Friday, March 6, 2009

Hallo, blogs.theherald.co.za

Farewell from this address, and hello to the new ...
http://blogs.theherald.co.za/fworld/ is my new blog address, and you'll find the rest of the Herald and Weekend Post blogs at http://blogs.theherald.co.za
See you there!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Changes afoot at The Herald

Change, they say, is the only constant ... and The Herald and Weekend Post will be changing again next week when they launch their new, and greatly improved, websites.
Part of this involves all the bloggers - there may only be a handful of us but we make a lot of noise!
So ... please bear with me while we figure out how to move The F-World to the new blog platform, as it will be on Word Press later this week and no longer on Blogspot.
I almost feel like I am moving house, having grown very attached to all the gadgets on this one, and I would hate to lose that fascinating posse of followers ... many of whom I also follow.
I'll keep you posted ...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chocolate and women

You know, I try hard not to be sexist but sometimes it’s hard. Last week two young reps from Lindt chocolate popped into The Herald office to deliver a full to bursting two boxes of individually wrapped chocolate treats.
Although I was really tempted to take them home, very quietly, my conscience did win out and so the boxes were trawled around the office, stretching from editorial to the library, marketing department and even the switchboard ladies on the top floor.
The reaction to free chocolate was such an eye opener ... every single female said yes, thanks, and mostly with a glint in their eye and an outstretched palm. It was like offering Viagra to Hugh Hefner.
By comparison, the guys were so abstemious, you would have thought they did not actually like chocolate. Most men only wanted one piece, not more, and one or two even turned down the offer.
TURNED IT DOWN! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Very weird. Perhaps I hit a frivolous yet universal truth in my profile.
We are not talking crummy chocolate here ... Lindt chocolate is the 500-thread count of chocolates. Once you have tasted Lindt, you don’t really want Cadbury’s, and Beacon, pish-pah, goodness gracious, you may as well keep that for cooking.
These guys are the same species as the creatures we sleep next to at night and whom we trust with the fatherhood of our children ... they say men don’t understand women, but, truth be told, I think I don’t understand men.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What do you fill your life with?

Generally I enjoy Wednesdays, because it's when La Femme hits the streets and we catch our breath before plunging into the next edition. Sometimes, though Wednesday hits me with a sickening thud (like today) and that's when I really need to find something positive to focus on.
The story of the mayonnaise jar below does the trick. I can't claim it's mine, or that it is new, and it has been sent to me on more than one occasion so I may even have used it in La Femme as a Femme Point ... anyway, it goes like this:
A professor stands before his philosophy class and, wordlessly, picks up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls. He then asks his students if the jar is full. They agree it is.
The professor then picks up a box of pebbles and pours them into the jar. He shakes the jar lightly and the pebbles roll into the open areas between the golf balls. He asks again if the jar is full. The students agree it is.
The professor next picks up a box of sand and pours this into the jar. Of course, the sand fills up everything else. He asks once more if the jar is full. The students respond with an unanimous “yes”.
The professor then produces two cups of coffee from under the table and pours the contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laugh.
“Now,” explains the professor, “I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – God, family, children, health, friends, and favourite passions – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.
“If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you so pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
“Play with your children. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house. Take care of the golf balls first. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raises her hand and inquires what the coffee represents. The professor smiles.
“I’m glad you asked. I added that to show you that no matter how full your life may seem there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire a winner

I love February in Port Elizabeth as all the cinema complexes show the Oscar contenders that normally blow right through the Windy City. Those that do stay only lurk for a week normally so if you snooze, you lose.
However, when a film wins an Academy Award, they usually stay for a bit longer and I am so looking forward to seeing the film version of Q&A, which won South Africa’s Boeke prize in 2007. This quirky paperback about a destitute street-kid in Mumbai certainly was one of my favourite books from that year.
The Indian author, Vikas Swarup, who is his country’s deputy high commissioner to South Africa, went on to write Six Suspects and he still is living here.
“I wanted to show that knowledge is not the preserve of the educated elite and that even a 'street-kid' can possess the wisdom to win a quiz show,” said Swarup in an interview about what inspired him to write Q&A.
That is just so relevant in South Africa, where we also have so many street kids and a huge divide between rich and poor.
The photos I’ve posted are of Rubiana Ali, the actress who portrayed young "Latika" and Freida Pinto, who plays her as an adult. Funnily enough, none of the cast won an Academy Award.
The second photograph is of Rubiana’s neighbours in Mumbai shown celebrating after they heard of the film’s Oscar success.
The novel had its detractors who called it contrived and unrealistic. I found it funny, though, tender and tragic and a thoroughly engrossing read. Now with eight Oscars, I can hardly wait to see Slumdog Millionaire ...




Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What do our pets do all day?

I discovered that I was not alone in wondering what our pets get up to when we are not at home, (see Cooper the camera cat )
Jeanne commented: 'Can there be a cat owner alive who hasn't at some point wondered "where the hell do you go all day, Tiddles?" ' and now someone else has e-mailed me this video clip.
I am not sure where it comes from but apparently, whenever the owners of this house, which you can see has a swimming pool, came home, they found puddles of water all around.
They believed that the neighbours’ kids waited till they went out to take a dip so they installed a camera and this is what they saw:

video

Mystery solved ...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cooper the camera-cat

We have the friskiest, liveliest, cutest ginger tom cat in the world ... or so I thought until I heard about Cooper, an artistic three-year-old living in Seattle. Cooper not only does all the regular cat things that our boy does, like disappear for long stretches of time and then lie like a slug for even longer stretches, he also is a published artist and he even has his own blog.
Once a week his owners, filmmakers Michael and Deirdre Cross, fasten a lightweight digital camera to his collar, which snaps a new photo every two minutes. You can see from the photo that it isn't big, and they don't make him wear it all the time. They obviously wanted the answer to a question so many pet lovers have asked themselves: What do they do all day?
Now they know, and they have framed 16 of the answers and put them up on display at the Urban Light Studios in Seattle until the middle of March. This picture of a tabby cat turning the corner, for example, is one of Cooper's efforts.
"We never thought we'd have an artist that is an American shorthair cat," said Kevin Law, owner of the gallery and a professional photographer. "But after seeing his photos, I was immediately blown away. He has classical compositions right out of a photo textbook. There may be no intent behind them, but they're beautiful artwork."
Part of the proceeds from exhibition sales will benefit Paws, a progressive animal welfare society.
You can read about Cooper at his blog: Cooper-catphotographer.
I think I'll have to get Nacho to write a book ...