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Earth Hour 2012 in Cape Town


Yesterday was earth hour, which was a good excuse for me to fiddle around with my camera. Despite the fact the streets lights were on, most people living in apartment blocks in my area did switch off their lights.

As a result, Cape Town was treated to some an awesome starry sky. A couple of pictures later, taken from my balcon, I decided to stitch two of them them together – something I had never done before.

The result is not perfect but I am quite happy with the result. What do you think?

Earth hour 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

Earth hour 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa. Table MOuntain, Devil's Peak and the City Bowl. Copyright: Miriam Mannak (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in Randomness in Pictures, The World of Mir

 

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Confessions of a Coffee Slut, I mean: Snob


Hello. My name is Miriam Mannak and I am a coffee snob.

Coffee. Hmmmm. *smacks lips* That sweet, nutty, slightly bitter smell of a cup of freshly brewed coffee. *sigh*. There is nothing in the world – especially in the early morning hours – that beats that. Well, there are quite a few things that blow coffee out of the water, but that is not the point. The point this morning and of this blog post is coffee. Capiche?

“No, you are not a coffee snob – you are a coffee whore!” some people would say. Well, I have to disappoint these pitiful souls. As opposed to popular belief, I am not prostituting myself to the first hot, dark, steamy liquid in a cup that comes along. Not a chance. I only sell my body and soul to the real stuff – not to the instant crap that is sold and promoted as coffee.

Does this look like coffee to you? REALLY? Seriously?

Newsflash: Instant coffee, my friends, is not coffee. It might look like coffee in some way, but that is where the similarities stop. “Oh but it does taste the same!”, coffee amateurs would say. Well, I kindly invite you to my flat where you will be served a cup of instant crap and a cup of lovely, freshly brewed Arabica – made of beans – topped with fluff milk froth. If you are still convinced that both taste the same, I swear to drink a gallon of instant shit just to make amends.

And Chicory … Don’t get me started about chicory. This leafy vegetable, after it has been burnt to death and beyond, doesn’t even look like coffee after it has been disolved in hot water. The colour is way off. The taste? A well balanced blend of garbage juice strained through old socks. Chicory, in my world, is blasphemy of the first degree. As a matter of fact, the substance should be banned as it cannot be good for you. We need a revolution! An uprising! A boycott! Coffee is made of beans and not from leaves, damnit! AMAAANDLA!

Anyway. Over the years, I received quite a lot of coffee related emails. As I can’t be not the only coffee snob out there, I decided to share them with you. Enjoy!

 

My Favourite

My Favourite 🙂

Painful but true

He he he! 🙂

I agree! It is a Human Right too!

No comment

Coffee (man) whore!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Everyone has had / will have a Monday like this

Isn't that the truth? 🙂

Enough said

Rather clever design. Love it!

 
 

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A Cape Argus Virgin with a Cause: Bumble Bee Fund


I am soooooo excited! I feel like a kid just days before Christmas 🙂 Last night, I slept well for a change, as opposed to the two previous nights. I really cannot wait for the Cape Argus to start, and in the meantime I am scared shitless to the core. Waaaaaaah! But whatever happens: It will be fun, more over because I am now cycling for a good cause: The Bumble Bee Fund! Yay!

In short, the Bumble Bee Fund strives to improve the quality of life of disabled persons by enhancing
their personal mobility and increased personal independence, in particular, by providing or assisting in the provision of mobility aids.

This year’s Cape Argus Cycle Tour will be used to raise funds for Daniel, a little boy suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). This devastating and incurable illness is a genetic condition passed down only to boys, and leads to their muscles slowly degenerating. In a more advanced stage, patients will no longer be able to walk, then sit, then move, then eat, then breathe. The heart …. is a muscle too.

Usually Duchenne boys are confined to a wheelchair by the age of 10 to 12. While patients usually did not live beyond their teens, quite a few now live into their twenties thanks to advances in medical treatment.

Back to little Daniel. The eight-year old is becoming weaker as we speak and is realising that he can;t do things his friends can. The costs of providing an environment to improve his quality of life is ongoing & significant, running into many hundreds of thousands of rands. “By choosing to cycle for Daniel you are making a significant difference to him and his family. Thank you for your support, may you enjoy the Argus challenge!” I was told when I was asked to be part of the Bumblebee Team.

It was an offer I could not refuse.

I will pick up my kit form them this afternoon – picture to follow soon!

 

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in The World of Mir

 

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My Last Cape-Argus-Cycle-Race-Virgin Days


Me surviving Chapman's Peak drive (trust me, it is steep where I came from!)

NINETY KILOMETERS PEOPLE! That is the distance I cycled yesterday, as part of my Cape Argus Cycle Race training. NINETY KILOMETERS! Over mountains and shit, from Cape Town’s city center all the way to Kommetjie and back – over Chapman’s Peak and through Noordhoek. Excluding four stops – one when Cycle Buddy Illie fell, one for a much-needed caffeine injection, one in Kommetjie, and a final loo break – we did it in 4 hours and 27 minutes. Yay! Click here for the link to our route 🙂

I must say that I am rather proud of myself, but also equally tired. But the legs are fine, and so are the shoulders, back, neck and ass. The only thing that feels a bit ‘funny’ is my left pinky *raises eyebrow*. It feels numb-ish.

Anyway, I think I am ready for the race >>> BRING IT ON!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2012 in The World of Mir

 

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Dear Dickhead Who Hurt My Friend


* Start rant* 

I am fed up of players and slime balls. I am. They suck. Ass.  Really. I honestly despise men who think a woman is nothing more than a walking pair of tits adorned with an ass.

Gentlemen, there is nothing fun about walking down the street and having to listen to someone shouting some profanity in your direction. Making remarks is one thing, but some guys are downright rude. It raises my blood to a boil in no time and it makes me want to bury my Havaiana & foot deep into your crotch.

The same counts for men who pretend they are ruled by the mind and heart and soul, while they are actually thinking with their winkies. Or with their ‘small head’ as my American host mom used to joke.

These men offer you a drink, compliment you on your eyes (*sigh*), and ask you things that make you believe these men are in fact interesting in what you do / have to say. They show compassion with sick little puppies, tell you how much they enjoy cooking / gardening / hiking / community work and throw in a full assortment of clichés (“I love kids”, “I love my mom”, etc). In other words, they make you believe that they are God’s gift to women in every sense of the word.

You swap numbers and he smses everyday. You decide to go on a couple of dates, and become rather smitten with this lovely individual. Not too long later, you are invited over for dinner at his place. You eat, you laugh, you kiss. And then, all of a sudden, his hands are everywhere you don’t want them to be. You politely push them away, and joke about it. You end up declining the offer to stay over, and go home at the end of the evening.

And then you stop hearing from him. Radio silence de Luxe.

This is exactly what happened to one of my dearest friends, a beautiful girl with a ditto heart and a magnificent set of brains.

Well, guess what Mister Giant Whorebag of Note: the fact that my lovely friend accepted your drinks and dinners and what not, did not entitle you to a one-way ticket to her bed. Oh, and next time you send a degrading sms (“No man. She wasn’t up for it, so I am moving on. Next, ha ha!”): Check to whom you send it before you press the green button.

So help me God: if I find ever bump into you, you would do well to prepare your ‘little head’ for a up-close and personal encounter with my flipflop.

That is all.

*End rant*

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Stuff that Pisses Me Off, The World of Mir

 

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You Have Got Soul, Mate(s)!


“Do you believe in soul mates?” Friend X asked me the other day. “Ah, never mind. You probably don’t. You are not the airy-fairy hippie type,” she continued without waiting for my reply, sipping happily on her wine.

Well, yes, I am not the airy-fairy hippie type. But I do happen to believe in soul mates. So there.

I however don’t think that one person has just one soul mate AND neither do I believe that soul mates are always permanent or confined to the romantic sphere. These special beings come in a wide variety of disguises. Some of them are friends, other mentors, parents, or total strangers. And lovers, of course. Some of these soul mates show up in your life and stick around like cheap Chinese superglue, while others pop up briefly and then vanish – *poof-gone*.

Despite their differences, all soul mates have one thing in common: they leave a lasting imprint on … well, I guess your soul. Or something like that.

I feel I have (had) several soul mates, and each one of them is playing / has played a unique role in my life, whether short and sweet or long and substantial.

Take my friend José. This chick is definitely one of my über soul mates. We have been friends since we were 13 years old, and despite the distance (she lives in The Netherlands while I reside in the most beautiful city in the world, Cape Town) we are very close. She is usually the first one I call when shit hits the fan this side, and I was one of the first people she told about her pregnancy. Whenever we see each other, which is usually once a year, it is like we met just the week before. I feel safe having her in my life. I feel that there is nothing in the world I cannot share with her. José will not judge, she will not laugh at me, or make me feel insignificant. I have some more friends who fit this bill, but José is different. She is like the sister I have never had.

Some soul mates however, come and then go – sometimes in a matter of days. A couple of years ago, I was overseas for work. I was minding my own business in the hotel lobby, when a handsome man started a conversation. When I turned around and looked him in the yes, something deep inside soft collided with my soul, leaving a nearly invisible yet permanent imprint behind. I guess you can compare the feeling the soft, gentle thud when the elevator you’re in hits the ground floor. Ou know, the feeling when your tummy and briefly heart change places. There was this instant connection, *smack-bang out of the blue* I must add that I rarely have instant connections with people, so I know when it happens.

Because I was on a media trip, I could not chat for very long and neither could he. A few days later, our paths crossed again. For the life of me I cannot remember how or where. All I can remember that he offered me a lift to my hotel because I had missed the bus. He dropped me off, we hugged – and that was that. While this encounter was very brief, and would probably not be meaningful to most people, I consider this person as one of my ‘hit and run’ soul mates. I can’t explain why, but that is just the way it is.

By the time I was finished with my explanation about my opinion  re soul mates, Friend X’s jaw had dropped on the floor.

“You are an airy-fairy hippie after all! You just don’t know it yet,” she giggled while asking the waiter for a top-up.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in The World of Mir

 

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Cape Argus Cycle Tour: My Mom Made Me Do it


Most of you by now are very well aware that I am doing the Cape Argus Cycle Tour this year. Yes, me. I have indeed signed up (and paid a ridiculous amount) to cycle 110km over mountains and across the Cape Peninsula (For a map of Cape Argus, click here). My aim is to reach the finish line within 5.5 hours, so yes: I am training up a storm.

“But WHY did you decide that torturing yourself would be a good idea?” I hear you ask. The only answer I have for you is that my mother made me do it. Well, sort of. When the docs found out about my mom’s breast cancer last year, my world came crashing down with all its might. For the first time in m life, I really, *really* realized how unpredictable life can be. The one moment everything is rosy and peachy, and the next one everything you believe is shred to pieces. That is at least how it felt when mom broke the news, just 3 days before Christmas.

All of a sudden, everything seemed so meaningless: the deadlines, the problems with the (now ex) Significant Other, the fact clients refused to pay, the weather, and so many other things. Nothing seemed to matter and during that first day, all I could think about was the fact that my mom was suffering from a disease that could potentially kill her. It is very surreal and there is not enough ink (or pixels) to explain how it feels.

Luckily, mom’s cancer was in a very, very early stage. The tumor was removed completely, and luckily this nasty disease did not get the time to spread. No chemo was necessary, “just” radiation. This week, Mom will have her last sessions of radiation and then she will be done. For now that is: she will have to go for annual check-ups for the next five years or so, but that seems to be standard procedure.

Back to the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and my reason for doing it this year. Look, if my mom can beat a disease like cancer, then I see no reason why I can’t do this race. Seriously. And then there is the element of closing this chapter. No better way to do it while cycling across one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

So now you know: this race is dedicated to my mom (and to my dad, who has been absolute trooper) 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in The World of Mir

 

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