this differs to what is printed on the card and to the message about impending expiry which is printed on the receipts I have received recently, I found this somewhat annoying. In any event, I ordered a new card some days ago, although I still feel aggrieved that I had to do so and the communication wasn't initiated from your side.

The killer blow came tonight when my card was again rejected at a merchant. This time I did not have the cash to cover my bill, and was extremely embarrassed when a friend had to do so for me. I certainly do have sufficient funds in the account, many times over. It has also happened on two occasions recently whereby my garage card, linked to the same account, was rejected at a garage. Again on both occasions I was fortunate to be able to draw the large sum of money required. I incurred Saswitch fees in doing so, which I felt inclined to let pass as my card is again working. However it annoys me that I never received any form of explanation. This latest debacle with my debit card has brought my recent garage card annoyances to the fore again as well, and I now regret not making a big fuss at the time.

I also recall an incident earlier in the year whereby a Nedbank ATM reflected my statement as R0 - when I called the helpline in panic I was informed by an extremely bored voice that there was a problem with the system and all was probably well. Most unprofessional. Over Easter I was overseas and had trouble paying my hotel - when I contacted Nedbank the next day I was told there was again a problem and I should try again. This was appalling to me, since I was always under the apparently mistaken belief that bank systems don't fail.

This complaint has turned into a long litany of issues I have experienced with your bank, all of which I've been generous to let slip in the past. However, I no longer feel inclined to do so. I was reluctant at first to entrust my banking to a supermarket, and I now believe my reluctance was justified. I am giving serious consideration to moving to another, more competent bank, unless some assurance can be given to me that these kinds of serious issues will stop plaguing me. Of immediate concern is my debit card and the fact that I was left to my own devices to acquire one before my current one expires - I would appreciate it if I could receive some speedy feedback on the situation regarding my card and an assurance that your customer service will be improved. I shouldn't have to call you to arrange a new card, nor should I have to put up with failed card swipes on either my debit or garage card.

I’m working up the energy to call their helpline later and tear new orifices for a hapless staff member.

As I typed this however, I received a personal call from the client services manager, who explained several issues and assured me all would be well from now on. I’ll give him a chance to be true to his word.


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Yes they did

Went to see “We Will Rock You” at the Playhouse last night – see the post title for my impression of it 🙂

The show was amazingly good – I highly recommend it to everyone. The only iffy bit (which was the Playhouse’s fault, not the show) was that the seats were so narrow in terms of leg room that I had to put my legs onto the (thankfully) empty row in front of us for comfort. I’m not that tall. My 6ft6+ colleague had to do that out of necessity – he would have been really limping today if there were people in those seats.

Ben Elton wrote it, so it’s really funny, but the best joke was this one: At some point in the show, it is announced to the dissidents that they are going to be taken away to have all creativity and originality stripped from them and be turned into mindless drones. One of them pipes up with “You’re taking us to the Bluff?”

Funny enough, my colleague from the Bluff didn’t think it was quite that amusing…


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