Sharing my drive home

It was a beautiful day in Cape Town today. I celebrated the sunny weather by cultivating TB in a windowless laboratory for most of the day. So come the time to go home (M5 south, N2 inbound, M3 south for those of you with any interest), it was especially nice to gaze out of the window as I passed UCT and admire the Cape Flats bathed in sunshine and beyond them, in amazing clarity, the Helderberg Mountains, crisp, clear and crinkled.
Sharing my drive with me was Morten Harket’s Letter from Egypt CD and at that moment, when all seemed right with the world, he was singing this song, Movies:

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This particular version, as the eagle-eyed among you will already have spotted, was taken from the Norwegian show Idol, which I’m guessing is something like the UK show Pop Idol, the American show American Idol and the South African show Idols.
Now, I’m not great at Norwegian (although I know someone who is), but even I can work out what is going on in that pre-song interview.
The floppy-haired bloke, after asking after Morten’s health, questions him over the standard of the previous contestant. That’s actually a bit awkward because the previous contestant was, frankly, rubbish.
You can almost see Morten’s disbelief at being asked “So Morten, what did you think of Maeva’s performance?” and having to come up with a really nice way of saying that Maeva probably shouldn’t give up her day job (at McDonald’s in Stavanger).
Fortunately, the female presenter steps in just before Morten decides to be more forthright, “Se, hun var jævla søppel, Mr. floppy hår, ok?” and gets him to do what he does best: sing.

And how professionally he performs, from the nonchalant glances back at the band during the intro, banging out the powerful chorus about turtles, movie stars and his empty bed, through to ignoring some sort of bizarre countdown towards the end of the song before the show cuts to some Norwegian version of Ant & Dec talking about mining. That’s how you do it.

I hope you were watching, Maeva. And yes, I do want fries with that.

Leave a comment | Tagged , , | Posted in music, positive thoughts

Brisbane: The Span

Those of you who got in touch regarding this post and the incredible photography on the Silent UK site (there were a lot of you) may also be interested in this blog from a similar individual in Australia.

Today’s post showcases the Story Bridge in Brisbane:

There’s plenty more where that came from as well, including (in my humble opinion, anyway) some particularly amazing snaps here and here.


2 Comments | Tagged , , , , , | Posted in recommended site

Support the Running Doulas

Hello readers.
Here’s something you can help with: the Running Doulas.

It sounds like some sort of comedy act (and in fact it may well turn out to be rather amusing to watch) but actually it’s two ladies doing something for a very good cause.

Firstly, you may not be conversant with the word “Doula”. Wikipedia can help here:

Doula is a word that has most closely become associated with a woman or man who provides non-medical support to other women and their families during labour and childbirth, and also the postpartum period.

In countries like South Africa, where the public health system is at best pretty awful, doulas are invaluable aides in the maternity wards. If you or someone you know has had a baby in a first world healthcare system or in the private healthcare system in SA you might want to compare your experience with this typical scenario:

The majority of  mothers are young, unmarried, have had no antenatal education and are desperately poor. They return home after a traumatic and lonely birth experience, on public transport, within about 6 hours of giving birth. All too often, they return within a year to give birth to another child.

It’s no exaggeration. Spend any time on Portswood Road near the Somerset Hospital and you will see many young women waiting for a minibus taxi, looking tired and scared, awkwardly clutching a bundle of blanket. It’s a heartbreaking sight.
And much as you might like to, obviously you can’t help every single one of these mothers. But what you can do is make a difference to some of them, via these Running Doulas I was telling you about.

Doula Kim and Trainee Doula Melinda are running the Knysna half-marathon this weekend to raise funds for Maternity Packs, each one of which:

…goes a long way towards changing the birth experience of the young mother who is touched by the gesture and better prepared for her first few weeks of motherhood.

Each pack costs R150 (£13.50, $21.50) and you can see exactly what’s in one here.

Aside from the important reasons that they are doing it, it should be noted that the Knysna half-marathon (or the “Knysna Half” as it’s known to those of use who are in the know about writing about other people running long distances) is no ordinary run. It’s widely regarded as one of the most difficult and dangerous races on the local running calendar.
This is primarily because of the knee-sapping, cartilage-busting, mainly downhill route and the wild animals which still roam the ancient forests of that area; we’re talking elephants, zebras, wildebeest, griffins, dragons and unicorns.
Well, we’re talking elephants, anyway.

But I digress. Often.
You can help Melinda and Kim by supporting their run and donating to their important and worthy cause via this bank account :

Name: MA Rollinson
Bank: Standard Bank – Thibault Square branch
Number: 274999277

If you want to get in touch with Melinda about the run or with any other doula-related query, you can email her here or via twitter here.
And to show our support for the cause, is putting our money where our mouth is and donating 2 packs.

Please spread the wealth by clicking a button below and sharing this on Facebook or Twitter. 

We’ll let you know how they got on when we know how they got on. OK?

3 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in economic issues, positive thoughts, the parenting bunny, this is south africa

Thinned Sheffield Sky

Earlier today, I was wandering around arepeejee’s flickr (you may remember him from such blog posts as What were the skies like when you were young? and Eccy Rd Hoff Stolen), having seen a link to this masterpiece.

It was there that I saw the full version of this superb photo: “Sheffield Sky”

…which I have thinned (as I am wont to do to sunsets) and which, thanks to The Guru, can now be stretched to 678px without disrupting the sidebar.


2 Comments | Tagged , , , , | Posted in flickr, sheffield, uk

Android is Blowing Everyone Away

That’s not my line up there in the title, it belongs to Business Insider, who published this astounding graph on their site yesterday.

In my line of work, I’m well used to looking at graphs and attempting to observe subtle differences and trends within the data.
This isn’t one of them though, is it?

And while the blue Android line is rising, the green BB is in freefall, which should come as no surprise to anyone. (Least of all anyone who has talked to my wife).

10 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in android, economic issues, in the news