Like most journalists, I’ve always had an idea in the back of my head that one day I’d start writing creatively. And like most who are still journalists by my age I’ve started a couple of projects then left them to fester when I discovered how the amount of free time I have is almost entirely too little to actually finish something.
A few years ago I got a bit further than usual and had a rough plan and a few draft chapters of a novel which was crudely premised around the idea of what might happen if Tesco moved into the housing market and started renting flats.
So it was a bit disturbing to read this in the news today. Clearly I need to go back to that manuscript and actually do something about it…
…because I just spent two weeks, R250 replacing, rewiring and testing a motor on my RepRap which didn’t appear to be working. I almost managed to blow the rest of the electronics fiddling and getting frustrated with it.
Turns out there was nothing wrong with the motor at all. The plastic cog attached to it had worn out just enough that it wasn’t turning with the spindle. A 10 minute, virtually cost free job to fix.
Last year, Tabby was very nervous at her school sports day. She was shy about running in front of people and had to be gently cajouled into competing (although this being a Montessori school, the competition element isn’t really the biggest part). This year was a different story – except for the wheelbarrow race, which she wouldn’t do, she loved it and couldn’t have been happier.
We assume the wheelbarrow tantrum was to do with being tired as we’ only just got back from holiday.
On a separate note – what happened to being able to share to WordPress directly from Flickr?
It’s not my headline, but this is the third or fourth time I’ve written about the Tshimologong Precint in Joburg, and definitely the best: The grand vision for a homegrown Silicon Valley in one of Joburg’s most notorious neighbourhoods | ZDNet.
I’m currently involved in a campaign to try and stop a road being built through a local nature reserve, and one of my concerns is that whatever gets put in the plans won’t matter once building commences. Because roads are really badly made in Johannesburg. When I lived in Shoreham, a 100 yard pedestrianised area took nearly a year to finish because of the incredible layers of engineering and planning that went in to it. That was ridiculous. But so is the picture above. It’s the new intersection between Maxwell Drive and Old Pretoria Road – finished about three months ago.
This weekend it rained. Quite heavily. It’s the first rain this road has seen. And already it’s too flooded to drive on, causing traffic to back up and – eventually – the lights will fail.It hasn’t rained for 12 hours, and the pool of water is still there.
Quite how that happens is beyond me. It rains heavily for six months of the year here. You’d think someone would have remembered to put the storm drain in?
So yesterday was a bit of a breakthrough. After only a year of trying, I made some things with my 3D printer. The first (above) is a mount for the electronics. I found out that the reason I was only getting half-prints like this:
Then I made this:
It’s a waving octopus from Thingiverse. With his head caved in because I didn’t use enough infill, I think. Also, I think the extruder temperature is a bit too high, and the extruder itself was set a little low and melted some of the layers at the top.
Alien-looking rocks on Salt Rock beach, a set on Flickr.
While on holiday just north of Durban, in a little town called Salt Rock (complete with ‘Salty’s’ – the hard drinking bar for salted types) we came across a small area of these rocks.
They were just under a headland, so I assume the odd patterning is a result of multiple currents in the undertow and some pumice-like lava rock. I can’t find anything online which explains this kind of wear (primarily on the land-facing side of each rock), but it certainly looks cool.
I read this piece by Jay Naidoo at the Daily Maverick earlier, and there’s a quote in it from Nazma Akter, the general secretary of the Sommilito Garments.
Sramik Federation, turned to me and said, “We need people in the West to understand that there is nothing free. When you buy cheap clothing or buy one and get one free, realise that nothing is free. Someone has to pay. Here it is the workers with their lives. Our lives are cheap. While we know we have to fight for union rights here, our struggle is interconnected and global.”
It’s been going round in my head ever since, so I had to put it here to exorcise it somewhat. It should be printed above the doorway of every Truworths, Topshop and Macy’s in the world.
It’s soon going to be a year since I moved to South Africa, and I find I’m really having to fight the temptation to normalise so many of the things that are wrong here. Most of all it’s the constant refrain that somehow, economics justifies paying people less-than-subsistence wages and only by allowing economics to run free will they be saved.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the Marikana were just told that they have to pay their own legal expenses to be represented at the inquiry. Despite the fact that the only reason they’re there in the first place is because the family breadwinners were shot down by the police. And yet no-one seems outraged by this.