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Category Archives: Life’s a beatch

 

Cartoon: The switch from lockdown to loadshedding by Brandan Reynolds.

Cartoon: The switch from lockdown to loadshedding by Brandan Reynolds.

 

 

So Eskom had 3 months of downtime due to the coronavirus pandemic, but as we’re still under lockdown level 3, Eskom already hits us with loadshedding.

 

And who can you blame, after energy demand has plummeted during lockdown, giving Eskom plenty opportunities to do maintenance.

Of course, the weather:

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha warned of possible load shedding: “The generation system is constrained due to the cold front.”

 

#Loadshedding

 

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A couple of years ago I fell through the system with my visa application and was forced into unemployment.

 

When I hear people moan about the lockdown I think:

It’s just like being unemployed:

 

–  No commuting to work

–  No social interaction at work

–  No going out after work

–  No shopping

–  No dining out

–  No live entertainment

–  No travelling

 

So when you go back to your job and life as usual, remember what it feels like to be unemployed.

 

So you don't like Mondays? Try being unemployed.

So you don’t like Mondays? Try being unemployed.

 

#StayPositive

#FlattenTheCurve

#StopTheSpread

#SocialDistancing

#StaySafeStayHome

 

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Africa’s coronavirus infections are on the rise!

 

Please: Stay home and save lives!

I used to just sit here, ... now I save lives.

I used to just sit around here, … now I save lives.

 

#StaySafeStayHome  #FlattenTheCurve  #StopTheSpread

 

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Since the lockdown started I’ve been trying to make the best out of it.

 

But even with the bestest of holidays – and this is kind of the opposite – it feels still somehow good when it’s over.

 

One thing however that I’ll remember from the lockdown is the peace and quiet.

 

The absense of noise was eerie at first, but actually quite a calming experience:

 

Streets were practically empty, simply hardly any traffic:

 

The air was clean and the light clear:

 

This break from the hustle and bustle – even if involuntarily – I might miss that.

 

#StayPositive

#CoronavirusSA

#Level3Regulations

#FlattenTheCurve

#StopTheSpread

#SocialDistancing

#StaySafeStayHome

 

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Cleaning is a b*tch: Without doing anything it gets dirty again.

 

That turns cleaning up somewhat into Sisyphus work: As soon as you’re done, you can start all over again.

It’s a never ending chore that has to be done, if we like it or not.

 

Yet, cleaning is also incredibly rewarding:

 

Benefits of cleaning up

 

–  Instant results

It doesn’t take much effort and you don’t need to know special skills to clean. Yet, as soon as you start the results show: A clean surface, windows you can actually see through, pots that look like new, floors that don’t feel sticky on your feet, sofas that don’t engulf you in a dust cloud, a fresh smelling home, a sparkly bath, a neat garden.

Whatever you clean, it’s an accomplishment and you can be proud of it. enjoy the rewards right away.

 

–   Healthy lifestyle

Having a clean home exposes you to less mould, spores, germs and bacteria, and thus saves you from allergies, asthma and irritated skin reactions.

In addition you’re less likely to catch a flu, as there’s less opportunity for viruses to linger.

Also pests like flies, fleas, moths, silverfish and bedbugs have little chance to fester.

Extending your cleanliness to the courtyard and garden areas means keeping away cockroaches, mice, rats and other unwanted guests: Leaving debris as shelter and waste as food is an invitation to any scavenger.
Remember: Pests are a symptom of your mess and dirt, not the cause. Never poison rats!

 

–  A free workout

Some people pay a maid to clean and then pay a gym to get a workout.

Guess what: Clean up yourself and you’ll have your workout included, for free!

Sweeping and mopping can burn 240 calories per hour, an equivalent to jogging for half an hour.

Just make sure you maintain a good posture and clean in a safe manner to avoid injuries and accidents.

 

–  A clear mind

Cleaning most often also includes decluttering, as it’s pointless cleaning around all that knick knack or removing it from the surface to clean and then putting it back.

Some think lots of pictures on the wall and lots of memories on the shelves is interior design, but really it is just clutter.

Clutter not only makes our homes look bad, it makes us feel bad, too.

Clutter has a profound affect on our mood and self-esteem: The more stuff, the more stress women feel.

 

–  Reduce risk of injury

The home is the most common location for accidents to happen.

Having lots of mess flying around is a serious health risk: You can fall over objects and slip on toys.

Anything that blocks doorways and corridors is a fire hazard: Clutter can easily catch and thus spread fire. Objects on the floor can hinder your escape or others getting in to rescue you.

 

–  A sense of pride

A clean and organised home is something to be proud of. After all, everyone can be lazy and messy. It speaks for your life attitude if you can stay disciplined enough to keep your home in order.

Enjoying your own home makes you more likely to invite friends over and welcome any surprise visit.

You never know what opportunity might knock on your door. But with a clean home, you can rest assured you are prepared.

 

–  A good deed of the day

Cleaning doesn’t just need to apply to your home, it can extend to your neighbourhood.

Leading by example, you can include the pedestrian walkway in front of your house in your cleaning routine: Keep it litter free and safe for passing by removing slippery leaves or ice and snow.

Pay it forward and organise or join a local CleanUp to uplift your hood. Wind can distribute rubbish in the streets that no-one feels responsible for, but invites dumping of more rubbish. A MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) Swoop helps keeping your neighbourhood clean and friendly and thus can even reduce crime.

 

 

#CleanUp!

 

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What gives people feelings of power - Bringing a plant back to life from the brink of death

What gives people feelings of power – Bringing a plant back to life from the brink of death

 

 

Growing food is possible for anyone and it is super fun.

 

Even in a relative small plant pot, you can get impressive yields.

 

And plants are not expensive to keep, it is even possible to grow food on a zero budget.

 

Yet, the reward exceeds the effort by far.

 

Benefits of growing your own food

 

–  You know what you get.

When you grow your own food you can be sure no-one meddled with it.

You alone control what fertilisers or pest controls touch your plants. If you prefer organic food, growing it yourself is the surest way of knowing you eat pure goodness.

 

–  It can’t get fresher than this.

As soon as greens get cut they lose moisture and nutrients.

There is no way of knowing how old the food at the supermarket really is. When you grow it yourself, it goes straight from the garden onto the plate, packed with all its natural nourishment.

 

–  Homegrown food tastes better.

Even a small deformed tomato from your garden tastes better than the big plump tomato from the shop. Looks can be deceiving.

It’s also because you put in a lot of TLC and care that makes reaping the rewards taste delicious

 

–  You get instant results.

Food grows faster and more plentiful than we expect.

And wow, it is exciting to see the first seedling sprouting! It’s like a miracle that a fully fledged plant comes out of that tiny seed. You might get overwhelmed with how eager nature is to grow and multiply and end up with a nursery jungle: Plants and seedlings everywhere!

 

–  You improve your health.

Eating this fresh and organic will give you a natural boost.

In addition, working with soil and greenery is a stress reliever: It takes your mind off your worries and brings you back in touch with nature. Growing your own produce fills you with a deep sense of accomplishment.

If you’re lucky and have a garden, working outdoors keeps you fit with low-impact exercise and ensures you’re soaking up a lot of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.

 

–  You save money.

Even those superfoods that cost a fortune at the organic grocery store turn out to be very easy to grow. Rocket salad grows like a weed, yet even a small packet comes with quite a price tag.

You can save the seeds from your own produce and continue growing your food next season. Keeping plants indoors means you can grow food all year round.

 

–  You do your bit for the environment.

Buying local is lekker, but growing local is even better.

You reduce food miles and lower your carbon footprint. Your food doesn’t need to be packaged, so you create less waste for landfill. Composting means less rubbish goes into your bin. When you go green you become more aware of opportunities to recycle and upcycle.

 

 

#GoGreen

#UrbanGardening

 

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I don’t do any exercise.

 

For me it’s important that exercise relates to a fun activity or a purpose, such as a team sport or cycling to commute or walking the dogs.

 

Being under lockdown for 5 weeks made me try out some exercises to stay fit.

 

Push-ups are great, as they can be done anywhere. Same for planking.

Both exercises can be quite tough if you’re not fit.

 

But here is the great rewarding thing:

 

You don’t need to exercise much, just regularly.

If you do exercise daily, it will get easier.

 

If you start with just 1 push-up per day or 10 seconds of planking every day, you will feel the improvement and notice how it gets easier every time.

 

A great lifehack: Don’t increase the number of exercise repetitions, but the number of sets.

 

Yes, reps how they call it in the gym simply means you do the same exercise again right away.

 

Instead do the same exercise at later time on the same day.

For example 2 push-ups, 1 in the morning, 1 in the evening.

Or 20 seconds planking, 10 in the morning, 10 in the evening.

 

Then you can rev up the number of exercises and create reps.

 

For example a rep of 5 push-ups in a row. Or 30 seconds of planking with no break.

 

Then it’s already easy to do 10 push-ups a day, as you do 2 sets of 5 push-ups. Or a minute of planking, as you do 2 sets of 30 seconds.

 

You don’t have to be into exercising to appreciate that even very little can go very far if done with consistency.

 

That’s why exercising is highly rewarding and I totally recommend it.

 

Just make sure you do it right!

 

The right technique to correctly hold a plank.

The right technique to correctly hold a plank.

 

 

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Police Minister Bheki Cele announces that under SA lockdown regulations the sale of cigarettes and alcohol are banned.

Police Minister Bheki Cele announces that under SA lockdown regulations the sale of cigarettes and alcohol are banned.

 

We could’ve stocked up our liquor cabinet easily in time for the coronavirus lockdown, as I had done the stockpiling of essentials early and can’t say I wasn’t warned.

 

But I refused the urge to panic buy:

–  Smoking increases the risk of severe COVID-19.

–  Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system.

So why would I hoard more of the stuff that’s increasing the risk to fall ill from the virus.

 

However, with the SA lockdown extension we’re indeed coming to an end of our usual stock.

 

A moment to fully embrace the lockdown experience:

–  It is quite liberating to encounter scarcity and realise nothing bad comes from running out of a convenience.

–  Instead of buying more stuff and pushing it in front of the old, we’re actually taking stock of what we have and use up what we don’t need to keep any longer.

–  Whatever we can, we make ourselves. This feeling of autonomy can be very self-empowering.

 

The lockdown is long enough to form a new habit or break a bad one.

Why not take it seriously and see it as the opportunity to change and improve.

So what if alcohol and cigarette sales are banned, this is a great chance to quit.

 

We are experiencing a once in a lifetime global pandemic that forces the whole world to change.

What massive inspiration to lead a healthier life.

 

 

#CoronavirusInSA

#PreparedNotScared

#FlattenTheCurve

#StopTheSpread

 

 

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Every now and then when I check the Coronavirus Worldometer or hear news about COVID-19 I get this ice cold fear running down my spine.

I can’t help it, my mind jumps to horrific images inspired by silly doomsday action movies.

So for a moment I’m overwhelmed with Coronavirus Anxiety.

 

There’s no point in indulging in the ‘What if?’ scenarios, as your mind enters a downward spiral into worry.

Instead, focus on counteracting these daunting thoughts.

 

It’s normal to feel helpless in the face of a global pandemic.

Concentrate on something that is possible for you to do.

 

For example: Do something healthy!

When I realise my mind is circling around the coronavirus in a panicky way, I stop myself and shift my attention on something I can do right here, right now to not get scared into freezing up.

 

Do some exercise.

Exercise is a great way to relieve some bottled up stress.

Do 5 push-ups. Or 5 sit-ups. Or skip. Or run on the spot for 5 minutes.

Release some steam, let go of that negative energy, and your mind will follow suit and calm down.

 

Prepare some nutritious food.

Boost your immune system with healthy food that’s easy to add to your diet.

Eat a fruit. Munch a veggie. Toss together a salad. Make a smoothie or a freshly squeezed juice.

Power up with some super food to put your mind at ease that your body can fight this virus.

 

Lift your mood.

Distract your mind from the worrisome thoughts.

Put on your favourite song and do a little dance. Listen to a funny comedian and have a laugh. Call a friend and talk about their life.

If you really can’t get the worry off your mind, write it all down. But try actively to not let your mind go into doom and gloom. Stop your negative thoughts and divert them to something that you know will cheer you up.

 

Clean up around you.

Get rid off that virus from your mind and your surroundings by cleaning.

Wipe frequently touched items with disinfectant. Clean surfaces properly. Declutter your room.

Cleaning is a great workout and you’ll be rewarded with immediate success of a sparkly home.

 

Take a deep breath.

Indulge in mindfulness with breathing exercises.

Learn a controlled breathing exercise you like and practice it every time a scary coronavirus thought pops up in your head. Or simply take a deep breath and notice how powerful your lungs are.

When we are stressed it is easy to forget to breathe properly. Take a moment to collect yourself and meditate on your breathing. Feel how the oxygen fills your brain and relaxes your mind.

 

Put your mind at ease by protecting yourself against the coronavirus: Do something healthy

Put your mind at ease by protecting yourself against the coronavirus: Do something healthy

 

#PreparedNotScared

#FlattenTheCurve

#StopTheSpread

 

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Hey guys, listen to this: The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus a global pandemic!

 

 

No way! So that’s why all the events are being cancelled?

 

 

Yes, the updates are streaming in: All sports tournaments, all school and university ceremonies, all conferences and summits, all events are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

 

 

Oh no! This here right now must be the last gathering of 2020!?

 

 

#CoronaVirusInSA 

 

Coronavirus outbreak in South Africa: Map of provinces with confirmed COVID-19 cases (red) as of 16 March 2020.

Coronavirus outbreak in South Africa: Map of provinces with confirmed COVID-19 cases (red) as of 16 March 2020.

 

 

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South Africa is coming to terms with the first confirmed Covid-19 case:

The Coronavirus is here

 

Already Google is cancelling events in South Africa.

Sadly, this means no International Women’s Day celebrations:

Google cancels its IWD Cape Town event because of the Coronavirus.

This comes just after Google cancels its flagship conference I/O 2020, banning all business travel except in “critical” situations.

After all the #20plenty excitement, will this be the year the world stops to travel and gather?

#COVID19

#CoronaVirusSA

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I like to go to the beach with the dogs at least once a week for a good wash. Our dogs enjoy running in the soft sand and even get the water zoomies.

 

January and February is the time of the year in Cape Town when the Cape Doctor is blowing with powerful gusts.

 

It’s great for kite surfers, but it means sand is blowing across the beach giving your legs an unexpected scrub and the wind howls in your ears.

 

Not an excuse for our puppies not to go. So also I am bracing the weather.

 

I quite enjoy the wind, it usually leaves the beach pretty empty but full of colourful kites dancing on the sea.

 

But this day I got a bit much of it:

A headache crept across my forehead towards the temples, squeezing my skull together.

 

It seems strong wind can trigger migraine.

I never had migraine, but this headache felt really bad. Furthermore I was dizzy and everything was spinning.

 

Apparently “Wind also triggers headaches partly because of the things that may be in the wind as it blows through but also because the wind blows in your nose and your ears and irritates the membranes and triggers a headache that way.” – Non-Food Headache Triggers

 

Oh well, next time I wear earmuffs to the beach then…

 

 

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Arriving at the beach is like finally getting a chance to breathe:

 

The vast landscape allows the eyes to relax with far and free views:

 

Walking by the waves, inhaling the fresh crisp breeze, simply invigorating:

 

Simply sitting on the sand in the sun, being:

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Be prepared for loadshedding: There are positive outcomes from power outtakes, such as being organised for the next scheduled blackout. (parent24, iStock)

 

I’m surprised there’s a word and a system for the scheduled outtake of power supply: Loadshedding.

Unless you live it you will never understand what it means to have such important supply as electricity cut off.

But, it’s not all bad.

 

How loadshedding can change you for the better

 

You become more organised.

Ah, you think you can take it easy and burn the midnight oil on that presentation? Not so fast: There’s probably loadshedding on and no electricitý to power your technical equipment.
Knowing when loadshedding is going to happen is a new form of being organised.
Of course, there’s an app for that. But if you don’t use mobile data, and instead connect your phone to wifi, that too will be switched off during loadshedding.
You need to check ahead, early enough to not be caught out.
So just to be on the safe side, revert back to the good old print out. Have your loadshedding schedule handy in an easy to access place. Make it a habit to regularly check for upcoming blackout periods.

 

You learn to plan ahead.

Loadshedding is not so bad when you’re prepared.
There’s quite a tick list of things to do before loadshedding begins.
Starting with stocking up on all sorts of goods, from batteries to gas cooker, to prepping hot water for tea or coffee, and ending with switching off all appliances on the main plug.
If you get it all done in time, you can clap yourself on the shoulder.

 

You become more efficient.

You better get that report done before loadshedding begins. That’s a serious hard core deadline, because when the electricity switches off, that’s it.
From trying to turn off the PC in time for when loadshedding kicks in, to trying to get your work done before your laptop’s battery runs out.
Quite good incentives to stay focused and get your work done.

 

You get to be inventive.

Any makers and creators out there are finding their own interesting hacks around loadshedding.
A lot can be achieved with LED lights and solar power. You get a feel how much electricity appliances actually consume and what it takes to make electricity.
Necessity is the mother of invention.

 

You become cat-like.

Wow, loadshedding at night.
While maybe a great incentive to get a good night’s sleep, it also trains you in total ninja skills:
Walking around the house in darkness. Making out the slightest sources of light. Outside the moonlight is bright enough. Inside we navigate with heightened senses. Learning the walk to the bathroom by heart. Finding our way with closed eyes.
At the same time you walk light, as to not accidentally run into anything and hurt yourself. Like a cat we are ready to fall on all fours. Like a ninja we keep soft in our knees to prevent any mishaps. Ready for anything.

 

You go back to basics.

Loadshedding brings back the good old ways: 
Making coffee on the gas stove instead of the fancy schmancy plastic polluting coffee machine.
Cooking a dish from scratch instead of heating up a ready meal in the microwave.
Playing a board game instead of a computer game.
Reading a book instead of watching TV.
Going for a jog instead of running on the treadmill.

 

You become more social.

With access to electronics denied, there’s time to do the things our modern lifestyle neglects:
Spouses are talking to each other.
Flatmates cook together.
Neighbours chat on the side of the street.
Friends meet up to do something while loadshedding is on.
Loadshedding provides a break from FOMO and gives opportunities for JOMO.

 

The examples are endless. How has loadshedding affected you in a positive way?

 

#LoadsheddingAgain

 

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We live in fantastic times where work-life balance is even a thing.

A relative new concept from the 1970s / 1980s, work-life balance is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal.

 

In order to give our private life the attention it deserves, an equally powerful tool like the OPSP can help to keep the focus on what’s important for you personally:

 

A summary of your own goals: One Page Personal Plan

The One Page Personal Plan provides a clear overview of your short-term to long-term goals.

It gives you a birds eye view to see how your different life goals can fit together.

It also boils down your great expectations to achievable steps.

It can help align your goals with the goals of your life partner, – why not do the exercise of filling in the OPPP together.

The process of setting your life goals alone is a big step in your personal development: Do you know what your goals actually are? Do you know how to get there?

 

It feels good to have a direction in life, unless of course you like to live dangerously:

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One of the reasons why we fail to stick to our New Year’s resolutions is because we have unrealistic expectations.

 

There are lots of great examples of realistic New Year’s Resolutions. However, they are quite general. If you want to accomplish your New Year’s resolutions, you’ll need to make your own to be specific and personally relevant to you.

 

How to keep your New Year’s Resolutions realistic

 

–  Break your year down quarterly, monthly, weekly

Take your New Year’s resolutions and break them down into the smaller steps it takes each quarter, month, week to achieve them.

 

–  Use a one page yearly calendar as a goal setting template

Use a large one page yearly calendar to jot down your goals over the course of the year, hang it up clearly visible and easily accessible.

 

–  Fill in your goals backwards

Start with the end of the year and your New Year’s resolutions. Work back to the beginning of the year with the necessary actions and complete the timeline.

 

 

Finally! Some Realistic New Year’s Resolutions that are easy to keep. 😉

#Vision2020

#20Plenty

#20PlentyForAll

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January 19th 2020 is the day people are most likely to give up on their New Year’s resolutions according to new data insights from Strava, the world’s largest sports participation platform.

 

Quitter’s Day

Last year’s Quitter’s Day was January 17 2019, which is now honored as Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day.

Based on global athlete data from 2019 this year’s Quitter’s Day is January 19 2020.

 

Concluding from this global community data, Strava’s tips for extending the New Year’s resolution past Quitter’s Day include:

–  People keep people active: Find a friend or join a club to help keep you motivated. Cyclists going on group rides cover twice the distance of solo rides. One in three weekend activities in the UK is done with at least one other person.

–  Staying consistent: Athletes aiming for three activities a week instead of two tend to be more consistent, resulting in twice as many activities over the year.

–  Goal setting: Athletes who set goals in January are increasingly likely to remain active as the year goes on, and are still active.

 

So push past Quitter’s Day! 

#MondayMotivation

#Vision2020

#20PlentyForAll

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A new year, a new you! This year will be different!

 

It’s easy to dismiss new year’s resolutions as unachievable with the news pounding into us that only an elite few of 8% ever manage to stick to them.

Unlike us ordinary humans who last on average a mere 12 days until we break our annual commitment.

 

So why set yourself up for failure? some would conclude from this.

 

Because something is better than nothing. To start something is better than never giving it a try.

If we need motivation to achieve our goals in the year ahead, then why not get a kick-start from the good old tradition of making wishes for the new year.

While it is lovely to make a wish upon a star, this is also a great exercise to define your path ahead.

 

New Year’s Resolutions that work:

–  Take it easy by choosing one word to inspire your upcoming year.

–  Turn your resolution into a ritual.

–  Set SMART Goals, try CLEAR Goals.

–  Create a One Page Strategic Plan.

 

Happy #20Plenty!

Happy #20PlentyForAll!

 

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A new year!

A new decade!

It’s 2020!

It’s #20Plenty!

In order to get ready for a fresh start we need to learn from our past.

Otherwise it’s just history repeating.

The turn of the year gives us the opportunity to look back and plan forward.

But where to begin? A good start is always to assess the status quo.

There are plenty of resources available to help you process the past year:

You can try A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions.

Here are 50 Year-End Reflection Questions to Help You Review 2019.

Or dive deep with 100 Personal End of Year Reflection and Review Questions.

It’s a great exercise to evaluate the past year on different aspects, some of which you might’ve not considered.

It is in comparison to your last year that you can analyse if you are on the right path that leads you where you want to go.

This helps to put adjustments in place to stay on course of your overall goal.

Hopefully the new year will bring you closer to your dreams!

Happy #20PlentyForAll! 

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I love how these positive affirmations for the upcoming year are going viral.

It’s a creative play on words that also gives the new year a theme.

 

Last year we were invited to a Happy #20SHINETEEN.

 

This year we can look forward to a #20Plenty.

 

Of course a rather controversial outlook in times of extremely limited resources with the world population consuming as much as 1.7 planets Earth a year.

 

But also a really lovely idea: If there was plenty for everyone…

If all the rich people (Yes, that’s us, having the means to read this blog makes us part of the priviledged.) could give up just a little bit of their consumerism and convenience, learn to be more modest, actively making a change by supporting good causes such as refusing plastic and boycotting evil corporates, if just…

If just we could make the change happen that there is plenty for all.

 

Here’s to hoping for a better world in a new decade.

 

Happy #20PlentyForAll!

#BeTheChange

#Vision2020

#20Plenty

#20PlentyForAll

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Loadshedding is back on!

 

Around every 6 hours we are scheduled to be without electricity for about 2 to 3 hours.

 

I listened to BBC World Africa and heard all the scary implications.

Apparently it’s so bad, that temporarily Eskom implemented Loadshedding Stage 6!

 

How far is this going to go?

 

 

 

😉

 

#LoadShedding

#EskomBlackouts

#EskomFail

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Loadshedding is back on!

 

I know, because I downloaded “The Best Load Shedding App”: ‘EskomSePush

 

The loadshedding app 'EskomSePush' is useful in checking for upcoming blackouts.

The loadshedding app ‘EskomSePush’ is useful in checking for scheduled blackouts.

 

Today the dreaded notification of Loadshedding Stage 2 popped up, otherwise I would’ve been caught out.

Not that I mind terribly much, a power outage can be fun, but it’s good to be prepared.

 

Loadshedding is expected to last at least a week, so ensure you have EskomSePush downloaded on your phone to stay ahead of the loadshedding schedule.

 

#LoadsheddingAgain

 

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Watching the news is depressing.

So much so, that there are several media outlets promising to amplify the good news.

 

But if you still want to know what’s going on in the world, you’ll have to face the bleak reality of depressing news at some point.

 

While the news are still bad, why not choose a funny way to deliver them?

The best way to counteract the depressing effect of nowadays news is by having a laugh.

 

I have long thrown out the TV and rely on radio, internet and newspaper to know the latest news.

 

Especially to catch up on European news, which have become nothing but a joke anyway, I appreciate listening to BBC’s News Quiz:

BBC Radio 4 Comedy's News Quiz is a great way to catch up on the news while having a laugh.

BBC Radio 4 Comedy’s News Quiz is a great way to catch up on the news while having a laugh.

 

A panel of witty and hilarious comedians, who have that lovely dry British humour spiced up with sarcasm and irony, have to guess from clever clues what recent news are the topic to discuss. Then they get a chance to rant on about them in a commentary that takes that big lump of frustration of your chest, as you can simply laugh it off.

 

I find this is the only way I can digest the awful state of the world run by a bunch of ridiculous muppets.

 

I don’t know what has become of this planet, and I’m trying to do everything I can: I cycle to commute, I choose to refuse plastic, I recycle and upcycle, I regularly collect rubbish in our neighborhood and at the beach by doing MOOP swoops, I still save water, I ferment, cook and bake my own foods to avoid processed foods, I teach how to make the internet more accessible and safe, I rescue dogs rather than buying a designed breed, and the list goes on.

 

But one thing I don’t manage in this world, where everything is turned upside down, is to stay truly positive.

So at least when it comes to the news, I decided that I rather laugh than cry.

And thanks to the BBC podcasts, I can laugh out loud. 😀

 

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It can be a fine day in Cape Town, but get to the beach and the sea is foaming.

Already getting out of the car I was surprised how windy it was and glad I took my hoodie along.

Coming over the dunes I was hit by the full force of the gusts and zipped up to the top.

 

It wasn’t particularly bad weather. I had been at the beach when it was windier and colder.

But it somehow felt like the sea was angry and I suddenly remembered a part of a fairy tale from my childhood:

“With that he arrived at the sea.
The water was all black and dense and boiling up from within. A strong wind blew over him that curdled the water.”
– The Fisherman and His Wife, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

 

The story is about the fisherman’s wife who wants more and more, living over her means in a preposterous way until she ends up right back at the beginning, with nothing.

Every time her wishes become more outrageous, the ocean starts to boil and turns foul.

That’s how the sea presented itself to me.

I wonder when it will turn on us, with our outrageous wasteful consumerism…

 

Luckily our dogs love the beach, no matter what weather:

 

#NoPlastic #ChooseToRefuse #Reduce #Reuse #Upcycle #Recycle

#AdoptDontShop

#LoveCapeTown

 

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I’m a big fan of the Kiffness and always stoked when I hear his songs on the radio.

However, I was shocked to learn that no royalty payments have been made to the Kiffness by the SABC.

 

 

So all these times I got excited about the Kiffness’ exposure on 5FM, he did not receive a penny for that success.

All the while I have to listen to those moronic radio ads by SABC about paying your license fees.

Since the SABC is a public body, funded by public money, it should act ethically correct and lead by example:

If any fees need to be paid, how about those long overdue R248 million owed by the SABC to music rights organisations like the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro), the South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) , the Association of Independent Record Companies (Airco), the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa) and more. 

This seriously undermines the livelihoods of South African artists

The Kiffness has been campaigning about this and made it into national news, but the response from the SABC appears to be vague and unhelpful. 

Maybe the Kiffness needs to write them a song in order to be heard.

In the meantime, us listeners can also make a choice, as I find myself skipping to the private or community radio channels:

No pay for South African artists, no play of SABC radio stations.

#NoPayNoPlay 

 

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Protests over violence against women have been on the news all of last week.

 

And that’s how some treat this: just like news.

 

And then there are some who do something.

I was very impressed with radio channel ‘5FM‘ making a stand, united, against gender-based violence:

Throughout all of Friday they observed a minute of silence every hour after the news.

But even more disruptive, they also really caused a wake-up call when they interrupted songs by female artists with a moment of silence and a statement to remember what the world would be like without women.

Listen to this sample clip, it gives me goosebumps!

 

Kudos to 5FM for going the extra length to really make a difference.

 

I don’t know how to combat violence against women. The statistics show what a scary size problem this is.

But I believe that speaking up can have an impact: If you can name it, you can change it.

 

So let’s make enough fuss about this dire state of affairs where women are oppressed around all corners of the world, and:

Be the change!

 

#WomenPower  #BeTheChange  #WakeUp  #StayWoke

#SheIsMe  #WeWillNotBeNext  #WeAreTiredOfBeingScared  #Femicide  #OneEveryThreeHours  #WakeUpGovernment  #WomensMonthDisgrace

 

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I’m faring pretty well on LinkedIn.

So I’m mostly reacting annoyed when there’s another professional networking site I have to join.

I might register for it, just so I secure my social media handle, but if I cannot pull in my LinkedIn data, chances are low I fill in my profile.

When I was offered to sign up for ‘Opportunity’ I thought at least this platform represents what our priorities are really about:

Business, business, business, business, dating.

‘Dating Professionals’ of course, which somehow sounds more legitimate than just ‘Dating’.

It seems falling back on the more primal instincts is what it takes in order to make it as yet another app on the market.

However, as the old proverb goes: “Never mix business with pleasure.

As a non-South African living in South Africa, I experience many names I’m being referred to:

Foreigner, Whitey and even Alien.

In Germany, all of these terms would be deemed discrimatory.

Here in Cape Town, I just have to take it.

It’s even official:

Even in a lease contract, non-South Africans are being referred to as aliens.

Surely we can all agree that we come from the same planet.

So maybe there’s a better word.
Like non-South African pretty much sums it up.

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Free the Nipple is a topfreedom campaign created in 2012.

The campaign highlights the general convention of allowing men to appear topless in public while considering it sexual or indecent for women to do the same, and asserts that this difference is an unjust treatment of women. The campaign argues that it should be legally and culturally acceptable for women to bare their nipples in public.

 

In South Africa, it is illegal to expose female breasts in public, according to the Criminal Law (sexual offence and related matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.

 

However, when I entered the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences to get my radiology report done for Home Affairs, I was surprised to see this information sign to ensure women inform the hospital staff if they are pregnant before getting any x-rays done:

 

 

For this being a schematised silhouette of a woman, it is very detailed, showing a distinct nipple.

 

If I had been the designer, I had simply moved the strikethrough over this illustration’s boob, to cover it decently.

Instead, the strikethrough is just beneath the boob, revealing it all, including the nipple.

 

South Africa subjects itself to criticised censorship of nudity, with a double standard between male and female nipples.

But in public spaces, like hospitals, you get the full monty.  😮

 

#FreeTheNipple

 

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I always look out for little treasures when going for a walk at the beach.

 

Especially with the sun glaring eye searingly low during winter, turning the ocean into a glittering sea of dancing sparks, also the sand reflects the sun beams with twinkles all around.

Every now and then something flashes and catches my attention.

 

Like this damaged gemstone: A milky quartz broken in half.

Washed smooth and round from tumbling in the waters, it looks silky white on the outside.

But the rigety edge of the cracked surface reveals the true beauty of this stone:

Depending on the angle it reflects the light, it flares up with a blaze of glistening brilliance. Flickering and gleaming, simply mesmerizing to watch.

 

Beauty in the detail:

We can see its beauty because it’s broken.

 

Milky Quartz gemstone: Because it's broken we can see its beauty.

Milky Quartz gemstone: Because it’s broken we can see its beauty.

 

#LoveCapeTown

 

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The light in Cape Town is wonderful.

It definitely helps seeing things in a positive way.

 

Normally the sight of plastic bags caught in barbed wire is a shameful reminder how dirty and segregated Cape Town is.

Hopefully the upcoming plastic bag ban will help keep Cape Town clean.

 

In the meantime, seeing beauty in the ugly helps to stay positive:

Driving into the setting sun, a low hanging fire ball that paints everything golden, the sun rays make even the plastic bags caught in the barbed wire look pretty:

The beams of light shining through the ridge between Lion’s Head and Signal Hill reflect in the plastic bags, making them glisten as they gently move in the breeze.

As if the city was decorated with lit pom poms, like Chinese lanterns lining both sides of the road.

 

Sometimes just a shift in perspective can let things look differently.

 

#LoveCapeTown   #StayPositive

 

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Cyclists stay alive at 1.5

Cyclists stay alive at 1.5

 

Thinking ahead is so terribly important when driving, because:

 

Cars can kill.

 

And we all make mistakes.

 

You need to think ahead when driving, not only to keep your own safe driving in check, but also to watch out for others. Because they’re the idiots, right? So you have to be ready for their mistakes, too.

 

Every motorbike rider and cyclist knows this. Especially as it seems no driver ever sees us. As a cyclist I often wave at drivers, because they haven’t got a clue I exist, even though I’m right next to them.

 

A lot of drivers are completely unaware of what’s going on around them.

 

Especially in Cape Town where they all seem to start daydreaming at the sight of Table Mountain.

 

Yet, they should be on the watch-out for anything out of the norm.

 

When the car in front of me breaks, I knew that, because I watched the brake lights ahead of the car in front of me.

 

And maybe if the view permits, I watched the car in front of that, too.

 

That’s why it is a good idea not to drive too close to the car in front of us: So they don’t obstruct our view to see ahead. So we can be ready for whatever might be coming our way.

 

And because we don’t know how wobbly or not that cyclist is, we give them the space they need: Cyclists stay alive at 1.5. Stay Wider Of The Rider.

 

And I also looked ahead for the traffic lights coming up in 1 minute, because if they’re red I don’t need to push the gas for no reason.

 

Thinking ahead does not only mean driving safely, but also driving economically.

 

#ThinkAhead   #DriveSafe   #ThinkBike   #CycleSafe

 

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Eskom: We don't always supply you with electricity. But when we do, please don't use it.

Eskom: We don’t always supply you with electricity. But when we do, please don’t use it.

 

I always only saw loadshedding as a nuisance we can plan for.

After all it’s not such a big deal to be without electricity for 2 hours as per a scheduled cycle with ample notice to prepare.

Everyone, individuals as well as businesses, can work around it and have back-up plans in place.

 

However, it seems the actual power surges are taking a special toll we need to consider:

 

The damage to tech through loadshedding

 

I couldn’t post on my blog for the last two days, because loadshedding has fried our internet.

We’re still trying to figure out what got damaged and source the replacement.

Just now my mobile network provider was down, so again I had no internet. Even the big businesses can’t keep up with the frequent loadshedding.

 

This morning I hear Roger Goode on 5FM explaining they can’t play part of their radio show, as their UPS fried.

UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply and is that back-up plan I mentioned earlier that many businesses opted for.

It’s basically a powerful rechargeable battery, that however still can’t cope with the power cuts.

 

All alarm systems are backed up by a battery.

After loadshedding had fried our alarm system’s transistor, quite costly to replace, our battery is next in line: Though it should last hours, it hardly manages the normal loadshedding duration of 2 hours anymore.

There’s simply not enough time for these powerful batteries to recharge in between loadshedding.

 

Just to be on the safe side, unplug all your tech when electricity gets switched off and back on.

Otherwise loadshedding can add a whole lot of detrimental damage to the cost we’re all already bearing.

 

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#Usability #Fail: In this event registration 'Dietary requirements' does not give option 'none'.

#Usability #Fail: In this event registration ‘Dietary requirements’ does not give option ‘none’.

 

In an effort to be politically correct, it’s easy to forget that there are also still people who don’t fall into any categories.

 

Of course, no marketing agency would like to see this, but please for the sake of individuals who don’t fit in, just generally give an option ‘none’.

 

And, as part of creating Value Added Content, do your homework and proofread.

 

I wonder how this event is going to end up doing their catering, as by default you have to tick one of the boxes.

So food is either going to be halal or vegetarian or peanut free, or well, I guess all of them.

No possibility to click ‘none of the above’ or to leave out this question.

 

#UsabilityFail

 

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Apparently it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert.

 

So better start now!

 

I started committing to #ABlogPostADay back in February 2017.

 

I took a break. It didn’t work. After such a long time of making writing my daily habit I feel bad not doing it.

 Yours *TrulyJuly* Blog Post Frequency: Taking a break did not feel good.

Yours *TrulyJuly* Blog Post Frequency: Taking a break did not feel good.

 

It’s a relative easy task to implement: Whatever it is you really like doing, the thing you dream of being your career one day, do it. Every day.

 

So, if you like photography, take a picture every day. Even if it’s just a snapshot with your phone.

If you like baking, bake every day. Or at least tend to your dough every day.

If you like painting, paint every day. Or at least draw or doodle every day.

If you like running, run every day. It doesn’t have to be long. Simply getting into the routine to put on your running gear helps.

If you like cooking, cook every day. Or at least think of a recipe every day.

If you like to cycle, cycle every day. Even if it’s just to get from A to B.

If you like playing the guitar, play every day. Even if it’s just your favourite piece of music.

If you like reading, read every day. One page will do for a start.

If you like soccer, kick the ball around every day. The kids in our street do it, every day after school.

 

If this is really what you like doing, it should come naturally to you to do it as often as possible.

If this is really where your passion lies, you’ll find a way of doing it.

 

And if you don’t, then it’s maybe because this is not your true calling.

 

Either way, commit to it every day and you’ll soon find out.

 

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Attending a course on Leadership for Social Change means travelling to Langa, as the workshops take place at Guga S’thebe.

 

I cycle everywhere. Langa is well within my cycle reach, as it’s only about 10km away from Woodstock. I often cycled to Pinelands, which is just next to Langa.

 

But when I checked the map to make out a cycle route, I realised that all of Langa has only 3 access points. One of which from the highway and the other two from an expressway.

 

To the West and North, a train line separates Langa, to the South it’s a highway and to the West it’s a Metropolitan route, the M7, a limited-access road for high-speed traffic.

 

None of these can be crossed as a pedestrian. There are no bridges linking Pinelands to Langa over the railway.

 

So if I live in Pinelands and can even see the house of my neighbour in Langa, I cannot visit. I have to take a car or taxi or public transport and drive all the way around, out of Pinelands, around Langa and into Langa from the other side, where it borders with another township.

 

If I don’t have access to a car, taxi or public transport, I would have to run across the highway or railway. As a cyclist, I have no chance of reaching Langa.

 

Of course, it’s designed this way. Cape Town is a segregated city. And since apartheid ended it has not changed.

 

It’s just shocking when you see it.

 

People in townships are deliberately locked in.

People in townships are deliberately locked in.

 

 

OH no! Loadshedding is on!

 

So annoying that it always happens during the busiest time of the day! Why can it not be at night when everyone is asleep.

 

D’oh?

 

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Kapstadt, das Paradebeistpiel wie man gemeinsam erfolgreich Wasserknappbeit auf Großstadt-Level bekämpft.

 

In einem Bemühen aller, die Dürrenkrise zu überstehen, tun wir alles, um Wasser zu sparen:

Wir fangen Regen auf, gießen unsere Pflanzen mit Abwaschwasser, machen den Bucket Dance unter der Dusche und vieles mehr.

 

Und alles nur, damit uns die nächste Krise trifft: Lastabschaltung auf Level 4

Nur in Südafrika: Unternehmen werben damit, dass sie trotz Lastabschaltung ihre Kunden bedienen können. Wie wäre es, wenn ein Unternehmen, Eskom, mal seine Arbeit macht, damit nicht die ganze Nation Stromausfälle erleiden muss.

Nur in Südafrika: Unternehmen werben damit, dass sie trotz Lastabschaltung ihre Kunden bedienen können. Wie wäre es, wenn ein Unternehmen, Eskom, mal seine Arbeit macht, damit nicht die ganze Nation Stromausfälle erleiden muss.

 

Südafrikaner sind krisenfest und machen was notwendig ist ohne große Umschweife.

 

Und so werden wir auch diese Krise meistern, trotz finanzieller Verluste, potentiellen Gesundheitsrisiken und steigender Kriminalität und sonstigen Unbequemlichkeiten.

 

#LoveCapeTown

 

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Cape Town, a poster child for beating the water crisis.

 

In a combined effort to save water, we collected rain, watered our plants with dishwater, did the bucket dance and much more.

 

But only for the next crisis to hit South Africa: Stage 4 Loadshedding.

Only in South Africa: Businesses advertise they can serve their customers despite loadshedding. How about one business, Eskom, doing their job so others don't have to suffer.

Only in South Africa: Businesses advertise they can serve their customers despite loadshedding. How about one business, Eskom, doing their job so others don’t have to suffer.

 

South Africans are resilient and simply do what is necessary to survive.

 

So we’ll shoulder this one too, despite financial losses, potential health dangers and crime risks and of course personal inconveniences.

 

#LoveCapeTown

 

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I think I’m having a midlife crisis. It’s just dreadful to realise: All the dreams you had… – It’s too late now to make them happen.

 

I don’t know. Like my dream would be to write a book. And there’s still plenty of time for that!

 

What an inspiration! As seen in the news: 93-year-old launches her book

What an inspiration! As seen in the news: 93-year-old launches her book

 

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Rattie Kisses times three! 😘

Rattie Kisses times three! 😘

 

#RattieSitting: Luna, Mommy and Fadley are sending cute kissies!

 

Follow Rats Make Great Pets on Facebook and Google+. 🙂

 

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This is the third broom I broke.

 

I swear I’m just sweeping, nothing complicated, and all of a sudden the broom just snaps. Like an uncooked spaghetti.

 

This broom was meant to be unbreakable. It looks sturdy enough:

 

I was sweeping with this broom and it snapped on me.

I was sweeping with this broom and it snapped on me.

 

Luckily the broom stick can be replaced. I hope it’s not going to be one of many!

 

#HappyHalloween

 

 

Erinnerst du dich, ich hatte doch neulich jemanden widerrechtlich auf dem Grundstück nebenan gesehen.

 

Ja.

 

Heute habe ich ihn wieder gesehen!

Er muss über den Metallzaun geklettert sein und war gerade dabei, über die Mauer auf das brachliegende Land dahinter zu springen.

Da habe ich mich umgedreht und sah ihn vor meinem Fenster. Ich habe ihm direkt in die Augen geschaut!

 

Und? Was ist passiert?

 

Er hat „Morgen“ gesagt und ging weiter seines Weges.

 

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A creepy crawler: Tick on the wall!

A creepy crawler: Tick on the wall!

 

Help me, they gonna suck me dry!

 

Ah please, don’t worry.

Even though your entire body is covered in ticks so that not even one tiny bit of your flesh is visible, besides your pathetically scared eyes and your weird warped teeth;
all their bodies pumping slowly but steadily, filling like a sea of red balloons, red from your blood, millions of tiny ticks full of your blood…

You’re not gonna die.

 

After all, this is hell, if you could die from this it’d just be some shitty life on planet earth.

No. You’re never gonna get sucked dry. You’re dead already.
Welcome to your eternal nightmare.

 

 

It’s tick season!

Especially if you own dogs, make sure you prevent ticks and know how to safely remove them.

 

 

 

From illness, misfortune or loss of property we can recover and look back, pad ourselves on the shoulder and think: See! Everything happens for a reason!

 

Except of course death.

 

Because from death no good or bad can ever come.

 

Death is just the gaping hole of nothing at the end.

 

 

We’re walking along Lagoon Beach out on the jetty and what must we see:

This could be a nice picture. Except for the two coke cans dumped on the jetty.

This could be a nice picture. Except for the two coke cans dumped on the jetty.

 

Two coca cola cans dumped by the sea.

 

When will the brands take responsibility for their waste?

 

Clearly Coca Cola consumers leave their trash everywhere.

 

If Coca Cola is so successful at Content Marketing, maybe they can teach their consumers some awareness about #GoingGreen.

 

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Ah, Sie sprechen Deutsch? Dann können wir ja in Deutsch weiterreden.

 

Ach, Sie sind auch Deutsch. Wie gefällt Ihnen Kapstadt?

 

Ja, sehr schön. Ich habe mich nur gefragt, wo man die Chance bekommt, sich öfter mal in Deutsch zu unterhalten?

 

Es gibt einen Deutschen Club.

 

Ja, und gehen Sie da hin?

 

Nein.

 

😮

 

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Ah, you speak German? Then we can continue talking in German if you like.

 

Ach, you’re also German. How are you enjoying Cape Town?

 

Yes, very nice. I was just wondering where I can get the chance to speak more German?

 

Well, there’s the German Club.

 

Yes. – Do you go there?

 

No.

 

😮

 

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Hi, I’m looking for a job as a handyman.

 

Ok, what can you do?

 

Any sort of plumbing, plastering, painting.

 

Cool, what is your name?

 

Ahmed.

 

I’m Christian.

 

I’m Muslim.

 

No, I mean my name is Christian!

 

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Neulich beim türkischen Restaurant in Hamm: Ist der Döner mit Schaf oder scharf?

Neulich beim türkischen Restaurant in Hamm: Ist der Döner mit Schaf oder scharf? 😉

 

Hallo. Wir hätten gerne einen Döner. Also zwei. Also jeder einen.

Oh, ist das Schafskäse? Dann bitte einmal mit Schaf.

 

Möchten Sie scharf?

 

Wie, Schaf?

 

Scharf.

 

Ach, scharfe Soße. Nee, Danke.

 

Für mich schon.

 

Ok, also einmal scharf.

Ja, aber bitte nicht das mit dem Schaf.

 

Wie, Schaf?

 

Na mit dem Schafskäse.

 

Nein nein, ohne Schaf, aber scharf.

 

Ja, scharfe Soße.

 

Ich mache ein ‘S’ drauf.

 

Wofür, für Schaf oder für scharf?

 

Für scharf.

 

Für Schaf?

 

Für scharf.

 

Also, Schaf wie in Schafskäse oder scharf wie scharfe Soße?

 

Scharf.

 

Na gut. Wir nehmen’s wie’s ist.

 

#EinEchterHammer

 

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Ohne es zu bewerten.

 

Without judging it.

 

 

Oh nein, da kommen Wolken.

 

Die ziehen vorbei.

 

Oh weh, danach kommen schon wieder neue Wolken.

 

Auch die ziehen vorbei.

 

 

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Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

 

Also, Du musst halt vorbeikommen. Du kannst dem europäischen Winter entfliehen und stattdessen den Sommer auf der anderen Seite der Erde genießen, da kommst Du nach Südafrika.

 

Ich würd ja gerne, aber der Flug ist so teuer!

 

Ja, dann musst Du einen Weg finden, Geld zu machen, ganz im südafrikanischen Unternehmergeist.
Wie wär’s zum Beispiel eine Gruppe zu organisieren, die nach Südafrika reisen will und dort den Tour Guide zu machen?
Oder wie wär’s eins unserer Zimmer als B&B anzubieten und noch ein Touri Programm draufzusetzen?
Oder mit ein paar Jugendlichen ein ehrenamtliches Projekt durchzuführen?
Denk mal darüber nach, mit welchen Deiner Talente Du Geld verdienen kannst. Hier in Südafrika machen wir das jeden Tag. Das lernt man ganz schnell.

 

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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D

 

Well, you just have to visit. You can escape the European winter and enjoy the summer on the other side of the planet, then you could come to South Africa.

 

I’d love to, but the flight is so expensive!

 

Then you need to find a way to make money in true South African entrepreneurial style.
How about organising a group who travels to South Africa and be their tour guide?
Or how about running a B&B for one of our rooms and planning some tourist programme?
Or recruiting several youth and starting a volunteering project.
Start thinking how you can use your skills to earn money. Here in South Africa we do that every day, you learn very quickly.

 

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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D

 

So, you just have to visit, maybe next autumn holidays, then you could come to South Africa.

 

Ach, I don’t enjoy flying.

 

Well, by boat is a bit tricky.

 

Yes, I took a look: There’s no cruiseship going as far as I know.

 

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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D

 

So, you just have to visit, maybe next spring vacation, then you could come to South Africa.

 

I took a look at a map: It’s not that easy. I mean, by car.

 

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Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

 

Ja, Ihr müsst halt vorbeikommen, vielleicht die nächsten Osterferien, da kommt Ihr nach Südafrika.

 

Ja, ich hab’s mir mal auf der Karte angesehen: Also kommt man ja ganz schlecht hin. So mit dem Auto.

 

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South Africa - your dose of Sun Vitamin D

South Africa – your dose of Sun Vitamin D

 

So, you just have to visit, maybe next festive season, then you could come to South Africa.

 

I took a look at a map: It’s quite far. Like, with the bicycle.

 

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Südafrika - das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

Südafrika – das Land mit dem Sonnenvitamin

 

Ja, also Du musst halt vorbeikommen, vielleicht die nächsten Weihnachtsferien, da kommst Du nach Südafrika.

 

Ich hab mir das mal auf der Karte angeschaut: Also das ist ja ganz schön weit. So mit dem Fahrrad.

 

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Bleib mal sitzen.

 

???

Ok ich komme.

 

Was hast du denn jetzt an ‘Bleib mal sitzen’ nicht verstanden?

 

???

Ich hab kein Wort verstanden von dem was du gerade gesagt hast.

 

 

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Sommerpause für den Tatort: Warum eigentlich?

Sommerpause für den Tatort: Warum eigentlich?

 

Ich hab jetzt mal in der Fernsehzeitung geguckt:

Ich schaue ja nur den Tatort, sonst kann man sich ja nichts mehr im Fernsehen angucken.

Und da gibt es jetzt nur noch Wiederholungen! Die habe ich ja alle schon gesehen!

 

Läuft denn nichts anderes?

 

Sonst kommt ja jetzt nur Fußball wegen dieser FIFA WM!

Da gibt’s also den ganzen Sommer über gar nichts mehr zu gucken für mich!

Und das geht 10 Wochen lang so. Wie lange sollen die Leute denn in den Urlaub fahren?

Also dann möchte ich so eine Sommerpause auch für meine GEZ Gebühren!

 

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Very funny: The gate info for our flight is scheduled to get revealed 5 minutes before our gate officially closes.

Very funny: The gate info for our flight is scheduled to get revealed 5 minutes before our gate officially closes.

 

Our flight EZY2175 (U2 2175) was scheduled to depart at 16:05 on 12/06/2018. As every boarding pass clearly states, the gate closes half an hour earlier: At 15:35. Then how can it be that the actual gate info only gets revealed at 15:30?

On top of it, the clock on the flight information display was actually late, by about 3 minutes, as the metadata of my camera shows.

Still, the gate information was indeed published on time, at the correct time.

Not enough time however to make it to the gate in time.

This was of course not a problem, we even left the airport exactly on schedule.

But it’s pretty clear what would happen if this was the other way round. – If a passenger was late and didn’t make it to the gate before it closes

 

 

Life is crazy nowadays. The whole world is out of balance.

What people consume on the one side of the planet, people on the other side of the planet have to suffer for.

 

It’s terrible. But what can we do?

 

Well, we can stop consuming like there’s no tomorrow!

Who with their right mind can still buy Nestlé, H&M, or Bayer?

I always say: As long as there’s still one McDonald’s on this planet, there’s no future for humanity.

 

But it’s not all that doom and gloom.

We watched a great documentary the other day: Tomorrow.

Do you have Amazon Prime to watch it?

 

??? Of course do I also boycott an evil employer like Amazon!!!

 

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At the dentist in South Africa: Here amalgam has long been passé.

At the dentist in South Africa: Here amalgam has long been passé.

 

I have good teeth. So I don’t have to go to the dentist that often.

However, it’s a good idea to go for a check-up on a regular basis.

 

Now I live in South Africa.

 

So I first had to learn about the public health system in this country, my new home to be.

 

There are public dental clinics in South Africa, which are free of charge.

 

Should special treatment be needed, a charge related to your income is raised. That is fair.

Of course there are negative aspects, too: Long queues. Just like in England with the NHS. Never look a gift horse…

 

The basic treatment at the public dentist is enough for my needs. Plus professional tooth cleaning and even fillings – all paid for by the government.

 

I have no cavities. But my molars were sealed back in Germany for prophylaxis, which started to be not so great, as it seems bacteria still made their way through to my teeth.

 

So we had to break open that sealant to check what was going on beneath it. Indeed: It was quite brittle and broke easily.

 

Now it was about sealing my teeth again.

 

Suddenly I had a horror scenario running through my head of getting my teeth filled with amalgam or something similarly terrible.

 

So I asked in a bit of a panic: “Sealing? With what?”

 

After which the dentist replied in a calming voice: “Ceramic of course. What else? Amalgam? Where in the world would you get that?”

 

Well, I thought to myself: In Germany.

 

Beim Zahnarzt in Südafrika: Hier ist Amalgam schon lange passé.

Beim Zahnarzt in Südafrika: Hier ist Amalgam schon lange passé.

 

Ich habe sehr gute Zähne. Muss also nicht oft zum Zahnarzt.

Aber es ist ja immer eine gute Idee, mal zum Check-up hinzugehen.

 

Jetzt lebe ich ja in Südafrika.

 

Und da musste ich mich erst einmal orientieren, wie nun in meiner neu erwählten Heimat das Gesundheitssystem funktioniert: Health System in South Africa.

 

Es gibt in Südafrika öffentliche Zahnarztkliniken, welche kostenfrei sind.

Sollte die Behandlung über das Grundprovisorium hinausgehen, muss man gemäß des Einkommens dazu zahlen. Das ist fair.

Natürlich gibt es auch negative Aspekte, wie zum Beispiel lange Warteschlangen: Das kriegen sie in England mit der NHS auch nicht hin. Und überhaupt: Einem geschenkten Gaul…

 

Die Grundbehandlung beim Zahnarzt beinhaltet genug für meinen Check-Up. Selbst professionelle Zahnreinigungen und sogar Zahnfüllungen werden vom Staat bezahlt.

 

Nun habe ich keine Löcher, aber meine Backenzähne sind damals in Deutschland zur Prophylaxe versiegelt worden, und das hat wohl doch nicht so gut geklappt, denn nun schien es, kamen doch Bakterien an den Zahn heran.

Also musste diese Versiegelung mal aufgebrochen werden, um nachzugucken, was darunter denn so passierte. In der Tat war sie Recht spröde, denn sie zerbrach direkt.

 

Nun ging es darum, den Zahn wieder zu versiegeln.

 

Da hatte ich plötzlich die Horrorvorstellung, dass ich das nun mit Amalgam oder so ‘nem Zeug gemacht bekomme und fragte direkt: „Versiegeln? Mit was?“

 

Worauf der Zahnarzt mir beruhigend erklärte: „Natürlich mit Keramik. Was denn sonst? Doch nicht etwa Amalgam, wo gibt’s denn so ‘was!“

 

Tja, dachte ich mir da: In Deutschland!

 

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Hey, wie wär’s wenn wir uns auf dem Schützenfest treffen?

 

Joa, können wir machen.

 

Denk jetzt bitte nicht, ich hätte was mit dem Schützenfest zu tun.

Ich gehe da nur hin, weil alle da hingehen.

 

Ach so, Schützenfest also nur zum Leute treffen.

Aber das ist doch ganz lustig?

 

Ja klar. Aber ich mach da nicht irgendwie mit bei dem Verein.

 

Das hätte mich auch ein wenig überrascht. 😀

 

Wer kommt mit zum Schützenfest?

Wer kommt mit zum Schützenfest?

 

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Kurpark in Hamm: Die letzte Blüte an dem Japanischen Blauregen.

Kurpark in Hamm: Die letzte Blüte an dem Japanischen Blauregen.

 

Man, wie die Zeit rennt!

 

Vor einem Monat noch stand der ganze Kurpark in Hamm in Blüte.

 

Wunderschöne Zierbäume gaben ihr Bestes.

 

Am Beeindruckendsten war der Japanische Blauregen, der die unscheinbare Parkbank in eine Oase umwandelte.

 

Oft ging ich dran vorbei und dachte mir: Da möchte ich mich auch mal hinsetzen und die Pracht der Blüten genießen. Aber immer war besetzt.

 

Bis jetzt. Endlich ist die Bank frei, so aber auch der Baum: Weg sind all die Blumen, nur drei sind verblieben und hängen an der Spitze der Blütentrauben.

 

So vergeht die Zeit.

 

Nutze den Moment, sobald er sich präsentiert.

 

Diese Bank verwandelt sich in eine Oase wenn der Japanische Blauregen blüht.

Diese Bank verwandelt sich in eine Oase wenn der Japanische Blauregen blüht.

 

Kurpark in Hamm: The last bit of beauty of the japanese purple wisteria.

Kurpark in Hamm: The last bit of beauty of the japanese purple wisteria.

 

Time is running!

 

Just a month ago all of the Kurpark in Hamm was in bloom.

 

Lovely ornamental trees gave their best.

 

Most impressive was the japanese purple wisteria which turned the plain park bench into an oasis.

 

Often I walked past thinking to myself: I’d like to sit down here just to enjoy the beauty of the flowers. But the seat was always taken.

 

Until now. Finally the bench is free, but so is the tree: Gone are all the flowers, only three are left on the very tips of the bunch of bloom.

 

Time is fleeting.

 

Take advantage of the moment as soon as it presents itself.

 

This bench turns into an oasis when the japanese purple wisteria is in bloom.

This bench turns into an oasis when the japanese purple wisteria is in bloom.

 

 

Coffee with my tea, for me it’s the way to be. ;)

Coffee with my tea, for me it’s the way to be. 😉

 

I’m an absolute tea drinker. I drink so much tea and accumulate so many tea bags, that I had to write a blog post about what to do with used tea bags.

 

Since my first visit to the UK where I spent my entire summer school holidays working as a room maid in a hotel to improve my English, I got converted to drinking black tea with milk. And lots of it!

 

I only drink coffee when it’s really good or when I need to spur on my brain.

 

So when I’m at a conference, workshop or meeting, taking lots of notes and filling my head with lots of information, I appreciate a cuppa coffee with my tea.

 

People look at me funny seeing me double-handedly drinking coffee and tea at the same time.

 

But I just explain that I love a cuppa coffee with my tea! 😉

 

 

Poststrasse. Next stop Barbarossaplatz. 

 

So how is your German?

Last year it was quite good but since I started my course it’s gotten worse. I don’t know. I keep on mixing up the languages, it’s weird.

 

Yeah, I know, that happens. And how is your course coming along?

Yes ok. It’s a weird system here in Germany.

 

Don’t they have an orientation week, how was it?

Ok, but not really informative. It’s more learning about Germany.

 

Yeah, I know. They’re not very good at helping people here, especially if you’re from outside Germany.

 

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So Google is all emancipated to feature a female scientist on their Google Doodle.

 

Doing scientific studies sidesaddle on a chair? I don't think so.

Doing scientific studies sidesaddle on a chair? I don’t think so.

 

Somebody then please explain to me why she sits all sexist, like on a sidesaddle on her chair. Surely as a scientist this is not how you’d sit to observe the desert.

 

Maybe Google’s researcher got confused with the Maria Reiche homage in Vogue Paris. I couldn’t find an original photo of Maria Reiche showing her sitting sidesaddle.

 

Of course I’m happy to see Google’s efforts in creating awareness on women scientists.

But please, how about a realistic and not a fashion induced, stereotypes confirming way.

 

Only love understands the secret of giving presents and getting richer at the same time. - Clemens von Brentano.

Only love understands the secret of giving presents and getting richer at the same time. – Clemens von Brentano.

 

God knows I’m not religious.

 

The more I was surprised how much I liked the mother’s day church service at the Paulus Church in Hamm.

 

Pastor Taudin is so equal-minded that she included not only fathers in her mother’s day address of welcome, but also all non-mothers and non-fathers.

 

Without a long sermon topics such as mothers and parents who make our lives richer were covered. The texts and songs related to love. We were invited to be interactive to promote communication and cooperation.

 

Accordingly we could take a picture in a heart frame, undertake communion ourselves with real bread and grapes, take home a card with an aphorism on love, fill out a sheet for a love proclamation and light candles.

 

A really nice experience to round off mother’s day in a memorable manner.

 

Die Liebe allein versteht das Geheimnis, andere zu beschenken und dabei selbst reich zu werden. - Clemens von Brentano.

Die Liebe allein versteht das Geheimnis, andere zu beschenken und dabei selbst reich zu werden. – Clemens von Brentano.

 

Ich bin weiß Gott nicht religiös.

 

Umso überraschter war ich, wie sehr mir der Muttertags-Gottesdienst in der Pauluskirche in Hamm gefallen hat.

 

Pastorin Taudin ist so gleichberechtigt, dass sie nicht nur Väter in ihren Muttertags-Gottesdienst mit einschließt, sondern auch alle nicht-Mütter und nicht-Väter.

 

Ohne große Predigt wurden in diesem Ausklangs-Gottesdienst Themen wie Mütter und Eltern, die unser Leben reicher machen, behandelt. Die Texte und Lieder bezogen sich auf Liebe. Zur Interaktivität wurde eingeladen, um Kommunikation und Miteinander zu fördern.

 

So konnten wir ein Foto im Herzrahmen machen, das Abendmahl selbst in Form von richtigem Brot und Weintrauben wahrnehmen, eine Karte mit einem Sinnspruch zur Liebe mitnehmen, ein Blatt der Liebesverkündung ausfüllen und Kerzen anzünden.

 

Zum Abschied gab’s sogar ein kleines Geschenk, was den Muttertag abrundete.

 

Ein wirklich schönes Erlebnis, um den Muttertag ausklingen zu lassen.

 

Es lohnt sich, einen Gottesdienst in der Pauluskirche zu besuchen: Gottesdienstatlas.

Schwarz tragen.

 

Aufbahrung.

 

Die letzte Ehre erweisen.

 

Trauerfeier.

 

Sinnsprüche.

 

Eine Predigt.

 

Über den Sarg streichen.

 

Die Urne begreifen.

 

Weisheitstexte.

 

Dankbarkeit zeigen.

 

Fürbitte.

 

Erde greifen und wieder loslassen.

 

Blütenblätter fallen lassen.

 

Ein Lieblingslied.

 

Ein stilles Gebet.

 

Ein Segen.

 

Auf dem letzten Weg begleiten.

 

Endgültigen Abschied nehmen.

 

– Wird es helfen beim Trauer ertragen?

 

Wearing black.

 

Lying in repose.

 

Paying last respect.

 

Obsequies.

 

Aphorisms.

 

A sermon.

 

Stroking the coffin.

 

Touching the urn.

 

Words of wisdom.

 

Expressing gratitude.

 

Intercession.

 

Grasping earth and letting go.

 

Letting flower petals fall.

 

A favourite song.

 

A silent prayer.

 

Blessings.

 

Accompanying the last journey.

 

The final goodbye.

 

– Will it help for bearing grief?

 

 

Es gibt keine falschen Worte…

 

Denn es gibt auch keine richtigen.

 

Angesichts solch einer Gewalttat haben wir noch nicht mal passende Worte erfunden.

 

In den Nachwirkungen dieses grausamen Ereignisses gibt es kaum Worte des Trostes.

 

Weil es einfach keine Linderung gibt.

 

Die Ohnmacht, mit der wir fassungslos dastehen, müssen wir persönlich und als Gesellschaft aufarbeiten.

 

So eine egoistische Attacke, die absichtlich unschuldige Menschen involviert, ist sinnlos, unmenschlich und unverständlich.

 

Also bleib nicht stumm, wenn die Worte vor Sprachlosigkeit ausbleiben.

 

Es gibt kein Richtig oder Falsch.

 

Es gibt nur wahre Gefühle, ehrliche Anteilnahme und tief empfundenes Beileid.

 

 

There are no wrong words…

 

Because there aren’t any right ones either.

 

Faced with such atrocity, we haven’t even invented yet the words to say.

 

In the aftermath of such horrid event, there are no words of solace.

 

Because there is no consolation.

 

The fact remains that these egotistic attacks deliberately involving innocent people are meaningless, cruel and incomprehensible.

 

The helplessness in which we stay stunned we need to work through personally and as a society.

 

So don’t despair if you don’t know what to say.

 

There is no right or wrong.

 

There are only true feelings, honest sympathy and deeply rooted commiseration.

 

Warum ist es uns passiert?

Vielleicht, weil wir es irgendwie schaffen, damit weiter zu leben.

Jeder “normale” Mensch wäre schon längst daran zerbrochen.

Why did this happen to us?

Maybe because it is us who somehow manage to continue life with this.

Every “normal” person would’ve already broken down into pieces.

 

 

Being a victim

 

Just because someone attacked you.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because someone took something from you.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

Just because someone committed a crime against you.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because someone broke into your home.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because someone harmed, hurt or hated you.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because everyone pities you.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because everyone expects you to suffer.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because everyone wants to talk it through over and over again.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because the whole world knows what happened to you.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

Just because there are no answers, explanations or solace.
Doesn’t mean you have to be a victim.

 

It is always your decision if you take on the victim role.
Or not.

 

Opferrolle

 

Nur weil dich jemand attackiert hat.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil dir jemand etwas weggenommen hat.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil jemand ein Verbrechen gegen dich verübt hat.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil jemand bei dir eingebrochen ist.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil jemand dir weh getan hat, dich verletzt hat, dich hasst.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil alle dich bemitleiden.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil alle erwarten, dass du leidest.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil alle es nochmal mit dir durchkauen wollen.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil die ganze Welt weiß, was dir zugestoßen ist.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Nur weil es keine Antworten, Erklärungen oder Trost gibt.
Musst du nicht Opfer sein.

 

Es ist immer deine Entscheidung, die Opferrolle anzunehmen.
Oder nicht.

 

 

Everything Is You

The flat

The car

The bicycle

The bed

The table

The easy chair

The cuddle blanket

The wall clock

The coffee machine

The drinking glass

 

Everything Is You

The grocery store

The farmers market

The radio station

The newspaper

The TV magazine

The dentist appointment

The bin emptying

The bread cutting

The potato peeling

The garden work

 

Everything Is You

The breakfast

The lunch

The dinner

The hike in the forest

The walk in the park

The cycle tour

The view

The sunset

The town

The world

 

 

Alles Bist Du

Die Wohnung

Das Auto

Das Fahrrad

Das Bett

Der Tisch

Der Sessel

Die Kuscheldecke

Die Wanduhr

Die Kaffeemaschine

Das Trinkglas

 

Alles Bist Du

Der Laden um die Ecke

Der Bauernmarkt

Die Radiostation

Die Zeitung

Das Fernsehmagazin

Der Zahnarzttermin

Den Müll rausbringen

Das Brot schneiden

Die Kartoffeln schälen

Die Gartenarbeit

 

Alles Bist Du

Das Frühstück

Das Mittagessen

Das Abendessen

Das Wandern im Wald

Der Spaziergang im Park

Die Radtour

Die Aussicht

Der Sonnenuntergang

Die Stadt

Die Welt

 

Just like any other day.

That too is life.

When faced with the impossible, and no options at hand to be able to do anything about it: Light a candle.

Light a Candle

Light a Candle

 

When life throws you curveballs, it’s tough to find a way to cope.

Especially when it’s a situation that’s out of your hands, when the questions start circling in your head: Why? How can this be? What can I do?

This is however only a downward spiral. For some events that happen to you, there’s simply no explanation and it remains incomprehensible.

 

One way to find condolence is to light a candle.

There’s something to igniting a flame and keeping it alive.

Bringing light into the dark.

Creating warmth in the cold.

Making a bleak environment homely.

Watching the flame dance is soothing.

Following how the wax melts, circling towards the wick to feed the fire is like meditation.

Appreciating the glow, the peaceful atmosphere it creates is calming.

It’s a simple act. Yet, it can have so much meaning.

It’s not much. Yet, it’s a small thing we can do.

It might not have an immediate impact. Yet, it allows us to put a pause to our worries.

 

When left with nothing to hold onto, solace can be found in kindling a candle.

 

Tip: Laugh more!

Tip: Laugh more!

 

I’m a trained laughter coach, because laughing is one of the healthiest exercises we can do.

 

The Benefits of Laughter

Physical Health Benefits: Mental Health Benefits: Social Benefits:
Boosts immunity Releases endorphins and makes us happy Strengthens relationships
Lowers stress hormones Eases anxiety and fear Improves communication
Decreases pain Relieves stress Enhances teamwork
Relaxes muscles Improves mood Promotes group bonding
Prevents heart disease Enhances resilience Defuses anger and conflict
Lowers blood pressure Improves memory and learning Helps as a coping mechanism
Increases blood oxygenation Increases alertness and creativity Gives a welcomed distraction
Workout for diaphragm and abdominal, plus respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles Liberates suppressed emotions Prevents us from taking things too seriously
Excellent cardiac exercise Combats Depression Raises energy and self-esteem
Speeds up metabolism Fosters positive thinking Builds rapport
Burns calories and keeps us fit Produces a sense of well-being Makes us attractive

 

Sources:

InHappiness Foundation

Helpguide

BrainyWeightLoss

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Laughter Online University

 

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Laughing or crying? When facing a difficult situation, laughter can help.

Laughing or crying? When facing a difficult situation, laughter can help.

I naturally laugh a lot.

This might be genetically or learned, as both my parents have a great sense of humour and can laugh freely and infectiously.

But it’s also, because a long time ago I made that decision:
It was clear to me that when faced with extreme situations I can either laugh or cry, and I chose laughing.

Of course I also cry. But having trained myself to tend to laugh, the recovery from crying is easier.

Apparently already Freud argued that laughter was a coping mechanism, quasi as a defense against too much sadness.

Some psychologists even classify humor as one of the “mature” defense mechanisms we invoke to guard ourselves against overwhelming trauma. This does not mean we ignore the traumatic events, it rather shows that we prepare ourselves to endure them.

Of course, sometimes laughing appears inappropriate. But then I can always explain that laughter is my coping mechanism.

Especially when it’s about facing a tough situation, laughing helps to reduce the anxiety.

We all have to fight ourselves through the difficulties of life.

A little laughter helps.

 

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There are small ways to help we all can do: Give Blood

There are small ways to help we all can do: Give Blood

 

In these times of uncertainty, it is important that we prepare for all eventualities, and on a mass level. Especially as it is innocent people who are being targeted.

 

In case of the Muenster suicide attack, the blood reserves depleted pretty quickly. A call for extra blood donations was made and answered by the public with overwhelming response, restoring faith in humanity.

 

However, there’s a process to prepare the blood for transfusion, which takes some time.

 

It really is our duty as healthy people to donate blood.

 

Not just for general help, but also because unfathomable assaults are the new norm.

 

In every country you can sign up to be a blood donor to receive updates when there is a blood donation drive close to you.

 

If you think to yourself in face of such terrible tragic news:

What can I do?

 

Give blood.

 

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Have you noticed how when we ask ‘How are you’ we only actually enquire about the physical status?

And how we, when we answer, mostly refer to the physical?

What does the bodily matter, it can heal.

The psychological impact stays.

 

After years of trying. Including my documents getting lost, receiving my documents too late, subsequently having to plead guilty, still getting my visa application rejected and having to submit an appeal. I now finally managed to get my visa.

And just in time!

Waiting for your visa update can put you into limbo: It is easy that your current visa expires while you wait for your new visa. But without a valid visa I’m not allowed to work. I can’t even leave the country! Or well, I can leave, but I can’t come back.

The typical nightmare scenario that crosses your mind while waiting for your visa approval: What if something happens and I have to leave?

For me this came true.

Luckily, all these years of trying finally paid off: And fortunately the timing was just right.

So I got my visa now, and it means I’m back in business!

I finally got my visa!

I finally got my visa! “Whilst conducting own business.” – I’m officially back in business!

You can now officially hire me for copywriting, localisation, creative writing, content marketing, business consulting, workshops and courses on accessibility, safety and content optimisation for internet and mobile and my general good practices approach to find sustainable solutions.

And, I can finally fly out to Germany and be with my family!

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Don't get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

Don’t get caught up and caught out with a messy contact system.

 

1) Synch all contacts on all devices

How many email accounts to you use? One for work, and a private one? And what about your phone, how many contacts are saved in there?

In order to have one up-to-date address book, all these contacts need to be synched and updated across all accounts and all devices.

 

2) Consolidate all contacts in one contact management system

A contact management system can be as simple as a well formatted Excel spreadsheet or as complicated as a full blown CRM software.

Either way, all address books across the entire organisation need to be consolidated in one place.

Whatever system you choose for this, it must fulfil at least one criteria: It must be possible to export all contacts as a .csv file in case you ever want to transfer your contacts to a different system.

If you use different platforms to interact with potential customers, make sure you regularly download and backup your connections data.

 

3) Collect all contact details

It’s easy to skip the formalities with well known contacts. Apparently this is rather the norm than the exception.

But when it comes to asking for your contact because you’ve been put back to reception and you don’t know their surname, or when it comes to sending out the mailer and you don’t know their correct title, you quickly realise how important it is to keep track of the full name, title, position, department, etc.

 

4) Update all contacts constantly

Your address book has no value if the contact details are outdated.

Make a point to always update your addresses as soon as there is a change.

Even better: Use a software that prompts your contacts to keep their contact details current.

 

5) Categorise your contacts

If you ever want to do anything with your contacts, such as sending out a mailer or driving a sales campaign, you need to label your connections.

This is not for you to remember who they are, but for the system to be able to sort all your contacts into different groups.

So think carefully how best to categorise your connections:

Start with high level tags, for example: family / friends / alumni / colleagues / customers / suppliers / authorities.

Depending on the purpose of your contact management system, you can then subdivide, for example customers can be tagged as clients / prospects / leads.

 

6) Reference your contacts

Just as important to tag for outgoing actions it is to keep reference of how you came by your connections.

Customer protection protocol requires that you can at any given time explain to any given person how you obtained their contact details.

So when you import connections to your contact management system, ensure you label these contacts according to their source.

That can be the platform, e.g. LinkedIn or the relationship owner, e.g. Sales or the place you first met, e.g. networking event.

 

7) Give context to your contacts

This is where you can implement ways to remember how you know your connections.

You can start with simple note-taking to keep a log about this contact. This is especially useful if you need to follow up with this connection.

Record the last contact date, personal information and funny moments, so you can hit if off like good old friends when you meet again.

 

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Success hardly comes from social media, but it certainly gets reflected on social media.

 

Here a great example:

Stardom needs no tweets.

Stardom needs no tweets.

Zodwa Wabantu‘s twitter account has over 10K followers besides the fact that she hasn’t tweeted anything!

It appears this twitter account isn’t even in use.

 

Zodwa’s more active twitter account – more active by 69 tweets – has over 25K followers.

 

If you wish you had such social media success, take this for a tip:

Do well in real life and the followers will follow!

 

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BBC's podcast "I hear voices" helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

BBC’s podcast “I hear voices” helps to understand what it is like to live with schizophrenia.

 

There’s a great podcast series out there by the BBC called “I hear voices” about Alice who explains in a very rational manner what it is like for her to live with schizophrenia.

 

Her description of a psychosis reminded me of another podcast by This American Life called “My Damn Mind” in which Alan explains how his manic episode unfolded and how crazy it can get.

 

One thing in both podcasts is clear: It is because of us ‘non-crazy’ people that these protagonists were not helped at first or not at all or not in the correct way.

That’s why it is important for ‘normal’ people to understand what it is like to hear voices.

 

And don’t we all hear voices?

Surely most of us have encountered the critical voice that tells us we’re too fat.

Or the opportunistic voice that tells us it’s ok not to point out to the waiter they gave back too much change.

Or the disappointed voice that tells us we should do more.

Or the narcissistic voice that tells us we’re better than them.

 

We all have thoughts crossing our minds that are irrational and not helpful. It is the way in which we deal with them that can make the difference between crazy or not.

 

I highly recommend these podcasts as an insight to how a mind can go off and how it can be possible to get control of it.

Furthermore, a bit of empathy goes a long way. – If you ever wondered what it is like to hear voices, start listening now:

I hear voices

My Damn Mind

 

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Cartoon by Rolli.

 

If you’re using a free email account your storage space is limited. And while it might seem a lot, over time it fills up.

This is a good thing, as it prevents you from keeping too many emails flying around.

So where to start with decluttering your email inbox?

 

Yes, unsubscribe.

If you haven’t opened the last 5 / 10 / <insert number here> newsletter emails, unsubscribe.

If you don’t even have the time to read your important emails, unsubscribe.

If you can’t find an email you know you’ve seen just the other day because your inbox is so full, unsubscribe.

 

Ask yourself: Why did you subscribe and how can you get that information in an alternative way?

A good way to receive interesting news but not in your email inbox is by following this brand on social media instead.

If it’s really updates you want to check out regularly, bookmark the website in your browser.

Find a platform that helps you manage the content you’re interested in, e.g. events – meetup or eventbrite, news – twitter, décor – houzz, inspiration – pinterest, art – deviantart, photos – flickr, music – soundcloud or myspace and so on.

 

Don’t worry about FOMO – the fear of missing out: The time you save by not having to scroll through a bunch of emails that are actually not relevant you can spend on checking up on some of those brands you had subscribed to.

 

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It’s a simple thing to remember:

The day after the event everything advertising the event is outdated.

 

Yet, we somehow always only ever seem to plan up to the event.

 

But the day(s) after the event are just as crucial:

 

As the reviews are pouring in, photos being uploaded, colleagues telling their stories at work, most people who missed the event and hear about it afterwards would probably like to make sure they catch the next opportunity of such an event.

 

However, very often I find event pages leading up to an event stay frozen on their “Register now!” hype:

The day after the event visitors to the event page are still invited to register for the event.

The day after the event visitors to the event page are still invited to register for the event.

The registration of course no longer works as you have to frustratingly find out when clicking the button.

"The event has completed and registration is now closed." Ok, so what next? Registration is not possible, Log-in is not applicable for first time visitors.

“The event has completed and registration is now closed.” Ok, so what next? Registration is not possible, Log-in is not applicable for first time visitors.

 

A missed chance of connecting with the people who would make a repeat of the event possible.

 

A tip to make the best out of your event is to think one step further:

 

After the event is Before the event.

 

If you treat the day after the event like the first day of the lead-up to a new event, you run little risk of leaving your event promotion material outdated.

 

Even if you don’t intend to repeat the event, this mindset makes you consider what comes next and can help you cater for those who have missed it or attendees who are checking back for more information.

 

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Yungbulakang Palace in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China by Yumian Deng on Bing Homepage 12 Feb 2018.

Yungbulakang Palace in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China by Yumian Deng on Bing Homepage 12 Feb 2018.

 

I really have nothing good to say about Bing, from the name to its performance.

 

But.

 

One thing they do incredibly well is choosing a photo of the day.

 

If you enjoy photography, and have the time and data, head over to bing.com and flick through their images.

 

And if you know something else that’s good about Bing, kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

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Unfortunately cycling the MyCiti bus route is not always safe.

Unfortunately cycling the MyCiti bus route is not always safe.

 

Hi, good evening.

Are you security staff for the train station?

May I just quickly ask:

I came this way, it’s such a cool shortcut from Woodstock to the CBD.

You know it’s so nice cycling along the MyCiTi bus route, as I have my own separate cycling lane. It’s lovely and quiet with no cars around. You can even hear the birds singing. And the flowers, when they’re in full bloom, amazing colours! And the path is so smooth and well maintained. It’s just wonderful, it makes cycling worthwhile.

So now that it’s getting dark, is it still safe to cycle back that way?

 

Let me put it this way:

If you go in there now, you won’t come back out the other end.

 

Oh.

 

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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 painful 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.

 

 

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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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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“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

 

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 options drop down menu button and go to ‘Settings and sharing’.

Beneath ‘Settings for my calendars’ click ‘Event notifications’ to set your preferences for reminders.

Check that the ‘Notification settings’ have been saved before exiting the Google Calendar settings.

 

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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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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.

 

 

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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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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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 BBC Comedy of the Week podcast is not only hilarious, but also really informative.

The BBC Comedy of the Week podcast is not only hilarious, but also really informative.

 

I’m not into news. They’re too depressing. And now they turn out to be fake.

Instead, because I used to be interested in global affairs, I listen to topical comedy podcasts from the BBC.

They have a new feature that allows to download their podcasts at low kbps, so the download goes quick.

Some time ago I decided to rather laugh than cry at the craziness of nowadays times. This podcast helps. 🙂

 

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When I open up Facebook I have gazillions of notifications, and it’s pretty clear that these are in Facebook’s – and not in my – interest:

 

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events. While this information comes to no surprise, it's the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

Facebook tells me my friends are interested in going to events.
While this information comes to no surprise, it’s the fact that I get alerted about it, which turns this into a FOMO trigger.

 

Today I was informed that a couple of my contacts “are interested in going to an event in Cape Town tomorrow”. What a surprise.

Clicking on this ‘notification’ I land on the events page of a club night. Really not something I’m interested in.

Facebook will regard my click as a success, whereas I find this incredibly annoying. Facebook is not my AI diary. In fact, it offers me such predictable content – like the update to being married leads to ads about babies – that I’m simply frustrated.

 

But now I’m not just bombarded with consumerism, I’m also pressured to be hip and cool and constantly know what everyone else is doing and on top of it best participate in it.

Facebook fuels FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

Just another reason to switch off and appreciate JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)!

 

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What’s going on next door?

I think they’re having a braai.

Yes, I saw, but what’s the commotion?

I don’t know?

It sounds more like an argument.

Shall we have a look?

Yes, that’s like, they’re shouting.

But wait.

What?

It has stopped.

Gosh, that silence is more worrying than the shouting. Please take a look.

Okay.

What is it?

No way. It looks like…

What?

I think they’re busy taking a selfie.

 

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When you encounter an exhibitionist: Don’t let his problem become yours.

In case you encounter an exhibitionist:
Don’t let his problem become yours.

 

I was only a teenager when someone decided to expose himself to my friend and I.

 

He asked for the way, one of the many tricks how they get close to you.

 

While we were distracted about how he could best get there, he was already presenting himself to us.

 

What’s so mean about it is that you can’t help it but look, so even if involuntarily, you give him what he wants.

 

Not so in our case however:

 

My friend, only one year older than me, had the wits to point at it, laugh out loud and shout: “That small thing? Really not worth showing!” With that she linked arms with me and we walked off.

 

The mere satisfaction that we did not react liked stunned deer, but like empowered women, who embrace the situation they’re thrown into and have something witty to say about it, shrugging it off like the dirt these scumbags are, and not taking any of it!

 

Knowing that this person did not get out of it what had motivated him in the first place: Shocking someone who’d otherwise never even notice him, and having that moment of power.

 

Don’t give him the reaction of a victim.

 

Instead, prepare to have a good laugh at it!

 

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Good morning M’am, please sign the register.

 

Of course.

 

‘Ranzani’? Are you Venda?

 

Sorry? A vendor?

 

No, I mean Venda.

 

Sorry, I’m not selling anything.

 

No, I mean ‘Ranzani’, is that Venda?

 

Well yes, you could say so, my husband runs Ranzani Design, a product design and manufacturing company.

 

So, is your husband Venda?

 

Ja well, he sells his products.

 

No, no. You know, ‘Ranzani’ means something like ‘Loving’ in Venda.

 

Ah! … Oh! … Wow!

 

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#LocalisationFail: When the Translation Add-on needs to be translated...

#LocalisationFail: When the Translation Add-on needs to be translated…

 

I’d like my mom to read my blog, so I’m researching Translation Add-ons for Firefox.

Unlike Chrome, Firefox doesn’t automatically detect and translate languages. An Add-on is required. This alone makes things highly complicated for my mom, who is technophobic.

To make matters worse, most resources for Firefox are in English, even the ‘About’ section (= ‘Über dieses Add-on’) of this translation tool!

While this Add-on has a good rating, it is completely useless for non-English speakers if the instructions are not provided in their language.

So ideally my mom would have this Add-on installed in order to read how to install this Add-on…

#LocalisationFail

 

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I don’t understand: Why even mention the person’s skin colour? It is not needed for the context of the story?

 

You wouldn’t know, you’re not from here, you’re an alien.

 

Well, I’m still from the same planet!

 

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Hi, you’re back from the Eastern Cape?

 

Yes, my mom put all her money together to buy me a train ticket.

 

So you’re back to living rough on the abandoned plot?

 

Yes, but it’s not nice. It’s all new people now.

 

Hm, I don’t really understand why you came back in the first place?

 

Do you have 5 Rand?

 

Sorry, we don’t keep any cash, especially since the robbery.

 

Oh, I didn’t know. You got robbed?

 

Yes… It’s South Africa for all of us.

 

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Do you need a plastic bag?

 

No thanks. I do need a clear bag though for the chicken.

 

Please help yourself.

 

Would you know if this chicken was frozen?

 

Frozen? I don’t think so.

 

It’s just, it’s really cold.

 

Maybe it got cold on its way here, it’s so cold out there!

 

Lol, like it got frozen when they were driving over the mountains, there is currently snow up there!

 

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Guys, check out the photos from our office do!

 

Oh gosh, I look terrible! I really should lose some weight, I’m so fat!

 

No, you’re not!

 

Yes I am, look at this!

 

Well, would you ever say this to a friend?

 

What? Of course not!

 

Then why would you talk like that about yourself.

 

 

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Look what I brought home.

 

What is it?

 

It’s like a surprise.

 

Ah, fantastic! Finally!

 

Yes, let’s put it in!

 

Super!

 

 

Oh shit.

 

What?

 

That’s way too high! I can’t reach it!

 

Oh my! What can we do?

 

Let’s get the ladder.

 

Great!

 

 

Ah shoot!

 

What is it?

 

The ladder is with the builder.

 

Oh darn!

 

Well, I can climb onto something else.

 

But be careful!

 

 

Oh no!

 

What? What happened?

 

The LED light bulb has an edison screw but we have a bayonet cap socket!

 

Oh, so it won’t happen tonight after all…

 

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Google translates 'Eier abschrecken' in a funny way. ;)

Google translates ‘Eier abschrecken’ in a funny way. 😉

 

Lol, it’s funny when automated translation doesn’t get an idiom.

 

Eier abschrecken is the process of rapidly cooling down boiled eggs with cold water so they are easier to peel (which apparently is a myth anyway).

 

There is actually a close translation in English:
To shock the eggs, which means to plunge into ice water in order to halt the cooking.

 

So always remember to deter your eggs after you boiled them. 🙂

Deter? Don’t deter me! Not me, man. Deter, what does that even mean, deter? Why would you deter me? What has this world come to, when you get deterred at any given chance. And for what? Is it even worth it? All the deterring? That’s just, who’d want to deter all the time. Just, take a break. And, just not me. Yeah? Just don’t deter me.

Deter? Don’t deter me! :-S

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