Has anyone else had difficulty answering the new questions which are given to ‘authenticate’ you when you start a contract or new account?

The first time I came across this ‘new’ authentication practice was back in March when I was upgrading me cellphone contract with CellC. The entire process was pretty seamless, except when it got to the end. Just before handing my phone to me the cashier or contract sales guy told me I’d have to answer 5 basic questions just so that they know it is actually me who is upgrading.

My first thought was that it would be similar to when they ask you to verify your ID number on the phone so just nodded along. These questions are nothing like those. In fact, they kind of remind me of the little code boxes you have to fill in for most online forms, but the really difficult ones that you end up unable to read.

I failed the authentication first time around. I failed to prove to a machine that I am in fact me. How bad are the questions that I cannot answer them satisfactorily enough to prove that I am me while standing there with my old phone and ID book? Really?

It made me laugh at the time and I got another 5 questions which I managed to pass, but once I left I kept thinking about the ridiculousness of it. Besides the thought that we live in a country where this is what they think is needed as proof that you are who you say you are, how badly are the questions built?

I mean asking me if I have some random home loan when I don’t even own a house, or whether my current work telephone number is 011 xxx xxxx, which is in fact my old work number, does not prove anything. It just makes things difficult.

Needless to say I gave up last week when the final step of my Woolworths store card application ended with another round of 5 questions. I failed the first time and told them to cancel. It was ridiculous.

“Do you have an RCS Card?”
“Yes”
“Have you had it for 1 year and 7 months”
“umm… no. Not that long.”
“For more or less than 1 year?”
“Less”

“Do you have a contract with Nashua Mobile?”
“No… I did.”

“Do you have a number starting with 071…?”
“No.”

I mean WTF? I still don’t even know what I got wrong.

I asked the guy from CellC when I first experienced these questions what would happen if I didn’t get the second round right and he told me that he wouldn’t have been able to give me the phone.

Can you imagine that? “Sorry, you can’t have this phone because according to our system of stupid randomly generated crap, you aren’t who you say you are.”

I just can’t understand why a place like Woolworths would implement a system like that.

It was less painful going to the damn dentist. I was already frustrated because they had given me the run around before the questions, with two different people phoning me and telling me different things and going through the entire application (filled out online) all over again over the phone. The first person who called told me it would take 24 to 48 hours for activation, the second guy called to say he was activating it right now and I will be able to go into Woolies and get the store card immediately.

Um… no. That’s not quite how it works apparently. I went in to the store to be told it was pending. I was irritated enough by then and 3 days later I get a call just to let me know that it has been activated! Yay. All you need to do is answer 5 authentication questions….

Why is customer service so hard to get right?

I am so happy with how far Bachelors and Bachelorette parties have come over the last few years.

Gone are the days of women drinking tea while sharing recipes and anecdotes on keeping their husbands happy while their soon-to-be other halves are sitting at bars smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and enjoying a lap dance.

It has become something of a tradition for these celebrations to last the whole day and to encompass a fun activity, some embarrassment, a get together for everyone with party games and then a ‘real’ party for the ‘last fling before the ring’. Generally the boys camp has a little more debauchery, while the ladies camp can get a little more crass than one would expect.

Now, I have never experienced a bachelors party so that is about as far as I can go with speaking about that but when it comes to a bachelorette, I have done a fair amount of research and have gotten some first hand experience!

The really fun part of the whole thing is that practically anything goes. Things you would not usually discuss with your mother (or even your grandmother), are suddenly fair game. This kind of playful ‘awkwardness’ creates a great environment for all kinds of fun and ice breaking activities.

Obviously there is a plethora of websites with all kinds of games, themes and ideas for everyone (just Google some key phrases, such as ‘Hen Party Ideas’, and you’ll see what I mean) but there was one thing that I really thought was worth sharing from my most recent experience.

You know how parties are just 10 times better with a piñata?

Well a nice project for you and the other bridesmaids (if you are planning a Bachelorette) would be to make a DIY Penis Piñata.

There are so many laughs in this project, I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I had while making it and not because it’s all arts and crafts, but purely because of the words I got to say and the reactions they invoked.

Example:

The boyfriend: “What are you up to tonight?”
Me: “I need to paint my penis.”
The boyfriend: “…”

And hysterics ensue. There were numerous occasions for this as I went through the process, especially as the whole thing started coming together.

So if you want to surprise your guests and other bridal party members, embarrass your bride-to-be and have a lot of laughs, you should really consider this.

All you need to make the actual pinata are some balloons (long and round ones), duct tape, newspaper, water, flour, paint and tissue paper.

First you will blow up two normal round balloons and then some of the long balloons. You then need to duct tape the long balloons together to make a ‘shaft’. You can then duct tap the two round balloons on opposite ends to the bottom of the shaft.

All you need then is one more round balloon to tape to the top.

You can decide on size.

Once the shape is correct, you will then start the paper mache process. First you will need to tear up some strips of newspaper. The glue is then made by mixing 1 part flour with 1 part water (TIP: Add a little cinnamon to the mixture to counteract the floury smell and some salt to prevent mold) and stirring. You can then paint the glue onto the strips and place them onto the balloon structure, covering the entire surface.

Each layer will need about 1 or 2 days to dry. Make sure it is completely dry before starting the next layer. I would suggest around 3 layers but make sure you are happy with how hard it is (see how the word play can be entertaining?) before you pop the balloons using a pin!

Once you have done all the layers it should look something like this:

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You can then add a layer or two of paint: (this is where it looks the funniest… you could probably leave it like this but I wanted more of a piñata feel)

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Once that is dry, you can cut a hole somewhere to add the contents later and you can add the tissue paper (this take a little while and a lot of patience… but it’s worth it):

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Once that’s done, all you need to do is fill it up (think naughty – g strings, plastic alcohol shots and sweets), close the hole and hang it up.

You can then give the bride a stick and put on a blind fold. You can imagine how funny that can be to watch :)

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Happy piñata making :P

I started this blog many moons ago as a creative outlet. Over the years it has adapted and been on hold for several periods of time.

I think that probably says more about me that I’d like.

In any case, here is to trying again, differently. I am hoping to spend more time writing about things I love and hopefully putting down some interesting points about the way I am experiencing this life. I suppose it’s time for this space to reflect the growth I have experienced over the past few years.

My About Me page used to say that I was on the way to where I want to be in 5 years. Of course, we always are, but I think I am at a place where I at least know who I want to be, who I am.

Here’s to creating new habits and to finishing what I start! Hopefully this can extend to other parts of my life as well :)

Wow… it has been ages since my last post. I think I have become almost a ghost online these days.

My excuse? I suppose I don’t really have a good one other than bad time management and prioritisation… is that good enough?

I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I want to change that.

New Years resolution numero uno: Blog more.

I see a list coming on.

2) Eat less.

3) Read more (Much easier now that I have a Kindle… birthdays are the best!).

4) Smoke even less (I’m at the social smoking level now).

5) Laugh more.

6) Frown less.

I could keep going I suppose but I think I’ll just stop and rather post a cool funny picture and move onto the next post which will be a book review. I have four to come.

“Inheritance” by Christopher Poalini

“Crossed” by Ally Condie

“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

“Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs (which I am almost finished!)

Ok, now for the funny, as promised….

 

 

Today is one of those down days where it takes an insurmountable amount of effort to stay positive. I think it was brought on by the terrible loss last night, although I have managed to keep the positivity flowing in terms of that – there is still hope after all.

But at the moment I am just feeling down about the way things are in my life – as melodramatic as that sounds. I feel as though there is just no excitement in it. I know that I have to create my own excitement, and I really am a believer in the fact that we create our own lives and that the way we react to situations is what takes us forward or holds us back. But sometimes it is difficult to always apply that to your own life, especially when the negative thoughts and the sadness drag you down.

I have felt like this for a while, but I have been holding on to the good days. The days where everything seems perfect and I feel the gratitude and gratefulness of how things are in my life, I mean, I am lucky after all. I have a lot of things in my life that other people are not as lucky to have. But sometimes, no matter how grateful I may feel, I battle to ignore the feeling of life being ‘unfair’. I battle to look past all the people around me, the ones that are not lucky. I battle to stop wondering what makes me special that I get to have a warm bed and a great family, where they don’t even have that. I battle to look past the almost trivial things too – the things that I would feel embarrassed to mention. I know that the majority of people have a whiny teenager inside of them that sometimes comes out, but that doesn’t mean we need to admit to it or talk about in the public domain :wink:

I suppose, my biggest problem is just taking control; Pushing myself to move forward, to realize that there is so much out there, so many options and that I need to reach out and grab at them. There is so much to learn in this world, there is so much to see. I don’t want to miss anything. Then again, that might be my problem in the first place!

I don’t want to talk about the stupid cars that can’t drive so I shall avoid that topic and move onto other, much better, things.

I finished “Spirit Bound” by Richelle Mead on Saturday. (In case you are unaware, “Spirit Bound” is the 5th book of the Vampire Academy series and was only just released here in SA).

It was amazing. The love story between Dimitri and Rose is epic. If you’ve read the first four you will understand exactly what I mean when I say that Edward and Bella have such a simple life, in comparison. WOW.

There are still another a book to come – thank God – it will be out in December. It’s called “Last Sacrifice”. I hate waiting for books, but to me, it is so much worse when a series is over. So I can definitely handle the wait. At least there are plenty of other things to keep me occupied…

There is quite a list of books that I still need and/or want to read actually – “Burned”, “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” , “Beautiful Creatures”, “Hush, Hush”, The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, The Oprah Biography, “Shantaram”, “Spud”…. WOW. There are actually loads because there are also the ones that are still set to release later this year like “Linger”, “Curse of the Werewolf Girl”, The last Vampire Diaries, The last Night World, “Torment”, etc. And let’s not forget all the ones, that I see with the infamous word that gets me every time, in between

Okay, that is just crazy. I never used to be this crazy… but anyway. So I got “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” Soundtrack last week and I am in love. Particularly with “Heavy in Your Arms” by Florence and the Machines.

The entire Soundtrack is great… but that is definitely on my ‘repeat over and over again’ list :)

There was something else I wanted to mention but now I cannot for the life of me remember what it was…
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Oh yes… HAPPY ‘TUESDAY-THAT-IS-LIKE-A-FRIDAY’ EVERYONE! Enjoy watching the game tomorrow, where ever you are, and GO BAFANA BAFANA!! You can DO IT!! :)

*blows Vuvuzela extremely loudly over and over again*

Yes, I am on Team Vuvuzela :) I love them… deal with it!

I had no idea how crazy getting married could get. It’s the second time at being a bridesmaid for me and I must say that when my friend first asked me, I thought, ‘WOW. What an honor!’ Then when it got close to the time and everything was going crazy, I kept thinking, “Please, please, please, for the love of God, don’t ask me again!!” But now that it is over and done and everything turned out perfectly, I’m thinking, ‘WOW. So who’s next?”

I know it might sound melodramatic, but let me tell you why I was begging for no more.

Firstly, this friend’s wedding planning started 6 months ago. The wedding was originally set for November but then her mother decided that she wants to immigrate to New Zealand at the end of June so they moved the wedding up.

It was a small wedding so it didn’t seem to be a problem. Her mom got cracking on the decor immediately and they booked the venue and found photographers, when we went to Oakfield Farm for the Bridal Expo.

All seemed to be going great. The other bridesmaid had a family friend who could make our dresses and we all found our pictures, picked out the material and went for our first fitting! Everything seemed perfect.

Then real life went on and the next minute it was May. It felt as though it crept up on us, completely! Now on top of the sudden arrival of May, our dresses still weren’t done. This women, whom is now known as  ‘The Crazy Bitch” (TCB), had been “sick” in hospital and when we eventually got a hold of her she said that she would be finished.

2 weeks before the wedding we accepted that “The Crazy Bitch” is in fact just that. After countless phone calls and attempts at contact (they even drove to her house but were chased away) the mother of the bride gets an sms from TCB to say that we don’t need to worry but if we give her R2000.00 then she will be able to finish the dress and they can have it by the Saturday before. The Other Bridesmaid (TOB) had already, at this point, paid R1500.00 and the material for the wedding dress had been given to her.

As you can imagine, panic ensued. The Bride eventually found a beautiful dress from a dress-hire and they managed to get it fitted and it looked amazing. On the other hand though, we now had 2 bridesmaids without dresses. TOB found a friend who had a Lilac dress from her matric farewell and I went on a crazy shopping spree in an attempt to find a decently priced purple dress.

Needless to say, it was not fun. Although I was lucky enough to find a really beautiful dress at Truworths.

So we were finally feeling good about finding dresses, but then on Friday night, after getting our manicures done and while driving TOB home, I drove through some glass and managed to puncture my tyre pretty badly. So Saturday morning (the day of ‘The Wedding’) me and the bride were changing a tyre. It was hilarious actually and it felt great that we could actually do it with out even ruining a nail :)

So in essence, the entire ordeal, just reiterated my belief that no matter what, everything just works out. One way or another – it just has to!

The 3 of us, chilling at the reception!

Traffic is fantastic! I think out of all the wonderful, exciting things about the FIFA World Cup 2010, I have been looking forward to NO ROADWORKS the most!

What a difference an extra lane makes, although I am a little worried by the fact that the general population doesn’t seem to know how to drive on a 4 lane highway. For some reason people think that there are now 3 lanes especially made for everyone driving between 80 and 100 km/h and 1 lane for anyone driving above 100 km/h.

And this would be okay if we were a patient people, but alas, we are not, so the effect is just that there are now a whole lot of cars weaving in the traffic, going between 120 and 160 km/h. This could make for some interesting car accidents and an increase in our wonderfully high death toll.

There are just so many more people (since the roadworks began) who don’t grasp the ‘keep left’ concept. I can’t understand why, I mean it is the simplest concept out of all of them. I also noticed that nobody really makes a big deal of it because everyone says, “well they shouldn’t be driving so fast anyway.” That is so beyond the point. Someone driving 120km/h is just as dangerous as someone driving 140 km/h. What do you think the difference in percentage survival rate is between the two in a head on collision? Yip, you guessed it. Not much! But if you look at the chances of causing an accident while weaving through traffic, as opposed to driving in one lane? There, you will see a difference.

If you stay out of their way and in the two lanes on the left, then they won’t have to endanger anyone’s life (except each others maybe), and they can get where ever it is that is so important and leave the rest of us out of it. So the way I see it, 80 km/h in the far left lane, 100km/h in the next lane to the right, 120km/h in the next lane to the right and anything above that in the far right lane. Now, obviously there are idiots that don’t understand this, and trucks that don’t care. So by all means, overtake on the right, but just for the love of all that is good, go back to the left once you have overtaken!

Okay, that is my driving lesson for today!!

Oh, so yesterday I was reading my June Issue of Cosmo and they had some of the sexy men coming over to SA for the Soccer. I have now decided that my second team will be the US. My reason : Carlos BOCANEGRA

But, of course, don’t worry, Ian. My heart still belongs to you :mrgreen:

You know, I get that we have to do all these additional things for the World Cup (new stadiums, following FIFA standards, changing roads,etc.) but I really don’t think that security should be one of them. What has changed that makes it suddenly possible for our special forces to actually do their jobs? More money? A better incentive? The knowledge that the entire world will be watching?

I keep reading all these reports about the alleged Human Trafficking case in Kempton Park this morning, where they say that security has been ‘beefed up’ or their has been an ‘increased focus’, ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and I just can’t understand why the Soccer World Cup should make a difference. Why weren’t we doing this before? What are we doing differently? Are you saying that if it weren’t for the World Cup all those Thai women would not have been rescued? I don’t know about you but I’d like to know what that means exactly, because as far as I am concerned, when it comes to our country’s security and the peoples safety, we should always be at our best!

People die everyday because of completely preventable crimes (such as prostitution, child abuse and human trafficking). We don’t even hear about half of it, but all of a sudden the security for these things are ‘beefed up’! I think somebody needs to explain this to me, because I am just not getting it…

“Feel It, It is Here!” – That’s the catch phrase for the 2010 World Cup that they have been saying on 5fm for the past few weeks, well today is the first day where I can actually agree. Today everything seems to be becoming ‘real’ and it is damn exciting!

The Brazilian and Australian teams have arrived (the Brazilians causing more excitement, of course!) The ‘Real Kaka’ tweeted the following:

And here’s him arriving in Johannesburg :) (Image via @richardmaspero)

The vibe is only going to increase from this point! I can’t wait! (Yesterday I  even went through all the match details on the FIFA website and I even read through the rules!!) I don’t know much about soccer, for the moment, but what I can say for certain is that by the end of this World Cup, I am going to know everything there is to know :)