Guns for Everyone?

June 17, 2016

After Orlando, I thought about it again, and I still think it’s a shitty idea. So I wrote about it.

twitter graph

Here’s my latest column for News24.

Bernie Sanders Fans Never Give Up.

May 18, 2016

Bernie Sanders fans are not giving up, not for any reason, not ever. If this president isn’t a socialist leaning one, the next one probably will be.

Nurses trust bernie

In Korean, in Koreatown, where a lot of people work as minimum wage nurses, and would like to earn more than $10 an hour.

bernie again grafitti

Replacing a pro-bernie poster I blogged about previously, this is still cannily located next to a homeless encampment on Glendale Blvd. A high traffic area.

It’s interesting that this Bernie or Bust thing is happening at the same time as revelations that the CIA told the Apartheid Government how to find Mandela, leading to his arrest.

Is socialism so much worse than apartheid – or worse than rampant capitalism? Apparently, many Americans want to try a different tack, and aren’t scared of McCarthyism anymore.

Here’s how idiots like me survive a breakup (hopefully)

April 20, 2016

When it comes to pulling the trigger, it’s always me who does that deed. The people I pick to love never do. This isn’t because they love me more than I love them. In fact, quite the opposite…

Still clinging to each other? The flowers died months ago.

Still clinging to each other? The flowers died months ago. It was great when you got them. Finally, everything you wanted. But…

Usually, I’m doing it because I wasn’t loved enough, or because the shame in their eyes over how they acted will never go away.

It works like this:
– They can live without me.

– They let me know they might prefer to.
– I let them go by “ending it”.

Then, I have to try to recover, which involves working myself up to adopting the irrational delusion that, despite the fact that no relationship has ever worked out for me, while all my friends my age (or younger) are married or have kids, I am not fated to die alone.

I know I’m kidding myself, and that I actually will die alone, this time. However, I am still putting one foot in front of the other on the long road to productive self-delusion. Currently, I’m slipping between Stage One and Stage Two (see below).

I’m writing this down to remind myself that stage three exists, and for the benefit of anyone who, somewhere in the future, may Google: “Nobody loves me, and nobody ever will, so should I just kill myself”, and finds this instead, in the hope that I might inspire them to wait a while and see if they feel better.

Post-Breakup Stage One – Shock (24-72 hours)
Characterized by: Numbness and automatic behavior.

 I feel nothing. Just very heavy. Like I just gained 30 pounds since I handed back his house keys and carried my bags to my car.

themarksmattress

Truth on an old, wet mattress

I have been drinking all night and I am still not drunk. Except, you know, legally and medically speaking.

I can’t sleep and I am scared of my dreams, because he’s in all of them.

I can’t eat. I’m hungry, but why bother?

Puppies and kindness make me cry. Yeah, it’s just like PMS. Only worse.

24 hours feels like a week. I get the days mixed up. I can’t believe only yesterday, my whole life was different. How did this happen?

 

 

 

 

Stage Two – This is the worst. (2-6 Weeks)
Characterized by: Delusions (which feel real), obsessive thinking, imaginary conversations, fears, regrets, and that old classic: chronic self-pity. Reoccurs whenever ex gets engaged/married/babies.

Other people’s wedding photos, engagements, and kid pictures make me weep profusely.

By contrast, the people who photograph their cats and dogs don’t seem so pathetic anymore, ‘cause I know I’m so unlovable not even a rescue would like me, let alone live with me.

I keep thinking of things I want to tell him but now, I can’t.

I took this photo of someone's phone. I was on a date with them.

I took this photo of someone’s phone. I was on a date with them.

I need a hug. I need a hug from him. Nobody else’s hug will do. The person I most often turned to in times of distress is the one person who can’t comfort me now. It’s not fair. Cue: tears. I wonder how he is. I hope he’s okay.

Creepy men think I’m sexy. The fact that I’m close to tears seems make me irresistible to predatory types – like the local smack dealer, who relaxes in the 24hr Laundromat I use, between his forays to deliver to clients. True story!

He isn’t trying to get me back. What’s the bet he’s already dating?

I think about him all the time. I bet he doesn’t think about me all the time. I bet he’s already forgotten my birthday… if he ever knew it.

He’s badmouthing me. I know it, I just know it. He’s telling his family and friends all the worst things I did, all the things he’s “forgiven” me for. He’s not telling them anything he did wrong, I bet.

I’ll never see his mother / daughter / siblings again. I’ve lost a whole family. I should never have fucking met his family. I should have ended it as soon as I knew I would eventually be ripped away from them

Every photo in my automatically updated dropbox reminds me of him.

Every photo in my automatically updated dropbox reminds me of him.

He’ll tell his new younger girlfriend I sucked compared to her. He did that to me, about the women before me, so why would I differ, just because I defended them to him?

I see the juice he drank in a store and burst out crying. This is only the 15th time I’ve burst out crying because of him, since I woke up at 8.30am, and it’s just gone noon.

I’ll never get over this. I’m going to be this sad for the rest of my life. But I’ll stick it out until August or September, and it’s not better yet by then, I can kill myself without feeling like I didn’t try to get happy.

Maybe I should write to him and tell him all about how I feel, and how I really loved him. Not so I get him back, but just so he knows.

I only want to do new things. I can’t do old things because they all remind me of another life, so I need to change everything. EVERYTHING! Cue: tears.

Stage Three – Glimmers of hope. (About .5 seconds per glimmer)
Characterized by: Wild plans, impulse control issues, and occasionally casual sexual encounters. I haven’t reached this stage yet, and being convinced I never will, am relying on past experience and hearsay to portray it.

there are feelings

A poem by Nayyirah Waheed. She’s wonderful. I love her, but I feel like I’ve felt all this shit too many damn times before, now.

I want a tattoo!  But he hates it. Oh wait, I’m not with him! But I can’t afford it, and I can’t figure out where it could go where it won’t look ugly when I’m old, so I’ll clean my house.

I wanna cut my hair short and dye it blue!  Which I could do now, because it wouldn’t start a fight. But I can’t afford it, so I do my laundry.

I wanna get in my car and just drive: Which I could do now because I’m not dating him. But my car’s a wreck, and I don’t have a tent. So wash dishes and murder some roaches.

I am in a crappy mood: But who cares. I don’t have to pretend to be happy for his sake, all the time.

I have amazing friends: I appreciate them more because they helped me survive this thing, again.

Oh look, I lost 10 pounds. That’s cool. Maybe someone else will want to ruin my life and break my heart again soon! Yay!

But what I’m really waiting for is this

“OMG! I haven’t thought about him for half an hour.”

I’m nowhere near there yet.

But the secret is knowing that what I feel now is not what I’ll feel forever, although it sure as hell feels like forever right now.

To be continued…

PS: If you are an ex, or even the ex of the moment, reading this, and you think “OMG, that bitch, this is about me! And my penis looks tiny in that picture of the statue!”, you’re partly right, and partly wrong. Not all of it is about you, and not all of it isn’t. Don’t be a hater. All it is is proof that I still care about you, whichever one you are, in my own bitter, twisted – but never really vengeful – way. I don’t need your permission for that. And in truth, this article is all about me. It’s all in my head, and despite whatever you told you current girlfriend/wife, I do know that.

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 3.50.49 PM.png

Angelinos of mercy

March 11, 2016

Today, a total stranger cared enough about me to help me survive Los Angeles for another month, when my car broke down, and needed to be resurrected from the dead.

A car breaking down in LA generates a weird feeling of being disenfranchised and helpless. It’s humbling in some good ways, because you learn how millions of Angelinos live, but it’s not the way anyone wants to stay. LA has all the variety and adventure of New York, but you need a car to experience it fully.

1000newlicense

This car died. I wasn’t as lucky that day.

California without a car – specially if you’re trying to earn money as a filmmaker – is a series of waits for expensive buses, expensive uber rides, packed trains that don’t go where you need to, and often favors from friends. It’s four hours less in your day. It’s arriving sweaty and tired for meetings and work, if you get hired at all.

I’m still reeling from the generosity of a stranger, who essentially gave me $465 dollars, when he really didn’t have to. I wrote about it in my column. Yes, it all really happened.

1000la skyline

The city’s ripped back sky

smiley field

The highways that go everywhere. The smiley on the hill.

Dump Trump Toilet Trend

March 8, 2016

Saw this near a Mexican restaurant in Highland Park area. I find it weird, looking at his all-white rallies, that anyone would want an America like that. How boring. How un-American.
2016-03-05 12.40.40

It really does feel like a weird morality tale for Republicans. It’s like they went to a sorcerer and made a wish, or did a Faustian deal with Satan, and now they’re stuck with a result they didn’t anticipate.

Bernie for President

January 22, 2016

This is the second US Election I’ve been lucky enough to witness, and I’m excited to see if it is as ground-breaking as the last. I’m writing about it on News24.com, where you’ll be able to find my column here, as soon as it’s published.

What’s really impresses me about Bernie is how strongly his supporters seem to feel. I like that they would do something like make this sign. And before you dismiss it, I counted the cars driving by in a minute: 42. So let’s say there’s 18 hours of traffic past this point that’s at roughly the same rate, every day. That’s 45360 people who saw this guerrilla advertising  on every day it remains. And that’s not counting the fact that there’s more than one person in many vehicles, and it’s on the bus route.  Good job, hippies.

bernieforpres.jpg

My only question, is regarding how he’ll stand on Africa if he gets the job. It feels like the US president is almost the president of the world, and I want to know if he’ll find a way to talk to someone like Zuma, or just give him the famous Bernie Side-eye.

berniessideyegiphy.gif

This is “the Bern”

A New Beginning

January 14, 2016
2015-12-28 14.07.52.jpg

Fuck you, Santa, invention of the Coca-Cola company… And here’s why.

After everything that’s gone down – previous posts have more than enough detail for public life – I’m here in LA. I stayed. I found a place that I fell in love with, and a landlord that would trust a freelancer who hadn’t worked for a month, and just enough work to pay my rent, while I write, and dream, and pray that my space in this place opens up, soon.

dawn at my house

Nothing can describe the feeling of having a home again, after two months of depending on the kindness of my boyfriend (who thought he was shot of me) and my friends. I woke up at dawn to an unfamiliar sound on one of my first nights here, feeling full of gratitude and snapped this before I cuddled back up again to sleep more.

At first, it was bliss. And then there was Christmas. Like a monster from hell.

koreanchristmaslights

I thought I might never see these trees lit up in Koreatown again. But here they are. I survived another year in LA.

With Christmas came the agonizing sensation that I was supposed to be somewhere else. Something about holidays makes you long for unconditional love, and nothing else is enough, and so I missed my mother, and the plans we had for long swims in Cape Town’s cold, sharky, gorgeous seas, and the chance to see my friends’ new babies and growing children before it was too late, and everybody forgot about me.

I also began to hate my female form, and all the limitations it imposes. As my ex got remarried and began posting honeymoon and wedding photos on facebook for our former mutual friends to “like”, I drowned in self pity, imagining how, next, he would have the babies he took from me, with his new, younger, fertile bride. I would never have a family. I would be alone in this world, without that love, after my mother and father were dead.

The bitterness and neediness engulfed me.

whatdoyoumean

I was sure the answer to this question was “nothing”. I heard on the radio about how old Chinese people who have no families just starve to death. I thought, that’ll be me. I’ll be digging in the trash when I’m 75…

Christmasover

But then I survived Christmas, and New Year came and went, and finally, men from the government began to take down the signs and symbols of my social failure. The bells of joy began ringing again as everybody went back to work.

So, eventually, the holidays ended, and with it, my gloom lifted. Now, I work, and I feel like I’m whole again. I no longer lack what everybody else has. The doors of marriage and kids slamming in my face may be limitations, but they allow me to focus on my art, my writing, and on a last-minute future that means that even if I am left rotting somewhere when I’m 70, tens, hundreds and thousands and maybe even millions of people will have read, watched, or cried over a story I wrote or directed. At least, that’s my dream.

So, what do I mean, in this world? I don’t quite know.

Sure, what we really, really want to mean, is love. Unconditional love. Only this gives our lives meaning, really, and money and fame can’t compensate. We want love, love that would overcome its fears to claim or save us. But if that never comes my way, success of some other kind will have to get me through the night.

And it will get me through the night. So go ahead. Boast of your joy. Post all the engagements, wedding photos, baby pics, back to school pics and relationship status updates you like. One day, when you’re sitting opening Christmas gifts with your grandchildren, I’ll be alone in a hotel room, somewhere far, far away, answering fan mail and weeping with self pity.

But that will only last until about Jan 5th, and then I’ll be fine again.

 

 

Omens, visas and impossible life decisions

September 29, 2015

So, the world’s being weird to me. So weird it’s spooky.

Not quite the dream I had in mind.

Not quite the dream I had in mind.

Those who know me know I call myself an atheist. As in, I don’t believe in a godhead. The idea of a human figure running things is preposterous to me. Any spiritual force able to control and link all the world’s creatures is surely more ambiguous and more complicated than the dude in any of the books.

That doesn’t mean I don’t experience what other people call a spiritual life (I’ve seen a ghost), or enjoy religious rituals occasionally, particularly when it comes to the part where you eat and drink feel gratitude for the good things you have.

Being an atheist also doesn’t mean I don’t believe in forces beyond my control. Recently, I’ve been reminded that I have no choice but to do so, because I’ve felt like the world has been trying to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that I’m nobody. I’m nothing. I’m at the mercy of “It”, whatever “It” is.

I don’t know. I’m probably a pretty shitty atheist.

See, while I was trying to depart the USA for South Africa via the UK, first my sandles broke. Odd, timing wise, but no biggie. Then my other sandles broke, too. Then my car broke. But I found my way to the airport.

LAX Departures International

So close, and yet so very far.

Then, they didn’t let me on the plane because I lacked a UK transit visa. And then, just coincidentally, the UK visa site was down, so I couldn’t apply for a transit visa.

As a young twasa and soon to be sangoma who approached me uninvited in a bar once told me, you ignore messages from the spirit world at your peril. Two days ago, I decided to listen to what I think the world is saying. I was going to get a new apartment in Cali, and see how that went for a year or so. If I didn’t, I feared that the next thing “It” would do is break my legs to keep me here.

Of course, I didn’t get the apartment because they don’t take freelancers and I don’t have six months rent to advance the landlord – not after everything I’ve had to deal with recently. That’s the one landlord that replied to me at all. Most just let me twist in the wind.

So I’m back to nowheresville, limboing from day to day, wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do now. The world and people around me seem unreal, and I’m never sure where I’m waking up until I open my eyes and look around me.

this shit is bananas

This Shit is Bananas. No kidding.

lifes_full_of_bumps

Life’s full of bumps. Yes. And oddly, all the images on this post were snapped in the last 48 hours – as if some all powerful force feels the need to state the bleeding obvious every time I round a street corner.

I know things could be worse, so I’m trying to stay grateful, but I feel physically tired and heavy and very afraid right now.

I wrote about UK Visas and Human Kindness  (hint: they’re opposing forces) in my News24 column this week.

Moving! Crazies! Love! Cats! I’m not strong enough…

September 11, 2015

I consider myself tough. Not tough like the 18-year-old who pushed his grandmother in her wheelchair from Afganistan. Not like Syrian refugees begging for anyone, anyone at all, to let them live a normal life.

See what someone wrote on the wall - the orange one? DON'T WORRY. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AMAZING. I don't feel so sure, all the time.

See what someone wrote on the wall – the orange one? DON’T WORRY. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AMAZING.

But I’m only middle-class honkey-tough. Being rootless for so long is taking its toll, and I only just moved out of my apartment, and into the place I’m cat-sitting. I’d say house-sitting, but it’s all about the cats, or there’d be no free accommodation. The house would be just fine without me. It’s a bachelor apartment in Sun Valley, which is like Voortrekker Road in Parow without the glam, but with communal swimming pools, thank god, because it’s 110 degrees most days. Most of the other units in the block of flats are occupied by entire families who’re unbelievably quiet after 9pm, considering they’re living six people to a room.

Seeing their bravery made me want to be a better person…

No… wait, that’s a lie. It made me want to gouge my eyes out with a medieval sword and then run blindly through the streets, screaming that the world is just. Too. Cruel. I want to pity myself. And you are dealing with so much more.

STILL in my own way, I’ve been having a really, really hard time dealing with everything. The Cat Lover who was kind enough to lend me his apartment told me that the cats “feed off my ‘energy'” and I have to say, that my “energy” has never been worse. Not only did I cancel my yoga classes to save money and simplify my driving needs, but I also am leaving a relationship that’s made me pretty happy for a year in my own weird way, and just discovered that the visa process will take three times as long as the worst case scenario I thought I was facing when I booked my non-refundable air ticket.

And the problem with cats is it never. fucking. ends. They poop everywhere. They don’t lick their buts enough, cause their buts kinda smell and are hairy, so they kinda smell. They kinda hate you even though they need you, like a dependent jealous wife in a 50s misogynist movie. And it’s all my fault.

in other news…

The cats just got in a little cat-spat. I wish they would stop feeding off my energy. They’re gonna need all nine lives.

Or maybe all they need is a common enemy, like uh… the USA and Iran… to fix their differences and find something better to do than to crap on my kitchen counters. Maybe tomorrow I’ll buy them a rat called ISIS and another called ISOL, you know, like one for each cat, gift wrap them in plastic bags tied up with computer cables they so love to chew, lock the door, and let them work together to unwrap them and kill them dead.

isolisis

It might work. I don’t know. I’m like the US military – pretty much prepared to try anything except direct hand to hand combat.

Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll grow up, suck it up, and realise how lucky I really, actually, am. That’s the subject of this week’s News24.com column. Read it here.

Homelessness… could never happen to me?

August 28, 2015

(Scroll down if you just want to see the pictures)

The subject of a screenplay I’m writing said something in answer to an interview question: that before she went to America, she imagined it being this perfect world, this wonderland free of prejudice and poverty. Having seen the USA with her own eyes and worked there a month, she returned to South Africa with a new appreciation for her homeland.

This is the truth. South Africans visiting Europe tend not to encounter real life there. But, take the train a few miles out of Barcelona’s quaint center, and you’ll see where how most people really eke out a living, in high-rise apartments. Maybe it’s better than where they came from. Maybe it’s not, but they’re in love with the dream.

America is both worse than I ever imagined and better than I ever dreamed. And yes, I’m staying, on what’s charmingly called an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” visa. I must love it here, or I wouldn’t have gone through the trauma of the tough and bank-balance-erasing application process, just to complete a few projects!

But it’s no easy ride. Recently I’ve been reminded of how easy it is to fall off the wagon in America, and how hard it can be to get back on once you’re off.

You see people living under bridge and you think: “Well, that would never happen to me.

I work hard! I don’t suffer from PTSD. Any psychological conditions I suffer from (like radical liberalism) are manageable. I’ve got some sources of income to fall back on. I never sign up for new credit cards, no matter how many offers those snakes at American Express, Capital One, Chase and the other banks send me without my consent, to an address they shouldn’t have in the first place… “

But because I’m home to South Africa for a while, I had to give up my apartment. It’s rent controlled, which means it only cost me $800 a month when I moved in. I gave notice a month ago. Last week, I saw my apartment advertised at $1025 a month – because rent control only lasts until a new tenant moves in. I’m going to have to find about 20% more rent money when I return, to live in one of LA’s cheapest neighborhoods!

And that got me thinking: What if I went away to Iraq for two years to fight a war, came back damaged and with a missing leg, serious PTSD, and a drinking problem? How would I ever find my way back home, then?

The truth is, very few people do.

Hence this rather fiery NEWS24 COLUMN.

The tunnel. Is there any way out of this?

The tunnel. Is there any way out of this?

The resident. He kisses pigeons. His nickname is “Birdman”.

House, phase I

House, phase I. Just a drawing on a wall, with the owner sleeping in front. This is back in December 2014 – note the Christmas Tree and snowman.

homeless before

House, phase II, after a few weeks of habitation.

Current house, with “Stunning Mountain Views” courtesy Skidrobot.

Homeless people are everywhere in California. It's not the America you see on TV, that's for sure.

Homeless people are everywhere in California. It’s not the America you see on TV, that’s for sure.


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