Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Does your dreaming have a deeper meaning?

I'm struggling to get rid of a sinusitis left over from a cold. I have horrific sinuses that generally behave badly.

So last night I dreamt I was consulting House, the TV doctor.

In the dream, a friend was moving away (overseas or something) and I was sick. House (through incredible powers of deduction and detection that I actually had a friend that was moving away) prescribed some happy pills saying my illness was caused by the stress, loneliness and unhappiness of my friend moving away.

Wow. That seems a little close to the bone.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How stupid does the ANC think we are?

The debate about the ANC's media bill continues.

The latest is Jacob Zuma's letter admonishing anybody for arguing against it.

The Daily Maverick has a good analysis of the key parts.

The ANC argues that nobody should worry about them using the media laws for censorhsip or other evil. They are the ANC and elected due to their strong moral compass.

The one simple arrow that shoots straight to the heart of the ANC's argument is this: the test of a good law is whether the lawmaker would be comfortable with the law in another party's hands. Would the ANC be happy if the proposed media laws were used by the DA, or even the old NP?

Friday, August 06, 2010

When will the new south african political activism start?

This past week has surely been my most frightening in the new south african context.

The arrest and detention of Mzilikazi wa Afrika ( and the furore about the anc's attempts to clamp down on press freedom mark the most worrying event since chris hani's assassination.

I previously blogged about the arrest of a jogger for showing the finger at president zuma's cavalcade. Stringing these events together appears to show a governing party increasingly favouring the authoritarian style of zanu pf and other parties to our north.

Given the shocking levels of corruption and crime in south africa, when will people begin to rise up and say enough is enough? When will the songs be written and the concerts be organised? When will people march demanding change?

Surely it is getting to that stage.
Sent via my BlackBerry

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Do you hate Jeremy Maggs?

My gosh. I seldom watch the TV news in South Africa due to work times. I read copious amounts of press online though.

I caught eTV Newsnight on the eTV news channel on DSTV tonight though.

Cue Jeremy Maggs interviewing Sean Smith - deputy head of law enforcement in Cape Town. The story was about moving homeless people off the streets ahead of the world cup.

Clearly Maggs has been impressed by his colleague Deborah Patta's style of beligerent, rude interviewing. Not that he started in the polite school.

My gosh, kudos to Smith. He held his temper, while looking puzzled at Maggs' style.

eTV - get rid of Maggs. He's useless.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Do they show South African city workers Discovery?

Just watched Discovery HD's "NYC Inside Out."

Wow. NYC's intesnity is something else. Workers there work like there is no tomorrow.

I've once watched workers retarring a New York street. Now NYC streets are often pretty awful - covered in steel plating and cones over sewers. But watching the workers retarring a street is poetry in high gear. They move in en masse. Any parked cars that are not moved are lifted and put on the sidewalk - nothing stops the machine.

New Yorkers also talk the game constantly. The workers shout aggressively as though there is no one more important.

Watching this episode on Discovery, shows just that kind of experience. Water workers excavating at night to join buildings to the grid so as not to knock out the water supply. Layered concrete below the tarmac to protect the piping. And all done at frentic pace and high audio volume. You can quite imagine the shift boss getting an ulcer from the stress.

If only our workers could see this. Man. They've been working on the water in my suburb for 3 months! And Joburg's road quality problems are now the stuff of legend.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Am I doomed to repeat this?

I'm struggling right now.

I mentioned I'm in love again. And here.

After not seeing R for a long time while I was away and then he was busy with work, I saw quite a bit of him last week. I loved every moment. Braaing, out drinking and playing golf. Loved just chatting and shooting the breeze. Loved being close to him.

He seems at ease with me and we're just like a couple of boys together.

And it's that old thing of being grateful for each moment, but knowing that it will go no further. Seemingly pleasure and agony in equal measure.

Over the past year I've looked for people who are accessible - on Datingbuzz and Mamba. The guys I'm interested in are not interested in me. I'm not sure why. But it seems that the people I'm destined to love - and those I might - are unreachable.

I'm meeting with someone off Mamba for coffee tomorrow. He's not long term potential - I'm 36 and he is 23. But it might be fun, and I could do with some of that.

But even with that I'm just cut up about R.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's illegal to zap / swear at the president?

I cannot believe this story!

It sounds like something out of the days of apartheid, with policemen bundling someone into a car with a bag over their head and NIA agents raiding their house.

I am so angry! To me, this is the equivalent of flag burning - or even more acceptable - in the realms of freedom of speech.

After recently watching Invictus and marvelling at Mandela's approach to his security in the spirit of reconciliation, this contrast reminds me of the madness of Mugabe.

Frankly, much of Zuma's conduct with respect to corruption, rewarding those who helped quash charges against him, and his sleeping around reminds me of Mugabe.

Man swore at president, says ministry

From Iol

February 16 2010 at 06:20PM

The 25-year-old student arrested for "waving" at President Jacob Zuma's convoy last week swore at the president and resisted arrest, a spokesman has said.

Police Ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi said Chumani Maxwele had pointed his middle finger at the president. He said this gesture was synonymous with swearing and showing disrespect.

"No person is permitted to use foul language, swear at another individual, especially as such conduct may lead to promoting hate conduct in the Republic," said Mnisi.

The Sowetan reported on Tuesday that Maxwele had been arrested for "waving on" Zuma's convoy while jogging in De Waal Drive, Cape Town.

A black BMW pulled up and three men jumped out, allegedly pointing guns at him. He was then pushed into a car. A bag was pulled over his head and he was then allegedly taken to Zuma's residence before being taken to the Mowbray police station.

Maxwele, an active ANC member, was held for just under 24 hours. He was allegedly interrogated by intelligence agents who asked for, among other things, the names of his friends and the name of the chairmen of his ANC branch.

He said his house had been raided by plainclothes policemen while he was in custody. He was released before appearing in court.

Mnisi said Maxwele had become aggressive on the day of the incident when the police stopped to question him about his actions.

"He became aggressive and began to swear at them. They then arrested him, charged him with crimen injuria and resisting arrest," said Mnisi.

"He was detained and later transferred to Mowbray Police Station, which has jurisdiction over the area of offence."

Mnisi called Maxwele's conduct towards the police "unacceptable".

"It will not be tolerated," he said.

Mnisi declined to comment about allegations that agents of the National Intelligence Agency had raided Maxwele's house or interrogated him.

"We further need to clarify that the matter was handled solely by the police, as it forms part of our mandate of protecting all VIPs," said Mnisi.

He did not answer a question about whether Zuma himself had pressed charges against Mxwele.

Zizi Kodwa, the president's spokesman, declined to comment, claiming it was a "security issue". - Sapa

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

UPDATE: Is this the fall of the US?


New in today is that the gulf states are reconsidering the pricing of oil in US Dollars. They're considering a basket of currencies and commodities.

This is exactly what I suggested might be the outcome in my previous post. Do the sheiks read this blog....?

The US Dollar could only defy gravity for so long. The crime as been the US government and Fed presiding over deficits for this length of time.

It is equivalent to a household borrowing money to pay for living expenses (including lots of luxuries) and then each month getting more debt to pay for further expenses - and to pay off the previous month's debt. Eventually, banks are going to say, "Hey, we'd don't believe you'll be able to pay us back."

Now imagine the household is buying on credit at stores and borrowing money from banks to pay off the accounts. Imagine the sore keeper starts to get worried about your ability to borrow to pay your account, and stops giving you further credit.

That is exactly the situation the US faces.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are traditions sacred? Who will stop the dolphin and whale culls?

I read this story this morning about the annual dolphin and whale cull in Taiji, Japan.

I felt sick to my stomach.

It reminds me of the debate about ritual slaughters of goats and cattle in South Africa, where Xhosa people viewed the criticism of backyard slaughters as racist.

"Dolphin-killing may be bad for our international image, but we can't just issue an order for it to stop."

"I think we are the victims of a form of racism," said one, as we watched the pilot whales being herded out of sight to be killed. "Westerners slaughter cattle and other animals in the most inhumane ways imaginable, but no one says a word. Why is it that only Japan gets this kind of treatment?"

Sounds very familiar.

The point is that slaughter of any form is regrettable. That animals have to die that we may eat. However, if animals are brought up and slaughtered in a humane way, this at least draws from a sustainable resource in a way that minimizes stress and suffering.

The slaughter of whales and dolphins satisfies a blood lust preserved in the name of tradition, attacks threatened species, and causes massive suffering to the most intelligent animals.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What technologies make mobile life easier?

The rush and movement of my holiday necessitated getting my communication optimised. I arrived in the UK and loaded a Vodafone pre-paid SIM bought on a previous trip. It did not work. Vodafone expires their pre-paid SIMs after 3 months of inactivity. So I made use of roaming on my South African Vodacom account for the first two days of my holiday in the UK. I stayed in a reasonable hotel in Bayswater with Wi-Fi and began my technology upgrade.

I downloaded Google Maps Mobile over the hotel Wi-Fi to my laptop and transferred it to my phone. What a brilliant application. It works off cell phone mast triangulation (accuracy varies depends on the masts in the area) or it can use your phone's GPS.

I have an HTC Touch Diamond which I bought some time back due to its full suite of technologies (wi-fi, GPS, FM radio, Bluetooth 2.0, 3.2 megapixel camera, HSDPA, 3G, EDGE, GPRS) and its size. It has an iPhone-like touch interface, but following the iPhone shortly after its launch, it had a fuller complement of technologies and was about half the size. It integrates well with email, supporting multiple IMAP and POP3 accounts. It's been a great phone with only one shortcoming - the feature set overwhelms its battery which often hardly lasts a day. The GPS has to be used in a car connected to power, or it drains the battery in about 20 minutes.

I also downloaded Skype for Mobile to make calls back to SA at a cheaper rate while away.

I thought I had the North American maps for Co-Pilot, my Navteq-based GPS software. When I reached the US, I found I did not. I paid for the US and South African maps and then assumed I had access. But I then discovered they needed to be downloaded. As an HTC user, the maps are difficult to get hold of as CoPilot is bundled with the phone. They must be purchased and you then have to email support to get the link to download. Other users purchase the Co-Pilot software and then use its desktop console to download the maps. The North American maps were 1GB. By the time I reached Los Vegas and was about to hire a car, I discovered I did not have the maps. In discovering this I used 12mb of data on roaming while sitting at the side of the road - this alone cost me R1400. I eventually made it to my destination in Los Angeles using Google Maps. This is really not ideal as you have to read off the screen - difficult while driving and navigating the myriad of freeways in LA. CoPilot GPS has voice prompting.

After making contact with Co-Pilot European support from my hotel, I downloaded 250Mb before I had to check out. I downloaded the remainder when I reached my cousins. I was now in position to use the GPS maps and verbal direction on my drive up the west coast.

I had forgotten my iPod in South Africa and bought the new Nano in New York to listen to Depeche Mode and U2 prior to their concerts. At $199 for the 16Gb Nano, it was an expensive mistake. Now I have two...

I went to the New York store RCS Experience to buy a long-life battery for my Lenovo T60 notebook. My previous battery had reached the end of its useful life, and I have always wanted something for long plane journey's etc. It was a crazily expensive purchase in South Africa, and slightly cheaper in New York ($166).

While there I found a point-and-shoot camera, to complement my Canon EOS D20. It is the truly amazing Canon Digital IXUS 960IS - it takes 12 Megapixel photos and shoots HD video. It was quite an expensive purchase (about $300) with another $65 for an 8Gb extreme speed SD card.

A productivity aid I've longed for is a bluetooth keyboard for my phone. I bought a Freedom universal fold-up keyboard. It is amazing. It provides an almost full size keyboard and with office mobile on my phone, this allows me to work comfortably in a coffee shop on my phone. That cost about $80 and was one of my best purchases.

The truly impulse purchase was a set of binoculars. I've never had a pair, and end up using the telephoto lens on my camera in the bush. I found a cheapish pair of Bushnell binocs with an SD slot that allows you to take a 3.2 Megapixel photo of whatever you're viewing through the lens. They cost $240 - a long way short of the $3000-odd dollar starting price for Leica and other pedigrees.

I put the camera to good use and took some nice pictures and videos at the Depeche Mode and U2 Concerts, and while playing golf. I don't really do typical tourist pictures - you can always download really good ones off the net. I resolved during this trip that that was a poor excuse. In future I will look to take a good photo and help preserve a memory.

I began this resolution in LA at Universal pictures - where I was dismayed my Canon EOS D20 stopped working. It gave a Compact Flash error, yet the CF disk worked on a flash reader. That was really irritating, especially after hauling the camera half way round the world. When I got back I reformatted the disk and it's now working again.

I attempted to get a US pre-paid contract while in the US to reduce my burgeoning cell phone bill. I found that the US pre-paid contracts have no data portion. How irritating. That cost me a lot of money as I continued to access Google maps, etc while roaming.

Once back in the UK, I switched to a new Vodafone pre-paid account. I had a nightmare setting the account up, which I will detail in a comprehensive bitch about Vodafone service in another post. But once on that I was able to sustain a week's comprehensive data access and calls for less than £15.