Friday, December 2, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
However, looking at other people’s pictures on Facebook and reading their accounts on Twitter got me thinking a bit, which is generally not a good thing.
Non-Muslims generally do not celebrate Eid or Ramadan. This is mostly because Eid and Ramadan are Islamic holy days reserved for celebration by Muslims only.
Non-Hindus also do not celebrate Diwali or any of the other Hindu holy days and festivals. This is mainly because we’re not Hindu.
A lot of non-Christians celebrate the Christian feast days like Easter and Christmas, but only because they get some loot out of it. Personally I can do without both. I choose not to celebrate either one because I’m neither a Christian, nor am I after any loot.
Now that I have covered that, let me get to the topic at hand: Halloween.
A lot of people out there “celebrate” Halloween. They do it for the trick-or-treating, or they do it for the dress up parties that go along with it. Either way, they celebrate it for one reason or another, but not the true reason.
I did some research though. Some of it came from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft, some of it from the internet. From this research I had learned that Halloween is actually a Wiccan holy day called Samhain.
According to my research “Samhain is one of the Greater Sabbats and if probably the witches’ greatest holiday... For witches, this holiday has a rather different tone than it does for the population at large. Samhain, rather than being a festival of sugar overconsumption, is a profound spiritual event. It marks the death of the Lord and also the start of a new year.” *
Since this is such an extremely holy day for Wiccans, why do the non-Wiccans think they can encroach on it? Why can Wiccans not be afforded the same respect that Muslims and Hindus get.
It’s one of their holy days for gods’ sake. I choose not to celebrate any religion’s holy days, because to celebrate the holy day would be an acknowledgement on my part that there is some validity in their beliefs. I choose not to celebrate Christmas, because then I tacitly agree to the birth of the baby Jesus. By celebrating Easter, I agree with the whole crucifixion mess and whatever else came after that.
So, all you people that celebrated Halloween this year: You just tacitly agreed that there is some merit to Wicca and witchcraft. I guess you feel like a right bunch of chops now, don’t you?
* The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft. Pg 177
Monday, August 29, 2011
Music promoters sometimes suck my will to live. Really they do.
We get promised a “supergroup”. I’m hoping AC/DC. We’re getting Coldplay. Enough said on that one.
Coldplay isn’t a supergroup by any stretch of the imagination.
The Rugby World Cup
While all of South Africa is “getting behind the Boks”, I’m quietly wishing the whole thing just goes away.
I don’t support sports of any kind. Especially not the oblong ball thug game. Couldn’t be bothered.
Earlier today our president gave the team a little speech. Good thing he’s got his priorities straight. I mean, it’s not like he’s got a country to run or anything.
Ard Matthews and the National Anthem
Everyone was exceptionally hard on Ard Matthews this past week, and for fucking up the anthem.
In all honesty, how many of us know the anthem all the way through? I remember bits and pieces of the Afrikaans version from learning it in primary school.
I far prefer his work with Just Jinger. The anthem can go hang itself.
Jeans with zips and flaps and things
I tried to go buy some jean pant on a few occasions. Only to be disgusted by what I saw.
Every single pair of jeans has some additional zip. Or flaps. Or bits that button down.
Whatever happened to good old straight up and down, or bootleg jeans? I can get Levis that do that, at R250 a shot. Not bloody likely.
I want normal jeans, for R100. Max R150. Without the buttony, zippy, flappy things.
Shitty Musicians and What Makes Them Popular
I sometimes have the misfortune of listening to some real crap on the radio. I hear on that there wireless machine some really atrocious musicians.
What boggles my mind is why people support all this crap. Has people’s musical tastes degenerated that much in the past 30-odd years. It’s not really been 30-odd, even in the last 10-odd years things have taken a turn for the worse.
Do people just generally like what they’re given? Are there bigger things afoot than we know of?
If people stop supporting sub-par “musicians”, stop buying their CDs then maybe they’d go away.
Imagine a world with no Parlotones, no Nikki Minaj and no Gaga. Fucking bliss.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
OK, I wasn’t exactly in good spirits until I got into the spirits. But such is the way of the easily stressed and the addicted. That is my story and I’m sticking to it for now.
All was fine in my little world, until one person challenged me on my drinking habits.
Yes, I am an addict. Yes, I like to get drunk. Yes, I like to drink a lot. That is the way of things.
The person that called it mentioned parents that drank and smoked and managed to kick both habits.
This person is 16 years of age. This person hasn’t lived. Living with someone that has an addiction is not the same as living with an addiction.
Living with an addiction is much, much harder.
I enjoyed my ephedrine addiction. I will admit that much.
I enjoy my cigarettes and alcohol just as much. However much nicotine is an addiction, citing someone giving up tar bars as “Someone kicking an addiction” ain’t going to fly.
I smoke 15+ cigarettes a day. And that is an average day.
On an average day I smoke 15 cigarettes. I drink at least seven cups of coffee. I might even consume a few alcoholic bevvies.
Kicking cigs is nothing in comparison to kicking any other habit. Even kicking alcohol is nothing in comparison to a once a day ephedrine habit.
The point I’m making is thus… Don’t get preachy at me because both your parents beat a cig habit. Don’t get preachy at me, about my liver no less, because one of your parents beat a booze habit.
My own grandfather was a smoker and liked a bit of the old tipple.
When you have beat your own addictions, then come and speak to me. Don’t talk to me as a bystander. Don’t talk to me as an innocent victim. In that case my lovely wife would be an innocent victim of my various addictions.
Would those addictions be that I like to consume alcoholic beverages, or that addiction be that I like to photograph things…
Be careful what you call an addiction.
Next thing I know I’d be in rehab for taking pictures of things.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
We live in what might be termed a “gated community”. We have security guards with booms. Not that they’re any good, but it’s a bit of a sense of security.
We live in what might be termed a “gated community”. We have security guards with booms. Not that they’re any good, but it’s a bit of a sense of security.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
I have for many years felt as if I’m not really a part of this country, merely a citizen. Should you look at the entire culture of this country and then look at me, you will see for yourself that I don’t really belong.
The culture of this country of ours revolves largely around braais, outdoor living, sokkie, rugby, 4x4, lather, rinse and repeat.
Now you take me, as a bad example. I am not a particular fan of the braai. Outdoor living is for the birds. Sokkie is something for me to make fun of. Rugby is something that someone else finds interesting. A 4x4 is something that is driven by a massive douche bag.
At some stage of my life I realized that I don’t fit in here, in this country. I am not terribly patriotic and given half a chance I would be living somewhere other than South Africa, or even Africa.
One day, some months ago, I heard some guy talking on the radio. He mentioned something which I found interesting at the time, and I can kick myself for not downloading the podcast at the time it happened.
This chap on the wireless was talking about something called “ancestral memories”. The gist of it is that you can feel something for a culture other than the one you were raised in. You might feel more for your ancestors’ culture than you do for your own.
When I heard that, a red flag went up in the old grey matter. This red flag said to me that maybe I was genetically linked more to another culture than the South African culture I had the misfortune of being raised in.
Had you asked me in the early 80s what I am, I would said that I am an Afrikaner. However, had we progressed through time, myself growing as a person through all of that and you ask me the same question what I am, the answer invariably would be that I am an Englishman.
I can speculate that during my formative years, I was formed by the society I grew up in. I was raised Afrikaans, due to the fact that my half Scot, half German mother married my Afrikaans father. I also grew up in what is now known as the “struggle years”.
Up until standard four I was in an Afrikaans class in a dual medium school. From standard five onwards I was in an English school. I do believe that it was in that school that I came to embrace me inherent English-ness.
I have happened to believe this chap on the wireless about the ancestral memories. However, research funding lacking, I have to make do with whatever the Google Machine gives me.
I know I might be a Scot because of the bagpipes, which I like and the Scotch whisky, which I love. Then there’s the German, which might explain why I like Rammstein so much. I have no idea where the Dutch part comes in because I didn’t enjoy smoking pot.
The point I was trying to make this time, is that despite my upbringing I feel more of a longing for my ancestral roots. In my heart I will always be an Englishman, a Scotsman even. I have never, in my life, felt like a South African.
I may be born of this country, but I’m THE most unpatriotic person you will ever know. Given half a chance, I would live somewhere else. No offence though to the South Africans. This is purely how feel. And this country? I don’t feel it.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
In the past few years I have been the victim of some rather shoddily written electronic communications. This is pretty much the same for personal and business e-mails.
Therefore, I took it upon myself to put together this handy print out and keep guide for any person wishing to communicate with me.
Greetings and Salutations
The first thing I see when I open an e-mail is the salutation. Alright, the second thing after the subject line.
Do not, under any circumstances start an e-mail with the greeting “Elo”. The last time I checked ELO was a British band formed in the 1970s. When I read a salutation like “Elo”, I’ve already pre-judged the rest of the message. Regardless of what the contents might be.
Acceptable salutations are “Hello”, “Hi”, or for very close friends: “Hey”.
Take the time to write a proper salutation, and I might even take the rest of the message seriously.
Spelling and Grammar.
Bad spelling has to be the biggest bugbear of my existence. I have in the course of however many years I have been receiving e-mails, read many, many misspelled words. Some of the worst offenders have turned out to be so-called “professionals”. Project managers are some of the worst culprits.
Just recently I have received messages where the person correctly spells “discussed” in one sentence, and in the very next sentence spells it wrong. I need to say however, bad spelling makes me “incomfotable”*.
Nearly as bad as bad spelling is the bad grammar. This goes for certain “professional” project managers and other esteemed colleagues.
This includes using present tense instead of past tense. Misplaced apostrophes is one of the most common crimes. Remember, boys and girls, apostrophe denotes possession.
Sentences and Paragraphs.
If you have trouble with sentence structures and paragraphs, then don’t even bother sending me a message.
I just recently had a message sent to me that was one long paragraph. I received it on my phone, since I was nowhere near my computer at the time. After scowling at it for five minutes, I gave up. I could only read it properly only the next day.
In order for me to make sense of it I had to copy it into Word, and insert paragraph breaks where I saw fit. Not to mention doing a spell check so I don’t throw up in my mouth while reading it.
In conclusion I just want you to know this: If you want me to take any electronic communications from you seriously, then follow these simple rules. In all honesty, they are not even my rules. We were all taught these at school. That is if you went to school somewhere between the eighties and nineties.
Call me anal or fussy, but grammar rules were not meant to be broken. If you break them I will think you are an idiot and mock you.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
I have believed for some time now that the education system is failing us. Other people have been saying the same thing, but for reasons other than why I think the system is failing us.
After working corporate South Africa for the past six years, I have learnt a few things that school never prepared me for.
So, in order for the Department of Education to step up their game, I have devised this handy list of features we need to see in the future. Things that I believe will turn the youth of today into people that are better prepared to enter the corporate world.
First things first though. Children will no longer be allowed to go to school close to home. The youngens will now be expected to attend school approximately 30 to 65 kilometers from home. They will now have to travel by bus, car or motorcycle to school. Through rush hour traffic. Leaving at sparrow fart, in order to be there at 8 AM.
No longer will school run from 8:00 till 14:00. School will run from 7:30 to 17:00. With enough homework to keep the little buggers busy until midnight or later.
Then you away with first break and second break. You now have tea time and lunch.
In order to have the youngens prepared for what awaits them, during lunch several teachers need to approach them and ask them random questions. That is what happens to us in the real world. You’ve got your McDonald’s take away burger halfway mouthwards when your phone will ring. It is usually some customer, somewhere, asking you a random question. By the time the phone call is finished, your burger’s gone cold and the ice in your Coke has melted.
To make the playing field even more level. While in math class, the geography, history and language teachers need to barge in and ask random questions about the subjects they teach. Same should be true for any subject the student/pupil/learner takes.
At some stage it will be important to throw in a handful of project managers.
Project managers are the bane of any working person’s existence. Especially if the project manager does not have a clue about the project they are managing.
Therefore, in order to prepare the youngens for working with project managers, and customers, I have a plan. It is a cunning plan.
If a student is taking science, present them with a project. This project will be managed by another student. A student that has absolutely no knowledge of science, like for instance, an accounting student. The accounting student will then be in charge of meeting with the teacher to “understand” the requirements of the project. The accounting (AKA project managing) student will then have to communicate these requirements to the science student who will actually be doing the project.
The science student will then have to do their own research. They will not be given any tips. All they will know is what the eventual outcome of the project should be.
Project managing student will then set some unrealistic timelines, and communicate those timelines back to the science teacher without telling the science student.
At all times will the science student be told as little as possible.
Eventually, given the cock up caused by the project managing student not knowing the subject matter, the science project will be late. Science student will get penalized and project managing student will come out smelling of roses.
That is my plan in sort of a nutshell.
Far too many people enter the workplace having no idea how corporations, and the real world, works. Far too many don’t have an idea how frustrating working with a project manager can be. This will teach them.
Go forth and teach.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I remember when I was growing up my parents being careful how they spent their cash. Not that there is anything wrong with being thrifty, mind you. These days, and I suppose those days as well, being thrifty with your money was being clever.
As far back as I can remember I wished my parents had more money. Mostly I wished they had more money to pander to my wishes on any given day. It was a selfish notion, but I was quite a bit self-centred in my younger years.
All through those years, I always promised myself that I would never think twice about spending money. I vocalized that promise to myself a few times as well. I made sure my parents knew I would never be as big misers as they were.
Fast forward a few years. What do we see?
I would not say that I am a terribly frugal person. I do not mind to spend money on The Boss. If it pleases The Boss of course. However, The Boss herself is not a terribly demanding person. I am also not a spendthrift.
I have, in recent years, become an incredibly cheap person. Allow me to paint you a picture of my cheapness.
About a year ago I noticed the front tyres of my car wearing down slightly. Any normal person would pull into the local SupaQuick, order 2 tyres and be off. Not me. I first phoned around to find out who stocks the particular (cheap-ish) brand of tyre that is currently on the car. Enquired about the cost per wheel. Made all sorts of encouraging noises on the phone.
On the day I decided to have the wheels done, off I drove to SupaQuick. Told the tyre fitting person that I want one tyre. Put one new one on front. Put spare tyre on the front, and put the best out of the two current wheels on the spare.
Like I said, I am cheap. I am so cheap that I make Jews look generous.
The Boss and I’s visit to Cape Town last year is another prime example of my cheapness. Most people would opt to fly down, rent a car and pay a hotel. Not this one.
We did the math. In doing the math we realized that if we drove down we can save R 6,000. Of course a saving of that much made me very happy. So we opted to drive.
The half of the population that would drive the distance would sleep over somewhere. Not this one. I reckoned that if we don’t sleep over anywhere we save even more money.
So I drove, and drove. We got to Cape Town in one piece, tired as all hell, but I saved money.
Previous years I had no problems spending money. I was however made to feel guilty when I spent my money on myself. I am assuming that my cheapness might stem from there. To this day I feel bad about spending money. Or perhaps it is just genetics.
Whatever it might be, I am not complaining. Stupidity has had me spend large portions of my “disposable income” paying off bills. Hopefully my cheapness will bring that to an end some day soon.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
I spend an inordinate amount of time on certain social networking sites.
In spending so much time on one particular site, I have noticed some strange phenomena. Actually, given that is it now 2011, I have noticed one particular phenomenon a lot earlier than just now. Hell's Bells, I was a part of it in the late 90s and early 2000s.
This strange phenomenon is people losing their identity when they either enter a new relationship, or have a baby.
Admittedly, I have been in relationships where I have lost a part of my identity. Some time after the breakup I would regain that lost bit and become more of myself again.
I was lucky that with the arrival of The Boss in my life, I was able to hold on to what makes me what, and who, I am.
However, some of the people I see on the aforementioned social networks have lost so much of their identities; I don't think they know any more than I do who they are.
There are people, some on my list of friends that share profiles with their marital partners. Some of the unmarried ones will only post status updates pertaining to their new partners. And, for the sweet love of Christ, don't get me started on the new parents.
New parents need to realize one thing and one thing only. We are really not interested in how many times Spawn used the potty or what their first word was. I know for a fact that if it was my spawn their first word will be either "Fuck" or "Cock". Not exactly the words that will warm the cockles of grandma's heart, but I digress.
Not only are we bombarded with everything the child does, says or shits, but the profile picture changes as well. No points for guessing that one. I had to learn to identify my friends by what their spawn looks like.
Then the marrieds, or newly in loves, that just cannot exist without their partners. Their existence is so reliant on their partners that even their bloody Facebook profiles cannot stand alone. Piet en Sannie Poggenpoel is what greets me. Question is, who the fuck am I dealing with on any given day?
I have often thought about that profile sharing business. I thought about it before social networking even existed, when an acquaintance shared an e-mail address with her husband.
I would never in a million years share a Facebook profile, or e-mail address, with The Boss. Firstly because we have different friends, different interests and some of her friends don't like me, and vice versa. Mostly vice versa. Nothing personal mind you, just business.
There was a point to all of this… Yes, identity.
It seems as if more and more people are losing their identity when they're with a partner, or with child. People are spending so much time being identified by who they're dating, feeding or burping, that they have no idea any more who they are.
As much as I am defined by my partnership with The Boss, and whatever job it is that I find myself in, I define myself.
It has taken me a long, long time to find my identity. Not that I ever lost my identity, mind you. It did get a bit murky a few times, but never really disappeared. Looking at others thought, it seems as if very few people know any more who they are. If you remove their significant other, or children, they will turn to dust and blow away with the wind.
Perhaps this is a throwback to the old days. We all remember those. The wife was known as Mrs Piet Poggenpoel. Whether her name be Sannie, Gesiena, or Koos. She became a part of her husband. I just need to think about suggesting that to The Boss, and I'll get a flip flop to the side of the head. The Boss is who she is. I am who I am. Together we stand, but apart we stand as well.
Please, people, find your identities. You don't need your partners, or your children to define who you are.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A few weeks ago, The Boss and I went to Cape Town for a bit of a holiday. Shortly after our arrival I realized that I left my laptop charger at home, 1400 kilometres away.
At first I toyed with the idea of contacting our Cape Town office to borrow a charger. After being offline for two days, I decided to just bugger it and go without the laptop for a few days. I still had my BlackBerry, and that kept me in touch with everyone I needed to be in touch with. It also gave me all the social networking that I could handle on any given day.
Usually I'm the kind of person that gets kind of irritated when I don't have my daily fix of the interwebs, however, that few days it didn't seem to affect me at all. Didn't seem to bother The Boss either, The Boss being a great fan of Facebook games.
It was during that time that I decided that I need to spend more time "unplugged". I have intended to spend less time in front of a computer, and more time doing stuff in our kitchen. Having recently discovered a fascination of things gastronomical.
Then some weeks after I came to that realization, Pixlet wrote a blog about the power of the human touch. Her article, in turn, was inspired by this article on CNN that states "touching makes you healthier".
All of that got me thinking for a bit. I think perhaps I spend way too much time online. Actually, I don't think I do, I know I do.
I know that I need to unplug more often. Switch the phone on silent, turn the laptop off and just do something offline and unconnected.
However, as I stated in a previous post of mine, I'm a bit of an anti-socialite. I'm not really big on the whole social get together business. Most of my interaction with people happen online. Very, very seldom do I do anything with people offline.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is a fault of mine, but more of a character trait. I realize that I need to spend some time offline with people. Very few people can stand the beigeness that is me for periods longer than five to ten minutes and that makes social interaction very difficult. Couple that with the fact that I was born with a malformed small talk gland, and you have the recipe for a disaster.
I suppose that after such a lengthy period of online only interaction, some people might take an invitation from me with a rather large pinch of salty goodness. Added to that is the fact that my living space is not really geared to social gatherings, and myself being very selective about whom I invite into my home. So what is one to do?
I have gotten so used to being unsocial that it is a difficult habit to break. I will, however, attempt to break that habit. I might even extend a few more invitations to some of the people from my social networking circle to get together in real life. All I can say at this stage is that this is a bit of a disconnection notice. I may not be online as much as I used to, or it might be a more gradual shift towards a life offline.