Friday, May 27, 2011

Coz the art of losing isn't hard to master...

I don't know what is it about winter and donuts. A slight drop in temperature and I need to have one, desperately. You'd swear that I've never seen a donut before, or that we've been going through a donut famine... but I'm strangely compelled by something larger than my stomach and ego put together. I suspect that it's a recessive bear-gene and the need to hibernate. You should see me on one of my donut hunting expeditions. It's like watching an episode of Tarzan and Jane. And I'm not Jane.

But come Summer, and I'll be like "Donut? What's that?". Total denial.

So, we've gone from high's of 25°C (77F) on Tuesday to 13°C (55F) two days later. Winter has finally arrived, a little later than usual, making her grand entrance and announcing her stay for the next four months. That's four months of deceptively bright brilliantly blue skies and 10 hours of pure sunlight every day. We have exceptionally beautiful winter days... they're like the beautiful evil bitches of a movie: captivating but deadly. And generally the more beautiful the day, the colder it is.

No matter how deceptively beautiful our winter days are, I still don't like them. I only ever like winter when I'm in the Northern Hemisphere. I prefer grey clouds. Lots of them. That way, you know what to expect. There's no empty promises there. During my stay in London, my body had acclimatized itself, and any day it was 13°C was considered a warm day fit for a picnic and I'd usually leave all the polar-bear apparel at home and enjoy the "warmth". Here, it's 13°C and we're dying, wearing everything that we can find, except Mother's curtains.

Amsterdam was worse. A midday high of -6°C (21F). In hindsight, it wasn't that bad. It's amazing what you can become accustomed to, and all you have to do is want to become accustomed to it. In fact, we became so used to the -6°C (21F) weather, that when we went to Paris and it was all of 6°C (42F), it was HOT! I can specifically remember complaining about how HOT it was!

I think what makes South African winters unpleasant is that we don't have the infrastructure to accommodate this kind of weather because we never needed it before. The result is that central heating is a foreign concept, not a standard. But with changing global weather patterns, our once mild winters are becoming a thing of the past and from tonight, we dip into sub-zero territory with -2°C (28F) as a minimum.

But aside from the cold, my number one problem with winter is the donuts. And my compulsions aren't limited to donuts alone. Basically, you can add any item under the category of "FOOD". Junk food in particular. It's like I don't eat the entire year just so that I can make up for it between May and August every year. And it's such total rubbish innit. I mean, there are people out there that can't keep warm in this miserable weather, and I'm complaining because I can't keep my mind of donuts!

It is quite ironic that I don't feel the same way in the Northern Hemisphere though. I've been feeling so nostalgic today, it's sickening sentimental poo.

I woke up this morning with a bloodshot right eye. I freaked out. "Please don't be conjunctivitis" I thought to myself. The last thing I need right now is to add conjunctivitis to my growing list of ailments. I still haven't recovered from my little waltz with Bronchitis and I was advised that it would be in my best interests to stay wrapped up indoors until all traces of it have absconded for better bacterial infection prospects elsewhere.

It was good advice seeing as I had 3 different family members in hospital with Bronchial-Pneumonia and several others confined to their beds; bonding, making new friends and forming wonderful relationships with their pillows and duvets. And I've been playing by the rules. I even declined fellow SA blogger Uzayr's invitation to meet up with some of his friends. He wasn't too pleased, must've thought I had a stick up me arse.

I just returned from a funeral. I'm still in shock. She was an aunt in my extended family, contracted Bronchial-Pneumonia a few weeks ago, was hospitalized and passed away suddenly. She was barely 40 years old. This is the second funeral in my extended family in the last month. The last one was also related to Bronchial-Pneumonia. It was also sudden, a shock. He was 16. There are 2 others still in hospital, although one seems to be recovering.

I feel somewhat paralysed. I don't know if it's because of the shock and the sudden-ness of it all, or if it's because I've become so numb to the idea of death, that I can't grieve. I've tried to understand death before. I've spent hours, days, weeks thinking about it... rationalizing, debating, trying to comprehend. I've even invited death over for tea to contemplate and ponder over the nature of loss. But for all my knowledge, it's still something I cannot fathom. I cannot wrap my mind around it. The concept eludes me. It's like I'm living in perpetual denial without my consent. I'm confounded. I'm dumbfounded.

I will miss her.

إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّ ـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ - Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un "Surely we belong to God and unto Him we shall return" (Qur'an 2: 156)

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
 ~ One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coz to live is to suffer...

To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness...

Sounds like to Live is to suffer.

In other news... can anyone tell me what is the name of this place pretty please with a cherry on top?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Coz the end is nigh...

I was quite disappointed when the world didn’t end on Saturday. Not that predicting The Rapture to occur on the 21st May 2011 meant that the world was about to end. But if popular interpretation of the biblical account in Thessalonians 4:15–17 is correct, it meant that all the good people had left the earth and ascended into the air to meet Jesus (lucky gits), leaving the rest of the sinners to dwell on earth, if I’m not mistaken.

If this is true, then I guess I must be one of the heathens... aka Satan’s kin. Damn and here I thought I was trying to be a better person and that it would perhaps count for something. I do however find it amazing that in a chaotic world where religious conflict reigns, the one thing that most religious clergymen can agree upon is that The End is indeed near.

I for one, was mildly devastated and sorely disappointed that there was no big Apocalyptic ending. I’d been looking forward to it since... well, forever really. Or maybe it’s already happened and I’m already in Hell. It certainly won’t be the first time that I seriously considered the possibility of my reality being one of the many levels or dimensions of the eternal blazing inferno.

Speaking of Hell. I’ve been watching Supernatural for some time now. Fascinating show it is, and that Dean Wincester is very funny (and handsome too - but that’s a whole other story). If you know your Eschatology and Demonology, you’ll find the show to be amazingly accurate. And of course, I’m not talking about those details the producers have altered for entertainment value.
I should point out though - for those who aren’t analytically inclined and lack the required background information on various Eschatological beliefs from various religions when making such observations - that the various characters and events depicted in each episode are symbolic and represent different people and predictions found in numerous Eschatological interpretations in almost every religion. But for the most part, it’s surprisingly accurate. Someone at Time Warner has been doing their homework.

What I do find intriguing in the series is Hollywood’s depiction of God and the Devil. It’s intriguing in the sense that they’re always pitted against each other on the same level. It’s like they’ve been granted equal status in the eyes of Hollywood’s version of Man… it’s God versus the Devil... good versus evil and a fight to the death. There seems to be no indication that according to *almost* every religion on earth, it was in fact God that created the Devil, hence good created evil… and God Almighty has the power to wipe Satan off the Universe's map whenever He wants to - which ultimately gives God the eternal upper hand now innit. And in that sense, the show is ludicrous and most of those CW Exec’s know that the only reason we’re there is to gaze at Dean Wincester’s jaw line and listen to his hilarious quips and snide remarks.

But the show is brilliant in that it maintains an authenticity by ensuring that most of their story-lines coincide (and overlap) with existing information and depictions of events from various Eschatological beliefs in several different religions. And the psychoanalytic detail used to define the relationship and the bond between the brother’s and their relationships with the world at large, as well as how their knowledge and work has impacted on their lives, makes for compelling viewing. I quite enjoy reading books and watching movies or series’ with rich characters that overlap each other in a psychologically complex layered tapestry – because the truth is that within the fabric of society, people in general (and their stories) are never as simple and uncomplicated as they portray themselves to be.

Anyways, I was chatting to my Dad recently and he whole heartedly believes that Lady Gaga is the Devil incarnate. I won’t agree nor will I disagree, even though I know almost all the words to most of her songs. However, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s not the likes of Gaga or Miss Britney Spears that we have to worry about. They’re much like Obama in a sense... just a mighty distraction... puppets see and there’s someone else there behind the scenes pulling all the strings. A murderer doesn’t dress up like a murderer with a badge that says "Hello, I'm a Murderer" – he’ll be the nice chap next door that you think you can trust with your life. And it’s not like the Devil is going to pop out from the under the bushes saying “Peek-a-Boo-guess-Whoo”.

In Afrikaans there’s a saying: “Stille water diepe grond, onder draai die duiwel rond”... roughly translated as “still waters, deeper ground, the devil stirs beneath”, meaning that still waters run deep and that things / people are never what they seem because they will never reveal their true identities, and there’s always three sides to a story. There'll always be something dark and sinister brewing when you least expect it.

The way I see it, the world is not what it used to be. So much has changed in such a short span of time and it makes me wonder if the world could change that drastically in the past two decades, what do the next two decades ahead have in store of us? I don’t even want to know. The End is not only near, but the Devil is alive and well within every one of us. In most cases, we are our own worst enemies… prisoners of our own desires… victims of our own doings. And perhaps it’s time for us to stop looking outside at everyone else wondering what kind of Christians / Hindus / Muslims / Jews our neighbour’s are, and reflect on the kind of  human beings WE should be.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Coz I'm sicker then your average...

Well, whatever is contributing to my putrid state of health, it's definitely not emotional. I think the emotions are a by-product... kinda like when they cut the leaves of the coca tree to make cocaine... or something like that. Turns out, I have Bronchitis. And if I'm not careful, that could lead to Pneumonia and a hospital bed.

But all that didn't stop me from my latest (ongoing) escapades.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it’s his eyes. But the thing is, I do know better. And sometimes I even know too much for my own damn good.

But before I continue, let’s get one thing straight. Fantasy is not my genre. Neither is Sci-Fi and the like. I prefer the real world during my bouts of escapism or during one of my delusional episodes – or as close to the real world as one can get. That said, The Vampire Diaries (TVD) was not on the top of my list of shows that I have to watch before I die. My fascination with Hollywood’s take on Vampires and Demons died when Buffy left Sunnydale and Angel was about to fight to his death in a grand apocalyptic ending. As it is, I deal with enough real-life Demons.

But TVD is a little different. It came highly recommended by one of my cousins and after yawning my way through the first few episodes, I became hooked (like those Bolivians who chew on them Coca leaves). I must admit that I didn’t like Damon Salvatore much during those first few episodes; I thought he was an obnoxious pompous arrogant ass and failed to see what was so wonderful about him. But then, the storyline took a curve, and we all got to see the real Damon Salvatore... the tough unyielding exterior masking a tortured wounded soul... the once good guy that becomes evil... much like Anakin Skywalker (not that I ever watched Star Wars... just saying).

And believe me, there’s nothing a woman likes more than a bad boy with redeemable qualities. We want to save him – save him from whatever ails him, save him from the darkness within himself... take him home and heal those wounds. Add to that, the man is more than just fine, he’s damn well BEAUTIFUL, and voila! He has majority of the female population utterly breathless, eating out of the palm of his hand. And every woman secretly believes that she’s THE ONE that can do that... she’s the one that can save him and make it alright and in return, he will love her eternally for it. And the same goes for our male counterparts.

It’s such bullshit innit. And yet it’s true. As people, we’re wired to want to save each other and expect to be compensated for it with appreciation and ardour. It gives our lives some kind of warped purpose or meaning.   It goes without saying that every single female I know that watches The Vampire Diaries, all feel the same about Damon Salvatore. He is utterly delectable. There aren’t many people out there that I find inspirational or that stir my senses in admiration and I find that I often want to – and I quote – “BAKE him naked and eat him for dessert”!!! He inspires such passionate sentiments because I – like all the other females that have observed him intently on TVD – believe that I can save him.

BUT... and it’s a huge but; the same can’t be said about the actor that plays Damon Salvatore, a one Ian Somerhalder. It takes a particular amount of intelligence to recognise that while Ian Somerhalder IS Damon Salvatore, Damon Salvatore ISN’T Ian Somerhalder! They’re completely different people and Ian is nothing like Damon. Ian wants to save the Polar Bears. Damon wants to eat them. Sure, they're both still gorgeous specimens worthy of our devotion... but there isn’t that perfunctory broodi-ness that makes Damon, DAMON.

Who can forget that beautiful scene between Damon and Rose... oh man, I needed therapy after that scene. If there is ever a scene from television that I will remember forever, it will be that moment, when he held her as she died. It's the single most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed on television, EVER. Man I want to cry just thinking about it!

Anyways, and so it happened. Last week Tuesday evening, while I was reveling in my nausea, I happened to come across some information that indicated that Ian Somerhalder was on his way to South Africa. Being the sceptic that I am, I chose not to take it too seriously and then, I was met with the following information on Twitter, as soon as he tweeted it on Wednesday morning:

He’s here to shoot a documentary with a “friend”, in the African bush apparently. Of course, I was elated. If I played my cards right, I’d finally have the chance to speak to Damon... obviously after insisting that Ian talk to me the way that Damon would. I even imagined what I’d say to him:

Me: Oh Damon, it’s not that I love you... it’s just that, I LOVE YOU!
Ian: My name is Ian.
Me: Whatever you say Damon.
Ian: You mean Ian.
Me: Anything for you Damon...

And so I set out on the prowl, equipped with my camera and iron-clad will power, determined to find Ian Somerhalder so that I could hug him, kiss him on the cheek, pinch his bum and tell him that Damon is way hotter than he’ll ever be. After all, it isn’t rocket science and it’s quite possible to find almost anyone in this technologically advanced age (and that’s why we don’t buy into the story of taking 10 years to find Osama).

I was lucky in that Mr. Somerhalder decided to do some sightseeing at Nelson Mandela Square where one of my friends spotted him with one of his friends looking at the statue of Nelson Mandela. She described him as “even better looking in real life” – as if! How could that possibly be?! Would that mean that I'd have to dig my fucking eyes out after looking at him?! Man, if I was hungry before, I was positively salivating at this news!! Dammit, Damon! So near, yet so far.

And so my mind went into overdrive and with the help of some other friends in *ahem* higher places, I found out which hotel they were booked into. To think that Damon Salvatore is but a mere 15 minutes away from me, sleeping under the same starry sky, breathing in the same air?!?! It made me postal!! Scrambling around, thinking of every single thing I’d need to make my dream come true... my rollerblades – check; handcuffs – check... And then it struck me, I had the sudden urge to star in my very own Wildlife documentary. I reckoned I just needed to practice my growl and get a bear suit. I was more motivated and determined then Tony Robbins in my quest to look Ian Somerhalder in the eye and compel him to channel his inner Damon.

But it all fell apart when in my excitement, I failed to notice that my body had betrayed me. The nausea had returned with a vengeance and with it, a severe bout of heaving in its wake; along with what felt like several kittens clawing their way out of my throat, a fever so high it could melt those polar caps and oxygen that burned through my lungs. Busses could have ran over me, I wouldn’t have known. I was devastated! I didn't want Damon to see me and my pukey face! I didn’t even have the energy to carry myself – never mind a one Ian Somerhalder in handcuffs. Oh the thought!

Ever the optimist, I decided to let Ian be and took to my bed where I spent the next few days holed up in oblivion. It didn’t matter though because by Friday morning, he was already in the bushes of Africa... busy shooting this documentary; and by Wednesday / Thursday of this week, he’ll be in New York City (see what a fantastic stalker am I? CIA should hire me, seriously).

I did find it very amusing how people interpreted my shenanigans on Facebook and Twitter. For instance, most females could relate to my excitement and were very supportive in that regard. And most of the guys were somewhat silently jealous... most even assuming that I’d want to shag the guy. And this right here, is the fundamental difference between males and females. See with males, everything is about competition and sex. And how foolish they are to assume that it’s the same with women – or should I say, how foolish some women have been to perpetuate and endorse those false beliefs.

With women in general it’s different. With me in particular, it was never about shagging Damon Salvatore. Nothing good will ever come from having a one night stand with someone that you’re so infatuated with! It’s much much deeper than that. I want to OWN him. I want him to be MINE. I want to brush his hair and feed him grapes. I want him to call me during his blood-sucking breaks. I want to bake cookies for his Mother. I want to be the first woman he thinks of in the morning when he opens those gorgeous blue eyes. I want to make it all better and I want him to love me for it dammit, it's that simple!

But alas, it can never be – because Damon Salvatore does not exist. All we have is a lovely chap called Ian Somerhalder... a talented actor, environmentalist extraordinaire, saver of the world's rainforest's and chimps. Mind, he is lovely. And he does make me want to save all the bears and dolphins and hippos.

All's not lost though. There’s still a chance to meet this Ian Somerhalder. As it is, he's back in Johannesburg right NOW! ;D

*Blog title a play on Craig David's "Slicker than your average" - alluding to my current state of health & even sicker state of mind =P

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coz there's so much to learn from the animal kingdom...

I’ve spent the better part of the last week feeling like death served on a platter with two scoops of ice-cream. I can’t quite explain it but if I had the flu, I’d be glad because then at least I’d know what’s wrong and how to self-medicate. But instead, it’s a sick feeling; like I ate something dodgy, accompanied with an overwhelming sense of nausea.

I relayed this information to my cousin Melanie at a baby shower for a mutual friend. She immediately suggested that I could be pregnant. What is it with the word nausea and people’s predilection to assume it’s always related to pregnancy? And so I told her what I usually tell everyone is such instances: “If I’m pregnant then you better get a fucking manger and call The Three Wise Men, because you know Jesus is coming”.

But things didn’t get better as the day progressed and by late afternoon of the next day, I found myself suffering with a pounding headache. I didn’t take much note at first, but when the pounding began to feel like someone was nailing my head to a cross, I popped two painkillers. But alas, I was too late and was brutally attacked by the Mother of all Migraines that left me recoiling on the floor, fingers grasping at my head, humming to myself to ease the pain... a straight-jacket away from looking like some nutter in a madhouse.

Ever the fatalist, I wondered when death would envelope me. It’s not that I’m afraid to die, it’s just that I’m afraid of where I’m going to afterwards - the deep depths of the unknown. Then I wondered what the Angel of Death looked like... y’know, in case he showed up and I mistook him for the Postman or the Pizza Delivery Guy. I wondered if I would even see him, given that the severity of the pain had blurred my vision.

At some point I must have gotten up because through the tiny slits of my semi-closed eyes, I saw myself walking towards a white light. It illuminated my blurred vision and became brighter as I moved closer. And then I felt my forehead slam into the concrete lamp shade. Damn, no door to heaven for me.

I was soon rescued by my sister who poured hot water into a bowl with some eucalyptus oil and had me inhale the fumes with a towel wrapped over my head. And in no time, the Migraine subsided and I was put to bed with a few painkillers in my system.

I still haven’t recovered completely though. The nausea continues to linger, like a nightmare waiting to happen. And I refuse to see a Doctor. Searching for a good Doctor in this place is like looking for a Siberian Tiger. You know they exist, but they’re very rare and will be extinct soon. I’d much rather die than waste any more money on another useless git that can’t do anything for me - that’s just too happy to waste my time by diagnosing illnesses that I don’t have, administering tests that I don’t need or prescribing medication that I already have. Because we once had Doctors who genuinely cared about the welfare of their patients, now all they care about is how much money they can squeeze out of you.

For a brief moment, I wondered if my physical state of being was in any way related to my mental or emotional state. Not that I’m stressed or depressed, but one never really knows when it comes to the subconscious mind. It reminded me of something that I read recently on this blog. It was about an article written in the New York Times in 2004, about the loneliest whale in the world:

Scientists have been tracking her since 1992 and they discovered the problem: She isn’t like any other baleen whale. Unlike all other whales, she doesn’t have friends. She doesn’t have a family. She doesn’t belong to any tribe, pack or gang. She doesn’t have a lover. She never had one. Her songs come in groups of two to six calls, lasting for five to six seconds each. But her voice is unlike any other baleen whale. It is unique—while the rest of her kind communicate between 12 and 25hz, she sings at 52hz. You see, that’s precisely the problem. No other whales can hear her. Every one of her desperate calls to communicate remains unanswered. Each cry ignored. And, with every lonely song, she becomes sadder and more frustrated, her notes going deeper in despair as the years go by. Just imagine that massive mammal, floating alone and singing—too big to connect with any of the beings it passes, feeling paradoxically small in the vast stretches of empty, open ocean.

How beautiful. How fucking depressing. I really feel for this whale though. Life can be cruel to some and we’ll often find that people prefer Dolphins to Whales, in much the same way that they prefer Butterflies to Moths. We like pretty, deceptive things innit. No one wants the truth. No one wants something real. And so most prefer to live in the crevices of their minds, playing Jesus to the lepers in their heads.

But if only they could see... that those masquerading Dolphins are nothing but Gay Sharks in open waters. There’s so much we humans can learn from the animal kingdom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coz I only have two questions...

10 years;  2 wars;  919 967 deaths;  and $1 188 263 000 000 later...

1.) So how long until we find the Weapons of Mass Destruction?
2.) And how long until all the troops are allowed to go back home?

The essence of every religion and belief lies within these words:-

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of others; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12: 1, 2, 9-18

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." -- Martin Luther King, Jr