Monday, January 31, 2005

Week 13 Day 7

Swim: 2km
Time: 35 minutes
4x500m (in 50m pool)
Times: 7:48/7:45/7:41/7:32

Great to be able to just walk in for free at the uni pool. The sky over it started roiling and menacing, and soon the wind over the water turned cold. Could feel the spray from the kicking fly against my arms, and the wind buffering my paddles.

A good week, with a good 4km swim, a run without any pain, and a brilliant and comfortable 100km cycle. I feel like I have set a good foundation for a big week now, and big month. Hopefully my body will be able to stand the changes, and also adapt quickly. Don't want to exhaust myself and then get sick before the Ironman as has happened previously. So need to be modest and careful, but consistently building bigger workouts. I feel like I have no time to see everyone, do all the things I want to do, and get the monster workouts in!!!

Today am feeling very hay-feverish and am trying not to hold a grudge against Jodie, who was howling and needing to go outside for a poop at least twice. Minus 4 hours sleep! Grrrr.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


New Word:

A frogbust is an incontrovertible way of saying this cannot be argued against.
Example: There aren't many drug users in Bloemfontein.
Frogbust, look, there's a sign saying Bloem is vrot van die drugs.

Frogsplat. If someone is lazy and lying down, you can lie with your full weight on them and call out loudly, FROGSPLAT. Then everyone in the vicinity should assist in making a human pile and attempting to Frogsplat Mr or Mrs Lazy Bones.

This is actually an endangered Giant African Bullfrog that we relocated. Hope this guy is making the most of his new wetland habitat. Posted by Hello

Pajama Party

Really good to be back. Funny as well.

Yesterday the first year students were out in force trying to sell RITSIMS (the uni mag) to everyone. Even after I'd bought one, students would approach the car at intersections urging me to buy 'nog een' (another one). Late afternoons, when it's cool, and the clouds have built themselves into giant nuclear castles, are just balmy and delicious. I seem to be bumping into people I know all the time. A few days ago I was walking to the Varsity and Justus recognised me off the street. Quite an odd sensation. Ran into his sister Ane and brother and mother when we went to Primi yesterday. Good to catch up, and also notice how much people have changed, or not.

Have had hassles uploading stuff at the university, but it's actually good not to be spending so much time on the net or catching the news. The only downside to being here is that niggling awareness that the security here is a bit questionable. Especially when darkness falls. But life continues here with with pajamas and laughter nonetheless. Posted by Hello

This is what the moon looks like on the other side of the world. Brain Stepanek sent this to me from Korea. Good news is the Korea currency is strengthening to the Rand, which means I'm getting more bang for my Korean bucks. Assah! Posted by Hello

Spacious luxury. It's a bit different being in a house as opposed to my one roomed apartment, with microscopic kitchen. Despire loving the food, I've started to lose a bit of weight again. The 100km cycle I did yesterday was awesome, and I felt strong the whole way. This bodes well for the next few weeks, because I need to get up to 180km soon. Posted by Hello

This is Justus' magazine. It's about central South Africa and beyond. I may possibly contribute an article, possibly covering my travels in Thailand or the Philippines. Posted by Hello

I went to Drommedarus Crescent last night with Jen and Lynne. Johan, who teaches music at St Michael's, did some kind of piano recital. I arrived there in the Jeep and from far away could hear this classical paino music wafting through the trees and gardens. Johan remembers Candice, my sister, when she went to school there, and said she was brilliant at art. The lady that lives with him, Ingrid, is stunning. She showed us pictures of their farm. Very classical and cultured evening. I enjoyed it a lot, and Jen looked stunning. Posted by Hello

Relaxing before my 100km cycle. Dennis joined us and shortly after Craig, Dorothy and Alexa left. Posted by Hello

Literally: Bloem is Rotting from Drugs. Posted by Hello

After eating at News Cafe we saw a man walking with a marmoset on his shoulder. Quite oulik. Posted by Hello

Jen looking very Sharon Stone-ish. Posted by Hello

Justus and I went to school at the same time. He's started a magazine called Heartland. It Posted by Hello

Natalie van Huysteen is a friend of Petro's daughter and also knows Tammy. She did a stint of modelling and is studying to be a CA. Posted by Hello

Linda works on children's books, and staysb with Jen's sister Nadine. I have to send her a card because I said the top she was wearing looked like a pajama top, so now I'm in deep triouble. Posted by Hello

This is the sign outside Fishpaste. It's one of my favorite haunts here, and Justus, who is the editor of Heartland mag, also punted this place. Very relaxed and comfortable. Posted by Hello

Case Study

Psych 101

Phase 1:
Subject A, let's call him Neels Holgersohn, is in a relationship with subject B, let's call her Sham Dunk. They are at a South African airport, and Sham is likely to be apart from her partner for the better part of a year. They have been very close friends for 4 years, and a couple, for almost a year. While waiting for the boarding time to arrive, subject C, a rather diminutive Beta Class male, let's call him Worm, begins to pester Sham, offering her amongst other things a facsimile of a marriage contract with Sham's grandmother's signature, which supposedly serves as an endorsement of this behavior.
Neels is quietly disgusted by what he feels is snivelling, desperate behavior, but little does he know, Sham is quietly charmed by this pestering servitude.
The time comes for the sweet parting, and Sham is tearful and confides that she is failing to hide her feelings, and will miss Neels the most.

Phase 2:
It's one year later. Neels arrives back from the United Kingdom (after joining Sham in not ideal overseas conditions). He arrives one month after Sham, and is told upon arrival that she is 'confused'. After much maligning of the facts, it gradually turns out that Sham immediately shacked up with Worm once arriving back in South Africa.

Neels repeatedly wants to know whether Sham's sudden cooling of feelings are a result of a new player, and she repeatedly assures him that she simply wants space to be on her own, space to be single. Neels initially accepts this, but then finds he can't believe that she is capable of a separation (after a 5-6 year friendship), especially considering the equanimity she seems to have, the lack of distress, and lack of interest or need for interaction. A separation is fine, but why does it feel like a barrier is in place, some kind of subtle communication barrier.
Eventually Neels discovers that Sham has been with Worm all along.

Neels contacts Worm and asks for a little time, and less pressure, so he can at least get closure, and return to the United Kingdom with at least a friendship, a resolution, some peace about the whole thing. Worm responds in a sort of Machiavellian inflated baboon's backside strutting: He says Neels has had his turn, and now it's his turn, and Neels must move on and get a life.

Finally, time having run out, Neels returns to the United Kingdom with much emotional turmoil gone unresolved. Strangers on the airplane comment to him that he looks sad and distressed, despite putting on his best undistressed face.
A few weeks later, in Edinburgh, an email from Sham basically admits that it is over and always will be between the two of them, and that she has found her prince. She also encourages Neels to go off and get what he deserves. She makes an allusion to the fact that he seemed to want someone better than her, and now he had a chance to find someone. The theme of her message was also one of: move on with your life.
There were some emails after that, but these stopped shortly after she indicated that Worm was reading them and disapproving of their communication. Thus ended all communication indefinitely.

Phase 3:
5 years later.
Neels returns to his childhood home after an extended tour abroad. He finds a telephone and address pad on his father's desk, open, and sticking out in sharply inked lines is the name: Worm, and the number. Then the odd snippets of information over the past week come back to him.
Worm and Sham came to visit his father in Bloemfontein.
Worm sold his father the Toshiba notebook on the desk.
Worm is doing a photography course.
Worm called to say...Worm worm worm.
So much for getting a life, and moving on, and breaking off all contact.

Neels pauses, checks the number scrawled beside Worm's name, and punches it in.
Worm answers and Neels identifies himself.
Worm is friendly, although wrong-footed, and tries to make some hey, how are you small talky conversation.
Neels plays along, all is conducted in a civil conversational tone, until Neels asks: 'What is the deal with this computer you sold to my father?'

Worm hesitates for a second, then responds, still with enthusiasm and friendliness, 'Nothing. It's not second hand. Is there something wrong?'

Neels smiles. 'Dude, I don't think you're following me. What's happening here? How come you're selling my dad a computer? I thought we were moving on with our lives, and I find while I've been away, you've been visiting my dad, selling him a computer, hell your name and number are in the phone book right in front of me. What's up with that?'

Long pause. Totally new tone of voice. Soft and whispery: 'I can't believe you still haven't gotten over the fact that I took Sham away from you. You're pathetic, you know that...'

'It's fine, I have no bones...You two can go off into the sunset, but what are you doing coming here? Didn't you say to me I must leave you alone and get a life? So why are you having contact with my family? Why don't you come here when I'm here?'

Again, this seething, snaky tone. 'Well I would except you would probably be out making a delivery for Mr Delivery.'

'With you it's always about money. You think it makes you something. But you're a coward. You run around snivelling behind other people with your schemes, wheeling and dealing, and that's all you can do.'
Worm hangs up and hangs up another 3-4 times.
Neels calls and leaves this message:
'Still hiding away. Do you know you are a small little man, with a little bit of cash, and you think that makes you special. I don't think you're very special. I don't know where you get your stories...but let's be clear that the vark in this verhaal, the pathetic person hiding in this house is you.'
Now I don't need to speak to him again. I've said my piece. He knows his place. I'm glad it's done.

Neels feels triumphant. He reflects for a moment on this spontaneous phone call. For each statement Worm attempted a rebuttal, a stinging response, but Neels shouldered it off and fired another canon. This degeneration into insults is simply an admission of weakness, of being unable to find a reasonable response.
There was a power exchange here, and Neels knows Worm came off significantly weaker. Not only that, but Neels feels a sense of satisfaction. This person who he might have admired for wooing someone he once loved, or even envied, is not very intelligent or quick witted as one might have guessed. He is left wondering what was going through Sham's mind when she fell for him? She did say, 'He's got nothing on you. You're far more talented blah blah blah....' So what was it then? The money? The security? Is he a nice person when not in lovey dovey mode? What is this schizophrenic good cop bad cop thing. That voice. This, Neels realises, is childish, and weak.

More than that, Neels could have responded, could have pointed out that yes, he worked at Mr Delivery, he worked as a manager, he made several proposals to the CEO, was offered a job at Head Office too. That he has worked in humbling conditions, he has had a rich and colorful life, he has struggled and succeeded, and his most recent tour of Korea was triumphant, stabilising, successful. What bigger compliment can a person have than to be wildly popular with hosts of children. More than all that, he didn't need to say any of that, because it was enough that he knew that.

Phase 4:
Sham makes a long distance call in great pregnant distress and entreats Neels' father to reign him in. Neels defends his behaviour, and also asks his father to explain why he is dealing with someone who has obviously not been a friend to him. Neels says, 'It's like me making friends with someone who steals a lot of your money. Emotionally, it's the same deal.' Neels points out the precedent Worm set at the airport. Neels points out that that precedent could provide a license for interference, for not respecting the integrity of someone else's relationship.

He also points out that these snide remarks about Mr Delivery show that Worm is not operating entirely reasonably, and he went to some pains to undermine Neel's position by saying: 'Your father likes me. He often comes to stay here.'
Neel's father says the remark about Mr Delivery was unnecessary, and says that they really have very little contact, but is Neel's trying to tell him how to run his life, and who he should buy computers from, and who should be allowed to visit.
Neels says: 'I'd like your support, but obviously you're free to do whatever you want to do. But I've let him know where I stand, and since you've had a call from Sham, you've asked about my actions and I've explained to you exactly what the situation is. And now you both know. I felt it was important to do that, and I stand by it. I wasn't emotional, or sensitive, or unreasonable. It was necessary, because that time had a significant and valuable impact on my life, and I'm holding him accountable for his words and actions. And I'm glad I did it. Whether you support me or if you don't, either is fine. But now you're clear on the situation, and maybe you understand this guy a bit better too. He's not my friend, so I'm not sure why you'd want him as your friend. But that's your choice.'

His father asks why he is trying to interfere? He says this single call kicked up a hornet's nest.
Neels says he is not trying to interfere, he is trying to separate. He is merely maintaining the rule that was set in place.

His father argues that confrontation is not always the answer, and Neels responds saying, 'Sometimes, when you take no action, terrible things happen.' In his mind Neels thinks about his mother, her prolonged depression, and he wonders whether to press the point. He does say that his father is less confrontational than average, and perhaps this is why this is balanced out in himself, but not as confrontation, but communication. Neels is a talented communicator. He writes, he draws, he presents, he proposes, he expresses himself. He points out that he began a civil and reasonable discourse on the phone, but it rapidly degenerated. This is because most people don't know how to communicate, or respond (instead of react) to someone bringing not always positive information into their lives.

His father asks him why he wants to hold grudges?
Neels says it's not about grudges at all. It's about separating lives so people can move forward. That's what happens when people get divorced. If it's not that amicable, it's more constructive not to see each other.
He points out that he went to great pains to resolve things, despite the fact that he was the one cheated on, he pursued closure and was resisted, delayed, lied to at every gate. Then he finally conceded that what is done is done, been and gone, and cannot be revisited.
Then to return home to find Worm and Sham are visiting his father, and vice versa, it's a bit nonsensical. A bit convenient. A bit shabby.

Write a treatise on whether:
a) Neels needs to put Worm on a hook and go fishing
b) Neels was right to set boundaries, and Worm is shithead
c) Neels should call Worm again, reveal the dark secret Sham's been hiding from him, and thereby exact some kind of powerful revenge
d) Neels should flesh out a novel thereby revealing his own eccentricities and creative power
e) Neels should concentrate on the Ironman (and leave the Marshmellow Men behind).

Week 13 Day 6

Cycle 100.8km
Time: 3:31
(100km = 3:29:50)
Average Speed: 28.7km/h
Heart Rate Average: 126/155 max

Excellent cycle, went really easily and felt comfortable the whole way. Have really built up nice and gradually. Will try to do a 140km cycle next week, to Dealesville and back with Jean.

Am suffering a bit from sinusitus but otherwise very well.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Week 13 Day 5

Started the day with Physio. It's really good, really strengthening the abdominals, and really interesting. Also enjoying getting to know Colleen (runner) and Liza (dancer) better. Petro has really organised a good setup.

Took the Jeep to Virgin Active and did a decent swim. Handled 4km without much trouble. Saw CJ cycling on the balcony in a black skinsuit. Pool was clear until I got out. Think Lizelle starts at 14:00.

Swim: 4km
3x1000m (1 normal, 2 pull)
Each 1000 = 15:15
3km in 48minutes, 15 seconds.
250m kick
Fly-crawl and stroking.
Total time: 1:10

Weight: 78.45kg

The clouds were pregnant with rain, very dark gray, so didn't take the Jeep to Pellisier. Instead I went for a run on a time-worn route, up Brill, Happy Valley, Whites Road, Waverley, and then down Dan Pienaar. Beautiful run, felt great, foot felt perfect while running. Ran very easy pace.

Run: 52:15
Distance: 9km
Hear Rate Average: 141/155 max.

Am feeling I really need to step up my training not only over the weekend, but do a very big push during February. I now know that the guys cycle in Paul Kruger Road at 05:30 every Tuesday morning, have Jean's. Franna's and Mauritiz's numbers, and can also run with Petro and Colleen when I need to.

Leg feels slightly tender today, but really fine considering it was quite a hilly run, and fairly long too. Going to keep doing it, same distance, same pace, and see if my body can handle it without putting me in more pain. If that's the case, I'll start running faster and shorter distances, and do some much longer runs. Need to execute this with cunning and patience.

Good to see the weight dropping.
Need to make sure I get enough fruit, and increase fruit and vegetables and cut down on meats and Steer Burgers.
Not sure if I have a cold, or just hay fever. Have been sniffing and sneezing a bit.
I still need to get a Vitamin B-complex shot.

Need to decide soon whether to do the race in Mykonos.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Week 13 Day 4

Cycled 71km
Time: 2:28
Ran out of water on a very bright, sunny and dry evening. Felt strong otherwise.

Far Flung Places

I took this picture on my last day in Korea. Went skiing in the biggest resort area - Yongpyong. This gondola took 20 minutes to get us to the top, and the ski was about 10 minutes continuously down.

I got to the airport with 40 minutes to spare, and left at around 8pm for Hong Kong, and then arrived in South Africa on Christmas day. Posted by Hello

Easy Explanation Anyone?

Lynne Slettevold took this picture in South America, in southern Argentina (El Calafate).

She went for a long walk one eveing, and returned late at about 22:30. During the walk she was taking photographs of birdlife in the glacial waters surrounding the place where she was staying. She says the nighttime temperatures was around 6 degrees Celcius so the atmosphere was obviously pretty cold.

She said a strange circular object descended suddenly, and rapidly out of the sky. It left a kind of vapour trail which quickly dissipated.

Strange weather phenomena or...what? Posted by Hello

The Grey Bomb

There's an afrikaans school song we used to sing. Translated it goes like this:

The Grey bomb
The Grey bomb
It comes it comes it comes
be careful Sentraal
be careful Sentraal

I meant to post this yesterday but there was some or other glitch. Seem to be having a lot lately. Today has been relatively glitch-free though. Got my license, so I know have a license to...thrill.
Jeep, here I come. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

License to Kill

Grrrr. Today dad turned down my application to take the jeep to Hamilton Traffic Department and Testing Ground (to test to what extent people can have meltdowns), but said he would take me instead. Nice one, except immediately after I needed to go to Petro for Physio. So I first went to Petro and really did some unusual Pilates-type (I believe) stretching. Liza and Colleen are definitely sorting out some physical weaknesses that really have needed attention for some time. Perhaps the snail like approach to the elephantine Ironman is actually the best way. I do feel really anxious to get some dino workouts in. I STILL have not hit 100km in the cycle.

After the Physio I cycled to Hamilton, and the road basically approaches the busy-ness and chaos and near-miss-ness of Korea. The roads are also shocking - full of cracks, gravel, potholes, glass and I have to say quite a few bumpers shaved the narrow space of air between my calf and their car. Thanks. I made it all the way out to Vista University (basically where there are no more buildings left, that means Bloemfontein ohp-say-yoh, finished, gone). So I unclicked off the pedals, walked over to a quieter road just inside off the Highway area, and asked for directions. The place has translocated (is that the right word, 'cos it's not transferred) to adjacent to the Coke factory.

I got there and met with a fris tannie who informed me, out of the luxuriousness of her sofa-like seating arrangement, that I simply had to fill in all the necessary documents downstairs (aka do everything I've already done twice again)and then they could whip out a temporary license immediately.
Immediately? I gasped, unable to believe that the Traffic Department would ever dare utter that beautiful word aloud.
Immediately. Yes.
Great. So where do I go? Downstairs?
And I can do all this now? I asked, practically bursting with newfound vigor.
Ag nee. No man it's juss gone one 'o clock hey. They've juss closed. Yoo'll haf to cahm bek tomorrah.

I basically launched my campaign to update my driver's license on the 4th of January. For the record, your honor, let it be shown here that the date today is the 26th. 3 weeks to basically convert an old license, an old valid license with absolutely no violations of any sort, to a new, legal, nationally accepted one. My crime was to leave the country and return.

I have been passed from pillar to post, have made about a hundred phone calls to a Mrs van ven Berg in Humansdorp, 5 of which she actually took and spoke to me. I've also had to get a fax sent to me from my employer in Korea, with his signature, which, if you know my ex-boss, is no mean feat in itself.

I know a license to drive boils down to a license to kill in this country, but at this rate, of not getting one, I may find myself earning that license anyway, without a car, if you get my meaning.

Week 13 Day 1 and 2

I have to combine days because this computer is basically using up pieces of my allotted lifetime on earth just to load.

Day 1

I actually posted Day 1 2 days ago and Day 1 got swallowed up by digital goo. So sorry the original Day 1 is lost forever, but here is a reasonable facsimile:

Swim: 2.5km
Time: 57:00
1stkm: 17:30

5x250 Pull
Best time 3:31, but maintained this time thoughout.
Best time 1:13
Also did 250m kicking, fly-crawls and a fair amount of stretching-stroking.
Weight 80.95kg

This was a great swim, felt smooth, although was preceded by a weird Grey Manne altercation in the change rooms with a Greek guy that I don't know, and Hannes van Tonder, who I at first didn't recognise, but who tricked me into giving him a Grey handshake. The Greek guy started giving me hell for afkyk and what not in matric. I felt like telling him to be quiet and sit down!

I see Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman have both earned first places at the World Champs in Berlin, Ryk broke Roland's world record in the 100metres individual medley, and Roland equalled another world record, in the 100m freestyle (short course). Amazing to see these guys at the top of their game, inspiring each other to do better. I hope it goes on for a while for them.

Day 2

Cycled to Petro and had my head examined. Not quite, but had the curvatures of my spine and just about every aspect of my body, and strengths and weaknesses assessed, measured, analysed, so she could draw up a program for the next few weeks. On the way back I took some photos in the Waverley area, and then had lunch with dad and Jenny.
After that we drove to Grey and took photos there. I notice one of the best pictures didn't post off HELLO - a picture of the silver swastika - I mean Grey's Stabilis Coat of Arms. Will have to try to do it again. Did you know Stabilis means stability? Not sure if I got any of that at Grey. Felt like I got an overdose of machismo and criticism, but then a lot can be blamed on being sent to school far too young. I started school at the age of 4 and left at 17, so had things a bit rougher and tougher than I think is natural, or healthy.

Did not actually train today, though I was itching too. I enjoyed spending time with Jenny, but legs felt sore from the triathlon still, and my weak leg especially, felt pain in the foot, so a run was out. Hams felt stiff, and arms too, more from the swim than from anything else. So maybe a rest day is okay. Need to pick up this week. Lots of work ahead and there is a long long road ahead, with still more ahead of me than what's already behind me.

Am happy that the physio is sorting out an important area, so I can focus on the rest, and know that I'm not setting myself up for injury or some other disaster.

Two things:
1) Need to get a vitamin B shot.
2) Must do the 10km road race on Friday at 18:00, and not hurt myself too much. Try to run under an hour, and not too much slower than 50 minutes. Will try to run at a heart rate of 160 and keep it there, and see what sort of time that will translate to. Okay, hopefully this will post and not disappear. Holding breath...

Bridging the Gap

Nooooo!The bridge leading to the University Library has been totally developed into a centre with shops, restaurants and computer terminals. Van Schaiks, Steers, Traumerei - you name it, it's been added to the university since I've been gone. Great. Grey also got a major revamp the day after I left primary school, then they saved up and the same thing happened after I left high school. The one thing I did get to see in my time was a new Tuck Shop.
They have probably turned on the atmosphere processors in Korea, and the air is completely clean and the parks green and sparkly since I made my departure. Thanks guys.

Why couldn't they have this stuff available during my decade at Varsity? So I feel I have a valid excuse for not being punctual. If I waste enough time, good things come to those who...waste? Posted by Hello

This is inside the Biology class. Mr Swart once sent me to Mr Volsteedt for not doing my homework because I said I was quote: "Too tired." He told me to say the exact thing to Mr Volsteedt, which I did, and Volsteedt pardoned me saying, "Ja van der Leek I know you get up at 5am to go swimming with Simon, but try to finish your schoolwork as well." When I came back to class Mr Swart asked me what happened and I said, "I told him what I told you and he said it was fine."  Posted by Hello

Biology was one of my favorite subjects, and Mrs Von Maltitz my favorite teacher. Allan and I became good friends sitting together in class here, from about Std 8. Posted by Hello

The old bell. On your last day of school, they ring this bell while you walk under it. Often the old boys cry. I didn't. No one is ever allowed to walk under the bell except on the last day. I think we once did and got a few cuts (lashes) for doing so.  Posted by Hello

They've built a new balcony in the hall. I remember when I went to Grey, sometimes students had to sit outside on the steps, and on the floor, because they couldn't fit everyone in! This, I guess, is a remedy for that problem. Posted by Hello

This is where I went to school. Great, I mean Grey College. Actually I don't have many great memories here, but I had my moments, particularly in sport. This year Grey is 150 years old. For South Africa that's pretty old. Posted by Hello

This where I'll be doing alot more emailing from now on. Seems I've used up my credit limit of computer goodwill at home already. Wish they had these facilities when I was a student. Posted by Hello

This is where I go for my rehabilitation. Today I had dry needling again, and also had my spine and various other parts measured, and the strength tested. Posted by Hello