holding_breath

Come on! I worked my BUTT off trying to make my blog pretty and not one single person even commented on how pretty it is… (Only compliments please…) You cut me deep. Real deep. Oh the pain! Oh the humility! Oh the… Hum… (Get a grip AA.)

(Let’s try begging.) Big please… Pretty please… Must I beg? A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a comment! I will now curl up and suck my thumb… No! I will hold my breath until someone comments on how pretty it is.

I’m waiting…

Still waiting…

Mmm… (Blackmail.)

Okay then… Do it or I tell them. I will tell everyone. You know I will. And you know what I am talking about… Oh, I will. Just try me…

&%$#*! (It’s not working!)

Come on! I know you want to do it. I know you can. There you go… Slowly now… Put your fingers on the keyboard… That’s right… Slowly now… Now hit the button! Do it! Do it! Be Nike and just do it!

<Sob!> I haven’t cried like this since Liverpool lost the finals…

(This should do it. I know this will work.)

Comment or pull my finger! The choice is yours. And remember that the consequences of this “no comment” stand of yours will be on your head. Think of the children. The poor little children…

———–

Honestly, do you like the new look?

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This was written a few weeks back as “The Heavy” was busy setting in. I never published it. But here you go…

There are so much I want to say to you. But I am just sitting here. Staring at the screen. I want to tell you so many things. But I don’t know where to start. I start writing. And then I stop. I don’t know how to write what I want to say.

I want to tell you I am going to plant a tree. Maybe two. That’s what I am going to do. I’ll dig the hole and plant the tree. It’s going to be fun. Whether it rains or not. It’s just a tree. I won’t have to think too much about it. Someone will tell me where to dig the hole and someone will give me the tree to plant. That’s it. No strings attached. No thinking. Just a tree. That’s what I am going to do.

I want to tell you that I want to turn my iPod up to full volume. Blast my ears and head with music to dance to. Let the noise of the music drown out the voices. Let the music take away the memories. An the thoughts. Just for a moment.

I want to tell you I just want to stand around the fire and stare. Stare as the fire cracks away. Maybe talk a little to myself. Or just be quiet. Maybe poke the fire a bit with a stick. And wait for the right moment to throw some more wood on the fire. And watch it burn. A campfire.

I want to tell you I just want to sit and sip my coffee. Slow down and just sit down and sip my coffee. Maybe read the paper while I do it. Or maybe just a funny book. I just want to sit and sip my coffee. Just a little bit. Sip by sip.

I want to tell you I just want to stand next to the highway at rush hour and listen to the traffic. I want to close my eyes and listen to the cars rushing by. Let the noise of the cars drown out the voices and faces for a while. Just stand there and not think of the people in the cars or the homes they are going to.

I want to tell you that I just want to sit in the park and feed the bird. Have some bread in my hands and flick it for them to eat. See how they fly up and down. Coming back for some more bread. That’s all I want to see. The birds feeding and doing what bird do. Fly and eat without any care.

I want to tell you that I just want to drink a beer with my friends for a little while. Just stand around a fire or lean against a counter. Not say anything. Just sit or stand and do nothing with my friends. Maybe take a sip and look at them without them knowing. I know that they are there. Just share without knowing.

I want to tell you that I just want to lay down on the couch for a little bit. Not sleep but close my eyes and listen to my family around me. My girls running around or just making a noise. My wife talking to her friend on the phone or cooking something beautiful. But just lay on the couch and listen without them knowing. I am there, but just taking them in for a little bit. Just from the couch.

I want to tell you that I just want to stand on the farm for a little bit. Smell the dust as the sheep run past. Those stupid sheep. Watch them run in the dry lands of the Karoo. I want to just stand and watch. Do nothing but listen to them run and feel the dust on my skin. Just watch them doing nothing.

I want to tell you that I just want to walk in the markets somewhere. Anywhere without being noticed. Just listen to the people selling their stuff and look at the sea of colors of the stalls. Slowly walk among them. Not buying. Just seeing and listening.

I want to tell you that I just want to sit on the beach for a little while. Just sit on the damp sand and watch the waves come in. Maybe curl my toes into the sand. Maybe play with the sand a bit. Let it run through my fingers for a little bit. See how the wind takes it and where it takes it.

I want to tell you I just want to go walk in the mountains. One step at a time. Walk hard till I feel the sweat running down my face. The sun shining on my back and my legs hurting. Just a walk in the mountains. Maybe stop and shout to hear the echo.

I want to tell you I just want to smell the earth a little bit closer. Stand still and smell the soil of Africa after the rains. Or maybe just rub some leaves on my fingers and smell my green fingers. Nothing much. Just a little bit of smelling of what we get from the soil.

I want to tell you that I want to stand in the rain and just stand there for a bit. Just let the rain fall down on me. Maybe I will look up. And squint while looking up at the clouds and the rain coming down. Just stand there. Let the rain drown out the noise. And let it just rain over me. Wash over me.

I want to tell you that I want to sit on the train and just stare out the window. Not looking at anything. Just staring. Looking at the houses flash by. Not think of the people inside. Just let the world rush by for a moment.

There is so much I want to tell you. But I just don’t know how to say it. I’m just staring at the screen.

To quote a friend of mine – I am a bit “flat” right now. I think I have been pushing a little bit too hard on the writing front. And to be honest, it hasn’t been all that good. I think I need a break.

Just going to recharge the batteries a bit. I’ll write when I think there is something good enough for you to read. I might have been wasting your time with a few pieces. I owe you a bit more than that.

Flat. Meaning… Too many things in my head. Too many things going on. Not feeling sharp enough. Not feeling it the way I should. Words aren’t flowing. It’s being pushed. A little bit “nothing” inside. Not a writer’s block. There are things in my head. The thoughts are there. The flame just die a little quicker than usual. Something new taking over every 5 minutes. And nothing flowing the way I want it to flow. Except uphill which is never a good thing.

This last piece on NY is an example. Too long. Not well written. Hey, the story was funny when I experienced it. It was funny when I thought of it. It just sucked when I wrote about it. And it shouldn’t happen.

Also too much writing about myself. It’s the “lazy me” to fall back on that when the rest isn’t flowing. And this blog isn’t about me. Just parts of me. Too much of me is never a good thing. Just ask my wife!

So I am stepping back and having a coffee.

Oh, don’t worry. It’s just a coffee break. I love coffee! You can NEVER have enough coffee. So I am going to sit back and have a nice Cuppa Joe.

I’ll be busy though. These pages will be busy. I might just flip a few of my 40 thoughts saved as drafts and see if I can get them off my back. Some might be half-assed pieces. Incomplete thoughts. It’s okay. I’ll just get the monkey off my back. I might throw a few more Twits on here. Or introduce a few pieces written by others I really liked. Maybe a cartoon or two from Zapiro I like so much. I am going to reintroduce a few of the pieces I did way back when I started. Maybe edit them and see how I feel about them today. I’ll fill the pages each day. Something different each day. It might actually be fun! I think it will be. Bloody hell, I hope it will be or else there would be no reason to have that coffee!

And like I said, I’ll write when it comes. When it’s ready. No big announcement that I am writing again. I’ll just write. Maybe I’ll write tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe later. Maybe just less original thoughts and pieces. But I’ll write. I just need to clear my head a bit and build up the insides a bit more again. Take some pressure off. Write when it’s there. And when it’s ready. And then we are going to party like it’s… hum… see? I can’t even tell you how awesome this party is gonna be! (Hehe!)

I hope you understand.

In the meantime, I am just taking the advice from my favorite cartoon…

You guys! Dude and dudettes! How the bloody hell are you all? Thanks for the visit. It’s a pleasure having you over. What you doing here? Reading. Reading what? Oh, that one. I guess you didn’t find what you were looking for then… Not when I look at some of the terms and phrases you used when you went searching for some stuff on the internet…

Yep. Some people landed at our little blog by accident. Went searching for wisdom or some other… hum… entertainment. And landed up here. Truly sorry about that. But thanks for the traffic.

Yes. I tracked the search terms people used that ended up with them landing up over here. Some are pretty obvious – “Angry African” got them here. And so did “porn”. But some of them just didn’t make sense. So I developed a Top 20… (Sorry, some of these might only be understood by South Africans. really sorry. But I can’t help that some of the searches is really so stupid!)

20. “i slepted with my sister” – Thank god you didn’t sleep with your sister though. That would be so wrong. Tell me, can you buy a “slepted” on eBay? And is she preaty?

19. “african free porn” – We might be cheap, but not that cheap. Really. Wait! Stop! Do you mean free porn for Africans? Count me in.

18. “there will be no new us elections” – Thank god. These guys are starting to drive me bonkers. Especially Mr Comb Over McLame. No! Wait. You mean we are stuck with Bush? Argh…

17. “eco-friendly blow-up doll” – What? I really thought I was joking when I wrote that blog. Can I interest you in a green Blow Up Doll. I don’t even know what to say to you. Except maybe… Don’t screw with the environment. And you give a whole new meaning to treehugger…

16. “why can’t africans get water?” – We “get” it. It’s that liquid stuff you drink right? Comes in rivers? And uppity people have like metal gadgets you turn and it runs out of a pipe. Right? What I can’t get is how stupid that search was. And I don’t get why more people in Africa don’t have access to clean water. And, by the way, that is Mr Africa. With a capital A.

15. “african idiots” – Sorry, I see you got to the right site. Welcome.

14. “africans angry china” – Are you Chinese? We don’t angry China. We piss them off. And sometimes anger them. By the way, Angry African is now unblocked and off the banned list in China! At bloody last. Stupid bloody… Oops. I guess I am banned again.

13. “tigers in Africa” – No! There are no tigers in Africa. How many times must I tell you this? Here, go read this… There are no tigers in Africa – Advertising 101.

12. “what time is in cameroon air open until” – You think they are open at any time? Ever heard of the saying “the lights are on but nobody is home”. That’s the Air Cameroon slogan. Maybe this will help… An African Adventure – thanks to Air Cameroon.

11. “i eat whatever the hell i want who cares” – I don’t.

10. “thumbsuck word origin” – You want me to thumbsuck an answer? Okay. In the jungle in 1873 when Tom asked his mom if they were there yet. His mother used a sentence that included the word thumb and suck. Like in “take you thumb and put it where the sun don’t shine because you suck”. Or so I heard. I might just be thumbsucking that answer though?

9. “if they want web site winking at you” – I don’t even know what to say to you dude. Why would your parents want a website to wink at you? Maybe you should get out more often. Second Life isn’t real you know. Get out a bit more. And meet some girls. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Say no more.

8. “how to speak coloured accent” – Nay mun, soekie kakkie. Ek sa vi djou a snotklap gee ne. Djou ma se…

7. “italy governments since wii” – About 47 Italian governments since the Wii came out. No idea why you want to search that. I mean really, Italians change governments more often than I change my underwear. And I do it daily. Italy – Che macello.

6. “who is the caterers for nigerian airways” – No one. Or the mother of the pilot. You mean you survived eating the food on Nigerian Airlines?

5. “getting rid of idiots” – Have an election and vote for Obama. Anything else will just result in another idiot coming in. Maybe send Zuma on a free holiday? And pay him a couple of bucks to stay away. You can also look in the mirror and run away. But it is really difficult to outrun yourself.

4. “how to loosr accente you” – Start with the spelling and try to pronounce those new words first. You have a real problem if you even write in an accent.

3. “why does britain suck at sports” – Because they are not South African? No seriously, because they are Poms. It’s an island right? All you can fit on there is a bowling ally and a pub. So you don’t have much hope in hell, apart from your swimmers that can swim around the island a few times. One solution that a few of you have tapped into though. Get more South Africans in your team. Hey, you Poms just made one of our rejects your cricket captain. You still want to know why you suck?

2. “how do ilose my boep?” – My favorite! But I decided to drop it to number two because it is so South African. “Boep” is a paunch men get from drinking too much beer. And the “misspell” of I lose to ilose is excellent. They tend to drop an i into words in Xhosa – another South African link. Boet, tell me if you get the answer. Too many Castle’s over here as well. Maybe you should start there. You’ll shed the kilo’s and the wrong spelling.

1. “how would you keep an african zebra warm” – Just turn the grill up a bit, salt it well and turn it often. As easy as that. I mean… WTF? You want to keep a Zebra warm? A blanky and a warm glass of milk before bedtime? I am trying to figure out what happened that you needed this info. I mean really. Keeping a Zebra warm? Here is my question back. How do I get you a life?

Some odd searches out there. I just hope they find a life… Or at least a site that will give them what they are looking for. A life or a wife. I swing both ways. Either way, they kept me amused. Hah!

Not pregnant...

Not pregnant...

 

 

P.S. Sunday IS porno day. So far 8 out of every ten searches that hit Angry african included the word “porno”. The other two?” Tigers in Africa” and “Thumb sucking”. (Rolling my eyes…)

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I pick stoopid...

I pick stoopid...

An amazing thing happened a few days ago. On Tuesday evening. Just a regular day. My daughter’s birthday…

It started because someone was bored. Doing nothing. Hanging out at his house and bored stiff. So he decided to do what he always does when he is bored. He went surfing. The internet, dudes and dudettes.

And he Googled. He Googled “What are we doing here on earth”. Just to look for some theories. You know, to look at while he was bored. And he found my blog. Or rather, he found “What are we doing?” (I know, my regular friends over here will roll their eyes and feel sorry for the guy. Of all the places in the world… Some people just don’t have any luck or catch any breaks.) But somehow it made a connection. He found value in it. It made him rethink… I don’t know… how we are in life. You know. What are we doing?

He didn’t stop there though. He went a little step further. He created a Facebook Group – What are we doing? (Join in!)

Let’ me put it in his words:

The text below is nothing more than a simple blog post by someone I’ve never met before; I just happened to stumble across their written thoughts. It changed the way I look at life.

Forget being too cocky or cool to read it and really try to understand what the writer is talking about: Us. As living things, as human beings, as people, as a global society. I think a lot of people in this world need to slow down and understand what it really means to be alive and enjoy ourselves and each other.

Read the text. Join the group. Invite your friends. Hope that others read it and understand it as much as you have. You might be able to change someone’s perspective on life. Thank you!”

As simple as that. And something happened.

More than 2,500 members and growing.

And people putting it up on their blogs and sites. And translating it into Spanish. Sharing with others. Asking the question. Doing something.

People asking “What are we doing?” And maybe getting inspired to do something. And talking about what they are doing or what they are going to do. They talk change. They talk about being the change. Because they know it starts with each and every one of us.

A few people have asked who I am. Even saying I should get more credit. But that’s where they are getting it a bit wrong. Firstly, he gave me credit. Left a link. And gave the ultimate compliment by finding inspiration in something I wrote. It’s an honor beyond belief. But the most important part of the question is that it is not about me. Who wrote it is unimportant. Who I am is unimportant. Anyone could have written it. I just had the time. And some words. The important part is – What are you doing? Just do anything really. Okay, anything good. To make a difference. Five minutes. One smile. Anything. Really.

It’s not about me.

Most of the people who joined just see it for what it is. A blog written in frustration. Written because I just don’t get it. Don’t get why we aren’t all just trying a little bit harder. It’s our only little ball of rock and crap floating in the middle of nowhere. It’s all we have. Shouldn’t we at least give it a shot? Should we at least try to do something to leave it a bit better when we go? Leave a legacy people can look back at and smile? Something we can be proud of even if we are dead?

But there are a few people complaining that it isn’t “scientifically” correct. That I didn’t get all the “facts” right. You know – science will save us all… They complain that I said our little patch is a few billion years old instead of saying that it is 4.5 billion. I didn’t get all the facts right… Nit-picking. Playing the fiddle while Rome burns.

Okay. You are brighter than me. So what? Tell me. What are you doing? And I don’t want to hear about quantum mechanics or the general theory of relativity. (I don’t like conflict.) I don’t want to know if you are a scientist building a new kind of bomb, testing on animals or creating a super drug to heal us of hair-loss. I just want to know what are you doing as a human being to make our little patch a bit better.

I don’t care if you think the earth was build in a day or seven. Or a billion. Or that we are heading for disaster. Or that God made earth. Or Allah rules. Or no one rules but you. Or that it is in our nature to rule. The fittest will survive. Or that we shouldn’t eat meat anymore. Or that we should eat meat. Or J-Z rules. Or Paris is so yesterday. Or all the other cool things you know. (I like your t-shirt, by the way.)

But all that? Is nothing. It’s minor details. It’s noise. It’s excuses. It distractions. It’s the glasses you put on while watching life go by. It’s the fiddle you play. It’s you being Nero. It’s not doing. Anything. It’s just blah-blah.

You are smarter than me. So much more intelligent. You are cooler than me. You know it baby. I give it to you. I hope it makes you feel better. Can we agree and get a move on?

I’m just a guy. Born in South Africa. Writing on the train going into Boston. I’m the guy you walk past while you listen to your iPod. I’m the guy who serves you your dinner. I’m the girl who helps you at the bank. I’m the guy who works in your garden. I’m the girl cleaning your house. I’m the girl you work for. I’m the guy who works for you. I’m the guy who is trying to sell you a newspaper or a packet of cigarettes. I’m just a guy. No one special. Just a guy who wrote a blog. You are the cool one. You are the smart one.

Now tell me. What are you doing?

I know what Nathan did. And he was bored. And decided to go surfing. And do something.

__________________________________

To Nathan: Thanks. It’s the best birthday present my daughter got on her birthday. She won’t even know it. But thanks to you she has a better shot at having a bit of a life when she grows up. Salt man. Salt.

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No blog today. I did one for the Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader Blog. Pretty happy about that. Mail & Guardian isn’t what it was back 10 or 15 years ago, but pretty much still the best newspaper in the world according to my humble opinion. Okay, not that humble.

The piece is similar to my Next Week’s News Today, but with an African flavour. Some of them you have seen, some have been tweaked and some are new. A bit like Africa itself really. Hope you enjoy. So follow the link and let me know what you think.

The African Future Times: Giving you tomorrow’s news today

They say that America is ahead of the times. So I travelled there to see if I can get an insight into our African future. This is what I can report will happen in Africa over the next few weeks. It makes planning a bit easier…

Ja, boet...

Ja, boet...

Note: I even spelled in my old South African way again!

I am back. And what a ride it was. So much to say. I don’t even know where to start. 2 days in Shanghai and 4 days in Beijing. And so different from what I expected. I should have known better. Much better. The world isn’t black and white. And neither is China. But let’s start with the heading of this blog…

Please Mr China. Please unblock my blog. Yep. My blog isn’t for public consumption in China. For some or other reason you just can’t open it over there. Blocked. I hope it was just my computer. And the computer of the few people who tried to read my blog. But it seems as if the Chinese government decided that it is better that my blog be blocked in China. Come on. It isn’t that much of a blog. Pretty middle of the road if you ask me. Just a few questions and observations on life, love and the universe. No need to block it.

Okay, so I wrote a piece or two on China. And maybe they were slightly critical. Okay, maybe more than just slightly critical. Comparing China to Zimbabwe might have been over the top. At least from an Olympic perspective. And maybe I shouldn’t be so critical of tyrants and other non-democrats when I created an Oh-Limp-Pic Games to celebrate tyrants everywhere. Maybe it just wasn’t fair. But hey, life isn’t fair. Live with it.

So please unblock my blog.

Also. I have some good news to tell about China. My week there has been awesome. What an eye opener. So many stories to tell. So many things observed. Too many surprises I never expected. But let’s start with why I was there in the first place.

It was all about disasters. And specifically because of the earthquake that hit the Sichuan province in China on May 12 of this year. So far almost 70,000 lives have been taken by the disaster. And they expect it to rise to at least 80,000 by the time they close this chapter. I was asked by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs and other partners (let’s not name any names) to speak at two conferences and chair two sessions on how to prepare for disasters and how to develop effective public-private partnerships. One was held in Shanghai and one was held in Beijing. Yes, the Angry African was invited to go there. But under my real name.

I won’t bore you with the details of the conferences and meetings. It was amazing. But I am sure you don’t come here to read about that. Let’s just say that they are way better prepared for disasters than I expected. And way better organized than what I have seen elsewhere in the world. I think I learned more from them than they from me.

Let’s also say that I really did not want to go. I tried everything to get out of it. Delayed my travel plans. Moaned and groaned. Bitched and threw my toys. I just don’t like flying anymore. I am not scared of flying. It’s just boring. I would rather spend time with my wife and kids. They are the most important things in my life and I would rather be with them 24/7. But, alas, I got the visa the day before I had to fly off so I ran out of excuses. And there I went. Flying off to China.

It didn’t start off that well though. I had to fly American Airlines. You know, I have flown some weird and wonderful airlines in my life. It comes with having flown maybe 1,000+ times in my life. I mean really, I have flown Air Cameroon and made it to my destination. Eventually. So American Airlines should be a breeze, right? Nah. They are by far the worse airline I have ever flown. Crappy planes. Crappy food. And just… crappy. I mean really. Why the hell do they block off the aisle and window seats right until they are about to take off? It meant that I had to take a middle seat because I had to fly via Chicago and couldn’t change my seat at either Logan (Boston) or even online. Jeez. So backwards. Even Air California (Mexico) had a better system in place.

And, of course, I had to be squashed seated next to a guy with the worse breath I have ever (EVER) had the pleasure to smell. Not that I wanted to smell it, but he fell asleep with his head almost on my shoulder, mouth gaping wide open and snoring away. And breathing on me. I can’t even explain how bad it was. Let’s just say that I have seen grown men cry when facing this. It is even banned in Guantanamo Bay because they believe that this kind of torture would be crossing that invisible (but smelly) line. I had to go to the toilets a few times just to get fresh air. It was not a pretty sight or smell.

And the food was crap. Of course. Imagine Chinese food made by a pissed of dude in downtown Philly. Well, I would love to have his version rather than what they gave me on the plane. Cold noodles. And warm water. And a soggy bun with plastic ham and a year-old lettuce. Let’s just say that they did not impress me with their culinary skills. I am sure the guy with the stinky breath flies American Airlines all the time or might be their official food taster.

And the “in-flight entertainment”. Mm. What entertainment. Movies and programmes to fit in with their food service I guess. College Road Trip was never funny. And neither is Definitely, Maybe. It’s not even that romantic. And Spiderwick Chroniclesis really not my cup of tea. And the music and television offered nothing better. Sad old programs to fit in with the sad old plane. My general feeling about their in-flight entertainment? Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn… I had my iPod and a few books. The books also helped block off Mr Smelly Breath.

So I wasn’t a happy camper. I didn’t want to go to China. And I didn’t want to sit in the crappy plane. But here I was. Stuck on the plane and hurtling towards Shanghai. Man. I was not into this at all.

But what a surprise when I landed. China made my crappy flight worthwhile. And that is a whole new story.

————————–

Tomorrow: To China (with love) II: Man, the Chinese are funny

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