DS106 #tdc1594 – Tree Pose With a Tree

The brief was simple, I don’t feel like doing simple today ūüôā

For those just tuning in, this is a Daily Create from the DS106 course (an awesome creative, digital storytelling course), and this here is my contribution. I am loving this journey, and with all the stresses of daily life, the creative accessing of moments of inspiration and practice really are adding to the joy of these days – and while currently this blog is feeding into DS106 alot, each piece of digital artistic expression holds a personal part of me.

Even with the latitude given for this challenge, the task simply read as follows:

“We challenge you to get off of your chair, away from your screen, and find a tree you can best do some yoga near. That means YOU too Jim Groom! Bonus points for being a real photo. Extra bonus points for being in a tree. Extra extra bonus points for being in a tree over a river. (No bonus points for wearing weird bathing suits).”

So… I ¬†found the perfect tree to do yoga near. I (the challenged YOU, but not Jim Groom), actually got out my chair. This is a real photo (well, it’s made out of real photos and even follows the laws of mathematics). It’s me, in that that’s my son (who is 50% me) and there he is again in the tree, both of him and tree him are doing tree yoga poses – so 1+1=2 and 50%+50%=100%, and we in a tree, over a river ūüėõ (sans bathing suits)

What fun I say, What fun!

Alexi Tree

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DS106: #tdc1593 Coming Soon Sign!

Before Nkandlagate…

This is a truly South African issue, but who knows, if this snowball keeps rolling down this hill, it could become a global concern.

South Africa has its issues – always has… We are tearing down monuments of evil, while erecting legacies which may take aeons and bloodshed to undo. What have we learnt, are we as a human race in general able to learn fast enough? Is the legacy of a time that was unforgivable, for anyone in the position to forgive the unforgivable, is it to late in the human trajectory (for our lifetime at least), for the required level of forgiveness to be implemented as opposed to, and before, the unthinkable result of even greater unforgivable legacies are¬†created? Because ultimately, if greater atrocities are created, only as retribution for the previous atrocities which were committed, we will only keep this cycle of vendetta going, in fact escalating to a point of absolute insurmountability!

Through it all, blood will be spilled and the ongoing definition of humanity (as being owned and defined as an esteemed aspect of our collective psyche) will forever be something less than a desirable attachment to the soul. Life is so not a precious commodity these days, and perpetuating the hate that exists between people and their dividing qualities will forever be exploited and highlighted by those so evil that there narcissistic psychopathy will be enabled to feed unquenchingly upon the spoils of the chaos, unless we make the change. As demonstrated by the actions of the leader of this great (but nearly shattered under his dominion) potential that exists in this country, as satirically exploited by my daily create for the day, this man of whom I speak (whose name is not worthy of mention in this symbolic rant) is only the tip of global issues that exist, where men in power take advantage of the positions which could actually impact enough as to contribute to a positive global psyche (as achieved by the great leader who came decades before he who must not be named here), and who do so at the expense of, never mind in the name of, those who blindly fall under their spell of evil. Learn a book! Read some! Never let it will be!

Nkandla people, Nkandla.

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What a great way to start the day!

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A quick note of love to the Mrs, who surprises and loves me everyday, and who I love right back (awww, squish), because of all of that, and tops it off with an South-African-made-All-American-Breakfast :)!

Think I’m ready to kick the bucket now, only because the only thing on my current bucket list,¬†and that’s only because I haven’t actually created my bucket list, and despite the fact that it’s Soz, not Saz, but because as soon as this was presented to me, I realised that Oh, trying Starbucks is actually on said uncreated bucket list, and as it’s the only item currently thereon, that’s now done!

Note to self: want to live longer, create bucket list!

 

 

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DS106 Daily Challenge #tdc1592: Make a poem about @johnjohnston

I’ve always liked a limerick ūüôā

Sometimes the creative process can be painstakingly draining, I had this experience yesterday – It’s still rewarding but it comes with challenges all it’s own, as it takes you out of your comfort zone, challenging you to explore those methods¬†of content engagement that you (or I, as the case may be) have consciously neglected or unconsciously ignored.

Then you get those easier tasks, they access your skills and caress your sensibilities with ease, like reciting your favourite prose verbatim, it’s brain muscle memory, and the rhythm and cadences tilt you towards the familiar, it’s comfortable and consoling like a steaming cup of hot chocolate savoured under the habit of blanket you’ve wrapped yourself in, memories enticed, the security of¬†a baby…

So…

What do I think now?

I can languor in¬†the familiar, which by my own explanation is so familiar as to border on regressive, or I can celebrate that which stings of propulsion, the antithesis of familiarity? Hmmmm…Picture1

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Love and Ice Cream

I really wanted to share this video. I just have this opinion that it may be one of the biggest injustices in the world that something as simple as ice cream, something so small, a minor pleasure in our day to day life, can be representative of the great divide, that frikken ice cream is an experience of privilege!

Here is a video of some children experiencing ice cream for the first time, thank you to the Seeds Of Light South Africa (SOLSA – http://solsa.org/ ) for making this moment happen for the children of the Ekurhuleni Center for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Acornhoek, South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marathon Walker – Water for Africa

I have very recently started doing some volunteer work at a local orphanage and organisation which seeks to improve the lives of our most previously disadvantaged South Africans, in my neighborhood. At a meeting yesterday the team shared this video with me, I cannot help but be moved – truly inspirational stuff!

 

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DS106 Daily create #tdc1591… The cringe-worthy challenge from Hell…

Sing us a song about a place you’ve never been

This was not fun… Then again it was a creative excercise all the same, so that was fun… The laughter induced was fun too, but there was also¬†the realisation that came out that Art Is Pain… (particularly for those on the receiving end in this case)…


Anyway… this is what happened…

Listen to Tdc1591 by soztheo.me #np on #SoundCloud

This is what nearly happened:

There was a boy,

A very strange enchanted boy

They say he travelled very far,

Very far,

This is his story:

I walk a lonely road

Along the boulevard of Broken Dreams

Well you can tell by the way I use my walk

I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk

Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high

I see trees of green, red roses too

I see them bloom, for me and you

I remember I was in the tanning salon

When I heard that River Phoenix was gone

I got down on my knees

And I began to prey

I have a dream, a song to sing

To help me cope with anything

I whistled for a cab and when it came near

The license plate said fresh and had a dice in the mirror

Do you know where you’re goin’ to?

Do you like the things that life is showin’ you

If I can make it there

I’ll make it anywhere

Big wheel keep on turning

Proud Mary keep on burning

Running just as fast as we can,

Holding onto one another’s hands

Don’t you carry nothing that might be a load

Come on, ease on down, ease on down the road

There are better days before us

And a burning bridge behind, fire smoking, the sky is blazing

Let’s talk about the wisdom

Let’s talk about the charm

The end of laughter and soft lies

The end of nights we tried to die

And I-i-I had a feeling that I belong

I had feeling I could be someone be someone

Coz Everybody comes to Hollywood

They wanna make it in the neighbourhood

But This is not Hollywood Like I understood

Is not Hollywood Like Like Like

I’ve been to Paradise

But I’ve never been to me

Coz it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy

And god I know I’m one


To some up, I think I share this gem I found…

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#tdc1590 What are they looking at? or #tdc1589.2 Hunting Poor Good Will (the spectator sport)

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” ¬† ¬†¬†– Steve Jobs

And so it is that today’s Daily Create picks up from a bit of a creative discourse¬†which has commenced on twitter.

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Avgolemono Memories

If you are greek you know what Avgolemono is! It’s the taste of memories – for me it always reminds me of my Yiayia (gran). On cold days (like today in Johannesburg, South Africa) there is nothing better than a steaming bowl of avgolemono to undo the damage and warm the bones. It’s one of the greatest smile inducers to me that my son, who has a father who shamefully can’t speak the language of my people (I will, one day), loves avgolemono, if fact his favourite food is “white soup”, and so he also will have the memory of this yumminess in his recollection.

For those who don’t know, avgolemono is¬†a greek family of sauces and soups made with egg yolk and lemon juice which is mixed in and¬†heated until they thicken – I love eating and cooking avgolemono recipes, and best of all the base sauce can be used in a number of ways – with Meatballs it’s called¬†Giouvarlakia; with Lamb, artichokes and Orzo Pasta it’s¬†Arni me Anginares Avgolemono; with Pork and Celery it’s¬†Hirino me Selino; at Easter we have a Tripe variation which signifies the break of our Great Lent called¬†Magiritsa; finally (on this list anyway) there is the classic chicken avgolemono soup pretty much called just avgolemono.

Below, for the benefit of those who may want to try a twist on or may want to try this great meal for the first time, is my variation of the classic chicken avgolemono (currently being devoured by my family), Avgolemono-a-la-Soz with slight amendments from other variations of this dish:


Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 250g chicken livers
  • 2 leeks, sliced (include 2 inches of green)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 8 ‚Äď 10 large stalks pascal celery (with leaves) cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 whole uncooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • Juice of three lemons (strained)
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Season the livers with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then saute until cooked through (the livers add a further depth of flavour).
  2. Remove the livers to a platter on the side (you will slice them small before you add them back later). Add the leek and onion to the pot and saute until nicely tender, about 5 minutes. Add the 2 tbsp. flour to the pot and cook for about a minute until incorporated.
  3. Add the celery, carrot and the wine and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced chicken livers (with juices) and lower the full chicken into the pot. Pour the chicken stock over the chicken (making sure it is covered Рadd extra water if needed, and additional chicken stock cubes in proportion to keep the flavour rich (remember there is rice in this recipe and rice tends to absorb salt and flavour, also the flavour of your broth will mix well with the avgolemono sauce the fuller it is ie salt, pepper, flavour), add the dill to the pot and simmer covered for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. When the chicken is done, the meat should pull from the bones easily. Transfer the bird to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the rice, and season the broth with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for 20 more minutes, or until rice is tender. During this time remove the skin from the bird and start pulling the flesh off, this goes back into the pot after the twenty minutes.
  6. Now for the Avgolemono Sauce:Separate the eggs. First beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff (but not too stiff, we not making meringues here), then add in the yolks and continue beating until frothy. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice. Ladle one cup of the pot liquid little by little into egg-lemon mixture to temper the eggs.
  7. Remove pot from heat and add egg-lemon mixture stirring gently. Heat over very low heat until sauce thickens and is heated through. Take care not to allow the sauce to boil or the eggs will curdle.Re-season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed, and serve with additional lemon wedges.

Heaven in a bowl!!!

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Daily Create #1588; Turn @johnjohnston’s Random Image Pairing into a Self-Help Book Title

For today’s daily create we had to source an image from John Johnston‘s experimental¬†random flickr image blender¬†(which does just that, blends random pictures from flicker) and from there create a Self-Help Book Title… Okay, I couldn’t stop at just a title, but hey, this book and approach (if not already written and on the shelves), should be…

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DS106 Daily Create #1586: Give us our daily creative freedom, or give us a paraprosdokian

Had to go a little deep today… It’s one of those days where life just needs to be put into perspective; where hard lessons are being learned; where battered and bruised you pick yourself up; you dust yourself off; you resolve to move forward onto bigger and brighter ventures where people are worthy of your expectations… Oh and DS106 gives you an opportunity to capture it all in a¬†message¬†for prosperity!

 

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DS106 Daily Create #1584: Hand drawn maps rock!

It’s a funny thing, coz this here map (before this here progress), was part of a then there convo (like, just yesterday)… It’s bigger in me head, but it’s a commencement of sorts…

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The Toasted Self – the daily create #1583 (or just 3 for me)

I¬†myself have¬†been “toast” before, and I had a really good time, although I would never condone anyone repeating the mistakes of misguided youth, toast is good, especially with¬†the right accoutrements…

When the concept of the toasted self arrived today as the daily create challenge of DS106, I wondered among tangents, and was moving to a gif that went something like this:

Toasted Self formula(followed by a nom, nom, nom effect)

But on the record, I don’t know anything about any of¬†that… Anyway, I¬†took it back a step to the essence of the title, I went and made some toast on my Mickey Mouse toaster which burns the face of Mickey Mouse on my toast (I have one of those, #TrueStory, please ask for proof), and thought, “I’m not Mickey, and I don’t want to eat my mug (as yummy as it may be too many) because some things are just too good to eat – but the toasted self (in it’s definitive form) this I can do”:

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DS106 Daily Challenge #2 (one for the Grammar-Nazi’s)

This was a difficult one to conceive ‚Äď but seems like I‚Äôm learning basic storytelling tools too (like more better grammar)‚Ķ

‚ÄúWith educated people, I suppose, punctuation is a matter of rule; with me it is a matter of feeling. But I must say I have a great respect for the semi-colon; it’s a useful little chap.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Abraham Lincoln

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1st DS106 Daily Create challenge

Here I am – Day one done… sorta…

Ending off my day with a “brief” visit to this DS106 journey I have¬†thus commenced (but not yet with the course material – Hey! It’s Saturday, after midnight in South Africa, but I just wanted to pop in)…

For the 1st daily challenge I have attempted, the task at hand was #1581¬†Experiment with a text logo designer, in which we¬†use a logo generator called¬†Mark Maker, and make a logo for yourself/ourselves. The system is a prototype which gives you an endless array of logo’s to view and review, and in the process those you “heart/like” feedback into the system, and refines the options presented based on your selection. Below is the final logo I selected:

So… Did the system achieve it’s purpose? Yes, I have a logo… But am I allowed to be critical? Because the thing is, while I enjoyed the excercise and accept that this system is a prototype, I walked away feeling frustrated… There were two design elements I really liked, and through the process what I wanted, and maybe I’m asking too much, was for a merging of the two choices I really liked, a hybrid – the sleeping astronaut and the abstract elemental design I wished was included therein¬†– The system apparently cannot do this, handing me variations of either/or… and so ultimately, I feel like I settled, on something I do like, but which is incomplete…

That said, I happened to see a bit of an interview with George Lucas today in which he said, and I am paraphrasing here, that ‘passion/success/purpose is found when you sit down to achieve¬†a task and take a break to attend to something (like grabbing a bite) and you realise that time has just been absorbed and flown right out the window, and yet it has not worn you down, but you are instead still exhilarated’ – something like that. That is what I walked away with today, the ying to the yang of this excercise and right now, 2.5 hours after I started, I have a logo (Version 1) on which I get to build – so thanks¬†Mark Maker¬†and DS106 – Great way to end the day.

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My South Africa Today 24-Oct-15

I am astounded by the black or white of people’s thinking. I am astounded by the greyness of my own.

I am incredibly inspired, proud and awe struck by what the youth of this country have achieved.

I am equally saddened, disgusted and appalled by some of what I have seen this week.

I am incredibly affected and effected, empathetic and understanding of all views and fears and hopes that I have encountered over this week, from all spectrums – I like it when I do that.

I am equally disgusted by the arrogance and inability of people to empathise, to listen, to receive and to so easily disregard, no wait, demean and dismiss those who may not understand a particular view – sadly I do this too.

I am a father of one (he is white, as am I, not that it matters, but apparently it is very important to attach race to your views on everything), and I have concern for his future.

I have parented another two (they are black, they are female, and as much as I have raised them they have and continue to teach me much too), and I am delighted by the prospects at hand for their lives and for what the future has in store for them because of what has been achieved this week.

I am well aware of what systemic racism is and know it is real. I also know that systemic racism is not the only issue at play here, what it is, is the most prevalent and tangible product of our times which befits the argument and most urgent concern of the majority of our people, let alone the greater world. But I know, it is not the only issue at play here.

I am a South African, the bones of my ancestors lie within it’s soil. The dreams of my family are tied to and invested in the dreams of a nation and this place. My definition of family is unique, it exceeds and extends beyond blood and colour, and is mine to own and define. I love as a South African, I mourn as a South African, I worry and fear as a South African, I am arrogant as a South African, my daily mood is effected by the headlines of this land. I have been shaped within these borders, by the history of this country, and my hope is bonded to it’s future. I am Beautifully South African.

I am Imperfectly South African. My prejudices, and I am ashamed to admit them, but I know that I am man, that I am South African, that I have them and that I can own them, they too are uniquely South African – and I challenge them, constantly, I work and live with them, they shape me and those around me.

Today, I am proudly South African, today I am proud of my fellow young South Africans (and yes, it’s worthy of repetition), and hopefully tomorrow I will be equally proud of my fellow South Africans on the Rugby field.

Today I am also a disappointed South African, I am disappointed by a quality of my fellow South African which so quickly dismisses any point of view and declares it invalid simply because it is not populist, or popular, or yours – and it’s everywhere, we are all guilty of it, fighting the good fight or fighting the bad, black or white.

We are South Africa, our thoughts are South Africa. We live South Africa. And so it makes me sad that we can so easily dismiss the views of another, that we are not inclusive, that we foster and continue to perpetuate a divide.

Fact is, there is no “it” to get, there are lots of “it’s”, plural. Me and my South Africa are dynamic and varied, like the people, the creatures, the terrain, the history, the legacy and the possibility of this, my home.

‚Ä™#‚ÄéFeesMustFall

Full Stop

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