I read an interesting article on News24 last week (the link for which has been misplaced), that says more kids are killed in South Africa by road accidents than HIV/AIDS. This is more proof that the traffic situation is out of control. I get fined R500 for not seeing a concealed traffic light in an empty intersection because I was checking for cars coming the other way, and drunk drivers continue to murder children on the roads. Pathetic.

‘Allo ‘Allo

I spent the weekend watching 'Allo 'Allo and playing Need For Speed. Tomorrow I plan to do much the same. M had to work this morning – we got a call at around 01h45 from a doctor to say "you're the only one on call". Needless to say, it disturbed our sleep.

Not much else to say. I'm finalising documentation and so forth for the six-month project that is due today, as well as a new front-end for the intranet for the reports we have automated. Lots of fun!

Otherwise, I'd better get my wrists in shape for Need For Speed!

Virginia Tech

I've read a lot about the South Korean (I'm not going to give anyone the satisfaction of saying his name – he's not worth it) who gunned down 32 people and then himself.

Firstly, there's the issue of how the university didn't take him out in the two hours between killing sprees. Shame on them.

Secondly, there's the issue of gun control. Here I like to put myself in the situation of someone in the classroom with the psycho gunman. If I'd had a gun, I'd take him out, no problem. I'd shoot him in the knees and the hands, to disable him (I am a very good shot – I just don't like guns per se). If I didn't have a clear shot and my life was in danger, I'd shoot him in the head or the chest (or both) in self-defence.

The problem is, I'm not allowed a gun on campus in Virginia Tech. Wow, that sucks.

It's a moral dilemma – I don't like guns, but I learnt how to use them so that I could defend myself if the need came about. Plus, I lived in pre-democracy South Africa, and guns were taught at school in Cadets.

I don't approve of guns, and I think they should be banned from campus. I also don't think that the people who let the mad gunman buy guns are at fault. If someone is crazed enough to kill 32 people, he's going to get guns from somewhere.

Which brings me to my final point: Zero Tolerance. I don't think Zero Tolerance would have prevented this tragedy. Making laws to govern acts of random violence are not going to stop acts of random violence. They happen, they are sad, and taking away rights is not going to solve the problem.

On the naming of cars and other things

When I inherited the Ford Fiesta from M, it came with a name: Mildred. I’ve always chosen my own name for my vehicles. It started with Doris, the gold 1984 Daihatsu Charade, and then Donna, the “true blue” Ford Tracer Tonic. When I got my silver Mercedes, she was named called Dorothy. Unfortunately, she was written off less than a month later, and then I got a white Mercedes which I called Morag.

Now I have Mildred, who, according to M, is a drag queen or a transsexual. I can’t recall which. Nevertheless, I was told sternly that Mildred she will remain. I wasn’t even allowed to change her name to Millie, despite her being thoroughly modern as far as my history of cars is concerned!

On the subject of names, a scene in a television show last night prompted me to think about names for children when we adopt. We’ve both agreed that we’d like to adopt a boy (when we can afford it – this is a long-term goal!), so we need to think of names.

My mother wanted to call my sister Alistair James, had she been a boy, and I rather like the sound of it. My grandfathers were named Bryan and Paul respectively. Stuart is a family name, so it tends to follow the Potter around (now you know why I have four names).

What are your thoughts?

Been a while

Almost a whole week since my last post … sorry to the regular readers!

At work I’m on the fast track to finishing up a project that has consumed most of my time since I started here in September. I’m busy with a C# front-end to an automation process that works with SQL Server 2005 and an Excel reporting output (I didn’t choose Excel, for the record).

At home, M has been sick with ‘flu for two days. I might get it, or I might not. It depends on my immune system and whether I’ve had this strain.

I miss my old car in traffic. Who knew changing gears was so hard? I used to own a manual shift Ford Tracer before I upgraded to the Mercedes automatic, and even though it’s all come back to me, I never realised just how much work is required in changing gears in traffic!

At least it’s good exercise.

Oh happy day

Today I got my laptop back, and it seems to be happy. The replaced fan is a little noisy, but the old dog seems to be quicker than before. I’ll stay away from Vista and just use it as my dev box now.

I also got a 2004 Ford Fiesta today. Morag the 230E was sold to the highest bidder and Marinus has given me the use of his car.

Oh, he’s driving a 2004 Mini Cooper with satellite navigation and a f*ck-off gearbox. I like it lots and lots.

Motor vehicle finance

Standard Bank Asset and Vehicle Finance has to be the most useless department of its kind we have ever dealt with.

When I financed my first car, I borrowed the money from a friend and paid him back within a year. The second car I financed through ABSA. The third was a cash deal, and the fourth was another borrow deal from someone, whom I paid back over two years. In every single one of my cases, the car was financed within two days of me wanting it.

My better half has just spent more than a week organising finance through Standard Bank, despite them offering him a preferential rate below prime two weeks ago (amended last Monday).

The woman at Standard Bank has been utterly useless in her communication skills, and her capacity for responsibility appears to be lower than a shallow pond in the middle of the Sahara desert in the middle of summer during a ten-year drought.

I may be exaggerating about the responsibility and aiming too high.

Hopefully, 11 days after the fact, we might be sorted out today, never mind having messed around the seller.

Needless to say, this is not the bank I work for.

FNB’s Million-a-Month – what’s the catch? It’s illegal, that’s what …

First National Bank started a competition a couple of years ago offering the chance to win R1 million every month for every R250 you deposited in a non-interest-bearing account. It sounded fishy to me and I never took part.

Yesterday, the bank lost its appeal (see related link) against suspending the competition, in accordance with the Lotteries Act of 1997. Also, they were found at fault for not paying interest on the money you put into the account.

Sorry for you!

Needless to say, this is not the bank I work for.