Smath's Blog

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23 Apr 2010 - 23:13

Have a look at this guy's work - - adorable and with such personality in his characters! I Am Medic is one of my favourites:

There seems to be a trend lately towards having far-apart eyes in illustrations, a la The Simpsons. On that note, I have noticed an interesting thing this week: Jacob Zuma (who is often referred to here by his nickname JZ) has this same feature! Scott and I have been spending a lot of time in the South African Home Affairs offices here (we're applying for a longer-term temporary residence permit for him*) and in each office is a framed picture of the man. For your viewing pleasure I present to you a picture of the man himself. Perhaps the shape or style of his glasses accentuates it.

Anyway, I digress. I found Christopher Lee's website from Smashing Magazine's article Beautiful Illustrator Artworks By Artists Around The World. I follow them on Twitter ( and suggest that you do too. They post links to their site which is full of useful articles with how-tos, compilations of beautiful graphic art and designs and other nice miscellany.

* This experience actually warrants a post or two of its own. Nothing could have prepared us for what we were in for.

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14 Apr 2010 - 00:03

In March last year the British government issued an official list of words that have been banned from use by the councils in order that council members effectively communicate. Read the BBC reports on this.

I find this quite amusing.. and I also think that this is a Good Thing, albeit a rather daft list ("client" is a buzzword?). With people everywhere reading many of the same things thanks to the high-speed information sharing of the internet, the meanings of catchy phrases will often become warped or altogether changed, and either way, lose their meaning and their impact.

The full list of the banned words below:

Agencies Ambassador Area based
Area focused Autonomous Baseline
Beacon Benchmarking Best Practice
Blue sky thinking Bottom-Up CAAs
Can do culture Capabilities Capacity
Capacity building Cascading Cautiously welcome
Challenge Champion Citizen empowerment
Client Cohesive communities Cohesiveness
Collaboration Commissioning Community engagement
Compact Conditionality Consensual
Contestability Contextual Core Message
Core principles Core Value Coterminosity
Coterminous Cross-cutting Cross-fertilisation
Customer Democratic legitimacy Democratic mandate
Dialogue Direction of travel Distorts spending priorities
Double devolution Downstream Early Win
Edge-fit Embedded Empowerment
Enabler Engagement Engaging users
Enhance Evidence Base Exemplar
External challenge Facilitate Fast-Track
Flex Flexibilities and Freedoms Framework
Fulcrum Functionality Funding streams
Gateway review Going forward Good practice
Governance Guidelines Holistic
Holistic governance Horizon scanning Improvement levers
Incentivising Income streams Indicators
Initiative Innovative capacity Inspectorates
Interdepartmental Interface Iteration
Joined up Joint working LAAs
Level playing field Lever Leverage
Localities Lowlights MAAs
Mainstreaming Management capacity Meaningful consultation
Meaningful dialogue Mechanisms Menu of Options
Multi-agency Multidisciplinary Municipalities
Network model Normalising Outcomes
Output Outsourced Overarching
Paradigm Parameter Participatory
Partnership working Partnerships Pathfinder
Peer challenge Performance Network Place shaping
Pooled budgets Pooled resources Pooled risk
Populace Potentialities Practitioners
Predictors of Beaconicity Preventative services Prioritization
Priority Proactive Process driven
Procure Procurement Promulgate
Proportionality Protocol Provider vehicles
Quantum Quick hit Quick win
Rationalisation Rebaselining Reconfigured
Resource allocation Revenue Streams Risk based
Robust Scaled-back Scoping
Sector wise Seedbed Self-aggrandizement
Service users Shared priority Shell developments
Signpost Single conversations Single point of contact
Situational Slippage Social contracts
Social exclusion Spatial Stakeholder
Step change Strategic Strategic priorities
Streamlined Sub-regional Subsidiarity
Sustainable Sustainable communities Symposium ­­
Synergies Systematics Taxonomy
Tested for Soundness Thematic Thinking outside of the box
Third sector Toolkit Top-down
Trajectory Tranche Transactional
Transformational Transparency Upstream
Upward trend Utilise Value-added
Vision ­ Visionary Welcome

We could use such a list in tech. Web 2.0 anyone?

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9 Apr 2010 - 09:41

Furniture and shoes!

Brothers Dressler Bench Seating

These benches are made from salvaged items and are therefore all unique. I am not sure that I would want one of these babies in my home (only because it might be creepy when you get up in the dark to get a glass of water at night) but I just love the idea and the execution.

Incidentally, they have rather a beautifully designed and simple website too, go look ->

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7 Mar 2010 - 20:02

I have a peeve.

When I'm in a store, or walking out on the street somewhere, I like to listen to music on my ipod. I am not here to socialize, and if were rest assured I would not be doing it with my ipod on.

On more than one occasion now I have been in a store doing my thing and minding my own business, and someone promoting some or other product I'm not interested in will approach me. I have even had situations where I've been so engrossed in what I'm doing that I have not noticed them, and they tap me on the shoulder from behind to get my attention.

"Would you like to try our new Nondescript Conditioner (tm)?"

Yes, in fact I do.. it's exactly what I want, and that's why I walked right past and neither noticed it nor cared. Miaw!

Another thing: I live in Johannesburg where we have something of a crime problem. When someone sneaks up on me in a public place I get:

  1. a terrible fright
  2. a vicious self-defense knee-jerk reaction
  3. pretty annoyed!

Hopefully soon people will realize that there is an etiquette around bothering people who are most likely not interested in what you're selling, and that those who are interested will give you a sign.

Originally written on 2008-09-23 14:24

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5 Mar 2010 - 19:57

Well. Who didn't grow up listening to these punks. I've watched this so many times and still it amuses me.

And a few years later we would be presented with Eminem who from a distance actually does look a lot like the subject in Pretty Fly.

Not convinced? Observe Exhibit A:

And Exhibit B, a still from the video:

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4 Mar 2010 - 21:17
Friends, I hope you have a little sick bag handy.

Sometimes I am a sentimental, soppy girl.

Huletts in South Africa produce the little sachets of sugar that just about all restaurants here use. About 4 years back, they started printing inspirational quotes on the back of each sachet.

Here are a few that I scanned. I'd like to collect more of them. It's a really cute idea that Huletts have had and I love the sentiment behind it. Mostly when I read them (and I read them every time) I think to myself, "Y'know, they're right."

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