Sunday, March 27, 2005

Seattle Coffee Co, Hyde Park

Sunday, March 27, 2005

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

I'm waiting for a first date with M (not the same M I met in Cresta on Friday. This is the M who works with L, who I met on Tuesday).

There's a table full of Paluhniak's nearby (surname and names changed to protect the innocent). Adam, the dad, is a fine satirical poet. Jemima, the daughter, is approaching puberty, or is in puberty's fearsome grip. She drew a pen portrait of me in my li'l Moleskine notebook last time I visited her mom. Neville is just a general long-haired spoiled brat of a kid, who MAY grow up to be a good guy, if all goes well. Their mom ISN'T at the table, cos they're divorced, and it's Adam's turn with the kids.

M breezes into the coffee shop, and she recognises me straight away. I recognise her too. I recognise her as a jolt of sexual energy and sheer delight.

Luckily, I've stated up front that I've decided lately to stop having sex on the first date. So we're safe. We're protected. We're NOT going to jump on each other within four seconds of meeting. It's just not going to happen.

She's small. She's blonde. She's got a raunchy, honey-coloured voice. She's got scrumptious breasts. She's curvy. She's bright. She delves into the world. She's stated up front that she's "a BDSM virgin", and she "intends to keep it that way".

I've told her that BDSM isn't the be-all and end-all to my world, and that I can sorta maybe kinda maybe-ish return to vanilla sex.

But I've also said that if she's ever had sex NOT in the missionary position, then there's a good chance she's done some kinky stuff before. So I'll work on the BDSM at some point. Cos, after all, I'm not into reallllly hardcore stuff. I mean, as delicious as her breasts seem to be beneath her blouse, I'm NOT fantasizing about skewering them on meat hooks and suspending her from the ceiling. Although I do know a guy who DOES fantasize about such things. And then carries them out!

We talk about all sorts of things.

"So," I say, "seeing as we can't have sex on the first date, how about the second?"

She ponders for all of eight milliseconds. "Sounds good!"

"Okay," I say, "let's have our second date right now. If we go downstairs to JB Rivers, and take different routes from each other, that's technically our second date."

"Let's go and walk around a bit first," she says. "We need to cool off."

I want this girl.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Doppio Zero, Greenside

Saturday, March 26, 2005

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

Unbearably awesome news... Damon's got a script under consideration with a feature film production company. He's written his fourth draft, and it's been accepted!

"Fuckin' total congrats, dude!!!" I say, and we hug across the table, and then smack tap-water glasses together in a huge "Cheers!"

He sits back, almost smug, but justifiably nervous. In the film world, it's not a deal until the cameras start rolling. Up to that point, the production can stop at any time. Cos in terms of money, everything other than shooting the film is cheap. When the shooting starts, the money starts flowing. And it's like an open drain at a beerfest when that happens.

"Jesus," he says, raising his eyebrows at a g-string peeking out of a seventeen-year-old waistline. "Great crop of babes today!"

"I'd do her," I say. "But will she do me???"

Friday, March 25, 2005

Mugg & Bean, Cresta

Friday, March 25, 2005

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

Yet another date. It's Easter Friday, and as M arrives at my table, offensive things are being done to one of the world's greatest martyrs. I must say, the stuff that was done to him is just a wee bit too extreme for my tastes. I'm into light BDSM. But who am I to judge?

M orders a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich on brown. I order the "Tsunami Chicken Burger". M and I chat about internet dating, and the different experience women have to men.

"Men seem to have VERY little email traffic," I tell her. "We have to work realllllly hard for every bit of attention we get. Women, on the other hand, seem to be flooooooded with responses."

She agrees.

I say, "Have you noticed that the men who respond to your profile really seem to disregard EVERYTHING you've said?"

"I've had ALL SORTS responding to me," she says. "And I'm very specific."

That's cool, cos I've made the cut. Hehehehe. Thanks M. I continue: "See, if you're female, the guys just take this shotgun approach. I reckon they figure if they email a hundred girls, at least one of them will want to be with them."

The food arrives. I look at my tsunami chicken burger skeptically. As the waiter walks away, I call him back. "I'd like to complain about this," I say.

"Sorry sir," he says, eyeing the burger with alarm.

"It says it's the "tsunami" burger. I just want to know," I say, pointing to the plate, "where are all the shattered beach houses and dead bodies and broken surfboards?"

He's aghast for three seconds, looking at the plate. Then he catches, and laughs so loudly that three other customers smile at him as he walks away, shaking his head.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Seattle Coffee Company, The Zone, Rosebank

Thursday, March 24, 2005

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

Lovely Laura is coming all the way from Rivonia to meet me for coffee. She's the babe I met at the Blog Awards at Cool Runnings a coupla days ago. We've been doing a bit of email and phone flirting, and she's gotten off work early cos of the public holiday tomorrow. (It's Easter. A big celebration of bondage, with a message... make sure you use your safe word if you're doing extreme things!)

I pop into Exclusive Books, the shop attached to this coffee-shop. I head straight for the sex books and phone her. "Hey, Laura," I say, "meet me in the bookshop. I'm waiting for you here at the sex shelf!" She laughs, says she's parking, and she'll be with me shortly.

I start loading up with every book on sex and sexuality I can find, and get back to Seattle and find a table. A dude standing with his girlfriend waiting for takeaway coffee sees the titles. "Need a bit of help there?" he asks, nudging his girlfriend, who turns to look.

"Never too old to learn new tricks," I say.

He says, "I also read those sorta books." His girlfriend scowls, squeezes his hand.

I start thumbing through the one advising single girls how to have casual sex.

Laura arrives. Sees the spread, sits down. Doesn't blush. Not even a littttttle bit. I say, "Man, I wish they'd rewrite this one for single men!"

The big easy chairs are free now, so we head over there. I pile all of the books on Laura's outstretched hands. And NOW she blushes.

We sit. We drink coffee. I eat a huge muffin which crumbles to bits which fall all over the floor as I snatch bites from it. "Uh... nice first impression I'm making," I say. I kick a piece of something under my chair.

We chat. She's looking superb. We trade repartee. Sad that she's not responding to my bondage suggestions. Pity she lives in Pretoria. Eish. What's a single guy to do?

"Are you going to buy any of these?" she finally asks near the end of the date.

"I might," I say. "But I really only grabbed them to see how you'd react. You passed with flying colours. Sure you don't want to learn about how to have casual sex?"

She looks through the book. "Nah," she says.

I know a good training venue. And I've just had my sheets washed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Cool Runnings, Melville

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

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

The Cool Runnings dude schlepping chairs down into the dungeon cranes his neck to look at the sheet hanging off the wall. Projected onto the sheet is a raunchy picture of a barebreasted woman wearing a stainless steel chastity belt.

That's DQ on the left. Tall, handsome, big pony tail, bigger riding crop. On the right is the projected image of the beaver shot of the chastity belt.It's the fourth Wednesday of the month, and DQ is doing the moot presentation tonight. He's fiddling with the projector, and he's holding a long black riding crop.

"What's all this about?" the Cool Runnings dude asks me.

"We're learning about chastity belts tonight," I say.

"But, like, uh, why?" he asks.

One of the people downstairs overhears him and says, "Chastity belts are excellent tools for enhancing erotic encounters."

The dude looks baffled, but can't tear his eyes of the screen. I say, "When you're finished bringing chairs down, bunk work and come and listen. You'll learn a thing or two."

"Hey," he says, "I would, but I'm on double shift tonight. Sorry man."

Many of the old faces appear, but there are also a whole batch of newcomers. Some of them magnificent to look at. Hmmm. Wouldn't mind seeing some of these babes in or out of chastity belts.

DQ starts his talk, and it's an impressive Power Point presentation, with loads of humour, and tons of information. Seems as though there are a few misconceptions about the topic. He tells us that for every female chastity belt sold, thirty-one male belts are sold. This is probably due to the big gay bondage scene in the States. But still. Who would have thought?

And boy... he shows us a few examples of male chastity belts. And I can assure you that I won't be going near one.

"How do you go to the toilet in a chastity belt?" someone asks.

He uses his riding crop to point at the screen. "That's the second shield," he says. "See the little holes? You just pee straight through those. It gets a bit messy, but it's do-able."

"And what about, uh, defecation?"

DQ says, "It's imperative for a female wearing a chastity belt to have an hour out of the belt every day. This is for cleaning the belt and herself, and for toilet routine."

"How do you clean these things?" asks someone else.

"A combination of things," DQ says. "Spray jets are good for when you're wearing your belt. And you just boil it in a pot of water when you take it off."

He emphasises that any female claiming to wear a chastity belt 24 hours a day, every day is probably lying. "More than a few days in a belt without cleaning, and you're not going to want to go anywhere NEAR her vagina!"

He then paints us a weekend scenario which sounds kinda sexy. But I must admit that a chastity belt just isn't high on my list of aesthetically appealing garments.

But it's a damn good talk. One of the best we've had, and he's a good speaker. Clearly knows how to communicate his enjoyment of BDSM.

After the chat, a bunch of us go upstairs, and a huge discussion unfolds about safety in BDSM. There are reports that one of the BDSM people, someone at the moot, is actually luring newcomers into dangerous play situations, and that people have been hurt. So we talk about what can be done to keep things clean.

One of the key phrases in BDSM is this: "Safe, Sane, Consensual." It has to be all three of those things in order for it to be acceptable. Obviously, it's a guide, and everyone has his or her own definitions of what safe and sane and consensual actually mean. So there's bound to be some debate. One of the guys says, "I'm going to be posing the question on the Collarme site. How about you guys contribute to the discussion?" Http:// is a members-only site that anyone is free to join. One of its reasons for being is to help newcomers to BDSM to actually find out more about it, and to find out who is safe to play with.

The night ends, and I go home alone, knowing that at least for tonight, I won't have to use a chastity belt on myself. I've got noone in my bed to tempt me out of celibacy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Cafe Cafe, Village Walk, Sandton

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

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

It's one of those spontaneous meetings. Earlier today, I was having coffee with my big bad buddy, Ed, and my cellphone beeped. Message. From L, one of the women I've been corresponding with on the dating site I'm on. So I phone her, and put on my cheesiest, greasiest, most Beavis-'n-Butthead voice, and say, "You free this evening? Let's meet. Bring your own kneepads and mouthwash." She laughs, and it's on.

I've got this silly little rule I've put in place for myself. No shagging on the first date. The reason I've got this rule is cos I believe that as soon as shagging becomes the primary focus, any possibility of relationship goes sailing by on the wake of the Durex lube. And as much as I like shagging, I'm actually on the dating site cos I want to meet a woman who I can be with forever and ever and ever and maybe till the end of winter.

And I've done sex. A fair amount of it. Not as much of it as big bad Ed, but hey, it's not a competition, is it? Is it???

So I meet L. And she's more gorgeous than her photo. Nice curvy bod. Lovely, ever-present smile.

And of course, we both push against my li'l arbitrary rule, cos, hey, forbidding sex is the strongest aphrodisiac, yeah? But we decide that a kiss is enough for now, and we'll see what develops.

But she does tell me that there's someone in her office who's also corresponding with me.

Makes it a bit tricky, doesn't it? I don't do divided loyalty well! My first thought is that it would be unfair to see the other gal. But then, I also realise that we're all in this together. We're all dating cos we want to meet people. So I ask L if it would be okay to go on a date with M. She's cool with it.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cool Runnings, Melville

Thursday, March 17, 2005

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

The dudes from MISSING LINK have organised a party to celebrate the winners of SA Blog Awards. They're the Jo'Blog guys, and they're in the running for huge numbers of awards.

This looks ABSOLUTELY nothing like Laura. When I say hot, I mean it. Phone me, Laura!!!I'm sitting at the same table as Jon Gericke, my ex-compatriot from SAfm. I used to be on his Computer Gig before they reshuffled budgets and got rid of people such as me. Sitting next to him is Laura, hotter than a soldering iron, and potentially single.

She says, "Hmmm. There aren't that many good looking bloggers."

"Am I good looking?" I say.

"Yeah," she says, and I almost believe her.

"I'm single," I say.

She laughs.

Everyone is speaking geek here. I ask the table if they know how to speed up my 3G connection. (I've just bought a 3G wireless card, which claims to be broadband, but seems to limp a little. But I don't really care too much about the speed. What I'm most happy about is that I get connectivity wherever there's cellular coverage. Either via 3G -- fast, or GPRS -- slower, but still faster than a dialup modem.)

A cute looking blonde chap with an American accent and exceedingly long hair whips out a top-of-the-range tablet pc, and zaps a file to my phone via bluetooth. "Run that on your notebook with these settings, and you should notice a difference."

"Do you have drawing software on that?" I ask.

He does. Alias Sketchbook Pro. He fires it up, and lets me have a go. This is EXACTLY what I need. It's like my palmtop sketching software, but seriously high resolution, and hugely muscled.

Even if Laura doesn't want to have baby-making practice with me, the discovery of this software will have made the whole evening a resounding success.

Unfortunately, I'm not up for any awards, cos I didn't know about them, so I didn't canvass my loyal readers to vote for me. Do expect solicitations next year. I want to win in the "Best Perversion Blog" category.

The bloggers here are multi-faceted. They are Chump-Style, Splattermail, Armand, Thea, Jeanpant, Gabbahead, Mzansiaafrika,,, Aquila, Splattermail and Jo'Blog. And guess what? Some of them are winners!

I end the evening chatting about writing to Nichola, one of the blogger's girlfriends. She's feeling a tad excluded, cos all the geeks are now talking about American politics and gay rights and conspiracy theories.

And they're all thinking about blogging about blogging about blogging awards.

I'm not. I'm thinking of Laura.

The Muti Gallery, Milpark

Thursday, March 17, 2005

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

It's the opening night of Eduard Claassen's exhibition at Guto's gallery. Awesome work. All digitally originated and manipulated. Very ironic stuff about Afrikanerdom, and the fall of the right wing.

Eduard has made koeksusters, bobotie, jam tarts, and lemonade in little brandy bottles specially for the evening. He's also packed biltong in little brown paper bags. Everything is individually labelled, "A Product Of The New Colony. Est 2005."

I'm standing on the balcony, and I see two hot blondes and a short dude heading for the Colour Bar. "Hey!" I shout. "Don't go there! Come here! It's an art opening! Free food and drink!"

I'm milling around inside, and the two hot blondes and the short guy arrive. "You made us come!" says the tall gal with beautiful hair. "Anna," she says, and grips my hand. She has some kind of accent.

"Bwwwb," says the guy, and shakes my hand.

"I beg your pardon?" I say. I cannot penetrate the accent. Can't even place it.

Anna says, "Bob."

The shorter girl with the immense breasts says, "Gretchen," and shakes my hand. She's got an American accent.

"What is this food?" asks Anna.

"This is bobotie, a traditional Cape Malay dish, made of mincemeat. This is a koeksuster. Very sweet ginger syrup. And this pie is filled with jam. That's biltong in the brown bag. Where are you guys from?"

Bob says something. I couldn't tell you what.

Anna says, "We're all journalists, foreign correspondents. I'm from Sweden. Gretchen is from America. And Bob is from Ireland."

Braam Kruger arrives. "Hey Braam," I say.

He squints over his glasses at me. He recognises me, but can't place me.

I say, "Roy Blumenthal."

I'm about to add context, but he says, "The poet! You still making poems?"

I tell him I'm making art as well now. He tells me something Jeanne Goossen said. "Poete is mense wat in halwe sinne dink." (Poets are people who think in half sentences.)

I say to the foreign correspondents, "Meet Braam Kruger, one of South Africa's most famous artists."

Braam shakes their hands, "Not famous at all," he says.

I wander off and mingle. Aryan Kaganoff arrives. We talk shit for a while. Then a dude with a funny beard arrives.

Guto introduces me. "Hey, I know you," says the guy. "Weren't you a copywriter at Hunt Lascaris? We were on a radio writing workshop together!" His name's Theo, and he's now Creative Director of the entire African wing of Lobedu Leo Burnett. Spent half a dozen years overseas in advertising, and is really flourishing. We swap cards, and I've gotta leave. I'm off to the Bloggie Awards at Cool Runnings.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Fan, Bryanston

Monday, March 14, 2005

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

Tony Garland and I are playing tonight. He's known as "The Machine". This is because he's one of the best money players in our club, and he seldom loses a money game. But match play is slightly different to money play. So he's only the second or third or fourth best player in our club when it comes to matches.

We start playing. And finish rather quickly. Cos "The Machine" processes me in his mechanisms, and spits out broken cogs and little shards of stripped metal. He takes me down cold. 21--5.

"Did I make any tragic errors?" I ask, cos I'm keen to learn from these dudes.

"That last double wasn't right," he says. "And there were a few early doubles that you offered that I was only too happy to accept. But other than that, basically sound. Just check up on cubing."

So I go home broken, but with the balm that my game wasn't a complete disaster.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Nescafe Cafe, Rosebank

Friday, March 11, 2005

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

Decaf cappuccino definitely doesn't match the rush of what's just happened. And I'm sitting here scheming about ways to maximise my experience.

What's happened is that a couple of hours ago I saw Clint Eastwood's MILLION DOLLAR BABY, which was both brilliant and somewhat disappointing at the same time. Immensely powerful performances all round, but an oddly unbelievable story. Still, it gets about 8 out of 10 on the Roy-o-metre.

But that's not what's gotten my adrenalin flowing.

I decided, after having cried for a quarter of the movie, that I wanted something more upbeat. So, having been lured by the publicity surrounding CONNIE & CARLA, I decided to make the short trek across to The Zone to see that. After all, it's loosely based on a Billie Wilder classic, SOME LIKE IT HOT.

Unfortunately, I never got to see the movie. Which is where the adrenalin kicks in.

Lofty Ledwaba... I hope you're reading this. And I hope you're preparing yourself for total onslaught.

Here's what went down.

I buy my ticket, and realise I haven't eaten supper, and that I'm rather hungry. So, I peruse the Ster Kinekor delectables counter, and realise that I don't want to spend R20 on cardboard popcorn, when what I really need is sustenance. So I trek down to Europa, and buy a Tra Firenze (excellent, by the way!).

On getting back to the cinema, I tuck the takeaway under my arm, under my jersey, and go through the ticket checkpoint. Lucky is the man on duty, and as it turns out, Lucky decides he smells a rat.

I get into the cinema. The lights dim. The adverts play. The trailers play. I eat four bites of my tramezzini. And Lucky arrives. "Excuse me," he says, "but you're not allowed to eat in the cinema. You can give that to me for safekeeping, or you can leave."

"I think I'll do neither," I say. On the spur of the moment, I decide that making a stand against this idiocy is more important than seeing the movie.

"Then you must leave," says Lucky.

"I think you should try and make me leave," I say.

"Or you can give me the food for safekeeping," he says.

"Or you can call the manager," I say.

He leaves. The trailers continue. I finish one of the four segments, and pack the food away neatly.

The manager arrives. Lofty Ledwaba.

Now something you need to know about Lofty is that he epitomises everything that customer training manuals advise against. He sneers. He looks down on one. He refuses to understand a customer's point of view. And he is a stickler for rules. What's more, I've had a run-in with him once before. A year-and-a-half ago, I brought a cup of Seattle Coffee Shop coffee into the cinema. Except I didn't know it was contraband back then. He offered to keep the coffee for me. Which he did. Except it was cold when the movie finished. And he was a dick about it. "The rules are the rules," he said.

Tonight, Lofty says, "The rules are the rules. You are not allowed to have food from outside the cinema here! You must give it to me, or you must leave."

Actually, Lofty, the rules aren't that at all. The "rule" states that food and drink purchased outside the cinema MAY NOT BE CONSUMED on the premises. A small bit of semantic wankery, sure, but if he's gonna stick to the letter of the law, at least he should know what his own law states.

I say, "Lofty, we've met before about some coffee. And I've decided that I'm NOT leaving, and you CAN'T have my food. What are you going to do about it?"

"I'm going to have to have you removed from the premises," he says.

"Excellent," I say.

"And I'm going to stop the movie until you leave," he says.

"Hmmmm," I say. "I was under the impression that you're compelled by your agreements with distributors to not interrupt a viewing. Isn't that the case?"

"It's YOUR fault that I'm stopping the movie," he says, and leaves.

The lights come up. The trailers stop.

I stand up, turn, and face the audience. (I always sit four rows from the front.) "Ladies and gentlemen," I say, "I'm afraid you're in for a little show. I apologise in advance, but Lofty, the manager, has decided that because I've brought food in from outside, he's going to be stopping the movie until I leave. I have decided not to leave, and he's going to have me physically removed. I hope it's entertaining for you, and I apologise for the interruption."

Just then, lofty arrives with two security guards. I sit down, and face the screen. Lofty says, "Remove this man!"

One of the guards leans in and says, very professionally, "Will you please leave with us?"

I say, "Thanks for asking, but I'm not going to be leaving. I've bought my ticket, and I haven't broken any laws."

"No," says Lofty, "you HAVE broken the law! You brought food in from outside!!!"

I say, "That's not a LAW, lofty. If I've broken the LAW, I'm a criminal. I haven't broken ANY law, I've brought food into your cinema."

"But that's against the rules!" he says.

"The rules are not the law," I say.

"Take him out!" he says, fuming, his voice a pitch higher.

I say to the security guard, "I just need to check. Are you allowed to ARREST me for this?"

"No," he says. His name is Karabo, and he's a picture of calm.

"Then maybe we should call the police to deal with me," I say. "If I've broken the LAW, I'll gladly be arrested."

A girl in the audience says, "Why don't you offer them some of your food? Maybe they're hungry?" People laugh.

I say, loudly, "Nah... I can't do that... they didn't buy it IN the cinema!" More laughter.

"Please come with us," says Karabo.

"I'm very sorry to make you do this, Karabo," I say, "but I'm not going to leave voluntarily. This is a petty rule, and I think Lofty is making a huge mistake in pursuing it this way. If you want me to leave, I'm afraid you're going to have to carry me out."

He looks at the other security guard. His name tag identifies him as Doctor. He's also a total pro. Doctor enters my row. "May I get past you?" he asks. I move my legs, and he passes.

I pick up a book I've been carrying with me, my jersey, and the contraband, and I raise my arms so they can get a grip under my armpits. "Is that cool?" I ask. They nod. And lift me out of my seat.

I don't help them. I let my legs drag on the carpet as they carry me up the stairs.

Some guy says, "Throw this fucker down the stairs! I wanna watch the fuckin' movie! Throw him!"

Some girl says, "Jeez. Save your protests for something worthwhile, like saving the whales or something."

Lofty says, "Take him out!"

Once outside, I write down everyone's name in my little black Moleskine. Lofty refuses to give me the phone number of the cinema. Another assistant manager arrives, and I ask him for the number. He gives it to me. It's (011) 880 4512. Write this number down. If you ever find that the movie's out of focus or the aircon is set wrong, or the sound is messed, phone this number. Tell Lofty Roy gave it to you. And tell him that if he doesn't rectify the problem, you'll be glad to get your money back, or a voucher for another movie. And he's compelled by distribution agreements to give you that voucher.

Lofty says, "We have right of admission reserved. You and your friends are no longer welcome at Ster Kinekor."

In the end, the two security guards and I go down the escalator together, and we chat merrily. Karabo and Doctor are happy that there was no physical violence. They tell me about a guy who had a gun once. Karabo had to talk the guy out of shooting a buddy. And they show me the control centre down in the basement. 60 cameras! And a truly frightening holding cell.

Sitting here sipping cappuccino at Nescafe Cafe, I'm struck by the fact that they're not complaining about me eating the remnants of the tramezzini bought from their competition across the passage.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Fan, Bryanston

Monday, March 7, 2005

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

I've made an arrangement with Tony Moutzouris, the best backgammon player in our club, to arrive late. This is because Damon Berry has invited me to an industry-only screening of the promo for a film he was involved in workshopping.

The British director came to South Africa to do an extensive workshop with local actors. It's a local story, and, judging from the promo, it's going to be a tear-jerker deluxe. An important film. I'm really glad I was there.

This is a low res version. Click on the picture to take you to a high res one which you can print and cut out. Feel free. You should size it to 90mm x 50mm, cos that's the size of a business card, and will fit neatly in your wallet or purse.Now I'm facing Tony across a crowded backgammon board. He offers me the cube, and I mull over it for a while. Tony Patz wanders over. "Have you decided yet?" he asks. I say no. And he pulls out a little card with a miniature backgammon board printed on it. "Write down the position, and I'll analyse it later in Snowy," he says.

This is something all good backgammon players do. Whenever they come across a position that they're not certain about, they make a note and mull over it later using software, and chatting to experts online. I haven't been doing this. Mainly cos I'm not the very best player. But I'm good enough to want to get to the next level. So I write the position down and hand Tony Patz his card.

I turn down the cube.

Tony Patz says, "That was an EASY take. But I'll analyse it tonight."

Tony Moutzouris agrees. "It's important to know how you'll react to the cube," he says.

In the end, I lose 21--13, which isn't bloody bad. I somehow got 13 points off a dude who can't make an incorrect move. Wow!

And I decide to design a card to print on my lazer printer. From now on, I'm going to start improving my game.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Piatto, Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton

Friday, March 4, 2005

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

One year ago tomorrow, Jacqui and I will have been apart for an entire year. Which is ironic, since Jacqui and I are sitting outside at a table under Nelson Mandela's statue's shadow, eating beef curry that's WAY too salty.

We're not celebrating a year apart. It's one of those coincidences that life throws at you. "I wrote the date on my bathroom wall," I say to her. "I noticed it in the shower this morning."

We hold hands briefly. Of course, I'm wondering how to make her want to get back together with me again. But I realised long ago that it's not going to happen.

Tonight we're just being ourselves. She's being unguarded for the first time in a long time, and I feel we're having a deeply authentic conversation. We're sorting through how to be friends with each other without any of the emotional baggage of having been lovers. We'll succeed one day. It's going to take time. And the currie's got to be less salty. It tastes like tears.