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Idiocracy – the dumbing down of the English language

This is not a rant about people’s use of incorrect spelling or grammar or that dreaded apostrophe – your and you’re – I really don’t care anymore. Some people just choose to be stupid and who am I to judge. Instead I am always amazed at how people do not use ‘big’ English words anymore. I know that sometimes when I speak and use a ‘big’ word I am met with blank stares. I think the joy of using the English language has left  the building for most people. Below is a list of words that I have used in the past month – don’t even try to wonder about the context of my conversations.

Necrophilia – sexual attraction for or sexual intercourse with dead bodies

Ornithology – a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds

Quantify – to determine or express the quantity of something

Derelict – neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent

Evoke –  to summon or call forth, to call to mind by naming, citing,

Emphatic – 1. uttered, or to be uttered, with emphasis; strongly expressive. 2. using emphasis in speech or action. 3. forceful; insistent.

So you see, a plethora of words yet not often used. So release the inner geek and don’t be afraid to use those ‘big’ words.

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Writing

How WordPress tricks you into thinking you have more readers

A while back, like a few months ago I went from having 80 readers to 380 readers. So of course I was like yowzer!! Then I thought, uh? That’s interesting why didn’t I get a notification about these lovely 300 readers that started following my blog in one day. Also my daily stats remained pretty much unchanged. How is that possible? Did these people just click follow without checking out a single post? Like seriously who does that? After a bit more investigating I realised that all WordPress did was add my Facebook friends to my blog followers. That’s not right. I mean that’s not really a true reflection of the amount of people who my drivel. I obviously have no clue how to edit my settings so that it only shows my actual subscribed readers. Besides do I really want to do that? At least this way you guys will think that there are close to 400 people reading my blog. Suck it losers.

Then there was also the day I thought I got freshly pressed. My stats just went ape-shit and I got over 2000 views in a span of a few hours. That is unprecedented. That shit just does not happen in my world. When it got close to 3000 I thought I should stop by the freshly pressed page, Nada! Of course I wasn’t there and of course I wasn’t notified that I was freshly pressed, because duh I wasn’t. So I checked which post it was that was driving all this traffic to my blog, a most disappointing discovery. It turned out to be a post I did on Joe Manganiello who is a plays a werewolf in the tv series Trueblood.  So why all the hoopla now about a post I did last year? It appears he is in Channing Tatum’s new film called Magic Mike and it’s about male strippers.

Well there you go and here I thought it would be because of my amazing writing ability. Alas women just like looking at images of really well-built, good-looking half-naked men. No mystery there.

 

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travel

Visa hurdles should be an Olympic sport

I guess I also need to write the obligatory Olympics reference blog post, so here it is, albeit in a round about way and it will of course have nothing to do with sports.

In Thailand there are two main school holidays in the year:

  • October: one month, starting from around 1 October until 31 October
  • March/April: two months starting from approximately the beginning of March until the end of April.

This means that I will have some time to kill when I won’t be busy teaching – hello travel!

I had it all planned out actually – 2 glorious months in Italy, living with an Italian host family, eating Italian food, practising the language I have been learning for the past 2 years with a captive audience. La dolce vita, ad nauseam. So I emailed the agency and they replied and advised that the visa procedure is too complicated if you’re not a citizen of the following countries:  the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand. Shit! Shit! Shit! There goes that plan. I will just have to settle for a normal holiday in Italy at some stage in the future.

The thing is I really wanted to immerse myself into a different culture and this bit of bad news did not deter me. So I emailed back and asked if Jordan or Turkey would be viable options for a South African citizen for the conversation corps program. Jordan is also a complicated no go but Turkey would be possible as long as I am not planning on staying for longer than 3 months. All of this is making me wonder why it is so hard for the rest of the world to participate in these volunteer programs. So for now my 2 month cultural exchange is on hold and I will instead focus on Thailand which I am going to anyway.

However, sometimes I do wonder if the world really knows where South African is, I’m hoping the 2010 Soccer World shed some light on us. We are so hidden away and so far down south that this poor Canadian guy, whom I met whilst on holiday, thought South Africa is in Nigeria. Or people have this vague notion that it is somewhere in the South of Africa, not realising South Africa is a country all on its own. Maybe I should just stick to visa-free destinations for South Africans and by that I mean countries where you receive your visa stamp upon arrival and no jumping through hoops required. I found this interesting article online a while ago that gives South African citizens destination ideas of ‘visa-free’ countries. I can work my way through these countries instead before trying to figure out how to work around the 90 day Schengen Visa, so not all hope is lost.

For now I am literally counting down the days with just a few more months to go before I leave and I decided I’ll just spend March and April in Thailand and enjoy the Songkran festival which is apparently epic water fights of note.

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Life, travel

The curious case of human beings

Human beings. We really are strange creatures. I say this because I am amazed at some of the responses I have received about leaving to go and work overseas. Here are some of the responses I have received that have surprised me.

“Why would you give up a permanent job with benefits at a good company?”

I do understand in these tough economic times one must hold onto good jobs but at what cost? Besides no job is really secure if my company should decide to downsize and retrench my department then there is nothing I can do about that. I will be leaving my company on good terms and would be able to apply for a job here again should I decide to return.

“Isn’t it dangerous to go there?”

This one really bugs me because as amazing as South Africa is it is not always the safest and one always has to be cautious. So it stands to reason I would be cautious no matter where I am or go. I would never go walking alone down a dark alley at 2am, that’s just a no-brainer.

“You’re a female. Are you going to travel alone?”

Solo female travellers are more common than you think and there is one in particular who has inspired me. Read more AdventurousKate here.

“You must have a lot of money to be able to go overseas.”

This one is almost offensive. I take the bus to work and no longer have a car by choice. I don’t need to worry about car payments, insurance, maintenance or petrol. I have moved in with a family member where I live practically rent free but I have to share the room and space with others. I do not go out for supper or even coffee with friends much because I have a goal I am working towards. These are some of the sacrifices I am making. My patience and preparation is going to pay off in the long run.

“What if you don’t like it/what if it doesn’t work out?”

Firstly this type of negative thinking does not even enter my mind. I do understand that I need to prepared for this which is why months of planning and preparations has gone into this decision. If things do not work out then all I do is come back home but not before spending 6 months travelling South East Asia.

“I wish I could also just go overseas and travel.”

Anyone can do what I am going to do. Thousands have done it before me and thousands will do it after me. It’s all about priorities. Many people’s priorities are to climb a career ladder, start a family or buy a house then it stands to reason you will do everything in your power to achieve just that.

“You’re single and don’t have children so of course you can travel.”

I read a lot of travel blogs and there are lots of people who travel with their children and do all their work online. Technology has made this possible. Again it’s all about priorities. You have to ask yourself what is important to you and what are you prepared to do about it.

“Why would you want to leave Cape Town?”

I love my city and I love my country and can’t really imagine myself living anywhere else but this world is big and needs to be explored. I just feel that it is something that I need to do now and came across this quote this week that I felt was appropriate: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett.

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