Monday, March 26, 2012

Jozi - The City of Blinding Lights

Nelson Mandela Bridge

Telkom Tower

Constitutional Court

Constitution Hill Prison Precinct

N1 Motorway

17 Movies worth geeking out to in 2012 | memeburn

17 Movies worth geeking out to in 2012 | memeburn

I am as eclectic in my movie tastes as I am in my music taste - I love a good, emotional drama, will do thrillers, can tolerate action-comedy, have rom-com days, perfectly happy with indies and am an attentive documentary viewer. But I was surprised by how many of these straight up geek flicks I was genuinely excited about. I suppose this is indicative of the fact that I am a geek. I forget that I am a geek. And then it hits me. And then I am pleased.

Image: Socialphy

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brené Brown explores vulnerability, authenticity, courage and shame


This is real. 
This is what being alive is about. 
This is why I write this blog:
To learn this. 
To interrogate this. 
To understand this.

I randomly found Brené's talk this this morning, having mulled over these very ideas just last night. I have noticed that the Supreme Being has an extremely fast turn around time in answering my questions and queries about life; I tend to get my answers between an hour and a couple of days of having posed the question, or as more often tends to be the case, had a good whine about the pointlessness of life. Even arriving at the point of reflecting on vulnerability, authenticity and worthiness happened as the result of some highly compelling Jewish teachings I had been reading which I also randomly stumbled on a mere couple of hours after I was wondering how to be an excellent human being. 

So, in addition to what Brené shared, I guess my lesson for the day (or maybe just the morning as who knows what the rest of the day holds in store for me) is for goodness sake, think about stuff! Don't ever be afraid to ask questions. Lots of them. Big questions, little questions, stupid questions, embarrassing questions, questions you've asked before, look around you, pay attention and ask what stuff actually means. The answers will come. And when the answers come don't just sit on them, use them! As an analyst, this is how I make a living and as a human being this is how I make a life worth living.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Studying sky

A photo study of the sky. Mostly taken on the road.

Someone punched a hole through the clouds to let the sun out:-)

Coucher du soleil

Sunset reloaded

Little farmhouse at sunset

 Sky through sun roof
Morning sky and sea

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Female of the Species is more deadly than the Male...?

One of the pet peeves of people living in Africa is when ignoramuses from abroad ask if we have lions, elephants and other wild fauna walking in our streets. How silly, we think, we live in built up cities; what the heck would the animals eat? They don't even have any money to roll up at Mickey D's for a Big Mac or anything. Tsk! Or we might ask the ignoramuses if they have coyotes, moose or grizzly bears in their streets, a question which causes them to look at us like we are unbelievably dim-witted, following which they realize that we have been looking at them with that same look and thinking those same thoughts, then all is understood.

I must say though that in the quaint little town of Victoria Falls wild animals prance up and down the streets like they run the place and there is for the most part a resigned acceptance of this by the human community. It is very common to see little families comprising mommy warthogs and five or six baby warthogs hanging out on your lawn and foraging for grubs or whatever, or trotting around in single file with all their tails sticking straight up. It's the cutest thing. Then there are the baboons. Not cute. Some of them are almost as tall as humans and having found myself on many occasions crossing a street alongside one or window shopping only to notice a baboon next to me gazing curiously through the same shop window, I suspect they think they are people. Very hairy, naked people. Awkward. The thing with baboons that prompted me to mention this anecdote as the introduction to my post on women's rights is that they are incredibly mischievous and have been known to pick people's pockets or throw rocks at people and run away. Here's the thing though. Local lore has it that baboons don't attack any old Joe on the street. They are able to discern the weakest and least enfranchised among us and as a result, in a town crawling with people of all shapes, sizes and nationalities, baboons apparently almost exclusively attack black women or children. o_O

I have recently had an awakening about the status of women in the world and about the rights of girls and women. In the interests of full disclosure I must state that I previously had an aversion to the very idea of women's rights and I must shamefully admit, even children's rights. Eeek! I know, I know, what kind of monster am I, right? Let me explain myself. My problem with women/children's rights was in the fact that I did not understand the need for a distinction between human rights as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and women's rights and children's rights. I thought to myself, 
Why do women and children need their own set of rights? Why does striving to achieve the basic human rights not translate to the needs of women and children being met, given that they are human beings?
I found it bizarre. It made me angry because I felt that defining a set of protections for women and children was discriminatory and set them apart as being lesser beings. Children are human beings in the early stages of development and so I could understand how they would need protection and how they would need a hand up in getting by in the world but women? Adult women? To agree to a convention that articulated their needs over and above the basic human needs would be to acknowledge that they were not the equals of men and I simply could not abide by this. I also viewed feminists and the few advocates for women's rights that I had come across as unfeminine male bashers and there was no way I was going to sign up to their ideologies. It was my sentiment that as higher mammals with such advanced brain function we should be able to do right by each other and respect each other in both directions: male to female and vice versa.

I do not appreciate male bashing. I consider it retrogressive and very unhelpful to the building of healthy societies and I definitely believe we should be doing everything in our power to reinforce positive masculinities. However, it is an unfortunate FACT that there is an extreme, excessive and alarmingly high amount of female bashing - oppression, abuse, discrimination, neglect and other forms of straight up misogyny - on planet Earth. I have always known how strong and powerful and capable women are, even in the face of the very worst circumstances but only now am I finding out just how bad those circumstances are today, right now, all over the world. It's shocking. My awakening to the real life experiences of women around the globe has been a long time coming and at this stage my understanding of the issues is quite tenuous and fragile but I am getting there. I intend to post a review of the stats on women and girls and and a brief review of the book I am currently reading entitled Half the Sky.  I love statistics. They have their limitations but they really help to make things  clear in terms of the big picture. I will also continue this series by featuring a few outstanding women and telling their stories. I also love personal stories because they make things more real and really bring home the issues. I hope to discover if indeed the female of the species is more deadly than the male. 
Woman and Girl | Diong
P.S The title of this post is taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling which knowing myself I will probably have a good rant about one of these days.