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Yours *TrulyJuly*

I do everything content.

 

How dreadful to know no other way than the final way out

How fearful to self harm to the degree of life threatening

How frightful to leap over the edge all alone

How unrestful to take that one step too far

How unpainful to go beyond life preserving means

How loathful to extinguish all love

How mournful to leave everything dear behind

How remorseful to sacrifice all there is, life itself

How sorrowful to find no solace but in abandonment

How fateful to go through with it

 

How awful when life becomes unbearable

How tearful when the last cry has dropped

How unhopeful, when hope dies at last

 

How tragic to miss the opportunity to be found and come back

How very sad to have yet another soul lost

 

And yet, how very selfish.

 

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Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

Rat City is spreading: Across the south wall, and further on top of the desk, and beneath it, and across the bridge to the original cage location.

 

Looking after 17 ratties!

 

Rat City is taking over our bedroom with 4 medium sized rat cages, 1 small cage, and 3 travel cages:

Across the south wall, all blocked up so no chance of draft, the cages continue onto the desk. Which is where the rattie exploration must stop, with office cables on the far end.

Same below the desk: 2 travel cages give the opportunity to play and settle, as the ratoots are not allowed further.

Instead, why not give Agatha and Eleanor a visit, who have their cage in my original rattie cage location. Because they don’t react well to stress, they sit a bit apart from rat city, only connected by the bridge, which can be removed if they need a bit more quiet time.

 

I thought it’d be a big job.

 

But besides having to do some more cleaning, all the ratties are well behaved. You hardly notice it’s so many, because all they do is cuddle in bigger packs.

The variety of cages and rattie friends is enough entertainment for them to stay put. Most of the ratoots only interact within the boundaries of rat city.

The few curious culprits who roam the entire room are noted and easy to watch out for. Especially when they actually come to greet you, like Yoshi does when he’s on top of the staircase. What a nice way to be welcomed into your own bedroom. 🙂

 

It is inspiring to see how all these different characters manage to find harmony.

Because not all of them get along: There is quite a bit of rivalry and territorial protection going on.

 

A rat who’s boss in one clan might clash with a rat who’s boss in another clan.

And rat who is used to only one other rat messing about in their cage might get a tad irritated when another rat comes not only to visit, but actually to stay and set up camp.

 

There are a few odd squeaks of protest, but rats have the most funniest and actually impressive way to solve conflict: Through cuddles.

A rat’s way of showing their domination is through vigorous grooming of the inferior rat. So there might be a lot of huffing and puffing going on, but it always gets resolved through devoted preening.

 

Rat City offers enough space for the ratties to avoid each other and sort any conflicts in their own time. And because I leave the cages open, they can choose who to hang with.

Sometimes with surprising results: Rats who might have not gotten along so well in their own clan all of the sudden team up, with so many other ratties around. New pet rats meet and make friends. Odd pairs match up in their quest to explore.

 

The dynamics and interactions are more entertaining than the best soap opera.

Maybe that’s because as soon as you, the spectator, come forward you’re totally engulfed in rattie attention. And when it’s 17 of them, that’s a lot of rattie love! ❤

 

Rats are so tender, timid and sweet, it’s the most humbling experience: For these little skittish critters to trust you, come to you, and shower you in rattie kisses, to be acknowledged, inspected and not only welcomed into their clan, but actively sought out to be part of it, I can only ever conclude:

 

Rats make great pets!

 

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If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat for a while.

If you want your belly to stop grumbling, try cutting out wheat.

 

I love bread! Not white bread, proper brown whole wheat bread.

And I love muesli! Not the sugar loaded clusters, but the proper bran flakes type.

And I love couscous and pasta! Or at least the sauce for it… 😉

 

All of these however contain wheat. And thus need to be cut out during the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

 

Finding alternatives to wheat is quite simple if you switch to the usual replacements: rice, corn, oats.

But I already eat brown rice as a staple with my lunch or dinner.

And I already snack on corn chips and corn flakes – watch out that they’re indeed wheat free and preferably non-GMO by the way.

And I already enjoy my porridge every day.

 

So I don’t want to just add more of the same staple I’m already eating in order to replace wheat. If I want to get through this FODMAP diet I need a bit more variety.

A great opportunity to try out some new, more exotic, and supposedly super, foods:

 

Sorghum and quinoa taste great as couscous and pasta substitute.

Buckwheat and amaranth make for a great breakfast cereal, and millet can be cooked into a delicious gruel.

As for bread, well, being German I can tell you that from steam bread to crisp bread, from spelt to rye, from potato to carrot to beer bread, everything is possible. Find a great bakery or supplier of wholesome flour and bake it yourself.
Or be creative and swap bread for a different ingredient altogether: How about a saladwich?

 

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Gigi, you cutie little cuddle munchkin.

Gigi, you cutie little cuddle munchkin.

 

Everything takes a bit longer with little Gigi who was stunted in her growth and had rickets disease due to severe malnutrition when she was rescued as a puppy.

 

I could hardly pick up Lola after 3 months already!

 

And Gigi still behaves and looks like a puppy after 4 months.

 

But then, we don’t know how big Gigi is supposed to get, she might just stay this size, or maybe fill out some more, or she might end up outgrowing Lola.

 

We’re just curious about the end result. Her cute and hyper manners make her such a big part of our life, her actual size doesn’t matter.

 

Here’s to 4 months in which Gigi blossomed into a mischievous dainty little lady, surprising us and mostly herself with her newly learned stunts, always tail wagging, a happy chappy.

 

#AdoptDontShop 🙂

 

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This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on 'Explain, Please'.

This matter of fact humour can work well as a Call To Action to click on ‘Explain, Please’.

 

Humour is a real tricky thing. Not everyone finds the same things funny. Some don’t find it funny at all!

 

There’s a fine line between satire, irony and insult, and in nowadays time of post-truth it’s difficult to know if your audience indeed gets it. They might just start a shitstorm on you…

 

But humour is also an incredible means to bond: Laugh together and the ice is broken. Share the same humour and become friends.

 

So if you’re after strengthening the relationship with your existing customers, a little humour might help.

 

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Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

Digging stuff out from our garden: What could this be?

With a new puppy in our home, we got a new force for digging at work. Gigi has reached that stage, where digging is the coolest thing ever.

Luckily our garden is not yet done and our dogs can dig as much as they like. In fact, they’re actually helping us: With the clay ground it’s super hard labour and with an entire house buried in our backyard, there’s still plenty to excavate. So wherever you dig, you’re bound to dig something up.

This time it’s an Iron Ring Pull with Flower Rosette. At least that’s the closest I came to finding something on the internet that resembles this.

An 8 petal iron rosette with a twisted pull ring. Was this perhaps the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

Could this be the door knocker of The Broken Palace?

If you remember this door knocker or know anything about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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The communication between machine and human is a difficult thing.

 

But still, every machine was initially programmed by a human, which justifies a ‘What were they thinking?’ non-usabilityfriendly induced irritation.

 

So here is one of those double blink excusez-moi is this happening for real moment:

 

I’m glad this is ‘The exception’ then.

I’m glad this is ‘The exception’ then.

 

When doing some Google research and the page froze, Chrome popped up with an explanation: “The exception”.

 

Great, I’m glad we cleared that one up. I’m sure all of the possible browser errors are exceptions, but it’s good to be told, just in case.

 

And I wonder if one late night the dude who’s still working for free couldn’t be arsed to explain why on earth Chrome messed up this time and simply called the application error “The exception”.

 

‘Nuff said: OK

 

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How I found my earring.

How I found my earring.

 

When we got burgled in South Africa, they took everything my grandmother had left me. Whatever scrap gold value they got for it, is just an insult to the meaning it had to me.

 

I was lucky to have one memory remain with me: The little pearl earring I was wearing.

A piece of jewellery my grandma wore and I wear now out of respect for her. Because to me she is a hero, having survived the second world war.

 

But a couple of weeks ago, I lost this tiny stud earring. I noticed it right away, because I always subconsciously feel for it. So I knew it must’ve happened at home.

 

The next day I was crawling around on the floors, looking for it. I wanted to at least make sure we don’t vacuum it up or sweep it away.

 

I suspected that I had lost it playing with our dogs. Lola has a thing of nibbling your ear.

Or maybe I had dislodged it when I pulled my cycling shoulder bag off.

Perhaps it fell in my scarf and I shook it out somewhere.

 

While my search for it gradually stopped, the image of the earring remained glued to my eyes, and 3 weeks later, I found it!

 

In our garden, out of all places. Our backyard is scattered with sand, dust, pebbles, dog toys, weeds, and it currently serves as a storage facility for building material as there’s still construction work going on inside.

 

I was cleaning up one of the holes our puppy Gigi had dug in order to fill it up with sand.

 

As I lifted the green garden net, the earring fell forward together with bits of sticks, pine cones and sea shells, the stuff our dogs play with.

 

I can’t believe I found it!

 

Of course the little Nupsi that holds it in place at the back is missing, which means I can’t wear it.

 

Maybe better, so I can’t lose it again. But where to put it for safekeeping?

 

Isn’t wearing it the best way to remember my Omi.

 

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium is an important mineral for the human body, as it helps maintain healthy teeth and bones and prevent osteoporosis.

 

When I came to South Africa, I couldn’t find acceptable yoghurt at first, as most supermarket yoghurts are loaded with preservatives and emulsifiers.

So I didn’t eat yoghurt for a while, because I boycott products with additives. As a result, my fingernails started to break. Thank goodness I found Amasi.

However, as I have IBS, it’s part of the low FODMAP diet to cut out dairy for a while.

In order to keep my fingernails, I did some research on:

 

How to Get Enough Calcium Without Dairy

The total recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1000 mg.

 

Eggs

One large egg provides 28 mg of calcium, 2.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV). But more importantly, eggs are a good source of vitamin D and when fortified maybe the only source of vitamin D we need.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, without enough vitamin D, the calcium you eat won’t have any beneficial effect.

 

Leafy greens

“If your lactose intolerance is severe and you need to avoid all dairy foods, you can get plenty of calcium from leafy green vegetables,” suggests Barto. Vegetables high in calcium include rhubarb, spinach, broccoli, and certain greens like kale. For example, one cup of cooked spinach has about 250 mg of calcium.

 

Beans

Beans are a fantastic source of calcium in plant-based diets.

Especially Soybeans are high in calcium with 175 mg per cup. Accordingly tofu is generally regarded as a high calcium food.

 

Fish

The amount of calcium in milk is 125 per 100 g. As calcium percentage of the RDA this is 13%. Comparing with Fish, caviar, black and red, granular, in 100 g it contains 275 mg of calcium. As a percentage of the RDA this is 28%.

Sardines do not only contain high amounts of calcium (383 mg per 100 g, that’s 38% DRV) and vitamin D, they are also less contaminated with mercury than other fish.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Almonds and brazil nuts contain about 100 mg of calcium per serving and are recommended snacks for people on low carb diets.

Just a tablespoon of sesame seeds delivers 88 tasty mg of calcium and an ounce of chia seeds has 179 mg of calcium.

 

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Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn't need muscle to defend yourself. Take part in self-defence classes to be safe.

Martial arts instructor Kenneth showed us ladies that it doesn’t need muscle to defend yourself.

 

During heritage month the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) offered free self defence classes for women and girls.

I had only heard about it on the radio and was lucky enough to catch where and when it would take place. So on a Saturday morning I made my way over to Oude Molen in the hope to find the class.

Organised by the Yes We Can Sport & Jazz Foundation they had a great gym facility and quite a big group of women battling it out. Some of the women were devoted regulars, who had attended all the classes already offered, and helped teaching others to defend themselves.

 

I had taken part in self defence classes also in Germany, but yet again, I would soon learn that South Africa is of a different calibre:

Whereas in Germany the key to the self-defence class was to learn that there’s always a way to free yourself from the attacker, that was it, as it was assumed once free you can run away.

However, in South Africa, that is not enough: While we also learned that no matter what debacle you’re in, you can always fight back your attacker, here it doesn’t stop with running away:
The risk that your assailant will attack you again is too high. So we went a step further and also learned how to hurt people. Because in South Africa, fending someone off won’t help: You also have to incapacitate them before running away.

 

In a country with the highest rape rate in the world, and the most women being killed by their partners, this should not come as a surprise.

But to me it is.

Will I ever ‘get used’ to the high crime rate in South Africa? Where when your home got burgled the police tells you to be more vigilant? Or where the police is not even reachable and all you get on the emergency number is that ‘our agents are busy right now’?

Here in South Africa us women have to overcome our own caring nature and learn how to injure others physically, so that when the assault happens, we are prepared.

Well then, if that’s what it takes, let’s get training:

Check out the Cape Town Self Defence Institute (C.T.S.D.I.) for their classes. As their slogan rightly says: Make the attacker your victim!

 

 

Step 1: Insert rat into flowerpot

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

Rattie Harley fits so snug into the flowerpot.

 

Step 2: Adjust flowerpot to rat’s liking

 

Step 3: Let rat settle

 

Voila! Rat has grown a little – maybe 😉

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

Rattie Harley looks so cute! Ready to be showered in kisses!

 

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Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

Jenni Leibbrandt is doing a fantastic job talking us through the behind the scenes tour a the Two Ocean Aquarium.

 

I always enjoy visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

But do yourself a favour and go on a night / behind the scenes tour at the aquarium.

You’ll look at the displays with all new eyes:

 

The night tour has a calm and relaxing feel to it, without the hustle and bustle of the day visitors.

Lights are dimmed, because also fish need their sleep.

The information displays are switched off, which points all the focus on the tanks and their inhabitants.

With the surroundings in complete darkness, you might get lost a little like in a fun fair labyrinth.

Fun effects in daylight turn into startling surprises at twilight.

 

The behind the scenes tour is actually more worthwhile during day, as then the kitchen is still open.

Yes, the fish have their own kitchen, as maintaining the tanks is a large scale operation with its own water recycling and air filtration system the size of a wastewater treatment plant.

The aquarium offers a lot to learn and accordingly even features a classroom, designed to make studying fun with open fish tanks in the middle of hexagon tables for groups.

You can even train diving, as submerging into the tunnel tank counts as a logged dive for scuba certification.

 

As a member of the Two Oceans Aquarium you get access to a range of awesome events such as sleepovers and yacht trips.

Alternatively check the Two Oceans Aquarium blog for the latest happenings.

 

Being prompted to check out 'New Groups' for nothing: Why am I alerted to 'Suggested Groups' when then there aren't any?

Being prompted to check out ‘New Groups’ for nothing: Why am I alerted to ‘Suggested Groups’ when then there aren’t any?

Lately I’m being prompted all sorts of things on Facebook: To link Instagram, to link groups, to create a new post, to keep up the likes… It keeps me busy.

Especially as half of these alerts are outdated or simply fake:

Facebook keeps on alerting me about the same thing, for example I’m constantly alerted about my inbox, as if it sits on a timer set to bug me at regular intervals. I’ve actioned on that message long time ago, but I’m still being bugged about it.

But the worst is to be alerted about something that turns out to be nothing:

Facebook offers me to check ‘Suggested Groups’. Yet, when I do it tells me: “We don’t have any suggestions at the moment.” The red ’20+’ alert is however still hovering next to my ‘New Groups’, urging me to click on it.

Dark patterns at work. 😮

 

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In the middle of a busy city and yet it's possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to the people, not cars.

A busy city road and yet it’s possible to breathe! Reclaim the streets! #OpenStreets shows that streets belong to people, not cars.

I’m a fan of Open Streets since I first participated with the 100 in 1 Day initiative in 2013. See the photos: 100 in 1 day at Open Streets in Obs.

We hosted a Giant FREE content swap & Digital Be-In intervention where we set up free wifi on the streets to close the digital divide and offered anyone who came along to access it with their device and swap some bits and bytes.
We had great content donated from music by Hrh Spinsista Mitzi to edutainment by OGLE Media kiosks that could be freely downloaded. It was great fun, read the press release: Bitswap event takes free digital content sharing to the streets.

Since then I visited most Open Streets events and took some more photos in 2015Fun Activities at Open Streets Bree Street.

I enjoy Open Streets, because there’s always something fun to do and great performances to watch.

This year Open Streets took place just up the road from us, it was the biggest yet with 5km of Main Road (Cape Town’s M4) reserved for people and closed to motorised vehicles.

So I popped by, but with no intention to take pictures. Although I did: Open Streets Cape Town: More often please!

Because this time it was such a peaceful event:

5km is a long stretch to fill with activities, so there were patches where nothing special was going on besides that the road was closed to traffic and people reclaimed the streets in their own way.

Where usually I’d be met by taxi drivers shouting, angry people hooting, bikes cutting corners, busses coming life threatening close, pedestrians and general chaos in between, this time a scenery of peaceful serene flow welcomed me.

Even though there were no rules, everyone was so relaxed, no-one was in each other’s way; space was so open, everyone could move freely without worries; a colourful variety of people and people-powered forms of transport mixed and intermingled like everyone took part in one long dance.
It was lovely. Every now and then I’d be like: What do you hear? Nothing? Exactly!
The only loud sounds came from people playing or making or singing music, which invited to move from one street party to the next.

Children were playing and cycling, scooting and jumping, or just simply sitting down. The asphalt covered in chalk drawings.
Couples went for a stroll, families came for their afternoon walk. A lot of people walked their dogs.
Many just came out to have a look and stayed, caught up in a conversation with their neighbour or bumping into some friends.

If you wanted to get inspired about non-motorised transport, here you could see it all: roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, longboards, bmx, holland, mountain and lying bicycles, wheelchairs, onewheel, scooters and hoverboards, you name it.

All in all it was such a pleasant experience, we should do this more often: How about every Sunday? 🙂

 

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The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

The Making of a Criminal: Part 2 was performed at the Artscape as part of the See Me: I Am Human Indaba.

 

While the radio was talking about the Jazz Masters Tribute at the Artscape Theatre Centre, just around the corner at the Arena a very different kind of event took place.

 

The real deal

But that was not apparent to me at first, because I was late: I had booked the ticket over 3 months ago and the time had changed. This meant I entered the performance with very little context: My knowledge about it had fainted to ‘something to do with prisoners’, and because I had missed the introduction, that was all I was left with.

So I just opened up all my senses to make sense of what was unfolding on stage.

Two things sprung out at me after only a short while:
–  The performance was highly emotionally charged.
–  The acting was somewhat unprofessional but in a very human way.

It dawned on me that this might be the real deal: That these were real offenders, sharing their own personal story through a platform provided to them as part of their rehabilitation: the theatre.

And indeed: During interval lovely Janine next to me explained these were all real prisoners currently in jail and pointed out the guards on duty, who I had not seen in the darkness and now noticed were many.

Watching the next performance I realised that the provided context made little difference: I was just as much taken on a rollercoaster of emotions from laughing and crying, to cheering and applauding profound truths.

The audience was moved and responsive, from secretly wiping tears away to snapping fingers in agreement.

The message was clearly stated in the last poem: Nothing That is Human is Alien.

And that is really what we learned that night: A glimpse into the human side of offenders, past stereotypes and prejudices. Raw and real. Touching to the core.

These are real people who deserve real chances.

 

How can we help?

This was the question circling our minds, as this had been the last performance of this year’s group and it meant for everyone: ‘back to normal’, but what is ‘normal’ in these circumstances.

A discussion opened up in the theatre and continued in even more depth in the women’s bathroom resulting in these suggestions:

–  Don’t judge.
–  Share the message.
–  Provide space for theatre and rehearsal.
–  Support outreach programmes for offenders.
–  Bring more outreach programmes to prisons.

 

Driving home they announced on the radio that after the interval they’d get back to the Jazz Masters concert at the Artscape. I had just left and already this was how everything went back to ‘normal’ for me.

But of course there is more we can do:

 

Get involved

For another amazing example on how acting helps rehabilitate offenders listen to this podcast about the Prison Performing Arts initiative.

This just shows that theatre works as a crime prevention intervention. And why not? Why do we pay actors millions of bucks for faking it when we could use a fraction of the money to upskill people who can tell the real story?

So support future productions of The Making of a Criminal:

Follow the Help I Am Free cultural outreach project: https://www.facebook.com/HelpIAmFree.

Like the NGO Nicro (the National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders): https://www.facebook.com/NICROSouthAfrica.

Donate to their crowdfunding campaign: http://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/the-making-of-a-criminal-part-2.

 

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Painting the Ranzani Design Salt & Pepper Grinders is very meditative work. The focus lies on getting the colour contrasts neat.

A calm and collected environment is established by bringing order and discipline to the paint job.

Unless you’ve got pet rats! Their curiosity knows no boundaries.

Even the paint – non-toxic of course – gets examined with some funny results:

Blue rattie paw prints everywhere! 😮

 

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Interesting piece of art. But what does it mean? Is there an explanation somewhere?

 

I don’t see any museum labels. Wait! There on the floor, is that it?

 

What does it say? I can’t read it. It’s such a small print. And on the floor! You have to kneel down to read it.

 

It says: “DISCLAIMER – Tickets are valid for 7 days from the chosen date. This ticket is not refundable.”

 

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I’m not very often on Instagram. But I was surprised when all of a sudden a follow request popped up.

 

My profile is public, so I really couldn’t see a reason why I’m alerted if someone is following me.

 

Until I checked out the actual request:

The answer to why I have to approve a follow request.

The answer to why I have to approve a follow request.

 

Ah. Oh. Ok.

 

So Instagram alerts me as I might not want to be followed by vulgar people. I guess thanks are in order.

 

In this case however the profile seems to belong to an artist. And if it’s in the name of art, anything goes, doesn’t it.

 

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'Rooms of the Ballenesque' by Roger Ballen at Zeitz MOCAA.

‘Rooms of the Ballenesque’ by Roger Ballen at Zeitz MOCAA.

 

Mommy, why did somebody draw on the doors?

 

Because it’s art. But only here at the Zeitz MOCAA, not at home!

 

 

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Nicholas Hlobo's 'Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela' ('All the Lightning Birds Are After Me') in the Atrium of the Zeitz MOCCA.

Nicholas Hlobo’s ‘Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela’ (‘All the Lightning Birds Are After Me’) in the Atrium of the Zeitz MOCCA.

 

Cape Town for free: At the Grand Public Opening of Zeitz MOCAA entry was free for the long heritage weekend.
If you hadn’t snatched up complimentary tickets online you could still get them at the museum on the day.

Queuing wasn’t bad: It went quick and was well managed. We spent the time waiting productively by browsing through the brochure about the Grand Opening Weekend.
While I had difficulties reading out aloud some of the extravagant wording it gave a good overview and interpretation of the gallery exhibitions.

The museum alone is worth a visit: The atrium shows the architectural craftsmanship that turned an industrial building into an art piece itself:
The silos are carved out half way in at various heights, revealing the skeleton of the construction, forming an organic bulb, with honeycomb sockets for elevators and staircase.

Down the spiral:

 

Turning silo into art:

Turning the silo into art at Zeitz MOCAA

A post shared by TrulyJuly (@creativecommunications) on

 

Walking through the different sections of MOCAA reminds of the Tate Modern, where you are taken from experience to experience.

But in the end what we are looking at is art, which is subject to subjectivity – you might like it or not.

From comparing MOCAA with a colonialist cathedral dazzling the illiterate with trophies to temporarily mistaking a lost ticket for an art piece’s most important museum label,
from parents’ speechlessness to children feeling at home amongst the art,
from ushers’ personal account to the curator’s contextual explanation as he mingled informally with the visitors:

The contemporary art is stimulating, triggering a reaction which turns into interaction and conversation.
The space is open and intimate enough to allow for spontaneous comment and individual reflection; it’s a bit like you can feel the art.

Or well, at least smell it!

 

Go see for yourself, free every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm for African citizens.

 

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Since I have pet rats, salad has always been a staple addition to my ratties’ diet. I even met a pet shop owner who fed salad as a water substitute.

So to my great surprise I see iceberg salad show up in lists of ‘what not to feed your rat’. Digging a bit deeper I find the reason for this: Apparently iceberg salad has little nutritional value and consists mostly of water.

That makes it a great snacking treat!

Especially on hot days, salad is a great way to keep your ratties hydrated.

As long as they have always access to their usual complete and balanced pet food they can also eat iceberg salad.

Ratties simply love chewing salad, to the degree that they turn into salad thieves!

Watch how much rattie MJ enjoys munching away on the salad:

If you’re really concerned about nourishment, stick to more nutritional salads such as romaine or butter lettuce or go for leafy greens such as spinach or kale.

Alternatively, turn the low nutrition levels into a benefit feeding iceberg salad to ratties who need to lose a bit of weight.

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Samsung Galaxy Fame: Such a crappy little phone, over 5 years old, hardly working. But still it gets stolen in South Africa.

Samsung Galaxy Fame: Such a crappy little phone, over 5 years old, hardly working. But still it gets stolen in South Africa.

 

One month ago my phone got stolen…

 

As I don’t have an SA ID number, because I’m an immigrant and am never entitled to one, I can’t get onto a contract for a new cell phone.

As I don’t have a job, because I’m an immigrant and Home Affairs is processing my visa for years all the while I’m not allowed to work, I don’t have the funds for a new mobile phone anyway.

 

So I’m phoneless!

For one month already!

I wonder if anyone noticed?

Because it’s not so bad, actually!

 

I’m not suffering from FOMO, so I’m not dependent on my phone.

Everyone who needs to get in touch with me can use email (TrulyJuly@web.de) or message me via the various social media networks.

 

So please bear with me while I’m trying to sort this… At this rate it’ll only take a couple of months longer… 😮

 

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Most social media limit the space you can use to communicate your message.

Twitter is one of the extremest, giving you only 140 characters per tweet.

Similarly your profile copy for your Twitter bio is also restricted, here Twitter is a bit more generous with 160 characters.

So use what little space you have wisely, as every character counts!

For example: Why repeat your username if your social media handle already clearly identifies you. Rather use the space to promote your current hashtag campaign.

Like in this well executed Twitter marketing:

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile and current hashtag campaign.

Well executed Twitter marketing: This sponsored suggestion is doubly effective, promoting the Twitter profile AND current hashtag campaign.

 

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Rattie Yoshi cannot believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

Rattie Yoshi can’t believe this #rattie #treat is for him.

 

Most breakfast cereals are unhealthy

Generally most breakfast cereals are not actually healthy, not for us and not for pet rats either.

They contain too much sugar, salt and fat: Those crunchy mueslis are baked in oil, those great flakes are sugar coated, those crispy pops get their taste from salt.

You might as well eat a dessert for breakfast. So don’t give this unhealthy, non-complex carbs, loaded with artificial flavourings and other additives, ‘breakfast’ to your pet rats.

 

Read the labels!

If you don’t read labels already, do it for your rattie’s sake:

Pet rats should only eat cereals which contain less than 5% sugar, or 5 to 10% sugar if it’s entirely from fruit.

On the food label find the row for carbohydrates and take a look at the amount of total sugar per 100g: It should not exceed 5g.

 

Tip: Only as a treat

Because of their high sugar content, breakfast cereals should be regarded as a #Rattie #Treat, like a dessert for your pet rats.

If your pet rat is old / ill / underweight, breakfast cereals can provide extra energy, in addition their sweet taste cover any medicine you might need to administer to your rattie.

 

Bonus Tip: Add yoghurt

Pet rats need animal protein. If you give them breakfast cereal high in carbohydrate countermeasure it by adding plain additive-free yoghurt. I use amasi, as most yoghurts in South Africa contain preservatives.

This can also help to keep your pet rat’s weight in check: The yoghurt fills them quicker and they consume less carbs.

 

 

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“Wer die Wahl hat, hat die Qual!” = “Spoilt for choice” – A vintage beer ad confirming clichés. (Interfoto / TV-Yesterday)

 

I’m only writing this because of the reaction I get every single time I politely decline a beer with the words: “Sorry, I don’t like beer.”

The response: “What? You? But you’re German!”

Yes, I’m German. And I don’t like beer.

 

I just never got used to the taste.

Because isn’t that what we’re doing as kids when we start drinking or smoking: Trying to get it across our lips even though we don’t like the taste. Eventually we get used to it and voilà! we’ve become grown-ups.

 

I had all the opportunities in the world to bring myself to like beer:

In Germany we have free beer parties, where you pay a small entrance fee and it’s open tap all night. By around midnight there’d be a puddle of beer building up on the ground that would eventually stretch through the entire dance hall. Hence I always attended these events in my second hand combat boots that protected me from any beer seeping in.

Then of course there was the local ‘Kneipe’ (pub) that also didn’t stock much alternative to beer. Germany is scattered with microbreweries, but try to get a cider or glass of wine there. Also, non-alcoholic drinks are often limited to soft drinks, which is a total no-go for me.

Luckily I found one version of beer I can revert to when there’s no other option: ‘Altbierbowle’, a dark beer with fruit compote.

 

But generally it’s “No thanks” from me when it comes to beer.

So there you go: A German who doesn’t like beer. It does exist.

#BreakTheStereotype

 

Molly enjoys hanging atop of Smudge's cage. Smudge is happy about her company too.

Molly enjoys hanging atop of Smudge’s cage. Smudge is happy about her company too.

 

RattieSitting pet rats sometimes brings a whole lot of ratties together. The dynamics are fascinating: Every rat has their own personality, and sometimes this gels with an unlikely match.

When Smudge is around for #rattiesitting, he certainly brings a lot of dynamics into the rattie crowd, because he’s the only buck who’s still intact.

The girls flock to him and trick me with clever manoeuvre: Like when I clean Smudge’s cage, and unexpectedly out of nowhere one of the girls jumps on my shoulder from quite a distance, only to then sneakingly slide down my back, in such a slight and light manner that she just seems to disappear into thin air, but actually made her way over to her object of desire.

Alas, the interaction can only ever take place through cage bars.

That didn’t deter Molly though: She decided to set up camp atop of Smudge’s cage.

Molly enjoys snuggling up under the blanket that covers Smudge’s cage from draft. In addition his heater gives off a comfy warmth that makes every rat just relax. So she spent the night, laying stretched out flat atop the cage bars, one foot and her tail dangling down. Even though they can’t be together, they can still be close to each other.

That’s #RattieLove for you! ♥

 

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Smudge enjoys hanging in the banana rattie hammock.

Smudge enjoys hanging in the banana rattie hammock.

 

Ah, life can be so sweet when you’re a pet rat!

Especially when you’re the only intact male amongst 13 rattie girls and 2 neutered rattie boys!

 

Pet rat Smudge is the biggest rattie male by far, and so handsome! All the girls have the hots for him!

So whenever Smudge comes around for #rattiesitting, he’s the top banana.

 

Here you can see why:

🙂

 

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It's easy to change the Google Calendar default settings to your preferences.

You can change the Google Calendar default settings to your preferences.

 

Nowadays it’s easy to add an event to your calendar or quickly accept that meeting request.

But it’s annoying if the reminder pops up at the wrong time.

By default Google Calendar reminds you 10 mins before the event. That’s great if it’s a work meeting and in the same building.

I freelance and need to get to my meetings first. As I cycle, this might take a bit. So 10 minutes is not going to cut it.

 

How to change your default setting for reminders in Google Calendar:

In ‘My calendars’ click on the drop down menu arrow and go to ‘Settings’.

Beneath ‘NOTIFICATIONS’ click ‘Edit notifications’ to set your preferences for event notifications and notification messages.

Remember to click ‘Save’ before heading ‘Back to calendar’.

 

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A classic blunder: The German article 'die' reads like the English verb 'die'.

A classic blunder: The German article ‘die’ reads like the English verb ‘die’.

 

“Die” is the female version of the article “the” in German.

So all it actually says is: “The SundanceFamily”.

But reading “Die SundanceFamily” in an English context of course makes you think someone is out there to kill them.

Why an English name has to be used to promote a product in Germany is a mystery and why they, when they are so anglophone, not realise that “Die” could be read as, well, “Die” is even more puzzling.

It shows that localisation rather than translation is important, and of course, proofreading helps too.

 

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One man's trash is another man's treasure: I needed 3 folders and here they are.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: I needed 3 folders and here they are.

 

Or shall I write ‘Ordner from the universe’ as in the German word for ‘folder’?

 

Because sometimes the universe works in surprising ways:

 

I was cleaning up my office stuff, but couldn’t pack it away properly, as I needed some folders.

 

I know I have folders somewhere in our packed things, but until we’ve properly unpacked everything I don’t know where to find them. So I’m a bit reluctant to buy new folders.

 

In the meantime however I sorted my documents into 3 piles = 3 folders.

 

So as I’m leaving the house for a doctor’s appointment I’m thinking: 3 folders is all I need.

 

After the hospital appointment I wanted to shop our groceries, but cycling down from Groote Schuur I landed up by the main road first, needing to cut back to the supermarket.

 

This was random, normally I would have turned right earlier to get straight to the parking lot.

 

So now that I had already lost my way of most efficient route I decided to take a shortcut through the vegetation.

 

And lo and behold: I stumble across 3 discarded folders.

 

Somebody must’ve dumped their old office equipment in the bush. But there was nothing wrong with it!

 

I still can’t believe this coincidence, because it is so precise in its execution: It was always just about 3 folders.

 

As if I had ordered them from the universe!

 

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Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

Chino is having a great time exploring balconia.

 

Keeping plants outside makes them vulnerable.

Putting a plastic crate upside down over your plant pots safeguards them from birds who would otherwise pick seeds and seedlings.

The plastic create also gives your pet rats a feeling of protection and allows them to roam their rattie garden freely without having to be anxious something might be out there to get them.

The openings of the plastic crate are the perfect size for their cute heads to pop out and check that everything is still alright. 🙂

 

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Queueing at a public clinic in South Africa.

Queueing at a public clinic in South Africa.

 

I’m a fan of the South African public healthcare system, because it offers affordable medical aid according to the Uniform Patient Fee Schedule, with some services completely free.

 

If something comes free I guess the ‘don’t look a gift horse into the mouth’ attitude would be appropriate.

 

But let’s just say I advise to take a good book:

As hours of waiting in queues lie ahead that cannot be spent in any productive way due to the run-down facilities and anyway no point in bringing any devices as there’s nowhere really to keep them safe, it’s back to basics when it comes to public healthcare in SA.

 

So take a good book, make yourself comfortable, practice patience, and you will be helped, eventually.

 

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

Rattie Bean enjoys hanging out in the rattie garden.

 

Our first rattie garden started by accident:

 

To my surprise something began growing in the abandoned flower pot on our balcony.

It was tomatoes!

 

Seems like rats have a green thumb, well if they had a thumb.

 

Because this is what happened:

One of our pet rats wanted to hide her treat – a cherry tomato – away from the rest of the clan.

She left it in a flower pot on our balcony. Really a great hideout, especially if you bury the treasure.

 

The tomato plant thrived and everyone had a good portion of delicious cherry tomatoes.

 

I contribute this to our pet rats:

They played an important part in loosening up the soil to the point that it flew in form of sand dust into our apartment, planting new seeds even if they were no seeds at all but rather food stolen from our plates, and trimming the plants sometimes with the result of total destruction.

 

Well, without our pet rats, the rattie garden would’ve never started.

So if they want to demolish it all and start anew with a different plant, then so be it.

 

It’s a bit like tending to a zen garden, just that the ratties add a random wrecking factor which teaches you to let go of the things as they are and understand that nothing is lost, it just comes back in a different way.

 

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A lot of technical equipment in South Africa comes from the US. By default these devices are set to American English and will autocorrect you wrongly.

Some might prefer American English even outside of America, but this should be a conscious choice to define your voice.

If you write in English for the South African market, localise your copy and change your default language settings to South African English:

 

It is easy to change your default language.

It is easy to change your default language.

 

In Word go to ‘Review’, in the ‘Proofing’ tab click on ‘Set Language’ and select ‘English (South Africa)’.

Before clicking ‘OK’, press ‘Default…’ and a window pops up asking:

“Do you want to change the default language to English (South Africa)?
This change will affect all new documents based on the NORMAL template.”

Tab ‘Yes’ and then click ‘OK’.

 

Note: You might have to repeat this, as your device can revert back to factory settings. At the bottom of your Word window it’ll tell you which language is set for your document. If this is wrong, quickly reset your default language.

 

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Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

Tipsy is in good spirits, despite having lost her tail.

 

In the 20 odd years that I have owned pet rats, I have witnessed several times that a rat can lose their tail.

So be warned that this can happen to your rattie.

 

Rats are quick and nimble, but their tail can get easily caught.

Rats are tough little fellows, but don’t overestimate their tail: It can break!

 

Do not grab your rat by their tail: I’ve seen the skin rip off like in Robbie William’s “Rock DJ”.

 

Luckily rats are great healers and will take good care of any injuries.

But a rat’s tail is really important, for balance, and furthermore for heat release.

 

Always remember that rats are actually quite fragile little creatures.

 

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In my search to find yoghurt without preservatives I came across amasi.

 

I grew up with buttermilk and kefir, so when I discovered amasi, I was delighted. It’s taste is creamy mild and has a refreshing tang to it.

 

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

My favourite amasi uses only goodness in their ingredients: full cream milk, amasi culture

This is what I like to see in the ingredients list: Only goodness.

 

Amasi is fermented milk and what those cultures eat away in the process is the lactose. So amasi is naturally low in lactose, giving IBS sufferers like me a bit of a break.

 

In addition, 2 litres of amasi cost around R20, which means it costs less than half of what you pay for supermarket yoghurt in South Africa.

 

Bonus Tip: Shake it up!

Amasi comes in a handy bottle, perfect for liquid yoghurt. All you got to do is shake it up a little.

The amasi turns so creamy and fluffy, you’ll want to gulp it down like a milk shake.

 

Pour it over fruit salad or muesli, soften up a curry, use it in salad dressings, make lovely smoothies and deserts. Bake with it.

Use it instead of milk, yoghurt, cream, sour cream, kefir or buttermilk.

You can also feed it to your pets as a healthy source of calcium.

 

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In Europe I used to go to the cheapest supermarket and buy 100% yoghurt.

 

In South Africa simple yoghurt is surprisingly expensive and full of stabilisers and preservatives.

“Ingredients: Low Fat Milk, Stabilisers (milk), Yoghurt Cultures, Preservative (pimaricin).”

 

While Whoolworths hail their yoghurt as preservative free, it still contains stabilisers and they added emulsifiers and whey powder instead.

“Ingredients: Full cream milk – Stabiliser (Plant-based stabilisers – Emulsifier) – Milk solids (Whey powder) – Yoghurt cultures – Bifidobacterium (HN019) culture.”

 

What’s going on? Clearly it’s possible to make yoghurt without all those unwanted additives?

 

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Three brown dogs take to the couch in one leap.

One looks out.

One looks up.

Then they all do it like the pup:

And sleep! 🙂

 

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Tip: Use the 'Date modified:' advanced search function to find your files.

Tip: Use the ‘Date modified:’ advanced search filter to find your files.

 

Have you ever looked for a document but couldn’t remember what it was called?

Even with a Naming Convention and Filing System some document can slip through and for the life of us, we can’t find it.

But don’t despair, there’s still a hack that can help:

 

Search your documents by date modified.

Simply select the advanced search options in your explorer folder by clicking on ‘Date modified:’ under ‘Add a search filter’.

You can select a specific date, or a date range, or a preset time frame from ‘Yesterday’ to ‘Earlier this year’ to ‘A long time ago’.

This also works on a Mac.

 

Tip: Clicking on 'A long time ago' gives you an instant throwback to all the work you've done.

Tip: Clicking on ‘A long time ago’ gives you an instant throwback to all the work you’ve done in chronological order.

 

‘A long time ago’ is my personal favourite, it instantly catapults you back a couple of years ago and gives you a lovely chronological overview of the documents you created since.

As a writer this helps me find inspiration for my blog posts, but it’s also quite uplifting to just look at the sheer volume of the work you’ve done and clap yourself on the shoulder.

 

How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

How about offering a break instead of a permanent unsubscribe.

 

By law and to be ethically sound every promotional email should contain an easy one-click unsubscribe button.

 

However, you don’t want to give up on your subscribers so easily.

 

The usual ‘sad to see you go’ might be polite, but only confirms their action.

 

Instead, prevent your customers from unsubscribing by first offering them a real alternative: To pause their subscription.

 

This might not mean much to your subscribers, but for you it’s a second chance: It gives you the time to work on your newsletter and improve it. So when their subscription is back on, they hopefully like what they see and stay subscribed.

 

This will lower churn and improve your customer retention, showing how creating Value Added Content can have real impact on business success.

 

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Southern Guild's exhibition 'Stellar' is worth a visit.

Southern Guild’s exhibition ‘Stellar’ is worth a visit.

 

The Southern Guild’s exhibition Stellar wows with a uniqueness and newness that inspires to design materials in a way no-one had dared before.

 

Every single piece has a quality to it that you can feel a life’s effort went into it. The craftsmanship is humbling in its dedication to detail.

 

Attending the walkabout where the designers were present and filled their art pieces with stories and struggles added depth and personality.

 

But the designs speak for themselves. It is easy to get submerged in the features of the physical embodiment representing a great concept that emerged from the love for the medium and the sheer will to transform it into new sculptural heights.

 

Stellar is running until the 14th of October, go see for yourself: https://southernguild.co.za/exhibitions/stellar

 

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Is this a test?

Oh no, it’s just a spelling mistake.

Another great example why it’s a good idea to proofread your copy before posting it.

Following good practices such as a spellchecker integrated in the publishing tool could’ve avoided this funny little blunder.

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So, how do you like living in Lower Woodstock?

 

I like it. I enjoy living in this street. The neighbours are friendly. It’s safe to cycle.

 

What about the crime?

 

Crime is an issue everywhere in South Africa.

 

What about the dirt?

 

We can all help clean it up by doing a MOOP swoop.

 

And the children? What about the noise?

 

You mean the kids playing soccer on the empty plot next door? But that’s the best part!

 

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When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

When ticks are crawling up your wall… You know your dog had a good run in the bushveld!

 

Ticks…

Rats, snakes, spiders I don’t mind, but ticks! These sneaky parasites are a true horror for me.

That is partially because I always get them!

Let it be an entire group that ventures into a tick area, be sure it is me who ends up with a tick bite.

 

Since we have dogs I’m even more prone to tick bites: Lola’s thick fur is heaven for ticks. In addition she loves roaming, especially through the fragrant fynbos grasses in the bushveld.

But that’s where the ticks are: We can go to the sand dunes, we can go to the forest, our dogs are fine. We take a walk through fynbos and our Lola comes back with ticks.

 

You can try to deter or prevent them, but if you own pets, it’s about facing the tick phobia:

Check your dog for ticks after every walk, and be prepared to find some after you went into the bushveld. Remove them right away in a safe way.

 

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How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

How to safely remove ticks with a tick card.

 

If you have pets who roam outside, you’ll sooner or later encounter ticks.

Ticks can actually be very dangerous if you get infected with one of the many diseases ticks can carry.

However, for the tick’s disease to spread to you, it needs to stay attached to your body for a day.

So, as soon as you find a tick on your pet or yourself, remove it!

But only, if you can do so properly!

If you do this wrong then the head of the tick stays stuck in the skin and is likely to cause an infection. It is therefore very important that you consult a professional about this.

Alternatively there’s an easy and cheap, and safe and secure way to remove ticks: The tick card!

Even with struggling animals, it is easy to slide the notch under the tick. Simply lifting it pulls out the tick intact with its head.

 

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Willo the Wisp got it right back in the 80s, portraying TV as Evil Edna.

In ‘Willo the Wisp’ TV is portrayed as ‘Evil Edna’.

 

Watching TV has become synonymous with relaxing: We can’t wait to get home from work and chill in front of the telly.

 

But I never feel refreshed after watching TV! I feel drained and empty, like sucked dry.

 

On top of it TV is designed to lure you into bingewatching, so before you know it you watch more than you wanted, leaving you with no time for yourself, not even for catching up on some sleep.
In the end we all know it: Watching TV is a waste of time.

 

So next time you feel like you’re running out of time, switch off that evil box.

 

You might not know at first what to do with all that extra free quality time. This only shows you how bad a habit the TV has become.

 

Learn to appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) and soon you’ll throw out that stupid TV! 🙂

 

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the PLETHORA of CHIMERAS

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