Archive for January, 2009

It’s our turn now

// January 20th, 2009 // No Comments » // Jonathan, Politics

The US elections is now history, it’s over, a president has been elected and sworn in.

Next up, is probably the most important democratic election in South Africa since the very first democratic elections in 1994. We’ll have many new parties to choose from in this election, by some reports more than a 100. One of the most important new-commers of course, is the COPE party, a breakaway faction of the current ruling ANC.

I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for yet, although I know who I’m definitely not voting for, but that’s another post on it’s own.

What I want to emphasise now is that you should go register to vote, if you haven’t done so. The last opportunity to register is on the 7th and 8th of February.

Please do the following:

  • Ask your friends if they have registered
  • Offer to go to their houses and wake them up on registration weekend and to take them to a registration office
  • I’ve slammed together a really quick register-to-vote banner that I’m putting on my blog, feel free to do the same. You can get an svg version here.

register

    All around the world, the youth are becomming more interested in politics and taking action in improving the state of their country and their future. It’s now our turn, the youth of South Africa, to show the world what we’re made of.

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    Hope

    // January 19th, 2009 // 15 Comments » // Free Software, Jonathan, Politics

    Today is George W. Bush‘s last day as president of the United States of America. *sigh of relief*

    Not only that, be we’re getting a U.S. president that actually promotes things like hope and volunteerism. Some sceptical people have said things like “he’s just a politician, he’ll say anything that will get him into office!”. Even if that was the case, I can’t remember when last I heard a politician talk that could even pretend to care as much as he does. I’m really happy about his inauguration.

    Barack Obama

    Aparently you’ll need Silverlight to view the inauguration online, although Paul Sladen has posted what could be used as a possible workaround for Linux users. I think I’ll just stick to good old T.V.

    UPATE: You can now watch it using Moonlight

    Apparently there are already bets going around on which words Obama might be using during the inauguration.

    I’m a bit bet-shy at the moment, I lost a bet to Morgan Collett last month, I said Debian Lenny would be released before the end of December 2008. I knew it was a bit of a risky bet though :)

    Today also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr Day, a public holiday in the US. In about 20 minutes from now (17:00 UTC), CNN will be broadcasting his famous “I have a Dream” speach.

    (Images from Wikipedia)

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    What’s the lesson here?

    // January 18th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Jonathan

    Usually after being away from home a while I tend to get a bit down and have thoughts like “nobody likes me” and “I’m not cool enough”, etc. Not that I actually believe it, but those kinds of thoughts are hardly ever really rational. My DSL connection in Gauteng has been down (Thanks again Telkom), and 3G coverage here is sparse at best, so keeping in touch has been a bit tough as well. I decided to go to Centurion Mall, which I haven’t tried out yet to go get a haircut and buy some new clothes. It’s very humid here at the moment, so I hoped that that would help me feel better and fresher.

    The barbers were booked until Tuesday and I wasn’t really feeling like shopping anymore so I just had a quick lunch and decided to go back. On the way out, a guy came to my car and asked if I could give him and his sister a quick lift. I never pick up hitch-hikers and it’s my policy not too. They looked like poor people, but I didn’t want to judge and didn’t put too much further thought into it. I don’t really know why, but I decided to be nice and give them a lift anyway. He said that they were selling car fresheners in the parking lot and if I’d want to buy one from them too. My car was just in a service yesterday and they put new freshener in my car, so I really didn’t need one (and I don’t like them much anyway). I saw him counting money and thought that they did quite well today. He was also fidgeting in a bunch of plastic bags the whole time that they had with them. He started throwing papers out the car. I was really annoyed, because I don’t ever throw anything out of my car and I expect the same from my passengers, and it’s rude polluting.

    He asked if I could perhaps take them a bit further- just another 5km’s or so, it would really help them a lot. I thought that a total of another 10km or so won’t really hurt me time-wise so much, I might as well do it. It turned out to be more like another 15km further, I dropped them off in Pretoria. In some ways, I’m a bit obsessive compulsive. I do things in a certain way and in a certain order, it helps me to tell when something is wrong or when it’s not how it should be. I usually put my wallet in my cupholders space, it fits in there nicely and you can’t really see it from outside. I noticed that it was upside down from how it usually is. I wandered if I was just in a rush when I put it in there, or whether I was paranoid. I saw them walking away, and thought what the heck, I’ll just quickly look before I drive away. I knew I had about R450 in my wallet.  I opened my wallet- and it was empty, he took all the money in my wallet. I climbed out of my car and ran on to them. I told him that I want my money back. He said he didn’t take it and that it’s not in his character to steal money. His sister started rambling on about how she was in the back of the car all the time but I didn’t really listen. I told them that I know that they took my money and I don’t believe anything they say. I also realised that I’m in a very unfamiliar area and I didn’t know whether they had any kind of weapons with them, so I just turned around and went back to my car. I realised that the papers he was throwing out the window all along was gaurantee slips that was in my wallet for things that I bought for my company. Luckily all my credit/garage/debit cards and my drivers license were still safe inside. The money isn’t such a big deal, but I’m really disgusted at them. What kind of low-life would steel money from someone who’s nice enough to do them a favour?

    I’m not at all bitter about it though. It happened about 40 minutes ago, I’m just wondering what the lesson is here.

    Is it perhaps that I should learn to stick to my personal policies? Was this perhaps a slap on the wrist for giving strangers a lift when I know that I shouldn’t?

    Is it perhaps God’s way of telling me “Stop being so fucking miserable, you’re not all that bad, look, there are way worse people in the world.”?

    Is it perhaps that I shouldn’t trust people who don’t look trustworthy. I’ve had poor people try to trick me out of money a few times in the past before, but because I’m usually quite sharp and on the lookout for things that aren’thow they should be, I managed to not get caught.

    Perhaps it’s so that I can repeat the message here:

    • Don’t pick up strangers, ever.
    • Trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

    I don’t really know what the lesson is here, I was very angry with them for a minute or so, but I’m glad that I managed to let it slide so quickly. I’m also thankful for what I have, and looking forward to being back home again next week.

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    2009: Reasons to be happy

    // January 10th, 2009 // No Comments » // Education, Free Software, Jonathan

    On a radio station I used to listen to a lot they used to fill up about a minute or so with phone calls where people shouted a sentence about why they’re happy. Usually it was something silly like “It’s my birthday!” or “I just got [p,l]aid!”.

    This morning I filled up my car’s fuel tank and it was R290.27. About 6 months ago, the same amount of fuel cost just about R500. The drop in fuel prices also means that we’ll probably not see much rise in food prices this year (many people believe that it should drop, but I think that’s unlikely).  Besides the fuel prices, our prime lending rate is also going down. It’s estimated that it’s going down by as much as 2.5-3 % over the course of the year. That’s very good news for anyone who has a large amount of debt (like a home or vehicle loan).

    For me personally, I decided to take up some things that I’ve been putting off for various reasons for a long time now. I’m finally going to do the B Class ameteur radio exams this month, and in May the A Class exams. I’m also going back to school, doing a BA through Unisa. I’m going to make a point of getting my motorbike license. So far I just got a learners license every 18 until it expired again and then did the learners test again. If all goes well, I’ll also be starting another 2 companies with some acquaintances. Previously I’d be super-scared to do something like that, but this year I’m saying yes to more things and if there are sensible risks, I’m taking it. Oh, last week I also managed to half my insurance costs (and expanded my coverage with that as well), which is another thing I’m quite happy about for 2009. There’s more, but they’re big maybe’s and I don’t want to jinx it. Hopefully I’ll be able to post more about them during the year.

    What are your reasons to be happy in 2009? Please comment or trackback.

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