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

My 67 minutes of making a difference

I know its a bit late but better late than never.. So they say..

So yesterday, 18 July 2010, was marked as Mandela in celebration of the great legacy of Madiba AKA Nelson Mandelas’ 92nd birthday.

On this day South Africans were called to spend 67 minutes (a minute for each of the 67 years he spent fighting for South Africa) making a difference, doing their bit to make the world a better, brighter more beautiful place..

Amber and Learning Stuff

Ok so I havent seen much of my favourite filly the last two weeks… Not because I have not wanted to but because I have not had time – what with all the house sitting, towing, feed dogs, feeding cats (for Bonita), drupal meetups, CSS training and watching lots of TV with all the 2010 World Cup Action who has had time for anything else.. 🙂

But I have popping in to see her randomly and give her a BEEG hug and a few carrots… She is always happy to see me though but that is probably because I usually come bearing gifts in the form of carrots or her other favourite treat in the form of oatay..

Ok so its a Saturday and I have just come back from a really nice outride on Lonestar (thoroughbred and therapy horse) and my good friend Erina on her horse Tapsy. After untacking Lonestar and taking back to the paddock, I decided to introduce Amber to the concept of lunging..

So there is Mark and I in the tack looking for the right equipment.. Think it might help to have the right equipment to start with, don’t you? 🙂 lol.. We manage to find a lunging rope (good start).. a whip.. not that kind of whip.. a lunging whip and.. a vaulting pad a belt girth type thingy and we are good to go.. I still cant find a cavasson which would be better to teach lunging in, but we work out with the help of a groom that we can make do with a halter in the meantime..

So we (Mark, I, Amber and all the equipment) traipse from the stable, up to the dressage area. We put everything on where it is supposed to be, in other words, halter, lunge rein, vaulting pad secured (as tight as possible) and with no reaction from Amber, as yet, and we are good to go.

And so begins Amber’s first lunging experience… Ever!

First I need to lead her out so she gets used to walking with all her make shift contraptions.. Seems to handle it pretty well 🙂 Yay.. step one complete..

Moving on to step two… I stand a few metres away from her and we get her to walk on with the aid of the lunging whip which we later discover she is not in all phased by or scared of and it needs to be cracked before she puts any effort into moving forward..

Progress.. She is not scared of the whip but she will listen to it.. And she is moving forward at a nicely paced trot.. Great.. Just the circle is not quite a circle, more like a funny egg shape but its a start..

As its her first time we get her to do a few circles on either leg at a trot and canter and call it quits.. I don’t wanna do much on her first day and I also don’t want to hurt her as lunging can be strenuous.

I am very proud of this little filly and it always amazes me how she will come to me for affection and follow me and stand by my side.. I think we have a great bond and all this ground work is helping to make that bond even stronger, or at least I hope it is, so that when the time comes for me to climb on her back, she will trust me and we can work on becoming a great team, together 🙂

That is all! For now…

South Africa – reasons to be proud

South Africa, July 2010, is the place to be..  Right here right now.. South Africa, officially known as the Republic of South Africa (RSA) that country at the bottom of Africa, that everyone in Europe thinks is still undeveloped – with lions and elephants roaming the streets..  If you are not here, you are seriously missing out!

The vibe is electric, the vuvuzelas are deafening.. but its more than just the 2010 Soccer World Cup that is making and has made South Africa great..

Ok so yes FIFA have helped create awareness of our country (as well as make themselves rich in the process) .. Other companies have also taken advantage of this and used the momentum to build on their brand..

Apple have exploded into the market in a big way, Google maps street view has just been launched.. and the Gautrain and Bus system is now up and running 🙂

For a third world country I would say that we have not done too badly.. This opportunity has created great opportunities for growth in terms of tourism and advertising for our country.. A lot of visitors were impressed with our level of service and the natural beauty of our country and will definitely come back again.. I also think it has helped to bring us together as a divided nation in more ways than we could have imagined..

A a soccer team Bafana Bafana  played with dignity and great determination in the Final Group A match against France in which we defeated them 2-1..  I still maintain that we should all be wearing our Bafana Bafana shirts right til the Final and even after that to show our support and solidarity.

We definitely have a lot to learn and a lot to take away from the tournament (that is not over yet) but overall I reckon it has been  a huge success so far and we have done ourselves and the whole of Africa proud…

Well done South Africa!! I am proud to be South African!

2010.. so far – May 2010

Wow.. this year has been incredibly busy.. I have hardly known my arse from my elbow, and if I do have a free moment to take a breather (even though they are few and far between I do still have rare moments when I find myself with nothing to do) I usually feel guilty for not doing anything in that moment. Funny that.. It is like I feel that I am wasting time if I do nothing and yet I do need a break at some point and need to learn to just enjoy those moments of quiet 🙂

Just to give you an idea of how busy I have been and thus not able to write the regular content for my scaffy.co.za blog that it naturally deserves I will name some o of the things that have been part of the occurrences of the past five months events. They are namely as follows : dogs, horses, moving houses, holidays, piercings, websites and freelance work, copy writing and articles, house sitting, networking, tow trucks, horse shows, dog shows, weddings… Tired yet? Thought so 🙂 and that is actually before you know how timorously involved each of those words have been.

This time, for this piece of content I think I’m going to talk about dogs, both mine and others that are and have been a part of my life, however brief….. 🙂

Dogs.. Canines.. Woofies..

I have two dogs – Skye and Benson. Skye we got last year around the time of my birthday from the SPCA in Randburg. Mark chose her. She definitely grew to be a lot bigger than I had hoped and although she is a pavement special of note (as we have no idea what breed she is of) I still love her 🙂 She loves tearing up things and will rip up everything she can, and it makes me soooo angry but I have yet to catch her in the act. She is also a really fast runner, which is why when I take her for walks I just let her go cos I could never keep up even if I tried.

Then there is my baby boy, Benson, my six month old cocker spaniel. We got him from Kitty and Puppy Haven in Wynburg where Mark helps with difficult rescues. He was rescued from a puppy farm along with the rest of his litter. It was love at first sight and as much as I never wanted a male dog (I repeat I never wanted a male dog for many reasons) this little man has stolen my heart. He is so cute and clever and brave and and and… I could go.. but I wont…

benandskye

He has just recently became a sports model (as per the agreement of taking him from the Kitty and Puppy Haven) and I took him to my parents for the week for extra special treatment and attention while he recovered.

He really is my best “dog” friend and I think he might even be a gift from Zoey – the best ever dog in the universe that sadly was only a part of my life for a short time but was to leave the biggest impact any pet has ever made in my life.. and thats a story for another day..

The next piece of writing for my blog I plan on doing is about the holiday I had at the coast recently and all of the things (both good and bad) we experienced while down there.. Probably enough to fill up its own dedicated blog.. lol..

All About Amber.. for May 2010

The last time I posted an article about Amber was last month and I was hoping I would have been able to post again before today. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control… Okay maybe not so not dramatic… but still…to be honest I just have not had the time.. A poor excuse, but never the less, the truth 🙂

The last time I wrote anything on mysaddlefund, Amber was moving from Caravelle Stud in Nest Park, Bapsfontein with my family friend Lynette to Shumbashaba stables in Mnandi. That was last month already. She has been at her new home at Shumbashaba since the 17th of April 2010. I went to collect her with my friend and riding instructor from Shumbashaba, Renea Erasmus in her bakkie and horse box. Mark sat in the front and the groom and I sat in the back 🙂 I was very nervous..

The actual collection was a bit of a nightmare and confrontational with Lynette and Martha being rude and in your face about us coming to fetch Amber in the first place. I was given back everything that I had left there of Amber’s and otherwise. I was also shouted at for not bringing a friend for Amber to travel with.

I also had to sign a waiver against any damage to Amber before and during transportation. Ren was great throughout the whole affair and handled it very well (thanks again Ren).

Amber boxed straight away and travelled very well on her own (first time alone and only third time ever in a horse box). We got a bit lost coming home (missed the off-ramp) but we got back to Shumbashaba safely. Amber was off-loaded and put into a smaller paddock. She settled in pretty much straight away. She was so happy to see grass (and long green grass at that) having only had mud and sand for the first six months of my owning her. She also almost immediately started flirting with the boys (geldings) next door. Running around with her tail high in the air (the Arab in her appearing quite prominent).

I went home for a few hours and came back to the stables to put Amber to bed in her new stable for her first night. She was very alert and aware and a bit confused. She also did not like the acorns falling on the tin roof of the barn and she jumped every time one fell. But other than, she seemed okay when I finally left her for the night, knowing she was safe in the hands of Sharon and Renae and the grooms at Shumbashaba 🙂

The next day she was put straight into the paddock with the other mares. She was kept away from the water and had to find her place within the herd but it happened really quickly and she didn’t come out of the whole introduction any worse for wear. In fact she had no bite marks or kick marks after the day or even the first week 🙂 I was very happy and very impressed. I spent some time with her in the paddock and then again when the grooms brought her in for the night, in her stable.

It was an amazing feeling! Knowing that my beautiful filly was just down the road and I can visit her every day, twice a day if I want and not need to plan a three hour road trip just to see her 🙂 It actually felt so unreal the first week or two. It was like I was living someone else’s dream, until I woke up and realized I was living my own dream!

In terms of my actual fund for her saddle, its coming along very slowly. I might actually need to rethink this whole approach of mine… but more about this another time 🙂 I think I have shared enough for now… and maybe you now have a bit of a better insight into this little but important part of my life…

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