Being a Bird Watcher

The birds in our garden…

It’s magical.

A pair of Crested Barbetts have taken over the dead tree that had Black-collared Barbetts nesting in it last year, and I’m pretty sure there are chicks in the nest.

A pair of Hadedas have a nest in a thorn tree overhanging our garden, and have a clutch of three new chicks – the umpteenth time they’ve hatched chicks in that tree.

Yesterday and today, a pair of fluffy Bulbul fledglings have been following their parents from tree to tree, chirping softly while they wait for their next meal and squealing with mouths wide open when their parents are near!

All the trees, and the various berries (mulberry, syringa, privet) makes our garden very bird friendly! We’ve had Muisvoel chicks, Hoepoe fledglings, Loerie fledglings, Masked Weaver chicks! I just love it!

I miss sharing this with my dad so much. He would have loved the the Crested vs Black-collared Barbett battle!

How to enjoy a Comic Con!

On Sunday September 16th, I attended my first Comic Con – the first ever Comic Con in Africa!

I have waited YEARS for Comic Con to come to SA, and as soon as I saw the announcements my Glugster and I were determined to go. Hubby doesn’t mind dressing up, but its me who wants to CosPlay, and its so easy with Terry Pratchett’s Nanny Ogg as my alter ego!! So hubby came along in civvies and carried all our stuff, while I hung onto my hat! ๐Ÿ˜›

As soon as we could we booked our tickets for the Sunday (Saturday was already sold out), and I started checking on my costume. I tried to make my boots more red, made sure I had the right spray to make my hair white, and got my mom to make me a cape (the last one I used was rented).
In the weeks ahead of Comic Con I asked a couple of friends to play Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick to my Nanny Ogg, and we went as Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters!ย It was SO much fun, and we were recognised a lot more often than I thought we would be – with people taking pictures with us and of us!

Picture by Starbright Jewellery

Once we got home, I realised I hadn’t taken NEARLY enough pictures of the day, and some of the incredible costumes I saw, and we hadn’t seen everything there was to see! I started thinking about how we can make sure we miss nothing next time, and that is how this blog post came about.
So. What will I do differently next year?

  • First – shoes!
    I will make sure that both my Glugster and I are wearing super-comfy shoes (mine were no problem,ย his weren’t fabulous) because there’s a LOT of walking and standing at Comic Con!
  • Second – we will start saving money WELL in advance!*
    Food and drink at expos is notoriously pricey (as in R20 for a can of Coke) and you can’t spend the day there and NOT eat, but you need money for all the cool stuff thats on offer! The original artworks and paintings and jewellery were SO “must-have”, and if you are a collector there are comics and games and all kinds of things you may be battling to find in actual shops.
  • Third – we will have a “schedule”!
    Our plan is to first check the list of talks and workshops happening and what time they are taking place so we can be sure to be in the right place at the right time. Then we will do a tour of ALL the stalls and displays and have a good look at everything on offer and on show. Then we’ll break for food, and THEN we will walk around checking out everyone’s costumes and taking pictures of, and with them!

If you went to Comic Con Africa this year, did you get a VIP ticket? Is it worth the expense?

*There is NO way I will ever fork out several hundred rands for a photo with a celebrity, unless I win the lottery!

Being a Proud Geek at #ComicConAfrica2018

Dear Oliver Roberts (if that is your name),

Today I read your article about Comic Con Africa in the Sunday Timesย Review, and to say I was offended is putting it -ing mildly.
But as you yourself noted, we geeks are a polite bunch, though your article has got our backs up, to say the least.

I went to Comic Con last Sunday, dressed as a fat old witch. My costume wasn’t complicated, or difficult to put together since I am already a fat old lady, but I chose my costume because Nanny Ogg is my favourite character from one of my favourite series of books, written by the inimitable Sir Terry Pratchett.
Had I identified more with Ayla from Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children novels, I could have gone to Comic Con dressed in a fur bikini and a long blonde wig, without a second thought as to whether or not I could pull it off in your eyes.

Comic Con is different things for different geeks, let me see if I can give you a wee bit of insight…
For serious cosplayers, the challenge is in making and competing in their costume, and theyย spend MONTHS in preparation. And at Comic Con they get to see professional cosplayers and attend workshops about making costumes.
For many of us its just fun to dress up and pretend to be someone else for the day, and not all costumes are handmade, but those who do go in costume LOVE to be recognised and photographed- if you ask first, of course.
For the gaming geeks, its about the games, and the “expensive keyboards and monitors” and new releases and watching professionals compete.
For the collectors, its about the comics and the “absurdly expensive figurines” and the “framed posters signed by the entire cast of Big Bang Theory”.

I’m not sure why you agreed to attend Comic Con Africa at all, Oliver, perhaps you weren’t given a choice, but whatever the reason you went to report on it, you clearly left your journalistic integrity at home.
You wrote that at Comic Con, “everyone is free to be themselves, without any fear of ridicule or scorn”, yet you were incapable of the same attitude.
It makes me sad to think that people who didn’t get to Comic Con this year may be put off attending the next one because of your article.

This world really would be a far better place if more people behaved like geeks do, and like we do at Comic Con, if our acceptance and tolerance and polite optimism were indeed the pervading energy on this planet.

Part of me hopes you will attend next year, and go in costume to try and have fun.
But if you can’t be more like us, then rather stay at home.

Being “Friends” on Facebook

At the beginning of this year, I had a bit of a revelation.
It had been on my mind for ages, I could just never quite put my finger on it. And then one day – the words put themselves together in my brain.

The moment you realise you’re just a FB friend,
when all along you thought you were more.

After that little epiphany, I started thinking about it more and more, and about my life and friends pre-Facebook. A time when I actually SPOKE to my friends on the phone. When I actually SAW my friends in person. When my social circle was small. Before people developed a complete aversion to answering their phones at all (and I LOVE speaking on the phone).
And I know FOMO well. It has plagued me all my life. You know the feeling – when you see your “friends” doing something without you, or getting together somewhere without you. That has bugged me less and less this year, and FOMO has always existed, but I have come to the conclusion that its Facebook’s real bread and butter – its what keeps people logging in and scrolling.
What really got to me though, what REALLY opened my eyes, was when people I thought were actual friends of mine, experienced major life events – and I knew no more about what was happening than anyone else who could see their Facebook feed.
That really hurt, because I was under the illusion I was closer to them.

Its taken me months to actually start doing anything about it, and I have no intention of closing my Facebook account, but I am unfriending* and un-following people regularly now. And I’m not doing it with any of those attention-seeking “I’m culling my friends list, leave a comment if you still love me” posts either.
Whilst I have used the “birthday notification rule” for some time now – the one where you unfriend someone after getting a Facebook birthday notification, but you have had no interaction with that person in over a year, but I am getting stricter with myself.
If someone makes me roll my eyes on a regular basis, for whatever reason, I un-follow them.
If someone makes me wonder how the hell we became Facebook friends in the first place, I unfriend them.

Its given me an odd sense of peace. An “out of sight, out of mind” kind of peace. Its made me determined to properly reconnect with the real people in my life.

*I loathe the word, I know its accepted, but it still sounds grammatically wrong to me.

Always A Mom… No Longer A Parent?

I was thinking about my knucklehead a lot this weekend… He left for Madagascar a week ago and its very likely that I won’t see him for a whole year! A whole year of no hugs or selfies! I miss him terribly!
And there’s next to no signal there, so I can’t even phone!
When we did chat last week, briefly, and with a 12-second delay, I caught myself wanting to remind him to keep his room tidy, and shower every day… And then reminding myself that he’s 27.
And working.
And travelling the world on his own.

And then I started thinking of my relationships with my mom and my sisters, and registering that whilst I am ALWAYS going to be my knucklehead’s mom, I no longer have to be his parent*.

This gets REALLY tricky when your child lives at home as an adult, but lets face it – few people starting out can afford to get their own place these days…ย And now he lives far away, and whilst I really hope he picks up after himself, I can’t remind him to do it.
Reminding him to do things like that would be like reminding him to be a grown up, and possibly make him wonder if I trust him. After I have spent years trying to teach him to be responsible and make his own decisions and choices.
It would be the same as my mom coming to my house and commenting on how it looks a little untidy! Or questioning decisions I’ve made with my husband!
Embarrassing and aggravating at the same time!
And however I try and make it sound like casual conversation, it will be criticism.

So now I’m a on a new learning curve…

*There may be a few exceptions to this rule…