Monday, 30 August 2010

Poken - electronic mini cyber sex to replace business cards

I attended the MARKEX trade show at Sandton Convention Centre last week. I was already overly stimulated and oozing electronic gadgetry lust from everything on display, as well as heady from the effects of the oxygen bar where I just OD’d on lime scented O2, when I stumbled upon something which nearly made me jizz in my pants. A number of people were gathered around an interesting looking stall...
A lady attendant seemed to be free and I her asked what they had to offer. She then produced a little plastic figurine-like thingy with a strong Japanese Pop-Art feel to it. She called it a POKEN and started to tell me all about it:
A poken is a little key-chain gadget which at its most basic is an electronic business card exchange device. It utilizes a proprietary Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow the exchange of information one would usually put on a printed business card. All you need to is to hold your poken next to someone else’s and press a button and voila – your poken has electronic sex in cyberspace with the other person’s poken and your details have been exchanged. Once you plug in your poken in a USB slot of your computer, it links you with your personal profile on the poken website and all the people you have pokened are now linked to your profile.
Yet, the poken is more of a social business card than what the traditional type is. One can link all your social network information to your poken profile, which is exchanged together with your other info when you poken somebody. The same rules of inviting and accepting still apply, but it saves you having to sift through 1 000’s of John Smiths’ LinkedIn, Skype or Facebook profiles till you find the right one.
I had to have one and purchased one on the spot. I googled poken and found that other bloggers I know (such as sheebee whom I have met in real life as well) already know about pokens and have blogged about it. I love this thingy so much and would love to promote it. So, for the first time I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea, will be having a competition on my blog. 5 readers can win a poken each. To enter, please mention this post on your blog, with a link-back to this post. Also send me a mail to with a link to your post and a one-liner as to why you should win a poken.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Mac & Cheese for many on a Crazy Sunday Evening

Our weekend started...erm... not good. I got up in the worst of moods on Saturday morning, which made it not a good idea to go to the shops. In Pick ‘n Pay Lamb loaded Image (1year & 9months old) into one of those small basket trolleys. I thought that this is not a good idea, but moodily said nothing. Going out of P’n P (They are busy with construction) the top-heavy trolley’s front wheels caught and toppled right over. Lamb was pushing and despite her attempt to keep the trolley upright, it toppled forward. Image fell out of the trolley and Lamb also fell face down. No one got hurt, but all of us got a big fright. Image only grazed her face, which resulted in two ugly scabs – one above her brow and one on her cheek. In America I could have sued the store, despite our stupidity of putting the child in a basket trolley. For the rest of the day, Lamb and I were a bit irritated with each other. On the spur of the moment she decided to invite people for coffee on Sunday afternoon. She requested that I bake a chocolate cake, but instructed that it mustn’t be one of my fancy smancy laced with brandy and smothered with ganache gateaux cakes. She wants a ordinary (moist) chocolate cake with caramel condensed milk instead of icing. I then realised that I have never made an ordinary chocolate cake. I went through my books and got a good looking one from Heilie Piennaar’s ‘Too Fresh Too Flop’ baking book. I then decided, whilst we are going through all the trouble, I’ll make something for a light early evening supper. In the meanwhile we learned that friends of ours 1 year & 9 month old boy, Archangel Number One is in hospital. Lamb phoned and told them that they must come and drop 4 month old Archangel Number Two for the night. By the time the guests arrived, I have finished the cake, but not supper. I served very strong Turkish coffee infused with cardamom with the cake. Not everybody had the Turkish coffee though. I made it a bit strong, so I couldn’t really taste the cake, but Lamb assured me that it was nice. I then proceded made the following very delicious very cheesy Macaroni & Cheese for many. (with – many people milling about and many children running & screaming all over the place) Cook 2x 500g packets Macaroni as per instruction in a LARGE pot. Heat 1l full cream milk & 250 ml fresh cream to very warm but not boiling (one of the few instances where the microwave will do). Melt 150g butter in a medium sized pot (not marge), add 1tsp salt and 1tsp dry mustard powder and half a cup of flour. Mix well. Turn up heat add milk & cream and whisk well. Turn heat down. Add 200g grated mozzarella & 300g grated cheddar. Also add 1 grated onion and 6 extra large eggs beaten. Mix well. Cut 250g bacon in strips and sauté lightly. Combine drained macaroni, bacon & cheese sauce and put in a VERY large oven dish such as a roaster. Grate 150g extra mature cheddar cheese and 150g parmesan cheese. Mix with 150 g dry breadcrumbs and sprinkle over macaroni. Bake at 180˚C for 35-40 mins. Serve with a fresh garden salad and a strong vinaigrette to counter the richness of the mac & cheese. Nobody else wanted any alcohol, but I felt a bit freaked with all the caffeine in by body, the children running riot, Lamb and I being irritated, my new broadband 3G not working, so I polished a bottle of crisp Riesling by myself. By the time everyone left, my crocks stuck to the messy kitchen floor and I nearly slipped on a hill of salt which Image created in the passage. Then........ Lamb informed me, she cannot sleep next to a small baby, for she lies awake worrying if everything is OK. She’ll sleep in the spare room, and I have to share with little Archangel Number Two! I think I need another weekend!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Hardspear back at the gym and sick of EMINEM

I started gym again this week. This morning I attended an ‘express abs’ class. The instructor was this pretty little thing and I thought that she was really cute. By the end of the session I was of the opinion that she is actually the Witch of Endor in disguise. My abdominal muscles have become totally unresponsive since an hour after the class. What bothers me, is the fact that the same fat old Ooms who attended the gym when I left 2 years ago, are still there and they are still fat. What baffles me, is that they can outlast and outcycle all the young people in the spinning class, but they have not slimmed down at all in two years! Am I going to waste my time at the gym? I am sooo sick of EMINEM. I used to like his music, but he got so stuck on his horrible mom, dickhead (missing) dad, fucking Kim and poor, poor Haley. It is all he seems to sing about. Dude, you have the worst anger issues. Dude...Let it go... Please...

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Fiona Coyne, I’ll always cherish having been insulted by you

Fiona Coyne. Mordant wit was the knife with which you have pierced my heart, biting sarcasm the hammer with which you have cracked my skull and inventive insult the fist which felled me down. Fiona Coyne. I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea, as contestant and winner of a Weakest Link programme, consider myself privileged to have been insulted by you with the whole of South Africa as witness. Fiona Coyne. Go and play Weakest Link with the Angels...

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Ascribe Mental Disability to ADD, Make it Official, Bawl Your Eyes Out and Pick Yourself Up Again

This is a blog about ADD, so hey, let me do a post about ADD for a change. I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea should be studying, but hey, here I am Blogging. Hope it helps for Friday’s exam... I am busy with my 5th career change. NOT JOB CHANGE – CAREER CHANGE. As I’ve said before, I am learning a new ERP programme. Now... my best friend and boss, Army Man and I both suffer from ADD (or is it endure having? bear having? excel at having? despair at having? shine at having? surpass because of having ADD?). Recently we started toying with the idea of making the fact that we have ADD official in order to score a better rating on our company’s BEE status – on account of disability, that is. We approached our Auditor, The King of Bethlehem. The King of Bethlehem’s feedback on that was inconclusive, but he found that there are a lot of tax benefits for people with disabilities. He obtained the SARS criteria for being classed as mentally disabled for us, and off we went to see a psychologist. The psychologist told us in no uncertain terms that he is NOT going to fudge his findings just so that we can get tax benefit. His findings will be his findings and should it be above the SARS criteria, that is that then. He performed a standard internationally recognized test for ADD as well as another test which tests general mental functioning. The ADD test unequivocally supported an ADD diagnosis. The report on the other test on mental functioning rocked me a bit. It highlighted amongst others the following characteristics of mine: - Self Defeating Behaviour - Self Limiting Behaviour - Poor handling of success. (so even if I achieve i am unable to deal with it like a normal person) - Social ineptness (I am not so sure I agree) - Depression & Anxiety - Poor self image - Blah, fucking blah blah. Unfortunately, apart from the social ineptness, I have to agree with most... In any case, we DID meet the SARS criteria and are now classed with having a mental disability on our return forms. I realised again that I have overcome so much, but there are limits to what I can do and achieve and maintain. I grasped again that my efforts in important relationships are diminished by factors not always in my control. But HELL I TRY. I TRY! I got this feedback last Friday and by Saturday afternoon, I was in a right state. We took Image for a stroll in the neighbourhood and at some point in the middle of the road, I burst out in tears. This upset Lamb big time. She realised it was about the feedback, but I refused to talk about it. I told her that it is something I will have to deal with, and I will be over it again by the following day. True as nuts. Sunday I woke up mentally energised and happy. Fuck. I have ADD. I have had to deal with it up to now. Comparing to many other people with ADD, I am actually High Functioning. So, henceforth I will have to deal with it again. BASTA! I co-instigated this whole process with SARS, I got a result, and Boo-Hoo, I have a mental disability. Guess what, It could have been worse. I could have been short or have ugly feet or something. I am tall and I have beautifully high-arched narrow feet. In the meanwhile, I thought I had a heart cramp. I had it checked out by a cardiologist, who had me running attached to wires and a computer on a treadmill. He kept on increasing the incline and speed, until it felt as if I am sprinting up Mount Aux Sources. I thought that this Doctor had better do something about his BO, but realised after a while that I am smelling my profusely sweating self. He did a sonar as well after which he declared my heart perfectly fit and healthy. He cautioned about stress and told me to exercise. I am now yet again a member of Virgin Active. I’ll start next week. Get this exam past me again first. Work is so hectic. I am involved in 3 major projects simultaneously.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Instant Happiness – Keeping the Winter Blues Away

This has been a particularly cold winter in Sunny SA. I tend to get the winter blues really bad, but here is a list of things which provides me, J. Hardspear de la Azotea with instant happiness: 1. 1 drop Patchouli- and 3 drops Geranium essential oils in a hot steaming bath. Smells a bit girly, but believe me – it picks you up instantly; 2. A roaring fireplace; 3. Being invited for Sunday Lunch (Especially if it is for a good stew/potjie or Traditional Sunday Roast); 4. A one hit wonder song you haven’t heard in ages, playing on the radio when you are stuck in traffic. (eg. In the Shadows by the Rassmus or All the things she said by t.A.T.u.); 5. A MacDonalds Breakfast Mega McMuffin Meal (No Egg) with xtra hashbrown OJ AND COFFEE on your way to work; 6. Everytime little Image says “Pappa”; 7. Blogging; 8. On the exception that someone sends you e-mail or sms jokes that are actually REALLY funny; 9. Being lucky enough to spend a few days on the Natal Coast, the Lowvelt, Limpopo Province or anywhere warmer and less polluted than Gauteng; 10. The first green leaves and blossoms of spring. Go on! Invite someone you haven’t seen in a long while for a good hearty Sunday Lunch, build a big fire and get yourself some MacD’s on your way to work!