Finding hope in the land issue fear

Land Expropriation is a thing we have to deal with in this New South Africa. It’s easy to slip into fear and be alarmist, but it’s a thing we have to deal with. It will slip into a race issue and will be about past sins, dignity, restoration, punishment and our generation is going to engage as avatars of our ancestors and forefathers.
 
BUT There is another conversation, based in sanity that should become the focus. Since all the declarations and moves have happened, there is a specific message our president is pushing that we must hear and ensure does not get lost in the chaos to come.
 
Expropriation without compensation will be implemented, but it must be done in a way that increases agricultural production and improves food security.
 
This is a global concern and needs to be the focus of the sane. This is a cause and a fight which should be a defining aim of our nation. We must ensure the future of our country, our people and our planet.
 
Let’s not let this get lost within the righteous indignation and the hate we as South Africa’s are so good at accessing.
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The Announcement

This is a pre-wedding-date-;-wedding-date-intervention

This is a pre-wedding-date-;-wedding-date-intervention…

Guess what. I’m getting married in Greece. Anabela and the boys are joining me. I will be getting married, and they’re part and parcel.

I would love to have you there, but Anabela didn’t even know this was happening… Now… Like This. Don’t worry, the conversations have been happening – but I don’t have time for a site… And I’m in a heap of trouble right as it is.

Change is afoot, and my number one priority is marrying this woman in a way that matters to me. In a way that matters to her.

You matter.

If you are still reading this, then hey, you’re included as much as you want to be.

I’m very busy manifesting the holiday of a lifetime for my family, I hope you will be a part of that…

You matter to me in a way that would matter to you. To me, you are an important part of the journey that defines past, present and future. You are significant. Should you need to share this, please do so with anyone who needs to know, if you need to know, you’ve been thus informed!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me, or mail me, especially if you are angry, upset or provoked. I’m sorry, we probably need a catch up…

Greeks like olives… olives grow on branches… Everyone who has ever mattered to me, will always matter to me. I’m like that.

You could be an integral player in:

“The Pintofrastos Wedding Party”

(Now a major Motion Picture)

Tagine: There will be dancing, there will be alcohol, there will be sun, fun and Greece. There will be family. There will be Friendship, Laughter, Drama, Tears…

There will be Dancing!

No Greeks were harmed in the production of this post… I hope… If concerned, your immediate intervention would be Legend—arraly appreciated.

I hate sequins…

The Panic Monster is afoot… (tedtalk it)

Brought to you by soztheo.me

My Number 1 priority…

Soz out!

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Solidarity

Yesterday was a day of empowerment! As a white male South African, I represent so much ugliness to people who have been affected by white oppression. I acknowledge that. I will fight for what I believe in. I will raise my nothing voice and contribute. Why? Because I have a label of privilege, let me use it. Because I am white, let me use it. Because I am a minority, I have to use it. Not for me. I do it for those who hate me most. For the ideals in which I believe. I understand the distrust. But still I rise for something greater than myself.

Yesterday was a day of empowerment! As a white male South African, I represent so much ugliness to people who have been affected by white oppression. I acknowledge that. I own that. I will fight for what I believe in. I will raise my nothing voice and contribute. Why? Because I have to. To do the right thing. Because I have a label of privilege, let me use it. Because I am white, let me use it. Because I am a minority, I have to use it. Not for me. I do it for those who hate me most. For the ideals in which I believe will benefit those who need it most. I understand the distrust. But still I rise for something greater than myself.


We protest for those who cannot speak, whose voice is not heard, be it a result of fear, hate, ignorance, apathy, circumstance, belief or comfort, we march for you, for our shared interest and destiny.

We protest today, to stand up and declare, “Not this time!” We are aware of the power that resides in idleness, and we are prepared to own the guilt of our inaction, no matter our station, we commit to ensuring inaction is not a curse upon this land again.

We protest because of our race in a racial society, a society which even if inherited, we choose to maintain. We acknowledge the futility of maintaining this history, which exists not only from within but also without our borders, bringing us to this precipice, demanding that we take a stand.

We protest out of shame and guilt, not to assuage it, but to acknowledge and own that we and those who came before, have brought upon South Africa this saddest of days. We are complicit in the state of the country and commit to the necessary change. And we will commit ourselves to accepting the lesson, as tough as it needs be.

We protest for the dreams of dreamers, too numerous in nationality and race to be named; for the idealism of thinkers and martyrs; and the hopes and prayers of a shared destiny which unifies them. We do this for all the heroes who have arisen in times like these. We have inherited, even if only the smallest part or influence, the narrative which we seek to change, and we can each only do our small part in this, loudly and proudly.

We protest for an identity, for a day when being South African will be a label of pride that transcends the boundaries which define our existence in this space and time today, as they too extend and exist across the global stage. That we may be the beacon of light which leads the world, that this too our children can inherit.

We protest as those before did, and we commit to our fellow South African, that there is a dream, we may not be able to see it or define it, we may not agree on it, but we know that on days like these, when injustice rears its head to falter the realisation of our potentiality, what the dream is not, and we owe it to our legacy and future to refrain from passivity.

We protest for the truest victims, the hopeless and lost, which we have raised. The petty and hardened criminals, the homeless and destitute. The window washer, the hooligan, the begger and car watcher. The drug dealer and addict. She reduced to appraising her flesh. The rural. The urban. The worker. The miner whose toil in the soil leads him closer than any other to an understanding of his final resting place.

We protest like we have never protested before, to support each other, every man, woman and child, in the hope that we may not just be acknowledged when unified,as we have been in moments of liberation, and in the kick-off of celebration, but that this unification we have experienced before becomes entrenched in our DNA.

We protest in the hopes that this will be the moment which may further free our nation from her bonds. That from this day we will ensure the atrocities of the past are never forgotten, and that we will commit to working tirelessly to confronting and owning our legacy and making the necessary change, and to ensuring that the unity we have felt on our brightest days, is treasured and honoured and sustained.

We protest to stand our ground, and are committed to being a participating member of this land, as inconvenient and uncomfortable as it may seem.

We protest in an act of hope and trust, committing to the above so as to ensure that we acknowledge and will not forget or undermine or devalue, the lives and experiences of those who suffered before.

We protest for each other. Not blind to race, but aware of it. That the colour of our skin has influence, whether it is the birthright of a powerful majority rising to claim, or the waning privilege of a powerful minority – that as a nation we can achieve the seeming impossible, as we have done before when we were most afraid.

We protest in the hope that our areas of influence may benefit each other justly to a shared aim. That our hopes for this phoenix of a nation may arise again, and always triumph over the polarising evil which would seek to divide us yet again.

We protest at the risk of being futile, but faithfully knowing that each step is in the right direction. Belief in doing the right thing is central to our purpose. May every South African be blessed with the belief that their path is the right one. We honour every point of view, even those most in opposition of our own. We are all free to participate in this democracy. Be constructive. Let the most destructive forces fall!

We protest in solidarity.

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Your 14-2-17 Valentine’s Poem

Love is a word, it’s a verb, it’s a noun,
It inspires and scares, resounds up and down,
It tickles the fancy, It draws up the fears,
It wakes up the dead, and quenches the years,

Love is a word, it’s a verb, it’s a noun,
It inspires and scares, resounds up and down,
It tickles the fancy, It draws up the fears,
It wakes up the dead, and quenches the years,

Reduces grown men to tears, women to sigh,
Children will learn, but til then wonder why,
It bonds up a family, makes friends, It’s the glue,
If untended for, anger, hate, pain will ensue,

Powerful beyond measure, a torrent of feel,
The potential it wields, the fate it can seal,
Poems, movies, theatre, literature, song,
All but mere vehicles for Love to ride on,

Love emancipates, infatuates, renders enslaved,
Love Mystifies, intensifies, rewards only the brave,
Her coils ensnare, her songs they entrance,
And drunk up on love, the heathens will dance,

You’ll find it in whispers, you’ll find it in screams,
In wishes, in hopes, in nightmares, sweet dreams
Love heals the Ill, Love sleighs the dragon
Love carries the future upon its bandwagon,

Always fashionable, relevant, current and present,
Expansive and infinite, priceless, unspent,
Oft unappreciated, underrated, blind and unseen,
Searched for in gestures, expressions, looks, acts, in between,

But Come Feb fourteen, after 365,
What is unseen, forces industry alive,
All these musings above, you know they are true,
But…
They pale in comparison to what I’ve felt, feel and yearn for with You

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Meow…

This movie… It’s music… It’s images… It’s cast… Tastes like nostalgia…

It’s not the greatest movie ever made, but I love it. It taught me that horror could be cinematic, artsy, ambitious, rich in tone and symbolism, moody and sexy, sensual and erotic. There was also that David Bowie song (which again may not be considered his greatest, but with  the help of Giorgio Moroder, is my personal favourite). Also, probably most importantly, it had Nastassja Kinski in it – cue boyhood crush!

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Meet Dora…

It really has been a busy week in the world of soztheo.me. I have been delighted to have been involved in the Writerly Yours #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour. This week has also been a busy week on The Blog Tag Group, where the weeks prompts have been centered around fitness and excercise.

soztheo.me does not excercise…

soztheo.me really should excercise… Continue reading “Meet Dora…”

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The world according to MK Williams…

MK Williams is a woman chasing her dream, her first novel Nailbiters is getting great reviews, and soztheo.me proudly presents an exclusive interview with the author herself…

It really has been a great week to be a blogger. I reviewed my first novel for the Writerly Yours #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour on Tuesday, a book which blew me away, and now I am privileged to interview the author herself, MK Williams.

0014_mkw_nailbiterscover_3a_amazon_1667x2500Originally from Philadelphia, but now living in Tampa, MK Williams is a woman uncompromisingly pursuing her dream. MK Williams has always loved writing. She wrote a lot of poetry when she was in high school and college, and for the past few years has done a few freelance articles. While she juggles her full-time ‘day job’ and full-time passion, Nailbiters signals a future in which MK’s dream that her passion for writing may one day be her full-time occupation. So from where did this passion for writing come?

“I don’t have a specific memory of when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I have always enjoyed writing and I set a goal early in life that I wanted to be published because that is what successful writers do. In recent years, I’ve realized that as long as I enjoy what I am writing that I don’t need anyone else’s approval in order to feel successful. That has been a very liberating feeling.”

I have said it often on my blog, but I am a huge post-apocalyptic survival story fan – Stephen King’s The Last Stand and The Cell; The Walking Dead; The Christian-based Left Behind Series… Nailbiters joins this list. It’s a huge story to tell. And so I was curious to find out from MK how her version of Hell on Earth came to be:

Stephen King
MK’s Favourite Author? “Stephen King because he can write a character that haunts you for years!”

“I loved The Stand by Stephen King as well! So great! Nailbiters came about in stages. I had a very vivid and very scary dream and the idea of the invasion was born. I started a short story, but it never went anywhere, so I decided to work on something else. A few months later, I had another dream and some of the villains: Gael and Don were created. I picked the story back up, made some edits, and then left it alone again. About two years ago I finally had an idea of where the story would go, who the characters would be, where they would end up, and what the overall message would be. After that, it was easy to put together.”

The thing that struck me the most while reading Nailbiters was the seemingly effortless intensity with which the story unfolds. But after years of trying to get my own post-apocalyptic, dystopian novel off the ground, I am not at all delusional about the fact that effortless a venture it is not.

“I think the biggest challenge in writing anything is not getting distracted, not focusing on all the things that I am giving up so that I can lock myself away and just write. I usually have to turn off the wifi on my computer so that I’m not tempted to start surfing the internet. Even though I love writing, sometimes I can get easily distracted.”

And as for the yang to the difficulty ying?

“For me, the easiest part is the dialogue. Sometimes, I can think of the conversation that the characters are having faster than I could ever write it down. I love to include an intelligent and informative dialogue between characters.”

This is one of my biggest challenges in writing, I personally really struggle with the dialogue, establishing a dialogue that flows naturally yet which facilitates its unnatural intention of storytelling in words alone, it debilitates me as a writer, and is the bane to my personal process… Many of my own personal writer’s block challenges has been formed on the back thereof, and so I was most interested to find out MK’s thoughts and approach to writer’s block.

MK’s Favourite Book? A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert, because I am still thinking about the ending.

“I had two years’ worth of writer’s block on Nailbiters. My advice is to just let it go, when you are inspired to work on that story again, it will come. I have always found that when I force myself to work on something the product isn’t as great. If I let it come naturally the story develops much better. I usually start working on another story or novel when I get writer’s block on any one story. If I am blocked on all the stories I have going, then I read – A LOT.”

And it is in reading that MK repeatedly turns as a lover of her craft. Inspiration is found within the pages of the books she love, but so to is the necessary research which feeds into her creative process.

“I do research in the form of reading other books from that genre. I try to let my writing be a place where there are no rules, so I try not to let what others have done impact my work too much. Even when I am writing a story that is based in reality, I like to play with elements that I think are fun. If I stuck to research too much, I would probably give up.”

The most compelling and interestingly consistent hook within the novel Nailbiters is the presentation of the story through the primary protagonist of Dora. It is through Dora’s eyes and first person presentation of her recounted experience that we as readers become invested. I desperately wanted to find out from MK about her thoughts on Pandora, what is the inspiration and how much of MK lives within the character.

“One thing that I saw in other recent post-apocalyptic tales was that the female characters were all teenagers. I knew from the get-go that Dora was an adult, she had life experience that would help her get through the situations that she was thrown into. I think I want to see myself in Dora, she is fierce and determined. She is far stronger than any other woman that I know, even though at times she feels defeated. I want to have that kind of courage and strength, so I gave to her something that I could only imagine.”

Movie
MK’s Favourite Movie? What Dreams May Come because the scenes are so abstract and beautiful.

Satisfied with the inspiration and mental approach which MK has given us insight to, I (particularly as an aspiring writer) want to find out more about the practicalities of her process:

How is your process structured?

“I have a notebook that I carry with me everywhere I go. I’ll think of bits of dialogue or scenes for characters and jot them down. Once I have enough of these little notes together, I’ll put them into a Word Document on the computer and keep track of all the little notes and bits. When I have a clear idea of what the story is, how the characters will develop, and what the end outcome will be, I will write out a point by point outline of the story (roughly a paragraph summary for each chapter). Then, I’ll organize the existing notes in order and begin writing from there. Sometimes I will jump around and work on chapters out of order, other times I’ll go back and re-read everything in order to see what I need to include.”

Is there a specific time of the day you prefer to write?

“I would prefer to be able to write at any point of the day. I get ideas at the most inconsistent of times. If I could devote 100% of my time to writing, I would like to write in the mornings after a long run and spend my afternoons editing and reading. But, since I have a full-time day job I fit in writing when I can.”

What tools and techniques do you use (and cannot do without) to get the thoughts onto the page – IE: Music; mind maps; any specific apps; plot tools?

“The main tools that I use are my notebook, Microsoft Word, and a carefully curated playlist of music. I have playlists for each story that I work on. The Nailbiters Playlist (available on spotify) is particularly dark. Some of the newer stories that I am working on have a more upbeat tone. It really depends on the mood of the story.”

Do you free-flow and edit later? Or do you plot it out and document it?

“I do a little bit of both. I write down my ideas haphazardly and then organize them once I have a clear idea of what the story will be. I know some writers say that you have to write it all out and then take away. I find that I often skip a lot of explanation and description, so I am always adding in a lot and then editing extraneous content out.”

So… The story is complete, having poured years into the work, the process of getting to the final draft, how does that happen in MK’s World?

“As I’m writing, I’ll usually share the excitement about the story with my husband, but he doesn’t read it until it is done. He helps me edit, as does my mother-in-law. They are both so helpful and generous with their time! I also have a great friend, Nora Gecan, who helped design the cover art for Nailbiters. She was one of the first people to read Nailbiters outside of my family. I was really nervous because she reads a lot and I knew she would tell me the truth if she thought it was a bad story. She said she loved it and the cover art that she created is spectacular!”

gilmore-girls
MK’s Favourite Television Show? Gilmore Girls because it made being a nerd cool!

Nailbiters is a self-published novel, a medium of publishing which has really taken off in this digital age, I have asked MK to give us her thoughts on self-publishing vs traditional publishing…

“I tried to go the traditional publishing route and didn’t find much success. Most people don’t, but I was often put-down by others who said that I didn’t have enough life experience to write anything that would matter. That really turned me off to the idea of traditional publishing. As I worked on Nailbiters I felt defeated before it was even complete. Then I realized that I didn’t need the approval of the publishing industry, I just needed to know that I enjoyed writing the story, that it could make a difference to someone, and that my character’s story was being told. I have learned so much through self-publishing and couldn’t imagine giving away my story for someone else to market and promote.”

As we approach the end of the interview I take a step back and consider how practical and systematic MK is in relation to her art. But one thing I know for sure, having penned a few far more amateurish pieces of my own, is that the accomplishment of her first published novel can only have had an everlasting effect upon her. How has the Nailbiter’s journeys influenced and changed MK?

“I think it has given me the confidence to write the things that I want to write. The content in Nailbiters is dark, and I worried that people would think I was really weird for writing such a dark book. But, the book has been well received. I feel okay writing even darker and weirder content, when the timing is right.”

And The number one piece of advice she would give to her younger self and other aspiring writers?

“Keep working at it and don’t try to be someone else. Trying to be someone else will never work, you have to be you in order to be successful.”

Nailbiters commences a career which is ready to be continued, MK is most of the way through editing her next project. She’ll be releasing a collection of short stories this year and is really excited to see how they are received. There won’t be any aliens in this one though, but expect a few twists and turns nonetheless. Naturally the question about a Nailbiters sequel is in the air, and the answer is :

“Eventually…”

Last question… Are you a biter of nails?

“Of course, it is my worst habit that I am always trying to beat.”

It has been a real pleasure to be involved with the #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour, and to have had the opportunity to interview and learn from MK Williams, a selfish endeavour for me as I enjoy exploring and engaging with other writers, but one which I hope entertains you the reader as well. Thank You MK for your time, and to my readers, be sure to get a copy of Nailbiters now!!!


Want to find out more about MK Williams and her work? Check out the other stops on the Writerly Yours #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour:

Day 1: Check out our blogger Chantel’s interview with author MK Williams on her blog ‘The Stories of Chantel DaCosta’.

Day 2: The #NailbitersNovel Blog Tour stops by soztheo.me for a review of Nailbiters, the sci-fi suspense thriller by MK Williams.

Day 3: We have Margaret of Bemused Bookworm interviewing MK Williams.

Day 4: We return to ‘The Stories of Chantel DaCosta’ for part two of Chantel‘s interview with MK Williams featuring the reader in her . 📚

Day 5:  Check out this literary analysis of Nailbiters on The Literary Apothecary.

And tomorrow… A surprise!!!!


Also check out:

Website: https://nailbitersnovel.com/

Blog: https://nailbitersnovel.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1mkwilliams/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/1mkwilliams

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/1mkwilliams/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nailbiters-M-K-Williams-ebook/dp/B015QRVSWA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467761463&sr=1-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/1MKWilliams

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14420756.M_K_Williams

Thanks

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Unstoppable…

You think you got me

You think you won this round

Well I have news for you

I am not so easily taken down

You’re not the first

There are many who’ve come before

The trick is patience

I got a surprise, for you, in store

Karma’s a bitch

Justice has a special place

And when she smacks you

She’s gonna be wearing my face

For me it’s easy…

I’ve seen many dark hearts like yours

You’re predictably predicatable

This here, is just the pause

The reckoning is coming

You do not think that I am capable

So know this, know my name

To you, I’m Underestimated…

Unpredicatable…

Unrestrainable…

Uncontainable…

As far as you’re concerned,

_

I am Unstoppable

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Blue Jasmine (2013)

A former New York socialite, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. But don’t be fooled… She may look like a million bucks (and know it), but she ain’t bringing anything of value…

Blue_Jasmine_posterA funny thing happened. Initially I was not a huge fan of this movie, this is exactly how I started my first review of this website when I was blogging on another site.

I think it may have something to do with the fact that I have never been a fan of Cate Blanchett. However in this role she really does excel. She would go on to win an Academy Award for her performance here and it is an interesting one for me, because she was up against Sandra Bullock (cue High-School-and-Ever-After Crush admission) and Meryl Streep in August Osage County (a performance which actually left me slack-jawed the first time I watched it, and yes I know it’s Meryl Streep, but…). That said, she did win it (like she pretty much cleaned up the entire awards season), and she earned it… This is more of a performance piece than a movie, I found myself watching just to see the titular character brought to life – Jasmine/Jeannette really is a piece of work.

It should be noted that I am a Woody Allen fan, this is not my favourite movie of his, and it’s movies like this which make people scared of Woody Allen (well this and the child molestation claims), but the brilliance of Woody is his ability to extract powerful performances out of his actors.

The supporting cast is great (except for the always cringe-worthy Alec Baldwin as Jasmine’s philandering, cringe-worthy, crook of a husband – so perfectly suited). A special shout out to Oscar nominated Sally Hawkins in the role of Jasmine’s sister Ginger, but ultimately everything about this movie merely serves as a backdrop to the Character of Jasmine – you know when you meet people who are so self-involved, so self-delusional, so selfish, so rude, so snobbish, so pretentious, so… worthy of a slap – Cate Blanchett in this movie makes me want to slap her, and for that I can only really say – job well done.

I would not recommend this movie to just anyone, it ain’t no slice of fun, this is reserved for serious movie watchers, because you will not get the satisfaction unless you are appreciative of performance pieces. Cate Blanchett is a woman unravelling. On the brink. Again. Her perfect life swept out from under her feet, her anxiety levels pushed over the edge, self-destructive and teetering between the carefully constructed self she has been and most desires to be, and the reality of her reality and actual existence…

Ultimately, and ironically, I was surprised at just how disappointed I was when it ended… It’s the car crash syndrome, you just have to stop and look, I didn’t want to be torn away. I really could have watched some more, Cate Blanchett is just that good.

Blue Jasmine sarring Soz3

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Nailbiters – A Book Review

“The only thing scarier than the aliens, are the humans” – Is that why I don’t like MK Williams? 😛

What do you do when the world has gone to Hell? What do you do when you are being hunted, and you know not why? What do you do when there is not time to stop, breathe, and strategize? What do you do when there is no sanctuary? What do you do? … You run for your life…

0014_mkw_nailbiterscover_3a_amazon_1667x2500As a reader I have always been a fan of Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, this is also evidenced in my movie and series choices when it comes to viewing. I am a reader born from Roald Dahl. I graduated to Stephen King and Anne Rice. I am also a huge fan of the Apocalyptic and Dystopian setting for novels. In fact, the drafted novel I have been working on for the last ten years of my procrastinating and unfocussed writing life, is exactly that kind of novel.

It is for this reason that I am not a fan of MK Williams…

Set in a world which hasn’t even had the chance to consider recovery from a deadly on-going alien invasion, Nailbiters is the… (prepare yourself)… nailbiting journey of Dora, one of humanities survivors, on the run from an enemy she hasn’t even had the chance to see.

#nailbitersnovel authorMK Williams masterfully writes prose that is fast-paced, unrelenting and urgent. It is so effective and seemingly effortless, as to be nauseating (that’s nausea born from jealousy, btw). And she just won’t quit as she puts Dora through her paces, making her earn every one of her worthy protagonist stripes.

I’m gonna hold off on praising MK Williams too much for now, but I am a fan, and am privileged as part of this Writerly Yours Blog Tour to have had a chance to interview her. An interview I will be sharing on this blog later this week.

For now, let’s talk about Dora…

Dora is a strong, intelligent, young woman. It’s her strength that has kept her alive. We meet her and her companions as they travel across the desert, running from their would be captors. With no place to hide and nothing but a forward trajectory to hold on to, Dora looks for sanctuary in others like her… Human. There is a sense of security in finding cohorts with whom you can navigate the chaos of a terrifying new world, The Walking Dead fans know this well, there’s an intrinsic belief in people about strength in numbers. But where Dora is strong and intelligent, it is her reliance on the commonality of the human condition with which she needs to grapple, especially when faced with the extraterrestrial factor. It’s a new world and whether you like it or not, every person is on their own personal mission of survival. As the tagline of the book says,

“The only thing scarier than the aliens, are the humans”

10661069_209594392714157_1419876067_nAs I mentioned previously, MK Williams puts Dora through her paces. Our protagonist is in a world of antagonists, and they’re of both worlds. Dora does not have the luxury to take time, having to act quickly. Who can she trust? As Dora narrates her story, we are subjected to the twists and turns of her human need to survive as Nailbiters keeps you guessing right until the final page.

This is my first prescribed reading for review purposes, and there was obviously some apprehension as I am not known for not being outspoken. I thank the heavens above that my first book review has been such an enjoyable literary experience. I was quite literally hooked by the end of the first page! It helps that I am a fan of this genre obviously, but being a fan of a certain genre does not equate to automatically enjoying a genre novel. The author has to step up to the plate (cue jealousy-comment-reminder :P), and Nailbiters comes out swinging, claiming its place as a book I will recommend – as I am doing right now.

In conclusion, Read the Book :)!

It’s a fast-paced, gripping ride through a world gone mad. If I could capture the feeling of the journey as I read it, I would equate it to the first time I watched Mad Max: Fury Road, that feeling where the race is on, the scope is ambitious and epic, reminiscent of some of my favourite novels including The Stand and The Left Behind Series.

Oh! And be sure to follow us on twitter #NailbiterNovel and for the rest of our Blog Tour, schedule below:

#nailbitersnovel schedule (1)

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Tech-No-Go-No…

I’ve seen Terminator, The Matrix, iRobot
I know what the future holds

Okay, Okay, I’ll look at this Pokemon-a-go-go thing…

But first I have to check my emails, I have three accounts… I think…

… Twitter… Facebook… Instagram…

Where’s the coffee? Pfft! Nope. Nespresso please….

Can you bring me my cup warmer, the one with the USB I can plug into my laptop…

Oh, what’s happening on the blog?

Really gotta get into this Pinterest thing… Oh look! A board on boards…

Put some Netflix on in the background…

…No not that one, that’s for the DVD player…

…Nope, that’s the media player…

…DSTV… Disconnected that…

It’s through the Playstation 3. I know, ain’t got the 4 yet…

Oh wait, I have to show you this Youtube clip…

Lol! And this one… Okay, One more!!!

Sci-Fi, CGI, Animation, Motion Capture, 3D, iMax

I’ve seen Terminator, The Matrix, iRobot

I know what the future holds

Have you heard that new song by that new artist… Whatsizname?

Ipod? Itunes? No… I don’t have the CD… Lolz – remember cassettes?

Tomorrowland!!! Electro…

Oh!!! Thanks for reminding me. Mustn’t forget to charge my Kindle,

What did I do with the Power Bank Now? Oh no! Cables?

Windows 10… Went Android… Nope Ipad…

Oh look what’s trending…

No! Wait! Sometimes it just feels like chaos.

Digital Noise

Let’s stop, because in among all this craziness there is actual power!

There is so much connectedness and technology all around us.

We can actually change the world with the power we have access to.

Home of Hope People! There’s a Kickstarter campaign on Thundafund.

Technology that can save lives. Check it out here 🙂

We need to make real change happen…

OMG! is that the time already Siri?

Okay, Okay, I’ll look at this Pokemon-a-go-go thing…

Tomorrow…

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Hitchcock (2013)…

To the likes of Ed Wood, The Aviator and Chaplin, comes Hitchcock…

That shower scene!

Psycho, shot completely in black and white. She stands there. Naked. Scarlett Majojo as Janet Leigh. The music rises. The shower curtain is drawn back by a silhouetted figure. Brandishing a knife. “Janet” screams. The knife comes at her.

“No, No. No!” the director yells.

He grabs the knife from the extra and viscously commences stabbing at (but not really of course) poor Janet with vigor – now she’s really screaming, Alfred Hitchock is coming at her with a knife. I do enjoy movies about movies – the making of, the inspiration behind the scenes, the process and personalities… I even admit to enjoying “making of” documentaries and audio commentaries.

So, to the likes of Ed Wood, The Aviator and Chaplin, comes Hitchcock.

Psycho is arguably Hitchcock’s finest work and this movie introduces us to a version of Alfred Hitchcock, or “Hitch”, as he commences the journey to make the film that would usher in a new age of cinema (and now a pretty impressive age in television with The Bates Motel).

Hitchcock Rating PosterThis biopic of sorts is a tongue in cheek characterization of the real life character we have come to know as the well caricatured portly, stern and gruff Alfred Hitchcock, a representation portrayed by the equally brilliant Sir Anthony Hopkins (Huh – A.H portraying/portrayed by A.H). But there’s a lot more to enjoy here than the brilliance of Hopkins, in this movie there is a stellar cast to match the lead actor:

  • Helen Mirren as Alma Reville, Hitch’s beloved and equally matched wife who grapples with his penchant for his blonde leading ladies.
  • Scarlett Majojo (Johansson) as Janet Leigh. Scarlett Majojo, yet again surprising me at just how good she actually is, not just as eye-candy, I am surprised that I am consistently surprised.
  • Jessica Biels as Vera Miles, contractually obliged to perform for Hitch, and living up to her have-to-casting by him, the thorn in his side.
  • Toni Colette as Peggy Robertson, Hitch’s secretary, a small role, but a role completely owned by Toni.
  • James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, and there his is on screen (if not enough), Anthony Perkins.
  • Kurtwood Smith (or is it Red Forman) as Geoffrey Shurlock.

Aside from Dame Helen Mirren’s character which is central to Hitch’s character development in this movie, the ying to his yang as it were; all others are slight characters who while playing in Hitch’s movie (and the movie within the movie) are all but aspects to the passion project and journey Hitch is on.

I love Psycho, so a movie about Psycho and Hitchcock is just entertaining for me, and the fact that the movie does not take itself too seriously, while absolutely honouring the subject, well that’s just good fun. It’s not the perfect movie, it definitely left me with a feeling of wanting more…

Hitchcock starring Soz

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the Life/Death of Carrie…

“What!?! You’ve never seen Carrie?!?”

Eish!

Where to begin…

Sometimes I have time to kill, and I like to kill that time with movies. But I don’t always have a lot of killing time available. So when I do decide to excercise the art of time-killage, I like to do it properly.

Enter the conversation about the remake, (and it’s gonna be brief) I am neither here nor there in this argument, a good remake is a good remake, and I can enjoy a good remake when the remake is good. Evidence in this regard, in my opinion of course, when we speak of the Horror genre, would include Rob Zombie’s Halloween, The Grudge, The Amityville Horror, The Hills have Eyes…

But as for the piece of crap, travesty remake of one of my personal favourite Horror movies of all time, Carrie, all I can say to adequately encompass my feelings here is…

Carrie (2013)Eish!

Just so you know, to further contextualise and set the stage of my internal battle with Eish-ness as it relates to this topic, I am not allowed to watch Horror movies at just any given time. A former Horror movie junkie, who grew up on Freddy Krueger and lists the Alien anthology as his favourite movie of all time, it is a different state of movie loving I now engage in, for you see, my Mrs does not dig them. However, since my mother-in-law moved in, I have developed a Horror movie watching schedule for she’s game to watch these movies. So there we were, with time available, and a selection of movies to watch…

“What!?! You’ve never seen Carrie?!?” I asked in disbelief.

“I don’t think so,” she replied.

And so we put it on – but in a bad judgement call of note, I opted for the new version… I know, shame on me, I should have known better…

Where to begin?

Hit Girl ain’t no Sissy Spacek! Carrie White is not hot or pretty, she shouldn’t even have the potential to be hot or pretty, and Sissy Spacek has never been hot or pretty (in the conventional sense, and in Carrie specifically) as far as I know… Carrie-2013 almost felt like a less scary version of She’s All That…

Oh! Oh! and Sissy can act – Sissy done gone Kicked your Ass – Sissy Spacek was an Oscar Nominee for a Horror Movie I say!). Sorry Hit-Girl, looking down with furrowed brow and slightly parted pouted lips do not a Carrie make, never mind the awkward gesticulating of your brand of telekinesis.

The miscasting in this movie is astonishing… half way through the movie, the cringeing was unbearable.

Julianne Moore (and I am somewhat of a fan) just not camp enough (Piper Laurie who at this point was an out of work actress was now also an Oscar Nominee for her turn as Margaret White)

Nancy (of Robocop fame) Allen’s Chris in the original movie, That Byatch, well Nancy Allen was hot and mean in the hottest and meanest way… This new Chris, is so not (shame on you… Ummm… Let me Google… Portia Doubleday… shame on you)

Amy Irving, the all-american girl Sue Snell, now the hot-chick with a concsience… WHY??? Why I ask you? Why must Hollywood beauty pageant a small town horror tragedy of the most epic of proportions.

So Casting was a write-off… and I haven’t seen the original in a while let me just say… but the gravitas was diminished… the music was less than evoking… the De Palma touch was sadly absent… the gross desensitizing figurative explosion of telekinetic force by focusing on special effects… by the end I was just sad (not for Carrie White mind you)… just so, so, sad…

Only solution? Dig out the original and watch it immediately, the way it should have been, and the verdict? Hands down! 1976 Kicks 2013’s arse!!! (so declare Mother In Law, in not so many choice words). But seriously!

Carrie (1976)The original Carrie is one of the greatest Horror masterpieces of all time. Born from the mind of one of my favourite creative geniuses, Stephen King, the breath of movie magic into his masterpiece is sufficiently retro as to remain relevant in its original state. The Brian De Palma touch of magic, paired with the casting of Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, result in a movie is and that rests timelessly within its perfection because of its symptomatic existence as a product of its time and age. The plainness of Carrie and her arrival at the prom in her glowing plainness; this is never a Cinderella story. What this movie is about is not a a girl becomes a princess tale, it’s the creation of a villain among villains, a step-sister to match the evil step-sisters.

It is still one of my favourite movies of all time…

And if you say 2013 is superior, well then I just don’t know…

The way I feel, this remake will always be –

“Carrie 2013 – the attempted murder of the Ultimate Tragic Heroine of the High School Social Rejects”

soztheo.me stars in Carrie (1976)

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Momma…

What do I have to say about mommy blogging – well, I’m not a mommy for one, I’m a daddy; b) I do have a mommy (it was her birthday this week… Happy Birthday again Mamoo); 3. I am in love with a beautiful mommy, who is also a great partner in crime and who teaches me everyday about this parenting thing. So, as a member of The Blog Tag, in a week theme centered around Mommy Blogging, who better than these two to help me tackle the subject matter – they are my invited co-conspirators for this weeks interview/Q&A.

So, without further ado, I proudly introduce you to the two most important mothers in my life:


IMG_20160705_195246
Mamoo, on Tuesday, with her 1st Grandchild, my boy Alexi

Stella “Mamoo” Nestoridis, the woman that gave birth to me and managed to keep me alive (which was no easy task let me tell you). A single mother with two kids (my sister and I) who battled and soldiered forward after a disastrous marriage, and with limited support or contribution from the sperm-donor.

One day I promise to repay you for everything you have done for us! Love you Mamoo!


IMG_20160703_092958
My Lovely Anabela with her two boys; Ari and Alexi

Anabela “AnaB” Pinto, the woman who makes my heart do boom-titty-boom; the woman who has given me the two greatest gifts in this world (apart from her love); the smile I get to look forward to on the bleh-est of days.

She amazes me with just how much of an awesome Momma she is. My boys are truly blessed to have her as a mom (and me to have her as the Mrs).

Love you babes!!!


– and then there’s me, soztheo.me, “Dad“, I’ll occasionally offer my thoughts…

So to start off, before I get to the Friday Q&A, I think we’ll briefly tackle  the daily challenges that were up for posting this week:

IMG_20160702_113616Monday – Most memorable Mommy Moment

AnaB: The first time I held my boys – Surreal! It’s the first time you feel unconditional love.

Dad: And I would have to concur… I remember when we were in the ward after the event, just holding them and staring at them both for hours, as the brain tries to catch up with what has just happened… For a dad, it’s the first real moment of connectedness, for moms the baby has already been a part of them for nine months, but the first solid and tangible realisation happened once they were in my arms.

With Ari it was a little harder, as he was in ICU having been delivered early as my beautiful Bela had developed gestational diabetes – it was so scary – and to top it off, when he came out his umbilical cord was in a knot, so we were really blessed after the trials before! so we had to wait before we could hold or even touch hime, but when it finally happened… #Love

Tuesday – Tips for a new Mom

Mamoo: For an expecting mom, prepare to be uncomfortable, I hated the discomfort… They romanticize it, it’s actually okay, you are not alone, the discomfort sucked! When it comes to toddlers, give them the freedom to explore, but with boundaries – so that means you have to watch the Hell out of them. For teens… It doesn’t really change… Watch Them, Watch Them, WATCH THEM (They are up to SH1t)!

Dad: Thanks Mom

AnaB: Lol!!! 1. Ask for support, you don’t have to do it all yourself. 2. Relax and Enjoy every moment, they grow so fast! 3. Figure your own way out… Each child is different. 

Wednesday – What does it mean to be a Mother

AnaB: Being a mother is the most challenging yet rewarding thing you will ever do in your life. When you don’t have kids you know no better, when you have kids you can’t imagine your life without them.

Thursday – Day in the life of a Mom

Dad: She doesn’t stop, she’s amazing like that – I do my best to keep up, but she’s just amazing at being everything she is…

Mamoo: And you have to do your part Dad!!! It’s really tiring, I was working five jobs.

  • I had a “morning” half-day office job until 13h00,
  • Then I would travel to the ballet shop I owned (and which your father destroyed), trying to keep that alive was tough (eventually suppliers wouldn’t work with us, and this was after the divorce, but just because of his association with business, I eventually sold it to other owners for literally nothing, all we did was sign the papers over).
  • I was working as a hostess at a restaurant in the evenings, I would pick you kids up from school, have dinner with you quickly to be at work at 18h00, and only get home at about 02h00 in the AM.
  • On the weekends I then taught dancing lessons,
  • and I sold clothes in what ever little spare time I had after all of that!

1. When did you become a mom/dad? & 2. How many kids do you have and what are their names?

487809_4240161441891_1317689367_n2
Alexis 1st photoshoot – yet another reason he is going to hate us – especially come his 21st!

Mamoo: I have two big babies; My son (let’s call him soztheo.me) who is 36 years of age and a daughter, Miranda (33).

Dad: The first time we became parents was on 23rd April 2012 when Alexi José Nicolaos Pinto Theofrastos was born (yeah, our kids are going to hate us, but they say your parents mess you up, and we started early – his names printed into the serated edge of his birth certificate)… 

Ari Nestor Antonio Pinto Theofrastos came this year, he is 5 months old and was born on the 3rd February 2016 (his name just fit on his birth certificate :P).

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Ari’s 1st photoshoot – we’ve spared him the angel wings, will just have to give him other baggage 🙂

3. Do you want more children?

AnaB: When my hubby becomes a millionaire, then we can have a third :)…

Dad: …coz I really, really want three; which is a surprise because I never wanted to have kids… but they really do change you!

4. What is the most challenging thing about being a mom/dad?

Mamoo: In retrospect… Keeping the peace in the household. When you’ve got two brats like I had… I never succeeded… It was World War 3 daily!

Dad: Totally justified (we really were nightmare children)… So which of your two kids is your favourite (just jokes)?

AnaB: The most challenging thing for me is spending quality time together as a family, and splitting time between the boys.

Mamoo: It’s so important! Those are actually my favourite memories of raising my kids, those quality moments when we spent time together without the two of them trying to kill each other (which was quite seldom)… It’s also some of the favourite memories of my mom, like when we used to sit up watching movies, my kids, me and my mom, watching movies in the flat.

Dad: For me, that’s a part of it, for me it’s the whole “are we doing the right thing?”, coz while they didn’t come with manuals there are alot of manuals, and opinions, and best intentions we as parents have for our children…

5. What was your first reaction when you found out you were having a baby?

AnaB: I was delighted, always wanted to be a mom.

6. Does your child/children have a favourite toy they can’t live without?

AnaB: Alexi and his Teddy

7. Are you a stay at home parent? If so how has being a stay at home parent impacted your life? If not how do you handle work and family?

AnaB: I’m a working mom. I really do try to keep a balance between the 2, I dedicate time from 16h00 – 19h00 to the boys, and ensure that’s dedicated time – no compromises…

Mamoo: So I was a single, working mom. It was all I knew, I never had the luxury to compare it to anything else. It was financially difficult. I don’t know if I handled it all that well, but it was a thing of survival. The single parent must be as stern as the father should have been in the house, without over-pampering the children, and prepare yourself for a bit of a financial battle… Mind you not every single parent has a financial battle, some are very, very well looked after – in my day, it was a stigma as well…

Dad: I remember, I was one of two kids in my class who came from a family of divorce, it’s a lot more accepted nowadays…

Mamoo: And it’s never what I wanted for my kids. I was very fortunate, my memories of my mother are of me coming home, just her being there every day when I came home from school, it was amazing, she took such pride in her mom duties, fully cooked meals, quality time…

IMG_20160609_1202078. Do you co-sleep?

Dad: We do co-sleep, it’s a rather controversial topic when you really delve into it, but it’s such a delicate balance and it’s at these moments you go with your gut and instincts.

9. What is your childs favourite TV show?

AnaB: Alexi – The Lego Movie; Angry Birds

Dad: LOL! It started with Teletubbies – we put it on when he was very little just to see if there was a reaction (I am a child of TV and Film); those things are evil man – it was an instantaneous connection. Then we went through the Barney phase (and I said I would never… ever…), but like I said, they change you – it was when I was singing all the songs that I realised that it’s not always a good thing!

10. Favourite baby/kid item that makes your life easier?

AnaB: Bottle Warmer; dummy; bouncing chair

Dad: It’s not a popular answer, but sometimes the hypno-box is just the distraction you need…

IMG_20160625_21391111. Why did you start blogging about your kids?

Dad: I don’t really blog exclusively about my kids and parenthood, but my blog is all about the world around me and my family are a huge… correction, the hugest aspect of my reality!

12. What are your favourite baby care brands?

AnaB: Fissan Bum Creme; Johnson & Johnson Top to Toe; Sterimar; Sudocreme

13. What are you favourite kid friendly restaurants?

Dad: Papachino’s is great (although the one we frequented was out of our immediate area and is now closed!?!} Spur is the natural answer, every parent’s best friend (although you do get sick of the food after a while), but at least it keeps Alexi occupied and having fun! Lastly, there is a gem in Bedfordview called Happily Ever Laughter, look it up if that is within your range of necessity – great food, great atmosphere and great children’s facilities.

IMG_20160618_14102014. Have you been on holiday with your kids, how was that experience? If not where would you like to go?

Dad: We’ve been on holiday a few times, it is a bit of a logistic nightmare (and suddenly boot space becomes the most important thing when choosing a car), but…

AnaB: …when we took Alexi to Cape Town in December! It was his 1st time on an aeroplane, he swam in the ocean for the 1st time and he loved Table Mountain – It’s the best holiday we’ve had!!!

15. Do you have any help with your children? Family, friends a nanny?

AnaB: Vovo (My mom, Portuguese for gran); Yia-Yia (His Dad’s Mom, Greek for gran); my husband

Dad: It’s all about Bela (AnaB), I don’t know where I’d be without her, she really is the center that makes it all worth. The grandmother’s of our Portu-Greek household are vital, and I have to mention my brother-in-law José and my sister-in-law Lauren; they has guided us (parents to three boyz) through this parenting-thing from the beginning. First thing in the morning after Alexi’s first night home we called them to our rescue – Family is so important!!!

Mamoo: For me there was my mom who lived next door, and Nahsisi, she was our maid then, our domestic worker now, an integral part of this families journey, so much so that her kids are our kids and siblings to my kids – I couldn’t have done it all without her!

16. What are your favourite places to shop for your kids?

AnaB: Cotton-On; Woolworths; Ackermans

Dad: Anywhere that sells toys 😛

17. Your kids naughtiest moment.

AnaB: Alexi ran away from me in a hotel, straight into an elevator and the door closed immediately – him on the inside; me on the outside; and the elevator started moving…

Dad: I remember that, Anabela was very pregnant at the time… For me it was when Alexi started his new school and about two weeks in when I went to collect him his teacher pulled me aside and said, “Your son, yesterday, snuck away during lunchtime in the dining hall, and we found him flooding the classroom…” – He was literally, repeatedly, filling up his drinking cup at the basin and pouring it on the floor… Laughing when they found him… I was mortified and embarrassed, but I also chuckled inside (in fear, because it’s a scary kind of mischief), and all I could say was, “Wait… You lost my kid…”

IMG_20160619_21510418. What is your best advice for new parents?

AnaB: Spend time together as each moment passes you by, you never get it back – enjoy every little moment!

Dad: Sleep!!! Don’t sweat the little things (and that is easier said than done)…

19. Have you had any bad experiences as a parent?

AnaB: I think for me it is just how judgmental, rude, discourteous and impolite people can be towards parents and pregnant mothers, especially during my pregnancy with Ari – I mean, you are actually incensed with me because I am in the parent way!

Mamoo: But you don’t take criticism, you brush it off and let it run off like water off a duck’s back because every situation and every child and every character is different, because I honestly believe it’s too dynamic, there isn’t a correct way to do it. So it is just a case of, what right do you have to criticize someone else because you’re not in that situation and vice versa, what right do they have to criticize you.That’s basically it.

For me, you guys, my kids, always fight! I never managed to get that out of you, to knock it out of you, you are still always bickering! You still fight like cats and dogs.

Dad: Yeah, but we love each other!!! And woe be to those who cross our united battle faces!!!

Mamoo: That’s fine, but the memories that come to mind are of me being at work and getting those phone calls (especially during the holidays)… constant… do you know what it was like?

First

(Ring Ring)

Hello?

MOMMY! Sozos hit me…

Well there’s nothing I can do, I’m at work! Sort it out!

(Boom)

two minutes later…

MOMMY! Miranda bit me…

I can’t do anything about it, I’m at work!!!

(put the phone down)

two minutes later…

Madam! The children she’s fighting!

Well sort them out, I’m at work, what can I do?

But she’s fighting

Just… hit them… put them… separate them

Okay

two minutes later; the phone…

Listen here Stella! WHAT KIND OF CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE?

(It was my mother)

Me and My Beautiful Sister - both very much alive (in case you were wondering)...
Me and My Beautiful Sister – both very much alive (in case you were wondering)…

And then (from school):

I’m done, come fetch me.

I’m at work!

But it is your lunch time, leave the office quickly, you’ve got a lunch hour come take me home

(these were daily phone calls from school)

You guys were unrelenting and demanding!!!

Dad: #WeDon’tCondoneChildAbuse – we really were horrid kids, and in between the above renditions there are copious amounts of laughter at the memories of how difficult we were…

20. Complete the sentence I love being a mom/dad….

AnaB: …because I love what my boys teach me daily. They remind me to smile, be patient, be young and have fun! Their sweet innocent nature and ability to be carefree – they remind me to enjoy every moment I have with them.

IMG_20160527_081517Dad: FULL STOP…  because of the meaning they bring to this journey called life! With them I got a new name, Daddy (well two, like Superman), but really one that will forever be associated with me, they have changed me in the simplest and most profound of ways. The short answer? #LOVE

Mamoo: …’cos when I look at my kids now I’m really proud that despite all the difficulties they have turned out to be honest, hard-working, good characters and people. When you hear how tough it was from everything I’ve said before, it’s a great sense of pride for me!

I love being a grandparent because when I get tired I get to give them back to their parents (Laughter!?!) 


Quick Fire with AnaB:

Huggies vs Pampers

Breast Feed vs Bottle

Home School vs Public/Private School

Stay at home mom vs Working mom (Currently)

Character Themed Nursery vs. Colour Themed Nursery

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Don Jon (2013)

For Don Jon it’s all about:
“My body; My pad; My ride; My family; My church; My boys; My girls; My porn”.
Read the Review here…

For my second movie review in which I am revisiting my movie reviews from a previous blog I was involved in, I am taking a trip to the comedic genius that is Don Jon.

I LOVE THIS MOVIE!

Oh my hat, am I surprised at how much I enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon.

But then again, from the moment I saw the trailer, I thought ‘I wanna check that movie out’… And then I did. And then I really enjoyed it. And then I was sad that it was all over. So then I showed it to my fiancee. And then I enjoyed it all over again. And she enjoyed it (which is a win because she falls asleep in movies, Grrr, she made it through though). But then I was sad all over again that it was all over…

Continue reading “Don Jon (2013)”

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Defending Madiba

I cannot believe that we live in a time where on the day of Elie Wiesel’s death, the day that Night fell upon the light it produced, that today of all days, I am penning a post entitled ‘Defending Madiba’.

TRIGGER WARNING: POLITICAL COMMENTARY; RHETORIC WHICH CAN BE LABELLED WHITESPLAINING WHICH IS SYMPTOMATIC OF THE WHITE FRAGILITY WHICH WILL BE EVIDENCED BY THE AFORE-MENTIONED ‘SPLAINING THAT IS WHITE…

OH! IT’S A LONG ONE!!! 

I actually cannot believe that I am sitting here thinking about how I am going to construct this post…

I cannot believe that we live in a time where on the day of Elie Wiesel’s death, the day that Night fell upon the light it produced, that today of all days, I am penning a post entitled ‘Defending Madiba’. It has been brewing for a while, this need to say something, to offer a perspective, an admittedly white one which wants to now defend a legacy which is slowly being dismantled and dragged through the proverbial mud.

It commenced with a tweet stream shared on Facebook:


1I do not agree with an approach to a topic in which the achievements of a mere human being; an individual who has stepped into the role of leader during a tumultuous time; a man who took on the role to lead, inspire and direct the course of a damaged country as an ideological proponent and ambassador, can be so flippantly undermined and disregarded, while at the same time an admission to the fact that a civil war was avoided by his choices are so matter of factly stated.

Think about it… The man’s Rainbow Nation unification ideal prevented a civil war. Only a civil war. Only murders, deaths, kills. Bloodshed. Stats really.

A man. Madiba. Any of us could have done that right? A man. What makes a man? Who knows for certain what the burden and thoughts about his actions and decisions meant to his self assessment of his work? Is a man only human?

Was the atrocity of the apartheid legacy lost during that time, whitewashed? I don’t have all the answers. I Believe that yes it was. I imagine that the state controlled news sought to hide and downplay the atrocity of it, kinda like the SABC does today? No longer in Mandela’s control, there have been two full presidencies since his one term “reign” which could have un-whitewashed his terrible contribution to the South Africa we live in today… Did Mandela make concessions? Yes, I am sure he did. I am sure that like any other leader, he was just a man, approaching the problems before him in what he believed was the best way to do so – hmmm… How interesting. Just a man. Not God. A mere mortal. Who inspired a people. Who inspired the globe in a way that his own constituents were not even aware of. Who prevented a war…


2Hindsight. That wonderful space where armchair critics get to operate.

I admit it, there hasn’t been enough done to address the issues that exist as part of the inherent legacy of apartheid. But maybe our Doctors should be focussing on healing, plumbers focussed on drains, pilots keeping aeroplanes in the sky. Maybe parents and teachers were selfishly more concerned about ensuring that their own children got the best chance at a future in uncertain times, that therefore they never actually read the “How to be a Rainbow Nation” handbook…

Oh wait, there is no handbook is there, was there? There was too much practical work done around creating an ideology which a single man believed to be the best approach to ensuring a future for this country. A black man in post-apartheid South Africa. A former political prisoner with full capability to create a nation soaked in the blood of vengence. A black former political prisoner in post-apartheid South Africa who wasted his time and breath and life in trying to steer us away from a civil war… Stupid man…

I must say I have heard it said many a time, in amongst calls for genocide, that “white people were given a get out of jail free card.” Ummm, no they/we weren’t, because get out of jail free implies freedom from the jail which imprisoned us, where was the memo issued to our parents that directed them on where to report to for parole evaluation and community service? The onus was on white people to know that they should do this… How and when? Who said so? I honestly believe that when you hear the majority of white people exclaim in perceived ignorance and surprise that there is and was an onus on them, it’s because they really are ignorant and surprised. Point? Maybe the white person who says “but I have black friends”, is someone who happens to have black friends, and who genuinely believes that they are doing enough in appreciating their friends despite of and because of the colour of their skin, while unblocking drains, performing open-heart surgery and flying terrorists to far off lands.

And as for the idea that Germany is the handbook… Rainbow they are not! They have had seventy one years to rebuild their economy, the rebuild included breaking down a divisive wall which cut the country in half. They also had their get out of jail free card when 17 billion marks of debt was written off (in 1953, 17 billion, that’s alot today), and a 30 year extension on the remaining 15 billion marks was given, allowing them the greater latitude to take better control of their financial destiny and opportunity of investment into building a Germany they could be proud of… A Germany that doesn’t believe in writing off debt. And yes, there is something to be said about the fact that in that there was a space to focus on the human decency in school which teaches them that Nazism, concentration camps and genocide are bad – I also remember learning that in school in History, I’m sure that in our super connected modern world many people know this is wrong…

It’s intrinsic common human decency (except on South African social media), and I can tell you this with unqualified certainty, that the majority of white people in South Africa today do not think that apartheid was an awesome idea, or actively call for genocide and the mass murder of black babies.


3Could we/they, white South Africans, learn and do more? Yes for sure, please step away from your scalpel, put your wrench down, and let go of the steering wheel, don’t you focus on the futures of your kids, they need to be secondary to the lessons that need to be taught but for which no agreed process or handbook exists. We can’t even agree on the validity of reverse-racism, whitesplaining vs blacksplaining, freedom of speech, censorship, the role of satire, how parliament should work, the role of the public protector, the SABC, state funds or the president himself…

What do we know for certain? That if you have the opportunity in your lifetime to steer your nation away from a civil war, think twice, for that may not be the decision which needs to be made, maybe we should relook at the advantages of a civil war, we can get vengence, put people in concentration camps and maybe throw a little genocide into the mix… We are just people after all. We are merely men (and women). It’s only natural for man to engage in war right? One man cannot be lauded with the attribution of merely avoiding that in the pursuit of a greater ideal, could he?

For surely if he did something so atrocious as to lead a country down the wrong path for 5 years, 17 years and two presidents from the same party controlled government ago, he must be solely to blame? It cannot be the same party who has done nothing to correct the false course that crazy man set us on, could it? No, that would be tantamount to white people not accepting their role in getting us to this point, because white people have all the power you know, they are solely responsible for our current state! Average white people, who don’t understand sociology, psychology, philosophy, political discourse and that atonement is more than just an olden day British movie starring Keira Knightley which sometimes plays when there should be other exciting, informative and educational movies like White Chicks to watch; the average white people should have psychically known that it was and is their role to take a stand during and after apartheid, and that being that they are ignorant (which is the root of all prejudice) they should magically discover what there ignorance induced limitations are, and address them. Silly, white, just people…

Perhaps, just perhaps, the same will be said of all South Africans today in the future. A lack of accountability for our actions. A lack of focus. A lack of the kind of idealism and unity that has built great nations. Like a nation united by a leader of substance and idealism. An approach that would seek to unify us, people of all colours, together, like the colours of the rainbow. Together. Standing up and collectively taking ownership of the cause, instead of expecting those who know no better to know better. That as the minority, we must solely effect the kind of change that would be easier for a majority to achieve. Where’s my “I am David” t-shirt, when i wake up tomorrow it’s my duty to take on Goliath… I’m just a man after all, I can do this right? Can’t I? One man can inspire and steer the masses towards unity against the insurmoutable right? Wouldn’t it be great if there was such a legacy to aspire to?


4Because, 20 years ago I thought I had a great leader, and I thought this because he did manage to steer us away from a civil war, but I am sitting here now going that this terribly flawed human being had misled me and an entire nation. So now I must do something about this because as a white man it all sits on my shoulders. I must atone. And as an individual I do, I really and truly do apologise that I am a benefactor of a systemic anomaly which resides within the system (it’s Matrix-y, but really it’s not flippant because); this anomaly has the minority in a position of power over the majority, because being white of skin affords me the financial and social advantages which the majority have been, and are, unable to attain unless I and all like me “atone” – and what does that look like…

Well I should know, I’m white. I cannot ask a person of colour for guidance, I have in fact been told categorically by “learned” peoples of colour (learned because obviously they’ve been through all of this before and they have a handbook I don’t have access to apparently); that it is not the role of black people to hear us, answer our questions, work with us, they’ve given us more than enough. This is a white issue, we must figure it out for ourselves… Hmmm…

Now here is the irony. Our country is in turmoil, and the majority is in power, any action of meaning the minority takes would imply that because we are on our own in this space, we would need to make a movement, a movement meaningful enough to effect change implies a force of power, and we would need to get it right to a standard which would be set on-the-fly by a majority that does not want to engage with us on what said movement should  look like. This force to effect change, uninformed by the input of the majority which is essential to it’s success, could, if it were to not be deemed satisfactory by the majority, result in a civil war (I mean remember what happened the last time the minority white leadership “made a mistake”). Seriously, must this minority shoulder the responsibility and weight and risk (in the face of race-based/historic-based consistent prejudice), to attempt to achieve the insurmountable, so that if it fails they take the full responsibility thereof?

I absolutely do not seek to diminish the atrocities of Apartheid. I hate apartheid. I hate being a beneficiary of apartheid. I apologize for apartheid on behalf of all of mine who can’t. I live everyday knowing that this country I live in is the way it is because of apartheid, and I try in my way to actively address it…


However…

5This country is also in the state that it is in because of a systemic Bush-esque, manipulative and subliminal fear campaign which threatens the security of every man, woman and child which lives on its soil, whose ancestors are buried in its earth. If racism and systemic racism is all about power, and we want to change the society we live in, we should seek to unify, like a nation of all colours, like a rainbow.

If we go the other route, and take a minority and force them to be supplicant to the majority, we thereby endorse the establishment of a system of power based on the idea that because of a persons skin colour they are inherently an inferior class citizen of a nation divided upon racial lines. That because I am white, I must hang my head in shame, and me and my progeny must forever exist to atone for the fact that I was born in a country which was setup amorally by people who kinda looked like me (sans big nose and olive complexion) in a land that was built upon an ideology that was set to divide, and that therefore could not embrace an ideology that sought to unite…


6I know this:

All my life I’ve heard stories about children and people of colour hating on their own skin, chasing an ideal of what is beautiful and what is desirable at the cost of their own personal identity. It is atrocious that we live in a society where people hate on themselves for being who they were born to be – I never want to be one of those people, I never want to view my identity as an affliction, or to view my skin colour as an undesirable aspect of myself – I am a white man.

When I think of Nelson Mandela, I do tend to lean toward the symbolic arena, with a history like ours we deserve a legacy of esteem and pride, something and someone which speaks to the ideals we hope to live by. But I also think of a human being, an imperfect member of this human race. I hear people say “These whites and their Madiba”, what about it? What is so offensive. Do you know what about the man I hold in esteem? If I must not presume to know what goes on in the head of a person of colour, is it not a fair expectation to accept the same level of human regard and consideration. Defensive much? Sorry…

I can’t understand the need to not hold our heroes up high, to allow populist rhetoric to undermine a legacy worthy of its place in history. If he was but a pebble thrown into a lake, the power and force of that ripple has tsunami’d around the world. And it is a quintessentially South African Tsunami.

8For me, Nelson Mandela offered himself as a beacon of light, he became a major icon of a time, the face and voice of a cause that needed a face and a voice. A face and a voice that effected and inspired activation of international involvement in the fight against apartheid… A lot of that was “white” support, in a “white” world. Knowing that he had become to symbolize something greater than himself, he made decisions, often unpopular in hindsight, which fed a legacy that would be sad to be so grossly unappreciated by his own people. A legacy that demonstrated selflessness, forgiveness, humility, triumph, empathy, understanding, hope, inspiration – this is the icon, the man was a black person in South Africa, one of many who took a stand against evil, standing for what you believe in, being prepared to die for it, that alone speaks to a man who is worthy of admiration, and worthy of forgiveness himself if you are that angry.

7There is so much work which needs to be done in this beautiful land. White people holding other white people accountable is one way to do it, but I fear a different kind of divide, especially in a country where, no matter what, people will vote for the ANC, not because they are the best party, but only because of the liberation legacy. A legacy which has been destroyed over the past decade. But one that now shifts the blame to the man that ushered it into a new era. He was a human being with a huge task.  Just a man…


In closing I take it to the core. It’s motherhood week on the blog tag. Let me tell you about just a woman. I love my mother very much, I don’t agree with every decision this divorced mother of two, working four jobs made for my life. In my twenties I was damn resentful of some of those decisions, some memories of tough love still smart, but I can’t ever understand the full extent of her reasons and thoughts during that decision making process – and believe me I’ve tried, and discussed, and theorised. She was just a woman who had to make some decisions in my best interest.

It’s her 63rd birthday this week, some of those decisions she made most probably have contributed negatively to my life path, some of them toughened me up. I love my mommy. I could be angry at her until the end of her days for her mistakes. Instead, I acknowledge she is human. I trust that her intent was genuinely in my best interest. I know sacrifices were made in the hopes for my life. She has taught me in ways and with lessons that are applied, and improved on in light of her imperfections, in my raising of my kids. She set an imperfectly perfect template which I could only but hope to aspire to and improve upon. She is an amazing testament to overcoming and rising above personal circumstance and tragedy. She is a light…

I know it’s been a long one, and if you made it to this point thank you and I hope that it wasn’t a complete waste of your time. This was a free flow, but I couldn’t in good conscience not respond to the twitter thread of someone who like many of us just wants to do the right thing in this time, in this country.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

– Elie Wiesel

Now, do we really really want to take a genuine South African beacon of light; our Madiba; Nelson Mandela; Father of a Rainbow Nation, and cast him back into the Night?


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The Road Home

It’s been an exciting week on The Blog Tag though, as the group of inspirational bloggers have been dealing with a week themed travel

I’ve been away from my blog for way too long – such is the life of “making it happen”…

It’s been an exciting week on The Blog Tag though, as the group of inspirational bloggers have been dealing with a week themed travel, and as much as I wanted to contribute I was unable to. And now, here I is :)!

In brief this week for me was going to be about a personal journey I have been on. I’m a Sagittarius, our natural urge is to travel (if you believe in that), I have dream destinations including Iceland, New Orleans, South America and back to my ancestral home of Greece, but for me this week was going to break the norm expected in the themed tag…

I wanted to tell you all about a holiday I have been on recently. 2016 has been a year of great personal change and flux; a new baby, new employment path, it’s been exciting and scary. This blog is one outcome of that, but the best holiday I took this year was a holiday from my problems. I have taken the initiative to step away from petty yet destructive fears and self-doubt, and have found my way to a Home of Hope…

logoHome of Hope is an organization I currently have the privilege of working with. It is an autonomous, self-started initiative Founded in 2000 by Khanyisile Motsa which provides real care for exploited, trafficked and abused children in the city of Johannesburg. More than just a shelter, it is a home in the truest sense of the word, restoring dignity to those who need it most, nurturing love and a future to those who should not be without.

I have had the privilege to volunteer, contribute and collaborate as part of the team which is realigning the digital strategy of Home of Hope, and we will be launching the new website soon, so stay tuned! In the interim please like our Facebook page and follow us on twitter @A_HomeofHope.  It has been an enriching experience and I look forward to the journey on the road ahead with the home, it is truly the most rewarding vacation from the trivialities of my existence…

So if you, like me, have ever thought about getting involved, do it today!

“There is one way to learn, it’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” 

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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Defending Your Life (1991)

Defending your life Movie posterSo for my first movie review on soztheo.me, in which I am revisiting my assessments made of movies I watched on a previous blog I was involved in, I’m going to share with you a movie I really enjoy called Defending Your Life.

I am a fan of Albert Brooks movies, he has a dry, self-deprecating sense of humour that aligns with my funny bone – it’s not overloaded with the obvious, cheap, slap your knee, gimmicky, slapstick, tears rolling funny; his genius is about pairing his humour with great casts and placing the characters in hysterical, preposterous, yet subtle, scenarios.

Written, Directed by & Starring Mr. Brooks, this film is about that place between death and eternity. Daniel Miller dies and is transferred to the after-life of Judgement City, this is where the actions of your life are examined in a court room style setting (but it’s not a trial), and where the assessment will be made as to whether you have conquered fear during this life just passed. The decision if you are successful will have you advance to the next higher spiritual plane, if you fail you return to earth, reincarnated and given a chance to face fear again…

While going through his ‘it’s not a trial’, in the heavenly setting of white robed, eat all you can eat at no charge while surrounded by mostly the  recently departed aged, Daniel meets Julia (Meryl Streep), also young, recently deceased and also going through her ‘fear in life assessment’, the two meet in death and find in each other something that would have been the perfect compliment to the life they lived when alive.

I’m not going to give too much away as far as the ensuing plot line goes, but let me say this – I still love this movie, it is dated, but nothing is forever current, and dated or not, to me, this movie on the re-watch is as good as the first time I saw it (No remake required, please).

On my count, and again I will state that I am a fan of Albert Brooks movie making style, movies like The Muse and Mother, this movie gets a healthy four out of five stars, so give it a watch and tell me what you think?

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Narcissus

Oh… It all makes sense now…

It’s a pathology, Shame for you…

Sorry about the criticism.

Well, maybe not so much.

Now that I know your name…

I understand…

You are lacking.

I actually feel sorry for you.

It’s a real pity it cost so much…

But on the other side life is good…

So it was all worth it in the end.

Because never again.

I’ve learned that you are a narcissist…

A textbook case…

Nothing special.

Just a textbook narcissist.

Won’t mean anything to you…

You are not able to care…

But you are truly empty.

A Lie; Material and Fake.

So spit your venom…

Slay your prey…

You are not as scary as you think…

I am free of you!


If you find yourself in a relationship with an individual whose day is occupied with an over-inflated and dangerously oppressive personality, who does not listen, accepts no accountability and wallows in there own self-importance, who needs constant admiration and seems to take pleasure in putting you down, look a bit further – I recently learned that narcissism as I understood it (vanity) is not narcissism at all.

Narcissists are actually an extreme personality type, a pathologically dangerous one at that, that could cost you more than you know. They are charmers and liars, and ultimately everyone in their realm are emotional punching bags and pieces in their game. They are power hungry and will leave you damaged in their wake, to such a degree that it will take you a long time to recovery. They are damaged people, who damage other people, and will never have your best interest at heart because they are disabled of empathy.

If these traits are sounding, even in their briefness, a little too close for comfort, it may be time to do some homework (there is alot of info out there)…

Identify and step away before it’s too late… Not much more to say…


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Controversy: My Emptying Cup of Give a F–k!

Trigger Warning: Political and racial commentary

Johannesburg, South Africa, 2016…

Well, one stupid post by a stupid Real Estate Agent threatened to overthrow all that is positive about the South African Dream… The South African Dream, and ideal, the legacy of Nelson Mandela, Nelson mandela himself, have all been effectively trampled on for the last couple of years…

Her name was Penny Sparrow, and she made a comparison of the throngs of black beach goers on New Year’s day, and the chaos left in the wake of said masses, to monkeys… Social media picked up on it, and the start of 2016 went spiralling down the proverbial drain, along with almost any consideration of a shared humanity and national purpose between the races in South Africa. Racism it seems is everything that is wrong with South Africa, and the fact that “whites” thought it was okay to air such rhetoric upon an unsuspecting populace was proof of this (and alot of “whites”didn’t, but they are irrelevant apparently). In the wake of this radio personalities and leading national economists were knocked down on by one, as threats of white genocide became acceptable and defensible… Controversial enough?

Lost in all of this madness were the occurrences of the year before, the allowances that have been excused have now rendered action that is currently underway permissible, and our beautiful capital city Tshwane burns tonight… We have a corrupt leadership, a Parliament that has spiralled out of control under a leadership that can only correct itself by accepting the responsibility! And yes, as Tshwane teaches us, where there is smoke there is fire! If our President is not corrupt then pass the tobasco, I have a hat to eat. Just last year we allowed our students to cause chaos and destruction, it was publicized, it was commended, and to those who witnessed the power of the students who are more privileged than they, it demonstrated that if you are angry, then be chaotic. In it’s wake we had a xenophobic catastrophe that cost people lives… People are angry, the actions of the masses which liberated a country and put people in power, is now working against them, and there will be casualties…

Controversial posts? How about not enough time to fully explore the meaning and intention of our fellow humans? I mean, this is high-level and will be interpreted, misinterpreted and perceptions will be impressed upon it. And…

Shocker! I am white! I am controversial, because not only am I white, but I am white and have an opinion… Are you angry? Provoked? Then surely I must be worthy of a death threat?

Do you know Marina Abramović? Check her out, one of the most shockingly provoking artists of the past century, and watch her documentary please – it’s amazing!!! Anyway, the reason I bring her up is because of a certain performance:

To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her. Abramović placed on a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, olive oil, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions. This tested how vulnerable and aggressive the human subject could be when hidden from social consequences.[2] By the end of the performance, her body was stripped, attacked, and devalued into an image that Abramović described as the “Madonna, mother, and whore”.[2] Additionally, markings of aggression were apparent on the artist’s body; there were cuts on her neck made by audience members, and her clothes were cut off of her body.

Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained passive) people began to act more aggressively. As Abramović described it later: “What I learned was that … if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you. … I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.”

Relevance? As a member of this society in which I have given but a brief glimpse of my perceptions, I have experienced two instances of “controversial” expressions of opinion biting me in the arse…

First: There was a Real Estate agent who left her dog in a company branded car. People were angry and photos were taken after she swore at members of the public who confronted her. I shared the image on her employers FB page and asked if this was okay? I, among others, tried to contact her to say it’s not okay. I then gave her the benefit of the doubt, contacting her, telling her that i was sure she was a nice lady and loved her animals, having just left them there for a moment to buy them some nibbles from the Woolies. But, by the end I had her friends phoning my house and threatening to harass me if I didn’t talk to them. My Mrs was accused of being the person who took and posted the original photo – and in all of this she never once accepted that what she had done was in any way wrong, and that it was her actions that resulted in the situation at hand… Funny that… A Real Estate Agent… Like Penny Sparrow…

Then: In the wake of all the racial tension and hatred flying so venomously around me, I requested to join a prominent Facebook Page (let’s call it A Converstion Whatsit) which advertises itself as the place to be to engage the issue of racial relations honestly. I was eventually kicked off the group as I was confronted by levels of hate I could not understand, and questioned these rather aggressively after being targeted by a specific member of the group. Ultimately all I can say about this is that white people are entitled to a voice, and offence can be issued from both directions.

The idea that reverse racism doesn’t exist is false, you may not like that, but if racism is all about power, and you exist in a domain where power is race-aligned (in a Facebook group, for example), where the colour of your skin renders you not entitled to an opinion; that if you have an opinion it is invalid because of the colour of your skin (if you are white); that if you have an opinion it will be white washed and labelled as whitesplaining; that to be a part of said group you must accept, without comment for the reasons already raised, any offensive propoganda and leftist ideology that is hurled your way; that any relationship you have with people of colour exists as a master/servant dynamic because you do not accept the “fact”, notions or attacks by people on the group; that malicious targeting and provocation on social media is acceptable by people of colour, and that a response by a white person to provocation is proof of “white fragility”, but that if you as a white person challenge or provoke then you are labelled; etcetera, etcetera and so forth…That because of the above, if you don’t align, because the colour of your skin (and only that) has fed your point of view, that because you are white in skin and opinion, well then you are exited by those in a position of power on the group… but it’s not racist (even though racism is about power, but apparently not within a social medium)…

It was rough, because the intention to engage was pure, and when I was ex-communicated and blocked, I struggled with it for a very long time as I dealt with the months of conditioning and the guilt that was flung around in the space like a bag of doo-doo attached to a ceiling fan. And then months passed, and I witnessed a person who I knew to be a member of this group launch into their self-righteous attack upon another uneducated, less-than-human, white person, on a community WhatsApp group. It was then that I realised something, an epiphany if you will,  that in having unpopular opinion, especially in public, is like being Marina Abramović, you welcome the response of the aligned hordes. The problem with aligned hordes is that not a single one can look in the mirror and intellectually quantify unanimously what aligns them, they are just wrapped up in a zeitgeist of unqualified sentiment, and armed with pieces of other people’s appetizing (to them) thinking…

The point! I don’t try to be controversial or offend, but we are how many people on this planet? There is always someone who is going to be offended, and I am always happy to apologise for offending if there is an ability to have a civilized conversation and explore the offence caused. But when it comes to self-censorship, I made a decision last week that I am ashamed by… I was tasked with a creative challenge regarding creating an image around proving Sea Monkeys in the real world, and I started and then stopped for fear of backlash… The opportunity available in the task? (Sea Mankeys, See Monkeys… I had an idea of Zuma’s head open, and where his brain should be would be a bunch of sea Monkeys driving it, Sea Monkeys… Monkeys of the Sea… Our President… Sea Monkeys, which aren’t even monkeys but are shrimp called Sea monkeys… But there’s the possibility of people reacting to the idea of the combination of Monkey, Sea and Skin colour… Our South African President is the leader of the ANC, and he’s black… Sea Monkeys… DON’T DO IT!!! What will other people think!!!), and I went in another direction, even though my response was actually not playing on the monkey aspect, it was intended to play on the idea that our presidents brain is being driven my microscopic shrimp, who happen to be called sea monkeys…

I am not the SABC (or any other government organ), I will not tell a lie. Inevitably it is I who has to look at myself in the mirror and know that I am a good person, sometimes off-sides, but never intentionally hurtful… And well I am prepared to learn and explore other opinions and thought, I care about what I care about, life is an equal opportunity, we can give life, we can take it away, and so we are equally powerful in our ability to effect and affect each other’s lives (directly or indirectly). Man, my actions up to now have had very little to do with the impending Junk Status, but I will bear the effects of it caused by other peoples actions! No matter what your defining circumstances may be, you have the ability to effect my life. So when it comes to self-censorship (even though these days, for purposes of inner-peace these kinds of post will be few and far between), I must declare that My Cup of Giving a F–k, really and truly is running empty

The trinity


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The commencement… a weeks reflection… @DS106 #4Life

Up until last Sunday, I’m talking about the Sunday before yesterday, the Sunday before Fathers Day Sunday, although my love did make the mistake of thinking last week was actually Fathers Day, so I got to have two Fathers Days in 2016… anywho… I digress… Up until last Sunday i was managing a post or two a day, that’s just not sustainable is it?

I think I made the same mistake with my first blog attempt, a movie review blog in which I was watching a certain selection of movies and posting about them, that was a movie a day, so two hours plus about another two hours reflecting, thinking, constructing, writing, and trying to be a family man in between… It did not work. Also, you can only write about a single topic for so long before you start to get irritated by your own voice!

This blog is not going to be that thing (although stay tuned, because I am planning to realign those hours spent and posting them here sporadically – but not today, and not on a schedule). So, for myself, and for you, let me categorically state that Blog inactivity does not equate to inactivity of the soztheo.me exploration of this world – to adequately demonstrate this, here’s some DS106 Digital Art created last week 🙂


‪#‎DS106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎TDC1618‬ Beware them sheeps in Wolves clothes and stuff ‪#‎SweetValleyHell‬
‪#‎DS106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎TDC1618‬
Beware them sheeps in Wolves clothes and stuff
‪#‎SweetValleyHell‬

On Monday we had to find an old novel cover and update it for our times…

Monday was an interesting one, after the shooting in Orlando I was engaged with the social media activity of the competing potential future leaders of the free world…

Donald Trump just has the ability to unite us all, doesn’t he? In a shared hate that is (and then the very fact that he has so much support just says that I am wrong on that one),  well he manages to generate hate anyway… Just my unfiltered opinion…

What disgusted me was the way he got hooked into the opportunistic terrorism propoganda opportunity of it all, completely devoid of any meaningful semblance of demonstrating empathy or compassion which could unite a nation reeling from an attack. A good leader would seek to bring his followers to the united ground of a shared United states… Yes? No?

I am pro-Hillary. Mind you I’ve been pro-Hillary since the first two times she was president.

I live in South Africa, and we have our own approaching elections at the fore of the nations consciousness (with our own version of Donald Trump) – but I will be watching this election closely and with great interest…


Culminating in this piece on 18 June: #DailyCreate #tdc1623 @ds106dc soztheo.me a proud ally of the GLBTQQIAAP Community! #ds106 #FloridaMassacre #Orlando A continuation of a spontaneous explosion of flag hands which happened previously on Twitter: http://soztheo.me/2016/05/29/ds106-daily-create-tdc1602-ds106-is-sooo-massive/
Culminating in this piece on 18 June:
#DailyCreate #tdc1623 @ds106dc
soztheo.me a proud ally of the GLBTQQIAAP Community!
#ds106 #FloridaMassacre #Orlando
A continuation of a spontaneous explosion of flag hands which happened previously on Twitter: http://soztheo.me/2016/05/29/ds106-daily-create-tdc1602-ds106-is-sooo-massive

chcken-cart 2
#ds106 #dailycreate #tdc1622 @ds106dc – Why did the chicken cross the road you ask?

On Friday I was then given the opportunity to shed light on one of life’s greatest questions:

Makes total sense doesn’t it?

What is DS106 you ask?

DS106 is a well regarded digital storytelling course, the course is conducted within proper education establishments, but the course is so popular that there is a free for participation version available for sign-up 🙂

One of the activities is the DS106 Daily create (@ds106dc on twitter) which provides daily creative prompts for completion – good mental creative flex fun 🙂

Check it out here.


 And then this happened – tasked to place ourselves in the Mystery Machine expanded into two days of Scooby Doo Fun as the next day we had to try and catch the squirrel who was stealing a fellow DS106-er’s mail.

‪#‎DS106‬ ‪#‎tdc1620‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ Took a ride on the ‪#‎MysteryMachine‬ today! Scooby and the Gang will never be the same! Oh and follow me on twitter @soztheo_me ! 😛

‪#‎ScoobyDoo‬ & the Case of the Klepto-Squirrel!!! @ds106dc ‪#‎ds106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎tdc1621‬
‪#‎ScoobyDoo‬ & the Case of the Klepto-Squirrel!!!
@ds106dc ‪#‎ds106‬ ‪#‎DailyCreate‬ ‪#‎tdc1621‬

These are also additionals roles in my illustrious PhotoShopped Movie career, the album of all my cinematic ventures can be viewed on my Facebook Page soztheo.me  or here


Sea MonkeysIn closing… What the hell are Sea Monkeys?

I’ve seen them advertised, and have now seen photos of them (which do not look anything like the hand-drawn images in the adverts btw). They are some prehistoric looking things!!!

Anyway, there is a major legal situation underway in regards to the license associated to the patent and ownership of the property that is Sea Monkeys, which in America seem to be one of those things that kids do, you can read more about it here.


Let me know what you think about these little creative outputs why don’t you, and by all means, come join us on this @DS106 #4Life journey :)!

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Morning Break’d

Morning breaks,

It shatters really.

The birds twitter,

“Damn it’s Cold”…

(or so I imagine).


The family rumble crescendos with light,

The day ahead has smiles.

It’s the world through my eyes,

But damn if their ain’t an eskom line running across my tree

(after a Father’s Day which included 9 hours of power failure)!

Happy New Week!
Happy Monday!

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The End of a Week of Books

Heya all 🙂

It has been a really busy week for me personally, and I missed a day of blogging yesterday, but not for nought – it’s hard work being a family man, so I thought I would take the time today to answer yesterdays question on The Blog Tag, as well as the end of week Q&A 🙂 I also didn’t do the tag post from Tuesday as my Monday Book Review was also about my favourite book of all time, Beloved by Toni Morrison, so that was a two for one-er – apparently while missing a day or two I also over-delivered (it’s all about balance 🙂 )!

So without further ado, My list of my Top 5 Favourite Book (Series) of all time

– Wait a minute soztheo.me, it’s your Top 5 Favourite Books of all time?

– Did you not hear me, voice on my screen, I’m over delivering here, so without further ado, soztheo.me’s favourite:

Top 5 Book Series of All Time


1. The Discworld Novels – Terry Pratchett

Over the last two years I have been on a monumental literary journey into a world I have only ever visited briefly before. I read my first Terry Pratchett novel when I was a teenager. Over the years I sporadically revisited his writing. I was always entertained but I never got into the world of Terry Pratchett until I made the decision two years ago to dive into the world whole-heartedly, committing myself to reading the entire series.

Since then I have read nineteen of the forty-one published Discworld novels, tackling them in order, reading them in between (or in conjuction with) my other readings, loving each one as this ever expanding world continues to expand in partnership with the guided realms of my imagination. It is nothing short of completely inspirational to step into the immense world of another man’s hysterically funny and entertaining inspiration.

The Witches, The Wizards, The City Watch, Death… The realisation of all these characters and their melding into the illogical-except-for-in-the-Discworld themed novels, has me absolutely in awe everytime I reach the end, and commence another journey set on a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin…

May he Rest in Peace, and while he rests may his brilliance forever live.

(28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015)

“Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.” – Terry Pratchett

2. The Vampire Chronicles; Lives of the Mayfair Witches Series – Anne Rice

It all started with a movie… The first time I ever went to a movie by myself was when I was a young impressionable 14 year old lad, the movie was Interview with the Vampire and in the viewing I was exposed to a type of story telling I had never experienced before. I loved horror movies from a very young age. As a child I grew up with entertainers for parents. I grew up watching Michael Jackson’s Making of Thriller Beta video. I grew up in a world of stage make-up. I knew that what happened on screen was the work of experts. I watched the classics, Dracula et al. However, I had never seen vampires and villains, anti-heroes, like Louis, Lestat and Claudia. I had never seen horror so grandiosely humanized and humour; so gothic; so macabre.

As soon as the movie ended I went to the bookstore and bought the book. I devoured it, a vampire upon its prey, and the love affair began. Astoundingly intricate and breathtakingly ambitious are the best ways I can think right now to describe the shared universe of the Vampires and the clan of the Mayfair Witches – two worlds from separate series that would later collide as the Vampire chronicles reached an end, from which they would again arise but a year ago. The style of storytelling that flies from the past into the present, from the metaphysical to the real. In one book we are engaging with the devil himself. In another we are re-experiencing mortality. We examine through the studying of ancient records, the lives of an entire family-lineage of witches. My favourite villain of all time, Akasha The Queen of the Damned, explodes out of these pages. Best of all, we bare witness to the creating of an entirely new mythology and rich history of vampirism, and in that we discovery the insanely rich tapestry which has born such pale spawn who will forever pale like Twilight, True Blood and Fifty Shades of Grey…

Fifty Shades of Grey? It’s strangely ironic, that this sad example of literacy, born as fan-fiction from the pale waffle of Twilight, is yet again pale against the erotic literature of Miss Rice… Look that up! The mind that birthed these is one of the most intriguing creations. When we read books or engage with any art form for that fact, it is actually the mind of the artist we engage with. It is really a footnote here, but:

1. The key Vampire Lestat is a literary representation and manifestation of Anne Rice’s husband Stan Rice;

2. Anne Rice wrote Interview With A Vampire while dealing with her daughter’s death from Leukemia – that’s blood cancer. #ArtIsPain

anne-rice4
“You do have a story inside you; it lies articulate and waiting to be written — behind your silence and your suffering.” – Anne Rice

3. The Sandman Series – Neil Gaiman

There are those who would raise an eye at the inclusion of a graphic novel series in any list pertaining to literature… Well poo to you :)! Graphic Novels have a well deserved place in literature, with the best of the best winning major literature awards, including a Pulitzer ( and that would be in 1992; Maus aka Maus: A Survivor’s Tale — My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman). But my personal, most fantastical, most magical, most mythological, most inspiring-al and ambitious of these works which beautifully marry art of picture and art of word has got to The Sandman Series.

Neil Gaiman is the best friend of fantasy and genre breaking storytelling, a man whose love of fantasy has him in the good company of Terry Pratchett (with whom he collaborated on Good Omens). In his masterpiece collection of The Sandman Series, he introduces us to The Endless, anthropomorphic personifications of nature’s most confounding forces, more powerful than even the Gods and as eternal as the universe. They are the siblings, Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Delirium and our chief protagonist in the tales, Dream aka Morpheus; who upon being released from a 70 year entrapment into a changed world, is reunited with his most dysfunctional of families. A family whose relationships with each other are as complex as the very idea of turning the seven forces they encompass into a dysfunctional family within the pages of a graphic novel collection spanning twelve multi-dimensional, multi-reality, truly-inspired story arcs. From the depths of Hell to the pages of Shakespeare, Neil Gaiman has comprised a collection of such grandiosity that the mind can only but be amazed 🙂

There’s It :)! 

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.” – Neil Gaiman

4. The Left Behind Series – Jerry B Jenkins and Tim LaHaye

This one is a guilty pleasure and I fully accept that many will argue it’s place on any list, but it’s my guilty pleasure, a series of books I quite literally enjoyed reading.

"And then I met Jerry and he's such a creative fiction writer, and I don't know if there's ever been a team put together the way we are - where one person does the theological way out and suggestions, and the other person goes into the cave and does the fiction writing." - Tim LaHaye
“And then I met Jerry and he’s such a creative fiction writer, and I don’t know if there’s ever been a team put together the way we are – where one person does the theological way out and suggestions, and the other person goes into the cave and does the fiction writing.” – Tim LaHaye

I am a human who was raised as a christian, spirituality is a deeply personal journey for every human on this planet. It has fed wars and hate, but each individual, at least at some point in their lives, has engaged with their understanding of the world and the amazement of existence. As a christian child I have been raised on Bible stories. The bible is an amazing collection of faith, reason, answers, historical reference and mystery, and the question of my own spirituality is deeply tied into the christian faith in which I was raised. The final book in the Bible is one of great fear and reckoning, Revelations is about the end times, about the wrath of God upon a world that has forsaken him, in which he withdraws himself and his arc-nemesis is allowed to do with the world as he will.

In light of this I am quite disgusted by how much I enjoyed this series (like I said, guilty pleasure). There is not an original thought in these books, and I would not necessarily recommend them to anyone else (although admittedly I have, to a select few). They are a fictional interpretation of the cryptically mystical final chapter of one of the oldest and most powerful of books. They tells the story of those Left Behind, in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world, as per the bible. It centers on a band of survivors who realise that the mysterious new world is a result of God’s will, and in that they seek to redeem and survive as the Anti-Christ rises to power. The books can get heavy on the christian rhetoric, they are written with a strong agenda, but for me they are engrossingly easy reading, and most probably as well written as Fifty Shades of Grey. In the past in my ruminations I have likened them to a soap opera, once hooked I had to see what would happen to the characters next, I did really enjoy these books, but they are rubbish and yet, like I have reread most books I enjoy, even now as I type, as I take stock of the absurdity that I am publishing a post of books I enjoyed and that these are on the list, I shrug my shoulders in acknowledgement of the fact that I will read them again…

And No! These books do not factor into my continuing journey of spirituality…


5. Harry Potter – JK Rowlings

This one is about respect, for appreciation of the journey, this one is for the ideal of the American Dream (as lived and achieved by a non-american),this one is for Enid Blyton, this one is for Roald Dahl :)!

I have had the same relationship with every Harry Potter movie, except for the last two: I hated every single one of the movies on the first watch and then every time I watched the movie again, I enjoyed it. It’s bizarre! I only picked up the books after the sixth movie was released, so before the last two which I enjoyed, funny that. For me, it’s all about the imagination unleashed within the world of Hogwarts, it’s a beautiful thing, it’s about the legend and legacy created, and as someone who believes in reading the books after watching the movies (because then you are never disappointed), I am a huge fan of the work. 

If I am 100% honest, I am enjoying JK Rowling’s new Cormoran Strike series much more (check them out), but it is with the Harry Potter books that JK Rowling earns my respect, and why it owns this spot, on this list, today. What exists within the Harry Potter universe is nothing short of inspiring, the product of a storyteller, and what she has done in curating a massive audience to the literary world is nothing to be sniffed at. Fact: JK Rowling is the reason that an entire generation of reader’s exists.

"Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It meets a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts that is something on which to pride yourself but poverty itself is romanticized by fools." - J. K. Rowling
“Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It meets a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts that is something on which to pride yourself but poverty itself is romanticized by fools.” – J. K. Rowling

And there you have a list of my 5 Top Book Series, now while these books really do exist in the fantastical, if you look at my choice of reading for stand alone novels, there is a vast difference in subject matter, but that, I believe, is for another day, for now, lets get to the Q&A for the week.


Questions

1. Do you have a specific place to read? Generally I read before I go to sleep, it is not very often that I will read while not in bed (before I go to sleep), when that does happen I must be alone, or on holiday, I enjoy reading when on holiday.

2. What book/s can you re-read without getting tired? As I generally read before I sleep, I do welcome getting tired, the disadvantage (especially at the end of a book) is that I can land up reading and not being able to put the book down – so sometimes reading can take me beyond tired.

3. Who is your favorite author? Toni Morrison

4. What is your favorite non-fiction book? Malika Oufkir and Michèle Fitoussi (2001), La Prisonnière (Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail) – one of the most astoundingly heart breaking and rewarding reads.

5. What is your most memorable childhood book? Roald Dahl’s The Witches

6. What quote from any book will you never forget? Why is it significant? I cannot tell you the significance, but the first two verses from The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll has been in my head since I first encountered it as a child.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

7. What books did you hate reading in school? I am ashamed to admit it, but the most difficult book for me to enjoy, and maybe it’s because it was presented to me as school work, and it has always been one of my favourite books to get halfway through, having tried many times even before it was prescribed reading, I really do love the universe and mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien, was The Hobbit.
8. Do you read before bed? Yep.
9. How many books is on your book shelf? I can’t count, but kindle has changed my life
10. What genre of books do you prefer? Epic Storytelling
11. Can you read while there is noise around, like music or T.V? No
12. Have you wrote any books? The stories are there, the worlds exist, they’ve been constructed and are authored in my brain, but not yet.
13. You walk into a book store, what do you walk out with? Children’s Books – it is now important to grow a love of books in my sons.
14. Worst book you ever read? It has got to be Gone Girl. I hated everything about it, which is the genius of the book really, because I hated all the characters but that is what kept me reading until the end, and I was engrossed, and it shocked me, but i hated it as much as I hated the characters… And it is so terrible I will recommend it to everybody, because that is the brilliance of it.
15. Do you have any collections of books? I collect Graphic Novels and book series like those in my list.
16. Do you have a library card? Yes, but I do not use it.
17. What is the last book you read? The last book i completed was Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett.
18. How many books do you read per year? It is inconsistent, last year was a great year, i can’t even recall how many books I read, but it was over forty, I was devouring them.
19. If you could write a book what would you title it? Haha! Wouldn’t you like to know!
20. Why is reading important to you? Reading is an excercise of appreciation, it’s about escapism and inspiration, like all art, like movies, it’s about being entertained and evoked emotionally.


Quick Fire

Book mark or Anything that can hold your place
Trade paper back ?(big book) or Paper back (small book)
Novel or Biography
Read the book or Watch the movie first
Romance (Surprise, Surprise – but not schlockmance) or Science-Fiction


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The biggest lesson I found in a Book…

The theme on The Blog Tag this week is books, the challenge for the day,  “tell us about the biggest lesson you learnt from a book and why it is important to you“.

I was troubled by the task at hand, especially because I have read so many books, taken so many lessons from them all, and I looked at the question and was drawing a much upsetting blank… I was reading a fellow blogger-(and member of The Blog Tag)’s post this afternoon, and so it was that while reading Rajeshweri Meloshnee Naidoo‘s eloquently nail-on-the- head post (which is a contribution to this week’s Blog Tag theme), entitled True Love (see I was always gonna mention it), that I realised what the biggest lesson I’ve always taken from the reading (of novels) has been – and how this core lesson still applies today as I read the posts of my fellow bloggers…

Inspiration comes in many shapes and sizes, the masterful ability to put yourself and your creations down through the medium of writing, to create worlds and material into which your reader can escape, and be challenged, and be entertained, and learn and into which we can be an integral part; that is the greatest lesson I have learned. It has often left me slack-jawed. Be it Shakespeare, Stephen King, Shelley Smidt-Booys, Wally Lamb, Toni Morrison, Anne Rice, Cassarica Nadas, Terry Pratchett, Enricoh Alfonzo Naidu, (to name a few)… I am always in awe by the ability to create, to put on the writer’s hat and put your thoughts and mental activities down in words…

It’s not just from a single book, it’s not just from a single reading and it’s not just from a single lesson, it’s so much more bigger than that…

I love reading, I love writing, I love that we can have a week dedicated to thinking about our love of reading and writing, and the greatest lesson I have taken from reading and writing is that what I want to do is write and read!

And you know what… I can…

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Natural… Really?

I just don’t know anymore… You throw the word Natural at me and I feel like it should be the easiest concept to understand, I should be able to easily write about it, right? Maybe not so much…

Is it natural to live in a state of fear? I don’t think so. When we live in an age where you can be slaughtered just for trying to live your life as your authentic self? You can be killed for your religion. You can be killed for your sexual preference. You can be killed for being a certain race. Where is the natural in that I ask?

I live in the city. Smog. Pollution. Construction Sites. Skyscrapers. Shopping Centres. Housing Complexes. People living on top of people. We drive down the street and when we arrive at a traffic light (or as we refer to them in South Africa, a robot) our cars are pounced on by beggers, window washers, people trying to sell all kinds of odds and ends to make ends meet. There’s no empathy, there’s no room for empathy, for the lady at the robot who sits there begging with her 2 year old at her feet. We are desensitized, for fear that at any stop in out travels we will fall victim to hijackers. Where is the natural in that I ask?

The clothes I wear are synthetic. My entire world is synthetic. I live with a dependency upon chemicals and materials that have been developed to sustain needs which have been made by a corporate agenda. Valentine’s Day comes and I am forced to engage with souless capitalism in order to assign a man-made value to the depths of a concept which has been defined by the human experience, the problem is that in the chaos of the act of purchase, any aspect that remains connected to the song of love within my soul is diminished. Where is the natural in that I ask?

A boy falls into a gorilla hold at the zoo and the gorilla is killed. A child gets dragged into the water at Disneyland by an alligator. And Tilikum is still swimming in a giant fish bowl in Florida… I mustn’t eat meat anymore, the way our animals for food are bred is an abomination, but I cannot eat the processed goods and carcinogens on my shelf either. I don’t live on a farm, and any land I buy is destined to be claimed as historically stolen. I must look in the mirror and all these accusations must mean guilt of some kind yes? Where is the natural in that I ask?

BUT…

I have a family, I know what love is, I live so that they will live, and grow, and one day they will no doubt be faced with the difficulty of trying to figure out the definition of natural in a world, which in my mind will only be more unfathomable than the one in which I currently live, and over which I will ponder until I die… Death… Where is the natural in that I ask?

Natural with Definition

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#tdc1619 #ChroniclesOfAuCT: Struggle…

Like in all those good stories her Nan used to tell her, the struggle was real. It was immense, perceivably insurmountable. There would be many obstacles. There would for sure be many tears. There may be death. Hopefully there will be survival on the other side. Nothing is certain. There was her and the road ahead. And that is what makes a story one that is worthy to be told, at least that’s what she used to like about those stories she was told as a kid. She just never thought she would be the star in one of those stories. She laughed because those were usually the best characters in the stories she loved, those that were there unexpectedly.

She drove down the cold, harsh streets of AuCT. They were deceptively quiet. The ominous chill in the air screamed at her as up above the red clouds rolled in. The rains were coming. The residents scuttled for shelter. She herself was heading for cover too. This storm would only be a temporary respite from the one that lay waiting with dawn.

Her mind wondered back to the shady memory of her mother, a woman who had weathered many storms herself. A true Survivor; dead now, but a survivor all the same. She knew that this moment that she was preparing to face, so many had faced before her. Her mother was not a believer in the idea that we are ruled by circumstance; She believed that we controlled our own adversities. She believed that when the struggle loomed ahead, it was each individuals choice as to how they would face it.

You could run, but in AuCT there was only so far you could go forward before you had to turn around and run back in the direction from which you came. Yes there was always the option of going up or down but they too were limited, Hide and Seek was a favourite pass time of the low-life’s who spent their time playing the Finders. You could fight them, which was a terrifying prospect, especially when your opponents outnumbered you, outgunned you, and pretty much just out-fought you. Lastly you could hope that a hero would come along and rescue you, wouldn’t that be nice? But heroes were not really a thriving commodity within the walls of AuCT, too many of them had risen only to be cut down, leaving the remnants of Hope smoking in their wake.

“Fat lotta good that does me,” she said out loud to the ghost whose advice she held true… and who she hated for it!

As she pulled under cover she took a deep breath… The rain would fall. She would pack as it fell. When it stopped falling she would run. While she ran she would prepare for the fight. And while she ran and while she fought, she would prey for a hero. If a hero didn’t come… “

Well, we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it, won’t we…”

A PAINTING2


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Beloved – A Book Review

Is it possible to say that an entire novel is a metaphor? Well I just inferred that it was, so I guess that question is settled…

When I was was in my twenties I commenced a BA in English Literature, Toni Morrison’s book Sula was one of the elective readings we had to choose from (which I selected), and it was here that my appreciation for the writing’s of Toni Morrison began, but it was with her amazing novel Beloved that that appreciation became love…

toni-morrison-belovedRight from the books opening dedication to the “Sixty Million and more”, Toni Morrison commences a work of art which is worthy of it’s 1988 Pulitzer Prize winning place in history. It is a dedication which, like much of the novel, is constructed to resonate against the backdrop of historical reference which exists in the global consciousness. More specifically the implied juxtaposition of the dedication contrasts to the horrific figures of Jewish life lost during The Holocaust.

Toni Morrison is an Africa-American author; she is a descendant of slavery, and her works are written from this perspective, but to me Toni Morrison is a human author. I make this statement because it is Beloved, her greatest work, which magnificently transcends the focused nature of it’s subject matter, to speak to a greater commonality, which is our shared humanity. I use sweeping statements of grandiosity whenever I speak and write of Toni Morrison, and more specifically of Beloved (a book I am currently reading for the umpteenth time), because engaging with a Toni Morrison work is like taking the blue pill of literature.

It is a known fact that Toni Morrison’s prose in her novels are painstakingly thought out, they are a unique construction of symbolism and poetry in the guise of prose, that’s not really a guise because that is exactly how the prose is presented, steeped in symbolism and poetry… What do I mean – every time I read Beloved it is almost as if I am reading another novel, the design pattern out of which the story is cut is the same, but the fabric used in the weaving is that of a mirror, it reflects the readers interpretation back, for every eye that interprets the challenge of the story of Beloved will bring to it there own interpretations of empathy, redemption, beauty, love and humanity.

The book is centered around the character of Sethe, a former slave (one of Sixty Million), living her post-slavery freedom with her daughter Denver. They are both quite literally being haunted by the ghost of Sethe’s past life, and life as it is before the start of the book is about to change with the arrival of Paul D. A man from Sethe’s enslaved past, also free, Paul D has traveled far on well-worn feet to, and had arrived to the familiarity and shared-history of company from a time gratefully gone.

What does Paul D’s arrival mean for a former slave mother and daughter surviving with only each other? How do you move forward from horror? How do you build a life of freedom if all you have ever know is the cage and plight of slavery? What stories and secrets have been lived since Paul D and Sethe parted ways? And who is the strange woman who arrives on their doorstep shortly after Paul D, strangely familiar, oddly innocent and unquestionably beguiling? Who is Beloved and what does it mean to be beloved?

There are many questions that come up during the reading of Beloved, it is a challenging read, satisfyingly so, and answers you would not expect abound, more often than not having been already provided prior to the asking. Toni Morrison masterfully weaves the fantastical into a story which is so completely grounded in the realm of the real as to be unbelievable; the roots of the story, so horrific that metaphor becomes the only way to achieve the telling, and in doing so it becomes beautiful.

I promise you this, if nothing at all, you will step away from the book knowing you have read something like no other. The book will take you on a journey you can only imagine full of heartbreak and triumph, mystery and revelation, secrets and promises, pain and joy, life and death, desolation and hope, pain and beauty – If I was to give a traditional rating here, it would be a well deserved six out of five stars.

In conclusion, it was after I had personally discovered Toni Morrison that Oprah Winfrey took her works to a whole new audience when she included a selection of her works as Book Club selections, already a fan I watched an interview with Toni Morrison in which Oprah told the story of how she contacted Toni upon reading her books and told her how she struggled with the layered prose of her novels, finding herself having to reread passages, to which Toni Morrison replied, “That, My Dear, is called reading…”


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Sunday Night in Jhb

It’s a cold Sunday Night in Johannesburg and a week of creativity comes to a close.

As you may know if you have been following me, I have been participate (rather lightly) in the DS106 Digital Storytelling course, although this has also been relegated to a daily excercise in creativity as prompted by the Daily Create prompts on the DS106 Daily Create Handle @DS106DC – I recommend this to anyone aspiring to be creative, it is an incredibly satisfying mental flex, and there is a community of creatives participating who are supportive, friendly and fun! :)! The selected image for this post is for today’s Daily Create #TDC1617 which was to Draw the dark side of the ds106 moon (with the “Draw” being incredibly loosely interpreted).

I have also been participating in the writing prompts associated with a brilliant site called The Blog Tag – where I have got interact with fellow participants in the Blogger World, and contribute some of my writing to the plethora of themed content currently being uploaded onto the web by this initiative – I have had two of my contributions selected as part of their Reading Nook (which is itself a product of the activity, with selected readings from their theme being shared). You can read these contributions as well as those of the other selected reads on The Music Week Reading Nook and on The Movie and TV Week Reading Nook.

I find myself wanting to write and create all the time, and I have to balance this need for creativity in my life with the realities of what life requires of us – being a father, a partner, a husband, a son, a worker… But I always have loved and have come back to this quest for creativity, having been a Film Student, having been a student studying a BA in English Literature with a focus on Creative Writing, in the hopes of expanding into those perceived versions of myself, it’s funny but not so surprising, that I have synched back up to that vision of what I want to be when I’m all growed up (and that’s already happened). I feel that this blog is a step in the right direction… So…

Thank you to all who are taking the time to engage with me, thank you for accompanying me hereon…

#tdc1617 @ds106dc Today's Daily Create What exists on the dark side of the #DS106 Moon? Apparently enLIGHTenment...
#tdc1617 @ds106dc Today’s Daily Create
What exists on the dark side of the #DS106 Moon?
Apparently enLIGHTenment…

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Who is the Alien? – DS106 #TDC1616 Daily Create

I’ve really had fun with this weeks movie activity – with some belated posts coming to the fore… I find myself in the stars – Today on DS106 we had to come up with a repeated word poem – mine was rather planetary. And at the same time I had the below perusing in my head in relation to a plot/theme appreciation task that was on the card this week, so there it is, below the DS106 video of course…


Who is this Alien

Who comes to my planet

Who breaks into my home

Invades

Trespasses

And steals

She is a she

Like me

A Mother too

Yet she tracks

And kills

My newly born child

Who is this monster

Who returns to me

Returns to Slaughter

Destroy

And Murder

My progeny

She is pregnant you see

With one of mine

She will soon see

That a mother

Is a mother

Whatever the baby shall be

Back from the dead

Infused with me

She now is Queen

A mother again

But she wants to be

The mother of humanity

At my expense

And of that of mine

She will kill us again

To save her half

But what do I know?

I’m just a Xenomorph…

But really, who is the Alien?


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Movie Week Q&A + #TDC1615 &1614-ish + a week round up

Yoh, it’s been quite a week a I tell you! Juggling will be the word that exists in summation of this first full week of June 2016, I almost feel like I never got to give my full this week to the tasks I had set myself, but am also very happy with my movie focused outputs. There was a throwback reminisce to my favourite movie of all time, Aliens (click here to read it), a poem in honour of those who mess up our wish list for anticipation in movies (click here and have a squizz)  and a Top 10 List entry, the first of a series, which I hope will become a thing on this site (herezit now)… And then some!

Also, this week it was announced that a Roald Dahl Gobblefunk Dictionary is to be published, a great forerunner to the impending Spielberg release of The BFG – that’s just Scrumdiddlyumptios! Thanks to my DS106 team for the task they gave this week #TDC1614 which was in honour of this news, in which we had to come up with a gobblefunky slogan – DS106: It’s packed with splendiferousness!

So without further ado, here’s my close of the week The Blog Tag Q&A answers!


Questions

  • What is the worst Apocalyptic scenario you have seen in movie/tv show? Without a doubt, the scariest Apocalyptic scenario I am aware of is to terrible and unbelievable to have even been conceived as a possible scenario based in reality… Until now where reality is becoming stranger than fiction… The election of President Trump…
  • What’s your favourite genre? I am ahuge Sci-Fi fan, this includes comic book movies, but I will have to say that actually what I love are saga’s, long-going storylines even drama’s (I think that everyone actually loves saga’s, hence the popularity of series).
  • In what movie/tv series would you like to replace the main character? Wow! I am not a fan of Nicholas Cage, so pretty much anything he acts in could do with a recasting… Also, and this is because he does not have the dedication to his fans to give back! I wish Will Smith had never starred in Independence Day, a movie that made his movie career, because he is to big now to do the fans the honour of having him return for the sequel – pretty much makes me feel that it is okay if neither he nor any of his bunch ever come to an Academy Awards ceremony again!
  • Do you believe in happy endings? This is a hugely philosophical question, you can’t trick me 🙂 The only real ending is death, even in romance movies, once the credits roll, the two having fallen lovingly into each other’s arms, they still have to move in together and like real people learn the intricate rules that will govern the sacred space that is the bathroom…
  • Which movie represents the best love story? I’m gonna go with the classic here and say Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet, only because it is a story which has captured the imagination of viewers for centuries…
  • Best representation of a book? A movie should be inferior to the book. I love watching movies and only then reading the books because then you get to never be disappointed 🙂 think on that, I will say that it sits somewhere between The Lord of The Rings Movies, Interview with the Vampire and The Shawshank Redemption.
  • What do you consider a “binge-worthy” TV series? My favourite series of all time are Alias and Survivor, I can binge watch, and have re-binged on both repeatedly (I know… Survivor… The Reality Show… So sad right…)
  • Do you get emotionally attached to characters? Absolutely yes! My biggest disappointment was the Irina Derevko storyline in Alias, I loved the character so much that the arc her story ran just slayed me…
  • Do you get emotional while watching TV Series or Movies? I do allow myself to get emotional in movies. Titanic made me cry… 🙁
  • Do you watch Anime? No, I know I should, I love animation, but I do not.
  • If you had to choose a main character from a tv series/movie to come save you, who would you choose?Lieutenant Ellen Ripley from Aliens…
  • Who was your childhood Hollywood crush? Michelle Pfeiffer – it’s the Catwoman costume!
  • Which popular shows do you think is overrated? Arrow, The Bold and The Beautiful!
  • Which movie/tv series centralized around one of your favourite cars?? Herbie, Supernatural, Back to the Future… Haha… Well, I am dieing to watch Back to the Future again…
  • Which movie do you think deserves a sequel the most? Interview with the Vampire – Those books are amazing! The Queen of the Damned that was released just does not count!
  • Which movie would you like to see a prequel? The same answer! That’s the beauty of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and vampires in general – long lives equal centuries of back story!
  • Which TV series would you love to revive ? Ummm… ALIAS!
  • What’s your favourite mythical creature / monster from movie / series ? The Xenomorph from the Aliens movies – or are we the real Aliens in those movies? Whatever, H.R. Giger’s art come to life really is a masterpiece.
  • Whose your favourite director? Right now I am on a whole Quentin Tarantino revival in appreciation – that said, I really am a huge fan of James Cameron. Ridley Scott, most of the time. And Steven Spielberg just seems to get it consistently right, right?
  • Do you prefer older movies, or movies with a lot of CGI? I can’t decide – I love the newness and expansion of CGI, but I savour old movies (my Mrs’ hates old movies and the fact that I enjoy them – she loves newness).
  • Whose your favourite actor? It’s a funny thing, cos as much as I am not a fan he never disappoints… Tom Cruise… I know, right? But what does a bad Tom Cruise movie really look like?

Quickfire

Anime vs. Reality TV

Cooking show vs. Car repair show

Horror vs. Comedy

Superman vs. Ironman C’Mon… Batman and Captain America

Charlie Chaplin vs Jim Carrey


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