Whoosh

To all my most sincere apologies: I’ve been increasingly caught up in work and my upcoming move to the UK. I’ve struggled to maintain any energy to read many blogs, never mind post to my own. In the last month or so, I’ve done far more travelling than I am used to and have found myself with increasingly less spare time as a result. I’ve managed to squeeze a five-day trip to Florida, eight full days of visits from my girlfriend, a day trip to New York and a six-day trip to the UK into the last four weeks, and definitely feel the need to slow down. Unfortunately, that’s looking unlikely, given that I have a business trip to Florida looming next week. Sigh…

I do have a less whiny personal update, however: I will officially be leaving the US in the first few days of May, so please do get in touch with me if you’d like to see me before I move across the Atlantic. (For those of you already in the UK, I will only be moving properly a week or so later, when I get back from Germany – the travelling won’t quite be finished.)

At some point soon, I will be officially reviving my feeble posting rate. [Please hold me to this.] So please do keep me somewhere near your radar.

Amusement

I couldn’t help but find two posts from Jeremy Nell’s Trash Media to be absolutely hilarious.

The first is the text of a post entitled “Why I don’t hate American Idiots.” An excerpt won’t capture the politically incorrect, off-the-wall brilliance of the post, so I won’t give you anything more of a teaser.

The second post is the Ditwits that Jeremy included in “Manto‚Äôs piss-up in hospital.” As always, the post itself is well worth reading, but the Ditwits is just a cut above. Needless to say, Trash Media is one of my must-read feeds: it’s satire that I really appreciate.

Last, but not least, is a post from Jessica Hagy’s Indexed, another one of my must-reads. Again, her post Curses is one of her better ones. If you like dry (vicious) humour, you should really appreciate this piece of index card magic.

Back in Action

I am now back from home and actually have a meaningful connection to the internet and all its denizens. I still need to process all my photos from the trip around the US and South Africa, but I’ll notify people of that as and when such things come to pass.

For the time being, I still need to find my feet in my new apartment near Davis Square in Somerville, MA. I also need to get myself into work mode for the first time in my life. My first week has been very interesting so far, and I think I am really going to enjoy working for Intersystems in Cambridge. I’ll keep my work thoughts to a minimum, though. I’ll try to keep us all sane. Let’s hope I have thoughts beyond the scope of work.

Lassitude Rules

As you should notice, I’ve been incredibly lax about updating my blog for quite a while now. In part, it’s been because I’ve hit the harder part of maintaining a blog. Unfortunately, it’s also been because I have become increasingly apathetic towards most things. I have been floating towards graduation for weeks, and have been anticipating the end of my undergraduate career for months. Lassitude has overpowered me and I’ve found myself a flaky, unreliable shell of my former self. The good part of it is that I am not too worried about it – that will need to kick in when I start work in a few months’ time.

But for now, I am trying to enjoy the last few weeks of my first shot at tertiary education. I will put some effort into my blogging again, but there will be a stretch where things get a bit thin in the weeks ahead. Some of that will be while I am traveling with my parents in the US, but most of it will be when I am in SA for June/July. I can’t wait to be home again, even if only for six weeks…

Somewhere in Translation

I’ve not posted for a while and I apologise for that: I would prefer to post far more frequently. Of late, however, I’ve been thinking about my posts even more than normal. (I chose “Slow Thoughts” for a reason.) If you would prefer not to deal with postmodern angst, you should probably stop reading now.

The long and the short of my thoughts is that I’ve been contemplating the nature of my posts and the relationship they (and I) have to South Africa. There are two main issues that have been bothering me. The first of these is the tone of my posts. I find I have a very didactic, supercilious tone that implies something like omniscience on my part. (As postmodern readers, you should automatically find a tone like that suspicious. But many of you probably don’t, so I need to try something else.) The second issue is somewhat tied to the first in that my posts claim a closeness to South Africa that isn’t necessarily there. While I love the country, four years in the US has meant that I am not quite as in touch with home as I’d like to be. I’ve found some South African blogs that have highlighted my distance from life in South Africa, and it’s made me question my approach to writing about South Africa.

I am not going to be reactionary, though. I am still going to post about home. Because I’ve come to accept that my voice is (currently) not a voice from the inside. For the time being, it will have to be a voice from the outside, which will have to reflect the distance I do have to South Africa as well as some of the persepctives I’ve gained from being away for so long.

So stay tuned. There will be more to come. (And if you want to read some REAL South African blogs, I recently added a few to my blog-roll. Feel free to peruse them for slightly different perspective on SA.)

Conundrum

I got an email about the BRICK Awards earlier today because I know one of the nominees. The awards are for outstanding individuals making a difference in the world and the twelve recipients of the Brick Awards seem to be making a serious difference. I know that Kimmie Weeks, the guy I know, has been doing amazing work in Liberia and Sierra Leone for years, and I think he fully deserves the award for his efforts. All twelve Brick Award recipients are finalists for the Golden BRICK Award, which involves another $15,000 prize to go towards their causes. I fully support what Kimmie is doing, so I wanted to cast my vote in his favour.

But when I got to the BRICK Awards website, I noticed something that got my hackles up. In order to vote, I needed to have a Yahoo! ID. I do have a Yahoo! ID, but I don’t know how I feel about Yahoo!’s need for voters to log in to their system. I really appreciate their support of the BRICK Awards, but I am not comfortable with the login situation. I can understand their desire to ensure the integrity of the votes they receive, but the true cynic in me sees the possibility that Yahoo! may be using the competition as a means of garnering more users. Once someone has a Yahoo! ID, he/she is in some way bound to Yahoo!. (Of course, he/she may never use it again, he/she will still be a Yahoo! member if he/she doesn’t close or cancel the account.) I can’t say that I think Yahoo! is being unethical or doing anything wrong, but I am definitely made uncomfortable by the necessity of using a Yahoo! ID to validate all votes that are cast.

Am I alone in feeling a bit put off by the situation? Does anyone else have a similar response?

Apologies

Sorry about the lengthy gap in posts. I mentioned my final exams in mid-December, but they overtook (and overpowered) me in the week and a half before I flew home just before Christmas. As a result, I didn’t leave a written warning about my impending trip to South Africa, where I have limited access to the internet using an unreliable dial-up connection. (And yes, this is a connection provided by Telkom, South Africa’s much-maligned telephone services provider – see Hellkom for more.) And then I was at home for three weeks. In terms of connectivity, this visit home was better than my last one in August, where we didn’t have a phone for more than a week, if I remember correctly. This time it was for just under a day. Still, I didn’t have the time to compose blog posts, so you have my apologies for that, as well as for not warning you of the silence that reigned supreme for the last month.

I’ll have more to say over the next few weeks, but for now let this photograph of a butterfly represent something of my time at home. The photograph was taken on our farm on the last day of December. Enjoy. (The fullsize photo can be seen here.)

Butterfly