Moving House…

May 18, 2009

Hey,

Is anyone out there? If so… I’m moving blogs to the more dumbed-down blogger, where I’ll be posting around the structure of something resembling regularity. I’ll also try and avoid weird feature posts that attempt to be anything other than from my head.

So, yeah, if there’s a chance you liked any of this rabble, go check out my new blog, we are SITCOM.

Good day.

I said good day.


I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

March 13, 2009

As anyone who might just read this blog may have noticed, it’s been a longish while since I’ve updated the contents here. I’d normally write a decent entry, but I’m really not in the right headspace to get anything down worth reading, I’d say. So, instead of the usual, I’ll ‘reprint’ some awfully pretentious stuff I wrote for my campus paper – the UJ Observer – as part of my latest initiative to actually have some form of resume by the time I apply for a real job (more on that soon).

Club Review: Red Room

Resting on the precipice between “scene” and “being seen”, located in a rather in-between place along Beyers Naude Drive, Red Room is a nexus for society’s hedonists. Outside, it’s about as inviting as a strip club: dark, murky and attached to a motel that you can practically smell the affairs coming off of. Inside, Red Room is immediately a little hot, a little dark, a little loud, but it welcomes you like an old friend with Tourette’s. There’s no dress code, so you’ll find yourself walking amongst the grunge-indie-emo-goth-straightedge folk with ease. Those used to the open spaces in other clubs might be a little put off by the size of the place. It’s called a room after all. If you’re seeking out sustenance, there are two bars where service isn’t the usual highway pileup of people. With a few drinks in your system, you might feel encouraged to hit Red Room’s claustrophobic angular dance floor. From up high, DJs move dancers steadily with the overhead pulsing strobe to the likes of The Cure or Depeche Mode, subsiding restlessly into Placebo, Nirvana, and The Prodigy. The crowd’s age spans decades; a mix of dropouts and execs sitting in a Normal Rockwell painting on acid. It’s only open on Saturday nights, making it at least worth the once-off trip from wherever. A unique crowd and DJs with a comprehensive sampling of music provide an experience you won’t find anywhere else in Jo’burg; at least not with this level of unpretentious camaraderie.

According to one of the editors who I’m friendly with, the above has been edited. I’ve done a rough comparison to the original text and can’t find the differences. Perhaps someday, when I care some more. I also wrote a new feature: ‘Have You Tried’ which is basically a kind of how-to guide for students. Considering I had originally conceived a completely different version of the article below, with a very different subject matter, I’m quite impressed by the content. I wrote it all at around 1:30 am because my “editor” was online and told me she didn’t like the original article. So, yeah, the text below was entirely born of her suggesting a new topic.

Have You Tried…Scavenging?

The world’s in the clasp of an economic crisis.

It may not have hit South Africa quite as hard as the US, but the amount of imported goods coming into the country means its effects are quickly becoming more noticeable. For those shopping on a student’s budget, pricey items have rarely been an option. So with a student’s budget in mind, it’s important to let one’s wallet breathe and look for cool bargains wherever they can be found. I, for one, have mostly given up on the overpriced trends of today. Instead, I’ve begun scavenging what’s still around from yesterday’s closet. This doesn’t necessarily mean looking through your grandparents’ belongings for gems. My own grandparents were some of the least stylish people I may have ever encountered, and appear to have traded in all their groovy old stuff for dilapidating modern content. Meanwhile, a myriad of charity and thrift stores pockmark the city, asking less than nothing for their stock. I spend most of my ‘scavenger time’ at Bounty Hunters in Melville. It’s close to campus and, if you can get past the smell of cat urine, you’ll most likely find something you’ve always wanted. Stylish old clothing, ranging decades, that becomes wearable after a single wash. And for those students living out on their own, there’s a treasure-trove of old tossed “junk” that could be used to decorate a flat or house. Ashtrays, coat racks, coffee tables and lamps fill most charity stores to their pressed ceilings. And most everything is available at a bargain. Where else would you be able to pick up shirts for R15.00 each, or a pure fur coat for R350.00? Just like the shirts, a quick wash will get everything in shape for a night of posturing with the boys/girls. And it’s charity, so that covers karma, too.

Hope you enjoyed it, folks. Woo-Pee.


In the News #2

December 19, 2008

Yes. No mashed words this time. I tend to listen to whatever few readers I may have.

Fascinating Interview in Africa – I wish the BBC was paying me for using their news. I’ll diversify eventually. Anyway, in the meantime, this is a pretty interesting article because of the nature of the interview journo Mike Thomson got. Read it.

Tasmanian Devils Still Dying

And before you call my insensitive because of that headline, I’d like you to know that I’m very sad about the fact that there seems to be no hope for the planet’s Tasmanian Devil population. This despite the fact that Taz (the cartoon character) was never a favorite of mine (and still isn’t).

Deep Throat Passes Away – The Watergate guy. This has nothing to do with porn.

This Is Not Funny At All – Stuff like this scares me off having kids sometimes.

And of course, Mugabe Continues To Be A Complete Douchebag – Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s President Elect (oh, wait, no he’s not) is telling anyone who’ll hear/read that other African leaders are too scared to try and oust him from Zimbabwean government. I’m sorry to say that opposition leader (and Zimbabwean President Elect) Morgan Tsvangirai continues to disappoint in this ongoing battle of words, wits and missing persons.


Esteban Was Eaten!

December 17, 2008

It probably says something about our culture, but more likely about me, that only a short while after I was in a car accident (a fender bender, really) I came home to blog about it. It’s not like I can drive to the police station and file a report, nor can I go anywhere nearby to drown myself (the bath, perhaps?), so I may as well record my fresh thoughts on the matter of the car incident (because, again, accident sounds hyperbolic – despite it being accidental on my part).

I am by no stretch of anyone’s imagination, even my own great one, a good driver. I’ve been told so repeatedly. Mostly by the women I drove alone with. Somehow, driving alone with someone you can have a conversation with leads to a path of potential double vehicular manslaughter. Either that or my car is actually a space alien robot from a distant world and he’s got issues with me being alone in the car with women. My car, Esteban, is a black Ford Fiesta. 2006 model. Nice car. Five doors. Very spiffy, zippy, etc. He’s also suffered a lot under my captaincy. His bumper got rode through a short wooden post the first week I had him (the post was decapitated). He’s bumped into a gate sensor (which was shredded to shrapnel) and another car (which was parked, but not in a parking space!). Basically, I’m like poor Esteban’s abusive boyfriend. I apologize a lot after, but I always end up hitting him again just when we’re getting along.

Today was an abberation in bad driving, though; even for me. I was making my way to a meeting in Rosebank, Johannesburg. I was running late and typed an sms while driving (and didn’t even get anywhere near having any kind of accident then) to let the guys know I’d be there a little past the set time. So I zip about, keeping to the speed limit the whole way through, and I make it all the way to Empire Road. This is like the home stretch to get where I’m going. This is not where bad things should occur. This is where excellence should reign supreme. I should not fail. But I do, and I did. Switching lanes about a hundred meters from the traffic light, getting from the slow lane into the turning lane, and I’m primed to go. I turn on the indicators, pointing out that I want to enter the lane. I glance at the rear-view mirror. The Land Rover Freelander 2 behind me looks a bit away. A safe bit away. I start turning into the lane and then…

Crash. Crunch. Bump. Flick. Fly. Span.

The little black panel underneath the back right side door of the Freelander popped off. My standard Ford plastic hubcap thingie shot off and stayed behind as I declared “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” and pulled over at the traffic light, just behind mine and Esteban’s victim. I was expecting hysterics. Instead, she was calm, cool, collected. “Didn’t you see me?” she asked.

Turns out Jessica (that’s her real name, but it’s all you’re getting) is some big time sales so-and-so at Standard Bank. She was incredibly unpretentious and dealt with the entire situation with a ‘these things happen’ attitude. Might’ve been different if she’d driven into me. Then maybe there would’ve been hysterics and I would’ve gotten the chance to express my lighter, calmer side. At the time, though, I was not pleased with myself. I wanted to blame someone for this affront. I was thinking about the vengeance of my father coming down on me like God’s divine rightning (mispelling mine) bolt. And speaking of divinity, the tow trucks swarmed our location (Jessica’s, Esteban’s and mine) like a chorus of angelic vultures, offering their services. I’m still not 100% sure I needed them to tow the car, but I know that I wasn’t gonna drive it when the potential for further damage to the wheel (and everything connected to it) was possible. After all, Jessica’s car lost a panel which could probably be fitted back on. Esteban was so hurt I couldn’t get the front passenger door to open, on account of the panel around the wheel being dented in. I’m a bit peeved at myself for not reacting like a journo and taking photos of the damage to both our cars, especially to Jessica’s, but she seemed like she wouldn’t take advantage of this situation. Then again, maybe that was all Jessica’s sales talk. She does have three degrees, one of which is in PR.

And if you’re wondering how I know about Jessica’s career and her degrees, where she studied, what suburb she lives in, how many kids she has (and their age and gender), then you’ll want to know just how straight up she was. Or maybe how devious and conniving, depending on how you look at it. She gave me a ride home. After the insurance calls and tow truck stuff was settled, I emptied the contents of my car into my bag (thank god I had it with me for the meeting I couldn’t make anymore) and she gave me a ride all the way back from Empire Road to my house in the early Western ‘burbs. Along the way we briefly discussed religion, life, studying, working, and children; apparently I need to be that cool older uncle to my nephew and niece. So either Jessica is a really nice person, or she did something wrong. I’m willing to bet on the former, but who knows in this day and age. Maybe she was a psychopathic compulsive sales woman who was winning me over with her charisma and good looks (and she had those, too). Am I that easily won over? I should hope not.

But that’s the story of Esteban’s (I’d like to say first) fall. He’s sitting somewhere in Crown Mines now, waiting for me to come over and rescue him. I’m sitting here, waiting for my father to arrive and destroy me with his words. In the meantime I’ve got pain pills and Bloc Party to keep me company. And I guess, for the immediate future at least, it’s back to walking.


The Karma Strain: Part 1 of ‘Invasive Medicine: An Adventure in Hospitalization’

December 9, 2008

Pissing blood is never a good sign.

I can confirm this. It’s (sort of) what my mom keeps repeating to me every time I discuss events from last week. Last week, when I woke up and found that I could pull off ‘water into wine’ more magically than the messiah himself. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend you drink either my water or my wine, since the water was bodily waste and the wine was bodily waste tinged with a fair amount of blood. Much to my personal satisfaction (as a new found messiah), I also found that my semen looked like the white of a cracked egg, minus the white, except tinged with more of my own personal ‘wine’. I was like a walking advertisement for why men should have regular prostate exams (minus an appearance by the Autobots), and I figured that something should be done.

My mom’s a doctor. A psychiatrist, sure, but still someone who’s studied medicine and has an opinion on any problems with my physiology. A couple months ago I was coughing like a maniac – probably had something to do with the fact that I’d started smoking again after quitting, but she didn’t (and still doesn’t) know this – and she immediately believed I’d contracted TB. Interesting how her motherly concern interferes with her sharpened ‘doctor senses’, honed (we hope) over the last 30+ years of “doctoring”. Anyway, at the point where I was leaking blood from places I shouldn’t necessarily be leaking blood from, I felt like God had been the one doctoring my personal space, and my body. This was like a faded red warning light to remind me I was a bad boy. Karma in your urine, folks. And your semen. Not pretty. I got an appointment with a urologist – the same one who’d been involved in performing a prostate operation on my father last year – and I made my way over to him. I suppose my parents found it appropriate that they’d sent me to a Muslim urologist. I didn’t, but I had little say in who I went to see. What was my major problem with a Muslim urologist? Well, it just comes down to me not being very good at religion. I know the information, I’ve processed it all as logically as one can, and I’ve come up with philosophy fighting religion like Mortal Kombat on Ice. Trepidation does not sum up me having to deal with a guy who would probably judge me more than the average doctor, simply based on my religious background.

Oh well…

I had to remove my clothing and pull on one of those hospital gowns. They’re ridiculous items. I know you normally wear them so that the back is the open side, but I decided I’d double-check with my doctor anyway. This was after he’d already done a brief interview with me and asked questions about recent injuries, jokingly (he thought) asking if I’d been “kicked in the nuts” lately. What a winner, huh? His name, by the way, is Doctor Barmania. It’s a different kind of name, but I don’t suppose it’s any coincidence that “Bar” and “Mania” are in there. I was thinking that maybe my bar-hopping and manic existence might account for the blood in my piss. It’s been almost a week and I still don’t know if that’s the truth, but it still strikes me as a solid theory. So Doctor Barmania tells me I can put on the hospital gown either way, and I chose to go with the open front. I got to keep my underwear on, of course, though that only lasted a couple minutes before Doctor Barmania began his examination. I’ve got very little issue with a man wearing rubber gloves feeling up my penis and balls. It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t particularly uncomfortable. It just seemed necessary. I felt fine throughout the whole early half of the exam. Even when he squeezed that familiar clear gel onto the end of the thing that looks like it can be used to scan bar codes, I was calm. He gave me the cursory warning of “This will be cold”, but I’d seen enough movies featuring pregnant women and ultrasounds to know that part already. It was chilled lubricant, but, like the guy groping my testicles and asking me if it hurt, I was fine with it. And I was tumor free in my kidneys, bladder and scrotum. Hooray. I was still fine with all this. It was the next part of the exam that unsettled me a bit more.

Do me a favor, anyone who’s reading this, and hold up one of your hands a few inches away from your face. Make a fist. Turn it so you have a neat lateral view of your own clenched fist, now extend your index finger. Now that you’re pointing, hook that index finger and wiggle it around. That’s the next part of the exam, except your hooked, wagging finger is in my asshole. Maybe it’s my lack of sexual experience, or the absence of a kinky partner, but the thought of a finger up my ass never aroused me. After the prostate exam (and especially during), my opinion hasn’t changed. I could tell, from the finger in my ass, how this may be something some people could dig, but I could also tell how maybe it wasn’t the best idea to use this moment to learn if I dug it or not. Barmania, still holding my ass cheeks apart with one hand, asked me, in all seriousness, if “this hurt or was just uncomfortable?” – I went with uncomfortable, for the sake of us understanding one another. After he was done I was allowed to put my clothes back on. Mmm. Much better. Though I felt weird walking, sitting or standing for the next little while.

The last part of my first day of real fear, I had to piss into a machine that would measure things like the rate at which I pee, and how long it takes me to start, etc. I admit, I’d had some water, so I had to go anyway. The machine looks like a little plastic bucket with a hole in the base. The hole is placed over a spinning black disc, so I felt like I was taking a leak on someone’s record collection. All the piss is funneled down into another little bucket, which I’m sure someone (probably the helpful 50-something “sister”) has the misfortune to have to empty on a regular basis. I wonder, now, how women have the same test done. Do they make them squat over the bucket while Kool & The Gang’s “Cherish” spins underneath them? I hope not, because there were some fossils present at Barmania’s shared medical suite, and I imagine squatting is even tougher when your osteoporosis is acting up. Either way, once I’d filled the cup (which I was repeatedly presented with by the ‘sister’, for some reason) they needed to run tests on my water, and I went to see the doctor again. He recommended that I come in the following day (last week Thursday) for an endoscope. Yes, he wanted to shove a camera on a tube up my penis and view me from the inside. I wasn’t enthused, but he persuaded me that it needed to be done, so I signed up and spent the rest of my afternoon walking down hallways looking for a woman named Joyce. She was the one who was going to handle the medical aid side of things, making a few calls to Profmed to find out if they’d cover me on this one (they did). She was off, but another woman – Portia – helped me. More on her later. Finally, my first day of learning what it was like to be a geriatric man was over.

But that’s just Part 1. In Part 2, I’ll go into even more unpleasant detail about my experiences at the hospital, my urine, semen, blood, and endoscopes. Fun!


And intheNews

November 23, 2008

Here’s something I’ll try to do from time to time. I call it “intheNews”, because I’m not very creative and I think mashing words together looks/sounds awesome.

lennon_2

Jesus vs John Lennon – the stalemate continues

I don’t care about the absurdity of the headline; just that the Vatican has a newspaper that publishes the occasional entertainment piece and laments the loss of old school golden age Hollywood (where everything bad was kept under the covers till after the autopsy)! What a novel idea! Good on ya, Pope! Condoms. Homosexuals. Free media. Damn those Catholics sure are innovators.

Knitted Animation Spells The Earth\’s Doom - Speaking of innovation. Admit it. You feel bad for making fun of your grandmother now, right? I don’t, because she couldn’t do that with a ball of yarn, but if she could, I’d get her to, all the time, and we’d have a running webtoon starring the last polar bear on Earth.

Skynet Anyone? – So soon, your computer, too, can have a body like this!!

All for now.


Kids of the Scene

November 12, 2008

I’m 20. Not that old. Not that wise. Not that motivated. Self righteous. Surging with irritable malcontent and full of grandiose dreams.

Maybe I’m too close to the situation. Maybe I’m too entrenched in things, but I find myself unable to find out what ‘scene’ I’m a part of. I know goths, indie kids; I’ve even met a few punks, but I fail to see where I work or fit within all these subcultures.

Subcultures fascinate me. The way a group of people can find each other, seemingly across huge unconquerable urbanscapes and the ominous clockhands of time, and build something together that functions and is structured, at least from the outside, like a weird single-celled organism; a little marketing virus. A bobbing non-shape tree/insect thing that contains all the makeup inside it to deliver to mainstream society a jolt or an encoded message that will bring about ‘change’.

The most recent of the prolific subculture movements to bring this sort of change is probably ‘indie’. Whereas the punk subculture seemed to spring up in direct opposition to structure, government, conformity and generally just wanted to be anti-establishment, indie kids are like the original abandoned geeks. Disenfranchised losers with emotional issues and odd/bad taste who were suddenly thrust forward into tomorrow and turned into product because no one else could quantify them except as that. Popularity out of math. The Nu-Nerd.

It was an accidental movement that seems to have passed into mainstream culture like a myth no one told their kids. A flip through a magazine shows heavy signs of the design aesthetic and the fashion sense bleeding over into the lives of the ‘regular’ and ‘stagnant’. Everyone is wearing Chucks, retro shirts and dresses, band labels and all that other shit, so ‘indie’ is now about as independent as my finances at age 12. Like all subcultures, indie seems to have become more shipped and shelved product like Baroque, New Wave, et al.

But that’s beside the point here. That’s me ranting and raving about those kids, and about subcultures in general. What I’m really trying to find out is where I fit, or where I’d fitted before I forgot to care.

This isn’t about a search for identity. It’s about the ‘scene’. It’s about what’s out there. I know where I stand, but I’m still fascinated by other people’s need to define themselves in relation to what they do/wear/say. I like putting words to things, so I get it. I think creating a symbolic description around something is important, but how long before the symbol stops being defined by you and before you are merely another example of the symbol? Where does individuality factor in once you’ve chosen to aspire to the norms of your own subcultural symbol? And does this make subculture the new religion? I know religion started as counterculture, and that a subculture usually begins with a countercultural shove in the right direction – like the Earth trying to make a difficult bowel movement – but the two have attained a sort of mutual exclusivity from one another, and that’s what I’m asking about: in another hundred years, will our descendants all be following subcultures the way a lot of us do religions? Will the Sex Pistols be revived as a kind of new pantheon of punk?

And where’s the scene headed next? Psychadelia’s made a comeback. Eclectic searches have begun for new outlets for creativity, sending things in circles till someone breaches the outer rim of the cell and goes off to virally spread ‘new’ thought. What will be the next pioneer virus in the battle for cultural individuality, and will I be a part of it?

I listen to a lot of music. Rock, in its many forms, and pop if it predates my birth, and the odd spoonful of everything-the-bloody-hell-else. I dress in jeans, or suit pants, or shorts, and I wear shirts, and ‘sloganized’ t-shirts and I like comfortable shoes. My glasses are thick-framed and square. My hair is a curly mess. I have long sideburns. I grow out the hair on my chin. I don’t seek out any particular kind of subculture – my friends are usually geeks of varying degrees of ‘geekiness’, despite their appearances. They role play, do some table-top gaming, PC gaming, read comic books, read novels, watch and discuss films, and music, and play music. Some dress in some pre-boxed style they found. Others haven’t bothered to acquire a new wardrobe in almost a decade. I hang out with them because of mutual interests, but those are across the board. I have friends I’m close to, and those I’m not, and that has something to do with our interests as well. Who parties? Who’s social? Who’s not? Depends what I need. Are we a subculture? Non-Descript-Super-Geeks? Coming to a boutique near you in the late 2010′s? I’ve been saying it forever: “geek is chic”, though I probably picked that up somewhere and should best put it back down.


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