Two very good reasons not to read

Here comes the sad truth…

1. Twilight
Real vampires do not sparkle. Real vampires eat people. Real vampires don’t have families or fall in love (and IF they do they eat their families and lovers). Vampires are mean, horrible creatures: they might be charming and beautiful, but they will eat you. And by eat I mean drain you of blood and leave you to die.

And anyone can write something like this and here’s how:

Please do not pollute your mind by reading factually incorrect nonsense that has been vomited onto a page with no skill or flair.

2. 50 Shades of Grey
Seriously girls, grow up. The chances of a handsome, rich guy that will obsess about you, buy you stuff and have crazy, freaky sex with you are slim.

Here’s how things really work: Most men will just want to have crazy, freaky sex with you. They won’t be called Grey, and they won’t have a helicopter. Most men are broke and most men are not very handsome.

Please do not read badly written nonsense that will do nothing but disappoint you when your man asks you for a beer instead of a spanking.

Two very good reasons not to read

Vegetables are more intelligent than sheep

I grew up in a rural area, so I am familiar with farm animals. I also like to eat them. And they are all equal, but some are more tasty than others. Especially sheep.

And a few years ago, some mates of mine decided it would be fun to adopt a lamb. I knew this was a bad idea. As far as I am concerned, the only purpose of a sheep is to be on my plate. But since I am an good with animals, I was asked to babysit their lamb.

Lamb wool is not soft and fluffy. It’s coarse and smells funny. If you think a group of sheep are dumb, one on its own is worse. There is a reason why lamb chops are popular at a braai – you can honestly consider it a vegetable and I can prove it to you. I can also prove that vegetables are more intelligent.

This is a cabbage:

Picture from NS IMEX on Flickr

This is a sheep:

Picture from Rori mails on Flickr

This is what happens when you ask a cabbage to stay:

That looks like a successful stay

This is what happens when you ask a sheep to stay:

Picture from Allybeag on Flickr. And that’s a fail for the sheep.

This is what happens when you ask a cabbage to sit:

And a cabbage can sit

This is what happens when you ask a sheep to sit:

Fail

This is what happens when you ask a cabbage to roll over:

This is an upside down cabbage, which means the cabbage passes the final test.

This is what happens when you ask a sheep to roll over:

Fail.

Therefore, as the sheep fails three out of three of the vigorous tasks in this experiment, we can safely conclude that a cabbage (which is a vegetable) is more intelligent than a sheep. Therefore, you no longer have to feel guilty about eating them.

You’re welcome.

Vegetables are more intelligent than sheep

The Internet

While most of the internet is made up of cat videos and pornography, it’s still a pretty vast place. And there are some profoundly disturbing things out there.

For example, this five headed snake:

Scariness.

Another great thing about the internet is that you can do further research. Which is a good thing. The snake is fake and now I will be able to sleep a little better at night. Unfortunately I now know that two or three headed snakes are possible, but that’s a lot better than five heads.

Then you get these Hulked-Up dogs called Bully Whippets:

Apparently some genetic mutation means they naturally look like they’ve popped a few steroids. They are also faster than the average whippet. And they have breasts (which is fine for this one, here name is Wendy and she is a girl).

But since these are rare internet gems here’s something more conventional:

The Internet

It can always be worse (unless you have fatal insomnia)

As the end of Winter approaches, some pretty nasty illnesses float around. Mutant flu, rampant stomach bugs and chronic despondence. It’s all very serious.

Photo from ALTO CONTRASTE Edgar AVG on Flickr

But I have it worse.

I have Terminal Insomnia.

Foodie In Disguise on Flickr took this picture…

Yes, it’s real and you can read about it here. And unlike the illnesses, it’s not seasonal – it’s an all year round affliction. And it can’t be treated or cured by a change of season. And the advice on the websites doesn’t help much either.

And Terminal Insomnia is a sneaky bugger. Sometimes it will go into remission for a few weeks and then all of a sudden it will come back, worse than before. I never know when I’ll have an attack or when it will stop its nonsense.

But it could be worse. I could have Fatal Insomnia. This is the worst kind. Even an induced coma cannot make your brain shut down. So eventually you just go mad and die. Sadly, there is no cure.

So if you have the sniffles or mild diarrhea or you’re lovesick for summer, suck it up! There are worse things that can happen to you.

Photo from MEaves on Flickr

It can always be worse (unless you have fatal insomnia)

My Little Pony

True love does exist. Especially when you’re 11 years old and horse-mad.

14 years later…

Ashgar Leam was born on 8 December, 1992. His dam was Ashgar Leslie and his sire Ashgar Doonan. He’s bay, with black points and a blaze down his face. He is my soul mate.

My riding instructor introduced me to Ashgar Leam in September, 1996. She took me to his stable and said ‘This is Leam, he needs a little girl to love him’. I looked over the stable door and that was it.

He’s a little more curious now.

Head-shy Leam was hiding in the corner of his stable, and in the dark, all I could see was the striking white blaze down his very handsome face. I didn’t care about how narrow he was, or how his hindquarters were a little higher than the rest of him. He was awkward and shy and scared of everything, much like I was – a kid on the cusp of adolescence.

The first time I rode him I couldn’t get him to move. This was a blow to my ego, because I was the best rider at the stables at that stage. But the groom who was training him led me around and I was grinning stupidly – thoroughly happy.

With some coaxing, he will go now.

Leam was not my first horse. Curry was – but he’s another story.

A year after being led around, I got back on. Leam was 5 and I was 12 and I was still crushing on him. We got along famously. Leam carries his head nicely and will jump anything, but his virtues as a riding horse end there. He’s lazy and hates to be schooled. He would spook at everything and was always a little mad. But he was fast (and when you’re 12 this is a top priority). But Leam hates to work more than any other horse I have ever ridden.

I convinced my dad to buy him for me and a few weeks later he arrived at the plot. And that’s when my hell started.

Leam was terrified of everything and still head-shy. He was impossible to catch and would occasionally refuse to go into his stable at night. He would freak out when the farrier came to trim his feet and go beserk every time I tried to take him out. He was difficult in the school and threw a number of my friends.

He didn’t understand what treats were and it took a month of leaving carrots in his feed to get him to actually want them.

He was also filling out and became a round, solid, tank of a pony. But he would still clear anything I put in front of him. I jumped him 1.1m, which is impressive for a 14.1hh pony. Our show history was shaky – we never really did very well, but Leam is not a show pony, handsome as he is.

This is more Leam’s style of work.

Eventually I just rode him (and I rode him badly). I refused to take his nonsense and made him do as I said. He started to shy less and we started to trust each other. It was easier to calm him down when he was scared and we started going out more. Eventually I introduced him to swimming, which, to this day, he loves.

He likes bath time too.

But Leam was accident-prone. We was forever cutting himself and once nearly lost his foot, which meant for six months, while he healed, I couldn’t ride him.

When I went to university, he stayed behind, getting fat and lazy. When I went home and rode him he would put his head between his knees and buck (learning how to sit out bucks is a handy riding skill) and squeal like a pig. This means he will forever have the nickname of Pig. But he’s my Pig and I say it with love.

Leam needs to eat…

Leam was a difficult pony. He would do stupid things and I would fall off. I would spend hours trying to catch him and swear and scream and lose my teenage temper on him at least once a week. Leam put me in the hospital. Leam has made me angrier than anything else in this entire world. If he wasn’t so handsome, he would have had it a lot worse. I struggled with him, I regretted taking him on. But no one else would, and I was always in love, so I kept him.

In 2008 I had to have Curry put down. Curry loved Leam and they were inseparable. It nearly killed me. And it meant I needed to move Leam back to the farm where he was born. He was 16 and slightly more sensible.

I don’t know if it was the loss of Curry (for both of us) or being in a proper herd again, but things changed. Leam has become easier to catch (15 minutes vs two hours). He doesn’t shy at ridiculous things anymore and he doesn’t panic in real danger. He’s affectionate with me when no one else is looking. And even though he is 19 now, and we’ve been together for 14 years, and he’s starting to grey around his eyes and his back is starting to dip, he can still give it stick.

Salt and pepper mane.

Leam is my entire world and there is nothing I love more than that horse. He has become a dream pony (minus the laziness)…

Love is hugging your pony.

I can go up to him after a month apart and get on him and take him out, just the two of us. He is completely safe (except for one time when he ran away from a sheep – but only because he thought it was trying to hurt me, from the other side of a fence).

Leam will stand quietly, calming other horses, when we’re riding to the game and the Wildebeest stampede.

Leam has become a bit of a slut too. He has a harem now and they get very upset when he is ridden and isn’t on the mountain with them. I have also seen my gelding mount a mare and the mare get upset because, well, he can’t, you know…

Leam and his ladies.
At least my daughter-in-law is pretty.

My little pony is the nicest pony I know. He has never kicked me. The only time his hooves ever made contact with me was by accident and entirely my fault. And even though he thinks with his tummy, he has never bitten me. He once caught my finger in his teeth and immediately let go. Unlike other horses, Leam does not try to step on me. As soon as he feels human foot under his, he steps back.

Leam at 19… Finally settled and not bothered about anything except carrots.

And maybe it’s because I know him so well and he likes me now, but I can ask him to do anything, no matter how ridiculous, and he will try. And that means more to me than the most schooled, high-bred horse on the planet ever good.

And he does cute things, like this…

He is mine and I am his and that is how it always will be.

And this is the kind of view I can enjoy with my boy.

My Little Pony

Five Friday Facts

1. My car will always be the dirtiest car in the parking lot. I ride horses and drive on dirt roads. This is an unavoidable fact of life.

2. Steak will always be on my priority list. It’s as simple as that.

By Another Pint Please… on Flickr

3. Sleeping late is wonderful, but getting up before the sun comes up is much more satisfying.

4. Friends come and go, and that’s okay. And some bother to see it through and can be called up after months or years (be patient with me guys, I plan on getting to everyone ASAP).

5. The best music is not discovered by listening to the radio – you find it word of mouth.

By Vectortrance on Flickr

Five Friday Facts

Postmodernism and stuff

Academics love classifying things by epochs. This leads to an eruption of theory, criticising the era before and spamming journals.

I am not bashing academics or theory. In fact, I quiet like them both and I’m very much a part of that world again because of my studies.

And it’s interesting how it always takes a little longer for theory to filter into society. My studies and research are heavily influenced by Postmodernism, but most people are still a little stuck in Modernism. Especially in a business environment.

Image from versionz on Flickr

That’s fine and everything, because I am not 100% sold on Postmodernism. I’m not 100% sold on Modernism either. Or any of the eras before that.

Instead I am amused that people need to classify things. Because we’re probably in the next era already, but academics are still fighting fiercely for their theory and will probably die before they move on.

So, I can deconstruct your text, and I can tell you all about how reality is socially constructed, I can tell you if a novel is postmodern or not, and I can even criticize the theories I’m familiar with. How exciting!

But what does this mean for me as a researcher? And is my degree meaningless besides sharpening my skills to engage with knowledge and assimilate it into more practical environment? Will the huge amounts of words I have written so far this year for my Masters be meaningless? Are they not perhaps already meaningless, even the ones I have yet to write? (Note the existential angst coming through? That’s another thing I know academic stuff about).

You may ask why am torturing myself with this. It’s simple really: because it’s interesting. And it makes me sound clever. On occasion it can even kill a conversation when I want some silence.

Postmodernism and stuff