Thursday, September 30, 2010

Britains Got Talent

I was watching SA's Got Talent earlier this evening and there was this guy from some far-flung town near Cape Town, who sweeps streets for a living and sang like a tenor!
Wow! That guy would have had me in tears if I weren't watching the show with the family!

Which reminded me of this video from Britain's Got Talent which had me tapping my feet and bobbing my head while watching.
There's some real talent out there folks!
You just gotta know where to find it.

Forex Trading

An awesome ad from CMS Brokers for their Forex Trading accounts.

I'm getting itchy feet again.
I only ever get itchy feet when I figure I've done the best I can and I'm ready for a new challenge; or when I've worn the same gym-socks for a week.
It scares the knickers off the missus, because unlike me she requires certainty and gaurantees and structure (and clean socks).

I tend to operate on a rather different level altogether.
Every business venture I've ever taken on was based on a calculated risk, but a risk nonetheless. Every business venture was also a pretty good success story as well, touch wood.

My current business is now 5 years old. Still a fledgling as far as business's go.
I've always said that I would love nothing more than trading forex full-time some day, instead of doing it as a hobby or simply to appease the temptation every so often.
I've been trading for over 10 years now, but in a rather limited capacity... almost like swimming in the kiddies pool while knowing full well that the Ocean is calling.

That calling is getting louder and louder... and I'm rather tempted to dive right in.
Very tempted actually.

Have you heard about Portfolio Life ?
I watched a documentary on it the other day and was gobsmacked to see an entire culture of people who have such an awesome approach to their careers and lives.
I liked the idea, but upon further reading I realised that I've already been leading a Portfolio Life. Well my version of it at least.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If you were stuck on a desert island with friends, and ran out of food, and had to pick a friend to eat first, who would you pick?

If you were stuck on a desert island with friends, and ran out of food, and had to pick a friend to eat first, who would you pick?

Answer here

Say What?

I realised while reading through some of my posts over the weekend, that I tend to write quite a bit about my clients.
That's probably because they usually present me with the best material to write about, and my day is never short of interesting characters. Ever!

Take today for example.
My client turned out to be a 60-something Englishman.Not an Englishman in the broad sense of the word. He was so English, he offered me a buttered scone and tea when I met him at his offices earlier this morning.
He owns a building in central Jozi and had a corporate tenant who required her offices to be upgraded. My client's offices were on the 14th floor, and his tenant was on the 2nd floor. As we stepped into the elevator heading down toward the tenants floor, we had the following conversation :

Client : So Mel (the tenant) is about 40 years old, but I think she has a mental problem.
Me : Ok. *thinking thats TMI from someone I'd only met 10 minutes go!*
Clent : Not that it will affect your job or anything, but I just thought you should know. Her fathers a doctor. You would think he could sort her out, wouldn't you?
Me : I don't know. I guess so.
Client : I've met him, you know. Quit frankly if he were my Dad, I'd have a mental problem too.
Me : *trying to suppress a laugh* Ok. *thinking of something to say, and choosing to remain silent instead*
Client : Right then, here we are. Now don't say anything about what I just told you, I don't want her thinking I'm rude or impolite, you know.
Me : Yes, of course.
We enter the reception and Mel walks toward us, looking all English-weather-like, rather dull and gloomy.
Mel : Mr Rupert Sir, how are you?
Client : I'm good thanks Mel. This is Fareed, my contractor.
*group handshake*
Client : Yes I was just telling Fareed what wonderful folk you and your Dad are. How is he?
Mel : Yeah he's good. *pulls her face and I almost grabbed her, thinking she was having a stroke*
Client : Shall I leave you two to it? Mel will show you what her requirements are.
Mel & I : Yes, sure.
Client : Fareed, be good to her won't you. She's a special one this.

So there I am with Mel, who seemed perfectly normal to me quite honestly. We spent over an hour together and I kept wondering when the nut in her was going to come out and frighten the be-jesus out of me. By the end of the hour she felt comfortable enough to let her guard down and we spoke a bit about general matters, none related to her office plans.
She asked me how long I had known Mr Rupert and I said we had just met that day. I'd been referred to him by the company who manages his property portfolio, I informed her.

"Yeah, he's rather strange isn't he? I sometimes wonder if he's all there... you know what I mean?"

I think those two are going to get along superbly.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Case You Blinked

Every so often, I come across a link or a website, or even a story on the interweb that has me shake my head and leave me speechless.
That's no easy task.. leaving ME speechless.

I thought I'd share a few with you.

An article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph , Australia.
UN To Appoint Earth Contact For AliensSeriously?
There's now an official department at the UN that will handle "First Contact" from aliens. I wonder how they spend their days while waiting for the arrival of the aliens?
Who pays these people to sit and wait for aliens?
Are they testing "probes" while awaiting the UFO's?

Then there was the news report I heard on the radio earlier today, which I thought was a hoax.
So I googled it.
Well, it wasn't a hoax after all.
The Chief Minister of India, Sheila Dikshit, was interviewed regarding her countries hosting of the Commonwealth Games. I have no idea what the interview was all about, as I was still stuck on her name.
Since I know you probably don't believe me, I thought you might like to check out her profile .

Sheila Dikshit.
Now there's a name you don't want rolling of your tongue.

Bugger... I lost the second half of this post when my laptop suddenly froze!
Oddly, or coincidently, it had to do with David Icke and his conspiracy theories.
Have you visited Above Top Secret yet? It's an awesome site for those who love questioning and still don't believe the answers, even if there aren't any.
Another awesome site for politically motivated theories and opposing views is Counter Punch . I've been following this site long before the internet even came into existence.

For something totally random that will have you shaking your head and going "Now THAT I didn't know", my friend Paige links to a really cool blog called Goatville . Definitely worth a visit.

Somebody told me about this website dedicated to exposing cheaters and liars in relationships, called Don't Date Him Girl . Well I visited the website expecting to find pics and stories of almost every guy on the planet since Adam, but was rather disappointed to find that it was a rather boring site after all. I really was expecting some tittilation, like expecting to see your best friend or boss featured on the site.
Rumour has it they had to remove all the profiles of the cheating guys, because there were too many pending lawsuits.
Some people know just how to suck the fun out of a good old fashioned slander.

Right then.... I spent over an hour on my blog when I should have been meeting deadlines for reports.
I will now begin gnawing at my wrists in an effort to keep me away from my laptop.

2000 Visitors!

2000 Visitors to the blog in just 4 months.
I'm humbled.

I've prepared a little acceptance speech. Please bare with me...
I'd like to thank everyone I've ever met in my entire life (courtesy of Julia Roberts).
I'd like to thank the genius behind the blogs design, Irfaan Imamdin. *applause*
I'd like to thank the only visitor & commentator on my blog, who I suspect has visited the blog 2000 times! Shameema "Ema" Dharsey.

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to thank the following people in no particular order, for having played an integral part in my upbringing and moulding me into the man I am today...
* Playdough USA
* Martin Luther King (Jnr & Snr)
* Bob Marley
* The Hobbits from Lord Of The Rings.
* The cashier at the local Spar
* My mom.

Apologies if I have left anybody out.
Forward and onward to 10 000!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Commonwealth Games

All this hoo-haa about the Commonwealth Games being held in India turning into a potential disaster reminds me of the naysayers and prophets of doom who reared their ugly heads and voiced their even uglier opinions before South Africa hosted the Fifa World Cup.

We had news reports from Australia (no surprises there), New Zealand and the UK predicting a failure of gigantic proportions. What really pissed me off most was that the commentary on these reports were all supportive of the reporters views, and very few were supportive of the countries efforts to make the Soccer World Cup a success. More shocking though, were the number of ex-South Africans and a handful of locals who held the same negative views.

I can't help but grin when I see the same negative propaganda surrounding India's hosting of the Commonwealth Games. The same band of detractors plying their pitiful trade, in an attempt to make the sub-continent look like a sub-species.

Sure they have their problems. Most countries hosting an event of this magnitude would. The big players have had years of experience in hosting these kind of events, which reduces their chances for failure. That doesn't mean they should forever and always be the only countries awarded this honour.

If South Africa proved anything, it proved that a nation united can achieve the impossible against all odds.
We could easily have allowed the naysayers to achieve their objective and allow us to become negative.
But we didn't.
And we're all the better for it.
(And I just committed 2 huge grammatical No-No's!...
Starting a sentence with "but" and following it up with "and" )

As the BBC reporter so aptly put it, "The Commonwealth Games in India has everybody worried, except the Indians. They seem to be approaching it like a big Indian wedding.... Lots of chaos before the event, then suddenly everybody gets together and gets involved, and it turns out to be one massive party."

Here Here!!
Go on India.
Do yourself proud.
Besides, your neighbours Pakistan have already picked the winners in each category :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Blog Patrol

I finally got to check out the SA Blog Awards website and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of bloggers out there.
It made me realise 3 things.
1) If I want to enter and win next year, I need to up my game
2) I also need to include more pictures on my blog
3) Preferably of me in the nude, since sex does sell.

The winner of the personal blog category has a really cool blog with lots of colourful drawings and pics. She's got a cool name too which always helps, Che. Cool name huh!

I checked out the overall winners blog too, but it was in Afrikaans and while I speak the language, I don't really read it too well.
I googled a translator and ended up on a Japanese porn site. Not the kind of translator I had in mind.
The pictures were fun though.
(on the blog, not the Japanese porn site)

If Harry Potter had a blog I'd follow him. Even if only because he seems like he's always high on weed, which makes him fun to be around. I've never been a Harry Potter fan. Neither have I ever been a Star Wars or Star Trek fan. I can't even tell the difference between the latter two. I know Darth Vader stars in one of them, and my favourite line is "Look, I'm not your fudder". That's as far as my fan-knowledge goes.

Here's my list of people I wish were bloggers so I could follow them, in no particular order, and for no reason other than I'd love to see what is going on inside their heads.

1) Harry Potter *as mentioned above*
2) Chuck Norris
3) Julius Malema
4) Ghandi
5) Saddam Hussein
6) Shrek
7) Pinnochio
8) Tupac Shakur
9) Marilyn Monroe
10) Santa Clause

Well, there you have it.
Incidently, those are also the 10 people I'd most like to have seated around my dinner table.
There's a few questions I'd like to ask each of them, the most common being "Seriously.. what were you thinking?!"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sun City & The Monkey Army

The view from our room at The Cascades, Sun City
For those readers who visit the blog regularly, you will remember that some time in May of this year, I was playing a golf tournament at Sun City, and I won a two-night stay at the Cascades.
We decided to take that mini-vacation earlier this week, and it was as relaxing as it was stressful.
Relaxing because it's always great to have some downtime, but stressful because as per my previous post, my brain is not really wired to switch off.

Sabreen had an absolute blast, and that always makes it worthwhile.

On Thursday we settled into our deck-chairs around the kiddies pool while Sabreen made friends in the shallows. This little kid ambled over and plonked himself in the middle of the pool, totally oblivious of the other kids around him. I watched him with a beady eye, suspecting him to be of the rebel variety, always looking for a reason to get his butt spanked by his negligent folks.
The missus said I was being judgmental.
The words had hardy escaped her lips when the kid stood up from his spot, center of the pool, peeled his swimming shorts off, and proceeded to take a pee.... in the pool... holding his tollie like a scud missile aimed at innocent children!
The other parents were too shocked to react, or at least thats the way it seemed to me.
I yelled at Sabreen to get out of the pool immediately.She skedaddled out of there like a kid out of school at the sound of the end-of-term bell.
This seemed to spur the other parents into action, and in under a minute there were no kids left in the pool, bar the tollie-terrorist.
So Thursday wasn't a particularly good pool outing for Sabreen.

It turns out the Stimirol Spring Break festival was being held at Sun City over the same weekend. The place was absolutely crawling with scantily clad teeny-boppers and bug-eyed testosterone-filled boys.
Breakfast on Friday morning was like being in the food hall at the school dormitory the day after the prom.
Loud and unkempt kids on the wrong end of a hangover is never appealing. One in particular couldn't stop shouting words of endearment into her mobile phone to someone on the other end of the line who must surely have wished he had never answered her call.
At one point she asked a waiter for some watermelon, and proceeded to clap her hands really loudly on getting some. She must have thought they had flown it in from the Cape just to please her. It was only when she walked to the fruit table and saw the heaps of watermelon there for the taking that she realised why everybody was laughing at her little show of idiocity.

We were poolside rather early on the day, trying to secure deck chairs which are at a premium over any long weekend at Sun City.
We had been out for a few hours when I decided to head to the room and have a nap.
The missus stayed on with Sabreen, who seemed intent to make up for lost time in the pool.
Some time later when she finally emerged from the water, they decided to order lunch.
The food had just been delivered when the pool area was invaded by monkeys.
Needless to say, both the missus and Sabreen ran without a moments hesitation, stopping only when they reached the hotel room.
I woke up from a lazy snooze to the incoherent crying-filled tale of the attack of the marauding monkeys, and spent the next fifteen minutes consoling a 4 year old bent on revenge.

By the time I had packed the car and was ready to begin the two-hour journey back home, I knew that the vacation was an awesome break from routine, but that the awesomeness of the routine now awaited me.
Two hours later and we were back home, safe and sound in the comfort of my plush bed and glued to my big screen tv :)
They had this fabulous show on the Discovery Channel about weekend getaways in South Africa.
It looked fantastic.
I think some day I should do a mini-vacation. Looks like it could be tons of fun ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Houston We Have A Problem

Its well after midnight on the second day of my forced vacation, and neither my body nor my mind seem to be handling it too well.
I say 'Forced Vacation' because those that know me, also know what a workaholic I am. I find it extremely difficult to shut my brain off from problem-solving work related issues for a night, so you can only imagine my anxiety at shutting it down for 3 whole days!

I sort of compromised with myself by agreeing to bring along my Blackberry as well as my laptop, on condition that I didn't take or make any work-related phone calls. That seemed to be a fair trade-off. We arrived at the resort around 3pm. By 3:30 we were already in our swimming gear,and settling down poolside. By 3:46 (according to my phone log) I had just completed my first of many telephone calls.
Like a cigarette smoker who promises to quit, and then has one to celebrate making it past the first hour, I had already concluded that the cause was lost. Yes it was a noble cause, and yes I put in a valiant effort at restraining myself, but the truth of the matter is that my passion toward my work is too ingrained in my veins.

My idea of relaxation, quite honestly, is reading the Financial Mail while watching Bloomberg TV. I kid you not.

I've been tossing and turning in bed for over an hour now, unable to sleep. Not through lack of tiredness, but through the anxiety of knowing that sunrise will signal the start of yet another day of doing nothing. Yes I hear the multitudes screaming "How can quality family time on vacation be classified as doing nothing?!" , and yes I totally get the masses calling me ungrateful and unworthy of a holiday of any sorts, but the truth is quite simply that I have enormous amounts of fun with my family while I'm in my working-week environment. I really do.
I lead a blessed life and I'm eternally grateful for loving what I do and appreciating what I have, but I cannot deny that my work is also one of my greatest passions.

Maybe I'll feel differently once I wake up in the morning.
Maybe I'll fully embrace this vacation and down-time and never want to go back to my business again.
Maybe I'll retire in the morning.
But wait, I need to retire now if I plan on doing any retiring later today, as its already 1am!

*listens to the soft breathing of Shakera and Sabreen around him as he contemplates checking emails before befriending the pillow once more*
Sent from my Apple iPad® wireless device

Monday, September 20, 2010

For The Love Of Writing

To those who blog often, and by often I mean more often than I do, you would be familiar with the burning desire to rush home and turn your laptop on in a hurry to gather your thoughts into a post... usually inspired by something you saw or heard.

Such was the sensation I felt today whilst in the midst of a meeting with an extraordinarily charming woman, one who seemed to be courting her early eighties with the same gusto and zest most teenagers would court their first dates with.
She had this perfectly groomed head of silver-blueish hair, with the clearest of blue eyes to match.
Her name was Zelda.
In another life, she could have been a clairvoyant. She certainly had the jewelry and the animated hands for the job.

Anyways, Zelda turned out to be a property mogulless (I just made that word up. Don't bother Googling it. It's meant to mean "Female mogul"). She owns more commercial property than Donald Trump owns toupees.
She was referred to me by a client I had recently renovated a building for.
I'm not easily intimidated, especially not by a geriatric, but her very first phone call to me went something like this:

Phone : Tring Tring (in a polyphonically kinda way)
Me : Hello
Zelda : Yes. Fareed?
Me : Yes.
Zelda : Fareed, I got your number from so-and-so (insert referrers name here).
I'd like to meet you tomorrow at 9,at my building. Please don't be late. I'll forward you the details shortly.
Me : Yes.
Zelda : Good. *click*

Now your'e probably wondering why I hadn't asked her anything, or said anything to her.
Well, in my years of business, I have learnt a a vast array of skills, and one of the most important is recognising authority the second you see or hear it.
Zelda spoke with such commanding authority, there was no questioning her. Not for a second. Not if you gave a damn about emulating the successful.

By 9:15am the next day, she knew I was the right man for the job, and I knew my life as regards my business would never be the same again.
At best I would liken it to the feeling of a kid in an orphanage, having been overlooked every single time potential foster parents came to pick adoptive kids up like puppies from a pet store.... and who finally gets chosen by Santa himself!

I sense I will be learning much from Zelda, but if the truth be told I will be richer and wealthier if I simply learn how she managed to keep the energy and gumption (I stole this word from Humayda's blog ) burning inside that wrinkly body of hers. It's almost like there's a fiery teenager inside, who wakes up each morning ready to blaze a trail across the skies each morning, but decides to put on a pensioners body-suit first.
I watched in awe as she rattled off her expectations of me, interspersed with anecdotes from her impressive mental library of life... all the while those crystal blue eyes sparkling like the Hope Diamond, never dropping her gaze as she locked me in an eyehold, or steady gaze if you prefer (my spellcheck doesn't seem to recognise "eyehold".)
Yes, I'll be the first to admit that I was captivated, immersed in this sea of giddiness.
Vertigo by Zelda.
Sounds like a perfume.

She encapsulated my understanding of success.
She knew who she was, she knew what her purpose was, and she knew that no matter what, she would attain and achieve. It has very little to do with money and all to do with confidence.
It's so easy to misunderstand and confuse these two. Read Azra's blog for a better understanding of this.
It's that very confidence and success that I hope brushes off on me.
The very same I hope to pass on to Sabreen some day.
I know she's going to make an amazing businesswoman some day. Of this I am certain.
(Sabreen I mean, not Zelda.)
But I'd like to think that she gets there with an air of confidence and invincibility that would make men go weak at the knee's in her presence, just as happened to her Daddy when he first met Zelda.

Here's to confidant and amazing woman the world over.
Here's to me who's privileged to be surrounded by the best of them.
Here's to Shakera, and Sabreen, and of course Zelda.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

And In Today Already Walks Tomorrow

The title of this post is from a quote by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Sabreen and I were having a chat this afternoon about a dead bird she had found in the garden.
She seemed to understand the concept of death, but was a little confused about why death was so final. I sensed this when she asked me whether the bird would fly again tomorrow, once it had gotten over this whole death thing.
"How long will it be dead for Dad?"
hhmm... tough question.
So I decided to change the topic to something more apt to a 4 year old's reasoning, as Sabreen once set on an issue never let's it be until she fully understands it. She's like me that way. We can both be extremely tenacious, a trait which would be admirable if it weren't so intense when we're being that way toward each other!
The one thing you enjoy doing above all else, and something you could possibly be really good at.
That's the topic we settled on.
I love the fact that she's at that age where I can capture her attention and engage her in conversation, and she's intelligent enough to contribute to the subject matter.
So I asked her what her passion was... what was the one thing she felt she did really well, and absolutely enjoyed doing.
She thought about this for a while, and replied "Listening".

That's just as well, since my passion is talking :)

Sabreen the Listener.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fancy Financial Footwork

I was watching Suze Orman on the telly earlier, and she had all these folk asking her questions about debt and financial management and pension planning.
I waited about thirty minutes and still she hadn't tackled the issue of paying off a Ferrari.
For that she gets a Brand Fail from me :(

So I decided to Google some of these finance guru's and see just what it is they had to say about our money and how we invest it.
I look after my own money and have been doing so ever since I realised my ex-broker didn't have the first clue about compound interest. We would meet once a month to discuss my portfolio and one day we were going through figures and I asked him to do a quick compound interest rate calculation.
Entry level mathematics to a broker.
He handed the calculator over to me and asked me how it was done
The next day I got rid of him and sent a letter of complaint to his company.

Here's a video I found showing Jim Cramer from CNBC, a rather well-respected investment "expert" in the industry, giving millions of viewers advice on a particular American Bank.

For every finance guru or any other guru in their respective fields out there, there will always be those who are doing it differently, and doing it better.

I've read Suze's books and she certainly knows her subject matter.
I've also read books by Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) and he knows his subject matter too.
Place the two books side by side and read the contradictions, and suddenly you start questioning everything.
Did you know the two of them don't even get along, let alone see eye-to-eye on finance issues?
You should read them lambast each other on Twitter and other social networking forums!

The best finance advice I ever got was from my Grandad, who also taught me most of what I know about business today.
"Look after the Pennies, and the Pounds will look after themselves."
OK he's also the same guy that drives a Toyota and gave me the sternest of lectures about wastage when I bought my first BMW, but his initial lesson certainly wasn't lost on me.

Sabreen asked me for a money-box a few weeks back, and I went out looking for one.
All I could find were these tiny ceramic piggy types.
Firstly they were too small, and secondly they seemed more like ornaments.
So I decided to get her involved and we made one out of an old 5l paint can.
Sure a 5l paint can may seem rather big, but who ever got anywhere by dreaming small?

Next step was to teach her to collect coins from the missus and I at the end of every day, and put it in her money-box.
Sure it took a week for me to convince her that the Monopoly money didn't belong in the tin, but once she got that lesson she was just fine.

She started putting notes in the money-box when people came home and she figured that showing them her tin usually ended up with them giving her money to put into it.
Now she scoffs at the coins and waits expectedly for the notes.
Which means I'm now too nervous to come home with cash in my pockets, else they end up in her box!

The signs are positive that she'll be pretty good with handling money.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Last Kiss


I've never been so motivated to blog like I am right now!
I'm watching this movie and it's so amazingly powerful.
I think every guy and every girl in any sort of relationship should watch it.

The Last Kiss.

Put it on your bucket-list of movies to watch.

*This may have been better as a Facebook Status update*

Eric The MTN Guy

Ever since Trevor Noah sold his soul to the corporates, I've become very anti-Trevor and by default very anti-CellC.
Suddenly his jokes don't seem funny anymore.

So when one of my mobile contracts came up for renewal, I decided to stick with MTN.
Sure they have their issues and may not have the best customer service, but at least they're not affiliated with Trevor or have retarded meerkats dancing to even more retarded songs as a marketing tool.

I traipsed (I like that word.. I should use it more often) over to the local MTN store and was met by Eric.
Calmest guy on the planet!

True story :
This woman standing before me was ranting and raving and cussing all manner of unspeakable words that would make a scurvied sailor blush, and Eric just stood there and smiled.
He took it like a real trooper, never once flinching or interrupting.
Even when she said the MTN folk can take their Blackberry's and shove it up their collective arses!
I think "collective" was over-kill. Singular arses would still have got the point across.
But thats just me.

Admittedly I was there to collect one of those Blackberry's.
Hopefully from the storeroom and not from the orifice said lady had just mentioned.

It turns out she was upset that MTN had suspended her service for being in arrears.
I'm not sure what her argument was, but telling them where to shove their phones didn't seem like such a great  negotiating tactic.
Anyways, Eric finally calmed her down and offered her some coffee while he suggested she use his laptop to write them an email!
How cool is this guy?!
Him and I both knew he was going to delete her mail the second she walked out of the store.
OK maybe he didn't know it, but I sure as heck did.
It's exactly what I would have done.

It's only when I stepped up to the counter to be helped that I realised why he was so cool throughout her tirade... he had his earphones plugged into his ear, and seemed to be listening to music from his mobile!
I'm guessing The Three Tenors or Andrea Bocelli.
He probably had'nt heard a word she said.
Again, maximum points for distracting himself whilst looking interested.

Now one of the things I've realised about myself is that I enjoy engaging people and finding out their stories. Everybody has a story, even those who say they don't.
Everybody does.

It's like the post I was reading on my friend Paige's blog, about a Big Issue vendor being drenched.
Wouldn't it be cool if every day, we could choose random people from all walks of life, and sit them down to find out their story, and then write about it on our blogs?
Telling the story would be as empowering for them as writing the story would be for us.

I just knew Eric had a story, so I asked him about the craziest client he ever had to deal with.
Always an easy ice-breaker, because we never forget the crazies.
He looked at me with that amazingly calm face, eye's as serene as an Alaskan ice-pond.
His eyelids half-closed. He almost looked Chinese.
Like a Chinese black dude.
Very cool.
Maybe he just smoked weed?...

It was a few weeks back.
She came in carrying her fancy handbag and flowers on her shoe's matching the flowers in her hair.
Always a bad sign.
Bad dress sense always equates to bad common sense.
Anyways, she never bothered introducing herself or asking for the right person to speak to.
She just saw calm Eric as the weak link in the MTN herd and honed in for the attack.
Within 5 minutes he was belittled to the point where he started thinking maybe he was a loser.
She was so crafty he forgot to ask her what the problem was and began focussing on his newly-planned suicide.
Just before he slit his wrist as a last stand of defiance of a man holding on to his vanishing pride, he managed to fire off a feeble "What's the problem with your phone ma'am?"

She handed it over to Eric and said she couldn't connect to the internet.
He flipped it open, looked at it and told her he couldn't help her.
She had his testicles in her claws and was about to rip them off and serve them as a delicacy to her poodle, unsalted. (figuratively, of course).
She scowled and asked him why not.
He lifted his gaze like a muslim pilgrim trying not to gaze at Satans naked wife before him.
Then lifted his finger and pointed out the door, saying "Because Vodacom is that way ma'am."

Crazy woman realised she was in the wrong store, didn't bother apologising as she huffed, spun around and proceeded to the Vodacom store.

So thats Eric's story.... and he's sticking by it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Love So Pure

I was just fourteen when I first laid eyes on her.

She moved to the neighbourhood a month after my birthday, and I was so distraught that I'd missed the opportunity of having her at my party by just a few weeks.
Even at fourteen I knew I'd fallen in love. I always wondered what the sensation would feel like when it finally did hit me. I hadn't figured that it would be one of such giddiness and unexplained butterflies.

I remember going to school the following Monday and telling my friends about her.
At first I felt uncomfortable telling them her name, and even though they laughed on hearing it, I knew deep down inside that they were secretly envious of my attachment to Jessie.
It wasn't long before she became one of the guys, coming along wherever we went.
Saturday mornings were spent at the soccer field, and she was like our mascot.
Sunday mornings were reserved for fishing trips on our bicycles, and I smiled inwardly whenever the guys would ask why Jessie didn't come along on the few occasions when she was otherwise occupied.

I once asked my mom if Jessie could move in with us, thinking it the most natural thing in the world.
As a fourteen year old, everything seems natural.
Of course mom said it wouldn't be right, and whilst I didn't understand at first, I didn't allow it to hinder my seeing her every single day.

It was three amazing and wonderful years later, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, that my mom came into my room and sat down at the foot of my bed. She started massaging my foot and I awoke from a lazy languid dream about oceans and seagulls.
At first I was confused about what she was saying, as it sounded like something out of a soppy movie. It almost sounded like the script to My Girl with MaCauley Culkin.
Except in her version the main character wasn't stung by bee's, but was hit by a car.
Then she mentioned the name.
Jessie had been hit by a car?
Jessie had been hit by a car!

The tears were streaming down my face long before the realisation had sunk in.
It's amazing how fast the brain can process. It almost felt like the reality was racing to catch up with the emotion.

I yanked my foot away from my mom and ran outside in the rain, competing with the weather to see who could drown the earth quickest.
I must have cried for over an hour before I realised the sun had set, and I was left to do my crying in the dark.
It took me two days before I could summon enough courage to visit Jessie's home again.
Opening that rickety old fence was the most difficult moment for me, because the squeal of the rusted metal gate was like a trigger for Jessie to come running to me, but not on this day.
Jessie would come running to me no more.

The vet said it was old age.
I still hear her bark when I close my eyes and think back on those three amazing years.
That sweet sound and her boundless energy will forever be young in my memories.

Happy tails Jessie.

I Want My Own Reality TV Show

OK I'll admit it.
I'm a sucker for Reality TV shows.
I don't care how daft the show is, if it's real i'm watching it. I've even sat through complete episodes of "Deadliest Catch" and the one about the truckers driving through snow. The latter was so boring , I was munching on raw red chillies just to stay awake till the end. "Deadliest Catch" was about fishing for crabs in the Caspian Sea.
Riveting, as you can well imagine.

Lately I've been watching "Leave It To Lama". I'm still not sure whether this is about the actor or the woolly sheep, but either way it's as lame as Hugh Heffner's girlfriends professing their undying love for him.

So I decided that if anyone and their monkey can have a Reality TV show, maybe I can too!
With all the exciting stuff that happen's to me in my average day, and the hundreds of interesting characters I meet in any given month, I reckon I have the basics covered for a hit show.

I remember chatting about these Reality TV shows to a friend I once knew, and he was saying he'd love to have one too. I couldn't see it. His family is so boring they make Mormons look like wild free-loving coke-snorting hippies at Ibiza.
They're so boring, his brother wouldn't have an opinion on anything unless you smacked him and gave him yours.
I'm not even kidding about this!
He once took a picture of a piece of grass, with nothing besides the grass in it, and his brother said it was really awesome.
I stared at it for 2 days and thought I was missing something! True story.
Yet there he was telling me that they would make an awesome Reality TV family.
Episode One: The Amazing Grass Chronicles

This afternoon I got to watch The Kardashians.
Except for their wealth, they're a pretty ordinary family. I've seen some of those squabbles and fights they've had, in episodes that were described as "explosive", and quite honestly the worst of the fights was probably as explosive as my 6-month old nephews farts.
Growing up in my home, with at least 9 family members on a good day, no fight was regarded as being even remotely explosive unless there was blood involved.
My sister, who's at least a year younger than I am, once beat me repeatedly over the head with a sieve until my mom ran in and screamed at her for ruining her good baking utensils.
An hour later after I had regained consciousness, it was business as usual as she and I teamed up against my cousin using a fillet knife and the electric bender.

The networks should seriously consider doing a Reality TV show based on an Indian household.
It would have all the makings of a hit show!
An hour in the kitchen and you've got the cooking channel covered.
Another hour with the family and kids after dinner and you've got Supernanny.
The son comes home late on a Saturday night after going out clubbing and gets confronted by his dad, and you've got WWE or even Survivor.
The mom's sisters come over for tea on a Sunday afternoon, and you've got Gossip Girl and Desperate Housewives all rolled into one.
The Dad gets together with his friends for Saturday afternoon football and you've got Californication.

And thats just in my household!

Maybe I'll start with making my own youtube videos first.
That will be my next project then.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Mexican Stand-Off

Today was Father-&-Daughter day, and I decided to take Sabreen to Sandton City for lunch and a bit of shopping.
I like choosing her outfits even if only because leaving the choice to the missus would mean Sabreen looking like a mismatched circus act.

*Something tell's me I should sleep with one eye open tonight. Just a hunch*

So there we were, taking a leisurely afternoon drive to the mall, when I asked her where she would like to go for lunch.
This is a transcript of the conversation, between a father and his 4yr old prima donna.

Me : Right then, where should we go for lunch?
Sabreen : Haagen Daz.
Me : Haagen Daz is not a lunch venue. It's an ice-cream shop.
Sabreen : I know that.
Me : You want to have lunch at an ice-cream shop?
Sabreen : Yes Dad. Don't be a fuddy duddy.

Did I mention that she's just 4?
Lord help me when she gets to 14!!

I'd like to think that i'm still young and hip.
I bought those funky Italian sneakers to prove it.
Sabreen seems to think otherwise.

So we debated the issue, and we both had some really valid points.

Guess who won?
In a Mexican stand-off, the smart money would be on her.

A Feast To End The Fast

Today was Eid. The day that signifies the end of the fasting month of Ramadhaan.

It's been an amazing month of reflection and spirituality, and abstinence from the ordinary and sinful too.
Not that we shouldn't abstain outside of the fasting month, but Ramadhaan just makes us more conscious of this fact.
So I took some time out today to review the Eid festivities, and realised that it takes the average person just one single day to undo all the good that a month of fasting had achieved.

Here's a prime example:
We have a massive breakfast on Eid morning at my home, inviting friends and family to partake of all manner of food and savouries.
This usually starts at around 9am and continues until around 11:30am.
Then we have a breather during which time a change of garments is in order.
Lunch is served at 1:30pm and continues until 3:30pm. This venue changes almost every year, with the only constant being the gaurantee of plenty of good food.
Supper is the grandest of all grand culinary affairs. We head to Benoni to my Aunts place, and by 8pm we're all pretty much elbow deep in every variation of prawn one could possibly imagine! Prawn curry, grilled prawns, braai'd prawn, lemon-butter prawns, peri-peri prawns... You name the prawn, and somebody is bound to be wolfing it down.

It's now almost midnight and I've just arrived back home.
I am so full of prawns I feel like a stuffed prawn sausage.
I will most probably skip all meals tomorrow in order to speed up the recovery process, as is the norm most years for me.

I don't think this is the way the wise men who came before us intended for us to spend the day... but quite frankly I can't walk away from all that good food.
I'll certainly try harder next year, but right now there's some fresh strawberry's dipped in melted Lindt chocolate waiting for me.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tax For Dummies

Suppose that every evening, 10 men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to R100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: 

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay R1.
The sixth would pay R3.
The seventh would pay R7.
The eighth would pay R12.
The ninth would pay R18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay R59.

So, that's what they decided to do....... The 10 men drank in the bar every evening and were quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner said, "Since you are all such good customers, I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by R20". 

Drinks for the 10 men would now cost just R80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men, the paying customers - how could they divide the R20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realised that R20 divided by six is R3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. 
So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

Therefore, the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing.
The sixth now paid R2 instead of R3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid R5 instead of R7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid R9 instead of R12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid R14 instead of R18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid R49 instead of R59 (16% saving). 

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

"I only got a rand out of the R20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got R10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a rand too. It's unfair - he got 10 times more benefit than me!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get R10 back, when I got only R2? The wealthy always win!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists, labour unions and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Extreme Make-Overs

I was watching this show on the telly about extreme make-overs earlier, and I decided to Google some of the most unbelievable.

I think these pretty much qualify; no pun intended.


No way!
At first I thought it was Susan Boyles prettier sister on the left.
This is why these pics are unbelievable.
They're true, but they're unbelievable.


The one on the right looks like a model.
The one on the left looks like the girl who makes tea and butters scones for the models assistant.

That's a chick on the left?
I don't mean to be mean, but if I were dating the one on the right, and came across her "before" pic on the left, I'd dump her ass like a hot potato and run like hell!
But thats just me not being mean.

At first I thought these were two sisters, and the one on the left kept getting beaten by her Dad with the ugly stick.
I think it's those spectacles and double-chin.
Or maybe it's that bad skin.
Maybe it's Photoshop.
Who know's really...

I chose this pic as the winner for my Extreme Make-Over series.
Totally unbelievable.
So weird in fact that every time I look at the pic on the right, I can't help imagining the ugly girl on the left trying to break out.

Ok I won't lie, when I first saw this last pic, I thought it was a dude.
I still think it's a dude.
I'd have to be really dunk and really desperate to stop and give her/him a ride if I saw them hitching on the side of the road.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Car Chronicles

I searched long and hard to find pics of my previous car, a stunning BMW 330d with all the bells and whistles. I found these two on one of my older blogs, The Kaloo's .
I miss her dearly :(
Some people will never understand the bond between man and machine.

On a separate note, I can't believe I once fitted into that shirt!!

This Week's Favourite Video

Ok so every so often I'll be posting my favourite video of the week or month.
By now most of you will have an idea of the type of music that tickles my fancy.
This video has it all.
Great setting, awesome catchy tune, Satchmo-like male singer, and a fabulous set of legs on the female lead :)
It always helps when the female lead is cute as a button :)

Anyways, I like the words.
Pack up your troubles.
I'm not one to get easily down and m... crap, how do you spell moppy/ mowpy/ moupy/ mopey?
I think it's the last one.
As I was saying, I don't mope easily :)
I think I got it from my Gran.
I don't think I ever saw her lose her cool, or be really down and depressed.
Even when my Grandad passed on.

So I was tapping my feet to the song and singing along to my 4 year old, when she looked at me and asked "How do you pack up your troubles?"
Good question.
I have no idea.
But music always helps.
And writing in single sentences on the blog.
Like this.

So without further ado... yes this must be the longest introduction to a music video ever!!
Without further ado... enjoy the video :)
I'm off to watch Chuck.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Worth Watching

The kind of video that stops you in your tracks and makes you look at yourself, and reflect.
Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


This is something I would expect Verimark to sell.
Because you never know when you need to be covering your manly bits?
I don't think they really meant your hands.

Like those socks with the toes cut out. I never quite understood them. When my feet get cold, it's actually my toes that are affected. Why would I want the toes of my socks cut out then?
It's like buying a pack of condoms with the tips cut off just because they may look cool.
Bad example.

I was chatting to a friend of mine about these socks the other day, and went as far as admitting that I once owned a pair that was the exact opposite of the toe-less sock; I had the sock that had an opening for each toe.
You know the type.. It's the one everybody has a pair of and nobody is willing to admit to.

Well of course he denied ever owning a pair.
Then he said something very interesting.
He said somebody should invent a product like this for the hands!
"You mean like a glove?" I asked.

Yes, as embarrassing as it is, I'm surrounded by people like this that I call "My friends".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SA Blog Awards

Somebody suggested I enter the SA Blog Awards.
I had no idea there were Blog Awards. I'm not even sure what the criteria is for being eligible.
I do know that I'm so vain I only write so that I can read my own words on the internet. Sure on the odd occasion I will cosy on over to other websites of interest, like  Paige's blog which always tickles my funny bone, or Azra's blog which never fails to get me thinking.

I could spend an entire day between my blog and Twitter, but quite honestly it would be a very selfish day of me indulging in my own writing or status updates. That's one of the reason's I hardly visit Facebook any longer.
Twitter and the blog is about me.
Facebook is about everyone else.
That and the fact that Facebook is fast losing it's appeal.
I think it was the advent of Farmville that really sounded the death knell of Facebook for me.
Just when I thought they found a way to scrape the bottom of the barrel, they came up with Mafia Wars!

So back to these SA Blog Awards.
I don't know anyone that's entered nor what the prizes are, but this could be something to work toward for next year.
What happen's if you have a mystery blog?
I know someone who does.
You know, where you have a blog but don't disclose who you are.
Like a graffiti doodler who spraypaints walls under the cover of darkness.
What happens if one of these mystery bloggers wins the awards?
Do they collect their prize like Mzekezeke, wearing a balaclava to the event?

Just curious.

Are there Twitter awards too?
Because I have about 8500 Twitter updates, and 400 followers.
That must count for something, surely.
I always wondered who it was that read my tweets, all 8500 of them.
It's quite heartwarming to know that the crazy things I have to say are of interest to some of you out there.
Even if it's bots or spammers that are popping in.

This reminds me of a tweet I read sometime earlier this week.
This girl saw two homeless people making out behind Checkers one afternoon, and shouted "Get a room!"
Then she realised it may have been insensitive to scream "Get a room!" to homeless people.
So I told her the politically correct response would have been "Get a box!"
Does that sound right?
I don't know what's polite anymore.
I mean I know the homeless folk in Sandton have pretty high standards compared to the rest of the country.
Like they won't eat McDonalds, even if you bought it for them.
They'll do KFC, but McDonalds is just beneath them.

I had Steer's for dinner last night.
Sounds weird to say I had "Whacky Wednesday" for dinner.
Dinner is supposed to be a fine dining experience, not something Whacky in a brown paperbag; especially not something that come's at "Two for the price of one" specials.
So I did a really daft thing last night.
I woke up just after midnight (that's not the daft bit) and I was feeling snacky.
I opened the fridge and there it was.... the second Steer's burger that I hadn't eaten earlier.
So I warmed that bad boy up and wolfed it down.
(That sounded so gay!)
Scratch that.
I heated the burger up and ate it like a real man eats a Steer's Whacky Wednesday burger.

Needless to say, I got heartburn and thought I was going to die.
My first thought went out to the guy who would be doing my autopsy.
Opens me up and finds an undigested Steer's burger.
How gross!

Then there's these crazy dreams I've been having lately...

But that's for another blog post some other time...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Heartfelt Thank You

The blog is less than 3 months old and has already seen just over 1500 visitors!

I am truly humbled that so many of you out there enjoy reading my ramblings enough to keep coming back for more.
Maybe I should rename the blog :)

Thank you for coming around every so often, and having a little peep into my average day.
Here's hoping you spread the Kaloo like a soft margarine on your morning toast.

Finally, a few acknowledgements are in order.

* The blog would not be The Blog were it not for the creative genius of an awesome guy I have never yet met, Irfaan Imamdin. (Or as I like to call him, Sensei).
* My most regular visitor and dear friend Ema :)
* And of course the other 1498 people that have stumbled upon the blog.

Thank you guys.
I truly am humbled :)

Whacky Wednesday

Steers 2 burgers for the price of one.
Wednesdays only.

So we took the kids out to Steers Whacky Wednesday and I wasn't disappointed.
Four adults, two kids, and the Whacky Wednesday special all-around may have been too many burgers to consume.
I think the look on Sabreen's face when this mountain of beef burgers arrived was an indication that I may have ordered too much food.

I like food specials, I won't lie about this.
I like the Jimmy's Killer Prawns "Eat As Much As You Like" Tuesday Buffet.
You already know how much I like Steers Whacky Wednesdays.
In Dubai, we could go an entire week of buffets and crazy food specials without having to eat at home once.
Yes yes, I know about the health issues, but until the WHO (World Health Organization) ok's huge jugs of Kola Tonic & Lemonade and tubs of Ben & Jerry's, I'm not taking their word on anything.

I remember going to a new restaurant that opened in London once that had an "Eat As Much As You Like" Salad Bar. I don'think they lasted very long.
It's like walking into a sugar-free candy store.
Just doesn't work.

Growing up my mom was one of those who believed that all the good stuff needed to be under lock and key.
I never knew what the inside of our fridge or grocery cupboard looked like until I was married and came to visit one day.
When I say everything got locked up, I mean everything!
The fridge had a lock; the pantry had a lock; the grocery cupboard had a lock.

I'm not even kidding about this!

When we had guests over, we couldn't wait for those door's to be opened so that we could see what surprises lay in store inside.

So when Sabreen was born, I swore there would be no locks on any fridges or cupboards or pantry doors.
Sure the first time she could walk and reach the handles, she opened them up and had herself a party.
But soon the novelty wore off, and at age four she's no longer fascinated into an eating frenzy whenever she see's candy, at our home or anyone else's for that matter.

I guess it boil's down to trust and respect.
I trust her to know what's right and wrong, as best as a four year old can fathom right and wrong.
She respects the trust I put in her.
I like the way it works out, and I really do hope and pray that it will continue working in the testing years ahead.

Maybe it's that "Lock & Key" upbringing that get's me all excited about buffets and WhackyWednesdays.