Monday, 30 December 2013

Surviving the Christmas Extras

I’m writing this from the inside of a pup tent pitched in the depths of my sister’s basement.  Hey that’s luxury, my brother and his wife have been allocated to the garage on an air mattress on the back of a Dodge ram pick-up truck, with sleeping bags that are ‘good up to minus ten’ ... at about minus twenty degrees Celsius, (newly married, so we expect they’ll probably survive... body heat and all that... – well, that’s the story they’ll be getting when they arrive anyways --J).     
One thing has become abundantly clear this holiday season is that Christmas and extras seem to go together. 

Extra shopping.  Extra food.  Extra travelling.  Extra visitors.  Extra busyness.  Extra expenses.  Extra Stress.  Extra eating.  Extra calories.  Extra Pounds. 
Our ‘third’ Christmas feast is coming up tomorrow.  Yes, I know.  I’ve been telling myself that my shrinking jeans must be a result of the dryer too.     

Tis the season of abundance.  The question is; the abundance of what?   
And just how much of that abundance will require some process of recovery come January...?    

A whole lot of you are already rolling your eyes, praying over credit card statements and conducting internet searches for gym membership specials as we speak...   
In the midst of all that, one is expected to find the time to enjoy and appreciate the people in our lives.

Sadly, many of us have forgotten that finding joy has everything to do with us and less to do with the people around us.  We tend to find what it is we are looking for.           
So Christmas is the one season that highlights the significance of relationships.  It should remind us of the importance of adding value to the lives of the people around us.  If this were a measure of success, perhaps Christmas would be significantly less stressful and it would indeed be a greater joy to see family at the end of the year. 
On my side, thankfully, the extras have been kept somewhat to a minimum. 
Seeing the family has been good, but... well..., my sister has made brownies and so the extra pounds... will just have to wait until January! 


Monday, 23 December 2013

A Handful at Christmas

We grew up somewhat more traditionally and Santa Clause was sort of excluded from our celebration of Christmas.  Santa was not quite the ‘devil incarnate’ but he definitely had no place at our house during the festive season.    

So one evening while shopping, my friend and I decided having 'not ever sat on Santa’s lap' needed to be rectified at the age of 18, lest I grow up deprived of that experience and always suffer from an emotional void of sorts. 
So we proceeded to have our picture taken with Santa, my friend on one knee and me on the other. 

Now with the luxury of hindsight, Santa was very strategic and carefully laid his arms on the arm rests with his palms facing up.  We perched and had our picture taken.   
Took our photos and went on our way, secure in the knowledge that I had a least one experience of sitting on Santa’s lap. 

Upon taking a closer look at those pictures, it is quite apparent that Santa’s gloved hand is there securely cupped around my backside. 

Perhaps that is what my mother was talking about... 
On that note, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and recommend that you simply keep a watchful eye on Santa!

May God richly bless you all this Christmas! 




Thursday, 19 December 2013

Rooted in Cynicism

Last week my brother indicated that his truck was missing and assumed that his brother’s friend must have it.  Nonchalantly and unconcerned he proceeded to the wedding reception with the assumption that the truck had already arrived before him and would be there. No panic.  No suspicion.  Not even concern.       
My daughter and I looked at each other and laughed at his reaction noting that back home, this is not the standard default reaction to a missing vehicle; our foreignness strongly evident.    

The other day, my mother received a phone call from a man who wanted to return a music folder that he had found.  During the process of collecting that folder, he requested her number because she was unsure whether the folder belonged to the choir to which she was a part.  The folder itself was worth about $2 and more was probably spent on petrol in the process of its return. 
There was a great divide between our thoughts regarding his intentions and the assumptions adopted by my mother.  I mean, it sounded like an excuse (a lousy one at that) to get contact details, doesn’t it?  ‘The foreigners’ looked at each other and laughed again.  My mother, without thinking twice, happily provided her phone number.

My daughter concluded that her Oma was 'grossly lacking in street smarts' as she deals with her world at face value, very casually, and given her environment, has the luxury of doing so.   We on the other hand, have developed a highly sensitive internal suspicion radar equipped with the capacity to attune to any perceived levels of dodgy behaviour emanating from any point.   
I suppose this is true for all of humanity.  We interpret the world based on what we know to be true largely based on past experiences.  Norms and standards differ around the world, not so much in the behaviour of humanity but in expectation.  Our world is interpreted based on our perceptions and judgement of others often made on what we ourselves would do in similar circumstances.   

Somehow disappointment and excitement / contentment are related to the difference between expectation and actual experience.  Depending upon which one exceeds the other, an incident is described as one or the other.
Having grown up in one world, and returning from another, I wonder how easy it is to adapt back to the simpler assumptions that I grew up with. 

How easy is it to relearn that the world is usually safe?  Or just how embedded is that seed of paranoia that comes from living in an environment that has a higher prevalence of crime?
And so, what I am really wondering is, am I destined to be cynical for life?   

I suppose time will tell...               

Monday, 16 December 2013

A Life of Wayward Ducks

A midlife crisis is characterized by a period in life caught somewhere between looking back and looking forward in our perceived assumption that we are somewhere in the middle of our expected life span.  It is a perception which causes many to make some crazy decisions to convince oneself that youth is still within one’s grasp.  But since I am only 29, that simply cannot be what I am experiencing. (I am saving that for much later, I am a firm believer that everyone is entitled to reclaiming as much of youth as possible).      
So the last few weeks I have been facing the ghosts of Christmas past having returned to the community in which I grew up.  The tragic haunting of decisions made that have altered the course of my life and set me on the path I am on at the moment.   

The what if’s of boyfriends past for example.  Have you ever wondered how different life would have turned out if you had made different decisions? Perhaps this is a process that is a reflection of not yet fully finding the path that one is intended to be on.  Or maybe everyone has a collection of what if’s stored in their closet.  I am not sure, but in any case it is a mental activity that my brain is quite happy to engage with; mostly with somewhat disastrous results.       
For me, coming from a small town, now living in a huge city, my life path would have been a very different one.  Growing up it was assumed (especially for girls); that you would ‘grow-up (I know, fancy that), get married, settle down and raise children’.  Aside from not being on the expected path, (my life has veered so far away it is simply not even possible to find the original path back) to be honest, that is one thing that I do not regret.  I am glad to be rid of that set of expectations, both imposed by others and adopted by myself through the process of societal expectation.        

Thankfully my journey of mental ‘what if’s yields more amusement and relief than regret, reminding me that life is more about the journey than the destination as it would seem that mine is a life where the destination continually evades me. 
Perhaps that is my excuse (a life of wayward ducks rather than an inability to get my ducks in a row), or because life lived as a series of end points quickly becomes stagnant. 

If one’s life objective is to marry, for example, what happens beyond that point?        
And so the trip back home reflects back on the ‘where’s of this happened and that happened and the ‘remember when’s of days gone by’.        

And while some places and faces are familiar and easy to recall despite the increase of wrinkles and grey hair and other changes, I sometimes need to remind myself that I too aged in the interim, at least until I turned 29.    
In some ways ironically, the community seems much the same but somehow I feel an increasing sense of displacement and wonder how easy it would be to return to live here. 

The reality is simply this, it is me that has done the most changing.
Whether that change was for better or worse…, well I suppose that would depend on whom you are asking.  

The jury is still out on that one… 


Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Tribute to Former President Nelson Mandela

The passing of Former South African President Nelson Mandela features on front page news around the world.
Its a modern day Joseph story; spend 27 years in prison as a political prisoner and end up as the president of a country. It was a life that has captured the imaginations of people world-wide.
Being overseas at the moment I feel like I am watching the events through the lens of someone else's perception. I cannot help but notice that along with a life that large, comes a huge amount of expectation.
What is highlighted regularly is the gap between the political freedom of South Africa and its continued lack of economic freedom. So the question for me is this one.
Whose responsibility is it? Can the lack of economic opportunity be attributed to the shortcomings of the life of a single man? Or is that an expectation of an icon that has been made to be larger than life?
And so: Is his greatness attributable to the positions he filled or the convictions he held?
I doubt that during the Rivonia Trial, Nelson Mandela saw his future as the President of South Africa. At that point I can imagine he only saw possible death or a life spent in prison.
He was a man who simply valued his beliefs more than he valued his life. And so justice, freedom and equality were ideals for which he was prepared to lose his life.
His memorial attracted the who's who of the world.  And the cynic in me cannot help but wonder if it is the values of equality, justice and freedom that the world wants so desperately to publicly associate with or is it the last opportunity to rub off a little of 'Madiba's magic'?  
And so to carry on the legacy of Nelson Mandela is to adopt his thinking not necessarily his political party. A country and world that holds the ideals of justice, freedom and equality as standards for which people are prepared to die, will build a bright future for itself.
But to a large extent it would appear that these ideals are ones which people feel they are entitled too, rather than feel inclined to sacrifice for or work toward.
When ideals are held higher than life itself, that is when history changes. It is when the church grows, tyrannical governments lose power, new regimes get established and justice starts to win over injustice.
Although the world might see former President Nelson Mandela as an icon. Nelson Mandela himself, did not. Having met him a few years back as part of a youth service programme for which I worked, Nelson Mandela himself was touched that a group of young people had the time to come and visit 'an old man'. A comment to which one of the participants of the programme said, "It's like Nelson Mandela doesn't know that he is Nelson Mandela". And therein lay his greatness.
Fighting a struggle because you have nothing to lose, is a fight that has many willing participants. Taking up a cause that will potentially cost you everything you have, is a war that attracts very few warriors.
And that was the greatness of Nelson Mandela. Rest in Peace Tata Madiba.  May your legacy live on... the world needs it.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Leather in Context

Context is important.  A comment in certain circumstances can be very entertaining and its meaning is interpreted based upon the environment in which it was said.  But the same comment can also be thoroughly inappropriate elsewhere.  Humour to a large extent is very much context dependent.
It is partially why I interact with the internet with caution.  Twitter is one of those tools that invoke high stress level responses.  It is so context dependent, permanent, public and quotable.        

At the moment I blog and have the opportunity to sleep on what I have written before I publish.  Twitter is reactionary.  It’s quick.  One line, press send.  Spend the rest of the day analysing its potential consequences, wishing you could turn back time... 

To a large extent, twitter highlights why context is so important in communication.  Consider the following paragraphs: 
She was ready.  She was a tough competitor and in a good position to win the competition having won three out of the four previous rounds. Dressed in her reinforced leather gear the breeze gently blowing her hair she watched the time go by, oh so slowly.  She wrung her hands nervously and tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the light to change. 

The loud speaker boomed over the noise of the crowd and called her name.  She was up and so she took her place on the racetrack in pole-position. 
She was ready.  She was a tough competitor and in a good position to win the competition having won three out of the four previous rounds. Dressed in her reinforced leather gear the breeze gently blowing her hair she watched the time go by, oh so slowly.  She wrung her hands nervously and tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the light to change. 

The loud speaker boomed over the noise of the crowd and called her name.  She was up and so she took her place on the stage in pole-position. 

Despite the paragraphs reading almost identical, there is a very different picture that comes to mind upon completion. 
‘Reinforced leather’ went from safety gear to raunchy garb with the change of a single word. 

That is the power of context, the importance of context and the significance of context. 
Whatever titbits of information you have, consider the context... the meaning may not be exactly what it appears to be.  


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Blood with Bubbles

A friend and I, once dressed up in the middle of August to go ‘trick or treating.’  Halloween being in October, it did amass some confusion and amusement.  We were twelve at the time.  Went to the neighbours and all and they thought we were a little bit strange but despite that, entertained us and we got juice and cookies for our efforts.  That was quite some time ago and society seems to be changing.  There are few neighbourhoods left where that sort of behaviour would be well received.    

In communities we often impose what we believe is best for everyone through social expectation rather than law and to a large extent this is more effective.  Thus, we have created a culture of silence; an expectation of conformity.  A society that simply looks the other way.   

Sometimes I wonder if what we assume ‘we know’ about the world and life, is what is actually true?  Could we have been taught wrong?  How many things have we been lied to about?   

The majority of us live lives that will not draw any attention.  We don’t raise issues, concerns or ask questions.  Then no one will judge us or condemn us.  No one will single us out of the crowd.  We will have lived a life that blended in with society and conformed to what our families expected us to do and social norms dictate.  But is that a life that will have made a difference?  Will it be a life of fulfilment, purpose and joy?  Will it have changed anything?  Is it a life that is noteworthy?     

And so the most dangerous lies I think, are the lies we tell ourselves.  Sometimes the hardest thing about life, is seeing it for what it actually is and not what we want or hope it will be someday.

 I suppose living an honest life with oneself is a challenge.  It is often easier to keep the illusions alive.  Things are going fine.  We live according to other people’s expectations and hopefully things will get better. We blend and try not to draw attention to ourselves.  And so we continue and slowly, bit by bit, we lose ourselves.      

Sometimes the truth is hidden under layers and layers of partial truths.  Partial truths are usually more effective than outright lies.  Half truths are simply more believable and can hold people in bondage much longer than overt deceit.  It’s why deception comes embedded in propaganda.    

So here’s the challenge.  To strip away the partial truths we have held on to for so long and have a good look at what is real.  Then make a decision to take action and live a life that frees ourselves to be all that we can be. 

That being said, I have been lying to myself about an addiction to Coke light and caffeine for a very long time.  By this time, it has probably changed the colour and texture of blood that my body manufactures; blood with bubbles.    

The good news, it's new year’s resolution time, so for the next few weeks, I will lie to myself and tell myself that I will change it next year, starting in January.   


Monday, 2 December 2013

‘Dissed’ by my Daughter

I went to the doctor recently as I was having some chest pains.  I am a little bit negligent in the up-keep of regular doctor check-ups and what not; After all, why go and look for bad news? 

But anyways, I was experiencing a little pain and figured; I better go and check it out.  Maybe I had a lump in my breast or something. 
So when sharing this information with my daughter, she was like: “but Mom, wouldn’t you be able to see it?  Now in essence, I am not writing this to belittle anyone who has found abnormalities anywhere in their bodies.  

But this statement in my case had very particular implications.  You see, while pregnant, I was a good ‘A’ cup bra size but in everyday life I am pushing hard on a regular basis to fill in an ‘A cup’.  I am not what anyone would ever refer to as 'well endowed.' 
In fact, I need to shop carefully for bras to ensure that the cups are not prone to denting lest I accidentally bump into someone and be walking around with an ‘inverted boob’ for the remainder of the day. 

So the comment about being able to ‘see the bump’ was in essence saying that what I have is two small bumps at the moment and so any additional lump, no matter what size, should be easily visible. 

This is truly a whole other level of parenting.  When your children start to out develop, outperform and outsmart you.  It highlights a need for me to regroup in the parenting department and draft some new policy and strategies to deal with this more advanced level of parenting, clearly now required.     

So the doctor’s appointment yielded no lump, just some trauma to my pectoral muscles; cured by lowering my exercise level temporarily and some aspirin to take down the inflammation.  So all in all, the diagnosis is not too serious. 
It’s just taking my ego a little longer to recover however...   

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Friends, Friends and More Friends

Contrary to popular opinion, facebook friends are most probably not friends. 

I was talking to a friend of mine (first clue, you actually talk to friends) and he was saying that ‘he cleans-up his friends regularly’.  Now there is something that is inherently wrong about that statement.  Now I have had a few friends over the years and truth be told have never been 'cleaned-up’ by them.  If you have a really nasty ‘friend’ they might clean you out, but generally not clean you up. 
Thankfully he was referring to facebook or it was going to seriously affect the status of our relationship.

Now I suppose I will eventually need to put my name on this blog and open myself up to the world of cyber stalking.  You know all those people from your past that at some level, you wish would simply remain there; folk that are interested in your business but not actually interested in you. 
And so the stalking behaviour of choice in the new millennium is Google.  It used to be binoculars.  Whatever happened to the good old days of sneaking around in people’s bushes?  Now you simply type in a name from the shadows and skeletons of your past and see what they are up to.  The object of the game is simple.  Check and see what they are doing, not how they are doing.    

These days it has become a norm to meet someone and ‘do a background check.’  I am not sure what people talk about on their first dates anymore.  By the time that happens, people have thoroughly studied each other’s facebook profiles and know all of your favourites already, where you went to school, how many siblings you have... etc. 
In my case, aside from the contributions of The Change Addict there is little information about me in cyberspace.  My Master’s Thesis, however, does come up (The Change Addict doesn’t link to my given name, yet).  So not so long ago I had a guy who was interested in me until he read my Master’s Thesis Online on women’s leadership.  So any relationship potential was over before it began.  Eighty pages of intellectual prowess intimidated the poor bloke.  If he was actually brave enough to have coffee with me and get to know me, he would not have known about that for sometime... 

People have different interests and sides.  And the picture created in cyberspace is probably a bit like the tip of an iceberg.  Only about 10% is visible above the water and the rest is hidden below unless of course you're a bright spark and posted nude pictures of yourself; In that case the percentages might be the other way around. 
I do believe cyberspace does at some false level feed the need in human beings for social interaction.  I just think that the pretences and the circumstances are very false.  And while you might have a sense that people actually do care about what breakfast you had this morning, try and phone them in the middle of the night in an emergency and see what happens. 

Cyber relationships are really great if you are socially challenged.  You can say what you want to on one site and find a new site tomorrow to hang out with.  But you’re actually hanging with sites not people.
Somehow, I still prefer the traditional cup-a-something and a good old-fashioned face-to-face chat with my friends.        

So the conclusion of the matter is that you generally do not need to cull your friends.  And so the need to cull on facebook would indicate that many ‘friends’ may not actually be friends.  I have heard of culling elephants or other species of wildlife, but not friends.  Life tends to do the culling of friends naturally for you over time. 
And most importantly friends check and see how you are doing not what you are doing, which leads me to conclude that perhaps facebook and cyberspace may not actually be the ‘caretakers of connectedness’ they claim to be. 


Monday, 25 November 2013

Miss, Mrs, Ms, ...

I tend to buy strongly into the philosophy of 'common sense' rather than holding someone that society has deemed ‘an expert’ in high esteem.  I suppose it is possible that this might be a direct result of my obsession with the ‘why’s’ of life.  Or a conclusion based on multiple experiences over the years which resulted in my wondering just how it was possible that this person is an 'expert' in their field regardless of the position he / she may have held at the time.  Try and sit through a random conversation about having your cervix stitched close and see if you view doctors the same way.    

I think the level at which knowledge is available and added to in modern society, almost negates the idea that someone can maintain expertise without a constant quest and focus in a specific area of learning.  And so I have a high level of scepticism when it comes to ‘expertise’. 

Perhaps it is a reflection of my own quest for knowledge which has led me to question regularly what is generally considered to be accepted knowledge.  I’m pretty okay with concepts like 'gravity;' we used to play 'circus' as kids and believe me when I say we always came down, but struggle a little bit more with ideas like 'identity' for example.  I prefer to define myself.     
But despite my general scepticism of ‘experts’, I am still considering attaining a PhD.  I know..., but I did tell you that I reserve the right to change my mind. 

Actually my consideration has more to do with the title than the actual papers ‘ascertaining my expertise’. 
“But what about your comment about position and it not being held in high esteem”...blah, blah, blah or something like that, you’re thinking... 

No, I am afraid it is a much more trivial reason than attaining a title linked to professionalism.  I am simply seeking a title that is not linked to my marital status. 
You see, growing up, I was a ‘Miss’.  Got married and became a ‘Mrs.’ Now after the divorce I am forced to go by ‘Ms’. 

If I were a man, I would have simply been ‘Mr,’ despite the changing circumstances in my personal life.  So as far as I can tell, the only title as a woman that you actually keep and it belongs to you, is ‘Dr.’  Because now if I marry again, the cycle starts all over... back to ‘Mrs.’ ‘take two’.   I am simply a little tired of the double standard and so I think becoming a ‘Dr,’ just might need to be looked at  more seriously.

Has anyone ever asked besides me, “Why is that”?  Why are there different titles for women that communicate clearly her marital status?  Seriously, just who was that intended to benefit?  Definitely not women.  
Men, out of curiosity, how many of you are guilty of checking out a woman and referring to the title section of the form she has just filled out for her marital status?  Yeah, I thought so.              

If nothing else, the title ‘Dr.’ can survive marriage, divorce and the death of a spouse.  Society gives that to men for free, am I the only one who finds this double standard a little hard to swallow?  Incidentally, if I ever suffer from Alzheimer’s disease someday, I wonder to which title I will regress. 
But at least it’s good to know that at least there is something that men will remember.      


Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Quite Something of Nothing

Sometimes you are faced with a blank screen and you have a post that is due, but really you have nothing: 

Nothing to write.
Nothing to say.

And so nothing to post. 

And so today there will be a blog simply about nothing.  And so you might be tempted to quit reading because the change addict has nothing to say, but the problem with nothing is that there are many times that nothing causes more stress or excitement than anything else.
And so if you add ‘nothing’ to the following scenarios, you will soon understand just what I mean. 

You return to the parking lot and in the spot you are sure that your car was parked, you find...
You receive a bank statement soon after being paid and the statement indicates that what is left is... 

You are in the midst of intellectual debate and soon become convinced that in between your worthy opponent’s ears is...
You arrive home and when you left you were sure there was furniture, but what you see when you unlock your front door is...

You walk into a lift and there is a beautiful man / woman and they are wearing...

And so very soon, many stories actually about nothing become the stories that are told again and again, in the pub, through the tears, over drinks, at parties, etc.  And so just how much nothing is actually in nothing? 

This is essentially why the socially enabled seldom believe someone who says ‘nothing’ when asked, ‘Is something wrong?’
And so when we say ‘nothing’: the problem with nothing is that it is usually quite something.
That being said, I will try and avoid discussing nothing again very soon...  So don’t worry, it’s nothing...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Styling Boxers

Fashion trends are a dime a dozen and tend to change year on year.  And after a certain number of years, about 12-18 years or so I figure, they tend to repeat themselves and come back into style when the next generation think that they have discovered something new.   'Bell bottoms' to 'boot legs' for example.  Degrees of extreme may vary, as will the name, but the concept; been there, done that.      
So contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not true what they say about old people.  They don’t tend to go out of style.  They are simply ahead of the rest of us.  They see the latest fashion trends and they know better.  It’s simply a conscious decision not to go back there again after they have probably done it at least twice already and learned from the process.  

And ‘Lumo’ should not even be done twice for that matter.   
Some fashion trends however, have effects that are much longer lasting than just the season and it’s not so easy to just let them go. 
How about the boxers, then the pants, and the walk that comes with it that has been adapted to actually keep the pants sort of above the thighs.  I believe the walk used to be called bow-legged and was caused by a medical condition.  Now they call it ‘wicked’ or ‘cool’. 

I asked my niece the other day if we should stop and tell this boy, walking along the street, that pants were designed to actually cover his backside.  No seriously, someone needs to tell him because clearly he has no idea”.  I tried to convince her.  I think she wanted to crawl into the boot (trunk) and make like she has no idea who this woman is.  So to save her unnecessary stress, we passed by. 

I wonder sometimes how I would handle this trend if I needed to at my house.  And I think the approach would be simple.  For starters, the key to having pants worn above the buttock is buying strategic boxers: They need to be silk and they need to be embarrassing.
Black with little pink hearts, little red cars, ‘I love my Mom’, you know, hip and happening stuff that would thoroughly ruin the boy’s reputation should they ever be spotted in public. 

As far as I can tell, this would truly be an act of love, because this is one fashion trend that will have consequences long after it is no longer in style. 
The walk will have become a habit, and so there will be many bow-legged young men in their tuxes on their wedding days and walking into the board room with pants securely fastened, but the trade-mark walk of ‘wicked’ still apparent as they skin their knees on the row of chairs on their way to the head of the table.   
The reality is that as one looks at these young man and watches them walk, any parent would recall that they had seen them walking this way once before between 12 to 18 years ago. 

The recollection might be foggy, but it usually had something to do with state of affairs in their diaper at the time. 
You see, I rest my case, fashion trends do indeed repeat themselves. 

In this case, I am simply hoping, we won’t venture back here again and the man my daughter marries someday has a mother who loved him dearly.    

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Muddied Waters between Legal and Illegal

My hat goes off to the person saying that they have never been involved in so much as thinking about crime.  That’s impressive.  Commendable even and somewhat unbelievable to a mind (mine) who, if I didn’t know Jesus, has a pretty good idea of what sort of trouble I’d be into.
I just think that some things should just not really be considered crimes.  A good con is a battle of wits, not a full on crime.  Perhaps it should be decriminalised and be categorizes as a dual of intellect.  Like chess or gambling.  There is a winner and a loser.  And that’s legal.  How different is it really?   

I mean if you’re a 52 year old man and this 23 year old woman, from some foreign country wants to come and visit you and she takes off with your money after you voluntarily send it to her, whose fault is it really?  Be honest. 
I just wonder about the thinking.  Wow, this girl is impressed with my personality in cyberspace?  Come on.  That’s not a crime, it’s a donation.

It’s very similar to the dating process.  That’s also pretty much a game of con too.  We dress up and go out.  Pretend we wake up in the morning with make-up, smiling and laughing a lot ... and smelling like flowers.
Guys, you’re not that different...        

Come on, move past the shock, and focus.  How many of you ended up married to someone who had a side of them you knew almost nothing about?  I know I sure did.  Partially conned into marriage?  Flat out conned into marriage – perhaps?
The process of dating as far as I am concerned is essentially flawed.  There is more pretence than anything else and the problem is: its hard work keeping up that standard of pretence for the next fifty years.    

And what about business networking: How different is that?  It's about showing the side of you that is aligned with what people are looking for.  We have even given it a name: personal branding.
I work in communications and I can promise you, there’s much more to something than what is on the label and what is not communicated is much more telling than what is actually said.

So essentially we have established that it is legal to misrepresent oneself in dating and business, but illegal elsewhere?  Am I the only one who thinks the line is becoming just a little bit blurry?  
So if I ever give crime a go, you’ll know where to find me... in an evening gown and (a miracle working) bustier, perhaps a touch of botox, with a glass of champagne in my hand...  

Ooohhhh Darling, it’s soooo lovely to see you...’
But hey, no cause for concern; still too young for that... 


Monday, 11 November 2013

Life’s Irony

Sometimes the irony of life catches even me off guard.  I had a seriously thick moment not so long ago (‘thick’ in this context defined as ‘not so clever’, ‘a little less than bright’ or ‘a few bricks short of a load’).  I live in a much more violent society than I grew up in and I do not want a gun in my house because I think accidents can happen really easily and fast and there is no turning back time after that. So in an effort to be proactive, I decided to go and learn self-defence.
‘Good idea’ you’re thinking.  And so thus far, I have learned ground work and basic self-defence and have now graduated a level on to ‘weapons’ and spent a day recently learning how to “hold and cock” a gun properly. 

The ‘change addict’ with a gun.  God help us all.

Seriously; how does a decision made in an effort to avoid using a gun land up with me learning exactly what it is that I was avoiding to start with?

Truth be told, I am not sure what I was thinking; should have taken knitting class.  Stabbing someone with a knitting needle seems a little less permanent and more prone to intentional accidental damage with higher prospects of survival on the part of the other party.          

But I, somehow; did not see this one coming, which incidentally doesn’t happen to me very often.  Perhaps I should have, but still didn’t.   It has my mind seriously reeling. 

You see, in self-defence you learn how to disarm an armed (wo)man; which results in you becoming armed; the state of being you took self-defence to begin with, in order to avoid.   

And the problem is this, when you have disarmed someone else of their gun; what do you do with it now...?  

Good question.   

If you throw it into the bushes, they might retrieve it and the chances of you getting it back are slim...  They will shoot from a distance next time. 

Disarming it requires know-how and causes distraction...  You may not have the time. 

So left with little choice, you cock it and aim and better at least look like you know what you are doing. 

The question is:  Can I live with the consequences?  And that is the question I seem to be battling with. 

So the moral of the story is simple.  Don’t leave home without your knitting needles.          


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Toilet Habits of the Criminally Minded (random survey)

Random Survey Nov '13

There is a prominent court case that is set to go to trial in the first quarter of next year in South Africa.  Now I understand that everyone has a right to a trial and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and therefore, I am going to stay away from any discussion regarding speculation about the ‘guilt’ or the ‘innocence of Olympic blade runner, Oscar Pistorius.

According to media reports, “ The 26-year-old Paralympian, from South Africa, is accused of shooting Ms Steenkamp to death at their home on Valentine's night, but claims he opened fire on the 29-year-old after mistaking her for an intruder.” 
Court testimony also tells us that his girlfriend was shot through the bathroom door. 
Now this blog is not about the trial itself as that will take its course in due time.  But these bits of information are important, because these statements might possibly highlight a new trend in crime that we are unaware of, and that social research has probably previously never even considered exploring. 
And so as a starting point in an effort to better understand this potentially new emerging social phenomenon, I paused in my quest, and googled ‘Famous Crimes in History where the perpetrators  stopped to go pee’.  

I didn't find any.  Can you believe it, there is something that Google has missed
But just because we can’t find it, doesn’t mean it never happened.  It just means that perhaps, its occurrence is highly unusual and definitely not the norm... which confirms the need for a high number of responses in this month’s random survey to the following questions:

1During the course of a break-in, have the burglar(s) ever paused to use your loo? 
2. If you answered yes to the previous question, please tell us where the toilet was located? 

3. If you were to plan / commit a crime, would you allocate a break for the use of facilities?
Hey, conclude what you like.  I’m just saying... 
So in the pursuit of knowledge, please complete this month's random survey

Monday, 4 November 2013

The Perils of a Change Addiction

One of the key attributes of a change addict is their constant attention to what can potentially be as opposed to what is.  And thus the brain is busy...  Busy with things that are not actually in existence yet...  
Unfortunately, while that is exciting, there are some definite draw backs.  Since the brain is always busy with the potential of something, it pays much less attention to the things that are and as a result, things like ‘passwords,’ ‘pins’ and ‘login details’... always seem to get misfiled, misplaced or forgotten. 

So clearly: while my brain is very busy analysing information, it’s not so concerned with remembering it. 
And so information is stored in others ways: like by the pattern it makes or the touchtone of the keypad, etc.  But when the keys are switched (ATM and computer keyboards have the numbers the opposite way) or the tones changed, you’re in trouble. 

And so I have just spent the last hour trying to guess my own password.  But sadly when I set the password a few months ago, my brain could have been busy with anything and I truly have no idea what the password is. 
And so now I am waiting for a phone call from an external company that will reset my own password and allow me access to my own file, which I created for my own usage on my own computer.   

Seriously..., this is what I am talking about when I say I wish this brain came with its own manual ‘pause’ switch.  It regularly pays more attention to things like what would motivate someone to mix the remnants of dead sheep into cow feed, an animal that is by choice 100% herbivore, colour theory, whether our dog might have chains of cat chromosomes mixed in with his puppy genes or whether your moral sensor is also applicable to the choices you make in your dreams, etc. 
Thus, being fully occupied on a regular basis with, perhaps less useful but, essentially fascinating information, it would seem that my brain often engages in these mental aerobics at the expense of potentially more useful information like passwords, meeting times, dates, etc.  Which sadly, actually ends up annoying me when it forces me to do the exact thing that I hate the most; waste my time!   

Unfortunately, we live in an era when everything is pass-worded, has a login or needs a pin number for access and the time spent trying to remember those details probably ends up wasting more time than it benefits me, by promising to protect my privacy.  And sadly, it does not look like things will get better soon. 
I would just like to humbly request that we move on to DNA comparison or fingerprint access on things like computer files very soon, for the sake of those like me, who have a memory like a sieve. 

And incidentally, 29 is much too young for Alzheimer’s.     
Good news... another hour later, I have remembered, and so life continues until the next time I am forced to scratch my head and waste my time. 

So the only thing I can do it would seem, is to relate my password back to the one that that never changes:  My age.