Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dalliances With Wolves

Someone I've known for a while now and who by pure circumstance has become a really good friend sent me this link earlier today.
The Social Media Sabbatical

We'd been discussing the virtues and perils of being too exposed on social media, and as a self-confessed attention whore I never really thought there was much downside to being "Out there."
Recent events made me think otherwise.

Lately there has been a spate of Facebook clonings which poses security risks of unprecedented levels. Imagine having your entire Facebook account cloned, and then have the perpetrator send out messages from your account requesting urgent financial help or worse still, have them set up casual meetings under your name only to injure or harm your friends when they arrive.
Scarier is that it's already happened and is still happening. Note the number of people urging their Facebook friends not to respond to requests for money or help if they received such messages.

Maybe not as dangerous but certainly equally scary if not scarier are the twisted perceptions friends or followers of yours on social media networks portray of you to others.
I've never shied away from the fact that I'm an extrovert and a borderline flirt. I use that word 'borderline' loosely, but it certainly doesn't make me loose by character.
Imagine my surprise when I found out through newly acquired friends that there were some out there who were portraying my tweets and status updates as having deeper and more sinister meanings than what I, the author of those tweets and status updates, had intended?!

I found myself subconsciously scrutinizing my written word. I'd think twice before posting anything online, be it on Twitter or Facebook or my blog. I found myself censoring myself, and I hated it. I hated it as much as I hate censorship. I hated it because it made me realize how trivial people can be when it comes to friendship.
Mostly, it made me realize that simply because Twitter says you have 1200 followers it by no means indicates that 1200 people like or respect you.
It made me realize that simply because Facebook says you have 1000 friends, you should never fool yourself into thinking that they're all your friends.

There were some hard lessons learnt lately. Right up on the top of that list of lessons learnt is that those who preach and pretend to be decent and good human beings, are in fact masking some serious character flaws.
If you have to quote scripture to exemplify your goodness, the truth is that you're probably a really shitty human being to start off with.

Growing up, my mom always said that if I keep finding fault in my friends and people I regard as dear and close to me, and I keep having to change my inner circle, than the problem is probably not them, but me.
No truer word has been spoken in relation to friendship.

So I contemplated taking the social media sabbatical.
I thought about it for quite some time. I even slowed down on my online activity.
Until tonight when I realized that by doing so, I would be succumbing to the very ideology I detest. I would be succumbing to censorship of the worst order.
I would be succumbing to censorship by those I once considered dear friends.

I'll be a tad more circumspect and cautious, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be silenced!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Tale Of Two Faces

There was a time when I regarded very highly those who had pursued further education in religious study. That was a long long time ago.

I soon realized that people have a tendency to be complete arseholes in real life while pretending to be Holier-Than-Thou Saints, especially on social networks.
Now I'm never shy to admit to being a sinner. Heck I wear that badge with pride, because I'm no hypocrite and I never preach to the choir. I do however take serious exception to those who question and criticize others, worse still when it's done behind the veil of religion and scripture, while knowing full well that their own doorsteps are far from clean.

Maybe I'd be more understanding if they realized their shortcomings and did the noble thing by apologizing for being two-faced.
Maybe I'd be more understanding if they simply acknowledged their oversight.

I guess it's not that easy when the line between your real self and your fake self is blurred.
When you look in the mirror, how do you decide between which face to apply lipstick to and which face to slap?

Here ends the rant :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Let Him Who Has Not Sinned...

I feel like I've started almost every blog post with the same opening line: "What an interesting weekend that was!"

So this post will be slightly different.

Damn! That was one exciting weekend!
On Saturday night I found my new favourite restaurant. Yes I know my favourite restaurant keeps changing every month, and yes I'd probably make a half-decent food critic given the chance, but I do enjoy a good meal even if I am spoilt with having exactly that at home.

Ottoman Palace at the Turkish Mosque complex in Midrand served up the kind of lamb that would make any lamb proud to be on a platter next to some hummus and Turkish bread. Even Bambi would be like "Damn that was some fine lamb!"

Now if you've been following me on Twitter (@kaloo5) you would know that for months now I have been singing the praises of India Coffee House in Fordsburg. That all came to an abrupt end this Sunday past when their service reached such shockingly low standards, I was tempted to march into their kitchen and cook up my own korma with rice. I understand it was Mother's Day and they were busier than usual, but to have the waiter promise you your ginger drink on 5, yes five separate occasions and still not have it brought to my table an hour and 30 minutes after having arrived, is quite unacceptable. I was busy settling the bill when he finally realized his mistake.
I don't care that he then served up 8 desserts on the house.
I don't care that he didn't charge for any of the numerous drinks on the bill.
I don't care that he brought complimentary masala tea's to make up for his mistake.
I'm not that easily bought.
So India Coffee House gets a massive Thumbs Down from me!

Just when I thought my weekend could not get any more dramatic (for lack of a better word), a friend and fellow blogger wrote a piece about Rock Concerts.
Well in truth the piece was more about Muslims attending rock concerts unashamedly, and then posting the details all over the social media forums.
Needless to say, opinions on both sides of the divide were unleashed like a pack of wolves upon an injured bear. I say 'bear' because bears are generally brave, and know full well when they're about to go into battle, and are quite capable of defending themselves when in battle. They never back down, they never run away, and you never see them cowering behind the bushes.

I'm not sure what this bear intends doing now that the wolves have been unleashed.
If it acts like a bear, and growls like a bear, than it should be a bear when the need arises. That is after all, the simple bear necessities.

GGRRRR!!! ;)

Sunday night ended with a raging debate on Twitter over land reform issues in this country (South Africa for my foreign readers).
Well I call it a raging debate. My opponent seemed to be more on a racist rant than in a debate.
His solution to tackling the intricate and complex land reform issue: simply grab it from all non-blacks in the country. If people protest and try to defend their constitutional rights, send them back to their countries of origin!
In short, his view was that Africa belonged to black Africans, and nobody else.

Oh, did I mention that while he was throwing his spears and knobkerries at every colonialist and foreigner within earshot, he forgot to mention that his middle name was Lloyd?
That's the beauty of the Internet. If you enter through these doors and try to pick a fight, you can't do it anonymously.
So when I called him out on his clearly English name, he suddenly changed tact and said he'd have it removed or changed at some point.

Nicely played Lloyd.
Come to a gunfight armed with a plastic teaspoon.

Here's to another exciting weekend :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

50 Shades Of Brown

I've done a few blog posts on some amazing adventures available to fellow South Africans right in our own backyards, and this weekends Quad Biking Trail ranks high up on that list.

Unlike most adventure weekends which require some extensive planning and possibly expensive gear, this weekends adventure was organized in a week and required no more than the love of the outdoors and two platters of chicken tikka. The joys of travelling with Indians :)

The day started off with a brief but important safety talk considering that we were about to mount these massive quad bikes and only a lucky few in our group had ever had the experience of having that much power between our legs. I don't recall all of the safety talk except the bit about "It's not how you stand by your bike, it's how you ride your bike" and the other bit about "When in doubt, accelerate!"

Next it was on to a grazing pasture to familiarize ourselves with the bikes and terrain, and also to get used to the taste of Kudu poop getting flung at you from the bike in front. nomnomnom.....
The best way to experience quad biking in the wild is to ride with your tongue sticking out. That way you get to feel, smell and taste the experience.

The entire ride lasts anywhere between an hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how many pain-killers you take and what their dosage is. Since there are set trails to follow, it's almost impossible to get lost. I use that term almost very loosely since two of our intrepid adventurers managed to do exactly that. In Faaiq's defence though, he simply went to look for Shenaaz who had strayed from the path of those whom Thou has favoured and found herself on the path of those who go astray.
Think Adam, Eve and Apple and you'll know what I mean.

I would have been happy to see two or three animals, so you can imagine my surprise when we got to get up close to Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu, Wildebeest and some other spotted beast that looked like a leopard. Maybe a cheetah. I couldn't tell because at the time I was going at full throttle on a steep downhill while chewing a mouthful of Kudu poop.

We're always wondering where to go and what to do come the weekend, but with a little bit of effort we suddenly realize how truly blessed we really are to be living in this awesome and amazing country. How many other places in the world afford you the opportunity to drive for less than an hour north to get to nature and the sunny outdoors at it's very best, or 5 hours south and find yourself on a pristine Indian Ocean beach, or maybe even a ski trip in authentic snow in the Drakensberg in less time than it would take to walk through a Dubai shopping mall?

Get yourself a fun group of like-minded people (this lots already taken :) ).
Pack your kit-bag.
Get your butt out there!

You know you had a good time when you get back home and your family don't recognise you because you're two shades darker and one day away from looking like a homeless drunk.
We were like 10 Indians rewriting 50 Shades Of Brown.

Come the end of the day, nothing says 'SANHA Approved Sundowner' quite like Hot Chocolate on a mountain overlooking the Haartebeespoort Dam.
For white folk, that translates to "A moerste lekker weekend without any dop!"
Notice the absence of a cup in my hand. That's because the Hot Chocolate place were out of Hot Chocolate. That's their story and they were sticking by it.

Life's too short to spend it making Bucket Lists. Go out there and start enjoying yourself instead. You can either talk about the adventure, or live it.

What are you waiting for?