My institution recently circulated an advertisement for a GIS intern position. And by “recently” I totally mean “five months ago”.
Respondents were asked to attach a copy of their relevant certificates to the CVs, write an essay on why they are passionate about the environment, and include a blood sample. I am of course kidding about the blood sample. Since the person would be working under me (that’s what she said), I had the pleasure of reading through ALL 800 CVs.
Of all 800 CVs, my favourite essay touched on the subject of extinction. The author stated that we needed to conserve the environment for future generations. He or she then touched subject of on rhino poaching. Please note that the essay was nowhere near this eloquent.
To make sure that the conservation message hit home, the author went on to say, “Today we learn about the dinosaurs due to the negligence of our forefathers we the youth of today we did not have time to see them”.
Sadly this individual was NOT shortlisted for an interview.
Other things worth mentioning:
My friends and I recently went for a hike at Silvermine Nature Reserve. My friend, Barry, who is super talented, took some photos. You can view them here.
I have applied to attend a conference in San Diego in July. The chances that my proposal will be accept, is slim. BUT if I do go, I am toying with the idea of popping over to Seattle. WHY? Because Grey’s Anatomy is set in Seattle. Duh! Also, I am nuts. Seriously though, there are just some many cities and landscapes in America that I would absolutely LOVE to visit. Charleston, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park etc.
The Two Oceans Marathon will be taking place at the end of this month, and I’m super stoked. So stoked that I plan to send off “save the date” emails for a carbo-loading session the night before the race. Some people have Christmas and Thanksgiving; I have the Two Oceans Marathon. Tradition – don’t mess with it.
I’m still busy reading “Reheated Cabbage” by Irvine Welsh. So far my favourite short story is “I am Miami”.
I will be attending my first photography class on Saturday. Nervous.
My friends Juan, Dizzy*, Aims and Mo will be doing the Argus Cycle Tour.
I have just finished reading Redi Tlhabi’s novel, “Endings & beginnings”. In her novel she talks about growing up in Soweto during the apartheid era, her father’s gruesome murder and her unlikely friendship with a gangster.
Here’s an extract from her novel:
“Violation of women and girls was commonplace in the late eighties and early nineties. Yet as horrendous as it was, the community seemed to treat rape as if it were just some minor inconvenience. It wasn’t uncommon for a young woman to be walking down the street and for someone, even another woman, to point at her and snigger, “Phela, this one got raped by so-and-so”. So-and-so would be a well-known thug still roaming the streets without a care in the world.
Our neighbour, Tokai, was in her early forties and was another of our village drunks. I once witnessed a group of young boys luring her to a house not far from my home. She was so drunk she could never have found her way home, and the boys assured onlookers that they were helping her home. Yet I clearly saw them take her in a different direction. The next morning I heard that Tokai has been found naked on a street corner and some little boys had had sex with her – not raped her, simply had sex with her! That it was treated as a joke left me deeply disturbed. People would say matter-of-factly that Tokai should stop drinking, but no one ever suggested that she deserved justice or that the boys should be punished. The implication was that drunken women deserved abuse, yet all around us drunken men who were abusive to their families were always helped home when they were too drunk to manage – and one ever considered harming them.
The ‘in’ thing among young thugs then was jackrolling. A group of guys would stumble upon a woman and kidnap her in broad daylight. She would then be repeatedly raped for as long as her captors felt like it, and only when they were good and ready would they let her go. More ‘charitable’ rapists might give her a lift back or walk her home. From then on, this girl was marked in the community.”
I just finished the second part of the third book in the “A song of fire and ice series” by George RR Martin. The TV series “Game of thrones” is based on these books.
If you’ve read the books or watched the TV series, you would know that the story is filled with dragons, direwolves, giants and mammoths. And yet, for me the most starling part of the narrative was that Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons and queen of the Seven Kingdoms, has a crush on a guy with a gold tooth.
“Dany found herself stealing looks at the Tyroshi, when her captains came to council, and sometimes at night she remembered the way his gold tooth glittered when he smiled.”
I swear I read that line and my immediate reaction was, “Are you for real?”
I took the photo yesterday, while driving back from Franschhoek.
I remembered steeping out of Cairo’s airport and inhaling an unfamiliar smell, acrid and sweet, of smoke, dust, a hint of rotting fruit mixed with car exhaust. I remembered a darkness barely illuminated by too few streetlights, a bus without window glass rattling and spewing grey smoke. I remembered a charming man with decaying teeth insisting the hotel to which my girlfriend and I were headed was closed.
In downtown Cairo, people crowded the streets. I remembered haze and broken curbs and feral cats and exhaustion and nowhere to sleep, touts and hustlers leering at every turn, a world more jumbled and frenetic and wild than any I had ever witnessed. By the time we found a room, my nerves were so jangled that I crawled into my sleeping bag rather than the bed, stuffing my camera and valuables in with me.
“Egypt’s new day” by Carl Hoffman, in the September to November 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveller South Africa.
Two chapters in and I had discarded “On the road” by Jack Kerouac. In its stead, I chose to lose myself in a world of intrigue, deception and direwolves – “A clash of kings”. Dragons, knights and snarky imps trump travel narratives. ALWAYS! This is especially true when the travel narrative’s style is reminiscent of Ernest Hemmingway, my least favourite author.
Months later, in the midst of Ramadaan, when entertainment opportunities are at an all-time low, I decide to revisit the novel. And this time, I am not disappointed. The characters roadtrip across America, savouring all that life has to offer – drugs, sex and jazz. The tale is frenetic, unrestraint, directionless, and fast-paced. It isn’t so much the tale that compels and captivates me, as much as the inventive use of adjectives. I read, I read, and I yearn for MORE.
Below follows an excerpt from the novel:
“We were scared too. We wanted to get out of this mansion of the snake, this mireful drooping dark, and zoom on back to familiar American ground and cowtowns. There was a smell of oil and dead water in the air. This was a manuscript of the night we couldn’t read.”
I’ve only managed to read one book this month – Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I’ve also started reading the second book in the fantasy series, A Clash of Kings; and Q&A by Vikas Swarup. The novel, Q&A was adapted into the movie, Slumdog Millionaire.
Unfortunately I haven’t attempted a new dessert recipe this month. I did however bake some Double Chocolate and Cranberry cookies, which has become a specialty of mine. And I’ve also been asked to bake the following items for my sister: Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cappuccino Muffins. And my mom was kind enough to save a peanut butter cookie recipe for me and INSIST that I make them.
I spent 9 days in Kruger National Park with Fahiema and Cougar. We also managed to travel across the border into Mozambique (some of us illegally). We spent all of 10 minutes in Mozambique before heading back.
Clockwise from top left: Elephants, Yellow-billed Hornbill, reflection in the side view mirror, Zebra crossing.
Read 2 books – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I think this is like the 7th time I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird. Currently reading Game of Thrones.
Attempted 2 new dessert recipes – Sesame seed biscuits (cookies) and brownie. The sesame seed biscuits were absolutely disgusting. The brownies were okay, I should have used dark chocolate instead.
Managed a new PB for a 15km race – 1:22. That’s an entire 10 minutes off my previous PB. A sub 2:10 for a 21km still eludes me.
And had pizza at Massimo’s in Hout Bay. Pictures below were taken at Massimo’s.
Plane tickets to Kruger National Park have been booked.
I’ve agreed to run the Cape Town Marathon in September.
And I’m going to the Michael Buble concert on Thursday. So excited!