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Nelson Mandela – Released February 11, 2010

Posted by baldricman in News.
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Today marks the day, 20 years ago, that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, most of which was spent at Robben Island. Now there are probably a thousand articles and blogs describing this, and I don’t feel up to the challenge of trying to match the depth of knowledge and research and journalistic skill that is out there today, so I thought I’d just share a few of the things I’ve come across already.

Firstly, while listening to the radio on the way in, the presenters played a short montage of various interviews and old archived radio/TV broadcasts, from around the time of  Mandela’s release, and all the unrest before and after. After some quick googling, I came across http://www.mandelahistory.org/, and from there found NPR’s “Remembering Nelson Mandela’s Pivotal Moment”, which contains some of these excellent and very, very interesting audio montages. You’ll hear Mandela himself, Dr Verwoed, Winnie Mandela in a telephone interview (while under house arrest), live recordings of police dispersing riots, and numerous other, very familiar voices. A lot of work as clearly gone into these, and I highly recommend you fire them up (they are streamed), and listen to them while you’re at your desk. I find it’s amazing how much of the detailed memories during that time come flooding back, with a little reminding.

Also, check out Madiba’s Release Remembered, and perhaps most vivid of all, IOL’s gallery here.

Only free men can negotiate; prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.

– Refusing to bargain for freedom after 21 years in prison, as quoted in TIME (25 February 1985)

My Preciousssss – 2010 Ticketsess February 4, 2010

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man, News, Sport.
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Yes!! I won, I won! A little while ago I applied for World Cup 2010 tickets to several games here in Cape Town, and this morning I checked my ticket application status (for the umpteenth time, let me tell you), and lo and behold, this is what greets my tired eyes:

Those little green ticks, dear friends, mean “Congratulations Awesome-Person, you have successfully applied for tickets!”

So in a little over 126-odd days, I’ll be heading off to the Green Point Stadium to watch Uruguay thump France! Yeah!!

Food Court Musical January 25, 2010

Posted by baldricman in General, VOTD.
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Just came across this earlier this morning, and thought it was pretty cool. This bunch, Improv Everywhere, have a couple of very cool videos of their work, which you can check out on their website. The basic concept seems very similar (to me at least) to that of the Flash Mob. Anyway, it’s really best if you watch the video and check out their site. (And, Flash Mobs have been successfully executed right here in Cape Town, several times – see http://www.myvideo.co.za/video/flash-mob-cape-town and http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4134287978 for more info).

Anyway, to the video! This is very cool (although not exactly “improv”), but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it…

Baldric-Man’s Traffic Circles for Dummies January 21, 2010

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man.
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Aaargh! I can’t take it any longer! After years of encounters of the traffic-circle kind, I may have finally snapped. I’m just so completely and utterly sick of having to approach and negotiate traffic circles, while trying to follow the *real* rules of the road, and somehow incorporate the idiotic, sheep-like current trends that seem to govern (just about) every other driver’s demented usage of “roundabouts” and “mini-circles”.

Today, on my way home, I had yet another run in with some twit, who managed to exhibit tendencies of nervousness, aggressiveness, and lack-of-foresighted-ness (forgive me, I’m ranting), all in the space of about 15 seconds. I won’t go into the details: you all probably know exactly what happened.

So please consider this a public service announcement. I am now going to lay down the very-uncomplicated rules of traffic circles in one easy page for my intelligent readers to distribute amongst their less fortunate friends.

Herewith, Baldric-Man’s Traffic Circles for Dummies (more…)

Two Oceans Aquarium January 17, 2010

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man, General.
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Cape Town: I’ve realised that, when you find yourself with a day completely free of chores, duties, outstanding work, even plans with friends, there are few cities better to be stuck in. Yesterday, with it’s marvelous weather, was one such day for Wifey and I, so I decided to treat her to a trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium, situated at the Cape Town V&A Waterfront.

It’s an expensive outing, make no mistake – as lowly Adults we had to pay R88 each, even though we’re South African (which is a rant for another day :) ), but we quickly forgot about that once we were inside. We spent about an hour and a half in the aquarium, and saw things such as the Giant Spider Crab tank, the “Nemo” exhibit (clown fish, always a hit with the kids), the Kelp Forest (pic below) which is just beautiful, and of course the Predator Exhibit, where we were lucky enough to see feeding time. (You can also feed the sharks, by getting in the tank with them, scuba-style, no cage. And you have to pay for this…..?) The aquarium also has two galleries to contrast the sea life in the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, with helpful identifier cards next to each window, to help find the little critters (and learn a little interesting fact about them too).

The aquarium, however, doesn’t limit itself to sea-bound creatures. There is quite a range of birdlife (including the ever popular penguins), and a great River Meander exhibit, which includes fresh water creatures and describes a river’s journey. Also, not to be missed, is the new “Frogs Beyond the Pond” gallery, which has been very carefully and beautifully constructed, with sections making you feel about as big as a frog as you wander through, great lilies and garden taps looming above you.

Anyway, if you have kids, you definitely want to take them there – Wifey and I quite enjoyed watching the kids, some of whom were completely beside themselves with excitement, and the rest completely enchanted and wide-eyed. And if you don’t have kids, you might just find yourself feeling like one anyway…

Bohemian Rhapsody – by the Muppets January 15, 2010

Posted by baldricman in music, VOTD.
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Bohemian Rhapsody, by the Muppets! Just found this old post on Utter Insanity, and I’m sure many of you have seen it, but it was new to me, so perhaps I’m not the only one…

Enjoy!

POTD: Pie January 14, 2010

Posted by baldricman in General, POTD.
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Wifey and I had 2 good friends over the other night for dinner. These friends are vegetarian, (whereas Wifey and I are not), but it meant we got to make something we’d never tried before. (When I say “we”, I mean 80% Wifey, 20% me)

So we made a Chickpea and Courgette Pie. It had some other stuff in it too (like a lot of Basmati rice, of all things), but the main point of interest was that it was made using phyllo (filo) pastry, in a spring-form pan. Anyway, the meal was a success, I thought, and it was great to try out something we wouldn’t ordinarily have eaten.

Here are one or two pics of the masterpiece, in the making:

Phyllo Pastry Preparation

Mmm, Filled with Filling!

The Urban Astronomer January 11, 2010

Posted by baldricman in astronomy, News.
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The more observant among you may have noticed a very recent addition to my blogroll, of The Urban Astronomer, the recently birthed brainchild of Allen, my older brother.

For as long as I can remember, Allen has been passionate about everything in the night sky (except perhaps clouds), and his enthusiasm certainly rubbed off over his younger two brothers. But now, he finds himself in deepest, brightest suburbia, with little time for astronomy… But he says:

How to keep the passion alive in a suburban backyard, with no telescope, trees blotting out most of the sky, and bright security lights drowning out the stars?  Check my updates regularly and find out how I do it!

Now I know I may be biased, but I have to say, I’ve found the site and its articles very interesting, as well as quick and easy to read (perfect for at-your-desk browsing). It is one of the most consistent and engaging sites on the topic I have seen, and it is written in a manner that is completely non-threatening to the amateur or aspiring astronomer, no matter how “un-scientific” they may feel. And yet, (and this is my favourite part) you’ll be hard-pressed to find any bias, nor any irresponsible over-simplification and outdated information that most sites (and even a few books) are just too lazy to explain properly, verify, or update with new theories or research.

But seriously, take a look at it, bookmark it, whatever, if you’re even the least interested in science, astronomy, or the universe.

Cape Town to KwaZulu-Natal Road Trip: Highlights January 11, 2010

Posted by baldricman in General.
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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you! A little late, I know, but seeing as this is my first post of 2010, and indeed my first in nearly 2 months, everything is a little late anyway. So this post might get a tad long…

My best (and yet insufficient) excuse for the lack of reading material for you, is that Wifey and I were visiting my family in Natal. And this time, to spice things up, we decided to retrace our steps, as it were, in another road trip. We drove up 2 years ago (I think it was), and enjoyed it just as much this time, as we did then.

We left on the 17th of December, close to sunrise, and headed out on to the N1 (for as short a spell as possible). When driving any real distance, our philosophy has for a long time been to avoid major routes (most notably the N1 and N2), and try to stick to the good quality back roads, as far as possible. In doing so, we enjoy near stress-free driving due to the almost complete lack of traffic, speed cameras, tolls, and roadblocks. But perhaps best of all, we get to explore and experience certain timeless parts of South Africa such as those Karoo towns that, much like their specialty apricots, peaches, and figs, seem to be drenched and preserved in syrups of unassuming heritage.

I am honestly quite sad that it took so long for me to begin to appreciate the astounding beauty of certain parts of South Africa (more…)

Cape Town to KwaZulu-Natal Roadtrip: The Route January 11, 2010

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man, General.
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So Wifey and I got back from our epic roadtrip from Cape Town to Howick a few days ago, which you can read about here. I said I’d detail the route for anyone interested in the “proper” way to go across the country, so, here it is.

To summarise our route, for anyone planning a similar trip, you start out on the N1 from Cape Town, and after going through the engineering marvel that is the Huguenot Tunnel, turn off onto the R60 at Worcester, heading through Robertson, then Ashton, and Montagu, at which point you’re on the R62 . (Route 62, as it’s known, is a must-drive for any trip heading vaguely West-ish. Trust me on this :) ) (more…)

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