Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More Thoughts on...

Estate Agents.

They're bastards, and deserve to be put in the same class as lawyers, doctors, politicians, spammers, etc, etc... They are of little value to anyone and are unscrupulous in their doings. Yes, I'm generalising, but I'm pissed off, so if you're a nice person but fall into one of those professions I scourned, please forgive me.

Our move to Hermanus was supposed to have taken place this week, but due to the behaviour of the seller's estate agent, we almost got into some serious financial shit and, as a result, have cancelled our offer on the Hermanus house.

The agent, whom I will call Carl Retief (his real name, in case you're wondering) lied to everyone concerned and now the seller is taking him to the Estate Agents Board. We'll probably hear nothing more about it, but we know something is happening as we had a call from his boss for some information.

He lied to:
1. Us - he didn't tell us the seller only wanted a cash purchaser (who the fuck can afford R1.85m anyway?);
2. The Seller - he didn't tell them we had a house to sell and probably didn't show them the entire Offer to Purchase document as we never got a complete copy of it back with all the pages initialled as we were supposed to, being a legal and binding document;
3. The Transferring Attorneys - they are aware that we have a house to sell before we satisfy the conditions on the Offer, and I emailed them to this effect when they asked me if they could proceed (I told them no), yet last week Carl Retief told them I had given him the okay to tell them to proceed with the transfer which would have put us in a R24,000 a month financial fuckup. Naturally this has to be in writing, which made it even more suspicious.

As a result, there were "snot'n'trane" (snot 'n' tears) by the seller's wife and even Steph is a little upset about it. She had made plans to move in this week while I stayed in Joburg to sell the house and I was going to fly down this week to help her settle in, as much as we could without all our other possessions (and the dogs) around her.

In all honesty, I'm quite relieved it has fallen through, as things were not going according to what I saw as the logical sequence of events. We now have time to sell our house and look for a house down there which need not necessarily be in Hermanus but will certainly be in the vicinity. Up until now, things have been progressing at Steph's emotional speed, which has been too fast to me and causing great stress.

We still have the corporation's blessing to move to the Cape and I'm also away in Saudi Dryland for a few days from Thursday next week, so it helps us in that Steph can now calm down a little, look after our Joburg house while I'm away, and when I'm back we can look for another place for her to stay when she transfers down and I'm left in Joburg to sell off the house.

So...as I've taken the couple of days off between the public holidays (daft government gave the country Monday, Thursday and Friday off), we'll go down to see my folks on the KZN coast. It's been a while since we saw them and I can do some fishing at the same time to satisfy that need. My brother's there too and he's just as avid a fisherman as I am. Maybe we'll go and join Fishman, who is down at Thompson's Bay on the North Coast for a couple of days with his family, also fishing.

Anyway...hope the rest of you are well. Take care, y'all...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More thoughts on "The Dogs of War"...

Some of you may know that we had our house on show last weekend, with a view to selling it a bit quicker than the estate agents are prone to do normally. The guy who came around to house-sit does not work for the estate agents on a full-time basis, but does it to substitute his miserable salary he gets as a teacher in SA (the good ones really are paid crap).

"K" is a nice guy, stuck somewhere around the late 70's, a wannabe hippy I think. Nice guy though, very much into teaching and things childlike, so much so that when an Indian couple came to look at the place he spent more time cooing at their youngster than trying to sell the fuckin' house, I think. But anyway...I don't think he's a paedophile, so he's okay.

When K was leaving on Sunday we were having a chat, standing in the driveway, and somehow we got onto the state of affairs in the country. I mentioned, jokingly, that the Deputy Minister for Safety and Security (see previous posting), or DMSS as I will call her, was my "new hero". I thought K was going to throw his newspaper at me. "Nooooo", he says, "that scares the shit out of me".

He gave a couple of reasons for his fear of the situation and afterward, once he'd left, I got to thinking about them in more depth.

On the one hand, I agree with his fears, in that it might open up a whole new kind of war in SA, where more illegal guns find their way onto our streets, arming the already-armed-to-the-teeth thieves and assaulters, making it more dangerous for peace-loving folks to survive in an already stressful socio-political climate. K seems to think that the body count of innocent bystanders will rise and I can't disagree with that fear either.

Personally, I think the DMSS was subliminally telling the police forces that they need to catch a wake-up call, that they are failing in their jobs to protect the innocent and are in a job that demands that one day, they may need to make the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

At the moment, our police are mostly fat, lazy, stupid, ignorant of the law and human rights, slobs who would find it harder to run around the block than an Italian pizza parlour owner who eats most of his profits. The police force conscripts see the job as easy (fuck knows, every time you see a gathering of cops next to the highway, on the pretence of "policing", they are all standing around joking and laughing, usually in squads of between four and twelve at a time), with the opportunity to perhaps make a buck on the side (corruption is rife in the police force), work some overtime chatting up the chicks at a public event, be seen to be driving a souped-up BMW while on patrol, and generally just acting like they own the fuckin' world, like everything's a big fuckin' joke.

Just as an aside to prove my point...the very moment we arrived back in Shit Towne from our holiday in Hermanus, we witnessed a classic police brutality event. We were just turning off the highway when, in the fast lane, an unmarked black BMW X5 was driving up the backside of an old Volvo that was obviously waiting for a gap to move back into the middle lane. The X5 was flashing headlights and hooting, so close to the Volvo that you couldn't squeeze a credit card between them. The Volvo managed, 200m later, to move across and the X5 drove alongside, whereupon the passenger leans out of the window, R5 assault rifle in his hands pointing at the hapless Volvo driver, and uses the rifle to slap the side mirror off the Volvo. They then sped off, laughing at the event. I was gob-smacked to such an extent that I took down the registration number of the X5 and called it in to the police hot line as soon as I got home, gave them all the details and generally expressed my disgust at what had happened. Needless to say...I haven't heard anything more about the incident (like I really expected to...not!!!)

No, I don't hate the police. I admire some of them for their conviction of wanting to protect the public from all sorts of bad shit. The rest of them that are there for their "gravy train" handouts though, I despise. They are a waste of my hard-earned tax money and must be rooted out at the earliest opportunity and punished for the crimes they are/have committed while in uniform.

I also, however, think there needs to be some form of scrutinising the cadets before they go into police school, better than (if there is one) the current way in which it is done. Sadly, some of the best cops this country has had, have ended up dying for being so good at their jobs, gunned down (assassinated) by the very criminals I'm talking about, because they've gotten too close to the perpetrators.

Anyway, back to the subject...

I also think the DMSS' statment is a warning to criminals, actual and wannabe, that they can/should expect to be on the end of more violent reaction to their deeds, something that is sadly lacking currently. I say fight fire with fire, and if it means a shoot-out, so be it. The KwaZulu Natal road traffic police have a "zero tolerance" for people committing traffic offences and this policy should be taken nationwide at a SA Police Services level. If we can't have the death penalty brought back (apparently Mr Mandela stated that it would not happen in his lifetime) then we need a zero tolerance policy to be shown toward violent criminal acts. It's about time some of the criminals and perpetrators of violent crime started dying, instead of innocent bystanders and peace-loving people who want to spend time with their families in the deserved safety of their homes.

There certainly is a trend towards criminals being "ratted on" by members of their own communities, but it is not happening to the extent I believe it should. There is still a tendency toward "ignorance is bliss" and not wanting to get involved in situations, but unless we all get involved to whatever extent it takes, we will continue to have more of the same old shit and the criminals will continue to roam the streets unchallenged and not paying their dues back to society.

Sadly, to some extent, there is also a criminal mentality prevailing in the country...let me explain. I mentioned corruption earlier. On too many occasions have we all heard (and some of us experienced, myself included) of bribes being paid to cops in order to not have to pay a fine, or worse (like get arrested for drunken driving - not me). On too many occasions have we heard of people perpetrating crimes (though they are jokingly seen as petty, they still adversely affect some poor bastard) and tell people about them after a few drinks, like it's a big joke. On too many occasions have we.....you get the picture, I think.

The point is that, if whatever one does is unlawful, it is a crime and we as a society need to move away from that way of doing and seeing things. Live life honestly, and it will benefit the entire population and not just a select few. Karma is a funny thing...one day it WILL come back and bite you in the arse, and you better not complain when it does.

Let the criminals and perpetrators of crime beware, I say...eventually you will get bust and I hope you come off second best.

This "posting" has turned into more of a "ranting" so I'm going to stop here...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Let Loose the Dogs of War...

April 10 2008 at 06:52AM

Police have been given the licence to kill by a deputy minister.

"You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect," were the fiery words of Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu at an anti-crime imbizo in Pretoria West on Wednesday.

Shabangu, who received a standing ovation, was responding to questions on what police and the government were doing to curb crime.

Residents of Danville, Pretoria West, Lotus Gardens, Hercules and Elandspoort complained about the "pathetic excuses" given by police allegedly unable or unwilling to deal with crime.

"I want to assure the police station commissioners and policemen and women from these areas that they have permission to kill these criminals.

"I won't tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal with crime. You have been given guns, now use them.

"I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot. If you miss, the criminals will go for the kill. They don't miss. We can't take this chance.

"Criminals are hell-bent on undermining the law and they must now be dealt with. If criminals dare to threaten the police or the livelihood or lives of innocent men, women and children, they must be killed. End of story. There are to be no negotiations with criminals.

"The constitution says criminals must be kept safe, but I say No!

"I say we must protect the law-abiding people and not the criminals. I say that criminals must be made to pay for their crimes," she said.

Lashing out at corrupt and incompetent police officials, Shabangu said the community had a voice and should use it, especially when it came to crime.

"If you feel you're not being listened to or your rights are being infringed, stand up and make your voice heard.

"A policeman has to help you. He has taken an oath to serve and protect and can't decide who and when he wants to serve and protect.

"You must not accept excuses from police who say they can't help you because the crime didn't happen in their precinct. They have no choice. This is not an issue open for debate," she said to Loraine de Vries, who claimed a Pretoria West inspector had refused to help her because she lived in another suburb.

Responding to questions on police either responding late or not at all to emergencies, Shabangu said if a person wasn't happy with the response, they should take it up with the station commissioner.

"You have a right to know why police respond late or not at all. It's your life on the line. That's another thing that's not up for debate. Police have to respond, whether they like it or not."

Appealing to communities for help in the fight against crime, Shabangu welcomed the questions.

"The only way we have a true picture of what's happening is through imbizos like this. We need more interaction if we're to win the war on crime.

"We need communities to get involved with us in order to restore law and order and in order for our country to have a future. If we don't, our children won't have a future.

"We need to take back our homes, our streets, our cities and our country and the only way we can do it is with the help of the people.

"You are our answer in the fight against crime," she said.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Two Irish Hunters....brilliant...

Two Irish hunters got a pilot to fly them to Canada to hunt moose.

They managed to bag 6.

As they were loading the plane to return, the pilot said the plane could take only 4 moose.

The two lads objected strongly. "Last year we shot six. The pilot let us take them all and he had the same plane as yours."

Reluctantly, the pilot gave in and all six were loaded.

However, even on full power, the little plane couldn't handle the load and went down.

Somehow, surrounded by the moose bodies, Paddy and Mick survived the crash.

After climbing out of the wreckage, Paddy asked Mick, "Any idea where we are?"

Mick replied, "I think we're pretty close to where we crashed last year."

Monday, April 07, 2008

10 signs you might be a Taliban..

10. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.

9. You own a $300 machine gun and a $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can't afford shoes.

8. You have more wives than teeth.

7. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.

6. You can't think of anyone you haven't declared Jihad against.

5. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry ammunition in your robe.

4. You've never been asked, "Does this burka make my ass look big?"

3. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.

2. A common compliment is, "I love what you've done with your cave."

And, the Number 1 sign you might be a member of the Taliban:

1. You wipe your ass with your bare hand, but consider bacon unclean...

Go figure...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A brief update as to what's happening...

in my life at the moment...

We are as busy as all hell at the moment, both on the work and personal fronts.

On the work front...

I'm still battling to get back into the swing of Shit Towne and its surrounding stresses, but that's what going to Saudi Dryland does for me. Over there, you have a relaxing flight over, a couple of hours in a reasonable hotel to catch up on some sleep (all at Emirates' expense), a free meal thrown in to boot, some time in Dubai Duty Free (not worth buying anything on the way into Dryland cos the authorities are really strict about things coming in and will confiscate anything remotely suspicious) and then another relaxing flight into Riyadh.

The work environment with the client is quite relaxed too, unlike Shit Towne where it's cut-throat and everything has to be done last year, never mind last week. We had a few meetings, got the client to take on most of the preparation work for the DR test coming up in May (yes, I'll be going back again, but this should be THE last time), had a presentation to some of the team and flew out again.

I had a few hours in Dubai Duty Free to buy a couple of things (a 1L bottle of Laphroaig 10yr old single malt - my favourite, and at less than a 750ml bottle at home, and a 1L bottle of Bombay Gin - quite nice for gin). Other than that, I used the wireless network there (for free too, something other airports have to learn from) and sat on my email and Facebook for a while, then had an early flight out back to Shit Towne at 04h30.

Back in Joburg just fter 10h30, and home just after 11h00. I passed out on the couch, knackered, and woke up three hours later, slightly refreshed. Needless to say, as it was the start of the Easter weekend, I didn't power up my laptop to check if anyone needed to get hold of me. Fuckit, I thought, I bend over backwards for this company sometime and I wanted some small payback. Only on Tuesday, after the long weekend, did I put some fire under the laptop and check my email.

More than that, I'm still busy on the project in Pretoria and things are progressing slowly, mostly due to issues on the client side but also that the corporation has to get its pricing structure and transparency to the client sorted out. The bastards at the top of the corporation sold the client something that doesn't satisfy their needs and now expect me to stand, cap in hand, and beg for forgiveness. Well guess what, I don't work that way. I'm honest with my clients and if they want to fuck around with that sort of shit, guess what, they're on their own and I've told them as much.

On the personal front...

We grafted our backsides off this last weekend, trying to finish off little bits and pieces around the house for the show session on Sunday. We worked from 4pm until midnight on Friday and again form 8am to 1am on Saturday. Both of us were absolutely knackered on Sunday but I was up at 7am again loading some rubble (from the recent paving we had done) to drive it to the dump. Doing other bits and pieces, tidying up and so on, we were supposed to have the keys ready for the agent at 1pm. I only got into the shower at 1h15 and Steph about 20mins later. Luckily no potential buyers showed up during that time.

We handed the keys to the agent and headed off to Zoo Lake to have a braai with friends. On the way out of the driveway, I remarked to Stpeh that it would rain before 3pm...and how right I was. We got to the lake just after 2pm, three dogs on leashes and took a walk around the lake, when it started pissing down just after 2h30, just after G started the fire. We hadn't had a chance to prepare anything so we were relying on our friends for sustenance. Luckily, G had 4 beers of which he gave me 2, and they'd brought enough pork rashers and chicken breasts for all of us to enjoy. Now we owe them a meal at the house before we leave for Hermanus.

And speaking of which, Steph is in Cape Town from today until Friday evening, to take handover from a colleague who has resigned and from whom Steph will be taking over (for a while at least) on 1st May. Steph has finally reasoned that the move has to be done in stages and getting there is the first step. Me, on the other hand, have not yet heard from my damager, though I have a meeting with him at 5pm this afternoon for a tet-a-tet (face to face, for all you illiterates) to discuss what's going on (or not going on, as the case may be).

As I mentioned, we had the house on show this past Sunday and, though we haven't yet received an offer, it looks promising. There was a couple from Manchester who came through the house, had a long look around, liked what they saw, even sat outside under the lapa for a while, and said they think we have a lovely house which they really liked. The bloke apparently even pointed to the verandah and said "there's my new office", so it looks promising and we're hoping we get an offer soon. They were flying back to Manchester on Sunday evening, so if anything, it'll be a couple of days before we hear from them through the estate agent.

Wednesday night is Action Drinking night again with Fishman and the guys, so no doubt the rest of the week will be a blur. I think I'll get some sleep tonight to make up for what I'm going to lose over the next couple of days...

Take care...y'all...