IPad meetings and the like

Yesterday I broke the tea pot. Then I dropped a heavy pyrex dish which bounced on my arm en route to the floor (I was on the floor at the time, don’t ask!). The dish bounced on the floor, and being pyrex, I thought it would survive. Well, it didn’t! And my arm now has a black and blue bruise to prove it. A few hours later I burned the toasts (it happens often).  And also the veggie burgers under the grill. My husband blames the iPad…

I did manage to wash the dishes and wipe the surfaces safely though! And pack the dishes into the cupboards. I think I just get distracted. I fully intend to make toasts but get side-tracked with something else – my email, or BBM, or something. I totally forget about what I started in the kitchen until the smell of burnt stuff wafts into the lounge.  And no one is more surprised than me. I mean, it was just a few minutes ago that I set the toasts going wasn’t it?

So it is not the iPads’s fault. Or the Blackberry.  I can totally get why people get sucked into the virtuality of the web to the exclusion of all else. It’s so easy.

I have a colleague, a good friend, that when we meet for coffee at work, it is with our iPads. I call it an iPad meeting. We sit, and inbetween sips of our cappuccinos, heads buried in our respective iPads, compare the apps we’ve recently bought, check mail and see photos. In all honesty, we actually do get a lot done. And we also catch up on work.

Yesterday morning my husband and I sat in the lounge with our morning coffee and muffins (home-made), in companionable silence, each with our separate devices.  Once in a while we would share something we’d just read, chat about it, and go back to our devices. Before we knew it a few hours had passed, and I can think of worse ways to pass a Sunday morning.

Let me be honest – I would much rather be blogging, or on facebook or chatting with friends on BBM, than making toasts.The world has changed – people now meet their spouses online. Each and every person’s global reach has expanded with the wonderful technology we have, definitely making the world a smaller place. I love it. We are living in exciting times, and instead of resisting, let us just go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

Off course, it does mean that there will be a lot more burnt toasts in this household.

E-tolls, public transport and driving

My car is public transport. I am a member of the public. My car is my means of transport. So my car is public transport. The fact that 9 times out of 10 it carries only 1 person, the driver, me, is irrelevant. I like my space, my peace and quiet. I do a whole lot of thinking in the car, and yes, a whole lot of crying. I let out all my frustrations in the car and sometimes the tears come. I also do a lot of singing in the car. Where most people will sing in the shower, I sing in the car, where absolutely no one can hear me (the shower is still a bit public).

In California, there is a special lane on the freeways (the fast-lane) for car pools, that being any car with more than one person in it. It is well monitored,. If a single occupant car is found traveling in that lane it is fined. That is good incentive to car pool. Make the fast-lane a car pool lane. And instead of trying to e-toll us to death, use those gantries to monitor and police the car pool lane.

There are many drivers on our roads that should not be driving on freeways. They simply have no clue. They don’t know that to  join a freeway THEIR  speed has to be adjusted to match the freeway’s speed, not the other way around. They cut you off when they want to overtake, and don’t realise that when overtaking, they actually have to SPEED UP, not slow down, or even travel at the speed they were traveling in the first place. Because what is the point of overtaking if they are going to be traveling at the same speed as they were in the slow lane?

And then there are the e-tolls. To e-tag or not to e-tag, that is the question. We have a reprieve and the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. I wouldn’t mind paying e-tolls if I knew that the money was going to be used to build a decent and safe mass public transport infrastructure. I would relish not having the battle the traffic every day, having some time to read or prepare for the work day ahead. When I travel to other countries, I will find any excuse to use public transport. I love it! With a safe and decent public transport system I would gladly leave my public transport at home and use the other public transport at my disposal.

Then I would be a lot more green than I am now. I would be a lot less stressed than I am now. I would have a lot less traffic fines to pay than I have now. The environment would benefit. My health would benefit. My bank balance would benefit.

Like most South Africans I honestly thought that levy on petrol went to keep the roads in good shape. And, yes, some roads are privatised, and I choose whether to use them or not. I guess we know now that e-tolling is not really about giving us decent roads. Someone decided to gamble with money that didn’t belong to them and now are in deep sh**. There is a debt to be paid so now what?

With the Juju soapie supposedly over, we now have the e-toll saga to keep us entertained. It will make us laugh, cry and rage. Part soapie, part reality -TV. Move over Survivor-Isidingo…

Those days of thunder #FreedomDay

One day she was there. The next day she was gone. She was gone for a very long time. When she came back many who knew her didn’t recognise her. What happened to her during the months she was gone can only be speculated upon. Those were the days of thunder before the birth of our young democracy. As we celebrate the 18th year of a democratic South Africa, I thought it appropriate to share this true story that I was a witness to.

She came into our lives like a tornado…beautiful, vibrant and completely uninhibited about everything. Her dress, her behaviour and her political views. With her wild dreadlocks she attracted everyone’s attention, especially the boys who couldn’t take their eyes off her. And us girls, could only stare in a mixture of envy and admiration. Secretly, she was the girl we all wanted to be like. But would not openly admit it.

The backdrop to this story is Wits University. The year was 1985.

During this time I picked my way to lectures very carefully. I had classes in the both the East and West Campus. As I rushed to class, I kept my eyes and ears open to any unusual noises and any unusual cloying suffocating smells. The sounds of dogs barking in the beautiful green lawns of Wits was unusual…and usual for the time. Shouting and screaming, the sounds of running feet, also out of place…but not for the time. Smoke and tear gas unusual…but not for the time. I was very careful not to get caught up in the chaos of a raid on the campus by the then security police. It was a dangerous time, especially for those who were actively fighting for freedom.

I was studying political science and the debate in class was always cautious. Except by her…she debated her views openly. One day, half-way through the first semester, she did not come to class. I wondered at this because I always looked out for her, such was my intense fascination. The next day I looked out for her in class, but she was again absent. She was gone for a very long time.

Towards the end of the academic year she came back. I didn’t recognise her at first. Gone was the vibrancy. She was skeletal. She walked in and out of class very quickly, not pausing to say hello or make eye contact. She sat at the back and was quiet. She was flanked, protectively, by her friends. Her wild dreadlocks were gone, her hair shaved very close to her scalp.

Once, she met my curious gaze – what stared back at me was a shell, barely recognisable as the beautiful and vibrant girl of a few months back. Her haunted eyes spoke of things too terrible to mention.

Soon after that she did not return to class. I never saw her again. I still think of her and I wonder what has become of her, where is she now?

To me she will always be the beautiful and vibrant girl I was fascinated with…and I didn’t even know her name…

In tribute…


Blogger’s note: I wrestled with myself whether to tell this story. It was a sensitive time for many. I would have published this earlier were it not for my irrational fears. In retrospective I am glad that I waited to post, because today was probably the most appropriate day to have done it.

Photo: Sunset in Mauritius

Le Maritim

I waited for the sunset to photograph its progression. It was only much later, when I downloaded the photos, that I saw the silhouette of the man in the bottom left hand corner. I could not have asked for better composition. It was totally unplanned, unposed and unexpected. I am delighted at this gift of randomness. This is one of my favourite photos. See if you can spot him.

Location: Le Maritim, Mauritius, July 2011

What a week!

What a week! I am totally nackered! Thankfully I have not over-committed myself this weekend. I have nothing committed for tomorrow so will be spending the whole day at home. Similarly for Sunday, although I will get out to ride my bike. I haven’t riden in 2 weeks and I miss being on the bike.

I am a bit peeved because whenever I hook up my bike trailer to my car, the fuses blow and I am left with no tail or instrument panel lights. Both the trailer and towbar are new. To determine whether it is the towbar installation, or the trailer wiring is gonna be another thing. I can just imagine each party trying to deflect responsibility by blaming the other. I didn’t have time this week to do anything about it.

I started the #Scary365 project this week. Let’s see where it takes me. I have done a lot of scary stuff so far, and I actively seek to face my fears head-on because I don’t want to miss out on any growth opportunities.

Work is very exciting. It has been so for almost 2 years now. I work with an awesome team of people. I am blessed and grateful. And we deliver meaningful projects that deliver business value using the Agile Scrum framework. Our rate of delivery is quick and best of all, predictable.

I am enjoying blogging. Writing gives me much satisfaction. I feel that some of my posts are better written than others. I am considering changing my theme and have bought a magazine theme currently on localhost until I have figured it out and done the migration.

Things that are overdue and absolutely MUST be done this coming week is the registration of the trailer and taking my bike for its first service.

I am going to sleep now. I am totally nackered.

Good nite!