Friday, 30 September 2011

Of rAge and Cognac

The best place to take a pre-teen boy is the largest computer, gaming and technology show in Africa. Right! Well my feet are now sore after spending the entire day there watching Matthew enjoy himself playing games and excitedly showing me his Christmas wish list.

Later on, in the evening, Matthew and I joined Paulo, Tina, Magda, Martin, Daniel and Mona for dinner at Lucios Pizzeria, our favourite dive. Dinner at Lucios is as always a wonderful experience and being month end booking well in advance is important and being so popular parking is always problem. But at Lucios we enjoy good home style Italian cooking at an affordable price. Thank you Bimba and the staff at Lucios for continuing what Claudio started. It is one place in Johannesburg that we have to bring visitors to.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Sleep

Wake me when it's Friday. Well Matthew went to bed at 4am this morning. He was playing on the computer all night and after finally fallen asleep, he stayed that way until way after 11. Thankfully this gave me time to work all morning on my computer and managed to catch up.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Abduction

After yesterday's fiasco at Ster Kinekor, Matthew and I decided to give it another try, this time with two complementary tickets courtesy of the cinema manager. The only other movie that looked reasonable was Abduction and it didn't disappoint Matthew and I. We walked away satisfied and arrived home to a beautiful sunset. The sunset was the cherry on top, father and son sitting on the porch watch the sun go down - Priceless.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Spy Disaster

School holidays means holiday movies but all our plans went south. Tanya organised us two for the price of one ticket at Ster Kinekor so off we went to watch Spy Kids All the time in the world in 4D. It was just the movie that Matthew wanted to see because he had heard all about the 4D aroma experience. But when we arrived there, we found that the two for one was only for the Lion King, what, that is so ancient. So now they got us there, we might as well see the 4D movie at full price, R116.00 plus over R64 for one popcorn and two slush puppies :-( I am not a happy chappie.

So we settle down in an empty cinema only to find the projector wasn't working correctly. After trying to get it started over five times, the manageress came in and said the technician is going to reboot the projector and if that didn't work we can get a refund. But it did work and once we got going the 4D aroma scope card wasn't very effective. They all smelled the same except 4 and 5. Matthew and I were not impressed and after taking to the manager, we going to see another movie tomorrow on the house.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Holidays

Matthew said to me today "Daddy you don't know anything". Oh dear, I just realized that in just over a month, Matthew will be a teenager. These wise words by Matthew are only the start. Well all I have to do is wing it and pray. I have Matthew for the next week while he is on school holidays. Not easy trying to entertain him and do work, well at least he has the Italian Greyhounds.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Hell Jumpers OORAH!!!

I traveled to the south of Johannesburg this morning all the way to the Fun Paintball Field in Alberton for the PBC 5 Man Tactical League event (Paintball City). I was the Hell Jumpers and Hell Jumpers 2 official photographer. It was an unknown field for most of the teams and teams who played from bottom to top won most of the games at first but later started to draw as the teams started to learn how to defend the top.

I like the majority of the other spectators and players were not impressed with Team Strike Force who won the event but blatantly had people outside the game spotting for them. The marshals somehow missed the cheats in action but the other players and spectators saw them. So much so when the final came up every time one of the Strike Force members was hit they cheered out loudly in unison. I am starting to wonder why they are at the top of the league. Well it is not for me to complain but to live and paint another day.

Well here are the Hell Jumpers' 5 man team who came third (left to right) Kassie aka Bossie, Rudi aka Chewbacca, Elijah aka Berserker, Wynand aka Ice and Charlie aka Doring relaxing between games.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

BT Big Game

Sweet, paintballers know how to have fun, everything else is just a target. Today was the BT Big Game held at Jumper's Lair and paintballers came out of the woodwork to have some fun painting each other. Well some just took it a little further. As the official Helljumper photographer, I had my trusty Canon and filled up a whole 8GB card with awesome photos. I will upload them to FB for all to see about Monday. I heard one of the Helljumpers that was playing call out to the opposing team "how many times per second do you need to miss me".

Friday, 23 September 2011

Frank

The Portuguese are not in this Rugby World Cup so my good friend Frank is wearing his Springbok colours. I spent the afternoon with him, catching up on all the news from his side. It was good just chilling. He too is just itching to get onto his Vespa and head into the sunset.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Offroad & Adventure SA

Made it. Our Great Vespa Sani Adventure last August made it into October's issue of Offroad & Adventure SA, the leading local offload biking magazine which is part of the Bike SA stable. The article was written by my good friend Magda and they used my photos. They even have a photo of Matthew playing in the snow. Yes our Vespas conquered the Sani Pass, and to raise the bar real high we did it in the middle of winter.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Philimpilo

Philimpilo, you try get to say this word correctly because I battled. Philimpilo Pee Lim Pee Lo there we go Philimpilo. I can't even say the word dyslexic properly and they had to go choose the hardest word to describe someone who suffers from dyslexia. Philimpilo is a Christian nonprofit organization focusing on the healing and mental health in vulnerable communities. The name is the combination of two Zulu words Phila (live, be alive, living) and Impilo (life) in other words Live Life. Today has been one of those days where time has simply run out, as if life and time weren't on the same wave length.

It started by me heading for my bank in Fourways to sort out a problem which for over an hour couldn't sort it out only to find that the card division was down. The first waste of time but I needed to catch up so off to Multichoice to sort their problem out. Thankfully they were quick and professional. Good I was back on track. I then headed for Cell C Fourways and they battled for a very long time trying to get me more data. At least the watermelon smells coming from their aircon unit calmed me down enough to meet my client Philimpilo without sweat. Nothing like living life to the second.

After that it was off to PRO Designs to help on a website, it was here that I managed to get time to take a photograph before retiring home.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Waterleak


I started on Edmund's website today. Edmund and his dad own the Waterleak Prevention Services company and before the rainy season starts they decided to allow me to do my magic for them. Another bit of good news is that I have been appointed Technical Manager of National Positions South Africa from October. :-)

Monday, 19 September 2011

Mogale

I was brave enough to cross the border yet again, this time to the west and Krugersdorp in the region now named Mogale after an old Po chief called Mogale wa Mogale. The name means "brave one" which I no doubt was. Being aware of the passport goons around, I kept my passport close as I took this not so elegant photo of the statute of Mogale with the sun in the wrong position.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

RIP Tag


I only got home last night, after an awesome night of Fruit Ninjas and Guitar Hero, at 3am this morning. Dog tired I had to crawl out of bed at 8am so I and my Italian Greyhounds could join the old group of dog walkers at Emmarentia Dam for one last time to do a walk with Sam who lost week lost her dog Tag on Monday. Tag was a dalmatian who suffered from diabetes and Sam loved Tag into a long and fabulous life. Being part of her family, Sam took Tag's passing hard and just being among old friends must have helped with her spirit. Afterwards as we used to do, we had coffee and munchies together.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Rugby Breakfast

At first I thought I had woken up in the wrong country inhabited by leprechauns but it was Kevin about to tuck into some bacon, eggs and toast at the BBC Men's Breakfast and Rugby. Yes it is the Springbok versus Fiji game in the 2011 Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand.

After a good hearty breakfast we all settled down to watch the national team do us proud. I think British journalist Mark Reason painted our team quite accurately when he wrote "Bakkies Botha compared himself to an old tractor that smokes a bit first thing in the morning, but rumbles along once you get it going. He could have said the same of South Africa. The paint is peeling and the rust taking hold at the edges, but you get the feeling that the Boks machine has just come out of the shed after a winter under cover." After the close oh so close Wales near toppling of South Africa last Sunday, this game you did get the feeling that the old tractor is starting to rumble along nicely with a 49 - 3 win and the British journalist a bit worried at sight of the old tractor chugging into view down the road.

The next game saw Ireland defy all expectations by beating the Wallabies (Australia) 15 - 6 which no doubt had the leprechauns dancing in the streets. Much later in the evening I joined the leprechauns with a chilled evening of braai, wine, Fruit Ninjas and Guitar Hero.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Buzz Audio

One thing you can count on about Friday... it always comes back to you again and again. But then, so does Monday. So my weekend started with a visit to Vigil and Cami's company Buzz Audio in Fourways. They are old friends from Carisbrook days and not to forget their son, Justin is one of Matthew's best friends.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Qatar

I went across the border to the East Rand to see a client. I stayed that side for a while and only come back to civilization late in the afternoon. Does this mean I need to be decontaminated? Anyway while there I stopped over at the East Rand Mall and I took this photo as a Qatar Airways' Boeing 777-2DZLR was coming in for landing after arriving from Doha, Qatar. There was some wind shear but not enough for a dramatic shot.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Summer Rain Storm

Last night we had our first summer storm only a day after I had Sassette washed; sometimes the universe has a sense of humour failure. It wasn't such a bad storm for the first one but it dirtied Sassette worse than before the wash. As in Toto's song I hear the drums echoing tonight as the African rains continue fall upon the thatch.

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Meeting of Bill

Ed and I went to ProCamera in Randburg to take Jame's lens in for repair and at ProCamera we found Bill. We had a long chat with Bill and it was hard to pull ourselves away. He is very knowledgeable on cameras and has a history of photography in Johannesburg not to mention the early Chinese community in South Africa.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Car Wash

It was time that I treated my faithful vehicle to a car wash. So after spending the morning in Kempton Park doing a photo recce I stopped at my local car wash give Sassette a bubble treat.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Joburg Photowalkers is Too

With too many things happening today, the Joburg Photowalkers decided to hold their 2nd Birthday at Kameraz but Kameraz let us down badly by not pitching. Apparently they got the date wrong, uhmmm. After phoning they wouldn't come out to the rescue because as you know it was the Springboks first game during the Rugby World Cup. So everyone scratch Kameraz out of your phone books, not worth the trouble.

So now missing the rugby, the Joburg Photowalkers was out in the streets looking for a new venue. The Hyatt Regency offered us up some limited space so we set up an impromptu gathering there. It was great looking at other photographers sharing there experiences with walking the streets of Johannesburg and their passion with street photography while at the same time we followed the Springboks dismal first game as they scraped a 17 - 16 win over Wales in Wellington, New Zealand. While at the gathering I discussed with a few seasoned photographers yesterday's blog photo and the consensus is that it is a inverted reflection of the fire on the lens glass and I should have changed the angle slightly to remedy it not try and desperately clean my lens to make it go away.

Later on a few of us did a photowalk amongst the stalls of the Rosebank Rooftop Market where I took this photograph of my name. Awesome everywhere the Joburg Photowalkers go. Here is to another amazing year ahead. Joburg Rocks.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Can I sit with you?


I sing myself to sleep
A song from the darkest hour
Secrets I can't keep
Insight of the day
Swing from high to deep
Extremes of sweet and sour
Hope that God exists
I hope I pray

Drawn by the undertow
My life is out of control
I believe this wave will bear my weight
So let it flow

Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, down
In sympathy

Now I'm relieved to hear
That you've been to some far out places
It's hard to carry on
When you feel all alone
Now I've swung back down again
It's worse than it was before
If I hadn't seen such riches
I could live with being poor

Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, down
In sympathy

Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they're touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate

Down
Down

Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down, down
In sympathy

I took this photograph a couple of times and everytime I cleaned and recleaned my lens but still something was sitting down next Wynand's son as he sat by the fire waiting for his dad "Ice" to finish the first Night Games of the summer.

As in James' song Sit Down, I am drawn to sit down as I too hide my feelings from the outside world and only when I'm alone do I drop my guard. As I look at this photo and listen to to words of this song, I realise that I am not alone. If you also wondered if it was only you, then please come sit down next to me. Share the warmth of the fire and we can laugh at the world.

Friday, 9 September 2011

James

Went up pass the Boerewors Curtain this morning to collect a tent for Edmund's sleep over at Jumper's Lair tomorrow night. Yes tomorrow night is the night game at the Lair and a number of Jumpers are sleeping over, well a number except me, I prefer my own bed. The tent we picked up for Edmund belongs to James and James lives out near Hartebeespoort Dam beyond the Boerewors Curtain. It was a nice drive up into the countryside on a Friday morning. Getting out and away from my computer did me good like margaritas and pizzas.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

All that Glitters

The Joburg Photowalkers are celebrating their second birthday this Sunday. Those who are interested the party will be at Kameraz. Not sure about Kameraz's payoff line "Kameraz kicks @&&". Yip we, the Joburg Photowalkers, have been at for two years now, walking the streets of Johannesburg and enjoying it. Wow time flies when you are having fun; from a handful of walkers to over 1,600 in two years we must be doing something right. The Joburg Photowalkers go to all interesting places in Johannesburg and meet strange and wonderful people including this chap I found in Killarney. The Joburg Photowalkers are out to prove that the streets of Johannesburg are paved with gold. We love you Jozi.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Happen

If by chance you happen to find a Vespa parked in your garage, and the keys happen to be in the ignition, and your riding gear just happen to be on hand, and there happened to be a breakfast run, would you go? That is how Magda managed to plant the seed for her husband, Martin to happen to get a Vespa and join her on the Vespa rides. Yes that is our Magda and today it is her 28th birthday, well let's just leave it at that. She is still as beautiful and not showing her age. I joined her, friends and family at our favourite Italian pizzeria, Lucio's. The Italians know the secret to staying young. That is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. Magda, remember in the end, it is not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Happy birthday my good friend.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Firemen, macaws and duckies

Ek sê maybe life is coming round to donner me a generation later but this oke is proud of how he turned out. Yes I am proud that I broke the mold. Who would have thought someone like me could come from the era of the Durban ducktails.

So who are the ducktails? Well remember the TV series called Sha Na Na. Well the music and looks was about as close these greasers came to the ducktails. Yes the caked back brylcreem hair and the cigarette packs rolled up into their white t-shirt sleeves were their distinctive dress code but this was a rebellious, hedonistic and apolitical subculture that was shaped by rock 'n roll and flick knives. They were known to be clean fighters and would never kick an opponent, unless he was down. My mom once told me of a story that a local Durban ducktail put razor blades on a children's slide. How true that is I am not sure but you get the idea that these weren't nice clean people as Sha Na Na depicted.

Talking about my mom, I am only now piecing the stories from the past. I haven't spoken to all parties involved and could have gotten it all wrong but this is what I have pieced together so far. My mom's brother Ronnie ran with the ducktails in Durban. I spent quite some time with him talking about Durban, the ducktails, firemen and my late father. I am not too sure if my dad was a ducktail but by association he was. Now where do firemen come in, you may ask. My dad was never a fireman due to contracting Rheumatic Fever at about 6 years of age but he must have worked in admin or stores to have access to firemen boots. Sadly that's my dad; he used to supply Ronnie and the ducktails with firemen's boots. Ronnie introduced my dad to my mom's sister and they went to the Friday and Saturday dance sessions and of course the bioscope. But somehow my very young mom and dad hit it off and I was the result. After they married my brother arrived.

Now this is where it all gets interesting. Not sure if it was out of love or necessity that my mom ran off with a fireman to Vereeniging or Vanderbijil. It was here in the Transvaal that she fell pregnant with my sister. My mom later returned to Durban and to my dad but not for long as she soon fell in love with another fireman who later became my step-dad. It was in this interim period that we kids found ourselves in an orphanage. Taken away by the state it was the only dark part of my youth and thankfully they had the foresight to keep the children together. Once my mother remarried we were returned to her. My stepdad was totally opposite from the ducktails. Clean cut, hard working and driving suped up Jaguar's to the Friday and Saturday dance sessions so they could pick fights with the ducktails. This was the start of my much disciplined era of my life. It was a hard time for us kids but that is another story to be told. All that is left to say is my dad later fathered two daughters and my mom another son.

So what got me thinking about the ducktails, firemen and my past? Was it this photograph of Phoenix, a Hahns Macaw or my depressive state? Like the mythical Phoenix, I proudly rose from the ashes of my broken past to become who I am today. I need to hold onto that as it keeps me knowing that there is a path set out for me. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I remember fondly in the early 90s finding a heart scratched in the concrete sidewalk along Point Road in Durban with JW loves MK and a date from the 60s. It made my heart leap knowing that it could have been my old man who scratched his love in wet concrete. Ducktails, firemen and phoenixes, yes I once was but now I am.

Good night, and grease for peace.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Just Before It Gets Dark

Here I stand, at the edge of the cliff. The ground between my toes starts crumbling. I want to step back but I am frozen. I am frozen with the thought of do I fall screaming and fighting or do I open my eyes to see what happens once I start to fall. Major Tom to Ground Control, my circuits dead, there's something wrong. Can you hear me Ground Control? I swop the words around hoping someone would notice.

This Monday started very blue for me but by afternoon some promise for the week started to show itself. A big thanks needs to go to Petra, for at a drop of a hat, fixed my suit pants. This song by Emmylou Harris just sums up my day as I sit on my porch with a beer in my hand watching the sun go down.

Just before it gets dark
When the light still hangs in the sky
The day's not quite gone
All its promises still in your eyes

Between the time your mother calls
And the time you put the ball away
There's a lifetime to be lived
And a world where every dream is here to stay

Just before the night comes
And you run back to the safety of your world
Just before it gets dark
You can believe in every story ever told

In those last precious moments
There's a beauty no one wants to give away
Well nothing lasts forever
But those moments keep forever far away

Just before it gets dark
Before you grow, before you're too old to pretend
Just before it gets dark
And you know your dreams will not come back again

Hold on
Hold on tight

And I promise you baby
It'll all be alright
I promise you baby
It'll all be alright

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Daddy's Blues

Matthew, these words painted as art here and famously quoted by Janis Joplin, a rock and soul singer from just before daddy's time, still beats true. From what I know of Janis, a lot of her life was split between trying to live up to her parents expectations of whom she should be and what her audience wanted and got. I want to say these words to you my boy, don't compromise yourself, it's all you have.

Matthew, don't follow my path, but learn from my mistakes. It might seem a bit early now but the choices you make will in the future affect your life. I want you to find your passion and follow your dream. Start looking now because finding your right path is priceless. Don't expect it to find you and don't think it doesn't matter. And remember what an old rocker once said don't compromise yourself, it's all you have. I love you Matt.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Painball

Today I marshaled at Jumper’s Lair for Maddog for the whole day and boy are my feet sore. I am not used to being on my feet for so long in the sun and dust. My first paintball marshalling session was with a team building exercise from a company called Eagle something or other. It must be the sun that has affected my memory but I remember they where affiliated with Continental Tyres. One of the players from this team building exercise said "Eish! It must be called painball not paintball" after he was shot close range in the SWAT House. After a long day in the sun and dust even Angel, shown here, was struggling to smile but smile she did after threatening her with putting up another photo of her scrunching up her face. Painball is the name of the game but fun it is.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ripple

As Dakota speaks these following words in the series Taken, it sort of starts to make sense. What makes us human? That we can think? That we can feel sorrow and pain? Maybe. That we can laugh? I hope so. We can hurt or we can laugh, and we know our past and our present, and in some ways, the future. Maybe what makes us human is that we know just enough to think we know where we're going.

I roll these words through my head as The Grateful Dead play on my stereo. What makes us human? At first it seems easy to answer but as I ponder deeper, I begin to wonder maybe it is empathy or maybe it is because we have a soul.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

And then back to Taken. The world is made up of the big things and the small ones. And the part that's so unfair is that we call them 'big' and 'small' because when something happens to you, when you lose something or someone that your really care about, that's all there is. The world may be blowing up around you, but you don't care about that. You don't care about that at all.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

At the edge of the Abyss

The song Master Jack by the Four Jacks and a Jill is playing in my head as I look back on this strange day at the edge of the abyss. It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack. The song does not quite fit the sombre mood but this one line is playing over and over again.

I had an important job interview this afternoon and I slowly prepared for it during the morning but I wasn't prepared for the disasters that were thrown in my path. As I finished dressing in my suit, I realised I could not find the tie that went the shirt I had chosen to wear. As a matter of fact I could not find any ties. I started a search from one side of the cottage to the other but no ties surfaced. Now I was getting worried. The ties must still be packed in one of the boxes in storage. I phoned a friend hoping he would have a tie to match my shirt. But he didn't so we decided to go buy a tie. Getting into the car to rush to the shops I found the tie I wanted to wear in the back of the car. Relief, now I could relax and recollect my thoughts, but another curve ball was thrown in my path, this time a deadly serious one.

Just as I was about to leave my phone rang, it was my sister Theresa in Nelspruit. She was phoning me to inform me that one of my brothers had just tried to commit suicide by swallowing pills and that he was in ICU in Nelspruit. It was like a blow in the solar plexus that came out of nowhere. I was not ready for this and actually lost it.

The news from Nelspruit is that he is in a coma but stable. Please pray for him. Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds the resources for coping with the pain.

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