Monday, May 31

Unganisha

Unganisha goes to all the cool places. Give him a visit.

What left wing slant?

USS Clueless discovers the joy of our press corps. Left wing slant? No. Sadly this is main stream for the South African press.

Anti-Americanism has swept the land with a fervor not seen since Dragonbal-Z overthrew Pokemon as the biggest word in entertainment. Every morning when I drive to work I hear it on the radio, I read in the papers, my work colleges look at me skew every time I slap down another silly news distortion (I'm irritating that way, I know), the TV reports, especially the more supposedly more independent e-tv, are so laughable anti-American I 'can' only laugh. Every time I turn around there's another silly fool riding this wave.

Well, damit. America isn't making it any easier. Den Beste is always keen to point out that Americans think for themselves, that they don't need their government to form their own opinion. Newsflash! This is surprisingly the way it works in the rest of the world. Only the only damn news were getting is fricken anti-American. In America there is debate, here there seems to be total agreement. If I have to listen to another radio debate where a representative of counterpunch or move-on represents the American side of the debate I'm going to change channels to "Radio sonder grense". (Hear me, SAFM).

I supported the war in Iraq 100%. I cheered when the tanks rolled into Baghdad. I don't care about WMD and if they are found I'll care even less. Abu Graib? It was a crime, and if there 'is' a wider policy problem I'm pretty sure it will be dragged out screaming into the light. The war on terror has my full support. I've developed this particularly bad habit of shouting out the words 'cheese eating surrender monkeys' anytime anyone mentions France. Only one problem... My mother thinks I'm a crazy.

For 'this', I blame Bush. What do I want? I want George W. to convince my Mother that I'm not crazy. How is he going to do this? By getting the real reasons why America went to war in Iraq out into the world. By getting the American side of the story to my Mother so she can make up her own mind instead of sending me books titled "Why the world hates America." If the 'message' is getting lost in America, it came nowhere near our shores.

How can America do this? For one, how about the American embassy in South Africa respond to some of the foolishness that is printed in our press. How about the American embassy send someone on a radio talk shows every now and then (The Israelis do it). How about you take out an add explaining your position? You might not convince many people, but at least they'll respect the fact that you do 'care' about their opinion.

Why should the American tax-payer care what South Africans think about them? Because the people who you are fighting care what we think, and they are bloody well winning.

Now make them smaller

I purchased my first house last year. For new readers it is in the 'up-and-coming' area of Obs in Cape Town (read old-and-dilapidated so its cheap). Having sold my soul to ABSA ( Describing the last financial year as one of the "most successful" in the group's history, South African banking group Absa reported a 29.2% leap in headline earnings for the 12 months ended March link ) to own this little treasure, I now discover the joys of DIY.

Why DIY you ask? Money. I cant afford to pay anyone to fix my place up. At R200+ an hour professionals are people I can only dream of hiring. I walk into houses now and think "Nice sealing job on that front door.". I go to other peoples toilet and admire the roof paneling. I throw slant eyed looks at the way the gutter downpipe is affixed (Dont get me started on roofwork). 'Professional' jealousy is tough let me tell you.

The first step in becoming a DIY master is getting the book, and ignoring the scorn of your builder friends. Yes they may laugh, but now you know a little bit about everything and they only know a lot about their thing.

The second step is choosing a project and to finish that project before beginning the next one. I also found I needed to make a list to remember all the things I want to do (My list is now at number 39), and to remember which one I'm working on. Powertools and beer might be fun together, but it tends to make you forgetful.

The third step is going out to get the tools and supplies you need. Dont buy anything you don't need for the job you're working on. I do anyway, but try not too. It makes shopping more emotionally satisfying when you walk away with only 1 or 2 things you weren't suppose to buy. Figuring out the best places too buy is another issue. All hardware stores were created with one goal in mind. To get you to pay too much money. Shop around. In the cape the best place is Brights in Belville (Yes, I know its on the other side of the boerewors gordyn, but 'some' things there are better.) You want it, they got it for the right price.

The fourth step is getting a buddy to help you. The reason you need a buddy is because you'll waste too much time fetching small little things you'll never get anything done. Don't use your wife or girlfriend. They 'will' resent it, no matter what they say. Also beer and powertools go down better with a buddy there.

Step five is doing the job. If you remembered to purchase everything you were suppose too this is the easy part. Since there will always be something you forgot, this will never be easy.

Part Six is the real secret. Pack away your tools and clean up after yourself when your done, even if the job isn't finished. This is what separates the professional from us ham-fisted beer guzzling amateurs.

Now all you need to do is rinse and repeat, and before long DIY masterdom will be yours.

p.s. Why the title? I started this post wanting to link to this, cool new Wi-Fi chip and how this is going to make my DIY life easier someday, but somehow I couldn't work it in. It might not look like much, but I think its cool.

Friday, May 28

Cleaning House

Im getting rid of the cobwebs around here, and I've updated the blog roll. If you think you should be on it, leave a nasty comment so I can ignore you. Must say, in my unexplained absence the SA blogosphere has definitely improved. Hmmm.

Update: Comments should be working now.

Potjie



Algeria is a camp site run by the South African Parks board in the middle of the Cederberg Mountains. It really is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Surrounded by mountains its one of my favorite spots.

A bit further along the road (4x4 isn't necessary, but I've lost more then one exhaust driving the gravel pit they call a road so its recommended) is the Cederberg Winery. It has become a bit famous in recent years for its white wines, especially chenin blanc.

The winery is unique in South Africa in that because it is higher then a 1000 meter the phyloxera bug is not present, and the vines can grow their own root systems. (Only Chili also grows wine so high up as far as I know.)

The black pot on the table is called a potjie, and is used to make stew on the fire. If done right, you'll never want to look at another dried up old chop (lamb cutlet) again.

We made lamb potjie, but then a fight broke out about whether to add wine or castle milk stout (I was for milk stout). In the end the 'chef' chucked in wine and milk stout, with some coke as well. Worked well enough.

August is evil

Go read Lileks today.

Golden Rule #97

Check your parameters! Even if you "know you know" what they are, check them! You'll thank me one day.

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Thursday, May 27

The Cederberg Mountains



On the way to Maalgat.

Lesbian Love (a.k.a Gotta love Capitalism)

Galaxy and Co., a country wide jewelry store chain that caters mainly for the lower income market, has launched an advertising campaign aimed at the Lesbian market.

The adds I've seen shows two woman chatting and reminiscing (much like all the other adds brought out by galaxy and company, except there is was between a man and a woman). The tagline is something like "Jewelry for your best friend".

Galaxy is probably hoping that this will slide right by the people in the Freestate, avoid controversy and sit pretty well with the target market. Rights for homosexuals are guaranteed in the constitution, and homosexuals have reason to feel welcome in South Africa. However, they have not really been completely accepted by the South African community, both black and white, which is still pretty conservative.

I should think the insecurity of the community and the goodwill the add is going to generate for Galaxy will make this add successful (nevermind the fact that i.t.o the jewelry industry its a two for the price of one kind of add).

If this article is correct, Galaxy is just ahead of the curve in South Africa.

Cool New Logo!

The Southern African Blogring has a new member, and a new logo. (Right, bottom.) You cant resist to give it a whirl, can you?

I'm Back. I think...

Dont you love blogs. After not being able to even look at my blog for months, an emial from Rethabile reminds me Ive got this blog and a while later I read on BBC that Blogger has improved and they've got new blog templates!

We'll, Im not the sort of person that can say no to new templates. So a post, damit!