Sunday, November 7, 2010

The last lecture

Having come to the conclusion of my fourth and final year of tertiary education (well, for now anyway, who knows what the future holds?) I must admit to being utterly disappointed with the lack of energy lecturers have put into what was their last lecture with the class. I was utterly gob-smacked to find the good-byes to be very, well, teeny-tiny in contrast to the storm of mixed emotions I was holding within myself. There were no ‘go out there and show the world’, no ‘look at where you’ve come from and how much you’ve grown’... instead it was very much, ‘OK well, that’s that’.

I have two thoughts on the matter. One: In all fairness, lecturers say goodbye to students every year and perhaps, are sorry to see a group of individuals whom they have gotten to know and molded, walk out the doors, most never to look back. Thus the lecturers are really too emotional to say their goodbyes in any sentence longer than is, ‘Well that’s the end’. Two: The lecturers are proving that in life, everything comes down to you, on your own, again… thereby attempting to strengthen you through lack of moddy-coddling during this time – you are to find comfort in yourself.

Or perhaps, a third thought: Some lecturers just don’t use the occasion to the best of their ability. It’s an opportunity to share with their class of three/four year’s life altering epiphanies that will linger in the minds of students for years to come. Perhaps it is that this is merely too daunting a task.

Oh well, whatever the weather, life moves on.

Watch this space

Assuming that my lecturer wished for this blog entry to encompass a more personal watch this [where I’m going] space I feel obliged to share with the world my personal awesomeness. The truth is, I don’t know where I’m going and I don’t have a plan per say but I do have the heart, courage and gusto to ensure that throughout life, I will achieve whatever I feel passionate about. It has been my approach thus far and I feel it a good plan moving forward.

In settling my nerves as to taking a slightly different life approach to others, I have adjusted the well known saying of ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’, to read instead, ‘Failing to plan is…EXCITING!’
Given my dad’s support on the situation, ‘'kay cera cera, whatever will be will be', I’m all set. So watch this space because I guarantee that while I can’t promise where I am going, I know that it is going to be utterly splendid and even better, perfectly right for me.

My favourite Cat in the Hat book is [fill in the title] because…

So, the thing is…I’ve never, ever, ever, read a complete Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss) book. I’ve heard about a few, yes, but not quite to the extent that would allow me to complete this statement in a way that would leave some or other sentence of awesome proportions.

The thing is, they have never really appealed to me. Not ever.

I don’t like the graphics, I don’t like the hat and for some reason, I really, really, don’t seem to like the cat. I don’t like the designs and the way everything rhymes - haha. I hate that it’s always quite jolly. I suppose it’s amusing how they encompass the ‘gruesome’, more icky areas of life. But all in all, I’d have to admit, that Calvin and Hobbes proved my life-lesson books o_O

Why I have conversations…

As with anyone, depending on where I am or who I am with, I get bored really, really quickly. So while some people have conversations to learn, to grow, I more often than not have them to be entertained. Sometimes I don’t even listen to what people have to say…I view the exchange of words almost as movie dialogue; temporarily awesome and fitting but ultimately, not worth much.

Perhaps my view is a wee bit short-sighted but the thing is, I latch on to the information I find interesting and discard the rest. The truth is, it adds spice to life to treat every conversational encounter with a dramatic approach ;)

100 Things to do before I die

1.Meet Bill Watterson
2.Sky dive
3.Bungee jump
4.Visit Antarctica and follow penguins as they make their way inland to nest
5.Be a movie extra
6.Write a book
7.Write a series of children’s books
8.Have a pre-primary school
9.Buy a house and paint all of the rooms in bright and exciting colours
10.Work with a graffiti artist
11.Graffitti my entire car >.<
12.Own a Ferrari
13.Own a little green Vespa
14.Pick olives, eat pizza, pasta and ice cream and parade in the Treves fountain mimicking La Dolce Vita in Italy
15.To grow a full vegetable garden that successfully produces veggies
16.To teach/lecture, sharing knowledge and experience
17.To visit the north pole and see a polar bear out in its natural habitat
18.Eat at the most expensive, ta-daa restaurant in the world, have the most expensive bottle of wine…and have someone else pay :D
19.To start a sustainable NGO that assists education
20.To build a wonderful library with thick wooden beams and beautiful carvings, full of books that I have read and only those that I have read
21.To leave home with my life in a suitcase and go exploring the world
22.Be a mother
23.Write freelance for a magazine
24.Visit Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
25.Own a lizard
26.Attend a photography course
27.Open a candy store…hmmm nomnomnom
28.Pose for body paint
29.Participate in a triathlon
30.Participate in the Cape Argus Cycle Tour
31.Sail in and around the Caribbean islands
32.Visit Egypt
33.Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
34.Hike through the Drakensburg
35.To be continued…

My big fat BIG dream

My big fat BIG dream might be ‘world peace’, or better, ‘an end to poverty’, or even, ‘saving the environment’…if of course, I was voted Miss World. As far I know, that has yet to happen and as long as I am just plain old Kerry-Lee Cockrell, my big fat BIG dream currently encompasses the following:

- Jack Black for president.
- A national anthem written and produced by Danko Jones.
- A two day working week.
- A five day weekend.
- Working on the Cake Boss’s team from Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken, New Jersey.
- Working on the Discovery team worldwide as every AND any job title that would earn me time in ‘the wild’.
- Decadent Dani’s Brownies for breakfast. Everyday.
- Pizza, pasta, hot-out-of-the-oven [B][R][E][A][D] with butter for lunch. Everyday.
- To be and remain a perfect size ten. Forever. With no cellulite. Anywhere. Ever.
- To always have the right amount of money in my pocket for whatever I want.
- To be a king. And rule the world. The whole world. And the universe.
- To have myself depicted as a character in a Tim Burton putty animation movie. Ooooooooooh…
- To live without fear, nerves or cowardice.
- To slap - quite hard - most celebrities who think they are the shish kebabs of the world. Because they aren’t. Most awesome people remain understated.

Conventional is a good fallback position isn’t it?

Don’t you just despise going…well, anywhere, making a comment in a circle of ‘educated’ people and find that NO ONE is willing to put their opinions and thoughts on the line? Oh no, it’s SOOOOO much better to just ‘coast’ the conversation out, never disagreeing or adding to the topic of conversation. Instead merely agreeing, with what I find to be the most annoying head-nodding motion imaginable.

Best part, is having those same people walk away from the circle only to mutter amongst each other snide remarks about the ONLY PERSON WHO WAS WILLING TO THROW THEIR OPINION OUT THERE. I’m just saying…

Dear conventionalists,
You are boring. Grow a pair. Not too big; at this stage, any size will do.
Regards,
The whole world.

You cannot chase two rabbits at the same time

Have you ever had a handful of grocery bags in both hands and simultaneously tried to grab your cellphone from your pocket so as to answer the bleeding thing before it rings off?

If you have, you will know that no matter how you attempt to grab your phone and successfully answer the call, no matter how you try to balance out the weight-to-hand ratio, generally one of the two lands SMACK on the floor. Delightfully so, this in turn results in a never-fun experience of having to chase after your cell, now in pieces, or attend to a glorious egg yolk and shell clean-up.

The analogy is much the same as attempting to chase two rabbits at the same time. IMPOSSIBLE! Unless you know something which you are not telling us in which case I would like to say: WARNING! Messing with vats of toxic waste can be hazardous to your health and insect bites generally bring with them little more than an aggravating rash.

Right, so… we all have more than one dream at a time, but the fundamental crux to the subject of success remains as it has stood for eons: Focus your attention on one thing/dream/project at a time to get the best results.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

…Because it’s easier to hate you

It’s not that you don’t get me,
I fear you nearly do.
It’s not that you don’t get my quirks,
You’re full of your own too.

It’s not that you sometimes annoy me;
Your voice is as irritating as a rash spreading across my skin.
It’s not that you sometimes exasperate the very essence of my soul;
Your incessant need to be right often has my patience more than thin.

It’s more that you appear to have everything under control;
You’re perceived as whole, absolutely.
It’s more that you appear completely happy with yourself;
You’re self-satisfied smirk almost kills me.

But to be honest, it’s mostly that I see you as perfect in almost every way... while in comparison every element of my own life appears to be in utter disarray.

Have you figured out the second head fake?

Life is hard enough without the elaborate task of over-thinking every element of it, something I often find myself doing. As with most things, I am not alone in this. Thankfully there are people in this world who, despite their own misfortunes and dealings at the hand of fate, still selflessly share with others new motivations in life. Randy Pausch’s ‘second head fake’ is a prime example of how to live your life if not successfully, at least happily - for all you overachievers out there, PAY ATTENTION!

The second head fake indicates a thought pattern that defines life as motivated by living, not achieving. You see, living is the fundamental element on the menu as it is through our living that we will achieve. Thus, achieving is merely a side order to living, which is in fact the most important thing.

So what is being said? Live, live and live some more and achievements and accomplishments, however great or small…will come knocking at your door.

I guess if I look back to my own achievements, my own accomplishments, I can see some truth in this. It sure beats belting out a straight and narrow path that might not get you even remotely close to where you want to be. So here’s to living, not achieving!

What’s in a blog?

Blogging; a quite contemporary online medium through which we are able to express our sometimes hard-to-identify thoughts, opinions and questions…for whatever (if ever) audience may take heed.

In the early stages of this project – as Media Studies 3 students we are compelled to keep a blog – my biggest concern was ‘finding my voice’. Far from the literal sense, finding my voice entailed the discovery of a writing style that encompassed me entirely; a writing style that I was most happy with, a writing style I was most comfortable with.

Although I am still learning I believe now that I am able to identify my writing style as not too serious, scantly formal with a slight hint of attempted humour and TA-DAA…that’s my voice…in development.

Yet, eight months down the line I have been knocked off my perch of happy blogging by the eminent ‘short blog’. Sigh. ‘Short’ is hardly in my vocabulary.
Given technologies ever fast-pace, nay, express-delivery of shorter messages in faster bursts of time through more-than-immediate deliverables (enter Twitter) for information providers and seekers, I am informed that the bloggersphere is under threat.

It is no longer merely about voice; it is about ‘fast’. If you wish, ever so wholly, for your blog to hit a readership close to successful – queue ten people – you best take the following into account:
Your blog needs to be short, concise and to the point; Make your point, explain your point and MOVE ON!

Let's hope I am able to take my own advice into account from here on out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How hard is it to follow instructions?

Uh, there seems to be a mistake here. Where are you from? You’re a local? OK, well, in which language are you fluent? ENGLISH?!

I’m sorry, I must be confused. Can you not read properly? You can? Oh, well then, is it possible that you are simply unable to read the English language properly? You can? Ah…I look surprised? Well, I am.

You must have been pressed for time then. Were you racing through the instructions? Really?! You had all the time in the world?

It must be then, that you are simply unable to follow instructions. Why else would you design a website URL for sexual offenders, when the instructions clearly state people in the field of psychiatry?! http://www.therapistfinder.com/ ??

World famous

In a world that fast is earning everyone their ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ – Andy Warhol – I have decided that I deserve my own, as everyone does. Now…what to be famous for?

Well, that’s easy.

I’d be famous for living to be one thousand years old. I have such a hunger to learn and see and experience. I am enveloped by events of the past – all important factors of where we find ourselves today. However, knowing where we come from makes up only one third of our life. The invention of the spoken language, penicillin, printing press, light bulbs, telephones, the industrial revolution, World Wars, automobiles, television, computers, Apple, cellphones, pollution, hole in the ozone layer, over population, famine, poverty, global warming…hmmm, do you see a pattern emerging?

We know where are (or do we? American intelligence and wonderfully bizarre stories of world conspiracies love to tell us otherwise) but how fantastic an idea to live long enough to see where the human race is going? Will we take heed to new age instruction to prevent world destruction before it is too late? Will we work hard to reverse our atrocities, unite globally and strive for a better, cleaner, safer, educated world?

With technologies fantastic capabilities and my left brain of absurdities, I will construct a superpower that allows me life on earth (and possibly other planets) for as many years as possible. Yes, life is a gift but I want all the prettily wrapped prezzies under the Christmas tree, not just one.

Who knows what awaits us over the next few centuries. I would like to. Is the future of the human being one of success or failure? Imagine being able to continue through the ages, watching as the world around continues to change in every way possible while scrambling to remain as it was before.

Warped, deformed, green and speaking in backward sentences (possible side effects to my superpower); I would be the Yoda of the coming generations. Old, wise and abundant with knowledge he is.

A skill set called leadership

Good morning everybody! Welcome to today’s ‘A skill set called Leadership’ workshop. I’m so happy that you all could join us; I know that today is going to be beyond what you could ever imagine.

Let’s get started shall we? What does leadership mean to you? What makes you a good leader? I assume the drab

- Ability to motivate
- Ability to trust
- Ability to support
- Ability to manage
- Etc, etc, etc.

Yes, leadership is all of these factors. It is also (and far more importantly) so much more than your individual abilities, skills and attributes. It’s not about your overall ability to lead.

It’s about you.

Y.O.U.

So, let’s all start by taking a good, long look at who we really are when no one is looking. Let’s concentrate on what it is that makes us happy, what defines us. Be careful now, we’re not looking at who defines us but rather, what defines us.

What defines us truly defines what we want out of life, what we want out of every situation. We are all leaders. We all have the potential to lead. The question is do we really want to.

How about you lead, you don’t lead. You learn, you don’t learn. When you want to, you will. When it’s important to you, you will. You’ll find it in yourself; there is no single skill that will set you above the rest, there is no book you can read or online tutorial you can follow. If you need to get it done, no matter your style, you will.

Internal ability – there’s your skill set.

Dirt 'n dust


Bungee jumping, sky diving, rally driving and motorcross all have one thing in common; they are sports invented by and for, absolute thrill seekers, speed freaks and fanatics. I am no such individual, not by a long shot. I am a serene-please type of person. Thus my decision to learn how to ride a motorcross bike took everyone, including myself, by surprise; a premeditated choice - I was to participate of my own free will, my own motivation - very empowering stuff.

My first lesson was a far cry from fabulous. You forget that you’re a beginner, so you get the ugly bike. No stickers, one colour, ugly pads. The kit is worse. It’s scratchy and itches beyond comprehension. It’s also been on a zillion other people before you – gross – but don’t think that your complaints will get you anywhere, you’ll receive a fast “It’s a good idea not to p**s off your instructor” in response.

Once you’re adorned in a shirt, pants, elbow guards, knee protectors, kidney belt, chest protector, boots, gloves and a helmet, you’re ready to go. Well, just barely because the kit feels as though you’ve been squeezed into too many layers of ‘uncomfortable’ to even move properly. The helmet is hot and heavy and it makes your head bob all over the place.

The lesson itself is fun; a series of steps that eventually have you feeling confident about the new contraption you’re seated on. I received a break down of what was where and how it worked with special attention paid to the ‘red button’; the life saver in panic-stricken situations – it cuts the engine. I rode behind the instructor, getting a feel for gear changes, brake strength and so on. When the instructor was happy with his explanations, it was my turn to mount the steed, nauseated at the idea that I was to get the engine going. To my relief, I was told “Not yet; respect the bike or eat dirt”. Uh, OK, wouldn’t want that. Honest.

To the amusement of everyone present I was then ‘pushed’ around the track, my instructor panting behind me. I had to get comfortable with the bike. Finally the time came for me to start up the engine. “Pull out the kickstart and get the bike going”. Not quite as easy as said. After what seemed like forever, the bike kicked to life and my leg, to death; I had to lift my leg over the bike with my arms because it was incapable of moving on its own.

With the bike rattling away beneath me, I started to get excited. My stomach started swirling around a little and then, I became utterly calm; not at all how I had imagined my reaction to pan out. I felt prepared, yet anxious at the idea that I was about to pull off on a two-wheeled monstrosity put on earth only to paralyze people, all by myself.

I put the bike into first gear and slowly started moving away. I made it up to third gear and about 40km/h. The gears were difficult, having to remember which one you’re in, whether or not you should press that ‘red button’ to save your life before nearing certain death. I managed to move around the small beginners track and circled round to gear down and come to a stop at my instructor’s feet, his face contorted in confusion. “You didn’t stall” he said to me. “Why, was I supposed to?” I replied. “Well”, he shrugged, his mechanic assistant nodding in agreement, “You’re a girl”.

“Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read” – Frank Zappa

Comment:

Although a murderously funny quote, there is little truth in it other than some wonderfully sighted stereotypes. While Frank Zappa may hold his own sufficient enough to make a statement of this proportion – the truth remains simply that ROCK MUSIC IS FOR THE FANS.

Thus the noted elements supporting the overall message within this quotation scream a mere tone of misunderstanding. No matter who writes what, said by whom, read by whoever…when you’re a fan, you’re a fan until death do you part. Death or some morbid catastrophic mishap like marrying a non-rocker, converting to commercial bubblegum pop or, gasp! Shock! Horror! Having your band hit corporate sellout contingency.

So, rock journalism is in fact people who love to write about people who interpret life and its meaning through hardcore metal tracks for people who love to read about it...regardless of writing, interview and reading ability of all parties involved.

Teacher, teacher

Telling the tale from the other side of the teachers desk...

On a wonderfully stressed Thursday morning I received a frantic phone call from my eleven year old sister asking, on behalf of her grade 5 teacher, whether I would be able to ‘look after’ her class the following day. Given my stress levels and my love of procrastination, I said yes. I was later bombarded by my sister, with rules and class room systems enforced by the teacher, etc. ‘Just don’t be scared’, she said to me. Oh, they smell fear do they? Fantastic stuff.

The following morning, for the first time in six years, I stepped into a school yard with the intention of attending a class. I greeted the receptionist with her tiny glasses just on the tip of her nose. I made my way to the staff room to collect my class room key, said a few more hellos and then, ran like the wind to the safety net that was ‘my classroom’. It was beautiful; bright and colourful, full of childish illustrations and fun items such as plants in ice cream tubs on the window sill - a science project as I was later told. To my surprise, the classroom was also tiny. I could spit from the whiteboard to the back of the classroom (not that I tried). I can’t say what it was exactly but this cared for, small space had me feeling right at home.

With the sound of the bell I went to collect my class, who listened to me from the word go. It was incredible. They sat and stared and just wanted so much to please me. They were also naughty as sin. What stands out the most for me was their energy, their sheer fascination with each other, with the day, with me. Within five minutes, I had two teddy bears, a kitten and the Vodacom meerkat sitting quaintly on my desk, ‘welcoming me’. The first hour made for a fun ‘show and tell’ extravaganza, with the kids lining up at my desk to show me all of their bits and bobs and I was presented with the sketching ability of most children; cute drawings I was told to take home.

I was also alarmed at the number of boys who came to me to collect their ‘pill’; I opened the teachers draw to find a medical stash of calm-meds. I handed out pills to six children who, within half an hour, were glass eyed and partially catatonic in comparison to the other children. This really disturbed me. I didn’t remember as many, if any, children who used to take meds like this when I was at school.

Classroom politics all but jumped out at me. The children were trying so hard to get one another in trouble. It was terrible. If I taught the children anything that day it was a lesson of tolerance and unity. The children explained how the systems worked and closer look at the charts illustrated behaviour patterns; therefore, the good children versus the bad children. I was reminded of Jack Black’s line in the movie ‘School of Rock’, ‘What kind of system is this?’ and had to stop my self from laughing out loud. Everything was just so negative, negative, negative.

I really enjoyed my stint behind the teachers desk; a fun opportunity for bringing to life my game of ‘teacher, teacher’ from younger years, although much more eventful. I sat seriously considering a career change. Still horrified by the number of boys taking medicine to settle their behaviour, I wondered just how many of them were simply misunderstood. I wanted to free them, see them run and frolic over hills, like the end to a good horse movie. LOL.... I ended the day with a ‘good list’ I’d kept in my diary to combat the negative lists the children suggest I keep. I gave praise to those who deserved it and told the rest to work better next time. In the few minutes before the bell rang to end off the day, I shared a bag of sweets amongst the class, savouring the sugar coated, high energy offering syrupy centre delectable. All in all, a good day.

My top 200 achievements

Blog entry in progress!! This is a tough one...

Childishly creative

What happens when you introduce a video recording setting on a cell phone to a child? The most amazing things...

Everyone always talks about how children are able to capture the truth of the world in all manners of creative output, due to their innocent and untouched views of the world. They create their own understanding and appreciation of situations, these always encompassing true meaning in a reflection that is fun and not always well understood.

Adults on the other hand are corrupt; motivated not by truth but by deceit and self-gain. Ideas are often contemporary but always somehow motivated by selfishness. It is as though we have to actively work on being selfless. We’re stressed and overly serious. We sound pitiful.

I have attached, for your pleasure, the outcome of childish creative output in response to adult moroseness. After having spent a full day cleaning my room - yes, it was that dirty - my younger sister got to work on a school project, all over my bedroom floor. It was trashed. Of course, what followed was my freaking out at the sight of my once-again filthy bedroom and a threat of humongous proportion should she not clean it to my satisfaction. While conducting my freak out, my sister was fiddling with my cellphone - which I then called her on (you can hear me having a quick moan at the beginning of the recording that is to follow).

In return, my sister left a video recording for me on my phone encompassing her thoughts on the situation. Handing the phone to me she said, ‘Here’s what I think about all of this’.

video

[Forgive the side-view video recording - childhood mishap]

What motivates me?

Given that no one person is strictly one dimensional, there are, as a result, numerous events, circumstances and areas that greatly effect who a person is from one day to another. Thus, there is no one motivational factor that stimulates my everyday life. Rather, there are hundreds. Off the top of me head, I’d like to list for you my top five motivations, in no particular order:

1. I have two wonderful parents who have worked hard to give me everything that I have needed or wanted. In addition, I have, let’s call them ‘extra’ parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, family that have always gone above and beyond to assist me in my times of need. Every one of them motivates me on a daily basis. Their actions are a constant reminder of the type of person I should be so that I may in turn be as caring and giving as they are towards me. They motivate my graciousness.

2. I am the oldest of three children. I am the cliché of all that an elder sibling should be. I am a role model whether my siblings see me as one or not. I am reminded of this in my actions everyday. I want them to be inspired, excited and motivated which in turn motivates my will to lead by example.

3. I am motivated by words and behaviour - unmotivated by them just as easily. Fair praise builds up my confidence; it inspires me to work harder, to achieve more in a sad, people-pleasing sort of way (I have to admit - I think I’m growing out of this one a wee bit, being a ‘yes-man’ proves in fact dull and unwanted).
Unfair commentary does much the same thing, except with a lot more sulking and ‘angry eyes’.

4. I want to live. Participation in the areas of life that I believe to be important is a driving power that excites me even when taking part in the dreariest of drear. Everything is an ‘experience’, everything is ‘the end of the world’ or the beginning of a ‘new era’ within it. Life itself is the most amazing source of motivation. It truly motivates my everything.

5. Happiness. If I’m not happy, bet your ass I’m going to be. Nothing wrong with tweaking life a little bit here or there. Sometimes the tweaking has to be done a lot closer to home than I would like but hey, if you’re not ready to make changes in your self...you’ve got a serious problem. My happiness, in every element of life, motivates a true sense of self-reflection.

So, while I am affected by a zillion different motivations in addition to these, life and the people in mine make up my most important factors. For others motivated by happiness, let me share with you a brilliant saying passed on by very good friend’s wise parent - ‘Happiness is not where you look for it, but where you find it’. Mull it over; the conclusion is wonderfully motivating ;)

FOMO

I have it and I have it bad. Cold sweats, nervous twitches, sulky behaviour and increasing social network stalking - it’s official. I have been diagnosed with FOMO, the very serious ‘Fear Of Missing Out’.
It is viral, contagious and has the capacity to seriously overturn even the most confident of souls. For those concerned with catching the virus, let me break down the symptoms for you -

1. It starts with slight boredom on your part, roaming around with everything to do but what you really want to be doing, knowing full well that whatever everyone else is doing is just sooo much better than what you’re stuck doing.

2. Next is continued cellphone checking, with thoughts like, ‘Why is no one calling me?’

3. Thereafter, the virus takes hold. It spreads quickly, moving through your subconscious. There is no stopping it. You open your email account, you open your Facebook account, you open your twitter account...you have a problem.

4. Your subconscious is then stimulated, fully conscious now you perceive worse than before that the things other people are participating in are, once again, sooo much better than what you’re stuck doing. Their lives appear to you as (literally) picture perfect. Best part...WHY AREN’T THEY INCLUDING ME!?

5. You will resist the urge to call, mail, FB chat, tweet your interest in whatever is going down.

6. Thereafter you may fall into a deep sulk from which you run the risk of never recovering.

7. Panic because you are now safe to consider yourself diagnosed with FOMO.

The cure is easily accessible but it is up to you to recover. Recovery is a long, hard road made easier by considering these three easy steps:

1. Remember that your life has value too - call a friend and throw your own party.

2. The grass always appears greener on the other side - and its not; it appears plush because of all the winter grass and weeds and when these die off, there is no grass that side at all.

3. Pictures capture only the good times. Go buy a camera and take some shots of your own.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The 10 most unexpected consequences of being online

As our Media Studies class for B-Tech has us pretty elbow deep in social networks, I have used my own experience of being online (both educational and private) to compile the 10 most unexpected consequences of exactly that:

1. Being online is like entering into a new dimension – it consumes you. You forget about everything else. You forget about the real world and as opposed to living in it (the world) you become a critique of it. Your hands-on experience falls by the way side and is replaced by a new life, one created in a space where your world is determined only by text on a screen.

2. Being online is like being listed on a high school registry – anyone and everyone you DON’T want to be in contact with finds you.

3. Being online is like being in the celebrity section of a glossy magazine – people who don’t know you anymore, nor have ever met you, feel compelled to engage in gossip criticizing you publicly on a global network so enormous you just can’t miss it (the problem here is that nobody else misses what’s said either).

4. Being online is like being told for the first time that there really is no Santa Clause – people are actually free to share their honest opinions and these may not always be quite what you were hoping for, nor always what you want to hear.

5. Being online is like heading a society for people who have no direct influence in your life - yes you make friends but are they of any real significance to you? I mean hello…they exist only in cyberspace. Good luck planning a road trip/taking a photograph of/or simply being with people you never meet. P.S. That person you’ve committed your every evening online to – is an axe murderer/has a husband or wife/is only 12 years old/runs a trafficking racket/couldn’t make it in the real world.

6. Being online is like being popular – yes you have ten trillion friends following you on myspace/Facebook/Blueworld/website/blog/LinkedIn/etc but guess what? No one really cares. P.S. All those 'friends' you love to brag about don’t care about you either.

7. Being online is like living in the Victorian era – people are shocked to learn that your personality runs deeper than the square, well-behaved and polite person you are expected to be when at school/at varsity/at work, not realizing that it is not being ‘online’ that changes you but it is being online that provides you with an opportunity to share what really defines you – something apparently forbidden otherwise. These people are idiots; post something extravagant to really get them talking.

8. Being online is like taking candy from a stranger – it encourages you to participate through all of the ‘possibilities’ as promised by being online…and once you take the first bite it’s not very easy to walk away from.

9. Being online is like not having a life – eventually you will become a social network stalker. It will happen. And it is pathetic.

10. Being online is like being friends with the Grim Reaper - you give away a little piece of your soul every time you make something of yourself public.

Blogging perceptions

The general public (please do not crit this description…I quite literally mean general) have no clue what blogging is, what it’s for, who uses it or why. I’m not parading myself about as an expert (because I am far from an expert) but I like to think that my stumbling through self-experience has taught me if not some, at least a few, blogging basics.

When asked in conversation to share my URL address, I am generally forced to endure (by some putsy individual participating in the conversation), the following 10 lines of dialogue:

Other: ‘So you blog right?’

Kerry: ‘Elementary, my dear Watson.’

Other: ‘Ah (the irritating, self-satisfactory kind of ‘ah’ when used in any other sentence would sound like ‘Ah, I’ve got you all figured out’) so you blog about your day right? What you’ve had for breakfast, what you did, who you met up with…how often you went to the bathroom?’

Kerry: OH.MY.WORD. ‘Uh, no not exact…’

Other: ‘What makes you think people care about you and what you do in a day? I wouldn’t read your blog. Jeez, just keep a diary. ‘Attention-seeker’ much?’

Kerry: ‘Like I was trying to say, no, that’s not wha…’

Other: ‘Well, I wouldn’t have time in day to read what someone else has to say anyway. Far too busy with my own s**t.’

All the while I'm thinking, 'Yes, well, they'll never find your body...'

Kerry: ‘Okay…good thing I wasn't giving the URL to you then.’

Other: ‘No well, maybe give it to me; I’ll have a look.’

Kerry: ‘Ah…’ (Yes, the very same ‘Ah’ as explained above).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The elephant in the room (and a list of promises)

The elephant in the room; generally that elephant is me. I’m carrying weight – not too much but not exactly too little either – and in a room of people you would probably be able to pick me out of the ‘skinnies’ as being the more ‘sizable’ of the ladies, if you know what I’m saying (I.E. A telltale sign; I can’t wear skinny jeans because my calf muscles are too big – promise).

I’d have to say that my diet (read: my implausible inability to say no to fried foods, fast foods, anything chocolate, baked goodies, salt, cheese and oh, pasta with cream) is my downfall - I'm a gobbler - gobble gobble. Well, that and my hate for the gym (it’s not that I hate exercising, it’s just that my ideal is exercising outdoors…something I’m now too scared to do on my own thanks to a flaw in the universal plan of public areas called CRIME).

I have to admit however that my weight doesn’t get me down very often; I am an avid believer of loving yourself for whom and what you are and not loving yourself because others love you (or should I say, rate you ‘acceptable’ in everyone’s high school mentality of what is socially acceptable – they’re called curves, get over it).

Extra weight comes with its perks too; I’m warmer than most in winter, I’m comfy to snuggle up to and I pretty much get to eat whatever I want, whenever I want (BONUS!).

What I hate the most about - shall we call it, comfy weight? – is the knock to my confidence whenever I am comparing myself to others. By recognizing my weight as a hindrance to my personality provides others with the right to judge me according to my size. If it doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother them. On the contrary should it bother them, I just couldn’t care less.

The truth is that clearly it doesn’t bother me enough to make a compelled effort to shed the extra kg’s even if I don’t look good in the devils invention – a bikini. Why not? Because I am pretty content with who I am and although weight is my issue, I know that others have similar issues; funny toes, bad breath, gangly teeth, ratty hair, too-pale a complexion, too-dark a complexion, too short, too tall, too thin (yes, these people do exist, I have met one in real life – promise) etc, etc, etc.

My point? We are not perfect, we are simply ourselves and the sooner we come to realize it, the better for us – promise.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lyrically sound sentences

Just as the sounds of nature may inspire music, every element of life offers the potential to encourage creativity.

I recently had a silly dispute with a square-minded friend regarding sentence structure and the idea that anything and everything has the potential to encourage creativity and the make shift compilation of art, design and…sentence structure. This blog is dedicated to adding meat to my side of the argument. Enjoy.

• ARTISTS AND ALBUMS SELECTED AT RANDOM ON iTunes ON MY PC (Yes, it is possible to make a sentence out of anything. Really.)

The Fray – How to save a life (Great sentence for a personal conversation)

‘Heaven forbid’ you think I want to live in a ‘Little house’ forever because you would be ‘Dead wrong’, ‘Trust me’ (I want a house so huge it has a ‘Cable car’) that’s why ‘She is’ teaching me ‘How to save a life’ ‘All at once’ so that I can ‘Look after you’ until you’re a ‘Hundred’ and we can finally move away, ‘Fall away’, and grow old in ‘Vienna’.

Katy Perry – One of the boys (Great sentences if placed at the lips of a drunken twit trying to piece together an insult)

I’m ‘One of the boys’ because ‘I kissed a girl’ while ‘Thinking of you’; you’re so ‘Hot ‘n cold’ I’m ‘Lost’ but ‘I’m still breathing’. You know ‘You’re so gay’, dolled up like a ‘Mannequin’ you’d look perfect ‘Waking up in Vegas’ with ‘Self inflicted’ ‘Fingerprints’; bruises on your body. Call me, ‘If you can afford me’.

Lydia – Illuminate (Fantastic sentences if spoken over a phone after a night out…eep)

Yes, it was ‘A fine evening for a Rogue’ but ‘Now the one you once loved is…’ well, in ‘Hospital’; ‘…Ha, yeah it got pretty bad’ but all ‘I can see’ is that it’s ‘Fate’ because ‘This is twice now’ ‘I woke up near the sea’ so, what a laugh. Um, he’ll have to stay here ‘One more day’ but he can’t ‘Stay awake’, they need him to ‘Sleep well’.

Everyday is a good day

Picture this:

1.Your alarm clock didn’t go off (well, to be truthful…it did…you simply chose to ignore it – four times) and as a result the rest of your morning was kicked to the curb. Hence the reason you spilt coffee down your shirt (your only ironed shirt), messed tooth paste down your pants AND managed to get tangled up between your two puppies so desperate for your attention, resulting in your fast collision with the book shelf. Nice bump on the head, by the way.

2.With an ice pack to your skull, your now changed (read: crumpled) shirt and a fat white stain on your pants – rubbing tooth paste off a garment never works, rubbing tooth past into a garment, well, you see my point – you now sit stuck in the morning traffic you would have missed every other day of the week but as earlier mentioned, ‘kicked to the curb’.

3.Late, rattled and receiving disapproving glances from every passer-by, not to mention the open gawking of work associates at your dishevelment, you slump into your help-me-I’m-so-bored-in-this-place desk job only to realize you missed the(detrimental) weekly meeting, three calls from your Rasputin supervisor and oh hell wouldn’t you know it, you also forgot that it was your turn to bring in the milk. Joy.

4.A long day, longer than usual (your late-coming earned you the wonderful task of editing a last-minute report due tomorrow morning) was made worse by a ranting boss, a sad phone call from a friend and a nagging phone call from a relative. That AND your credit provider contacted you not five minutes before you were on your way out and YES you had to fax them every single sheet of anything they’ve ever communicated with you. Everything. Right then. That second.

5.Guess what? Car battery died. Had to call for a pick-up.

6.Guess again. Locked out the house. Had to call for a locksmith.

7.Finally you open the door to your space for some extreme recovery time. Bounding pups at your ankles, baked goodies on the kitchen counter with a sweet note – your mother stopped by – an indication that someone loves you. You call for Chinese cherry chicken, enough time between its arrival to have a hot shower. With your towel in your hair you go out to collect the Chinese take-out parcel and notice the stars – they’re beautiful tonight – and sit down in front of the T.V. just in time for Gray’s.

8.Feeling very suited to the cliché ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, you come to realize that in a Universe so enormous, in a World so huge, being alive and able to share in it is a phenomenal gift...and that everyday is a good day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses

Without an open mind, there is no opportunity for growth.

Smug.
Self-satisfied.
Superior.
Self-righteous.
Arrogant.
Conceited.
Haughty.

Or as most like to say, just plain, old, full of yourself.

Yes, were all good at something, everyone gets it. Others understand that we are all awesome in our own right. What is a problem is when we allow our heads to swell the size of bloated watermelons in the summer heat after telling ourselves, oh say about one hundred times, just how amazing we are at our certain something, whatever it may be. It is at this stage that we allow our greatest strengths to overwhelm us and become the only thing we see. They blind us, overpower us, they become in this instance our greatest weaknesses.

We are no longer motivated to achieve; what more could we possibly need in our lives other than our greatest strengths?

As I said. Blinded.

Let’s all do ourselves a favour and go and eat a friggin’ piece of humble pie (myself included) before it’s too late.

Yes the big wide world is scary…now suck it up and get out there!

We’ve studied and qualified. We’re on the bridge of a new world, a new era in our lives. We’re saying goodbye to childhood, teens and establishing ourselves in our new ‘young adult’ space - ready to look out for ourselves, ready to venture into the unknown.

They say we should feel empowered; ready to take on the world. Intrigued; ready to see, smell, taste, hear, feel the world.

R.I.G.H.T. Sure we are.

The truth is we are all these things and more…we’re also doubtful. We fill our sentences with ‘what if’s’ and ‘maybe’s’. We’re excited to meet new people and make friends but scared to lose the old ones. We’re unbelievably psyched about stepping out of a broke-student mentality and ready to reap the rewards of four years hard studying (read: PAY US FUTURE EMPLOYERS!) but skeptic of moving into a space ruled by materialism and greed. All these things and more…

Know what? When we were young we learnt to walk at age 9-18 months! We learnt to communicate at 4 months, speaking fluently by +/- age 3-4. We went to nursery school, we motored into primary school and we missioned, all legs-shaven-eyebrows-waxed-and-dress-hems-hoisted, into high school. We did all these things and more.

So what is different? What has changed? Yes, we have become more aware of our surroundings and eerily more so aware of a little thing I like to call (but hate to call on) CONSEQUENCE! Everything we think of, every idea we sprout is stomped to the ground by ‘consequence’.

LAME LAME LAME LAME LAME!

Let’s scrap the worry-pot mentality and rise to the occasion. Lets suck it up (our fears, our worries, our desperate concern at having to achieve achieve achieve!) and choose instead simply to live as we did before, as we are doing now.

Try a cliché – ‘He who laughs last, laughs best’

Yes my butt is twice the size of yours. It also stings twice as hard.

‘He who laughs last, laughs best’. Bit sinister for a cliché wouldn’t you say? Actually, that doesn’t quite cut it. Incredibly sinister wouldn’t you say?

It’s all ‘Well laugh now sonny but I’ll be back to take my revenge, MWAHAHAHAAaaaaa’. Urm, C.R.A.Z.z.Z.z.Z.Y! I suppose the cliché itself does allow room for belief in a brighter tomorrow (for the poor person being laughed at) but still, I feel as though it really encourages a sort of (dark) belief?

All like, ‘Oh well sorry for you, guess who’s HOT now? Guess that car accident didn’t help your looks did it? Booya!’

OR

‘Well guess what, I gots me the hottest truck in the highlands now! Hot damn, don’t you take public transport since you lost your leg right?!’

OR

‘Uh yes well (nose in the air) I do belong to the (put fancy-shpancy name here) lifestyle estate and sport club - best in the area. Hm-mmm, costs me a FORtune. Heard you’re battling to put your kid’s through school. Tut-tut.’

Right so who is really winning in any of the above situations? …Not the person having the last laugh.

If I am allowed to give one piece of advice (and I am – because this is my blog – so get over it) it’s better that you do things for yourself and not be motivated by ‘they’ll be sorry when’s’ and ‘I’ll be back’s’.

Be the better person. Hold your head up high and just WALK AWAY! Don’t you have grandparents? Didn’t they teach you this stuff? Self motivation trumps sinister I-was-never-good-enough-for-you-but-I-will-return-the-WINNER! FYI It’s not a competition. It’s about living happily ever after. Unless you’d like to remain the witch in your own fairytale. Ya, didn’t think so.

WatchaeatinnnnnnnN?

Oh my word. Go away. No, I do not want to share my freshly deep-fried, decadently-oh-so-smothered-in-chocolate-icing ring doughnut with you. No, not even one little bite. Seriously. Go away. GO AWAY!

Oh my word. Go away. No, I do not want to share my hot-out-the-oven farm bread drenched in melted butter, just a little bit of salt and a mountain load of apricot jam with you. No, you can’t have the crust. Seriously. Go away. GO AWAY!

Oh my word. Go away. No, I do not want to share my creamy basil pesto, bacon-and-mushroom-rich linguine with a side serving of rye. No, you can’t ‘just lick the spoon’. Seriously. Go away. GO AWAY!

Oh my word. WhatchaeatinnnnnnnN…..? That looks amaZING! Could I have just a small, smidgen-sized-taster? PUUUlease? (Move to pouty lipped plead, droopy-dog eyes and small whimper). Really? Are you sure? Not even a teeny-tiny-tit-bit? Oh fine…

Hmmm. Food for thought.

Feelings follow behaviour

Take it from one who knows: Mind your behaviour or your behaviour will mind your ass.

Right so we all know what it’s like to feel an utter emotional mess, be it gleeful or completely miserable, irritated, annoyed, upset, totally depressed, seam—splittingly happy, self satisfied or totally mellowed after having walked (danced, pranced, run) away from some or other instance of behaviour (read; fighting with a friend/boyfriend/boss, receiving a first kiss/first car/or equally bad first failure) and our actions as part of our behaviour.

Oh yes, our actions… thereafter we are left with feelings of regret, joy, frustration.

My interest however does not really lie on how we feel after an incident of (whatever) but how we choose to express our feelings. Consider a [behaviour = feelings = behaviour] equation. I am typically a thought-to-paper type of person; writing, drawing, erratic sketches, doodles, paint, notes, scratches…yup, I’m pretty nerdy that way but if

a. Most unfortunately (if I’m clouded with bad feelings) or
b. Fortunately (if I’m clouded with smiley-face happy feelings),

I do not have a piece of scrap paper nearby I typically take it out on whoever is around me.

I am however, working on this character trait somewhat because I believe that it’s not always about how we feel, but what we do with our feelings that really counts; another personal objective to be crossed off a mental check list of ‘must-do’s’. That and actually remembering someone’s name after being introduced, because that is something I really suck at. That and birthdays. Oh well, best get started.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Practical implementation

Although he knew that she looked delicious, he couldn't be quite sure unless he tasted for himself.

A topic I am currently investigating for an assignment (due any day now) had me asking my boyfriend of a long time - scratch that - a really long time, what he believed he would need to achieve/experience in life in order to consider himself a success. In his list of requirements detailing his life’s success, one thing on his list stood out, more so than the others:

‘When I have changed someone’s life for the better’.

Simple, yet meaningful. The dear smart, spoilt, techno-savvy (a 2010 man…iPhone representation in the fact that ‘buttons’ are so 2008) accounting student had included the assistance of other(s), in whatever scenario, into his wish list of what it means to be successful.

Oh man. Please imagine just how I felt realizing that my list of necessary achievements were all (A*L*L) completely selfish. Urm, about as good as an itchy scab after swimming.

Me, me, me. Oh, and myself and I.

Anyway, we got chatting about the ‘Pay it forward’ theory which made me feel a little better about myself and my lack of inclusion or consideration of others in my lifelong dreams. Generally, every once in a while we pass on the good fortune we have received and some of us do it routinely, unconsciously. Phew.

So maybe, more importantly than putting good intentions to paper, these things are best characterized by practical implementation. Good thing I bagged me the kind of guy who does both ;)

It is better to practice a little than talk a lot

‘Ya, her parents have just moved away. No, she’s staying on her own. I’ll give her a call later today, probably stop by later in the week’.

But you won’t.

‘What? No I didn’t know that. I’m so happy for them. Oh, how EXCITING! I must remember to get them a card, it’s more sentimental than a phone call. Ya, I’ll get it done tomorrow. Too swamped right now’.

But you don’t.

‘Shame, I feel so bad for her. Haven’t you heard? She just lost her uncle. Hmmhm, passed away just two weeks ago. She really needs a friend. No, I’m busy at the moment but I’ll grab her some flowers later in the week’.

But you forget.

‘Oh my word, it’s too terrible. Yup, his entire sports career out the window, just like that. Well, I’m sure he’s fine. Just has to find something new to take up his time. I’m sure he could use someone to chat to. Hey? Ya, of course I’ll call him, don’t worry about it’.

Oh yes, you forget.

‘Hey! She’s just graduated. Have you been by to say congratulations yet? Ha, no me neither but I will’.

And you do.

It’s the difference; the effort made when we take the time to stop and consider the things that are important. Putting action to words, allowing them to speak for themselves: a simple hug means more than all the words in the world. It’s the difference between claiming to support going green and actually recycling, between calling yourself a friend and actually being one...

And when you're a good friend, you wear it in your smile.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A rainbow in my window

Of raibows and crayons...

Generally, people have a very similar attitude when it comes to traffic; KILL ME NOW.

Think arrogant drivers, smog surroundings, stuck-in-the-wrong-lane-having-you-miss-your-off-ramp incidents, vehicles far from road-worthy, being cut-off, illegal lane changes that have you almost losing your head/tail lamps, the I-can-text-while-I’m-driving professionals. I have no intention of tallying up the number of bad drivers in Cape Town/JHB/KZN South Africa...if you want the specifics (ref. 2008), click here...but oh, they do exist. This I know from experience (I will admit to also being one of them).

Then there is the what-a-waste-of-my-time factor; having to leave your home when its as dark and cold as witches breath outside. Aggravation intensified by broken fans, pathetic heaters, that damn icing over of every window in the vehicle at sub-arctic temperatures that are often to be experienced the length of the drive. In Cape Town, well, just about anywhere, that drive is often symbolically long for all who participate in it.

Yup, you’re all thinking, ‘kill me now’.

But I have discovered a wonderful new way of getting through my on-average three hours a day spent driving in traffic. It came with the sudden realisation that I have been doing it all along.

My car window is a frame to the world.
Cape Town is a particularly beautiful world, especially on a clear, crisp morning.

I have seen works of the most beautiful colour contrasts; sunrises of orange and pink, sunsets of deep blue and red. Vineyard landscapes, rows of perfectly positioned vines – a funny notion considering vines left to grow do so wildly, without constraints they grow across and over one another. The moon, big and round as lemon cheesecake in a splash of deep ocean blue, mountains covered in snow. Small forests, electricity sub stations of enormous wire constructions in contrast. Rainbows and water dancing over glass in heavy rains. Abandoned buildings amongst new architecture, ships coming in to port and eery mist or heavy cloud cover coming in off of the sea, Van Hunks and his pipe over Devil's Peak; works of Cape Town, of the people in this city, its myths and surrounds.

I have found that it is the way of the world, of society, to look and reminisce than to experience first hand the pictures the world paints. This may be because we spend our whole lives sitting in the foreboding traffic, as opposed to filling our time with worthwhile experiences.

MENTAL NOTE: to try and do more than merely appreciate from a distance (that is often my car) but to experience at arms reach the five senses of life.

Wedding cake-in-the-middle-of-the road

I once met a girl who, having just completed an events management course, told me a story about the unfortunate (hugely hilarious) happenings of how she had ruined a bride’s wedding cake. ‘Ruined’ would be an understatement; her description was more one of catastrophic proportions. I cannot begin to express how amusing the story was, given the fact that this particular girl, ironically, wished to become a wedding planner.

I won’t harp on with the details, as they are not the crux of this story but I must emphasize that she ‘had absolutely ruined someone’s wedding cake on the day of the wedding’ and had then to face the consequences of having to contact the bride...merely a few hours before the ceremony.

The result was a hysterical bride, panic-stricken mother of the bride and a terrified event planner who had been threatened with her life should she not replace the cake in time. She (the events planner) resulted in scouting Cape Town for the next best thing, if not better than the original, on a quiet Saturday afternoon to return to Somerset West (a good forty minute drive between areas) in time to for the ceremony. She had less time to do the return journey in, than it would take you or I to drive those distances normally.

*Sigh*

We have often found ourselves in similar situations, whether we are in the position of the bride, her frantic mother or the event planner. Stressful situations, high demands, pressure, anxiety, nervous tension, trauma, upset, strain, distress and all for a beautifully constructed mound of flour, eggs, butter, milk, cocoa powder and vanilla and the importance of meaning we associate it with.

A wedding cake (this is an analogy...go with it) is only life-ending if we say it is.

This, of course, may be applied to anything and everything in life. So here are some guideline’s to assist in holding your head together when your wedding cake-in-the-middle-of-the-road moment arises:

1. Be ok with back up plans, it is often that no one knows that that is what they are except you

2. Be relaxed enough to view the activity objectively and to rationally consider solutions

3. Specific to the events of a ruined wedding cake, understand that the heart of a successful wedding, marriage, relationship is not dependant on the cake but on the recipe used to nourish and sustain a lifelong partnership rich and sweet enough to see life through (this is an analogy...it applies to everything...consider it)

In conclusion to the dear, darling bride, the wedding cake is surely not what determines the success of your wedding ceremony and reception? Although I will admit, it makes for a hell-of-a-nice traditional wedding pic must-have.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Manners, a moment

Polite? * YAWN * Manners quite bore me...

When you are young, one of the first things you are taught (drilled into you more like) are manners; what they are and how to use them. ‘Please’, ‘thank you’, ‘it’s nice to see you’. Pfff.

Well guess what?

I don’t want to say please anymore; my dear Woolworths teller, unfortunately I’ve been waiting in this queue (that Woolies so pride themselves on for fastest teller movement...in the world...splutter...cough...rash creeping up my neck) for almost thirty minutes and all I want to buy are these freaking prawn chips.

I don’t want to say thank you anymore; my dear Telkom assistant, representative of the network I pay a small fortune to every month that allows me access to an internet connection that is less than efficient, you have provided me with little more than an irritation to my already busy day.

PS. This information as derived from countless complaints from family, friends, previous work associates, people in general.

And guess what my dear (person from high school? Previous place of employment? Dentist who left me with an enormous re-occurring abscess in a permanent tooth, resulting in my now having to go for facial surgery so as to correctly FIX THEIR MESS?) I hate that I have just bumped into you.

Yet, when I reach that teller, I will say please. When I am done having my far from effective conversation with the on-call assistant, I will say thank you. And when I see that person, the wind blowing in their hair, apple-crunching Colgate smiles and outreached arms, I will smile in return and embrace them and I will say that it is nice to see them.

And that is because more so than being irritated, I am polite, courteous to acknowledge your service. More so than being frustrated, I am well mannered, grateful of your assistance. More so than having to endure niceties, I enjoy being apart of your pleasantries, interaction, human conversation. It is actually nice to see you.

More so than manners, it is human nature.

It is a poor idea to lie to yourself

‘Just get away from me’. Please stay. ‘I don’t want anything more to do with you’. I only want to be with you. ‘You’ve ruined everything; nothing will ever be the same’. It’s entirely my fault; I want so badly to say sorry. ‘There are no more chances, this is the last straw’. How could I ever fix this? ‘You’re so selfish. This is all your fault! How could you’. How could I? ‘Just leave, it’s over’. I am so, so sorry.

Please stay. I only want to be with you. It’s entirely my fault; I want so badly to say sorry. How could I ever fix this? How could I? I am so, so sorry.

And I am alone, I am hurting. I should feel better. The blame is all yours.

The blame is all mine.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The sound of one hand clapping

I intensely dislike slackers. Their self-centered ways are irritating.

Don’t misunderstand me. By ‘slackers’ I am not referring to people who are incapable of doing certain things. Oh no. Slackers are perfectly competent people who choose to be bad at everything, so as to avoid any serious responsibility or acceptance of delegation of tasks. Mostly, more so than anything else, it is this avoidance that perturbs me.

Is it the assumption that some people are stronger than others thus they are able to cope better? I have news for you. Strong people are often only strong because they have to be. That’s it. That’s all. People are strong because someone has to be.

‘Only the strongest shall survive’. Hah! Amendment should read ‘Only the strongest shall survive stressed, burdened, overwhelmed with responsibility while carrying the load for both themselves and the slackers around them’. A harsh thing to say but truth there is plenty in this adaptation and while we are all slackers at some stage, others are slackers always.

Because they can be.

Because people allow it.

For the slackers I propose a one hand clap. One hand hitting open air; soundless and irrelevant. The only recognition you receive is the disruption of air particles into dusty waves.

Stand up and take some responsibility. Open your selfish eyes and perhaps lighten the load of those around you.

WARNING: The strong run the risk of burning out.

What are the slackers going to do then?

Ornamental warmth

My trampoline is warm. Wonderfully, wickedly warm. I love to lie on my stomach, basking like a lizard in the sun. Usually, I just lie and think about things. Today however, I am typing.

It’s an old-school kind; wrought iron frame, old rusted springs, a mat with missing thread. Repair jobs here and there. It has one repair, my favourite, with overlapping gray stitching. It was my mothers, as a child. On a Johannesburg plot. 1973.

My father made us dig the hole. Most of it anyway. Ok, some of it. He relented to hiring someone when we declared the digging of the hole an impossibility. One man dug the hole in an afternoon. We were three siblings, one boyfriend and two friends. My father had said we would appreciate it more. We did.

It came out of a big (enormous) steel box. The box was beautiful. Like a chest holding our new-found treasure.

Lying here, you see things from a different perspective. Like what the grass looks like at eye level. I love to look through the net, at the small pebbles and rust coloured autumn leaves beneath it. A splash of pink, fallen bougainvillea blossoms from across the yard. Some unexpected delights; one of our puppy’s many chew toys, a sucker wrapper faded pink (Cherry Fizz pop – the best kind). A small plant makes its way through the cracks of hard earth. The winter rains will drown it in due time but for now, it’s growing strongly. Maybe I’ll take the time to climb under and replant it – Geraniums usually – maybe I won’t. A hairclip?! The black mesh of the net provides a quirky offset to what lies beneath.

A lizard disrupted by my antics; funny company for a Saturday. It’s ok though, I’m in a funny mood. The springs are full of webs. Jumping spiders, always. Yuck. Peach pips, an indication of summer past. A Powerade label; my brother the obvious culprit.

I like the sides of the hole the most; deep crevices into the earth from the pick. Erosion from winter has worsened the cracks. Some are now deep caves. By July, this underground cove of wonder will be full of think green moss, exploding with little black beetles.

I like our trampoline. I like its imperfections. We don’t really use it too much anymore. Yet it is always here for us; for topics of heated debate that are sent outside, for a little midnight star-gazing, a quick way to get dry after swimming, some quiet time (my house is chaotic…always). Or a simple lie-in-the-sun. It’s always ready to share its warmth.

Not necessarily an over-sized ornament yet but already perhaps a sort of memory.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Not all who wander are lost

Not all who wander are lost...Uh, yes we are. We just do it in style.

Some people have a plan from birth. They march from the womb and declare to the doctor delivering them, ‘one day I am going to be a doctor just like you’. Sure as peanut butter on toast is the best thing to clamp your jaw shut, that little baby, who develops this passion through his/her child, teen and young adult years becomes a doctor in his/her adult years. That is what I like to call implementation of the ‘big plan’.

I have never had a big plan.

Of course, along the way through the developing years, this person will expand on the big plan with what I like to call ‘additional future plans’ such as where to study, maximum time allowed to study for, whom to meet and then eventually marry, the exact number of children to have and when, where to live, where to work, when best to travel, how to live, when to die.

I don’t have any additional future plans either.

I am a wanderer.

Yet I have had a wonderful childhood, great teen years and even better young adult years. I wanted to be a game ranger (courtesy of a little boy I once new who, had he said he wanted to shovel snow for the rest of his life I probably would have followed suit – he had the cutest step haircut), a hairdresser, a beautician (sadly, every little girl wants to be this at some stage...working all day at a day spa with trickling fountains and mud packs...mental), a chef, an explorer (serious Indiana Jones type-stuff).

I have met the most amazing people, have been challenged in almost every way and have met a wonderful guy. I have worked in remarkable (and sometimes completely shiz) places. I have selected something to study at random (I literally saw an advert for CPUT’s PR course in the paper and applied the next day - I wasn’t even sure what PR was but I liked the sound of it) and with a bit of serious pot-luck, have discovered an industry that I adore.

I don’t know exactly where I want to be in my career, life, relationship and when. I don’t know when I will travel and with who, I don’t know if I would like to study further or where I would one day like to live. I only have an idea.

My ideas give my wandering style.

I do what I like, what I am interested in, when I think it is a good idea. I am fortunate enough to be able to do this. It’s okay to do things differently, to not always have a plan. A long-term plan bores me although sometimes I find myself breaking into a cold sweat at the realisation that I don’t have one. I feel lost.

And I am, when compared to others and their life charts all neatly plotted out and admired by all...lost...but I am comforted by the knowledge that at least I am in wondering in style.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The calm are also the crazy

Marshmallows...mmm...delicious little things. Roasted marshmallows are by far the best. Any takers? Of course there are! Crispy delectable golden bits of goodness almost too good to eat up in one bite...the time it takes to slowly roast a marshmallow so that it is soft and gooey oozy-yum in the centre with the crunchy outer just-just holding it all together...

My emotions are a marshmallow. In fact, they are that exact marshmallow (soft and gooey oozy-yum in the centre with the crunchy outer just-just holding it all together). Perhaps it may be deduced then that I am in fact the marshmallow skin, maybe a little bit scorched, singed at the edges (come on now, nobody’s perfect) trying to contain my syrupy emotional mess, with an almost ‘tough’ exterior.

My ‘tough’ exterior is about as effective as a honeycomb cage is to a bear.

You know how you have to be so careful when roasting your marshmallow so as to correctly contain the liquid gummy centre so that it doesn’t leak out? I swear that that is what it is like with my emotions. I feel so ardently about almost everything that I speak and act out of, I’m not sure where but it usually isn’t out of my sound mind...nope, definitely not.

Most of the time I don’t even hear the words coming out of my mouth, they just ARE.

Sshlurarbralartjar...jerk...jerk...shlurbatermer...jerk...jerk... *voice breaking* ...shlurbator... *warning bells – red alert, tears on their way*...sdhfljgjptfff...blah which usually results in a gooey mess breaking through calm exterior. It’s not as though I cry for effect (I intensely dislike people who do this), or cry because I am feeling hurt, like a poor injured fawn. I just cry because I get unbelievably choked up about everything!

Crying is something I do very well and almost very regularly. Most of the time, I cry because I am so overwhelmed by my emotions. It’s as though my tears march to their own drum and I would madly appreciate it if the drummer would just hold back a wee-bit (psyche, are you listening???).

I have a serious case of emotional intensity. I sense tears coming on when feeling the need to protect others, to explain myself, to speak words of affection about the ones (and there are a lot of them) that I love, to speak to an audience (I once completed an English oral in grade 10 on no jokes, ‘Food is the way to a man’s heart’, with tears streaming down the sides of my face). I don’t quite understand the last one though. I love people, I usually know what I am going to say, if it is a formal presentation I am always prepared, there is no doubt that I love to talk so...hmmm.

Stumped. Totally baffled.

When I am frustrated, when I am super angry, when people irritate me beyond comprehendible belief, when I am at peace, when I am feeling unbelievably happy around my friends, when I am laughing too hard, when I am hanging out with my family members (there are a lot of those too), when watching documentaries/movies/cartoons...to, to, to, when, when, when.

I have decided that this does not make me a weak person. I am not easily influenced nor easily bullied. My tears are simply a display of my feelings (so I wear my heart on my sleeve – voice box, more like – everyone is different). I am without a doubt over-emotional; blubbering left, right and ALL OVER THE PLACE, but if you care to venture past this river of sticky icky marshmallow syrup of my caring nature, you will be in for a treat (not the sweet kind).

I burn with the same intense heat of a marshmallow left out to roast too long...bright orange flames with a blue heart, thickened black exterior protecting my own emotions and just waiting to burn yours; fingertips (or whole hand, or whole arm, or whole body). It doesn’t happen often but please know where the fire exits are at all times when venturing close to burning point. I believe (fingers crossed) that alot of other people are like this.

I guess that what I am saying is that the calm are also the crazy, the lamb also the leader, the soft also the strong; an important aspect of human nature to consider and not be forgotten.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Spy...

'Expressive'


'Dedicated'


'Young at Heart'

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lukewarm water anyone?

Given the increase in ocean temperature, inhabitants are sensing a 'time of scuttle-ment' to be upon them.


As South Africans we have a lot to be proud of. We also have a lot to be sorry for. Yet the past is the past and the future, the future, but where are we now? I have one brilliant lecturer who referred to us as the frogs who got into the pot when the water was lukewarm. It is currently at boiling point and we have yet to notice. Correction; we have yet to notice enough to encourage change.

This topic of debate was brought up when considering the light in which South Africa is being portrayed to the world with regards to visitors’ safety, given our current (FIFA) fame. We are depicted as a country with enormous crime statistics, crimes of the worst kind. There are arguments stating that the way in which the information is presented is gray, concealing the truth of the statistics – ‘these crimes only occur in certain areas of the cities of Southern Africa’ – my question is, is that okay? Does that make our ever-increasing crime rate excusable?

My intention is not to encourage a heated political debate, but to instil a small amount of personal motivation. I had never noticed the truth in our being desensitized to our countries extreme crime rate before. When you think about it, everyone in this country knows someone who has been a victim of crime. Some of us know more than one person and some of the crimes are more than horrific.

We have adapted, we have moved with the lukewarm waters into the almost-boiling, changing our minds and our approaches. We have altered our defences, evolving with the change. We are no longer able to feel free in our own homes. Instead we are suspicious of everyone; everyone is a possible attacker. We are wary of everyone that approaches us. We travel with the thought of safety in numbers. We leave valuables at home, tucked away in safe boxes. We live our lives according to a new clock; the safest hours to travel, to take lunch, to go to the bank. We park in well-lit areas, go out where police are present, we find comfort in bars of steel and break-proof glass.

We do all of this – are all of this – naturally.

People coming from around the world, from areas with the lowest crime rates in the world, have every right to look upon our country with distrust and concern. We are asking them to jump into a pot of boiling water, in which we find ourselves ever comfortable. Perhaps it is about time that we look towards something better and rise to the expectations of what is considered ‘safety’ by others. Time to have the temperature of the water readjusted a few degrees lower.

In the mean time we are suspicious, thus we are prisoners and I for one am no longer okay with that. I vote to taking a stand against crime in our country.

How do you step from a 100ft pole?

"There is a fine line between life and death... truth and deceit... dreams and reality. Magic blurs that line. This is Vertigo." - David Blaine: Vertigo Opening

How do you step from a 100ft pole? Well, in David Blaine’s case you don’t step – you leap. David Blaine, Americas very own Brooklyn born illusionist, treading over the well-anchored steps of Houdini, leapt.

Teetering on the edge of a tree trunk 100ft above the forest floor, the owl butterfly was significantly pleased that there would be no stepping involved, only flying.

On May 22nd, 2002, David Blaine performed ‘Vertigo’. He was lifted by crane to rest on the top of a 100ft (or 30m) high, 22inch (or 56cm) wide pillar in the middle of Bryant Park in New York City. Blaine remained standing in this small area for a total of thirty four hours and twenty three minutes with nothing but two small retractable handles to hold on to in the case of bad weather. Thus thirty five hours later with his legs weak from standing, he proceeded to lean forward and subsequently leap from the top of the pillar to land on a 12ft (or 3.7m) platform constructed of cardboard boxes. Leap.

David Blaine suffered a mild concussion.

Perhaps a better way to step from any one area into another would be to consider where it is you want to go, what you intend to achieve and then, proceed having thought of the safest way to get there.

B*O*R*I*N*G! Why not leap? I have leapt on many occasions – and often am left with a bump on my head – but all have been worth the adventure of the unknown. Cheers to mild concussions.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hair-raising stuff

I’m sure that at some stage of your life you have had the (unwelcome) pleasure of reading a puberty book. I’m not talking about the nicer ones available such as Babette Cole’s ‘Hair in funny places’. On the contrary, I’m talking about the kind that made you squirm as a child. For those of you who are fortunate enough to have never come across anything such as this, let me give you the just of it –

1. Awkward pictures that make you gawk
2. Descriptions that make you cringe
3. Concepts that are inwardly hilarious (I’m going to get hair WHERE?)

Right, great observation but where am I going with this? Today while I was working feverishly on a number of varsity assignments, I had the misfortune of hitting writer’s block mid topic of a very important essay. Looking down at my hands, willing them to continue typing, I noticed a hair; one single ‘too-long-and-too-dark-for-a-hair-situated-on-my-finger’ kind of hair. I moved to brush it away in a sort of ‘Gross, that-does-NOT-belong-to-me’ motion, only to find that it didn’t budge. Hence my next reaction was to pull at it, only to find myself yelping out in pain.

The hair belonged to me. I took a closer look; the lengthy black hair was in fact contributing to a furry pelt covering that bit of skin between the knuckles of my finger! Correction, fingers! Perhaps to provide you with an understanding of my shock, I am of fair complexion and also of fair hair colour. Dark body hair is not something I have too much of.

My point is this: we are prepared ardently by our mothers (usually) for the weird bodily functions of puberty but WHO is supposed to be there to prepare us for the weird bodily functions of the elderly (read ‘eighteen and anything up’) and at WHAT stage does this person present themselves. I have black knuckle, or something, hair. Help me!

Ear hair, nose hair, chin hair, lip hair; as adults we get hair in funny places. Where’s our picture book? In the mean time, I guess we do what we can. We invest in hair removal crème, nose hair trimmers, facial wax strips and we adopt an ‘as it comes’ approach. As for me, I am amused by the fact that the body changes continuously and I appreciate that the best way to deal with these kinds of changes is a hands-on approach; I Veeted those dark tresses outahere.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We are what we do

They cook to eat, to sustain themselves.
You cook with passion, to experience flavours and savour the tastes of the world.
You are a chef.

They run to maintain their fitness levels, to watch their weight.
You run to feel the road beneath your feet, to feel the hard-earned sweat on your back.
You are an athlete.

They dress in what society tells them.
You dress to express yourself, to show appreciation of colour and textures.
You are a stylist.

They sing under their breath, to pass the time.
You sing at the top of your lungs because you feel the music, you believe the words.
You are a vocalist.

They seek medical advice at the sight of a scratch.
You hug tears away because you know the healing power of support.
You are a doctor.

They drive to travel from destination ‘A’ to destination ‘B’.
You drive for the wind in your hair, darting from lane to lane, tunes playing.
You are a rally driver.

They plod along, disinterested.
You walk with purpose; your eyes open to new things, different things; the world around you.
You are an explorer.

They are restricted by mental barriers and the pressures of others.
You let your mind flow freely into space; it’s where the best ideas come from.
You are an astronaut.

They are what others tell them to be.
You are what you do, what ever you want to be.
I am a product of myself.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Coffee cliché


Last night myself and a few friends went out for a late night, relatively expensive, Cafe Chameleons coffee and Mississippi mudpie. Dangerous stuff but very much worth the trip; a very Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City event. What saved us from this terrible Sex in the City association was that we dragged the boys along (very little dragging...Chocolate mudpie is always a great incentive).

The place was quiet, relatively few tables occupied, yet we were placed next to a very rowdy table of twelve; a bachelorette party. There was much of the usual, the clinking of champagne glasses, bursts of untimely laughter, sing-songs and the like. I couldn’t help but look over approximately one hundred times in the short space it took our delectables to arrive. Everyone around that table was having so much fun; secretive chatter between bridesmaids, the ongoing enticement from the bride-to-be’s mother of all that was still to come for the evening and of course, the glowing blush of the bride every few seconds (BTW this is not a love-blog). It was, in all its pink-and-glitter fabulous(ness), a spirited and warm-hearted event.

We got down to our yummies and subsequently my friend and I needed to take a short bathroom break. A long story short, we bumped into the bride-to-be and her mother in the bathroom. A really fun pair, they told us about the list of tasks to be completed by the end of the evening. They were looking for two young guys they could palm phone numbers off of. We offered the services of our table for the evening (and watched from behind a wall, the reaction of our boyfriends when approached by the bride-to-be and her bridesmaid).

It was all in good fun and the girls-only bridal party were grateful for it, especially when considering another table were approached shortly after ours and the bride-to-be was told to, and I quote, ‘piss off’. They finished off their evening with several rounds of strawberry liqueur while we ended ours with a table underwater as my dear friend landed his full glass of H20 all over the tables. In cleaning up and calling for the bill, imagine our surprise when the mother of the bride-to-be came over and said quite simply, ‘you guys were such great sports, I’m picking up your tab’. Uhr, THANK YOU!

The moral of the story is: Karma exists, spontaneity is often rewarded and most importantly, being genuinely nice without the expectation of something in return will bring you happiness, participation in life and free coffee. We were doubly rewarded when the mother told us girls as we were leaving, ‘the boys were only willing to dish out their details when told that their girlfriends were in on the event’. Cute (sigh...perhaps this is a love-blog).