Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Deadlines, vacation and moving should never coincide.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Summer solstice

The scent of jasmine fills my room.

Finished a report tonight, not a big one, but potentially important. Ok, maybe not finished, but the bit of smoothing that remains is relatively minor. I suspect I've been enlarging it in my mind, but it was frustrating nonetheless. I realized my extreme maloquance* when it comes to literature reviews of subjects I really don't know much about. Maybe it was the the way I've been reading - with more focus on understanding what I'm doing than where it fits it? Anyway, creating the grand overview was challenging.

But I finished at 22h-ish. Better than the last few nights. Then I went outside, for a walk, trying to replace my inner rush with the tranquility of late dusk. I crossed the rail tracks:

Eventually I found myself outside Tesco. Thinking that I need something to sooth myself I went inside. Maybe a chocolate bar? I rarely buy chocolate (unless it's for cooking), so I really had no idea what I'd like. Then I saw the tonic water. The OED says:

tonic, a. and n. 2) Med., etc. Having the property of increasing or restoring the tone or healthy condition and activity of the system or organs; strengthening, invigorating, bracing.

So I bought a bottle. And a lime, just one. The gin was already waiting at home.

On the way back, I discovered a low, almost hidden jasmine shrub. It creeped into my nose from two houses away. And brought memories with it. We had an amazing one outside our door, in a small quad. It would fill the kitchen with its scent for most of spring. In Stellenbosch, I would start looking for leaves from early spring onwards, and plan my midnight walks accordingly. Hoping to find the find fresh blossoms, but also the last ones before the heat of summer set in. Later, when I had a garden (a real one, with earthworms and hadedas and bloody sorrel), I would take fragrant bunches along when invited to dinner. Even though no-one would call it courtship, it was appreciated enough for me to persist.

I surrepticiously plucked off a small bit over the hedge tonight, it is lying next to my bed right now.

* Yes, that is my new word for today.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Relative sexism

In essence, those who speculate on what the future will bring are, in bold imagination, embarking on a trip through time. Let us assume that in 1928 a 28-year old couple couple departed on a 30-year trip in which they traveled at 99.2 per cent of the speed of light. Let us further assume they left behind a one-year old daughter. While the clocks on Earth were ticking away the passage of 30 years, their clocks would indicate but three years of time had elapsed. The 28-year old couple would return and be 31 years old.

Every woman loves to hear the flattering remark when she is with her daughter that they almost look like sisters. If our people went out to dinner in 1958 with their daughter, then truly could the remark be made to the mother:
"Why you look like sisters, not like mother and daughter." Mother would be 31 years old, just the age of her daughter. This is one time flattery would not be empty. If the women are really serious about staying young, and what woman isn't, here may be the solution to this longing.

I.M. Levitt, 10 Steps into Space (1958)