How sad

I've come to the realisation (although I've had my suspicions in the past) that being gay is pass', especially in Johannesburg. Gone are the days of marching for our rights. M even noted the other day that there are only two gay support groups in the whole of Gauteng, in a region that services more than half the country's population.

Kudos to these two groups, of course, but are they doing enough?

I had a brief conversation this morning (I had to drag the information out of her) with a female colleague who is a practising Catholic. She says that she thinks it is wrong that the ANC is pushing the Civil Union Act so dramatically, because it is against her beliefs. I had to drag this from her because she "didn't want to offend" me.

While I do appreciate that her unenlightened opinion is a direct result of brainwashing by the Pope and his minions, at least she acknowledged that she has no right to judge. That said, however, she should not have made the statement in the first place whether it was right or wrong of the ANC.

Personally, I think it's about time that the government came around to accepting that gays and lesbians are people too, and that their long term relationships should be recognised. The church has no place in my life, and nor should it. I accept that members of my family and others may have their own belief system, but I don't want to be told whether my moral choices are right or wrong by other human beings. That's just hypocrisy.

I think that the government is doing the right thing in recognising committed relationships, separating church and state like they should, as opposed to forcing antiquated indoctrination on the people of South Africa.

Now all we need is for the twats in the National Blood Service to get a life and allow gay men to donate blood without requiring their sexual history beforehand, and I'll stop being an activist.

In a way, it's a good thing when being a member of a minority group is pass'. It means that society doesn't care, which means you can get on with real life instead of pretending someone else isn't as good as you are.

Bah humbug

Thanks to the Vatican City, "The Nativity Story" is another reason why I hate Christmas.

Joseph is the father.

Before I go into another tirade about the world being hoodwinked by the church, I'll find something else to do while my SQL scripts are running.

Dumbass of the Month

On the Civil Union Bill which is being rushed through parliament to beat the Constitutional Court's 1 December 2006 deadline: "Why are we fast-tracking the passing of legislation that a majority of South Africans don't want, this is forgery," said the Inkatha Freedom Party's Jeanette Vilakazi.

Jeanette, you're the dumbass of the month because no matter which way you cut it, the law WILL change. That's WHY we have a Constitutional Court in the first place. And, laughably, this Civil Union Bill will still only be secondary to the Marriage Act, which WILL change on 1 December 2006 ANYWAY according to the 2005 ruling.

It's really not that hard to understand.

Don’t Drink and Drive

See related link.

The blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05 gram per 100 millilitres of blood while the limit for professional drivers is 0.02 gram.

Relatively speaking, that's one drink. One drink.

If it can be proved that the limit was exceeded and you're involved in an accident, your insurance cover is cancelled too.

Don't drink and drive.

Freakonomics

I’m about a third of the way through the book “Freakonomics”, and one of the most profound statements is explored in the beginning – that crime in USA dropped dramatically in the 1990s because abortion was legalised (see Roe vs Wade).

And more work …

Yesterday I spent pretty much the entire day playing computer games, because I needed a break. M played as well (and kicked my ass in Starcraft on Friday night), and is showing quite an aggressive stance in Civilization IV.

At work I've been busy with automating massive reports, and just this week managed to change a 4 hour manual process into a 45 minute process. I wasn't happy with this, and after doing some reading one evening, managed to trim it down to 12 minutes. That's more like it.

At the moment, I'm reading "Visual C# 2005 Unleashed", and have some new ideas for my parser that I wrote last week. I think I might be able to make it process its 800MB of data even faster.

I read a good quote in this latest book, and only the geeks will appreciate it (source: Hoffman, K. 2006. Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Unleashed. SAMS Publishing, USA):

"It seems as though virtually every book on a programming language starts off with a program that prints the phrase 'Hello World' to the console. Rather than risk horrible karma and unknown repercussions from breaking with tradition, I am going to inflict my own version of 'Hello World' upon you."

I suck

I haven't managed to stay on track for writing my novel in the month of November. By now I should be coming in on the 40 000 word mark. It's not going to happen.

On the bright side, I discovered that my blog is pushing 64 000 words, which means I've *technically* written a book. However, save for the Wil Wheatons of the world, I'm unlikely to get it published.

Nevertheless, I knew I had a book in me!

Happy Birthday

To Stephanie, my sister. She is now as old as my mother was when I was born. Thankfully, she's not married (or pregnant). On the other hand, I turned out fairly well.

Glod is Liefde

Friday I wrote my last exam for the year. With any luck, I’ve passed them all and will be heading into second year B.Ed. in 2007.

On Saturday, we went to Swartruggens, near Rustenburg, for a wedding. It was M’s cousin, and the same family who helped us out with a certain Mercedes-Benz problem in December 2005.

Swartruggens is a mining town. While we were there, I saw a coal train, and apparently it also has a platinum mine. Ironic, really, that a town that produces two of the most sought-after resources is so poor, but I guess that’s the world as we know it.

We got to the game farm, dressed for the wedding, and then had to drive back to the town for the wedding. People complained that they should have had the wedding at the farm. I agree.

There were twins, aged five, who were dressed to kill as the ring bearers. As they walked past our room, I heard one say to the other, “We’re definitely the best-looking people here”. Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.

The wedding ceremony was at the Dutch Reformed Church (as opposed to the Reformed Church), the building being 85 years old and constructed mostly out of stone (I think granite). Beautiful as architecture goes, but very stark inside. The pews were uncomfortable and the PA system wasn’t very effective. M commented that the stone-backed clock was a little gaudy. I agree.

The service was thankfully short – there were children whose parents couldn’t control them and were noisy. There’s a “cry room” for a reason, parents! Liza-Marie looked amazing in a white and red dress. The groom, whose nickname means “barrel”, looked a little anxious.

The organist got the first song wrong, for some reason. It’s the first time in my life something like that has happened.

There are 44 pipes on the organ.

There was also a banner under the altar reading “God is Liefde”, but the G was so ornate that it looked like “Glod”, hence the subject line of this blog.

We went off to the game farm for the reception, and had a four-course meal consisting of smoked salmon, roast vegetables, steak, spinach rolled in something very tasty which I think was pastry, and three-mousse dessert. I had half a glass of sparkling wine before the heartburn kicked in. I drank mostly water and Coke (in separate glasses).

The MC, a rugby player known in those parts, was quite well-spoken and did a good job of ceremony monstering (it’s an Afrikanerism, like “trek”). Speeches were short, funny, poignant, all of those good things you want but never expect at a wedding, and the general atmosphere was pleasant. Bear in mind that I was an Englishman in the heart of Afrikanerdom, and I still managed to enjoy myself.

For the record, I am the biggest arachnophobe I know. In our room (separate beds, sharing with the old people in their own bed), was a spiders’ nest. Inside this nest were about five daddy long-legs, and a rain spider the size of a small continent. That was fine. It was the dangerous one the size of my thumb that had my soon-to-be mother-in-law on the go. No, I was the one cowering in the corner. She nailed it with a towel to make sure it was dead.

The next morning I felt as though I’d had things crawling all over me during the night. Yecch.

Happy Birthday

To my mother, who is celebrating her 22nd birthday again. She is 22 because she's older than me and I'm 21. Stay tuned for my 30th birthday in a month's time.