Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogger 15

I have not done a PlanetPi blog in quite some time. Some pretty unruly ducks and my limited abilities in getting them to stand in a row left some time to reflect (and I been busy on twitter I suppose) but I have just been called up as PlanetPi blog dude.
Not 100% sure what the actual call up entails but looks like it could be a game of rugby. What ever format the competition involves it is The New School Bloggers vs Old School Journo's.


I wonder what their team looks like? I doubt they have the likes of Skinstad at 8 and CTAP Seth Rotherham as the winger.

Of course I will be playing my Hollywood Bok position of in the Centre Mr Venter.
I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

That Forest Gump got it all wrong

Life, is like an Avo. If you are comparing life to not knowing what you are going to get Mr Gump, then life is not as you put it "like a box of cho co lates", nope it is like an Avocado Pear.

You see Forest, if you are saying that stepping out into the glorious early morning air adorned in one's favourite bonnet and parasol, ends with a nasty pigeon crap on your shoulder just as you were humming your favourite church hymn on your way to the congregating Lutherans at the church; is like opening a box of Quality Street and not having a clue which one you will put into your gobber; I am afraid the comparison just does not work out for me.

Am I missing something? I mean in life the surprise of the pigeon poop is not something that you can foretell - even with all that dedication to the man in front of the pulpit blasting out warnings and doing his thing. A box of chocolates however, well now, a box of chocolates is really very explanatory as to the contents. I think most of the assorted ones are not only colour coded so as to be able to match saaaay 'the orange wrapper with the orange flavour', but even have a key to show the shape AND contents of the chocolate once unwrapped, just to make sure you do in fact know EXACTLY what you are going to get.

Avo's ...on the other hand .... are far more tricky and akin to life's little surprises then the predictable box of chocolates. Who can confidently say that when standing in front of a couple hundred Avo's you know which one is worthy of your purchase?
Even if it seems clear as day and you make your pick with a connoisseurs twist of the wrist followed by a delicate placement into your fruit basket, come ripening time (everybody knows you never buy a so called ripe Avo from the shelf as the only reason it is soft is from all the old ladies that have prodded and pumped the unfortunate fruit into a pulp), and to your dismay there are large black blemishes on the skin. But you handled it so carefully, took such thought and passion when going about the whole process didn't you?
Well just the same as when the bird craps on your shoulder - out of the blue as it were, and in this case as it is (unless its a London Pigeon then we might want to edit that to "out of the grey"), you just can't predict what the Avo Gods have in store for you. Even if it remains looking rather delectable from the outside, there could be large stringy bits coursing from top to bottom destroying the exotic flesh that, if all does go well, can be as tasty as any food on the planet.

Now nobody ever accused Mr Gump of being a rocket scientist at any point, least of all the good man himself, but I think he should certainly make amends for the silly statement: "Mama all ways said, life is like a box of Cho co lates. You just never know what you gonna geeet" buy replacing box of chocolates with crate of Avo's.

Perhaps what really transpired was Forests tired mother was trying to explain to the lad with the iron legs and wooden brain that "Forest, if you buy the wrong box of Chocolates next time I send you to the store for me, good Lord I will give you the thrashing of your life that you will pray you never get again."
Who am I to say though, I suppose sitting on that bench telling his story and offering Avo's to the passers by just would not have been the same. Maybe there is a Forrest Gump sequel in there though - to put things right.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bleeding ankles

I have just seen a little girl learning to ride her bike. The scene was at once extremely familiar, and yet as I watched her, I realised how the little girl on her bike seemed totally out of context to the surroundings that she found herself in.

Let me explain further. You see, the scruffy little one must have been about 12 years old. She was decked out in a long, thick, soft pink coat that was a few sizes too big for her and reached past her knees, threatening to get caught in all those parts of the bike that seem hungry to grab a hold of just such a tempting morsel of clothing. She had a pudding bowl haircut, very unlike the styled cuts I see on youngsters these days. Barefoot and standing up on the pedals of her over sized single speed postman bike, she was struggling against the friction of the road and the large tyres, the concentration etched on her face.

Balancing on those pedals and being out of the saddle while trying to get enough momentum to keep the bike upright could not have been easy, but her natural instincts – so seldom called into play for most youngsters – had her leaning slightly forward to keep her centre of gravity. This meant carrying a lot of her weight on her arms which were splayed out wide to grab hold of the over sized handle bars of cold shiny curved steel, her small hands white-knuckled around the plastic grooved grips that were worn smooth over the many years of previous riders steering the bike all about town.

There was a slight wobble to this whole scenario, but not like you normally see with a youngster learning to ride today where they can sommer put their feet down to stop a fall. I should think this little ragamuffin had simply grabbed the only bike available to her, or as in the olden days, she had managed to get her hands on a big’ bike - so much more alluring and exciting than a children’s bicycle. No bright yellow easy-to-ride prissy little bikes for this tough nut. She was gritting it out on this old iron horse, that concentrated expression showing brief glimpses of pure joy before slipping back into the more earnest work of staying upright.

This image was one of days gone by for me and I have not seen this type of riding for a long time. It was a nostalgic surreal few seconds that was initially so calm and natural and then when I came back from my reminiscing, it looked so incredibly out of place. As if I was on a movie set or back in a small Karoo town and not the city bowl of Cape Town.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Wild Run!

I had never been to East London, I had never been to the Transkei and I had certainly never run 112km without once setting foot on anything that could be even remotely referred to as a road.

Adidas were about to change all that and with great foresight and a show of extreme intelligence they saw fit to invite me to take part in the Wild Run …. the inaugural Wild Run that is, which they were excitedly going to be sponsoring. I played it cool and told adidas I would get back to them. Truth be told, I had been incredibly keen to take part in this event since a buddy had told me about it a couple of months back. I waited a day and then replied that I was happy to be a part of all the fun with them in what is now called the Wild Coast.

After 6 weeks of training from a relatively fit physical condition, I was stoked to be landing in what I think the locals call the Buffalo City. A precarious landing on a little SAA Express flying machine had me all confused. You see, upon approach to the runway, we were tossed around enough to get some exotic angled viewings of East London itself and the one that stood out clearest was some sort of dump – well I hoped that’s what it was because if this was my life passing on front of my eyes before I died in a tangle of twisted SAA metal, it was clearly not much of an existence so far. A quick thought of my sub B class teacher and her sweet smile, an automatic reminder that the Springboks are the current world Champions and the smell of cinnamon convinced me my life had not in fact been a dump and that we were indeed just moments from crashing into one.

The talented pilot chap managed to not crash us into the dump, although I was not convinced for at least another hour that this was the case, as East London, it turns out, does a pretty good dump ground impersonation for its first time visitors. I am sure I am missing a ton of fun and classy establishments, however I was happy to have left it behind and moving in a Northerlyish direction towards Morgan Bay and to be more precise – Kei Mouth.

The river Kei would be our first point of rest on the eve before setting out on the adventure. Now as worldwide cavorters such as I know only too well, Coca Cola branding finds its way to all sorts of obscure places, but I was not prepared for this onslaught in what was a pretty out of the way little coastal hamlet. I think Coca Cola had tarnished every single commercial venture in Kei Mouth. In fact it intrigued me so that I took a little stroll around to see if there was any brave enough not to carry the most recognizable brand in the world. The Bush Pig pub across the road looked tough enough to shun the Coke branding, but upon closer inspection this was not the case as a 4m high board advertised 2m worth of Just Ginger, The Parlotones and Robbie Wessel’s and 2m worth of The Red and White. The Fisherman’s Den was just the same as was Kei Mouth Liquors, The Green Lantern (Gotham City?) and the B&B across the road too. A ha …what was this! Just as I was about to despair and give in to the 100% domination of Coca Cola, a sign indicating the Kei Mouth Library stood proudly naked of any Red and White branding. Now you might argue that I had declared the search for those commercial ventures in town, but let’s all agree that, with even a newspaper few and far between, Kei Mouth is certainly no place to boast its own library. This clandestine building with what looked like metal braai grids over the windows, was clearly a front for a little old lady selling some form of contraband – which is this part of the world could be anything from the latest LosLyf publication to a can of two stroke motor oil.

With my incredibly easily satisfied hunger for entertainment satiated, I returned to The Thatches Accommodation to meet some of my fellow runners and to listen to race director Owen Middleton’s race briefing for the first days stage which was just one restless sleep away. I took enough information in to know where to meet for the start, to make sure I had at least two litres of water in my pack and to not expect any form of route markers. Not an arrow, not a cheerful traffis ocifer, not a flag waving volunteer … not a stitch. The only thing that mattered was to keep the ocean on your right and to keep running we were told. This sounded very uncomplicated. Almost Forrest Gumpesque which suited my simple mind just fine and I went to bed happy to have escaped the lure of East London and excited to be running towards a wall with a hole in it.

Thursday breakfast is followed by a 6am barge crossing over the river Kei (wasn’t there a song named after crossing the river Kei? No wait it was a country … see above) delivering a group of 73 brightly clad runners to the start where they stood wondering what lay in store over the next three days.

Then in a whirl of button pushing and cap adjusting, the starter gives the signal and we’re off! It’s like the start for the 100m-Olympic-dash-for-people-with-no-sense-of-direction as individuals and groups head off in totally different directions along all their own chosen routes. This was going to be some event, what with the trickery and guile needed to make sure one was not going to lose out to others more adept at choosing the correct way. If in doubt though, the best clue always lay in the long white strips of glistening sand that lay tantalizingly in front of us like a stairway to Heaven or a path to Nirvana (your subconscious mind may now have just matched Stairway to Heaven with Nirvana so make sure you untangle that one before you stupidly blurt out around a braai one night: “I’m telling you, Nirvana were the dudes who sang Stairway to Heaven” … of course this in totally incorrect, it is in fact sung by the Jackson Five and composed by Mike Myers).

I must admit that 112km that lay ahead was a huge challenge in my mind and I had no inclination to race the three days. So the start pace was extremely leisurely and how glorious to watch the sun come up in front of us and a little to the right over the Ocean. The bothersome wind from the day before had died down to almost nothing and the sea, rocks and sand were combining in kilometer after kilometer of magical delights. It was truly a surreal experience to just shuffle along this coastline as it introduced itself to me for the first time.

The waves were full of energy and large swell, but calmed down when they met the sand which was generally in the form of very wide, flat and hard packed beaches that continued blemish less for about three to four kilometers before coming to a headland of rock. This was a pattern that repeated itself over and over. Sometimes these rocks were too young and brash to let us by as they played their games with the waves that were not as polite as they were when meeting the beach, but willing to tumble with the rocky outcrops like two lion cubs, on and on in what seemed a never ending sparring of mutual understanding.

If this was the case we would simply skip the rocky outcrop by leading a little more with the left shoulder and taking the option of running over the headland of green hills which supplied us with a cow track, or if too steep for the cattle, then a precarious goat track. Generally though, the rocks were of the older sort that had been worn down by the never ending energy of the waves and we simply hopped and bounded from boulder to stone, up and down and every which way until our efforts brought us to the sand on the other side to start the whole cycle again.

This went on again and again and it was quite something to experience a rhythm in what was before today, a place I could not have imagined running 44km in. A rhythm for this distance is normally played back to you in a metronome like fashion as the light road shoes slap against the unforgiving tar of the streets. The rhythm of the Wild Run is one more akin to the type found in chaos. There is no pattern apparent and in fact if one wishes to find some form of smoothness it is by letting the rhythm find you. Somewhere between stumbling over a huge molten rock spewed up from the earth’s mantle millions of years ago and cooled instantly in the sea; and crunching the shells under your feet, or the sinking in the cheeky bits of soft sand that sometimes envelope your shoes with no warning; the ubiquitous sound of the waves help bring a runner the algor rhythms that make such a challenging task materialize into something profound – if you will let it that is. Mostly the mind works too hard and fights frantically to keep control as the feet struggle against a running experience that is not perhaps so familiar to them. This is of course to the runners own detriment and the unfortunate victims are energy and confidence, making the journey a whole lot more of a difficult challenge.

On this route though the power of the surroundings are so overwhelmingly apparent and with absolutely no man made distractions what so ever along the way, most of the runners are able to benefit from opening themselves up to the privileged experience that they are a part of.

Most of that day I spent with a fantastic running buddy and could not have asked for better company than Guy from Johannesburg. An Ad agency owner by trade and distance runner by nature. Calm and appreciative of his surroundings, Guy and I solved many of the planets problems and left them for the rock pools and King Fishers to keep secret as none would believe two ranting running lunatics.

By the time I reach the finish of the first day I was alone, my mind is a little fuzzy and takes some time to adapt back to just being able to lay in the cold pool water listening to the stories of the day that come tumbling out of mouths that bare huge grins of satisfaction. The long distance took its toll and the heat played its part. Everyone had a story as richly satisfying as the next, no matter what time or place the finish line was crossed.

As the day went on, so the tides rose (and such are the Days of our Lives haa haaa!), making the river estuaries more and more difficult to pass. When Lofty the sweeper came in the full field was home. Not one casualty on day one. Amazing stuff. This was a strong group of runners even though the one dude had never run longer than two hours in one go – ever, before today. Today he ran over 5hours. Another friend of mine had only ever run a half marathon in races, today she did 44km of trail running.

The pictures presented later that night show people swimming across the rivers I had waded through at knee height just a few hours before. I felt the swimmers got more out of the river crossings. I made a decision to make a point of swimming at least one of these rivers before the end of the event.

I noticed the bar was doing a fair trade and make no mistake; those beers were deserved, but did not go on too long for most. By 9pm the majority are sleeping, but there is still a bottle of rum out there that was being looked after till a lot later. The minders of the bottle of rum would suffer a little more the next day, but they knew it and it was all factored in so no worries mate.

Back at The Thatches in Kei Mouth I had been paired up with iAfrica’s adventure babe Thamar Houliston, but someone must have cast doubt on my integrity, as the next night at the amazingly appointed Kob Inn; I was to share a room with Rocket Van Breda who knows me a little better. Rocket came into the race barely able to walk with the pain in his left foot at excruciating level. He reckons when he left the house the day before, his lovely wife Bridget just shook her head turned on her heal and left her determined husband to do what he had set out to do. Well he had made it through the first day with a mixture of hobbling and walking and was ready to have a rest and hit the beaches again on day 2.

A chilly morning greeted us the next day, but the sun was already starting to rise and conditions looked decent for another cheeky 35.something k’s. It took me a while to find some sort of feeling and bounce in my legs after leaving the comfort of Kob Inn, but once we got through some bumpy fields of grass and cows, it was back on the beach where the lead group of five of us get to about 5min/km if the sand remains hard. The check point which would be a refill station for water was only at 23km into the race today and you can’t drink the water from the rivers as they are used way inland by the locals for all sorts of living activities, so although they looked tempting and were refreshing to wade through when we needed to, it was vital that we were supplied with drinking water at the check points.

Today we were also going to be afforded the chance to spot a White Rhino when running through the nature reserve Dwesa. Unfortunately all we spotted once we have vaulted the fence to the reserve was the Common Irate Incompetent Ranger Fool Local species that was gesticulating manically and twirling his wrist that had a stick hungrily attached to it. Apparently his frustrations were directed at us which was surprising as all permits and the necessary organizing had taken place back in April. We stopped to chat, but only for a very short while as we decided to ignore the fool and to keep running. Ranger man then stopped and detained the rest of the race for over an hour. That morning only 10 of us got through initially and the rest had to wait till things were sorted out which made the going hotter and a detour meant more distance covered for some that forgot to keep the beach close by.

We carried on up front oblivious to the fracas back at Dwesa Nature reserve and enjoyed the pristine route that we followed in a mesmerized and euphoric run that we had now settled into very comfortably. Jolene from Knysna was a surprise visitor for a while. We were not used to running with a chick up front so the guys were happy to see her. Not so for Jo, after chastising us for not talking enough she turned up the volume on her earphones and went bounding of into the lead. We all had a little laugh at the exuberance, but I think that iPod must have run out of power as Jo then decided to drop back for some company to talk to and clearly we were not up to scratch so the visit ended and we just kept cruising along wondering what was around the next corner, all the while knowing it was more beach and hills.

By the time the end was in sight though each man was running alone and not a little weary. A particular long stretch of beach lead to another river crossing. The last kilometer before reaching The Haven was run in squelchy shoes which were happily discarded as I jumped into a welcome cold pool that managed to take a lot of the last 79km fatigue away - for a while. Once out of the pool though it was the pain of the blisters on my feet that I felt more than tired legs and the realization that the last day was going to be a little bit more of a challenge, hit me like a raw egg dropping into sizzling hot pan.

After a massage though I lay down to watch the rest of the runners come in with tales of woe and anguish in the details, but once again told through a head full a smiles and delight. Again all 73 runners made it to the finish. Rocket Van Breda not only amongst the finishers, but in the top 20 and on a foot that was only getting better for some strange reason.

Once again I was dumped by a roommate as he and I were split and I was placed once more in a room with original roommate Thamar who was running like a champion and possibly trusted be more now that she was back in cell phone range to her fiancé.

The rest of the day and night was an eat as much as you can competition between me and my belly. As much as I would put in, stomach would just destroy it. I was first at the buffet line with plate in hand and once done with main course, had to be tapped on the hand by a large silver cast iron looking serving spoon that the head chef Mike was wielding, as I tried in vain to take possession of the full tray of Apple Pie laid out for desert.

I settled for 3 servings worth, but was once more warned by Mike’s furrowed brows and steel serving spoon weapon, that I was to go easy on the freshly whipped cream with its hidden sugary delights. I was done with all my feeding before most even knew what flavour the soup was for the evening. As I slid out of the dining room I noticed a few new friends nods of understanding as to why they had been introduced to me as Pie Face. Not in the least bit worried about this after many years of thickening of the skin, I directed myself to the bar to see if there were any snacks available. Before I could get too close though I heard Lofty and wife Tatum ordering Tequila with friends from Umtata and I opted for a sharp right away from the bar instead. A fortuitous move for one with a hunger such as mine as it turned out, as I walked right into a serving lady who was quickly rested of her packs of biscuits that she was taking to stock up the cookie jar with. Cookie Jar remained cavernous and my belly took the bounty.

I went to bed a trifle bloated as you can imagine, however the next morning I woke up on an empty stomach. It was a later start so plenty of time for breakfast. I must say though, I did not feel like walking around much on feet that were just not used to this kind of distance and were coming apart somewhat, starting at the toes and ending …as a foot does … on the heal. Perhaps this was where all the food was leaking through. My feet basically had as many holes in them as my retro Jamie Oliver pasta strainer I use to impress gorgeous angels when cooking them dinner.

You see, always the mind returning to food. Best I pack my potatoes and head to the start. First though I was going to have to find a way to get my feet into my shoes without them noticing. There was no way they were going in voluntarily. I thought of distracting them with some shiny new plasters. Naaa … it was going to have to be a brand new pair of socks.

I slid a thick but soft pair on after disposing with the label and the 500 sneaky stickers they hide all over new socks for some reason, and before my feet could think what was coming next, they were covered in shoes once more and about to begin their last 34km of the adventure.

Today’s start was 13km of normal trails that took us all the way to the check point and water station and then we were on our own. Well that was the briefing the previous night, however after about 4km we were on the beach and stayed on it till the check point. I was feeling decent on the beach and found that together with the St Aubins Adventure teacher Gary (A teacher dedicated to adventure I kid you not …times have changed of that there is no doubt. When I was a lad the adventure teacher was the punk at the other end of the cane issuing adventures of pain management!) I had opened up a gap between any other runners. We were not pushing it but still moving quickly while having a good chat in the front of the field about all sorts of crap.

Today was a particularly technical route if you wanted to do it in the shortest manner though, and every time Gary and my pace took us ahead, Guy and overall race leader Dale would close the gap with Guys experience of the route from setting it up with race director Owen earlier in the year. Gary and I were working way too hard compared to the others and even though I was feeling good and thought I would probably run on ahead and make a significant lead, I realised it would be closed by me having to wait for some form of indication on where to run or I would simply get lost as this was not a time when instincts were enough to keep me on the shortest route.

This was not a problem at all though as strangely enough there was very little in the way of racing other the just some natural competitiveness that would have been strange had it not been there at all. What transpired next was something quite incredible. After sliding down an 80m high cliff face (it really was a cliff face that was so steep that you could just not run down it at all) covered in grass on my ass and coming out to greet the group of three runners that was about 200m behind just moment before, we realised that it would be more fun and intelligent to just cruise home together with absolutely no stress of racing which in the circumstances was going to prove futile anyway (as explained above). Every one of us agreed this was a lekker idea and the five of us set of to cover the next 15km or so as a group.

Along the way we found a large dead whale on the rocks that was proving to be an 8m buffet for the fortunate local birds and sea life that were dining on it; we enjoyed some ludicrously steep hills to climb that rewarded us with fantastic views of beauty in every direction once at the summit and eventually, were lead to the last high vantage point which presented the famous Hole In the Wall far below. We had reached our destination. Just the descent off the mountain left which was done laughing out loud and agreeing that this was indeed a special place to be at any time, but to have approached it from Kei mouth and with 112km of running behind us it made it as sweet and memorable as any human should care to imagine. This was the culmination of something special, of that there was no doubt and I was very happy to be a part of it.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An image that I was pondering recently served as a huge help to understanding something that had been giving me some problem in my simple brain. I can forgive my brain for not getting to grips with it as effectively as I would have wished as it was a problem that I am sure every man women and probably some other living things have had difficulty with.
You see when dealing with right and wrong … there can only be pain as a result. I don't mean just to the pain of the man swinging at the end of the noose adjudged to be the one in the wrong, nor the pain felt when a woman wins custody of her children after being adjudged to be in the right. The pain will be a result for all as there is neither wrong nor right, but only what is.
I know this is not something that strikes a chord with your thinking brain and that is no surprise as there are just too many layers disguising the misgivings of seeing a polarity in most everything we do. Add to that the presumption we make - that people are all the same, that we perceive things in very similar ways when in fact this can be varied to such significant extents that we do not have the option to decide whom is right and wrong, add that and we have little chance of ever giving up on an argument. In fact we are all just doing what we will do and there is nothing else that can occur.
These two polar bear dudes or babes are clearly having a fantastic go at each other. Probably to survive by fighting over a piece of a reindeer carcass just to the left (did you look for the carcass? Oh go on … you've seen the pic already and know there is no reindeer. Look sharp!) or to protect those mini polar bear cubs. The thing is …and this is what got my attention a few seconds into having a look at this fracas … the thing is you see, they have got exactly the same strike as they go straight for the killer bite to the jugular vein. It's natural for them both to do so. It is deadly and decisive, but it is full-on and it's natural. There is neither right nor wrong and there will be no winner nor looser. Well you say the one that bleeds to death in the snow has lost I should think, but then you are missing the whole vibe.

Post script: How fortunate we are to be able to be sitting in front of our computers to witness this lesson from nature. It's one of the many credits to man and his ability to potentially do wonders. To be able to admire these bears going at each other is something that for many centuries perhaps only the Inuits had opportunity to partake in … it is the kind of experience that they built there society on. A functioning society, until encroached upon and told what is wrong and what is right.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Springboks 2009 - June 20th

Springbok side looks good to me. Not even a whiff of a rose which I am happy about. Check out Brussow straight into the mix ...wonderful stuff that.

Just hope Ruan plays up to potential especially having been injured. Looks like John will not have to prop against Sheridan first up which is probably also a good thing. Steyn at FB - still a little bleak about Billy Zane not making it but dig Steyn.

Brilliant bench as long as Januarie sits on one side and all the others on the other so as to not tip the thing. Geez you can't be happy when Guthro, Bekker, J Fourie and Big Bruiser Danie come on fresh with 20min to play. Stick to the basics early and then let rip I say. Should be a cracker in Durban.

Springbok team for the first Test against the British & Irish Lions: (Test caps in brackets)

Frans Steyn (27)
JP Pietersen (24)
Adi Jacobs (21)
Jean de Villiers (46)
Bryan Habana (46)
Ruan Pienaar (27)
Fourie du Preez (43)
Pierre Spies (19)
Juan Smith (54)
Heinrich Brussow (1)
Victor Matfield (80)
Bakkies Botha (55)
John Smit (81) - captain
Bismarck du Plessis (21)
Tendai Mtawarira (10)

Gurthro Steenkamp (20)
Deon Carstens (7)
Andries Bekker (13)
Danie Rossouw (36)
Ricky Januarie (34)
Jaque Fourie (42)
Morne Steyn (uncapped).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

365 days of Slumber left for Cape Town

Today the one year countdown begins! A year to go until the Soccer World Cup comes to South Africa. The big 2010. Or it seems the more firmly entrenched way to pronounce it would be 20 10. I am receiving reports that the whole of Africa is getting behind us (http://bit.ly/fbz9Z) with this contagious excitement, although the World Cup fervour does not stand alone as a South African representative in Africa. Old JC Zuma is just as revered North of our country, so perhaps that is not really a great indication of vindication that 2010 is as important as we might think.

It is of course and should need no vindication. But we live at the tip of Africa which is sometimes a long way off from certain goings on in the rest of the world and although South African locals have been exposed to 2010 articles, facts, branding and advertising for a year or so already. The funny thing is, white South Africans (not involved in the ACTUAL build up to the event on some commercial, marketing or business point of view, or those involved in local soccer itself) have not the faintest idea as to what is coming our way. Oh you will certainly hear the regurgitation's spewing out of every bloke and his buddies mouths around the braai or while settling down to watch some rugby or cricket together on TV; or from the Book Club wives and Poppies getting together on a Thursday night or for that Monday morning coffee at Vida e Cafe. The World Cup talk is, for the vast majority of us locals, purely a way of making use of the chance to say something attention grabbing so as to be a part of the conversation, and perhaps even out-do your buddies while you are at it. To show how up-to-date one is with that happening around us. And that is exactly how we know it so far ... as something that is around us but not a part of us.

Not a clue I say:

Soccer, you see, has never really been much a part of the uniting of the Rainbow Nation. Not on the grand scale as mentioned above. Rugby was a big part of President Nelson Mandela's master plan - hatched while doing hard labour and sleeping on even harder cold floors on Robben Island. The plan proved to be a miracle as it played such a phenomenal role as the catalyst to making sure the transition of power in South Africa was effected in such an efficient way. Us whites were given our all-precious rugby back to play out on an International stage - which was greedily accepted and made the most of, resulting in an amazing against the odds win to claim the 1995 Rugby World Cup. So we won the William Webb Ellis Cup to crown South Africa as the World Champions in our beloved white mans sport - Rugby. The country danced in the streets as one - literally danced in the streets as the traffic stopped. On that day, there was no traffic in the cities, nobody needed to go anywhere, everybody was celebrating. It was a truly wonderful moment to be a part of and to experience.

Soccer enthusiasts celebrated as hard as any others in the RWC 1995 fanfare. Soccer though had no such lofty aspirations with the masses. As long as the boys and men could play the game they were happy ... and they did, everywhere they got the chance. There have been no such ubiquitous celebratory moments in soccer in South Africa, even when the platform has been presented. How many of us whiteys even remember South Africa won the African Nations Cup! The whites have just never really bought into it. Why should they, there is plenty going on without soccer and nobody was really pushing it down their throats too actively.

I too am a whitey. From many years back though, I have African soccer in my blood. Not the tainted feel for the game that you will find if you go looking for a litmus test of our cuntries soccer from the top of the pile in the local leagues. No, I have the feeling from real soccer experiences, from the 'pick-up' games that been played where ever possible for countless years gone by. From the small holding urban area I lived in, just next door to Alexandra township, to the beaches of Hout Bay in Cape Town, I always managed to find a game as a strong little bare foot whitey. For the first few minutes the dark faces would look at me with consternation and there was always at least one whose first reaction was that he did not want me there. The anger in those eyes will always be with me. Fore everyone of those angry fellows though, there was a huge white smile, and usually more than one, that welcomed me in a true African unabated friendliness that was available to even a young unknown and unaccompanied white boy when, even under the harshest conditions of apartheid in the 1980's, the smell and feel of freedom was able to be found on a piece of dirt with some tree trunks or oil drums for goals and some form of soccer ball. It was unabated, sometimes rough (I was 9,10,11 years old playing properly against and with tough men) and exhilarating beyond my abilities to describe to to you in words.

Soccer was always remained dreamy to me. World Cups were 'out there' and a little bit too untouchable if you lived in South Africa. The exotic and mysterious flavour found its way into my head though. I remember listening to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico when Maradonna socred a goal with his hand - soccer World Cup now, not Rugby - no hands allowed. Listening I say, as we were probably not afforded the rights to broadcast the events such as that due to our political stand point at the time. So I had to make do with the wireless. It was crackly and comforting. A good dose of the way people took part in supporting their sports teams in the last 80 years or so I should expect.

The next World Cup was in Italy and so in went on. South Africa eventually got to take part too, but were nothing special. Tainted by politicking and poor management has been the reality as the game has become more and more big business in South Africa ... its such a pity as there is plenty of talent, but no direction and counter productive efforts keep us languishing.
This will do little to quell the exuberance of the soccer loving nation next year as the beautiful game comes home to Africa. It is a part of so much that is African, a lot more so than Europeans, South Americans and the rest of the world realises. I think there will be some amazement from those visitors as they flood to our beautiful country to enjoy the latest volume of World Cup soccer in action. None though, will be more amazed than the locals. It is just too big to contemplate and does not register on the frames we use as points of reference - cricket WC, Rugby WC and a couple of large tournaments we have hosted. This one will be very different. Off the charts bro!

What is of personal interest to me though, on a local Cape Town scale, is to see the reaction to South Africa coming to Cape Town. Along with all the melting pot of the rest of the world, there will be a huge following of South Africans moving all over the country. Cape Town folk that have not lived in any other part of South Africa do not, I think, have a clear picture of how their country actually looks. I am talking about whites in Cape Town you understand. I can't wait to see the awakening take place as they come out of a long slumber of ignorance and strange perception of what our country is like. Not a fault or anyone nor poor behaviour by the Capetonians mind you. Just a lack of feeling for the rest of the country. A relaxed bunch that are going to be shaken up, hopefully to the extent that we were back in 1995. Back then, when all had settled, the sentiment was incredibly positive and that is probably the most powerful tool to actually getting things done that are worthwhile in our land. I know it will be the same next year, and I can't wait.
It's less than a year now and soon it will be out of even FIFA's hands as Africa brings its unique flavour to what the former call football and what we call soccer. The African rhythm is unique, not as flamboyant as the South Americans, not as fluid as the Europeans or as energetic as the Asians. The Power and Mystique though go unchallenged. That is what those embracing the event in 2010 with the right intention will be able to tap into. A unique experience to be sure. Sound the drums and awaken Cape Town from its slumber!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Children Tipping

Have kids reached the tipping point or is it just 'the next generation'?
I feel there is cause for alarm when I have a look at how children in the western world are growing up and their behaviour patterns that result. Obviously for every parent or teacher out there, there would be another gripe about kids of today. This was surely been the case when I went through my fun childhood years (1974 till 2004 and possibly still a few more to come) and was the case when young Churchill threw his peas on the floor in a tantrum 100 years earlier, or 100 years before that even, when little Johnny Appleseed (really John Chapman) would not tuck his hoes into his breeches no matter how much his nurse maid scolded the lad with threats of no candlelight for a month.

Yes I am sure every age and generation has had the same woes over their young and the rebelliousness of the ungrateful sods. That's not quite what has got my attention. What worries me is the lack of influence real people now have on children, whether they are trying to mould them or not. With the incredible amount of opportunity for youngsters to interact in a somewhat superficial, but seemingly very real platform, of social networks and all things computery, I feel that the yout (as Danny DeVitto calls them in my cousin Vinny) are sliding to a point where the masses of them are loosing vital experience of life ... the experience of how to deal with other Humans.

What sparked this off in my squishy brain, perhaps a little undernourished and beat up after a few recent drinking bouts, was firstly a trip in the local Rikki Taxi service. My car was in for repairs of the window that had been smashed by dem crooks. I was catching a ride with the Rikki service to retrieve my car. The interesting thing about the Rikki service is that it picks up other passengers on route to your destination if it, more or less, fits in. Its quite fun to meet some exotic hot Dutch angel who is heading to the beach at 10:30am on a Tuesday morning or a ditsy hippy from Obs who can't quite remember her own name and pays for the ride in coppers.
Today though it was at the St Cyprians Girls Diocese/Convent/Castle/School or what ever the church calls it, that the Rikki was heading for his 2nd pick up once I was already comfortable seated in the old London taxi, complete with Nedbank branding from top to toe.
The passenger in waiting was a 16 year old cute little thing extremely overladen with bags and guitars and more bags. Files, novels, textbooks and science projects all included in her load scholarary paraphernalia. I helped the young thing into the Rikki while she explained in the strangest English that only parents or teachers get to experience, how she is always carrying so much stuff and what an effort it was. Not complaining mind you, just commenting through some deeply drawn breaths and rosy red cheeks brought on by the effort. Now this was clearly one of the studious girls of the Convent paying much diligence to her studies and academia rather than on the other distractions and vices a 16 year old faces at that delicate age. Yet her ability to talk to me was incredibly sad to see. There was no awkwardness nor embarrassment at all, just an extremely limited set of skills - and I am not talking traditional ones that a Duchess would be sent to Switzerland finishing school to acquire- just a basic switch from her favoured buddies speak to be able to talk to a 35 year old. Not able I am afraid to report. I did find it poor form I must admit. Then it came time to pay the taxi and she had no clue how to adapt to make him understand where he was to take her or how she would prefer a certain break down in her change from paying a cheap fare with her R100 bill.

I helped Miss keen bean school girl out the car with all her baggage and marveled at the level communication, or as this case unfolded, the lack there of. The Rikki dude was clearly not aware in the least and carried on to the location I had asked him for. Now while waiting for the car in a dodgy part of Woodstock a little 9 year old comes cruising along the road with a dilapidated soccer ball under his arm. I motioned for the lytjie to drop the ball and have a kick about with me. He looked at me as if I was freak show. So I went for a more explanatory tact of communication and said "hey ... kom ons speel" hey come lets play. The little droll just walks straight past me. No fear, no jealous possession of his ball, just a total lack of energy or understanding to what I thought was an ingrained in guys young and old when there is a ball in our midst and an opportunity to kick it, throw it, lob it, pitch it or hit it to each other.

Is the interaction between today's youngsters and their elders slipping to levels of grave concern as quickly as I think they are? Don't get me wrong. I think there are incredible children out there with skills way beyond what elder generations had, but its like having a brand new car with all the fun stuff and you don't know how to actually drive. It could be a difficult battle to strike a balance with all the incredibly awesome opportunities that are available to the under 18's and keeping them involved in real life at the same time. I hear that these days when a 14 year old pops round to visit his/her buddy to 'play' for the afternoon or for a sleepover, it's not uncommon for them to sit in separate rooms on two different computers to talk to each other and those 'out there'. I think the potential for these fortunate kids is phenomenal if they are kept in touch with the many other benefits of life that are still worthwhile to them besides the new new stuff. Things that are real are still easily the most important as we are finding out, sometimes at the harsh end of some difficult experience. Real food is better than processed crap, real medicine is better than that which is made in a laboratory (still learning the lessons here) and Real people are better for children to interact with when growing up then the other options.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I recently took part in a trail running event as a guest of the organiser and as a representative for Runner's World Magazine. I am the Gear Editor there on a freelance basis and nobody else from the magazine could go so I took up the invite. That was 4 months back and between then and now when I was super strong and fit, I did the movie vibe and lost all the training I had done.
So I arrived at this event on about 45% full as only ended up having 3 weeks to train and some of that needed to be recovery from the training ... anyway I did about 6 runs totalling 100km in those three weeks and rocked up at the event with running buddy Greg Goodall who would do the three days with me.
The event turned out to be as tough ... so tough in fact that I struggled to overcome the challenge ... I just managed it though so was happy with that.

Anyway that's not what the blog is about. I wanted to write about what happened on the 2nd night of the event. It was all well catered and comfy for 300 competitors. Greg and I managed to find an extra tent to avoid having to spoon in a tiny one together as many others ended up doing. There was a 'chill out' tent where a surprising amount of beers were drunk and a large tent for dinner and prize giving each night. Now, on the particular night in question, I noticed that those sponsors and brands involved with the event were being called up to be introduced to the audience of competitors and to hand out the odd prize or do a lucky draw or something of that sort. Each time the DJ dude would play some old classic track to spice up the occasion and keep everyone interested. I realised that as the Runner's World Magazine representative I was likely to be called up to present something and I thought to myself how cool it would be if they did call me up, the DJ would play Eye of The Tiger. You see I was wearing a black hoody and I thought it would be cool to put the hood up and do some sparring as I walked up to Eye of The Tiger.
So there I sat waiting to see what was next in the agenda. A guy was called up to do a lucky draw as a promotion for his race that was tacking place on Table Mountain in September. Its a popular race and costs over 200 bucks. The draw was done on a laptop and picked randomly from the 300 competitors. A lady won it and went up for the prize. Cool. Then the music started. For the first time that night the DJ decided to spin Eye Of The Tiger ... I looked around as if people could read my thoughts. I felt so strange, as if everything was open and I was able know anything and in control. There was one more name to pull from the lucky draw. I knew it would be mine. I felt light and content ... the guy called out the number followed by the name RYAN SCOTT.

I was not surprised at all but did feel a bit awkward. Did everybody else know what I knew? Of course not. One of the strangest things that has ever happened to me fore sure. So strange and so powerful in a non intrusive way. What an incredible experience.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And like that ...pfffff .... it was gone.

See below for a brilliant article on how the most popular social network sites and YouTube may not be with us forever. At the moment, and for a few years now in the case of YouTube, they have not been able to find a solution to making enough $$$ even with so many followers. It's the venture capitalists that are making it possible at the moment, but are they looking for returns on what they have handed over? You would think so. Read on to see what Advertising Age has to say about the possibility of loosing your favourite platforms.

The Coming End of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook Socialism

Thank God for Tech Moguls Who Redistribute VC Wealth So We Can Cybersocialize Freely. For Now, That Is.

Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone should thank God it was just a cardinal, and not the pope.

Last week, according to the Times of London, Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland told the country's Catholics to "Make someone the gift of a prayer through text, Twitter or e-mail every day. Such a sea of prayer is sure to strengthen our sense of solidarity with one another."

LET US PRAY: Cardinal Sean Brady wants you to tweet for Jesus.
LET US PRAY: Cardinal Sean Brady wants you to tweet for Jesus.
Photo Credit: Niall Carson

Oh, my. That's a nice sentiment, but Twitter really doesn't need more users around the world tweeting in ways that can never be monetized. Ireland's got just 4 million Catholics, but the Vatican counts more than a billion baptized Catholics worldwide. If the pope endorsed tweeting prayer, Twitter could be out of business by the end of the year! The 3-year-old company, remember, still lacks a revenue model and just burns through more venture capital every time a new user signs up. (Fortunately, given how retro-conservative Pope Benedict is, he seems more likely to issue a papal encyclical condemning Twitter. We all know it's more likely to enable sin -- pride! sloth! -- than piety.)

It's telling that Cardinal Brady grouped Twitter with texting and e-mail. The former, of course, is a paid service and a massive profit center for cellular carriers around the world, and the latter you also pay for, albeit indirectly, as a service bundled with your monthly internet access or by allowing yourself to be subjected to advertising. (As a Gmail user, I decided to see what would come up when I e-mailed myself the Lord's Prayer. The ads Google served included ones for BeliefNet and Don Helin's paperback pulp thriller "Thy Kingdom Come." Ka-ching!) But when it comes to Twitter, we not only don't pay, but we all take it for granted that somebody's going to keep footing the bill for the rapidly expanding server farms needed to process and store zillions of tweets per minute.

It's sweet, really, that venture capitalists have ponied up millions so that we can all keep tweeting. It's also more than a bit scary. Because more and more of us are increasingly addicted not only to Twitter, but to other services that lack workable business models. What happens if the "dealers" who feed our habits disappear? (It's been known to happen. Last week, for instance, Yahoo announced it was shutting down last century's hot social-networking-esque service, GeoCities, for which it paid $3.5 billion in 1999.)

I've been thinking about all this a lot since I wrote, a few weeks ago, about how Susan Boyle has been on what I called the "Google Dole" -- her fame fueled in a nonsensically nonprofit manner by Google's YouTube unit, which hemorrhages cash serving up too much video with nowhere near enough advertising support. (I'll again refer you to Benjamin Wayne's Silicon Alley Insider piece, "YouTube is Doomed," which deconstructed the recent Credit Suisse report that puts YouTube's estimated 2009 losses at nearly half a billion dollars.) You'd think a clip of Boyle singing a song from "Les Misérables," one of the most popular musicals of all time, on one of the most popular TV shows in the world would be semi-monetizable. (I mean, geez, at the very least stick a pop-up overlay on that video with a link to the "Les Miz" soundtrack on iTunes.) But no. Adam Ostrow at Mashable further proved my point with his piece, "Susan Boyle Video Profits: $0," which explained that disagreement between "Britain's Got Talent" owner ITV and YouTube over pre-roll vs. overlays prevented ad placements in Boyle's YouTube streams.

And then last week The New York Times reported about the hazards of international expansion for the likes of Facebook. Getting million of new users in the Third World, it turns out, really sucks, because Facebook will never really be able to meaningfully monetize those eyeballs. It's tons of cash out (bandwidth, data storage, personnel) with little hope of cash in.

Weirdly, some of the management at these companies don't even seem to be trying that hard to make money -- a consequence, perhaps, of still being awash in millions of dollars of VC money ("venture charity," as I like to call it). In fact, Abbey Klassen, Ad Age's digital editor, tells me that she once heard a Facebook exec joke to an agency exec, "Didn't you know we're a nonprofit?"

I'll go one step further: They're socialists! OK, yes, I'm using the dumbed-down definition of socialism championed by numbskulls like Sarah Palin, but regardless of the finer points of economic theory, you've got to admit that at some level the boys at Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are actively choosing to redistribute the wealth. They're taking money from venture capitalists and deploying it so that millions of people far beyond Silicon Valley can get something for nothing. Entertainment, information, and self-marketing opportunities, mostly.

And, oh yeah, a sense of "connectedness" -- cyber companionship -- which makes this particular era of VC-wealth distribution all the more ... touching. (Let's all be friends -- on someone else's dime! Let's all be perpetually jacked into the hyper-insta-now global hivemind of human consciousness -- for free!)

I am so appreciative. Seriously. I love YouTube, I've made some interesting connections through Facebook, and I enjoy Twittering. (Last week, for instance, I tweeted about an astonishing bit of information I came across in Britain's Daily Telegraph: YouTube "reportedly uses as much bandwidth as the entire internet took up in 2000.")

But I also know it can't go on like this. The digital Robin Hoods can't keep redistributing the wealth forever, because eventually the wealth runs out. Investors get sick of propping up private ventures that don't have viable business models, and shareholders of public companies, like Google, get cranky about flushing cash down the drain.

So what can we do? Not much, I suppose, other than enjoy it while it lasts -- and maybe twitter a prayer for VCs everywhere.

~ ~ ~
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Reverse Osteoporosis

I read a piece from the New York Times today about a condition I saw dressed up Hollywood style on Greys Anatomy ... it was even more interesting and bizarre in this factually reported article than the histrionics of Greys portrayed it to be.

So basically when you get older the skelington of the human body is designed to get a little more brittle as the bone degradates. Its something that is not ideal when you take into account that the skelington has as one of its major attributes a guarding role - that of the nervous system. The constant grinning you sometimes see etched onto an old timers face is probably actually a painful grimace or perhaps it is an ironic smile at how all those years of taking the body for granted have come back in the form of almost unmanageable pain for many, as nerves are less and less protected by that 206 part skelington that used to serve them so well.

That condition I was talking about earlier is called fibrodysplasia (you would be displeased too when you see what it does to your fibres) and works in the opposite direction as Osteoporosis. Yup ... instead of your bones becoming brittle, you grow more bones from all sorts of causes - like doing damage to one of your existing bones or even cuts and bruises. Eventually your whole body is full of extra bone which is just not compatible with the way the rest of the organs and bodies systems work and you die.
Don't worry dude, waking up in the morning a little stiff (and no I don't mean that bone) is not the first sign of this condition showing itself (although it does mean you should probably not have scrummed your buddies for a couple of hours at that bachelors party until you all fell into the fire that was at first a good idea to be next to as it was providing the only light source). Bony growths that appear all over your body could be suggesting you are one of the unfortunate ones though and if that's the case then ... yea I am going to say it .... hard luck.

This article (see link below) explains it all in a well written manner as apposed to my garble. What was most interesting to me about the whole piece though was not even when the guy grows a second skelington, but rather the close connection that our skelingtons have with the other organs in our body. Lovely stuff.


Monday, April 20, 2009

A cool dude runs Saatchi & Saatchi and he is on his way to CT

Aaa how fantastic that you will get a chance to visit our country.

I am so happy to be living here and enjoyed you blogging on what is
indeed a truly incredible and interesting place to live. I have in fact
been working under Mr Eastwoods direction in that movie and just wrapped
yesterday after two months of playing one of the Springboks. How strange
to pull on the Jersey and sing Nkosi with the Panavision Camera close in
attendance. The rugby scenes v the All Blacks were just too special!

The Warner Brothers movie experience was phenomenal and cant wait to see
the finished project at the end of the year -this movie is sure to be a
cracker in its own right, not to mention what it can do for South Africa
and the game of rugby throughout the world.

I must also tell/warn you that Matt is a top guy and a handy poker
player. I lost an exciting hand to him while holding trip 7's!

I too am a story teller and actually writing one that flows from my
heart about a childhood under apartheid. A writing and emotional
experience I am enjoying immensely. Not all white people were a part of
the major wrong doings in the country at the time off course, and not
every black person carries the relatively new found opportunity of
'freedom' forward in the most productive or integrous way. The country
still faces huge challenges as the ANC is looked upon with narrowed eye
brows from those that sat in prisons and sacrificed so much for it in an
excruciating past. I had a very interesting chat to Zelda (Madiba's
personal assitant extraodinaire) on Wed night in this regard.

KR when you are in CT pls feel free to look me up madibapi@gmail.com as
I have a super insight to this fairest of cities that you could make use
of.There are Lovemarks a plenty that occur in Africa's unique way of
expressing itself - from the Mining Helmuts that together with the
Vuvuzela (don't worry if these are not familiar yet, they will become
familiar in 2010 WORLD CUP)have become so much part of the game of
soccer, to the table cloth of cloud that covers our flat Table Mountain!
Not all are commercial love marks perhaps, but just as intensely revered
and loved.
I am good buddies with Bob Skin as well if you need a reference :)
Safe trip and enjoy your stay as I am certian you shall.

Ryan Scott

From Kevin


Great to hear from you - your passion's infectious!


Kevin Roberts
Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO

2009: Winning Ugly Together


Friday, April 17, 2009

As you will have noticed I have not been recording too many words recently about the happenings on PlanetPi ... I have however been experiencing a lot of pretty exciting and strange, surreal and mostly fantastic times which will find their way to this platform in one way or another over the years to come I am sure.

You see I have been workoing on a movie that Warner Brothers has been shooting in CT and JHB over the last few months. How special to be afforded the opportunity to work with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
I was on it full time for two months and finished up yesterday so now back so sure to be more posts. I have also joined the twits which you can follow so go check that out ... just click on one of those links next to this mail which gives my latest twitterings.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

A note I wrote to my buddy Charlie

Morning Charlie

Something went down last night that the likes of your good self and few others would understand and enjoy so I thought I would share my sentiments of how things transpired. Working on the Clint Eastwood film as you know Charlie, and after mentioning to young Scotty Eastwood (Clints 5th out of 6 kids and a man with huge appreciation for the Cape Town women) that uncle Sol Kerzner was having a saure to celebrate the opening of his latest One&Only hotel, the wheels were put in motion. Scotty was keen to walk the red carpet and as all actors do, to milk the press for all he was worth. Now the young fella was down on the hiiiiighly exclusive guest list as Scott +1 and although he certainly had a dame or two to take along, our boy was happier to keep his arm free for perhaps meeting a brand new angel so he asked me to come along as +1. That was not a problem for me. I was just happy to help out. It was a late call up though and he just casually mentioned it while we were doing some training on the set for the film yesterday morning. "Hey ... so my people have come through with the guest list for that party ... you should come ... it'll be a blast (blast pronounced like Ass of course and not like aRse).They want me to do the whole press thing on the red carpet and there are sure to be some gorgeous women there ... you in?"
I replied in the affirmative.
Now I know a bit about One&Only resorts so was pretty curious and not a little excitable to see how the night would unfold. I popped on a suave T M Lewin white shirt. Luxury Fit with some kind of tricky collar that makes people take a second glance. I cheeky pair or linen pant (we laugh at the boneheads for saying pant instead on pants, but I have been informed by fashion folk that in fact pant is correct. Well I never!) and some decent black shoes. Not those crap things with half inch soles. A solid black leather pair that hold their own on most occasions. I would not normally finish the outfit off with a jacket, but this was as posh as you get for CT so I thought, why not, and popped one on.

Scotty and I were on time and although there was nobody calling him out to do the press thing, he was very happy to march his way to the red carpet announcing to the PR chicks that were there in their thousands that he was Scott Eastwood and ready for the press. It was something to behold. The professionalism of the lad was outstanding. The likes of Nicky Greenwall were onto him and a whole whack of other camera's too that represented one TV channel or the another. Then it was the journo's turn, then radio and so on. I just followed a couple of steps behind him. Just like a bodyguard. I was loving it. I saw the press assistants flipping through their face recognition sheets of paper with thumbnail pics on to hopefully match my head to a name and face in their data. I just smiled and cruised by. At the end of the press line and also behind some rope I was totally bemused to note there was actually a bunch of 10 girls and one gay dude all standing with their cell phones out to take pics of the celebs. They must have won competitions or something and could barely contain themselves as they jostled excitedly for position. The flash photography flashed back off the one young groupies braces as she stuck her head up from the back of the pack - Matt Damon had arrived and the levels off hysteria reached unprecedented levels. Francois Pienaar was quickly forgotten as all tried to get a piece of Jason Bourne.
Scotty and I made our way into the main party now and left the hungry press to the big star. It was directly to the bar that we were heading, but on route I had to step back to avoid a roving camera dude who had his light and lens burning brightly and pointing in my direction. I stepped back to let the approaching camera through and in so doing tripped over someones foot who was just behind me ... I was heading for a crash and would have landed on my back had it not been for a sturdy, well timed supporting hand to my left elbow. I was saved from the certain fall and turned my head to thank the good Samaritan with what may well have been a broken toe. The face I thanked was exquisitely framed by blonde locks and centred with some incredibly alluring eyes that drew me in so effortlessly and effectively that I did not even get to bring the rest of the beautiful features into focus right away and so did not immediately realise it was Sharon Stone playing the role of the Samaritan.
Now as special as the whole episode was, that bar jwas ust asking for punishment and I was happy to dish some out at this early stage of the preceding so onward we marched. After a few drinks with the many guests and checking out a little of the impressive One&Only hotel it was time to take this joll to another level as Scotty suggested we move on to the VIP section. I must say I thought it was quite a contradiction to me to have a VIP section when basically all the guests I could see were SA celebrities or big business dudes and babes. I should have been thinking a little bigger as I was to find out.
The VIP room was not big and only about 60 people were allowed in. I was quite bemused to be one of them, but again my first attentions were drawn to the bar. Johnny Walker Blue Label is not a drink I have ordered from a barmen before and I enjoyed it immensely. The precision that the dude poured the yellow nectar over the ice cubes was heart warming to witness. After some incredibly smooth sips I moved on to cheers Scotty and tell him what a splendid idea this was of his. I made it to the fella who was chatting to his Dad at the back of the room. When I got to him I realised that out of the 12 people or so that were standing there I was probably the only none 'A' lister. Charlie you will piss yourself when I tell you it was Scotty and his Dad - Clint, Matt Damon and his wife, Sharon Stone who had limped into the VIP section, frikkin Robert De Nero whom Matt was calling Bob, Mariiiiiah Carey who would hit some high notes later in the evening, Morgan Freeeman and a dame, Sol Kerzner and that PicknPay cat Ackers all in attendance.

Not likely to be a repeat joll like this one Charlie and although the old codgers amongst that lot cruised home earlyish, there was a lot more entertainment all through the night as Sol had brought in all sorts of top Jazz singers and performers. Not quite sure about the Danny K vibe that really did not jell on stage with the other legends. All in all a success though Charlie and one that you would have approved off. Ciao

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mozi v Fly

Have you ever noticed how Mosquito's differ in one major way to another creature also so very irritating and repulsive - the fly? Both cruise about your body in their tiny form causing much discomfort and irritation. Both are smaller than your pinky fingernail and can get you in a spin quicker than the cup and saucer at the roller coaster park (pwwaaaa the Cup and Saucer ...do they still have that ride? My kids will laugh knowing that was actually a ride one day when they jump on the TripleDeckerThuderDeathRaptureExoViboBotoNutter that I have to pay ... I have to pay enough to have taken 30 Cup And Saucer rides with ... when I have kids that is ... I don't have any yet - my best friend does, he had one yesterday .... with the help of his wife ... Mazoltof Moff!).

Well I was explaining the difference btw the Mozi and the Fly other than their names and a shitload of other things. But the one I want to talk about is the fact that: when you swat at - and miss - a fly, the punk just speeds up and now your first chance has gone at splatting him every which way. I am quite adept at still grabbing the bugger out of the sky, but then I have skills of a super agile Boxberg cat in December that has not been fed since its 'owners' popped down to Stilbaaie for the holidays and left him nix om te eet nie. The cat sees a field mouse mommy and her 4 fieldmouse babies and one runt baby crossing the Totsie path in the veld and pounces on the lagging runt quicker than the human eye. What is that you say? You have never seen a cat have a go at a runt field mouse on a Totsei path in the veld? Exactly! THAT'S how quick I am.

Got it? Okay well what I was saying is, its interesting to me as to how the fly speeds up when you swat at and miss it, HOWEVER .... the Mosquito just keeps hovering about like a Bergie waiting for me to put the dustbin tromel out on a Tuesday morning. Harder to see then the chunckier fly, but once you do - waaaatcha - Splat and Splash if the naughty Mozi has been sucking you dry before you spotted his sneaky self. Geeez, here comes one now. I reckon I can type one handed and still smash him.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweeter than Honey, Sweeter than a mothers love.

For some people, the favourite time of the year, is when their Thirteenth Cheque arrives in the post and they can transfer it to the bond, or when they head off to Verbier for an overseas holiday, perhaps for others its when the old family dog dies and they can upgrade to a new version that they can carry in the crook of their arms while they do the groceries at Woolworths.
I know lots of people who mark a sporting event as the highlight of their year and tons whose worthwhile bit of living only starts when works stops, so they count the holidays over December as the best days of the year.

On PlanetPi, my favourite time of the year starts normally in late February. When the tractors of the Vineyards have a precious cargo that comes into harvest for just a short window period of glorious feasting. I'm talking of those delicious, sweet, firm grapes filled with such a promise of all that is good. I am talking about the Hanepoort grapes that make my year every time they are sold on the side of the road where I buy them by the box, or at Fruit & Veg city where I fill a full shopping basket of these crunchy beauties. I rinse them and stuff them in my head like a dentist stuffing cotton wool into a gaping mouth cavity. At the moment they are R9.99/kilogram at F&V City. I am there every three days or so to stock up. The window does not last long and I am happy my favourite grapes are not available all year. It makes the limited experience every year so much tastier. My mouth is watering writing this so going to overdose right now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The tortoise pulls his head in as the Global Village teeters on his back

Globilisation ... is that how you spell it? A new word that I don't think is in my dictionary, but I will have a look anyway. I wonder if you can actually put a proper definition of the word in a book. I am sure from an economic stand point and from a political point of view it has very specific connotations. To me it basically means that things are becoming more accessible as the borders of countries become less imposing. Communication opportunities and the fact that technology is able to show case so many places on the planet that we are incredibly presented to us in our own living rooms or where ever else we choose to sit down and watch a screen.
Not even 50 years ago a documentary about a far off land would be something unique, now we are privileged to be able to see much of how and where others live; and then, if we are very fortunate even get to travel there and experience in a more tactile manner.

Well that is the simple and positive side of how I see the whole thing. Now, looking at the Concise Oxford English Dictionary I notice my spelling challenges have come to the fore as the word is actually spelled - Globalisation with an 'a'. Okay fair enough ...and the meaning? Well they tell me it represents: the process by which business or other organizations start operating on a global scale. I suppose that is what I expected them to say. What I wrote about above, seems to be closer to what the Oxfordians call the so called Global Village - a world considered as a single community linked by telecommunications. Okay I've got it ... I am likely to hash it up again, but for now, I've got it.
What I want to actually make a point about, is the dangers that seem to be rising up to squash, what I think, is a totally worthwhile move towards this Global Village vibe. Just a few weeks ago we were told as South Africans we are no longer welcome to pull into the UK. Apparently South Africa is a huge conduit for bad elements of the world gaining access to that country. And now the trend in the UK and the USA is turning a full 180 degrees on Globalisation and making sure those that the people that hold a piece of paper saying they are members of that piece of the planet are the one's to be favoured for work. Those without the papers are to be treated differently, making life a lot more challenging for the latter of course. Obviously this pulling back of the tortoise head into the shell is a reaction to the collapse of the systems that they govern and live by in the first place. So instead of recognising the failure of their core or engines and instead of attempting to work things out for a long term solution, they have decided to go for the short term (supposed) solution (perhaps option is a better word).
A good buddy of mine was in the tourism industry creating great opportunities in the USA for others to work and travel there. Now the allocation of the jobs for those people are no longer on the table as the Obamanation also putts its blinkers on and turns its back to Nationalism as they are once more taught to think that anyone un-American does not deserve to be there.

Such good work (global village vibe), which is clearly so necessary for this planet to survive, is being undone by the reaction to the 'clues' that we are being given as a world population that things need to be different. The clues are painful and incredibly difficult to bare as they affect our bank balances, financial planning and conjured dreams of a comfortable future (trappings and futile efforts that are actually bottomless pits of wasteful energy consumption), but they are not meant to be dealt with like a hurdle for the athlete or a speed bump on the way down to Llandudno beach. They are not there to slow us down while we think of a way to get back onto the road that we were following. They are there to help us. To help us connect with what is worthwhile on this planet (earth not Pi) and to nurture that with all the energy we have.

Fortunately we are humans and we don't need to be susceptible to parameters that others put on us. Unfortunately many of us do not recognise what humans are, so we act as a much poorer and weaker version of our species. The answers are all inside us and the signs to take note of what is worthwhile and what is not are everywhere.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Changing the vibe

I've been away for a couple of weeks now. Away from the PlanetPi blog that is, still been sitting in Cape Town. I think its the longest time I have not written a blog since I started almost a year ago. The reason is that I have decided to change the thing a little. Not that most of the readers will notice though.
You see I think the quote for every blog is becoming a bit of a negative factor as to the amount of entries I would like to do. The quotes were always to be relevant and not taken from a book or something just for the sake of it. I think it would serve PlanetPi better though to just be able to blog on what ever I feel is interesting or worthwhile from a PlanetPi perspective.

So although I will use the odd quote to start of a blog from time to time, I think now I shall just report and write about PlanetPi and how things are unfolding on it. I am sure a lot of the content will be extremely obscure for many, but then it is coming from the perspective of another planet so that is understandable.

Cool ... hope you are dominating and chilled.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"I can't watch this man, it's designed to make you cry" - Mike Scott

Most people have their favourite series on TV to watch. At the moment I have been watching Grey's Anatomy which my little boet reckons is just designed to make you cry. I am not sure if that is not why he does not watch, he digs Heroes though which I think is pretty shabby.
2OCeansvibe will tell you to watch Entourage and Californication which are extremely funny on the Hedonistic side of the coin - for me Entourage is a winner. Then the chicks seem to dig all those Fat Betty and Desperate House's In The City which I am not sure there is too much point to.
I tried Prison Break once, but another brother of mine pointed out that the main actor dude always looks confused and so now that one is ruined as every time you see the human-tattoo on the screen it seems as though he can't remember where he put his key's. West Wing shows re-runs on DSTV CH 13 which is incredibly fast and probably intelligent dialogue to follow. For my slow brain, its like a game show and series in one, just trying to keep track of what topic they are mouthing off about. And I digged the teenage dirt bag vibe of the Friday Night Lights. I think mostly for the unglossed over look into small-town-USA which they made watchable.

I wonder when the the series took over from the sitcoms though. And I wonder what the next generation or two will be watching. I mean we had the Cosby Show, The A-Team, Macgyver and the legendary Magnum PI to entertain us. Now its the series and reality TV formats that dominate ... perhaps in the future it will go to private Television stations funded by those that can afford them and are then not regulated by any boards, but can just put out what ever they feel like. I'm not sure exactly how that would work, I mean you not going to get the masses watching Bill Gates TV, but its interesting trying to work out what the future will be on this. Perhaps it will do a full circle and we will be back at Lassie and 7 Brides for 7 Brothers or Little House on the Prairie. Now that would make me cry - in agony.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"...South Africa was being used as a transit point by al-Qaeda operatives to gain entry to Britain." British Home Office

Below is an article about how South Africans will now need to apply for a Visa to visit the Mud Island. Its a pity back in the 1800's that the locals were not able to impose visa restrictions of their own to stop those that were to become their Colonial Masters popping over and shooting them for sport while setting up their tuck shop for Hungry, survey ridden sailors on their way to India.

South Africans will be required to obtain visas to visit Britain under Government plans to close a route exploited by people smugglers, illegal immigrants and terror suspects.

The move, which will affect almost 420,000 South African nationals who enter Britain every year, is to be announced by the Home Office this week.

Whitehall sources said the changes could be put before the House of Commons today, when Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, and her ministerial team are scheduled to answer MPs' questions. It is likely to be controversial because South Africans form the fifth largest group of visitors to Britain after Americans, Australians, Canadians and Japanese.

The decision to require visas represents a victory for the Home Secretary in a Whitehall battle between the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which opposed the idea.

The Home Secretary has decided to impose the visa regime months after warning the South African Government that it must act to make it harder for non-South African nationals to obtain a South African passport and then travel to Britain without undergoing further checks.

The Home Office threatened to impose the visa regime last July amid fears that South Africa was being used as a transit point by al-Qaeda operatives to gain entry to Britain. The South African government was given six months to introduce a range of improvements, including in the ways that passports are produced, issued and stored.

In December the Home Secretary warned the Cabinet that the cholera outbreak in neighbouring Zimbabwe might cause a huge increase in the number of Zimbabweans attempting to enter Britain, even though they too need a visa.

Law enforcement agencies have been pressing the Home Office for some time to overhaul immigration rules for South Africa amid fears that they were being exploited by people smugglers and terrorists.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency in Britain smashed a ring of people smugglers that brought more than 6,000 illegal immigrants into Britain on forged or stolen South African passports. Operation Coptine, a five-year investigation into people smuggling, resulted in the conviction of more than 40 people.

They were members of a gang operating from Leicester which, over a decade, smuggled people out of villages in India to South Africa, where they were supplied with false or stolen passports.

The migrants, who paid the gang between £5,000 and £8,000 each, were then brought to Britain, where many found work or registered as students. About a quarter of the illegal immigrants acquired British passports under different identities for travel to the United States and Canada.

Intelligence experts are also concerned that al-Qaeda has been using South Africa as a support base for fundraising and training for operations elsewhere.

Almost 420,000 South Africans entered Britain in 2007. They included 168,000 tourists, 46,200 on business, 52,800 in transit, 132,000 returning after absence abroad, 2,890 with work permits plus their 1,190 dependants. A total of 1,190 were refused entry.

Phil Woolas, Immigration Minister, said: “The Government said it would get tough and we meant it. Already our shake-up of border security is delivering results, with three million fingerprints taken from visa applicants and 3,000 people caught trying to hide their identity.”

Brazil was also warned that it faced a visa regime, but has managed to convince the Home Office that it has improved security surrounding the production and issuing of passports.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"Jolene, jolene, jolene, jolene Please dont take him just because you can. " Dolly Parton

You know those songs that define a time and place in your life? It does not have to be exclusive to just one song. This is one that takes me back to my younger years though.
Yesterday it came belting out of my little brothers PC, which was a pretty strange source, as I think it was sandwiched on either side by Kings of Leon and the that Good-Girl-gone-bad - Rihanna. I waited for my boet to push skip before the intro to Jolene had even begun to fire up ... well, the intro passed and Dolly was well into her classic tune with out being bounced - was it possible the old Diva was going to get a chance to finish performing her full rendition before ignominiously being discarded for the younger (but flatter chested) Rihanna? I stopped what ever I was doing (Facebook would just have to wait) and listened to Dolly do her thing.
Its the first time I actually got to listing to the lyrics. Dolly was taking strain when she wrote this one. Clearly her beau was not a breasts kind of guy as surely she would have come out tops in that contest. Look, who knows what the folks in the wild west of the 1980's were into ... what ever it was, Dolly was loosing out to a ginger. Perhaps Kenny Rogers came along to save the day and all ended well ... until big K met up with The Gambler that is, but that's another story and takes me to another time.

Check out how Dolly just gives in to this Jolene dame. She must have been a stunner. Perhaps the Nicole Kidman of her day ... she is a red head right? Good.

Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, jolene

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"You know I love pot, and I love beer, but I am totally sober, just because it completely stopped working for me."

I must have hit the big time. I never knew it would happen with such understated aplomb. At least some kind words of welcome from the Chairmen of the ‘Top Dogs’ society would have been appreciated, but there was nothing of the sort.
You see on Saturday I competed in a race near Worcester and was happy to finish inside the top 20. Now before I was able to even reach for a finisher’s refreshment beverage and to inform the punk in 13th how fortunate he was that I did not catch him, I was ushered off by a Drugs Free Council for Free and Fair Sport Free in South Africa man whose accusing stare would have had OJ Simpson pleading guilty on the spot.
Feeling slightly bewildered, but accepting my dues to the world of the top 20’s, I went along with the chap who handed Worcester’s water quota for February, bottled specially for me and ordered by the accuser to: “drink up, then pee into this cup - no less than 90ml”.
Well 20 min later I was no closer to taking a leak to make sure justice was adhered to in my country. This despite the fact that the tap nearby was being turned ferociously on and off, I can only assume to simulate some kind of serene waterfall type ambiance to help get the required urges underway. I noticed the temporary detention barracks I was in was right next door to a wedding venue – all done of fancy like for the apparent festivities to come. I told my prison warder he could just put me in the grooms’ seat and I would wet my pants stukkend! This eased the tension … his not mine. I was still finding it difficult to part with what little liquid my body had left after a hard race in the sun. I opted for my sixth bottle of water and envisaged further water restrictions for the greater Worcester Metropolis as I gulped down litre after litre.
30minutes now, and while I was wondering if all Olympians could pee on cue and thinking they all deserved medals for that, my minder was settling in for the long wait. Not showing any signs of letting me free just because I couldn’t go he looked to be hauling out a 10 000 piece puzzle of Alan Boesak or fireworks over the Statue of Liberty. I was not going to be roped into this extra excitement and I decided to try another technique. I won’t get too graphic, but let’s just say, with a little help from another toilet bound activity that often goes hand in hand with a pee; I was able to provide the precious 90mil for my country. I emerged with my prize possession only to be met by the next victim who was a buddy Martha. Not having many tips to give the fairer sex in this department I just wished her good luck and raised my cup to show her the results of my labour. I then went through the unprecedented methodical and high tech process of bagging my samples (seriously, they do it the same way the chaps at the Olympics get tested) and asked whether they could let me know my IQ while they were at it and if I was still allergic to Bee’s. Not amused they sent me packing and said I they would be in touch. “Don’t let me read about it in the newspapers first” I cautioned with a wagging finger.
An hour later I saw poor Martha walking towards her car … she was being accompanied by one of the Doping officials as she was still to provide what they required! I hope she has an extra room as home as they are persistent creatures to be sure.