Monday, 27 May 2013

The Demon Scale

I'm back! Sorry for the radio silence, but I've been bed-ridden for the past week fighting a really horrible illness that has left me feeling absolutely shattered. Due to excessive nausea (and other such icky related symptoms) I've hardly eaten anything for the past 7 days except for excessive amounts of yoghurt and fruit juice. On day 4, I was feeling particularly sad and sorry for myself and so the optimist (or sadist) in me thought that I should weigh myself to make myself feel better. Now just to clarify, jumping on the scale is not something that I usually do when I need a pick-me-up (far from it), but I figured that the lack of eating that I'd been doing for the past few days must've resulted in some weight loss. So I drag myself out of bed, pull off my pjs, jump on the scale, and look down ... only to discover that over the past 4 days of hell I've PUT ON 1 kg. At which point I yanked back on my jim jams - after muttering some choice curse words that would make even the butchest of sailors blush - shoved the demon scale back in my cupboard and crawled back into bed. Talk about a cheering up FAIL.

After some cursory bitching and moaning, this once again reminded me that, no matter how skinny those famous models and actresses are, being healthy does not necessarily mean being skinny. I would far rather feel as though I can make it through the day without passing out than fit into a size 6. Sure, it sucks when you cut down on your meals and still put on weight (I blame the demon scale) but at the end of the day I know that I'm a far happier person when I have a full tummy. Preferably filled with prawns. And garlic butter. Just saying.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Barbie gets BURNED!

For those of you who don't follow the news, here's an interesting titbit posted especially for your Friday-afternoon amusement. Yesterday, angry protestors crashed the opening of a life-sized version of Barbie's Malibu Dream House in Berlin. The pink estate, which is situated near the famous Alexanderplatz, spans over a massive 27 000 square feet and was erected in honour of Mattel's iconic doll. A member of the feminist group Femen displayed her hatred towards the Barbie enterprise by straddling a high-heeled shoe fountain, topless, whilst yielding a burning Barbie doll crucifix. Now that's what I call inventive! I don't really understand the purpose of flashing unsuspecting kiddy-winks (frequent protestors, could you maybe shed some light on the matter?), but I do agree that the Barbie brand endorses an unrealistic representation of females as a whole and, whether knowingly or not, young girls tend to strive towards this ideal. I know that I would've KILLED to go to a life-sized Barbie house as a kid, but maybe that's the problem. Anyway, whether you love or loathe Barbie, here are some pictures to make you smile. (Personally, I'm still wondering how the hell the protestor didn't fall face-first into the fountain!)

Member of feminist group Femen mounting the Barbie House fountain.

Member of Femen now inside said fountain while families (with prams???) stand and watch.

And she made it to the top! Her chest reads "Life in plastic is not fantastic".

More protestors including a man in a skirt (and wig) with a sign that reads "Do you like me now???"

Inside the Barbie house. The pink glow is pretty damn eerie.

And why, I hear you ask, is a fully-grown man standing inside a pink Barbie house with no children in tow? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Volunteering at the SPCA

Here's a proactivity update for you: When I first began thinking about what I could do to make the world a better place, I decided to look into volunteering at the SPCA. Being an avid animal lover, I've been wanting to do this for a while now, but have always been afraid that I wouldn't have the emotional strength to actually follow through. But after much deliberation (as well as a pep talk from the amazing Lynne Avis) I decided to do some research and discovered that the Cape of Good Hope SPCA has a volunteer orientation once a month: and that's what Lynne and I attended on Saturday. 

The logic behind holding these orientation sessions is so that volunteers have a good idea of what they're signing up for before they commit, and I found out some really interesting facts about the Cape of Good Hope SPCA:

  • It's the founding society of the SPCA movement in South Africa and is the oldest animal welfare organisation in the country (established in 1872).
  • It's HUGE and has an area of land that covers about 11 000km2.
  • The COGH SPCA doesn't only cater for domestic animals: it also has sections for farm animals, horses, and wild animals.
  • It receives absolutely no funding from the government and relies solely on donations and support from the public.
  • It costs about R1.7million a month to keep the COGH SPCA fully operational.
  • No animal is ever turned away and there are staff members on hand 24/7 to assist with emergencies and rescues.

The more I listened to Juan August (the COGH SPCA's event co-ordinator) talk, the more I realised that this is something that I really want to do. He admits that you won't really know if you can cope with volunteering until after your first day, but I really do want to try. I feel as though I could make a difference to these animals, no matter how small. 

So what now? Today I was sent all of the necessary paperwork and the next step is that I have to go for an icky - but totally essential - tetanus shot (sad face). The fact that I'm willingly looking for a clinic to stab me with a needle means that I must be serious and hopefully I'll get it over and done with soon. I'll keep you posted with further developments, but in the meantime check out for more information about volunteering and the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The name game

Every morning I wake at 6am to the dulcet tones of Gareth Cliff and the rest of his team. I always find myself hoping in vain that my alarm has malfunctioned (it can't possibly be morning when it's so dark outside) and try to drown out the stream of jibber-jabber that emits from my radio. Luckily for me, I happen to find said jibber-jabber highly entertaining and largely informative, and so it always eventually succeeds in shaking me from my groggy, sleep-infused state (on some days quicker than others). This morning I was very interested to discover that in New Zealand there are laws regarding what you are and are not allowed to name your children. A name can't be over 100 characters, can't consist of a single letter, can't be offensive, can't contain religious references, must be spelt according to accepted English spelling, and is not allowed to be a self-declared title (Prince, King, Judge etc).

Due to the heavy influx of unacceptable names, the Department of Internal Affairs has compiled a list of all 77 of them to date. Included were a whole host of titles (King, Queen, Princess, Prince, Royal, Duke, Major, Bishop, Majesty, Lady, Judge, Knight, Sir, Emperor, Lord, Saint, General, Eminence, Master, Constable, Minister, Chief, Honour, President, Baron, Mr, Justice, Jr ), numerous one-lettered names (J, T, I, E, V, G, M, C, D ... it'd make learning to spell your name pretty easy), as well as a couple of ?double-barrel? single-lettered ones (CJ, AJ, MC, LB, MJ, SP, H-Q). Then there are the ones with numbers (III, 3rd, 89, VI , 2nd, 5th, 4real, V8) the misspelt ones (Juztice, Justus, Sargent, Qeen V, Majesti Rogue) and finally, the just bizarre (Lucifer, Messiah, Royale, Queen Victoria, Regal, Christ, Mafia No Fear, . - yes, a fullstop - , * - and yes, a star -, and my favourite: Anal).

Now on the one hand, I think that it's completely against our right to freedom of expression (as well as general free will) to tell us what we can and can't name our kids. But on the other hand, I pity the poor little bugger who has to go through 12 years of school with a name like Anal... I've been called Anal enough times, and it isn't pleasant! So I think that the real question here is not about the law, but rather whether or not these people are sane enough to be parents. 

After a bit of scouting, I've compiled my own list of horrendously imaginative names which were not banned - enjoy!

  • Moon Unit*
  • Dweezil*
  • Diva Muffin* (*all three of these are related)
  • Hashtag (thanks Twitter)
  • Excel
  • Jazzy
  • Leeloo
  • Shoog (this sounds like a Dr Seuss character)
  • Sanity
  • Thinn (God forbid he/she has a weight problem) 
  • Ummi
  • Sesame
  • Juju (do I even have to say it?)
  • Fedora
  • Audio Science
  • Mowgli
  • Jeronimo (at least this would be fun to say!)
  • Sage Moonblood
  • Satchel 
  • Rocket
  • Like (damn you Facebook)
  • Seven Sirius (bet you never expected that JK Rowling)
  • Tabooger

OK, I can't go on, there are just too damn many! Feel free to add any of your own :)