The Soutpiel conundrum

I get called a lot of names because of this blog. Some are nice, but probably most are not. The less pleasant ones dribble limply into the metaphorical pond, like water off a duck’s back. But there’s one which is fairly regularly used each and every time I make any criticism of South Africa (that being both my home and the country where I pay my taxes) or anything or anyone South African.
That insult is “Soutpiel” – usually abbreviated to “Soutie”.
And it reared its ugly head again after the Zuma v Zapiro post yesterday.

The term is almost exclusively used in a derogatory manner, but when I actually looked up (or asked someone, can’t remember) what it meant several years ago, I almost burst out laughing.
A quick look at the wonderfully-titled Wikipedia page “Alternative names for the British”, tells us:

Another common term in South Africa used mostly by the Afrikaans is Soutie or Sout Piel. This is from the concept that the Brits have one leg in Britain and one leg in South Africa, leaving the penis hanging in the salt water. Sout Piel means Salt Penis (or rather “dick”). However, this term refers more specifically to British people who have settled in South Africa, as they are more likely to be imagined as having one foot in each country than a Briton who is simply visiting as a tourist.

Is that really the best that you can do?

Let’s look at the logistics of this. The distance from South Africa to the UK is about 6000 miles. Don’t ask me how I know that off the top of my head. It’s just a unique talent I have around memorising numbers.
Thus, in calling me a Soutie, you are inferring that when I stand, my feet are about 9656km apart. A ludicrous suggestion, I know, but this is your mind at work here, not mine.
And then, let’s suppose that in standing firm, one foot in Cape Town – possibly Greenmarket Square, I don’t know – and the other in Sheffield at the top of Fargate (next to the Yorkshire Bank), my legs are each at a sturdy, safe angle of 60° to the ground. In your mind, you now have a massive, massive equilateral triangle.
My legs are each stretching 9656km into the sky.
To put that in perspective, the International Space Station is orbiting around my ankles.

Your mind, remember?

The next bit might not be so nice to imagine – depending on how you like to butter your bread – it’s my “piel” and it is – for geometric purposes you understand – descending directly from the apex of the huge triangle created by my legs and the surface of the earth, which I have conveniently assumed is flat. The eagle-eyed mathematicians among you (those that haven’t fainted at the sheer scale and might of what stands before you) have just realised that we now have a right-angled triangle and we can bring our friend Mr Pythagoras into play, theorem in hand.

I hope that you can all remember that Mr P told us that:

(Piel² + 4828²) = 9656²

Which I will helpfully rearrange and solve for you using just a simple pen, an ordinary sheet of A4 paper and a Casio fx-85WA calculator.

To sum up, what you are telling me when you call me a “Soutie”, what you are saying is that
my member is 8363.341km long.
But, you know what they say: “size isn’t important”.  That’s what they tell you, isn’t it? Hmm?


But that’s not all.

While we’ve had a long, hard (careful now) examination of the “piel” portion of the word, there’s still this issue over where my prodigious organ is dangling and getting salty.
There is no ocean between Cape Town and Sheffield. Your only briny options are the horizontal slivers of the Mediterrenean and the English Channel. And my mighty manhood isn’t landing anywhere near either of them.

In fact, consulting any accurate map or globe will show you that it actually comes to rest somewhere close to the city of Tahoua in sandy, landlocked Niger, where it would probably nestle happily amongst the population of just under 100000 and be used as some religious monument or record-breaking sundial.
The closest you come to any saltiness is the fact that gypsum and phosphates are mined in the area.
It sounds like Brakpan. Not great.

So next time you want to come up with a first class insult to put me firmly in my place, I would steer clear of “Soutie”,  if I were you.

It really doesn’t work.

Five stars

When it comes to catching on to social media and the internet as a marketing tool, I think it’s fair to say that some of the more traditional industries have been a little behind the curve. I’d include wine-making in that category, but it does seem that some SA wineries are beginning to realise not just what to do with social media, but how to do it and how to do it right – as demonstrated in this short video released by the Klein Constantia vineyard just down the road from chez 6000:

True – there are still a few signs of naivety: leaving the video title as “kc master.mp4” is a little amateur, for example. But it’s a good effort, it’s well made, it’s fun and shows that even after 321 years, there’s still room for innovation.
And that’s impressive.

Oh – and they’re not bad at making damn good wine, either.
Fine work all round.

Alternative view

People seem to like my latest Stadium photo. Which is nice.

The Stadium has been snapped to death – not least by me – so I’m now concentrating on getting alternative views of it (after this one last week).

I think this is a pretty good start.

How to fix the download unsuccessful error on Android Market

A techie post on 6000 miles…? Surely not?
But yes – and I have my reasons. Read on.

I’m loving my Android-powered Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 phone: it’s fun, it’s useful, it’s damn good looking and Android is very stable compared with previous operating systems I have used.
However, I recently discovered an issue with the Android Market which manifested with the error: “Download Unsuccessful”.

I still don’t know what caused it, but it not only meant that I couldn’t add new applications to my flock (what is the collective noun for applications?), but also that I couldn’t update the applications I already had.
This was a problem.

I searched the internet for a solution and found several hundred, none of which actually worked. Running out of ideas and a full on, no holds barred, stick that in your pipe and smoke it factory reset seemed to be my only option.
However, through cleverly managing to stick two failed suggestions together I seem to have come up with a simple fix for the download unsuccessful problem, which I’m putting on here to help others and also so I can go back to it when this happens again.

Which it might.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Applications.
  3. Select Manage Applications.
  4. Select Market.
  5. Select Clear cache.
  6. Press the back button (takes you back to list of installed applications)
  7. Select Download Manager.
  8. Select Clear data.
  9. You should now be able to download successfully from the Market.

Obviously, this worked on my X10, but I think that these are fairly basic/standard functions for Android phones, so I see no reason it shouldn’t work on yours as well.

If you use this fix – whether it works for you or not – please leave a comment with your phone details so others can learn from your experience.

When Hendo’s met Freddy

Many of you will remember the DIY Biltong post from a few weeks ago.
Well, since then I have experimented with many different sorts of meat and many different blends of spices in an attempt to create the world’s best raw-meat based snack. And while I was getting there slowly, my efforts received a huge boost on my birthday last week with a gift of 3kg of Freddy Hirsch biltong spices.
That’s enough to make 75kg worth of biltong.
I’m going to be busy.

The only issue is that since anyone can go and buy spices from Freddy, anyone can make first class biltong. But I don’t want to be one of the crowd.
I want my biltong to stand out; I want it to have a personal touch.
And that’s where Henderson’s Relish comes in. This “spicy Yorkshire sauce” has been made in Sheffield (right next door to the hospital I was born in) since the late 19th century.
It is to my home town what biltong is to my adopted country.

And, much like when Harry met Sally, the results of Hendo’s meeting Freddy are mindblowing.
It’s South Yorkshire meets South Africa.
It’s a pint of Magnet with a Klippies chaser in the pub on the corner of Bramall Lane and Voortrekker Road.
It’s bluddy bakgat, dun’t tha’ know, china?

It’s very me.