Category: weird

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Rusch to Glory

I’m currently reading “Rusch to Glory” by Rebecca Rusch. 50 pages in and I am completely and utterly captivated.

 

Extract from the novel,

“Though I have some great scars from climbing, mountain biking, and paddling. I got my favourite scar while rebuilding that truck. It’s on the front of my left thigh, halfway between my knee and hip, a straight, thick line across the quad. On that day I was using a heavy handheld rotary grinder to prep the inside of the truck bed for painting. Filthy, sweaty, and holding a big power tool, I felt supercool. I turned the grinder off and stood back to admire my work. Funny thing about grinders – they continue to spin even after you turn them off. My proud moment was interrupted by the smell of burning flesh. The grinder had buzzed right through my Carthartts and seared the flesh of my thigh. The heat of the blade had cauterized the skin so it wasn’t even bleeding, but I now had a big, deep burn on my quad.”

 

Comrades

The Comrades Ultra-Marathon is less than a week away. I’m not going to say anymore than that in case I fail.

 

Fish fingers

My niece is still adorable.

Yesterday, I asked what she was doing and she replied, “Peeling my fish fingers.”

And she proceeded to peel her fish fingers. Like an orange.

Rusch to Glory

SeaPointMay

Above two photos taken in Sea Point.

Black Diamond

I’m currently reading “Black Diamond” by Zakes Mda. It’s not my usual fare. I generally prefer more poetic pieces (think “Jazz” by Toni Morrison), but this story is funny, raunchy and has so many truths about South Africa. Here’s an extract from his novel.

 

“With all this talk of deployment, Don cannot help wondering how the government became so enamoured of military vocabulary. In this brave new world accumulation of personal wealth is dressed-up in militarism, as if capitalism is the continuation of the guerilla warfare that was fought during apartheid. It is as if they are compensating for the fact that most of those who are enjoying the fruits of deployment are not the freedom fighters – the foot soldiers – who bore the brunt of the war. It is mostly the leaders whose fight against apartheid was in the capitals of the world, and the trade union bosses who crossed to the other side to be at one in body and spirit with corporate bosses. Or perhaps it is compensation for the fact that the actual war itself was a very limited one, and the liberation movement was denied the glory of an outright military victory when liberation was won mostly through ordinary black civilians who made the country ungovernable, and the workers who brought the economy to its knees, and of course the western community which pressured an erstwhile ally to negotiate with the blacks now that the feat of the Soviet Union was a thing of the past. More than anything else, the so-called mass action brought the government to a standstill; we did not see platoons of cadres in a triumphant march into Pretoria after felling the Boer forces.”

 

My niece

A few months ago, my three-year-old niece (and her parents) moved into a place 10 minutes from my apartment. It’s such a delight having her close y. A few days ago, I turned up at her place after a run. My running tights were slick with sweat (so gross). She touched my thigh, looked up at me and earnestly asked, “Did you pee in your pants?”

 

Asking the Universe for a big slice of adventure 

A few friends might be immigrating to the States soon. This depresses me. I feel like everyone is leading such exciting lives and nothing ever happens to me. Eat, run, sleep and repeat.

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Left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Cape Town International Airport. Taken before my flight to Durban.
  2. Sea Point, my favourite place in Cape Town. Clouds reflected in rock pool, yacht in the background.
  3. Lone girl, wrapped up in green blanket, engrossed in a novel. Mountain in the background.
  4. Spring flowers on Table Mountain.
  5. Japanese Garden, San Francisco.
  6. Selfie after a half-marathon. It would appear that I love the colour pink.
  7. Setting sun, Monterey Bay.

And it’s the end of August. And I feel like I’ve accomplished absolutely fuckall for this month. I haven’t scaled the highest peak in Africa, I haven’t run an ultra-marathon, I haven’t set any new PBs, I haven’t won a travel scholarship and I haven’t created something beautiful. The sum total of my accomplishments for this month can be summed up in four sentences:

  • I submitted my tax return forms. And got a grand total of two cents back from the government. Drinks on me.
  • I bought a coffee table. And holy crap, I am excited for its delivery! A coffee table! This kids, is what adulthood looks like. You get excited over things like a coffee table.
  • I ran one half-marathon and I didn’t even do that very well. It was a flat race and I finished in 2:05. I was also in considerable pain after the race.
  • I’ve also eaten a LOT of chocolate. Now some people might say that consuming chocolate isn’t much of an accomplishment, those people would be wrong.

 

Even though I sound disappointed in myself I am quite enjoying being back home. I’m enjoying getting back into a regular routine. I’m enjoying my evening runs with my dad. I am enjoying cooking for myself. I am enjoying nesting – buying cute, little items for my home. I am enjoying reconnecting with old friends.

 

My goals for September are:

  • Continue being awesome.
  • Make awkward conversation with members of the opposite sex.
  • Train for the Winelands Marathon.
  • Lose four kilograms. It would seem that all those pastries and chocolates have had an impact.

My dad
Last night, I accidentally introduced my dad to YouTube. And when I say accidentally, I mean that I was sitting in my parents’ living room, eating their free food and using their free WIFI to watch THIS awesome video of Beyoncé  and Jay Z’s Paris tour, when my dad walked by. (Please note that my dad thinks Beyoncé  is Britney.) After watching the clip twice, my dad said, “Play some Nicki Minaj. That one where she sings about her boom boom.” (He was of course referring to Super Bass.)

My “niece”
My one-year old “niece” can say a few words. In her vocabulary is “charger” and “money”. I can’t take credit for teaching her that, but I do plan on teaching her to say “wifi”.

Homeless man
A few days ago, I was having lunch at Amy Bun’s place when a beggar rang the doorbell.
Me: We don’t have anything.
Him: Can I speak to the boss please?

Housewarming
A few weeks ago, I attended Dizzy* and Juan’s housewarming party. At some point during the evening, a friend of Juan’s told the group that he’d heard this pick-up line and would like to share it with the group. Being the fun loving bunch that we are, we enthusiastically agreed to hear him out. We soon regretted our decision.
Him: Do you have pet insurance?
Group: Erm … no.
Him: Because tonight your pussy is going to get a pounding.

Weight

On Eid, my brother looked at me and said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight. Did you have diarrhoea?”

Books

I’m still busy reading “Gulp” by Mary Roach. Here’s another delightful quote. This one is taken from Chapter 12:

“One of the earliest flatus studies on record was carried out by the Parisian physician Francois Magendie. In 1816, Magendie published a paper entitled “Note on the Intestinal Gas of a Healthy Man.” The title is misleading, for although the man in question suffered no illness, he was dead and missing his head.”

Running

I’ve signed up for a 16km trail run and the Cape Town Marathon (42km) …

Travel

I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos.  

Club Mykonos, not the town in Greece after which the club was named. Club Mykonos is a seaside resort, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Besides swimming, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep us entertained – paintballing, horse riding and archery. And OH MY GOD, I don’t think I will ever be bored there.

And yes, I know that I’ve been incredibly lucky with regards to travelling this year. I’ve spent the first day of the year ziplining from a fort in India; I’ve flown to Johannesburg to watch Joss Stone perform live and cuddled some lion cubs; I’ve run the last 20km of the Comrades Marathon with my dad and cycled along Durban beachfront; I’ve been appalled by service in Cameroon; AND now I’m going to on a paid vacation to Club Mykonos. That’s right someone else is footing my accommodation bill. And before you jump to any conclusions, Fahiema won a weekend’s stay at the resort and she’s taking me along!

Photography

Here’s a link to the 2014 National Geographic photographic competition winners. Spoiler alert: I am not one of the winners.

Guys, enjoy the weekend. Be safe and be kind. 

Rising sun from my apartment

If I had to update my twitter bio, it would read, “Lover of sunsets, coffee and Mary Roach novels.”

Mary Roach is a brilliant writer – she makes science sound fun and accessible. I am currently reading her novel, “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal”.

Below is an extract from chapter 11, which explores the use of the rectum for storing contraband. The term employed for smuggling contraband into the rectum is called “hooping”.

“The preference in California prisons for rectal smuggling is a little surprising given the preponderance of Latinos and African Americans – two populations that are, taken as a whole, somewhat less comfortable with homosexuality. Prison, I’m guessing, is a place where extenuating circumstances erode the stigma that otherwise attaches to extracurricular uses of the rectum.

Rodrigues speaks freely about the situation in Avenal. Rather than antagonize gay inmates, he says, gang leaders tend to employ them. “We call them ‘vaults.’ If they’re reliable, the homies will approach them – ‘Hey, check it out, you want to make some money?'”

Everyone else has to practice to get up to speed. Rodriguez recalls his “cherry” assignment – the blades – as extremely painful. He says gang underlings are made to practice. I picture muscular, tattooed men puttering around the cell with soap bars or salt shakers on board. Lieutenant Parks showed me an 8 X 10 photograph of what he said was a practice item, one that landed the apprentice in Medical Services. Deodorant sticks had been pushed into either end of a cardboard toilet paper tube and wrapped in tape. “As you can see,” he said in his characteristic deadpan, “it’s a rather large piece.” (Rodriguez says that it was hooped on a bet.)

“To avoid anal laceration, dilation may have to be performed progressively over a period of several weeks or months.” This quote comes from a journal, but it is not a corrections industry journal or even an emergency medicine or proctology journal. It’s from the Journal of Homosexuality. A corrections or even a protology journal eould not have gone on, in the very next sentence, to say, “Rowan and Gillette (1978) have described the case of a man who derived sexual pleasure from inflating his rectum with a bicycle tire pump.” (As I did not pursue the reference, I remain ignorant of this man’s fate and whether he exceeded the recommended PSI of the human rectum.)”

I’ve spent the last 7 days in Buea, Cameroon, attending a regional workshop. While there I had the opportunity to fraternize with some of the locals. Each of those interactions left me bewildered. Here are some examples:

 

The taxi driver

One night a few of us went out to “town” for supper. After dining in the only restaurant in town, we hailed a taxi driver.

Taxi driver: You would like to go back to your hotel.

Us: Yes.

Taxi driver: How much will you pay me?

Us: 500 Francs.* That’s what we paid the other taxi driver to drop us here from the hotel.

Taxi driver shakes his head vehemently and drives off, leaving us stranded in the rain. There was no bargaining, just a simple refusal to assist us.

 

The hotel receptionist 

On the last day of my stay, I walked down to the receptionist to settle my bill. After 30 minutes of sorting through paper bills, it was determined that I owed 700 Francs. I paid with a thousand Francs bill.

Receptionist: I don’t have any change for you.

Me: Okay …?

Receptionist: I don’t have any change for you. If you come back later, I might have change for you and then I’ll give it to you. If I don’t have change** for you …

Receptionist shrugs her shoulders.  

In the end, I never got my change.

 

The bus driver

On Wednesday, 7 May, while the rest of my country was voting, I along with fellow workshop attendees went on an excursion to Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary and Limbe Botanical Garden. We went in two buses. On our way from the gardens to the wildlife sanctuary, one of the buses broke down.

Canadian trip coordinator to bus driver, after he’s dropped us off at the sanctuary: Are you going to go back to pick up the others?

Driver: No. That wasn’t part of the arrangement.

Bus driver switches off the bus. End of discussion.

 

*The currency for Cameroon is Central African Francs. 1 US Dollar is equivalent to 450 CAF. 

**Obtaining change in Cameroon seems to be a major issue. No one seems to have change readily available. 

Cameroon life
The above photo was taken in Buea, Cameroon.

I’ve spent the last couple of days in Klapmuts, teambuilding. Our teambuilding activities involved watching TEDx videos, and acting out skits that featured Pik Bothalia from the Naturalist Party (NP) and Julius Mari-na from the Environmental Freedom Fighters (EFF).

My highlight of THIS year’s teambuilding session was Mad Phoenix’s description of dolphins. Most individuals (including conservationists) perceive dolphins as cute and friendly creatures. This perception was shattered when Mad Phoenix proclaimed, “Santa Claus doesn’t exist and dolphins are rapists. Google it!”

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Pictures taken at my sister’s bachelorette party on Friday. The party was held in my apartment and we had so much of fun, playing games such as “pin the junk on the hunk” and “toilet paper wedding dresses”.

*

I was in a minor car accident on Saturday morning. Heart sore.

Things I’ve said

  • Nothing screams single more than a late night trip to the supermarket to purchase cat food and chocolate.
  • Nik Ribinowitz is my boyfriend. He just doesn’t know it yet. Neither does his wife.
  • I should probably do something with my hair. Like, I don’t know, brush it.

 

Books

I haven’t read any new books in AGES. I’ve simply been re-reading the Iain Thomas’ poems in “I wrote this for you”. It has gotten to the point where I can now recite certain passages.

My favourite poem is “The day you read this”.

 

Inspiration

If you’re looking for something inspirational to watch, I suggest you check out Amanda Fucking Palmer’s Ted Talk on “The art of asking”. Powerful stuff. It is so much better than Brene Brown’s “The power of vulnerability”.