Archive for June, 2011

“Please be considerate and flash the toilet”

June 25, 2011

Kinda hard to avoid?

Of course, they really mean “please be considerate and FLUSH the toilet”… which is almost as hilarious. Surely you shouldn’t have to tell people? Mind you, most of America’s public toilets seem to be equipped with automatic flushers, and I can’t help wondering if there’s some sordid reason for that.

This proves that spell checkers are not all-powerful and should come with a WARNING: USE IN CONJUNCTION WITH BRAIN FOR BEST RESULTS.

Oh, okay then... If the toilet wants that, I guess...

Photo (note clever placement of flash spot) taken by my friend Jinty (read her blog, it’s crazy stuff – her phone just got tapped!) in Nelspruit, probably while going to the dentist, the doctor, or the supermarket in South Africa. People who live in Swaziland – and who can afford to leave – tend to cross the border to do stuff like that now and then. Well, to do that, and to make private phone calls.

I want to be beautiful, to be your girl

June 23, 2011

Ever had that moment when you looked at someone impossibly beautiful and thought: What the hell must it be like to inhabit the world in which that is your body, that is your face, in which you can have literally anything… or so you imagine.

It's not a girl thing.

I’m busy writing a script about that at the moment. The moment when the makeover dream comes true.

Among the discarded tennis raquets, he unwanted teddy bears, the once "have to have" but now pointless elephant sculptures, a cure for obesity. I think it's the kinky holes that do it - the vacuum effect literally sucks the fat out, replacing it with a six pack. (Photo taken in a junk store in Simonstown, Cape Town, South Africa)

Targeted advertising

June 22, 2011

Target puts a target on the eye of a dog that’s a dead ringer for my childhood puppy’s killer… strange…

Feeling a little blue today. Thinking about a dog I loved. She was my bulldog puppy. My brother and I named her Bronwyn Daphne Puppy Chew-Chew and we were crazy about her even though she ate our shoes and bit us when we played with her. Don’t think we even had her long enough to house train her or take photos (this was pre-digital) before she vanished – to remain forever frozen in a state of puppy perfection in my mind.

She looked a bit like this.

Ya, one day, she escaped and she ran into the street and with a name like Bronwyn Daffy Puppy Chew-Chew… what chance did she stand? The neighbor’s evil dog ripped her throat out. My mother and my brother and I sat on the bed and cried and cried and cried. Sometimes afterwards we still cried about it, just my brother and I. The three of us picked my dad up at the airport from a work trip that night, and he didn’t really seem to get why we were so cut up. The way it seemed, he was just sad to be home, having expected something happier.

I thought of this again when I saw this photo. Cause for weeks after, all I wanted to do was kill the dog that killed her.  It lived next door. My mom talked me out of it. Weird thing is it looked exactly like this dog that I saw in a Target store today, on a gift card, with a target drawn over its creepy pink shark-eye.

Kinda a strange design for a country that's as crazy about animals as Americans are.

God don’t stand a chance when the devil’s a babe and his angel’s hot.

June 20, 2011

I chased this guy about three miles before he finally was forced to stop speeding to get away from me and stop at a red light. Why was he so scared of me? I have no idea. Some men just are.

I'd love to know what the decal means to him. Did he get it with the car? Did he have it put there to remind him to be good? To celebrate being bad? To celebrate a year of abstinence?

All I wanted was a photograph of his back window.

When I finally managed to catch him in a traffic jam, I took the photo. Found a really cool tacos place in the process.

If I were a gossip columnist…

June 20, 2011

I’m trying to finish a short script about a homicidal hairdresser, but I’m having trouble, so I thought I’d read IMDBpro for a bit and write a fake column.

Hollywood Wrap (Title needs work)
From the bowels of film school and the pavements of power to your devices

Hollywood is in full summer swing, with movies that make me want to napalm humanity filling cinemas with people stupid enough to believe Super 8 is an actual movie. Come back, The Matrix. Come back, Waterworld. All is forgiven. In coffeeshops, screenwriting graduates with shattered dreams drip salty tears of despair into their coffee and fill out Starbucks applications.

TOM CRUISE TWEETS PHOTO. “THAT’S HOT”, SAYS WORLD.

Wooooo oh! Living on a prayer!

Tom Cruise makes your dad’s midlife crisis dream come true with a soon-to-be released rock ‘n roll epic adaptation of the stage play Rock of Ages, in which he sings songs by Bon Jovi, shirtless, with long hair, with pecks and a cheesy tattoo. He tweeted this photograph

Note the high-heeled shoes. That’s probably in his contract: I’ll need “$10k – and an extra six or so inches…” Katie is rumored to be thrilled with the results.

RANDOM 100,000 ZOMBIE HEADS

And in other breaking news, 100,000 Zombie Heads goes into post-production. I know, WTF. If only somebody knew what the hell that was. A google search turned up actress Jennifer Taylor’s facebook page, and nothing else. Taylor’s previous roles include four different characters in Two and a Half Men and a TV movie called Carnal Innocence, posted on Facebook: “Wrapped “100,000 Zombie Heads” today. Had a great time! Cast and crew were awesome!” Her friends “like”d that. So now you know. I wanna see the movie so bad it makes my balls ache. Whadda you mean I don’t have…

Sigh.

Nevermind.

Back to work.

Omens and dead ladies and other toilet humor

June 16, 2011

Frequent sign-picture supplier Alex Griffin sent me this.

It reminded me of this one, posted ages ago and then reposted, taken at my previous apartment – in South Africa. Amazing what a difference a few letters make. It reminded me of how my dad used to try to stop me spelling “people” “poepel”, which is a miss-spelled but phonetically promising miss-spelling of the Afrikaans word for Asshole. Kinda works, in a way. If Malema takes over, his slogan could be “The poepall shall govern”.

Here's the old one... this toilet NEVER worked. It's existence dated back to the days when my apartment block was a seaside self-catering hotel. In a way, it still was. Almost everyone who lived there was moving on soon or from somewhere weird. Even if the view is awesome, people with a sense of permanence usually demand plumbing.

From strange land to strange land

June 12, 2011

Someone said those who choose to live outside their home country begin to feel that they’re a stranger everywhere. This, is turns out, is true.

This can become normal. Actually, I have lost my thick skin after only 9 months in California. But it was beginning to grow back by the time I'd spent two weeks back in my home town. Swaziland's still more nuts than SA though - a monarchy in which people are staunch Christians, yet the king has as many young wives as he wants, and virgins dance bare breasted... it's a bit more complicated than that, or course.

Swazi Times - A crazy mish-mash of tabloid and daily paper, usually so badly written that the cruellest things become comedy.

My friend, a real journalist, works for AFP in Swaziland. She came town to Cape Town and we spent a couple of days together towards the end of my stay in South Africa. She told me this story of how she felt, flying into Cape Town, when without thinking she opened up her copy of the Swazi Times and began reading it… and felt other people’s eyes on her. You know that feeling, of being stared at. The hippies might just have a point with their “energy this, energy that” nonsense.

I’ve had just enough time to get used to being South African again, and now I’m leaving. I’m used to waiting longer for things, paying less for them, looking after my cell phone, locking my car doors, hearing many languages spoken around me, talking straight and getting straight talk back.

Soon I’ll be in the well-oiled world of America, where I have to watch my mouth – and my wallet, just in a totally different way.

Cameron Diaz – here’s what’s up, lady

June 11, 2011

Cameron Diaz pees in the shower. That’s what I heard, shortly before I left, in any case, on the radio – from an SABC station.

Seems since they got this news, the authorities in charge of amenities at South Africa’s national broadcaster have taken pre-emptive action, just in case she were to say, show up in the men’s bathroom after a surf at Sun City.

Thanks to the estimed author of burgsworld.wordpress.com for this photo.

Look out, sloppy chick. That kind of low class planet-saving hippy crap won’t be tolerated in OUR environment.

Reminds me of this amazing guy I saw in Ottery CT – a suburb that is only known for the MACRO, and looks like it was vomited out onto the flattened sand dunes – walking around in a T-Shirt that loudly proclaimed I’M IN MIAMI, BITCH. Sure you are, dude. Sure you are.

South Africa is beautiful. It hurts. It’s nuts. It makes no sense. I’m in love.

June 8, 2011

Okay so, I’m at a light. A traffic light. A friend is pouring her heart out at a traffic light – in south Africa we call them robots but whatever. And two bakkies pull up. In South Africa we call them bakkies. You call them trucks.And this white ou jumps out of his car in the traffic while my friend is still talking, and the light goes green.

A parking lot with awesome graffitti. Soon-to-be yuppie flats for rich people of all races.

And so my brain goes into four wheel drive to watch this weird miracle in which he gets a rugby ball out of the back of the bakkie. And everybody’s hooting but he doesn’t care, because here in Africa, we have balls “this big”. As big as the situation requires. So he’s parking his car in the traffic. and there’s someone in the next lane who’s stopped too. He has the same car. That might be the only reason. Or he might just be curious. Or it might be the same reason I jay-walk and love it, cause that’s how we roll in South Africa. Shortest route. Most dangerous? What’s the diffs, bro.

The architct of those "tampon towers" killed himself. I nearly rented there. They do mostly suck, specially when the Cape South Easter blows. They literaly sway in the wind and it's strange.

So the one wit ou parks his car in the traffic and this other wit ou with the same car does the same while 300 people of various racial orientations (cause we’re fokken African, so fuck your “nationalities” shit) sit on their hooters or jump the red light to compensate for the delay caused.

Cause that’s our right. Right?

And the wit ou – fat and nothing whatsoever – jumps out of the car and gives the Big Issue vendor guy a rugby ball with stuff written all over it.

A cop car drives past, ignoring it all.

My friend is still talking and I’m still hearing her. We pull off and I look back and I see the Big Issue vendor spinning the ball int the air, the female fellow-vendor asking him questions.

And then the Bakkie Wit Ou explains it to the other bakkie wit ou. And then the Big Issue Guy walks down the pavement as we pull off, tossing the ball in the air while talking to the Mama long after the car moved on. The ball had stuff written on it. I saw signatures spinning.

South Africans are not polite. They are not appropriate. We don’t have time for that shit. What we have to do is too important. But on the streets i’ve experienced such kindness. Like this begger, who came up to me. Unlike American beggers, he was my begger. His life was shit to start with. Anyone who made it to government rehab had better options than him to start with and I was on my way into a liquor store.

“You okay, madam?”
I resisted the urge to tell him to not call me madam. Such suburban vanity.
I wasn’t okay.
“Bad night. I see.”
Okay he’s half the reason for my sadness right there.
So I gave him some money.

My friend pointed out he was just gonna spend it on booze. But I just spent 20 times that on better booze. And I’ve more than once bought a random stranger a tequila in a bar on the basis of a lesser understanding.

In the end, being in a home is the best – the only – thing you want. I guess I’ve realised I have to go home to America, since that is home for a few years, and fight harder for my soul, which will always be here in South Africa. Not always in the big, glorious places, but in the small, glorious places, like the home where they’ve gone to bed, acknowledging that I’m still in another world, and left me online in it.

I love this piece of art, because I know who did it. I think still art is either a challenge, or a ... another kind of challenge. If it's good. I know all the art I've made so far has been comforting. Fitting in. I've done that too much. I respect his art on my friend's wall - her kid's - more than most I've seen. But this belongs to the person I know and is also greater than him. I'm scared of what will happen when I stop fitting in. And excited.

Warm, wet & wonderful

June 5, 2011

The funniest signs are the ones that aren’t meant to be funny at all. Just spent a weekend at the Citrusdal Baths. Amazing place – an old Victorian hot springs resort, where for $15 a person per night you get to swim in this amazing, warm, non-sulphorous swimming pool of hot mountain water.

Warm, wet and wonderfully. No pussy-footing around this one. Just in case you thought warm baths might be cold, dry and horrible.


The Afrikaans marketing slogan means “hidden away/secluded paradise”. Although “steek” can be funny all on its own, cause it also means the verb “to fuck”. The English one had us all in regressive hysterics: “Warm, wet & wonderful”.

And then there’s this sign in the restaurant.

And to cleanse your visual memory, I’d like to offer this photo of taken out of the window of the place where we stayed.

The view from the lounge of our self-catering flat.