Unfortunately, what I write here doesn’t apply to my word count…

So I’ve been hesitant to use any, just in case I don’t get them back.  You know, like the guy who hits all of his jump shot during the pre-game, only to go 0-fer from the field when it counts.

This is just a quick update to let everybody know that final/exams/masters proposals are about so I’ve got my head buried in the library (or in the sand).  When I come up for air (about one more week?), I’ll post something substantial.  Until then, pray for my soul.

By the way, if anyone has any second image theories as to why Zimbabwe intervened in the conflict in the DRC, please let me know.

Meanwhile, seals…


Happy Derby Day

Normally, I do at least a little revising and editing for blog entries.  In honor of the special day, I’m blogging stream of consciousness…

I watched “the rugby” from Scrumpy Jack’s last night.  In an exciting match, the hometown Stormers won by a landslide.  I think I acted the part of rugby fan pretty well, convincing two blue and white striped fans behind that I was knowledgable enough to sit in their section.

The university semester is fast coming to an end.  I’m over the hump of regularly scheduled class work, with “only” final research papers and a Thesis proposal to finish in the next two weeks.  Once these are finished, my mind is dialed in to the World Cup and a two month circuit through southern Africa.

I’m excited and ready to expand my knowledge of South (and southern) Africa beyond Cape Town.  It can be difficult to really get out.  Yesterday morning, I took the train to the center of town with the intent of catching the next bus to anywhere.  It turns out that the next bus left 6 hours later and arrived “anywhere” at two in the morning.  Cape Town is effectively excluded from the rest of South Africa, excepting the Garden Route and the Cape Peninsula, both beautiful, but lacking any perceptive difference.

I’ve recently become addicted to “How I Met Your Mother.”  My housemate, Jimmy, has the first four seasons on his hard drive.  Lacking a television, I’ve taken to watching an episode to wind down after class.  “An episode” has turned into 3 or 4 at a time.  That Ted and Robyn really crack me up…

Ultimate Frisbee Nationals are this weekend.  Due to my mandatory attendance at Rotary meetings, I haven’t been able to play on the national team, but I went to watch the UCT matches today.  My ultimate involvement has been a recent development (last 5 years of my life?) and I am constantly amazed at how much fun frisbee people are…

I constantly fail at setting the alarm correctly at my house in Observatory (granted, not the safest area of town).  My housemates, after laughing and making fun of me, ask me, “well, how do you set the alarm in your country?”  Chagrined, I reply, “well, we don’t really do alarms in most places.”  The culture of security is one of the strongest distinctions between here and home.  An example: I drove through “horse country” a few weekends ago.  There were rolling hills, solitary trees, barns surveying luscious green and a particularly South African trait.  Outside the picturesque and paradigmatic white picket fences were larger metal gates with razor wire at the top.

Today is one of the days I’m most homesick to be away from Louisville.  I love the excitement of the

Kentucky Derby, the buildup and the climax, the pageantry, the parties, the beer and the betting and most of all the beauty of the whole event.  So here it is, if you’ve survived this far, Kevin’s Derby winner from halfway across the world….drum

roll…wait for it…. Conveyance Super Saver! But don’t hold it against me if you lose any money, I spent about 45 seconds making that pick… (not to mention, I’ll probably erase and change it once the race is finished!)

Enjoy your friends, family, taco dip, and mint juleps.  “And down the stretch they come…!!

Happy Birthday to Me

I received an sms from my neighborhood Mr. Video a few days ago wishing me a happy birthday.  Confusion gave way to a bemused grin as I realized that it was April 12th, the twelfth day of the fourth month of the year, i.e. 12/4.  I, apparently, wrote my birthdate in the American fashion (month/day as opposed to day/month) which looks suspiciously similar.  Old habits die hard.  It’s one thing when it comes to getting an extra birthday wish per year.  It’s a bit more daunting considering my daily attempts to drive on the left side of the road.

A City Imagined

I’m a city guy: urban life exhilerates me.  What I seek in a city is energy, a unique sense of space and place, the jostling and uniting of people and ideas, an innovative spirit.

Cape Town possesses such glorious natural beauty–truly, truly, one of the most spectacular settings on earth–that I often feel a bit guilty about not loving this city.  If you focus up and out (away), how could you not?

In the context of this, I’ve been trying very hard to put my Cape Town experience into words.

As often happens, I’ve found someone who is able to do it better than I.  The following excerpt is from a book called “A City Imagined,” edited by Stephen Watson.  In it, a number of Capetonians offer vignettes of their Cape Town.  The first one resonated particularly strongly with me.

Damon Galgut does a magnificent job accounting for the beauty of Cape Town, yet avoiding glossing over the experience of living here.  He begins with a moving description of the natural setting of the city, then performs a helpful separation of the two.

“What makes Cape Town extraordinary—perhaps the only thing that does so—is the brooding, absolving presence of Mother Nature Herself…

“Try to picture the city without it.  So intimately have the mountain, the water, the sky, been grafted onto our lives that it’s almost impossible to imagine what would be left over if the natural world were removed.  But the profane truth is that most of Cape Town—the physical place of streets and buildings and bridges—is not, actually very beautiful.  Some of it is downright ugly…

“If there is an essential quality to Cape Town, it doesn’t lie in either its beauty or its tackiness, but in the tension between the two.  There is always a promise, and then a denial of that promise.  Some floating dreamy vista draws the eye, while a more powerful gravity weighs down the feet.  A transcendence seems to be offered, while the human reality is anything but transcendent.  This conflict, this push-pull of the eye and heart, is what keeps one forever on the threshold, about to step through the door.

“The natural world, of course, is not physically out of reach.  This is one of Cape Town’s greatest pleasures.  One can lie on the beach, or climb the mountain, or walk in the forest.  At such times it is the city that recedes into the background; one seems to arrive at the dreamy destination.  But does one ever arrive?  The point about beauty is that it excites yearning, but you can never, ultimately, hold it in your hand.  So part of being in Cape Town is made of longing, a kind of spiritual hunger that is never satisfied….

“In the end your face is just one more in the crowd, another element in the dissonant harmony.  And while you search for a single story to unite all these characters, you may experience that sensation of transience, of restless not-quite-belonging, which may be the only unifying story we have.  (Damon Galgut, “My Version of Home,” A City Imagined).