Monday, 30 March 2009
Wow, what a busy weekend! For some time I really lost interest in baking, but I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea, am getting into it again big time. It is such a rewarding activity. Saturday I made my famous Baked Gooseberry Cheesecake. Well, gooseberries are a seasonal thing and I couldn’t find any so I used black cherries in stead. Nearly as good, but not quite. The tartness of the gooseberries is a wonderful offset to the creamy richness of the cheesecake. I love the Afrikaans word for gooseberries - Appelliefies. This cheesecake has the most wonderful shortbread like crust and the filling is a heavenly concoction of cream cheese, cream, eggs and sugar. So what I did was to put the bulk of the drained pitted black cherries into the cheesecake filling before I baked it. When the cake was done, I made a glaze by mixing a little cornflower into the syrup in which the tinned black cherries came and heated it till boiling point. I then put a thin layer of that royal deep purple cherry spread on top of the cheesecake and then a circle of the remainder of the cherries on the upper edge of the cake. Lamb really does a lot of trouble when she wraps gifts, so I asked her to put a nice broad ribbon round the cake. She took a green gauzy ribbon with thin stripes in jewel colours, put it round the cake and tied the ends into a big bow. We were invited to people we do not know that well on Saturday evening and I took the cake along. Everyone there was mightily impressed. It tasted absolutely heavenly. On Sunday, Lamb invited friends over for afternoon tea, so I baked my famous Brandy Chocolate Gateau. It is an exceedingly decadent, dark, rich cake moistened with a light sugar syrup to which brandy is added. I topped it with chocolate ganache and then decorated it in the following manner. I melted two slabs of dark chocolate and poured a long broad strip of it onto a sheet of waxed paper. When it cooled enough to be set, but still pliable, I removed it from the paper and draped/wrapped it in a freeform around the cake. The edges of this chocolate wrapping stood higher than the cake. Just before serving I dusted it with a light sprinkling of icing sugar. I served it with pouring cream separately, so that the guests could put some over should they wish. I also made a pate with aubergines and garlic slowly roasted together, which is then mixed with ricotta cheese and lemon juice and blitzed together in the food processor. The guests hardly noticed the pate though and everyone was fixated on the gateau. In all this recipe calls for 5 slabs of dark chocolate. It must be sinful, it is that good. I get a real big kick out of impressing the hell out of people with my culinary and baking skills. Sometimes it goes wrong though, such as the time when I set fire to Lamb’s table arrangement when flambéing steaks on the dinner table. I also like challenges, so I am set to culture my own sourdough starter in the next two weeks, and I’ll post updates on the blog. I’ve tried unsuccessfully before, but did a lot more reading on the topic ever since. Bread made with a sourdough starter is just so much better than bread made with commercial baker’s yeast. So, that is the weekend. I suspect that I will not be able to blog much for the coming week, for tomorrow is my last day on the project I am working on. The week will be busy though. On Wednesday Lamb will be busy and since day care is closed during school holidays, I am going to have to look after Image – good for some bonding between baby and daddy. Coming Sunday Image will get baptised, so I will be busy with preparations etc. The parents are flying up and I am picking them up from the airport Thursday afternoon. The rest of family and friends lives in Gauteng. Next Monday is my birthday – so ja, I’ll do short posts and blog in all earnest from next Tuesday onwards again.
Friday, 27 March 2009
No time to write a post today, so I'll publish another recipe. Not my own either, but I have made it twice already and it is realy, realy good. A bit of trouble to make but worth the while over and over. Even the most hardened meat eaters will love this dish. Here goes. Parmigiana di melanzane (Eggplant Parmisan in the USA) is a layered, baked dish of aubergines, rich tomato sauce, parmesan and mozzarella. It's a wonderfully savoury meal to brighten up an autumn evening. This tomato sauce, simmered for ages until thick and unctuous, is unbelievably good - it's also very simple, containing very few ingredients. It freezes well, so if you can face seeding and peeling even more tomatoes, make some extra and save. To serve four with some left over for lunch you'll need: 2kg very ripe tomatoes 4 medium aubergines 3 large onions 4 cloves of garlic 1 handful fresh basil 1 handful fresh oregano 1 mild red chilli 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons sugar 1 large knob butter, plus extra to taste 250 g mozzarella Salt and pepper Grated parmesan (fresh not powdered) Olive oil to fry Begin by peeling and seeding the tomatoes. (Cut a shallow cross at the bottom of the tomatoes and pour over boiling water. Fish the tomatoes straight out of the water, which will have loosened their skin, and peel it off. Cut open and discard the seeds.) Cut into small dice. Dice the onions and chop the garlic finely, and fry in a large knob of butter until translucent and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and finely chopped chilli to the saucepan and stir to combine everything. Bring to a very low simmer, and reduce (this will take more than an hour) to half its original volume or a little less. Bring the vinegar and sugar to the boil in a small pan and stir it into the sauce. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Taste to check whether you need more salt or sugar. Add another knob of butter for a more mellow flavour if you like. Set the finished sauce aside. While the sauce is reducing, prepare the aubergine. Slice it into rounds about 1 cm thick (salt the aubergines on both sides. Leave for 30 minutes and wipe with a dry cloth/kitchen towel) and fry each round in hot olive oil (the aubergine slices are like little sponges, so you'll need plenty), until brown on each side. Drain on kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper. (careful with salt now) Set out a layer of aubergine slices in the bottom of a baking dish. Place some basil leaves on top. Pour over a layer of sauce, layer over some mozzarella, then more aubergine, more basil, more sauce and so on. When you've used everything up, sprinkle over the parmesan and bake for 45 minutes at 180° C, until brown on top. Scatter over some fresh basil. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the rich juices.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Peppermint Tart or Peppermint Crisp Tart. This is one of South Africa’s most popular ‘sweets’ served in coffee shops, restaurants and homes throughout South Africa. You’ll never go to a home industry (tuisnywerheid) and not find Peppermint Tart, unless it is sold out. There is just one thing. When you do make it, please do it properly. People commit the most atrocious things in making what should be something decent. Here’s how. (And how not to) Ingredients 1 pack tennis biscuits 1 tin caramelised condensed milk 500 ml fresh cream 1 large peppermint crisp chocolate bar Method -Put a single layer of tennis biscuits in the bottom of a shallow square glass or corningware type dish. -Do not do the following: crumb the biscuits, mix with copious amounts of cheap margarine and make a ‘crust’ with it in the bottom of the dish. Thou shalt burn in Hell if you do. -Spread half of the caramelised condensed milk onto the biscuits. -Whip the cream to some rather stiff consistency (but do stop before it churns into butter) and spread half of it on the biscuits as well. -Do not…Do not… Do not use Orley Whip or any other dairy alternative. It is evil. -Grate half of the peppermint crisp evenly over the cream. -Do not replace the peppermint crisp by mixing peppermint essence into the evil fake cream, please I beg of you! - Repeat the above to make another layer on the first one. - Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour for the biscuits to turn a bit softer. An acceptable variation is to mix the caramelised condensed milk with the whipped cream and spread that mixture onto the biscuits in layers. Just be careful to fold in the cream gently as not to stir out the air. Once, living in the UK, I struggled my butt off to procure some chocolate with mint bits for I couldn’t find nestle peppermint crisp bars. I do not know about now, but at the time one couldn’t buy the ready made tins of Caramel Treat caramelised condensed milk as you do in SA. So fearful of all the horror stories I’ve heard about cans exploding I watched the pot for 3 hours as I boiled a tin of condensed milk so that it can caramelise (in Argentina they call it Dulce de Leche). I left it to cool and went to the shops to buy cream. An Evil Bitch (one of 4 SA’s I shared a house with) opened the can and ate all of it whilst I was away… I gave up after that.
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
My youngest sister, Honey Bee was born with a serious congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot – one of the leading causes of blue baby syndrome. Tetralogy means that there are 4 different things wrong with the heart. She was born in 1978 and we were living in a small town in the then Transvaal province. Not long after she was born she became cyanotic and my parents took her to the GP. He detected a heart murmur and to cut a long story short, we ended up in the following situation: My parents had to get onto a flight to Cape Town urgently, they could not find anyone to look after 5 year old Hardspear and 2.5 year old Flower. They had to call our grandparents who lived an hour’s drive away and leave us at home. My grandfather used to have a lot of cars at any given time – I remember a Chev Muscle Car (yellow with 2 thick black stripes running from the bonnet to the boot), a 3 litre Ford Granada, a 250E Mercedes Benz and a few bakkies. It probably took him less than an hour to get to us, for he could really drive fast. The GP accompanied my parents to Cape Town. Soon after the plane lifted, Honey Bee started going into heart failure. The GP performed CPR and whatnot, they feared they wouldn’t make Cape Town, diverted to Kimberley, landed there (not scheduled) – Honey Bee revived a bit, they took off again and she went into total heart failure. The GP declared her dead… My mother then started CPR and pumping Honey Bee’s legs. Independently to each other and without knowing the other are doing it, my Mom and Dad both made a pact with God then to dedicate their lives to Him and please save our baby. Suddenly Honey Bee gasped for breath. They eventually reached Cape Town. The St. John’s Ambulance drove like hell with Honey Bee, my Mom and the GP in the back. The trip took 7 minutes from DF Malan (now Cape Town Airport) to Groote Schuur Hospital in the city. Chris Barnard did not want to operate, stating there is no chance. They stayed in the Cape for a month and then returned to Transvaal. A Jewish doctor in Johannesburg, Professor Kingsley, agreed to operate. During the operation amongst others Honey Bee were given a pig’s heart valve in one of the heart chambers where there wasn’t one. The operation was textbook material success. She spent the first year and two months of her life in Joburg Gen. The year before she went to school she received another valve replacement, this time synthetic. When she was in standard 9, she got one from a human donor. Two years back it had to be replaced again and they used one from and ox. Today, Mom and Dad’s lives are dedicated to God as it has been from that day on the plane. Recently Honey Bee started to get extremely tired. On Sunday, she and Mom drove from East London where they live to Port Elizabeth to see the heart specialist there. Things have been a bit hectic and I’ve been meaning to call, I’ve been meaning to call, I’ve been meaning to call. Eventually, this morning I called Mom. They have been told that one of the most recent sutures in her heart became undone and it is putting a lot of pressure on one of the heart chambers. She is being put on medication for 3 months and will have to go for tests again after that. Mom says Honey Bee is incredibly positive about this all, and Mom also sounds very positive, saying that God has always looked after our family, and He will do so again now. As soon as I put the phone down, I rushed out of the office to the bathrooms. On my way there I just burst out in tears. Luckily there were not many people in the building yet at 6:30 and I met no one in the corridors. Please pray for our Honey Bee…
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
I am in a bit of a fix. I do not have anything lined up yet for when the project I am working on finishes at the end of March. I can do with a bit bench time - but I am worried that in this current economic climate it may take a long time for something else to come up. I have not stressed much till very recently. I was too busy to give the matter any thought. In the meanwhile - you know how it is when you wrap up a job or project there's 1 000 001 things to do before one can leave. Check the cool font I’ve used for the ‘Comment Dammit!’ thingy above.
Monday, 23 March 2009
I have a confession to make. I, J. Hardspear De La Azotea, love kitsch paintings. I cannot help it. I do not care what this revelation tells you about me… It is just one of those things. When I read definitions of Kitsch, I wonder if I should feel insulted. When Kitsch gets described as being characterised by over-sentimentality, lacking originality, appealing to people ignorant with respect to so called high culture etc, should I be hurt? Would these descriptions apply to me as someone who likes kitch paintings? If so, I’ll accept the labels without being offended. Someone said that real art should not directly appeal to one’s senses. Then, in what manner should it appeal to you, for crying out loud? The other day I saw a print which I distinctly remember from my childhood. It is this painting called ‘Woodland Goddess’ by J.H. Lynch one of the archetypes of kitsch. I remember that it captured my attention from the first time I ever saw it hanging in a colleague of my Dad’s house. I do not wonder about the expression on Mona Lisa’s face, but I do wonder about the expression on this woman’s face. I see daring and a challenge, but also hesitancy and something I cannot place. Plus, the setting is so absurd it makes me want to stare and burst out laughing at the same time. I also like curvaceous women much more that the skinny types. I mean really, one can’t cuddle a bag of bones! Quintessential kitsch - of course - my all time favourite – Tretchikoff. When I was little many people had Tretchikoff prints. Remember the boy with the tear rolling down his face – the orchid and cigarette butt on the steps and everybody’s favourite, the blue Chinese Girl? I do like Turner and Constable just as much. I like classical paintings, baroque, modern, post-modern, abstract, surreal, portraits, still life paintings, landscapes – what is wrong with liking so called kitsch as well? I certainly do not have the skill to create or even reproduce something like Woodland Goddess or Chinese Girl! Some people will put plastic flowers and garish gold plated clocks etc also in the category of kitch, but to me there is still a difference between crap and kitch. Some people also confuse kitsch with avant-garde category art such as pop art. I do like pop art as well – such as Jackie by Andy Warhol. Maybe I should get some kitsch blog template… or Pop Art?
Thursday, 19 March 2009
No rest for my soul, nor my body. Image, now 4 and a half months old, is teething and has Upper Respiratory Tract Infection. Lamb, turning 35 on Sunday, has PMS and URTI as well… House a tip – Cleaning Lady did not pitch (not her fault – silly woman she works for on other days is stuffing around with OUR turn) Results: Teething = Irritated baby making the most revolting nappies imaginable. PMS = Irritated Mommy making the most revolting comments imaginable. URTI = Super irritated baby who does not eat nor sleep well. Super irritated Mommy who does not eat nor sleep well. ADD = Freaked out – Mega irritated Daddy who stuffs his face and are able to sleep well, but cannot. Rain making traffic impossible in the whole of Gauteng didn’t help. The network at work runs like cold treacle down a 5º slope this morning… Daddy is buzzing – he took double Ritalin this morning and on his way to work got one of those little sachets caffeine saturated “multi-vitamin” fixes one buy from petrol garages… Daddy knows he mustn’t, but he just hopes he can get through this day.
Monday, 16 March 2009
KFC and other food sins and secret recipes. Although I consider myself a bit of a gourmand, I have some serious foodie sins which I commit. I do not like Dijon Mustard. I do not like English Mustard. It is too pungent for my taste. I like those American Mild type mustards which comes in the squeeeezzz bottles. Yes the ones you put lashings of on your hotdog (together with tomato sauce, Mrs. Balls Chutney and Mayonnaise). I also like the German Beer Mug Mustard. It is strange because I usually like strong and pungent stuff like blue cheeses, anchovies, pickles etc. The biggest sin however is (I am sorry PETA) KFC. Kentucky Fried Chicken as it used to be known. I am also a sucker for Advertisements. So, with this weakness and KFC’s fantastically large advertising budget, I sort of have a problem. I do not know who has the KFC advertising account for South Africa. The South African KFC ads are brilliant! The latest one where the guy plays dolls with the Chicken Filet Burger and the Wrap and the BoxMaster is my favourite. I laugh myself silly every time. And how many times would you find a KFC ad on TV per night??? I ask you. There’s the ‘Mom’s Night Off’ one and the ‘Students Hotwing Contest’ one, the new one with the boy who wouldn’t take of his superhero mask, the little girl with the milkshake one, the athletes where one gives the other one a smack through the face etc etc. When those pieces of golden crisp chicken falls from the air into a plate on my TV screen and someone breaks open a centre breast piece and the steam rises in curls from it – I have trouble not getting into my car and driving to the nearest drive-through. That secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices… If you put ‘secret recipe’ into Google Trends’ search box (no commas) you’ll find something strange. The most searches come from Malaysia. I am going to open a restaurant there and advertise high and low that every dish served is made according a top-I-have-to-shoot-you-if-you-know secret recipe. I think it should be success! On the Google Trend Graph you’ll find one of the peaks was because of KFC announcing that they have a new super vault into which they put their secret recipe. KFC is not the unique in terms of secret recipes though. Which makes me think of Coke – when I lived in the UK one could only get Pepsi at KFC outlets. Disappointing to say the least. Luckily Pepsi totally lost their foothold in the SA market when they withdrew because of sanctions during the Aparheid era. Coca-Cola stayed and now we can get the two most famous secret recipes at the same time when you stop at KFC. Should I ever go to the USA, the first thing I’ll eat is a Krispy Kreme Doughnut – another secret recipe. If you look up KFC secret recipe on Google, you’ll find lots and lots and lots of imitation recipes, the results of which claiming to come very close to the real thing. It looks like an awful amount of trouble though. Maybe I’ll try it if I am living on a farm very far from shops and I get a super-craving. Otherwise, the drive-through seems like a much easier option though. I have decided that the font thing is too much trouble – so we’re back to Trebuchet.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Ok, I’ve figured out how to change the font in the post to one which is not available on the blog dashboard’s limited selection. Now I still have to figure out how to get it into the layout html permanently, so that I do not have to go and html-edit each post. This font (Rockwell) is one of my favourites. This is one of the few serif fonts which in my opinion has a modern appearance. Usually serif fonts like Times New Roman appear old fashioned. Generally serif fonts are easier to read in print and sans-serifs easier on-screen. This one does not do to bad on screen in my mind. I think it may be because the serifs are angular and square. I am not a font & typesetting expert, but I know what I like and I always look in Advertisements (TV, Print, Billboards) at what type of font they use. The ‘GTI’ sign on the newest VW Golfs is definitely from the Rockwell font family for example.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
"£$*&^!@. I am trying to change the "£$*&^!@ font of my "£$*&^!@ posts, but I cannot get it right. I am tired of bloggers boring fonts and I am trying my hand at HTML to try and get a decent font onto my blog. I'll have to practice a bit and do a bit more HTML 101 on the web it seems. ps. I am crazy about fonts (how nerdy is that) I have the coolest fonts on my computer.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Vloek in Afrikaans – Swearing in Afrikaans. I love English and apart from making grammar mistakes here and there, I think I can express myself in English fairly well. I find English seriously lacking when I need to swear though. It is during times like the past week and especially today that I feel privileged to call Afrikaans my native tongue. The vast array of swearwords, expletives, invective and insult Afrikaans provides are extremely satisfying. They are nicer to use also, for Afrikaans gutturals, explosives and that lekker rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, make the swearwords sound more intense and they are nicer in the mouth as compared to English. (Think of – gat, poephol, donner, bliksem, moer and kak – to only name a few of the mild ones). ((to see some of the more serious stuff go to this swearsaurus and click on the Afrikaans tab – most other languages are also represented there)) Afrikaans swearwords also string together so nicely. A Portuguese speaking person may beat me in a swearing contest, but being raised conservative Calvinistic I may not blaspheme and I do not have access to the Virgin and all the Saints. Where I can swear in sentences, the Portuguese can swear in paragraphs. What prompted this? My short term insurance of course! Our house was broken into last week on the ONE day we were in such a hurry that we forgot to activate the alarm. Now every day since we’ve submitted the claim, our insurance wants some more corroborating documents. Proof of ownership (sound system & digital camera were stolen). The moment I send what they require off, they reply with a request for something else. I understand that people defraud them and that they need to make certain that my claim is legit. But I am honest, I did not lie about activating the alarm and for crying out loud, could they not have given me a list of what they require right from the start!? Today they want a 3 Month activation report from the Armed Response/Monitoring Company. I phoned the company to be told that they have gone onto a new system a week ago and that the old system with the history is now on a computer not connected to the network or a printer etc etc. The girl from the security firm I spoke to was extremely friendly and helpful, but not knowledgeable regarding IT matters. I am sure one would be able to download the history from their database into excel or some form of delimited output, or at the very least take screenshots or something. She promised however to get their IT service provider on the problem. In the meanwhile I am on heated coals to get this claim finalised. It frustrates me to spend so much time on it… Therefore the gevloekery.
Monday, 9 March 2009
ADD, Adult ADD, ADHD and attention deficit disorder Blogs. When I read your ADD related blog, I want to know how Attention Deficit Disorder effects and affects your life. Many blogs on Adult ADD are so incredibly boring it makes you want to suppurate (verb: cause to ripen and discharge pus). Do these individuals or assemblages of individuals, guilty of producing these uninteresting and tedious blogs not realise that people with Attention Deficit Disorder shun all things dull and dreary? So if I want to read more about how ADD affects your life and I land on a mind numbing and lacklustre blog, I move on. It us usually contains very generic and non-practical advice such as “start lists” or “get organised”. That is just it, I. Cannot. Just. GET. O R G A N I S E D ! ! I need to know HOW and I need to see how you do it! Many blogs dishing out advice to parents with children with AD/HD are just as unexciting. The net abounds with authoritative websites where one can find all the info on ADD you need. Many Blogs on ADD just repeat such information. I just feel that if I want info, I can go to a website, but for the info made practical I’d like to see that reflected in a blog. Luckily there is a few pinpricks of light here and there. I’d like to highlight two blogs by moms with children with Attention Deficit Disorder. The first one is by Angel. Angel gets the following thing just right. A log of her everyday life with highlights and lowlights interspersed with how her son’s ADD affects her life, her son’s life and that of all other significant people close to them. It is so worth the read. The second one is that of Momcat, a blog of another mom with sons with ADD. I think she commented on my blog first and when I went to have a look at her blog, I found something worth the while for me to go and have a look at every day. By reading blogs like these I find not only the what, but the how as well. Accounts such as can be found on these blogs creates real understanding and real awareness of ADD.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Deep-Fried Twinkies. I haven't done a post on weird food since I started blogging again. This one I may actually try. Twinkies might seem like enough of a treat, but this recipe calls for deep frying the cream-filled snack with batter and eating it like a popsicle. To sweeten the deal, there's a recipe for berry sauce, too. Ingredients 6 Twinkies Popsicle sticks 4 cups vegetable oil Flour for dusting 1 cup milk 2 tablespoons vinegar 1 Tablespoon oil 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt Directions1. Chill or freeze Twinkies for several hours or overnight.2. Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in deep fryer .3. Mix together milk, vinegar and oil.4. In another bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt.5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry and continue mixing until smooth. Refrigerate while oil heats.6. Push stick into Twinkie lengthwise, leaving about 2 inches to use as a handle, dust with flour and dip into the batter. Rotate Twinkie until batter covers entire cake.7. Place carefully in hot oil. The Twinkie will float, so hold it under with a utensil to ensure even browning. It should turn golden in 3 to 4 minutes. Depending on the size of your deep fryer, you might be able to fry only one at a time, two at the most.8. Remove Twinkie to paper towel and let drain. Remove stick and allow Twinkie to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.Makes 6.Variation: Slice Twinkie into 4 pieces. Flour and batter each before frying. With this treatment, one Twinkie will serve two people if accompanied by a sauce. Berry Sauce Ingredients 1 10-ounce jar of seedless raspberry preserves (whatever equivalent you find in SA) 1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries Directions 1. In a saucepan, heat preserves over low heat until melted.2. Add 1 cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries.3. Heat until sauce just simmers.4. Cover; refrigerate until served.Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
In a recent post I said that I don't get poetry. So now I tried some. It is a rhyme and a bit tongue in the cheek in the light of the upcoming blogger awards:
Myspace facebook twitter-ing meep never their screens flickering sleep. orkut linkedin wordpress messengers they’re the nighttime posting scavengers meme linklove atom feed all to sate their rating need waiting for the blog-awards
is all they really look towards
By J. Hardspear De La Azotea
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Being Brazen wants to know what people are addicted to. Well - here's mine:
I love limes. I am addicted to its taste, its smell. I love lime cocktails – margaritas & mojitos. I love limes in food. It is one of those sunshine-feel-better type of smells. I have a weakness for those little fried Portuguese pies called rissoles… I am addicted to reading books and I am currently going through a science fiction phase again. Vetiver cologne for men by Guerlain. It is the one fragrance that if I put it on, I get the hots for myself! Google trends – what are people searching for on the net this very instant – fascinating.
ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder, ADHD from the perspective of an ADD’er Oscar Pistorius. I am taking liberties using him as an example, but think about this. No one denies that he has achieved incredible success and we haven’t even seen him peak yet. He runs like the wind. Does this mean that he does not have a disability? No. He has a disability, he just worked to deal with it, live with it and overcome the huge obstacles that it poses. He needs to use paddles where we use feet. He does not need pity, but he might have needed more support than someone without a disability. One of the people I respect most, blogging buddy Angel, did a post on the disability perspective on ADD. Whereas you may not see any physical indication of our disability (there are though – our faces may be slightly asymmetric, we may have a very high palate, we may have a very high foot bridge, there may be a very big gap between our big toe and the rest of our toes etc – still it is not very noticeable) you may see the behaviour manifests of our disability. You may not notice that it is because of our disability. You do not see that my right brain is extremely well developed as a result of having ADD – you will think that I am creative and that I march to the tune of a different drummer. You do not see that my left brain is underdeveloped because of having attention deficit disorder – you will think I am not good with figures and that I am a bit of a scatterbrain. You may think that I have nervous energy and my pacing up and down may irritate you – but you have missed that I am hyperactive. Ritalin, therapy and knowledge about my condition is my ‘paddles’ and my crutch. When Lance Armstrong learnt that he had cancer, what was the first thing he did once the shock wore off. He tried to get as much information as he possibly could. Information is one of the strongest crutches. Lance Armstrong did not decide what cancer treatment to get from Hello, You, Cosmopolitan, Huisgenoot etc. Why do you take the Hello, You, Cosmopolitan, Huisgenoot view on ADD drugs & treatment as the full gospel? Have you consulted specialists or authoritative medical journals? I do not know Oscar Pistorius’ mind, but people achieving despite disability recognise the fact that their disability may have made them more tenacious and hungry for success, thus making them work harder than they would have without the disability, but deep in their mind, sometimes a little voice tells them that it might have been nice NOT to have the disability. During unguarded moments I sometimes slip into a bad place and I wonder if the cost of my achievements academically and career wise was not all together too great. Sometimes I cry because what I have seems mediocre to me and I wonder had I not had ADD where would I be…
Monday, 2 March 2009
Well, what I didn’t tell you all, was that way back when I still blogged, I was selected to be a contestant on the Weakest Link. The programme was recorded in January 2007 and I, J. Hardspear De la Azotea was broadcasted all over South Africa in July 2007. What do you mean how did I fare? Of course I won! I was not the best – general knowledge wise – the guy who went into the final round with me was, but I put up such a dazzling act that I ended up in the final round. Then Lady Luck smiled upon me and my remaining opposition got im-fucking-possible questions in the final round. I got 2 out of 5. I won R28 000 and boy did it come in handy. Ok, then I stopped blogging for a few months, after which I did one more post to say goodbye. In that post I mentioned that we were having a little trouble, we wanted to start with a family, but Lamb did not fall pregnant. Then I disappeared for about a year. Well, very shortly after that final post Lamb did fall pregnant. We were over the moon. Our little baby girl (Image) was born on 5 November 2008. Image is stunningly beautiful. I know you think I say that because I am her Daddy, but she is the prettiest baby I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. She has red hair, but her eyes are still blue – should start changing just about now. Most likely her eyes will be brown, but I am hoping for green. She is nearly 4 months old. Image turned out to be a colicky baby. That is over now – I do not know whether it is since she turned the magical 3 months old, or is it the soy formula we put her on. What do I miss most of my life before Image was born? “Me time” and sleep. Though the colic is gone, Image is not a very good little sleeper. Mommy & Daddy’s got to take turns to get up when baby is difficult. That way at least one gets to sleep every second night. Since Lamb and I had a very good relationship before Image came along, our relationship survived the upheaval really well. This is a real good thing, since the sex life suffers considerably. But, despite all of this, overall the whole getting a baby experience has been so worth the while and I wouldn’t want to go back to before…