Don’t be fooled, he’s an asshole!

So I see this guy every morning on my way to work, on First Avenue in Hyde Park. Yesterday morning I had a couple of spare minutes so I pulled over into the cul de sac and went to go and say hi, and get a photo. He’s a gorgeous specimen, however when I went to stroke his nose the asshole tried to bite me. (I’m referring to the horse, in case you were wondering.)

Needless to say I backed away. I suppose I might have figured it out by the way the dude is giving him side eyes – making sure he doesn’t try and take his arm off. Anyway, it’s still nice to randomly see a guy and his horse in the middle of Joburg in the mornings.

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The happiest newspaper guy

The title sounds like a “local is lekker” children’s book. In fact, I may just have to write it now…

Every morning on my way to work I pass a number of people on the road, outside of those in cars. Having been well trained to be aware, and more to the point having recently been smash and grabbed, I make a point to notice what is going on around me while I’m in my car.

There are the usual kids on their merry way to school, people crossing the road simply to get to the other side, taxi drivers who are standing next to other taxis chatting to their buddies while their passengers wait and their vehicles block lanes (don’t even get me started on Louis Botha in the mornings), and there is the occasional newspaper vendor.

I’m dying to get a picture of him but I pass him as I go round a corner where I have right of way which is making it awfully difficult. I will persevere though, and as soon as I get one I’ll post it. Until then, I’ll keep waving and grinning each morning :)

Get that bootay shakin’ baby

So this is what I’m up to this month. Courtesy of the lovely peeps at Zumba Fitness South Africa, and Girl Guides, I have myself a Wii for the month of July, as well as a Zumba Fitness for Wii game. There are 8 reviewers from Girl Guides who have been challenged to Zumba for a month and write a little about the experience. The whole point of this is to get Zumba out into the South African market and raise awareness of the product.

Naturally, there’s plenty in it for me, writing about it! Not only do I get the awesome opportunity to try out a newish game that has been at the top of the UK charts for about 31 weeks running, kicking off other new releases like Duke Nukem, and get some exercise in, in the form of a dance class, in the comfort of my own home, but I also have the opportunity to win a Wii at the end of the month. All I need is your help. What you need to do is go to the Zumba Fitness SA Facebook page, Like it, and write my name on the wall as your referrer. The more people who do that, the more likely I am to win (and I’ll even let you come play with my Wii when I win ;) if you tell your friends)

Here’s a little background about Zumba for you. Zumba is a fitness program inspired by Latin dance. Apparently it is Spanish slang for “to move fast and have fun”. It is an is an aerobic fitness program created by Miami-based dancer and choreographer Beto Perez and two entrepreneurs, Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. It originated in Colombia in the 1990s and is taught by some 20,000 instructors in around 35 different countries. The Zumba for Wii has been developed so that you can learn the moves and see whether or not you are doing it right. With the Wii controller tucked into a special belt, the sensor registers your movement and changes colour when you match the movements you should be doing. By doing the moves correctly, the ‘instructor’ on screen turns green and you earn ‘energy’ on the bottom strip, sending you up to the next level when it’s full.

Sounds easy right? Wrong! I tested it out last night and did one simple tutorial which lasted about 6 or 7 minutes, by the end of which I was totally out of breath and breaking a sweat (that whole “girls don’t sweat, they glow” thing? Yeah, no!) So anyway, there are about 30 routines from beginner to advanced and you can start with the tutorials to try and get your hips moving in ways you didn’t know your hips could move.

So for the next month I’m gonna be shakin’ my bootay to test out this bad boy but I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Hopefully it’ll have awesome get-fit, slim down effects (fingers crossed) but I guess we shall have to wait and see.

Ditch the workout, join the party!

now, go like the Facebook page :)

xx

To warm the heart and add a smile

One of the many things that makes Joburg so great is the beauty of the sunsets here. Some might say that their spectacularity (totally a word) is as a result of the pollution in the air. Well if we have to deal with the pollution anyway, we may as well enjoy the view.

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What is and what should never be

so, after a hectic year, i’ve hit a slow day and have a chance to ponder. What I’m pondering today is the horror of designing a powerpoint slide. As a designer, a powerpoint slide really shouldn’t prove too challenging, however, for some reason, it can be one of the most frustrating tasks ever allocated to you, to design a powerpoint template. I haven’t quite figured out the reason for this. Perhaps it’s just that the word ‘powerpoint’ results in a wall going up around the creative in my brain. This isn’t just any wall though. it’s a 12 foot high stone wall, complete with a 20 foot wide moat around the bottom (a la 12th century british castles), and something electrified around the top (a la 21st century joburg), resulting in very little getting in or out, for some time. As far as I’m concerned, powerpoint = death to creativity. I know it’s an important tool for those people who actually have to give presentations but that’s irrelevant. If you Wiki Death by powerpoint the article begins like this:

“Death by PowerPoint” is a criticism of slide-based presentations referring to a state of boredom and fatigue induced by information overload during presentations such as those created by the Microsoft application PowerPoint.

“Powerpoint hell” is another term used in the Wiki article. Granted, this article refers to the horrors of sitting through boring presentations, but I still think the terms are pretty relevant.

Anyway, enough of my bitching about the small and inconsequential irritation of today and on to something to make you smile – gotta love Google, and motivationals :)

the wonders of 'The Google'

you get by with a little help from your friends…

so it’s been a little while now on the job hunt and the lack of positive feedback (or really any feedback at all for the most part) but that’s not the point i’m here to make tonight.

On Tuesday nights some of my closest friends have a standing tradition where they run the 5km time trial at Old Parks and then pop just up the road to one of their houses and have a couple of bottles of wine, lovely yummy, dinner, followed, inevitably, by a box/slab/couple of slabs/all of the above, of chocolate (hereby undoing pretty much any positive effects the run may have had on the bod anyway, but still). Since moving back to Joburg, I have been invited to join in this little tradition. Last night was only the second time i joined them but it made me realise that without that little bit of exercise and silly random interaction with the important people in my life (other than my folks who i see much more regularly) I would be a lot more snappy and much less encouraged at this point down the road of unemployment. With a touch of humour (and a dash of wine) everything looks much less distressing and disgruntling. Their continued, unwavering confidence in the fact that “something absolutely perfect is waiting just around the corner” is good to hear, and if they keep on saying it I might actually even start to believe it myself…

And it’s not only the running and dinner friends that make everything that little bit better. Another of my closest friends is also currently unemployed and so we have made plans to go and see a movie tomorrow (this being her 3rd this week, and my second since Sunday, but that’s not the point). You have to know that when you can laugh with someone about working behind the movie counter serving people popcorn coz that, as a job, is starting to look promising, and that you can wear matching ster-kinekor outfits, that everything probably will be ok in the end. This is what I’m getting by on anyway so whatever you do don’t burst my bubble, k? Good!

xx

All That You Can’t Leave Behind

Right! so, after a fairly pertinent comment from my aunt this afternoon, I’ve decided to shift my sarcastic self-deprecating blog a little distance from proclamations of greatness that are my CV and portfolio – I see now that the contrasts may have been confusing for the no doubt, hundreds of potential employers who spent hours trawling through my site… however, this being my first blog effort I felt far too guilty (and horrified at what a waste of time it would have been) to just delete the humble beginnings of my little blog. Which is why the first 4 posts are now appended to the bottom of this one. So, for those of you who read, and commented on the previous blog – thanks a mill – keep reading and I’ll keep talking rubbish :)

One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning

Posted at 09:50 PM on January 31, 2010

ok, so it took me longer than a million billionth of a millisecond (try saying that ten times fast) just to type that out and it’s not exactly Sunday morning anymore but hey, it works for me! It’s been a busy day and everytime I think I need to get onto this site and start writing again I get distracted by another twitter list of great design blogs, or a freelancing site with pages of useful information, most of which probably hasn’t been retained particularly well in my now-chocolate-haze-filled head – so much for the clarity of morning yoga.

My main mission for today was to make a start at creating myself a great logo for my new freelance venture. A freelance designer kinda needs to have something great as their first point of contact – more so than any other business as this is pretty much what you have to offer. If you can’t put together a show stopping logo for yourself then what do you really have to offer anybody else! Well. You know how they say doctors make the worst patients? Well I’m glad no one else is having to deal with my back and forth and indecision on which font (yes that’s as far as I’ve gotten and it’s 10pm) coz I fear I am the only one who could put up with me at the moment! So I’ve narrowed the choices down to about 10 (yes, I know!!) and will just have to start playing with them and decide which ones work best before I make a final decision. At least the extra bits ad pieces that I decide against will add to my portfolio I guess. It’s just as well I have a fair amount of free time at the moment to get this off the ground. If it was an after hours project it might never get done!

Well, the chocolate high is starting to wear off into a slightly green-tinged haze (knew I shouldn’t have finished the slab…) and am nodding off on my exercise ball (nope I don’t have a chair at my desk, I have a white, 65cm diameter exercise ball, in the desperate hope that in all my sitting and (mostly blank) staring at my computer screen, that maybe some muscles might be engaging. Based on the way my back is feeling right now, this might not have been the wisest place to start – what is it they say about building up core strength… lack of foundations yada yada yada…) and if my eyes to close all the way I’ll roll off and probably smack my elbow on something as that seems to be the theme for today (and usually ever second day or so but that’s not the point).

so enough rambling for now – when the logo has made some progress I’ll be back, and hopefully more coherent!

xx

Hanging by a moment

Posted at 05:03 AM on January 26, 2010

Why is it that when you leave 5 minutes late to go somewhere, you WILL get stuck in traffic – a robot’s out, and accident’s just happened taking up 4 and a half of the 5 lanes of the highway (do we even have 5 lane highways? Anyway, that’s not the point) or something will happen to your car. But when you leave just on time, you breeze through all the robots, there’s not an accident in sight and you end up getting to where you were going at least 20 minutes early (sometimes even 45)? I just can’t win!

Trying to gauge the traffic in joburg is about as easy as resisting the chocolate brownies that are sitting in the tub on top of the fridge (i can actually hear them calling out to me…), so basically the only thing to do is to leave with an extra half an hour to spare, just in case, and keep a book in your car so that when you arrive 40 minutes early, as i did to an interview in Midrand last week, you actually something to keep you busy other than the sights and sounds of the tractor in the parking lot next door (this is midrand after all).

Anyway, I’ve just come home from a second interview at a really great advertising company and am now waiting with baited breath to hear back from them as to whether they are going to offer me the job. This isn’t stressful at all! Everytime my phone bleeps I’ve checked it before it’s even finished bleeping – argh, just an invite to movies with Jinx (not that that isn’t exciting in itself, but you can understand my disappointment…), so, Hanging by a Moment indeed!

I’m wide awake, it’s morning

Posted at 10:33 AM on January 21, 2010

So, as promised, more about the previous blog…

Having found myself recently unemployed and with more time on my hands than anyone could wish for (whoever started that saying “be careful what you wish for” (and then taught it to my parents) while being very astute, should be shot) I have been actively on the job hunt, sending out my CV to hundreds, nay, thousands, of companies, agencies, anonymous addresses, basically anything that doesn’t bounce back. In between all this activity (a couple of minutes every hour or so) I have been drawn into the land of series, watching one episode after another while my brain slowly turns to mush!

This of course led me, indirectly, to my situation yesterday. Having not had too many responses to all my applications, I hadn’t thought too far ahead in the direction of my portfolio (the last one I put together being when I left Rhodes, 3 years ago, and being a giant A2 folder that was almost too heavy to carry, let alone comfortably turn the pages at an actual interview).

Naturally, when i was informed yesterday at about 10am that I had an interview at 9 this morning, chaos ensued. I ran around town, dressed in too warm clothes for the muggy weather of yesterday’s joburg, trying to find paper/card that would feed through my (slightly less than high quality) HP printer, a portfolio folder that wouldn’t strain my (i’ll admit, small) biceps, plastic sleeves that weren’t going to cost me R20 each (didn’t manage to find any), craft knife, cutting board, metal ruler and all the other bits an pieces required for the creation of “The Portfolio”.

By the time I got home from that endeavour it was 4.30pm. Not a whole lot of hours left between then and the interview.

So, of course, and who wouldn’t, I procrastinated for at least an hour!

There really are so many things to keep you entertained online and you don’t even have to look that hard. One of my procrastinations was starting this blog – but that was in the middle of the process. i like to think of it as “just taking a break”.

So, with reference to the title of the previous blog entry, “the places I have come to fear the most” (which is actually a dashboard confessional tune) are not that point at about 2am, when, even though for the first 3 weeks of the year you’ve managed to all but give up everything bad for you and get to the gym etc, all you want to do is eat a slab of chocolate, smoke a box of cigarettes, and drink a bottle (or two) of wine, and not necessarily in that order. The place isn’t even the point where you ‘re tempted to put your head down on your cutting board, next to the extremely sharp craft knife (it actually took slivers off my metal ruler) and close your eyes for just a minute. Nope that place, was at about 3am, when against all proffered advice, tips, guidelines and my better judgment, all i wanted to do was use stikki stuff (ok, ok, I’m from Zim – you guys call it Prestik) to put all the bits and pieces of painstakingly designed and printed, and pedantically cut out art work onto the black mounting card and shove it into the plastic sleeves coz i couldn’t keep my eyes open far enough to start measuring centres of pages and fighting with double sided tape (which does not unstick, once stuck!). Did I give in? Well, perhaps it would be wiser not to say, just in case…

so now, with the first interview over and nothing more pressing to do for the rest of today (until i realise something vital that should be done, at the last minute), I reckon i’m gonna put my PJs back on, and get back into bed!

The places you have come to fear the most

Posted at 02:49 PM on January 20, 2010

a word of advice for anyone who leaves putting together a new portfolio till the day/night before …

“Don’t!”

more on this when it’s done!