1 Year Anniversary – Amber and I

On October 1 2010 my filly turned 3.. Three years old.. Yes, I missed the actual event, and only realised afterwards.. and yes I’m a bad mom cos I didn’t take her carrots.. I did feel bad.. No need to rub it in..

I also just worked out that I have officially been a horse owner for a full year now.. Amazing 😉

And to think that at some point I had given up on the idea of having my own horse.. Look at me now! A proud owner of a registered Partbred Welsh filly, Tipuana Amber, and in the process of breaking her in myself!

In the full year that she has been mine, a lot of events have taken place! When I had decided to buy her from the Tipuana Stud farm, it was arranged that Lynette (my friend who owned Caravelle Stud and where Amber was to be stabled) and I were to go fetch her, the first week in October 2009. This didnt happen as Lynette had problems with her bakkie and wasn’t able to tow the horse box. Instead the owner of Tipuana Stud offered to bring her though to the Caravelle Stud and she arrived at her new home atthe Bapsfontein plot one Saturday afternoon, 3 October 2009.

This was to be her home for the next 6 months! She has a nice big stable in the barn and spent her days in the paddocks with the other mares and geldings. I bought her a pressure halter soon after her arrival and after a lesson from Lynette, I did all the training with Amber on my own. I even entered her in her very first show – Horse of the Year in February 2010. She looked amazing and although she only received a highly recommended due to Lynette arriving late for the Partbred Welsh Cob class, she looked amazing and even her previous owners offered to buy her back if I ever wished to sell her. Eventually the distance just got too much – to travel to Bapsfontein during the week and even on weekends – and I decided to move her closer to me.

In April 2010, my horse riding instructor Renae helped me by fetching Amber and moving her to Shumbashaba in Mnandi. Shumbashaba is where I have my riding lessons and I host and maintain their website and online presence. Amber has since been stabled at Shumbashaba and she is really happy there!

Since she has moved to her new home, her training has come on in leaps and bounds. I have taught her to lunge quite sucessfully; she runs on her own at all three gaits 🙂 She is also able to free jump and having a bit in her mouth for the first time was almost childs play it was so easy. She has also had a saddle on her back without any concern. The experience has been very rewarding and with the relationship of trust I have with her, the training aspect so far has been relatively easy.

I have not been to see Amber this month as yet – not with moving house (again) and been on holiday – from which I am officially writing this post.. As soon I as get back from holiday and have settled back into work mode I will be visiting Amber a lot more often.. In fact I think its about time that I get on her back.. for real.. no more messing around.. just get on her back and start riding.. It’s not that simple, but one can dream! And that’s a story for another day!

 

27 Dinner with Seacom and Samsung

Last night I attended another great 27Dinner event coordinated by the people at Cerebra – @mikestopforth and @melodymaker. It was held at the Metro Bar and Cafe in Benmore Gardens (a venue used once before).  I personally like this venue as there is adequate seating for everyone and allows for great networking! As @handyman_can and I got there early we chose to sit at the end of a big table in the hope of meeting some interesting people, which we did 🙂

I met for the first time @Cynicalgrinch and @PaulBedford (and some other tweeple I cant quite remember) who sat with us for the remainder of the evening! We shared a few laughs, tweets, drinks and more drinks.

Seacom kindly sponsored the food (starters and the main course) as well as the first round of drinks! The starter was a choice between chicken livers and rockfort salad. The main meal was a choice between beef schnitzel, chicken schnitzel (both served with chips and veggies) and a vegetarian bake! Way too much food for me but I was kindly allowed a doggy bag 🙂

The first guest speaker was Aidan Baigre, Head of Development at Seacom, who had a brief introduction and then a conducive Q&A session – all in less than 10 minutes!

The next speaker was Brett Loubser from Samsung who also spoke briefly about the Samsung devices compared to Apple, and also conducted a successful Q&A session. He also gave away a Samsung Galaxy smartphone as part of a draw that everyone there was entered into (by way of a number discreetly added to everyone’s twitter tag label – lol).

We were then given the opportunity to play with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab (the first group of people in South Africa it seems), as a few demo models were passed around the restaurant! I personally thought it was great – with features such as a 5 MP camera, HD video, android browser, eReading and GPS navigation to name but a few features, whats not to like about it.. Now all we need to wait for is the price!

Other people I have the privilege of conversing with included: @ryangibson, @chrisdawson, @zk, @CraigN and @walterpike 🙂

All in all I had a great time! Looking forward to the next one!

Winning tickets to watch a musical :)

I very rarely win competitions.. of any kind.. It might have to do with the fact that I do not really enter many, which is also accounted for in the low winning to entering ratio 🙂

Never the less, I did win something recently, and yes it was by retweeting and no it wasnt spam 🙂

Courtesy of the Joburg Theatre (previously known as the Civic theatre), also known as @joburgtheatre on twitter, I won two tickets to the Jock of the Bushveld musical for Saturday night! 

 

Our Experience

The show we were to attend took place on Saturday night (18 September 2010) at 20h00. Mark and I decided to dress up, although this is no longer the standard with regards to attending theatre performances. Just because we could 🙂

We got a bit lost but still arrived with plently of time to spare and for Mark to have a smoke.. We collected our “prize” at reception and made our way upstairs for a drink. At the sound of the bell (alerting all patrons to proceed to their seats), we made our way to our seats.. Having bought some snacks to devour during the performance.

Our seats: J27 and 28; middle section; on the aisle!

The production, sponsored by Absa was amazing! The stage set was true to form, the costumes were cleverly designed and the performance highly enjoyable 🙂 I personally appreciated the impromptu comedy sprinkled thoughout. The music and singing, I found to be mesmerising/ with the hippo and chicken specifically outstanding in the voice department.

 The show itself was two hourrs with a 20 minute interval, enough time for a toilet break and in our case some carrot cake 🙂

 About the Show

This uniquely South African production of Jock of the Bushveld, is based on a true story about a man and his dog, and has been running at the Mandela at Joburg Theatre since the 4th of September 2010.

 The cast of hand picked performers include: Judy Page (Vulture Cherie), Michelle Botha (Chicken), Matt Stern (Leopard), David James (Vulture Boet), Lawrence Joffe (Vulture Bob). Multiple roles were played by Siyasanga Papu, Joel Zuma, Ruth Brown, Mark Richardson, Norman Anstey, Adam Pelkowitz, Pulane Rampoana and Lyall Ramsdon. Leads were Vaughan Gardiner as Jock and Cobus Venter as Percy.

Jock of the Bushveld, The Musical, is on at the Mandela at Joburg Theatre until September 26. Ticket prices range from R145 to R345 with performances from Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets can be booked at Computicket on                   083 915 8000            or www.computicket.com

The Yellow Launch

It has been a week since the launch of our new company name and brand.. TheYellow Launch was the process that lead up the actual event to which a number of our valued clients where invited and to which the only prelude was an event and the colour yellow mentioned all over the place..

8 September 2010 marked the launch of a new online digital agency which has been around for over 10 years in the web industry under a number of different company names namely: Africa Outdoors, Cybertrenz and most recently, JD Internet Consulting.

The launch had a three main goals: one, to introduce the new brand and name and colours, and two, to introduce all of the individual members of the team to those who attended, to put a name to a face as most correspondance is done “online” 🙂 Last but not least, to introduce the new tools of the trade, as it were, as developed by the star of the company and the SEO department, Nick Duncan, known as TOM. Jonathan Housten, the online marketing manager, introduced the various components of this new online marketing tool, which is set to benefit and grow the SEO/SMO client base and revenue, and to improve the service offering of this new Digital Marketing Agency.

The main components of this sytem are as follows:

  • Enquiry Control – manages all the enquiries sent through the clients’ website
  • Copy Centre – enables clients to liase with our talented copywriter about events and news within the company
  • Rank Checker – shows up to date keyword rankings
  • Scatalyst – allows clients to send though updates for posting on any of the social media platforms

More tools and improvements on the above are in the pipeline… Watch this space: tools.talooma.com/tom

The rest of the lauch consisted of mingling, platters, drinks and yellow cupcakes..

A lot of work went into this launch, the new website, new CI, new developments and tools.. All resulting in a well planned and successful event as many of our clients concurred..

So the moral of this whole story:

JD Internet Consulting is now and forever more to be known as “talooma” with a small “t”.. and its just the beginning for this young dynamic crazy team.. 🙂

talooma

Stable Accident

My accident happened nearly a month ago.. I cannot believe its been so long.. It feels like just the other day.. and yet so much has happened since!

It’s a Wednesday – 18 August 2010! I always used to have my riding lessons at ShumbaShaba on Wednesdays…
I got there early.. and I had planned on leading Amber around with another horse..

After speaking to Ren, the plan changed though.. She asked me to ride Missy in the lesson at 16h30 and then she would help me with Amber afterwards.. All good..

I tacked up Missy and put Amber’s bridle on.. They are neigh-bours.. lol.. My horsy friend Erina arrives and we get on our respective mounts at the mounting block.. She asks me if I wanna join her for an outride instead of having the lesson..
So plans change.. again.. Not that I mind.. I like outrides and Missy is really nice to ride out 🙂

We on the way out and it is decided that Bee will join us on Flight (the wildest horse at the stable). Neither I nor Erina are too happy but we all set off together..

It went well.. until Flight started playing up and Bee decided to head back to the stables.. Erina and I continued on our own 🙂 Missy was great.. We cantered quite a lot and she was fun to ride..

Back at the stables I meet up with Ren and Sharon – just leaving on an outride.. Ren says I should rather lunge Amber and she will spend some time with me over the weekend.. Agreed..

I take Amber out, leaving Missy in a paddock.. Decide to put them back together.. First Mistake..

Amber lunges herself so well.. I hardly have to do anything.. All I can think about is how I really love this horse.. And I can’t wait to ger on her back..

I take off her bridle to let her roll.. Second Mistake..

She doesn’t roll.. so my efforts are wasted.. When I try to put the bridle back on her stands on my right foot.. the first time.. hard.. it hurts..

I pretend its not.. The grooms are watching.. I walk her back to her stable.. I ask Luigi (one of the grooms) to help me put the horses back in (IE Missy and Amber).

I walk Amber in.. without taking down the chains between the stables (that incidently I put up to stop the ponies eating all of Amber’s teff).. Third Mistake..

Amber doesn’t see the chain.. I see red lights flashing!! And there is nothing I can do about it..
She walks straight into then chain.. Gets a fright.. Rears…..

Next thing I am aware of.. I am lying on the floor in the stable.. and Amber is outside with the bridle wrapped around her legs.. I try move.. It hurts.. What hurts.. Everything.. I try stand up.. Takes a while.. Luigi asks me if I am ok.. I nod.. That hurts.. I say something about this was the reason I asked him for help..

Somehow we get both horses in their stables.. The next thing I know they both blanketed.. I walked around a bit.. Can’t remember why.. It hurts.. Make my way to the car.. Foot feels like its gonna to break open my boot..

Start the car.. Phone Mark.. Try not to cry.. Start driving.. Cant.. Cry..I tell him what happened.. Mark panics.. Tells me he will come fetch me.. I am stubborn.. Drive home with one foot.. Stupid me..

I get home.. Mark gets home.. Carries me up the stairs.. Takes off my right boot.. Hurts like hell.. Very swollen, very blue, already, very sore..

After some pain killers and a phone call to two of Mark’s friends who are advanced paramedics and we decide to go to Sunninghill Hospital..

Checked in.. I am light sensitive.. Mild concussion.. Go for a CAT scan and Xrays and finally get to a ward and go to sleep.. I end up staying there for two days.. And am booked off for the next week..

Moral of the story: Dont make mistakes.. lol.. Wear your helmet at all times.. Including in the stables.. And make sure the path is clear of all obsticles..

Social Media Breakfast with Quirk eMarketing at Cabanga

Me, myself and the SEO department of JD Internet Consulting (watch this space) attended a very informative presentation about social media as given by Sam Beckbessinger of Quirk eMarketing. This networking event which included free breakfast was held in North Riding at a conference venue by the name of Cabanga, on a bright and sunny morning of 17 August 2010.

The presentation was entitled “Building Communities: How Social Media can Work for my Business” and Sam started off by asking who uses which social media platforms and then giving a very high end overview of social media and its who, what and why.

We were shown a whole range of social media platforms, some of which have waned in popularity such as myspace.com and others of which, although I am in the SEO and SEM game myself, I have not yet heard of such as last.fm as well as those I have only just stumbled upon such as postsecret.com and foursquare.com.

The sharing of information is the biggest advantage and function of the internet. It is thus only the natural progression then that has afforded the sharing of yourself in various forms to be the biggest draw card for these social media platforms, and this can be done in a variety of different formats, including text, video, photos, audio and podcasts.

It was also interesting to note the user populations and demographics of the mainstream social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook. There are over 400 000 million global Facebook users with 2.6 millions users in South Africa. Twitter has over 125 million users globally but is growing at a rate of over 300 000 new users per day.

The stats for mobile users was also something to take note of in that they expect there to be over 1 billion mobile users by the end of 2010. This is great news for third world developing countries in terms of communication and building applications.

Sam also shared some viral success stories eg. The latest Old Spice campaign as well as viral horror stories eg. Dell Hell that had a happy ending.

According to Sam and Quirk eMarketing, there are 6 steps to a successful Social Media Strategy:

1. Listen
2. Do it yourself – on a personal level
3. Get Buy In
4. Find the right partners
5. Start building your brand
6. Have fun doing it!

In closing Sam offered a hard copy of Quirk’s ebook to the first person who asked a question! Nice way to end of a great presentation.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here @greenham_sam

Training Show at ShumbaShaba

Saturday 31 July 2010 – Training Show at ShumbaShaba in partnership with the Lions Club Centurion

I decided to enter the training show being held at the stables where Amber is kept (Shumbashaba in Mnandi) namely:

A DRESSAGE AND RIDING HORSE TRAINING SHOW FOR RIDERS WITH OR WITHOUT DISABILITY INCORPORATING GHS GROW PARAEQUESTRIAN DAY

My horse of choice to compete on was my very good horsey friend Erina’s school master Tapsy. She does everything you ask her to (normally and you will see why later) and she is pretty easy to get on the bit 🙂

My class of choice was to be the Prelim 3 Dressage Test with lots of catering and an extended trot as well as the trail riding test for fun! Last weekend I practiced the test a few times in the dressage arena with Erina and my work colleague reading the test to me and I felt I had it pretty much under control and was ready 🙂

The other test I entered was for the Adult trail riding test which is made up on the day and involves trotting poles, a jump and scary things (to horses anyway) to walk across.

I didn’t really have time to practice during the week so the next time I rode was on the actual day of the show. I was pretty nervous – not sure why though – I have competed at bigger shows than just training shows before. Wierd.. But anyway..

The Stables

My boyfriend Mark drove me there.. And before we even left the house my cocker spaniel Benson already jumped up on me and got my white show jodhpurs all muddy with his paws.. That made me even more panicky as I now had to sort that out..

When we got there we had hotdogs and bacon rolls and coffee from the Lions Club and checked out the show schedule. Tapsy was already plaited courtesy of Carlton (Tapsy’s groom). We walked up to the dressage arena where I was then asked to help lead and walk beside 3 of the paradressage participants for the duration of their show.. My parents (who had come through for the day to watch me) met me there 🙂

Once I had finished up there, we all went back up to the stables and tacked up Tapsy. My parents were very willing to help with everything which was great 🙂
I then walked Tapsy down to the jumping area to prepare to warm her up with everyone else in tow.

I stood outside the jumping arena for a bit watching some chick giving a private lesson to a dude on a chestnut at the top of the field. I waited a bit then opened the closed gate and went to warm up at the bottom, far away from the private lesson.. I was then asked to quote “please give us two minutes” unquote. I growled at her and walked out the arena. I was not impressed. What makes her so special that she can hog the entire arena for a private lesson while the rest of us have to wait outside… Not cool..

Anyway I left it.. Mark managed to get me a white numnah to use instead of the black one to use with Tapsy’s Wintec dressage saddle, so I got off and we swopped it out. I got back on and by this time the blonde chick and her protege were done and she came to me to say “Thank you”. I grunted.. It was over..

I then spent some time walking, trotting and cantering Tapsy around warming her up. Then Jean arrived (Marks friend from the towing and present house mate). I went to greet him and sent Mark to get my number (for the show) which turned out to be 27… And they were only on 16 so I had a few people to do their classes before me… If I had known I had had soooooo much time I would have taken my time more and been more relaxed..

My mom then decided she wanted to walk me around the arena on Tapsy – twice.. Not that I need to be lead.. But I let my mom do her thing.. 🙂

Trail Riding Test

My riding instructor, Renae, then came past and mentioned she was going to the trail test and that I should go too 🙂

My heart started beating at 300 kilometers per second.. All I was thinking was that I was only planning on doing the Trail test after the dressage show and not before.. But as I got to the arena with the trail test in it, I realised that the judges had thought that everyone had competed that was going to compete as they were packed up and leaving, so I would need to compete in this before my dressage test or not at all..

So after watching Ren complete the test, which was all wrong, I found out later.. I attempted the test myself.. In this order:

– trot in loops around the cones
– trot to the bucket and get off
– climb into a sack and hop to the next bucket with horse in tow
– at next bucket climb on horse from off side (wrong side)
– trot to one of two barrels and pick up teddy and trot in a circle around and put the teddy back
– trot through a maze of tyres and poles (Tapsy refused the first time)
– walk over a black piece of material on the ground
– walk into the middle of a square made up of poles, do a 360 degree turn and walk back out
– pick up a ring off the side pole of a jump and trot over the jump with the ring and then put it back.
– trot over a number of trotting poles (which I did the wrong way – which I was told afterwards)
– end with a halt and salute (which I did backwards – which I was told afterwards)

I was really happy with the test in the end and I got a nice round of applause from all the audience members 🙂

The dressage test

This did not go all that well..sigh.. We all went up to the dressage arena together.. I kept Tapsy walking around and around in circles close to the entrance to the arena.. I asked Erina to read for me instead of Sharon.. And I took off my jacket.. Not sure if I should have but anyway.

Tapsy did NOT (I repeat did not) want to be there at all.. She kept trying to walk away and would not listen to me at all.. Even after I smacked her with the dressage crop.. I should have known there and then that this was going to end badly.. She wanted to be anywhere else but there.. I think because in her mind she thought she was done for the day (after the trail test). And all this waiting around didnt seem to have helped…

By the time I was called into the arena both Tapsy and I were kinda irritated and wanted this over and done with.. I was soooo past being nervous at this stage..

I entered the arena after the whistle blew and Erina started reading the test to me. Tapsy entered nicely, in a straight line and at a nicely paced working trot. Halt through walk at X and salute.. Perfect.. And then the wheels fell off.. Literally..

Tapsy decided she did not want to be there and before I knew what was happening, she had turned around and started to head out of the arena. I had to gather up the reins lightening fast and continue with the test.. It was too late though cos my nerves were shattered.. Everything else she did pretty well until we got to the end and I asked her to extend and she cantered instead.. I finished the test.. Threw down my crop. Took off my helmet and walked out the arena.. Only to be accosted by Jean (Russian house mate) telling me and Erina (Tapsy’s) owner that the Tapsy had the wrong bit in her mouth.. I felt like crawling into a hole.. I just carried on walking up to the stables.. I had to get away and I apologized profusely to Erina for Jean’s know-it-all attitude.. Sigh..

I untacked Tapsy and packed away the tack and went to get something to drink from the car with my parents and waited for the prize giving.. I ended up with 2 placed rosettes and not too bad a scoring on my dressage test: 59.8%.. Great considering my minus marks for the errors..

Everyone congratulated everyone else and that was the end of that 🙂

I went with my dad to collect Amber from the paddock to show her newly acquired skills to my parents…. but thats a story for another day!!

Airplanes Part 2

I am really loving this right now……….

Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now

(ya) Lets pretend like it’s 98
like i’m eating lunch off of styrofoam trays
trying to be the next rapper comin out the A (A-town)
Hoping for a record deal to ignore my pain (ya)
now lets pretend like i’m on the stage
and when my beat drops everybody goes insane (woo)

okay

and everybody know my name and everywhere I go people wanna hear me sing (oh)
oh yeah and I just dropped my new album on the first week I did Five-Hundred Thousand
gold in the spring and diamond in the fall and then a world tour just to top it all off
and lets pretend like they called me the greatest selling out arenas with big ass stages
and everybody loved me and no-one ever hated

lets try to use imagination

Okay lets pretend like this never happened (never)
like I never had dreams of being a rapper (rapper)
like I didn’t write raps up in all of my classes
like I never used to run away into the blackness
now lets pretend like it was all good (good) like i didn’t live staring in a notebook (notebook)
like I did the things that i probably knew i should (should)

but I aint have neighbours thats why they call it hood (hood yeah)
now lets pretend like i aint got a name before they ever call me BOB aka Bobby ray
i’m talking back before the mixtapes (yeah) before the videos and the deals and the fame
before the ever once compared me to Andre before i ever got on Myspace
before they ever noticed my face so lets just pretend and make wishes out of airplanes

and it seems like yesterday it was just a dream
but those days are gone (gone gone) and just memories

and it seems like yesterday it was just a dream
but those days are gone (gone gone)
allright lets pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
lets pretend things would have been no different
pretend he procrastinated had no motivation
pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin they could blow away with the wind
marshall you’re never gonna make it makes no sense to play the game there ain’t no way that you’ll win
pretend he just stayed outside all day and played with his friends
pretend he even had a friend to say was his friend
and it wasn’t time to move and schools were changing again
he wasn’t socially awkward and just strange as a kid
he had a father and his mother wasn’t crazy as sh-t
and he never dreamed he could rip stadiums and just lazy as sh-t
f-ck a talent show in a gymnasium bitch you won’t amount to sh-t quit daydreaming kid
you need to get your cranium checked you thinking like an alien it just ain’t realistic
now pretend they ain’t just make him angry with this sh-t and there was no one he could even aim when he’s pissed it
and his alarm went off to wake him off but he didn’t make it to the rap Olympics slept through his plane and he missed it
he’s gon’ have a hard time explaining to Hailey and Laney these food stamps and this WIC sh-t
cuz he never risked shit he hopes and he wished it but it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even here

he pretends that…

Airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now wish right now wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now wish right now wish right now

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