Friday, July 24, 2009


So, my cellphone hates me.

Actual photo of my cellphone. With an angry face drawn on it.

I must admit that I've not been terribly vigilant with my Internet activity over the past week, but even when I have logged on (using the cell as a modem, of course), this device has been fighting me every step of the way. No identifiable reason, really: often, it just refuses to co-operate with my computer until I perform a reboot. Sometimes it freezes my system entirely. Invariably, it will try some sort of cleverdickery just to piss me off. And it will do so at a time when I have a gazillionty-one Firefox tabs open that need my attention. And at least three of those tabs will have nothing to do with that ever-present drain of time and productivity, TVTropes.

Its not been all bad, of course. For a start, I got myself Guitar Hero: Metallica.

Actual photo of me looking rather pleased with myself.

This game is, to say the least, pretty damn cool. Not only has it given me access to my ultra sing-song powers (with the help of an Xbox headset), but as far as Guitar Hero games go, this one is actually pretty gosh-darn good. The reviews have been pretty good and judging from the highly-polished gameplay (and my own inherent Metallica bias, of course), I say that this game gets a solid nine out of ten. Could have done with more TVTropes references.

Enhancing the game experience itself is a little something that I like to call the most badass setup ever. Of course, this is a horrific exaggeration, but after spending most of my game time on a standard-definition, CRT television, it's pretty cool to upgrade to HD and throw a hi-fi into the mix.

Actual photo of my current setup. With a smiley face drawn on it.

So basically, I've just spent my week playing hard, working (reasonably) hard and neglecting any duties which require me to show face on the Internet for more than, say, twenty minutes at a time, or however long it takes for my cellphone to realise that I'm being productive and cut my escapades short.

Damn annoying cellphone. I'll figure it out one day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Arts Fest over!

So now I'm sitting in that precarious position that most of us encounter at some point in our lives: that moment just after an awesome arts festival finishes and just before that promised shipping of Guitar Hero: Metallica arrives. It is with a heavy heart that I am thus forced to sit down and do something useful for a change.

The festival was grand. No, really, it was. For a start, I managed to snag myself an epic creamy-white jacket thing at the Village Green market.

I do modelling part-time.

I've also been watching a bunch of performances, and am very happy to say that each one has been very impressive in its own right. This is not to say that I'll be starry-eyed and suggest that everything at the fest was awesome forever: it's just that if there were crap elements, they were doing their gosh-darn best to hide themselves from me.

Flee from my divine countenance, crappy performances!

So, what can I take away from this? My top three performances of the fest:

- "Laugh" with David Newton. This was a straightforward stand-up comedy routine. Nothing terribly artsy or thought-provoking, you may say. Well, screw you. The guy's damn funny anyway.

- Alchemy of the Heart. I believe I mentioned it over here already. It was the first performance I watched, but it still sticks with me anyway. Or maybe because.

- Monkey Nuts. Matthew Ribnick is a legendary actor, and Geraldine Naidoo is presumably a legendary producer. Like their other hits, Chilli Boy and Hoot, Monkey Nuts has Ribnick standing on stage with a collection of hats, acting out a full-blown story cast allllllllll by his lonesome. And boy, can that guy act! The sheer number of body builds, cultures, personality types and accents that he can emulate and switch between on the fly is a great demonstration of what "good acting" actually means. That, and I've always loved the bittersweet comedies that this duo choose to perform: there's nothing quite like feeling "mirthful empathy" when you're watching a performance.

Picture of me enjoying Ribnick's performance. In my white jacket.

As a bonus shout-out, I have to point to the one act that really made the festival what it was. And that was the festival audience. Unfortunately, I don't mean this in a warm and fuzzy way. Even in this hub of culture, enlightment and high-quality performing arts, the audiences at some of the performances I've been to still behaved like a bunch of cave-dwelling troglodytes. Cthulhu help me, if I find one more inconsiderate little shit who wanders into a performance twenty minutes late, yapping away with their friends and blocking my view of a show that I paid upward of sixty rand to watch (and then adding insult to injury by laughing at all the wrong parts for the rest of the act), I'm going to take a mental note of where they sit, force-feed myself a ton of concrete and do a bellyflop dive right on their heads.

Theatre etiquette, folks. Use it.

This is my disapproval face.

Final note: the picture used in this blog was, in fact, that of a professional Dolce & Gabbana model. Confused readers should note that in reality my jacket is a lot cooler.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Arts fest status report 1

So here I am, about halfway through the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and it is absolutely lovely. So nice, in fact, that I am almost loathe to take the time out to blog about it instead of, like, actually DOING more stuff.

I've been reasonably cultural and reasonably outdoors-ish, though I must admit that it's really nice to hang out at one of my favourite chill spots instead and see the flood of interesting people arrive. There's a high population of travellers and performers in Grahamstown at the moment: and lo, a few of them are even interesting to talk to! It's like being at a backpacker lodge all over again. Hell, I actually met one of the guys who was running the Amapondo hostel back in Port St Johns.

So yeah, cool and colourful people.

A friend's kitten. This blog is now about kittens.

With regards to the performances so far: I've seen a few, and I've not been disappointed. In fact, if anybody is knocking around in Grahamstown right now and hasn't yet seen Alchemy of the Heart, try get seating for one of the shows. I enjoyed it quite a bit: maybe because it was the first show I saw. Either that, or I just have a thing for freaky masks.

So, with all the awesome stuff going on (and there is a LOT of awesome stuff), what should I choose to write about? Well, considering that my camera isn't allowed into most of the performance venues, I suppose it's safe to have a gander at town itself, as well as the Village Green market that occupies centre stage every year (haha, geddit?).

Unconfirmed Egg Hat Guy sighting.

I'm not sure why I like the Village Green market. Maybe it's just the thought of being able to go outdoors and have access to food and glittery stuff. Perhaps it's just amusing to catch people that I usually see elsewhere, such as the famous Egg Hat Guy and El Rondo the stick juggler.

The market itself extends (somewhat less officially) to Grahamstown's streets -- a nirvana of beanies, cheap sunglasses and plastic toys are on sale for anybody who gets up in the morning and thinks, "Well, gee whiz, I REALLY need some beanies, cheap sunglasses and plastic thingums today!"

Like this guy, har har. Also, in-joke warning.

I suppose it's also important to note that during festival, you get apprehended by all sorts of random people who are NOT beggars. For example, troops of orange-clad, head-shaven individuals chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and playing drums at you. Then there's those esoteric sellers of smelly burny stuff (incense, I think it's called) who shove their hands into your face to prove that their product smells of lilies and lavender instead of, say, Strange Person's Hand.

It bears the question: if I'm interrupted and harassed by really interesting people, does that actually still count? It's like the culture in this town is so overwhelming that it actually presses itself upon your senses. Which is, oddly enough, actually kinda cool.

And how do I maximise my daily doing-ness? Why, with the help of Monster energy drinks, of course!


Seriously, look out for these orange-on-black cans. They are, without a doubt, the most delicious energy drinks I have ever come across. In fact, it's quite likely that they could invoke a relapse of the Great Caffeine Overdose of Autumn 2009. And taste awesome while they're doing it.

Anyway, I'm off to say and do more pretentious stuff. Catch y'all again after I next tear myself away from all the cool stuff to try and actually write about it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's Gtown!

Gentlemen ...

Helloooooooooo Grahamstown! Wet, cold and miserable by the way.

So, the last time you heard from me, I was in Port St Johns. A little bit has happened since then, and it's a rather long story that's filled with all sorts of juicy details such as me falling sick again, shuttle services being a little unreliable, temporary alliances forming, banks being robbed, helicopters being blown up and a lot of cuddly and adorable kittens being rescued from the smoldering wreckage of inconveniently-situated orphanages.

Suffice it to say, I wound up back in Grahamstown. Somehow. Which is pretty cool, it makes a nice change.

Oh. Wait. Poker again.

I'm also still adjusting to the lack of ADSL Internet. Very poorly. Port St Johns was great, but it didn't have much in the way of plug access. The only way for me to hook up my laptop was to sit down at the bar and ask the good old 'keep for a power point. This arrangement allowed me to do the bare bones stuff like checking my e-mail, updating the Dev.Mag news stuff and looking at LOLcats. Still, it made me a little uneasy, not least because I was permanently paranoid about some drunkard spilling beer onto my baby.

The laptop, I mean, not an actual baby.

Cor blimey, it's pretty.

Still, I shall have fond memories of Port St Johns. The hikes were glorious, the people were awesome and now I shall be tormenting friends for months to come by constantly referring to the awesomeness of dear ol' PSJ in whatever conversation happens to crop up at the time. Man, that place is just too cool.

Anyway, so now I'm in Grahamstown. And guess what? It's just one day before the National Arts Festival is due to start. Well, actually it starts TODAY, given the time I was finally able to post this. Still, the anticipation throughout town is palpable. More stuff on stuff when I start doing stuff.