Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Horror, Weirdos & Fagalicious Homos

It’s time for Halloween. All the witches, fairies, superheroes and dead icons of the past will come out of the closet and gush into the nightclubs and streets to celebrate this dress up party. Not having attended a Halloween party in a while I am pondering the idea of getting into a costume and joining in this year’s festivities.
As most gay and rather effeminate men know, playing dress up is nothing new to us. Some of us have been doing this ever since we could walk. As a toddler I distinctly remember being quite fascinated with my grandmother’s pink powder box that she had on her dressing table. Every chance I got I would sneak into her room, open the box grab the powder puff and powder my face. Needless to say I would emerge white as a ghost and concerned stares would be exchanged between my parents and grandparents as they would send me to the bathroom to wash my face. I eventually ended up inheriting that powder box, but unfortunately lost it. Granny’s powder was not the only feminine accessories I had used, my mom’s makeup also suffered my curiosity and many a time I ended up looking like a clown that was drunk when he applied his happy face and consequently suffered a stroke and was sent to an insane asylum. Apart from the makeup there also was the trying on of shoes, jewelry and the odd dress. Why I didn’t end up a drag queen is anybody’s question. I showed all the signs, but I guess the fact that I make for a scary woman might be a clue to this enigma.
In the past I have been dressed up for Halloween as a Priest, a Punk, a Bunny, a School Boy, a Prostitute, and a Goth, just to mention but a few. Strangely enough I never actually went the drag queen route however appropriate that could have been as I could have made a good witch. Of all the costumes I have adorned over the years I must admit the Bunny was my favorite. It was the least effort as I only had to buy bunny ears and a fluffy tail. The best part was that the tail attracted a lot of attention and my ass was crabbed numerous times during the course of that evening and it enjoyed this attention, more than my husband did. My least favorite costume was that of the priest as I kept on tripping on the damn robe and there is no way of sexing up such a dreadfully boring and conservative outfit.
So come Halloween it’s a free-for-all to dress up in whatever takes your fancy. If you are a closeted drag queen you have the options of dressing up as Cher, Vintage Madonna, The Queen or the Wicket Witch of the West. For those secretly into S&M an assortment of leather accessories are at your disposal; however certain items I strongly recommend against renting because you may not want to know where and on whom it has been - no one wants a after Halloween party favor of a case of the crabs! For all of those into the Superhero franchise I always find it quite cute when a couple ventures out to save the queers from the “evils” of the world dressed up as Batman & Robin or Captain America & Falcon. For those single folk not wanting to go out alone, do not despair you too can venture out with your fag hag dressed up as Bonny & Clyde or Barbie & Ken (you can decide who will be which). There is an overabundance of choices when it comes to costumes and themes one can choose from.

So what does your choice of costume say about you? The choice is quite a personal one, I would think, as Halloween is the one time of the year you can dress up as anything or anyone you like. Your secret fantasies can be realized, for instance if you always had a crush on Superman, who knows you may just end up in bed with him that night. If you always admired our health caregivers there’s the sexy nurse outfit (always popular amongst our drag queens) or the little French maid if you are really into kinky house work. For all our lesbians I haven’t forgotten about you. For the really butch lesbian how about trying on a dress for once? Who knows you might even like it? If a dress is not an option I have always found that lesbians look quite good in law enforcement uniforms, so they can do the poppers and safe sex patrol and ensure all horny queers behave responsibly.

Halloween is a fun time of year, with a variety of oddities wondering our streets, frequenting our bars and clubs and a bunch of hyperactive children high on sugar knocking away at our doors wanting their next fix. Whether you decide to dress up and go out, or stay at home watching a few horror movies I trust that all will have a fabulous time during this day of Horror, Weirdos and Fagalicious Homos.

Till next time.

Super Heroes look gay

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WHAT THE F..! No wonder I am a bitch.

They say bad things happen in threes. Well, I am starting to believe I am not the exception to the rule but rather I am setting a new standard for it. In one day my week has been ruined, communications failed and I am for all practical reasons stranded. Being sleep deprived which admittedly causes me to be more bitchy and short tempered than usual, a culmination of events almost pushed me over the edge and turned me into quite the bitch. Let me explain…

About a month ago I was in a small accident resulting in minor damage to my BMW. Luckily having good insurance it was an inconvenience but not the end of the world. My car went in for repairs and lo-and-behold just as they were almost done they discovered that one of my shock absorbers was also damaged. Naturally we assumed it was due to the accident. The insurance company sent out one of their people who concluded it wasn’t. I complained, they sent out another person who came to the same conclusion as his predecessor. It was ruled the shock’s damage wasn’t accident related and they could not find any evidence of the damaged being caused by a pothole or the weal being hit by a curb. Luckily the car was just 16 months old and surely the shock absorber was still covered under the warranty and/or motor-plan so BMW would repair it under these conditions, right? Yesterday my car was sent to one of their workshops, it was examined and the technicians concluded that the damage would not be covered by BMW’s warranty or motor-plan.
I was informed of BMW’s decision late yesterday afternoon; I arrived home wanting to send them a further enquiry via e-mail. I switch on my computer and it didn’t want to work. A few phone calls later my computer was arranged to be taken in for an assessment and repairs. Frustrated I went to bed hoping that a new day would bring new solutions.

Waking up this morning preparing to go to work I had my whole day planned and was optimistic that all would be resolved. That was a mistake! Firstly, my day didn’t go as planned. We were supposed to continue with the cross examination of the state witness but this was preempted by the defense bringing a motion for the judge in the case to recuse himself. This was a shock! The implications being that we will loose a whole week and consequently prolong this tedious trial and if the motion is successful we would have to start the whole trial from scratch. This set the mood for the rest of the day.

The second blow came when I was informed that my computer had a virus and it was potentially lethal to all the data stored on it. The diagnoses were later confirmed and the probability of loosing all my data was estimated at 90%. Now I was left facing potentially having to start from scratch with a complicated trial, having a computer infected with a virus that could cause me to loose 90% of data (both personal and some work related) and I had no mode of transport.
Not being able to do much about the trial motion or my computer at that stage I focused on the only problem I could actually try to resolve – my car. Having already called BMW’s customer care line that yielded no results I decided to escalate my problem to BMW South Africa. Eventually getting hold of someone the issue was painstakingly explained and it was promised I would be provided with a suitable solution within an hour.

Two hours later not having heard anything I phoned back. I was informed that BMW would have to send out their regional manager to inspect my car and he would make a final recommendation. Finally, I thought, I was gaining some ground until he muttered the second part of his sentence. The regional manager would only be available next month. Almost hyperventilating at this point I asked the guy in the most restrained manner I could what other alternatives I had as waiting another month clearly is not an option. To my utter surprise and disgust he told me I could fetch my car from the panel beaters and use it until the regional manager was available. Thinking I heard him wrong I repeated “So you want me to fetch my car and drive around with it while it clearly has a mechanical fault?” He answered in the affirmative. Shocked I asked to speak to his manager, he answered that he was the manager, asked to speak to his immediate superior and was told she was in a meeting in Cape Town. Completely at a loss for words a short uncomfortable silence followed ending with me putting down the phone in his ear.

As I was typing my formal complaint about BMW this afternoon on my very slow and old computer (the computer that was replaced with the one currently infected with a virus) I receive a “courtesy” call from BMW’s customer care wanting to know whether I was satisfied with the service my car received at the branch it was taken and whether all repairs were done to my satisfaction. The first thing going through my mind was “What the fuck?!” As I was not responding due to disbelief she asked whether I was still on the line and I responded by saying “NO!” It slipped out and confused her. She asked me “No your not on the line or no your are not completely satisfied?” The stupidity of that question set my off on a 20 minute rant and by the end I had her repeat everything that I had said to make sure she had noted it correctly which took her a further 15 minutes. Now both our days were ruined.

So yes I had a shitty day. The court case has been frustrated, my brand new computer has a virus and my BMW is still broken. There are two more days left of this week. If I am not going survive it I am taking everybody around me with me to the loony bin.

Till next time.

Kathy Griffin - Everybody Can Suck It

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gay Witch Hunts – Uganda Hates Us!

Who would have thought that in this day and age real life witch hunts could still occur? Living in a country where homosexuality is legal and gay marriage has been made possible, I sometimes forget how fortunate I am, and sometimes I can be oblivious to the suffering of others. But every now-and-again I am reminded of how much hate still exists and that discrimination is still rampant. This led me to ask, do we as a world society really care enough about what happens outside the boarders of our own comfort zone to get off our lazy behinds to do something about it?
Sitting at home last night minding my own business desperately trying to clear my overflowing e-mail inbox I came across an e-mail from one of my Ugandan readers. In this e-mail I was told about a new Anti-Homosexuality bill that the Ugandan government proposes to pass in their parliament. My first reaction was to press delete, as I was just too tired to be bothered with the problems of this small African country. I tried to rationalize my initial disinterest by thinking “How is this my problem? I am only one person and even though I have empathy for my reader’s plight, what could I do about it?
Against my selfish first instinct I decided not to delete the e-mail and proceeded to read it. I was horrified to discover that this Anti-Homosexuality bill would not only criminalize homosexuality but also the promotion thereof and whether any Ugandan who’s gay or supports or promotes homosexuality or gay rights, no matter where they are in the world, could be prosecuted. Furthermore, any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison - even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends! This sickened me! This seemed quite similar to the witch hunts that occurred in the period of 1480 to 1700!
Being the little menacing faggot I am I decided not to let this go - something needed to be done about this pending injustice! Being all worked up and ready to put on my pink boxing cloves the little activist in me was sorely disappointed when I realized this was 9pm on a Friday night and no gay rights groups would pick up their office phones if I called. Even though we queers are well organized we do not have a 24 hour emergency call centre and I was not about to burden my already high phone bill by making international calls. Now being “all dressed up” but nowhere to go, so to speak, I had to think of a Plan B.

Like a lightning bolt it struck me, why not use the power of the internet. Surely I could get the message out by utilizing the numerous social networking pages I labor over and have been nurturing for so many years. Surely some of my friends and contacts will be as enraged by the Ugandan governments’ asinine new proposed bill. So I leaped into cyber action sending out messages to as many people as I could, spreading to word into cyberspace hoping it would fall on interested and willing ears.

Having put the message out there and trusting that the gay community will react in force I waited and waited for any inkling of queer life in the form of a response. Hours passed and nothing, not even a “Please stop harassing me with stupid action alerts while I am trying to have cyber sex on Facebook!” My plan B seemed to have failed and I was frustrated. As I shutdown my computer shortly after 11pm, I could not help but wonder if my Ugandan friend and reader would now unsubscribe from my blog and I felt like I let him down.
Waking up this morning, feeling like I failed I decided to peruse some of my social networking pages. To my delight I had several messages from concerned and angered friends wanting to know how they could help. There was queer life out there in cyberspace and they cared! A few didn’t even know that Uganda existed, some even thinking it was a state in the United States they haven’t heard off, but never the less they cared enough to do something! So we started an e-mail campaign writing to the Ugandan government and our own governments demanding action and having this perilous Anti-Homosexuality bill stopped.

Having had a good response my faith in us as a world society has been restored. We are not all selfish and self-centered creatures who only cares about how gorgeous our boyfriends and girlfriends are, whether our local gay club will up their entrance fees and if we will need to up our Botox treatments from every 6 months to 3. When the rights of our gay brothers and sisters are threatened some of us are willing to get off our lazy behinds and enthusiastically put in an effort to protect them. My only wish is that more people will do the same.

Till next time.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Drugs, Lies & A Videotape

The soap opera trial got even more controversial this week. The star witness seemingly has a failing memory; flip-flopping between versions of events that favors the state and then the defense’s case. Just as things seemed as they could not become more tedious with the protracted cross examination and yet again the drug smuggling conviction came the introduction of an explosively controversial video tape.

This has been one hellishly long week with 16 hour working days of which 6 of those hours being spent with me sitting in court struggling to prevent my butt falling asleep. Arriving at our offices at 7am we fight our way through what we have now fondly named “Little Harare” as the section between the court and our offices have been occupied by Zimbabwean refugees. These refugees spent their days and nights in this section of pavement doing everything there from eating to sleeping. Unfortunately they also decided to pollute this area with their trash and their bodily fluids and excrements. So arriving at work in the morning the moment you step out of the car you are overwhelmed with the smell of urine and rotting food, hence none of us are having breakfast anymore. The permanent occupants of our office building say we’ll get use to the smell but I am not convinced.
Spending so many hours with my colleagues and having had many late nights this week I have come to discover that brilliant minds comes at a cost. You see I have discovered that every member of our team has their own unique little phobias. In our group we have two members that are afraid of heights. Normally this would not pose any problems. However, our temporary offices have been designed around several indoor court yards and all the offices has glass walls facing these court yards and we are on one of the top floors. As we walked into our offices on the first day one members unsuspectingly walked into her assigned office deep in thought and as she turned around was faced with only a piece of glass separating her and a long drop to the ground floor. We heard a hysterical scream and discovered her standing sucked to the opposite office wall frozen in fear. An hour later blinds were installed in all our offices.

Another member of our group suffers from claustrophobia and this prevents him from taking an elevator so every day we spent up to 10 minutes waiting for him when we depart the building or having to go anywhere. Then we have the member with arachnophobia who constantly mistakes any small fuzzy item as a spider which is a problem because the actual court room is not cleaned everyday (if ever) and many little fuzz balls tease his nerves on a daily basis. Being a group with healthy sense of humor we do exploit these phobias from time-to-time for our own sadistic amusement.

Having had a small break on Monday from little Harare, the glass palace and ominous fuzz balls we returned on Tuesday to resume the trial. The star witness would start his 2nd day of cross examination by the defense. Everyone was geared up for a show and that is exactly what they got. The witness being a convicted drug smuggler may have been confused to be philanthropist and cuddly teddybear mafia boss. So I was quite taken aback when people were shocked that he admitted to lying when it suited him and was for his own personal gain. Wouldn’t one expect that from a criminal and a person who is also charged for murder? As he was taking a beating on the stand I could not help but compare him to an overweight house cat being taunted by a little dog. His reactions ranged from being annoyed with his usual frown and lifting of his eye brows, confused, at times lazy, to sporadic attempts at lashing back. The bickering only seized after the judge lost his temper violently slamming down his hand on his pulpit followed by a cringe of pain and a harsh reprimand.

The pièce de résistance this week came with the introduction of the controversial DVD that was made of the witness over a year ago by some spy bosses. This DVD was awaited with great anticipation as a titanic battle was fought over whether it should be admitted or not. At the end of the day it was provisionally admitted and the court was entertained with 57minutes of very controversial assertions by what seemed to be a very aggrieved, animated and very talkative complainant and a laid back spy boss listening to him while smoking his cigarettes and the other spy boss hidden out of sight. There were moments of humor, moments of shock and moments of confusion. All-in-all it was quite a satisfactory experience for all the media attending the proceedings.

The highlight of my week was the fact that the media decided they had enough footage of us and we were not stalked by photographers. We had quite a peaceful stroll through little Harare’s alley of urine and trash without the added stress of having to dodge cameras. As far as I know I was not in the newspapers or on the news, and it was quite a relief. As the testimony of the star witness winds down, the next waves of witnesses are lined up and are sure to attract another frenzy of interest. As for me, I am just going with the ebb-and-flow of events, trying to keep the blood circulation going in my derriere during the trial, doing my work and avoiding stepping in crap.

Till next time.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spy Bosses, Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, Murder & Blackmail.

One of the most anticipated and controversial trials in South Africa got underway this week and I just happen to be part of it. The trial involves an alleged international Mafia Boss and convicted Drug Dealer as the star witness and the once most powerful man in law enforcement as the accused. Throw International Espionage, Spy Bosses, Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering, Murder and Blackmail into the mix and you have the perfect recipe for a soap opera. Being involved in the trail I may not divulge any details as pertaining to the actual case but I will take you behind the scenes and share with you the experiences that no one ever get to read or know about. Here is your brief introduction.
Being part of a court case of this magnitude has both its advantages and disadvantages. On the one side I literally have a front row seat and inside scoop to what I can only describe as the best “reality show” but on the other side I have to sacrifice my privacy and normal routine. This past week it felt like my life has been turned upside down, my sleeping patterns grossly interrupted and my public anonymity obliterated. The experience sometimes feels surreal, sometimes scary and sometimes exciting.
My day starts at 4:15am as I am awakened by the irritating sounds of chirping birds. Not being a morning person their sounds mock me as I am forced to awaken from my peaceful sleep. As I prepare for the frenzy that lies ahead, the darkness of night slowly is ushered away by the morning sun. I am picked up by a black Jeep with tinted windows at around 5:30am with four of my colleagues. We are then rushed, with what at times is lethal speed, to the offices next to the High Court. As the Jeep forcefully strings its way through pre-peek-time morning traffic most of us try to catch up on 45 minutes sleep that it takes to reach our destination. Once at the office we have a quick breakfast before our pre-trail meeting then collect our documents and equipment and 30 minutes before the trail start prepare to depart for court.

Preparations for the short walk to court across the road are no easy feat. You see this week we escorted the star witness to court and apart from the media being interested in catching him on film there is also the added complication of his safety. Getting from our temporary offices to the court building is timed and planned with military precision. The security detail (a staff of about 15 people) deploy to their positions 10 minutes prior to departure. As we assemble in the foyer of the office building we wait for the “all clear”. When the go ahead is given we all emerge from the building and a security perimeter surrounds us. As we exit the clicking of cameras start and we struggle our way through the sea of journalist. This has been a frighting experience as once this week a journalist broke the security perimeter causing chaos and the journalist and his camera was injured in the process.

As a result of the media interest in the case I made it onto the news 3 times this week, been on the front page of 4 news papers and appeared in pictures with the star witness in one news paper everyday. This unexpected exposure has had some adverse effects: Firstly some family members and friends called me and was surprised to see me on the news, in public I have gotten some weird stares and twice I have been approached by strangers wanting to know who I was and what my involvement is in the case. Having been told that I look like I am a “mafia type” on the news and newspapers I can only assume this inference is made due to my association with the star witness. Also having been told I look like the witness’ bodyguard, all I could do was laugh.

Once in court we set up our work stations as the press slowly trickles in. Having got to know some of them during the course of this week I must say most of them are very pleasant except one. There is an old lady that is not only abrasive and bombastic but also a major bitch. Having had her banned from our row of seats due to her disturbing nature she through a mammoth tantrum and threaten to sue. Her antics did not yield the results she had hoped and her hateful stares burn our backs everyday; I am sure at night she has constructed a hate shrine with the newspaper pictures of us and burns her black candles while guzzling down her cheep whiskey.

As the defense and the accused enters the court room the atmosphere changes. Everyone looks with keen interest to see how the accused and the star witness will interact. As expected there is no eye contact and neither acknowledges the other’s existence. Only once this week the two made eye contact and it was followed by the witness braking down in tears. Whether that was an Oscar winning performance by the witness no one knows. Presiding over this case is a judge that is firm and does not take well to any dramatics, having a queer sense of humor he does allows the odd lifting of tension with a quip that seldom hits home with the majority of the audience. As testimony starts startling allegations are made, conspiracies claimed, murder and blackmail revealed. The dance between the prosecution and defense is complicated and at times tense; both parties verbally sparring and every now-and-again giving the other a painful blow.

As proceedings wind down and the court adjourns at 3:30pm we again have to make our way through the army of photographers and interested members of the public. I have grown to dread this long walk through hell and chaos. On Wednesday we had a drunken man screaming profanities at us and just as he appeared to want to attack one of us he was neutralized. Once safely back in the building we all have a sigh of relieve having made it back unharmed. The rest of the afternoon is spent preparing for the next day as a postmortem of the day’s events are done. This usually takes a few hours. If we are lucky at about 5:00pm we leave for home and fight through peek hour traffic. Our black Jeep, I am sure, has now become a notorious item on the road as our driver is aggressive and his driving at times frightening. On our journey home we listen to the media’s analysis of the case on the radio and are informed of how they think we are doing.

At around 6:30pm I arrive home exhausted, too tired to think about doing anything else apart from vegetating in front of the television where again I am reminded of my day as images of the day’s events and sometimes image of me flashes across the screen. At 10:30pm I go to bed, only to awaken again at 4:15am to repeat the process.

This case is set to continue for the next 5 weeks. Our star witness will be finishing his testimony hopefully next week, when after the real heavy weights will be introduced: Ex spy bosses, the notorious security expert, the millionaire ex fugitive, the police high brass and maybe even the accused will take the stand. We are in for an exciting time as many more controversial revelations will be made and numerous bombs shells are sure to be dropped. More about this to follow…

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