Sid Kane – lover of sunsets, coffee and Mary Roach novels

Rising sun from my apartment

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.)”

I give good link

CaptureAbove 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.

Excerpt from Americanah

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.

Photos taken at Robertson

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.

Alpaca

Reflections

Prettiness

Fierce, girlfriends, Robertson

Books – Irvine Welsh, Shah Jahan & Gulp

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:

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Excelsior animals

Photo taken at Excelsior Wine Farm in Robertson.

I want

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.

Gorillas - Lime Wildlife Centre
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.

I will stay here. I will remain content.

It’s June and I don’t have any travel plans for the rest of the year. This year has been great – adventure wise. I’ve spent a couple of weeks in India, gorging on fresh fruit juice and curry, ziplining from a fort and crying at the sight of the Taj Mahal. I’ve spent a few days in Joburg with friends, watching Joss Stone perform live and feeding giraffes. There was Cameroon on someone else’s dime. And there was sunshine and bike rides in Durban.

Limbe, Cameroon
Photo taken in Limbe, Cameroon.

It’s June now and I don’t have any other trips planned. A friend asked me to consider a roadtrip to Grahamstown. I shut her down before she could put forth her argument. I am broke. I’d just managed to pay off my credit card debt (or more accurately I’d finally reimbursed my brother, who’d paid off my debt). And I wasn’t planning to get back into debt, especially not for a local trip to a small town.

Besides I have other plans. There’s a bookcase that needs purchasing. (I’ve concluded that my current system of discarding novels beneath my bed, no longer works.) There’s also a coffee table, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, juicer and washing machine that’s needed. BUT these items will have to wait. Instead of being a responsible adult (how boring) and purchasing the necessities, I will be scurrying away money for my next big adventure.

At present, I’m still undecided as to where to go. There’s Malawi, whose images of its lake have left me breathless. There’s Ecuador, my lifelong dream, with its volcanoes and lush forests. There’s Turkey with its hot air balloons and cave dwellings. And there’s my 19 days of leave that needs to be spent. So I have the time and I have options, I just need the funds. (I am totally willing to sell a kidney to raise the funds. Not necessarily MY kidney. Ahem.)

So until I’ve accumulated enough moola, I will remain here. I will remain content. I will focus my attention and energy on becoming a better runner, cook and person. No, scratch that. That “better person” thing sounds like way too much work. I’ll just stick with running and baking.

Hazelnut latte

I recently spent a week in Durban, soaking up the sun, admiring the fish at uShaka Marine World and cycling along the promenade.

Before boarding my 07:00 flight, I decided to have breakfast at Woolworths at the airport. I ordered a fruit salad and hazelnut latte. I paid for my order at one side of the counter and picked it up at the other side. After 5 minutes, my order was done.
Barista: Here’s your cappuccino.
Me: Excuse me?
Barista: Here’s your cappuccino.
Me: You mean my hazelnut latte.
Barista stares at me for a minute, removes my cup from the counter and pours honey over the coffee.
Barista: Here’s your hazelnut latte.
It wasn’t a hazelnut latte. It was just a cappuccino with honey on it.

The following photo was taken in the Japanese Garden in Durban.
Japanese Garden, Durban

Bridesmaid, Comrades, uShaka Marine World and books

Bridesmaid
I am going to be a bridesmaid! I am going to be a bridesmaid! I am going to be a bridesmaid! And I’m not sure if you can tell, but I am really, really, really excited about the prospect. Not only because I get to wear a pretty dress, but because I get to celebrate the love of two very special people. But mainly because I get to wear a really pretty dress.

Comrades
I spent the last few days in Durban, running the last 20km of the Comrades Ultra with my dad, admiring the fish at uShaka Aquarium and walking barefoot on the beach.

My dad managed to complete the 89km race, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, within the 12 hour cut-off (11:46 exact). The run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban is termed the “down” run. Whilst the run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg is referred to as the “up” run and is 2km shorter. Each year the route alternates between the “up” and “down” run. Because my dad managed to complete both back-to-back runs within the cut-off time, he was awarded two medals this year.

I hope to one day complete the Comrades. I hope to one day run a marathon in under 5 hours. I hope to one day run the Victoria Falls Marathon. I hope to hike the Fish River Canyon. Here’s hoping I can tick one of those items off my list this year.

Anyway, I’m back in Cape Town and having a hard time adjusting to the cold weather.

Books
I’ve only managed to read one book from cover to cover this year (Shantaram) and I really had to force myself to finish reading the novel. I started reading several books, but most of them so dull that reading felt like a chore.

Durban photos
I took the following photos at uShaka Marine World.
Turtle, uShaka, Durban

Jellyfish, uShaka, sister and her husband

Earth (The Book)

Last night, with nothing much to do, I scoured my bookshelf floor for something to read, and came across THIS. Flourishes a book entitled, “Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race” before you. The satirical novel written by Jon Stewart, acts as a manual for an alien civilization should they discover earth.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the guide:

The birth control pill liberated young women to focus exclusively on worrying about AIDS.

 

Peter Pan taught children they could stay young forever by following a charismatic stranger out the window.

 

Touch was a nervous system feature that allowed us to process texture and temperature. There were two kinds of touching: good and bad. Only one of them required the implementation of a national computerized registry.