The musings of a silly student... And not much else.

The musings of a silly student... And not much else.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Enchanted Adventures

We have been in Hogsback at a Backpackers called "Away with the Fairies" since Saturday, and it has been wonderful, beautiful, and wet. When it isn't raining and pouring, the air is so full of moisture that nothing will dry. Ever. We took a lovely hike today, to a waterfall called "Madonna and Child" - it was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, the rain caught up with us in the middle of our walk, and we had to slip, slide and stumble through the thicket for four hours. In the pouring rain and squelchy mud. After getting lost a few times (and this process also entailed grueling climbs up the sides of mountains and boendoe-bashing my dad would be proud of) we almost gave up. I know I would have given up if it were possible, but all that would've achieved would be my rolling around in agony in the mud, the rain pouring down on me and me getting no closer to the campsite.

Otherwise, Away with the Fairies is one of the coolest places ever - people from all over the world come and go, and we are allowed to use the main kitchen for cooking as well. We have The Wizard's Sleeve bar, complete with a couple of couches and a fireplace that is employed in keeping us warm after our day's expeditions. Woweeee!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Sitting at my computer, trying to ignore the daunting task of packing up my res room for the last time, I remembered that I still had one blog left to fulfill my promise to you - the promise of a blogful week! Tomorrow, Ben and I are hitting the road to Hogsback for a magical ten days of camping, and I am anxious about what food to make, excited about the sights that will take my breath away, and a feeling of overall elation overcomes me. I feel truly, deeply, honestly happy.

The book I chose for today's "random word exercise" is one of the set works I had to study for English Literature this year - Charlotte Brontë's majestic, wonderful, breathtaking and heart-breaking Jane Eyre. Although the book endured much flak from the English I students this year, I loved it and stayed true to my own opinions (much like Jane would have in the same situation). The tale, which documents Jane's journey to personal freedom and individual agency: the creation of her own strong, proud identity, resonated with me and filled my heart with passion, and dreams, and a strong belief in these two things to bring me far in life.

The word I came across in Jane Eyre was "moonlight". This is one of the most beautiful words in the English language, in my opinion. The cold, brilliant, shining aura that the moon spills out over trees and fences and lawns and faces and houses and factories and swimming pools absolutely entrances me when I have the pleasure of being outside on a cool, breezy, bright evening, the moon illumining the surface of the earth as if for my pleasure only. I have always been a lover of the moon, and I fall in love with it all over again every time I see it.

The moon has been a source of mystery, wonder and inspiration to writers, poets, musicians and thinkers throughout the history of time. Just a few days ago, I was studying moon imagery in William Shakespeare's wild romp of a comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. The moon symbolises creativity, spontaneity, passion and mysticism, but it can also be a cold and indifferent lover. Whereas the sun is a proud, fiery, arrogant and blazing entity, the moon is quiet, soulful, gathering her stars around her in the cloak of midnight. It can also represent all that is hidden from view in oneself - the moon is a reflection of the light of the sun, inverting the clear, logical, bright and rational and turning things onto their heads: all that is dark, spiritual, intuitive and emotional in her bright white orb.

The last New Year's Eve we had offered us a beautiful, romantic atmosphere for Ben and my special champagne and cookies date. The moon - which was a blue moon - was unthinkably large, full, and bright as can be. Ben and I had some delicious sparkly wine and a bowl of our own homemade custard cream biscuits while sitting outside at our friend Alje's house, looking out over the glistening water and the tall, creaking trees surrounding our cottage. That was the most fun I've ever had on any New Year's Eve ever.

The moon is a pale creature, full of mystery and as quiet as the night she lives in. She regulates the ocean's tides, and even the female menstrual cycle is determined by the cycles of the moon. To imagine that such an omnipresent power lives so quietly, so unobtrusively, so shy of attention, receiving so little praise, is a challenge. I guess it's yet another mystery about the moon, isn't it?

Well, off to Hogsback! I will try to write for you while I am there and post you my writing when we get back, but I am not making anymore promises just yet. This week was interesting, fun, and I learned quite a few unexpected things.

I love you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Today, I went shopping for some camping supplies for my ten-day holiday with Ben at the magical Away With the Fairies in Hogsback. I am so excited! On my search for some pots, pans, and gas stoves, I seemed to have meandered over to my favourite hospice shop! I picked up some pretty clothes and two books: Rabbit, Run by John Updike, and I Want it Now by Kingsley Amis. I don't know much about them, but they seem to be quite nice! I will let you know how they go as my reading progresses over my lovely vacation...

The word I came across in Rabbit, Run today was "mouth". I love the mouth - I believe it is the most expressive and emotive feature on any face, and in more than one way. A tender or caring person usually has a soft, expressive, caring mouth. A sour or aggressive person usually has a more strained, hard, and angular mouth shape. The word 'mouth' can refer to more than just your mouth, though.

Our ability to communicate as we do is one thing that sets us apart from other animals. It's an amazing ability that we have transferred and transformed into many different forms - the spoken word became the drawn word, the drawn word became the written word, the written word became the printed word, a few different languages became a million different languages: computers even got their own language!

You get... the mouth of a cave. Those are pretty epic, and I always think of bats when I think about caves. I watched the most amazing documentary about huge, hollow, deep-deep-deep caves with thousands and thousands of bats in them. I enjoyed watching their little eyes glisten in the dark while they fidgeted restlessly.

You also get to say to someone: "Watch your mouth". To be careful about what you say is always an important thing to remember. I find that I often let my mouth run away with me and tie me up in a knot I can't wriggle out of. I have insulted friends and made situations needlessly awkward with this little part of my personality! But I don't mind it so much.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today, I have picked my word for the day out of a little book of children' s verse "about the everyday as well as the fantastical". It is by an author named Irene Rawnsley, and it is called The House of a Hundred Cats. I picked this little treasure up with Ben at my favourite hospice shop, the Sunflower Hospice. It's a truly lovely book and fills me with little ripples of glee when I spot it and take it from the shelf to treat myself to a truly silly little gem of a poem or illustration.

The word I stumbled upon in this little book of wonders is "clockwork". It's a word that brings up both positive and negative connotations for me - I entertain a truly ambiguous stance towards it.

On the one hand, I have always been a big fan of things working out perfectly - timed "like clockwork" and completely faultless. There is something exhilarating about completing a task or reaching a goal seamlessly and efficiently, as if it were set to run as smoothly as the clock on your wall. A few highlights of this past year at university have been executed so perfectly, so flawlessly that I can't help but to attach some positive meaning to this word when I think back on them. It leaves you feeling empowered, proud, and ready to take on ninja lions.

Clocks, however, are perfect because they are mechanised, and this is never the way I would like to live my life. It's going to be tough, every single day bringing new challenges and moments of pure bliss - you can be sure of this. Everything else is a gamble! I would never want my life or the life of anyone I love to be reduced to mechanised routine and jerky robot dancing... Oh, wait, that's not what clocks do. Plus, jerky robot dancing can be pretty fun!

One last thing I forgot to mention in my discussion of this word is the much-praised Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange. Personally, I couldn't sit through ten minutes of it due to my nervous and overly sensitive disposition - much to the disappoint of my fellow movie lovers and the few movie aficionados I have come across in my lifetime. Oh well!

...and with that, I must be off - my last exam beckons me to the books!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Today, on my return from a refreshing walk through a rainy town to pick up some fresh vegetables and fruit from His Majesty's Fruit & Veg, I will once more attempt to offer you a piece of writing flowing from a single word. I have selected a book entitled Tarot, penned by a mysterious lady who refers to herself only as "Soraya". I bought this book with Ben during our last holiday back in Johannesburg, during which both our interests were peaked by the mystery of the tarot... Recently, we've been neglecting this hobby - but I still find it immensely interesting not so much as a divining tool, but rather as a psychological tool that should be used in combination with a lot of introspective thought - more like a guide to your own imaginings on the path you take to examine your feelings, thoughts, and ideas than actual predictions for the future.

When I flicked through the pages of this mystical book and prodded nervously at one of them, I looked down to see that fate had offered me the word "lifetime" to chew on. Strangely enough, about five minutes before I did this, I updated my Facebook status to contain the following quote by novelist J.M. Barrie:
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story
and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the
volume as it is with what he vowed to make of it.
How is that for yet another coincidence? It doesn't shock me too much, as I understand the power of the mind to make a strange coincidence (is it still considered a 'coincidence' if we attach meaning to it?) out of almost anything at all. I will tell you all about my specially formulated Coincidence Equation at a later date!

To open the discussion around this word - a deeply meaningful word for most people, since they are inevitably living theirs as we speak - I will first discuss this quote. People are always telling me that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans (John Lennon, you plagiarisers), and I find it so saddening that so many of us don't heed this warning. Spending a lifetime planning a lifetime is no lifetime at all - that's what makes life so amazing, so special, so unique and so wildly unpredictable. I often fret about my life-diary and what it is I want written in it. In my most honest and most vulnerable moments, I look back at what I have written so far and I feel ambiguous towards it - I think I haven't had the time to make all those big plans yet, so I'm not too disappointed. A source of regret in my life, however, is the fact that it seems quite empty of anything very meaningful - precisely because of the lack of plans and goals (and therefore the lack of plans well-executed and goals reached). I guess that's life, huh? One spent without too many plans seems like a good deal to me.

As you probably know if you read this blog often, however, is that I love dreams. I don't equate my dreams to plans, because my dreams excite and invigorate me and they never settle down - always flitting from one vision of colour and texture and excitement to the next, they are what keeps me happy and motivated and they form a very real part of my life, even though they have not yet been (and might never be) implemented. So, I guess I would say that planning nervously and despairing when your plans fail is a horrible way to spend a lifetime, but a lifetime spent dreaming and weaving these dreams into your reality as a source of inspiration and excitement is one well lived.

In other news, it feels as though these exams have been going on for a lifetime...

Monday, November 15, 2010


I have taken it upon myself, as an exercise in thinking and writing and comprehension, to offer a piece of writing to you every day this week. Upon which inexhaustible theme will I base these writings, I hear you ask. Well, I am going to go about this thinking and learning and mulling over-thing in the simplest (and probably most effective) way possible. I am going to choose a book, every day, and open it on a random page, pointing my finger blindly at a random word on this page. This word will lead my discussions, observations, and general meanderings this week. I will tell you a little about the book and its significance to me, as well.

This year, I have noticed in myself an insatiable hunger. Not insatiable metaphorically, but literally unsatisfiable. Try as I might to placate my ravenous cravings with food, new clothes, parties or whatever other exciting but largely pointless activity or interest came my way, I could not pinpoint the origin or nature of this craving. Growing quite sick of gorging myself on sweets and other assorted junk in my spiritual quest to fulfillment, I decided that eating was not the way. When I started to see my addiction to food or shopping or whatever else was new that week as a craving, an effort to fill some deeper vacancy inside myself, my thoughts started trying this metaphor out for size. It's been reiterated by many a philosopher, psychologist, and aspiring crackpot, though - I didn't come up with this one myself.

An interesting book that has helped me to understand a lot about my feeling of insatiable hunger and compulsive attempts to ease it is called The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness, written by Kim Chernin. It is, to make a long book a short sentence, a book about women and their socialised rejection of their own femininity, leading to obsessive dieting or beauty regimens to try to fill the void left by their casting off of an intrinsic part of their selves. Chernin seemed a little fixated on the image of the primordial "Earth Mother" and the parallels drawn between being fertile and nurturing with being fat, bordering on dangerously obese. I have no problem with her assertion that voluptuousness and curves are as much a part of being female as fertility and the ability to nurture, but I find her argument subjective and quite one-dimensional. She did not, in all her reference to what is "natural" and "instinctual" and "right", take into account that most fat women today are that way because of a deeply unnatural lifestyle, complete with a junk diet and complete lack of physical activity.

Just a couple of thoughts on the constant battle being waged in the world between 'thin' and 'fat'.

The word upon which I stumbled in The Obsession is "discover", and I was quite shocked to see that this would be my word for the day. I selected the word at random after finishing the book, but while reading it I came across a quote that I found interesting and inspiring:

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.
- Albert Szent-Györgyi

How's that for a coincidence? Now, I will tell you a little about discovery, discovering, and how I apply these terms to my own life.

If you pick the word apart, discovery simply means to uncover something that already exists, to remove the veil obscuring it from your view. Therefore, a discovery is not the same as an invention, but awesome in a whole different way.

My favourite daily discovery is that of the awe-inspiring beauty, self-sufficiency, and intrinsic weirdness of nature. I love having my breath taken away by glistening leaves, I love breathing their scent, I love marveling at the intricacies of every flower as equally as of every creeping, crawling bug and every soaring bird.

Yesterday, while taking a walk with me in the Botanical Gardens here in Grahamstown, Ben said something that I found quite amusing (and very interesting). He said: "The greatest thing about nature is that, thanks to natural selection, everything is pretty much the most awesome it could ever be at any point in time". Our walk was punctuated by other beautiful moments, as well. We saw a flower of the most breathtakingly beautiful colouring and patterns, the flower of an unassuming weed, a flower I had never laid eyes on before. We also saw a magnificent hawk, soaring above us as we sat on a rocky overhang overlooking the City of Saints.

When I don't take at least a five minute walk in nature - whether it be the botanical gardens, a Tsitsikamma forest, or right outside my res - I start to feel antsy, restless, and confused. My thoughts become a neurotic blur, and I feel heavy and depressed. One could say that I have learned to fill a large part of my soul-hunger by simply staring at nature and expressing my simple awe and gratitude at its existence and my ability to share in it.

And when we go for walks, we never step on flowers.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Beautiful moon lamps...

Thinking about having my own house - okay, okay, my own flat - next year has really activated some recessive homely genes in me. I dream about decorating, cooking, baking, shopping and organising all day... What's wrong with me?!

No, being absolutely serious here - having a home for the first time is a pretty exciting thing. Not some room in a big house of little homes, where you are like a tiny insect in a big hive and you don't really matter - but a house (no matter how small) that is yours, and yours alone... And obviously also that of the person or people you choose to share it with. Making my own decisions, taking responsibility for my own life and just plain rocking every single day is what I look forward to.

How beautiful are these little plant-pods?

In the spirit of home decorating and starting to think of what I would like in my own home, I wanted to share a really awesome website with you - LikeCOOL is totally awesome, and everything on it is interesting, awesome, mostly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Find everything on there from gadgets, home stuff and appliances, food, clothing... Pretty much anything that counts as interesting, unique, cutting edge and certifiable design eye candy goes there. Never has my heart drooled for things like these before. Bookcases such as this beautiful, fun and quirky alphabetised storage system are busy rocking my world, I would do anything for any number of the amazing wall clocks they post about - and this Nintendo ES coffee table never ceases to amaze me!

Look at this hidden piano table - wouldn't you sell your children for it?

...and this beautiful sculptural furniture also blows my mind away.

Take a look at the homeware, and tell me you would be able to resist it! If this is what porn is like to men, I understand. I finally understand. I never want to stop looking!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Time of Dreams...

These exams have been not only a time for study, but have also offered me a chance to reflect on me, my interests and my dreams for my life. Increasingly, I see my interests manifest themselves in all kinds of ways in every aspect of my life, and I spend days dreaming up elaborate plans for my life, incorporating all things I find interesting, enjoyable and that I have a passion for. And finally, for the first time since early childhood, I have found a mind-space that is both serene and incredibly exciting at the same time - my dreams seem to line up, each more colourful than the last, beckoning me to test the waters and my ability to fulfill them.

The first of these dreams of mine is to start making my own clothing. Ever since I was able to read, fashion magazines were my drug of choice, and I could spend days drooling over outfits and pieces that I would never see in real life - let alone own. Luckily, I have outgrown my phase of moronic label deification, and I would love nothing more in the whole world to make and wear my own clothes.

Making a series of life-sized ragdolls over the duration of the last two years (wow, excluding this year - it's already over!) has reinforced my confidence in my ability to sew and to envision beautiful things. Call me a material girl, because my love affair with cloth is a deep, passionate and inextricable one. If I had to count the amount of times a friend or family member has asked me (with humour, concern, and sometimes both) if I could ever have enough clothes. The answer? No. Never. Raiding second-hand stores for unique, eclectic timeless and not-so-timeless pieces is my favourite hobby, and if I could be able to turn this hobby of mine into a business plan, I think my life troubles would be solved.

What troubles can't, when clothes are involved?

My second most pervasive dream is that of making vegan meals for myself and Ben. I look at different recipes for everything from salads, baked goods, pot pies, cakes and breakfasts from morning until night, and I ache for the luxury of having my own stove and oven - and my own rules. My imagination sees this interest (read: obsession) extending into the future in the form of a 100% vegan restaurant, working on slow, organic food principles and simply existing for the pure pleasure (harm-free!) of environmentally and ethically conscious individuals. I envision a big garden, with a jumble of different pieces of furniture and cushions and bright, wild plants surrounding it, blocking out the noise from whichever city I choose to live in one day... I will serve big salads, cold dishes, warm dishes, a wide array of desserts (this is one thing people don't understand about veganism - it tastes damn good!) and just about anything that comes to mind. Maybe I could even sell some pieces of my own homemade clothing there as well!

...dreaming feels so good.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Problem with Today

The problem with today is that we have been turned into big, fat, all-consuming children. Too comfortable in our materialistic ignorance and our vapid entertainment to ask any questions, to work towards a common goal or to improve our society. Firstly, the world economy forces us into this position with the unbeatable forces of the media, the government, the corporation, and the endless allure of more, more, more money on its side. To see the large, naked animal, greased up and depraved, all intuition completely lost with years of unnatural consumption and over-simplification, makes me completely crazy.

It's sickening. I can honestly say that I am ashamed to be a part of this weak, unnatural race that is wiping itself and all around it out in the blink of an eye, relative to the age of the earth.

Those who are not completely blinded by their lifestyles of over-indulgence and ignorance are also unable to do anything. The complete and utter inability of anyone to truly see and understand the state of our planet and our species (I don't claim to, myself) is causing our final disintegration into nothingness. Humankind most definitely has a suicide complex, and it is going about it as quickly, as efficiently and as disgustingly obtrusive and destructive as possible. The utter helplessness that I feel, as well as many, many more people out there, is a direct cause of the deliberate scattering of our attentions, the trickery of our minds and the enslavement of our psyches. We are not only doing absolute and utter wrong to ourselves, our fellow human beings, our fellow creatures and the planet that bore us, but we are doing it happily and there does not seem to be a single answer to the dilemma.

We don't leave one chicken uncaged, or one cow untethered or unmilked. We can't stomach the truth about the meat industry, so instead of mobilizing, joining forces and changing things, we are frozen stiff with our inability to act and to think and to reason. Instead of reducing personal carbon emissions, we look to corrupt businessman-politicians for answers, - of which there are none to find here. Instead of switching off our computers and taking a walk or reading a book...

We stare, transfixed, insipid. Dead.

I had an argument with someone two days ago. My argument was that every person who chooses to eat meat and to enjoy dairy and egg products should be forced to study the whole lives of the animals they feed from so easily and with such ferocity. From birth to death, study that chicken, fish, cow, lamb, ostrich, leather handbag and shoes (I mean, snake) or whatever other animal whose life it is you have claimed as your rightful property. Spare no gruesome PETA video or animal rights poster - because they don't stage those situations, they are truly happening every single day (and worse, I am convinced). The person I was arguing with could say nothing more insightful or more thoughtful than: "But... that's so cruel". "To whom?" I asked. "To people - you can't just do that to people!". What am I doing, exactly? Am I violating your right to ignorance? Am I offending your delicate sensibilities - oh, I'll excuse you to wipe that bit of chicken dribble off of your chin - by way of telling you the truth?

When the truth becomes outlawed, you know you have a serious problem.

"Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." - Chief Seattle

Monday, November 1, 2010

Scatterings of Scattered Scatter...

I've been wracking my brains to figure out why I find it so hard to update my blog recently, and I have come to the conclusion that it is a side-effect of the debilitating illness all modern human beings suffer from - the extremely short, scattered attention span. Ever since the birth of the computer, people have been thinking less, but still thinking more... Confusing? I mean to say that people might think about more different things, they think less about these things. I see it manifest in the smallest parts of my life - picking a movie to watch on a weekend night - as well as the largest - what the hell do I want to do for the rest of my life?! - and it has become an extremely frustrating and ubiquitous part of my daily existence.

To combat this, I find reading a book I enjoy - truly and deeply, for no other reason than that - to be quite helpful in centering the mind and allowing it some well-deserved rest. Being able to do it all and think it all is actually not so impressive. It has made me into some half-formed and completely uninteresting creature not fit to assume the name of 'human' - which I am really not pleased about. Being a brain-vegetable is a despicable and lowly waste of time, food, oxygen and space.

If you're reading this - and if you have a short attention span or... HEY LOOK! A butterfly!

Anyway, as I was saying - if you are reading this and know what I am talking about, do yourself a favour and turn off your computer. Read a book. The last book I really loved was Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. I also read Kerouac's On the Road, but found that it had been oversold to me, and had subsequently under-delivered. Right now, I am reading A.S. Byatt's Angels & Insects, a book that is filling me with happiness as we speak.

...I think I'll go devote some attention to that piece of art right now.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Exam time!

Hello, everybody!

Here, things have been going... Well, things have been going. Very busy, very tiring, very crazy, so, so, so, so, so, so exhaustingly crazy! Right now, I don't even have the energy to write you a proper blog post. I really hope I will be able to, soon, because I know you feel a little let down at my tardiness.

My first exam is on Saturday - Macroeconomics, woop! I will be studying like a crazy little ferret for the next few days. Look out for a new blog post really soon, as in really very soon! About... Monday?

Happy, happy sleep...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Medical experiments...

If you thought that students only agreed to be part of dodgy medical experiments for cash in movies, think again! I am spending the day as a bona fide guinea pig for Dr. Mike Skinner's skin blanching studies. This morning at 7am sharp, he applied some corticosteroid cream onto small spots of my arms, and if my skin reacts to the cream by lightening sufficiently, I will have bought my ticket to a weekend's stay at the medical centre and R950 at the end of it all!

It's safe. Really.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Playing dress-up...

As most of you know, charity and hospice shops are pretty much my favourite kinds of shops, even more so than candy shops and shops where you can buy good essays. And my kind of shopping puts Sex and the City to shame in that way that only a whole wardrobe of yummy new stuff for only R99 can. Today, I made a serious mission down to the Sunflower Hospice Shop in Grahamstown and came back with some super-snazzy buys. Remember, I said R99. Only. For all this. Oh my god.

Check them out, and let me know what you think!

Brown high-rise harem pants
and white ribbon:Blue jersey and white Daniel
Hechter denim slacks:
Light blue cut-off top and
white cloak overcoat:

Purple shirt-dress:

Black cross-over halterneck
evening gown:

Deep red evening

Purple evening gown
with velvet floral

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rhodes Daily Photo Blog

Hey everybody!

I just started a new blog and I hope you will all go check it out (and rate the content, and become fans, and revisit it regularly). I just heard that I have an article published in Jiggered Magazine - a magazine I have loved since the first time I laid eyes on it (and it costs money, too!). I will catch you all up on my life and hopefully start my experimental blog sequence sometime in the next two weeks.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Listless and Subjective

Ahh, lists. The list - the loveliest thing that has ever been invented since the elephant - has been keeping busy people from doing their real work for centuries. Lists have been keeping people forgetful for almost as long, and lists have provided people with easy-to-process, mostly meaningless and completely irrelevant information for as long as they have existed.

I tried to have a separate blog for my lists for a few hours, but this bugged me and I deleted it.

Here is my first list, a list that is important for all people to peruse and apply to their daily lives...

The Top 10 Best Lists for Anyone:

10. The to-do list:

Everyone knows that to-do lists are important, but nobody really knows why. We cling to them as though they held our life essence and we never stray from them. Therefore, I thought them worth a mention (and not much else). Here is a cool blog by Sasha Cagen called "To-do List" that shows how your to-do lists reveal your inner creep. Just kidding. But not really.

9. The favourite music/movies/books/art list:

This list has been keeping people pretentious in the fuss-free, easily accessible way they prefer for years. Need to impress a potential sexual partner a party? Whip out this bad boy. No need to get into details about your personality or your pets. Here is a list of lists of bests for if you couldn't come up with some yourself.

8. The list of obscurities:

This list acts in much the same way as the previous list, but it includes only music, movies, books, art (and their creators) that nobody else knows about. This list is your secret weapon when you meet somebody you really want to impress, or if it's someone that just pisses you off. Either way, it will serve the desired purpose of intimidating and bullying your conversation partner into admiration and/or submission. Here is a website that, well...
Uhm... Hell, I don't even know.

7. The list of stuff you'd do in a broken elevator/on a long bus trip/waiting

Everyone knows this list. It is usually filled with fun, inspiring and productive (or at least giggle-inducing) stuff to do when you have nothing else to do. Aside from that, it is usually drawn up in the precise situation it is being drawn up for. Who really has a list like this prepared for that wait of doom? I do. Making lists is the only point on it.

6. The dream list

This list is a list of dreams you would most love to have once you perfect the art of lucid dreaming. First on mine, for example, is that I would like to dream about perfecting lucid dreaming. Apparently, once you learn how to do it, you'll have the most fun you've had in ages. Which is why i have had the foresight to recommend making a list of the dreams you'd most like to have - and then HAVE THEM. Bahahaha.

5. The list of back-up plans

When there is a lot resting quite precariously on something you need to do, having a list of alternate options is important. Always have a back-up to-do list for when your first to-do list fails. Don't make this list too long - ever. Sometimes you can get too confused and your lists will end up devouring you (no, seriously, they eat you whole) and you will never be able to do what you needed to do on your to-do list in the first place. Even writing about back-up to-do lists has got my back do up to... What?

6. The contact list

Some people call this "The Little Black Book" - but I don't recommend one if you want to be taken seriously in life (because, no, life is not a Sex and the City episode and most things those four gals do will probably be frowned on and/or illegal where you live). A contact list, for any serious people, is a list of people you can bug for information (if you are a journalist), favours (if you are a journalist or a no-good bum) and for making further contacts (if you are a super-networking cyborg). Build it up, use it wisely, never share it.

5. The list of places you'd most like to visit:

This list is just great when you're trying to get to know people. If they want to visit London, you know they've probably never been out of South Africa. The rest of Africa? Probably a pretentious asshole. Rio de Janeiro or Mauritius? Run from this girl (it'll be a girl) like you've never ran before. She is just softening you up before she spends everything you own on self-tanner and Cosmopolitans at the local Holiday Inn and runs away with the pool boy when your resources are depleted. To see some other people's opinions on their favourite holiday destinations (use the tips I have taught you), click here.

4. The "If you had three wishes BLAH BLAH BLAH" list

...just because everyone is always going to ask you, it is worth preparing a cool answer for. Make it something like 1.) To get out of this conversation 2.) For your face to then explode comically and 3.) To own a prostitution ring. Or something.

3. Your list of favourite websites

This list is important to have (and to keep accessibly bookmarked in your internet browser) because sharing your favourite websites is fun. You can waste more and more people's time with websites and URLs that they will never check out, even if it is "the best thing since"* and even if you make them swear on their mother's lives that they will. They won't. But it's fun anyway.

2. The shitlist

No, I don't mean The Definitive Shit List*, I mean the list of people that you hate. The concept of the shit list, first introduced to me by an ex-boyfriend of my mother's, is that every person who wrongs you ends up on it. It is the perfect tool with which to intimidate, guilt trip, scare or insult somebody. Keep one, and keep it up to date. And preferably public.

1. The funniest Youtube videos list

This list is probably the most crucial list for any self-respecting person in the world to have. Who doesn't like videos of cats playing the piano, autotuned everything (with nuts you'll love) and people falling in ways you couldn't even lucid-dream of. do it.

Let me know what you thought of my first list and share yours as well!

* Made you look.

Blogging about Blogging about Blogging about...

I have chosen the free time I have today to catch up on some blogging, following some very interesting (and kind of inspiring) lectures on digital media and blogging as a social media platform by Mr. Jude Mathurine as part of the Journalism and Media Studies course - an Introduction to Digital Media.

There are so many things you can blog about, so many different ways to blog about these things, and different facets of the digital experience that many bloggers are not even aware of. I have been thinking about the possibility of doing a sample blog-post in every genre we discussed - this will be a very interesting exercise and will (possibly) yield some quite entertaining results.

Let me know what you think of this idea?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Listen

Today, I am having a brilliant day. I am busy crafting a beautiful, wonderful story for online journalism mentoring program as part of a Journalism assignment and I am loving every minute of it. Getting in touch with sources across the country is a tough task, but I must say that I have approached it with much gusto and I feel that I deserve the success I am experiencing.

The rest of my life is quite a blur at the moment, and I would like to fill you in - at a later stage.

Right now, I am simply dropping by to deliver two key points:

1. Never be so busy looking at the sky that you miss the dog poop you are about to step in.

2. Always do your buttons from the bottom up.

...I wish I had pictures of all the people I loved in my room right now. I think I will go print some this week, and put them up all over.

PS: Can you believe that I only have two months left in this cozy little res room?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Easily, life slips on by...

The weather in Grahamstown today is chilly, but not predominantly. It is also melancholy and tired, but very satisfied. It is as if the bones of the world, after an achingly hard day’s work, are content in the knowledge that they will soon rest, and be stretched out across the seas, over all the beauty that is the world itself.
That is how I feel today – I feel a nostalgic sadness, a pleased sigh of contentment, a resignation to the day and the week and the month and the year and the life that is mine and can never be changed with anything else, and I am happy. Upon arriving at my modest residence room at 5 o’clock in the glum afternoon, I was struck with a sudden rush of wistfulness that bubbled in my nostrils and fizzed in my brain as it whirred past my eardrums. This weather, the light in the room when I opened the door, the smell that is finally my own, but still my mother’s...
It all reminded me of being young – taking duvet days and listening to the rain outside, taking in the smell of the new earth – and of being older – falling asleep doing an art assignment and waking up to find the house submerged in the half-dark of such a late afternoon hour. I remember thinking that I had never felt so cold, so lonely, and so utterly small. I had also never understood life so easily.

On the topic of having your own smell. Every single person has a smell, and buildings and homes and institutions and companies have their own smells as well. When you are in your own house, you never smell its smell, but when you return to it after some time absent it hits you like only home can.

You will never smell your own smell, but I remember reading about some studies done that claimed that each person has a particular smell and that people who are a good genetic match to that person will love it. Put simply – or romantically – this means that your soul-mate will adore the way you smell. I don’t know if I believe that this is the case in all people or in all relationships – surely, there are people that are in relationships and dislike or feel neutrally about their partner’s smell, and surely there are people who love each other’s smell but can’t stand each other’s anything else.

Back to the topic – having your own smell. I remember realising that our house had a smell quite distinct to any other, and that every house smelled different. People might smell like their houses, but they also have a distinctly individual element to their own smells. I remember wondering whether – and when – I would acquire my own smell, and what my own house would smell like one day. Although a residence room is not a house and lacks the smell of a kitchen, living room, bathroom, child or partner, it is quite a good litmus test for my personal smell. I don’t mind it, but imagine disliking your own smell? That must be what drives air freshener sales...

Next year, I will have a flat (what I will call my ‘practice house’), complete with kitchen, living room, bathroom, spare room, and my own Ben. This will be the true house-smell test. What kind of cooking will we do? What soaps will we use? Will we have flowers in our house? These are all relevant questions when considering your house smell.

Go on, all of you. Go smell your house.

Safe from the outside world

So, I bet you are all wondering what I have been up to the past while! Here is an updated mini-biography, the one I use for freelance work I do for Women Inc.

Kayla is currently a first-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. She is the editor of the Comment & Analysis section of student newspaper Activate and she a writer for the Politics, Business, and Features sections, as well as a sub-editor for the paper. Her other subjects are Economics, English, History and Sociology. She devours books and sees herself as one of the blessed few who actually enjoy working. She is involved with student society SHARC (Student HIV/AIDS Resistance Campaign) at Rhodes and has recently graduated as a certified Peer Educator. She is also a Media Representative for SHARC. She is the community engagement representative for the African Drum Society and is currently working with up-and-coming student society Common Ground in the same capacity. She loves watching art films and her guilty pleasure is shopping.

There are many things in this biography you already know, and some you didn’t. I have updated it a few times in the last two weeks, because I don’t really know where to draw the line when it comes to getting involved. Should one? I haven’t encountered any problems as of yet, but these commitments are still young. I hope that I can give them all the attention they deserve, and keep a little for myself.

Right now, me-time amounts to Monday movie nights with Ben, Friday morning baths, Friday laundry days, Saturdays with Ben and Sunday afternoon picnics (for which I have become quite renowned) with friends.

The rest of my days are divided between lectures, tutorials, normal meetings, meetings where I lead and meetings where I am led, preparatory meetings and recapitulating meetings... Tests, essays, assignments, reports, preparations and plans, putting up posters and spreading words. I do it all.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So, there I go, shuffling from the world...

When you don't believe in magic, or stories, or something that you can't see, I believe that your life is probably not really worth living. Benjamin told me a lovely story while he was cuddling me tonight, about a young boy prince who unlocked the evil of the world (and whose favourite dish was spaghetti) on a quest for a magical flower.

We make up stories like this sometimes - the recipient of the story has to come up with three or four elements they would like to encounter in the story, and the storyteller then incorporates them into a story - short, sweet and simple, or elaborate, daring and ethereal. Whatever you feel like.

Lying on his chest, I allowed my mind the freedom to wander for the first time in very, very long... Drawing sparkling pictures in my mind's eye of elegant castles, deep and mysterious caves, dazzling flowers, and mountains that seem to roll on forever, I was truly happy for that moment. And I still am, knowing that this beauty is right there, under anybody's tongue, waiting to be born in another's brain.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Ship Song

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around

We talk about it all night long
We define our moral ground
But when I crawl into your arms
Everything comes tumbling down

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Your face has fallen sad now
For you know the time is nigh
When I must remove your wings
And you, you must try to fly

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

Come loose your dogs upon me
And let your hair hang down
You are a little mystery to me
Every time you come around

Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

We Take Mystery (To Bed)

Being back at Rhodes has spun me into a vortex of confusion and stress faster than you could say "beach holiday OVAR". I will give you a brief overview of the occupation of my mind over the last two (only two?!) days.

The usual lectures, sucking up time and energy and not yielding any significant or visible results as yet - psh. Tutorials for which I still have to prepare. Meetings. Tests. Essays. How is it possible to get this involved this early on in a term? Do you all know that I am officially the Community Representative for African Drum Society? I hope so.

Thinking and thinking and thinking, not a moment's rest, and I keep thinking about thinking, and now I am thinking about thinking about thinking. Life sucks when you can hardly live it for trying to figure it all out. I think we should all stop trying to find reasons for things, to find neatly packaged definitions and thoughts and ideas that explain life, because life is incredible and inexplicable, and if you keep trying to define it, it'll slip away before you even realized you were alive.

So that's that about that. I know, it's all been said before, but I don't think enough people have taken notice of what exactly that means. Most people just take it as another 'Truth of the Month', sampling it, rolling it around on their tongues, trying it out for palatability and leaving it in the corner when the next existential fad comes along. It's not an answer, or finality, or even a thought. It's just a recommendation, mostly for myself, to remember how to be alive.

On another note, ban gospel music in my res. It's really not appropriate at midnight or 6am. No, wait. It is never appropriate. Am I supposed to be tolerant of their music because it has religious subject matter? If they can tell me to turn down my certifiably awesome music, they should stick theirs up their bums.

That's that with that, then.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I am Survived


I have spent the last week or two running around like a headless chicken, trying to do way more than I actually could and almost managing. This post won't be long, because I'm still not done, but I thought you would like to know what I'm up to.

As the new C&A editor for Activate, I attend numerous meetings - on Mondays, I have management meetings, during which I pitch content for my page (online and on-paper), get it accepted and get some more information about the next edition. On Tuesdays, I have a meeting in which I am the boss and during which I give my writers the stories I pitched on Mondays, and tell them the way I would like them to write the stories and how long I'd like them.

Every second Thursday, we have 'dummies' - here, I tell the designers how I would like my page to be laid out and we merge my vision with their design skills to start the process of creating the page you'll finally see the next Thursday. It's been a disgustingly busy two weeks...

Otherwise, life is racing ahead at its usual pace, not giving me a moment to come up for air. I would love to post some more, but right now I'm struggling!

I miss everyone so much...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Universe Is Shaped Exactly Like The Earth - If You Go Straight Long Enough, You'll End Up Where You Were...

Hello everybody!

I am so glad it's finally the weekend - and a long one at that! I have had an incredible week, full of stress and excitement and anxiety and pride and an overarching sense of accomplishment, and I am very ready to sit back, relax, and contemplate things.

It turns out that quite a large number of individuals, companies, groups and even some politicians are concerned about the ANC's proposed media tribunal and laws to curb the freedom of the media... Which I am quite pleased about. It is, however, very important to remain open-minded about the issue. Groups on both sides of the argument need to be objective and consider what is best for our country - not for one side or the other. There have been many questions as to the fairness and objectivity as well as the truth behind some reporting over the past years, and this needs to be taken into account.

Point is - don't take everything you read at face value.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Keep a Tape Recorder on my Bedside Table...

When you don't believe in how much you could actually achieve, you never will achieve much. Last night, I suddenly realised this. It has kind of changed my life (which is not so special, I try to encounter something, think something, read something, feel something, see-hear-touch-taste-smell something that changes my life at least once a day)and it has opened up not only many doors for my future, but has also made me able to look back with some clarity on my life.

Achieving what I have in the past six or seven months at Rhodes has seriously changed my outlook on life and my confidence in my abilities. I do think that I was cut out for this profession. Nothing, in my whole life, has ever been this easy or this rewarding to me. I have never approached anything in my life with such ferocity, such passion, and such determination. Sniffing out news, writing, and reporting on it has made me so happy and has made me feel as though my life really was quite special.

In high school I adopted a puerile, plastic nonchalance about any and all achievements, shrugging them off as 'uncool', but this was simply because I was absolutely terrified of failing. I put up a vainglorious mask, pretending to think I was someone worth looking up to, but when I look back at me, I wasn't much at all.

I university, free from having to uphold the image I had created for myself, I was stripped of my ego and I was unafraid of failing. I signed up for as much as possible, as soon as possible, and worked as honestly and as hard as I could. I guess... it's paid off.

By the way, there is no chance of me being rejected for second year Journalism and Media Studies. Just saying.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Dead Fish Gains the Power of Observation

Last night I went to the Activate offices (ridiculously early) and worked myself up into quite an impressive state of panic in preparation for my interview for becoming the next Opinions or Politics section editor. The anxiety, it turned out, was completely unnecessary. I flew through the interview on pure adrenaline and, apparently, nailed it!

I am officially the Opinions (or as it will be known from now on, the 'Comments and Analysis') Section Editor, and I am beyond pleased! I will be working on the section in the paper as well as produce and edit online content for Activate's (hopefully) kick-ass new website.

Becoming the Politics editor was a slightly bigger wish for me, but I do embrace this role fully and I am sure I will enjoy it immensely! Following a career in political journalism at this point in history will still be a scary and exciting challenge for me, and an incredibly necessary one at that.

A more interesting, more theme-oriented post will follow this one shortly.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Press Freedom and the ANC

It took a long, hard walk to freedom to end Apartheid in South Africa in 1994. During Apartheid, people of non-white origin were humiliated and oppressed by a delusional minority party that managed to cling to power for about 46 years too long.

After years of struggle and movements for liberation, Apartheid was finally overthrown, and South Africa could not, for the most part, be happier. Our future looked bright, and our leadership party was young, vibrant, energetic and revolutionary. I assume (being barely older than sixteen myself) that many South Africans felt that they could once again, or maybe even for the first time, feel hopeful, and dream, for their future and the futures of their children.

The ANC, the party instrumental to the attainment of freedom for all races, has now been in power for 16 years. It has been a short while, many say. We cannot expect change too quickly. My complaint is not, however, with poor service delivery or government corruption. It is not with police brutality. I have many more words for that.

Today, I need to ask a very important question of the ANC. Please, look into your past, look at your faded ideals and vision. Look at the role the press has played during your birth, your infancy, your learning to walk, and talk, and fight. Yes, the print media have been abused by all systems of government. In many instances it was used to justify Apartheid and the cruel treatment of the masses at the hands of the NP. But didn't the press play an incredible role in guiding you to the fulfillment of your goals as revolutionary party? International sanctions and pressure were placed on the NP because of one thing - the media. News, news, news.

Maybe you are so used to being a revolutionary party that you haven't realised that the struggle is over. Why do you bare your teeth so viciously, why do your hackles raise so menacingly, why does the hair on your back stand up as if you are being attacked when you are being fairly questioned and criticised? Criticism and interrogation, uncovering the truth, the lack of political affiliation... this has always been something I have been proud of South Africa for. Our press has never backed down from justifiably evaluating your leadership skills as a governing party. This, this, this, this, this... This is the sign of a healthy press, a healthy democracy, and healthy governance of a country.

Every piece of criticism and every question is not a sign of an attack on our 'brittle' democracy. Our democracy is - or was, if your new laws are passed - not frail or weak. A free press is a sign of a healthy, breathing, lively democracy. Don't kill that.

It seems it happens too easily that a once revolutionary party never gives up fighting, and fights and fights and fights and fights , until it has killed itself in the process. Do not become everything you have been born to overcome. You have a massive utility truck of weapons at your disposal, but you don't seem to have found peace a very useful one as yet. Anger, deception, corruption, violence, allegations, misinformation and childish shouting matches have their time and place. It is not here, and it is not now.

There is a time to break down, and a time to build up.

Stop fighting.

Start building.

Come on.