Monday, September 29, 2008

Meetings - "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

How many do you have this week? Try skipping the big ones. As many as you can. I mean those meetings with more than say ... 2 people. Then ask the bright nerd or chick that always takes notes what the important parts were. You'll get a lot more done I can assure you.

Now if the meetings are at Vida e' Cafe on the nearest corner. That's another story. A good buddy assures me there are not enough hours in the day to get all his scheduled meetings in at Vida.

Geeez I hated meetings and the way people love to listen to their own voices and opinions just for the sake of it. Shit I I used to feel like I was stuck in on a horror ride of ego's. Sipping a orange juice and just nodding in agreement in the sunshine on the Atlantic Seaboard strip is a whole lot more agreeable. Okay so I don't have a job now so perhaps I am not qualified to talk about those types of meetings.
Rush along back to yours though and let me know anything decent that comes from it. Anything that you missed? Anything vital that you could not grab from the other fools who did attend? I'll meet you at Vida to discuss, just the two of us. Perfect.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"How fortunate for leaders that men do not think." – Adolf Hitler

They knew it then and they know it now. Guys as clever as that lunatic Hitler are cashing in on the fools that will actually back them as leaders. There are just too many cases to mention. What is it then that people follow in other men that makes them leaders?
Is it a situation of circumstance so they just keep backing them ... that is the idea that 'well, he has got so far so there must be something good about him'. Is it in fact our inherent ability to spot great leaders and then be willing to support them? Nooo I don't think we have that ability working for us right now. Perhaps it is the fact that we know the position is not for us, so any other that shows confidence must be good for it? Could be a bit of that.
I think the way a leader used to be picked was probably a little more honest and natural. In small groups it was just the one who managed to be physically stronger than the others or intelligent enough to be 'tight' with those of the community that had the strength, and then harness that in a group effort.

Now days I think that has gone out the window and people will just back whom ever comes across strongest in the media. I think the 'spin' that the media has to play is the most powerful factor in choosing a leader. The media and word of mouth, but most word of mouth will have its original source at some form of media. Very few people really know what is going on with the agenda of those they are placing their mark next to and that's just what the guy at the top is counting on.
Do people really believe that these punks have the populations best interests at heart and not just their own agenda? Not the likes of any I see that have access to the power to rule. In fact I don't believe it is possible in this environment and the way it stands, to be able to stay in one's position if all you had to say was presented for all to hear.
But they don't need to because we accept the things that they tell us only because they know it is what we want to hear! How simple we are (your part of we that is, my part of we DOES NOT VOTE!). Its like a formula that with a couple of other pieces in place, even the likes of Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Jesse 'The Body' Ventura (wrestler), Boris Johnson and in the nearish future Lance Armstrong are able to tap into.
Actually there is more openness about these guys than about the actual politicians and I even quite enjoy Boris Johnson and look forward to his next move ... not just for entertainments sake, but because it actually might do some good without him having to worry about all the crap of politicking - something he is still good at and has to deal with, but not something that he puts above his actual tasks as London Mayor.

The problem in the guys ruthlessly after power know all the tricks and have all the friends in the media to help them get it. No wonder its all falling apart.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

‘I’ve found the link between apes and civilized man – it’s us’ Konrad Lorenz

I watched CNN news again yesterday. I generally skip around between SKY, BBC and CNN and watch every second day or so. I must admit though the only reason I watch these and not Aljazeera and CNBC news channel is only because the signal for the latter two are, for some extremely confusing reason, only able to give me a little tease before loosing the picture. It is all really rather baffling to be sure, but I have no idea how to go about getting this sorted out. Dealing with call center fools you say? You got to be kidding me right?

So CNN yesterday showed a clip of the American President yesterday. He was commenting on the attack on the US embassy in Yemen. Leaving the politics aside and just having a look at Georgie Bush doing his thing I was once again astounded at what a fool the man is. It really is just intolerable to accept that this absolute prick is the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. He is clearly not interested in anything but his self preservation. A man of such little substance he may as well be a sack of fertiliser and the quicker he decomposes the better.
What is worrying though is that there are so many that obviously back this type of Cretan. Now that is a poor reflection on the state of man. The existence of a fool like Bush is understandable. Mistakes are made in the evolution of all species. The existence of those standing in line behind him lending support and feeding him energy and power though, is doing nothing to bring us closer to bridging the gap to reaching civilisation, rather it has us sliding backwards so perilously.

Not to worry PlanetPi is here to help tilt the balance.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I believe that every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises. – Neil Armstrong

What a twit this Armstrong punk. I have never been a fan ever since he lied to us about landing on the moon with Buzz Lightyear. Calm down calm down. I am not saying the Yanks never got to the moon, I'm just pointing out that what they presented as a trip up there was a lie. I reckon they had actually been there before they claimed this landing, but with the cold war and all the timing was not quite right to tell the world. When they did eventually present their story of the lunar trip ... it was all a sham.
No stress though, some strange shit happened back then which is just too bizzare to get ones head around in today's mayhem.

I have been curious about Armstrong though, reading that he is a hermit and lives up on a hill away from everyone and not very able to deal with society. I also read this quote from him above and was not too happy with everyones favourite space traveler. Being a fit vokker myself I suppose I was at odds with his theory in both my actions as well as my reaction so I decided to do some basic mathematics to see what would transpire. The maths was done in my head at first while laying in bed one morning so now I have just backed it up on a marvelous new invention that counts numbers and stuff. My buddy Seth calls it a 'Calculator' and tells me it is really a fantastic machine so here goes:

Right, so Lets make the playing field standard as idiotic Scientists so enjoy (funny bunch those scientists. Clever but not very intelligent. They are like wind up toys that have been set off with so much energy, but in the wrong direction!) saying: "all things being equal" well I thought in keeping with their traditions I will haul Lance Armstrong into my equations ... so now we have Neil Armstrong or Neal Armstrong and Lance Armstrong. Lets just call them N and L.

So N reckons he will be wasting his heart beats if he exercises. Lets say is an avg man which would mean that his heart rate is 72bpm (that is beats per minute and would have been substantially higher than 72 when he was lying about his moonwalk back in the 70's ... actually 80's 90's and all the way into the 21st century). So lets take just 40 years of heart beats effectively taking out his childhood and old age time. 40 years is more likely to be the kind of period one would exercise so its a good number to work with.
That would give N an avg of 72bpm x 60min x 24 hours = 103 680 beats per day
We have said that we will take 40 years worth of days which will give N heart a workout of:
103 680 x 365 days x 40 years = 1 513 728 000 heart beats per 40 years.

N says L should not be doing any exercise as his heart will be pounding out unnecessary beats which eat into his quota and will therefore mean a shorter life as we only get a fixed amount of heartbeats to use from birth.

L thinks N is a dick head and decides to ride his bike from time to time and enjoy the odd run, generally becoming a pretty fit individual. Lets act in favour of N though and give L an avg mans exercised heart rate and not L's extra special condition. So again we will just deal with the 40 year time of L's life. Having exercised that heart muscle though his avg beats per minute will have come down a lot from 72bpm. One could safely say he would push out an avg of 55bpm as he is now in good shape from exercise. So his equation would look like this: 55bpm x 60min x 24 hours = 79 200 beats per day. Substantially lower but we must amend this as L does exercise during the day so his heart rate will be higher in that time. Lets not get too complicated and just say he does an avg of 1 hour a day every day for 40 years (again that is in favour of N but lets see where that leaves us) So now we must do two equations as follows:
[1(60min) hour a day x 170bpm (as he is exercising here) = 10 200] +
[60min x 55bpm (fit heart but at rest) x 23 hours = 75 900] = 86 100 per day

To carry that over to 40 years: 86 100 x 365 days x 40 years = 1 257 060 000 heart beats per 40 years. So L the exerciser would have 256 668 000 beats less a year which would equate to 2981 days of heart beats extra. That is more than 8 years.

Enjoy your finite number of heart beats Neil Armstrong ...seems they will be up a whole lot earlier with your decision to banish exercising your heart buddy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"In reality the workings of your governing system are opaque and covert, while hiding in the chattering spotlight of an ostensible transparency, even"

"In reality the workings of your governing system are opaque and covert, while hiding in the chattering spotlight of an ostensible transparency, even though the ultimate objective is clear."Breyten Breytenbach

As you may have cottoned on, I am no fan of politics. The dude above was a South African poet I think. Eventually he was locked up, guilty of high treason against the Republic for being white, but having sex with a person of different race , and for generally causing too much trouble in the old system of government that you have heard referred to as Apartheid.
For a while back in the late 80's his brother or cousin was a teacher at my High School, which actually meant that he had Nelson Mandela locked away in the store room at the back of the class, ready to escape as soon as the next door Afrikaans teacher Vince Pauldon turned his back. Vince was head of Cadets so there was no chance of him giving sly Mandela a chance of escape and so Madiba actually spent many years living in a Breyten Breytenbachs brothers storeroom on the 3rd Floor of Wynberg Boys High School.

This week in Southern Africa we seem to have two stories in the news which just confirm my alignment with the kind of statement in todays quote.

Firstly: As Mugabe and the Wastern Province rugby team winger - Morgan Tondarai Tsvangirai, are reported to have struck a deal, Mbeki now claims to be the mediator over the last few weeks. How it will all actually unfold remains to be seen and although I will not hold my breath when Mugabe is involved, I remain hopeful for the country with the lowest life expectancy in the world. How farcical though, to see Mbeki trying to grab some headlines through the whole ordeal.

Secondly: This Zuma vibe is just too much. The precedent that it could set if he is not even taken to trial or if not found guilty puts in place one of the many 'plays' the ANC has set-up to gain absolute power in South Africa and render the current systems powerless. The cartoon that Zapriro came up with? Impressive.

Post script: In the chart to the right that you so studiously checked out and were about to raise you hand to point out what an idiot I am for mentioning Zim has the lowest Life Expectancy, when the Economist clearly shows it as 7th worst in the world. Well my little teachers pets, when your inflation rate is 11.2 Million percent then things tend to slide a little faster than reports can keep up with.
While you are so diligently scanning that list though, try spot the non African country in the top 50. Scary.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"You can’t really live in Cape Town," he says ...

"You can’t really live in Cape Town," he says. "Everyone there seems to be retired or to have a trust fund. Joburg may be a mad, doomed city but boring it ain’t." - Rian Malan

A bit harsh by this controversial individual of old, but quite funny none the less. He seems to be the kind of guy that gets excited when a new batch of drugs hits town or happy hour kicks in at the bar so I would not really take his reference to Cape Town being boring too seriously. I just enjoy the way he mentions everyone in Cape Town seems to be retired or on a trust fund.
I think the vibe he is getting at is that people go out of their way to act really dis attached to their work at times.
I have noticed this a lot with the youngsters - especially lately, and one of the clear signs that the guys seem to be using to show they are either, trust fund kids, in a cool job, not bothered about their job or are actually from Durban, is by wearing slops... you know, plakkies? No idea? Sandals, flip-flops, slip-slops? If it was busting down with heat I would not look twice at the guys, but over the last two weeks with rain belting down and temperatures still in the low teens, I have noticed a substantial amount of Havaiana's at the end of a pair of jeans. The irony is that the winter scarves have not even been ditched yet so often you can spot a dude wearing both sandals, and a scarf and a beanie. Quite a vibe and totally acceptable. I think it contributes to the Cape Town character. These guys are showing their commitment to the vibe. When summer hits properly there will be no awkward transition phase. As Joburg comes stomping down to Cape Town in their thick soled, black leather Bronx with a lekker silver buckle, the Cape Town oues will be ahead of the game

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

“Nobody knows you, when you’re down and out” - Nina Simone

This past weekend I actually experienced one of those moments that give you chills when you think about them. Take the lens in the picture above. A beautiful Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5USM ... oh its a fine lens all right. A delicate piece of work right? Not one you would even place on a table or into it's casing without the necessary care. I mean if a child was to get within tripping distance of the thing your nerves would be on edge.
My eldest brother has let me in within grabbing distance of it a few times and this time I decided to take it for a trip up to the top of Table Mountain - the fresh air would do it some good. It was a special day of sunshine and the wide angle capabilities of this killer lens would be just the thing to get some good shots on such a clear, light day.
The lens was attached to the brothers Canon 350D. They are worth about the same amount of loot each that camera and lens, which makes a considerable sum of cash to take on any excursion. I've used them before with no drama. That all changed on Sat morning.
Once at the top of the mountain, done with the 3 hour hike up to the top and just about to jump into the cable car down to the city bowl, the camera literally jum... no let me not finish that sentence as, no matter how I say it, it will sound stupid and you will think I am making excuses for my clumsiness. Lets just say next thing I know there is a an excruciating sound of Canon lens disintegrating on a slab of concrete! OMF!
It was just before noon and there were about 40 tourists within ear shot. Although surely one of the busiest times of the day up there I can assure you it became instantly the most silent one as every person turned, as if in a well choreographed pantomime, to witness the reaction of the poor fool who was at the other end of the unfortunate accident. Mouths agape and clutching their own photographic equipment as they would their children in the presence of a murderer, they gawked intensely at me to see what I would do next. A group of 6 Japanese chaps (with lenses the size of their torso's) all looked towards the nearest access point of the mountain leading to a certain death fall in a very expectant fashion. One compassionate lady stuck out a hand in pity towards me as if she wished to help me, but anchored to the ground, she was not coming a step closer as if in fear that she would contract the dreaded camera throwing/dropping disease.
The two friendly Americans that I was with were as helpless as I felt and in fact anyone would be that did not have access to a portable time machine at that very moment.
My own reaction?
"Well," I explained to the now expectant audience. "Don't be fooled that that is just an R8000 camera lens that I have just lost here... I think it departs along with my eldest brother - the owner of said lens. "
Noticing that I was speaking coherently and not likely to finish the job of with a flourish of jumping on the photographic wreckage with my heavy mountain shoes, the crowd dissipated back into normal tourist behaviour. All except the Japanese fella's whom had now adopted a very professional mini gallery, right next to the easiest place to jump off the mountain and with all their own camera's pointing excitedly downward pre-focusing on what would be my point of impact if I were to do the 'honourable' thing. With no honour, hardly any nerves intact, a dry mouth and shaky knees I scooped up the pieces of the lens and slumped my way into a cable car and off the mountain. On the way down I took solace only in the fact that I had two more brothers to help carry heavy stuff in the future even if I had lost a good one along with his camera lens.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"The only certain thing about ideas is, like cats, they do not come when called." – Alan Fletcher

This morning I stood outside and turned my head skyward. The idea was to get a good look at what was going on out there today. No specific reason. I had no plans at all and I kind of knew the weather was overcast and moody, I suppose I just felt like experiencing a bit more than I had up until then.
So I stood on the stoep (seriously, our house is 98 years old and does have a stoep with stairs leading up and down from either side - depending of course which side one originally enters from) and experienced the weather. Being about 10:30am or so and judging by the amount of traffic on the road I can only guess that is when the church goers get back in their cars counting themselves saved for another Sunday afternoon at least. It meant the weather I got to observe consisted mostly of carbon monoxide and hooters creating their very own little storm.

Then, a large dose of surrealism was dealt my way. It was presented in the form of a tall black man striding purposefully up the road. Barefoot and healthy looking if it was not for what he had on over his 'clothes'... he was wearing thick brown sacks, stitched and possibly forged together roughly but fitting his frame comfortably if that is possible. Under these large sack pieces his clothing was made up of ... well smaller sacks actually. They seemed to have a totally different purpose and where the outer layer was roughly torn and holed in places, the under layer was smooth cut and even better tailored.
If it was Christmas time I would have entertained the idea that he could have been at a Sunday morning rehearsal of a nativity play and was still in costume for the manger scene. It is September though so could this dude have appeared from a movie set? Sundays are a favourite time to shoot ads and movies in the Cape Town CBD. It was the direction sack-man was coming from after all. But as he got quickly closer with his large energetic striding I got a closer look at the rough sacks and the lived in vibe was all too apparent to keep me thinking along any other lines than this was what he wears - all the time.
I naturally assumed the poor bugger was ... well poor and the poor are always hungry right? I was about to whistle out at Sack-man to offer him some grub. I managed to stifle the whistle, well partly. A puuusssth still came out like a 6 year old starting a whistling career, but doing better for cash out of the tooth fairy.
As the abandoned whistle faded I opted for waving my hands at him wildly. Sack-man looked up, but seemed quite engrossed in his own thoughts so did not immediately acknowledge my gesticulation's. I stared at him intently though and he realised we were now in communications. For Sack-man this did not include stopping to chat. With his head held high and a bright white smile he turned down my offer of food without even missing a beat in his effortless stride. When he was past me, he gave a slight turn of his body and launched a big thumbs up to accompany that broad happy smile. I was left eating an imaginary apple on the stoep.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is pure

“I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.” Stephen Hawking

My own image is fading fast. I have a virus, I am not sure if it is a computer virus or some other little critter that has hopped into my system. I had to cancel an appointment for tonight at 7pm and the client mentioned that if I was feeling better by Tuesday we could reschedule for then. If I am still shedding weight from all the 'shedding weight points of the body' my estimate is I will have dropped from 81kg to a maximum of 22kg and probably closer to 15kg.

This was all scientifically worked out in a haze of delirium and the aid of 3.5 toilet rolls (the first two were two ply and had puppies on them, the current one ... not), a count of just under 30 flushes in 3 hours, a stomach workout more intense than the one that Patrice beast from the gym gives those babes working on their pre-summer weight loss programmes and the fact that I slept 6 hours of the day yet don't seem to have made a dent in my mattress. Yup fading fast I certainly am with no end in sight. PlanetPi may soon be just a moon. MoonPi, quite apt for the amount of times I have to pull my rods down every hour.

post script: Yes that is Cyrus the Virus, no not from the talented Mr Ripley. Con Air you say? That's the one.

Monday, September 1, 2008

"It seems like the chaos of this world is accelerating, but so is the beauty in the consciousness of more and more people." – Anthony Kiedis

There seems to be chaotic weather all over the world at the moment. Cape Town got a taster, but I think that was just one last clean up before summer comes along. Preparing a clean slate for a much anticipated season as it were.
I can assure you there is nothing tasty about the way things are going down in Louisiana, Alabama, Cuba and parts of India though. Having already done with summer, I am not sure what their excuse is for such impressive storms. The weather is going mental and the people are struggling with it. I suppose it is not ideal if you are living on the banks of a river which reverses its direction of flow as it did in one of the towns in India this weekend.
Cape Town was told to brace for a storm which was supposed to be pretty intense. Nothing like what those guys above have experienced though and if you embraced it like many of the Capetonians did you would have seen much beauty in it. In my brothers case it was while cruising home from Bravo restaurant on the beach road in Greenpoint. He said it was like driving through a giant Cappucino as the foam caused by the pounding waves on the promenade was so thick and high even as far back as on the actual road itself. Those that popped into Polana restaurant in Kalk Bay for a quick glass of red wine were treated to a surprise amusement park style ride. The cozy room refurbished to really enjoy the ambiance of the rocks and ocean, just a stones throw away, was embraced by a large wave thrown up by the storm. It was so large it broke a window upstairs at the Harbour House so you can imagine the fanfare caused with the tons of water washing right into Polana. Lifting small children off their tiny feet and perhaps dragging a couple back out to sea ... I am not sure I was not there, but if they were misbehaving in the car earlier on then that is probably what happened ... and fare enough.
I know the roof blew of the Point Virgin Active gym. The beauty in that? Well I suppose nothing, but well worth a mention.
Not all fun and games in Cape Town storms though, our cleaning lady is not able to come in to work as her house was flooded. Chaos and beauty.