Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The birds use cigarettes

First of all, let me just start with the fact that I hate cigarettes and smoking. I think they are a useless waste of a God given pair of lungs and 20 years cut off a person's life span, if not more. Cigarettes are revolting, and they are a litterers best friend. They're everywhere. It's 2013 people. I think it is time we take responsibility for our waste. Countless forests, homes and crop fields have also been burnt down by a simple butt thrown on the floor by one unconscious smoker. Table mountain in Cape Town was even burnt almost completely by a smoker who threw his butt out of his car, endangering thousands of animals and plant life. BUT, I truly marvel at the pure adaptability of nature to the human race's destructive ways. The birds use cigarettes.

Birds are magnificent little creatures. When our homes are over run by ants, we call in the fumigators. Birds build insect repellent right into their nests, using chemical-emitting plants that repulse unwanted guests. City birds though, have now adapted to using a different sort of chemical-emitting item. Cigarettes.
Urban feathered fowls are now constructing their nests with built in cigarettes, making use of the nicotine and other chemicals as a pesticide! Extraordinary!
Mexican scientists who have studied this newly examined phenomena, found that on average, a nest would have 10 smoked cigarette buts fitted into its make up. They caution though that there may be negative side effects yet to be seen for the birds, as cigarettes contain known carcinogens. That's right.
These urban insecticides could possibly poison the poor things. Let's just all hope that that will remain "yet to be seen".

Mother Nature is the greatest quick changer of all, ready to swap her scarf to a beanie any day of the week. I am astonished by the amazing evolution going on right this moment to counter the supposed "Next Mass Extinction" we are causing. If you've watched Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, then you will know that now that the Earth has become warmer, insects are hatching earlier, meaning less food for the insect eating birds, and thus birds have somehow shifted their own hatching season to try to fix the imbalance, but not entirely successfully. There are some shocking conclusions to Global warming.

Another example of urban adaptation that will blow your mind, are that trees in cities have began to grow roots lining the pattern of the pavement!

Utterly stunning, is it not?

P.S Knowledge of any mind blowing adaptations to share?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I dreamed a dream

Dumbstruck awe. There is no other way to describe my feelings after seeing what I saw last night. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Les Miserables is the most powerful movie I have ever seen in my life. 

No spoiler alert here. I can't stand spoilers, so instead I shall comment on the extraordinary work and performance in this astonishing movie. One thing you all should know; All the singing in the movie was done LIVE. No lip syncing or no backing tracks. Every single note was sung right there on set and just behind the camera was a live pianist playing the song, and the actors had a small speaker in their ears to hear the music. They could slow it down, speed it up or whisper it at first if they wanted. They had complete freedom to perform the songs the way they felt they should be. So beautifully real.

Hugh Jackman. Wow. I've always known he was a great actor, but in this movie, wow - I just can't stop saying wow- he really proved himself. If you didn't know, he has an incredible voice with an amazing vibrato of his notes. He absolutely deserved his Golden Globe for Best Actor. Just take a look at this;

This man went from this;

To that. He was so in character, it was mind blowing. If I hadn't known it was him from the trailer, I would not have even recognized him in the beginning. Wow.

Anne Hathaway. Another big winner at the Golden Globes. Nabbed herself a Best Supporting Actress for honestly one of the most powerful roles I have ever seen. She sang I Dreamed a Dream so wondrously... Goose bumps again. She too was so in character it was completely unbelievable. Oh, and the scene shown in the trailer where her hair is being cut off? 
They are actually legitimately cutting her hair off right there at that moment, no second takes, nada. Respect.

Other superb performances were by Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne. Amanda Seyfried is actually a trained opera singer and has the most angelic and pure - and high - voice I've ever heard. Eddie Redmayne, if you've never heard of him is an English actor, singer and model. And how many of those are out there? How many of those have won the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the 2010 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in the West End and Broadway production of the drama play Red? Again, respect.

Don't let that freckled youthful face fool you. He is one mean man singing machine.

Russel Crow. Oh deary. I guess the word solid could possibly work to describe his singing ability? Sure, his character was meant to be the brick in a metaphorical sense, but I feel like they cast him because he's Russel Crow and they just got the voice they got. He hit the notes, don't get me wrong, but there was nothing there past notes. His vocals just don't have Hugh Jackman's resonance. If I could change one thing about the movie, it would be to swap ol' Crow out for somebody who could really give his  rough character some vocal depth. Sorry Russ.

The rest of the cast were of course equally brilliant. 

A special round of applause also goes to Helena Bonham Carter, Sasha Baron Cohen -yes, the Borat guy- and Daniel Huttlestone -age 12. Helena Bonham Carter played her usual nutty self, and was excellent as per usual. Sasha Baron Cohen, I never ever thought I would say this, but he is actually a really good actor, and he has quite a decent voice. 

Daniel Huttlestone, this kid is a star. Playing Gavroche, he gives his all and he is such a character.
I adore him. Future Oscar Winner, hello.

Lastly, one giant, humongous cheers to Tom Hooper, the director and definitely not forgetting Claude-Michel Schönberg -the music composer! Ahem, it is a musical after all...

Utterly brilliant is all I can say, so this is an order as par the Revolution; 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Naked Truth

People think that I have a stick up my ass. Maybe not my close friends and persons I'm generally friendly with, but I can see that many of the people I am around that don't know me and just see me around think that I'm stuck up. I resent that. 
It actually saddens me quite a lot. My writings here are inspired by an artwork done by one of the contestants of Work of Art: Next Great Artist. What this artist did was she took a naked photo of herself and then wrote all her secrets, or rather her truths, over her body. I will not be posting a naked photo of myself, but I will be writing my own truths and things that show that I'm a person tooin protest of this unfortunate label.

I like eating healthy food. Just because I don't eat rubbish doesn't make me picky. It's just how I am.

Please stop being so surprised when I'm nice to you. I'm a nice person. I'm sorry if I ever gave you the impression that I'm not.

I do ballet. It is a beautiful, beautiful art of expression that requires dedication and practice, but also a love of movement and dance. Does being a bunhead make me a snob?

I want to let loose, like I seem to do around complete strangers, but when I'm around you people I just seem to lose my voice.

I'm an optimist. I try to see the best in everything, and I find it sad that you would rather spend your days in misery of the supposed pointlessness of something and the loathing of me for pointing out that it's only you making it pointless.

Quit getting annoyed when I refuse to be the "Group representative speaker". Sometimes it's your turn too.

I think you're freaking sexy, but if I give that away, I'm afraid it'll put me in the "groupie zone".

I don't only listen to Pavarotti and Beethoven! Yes, I play the classical violin. Fine. Do the piano players you know only listen to Pavarotti? I thought not, so please don't assume I do.

I want you to notice that I'm not feeling great.
I want you to care more than "Howryou?"

I make damn good brownies. It's not arrogant knowing they're good. We've established that they're good, so why does it make me vain by saying so?

Teachers like me. I'm not a teachers pet. I just try. 
I participate. They see that. And?

I adore Christmas! Especially the joyous singing and cajoling.
I have a deep unfulfilled dream of going caroling.

I find you a threat. Actually no, my ego finds you a threat. You were always prettier, seemingly better and wittier than me. 
My ego resents that semblance.

I want to play too, but why is it that every time I try to join in, I feel like a complete intruder?

I don't swear much, but would you please stop making a big deal out of it when I do. It's not that significant. Really!

I love Greek dancing. I'm great at it, and when I dance, I really dance. I'm not showing off. I'm just doing what I do.
I also think our dance group is awesome. Don't mistake pride for big-headedness please. 

I'm scared that I'll go through high school without someone I like liking me back.

I like speaking the way I do. It's my personal brand of highfalutin, complete with long words you may or may not
understand. Here's a long word:supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

You may not have noticed, but I've been here for 10 and a half hours. I started feeling light headed 6 hours in and I feel like I'm going to pass out any second now. I work harder than you know.

We have three things in common. I'm not a boring person. 
We just have three things in common.

McDonald's is disgusting. A man once buried a Big Mac and a year later he unburied it and it looked exactly the same. Ew.

70% is a bad mark. I know 60% is okay for some, but 70% is a bad mark. End of discussion. 

I speak better Afrikaans than you. I'm half Afrikaans, hello. 
I'm not showing off; I just speak the damn language a bit more.

I wouldn't mind never seeing you again.

I really want a guy friend. Damn, I really do, but I seem to scare guys away. I tell myself it's because I challenge them more than other girls. I tell myself it's because I intimidate them or am too harsh. Maybe both are true. I think so.

I am obsessed with peanut butter. That smooth, nutty texture caressing my pallet while my tongue dances around my mouth is pure health fundi decadence. I could eat it straight out of the jar.

I hate the term trashy. The people who usually use it are trashy themselves. Maybe not in appearance. Trashy on the inside.

I'm going to miss you, dude. You are one of the people that I'm aware of that are always genuinely ecstatic when they see me.

Sometimes in life, you are going to meet someone that you just don't gel with. (Hi) It's not a crime. I just instantly didn't feel anything for you and vice versa.

I wish alice bands suited me. I really do, but all they do is make my face look square, or circular, or rectangular  Some geometric shape that shouldn't be associated with a face.

You have no idea who I am. Not even the slightest clue.

Blondes with black eyebrows look funny. Just dye the whole ensemble blonde please! It's a look! Seriously!

Quit teasing me about Kili. It is a legitimate term we climbers use for the highest peak in Africa. Was I supposed to say, "I summited Mount Kilimanjaro last month. Mount Kilimanjaro is 5895m high and Mount Kilimanjaro was one of the best experience of my life so far. Mount Kilimanjaro is one hectic mountain."?
Get the point?

I want to strangle you. WHY do you not try? How is not trying or giving up cool? Come on. Stop looking at me with that blank expression. One thing you will always succeed in is trying!

I love airports and flying. I always seem to meet the most incredible and inspiring people while in those two places.

I went through a phase last year of sobbing my heart out. Sobbing, like one would for a dead relative. Sobbing like someone had punched a hole in my chest.

Can I please just be ridiculously happy about what I've just accomplished? If I think it was brilliant, and I say so, I'm not being full of it. I'm allowed to feel fantastic after I've done something fantastic.

Oh, you're busy. Oh, you're busy too? Busy right?

Pepsi is just sweeter Coke.

I can play, write, do this so much better, and I absolutely hate it that you've heard or seen a lesser version.

I want to be picked. I'm a strong person and I can ask myself, but for once I'd like someone to go, "Hey Anth, would you do this with me?" Is it so bad to want that?

I wish I'd known you when you were my age.

Oh, my my. Aren't you something to look at. Please notice that I'm staring at you, rush over to me, kiss me passionately, and say, "Where have you been?"

I feel like you are black holes, energy vampires, sucking my life force from me, leaving me with a cold, dark abyss in the center of my chest. I could feel it eating, no, consuming me for some time. I won the battle. 

Oh my gosh! My friend! You have no idea how wonderful it is to connect with you again. I secretly jumped up and down like a Duracell bunny when I heard from you today.

I'm sad for you.

I want a boyfriend. It doesn't make me desperate by saying so.
I do. I want one. I act like I'm indifferent, but really, my inner lover is shouting for someone to notice that I'm not.

I have so much knowledge! I know things. Incredible things. 
Things I've tried to share, but I was persecuted and attacked. 
I want to pour what I know out to the world. Let me.

I want to be a writer. Not a journalist. I just said journalist, because the last time I said writer, that person, like countless others went, "Oh" (Nod)
I'm not saying journalist anymore.

I want to be a writer. Final.

P.S I am bestowing the gift of my comment box as a vessel to write your own truths. Do join in with me. 
It's a lot of fun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guess what we're actually doing!

"This is so inspiring! I'm in absolute glee to know that I'm not alone in the world and............. and........... and........."

Huh, Write words belowOkay,, ha! Next- what in the world is that? v...c. ooh, no, r...i..t.n...t..' ?

What!? No! Please Retry -please retry?! No ways! Exit.

Sound familiar? The above situation is a demo of one of the most annoying and teeth-grinding wastes of time on the Internet. The "Checking that you're not a robot" test that we all have to do before we can access anything is a double pain in the behind and I have been all aboard the "I hate the Prove You're Not a Robot" campaign with everyone else ever since I can remember. I have left blogs countless times with comments unpublished because of these scratchy things. After the third time of The answer you entered for the CAPTCHA was not correct, I'm just about ready to pull my hair out. 

About a week ago though, a link given after completing one of those fruitless irritants claiming to explain what they actually are caught my eye, and trust me, you will not believe what we're actually doing!

reCAPTCHA is a program created at Carnegie Mellon University, USA and now get this, we, the populous of the world, are in fact digitizing the text of old books, newspapers, magazines and documents written before the computer age in order to immortalize and spread their word to the planet, while also protecting websites from spam and computer robots from accessing restricted info and sites. Computers can't read distorted text as well as humans, therefore they cannot reach sites protected by CAPTCHA. I never knew a twitch about this before, and don't lie, neither did you until about a minute ago.It is totally mind-blowing how much is going on right underneath our noses that we don't even realize!

Approximately 200 million reCAPTCHAS are solved per day. As of 2009, 20 years of The New York Times had been digitized and a goal was set to finish by the end of 2010. Unfortunately, nowhere on the world wide web does it say if they really achieved this goal, but though the average per CAPTCHA is only 10 seconds, a collective estimate of about 500,000 human hours are spent solving these frustrating pickles every day, so I think we can both agree that their aim is pretty much reached.

One last question, if we are solving the words, how can the system tell if we're wrong? Here's how; Words that cannot be read correctly by OCR (Optical Character Recognition), which is a program that attempts to decipher illegible text, is given to a user together with another word whose answer is already known. If they solve the known answer, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. Hang on, but that's just working on assumptions. How could it possibly be accurate?
Wait, the system then gives the new image to a number of other people to interpret, with greater confidence, if the original solution was accurate.

I'll be honest. I am truly glad that completing those squiggly words is contributing to the greater good and I love that we are contributing to spreading knowledge all over the world, but as we're being honest here, they are still the most colossal vexations of our dearest Internet to moi. Fine, they're no longer a waste of time, but giving a final word on the matter, in 2040 they're going to look like this because there will be nothing left to digitise. Fun.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Us. Friends. Always.

I had a pit in the bottom of my stomach all day. I had known for months that my closest friend on the entire planet was leaving, but today was her final day, and it hadn't hit me yet. 

Paula and I have been best friends for the last 2 years, but I feel like I've known her my entire life. She feels like more of a sister to me than anything else, which is why her moving away has taken such a grievous toll on me. Because her father is a Mozambican diplomat, she has had a very erratic life. She came to South Africa when she was 7 from Mozambique, and wonderfully, she hasn't had to move anything more drastic than her house in her years here. This year turned out to be the year it became more drastic. 

Her and I have had some wicked laughs and adventures and also some beautiful and soul touching times together too, last year in particular, since we both went on a school tour to Germany, Switzerland and Greece. 

Heidelberg - my favourite town.
Japanese tourists
Scary slides in the Salt Mines of Berchtesgaden
At the top of the Jungfrau
Athens, Greece

Euro tour was such an incredible experience to share with her. 
I will never, ever forget it. (Grins)

On Monday this last week I had breakfast with her in this quaint neighbourhood cafe and we talked non-stop for two and a half hours. We spoke about the year to come, what her new school is going to be like, our holidays, shared our aspirations for our lives and so much more and when time was up, I think we needed at least another two hours. We then went out to watch The Hobbit with a bunch of our friends -the second time for me. That movie remains utterly brilliant, as does the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, but that's besides the point. I arrived home that night glowing from head to toe. It was a fantastic day. 

Friday was her planned visit to our school to say goodbye to everyone. Arriving in the last hour of the day, she briskly walked into my science class, there to say her farewells. I could tell she had been crying. She gave me a hug and everyone else as well, and then she left. We hadn't gotten to say the things we needed to say to each other, and it still hadn't hit me. 

I arrived home that day, and the knot in my stomach hadn't budged an inch. I ate lunch, read a bit, and then I decided to sit in lotus on the grass outside to meditate and breathe a bit in an effort to rid myself of the horribly icky feeling that had come over me. Suddenly, as if someone had hit me in the face with a baseball bat, I began to cry. Actually cry doesn't quite describe it. It was more along the lines of my face collapsed on themselves with the added effect of heaving and tears.
It had hit me. 

My best friend had left for good. She was gone.

Where it all started...

Last night, her and I had our out-pour of adieu messages via Whatsapp. I was sobbing. Really sobbing. I eventually just brought a toilet role to use as tissues. I'm surprised my parents didn't think to check if I was dying from some fast acting, highly painful disease that was plaguing my body at that time. It's called bestfriend/sisteriamgoingtomissyousofreakingdamnmuch disease.

I woke up this morning with a swollen face and red, puffy eyes from the sheer titanic of crying that had occurred last night.
We spoke today and turns out we both have swollen red faces! 
Puffy eyes sisters!

Dear Paula, I wish you all the abundance, joy and love of the universe. You are an unimaginably amazing person. Wow, this year is going to be different without you. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pushing the Envelope

The world is filled with all types of conventional artists. Painters, sculptors  potters, photographers... They may be highly skilled, and I'm not denouncing an inch of their talent, but now in this day and era it is time to push the envelope. Carpenter/Pencil sculptor, Dalton Ghettie has done just that in a jaw droppingly amazing way.

Is this not absolutely unbelievable? Ghettie has been a graphite artist for 25 years and as a child would give presents of personalized carved pencils and wood to his friends.  

He has once spent a total of two and a half years on one piece! A usual sculpture will take several months. He even admitted,"It would drive me mad when I would be just a bit too heavy-handed and the pencil’s tip would break. I would get very nervous sometimes... I decided to change the way I thought about the work – when I started a new piece my attitude would be ‘well this will break eventually but let’s see how far I get. It helped me break fewer pencils, and although I still do break them, it’s not as often”

 “The interlinking chains took the most effort and I was really pleased with it because it’s so intricate people think it must be two pencils”

“I don’t make any money from it but that’s not what it’s about for me. However, I would love for a gallery owner in England to fly me over to put on a show,”

If I owned a gallery, he'd be my first exhibition.

P.S If you know of any artists pushing the envelope too, write me comment and I'll check them out!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Utterly creative

I'm feeling so incredibly inspired right now. On Saturday I was surrounded by so much absolute creativity that I'm still buzzing with excitement. It was a mother-daughter day and a truly wonderful one.

First things first, we had breakfast at this place in Parkhurst, Joburg called Possum's. 

The service was a tad slow, but Oh. My. Word. The food was so so good! 
Thought I'd try something different

I had Spanish Rat with scrambled eggs and sliced baguette bread. The "Rat" part is ratatouille. Yum.

I had a really amazing chat with my mother. She's in the middle of these life coaching exams and the work she is doing as part of her requirements is utterly brilliant. I'm just in complete awe.

Afterwards we went across the street to this design shop called Santos that sells this cleverly inventive furniture, gifts, kitchen and room/store fittings. My favourite thing was the Firefly Jar. Check it out;

We then drove through Parkhurst, Hydepark and Rosebank. All the galleries, design shops and quaint restaurants are stunning. 
I have every intention of visiting every one. (Smiles)
Finally arriving at Sandton City, my mom promptly brought me to a shop I could probably spend the rest of eternity in. Typo.

It's this wildly creative, fun and spontaneous stationery/ gift/ design shop that wow, is genius. Take a look at what you find there;

Oh yeah
Nearly bought this for my Debutantes partner!

I had a little fun with all the hands.
What's hilarious is that after I finished this one, I looked back to the other and somebody had changed it to a very naughty finger! 

Very cool idea here - testing pens paper!

A little marketing (wink)

I was a little excited (chuckles)
Check this, they also make these wonderful letters in all different colours.

We did a little shopping and then we drove off to this place called Shepherd's Market. It's this picturesque Chinese shop area with an Italian pizza, pasta, risotto restaurant slap bang in the middle of them. I'd been gunning for a pizza, so there we went.