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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Davines ‘more inside’ Product Launch Cape Town at The Fugard Theatre with Tamara Dey.


I’m not a model. But every now and then I get a glimpse behind the scene. Here is what I learned from just one day:  


Modelling requires a certain body type

If you don’t naturally have it, it can be stressful to achieve it. Even though we’ve gone corporate with the inner beauty concept it is still nowhere to be seen on the catwalk. Most models look like boys. Why don’t they just use boys in the first place?

You need to be photogenic

Real life beauty does not always translate to good 2D high gloss looks. Plain more mousy types can often end up looking splendid in every photo. You can maybe practice your Facebook smile in front of the mirror so you don’t have to be embarrassed when tagged, but being photogenic has to do with angles and shapes of your face and body. Practice to be photogenic to see if you can look good in photos.

You must love high heels

To the point that you sleep in them. Literally. You must be confident to walk in high heels and that includes awkward steps, stand in them for long periods of time and dance or do other interesting actions in them – you never know what the creatives come up with. But most likely it involves killer heels which turns simple walking into an art form.

Hurry up and wait

There’s a lot of rush and adrenaline and then it flops into long, dull and – depending on your shoot – hot or itchy or painful or cold times of waiting. If you get grumpy you’re not a good team player. You’ll quickly have to learn patience.

You need to like being made a fuss about

And not necessarily in a nice way. Often there is no time, tasks are rushed and it is the model that gets to feel it. From hair being pulled to eyes being poked, you never know just what is going to happen to your body. It helps if you know your styling, as you might end up having to do it yourself – there seems to be a constant shortage of make-up and hair styling artists.

You need to know how to move your body

And then freeze it until the picture’s taken. You need to be honest with yourself and know your best features and how to present them well. This applies to your body and your face: Know your most flattering angle, which pose suits you best and a bit of sex appeal helps too.


You might not fit the high fashion model spec. Luckily there are different types of modelling jobs of which one will hopefully suit you. Otherwise you can always create your own niche.

See the photos of Davines Sustainable Beauty ‘more inside’ Product Launch Cape Town


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Das Nachbargrundstück – wem gehört‘s denn nun?

Das Nachbargrundstück – wem gehört‘s denn nun?

Wir haben Schwierigkeiten, den Besitzer des benachbarten Grundstücks ausfindig zu machen – da müssen wir ran um so ein Dränrohr zu installieren. Wenn wir den nicht finden, müssen wir da quasi einbrechen, keine tolle Idee.

Über eine Freundin, die Maklerin ist, konnte ich wenigstens den Namen ausfindig machen. Allerdings ist es ein Allerwelts-Name, der noch nicht mal richtig geschrieben aussieht. Eine Suche im Telefonbuch ergab zwar 10 ähnliche Namen, aber diese anzurufen hat nichts erbracht.

Aber es scheint, als würde diese Personensuche besser im echten Leben voranschreiten als im Internet: Die Welt ist doch klein, und vor allem Kapstadt.

Letzte Woche Dienstag kam Christian nach Hause und erzählte mir dies: Endlich war er in Bo-Kaap dazu gekommen, den neuen Metzger auszuchecken. Zwei seiner Freunde hatten ihm die Metzgerei empfohlen. Er geht also dumdidum in den Laden und sieht wen: Den vorherigen Besitzer unseres Hauses, der es nur verkaufen musste, um diese Metzgerei zum Laufen zu bringen. Das war jetzt etwas komisch, denn es war ja schon ein bisschen hin und her mit Zertifikaten und Reparaturen. Naja, Christian war trotzdem nett, was soll er auch machen. Der ehemalige Besitzer war wohl etwas reserviert, aber was soll denn auch er machen.

Den Donnerstag darauf der nächste ulkige Zufall: Christian unterhielt sich mit einem der Anstreicher auf einer seiner Baustellen, wo er die Küche einbaut. Er witzelte: „Ist dies Dein Haus?“ Denn natürlich ist dem nicht so, diese Häuser sind alle Millionendinger. Der Anstreicher sagte: „Nein, ich wohne in Woodstock.“ – „Ah, wo denn?“ fragte Christian. „In Greatmore Street.“ – „Echt? Da haben wir gerade ein Haus gekauft.“ – „Ja, welches denn?“ „Nummer 25.“ – „Ne, echt, in dem Haus bin ich geboren worden!“ Wow, wir kennen jetzt also jemanden, der in unserem Haus geboren ist! Unglaublich!

Und heute habe ich unsere Nachbarin kennengelernt: Sie macht gerade genau das, was wir machen müssen: Das Nachbargrundstück frei räumen und ein Dränrohr einbauen. Das könnte heißen, dass wir es nicht mehr machen müssen. Zumindest heißt es, dass schon mal die Hälfte der Arbeit erledigt ist. Also sehr gute Neuigkeiten. Sie kennt den Besitzer des Nachbargrundstücks und hat Schlüssel. Wir brauchen also nirgendwo mehr einzubrechen!

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The team of the #bitswap event – from left to right:
Spinsista Mitzi, Julia Ranzani, David Robert Lewis, Stanley Edwards


As a protest against the lack of accessibility and affordability of the internet in South Africa, file sharing took to the streets in form of a #bitswap event.

ZA-FREE took the net to the streets at Open Streets Cape Town, which aims to engage everyone in re-designing and re-working the use of public streets.

The bitswap event was one of the interventions of 100 in 1 day, a civil action day where people take ownership of their city and create a better place to live.

While the rest of the world’s economy is thriving on uploading and downloading content from the cloud, South Africa is so behind with its broadband infrastructure that accessing the cloud is not affordable for a large group of people.

The ZA-FREE initiative encourages a DIY approach to file-sharing:

“We are promoting radical alternatives to costly Internet services. South Africans can home-bake the Internet, we can do it for ourselves, in our own backyard. No more expensive downloads, we urge users to embrace free file sharing and swapping of bits and bytes via wifi hotspots, mesh networks, bluetooth and USB.” states David Robert Lewis from Ubuntuponics.

At the bitswap event computer facilities and an open wifi network were set up right on the street to invite passers-by to swap content.

Security measures were implemented to prevent illegal file sharing:

“There’s enough free content out there, plus the focus is on local content. We have so much talent in South Africa. Budding creatives and entrepreneurs are in need of spreading their content to create awareness and thus give some of it away for free.” explains Julia Ranzani from Creative Communications.

A free content library was set up on the day in collaboration with Ogle and Spinsista Mitzi.

Ogle is operating educational and entertainment content kiosks in an effort to close the last mile gap of content delivery:

Spinsista Mitzi is a well-established Capetonian DJ who generously donated some funky tunes in form of podcasts:

Interest about content swapping and internet accessibility was high and the team spent most of the day providing information. The photos show how much fun it was:

For more information and to be part of the next bitswap event join ZA-FREE:

The bitswap event was kindly sponsored by Gandalf’s who offered access to their facilities and Dial a Nerd who donated the computer equipment for the day.


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Oude Molen is always worth a cycling adventure: This Guinea Fowl eats out of Maureen's hand.

Oude Molen is always worth a cycling adventure: This Guinea Fowl eats out of Maureen’s hand.

Back in London I felt like I was on a cycling adventure.

I have cycled all my life. Well, pretty early I started to cycle to school. I have not owned a car until I moved to South Africa and have always favoured cycling to any other form of transport.

So coming to London back in 1999, where there were no cycle lanes and no understanding of cyclists as part of the traffic flow, it was an adventure. It was like a racing game where you have to dodge the cars and your prize is to arrive alive.

Cape Town offers a different kind of adventure. A wild one. As in this kind of peculiar journey I took today:

I’m cycling to Oude Molen and the first thing I battle is the wind. Amazing! Strong, but warm and steady. Sometimes the wind blows and it pushes you off the street, making your bike jump. But this wind was continuously beautiful. The perfect work-out.

I get to Valkenberg and ask guards at the gate how to get to Oude Molen. “No, not this way.” “Which way then?” “Well, around it, over the bridge”, she points. “Ok”, I mutter doubtfully.

Good that I have a mountain bike. I’m not into mountain biking, I’m into commuting. But in Cape Town, you’re better off with a mountain bike:

The way she directed me to take is a dirt track that goes up and down like a well designed BMX track. I’m not into BMX either. But this is manageable.

I don’t get it though: Where does this lead? I can see a bridge, but all I see after that is the M5. And yes, that’s exactly where this dirt track leads me to: A path right next to the expressway.

So now I am one of those crazies that I always bicker about when I see them walking by the side of the highway. Great.

I have to cross a bridge, which is for cars only and has a funny ledge to the side with no safety rails or any type of anything to keep you from falling into Liesbeek River. Fair enough. I’ll walk that then and skip the cycling for this one.

It takes me onto another long enough weird route to feel a tiny little bit lost and I become uncomfortably aware that I’m very alone out here until I finally emerge back into civilisation: A road leading to Oude Molen. I made it.

For the way back I was determined: This I won’t do again. It was pretty scary and whatever lies inside Valkenberg cannot be worse.

When I returned from Oude Molen however I was wondering how to make it through the gate and if they’d let me through. But when I got there the gate was open. Thank god, I thought or was this something I should be worried about?

Of course I got lost. I cycled into a dead end road and by that had no orientation. So here I am cycling in between buildings and through alleyways.

The windows have such a tight mesh in front of them, you can’t see inside. The back yards have high fences with spiky triangles on top. Luckily they are empty.

Oops no, not that one though: A man stands close to the fence and doesn’t move one bit.

And not that one either: Some guys are walking alongside the fence while others are sitting in the shade on a bench.

And of course I have to cycle right around it and of course the inmates start making noise about me. A nice but persistent greeting: “Hey hey you!” I answer: “Yes, cool, all good!” and give them the thumbs up. “Yeah!” they respond with thumbs up.

How do I get out of here? I wonder.

Somebody on the road. Is that a good thing?

She has a tag on her blouse – that must be a good sign.

I ask her for directions and it turns out I’m at the right place and almost out.

The rest of the cycle was easy with the tailwind in the back and I literally breezed along, getting  home in a flash. Revived, and also relieved.

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How to teach yourself 10 fingers typing - On Screen Keyboard

How to teach yourself 10 fingers typing – On Screen Keyboard

I’m surprised when I still see people typing with 2 fingers in the hunt and peck style.

I’m also amazed how fast they’re typing. While this might help when typing on miniature virtual keyboards of mobiles and tablets, it cannot compete with the speed of 10 fingers typing.

There are courses you can do such as these:

But what it essentially takes is sheer discipline: the discipline not to look down.

You can look at the keyboard, as long as it’s displayed on your screen.

On Windows open the ‘On-Screen Keyboard‘: click the ‘Start button’, click ‘All Programs’, click ‘Accessories’, click ‘Ease of Access’, select the ‘On-Screen Keyboard’.

Mac offers a ‘Keyboard Viewer‘: in ‘System Preferences’ click on ‘Keyboard’, select the ‘Keyboard’ tab, tick the box next to ‘Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar’, in the newly visible Keyboard menu choose ‘Show Keyboard Viewer’. is an online version which also shows how to place your fingers on the correct keys. It highlights the keys you press, so you can easily find the right key without having to look down on your fingers.

Some courses say you have to learn the key sequence by heart. I never did that and could not recite it to you. Yet I still type fast. I simply felt my way around: I searched for the 2 keys you place your index fingers on and then I stared at the screen, trying out the buttons until I hit the right key. This felt more like a game to me (memory to be precise) and it sped up the learning process.

Gamification can be a great way to combat the temptation to give up. Here are some fun games to type:

There will be an agonising phase where you get restless with this tedious process and many excuses to look at your hands while you quickly get this or that out of the way will come along.


Just don’t look down. – It can be hard to break this habit.

But once you do, you are free to type without unnoticed spelling mistakes or cursors jumping and you’re actually typing into thin air. You can talk AND look at someone, you can even watch TV while typing. You can instantly type faster and get your thoughts into words in real time.

If you are learning how to touch type from scratch, do yourself a favour: The qwerty keyboard is not the most intuitively designed, apparently the Dvorak keyboard is much more practical.

Try your typing skills with this Typing Test:

Typing Test

If you’re a super profi at touch typing, you can still extend your skills by including keyboard shortcuts and the number keypad.

And if you’re all typed out, watch how exciting typing can be as in this David Letterman show from 1985.

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Does Facebook maybe prefer Android over Apple?

Does Facebook maybe prefer Android over Apple?

Facebook pulls the classic copy and paste repetition mistake. That’s why you proofread your copy, always!

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Quality over Quantity

It’s an ongoing dilemma – quantity vs quality – that applies to posting content. Just that it might turn from well-meant spread to ill-perceived spam.


The trend goes to favouring quality content over quantity:


Collecting a followship is good to build momentum, but to have real impact, only quality content works.

Instead of overpushing the content onto your followers in the hope they’ll get to see it this time around, the goal could be to provide such great content that people wouldn’t want to miss out on it and check back regularly.


A better practice to ensure many people get to see the content is to trigger what social media was designed for: sharing.

Likes are overrated, the true social media currency is engagement.


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Accident in Observatory

Accident in Observatory

“What happened?”

“That one car was too fast.”

“Where are the drivers?”

“One is in hospital and that other one ran away.”



First published on Oct 3, 2013 @ 20:36

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