Right now I’m sitting in CT International, with bad weather outside and almost every flight delayed. This dude, Si Ekin, decided to stand up and talk to us, his future fellow passengers.

His message: Do something “brave” today.

Love it.

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On Tuesday 19 February, in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, a really, really, really nasty person stole a little of my soul.

My BELL helmet, which was locked to the side of my bike, was horrifically (I could only imagine) hacked at and cut through the straps… and stolen.

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A helmet no more. I swear I saw traces of little helmet blood. Sniff!

The thief was even so bold as to leave some cut marks on my bike, as an ever-reminding scar as to what he/she did to me. It hurts. A lot.

So here is where I turn to you, the ever-awesomely-amazing people of the Internet. Help me find this no-good dirty rotten machete-weilding thief, and let’s bring the ol’ helmet home..

If you see this helmet on a bike rider, in a pawn shop, on the side of the road crying for a safe return home, please let me know. I would never ask you to take the law into your own hands (so no hero moves) but please, if you have any information comment on this post or send me a tweet – @donpackett – I would be extremely grateful.

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Happier times: The day it arrived from the USA. Sniff!

As far as I know, it’s the only one of it’s kind in the country (or at least in Jozi), so I’m hoping that with the collective eyes of all of us, we can get that sweet, innocent helmet back home.

If you’ve ever lost anything dear to you, you’ll know how I feel.

Thank you so much.

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“Hi, this is Don. Please don’t leave a message, I never check my voicemail. Rather SMS me or send me an email at don AT 21tanks DOT com. Thanks very much! Ciao.”

That’s my voicemail message.

I get mixed reviews. Most people love it and think it’s an efficient way of people getting hold of you. Others hate it, as now the burden lies on them to either SMS or email me with their message.

Why do I do it? It’s simple really.

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OPTION 1: If you leave a voicemail message, I have to:

1. Read an SMS that tells me I have a voicemail message

2. Dial in to my voicemail

3. Listen to that boring chick’s voice

4. Press 2

5. Listen to the message

6. Scramble to find a pen and paper (or someone’s forehead) to take down your details if needed

7. Listen to boring chick again

8. Press 7 to delete

9. Hang up.

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OPTION 2: If you send me an SMS or email, you have to:

1. Listen to voicemail stating my request for efficiency (including a splendid Italian touch with a subtle “Ciao!” at the end for good measure, leaving a smile on your face)

2. Type the SMS or email.

3. Press send.

Which leaves me to:

4. Read your SMS/email with your details and request, and take the next step.

.

Hmm… On a scale of zero to inconvenienced, which option would you rather choose?

The concept of voicemail is broken. It served a purpose years ago, but we’ve transcended that and realised there are much more efficient ways of leaving messages and getting in touch.

Firstly, you started the conversation, so why make it my problem (because OPTION 1 is definitely a problem) to find out what it is you want? Secondly, SMS and email is trackable. We don’t delete SMSs anymore because our phones can now, conveniently, store more than 12 at a time (shout out to my first cellphone, Nokia 6110 – word dawg), so I can conveniently find your SMS/email at an appropriate time to find out what it is you needed and call back if necessary. I also now have your details, because they were sent from either your phone or email address.

This is not only about me though. Every time I try to call someone, I send them a message if they don’t answer so as not to inconvenience them either. It’s a system we should all be subscribing to. Or just delete voicemail altogether, which will then force you to get hold of someone alternatively. I just like to give you the options.

Ciao!

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With about 5 weeks left to the day I get married, I have finally realised that the fun and excitement of planning a wedding gets less and less fun and exciting. It’s true.

Everyone said it would be one of the best things you could do. I believed. Shame on them.

They said the joy of friends, family and suppliers all working together for your special day would be heartwarming. I believed again. Shame on me.

I had been enjoying it, mostly. Really. But as we’ve rolled down into the depths of the beast, getting closer to the day and further into the plans with all parties concerned, a few demons emerged. I’ve categorised these little satan spawns into what I’ve called:

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1. Politics

2. Personal feelings

3. Penetration from the rear

My mission is simple: To assist any couple thinking about getting married, by giving them a heads-up as to what to expect on every, single day leading up to the “big day”.

Let’s go into a little detail on each, shall we?

1. Politics

Your family and friends, on both sides, are not sane enough to understand that certain decisions are made with every best intention at heart. The mere mention of a wedding causes a flurry of emotions unknown to mankind, eradicating rational thought. Like when Justin Bieber steps on stage (he’s so dreamy). Also, don’t think that anyone will put your decisions and feelings for your special day ahead of theirs. It’s every man (or woman) for himself (or herself) and they will tell you all about it, even though your event could very easily happen without them. Because it is, after all, about you. No?

2. Personal feelings

This can typically be something attached to Politics (whether a cause of effect), or just an issue on it’s own (it’s always so difficult to tell, keep an eye out). Here you will find yourself, on more than one occasion, saying “But how will he (or she) feel if we did that?” – I say with all authority: Shake that feeling away at that very second and never look back! Consider that phrase a swearword in your home and do what you please. Stand your ground, be steadfast, stick to your guns and stay unemotional. If Kristin Stewart can do it, surely you can? It is, after all, about you. No?

3. Penetration from the rear

This, unfortunately, is not as pleasant as you may think. Penetration from the rear signifies the big, fat shafting you get from all suppliers knowing “it’s for your wedding, which is a once-in-a-lifetime event!”, and they get away with it. Justifying exorbitant costs for things “just because it’s your wedding” is like justifying getting hit in the head with a frying pan, repeatedly, because Daffy Duck gets away with it. To this I say shoo that nasty little “spending troll” off your shoulder and don’t pay for more than you think it’s worth. It is, after all, about you. No?

The wedding planning process is totally all about you. You need to deal with the politics. You need to be mindful of others’ personal feelings. And you will, without a shadow of a doubt, be penetrated from the rear. Repeatedly.

How to avoid the 3 P’s: Elope. Vegas and Bora Bora are lovely this time of year.

If you do choose to plan a wedding: Know that, in the end, the day will be phenomenal, everyone will have fun, all feelings and inhibitions will be left at the door and a fat party will be had by all. The most important part, for me, is actually the “getting married” part. The extra stuff, really, is just fluff. So if you’re particularly looking forward to that, like I am, you can deal with the 3 P’s.

I do.

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Every so often I jump on my “I hate social media” train and abandon them for real life. It’s quite nice, actually. I don’t post content, I don’t check feeds or streams, it’s utter bliss. Some sabbaticals last for 2 or 3 days, some for 15 (my longest stint yet).

Why do I do it?

Because it’s shit. All of it. Well, most of it. But it’s the “most” that kills it for me.

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Common sense seems like a simple premise when deciding what your next Facebook post should be. Unfortunately, not everyone has this ability when rushing blindly into the virtual world. I don’t care if you’re tired and falling asleep at your desk. I don’t care how long it is until your birthday/wedding/childbirth. I equally don’t care that you’re CrossFitting, cycling, running, skipping or chasing frogs. Okay, maybe I do care if you’re chasing frogs. That shit is fun, let’s be honest. All I ask for is an invite.

In the depths of my soul, though, I want to believe that I’m not the only person who feels that posting mind-numbing, non-important, non-educational content is a waste of everyone’s time. That when you post “OMG I’m so tired I hope my boss leaves soon so I can nap… giggle giggle” I’m not the single person reading it wanting to give you a stick of dynamite, some matches and tell you it’s your birthday candle. Because I think you’d believe it was your birthday, and you’d light it. Really. That’s where my respect for your intelligence lies.

At this point, dear friends, I feel we are starting to spiral downwards in the intelligence area of our existence. Oh yes, it’s true, because other people actually entertain those who post such rot. I know, right!? Which leads me to believe that when people share stupid things that no-one really cares about, and some pretend to care and actually comment on those posts, we’re slowly but surely making the human race more pathetic, and we should just give up now. Kool-Aid anyone?

So, I urge you, that when your Facebook friends post ridiculously mundane information that would not have altered your life or educated you in the least had you not been privy to it, to comment a short, polite “No. One. Cares.”

Hell, I’ll make it easier for you, let’s shorten it to “NOC”. The more people see “NOC” on their posts, we’ll hopefully start to brighten up our online world by making people THINK before posting stupid shit.

Help me, help you. Because…

NOC.

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While driving down the N1 last week I opened my Mail app, as you do, and my Wi-Fi pop-up came up with this, which I thought was genius:

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It got me thinking: If this guy got my attention while speeding down a national highway, would it not make sense to make more effective use of this free advertising model if you owned or marketed a business?

I happens everywhere. Every Wi-Fi-rich area has pop-ups like this when you open your laptop or switch your phone on to go online:

JBwifi1.jpg

This really is free advertising for your business, yet we don’t take advantage. Most are boring with the company name, or some, like us, have some fun with the name.

Either way, no-one has ownership of this, yet.

Use it, don’t use it.

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Everything, really.

We love what we do for a living. We love our cars. We love our pets. We love that feeling we get when that certain someone walks into the room. And very recently, I’ve realised that you can love, love.

For the past few months I’ve been organising and strategising in an attempt to pull off the perfect proposal to my now – very recent – fiancé (or “wife-elect” if you don’t like the Frenchies).

My overall idea was to have a very chilled – albeit slightly romantic – picnic before sunset, where I’d drop the hammer and ask her to be my wife. The location had to be everything. Somewhere beautiful, but somewhere familiar. Enter Môreson Wine Estate.

On our first ever little getaway, Lauren and I visited Franschhoek and, being the grab-the-wine-by-the-cork kind of people, decided to visit as many wineries in the area to add to our list of favourites. On our last morning in Franschhoek, we left our guest house early and chose to visit one more estate before meeting mates for an early lunch. It was a toss-up between a number of quite popular estates in the general area, and we decided on Môreson because, quite frankly, we liked the little sun on the “o” in the logo.

Fast-forward through sharing tattoo stories with the wine-tasting dude, JP, a quick photo shoot in the vineyard and walking away with another 5 bottles of wine (we were at 16 for the weekend already, clinking in the boot of our Hyundai Atos rental chariot), we swore to go back when we were in Franschhoek again. It was one of those places that just made you feel happy. Could’ve been the wine, but the feeling remained.

Fast-forward again to end-2011 when Lauren, myself and our good friend Kate, decided that we were going to run Two Oceans 21km. At this point, the furthest any of us had run was a 10km, so double that (plus an extra kilo for good measure) seemed a bit daunting. Be that as it may, we entered, and planned our weekend, which ended up with Lauren and I booking the rest of the weekend in Franschhoek to recover from the race.

“Excellent…” thought I, with fingers twiddling like Mr Burns.

Franschhoek would be the perfect setting to execute my plan. Now, to find a venue. Again: Beautiful. Familiar. Hello Môreson.

I emailed Môreson with a very basic idea: I’d like to propose to my girlfriend in Franschhoek at sunset, and we loved Môreson so much that it would seem impossible for it not to be the place to do it.

From that point it seemed like my proposal plan was planning itself. Except it wasn’t. Nikki Friedman from Môreson was doing it all. Nikki had put together a plan for a picnic on the grass overlooking the vineyards with the sun setting behind the mountains beyond them. She sent photos, gave ideas, advice, and was an absolute rockstar.

Then, enter the weather. Rain was forecast for the entire weekend.

I can run 21km in the rain. Well, we did. But I couldn’t very well have a picnic on the grass in the rain! Again, Nikki to the rescue.

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Nikki and her team created an indoor picnic in their wine tasting room using hay bails, pillows and blankets, and supplied us with a range of cheeses, homemade meats and preserves and general yumminess. Not forgetting the chilled bottle of Môreson pink champagne.

It was perfect.

During the back and forths of emails and phone calls, Nikki had everything under control, and every email had me thinking of creative ways of saying “thank you”, because that’s all I could do, Môreson grabbed this little project by the horns and made it phenomenal.

During the last few emails as we had finalised our arrival at Môreson and details of what would be happening, I asked Nikki why a wine estate would help little old me, just a guy who wants to propose to his future wife. Why they would work so hard and open the estate just for us.

She replied: “Because we love love.”

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So on Saturday night, just before sunset, the rain stopped briefly enough for us to walk into the vineyards. Clouds broke over the mountains to let the sun shine through directly onto the only two guests on the estate, us.

I got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife. She said yes. Yay me.

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I’d like to, once again, thank Môreson for their absolutely incredible work and genuine interest in making my little dream come true. More specifically, for playing such an important part in making one of the happiest days of my life a reality. Môreson will forever be one of my favourite places in the world, and if you visit them the next time you’re in Franchhoek, I’m sure it’ll be for you too.

Check out Môreson on Twitter & Facebook and give them some love.

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Planning to do absolutely nothing over the holiday period and catch up on some reading proved to be extremely fruitful. Yay me. Here’s a very brief lowdown on what I read, and how awesome they were.

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The Tunnel Rats – Stephen Leather (@stephenleather)

This book really hit home for me as the core of it is based around a team of ‘Nam-vets who were stationed in and around the tunnels during the Vietnam war. I’m very fortunate enough to have visited a section of the tunnels in Cu Chi, even crawled through one, so having that as a base (I imagine) really helped me fully understand the extent of what they were going through.

The story follows a series of murders around the world, investigated by British Transport Police initially and followed by FBI, fake-FBI, Thai authorities and more, ending up with a BTP sergeant, a hired assassin, the ‘Nam vets and the killer navigating their way through the tunnels in search of the truth. An awesome book for anyone who loves a good crime thriller.

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American Assassin – Vince Flynn (Website)

I’m a big fan of spy books, like Stephen Leather’s “Dan Shepherd” or Barry Eisler’s “John Rain” series’, so when Rich bought me American Assassin for Christmas, I knew it would be a goodie. This is my first “Mitch Rapp” book, which is great, ‘cos American Assassin has been written as a prequel to Vince Flynn’s 11 other books, with one more being launched in a few weeks. Excellent.

Mitch Rapp fans haven’t given it the greatest reviews, but with no history of his antics through the series this was a phenomenal start. It covers his initial draft to becoming an agent, and through his first missions. With a thirst for revenge after terrorists gunned down an airplane with his girlfriend on board, killing bad guys is his first priority, and he’s phenomenal at it. A superb spy book that has started my drive to finish them all. Can’t wait.

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The Whipping Boy – Ben Trovato (@btrovato)

Ben Trovato is one mad cat. Smart, funny, crazy, he manages to make you think on a whole new level regarding current affairs, while also shaking your head in disbelief as to how he actually got to that conclusion. I think it may have to do with the drinking, or perhaps a few very hefty drags of fine cannabis, as he takes you on several journeys through articles he wrote for the Sunday Times (which brought back some great memories of ridiculous happenings in our lovely little country) and bizarre letters of employment to random organisations.

It’s a particularly easy read, as each letter or article is short and punchy enough to get the message across with ease, simplicity and big kick to whoever’s balls he’s targeting (Helen Zille’s included). I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I felt a little dirty after reading it. I do, however, wish I knew how he came up with some of the content he creates. He’s one smart mo’fo’.

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Empire – Brendan Jack (@brendanjack)

“Empire: How to Succeed with Nothing but Passion, Great Ideas and a Wealthy Family” is, as you can imagine, a hilarious tongue-in-cheek review from a spoilt rich kid’s perspective of making it big in life. I filed it under “Business” on my Kindle because (and I was as surprised as you may be) there were honestly some great lessons in it that made me think. I know, crazy.

I’ve always enjoyed Brendan’s humour, and it’s followed through with a tornado in Empire. If Richard Branson, Bono, The Queen and Barack Obama all shared a god-child, Lucien Dunlop Fantasia would be him. Able to buy anything (and I mean anything) at a whim, or brunching with celebrities you’ve forgotten about (but are still super famous), mixed with a penchant for hover boards and scented reading pillows, he’s done it. Lucien goes through life learning lessons from investing in ridiculous businesses to spending time in jail to drug-binges beyond compare, finally ending up in the great world of advertising, successfully selling denim fridge jackets, dildo alarm clocks and Ouma rusks. Okay I lied about the rusks, but I’m sure he had a hand in that too.

An absolutely hilarious and engaging book about the utmost extreme edge of where life could be, with a few great gems hidden inside. My favourite: Water always picks the shortest route to flow downhill. Water may be lazy, but it’s also powerful. Find this balance.

Overall, a fantastic holiday spent working my way through four phenomenal books. If you think like me, act like me and like the things I like, you’ll love all of them.

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Okay, not really. But from what I recently witnessed on Twitter, some people really take those mentions to heart. For real real.

On Friday, two South African twitterers, Nash and GrahamRobert, were having a conversation about South African celebrities, which resulted in Nash basically saying that there is no such thing as a South African celeb, by way of tweeting this:

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Now, my theory is that Nash included GrahamRobert in the tweet because he was part of the original conversation, but delivered it out of the conversation because it was a funny comment and he wanted all of his followers to read it, not just the ones who follow both of them. Makes sense. It was a nice gesture to include Graham. Nice, but not necessarily obligatory.

Then Cape Town’s favourite son, Shaun Oakes, saw Nash’s tweet, thought it was worthy of a retweet, and did so.

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You may notice now, though, that Shaun removed Graham’s twitter handle from the tweet, as he felt Graham was included by association, but he really didn’t have any authority over it. It was Nash’s statement, so he should get the recognition. Only fair, right?

Well, Graham didn’t think so, and replied to Shaun with this tweet:

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“meant” to be in the RT? Really? Did you have your name included in the credits when you watched Avatar as well? No. You were part of it. You enjoyed it. But you’re not owed anything for it.

Unfortunately for Shaun, the rapping on the knuckles made him feel bad, and he sent the tweet again, this time including Graham.

Now, if Shaun had included him in the first place, it would have again, just like Nash’s tweet, been a nice gesture to show that he was a part of the conversation. That’s fair, and no-one would have an issue with that.

What I think is very unfair, however, is Graham telling Shaun that he should be included in something that he really had no ownership of in the first place, just for one more mention on Twitter. To his credit, he did say thanks.

But in the end, dude, it’s Twitter, not the Academy Awards. If you have to ask people to include you in retweets, you’re not really doing well to begin with. But more importantly, no-one really cares.

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So I’ve had a few comments and queries about my tweet about the behaviour of last night’s crowd at The Bookmark Awards 2010. Let’s get a bit of background first:

The Bookmarks are an opportunity for agencies, publishers, teams and individuals, working in the digital space, to showcase their work and appreciate and recognise their peers for phenomenal work done in the industry. The organising team, particularly Nikki Cockcroft and Rob Stokes, asked me to MC the event. It was an honour to be asked to be included in the event and I immediately accepted. It was an astounding success overall, their hard work really paid off. Well done. And well done to all the winners.

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So why so glum, Don? Well, I’m glad you asked.

I could not believe the lack of respect for each other in the industry. The crowd couldn’t keep quiet, so the rest, who were paying attention, were struggling to hear who won which award. It was pathetic.

When I walked on stage and started the gig, there was still a murmur through the crowd as they were completing drinks orders at the bar and finding their spots for the remainder of the awards ceremony. As a professional MC I understand this dynamic, so I made small talk until it quietened down. Or at least, until it should have quietened down. It didn’t.

Now, I’ve been doing this for years, so when people don’t want to pay attention to the host or MC, it more than likely means they’re really not in the mood for it (or they don’t like his/her style of humour), they want you to get on with the show. I have no issues with this at all, you’re there for the awards, not me, it’s very valid. I’m paid to keep you entertained, and entertain I will, so I introduced the awards. Thing is, though, the crowd still kept making a noise through the entire awards ceremony. I had to constantly reprimand the crowd and ask them to keep quiet, and have some manners and respect for the winners, but they still just didn’t give a fuck.

Long story short: A team of people, through their own time and capacity, spent at least 9 months working hard to make last night a reality, and the crowd couldn’t have cared less. They paid their R400 for their tickets, they drank their free (mostly) drinks, and felt an entitlement to do whatever they wanted to. Reality check: You can’t. It’s an event for everyone, not just for you. So why would you act so badly and not respect your peers in your own industry?

I’ll tell you why: ‘Cos you’re a rude fucktard.

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Update:

Neither of these worked. After following instructions to the letter, and burping up some mad-tasting pill remnants that I can only imagine poisoned my body to no end, my skin stayed its natural light-skinned self, and Trev is still balding at a rate only a mother could lie about loving. He didn’t even fetch a stick when we threw it! So sad.

============================================

Background:

I have a sneaky suspicion that, somewhere through my lineage, someone banged Frosty the Snowman and left me, at the end of the line, with predominantly pale skin. Tanning isn’t easy for me, ‘cos I either burn if I don’t use sunblock, or I use sunblock and I get no colour at all. It’s a lose-lose, really.

Trev, on the other hand, has his own burden to bear. The male members of his family have a, for lack of a euphemism, balding problem. Trev is 25 and losing the hair on his pip at a rate of knots. Not cool. Background over.

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So this is what we decided to do:

Simply put, we’re going to pop pills, every day, to see who has more luck with the wonders of modern science in the pursuit to rectify his own specific handicap. Trev is taking 1x Bob Martin Condition tablet a day (for large breed dogs, he’s a big unit) to hopefully work towards a naturally shiny and healthy coat. I’ll be taking 4x Biogen Sunless Tan tablets to get that bronze continental look and hopefully work towards changing my name to Salvador the Spanish Lover with a penchant for performing the Pasodoble at the slightest opportunity.

Who wins? Mostly, the pill manufacturers. Who wins between Trev and I? The first one to get noticeable results, or the last one to either turn orange or have an uncontrollable urge to chase a frisbee.

Awesome.

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Jo’blog, through Missing Link and 21Tanks, have been supporting Yenzani Children’s Home for the past few years. Hell, I even beat some world poker champs for them. (Please hold the applause for after the post.)

We sat down with Sanne from Yenzani recently to come up with ways of raising funds for the home. One of those ideas was to put on the most killer comedy show ever. Ever!

So off I went and asked my fellow funny* people to participate out of the goodness of their hearts (also known as “No dollar biatch!”). I sent Yenzani a list of about 20 comedians who were keen to get involved, and they narrowed it down to their favourite 7. Awesome.

*I include myself in this ‘funny’ category, even though I’d prefer to be labelled ‘mildly amusing with an amazing bum’.

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Dude, seriously, 6 top-notch comedians and a dodgy-haired tattoo’d punk for only a hundo! For real real!

I do have to make a special mention to every comedian I asked to do a free charity gig, of which every single one of them said yes. For a bunch of different buggers, they all really do have hearts of gold. It’s a beautiful thing. Sniff.

Right, again, all proceeds go to Yenzani. Now, I don’t want to jump the gun here, but if you don’t see the value in this, particularly helping out an amazing organisation like this, you probably have no soul and no-one really likes you. I’m just sayin’…

Rad. So book your tickets now! Hell, block-book 20 for your company, clients, friends, family, whoever! It’s gonna be off the hook. Siriyas.

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I like driving.

My car is comfortable, I like to blare my music while I’m on the road and use my drumstick pencils on the steering wheel, while people in front, behind or beside me watch in confusion. It’s fun for me.

Last Thursday, however, I decided to abandon my exciting drive to OR Tambo Airport and jump on the much talked about Gautrain from the Sandton station. Every person I’ve spoken to beforehand has said their experience was phenomenal and world-class. In my unprofessional opinion, I think they were all on crack-cocaine.

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I parked my car in the parking lot. Easy enough. Walked downstairs and saw two queues facing a wall: One to a window, the other in a zig-zag for the next available automated machine. I joined the zig-zag and eventually found myself standing in front of a big touch-screen with a few slots for cards underneath it. At first glance it seemed like there was way too much going on for such a simple transaction, but I found the ‘Pay by card’ option and went through the process. As my phone beeped with the SMS from the bank to say the money had been taken from my account, and as I eagerly awaited my brand-spanking-new Gautrain card, the touch screen beamed “TRANSACTION FAILED”, and I received nothing. Then the text on the screen changed to “MAINTENANCE IN PROGRESS” and a card slot was pulled from inside the machine to reveal the other side. I called the (out of uniform) helper-lady who was hanging around and asked her to please explain to me why the fuck someone had pulled the card slot thingy from the box while I was busy with a transaction, and she shouted at someone through the hole. Awesome.

So now I’m standing between an automated machine and the teller window, waiting for a card to pop out somewhere. Either one would do, I’m really not fussy.

Nothing.

I was then told to stand in front of the people in the line for the teller and explain my problem. Now, if I was in that line, and some dude jumped in front of me, I’d be pissed. But, I felt it was no fault of my own, and if anyone was gonna make a scene at this very moment, I’d be that guy. The guy who was (now) behind me asked what happened, to which I replied “They fucked up, so now I need a card or my money back.” The (out of uniform) helper lady gave me a look, so I rephrased it to a very sarcastic “I’m sorry, there was a problem with the machine, and she told me to stand here.” Blame-shift: A beautiful thing.

I asked the lady behind the window to just give me a card with my R510 on it and I’d be on my merry way. She said she couldn’t until I filled out a full-page form with all my details, including my bank details. She also said that the money would be returned to my account, and I’d have to pay another R510 to get the loaded card.

What. The. Fuck?

I was running late, and so were the people who were behind in the line that I’ve just joined (and inconvenienced), so I scribbled, purposefully, all my details and had to do the whole buying-a-card transaction again from scratch. By the time I’d reached B9 (the platform where the train would be) I’d missed the train and had to wait a further 18 minutes for the next to arrive. Cellphone reception is also non-existent down there, so don’t think I could get some calls in before I jumped on the train. Also, no benches or vending machines meant no sitting or eating either. Brilliant.
I can guarantee that if I drove to the airport it would have been faster, but more importantly, I would have drummed on my steering wheel while singing along to some of my favourite new tracks and would’ve been cool, calm and very collected by the time I reached the airport. Very much the opposite to how I did feel when I arrived, when I realised I still had to walk across a large part of the airport to get to domestic departures. If I drove, I would’ve had to walk across the bridge joining parking and the terminal. Easy. I have nothing against walking, but if you’re late, it’s a problem. No-one likes to be running through an airport.

Then, when I got back to Jo’burg and took the train back to the Sandton station, I obviously needed to pay for my parking. Now, other parking payment machines expect you to put the card in first, then you pay. I tried to insert my parking card, and it wouldn’t take. You see, to pay for your parking you have to use the SAME machines that you bought the card from. Which means that before I can do anything, I need to tell the machine that I’m paying for my parking. Can it not figure it out for itself?

What makes this system worse is that people ARRIVING and people LEAVING are using the SAME machines. How does that possibly make sense to anyone? It shouldn’t. And that’s why the Gautrain system, to me, is very much flawed.

So you could say that I should just drive. Well, I will. But what’s more important to me is how people who I like, and respect, had the idea that this obviously flawed system is better than the London Underground. It isn’t. It’s shit. Really. See you on the road.

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Not even!

I think the title of this post should actually be “Why Cell C’s marketing team should consider a career in sales”. Now, I’d imagine Trevor Noah (tw) to be a pretty smart guy, but to be sold into becoming the face of a widely considered struggling brand, they must have sold him the world. Not just in payment, but in the overall strategy going forward. And well done to them.

I don’t recall Cell C (tw) getting as much exposure as they have over the past few weeks, ever. It started off with praise and applause, then the ‘it was all a scam‘ fiasco when everyone (particularly journos who felt like their little feelings were hurt for being betrayed) slated the campaign at every opportunity. Now the logo story. When will it end? It probably has. And all Cell C can do from here is improve, because they are, essentially, starting from the bottom. And I have a feeling that they will.

Why? Because what the’ve done is completely polarise themselves to the market. You get the people who love what they’ve done, and the people who absolutely hate it. Both sides have the same amount of interest in waiting for what they’ll do next, and both sides are so passionate about their standpoints that they will vehemently argue over any platform, live or online, to try and prove their point. The result: A conversation about the brand. Awesome. So now Cell C has the whole country focussing on their next move, and when you have that much pressure to perform, you work your ass off to make it happen.

On the other side though, what if they don’t? What if this all came too suddenly, they’re not prepared for it, and Cell C loses everything? What does this mean for their new CEO?

Trevor has become the face, the captain of this huge faceless ship. It’s a lot easier for us to blame individuals when things go wrong, because shouting at a large cold building never helped anydoby. It’s exactly what they wanted to achieve with the new campaign: Speak to an individual (Trevor) and he’ll sort you out. People buy in to that. But it has it’s disadvantages too.

Bottom line: If the brand you advocate goes down, you’re going down with them. It’s the captain’s duty. Let’s just hope the powers that be (unfortunately I don’t think Trevor is one of them) can steer this ship past the iceberg and sail it to greener pastures.

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If you know us at all, you’ll know we’re very big into correct spelling and grammar (like, who isn’t?), so when I saw this Samsung animation while watching an Idols video on DStv.com (misspelling ‘tomorrow’), I thought it had to be shared (and hopefully fixed).

Text 1 (incorrect)

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Text 2 (correct)

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Oops! Someone fire someone (or at least give them a good spanking, then send us the video).

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On a flight to Cape Town recently, I met a guy who is almost as passionate about South Africa as my mate Nic. This guy, Steve English, is a true believer in South Africans being good samaritans. He’s developed a system to show it off, and in the process, hopefully help people.

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Reward-if-foundthe honesty incentive – is a simple concept: Place a sticker on your worthy possessions, and if one of them ever gets lost, the person who finds it SMSs the number on the sticker to 33105. The back-end system then notifies the owner via SMS and email, the owner and finder are connected and make arrangements to do the swap. The name obviously implies that a reward will be given for finding, which is a small price to pay for data retrieval, buying another device, the hassle of claiming from insurance, etc.

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I challenged him on a few things though:

Me: “This can’t obviously replace insurance, ‘cos not everyone is a good person.”

Steve: “It’s not an insurance replacement, it’s relying on the goodwill of your fellow South Africans. Insurance companies are interested in this because they see their customers’ claims being reduced significantly.”

Me: “So can’t I just stick something I made myself on my possessions and hope people will phone me?”

Steve: “Of course you could, people do already (like on their luggage), but the service which is easy to use by sending one SMS or logging on to the site is a guarantee to get the original owner in contact with you, and the name suggests you’ll be rewarded, which is only fair.”

Me: “But what if someone holds my laptop ransom and demands a lot more than the reward I want to offer them?”

Steve: “RICA enforces all cellphone numbers to be attached to a specific person with all of their details. Should someone want to take a chance like that, the owner can contact us and we will go the legal route, bringing in lawyers and the Police, because we have their details and they can be found.”

So they’ve done their homework. But what I want to know is:

1. Would you use it?

2. If yes, would you pay a monthly fee relying on the honesty of others?

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South Africa’s most audacious television personality, Gary the Tooth Fairy, is spreading his wings into new territories. For the first time in the history of the National Grahamstown Arts Festival – and local entertainment, for that matter – a mystical phenomenon will be performing on stage in his very own, unique live comedy show.

Gary the Tooth Fairy will be sharing his distinctive magical view on the world with audiences at the St. Andrew’s Hall in Grahamstown, daily from 22 June until 2 July.

M-Net viewers have seen the master illusionist, who unsurprisingly is the local individual with the most fans on Facebook (90 000), walk on water, communicate with birds and do all things fantastic to steal the limelight away from the country’s number one general entertainment channel.

Gary’s show will be gutsy, daring and different, with all the ingredients to boost his cult status. But will he take a dig at the broadcaster? Will the phenomenon in the tutu-shaped pantaloon pant peel back mysteries like why the Tokoloshe still owes him money and what the real colour of Santa Claus’ suit is. What is his comedy show all about?

All Gary the Tooth Fairy wants to – and can – reveal at this stage is “that … uhm … it’s a masterpiece … it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to laugh your molars out … if you miss it, you will want to rip your wings off … It’s CLEVA.”

The show is directed by veteran comedian Rob van Vuuren, produced by Whacked Entertainment Management and sponsored by M-Net. Tickets are available at Computicket.

Watch the TV promo here.

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I’m not a fussy guy (okay, that’s a lie), but when I’m sitting in your restaurant (Maestro on Malibongwe, that means you), and I order a decaf coffee, it’s not a figure of speech – IT MEANS I WANT A FUCKING DECAF.

If you don’t have it, just tell me.

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I was up wide awake at 2am plotting all the miserable things I wanted to do to you. You’re lucky I’m feeling more rational, if not a little tired, today.

Still, next time I come there I’m gonna poke you in the eye…!

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A few years ago I was chatting to a mate of mine about the Rand Show. He asked me if I was going and I said “No, I went last year and the year before that, it’s the same every year” to which he replied “Yes, but you’re not the same every year”, which made so much sense.

Last year the pool features on display wouldn’t interest most people. But, if you’ve recently bought a house, with a pool, the display is now suddenly something you’d consider looking at. This is only one silly example, but you get my point.

As the years go by, and we grow up, we appreciate more and more. As another Fathers Day has come and gone, I’ve grown a new respect for fathers other than my own. Fathers who are also my friends. I’ve realised that as time goes on I’m lucky and privileged to be able to see how my mates are raising their kids. I’m silently and unknowingly learning from them, subconsciously formulating some sort of strategy as to how I will one day raise my own little army of handsome devils that will see me as their hero.

This post is really just to commend all the fathers in the world, especially my mates Rich, Mike and Simon, and for letting me steal their ideas on daddyhood. If I can take all the awesomeness from each of them, my children will take over the world. I can’t fucking wait.

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A few months ago I was introduced to Fiverr, a service where you can either sell or buy something, particularly a service, for $5. The administrators make a buck off every sale and you get to pocket the remaining $4. Simple enough.

The services range from promising more Facebook fans to positively reviewing products to listening to your life story on Skype, the list goes on and on and they range from very normal to very, very bizarre. To date I’ve only used it for small translations for work, but then I found this guy: The young, Canadian Alex Buckingham. He said that he’d write and record a song all about YOU for a mere $5. So I thought “Fuck it, why not?”

With the brief “Have a look at my website and some of my vids to get a sense of what I’m like”, I paid the 5 bucks and this is the fun (auto-tuned) result I got the next day, too awesome. Thanks Al.


Now go and get yours done! Tell him Don sent you. ;)

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