Thursday, March 17, 2011

I should try to find a way to transfer all this to the new blog or preserve it in some way.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

That's what you call cleaning up!

You may notice a few posts have been removed.
I guess I am in a cleaning up mood.

And now moving on to a new blog .....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks Giving

By the way, this week end is Canadian Thanks giving long week end.
Happy Thanks Giving!

Canadian Thanks Giving is about thanking the harvest all in and having a last big feed before things getting really tough during the long winter, and just on cue winter started in Calgary a few days back. The last few days we had highs of -10 degrees C but apparently it is meant to go back to +10 degrees C this week.

back to ZA

This is it I am going back to Johannesburg tomorrow. I'm pleased that I get to spend the first winter in a warm place. Since the weather turned to cold I am really stiff and sore. I know it is the cold because once I am in the sauna for a while it mostly goes away and if I manage to wear enough warm clothes it does not feel as bad.
It is forcing me to reconsider the original plan to retire in Saskatchewan. But that's my job this year: finding to where I want to retire. I am quite optimistic that I can sort it out in one year while I work.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Snow !!!

First snow in Calgary today.
At one point it snowed heavily enough that you could look at it falling down and feel like you were shooting up like a rocket, up and up and up.

Favourite parts of having snow:
- Feeling like you are going up to the sky when you watch it falling.
- Going out at night and having two shadows in the snow, the blue from the moon and the yellow from city lights. You really only get this in snow, but this time there just isn't enough now to get this. You need both a snow cover on the ground (and the snow is not sticking this time, or at least not yet) and you need a clear sky so the moon shines through.
- The hollow singing sounds it makes when you walk on it when it is very cold
- snow devils you get also when it is very cold and you get very fine flakes caught in the wind at ground level.
- Everthing looks clean
- The chance to wear winter coats (I am a coat person. I have 3 inuit coats that I have somehow gathered over the years, and 2 "old man coats" that I really like too)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day trip to the Rockies

Driving towards the mountains

First stop Lake Minnewanka

Then Castle Mountain.

Mount Rundle in the morning. Probably one of my favourite mountains, with Mount Yamnuska (no photos of Yamnuska).

Returning at the end of the day on the back roads

But not without passing Mount Rundle one more time in the evening.

All in all it was a nice day.It was nice to get out of town even if it was for just a day. The air smelled nice of pine, wet undergrowth and in some spot the disturbed dried undergrowth (very different from the wet one).
The air has texture in the mountains, you can feel warm currents mixing with the cold crisp air; the smells change and are varied. I was lucky enough that there was a controlled planned fired somewhere behind Mount Rundle and I followed the change in light and smells that goes with it. Lovely day! If only there was no winter I could probably convince myself that I could live in Calgary so I could be close to the mountains.
As usual the best thing about Calgary is that when you leave it you can go nice places!!!

The Stanley Milgram's Obedience Experiment

We all know about the experiment which demonstrated that we are more likely to do something awful if we are told to do so by a figure of authority.
I never knew the name of the experiment and I didn't even know if it was known as the XXX theory / experiment / syndrome or what. Whenever I wanted to refer to it I always had to explain it.
But now I know: It is called the Stanley Milgram's Obedience Experiment, or the Milgram Experiment. It seems that the experiment was done at Yale U between 1961 and 1974.
I would like to read the book by Thomas Blass: "The Man who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One more new thing

I am going to try to sale my house before I go home.

....... [added later ->] WOW!! Did you notice I wrote "go home" talking about Johannesburg!!! this is seriously bizarre. I guess I am ready to sale this house.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Karl's Farm, The Land

Karl's farm is in the Karroo, a beautiful part of South Africa if you like stark rigorous places ... which I do.

I left this place well tanned and with a totally believable explanation of where I had been for all the time I was gone since most people take a few weeks to get the sort of tan I had after four days in the Karroo.
I left being all over again in love with the Karroo. People said to me "you should marry a farmer" to which most added "It probably would be better if you just bought yourself a farm".

The Nguni cows

Nguni cows were originally never kept by Afrikaner farmers. They give less milk that European cows but they are resistant to local conditions. It used to be that only the local would have Nguni cows. Now they are quite popular which is no wonder considering how beautiful they are.
You have to admit that they are beautiful.

Look at the colours on these two below!

I know that it is starting to look like I am a "cow person" which I am not even though I do have a few cow head carving from Mali in my Jo'burg house.

Karl's farm is a beautiful place. I was lucky to have be free to roam on it as I pleased.

Karl's farm the outside

Karl's farm (Karl is my friend's brother) was a typical old South African farm with the maybe not so traditional Nguni cattle (more about those later). The building is an old Dutch style farm but with gum trees. I know gum trees, or eucalyptus trees, are Australian but as I have already blogged about they are everywhere in Ethiopia but I may not have ever mentioned that are quite common on the old farms of South Africa.

Here is a shot of their backyard with the eucalyptus and the excellent fence building prickly pears.

And here is the front porch. What is a farm without a front porch?!

You can see under the porch a Nguni cow head mounted on the wall.


I bought myself some persimmons today. I really like them. I like the way they taste, though you have to wait until they are VERY ripe before eating them from my point of view; and I like the way they look.
Their name should have been the name of somebody's daughter in a Greek legend and should now be the name of a constellation.
Obviously the girl would have had red hair, so she would have to have been a viking baby found in a basket on the beach or something like this.
Persimmon, what a great name!

Weaver bird

In the garden of my house in South Africa I have a weaver bird. I was really happy about this. I love watching them. The nests are quite sophisticated really and it is fun to watch them hang upside down while weaving the nest into some structure strong enough to hold the babies while they grow

I think I only one male who is building two nests and trying to attract two females but I am not sure. I wonder how many nests there will be when I get back.

The probelm with weaver birds, so I discovered, is that they take off all the leaves and flowers and anything that grows off the surrounded branches. It can't be good for the tree, but it does make it easier to watch them.

You can see the "bold spot" in these two photos.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random photos I like

Most of these are pretty old. You probably have seen them all already.

This one is very very old. I call it "Lone steppe walker"

Just a close up of rocks at the Giant's Causeway in Ireland.

A photo I took of a bat flying around in Mozambique.

Closed door

Rocks in Kruger

Clouds to the west of Calgary one summer evening.

Garbage fire when burning confidential documents before leaving Algeria.

A great way to describe life

I am reading "the Woman in the Dunes" by Kobo Abe. It is by far the best book I have ever read to explain life.
If ever there was an alien philosopher trying to understand human life I would put it on its list of "must read".

The story is totally irrelevant but if you are curious here it is: A teacher goes on an insect collecting holiday to a small village by the ocean. When he gets there he discovers that the beach dunes are advancing through the village and trying to engulf it. As a way to keep their village the locals put a lot of work into digging the sand around their houses and this results in some houses finding themselves at the bottom of deep steep-sided holes in the sand. When the teacher asks for a place to stay in the village he is sent to the house of a woman who lives alone and find himself trapped there.

It doesn't sound very good from the way I describe it, but it is a short book, if you get the chance and are at all curious about how some people perceive the absurdity/triviality of life and human nature I recommend it. It is a fascinating little book.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

By the way

... I am in Calgary.

Two excellent books

I have been reading a lot lately of everything two books stand out:

"The map of love" by Ahdaf Soueif.
A difficult book to describe as it is the story of two women (one American and one Egyptian) who meet now in Egypt when one (the American one) delivers to the other (the Egyptian one) a case which contains the journals, letters and other paper traces of another woman (who turns out to be both their grand mother ... or is it great grand mother?...Either way it is not particularly significant so I am giving nothing away). The Egyptian woman writes a book as she goes through the papers about the life of their common ancestor. In the book we are reading (which is not the book she is writing) we see the life of the two women and the life of their grand mother. A lot of very interesting historical facts are passed along about the colonial history of Egypt through all this.
A great book.

"Ahab's wife, or the star gazer" by ???
I left the book in Johannesburg. I wanted to make sure I had it with me in South Africa in case I wanted to read it again.
It is the life story of the girl who eventually becomes Captain Ahab's wife. Let me tell you that her claim to fame has nothing to do with Ahab (At least at the point where I am) as she is a girl / woman with a lot of personality.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It is cold

Last night in Johannesburg it went down to 7 degrees Celsius!!!

Everybody thinks "Africa!!!" but Johannesburg is pretty high and it gets pretty cold at night in winter.