Three’s a Crowd: The Voices in my Car.

My car was becoming too crowded and the ironic thing was I was the only person present.
A couple of months ago, I invested into a GPS after I had gotten horribly lost in the dodgiest area of a nearby city. I went out and bought a Garmin Nuvi that same weekend and I have to say, I have not looked back since. It took some getting used to in the beginning. Inherently, I’m not the kind of person that you tell what to do. You request and provide me with other options so that I could make my own choice. SatNav Lady wasn’t quite like that, she told me where I had to go and come hell or high water, she was going to make sure that I stay on track.
I had endless fun in the beginning, driving left when she said right and hearing her get more and more excited until I could swear she shouted at me: TURN RIGHT!
She must’ve thought that I was a complete idiot and, when she finally figured out that I wasn’t and that I was doing it on purpose, she got her own back by occasionally sending me in completely the wrong road, letting the purple bar disappear quite suddenly and then telling me that she had to recalculate our route…
I promptly put her on mute the third time it happened, having decided that there was only space for one bitch in the car and it wasn’t her. My space was reclaimed…
I turned her volume on again at some point and after that we had a slow but steady alliance. On the odd occasion, I’d turn left when she meant right, but it wasn’t on purpose and on the places where I knew she had some difficulty distinguishing the roads, I tried to anticipate where I had to go without her help. I like to believe that after using her for three months that we’ve become allies, even though we would never be friends.
Today however the balance was upset with the arrival of Supertooth woman.
When my mother upgraded her phone (more than a year ago) she was given a Bluetooth hands free kit as a gift. She never used it and, after I was almost pulled over by cops on a number of occasions, I asked her if I could use it. She agreed happily and off I went to Zeerust, SatNav Lady and Supertooth woman in tow. Quite suddenly I had TWO women in the car with me, one telling me what to do and the other one telling me who was calling me (and that my call was dropped or not…).
I felt…
Crowded.
And, I’m sure that SatNav Lady feels threatened because Supertooth woman’s voice is way more sexier than hers. I’m of the mind to make SatNav Lady a SatNav Man, but then they might get together when I’m not looking and have babies…
I would hate for my car to look like this:

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A Brief Interlude: My Beautiful Country

One of the perks of my new job is that I get to travel quite a lot on company expense. It comes at a price naturally. I drive hundreds of miles a week, normally very far from home to place which are VERY hot to see people who can be quite rude.

But, on the other hand, it allows me to witness an afternoon here, at the river crossing the Crocodile River to the Kruger National Park’s Malelane gate. My colleague and I had to come here to see some clients and show our faces (as my country apparently only comes this way once every six months or so). I set off very early this morning, leaving my temporary lodgings at 4:50am to meet up with my boss at 5:30am so that we can start on the road heading East to Mpumalanga (I stay in Gauteng). The day wasn’t very exciting admittedly as it was very hot and the clients… Well. Clients. I’ll never fault them because they are my bread and butter.

We finished up just after 2pm and came through to the guest house where we’ll be spending the night. I took a moment to collect myself while my colleague went to visit with some old friends in the area. I had a headache (read caffeine withdrawal) and needed to cool down a bit. It was 46 degrees Celsius outside, and cooking me alive. When he returned we went to the bridge crossing over the Crocodile River to the Kruger Park. It was beautiful and somehow just what I needed.

I have a beautiful country, and amazing place with so much a variation which I am priviledged enough to see now that I’m travelling so much. I forgot about it in a way. I had been so taken with England that I forgot that my country has just as much scenic wise to offer then the small British Isle. It’s not the same naturally, you cannot compare apples with bananas.

But, it is beautiful and I thought to share it with you.

 

Undeniable.

I cannot deny it.

I love travelling. I love packing, I love sorting out the stuff that I leave at home, I love waiting at an airport. Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, I’m one of the very few people who are at their happiest when they are at an airport, waiting for an airplane.

I’m not impatient, not stressed about flying and I’m not apprehensive about boarding. When I have my boarding pass in hand, and my luggage has gone the way of all down the conveyer belt, I find myself relaxing to enjoy the ride. The thing with travelling, especially by plane, is that for most of the time, things are out of your hands. You have no control of the airplane, of the weather conditions, or of whether or not things are going to work out the way you planned, all that there is for you to do is wait. In my two years travelling abroad, I’ve refined the art of waiting to perfection. I think it’s because I spend so much time waiting for airplanes, busses and trains (with normally every kind of problem or delay that you can think of thrown at me) that I have evolved past the impatience to a state of contentment.

I have missed the feeling and have almost forgotten its peace until now, when I find myself waiting in an airport lounge for the plane that would take me on my Holiday. I’m going to the Cape for a week, visiting old friends and taking a break before I start my new job. I haven’t taken a break ever since I started working in the restaurant and I have to say, for the first time I feel as if I need it. So, when the feeling of peace descended upon me as I looked for a place to sit down with the cheapest cup of coffee I can buy and a place for my laptop, I embraced it like a long lost friend.

Wanderlust followed in as well of course, but I’ll deal with it later. 😉

So, I have to run. My plane’s about to leave and it would be hysterical if I miss it. But, I want to invite you this week to come with me on my trip. It might not be very exciting, but I’ll keep you entertained.

Or at least amused. 😉

Alyss

 

What a surprise…

When the world cup started in my sunny country, I had a prediction for the ‘final four’ and my eye on who the two teams in the finals were going to be. As it turned out, I was wrong.

My prediction for the final four was: Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Spain, with the final either being between Brazil and Argentina or Brazil and Germany.

As it turned out, I was wrong.

The final four teams left in the FIFA World Cup were: Spain, Uruguay, Germany and the Netherlands. I will not speak of Uruguay. I will only say that by rights, it should’ve been Spain, Ghana, Germany and the Netherlands… Last time I checked, soccer wasn’t a ‘hand ball’ game. That’s what rugby and American Football is for…

Anyway, so – surprise surprise, only 50% of my prediction for the semi-finals was correct. AND none of the teams that I had thought would be in the final made. In swooped the Dutch with their orange spirit and bounce, winning their place in the finals from Uruguay (thank you Holland, hup Holland hup!) in a 3-2 victory and the Spain ran Germany to the ground with their 1-0 victory.

What a surprise.

And, an even bigger surprise was the fact that I finally found myself enjoying the matches just as they finished.

This World Cup has certainly proven to be a unique tournament and a unique experience for me and my country. I am not willing to make predictions any further (though I hope Holland wins…) but I am going to say that I am proud to be South African and I am proud of the way this World Cup has progressed. I can’t help but feel that – if we can do this, we can do anything.

Alyss.

How to Filter out Vuvuzela’s on your TV

I found this article on my iGoogle today and I find it very amusing. 🙂 Mainly because for the past 4 weeks I’ve been waking up to the sound of vuvuzela’s in the morning (seeing as how I live in one of the cities in South Africa which hosts matches). There is no equalizer in real life, no sound, material or ear plug which can really drown out this noise. 😉 But, WikiHowTo seems to think that they can, so I will give them their dues. 😉

How to Filter the Vuvuzela Noise

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
When you’re tired of the World Cup broadcast being a cacophony of vuvuzelas, it’s a relief to know that you can tone it down. Here are some ways to drown out the drone.

Steps

Equalizer (EQ) option (TV or Stereo)
The benefit of this option despite having to fiddle a bit more is that you don’t need a computer. You can perform this fix straight on your TV or stereo.

  1. Locate the equalizer. Either use equalizer on your stereo if you’re using that to listen with, or the one on your TV, if it has one. If needed, read the manual accompanying the stereo or TV for instructions on how to adjust the equalizer settings.
  2. Adjust the hardware settings of your equalizer. It is recommended to turn the frequency down as low as your equipment can go; Adam Pash recommends lowering sound level of the the frequencies 235 Hz and 465 Hz with about 40 decibels.[1] The drone sound should be considerably reduced, or even removed.
  3. Continue to adjust the different frequencies until you are comfortable with the sound. Given that all TV sets differ, only you will be the ultimate judge of what works best here. Things to consider include:
    • Level of sound of the commentators’ voices;
    • Ability to enjoy the rest of the atmosphere; and
    • The level of comfort of all persons watching at home.

Adjust Treble or Speakers (TV or Stereo)

  1. If you can’t locate an equalizer on your TV or stereo, or just can’t be bothered fiddling with it, try using your TV’s treble sound control. Locate the treble control, and turn the treble sound down as far as is possible. Doing this should reduce the vuvuzela sound enough to be bearable.[2]
  2. Try adjusting your speakers if you have a surround sound system. Try lowering the volume of the speaker that brings out the crowd noise and raise the volume of the one with the commentator’s voices.[3] Keep adjusting until you get the balance right.

Easy Free Software Option (Computer Assisted)
With this option, you’ll need to use the computer linked up to the audio of the TV. The benefit of this option is that the software will do all of the fiddling for you. The only adjustments that you’ll need to make are dependent on the age and speed of your computer.

  1. Go to the National Instruments site. Download the free software here: http://decibel.ni.com/content/blogs/Simon/2010/06/16/world-cup-2010–filtering-the-annoying-vuvuzela-noise. There is a Windows and a Mac version available, choose whichever one suits your needs.
  2. Install the software. If you don’t have the LabView Run-Time engine, you’ll need to install this also (it’s free).
  3. Insert your computer into the audio signal flow of your TV.
    • If the TV has an audio output, connect the sound card line in to this outlet. Connect the sound card’s output to your usual listening devices (such as speakers or headphones).
  4. Listen and check if it sounds better. If still needed, adjust the frequency on your computer. How much and whether you need to adjust will depend on the speed of your computer.

Video

Consumer Reports shows several easy ways to reduce the noise of the vuvuzela. Note that it doesn’t recommend paying money to do this!

Tips

  • Mute it. Watch in peace!
  • The vuvuzelas can pump out as much a 131 decibels.[4]
  • Apparently the horn “drones” (is at its most annoying) at 233Hz.[5]

Warnings

  • Not all TVs have a built-in equalizer. If you can’t find one, try one of the other methods instead.

Things You’ll Need

  • Computer for first option
  • TV or stereo for both options
  • Speakers or headphones

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. Adam Pash, http://lifehacker.com/5564085/how-to-silence-vuvuzela-horns-with-an-eq-filter
  2. Consumer Reports.org, http://blogs.consumerreports.org/electronics/2010/06/fifa-world-cup-2010-vuvuzela-annoying-buzz-sound-audio-filter-app-noise-killer-scam-setting-minimize-horns-tips.html
  3. Consumer Reports.org, http://blogs.consumerreports.org/electronics/2010/06/fifa-world-cup-2010-vuvuzela-annoying-buzz-sound-audio-filter-app-noise-killer-scam-setting-minimize-horns-tips.html
  4. Wikipedia, Vuvuzela, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vuvuzela
  5. Sharon Machlis, How to lower vuvuzela noise when watching the World Cup, http://blogs.computerworld.com/16345/how_to_lower_vuvuzela_noise_when_watching_the_world_cup

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Filter the Vuvuzela Noise. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.