Archive for August, 2011

Only losers click “like” on farcebook adverts

August 28, 2011

Seriously? With all the porn out there, you can think of nothing better to do with your right hand than click on a corporate advert on your favorite social network? There’s only one thing stupider than the people who respond to Facebook adverts, and that’s the people who respond to them while sober.

What are you going to do next. BUY a coca-cola T-Shirt with your own money? Oh… wait… you… sorry…

Oooh. What do we have today. An advert for an Afrikaans magazine's facebook page... liked by the most unlikely candidate (I bet you $1million he works there). A Scary Lady who is our only hope and resembles Blondie as a republican party reptile. Chocolates trying to persuade me to be fat for free. And oooh. Okay, the last one is actually bang on for me. You win, Facecake. I really want that music.

Sure, you’re going to tell me, but if they don’t have advertisements, how will they fund the way you spend most of your free time while you’re supposed to be writing? Well that’s a) not my problem and b) not the point. There are plenty of stupid people out there, funding my online social life right now. Thanks, stupid fuckers! Keep clicking. And PS. don’t forget to sign up for Foursquare in order to update your equally stupid friends with every boring detail of your shopping activities. Lol lol lol!!!!

Of course, I do have a solution. I’m changing my age every month or two, to keep it interesting. Since I altered my location to the USA and told them I was 25 years old, single, and lesbian, my advertising has improved – I’m no longer being offered as many anti-aging products (although, surprisingly, still a few). I’m no longer being asked if I’d like to meet Christian singles (I often discussed religion in the past, but they wouldn’t leave me be. So much for targeted advertising!) I am no longer offered cures for constipation. And they keep trying to get me to join Kim Kardashian’s shoe society. Which is random, but harmless. I only miss one thing. That’s this:

Finally. A way to meet hot, needy chicks from Seattle and Portland. This made me laugh every day. I really wish I could request it.

Support our troops

August 22, 2011

I’d like to get all your stupid, destructive, violent gods in a room and sit them down, and bring them all a glass of water… and blow the place to smithereens. Oops. I’m human, it seems.

I am surrounded by people who are afraid… afraid to question whether it’s okay to say “Support our troops.” The thing is, stealth bombs, targeted weapons bombs… nothing really works except people on the ground. Hearts and minds and … severed limbs. America knows that. So those who need wars to keep happening have a strategy. That’s to make it sound like if you’re one of the troops, people will love you. And we all want to be loved. And also make it clear that if you don’t support the troops, you hate the troops, or want them to die. And nobody will love you.

In case you doubted for a second that war was profitable... Dunkin Donuts, and Baskin Robbins ice cream are here to fill you in and fill you up. How many tubs will it take to help you get over your latest tour in Afganistan, Captain America?

I don’t want them to die. I want the people who keep sending them out to die to stop doing that. All over the world. Although I cannot vote in America, my heart already breaks whenever I see some 19-year old for whom the nearest thing to sex is the table shower he had this morning waiting for an airplane, the blank stare knowledge of his own and others’ terrible deeds in his eye. That’s what war really is. It’s not a fucking ice cream advert. And yes, even though I wouldn’t know, I know THAT much.

Interestingly, this was image of kids at an interactive exhibit at Minneapolis St. Paul History Centre was number 666 on my cell phone camera.

I’m not saying Africa, or South Africa is any different. I’m just speaking from where I am right now. I’ve always been anti-violence, to the extent that I alienated my fellow-ANC members when I was involved with my anti armed struggle stuff.

"Greatest Generation". Don't you mean "Deadest Generation"? Taliban: You get some virgins - and finally get to get laid. US Army: You get to be a famous hero, like a film star! Make fun of each other all you want. You're all the fucking same.

I’m not making fun of the genuine intentions of some soldiers. Or of small good things they did. But I do believe many would have gone to war because of hate, or just because they were told they would be loved for it. The problem with war is that once it starts, everyone is doing evil. I don’t have a solution. But if anyone’s gods existed, I would love to get them all in a room, and blow it to pieces.

Oops. You see? I’m human, after all.

Two old men reading LA Weekly

August 17, 2011

So it’s the new world. The new day. The era of the death of print. And I sat in an old building, at a bank built in 18something.

Around me people type typety typed. Except for an old lady reading a novel with telescopic glasses, and two old men, both reading the LA Weekly. Will this even happen 10 years from now? Will I see old people holding paper in their hands?

New Tech, Old Tech. Wait, that's a PC, so let's make that Old Tech, Old Tech. I love the expression on his face. Pained and frustrated? They say you get the face you deserve, and the poor bastard lives in the USA.

The world before the web. So close, and yet so far.

He’s reading. That’s how he can read. I couldn’t stop wondering what the story was behind his Tin-Tin and Snowy braces.

I should have been a yard sale scientist…

August 17, 2011

What is a yard sale scientist? Oh, I invented it. How cool? It’s someone who goes to yard sales and buys stuff and then tries to figure out what the hell to do with it. In this case, my investigations involved coffee.

Beauty. This is what's on top of my fridge. If you wanted to kill me, all you'd have to do is poison the USA's coffee supply. (You know who you are.) How times have changed. Used to be South Africa's red wine supply. It's almost sad.

Anyhow: Yard Sales. Love them. They’re one of my favourite things about America. Americans are so capitalist that they can’t even give their junk away. They have to sell it. But of course, once you get there you usually discover these sales are really just an excuse to socialise – and if you get on, half the stuff is really free. But I paid $5 … for this:

What IS it? I asked Facebook (nobody knew, although suggestions included a milk frother and "moka pot") but I was meant to be rewriting my feature so of course the only way to find out for sure was to try it out myself.

And this is what happened:

METHOD: I packed coffee into the hollow bit where the filter was under the top screw on bit. Then I lit the gas under it, and it started smelling funny and making weird noises... and more weird noises... and then it shuddered and blew out steamy air from little hole at the end of the long thing... and then SUDDENLY it sprayed espresso all over my kitchen for about 20 seconds. And then it fell asleep.

Only about a teaspoon of the espresso made it into the cup – as you can see from this photo. But it tasted great. I just need to figure out how to get it to go into the cup instead of all over my kitchen next time.

Some people need to drink the coffee first. I don't. I can achieve stupid shit just by trying to avoid getting round to the stuff I need to get around to.

12-year-old sexual politics in a lake near “Mde Maka Ska”, Minneapolis

August 13, 2011

As I lay on my back in Lake Harriet, one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes, I watched butterflies fluttering by overhead across the cloudy blue sky. The water was fresh from last night’s rainstorm. Two 12-year-old boys treading water nearby picked up a conversation.

WORLDLYBOY: “That’s why you can’t send Michaela a picture. Cos she has a black boyfriend.”
JUSTAKID: [Doesn’t respond. He swims a little distance away.]
WORDLYBOY: “Your organ will always be smaller even than little Joel’s.” [Laughs]
He dunks himself, emerges spluttering green algae flavored water.
WORLDLYBOY: “You know what Mike told me? Little Joel already gets erections.”
JUSTAKID: “Really? Why?”
WORLDLYBOY: “Just when he needs to pee. Not the ones full of cum and stuff.”
JUSTAKID: [Treads water. Treads water.]
WORLDLYBOY: “I wanna look that up in the Guinness Book of Records: ‘The youngest person to ever jerk off’. And ‘The oldest person to ever jerk off.’
JUST A KID: [Swims to shore]

Almost everyone in Minneapolis lives within a mile’s walk of a lake or recreactional park or a combination of the two.  It’s been that way for a while. And it has a timeless quality about it.

There will always be new kids, playing the old games.

But of course, history isn’t perfect, no matter what the textbooks say. Lake Calhoun – the one nearby, used to be on Dakota (as in Native American) land. It was called “Mde Maka Ska” then (which means White Earth Lake). The white colonialists (aka “settlers”) renamed it Medoza, which means “loon lake” in Dakota. And later still, it was renamed after former slavery advocate John C. Calhoun. A petition to change it was overturned. Which is crazy.

Part of a lake culture exhibit at the History Centre.

I come from a place where re-naming is random, but if anything goes too far. Why rename Ridge Road after some random cousin of some KZN politian? What’s offensive about “Ridge?”. Shouldn’t we be priortising those streets in Cape Town named after the Neo-Nazis?  Because if you did something obviously bad to other people, you shouldn’t get to keep your laurels. I don’t buy the argument that Calhoun didn’t know any better. Some things have always been wrong. It’s kinda obvious when you have to chain people up to get them to agree to what you want. And I’ll bet you anything that the same people who want to keep this ugly Calhoun name would never be okay with Bin Laden Lake – no matter how long it had been called that!

[4] However, the Park Board attorney wrote an opinion stating that only the state’s commissioner of natural resources can change the name of a lake, and also that state law prohibits the commissioner from changing a lake name that has existed for 40 years.[5][6]” – Wikipedia”]

"Because John C. Calhoun was an outspoken defender and advocate of slavery, the Minneapolis Park Board was presented in 2011 with a proposal to consider changing the name of the lake to honor Hubert H. Humphrey." - Wikipedia

Underpants work, underpants play, collect underpants all day

August 13, 2011

My friend from Minneapolis took me to the history museum. I was nervous. I tend to take a Howard Zinn view of American History, which means I don’t agree with 90% of the garbage in the school textbooks, which means I usually can’t risk talking to most Americans.

But the museum visit actually started off on pretty safe territory. Well, for me it did. For a 5-year-old kid visitor, it was hell. He stood, clutching his mom’s skirt in terror, whining: “But Mommy, I don’t like underwear!” over and over again.

"Hey, Chad! After wind band practice is done, let's all take a shower together!" Hanging out in your jocks and vests with horns and stuff wasn't at all gay in the 60s.

These special new underpants may NOT be worn while applying lipstick.

Words fail me. This kind of stuff makes me very glad that photography was invented, putting thousands of mediocre commercial "artists" out of work.

And now for some light entertainment.

Where’s the f&%*^&$ coffee!?

August 13, 2011

So I love to travel, but the first morning is always tough. You need coffee. You have to have the coffee. But you have not had the coffee. So it’s really hard to locate the coffee when you’re pre-coffee. You wander the strange house / digs / hotel / city… crying inside.

THERE! THERE! THERE! No. It's rice.

I gave up and went back to bed. Luckily someone else (my host’s dad) woke up at 9am and took the coffee out of the freezer (the freezer! why didn’t I think of that? Probably because I had not coffee!!) and when I smelt it I woke up and remember to throw on clothes before running out there, tongue lolling, ready for the day.

Please don’t read this sign!

August 9, 2011

Is it possible to be heard without consequence – without misinterpretation? Is it even worth hoping for? I reckon the instant an idea goes from thoughts to spoken the meaning you meant to convey is imperfectly transmitted and you’re pre-disastered.

After a gloomy wake up, then a good start, followed by a nasty surprise, I kept a vow of silence most of today. I wandered around, seeing how much I could get done without actually opening my mouth. I didn’t want things to go wrong between me saying ” and the look in the other person’s eye before my first word left my lips.

On a lawn in orange

It was going pretty well, with smiles and nods and pointing, until my car’s battery died AGAIN and I had to ask Mall Security at The Block for a jump start. They were really helpful, and saved me $45 in tow fees by calling someone who had the cables.

While things have been going really badly lately, random strangers have been kind to me and the people I’m with. If there were a God, she’s playing a damn fine game with me at the moment – feeding me just enough hope to keep me trying, but slam dunking me when I least expect it. I often think of God as a giant tabby cat, playing with us, her living toys.

What does it all mean? I don’t know. My instincts are not communicating with me.

From here to here and back again

August 8, 2011

The world is full of warnings. Live by them and you lose all joy. But ignore them? At your peril.

We all want stuff that’s harder to explain. Love, mostly. I know this sounds idealistic of me but when my life was at risk – and it has been – I wanted more than just survival. I wanted to survive without doing wrong. Which I believe translates as a desire to be loved, even if only by myself because I get to feel I behaved better than the other kids.

I’ve always quarreled with the idea that survival is our basic instinct. Surely if that were the case, nobody could commit suicide because nobody loved them, or they felt worthless. It may be some people’s. It may even be most people’s. But I’m sure it’s not mine.

Still, a place to call home (or shelter) and some money for food is high on the list – as you can see from this message board outside a Market near a laundromat on the corner of Glassel and Collins in Orange, CA.

Everybody here wants something. Mostly to rent you a room, here.

I last came to this exact same laundromat exactly one year ago, to the say, to wash all my clothes to eradicate a bed bug infestation – before I realised I had throw away my luggage, strip naked, and disfigure my teddy bear too in order to get rid of the damn things. Those were some of the loneliest days of my life, those first days in California…

I walked though it this time, feeling so safe, so sure of myself, laughing at all the signs, with all the rules.

Exactly who IS responsible for any lost or damage? What is wrong with us humans. We GET THE MEMO. We even READ THE MEMO. And then we think "No, this memo's not for me." Of course, Life doesn't care. She warned you. You you've been served. It's your problem now.

I looked at the pictures of kids that had made my heart so sore for the lost hope of having kids myself and thought “I got other stuff instead. I’m lucky.”

Everything is said twice. In the signs, then in handwriting. "Nosotros Jabon de la venta aqui". Repeated in slightly different phrasing in the handwriting. Weird I never noticed this last year - not at all. This time, I wondered what Jabon was, but forgot to ask. Turns out it's soap... "We sell our own soap here".

And then there was lunch at the Chinese place next door. And folding the clothes that smelled so nice, taking about socks and underpants, joking around. Then the laundry was done.

Here's where you can buy that soap. And get some advice about life. And help catch the two dudes who robbed the laundromat two years ago. No pressure.

You think this maths is complicated? Try understanding what I think and feel about faith. It will be especially difficult for you if you aren't even really listening to me.

And while I waited to open the trunk of my car, I leaned against my Ford Mustang, flirting with a guy I was in love with, at 4.15pm, a year later, in America. I had a life. And there was still writing and dinner and swimming in the pool and watching movies to look forward to – maybe more.

But later? As if someone else ran a red light and hit me as I went through the green? Bham! By 12 midnight, the pumpkin exploded, and I was right back feeling like I did a year ago. Asa, a Nigerian singer, one of my pop music icons, tells it like it feels: “Every day is not a holiday / My life is like a subway / Oh I know this love don’t last”.

Two weird images of sexy African-ness

August 7, 2011

Let me NOT tell you about my day. For legal reasons. There’s something in the air at the moment, like I’m one of those fly-sticks for conflicted people. They spot me and come to die all over me. And then I have to go shower again. It’s not me… it’s them. Ha.

Instead of talking about my day, let’s tackle a strange image of two ways in which women can be made to seem far more exotic than we really are.

Of course, that’s not to deny that we women are both complicated and awful at times, or that people have weird racial fetishes (I won’t even call them tastes, since even gender can sometimes be overcome for love).

But this is some weird stuff. It’s presented as beauty – and the women are beautiful. But the gaze I sense from these photos makes me feel weird. It makes me wonder what is really being seen. Airbrushed island-girl poverty and airbrushed asses…

I'm guessing these are some of those "ironic coffee table" books. I have one called Naked Yoga. I suspect it was my Dad's. It was full of pictures of sepia blonde 70s girls doing yoga, naked.

Reminds me of another post. This one, about the Magazine Racks of the USA. A place of strange wonder, for sure.