Of Namesakes and McBuddhas

For some reason I decided to once again Google my name. I found a link that actually referred to me on the 3rd page of 66,800 results. So, clearly I’m not the most popular, or at least well known, Neil Robinson out there. And damn there’s a lot of us.

Still, this isn’t really the point. I went on to search only blogs for “Neil Robinson” and a turned up this little gem. A namesake touring Thailand and encountering Ronald McDonald.

Er, sorry. Wrong link. Rather click “McDonald’s – Thailand”

Seen the picture. Good. I suspect, that of my readership, only Quinn will fully appreciate the humour in this.
I’d try to explain it, but I fear that I’d fail miserably. Instead, it will have to suffice to say that now that I have a better understanding of the meaning behind the Ronald’s gesture in the picture, the fact that the figurehead for McDonald’s is gesturing in such a way is patently ridiculous.

The Curious Incident of the Spare Wheel in the Night-time

Apologies to readers: this post is long

Apologies to Mark Haddon (or possibly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) for the title of this post. It also seems that they are making a movie of the book, so that is most excellent. But I digress even before I get started. To the point!

The Point
Yesterday was a mostly tranquil day, with very little to set it aside from any other day. The only thing that was different to usual was that Angie and I went to a place called Fuel Cafe to help Lisa celebrate her birthday.
Lisa was discharged from hospital on Wednesday, so she said we should gather for a “tame boogie” at 10:30.
Given that description and the context, one would be forgiven for expecting that this would be some sort of brunch/tea-like affair. Of course, 10:30 should actually have been read 22h30. This is way past my bedtime. I’m an old man now.

Still, we arrived enthusiastically at about 11p.m., expecting to stay maybe and hour or two.

Fuel is a most excellent spot. It is a club and it has plants in buckets hanging from the ceiling. I don’t think I’ve every seen a club decorated with actual living plant things before.
It also had upturned buckets hanging down. They served as lamp-shades. I wish I had my camera with me. Alas!
Since the company was good, and the vibe was good, and I drank coffee and didn’t get tired, we stayed until about 01h45. Then the birthday-girl chose to depart, and we followed. We followed her home in order to continue the tame boogie and partake in a herbal treats.

For some reason, it was deemed necessary to watch an episode or two of “Scrubs.” Having not seen any episodes of the show, the first episode proved most chucklesome.
By this time, 3a.m. was upon us. Angie had passed out on Dan’s bed; Jaco, Dan, and Michaele (guessing on the spelling of this one, and I’m probably guessing wrong) had repeatedly knocked over the same ash-tray, and I was almost completely sober. Time to go home to bed for real. The evening had been a blast, but enough now.

The Actual Point
Just as I revived Angie from her slumber, she received a phonecall from her friend. I will refer to this friend as “Bob-the-Friend” for the sake of her privacy.
Driving home a little less sober than advisable, she’d driven off the road and mangled one of her wheels. Shouldn’t really be a major problem, since cars have spare wheels just for this very kind of thing. Indeed, she has such a spare wheel in her motor-vehicle. Except, on Tuesday, she and my dear wifely unit, Angie, had managed to mangle one of the other wheels by driving into obstacles on the highway, instead of avoiding them (which is customary behaviour). Thus, the spare wheel was already in use, rendering it no longer spare. Eish.

Angie and I travelled from Auckland Park to Northumberland Drive to the rescue. On our arrival we discovered that she’d built up quite a collection of by-standers. Bob-the-Friend, her sister, and her sister’s friend. They’d all been travelling in the vehicle of the mangled wheel.

But that’s not all! Someone from ADT security had arrived, and was protecting the damsels in distress. He was a fairly decent chap, and considering he had a gun and bulletproof-vest, I figure he also a pretty good deterent for those with malicious intensions.

But if you call now, you also get a dodgy, weedy, shifty-eyed character, who drives a Fiat Uno filled with broken computer hardware! Why, oh why did we call?

The shifty-eyed dude was trying to change the tyre, but recall that there was no spare tyre. For some reason he figured his Uno spare would fit nicely onto a Ford Fiesta. No surprise when it didn’t.

Not a problem – we happen to also own a Ford Fiesta, thus the spares would be compatible. All that was required was that we return home, fetch the other car and swop the wheels out. Problem was, Bob-the-Friend’s travelling companions needed to get home, so someone had to give them a lift. Shifty-eyes was really keen to be the guy. Shifty-eyes admitted to not knowing Bob-the-Friend’s companions from a bar of soap, yet felt he was trustworthy enough to drive them home.
Uh… no.

We resolved that I would drive drop them home, fetch my Fiesta and return to the site of the Curious Incident. The ADT dude would kindly hang around at the car with Angie and Bob-the-Friend until my return, continuing with his role as “Damsel in Distress Defender.”
Shifty-eyes started throwing a tantrum. He flung his spare tyre back into the boot of his rickety vehicle and angrily slammed his computer detritus in along with it. All the time muttering about how he couldn’t handle this and how he “Needed to get drugs!”
It was strange how much more composed and friendly he was before it became clear that he wasn’t going to have a couple of under-age teenage girls alone to himself.

So, I ran my errands and returned. The kind ADT man switched the tyres, and we were all pleased and cheerful with ourselves. This was until we realised that the car keys were missing. I realised that Bob-the-Friend’s sister had handed them to me as I dropped her off at home. Unfortunately, I’d left them in the other car which was at home. Bugger.
As I tried to break the news to the ADT man, I could see his patience slipping. Clearly from my face, I wasn’t about to share excellent news like, “Oh, here the keys are!” He looked at me with trepidation, and started to shake his head slowly. Before I’d even started to explain, he was already going, “No. No. No.”
I thanked him for his help, and told him he should go if he wanted, and that I’d return shortly with the keys. Clearly the whole situation had wasted more of his evening than he’d expected. He fled the scene gladly.

Drove home, dropped Bob-the-Friend off. Picked up the keys. Returned with Angie. Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.
Tried to start the car.


I lost my cool slightly. Up until that point I’d been very composed and relaxed and quite happy about all of the events that had transpired. I’d enjoyed my evening, and I’d even enjoyed helping out fixing the car situation. That Buddhism stuff is really effective. I am not kidding. It works really well. I hadn’t felt at all put out the whole evening until this point.
5a.m. and the car would mobilise. Gaaaaaaaaah! The was verbal abuse and a brief spurt of irrational ranting. But I noticed it quickly, didn’t give in and pulled it back into check.

We decided to push the car out of the road, and then after pushing it, tried once more to get it started. The engine turned. We drove.

I think Bob has a hang-over now.

And I’d give Fuel Cafe a visit if I were you. Can’t find their webpage (if they have one), but here’s where they are, and here’s what Google spews out so you don’t even have to submit the query. I’m such a buddy!
Well worth it. On the Corner of Carr and Quinn, Newtown, Joburg. Tel:(011) 838 9277

Execution Rate Down in Mad George’s Kingdom

Curiously, in the time of George Dubya, the USA are executing fewer people.
But don’t read about it here, read about it at the Mail & Guardian.

I’ll reproduce my favourite bit of the article to get you interested (emphasis is mine):

Quietly but unmistakably, the anti-death-penalty movement in America has started to win. … How can they be winning when America’s liberals are losing every other culture war? Certainly not by telling anyone that killing people is wrong. The argument they prefer to employ, activists say, is that America is killing the wrong people. Or it’s killing people the wrong way. Or killing them at the wrong price. America just isn’t killing people properly.

Happy Birthday Stu!

It seems I’ve upset my dear middle brother by not phoning him on his birthday yesterday.

Sorry Stu!

Curiously, his birthday falls on the same day as International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Ironically, I remembered that it was “talk like a pirate day” because it was his birthday, but forgot it was his birthday because I remembered it was “talk like a pirate day.” Silly me. Not concentrating.

Stu was full of woe. Here is how I know:

(10:38:44 AM) Neil: Sorry about that. I did remember, I just forgot to tell you I’d remembered. How was the day?
(10:41:43 AM) (@) StuDude: it was not marvellous – i kept on checking my phone for messages…
(10:41:52 AM) (@) StuDude: my hand gre tired
(10:41:55 AM) (@) StuDude: and my brain as well
(10:42:06 AM) (@) StuDude: and my mood darkened accordingly
(10:42:25 AM) (@) StuDude: until i went out
(10:42:39 AM) (@) StuDude: and still there were no happy thoughts directed towards me
(10:42:47 AM) (@) StuDude: i felt gutted
(10:42:59 AM) (@) StuDude: thoughts of suicide permeated my mind
(10:43:41 AM) Neil: That good, huh?
(10:43:51 AM) (@) StuDude: razor blades flitted in and out of my hazy tear-filled eyes
(10:44:02 AM) (@) StuDude: oops – vision
(10:44:12 AM) (@) StuDude: not eyes
(10:44:18 AM) (@) StuDude: tear-impeded actually
(10:44:18 AM) (@) StuDude: vision
(10:44:32 AM) (@) StuDude: eyes still whole
(10:44:37 AM) (@) StuDude:
(10:44:37 AM) (@) StuDude: for now

He too would have an amusing blog, if he were to have one. Which he won’t. Can hardly even get an email out of the man.

One more time. Sorry you’re a little upset, but I still love you bro’, so don’t read too much into it.

The Other Waffle Group

When ‘p’ comes before ‘s,’ you don’t get blogspot, you get blogpsot.

And theye shall hurl ye olde Bible towarde yonder noggin.

I should chat to Sam in Hong Kong more. Perhaps this kind of amusement will happen again.

The transcript from our MSN chat:

(03:51:18 PM) Neil: Angie is very very well. Have you checked out my blog lately? it has details regarding my life that you may or may not find interesting. http://thewafflegroup.blogpsot.com
(03:51:37 PM) Neil: Some of the details include things about Angie
(03:51:53 PM) Neil: She’s working for an NPO now
(03:52:56 PM) Neil: How is your wife? Not sure you’ve even ever told me her name, you secretive sneaky man
(03:53:27 PM) Neil: Do you have a blog by any chance? (one that I’ll be able to understand)
(03:56:14 PM) Samuel: bible study???
(03:56:22 PM) Samuel: huh?
(03:56:45 PM) Neil: Bible study? WTF?
(03:57:22 PM) Neil: Are you referring to the meditation?
(03:57:51 PM) Samuel: what’s that all about? amazing bible study??? your website’s got attacked?
(03:59:10 PM) Neil: Oh. Uh, typo: Should be: http://thewafflegroup.blogspot.com/
(03:59:24 PM) Neil: But that’s really funny
(04:00:04 PM) Samuel: 😀



Ok. There wasn’t actually any omming, but we were guided through some Buddhist meditation techniques yesterday evening.

Angie, Quinn, and I joined forces to go to the meditation class. We were planning to go last week, but Quinn couldn’t make it and Angie was late and I was too nervous to go alone. By all expecting one another to be there this week, we carefully prevented ourselves from chickening out.

We went in to discover that the only seats still available were the front-row seats. Usually, people who arrive late get the seats at the back, but things here appeared to operate outside my realm of experience.

Then we were asked to all stand up, and Gen Kelsang Legden entered the room.
He really had incredible presence. He was simultaneously the most intense and most chilled-out person I’ve ever encountered.

He guided us through meditation, and then spoke to us about the importance of concentration. Concentration and focusing one’s mind. He spoke about a lot of things relating to this. He was captivating, fascinating, entertaining, and wise. A holy man with a sense of humour.
As Quinn said afterwards, ‘The drugs are free and the dealer is funny.’

It was a really incredible experience. I’m so glad I went, and I’m so glad that Angie and Quinn are also happy they attended. We’re so going back for more.

The Waffle Master finds his happiness through Buddhist MeditationTM.
Shouldn’t you?