Monday, January 31, 2005

The Fan, Bryanston

Monday, January 31, 2005

Service: * * 1/2
Food: * *
Ambience: * * * 1/2
Babe Count: * * *

I'm playing Harold. It's my third match of the season. Early days. Plenty of time for me to display my backgammon might.

It's been an interesting few days. I've been leaving messages for an ex employer of mine, the producer at a tv production house. I was hired as a director on a tv series, and finished my gig with them some time ago.

I was supposed to work a total of two months, but for scheduling reasons, I ended up working four months, for no extra money. I've had to consult a lawyer to be able to say what I'm saying here, so I'm sure you've got an idea of what's coming.

My ex-boss hasn't been returning my calls. Neither has the company accountant.

Yesterday I left a message on her cellphone. On it, I said something to the effect of this: "Hi, I'm getting really concerned about the fact the you haven't been answering my calls or acknowledging my SMSs. Tomorrow is the end of the month, and you guys owe me the balance of my fee, and I really need to know if you intend paying me what you owe me or not so that I can try and make a plan to have money in my account to cover this month's debit orders. The fact that you're ignoring my calls leads me to suspect that you intend not paying me. Will you please do me the courtesy of phoning me back to let me know, so that my debit orders don't bounce at midnight tomorrow night."

No reply.

This morning, I sent her accountant another SMS, asking her to let me know when they're paying me. Again, no reply.

Until lunchtime.

My ex-boss phones, and says, "Roy, I'm afraid I've got bad news for you." She tells me that she's consulted her lawyers, and that she's entirely within her legal rights. She says that she's done a reconciliation, and that I actually owe HER money, and that she refuses to pay the outstanding R8500 that she owes me.

I ask her to pay me the outstanding amount. It's my fee. And it was the amount agreed to. She says no. And we end the conversation.

The awkward thing is that this ex-boss is a member of the same backgammon club as me. We play each other fairly regularly. So the fact that she's now refusing to pay me the money she owes me makes things a little tense.

Which is probably why I'm not playing terribly well against Harold tonight. Either that, or he's better than me. It's been close all night. We've been neck on neck. Until we get to 16--15 in his favour. And he offers me the cube to 4. And instead of thinking about it, I simply take the damn thing. This means that if I lose this game, we go to 20--15 to him, and I'm likely to lose the next game. So like a putz, I take the cube, and we play on. And I lose the game.

Harold says, "Why did you take that cube? It was an obvious drop." And he's right.

But I'm thinking about the new blog I've created in response to this fiasco with the production house. It's called ScrewTheFreelancer, and it's at I've created the site to allow the community of freelancers to write about people who haven't paid them. Once I've got their story, I'll email the employers who didn't pay them, and they have uncensored right of reply.

So this afternoon I did the honourable thing, and sent my ex-boss an email explaining to her that I'm going to be taking action against her if she refuses to settle her debt to me. The action I tell her I'll take is to write about my experience with her on the new blog, as well as alerting a company called Media Web, and Hello Peter. These sites are similar to my new blog in that they deal with people's complaints. I include the full text of my writeup in the email I send her.

The way I work in the world is to play open cards. I'm not trying to screw her. I'm trying to collect the money she owes me. And I'm being completely transparent about it.

I get no reply to my email.

When I get to backgammon, she's not there. Eventually, near the end of my last game with Harold, which he wins, beating me 21--15, I hear her voice. I thought she hadn't come, but I simply didn't notice her arrival.

I finish packing my backgammon pieces away, and I go over and greet her. I'm hoping she's brought my cheque for R8500.

She greets me, and says, "I've got something here for you, but it's not what you think it is." She pulls an envelope out of her bag, and hands it to me. "Read it, and if you still want to discuss things with me, we can talk."

I've asked my lawyer if it's okay to reproduce this here, and he says go ahead. Here is the full text of the letter, with the names of the company directors removed:

31 January 2005


We have sought legal advice following your e-mail, and advise you that if you proceed you do so at your peril. We record that your threats are both defamatory and will cause us damages. We will take legal action against you, which will include the obtaining of an interdict, and seek damages against you.

We record that you are seeking to extort monies of (R11 470.65 less 25% PAYE, being R2 867.66) a nett amount of R8 602.26 from us, and this is a criminal offence. Unless you withdraw this extortion, we will be forced to report it to the police.

All our further rights are reserved.

Signed 31 January 2005

Naturally, I have taken legal advice myself. And if my email came across as extorting money from her, of course I withdraw it! If it came across that way, that's purely a mistake. I meant it as part of normal debt collection procedure.

And of course, I too will be taking legal action if I don't get the money owed to me. Sadly, I'm not able at this time to publish any of the details, since she claims that my doing so is an extortion attempt. My lawyer tells me that to publish details would just be provocative.

I really do wish my ex-boss would just do the honourable thing and pay me what she owes me. Nobody needs the misery of courts and labour courts. And I certainly don't need the ugliness of letters threatening me with the police. But hey. Who knows? The person I know and love from the backgammon club IS an honourable woman.

And she's a damn good backgammon player. I'd like to be able to play her again without rancour. And beat her, of course.

At backgammon.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Nationwide Airlines, Somewhere Between Durban and Joburg

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Service: * * * *
Food: *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

Shaft is the director I'm working with at the moment. What a good dude. Styles himself as a film revolutionary. And he is exactly that. Gonna go far, this chap.My crew and I are flying back from our two-day visit to Pietermaritzburg. I'm heavily sunburnt on my arms and neck. Ntobeko, our camera-dude is sitting on my left. Across the aisle, to his left, is Shaft, our director. Musa, the sound-fellow, is sitting behind shaft. I'm the producer.

"Did you get that at the Exclusive Books sale?" I ask. Beside me is a delicious waif.

She hefts the book on her lap. "Nah, it's just in-flight reading," she says.

She must be a speed-reader. The flight from Durban to Johannesburg is only about an hour. Turns out she's been back in South Africa for a month on holiday from Dublin where she now lives, and she's heading back there, making a connecting flight in Joburg.

I try some small talk, asking her what she does in Dublin. Her name's Ashika. She's a psychologist. Specialising in children. I notice that she's being very polite with me. "Uh," I say, "if my chit chat is bothering you, just let me know, and I'll try and hold myself back from talking to you. Would you like me to shut up?"

She looks at me. One beat. A second beat. "Yes please," she says.

"Done," I say.

But I can't stop glancing over at her. And she's totally aware of this. So I decide to do an airplane sketch. I struggle to reach my cargo pants pocket in the cramped seat, but eventually get my palmtop out. I run my sketching software, and start drawing.

The fine art of using sketching as spadework. Ashika. A super-beauty.Of course, she notices instantly, and closes the book just as I get the curve of her nose down. "What are you doing?" she asks. She's not angry. Just a little wild.

"Drawing you," I say, and show her the screen.

"Isn't it customary to ASK permission before you draw someone?"

"I normally don't ask. Would you like me to ask?"

She glares at me, but her eyes are sparkling, and she can't hide a smile.

"May I draw you?" I ask, sketching another line.

"Okay," she says.

"Read your book," I say. "I need your profile."

I notice some activity in the seat beside me. Ntobeko is conferring with Shaft. I glance at them. They both give me a hubba hubba thumbs up. They're impressed with my spadework.

I keep drawing, then start doing the colour. That's always time-consuming. It normally takes me a good thirty minutes to do a detailed colour portrait. The 'fasten your seatbelt' sign pings on, and the captain announces that we're preparing to land. Technically, I'm supposed to stop using electronic equipment when this happens.

But I figure a palmtop is just like a watch, and I'm fighting against time here. This will only serve as spadework if I can actually finish the drawing. So I keep sketching, and ask Ntobeko to warn me when the stewards are approaching.

He nudges me. I hold the machine face down, and hope they can't see the glow. They see nothing. I keep colouring Ashika's picture.

"Here," I say, just as we start the final descent.

"Isn't that supposed to make me look beautiful?" Ashika asks.

"Oh, I can't make you look more beautiful than you actually are," I say.

I show Shaft and Ntobeko the pic, and they give me big thumbs up signs.

Then I hand Ashika my business card and say, "I'll email it to you if you send me your email address when you get back to Ireland."

"I'd like that," she says.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Free, signed artworks to the first ten people to email me their postal address

Just had an idea. I've got a whole load of my digital artworks printed out on archive quality photo paper. They're signed. They're collectable. They sell at the craft markets for R65 each.

And one of them could be yours if you send me your postal address. Wherever you are in the world.

I have absolutely no interest in sending you junk mail or anything. I will destroy all records of your postal address once I've actually mailed you your artwork.

I'm doing this cos I've just gotten a yearning to reward you for reading my blog.

So. Here's the buzz. Be one of the first ten people to email me your postal address, and you'll receive one of my prints. No strings attached. Email me at

Blue skies

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Missing Link, Northriding

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Service: * * * * *
Food: * * * * *
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

I'm here at The Missing Link for a 9 o'clock meeting. I pass through the foyer, which is done up as a men's toilet, complete with urinals, toilet, graffiti on the wall, and an empty toilet roll. On the cardboard spine of the cardboard, someone's scribbled, "Now you're FUCKED!!!"

I enter the office. It's uncharacteristically free of heavy metal music. Normally, all five of the tv screens suspended from the ceiling have music videos screaming out at visitors.

This morning, however, it's a status meeting, and I'm at the tail end of it.

"Hey!" I say, and eight or so of the staff hey me back. One of them is Helen, the most delectable office manager in the world.

Rich, the MD, one of the dudes I'm here to see this morning, says, "Grab a seat." So I do, and eavesdrop on their business process. I feel justified in doing this, cos I figure there's definitely a place for me in this completely mad organisation.

Rich is saying, "Whoever DOESN'T write down their logsheets for the London client will get a cellphone enema. That means YOU D'ave!" He holds up the cellphone. It ain't no mini Moto. Then he says something to one of the dudes about sourcing the John Cleese training videos to look at for ideas. The dude says he doesn't know where to even start looking.

I pipe up, "Try the IMM library. I did a course with them a while back, and they showed us the videos."

D'ave says, "The Institute of Marketing Management?"

That's the one. I'm making a contribution already, and I don't even work here.

Andre whispers a question to me while the meeting continues. "What beverage can I prepare for you?"

Andre is the in-house coffee-maestro and hospitality king. I reckon he's one of the major reasons this is one of THE premier places to work. I say, "A cappuccino would be it, thanks." He's beaming when he brings it to me. It's pride. And it's justified. There are hundreds of coffee-shop owners in Joburg alone who would murder this man to stop him from showing them up as useless.

The meeting dissipates, and Rich, Ant and I head for the office. Andre intercepts us, and brings a plate of Tim Tams as fuel for the meeting. Ant tells me I can have his. Ooooo, baby. The trick with the Tim Tam is that you nibble off two corners diagonally opposite each other, then use the chocolate-coated biscuit as a straw. As soon as the coffee hits your mouth, you chew the entire biscuit. And then you wipe your underpants with a serviette. Unfortunately, I don't have a serviette.

So we kick off the meeting with Rich saying, "So, why're you here? This is your meeting." And we talk a lot about my expertise and what I might be able to bring to the company. I tell them that I'm unemployable, that I don't WANT a job or a boss, that I'm a project sorta dude, and this seems to go down quite well. They tell me that one of the things they're going for this year is to up their creative output a notch or two. And I reckon this is where I'd slot in perfectly.

I see myself as someone able to motivate their teams to give those extra bits of juice to the work, and transform it into magic stuff. And I reckon I can do this on a per-project basis. Maybe it'll involve me being a creative director of sorts. But I don't like the advertising agency model, and neither do they.

"Roy," says Rich, "I think we've got to meet for coffee every now and again and chat about how we can use you. You're like this powerful tool that someone's just plonked into my hands, and I don't know how to use it. We're going to have to talk a lot and find out how to use you."

Very promising. And I'm sure we're going to do grooooovy things together. This is rock and roll. Heavy rock 'n roll. Yeah. Thrash baby, thrash.

But right now I've got to scoot to Curious Pictures to start my three-week production gig. Hoooograhhhh!

As I'm making for the door, Andre says, "There's a little something on my desk for you."

His desk is the bar in the corner near the door. On it is a little paper bag filled with sweets.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Fan, Bryanston

Monday, January 24, 2005

Service: * * *1/2
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * *

Andreas is sitting across the board from me. I'm playing the role of kindly uncle helping him with his game. He's just turned 25 or 26, and I'm 36 and 11/12s, seeing as my birthday is coming up on 17 Feb. So I'm not really qualified to be his uncle figure. But I reckon this is backgammon, and I'll do whatever it takes to win.

So whenever he makes a completely arseholed play, I feel it's my duty to stop him before he picks up his dice, and ask him to explain the play to me. As a consequence, he avoids making some seriously stupid, irrational moves, and starts beating me gently.

I'm okay with that, cos he's actually got the potential to be a strong player, but he's blind to his weaknesses, and he sank down to C-division last year, and didn't get high quality feedback. Not that my feedback is all that high quality. Heck. I was middle of B-div last year. Hardly one of the greats. But shit, at least my advice makes sense.

He gets a respectable lead over me, and then I start pulling out the stops. And I offer him psychologically harrowing cubes. And he sometimes drops them incorrectly, and he sometimes takes them incorrectly. Both cases give me more points. Yeah, baby.

In the end, after sipping a good minestrone soup accompanied by loads of brown bread, brought by Eric, who seems to have improved over last week, I slash Andreas's jugular, and sacrifice him to the gods of dice by beating him 21--17. Very satisfying. My second match of the year, and I'm now ready to start winning.

Europa, Parkhurst

Monday, January 24, 2005

Service: * * * *
Food: * * * 1/2
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

It's a marathon day for me at Europa. First meeting Damon at noon. We haven't seen each other for ages. He's had the flu quite bad, and I've just been kinda busy. I suppose dating lots of women and trying to form relationships with all of them will do that.

"When are we gunna finish our script?" I say.

He's too busy looking at the pink g-string sticking out of the blue jeans two tables away. And he's looking cos I pointed it out to him.

"Well, I've started redrafting it," he says. "I figured it would be WAY better setting it in a normal city, not some strange little country town."

"Oh," I say. "Does this mean we lose 'Duiwelspoes'?" Duiwelspoes (Devil's Cat or Devil's Vagina, depending on how clean the translator's mind is) is a fictional South African hicksville town we set the first draft of our horror movie in.

"It just requires SOOOOOOOO much setting up and explaining just to make it plausible," he says.

"Cool, dude. I'm happy. Did the story survive at all?"

"Ya," he says, and he wobbles his hand, "sort of. I mean, it's all there, you know. But now that it's simplified, it just reads so much faster and easier." He looks at me. "We've got a commercially viable movie here, Roy."

One of the managers walks up to us while we're both staring at the pink panties again.

"Sorry to interrupt, guys," he says. "I was going to come and greet just now, but you guys were locked in intense discussions."

"I've been coming here for years," I say, "and I've never asked your name. I'm Roy." We shake hands.

"I'm Sav," he says. "Short for Saverio."

Damon names himself, shakes hands.

I say, "Saverio, how the hell to you cope with all this prime babeage?" I make a sweep of the room with my hands. The place is brimming with hot-hot-hot.

"Ay," he says, and he blushes. "After a while, you just get used to it. You stop yourself from looking, and then it's all okay."

Damon and I talk about the house he's just bought in Norwood. Bloody hell. Nice price. Nice HIGH price. Bloody actors. He bought the place using the bucks he got paid to be in a BBC miniseries shot in Richard's Bay. We talk about how I'm managing with all the babes I'm dating. "It's a bit weird," I say. "I'm loving all the sex." He smiles. "But I think I'm a bit of a recluse, actually." As if that's news to anyone.

He's ready to head home. "You staying here?" he asks.

"Yeah. Got a coffee date with this babe I met at Contractors."

"Aaaaaa!" he says, waving a warning finger at me. "Watch it! Actresses! I've warned you!!!"

"Nah," I say, "she's not an actress. She's an artist." Contractors is the talent agency who take care of my voice-over work. "Serious babeage," I say.

"Oh man," he says. "Sorry I can't stay and meet her."

"Hey," I say, "it's just coffee! We're not getting MARRIED or anything!"

"Yeah yeah yeah," he says, and leaves.


I'm working on goal setting, using this book I bought the other day. It's called MAP 4 LIFE, one of the worst book titles imaginable, but a very good tool nonetheless. It's forcing me to look at all areas of my life -- money, spiritual, physical, emotional, family. Eight areas all in all.

Last night I sent an email to Rich at a company called The Missing Link. They do presentations, and their company is one of the most awesome working environments I've encountered. I wanna work with these guys somehow. I came across them working on the tv series I just finished directing, and they rocked. Skateboards in the office. Legendary coffee. Killer work ethic. Rich emailed me back almost immediately saying, "When shall we meet?"

So I send Rich an sms now, seeing as I'm in goal-setting mode. I suggest that we meet tomorrow.

One of my aims this year is to start charging R50 000 for each intervention I do. And I want to limit my interventions to a maximum of a week's worth of work on my side. I don't want to be employed ever again. I don't want a boss. But I do want to make gigantic contributions to the world. And get paid for it.

Rich sends me a reply. He and Ant are both available tomorrow. Excellent. Done. I don't know if I'll be able to charge my dream figure with them, but I can certainly explore possibilities.


Claudia walks in. She's wearing a striped dress, terracotta, made out of slinky t-shirt material. Mouth hangs open.

I notice Saverio looking at her briefly, then steeling his resolve and looking away.

She's got a boyfriend, but she's not totallllly sure that he's the guy for her. But she's happy with him.

She's been reading my website quite avidly, and she's very curious to know about my polyamorous pursuits. "Aren't you scared of contracting some kind of sexually transmitted disease?" she asks.

"Yes," I say. "But it's strictly safe sex. Condoms are us."

"But condoms don't stop EVERYthing," she says.

"Yes, but most STDs have very clear symptoms, and it's often quite easy to tell if a girl has something."

"Ya, but you can't tell ALL the time," she says.

"Condoms will block most things," I say. "But the one thing that makes this a little different is that I'm not engaging in random sex with loads and loads of different women. The aim here is to build relationships with the women I'm dating."

"Three? Four? How many exactly?"

"Uh, let's see. Kathy. But she's going to Cape Town. Possibbbbbbly Helen, though I'm not sure, cos while we TALK about it, we're not really doing much about getting together. There's Alisha, and we're getting on beautifully. And Karen's my fuck buddy, but she's having a rough time at the moment, so we're not really fuck-buddying, just buddying. There's also Kristine, who's taking things one day at a time, and isn't keen on my being polyamorous, but is accepting it for now. So that's four. And Carla is a possibility, but we're not doing anything at all cos we might be working together soooon, and I don't have sex with work colleagues."

Shame. Poor me. Polyamorous, but not reallllllllllly doing very well at it.

Looking at Claudia's cleavage, I'm wishing she didn't have a boyfriend.

"Hmmm," she says. "I don't think I could have sex with a polyamorous guy. I would be too scared of catching something."

We talk about precautions and AIDS tests and window periods and condoms and being careful. But she's right. It's not all that easy to manage safety with so many people involved. After all, that maxim is accurate. Sleep with one person, and you sleep with every single one of their partners too.

I whip out my sketchbook, and draw her in ink. She's very yummy. I'd love to be polyamorous with her.

"Wow!" she says. "I LOVE this medium! What kind of a pen is this?"

I use a ruling pen, which looks like some kind of gynaecological device. It has a little caliper that can be adjusted, changing the width of the line. "It's a technical drawing pen," I explain. "But the way I use it, it behaves very much like a paintbrush."

I go to my car and grab a sketchpad. "Here," I say, "try it."

She's reluctant at first, not wanting to waste my ink or paper. But I dip the pen and spludge some ink on the page. She takes it, and is utterly delighted and gleeful at the line she gets. "I've been searching for something that'll give me a line like this! Thank you so much!!!!"

Is it too much to hope for a thank you kiss??? Yeah. S'pose so.

My phone rings. It's a production company that I've been in negotiations with for the past few weeks. Can I start tomorrow on a three-week gig, producing a fund-raising video and dvd for a well known educational tv program?

"Of course I can start tomorrow," I say. "But can it be at one o'clock? I've got a whole bunch of things I need to do in the morning."

She names a weekly fee, and I'm very happy with it. But I do feel the need to negotiate my fee up a bit. I've been burned once too many with accepting an offer that's turned out to be way too low. She says, "Hmmmmm. Not possible, Roy. I've given you the maximum the budget will allow."

So I say yes. Which means I'm gainfully employed as of tomorrow, which means my overdraft gets halved and my credit card starts breathing again. Yay!!!!

The day has turned into evening, and I've got to get to backgammon.

Claudia and I stand, and I think, fuck this, I don't care if she has a boyfriend, and I kiss her goodbye. Without tongue.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Soulsa, Melville

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Service: * * *
Food: N/A
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * 1/2

What a totally weird interaction I've just had with the manageress.

When Alisha and I arrived earlier, a nervous looking Bohemian woman with a plaster cast on her left arm met us at the door.

"Would you like to sit upstairs?" she asks.

"Ah," I say, "we'll just sit wherever I can plug in."

The woman looks baffled, and fades into the background.

I plug my laptop in, and we sit on a couch, pulling a table up to put our stuff on.

Alisha and I have our morning meeting. We're dating, and she's cool about polyamory. But this morning we're doing business. She runs a human resources company, and she's keen to market my creativity seminar.

In the middle of our chat, a very tall chiseled dude with an earring approaches our table. "Hi!" he says, and peers at us in a very strange way. I'm wondering if I know him from somewhere, or if he thinks he recognises me. But it seems to be just one of those moments. He nods, then backs off, and disappears.

Alisha and I are talking about how to make my seminar comply with legislation so that companies who send delegates on my course can claim some of their money back from government. It's a course I've tested extensively over the past few years, mainly at the Wits University Post Graduate Centre, but also at RAU. My feedback has been good, and I've tweaked the course here and there to make it even better. Now I'm ready to start making money off it.

We're just having tea and coffee, and out waiter, Dumile, is very pleasant and unobtrusive.

Near the end of the meeting, I see the woman with the plaster cast heading for the door with a bag over her shoulder. I wave goodbye to her.

She smiles, and waves back, and gets to the door, where she hovers. After about twenty seconds of hovering, she comes over to our table.

"You know, I just want to say that it would really have been polite of you to actually ask if it's all right to plug your laptop in."

This throws me.

"Oh," I say, "I thought I did say that, right at the beginning, when we arrived."

"Well, I didn't hear it, and it would be really polite if you got permission before just plugging in."

The tall dude with the earring is now standing beside her. He says, "I don't just come to your house and use your telephone without asking, do I?"

Alisha says, "Wow, guys. This is really not great customer service. I've used my laptop all over Johannesburg, and I've never had to ask about plugging it in."

I say, "Look, if it's a huge issue to you, we'll leave, and we don't have to come back here again."

"No, you don't have to leave," says the tall dude with the earring.

The woman with the plaster cast on her arm says, "I'm just saying, it would have been polite to ask. You know, you're using our electricity."

"Okay," I say, "it's costing maybe 4 or 5 cents for the electricity. Please, if it's that important to you, put it on the bill, and we'll pay."

"It's just not polite," she says.

We call for the bill, and it arrives. I scan it. Tea. Two coffees. And that's all. They haven't charged us for the electricity. What a bargain!

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Fan, Bryanston

Monday, January 17, 2005

Service: * *
Food: * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * *

Backgammon has started again!!! Yay! And we're in a classy new joint that Sophia discovered.

I'm playing Matt tonight, and he's one of the top two or three or four in the club. So I've only got a very narrow chance of beating him.

"Shirley," I say to my waitress, "please my I have the crumbed chicken strips?"

Just keeping up to scratch with my caricaturing. People sometimes ask me why I don't show my pics to the people I've drawn. My usual response is, "Cos I don't want to be beaten up by their boyfriends!"The management has very kindly allowed us to buy meals off their lunch menu. In our previous venue in Sandton, meals cost a fortune. Our club has twenty-four active players, and the venue we inhabit has a guaranteed clientele every Monday, their slowest night of the week.

Matt and I start playing. I lose the first game. Then I win one. Lose another. Win another. It's early days, so 2--2 isn't all that significant. But suddenly Matt starts wielding his key weapon -- excellent play. Thwack, swuhp, ngooop... I'm now 15--2 down. From nowhere!

The waitress brings my food, and I absent-mindedly start nibbling on it. Hang on, I think. What's this? "Excuse me, Shirley," I say. "This isn't what I ordered!" The manager is alert, and he comes and finds out what's gone wrong. I say, "It must be your kitchen staff not being familiar with the lunch menu." He agrees, apologises, takes the food away to be replaced by crumbed chicken strips, not soggy ones in sauce.

I take a deep breath. It's time to dig deep into my resources and start wielding my key weapon -- the mindfuck. And I steadily nail Matt down, driving concrete nails through his feet into the floor. This boy's suffering, man! The score is now 17--15 to me!!! Yeah! That's what I call backgammon!

We're near the end of a game, and he's taken off eight pieces, but we've got a major reversal. I've got him on the bar with an almost sealed board. We've got six spectators, and they all maintain stony faces when I smash the doubling cube down on Matt's side of the board. technically, this is a blunder of the highest order on my part. All I have to do is survive this game, and I'm a dead cert to win the entire match to twenty-one points. Even if I lose this particular game, the score will be 17--16, which is easily winnable.

So I make the blunder. But it's a carefully crafted psychological manoeuvre. I'm forcing Matt to sweat. And I want him to think that he's seriously misread his position. I want him to think that if he loses this game with the cube on two, I'll be 19 points to his 16, which makes my position insurmountable.

And it almost works. His finger keeps twitching above the cube, and he spends at least two minutes evaluating his position. But then my gamble fails. He takes the cube. I play, and I close my board. And he does the one thing I wanted him not to do. He offers me the cube on four.

Now this is terrible for me. Because if I TAKE the thing, we're playing for match. If I win, it's over, and I'm the winner. If he wins a normal game, it's 19--17 to him. If he gammons me, he wins.

If I drop, we go to 17--17, and because he's a better player than me, it puts me in a very bad position.

So I take. And we throw our dice. And it goes right to the wire, and Matt beats me. To death.

But hey, it's my first match of the year, and it was brilliant play from both of us. And I am a magnanimous loser. Thanks for the match, Matt! You bastard.

At least the crumbed chicken turned out to be good. But it seems as though the waiters here at the Fan have been trained by someone who believes that slowness means goodness. Maybe they'll improve once they understand our foibles.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Doppio Zero, Greenside

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Service: * * * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * * 1/2
Babe Count: * * * *

It's half business meeting and possible romantic muddle. But I've got this silly thing about not shagging people I work. Not that Carla and I work together, of course. Not yet, anyway. She's a production manager at a company that makes tv shows, and they're looking for a director. The producers liked my cv, and now they want to see some of the episodes of GO_OPEN, the show I've been directing.

It's supposed to be a brunch, but we've been chatting for ages, and it's already getting way past lunch, and well into late afternoon.

We talk about polyamory and bondage and all sorts of things. "Oh," I say, "before I forget, are you interested in being a beta tester in a self-hypnosis program I've developed?"

"Well," she says, "I'm VERY suggestible, so hypnosis works well for me. What's the program?"

"It's a set of scripts that allow you to have an orgasm on command."

I pull a sheaf of papers out of my Exclusive Books packet. Neatly stapled. Ten pages. A few penciled corrections in the margins. I hand them to her, and she scans the first few paragraphs.

Basically, I've broken the task down into three distinct phases. Firstly, the self-hypnosis scripts set up an association between a key phrase and orgasm. This involves lots of self-manipulation and moaning and dilated nostrils. The next phase associates the phrase with sex. And the third phase allows the phrase to induce orgasm without any sexual context at all.

Imagine sitting with your lust-partner in a restaurant. A waiter arrives to take the order. Your partner is about to say something, but you interrupt. "Huge red carnation," you say, and the waiter has no idea what you're talking about. Your partner, however, gets red cheeks, starts wriggling, hands start sweating, starts gasping, moans. Orgasm has just been reached with no effort!

And the waiter is still none the wiser.

Another buddy of mine is highly excited. He reckons this is megabucks for me. Figures I'll be able to revolutionise sexual liberation. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to compile it into a classy e-Book, and sell it to people. But it's still in beta testing, so it's not for sale yet. Watch this site. Hehehehehhe."

"Email this to me immediately!!!" says Carla.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mugg & Bean, Killarney

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * *

Sitting here reading through a goal setting book called MAP 4 LIFE, which I've just bought on my bloated credit card. One of the sections is about managing your money. What money??? Heheheheh. I love my overdraft, don't I? Pity I'm right near the edge of it.

At the next table, five teenage-looking boys and a sizzling redhead girl are talking loudly about living their art. The loudest guy there has long hair and a t-shirt that says "Hungover".

He says, "I'm recording my demo tomorrow. In a REAL studio. A REAL fuckin' studio, broe! Where fuckin' real musos go! I dunno who's recorded there, but it's the big okes. I'm telling you!"

I'm in the very last days of my gig directing GO_OPEN, the tv series delving into the open source movement. I've been on a long break since the end of the year, and today was my first day back at the edit suite. It was very good fun. Great to see Riaan again. And we're editing a story I did on the Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory. Brand Jordaan, our cameraperson, is an amateur astronomer himself, and the footage he's shot is mouthwatering.

I haven't been idle during my break. I've been looking into lining up various other projects. But I fear the end of the month will be somewhat bleak. Might have to sell some unit trusts. Eeeek. But hey. That's what they're here for.

This year, I want to start building real financial wealth.

I've got a wealth of other wealth... lots of art on my walls, tons of books, litres of music.

I've got lots of potential polyamorous girlfriends that I'm slowly getting to know, so my heart is brimming.

I'm making loads of my own art, and my friends are making art of their own too, so that's abundant.

Spiritually, I'm preparing to answer my shamanic calling, whatever that might be. I'm feeling it pressing down on me. (All the books I have on the topic talk of shamans being called kicking and screaming.)

And before me, the supper Precious has just brought. I've opted for the South African breakfast, and she's been kind enough to leave out the mushrooms and give me bacon instead. The corn fritter is delicious.

I'm hoping the rock star will break out in song, but they've moved onto a new topic. "Monash University is much better than Wits, broe, trust me!"