Thursday, December 23, 2010

That time of year to Reflect?

If you think it is, go ahead. I've supplied the mirror.

Personally, I am thankful for every day that I am down here in the Cape Town area, not having to withstand/resist the crap that is going on in other parts of the country/world. I have enough issues to deal with, without having to listen to politicians and self-righteous "aid" organisations spouting on about what sort of trouble they/their country/the world is/are in.

However, that said, I will make it known that I am grateful for all the loving family and friends that I have, both locally and around the world. It is you people that make my life worthwhile and I am forever indebted to you all for it.

Love. Always.
Semper Amor.

A blessed, peaceful, safe, loving Christmas and holiday season to you all, with wishes that the best of 2010 is the worst of 2011 to every one of you.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

My new dress (kilt)...

With my daughter coming out from the UK to get married at Slangkop Lighthouse in April 2011, I decided I had better get something to wear.

I've always wanted a full dress kilt and all the bits that go along with it, so I placed an order on an online website which was very helpful (and reasonably cheap too). If you're ever in need of a kilt, check them out here...

So, the outfit includes:

* Argyll jacket & vest
* Dress shirt & bow tie
* 5 yard 16oz handmade wool kilt (in Douglas Modern tartan)
* Dressed sporran & chains
* Belt & buckle
* Socks
* Matching flashes (in Douglas Modern tartan)
* Ghillie brogues (shoes)
* Sgian dubh (dagger - not real these days)
* Kilt pin (little metal dagger thingy)

Och aye the noo, gonna look "stylin" in that lot, ye ken...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Have new camera gadget...

...but has anyone got some batteries for me?

I picked up my new YN468 Speedlite from the SARS Customs Office, which I ordered some three weeks ago via eBay.

I'm surprised as all hell that it arrived as I've had items disappear on at least one previous occasion, which did not leave me with a warm snuzzy feeling that the flash was going to arrive, particularly as I had ordered it so long ago.

Anyway, it is here, but I am in the office without access to my camera and some batteries for the flash...

I guess I'll just have to wait for a couple of hours...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More Photos...

Had another session with the camera-guru today. He took me around the local township, Masiphumelele (don't know what it means) to shoot (pictures of) some of the locals.

He has a bigger set of kahunas than me, asking all and sundry whether they minded him taking their photo. I like to think of it as a bit of an invasion of privacy, but mostly focussed (no pun intended) on the graffiti. My baby gave me the idea from one of her photos and I thought it would be good as a theme and totally non-intrusive.

Some of the kids, though, didn't mind and were very willing to show off for the camera.

The above place is actually run by a Rasta dude. Why he has the Cross of David as a symbol on the ad, only he will know.

"Ummm...I'll have Option 3, please"...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Some of my Photos...

I'm taking some photography lessons, really around the composition of images, following my purchase of a Canon 450D. My "tutor" is an ex-photographer for a local magazine, but is still a fulltime professional photog.

Here are some of my shots so far. They are all low resolution here so that they will upload to the blogosphere quicker...

All photos here are copyrighted to ME! If I find anyone using them without my written permission (in triplicate on carbonised paper and posted via surface mail) I will hunt you down and embarrass you in front of your friends and family by tarring and feathering your genitals with molasses and letting the African Killer Bees bees have their way with you.

Kulula dot Fuckin' (in)Com(petent)...

I hate Kulula.fuckin'com...period...

Until yesterday, they were my choice of cheapy-airlines. Now, they can go to hell. I'll fly into Joburg International and have a choice of carriers from now on.

I was out of bed on Monday morning, of all days, at 4am to catch the 6am red-eye to Shit Towne for a day of business with a client and my good friend, Wreckless.

I landed at just on 08h00, but thanks to the morning Shit Towne traffic, I get to the client facility at a little before 09h30. Things are not going too swimmingly and I reiterate to myself why we left that horrible fuckin' place in the first place.

Anyway...we have a session with the client and a cup of mediocre coffee, then retire to our allocated office for a bit of work. We have a proposal to develop and get to them by, I think.

I was advised to leave the centre of Shit Towne at a little before 3pm to make the flight in time, so I do exactly that. Later I would ask myself why the hell I did. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, and all that.

Another good mate, Fishman, texts me to ask "where are we drinking?" and I tell him I have to fly out that afternoon and can he meet me at the airport to have a quick drink and catch up on some of the news.

Literally five minutes from the airport, Fishman texts me again and asks where I am. He's already in the airport. The man is thirsty for a Monday.

Almost at the same time, I get a text on my phone, "Hi, from Apologies, your flight for today has been delayed, new estimated time of departure is @18h30..."

Mumbling a little, I think, "Ok, not too bad, another hour or so to drink with Fishman" and continue on to the airport bar.

As we get down to the end of our second beer, I get another text, "Hi, from Your flight has been further delayed to @20h25...". This time, no apologies....hmmmm....

"Ah fuck!", I think to myself. Fishman has to leave cos it's his government's girls night out and he has to babysit, so I'm left on my own. I order a munchies basket and another Capn's Organ and Coke Light, figuring I may as well get comfortable for a while as it's only just gone 17h30 and I have another three fuckin' hours to kill.

I potter about a bit on the internet, do some more email, and then with an hour to go, move down to the departure lounge figuring I'm going to be one of the first to claim my seat on that fuckin' plane.

At 20h00, there's an announcement, barely audible, that " is pleased to announce that flight {mumble mumble} is boarding for Cape Town", so myself and a hundred other hopefuls make a dash for the queue. Then we hear that there is another Cape Town flight, which was supposed to have left three hours after us, is actually going to leave an hour before us!! WTF!!!!

We all sit down again, pick up another section of discarded newspaper (the business section of all things) and grind our teeth through another hour of waiting.

At 20h30, the announcement finally comes over the PA system, or at least we think it's for us. It has to be, as there is barely enough people left in the room to fill half a Cessna so it's unlikely that there is another flight out of Lanseria tonight. We all get into the queue again and watch the rain and lightning outside on the tarmac. A typical summer Shit Towne storm had come through in the last hour or so and I was fully believing that Kulula.fuckin'com would use that as an excuse to delay us even more.

Not so. We get checked through then herded onto the sopping runway, with no umbrellas, to make our own way to the aircraft about 100m away. We get there quite wet, only to find a whole basket load of umbrellas standing in the rain waiting to be used. Thanks, Kulula.fuckin'com....thanks for nothing.

As mentioned, there was not even half an airplane full of people on the flight, when we eventually left the runway at 21h12 exactly. Actually, it made for a very comfortable flight, as I had a whole emergency aisle row to myself, extra leg room and space to stretch.

We landed in Cape Town at just before 11pm and you could hear a collective sigh of relief when the doors opened and spewed us out onto the windy tarmac. I still had almost an hour to go for the drive home and I pulled into the driveway at 23h50, having been awake for almost 20 hours.

And Kulula.fuckin'com's excuse for the delay? "Technical problems". Ha...yeah, fuckin' right. I'm no dummy, next time tell me what the fuckin' problem was, then I might be a little more understanding and accepting of your excuse, you miserable bunch of twats...

On top of it all, there was no mention of some sort of rebate on the flight price, no voucher for a freebie flight for the inconvenience, not even a free drink or sandwich on the plane.

Fuck time, I fly Mango or some other carrier...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

RIP, Duke...

It was with much sadness and heavy-heartedness that Steph made one of the most difficult decisions of her life yesterday.

We discovered that Duke, our brown Doberman, had a distended stomach and was battling to pass anything out, was in general discomfort and very restless.

With that, Steph took him to the vet and, after an X-ray and an explanation of the problem from the vet, she made the decision to have him put to rest. When Steph arrived back from the vet, I noticed Duke wasn't in the car and thought the vet had kept the dog in for observation. But then she gave me the sad news.

Duke had been suffering from a heart problem for just under a year and the vet was surprised that he'd lasted this long with it. He advised her that there was a chance that an operation would sort out the stomach problem, though it may occur again sometime in the future, but also that Duke may not survive the operation because of his heart condition.

It took a brave decision on her part to ask the vet to put him to rest and put him out of the misery he had been enduring for the past few months. I do not envy her having to make that decision.

She told me she waited with Duke as he closed his eyes, to pass on to the wide open beach in the sky, to run and chase birds to his heart's content.

His pain is no more, which is a blessing. Duke was Steph's "shadow" and as much he and I butted heads on authority stuff, I will miss him too.

Duke was about eight years old and we raised him from when he was just eight weeks. He was the largest in a litter of eight pups and his grandmother was a world champion in her class. He has a name the length of my arm, but was christened Duke by Steph.

We will have a solemn little ceremony for him on our local beach in a few days when the vet gets his ashes to us.

RIP, boy...go chase that seagull...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My latest fishing catch...

Finally, I have something I want to write about....

I went down to the False Bay side on Friday afternoon, not expecting much because the wind had picked up a bit, but here's what happened....

Species: Bronze Whaler Shark
Location: Somewhere along Baden Powell (which came to a standstill with all the onlookers)
Rod: L&F Custom Built rod with Torium50 (heavy tip)
Line: Kingfisher Giant Abrasion line 0.55mm
Leader: 1mm leader
Terminal tackle: 16/0 Circle hook
Bait: Yellowtail head (was in the water for 3hrs)
Fight time: 1hr 10mins
Water Temp: 14degC at start of session
Gender: Female
Tagged and released (ORI tag A138940)

Pre-caudal length: 225cm
SA Shore Angling Association weight table estimate: 163.2kg

The tale: I had been at the water for just over 3hrs, having put out the slide at 12h50pm. I was just about to cast my second rod for the umpteenth time, hoping for a kob, when I heard a drag scream. Initially I thought someone was phoning me as I have that sound as a ringtone for all my fishing mates. Then I saw my first rod bending, line peeling off straight out to sea. I couldn't believe it, as I was about to bring that rod in after I had cast the other one and put it in the rod stand.

The shark headed straight out, and took about 300m of line on its first run, followed by another 100m or so on its second. That's when I discovered I have 0.45mm line as backing, which I'd forgotten about. Luckily, she did not take me into it, but almost did so four times.

After ten minutes, I was kneeling down on the sand, tiring already (hey, I've got an old body, gimme a break) and my arms were starting to burn. After 30mins Sparky arrived at the beach with Dean and Mrs Sparky (all regular fishing pals). By this time, there was a gallery forming and traffic was getting heavy with all the cars stopping at the side of the road. Not that I saw much of it at the time. At the end of the fight though, traffic had come to a standstill behind us...I kid you not. The entire beach rod had come to a standstill with people getting out of their cars to come and have a look at the shark. I felt like a porn star...I was fucked...

At the 45min mark, I was ready to hand over the rod to Sparky (I actually did ask him to take over but he declined) as my elbows were cramping big time. To alleviate the cramps I had started straight-sticking the fish just so that I could use the drag to its fullest extent and relax my arms a bit. Around then, something strange happened to the reel and I couldn't wind forward or pull any out on the drag, so I let the catch off and ended up with a small overwind. Mrs Sparky had to put her slim fingers into the line and get the small tangle out, which came out easily enough. I was just trying to keep pressure on the shark so that the hook didn't pull loose.

At around the 50min mark, I saw the shark for the first time. Up until that point, I was not sure what species I had hooked, but now I could see the familiar bronzie fins. She still ran left and right, parallel to the beach, in the gutter for another 20mins before I managed, with the help of Dean and another bystander, to bring her in on a set of waves. There hadn't been too much chance of losing her as the barbless circle hook had caught the corner of her mouth exactly as it was supposed to do.

There was a whole crowd of possibly 30 people standing around to see and take pictures of this beautiful beast. A couple of guys even ran down to the shark, touched her, and then ran away again...probably just to say they had touched a shark. There were more people standing next to their cars and some people had had to stop because the traffic in front of them was blocked.

Satisfied that she was high enough out of the water to not get dragged back, I left Mrs Sparky with my rod and ran back to the bakkie, about 100m away, to get my tagging kit and the hook remover. Hook out and tag in, Sparky took a couple of final photos and Dean, the same bystander and myself manhandled the big girl back into the surf. We didn't have to wait long, literally the first wave that came over her, had her turning back for deep water and she kicked off strongly.

The photo of me next to the shark does not do her size justice, I think. She was solid, wide, and in perfect condition for a shark this early in the season.

A good day out, and my arms are still sore at the elbows....

About 40mins into the fight. I was cramping already and this fish wasn't even looking like tiring.
After 1h10mins, this beauty was on the beach. She was measured from the tip of her nose, to the start of her tail at the "pre-caudal notch".
The business end of the shark...
Dean, getting a little close to the sharp end...
Me, stoked at having landed my first bronzie ever. Check out the traffic at a standstill in the background...
Measured, tagged and released, off to fight another day...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What to write...

I just don't know. I have no topic that comes to mind and nothing that I particularly want to vent about at the moment, other than some work stuff of course. But those will keep for another day...

With that in mind...leave a message after the beep. I'm still around...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just for the hell of it...

...and to show I'm still around, I changed the cosmetics of my blog. I like it...

The water drops sort of show the current Cape weather as well...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This video should be played on TV channels worldwide...

It's sad, terrifying at times, and is a stark reminder that people do stupid things behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. Some of it is staged, but some of it is very real...

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Fishing Luck Continues...

Went out to a local spot last night with the usual crowd, expecting to hook into a sizeable stingray or another cow shark.

Although that didn't happen, at 22h00 my reel screamed in protest at the fish pulling the end of the line out at a rate of knots. As it is not the season for bronze whaler sharks and I knew that a ray would not be peeling line off at that speed, I was wondering what the hell was causing my reel such distress (and me such pleasure).

The fish must have taken about 50m of line before I managed to turn its head, and it was strong in its fight, so I was really clueless as to what it might be, but first thoughts were that it might be a small "sharp-nosed bronzie", the local term for a Great White Shark. GW's are not spoken of by their real names in angling circles due to the sensitivity of the survival of the species, so another term is used which most anglers recognise.

As I had managed to turn the fish relatively quickly, I immediately realised that it was not a sharp-nose, and the intrigue began again.

After about ten minutes or so, and after a couple of solid runs, I saw the fish floundering in the shallows and managed, with the aid of the leader Line and a wave, to bring it up the beach.

At first sight, it looked like a Ragged Tooth shark, but then I saw the gray colouring and the spots on its body. It was a Black Spotted Smoothound Shark, another first for me.

I didn't bother weighing or tagging the fish as I do not believe these species are tagged for research. After a couple of photos by Mrs Sparky, I lifted the fish and estimated the weight to be between 10 and 15 kilograms, then returned her to the water.

Then I went and had another slurp of Old Brown Sherry...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Been fishing again...

Went out fishing last Tuesday night, and again this week, up to the Strand area (Gordons Bay side). There were reports of large Spearnose Rays and Broadnose Seven Gill Sharks (also known as Cows) coming out and I wanted to see if I could get me one of them.

All that came out on both nights were fish that I caught. :-)

Last Tuesday I got a large Striped Pyjama's its's probably the largest of its kind that I've seen.

Ugly little bugger and a real pest as they have no natural predators.

Last night I lost a small Spearnose in the breakers and then at 10pm felt the pull of a Cow Shark that I'd been told how to recognise. It picks up your bait, then drops it and it makes it feel like it's coming toward you as you feel the tug and then the line goes slack. It does this a few times and when it's ready to eat, takes the bait and moves away slowly, which is when you tighten up and strike. I was using circle hooks so I didn't strike until I knew he was hooked. The disappointing thing about the Cow is that they don't really fight and feel mostly like a big plastic bag on the end of your line. Ah well, at least I got one of my target species for the winter so far... :-)

You can't see it, but I tagged the Cow before I released her.

The Cow measured 131cm pre-caudal length, which, according to the weight tables, weighs in at 29.1kg.....not bad for a first. "Pre-caudal length" is the length from the tip of the nose to the caudal notch at the start of the tail fin, not to the end of the tail. I also measured full length and it came in at 189cm but the weight estimate would have been wrong as it definately wasn't 98kgs....