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New country, new blog…

4 Aug

Hello, everyone!

Sincerest apologies for such a long absence… Just a note to let you know that I have moved on from this space and am now blogging at http://jozitosussex.wordpress.com/ :).

Hope to get in touch with you soon!

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I’m back!

25 May

Before I write my next “real” blog, just a quick note to excuse my lengthy absence. To use the oldest one in the book – life’s just been “busy”.

Good-busy, to be fair.

First off, I got engaged! So, like a typical bride-to-be, I’ve been perving over dresses and venues in my spare time.

Our engagement!

Our engagement!

Also – happy dance! – I landed a job writing for an online women’s magazine. Which is crazy-amazing, and something that would not have happened without this blog and its readers. So thank you for visiting my page and thank you for giving me the confidence to apply for the job. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I feel like a real writer!

I feel like a real writer!

I spent some time in Europe as well, but wrote about it for the magazine. I couldn’t really make up any words or swear a bit like I usually do, but I like the pieces nonetheless. It’s quite an adjustment writing for someone else. Never before have phrases like “fun for the whole family!” been edited into my pieces, but I’m not complaining. The magazine has given me a platform to participate in something bigger than myself, and I feel incredibly blessed to have been given an opportunity like this.

If you’d like to indulge me and read some magazine pieces, my portfolio is at http://all4women.co.za/author/CaroE/.

I quite like my London piece – feel like that’s the first one in which I succeeded writing “like me”.

Lastly – and not too excitingly – work’s been pretty demanding. But that’s no excuse not to write, as all we bloggers know.

Promise to be back again soon :).

Grumpy humour: A top 10

20 Feb

I’m a sucker for grumpy humour. Where most people stopped watching My Family when Nick disappeared, I happily carry on watching because of my favourite character – the universally disliked Ben Harper – is still there. A grumpy old dentist who basically hates his life and everything in it, he’s TV’s ultimate grumpy old man.

But this post is not about Ben Harper – it’s about a book that reads as if it was written by him: Is it just me, or is everything shit?

Ben Harper - the grumpiest, funniest bugger on TV

Ben Harper – the grumpiest, funniest bugger on TV

This book is not to be found on any current best seller list, and is probably not even easily available at the shops anymore. I found it at an Exclusive Books sale years ago, and rediscovered it this week.

Almost 300 pages of pure disgruntledness about, well, everything.It’s fabulous when you just hate the world and all its Polyannas. (It’s also the sort of thing the Erasmus and Snyman cousins find hilarious – so here’s to Carli, me, Iranda, Caroline and Lara. I’m not sure why we have such a sick sense of humour, but I love it.)

Allow me to share my personal Top 10 entries:

1. Unnecessary Greeting Cards

“For my wife…On Mother’s Day.” Such messages are presumably intended to carry the subtext “For my wife on Mother’s Day, because, as you know, I tend to think of you as my mother.”

“Congratulations on your divorce!” Presumably comes with the message: “Roses are red / Violets are blue / You didn’t get the house / But you did get the canoe!”

“Congratulations on your teeth whitening!”

2. The Markets’ Reaction

Whenever a new terrorist catastrophe hits a major Western city, the first thought on every citizen’s mind is: Hmm, I wonder how my shares are doing. Oh, that’s right, I don’t have any. Still, I wonder how other people’s shares are doing… This is why, after the 7/7 bombings, news networks speedily escorted viewers away from the sites of the atrocities and toward the City of London to discover how “the markets” might be affected. And what did our correspondents tell us? Stocks remained “resilient.” Thank G*d.

Rich douche

Rich douche

(As a personal side note – I’m writing this in a coffee shop in Johannesburg. Often work from here. Table next to me has 3 typical “big city” JHB idiots who probably DO consider the markets’ reaction before anything else. Don’t expect any less from people who spend coffee with friends bragging about their stock portfolios and bank balances. Groan.)

3. Paying off your mortgage in 2 years

Top tip to save money to do this: Kill yourself.

There’s no surer way to spend less than being dead. As a bonus, any insurance policies you hold will be paying out like a fruit machine with three triple bars on hold… Irony is free, so treat yourself to a highly poignant death by smashing your brains open against the window of your bank… Now, for insurance reasons, it needs to look like an accident. You’ll need a big run-up to get enough force to kill yourself, so start from the other side of the road while looking down the street and smiling and waving into the distance, as if you have just seen an old acquaintance and have become distracted. Just keep running until you hit the bank and hopefully die… Also remember, in the days leading up to killing yourself, that you can save money by not eating anything or turning on any lights.

4. Sex tips

Some people are so expert at sex that they become “sexperts”. Some of the most common sex tips include the following:

Breathe on each other. As one of you breathes in, the other breathes out, so you inhale each other’s breath. Breathing – it rocks!

Don’t underestimate the erotic power of the elbow. Find out what you can do with yours and before long your love buddy will be dragging you upstairs as soon as you walk in the door!

Sexy!

Sexy!

Lather up each other’s pubic regions with shampoo to make amusing shapes. Laughter is a great way of creating a sexy atmosphere!?!?

Stuff each other’s mouths full of cheese – then lick each other all over. You’ll be amazed at the new sensations you both experience!

5. Kitsch Knickknack shops

“Ooh”, people think, “a present shop. Maybe I can get a present in this shop for presents and thus satisfy my present-buying needs.” Then they go inside and remember it’s actually a festival of shit with price tags on. You can find:

George Bush fridge magnets – you can dress him up as either Shirley Temple or Wonder Woman

Numerous cards featuring a picture of a 1950s housewife and a rude slogan – something like, ON SUNDAYS, DOREEN ENJOYED NOTHING BETTER THAN A GOOD SPIT ROAST

1950's housewife

1950’s housewife

A monkey. With the head of a monkey.

Of course, no-one actually wants this crap. But they get it anyway…

6. Celebrity perfumes and product lines

Celebrity fragrances have rubbish names. There’s Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker; David Beckham’s Instinct; True Star Gold by Beyonce… Sean John’s scent is Unforgivable. By which we don’t mean that it’s unforgivable, although it probably is.

Pop sensation Usher has his own line of credit cards aimed at impressionable teenagers. Sort of like saying, “Hey kids, if you enjoyed my album Confessions, you’ll love a life of debt!”

7. Ads for credit cards

Your life is not exciting enough, quite simply, because you haven’t borrowed enough money. That much should be self-evident. Borrowing money may make you taller. You will have a nicer smile, and have read more books – while still finding time for that all-important Jet-skiing holiday.

8. Baby name books

Nobody has ever found a good name in a baby book because most of the entries are things like Hadrian, Dylis, Mortimer, and Binky. Oh yes, and Adolf.

The UK’s Collins Gem version genuinely point out that the name has never been popular and received a further setback with the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Setback? I’ll say.

9. Porsche SUV’s

Want an SUV so you can loom over other road users like the US Army? But also want something sporty to accelerate ludicrously away from the lights before suddenly braking at the next roundabout?

Then the Porsche Cayenne is the car for you: two utterly pointless vehicles in one. No-one likes you.

10. Yummy mommies

Don’t just lie there! It’s been two hours since you’ve given birth. Get on that treadmill now. Or you’re never going to “snap right back” by the end of the week. Society expects!

Naughty, naughty!

Naughty, naughty!


Also, if you don’t spend on your child in its first 3 months the same as a yearly wage, then your child will be ugly and stupid. And who wants that?

***

Absolutely loved this book – treat yourself and find it online. The authors are Steve Lowe, Alan McArthur and Brendan Hay.

15 Jan

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

3 reasons you should watch Pocahontas again

12 Jan

paint

Image 

 One thing I love about our movie channels’ repeat-repeat schedule is that they’ve made room for some good, old-fashioned Disney.

The current pick is Pocahontas. Here are 3 reasons to catch it pretty much any time on channels 103 through 107.

1. Oh my soul – the songs!

Not to sound like an old woman, but they really don’t make kids’ films the way they used to. Nemo may be cute – and now he’s cute in 3D! – but don’t tell me he taught you any life lessons worth singing about.  Having a mildly retarded character repeatedly bob around telling you to just keep swimming cannot possibly compare to the songs in Pocahontas.

Instead of simply telling kids to blindly just keep on keeping on, the old school Disney is about so much more. They’re about bravery, integrity, love. To boot, the songs are well-written and always sung by a character you want to admire rather than own a soft toy of.

Assuming you haven’t watched Pocahontas recently – again, it’s on repeat all the time – a short recap of the most inspiring life-lesson lyrics:

You think the only people who are people, are people who look and think like you.

But we are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends

Life lessons: Tolerance / anti-arrogance / acceptance / open mindedness / That tree in Avatar meets the Rainbow nation!

You can own the earth, but still

All you’ll own is earth until you can paint with all the colours of the wind

Something us rat-racers need to take careful note of… Accumulating Stuff can never replace the miracle of appreciating the vast richness that God has freely given us in Nature, and in our own souls.  Pity how our workaholic, status-hungry and show-offy culture makes it almost impossible to (make time to) see value in the small things.

2. Best pet characters ever

Percy the pug: Probably the gayest dog ever drawn to life, Percy wears shower caps in the bath and eats treats wrapped in perfect purple bows. If real life pugs weren’t so gross, I’d get one and make it gay like Percy.

Image

Meiko the racoon: I love fat animals. Especially when they stuff their cheeks with biscuits and wave at people.

Percy meets Meiko: Slapstick hilarity that the Aristocats and Lady and Tramp are just too dignified for. Gay Percy chases fat Meiko. Fat Meiko runs into a hollow log. Gay Percy follows. Log becomes forest monster with head of racoon and legs of dog. (I admit – my sense of humour can be childish).

 

3. Remember your kid self

Pocahontas has been my second favourite Disney princess since I can remember. I could never stand Snow White or Cinderella. The only one I prefered to Pocahontas is Beauty and the Beast’s Belle.

The princesses that Little Kid Me admired were the independent ones who sang about travel and adventure – and happened to find a man to love instead. 

Almost prophetic how that’s exactly where I’d find myself 2 decades on – happily coupled up instead of being the single-girl jet setter I thought I’d be.

Though life seems to have a tendency to turn out different yet somehow better, revisiting those stories that inspired and validated you as a child brings back parts of your  psyche that real-world worries and mundanity have quashed.

It reminds you to find a way to stop simply digging for gold when you (and your man – yay!) should be – excuse this lame ending – painting with the colours of the wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screw Dickens – this is the best opening page ever.

1 May

Poetry.

To all of those who, like me, are struggling with purpose, destiny and certainty.

This is a short copy and paste post.

 Read aloud, and absorb:

 Page 1, Damage, Josephine Hart:

 There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives. Those who are lucky enough to find it, ease like water over a stone, on to its fluid contours, and are home.

 Some find it in the place of their birth; others may leave a seaside town, parched, and find themselves refreshed in the desert. There are those born in the countryside who are really only at ease in the intense and busy loneliness of the city.

For some, the search is for the imprint of another; a child or a mother, a grandfather or a brother, a lover, a husband, a wife or a foe.

 We may go through our lives happy or unhappy, successful or unfulfilled, loved or unloved, without ever standing cold with the shock of recognition, without ever feeling the agony as the twisted iron in our soul unlocks itself,

and we slip at last into place.

 

I’ll leave it at that.

Hope it speaks to you as it did to me…

Truly, poetry dressed as prose.

 

 

 

Kony Baloney

16 Apr

Stop watching YouTube and read, dammit!

I honestly don’t know what to make of Invisible Children. Frankly, the campaign has been getting on my nerves along with such tosh as “Picture of the Day!” and “Facebook user answered a question about Facebook user!”.

Just too much.

I was convinced that it was more Charit-me than Charity. You know, something that makes absolutely no tangible difference other than giving people a fuzzy “I’m-such-a-good-person feeling.”

I hate things like that – if you want to make a real difference, watching viral videos and solemnly discussing them before heading off to the Square is not the way to do it.

Be that as it may, I cannot deny that Kony2012 has done wonders for making all of us aware of the situation in Uganda, and I applaud those using it as a springboard to do something real. (To my friends at http://intentionalliving.co.za/, I apologise for my comment regarding your latest campaign. I just saw one too many STOP AT NOTHING! KONY 2012! posts that day. Mostly followed by those same people complaining about inanities like traffic, Kony long forgotten.)

 The problem is, Kony2012 is simply not as accurate as it pretends to be.

To everyone taking the situation in Uganda seriously (and here I suppose I include those of us who only write and talk about it), it’s time to look beyond the unashamedly emotionally manipulative Invisible Children and start reading more widely.

Not being someone who makes a habit of reading books on War and Africa, I can with absolute confidence recommend Jane Bussman’s The Worst Date Ever to start with. A comedy writer accidentally turned African correspondent, the book follows her journey from Los Angeles to Uganda and back. Written with devil-may-care wit and humor, Bussman has succeeded in making the topic a genuinely interesting read.

Following her encounters and investigations, one soon realises that Kony isn’t the only bad guy in Uganda. The government itself – Invisible Children’s “good guys” – is not much better.

According to Bussman’s sources, Kony’s LRA has repeatedly attempted peace negotiations with religious leaders only to be sabotaged by Government Forces. Just to be clear  – the LRA is beyond fucked up, but what I’m trying to say is that the Government might not want him gone. His presence, after all, brings in gazillions of Dollars in Aid money that seem to end up right in their pockets.

Did you know, for example, that the thousands of citizens living in so-called “Protected Camps” were forced to be there? And don’t be fooled by the name – these camps, with families prostituting their daughters for a ration of porridge, are anything but safe and happy spaces. Of the food that does get there, the main supplier is a company owned and profited from by the President’s dear, darling daughter. To add insult to injury, Kony’s rebels reportedly have no trouble getting in anyway.

Point is, the Ugandan story is more complicated than Kony2012 and their own child army of Facebook warriors have made it out to be.

 If you don’t feel like the reading the book, read this article instead:

 http://blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/8007/2012-03-08.html

 It’s time we see that “The Full Story” is the only invisible thing in Invisible Children.