Monthly Archives: October 2004

Spur Sucks

I was reminded yesterday evening of just how much I dislike Spur restaurants. Mela persuaded me that we should go to our local (Strand) Spur for dinner because she was in the mood for some cooked vegetables with her meal and thought that Spur would be a good place to find these.

We arrived early, around 18h15, so were seated straight away, even though we didn’t have a reservation. Unfortunately that is the only thing that happened quickly. I don’t know if there were problems in the kitchen or whether we had a rookie waiter but the service was appalling. We took very little time to decide on what we wanted yet it was 20h30 before we got out of there as we spent most of the time waiting on the waiter. Their choice of cooked vegetables was lousy too, so all Mela had were some carrots.

Then there is the fact that, while they call themselves steak ranches, their menu highlights only steak smothered in some kind of cheesy or mushroomy sauce. It’s quite hard to spot the subtle little box listing the unadulterated steaks. Except that even those are ruined, to my mind anyway. I like to enjoy the flavour of a nicely grilled steak just as it is, although I sometimes add a pepper sauce. Unfortunately Spur kills the flavour by not only marinading their steaks but basting them with some awful, toxic, sweet, BBQ flavoured glop, so that the taste of the steak is totally masked.

I really must resist more strongly if Mela ever asks to go to the Spur again.

It’s official…

…I’m a moron.  I was up at 03h30 this morning and out of the house just after 04h30, all in a quest to photograph the lunar eclipse.  I headed off towards work and stopped along the way where there weren’t too many lights around and I had a good view of the moon, which was looking great.  I set up my camera and tripod, dialled in my settings and took about 40 photos with different exposures and zoom settings.  I was using manual focus with a trick to get my camera to focus to infinity, and was less than impressed when I got to work, downloaded the photos and found them all to be out of focus.  At that point I realised that I had left out one step in the focus to infinity trick.  I would have to do this when I can’t just go back to shoot again.  Oh well, there’s another eclipse in 2007.  Perhaps I will be less clueless with my camera by then.

Scaly Bastards

I received an SMS last night telling me about a new service that will allow unlimited free sending of SMSes to any network.  As the ZA networks are pretty tight about this sort of thing I decided to check it out.  The web site has a login form, as you might expect, but interestingly it doesn’t ask for a user ID, it asks for a <em>Player ID</em> and there is a link to tell you how to get one.  This link opens a popup window, which reveals the ugly truth.  The whole thing is just a hook to get you to support an online casino, for which you actually need to download a piece of software.  I don’t think so!

New Computer

I got a new computer at work yesterday.  It is a 3GHz Pentium 4 with 1 GB of RAM and a 160GB SATA hard drive so it is pretty fast.  The coolest thing about it though is the tiny case.  I had a midi tower case before and have so much more space on my desk now.  I just need to do something about the wiring mess behind the monitor.


Busy Sunday

We had a busy Sunday, this past weekend.  Up at 7am and out of the house by 8:30, we were off to Paarl where HPS, the photography club I belong to were having an outing to a steam museum.  This museum is normally closed on weekends but we had special dispensation to visit.  When I say museum you may get the wrong impression.  There are no exhibits as such, just an old loco repair shed with a number of steam engines in various states of repair and disrepair.  It looks as though there may be steam enthusiasts working there to repair some of these to their former glory.  It is the perfect place for photographers though, with lots of interesting textures and details to photograph.


Amongst the rusted metal and long grass there was the beauty of nature too.  I snapped this flower and a nice spider web.


After some hours of moving around taking photographs we gathered in the shed and chatted while we drank coffee and ate biscuits.  Around lunchtime people started drifting off and we left, stopping for lunch at McDonalds in Paarl, before continuing on to Oude Molen Farm in Pinelands where we were meeting some friends that keep horses there.

We spent the afternoon there, standing around watching Jane train the horses.  Rory and some of the others had short rides.  Christopher didn’t want to ride as he was taking photographs.  He had been at the steam museum in the morning.  It seems that he likes photography and has quite a good eye for composition.  Perhaps I will pass my camera on to him when I buy my DSLR.  I was snapping away at the horses and people, getting a few nice candid shots.  Probably the cutest shot of the afternoon was of a week old foal.


It was nearly 5pm before we left there and after a fruitless search for somewhere to have tea we settled on heading back to the Helderberg, stopping off at the Engen One-Stop for food at the Wimpy.  It was after 7pm when we got home, and after watching Joan of Arcadia everyone pretty much collapsed into bed, except for myself, who sat trying to do useful stuff on the computer but kept dozing off.  I eventually gave up and went to bed.  Even though I slept for seven hours it was a struggle to get up this morning.  It was a fun day though.

Tree Orchid


Thieving Bastards

I was in the CNA at Somerset Mall this morning, looking at the magazines.  I spotted one that I liked the look of and picked it up to have a closer look.  I noticed that it was a British magazine with a cover price of £4.99, but also noticed a sticker giving the local price as R122.50.  The GBP/ZAR exchange rate is around 12 Rand to the Pound so this is way off. currently give a conversion of R57.96 for £4.99.  So the price they are selling it at is more than double the original cover price.  I know there are costs involved in importing stuff, but what did they do, buy the magazine a seat on a plane?  I hope that nobody is stupid enough to actually buy these magazines at such inflated prices.

Unfriendly Cyclists

I have a serious weight problem, being somewhere around twice my ideal body weight and need to start exercising a lot more, and eating a lot less.  This morning I hauled myself out of bed at 5:15 and went cycling.  We live near the sea and it’s pretty flat so not too hard for an unfit slob like me.  I have a 12km route that I follow that takes me down to the beachfront, along the full length of Beach Road and then back home.  It is quite relaxing to ride along in the predawn light, looking at the sea and thinking about the day ahead.  Sometimes I see other’s out exercising; walking, jogging or cycling.  It is usual to greet one another as you pass, so this morning when two cyclists overtook me as I cruised along at my slow pace, I said “Good Morning”.  Much to my surprise these dickheads didn’t even acknowledge me with a nod, let alone a word of greeting.  Perhaps it was because I was riding a mountain bike, rather than the road racer’s they were on, but rather than assume some roadie snobbery as the reason I’ll just assume that they are rude arseholes, wrapped up in their own little worlds.

Rocks at Rooiels

Went back out to Rooiels on Sunday, with Mela this time, and spent a couple of hours walking, sitting watching the sea and of course taking photographs.


Bureaucratic Idiocy

I try to be a good driver, be courteous and stick to the speed limit.  Of course like any South African I do speed a little and occasionally I get a speeding ticket.  I think I have only had five or so in the 24 years I’ve been driving.

Anyway, I received one of my rare speeding tickets in the mail a few days ago and the way these things work is quite ridiculous.  I was caught by a camera trap while on my way home and the trap was only three or four kilometres from my home.  But there is only one place that I may pay it, at the Parow traffic department.  Parow is in Cape Town, around 40 kilometres from where I live and was caught speeding.  I don’t go into Cape Town very often, so why I should have to go there to pay a fine is beyond me.  Fortunately I can mail in a cheque, which is what I’ve done.  But what if I had been here on holiday and having returned home I receive a ticket through the mail and for some reason the mail was delayed so there is not enough time to mail a cheque before the due date?  Would I have to return to Cape Town to pay my fine, or wait to be summonsed to appear in court, in Cape Town?

In years gone by you could pay a fine at any police station, no matter where the ticket was issued.  Why this is no longer possible, when there are more forms of electronic communication linking everywhere is really beyond me.