Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The True Price Of Perfect Abs

I started gyming. Again.
I may have mentioned this before in a previous post, but since nobody who visits my blog remembers anything I write, let's pretend this is the first time you're hearing about it ;)
My target body is the one I had back in my college days. I've lost the original pics, but for all intents and purposes it was pretty close to the one above . That's my body, that's my story, and I'm sticking by both of them.

My first week into my gym routine and I realized that my OCD (as diagnosed by my best friend who moonlights as a clinical psychologist when she's not buying me exotic tea's and drinks or bestselling books) was going to be tested to it's limits.
I have a thing for cleanliness.
Nothing crazy or abnormal by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just finicky about certain things.

Like other people's sweat or bodily liquids. Especially if these are to be found on the handle-bars of the bicycle I'm about to use, or the seat of the rowing machine I was heading toward, or the bench I was about to sit on in the locker-room, or on the little button I need to press at the water cooler, or on any handle of any door I'm meant to open or close at the gym.
Like I said, nothing crazy or abnormal.
Everybody has a freak out when they see or come within 1 meter of someone else's perspiration. And if they don't, they bloody well should.

That's why I never fully understood the Steam Room at the gym.
I'm no scientist, but my Standard 6 understanding of basic precipitation tells me that the steam room is one huge recycling contraption that circulates other peoples sweat. You go in there with 4 strange fat guys, they each drip sweat like a burst geyser, the steam circulates that dripped sweat around until it latches onto you like a hungry leach, and you come out thinking "Wow! Look at how much I perspired in there! I feel awesome!"

Now I know most gyms have a strict policy about having a shower before using the swimming pool, and for good and obvious reason too. But let's be honest, who's policing this policy? I've seen a group of guys come out of the Sweat Exchange Room and jump straight into the pool like it was the most natural thing since carrying portable disinfectant wipes.
Your average gym swimming pool is approximately 200 000 litres.
On average most gyms chlorinate their pools once a week, at a weak concentrate so as not to affect the skin and eyes of gym goers.
I only know this because I made some inquiries, as I'm sure everyone who's ever signed a gym contract has done.
Based on these numbers, if herds of sweaty people are jumping into the pool every day, compounded by the Sweat Exchange Room dripaholics, and gyms are using the bare minimum in chlorine to disinfect their pools, it would mean that by my rough calculations, within 6 months all natural water has been replenished by OPS (other peoples sweat) and you're practically swimming around in a massive Perspiration Pool.
I'm pretty sure this thought has crossed your minds before.
Next time you think wearing swimming goggles helps keep germs out of your eyes, think again about opening your mouth in that pool!

Next week we discuss the ultimate germ warfare incubator. The kind of germ laboratory that would make Al-Qaeda proud.
Yes ladies and gents, the gym toilets and showers comes under the spotlight.
Watch this space...

Here's to 6pack abs :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 Review


Who cares?
They're just bloody phones, and 6 months from now they'll be outdated anyways!

That's my official review and I'm sticking by it.

PS: I used to love Apple for being cutting-edge and progressive, but now I just think they're douche bags for trying to patent everything under the sun.
Based on this, I'll buy the Samsung.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/11 War On Terror, Brought To You By Hallmark

It's that time of year again when every news channel and every radio station and every newspaper insists we never forget the acts of terror on 9/11.
Not that we could, even if we wanted to. America would never allow that, and neither would it's marketing machine run by the mass media.

Before I get accused of being unsympathetic toward those who lost their lives on 9/11, let me clarify.
I sympathize with the families and loved ones of every single one of those innocents who lost their lives on that fateful day, including the brave men and women who were part of the search and rescue efforts.
But I also sympathize with the families and loved ones of those innocents, men, women and children alike, who lost their lives subsequent to the event. People who lost their lives without ever knowing where New York is on the world map. People who had never seen the Twin Towers. People who didn't even know that two planes hijacked by Saudi terrorists had flown into American buildings, until they themselves were being bombed by American forces in every country surrounding Saudi, except Saudi itself.

I sympathize with men, women and innocent children who lose their lives daily because of government policies regarding health care, social services and poverty.
I sympathize with men, women and innocent children who never know whether they will see tomorrow because they have been displaced by civil wars funded by America and it's allies.
I sympathize with men, women and innocent children throughout Africa who's survival rates beyond the age of 25 are so minuscule, lab rats in pharmaceutical companies stand a better chance of life.

HIV Aids, Malaria, poverty, civil war, hunger... these are things we should never forget.
These are the people who are most vulnerable... who are never remembered every year by the mass media... who will never make forwarded posters on Facebook or hashtags on Twitter.
These are the people who's families will never receive compensation for their unnecessary deaths thanks to governments around the world who have turned a terrorist event into a Hallmark occasion.

But these people were not killed or murdered as a result of an act of terror, you say?

Where are the mass media and American propagandists on the anniversary of Hiroshima?
Where are the mass media and American propagandists on the anniversary of the Tuskegee Experiment?
Haiti... Guatemala... Hungary... Laos... Vietnam... Ecuador... Congo... Bolivia...Chile... Iran... Iraq... Afghanistan... Palestine...
The list is endless, the anniversaries never remembered and the dead long forgotten.

I respectfully remember August 6th, 1945.
I respectfully remember December 1987 and September 2000.
I respectfully remember September 11, 2001.
I respectfully remember every date in between.
Funny how only one of those dates don't require you to Google the event.

So please don't ask me to glorify a date that led to more innocent deaths than any excuse or reason could ever justify. The American propaganda machine is doing a good enough job of convincing others never to forget 9/11.
Personally I have too many other dates to remember, that in my opinion are more important.

*with no disrespect to the friends and family who lost loved ones on 9/11*

Monday, September 10, 2012

What If....?

What if you had taken that chance on that fateful day all those years ago?
What if you'd thrown caution to the wind and decided to see where fate leads you?
What if that moment presented itself to you today? Would you take that leap of faith and get out of your comfort zone, or would you watch the opportunity pass you by again?

This pic is one of my favorites for many reasons.
That's me walking the streets of Zurich in Switzerland armed with nothing but a backpack, a pocketful of change and an inquiring mind.

I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm a risk taker; that my personality type is one of high risk roller; that my aptitude dictates I would bet everything including the clothes on my back to follow a dream.
I used to believe this, but for far too long I found myself second-guessing what my gut was screaming.
It's a profound thought and an awe-inspiring one to know that every decision we make in our lives, every single decision no matter how small or grave at the time, will forever change the course of our lives.
Every single decision.
Every choice we make presents an impact moment that continuously changes the course of our destiny.
Think about that for a minute.
If our destiny is pre-determined, how could anything we do or any decision we make change it's course?

I used to ponder this thought until it dawned on me.
If I have faith that the Universe is predisposed to inherent goodness, and every decision I make is with the intention of learning and exploring without hurting or harming, then every decision and choice I make will be supported by the Universe and everything around me will align itself to help me achieve my goal.
Put another way, if we simply trust the system and do the best we can with good intentions, whatever is meant for us along our path will present itself to us.

They say the saddest expression in a mans eyes is the look of a love lost.
I disagree.
I think the saddest expression in a mans eyes is the realization that he's dreams will die with him. The feeling of never having truly achieved and accomplished. Nothing could come closer to knowing that your life was wasted, than to know that you lived it void of fulfilling your hearts desire... and if it was love that was your hearts desire and you never chased that dream, then you have truly lived a life of sadness.

We've become so immune to those inspirational posters and emails and forwarded messages and bumper stickers telling us to live our dreams, that we've forgotten how to dream.
I spoke to a friend the other day and asked him what he'd rather be doing at that very minute. He looked at me and said "Sleeping."
With the choice of doing anything his heart desired, being anywhere else, doing anything else, being with anyone else, he chose sleeping above all. That pretty much sums up our lives. We're so busy chasing our bills, we've forgotten how to chase our dreams.

Dreams don't pay the bills, you say?
Maybe we need to adjust our bills instead of adjusting our dreams.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Survivor Jozi: Outlive, Outlast, Outplay

 If you've never lived in Johannesburg, or Jozi as we fondly call our little piece of heaven in these parts, then you've never truly experienced the amazing spectacle of a Highveld Thunderstorm.
Our coastal cousins down south are prone to running for the bleachers with umbrella and sunscreen in tow at the slightest murmur of thunder or the first pitter-patter of rain. Around these parts, it would take a storm of epic proportions before we even button up a jersey or don a jacket.

So it was on Friday morning that the missus awoke in a frenzy as is her routine, rushing around like Oprah at the buffet table after the last of the chocolate eclairs, trying to get Sabreen done and ready for school.
Since I only go to bed around 3am (my new work hours ever since I started trading the Asian markets) I was about two-thirds of the way into a blissful dream that had to do with Woolies Peppermint Tart and Lucy Liu when the missus came barging into the room informing me that a tree had fallen across the driveway.
Assuming this to be your standard garden variety tree, I mumbled that she should get the gardener to move it.
That's him in the pic above, wondering how to accomplish this objective armed with a handsaw and a cap.

By the time I awoke 2 hours later, the missus and Sabreen had settled themselves onto the sofa cuddling hot chocolates and having clearly written the day off, since no cars were leaving or entering my driveway today.

The scene above is what greeted me when I came outside to inspect the progress.
It seems my gardener is more adapt at using that handsaw than I give him credit for.

Unfortunately my insurance company isn't so adapt at resolving problems. They informed me that they would send a professional tree-feller out by Friday afternoon. Somebody may have come, I'm not sure. What I do know for sure is that there is still a massive tree laying across my driveway, and I haven't been able to take my cars out all weekend.

On the plus side, I have firewood to last me until sometime around the next ice-age. Maybe sooner if I start working on an ark.
You never know when God may decide to do landscaping of biblical proportions again!

They really should shoot the next season of Survivor around these parts. If you can survive the crime, nature AND Noeleen on SABC every week, you may just have a shot at a Million Dollars!

Jozi ain't for sissies. That's all I'm saying.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Big Is This Family?

I must have been about 12 or 13 when I got the first really memorable smack on the back of my head.
Not because I had been caught smoking or bunking school or had my ear pierced.... but because I had walked passed my Mom chatting to the neighbor and simply greeted said neighbor with "Hi Sheila."

My 12 year old brain was trying to figure out what I had done wrong, when my Mom brought me up to speed with the threat of another smack unless I addressed the neighbor by her proper name, Aunty Sheila.

Ever since then, everyone and anyone who looks possibly older than I am, even if it be by a single grey hair, naturally becomes my Aunty or Uncle.

That's fine when you're pre-pubescent or even a teenager. Everybody is older than you are... and if they're not, it's easy to spot.
Turn the clock forward 20 years and suddenly kids are calling you Uncle and you're calling their dad's Uncle and before you know it, the vicious circle has no end!
When does it all stop? When do I have to stop worrying about being smacked on the head for not referring to an elder as Uncle or Aunty? Do they have to fit a certain criteria before being given the title? What about the old geezer at the BP petrol station who fills my tank and washes my windscreen? Is he my Uncle too? What about the guy at my cricket club who's considerably older than I am, but who's wife was 2 grades behind me in school? Does she automatically become my Aunty?

I don't know.
I blame my parents for starting this madness. If we had just stuck to the Webster Dictionary definition of Uncle and Aunt, life would be so much simpler and family boundaries would be a lot more clear cut.
I visited a friend once who's dad was telling me a story about a family function they had attended over the weekend. He kept referring to one of the characters in the story as "Your aunty" and I kept wondering which aunty, and how would he know any member of my family.
Finally at the end of his long drawn-out saga which rivaled Days Of Our Lives for boring awards, he could sense I was having difficulty putting this 'aunty' person into context and when I asked who she was, he said "My wife man... haven't you been following?"
Clearly I hadn't.
Somewhere between visiting my friend to play video games and this boring story his father insisted on telling me, the woman of the house had become my Aunty!

I know my Indian friends reading this are going "Hey, that happened to me too! Everyone is my Aunty and Uncle".... and my white friends are going "What the dickens is he talking about?"
White folk don't seem to have this problem.
They also don't seem to get smacked on the head as often as Indian kids do.
My friend Shaun who was 14 at the time came home when it was still cool for Indians to bring white friends home, like showing off to your parents that you discovered a new species and it goes with your jeans and tekkies.
Anyways, so Shaun comes home one Saturday and I'm praying to God as we walked up my driveway that my mom wasn't making samoosa's or frying kebabs, because back then that's what everybody thought happens in Indian homes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just samoosa's and kebabs non-stop.
Thankfully, my mom was doing neither.
She was vacuuming the entire house with a stocking on her head and slippers.
Not a stereotype at all, thank goodness.

So Shaun walks in, sees my mom and goes "Hi Rashida."
I closed my eyes waiting for the smack, all the while thinking my days of bringing white friends home had just come to an abrupt end.
My mom replies "Hi Shaun. Good to see you. How are your folks?"
I stood there gobsmacked. Seriously? How are your folks? What happened to his smack on the head?

That's when I realized that my parents had two sets of rules.
One for their kids, and one for everyone else's kids.
Our rules always included a smack on the head at some point.
I guess it's that fear that kept most of us in line. I just wished they'd told me when I could stop calling random strangers Uncle and Aunty.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Embrace The Change

Oh look!
It's my Blog!
I thought this place looked familiar.

This is what happens when a guy survives on 3 hours sleep a night, thanks to the addition of a crying pooing hungry insomniac-induced baby. (Don't believe anything the missus says... I'm pulling my fair share of hours)
Suddenly everything that was on the top of my priority list gets relegated to the second-division, somewhere below nappy changes and warming milk bottles.
My blog hasn't been updated in weeks.
My clients haven't received quotes or invoices in a month.
I haven't shaved since that one awesome night when I got a full 8 hours sleep sometime back in mid August.

On the plus side though, Princess Zia is just absolutely adorable.... when she's sleeping.
Ok she's adorable when she's awake too, just not at 3 in the morning. Then she reminds me of that demon from Chucky. Chucky. Yes, that was the demon. That's who she reminds me of at 3 in the morning when I'm trying to calm her down while she screams blue murder and I'm barely able to balance with her in my hands and my boxers threatening to fall to my ankles while I stub my toe into her cot.
Would I swap this for anything else in the world?
Not a chance!
Ask me this question at 3am, and I might just swap it for a night under a bridge sleeping with homeless trolls.

Right. Let's get you lot up to speed then.
These are some of the things I've been getting up to since we last spoke...

> I finally joined a gym! Yes. It happened one morning when I ran up to my office to answer my mobile phone and by the time I got to the landing, I realized I was more out of breath than the only hooker on a German warship! So I'm now the proud owner of a Planet Fitness gym membership. Watch this space for upcoming specials on "Urgent Sale: Gym Membership... hardly used."

> My beloved baby (not the one who does Chucky impersonations) is finally in the process of being wound up. Yes folks. Sikama Contracting will soon be replaced by FxInvest24. The change has been slow and tedious, but the time is finally here. No more construction sites. From now on, my view will be of monitors and charts and graphs and hopefully Dollar signs. I'll miss Sikama Contracting. I've watched it grow from a one-man show doing maintenance work to a one-man show with a full staff compliment doing corporate projects. You can take the Indian out of the business, but you can never take the business out of an Indian. We just can't part with ownership and management of anything. Sometimes to our own detriment. It's something I've seen passed down through generations, and I'm guilty of it too. The belief that nobody will do it better than we can, and on every occasion I had to take on a management team, the very first thought would always be "What if they screw me over?" But all things said and done, it's been an awesome ride and I wouldn't change a thing. All the best to the new owners.

> One of my dearest cousins passed on earlier last month. His signature was always his beaming smile and gentle soul, and we shall never forget him for that.
Go well cuz, and may we meet again soon in a better place.

> My best friend is emigrating to Arsetralia. Yes, emigrating.
If you're thinking the word should be 'Immigrating', slap yourself on the back of the head and call your old school for a refund.
We've been friends for longer than Riaan Cruywagens been on TV. Longer than Stallone and Bruce Willis have been single-handedly saving the world in every one of their movies. Longer even than all the years the Jehova's Witness's have been searching for a witness so they can finally close that case.
I'll miss her terribly, and as all friends say when one is about to be distanced from the other, we'll keep in touch. The reality though is probably that we've come to that crossroads in our friendship where we wish each other well, and resort to birthday greetings once a year or a random email on a special occasion.
Such is life, and we embrace the change. I'll probably dedicate a blog piece to our friendship closer to the time.

Well folks, there you have it.
My reasons for having been preoccupied lately.

A guy walks into a bank and passes a beggar sitting at the door.
A few minutes later the beggar sticks his hands out as the guy exits the bank, and says "Any change Sir?"
The guy looks at the beggar, pauses and replies "Nope... you're still as ugly and smelly as when I saw you earlier."

Until next time.... embrace the change.