Friday, 31 August 2012

The youth of today

The youth of today
31 August 2012

Now I don't consider myself a fuddy-duddy, but some days I feel forced to ask “What is happening with the youth of today?”.

I was listening to 5fm the other day (my absolute fave radio station) and DJ Fresh was doing an interview with some or other Boy Band – for the life of me, I can’t remember who they were.  And 5fm is forever running competitions, so during one part of the show, Fresh had outside callers pitted against the Boy Band and what they had to do was quite challenging, I thought – well at least for me.  There were going to play them a short snippet of a song by another boy band, and they had to guess the title of the song as well as the band performing it.  Now I thought, that this might be difficult for me, especially as I’m not so clued up on boy bands myself.  And I do always like to “play along” in the car, guessing the answers – working out in my head, exactly what I’m going to do with the money that I would “win” or how awesome that free hamper or CD I never even knew I wanted would be. 
So they played the first snippet, and even I knew who it was.  Imagine that – Back Street Boys (seriously who thinks up these names?).  Then they played some arb song by some arb band that I had never even heard of and both the Boy Band and the radio caller knew the answer.  I was a bit bummed that I would not be “winning” on that particular day, and I was pretty convinced that I would not know the next answer either.

Until…….they played “Yesterday” – a song made world famous by the biggest, bestest, brightest, brilliantest Boy Band of all time – The Beatles.  And would you friggin believe it, neither the Boy Band in the studio nor the radio caller knew the answer.  I could hear in his voice, that Fresh, was truly stumped.  He committed that most awful of crimes amongst DJ’s – stunned silence.  No white noise.  No black noise.  No nothing.  Not even static.  Just silence.  He was clearly floored.  As was I.  Was this even possible?  I know I’m a bit of a music snob, but how can one be a citizen of the world and not know “Yesterday” or The Beatles for that matter?  Did these people perhaps hatch from eggs and grow up in an isolated bubble or were they merely raised by wolves?  Please believe me, when I say that I mean no offense to wolves anywhere.  I'm sure they would flog their young for making similiar mistakes.

I’m thinking that a ritual stoning might be in order.  If we make an example of these people, it might bear fruit in the future. 

My one and only foray into overseas travel took me to China about 5 years ago.  They don’t mess around.  They have loudspeakers on all public grounds, places and spaces, blaring communist propaganda for all to hear, eat, live and breathe.  They play it over the intercoms in trains and tubes.  And there are pamphlets and leaflets all around – please do help yourself.  And how successful is it not?  One of the biggest nations in the world – with not much freedom awarded to its people, yet they’re quite happy to simply move forward, not questioning the status quo.  I mean how much protest movement is there in China?  Right, that would be zero.

Is this not perhaps an avenue of education that we should investigate in South Africa?  If we perhaps got someone really inspirational, like Riaan Cruywagen  – you know someone in touch with the youth – to record messages educating the youth, maybe then they would not make blunders like this?  Just imagine what we could teach them?  The possibilities are limitless.  Stuff like the following:

-          How to pull your outer pants up over your inner pants – so that your boxers are not on  show for the world.

-          Perhaps a short course on “Separating your cell phone from your hand”.

-          An introductory course on “How to make eye contact with adults”. 

-          This can be followed up with the advanced course “Responding to adults by using more than one word sentences”.

-          “Changing the loo roll in the bathroom”.

-          “Clothes – they don’t actually make it from the bedroom floor to the washing basket on their own” – this course will include a slide presentation.

-          A step by step guide on “Wet towels – how to hang them up”.

-          “Entitlement – why the world does not owe you a thing”.

-          An in depth course on real music – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.

-          The importance of tying your shoelaces even when you’re wearing “yo-yo-homeboy takkies/sneakers” – so you don’t trip over them and fall flat on your face.

I mean, just think about it.  The sky is the limit.  Perhaps the proper route to follow, would be to add subliminal messages to the music that they’re already listening to?  They all pretty much seem to have earphones sprouting out of their ears.  And correct me if I’m wrong, because I think this is true for most of us - I can remember song lyrics from my teens, but not what I learnt in History in Grade 9.  Does anyone else see a pattern here.  Music surely is the most powerful teaching tool, especially with the youth.  And who says propaganda is dead and gone?  Preposterous, I tell you.

Why if we followed this route, I suspect there would never even be a textbook crises, the likes of which we’re seeing at the moment.  And to add extra enticement and to ensure that our “message” is reaching the masses, I know exactly what we should do.  Illegal downloads over the Internet!  Now am I clever or what?  Why a new song by someone like 50Cent can spread like wild fire within days, by mere downloads alone.

This is clearly the way forward.  We shall educate the youth.  One illegally downloaded song, filled with subliminal teachings at a time.  Slowly catch a monkey.



Thursday, 30 August 2012

I won the Lotto - AGAIN!!!

I won the Lotto - AGAIN!!!
30 August 2012

Without a shadow of a doubt, I am by far, the luckiest person that I know.  Why on a daily basis, I win on average at least 3 Lotto’s!

To date I’ve won the Swiss Lotto, American Lotto, UK Lotto (that one was a biggie!), Australian Lotto and Nigerian Lotto (didn’t even know they had one), but to name a few.  I think it takes quite a while to wrap up all the paperwork, because despite winning my first Lotto years and years ago, the money is still not reflecting in my account.  But it’s okay.  I’m kind of patient.  I’ll just carry on checking my account a few times a day.  Any minute now…..

I am a bit disappointed though, that I never got to pose for a photo with one of those monster big fake cheques made out in my name, with all of those zero’s at the end.  Would look way cool, up in my house.  A true keepsake.  Come to think of it though, I don’t even recall buying tickets for these Lotto’s.  Wow, I really must start paying more attention when I’m busy clicking buttons on the computer.  There’s no telling what I can do and one has to be so careful these days.  Apparently there are so many scams out there.  To date, I’m very lucky that I have not fallen prey to one of these.  But then again, I am pretty shrewd and tuned in to stuff like this.  Not so easy to pull a fast one over me. 

But wait, it gets better, my luck does not only run to Lotto winnings.  No sirree, Bob.  Why, random strangers are forever depositing money for me into accounts I didn’t even know that I had.  I mean how AWESOME is that???  Let’s just take a moment to ponder this.  Not only don’t I have a bank account at the HSBC Bank in Hong Kong, but some kind philanthropic do-gooder has shared a huge lump load of cash with me into said bank account.  Incredible, hey?  Now if only I could find those non-existent banking details.  I will not admit defeat.  I will not give up.  I will not surrender.  I will be victorious and claim my money. 

Is it not perhaps possible that I maybe had a sleep-walking type of moment?  And in the middle of the night in my somnolent state, I got on the old telephone and internet, and hooked myself up to the HSBC?  It might even be worth my while to attempt hypnotherapy so that I can try and recall those account numbers and my pins.  It would be sacrilege for that money to just lie there.  In the interim I’m soothing myself with the knowledge of the huge amount of interest I’m surely earning.  Isn’t the banking world just great?

And the gift-giving doesn’t just stop there.  Even giant multi-nationals are getting in on the action.  Pepsi, yip, you heard me, Pepsi wants to give me money.  Quite bizarre, given the fact that I absolutely abhor the flavour of Pepsi.  It tastes like a Coke-wanna-be to me.  Maybe they are hoping to win me over?  And I must say, they have got the right approach.  Spot on!  For the amount of money, they’re offering me, I will definitely promote their brand.  And I’m quite convinced that if I chucked the Pepsi out of the bottle and poured some Coke inside instead, nobody would be able to tell the difference from mere looks alone.

Now one that did rather surprise even me, was the e-mail that I received from the Estate of the late president of Ghana, John Eveans.  When I googled him, I found out that he was a stand-up comedian in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He obviously used to fit his comedy gigs in when he was over on diplomatic visits.  Very impressive if you ask me.  Why, the schedule this poor man must have kept.  What with his responsibilities as commander in chief of his country during the day, making important phone calls to fellow world leaders, making policy decisions, guiding the country on the road to economic freedom and prosperity.  The commitment that he showed in supplementing his income with his night job is truly remarkable.  It was extremely thoughtful of him to bequeath quite a few million dollars to me.  And truth be told, who even knew that Ghana had so much money?  Their oil fields must be doing splendidly indeed.  In fact watch out Arab world – the next world superpower is going to be Ghana, what with their oil riches and all.

Given my rather less that astute grasp of economics, I must say that the request from the International Monetary Fund to use my bank account was rather peculiar.  But big up to them, for trusting their precious gazillions to me.  They are the International Monetary Fund for goodness sakes.  So who am I to refuse them?  If they say they need my account, it must surely be so.  Far be it from me to question them. 

Even Bill Gates and Microsoft want to give me money.  So chuffed.  And seeing as Bill and I are now on a comfortable e-mail footing with each other, I think I’ll drop him a quick mail, asking him to help me with some of my Windows problems.  It really annoys me when I try and paste a picture into Word and it won’t let me resize the pic or move it around.  Sure he’ll give me a hand.   And not to be outdone by the competition, Apple Mac is also stepping up to the plate, and the amount of i-Phones, i-Pads and i-Pods that Apple are willing to give to me, is enough to supply me with Christmas presents for my family for years.  What a bonus!!! 
Amazingly enough though, some people can be very short sighted and vindictive, not seeing the bigger picture.  I have this dude called, Snowy Smith, who keeps on pestering me with e-mail requests to boycott Barclays Bank.  I absolutely refuse.  I don’t even know what his beef is with Barclays Bank?  Perhaps they made him in stand in queues at the tellers for hours on end.  Or they never gave him enough £10 notes when he wanted to change a £100.  But, jeez dude.  Enough already.  I suppose I’ll just humour him and make him think that I’ll also boycott them.   How would he know that I don’t even have a Barclays Bank account?  Or the South African equivalent – an FNB account either?

Anyway, enough jibber jabber for one day.  Quickly want to check my Bank Account one last time today.  You never know.  Today might just be my lucky day.  Hope springs eternal and all that.  And I must quickly confirm my appointment with Madame Lyubitshka for my hypnosis session tomorrow morning.  Really hope that I find her caravan easily.  Perhaps I should just follow the light?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I have a deep, dark secret.....

I have a deep, dark secret.....
29 August 2012

I have a deep, dark secret.  One that fills me with equal portions of dread and shame.  In fact it is so bad, it’s along the lines of “I see dead people”.  Except that that, is absolutely nothing compared to the horror that I have to live with on a daily basis.  So here we go.  Confession time…

I kill plants.

Now wait, don’t laugh.  I’m deadly serious.  This is no joking matter.  And if you knew my family, you would understand.  Every single one of them has been blessed with an abundance of green fingers, which leads me to believe that collectively they might even have received my share too.  And this gift is not merely limited to the womenfolk in my family either.  The men are equally prolific greenies - my uncles, grandfather, step-dad, heck even my step-grandfather has the whole growing thing going for them.  My 5 year old niece, Honey, is better at growing plants than I am.  Most of them could stick a piece of plywood or even a pencil in the ground and within a very short period of time, it would be sprouting, indeed flowering and bearing edible fruits, I’m sure.

But please, don’t judge me too harshly.  It is never my intention to kill them, it’s more of a by-product.  Initially I get all excited about my next green victim and then I go through a process of over watering them and drowning them in the process.  Once I’ve realised that I’ve made the same mistake yet again, I go through a process of not watering them enough.  I wouldn’t be surprised if my plants commit suicide rather than face the whole drowning/parched/over-watering/intense thirst thing.

What make it even worse, is the fact that I really like plants.  It's nothing personal - I swear.  They create such ambience in a garden and home.  I greatly admire plants and envy the ability of the lucky few that can grow them.  Unfortunately, I'm just not one of the lucky few.

And my beloved Ouma Helene has just given me a beautiful pot of Lachenalia’s – I feel sorry for them already.  I will try my best, I really will.  But I’m not filled with optimism.  The odd green thing in my garden, is there despite me.  It’s those blasted plants that won’t admit defeat and good on them.  The die-hard types, that look after themselves.  For all I know, they might actually be weeds.  I don’t really mind.  If they’re brave enough to live with me and survive, they’ve got incredible stamina and a phenomenal will to live.

My forays in to horticulture, read like a horror story.  How to put the fear of God into Horticulture students?  Show them the pics of what I can do to plants, given a very short period of time.  Enough to give them nightmares, making them wake up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat, screaming – “Just don’t water them again.  Enough!  Enough!  Enough!  I can only take so much”.  Alternated by – “Parched, absolutely parched.  My tongue is sticking to my pallet.  My kingdom for a drop of water.  Can’t you hear the plants screaming?”.  They’d band together, signing petitions, marching on to Stodels, and giving a list of their demands to the Plant Police.

Can you imagine what poor Prince Charles would do, if he was to know what I did.  It would make him run to Mummy in horror, exclaiming “Off with her head”, I’m sure!

A few years ago, two friends gave me plants for my birthday.  It was like a death sentence for those poor plants.  Mere weeks later they were terminal and within a month they had perished.  Now, I’m not saying that plants can talk or that they can’t talk, but if mine could, they’d be begging for Euthanasia.
Exibit A - Birthday loot, including 2 plants. The big bunch in the middle is from my mom and is fake. Shame she has learnt the hard way.  Note the date - 13/01/08.  Perfectly healthy beautiful plants.  Very much alive.

Exibit B - Birthday loot.  Note the date - 13/02/08.  Just one month later.  It was a very long, protracted death.  The end was merciful - for both of us.  I prefer to not dwell on this one, as I had "grown" rather attached to my roses.

Exibit C - My latest victim.  I shall show true kindness to this one, as I do to all of the others.  Anyway, must dash, quickly want to go and water it.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Blame Game

The Blame Game
28 August 2012

Grant and I have this absolutely AWESOME game that we play.  It’s called “The Blame Game” and it is just sooo much fun. 

This is how it works.  Firstly you have to understand that the game only works if you have kids.  And the more kids you have, the better.  It sort of ups your odds on winning.  The object of the game, is to blame any “deficiencies” or “shortcomings” in your children on your partner, leaving yourself lilywhite by comparison.

So this is kind of our score. 

  • If any of our kids have bad eyesight – it’s definitely my fault.  Happy to admit that one – it is biological and mere genetics after all – I won’t take it personally. 
  • Athleticism is Grant’s fault – I have been stuck with those blasted two left feet and zero ball skills (my mother and father’s fault – thanx guys) – so if the kids are awesome at sport, it’s Grant’s ‘fault’.
  • Lack of athleticism – enough said, or should I rather say “Aye”.  In high school I played Netball for the 7th team, and that was only because they didn’t have an 8th team.  I was always the last to get picked in PT for teams – the dud nobody wanted to get stuck with.  And I really can’t blame them, I seriously suck at sport.
  • Bandy legs – Grant.
  • Knock knees – Moi!
  • Musical ability  – definitely my genes.  Rock on!
  • A love for reading books with pictures – Grant’s favourite literature is Asterix and Obelix – is it any surprise that Luke is comic mad then?
  • Scholastic skills and intellectual brilliance – this one makes me laugh out loud every time.  Grant seems to think that of the two of us, I’m the rocket scientist in the family.  If only he knew.  Ha-Ha-Ha.  I’m as thick as a brick, but that’s my secret.  Please don’t tell him, it will ruin my mystique.
  • Love of 80’s music – this is all Grant’s fault.  I completely blame him for forcing it down all of our throats.  Shame it got stuck on poor Amber-Berry and she is now the biggest Depeche Mode fan.  Quite odd for a 10 year old, I think.  Now the 80’s weren’t all bad – I mean it gave us The Police and U2.  But let’s face it – The Pet Shop boys were like a big brain burp.  Best forgotten.  Okay, okay so Grant doesn’t like the Pet Shop Boys either, but his decade is to blame for their existence.  So in my opinion at least, it definitely makes him complicit.
  • Love of the TV and channel surfing – this is defo Grant’s fault.  Amber is the queen of the remote - when she manages to prise if out of Grant’s hand.
  • Any nerdy tendencies in the kids – I get blamed for this and rightly so.  I mean, could I possibly have been a bigger dork at school???  You have no idea – Library Prefect, Drama Club, Choir, Piano, Honorary colours for music, etc.  Basically if any nerdy activity was being presented, chances were, I was there doing it.  And I had the whole look down pat too, right down to the spectacles I wore.  Still not entirely sure what the initial attraction was for Grant at all.  I’m assuming that after he met me, my “sparkling” personality won him over.
  • Rebellious, naughty, mischievous – this is so my Grantie.  I was a goodie-two-shoes remember.  Far too wimpy to rock the boat.  Rebellious, naughty, mischievous kids take after him.
  • Blissful ignorance relating to Geography – so far, so good.  I think this might have skipped my kids.  My grandchildren will have to blame me for this one day.
  • Reasoning and logic.  I seriously rock at this.  I can remain calm, stay focused, find a solution for a problem and fix it.  Grant on the other hand does a fair bit of flailing – I actually think that he has a flair for the dramatics.  Not being able to find an empty parking spot at the Mall sends him into a tailspin.
  • Quirky – whenever our kids do funny, quirky things – Grant just shakes his head and says “Those are your children for sure”.  And I must be honest – damn proud of it.
  • Premature balding – do I have to go any further?
  • Small feet – yip, that’s me.
  • Olive complexion – Grant can wax lyrical about my skin.  Really odd.  He also has a thing for my shoulders – weirdo.  Apparently they’re nicely rounded and not bony like his – meanie!!!  It could just be his gentle way of saying I’m, shall we say, ‘fleshy’.
  • Dramatic – ironically, contrary to popular belief and despite my membership of the Drama Club at school, this is entirely Grant – please refer to crises of no empty parking spot above.
  • Fascination with cars, Rugby, Formula One, basically any boys stuff – Grant and Cole are like two peas in a pod – twins, a generation apart.
  • Lack of concentration skills – no way am I taking the blame for this one.  Have I mentioned yet that ADD is hereditary?  Grant meets all of the requirements, and I’m investigating the Ritalin route for him.
  • Creativity – that would be me.
  • Puzzles – Grant simply does not have the concentration span to do a puzzle.  It’s just far too passive for him.  Ironically all of the kids like puzzles.
  • Fire making and general practical boy abilities – this is all Grant and he’s taught our boys well.
  • Deep love of animals – I love animals, I really do, but Grant is way more animal batty than me.  At one stage all of us were a bit jealous of the amount of time and affection he gave our pet squirrel.  Amber and Cole also really do the animal thing big time.  If Amber doesn’t get married one day, she’ll be one of those weird animal ladies with a multitude of animals -  cats, dogs, chickens, birds, etc. roaming freely in her home.  Cole cries when he sees any animal cruelty anywhere – such a softy.  If they show a dodgy animal scene on TV, we quickly change the channel.
  • Night owls – personally I think that sleeping is a huge waste of time.  Now, I’m not saying I don’t like it, because I do love sleeping.  And few things are nicer than an afternoon nap.  But one can just get so much more done in a day if you don’t sleep a lot.  And bear in mind, I’m so scared I miss out on something exciting if I go to bed early.  Grant can quite happily go to bed very early, whereas the kids and I just love being busy doing stuff.  Not that the kids have any choice in the matter during the week.  I simply don’t want to see them after 8pm.  I go to the dark side if they’re still under my feet then.  Not a pretty sight.
  • An inherent grasp of technology – I am blissfully unaware of how stuff works and to be honest, ignorance is truly bliss.  So when it comes to understanding technical stuff – Grant is for sure to blame.
  • Adventurous eating and love of burny food – yet again Grant – he’ll try anything at least once.  Cole is also like this.  Absolutely fearless.  A bit of a worrying habit actually.
  • Cheekiness – naturally I don’t know what this is, but I’m sure that little old me would never be guilty of this.
  • Love of dancing – this is sooo me, never mind my two left feet.  And ironically, even though Grant is very athletic, when it comes to dancing he also has two left feet.  So we’re a perfectly mismatched pair.  But despite the fact that I tend to look slightly spastic when I dance, I absolutely love it.  And Amber and Cole both dig dancing big time.  Amber does Modern Dancing as well as Latin and she has loads of her own very unique Amber-type moves too.  Cole on the other hand – Michael Jackson’s death and the resulting TV footage made a huge impression on him.  Pelvic thrusts and groping of his gonads are the order of the day.

But all in all, Grant and I both think that our children are gorgeous, intelligent, talented, quirky, cute, precious, unique, etc. – the whole enchilada.  In fact, we both like to lay claim to all of their good attributes and qualities.  It’s fabulous seeing bits of yourself in your kids – especially when it’s the good bits.  And most times, I simply burst with pride that they’re mine.  But on those “rare” occasions that they do something that I don’t like, they’re definitely the spawn of Grant… 


Monday, 27 August 2012

Rest in rhythm Frank D. Frost

Rest in rhythm Frank D. Frost
27 August 2012

So my dad would have been 60 years old today.  I still find it hard to believe that he died 13 and a half years ago.  I didn’t really think it was possible, even for cancer to stop him and was convinced right until the end that he would fluke death.  And for the longest time after his death, it felt like he was just away on a long tour with the Blues Broers.  Bit of a coping mechanism, I think.
I somehow don’t think he would have aged gracefully though.  Oh, he would’ve looked way cool, with the whole distinguished grey hair thing, I don’t mean that.  What I mean is that he would still only have been a big kid in an adult’s body.  He never lost the ability to get excited, even over silly things.  At 46 when he died, Zoo biscuits were still his favourite treat.  And my mom always said that he was her eldest child, not me.

I miss hearing his deep voice, the sound of his laughter and getting an awesome hug from him – he was really good at giving those.  And one of my greatest regrets is the fact that he never got to know my kids.  He had the joy of Luke as a baby, but he never got to see the person he’s become.  I remember being so miffed with him after Amber was born, because he wasn’t around to see her.  And in fact his death really hit me hard then – nearly 3 years after the event.

But how blessed are we not?  We have the proof of his creativity all around us.  We are all blessed with beautiful paintings, sketches and even the odd sculpture – I have the most beautiful wooden carving he did of my mom when she was about 9 months pregnant with me.  So special.  We have CD’s, where his drumming talent is just so there for all to hear.  We have poignant home videos that make me cry whenever I watch them, and sometimes laugh out loud.  We have lots and lots of photos and even slides – luckily for us, quite a few members of the clan like taking photos and filming of home movies.  The memory of the man, father, musician and fun person that he was, will always linger.

Every morning, I see him in the mirror, because I’ve got his eyes and his olive complexion.  Deeply grateful for both of those.  I also see lots of him in my brother and sister and even in my kids. Mannerisms, habits and physical traits.  His legacy will live on.

This morning, I told the kids that Oupa Frank would’ve been 60 today.  And without missing a beat, Amber asked if we were going to get a cake for his birthday.  Of course, yes!  We get one every year and celebrate his birthday.  Amber said that she wouldn’t want him to think that we’ve forgotten about him and don’t care about him.  “It’s not like he’s dead to us, you know”, she said.  And she’s so right.  In my heart he’ll live forever.

Which brings me to Amber’s take on his death when she was little.  She has a marvellous imagination – I think it’s my fault, because I suppose, I have one too.  We were speaking about him once, as we do so often and Amber piped up saying “Oupa Frank died cauthe a thark ate him" (she had the cutest little lisp).  Ermmm…..Really?  This was indeed news to me.  We sort of left it at that, because she seemed so chuffed with the knowledge and we were so taken aback with her little tale, that once the laughter died down, we sort of lost the moment to correct it.  And then a few weeks later, yet again in conversation she said that “Oupa Frank died, becauthe he fell in the pool, and then a thark ate him”.  It truly was most peculiar.  We tried persuading her that her take on events was not quite accurate, but have you ever tried reasoning with a three year old?  In her opinion at least, her story was so much more exciting.  She would not budge.  And still later, it changed too “Oupa Frank, was moking (she couldn’t say smoking), and then he fell in the pool and a thark ate him”.  And finally a few weeks down the line it turned into “Oupa Frank got thick (no, not fat – sick – it’s the lisp again), because he was moking, then he fell in the pool and a thark ate him”.  Years down the line, it has become a family joke of sorts and we’re still not sure where the whole shark story comes from.  And let’s be honest, it was not a good story line from Amber – where do you get sharks in a pool?  I mean had she said that he got “thick from moking and fell in the thea and then a thark ate him”, it would have been way more believable.  In fact perhaps even plausible, if you overlook the fact that he almost never swam in the sea.

Anyway, I have bought our cake for tonight for after our supper.  I’ve even got candles and I think I shall have to go and get some zoo biscuits too.

I just bet he’s going to have an awesome party tonight wherever he is.  Jamming with Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  They’ll have a couple of beers, perhaps a shooter or two, light up a smoke (his beloved Gauloises Plains), sit around chatting and then start playing.  Oh, but to be a fly on the wall. 

Rest in rhythm Frankie-Baby.  Absolutely convinced you're raising hell where ever you are, having a marvellous time.  We’re still missing you long time.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mother Russia

Mother Russia
26 August 2012

So we’re a month and a bit into the blog, and I thought it was perhaps time to reflect.  Looking back through my previous posts, it appears as though I reflect and ponder quite a bit.  Never realised that until now.

Simply loving the daily writing.  I’ve got a whole bunch load of ideas for posts , so if you choose to check out the link every day or every so often, you'll be stuck with me for a while.  I've still got lots and lots I'd like to write about.  And I’m forever making little notes on my phone to remind myself about something or other I’d like to add to the blog or “reflect” and “ponder” about in a post. 

Looking back through my previous posts, it appears as though I’m quite opinionated.  Never realised that until now either.  Please bear in mind that these “reflections” and “ponderings” are the mere “ramblings” of a confused mind.

I’ve been struck by the very unexpected growth of the blog.  It does a bit of a slow and steady growth thing, and then for some or other reason, I have a particular blog that appeals to a whole bunch of people and then I have a mushroom type of thing.  But all in all the daily numbers are growing – exponentially, I’d say.

And still the overseas viewership tickles me.  Now the UK, that I kind of get.  Why half of our South African brain power, now resides in England.  I reckon you can’t walk 50m without tripping over a South African in London.  A rip roaring trade is done in South African products, with whole shops dedicated to stocking their shelves with good old South African fare like Mrs Ball’s Chutney, Ouma’s Rusks and Castle Lager.

America is a monstrously big country and hits from there were sure to happen, I suppose.  And I’ve had nearly a thousand to date.

My Russian audience has grown from a solid 3 new views per day, to about 9 per day now.  Wonder who they are?  Are they expats?  Can they even speak English?  Or is there simply a daily increase in Russians, who accidently click on my blog?  I’m assuming that they’re ladies, so are their names Natalya, Svetlana, Natasha, Tatiana, Ekaterina, Annastasia, Olysia, Elena and Oksana?   I wonder if they drink “Water – the alcoholic drink made with vodka and water”?  All I can say is Nostarovia, ladies!

The Middle East is also growing.  With a real stalwart of support being the United Arab Emirates.  “Hello Anthea, in Dubai!”.  I reckon it’s so hot there all the time, that people do quite a bit of surfing the net indoors, parking under their aircons.  I imagine that the old fashioned way of surfing is probably not an option, unless you don’t mind getting burnt to a crisp and incurring skin cancer in the process. 

As far as the Far East, is concerned, Thailand has come on board all of a sudden.  And I get the odd view from Hong Kong, China and South Korea.  And finally, at long last, I’ve got a hit from Japan.  Woohooo!!!  I can categorically state that I don’t know a single soul in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan or South Korea.  I know 3 people in China, and I’m 100% sure that they’re not reading it.  Two of those are guys, and I don’t think the blog is really a guy thing and the 3rd person is Chinese, so I guess that sorts that out, what with the language barrier and all.  Now Taiwan, ironically, that I can understand.  My best friend from school days, Maryke’s brother works and lives there and I think that Jaco is a firm fan, checking out the blog every so often.  So all I can say to that is “Hallo, Jaco!  Hoop dit gaan goed met jou!”.

Europe is coming along nicely as well, with France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany being the biggest ones.  Me-thinks the Netherlands is John Frick.  “Howzit, John! Hope you’re well!”.  And a big up to Greg, Kyle and Joshua Snyman in Kloten in Switzerland.  I don’t know a friggin soul in Belgium or Germany, so that one’s a mystery to me.  Have one very long shot contact in France, but it’s probably just strangers as well.

I’ve even had a few hits from Ireland.  And I have a mystical attachment to Ireland for reasons unknown, even to me.  I really do hope that someone’s Mammy is reading the blog and they’re sharing it with their Da as well.

Luke is holding thumbs that the views from Portugal are from Cristiano Ronaldo and that an opportunity to meet him in person is eminent.  Shame, the boy is going to cost me a fortune in therapy later on.  It appears that he lives a bit in Lala-land.  Can’t imagine where he gets that from?

Jamaica – it can clearly only be Usain Bolt.  It stands to reason.  Did I not quote his name in a blog called “The Omitted Olympic Events”?  I actually think he might be the type of guy that Googles his own name, just to see how many sites are dedicated to his unparalleled brilliance.  And to be honest, who can blame him.  The man is an athletic genius.

And as far as “down-under” goes, “Hello, Kathy!  Hope you and Stu are well”.  “Hello Sharon and Henk!  Hope you’re enjoying life on the farm”.  And “Hello Fiona, Mark and boys”. 

My views from Gibraltar are really surprising.  As mentioned before, I really suck at Geography.  I thought that the only thing in Gibraltar was a rock???

I would like to end off today’s post with yet another “ponder”, “reflection” as well as a little “ramble” thrown in as well.  In order to facilitate my education in the mysterious field of Geography, it would perhaps be pertinent that I visit all of these various countries.  And would it not be doubly productive if I got to meet my “fan base” at the same time?  Perhaps do a little bit of a meet and greet with my “blog viewers”?

However, chances are more than likely that “my people from overseas” are actually “my former South African people (named Jan, Piet, Anna and Sanna), now residing in other countries”, in which case, I really think that they should do the hospitable South African thing which we are so famous for and invite me over.  It’ll be a bit like having a taste from home, having a fellow South African visiting them.  How nice would that not be for me?  Not so sure how it would work out for them, but for me it would be bliss.  So how’s about it?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Constants in an ever changing world

Constants in an ever changing world
25 August 2012

Some things in life don’t change.  And thank goodness for these constants.  They add safety and stability and give us a sense of “all-is-well-with-the-world”.

But what to do, if one of these constants unexpectedly changes?  How to cope?  What a terrible feeling of “not-rightness” we experience.  Just imagine a world where we could not count on the following things:

  • Riaan Cruywagen’s hair – if he ever changed his hairstyle, I fear that the country might come to a standstill.
  • Johan Stemmet’s loud shirts – just imagine if he ever got a personal stylist, who convinced him to turf his hideous shirts – Noot vir Noot would come to a grinding halt.
  • Naas Botha’s accent – he just says “wiff” so beautifully, and let’s not forget his other famous saying “on de udder hand, Darren”.
  • The colourful names of the colourful people in our country – names like Chevonne and Tyrese – I simply love it!
  • Escalating petrol prices – it is expected after all.
  • Cashiers talking to each other, and ignoring you when you’re trying to pay for your groceries.
  • The happy endings in Mills & Boon books.
  • Overpaying for popcorn at the movies.
  • Waking up early on the one day that you can sleep late.
  • Wage negotiations with unions breaking down, inevitably leading to striking workers.
  • The waiter asking you if everything is all right just when you’ve taken a big mouthful of food – I think they lie in wait behind pillars, hoping to catch you with a mouth full of nosh.
  • Running into an old flame when you’re looking your absolute worse – bad hair day, unflattering outfit, unsuccessful make-up day.
  • Your kids being at their most needy on the days when you have the least amount of patience.
  • A slice of toast or bread falling butter side down.
  • Getting sand in the car after a walk on the beach.
  • The sound of blaring vuvuzela’s at a soccer game.
  • Standing in a queue at the bank and shops at the end of the month.
  • Having too much month left over after the end of your money.
  • Over spending at Christmas.
  • Over eating at Christmas.
  • Never finding shoes on a sale in your size.
  • A tooth falling out unexpectedly and not having any change in the house with which to fulfil your tooth mouse and tooth fairy responsibilities - ending up paying way more than the current going rate.
  • School projects having to be completed on a much anticipated “relaxing” weekend.
  • Never taking the library books back on time – and nearly always incurring a fine.
  • News presenters talking about “ke-taa-go-ries”, instead of categories.
  • The never ending yearning I have for another baby - I don't think it will ever go away and I will always have a little hole in my heart because of it.
  • Justin Bieber’s hair flopping about.
  • Hugh Grant’s hair flopping about.
  • Grant’s hair flopping about – I wish…
  • A new James Bond movie always being on the horizon.
  • The chicken song being played at weddings – and everyone doing flappy arm movements, looking like idiots.
  • A bride making a fashionably late entrance at her own wedding.
  • Getting toothache in the middle of the night over a long weekend when it costs double to get to a dentist – if you can even find one.
  • Yet another new season of Survivor either being filmed or airing on TV – I just love it, and if I wasn’t married already, I’d track Jeff Probst down and make an honest man of him.
  • Having no hot water when you’re the last in the family to hit the shower.
  • Kids asking “are we there yet?” on a long car journey – and sometimes even on a short one.
  • The cakes I bake not being very successful and looking alarmingly flat.
  • Reruns of Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal movies on Sunday nights on Etv.
  • Ellen DeGeneres dancing on her show.
  • Usain Bolt hamming it up for the camera’s – how much self-confidence does that dude have?
  • Jacob Zuma getting married again.
  • Jacob Zuma fathering children again.
  • Puzzle pieces miraculously going missing from the sealed box.
  • Being swamped with smiling street vendors when you stop at a robot - trying to sell you cellphone chargers and wire beaded creations.
  • The slightly toothless or alternatively bejewelled smiles you get from the friendly staff at KFC.
  • The Stig not showing his face.
  • Angelina Jolie adopting babies.
  • Siblings bickering.
  • Road workers on never ending lunch breaks.
  • Road works over the busiest holidays of the year.
  • Boy bands lip syncing their “hits”.
  • Joan Rivers getting botox for her lips.
  • Ozzy Osbourne slurring “Sharrrrooooonnn!!!”.
  • Politicians making empty promises close to election time.
  • Cops on TV eating donuts.
  • Steve Hofmeyer songs blaring over the loudspeaker system at Blue Bull games.
What would happen to my world if I could not depend on the predictability of everything mentioned above?  The world and life in general is a shifting, never stationary, evolving cycle.  And if I didn’t have these constants in my life, I would not be able to cope with rest of my world.

Viva, Riaan Cruywagen!  Viva!



Friday, 24 August 2012

Some things are just not meant to be shared

Some things are just not meant to be shared
24 August 2012

Some things are sacred.  Some things you keep just for yourself.  Some things are simply never meant to be shared.

In fact, I think that sharing is highly overrated.  As children we are taught to share and are berated by our parents and elders for not sharing.  Is there not perhaps a point where this is stretched to the limits?

Why should little Johnny share his beloved toy car with his bratty younger brother, who will only get his grubby little hands on it and in all likelihood break it?  Is there even the vaguest chance that little Johnny’s father will “share” his brand new car with the neighbour’s teenage son?  Ba!  Humbag!  I tell you – double-bloody-standards!

And as a parent myself, I’m also always encouraging my kids to share.  They have to share their sweets (mainly with me), their treats (mainly with me), their toys and their prized possession (if these are sweets or treats, also mainly with me).

But if there is one area, and one area alone that is sacred and forbidden from sharing, it’s personal hygiene.  The thought of sharing a toothbrush with somebody holds absolutely NO appeal.  It’s unhygienic, unpleasant, unpalatable, unsavoury, un-bloody-every-adjective-I-know.  It’s just plain wrong.  Now mistakes do happen, and that I can live with.  Many a time a wrong toothbrush is grabbed in haste, especially if you have one of those electric toothbrushes and every member of the family just has their own nozzle.  Very easy to confuse, or mistakenly take the wrong one, especially when you’re in a rush.  And I have also been guilty of using someone else’s toothbrush by accident.  Even though I wet my toothbrush before using it, I do like it to be dry when I start the whole process of putting toothpaste on, because at least then I know that it’s mine.  If it’s wet, it means that someone else has had a go.

I think in general mom’s cope far better with accidents of this nature.  But men – I don’t think so.  They can be particularly possessive over their toothbrush. 

So one day, ever so casually, Luke tells us that when one of Amber’s little friends slept over and they had to go and brush their teeth before bedtime, said friend exclaimed that she had never used an electric toothbrush before and would so badly like to try it.  And my darling little Amber-Berry, being ever so thoughtful and considerate, naturally allowed her buddy to have a go.  After all, far be it from Amber to deny a friend’s wish.  And on this occasion, the lucky winner of the “share-your-toothbrush” competition went to………….Grant Cloete!!!

Looking at Grant, when Luke shared this little gem was like witnessing an epileptic fit in motion.  He was consumed by whole body convulsions and contortions and kept on gagging.  And me being me, I absolutely loved it – at times it is just so much fun watching others suffer.  He immediately ran to the bathroom at breakneck speed, rinsed his mouth, gargled, brushed his teeth (with a normal old fashioned ‘manual’ toothbrush), rinsed again, gargled again, brushed again, etc.  The offending nozzle got flung into the bin.

This was of course all accompanied by a giant ear deafening roar of “AMBER!!!!!”.  Amber was completely non-plussed as to what all the fuss was about.  I mean give her her due - she was quite clever.  She never shared her toothbrush and let’s not forget, more importantly, she never shared mine either.

Personally I’ve told Grant to get over himself.  By all accounts from what we have heard, Amber’s little friend (who is an extremely regular visitor and has even gone away on holiday with us and often stays for the weekend), is an African Princess.  Royal blood pumps through her veins – her family hails from Kenya.  I mean, if he had to share his toothbrush with someone, at least he got to do it with a princess.  Now fair is fair.  If Grant got to share his toothbrush with a princess, it would be most unfair if I was not offered the same opportunity.  And with all things being equal, I would simply not be able to settle for anything less than a prince.  I’m thinking Harry…