My year at Rhodes

My first year at Rhodes was honestly, the best year of my life. From sport to friends to a new environment, it was amazing. And thinking back I actually miss it as we start t head into exams.

The experiences that I have had are difficult to find anywhere else. Where else can you go out, get drunk and walk home in South Africa, without being mugged, kidnapped or killed by drunken drivers.

The people at Rhodes are down to earth, simple folk. There are here to study, socialise and just plainly have a good time.

There is no other university that I know of that has this kind of student life. Why would people want to study in a big town and live at home when there are places like Rhodes?

University is a time to get out of the house, meet new life-long friends and have the time of your life, where you do not worry about the things that appear when you are an adult.

Ok, so before I get too carried away, and this is the last post I promise, I just want to say thanks to everyone, the friends I have made and especially to the people who were on those random adventures.

Let’s make next year a million times better.

Brad

Drunken experience

OK I lied. I have something more to say.

Since everyone is speaking on drunken experiences, I thought I would shed some light on some of mine.

It all started when I turned 18. It was a night of straw rum (what ever that stuff is but I am pretty sure you can run a car on the stuff), and beer. This as it can easily be predicted was not a good idea and having a big place to explore like Monte Casino did not help this predicament.

I won 250 bucks though. That was before I was thrown out. The next morning was hockey tour and I have never been in so much pain in my life. My coaches knew about it so they were not helping and I can honestly say I played some of the best hockey of my life.

Don’t ask how but I had so much energy. Scored three goals and played the best game of my life. Obviously beer and straw rum are a good idea.

Ok I lied again, don’t ever do it. I did, and like I said earlier I have never been in so much pain. But I thought it would go away when I get on the track.

Let’s just say I never had the best race of my life and had to clean my helmet a couple times.

Brad

Life long friends

This is my last post I need to make tonight and I actually have nothing to talk about. So I am going to tell you a bit of a story.

I grew up in the overrated, over done and unique community on Johannesburg. I am not proud of this but what can I do, it is not my fault.

Luckily though there are places to escape and one of those escapes involved one of the wildest motorbike rides I have ever done. This ride however, made a life long friendship.

It all started with my bike been temperamental and refusing to start. After 200 kicks, a 2 litre bottle of coke (and Brandy), coupled with many pushes down the road we got the beast started.

This was only the start though because half way through the ride I drowned it in a small puddle about as big as a medium sized toaster. This then led to some more kicking, screaming, throwing rocks and been down right frustrated. So about a million kicks later, a 2 litre coke (kindly donated) and a girl I got the bike started.

Yup I said it a girl. My mates were over me and decided to pushed off and a girl came past and decided to help. I don't know what she did but that bike roared into life. She then pushed off (after I got her number) and I proceeded to get lost.

Although everything was going wrong it was decided that I needed more punishment. It started raining and could see what the hell was going on. I then proceeded to run out fuel.

in the distance though, a girl appeared. It was the same one and was driving home when she saw me. She gave me some fuel and I made it home, much later.

OK, so I know this is a bit random but I just wanted to share the strange and weird way we sometimes make life-long friends.

Brad

Getting lost in PA

Ok so you are in a new town, it is training for Boat Race (this is a different story I promise) and you are exhausted. A phone call comes through from the women’s crew. They want to have supper with us. So we jump to the opportunity because it means no dishes. As we have no idea where they are, we ask for directions.


"Turn right at the KFC" (simple enough), "Then turn left and it is the first house on the right." Ok, so these are simple directions, can't be too hard. So we thought!


Firstly, turning right at the KFC meant we would end up in the X-Ray department of the hospital. Turning left meant we would end up in the Kowie.


We drove on, got lost, found a field (which meant having to take that 4x4 we were in for a little off-roading), found that dentist everyone was talking about. We also found an old lady, a restaurant named Beavers and a few plastic bags. We were lost so we decided to phone again.


"Oh you silly people I meant the other KFC." None of them thought to tell us of that "other KFC."


Anyway this looks like a pointless story, but that night was the most fun I have had in a while. Exploring the back streets of Port Alfred, finding random fields and just having a good laugh made the whole trip the best part of camp.


I want to do it again. But this time I am going to find mountain range to get lost in.


Chow


Brad

Boat races


If you are a Rhodes student, you probably know of Boat Race. So for those of you who don’t go to varsity or are not from South Africa here’s an explanation.

It is the biggest regatta in the universities rowing year. (For those who do not know what rowing is here is an explanation, again. Basically eight guys in spandex jump into a boat that can barely float because it is so unbalanced, and race from one point on a river to another, backwards. It’s stupid I know, but can be quite fun.) Anyway this race is when the whole of Rhodes comes out in full force. Standing on the sides of the river sit the purple people. They completely overpower any other university and take all the good seats.

But I can honestly say there is nothing better then having people scream their lungs out for you the whole way down the course. One of the key aspects of rowing is that it is hard (yup I did it). Wait, sorry wrong word, I meant stupidly hard. You start a race and 10 strokes later your arms have disowned you, your legs are on fire and you think you have rowed across the Atlantic when you look up and see the 500m sign. It is really depressing.

After 2kms though, you can start to hear the screams, you see the people jumping and the cars chasing. Suddenly a life force enters you and gives you the most unbelievable strength. The hooters and purple people is why Rhodes has had so many achievements in the past, and I just want to say thanks for the support.

It made me feel like a professional sportsman for once.

Ok, enough being emo.

Check ya soon.

Brad

The final trip to the Rat

Hey all!

I cannot wait for that final trip to the rat. That last trip you make after your final exam, to knock a couple back for all the stress you've been under for weeks, and then to just chill and have a beer with your friends. There is no greater feeling than the feeling of accomplishment. And pass or fail, you accomplish exams by just emerging out of them alive. Exams really can kill you. You could say that exams are the Voldemort of what this blog stands for. It is this blog's eternal enemy, because it seeks (and generally succeeds) in taking the fun out of life. And if you take the fun out of life, then there is no point living... (write that down).

Fortunately, the exams only last a short while. And they are followed by a seemingly endless holiday. Exams also gives you things to look forward to. I can feel the moisture of that cold Hansa Marzen Gold draught right now. I can see myself sitting at the bar with my mates who just survived the English exam, toasting to having one crazy night that night. I will be a new me - you will see - and there will only be great things to look forward to.

The principle thing to look forward to is generally universal: the beach. Yeah, baby! There is just something about the beach that everyone loves. For the guys, its the girls in bikini's, and the sea itself. For the girls, its watching the guys showing off their six packs, and enjoying the social setting. I, for one, also cannot wait to go paddle-skiing. For those of you who don't know, it is a small canoe which you surf waves on. It is something I love, and I can't wait to do it. I guess we all have that something we can't wait to get back to.




Good luck with the exams. Never forget to not get too serious and stressed out.

Cheers

Here's something we all see and hear about: hooking up with a random girl or guy in Union. It has happened to many of us, and our numbers are increasing. I know someone who does it practically everytime he goes to the Union.

I think it's great. There's nothing like the darkness on the Union dancefloor, the beating music, and the false pretence that no one is watching you ; that you are in your own little world. There is something exciting about it, something that gets your adrenaline pumping, something that gives you a feeling of highness - and no, not because of the substances you may or may not have had access to prior to Union. You also don't know who this gal is, and what's going to happen next. You're just in the moment, without any worries or burdens, enjoying life as it is supposed to be enjoyed.

But then a friend of mine asked a question that I feel is quite important. Where has the romance gone? Oh no, she was not referring to the date which ends with a view from the car overlooking the city, and the roses, background music, and champagne. Rather she was referring to the biggest problem of random hook-ups: it's randomness. What happened to the guy who was crazy about a girl, tellling her about his feelings, and THEN hooking up? What happened to the guy doing everything he can to win this girl over, and triumphing eventually in one epic, unforgettable night? What of the guy who has tried and tried to get as close to this girl, who may or may not be interested in him, and who is forced to pull something out of the bag that puts colour in her cheeks and timidity in her glance? Random hook-ups miss out on that. In a way, it is actually cheating. People are perhaps too impatient for that boy/girl to come running after them. The only thing on their mind is getting some action, no matter the personality or character of the people they are gunning.

I told my friend that I believe this is happening, but we just don't see it. We take it for random hook-ups, when in actual fact that guy had been thinking of the girl for ages and now he had summed up the courage to tell her how he felt. Maybe that guy is still out there, waiting for his chance to tell the girl of his dreams that he's the guy for her. Maybe...

Either way, there is a definate magic in Union. Things just happen there. And sometimes it is really, really magical.

The Road Less Travelled

Hey!

I have to talk about this. It is one of the most spectacular things at Rhodes. After an awesome jol at the Union (sorry, excuse me, the Bantu Steve Biko), there is nothing better to take your mind off the long walk to Rat. Alternatively, after a most probably dull jol at friars, there is nothing better than something to warm the spirit, and get the adrenalin going once more.

What I refer to is what we have come to call 'The Road Less Travelled". It is a road travelled by many a generation of Rhodents, but only a few know of it's existence. This may be because it has a secret entrance. I still don't really know where the entrance. It's something like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter. When you need it, it appears. When you are not so keen, you can't find the blasted entrance anywhere! I know it is somewhere by the Politics Department, or by Prince Alfred residence. Either way, when you are walking back from the Union to the rat, just turn left somewhere - anyway.

Okay, I will take you through the route now. First, of all, watch out for the guards. Those guards patrol exactly where you are looking to go, and you have to pull a James Bond to avoid him. Either get a friend to distract him. Maybe throw a rock to draw his attention. Or maybe say, "hey, look over there" to distract him, then sprint like hell - I don't know, think of something better then! Next, you have to scale the wall. Beware! If you turned too early, then you may be faced with a rapidly detiorating wall. You could fall backwards as you're trying to clumber up (been there, done that). Ok, over the wall and through the buildings. Watchout that no one is standing around there (these are houses afterall). Ok, that done, you have another wall to clamber. But you must climb the wall just to the left of the middle. That way, you land on a pile of hay the other side. Pull an awesome Jason Bourne action roll, and carry on. Then the final wall is up. There is no cheating here. Although it is a rather large wall, you may not, MAY NOT, use the quick and easy step to the side. That is not allowed. You must run at it and make a jump - just like Michael Jordan going in for a dunk.

Once more, beware!! The guards are often waiting the other side of this wall (when you're on top of the wall you'll be able to see Debonairs). Once when I did it, there was a guard waiting directly below us. We waited five minutes to see if he would leave. He didn't. So we decided to jump all a once and rush past him - he would never have been able to catch us. I stole his hat as I ran past (ok, I'm kidding - but I wanted to so badly).

So that's the road less travelled. Go for glory, and travel its treacherous path!

Over and out

Studying in the library

Today I tried out studying in the library. Everyone has been telling me that studying in the library is so much fun because you get loads of work done. They say there aren't the distractions that cruelly tempt you away from your studies. I thought it was a good idea to try it out...

I failed dismally...

My friend, who is not such a hard worker himself, said I was banned from coming to the library with him. He said I was useless, because I didn't work at all which prevented him from studying. He said never before had his study session been so raucous.
Well... I tend to agree with him. I'm never studying in the library again!!

Thing is, there is just so much that is interesting. Yes, my laptop in my room often distracts me. But if I close it then its ok. But in the library, you have absolutely no control over your distractions. There are peple walking in and out, and you see friends everywhere. It's the people thats the biggest distraction! There are good-looking people, not so good-looking people, tall people, short people, people with funky hairstyles, people who are introverts, people who are loud and abnoxious; and people who are just total write-offs that you see at the rat every night! And then you watch these people as they try to study. Some read, some highlight, some make notes, some stare vacantly into space as if waiting for Godot to arrive. Then you start wondering about what subjects they are studying, what year they are in, and if they are just trying to pass or actually trying to get marks. You wonder how long they have been there.

So you see, there is an infinite number of distractions. You can't focus. I began writing the f**** drinking game down on a paper, made it into a paper aeroplane, and flew it around the room to all my mates who laughed and filled it in. Everything went downhill from there and I just gave up.

So I've learnt my lesson. Never again. My friends have banned me from going with them anyway. So I'd rather study in my room, so I can get distracted by our AWESOME blog!

Cheers!

Comment on an opinion piece

Ok, I do agree with you about people not taking much of an interest in voting these days, especially with the country going through a bit of a wobble. But I’m of the opinion that the people who want to vote, and who actually care about the outcome of the elections and who know a little more about politics than the average chimpanzee, should vote.

I would feel a lot better about the outcome of any elections if I knew that the people who voted felt strongly about their choices than those who did it “just because they had to”. Would these people actually help the voting situation in anyway? People who made the effort to register to vote obviously want their voices heard, and they should be.

To be fair, I think the average student feels like their voice won’t be heard, it just seems like too much of a pipe dream to them. So if you didn’t see any people registering it’s probably because of this and it is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. But you have generalized because there are people out there who actually care!
Some people have valid reasons for not voting, that doesn’t mean they blatantly ignored the registering booths.
http://dysfunkshunl.blogspot.com/2008/10/your-vote-is-your-voice-do-not-forsake.html

This was by far the most unique comic! The way you guys used the potatoes to portray the different characters was really clever, and they were clearly defined characters by the Proppian standards! I liked the way you stereotyped them so it was easy for the reader to understand who they represented. You guys put a lot of effort into the design of the whole comic and the pictures were carefully chosen.
At times it feels like it doesn’t flow, you can clearly see Todorov’s theory of the disruption, the attempts to fix it and then the equilibrium at the end, but you had to work your way through the comic to find out.
All in all, it is very good and I like the fact that you have raised certain issues about stereotyping. You leave a positive message in the end with the potato heroes winning the social battle!


Whoever said that Journalism was the easiest subject on campus has obviously never had the pleasure of attempting the course, or for that matter, one of the many assignments that are due on a regular basis. Rhodes is renowned for its
Journalism department and every year produces top class graduates who go out into the world with a degree they have worked hard for; one that will be recognized all over South Africa and possibly the world. These graduates have gone through a vigorous four years of grueling tests and assignments that demand one hundred percent of dedication to their work, this also means cutting back on a healthy amount of sleep to meet those ever so charming deadlines. You wouldn’t be far off in thinking that Journalism and Media Studies is a type of mini boot camp that produces some of the next greatest writers in South Africa, disciplined in their art and committed to exceeding every expectation. (Ninja style).

Being a first year Journalist I can confidently say that Journalism will test you mentally, physically and emotionally but at the end of the day will leave you with a new sense of accomplishment. The tasks set for us budding young journalists are no shy feat, it’s not everyday that you walk into a lecture and are taught how to interview someone, it may sound simple but to be a professional journalist there is not a single detail that is left unturned. Journalism is not simply about reading out of a textbook and memorizing a list of facts, it’s about applying your own experiences in a practical and theoretical way. No one seems to understand that we can never go into an exam feeling confident if we have not succeeded in the practical side of the year, doing interviews, joining one of the student newspapers or creating your own blog. These are all important factors in preparing us for a variety of questions that we will have to answer personally and not regurgitate from a text book. (a la BCom).

If you ever speak to one of the lucky few students who do make it into the next years of Journalism you will find that they know the department inside out and back to front. The amount of work keeps them holed up in the Journalism department for hours and more likely even days on end, only coming out for a breath of fresh air and a drink at the Rat. The JMS building becomes their second bedroom and there is a constant stream of people in and out of the building at odd hours, one of the many joys of the incessant work load that demands you give up a night with friends for a television assignment due next week. It surprises me when people say that they would like to take Journalism as an arbitrary subject because they always see the students doing “fun and creative” assignments. Admittedly there are some really exciting assignments but its all fun and games to those on the outside because they don’t understand the pressure of these assignments; nothing can be taken light heartedly in Journalism, not with the looming application to get into the next year. Everything counts, its not just enough to pass and hand in essays for DP requirements, if it’s not brilliant then you don’t stand out from the crowd.

Being a journalist is not easy, it’s a tough industry with no mercy and standards that exceed our expectations, and so with this in mind we have to understand how they are “created”. Rhodes offers a tough course that is not advisable for the weak minded or hearted, but in the end releases some fine examples of future journalists into the world. From this we can clearly see that Journalism is definitely not the easiest subject on campus, and borders more on a boot camp style of teaching and learning.

The Rat - it's evil!

I have figured it out! I'm a genius!

I have figured out the source of all Rhodes student problems. It is simply The Rat! It must have some sinister spirit that is attempting to take over the world, because its evilness has imprisoned us all whether we like or not. What I mean to say is, The Rat and Parrot has become the ground on which we stand, the air in which we breath. It is the sun that burns us, the bus that transports us, the wooden spoon that slaps us, the food that sustains us, the water that revitalizes us (ok I'll stop the lame metaphors now).

Quite simply, The Rat is everything! Where would we be without the rat? Right now tuts from all different departments from all different years are rendezvousing at the Rat for their last session? Why would we do this? It's less than two weeks before exams - what on earth could compel us to go drinking now? I'll tell you why. It's the damn Rat and Parrot that's why! It's evil. It draws us in like a moth to the flame.

When we go out on the busy nights on Wednesday or Friday, where do most of us end up despite of the rock solid knowledge that it will be too packed to even breath and there is really no point going. We end up in a queue for who knows how long. When we eventually get up the stairs, we spend some time on the balcony, and then decide we're over rat and its time for Friars. So down the stairs we go, standing in a queue for who knows how long (again!!!).

My point, ultimately, is that there is a Rat and Parrot spirit in all of us, that is guiding is us when we go out, speaking to us during lectures, tormeting us with visions of a cold, oh so sweet cold, Hansa draughts. Beware all! It is out to get us all!

Hell I love the Rat!!

G’Town greatness

Yup we are stuck here. Stuck in this world we dub G’Town for most of the year. Yet, we are stuck in a town like no other. This is one of the few towns where the varsity actually runs the town economics. But people still complain that it is boring and small. OK, take a step back. Boring? How can this town be boring? It is full of people our age, people who relate to our behaviour because they were students, and it seems the locals are immune to us. We do not have police coming, for no good reason, to raid our bars. We do not have underage age “pi pi jollers”, like in Joburg, who think they are so naughty and cool drinking under age. The price to go out does not flatten the money you got from a rich deceased relative and Rhodes has one of the most beautiful settings around. Random I will agree. I think the settlers just got over exploring, but it is still situated in an area far away from the traffic, rush and pollution. OK, the weather is a bit funky, but that just makes it more fun. I don’t know, maybe coming from Joburg has made me into this person who likes this sort of life. But, when you hear stories of people sitting in traffic for three hours, never playing sport because it is so far away, never making life-long mates cause they live 10kms away and its a two hour drive, you start to appreciate our little, random and a slow town. I could honestly think of nothing better.

Sweet

Brad

I love alcohol!


Yes I do!

I love alcohol!

Yes I do!

I'm going to go out drinking! I love you Kyle! Have fun doing your dumb little comment!

I wonder what I should drink tonight? Any ideas?

Facking little sexist: Bungee My Life: Some dumb shit about first year relationships and sex.

Hi Starfish!

You're touching on something that I know means to a lot of people, but let's be honest here: you're letting your experiences overflow into your perceptions of other people, and you are making quite a few really offensive generalisations.

Firstly, your hypothesis that sex is the "only" thing that keeps first year relationships together is completely preposterous. Sexual attraction is an integral part of any relationship, yes, but you have to be a fricking tool to think that first years think that "sex is the glue that can fix any broken relationship." I've been in a relationship all of this year, and sex does not fix anything. If anything, sex only exacerbates emotional problems in relationships, and I am happy to see that you acknowledge that at the end of your post. Relationships that are held together by sex do not last long, and I have friends with divorced parents who can vouch for that.

You also state that "out of the hundreds of couples that existed at the beginning of the year only a handful remain" now. Well dude, what do you expect? Most relationships don't last longer than a few months, or a few dates. That is, unfortunately, the nature of relationships (sexual or non-sexual) in the Western world. To think that all of the relationships that started at the beginning of the year would still be around now is naïve to the n-th degree.

Finally, you say that what hurts you most is that it is often the girl is the heartbroken party: "Seemingly to a girl sex is about commitment but to a guy it’s all about the here and now." What kind of sexism are you spouting here? Women are sexual creatures too, they lust, they get horny, so it's ridiculous to say that all women believe sex to be about commitment all of the time. Conversely, many men, myself included, believe sex to be a huge act of commitment on their part, and to infer otherwise is hugely offensive to all men. Also, what about homosexual relationships? If two men initiate a relationship, are they not capable of expressing commitment to one another, or are they just doomed to fornicate "in the here and now"?

I personally agree with your saying that one shouldn't get into a relationship unless there is a mutual benefit and understanding between the two parties. The reasons for your decision, however, are highly stereotypical, incorrect and offensive to both men and women. Your post is a product of misguided attempts to express emotional and sexual frustration, and just comes off as ill-reasoned and, quite frankly, immature.

Nich Mulgrew
http://www.takinglifeseriously.blogspot.com


Loves and happiness.

A comment on the Comments

Now really! There comes a time when you actually want to start taking your lecturers', your parents' and the angel-on-your-shoulder's advice to begin studying. In all siriusness and seriousity, I really do want to pass this year. The time has come to work, and I am willing to do so because I just want to get exams over and done with so I can enjoy the holidays.

But hell, when you get bombarded with assignments and other small infintely irritating pieces of work to hand in, there is just absolutely no time to begin studying. There is loads of reading to do (I've got to read a book called Jane Eyre that was written in a century when handle-bar moustaches were in fashion), and I've got to try make some sort of sense of satan's whim: political philosophy. This is actually just the study of circles. You will never find the answer. For instance, if a guy in a wheel chair is demanding compensation for loss of his leg when he went bush diving, then shouldn't the state provide this because of bad luck? But then he could also begin demanding other things - where is the limit? And no, you don't get marks by saying you can solve the problem by wheeling him of a cliff (Its a terrbile example, I know, but its late and I've been drinking).

My point is, how can you even begin to start thinking about studying when you have a million and one other things to do? And I know those comments are very small. But they nevertheless take up time.

I know these assignments are meant to get us up-and-coming journalists to get used to deadlines. And that was fine during the term. We proved we could cope. But there's no point doing it a week before exams. The irony is, it only propels us to drink more!!

SweetTTT!!

By the way, Chantelle (this time you know who you are) is right now getting drunk at the rat. Good form. But damn you for getting me to come for drinks earlier when I had lots of constructive things to do. Ok that's a lie... but nevertheless!!!

Another Flippen Comment

In any quality opinion piece, one’s opinion on its own is not enough – it leaves the entire argument exposed. Rather, it needs the armour of facts and cited examples that serve to qualify and cement the expressed opinion. Otherwise, any old Jack from the street could write opinion pieces.

This piece employs two useless and really, pathetic, argument techniques: unbelievable generalisation, and rampant over-exaggeration. This, together with unsubstantiated, ludicrous statements that makes the reader clamp his eyes tightly and open them wide just to take it all in. If gay and lesbianism has been the new “fashion” at Rhodes then I must have completely missed the bandwagon. How can you say this? What right gives you to say this? Do you know many straight people who are now gay? Secondly, I was unaware of the spread of a lethal homosexual disease that has left many people “victims” to it. I was half expecting you to warn me about the vampires lurking in the dark recesses of Friars.

In history, we’ve had “swart gevaars”, “rooi gevaars” and “yellow perils”. Now you seem to be telling me to watch out for the “pink gevaar”. One last comment, it was unclear how you made the link between people with HIV and lesbians and gays. People’s HIV status is not their identity, and many people don’t want to declare to the world that they are HIV Positive. So excuse them if they don’t want to wear it on their shirt.

My Opinion

I was sitting in an Activate Journalism Workshop when it first dawned on me. We had been asked to write one or two hard news opening paragraphs based on specific examples, and that was fine. I quickly assessed the story for is main points, and I formulated the information based on the inverted-pyramid technique we had been taught in first term. All good so far, right? But then came a nasty surprise. We were to write a short, creative film review on the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight. And like a fish futilely opening and closing its mouth in the air, I battled to string the right words together. It was as if, in my earlier news writing, I had been travelling in a tunnel towards the light, with the solid walls of conventions and traditional techniques guiding me on my way to finding meaning. But now these walls had vanished, and light was everywhere. I was stranded on a plain of uncertainty and indecision.
Upon further contemplation, I realised how much my writing had changed in just one year. In high school, I thrived on creative writing. I loved writing short stories. I had written one particular story that covered over 50 pages on Microsoft Word. When I arrived at Rhodes, I was half way through a story on my hero, Achilles. Well eight months later and that story remains unfinished.
This is exactly my point. During your stay at university, all creativity is slowly snuffed out. I should have guessed it during those lectures on plagiarism during O-Week. As a first year, the ideas you express in your essays are someone else’s, never yours. Then the rules and conventions of writing an essay wrap around your style of writing like a python, which begins to squeeze and constrict. I have noticed in all my writing words such as “therefore”, “thus”, “In addition to” and “however” appear on an alarming regularity. Journalism students have it even worse off: that style guide has become the bible of some omnipotent writer’s deity.
Do not get me wrong. I am a student journalist myself, and I have the utmost respect for journalistic conventions. I feel they are necessary for the field. But this does not mean that other ways of thinking should be suppressed. It was the famous author William Golding who once said, “Marx, Darwin and Freud are the three most crashing bores of the western world. Simplistic popularization of their ideas has thrust our world into a mental straightjacket...” All university students need to break out of this “straightjacket”, and be open to new ways of perceiving the world. The film ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ should not be shrugged off as a children’s movie, because it shows how just by using creativity, your whole reality can be redefined.
JRR Tolkien expressed this point in true style. The legend goes that while Tolkien was painfully marking examination papers (he was a lecturer), he noticed one of his students had left one page of the answer-book blank. Tolkien, for no logical reason, wrote a title on the top of the page, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”. He proceeded to describe these hobbits, and explain why they were there. He then handed this back to the student to be marked. I believe JRR Tolkien was making a point. He wanted his students to realise that there exists a world beyond the academic boundaries, and it is just waiting to be discovered.
Rhodes first year students must never stop being creative, and must do everything in their power to resist the university’s forces of suppression and uniformity. There is evidence of this creativity everywhere: in the posters around campus, in the intricate patterns on Rhodes purple overalls, in the dances at Union and Friars. These expressions are just as important as academic discourse, and they need to be embellished. They have the power to change the world. As Albert Einstein once said, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created”.

Another idea...

If we get to 666 hits, I will specially compose a special acoustic metal song for the occasion, record it and upload it with lyrics to this blog of blogs. Booyeah.

Any ideas for themes? Melodies? Got any specific chord progressions you'd like me to use?

An Idea...

I have a fantasties idea! For the last JMS 1 lecture of the year, I shall convince Brad, Kyle and my radio co-host (we're on air right now, whoop) to wear suits.

I look great in a suit, I must say! Want proof?



Concurrance?

It is time for (drum roll) aaannothher comment. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

OK, I think I am going to do what everyone else did here and jump on the band-wagon. You obviously have a problem with the gay and lesbian community if you putting across such statements. The fact that you mention that the SRC is gay as well, shows your generalisation of things and that you have not thought things through (bad grammar and all). How do you know that they are gay? And it sounds like you are taking a jab at them. I am also pretty sure, well from what I know, that people don’t die when they reveal their sexual status. I think they just accept it and move on with their lives like all of us, and even if that is the case, that is why we have societies like OUTRhodes to help people to accept who they are. Your argument seems to separate gay and lesbians as almost a different kind of human. The last time I checked they were also human and are no different to any other person. Another thing, is this idea of lesbianism and gayenism been a fashion. People don’t become gay to fit in wit al da cool things bro. Claiming that half the campus is gay is also a massive generalisation. How do you know this? Have you asked half the campus? You also claim that innocent people become victims of gay and lesbian people. Wow, me, as a straight person, even finds that offensive. You are making it out that gay and lesbian people are criminals. You obviously have some strong feelings here but I encourage you to think about your writing because this is a bit offensive.

Hope you dig it lank. :)

Brad

Hmmm. These comments are beginning to make our blog look a tad gay. Eh bien...

Comment on this photo comic: http://1styearspread.blogspot.com/2008/10/comic-strip-first-yaargh.html

Hey!

Pretty decent comic, I have to say. The concept is pretty funny, even though I was expecting to see something Pirates-related somewhere along the line. Also, kudos for some sweet puns. The photography was also clear and uncluttered, while the dialogue was nice and concise. I do have a few little bits of constructive criticism, though: firstly, the photos, however good they are, just don't gel that well together. It probably isn't your fault, however, it’s probably the software that makes things a bit difficult. Secondly, I didn't think the plot was solid enough, and the disruption (obligatory reference to Todorov goes here) came a bit late and a bit out of the blue. Maybe it's because of the sometimes-uncohesive photos? Lastly, I didn’t get a great sense of each characters personality or role (obligatory reference to Propp goes here), but I totally understand that due to the length of the comic, that can be a bit tricky to get across completely.

I liked it anyhow, and I'm happy to say that this was genuinely funny, unlike a lot of the other photo comics. So, sweet, well done!

Nich Mulgrew
http://takinglifeseriously.blogspot.com


I'm off to drink some whiskey now! :D

Another comment thingy

Hy

Here is another exciting, oh wait I described that wrong. I think describing it as "a comment" is fine. This time it is on a comic, enjoy ;).

I found your comic very amusing. The storyline was well thought out and everything links well together. Sometimes comics can be hard to follow but your slides relate to one another very well. If I am correct, you are trying to portray the choices that university students have and I think you put the message across well. The hero and villain (again) are shown evidently in the story and it is easy to distinguish the difference with the witch, as the villain, and the first year student as the hero. From a narrative point of view (again) the story clearly sets out Todorov’s narrative model. There is a clear equilibrium and a clear disruption with the witch. At the end of the story a new equilibrium is formed in the character learning her lesson. Nice photography added to the effect.

Check out our comic at http://takinglifeseriously.blogspot.com/2008/10/photo-comic.html


Just a short post for tonight, but jees, I have to say that Somerset West (and by extension, Stellenbosch) is probably one of the nicest places on the planet. Spent a weekend there with my bandmate, her boyfriend, my girlfriend and my Englishman and it was tizzight! Stellenbosch is the kiefest place to go out and there's so much to do.

Awesome!

(Photo's of [from left to right] my girl, Kristen, myself, JP and Sam)

Flipping through a copy of the SL Magazine is rather annoying these days. The magazine is littered with photographs of hipster kids wearing square cotton scarves, identical to Arabian keffiyehs. They come in a variety of colours: purples, pinks and peuces made to match whatever huge sunglasses or bright skinny jeans they happen to be wearing, draped over their shoulders like some kind of hipster superhero cape. Their THC-drunk smiles relaying a kind of superficiality and ignorance usually reserved for the offspring of Hollywood celebrities.

The keffiyeh, for those that don’t know, is an Arab headdress for men, usually woven with a distinctive check pattern and lined with knotted tassels. It may not sound familiar, but trust me, you’ve seen one before: Yasser Arafat wore one, Lupe Fiasco wears them, and chances are that one third of postmodernism-loving Rhodes BA students wear them on a regular basis.

“So what?” you may ask. Well, bluntly put, the keffiyeh is a potent symbol of Palestinian nationalism. Much in the same way as the old driekleur flag is a symbol of Apartheid and repression in today’s South Africa, the keffiyeh represents a range of strong values: to Jews, it would represent terrorism; to Arabs, political resistance and nationalism; to young Western youth, a cute accessory to match with your edgy Che Guevara (“Oh, he’s that bicycle guy, right?”) t-shirt.

The keffiyeh began its ascent into Western fashion culture in the early 1980s when it caught on as a symbol of support for Palestinian freedom amongst politically-active non-Arab American students. Wearing the keffiyeh was a potent political statement to make too: The Independent called the keffiyeh “a symbol of Islamic militancy” while Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero was criticized by opposition parties after posing with a keffiyeh and was accused of “anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Israelophobia”.

At this juncture in history, however, the keffiyeh is usually labeled as “cute”, “stylish” and “edgy” by fashion kids who know nothing about politics or current affairs outside of what they read in underground Cape Town fashion magazines. Vacuous hipster culture strips any sort of historical or cultural significance from garments in a ridiculous race to find the most ironic or esoteric clothes available. While Hollywood celebrities and American rappers may find the keffiyeh a radical accessory, the mass production and ignorant wearing of the keffiyeh cheapens the very values that it stands for, good or bad. To put it into perspective, I would liken the wearing of the keffiyeh by politically-retarded youths to the story of a friend of mine who wore a silver ring from the Silver Ring Thing (a movement that persuades youths to promise to not have pre-marital intercourse) while she consummated her relationship with her 16 year old boyfriend for the first time: she said afterwards that she only made the promise so that she could get “the sweet-lookin’ ring”.

Dumbass hipsters wearing keffiyehs is equivalent to gorilla-brained gangster rappers spouting ineloquent and violent lyrics while wearing giant crucifixes and, better yet, encrusting them with diamonds and rubies. The keffiyeh is as ubiquitous with Western perceptions of terrorism as HAMAS is, as symbolic of Palestinian and Arab liberation in so much as Timothy Leary is symbolic of LSD. Instead now, the keffiyeh is now symbolic of the constant and indifferent ignorance of “indie” hipsters today, of disrespectful Western society and part of a symbolic dumbing-down of intellectual culture. Along with Nietzsche and Chuck Palahniuk, the keffiyeh is now on the road to hipster decontextualisation, cultural stripping and assimilation into a self- and image-obsessed culture that feeds off of its own vanity and superfluousness.

(Dunno what a keffiyeh is? Bloody look it up, then!)

It is amazing to see what is portrayed in the news today. All it shows is violence, corruption, suffering and politics. This then puts us in a negitive frame of mind that says, "We are doomed." This weekend however, my perception on the world changed drastically, and it showed me that there are still some awesome, good people in this world.

It was Saturday night, and for some strange reason, eight of us decided to mission up a mountain to an abandoned house, which is haunted. Now besides getting lost more than once, the excitement of the trip was built up with the random made-up stories and the remembering of movies like The Hills Have Eyes. Unfortunately, in all the excitement, half my life, in the shape of my wallet decided to venture off and disappear. So after about an hour I suddenly realised, bank cards, drivers license, student card and those 50c sweets that have been there for a year were gone (I might add that this would be the third time I have lost my license in a year).

Anyway, that wallet was gone forever till I received a phone call from a very confused mother of mine. Apparently a resident from Grahamstown who lives in Fingo Village had found my material life (wallet) and searched through it until they found a very old and faded, medical aid card. After which he proceeded to let my very confused parents know (I tried to keep it in the dark).

There was everything for this person to gain but instead he met me, at Rhodes I might add, and handed my wallet with everything in it to me. He would not accept a reward but asked me to be more careful and get my contact details in.

So in light of this I have learnt that today's world, even with all the problems and violence, still contains these generous, good people who are willing to give up a lot to help others.

This person is truly remarkable and I am so grateful.

OK back to making that portfolio.

Till later

Brad

It struck me a few months ago when we were asked to do an assignment during the first term of journalism, where I had the opportunity to ask the question of “What news, if any, do you follow?” Many responded with facial expressions telling that they have never heard of news before, and that they do not follow it at all. The reason was that– they do not really care.

Therefore it’s quite interesting, this world we live in. We naturally expect things to work. There will always be food on the shelves and what ever you want is easily accessible. Many people who come to Rhodes come form an affluent background where money is easily found. We leave all the problems to the big economic boys, the leaders of the country and international enterprises, like Wall Street, to keep this world spinning in the right direction.

Unfortunately, not sure if you have noticed those big boys in fancy suits and black cars are in a bit of trouble. It has been all over the news, the fact that the markets are in a serious crisis and October 8 saw the US government stupidly bailing out the banks by giving them 700 billion, yes I said a billion, dollars from the tax payer. This, I might add, is the people of the United States of America’s money.

Ok for those of you who don’t know what’s going on let me give you a historical background. A few years ago our trusted US banks made an impression on Europe by buying debt dressed up assts, or more commonly known as toxic assets, to give the impression of security. Europe followed this example, but losses led to something unexpected from one of the top nations in the world. There were to limit the banks’ lending ability. This all sparked something called a liquidity crisis, which was aggravated by the burst housing bubble and a deepening European recession. With all this mess banks around the world started dragging each other down. This damaged the economies others such as Latin America and Asia as well. All this meant not billions but trillions in losses. One particular example is Iceland, which almost went bankrupt. The problem now is how it affects the rest of the world. Take our currency for example. Yesterday at lunch time (16 October 2008) it was sitting at R11 to the dollar and at close yesterday, thankfully, it dropped to R10 to the dollar. At the time of writing this article it was sitting at R10.09.

This is a problem affecting the world and as Time magazine says, “2009 is shaping up to be a bleak year everywhere.” This crisis is going to affect the man sitting at the top, in his suit, to the man on the street looking for a chance in life. To give you an indication, a local computer shop in Grahamstown announced to me that they are buying stock this weekend at a 22% price hike. Unfortunately this is also going to trickle down and raise food prices together with petrol prices, as usual, fluctuating more. One thing in particular, Times magazine predicts “as economies of China and India hit the brakes, so too will the demand for American goods and services. That will have a knock-on-effect on jobs and earnings of companies that rely heavily on international sales.”

So with the world in crisis in terms of this, global warming and terrorism it still shocks me to find people, for example first years who are about to enter the big wide world, not interested in news or not even knowing what is going on. This problem will start affecting us directly as students and when phoning home to ask for more money, cause you paying R10 for tuna, and your parents find it harder to give it to you, you will stop and think. It is time to start saving, which South African’s have a problem with, and wake up to the fact that we need to start with the small things so it helps higher up, our parents for example. Maybe that sixteenth beer is unnecessary. I am not saying stop having fun, but maybe start taking a look at the world we live in and wake up to the harsh reality that is about to hit us.

The Hill...


Part of the excitement of coming to Rhodes is going into residence, a new experience for most of us, and one that you will never forget I’m sure. In general we all have this idea of what it’s going to be like, mainly drawing on the typical American college based film where all the buildings are handily placed on flat ground surrounded by rolling hills in the distance, an idyllic scene. But this is not true for Rhodes.

Kimberley Hall is famously perched on top of “The Hill” where you have an amazing view of Grahamstown and on a clear night, you might even be able to see the lights of Joburg somewhere off in the distance. This is about the only advantage for those of us who live on The Hill; because we pay a great price in the distance and amount of time it actually takes for us to crawl up to the summit.

You may think I am over exaggerating but I speak from personal experience! There is nothing worse than walking/crawling/limping up the hill after a long day of lectures and walking around campus all day. It is the ultimate form of torture that the campus has to offer and leaves even the fittest of men gasping for breath when they finally reach the brink.

Look around campus on a rainy day and you can always spot those students who live on the hill. They are usually the most rain drenched and stern looking people, they walk with a certain purpose. This is because there is no use trying to stay out of the rain when walking up or down the hill; it’s completely exposed to the elements, so one way or another you are going to get wet, you might as well keep calm about it.

All in all The Hill and its inhabitants are viewed with respect from the students down below, some may pity us for the trek we have to make up and down everyday, but in the end we are made stronger, literally. My advice for the next generation who come to live on the hill is to bring as many pairs of shoes you can get your hands on; they will disintegrate before your eyes (shoes from Mr. Price go quicker than others.) And prepare yourself for the “Conversation Killer” the infamous spot halfway up the hill were conversation runs dry and is replaced by wheezing, huffing and inappropriate gasps for air. Despite all these tragic factors The Hill is an amazing place, a separate community from the rest of campus, and a place that will leave you with many stories and memories.

enjoy the walk
Siobhan.

Hiya!!!

Yes, we all know that Grahamstown is not always the citagel of awesomeness. For one thing, it is a tiny town, with only half of it decent and respectable. It has no more than a couple of pubs (not including the dodgy ones), doesn't have a club (I dare you to try convince me Friars is a club), and the poverty and number of street dogs is enough to keep Journalism students busy all year round. The '4 seasons in one day' joke is also not so far from the truth - hell, the other day we even had a tornado! But my good old friend Einstein once told me, 'If you believe the world is terrible, or you believe it is great, either way you are right'. If you keep looking for things to complain about, then guess what, you'll spend your life complaining.

So here are some of the great things about Grahamstown:

The Rat and Parrot (Of course!!!)
What would Grahamstown be without the rat? The rat and Rhodes students share a symbiotic relationship, and one could not live without the other. And it is so famous that student from all the other varsities know about it. I even read a snippet on it on FHM. I've probably spent more time there than on the sports field, which was inconceivable a year ago. The Rat is a place for gentlemen and scholars, and is a sanctuary for all academic talents (haha!).

The Monument
Who has had drinks up at the monument? It is so awesome. It has magnificent views, and you can trace the roads we traipse up and down everyday. It also shows Grahamstown's seclusion - how this small town is in the middle of nowheresville, and is surrounded by empty valleys and hills. The views from the monument are similar to the romatic viewing spot in the Anchorman. So if you're a journalist looking to impress a girl, then here's your chance to follow in the footsteps of one legendary anchorman. Just try not to mention "when in Rome" too often.

It's just a walk in the park
I'm a joburg boy, and I'm used to driving everywhere. This is the complete opposite in Grahamstown. You walk EVERYWHERE! If you're a first year, especially if you're up on the hill, your walking talents would have been developed so much your children will be able to walk as soon as they're born!

It's chilled man.
Everything's chilled in Grahamstown (or at least it is compared to Joburg). No one's ever in a hurry. You can cross a four way intersection without even checking left and right (amazing it is). Rhodes students especially are so chilled out. Just go to the pool on any sunny day, even if its close to exams. Students are sprayed out on the grass, just relaxing in the sun. I think thats awesome!

What an exciting place!!!
Come on! This place can be exciting (sometimes)! We get hit by tornados, we have exciting events such as Tri-Varsity, Boat Race and the Fish. Hell, we get carts being pulled by donkeys going down high street - I mean honestly, where else do you get that?

That's all for now folks. Just remmeber that Grahamstown is a wickedly cool place sometimes!

over and out

The flipside of Sim


I am pretty sure you have acquainted your self with our good old lecturer Sim. I think most of us would agree that lecturers are a different breed to us students. Well here is a photo of him attending the RMR agm. He's actually quite a party animal. :)


Brad


Those long time forgotten aunts and uncles, and other family members, sitting in the far dusty corners of my memory always gave me one piece of advice. They said that once I hit varsity the years would go by like Sebastian Loeb in the straights of Spain. Of course I thought they were slightly mad and did not know they were talking about–until now. Not sure if you have taken note but we have about five weeks from the first year of varsity finishing.

It was like yesterday I was entering Matric. Some of my best memories were to come from that year but before I knew it I was on my way down to good, old Grahamstown to enter a completely different environment. I would encounter O-week (especially), studying, friends and the student life that Rodents live.

Well, I can honestly say it has been the best year of my life. Moving out of home gaining independence and studying something I enjoy was all packed into a package titled Rhodes. I have no regrets from the year but I think I am going to miss this year because things just get tougher from here.

But there is some consolation. The December holidays will probably be one of the most memorable with the new friends I have made and the new life experiences I have learnt. Oh ya, my bike is also sitting patiently waiting for me to reunite with her. ;)

Ok enough with the emotions we still got to get through this week, so I salute you all in the effort and work that has gone into this ledgendary year. Lets make next year the same.


Good luck for the rest of the week, going to be a challenge to get through everything. ;)

Brad

Photo comic











To Admit...

Ok, Ok, Ok, so I admit, there was that one time during our usual Wednesday tut where I commented on Kyle’s night time shenanigans and I decided to set an example for the team by saying I was going to have a chilled night in. I thought it would be easy, I had plenty of work to try and get through and if that failed there was always the handy excuse of the hill being way to long to trek down and up at some arbitrary hour in the morning.

But believe me when I say that peer pressure is alive and real! It gets to the best of us and breaks down your will and eventually crumbles that goal of setting a point and being different for a change. So I went out, I trekked all the way down the hill praying to God that I didn’t bump into one of the guys because that would mean admitting defeat!

It turned out to be an average night, a lesson to be learned I suppose, and I went by undetected which only made me feel guilty because that meant that Kyle hadn’t gone out (huge and genuine surprise there, almost unheard of for Kyle.) It just seemed unfair not to mention what had happened and as you can imagine I haven’t heard the end of it since.

So, to set the record straight, when I say I will have a chilled night in on a Wednesday night, what I mean is I will try my best not to succumb to the convincing of others. And I won’t mention it to Kyle ever again. But to all of you out there, have an awesome time and have no regrets the next morning, we are here once and somehow there is always time to finish up that assignment or get to that lecture.

have a good one,
Siobhan.

A weekend of doing nothing

Wassubi!

Isn't it amazing that just about nothing gets accomplished over the weekend? If there is no driving force compelling you to do the work, then doing any work is as difficult as waking up early after a night of solid drinking.

What's also scary is how people are coming up with the excuse, 'no, i need to start preparing for exams' and don'tgo out. If these people actually manage to get work done on a Friday night, I commend you, I take my hat off to you, hell I'll even bow down to you. Because for me, no matter how much I plan to get done, I'll end end up doing about an eighth of it - if that!

Take tonight for instance. It's a saturday night, I'm not going out, and the amount of work I'll get done just wont amount to more than this very blog post. I'm planning on watching Never Back Down (again). If you haven't seen it, trust me and watch it!

Last night's jol wasn't up to standard. Union was awesome, but then everything afterwards was a shocker. Rat was too full, and friars was too expensive (I would have to come straight out of a mental asylum to pay R70 bucks to get into friars of all places). So we all just stood around outside rat, and I witnessed something that makes me cringe at the very thought it, and has practically ruined my whole weekend.

But never fear, because Never Back Down is too the rescue. And I will (TRY) to get a bit of work done too.

peace out!

PS. by the way, if Siobhan tries to convince you that she doesn't have big night outs - she lying I tell you! She tells me during the day on Friday that she was going to have a chilled night and not go out. Ha, so much for that Siobhan ay? :)

Student life

Very early good morning

There is only one time in your life when you able to experience the good old student life. This includes aspects of memory loss while drunk, messing around with friends, generally injuring yourself, and having no care in the world!

But there is the other side. Yup you guessed it, those dreaded essays. It is now 2.10 in the morning and I am sitting in the computer labs with about 20 people all desperately trying to finish those last few sentences.

But lets look at it from a different point of view. Once you have finished you have a tremendous sense of achievement (and when people ask you how hard you worked on it, you can turn around and say "ah boet ah, was up till like three in the morning).

Ya those essays are a drag but if turn the negative into a positive and strive for that sense of achievement then you have found the right attitude.

Oh ya and when you go out tomorrow night you know you can enjoy it because, besides the bragging, you put the hours in.

Well off to get as much sleep as I possibly can and guess what its FRIDAY!

Brad

Greatness of a morning to you all

You know your parents are getting old when you go out for a dinner party, your Dad arrives and calls the man at the door inviting us in Bill. The problem is that the person’s real name is James and Bill is the name of the pet dog. This happened to me a few months ago but something happened last night that takes the cake.

I get this phone call from my Dad where he was telling me about his shopping experience. Apparently my Dad goes to this shop, for computer equipment, called Incredible Corruption (I am sure you understand what I mean). The point is that he said it in a way that he actually believed he was right. After I had corrected him he then proceeded to argue with me that he never said that.

This unfortunately is not the first time this has happened. Introducing y girlfriend to them is going to be an interesting experience, definitely something I am not looking forward to.

So in conclusion, age is obviously taking its toll in mysterious ways or he needs new reading glasses.

That's all for now, just remember to draw out those names or hold up key cards.

Brad

You must listen to my new radio show on RMR 89.7 FM (Grahamstown's Youth Station)...

The Insomnia Power Three Hour!

From midnight to 3AM every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

But seeing as noone reads this nor does anyone listen to radio, this post is futile.

Comment on this profile.

The profile article “Come with us now on a journey through time and space to the life of Kezia” (Catchy title, isn’t it?) places the “charismatic”, “fun-loving and sprightly” Kezia as the Proppian hero; the disruptions being homesickness, binge drinking and money problems, to single out a few. Kezia is described, in general, as a partygoer with a conscience and a willingness to learn from her mistakes: for example, the writer notes that “Kezia has learnt to drink responsibly and maintain her self-respect”, . The article thus places those with extra-social tendencies who are also self-reflective and self-correcting (with trendy tastes in music – Kezia listens to in vogue 80s band The Smiths) as a prototypical hero. The writer obviously likes Kezia and her “unique” personality, and she is portrayed as a well-balanced and likable character.

- Nich
http://takinglifeseriously.blogspot.com

Now back to writing about Timothy Leary for my history essay. He's a really really interesting character, don't you know? I reccommend Chaos & Cyber Culture. Cybernetics for the win!

----------------
Now playing: The Cure - Fascination Street
via FoxyTunes


Heyhey!

This week will be the most hectic so far this term. With two essays in for Friday, one of which is difficult, a big Activate story, and with all the other bits and pieces to do such as torturous journ assignments, I thought this week would be a good old fahioned week of work. Or at least, so i thought...

I had my school's old boys' get to together last night. With a thousand rand bar tab for not a lot of people, I should have guessed things would turn ugly. I had planned to just stay for a bit, but this was not to be. I mean, how many times to you get to see your primary school headmaster completely wasted?? Serioussly, it was so funny. The old guy is such a good oke, but I had never seen him like that. At one stage we were all sitting in a circle, and I got up to go to the bathroom. He then said to me, "Robbo..." and put on this conspiratorial voice, "tread carefully!".
haha, classic!!

Well after the tab ran out, we went to the rat for some more drinking. An old guy who was head of the mobs bought us a bottle of jagermeister. When that was finished, we went to a friend's digs with a bottle of vodka and zappa, and a case of beers. I was totally slaughtered. And on a MONDAY night too!!

i barely remember getting home. I seem to remember the driver reversing back into a wall and denting his car...

Joke was, I had to wake up early the next day and write 600 words for my politics tut! great times!!

Live hard!

Robbo


It’s an unusually quiet afternoon as I head down the flight of stairs to the basement of Thomas Pringle. These are probably ideal conditions for someone like Gail Ingle, a top student in the Res, to work and study. I already have a mental picture of her room; neat, clean, organized, a good environment for someone who has done so well academically this year achieving five firsts last semester.
“Please excuse the mess.” Are the first words that I am greeted with when I quietly knock on the door, and I am faced with a completely different image than what I was expecting. At first glance Gail’s room looks like a typical student’s room, there is washing that needs to be packed away, an unmade bed, and there is several weeks’ worth of notes strewn haphazardly across the floor. Immediately I feel more relaxed because beside all the mess, Gail’s room feels more ‘human’ than I thought it would be, not at all like the surgically clean space I was expecting, “I live in organized chaos, and there is a system below the surface.” She explains.
The first thing I pick up on is that Gail is very modest about her achievements and at times even shy. She loved school and all her subjects and managed to get seven A’s in Matric. But besides academics Gail excelled in other areas as well, she was made a prefect of her hostel, played hockey for the first team and was head girl in Matric.
‘I really enjoyed school; I had some great times that I will never forget.” She fondly says as she shows me some of her school photos, most of them with all her friends.
But school and university are two different worlds and learning how to cope in a new environment can be difficult and one thing that Gail notices is that there seems to be less time in the day to get everything done. A new timetable means finding a new balance and the best way that Gail has achieved this is taking things week by week rather than planning out the whole year.
At the end of the first semester Gail was offered a scholarship from the Allen Grey Orbis Foundation, which is only offered to first year BSC or BCOMM students that have achieved an aggregate of more than 60% and nothing below a C. When I asked her what actually drives her to achieve so much she simply commented, “I have no idea, but I have always been an overachiever and I’m never really satisfied because I feel like I can do so much better.”
Gail comes from a very supportive family who are very proud of her academic achievements but also of the fact that she seems to have found the balance of experiencing the student life, and handling all her work extremely well. “It’s always been in my nature to do well, my parents have always encouraged me but I’m my worst critic. My dad always laughs when I complain about my marks and never shouts at me, when I asked why he didn’t he told me that I reprimand myself enough.” She says while picking up a rather large biology textbook and flicking through the pages.
Rhodes has been a big change for Gail, as it is for any first year, but moving into Res was one of the few changes that she has enjoyed. The freedom that comes with moving away from home and experiencing a whole new social life is quite daunting at times, especially when you have no one around to tell you what to do and how to spend your time, but Gail maintains that keeping a balance is crucial to having a good experience at university and to keep up with the work. “I like to go out but at the same time I’m really lucky to be here so my main goal is to get a degree.”
And that’s what the university experience is all about, it’s about finding a balance in your life so that you can do all the things that Rhodes has to offer but at the same time excel in your work.


Komga’s superstar


“When I was young I was rather ambitious.” Chwagitisa Nandisa Abongile Futshane then looks up at the ceiling and confidently addresses the fact that she “wanted to go to Oxford University and what not,” but then gives light heated giggles as “reality sets in”.

Rhodes University was always the obvious choice for Nan (as she is known by some of her closest friends), but her dream of one day studying English at Oxford still sits patiently waiting to be achieved. “It was a time where I used to think I was wonderful at English, but then I grew up,” she says while fiddling with the red white board marker.

Nan grew up in the small farming community called Komga (the sound of the click echoes throughout the room), and proudly states that it is situated exactly half way between Grahamstown and East London. “We only have one main road that drives through, people don’t even stop.” It consists of a petrol station and many tractors. It is a one horse town.
Surprisingly upgrading to a town like Grahamstown never intimidated this vibrant, confident person. “The day I got here, myself and this person I just met, went around the res and knocked on everyone’s door just introducing ourselves, just making friends where ever I go.” This probably explains the relaxed and friendly aura that surrounds Nan as she sits in the RMR boardroom, laid back with her feet up.
She reckons the reason why she never fell off the rails when she left the nest was because she found a family at Rhodes. In RMR Nan could be herself, people understood her loud, uplifting self. While momentarily pausing she reflects on her past and comments, “Ever since I read that book thing I have wanted to work at the station.” It was not an easy battle as she “drafted, re-drafted, drafted and then re-wrote the entrance letter”. Throwing her hands up, she expresses that it is was like fighting a battle and then concludes by saying that every step was like a small victory.

“I have this personality where people think I am weird, actually I am insanely weird, I don’t like to be put in a box. I am loud! Here though, I have found individuals who are similar and respect me for who I am.” Nan had found support on which she could lean if times got tough.
Since she is studying Journalism, Nan sees RMR as an institution where you reach a community, and you get the experience of working and for an audience that is not limited to the students at the Rhodes campus.

Whether it has to do with her studies or her commitments Nan is always willing to the extra mile. Sitting in the newsroom before bulletins Nan can often be seen doing work or just helping out. “I don’t mind doing something extra especially for the people at the station. In my perfect world it would be painted black and blue,” (RMR’s logo colours).

Coming from a small town, where she is sheltered from the money that floats around in today’s world and the realties of the affluent people that Nan would meet, Nan’s parents were worried. “I would change, you know drinking, smoking and I think it would have being worse if I never found, not only RMR, but all my friends.”

Nan then sits back develops a defiant facial expression as says, “I am happy the way I am, I can’t change and one day I will get into television no matter how difficult it is.” All of a sudden a smile develops on her face as she randomly, yet flirtingly, remarks on how she is “going to marry Lewis Hamilton, I love that guy”. The problem is that this is probably true.

Wassubi

Ok, so academics 'n all are really important. Paying attention during lectures is of the UTMOST importance, as well as taking copious amounts of neatly written out notes. You need to give the lecturer all your attention. You need to be enthusiastic, absorbative and analytical.
Of course we all do this....nat!

But then, work is a skill. And skills take time to develop, don't they? And so just like while building any other skill, there will be moments of weakness - times when all the hard work you've put in just goes to the dogs. Well... these videos capture some of these 'moments of weakness'. This is what we generally get up to in lectures and during important speeches (*cough* Academic Freedom Lecture *cough*).

Let's just be honest. I fall alseep in lectures. Between late nights out, late nights watching movies, late nights chatting, and late nights doing nothing (oh, and late nights doing work...sometimes), sleeping time is minimal. So when we get into these lectures which drone, and drone, and drone, and drone, and drone, I think we all wonder off to fairy land. It just can't be helped.
video
My good old friend Albert Einstein (bless him), once told me that in order to maximise scholarly output, one must equate the moments of dullness with moments of euphoria, thereby achieving a directly proportional relationship. SO... basically, during those oppressive minutes that make up a 45 minute lecture, one must look for things that are interesting and fun. In doing so, you stay awake, and maybe, just maybe, might absorb something from the lecture. So this next video, I would say, demonstrates one way of having a laugh and staying awake in the lecture! The plan is iron-clad I tell you.
video
awesomeness!

P.S.1 I apologise for the blog post on friday night. I realise it doesn't really make sense. I thought it would be a good idea to get a good post in before I went out... well that mission failed dismally didn't it? As the one comment says, I just had my first blogging while drunk experience. I thought about deleting the post. But then what the hell, it keeps to the theme of this blog I guess...

P.S.2 Have a look at that video of Nich playing in the concert. Doesn't it look like he scoring the guy behind him? I swear I had to double-look when I saw it. I've seen Nich around too many girls to know that he doesn't swing that way. But listen bud, if you need someone to talk to, your blogging partner will always be supportive! haha

A breath of fresh air

Universities comprise a mix of different kinds of stereotypical characters. These include jocks, stoners, hard-workers, party-animals, computer geeks, white-coated BSC students and weed-smoking liberal activists. But every now and again comes along an individual who is simply ‘different’ – someone with wanton disregard for conformity, for trying to be someone who he or she is not. These people are unique in some way, are not afraid to show their personality, and are often well-known around campus. Lloyd Bridges is one such individual. Dressed in the same clothes each day – khaki pants and green and grey collared shirt – and sporting a beard that was once very popular during the Boer War, with the famous white streak in his moustache, Lloyd often captures the attention of his fellow students.

Lloyd’s dress and image is a reminder to him that he will live the life that he, and not society, chooses. Clothes are one thing that he feels don’t have much importance, unlike other first-years who spend copious amounts of money on their image. “I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothes,” he says. “The only pricy items I own is a brown leather jacket, a hat which was a gift, and my shoes, which was also a gift”. And the beard and white-streaked moustache? “Well, I like having a moustache. When the white hair started coming through, I used to shave a lot. But I like my moustache. The white thing is unique and I like it.” To many his Moses-like image is laughable. But to him it expresses a fundamental aspect of his character: he is a man of his own.

Throughout the interview Lloyd shows a steely confidence in himself and his opinions. He maintains an upright and very dignified sitting posture throughout the interview. He strokes his beard when he needs to think about how to answer a question, and he is his constantly fidgeting with his fingers. Most notable of all is the humming sound he emits whenever there is a silence. “I like to talk,” he says with a sudden smile. “I don’t like awkward silences. My friends often tell me that if there is a break in the conversation, I never hesitate to fill it in. I can go on for hours about something without having the person I am talking to say a word.”

Lloyd’s notion of his best moments of his first year at Rhodes is also refreshing. It’s the small things he values most: his friend’s special birthday party he attended, his stint as dungeon master in game soc., and passing his Accounting exam. Suddenly he brightens and raises his eye-brows. There was also the time, he says, when he noticed a big mistake in the Accounting paper. “I was the ONE person to actually see the mistake out of the hundreds and hundreds of people writing the exam,” he says with evident pride in his voice. And what about his worst moments? He smiles and says, “I try not to have worst moments”.

Cinema and magic games are two of Lloyd’s biggest interests. He tries to go to movies once a week, and even works at Roxbury Cinema. In his free time, he likes to paint war-game miniatures. He occasionally plays Warhammer and paper-version Diablo games. He would play more often, but the games just take up too much time, with his longest being a sixteen hour stretch during O-Week. “It’s really hard to get bored of it because you play so few times,” he laughs. Watching sport is another big interest of his, and he is known to lecture even seasoned sportsmen on the complexities of the game. Playing sport, on the other hand, is another story. “In high school when I tried out for the volleyball team I was the only one out of all the boys and girls who couldn’t serve over the net,” he says sadly.

This year Lloyd has never felt inclined to change the way he is. “Everyone is different and everyone has their own motivations” he says. “Rhodes doesn’t try change who I am”. Lloyd’s confidence in himself gives strength to others not to hide who they are, and to value their individuality. He demonstrates that we don’t all have to be big drinkers and go out all the time. “Happiness,” he says, “is an internal thing. You should never rely on anything external”.

In contrast to Kyle, I instead had a decidedly average (not average as in bad, just average as in average) night.

Watched a funny violent movie at Roxbury, walked to Canterbury, smoked a hub at Botha, had a beer at Rat, got kicked out of Rat, had a Pirates, now composing bad songs in my res room.

Hope your night was better than mine!

kokes....
i have had the most awesome pre-drinks. It \has taken ,me abpout 7 time to get this flippen right. it has been so aweome. enjoying the night.hope you are too.

Im going to unuon now. will most prob see most of you there! hope you have an awesome nihgt. read my profuile 2moz.

this is most prob on of tghe last hectic nights of this term/ Hope u okes enjoy it to the fulll

“When I found out I was a D cup. That was the defining moment of my childhood.”

Terri-Lee is a siren. Not the loud wailing device fitted to emergency vehicles, but rather the mythical creature whose lilting singing lures innocent men into unforeseeable danger. Long bistre hair and matching Dior-framed eyes belies the singer-songwriter’s true nature, for behind the pretty face lies an uncanny wit and copious amounts of attitude.

“Back in Welkom I was a bit of a badass,” she asserts without a hint of sarcasm, “so when I got here I felt I needed to be true to myself so I could faithfully reconstruct myself.”

Perhaps her new silver Mini Cooper S is a manifestation of that desire. Terri doesn’t have a driver’s license, however that doesn’t stop her from driving around Grahamstown, Free State license plates proudly displayed (“People give Welkom a really bad rap, but it’s a solid place”) and mixtaped indie-folk blaring out the tinted windows. She’d probably be playing her own recordings if her own band, the Life of Riley, ever got the opportunity to record something.

At only 19, Terri has already had more musical experience than most artists a decade older than her. She’s an accomplished clarinetist who played in the Royal Orchestra for four years in her early teens, as well as picking up awards for Best Solo Clarinet at the High Steadford Speech and Music Festival.

“It was more like Nerd Festival,” she snidely remarks while waving her Peter Stuyvesant wildly in the air. “I also made it to the finals of that Yamaha Young Talent music thingy for self-composition with guitar, but that was all a show.”

Within two months of arriving at Rhodes University for her first year of Journalism and Media Studies, she had joined an indie-folk band, The Life of Riley, a band influenced by, as she claims, “chain-smoking, Laurika Rauch and Sufjan Stevens.”

“It’s the most honest musical thing I’ve ever done,” explaining with smoke drifting out with every word, “I feel really relaxed when we play and fuck around and write music.”

Despite practicing for months, their first show only came at the beginning of August this year, opening for local band 10 Points for the Dismount, and Port Elizabeth post-hardcore outfit Sick Day September. The half-an-hour set was played in front of a crowd of sixty.

“That first gig at the Old Gaol was such a moment for me. It was surreal for people to be listening and actually enjoying it.” Her incredulousness was shared by her bandmates, but for Terri, it meant a whole lot more than the crowds to her.

“I was worried that I would blend in too much here,” she says while readjusting her glasses, “but then I was singing live in front of a lot of people and being recognised in the street. I realised I was standing out a bit.”

Terri, like any first year, had real problems with the new balance of between university work and life and the difficulties of reasserting identity and image. (She feels she’s “a fat girl.”) She acknowledges, however, that it really hasn’t been so horrible in hindsight.

“Occasionally in life there are things that just pan out for you regardless, so knowing that, I probably shouldn’t have stressed out so much.” She extinguishes her cigarette, and pulls another Stuyvesant out of the box, lights it efficiently, and takes a long drag.

Surely then, it can’t only be cigarettes and music that take the stress away?

“No, it’s also the beer. I love alcohol so much. I just look at a tall glass of yeasty lovely and I just cry for joy a little each time.”

A pause. A chuckle. A drag.

“Wanna head down to Rat?”

(Terri's blog is at http://5inblindsight.blogspot.com)

02h00

It's 2AM and I'm stuck in the radio station listening to archaic swing and hip-hop about "Evalastin' Luv".

My eyes hurt, yes, a lot.

Waiting for my show partner to get here, and I'm still wondering whether he'll pitch and if I'll have to do the show alone again.

It's at times like these that I wish the Union was open until late in the morning. Then it wouldn't be an issue to sneak drinks in between links 'n shit.

Reply...

Dear Fa…
When you said “this is the time of your life where you will learn and grow” you hit the nail on the head. University is all about trying new things and we are lucky enough to be here, but it also takes some courage to actually get into the whole vibe of Rhodes. I could relate to your letter in that we both strive to find that ever so evasive balance between work and your social life, it’s easy to get sucked in but at the same time we are here to get a degree. If I could have sent a letter to myself it would definitely have said not to worry! It’s a lesson we all have to learn sometime and eventually we “get into the swing of things” and it’s a good lesson to learn and accomplish in the beginning rather than struggle with it later on. So your reassurance was refreshing to hear because in my blog I did exactly the same thing!

keep it up,
Siobhan.

· http://www.takinglifeseriously.blogspot.com
· http://www.confessionsofacrazycouchpotato.blogspot.com


 

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