Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A tree stronger than a bridge?

As I watch the footage of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, it blows me away (sorry, only saw that after I'd written this...) that in the scenes of devastation, trees stand amongst the wreckage, while concrete bridges lie in pieces.

The power of nature vs. the pride of man. Humbling stuff.

Trees stand amidst the destruction
Photo: ABC News

A highway leading to New Orleans lies in pieces

Monday, August 29, 2005

Don't you hate being ignored?


People should know that if they're busy, whatever, just answer and say, "Can't talk now. Can we chat on Wednesday?"

But you know when the phone rings and you know you're being ignored?

Dammit. Drives me up the wall.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Am I gay?

Not exactly a question that drives most of us mad, but a few may have considered it.

Why don't we all ask the question? Well I guess there are a few possible answers:

  • We push the question out of our minds because we're so uncomfortable with society's / our friends' / our family's reaction to the potential answer

  • We are revolted at the thought of gay life and wouldn't even consider being with someone of the same sex - not even a kiss - yugh!

  • We are just so straight (attracted to the opposite sex) it's not even a possibility

  • Being gay would mean being less male / female

  • If we were prepared to ask the question, then the answer must be obvious - we're gay.

  • There is a question?

  • Well those of you who read this blog know that I question most things.

    It's not exactly a new question.

    Some years ago I fell in love with my best friend. Before this I'd felt attracted to some guys, but rationalised it away. So isn't the answer obvious then? Thing is, just as I'm attracted to some guys, I'm still attracted to some girls. See for example Keira, Natalie and Scarlett. Big fan. And believe me, the thought of most guys fills me with the typical guy reaction - yugh! So I'm bisexual then. Right?

    Never one to go with the flow, the real question for me has been why would I feel either way.

    I guess this comes down to the nature vs. nurture question. Let me say right now I'm a big believer in the nurture side of things. Babe raised by wolves thinks it's a wolf, behaves like a wolf, etc. I always think there is truth in both sides of any argument, and so I hear the fact that some people might be predisposed to being gay or not.

    And let me say that I hear the argument that says just go with what feels right. I'm not a big believer in this though. I like to know why or if there is a why. Yeah, if I can't figure out the why, or realise there is no specific why, then I'll go with the feeling.

    Let me also say that I completely hear the argument that says be true to yourself. I'm ready to be straight or gay - or bi. Easy to say, but I do believe that living a lie is pointless and not only hurts you but all those around you.

    So why might I feel one way or the other? And does the why matter?

    It's funny. I'm attracted to guys who could be me - only better. Better looking, better at sports achievement, whatever. Complication - they're always straight.

    Like the best friend. Wow. The ultimate over-achiever - sports and life in general. Good looking. I told him about it and we lost touch for about three years. He's in a different country. We correspond now and talk on the phone and will doubtless get together in the future. He's pretty supportive and has only really said "Be true to yourself" with regard to my discussion with him from three years ago.

    Maybe it's an overachiever / perfectionist thing. I believe that what some of us look for in girls is based on the same issue - we're as good as the fish we catch. Doesn't just have to be girls. It could be any of the trophies of success such as cars, houses, etc.

    But why guys? I struggled for approval / fighting unfair times at school. Sometimes I wonder if I'm still looking for approval.

    So that's the over-rationalising part of me. I'm sure many people will just say "Deee Ni Al!"

    Never one to attack things from one angle, after years of putting it off, I bit the bullet (so to speak) recently and went out with a gay guy. It was fun, but frankly, no more fireworks than I've had with some girls.

    I smiled at eKapa's strip joint experience recently. Those girls didn't feel my hipbone. HA HA HA. But there's another post (Oy vey, the pun opportunities are endless, aren't they).

    David Bowie was once asked about his sexuality (given the Ziggy Stardust days, not surprising). They asked if he was bi-sexual. He replied, "Actually I think I'm tri-sexual - I went through a phase where I'd try anything!"

    I'll experiment some more and we'll see. At the same time I'm working on being happier with me. I've been pretty happy with me for the last 10 years or so. I have achieved. I'm good looking. I have a good sense of humour. I'm fun to be with.

    I know the secret is getting over myself. Part of that is forgiving the kid that was me from a long time ago. He was a pretty good kid. Didn't deserve a lot of the shit he went through, which was more about the other kids than it was about him.

    I'm also pretty secure in who I am. I adore sport. I love being a typically straight acting guy. Whether I am straight or gay won't change or endanger that.

    Wow. Funny how we tend to challenge everything at the same time isn't it? Interesting times.

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Has anyone made a movie about you lately?

    Wow. I can't believe it. I just saw the movie "In good company." I swear, they case studied me for the script.

    "In Good Company" Movie Synopsis from Filmmaker and Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Paul Weitz ("About a Boy") turns his complex sense of humor on "In Good Company," an insightful comedy about the relationship between a 50-year-old businessman and his new, 26-year-old boss.
    Dan Foreman (played by Dennis Quaid) is headed for a shakeup. He is demoted from head of ad sales for a major magazine when the company he works for is acquired in a corporate takeover. His new boss, Carter Duryea (played by Topher Grace) is half his age--a business school prodigy who preaches corporate Synergy. While Dan develops clients through handshake deals and relationships, Carter cross-promotes the magazine with the cell phone division and "Krispity Krunch," an indeterminate snack food under the same corporate umbrella.

    Both men are going through turmoil at home. Dan has two daughters--Alex, age 18, and Jana, age 16--and is shocked when his wife tells him she's pregnant with a new child. Between college tuition, the mortgage and a new baby, Dan can't afford to lose his job in the wave of corporate layoffs. Carter, in the meanwhile, is dumped by his wife of seven months just as he gets his promotion. Dan and Carter's uneasy friendship is thrown into jeopardy when Tom falls for, and begins an affair with, Dan's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson).

    See high-resolution Quicktime trailer here (3,2MB).

    The long high-resolution Quicktime trailer (gives a great overview of the movie) here (22MB).

    The long low-resolution Quicktime trailer here (5,3MB).

    The movie is about a young kid who gets put in charge of a sales department of a company's flagship publication. Why is it about me? Well he is in charge of people twice his age, notably the now demoted sales manager played by Dennis Quaid. I have always been the young kid.

    Apparently the movie is directed by the same guy that did "About a boy." What a fantastic effort. Watching, it was like being hit between the eyes every few minutes with a truism.

    SPOILER WARNING - I'm going to mention some stuff from the movie now, so choose whether to read on if you are going to see the movie.

    Kid is in the lift with Scarlett Johansson (Dennis Quaid's character's daughter) going up to the office for his first day of work. They chit-chat and she asks if he's an new intern. "No," he says, "I'm starting a new job. I have no idea what I'm doing - don't tell anyone." Wow have I had that moment as I've gone in on a highly paid assignment and not had a clue as to where I'm going to start. And all the old guys look at me (I'm now 31 - I started consulting when I was 22) and think, "I've been doing this for 20 years, how is this punk going to do it better?"

    Kid has gatecrashed his way to dinner at Quaid's character's house and is chatting to the daughter. He says, "Sometimes I feel, 'What if my life has peaked at 26?'" Oh wow. Given my current circumstance, don't I wonder that everyday.

    Quaid's character goes in to a sales meeting with kid. Kid has black eye where Quaid smacked him after finding out kid had been seeing his daughter. Customer (old guy) asks, "What happened to your eye?" Quaid tells customer, "I taught him a lesson." Later on after sale is made, kid says, "You were fantastic in there. How did you do that?" Quaid's character replies, "He hates his young son-in-law [son-in-law works for guy who made purchase - has used up whole budget on Internet, etc]. He needed to feel like he was sticking it to his son-in-law. And that sale will be good for his company too." Oh grief, if that is not the sum total of the lessons of my sales experience. As a snotty nosed kid, I've gone in there with the answer so many times, all the reasons why we could do the job. All the reasons they needed us. All the reasons it was worth the millions. Because I couldn't connect with the older / blacker / femaler / whateverer buyer as a kid. Couldn't talk about our kids, whatever. Lesson: sales is about satisfying a desire. It might have very little to do with the purchase. If you can do that and you are confident that the sale will be good for the buyer, go for it. Find the way to connect with the desire.

    BIG SPOILER: definitely don't read next bit if you're going to see the movie.

    Kid has moved on and Dennis Quaid is back in his job. Quaid tries to hire him and kid turns down offer, saying he needs to take some time to figure out what he is going to do with his life. Wierd how I had it all planned out at 21. At 31, a whole lot has happened, I'm fairly well off, very good at what I do. But somehow the plan disappeared and at my ripe old age, it's time for a reality check.

    Oh, and did I mention the movie has Scarlett Johansson - what a babe

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Why didn't you call?

    I waited for your call today.
    After you cancelled Friday -
    And promised Tuesday.
    Friends you said some time ago.

    I took the dog to the beach
    And she ignored everyone and other dogs.
    She spent the whole time at my side
    (yeah I've got loyalty already).

    This girl there reminded me of you -
    She was supermodel beautiful
    Dressed in the jeans and sweater
    She probably wears everyday.

    She walked up and down -
    Passed me three times
    Looking cried out, drugged out
    Like you - but mirroring me.

    She'd get hit on going to the supermarket
    Like you
    And she'd tell the guy to get lost
    Like you.

    She talked into her cell phone
    To someone as I left.
    She smiled.
    You didn't call.

    Cream - Philip Barlow

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Would you

    So it is just after 06h00 in the morning and I am at the airport - again. I was on the 21h00 to Cape Town from Johannesburg last night. I was in the queue at 19h50. The queue was probably about 100 people long as the 3 (THREE) attendants allocated to check in economy passengers tried to cope. At 20h30 the SAA team manager anounced that the flight had been overbooked by about 50 people and they would have to put us on the flight this morning.

    Firstly: I understand the computer booking system overbooks based on probability that people will not turn up. DID no one realise that there is a rugby test in Cape Town this weekend, it is a long weekend and there was not one ticket available on ANY flight to Cape Town from about Wednesday? It should also have been a clue that they might have a problem as during the day more and more overbooked passengers were bumped to the next flight.

    Secondly: Could SAA not have organised one of there smaller SA Airlink planes for the extra passengers - there were enough, or arrange a bigger plane for the last flight - seeing as it was the last flight of the day availability of a plane should not have been a problem.

    Thirdly: these things happen, but handle it better. I was once on a flight to London on BA once, the BA staff saw the mounting overbooking problem and offered people in the queue a 200 pound cheque to travel the next day, thus opening up seats.

    Fourthly: Manage the resultant process better. No announcement was made to all 50 overbooked passengers, resulting in everybody crowding up to the counter and delaying the follow on process of issuing us with vouchers for hotels and a complimentary flight. I eventually got to my hotel at 23h00.

    The SAA team manager was very nice given a very difficult situation. Other staff were not fantastic however - some downright rude. It does not endear SAA staff to customers when they demand a double inflation increase and then you have these types of experiences.

    At 22h00 last night, after more than 2 hours in the queue, those of us still waiting to be booked on this morning's flight