Tuesday, 28 November 2006


This little reptilian friend decided that the space between the wood and insulation in our cottage in Wellington is the Best House Ever and that the specific vantage point under the window provides warmth, comfort and a great view. There is just no other option than to name it Kilroy, is there?

Monday, 27 November 2006

"Alles loop reg - altyd reg - Toyota!"

At a mere 10'10" the Mirror Dinghy is suitable as a car-topper.

What is more, you do not need a sleek Toyota Corolla to be able to do it - witness this:

Flying Dutchman

On Sunday a friend and I went to Fisherhaven to pick up a Mirror dinghy that we bought. When we arrived the seller asked whether we wanted to go out in his other dinghy - a Flying Dutchman. In the words of my friend, it is a bit like someone selling you a Volkswagen Beetle and then offering you a ride in his Porsche 911.

We went out and after a couple of smooth runs the wind picked up - pretty soon I learnt why it is called a FLYING dutchman! With the owner at the helm, my friend leaning out on the trapeze and myself sheeting the genoa. At first I thought they just gave me the genoa so I at least had something to do, but it became quite hard work - "sheet in! sheet in!" - well, not so easy if the water from the bow-wave is poured on the bottom edge of the massive genoa. Add to that my friend on the trapeze dangling in the air for moments, because a gust of wind let up unexpectedly- I had to grab him by the ankle as he was leaving the boat towards the rear! Plus spray in the eyes, waves hitting my leading hip as I was leaning out, and do not forget that sheeting on the wrong angle makes the cleat slip!

Unfortunately the fun did not last. We were tiring and the owner asked whether we should have one more broad reach (the fastest point of sail) before heading back. So we went, and WHACK! the mast snapped off. Luckily my friend was not hooked in to the trapeze-harness at that point, or we would have witnessed the catapult-fall from hell!

We drifted halfway to the other shore before the guys decided that we are indeed in trouble and got the rescue boat out, then launched it, then got it started and then came out to give us a tow back. The best thing about the rescue boat service at Fisherhaven is that it comes with apple-pie!

Sunset Beach

I was on my way to Cape Town on Friday and was a bit early, so I went to Sunset Beach to watch the windsurfers. I parked at the "Italian car-park" and stood on the wooden steps leading onto the beach. The wind was a little too light and there were only three somewhat underpowered windsurfers out.

So I took up a conversation with the two guys sitting on the railing. They were from Germany and were in Cape Town to windsurf a bit. The one guy gave me lots of good advice about inland sailing conditions in Germany, which lakes I should visit and the equipment I would need for my size and level of skill. It also turned out that they visit Cape Town every December and January to sharpen their windsurfing.

At that point a kite-surfer asked whether one of us could help him to launch his kite. The Germans ignored him, but I gave him a lift. I made a joke about the fact that kite surfers seem unable to start and stop on their own. It turned out that the Germans did not like them that much either. (But I will leave the windsurfer versus kite-surfer debate for another post).

By then the wind started picking up and they wanted to start rigging. I greeted them and the guy (that I had most of the conversation with) introduced himself... turns out he is Fabian Weber! Basically it means that he such a good windsurfer that - should he break any equipment whilst training in the waves here - he will get replacements for free!

Friday, 24 November 2006

Misha Maisky

I had to pick up my passport at the German Consulate in Cape Town yesterday and on leaving I found out that Misha Maisky is rehearsing in City Hall. I spent the next two hours sitting only a few metres away from him and watched (and listened) as he rehearsed with the Cape Town Philharmonic.

I thought back to the painful years I spent at school finding out that I was not a talented cellist after all. Maisky does not care about any of those book rules that plagued my attempts - he hugs/envelops his instrument - it seems part of his body while he plays. (Actually, I would hate to be one of the normal cellists while he plays - I am sure they feel impotent).

He has the greatest mannerisms too - a snort when he starts, flicking his hair and my favourite - using a little towel to dab up any drops of sweat on his instrument. He moves so much and so violently while playing that I was afraid the rickety piano bench that he sat on might give way!

They played Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B-minor. It is a great piece of music too. I can really recommend his recording of Shostakovich's Cello Concertos No.1 & 2 with the London Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas - in fact it is what I am listening to right now!

And this is what makes South Africa weird - I could listen to all that for a mere R25,00 (that would be EUR 2,70 or USD 3,50).

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Arcade Gaming

I am addicted to two arcade games in Somerset Mall - both of course are shooting games:

One is a very realistic sniper game - called Silent Scope. I only play the shooting range (for which I have the high score I might add!) and the other game is a not so realistic hunting game called Big Buck Hunter. Unfortunately the gun shoots a little low, so it is not so cool. It is a pity that they don't have the very realistic Sega Bass Fishing game which I like to play whenever I am in East-Rand Mall in Johannesburg.

Of course I am about ten to twenty years older than everybody else in the arcade and sometimes that made me worry about myself. But all those thoughts are banished as from yesterday, because I spotted an old couple taking each other on at Sega Rally:

And they were not bad at it either. I wonder whether the winner got to drive home? ;-)

Sunday, 12 November 2006

Ai ai ai ai aiPod

(The title reads best when sung like the old O-o-o-o-Oros ad.)

Today I was smote by iGod, the small white thing (by 2004 standards) that claims to hold and protect my life. My music.

I must have angered it, browsed too long over its new incarnation, or used its name in vain. Possibly it just got tired of me dragging it around everywhere, dropping it indiscriminately, dressing it up in tight rubber suits and insisting it play alt.country playlists for 12 hour shifts. I angered it, methinks, and I paid the price.

It happened a little like PW. I switched on my laptop for the 1000th time, launched iTunes for the 1000th time, and watched in a sort of hazy, stoic horror how “updating iPod” for the 1st time EVER actually meant “happily busy wiping 40GB of music”. Not syncing it with something. Not checking for updates. Not asking for permission. Not even blowing a raspberry. Just deleting. I’m in your base and killing your d00ds.

Everything was set to manual. I was running an old version of the software. I didn’t say OK to anything. It was perfect: me me me me. That’s who was supposed to control the functions and push the buttons. But iGod today frowned upon me me me me and decided to delete my complete 27 month collection, which is a lifetime in gadget-years. It decided to teach me a lesson.

I do have backups. I have an eMusic account, folders with stuff, external hard drive. I have the cd’s I’ve ripped, even the cd’s that ripped me off. It’s not about the music. What frustrates me most is losing what I don’t really need: my play history. No more checking to see if “I am happy but you don’t like me” by Asobi Seksu is still the most played song from 6,500 odd songs. Or contemplating whether I should actually listen to that one American Music Club song that hasn’t been played in 27 months. No more reflecting on my bi-monthly top 10 favourite song playlists since August 2004 and chuckling to myself. No more remembering which songs I have burned on which mix-cd’s for whom. No more of these things.

It’s like listening to vinyl!

It’s like forgetting to switch off Disasters and watching the aliens invade your beautiful SimCity.

I should be happy there is some history at Last.FM. Although I have to start afresh on the little white thing that displayed uncanny AI today, all is not lost. It’s all probably for the good…

[Ok, here I have to stop and say what a typical human way this is to react in the face of unnecessary, un-asked for Crap That Happens. I hate gravity, when things just fall out of your hands, for no reason. I hate stickers on cd's and books that can't be cleanly removed. I especially hate it when keys slip between the seat and middle-thing in a car. This is like that. Totally unnecessary and uncalled for and against what nature is supposed to be like if you ask me.]

…ahem, let me continue. Where were I? Oh yes. It’s all probably for the good. It makes you realise how ridiculous it is to be all Web 2.0 obsessed – checking your music, your links, your comments, your profiles, your neighbours, your friends, your contacts, your trackbacks, your updates, your peers, your avatars... and writing about it in your blog. It’s all so damn social. Involving humans. Eeew.

I have an iPod to fill up. It’s name is PollenPod and it used to be my friend.

Friday, 10 November 2006

yellow man

I was driving through Milnerton the other day and snapped this fellow with my cell-phone camera (hence the fuzziness).

Monday, 6 November 2006

Grinderman - when news is good

A member of the Goodson mailing list alerted the rest of us to one of the best pieces of news I've heard in a long time. Below is the full piece from mute.com:
Grinderman - Debut Album Out 5th March 2007
Foul-mouthed, noisy, hairy, and damn well old enough to know better, Grinderman are Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos.

Born of babbling lyrics hatched from Bosch eggshells in the Hyde-bound apocalyptic margins of the Cave brain, the Grinderman sound is an instinctual yawlp that also resurrects the demons of each musician’s past: the trashcan proselytising of Birthday Party -era Nick; Sclavunos' late 70s New York no-wave noise wisdom; Martyn Casey’s ominous Triffids bass reverb; plus Ellis' avant-garde soundtrack work and his teenage love of Black Sabbath. Destination: Out!

Warren: "It was meant to be really open liberating thing, push those elements where we’d normally say ‘I don’t know about that’ and push on, relentless."
Nick: “We’re just searching for a bit of freedom"
Jim: "Ceaselessly banging away."
Warren: “Having Nick on the guitar changed the whole dynamic of the thing and threw us into a much more rudimentary ballpark."
Martyn: "It wasn't consciously two fingers to maturity but I remember thinking, all the way through, 'This isn’t bad for a bunch of old farts.'"

Nick Cave - Vocals, Electric Guitar, Electric Organ, Piano
Warren Ellis - Electric Bouzouki, Fendocastor, Viola, Violin, Acoustic Guitar, Hohner Guitaret, Backing Vocals
Martyn P Casey - Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jim Sclavunos - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals

Grinderman sound different from everyone, including themselves. As Memphis Slim put it back in 1941, "While everything is quiet and easy/ Mr. Grinder can have his way.” It's a new day. God help you all.


Go and have a listen to the song No Pussy Blues at the myspace site. Even if the connection is slow, don't stop until you've reached 1:40 minutes. And 3:34 minutes. Aah. Bliss.