Thursday, November 24, 2011

In Other Words...

On the Protection of State Information Bill

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I always try and keep things rather light-of-heart here at Miss Boo HQ. Life is tough enough; there are more than enough things to be stressed and grumpy about, and more than enough opportunities to share those feelings. But by the same token, I think that if I were to use any space, any platform, to address the things which make me do more than think, but really ponder, what better platform than the space I call my very own?

When I was about thirteen, we had to do an essay for school on what careers we would like to follow when we were done with school. I thought and thought, and whittled down a list of plenty to ‘Top 5 Potential Careers’. I couldn’t decide which one would be best to write about, so I asked Daddy Boo. Without having to think about it, he said, ‘Writer’. We spoke about it, and decided that the best way to approach the essay was to look at the ‘traditional writer’ idea, sitting in a little writing shack, hunched over a typewriter, knocking out story after story; as well as examining journalism as an option. That essay was one of my favourites, and it showed. I got a B for it, which rocked my world to no end. The teacher’s comments were something along the lines of, ‘You could do this in your sleep’. ‘Strue! So, of course, on the wings of a little praise and approval, I started looking into studying literature and journalism. Since I already loved to write and read, I figured it would be a case of ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. I worked hard at my English classes, wrote extra essays and started writing short stories and (admittedly shocking and nauseating) poems, read as much as I could (much to the chagrin of my mom, who never had any time to read because, while Daddy Boo and I were lost in fantasy worlds, she was in the real one, doing real chores… *shame face*), and dreamed of being the next Christianne Amampour (When I was little, instead of playing ‘House-House’ or any such nonsense, I was the only one who ever suggested ‘Reporter-Reporter’. Complete with bomb blasts rocking the feed. Yes.) My English classes were often the only ones that got my full attention lesson after lesson, and I put more effort into that subject than any of the others.

And finally, after all my hard work, I applied to the one and only university I ever wanted to attend: Rhodes. Once the application went off, life went on, and, in typical life fashion, veered a bit left of centre. When the university sent their response, my life was rather different from when I had applied. When I read that I had been accepted, I shrieked so loud the neighbours came out. Unfortunately, because of life veering the way it had, I wasn’t able to go off and live that particular dream. BUT, I’ve never given up on the dream, or on writing. I have countless short stories, essays, novellas and books in various stages of completion littering my computers and my mind.

Because of this undying passion for words, and an equally strong aversion to bullshit, I’ve always considered myself a writer-journalist in the making. And because of that passion, I’ve been on the verge of tears for a large part of this afternoon. You see, for a  while now, there’s been a storm brewing over the Protection of State Information Bill. I’m not going to give you a history lesson on it… If you found me, you have Google, and you can figure out how to find all you want to know. In a nutshell, though, the government is slowly trying to gag the media. If they get it right, there will be no more reporting on government corruption and in terms of the bill it will, therefore, be illegal to make secret state information public, even if it exposes serious corruption or crime. (From News24 article). So the government is covering its ass and tying the media’s hands in one fell swoop. There have been protests, the bill has been pushed from pillar to post, gone back for redrafting, and on Tuesday parliament voted in favour of the bill. Dubbed Black Tuesday, people wore black in protest, and there were set protests around the country. When the results of the vote were made public, people panicked (myself included there for a little while). I felt a sadness equal only to the horrific violence that swept through the country a couple of years ago when awful xenophobic attacks were happening everywhere and life meant less than it usually does, which is terrifyingly little to start with to a lot of people. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so helpless and defeated.

But it’s not over yet! The Bill can still be opposed! It goes directly against a key part of the constitution, so the next likely step, if it’s not redrafted to include a public interest defense clause, is to oppose it in the Constitutional Court. As an optimistic cynic (or a cynical optimist, depending on the day), I really, really hope that someone, somewhere out there with a little power will use it well, instead of using it in greed. After everything South Africa’s been through, surely we can see that passing this bill into law will be taking infinite giant steps backwards, and land us right back at square one. You might call me na├»ve for believing in the power of South Africans, but it’s not going to stop me from believing in us anyway. This year has shown just how powerful people can be, and how fragile governments are. If the rest of the world can bring about change through enough people caring enough to do something to change things, then so can we! All we need to do is stop waiting for someone else to change things (a chronic South African ailment!) and be the change ourselves!!! That’s not to say we need to overthrow the government and start from scratch (look to Egypt to see how quickly people tire of an interim government), but we can and must do something!!

Even though South Africa is my adopted country, I love her beyond measure, and can’t imagine being anything other than Proudly South African. I don’t want to feel anything but pride and glory when I sing our national anthem, and I sure as hell don’t want to stop singing it all together. I love this country, and I will fight as hard as I can to keep her as gorgeous (no matter how flawed) and proud as she is in my heart.

And now, back to regular programming…


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: 17.11.11

* Simba’s Grinderman attempt for Movember

* Hallowe’en! It was, as always, awesome. Went to the Currie Cup Final in costume, raised hell on the back of the bakkie on the way there, and even more hell on the way to the party (also on the back of the bakkie) afterwards. And the party – oh, the party! It was fabulous! Dozens of glowing orbs filled the terrace, looking menacing; we had a resident spook-in-chains (named after Daddy Boo) keeping an eye on us; specimen jars littered the tables, filled with objects resembling brains, hearts, lungs and livers; the shrunken heads made an appearance… I love Hallowe’en. So, so much.

* The MTN Golden Lions won the Currie Cup! For the first time in…well, ages. We were at the final, screaming our lungs out, and had a fantastic time of it. Yay Lions!!!

Via The Bloggess
* Rocking the arcade at Monte Casino for Mister Boo’s birthday. The table staff in the casino are on strike, so we had to make do with alternative entertainment. We kicked ass so bad in the arcade, and after not a very long time, walked away with armfuls of awesome prizes, including a Zoom Chopper, a glow-in-the-dark skeleton that moves, and a scorpion ring. Way better than a potential fistful of cash , I think.

* This. And this. And this. And also: this
* Jogging. It’s a step up (hur hur) from walking, it works the same muscles better, as well as working new muscles that get lazy over time, and it feels AMAZING. LOVE IT!!

* We had our first proper swim of the season on Sunday, and it was marvelous! We shloofed in the pool for aaaaages. Can’t wait to do it again!!

I made this! Also: I hope you can read it!
* Mona Simpson's eulogy for Steve Jobs. I'm not often moved to tears, but this? The ugly cry.
* Nighttime swimming. Last night it was so sweltering, I was too hot to even eat! So instead of shoveling food into my face, I slipped into the pool. Best. Idea. Ever. Bonus Points: No sunburn!

* Planning to de-clutter. Mister Boo and I are probably moving in a couple of months, and when we do, it will be into a smaller place. This means epic de-cluttering has to happen. I’m really looking forward to that process.

* Mister Boo’s commentary on Miss World. For example: “Love, there’s a tranny in Miss World! And her name is Lola. L-O-L-A, Lola!”

* Beating the crap out of the cold I got after the rugby. I used nothing but Disprin, Orange Juice, positivity and proper sleep.

* The random doodles I have in my notebooks after tedious meetings and being on hold with government institutions for over an hour.

* The end of the year being a tangible concept. Only 28 days until we close for the year! I can juuuuuuust about feel it!

* Our satellite TV has been suspended, which means I’m going to miss Glee & Game of Thrones, which kinda sucks. BUT it also means that I will have more time to do productive things with my time (or, like last night’s swim, non-productive, but oh-so-rewarding), such as clean, get creative and read! I’m thinking I need to get my hands on Songs of Ice and Fire, the series on which Game of Thrones (the show) is based. Hmmm… Santa, are you listening?! I’ve been a (mostly) good girl!

Little things which made me smile:

* Greenpeace * Discovering new markets to try. Can’t wait! * For the first time in about twelve years, I’ve started writing poetry again * Secret Santa Challenges * Writing all weekend * My message tone * Fruit Cocktail Smoothies * Sunshine. Every day! * 11:11 11-11-11  * My new cuff. Muuuuuush booootifool! * Getting ready for new beginnings *


Friday, November 11, 2011

Thoughts On Life, From A Boy Named Sue

In this new feature, a certain Boy Named Sue will give us semi-regular Gonzo-style insights into his life and experiences of it in a weird little town,somewhere on the coast of South Africa. It's strange, it's twisted, and it's a whole lot of fun! I can vouch for this guy's insanity, and trust me, he's the best kind of fucked up! Enjoy...

4pm on Friday afternoon. I hadn’t even finished my working day and I was already opening my first drink for the weekend. In fact I hadn’t even finished my last meeting for the day. The meeting started with a round of shots, then the beers and bitch-liquor was served and the meeting began. Welcome to corporate South Africa! May the weekend begin! Work hard, play harder, sleep when you’re DEAD!

So the weekend started well. Or at least, I thought it did. Drinks paid for by the MAN, then home to clean up a little, some more recreational substance abuse and off we go! I was taking my first shot on the pool table when things started to slow down. That feeling of the entire world shifting, just a tiny bit, into a slower gear. Focus here! The lights are not that pretty! Look at the ball, concentrate. 4 Shots later and I was clearly in the lead and all my mojo was gone. Nothing left. Just beer to keep my mouth damp and the satisfaction of knowing that I’m ok with losing. I enjoy losing. It’s good to lose.  GODDAMIT! Bring back the mojo and beat this worthless bastard! 
That didn’t happen. I lost every game. But I didn’t pay for the BOOZE, so life was good. What next? We couldn’t spend the entire evening at a pool table. Pool is for getting the mood started, not for maintaining it. Maintenance requires NOISE! We need explosions and violence! Or maybe just somewhere to dance? Let’s work with that. Let’s dance the night away in the hopeless abandonment of chemically induced oblivion. And people! We need people! We went looking for crowds, and more chemicals.
The Fear hit me the moment I walked through the door. Was this place supposed to be so empty? Why was everyone staring? Had we stumbled into some sort of preternatural, redneck rompfest where all the men had perfect hair, high collars and testosterone poisoning, and all the women were, well… not there. Hmm… now the question of etiquette. Do we leave and risk insulting the squarebacks and rat bastards? Or do we stay and, potentially, get confused for possible prey. The Fear had me wondering. The Fear had me thinking about being lured into a quiet backroom to be beaten into submission and served on a platter to the wolves at the bar. Jesus, you better get me out of this!
None of that happened. We were just early. Timing was added to the list of things that we had managed to fuck up, then we got liquor, and sat down. We were, in fact, one with the hunters. We too were waiting for the prey to arrive, and when it did – by god – we were going to HUNT. That is, of course, assuming we where capable. We had the advantage of perfect clear thinking and superior wit. But the fantastic drugs that gave us these super-powers also made us completely incapable of demonstrating them. Kinda like a high powered genius coming straight from the dentist, with crippled lip-muscles. A drooling beast that communicates by grunts and howls and obscene gestures. Darwin would be proud.
Then they arrived. In small groups at first. Like bikini-clad debutantes dipping a toe into the water before committing to whole body wetness. But as the overall crowd got bigger, the arriving groups got bigger too. Now the numbers where UP! The game was ON! The brain/mouth filter, on the other hand, was not on at all. Not even a little bit. Neither where the nerves operating things like lips and tongues, which did actually counteract the first problem. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to seduce with profanity and insults when every syllable sounds like a twisted, paragraph-long, moan. But we will try and we will NEVER quit! Hell, if they get as twisted as us then we may even succeed. A sobering thought. In hindsight at least. At the time, thought was not an option. ACTION was needed!
And ACTION is what was attempted. After the first few failures, my hopes began to rise. Slowly. The odds would be turning in my favor soon. Eventually SHE will be seduced! But who is she? Have I seen her yet? I need to find this unlikely gem in our chosen den of iniquity and moral ambiguity. SOMEONE had to fall for this gibberish eventually. Then someone did. Well… not entirely. There wasn’t actually any talking, and thus, no gibberish. A solution had been found! Do not talk! Talking makes it obvious that there is either no grey matter inside your brain-case, or the grey matter that is there is so completely swamped in mind altering substances that you cannot possibly be a viable mate. So instead of talking/mumbling/groaning, just take action!
So action was taken. Slow steady action. Action that should have been avoided at all costs.
Being employed in a supervisory position has advantages. But one should not get that – um – close, to the minions. Even if SHE is belongs to a different group of minions and is not one of your own. Do not foul the waters at your place of work, you dirty, irresponsible bastard! Of course, these thoughts came much too late. Long after the introduction. Long after the advice from colleagues that said, “Yes, yes! This is a good idea!”. In fact, those wise and definitive thoughts only happened some time after it was established that there would be no sleep that night. None at all. Instead, the only thoughts that where loud enough to penetrate the Haze where simply: “Heh. Heh. Heh.”
Dirty, dirty bastard.
But enough of that. In the early hours of the morning, as the sun was starting to establish its presence for the day, sober thoughts started to make an appearance. Not in my mind, naturally, but her thoughts were sober enough to recognize that perhaps it was time to leave. All I knew was that she was probably right. So I stood in the driveway watching her leave, while starting to formulate a plan for the next phase. The proverbial “Part 2” (Part 4? 6? 42?).
The most obvious next step was sleep. I’d been awake far too long and was far too full of toxins to be able to function on a human level. Interaction with the general population was out of the question. The problem with that plan was the ominous shadow of a Busy Day Ahead. No time for sleep, you lazy freaks! Sleep is for the weak and the dead! The strong and twisted MUST carry on! The day had to be taken care of! But how? Was it possible? Could a strange beast move through the population without creating a stink of alienation? Would I be able to take care of business before the people around me sensed my not-belonging? I needed help.
Help is, of course, whatever you make of it. So time now to level out. Smoke something to counteract the bad vibes of animal instinct and last night’s mistakes, then… Do It! Blue team! Move out! Go! Go! Go! But after a shower. The animal instinct to react unconsciously to aggressive and unknown pheromones is one thing, but to actually smell bad would make fighting those instincts impossible. I had to at least try to fit in. Action plan: 1) level head = smoke. 2) Interaction with others = shower. 3) Conform = get dressed. 4) Begin. Drive. Go! Go! Go!
And so the drive began. Slowly at first. But not too slowly. I had places to be, dammit! But focus is important here too. I MUST get there, but I must get there Alive. So, slowly does it. Speed up gradually. Find that right balance between Time and Space. Get to the Destination. After many long lonely kilometers on the road and beautiful, breathtaking scenery that I didn’t give a crap about, I finally arrived. I didn’t have time for scenery! I had tar and tyres and mutant drivers to worry about!
Reaching my destination resulted in a kind of mixed lifting and sinking of my mood. There was the satisfaction of having Done it. I achieved the impossible (unlikely?). But I was done. The possibility of total collapse was starting to look more and more like a statistical inevitability. I just needed to hold on a little longer. Getting there wasn’t enough, I also had to get back. Again, I would need help. Again, help was available. This time in the form of seafood and beer. Seafood. A powerful craving for dead fish had come over me and it was time to Satisfy. It is, of course, possible that the craving was simply for food of any description, but I smelt seafood and I had to have it.
Business taken care of. Cravings satisfied. Mind altered. Time to return. And return I did. With a vengeance! Also with the sneaky rising waves of exhaustion and paranoia. A long, treacherous road kept me company while i swore at imagined insults from non-existent drivers and kept my third eye open for any sign of the pigs. The god damn pigs were everywhere I tell you! Everywhere! But they stayed away from me. Intentionally? Probably not. They probably just didn’t see what I thought was my flaming exhaust and smoke flying off of my screaming tyres.
But I did get Home. Alive and well. (Well? Maybe not) Then, time for the next round (How many rounds were there, again?). At least this one did not involve any public appearances. All it involved was collecting supplies and going to another house; another house full of people maybe, but still a Private Residence. A pseudo-Land Fortress if you will. A place where the Freaks can gather without fear of public outcry. And when the Freaks gather, we do it in style.
What happened next is open to debate. Or, more specifically, it has been debated. At length. I do NOT believe the accounts! I am a wholesome and naive Freak! I did not do those things! The Good Lord himself will back me up on this! I arrived to the scene of hopeless and depraved lunatics cooking meat on a fire and eating with their hands and, yes, drinking. These people had no sense of social obligation. They had no sense moderation or responsibility. They are My people and I love them, but in the name of all things holy, they are little more than animals.
I joined the feast. I let my hands and lips partake in the feeding frenzy and the abandon of all things Civil. I looked at the people around me, there was no shame. There was no pressure to join the masses in their mindless obedience and silent judgment. There was only place to grow and enjoy and become another Freak in Pursuit Of Happiness. The Universe had given me safe passage every step of the way to that place, and now I understood why. The stars had guided me home; to the Good People; to My People.
Sue and I would both love to hear your thoughts on this.... Leave us a comment or two in the box below!