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Blogs and blogging Events and Life Mindsets

The controversial 2007 SA Blog Awards … revisited

The debate over the 2007 SA Blog Awards has been pretty intense.  I had an opportunity to chat to Jonathan Cherry, the co-ordinator/facilitator of the SA Blog Awards for the last three years running about much of the criticism that has been levied against the voting process, the judges and the alignment of the stars when the nominations were announced.  Jonathan made an effort to explain some of the processes in a comment on Wozafriday but I don’t think the good stuff has gotten out just yet.

What I understood from a fairly lenthy chat with Jonathan (and to the extent this is wrong, it is all my fault, I wasn’t taking decent notes) is that rather than being an annointing of the top blogs in the various categories in South Africa (and the top SA blog), the Awards are intended to be a showcase of local blogs or blogs by locals.  The blogs that ‘win’ are not intended to be represented as the best blogs in South Africa but rather a best of the bunch on show.  As Jonathan pointed out, there are some blogs in South Africa that have the most amazing content and yet they were not nominated by enough people to rise to prominence (obviously Wired Gecko is one of these blogs … kidding!).  I am not referring to any blog in particular because I still think that visibility in the local blogosphere determines whether enough people are going to give your blog the thumbs up and get you on to the shortlists.

All this criticism about the whole process and we are missing the point.  Events like the SA Blog Awards are meant to boost our collective profiles in South Africa and help us to a point where blogs become a firm part of the mainstream consciousness in our little dorpie.  This morning’s segment on SABC 2‘s Morning Live is an indication that the Awards are having their desired effect.

In short, the SA Blog Awards is no about you, it is about us and showing the rest of the country what awesome content we publish.

(yes, I know this post doesn’t address all the issues raised – such as the voting process and how the process is judged – so if you have some productive suggestions to improve the whole thing for next year, speak to Jonathan)

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Events and Life Mindsets People

We don’t have children anymore, we are raising sociopaths

There are two stories in the last week which bring home the cold, hard fact that many of the so called children going through schools today are not children, rather they are sociopaths.  A sociopath is defined as "a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience."  To take it a little further, antisocial personality disorder, according to Wikipedia, is the following:

Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated APD or ASPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognizable by the disordered individual’s disregard for social rules and norms, impulsive behavior, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others. The World Health Organization’s ICD-10 diagnostic manual uses dissocial personality disorder instead. The concept psychopathy (not to be confused with psychosis) generally denotes a related but more severe personality disorder.

Sociopathy is sometimes claimed to be a less formal synonym for this disorder based on terminology from an older edition of the DSM. Various experts have co-opted the terms psychopathy and sociopathy inconsistently to mark differences in meaning they believe are theoretically important although there is a consensus that both terms refer to personality disorders with prominent norm-breaking and socially disruptive behavior.

The first story is about a scary discovery made by a teacher at Paarl Gymnasium.  He came across three students who were described in IOL as doing the following:

A teacher caught a girl, 14, being sodomised by a matric pupil, 17, while she was providing oral sex to a grade nine pupil aged 16 on the school premises, Son said.

Said the 16-year-old: "We were making a ‘sandwich’ when the teacher arrived. She was in the middle, I was in front and my friend was behind her."

The three students were expelled.

(Source: Splattermail)

In the second story, the following video emerged from a class at a school I understand to be Grey High School.  What seems to have happened is that the teacher was trying really hard to do his job and found his class less than interested in what he was trying to do and instead, they were intent on doing whatever their dear little black hearts inspired them to do.  The end result is yet another distraught teacher who perhaps went a little too far in expressing his feelings about the situation.  Listen for the noises the students are making while the teacher tries to talk.

What really blows my mind is that these students don’t seem to care what they are doing to this teacher.  They have no apparent grasp of the notion that their teacher is a human being who is trying to do his job.  Another interesting point which was made by a commentator on the post on Jo’blog is the following:

Did you hear them baiting him at the beginning? It was clearly a setup. A kid just *happens* to be recording the video as all the other kids cause shit and the teacher loses it? And then at the end of the video, the boy in the next seat says “can you bluetooth that to me?”. They knew what they were doing.

These students just give rocks.  They do what pleases them with no regard for the consequences of their actions.  They have no sense of responsibility.  These are not children.  They are sociopaths and I am not looking forward to this generation stepping up to the plate in a decade or so.  Imagine one of these delinquents becoming President.  You think George W Bush is bad?

(Source: Jo’blog and Splattermail)

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Events and Life

We’re engaged!

The two of us at our engagement party

Yesterday I mentioned that there was something in my life to be very happy about and this is it.  After a mere 15 months or so together, G and I are engaged to be married early next year.  We are both very excited about this and I am thrilled to have such a beautiful and loving woman as my fiancee and look forward to her becoming my wife.

I wrote the following before I gave her the ring (more on both of these two items below):

May I be a loving husband;
May I be a loyal friend;
May I be a gentle lover;
May I love her well.

In this ever changing world, are there greater gifts a man can give to his wife?

Ok, I am sure that many of you are interested in how I proposed to G yesterday afternoon.  Firstly, it was not a surprise to her that we are going to marry, we had been speaking about it for a little while now.  We went to pick out the ring last at a great jeweller’s shop called Sidersky Jewellers.  We were told that our jeweller would have the ring ready within 10 working days and if we were nice to him he would have it ready by this Saturday.  A couple days ago he informed me that the ring would be ready on Wednesday or Thursday.  I was able to pick up the ring on Thursday afternoon (yesterday).  I picked a very nice bunch of flowers on the way home and started to set everything up for G before she arrived home:

  • I set my DVD player to play a cover of Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time”, one of G’s favourite songs;
  • I left a note on the floor by the front door instructing her to put everything down there and to go to the coffee table in the lounge;
  • Another note on the coffee table instructed G to press ‘play’ and to open a card I left for her;
  • I was waiting in the next room and when I heard the music playing I came into the room and kissed her;
  • As she was reading the card, I gave her the ring.

I still have something up my sleeve and won’t tell you about that now for obvious reasons.  We are both very very excited and I still don’t think this has really sunk in just yet.

For those looking for a picture of her very beautiful ring, I created a collage with Picasa2: Update: This collage is currently MIA so here is a photo of the ring itself instead: