Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top 10 things to do at the cricket (Test cricket, of course)

1.  Eat mini-donuts
2.  Eat chip n dip/ borewors rolls
3.  Drink vast quantities of sodas/beer
4.  Catch up with friends
5.  Crowd watch
6.  Afternoon nap
7.  Tanning (for White people); chilling in the shade (Black, Indian, Coloured people)
8.  The Mexican wave
9. Stacking plastic beer mugs together
10. Watch cricket


Wanderers Cricket Stadium (Johannesburg)

Super Sport Park (Centurion)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Balloon Ride

This is not a ride in a hot air balloon.  It is a helium balloon tied to a string with a pulley that takes you up and down.  While I am loathed to bring attention to this attraction, as I bought an inflated and misleading Groupon for it, I feel I would be omitting an interesting activity if I ignored it completely.
Here is the deal: a 15 minute balloon ride in a Hyundai sponsored helium balloon that hovers 120 above the ground.  It happens in Montecasion, Sandton and Soweto.  I went to the Montecasino one and had a nice view of the bird park, William Nichol, and the Magaliesberg mountain range.  It costs R75 for a normal ride, and R150 for a sunrise or sunset ride (which provides champagne and chocolates). I went on the sunset one, and the whole thing is pretty decent fun.  If you are a pensioner you pay R45.  There were alot of pensioners when I was there, and it is pretty tame.

Here are some pics:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Johannesburg International Motorshow: Additional Pictures

Opel Corsa OPC (facelifted)

Audi R8 GT

Audi Etron concept

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

Race cars

Ed Hardy Graphics Car BMW M3

Electric Car

Lewis Hamilton's F1 Mercedes

Lamborghini Aventador

Nissan Leaf electric car

Mercedes Concept A 1

Mercedes SLS AMG

Porshe GT3

Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead

Smart electric bike

Ford GT40 Replica

Mercedes early petrol car (one of the first "real" cars)

Toyota LJS

Cobra replicas

Vintage cars

Canopy Tour: Magaliesberg

About 1 and a half hours out of Joburg lies the beautiful Magaliesberg. The area is lush and green and mountainous and offers an easily accessible peace and serenity.
I was lucky enough to go on a canopy tour in the area and then have a lovely dinner at a nearby 5 star restaurant. The canopy tour was run by Magaliesberg Canopy Tours which provides the equipment, transport and services of 2 energetic tour guides.  The price is R450 and includes a dinner for after the tour.
Zip lining, or canopy riding is basically a person sliding across a cable that overlooks a tree filled ravine.  The cables are pretty secure and at all times you are hooked safely onto a cable. I am told that no one have ever died from a canopy tour in the area, and the safety regime is pretty strict.  The fun part is the adrenaline of swinging about 50 metres above ground and getting a lovely view of scenery.  There are ten slides in all and 3 really fast ones. My group was lucky enough to have a hilarious young tour guide who kept us entertained and calm.  In fact, after the first few slides you stop stressing and really enjoy the experience. This is a really fun activity and perfect for team building, for an adventurous young group or outdoorsy couple.
Check it out:  

Hello Kitty makes the World a better place

Monday, November 28, 2011

600 Page Views!

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog :)

World Wear: Beyers Naude

Another shopping mall discovered. Location: on Beyers Naude (just before the highway, travelling towards Northcliff). The ambience: a bit of a Melrose Arch vibe with the cobblestones and streetlamps.  However, World Wear does lack alot of the character of Melrose Arch. There are a mainly clothing shops, a few resteraunts and I am told that there is a Pick and Pay there. I think Cresta shopping mall is a better bet for the area (though it is always super-busy... to the extent that the shelves run dry). If you are in the area, it may be a good idea to check out World Wear to see if they have anything that would be useful for you.

Theatre: Girl in the Yellow Dress

There has been some good theatre of late. Matthew Ribnick is back with "Monkey Nuts" (on now at the Nelson Mandela/Civic theatre) and I was lucky enough to catch "Girl in the Yellow Dress" at the Market Theatre. These are two completely different types of plays.  I have been told that Monkey Nuts is hilarious and brilliantly silly. The one man tour de force that is the Ribnick delivers again. I am unfortunately too busy to see it (and there was a great Groupon on it as well!) but I hope that many do and support the theatre in general!

Girl in a Yellow Dress is a two person show about the tangled relationship between a teacher and her student. It has been billed as a psycho-sexual drama, but there is fantastic social and racial discourse.  The play is heavy to say the least but very well written . I won't give anymore away, check it out for yourself.
I am really looking forward to seeing the Phantom of the Opera at the Theatro at Monetcasino. It has started and runs till the end of January 2012. Needless to say, there will be a review :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

500 Page Views!

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog. It has reached it's 500th viewing today. It makes it all the more fun to write knowing that people are reading it! Thanks to everyone for your support!
Peace out
Nerisee x

Joburg happenings: November

Summer is here and the city is alive! I am chilling in Durban this weekend, but I encourage you all to check out this cool party:

The Electric Circus Street Party is taking place at Carfax in Newtown this weekend! DJ’s Alex Kenji from Italy, Rent Dent and others will be there.  I've never been to this one before, but street parties in general are awesome. I love being outside and the weather so far has been great. I expect top notch music and lighting
Date: 5 November 2011
Time: 8pm until late
Cost: Tickets R120 pre-sold, 150 at the door

The city centre often has a bad rap for being grungy, dangerous and full of drug peddling foreign gangsters… I am inclined to believe that part of this is at least true. However, there is a huge movement to revive the city with cool little spots that are both safe and stylish.  Here is one such beauty that I have been recommended:

Situated in Braamfontein, it looks like a very plush locale with a lovely deck on the rooftop. It is open to the public for special parties or can be hired as a venue.  It seems like a place where the cools kids hang out.  It looks like it has great views of the city. I will try it out and put up pics!

Where: 22nd Floor South Point Towers
41 De Korte Street

Subscribe to their newsletter for parties that would interest you:

As mentioned earlier, I am not a drinker but I found this really useful site that has reviews and details of the best bars in Johannesburg. 


I have often read that Johannesburg has some of the worst traffic in the world (only behind Beijing and Mexico City…. And remember that month long traffic jam that Beijing had! Weird when you think that China has a petrol shortage. But I digress).  Joburg is the economic hub of Africa and more people have come to work here than the city was designed for. Apartheid spatial planning had made sure that the black population lived outside the economic centers, which was the city centre at that point.  Many banks and mining houses still have their headquarters in the city; however, Sandton has become the outlying business district and preferred location for many financial houses and other corporate. 

If I were to summarise the city: Sandton is the financial centre and the place where everyone wants to be; the city centre the old power house of trade and industry with a few remaining corporates holding fort; Midrand the upcoming business district due the lower property prices and large tracts of unused land; and the outlying areas containing the industrial centers.  Property prices peak around Sandton and are much lower the further out you go.  It is the masses of the poor who get jobs in Sandton but can’t afford to live nearby that must bear the brunt of incredibly shit traffic. If you are poor and live in Joburg you will spend a large portion of your income commuting. I know a secretary who lives in Lenasia and spends 4 hours a day in traffic commuting to Illovo (2 to work and 2 back home).  Public transport is limited to buses and taxis and these forms of transport still use the roads and do little to alleviate the chaos.  I have been told that the Gautrain has reduced traffic between Joburg, Pretoria and Midrand, which is great. I often use the Gautrain to the airport and it is very clean and efficient. It is not for the poor, though. Tickets are expensive, though said to be much cheaper due to the rising costs of fuel.

To live in Johannesburg, I must advise that you live close to the place where you work or risk getting stuck in a soul sucking black hole of despair that is the Joburg peak traffic. The best paying jobs are usually in Sandton, so people put up with the commuting. Fourways is a new, young and hip area that has grown due to its proximity to Sandton and cheaper property prices. However, William Nicol Drive, which is the main road artery to Fourways, is a black hole of death when it comes to peak hour traffic.  People deal with it to have bigger houses and yards as the property there is quite new and nice.  Midrand is the same deal, with similarly crap trap traffic on the highways. As with Sunnighill, Paulshof, Bryanston, Roodepoort, Alberton, Lenasia, Soweto, and many others.  Loads of people work in Joburg and live in Pretoria and do the 110km return trip every day.  They prefer the Pretoria family vibe, cheaper properties and home Bulls games.   

My priorities are different though. I work long hours and often travel home late at night. The last thing I want to do is spend time driving a long distance in a tired, semi-comatose state. I choose to live as close to work as possible and luckily for me I work in an awesome area. Illovo is a fantastic place to live.  It is close to so many cool hangouts, malls, the highway, parks, Wanderers stadium; yet has a chilled and hip vibe. I spend 10 minutes getting to work in the mornings and less than 5 minutes getting back home in the evenings.  Rent is really harsh, but what I extra I spend on rent I save on petrol (and harm the environment a little bit less). Having that extra time in my day and less stress makes a huge difference in my life. I am grateful to be able to afford living so close to my place of work and that it is so awesome. I hope that others will some day share this experience.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October awesomeness: Part II

Yes folks, there's more.

Johannesburg International Motor Show

It was another bright, sunny day when my partner and I ventured to the Joburg motor show at the Nasrec exhibition centre in Soweto. Cars are not really my thing, but I was keen to check it out and broaden my knowledge on all that is awesome. And the show really was awesome. There were several halls full of interesting displays discussing all things motor related. The highlight, of course, was the sports and concept cars that the major car manufacturers bring in.  I am not going to go into the mechanics and specs of the cars, but I will share my thoughts on the really interesting displays:

Asimo the Honda Robot

Can anyone say "Cylon"... Honda has made a full on robot that serves your drinks, does minor cleaning functions, runs, speaks, climb stairs understands and can speak. Hectic stuff. Apparently, you programme your furniture layout into Asimo and your name and Asimo can respond to your (minor) requests on his own.  I watched Asimo get a drink, navigate a living room and speak and respond to the host. This was incredible. My hours of science fiction viewing makes me inherently suspicious of humanoid robots. Asimo seems harmless enough... for now.

BMW concept car: apparently this is set for production! Will be amazing to see it on the roads.

Chevrolet Miray: a Korean design that looks like the love child between the Batmobile and the Silver surfer's board. By far, my favourite.

McLaren 2011: ooh yeah! the McLaren made up for the dearth of Ferrari's and other super cars around. There was only one Lambourgini and one Porsche. I am keeping my eyes peeled for this one as I know it is on sale in Jhb.

Kings of Leon

The Kings, came, rocked and conquered. I again went along to the FNB stadium to accompany my 17 year old cousin to the KOL show. Before last month, I hadn't heard a single Kings songs but quickly acquainted myself to their repertoire.  My favourite thing about this concert was how chilled it was. At both Coldplay and U2 there were massive ques to drive into the park and ride areas alone. I think by the time the Kings came along, the organisers knew the deal and got their ducks in a row for a more efficient handling of logistics.  There were hardly any queus for buses, drinks, foods and t-shirts.  There was a bit of a hippie vibe (should have worn a Slayer t-shirt) but I suppose that is expected with the laid back bluesy music that the Kings play. I bought myself a cool half serpent half rooster Kings t-shirt and Grant had a blast with the short beer ques and awesome boere wors rolls (I had chips being a non-red meat eater, and was impressed that there was veggie food unlike my 3 previous outings to the stadium). The FNB concert vibe is a bit overwhelming at first. It is a bit of a mission to get there and there are always thousands of people.  But like I said, this time round things were super-efficient.  Even though the concert was sold out, I think some people stayed at home for fear of getting drenched (thunderstorms fore casted). But the Gods smiled on us, and we remained warm and dry. It really was a lovely night for a concert.

The three opening acts (Black Hotels, Shadow Club and Die Heuwels Fantasties) were pretty good.  I liked the Shadow Club the best. They had a really Jhb rock sound. My partner thought all they needed was a trumpet and they could be the Springbok Nude Girls (so if you are a Nudegirls fan, here is a bad to listen to). I think the singer's mike was turned off for the first song, but they rocked on anyway! The Black Hotels were okay, they were a bit forgettable.  Die Heuwels sounded cool, but I always have to try a little harder with Afrikaans bands as it is not my first language. I do love Fokofpolisiecar, tho! I hope they have some shows around here.
Back to the Kings! I thought they played a really good set and I really enjoyed their performance. That being said, I am a casual observer and not a fan. I spoke to my friends who were fans and they felt that the stadium vibe didn't suit the Kings and that their performance was a bit lacklustre. The band didn't chat that much to the audience and focused on playing their songs. I think the fans I know would have preferred if the band made more of a connection with the audience. However, I didn't mind.  The concert was more about the music than throwing a good "show".  There were two screens and bubbles and smoke etc but I think the Kings are more musicians than performers. What they lacked in showmanship they made up by playing allot of their songs and focusing on the music. I appreciated and enjoyed that. I also really liked the venue. We were in the nosebleed seats and still had a pretty good view of the bad. The calabash shape and design lets everyone have a decent view. Check it out. 

October: the month that was

As we roll into November, I sit back and reflect on the awesomeness that was the month of October 2011.  It was spring and the city came alive with Jacarandas, thunderstorms, sunshine and a hub of activity. I did mention some of the happenings, but there were a few more which slipped under my radar. Notably, Winesense (the annual wine tasting festival) and the Oktober Bierfest (the annual German beer piss-up). As a caveat to my readers, I do not drink alcohol and tend not to notice alcohol related festivities.  Though, I promise to be more vigiliant to give everyone a fair heads up if anything similar comes around.  And if the drinking fests are done, there is always Winesens in Melrose Arch to indulge in some winetasting any day of the week.  But back to the topic! These are some of the fun times that I had during the month:

The Lion Park

yes folks, I finally made it here accompanied by my fearless fiance and my two intrepid sisters.  We paid our R175 entrance fee, which included a guided game drive and a "lion petting" session, and headed off.  I must say, having a mini-game park in the middle of the city is a bit of a mind trip. One minute you are passing shopping malls and the Northgate Dome and the next you are driving up a dirt road which takes you to a large fenced off area with several animal enclosures. It was a beautiful, hot day when went and as it was a Sunday the lions had just been fed and were lounging in the sun. We went merrily on our game drive, and I use the term "game drive" quite loosely as it was a 40 minute drive around fenced paddocks with large areas containing certain animals.  All the herbivores were in one paddock, the lions one, then the white lions another, the cheetahs had one and finally one with a pack of wild dogs. The lady doing the game drive was really knowledgeable and good and it was interesting to get up close to some of these animals.  However, I must say the experience was a bit artificial, Kind of like a large zoo in which you can drive your car in (you can take your own car in for R120, but as my partner's car had very low suspension we opted for the guided game drive in the hardcore jeep/truck/railed vehicle.) I would recommend all you city slickers to try it out, especially if you have never been on a game drive.  There is still something majestic about seeing these animals, albeit in a post lunch nap. Another interesting and touristy thing that we got to do was touch a baby lion.  It seems like a cute thing to do, but afterwards I kinda felt sorry for the poor thing. It was just trying to have a nap and then the whole day it has people coming along and touching it. Here is a photo of my experience.  The lion is a baby white lion. I imagine it was thinking: yes, touch me now my pretty but when I get bigger I will eat you.


I really enjoyed Coldplay. I was a fan when I was in high school but my affection for them faded after a while and I only went to the concert as my siblings were amped to go and required my chauffeuring/chaperoning/payment abilities.  However, I am glad I went. To summarise the experience: I was blown away. Chris Martin has incredible gravitas on stage and Coldplay are a phenomenal live act. There songs are sweet and rocky and emotionally stirring and to actually feel the bass from the band playing and hear the voices of 60 000 people singing alone was a moving experience. The vibe was excellent and everyone was excited and friendly and ready to sing along. To top it off, the band shot part of the video for the single Paradise at the Joburg concert. The best song, however, was Viva La Vida. The crowd went crazy and in the end Chris Martin had to calm everyone down to get to the next song. After the concert, the crowd continued with singing the chorus and the happiness followed you home :) Here is a pic of the concert.  You can see the giant bubbles that were tossed in the crowd and pulsed up and down during the show.

Everybody, sing along:

Viva La Vida lyrics
Songwriters: Berryman, Guy Rupert; Buckland, Jonathan Mark; Champion, Will; Martin, Christopher A J;
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become

Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

[. From: .]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

This post is a tribute to the life of Steve Jobs, creative thinker and visionary. While I am not a huge fan of Apple products or the ethos of the company, I recognise the impact the company has had on people's lives. More so, I respect the fact that one man had the strength of conviction to bring his visions to life, forever changing an industry. He did not do it with family money or connections but with great ideas and an unrelenting belief in himself.  To Steve Jobs, RIP.

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cool Android Game: Ninja Eel Smashfest

If anyone has an android phone I would recommend you download and play Ninja-Eel Smashfest (and not just because I am engaged to the developer!)
Ninja Eel Smashfest is a really cool game that tests your reflexes and general phone gamer skills. I have played many hours of this game (being the unofficial tester) and am yet to get tired of it. The game play is simple: you whack eels with a mallet to stop them from eating your fish. Very therapeutic.

Check it out:!/pages/Dark-Lite-Studios/194915790521499?sk=info


This Sunday G and I made our merry way to the rAge expo at the Coca Cola Dome as general observers. I was told that although the expo is usually dominated by gamers, there is a small anime, and other fanboy (think star wars) presence. The dome was transformed into a gaming wonderland, with gaming booths, dance mats, karaoke and a huge LAN in the middle. My cousin was at the LAN on Saturday until the early hours of the morning and again on Sunday. I asked him what it was like and he described it as "like the twilight zone but with gamers in instead of aliens". There were an army of gamers in the LAN, around 2000 at its height. I've never seen anything like it. Luckily, the air-con was working valiantly to balance the stench of the unwashed hoards. LANing is definately not for the faint hearted (or for those with an acute sense of smell).

I am not a gamer, but was pretty impressed by the spread. Yes, there was the general kitchness and commodification of gaming culture. You could buy anything, and even sign up to an online gaming lessons. This is the dark side of capitalism. It had to happen. Whenever someone finds something cool, someone else tries to make money from it. Maybe if I was a hardcore gamer I would be a little annoyed. But I just enjoyed the overall madness of noise, lights and wall-to-wall screens. There were kinect games, online games, console games, dance mats, sing-star-esque games... anything your could think of!  It was overall very fascinating.

The undoubtable highlight of the day for me was seeing two people dressed up as the Akatsuki from Naruto. Their costumes looked great and I would have loved to see more Cosplay. Come on fellow anime fans, we need to represent! I might even dress up myself next time!

As promised, the day was dominated by the gamers. There was a little anime and star wars memorabilia on sale,  but a little more would have been nice. I will keep a look out for anime and other fanboy forums (yes, star trek as well. Come out fans, I know you're there!)  I bought my sister a robot mouse who kinda looked like R2D2.  Check it out. G thinks its a bit weird but I think its a riot!

Well that's my rAge experience. Not bad in all.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rocktober: Part II

Apparently Gay Pride was the weekend that past (1 October 2011). Some say it's camp and kitsch, others say it's fabulous. Keep your feelers out for next year

The Johannesburg International Motor Show (Joburg motor show) starts next Saturday, the 8th October and runs until the 16th October 2011.  Tickets are R80 on computicket, will let you know if I can find something cheaper elsewhere. The show is once every two years and an experience! I am definitely going!

The Newtown Diwali festival is on the 15 October 2011. This is the celebration of the Hindu festival of Diwali and entails eating (at various food stalls), dancing, singing (a huge stage is erected), and fireworks! Always fun to attend!
Venue: Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown
Time: 11h00 - 23h00

I don't know what's your cup of tea, but there's plenty happening, for sure! Check computicket for an update on new shows and events that may suit your taste:

Friday, September 30, 2011


So far, I will have to rate October as the most awesome month of the year (and it hasn't even happened yet!)

H20 is tomorrow at Wild Waters in Boksburg and is rated as one of the sickest dance parties.

David Guetta and Akon are in SA for the St Yves Music festival on the 14th and 15th October 2011. I would go if I wasn't already so committed (and as a result, impoverished).

Then there is the charity art auction "Doodle in the Park". The deal is to bring a picnic basket and art. You donate your art, buy other art, chill out and eat. It's on Sunday 2 October 2011 at Emmarentia Botanical Gardens at the Rose Gardens from 2-6:30pm
 Rock on folks! :)

Joburg Awesomeness: Mainstreetwalks

My friend T and I keep making (and breaking) dates to hang out and go shopping in Jhb city central. Jhb is a mecca of quirky and cheap fashion and plenty of other interesting corners  Although I wouldn't describe Jhb as a great walking city the best way to get to know any city is on foot, and there is much fun to be had (and dodgyness to be avoided) in the cbd.  Being a suburban South Africa woman, a cbd walkabout  is not something I'm comfortable about doing on my own, nor would I be comfortable in taking any of my out of town guests there. Enter "Mainstreet Walks" a savvy, streetwise company that has seen this gap in the market and pounced on it.  They offer group walk and picnics and general tourisy tours through the city :D
This is what they say:
The three current ones are Art and Justice (every Saturday morning); Inner City (every Saturday morning) and Picnics in the Sky (every Sunday). The first one visits the Con Court and Ghandi square, the buildings, art and architecture. The second one goes into the Carlton Centre and down to Newtown and through Hillbrow. The last starts at the market ( and goes up into the Carlton Centre. They have a picnic on the 50th floor; the Carlton being the tallest building in Africa. All three use the BRT Rea vaya to get around.

The Art and Justice and Inner City are both R160 and the Picnic is R220 for two.

So there you have it. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My couch

Sometimes you don't really feel like going out and about, and painting the Jhb town red. Especially on a Friday night. In varsity, Friday was the biggest party night ever. The party unofficially started on Wednesday night with either chilling in a friends res room or going partying to some dingy student dive. Thursday was the classy clubbing at a place that had a guest list, and Friday night was the cherry on top with whatever awesome party was on the radar. After all that partying, Saturday night was either dinner with friends or drinks somewhere fun and new.

But that was varsity, where you were abounding with youthful energy, lectures were a breeze and you had something due every few days. When you are working (especially in a corporate law firm) it's like writing an exam every day at the office. At the end of the week, after work has chewed you up and spat you out the last thing you want to do is clean yourself up, put on your pretty face and bounce around in a place filled with people ten years junior (maybe on a Saturday when you have the energy to psyche yourself up). In the real, working life the most you have the energy for on a Friday night is to have a nice dinner or drinks with some friends and then go home and fall asleep on my couch watching tv. Sometimes, ordering take-out and pigging out on the couch to some dvds is the most fun you can have all week. At these moments my couch is the greatest thing ever. Especially in winter where going out in general is a mission and a half. The best dvd place in Jhb is the video spot in Craighall in Jun Smuts (if you don't have a portable hardrive and don't believe in downloading).

So, it's okay to be chilled out every now and again. Even in an excellent pary town (though I must admit, Cape Town has the best clubbing in SA). Signing out on my couch in time for a Glee marathon, N x

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Incredible Likeness of Dealing: Part III

It is a widely accepted fact that people in Jhb work hard. And not just the high-flying corporate types, everyone is expected to put in their 110% to all tasks no matter how trivial they may appear. This lifestyle is tiring, especially if you have to battle traffic every day (will save that one for another post!). My (humble) recommendation to all is to actively start taking care of oneself by eating healthily, exercising, getting enough sleep and having fun (which we have discussed already). So now for the serious stuff.

Working hard and being constantly stressed leads to people with high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone, which helps us deal with tough situations), which in time can lead to burn out (exhausted adrenal glands). I have met plenty of burnt out people who say that no matter how much sleep they get or how well they eat, they remain exhausted. Part of this is because their body is so messed up by being pumped with cortisol, and then the effects of going cold turkey. This is a simplification, but I hope I am getting the message across that being stressed out all the time will leave you a worn out and haggard person who is less fun than the average 80 year old whose weekly highlight is their knitting club.

How do I avoid this? I have made the potentially career limiting but life enhancing decision of drawing a line and leaving work no later than 19:30 every day. I go to yoga on Mondays, gym on Sundays, try and each veggies everyday and get around 7 hours of  daily rest. I take vitamins every day and drink 2 litres of water during the day and 2 glasses at night. I say this not to show off, but to illustrate that looking after yourself does take alot of effort, but it is worth it. Ask yourself, what is worth more time and effort than investing in yourself. Not much, if you ask me. Start with having a glass of water first thing as you wake up. Then some wheat grass before you eat. A spoon full of this super food twice a day (once in the mornings and evening on an empty stomach) is a nutrition boost for the day. Mind you, this stuff tastes horrible. Think of licking grass that someone with bare, sweaty feet has walked on just before their dog pooed on it. That is the level of yuck. But have you noticed how everything really good for you tastes awful? A friend of mine takes hers with no-added sugar fruit juice (a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down). Get it from dischem:

If you are super-stressed out and anxiety ridden, herbal tranquillizers (I'm not kidding, and I don't mean smoking a joint) can help alot. Rescue remedy can help in mild cases, and for times of stronger need Biral is the answer. Oh Biral, I wished I'd met you sooner! Check out my office pharmacopoeia. Caltrate for strong bones (a must for women), a selection of multi-vitamins and evening primrose oil capsules for glowy skin.

If you have been good, every now and again you have a little treat. Mine is strawberry mentos. I have a  sweet or two a day until my roll runs out and then buy another after a few months. The sacrifices we must make to stay healthy and look good (I will save this for another post!)