Thursday, July 30, 2015

Choosing never land

So here we are almost 3 years later and so much has changed; and then again so much hasn't. You see last time I scrawled on this, the tiles of my online stall, my life had just started looking up, well at least horizontal and the there was imminent change stirring in the conditioned air of my office cubicle. 

I was sitting in my 5th status meeting, regarding the status of a previous meeting, updating my Facebook status, then all of a sudden my subconscious dichotomies met and merged into one semi-coherent thought - “Why would I choose this version of my life?” and with that I chose to escape my current reality. But to what, how and where was still very much open to internal deliberation.

So in true mid level management procedural flare, I made a action plan. A list of desired outcomes based purely on the needs of my client, me.

  1. No more desks. (Seriously fuck desk, they are ¾ completed coffins)
  2. Outdoors is where it is at. (I need the sun on my face to have it in my heart)
  3. Must use body (It's not gonna be in functional shape for much longer)
  4. Travel would be nice (Intagram is a poor substitute for the real thing)
  5. Must make money. (I am poor and owe many institutions much moola)

Then as I stared out my window doing some post internal-meeting blue sky thinking, I saw a little sailboat skip along in the bay and my brain did that thing it does when it draws four as a conclusion.

Tatum's basically the spokes person for my brain.
Got on the phone and called a friend of mine, who had been working in the yachting industry for years and he bestowed upon me all his wisdom. With all this new found knowledge I proceeded to quit my job the next day, when asked to what end my reply garnered much bemused, and I imagine deserved, shock. 

A Kalahari boykie, born and raised, never set foot on a boat, was leaving his cushy desk job to become a sailor. Based in a decision he had made yesterday. But then again sometimes all you need to dig yourself out of a hole is a toothpick and the desire to breathe free.

Expert sailors compared to me
So I sold my worldly possessions and did a few courses, begged a crusty sailor for a job and hitched a ride across the Atlantic on a 48 foot catamaran and 54 days later I set foot on the shores of America; and was promptly asked to leave.*

But once again my very good friend, mentioned previously, saved my bacon. Through many favors being called in, creative canoodling and much grease of the elbow, I managed to procure a Job and start my yachting career.

Which was, for the first few months, what we call "yardwork". Here I learned many new skills, mostly involving noxious chemicals, large moving parts, explosions and what a real “hard day at the office” looked like.

Not like this.
But I digress. The reason I started writing this was to tabulate the cost benefit of a life at sea for the uninitiated. A list of what was lost and what was gained and if in fact I grew as a person. Which is similar to reality checks, underwritten by the morally bankrupt. Which brings me to my first point on the agenda.

PRO: See the world – CON: Miss your friends and family

I've seen large parts of the globe, so much more than I would have ever seen from my office chair. The states, Bahamas, Carribean, Europe – a list of countries I never even imagined I would have seen, nor would ever have been able to afford to see. 

I have also missed so many weddings, birthdays, funerals, Sunday family get togethers and life in general that it's almost criminal. Seeing the world and falling of the planet are really much more similar than you would think.

PRO: Meet lot's of new people – CON: Meet lot's of new people

You will meet a never ending stream of crazy, cool, well worth it to get the know people. Mazillions of fresh faces, new stories and Facebook friends and then you never see them again. It's emotionally exhausting, plus I just got use to my old friends. Dammit I'm old. 

PRO: Make lots of money – CON: Have zero time to spend it

Although this sounds like a great savings plan; and it is, I cannot emphasize how much like a prison camp a super yacht can feel like after three months of back to back charters. Them Dollars tho.

PRO: Your crew become like family – CON: Bunk beds and lacking personal bubbles

You will learn to love your fellow crew members and grow ever closely knit, as you share your lives together and it can be quite a rewarding experience. 

You will also share limited space, sleep on top of each other and what ever personal detail you missed through the walls will inevitably find it's way to you down the stew grapevine. It can get very involved, if you like your own space, you are shit out of luck.

PRO: You work in paradise – CON: Some crew are confined to quarters

If you work on deck you get to take the guest skiing, diving, swimming and race around paradise on million dollar tenders, while working on a bitching farmers tan. 

On the other hand the stews are mostly ironing, cleaning and vacuuming inside looking at the big blue from the waterline through tiny portholes, for weeks. Weeks.

PRO: Yachtie life-style - CON: #Yachtielife

Sure you get room, board, 5star chef grub, occasional days off in paradise, but mostly you are playing janitor and maid on someone's ocean caravan. 

As oppose to lies on Instasham. They might be holding an umbrella drink on a beach in that selfie today but I assure you its a shammy mop or toilet brush for weeks to follow. #lookatallthefunimhaving

Let me just take a selfie #yachtielie

PRO: You work in Never Never Land - CON: Everyone else have actual lives

You job is centered around creating a opulent work of fiction, where no one grows old and everyone gets what they desire. A fairytale world that goes on forever and ever. Let's just say if you don't like the real world there is always one place you can go.

Thing is, life happens outside of this bubble and having a foot in both worlds is near impossible. Relationships strain and break, all your friends are getting married and posting baby pictures and you stay a lost boy on an island somewhere. Let's just say natural progression can get severely stunted.

Second star on the left and straight on till morning.

So lots of conflicting data to deal with there. Looks like a draw. 

Oh but wait, I also now have zero debt, a bitching motorcycle and all the new toys to finally record some of the songs I've been writing for years. I have also passed my Yachmaster*, grown a bitchin beard and have been on vacation for two months. 

I'm telling you I might be more than a decade late but 18 year old me would be well impressed.

So am I sad I quit my desk job? Ah bugger it #yachtielife**


*this all happened over the course of a few months and the stories of this journey are many and filled with wonder, resentment, truth, justice and the American way. But I think that is a story for another time.

**That's a 200 ton yacht license. All those on the high seas beware!

***I will never use this term without huge loads of sarcasm under most circumstances but I might just mean it in this case. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ode the Cape, great friends and late 70’s fashion comebacks.

Recently it was once again brought to my attention that Cape Townians suffer from an almost constant state of appreciative amnesia. Often we forget just how fortunate we are to live in this astonishingly beautiful cityscape, set against the backdrop of mount “who needs a GPS”, surrounded by vineyards, oceans, other equally beautiful mountains and a hipster subculture that was cool before it was cool.

The problem is sometimes we forget how fortunate we are. From what I’ve heard a weekend away in Joburg solves the hell out of that problem though. I would like to plead my case through real world observation.

A friend of mine has recently had to relocate to Durban for “medical reasons”. (Read Zuma years) a Fortnight ago we picked him up at a bar in Stellenbosch, fresh from his flight down, and along with four other compatriots we set off on a little reunion/birthday weekend away at another mutual friend’s horse farm.

Horse delivery for mister Ed

As a bachelor, my vehicle was not going to do the job, so I borrowed my sister’s people carrier and in true soccer mom fashion proceeded to stay sober, while the four “kids” in the back polished off the bottle of jack I had procured for the evening.

As we embarked on our 3 hour road trip the vehicle was a flurry of conversations aimed at bringing everyone up to speed as efficiently as humanly possible. Within minutes everyone had gone full circle in terms of nostalgia and proclaimed that the best thing the Cape had to offer had to be conversations of substance. Mind you this was happening in mom’s travelling bar, hurtling down the N1, while everyone barring the exceptionally dedicated driver proceeded in filling up their heads with whiskey. The rest of the weekend passed in a similar fashion, except with less braking.

Arriving at said farm we proceeded with farm appropriate activities, which included a midnight swim in the nearby river which was filled with blooming phytoplankton, which to those unfamiliar is when the water lights up like you’re at a rave in Atlantis.

Yes look at the pretty lights!

This of course led me to pretend I was the green lantern and I subsequently buggered up my arm, scaling the small mooring dock, on the bank. Much lamenting was heard about this for the remainder of the weekend.

Touché Jack Daniels enhanced bioluminescence, touché.

The rest of the weekend flew by in predictable pattern of awesome which included a shooting competition, drunken singing competition (which I won, although I may have been the only one competing), boating, sunburn, reading about 100 x 8th grade essays an attending teacher had brought along to mark (mercilessly mocking them) and the demise of many chops over the open coals. Also a tremendous amount of dishes happened (at least 6 plates per person there) for reasons I am still unclear on.

Some bastard was plating bites individually.

The week prior to this was spent aboard one of Cape Town’s double decker tourist busses for another friend’s birthday. This tour strategically chosen for its large wine tasting leg, quickly became spectacular when we found out that the audio tour available to listen to onboard had a “kids” channel narrated by a animal cast including a seagull, baboon and squirrel. This did nothing to promote the public image of these animals in fact I now distrust squirrels more than ever.

I've come for your soul!

Then this past weekend I spent most of my time on picnic blankets, Saturday celebrating a great friend’s birthday party where we desperately attempted to dodge Jello Shots, that somehow seemed to multiply like we were in Bethsaida and the bartender was dividing by Zero, followed by a Lark concert down the road. Needless to say merriment and also joy, followed by glee with a dash of jollity.

Rated best bartender since 28 AC

Sunday we watched the Cape Philharmonic orchestra’s performance in Kirstenbosch with my entire family. Where the culture was so thickly assembled, the audience unwittingly constructed the world’s largest picnic blanket.

6000+ fans, poshing it up with summer wines and champagne (barring my father who remarked that “you do not need wine to enjoy events of this nature, but it sure helps.”) All this in glorious summer weather that makes me long for a job as a park ranger or swimming pool inspector, anything sans desk and ceiling.

Headsup. This is my new preferred uniform.

Barring these awesome events, there were several equally awesome events, with other awesome people that I could not attend, because there are just too few hours in a weekend. I would not blame you if you may be thinking this is a blog entry to solidify the fact that I have lots of friends and am super cool. You would be wrong. All prescribed reading material in high school, after 1990 should have covered these facts. If not it means that my time travel machine has malfunctioned and I am probably fighting a t-rex with a machete tied to a broom handle as you read this.

No this is an entry about how cool it is to be in my fortunate position, to live in this great city, surrounded by great people. This entry is about reminding myself and those reading that life has its ups and downs but every time we fail to see the extraordinary all around us we are failing miserably at living.

Now after subsequently discussing all things booze, partying and summer weather related we come to the reason I wrote this entry, the only thing hipsters brought back that’s worth mentioning and the way I will establish that this blog entry is not about how cool I am.

On behalf of all men out there we would like to thank the creator of the daisy dukes and those of the fairer sex who can pull-off a pair and do so as often as possible. We salute you. We salute you with our pants. It’s a pants salute is what I’m saying. Bam! Uncooled.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When kneeling is better than standing on your own two feet.

Firstly let me assure you that the title of this piece in no way insinuates that I spent a brief time in early youth living in Eastern Europe working as a fluffer on a Swedish porn set. The title also does not infer that this will be a religious piece although ironically it starts out with a confession.

I am an idiot. Although to my merit I am a gifted idiot. 10 years ago I had the world at my feet. Since then I have technically fulfilled all the requirements of my original 5 year plan. But in a tale as old as time, where fulfilment had been planned only severe dissatisfaction stood. For as you may recall 5 year plans often changed to 10 year plans, which meant my ten year plans were delayed quite severely.

I believe my dissatisfaction may have had to do with the fact that my ten year school reunion was later this year. Yes I know it sounds ridiculously Hollywood fetish sized, and a little petty, but I am sure I would have loved to go back, into that bloodthirsty arena of semi formed people, which was highschool and internally gloat regarding how much more awesome my life was than, “Jimmy” that bullied me or “Mindy” who left me for him.*

Unfortunately I was half way down my 10 year plan and therefore my chopper entrance at the reunion would have to be replaced with me hoping my old beat up Peugeot would make it all the way back to my hometown, which was all but a millionty billionty miles away.

Realising that I was not going to be able to acquire the necessary finances or skills to pilot my own chopper in a three month period, I decided to make due with putting together a three month personal improvement programme, a list I like to call the “patchtheholesoflosthopesanddreamswitheasilyattainableshorttermgoals” list or “phlhdeastg” list, which is pronounced with a silent k.

This list included just one topic, become roughly more responsible. Which seems like a nice short list of one non descript items, easily achievable by justification. For example, I have stopped drinking beer and therefore am roughly more responsible. To which my friends would exclaim that I never drank beer. To which I would rebuke there's a good reason why.

Below is a breakdown of what I imagined would fall under this broad topic.
• Get healthier aka join a gym
• Stop smoking
• Get your own apartment, no more flatmates. (unless sexy swimsuit model)
• Drink less and all the unhealthy things that usually accompany that activity that may be considered morally offensive.
• Stop eating everything within line of sight and things you are imagining in your head while eating everything within line of sight.

So I embarked on this voyage of ineptitude. I joined the gym and quit the smoking, and this is what happened.

Catastrophic implosion of everything I thought I knew about myself. Gym proved I was indeed as out of shape as I had imagined, but not admitted, and smoking was in fact not a bad habit but indeed my entire personality.

Apparently to me cigarettes were not a crutch and removing them did not cause me to just hobble along like someone with a sprain. Removing cigarettes was like chopping off my legs, tying them to rapid dingoes and chasing them into an Australian brush fire.

I was, just before quitting cold turkey, smoking around the region of 35 - 40 cigarettes a day. Which means smoking had become a full time occupation as that meant I smoked for over 200 minutes a day, just under three and a half hours.
Plainly this was not just a case of nicotine addiction, but something much, much worse. I started smoking before I opened my eyes in the morning, I smoked with my coffee, I smoked with my booze, I smoked when I stressed, I smoked when I was angry, sad, hungry, tired, not tired, I smoked in celebration, I smoked when I had successfully taken a crap.

I was a giant smoky ball of discontent and after 10 years the cracks were starting to show. So I quite, causing my entire support structure to fall out from underneath every aspect of my life, leading to a massive burnout about a month and a half into quitting, including severe depression, panic attacks and feeling like a truck drove over my head.

A month and a half? Wait aren’t withdrawal symptoms suppose to end two weeks after you quit?
That’s what I thought, but let me lay some science on your ass. (That’s what she said? Wait what?) Serotonin. Or in layman’s (what she said...) terms, the lubricant(oh no...) of the brain(saved).
Recent studies have shown that cigarette smoke, not the nicotine, the smoke, contains chemicals that function as antidepressants or mood stabilisers, the exact same thing serotonin is suppose to do. So cigarettes are a highly carcinogenic anti depressant I had been self medicating with for over ten years.

The more I smoked the less serotonin my brain produced, the more I smoked. So quitting cold turkey meant my brain had gone from being a well synthetically-oiled machine, to being as effective as spitting on one of those scrubbing sponges and trying to sand down a Sherman tank into a toothpick.

Well I’m better now, I just don’t sleep as well and my brain feels dry, but this is also progressively getting better. How? Zyban or more specifically it’s big brother Wellbutrin. A mood stabiliser, which according to my MD I should have started taking 2 weeks prior to quitting not a month and a half after. Yes I am on mood stabilisers, which (predominately to my pride)makes me feel like I should be in a loony bin.

This of course I have realised is me once again being dramatic, which I tend to be, it’s what make me so damn cute.

Not being able to handle life occasionally is apparently natural. Or as my dad always says “although life is hard, it has always been very popular” I have since then realised everyone I know has been on some form of support in some way,shape or form, be it drinking too much, or smoking or straight up Prozac.

If you have read to here, we finally get to the point I have been trying to make. Next time you are thinking of making a mayor life change, don’t be too proud to ask for help and if life drops you to your knees, take it with as much grace as possible. Get back up and come out swinging.



I wrote this months ago, since then everything has gotten better. I have reached a level of normality, which a few months ago seemed like something I had lost forever. Yay for relative normality!

*please note that the real names of these individuals have been changed to avoid me using the c-word prolifically. Just for clarity sake I am refering to clubsoda.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Owning the title

I often get befuddled looks when I am asked what I do for a living. For using the exact terminology makes those not in “the business” of advertising often confuse copywriter with copyright.

Sending them into grand visions of me burning © onto the later part of a logo, with a crazed look in my eye, like a ranch hand who has been snorting the horse tranquilisers.

I is so wasted...I can't feel your legs.

Of course they are not far off the mark. Usually my area of expertise lies just under the circled c in the form of magnificent bullshit. The crazed look remains however just to confuse my client’s into thinking there is still passion behind the facade, though mostly it is just general confusion mixed with contempt for shooting down your 7th precariously thought out concept.
It is in the spirit of transparency that I usually therefore answer the question of my undertaking, by stating that I bullshit for a living.

My cow goes BOOOO!

Although this self scathing joke does produce a chuckle from those trying to be kind, it too does not fall far from the mark.

It was when I was contemplating why I seemed to disvalue my chosen profession that I realised my subconscious was indeed verbalising itself quite openly.

I, being a retired, self proclaimed, deep thought practitioner, donned my magnificent cape of ineptitude, boots of personal maw insertion and LvL 34 dwarven armour of tongue lashing wit and immediately set to work, overcomplicating my subconscious’ scarce moments of honesty.

Unfortunately I left my garter belt of linear reasoning at your mom’s place over the weekend.

Still boldly on I push into the obscurity that is my reasoning. If you are ever looking for my reasoning you will probably find it perched precariously over my general disgust. Hanging on by its tiny little claws like an angry flock of kittens to a 10:1 scale model of a tribble.

*I believe that my limited respect for my toil comes from the distinct lack of sweat on my brow, along with the feeling that somewhere, someone else, is doing something of great importance.

Worst yet that if I were to spring into action, I fear I may be too late. Missing the main event by a couple of decades ,like an attempt to win 2006’s amazing race tomorrow without ever being invited to the show.

This I believe may be a feeling that most of my generation may feel akin too. Let me explain.

I have long struggled to find the right word for the state of mind of our generation. The generations, before mine, seemed to have little trouble finding a defining term to describe the age in which they lived.

The swinging 60’s for obvious hippie induced reason. The roaring 40’s, the golden age of modern times where the word wholesome carried some weight. The dark ages, not the best of times but descriptive none the less.

Grrrrrrr. You can be my dinosaur.

Individual groups also seemed to be able to define themselves clearly, hippies, yuppies, baby boomers. A kinship with their respective eras and conviction.

We have given up on being creative and have hit up the alphabet as a muse, generation X,Y,Z. Roman numerals or Morse code is surely next.

We have emos, hipsters and scene (which I do not believe has a plural) the intermingled, inbred bastard offspring of cultural groups that were already watered down when they emerged.

Scenes .If only it was a singular problem.

People trying to define themselves and provide purpose to their lives by creating social groups, bound together by referencing obscure pop culture phenomenon. Yes Twilighters, Trekkies and Bluecatpeople enthusiast out there are coming together in droves. Online and sadly in the real world too.

"This picture made my balls cry" - SSB

Today’s offices, filled with job titles that would be completely irrelevant when stranded on a desert island. I would very much like to see you shoe your horse with clever marketing jargon, brainstorm yourself a hut or synergise the catch of the day.

With our powers combined. FISH!

We have explored the planet’s surface, driven to the poles, climbed the highest mountains – build resorts on them – swam the deepest sea – build a resort under it. Those of us who have a genetic inclination to exploration have been reduced to guided tours, phrasebooks and /b/ to explore new and strange cultures and “discover” the world.

Seriously, that IS a hotel under the ocean...

Real, meaningful jobs that contribute to society in a positive way are dying out. Blacksmiths use to make horseshoes because they were needed at the time, potters made pots, soldiers made war all of them as much as was needed. Supply and demand ruled as it does today, accept now we make the demand by controlling the supply. Ask Steve jobs why white I-phone4’s will only be coming out next year.

No caption needed.

But I digress. Our generation has it better than any before, we have the worlds knowledge at our fingertips, instant gratification for everything from hunger to sex.
Thank you MacDonald’s and Eastern Europe.


Yet our generation is confused about where we stand when asked to define ourselves because we do not want to admit that we have nothing new to talk about, nothing new to explore, no great needs, no great challenges.

In short we have been handed a life of leisure on a silver Xbox and are mostly driven by accumulating more stuff than the Joneses, that we buy things that we don’t need but want because the marketing jargon spewing spin doctors have us sucking on the teat of consumerism.

This problem of not having any real problems, compared to say, the slums of New Delhi, is a very generationally bound issue. Not because there were never elitists just that stuff is cheaper and we have ALL of it.

You disagree? What's your BB pin again? BAM! Lawyered!

The definition that seems to elude this generation is actually very simple. Our lifestyle has led us to become dulled, satiated by overindulgence. Our sense of self worth worn out and wearied. Our spirit dissipated.

We are without a doubt a vast legion of the most JADED people ever to have walked on the crust of this giant spinning roundabout of DOOOOM!

Time to start owning up to it ladies and gentleman.

Welcome to the JADE-Generation©

Exactly like this. But with none of the inner peace.

*Disclaimer: At this point let me make it clear that for the purposes of this following debate I am almost exclusively focusing on middle class individuals, who were born in the time of the digital revolution.

Any 3rd world countries or war torn regions I am about to sound like an arrogant and blissfully ignorant, posh little twat. For that I apologise. This debate will make you want to slap me with a frozen tuna, rather eat the tuna, you are in a war zone and sashimi is delicious.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ambition will fuck all of us in the end.

You’re out having a smashing time, dancing like a lunatic in bar/club, young nubile woman gyrating on the dance floor smiling and giggling away while the DJ is spinning songs that you know almost all of the words to for every single song.

Then you realise the young nubile girls gyrating around the dance floor are probably smiling at the sheer retro value of all these songs, the same way you would at MC Hammer. So it suddenly dawns on you at 4 in the morning, after way more than 4 tequilas, that you are rapidly approaching 30. This by far is one of the most depressing thoughts that could possibly cross an inebriated mind.

You are old. But you don’t feel it...ok that’s most evidently a lie as you crawl out of bed at 3 o,clock the next afternoon and swear for the millionth time that you are never drinking tequila again, ever. You sure don’t bounce back like you use to, you just kinda fall, lie there for a while and get back up slowly. You start wondering how long it will be till you fall and things start breaking.

So why have the years slowly sneaked up and pounced on you like a pack of angry ninja muffins? Why have you suddenly progressed from being a 20something to an old man almost instantaneously? Why does it ,for some reason, dawn on you that time is running out rather quickly?

The answer is rather simple actually. You have a condition. Your condition is ambition.

Yes that’s right you are aspiring to greatness and in your head greatness is something that should be achieved as early in life as possible, carried through until you die and preferably linger long after your gone.

You’ve gone and set yourself some goals in your youth. Be it wealth, fame, happiness, notoriety or as in my case actually physically write and have published a novel that rocks so hard people in Alaska’s lose teeth as the earth rebounds of the sheer awesomenasity of said literary work.

You my friend, like myself, have set the stakes pretty high against yourself. Face it your 5 year plan just became a 10 year one and extrapolating from the data you’ve gathered throughout your life regarding procrastination that number could be slightly off, by a decade or so.

There is however viable cures for this condition.

1: Stop caring, your ambitions are insignificant.

2: Chill out; leave it for later, because you know you will be able to do it better later...Just 5 more minutes mom.

3: Set yourself on fire

None of these will unfortunately appeal to most, but there is a golden mean that could solve your problem.

Why not incorporate all these into one by following the way of the monk, enabling you to learn how to properly chill out, wear sweet orange dresses that are way more comfortable than ties and have a great second/third/nth attempt at doing better the next life round.

Fuck you ambition!