Wednesday, 22 October 2008

My new recycling guy

Although I believe that there is little hope for the preservation of our planet - unless we get rid of A LOT of people - I do think we each have to do our bit towards "Saving the Earth".

And it starts at home with recycling paper, plastics, glass and metals.

Problem #1: How to separate your waste - try fold-up crates, bins or bags.

Problem #2: What to do with the stuff you've separated.

Years ago took my collections to a local depot. Then they removed the depot. Then I took just paper and glass to the nearby old age home's depot. I'd also leave relevant items for the people rummaging through the trash on garbage-collection day. I'm now in a new spot and I've needed a new plan.

* In Cape Town? There's a list of recycling depots on Cape Gateway. For the rest of the country, try Google > Recycling Depot. My local Pick 'n Pay has collection bins instore for batteries and lightbulbs. Check yours for similar initiatives.

On garbage day, Friday, there are some men who sift through the trash in the bins that have been put out for municipal collection. Two weeks ago I spoke to the one guy, Gerald, to ask him what he was collecting. He said paper and plastic bottles. Last week I handed these to him and asked whether he'd take other plastics. He said yes, and that he also collected metals and old wires. I've now got a box that all of these items go into during the week - rinsed so they're clean and not skanky. I'll leave this out for Gerald every Friday. I haven't had any glass waste yet.

It is really so easy to put materials that can be recycled into a separate box. These collectors can then walk past with their trolleys, picking up the materials from a box placed next to your municipal bins instead of sifting through your smelly and dirty rotting food leftovers.

My next mission is to meet my neighbours living on the same road one-by-one and to ask them to do the same.

This simple task on your part a) conveniently recycles your waste and b) makes the collectors' day just that little bit easier.

My recycling guy is friendly and hard-working; I'm glad I took the time to meet him.

Can I convince you to meet your recycling guy during this next week to ask what he's collecting? Try it.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Land Rover G4 National Selections

Over the years I've noticed a correlation between the duration, vibe and intensity of experience to the severity of "post-event blues". I was recently involved with Land Rover G4 National Selections on the media side and even though I was not a participant, my post-event blues is testament to the energy and exhilaration of this exceptional event.

Land Rover G4 Challenge, as I explain to initiates, is a revamped, hyped-up version of the old Camel Trophy. It includes more multidiscipline physical elements, in addition to the obligatory 4x4 driving skills. I like to think of the driving element as a means to get the competitors from one spectacular location to another; with physical challenges happening at each location.

The first Land Rover G4 Challenge was held in 2003, and Chester Foster represented South Africa. In 2006, Martin Dreyer - adventure racer and "Duke of Dusi" - took on the other 18 competing countries to bring the G4 trophy (a Land Rover!) home to South Africa.

This next 2009 edition of Land Rover G4 Challenge has a twist: not one, but two people will be chosen from each represented country. And, the paired teams will be mixed gender. Yes, this is the first time that women will compete against each other, and not the men, for a place in their country's team.

South Africa was one of only two other nations (the other being Russia) to host a selection process that included Regional and National selections. Regional candidates were selected from entry forms submitted through the Land Rover G4 Challenge website. All in all, 120 men and women took part in three rotations. From these, 20 were selected (10 men and 10 women) to go through to National Selections, which was held just over a week ago in Lesotho.

The Selections were planned and managed by MagneticSouth, a South African events company headed by the Collins brothers, Mark and John, and their partners - in work and marriage - Belen Sanchez and Christine Collins. This quartet are ex-Camel Trophy competitors and support crew; they're also accomplished adventure racers and they've worked on previous G4 events in planning and/or support. And then you look at the rest of their team... Goose, Chris, Pieter, Devlin, Mark D. and others - a crew with extensive multisport, adventure racing, Camel Trophy and G4 experience.

The National Selection format included multiple activities each day. Designed to test speed, navigation (map and GPS), physical discipline prowess, 4x4 driving and rope skills, as well as problem solving, communication and interpersonal skills, these activities served to rank the competitors by a points system, according to their performance in the activities.
Points alone are not the definitive criterion; but they do help to give a fair assessment of competitor ability and to determine which candidates are eligible for serious consideration.

Other factors that then come into play are personality elements, which include how the candidate is able to work with their teammates. Land Rover G4 Challenge in 2009 is a three-week, high-pressure adventure; the final pair selected has to work and interact - in peace and harmony - with each other for the duration of the event. This is selection process is challenging (for the selectors too) and the choice of the four candidates to go through to Land Rover G4 International Selections at Eastnor Castle - home of Land Rover Experience - in England in early-2009 was not made lightly.

Our four 2009 Land Rover G4 Challenge candidates are: Richard Kolbe, Craig Carter-Brown, Jeannie Bomford and Hanlie Booyens. Only two of these (one man and one woman) will progress to the the three-week Mongolian challenge in 2009.

To comment on the activity and competition aspects of the National selections. Most of the activities were short at 30-minutes to 1-hour in duration; but of high intensity. As I was overseas during Regional selections, I was unable to compete for a slot at Nationals (media involvement was a pleasing alternative); but after watching Nationals I'm fairly certain that I'm just not fast enough, especially in the purely phyical disciplines and mini-multisport challenges. Every one of the twenty contenders are exceptional athletes and are credit to the standard of multisport participation in South Africa.

But, even so, my entry will definitely be in for the 2010 selection process. Whether you make it only to Regionals or a step ahead to Nationals, the experience of Land Rover G4 Challenge is something to be treasured. Slick organisation, creative activities, personal challenges, comraderie and a buoyant atmosphere make for an event that will keep you relating stories of your adventures for many weeks.

I've had the fortune of attending adventure races and ultra runs all over the World; including Land Rover G4 International Selections in the UK in early 2006. But this National Selection event stands out as the most impressive - credit to the vision and commitment of Land Rover South Africa and MagneticSouth's superb event planning. Friends, do not hesitate to submit your entries in 2010.

For now, the "final four" go into their preparations for International Selections; and it is hard to choose favourites because they're all so strong, skilled and competent; and they're really nice people too. And the rest of us come off this awesome G4-high, return to our normal lives and prepare to cheer our candidates through the last phase of Selections and on to Mongolia. Hip-hip-hoorah!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Good karma

Considering that I've had two conversations in the past week with two completely different, non-esoteric men, about "good karma", I figure this topic is worthy of a posting.

According to Wikipedia:
Karma (Sanskrit: kárma (help·info), kárman- "act, action, performance"[1]; Pali: kamma) is the concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra) originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies.

The philosophical explanation of karma can differ slightly between traditions, but the general concept is basically the same. Through the law of karma, the effects of all deeds actively create past, present, and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain and joy it brings to him/her and others. The results or 'fruits' of actions are called karma-phala. In religions that incorporate reincarnation, karma extends through one's present life and all past and future lives as well.

Basically, what one does in the past affects one's future: performing good deeds will result in good effects and performing bad deeds will result in bad effects.

The sun is back; and the days are getting longer and warmer. There's also this electric energy rushing through my arteries; not Eskom energy - good karma energy.

This is the month for good change; for good people; for good deeds.

I've got the buzz - and I'm passing it on to you. Be good; think good; feel good. Pass it on.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Contra- what?

We all know about hetero-, homo-, tri-, bi-, retro- and metrosexual. Now there's a new word: contrasexual.

I recently visited a girl friend, who is in the process of divorce. One afternoon she says, "I'd never thought I'd be a divorcee".

I've been reading historical books, set in the 1800's; an age where women were married off in their mid-teens. It was seen as a fate almost worse than death not to be married in your twenties, never mind your thirties, which is where I find myself. So, laughing, I replied "Well, I'm a spinster, so you're in good company".

Spinster is such a nasty word; far more negative than the male equivalent of bachelor. Bachelorette is playful; contrasexual is representative.

Thank goodness for the constant evolution and expansion of the English language.

* Image from Oct08 Fairlady magazine.