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Showing posts from April, 2014

Internet Sabbatical

I’m playing the Lotto these days so that I can hire somebody to write content for this blog, while I go on sabbatical to study the weekly changes on cyberspace.
It is an open secret that I don’t understand Googla, Google’s designated language but I want to own up that I’m also partly to blame.  You see, I’m so busy blogging I’ve never used the Google marquee that was staring me in the face on the Google page.
I have never clicked on images, maps, news and translate.  I clicked on maps today and typed my home address.  Voila!  It came up.  I went to images and I typed the name of a famous director.  Presto, her photos came up.  Translate, showed languages I could use if I want my blog to be read by more people.
Cannot keep-up with internet-speak Now you see why I need go on sabbatical?  It will allow me to get acquainted with the internet.  I just don’t have time to study Googla and other internet linguafranca because I’m always in a hurry. 
I go on-line to post things and rush back to my …

South Africa Animal Tourism

Those interested in big cats such as lions and tigers must be prepared to spend a night or two away from cities and sleep over in national parks that keep these animals.If you want to see them but your schedule does not permit or your budget is having second thoughts, the zoo can be an alternative.It will also be nice to be out in the open, walking about and enjoying the African sun.

Go on line and check if the city you’ll be visiting has a zoo.Their website will give you a pretty good idea about what a zoo offers.If you like running in the morning, consider joining a 10 km fun run organized by the zoo to raise funds for cancer and other causes.The zoo’s website might even have dates for fun runs, usually twice a month.Your heart will be very grateful and you’ll get a chance to meet people who call this country home.
Most zoos have everything from lions and elephants to baboons and crawly creatures such as snakes.They also offer guided tours in their in-house buses, but you must book in…

YouTube Summer Shoot

A picture says a thousand words, no, make that your YouTube video.Digital cameras and mobile phone cameras have not changed the basics of photography i.e. focus, light and depth.That is what makes a professional photographer and that could be you.

Ten basic rules for good videos and photos
1.What do you want to shoot?Prepare a shot list: exterior shots of house and roses, interior shots of Tamara playing the guitar, interior shots of Tamara making fruit salad etc.
2.You must lie down on the floor if you want to take a photo of a baby crawling.Your camera has a zoom option, so pull the baby in and have a nice tight shot.You’ll get a great video because babies just love the camera.I don’t know why.
3.If the baby’s uncle is sitting on the sofa please ask him to move.If you don’t, the video will have two feet with morning slippers behind the baby.
4.Cut the family into 2 if you are taking a family video because if you take one shot of 15 people, all of them won’t be clear.Rather shoot an estab…

E-books You Are Next

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To e-book or not to e-book, that is no longer the question, to tweak William Shakespeare a little bit.Writers and publishers who have an aversion to e-books and everything digital will find consolation in the fact that e-books will be redundant one day.

Yes indeed.Just look at your library and see the morose audio cassettes in their holders.Don’t you think that the floppy disks definitely look suicidal because they miss all the air miles from Beijing to Chicago in their masters’ briefcases?The once haughty CD has a grudge against e-mail attachments and memory sticks.We will not even discuss still cameras and video cameras.
Every dog has its day, said someone somewhere.The question is: what will replace e-books?Technology is time specific.It is not infinite.The world has gone digital and everything is affected, so is literature, how it is created and how it is distributed.A book or e-book starts with an individual, a creative mind, a writing space like a study or kitchen table and writin…

Wheelchair Accessible

The Wrong One, a Nigerian film written by Chisom Juliet Okereke flips the script on disability.

Victor, played by Muna Obiekwe is a highly educated businessman in a wheelchair.His demeanour has money written all over it.He commands respect and receives it like most men with eight digit bank balances. He’s also shrewd in the way he sets out to win Sylvia’s heart (Chioma Chukwuka).His arsenal is multiplied when Sylvia’s boyfriend leaves her for his secretary.

Victor’s moves are typical of men who use money to get what they want.His disability becomes an issue when Sylvia’s mother rejects him brutally, in his face.

That is when Victor crumbles, takes to the bottle and thinks about his life in a wheelchair.The Wrong One is fiction but it brought home the ugly truth, that I seldom associate people in wheelchairs with love.

I exploit things that are made to make their lives a little bit easier, like using a ramp made for wheelchairs instead of walking up just four steps.I don’t push mall doors b…

Airport Security

I don’t have an air miles card because I don’t like taking off my clothes in public.Airlines are concerned about safety and I respect them for that, but I don’t like taking off my socks at airports.They might have holes which I hadn’t noticed.Worse still they might not be laundry fresh.


I don’t like flying.Delayed or canceled flights are no problem.They are part of the territory, but taking my computer off its bag, taking off my hat, throwing keys on that tray and spreading my arms so that strangers can scan my body with electronic baseball bats is not my cup of tea. My worse experience was at the Dubai International Airport where security handled us like goats, shouting orders.  Safety is a priority yes, but what happened to my nail files and small scissors airport security confiscated in the past?

Do airlines have garage sales where they sell these things?I should Google this.How about some common sense?Is a nail file really a terrorist weapon? Flying also means immigration.I need a T-s…

Secret Service

I don’t claim to be the Scarlet Pimpernel or James Bond but I think I’m being followed.No, not my car, but on my cell-phone! I got a missed call the other day and the number was (000) 000-0000.


It is normal to get a ‘private’ missed call.Maybe it’s somebody I owe money.They don’t want to use their mobile because I will recognise the number and not take the call.

This is all hypothetical you understand, because I don’t owe people money.It is banks.They send me hostile text messages about overdrawn accounts.It’s not that I don’t pay my bills on time.It’s only that the R65.30 I thought I had was swallowed by bank fees.


I don’t know much about these things, but I get the funny feeling that (000) 000-0000 is bad news.Why?Because the -0- default is used by very powerful people!The default on my phone, iron, the security system, the printer etc., they all have many zeros.
I have not broken any South African law or United Nations law for that matter.I’m not sure about cyberspace law because it do…

Recycling

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honey and turmeric don't mix. wrong!
Recycle!Recycle!Recycle!That’s the message from all corners of the world.I even read an advertisement about a wide-screen television screen that is kind to the environment.How do we know it is the truth?It is so technical we just have to take the manufacturer’s word for it.

Ma had a lot of financial challenges that is why she was an expert in recycling.Corn meal came in a cotton bag with big red letters of the company that manufactured it.Ma emptied the corn meal into a tin and took a pair of scissors. rice gone now it's a shopping or beach bag She opened the seams making it a square cloth.She put it in bleach to remove the offending red letters.She rinsed the bleach and voila, we had white dish towels.Come to think of it, they were designer dish towels.
She washed marmalade bottles and used them for salt, sugar etc.I consume so much honey, bees of the world might attack me one of these days.I recently used the honey bottles for turmeric and cin…

Feng shui

Imust avoid Norwood Books at the Norwood Mall because I always mess up my meagre budget with unplanned books.That is how I came home with Alice Walker’s, Now is the Time to Open Your Heart, one of the longest book titles in the world.

I put aside Manil Suri’s book, The Death of Vishnu for another day and dived into Alice Walker.I applied some brakes when I came to the part about feng shui, and clearing the clutter in your life.I don’t know what feng shui is but I’m at home with the word clutter.
I’m partial to food so the kitchen was the first stop for the clutter research, the shelf where I keep the pots and pans, to be precise.What is surprising is that tin foil containers that came with certain food from the deli or supermarket are more than the pots.Why do I keep them?

Ah!Recycling!I wanted to do my bit for the environment and use them again.The problem is that the deli will be scandalized if I take these back and ask them to use them for whatever food I might buy.
Now let’s see what …

Adopted Kids and Inheritance

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Mike Leigh, director of Secrets and Lies is not here to clarify what prompted his 1996 film, but I suspect that it was family inheritance and the adopted child.

There are thousands of adopted children who are fortunate enough to find loving homes where they are given the same education and opportunities as the natural children of their adoptive parents. A will is a useful piece of paper because it states who gets what after a parent’s death.What if there is no will?Do natural children suddenly remember that Ursula is not their sister? Hortense, played fluidly by Marianne Jean-Baptiste is a black optometrist who was adopted by a British black family.Her adoptive mother dies.One day she overhears her brothers fighting over the family home.That is when she decides to take advantage of the United Kingdom’s adoption laws that allow adopted children to know who carried them in the womb. Canada basically has the same laws.A birth parent in Ontario can start the process of finding the child after…

Second Hand Books

I used to comb flea markets and garage sales for second hand books.That was before books went digital.

Is there a blog where people share love letters, theatre tickets, old bills/receipts and other notes they find in second hand books? This is what I found in one second hand book.
The writer must have been attending a conference at the Molopo Sun Hotel outside Pretoria or maybe slept there because it is written on the hotel’s stationery.I don’t know how old this piece of paper is but it is a light yellow now.What you see below was handwritten in a blue pen.
Old insurance agents never die, it’s against their policy.
(Seen in an insurance broker’s office)
Not even the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger.
(Old Chinese proverb)
Happiness is saying goodbye to a visitor who has overstayed his welcome.
(Writer did not say where it comes from)
If God had not meant us to be fat or thin, he would not have made us with stretchable skin.
(Writer did not say where it comes from)
Frustration is whe…

Hidden Bank Fees

I ran away from my ex-bank, although I still use its credit card.I thought my new bank is perfect because it doesn’t charge me R117.16 for insufficient funds (R80) like my ex-bank.Yes I didn’t have R80 for my internet account for some reason.These things happen you know.Money is here today, gone tomorrow.

I don’t think my new bank is perfect anymore.I changed my mind recently when I requested a bank statement and realised that they charge me forty cents when they send an SMS or text message about activity in my account like withdrawals and deposits.
It might look like a small amount but it adds up.My new bank is a no-frills bank.It doesn’t send monthly statements and it doesn’t have credit cards.It doesn’t have foreign exchange and business accounts.It doesn’t guillotine you for putting money into your account and for withdrawing it.Call it a bank for the people.I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I saw the manager of the post office I use regularly, leaving the bank.
Hidden ba…

Media and Sound Bites

So Oprah Winfrey’s producers have called you for an interview about your book.You wish!

The point is, you will be interviewed on radio or television at some stage in your life.Skype is here so distance is no barrier. Be ready.Prepare a list of media questions and craft short answers. 
It’s very easy because the media asks the same questions over and over again.They are not looking for intelligent answers.They want what they call ‘sound bites.’I wrote down these questions for a radio interview I had about my novel Sweetness.
Q:Why Sweetness?Was that the best title you could come up with?
A:Yes, for two reasons.One, it is set in a sugar estate that hugs the Indian Ocean in a coastal province in South Africa.Two, it is about people being sweet on each other today and sour in two months’ time.That’s life.
Q:Why do Zaba and her husband Phillip live in identical glass houses joined by a bridge?

A:I blame too many movies about families fighting over one bathroom.Imagine never having to fight about…