Thursday, 25 May 2006

Quick links

A quick barge in: I cannot believe the crap written in this article. To start questioning the reasoning will take too long. I don't know which planet these people work on. Or with what element in the evolutionary chain, but humanoid it ain't. Just read it:
Turn office blunders into career brilliance

Form some more interesting stuff, there's an article on crowdsourcing at Wired.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Батарея идет заграждение!

Car batteries can explode, who would have thought? I can now vouch for it, after our dear Lada's battery went bang this Sunday evening in a parking lot at the V&A Waterfront. We got into the car, I turned the key and Kaboom! - there was a very loud bang, smoke coming from the bonnet and the lovely smell of acid in the air. Lada Niva's have a spare tyre lying over the battery under the hood, so damage was minimal (to the car, I can't say the same of the battery).

As luck would have it, Krizz was in the vicinity, so he and a friend came over and took some pictures of Still Life with Russian Battery, which he can post here once developed (film cameras!). He even managed to bang his head on the "Mind your Head" sign while he was doing it, which was funny. It was the first time I needed to call on my AA membership and the outcome was positive for everyone - within one hour I had a new battery installed and they had R500 off my credit card. It was time for a pizza.

Here are two lessons I have since learned:
Here are the other things that I should probably comment on:
  • The AA dude came quickly, but not before the Call Centre (in Joburg) gave me a long pre-emptive excuse about how busy their battery service is in Cape Town tonight, all in an effort to lessen my expectations of actually sorting out the problem.
  • We saw Memoirs of a Geisha earlier, which has stirred up controversy for the use of Chinese actors to play Japanese roles in a Western, Hollywood adaption of a book by a white American man during the time of the Nanjing Massacre - each a bundle of issues in its own. What bothers me, after looking at the Rotten Tomatoes summary, is how the average American movie reviewer (and I use average in exactly the way you wish to understand it) has now become the defender of ethnic and cultural sensitivities and the need to protect artistic integrity against box office considerations or Americanised clichés of the East. Suddenly they are all so sensitive to such sensitive issues. I don't know, I smell an exploded battery somewhere.
Hmmm, I think that's it.

Monday, 15 May 2006

Cerebus the iPod

I've joined the 21st Century. Nice here. Like the views. Got the iPod. Audioscrobbler useless for me: no internet at home. Don't want it. Very happy not to have a slow, anti-virus crippled computer. But if I want to humanitarianly share my most played list, I have to type it up. So, after two weeks of owning this little black beast, here it is:

1. Fortuinverteller, Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes
2. Spoed, Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes
3. Sussie se Sweep, Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes
4. Aisha, Death in Vegas
5. Deanna, Nick Cave und ze Bad Seeds
6. Into my arms, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
7. Nobody home, Pink Floyd
8. Oom Willem strikes back, Buckfever Underground (Guessed the name)
9. Drawn to the fire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More with Feeling
10. Tennessee Waltz, Leonard Cohen
11. The weeping song, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
12. The ship song, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
13. Deanna (Acoustic), Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
14. 我们的爱, F.I.R.
15. 我听这种音乐的时候最爱你, 龙宽九段
16. Paul van der Zandt, Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes
17. Decades, Joy Division
18. That's what jazz is to me, Nick Cave
19. 潘朵拉, 龙宽九段
20. Lydia, F.I.R.


Strangely misleading. But it's been only two weeks. Endless hours of fun playing with graphs.

For the record, it's a black, shiny, 30G (they didn't have 60's) video. It's got around 8Gigs on right now, which includes everything by Nick (except the second half of the Good Son) and everything of Pink Floyd (except the live recordings, which suck), everything by Wilco, everything by Tom Waits, everything by Roger Waters, everything by Yat-kha (tip for the day) and bloody incredibly lots more. Also training videos for pilots, some music videos and the musical episode of Buffy.

The songs, however, remain the same.

Friday, 5 May 2006


Goodness, I know that in my professional life I am responsible for some vacuous consultese sometimes, but how often do we have to read things like this these days? If I take out the few unique identifiers from the two paragraphs below, then this could be used for anything:
[Mr X] added that [The Company] was not phased by South Africa's 52 600 registered [others] and was well positioned to rise above its competitors with a unique operating platform that combines powerful international branding with service delivery and a ground-breaking approach to marketing and franchisee support. At the same time, [The Company] would also contribute to raising professional standards within the [...] industry.

He pointed out that [The Company] was not only recognized as the world's largest [...] brand and franchise, but also closely connected with skills development via sophisticated international courses that were backed up by mentoring, coaching and ongoing education. He said this would add significant value to the South African [...] sector as a whole.
It's about property and real estate, if you must know. But it could be about salmon breeding or mechanised nutcracking or low cost rural car finance. And despite the unique platform and powerful branding and ground-breaking approach and professional standards and skills development and mentoring and coaching and added value each of the people working there will want to know where can they park and how many leave days they get and will feel unfairly assessed on their performance and complain about inadequate airconditioning and surf the Internet during work hours and have some unresolvable hang-up with at least someone in the office.

Van-die-os-op-die-jas, and you better believe it, because it's true, I once fell asleep while typing and awoke to the following on my laptop screen:
To facilitate a holistic approach to the value-adding exercise of formulating a true original vision, we fall asleep and then wake up thinking what the fuck.

Speaking to the Burning Bush

There's a fascinating underground non-debate over the performance of Stephen Colbert at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington on 29 April, even for someone like me unfamiliar with the US press setup, Comedy Central or dinners in Washington. The event is an annual thing where the President sucks up to the press and apparently George W Bush started preparing in January for his comedy routine at the function, which involved a lookalike Dubya next to him, interpreting his real thoughts (which is so OLD, it makes me think about forced stage performances in Veldskool. It's a wonder they didn't do the three-in-a-row toothbrushing-spit-in-the-ear thing...)

Colbert was the last speaker and did a 20 minute routine in character as he does on his TV show The Colbert Report, in which, while acting as a fervant right wing Republican press guy, he satirised and attacked Bush and the press in a way that makes you almost cringe and worry about his personal safety after the show. As Chris Durang pointed out (where the whole transcript is also available), while standing next to Dubya and making eye-contact with him he said things like:

So, Mr. President, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass -- it's important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash.

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
Anyway, the whole debate since the performance (mostly among bloggers) has been over the way none of the large news networks have reported on Colbert's 20 minutes (which included a video featuring Helen Thomas and which I found very funny once I understood what it was about). Where the piece was mentioned by the major networks, it was said to be not funny, although Bush's routine was. There is the question of whether it is supposed to be news, but I must say, picturing something like that in South Africa is difficult, and if it would happen, would create a huge furore.

The debate is raging on, and web sites like have sprung up, where, when I checked, 45650 people have posted thank you's to him for saying what he did. It's funny, because I was on the verge of replying to this article in the online M&G today questioning whether regular people can become good reporters or journalists. I didn't because I was too lazy, but it's more about getting another perspective out there in my view, and maybe realising 10,000 other cantankerous arseholes feel the same as you. Or maybe finding out you're all alone. And dealing with it.