Posts Tagged ‘jgh work’

And with one last stop, the Rewind time machine will deliver us back to present day! A quick recap of July, and then back to our regularly scheduled programming.

July highlights…

Attended the Durban July for the 3rd year in a row. This year’s theme was weird (“A Material World”, all about recycling, which makes perfect sense for a festive horse race party event. ???) So we didn’t go as all-out as last year, but I did rummage through the recycling bin to whip up a couple of on-theme accessories.

On her: BioClassic washing detergent, BonAqua water bottle cap. On him: egg carton, green tea box, Coca-Cola cap.

Celebrated my birthday a few times.

Red wine and bday cake at Mocambique restaurant on the actual day; more red wine and more bday cake with the ladies a few days later.

Got an iPhone! YIPPEE! I had wanted one for my birthday, but called it off a few days before because I just couldn’t get past spending that kind of money when I already had a perfectly working smartphone (more of a lamephone, but a phone nonetheless). My sacrifice was rewarded when JG played in a golf tournament two days after my birthday and received an iPhone 4S as a door prize! I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

The finest iPhone cover that China Mall had to offer!

Attended a Muslim-Hindu wedding reception.

The ladies (relatives of the bride) are lined up to exchange gifts with the groom’s female relatives.

Attended (JG) and crashed (me) a conference at a swanky resort just north of town.

The view from JG’s VIP “garden suite”

While JG was off hobnobbing, networking, golfing, and spa-ing, I spent a few days in his office helping out on a huge proposal that his company was invited to bid on with just a few days’ notice. No word yet if “we” won the business, but I have to say it was fun to be in the mix of a frenetic project for a couple of days. I love the flexibility of working from home, but I do miss being part of a team. I know the grass is always greener – most of you reading this now probably don’t have a snoring pug in your lap or your bare feet propped up in the windowsill under your desk – so let’s call it a draw.

The sea view from Johnny’s desk, which I never knew was so lovely at 7am.

Attended our friends’ Lyn and Steve’s beautiful beach wedding just south of the city.

A windy but stunning start to a beautiful life together.

…for which I made the cake! Vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, and carrot cake topper – all smothered in 9 pounds of cream cheese frosting and decorated with chocolate seashells and crushed cookie “sand”. I made the stand as well, and can’t even pretend to be humble about this one: it ROCKED.

Steve and Lyn were kind enough to bring the carrot cake to breakfast the next morning, where a huge table full of hungover people absolutely demolished it.

Roxy gives us a subtle hint that she would like to be included on our next trip, please.

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Peeps on the Pier

This is a group of top performers from my work out for our once a month awards dinner. Moyo Pier is such a cool spot, it was a gorgeous evening, and this is a phenomenal group to work with! We had a great night.

(Note from the Ed.) I loooove these lamps, made out of shredded plastic soda bottles. Mental note.

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The parent company to my company is a very cool, innovative, fast moving bunch who basically invented a method for merchants to take cash payments for pre-paid vouchers for things like cell phone air time, electricity, bus tickets, concert tickets, etc. The ability to take cash payments is vital in a developing economy, so they’re not only doing well in SA, they’re expanding into other markets like Mexico and India.

It is one of the fastest moving companies on the Johannesburg stock exchange and was started by 2 brothers who are super nice guys and, like me, enjoy a drink or 12 from time to time. They even named the company after their favourite booze — a certain high-end Scotch.

They pop a new bottle whenever they do a big deal. So many deals have been done over the years that they have even wallpapered one of the executive boardrooms with bottles — and  at almost $200 each, this rooms decor is no joke. What a company to work for!

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A Real Dusi

One of my clients was the primary sponsor this year for the Dusi (pronounced “doozy”) Canoe Marathon. The Dusi is a 120km paddle from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on the Msunduzi River. The race takes place over 3 days, there are about 20km’s of portage (carrying your boat on land), several rapids, and a hell of a good time.

You can paddle solo or with a partner, and several boats have a support crew to help them between stages. My co-worker Steve has completed 11 of these, and has done the ‘Durban Triathlon’ 10 times – maybe a record – which consists of the Dusi, the Midmar mile (an open water swim), and the Comrades Marathon (the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon – 90Ks (55 miles)! First run in 1921, and coincidentally for all you ‘Noke readers, also completed by the current owner and manager of the Texas Tavern).

There’s a huge party for the support crews after day 2, so guess which day I attended? We had access to the VIP tent at the finish – lots of beers, great view of the paddlers coming in, and of the ‘Dusi Floozies’ welcoming paddlers on shore.

Day 2 finishes at Inanda Dam and we were supposed to take a boat cruise… which we missed. So, what did we get to do instead? Take a helicopter ride through the “Valley of 1000 Hills”.

I’ve alwsys wanted to ride in a helicopter and this is some of the most breathtakingly beautiful land I’ve ever seen. I got to see it while cruising in a tiny chopper at hair-raising speeds, with no doors, and close enough to the ground to buzz cows is some spots.

The area is home to formerly displaced individuals that were moved out of cities by the past Apartheid government. It unfortunately has the highest concentration of HIV anywhere in the world, but there are lots of initiatives underway to help. Our client who sponsors the race has sponsored over 5000 local orphans to attend crèches (day-cares) set up in the area, and next year will raise this sponsorship to 5000 creches!

What an amazing day.

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U2 and Us2

Thanks to the generosity of one of John’s clients, we rolled VIP style into the U2 concert in Johannesburg on Sunday. The show was absolutely incredible — made all the more so by John’s mouth-gaping wonder at finally being in the presence of one of his favorite bands of all time (did he tear up a bit during his college running anthem ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’? I’ll never tell!)

The concert was held at FNB Stadium, better known as “Soccer City”, the 95,000 seat venue that housed last year’s World Cup opening ceremonies and final match. What a stunning stadium! Having been to 3 World Cup stadia now, we both agree that Soccer City is the clear winner.

Self-portrait from our box seats - far from the stage, yes, but also far from the hour-long concession lines, a fair trade in my book.

Soccer City - designed to look like a certain traditional African pot. It sits in Jo'burg's Soweto township.

We had a good laugh at this dude who rode by on a party bus while we were waiting for the gates to open. Pressed ham!

Storming the gates with John's coworker Steve and his wife Tasha.

Closer shot of the lovely Soccer City.

The largest stage setup ever built! Absolutely mind-boggling in scale. The fans standing inside the outer ring had been in line since 6am (so about 15 hours by start time) in order to get into the "inner circle".

The concert sponsor, and our host for the evening, cell phone service provider 8ta. They're such a new client that their campaign with John's company hasn't even launched yet, so we were VERY lucky to score tickets through them!

No hour-long beer lines up in the sky box - simply tell the waiter what you want, and he'll bring it to your seat. Ridiculous!

Just havin' a good time with 95,000 of our friends.

The "claw" was a sort of pukey hospital-scrub color during daylight, but it transformed into an unearthly glowing sculpture after dark.

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8 months, 15 trips by Lizzy to the passport agency, and a Home Affairs strike later, and we have our new Visas! I cant tell you how good it feels to be back in possession of our passports and to be legally working in the country again.

And I didn’t even have to sign anything saying how I would financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically support my wife this time – muahahahaha! (Editor’s note: all previously signed paperwork conveyed with our new file. And for that, you may have to support me a new pair of shoes.)

post title in homage to the greatest Genesis song ever

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Hot Tranny Mess

By popular demand As punishment for the complete lack of comments on John’s amazing Miss America costume, I present to you the full-length version. Behold!

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The Spirit

Forget all of the tinsel and twinkle lights, the wrapping paper and ribbons, the ham biscuits and eggnog (okay, maybe not those last two) — there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will put you in the Christmas spirit faster than watching a dozen orphans get lavished with attention and presents at their very own holiday party.

John’s company went all out earlier this week to spread some cheer to a group of kids who otherwise wouldn’t know December 25 from any other day of the year. In addition to the piles of toys and books and food and clothing, his hundreds of coworkers raised a nice cash donation for the orphanage, to help keep these kids happy and well-fed for the other 364 days of the year.

God bless us every one, indeed!

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My company Holiday (Merry Christmas you ba***rd!) party was Friday night. The theme* was “Halloween” and the peeps went all out. The decor was great, the costumes were amazing, and the after party went ‘til six in the mornin’.

As you can see, LB and I went as Miss America, and the obvious runner up. I was resplendent in a gown and shoes procured at Goodwill in Roanoke, a stuffed bikini top sewn into my dress, hand-made sash by my lovely wife, elbow length silver gloves, matching tiara and earrings, and the longest rhinestone-embellished fake eyelashes this side of San Francisco.

There was a spot-on Marilyn Monroe, several drag queens, everyone’s favorite pirate: Black Sparrow, lots of witches and ghouls, and various other characters.  It will take a week for us to recover – call center people can throw down!

The best accessory? My Mo-stache.

* Ed’s note: most parties this time of year are considered more “year-end” than “holiday”, since many cultures don’t observe any holidays in December. So costume parties abound! John went to a client’s 70’s party last week, and is attending his parent company’s Carnivale-themed soiree tomorrow.

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Cape Town Boondoggle

We swung through Cape Town on our way to the States (hey, what’s an extra 3-hours’ flight time when you’re already facing 20?!) to catch the USA soccer team take on SA in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.

With a major client in CT, John was able to craft it into a work trip with a full-day agenda of client shmoozing and boozing. We started in (where else) the winelands, and continued on to (where else) &Union for pre-game festivities with our good ol’ American crew!

The game itself was sort of a snooze (no score until the 87th minute, when the USA squeaked out a 1-0 victory), but it was interesting to finally get  a look inside the Cape Town stadium. All Durbanites present strongly agree that our stadium is FAR superior (although, to be fair, we haven’t been back since the FIFA handover after World Cup). But nicer bathrooms and better concessions aside, mark my words: you will one day read a headline along the lines of Tragedy at Cape Town Stadium, reporting on hundreds of stampeding deaths caused by the ridiculously unsafe cattle-chute exit tunnels. Terrifying!

All in all, a great (if long!) day spent with awesome colleagues, cool clients, and old friends.

Good ol' Table Mountain in our sights once again.

The American chicks (minus Addie, who is perpetually an hour late)

The American boyz, featuring a guest appearance by Modern George Washington

These guys were patriotic, but annoying

14 hours after start-time, the day had devolved into this

America, F yeah!

Hopefully this post will tide you over while we organize our account of the USA trip, and a final Movember update. Stay tuned!

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