Day 295 – Postponed, Cancelled, Delayed

I’m looking at my desktop today and it’s a pretty miserable sight.

School reopening has been delayed until (at least) February 15th. Our two were due to go back on Monday. That’s clearly not happening now. Whether we (as a private school) will be allowed to work online in the intervening period remains to be seen. My boy had 16 months before his exams. Now he has 15. That’s more than 6% of his learning time gone already before he’s even started and that’s assuming that we’re able to stick to that 15th February date and that there are no further problems during 2021 (ha!).

I completely understand the delay – and I support it – but what I don’t agree with is the alleged reasoning behind it:

That will be 2½ months they will have had to “assess readiness”. I understand that the situation is fluid, and I understand that teachers need a break after last year, but is there really nothing that they could do to prepare a little more in the interim?

And then, an email from the school – before all this morning’s announcements – confirmed what we already knew: my son’s school camp has been postponed. This is on top of two scout camps being cancelled over the summer break, and his school tour – a real highlight in his educational journey – being chalked off at the end of last year.
Again, I get it, but I feel for him and his classmates: it’s just really crap.

Emirates have joined the party and suspended all flights in and out of SA for the next couple of weeks, due to “operational reasons”. I’m guess that this is a combination of not being allowed to fly in or out during curfew hours (currently 9pm-5am) and no-one wanting/needing to fly in or out anyway.

But they could just have said that.

Those who thought that 2021 might mark any sort of recovery in our fortunes*, were wrong.

I’m not even bothering to look at the calendar at all at the moment, because clearly, there’s going to be nothing that is currently on there which is going to remain in place. There will be no concerts, no gatherings, no festivals. I won’t be doing the Cycle Tour or the 2Oceans Ultra Marathon again this year. Even a social braai is going to be an ordeal.

Ugh. What a schlep.

I might go and write some online quizzes to cheer myself up and bamboozle friends and family.

 

* I was not one of these

Day 291 – All aboard the Gravy Train

Hey. We live in a horrifically corrupt nation, and (as we all know) a fish rots from the head down (no, it doesn’t), and so it’s no surprise that it’s our erstwhile government which is clearly one of the primary culprits and drivers of these heinous practices.

A lot of people have tried to stop the Government being quite so corrupt, and I’ve supported those actions, because I thought that they came from a good place. Now however, I see the reason those efforts was not innate goodness or a desire for transparency and equity.
No, those people were just really jealous.

I say that because I have been invited to board the Gravy Train and become a Tenderpreneur.

Look what I got in my email today from Palesa (Ms Mothapo to you):

Sorry for you that you didn’t get a ticket. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the right connections (and I clearly do), then the next station is BigBucksVille and I’m well on my way.

Choo Choo…

I’ll obviously be using the age old “inflated tender” method to bring in the bucks, buying the masks at R0.30 each from one of my old lab contacts and then selling them on to the DoD for a couple of hundred each. And I am completely comfortable in divulging that information here, because no-one would expect me to do anything differently. If they did, then the Department of Defence would be buying the masks at R0.30 each directly from the supplier, I wouldn’t be making the money for my next 3 BMW X5s and the taxpayers would be happier.

So cutting out the middleman has implications. And they’re not good ones for me.

Listen; I’ll see you all on the other side – should you crack the nod. But it’s a very exclusive club, and so if you don’t make it, then please just know that I’ll be waving to you at you through my tinted windows as I sweep past your aging Corolla on my outrageously flamboyant 23 inch mags.

Nothing can stop me now.

Nothing.

 

 

Oh.

Day 290, part 2 – Powerless

We were without power for the first 11½ hours of the day thanks to a fault and I had to manually grind my coffee beans for the first two cups of the day and it was all just sheer hell on earth.

The power came back on just in time for the beers to get cold again ahead of this afternoon’s FA Cup football. Which I can now also watch.

Talking of which, did you see this first win of the season? Lovely.

 

Otherwise, you well?

 

 

Yeah, I mean, I was being sarcastic about the hell on earth thing, obviously. 

Day 289 – Perspective

I was sent this video this week. It put me – a tiny living organism in a house, in a suburb, in a city, in a country, in the bottom corner of a continent – firmly in perspective:

And that Ceres that they start with is not the fruit-growing town 160km up the road from Cape Town. Although they are both named after the Roman goddess of Agriculture, only one of them is a dwarf planet lying between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Oh, and while we’re still near the beginning of the animation, thank you, I am already aware that Venus‘ rotation is depicted incorrectly. Yes yes, I know Uranus behaves a bit weirdly as well.

Oh, grow up.

Moving on…

Despite the fact that it’s about 3 times the size of our sun, Vega appears to be small because it’s 27 light years away.

And despite Arcturus being a whole 36 million kilometres across, you can’t even see it from the Southern Hemisphere. Waste of time.

Rigel is almost a hundred million kilometres in diameter. You can see it on the top left of the Orion constellation from the Southern hemisphere, but because all the constellations were described from the glorious North, it’s actually his right foot.

Betelgeuse is the diametrically opposite Rigel in Orion, so it’s where his right foot should be for us down here, despite actually representing his left shoulder.
It’s so big that if it were our sun, it would stretch out almost as far as Saturn.
And we’d all be very, very dead. But amusingly(?), it could be that Betelgeuse is also nearly dead.

Feel insignificant yet? Let’s bring on that big boy:

UY Scuti is the biggest known star in the universe. It Is a hypergiant with a radius around 1,700 times larger than the Sun.

Indeed:

I genuinely thought that was pointing at some dust of my laptop screen. It was only when I scrolled down and triggered the sunset that I realised it was actually a real pixel.

1,700 times the size of the sun means that UY Scuti is over 185,000 times the diameter of Earth.

I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and that means it’s 120 billion times the size of Cape Town.

The traffic must be awful.

Day 287 – Sssssuper

Should not too much packing get in the way today, I intend to start on part one of my (online) Advanced Snake Identification course that I received as a Christmas gift from my ever-loving wife.

Truth be told, I’m not even sure what the difference between an ordinary snake and an advanced snake is. But we all have to start somewhere.

I’m not planning on becoming a major snake fundi, but – much like a lot of nature around me here in SA – I do like to know what I’m looking at when I’m looking at it.

Actually, having been a member of of ASI’s Snakes of Southern Africa FB group for a while now, I’m pretty much sorted on all the local stuff already. But I’m very much looking forward to enhancing and cementing my knowledge, and getting a shiny certificate to go with it.

Look out for progress reports on here.