Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Welcome To Goatsfontein.

Sometimes I like to think that there are hundreds of girls following me around. If I had songs to sing they would sing them back to me, carry the chorus line and drop that harmony like it was hottt.

Yet the journey between the west coast and the east is lonely. The cars drive too fast and the rest stops are casually indifferent. The petrol attendants at the Mossel Bay Total Service Station must see a hundred people just like me come through there every day. Me and my journey are unique - just like everybody else and theirs.

So much country is blazed through with mild concern and quirky remarks about anything and everything that is unfamiliar to my eye - the eye that grew up in the suburbs. This beloved country of ours. But today we revel in the glory that is Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay. Two gems that are no secret to the indigenous traveller.

In Knysna I shared the experience of what I can only imagine to be the intention of the marketing team of our government. On saturday I was indeed proudly South African, well I suppose I am most days anyways. But oh my, the Bokke played a real cracker on the weekend and it was indeed a warm fuzzy experience to be shared by many a beer-loving-knysna-forest-dwelling-humanoid. We timed the drive to arrive in Knysna just in time for kick-off and approached what appeared to be a licenced pub, licenced of course in the curation of a good time. Nick leaned out the passenger side and asked a man with a gold name tag whether their pub was going to screen the rugby. He looked back, almost in disgust and replied, "I Have two eyes and a heart don't I?" Yes sir, he did indeed have two eyes and a heart of gold. Green and Gold. Okay well the conversation didn't exactly go like that, but we did have a conversation with a man with a gold name tag and I suppose thats all that matters when you think about it. Safe to say, we won them pommies but just when you think it couldn't get any better, it very well did.

It was the dying minutes of the second half and John Smit just got pulled from the field to be replaced by Ralepelle, which in turn transformed our entire front row to be All Black, and I don't mean they all hailed from New Zealand. What a beautiful sight, and you knew that everyone in the pub was thinking more or less the same thing. What a wonderful image of transformation in this country - and I don't mean transformation at the hand of the quota system in national sport - i mean the three best men for the job were on the field at the right place and most certainly at the right time. It is good to be South African indeed, which for all of yous who know me on any level is a welcome place to have arrived up in my mind-box.

It gets even better, and I don't mean to rattle on about racial relativism for the sake of being fashionable, it is merely the state of affairs in which we find ourselves in. Just after the first half Matt and I appeared to have lost our third member of our party, Nick was nowhere to be found. About five minutes in, a Black Gentleman asked if the seat was taken. I told him that it was - thinking Nick would come back any second. He didn't. Fifteen minutes in we told the bloke he could take the seat. He was grateful and enjoyed the game from the comfort of being in a seated position. Let us take quickly stock of the environment in which we found ourselves in. In the 100 or so patrons in the pub, maybe fifteen (and that is generous) were not white. About 90% of the white people there were Afrikaans speaking and of the Afrikaner culture, which we all know in the past weren't all that tolerable to our African counter-parts. So the game ends and this gentleman says thank you very much for the seat (by this time Nick had just joined us again) and asked if he could buy us a round of beers. I don't think I've ever been offered a round of beers, much less from a complete stranger. I was caught off guard to say the least. Granted I don't frequent pubs that often - but the thought of neither race nor age nor cultural heritage playing any debilitating part in this magical clockwork piece of South Africa is enough to give me goose-bumps. We are all cogs, together we work, whether we are brass or silver or black or white - we work together because we were designed that way. We cannot function apart from each other. I think what I am trying to say is that I would be less of who I am if it wasn't for that man offering me a beer. He added to my humanity and i think God saw it, and i think God saw that it was good.

And I cannot account for our journey cross-country without making a slight reflection on the life and times of the microcosm that is the backpacker industry. There must be dozens of these backpackers around the world, dozens i tell you. Eighteen hours will afford you the opportunity to eat fake mexican food with a Hollander, have a corridor conversation with two other Hollanders, eat breakfast with a Uruguayan and share a laugh with a Welshman on the state of the Travel Channel's choice of presenters. And the funny thing is that they have always been there. These people with their experiences and their thoughts and perspective. It takes some pushing of one's personality, if said personality is anything like mine, to get involved and learn. Flip its hard, but it is there. Waiting. Waiting for the cogs to fit together and move.

This week i find myself in Durban and it is both refreshing and relaxing to be back home. The Pronutro is just as delicious, my bed is just as firm and the humidity is just as arresting. What a wonderful world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bees Are Dying.

To put it like it is, the bees are dying. This has been an odd phenomenon as I play out my last days at my home in Kirstenhof. A couple weeks back as I was laying on my bed I heard the familiar sound of a bee buzzing. I was confused. I looked up to see not one but two busy bees getting busy around my room. This is important because I only have one window open for the most part in my little cubicle. So I had the bee's taken care of (in the Mafia Don sort of way). I resumed to my previous position of indifference only to hear the noise return. This pattern repeated itself until I counted no less than nine bees enter my house of their own accord and then make their exit by mine own hand. I sourced their point of entry to be the upper left vent. So I boarded it up with an oversized photo frame propped up by Joseph Heller's 'Catch 22.' That was that, until yesterday. I had to make my home ship-shape for the potential lessor's that were coming to view the place. I dismantled my little barracks up by the vent, thinking the bees had moved on. The bee's had by no means moved on. I returned later, a little sweaty and burnt out from a tennis match - and wanting nothing but a shower and a bowl of oats. Instead I was greeted by roughly thirty bees. Of which seven were still alive. I am familiar with the abnormal amount of old age homes in Kirstenhof but had not realized that the bees in turn had taken their cue from this residential land appropriation. The bees had come to my house to die. I don't know why but there they were. And it must be said that it was a little tragic to watch as they never even put up a fight. I wiped them up and threw them away. It was a sad day. However the juxtaposition of life says that with ivory there surely must be some ebony and saturday night was possibly one of the highlights of my year to date. And to think that i nearly called it off on account of my sleep depredated condition. The event was David's 21st celebration. David is a friend from the College I study at and we share a couple courses together. I'm not sure if I have ever heard Dave talk smack about anyone. He is down the line both brutal and frutal. And by that I mean, he is an absolute pleasure to be around. The theme of his party was that of a Medieval Feast. What a winner. Outside there was a benched elongated table. Throne at the head of the table, Court Jester as M.C. an operative jail and absolutely no cutlery bar a carving knife for the massive chicken-and-other-meat-arrangement sprawled across the table. What a winner. But you know you don't remember the atmosphere of a memory so much as the memory of the people and the conversations you had. It is the memory of conversation that stirs the gees of it all. I will remember at least two of these. The first encounter was with an older gentleman. He went by the name of Chris. Our relationship began under the guise of him being the Jester and taking it upon himself to ensure that all the guests were behaving. Well, behaving badly that is. And what a sterling job he did of that. Not wanting to be one taken advantage of, I did my part of jesting straight back at him. That, I thought would be the end of it. No no. Later on I discovered that he was engaged in deep conversation with another friend from College, Eckhard and his drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend Leandi (yes they are indeed both raging Afrikaners). I made myself comfortable at the table and let them know that i was going to make myself available to eavesdrop on their conversation. I had no idea what i was getting myself into. And to think I nearly called it off on account of my sleep depredated state. I won't digress all the details of the conversation save to say the climactical point of Mr. Chris. He went on and on about how we do not live by our emotions, but that we live by faith - we believe and make decisions, we don't feel and then make decisions. Well we do, but we shouldn't. I could have sat listening to this man talk for hours on end. Not because he is some sort of super-human. A couple minutes into conversation you will discover how real and transparent he is with his hang-ups. He has what I crave. Perspective. He's got what he's got up in his brain box because he has felt the weight of the world on his shoulders, and then some. When he started talking to us about his little girl, i nearly choked up. I walked away from that conversation feeling somewhat lighter and somewhat encouraged by a man who has walked a road I kind of projected for myself. A man who can in the same hour be the self-professed life and soul of the party and then sit down and be very real about this very real life that we all seem to share, and the truth that stirred in his voice was not so much the beer talking, so much as it was the passing on of wisdom from one traveller to another - as we all try make it out of this life as best as we can. And then comes grace. That thing which defies all logic and reason but cannot defy experience. For it has been my experience that it is only grace, that vast deep deep ocean that refuses to let go and allows us to simply sink into it's depths as we move with the rhythms of this life that will lead me to belief. Belief beyond my rampant emotions. To say the least, it was a decent start to the evening. Enter Coila. Coila and i began to share banter early on in the evening as we sat opposite each other at the dining table. How is this for a wonderful amalgamation: she is a Western Province touch rugby playing-purple corset wearing-boy face slapping-Italian ex-patriot-concert pianist. What the freak. I had to catch myself a couple times because i would listen to her talk about her life and experiences and get so engulfed that i forgot that i was listening to an eighteen year old girl. Again i found myself succumbing to my physiological sleep depredated state and and on two different accounts nearly called it a night but somehow managed to stick around, only to discover more of the intricacies of this new friend. Eventually i had to leave, my eyes were heavy and my mind was saturated but i have a sneaky suspicion that this friendship is far from over. Coila will do that to you. And now for what lies ahead. I hope some of which will involve bare back riding humpback whales, traversing Table Mountain by foot, Jeffreying one's Bay, hanging out with my mom and brother and of course Pietermaritzburg. Let's go.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Home Is Where The Van Is.

I remember a time in my life when I would spend my winter holidays playing out the fantasies of Wimbledon in my back garden. I was ten and my brother, Matthew was eleven. I say Matthew, but he preferred to go by Pete Sampras, and I - Andre Agassi. Blinking Yanks. Why were they so good. There is something you must understand about my brother, not only is he superior in age to me - he has superior prowess. That's nice for saying he's got bigger muscles than me. And they keep getting bigger every time i see him, such is the nature of the sanitare-ware and plumbing profession. I have discovered that reverting to the old taunt of referring to him not by his alter ego but rather as Steffi Graff - simply won't cut it anymore. So on centre-court we have muscles and we have on the opposing side - well, not so much. So like any good younger sibling does, I improvised. I used my wile and cunning to beat him at the psychological game, not to mention those deft little touches over the net. I say that i used the improvisation to beat him. I improvised that i did, beat him - that i did not. In the hundred matches or so Matthew and i have engaged in, i can honestly count the number of games i have one on a single hand - with the regulation five fingers in tact. Its just plain embarrassing. So on the weekend I found myself and one fellow Kirsten-hoffian, to be up against the proverbial wall. Our opposition this time was not against Brother Bear, but rather the formidable force of one Nicholas 'Glomail-Ad-Because-You-Ju
st-Got-Stepped-By-A-Stepping-Machine" Key (I claim no claims in this regard for such a glorious alias - nick made that one up all by himself - and we are all very proud of him) and of course of the indomitable elder Aspeling twin, Lisa

Nick not only has game but he has muscles to boot. When my great stamina proved to fall short in comparison to our opponents dual efforts, because Lisa did have to help Nick out many a time - i reverted to my old ways. I tried my guile, i tried my cunning, and while I'm sure it was entertaining for all of ten minutes - it didn't put enough points up on the board. Safe to say that Kirsten and I left the court having been one of the best two teams that played that day. At least in the top two.

The thing that grates me is that it doesn't end, or even begin there. My victories on the Playstation seem to be getting just as sparse. I don't doubt my sheer talent, that's just plain obvious - but i cant peg it down to anything else. It would help if I didn't have a competitive bone in my body, but alas i have at least four of them, and most of them constitute my limbs.

I am sorry for letting you down Kirsten, i will bring my alleged A-Game next time. Either that or I'll just kick Nick repeatedly in the shins. Slow him down a bit, you know.

This week has been on the refreshing side for me. Another one of those series of moments that lead you to believe you can do better at things than what you have been doing. This was a culmination of some constructive advice from a friend with better perspective than I, completing my third tertiary academic year, discovering some great music in the form of Civil Twilight all over again and spending time with people who don't care much for my self pity. I found myself returning (in the worst way) to that place i found myself in a couple weeks back. That stylish picnic with the styled-up humans. I spent some time again on the outskirts of their realm and it revealed more about me than it did about them. I found myself getting despondent at the thought that i will never be so cool as to get through all three meals in one day without messing copious amounts of food on my clothes. I will never be that guy. What i learned is this. Life is what you make it. I was watching a program concerning a gentleman who had contracted a form of lung cancer and was being sued by another gentleman also suffering from a similar form of cancer who had felt cheated because the first guy was rich and used his money to secure a drug tester that effectively left the second guy with a 0.5% chance of getting a placebo. Which he did. The story i must tell you is not true, its fiction - the principle however is not. Now the rich guy doesn't want to spend his last few weeks alive battling out a court case. So he chooses to settle and offers the second chap an exorbitant amount of money to settle. The guy refuses. He refuses on the premise that taking the first bloke's money wont hurt him, but taking his time away from him would - so he chooses to ensue in the lengthy court case and robs the very life from the rich guy.

Heavy days. The point of the story is not one of vengeance fulfilled, because i think we can all agree that the second guy didn't go to bed that night thinking what a champ he was for making that decision. It's like Graeme Vermooten always says. Good choices = good consequences, bad choices = bad consequences. The point of the story is that life is futile and precious and fleeting and a sequence of good choices just might lead one in the direction of truly getting rest at the end of an arduous day. I am of the persuasion that life could actually be that. If only i wasn't so stinking selfish and lazy.

I think a good choice could involve decidedly delicious Greek food over a setting Sea Point sun with a new friend. And i think a good choice could involve eating Aunty Linda's delicious macaroni cheese and a good choice may indeed constitute Spur burgers and sharing the love of all things Taylor Swift with a genuine Southern Belle. I don't think its any coincidence that good choices almost always involve good food.

Perhaps Mr. Vermooten could we not rather say that good food = good consequences?

A Partisan For Sure

Sometimes in life you just need to bite the bullet and accept that things will never change. Other times in life you can smile because the proverbial world is indeed your proverbial oyster. For the most part i straddle the lanes here. It's hard to be on form all day, every day. I think i'm getting better at it. For example, people, for the most part want their fifteen minutes in the sunshine. So my deduction is to make sure that they know that the sun can and will shine out of all and any part of their body. And a good haircut also makes you feel better, that i am sure of. Those were my thoughts for the better part of this week. Don't think I implemented them on any sort of notciable scale. It wasn't a terrible week, just wasn't incredibly wonderful either. Which should only be a cause for concern if knowingly this was my last week alive. It very well may have been, if not I hope to learn from it. At this point my thoughts are not on my exams this week, which more of said thoughts should indeed be. My thoughts are cast a couple weeks from now. The Garden Route, Dolphin's Point, Matthew Fright, Talco, Nickless and the elusive Kwa Zulu-Natal. It's like what Troy Bolton's friends always say, ' Get your head in the game, Wildcat.'

That aside, girls are weird. Or maybe it's that girls peter out at being somewhat average (because thats less insulting than being weird, im sure) and its the boys who are weird. Either way I think we are missing each other here. I don't think Hugh Grant writes, produces and acts in his rom-com's (you can thank Kai for that wonderfully hideous abbreviation and do feel free to use it in real life sentences, because she sure ain't scared to) because he is taunting us with what a date gone right looks like. Its that he too must have at some point just completely missed girls in their entirety. come to think of it, i dont think Hugh Grant writes, produces or acts in any of those movies. Well he sort of acts, doesnt he - ooh, burn.

My point is this, Hollyweird made up these fantastical romantical stories that dont exist not out of spite but because of their own elusivity. So when eventually a girl and a boy crack down on something golden, they milk it for all its worth.
It would be nice to be Mel Gibson at least for a day, so that i could know what women want. Not just one lady in particular, but just generally you know, but mostly just for that one - you know. I don't really want to be the moron writing about the girl that may or may not exist in his mind, i just mean to air my case in point. In two days I got four different perspectives on what girls want and what boys want. Two were gentlemen, themselves and the other two ladies. It must be said that its hard to believe why three of the four who are single are still in fact, single. That in itself does not make sense. I think more people should listen to country music, if they did we would have far fewer lonely hearts. I don't mean to get all weak on you now, I just feel like this sort of stuff takes up too much space in my mental stacks. The problem is i cant switch it off. I feel like I'm letting down my friend Dan. I said I would try real hard and be content with who I am, as Tom. Not Tom and (insert goose's name here). Dan, im not so sure I'm as strong as that. Im not looking for pity, I realise you are all watching me play out this drama as it plays out in my head because i have invited you in - that way i am hoping you can either watch and laugh as i fumble my way around conversations with people who have girl parts or watch and give me some pointers.

There is this song by this political ska band from Italia, called Bella Ciao. The band's name is Talco and you can legally download their album here and you can thank Bruce for that revelation ( Anyway this song is a cover originally written by, anti-fascist come anarchist sort of communist partisan types. The lyrics in English read something to the effect of: If I die fighting as a partisan You must come and bury me "Ah that's the flower of the partisan fighter - " Sweetheart goodbye, oh goodbye, oh goodbye-bye-bye! "Ah that's the flower of the partisan fighter who died for freedom's sake!" They are speaking of living and dying in the name of politcial freedom which ispso facto is freedom for the common woman and her man. They don't sing of a war machine or the violence of bullets and bombshells. Well they do make reference to a bombshell. Its the girl that carries the weight of the message. Now either these guys really got it and understood what they were doing when choosing the sweetheart as the bearer of their image or they had no idea what they were doing and their freedom was just as foreign as the girl and her own message. Its hard to tell.

Try out these lyrics for size:

"she thinks i walk on water
she thinks i hung the moon
she tells me every mornin' they just don't make men like you
she thinks i've got it together
she swears i'm as tough as nails

but i dont have the heart to tell her
that she dont know me that well
she dont know how much i need her

and she thinks she needs me."

Dear girls of the Multiverse - just say that. I'l be fine if you just say that.

And then sometimes in life your vice principal walks into your class bearing 1.2kg's of M & M's. Have you ever? This was courtesy of a girl about 13000 miles from here. I just don't understand. I'm not going to argue, because after all M & M's are well and truly my favourite. Girls, in general are a massive vibe, i don't really know too much more than that at this point.

Alright we are done like yesterday's dinner.

The Thing That Shani Said.

It has been a pleasant experience, to say the least, to have started journalling again. Because, now instead of watching the pages of the calendar peel off, week by week, i have to sit up and take stock of what's going on in my life. To try and relate it to all who will hear, so as to pass my experiences off as something, i dont know, vaguely interesting. This week, i havent had any ridiulously mindblowing experiences (apart from Saturday, that was A for Awesome) but instead, there has been this accumulation of little things. Things Tom likes.

Things Tom likes #1: I like it when Emma has a 21st Birthday party and asks some of her friends to do a speech. Personally i wouldnt regard myself as being on familiar terms with Emma, although am familiar wth her. Known far and wide, largely due to my massive street cred, when i used to roll deep with my boys on the 031, for my rap skillz, i got called into studio to lay down a track. Okay i wasn't called in, so much as hanging out with Nick when he said he had to cruise down to Media Village because he had to lay down a track for the Em-Dawg. I was twiddling my thumbs while Nick was rock-rock-rocking the microphone, until he popped out of the booth and said we needed to crack down some gang vocals. Tom likes gang vocals. I think over the two sections combined i got 5 words in. Needless to say they made the track pop drop and lock. Emma, i hope you thoroughly enjoyed my gift to you, but mostly Nick and Shane and Hayley and Dave and Saskia and Kevin and Jake's gift to you.

Things Tom likes #2:
Tom really likes it when he is rounding a corner in Kirstenhof and a pretty young blond lady is in mid conversation with her mom in her Yaris - waiting to turn the corner on the other side of the road, takes a look at me, stops talking for a second, does the double-take - and i nonchalantly gas it out of there. That's nice for the ego.

Things Tom likes #3:
Speaking of traffic, i really get excited in life when i make good decisions in traffic. Somehow things start to make sense when a shortcut works. Having said that, i do get a bit bleak when the short cut becomes the unbearably long, bad decision. I made at least 2 good decisions this week. Ah, the good life.

Things Tom likes #4:
This week in one sense has been a subtle reminder to the fact that i am only getting older. Not in a morbid way, just in a im not in Matric anymore kind of way. Having said that, Tom likes it, that despite my absence form school over the last 4 years, i can still sit in the back row of a fairly important meeting with older people taking up the keen-bean front rows, and giggle at silly things that Dan was doing, all the while trying to muffle mine and Dale's laughter just enough so that the speaker couldn't hear, bit just enough so that the two rows in front of us could hear us, and wish they were incredibly cool vigilantes, like us. Things Tom likes #5: This one made me LOL. In the literal sense. There i was, doing a jog up Tokai road - and there they were, doing some big massive walk up Tokai Road. I think the 'they' that i refer to hear was an entire grade, possibly Matrics from Zwaanswyk Hoer Skool. I had, that very morning gone on down to the shiny new Hi Fi Rip-Off-aration, to procure for myself some shiny new headphones (because doing my jogs without Put Your Hands Up For Detroit blasting in my eardrums, had become fairly lonely). So like any good procurer of electronic goods, the only way to test something new to see if its broken yet or not is to push it the extreme that they have provided. They wouldn't have put a volume setting on my ipod for example there at 175 decibals if the good people at Apple didn't think my shiny new headphones could take it. I think at this point in my yog, i was listening to the sounds of Lil' Wayne and yet i heard this gesture of hand claps and whistles. It carried on for ages, at least 8 seconds, if not more. I realized, they were clapping for me. I'd like to think that they thought that i was either A. a celebrity, probably Ewan MacGregor doing a charity run or B. they were overwhelmed by my sheer stamina and its not they cognitively decided to applaud. It was just a natural reflex for their hands to start hitting one another in amazement.

Things Tom likes #5:
I don't know why, but i insist on wearing a particular pair of Jean Pant that since their inception into my wardrobe collection have never had the decency to make that zipper stay topside. It is like a flamingo flying south for the winter, except everyday its a flamingo and every day its winter. This is irritating right up until the point where it ceases to be annoying and just plain funny. That point is only reached when walking through Blue Route Mall, the distance between the entrance by Pie City and the Checkers, and surreptitiously sneaking my index finger down below to check that the fly had stayed up on it's wall, so to speak. But no. Lets just say i should have noticed earlier that they don't make air conditioning units that blow at waist height. Your problem is either that you gots a hole in your pocket Dear Liza, or your fly is down. On that day, lets just say that Liza was out of town.

Things Tom likes #6: Tom really enjoys getting perspective. Shani will do that to you. She is deeply romantic, in a way that makes you want to be a man. Most of the time, you wish you could be her man, but most of the time that won't happen. I meant what i said. She alluded to some poor bloke that apparently doesn't know his world is about to come full circle. I brought him up later in conversation, and all i got were big eyes and no words. Like i said, she is the archetype of the girl that stirs the wild romance in a man. Shani also believes in me, not in the same way that people believe in the tooth fairy - but in the Coach Carter sort of way. Tom likes it when other people believe in him, makes me feel like i can take on challenges bigger than myself. Because for awhile i was starting to believe that 1. my muscles weren't really that big after all and 2. that God was either incapable or unwilling to put a few things back in their place. I think it is beautiful when God uses people to show us more of Himself, because im not one of those people that sees God in the waves and in sea urchins and hear His gentle whisper on the wings of a bee pollinating a daisy. I know i believe in Jesus, but i get the impression that he believes in me. And so i leave you with the words of an Australian on-screen drama teacher, have a good one - you good things.

' Most of what i do is grounded in education, there is always a lesson to be learned.' Mr. Greg Gregson.

What's The Story Corey?

I am having a love affair with Summer. I'm sorry Winter, it would have never worked out between us. If Denzel Washington was a season that shone and never rained i would bask in his glory too. The Man who got fired. or Man! that guy's on fire. um, maybe it was Man, that fire is ON! either which way, that movie was K for Krazy. In the movie, Creasy is this Christ figure, albeit an assassin. He dominates with this quite inner strength and then bang, Christopher Walken pipes up: "Everyone has an art. Creasy's is death, and he is about to paint his masterpiece." Now don't get me sideways here, i never was a great fan of the classic Shakespeare maneuver of the tragic hero. it irritated me until i understood that that is exactly who Jesus was. If i have ruined the movie for you, i apologize. It's eight years old so chances are, you've seen it. But i struggled with this, couldn't get to sleep even. It perplexes me that there exists a love that by very definition is so great that there is none greater, that someone lays down ones life for a friend. It's beyond me. I think i have friends for whom i would substitute my life for, come to it. But Oh my Liz Lemon, it's a stretch. My point is this, that the idea of Jesus dying for me is not consumed in his deity, in his whole being God thing - it has somehow gripped me on a very real, very human level. In the movie, Dakota Fanning prays and asks of God to not give her health and wealth, "cos that's what everyone asks for and im sure you dont have much left. Give me whatever else you have." This week has been odd. Nothing weird, just that things have been a little out of place and i cant remember where they are supposed to go. And if that wasnt enough Friday just threw things way out of whack. I hung out with Doug. Doug is a biscuit. In the rugby kind of way. Yet nothing about him screams rugby. He used to mentor me when i was at the back end of High School. He was and is one of those people that are schooled and wise and in a broad sense, has got things together (well in comparison to most of us) - always has, and probably always will. I haven't hung out with Doug proper in over 3 years i reckon and there we were eating KFC in Melkbosstrand. On an absolute pearler of a day, mind you. And the thing about Doug is this: with Doug, getting girls is easy. He's dashing and daring, courageous and caring. He told me about this girl he's fond of. They have been dating for eight odd months now and he says that he cant even tell. Isnt that beautiful? when Doug talks about girls, my ears have this manner of pricking up. This girl, right - was so into him that she spent an afternoon, turned evening at the Durban beach-front in the pouring Westerly rain while Doug surfed his brains out. Doug has got it easy. But why? Is it his nonchalance? Is it his beach blonde hair? Is it that punch-the-sky attitude? Or is it the sincerity at which he attacks every relationship in his life. I only mention Doug because in some ways i want to be like him. Not a clone, but perhaps a Tom-a-fied version of Doug. I dont actually want to be him, because i dont know the first thing about captaining the Eighth team (Rugby) in Matric. I do want to be me, but its those parts where i know i can be a better person if i only i kind of copied Doug, as he is doing his level best to copy Christ. Kind of like Paul. And also because if i was Doug i would be engaged to the most phenomenal girl this side of the Boerewors curtain. I suppose thats where we are different too, i got Summer and Doug's got Heather. That's right, Doug and Heather are now promised to each other in betrothement. Do i wish i had my own Heather complete with engagement band on the wedding finger? Why certainly. Doug has got it easy. But it was not always this way. He worked like Thomas Edison did, inventing all 3000 of those contraptions that would never get off the ground, so to speak until he came right. Doug, has come right, so to speak. Things are looking up as the end of the academic year approaches us now. All that remains is to keep my gaze locked on the ground as i stare with wide wide eyes waiting for my romance with Summer to be complete. So here's to Heather, and to Summer and to Nurse Taylor and to Captain Stu for making the top 3 for Road to V-Fest, and to all of you lovely people who take the time to read all of this and let me know that you know that what i know is worth knowing for you, you know. And even though the petrol prices have let us breathe a little we would do well to take our cue from Homer Simpson...

Marge: "We can't afford to buy a pony."
Homer: "Marge, with today's gasoline prices, we can't afford not to buy a pony."

Happy Birthday Becky

I think, that at least for a while i would like to live in a hotel. I mean the ones designed for tourists. Multi-storeyed feats of architectural synonymity. I would wake up early and hit the in-house gym so hard that my deltoids would look more defined than the Oxford dictionary. Then i would go for a jog along the promenade on either the Umhlanga or Sea Point beachfront (pending on which coast and which time of year i find myself) I would then retire to the balcony and order room service-of a full english breakfast-and wouldnt grow tired of it either. In the evenings, i would come home to find the place exactly how i never left it and be chuffed about it stlll and then relax to the sounds of Kenny G, while kicking back in a jacuzzi. I dont know what it is about them, but its like i am instantaneously in holiday mode the moment i walk through the doors of the reception foyer. I felt like that when i went to visit my Northener cousins at the Cape Peninsula, in Sea Point. Oh my, what a vibe. The views, the triple deck pizza and the fold out bed that gave me more support than even the South could give Barack Obama.

And what shall we say about yesterday? I found myself as Justin so accurately pointed out, in the middle of a million circles. And the circles were decent. I went to a a picnic yesterday celebrating the birthdays of two friends i have made in Cape Town who are curiously both from eThekweni. The problem with that fundamental starting point is that i am not in the circle of any of either of their groups of friends. My problem? It was like Jacki and Ceire sent out a memo along with the invitation (which evidently i did not get) saying that only good looking, confident and insanely stylish early twentiesh people were invited. The girls were pretty and the boys were prettier. Safe to say as i turned to Andrew to remark that i felt well and truly out of my depth, i was not far off the mark. Dont misunderstand me here, the picnic was a roaring success and the socialites of Cape Town will be talking about it all the way until tomorrow. Amongst all of that i think the only other thing to report on is that cousins could possibly make the world go round. And not in the generic sense, like how most people have them and stuff, but my cousins. They are a massive vibe. As mentioned earlier, they hail from the Highveld and they each possess a heart of gold. I might remember the trips to Camps Bay and walking along the promenade, i might even remember the prawns at the Waterfront, quite possibly i may recall the journey to Simonstown and laughing all over again at the thought of my petite Pre-Primary school teacher of a cousin-in-law rocking out to Demon Hunter as her ringtone, but probably not. They are the type of people that make you feel better about yourself. Make you feel like that despite popular opinion, you are going to make something of your life, you know - be somebody. Grow a beard and get a job saving the Multiverse. You must understand that i really like these people. When Jonothan laughs, its not so much that the world laughs with him, so much as he laughs on behalf of the world. And being one who quite enjoys my own jokes, funny or not to the rest of the world - it was absolutely glorious to have someone guffaw out my praises. I feel refreshed after having them come through iKapa. It appears that life is about to get a little more tricky these next couple of weeks, but the joy of summer in Durban awaits on the other side. And because the titles of my notes are not completely void of meaning and intention, a very happy birthday is wished upon MBecky. Today, she has been alive for twenty years. I havent seen her in three and a half weeks and i miss her a little. You must understand, that the problem with not seeing someone for three and a half weeks is that that is just enough time to acquire for oneself a new nickname, for example MBecky. It sounds like it should be a funny nickname and thought of calling a 20 year old hippie from Oregon after our beloved ex-president sounds like the premise for a massive LOL - but i am not in on the joke, which only hurts insofar as the realistaion that my priviliges for getting in on such inside jokes have been forfeited in light of the fact that as much as my t-shirt describes that I Heart APU, i am not APU. I am in Cape Town and the Pacific Coast of North America and Pietermaritzburg respectively are alien to me, and will be for some time. Not to be a Debbie-Downer, i only wish to bring to the attention of MBecky and all her friends that life will carry on, but always now with the imprint of all of you, in me. Happy Birthday Peterson.

I Remember It Like It Happened Just Two Months Ago

Oh wow.

Lets just say that its refreshing to know that there are, well many things that I have yet to do for the first time. Yesterday, I made that list one the lessor.

Nick Key (who shall here forth be referred to as The States) and Nick Brink (who shall in turn be referred, here on out as Charley B – because it’s confusing going to lunch with two Nick’s) and myself (whom I shall self-dub, T-Game – for obvious reasons of me having a lot of Game, of the bachelor variety and not the antelope type) spent the better part of the morning in Town. That is Cape Town, CBDish.

We began our little outing at Green Market Square where The States succumbed to the pressures of The Man and bought 6 Terry Pratchett books in one go. I mean, have you ever. All the while, Charley B fumbled around the stalls looking through his new sun-glass-eyes for nothing in particular (not even a tacky mass produced piece of authentic African art for Evelyn (that is, the big E-V-E)

The day was humming along nicely and after our perusing had reached it’s limit and we felt like haggling no more, we made our way up Long Street for the infamous Royale Eatery. Legend has it, that their burgers are made out of 100% pure awesome. Naturally being a good connoisseur of all things meat-made, I had to attest to this claim of many a Cape Tonian.

After about a 1 and a half hour hike up Long Street because The States refused to drive up to the top of Long Street and made us walk, we arrived at what would become the Eatery of Destiny.

Upon entry we were greeted by a cute, pump wearing, brunette, brown eyed and vibacious excuse for a waitress, masked only by an apron and the chasm that separates the customer and the employee.

“Smoking, or Non?”
She might as well have said, “Hi guys, Im here to steal away both your breath and your dignity. And just in time for lunch too.”

“Um,” the three of us exchanged glances and I knew exactly what The States was thinking, (and we both knew that Charley B was only thinking of the Big E-V-E)
“That’ll be Non Smoking. Thanks”

It seemed like a good few years had passed between that moment and the next, for it is all I seem to remember. Apparently we had ordered ourselves milkshakes and burgers at some point between, which I can only attribute to being true because I found myself sipping on said banana and peanut butter milkshake. Charley B was facing the roadside, while The States and I (according to The States, positioned strategically) were facing the kitchen, the innards of this dream factory.

We both saw her coming. The carefully meticulated steps toward ours, the last table. Gently teasing us. Oh, how endearing the whole lot of it.
She silkily slided up to the table,

“Miss Piggy,” she said shyly

And then mustering up the Captain Courage in me, I retorted,

“That’s quite rude.
His name is Nick.”

I allowed a smile to escape from the corner of my mouth.

You see, I had attempted the classic literary move in favor of the double entendre .

Because Nick, and by Nick I mean, The States, had actually ordered the Miss Piggy burger, complete with bacon and all.

Pretty waitress returned the favor and showed me her smile.

“Sweet Potato chips?” She mused.

“Yep, that’s me”

“Hehe,” (Oh that giggle) “That’s a funny name.” She responded wryly.

I was finished. Stab me with a fork because I am done.

But that was not to be the end of our story, this story that exists only in a vacuum.
After much deliberation, it was decided, or perhaps assumed on my behalf that I would attempt the classic male maneuver that only ever seems to work on American sitcoms, the pick-up line.
However it must be understood that this was not the kind of scenario I have placed the vast majority of my lady friends in, or the jester that appears on camps of all sorts when all the pick up lines come out. No, this was to be pure, unadulterated chauvinism passing off as something of the confident bachelor type.

We eventually settled the bill. I got up from my seat and turned around, stuck my head out the window and took a deep breath. All the while, it must be said that The States was cheering me on. Doing what is expected from any wingman in such a situation (Charley B was still thinking about the big E-V-E) telling me that I was indeed The Man (not in the corporate capitalist sense, of course, but more in the massive street cred kind of way) and that I had this one in the bag.

Gorgeous Brunette girl nonchalantly sided the corner into the kitchen. I got up from my seat once again (I had to take a break from the adrenaline pushing through my veins) and timed the walk across the restaurant floor so that I would intersect her as she exited the kitchen.

My timing was off, and I missed her completely as she ducked round the back. I came back around for a second pass pretending that I casually left my wallet at the table as I casually walked back to the table of destiny. I missed her again.

I gave up. I was finished, and plus I couldn’t keep walking up and down the restaurant. That would have been too weird. I left the restaurant and casually looked about Long Street and shared a look of defeat with Charley B who had joined me on the pavement.
I looked back to check up on the status of The States, to find that he had engaged in slight banter with Delightful Brown Eyed Girl. I casually came up from the front of the eatery as The States was making his exit and saw that he had devised a clever ploy to engage her in conversation.

He asked her for a mint.
So she gave him one.
“Hi my name’s Nick.” He said wingmanningly.
“Hey. I’m, Gabi.”

Enter T-Game.

“Um what about me?” I asked with a smirk on my face as she was returning the bowl of mints to their place of residence.
“Here you go, and I’m Gabi by the way.”

She stuck out her hand to shake what I could have only expected to be mine. In my nervousness I shuffled my hand out of my pocket and she got the three fingered grip.

What petite hands she has.

I corrected the shake and a look of bewilderment arrested my face.

“Ah, What happened?” I asked her with a hint of surprise.

“Wh-what?” She seemed a little confused.

I repeated the statement, in case she didn’t catch it the first time or wasn’t completely English speaking.

“What happened?” this time, with a hint of a smile.

“What? I don’t know?”

“Somebody spilled GORGEOUS all over your outfit.” I said commandingly.
She laughed, and id like to believe that she wasn’t just being polite.

We then exchanged a few words that Charley B, The States and I had agreed upon earlier. I shared with Gorgeous Gabi, the sentiment that it is nigh impossible for a bloke to walk in off the street and sincerely compliment a waitron. Most guys end up as players or ballers and sincerity is the furthest thing from their lips and minds. So we left it at that.
And that was that.

Except is wasn’t for me. I haven’t seen Gabi since and don’t know if I ever will. The important lesson learned by all today is that it I have often been asked as to whether I have used a pick up line seriously, and for the first time ever, I can say yes. Well sort of.

This whole entire scenario is not so much the story of me having half an interaction with a stranger, so much as it is the new reality I find myself in. I am The Man and even though it is far more plausible that Gabi thought I was an A-Class Nerd, I’d like to believe that if I was a topping on a pizza, and I was cheese, she would ask for extra cheese.

It is my understanding that Gabi is currently seeing someone, and it is not my intention to embarrass her in any way, but let this serve as a reminder to us all that milkshakes and burgers provide the premise for good,
great memoirs.

To Write Love On The Shirts Adam Never Brought To Cape Town

It has been a good week. The ebb and flow of this life demands that with new birth comes certain death, as alluded to previously, and this week was no exception. I lost some good friends to the dirt and earth paradise that is Pietermaritzburg, yet managed in the same weighted breath of anticipation and forlongitude (I know what you’re thinking and yes I am qualified to inventify my own words), to witness the greatest show on earth. I stood ten paces away from an old friend on Tuesday night, in a crowded theater, moving with the sweat and life and hustle and flow of a thousand odd young faces to the melodic line of “the cross will cast your shadow” I stole a glance at Raymond as he engaged in a moment of requited glory. In the midst of a thousand faces and four thousand limbs, here stood my old friend, arms right up, eyes wide shut and heart laid bare. In this most unlikely of places I witnessed a man share a moment with who I can only imagine being, God. I lost my breath for a moment as one does when met with such un-anticipated beauty. There was no air of insincerity there as one might expect, instead what David Crowder calls, a beautiful collision. And in the same breath of fresh air, I witnessed again something beautiful and stark last night. I watched a man breathe soul into a saxophone. It was splendid. The kind of reminder to the capitilast in me that the essence of beauty is rarely not found in good music. A music-less world would surely be a bleak existence, most especially a saxophone-less world. Against popular demand, Ska refuses to die, and rightly so.

Although being a little under two months away from now, it must be said that I am giddy with excitement concerning my exit to Durban at the end of November, God willing of course. I long for the sweat and the crowd of the people of Gateway, the mosquitoes of Upper Phoenix, the smell of my Dad’s braaivleis on the patio and having one of only ten limited edition patent pending dispensers of Pronutro-On-Tap. Okay we don’t really have Pronutro on tap, but it has been my experience over the last three years to never ever be short of the chocolate flavoured majestical breakfast cereal. I don’t know how it works seeing as though my parents are AWOL from the country 10 and a half months out of twelve and my brother doesn’t eat the stuff. I ask no questions and I tell no lies, but there it awaits my return, there in Durban. Awaiting me, too, in Durban, or slightly north of it anyhow, are some friends of the North American variety, one of which taught me a very important lesson in life. Jonty, I think you might enjoy this one, if you haven’t already enjoyed it all the way down Martin Crescent in West(side)ville. The concept is called ghost riding on one’s whip. The occupant’s of given vehicle (or whip) should be listening to West Coast hip-hop (preferably E-40 or The Federation, or anything else really, native to the Yay area in Northern California.) The whip, or vehicle in vernacular, should be rolling steady at about 10kph (works best in automatics) the steering wheel aimed dead center, and gear stick shifted into neutral. All occupants of aforementioned whip should open their doors and get out of moving vehicle and proceed to dance either next to moving car, or get on the roof or bonnet of whip and dance thereupon. I feel like I owe you some money out of my wallet Lauren, for teaching me your NorCal skills. I kid you not. They were possibly some of the most entertaining twelve seconds of my life, and then I feared more for my little French Girl’s* car hitting the wall, than trying to establish my street cred in the parking lot of College. And plus, Justin Timberlake - gentleman and scholar that he is - wouldn’t survive his own twelve seconds with the Hyphy boys of San Francisco. (I need to get me some real hip hop.) Which brings me to this week. For one I should do some laundry, then later my cousins from Johannes-Burger are coming for a visit, although my cousins aren’t coming for the express reason of doing my laundry. But the culmination of both provides premise for a good strong week ahead. Smell you later, you Smellies. *Is the emphasis on it being a girl’s car from France, or is it that it’s a girl from France whom the car belongs to? It’s so hard to tell.

Danny California

‘Black Bandana, sweet Louisiana Robbin' all
the banks in the state of Indiana.’

And while we’re on the topic of Daniel from California I should mention that Study Abroad programs should be re-imagined as How-To-Rip-The-Hearts-And-Minds-Out-Of-Poorly-South –Africans-With-Big-Eyes-And-Na├»ve-Expectations. The aforementioned Californian study group that has graced us with their presence over the last three (or four?) weeks, leave on Wednesday, and so shall a piece of me.

And like I was saying to Mandy last night, I knew what I was getting myself into right from the start, I am all too aware of the tendency in me to align myself with that which I think is foreign and exotic.

That being said I am learning the art of living each day for what each day is, step by step, day by day (with the Olson twins and all). Some of which includes being called out on how I talk a big game, or at least how I perceive myself sometimes. You see I reckon that I can cover any song in the world, by any artist and probably do a better job than them, my falsetto is that good, bar Mariah Carey – but we all know she peaked too early and none of us were ready for that anyhow.

So there we are at Mitchell’s Brewery (of Scottish origin) at the V & A Waterfront and we discover that Tuesday night is Karaoke Night, so Mandy (not Moore) slides up to me and invites me to participate in what our young one’s call ‘sing-song.’

I thought it was a joke.

You know like one of those silly requests that you always have a lol about but never do go through with it, so I said yes, while lol-ing.

Five minutes later she slides up to me in, similar to previous fashion with a book of endless embarrassment opportunities designed to entertain everyone but the singer/s, and not because of the expected raw talent of those that engage in such tom-foolery but because of the objectification via humiliation of the singer/s.

We agreed on Barbie Girl.
And lets just say that I made it rain.
That is, we made it rain
Soft, Sultry and Oh so Nineties.

Whilst we are in the neighborhood of Scot’s and Scandinavians, I am delighted at the thought of once again traversing the coastal face of South Africa. I have dubiously been dubbed by the Californians as ‘Tom from Durban’

That all started with a most agreeable gentleman that I refer to as Bobby Brown. On the first night of orientation at Cornerstone, the cultural mentors introduced themselves, gave a schtick about where they come from and what they are doing with wives, and lives. I started by saying that I’m Tom form Durban, and haven’t escaped the title since. In all frankness I have grown quite fond of it. But this has done more than just inflate my ego; it has stirred up the nationalistic juices within me to once again own my Durbanian heritage. These last couple of months I have been getting my head around potentially leaving Cape Town after I graduate at the end of next year which is sore, because Cape Town pwns. And being Tom from Durban has somewhat aligned me more with getting to grips with the place that brewed and stewed me into the first man that will ever sirsumvent the globe on a Segway.

But it is today that I find myself in Cape Town and it is maybe the end of things for me as far as USAers go but it is the start of things for others, and to be there for that has meant the world to me. I have this friend. His name is Eve McGregor. Now Eve had never ridden a scooter in his life, much less a motorbike and learnt that some important people that he knew were engaging in nothing short of an awesome once in a lifetime motorcycle expedition across Africa, or more like down Africa., and bits of Europe too. Eve really wanted to come but was denied access, you see he had never ridden a scooter much less a motorbike before, how the kirstenbosch did he think he could sustainably navigate the Gold Continent?

An agreement was made by the important people, not Eve himself, to rather just keep the trip to themselves, it did not belong to the vulnerable but only the self-professed weathered and worn. Safe to say it did not meet the dreams and aspirations that had awaited Eve, on this, the eve of the culmination of all his boyish fantasies.

But this was by no means the end of the story, you see because instead of living out the dreams of the important people, Eve has assumed his own dreams and is starting with what he’s got. He’s going down to Ottery next week to apply for his leaners Motorcycle license, which in turn will lead to the application of his Motorcycle license which will in turn culminate into a trip around Southern Africa (not including Zambia) in the summer of 2009/10

It’s the start of something new in someone else that brightens up the end of something dreary for another. For now, I am another.


I used to write a lot of emails updating peeps about everything and nothing in particular. And then I stopped. I am attempting to re-integrate myself into the weblog community. Its hard, so give me some time.

I find myself in Cape Town in a cold Spring in 2008.
Things to be chuffed about at this point:
• Justin Timberlake and Sean Kingston albums purchased for the combined sum of R140
• I am on holiday
• I have a computer that works
• I have new dreams (not that my old ones faded away, its just that now I know what im going to be doing in the in between time, like ride to Namibia on a bike – fairly realistic methinks)
• I have managed to open myself once again to the hurtful reality of befriending foreigners, many of whom I might never see again, some of which I hope to.

To say the least, though, I am swamped. I committed to living in with a group of Californian study abroad students at the res at my college. They are a delightful bunch and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know some of them and sharing some of my joys and pains with them as they have with me in the short week and a half that our friendships have blossomed. Our motley crew is comprised of some interesting characters, and together we are a force to be reckoned with.

There’s Adam: he’s been to every Radiohead concert ever played in USA and every concert they have never played in Israel. He spent a half hour in Tanzania earlier this year and claimed to have eaten his body weight in ugali (that’s pap for all of us who don’t speak Swahali, which he claims he is fluent in too)

Corey: She’s possibly got one of the cutest chuckles (as in the laugh and not the sweets from woolworths) in the known universe. She’s strong and fun and interesting and lives like down the road from Oprah in Chicago (oh and Michael Jordan lives on the other side)

Peterson: She’s from Oregon and wants to be a hippie when she grows up. Her catch phrase is, “in Oregon if you’re not’re weird!” She’s a trooper.

Dan: Dan is the definition of folk ‘n roll. Dan is in a band called Iron and Wizzle. Apparantly they are quite big in the states. He is the first man I have ever heard seriously to use the word ‘funsies’ in a sentence, I believe the conversation went like this:
Tom: “Hey bro that’s quite a mean mustache you got going on there.”
Dan: “Yeah, its coming along, you know…keeps the girls at bay and it’s kind of just for funsies anyhow.”
That’s Our Dan.

Bethel: Now we need to be careful what we say about Bethel, she’s Russian and lets just say she enjoys a nice glass of wine. She laughs endlessly, and just when you think she’s done laughing, she’ll just start bubbling all over again. Its rather disconcerting

I have made many more friends from this group, but these are just some I have had the privilige of spending more time with. I’l put up some pictures as soon as Radiohead Adam gives me some of his sweet pics.

As a result of my full time commitment to these students combined with living in Lansdowne, I have lost my Kirstenhoffian rhythm and im a bit mozamBLEAK about that but it’ll return soon enough. Plus I need to laundry pretty soon.

I hope to return soon to you all.