The Love of Pets

Mafuta and me

Mafuta and me

Have you ever had a really really tough day when all you wanted to do was curl up in bed and not be disturbed by anyone or anything? Well I have. On days like that I don’t want to be around anyone. I would prefer to just be quiet and relax and think, okay… not always think. Luckily at home I can just withdraw from the world and have some time in my own space. The only ones that I allow into my life at these times are my furry friends. Somehow just seeing my lovely cats make me feel so much better. Witnessing them happily basking in the sun or sleeping curled up on a cold day, is like ointment to an invisible wound. With animals, no words are needed. You don’t have to wear the best clothes or be intelligent or rich. You don’t need to be most of the stuff people lay importance on. All that matters is that you love and feed them.

 

Some people do not like animals. Someone I know said she “likes animals but doesn’t like touching them.” This is really strange to me. How else are you supposed to establish a strong bond and trust with your pets? It’s probably because I’ve had cats all my life, but I cannot imagine life without them. The bond between my pets and I are something I can’t quite explain. So much can be said without all the complicated formalities that human interaction is littered with.  In short I hope everyone appreciates their pets and loves them dearly. More than anything in the world I hate any kind of abuse against these defenceless, beautiful creatures. Why anyone would hurt them is beyond my comprehension. It appears to me that they are the only ones who do not judge, persecute or want to be impressed. With them you can be totally… you.

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Violence in Cartoons

I recently had the opportunity to watch Ice Age. I liked the first one, but the second offering, not so much. But this blog’s purpose is not to review; it’s to critique what is often present in this animation movie and many other cartoons as well.

 

cartoonsI used to watch a lot of cartoons when I was in primary school and what I often saw was a lot of violence. But what upset me was not strictly the violence itself (I loved Batman of the Future). It was the context of it. Many times acts of cruelty and punishment were supposed to be humorous. For example, the Looney Tunes have a lot of opposing characters who run over, burn, bury, and cut one another up. I don’t think I have ever laughed at any of this. If young children do, are they being prepared to be sadists? Maybe this is taking things too far. But surely being exposed to such grotesqueness can only be detrimental to the psyche after a long period of time? I do not need to be a psychology major to make that deduction.

 

Back to Ice Age 2 which is what comes to mind as it’s the most recent example that I have viewed. The film would have been better if that squirrel creature chasing the acorn was not in it. Or rather he should not have experienced as much abuse as the animators put him through. It’s unnecessary and tiring. It’s also quite sadistic. I’m saying this now freely because I’m calling it as I see it. Okay, we get it: Greedy squirrel thing gets into trouble because the only thing he cares about is an elusive acorn. This gimmick should have stopped in the first movie, but then it was abundantly present in the second! No, no, it’s just too much. Not just in the Ice Age franchise, but cartoons in general. It’s just NOT funny.

Childbirth and Men

Today, I was lounging around at home and watched Muvhango which I haven’t watched in a long time. I didn’t need to though, you know how soapies are. It takes you 5 minutes to figure out every plot and sub-plot. One of the story lines caught my attention. One of the characters was engaged in a conflict with the father of her baby because he was no longer comfortable attending prenatal classes. He said that he wasn’t comfortable when the women in the group discussed their “canals.” She laughed, but I didn’t.

 

To me this attitude of men being uncomfortable when it comes to discussing childbirth and related earthwormtopics is quite ridiculous. Had they not fathered the children? I’m sure they weren’t exactly uncomfortable at the time of conception. Cold you imagine if the women who are carrying the children said they weren’t interested in learning about childbirth? That type of ignorance would be painfully shocking and hardly blissful. I’m not saying that it’s not a bit shocking to watch all the blood and anguish that goes into bringing new life into the world. But there are consequences to actions and being an informed parent is one of them.

 

Another thing that was silly which came up in the show was the man’s slightly more detailed explanation as to why he did not want to attend the prenatal classes any further. He said that he was an “African man.” As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care what kind of man you are: the process of gestation is the same with all people. If you fathered a child you should be prepared to be fully aware of everything that is involved in the development of your offspring. The women who are endowed with the ability to produce children are not earthworms – they can’t get pregnant themselves.

Hunger and Thinking Don’t Go Together

The other day while waiting in the car, I was in a really bad mood. It wasn’t that I was just tired. No, that definitely wasn’t it. I’ve been growltired yet in a good mood before but this was something else. It was that I had not eaten. With a pretty light breakfast, I had not eaten anything else for the day because I was busy looking for books in the library and running other errands. I had been picked up at 4:00 pm – talk about gruelling.

The next day I spoke to my friend who lives away from home in an apartment she co-rents. I said that I didn’t know how my other friend who lives in the university residence lives on noodles (the two minute kind) on a daily basis. Then she said something which surprised me. She told me that she often did it too. Actually she said that it’s not just her, but her flatmates as well. A while back my mother was telling me about how university students struggle to get money to eat. (I’m not saying this about my friends, I’m talking about students in general.)

After hearing several stories about what my mother had said, the issue really had some deep resonance with me. It makes me really need foodsad. I understand how awful it feels to be hungry and a student. You can’t concentrate and sometimes you feel dizzy. And if you’re like me, you get ticked of by things that normally wouldn’t even affect you. If money is hard to come by, then I understand the noodle choice. But isn’t there some other way? There’s fruit and vegetables which are cheaper than meat and perhaps other dry groceries could be bought in bulk. There are other alternatives, it’s just a matter of laying importance on your health. I know it’s not easy but you have to try when you can.

Learning to Cope with Drowning

dreamingHave you ever felt that you’re up to your eyeballs in work? The answer is probably yes. At some point in their lives, most people have been snowed under with some or other type of work that they have to complete before a deadline. For those us who have never been in this situation (and I think you’re lying) you have been blessed with the ability not to procrastinate. For those of us who have yet to develop this skill, life can really suck at times. Just the other day I had to submit my research proposal again. Not an easy task, especially when I had to do it in a week. During the course of preparing to hand it in, I felt like literally running away from my computer screen.

I distinctly remember one evening going outside for some air. It had been really warm the entire day and it was starting to cool down at last. So I did what I always had since I was a child and lay down on the grass and looked up at the starry sky. I remained there for I don’t know how long all in an attempt to steel my nerves for the onslaught of work I knew awaited me. The sky is a really beautiful thing, you know that? It’s so calm, so filled with the unknown, so vast and breath-taking. If it was physically possible I would have liked nothing more than to have fallen into it, like that Vanessa Carlton song.

starryThis incident made me think of a coping strategy when faced with stuff that you have to do but don’t want to. Just stay calm, breathe for a few minutes and dream. Dream about whatever you want to. A better life, an alternate life/universe, what you’re going to have for supper… anything. Just don’t take too long, remember there’s work to be done.

Driving Mr. Ditzy

drivingI need to get a driving licence. I have been telling my mother this for the past year and a half almost. The problem with getting one as we all know is that you have to take lessons in order to learn how to handle a vehicle (something that could actually KILL animals and people if you’re not careful). The following is a little story which foreshadows my driving experience so far.

During one of my grade ten Afrikaans oral tests, I said that one of the things I disliked was cars. The conversation between my teacher and I went something like this…

Me: … en ek hoe nie van motors nie. (… and I do no like cars.)

Teacher: Hoekom? (Why?)

Me: Want hulle is groot en gevaarlik. (Because they are big and dangerous.)

And then she said something which made everyone (including me) laugh.

Teacher: But people are also big and dangerous and kill people.

I can’t remember what I said after that, I just remember laughing.

Anyway back to 2013. Hmm… where was I? Oh yes, I need a driving licence but first lessons. My previous driving instructor was, how can I put this delicately, the most HORRIBLE PERSON ALIVE! So now I ‘m back in the search for one. It turns out my teacher’s comment really did hold truth. I think that my driving instructor was worse than any car out there. I have to admit that being on the road does scare me a little. But I’ve realized that it’s not really the driving which gets to me. It’s actually driving with someone else which frightens me. All that “slow down,” “check right and left” (like a neurotic person), “don’t drive too much to the left”… just shut up. I’m the one driving. Just wait until I get my licence and meet my ex-instructor on the road… hehehe… I’m just kidding though. He’s a worse driver than me and will probably get himself into trouble on his own.

The Joys of Blogging

Right now, I’ve decided to write about something less serious. Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous serious issues I could blog about but I’ll get to them later. If anyone is considering closing their blog account, I would urge you to reconsider. I know I wasn’t really into the idea of sharing my feelings with the whole world at first. But then something struck me. The “whole world” is more concerned about reading Justin Bieber tweets than my little blog. But the possibility that people might just read my work made be less sloppy about my writing. This served as motivation to hone in one my writing skills.

 

Blogging allows one to explore the world around them through introspection. While you write you blogdiscover things about yourself and even begin to realise things about the outside world. In my case we had to start a blog because it was a requirement for our Mecs707 module. I imagined it to be fun after a while but this new type of writing was just a wee bit foreign to me. Throughout my university career I had to be very careful when writing assignments, specifically when it came to voicing my own opinion. Even when I could share my own thoughts, I had to back up what I said by others’ views.

 

At this point, I really like this sector of media studies. I can definitely see why blogging is such a big part of popular culture today. If you ask, me it’s more therapeutic than Facebook or Twitter. In fact just sharing my thoughts on writing has made me feel happier.  Even though my blog won’t be world famous, at least it helps me clear my thoughts and voice my opinion in the great dimension of cyber space.