Rants

Milestones

milestone

Over this past week or so, I’ve achieved some major milestones with my blog. Milestones I never thought that I’d achieve when I started this blog 2 years back. I am no internet marketing guru, I really don’t know how to do any proper blog promoting to get major traffic. I try little things here and there, like visiting and commenting on other blogs, submitting my posts to Stumble Upon for random traffic, submitting my blog to different blog aggregators such as myScoop and Amatomu and recently have even created my very own Facebook page

Firstly, out of nowhere I have over 11000 views in the past week, with 4184 this past Sunday, for a total of  33000 all time views. I just happened to blog about a rather popular person, that at the time was buzzing on the web, Barrack Obama. That and a bit of luck.

Before this though, I had managed to keep my blog going at 50-100 visits a day and a growing number of subscribers, which is more than enough to make it worthwhile!

Next milestone, my blog has also managed to make it to the top 25 of SA Topsites, which is a ranking tool for South African sites to compare traffic. Other sites in the top 25 include Cars.co.za and The Moviesite. (Slowly dropped to 28 today)

Lastly, This is officially my 100th post (excluding 1 automated post from WordPress)

Anyway, I’m happy, so I just had to share that… For all the milestones I’ve achieved and for much more than those, I would like to extend a very big thank you to everyone who has ever, still does and might never again read my blog. An even bigger thanks to all my friends (and writer friends) who, if for no other reason than a bit of guilt, or out of duty, push me along and give me a reason to blog. An a special thanks to my awesome fiance, who puts up with all my blogging and talk about blogging. You all rock!


Why Doesn’t MTV Play Music Videos Anymore?

MTV

I heard the sound clip of this today on 5fm and just hosed myself. Before I carry on though:

Please Note: This video is not real… it is a spoof.

You’d think that’s logical right, seems more than enough people that commented didn’t actually realise this.

Anyway, I just think it’s damn funny. Although, being born in 1981, it hit a bit too close to home…

Reading through the comments though, there was one that I thought was brilliant, from Kahandran: From 2:25-3:10, he does not blink once!


The World Is F***ed #7: Woolworths: A Follow Up

Just over a month back, I blogged about the Woolworths racism saga and how I felt that we can’t blame Woolworths for the BEE policies they need to follow.

Yesterday a Facebook group, which I happen to follow, shared my blogpost on their page and I happened to come across it this morning. There were also some comments on the original post, which I replied to, but there are some comments from the facebook post that I wish to address.

Before I begin, let me just state three things:

  • I think Woolworths are wrong in what they are doing, still doing, but the “boycott of Woolies” has been pretty ineffective as far as I’m concerned. Not that it has been much of a boycott, people involved could have spent the energy on more relevant & important things, but it’s easy to basically do nothing else but avoid one particular shop and call it “taking action”
  • I don’t think BEE is an effective means of redressing the mistakes of the past. Any policy which is related to giving preference to one race over another will always be met with criticism and even fear. Almost 20 years on and BEE has done anything that wouldn’t have naturally happened anyway in my opinion. If anything BEE has only made a very small minority of the African population much richer and the majority even worse off.
  • At no stage did I say I like agree with Woolies, the ANC or BEE. But laying the blame on one company is never going to solve the problem. So Woolies close their doors, then what, do you think that is going to change things? If anything it’s just more ammunition for the ANC to use against white people.

Now as for the comments, Let me address each one individually:

Comment 1:

I don’t even know where to start with this comment. The grammar and punctuation alone get me tingling, and not in a good way.

Well Richard, I am definitely not saying you should sit back and eat it up, if it something you feel strongly about, by all means do what you feel that you need to do about something you feel strongly about.

We are not the only country in the world where discrimination occurs, that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, yes racial discrimination is happening, but that isn’t the only type of discrimination. What about gender and caste discrimination in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries? What about religious discrimination all around the world. Even when it comes to race, I really doubt we are the worst.

You want to protest, fine, but a quiet boycott by maybe a few thousand white people is barely a start, it’s almost insignificant.

Comment 2:

Dear Melanie, thank you for your condolences, but they are however unnecessary and unwanted. From your comment I could assume that you are a narrow-minded fascist bigot, but I cannot know that, so I won’t call you that. The Moral? Don’t make assumptions, simple. In response: If I were brainless, I would not have an opinion, even if it is different to yours. Pinko? I am hardly sympathetic to our socialist government, apathetic maybe, but not sympathetic. My time is spent better on other things. As for Liberal, yes possibly, I consider myself very open minded, so I’ll give you that one…

Comment 3:

Hardly… From the end of August, after an initial drop of R400 which was at its lowest on the 10th of September, it has now gone R200 beyond what it was at the end of August (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/WHL:SJ)

Comment 4:

No-one ever said that life was easy. I don’t agree with what Woolworths did, and never will, but I do think peoples reactions and consequent reactions are misdirected.

Comment 5:

I agreed with you until your last sentence. “Whities” are definitely too lazy when it comes to standing up for what is right. And when they do something it is generally something insignificant. Like saying you’ll never shop at Woolies…

Comment 6:

Don’t hold you breathe…

Comment 7:

Oh Lord, again with grammar and punctuation… Asskissing, uncomfortable? Hardly, and as for liberal, like I said, possibly, because I do consider myself open minded.

Comment 8-10

I thought I’d group these together, since they’re the only comments I agree with.

The majority definitely love the victim mentality and until everyone stops blaming one another, there is no hope for us as a country.

Mockracy is definitely the right description.

Comment 11:

I have no comment…


The World Is F***ed #6: I Blame Woolworths, No Wait…

ww_logoAs a South African, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about the Woolworths “racist” scandal earlier this week bought to light by internet marketer, Justin Harrison, who followed up a  few days later with another post. No surprise it made news, after all didn’t SAA just go through the same saga?

If you are still not sure what I am going on about here are some links to what is happening:

Woolworth refutes accusations of racism, disables wall

Woolworths denies racism claim

Viva Woolworths! Viva!

Questions over Woolworths whistleblower

Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much?

There are probably many more but these should give you an idea

While as a white South African male, my initial reaction was to throw my arms in the air and scream bloody murder, as many did, after reading some alternative views and letting the dust settle, I find that I can’t really blame them at all.

So who do we blame? The ANC? Aren’t they are just trying to correct the imbalances of the apartheid era, the imbalance which has still not been corrected, despite close to 20 years of being free of apartheid? Well that is debatable since their policies have only seemed to benefit a very small majority of their followers, but that is something else altogether.

So do we blame white people? Can we blame the children of the post-apartheid era, like myself, who were too young to know what was happening? So do we blame our parents? After all they did nothing while the National Party ruled the country and implemented apartheid policies. They should have put their lives on the line, they should have done more, right? While it went on for far too long, the entire world also did nothing really, so can we blame them?

Maybe we should blame the Germans and countless other supremist goverments for giving our apartheid government ideas? Or maybe we should blame the Dutch and/or British settlers for coming to this country and taking it away from the indigenous people, the Zulus, the Xhosa, the San, et al? Not really, much like the Romans did for them, they bought a little bit of civilisation to the region.

Maybe we should blame the Romans for bringing the first hints of civilisation to what is now Britain & Netherlands or the Celtic or Germanic tribes for settling there in the first place? No?

What I’m trying to say is that history is exactly that, history. If we are going to just try to point fingers and play the blame game, nothing constructive will come of it, people will get angry and say stupid things which will piss off other people who will say more stupid things.

Lets say, hypothetically, as a white male in SA, you were looking through a newspaper for a job and you saw a job that you wanted to apply for. At the end it tells you, preference is given to BEE candidates or to disabled black women. Of course you think to yourself, “Fuck I hate this BEE crap!” or whatever else you may think, but is your next step to now launch a boycott against this company, or do you move on and try again?

The only thing that Woolworths did wrong was the way that they worded their job post really, and of course the way they handled the PR nightmare they bought on themselves, but I think after initially going into a flat spin, they have managed to correct their mistake, and isn’t that what we wanted?

Personally, I went to Woolies yesterday and bought some chicken they had on special. And next time I feel like some smoked snoek pate, I will go again.


The World is F***ed #5: A Comparison of Food & Petrol Price Increases in South Africa

5 year trends

Yesterday I read an article on the BBC website that got my mind spinning. The article is about how the UK Office of Fair Trade (OFT) has decided to launch a study into the high price of fuel. In the UK the price for petrol and diesel went up 38% & 43% respectively from June 2007 to June 2012. There are other factors they are investigating, but the bit that got me thinking was their citizens being upset about the 38-43% increase (Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19489908)

This past month our petrol prices went up to their highest ever levels. A litre of 95 octane petrol now costs R11.97 inland and R11.62 along the coast.

Since June 2007, our petrol prices locally have gone up by a massive 59% for 95 octane unleaded and 65% for diesel! The chart below shows us in a bit more detail how the prices have risen and fallen over the past 5 years. In 2008 you may recall that oil prices rose dramatically, reaching a record $147 during July and then dropping to around $40 in December. However despite the oil price being lower than at it’s peak, we are paying R2 more a litre.

Fuel Price

Fuel vs Oil prices (June 2007 – Sept 2012)

Looking at food prices isn’t much better. I chose six random food products that I felt were quite common among all income groups, being: 1l Full cream milk sachet, loaf brown bread, 1kg whole fresh chicken, 1kg beef chuck, sunflower oil & 1kg carrots.

The increases ranged from 30% (chicken) to a massive 104% (Sunflower oil).

Food Price

Food Prices from June 2007 to Jun 2012

Separately, however, these didn’t make much sense, so I went to a bit of effort and created a weighted average between fuel, food and oil prices and compared them to the trend over the years and this is when it made more sense

If you look at the below chart, you will see red, green and blue solid lines indicating the movement of fuel, food and oil over the 5 year period, while the dotted lines indicate the trend created by this movement.

The purple line (X) is based on year on year inflation over this period, in other words what price increases should look like.

5 year trends

Trend of price increases over 5 years

But what do you notice if you compare the 3 trends and the solid purple line? This clearly indicates that fuel, and by comparison food, since SA relies on transport via our road networks, follow the trend of oil prices rather than the actual inflation rates given by government, which granted takes into account much more than I have: house prices, car prices, etc.

I’m no expert in matters like this so if anyone out there can give me a better explanation I will gladly accept it, but as if climate change wasn’t reason enough for us as a species to move away from oil and fossil fuels as a source of fuel and energy, then surely this should be  even more reason?

EDIT:

The sources for all the above prices and rates are:

Petrol Prices: http://www.aa.co.za/

Food Prices: http://www.namc.co.za/

Oil Prices: http://www.investis.com/

Inflation Rate: http://www.liberta.co.za


Posts of Randomness #4: Gullible Much??


ImageDuring the day today I have seen several websites, blogs, legit news sites and even quite a few of my friends on Facebook commenting and/or reposting a photo of a dog fight arena with Heineken banners on the both sides (see photo to the right).

Firstly, let me just say that I love our furry friends, and that I do what I can, when I can. I definitely do not like, support or in anyway condone dog fighting. Also, I don’t even drink Heineken, I don’t hate it, but rarely drink it.

To get back to the point, there are a bunch of idiots out there, including some of my Facebook friends, who decided to jump to the seriously illogical conclusion that Heineken was sponsoring dog-fighting…. srsly??

You don’t think that it could just be a Heineken outlet of some type, a bar, a club or random venue, and that Heineken were not aware of the fact that the venue was used for dog-fights? No, because everything on the internet is true and people don’t use Photoshop to edit photos. Whatever the source of the photo and how legit the photo is, I am pretty damn sure that the least likely option is that Heineken are sponsoring the dog-fight. I’m sure they would have made sure that their branding was removed

Regardless of all my thoughts on the matter, at the end of the day Heineken did release a statement on their website:

Images are circulating on a number of websites showing what appears to be an illegal dogfight with Heineken banners (placed upside down) clearly visible. HEINEKEN is shocked and disappointed by this image. HEINEKEN is not and would never knowingly be associated with illegal activities, including those involving cruelty to animals. This is a gross misrepresentation of our brand and our legal team is now investigating the source of the picture and will take the necessary measures. We ask anyone with information regarding this picture such as the source, or the venue where it has been taken to contact us.

A simple Google search would have revealed this for anyone that had seen the photo and was wondering if Heineken would do something like this.

 


Stealth Mode Enabled…

tooth fairy

Operation Tooth Fairy – Stealth mode Enabled……….
Enter Room………. 
Ninja Mode Activated……….
Retrieve First Tooth from Under Pillow………
Return Tooth Casket to Under Pillow, with the Reward…..
Exit Room……….
*Phew* 
Safe……

When reading this the other day on Facebook, it gave me that fuzzy feeling in my stomach, that one that is usually accompanied by an “Aww!”

To put it in perspective, my friend’s sister’s eldest daughter lost her first tooth and mommy had to engage Tooth-Fairy mode.

I just couldn’t help but share…


Posts of Randomness #2

War workers' nursery. Mrs. Arlene Corbin (righ...

Image via Wikipedia

When I drive to work in the mornings, it is a time for me to think about things; it helps me to de-stress. It’s my calming method so to speak. Except when there are people driving crap, but in comparison to other times of the day, I am relatively chilled out in that regard.

The other day, while driving, I noticed a piece of paper stuck on a power box on the side of the road. It read: “DAYCARE” and had a mobile phone number underneath it. Not printed either, but drawn with highlighters in bubble writing. I am not a parent but even to me this screams, “Stay the fuck away!” When they see a sign like this, what kind of parent would say to themselves, “Ooh, that seems like a good daycare for my flesh and blood, I can completely trust them with my child.”

You could argue that it will probably be cheaper than most daycares that have actual adverts on lampposts or wherever else, but of all the ways you could save money, is your child’s well being one of those ways? Once again, I am not a parent, but really?

Besides, clearly they use the kids they take care of to do their dirty work. Think about it…


The World Is F***ed #4: MTV Movie Awards

MTV LogoI used to love MTV, back when Beavis and Butthead, Migraine Boy, Daria, and more recently Celebrity Deathmatch, had me laughing my ass off. Back when there were still nights dedicated to rock music, not just one night or show either. They also didn’t have 12 hours of ads per day…

Okay I’ll admit, I don’t watch much TV at all these days, let alone MTV. I watch the movies and series that I like and that’s it. Once in a while at a friends house I might jump across to MTV, but I hardly ever stay there more than 15-20 minutes before I get frustrated.

As if my apathetic view of MTV wasn’t bad enough, at the MTV Movie awards last night (5 June 2011), I was shocked to find that the best movie, according to them, was “Twilight: Eclipse” and along with that they got Best Male and Female Performance (for Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart). Oh and Best Kiss & Best Fight. WTF? Really… Twilight was their “best” movie? What the hell happened to all the other way better movies, never mind the best performance awards? Sorry MTV, but you now just plain suck…

So I guess this is my goodbye to MTV. As a final remembrance of the MTV I used to love, here’s a video I found of  a whole bunch of Beavis and Butthead.


The World Is F***ed #3: Spam

Screenshot of website in the sms

Yesterday I had my moment of fame. I was quoted in a local newspaper regarding an sms scam that went around Port Elizabeth last week Thursday. During the night on Thurday, I received an sms which read:

Hi Charles you have 1 new message from Cindy in Richmond hill click here to view your message (link to site – screenshot on the right)

Once you went to the page it recognises your cellphone number from the message itself, as the link is unique to your number. So as soon as you click on any of the links you would immediately be subscribed to the service for R9.99 a day.

According to the article, some people had problems with their partners thinking they were cheating or whatever. What pisses me off about this is the fact that there are people who or still dumb enough to think this is real. I wish people would learn to recognise spam.

It makes me think of the people who click on the fake Osama Bin Laden death videos or those fake stalker apps on Facebook and spam everyone’s newsfeed. That is besides getting a virus or whatever else, which they deserve if you ask me. I don’t feel sorry for people who get viruses through their own stupidity. A while back I formatted an acquaintance’s PC after having removed a virus and within two days he had completely screwed it up again. I think he still has the virus since I refuse to fix his stupidity. I actually hope he reads this *grin*.

I guess my point is that in this day and age when spam counts for such a large percentage of all communication, be it sms, email or whatever, we should really know how to differentiate between what is real and what is spam. Spam only works because of people’s stupidity (and to a lesser degree curiosity).


RAGE!!

Road Rage

Image courtesy of Flickr

As I get older, I feel my dark side surfacing more and more. And I’ve figured out the reason. For the last year or two, I have become very impatient on the road with bad drivers and with general stupidity. Other than that I’m pretty chilled. I don’t get upset with bad service too much, I don’t snap at my friends. As long as you’re not a stupid idiot or driving crap nearby to me, you’re pretty safe.

That said, my definition of bad driving is very broad. As is my definition of idiots. So most days, getting to work and back involves at least three sessions of severe profanity or steering wheel bashing. The problem is that I got my license as soon as I turned 18, started working in a job that involved driving for most of my 12 hour shifts (for five years or so) and did defensive driving and advanced driving courses. I’ll admit that I may not follow speed limits, and may not always indicate (normally when it is obvious where I am going or there is no-one around that needs to know where I am going), but even though I may be a very aggressive driver, I am not a bad driver.

Some things that piss me off include: driving slowly, not observing what is going on, tailgating, not knowing how to use a traffic circle. I could go on all day, but you get the idea.

Then we come to stupid people. Bill Engvall has the whole comedy routine about stupid people and how they should be given signs warning us that they’re stupid.

I couldn’t agree with him more. I don’t have time for stupidity. Even from myself. Now the problem is that I work in IT, and for some people when it comes to PCs, they suddenly lose all their brain cells. I can understand if you don’t always know what is going on with a new piece of software or it’s something that you haven’t done before. But. And it is a big BUT. If you do the same thing wrong every day, or if I’ve sent you a guide with pretty pictures explaining everything, and you still want to phone me and say you can’t get it right, you can really just go screw yourself. What gets me even more frustrated is people who think they know what they’re doing, but don’t. If I send you a “how-to” guide and you don’t read it and screw up something, you can figure it out yourself. If you don’t change your password when it’s due to expire because you don’t have time, and then it expires, I will make you wait longer just to prove a point. I thought I was alone in this regard, but after speaking to a colleague in another branch and found out he is even more hectic about some things.

It’s not only at work that I pick it up. Even on the road, stupid people translate into bad drivers. They give you bad service, they annoy you with stupid questions. The list is endless, but the principle is the same.

I guess that simply put, stupid people and bad drivers are a blight on this planet and if they didn’t exist, the world would be a much better place. Harsh? Yes, but I stand by this…

Stupid People


Katalina Blog Challenge #3: Pretend You Are Me

* For more details on the Katalina Blog Challenge, click here and more on this specific challenge, click here

Hey buddy

You sure you wanna do this? Don’t say I didn’t warn you that it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

1) First off, you should know that you am completely obsessed with zombies; You do have a zombie bite tattoo on your shoulder after all. I mean who does that? Oh right, you have… never mind. People may refer to you as Zombie Boy occasionally.

2) Next up is your CDO. No I don’t mean OCD, I really do mean CDO. See below. From making sure that your cellphone is in your right hand side pocket, to making sure the DVD collection is either colour coded, alphabetically sorted or organised in a specific way that takes your fancy on the day, it’s just one of those things that make me who I am…

3) As if that isn’t bad enough, you have extremely bad short term memory and are very easily distracted. This isn’t very helpful in day-to-day activities. This is also probably why you sometimes end up eating at 9pm in the evening or never getting to that cup of coffee you were going to make an hour ago. Or why people get annoyed at you for forgetting to do stuff for them.

4) You love cooking, but sometimes get a bit too experimental for your own good… especially with your chillies and peppers. Avoid baking at all costs, you really do suck at that, because you refuse to follow recipes and measurements. This is also the one possible exception to your CDO. Granted, being a guy that is able to cook is awesome, since I read somewhere that the average guy only learns how to make four meals in their lifetime, and you have created (from scratch) that many already.

5) You are a romantic at heart although it is not always obvious. Embrace it, your girlfriend hopefully loves the little gestures and it can’t cause any harm, unless it gets a bit overboard that is… then you’re just being a stalker! Some flowers from your garden once in a while, a massage here and there, have a nice home-cooked meal by candlelight, that’s what it’s all about.

6) You are quite shy at first, but I think people wish you would shut the hell up when they get to know you. When getting involved in conversations with people, you need to constantly remind yourself not to interrupt them while they’re talking. I know you want to get your point across, but that won’t happen if you piss them off!

7) Your musical tastes don’t make any sense, just go with it. If you enjoy a song, you will feel compelled to go download the entire album or even buy the CD. This keeps you sane and your CDO in check, so again I say,  just go with it.

8 ) Although not as bad as it used be, you are kinda bad with money. Stop buying crap you don’t use or need. I know it’s tempting to go buy that new game/CD/DVD/gadget/etm but you will probably end up regretting having bought it after the fact. Put it off and if in a few months time, you still feel compelled to buy it, then still don’t buy it until you can afford to buy it with cash money. Credit is the devil!

9) You also need to make sure you keep up with the whole healthier lifestyle thing. You’ve done quite well to lose the 15kg you did since last year. I know it’s tempting to just go back to eating crap, but trust me you don’t want to, people have started to notice you are looking healthier.

10) You are a bit lazy, but at times you just need to force yourself to do the chores and tasks you tend to ignore. They are not going to go away, no matter how much you wish they would.

11) Paranoia… it is not your friend. Stop second guessing every decision, not everything will end badly. You need to just put yourself out there. Sometimes it may not work out the way you wanted, but at least you won’t be left wondering what could have happened.

12) You tend to get bored quickly and frustrated when things aren’t going as planned. Maybe this has something to do with the CDO and short attention span, but regardless, just remind yourself that you need to stick with it. You started doing it for a reason (probably), just keep reminding yourself of that reason.

13) You also cannot stand still or sit still or do anything without moving some part of your body. When speaking on a cellphone, you will most likely also wonder around like a crazy person, pacing up and down. Even if you tell yourself to stop, it probably won’t work. Your body moves and does it’s own thing regardless of what your brain tells it to do.

There are probably also a whole bunch of other quirks that you don’t even know about, but you should figure them out pretty soon. Possibly your obsession with the number 13 could be included, but let’s not even go there.

I would wish you luck, but that probably won’t be enough, so just deal with it.

Regards

DonCharlieV


Thailand: The End #1

A 12 segment panoramic image of the Hong Kong ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s been a crazy two weeks and by the end we would have travelled over 29000 kilometres and if you think about it, the world is 24 500 or so kilometres at the equator, so we might as well have done that, although doubt we would have had as much fun…

We spent our last night in Bangkok at The Rock Pub again and the same band was playing and even recognised us “farangs” and played a song we requested by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, which they wouldn’t the last time.

We left at 13:30 Bangkok time to head back home, stopping for six hours in Hong Kong, where we are now, before flying nine hours to Dubai, where we wait for another four and a half hours. That is followed by a eight hour flight to Jo’burg where we have a last wait of two hours before heading home. The trip back totals about 36 hours including all the stops, etm.

Thank God Hong Kong has free internet and wi-fi, or I may have been liable to commit murder or worse.

It’s been awesome, but I just wanna head home now and see some familiar faces and surroundings and also where I know what the hell is going on and less likely to be ripped off :)


Thailand Baby! #2: One More Sleep…

image

Panic!
That sums up my night…

My impulsive and procrastinating nature really bite me in the ass at times. Sure it may be balanced out by my need for control and chaotic organisation, but my paranoia makes it really interesting.
I know what I’m gonna pack about a week before, but leave it to the last night before I decide to pack. Then while I pack, my impulsiveness kicks in and I start changing things. Then when I’m done, I keep thinking I’ve forgotten something…

I know I’m ready; all that remains is to set my alarms and pack the last few things in the morning (toiletries and chargers, etm).

Fuck I’m excited! Did I mention that? Well I really am, I hope I sleep okay… my mind is spinning out of control!

No promises, but I’ll try put updates here if I get a chance!


Thailand Baby! #1: One week left (almost)

MUC BCN

Image by Rakeman via Flickr

1 Week                        20 Hours

That is how long it is until I climb on the plane from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg. After a short stop in Dubai, I take the last step on my first visit to the “land of smiles” – Thailand.

I’d like to say I have all my shit sorted out and that I am prepared; I’ve read all the travel sites out there: Lonely Planet (incl Thorntree), Trip Advisor, and the multitudes of other sites that you would read if you were trying to prepare yourself. It worked pretty well for my UK trip and even for trips around my own country. It’s the geek in me, that need for trying to be prepared by mining the net for information. It’s that need for control, geeks need to be in control, it’s part of who we are.

That’s how Thailand is screwing me over. Everything I’ve read and everthing I’ve been told, leads me to a conclusion that control is not a word to be used when travelling Thailand and that I’m just gonna go with it and not even try. I’ve done all I can, now it’s just a matter of getting there and making the best of it.


The World Is F***ed #2: Ayobaaaaargh

Recently I find myself listening to 5fm, a national radio station, and as with any commercial station, they have lots of adverts. Generally I can handle the severe lack of creativity in advertising, but when they start taking me for an idiot, it pisses me off to no end.

Even though there are plenty of candidates, such as annoying old lady trying to tell me to use some ripoff premium rate cell service, when google would get me more useful info, or the one with the lame “gamer” guy reading off a whole bunch of geeky terms, which only tend to highlight how clueless they are, but those don’t make me want to commit murder.

That honour goes to MTN‘s Ayoba campaign and their advertising team deserve a special corner in hell for it. I can’t even remember how long it has been around, but it has always just pissed me off. Not that I hated the word itself, it was a perfectly valid slang word before MTN raped it, chained it up and made it their bitch!

It started getting to me during the World Cup, when they blasted it at us from every angle, at every opportunity. I thought that would be the end of it, but no, they decided to see how much they could milk it. Now they have the two cricket ads on radio, where they have this whole shpiel between Ayobaman and Randomcricketguy. Ayobaman is asking Randomcricketguy what you call it when something happens and then proceeds to call it Ayoba, see below for examples:

  1. Ayobaman asks what you call it when a batsmen hits a ball over the boundary without bouncing in the field. According to cricket rules, this is a “six”, but Ayobaman and MTN want us to call it “Ayoba”.
  2. Next up, Ayobaman asks us why cricketers say “howzat” and then goes on to suggest that we shout “ayoba” instead.
  3. There was one a while back asking what its called when a guy gets hit in the nutsack or something and this time it was “not ayoba”

If we carry on with MTN’s plans to substitute every single cricket term with ayoba or not ayoba, I would hate to see what would happen. I could carry on moaning about the shit campaign they are running, but that would just be cruelty to myself…


Brains! A Zombie History Lesson

Hawt Zombies :)

I have always been a fan of zombies, but only recently has my interest “risen from the dead” so to speak, and I actually even look for the cheesiest movies out there to satisfy my cravings. Zombies have now become an obsession of sorts for me.

BRAINS!!

Zombies are rooted deep in history, back as far as the 1700s, but the zombie as we know it probably originated in the early twentieth century. Writers such as HP Lovecraft dabbled in tales of the undead, but the turning point in the American version of the zombie culture was the 1932 film, White Zombie. There is a story about how, during  political unrest in Haiti (this was about 1915), a mob of  citizens showed their anger towards the government, which had murdered over 150 political prisoners. They did this by catching a certain general, tearing his limbs from his body and then displayed across the city as a warning. This escalated things which led to USA’s intervention. The possibility exists that these events led to some sort of rumours, all starting from the news that was reaching the US. Sound very zombie?

During the 30’s up until the Great Depression the Voodoo zombie dominated despite HP Lovecraft’s stories of the undead. In the 40’s horror had started to reach its saturation point in film and the comedy zombie tried to rear its ugly head. This is probably due to the war and the fact that woman and children were the target market and zombies didn’t go down too well. During the 50’s the alien zombie and atomic zombie popped up but very few of these films were really worth watching unless you are a huge fan (like me).

Then George Andrew Romero came along and wrote and directed his first movie called Night of the Living Dead, which he independently produced as well in 1968. This movie started the new direction in zombie that took hold in the 70’s ending in Romero’s follow up Dawn of the Dead in 1978. He portrayed zombies as undead, rotting corpses and the idea stuck. While you would recognise the zombies in White Zombie, there is no mistaking the difference between the two. It is well known fact that Romero’s zombie movies were a social commentary on life at the time of their release as well from the chaotic 60’s to the consumerism in the 70’sand so on. Strangely enough io9.com did research a while back which resulted in an article: War and Social Upheaval Cause Spikes in Zombie Movie Production. Of course, as is true with any study done, especially one on the interwebs, results can always show what we want them to. A lot of the zombie films of the late 60′s and 70′s were very cool and worth looking into.

In the 80’s the Italians took over the zombie genre while Hollywood went all slasher-crazy. A conversation with a friend of mine recently though, led to an argument over the idea that Jason Vorhees of Friday the 13th fame was in actual fact, a super-zombie… thoughts? Not to say the 80’s never had it share of brilliant movies, but nothing revolutionary. This went on into the 90’s before zombies decided to shift to video games. In 1996, Capcom released a game in Japan called Biohazard, which became Resident Evil in Europe and the US and Sega also release a shooter called House of the Dead. At around about the same time, a movie called Scream gave horror in general, a shot in the arm and saw renewed interest in the classic horrors including zombie films. As in the 80’s hundreds of movies were made, many good, but more that were plain crap.

In the new millennium, Hollywood seemed to take interest in some big budget zombie-based movies ending up in a new set of Romero films, a series of Resident Evil films based on the 90′s video game, 28 Days Later (which spawned a sequel and comic book) and more like 2006’s Fido and 2009’s Zombieland . The new millennium seemed to like the viral zombie more than any other.

EDIT: As pointed out to me in the comments I forgot to mention 2004′s Shaun of the Dead from Simon Pegg.

To really appreciate the world of zombies you have to watch the good (The Dead series, Fido, Zombieland) with the (not so bad) low budget masterpieces like Zombie StrippersZombies! Zombies! Zombies. They are awesome!!! No matter how cheap or how bad the acting is, I take satisfaction that never ever will Hollywood be able to take zombies and turn it into a romantic piece of crap (think Twilight *vomit*), so I take the bad acting and everything that sucks in it’s stride.

There is a recent gem I came across, the Japanese movie, Kyonyū doragon: Onsen zonbi vs storippaa, or if you prefer its English translation, Big Tits Zombie… I can’t joke about that, even translating the actual Japanese title gives you the title: Big Dragon Zombie Strippers. And let me tell you this one has it all, geisha zombies, schoolgirl zombies, samurai zombies and even a stripper who becomes a zombie with a fire breathing razor toothed snatch.

Zombies in printed media have stuck more or less to the idea of Romero’s undead zombie and the modern viral as opposed to the voodoo zombie. Max Brooks‘ awesome book, World War Z is a crowning achievement for the printed world of the zombie in my opinion, as it actually explores what happens to governments and the average person in a crisis such as the zombie apocalypse and as the full title suggests, is “an oral history of the zombie war”. This is followed closely by Stephen King’s The Cell and Max Brooks’ other novel, The Zombie Survival Guide. There are others, such as the mash up novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but have a look at The Buyer’s Guide to Zombie Books for the good ones.

The most notable printed form of zombie right now, has to be The Walking Dead monthly comic book series, published by Image Comics. It has resulted in a TV series produced by AMC and has secured the rights for a second season with 13 episodes. Reception for the TV series has been pretty good, but as of episode five, aired a few days before this post, has started deviating from the comic book series, which could be a good or bad thing. Time will tell how successful the series turns out to be, but I hope it isn’t screwed up by the writers and producers, because I have recently started reading the comic and it rocks.

While doing some research for this post, I also discovered that World War Z is being made into a movie, starring Brad Pitt.

BRAINS!!!!!

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The World Is F***ed #1: Censorship

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Image by mUAr_cHEe via Flickr

Since when has everyone in the world become a bunch of moaning, bitching, easily offended, idiotic, spoon fed, (insert adjective of choice here) pansies?

Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention when the memo went out, but I first noticed it when when Cee Lo Green‘s awesome song, ‘Fuck You’, became ‘Forget You’ on radio. Seriously? Forget is a legitimate substitute for Fuck? Most of you probably are wondering what the hell I’m talking about. And this is my problem: Most people know the song as ‘Forget You’, but the song is called ‘FUCK You’, not ‘Forget You’. I played the proper version for a friend, kingtyrone and even he agreed the song was suddenly completely different. The only way to understand is to watch the video below and compare it with the bullshit radio-friendly version.

Then I started paying attention. You know those annoying customer care centers? You ever notice that the amount of disclaimers and legal crap that they have to read to you and that you have to agree to before they actually help you has increased. What used to take 5 minutes to do over the phone, now takes twice as long. You can’t even buy a data bundle from MTN for your 3G modem now without having to listen to 10 minutes of explanations and indemnity clauses, before you can get your bundle. A little while back it was as simple as loading a voucher and then clicking on the bundle you wanted in the MTN F@stlink software.

Even those stupid sales calls for insurance and cellphone contracts we don’t need have got them now. Soon you’ll have to sign a 20 page contract to load airtime on your phone.

We’re making it worse and honestly, I’d hate to see what this generation of children are going to be like. I was listening to a friend talking about his kids and the school they’re at. When I was a kid and I didn’t do my homework, the teacher would call me up to the front of class and I’d get my ass beaten. The other kids would go “Ooh!” and “Aah!” each time the (bat/stick/plank/any blunt wooden instrument and even a broken golf club) hit you ass. Next time you would make sure you did your homework. What happens now? The school informs the parent ,who must then deal with it. Huh? What the hell is that? Isn’t that what I pay you to do? Even as parents you are not allowed to punish your child like that anymore.

What we need is one big global bitch-slap. Everyone in the world needs to stop whatever the fuck they are doing and just bitch-slap whoever is next to them at the same time. Young, old, big, small, male, female, it doesn’t matter who you are. You just give the person next to you the hardest, baddest, guilt-free bitch-slap ever. No regrets, no retaliation, we just carry on as normal. A guy can dream…

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Out With The Old…

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A while back I wrote a blog, “Are You Geek?”, but then as time went on, I could not fit what I was writing in with my blog. It was very frustrating and I just dropped everything.

The Tequila Thursday Writing Club

The Tequila Thursday Writing Club

Then along came a opportunity that I hoped would bring me back: a few people I know decided to form a writers group called “The Tequila Thursday Writing Club” and I duly joined. At first we had no idea what we were doing and there were a few occasions in those first couple of weeks where things went downhill very quickly – we are the TEQUILA Thursday Writing club after all ;)

But then things settled down and even though we weren’t sure we could handle meeting every week in the beginning, the once or twice that we couldn’t meet, for whatever reason, or if we missed a writer’s club as individuals, we were curious to know what had happened on the night. Several people also started following the blog at thewritersclub.co.za.

It definitely got my creative juices flowing, but my old blog still seemed wrong somehow. The weeks went by as we followed Julia Cameron‘s “The Artists Way” and by the end we all had all decided to also do NaNoWriMo, which I think will be awesome!

I then decided to create this new blog for myself, more fitting to who I am now. And so, little ideas began to form alongside my Nano’s ever growing universe. But being the procrastinator that I am it has taken way longer to come together that it should have. I couldn’t even settle on where to host the blog… But eventually here we are and I hope this is gonna be the blog I intend it to be!

 


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