Monthly Archives: March 2009

Is the DA doing a good job?

I read things like these and I just think.. compared to what?

At a recent tuXlabs workshop I found this very interesting:

Only 33% of schools in South Africa have internet access. 25% of schools in the Western Cape do NOT have internet access.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Pet Hate: Summary Feeds

I get the idea that news portals limit their (ATOM/RSS) feeds to a sentence or two to make people browse the main site and see their most glorious little ad buttons.

I do NOT get why people with personal blogs have summary feeds. Muppets.

Friends

This kinda resonated recently..

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.
Sally Albright: That’s too bad. You were the only person I knew in New York.

— When Harry Met Sally

Big Ideas

I was thinking today, as I walked down Lions Head, my best business ideas seem to all be about 5+ years old.. with the exception of maybe one.

If an idea sticks around for 5 years and just won’t let go, I guess you know it needs attention.

Quick Update

Week 3 (of 7) of my detox.. not a drop! (-:

  • Monday, handyman and electrician stuff, spinning, sunset walk on Camps Bay beach, watched Wall-e.. brilliant movie.
  • “They were talking about the wind at the recycling place, which btw.. is the only cycling I’ll be doing.” — Michelle about the Argus

  • Another day, another multi vitamin pill.. being good.
  • “No thanks.. only black people run.” — Andrew, who went running on Monday night

  • Tuesday, Lion’s Head walk, swim, soccer.. I scored two goals, burger special at the Camps Bay club with the soccer crew and Andy.. R35 for two burgers, not bad. Too bad I just can’t bring myself to watch soccer on TV.
  • Wednesday, nice drive from Camps Bay to the Waterfront via Clifton, Neotel Solutions Day at the BMW pavilion.. inspiring opening talk, drove to Stellenbosch to have my drivers licence renewed, interesting meeting with FireFlight in Technopark.. a pleasure working with cool people, visited Mia and the moms at Jimmy’s in SSW, (eek! motherly desperation vibe), watched Lark at Klein Libertas with Lesley.. the act just before Lark with the Atari guy was also cool.. they asked for my student card, haha. A fun day in Stellenbosch.. I could live there again.
  • “I feel like Elizabeth Taylor’s 7th husband.. I know what’s expected of me but I’m not sure I’ll live up to expectations.” — the Absa guy at Neotel solutions day.

  • “..we only renew drivers licences on Tuesdays before 14:00” — a monkey in a cage, in a blissfully idle state at the traffic department, no queue, nothing to do, but he can’t help me.

  • Thursday, mostly ISPA PR stuff, picked up some dark chocolate covered Goji berries (Mia loves them) and all-singing-all-dancing organic toothpaste for Mia and me, Lions Head ~full moon walk with Andy, Jess, Lesley, Gejo, Bret.. we witnessed an impressive rescue of a paraglider.. Gerjo’s pics were in the paper the next day, three stiff rounds of Applitizer at Rafiki’s.
  • Friday, tea with Tim at Melissas.. he liked my idea, I think I need to write that business plan, a hot young lady dropped off a sample pack of Vitamin Water at the office (more about that later), Beta Beach with Mia, watched Wall-e.
  • Teraco has a new website up.. I like it.
  • Saturday, tea, watched Wall-e again, uber juice with Apu Power.. this Inca flower blend from Peru, ant farming, gym, swim, smoothie, shopping, nap, Camps Bay beach sunset walk, frogurt on Victory road, watched Monsters Inc.
  • “Less talk more pain marshmallow-boy”
    “You know, I’m so romantic.. sometimes I think I should just marry myself”
    — Mike, Monsters Inc.

  • I escaped two parking garages without paying this week, haha. Just refuse to pay or make it a major admin problem for them.
  • Sunday, tea, took the cable car up Table Mountain with Andy for breakfast, watched The Incredibles, gym, swim, Mouille Point play ground and CaffeNeo take-away Moussaka.
  • I figure Mia has the perfect full time babysitter.. if only she would answer her F@#&@#$ phone… it can NOT be normal to have to phone an average of 5 times
    before she answers.
  • I suspect my idea to learn Spanish this year is going to fail.
  • Mia is now in the “Why?-phase”.. the perpetual questioning of everything around her. Kinda fun to try and answer a level 4+ why-sequence.. Try to explain why you can’t open your window in a traffic jam.. because it’s noisy and there are bad gasses around.. because cars create exhaust gasses.. because cars burn petrol and create toxic gasses, because the gas is bad for us, because it’s poisonous, because humans die from too much CO gas.. you get the idea.
  • Tunes of the week KT Tunstel (eye-to-the-telescope) and Lark (mounth-of-me).
  • The photo counter on my camera wrapped again recently. 20k+ pics is not bad for my little Canon compact.
  • It’s Mia’s birthday soon. I’m planning a birthday party for her. I realised I don’t have that many (~close) friends with young children.. like, almost none.

Have a fun week.

Mobile Phone Branding

Reading a magazine over lunch I found these..

prada

toy

Same thing, different sticker. You have to be a real muppet to buy the Prada version. The power of the Prada brand just does not make up for the lame LG OS.

Join the Vespa Cult

Buy a Vespa GTV 250 for R89,950, join the cult.. and get a free helmet. No, you can’t have it in any other colour!

Does not sound like a very good deal right? Ok, let me start at the beginning, maybe you’ll change your mind.

Test Drive

A few weeks ago I was browsing around the Design Indaba and found a few pretty cool looking Vespa’s. I started talking to Mike. Mike sells Vespa’s.. but he also rides Vespa’s and he is very passionate about the Vespa lifestyle. He invited me to test drive a few Vespa’s one afternoon.

joe

So, last week before soccer, I visit their showroom at the Waterfront, next to Audi. We find me a helmet that fits, shades on.. let’s roll.

I used to own a motorbike, a long time ago (when I was 17/18yo). Took me a minute or two to settle back into it. These Vespa’s were automatic (CVT). Very easy.

The first thing you notice: it’s fun. Second: freedom.. it’s not a car, you can navigate your way through traffic and you generally accelerate a lot faster than the other traffic on the road.

We took a drive through the Waterfront, to Mouille Point, to Camps Bay and over Kloof Nek. Beautiful day for a test drive. I started off on the 150 and swapped with Mike half way to try the 250, which had a bit more power. Feels a bit weird taking corners on a scooter.. I was not sure how far you can push them, but I guess owners have it waxed.

Back at the showroom I took a Bat-mobile looking scooter for a spin. 500cc, also good fun.

batman

Which one is the best option?

The LX150 at about R50k will do most everything, but maybe not something you want to take outside of Camps Bay regularly.

The GTS 250 at about R80k is probably the best value, all round.

The GTV 250 at about R90k is way cool, retro styling, very groovy gadgets and true to Vespa breeding. The best investment.

I know what you are thinking.. “..for a little wire wind-pump?” (-:
It’s a SCOOTER? Are you nuts? I can buy a Moto Mia scooter for R10k!
That was Andrew’s response.

Who buys these things? Most of Mike’s customers are males in their 30s and 40s.

vespa

It’s an Icon

Vespa is a design icon. It’s a cult brand. Vespa was the first globally successful scooter. They were even used in World War II. People travel across continents on these things.

They are cool, but as Mike says.. you have to be very secure in your manhood to drive a little baby blue LX150, haha.

Also, you have to understand that Vespa is not in the business of selling motorcycles, it’s in the fun lifestyle business.

How do you sell a guy a Vespa that already drives a convertible?

The good..

  • They are awesome fun to ride, in nice weather.
  • I like the social element.. the Vespa runs sound cool. Though I’m a bit worried they will attract Mini Cooper driving dorks.
  • Do they pull chicks? I don’t know. I guess so. Ladies?
  • 35km / Litre, not bad.
  • You have to love how the helmet fits under the seat.

The bad..

  • I spend most of my weekends with a 3yo. She can’t go on a Vespa.
  • We’re moving into winter soon.
  • GTV 250 is only available in beige (this year). Beige! FFS.
  • Oh, you should kinda get a bike licence, though this seems like a minor issue.

I think I’ll wait a year. Still a pretty cool toy.

Go for a test drive

Michael Eastaugh
Vespa Cape Town, Caltex Centre, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
021 425 7944

Quick Update

Another week of being good..

  • Monday, pizza for breakfast (of champions), ISPA Mancom meeting, gym, spinning, nice home cooked dinner, watched Tropical Thunder.. pretty lame.
  • Found out I have a 1/2 brother and sister.. but not really interested in meeting them.
  • “To YOU I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.”
    — Woody Allen

  • “Don’t do as I do, do as I say” — Spinning Instructor

  • “Be Good, but don’t be Nice”

  • Tuesday, uber juice with celery and lime, Vespa test drive.. lots of fun, soccer at La Med.. I played defence.. on them like that bad rash at Origin.
  • Wednesday, Lions Head walk, swim, flight to Jozi ..with only 3 items of clothing, you do not want to check in any baggage on an SAA flight at the moment kids, watched Generation Kill. What a pain driving a manual car again.
  • How would you explain arriving at a 4 star guest house at 20:30 and the only food they are willing to serve you is peanuts and raisins at the bar? FFS! and then I missed breakfast the next morning. Do’h! Do’h!
  • Turns out Thomas is moving back to Cape Town in early April. Cool.
  • Thursday, ISPA strategy workshop, flight back to Cape Town, Asoka with Kirsty, Andy, Gisella and Ryan, Boo Radley’s.. a very nice little brasserie in Hout Street, check out the pictures on their walls, yummy.
  • “You must not drink so much of that.. you’ll go blind.” — Gisella (a real Mexican) about Jose Cuervo.

  • Flying back from the ISPA workshop, it struck me that the ISP game and open source is very much like Star Wars.. good vs. evil. Maybe that’s why I like it.
  • It’s official Joburg sucks. The only good thing about the whole trip was an insanely hot woman in a business suit I noticed at CPT airport.
  • Keith keeps bugging me to read more books. So I bought a book on Wednesday and finished it on Thursday: Is dit net ek of is alles Tos. It’s like reading a blog in print. A few good laughs.. I don’t remember seeing an entry for Joburg? weird.
  • Friday, gym, swim, housewarming shopping.. bumped into an old school friend.. Eduan, swim, housewarming party.. a new record (low) in attendance by my friends, but a number of Andy and Keith’s friends showed up. In bed by 23:00. A bit lame.
  • “Men are simple creatures, we’re like dogs.. if we can’t shag it or wee on it, we don’t know what to do with it” — Eduan

  • “The Waterfront is just like a middle eastern airport, in fact I’m pretty sure the same people own them.” — Keith

  • “Joe’s 4 minute work week” — Keith and Andy joking about the the 4HWW.

  • Every time I see a Merc SUV it makes me think of American Beauty’s desperate property agent, even more so when you see people collecting for-sale signs in their SUVs on Sunday afternoons.
  • “Democracy is the illusion that we have a say.” — Keith

  • Tune of the week: Think twice, Groove Armada
    “that god damn bitch of life she made me cry,
    so I’d like to poke her squarely in the eye”
  • Saturday, brunch with Mia’s mom.. turns out Naulene’s English teacher’s son is one of the two Groove Armada guys, also she calls me a serial monogamist.. that’s funny, we bumped into a friend (Joe) who thinks Mia looks like Dakota Fanning, swim, watched Treasure Planet again.. fun movie, built puzzles, watched Monsters Inc.. catching up on Nemo rapidly, Beta Road play park, watched V for Vendetta.. brilliant movie.
  • “Beneath this mask is an idea and ideas are bulletproof”
    “There is no certainty, only opportunity”
    “A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having”
    — V for Vendetta

  • Sunday, chai-rooibos-honey-vanilla-milk tea, gym, swim.. with the dive sticks, smoothies and biltong, watched The Incredibles, nap, dropped Mia off, visit to Andy’s parents house, visited Debby, Ryan’s birthday braai.. I’ve started to develop a taste for root beer.
  • Had a good grin about the wind on Sunday.
  • “Luck favours the prepared” — The Incredibles

  • “There’s _no_ flavour like vanilla” — Andy, about Vanilla Ice.. aka The test tube baby, aka one of Ingi’s ex-boyfriends.

  • I was looking at my traffic stats.. seems I’ve doubled my visits in the last year from just under 1000/m to just over 2000/m, but I suspect most regular readers just read my ATOM feed.. about 50 if I count unique IPs grabbing my feed daily.. I’m pretty sure if I were a hot girl it would be double. Also, my SwimGeek stats exceed the combined stats for Frogfoot, Amobia and Blio *grin*.
  • About bullet list blogging.. some people seem to not like the idea that most of this content is a week old when they read it (mostly Twits). I kinda like the week granularity and I don’t like the real-time idea so much.. privacy issues. Issues. Also, let’s say I spend an hour every week writing this stuff.. that’s about a 1% overhead for recording the things I care about.
  • Mia can now spell “dog”.
  • Btw. The recycling project at home is still going strong.

Goody!

Looking forward to Lark in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

Being Good

Hi, my name is Joe and I’ve been dry for two weeks now. Hi Joe.

I had lunch with Joey a while ago, who mentioned that he takes a drinking holiday once a year for a month.. a detox month. Then I visited Will, who told me about Pancake Tuesday.. the last day of indulgence before Lent.. some 40 day fasting thing.

So, this started sounding like a good idea.. maybe just because the idea made sense at the time.

I last stopped drinking in May/June 2007.. which lasted until I went on holiday in Spain in July. Strangely, not everybody was supportive of the idea.. jokingly calling me Joe the Saint.

It’s actually very easy, the only odd part is sipping Appletizer while people offer you wine. It’s been a productive time. Feels good. Try it.

Drinks you may want to try while in bars and clubs:

  • Passion Fruit and Soda
  • Ginger Ale and Bitters
  • Appletizer
  • Cola tonic and Ginger beer

..skip the straw.. it’s just wrong.

Makes you wonder what perpetuates the culture of social drinking. I guess the answer is trivially obvious.. it’s how people get laid (-:

I read somewhere that 55% of people are overweight. Looking at the group of woman that attend Mia’s swimming classes, I’m pretty sure most of her little fellow swimming students would not exist if it were not for alcohol, haha.

Maybe I’ll drink again at Balkanology, the resurrection (-:

..and now I have a houswarming party to attend. Have a fun Friday.

The Reality of the Service and Telco Businesses

A while ago, at a WAPA meeting, Eugene talked about the reality of running a telecoms infrastructure business: It’s a capital intensive business. It will always need more and more money to roll out networks, upgrade and maintain infrastructure.

Read: It’s fun building railroads, but you need very deep pockets.

Then, a while ago I had lunch with somebody running a web dev business. He was frustrated with the operational challenges of his services business.

So, thinking about the wisdom above, I told him.. the reality of running a services business is that you will always be over-extended and you will probably always struggle to meet expectations, especially in growth phases. I think service businesses initially succeed because of some magic the founder(s) have. When you start employing people that magic does not transfer easily and the founders will probably become frustrated with knowledge transfer and hand holding. Often the founders will remain in the loop.. as much as they try to create Chinese walls and move to other roles in the business.

If I had to choose, I’d rather spend somebody else’s money building railroads (-;

Cyclist Muppets

Around about this time of year I start to build up a fair bit of (healthy) hate for cyclists. Especially slow, annoying, swerving, I own the road muppets.

At spinning last night I see all these “I will just get fit in the last week” Argus types. The spinning instructor dude asks “who here is not doing the Argus?” Weird how you can be proud not to be a part of some clubs.

Let’s face it.. it’s a logistical nightmare. I get some form of road-claustrophobia just thinking about it.. packs of people with shaven legs and bad fashion sense dodging water bottles, pumps and banana peels which others scatter all over the road. Not to mention the traffic annoyance.

On my way to work today, I see this woman in Camps Bay, she can barely peddle up a mild hill in 1st gear, swerving all over the place just to keep her balance, I notice the 3 spoke wheels and the Mercedes-Benz branding on her bicycle.. that thing must cost about R70k, W.T.F?

Aryan-geriatric muppet.

Remember, for your own sanity there will be 40k crazy people on the road this Sunday the 8th of March. Avoid them.

I’ll be on the beach.