A list of things that have amused/saddened/shocked me:
I am currently reading “The God of Small Things” for the third time. Why, would I read a book I’ve already read? Because it gives me pleasure.
Anyway, here’s a delightful quote from the novel.
“On weekdays she watched The Bold and The Beautiful and Santa Barbara, where brittle blondes with lipstick and hairstyles rigid with spray seduced androids and defended their sexual empires. Baby Kochamma loved their shiny clothes and their smart, bitchy repartee. During the day disconnected snatches of it came back to her and made her chuckle.”
“That the people who make you laugh are more beautiful than beautiful people.“
I spent the last few days on the West Coast with some truly beautiful women. And it was good. And I was reminded once again of how blessed I am to have met these people. My people. Explorers. Adventurers. Nerds. Confidantes. Individuals who inspire and encourage. Individuals who will look at you and say, “Your boyfriend has rapey eyes.”
“That what you make and what you do with your time is more important than you’ll ever fathom and should be treated as such.”
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about goals, priorities, time management, sacrifice and death.
I’ve mentioned Mary Roach a couple of times, but I’m not sure that I’ve managed to convince you what an awesome writer she is. So here’s another quote from her novel, Gulp. This one is taken from chapter 8, where she looks at whether it is possible for a human to survive being swallowed by a whale.
“While a seaman might survive the suction and swallow, his arrival in a sperm whale’s stomach would seem to present a new set of problems.*
*I challenge you to find a more innocuous sentence containing the words sperm, suction, swallow, and any homophone of seaman. And then call me up on the homophone and read it to me.”
And yes, I am still busy reading a book I profess to love. I am busy – earning a living, training for a marathon and socialising with strangers.
Socialising with strangers
A few nights ago, I had supper with a Bullmutt and his cohorts.
Me to the waitress: I’ll have a cappuccino.
Waitress: Erm, someone’s already bought you a Long Island Tea.
Me: But I don’t drink.
Waitress: You can start today.
Naturally, I had to tweet the above conversation.
My favourite response to the tweet came from MFS. MFS: That is true. (You could tell her that you also don’t murder … If you do murder, use a different example.)
On Eid, my brother looked at me and said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight. Did you have diarrhoea?”
I’m still busy reading “Gulp” by Mary Roach. Here’s another delightful quote. This one is taken from Chapter 12:
“One of the earliest flatus studies on record was carried out by the Parisian physician Francois Magendie. In 1816, Magendie published a paper entitled “Note on the Intestinal Gas of a Healthy Man.” The title is misleading, for although the man in question suffered no illness, he was dead and missing his head.”
I’ve signed up for a 16km trail run and the Cape Town Marathon (42km) …
I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos. I am going to Mykonos.
Club Mykonos, not the town in Greece after which the club was named. Club Mykonos is a seaside resort, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Besides swimming, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep us entertained – paintballing, horse riding and archery. And OH MY GOD, I don’t think I will ever be bored there.
And yes, I know that I’ve been incredibly lucky with regards to travelling this year. I’ve spent the first day of the year ziplining from a fort in India; I’ve flown to Johannesburg to watch Joss Stone perform live and cuddled some lion cubs; I’ve run the last 20km of the Comrades Marathon with my dad and cycled along Durban beachfront; I’ve been appalled by service in Cameroon; AND now I’m going to on a paid vacation to Club Mykonos. That’s right someone else is footing my accommodation bill. And before you jump to any conclusions, Fahiema won a weekend’s stay at the resort and she’s taking me along!
Here’s a link to the 2014 National Geographic photographic competition winners. Spoiler alert: I am not one of the winners.
Guys, enjoy the weekend. Be safe and be kind.
If I had to update my twitter bio, it would read, “Lover of sunsets, coffee and Mary Roach novels.”
Mary Roach is a brilliant writer – she makes science sound fun and accessible. I am currently reading her novel, “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal”.
Below is an extract from chapter 11, which explores the use of the rectum for storing contraband. The term employed for smuggling contraband into the rectum is called “hooping”.
“The preference in California prisons for rectal smuggling is a little surprising given the preponderance of Latinos and African Americans – two populations that are, taken as a whole, somewhat less comfortable with homosexuality. Prison, I’m guessing, is a place where extenuating circumstances erode the stigma that otherwise attaches to extracurricular uses of the rectum.
Rodrigues speaks freely about the situation in Avenal. Rather than antagonize gay inmates, he says, gang leaders tend to employ them. “We call them ‘vaults.’ If they’re reliable, the homies will approach them – ‘Hey, check it out, you want to make some money?’”
Everyone else has to practice to get up to speed. Rodriguez recalls his “cherry” assignment – the blades – as extremely painful. He says gang underlings are made to practice. I picture muscular, tattooed men puttering around the cell with soap bars or salt shakers on board. Lieutenant Parks showed me an 8 X 10 photograph of what he said was a practice item, one that landed the apprentice in Medical Services. Deodorant sticks had been pushed into either end of a cardboard toilet paper tube and wrapped in tape. “As you can see,” he said in his characteristic deadpan, “it’s a rather large piece.” (Rodriguez says that it was hooped on a bet.)
“To avoid anal laceration, dilation may have to be performed progressively over a period of several weeks or months.” This quote comes from a journal, but it is not a corrections industry journal or even an emergency medicine or proctology journal. It’s from the Journal of Homosexuality. A corrections or even a protology journal eould not have gone on, in the very next sentence, to say, “Rowan and Gillette (1978) have described the case of a man who derived sexual pleasure from inflating his rectum with a bicycle tire pump.” (As I did not pursue the reference, I remain ignorant of this man’s fate and whether he exceeded the recommended PSI of the human rectum.)”
Above photo taken by These Streets Cape Town.
I’ve just been booked for my first photo shoot. A friend recently asked me to take a couple of photos of her, her fiance and their dog. They’ll us the photos to send out “save the date invitations”. So excited. And nervous.
Anyway, here’s a list of links to articles/blogs that have amused, shocked or angered me.
It’s Ramadaan right now, which means other than fasting from sunrise to sunset, my life has simplified. My days are spent working, reading and running.
I am currently reading “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Here’s an excerpt from the novel:
Her black Angolan father had left her white Portuguese mother when she was only three years old, she told him, and she had not seen him since, nor had she ever been to Angola. She said this with a shrug and a cynical raise of the eyebrows, as though it had never bothered her, an effort so out of character, so jarring, that it showed him just how deeply it did bother her. There were difficulties in her life that he wanted to know more about, parts of her thick shapely body that he longed to touch, but he was wary of complicating things. He would wait until after the marriage, until the business side of their relationship was finished. She seemed to understand this without their talking about it. And so they met and talked in the following weeks, sometimes practising how they would answer questions during their immigration interview and other times just talking about football, there was, between them, the growing urgency of restrained desire. It was there in their standing to close to each other, not touching, as they waited at the tube station, in their teasing each other about his support of Arsenal and her support of Manchester United, in their lingering gazes. After he paid the Angolans two thousand pounds in cash, she told him that they had only given her five hundred pounds.
One of my duties as a technical person is to answer support calls.
Today, while chatting to a client I asked, “What type of internet browser are you using?”
Client: A laptop.
And for the five seconds that followed, I just gaped at the telephone receiver before politely saying, “Erm no, I meant are you using Google Chrome, Internet Explorer …?”
Anyway, the following photos were taken in Robertson a few weeks ago. I haven’t touched my camera since then. Sad face.
If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to over the last few days, I’ve been busy. Watching YouTube videos. (Side note: I think I’m adorable. I have a feeling that I’m the only one that shares this sentiment. I have the feeling that others find me impossible, frustrating and uncoordinated. And I’m okay with that. I mean sure, I’d love to be able to walk and talk at the same time, but whatever.)
Besides the YouTube videos, I’ve also been busy reading. Like actual books.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how this year I’d only managed to read ONE book from cover to cover. I’ve started reading many books, but they were tedious and reading ultimately felt like a chore. So I gave up. Since then I’d managed to plough my way through “Empire of the Moghul: The Serpent’s Tooth”. Yep, that’s right in the last 6 months I’ve managed to read TWO whole books. I am on fire!
“The Serpent’s Tooth” wasn’t a great book. It was okay, just okay. I did learn a lot from the book. I learnt about posta, which is this milky concoction of opium poppy. Pousta was served to Shah Jahan’s grandson, Sulaiman Shukoh on a daily basis. The daily dose of pousta eventually killed Sulaiman.
I am now half-way through “Porno” by Irvine Welsh, he’s the very same guy who brought us “Trainspotting”. “Porno” is an absolutely fascinating read! I simply can’t put it down.
I’ve also got the following books lined up:
Photo taken at Excelsior Wine Farm in Robertson.
A few days, I baked – salted popcorn chocolate biscuits (cookies). The recipe is one I’ve tried several times, with much success. And even though I’ve baked some pretty kick-ass cakes (I am SO modest), on this Sunday I was reminded of how easy it is to “fuck it up”.
But this isn’t a blog post about baking. This is a post about a conversation that took place that evening. I’d invited some of the girls over to my place to taste my wares (and I’m totally talking about my baking here, guys). At some point during the tasting, the conversation turned to weddings. One of the girls stated that she would rent her wedding dress. Naturally this statement was followed by an outburst from me. I desperately wanted to spend my honeymoon hiking through Chile. Note: I am nowhere close to being engaged.
Photo taken at Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary, Cameroon.
M: Sid, would you ever consider dating a guy who wasn’t into sports, adventure and the outdoors? He is in good shape, makes you laugh, he’s smart, treats you well …
I was confounded. It’s not that I wouldn’t date a guy who wasn’t into sports. It’s just … I spend an inordinate amount of time dreaming about (and Googling) my next big adventure (snorkelling in Lake Malawi, gorilla trekking in Uganda, hiking the Fish River Canyon, running the Victoria Falls Marathon), that I just can’t fathom spending FOREVER with someone who didn’t want THAT.
I want someone who will run the last 5km of a marathon with me. I want someone who prefers to stay in a clean backpackers instead of fancy hotels. (Key word in that sentence is “clean”). I want someone who prefers the outdoors to big, bustling cities – a weekend at Yosemite National Park instead of New York City. I want someone who craves and actively seeks out adventure.