Next year…

Damn. Don’t you hate it when good ideas come along just too late?

This one came to my attention about 7 weeks too late for Valentine’s Day this year, but I can only imagine how overwhelmed Mrs 6000 will be to find that I have arranged her funeral for her as a romantic gift next February.

Valentine's gift idea

The brilliant bit about this gift is that once you’ve sorted it all out for the wonderful woman in your life, you will never have to get her another Valentine’s Day gift again – because you definitely won’t be together anymore.

That’s not a gopher

Driving out of the car park at my new favourite drinking spot (which shall remain nameless so I can avoid the vast numbers of vigilante groupies that went after the unfortunate Fireman’s bouncer I mentioned yesterday), I happened to spot a Toyota RunX.
This one had one of those personalised number plates that I don’t really like, but at least this one was for business purposes. Almost excusable, then.

Here it is (you can see the whole car here):

Obviously, Gopher can like to be your number one choice (or close to it) when you’re looking for industrial property in Cape Town.
But not, it seems, if you are looking for accurate descriptions of small mammals. Because that thing under the ‘X’ of ‘RunX’ is not a gopher, Geomyidae spp.. It’s a meerkat, Suricata suricatta.
Which is all nice and African, since gophers are only found in the Americas and meerkats are far more local, but that’s like Hippo insurance brokers advertising their services with a picture of an elephant. Just foolish.

One gopher, Two meerkats. It’s not difficult.

Look. See how different they are? OK, so they both appear to have the ability to stand on their hind legs, but I once saw a bear do that on some BBC documentary programme (although, to be fair, it was chained by its neck to a pole and was being beaten with a big stick by a vodka-drinking Siberian bloke with a wild beard and an even wilder temper).

Up! Get up, you bastard!
Up! Or I’ll have you made into carpet slippers!

Hell, sometimes I can even manage to stand for a few brief seconds after 8 pints of Stella, so it’s nothing special.
And look how much bigger the gopher is than the meerkats. How anyone could ever confuse the t… sorry?… Ah, ok. Thanks.
Sorry – apparently the gopher just looks bigger because it is nearer the camera. The meerkats are far away….

But seriously – noting that the car has Irish badges all over the back windscreen – talk about reinforcing the stereotype…

</small mammal basic identification post>

What a good idea

Sometimes a good idea comes along and doesn’t get anywhere because it doesn’t get the support it deserves or needs to take off. I would give you examples, but because they never got the support they deserved or needed, I’ve never heard of them. Usually, the only ideas that ever get anywhere are those that are going to make someone, somewhere, some money: cars, computers, drugs etc etc.

But the good idea I heard today isn’t going to make much money. Instead of Rands and cents, this one is all about the currency of goodwill. Which makes you feel all happy and warm inside, but won’t buy you beer. So not perfect, by any means, but still pretty good.

The idea is the brainchild of the improbably-named Dean Oelschig, a creative type from Jo’burg. But let’s not hold those facts against him, for he has come up with the idea of #worldcuphost. This is what is called a hashtag, which is a word or phrase, prefixed with a # that people can search for easily on Twitter.
And Dean’s idea is that willing people from South Africa advertise themselves on Twitter as #worldcuphosts so that visitors coming over from foreign parts can ask all those vexing, awkward or downright stupid questions about the country and how to “do stuff” here – and hopefully get a quick, helpful answer.
I am already predicting a plethora of beer-related queries, interspersed with several on transport, a couple on the weather and maybe even one or two on the football. But mainly beer.

And because the people on twitter are generally of a somewhat higher intelligence and educational standing than on other, less enjoyable social media platforms which involve feeding other people’s penguins on their imaginary farms, the answers those tourists will get will be honest, informative and helpful. Right?

So, go and advertise yourself as a #worldcuphost
Better still, retweet this post (use the little button below) so that people know what it’s all about, because obviously, the more people that are aware of this – on either side – the better it will work. 
Let’s do our bit to make this World Cup a even better experience for those visiting South Africa.

No fibbing…

Ah – remember those happy days in Miss Merrill’s maths classes?
Of course you don’t, because you weren’t at my school.  
I quite liked maths. Not quite as much as science, but a whole lot more than geography. Not quite as much as languages, but a whole lot more than woodwork. You get the idea.

One of my favourite bits of mathematics are the Fibonacci numbers – which are the numbers in the following sequence:

0,\;1,\;1,\;2,\;3,\;5,\;8,\;13,\;21,\;34,\;55,\;89,\;144,\; \ldots.

By definition, the first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each remaining number is the sum of the previous two. It’s straightforward stuff.

Fibonacci numbers are clever. If you draw a quarter circle inside squares in a Fibonacci sequence, and you make the serkel beeger, then you get a Fibonacci spiral – amazing.

You can learn more about the Fibonacci Numbers on wikipedia. However, I have yet to find a website with pictures of hot chicks demonstrating mathematical principles.

But I will keep looking.

We can take them breakfast

The innocence of kids. It blows me away sometimes.

Yesterday evening was one of those times. Having picked the boy up from his grandmother’s, where he had spent an exciting afternoon mainly eating, playing snap and eating, we were on our way home via the M3 and then slipping down the Constantia Main Road off-ramp. At the lights on the junction, I saw a mother and her two kids sitting by the side of the road, begging.

Sadly, this isn’t an unusual sight in South Africa, but I have seen this lady here before. She has two daughters – almost exactly the same ages as our two kids (3¾ & 1½, for new readers). And that kind of makes it a bit more personal.
As it happened, I had a small packet of sweets with me which I had planned to share with Alex, but given his gastronomic exploits throughout the afternoon, I had thought better of that idea. Thus, the kids by the side of the road became the grateful beneficiaries of a packet of candy polar bears. Seeing the young girls’ delight at the quickly opened packet and its contents brought a lump to my throat. So I probably wasn’t ideally prepared for what followed.

As the lights changed and we headed home, Alex piped up.

“Why did you give the lady some sweets?”
“Because the lady and her children were hungry.”
“Where do those children live, Daddy?”
“I don’t think they have a home, Alex.”
“So where do they sleep then?”
“I think they sleep wherever they can find some shelter.”
“And where do they eat breakfast?”
“I don’t think they have breakfast, Alex. That’s why they are hungry.”

There was a brief pause in the inquisition from the back seat.

“I’ve got an idea, Daddy. We can take them breakfast.”

And despite the much deeper issues that lie behind their situation, Alex was right: We can take them breakfast.
And because I’m a great believer in actions speaking louder than words, this Saturday, we’re going to take that mother and her kids some breakfast. Yes, I recognise that this isn’t a solution; I know that it won’t solve anything other than their hunger that day, but it will at least solve that.  

And when u-turn finally get back to me (hello?!?), we’ll maybe be able to help them out a little more.