Friday, October 30, 2009

The Leaf Turner

So, when I pitched my idea of “going on a hike” in my tutorial and received a less than even remotely interested response, I packed away my mind map and had a little think. What haven’t I done? I haven’t become a millionaire (yet), I haven’t eaten human flesh (not going to try that one), I haven’t lost any more DP’s recently (probably a good thing).

The list went on and nothing quite sparked my imagination until a friend suggested I spend the last night before swot week going back to my old ways *insert daunting music here*. Now, for the sake of clarification I am in fact a g08. I came to Rhodes University last year, bright eyed and relatively sober. I returned this year blurry eyed and rather pickled. After many a drunken trawl up and down New Street, stern looks from lecturers and pitying looks from locals; I thought it was time to turn a new leaf.

Since the beginning of third term I have not put a drink to my lips, not set a foot in a club/pub or bar and most importantly I have clear, vivid memories of the past two terms! Okay, so that was a slight over exaggeration, I have in fact done the trawl once or twice, but with a mere R2 to my name, so yes – not a sip of alcohol but rather a glass of water which I claimed was “vodka and sprite”.

Thinking that as a seasoned Rhodent my alcohol tolerance would have simply lain dormant over the past six months; I put on my dancing shoes, drinking hat and my game face. The night began with crackling pre-drinks, a stumble to friars and suddenly I found my heart palpitating gloriously along to some crappy Lady Gaga song and I felt… well… at home. As the night went on I began to wonder; what am I doing? Then proceeded to down my drink, slur “whooo-hooo” and promptly pass out in the corner.

I awoke the next morning wondering why my eyes seemed supernaturally glued together, why my head felt like a woodpecker was having the time of it’s life with my skull and why pray tell, was I wearing my domestic’s apron? As reality dawned; I recalled being taken home (possibly forcibly removed from friars), undressed and redressed in an apron (due to an unfortunate event with projectile vomiting from er, food poisoning), and left prone in a drunken stupor on my couch.

If I could remember the actual night, I'm sure I had a lot of fun. But for now, the leaf has been re-turned and until exams are over I will nurse my aching head and liver. I can feel the disapproving looks from my “maring” peers but being a “marer” is all good until you quit, then unfortunately for all the leaf turners out there – its best to keep that leaf well turned.

Nothing Better Than Coffee and Cigarettes in The Morning

Having become rather biased and partial to my own group’s blog I felt a strange sense of impending doom when we received our assignment brief. It was daunting to actually acknowledge that maybe our blog wasn’t quite the most fabulous creation; maybe, just maybe someone had a better idea with more… what was it? Oh yes – “flair”. Well, I held down ctrl and I clicked on the first thing that caught my attention.

I apprehensively opened my eyes and the flair was well and truly there. Cigarettes and Coffee (
), how I love those two very things, and here was a blog encompassing the cathartic early morning ritual so many of us either openly or sneakily partake in before those dreaded 7:45 lectures.

The blog’s background imagery consists of a worn wooden floor and a perfect cup of coffee contrasted with black and white stockinged feet. Further, they have a voting gadget, an informative and enticing “about me” section, two different “template headers”, many photographs and the actual writing is quick, clever and concise – it’s glorious.

I was so impressed that my egotistical nonsense about my own blog went right out the window. I spent the next three and a half hours going through every blog they had conceived and then through the entire JMS1 blog list, without even one cigarette break! Coffee and Cigarettes blog had set a very high standard for the others I was about to browse through, but I wasn’t disappointed by any of them. In face quite the opposite; the first year blogs of 09 are most certainly the epitome of great writing, creativity, insight and of course… flair.

An irresistable kind of blog?

Sugar-honey ice tea? This delicious-sounding mixture of a blog is at .

It even looks like it sounds because of its colour scheme and lively yellow patterns. Whilst the blog professes to be “schizophrenic” it is still neatly laid out and easy on the eyes. Entertainment News is its game and the collaborators update the blog twice-weekly. The articles are far from hard news-worthy, including articles on Busta Rhymes, Oprah, and scandalous adoptions.

Because it gives off a ‘gangsta’ impression a lot of slang is appropriately used in their writing such as “LOL” but this doesn’t mean that their punctuation is justifiably incorrect. There are chunks of text with no commas, and many apostrophes left out. Perhaps they were too ambitious in updating the blog often because I find that many of the articles are carelessly written and not very absorbing (Do we need a step by step commentary on Busta Rhymes’ lyrics?)

They didn’t really explore the technological potential of the blog by posting video clips, for example, but their use of bright and relevant pictures is very good. They did a poll on their followers to get their opinion of what they are discussing and I thought that this was an imaginative idea to encourage an audience response. This blog is similar to other entertainment blogs but the collaborators do give conflicting opinions on topics and if it interests you then can you really have too much of a good thing? The blog oozes passion about the genre.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Walking with the mind

Candice Struthers


For the past ten months of this year I have starred into the beautiful scenery surrounding my residence, namely Margaret Smith: a distant res, far far away from campus. Although I never quite ventured into these natural surroundings until yesterday where I was no longer a student, no longer ‘Candice”, no longer some being that exists purely to advance. I was wonderfully absent minded from reality.

It was a magic moment although the word ‘moment’ is not quite correct as that would imply time- here there was no time. I had entered a new world that ironically stood meters from reality. With no worries in the world my legs carried me to the aqua dam that lay ahead. I pictured the life beneath, the small fish and the movement of the water above them. Above water I felt the sky looking down and smiling at the nature that lay before it. The sounds were life and I only formed part of the symphony. I lay down for some of the time as if the wind had placed me there and awoke as if the sun had told me too, as if telling me that ‘bedtime’ had come or that my time was done.

Beyond the gate, into the deep thicket of grass that I had somehow lost touch with in my ‘normal’ life, I found myself a new character. I existed simply for each step and for each breath. Everything was alive, from my senses to the stones that crunched under my feet. My humanity was reduced to a blade of grass, although I delighted in this new feeling. I had no worry in the world, and I’ve never felt safer.

It might have been the intensity of the sun, the way it shone, the way it weaved itself between the grass that made everything in this hour so different – I simply don’t know. What I do know though is that I wasn’t in this world, figuratively that is. It is no doubt that this all occurred to me in my mind and that the things I felt were not completely ‘real’ although it’s the feeling that matters to me the most. In this hour I let myself be open to the influence of nature and I have never been more surprised. The power of the mind can therefore never be doubted: as ones soul lies in the hands on the mind that I now see can transport anyone anywhere. Pretty exciting I would say.

Follow the blogging rainbow

Utopia on the web

Candice Struthers


Two cuddly figures, possibly a mother and a daughter, look out toward a bright rainbow and blue blue sky. The daughter carries a lollipop and the mother holds her other hand. The trees are circular as are the mountains and white clouds. A safe haven: you have entered blog-topia!

On visiting “The Number 42 is Purple” the look and consequential ‘feel’ of the blog is what initially catches the reader’s eye. The almost but not quite childlike picture acts as the ‘cover’ of the blog and rejuvenates the readers’ need to read and need to be involved in the life that the blog possesses.

Intimacy within the blog is suggested by the two close figures. Four intelligent outspoken women are the makers of this new found blog-haven. Catherine addresses the reader about an experience between herself and another member in the group. The piece is delightful in its randomness but most importantly shares with the reader the close relationship between the four blogging journalists. There is a level in sincerity in the words of these women who cover topics such as the Nobel Peace Prize debate, rape victims as well as child trafficking.

Each post forms part of a literary rainbow which opens the reader to a world in which no boundaries exist. As the journalists are free so is the reader. The blog is delightful and easy to follow; also entertaining, organised and relevant. These women are prolific in creativity- follow them and see where the rainbow takes you.

Taking note of other blogs

‘Please Note the Following’ ( is a blog created and contributed to by 4 first year journalism students. One of the bloggers states that their blog serves to “inform the world about issues and happenings in a reader friendly way”. It is also advertised on twitter as: “Not another teen blog? This one’s worth it, with an aim to devastate and deviate.” Contradictory to this, one blogger’s view is that the blog is written “with the intention of addressing the more ‘mundane’ things – the events have become ‘insignificant’”. Although the blog does not present what it was intended to it is somewhat interesting. The bloggers comment on popular culture in articles such as “Don’t wanna be an American idiot” and “Tomorrow Converse will still be popular”. Music is featured in the post “Rocking the Daisies 2009”. A large portion of what is written involves the nature of journalism, the ethics behind journalism and becoming a journalist. “The Painters of Battles” and “Why waste the time” are two such posts. Political commentary and opinion do feature prominently in the blog. ‘Please Note the Following’ serves as an insight to the thoughts and interests of journalism students. There are some very valid and interesting comments and concepts. This blog is an amalgamation of what these 4 journalism students think their followers should take note of. In contrast to a blog such as which has a very clear focus, this blog lacks a main objective however as a journalism student it may be relevant to internalising the role of a journalist.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009