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.

Home is where… the… where exactly?

January 14, 2015

Festive season is over in LA, so charity is waning, the traffic is picking up, and winter is truly setting in, as much as it ever does in LA… kinda makes the city feel bearable for the relatively rich. I don’t EVEN earn minimum wage as in 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I muddle by on three-four days a week, maybe 12 hours a day… maybe not quite as bad as $9 an hour all the time.

But these guys, who live under the bridge on the way to my boyfriend’s house, they keep my grateful for the hours i do work, and my little apartment. And since I drive past there about three times a week, I see them all regularly, and I have a favorite.

THIS GUY…

That guy in the picture... I saw him in September. He had just painted a picture of house behind his mattress. He was kissing pigeons.

That guy in the picture… I saw him in September. He had just painted a picture of house behind his mattress. He was kissing pigeons.

paintedhouse

The pictures he drew on the wall were removed in November, but he drew himself another house, this time with a Christmas tree, a snowman and a wood fireplace.

Ebola Panic – it’s enough to make you vomit blood

October 22, 2014

I met an ex saffer the other day – a nice person. Anyhow, she was planning to take her family to visit South Africa this holiday, because “they think I lived in the jungle” but canceled her trip because why? Ebola.

No really? Ebola. You got it.

I tried to discuss it with her. Despite admitting it was irrational and crazy (she blames her husband, who’s American), the trip remains canceled. And every day I get asked the incredibly stupid question by at least one American: Aren’t you worried about your family? You’re from Africa, right? I was even put in the isolation room for an hour when I went to go get a prescription refilled at my local people people’s health clinic run by religious do-gooders. Maybe they were worried, or maybe they just didn’t have another room. All I can say is: Thank goodness I brought my kindle with me.

2014-10-21 10.38.22

So in the interests of educational development of the “greatest nation on earth” (sic – their words, not mine), here is a map showing the Ebola risk. I made it myself. It took me all morning.

ebolamap

People who’re worried about ebola in the USA might also want to read some of these articles. They’re interesting not just because it’s clear that there’s been not one case in SA, but also because they mention the efforts of Cuban doctors in combatting Ebola. If the American press, including NPR, were to be believed, only the USA is heroically doing anything about the outbreaks.

And the truth is that the USA is only really doing anything about the outbreaks since the USA was affected. It’s almost, I hate to say this, lucky for West Africa that the Texas case happened. It seems to have ahem motivated a ahem race to get a cure or a vaccine tested and distributed asap. Nobody seemed to care at all when only third world people on another continent were threatened with the awful disease. Within weeks, we’re already done testing on monkeys.

A footnote: Good hygene is the first step in preventing disease, and America needs to learn what does work, and what doesn’t. Here’s a tip. Bits of paper don’t work, and that includes Waxies. Clean, non-porus surfaces do work, and that excludes gross toilet seats made out of plastic and foam.

Waxies don't work. Germs get through about 10 layers of the stuff. And please, learn to flush.

Waxies don’t work. Germs get through about 10 layers of the stuff. And please, learn to flush.

2014-10-21 10.20.35

This toilet is an outbreak waiting to happen. There’s even a shit stain on it – and it’s really hard to hover over because it’s so wide and soft. Ugh. In the bathroom of the same clinic.

Obama: He just can’t win because he’s…

August 30, 2014

Poor fucking President Barack Obama. The dude is easily the most intelligent American president I’ve come across, and he’s desperately trying to keep his election promises, but the GOP congress insists on treating him like he’s just being uppity all the time. And it’s clear to me that he’s not afforded the same respect as other presidents.

For instance, look at how nobody paid any attention to what he actually said about military strategy today and chose to focus, instead, on what he was wearing while he said it.

obamatansuit

Yes, he’s hot. Damn, that man is hot. Specially in that suit. But try to concentrate okay?

And then there’s this garbage…

obamagossip

I mean, seriously… “Humiliates Prez”? I realize this is The Inquirer, but did they run these kinds of stories about Bush? I don’t know. Perhaps they did. Someone share them if they exist.

2014-08-07 16.44.51

This just in: Blinking is now considered sexual harassment. If you’re “Prez” Obama.

Every time he takes a day off, it's because he's a lazy you know what. The reality is, he's the hardest working president for a long, long time.

Every time he takes a day off, it’s because he’s a lazy you know what. The reality is, he’s the hardest working president for a long, long time.

I don’t get it. Except I do. The worst thing about American-brand racism is the denial.

Shots from a shoot

July 16, 2014

I worked background (as a film extra) last night, on a feature film shooting night for day in an LA coffeeshop. Now anyone who’s ever worked as cast on a film set knows you spend most of your time waiting to be called to set, and we were stationed on the sidewalk to make space for the shooting and setups inside. So I divided my energy between wandering around taking pictures of what I could find in a 30 foot radius, and reading a novel called Jamesland (pretty good, if you like stories about messed up women) on my kindle.

The great thing about Beverly Blvd is it’s paradise for sign-bloggers. Stenciling has taken off, and is very hard to remove from pavements. Obscure alterations dot traffic signs. And there’s always someone with a lost dog or something weird to sell you or tell you.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he's peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

A stencil on the ground shows a guy reading a book, but it looks like he’s peeing. In the background, a member of the cast takes a break.

publishenemies600

Stingers curled around a cool stencil saying “Publish Enemies”. It’s a viral (probably illegal, but I’d bet the fine is less than doing it legally) campaign for a comics / TV brand you can follow on Twitter as @publishenemies

crosswalksheep600

“Sheep needs a facelift. Draw here.” I think personally, I’d rather be a live sheep than a dead crosswalk activist. But I’ve seen mothers using their kids and babies in strollers as human shields to jay-walk, so perhaps I’m just not as trendy as they are.

 

missingdogwithpearls600

I am convinced this is a joke. But in Hollywood, you really never know. All I can say is that if this dog is “like their child” I hope we never have to watch the live birth video of its exit from the vaginal canal, because that would be gross.

 

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later.

Found another day, just up the road. I actually spotted this guy (without any dogs) a few days later. He looks happy, but not like the type to wear pearls or care about cash.

 

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Grumpy Cat says more money should go towards providing shelters for homeless animals, but Republican cats think this will only encourage more cats to be homeless. Snapped on La Brea on the way home from set at 6am.

As massive as LA is, as huge a hub as it is for the film business, I was struck by how small it was when I arrived on set to discover that half the crew (including the Cinematographer) were from Chapman too, and the producer was South African. You can always tell when a set is full of Chapman alumni because of the singing and friendliness that comes with the hard work and long hours. And despite any gripes I may have against the school, I say that with some pride in my former film school.

God’s wrath against dildos and porn and parking violations

June 27, 2014

I found this on Facebook, captioned “Haha! Here’s a pic of storm damage on I-75 near the Huntsville-Oneida exit.”

The storm is real. Look how green that grass is. All the dye in LA can't give a lawn the glow of real rain.

The storm is real. Look how green that grass is. All the poisonous lawn dye in LA can’t give a lawn the glow of real rain.

Oh, how I wish it weren’t Fake. This is a rare case of me being on the same page as Christians, but mostly because I think it’s so funny, and I love coincidences. But if you want REAL punishment from God, for accidental crimes, when you least expect it, check out how much this LA tow van looks like it’s hauling a crucifix, on which it will one day crucify your car.

Suffer and die, crappy car that can't afford a garage...

Suffer and die, crappy car that can’t afford a garage…

I got towed, recently. Cost me almost $600 – that’s about 10 days work at what I get paid at the moment, gone, just for being a few inches over a red line. And if you don’t pay your fines here, they put you in jail. For real. It’s kinda depressing, that you could go to jail just for being too poor to make mistakes everybody makes, while celebs can get wasted and drive into lamp posts and walk free the next day.


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