Friday, August 27, 2010

the joker.

(maasai boy laughing monduli chini, maasailand. pic by craig doria:

game over, oh bestests. the joker's been slapped onto the green velvet covered bridge table. holidays are officially over and it's back to school for all the naughty wicked people. it's come as rather a rude shock, it must be said. the last two days i have sat staring at paper after paper in a blank way in long school meetings. it felt like staring into an old landrover engine which needs fixing. haven't a clue. can't. not interested. get a mechanic. yawn. which reminds me of the time when i did my safari guide's licence in zambia many moons ago....part of the course was Mechanics. god forbid.

question 1: how does four wheel drive work? (4 marks)
(how easy does this get, she mused, clapping her hands happily in her head)
answer: well. you pull the littlest gear lever back to where it says 4WD and make sure the hubs are locked if you are in a toyota and not a landrover.

question 2: describe the workings of an internal combustion engine. (2 marks)
(wtf? sinking feeling. bewildered and sweating palms followed by resentful anger directed at all males of our species. in her head.)
answer: sdfhwoeihwefzcvw8e3r50237owindefmanvw0ierruw0hjwsoidnvkjhso98eurwer

i surprisingly passed the exam, believe it or not. (do you know what a dendrocygna viduata is, people? i do. it's a white faced whistling duck and dontcha forget it, you hear? it takes you places in life.) i did not pass the walking exam. i didn't even try for it. only the driving one. you need to know how to shoot a .375 for the walking one. and you need to be able to shoot down charging buffalo or elephant in the walking one. i can't shoot a gun which is a super sized confession for the daughter of a professional hunter. (well. i CAN shoot a lever action .22 so there) anyway, i always preferred taking the old ladies out who couldn't walk anymore (why on earth had they booked into a Walking Camp then i hear you say? well quite.) i liked the old people with hip transplants and dicky hearts who had a perverse interest in mopane trees and squirrels. i remember once seeing a herd of kali cow elephants cross the track way ahead. i stopped the landrover and said to the dear little old lady next to me, "we're going to go the other way, ok?" she nodded her head happily, replying " whatever you say dear." you might think i was chicken but i wasn't. i had a keen sense of self preservation. those elephant on the 05 were kali as hell. they took no prisoners. i stayed well clear of those bastards....(i have just asked safari craig if he has any pictures of charging elephant. he sniggered, " i have more pictures of charging elephant than you can poke a stick at." i said: "i want a vicious one." he said: "i can give you vicious. lots of vicious."

(charging elephant, lake natron area, pic by craig doria:

i have poked my head into my classroom once. i have searched long and deep inside of me for that old spark of inspiration and am happy to report that way down in the ashes i see an ember glowing. it just needs a little bit of wind, some twigs and fear to get it firing again. where is that charging elephant when i need him?

toodely toot oh best beloveds, bisous X.X.X. sparky, red hot ones, on yer lips x j


Tavarua said...


This is such a great post...Love the pictures and your writing - I think you have a fantastic life...and it is full of passion which is great...and fire got it...

Have a great weekend...

Mud in the City said...

Well I'm the daughter of a professional yachtsman, but any time I try to sail a boat I just go round in circles....

Love the pics!

Elizabeth said...

Which are you finding more terrifying lately?
vehicle guts?

all the above would bring me out in a cold sweat......

life very tame here in NY
off on a bus to see grandson

Buster sends his love to clingy beetle...!

Linda Sue said...

Wild life on our deck- stellar jay baby becoming too tame, squirrel becoming too demanding-An elepant, that's what's need here!
Every fall i get an automatic sinking feeling like "uh oh- back into the size three shoes though i wear and 8. It takes a while for the wheel to roll smoothly you will be into the groove in no time! LOVE the joker!

Karen said...

May you find inspiration and energy and brain cells that connect to each other without needing a charging elephant. :)

I am back at it as well--we started classes last week. One week down, 14 to go! (ouch)

I always wished that I'd been able to take practical things like engine mechanics and sewing when I was in school, but "THOSE classes" were for the kids who were probably not going to college. Terribly elitist. And as the 1st generation earning a living by NOT working with their hands, my parents were all too happy to have me go the book-smarts-only route. *sigh* I have made fleeting attempts to learn things like how to make a pair of pants, or how to change a car's oil, but I'm mostly afraid of screwing up royally and so very timid about it.

Have fun!

Dumdad said...

That charging elephant doesn't scare me. I know what to do. I'd recreate that scene with the bull in Withnail and I. That's BOUND to work!

Reya Mellicker said...

made me laugh. I have almost no mechanical proficiency.

Ah ... back to school. You will rise to the challenge and kick ass as we Americans say. Lucky kids in your classes, oh yeah.

connie said...

What a photo (the boy). I adore your writing and the photos you post. Thank you for sharing.

karen said...

I can't believe you are back to school already, and I have only just had time to go back and read ALL your blogposts done during your holiday! Absolutely brilliant as ever..

Hope the school term goes really fast!!

JoeinVegas said...

Just hope the charging elephant is not behind you headed your way

Janelle said...

thanks tavarua. i had a mighty fine week end out on The Steppes...x j

hey mud. bet you don't sail in ya don't. x j

thanks buster! message passed on! right now i find motor vehicle engines the most tedious. not scared of anything anymore. first day done. ticked off. yessss. xxx j

thanks linda sue...well put! xxx j

heh he he DD....yeah sure...elephant don't cut corners though....that's the trick. xxx j

aw thanks reya darlin'....thanks! xxx j

thank you connie..yeah those are great shots, eh? xxx j

karen its a long bloody 14 weeks of school with a weeny little half term in be it. xxx j

well joe, if it is, i'll surely hear it! no j

Anil P said...

Made for a lovely read. I hope no folks have to take the 'walking exam', that way no one no one charged by the animals and no shooting takes place :-)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely nasty ugly mean ele!

Ooooh how they scare me at that range (or anything within running distance between me and a solid building with 4 walls and a real roof) ... (or in a very small private car which I can barely drive because all the shit is on the other side and it a stick shift too and oh god - just let them slam me and get it over with - much easier than trying to reverse this piece of shit on a bend on this stupid poor excuse for a road!! heee...)

Anonymous said...

oh yes, and of course, glad safari craig lived to tell and this mean old thing didn't get the better of him. But this does beg the question, with his big gun and all, why was he shooting photos and not savage beasts???

Maggie May said...

that elephant is amazing. reminds me of images from Osa Johnson

Celeste said...

Love your account of the safari guides exam! I suspect I may have offered up some similar answers! Thankfully that was probably the last time I had to take a written exam :)
Craig was right - that is a scary ele picture. How is he doing by the way?