Category Archives: mensa

Long day

It was an interesting Saturday yesterday (yes, that means I’m posting this on Sunday, well done). I started the day playing a round or 6 of paintball with some guys I work with, at 9 in the morning. This of course, entailed me getting up at 7.30 to make it there by 9, which didn’t help my sleep deprivation at all. In any event, I arrived on time, and had a really good time – there’s nothing like shooting the guys you work with to have a bit of fun. The fact that I have a little more body insulation than I should showed up though in the beautiful bruise sitting on my side, from a long-distance shot that really surprised me – I could have sworn the tree next to me would have kept me safe. Ah well.

voyager42 then invited me to a concert the Durban City Orchestra was giving in the Marianhill Cathedral, not far from my home, that afternoon. Actually, he invited me weeks ago, but I forgot, as is my wont. In any event, I went along, and was treated to a very pleasant afternoon. A few things could have been improved upon: the microphones for the singers were too soft compared to the rest of the orchestra, and the female soloist was far from articulate. I found both the opera tenor and the little kiddies choir hard to hear. These are minor gripes though – the Marianhill Cathedral has beautiful acoustic properties, and hearing an orchestra play there was very nice. The Show Must Go On (delivered with an operatic twist), a medley of Baroque Christmas carols and two pieces from The Nutcracker Suite were probably my favorites.

I’m a Catholic myself, so I find the cathedral to be quite inspiring itself – an amazing structure that accompanies the monastary out in Marianhill. What strikes me is that the area has always been rural and very poor, yet the people there did all they could (with plenty of external help, but still) to construct a terrific monument to their faith, which is somewhat shaming if you compare it to what the richer guys in the suburbs manage…

To close the day, I had dinner at the Foon Lok Nien chinese restaurant in Westville with the local Mensa group. It’s been decades since I had chinese at a restaurant, and it was great. The food was terrific, as was the company. I heartily recommend it to anyone. I then spent another hour or so at the home of the_5th_weel accompanied by jerith, enjoying really good coffee and chatting. This took me to 00:30 or so – not helping the sleep deprivation again…

I also met a girl of 16 who just joined Mensa, and subtly pushed her away from thoughts of Actuarial Science (yuck) and Medicine (icky) into considering engineering. She gets terrific school marks without trying, and I saw a good chance to dispel the infuriating myth that great marks means you must go into medicine – engineering takes a smart person too. Of course, now she’s thinking of Chemical Engineering – more work is needed to push her into a real engineering field.

I’ll admit it’s entirely selfish of me – the more girls we get interested in engineering, the better it is for those of us who’d like a few attractive faces to look at in the office…

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