Thursday, December 23, 2010

I can honestly say...

I have never been so in love before!
This, dear friends, is my very first post from my brand new MacBook Air.
I bought it! Yes, I did!
I could try to be all modest and coy about it but, quite frankly, what would be the point of that?
It's so sleek and sexy and beautifully AppleMac that you simply cannot try to be all modest about it.
It's the Ferrari of laptops... And I own it. Along with more than enough 3G internetty-goodness than I will EVER be able to use up from month to month.
This is the point where I "get real" with myself and give myself a quick, stiff kick in the pants.
For bloody AGES now I've been whining on and on about the fact that this was supposed to be my Big Tiger Year. As usual, I was totally up my own arse about shit that was so stupid and small and insignificant. Yet, AS USUAL, I failed to take into consideration that The Big Guy In The Sky (TBGITS) RARELY gives us things the way WE ask for them... I THOUGHT I wanted a certain thing... But my Goodness. I could not have been more WRONG about what I needed/wanted, or thought I loved.
Over this year TBGITS has cleared from my path all of the stumbling blocks that were put in my way and has blessed me with the life/things/people that I never dreamed I needed but now I know I could NEVER live without.
True friends who never forget every detail, even when I choose to block those pesky details out. Family bonds so rich and diverse, I don't have the brain capacity to take it all in. Things. THINGS like this new laptop and my new car and my new amazing career opportunity... We're always taught not to love THINGS because you may never have the ones you really want. The good ol' Christian "oh well, I guess it wasn't in God's plan for me to have this stuff..." story. But, my word, things are so nice and sometimes TBGITS actually WANTS to give them to you. Call me superficial... But then. You'd have to call yourself superficial too, because you know you want them too.
So now I'm finally off to bed after spending AGES messing around on my Mac.
It's Christmas Eve tomorrow and we'll be shutting down early and coming home to our families. But I won't be out of touch. If there's anything special I'd like to say, I'll do it immediately. I can now. The slick new love of my life will be here waiting to beam my stories directly to you.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WHA'? HEY?! Where am I??!

So... I've been at Paton Tupper for a week now and if you haven't heard from me, dear bloggers, it's because I've been busy APPLYING MYSELF! Finally... :)
I joke. I always apply myself, dummies.
I've just been putting my head down and getting into the vibe... Learning new ways of doing things.
I'm not gonna lie: It's been a long, tough year. November was just insane, trying to get as much done as possible at Public Address. And now we're in December, and Paton Tupper is still COOKING when it comes to the work flow. So, yeah. no rest for the wicked, as they say. I'm quite desperate for the holidays to get here.
To top things off, I've offered to help the kiddies at church with the Nativity play... WHAT WAS I THINKING?
Just to put you in the picture, this is how rehearsals went down a week ago: The Three Wise Men ripped the head off Baby Jesus and pulled all his stuffing out. And Angel Gabriel (who kindly sponsored her dolly to play Baby Jesus) had a total meltdown. There was one little girl who just ran, TOP SPEED and screaming on top of her voice, from one side of the stage to the other and back again. For 20 minutes.
Just running.
And screaming.
I never thought I'd want to punch a child before, but now that I know what I'm capable of feeling, maybe it's a good thing I haven't had kids. Yet.
We practiced for less than 15minutes and it was GAME OVER! I went home to my parents’ place, swallowed 2 painkillers and 2 tranquilizers, slept for 3 hours, got up and got dressed and went straight to the office to put in ±5hours worth of much needed overtime.
This week's rehearsals went better. Nobody got the stuffing kicked out of them this time, but we did discover that one of the shepherds is a farter and now the other kids won't sit next to him. *sigh*
That's what I've been preoccupied with for the past few weeks, so please be patient with me if I don't update the ol' bloggeroo as often as I'd like to. I'll get better at it, promise.

On my last day at Public Address, I was so teary and emotional, that I knew I wouldn't be able to deliver a sob-free farewell speech, so I decided to put it all into a loooooooooooooooong email that I sent out to the staff as I exited the building. I thought I'd share it with you, in case you were interested. There are some nice historical bits about how we got started as an agency, as well as some guru-like advice on how to be the best you can be in the hectic world of advertising. Now that I'm reading it again after a whole long week, I can't help but have a chuckle at how freakin' sanctimonious it is in parts. But, hey! I guess along with the good times came a lot of tough times, and I obviously had a message to deliver to those that just weren't / aren't delivering. I suppose I just got really tired of the stress of running a business, of "paddling my own canoe", especially when not all or us were steering the canoe in the same direction. Not to mention the lazy ones that weren’t paddling at all, happy to just catch a free boat ride to who-knows-where? And others still, who were sneakily drilling holes in the canoe while the rest of us were paddling for our lives! So, here it is, my Jerry Maguire Manifesto. Enjoy:

So... I guess this is the part where I write my big farewell letter.
I’ve been composing it in my brain for weeks now, trying to think of what to say, and then I burst into tears, drink a bottle of wine and watch the National Geographic channel ‘til 2am, hoping it will all just disappear.
Here goes.
It started with Malibu-and-cokes at the Riverside Hotel on one of the most surreal Saturday’s of my life.
When the agency I’d been busting my butt for decided to kick me in the butt, Nic and Wayne said: “Fuck ‘em! You deserve better. Join us.”
It was an offer I, quite frankly, couldn’t refuse: The opportunity to work with Durban’s hottest advertising powerhouse duo (Wayne and Nic) as well as one of the most talented designers I’ve ever met (Reino).
From humble beginnings, trekking from Reino’s home office to Nic’s home office and back again, not even having enough office chairs to sit on so we could work together comfortably, we’ve grown to be the amazing advertising agency that we are.

I guess I should really start by thanking the people who’ve believed in us and help us make it happen...
Starting with Our Folks.

Poor Paul and Bev Potterton (Wayne’s folks) kindly rented us a part of their home to set up our first office. To thank them, we:

* Cursed and swore loudly amongst ourselves while they held their church meetings a mere 4meters away
* Ran over one dog
* Left the gate open so another dog could run away
* Fed yet another dog the “treat” of a bone that could have shattered in his tummy and put him in an early grave
* Constantly left our dirty dishes in their sink
* Steadily bored a series of holes in their new wooden floors with our designer heels
* Pissed off all the neighbours by RACING up and down the street (late for our meetings as always) to the point that Paul was getting death threats from some grumpy old dude down the street
* Invaded their privacy to the point that they could no longer take a romantic skinny dip in their own swimming pool for fear of us charging in at the most arb/obscure hours to work on something
* Played our “devil music” so loud, the devil himself could hear it clearly in the fiery pits of hell

The dogs farted.
Our clients farted.
Our suppliers fainted...
It was a circus!

We were really sad to leave Timavo, but I’m sure I heard champagne and celebration from inside Paul and Bev’s room.
All they got out of the deal was a huge amount owing on the rent and great big clumps of double-sided tape on the floors where we had tried to glue our fancy rug to the floor.
(WTF? Why did we try to glue the rug to the floor? What were we THINKING???!!)

So then we moved into the offices we’re in now.

I’ll never forget that first proud night, after we’d swept and dusted and arranged the desks and put all the new groceries into the kitchen cupboards...
Slowly everyone started to go home, and eventually it just Eric (my dad), Geraldine (my mom), Wayne and myself left behind.
And we got BLIND drunk. Blackout drunk. “Pee-in-your-pants-’cos-you-can’t-get-them-off-fast-enough” drunk.
The last thing I remember was curling up on the cold concrete floor in the middle of the studio (there were no chairs yet), trying to get some sleep. Eish.
The four of us refused to go home. We just kept talking and planning and dreaming about how AMAZING our agency was going to be...
Good times.

And I guess now would be a good time to thank my own folks for supporting and believing in the four partners, even though they’ve seen my ass in diapers, seen Reino and Wayne’s drunk asses at parties and... Hey! I guess Nic’s the only one who’s managed to maintain his dignity on the ass-bearing front. Or was I just not there that day?

Mom and dad:
Thanks for leaving your long-standing jobs at Ogilvy and TBWA (“That-Place-From-Whence-We-Ran-Screaming”) and taking a huge risk on us.
Thanks for dipping into your hard-earned retirement stash to help us pay salaries in the tough months.
Thanks for the leftover curries and for being the un-official Entertainment Committee, spoiling us CONSTANTLY, much to the detriment of my ever-expanding waistline.
Thanks for the expertise, knowledge and experience you’ve brought to our young agency.

In fact, now that I think about it... We’d been steadily bringing in new accounts and growing, but one of our earliest big breaks came from you, Mom. Remember?
My cousin phoned mom when she was still at Ogilvy to ask if she could recommend a good agency who could pitch on his business. She told him that I had just joined an incredible company called Public Address and gave him our number. We went on to win the ICESA pitch and the rest, as they say, is history.
It was a tough account. (Honestly? What account ISN’T?) But it was one of the big ones that helped us grow... Exponentially!
Thanks, Mom. Keep counting those beans. Every one of them matters in today’s tough economic climate!

A great, big thanks goes to each and every one of you who’s been on this journey with us. With me.
God help us, it’s been tough at times.
But we’ve never lost our sense of humour, our love of music, our determination, and we’ve never missed an opportunity to make fun of each other and ourselves!

I suppose this opportunity also calls for some “sage-like” advice from me to you, to make sure that our little agency continues to grow from strength to strength to become “The Biggest Ad Agency In Durban” as we’d drunkenly vowed that night we moved into Holwood Park. And to impart some of the wisdom I’ve acquired during my years so far in this ugly, cut-throat industry.

So, let me channel Mike Myers in The Guru and help you with some stuff, “you can’t face”:

1. Keep your eye on the prize and keep the silly games for the playground.
Far too many people in the agencies I’ve worked at have wasted valuable brain-space on plotting their next sneaky corporate move. You’ll find it gets you nowhere in the long run because everyone sees through you and the games eventually. Use that brain-space to think up new, innovative ways to make more money for the agency and, in turn, yourself.

2. Just be a good guy, for fucksake! It’s not hard to do.
Be honest and upfront with everyone you deal with. That way, you don’t have to waste valuable time trying to remember which lie goes where.
Have integrity. There’s a powerful saying that goes: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

3. If it’s a CAREER you’re after, use what’s between your ears and not what’s between your legs.
People who try to sleep their way to the top unfortunately never get further than the middle. Every single job (NOT blow jobs!) that lands on your desk, no matter how small, provides a valuable opportunity to prove your worth and to flex your brainpower. If you’re a writer, there’s ALWAYS a better word/phrase/way-to-say-it. So, take the time to craft your work. That goes for designers too. And for crying out loud, designers – LEARN HOW TO SPELL! (Just kidding! You know I love you. xox) Client Service team, remember that every brief you send out is not just an instruction to the studio; it’s a reflection of how YOU see YOURSELF as a professional. A brief that’s typed up poorly and simply “shat out”, sends the message that you don’t have the confidence or know-how to do better.
I believe in all of you... MAKE ME PROUD!

4. Never forget that your reputation precedes you in everything that you do!
This next bit might sound like I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but every word is true: I have never applied for a job. Ever.
Every job I’ve had in my career has been because somebody, somewhere needed a writer, heard about me and called me in to “have a chat”. Nobody’s perfect... EXPECIALLY NOT LITTLE OLD ME! But, just be the best you can be and people will see spot your passion from miles away.

5. Never forget to smile. It’s weird, but people seem to like that...
I’ll never forget when I was working in Taiwan we were told that the Chinese are big on “saving-face”. They never show negative emotions in public, and will often smile even when they’re telling you to go fuck yourself. It’s strange, but somehow you felt better going off to fuck yourself knowing that the instruction was delivered with a smile. *shrug*

6. Read more books... Seriously!

I guess all that’s left, is for me to say goodbye to my three boys. My brothers. My partners in all sorts of crime!
Wayne, Nic and Rein, I wrote this stuff in my letter of resignation to you a month ago but I think it’s worth reiterating:

Wayne - Your entrepreneurial spirit and courage have inspired me to take more risks in life, and to stop waiting in the shadows for something to fall my way. While my two brothers are off in Jhb chasing fame and fortune, you have been a true brother to me. I cannot imagine my days without our chats...
Reino - People come to work to make a living. It’s a rare bonus for one to come to work and to still make real friends along the way. You have become a friend that I will take along my life’s journey, no matter what.
And Nic - How do I begin to say goodbye? Your integrity is one of the cornerstones that this company had been built on. It’s no empty compliment when I say that, of every Creative Director I’ve ever worked with, none have come close to your creative and strategic mind. I have learnt so much from you, and I know that you still have so much more to teach that I will be missing out on. Even though I will be able to pay my bills now, my life will be poorer for not having you in the office next door every day.

My years at Public Address have been the best of my career. I’ve learnt so much. I’ve grown as a professional, a creative, copywriter and leader. I’ve learned to finally take ownership of the jobs that land on my desk and to work, to the best of my ability, to deliver creative that is relevant, quirky and that cuts through the clutter.
Please send me regular updates with pics of the kids... I will miss my little family so much. It kills me that I’m not going to see the little ones as often as I’d like. They’re my babies too!

So cheers, Lords of Roxtown...

See you on the dance floor!

All my love,

Friday, November 19, 2010

So, here's what's been happening...

Where do I start?
Maybe a good start would be with a small apology to my loyal readers for not updating my blog as often as I should. Both of you (see previous post) were pretty peeved! *snort*
But I’m hoping to make it up to you with loads of juicy gossip, tasteless innuendo (in-YOUR-end-oh!) and tons of graphic updates of my life that you can live vicariously through… When those kinds of things happen. All I can say in my defense is that, so much has been going on in the life of Carmy Gabriel, that I really haven’t had much of a moment to myself to put it all on paper. Just between the three of us, I just got royally kak-ed on for not doing something, that someone thought I should’ve done, when they didn’t know that I had done it already ages ago… Blah, blah blah!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Take a few steps back, Gabriel, and tell it like it is.
Since my folks’ scary hijacking a lot has happened in our lives… The first major thing I guess, is that I bought my very FIRST car out the box. My old VW Polo was about 3 years old when I bought her, and she was the love of my life. But it’s been a big ol’ dream of mine to own a brand new car, one that’s never been driven by anyone else before… One that smells of new leather and car polish. Yum! As it happens, by folks finally got paid out by the insurance people and were looking for a car to replace the stolen one. My brother owns a Renault, one of those super sporty ones (2 door, V6, only 15 of them in the country), and has been telling us for AGES that they’re the best cars around. So, when the folks saw an ad in the paper for a special offer on the new Renault Logan they decided to go in for a test drive. Me, being the nosy bitch that I am, simply had to tag along to see what the car was all about. Little did I know that I’d be signing on the dotted line for my own silver one the very next day. Here’s my new baby:

Check out the specs here friends.

I’ve called him The Wolverine… (Logan? Silver like the blades? Geddit?)
He’s a lot more “grown up” than the kind of car I’m used to (sedan vs hatchback) and I wasn’t planning on buying a new car until next year some time. But it was such an awesome deal and such incredible performance / bang for your buck (as you can see from the specs) that I really couldn’t resist. To sweeten the deal, the amazing folks at Renault even threw in the cream leather interior. Finally! My brand new car, out the brand new box, with the brand new smell of leather!
He runs like a freakin’ wild wolf in a freakin’ crazy forest with a freakin’ insane GROWL ripping out of his freakin’ chest! RRRROOOOOWWWWRRRR!
Ok… Maybe he’s a little tamer than that. He’s a lover not a fighter, my Wolverine, but don’t you ever back this baby into a corner. He’ll rip your head off if he has to! :)
Let’s see… What happened next?
I had a birthday. If it wasn’t for my cousins Jarrod and Nadia, my brothers’ expensive taste and for the book clubs girls, it would have been just another shitty birthday. Jazz and Nadia spoiled me rotten with about 2 tons of sushi and several gallons of white wine. My brothers bought me a very fancy camera because they know how trigger-happy I can get when “the light is right”. And the girls bought me the most amazing gifts. They know me well! There wasn’t a single thing I’d exchange or not use. Everything was perfect.
Oh! Then my folks decided to renew their wedding vows at our church when their new wedding rings arrived from the jeweller / insurance people. Thirty seven years together and they STILL wanted to make it official. Again! It was very sweet. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church that day as they stood at the altar to take their vows. Mom had pale lemon orchids in her wedding bouquet 37 years ago, so they were the logical choice for the flowers she would wear in her hair this time around. Dad wore one his coat lapel. I was emotional but tired, the super sweet smell of the 100 cupcakes I’d baked and decorated the night before still stinging my nose and clinging to my skin. Mom ordered hundreds of pale cream petit fours as the “wedding cake”. We piled them onto my grandmother’s 3-tiered cake stand, a priceless family heirloom that now resides with Proud Me. It was a wonderful morning of smiles and happy tears and promises of forever and champagne and family and friends and sore feet and laughing kiddies and sugary icing everywhere including my hair… It was several weeks ago already and it’s still the hot topic of conversation when we get together over Sunday lunch.

I was richly rewarded for my efforts on the day (and my support through the tough time of the hijacking)… Even though I insisted that they didn’t, my incredible mom and dad treated me to a stunning smoky topaz cocktail ring and used their jewellery connections to get me a great deal on another little diamond treat I’ve had my eye on for ages. So, yes, I’m both a nosy bitch AND a spoilt bitch. But then we all knew that already. Moving on.
Then what? Erm…
Little Baby Tannah had her blessing last week and I was her parents’ choice to lead the day’s formalities. She’s a lot bigger now than she was in the invitation pics, so here’s a pic of her at Grandpa’s house with the cutest little pink bow in her hair…

Lorraine and Robin must’ve been in the ultimate, prime Karma Sutra position on that fateful night to produce a child this cute. I’m going to have to ask them for some tips if/when it’s my turn. Her grandpa showed me one of his baby pics when I was there for the blessing and… wow! I never knew that kind of cloning was possible. She is the IMAGE of her Gramps. Too cute.
And finally… I’ve saved the biggest news for last!
On the 1st November I handed in my letter of resignation to my three other partners at Public Address. The amazing folks over at Paton Tupper have made me a wonderful offer that I simply couldn’t refuse. For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that this was a bitter-sweet change for me, saying goodbye to the agency that I’ve helped build from the ground up. We’ve come through some seriously tough times together and partied our asses off together during the good times, so the three boys (Wayne, Nic and Rein) have become brothers to me. I’ve learnt so much and grown so much as a writer, professional, leader, advertising creative, woman and friend, that even the tough times could never be wrenched from my tightly-clenched grubby paws.
But I felt like the time had come for a new set of challenges and a new beginning for Carmy Gabriel. I leave behind my family at Public Address (literally – my mom and dad still work there!) and some of the most amazing friends I’ve made in my lifetime… But then, have I really left them behind if they’re literally just up the road from the new place (like, 2kms away) and they’ll always be in my heart? Forever.
Incidentally... If you've been paying attention, this is why I was getting kak-ed on earlier. I've promised the Public Address guys I'll get as much of my work done as possible before I leave, but I guess I hadn't realised how much I'd have to take care of. Yikes. I'm getting there!
Paton Tupper, here’s to new friendships and even more stuff to build from the ground up. I’m scared, nervous and excited all at the same time. I feel like I have a lot to prove to show the new guys that I’m worth every penny they’re investing in me. Just the other night I had a nightmare that it was my first day there and the building had moved and I got completely late and lost trying to find it. When I eventually found the building I parked on the wrong end and had to walk for miles before I found where I’d be sitting. And yes, when I looked down, I wasn’t wearing any pants. (*sonofabitch*) It was one of THOSE dreams! I’m 36 and I still get nervous about the first day of school, hey?!
Here’s to new amazing beginnings for me! Maybe my Year of the Tiger has turned out to be amazing beyond my wildest dreams after all…


I get it!
I've been really bad with the blogging.
Here's what Nadia had to say a few weeks ago:

Dry. Short. To the point...

And here's Terri's latest edition of "Life's Biggest Annoyances":

Same basic message, but a little more elaborate in execution.

The slap on the wrist has been accepted. I've sat on the naughty chair and thought about my bad behaviour and now I'm ready to make amends.
Amazingness to follow!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's going on with world today?

In a completely unexpected twist to The Everyday, my parents were robbed at gunpoint in their home a few nights ago. Here’s the story…
Every-so-often, at the end of a hard day, my mom, dad and I decide that we’ve “had enough” and “we deserve to treat ourselves” to a special restaurant dinner. In truth, more often than not, we’re really just in the mood for something other than the usual grilled-chicken-breast-and-green-salad that I torture myself with every night, and the-breyani-that-just-won’t-go-away that my parents torture themselves with every night. (Breyani is the kind of dish you cook to feed a family of ten, or a wedding reception of five hundred. If you cook a SMALL breyani on a Sunday, you can expect to eat it for at least a week. *groan*)
So on Tuesday, we went off to the Cape Fish Market for a sushi / bento box / whatever-the-special-is dinner. Whenever we’re together we have a good time, my mom, dad and I. We drank wine. We debated what makes a good fish soup. I treated them to their first ever Original Martini. (My parents don’t usually do cocktails, so this was special.) And we talked for ages about how sad it was that Elvis died the way he did. (Martini = Elvis = WTF happened to Elvis??!)
Eventually, reluctantly, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
Being the crime-plagued South Africans that we are, we’ve made it our tradition that we call each other the moment we get home to make sure that everyone’s safe. Seeing as I’m just four minutes from the restaurant, I thought I’d give them some time to get home (±20mins) and called Rockstar. He’d been trying to call and I was completely oblivious, scoffing tuna and swilling martinis at the restaurant. We chatted for a bit and said our goodbyes, and after a while I realised that my folks hadn’t called. (“Maybe they’d stopped for petrol or bread for their lunches the next day. I’d give them the benefit of the doubt! Don’t I HATE it when the immediately assume that I’m dead if I don’t call them in 10 minutes, flat?”)
Never in a million years did I think that my phone would ring (an unknown number) and my mom’s neighbour would hand her phone to my dad to tell me that they’d been robbed at gunpoint in our family home as they arrived from the restaurant.
My mind went blank. I thought about “the long drive” from my house to theirs. I could hear the neighbours talking to the cops in the background and imagined how I’d be getting in the way. I couldn’t make the mind leap from “oops” to “WTF”. It all seemed inconvenient, surreal, unnecessarily unfair…
Unfair on me.
It was my brothers, a million miles away, who shocked me to my senses over the phone and made me get behind the wheel and drive to them.
Their street was full of cars when I got there. The electronic gate wasn’t working when I hit the remote. A cop told me that the security company had pulled it off the rails so that they could get in. The neighbours stood in dark corners with serious looks on their faces, some of those faces not instantly recognisable after years of ignoring each other in the street over stupid petty shit. I looked up in the poor lighting, saw dad and said hello. When he came into view, it was his brother. My godfather, looking drawn and pale. And the whole time the disbelief turned to fear one heartbeat at a time.
I saw my mom first… We gave each other our special wry-smile-look; the one that says: *sigh* Can you believe this shit? I’m so tired. Please tell me I don’t look crap. My makeup wore off an hour ago. Who are all these people in my house? I hope there’s good toilet paper in the toilet and not the recycled single-ply crappy stuff we use just for us…
And then I saw my dad. His hair was all crazy. He was talking to the cops. His hearing’s not so good so, along with the trauma, his answers were coming out all wrong, disconnected and confused.
We figured out that two armed men had followed my folks into the yard, creeping behind the car in the dark shadows as they drove in from the restaurant. They hid in a corner while my dad disarmed the security system and my mom headed for the kitchen light switch, and by the time she turned around, the gun was in her face and a hand was over her mouth.
The two armed men threw them to the ground in my old room, making them lay, face down, yelling at mom and dad not to look at them the whole time. They hit dad in the back of the head with the gun a few times and made sure to punctuate every question/demand with a sharp kick to the ribs.
Dad whispered to mom to stay calm. She has a heart thing and he was worried. He tried to touch her hand to calm her, but she was scared that the robbers might interpret the touch as a secret signal of some kind and shoot them. She pulled her hand away. She shook her head and made him comply.
The fluffy rug made dad’s chest close up so he asked if he could sit up, or turn his face in another direction. They said no. There were more kicks to the ribs.
They interrogated dad about the valuables, and with his bad hearing, he couldn’t answer them. Mom answered and they kicked her in the leg for having “a big mouth”. They called her a bitch. They made her give up the pin numbers to the cards in her bag, while the gun was at her head. They went through her handbag, carefully going over her salary slips, but missing dad’s firearm license, a clear indication that there was another gun in the house that they could have used / taken with them.
They took the:
Surround sound
Dvd player
Food processor
Crap floral dinner service we hated
Cup / saucer set (we also never used / hated)
Kettle (Emptied it out, leaving a trail of water behind them… Hey?)
Credit cards
Cash (±R5000)
Jewelry (what little was left after the last burglary ±2 years ago)
… All piled into my dad’s car so that they could take that too.
As we look around, we keep finding other things they took along the way.
It was only the next day that we realised dad’s hearing aids (worth ±R12 000) were in the car’s glove compartment. He only used them at work, so he’d stored them in the cubby after hours…
The horror and devastation that comes with realising that you might have lost your parents in such a tragic way is something that truly shakes you to the core… as a daughter, child, sister, sibling.
But if I had to name the one MATERIAL thing that was taken and that cuts me to the core, it would have to be my parents’ wedding rings. Not my dad so much, because he often took his off and played with it, twirling it between his fingers like a coin and accidentally dropping it on the floor.
My mother’s wedding ring is a different story all together.
She was a skinny waif of a girl at 21, when she married my dad. Three children and 37 years later, when the robber jabbed at her finger with the gun to give it up, she wasn’t sure that she PHYSICALLY COULD take the ring off. It had bonded itself to her now curvy, 60-year-old body. It was a part of her, skin, flesh and bone. But every time she tells the story, she thanks The Blessed Mary / Her Guardian Angel for slipping it off her finger “like butter”.
To the naked eye, it was just a simple wedding ring. A plain gold band with 3 tiny diamonds in an old 70s style. Nothing special to look at.
It wasn’t worth a great deal of cash money, but to me its sentimental value is incomprehensible.
It was a solid, sturdy ring – a symbol of their strong love and bond that has been tested but has stood the test of time.
And of those 3 tiny diamonds, only 2 remained. The third was lost in one of my mother’s many sessions at the outside wash trough, washing our cotton nappies by hand. Not because she was trying to be a martyr of some kind, or to spare a buck or two, or because she gave 2 hoots about the environment, but because she simply wanted nothing less than crisp, clean, snow-white cotton nappies for her babies. Only the best.
I don’t think that the person wearing that ring right now is very happy with the old, out-dated style and missing diamond. Her boyfriend could not love her very much to steal such a piece of crap for her, right? And I am sure that with every breath she takes her arm grows heavier and heavier with the weight of that ring. The weight of all those memories. The weight of the symbolism and what that ring represents.
It may look like a broken old piece of crap from the 70s, but that style is a tribute to the decade that my parents were married in… a tribute to the decade that I was born in.
That missing diamond is a symbol of the hard work, the physical sacrifices that my mother made to make my brothers and me the incredible people that we are today.
That strong, sturdy design is a metaphor for my parents’ marriage that has stood the test of time.
As a 35 year old single woman, that ring has represented The Dream… Every time I looked at it, I saw two young people, deeply in love, pledging to stick with each other and support each other through thick and thin, no matter what. It’s almost like it’s the missing piece of bone that would make that left hand whole. And I guess that’s why, at 35, I’m not married yet. My parents have set the bar far too high.
I’ve seen perfection and I won’t settle for second best.
Could it be that in Africa today, life is cheap? With people dropping like flies from poverty, crime and AIDS, people here have “bigger things” to worry about? When we’re being told to rape infants so we’ll be cured from AIDS, could it be that stealing actual/material “things” have come to mean nothing in the grand scheme of things? That’s why we can take someone’s wedding ring today and think nothing of it. It’s meaningless when we’ll all be dead from AIDS / poverty / crime tomorrow, right?
Shame on you, Africa.
Shame on you.
Those animals took the rings, but they couldn’t take the caring, married hands that touched and consoled and calmed each other with true and lasting love in a time of extreme violence and pain.
You lost.
We won.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's this pretty picture?

Yesterday, while searching the net for exciting new ways to create graphs (work related) I found this super cool website that basically takes any website that you punch into the system and generates a graphical representation of the website. The one you see above is my actual blog and here's what the colours mean:

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
grey: all other tags

Try it out for yourself right here and let me know how your blog / website turns out.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Girls like me, love makeovers like this.

Little Tannah, who you might recognise from my previous post, has a lovely dad named Rob who just turned thirty. To celebrate he threw the monster of all parties last Saturday at the DHS Old Boys' Club, right here in sunny Durban. Or should I say, moonlit Durban.
The theme was "R" (for Robbin) - wear anything or dress as anything beginning with the letter R.
Now... let me give you a brief history about my foray into dress up parties. Being the super social, eager-to-please party girl that I am, in the past I've taken these dress up things very seriously. Some might say a little too seriously. And often, less than an hour into the party, I'm sweating my ass off under several layers of face paint, a wig and a ridiculous outfit that would NEVER in a million years get me laid, let alone a phone number. So this time around I decided the key words would be "Comfort", "Confidence" and "Sexy", so I decided to wear a little black dress, some killer heels, and a giant rose ("R" for rose, geddit?) in my hair.
But in an effort to look a little special, seeing as it was a special occasion, I booked an appointment at Truworths' Mac counter to have my make up done. I've had my face done there years ago for a wedding that I was going to and I quite enjoyed the experience. If any of you girls have ever had a Mac makeover you'll also know that you can dance, sweat, smooch, get wasted, lose your shoes, purse and specially coiffed hairdo, but your makeup stays right where they put it... Nice.
I'll be honest... I started to worry when I walked in the door for my makeover and my eyes caught sight of the tattoed freaks who were doing the makeovers. If I wanted to look like a hooker with syphilis, I would've snorted a gram, drank a bottle of cheap booze, waited a few hours and done my makeup myself. BUT! I very calmly waited in the seat, until God smiled on me and sent the most amazingly talented angel to do my face... Robyn did everything I asked for and more.
The brief was: Give me a Kim Kardashian smokey eye, with hints of colour to pick up on the bright pink rose I'll be wearing in my hair. I want drama. I want sexy and I want it NOW!
Well, I skipped all the way back to the car, making smokey-sexy eye contact with every hot boy I saw along the way. There's something about the power of The Smokey Eye that cannot be denied. No wonder Kim Kardashian manages to smoulder and pout and purr every time we see her on the red carpet. You really do feel super sexy.
When I got home, I was determined to capture the look on my camera, so I could remember the feeling, but also in the vain hope that I could look at the pics and practice in the mirror until someday, God willing, I would be able to achieve something even REMOTELY close to this perfection. Flash-forward three days, to me spending two hours at a make up counter trying to find colours that come close, that I can experiment with without breaking the bank; then flash-forward another three hours to me standing in the bathroom, COVERED in sparkly shit, red-eyed and teary from having poked my eyes out with various brushes and mascara wands. (Read: FUCK THIS!)
Here are some pics of me trying to catch the makeup in normal daylight, and looking like a total fool in the process:

And here's the finished product - hair, makeup and LBD:

Well... On several levels, we'll call it a success:
1. The last thing I remember was drunkenly trying to order a Steers burger at four the next morning. But my makeup was FLAWLESS when I got home at 4.30am. Result!
2. I met a super hot boy we'll call "Rockstar". More on this as things develop. *wink*
3. Super hot "Baby (Ron) Burgundy" mumbled that he's picking up a certain "change" in me... Mysterious. I like.
And yeah. I'd recommend it, and I'd suggest that you go as far out of your comfort zone as possible. Have fun, ladies. We've only got one life to live. Don't waste it on losers or playing it safe.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Once upon a time... a land far, far away (about 4 minutes from my house), there lived a little 8 week old princess named, Tannah. She had teeny tiny fingers and teeny tiny toes, and the cutest button nose you ever did see.

Now, her mom, Lorraine, a very good friend of mine (and normally very mild mannered woman) threatened to throw me into a hessian bag and beat me with a stick if I didn't make one of my crocheted baby blankets for her precious angel. But you see, she really didn't have to because, unbeknownst (spelled that correctly on the first try - HOORAH!) to Lorraine I had started the blankie months before she announced the pregnancy. This was only because I crochet so slowly, I'd need more than 9 months to get it done. Well, despite my head start, I still wasn't ready for the baby shower, seeing as smarty pants over here decided to try something new that didn't work and that had to be unpicked and started again. *sigh*
Eventually slow and steady won the race and little Princess Tannah got her baby blankie made with loads of love and the odd finger cramp or two.
Here it is in her cot.

And here she is, all snug as a bug... Precious!

You'll notice I rather sneakily put a little blue stripe in, just in case there's a little Prince sometime in the future - fingers crossed!
Tannah and I are best friends now. In fact, I'm her official babysitter. Jealous? You should be! She's an angel!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Books, booze and belly-stuffin' - in that order.

Last Thursday was my turn to host book club, and as ever, this Little Domestic Goddess planned a dinner that would have made Nigella proud... At least I think so.
We started with a Moroccan Lentil soup and mini bread rolls - a new recipe off the internet that worked out very well, although I could have warmed it a little more before serving. Oh well.
The main course was an oven-baked prawn pasta - my second time making this one, and just as rich and comforting as the first time.
And dessert was my special homemade apple pie - a tried and tested recipe from my mom that is so easy it's embarrassing, and so delish it always has guests coming back for more.
Here's a pic of the pie when it just came out the oven, and before it had cooled enough to be dolloped with fluffy clouds of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon:

It's basically a moist sponge cake, dotted with pecan nuts, on top of sweet, cinnamon apple slices. Yum.
I wish I had the good sense to take more food pics (of the other courses) before we devoured it all, but there was so much talking, drinking, eating and catching up to do, it clean slipped my mind.
Don't ask me WHAT we were thinking, ending the night off with cranberry schnapps shooters, but I was completely hung over and exhausted the next day.
Though... I'd still do it all again. And I wouldn't change a thing.
What a great night. Thanks, Eight Non Blondes, for making it so special.

Saturdays are CATurdays...

... devoted to superior quality snoozing, sofa hogging and warming oneself in the sunny garden, if you could actually be bothered to get off the sofa at some stage.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

FEEL IT! It's almost over...

South Africa has well and truly experienced something the likes of which we'll probably never see again in my lifetime, through the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
My dad is a huge football fanatic, so I've grown up in a house where there was almost always the sound of a match humming through the tv, and my dad in his couch, nibbling on a bowl of peanuts, periodically yelling some sort of insult / instruction at the screen. So when we heard that SA had won the bid to host it, we were super excited! And as we watched the Durban stadium being built, and the growing number of SA flags flapping around everywhere that excitement grew. But, for whatever reason, we just didn't seem to get around to purchasing tickets in the early online stages. Eventually my dad felt that he might be happier just watching it all on tv (too lazy to get off the couch, I guess) until the day when ticket sales opened to the public and my brother Donovan decided that this was too good an opportunity for my dad to miss. So he offered to buy tickets for dad, mom and myself. My mom waited in the queue for almost an entire day, but by the end of it, she'd walked out of the bank with three tickets to a Round of 16 match at Durban's Moses Mobida Stadium. Success!
As the weeks rolled on, we watched all the matches on tv and prepared for our own, not even knowing who'd be playing... And just as luck would have it, mom and I came down with the rottenest flu EVER just a few days before the actual match. I was clever enough to see a doctor and get my antibiotics a few days before match day, so even though I was still on them, I was already feeling strong. NOTHING was going to keep me away from this one! Mom, on the other hand, adopted her usual Martyr Approach to dealing with the flu, which basically consists of her self-medicating on useless over-the-counter stuff, and slogging on at the desk until she can't go on, has lost her voice completely and is a walking snot / phlegm factory. Our match was on a Monday, buy by the Sunday night, she couldn't breathe and we had to rush her to the Ethekwini Hospital to see a doctor immediately. One hot Nigerian doctor, a couple of tests and some good drugs later, she was tucked in and hopefully on her way to being strong enough to attend the match at 4pm the next day.
Long story, short... Or long story, long, the three of us piled in to the car, all bundled up in our Winter gear and headed off to the stadium at around 1:30pm. By 2:15pm we'd found a parking and by 2:30pm we were walking through the gates of the stadium for the first time ever. Well, it wasn't dad's first visit there, as his jazz band had the honour of being one of the first artists to do a gig in one of the 5-star suites at the stadium a few weeks before.
The start of the experience was mind-blowing and exhausting and, well... altogether far too much for us to take in, so by the time we got to our seats we were completely deflated. We'd had no idea that our seats were at THE TOP MOST ROW of seats in the entire stadium. There were far too many stairs to 2 people on antibiotics and the vertigo at the top is so extreme, that for the longest time mom and I just sat there, holding hands, breathing deeply and trying not to puke.
My trip to the food stall wasn't any better... Not only did I pay R140.00 for 3 hot dogs, 3 cokes and a packet of chips (HEY??!!), but they insisted that it's stadium policy to take the caps off the coke and hand them to you already opened. So? We're supposed to drink flat coke by half time? And have all sorts of crap flying into the unopened bottle? I don't understand. ANYWAY! I then had to carry the cardboard box filled with our food and drinks all the way up the flippin' stairs again. By the time I got to my seat I was so dizzy, I thought it might be game over for Carma-Sutra.
We were early so, of course, people had only just started filtering in... First a few puffed out, happy faces peppered around the stadium, then a few more, and before we knew it, it was time to pop the earplugs in because of the deafening Vuvuzelas going mad around us.
A while ago, my friend Noodle mentioned that she felt an "ugly cry" coming on from all the pride she'd been feeling in the build up to the event and now it was finally here! Let me tell you, I cried my eyes out! One of the ugliest, sobbing, snotty, open-mouthed cries I've done in a LONG time. I didn't ever think I'd be that proud or that emotional, standing there in that crowd of 62000 people, most wearing orange like myself, with painted faces, sore hands from clapping as loud are we could, and swollen puffy lips from blowing on those Vuvuzelas with everything we had!
Netherlands kicked Slovakia's arse, 2-1, as I had predicted at the start of the match. Result!
It will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.

Here are some pics of the stadium filling up:

The stadium bursting at the seams with ±62000 people:

Mom, dad and Me, the super happy football fans:

It's almost over. Can you believe it?
The semi-finals will be played today and tomorrow, and the finals will be on Sunday.
I feel like it's flown by so super fast, but on the other hand I think I've watched enough football to last me a lifetime.

Viva South Africa. VIVA!

It broke my heart when I heard that MY year was going to be a tough one.

The Year of the Tiger. It only comes around every 12 years, you know.
It's supposed to be a really auspicious time for Tigers like me (born in '74) to marry, or have kids and basically to do anything of importance or serious significance.
I was in a relationship at the start of the year, and there were all sorts of wedding-y promises. But, I guess the things that I wanted for ME and MY Tiger year weren't what the stars or The Ruler of the Stars had planned for me. I didn't want to hear that my finances would be on shaky ground, or that this wouldn't be my year to find true and lasting love.
When the relationship ended violently and in a blur of confusion, anger and hurt, I thought that The Year had gotten me.
It was over, before it had even started.
I put up the protective barriers around my heart, carefully counted the pennies in my budget and quietly, softly waged my silent war against the stars and their Ruler.
I never thought this would EVER end up being My Year, or that the reason for my happiness would come from such unexpected "little" (?) places.
My best friend, Rachel, had a baby boy this January. Little Delwyn: The sunshiny-est bundle of joy to ever come out of a Winnipeg Winter. And on Sunday Rachel called all the way from Canada to ask if I'd be his Godmother. Me.
See, his folks have chosen two people in Canada to be the primary/local Godparents, and then one from the Philippines (where the dad's family is from) and little old me to be the International Godparents. Baby D is going to have Godparents on three different continents. Now that's what I call Spiritual Insurance at its finest.
We haven't yet figured out the scientific/IT bit yet on how I'm physically going to be a part of the Baptism (remember my Tiger year has doomed me to 12 months of canned soup and no international air tickets - whatever!), but if Neil Armstrong could send us a message from the moon IN THE SIXTIES, I think I'll figure out a way to let Delwyn know his (International) Godmother loves him and is there every step of the way...
I plan on taking this Godmother thing VERY seriously on a number of levels:
1. As FAIRY Godmother, I plan on granting His Royal Cuteness as many wishes as I possibly can. I'm thinking of getting him a lion cub for his first birthday... Too much?
2. As CATHOLIC Godmother I hope to be a spiritual lighthouse that he can call on at any time in his life when he needs a little guidance to help steer him safely to shore.
3. As SICILIAN Godmother I'm hoping to use my years of training at the gym to "take care of" any kneecaps that might get in the way of my Godchild's happiness... Capiche? (I'm not really Sicilian, but a little poetic license can be allowed on auspicious occasions such as this, I'm sure. For-geddah-bowd-it!)
Being the pretty serious Catholic that I am, I not entirely sure that Rachel and her husband Nestor quite understand how much this means to me and what an honour it is for me to be a part of Delwyn's life in this way. I'm sure that at some point I'll stop getting choked up whenever I think about it, but I'm not sure if that time will be any time soon or even in the next months or so.
However, just to make sure that I didn't get too confident, The Year of the Tiger distracted me long enough, for me to close a ten ton steel gate on my car on Sunday night, coming home from my parents' place.
The door's dented.
But nothing could dent the happiness in my heart.
What a great day to be me.

There he is, the little pudding...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Check it out! I've been tagged.

My best maatie, Noodle, has tagged me in The Versatile Blogger Award thingy, and apparently all I have to do is share 7 random facts about myself... So here goes!

1. I am addicted to sleepwear and lingerie.
I've just recently felt like it's time for a small wardrobe clean out a la Clean House. Please understand, first of all, that my place is in NO WAY as chaotic as those homes on Clean House. I'm a bit of a neat freak... But! Every so often I open my wardrobe and ruthlessly start throwing things out. Last week I opened the doors, wondering what I would turf, and realised that more than a third of my folded stuff (not the hanging up stuff) is sleepwear and undies. I could never get through these in my lifetime but, I can assure you, I've already spotted some pajamas that I'm desperate for!

2. I'm also addicted to ANYTHING involving the kitchen.
Recipes... Gadgets... Food blogs... You name it, I'm there! It's actually a dream of mine to write a cookbook. Five ingredients in five minutes and a delectable dinner's on the table.

3. I'm incredibly jealous of ballerinas.
One of my biggest regrets in life is that I gave up ballet as a little girl. My heart stops completely when I watch them glide across the stage now. I should never have stopped. My parents should have dragged me to class kicking and screaming every Saturday instead of letting me quit. If I ever have kids someday and they want to just give up on something, I'll tell them this story and hopefully they'll stick with it for a little while longer.

4. I don't like the kind of humour that involves putting other people down.
You know the type? People who think they're super funny, when all they're doing is picking on other people in order to feel better about themselves. They also seem to be the kind of people who have the answer to everything, know more than everyone else, are always right, are always too-cool-for-school and always have a tumour when you've just got a little headache. Whatever...

5. I'm very old-fashioned when it comes to relationships.
I like men to be men. Strong, dependable, hardworking, honest, devoted, spiritual. Even though I do earn my own money, I'd like to know that he could take care of me if I wanted to stay home with the babies for a year or two. I like men to make the first move, and to save their last Rolo for me. Gentlemen... Where have they all gone? I can't remember the last time I encountered one face to face. Perhaps it's my entire generation that has forgotten how to treat a woman.

6. I'm super competitive when it comes to sports.
I can't just go spinning. I have to spin faster and harder than anyone else in the class. I can't just watch a football match. I have to get all worked up and start screaming obscenities at the screen, whether they're directed at my team or the opposition. The same goes for boardgames. It's a curse.

7. I HATE frozen fish.
LOVE sushi.
LOVE fresh fish done in anyway possible.
But don't EVER try to get me to eat the prepackaged, frozen, boxed, foul smelling crap they call fish from the supermarkets. Gross, gross, GROSS!
I have tried and tried to find ways of getting this good source of lean protein past my taste buds and into my tummy but there's nothing on God's earth that can camouflage the taste. ICK!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is it just me, or does the new scratching post look a little smug?

Meet the new guy!

I paid WAY more than I had intended too, only because I am a total sucker for any sales pitch involving kitteh products.
I popped into Nature's Petland to replace the simple 150 buck scratching post, and came out with one for almost 300 bucks. *sigh*
The thing is... I do see it is a minor victory, in that, I happened to walk past the little snoozing kittens looking for new homes and bravely passed by without so much as a yearning squeeze in my chest. I must be growing up. Or I've clearly got my hands full with my own little bird assassin. If only she'd quietly "take care of" the frog that's living in my parsley patch. He keeps hopping onto my toes when I water my plants.
Check out the cute mouse.

Beena's already chewed his tail to nothing, and his shiny eyes have lost their sparkle. Sporadic attacks by an irritable old lady will do that to you.
If you look a little closely at the old guy you'll see the evidence of years of catnip abuse...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So, this big cardboard box arrives on my desk.

Just the other day.
And my gut instinct was to think: "Hmm. I've pissed off a few crazies in my life. And now one of them has taken the time to mail me a severed head."
I'd sent my dad to the post office with the notice and my ID book because I was far too busy daffing around at my desk to do it myself. Little did I realise that my dad would not have the good sense to quietly put the severed head into the boot of my car where I could deal with it in the relative seclusion of my home. So, with great trepidation (AND THE ENTIRE AGENCY WATCHING) I carefully, cautiously opened the box to find a head-shaped thing wrapped in layers of bubble wrap. By this stage I had broken into a cold sweat, and the "ooh-look-someone's-sent-me-a-surprise" look on my face had frozen into a mask of calm terror. Resisting the urge to poke the head with a stick a few times to see if there was any blood or anything, I took a deep breath, threw my brain into autopilot and yanked the head out of the box.
Soft... Cream... Squishy.
This couldn't possibly be a head. Wait.
So I peel off the layers to find a stunning handbag inside. Hey?!
I rummage around in the pockets of the bag, and what do I find but this:

I totally won a designer handbag from Cleo magazine, in a competition that I'd entered AGES ago and forgotten about! My ordeal with the severed head now long forgotten there was nothing more to do but sway my hips around the agency with my new bag slung over my shoulder.
Check it out. It's by a designer called Kathy Van Zeeland who, I've just discovered, has a swanky little store just down the street from me. Nice!

Who say nobody ever wins those things in magazines?!
This is the first thing I've ever won in a competition of this kind and I can honestly say that I'm hooked!

I've already entered a few more this month. Hold thumbs for me, people! If I win that African safari getaway I've got my heart set on, I'm opening up a Blog competition to see who gets to go with me. It could be YOU!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Retraction time... Oops.

It takes a big woman to admit she's made a mistake! So here goes...
Thanks, Matt, for spotting that stupid boo-boo in my Alice review. Tim Burton had nothing at all to do with Titanic.
This is what happens when you read celebrity gossips sites while writing your blog. You're bound to mix up that guy who's wife beat him to the Best Director Oscar with the dude who keeps giving Johnny Depp a good excuse to act weird.
My bad.
Moving along...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Product Review - Pore Strips

You know... I'm going to toot my own horn here for a bit, and start by saying that, for my age, I have pretty good skin. And one of the reasons I have good skin is that I don't experiment with just any old product.
All ANYONE needs is:
a good foaming cleanser
a good moisturiser with sunblock
a good night cream

That's it, seriously! At least, that's all I need.
Of course I use other "cosmetic" stuff, but as far as skin CARE goes, that rather short list has done me proud.
That is until I started getting irritated with my pores. They're not too dodgy; I just think they could be better. So going against everything I've ever believed in, I trudged off to my local Clicks to get my paws (not pores) on a pack of pore strips to try out.
I bought them a month ago and it took me a whole month to try them, because I had visions of them permanently bonding to my nose. Followed closely by visions of me yanking off chunks of nose along with the strips.
Not ideal.
So anyway... I decided to brave up last night and go for it, and MAN am I glad I did? Sure, there was a scary moment when I hadn't realised how HARD the dry strip is when it's glued to your nose, doing it's thing. But, once I got over my mild panic, and saw past the tears welling up in my eyes, I gently peeled the strip away and... wow!
I'm a convert!
I will do this once a week at least!
What a great product. My pores look great. The process was quick and relatively effortless.
Pore strips! Do it, girls. Just do it!!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland - A review

Let me start by thanking my cousins, Jarrod and Nadia, for getting me off my ass and off to the movies to see the new 3D phenomenon that everyone's talking about, Alice in Wonderland, directed by none other than Tim Burton of Titanic fame. I've just seen Avatar in 3D, so it's important to note that my expectations were ridiculously high for this one.
I'm going to start with the bad and end with the good...
As far as the story goes, you could pretty much sum it up in a sentence or two. And then Tim Burton took 2 sentences and spread them over ±1.5hours. It was draggy. Super draggy. Draggier than Ru Paul, draggy. Long, loooooooooooooooong. If you're expecting non-stop action and 3D mayhem with stuff flying at your head for the entire time, don't watch this movie. You will be disappointed. And now that I've had my bitch, onto the good stuff.
The landscapes and art direction were absolutely breathtaking! Quintessential Tim Burton at his absolute best. My eyes didn't know where to look; as every inch of it just oozed style and wonderfulness. Wowzer.

The acting was outstanding. Mr Depp was incredible as always, even though the writing didn't give him much to work with. There was a crappy dance at the end that had me cringing, but I'll forgive him for that as long as he replies to my marriage proposal promptly. Helena Bonham Carter was just FANTASTIC as the Red Queen, even though they didn't give her much to work with either. Fabbo!
And the best bit...
OMG, the costumes!

Or can you even call them "costumes"? Maybe the stuff that they had the regular characters in might be classified as "costume". But the dresses that they draped over that lucky bitch who played Alice were nothing short of sensational! There was a real Vivienne Westwood / Alexander McQueen vibe that blew me away. I LOVED Alice's dresses, especially the one that the Red Queen had made especially for her. Check it out:

These pics really don't do it any justice. It was structured, but feminine. It was MAD but completely made sense. OMG, I would wear that on my wedding day if I ever found a man rich enough to buy it for me! *swoon*
I need to stop gushing about this dress now, so... *sigh*
As far as the characters went, my favourite was the Cheshire cat. He was BEAUTIFUL and feline, and flowy and funny... Love, love, LOVE!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

So jealous, I could scream!

Check out my mom's curry leaf plant...

My dad pruned it down a few months ago and it looks like that was the best move EVER. The leaves are huge, lush and green, and the plant is thriving. The great thing about curry leaves is that they also dry and store well. What my mom does, is she pulls a few sprigs off the tree, washes and towel dries them thoroughly. Then she stores them in the same little glass jar that she keeps her curry powder / masala. The leaves will stay good for AGES, kind of like bay leaves. I have a puny tree that's struggling for dear life. *sigh*
But! Not to be undone...

The basil leaves in my lunch the other day, came from my very own basil trees, served here with a tomato/feta salad and two vegetarian bean patties.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

And the countdown begins!

So we have just 100 days to the start of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, hosted right here in sunny South Africa... And I couldn't be more excited.
I unfortunately couldn't tickets. I woke up far too late and the only ones that are left for Durban are for the N/Korea VS Nigeria match. I've got nothing against those two; it's just that they're not particularly wow. And at ±R500 a ticket for the only seats left, I'm not sure I'm THAT big a fan.

Public Address is proudly flying the SA flag today, to mark the start of one of the most exciting times our country will ever see...