The life-changing magic of not giving a fuck

I’m not one for self-help books but this one takes the cake. For all you strange, weird, pathetic people pleasers out there, this is for you!

I really needed this book, because for too long I cared too much what other people think of me. All that time, energy and money I could have saved not seeking others’ approval… Well, no more!

Sarah Knight is here to change your life forever!

Backcover: The surprising art of caring less and getting more

Are you stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a fuck.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your fucks instead to people and things that make you happy.

From family dramas to having a bikini body, the simple NotSorry Method for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a fuck and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.

First published: 2015

What I liked about this book: Like I said, I really needed this book. This book was a life saver. This book teaches you not to feel guilty about (possibly) hurting other people’s feelings, it teaches you to be assertive without being an asshole and it teaches you about healthy boundaries.

Sarah Knight will show you ‘How to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like’.

Rating: 5/5 Live saver!

Can bees commit suicide?

Now I don’t know about you, but I think I witnessed a few bees commit suicide about a month ago.

I was coming home from work and printing something from my dad’s computer when I noticed two bees buzzing at the window. They seemed really angry and buzzing louder as usual. I just assumed they were trapped and needed to get out so I opened the window.

Later that afternoon when I was sitting in front of my own computer I noticed a few bees buzzing inside the windows. The weird thing is I don’t know how or where they got in, but opened the windows so they can find their way outside. I even tried to help one of them out. By this time they seemed very fatigued as if they were struggling the whole day.

It’s only when I went to the bathroom I also noticed a bee by the window, but this one was already dead. I went to check on the first few bees I’ve seen. That’s when I noticed there was a whole lot of bees clumped together:

I counted almost  30 of them. Some of them were already dead.

I thought: Is this the end of the world?

Now some background information. South Africa, particularly the capital city Pretoria, is going through a very bad drought. When I saw the bees and took the pictures it hasn’t rained in months and the whole city was put on water restrictions.

It only occurred to me (too late I might add) that maybe the bees were dying of thirst. Someone once told me we should give water to the bees by pouring a little bit of water or Coca Cola in a small container filled with marbles or pebbles and leave it nearby bees. I did that the day after, but I’m not sure if it did any good.

Now it’s more than a month later, we’ve had rain, but they say it will not be enough. A few days ago I had a strange encounter with a lone bee. I was watching television when I noticed the bee was acting rather strange. It repeatedly flew into the light, almost as if it was a moth.

When I switched off the light it immediately flew to the kitchen light doing the same thing. For some weird reason I thought perhaps the bee is afraid of the dark????

It only occurred to me later that maybe the bee thought the light was also a bee, because it was making a buzzing sound.

When I switched off the kitchen light to go to bed the bee fell silent. I searched for it, but couldn’t find it anywhere! It’s as if it just disappeared.

Now this is a crazy thought, but hear me out: Maybe when I switched off the lights the bee thought the other’bee’ died and it died as well?

I mean, after all, bees are social creatures. Maybe they can’t live without each other. Maybe if one dies, the others will follow?

I remember reading articles about bees acting strange or just dying out or attacking people for no apparent reason. There have been two cases recently where a whole swarm of bees killed a 70-year-old woman and another swarm attacked some kids at a school.

Animals are intuitive and act on instinct. I mean, they know when a storm or tornado or tsunami is coming. They act strange to warn people that something is wrong. Maybe the bees are doing the same thing?

The reason given for the attacks are that the bees don’t like hot and dry conditions. I can understand if they feel they are being threatened and they want to protect the queen. But what if they weren’t provoked by human beings?

There have been reports where a whole swarm committed suicide to protect the colony when it was infected or poisoned.

I guess my real question is: did they commit suicide? And if they did, it means it can happen again and on a much larger scale!

And the world without bees means no pollination, less food for humans and other animals aka the beginning of the end of the world!

 

Athletes vs Zombies

Have you ever played the PC game “Plants vs Zombies”? I had the wonderful idea a while back to make a new version called “Athletes vs Zombies”.

I love watching the Pole Vault and High Jump in any Athletic competition and so this year with the Rio Olympics I was nailed to the screen. The techniques they use are so fascinating: it’s like watching former tennis star Andy Roddick when he is serving.

When I watch pole vault it always makes me think of knights and horses and lances and yes: jousting! The only difference is the athlete is sans horse and the lance is longer.

Every time they run up I just want to yell: CHARGE!!!

joustingpole-vault-2

But there was a time when I hated everything about athletics and couldn’t see any point in it. At school it was compulsory to attend and participate in athletics season. The one event I loathed the most was hurdles.

Actually there is still a part of me that thinks like that to this day. I know it must be a big deal to all the athletes if they break a record – even by a few split seconds. But to an outsider like me, it seems kind of silly.

Actually when you really think about it all sports are silly. I mean where in the ordinary world will you use your skills as a pole vaulter, high jumper, hammer thrower?

So what if you are the fastest man in the world or can jump the highest or farthest, right?

Unless… the world changes into a post-apocalyptic world roaming with zombies and you can either use your athletic skills to get away from or battle the zombies.

If I remember correctly there is a pole vaulting zombie on one level in the “Plants vs Zombies” game where it charges with a pole and vaults over a rock or boulder.

polevaulterzombie

I’d totally play THAT game! Imagine you can save the world by throwing discus and hammers to knock out zombies.

Or imagine when it is the end of the world and even the actors playing in our favourite TV series like “The Walking Dead” have to use their “skills” to save the human race! Huh?!

Nothing = Nonsense

Do you know what I realised a while back? I realised there is no such thing as ‘nothing’. And yet, why do we have a word to describe such a concept?

The MacMillan dictionary describes it as such:
– not anything as in its ‘not a thing’ or ‘no thing’, no matter
– nothingness: the complete lack of existence, life, or any quality/empty space
– zero

What do I understand as nothing? An empty space, a blank page, a vacuum, a dark hole.

I remember way back when I was in primary school and in mathematics class we had this whole discussion of what is nothing/zero. Some pupils and their parents were adamant that 0 + 0 = 1

If we follow their logic it means that those two zeros aren’t really nothing but something.

When I think about that debate it reminds me of George Orwell’s classic “Nineteen eighty four” (BIG SPOILER ALERT). When the hero of the story meets Big Brother the latter try to convince him that 2 + 2 = 5 

These two events may seem absurd at first, but what if they are right?

In school we were taught to accept these things as the truth. But when I went to university we were taught to question everything. But why is it so? (That’s one thing that still bothers me about the school system – we were not given time or the option to question things).

What do I understand as a vacuum? According to the MacMillan dictionary it is a physical term which describes “a space that has had all the air and any other gases removed from it.”

In science, there is no such thing as nothing. Physicists even argue that there is still something in a vacuum. There will still be forces acting in on it such as gravity, forces that can be measured.

If you can define it, that means it has properties, and if it has properties it is something – (www.qi.com)

If you look around you it seems like there is empty space, but there is still atoms and bacteria floating around – things so small it cannot be perceived by the naked eye.

99.999% of every atom is itself made up of empty space. (www.qi.com)

If you could eliminate all matter, you will still be left with something. This is where the Higgs Boson comes in.

Even if we use it in a social context, it is always something.

Whenever a man asks a woman if something is wrong and she replies “nothing” don’t let that fool you! There is always something that he did wrong or shouldn’t have said.

Go look in the dictionary, all the phrases we use with the word “nothing” in it always implies something. For example:

  • “nothing doing” used for refusing a request or saying that something is not possible
  • “there’s nothing in it” used when you are saying that something is not true
  • “nothing of the kind/sort” used for emphasizing that you disagree with someone’s statement, or that you refuse to let someone do something

How can you disagree with something that does not exist?

According to the Greek logician Thales, there can only be nothing if there is no one there to contemplate it. 

It’s the same with the dilemma: if a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? If no one is there to hear it fall does it mean it didn’t fall?

I think it is nonsense that we have a word that describes a thing that supposedly doesn’t even exist.

THEREFORE, NOTHING DOES NOT EXIST!

nothing

 

Spider’s Web – novel based on a play by Agatha Christie

Spiders_Web_First_Edition_Cover_2000

Originally a play by Agatha Christie in 1954, it was adapted by Charles Osborne into a novel (2000).

Back cover: “Clarissa, the wife of a Foreign Office diplomat, is given to daydreaming. ‘Supposing I were to come down one morning and find a dead body in the library, what should I do?’ she muses. Clarissa has her chance to find out when she discovers a body in the drawing-room of her house in Kent. Desperate to dispose of the body before her husband comes home with an important foreign politician, Clarissa persuades her three house guests to become accessories and accomplices. It seems that the murdered man was not unknown to certain members of the house party (but which ones?), and the search begins for the murderer and the motive, while at the same time trying to persuade a police inspector that there has been no murder at all.”

First published: 1954 (play), 2000 (novel)

Rating: 5/5 No Hercule Poirot for a change. The main character reminded me of the one who cried “Wolf!” too many times. Clarissa is a master of spinning the web and telling lies.

“Appointment with Death” – Yet another novel by Agatha Christie & Hercule Poirot

I must confess I feel a little annoyed with Agatha Christie and her character Hercule Poirot after reading this book. Why mus they drag it out and make me feel like an even bigger idiot because I couldn’t figure out who the murderer was? Poor me!

Backcover:”And among the towering red cliffs of Petra sits a woman’s corpse. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her.”

First published: 1938

Rating: 3/5

Appointment_with_Death_First_Edition_Cover_1938

“Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie

orientexpress

No, I haven’t seen the film yet. Though I hear it is quite good.

What it is about:
Thundering along on its three-day journey across Europe, the famous Orient Express suddenly came to a stop as snow drifts blocked the line. Surrounded by the silent Balkan Hills, the passengers settled down for the night.

But Hercule Poirot did not sleep well. He awoke with a start in the small hours, roused by a loud groan from nearby. At the same moment the ping of a bell sounded sharply and someone said: ‘It was nothing, a mistake…’ Then Poirot heard no more.

In the morning the man in the next compartment lay dead, stabbed viciously and frenziedly over and over again. And Hercule Poirot confronted twelve unlikely suspects – for the murderer was still on the train.

First published: 1934

What I liked about the story:
The fact that it takes place in a confined space with so many different characters you have to decide with Poirot who is telling the truth and who is lying…

Rating: 5/5

“Menskleur” potlode

flesh-4

Wie kan onthou, toe jy klein was en jy veral ingekleur het, het jy meeste mense met die “menskleur” potlood ingekleur? Ek kan nie onthou waar ek dit geleer het nie – was dit my ouers, by die skool? Ek as ‘n wit Afrikaanssprekende is geleer dat die inkleurpotlood wat soos “peach” lyk, word ‘menskleur’ genoem.

As ek nou daaroor terugdink, is dit eintlik ‘n baie gevaarlike konsep of idee om in ‘n kind se kop te sit. As kind bevraagteken mens nie sommer alles nie, jy aanvaar dit as die waarheid. Maar verbeel jou hierdie scenario: ‘n kind loop in die straat en loop verby ‘n bruin man en besef dalk sonder dat hy weet dat daardie man nie dieselfde kleur as hy is nie. As iemand dan vir die kind sê: kleur daai man in sou hy nie die “menskleur” potlood gebruik nie… sou hy tot die aaklige besef kom: Beteken dit dan dat hy nie ‘n mens is nie?! Dit kan die eerste stap wees waar kinders neerkyk op ander mense en dink hulle is beter as ander.

Ek wonder hoe is dit in ander kulture: sien die kleurlinge “bruin” as “menskleur”? As ‘n bruin kind inkleur, kleur hy mense bruin in of wit of pienk? Ek is geleeer om mense van Asië veral Chinese, Japannese en Indiërs geel in te kleur. Maar hoe kleur hulle mense in?
Wat gaan deur ‘n kind se kop wanneer hy geleer word ‘n sekere inkleurpotlood is “menskleur”, maar hy sien sy vel stem nie ooreen met daai kleur nie?

I can remember thinking that the colour of the crayon did not match my skin colour. Did that mean that I am not a human?” (designedforgrace blog).

Wat word verstaan onder die term “menskleur”? Ons sê nie wit nie, want as jy die wit inkleurpotlood teen jou vel hou dan sal jy mos sien dit stem nie ooreen nie. “Menskleur is the name of the colour crayon used in the public schools to imitate the colour of Caucasian human skin.” (designedforgrace blog)

Is ons as mense “kleurblind”? Blankes sê ons hulle is wit, maar eintlik is ons ‘n mengsel van pienk, oranje en geel. Daar is verskillende skakerings van bruin mense, maar daar is baie van hulle wat hulself as swart beskou. Tog het ek nog nooit iemand gesien wat 100% ‘n wit of swart vel het nie.

Een ding wat ek graag vir God sou wou vra: hoekom is party mense wit en ander swart? Hoekom lyk ons nie dieselfde nie? Ons is tog almal deur U geskape? Ek is seker Jesus was nie eens wit nie – so hoekom kleur ons hom so in?

Waar het die idee dan posgevat dat wit mense/blankes beter is as ander mense met ‘n donker velkleur? Het dit dalk by die Europeërs begin toe hulle om die wêreld begin seil het en lande geannekseer het?

Wanneer is die term “menskleur” vir die eerste keer gebruik? Is dit ‘n konsep van die Apartheids-era? Of het dit dalk vroeër voorgekom?

Terwyl ek soek op die internet sien ek dis nie net ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse ding nie: “The color known as Flesh was renamed Peach in 1962, partially in response to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.” (prinslodewykblog). Creola het “Flesh” kleur in 1949 begin gebruik. As jy dink dit is erg, nie-blanke ballet dansers kon eers vanaf 2016 balletskoene kry wat hulle kleurvel pas!

Maar is dit nie maar net ‘n metafoor nie? Baie mense sal sê kinders wat inkleur met die “menskleur” potlood is dood onskuldig, daar is niks fout daarmee nie.

Baie van ons sê ons is Christene, maar dan leer jy sulke gemors vir jou kind?

So die volgende keer wanneer jy ‘n kind kleure leer, moenie net een kleur uitsonder en sê dis “menskleur” nie. Gebruik meer as een kleur om mense in te kleur. Want ‘n “menskleur” potlood is rassisties.

fleshtones

Bronne
http://prinslodewyk.blogspot.co.za/2011/06/mens-kleur-en-ander-skandes.html 7 Junie 2011
http://designedforgrace.com/portfolio/menskleur/ Grace Schutte blog 2013
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/flesh-toned-ballet-shoes-will-soon-be-available-people-color-180958475/?no-ist

The Butcher’s Theatre – Jonathan Kellerman

butcherstheatre

When I finished reading “Time Bomb” while I was on holiday, I turned to the front pages to see what other books Kellerman has written that I might want to read. This one stood out immediately. Maybe it is because I work at a theatre. I was intrigued. Funny, if I think back now I just assumed it would take place in a theatre hall or auditorium not a hospital theatre. Turns out it is neither. This is not a spoiler, because it is mentioned on the back cover of the book:

“Murder is never clear-cut. In the ’60s Jerusalem was dubbed ‘The Butcher’s Theatre’. Decades later and the City of Peace is about to regain that title. The corpse of a young Arab girl has been found – her body violated and then carved up with chilling precision. Sexual murders are virtually unheard of in Jerusalem and the killing throws an already unstable city into turmoil.

Chief inspector Daniel Shalom Sharavi, himself a Yeminite Jew, takes charge of the case. But with political and religious tensions in the city muddying the murder trail, could he be about to lose the killer in the confusion?”

First published: 1988

What I thought of the book: Very well-written and thoroughly researched. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with 500+ pages. Seems a little long, but if you have the time you should read it.

Rating: 4/5

The Mystery of the Blue Train – Agatha Christie

Dammit! I was completely wrong this time.

mystery on the blue train

Back cover: Since the beginning of history, jewels have exercised a baneful spell. Murder and violence have followed in their wake. So with the famous Heart of Fire ruby. It passes into the possession of the beautiful American woman, Ruth Kettering, and doom follows swift upon it. Whose hand was it that struck her down? Were the jewels the motive for the murder, or were they only taken as a blind? What part did the beautiful foreign dancer play? These are some of the questions that have to be answered, and the story tells also how these strange and dramatic happenings affect the life of a quiet English girl who has felt convinced that “nothing exciting will ever happen to me.” She uses very nearly those words to a chance acquaintance on the Blue Train – a little man with an egg-shaped head and fierce moustaches whose answer is curious and unexpected. But even Hercule Poirot, for it is he, does not guess how soon he will be called upon to unravel a complicated and intricate crime when the Blue Train steams into Nice the following morning and it is discovered that murder has been done.

First published: 1928

Rating: 5/5

Thoughts: Agatha Christie is a genius! To think up such intricate intrigues and create so many interesting characters – I must confess I’m a little jealous of her.