Did I mention one of my friends is stuck on Everest?

It takes a special kind of crazy to include climbing all seven summits as an item on your bucket list.  And his name is Nico Oosthuizen.  I’m posting this because it is the man’s birthday and we had a very brief conversation this morning.  The reception wasn’t as good as one might expect it to be.  The fact that he is closer to the orbiting satellites than any other person I know, didn’t mean anything for the shitty reception.

Nico has already climbed five of the seven summits and then skied to the South pole because he can.  Yes, you are correct in thinking that he must be really bored and has not heard of the Discovery Channel, where a person  can watch other people scale mountains in the comfort (and safety) of a soft chair and a beer.  His expeditions are quite inspirational to the rest of his mates, so far as reaching the point where we are all wishing him well and praying for his safe return. We don’t do cold well.

During our brief conversation today, he talked about the absolute devastation of Kathmandu. Continue reading

Why I won’t struggle through US customs

It’s raining outside. Nice.  And I’m here.  And by here I mean sitting at the airport waiting to board a 16 hour flight from OR Tambo to JFK.  For those unfamiliar with airport lingo, this would be leaving Johannesburg destined for New York.  Yes, I did say 16.

I have to go through customs on arrival. It’s gonna suck.  Why?  Well, America is not making many friends with their foreign policy.  Not that I have any specific problem with having a strong foreign policy.  I mean, at least someone has. A policy.  But let’s face it, on a middle school playground America would be the big kid with the rich parents, threatening social exile for the other kids, if they don’t gang up together on the one or two or three kids who might be hiding pellet guns in their back yard.

Again, I agree with strong policy.  South Africa is like the weird, small kid who used to have a famous father.  Nowadays, no-one actually cares. Continue reading

Writing 101 – Day 8: Death to Adverbs (My Heritage Day)

Assignment for day 8: Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Then some blah blah blah with a twist of “no adverbs”.

First off, my restraining order doesn’t allow me any public access.  I got it after a little fit I had about an incorrectly priced chair.  “A little fit” is an incident where you haven’t assaulted anyone, but required the Wife to remove you from the incompetent imbecile they appointed as the manager of the furniture store.  Removal was deemed necessary as a preventative measure in keeping me, a non-violent person, from slapping the shit out of him.

Seeing that hindsight is such a perfect science, I’m slightly embarrassed at my temper tantrum, but I had a rough day.  And the price was wrong.  And I couldn’t get the chair on the day I wanted it.  I had to wait a full 24 hours, which at the time implied that I was going to die. Continue reading

Barasti and being 23

Peter, Luke and Mark* (* actual names) met each other in a buzzling upmarket beach bar in the middle of the desert.  An oasis of televisions, live music and beer.  Paul, Matthew and John and the other six apostles were nowhere to be found.  Probably fishing.

We were young

We were young

The three met in the Bruce Willis section of the bar.  Where pecs, biceps, twelve hour stubble and weird hair were trying to impress high heels and plunging necklines.  The obvious problem being that the ratio was totally skew.  With 7 testosterone fuelled young men for every one girl.  The poor ladies all seemed like a deer caught in headlights.  Well not all of them.  Other were enjoying the free drinks, but had this weird it’s-you-and-your-hand-tonight sparkle in their eye.

Peter, Luke and Mark were observing this mad scramble for attention from a distance, for two reasons: (1) Marriage and (2) Maturity.

Eventually observing the ridiculousness became boring and the woman screeching through a melody to the monotonous beat of a loud drum a bit overwhelming.  It was rowdy and very loud.  Conversation was basically impossible.

They moved one level up to the James Bond section of the bar and sighed with relief.  The vibe was chilled with tables and couches scattered throughout.  Mature people were drinking whisky and settling comfortably listening to the live band.  Mellowness took over.  There was a few girls dancing on a small dance-floor surrounded by more desperate men.  They submitted more proof to the well-known fact that (1) White men can’t dance and (2) Desperation is never a good move.

Peter, Luke and Mark continued their discussion on the ignorance of youth and how it’s wasted on the young.  The guys on the dance floor were totally oblivious to the fact that their dance moves resembled a man taking a piss against an electric fence.  Way too much gyration of the lower half of the body.  And flinging your arms around like a windmill in heat should never be considered cool.  One must never consume that much alcohol.  Ever.

What Peter, Mark and Luke didn’t realise whilst sharing their endless wisdom, was the copious amounts of beer waiters were carrying to their table.  And the well known fact that beer causes people to grow younger.

Luke showed the first signs.  He stood up unannounced, hands in pocket, and had this very unnatural swing in his hips.  Mark and Peter should have realised immediately what was happening, but it was too much fun watching other people making asses of themselves.  Maybe they didn’t really want to.  But the evidence was clear.  The three friends were growing younger.  Yes, it didn’t lighten the dark spots on their hands or filled the crevices around their eyes but it was happening…

Mark was next to go.  He sat back in his chair and lifted his arms high, moving them like anemones on the sea bed.  In his mind he was matching the beat of the music.  It seemed more like a deaf-mute musical number.  Peter was laughing hysterically, until the band started playing that awesome eighties hit…  And he was lost too.

The next moment all three prophets were standing, growling like a pack of hungry wolves, focused on the dance floor, and the promise of release.

All restrictions held together by their grey hair and perceived wisdom; fell off like melting snow in the spring sun.  Landing on the ground with a loud POOF.  It didn’t matter whether they could dance or not.  It only matter that they had too.  They were turning younger by the minute.

Yes they were...

Yes they were…

To cut a very long story short, Peter, Mark and Luke ended up as 23 year olds in the Bruce Willis section of the bar.  Standing on a beach, jarring their fists at the DJ who was pumping beats into the Middle Eastern sky.  They were celebrating.  The night for being dark.  The music for having a beat.  The air for being invisible.  They celebrated being 23.  Being alive.  Letting loose.  And they had more beer.

Finally it ended.  It was time to go home and they parted with enthusiastic high five’s and brotherly embraces.  Never to  meet again.

***

Peter woke up two hours later to catch a flight back to his actual home, but stayed in bed for a moment after the wake-up call came.  Running through the nostalgia of the night before, trying to crack a smile.  But Peter could only manage a silent curse as he swung his legs off the bed.

The problem was that the mind of the 23 year old was still stuck in the body of someone slightly older.  And the body wasn’t impressed about the abuse he had to endure a few hours before.  So it was going to be a very long flight.

Why alcohol is like gummi-berry juice.

Remember this?  If you don’t, then The Bangles is probably a reference to jewellery, MacGyver is a miss-pronunciation of McGruber and Mr T is NOT a member of the A-Team.

However, once upon a time, when kids were still kids and sex and drugs only belonged to the Hippies, Tramps and Heavy Metal Bands, all those innocent eyes were glued to this Disney series.  Eagerly anticipating the weekly, random adventures of Gummi, Gruffy, Sunny and Co.  What made it such a great show, was the fact that, with the help of a little gummi-berry juice, these bears became even greater versions of themselves.  Semi-super-heroes.  This enabled them to outwit, or technically out-jump, all those stupid, awful trolls, who shared the forest they lived in.  And then, if you’re not hooked already, the few humans who were fortunate enough to share in the sweet taste of the gummi-berry juice, gained super strength.  Yes, it was that awesome…

What is a little known fact is that the creators of this series, got the idea after attending a frat party.  They were seeing all the students bouncing around from having a beer or a glass of wine or both or several and then, WA-LAH, the Gummy-Bears were born.  We all know that most alcoholic beverages has the potential to create enhanced versions of ourselves, whilst serving the dual purpose of dulling the boredom of modern day life.  And people.  But just like the gummy-berry juice, once the user has too much of the al-co-hol,  there will always be disastrous consequences.

Our subconscious minds are programmed, believe it or not, to do its utmost preventing us from making a total ass of ourselves.  It’s a built in form of self-preservation.  Unfortunately alcohol doesn’t help this cause.  At some point al-co-hol becomes the formaldehyde cloth over your mind, forcing your inhibition and brain into a comatose state.  And in most cases, just before it’s lights out, your brain will have a final attempt at screaming the warning of “DON’T HAVE ANOTHER ONE!”, which will be ignored by two out of three sane, contributing members of society. And then all hell will break lose.

When you hear that final scream echoing through your slightly intoxicated state, remember that one jug of gummi-berry juice too many, might imply the difference between:

  1. A happy, bouncing, funny individual or a clumsy, stumbling, sad little idiot.
  2. A party-animal everyone loves or an animal that ruined the party for everyone.
  3. A thought provoking philosopher or an annoying, mumbling fool.
  4. A romantic Don Juan or a flaccid, crying baby.
  5. An awe-inspiring night with the hot chick or waking up next to Joan Rivers.
  6. Having an opinion about work collegues or telling your boss to fuck off and take his job with him.
  7. Joking and laughing about the 20 bucks you lost to the one-armed bandit or explaining to your wife why you lost the house in a game of poker.
  8. Cracking a joke with the bouncer about his big biceps or lying in hospital because of his big biceps.
  9. Being an excellent dancer or lying flat-faced on the concrete floor, wondering how the hell you got there.
  10. Waking up with a light buzz and some bags under your eyes or wondering what you said to Thor that made him use his hammer on your head.  Seventeen times.
  11. Waking up feeling like you’re about to die or waking up wishing for it too actually happen.
  12. Waking up, smiling at some of the crazy things you did the night before or waking up with a tiger in your hotel room and an ugly tattoo on your face.

So next time you attend a function in the presence of gummy-berry juice, it might be wise to establish some internal locus of control, thereby preventing you from going back the next day, apologizing to the host for the couch in his pool and collecting the kids you forgot.

For alcohol is an evil ogre.  Whilst you handle it with respect; nothing happens and both of you will stand, laughing, leaning on one another having a jolly good time.  But as soon as you start slinging abuse and showing obvious disrespect, well, that is when the same ogre will take your bottom jaw, pull it over your nose and blow so much air up your ass, you’ll be floating away just like that poor frog in Shrek.

Just saying.  And now we have no more excuses.

Disclaimer:
The writer has no personal experience in any of the adverse effects of alcohol, and only writes his theories based on research.  Well unless you exclude the face-plant episode and the mumbling fool and the…

My first real face-plant.

Royalty Free RF Clip Art Illustration Of A Cartoon Clumsy Businessman Falling On His Face

Yes it hurts.

It happened instantaneously.  One moment I was on my feet, the next, I was lying on the floor, spread out amongst shocked faces that turned into hysterics shortly thereafter.  Final result: Floor = 1, Ah Dad = 0.  And I have the bruised cheek (and ego) to prove it.

We celebrated the arrival of 2014 in spectacular fashion with some great friends.  It was the awesome-st of awesome, a sort of middle-age frat party if you will.  Our joyous gathering migrated from friends talking, to eating, to appreciating eighties music, to dance roulette.  (For those uninformed people, dance roulette is a game where you flick through your music selection on your tablet and then dance to any random song that comes up.)

Eventually we ended up in the pool.  It was there.  It was clean and shiny.   Technically we just kept on jumping in and getting out and jumping in again.  Like anxious toddlers standing on the side waiting for daddy to catch them.  It was basically an exercise in water displacement.  I was a little disappointed to find there was still water left in the pool after our Olympic level diving sessions.

What we didn’t realise at the time was that all those little droplets who were exhumed from their serenity of glittering in the moonlight were plotting revenge.  They were gathering their forces and sneaked by in little streams and puddles.  They eventually made their way onto our “dancefloor”.

We were refreshed and decided to continue our game of dance roulette.  And here’s a little known fact: White men can’t dance, but white men with too much punch think they can.  It was my turn and I was assigned a great eighties anthem.  I was about to do an interpret dance on “Shout”, my own freestyle version of it , when I stepped on the rebellious water that gathered silently in a huge puddle on the floor.  (Curses for making water a clear liquid!)

I slipped.  Spectacularly.   And fell on my face.  With the loudest “DUD!” every recorded in the history of man.  A full-on text book face-plant.  This only happens when your head decides to move south at the speed of gravity and your body follows suit, only to be stopped by a concrete floor.  I was am still pissed at my arms for failing miserably in breaking my fall.  And now I have a semi-swollen, blue-ish tinted left cheek, with a much more bruised self-esteem.  In fact, I think my pride is still stuck on that damn floor.  Must admit chewing is slightly more difficult than last year.  (But it was worth it!!)

To add insult to injury, which in this case implies a literal reality, I asked my wife how the hell did I manage to fall so hard…on my face?  Don’t people normally slip and fall and end up on their asses?    Her reply was a sinister one, camouflaged with layers of love and sympathy.  When actually is was just a very typical I-told-you-so.  She said:

“It happens when grown men wants to act like little kids.”

Isn’t she lovely?

For those who keep my arms up

Newcastle night (4) copy

Ah dad...

Moses was sitting on a rock watching the Isrealites fight the Amelikites.  (They obviously won that war, because no one has heard from the latter ever since.)  The secret weapon used in that battle was the fact that Moses had his arms up in the air.  And not out of dispair or frustration, but because keeping his arms in the air ensured their victory. God tipped the winning scale in the favour of the Isrealites as long as Moses had his arms high.  When his arms got tired and it fell to his sides, well, let’s just say, he needed to keep his hands in the air.

No you have to remember that Moses was like 800 years old when this specific event occurred.  And we all know that they spend a few years wandering aimlessly in the desert so he must have been a little withered.  He wasn’t trained as a navy seal and never…

View original post 455 more words

Pieter and the Giant Tree

Another day was done, and the autumn sun dropped lazily out of the sky, filling the heavens with amazing shades of orange and red.  It was chilly and the wind decided that it was time to flex some muscles.  There was no pressure, as the sun was behind the mountain and the spectacular screen saver of leaves falling was hidden under the cover of darkness.  So wind was gunning for it.  Blowing yellow and brown leaves in contorted patterns, pushing through branches, straining against trees.

Snuggled in front of the TV with hot chocolate, we snickered at the wind, just like the third little piggy might have done.  Secured in our very own house made of bricks.  Wind was  huffing and puffing annoyingly and cried around the corners.  Fortunately our remote control has a volume button, we didn’t even flinch.  Wind was not happy, maybe even pissed off at our audacity for not acknowledging his efforts.  He upped his antics by a notch or two.  Then we heard it.  A thunderous CRACK, with the dog going ballistic.

I pressed the mute button and the wife and I looked bewildered at one other.  The kids were in bed.  We listened.  Nothing.  Only the sound of the wind laughing.  The movie was good and the hot chocolate better, so after a few seconds we resumed our lazy evening.  Then the phone rang, our neighbour.  He was jittery and anxious, trying his best to tell me that the wind uprooted the tree in front of our sidewalk.  At least we now knew where the “CRACK” came from.  I thanked him for the call and decided to have a look.  We enter and exit our house through the garage door which is connected to my study, yes we have a front door as well.

The wind is taking landscaping to a whole new level.

Unfortunately my neighbour does not have the required skill to tell a good story, nor is he a big fan of exaggeration.  (These sentences are nice ways of saying that he cannot appreciate a serious situation if it slapped him in the face.)  When I opened the garage door, I was greeted, not by a fallen tree, but a frigging rainforest sprouting in my driveway.  It was like someone threw magic beans around and the beanstalk was growing sideways.  And calling it a tree would be like calling the Sahara dessert a patch of sand.

My neighbour was yelling from the street, at least I think he was, as my view was slightly obstructed.  He might have still been on the phone, which was no hanging useless by my side.  To say I was surprised would have been the understatement of the 20th century.

I got my katana sword from my man cave, tied the red ribbon around my forehead and with glistening muscles in the moonlight I started foresting through the foliage, like a modern day Amazon explorer.   (At least that’s how I wanted it to look, reality being an unfit, 40 year old, white collar employee trying his best to govern himself safely across the top of a tree, now climbing sideways.)  I greeted various bird species on the way, most of them still trying to recollect what just happened to their houses, as they descended twenty metres in 3 seconds.  I suppose that some of the hatchlings would require therapy; for we all know falling is not flying.

Finally arriving at the other end, I could see the magnitude of the mess.  To put it bluntly, a real, full-blown, royal fuck-up.  I was travelling the next day and as is evident in the pictures, the cars wouldn’t be able to move, i.e. there was a tree in the way.  The only solution I had was similar to the desperate people on “Who wants to be a millionaire”, I phoned a friend.  Actually two.

It might seem odd that I have friends with chainsaws, but it takes all sorts.  As far as I know they don’t have masks made of human skin, but one can never be 100% sure of the habits of other people.

You cannot see the driveway but it’s there…

They arrived swiftly with the most bizarre expression of excitement I have ever seen.  It was full of vengeance and glee, ready to destroy this fallen giant.  What followed was a slasher movie fit for National Geographic.  The gracious tree was chopped into firewood and debris within an hour.  Greenies would have cried and sobbed.  I was left with moving the smaller pieces out of the way, as they didn’t trust me with the chainsaws.

The whole street came out, ready to start complaining about stupid people cutting down trees in the middle of the night.  No-one said anything after they gasped in surprise.

With the work finally completed, well sort of, we celebrated our gallant efforts, sitting in the moonlight with glistening foreheads and aching muscles, soothing the pain away with awesome friends and a nice stiff scotch whisky.

For those who miss their dads

The sun has set, and the coldness of winter has creeped from the shadows and filled the air. Doors are locked and windows closed to keep the chilliness at bay. The night is coming, announcing the end of another day, another Father’s day.  Everyone in my house are snuggling with long pajamas and warm blankets, excitedly discussing the day. From the coffee in bed, to the hugs and kisses, the self-made cards and the pair of socks I got from the daughter. We reminisce on the time we spend today, the memories we created and all the laughs we shared on my special Sunday. It was awesome.

But it was sad too.  There were moments during my day where my heart leapt out of my chest, where tears jumped involuntary into my eyes.  Moments when we entered the restaurant to find the young widow with her family sitting quietly.  Her eyes so red that not even the make-up could hide the marks left but her tears.  Or when we were passing the house of my son’s friend whose parents are going through a divorce.  And I remember his sincerety and trembling lip when he told us.  So many stories of people having to cope today without their dads.  It breaks my heart.

It makes me hug my wife tightly, I makes me embrace my kids and never wanting to let them out of my sight.  If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, cherish them NOW, not tomorrow or next week, NOW, every waking moment of your life, cherish them, for who knows how long we have?

Life is not necessarily fair as divorce and death is something we have to deal with daily, but I realised again that those of us who are still lucky enough to have dads and moms and kids need to spread out.  It’s our duty to be aware of the sadness around us, and more so on days like today.  Let’s share the love, show support, make it a little easier.  For days like today are probably a little darker for them, the longing just a little more intense.

Let’s remember those who doesn’t have a dad who can tuck them in, or one who can carry them to bed, for those who miss the bearish hug and who will not hear a deep voice saying:  I love you, little one.

For all of those people who find themselves in this situation I pray that you find comfort and strength.  I hope that someone reached out and that there is someone watching you who really, really cares.

Happy Father’s day to all the single moms, the widows and the divorce’s.  To all the caregivers, the foster parents and grandparents.  To all those children who are missing their dads.

May life bestow some light on your life and make the happiness return to you very soon.

Dad, do men gossip?

No my son, we do not.

Men discuss theories that involve other human beings amongst each other.  We discuss how they impact on our daily lives. We challenge our own paradigms by debating the best and worst characteristics of other people in order to never evolve into some of the deuchebags we know.  We talk to prevent ourselves from becoming lesser men.

Normally these thought provoking exchanges occur in the absence of woman during sessions where liquor is consumed.  These discussions are very particularly gender based as we would discuss men we hate and woman we love.

Whenever a group of men get together they normally go through the normal routine of discussing sport, cars and work.  Once enough beer has flown… Wait. Stop.

“What is enough beer, you ask?” Well my son, that is one of the secrets of the cosmos.  Right up there with “Are we alone in this universe?” or “Will we ever fully understand woman?”  Come to think of it, the first question might still have an answer.  But what I can say is that you will know, whenever you reach that point, you will instinctively know.

Some signs might include slouching, slurring and loudness.  Ties will hang loose and shirts untucked.  The ashtray will be overflowing with buds of various shapes and sizes even though no one in the group is a compulsive smoker.  The peanut bowl will be empty, even though no one dared touching that pile of germ infested proteine during the start of the evening.  And there will be an array of bottles and glasses, tall and small, because the waitress got sick of walking up and down. 

When you reach that point then guys will start to reminisce about people.  No, not gossip.  Discuss…

Guy 1 will start yapping about this other guy he knows, (no names ever) and how he pisses him off.  How guy 1 just want to walk up to him and punch him in the face till it bleeds.  Just call him out for the asswipe that he is.  Mentioning that this idiot doesn’t really do anything specifically annoying, it’s just he has this I.want.to.be.punched.in.the.face kind of face you know?

And everyone will agree how much of a dickhead he is.

Then guy 2 will relate a story of Mr Think-I’m-better -than-anyone-else who is a coworker, but never greets him.  Not once and they have been working together for more than three years.  How is that possible?  How can one person be so consumed with himself that he doesn’t consider it important enough for common decency to exist.  Probably because the broomstick shuffed up his ass is so deep that it doesn’t allow enough movement in his neck and this deficiency causes him to always have his nose in the air.

And everyone will agree how much of a dickhead he is.

Guy 3 will continue the story and relate to the fact that he knows a guy who is such a full scale prick, that he doesn’t even allow his kids to play with other kids if they don’t live in a certain neighbourhood.  And that is just really fucked up and…  (Guy 3 couldn’t complete the story as he just tripped getting up, waiving his pointed finger way to excitedly, emphasising his point.  And in the process spilling half his drink on guy 1)

But everyone will agree how much of a dickhead he is.

And then it will happen.  There will be a moment of silence.  Some quick exchanges, some clarity behind hazy eyes, a smile and then a full cacophony of laughter when everyone realise that the three stories is about the same guy.  And no one started their story with “Did you hear about…”  That is why it’s not gossip.

The moral is that most guys are simple minded.  We are very easy to please.  We cannot multitask.  We embrace that, it’s not an acknowledgement of a weakness, it’s proven fact.  It doesn’t imply that we think that we are the weaker sex, it just explains why we like or dislike people.  It’s a few simple rules.

Don’t be an ass.  Don’t be a prick.  Don’t be a smart mouth. Don’t be a dickhead.  Don’t be a deuchebag.

Got it?

Oh and don’t beat up on woman and children and love you wife and take care of your children.  Respect bro.

For woman it is even easier to be liked by men.  Just don’t be a bitch.