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Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

I’ve never been a big fan of superhero movies. I’m also not a big fan of Hugh Jackman, for several reasons, but largely because he’s Australian. They’re all prisoners anyway. But in spite of all of this, I wasn’t going to miss the magic of seeing a new release in the Ster Kinekor in Somerset West, because, well, it’s just an Epic experience.
Hugh Jackman. Australian.

Hugh Jackman. Fosters, Koala's and a shrimp on the barbie.

After furiously working with Tweak and GadgetBoy to finish our assignments due for Private Law, GadgetBoy and I jumped into his car (complete with GeekPlateTM) and hit the R44.

Wednesday evenings are definitely the night to go and see movies. There’s only adults. It’s awesome. No one uses their cellphones during the movie! Well, ‘cept for the douche next to us, but it was okay. I’ll let it slide this time. A quick beer, some Thai food (on a side note, a Thai Green curry makes my eyes water, sweat profusely, and scream for my mommy, but man, it’s good) and we were ready. Popcorn buttered, straws in cooldrinks, let’s see this shit.

The movie traces the origins of Wolverine, how he and his brother Victor (who later becomes Sabretooth) grew up together, right from the Civil War, all the way to ‘Nam, where they eventually get picked up by the US military to form part of an elite strike force, who travel to Nigeria to kick some ass and steal the super-compound, Adamantium (which later gets bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton, rendering him indestructible. After the Nigeria mission, Wolverine walks away from the military, and retires to a life of being a lumberjack. This is explained mostly by Hugh Jackman being shirtless and carrying an axe. Eventually, Victor returns, and kills his girlfriend. The rest of the consists of Wolverine trying his utmost to avenge his girlfriends death.

Don’t go and see this movie if you’re only going to go for the special effects. They suck. HARD. But what makes this movie excellent is the amazing ability of director Gavin Hood to tell a story. He did it without words in The Shopkeeper, won an Oscar for it in Tsotsi, and excells again in X-Men Origins. He’s certainly not an action director, but he doesn’t do too badly in this film.

The action is good, but I kind of felt that the movie hit it’s climax right at the beginning of the film, when Ryan Reynolds showed the most amazing swordfighting ability. The rest of the movie’s action doesn’t measure up to this at all, always leaving you wanting a little more, until right at the very end. The final fight is epic, although maybe a bit short.

Warning: This movie may turn you into a douche.

Warning: This movie may turn you into a douche.

The movie sets a great prequel, and when I walked out, the first thing a wanted to do was go and rent the first X-Men. There’s some dicey casting in places (Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas), but it doesn’t hamper Gavin Hood’s storytelling at all. Go see it. You won’t regret it.

In spite of Hugh Jackman.

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That’s right. We are less than 24 hours away from the polling stations opening for what is without a doubt something very exciting: Democracy in Action. Please vote. Please. I am not telling you who to vote for, nor who I am voting for, but please make an informed decision.

Friday’s Mail & Guardian ran an excellent guide to all the major parties, with summaries and criticism on policy considerations, from a very neutral perspective. The paper can be viewed here, and the Election Guide can be found on page 21. Please read it and make an informed vote. In fact, I recommend you buy the paper itself. It’s got a brilliant profile of the feelings among South African voters. Please don’t walk into that voting booth uniformed. That’s nothing short of irresponsible.

If you’ve forgotten how to vote, all you need to do is make the following shape, next to the party you think will lead this country the best. You’ll even get a free coffee.

Ideally, this is the picture you should draw next to the party you want to vote for

Ideally, this is the picture you should draw next to the party you want to vote for

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Last night I went and fetched Betsy, my aging but faithful old lady car, out of her garage. After about 45 min of struggle to get enough juice into her battery to get her going, I headed out to Cape Town, to go and see some friends that I haven’t seen in a very long time. That part of my story is a little bit irrelevant. But, should you ever need a very funky place to start your evening off, I highly recommend the bar slash restaurant at the Hotel Fire and Ice. It’s really cool.

Having both feet firmly stuck in Stellenbosch, and Betsy not behaving at the best of times, it’s not all that often that I find myself in Cape Town (Aside from the occasional visit to my parents, I hardly ever get into the bright lights and the big city). So behold my surprise, when driving on the N2 around the airport area, to see actual houses. That’s right. Not a lot of them, but they definitely weren’t there a while back. Which means only one thing: The ruling party is trying it’s best to convince us, just before election, that they are actually capable of pulling finger and doing something for the people that elected them.

Phase 2, nor phase 3: She won't subsidise it. Credit: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Phase 2, nor phase 3: She won't subsidise it. Credit: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

Many dismiss this as too little, too late. And to a certain degree, this is true. Not wanting to support the ANC, but something clearly is being done, albeit very slowly. The fact remains that despite the countless people who still live in shacks, there are now people that have a proper roof over their head. The change isn’t very big, but every dent helps. I always get a little irritated when people say that our ruling party does nothing. I must say, I was very impressed on my recent trip to the Transkei, to see that no matter where in the Transkei you are, you always seem to be at least 15-20km a clinic, many times even closer. Still a sizable walk in a place where not many people have cars, but it’s a start. Perhaps we should have an election every year.

I am by no means advocating that this is nearly enough, but with it being so close to election day, it seems that far too many people have jumped on the Let’s-Hate-The-ANC bandwagon. What happened to seeing the positive side in our country. It’s there. All you need to do is look. If you feel better change can come with a different party, then vote so. It is true that there is corruption – there will always be corruption, whether you are an African nation, a European nation, or an American nation. Corruption will always exist where there is human nature involved.

Another aspect of my trip that seriously impressed me was the infrastructure upgrades. Having not driven in the De Waal Drive/Hospital Bend area in a long time, it was seriously impressive to see the work that has been done. Which brings me to this:

Green Point Stadium, under construction

Green Point Stadium, under construction

Now you must admit: That’s one sexy friggin’ piece of engineering. And, last night, whilst releasing a light sweat as I waited in line for a police roadblock, I got a brilliant view of what it looks like at the moment. It’s meant to set like 68 000 people. To put that into perspective, that’s 3 times the number of students currently at Stellenbosch University (including med students and military students). That, my friends, is a lot of vuvuzelas. The progress that’s been made on the stadium looks way better than the picture above, and the final product is set to look like this:

The finished product: Sexy.

The finished product: Sexy.

Man, I love this country. In it’s own, strange, African, somewhat offbeat kind-of-way, there’s just something so awesome about this place. Hell yeah.

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sosaties-and-lambchops-on-braai-foodinsouthafricaThere are several things that define one as being proudly South African. These things are quintessential to our being. Without them, we would have nothing to seperate us from other Nationalities (yes, even the Australians). I am of course speaking of our national past time, one that stretches across all race/income/social/sport and sometimes even political divides. I am of course talking of the braai. The braai harks back to our primal urges, that of man-make-fire and eating red meat. Grrrr. Our love of the braai is even spoken of in guidebooks to our country, and I quote:

More than simply the process of cooking over an outdoor fire, however, a braai is a cultural event arguably even more central to the South African identity than barbecues are to Australians. […] A braai is an intensely social event, usually among family and friends, and accompanied by gallons of beer. It’s also probably the only occasion you’ll catch an unreconstructed South African man cooking.

I’m pretty sure you can braai anything. If you have a Weber, I’m pretty sure you can even bake a loaf of bread (I haven’t tried this, so if it doesn’t work, don’t blame me). You can make toasties, chops, steak, veggies, kebabs, chicken and just about anything that can be turned with tongs. It truly is a great device for killing hungry. And anything coming off a braai tastes good. FACT.

But trust the Americans to screw things up for us. What are Americans good at, besides being stupid? Being fat. Which is where the Bacon Explosion originates from. The ingredients? A kilo of bacon, a kilo of sausage meat, and about a litre of basting. It is heart disease wrapped in bacon. And it’s apparently delicious. I’m not so convinced. The recipe calls that you weave bacon. Who weaves bacon? The full recipe can be found here, but the end product looks like this:

This is why you're fat: The Bacon Explosion

This is why you're fat: The Bacon Explosion

Braai hieracry is also a fierce element of our sacred ritual. There are no woman around a braai. This is a man’s work. Also, no-one crosses the braai master. His will is sacred. The best video I’ve seen describing this hierachy is below. I recommend you watch it, no matter the size of your bandwidth. This is important education, that everyone of every race and sex should watch. Watch, learn and live:

So there you have it. The next time you light a fire, know this – you are tickling a primal urge so deep, so deeply embedded in your DNA, that you can’t help but be proudly South African.

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