Musings on choices, fate, and death

Do our decisions affect others or just how they affect us? Or do our decisions lead to, or avoid collisions of fate, or do we collide anyway but our decisions just change the impact the intertwined fate has on our lives?
Do we even have a choice, and if we do, could we change fate by making different choices? How would knowing the full outcome change the decisions we make? Do we perhaps make decisions too hastily without thinking of all the repercussions? Yes, fate, decisions, and future outcomes are like an intricate chess game, but are we too impatient when making decisions? Did we go from making wise decisions after careful deliberation, to a game of speed chess where we rely on instinct? Would we be more effective in making a positive future with positive outcomes if we pause, meditate, and deeply consider our decisions have on our futures and the future of others?
Or do we just delay the inevitable fate we all face, or perhaps just play into the hands of destiny?
Would things have been different if other decisions were made? If you reach out and get to know someone (as opposed to making the opposite decision), would they have been with you and have done something different at the time when they should have died; by making that decision to get to know them, you would have changed the outcome? Or is the line drawn and their death imminent, and your original decision only means that they are no longer a stranger and that you will now be mourning their death?

Infinite human loop

Fall in line, fall in place
Be controlled, you human race
Think not fresh, think not new
7 billion all the same, plain you

There is no change, there is no fear
There is no colour, there is no tear
We think the same, we have our place
Programmable blank human race

Switch on the light, brave boy
Open the book forbidden
Learn and grow and be different
Show others what is hidden

You are the virus, the vessel of change
Infecting the gray
Colouring outside the lines
Breaking the program
Setting them free

Unshackle the slave, the living dead
The lemmings working for their daily bread
7 billion copies of one dull mould
To be shattered, and then fill the world

Now the chaos of freedom begins
To each his own, scattered changelings
There is no structure, there is no line
Humans standing around believing they’re fine

The scale still swings back and forth
They walk all over, not only North
Spreading ideas, they all feel great
They all no longer have the same dull fate

In the four corners they all gather
Gathering those from the scatter
Governments and kingdoms they do form
Rules and regulations become the norm

Now the same cycle will repeat
Until the day the four corners meet
After war and famine and weapons’ clash
The program is reset in a flash

Sore throat remedy (experimental)

Just cooked up a batch of this. Gonna try it and I will let you know if it works

1/2 cup grated fresh ginger
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup molasses 
1/2 cup water
1tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp cloves
Heat all ingredients on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring continuously
When there is quite a bit of steam coming off, switch off plate, cover with lid, and let it steep for at least an hour
Strain the mixture when cool
Take 1-2 teaspoons when needed

Good bye 2014!

Good bye 2014! I cannot believe that another year has passed, and so quickly too! Time really flies nowadays, and we all can theorise why, but I am not going to open that can just yet😉

If I have to give 2014 a title, and I think about all the things that happened, I would call it The Year of Change.

I had a change in my career path, where I changed from being an Operations Manager to being a Tech Lead of our Storage and Virtualisation team. In May of 2013 I took on the role of Ops Manager at one of our clients, to test the waters so to speak. The role was kind of a hybrid role of Technical Architect and Operations Manager, just so that the transition can be made easier, and that I can still use my technical skills to benefit the client.
Long story short, it turned out that I am not really suited to be in a management role, and that my talents and skill lean more towards the bigger-picture view of the environment; more of a an objective view, away from the day-to-day operations.
I was also very stressed out and the role was literally killing me. I had burnout, and in May of 2014 I developed a case of shingles, because my body just couldn’t take it any more.
This spurred my employer on to move me to another position. As orchestrated by a Higher Power, the role of Technical Architect for the Storage and Virtualisation team opened up, and as storage and virtualisation is my speciality, I was fit for the role. I then started in the new position in October, and boy, what a change! I am loving it! The stress and anxiety is gone (although not completely, because, let’s be honest, no job is completely stress free), and I am seeing so much potential in the role and for myself to grow as one of the best Tech Leads my employer has ever had!

I changed my lifestyle. To this point, my lifestyle has been pretty healthy. Healthy food, exercise, and enough sleep. But then, in November, I had another strange illness thing happen to me. Sparing you all the medical details, I was dizzy on the Saturday morning, like with low blood pressure. Went to gym, had it checked out, and it was okay. The spells continued and got worse. I eventually called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. At the hospital I had a seizure, and then woke up in the ER. I spent a day in the ICU and then a couple of days in the general ward. They could only pick up a bit of acidosis in my blood, but the CT scan and EEG were normal. So, to this day, we don’t know what happened. It is scary, not knowing what caused it, and if it will be back.
So what do we do? We make things even healthier. I started researching things which cause blood pH to drop and cause acidosis, and started fixing my diet to compensate for this. I also went back onto my chronic asthma medication (a rise in carbon dioxide in the blood can also cause acidosis). So far so good, and I hope that it won’t come back and that it was a once-off thing. Making the healthy choices can only benefit me, so it’s all good🙂

I changed banks and mobile operators. Yes, I know these may sound trivial, but to me, changes like these are filled with drama and anxiety LOL. I hate admin, and changing banks comes with the most admin I can tolerate. That being said, I am glad that the new bank is so super efficient and helpful (like chalk and cheese compare to the previous bank), and that the transition went pretty smooth.
Changing mobile operators was another story all together. All mobile operators in South Africa suck with customer service. You just need to go with the one that sucks the least. That’s what I did. It didn’t make the transition easier though. Porting my number was a pain, as the operators don’t seem to play nice with each other, and then the old operator didn’t do the port and subsequent contract cancellation properly, so I was billed for a month’s services. Fortunately that is being sorted out.

I witnessed a friend change her surname. Alister and Michelle got married, and that was the wedding of the year!🙂 It was such an amazing and beautiful day, and it was great to see the two lovebirds getting hitched🙂 The wedding was beautiful, and it was a blessing to have been invited to witness the union of these two amazing people.

Some changes that I have planned for 2015. They are almost like New Year’s resolutions, but most of them are already under way and in progress :

  • Change how I feel about what people think. In short, I won’t care what they think. I will, however, consider what they have to say, if they come with a logical and valid argument, and have it spoken in love and diplomacy;
  • Drink more water. Yes, I should have been doing this already, and have been trying to do this over the past couple of weeks, but I don’t like the taste of water (it’s so… watery haha), so I have to make a concerted effort to drink more. I will be devising a plan on how I will be doing this. This will also help my body balance my blood pH better;
  • Cut out refined sugar completely. With the health scare I had I really cut down on the sugar in my diet, and changed from refined sugar to raw sugar or honey. I aim to remove my taste for sweet things completely, and only to use the most natural (and pH-raising) sweeteners where necessary;
  • Go out more. I sit at home too much, and am missing out on meeting wonderful and amazing new people. I don’t want to fall into a rut where I am stuck at home all the time, watching TV, surrounded by all my thoughts and feelings. Time to live more. This is what I realised after last night’s NYE party. I had a lot of fun and met up with great people I have only seen and spoken with on social media. Guys, social media is okay, but meeting the person behind the FB profile or Twitter handle is much, much better! Plus it’s a lot easier to speak to them than to type out everything hehe. I like the feeling of looking someone in the eye and telling them “Hey, I like your shirt, it looks great on you!” instead of just clicking the Like button below the pic;
  • Not worry about meeting Mr. Right. I am only going to have fun and live my life. I am going to do my gyming, hobbies, and other activities, and when it happens it will happen. I am not going to look for him, because I am missing out on meeting so many other great people, and missing out on all the fun and good times.

Okay, looking that list it looks like a bunch of resolutions haha. I don’t want to call them that though, because if I fail at them, it will make me say “Ah, too bad, better luck next year”. The changes (as I mentioned in one of my Facebook statuses) must happen at any time, when I am ready for them. I need to own the timing of them, so that I can control the change, and not the other way around. I think writing this blog post only made me verbalise and record them clearly.

Now for a list of other things that happened in 2014

  • The year started off with a wonderful gathering at Kerri’s house. We had a great time and it was amazing to start the year off with close friends
  • Met some new friends, mostly online, but some also via other friends at parties and events. The list is too long, and you all know who you are. Thanks for entering my life and giving it colour!
  • In February I said goodby to my gran. She passed away at the age of 94. She was the most interesting and amazing gran anyone could have hoped for. We all (still) love her very much, and she has left a big, gaping hole in our lives.
  • I changed back to an Apple iPhone. Yes, I tried the whole Android thing, and it was okay, and worked well for me. Apple is just better for me😉
  • I had a great birthday and house warming party with some close friends. I wish I had space to invite everyone though hehe, but you can’t have much of a party with only 56 squares to play with hehe
  • I tried growing a beard, and it was awful.
  • I went to Madame Zingara with friends. It was great fun and we, as per usual, went nuts🙂
  • Germany won. That’s all.
  • I started gymnastics again. This was one of the big ones! It makes me so very, very happy doing it, and although I have given it a bit of a break for now, I aim to start again. Another change in the gymnastics? I hope so – I want to move from artistic gymnastics to power tumbling. Watch this space🙂
  • I went to Durban with my bestie, Colleen, and I had my first scuba dive! It was in the uShaka aquarium, and it was amazing! I may pursue this further…
  • Kaiser, my furchild (Pitbull Jack Russell cross) had skin cancer removed from his tummy. Poor boy doesn’t pee straight now haha. He now has to get sunscreen sprayed on his tummy every day. He is okay now though, and all is good. I miss him so much, and I am working furiously to get a house with a big garden for him (and an adopted playmate)
  • I broke a fuel consumption record (personal record), where I managed to get 1 032km on 55 liters of petrol (that’s an average of 5.2l/100km) – and this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the reasons I drive a Volkswagen!
  • I had a couple of dates (more like informal meets over coffee or a movie), and have made some friends – no love yet – but there’s no rush😉
  • I went to the Rocky Horror Show with Ebi and Andrew. Wowowowow! What an amazing show and what a great time we had! Ebi and I went dressed up as Rocky. I wore gold hotpants and gold sneakers (which were white and we attacked it with a can of gold spray paint LOL), and nothing else. Walked through Monte Casino like that, and I must admit, I love the attention! I think I may be a bit of an exhibitionist after all! I also think that the gyming (and perhaps me getting older and wiser, and looking at myself with more objective eyes) has given me more confidence, and all those body issues I had are going away. I guess I can freely do that, because I work heard enough on my body, and it’s paying off! Feeling great about it!😀
  • I walked into an elevator door and spilled my latte. I wasn’t paying attention to the door, because my attention was on a gorgeous man in the lobby. (I just had to mention that, because I always thought that stuff like this only happens to other people haha)
  • I was wrestled by Colleen, but she also piggy-backed me that same day. I may or may not have also bitten her knee and/or licked her cheek that day
  • I changed my gym workout a bit – moved away from going heavy to more reps with lower weights. It is good! What a change!
  • Had a wonderful Christmas with my Mom’s family. We laughed and talked and ate. A lot, and then some more. We only left late that night. That is how I remember our visits to be like. We needed a good time like that to properly catch up.
  • I have seen my niece become quite the assertive and demanding little diva (in a good way) – she is 2.5, super clever and she knows what she wants. You can’t fool her. Even though I see some challenging times ahead when she gets older, I am glad to see that she has a strong personality and is going to be a confident girl. I know that my brother and sister-in-law will make sure that she grows up with the right values and that she is going to be a good young lady
  • I made a corny chemistry joke on FB and only two people liked it (or got it?) *glares*

Okay, this is all I can think of and remember right now LOL
More things will probably pop up in my head later today, and I will see if I can add them – maybe as an addendum to this post.

My year has been filled with ups and downs, and I have learned so many things. I have come to value friendships more, and to also value myself more. We all have so many treasures and miracles hiding in ourselves, and we just need to stop for a minute and realise how wonderfully we have been created. There is no end to the power of the human spirit, and I encourage you to look deep within yourself and find those gems of wonder that you hold. You were born with them, and you were blessed with them, and only you can bring them out so that the world can see the wonder which is you! Don’t be afraid of what the world might think, and if your gems and wonders are different to others, because they are still beautiful and amazing, just as you are! We hold within ourselves the power to change our lives and to change the world! If we can make decisions that can cause failure or fault, why can’t we make decisions to bring change, joy, happiness, and the betterment of humanity?
Isn’t that easier?😉

So from the desk of Johann Ottovordemgentschenfeldeman Raath (or Kaiser Raath), I wish you a wonderful 2015. May your inner light shine for all the world to see, and may your light touch the world and bring positive change, happiness, and blessings to those around you. May you be blessed with love, joy, happiness, success, health, and wisdom in the year of 2015!
Love the beautiful person you are, and may the love of others fill and enrich your life.
May you find joy and appreciation in both the big and the small things in life.
May you be content and happy, and see the good and positive in everything.
May you have success with all your changes and ‘resolutions’.
May you be blessed with abundant health. Mentally, physically, and spiritually.
May you learn from everything and everyone, and may the wisdom gained from all life events, good or bad, be with you for all eternity.

Much Love

To Joy – a poem by Friedrich Schiller, 1785

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Thy magic powers re-unite
What custom’s sword has divided
Beggars become Princes’ brothers
Where thy gentle wing abides.

Be embraced, millions!
This kiss to the entire world!
Brothers – above the starry canopy
A loving father must dwell.
Whoever has had the great fortune,
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won the love of a devoted wife,
Add his to our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to must creep
Tearfully away from this circle.

Those who dwell in the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars,
Where the Unknown reigns.

Joy all creatures drink
At nature’s bosoms;
All, Just and Unjust,
Follow her rose-petalled path.
Kisses she gave us, and Wine,
A friend, proven in death,
Pleasure was given (even) to the worm,
And the Cherub stands before God.

You bow down, millions?
Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell.
Joy is called the strong motivation
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy moves the wheels
In the universal time machine.
Flowers it calls forth from their buds,
Suns from the Firmament,
Spheres it moves far out in Space,
Where our telescopes cannot reach.

Joyful, as His suns are flying,
Across the Firmament’s splendid design,
Run, brothers, run your race,
Joyful, as a hero going to conquest.
As truth’s fiery reflection
It smiles at the scientist.
To virtue’s steep hill
It leads the sufferer on.
Atop faith’s lofty summit
One sees its flags in the wind,
Through the cracks of burst-open coffins,
One sees it stand in the angels’ chorus.

Endure courageously, millions!
Endure for the better world!
Above the starry canopy
A great God will reward you.
Gods one cannot ever repay,
It is beautiful, though, to be like them.
Sorrow and Poverty, come forth
And rejoice with the Joyful ones.
Anger and revenge be forgotten,
Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
Not one tear shall he shed anymore,
No feeling of remorse shall pain him.

The account of our misdeeds be destroyed!
Reconciled the entire world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
God judges as we judged.
Joy is bubbling in the glasses,
Through the grapes’ golden blood
Cannibals drink gentleness,
And despair drinks courage–
Brothers, fly from your seats,
When the full rummer is going around,
Let the foam gush up to heaven*:
This glass to the good spirit.

He whom star clusters adore,
He whom the Seraphs’ hymn praises,
This glass to him, the good spirit,
Above the starry canopy!
Resolve and courage for great suffering,
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally may last all sworn Oaths,
Truth towards friend and enemy,
Men’s pride before Kings’ thrones–
Brothers, even it if meant our Life and blood,
Give the crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the pack of liars!

Close the holy circle tighter,
Swear by this golden wine:
To remain true to the Oath,
Swear it by the Judge above the stars!
Delivery from tyrants’ chains,
Generosity also towards the villain,
Hope on the deathbeds,
Mercy from the final judge!
Also the dead shall live!
Brothers, drink and chime in,
All sinners shall be forgiven,
And hell shall be no more.

A serene hour of farewell!
Sweet rest in the shroud!
Brothers–a mild sentence
From the mouth of the final judge!

SecretEats SecretSucks

My friend Al experienced this last week. He complained about this on Secret Eats’ Facebook page, but they just deleted it.
So here is the account of his experience:


Very disappointed that you deleted my comment with regards to your last event in JHB, nonetheless herewith is my review which I will share and post to blogs and social networks alike.

The Secret Eats events advertises itself with adjectives like “absolutely delicious”, “amazing wine”, “perfectly paired wines” oh yes and a chef “on top of his game” all of this, this 4-course “taste experience” AND wine pairings for R650pp. Which is rather steep by today’s standards, but it is 4 course, right, and wine pairings and a top chef, so surely, SURELY this is what you will be getting which make the R650pp a little easier to swallow.

Arrived at the event 15mins early (we were that excited, see), only to have nobody greet us at the door. So joining the other guests and wondering around like a lost flock of sheep we finally managed to grab the attention of one of the organisers. Sat down and watched entertainingly how the kitchen staff and organisers scattered around fixing drinks, packing boxes etc. Not to bother, I’m sure the food will be amazing…

Eventually more people arrived and the organisers looked out of their depth, the rest of our party arrived with no meet and greet at the door, it took another 15mins for them to get their welcome drinks which I had to attend and serve to. Received Secret Eats cards with info of another guest at the evening, I’m confused is it a singles night? Nonetheless I asked everyone, EVERYONE, if the info relates to anyone, nobody. In fact I wasn’t the only one, it seemed a great mass of us failed to find anyone. Are these even the right cards? Did anybody actually find anyone? Silly game, let’s move onto the dinner, guests are hungry.

Onto the dinner where the head-chef washed our hands, odd. We were given slices of lemon earlier on the evening which everyone had to carry around, why not just have it all in a bowl at the table from the beginning – makes common sense right, rather than to carry this lemon, and your drink and your belongings. The seats were unreserved which kind of makes it a problem when you arrive as a party of 4 and then find that there are only 2 seats here and another 2 there etc. fortunately lucky for us we managed to grab the last remaining 4 empty seats in a corner, unlucky for others I assume who wished to share the “experience” together.

The tables were set up with herb plants along the middle of the table. My particular seat was missing my “wine pairings” and the seat next to me was missing its teaspoon and fork – these being the only utensils throughout the evening. Nestled between this rainforest of plants was the table’s bottled water, still in the plastic bottle, they not bothered to have it poured into a jug of ice perhaps, that would have been nice. The first course, remember they promised courses right, the first course was a little bit of salmon with orange that had been sitting on a soup spoon since the beginning of the night. Charming but I hear salmonella is a fantastic diet plan.

The second course I can only describe as being coffee mash on a small pastry, but lets not forget our wine pairings which still happened to be the same red and white wine from the beginning. I’m not a wine connoisseur by any means, but I’m pretty certain that wine pairings mean you actually get a different glass of wine to pair per course, not the same wine through the ENTIRE evening. But like I said I’m not a connoisseur just a simple fool sitting with a fork and teaspoon, from a different set I might add.

The third course: a baby tomato in a shot glass with a dark chocolate drop inside. By this time my stomach is eating my spine I’m so hungry; it was at this stage that I realised these were the actual courses and not canapés. Sigh. Finally some food arrived that required you to actually chew, a little bit of chicken on a stick. When a member of our party told the chef, Shaun Woolf, that she is a vegetarian, his response and I quote, “Not my problem, you will have to wait until the next course”. Excuse me!? Now as a chef, a top chef, a chef that is supposedly on top of your game, it is your problem. Surely you are capable of going back into the kitchen and providing an alternative. I can understand egos, I watch Gordon Ramsay religiously, but champ your food isn’t even good, the setup is drastically poor, people are virtually sitting on top of each other and the only thing separating the dining area to the reception and kitchen is a shower curtain. He then exclaimed that nobody told him about a vegetarian being here on the night, a challenge far too great for this man. When the situation was explained to the organiser, sure enough there in his notes, high-lighted and circled is the dietary requirements for 1 vegetarian. Top chef here then came back with a plate consisting of 3 separate pea pods. Three.pea.pods. I kid you not.

Wine pairings so far, the same red and white wine since the beginning. Not even sure if I can even classify this as “wine pairings”. When asking the waiter to see the wine, the red was from an unlabelled bottle – could very well have been boxed wine. Nobody on the night bothered to exclaim exactly what wine we happened to be drinking.

The fourth course: we were instructed to grab some of the herbs from the plants decorating our table and start preparing our own pesto. Yes, we are now making our own food. Hoping this would actually lead to something worthwhile, we were then given a small bowl of pasta. A bowl of ice-cold pasta I might add, of which the majority was then sent back so they could be nuked in the microwave. The gent next to me, his pasta was so overcooked it turned into mash when he started mixing in his own pesto which he had to make.

It was at this time we had enough. Hungry, annoyed, having just wasted the last 2hrs making our own pesto, drinking boxed wine, dealing with a rude chef, eating nothing but pathetic canapés we left. For R650 this is what you get. Are you havin a laugh Secret Eats? I feel like you are nothing but con artists, over-selling something that clearly isn’t. Venue was a joke. Food was an embarrassment. Organisation was laughable.

You want to know how it’s done right, The Waterford Restaurant hold proper wine pairing evenings only once a month. Proper 5 course meals that require you to use more than just a fork and a teaspoon, where meals aren’t prepared and presented in a shot glass. Where wine and different wine is served per course and it’s not unlabelled in fact the wine farmer is with you on the night and how much does it cost, R600? R500? Try R295, more than half the price that you cons ask for. And you land up supporting the UJ School of Tourism and Hospitality.

We were also told there would be a raffle on the night supporting a local charity. Whatever happened to that Secret Eats? Just shut it down because you’re robbing people of their time and money. It’s pathetic.