A little while ago I was struck by Warhol inspiration and created this photo-art. I’d like to think that it is my somewhat insignificant way of reviving the Pop Art era
What made you smile today??
It is an ongoing debate. To eat meat or not to eat meat? Personally I find myself constantly conflicted in this regard. I am a true animal lover. Animal cruelty is my pet peeve. Yet, I enjoy eating meat. More frequently than not I struggle internally with an overflowing sense guilt that I am perhaps perpetuating the maltreatment of all creatures cute, cuddly, fluffy, furry or feathered. Even scaled. Some would argue that it is merely the circle of life, survival of the fittest and the food chain. Others will defend equality regardless of species.
My dad always says that if you eat meat you should be willing to kill the animal. I am generally a passivist and I am not sure that I have a thick enough skin to slit a cow’s throat or chop off a chicken’s head. In fact, the thought of it makes me incredibly queasy. Several years ago my dad and his best friend went fishing and caught a particularly impressive grunter. Unfortunately I witnessed them dragging the poor creature out of the water while it gasped for breath until it was put out of its misery by having its head thumped against the floor of the boat. I was absolutely distraught and refused to eat a single bite of the fish once it was cooked. I named it Harold.
Yet I still eat meat. Perhaps I am stuck in a similar mentality as most people. If you don’t actually see the animal being killed, it’s alright. I mean it’s not like a beef burger patty resembles a cow in any way, nor do chicken McNuggets walk around clucking and shaking their feathers. However, when I sit down and think about what I’m eating I feel sick to my stomach. Many people complain about abusing animals and they protest if a dog or a dolphin is killed and eaten. Yet, they arrive home from work and fry up a couple of beef burgers for dinner. Is it not the same thing?? What pyramid of hierarchy establishes chickens and cows as less important and worth saving as cats and dogs?? It all seems a little hypocritical to me. And by eating meat and wanting to save the rhino’s I fall into that group of hypocrites.
So what is the right thing to do?? Personally I agree with my dad’s ethos. If you can’t stand to watch it being killed and are unwilling to do the deed yourself, you shouldn’t eat meat. And I am certainly trying to cut down on my meat intake, but it is difficult. I guess it is kind of like quitting smoking. You actually have to think about what you are doing and make a concerted effort to stop. It has to mean something you. It has to be an intellectual decision that you constantly have to work on everyday, otherwise the attempt is rendered futile.
Where do you stand on the vegetarian debate??
I am an avid reader and as a writer and self-confessed book-nerd there are several novels that, upon reading, not only inspired me, but also made me quite envious that I was not privileged to have authored. Here is a list of books I wish I had written:
1.) Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
2.) The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
4.) The Outsider – Albert Camus
5.) The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
6.) The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
7.) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
8.) As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
9.) A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
10.) A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
11.) Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
12.) The Order of Things – Michel Foucault
13.) Animal Farm – George Orwell
14.) Special Topics in Calamity Physics – Marisha Pessl
15.) The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
16.) One Flew Over th Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
17.) Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs
18.) On the Road – Jack Kerouac
19.) It – Steven King
20.) The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
21.) Beloved – Toni Morrison
22.) The Lord of the Flies – William Golding
24.) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
25.) The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
26.) The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
There are many more that I am sure I am forgetting to mention here, but these are a portion of the books that make my heart happy
What books have you read that made you smile??
I think I was born to be a writer. At the risk of sounding like one of those people who claim to have been able to dance before they could walk or sing before they could talk, I am almost certain that I was reading before I could read. The difference is I have witnessed actual evidence that my aforementioned statement is accurate.
My evidence is a video taken my late maternal grandfather during a visit by him and my grandmother when I was about five years old and my younger sister five months old. A couple of months ago the VHS cassette (these were the early 1990’s: the days before DVDs and Blue-Ray, etc) resurfaced and, still being in possession of a video machine, I decided to relive my formative years. The video was incredibly difficult to watch for several reasons; a.) I spent the majority of the time cringing upon the realisation that I was an incredibly pretentious child who was seemingly fond of adopting a Queen-of-England posh British accent (which, to deliver some context, makes little sense considering the majority of my family is South African); b.) the entire home movie is narrated by my late grandfather, who had a larger-than-life personality that we still yearn for a decade after his untimely passing; and c.) it was the 90’s and we all looked horrendous: my mom had an absolutely colossal perm, my general ‘look’ included really colourful-in-a-very-bad-clashing-way jumpers and I’m pretty sure at one point I glimpsed my dad wearing hot pants.
Nevertheless, my granddad managed to capture, on camera, me, at the age of five, reading a book to my baby sister. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t actually reading the words on the page but I definitely embroidered an elaborate story using the illustrations. Which I think is fairly impressive for a five-year-old. And I would like to believe that moment captured the beginning of my enduring creative eccentricity. I haven’t stopped creating stories since. At least now I can write them down. J
Another proud moment came during a later scene in the home video, filmed at my pre-primary school, revealing my vast artistic endeavours. Our task was to paint anything we desired on the walls outside our classrooms. I painted a mermaid seeing as I was fully into mythical sea creatures at that point in my life (I also really enjoyed the idea of talking dolphins). The teachers were so impressed with my painting I was chosen to paint another mermaid on a different building in the pre-primary. Unfortunately, my artistic talents haven’t matured since then.
December, the first of the Summer months in the Southern Hemisphere, was fairly disappointing last year. Schools and universities were on holiday and many hard working people were taking leave from the monotony of their day jobs in the hopes of spending long, lazy days in the sun, on the beach, by the pool, in between those frantic Christmas shopping trips. However, December proved to be rather laissez-faire in terms of providing anything more than what I can only describe as mediocre weather. It rained on Christmas Day.
Roughly mid-January birthed an unrelenting heat wave that had school children whining in classrooms, students grumbling in lecture halls and all those back at work cursed mirthfully under their breath “Why not sooner?”. The glorious beaches of the South African coastline beckoned as a glistening, refreshing mirage. Closeted swimming costumes whimpered in anticipation, hopefully yearning for stolen moments during busy weekends.
Some days have literally been too hot to participate in any activity of any kind. The elderly were advised to stay indoors near a fan. Parents were warned to keep young children away from the sun’s blistering rays. Ice-cream and beer companies rejoiced at their good fortune. I have always and unshakably been a ‘summer person’. Yet, even I found myself dreaming of thunder storms and waking up in the morning thinking it’s still night time.
Everyone I know was starting to suffer from some kind of heat-wave induced madness. I personally felt like kicking a few people in the shins. Until today. By some small miracle the heavens decided to crack open and shower us with some much needed love and affection.
Okay, so it’s still kind of humid and I’m not exactly reaching for tights and a sweater, but at the very least the rain has provided a fraction of relief after days of stilfing heat and sleepless nights tossing and turning above the covers.
That unmistakable fresh smell of rain definitely made me smile today.
What makes you smile??
“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight”.
~ Phyllis Diller
It really frustrates me to hear South Africans talking about how they can’t wait to leave the country. Everyone knows at least one of these people. They complain about the poor economy, the failing government and rampant poverty challenging the country. They venerate ‘overseas’, shiny, First World countries and endorse an unrelenting “the grass is always greener” attitude. A large majority of the time these same people are back home in six months time, their tails tucked regretfully between their legs, after a miserable and homesick experience.
I am ashamed to admit that I used to be one of those people. But I am older and wiser now. I would love to travel in order encounter all the world has to offer, but my suspicions tell me that it will be difficult to live up to my high expectations after living in South Africa. And I am not discomforted to admit that I love South Africa. Sure, our country experiences difficulties. What country doesn’t? Driving through the unspoiled countryside of the Eastern Cape I cannot help but feel my heart swell with pride at being privileged enough co-exist alongside such unabashed beauty. I do not doubt the indulgent nature of this statement, yet is it not better to be taken aback by the natural beauty of the countryside rather than idolize material objects such as fancy sports cars and flat screen televisions??
Yesterday I had the immense pleasure of taking a trip to the local cinema to watch Material, a proudly South African movie featuring a totally homegrown cast. And I was not disappointed. Not only was Material one of the best South African movies I have seen in a long time, it put a smile on my face at a time when I really needed to feel the corners of my mouth twitch in delight. I was really impressed with this film and I will recommend it to everyone I know because it is definitely yet another reason to adore this country.
What do you love about the country you live in??
I love looking through old photographs and today I stumbled across this picture I took a couple of years ago in Knysna, South Africa. It is one of my favourite places in the world. This photograph is reminiscent of amazing times with family and friends in a beautiful place. A nostalgia that always makes me smile
What made you smile today??
Apparently we spend one third of our lives asleep. I think I am the exception to the rule.
I can’t remember the last time I had a proper, uninterrupted night’s sleep. Even when I was a child I can’t remember ever being a ‘good’ sleeper, whatever that means. The years spanning from age five to about nine or ten I would suffer from a recurring nightmare. My house was burning down and I was stuck on the toilet, paralyzed. Pretty traumatizing for a kid, let me tell you.
I’m petrified of the dark and even to this day I struggle to fall asleep without at least one light on somewhere in the house. Oh, I’ve watched enough horror movies to know what happens when the lights are out. I’m a certifiable nervous wreck when there is a power failure.
Falling asleep is rarely the problem. It’s waking up and hour and a half later that tends to bother me to a certain degree. The seemingly endless tossing and turning. Checking the time only to discover that the hour I am sure has passed is actually only two minutes and thirty-five seconds.
So I usually end up on the couch in the living room, a zombie-like expression on my grey-ish face, watching mind numbing late night television. This usually comprises the less popular cartoons from my youth and Will and Grace reruns. Sometimes I will get lucky and an old episode of South Park will make an appearance.
Nevertheless, sleep and I have never had a particularly healthy relationship. The monster that lurks under my bed these days has morphed into an exceptionally cheeky bastard called insomnia. Last night’s entertainment included a remarkably resilient mosquito (who I could have sworn I killed at least 50 times) and a boisterous moped next door that enjoys leaving the house at four o’clock in the morning, stalling (I’m pretty sure outside my window) and letting a cell phone play an alarmingly raucous ringtone for several hours before dithering off down the road.
So when that blessed moment arrives and I actually fall asleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light, I just have to smile and be thankful for life’s little moments of pleasure
Welcome a little bit of the original boogyman, Freddy Kruger, into your life. Watching Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street always makes me smile!
“I can remember soundtracks that you just can’t separate from the film – It’s just so intertwined, so important. Like the Hitchcock ones where they kind of inform each other and become this larger thing as a result.”
- Jonny Greenwood
If you haven’t already, do yourself a favour and WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!
Films with great soundtracks really make me grin from ear to ear. A good soundtrack can really make or break a movie, in my opinion. A movie with a rocking soundtrack really is one of life’s little gems. When I watch a movie that encompasses AMAZING songs it kind of makes me wish that I had a soundtrack to my life. Or a theme song, like The A Team or Rocky. A song can really encapsulate the entire ambiance of a film in a single verse and a powerful chorus.
If you had to choose, what would the soundtrack of your life sound like?? Mine would definitely include some Jimi Hendrix, a splash of The Beatles, a hint of Damien Rice, a sprinkle of Mumford and Sons, a dash of The Rolling Stones, a little bit of Led Zeppelin and definitely Janis Joplin and Joan Armatrading. And that doesn’t even begin to cover it. I mean, I still have a lot of living to do.
Some films with truly remarkable soundtracks:
1.) Garden State: A wonderfully poignant combination of indie and powerful tunes.
2.) Across the Universe: The Beatles. Do I really have to say anything else?? Julie Taymor, I salute you.
3.) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: So strange, yet so wonderfully brilliant.
4.) The Boat that Rocked: The swinging 60′s wrapped in a fantastically hilarious package.
5.) The Rocky Horror Picture Show: I can’t even begin to describe the awesomeness of singing transvestite aliens.
6.) Juno: A beautifully quirky soundtrack to match Diablo Cody’s crazy, brilliant script.
7.) I’m Not There: A humble tribute to the genius that is Bob Dylan.
8.) Hair!: The dawning of the age of Aquarius, of course.
Which movies have soundtracks that make your ears dance with delight??
I recently discovered the joy of sewing. It is a hobby that requires a certain amount of patience I was unaware I possessed. Much to my surprise, I really enjoy sewing. It soothes my soul and rewards me a sense of pride upon completion of whatever it is I’m sewing. Today I altered a tunic and sewed a fabric bird onto an old sweater. It made me smile because I had created something new and exciting out of something old and staid. Groovy!
What made you smile today??
I particularly enjoy singing along very loudly and quite animatedly to my favourite music while driving. It’s one of life’s little pleasures in my opinion. I’m pretty sure I have garnered quite a few strange glances while doing this, but I don’t care because I love it. Sometimes I even pretend that I’m Janis Joplin and thank the audience after a particularly exhilarating number. I strongly suggest that everyone should indulge in this activity at least once because a.) it’s really fun, b.) it makes driving a lot more entertaining, and c.) it can be extremely cathartic. So you can imagine that a huge smile was put on my face while driving home today when I glanced in my rear-view mirror caught the guy driving behind me singing and dancing in a remarkably animated fashion. Right on, dude!!!
Have you ever experienced one of those days where everything seems simply too much to handle? Those unbearable moments that seem to consume your entire soul and find you on your hands and knees beseeching your maker for some kind of release. Those “please let Armageddon strike now” occurrences. Those times you long to hibernate within the safe, warm trenches of your duvet and pillows.
Can we ever really plan for anything? We try and life turns around with a severely disenchanting, Heath-Ledger-as-the-Joker-like smirk plastered to its face and releases a hearty chuckle. We merely wander aimlessly through time and space while contemplating life’s little curve balls. We could spend all our lives negotiating the human condition and suffer self-induced aneurysms attempting to discover the ‘meaning of life’.
And then, just when you are about to throw in the proverbial towel and fling your exhausted onto the ground in a defeated slump, a sliver of sunshine peeks out from behind the cartoonish rain cloud hanging over your head. Something happens that sort of makes the planets realign again.
It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s slowing down to watch a flock of birds dance across a cloudless sky; or bumping into an old friend you haven’t seen for years; or breaking open a steaming, fresh bread roll; or feeling the first drops of rain on your face before a cloudburst; or maybe even finding the last Twinkie left in the world. These are the moments that allow us to step out of the fog and appreciate the things that make life bearable. These are the unsung instances that represent the beauty of life.
My life philosophy? To quote Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee, in Zombieland, “Enjoy the little things”.
Something that makes me smile: Singing along to Mumford and Sons while driving in traffic. Somehow makes the 28kms from my house to the university worth it
“She thought it was the misfortune of poetry to be seldom safely enjoyed by those who enjoyed it completely; and that the strong feelings which alone could estimate it truly were the very feelings which ought to taste it but sparingly.”
- Jane Austen, Persuasion
A little Jane Austen always makes me smile
Life is a strange and complex thing, is it not? I will challenge anyone who argues the world is made up of merely black and white components. Life is simply not straight forward. And I revere the shades of grey. The unashamed beauty of what it means to be linger in the cracks and brazenly dances naked outside the designated lines.
Everyone struggles painfully to classify every aspect of their lives. Explanations, descriptions, validations, verification. The beauty in life lies in that which we cannot define and the acceptance of the inability to understand. It is taking a step back and savoring the small moments that bring joy to your life.
This blog is dedicated to these fleeting instances of undisguised pleasure. I will talk about things that make me smile, things that annoy me, and life in general. I have been called a ‘hippie’ more times then I can remember and (if the term ‘hippie’ refers to someone who believes in peace, equality, liberation, and an alarmingly good taste in music) I do not disagree. So be prepared for contemporary discussions surrounding music, art, photography, music and cinema inspired by a 1960′s theme and motivated by all things vintage.
Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”. I implore you, let’s embark on this psychedelic adventure together.