Monthly Archives: September 2008

how i feel about facing up to my responsibilities right now:

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weekly roundup: my amazing life

yes, my life is amazing, it could even be compared to that of an international glamour model – one who likes to hide her hot body from everyone in case her friends got jealous and stabbbed her with their cuticle sticks. last friday the Jupiter drinks were themed Never Gonna Give Quirky Mexi Up (actually was something like Cinco Amigas) and we had a Pinata named Jason (after the highly respected Jason Yankelowitz):

My name is Jason Yankelowitz. I am a unicorn. BreeeEEeeee!

My name is Jason Yankelowitz. I am a unicorn. BreeeEEeeee!

Dont you just want to snuffle me? BreeeEEEEeeeee!

Don't you just want to snuffle me? BreeeEEEEeeeee!

great for releasing Friday frustrations built up by being in a recording studio for the whole of thursday. I generally love recording but this must be the longest project i’ve worked on – a good 5 minutes long, whereas i’m more used to 30 second radio ads. anyhow i hooked up with Herman from Milestone who is an absolute dream to work with, so it wasn’t too bad. plus the new Milestone studios are looking so super cool.

A patient, kind man. Reminds me of my fathers father.

Herman: A patient, kind man. Reminds me of my father's father.

then renee had a drinks thing at her iPod flat ( it really does look like an iPod, it’s so white it’s impossible to get a photo that isn’t blurred – what follows is one of the few). We drank JWBL and climbed into the SingStar, until the boys monopolised it and the girls had to sit around chatting in the kitchen.

an unblurred marvel of photographic genius. Bow.

Lucy and Renee: an unblurred marvel of photographic genius. Bow.

What can you tell about the guests at the party from their shoes? And, why did everyone take their shoes off?

What can you tell about the guests at the party from their shoes? And, why did everyone take their shoes off?

spent the rest of the weekend relaxing, taking it eeeeeeeaaaaaaassssssaaaaaayyy. did a fair bit of running and we even attempted a spring clean. Rei moved his whole room around, I unpacked 2 boxes, which isn’t really springcleaning. but i tried. saturday was the most amazing sunny weather so i attempted to sit by the pool and even dived in but got a severe ice-cream-headache. here is a pic of Rei being King of the Kitchen <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

3 King of the Kitchen 3

<3 King of the Kitchen <3

Sunday marked my ONE MONTH SMOKE FREE anniversary ********bigachievement*********. That means i don’t smell like ash the whole time and I won’t end up looking like the Chupacabra —> NY Times described ‘pox on humanity’ (such a great article, worth reading).

great in the tummy, not as a face. Smoking sucks kids!

Raisins: great in the tummy, not as a face. Smoking sucks kids!

attention cool people with taste everywhere

yes, yes, YES. shall i compare these to an interior design orgasm? introducing tetris tiles. need.i.say.more.

when i look at these, something warm comes over me. it spreads through my body and makes me think about settling down and building a home of my own. moving swiftly along.

Q&A Tuesday: What is liberal? What is cool?

Occasionally my readers write in with some seriously existential questions that make me look long and hard at myself in the mirror that is my blog. Such an exchange occurred today when I received an email from Jabu, who wanted to know what the trendwatching company I used to work for measured its scouts against in order for them to be “cool enough”. The following exchange ensued, and I feel its educational worth transcends my inbox:


On 9/16/08 11:46 AM, “Jabulani” wrote:

Hey, how’s it going Alexandra? I trust life is going alright that side of the world and stuff. Just a quick question I wanted to ask you… What was the mechanism and criteria you used when recruiting trendscouts? I mean, how did you decide who was cooler then whom?


From: Alex [mybrandedlife@gmail.com]
Sent: 16 September 2008 12:08 PM
To: Jabulani
Subject: Re: Heita hola

Because it’s market research, it’s a question of covering all demographic / genre bases. Often we’d meet amazing people but we’d already know similar people, and it would be a question of – we have so MANY young interesting black peeps who dig Manga from Langa, we need more Black peeps who drink whisky from Soweto – or – we have tons of Tiger Tiger chicks and we need more Melrose Arch preppies. That’s all. Eventually everyone gets their turn, you know? Just a question of timing and keeping a fairly balanced spread of different types of young people from around the country.

When it comes to the individual, ‘cool’ was largely determined by who our clients are at the time, and whether that person would feed in relevant info on a regular proactive schedule.

Lastly, apart from the word ‘liberal’, ‘cool’ is the most misunderstood and misused descriptor out there – ESPECIALLY by trendwatching companies and their clients.
What they mean is something more like ‘early adopters’.
There is no such thing as ‘cool’, nor criteria for such.
‘Cool’ kids look the same in every part of the world.

It’s just another life phase, to be remembered by most as ‘That time I convinced myself that skinny jeans are actually “cool”. Shame.’

Hope it answers your question,

A

does it really exist? Trick question. One mans Converse is another mans Buffalos.

Cool: does it really exist? Trick question. One man's Converse is another man's Buffalos.

On 9/16/08 12:47 PM, “Jabulani” wrote:

Thanks, that helps quite a bit.

So… how is the word “liberal” misunderstood and misused? What is a liberal exactly? Would you consider yourself a liberal? Am I a liberal – or am I counter-revolutionary?


From: Alex [mybrandedlife@gmail.com]
Sent: 16 September 2008 12:08 PM
To: Jabulani
Subject: Re: Heita hola


Ways people misinterpret and misuse the word ‘liberal’:

1. Describe yourself as having a ‘liberal nature’ when the truth is that you just have a drinking problem
2. Put your ‘liberal nature’ down to your parents being ‘liberals’, who were really only people with drinking problems
3. Describe yourself as a ‘liberal’ to excuse your sexually promiscuous behaviour with most of your friends (and pretty much anyone, since you have a drinking problem)
4. Describing your political point of view as being ‘liberal’ because you believe in equality (reality check: being liberal means believing in communism, in not having to work for what you get, in endless government handouts and in being okay with other people taking your stuff).

If I were to pick a side I’d probably say that I am conservative, that I am educated and believe in educated leaders, that I value intellect over popularity, that I will support someone DOING good as opposed to someone who’s DONE good, that I will fucking kill you if you touch my Merc, that if you want a Merc, you should work as hard as me to get it and not expect it to fall into your lap. Okay, I drive a Yaris, but it will be a Merc one day, since I believe in work. Do you think it’s some sort of a coincidence that Merc rhymes with work?

You, however, strike me as being a bit of a fence-sitter, which is probably a smart place for a young emerging market Dark Carbon Allotrope (c) (BlAcK DiAmOnD) like yourself.
Aligning your personal brand with the ANC at this point isn’t very sexy, since they keep kicking each other in the bum like battery chickens.
You could be described as a “Revolutionary Counter”, because it’s a smart twist on your question without being too blatant a dodge of the issue.

I hope this answers your question, young D.C.A.

P.S. I’m blogging this, FYI

P.P.S. Props for the K.D. reference, though I know you think I missed it. Peace.

******************************************************************************

This is all very deep for a Tuesday.

What you find when you dig deep. Stay shallow, stay cool.

What you find when you dig deep. Stay shallow, stay cool.

“I fell down a flight of refrigerators.”

now South African woman have their very own portal for uploading men who are asshats and warning other women about them.

donotdatehim.co.za got sent to me by a friend who is putting her ex on the site.

Dont Date Him.co.za

Don't Date Him.co.za

this is good because there are a lot of asshats out there preying on nice sweet ladies. of course there are asshat ladies out there preying on nice sweet guys but the guys must get their act together and get their own website. i have some A – Z tips on how to spot an asshat – the creative capetonians guide:

- A is for Arty: Most arty dudes are asshats, especially the ones that LOOK arty from a 50 metres plus distance. Subtle arty detail means less narcissism, but generally you should stay away with men who have better / more creative hair than you do. Note if YOU are arty this does not nec apply since you are probably also not a very nice character and very into yourself in which case you will probably make a good asshat couple who pains everyone but yourselves, then you can coccoon as a couple and not bother other people.

- B is for Big: like, Really Big. If a man looks like he spends a lot of time making his muscles huge (legally or illegally) chances are he’ll use them any chance he gets, even if that chance is to teach you a lesson for asking why he can’t clean the steroid syringe after he’s used it.

- C is for Claws. A man who has lobster claws for hands probably can’t be trusted. I don’t speak with any experience here, but I once watched a documentary called South Park about Crab People, and let me tell you, they look like they could do some damage to a woman.

That is all i have time or attention for. You can complete the rest.

a spot of tennis on Sunday

Tennis Time. Outfits are most important. We have gone for a mixture of retro Royal Tannenbaum (Rei) and silly ra-ra skirt from YDE ie. Herschel schoolgirl (me). Together we are not so cool as to be intimidating, not so uncool as to be mistaken as a couple from outside of the city bowl area.

Tennis Time. Outfits are most important. We have gone for a mixture of retro Royal Tannenbaum (Rei) and silly ra-ra skirt from YDE ie. Herschel schoolgirl (me). Together we are not so cool as to be intimidating, not so uncool as to be mistaken as a couple from outside of the city bowl area.

even though the weather was nothing like Paradise Island Saturday, we got up at 9 and munched down some oats with apple and syrup and almonds, and got ourselves off to the Gardens Lawn Tennis Club. we go there because they have a general attitude best embodied by this sign:

If one is to be authentically Capetonian, it is important to be closed to new people and things, and to uphold every small and insignificant rule in the hopes that you will offend anyone who doesnt know that this is the way. If done correctly, you need never meet anyone from outside of Cape Town - ever - nor will you find yourself having to broaden your mind or use your imagination.

If one is to be authentically Capetonian, it is important to be closed to new people and things, and to uphold every small and insignificant rule in the hopes that you will offend anyone who doesn't know that this is the way. If done correctly, you need never meet anyone from outside of Cape Town - ever - nor will you find yourself having to broaden your mind or use your imagination.

of course, Rei and I are not actually members. this is not on purpose – every time we arrive someone official-looking just buzzes us in and never asks us for money. who are we to make conversation with someone we don’t know, let alone make conversation about tennis club payments?

Life in Cape Town - pretty confusing.

Life in Cape Town - pretty confusing.

A grey day for tennis.

A grey day for tennis.

after a few games and some rallies and a lot of chilly cloudy air blowing on our sweaty hocks, we thought we’d better go home and get changed so we could go shopping. this was to be a big shop since our cupboards have been bare for quite some time. this is due to the fact that there’s a recession so the money we’d normally spend on food has been cut out of our budget, which now looks something like this:

Wallpaper Magazine ********** R5 000

Monocle Magazine************R4 000

iPhone 3G x 2****************R10 000 (we have both broken the ones we got free from Apple – hey who knew touch-screen Mario could be so addictive)

Medium broadband connection****R15 000 (South African internet prices tsk tsk)

3rd World Ambient Trauma Counselling (it’s the latest thing, helps you stop worrying about crime and getting hijacked or diseased or when Horlicks will finally become affordable here)************R20 000

Parking Retainer outside The Waiting Room on Long Street (a new thing, so we don’t have to drive around the Long Street block over and over on a Saturday night) *******R2 000

Flickr Pro Accounts*********$50 (don’t know how much that is in Rands)

So that pretty much uses up our disposable income, which is why this shop had to be good and last us at least a week or so until we can sell some art on Etsy or sell our friends taste in fashion and music out to some market research company in order to earn some extra monies.

Are you ready for Gardens Centre?

"Are you ready for Garden's Centre?"

Ready as Ill ever be!

"Ready as I'll ever be!"

Staple diet for young professionals in the creative industry.

Staple diet for young professionals in the creative industry.

Moooooooooslie! Makes those days you forgot lunch bearable. Alpen is cheap and less molasses-coated than many mueslies on the market. That is why it wins with us.

Moooooooooslie! Makes those days you forgot lunch bearable. Alpen is cheap and less molasses-coated than many mueslie's on the market. That is why it wins with us.

Coconut milk - because conditioner is too expensive these days and if theres one thing we both need, its hair shine.

Coconut milk - because conditioner is too expensive these days and if there's one thing we both need, it's hair shine.

Because the internet will soon be a luxury for us middle class folk, we are stocking up on fax paper. Email me if you want my fax number so you can send me your comments. I promise a personalised reply to each and every one.

Because the internet will soon be a luxury for us middle class folk, we are stocking up on fax paper. Email me if you want my fax number so you can send me your comments. I promise a personalised reply to each and every one.

Guavas - the it fruit at the moment. Fruit is similar to hair accessories - they go in and out from week to week. Luckily fruit also goes off. Imagine those pink extensions you got just rotted out of your hair in a week? Anyhow this week is guavas, and we are happy to embrace them. I cant figure out why a makeup brand hasnt covered certain fruits with their stickers yet. A gloss brand in particular. Juicy Tubes?

Guavas - the 'it' fruit at the moment. I can't figure out why a makeup brand hasn't covered certain fruits with their stickers yet. A gloss brand in particular. Juicy Tubes? I am wearing Elizabeth Arden Gloss in this pic in case you're wondering.

Shopping took a lot out of us, so we napped a large part of the afternoon away. Then Rei got down to making dinner while I took photos of him, and then me and him.

Chopping stuff to go in the wok.

Chopping stuff to go in the wok.

Dinner anticipation builds in the kitchen.

Dinner anticipation builds in the kitchen.

Dinner gets down to cooking. Rei is an amazing cook - this is the first phase of an elaborate pasta meal.

Dinner gets down to cooking. Rei is an amazing cook - this is the first phase of an elaborate pasta meal.

Dinner is served. Not so bad for a pair of creative young professionals in a recession.

Dinner is served. Not so bad for a pair of creative young professionals in a recession.

Afrika’s in fashion – tell your marketing friends

are you ready? now that American Apparel’s gone Authentic African (they should change their name) on America, you can bet there’s going to be a backlash. when i look at this i wonder what kind of person will buy and wear these clothes. maybe The Cobra Snake since he has been on a mission to print T-shirts for kids in Africa so they can be cool, too. maybe Paris Hilton would buy the boob tube for her trip down here when her Madden brother played in Africa, except that has already happened. Maybe all the rich Nigerian kids will buy their own patterns in another country when they do their yearly shop overseas and bring back stuff for their friends to buy (see how i slipped in that free nugget of market research info in there? i do that a lot, if you’re observant you should see loads of free ‘research’, like free love, on my site).

Afrika with a K - now in fashion.

Afrika with a 'K' - now in fashion.

i was just thinking it would be really cool to bring out a Jacob Zuma range which is the same as what you see here except they throw in a really short skirt that shows your knees (American Apparel fans will be pleased to know that in AfriCa, if you show your knees, it means you’re a dirty slut who’ll have sex in exchange for money – which is a LOT  easier than the American equivalent where you actually have to flash your hoo-hoo when you’re getting out of your limo).

i was also thinking they should make a print of the AIDS virus because that is very much in fashion in AfriCa (seriously, almost every 3rd person has it. How far will you really go to be cool, American Apparel fans? only those who have REAL COOL AMBITION will make it to this level. you have to really WANT it.).

The AIDS print. This seasons must-have in AfriCa. Flannel is so last century.

The AIDS print. This season's must-have in AfriCa. Flannel is so last century.

Anyway, it’s actually awesome to have some of our indigenous stuff getting respect in mainstream retail outlets world wide. big up to AA.

quote of the day: Let the poop flinging begin

“Felix Laband is a smack-head who gets little innocent girls addicted to smack then fucks off onto the next innocent little girl.”

– Cape Town Professional Local Celebrity / Singer / Rapper Max Normal, from his interview on facebook. Felix vs. Watkin Tudor Jones – IT’S ON.

Felix - Serial Crack Converter (accused)

Felix - Serial Crack Converter (accused).

want: magazine-friendly coffee table

by designer Sara Huston

LOVE it.

LOVE it.

new phrase: microglo@ting

coined by mallix and myself, it’s when people brand-drop on twitter. tech brands, car brands, tech names, blog names, personal brand references… if you name it on twitter for no real good reason apart from taking the opportunity to let twitterers know you drive a jeep / are on your 5th MacBook Air / know Kanye West personally, you’re glo@ting. ch-ch-ch-check it out:

TheHyrax i wish ppl wouldn’t stare in the traffic. what you’ve never seen a porsche b4? maybe my HOTTIE nr plate is 2 much. :( about 1 hour ago from web

thecopyninja @TheHyrax, you think that’s bad, you should see the looks I get in my MAGIC CARPET about 1 hour ago from web in reply to TheHyrax

TheHyrax @thecopyninja: its prob similar to when people catch me blogging on my LTD release iPhone 3G Jobs Worx edition. staying discreet is a job! about 1 hour ago from web in reply to thecopyninja

Dplanet @TheHyrax – did I microglo@t when I mentioned that the CD burned in my MacBook Pro is broken? about 1 hour ago from web in reply to TheHyrax

mallix everyone has a macbook. u can’t brag about it? about 1 hour ago from twitterrific

TheHyrax @Dplanet: no, Macbook is now so mainstream it doesn’t count as cool anymore. is it a Steve Jobs WORX LTD EDTN? like mine? i’m a betatester. about 1 hour ago from web in reply to Dplanet

thecopyninja @TheHyrax, is that like my SOLID GOLD -4G- iPhone? about 1 hour ago from web in reply to TheHyrax

TheHyrax @thecopyninja:i was going to get the 4G but i have hassles linking it 2 my Sidekick in SA.T-mobile hate me.good thing i earn dollars – phew! about 1 hour ago from web in reply to thecopyninja

*************XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX**************************

i’m sure you get the idea. microglo@ting – you read it here first.

the glamour of poverty

everyone’s a buzzing about this right now – Vogue’s shoot in India where they used really poor (and by poor I mean impoverished) normal people to model ridiculously overpriced pieces of couture. i guess they’ve been doing this for years by using real life crackheads like Kate Moss to convey a sense of irony via heroine chic – let’s face it, when you look like that you generally spend all your money on drugs, not clothes. um, what money, for starters.

i’m not sure how i would feel if they did that here. in one way, i think it would be great for some of the street kids to be exposed to some of the finer things in life (following that theory of giving your kids a taste of the good life so they covet and aspire to it and work harder at school to get it and do hugs not drugs etc etc) but on the other hand i think it might make some really pretty clothes very smelly and covered in sticky glue residue. ew.

Review: Fork Restaurant, 84 Long Street, Cape Town

Last night my man and I decided to hit up Fork in Long Street for a long overdue kind-of celebratory 6 month-ish anniversary dinner (kind of, we aren’t good with dates) paid for by his company because they have been working him so hard and interrupting our quality time. Please note this is not standard advertising agency behaviour. Normally you sign your quality time away in that nice clause that says ‘Employee undertakes that they will work pretty much every weekend, evening and lunch break for the duration of their time here – and probably for the duration of their lives – and if employee has a problem with this we will just give employee’s job to someone more desperate, and P.S. we’ve clamped your car,”.

After an aperitif or 2 at Planet Bar, where we like to go to work up a bit of a sweat by the fire without actually doing much but winking back at old couples who seem to think we look like a respectable couple of kids (do we? Here’s us last night – no doubt we remind them of their own hotblooded youth)

Looking good for datenight. We fit right in at Planet Bar.

Looking good for datenight. We fit right in at Planet Bar.

we stumbled onto the pavement to be greeted by a very agreeable carguard. I know the likelihood of writing that is akin to the likelihood of writing ‘we stumbled onto the pavement to be greeted by a chocolate horsecow’, but there you have it. There is such a thing as a congenial auto-protector. And he works outside Fork.

Because both the man and I lead busy lives and are constantly being hustled by new venues wanting us to check them out, we’ve got ignorant apathy down to a fine art and thus knew very little about Fork apart from the fact that they served Tapas. Expecting the usual pots of hummus and dolmades, we were seated upstairs in the no-smoking section (rather stressful for us both coming to terms with our non-smoking identities).

The menu, while varied and comprehensive, is still pretty pricey. There are 3 levels of tapas – R35, R45 and R55. We decided to order 2 from each. From tier 1 we got Puff Pastry with sautéed mushroom and parmesan, and the Raclette Fondue with Chorizo and Crostini. The puff pastries divine and I got the ‘wish we’d ordered 2 of these rather’ feeling. The crostini weren’t bad, but they didn’t melt in your mouth and remind of you of a happier time you’ve never actually experienced.

From tier 2 we got the mini kudu fillets on chilli mash – truly, something you must experience at some point in your life. I am now going in search of bigger kudu fillets. The other dish we ordered was the pasta rolls with emmenthal, aubergines, mushrooms, rocket and béchamel sauce – average. Pasta is pasta hey.

From tier 3 we got grilled tiger prawns wrapped with pancetta, which were tasty, but I also got the ‘wish we’d ordered 2 of the other dish’, namely the quail served with butternut and thyme mash and a beetroot glaze – WOW. If the quail dish were a brand it would be the AppleMac of entrees. Small, not very practical but so freaking delicious you’ll pay stupid amounts of money for it. Blasted tiger prawns.

No free meal is complete without dessert, so we went for the apple and vanilla cream shortcakes and some cappuccinos. Nice and tasty, but very biscuity. The shortcake could have been a little less crisp. That said, I ate mine and the boyfriend ate his and then we pondered our futures on the balcony and patted the lions they have out there, while having a conversation about how people always pat statues of lions if they are within reaching height.

All in all, I’d give Fork 4 stars, especially if you’re in the mood ‘for something different’ and god knows how many times we hear Capetonians say that. And if I were to do it all over again, i’d order 4 x quail and 2 times puff pastries, for what it’s worth.

Fork 84 Long Street, Cape Town

Dinner for 2 including a shared dessert and 2 glasses of house red: R500 incl tip

to book call  021 424 6334 to peruse their menu click here.

text speech – the art of abbreviation

a fine example of an educational guide for modern kids / an art review: (yes, I do offer Text Speak as part of my writing services, however when you sign the cost estimate you also need to sign the “Just trust me on this one” clause)

Not one of my pieces of work, but its freaking out marketers everywhere this Monday. Dont. Be. Afraid. There are people out there who can help.

Not one of my pieces of work, but it's freaking out marketers everywhere this Monday. Don't. Be. Afraid. There are people out there who can help.

weekly round up in pictures

I can haz medal.

I can haz medal.

Kathi, Paige and I did the Virgin Active Indoor Triathlon last weekend. This is the first triathlon I have ever done, which is why I am impressed by my 25 min 41 second timing for 2km running, 5km cycling and 125m swimming. The event was really well put together and loads of fun – I’ll definitely be doing the next one.

James and the Giant Penis.

James and the Giant Penis.

Last Friday’s drinks at the agency was themed ‘Cool as Ice’ and featured Vanilla Ice being blared over the loudspeaker, as well as the carving of a giant penis. The penis was carved live in front of everyone in about 30 minutes, and a clear hole runs through the middle of it so you can pour tequila down the top and put your mouth at the bottom. It kind of made everyone look like hamsters licking at their water bottle. I stress ‘kind of’.

Enough glee to last a week.

Enough glee to last a week.

childhood friend of mine, Sam King, stopped over to spend the weekend with me before she headed back to Korea where she is teaching English. she brought me this Polaroid One600 and 2 packs of film to get me going – which made me so excited I basically couldn’t blog for a week. she also got me some other cool things, namely:

The latest installment in the Choo Choo stationary series - La La La Mona Lisa Choo Choo journal. LOVES it!

The latest installment in the Choo Choo stationary series - La La La Mona Lisa Choo Choo journal. LOVES it!

Korean cigarettes - lovely to look at since am no longer smoking.

Korean cigarettes - lovely to look at since am no longer smoking.

then we bade a sad farewell to longtime designer here and dear friend of mine, Carla Kreuser, who heads off to Coley Porter Bell (the S. African branch, still very new). we went to Col’Caccio and ate pizza and drank tequila in the sunshine.

Carla looking more sober and composed than she is.

Carla looking more sober and composed than she is.

The design department shares my hair. From left, VonBrandis, me, Carla and Mallix

The design department shares my hair. From left, VonBrandis, me, Carla and Mallix

Natalie (left) was also leaving so the girls felt it appropriate to kiss, while Mallix felt it appropriate to get a really good shot. For later.

Natalie (left) was also leaving so the girls felt it appropriate to kiss, while Mallix felt it appropriate to get a really good shot. For later.

It wouldnt be a party without a Jason Head around. Jo happily holds the fort.

It wouldn't be a party without a Jason Head around. Jo happily holds the fort.