The lighter, brighter side of load-shedding

It feels like 2008 again. The year when Eskom uttered one word that struck fear into every South African’s heart. “Load-shedding.” A word that meant no electricity at the most inconvenient times which could last for two to up to 24 hours. You never knew when it would strike; it was basically electricity roulette.

The Knick animated GIF

Normal reaction to Eskom Giphy.com

Truth be told I knew we hadn’t seen the last of load-shedding, which honestly sounds like we have too much electricity that needs to be freed into the ether –the very opposite of the state of affairs we find ourselves in. Thankfully, I am not in university anymore where I actually need to be up all night, using my laptop in a frenzy whilst trying to complete an essay that I should have started two weeks prior.

The first load was shed (?!) last night while at my father’s house in Tamboerskloof and lasted more or less the two hours that were stated. I expected to be seething with rage. I was fully ready to launch an attack on Twitter aimed at Eskom complete with grossly insulting portmanteau (you can guess which swear word). But then, it didn’t actually suck.

Luckily it’s November, which means the sun starts to set a lot later here in Cape Town. So, my brothers (in a stroke of ingenuity I have never seen before) got out table tennis and we set it up in the road. Thus, the first Milner Road Table Tennis Tournament was underway, with the rest of the neighbours gradually joining in. The cul-de-sac came alive with people walking their dogs, skating, little babas riding their black, plastic bikes and me, drinking beer and taking pictures.

cape town

cape town

McDougall

table tennis cape town

eskom table tennis

eskom table tennis

As my stepmom said, “this is what happens when you don’t have electricity.”

After it started getting dark, we all decided to play 30 Seconds. Along with the candles, my brother’s friend came up with a better way to light up the table:

  • Get 1x plastic water bottle
  • Fill it with water
  • Turn on your phone’s torch
  • Sit the water bottle (making sure it’s dry) on top of the light
  • Presto, lantern

30 Seconds was fraught with accusations, hilarious clues and bad pronunciation. All in all, a good time was had and the electricity came on before we had even finished. I maintain my stepmother and I got the worst cards ever. Case in point:

Schiphol

Google it.

I can in no way compare my experience to the rest of you –I especially commiserate with the UCT students (friends included), who had no power on campus and are in the midst of exams or anyone else with Monday deadlines.

For the rest of you, take heart. Prepare a little in advance, use your candles, get romantic, get literary or take to the streets. Show Eskom that they may take our electricity but they can’t take our sense of imagination.

imagination animated GIF

No electricity required Giphy.com

 

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Halloween for the lazy and desperate

The working world seems to celebrate Halloween just as much as the chocolate-keen child and the booze-ridden varsity student, although there is an added pressure to dress up as something simultaneously funny, topical and creative.

Having left most of my novelty gear in various bars, res rooms and my childhood home over the years, I Googled “lazy Halloween costumes” where I discovered a saving grace for people like me. If you’re skint, couldn’t care less and driven by the knowledge that the shit that makes up your costume will probably be out of your possession by the next morning, these costume ideas can help. These are mostly made up of things you can easily buy or find lying around the house. A bonus is that they require no paint or glitter (my friend Cam calls the “herpes of crafts”). Paint looks great for about an hour until you want to start living your life again by drinking a beer or dancing which turns you into a messy preschooler. The only solution to this is to “Go Gaga” and look like a mess from the start.

lazy halloween

This kid has life figured out and will go far, developing the social media we are going to use in 2030. Image: http://www.funcage.com

lazy halloween costume

Turbo lazy Image: http://www.hercampus.com

This may be my favourite if not very work appropriate. Image: http://halloween-ideas.wonderhowto.com/

lazy halloween costume

Adult Halloween: ruining your childhood since the internet. Image: http://www.funcage.com

lazy halloween costume

Max Fischer (Rushmore optional) No surprise I found this in an album called “Brooklyn Halloween 08” Image: http://www.flickr.com

lazy halloween

Expect eyerolls and people not thinking you’re cool. Image: http://www.dailyedge.ie

lazy halloween

He definitely got some in the bathroom. Image: http://www.dailyedge.ie

Honourable Mention goes to GQ. They tick topical, humorous and easy by suggesting dudes go as Meltdown Shia Le Beouf.

Tried and tested costumes to save anyone are:

  • Buying a witch/wizard hat and wearing a cape
  • Dressing like Tom Cruise in Risky Business if you know you aren’t going to be actually dancing on tables
  • Drawing “S” on a white shirt, wearing white pants and going as “salt.” ( A friend could be Pepper).
  • Wes Anderson movies have tons of individual specific characters to crib off.

A Rocking the Daisies Checklist

For everyone who uses their social media accounts on the regular, it’s now 2 days until Rocking the Daisies 2014 and, thus, we are seeing at least five parody videos, giveaways and helpful hints every hour.

I have only been to one RTD (sorry, can’t keep typing that shit) and I went for the Saturday and the Sunday as I had a fulltime job. It was worth it –Bloc Party gave me cool points in my teen years that my lack of boobs didn’t and listening to them on repeat during those years is something I am not ashamed to admit.

The only downfall is that this year I have to navigate the intricacies of a packing list as the time previously was wonderfully all organised by my friends who had roadtripped down.

rocking the daisies

thetango.net

The questions burned at me this year. What alcohol are we bringing? How much? How bad is the temperature at night? Most importantly, how do I keep my alcohol and food cold? I cannot tell you how much of an issue this is for me. Like all peeves, it started out as a tragic misstep. I swigged what seemed like a recently boiled Quali Juice bottle of orange juice and vodka once and now cannot drink screwdrivers anymore. The only way around this is to use berry juice and to prepare! Failure is not an option.

rocking the daisies

Novelty hats do not hydrate you. Image credit: http://www.songfreaks.com/

Essential items:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag: I have a massive man-sized one to turn myself into a duvet burrito. It gets cold at night so get drunk and wrap yourself in one.
  • Additional blanket: make sure it’s fleece and not pissy cotton. You do not want breathable fabric. Also make sure this does not leave the tent or you’ll be picking out the debris until the next RTD.
  • Pillow: stick to one, less to carry.
  • Toiletries: above all, remember the toothpaste and toothbrush, wet wipes, toilet paper and the towel.
  • Sunscreen and hat, just like on field trips.
  • Whatever clothes you like. I find this varies from person to person (I don’t believe in onesies simply for the lack of toilet logistics), although hoodies, leggings, beanies and big jackets help at night. Pretend you’re an onion, just don’t leave things on the dance floor.
  • Sunglasses
  • Torch or some kind of light that is not your phone: seriously.
  • Passport and/or ID/certified copy: check this before you leave because I can’t imagine how suicidal I’d feel if I was the plum who forgot the one thing to get into the party while my mates look on with shame.
  • Cooler box: this is going to save you. People may whinge that it takes up space in your car but these are probably the same people who believe that “eating is cheating” and on Sunday are unrecognisable and crying because they have intense sunstroke and haven’t drunk water since Thursday.
rocking the daisies

Like this person. Gif credit: http://giphy.com/

rocking the daisies

Yeah.

  • I am currently working on trying to find a biscuit-thin camp mattress. I can rough it if drunk enough, but would like to have some barrier between me and rocks.

Food and drink items:

I have debated long and hard on this and list in no way reflects any other party-goer. I’m going on Friday, therefore I am planning for the food and drink to last at least until Sunday morning, 9AM. From then, I will treat myself to an overpriced breakfast bun and a Magnum. Note: If you haven’t heard, RTD is swapping warm six packs for cool ones at the bar, so there is also that if you don’t have a cooler box.

Alcohol

My drink of choice this year is a little cocktail I modified from a German housemate. And beer.

  • 2x Stoney Ginger Ale
  • 2x bottles of vodka
  • 1x water bottle
  • 1x 5 L water bottle: extremely important
  • 2 x six pack beer
  • 2x lemons, the juice is for ginger beer cocktail
  • 1x cucumber cut into slices for cocktail
  • Pimms for cocktail (optional depending on how poor I am come Friday)
  • Ice: 2x packs (although also hoping we can get from the bar)

Food

A contentious issue for some, I am now older and not above admitting that I need sustenance at least twice a day; especially if I am to stay vertical and semi-coherent enough to enjoy the music. Camping means anything that can go off quickly is to be ignored. So let’s stick to the basics.

  • Lots of hotdogs: cut and butter the buns before you go because I don’t think knives are allowed and I don’t want to “endorse” them, clearly you’re all out to stab people.
  • Tomato sauce/mustard
  • Fruit: apples and bananas
  • Chips, flavour and quantity dependent on you. I am bringing some hummus on the first day for dip.

Cigarettes

  • I have found that the rule for this is: it doesn’t matter how many you buy, you will end up having to bum by 4pm on Sunday anyway. So never enough.
  • Lighter, have one in the car and one on your person. However, we once had a group of about 6 people who, in an act of universal fuckery, all lost their lighters simultaneously. The car lighter was the hero of this story.

Misc.

  • Coffee has to be bought at a vendor, the only luxury I will allow myself.
  • Spare cash: this depends on you, although I advise having a little emergency fund in your shoe. Don’t leave shit in your tent. Don’t rely on ATMs.

If you really want to prepare like some manic Bear Grylls of festivals, Noisey Vice suggests taking the Monday off to languish happily at home behind your drawn curtains (I have taken this tip) and to ensure your home on return is tidy and fridge stocked with at least one decent meal and some Creme Soda.

Cover image:

www.chicagonow.com

Cultivating local tourism by being a cool community member

As a social media strategist and marketer, much of my life is spent trying to figure out what the special news and events of the month ahead can benefit my client. This means that I have had to become a calendar freak- with special highlighters for each event and heavily-pencilled weeks. September has been a hugely educational month for me and it hasn’t even reached the midway mark.

This month is:

• South African National Parks Week –where you have free access to selected national parks;
• Creative Week Cape Town;
• South African Tourism Month –focussing this year on the oft-neglected (but not as much the North-West) Northern Cape;
• Heritage Day AKA Braai Day;
• And, the one I had no idea existed: World Tourism Day on the 27 September, which melts into the rest of these events as well as butter in mashed potatoes.

Delving into World Tourism Day’s Google search revealed that it was first started in 1980 as “a global observance to highlight tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value” according to the official website. The global event is held annually in a different country with a specific focus. This year it’s held in Mexico and the theme is “Tourism and Community Development.”

The theme is incredibly apt for 2014, especially for South Africa, as we have seen increased tourism and global recognition in the last four years. After reading an extremely well-written article called How to Keep Travel Mode on At Home on cultivating community diversity and positive interaction in every day spaces and routines (in the writer’s and in my case, Cape Town), the connection I made to both tourism and community is the following.

By acting a like a tourist who experiences wonder in what we see as the minutiae of life –the people we interact with, the transport we use and the infrastructure around us –we contribute to becoming a better community. A community that seeks to constantly better itself is the cornerstone of improving and sustaining a city. This leads making a city more appealing, which is a honeycomb to swarms of happy tourists. The point is to cultivate the right kind of community attitude and engagement by starting out small and sincere. A good example of this is Durban’s Rivertown Project, which seeks to renovate an unused area in the city and turn it into a pedestrian-friendly space. By working with what a city has to improve peoples’ experiences of it makes their lives better and, in turn, the tourists who will visit it one day.

The point is to keep both our minds and attitudes positive to better the environments we live in to cultivate tourism. There are countless ideas that use design, green materials and technologies to sustain tourism while also improving peoples’ lives, most recently seen at Open Design Cape Town. This World Tourism Day and SA Tourism Month, ensure you do something that would make your community better –even if it is just making use of a cycle path or visiting a SAN Park.

How to find and support tourism in your own backyard:

 

  • Monitor the Twitter conversations #TravelLocal, #TTOT and #TravelSA to keep abreast of travel news and information
  • Head to Gansbaai for a weekend and go shark cage diving, whale-watching and hiking
  • Visit the West Coast flowers this spring
  • Travel to Stellenbosch and learn more about it’s heritage

 

A mandatory yet list-free post on being 25

There have been a great many articles and posts on the perils of getting older and, sometimes, wiser. Buzzfeed in particular have a monopoly on listing one’s milestones in their twenties, thirties and beyond with the corresponding hilarious gifs from popular culture. Often these are gender specific and a little generalised but overall entertaining. I appreciate a good gif and have no desire to jump on the I Hate Buzzfeed bandwagon, especially the open secret is that we visit that site at least twice a day and unashamedly love it.

Thought Catalog also produces some particularly poignant pieces on getting older, predominantly directed at us millennials (cringe, sorry) in our twenties and early thirties. Sometimes I find myself inwardly groaning at the points made but the overarching message of “It’s OK, we all don’t know WTF we’re doing and we’re just doing the best we can,” is extremely comforting and, for the brief second before you scroll down to the comments section, the internet becomes a caring community of friends.

feels animated GIF

I recently turned 25 and was delighted to find I had just as many people still willing to be my friend the day after the celebrations. After mulling this milestone over (my celebration was titled “Quarter Life Crisis Conference”), I surprisingly found myself enjoying the opportunity to take stock of the years I have lived and the experiences I have been through for the first time. In fact, I made a little list of my own on the lessons I have learned. Note: all lessons came with a hearty helping of hangovers, deep internal shame, public humiliation, dancing it out and Sinead O’Connor-level angst.

sad animated GIF

This is what happens when you listen to Sinead.

Exactly how many glasses of wine I need depending on if I want to sleep deeply or just get my drink on

It was lovely to meet wine after a few years of alcohol initiation where, as an impressionable fawn on the party scene with minimal funds and a stomach that can take it, you opt for bottom shelf liquor every time. Wine was the natural progression to the more sophisticated way of getting trashed and one that our parents had been enjoying for most of their lives.

cat animated GIF

Effects of Friday night+wine

Wine is much like chocolate; there are many varieties and most of them taste gosh-darn amazing. I have become something of an amateur wine appreciator where I enjoy a good bottle of white paired with Lays Lightly Salted. After sharing one bottle of wine with a friend, I can happily amble off to bed for a sleep that would make sedated babies envious.

television animated GIF

Add one more glass: weird and emotional.

Minus one glass: ready for dinner and a dance.

radish spirit

The Radish Spirit knows what’s up.

Most embarrassing moment with wine: Any time you get the dreaded maroon teeth from drinking a bit too much red wine. Sadly, this is also the point where you want to put your mouth on someone else’s mouth.

new girl animated GIF

The answer to “Are my teeth red?”

There are certain things I have to buy as the exclusion of one of these seemingly nondescript items opening up my entire universe to chaos

These items depend on who you are and the kind of lifestyle you lead. You know exactly what these things are because the realisation that you needed them was preceded by a devastating incident that you never want to repeat. I, for example, cannot live without baby wipes, a little bottle of hand sanitiser and tissues. You may have guessed I am a messy person. It is true, I always spill food on myself and, if it’s windy, snot may come out to say hey. There is no dignity in needing these things, but the fact that I now know to carry them lessens regular humiliation and everyone I know calls upon me for one of these things, so who’s really the winner here?

dancing animated GIF

I is. I is the winner.

Hand sanitiser: Great for helping your sister who placed her hand on a rock that was mainly used by homeless people to urinate. Also great for any time you eat something sticky.

Baby wipes: Great for life, but the example that springs to mind is getting rid of racoon eyes anytime, anywhere.

Learning to be a teensy bit less afraid and confused

As I have gotten older, I found that the lessons learned in terms of friendship, relationships, work and university have shaped me into a person who can deal with the reality of life: you don’t always get what you want when you want it, you can’t force someone to be something they are not (including yourself) and you will have to go through some heavy shit to become the person you are destined to be.

titanic animated GIF

YES I DO.

How you deal with these lessons is the real sorcery of growing up. There was a time when I was way too afraid to ask for what I wanted and, if I am honest, I didn’t really know what it was anyway. Today, I have a clearer image of who I am and what I want out of life, which makes you less inclined to put up with the rubbish you did before –from yourself or from other people. Thanks to the years preceding being 25, I no longer feel the need to always prove myself to people and I have no time for people I see as having a negative impact on my life.

The main lesson and one that I have to stress to you all: Don’t be so hard on yourself.

On that same token:

wedding animated GIF

Realising that there is still a looooong way to go

I haven’t even reached the base camp of the Everest that is my life. But, sitting here and realising I haven’t done a completely piss poor job is satisfying. Cue wine.

deal with it animated GIF

I raise my glass to all you 20-summin summins. Well done, Godspeed and bless you all.

 

Images:

http://giphy.com/

Free wifi in the Company’s Gardens

Don’t know if you Capetonians know this, because I certainly didn’t!

cape town collectables

Now here’s something exciting. The City of Cape Town has announced that they are implementing free wifi in the Company’s Gardens. Bringing the historic treasure up to speed with modern times, or something like that. The project is run in conjunction with Cape Town Partnership, Iziko Museums and Connected Space (wifi service providers) and you can read the full press release here.

This is the pilot project in which will hopefully be a larger plan to bring free wifi to other parts of Cape Town’s CBD as well. It also goes hand-in-hand with another nifty project in the gardens – one of tree-labelling. Some of the ancient and historical trees in the Company’s Gardens will receive labels and QR codes that you can scan on your smartphone to learn more about the tree in question.

The wifi will cover the Company Gardens restaurant as well as the…

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