FLOODBACK\You, again

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The lookout deck is just a hand dealt with distance.
The inevitable win or lose can only come when all the cards have been played.

This deck is not deliverance…
It is where you dine on credit at airport prices.
Its safety is by distance, not by deity.
Because lessons are only learned when we live them.

We know this.
But we tardy this traction with (denial-driven) hope that we won’t need to at all.
Willing… that maybe… somehow… our delaying might deal a different turn of truths that suit our what-ifs more.

My delaying has – just this week – walked into the FLOODBACK.

Yes I (am) have started thinking about you again.
Yes I (wish) feel the days of that fireball dynamo as if they were today’s yesterday.
Yes I (ceiling-stare) wonder the alternate outcomes –– and then buckle at the butterflies born to burst in my belly.

FLOODBACK feeds the powerlessness-pangs that I’d pain privately in the departure lounge of purgatory.

The board’s update is one-word smug: “Delayed”

I can’t certificate survival as successful with this carnival of skeletons I cohabit with.

Procrastinate honouring your heart’s hopes to heal, and hell will surround with scorn that reads “Delayed”.

In theory, we know that every step forward is a step in the right direction.

In practise, we don’t take those steps for a long, long time.

We prefer to triage the punishment… to trump it for what-ifs, while we secretly tap the door we’d professed to close and hope it opens to let us back in.

Courting cannibalistic-carnival…
…that’s not overall strength come from a place of sadness:
That’s sadness lacking strength because it is all over the place.
But don’t turn toward the tempt to frown upon it. That blinding bide is beautiful on its own – as and when it must… and as and when it must… and as and when it must…

To FLOODBACK . . .

Foreign as a feeling when it does.
Fluke, even.
Almost.
But with flint in fist, and tinder tiding its time…


…this fluke will conscript a courage lit like a fire from underneath.

© Dylan Balkind

If you like the mix, you can download it here.

 

REASON\ADINE

I am the giddy aphonic, un-cool catatonic, rubbernecked note-taker of this trip, propelled by the generous honesty of these raw-tellings from a heart that can roar because of how it was ravaged… My arrival as a writer – from 1995 and to date – is care of one storyteller, like none I have known or found anywhere … or in anything else…

Here, with trembling trust, the third in the Alanis trilogy for
#WritingStoriesDifferently

Passion really is the outcome of both joy and pain.

Thank U

© Dylan Balkind

The ▽alue of the ▽ista

The Universe is something else… the forumala-fantastic I have no doubt! Sceptics would say there’s nothing to it. That there is no chance. Let them… LOUD is how lovely the lessons are ~ albeit when we’re listening. A soul in shock sometimes just needs to see the shine of itself from another time to understand the true value of the vista. That rather rad TimeHop App reminded me, just when I needed it, of something I mused five years ago…

∞  ∞  ∞

 

Baskets of happiness

Your energy is a decision that has the strength to be relentless, immeasurable and unmatchable. Your naivety is beautiful and its innocence can be invigorating, illuminating and most of all pure. The only decisions we should be worried about, are those to be open and a willingness to engage, receive and appreciate that our inexperience is an offering rather than a crutch.

Building paper houses on the beach where the tide washes in is the same sense of fragility we negotiate everyday; a tight rope between feeling creatively good about ourselves while being subject to impulses, urges and the whim of those who share in our space and our time.

So… it is not always easy not to get involved… But… your senses are your God-given gifts that reward you with the prize of being able to be tangible with your surrounds and the personalities that you connect with daily. Collect only the good stuff that carries the glitter and the magic into your life and put it into your basket of happiness to take with you on your own snippets-of-life journey – to wherever it is you are going.

© Dylan Balkind 2009

 

∞  ∞  ∞

REIGN\ADINE

REIGN–ADINE Header

While I thought I had this military-mapped in my mind (currently being driven mad by the blunderous bandwidth), I receive a note from ‘my’ Nundi. She’s invited me to open something* I’ve never seen before, and when I do — Kismet! The first two words I see there are tantamount to what I was hoping to tangible (tangiDyl?) here…

JUST LOVE 

Ecstacy is your birthright.

You do not have to earn your freedom.

Our history’s done its best to show us otherwise though… hasn’t it?

Ergo ~ ‘can blindly continued fear-induced regurtitated life-denying tradition be overcome?’

Intimately? Internationally?

To be okay with someone’s passive when I am aggressive ┉

To believe in the beauty of how it just is ┉

I

We

Us

Here

It’s hard though.

It’s hard work.

It’s heavy work.

The point — I think — is that there is no fail.

There is only the moment and then the moment is gone.

And that whatever we did or felt or said there — has its place in the boundlessness of (our) beauty — whether benevolent or beneath…

Before we break it down ┉

Before we beat our brows ┉

Before we bend ┉

Before we bulwark ┉

Before all this — we are just effortlessly cool.

Where confidence holds the door open for arrogance and ignorance…

And when, if we can’t be that then, it’s still a perfect day… and the superlative supreme never need be under rug swept.

Any of it.

There’s courage in finding yours. Fuck! There’s courage in just thinking about wanting to.

And — as this pretty smart guy I know once said: courage like that is catching.

Another pretty smart guy is Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He said: “Time goes faster the more hollow it is. Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.”

That’s effortlessly cool, don’t you think?

Because:

“If a train doesn’t stop at your station… then it’s not your train.”
— Marianne Williamson.

Here’s the second in the Alanis trilogy for 
#WritingStoriesDifferently

Thank you to the effortlessly cool Catherine — my kinsperson.

Your creative-kindness is soul food.

I salute you for your house you’ve fully decorated in that sense.

 

© Dylan Balkind

www.daniellelaporte.com

DIVIN\ADINE

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On June 13, 1995, a then globally-unknown Alanis Nadine Morissette released her first international album: Jagged Little Pill. Its raw reverberations reflected in the record 33 million copies it sold. One of 33 million made its way into our home – purchased by my sister in the very spirit of divine sisterhood-defiance that drove the album’s success.

I was in Standard 9 that year. Seventeen. Closeted and conservative as far as matters of the heart went, so that jaded lover that was jaundiced by the jilt of some joker who decided to do ‘better’ elsewhere, wasn’t something I knew about, personally. My experience of this came from watching my sister belt the crops of this woman’s burnt and broken.

Its airplay lived long (unlike the churning of music’s ornaments today). Even 13 months later and in the July of 1996 – when my German exchange student joined our choir – we sang Ironic a million times to Ballito and back in my sister’s green Citi Golf. Even though our knitting only happened a little later, my amplification by way of hers couldn’t be clearer (to me).

Post Jagged Little Pill’s deathless days – and amidst a planned hiatus – Alanis saw the rough-cut to City of Angels. Virtuoso vocalised, the unplanned Uninvited was born and arrested her audience/s once more – myself the most! – or so it always seems when you’re inside of intimations by artists who share that which fuels our “…ohmygawdthatisexactlyhowIfeel…” stories.

Quite simply, it stoked the starving for Jagged’s follow up – a famish which was finally fed in November 1998 when Alanis dropped Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.

I remember lying on my bed and pouring over each page of its CD-booklet. Right out of the gates, Front Row floored me. Layered lyrics that sung two stories simultaneously. The wakening of those words woke something in me: I’ve always maintained that Alanis taught me to write. Other people tell me I always could and my connecting with hers simply helped.

Nudge or nucleus, how she wrote her voice fuelled me finding mine.

On the last four days of December 1999 – just before calculators, world computers and every/anything run by a date were supposed to implode – our extended family ‘roughed-it’ and rowed eight rafts down the Orange River in Namibia. One afternoon – I’m not sure which – and in the respite between rapids, I lay buoyant on my back as the water I floated in slowed to almost still. Out of the corners of my eyes, banks broke the river’s edge before climbing into the cliffs that considered us as we floated by. The voices of the other 15 subsided and the closing lines to No Pressure Over Cappuccino sirened through my head… over… and over… and over again.

God bless you in your travels… in your conquests and queries…

Be who you are – at any every cost.

Something about the combination of that message, its meaning, my place on the planet in that moment and its imminence to some sort of (hyped) historical magnitude… It was the closest to peace I have ever been.

I cannot forget that.

Quite something then to learn that ‘Alanis’ means precious awakening.

She is mine.

My lightning in a bottle.

My spirit animal.

The rarity of the thread she’s sewn between few others and myself is as special as it is sparse.

Not to everyone’s palate… but one that pulled Catherine Jenkin and I together; one of four willful women I contemplate consistently in the Alanis context. Pam Doyle Pillay, Kerry Ellis-Williams and Gillian Read are the other three.

After the other #WritingStoriesDifferently mixes I’ve made, Cat requested I do an Alanis one…

Thank you for launching an absolute labour of love!

Ergo, it is as unfinished as one should be, right?

Not to everyone’s palate.

But, if it is to yours too, then here ~ feast on this:

© Dylan Balkind

MTN: Smugly shirking service

Day12You’ve heard this story before… because this is the world we live in.

Monopolised. By mongrels.

However – and the irony is – that which sustains this system is us. The money earners, money spenders, account payers… Sadly though, when that which we are paying for is derailed, our querying and solution-seeking reveals the starkly substandard, defective and senseless approach that brand custodians employ in order not to do their jobs. On a good day and with sense of humour in tact (now absent altogether), I view my musings with MTN like a badly-produced soap opera – albeit far more painful and without the excessive sex. On a bad day, seeking resolution from MTN feels like it would if you were drowning… and someone handed you a baby.

MTN Drowning

Just like any good soap opera, this crisis has more than one storyline running concurrently: Incompetence renders new iPad inept and The Vacuous Value of having MTN handset insurance.

The Vacuous Value of having MTN handset insurance

Monday, 6 October

My iPhone 5S was damaged in an unfortunate car-swapping driveway accident that left it looking like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 10.10.09 PM

I went to the MTN Service Centre in Morningside, Johannesburg to proceed with the claim, where I was advised that it would be better to call 083 123 6084. That they would come and collect the phone from me in order to process the claim and issue me with a loan-phone in the meantime. Sounds great, right?

Try calling that number. The waiting time is longer than Katherine Kelly Lang has been Brooke on The Bold and the Beautiful. Hint: it’s a really long time. She still holds the role she first kicked-off in 1987.

brooke-logan-beautiful

Without a cellphone, I decided it would be a good time to get a new iPad on a 3G contract – so as to stay in contact that way and then have that too once my phone was up and running. Now pay attention, because here’s where the Incompetence renders new iPad inept storyline kicks off – and the two run concurrently.

Sunday, 12 October

Upon completing and submitting my ID that was copied and attached to the application1 – and successful vetting of my details – I was handed a new iPad with a credit card-sized SIM holder and shuffled on my way (it was the weekend and the store was closing). At home, I realised I had been issued the incorrect sized SIM for the iPad… so I would have to go back and get that sorted…

MTN April 13

I work. So doing that is not as easy as it sounds. It comes down to trying during lunch which, coincidentally, is when everybody else is at the Service Centre too.

Monday, 20 October

I went back to the MTN Service Centre in Morningside to attempt strike 2 at the insurance claim and to table their simple-minded-SIM-issue, with the hopes of getting the correct sized SIM for the iPad applied for and issued. There, I also raised the issue of not being able to get through on083 123 6084 for my insurance claim…  The consultant called into the helpdesk from her MTN-issued phone. We spoke to Patrick Mfelang (Patrick.Mfelang@mtn.co.za) who assured me he would email the insurance claim form to me and we could try that route.

After (re)submitting my ID that was copied and attached to the (re)application2 for the correct SIM (but without any apology for the inconvenience of the incorrect SIM issue, nor the time or petrol used to make them aware of their error), I was issued with the correct-sized SIM card for the iPad issued.

Back at the office, I had in fact received Patrick’s email; completed, submitted and received a response apologising for the potential delay, and that I would be contacted within 5 days.

5 days

Monday, 27 October

In the coming days, it was clear that no data was available (on the iPad), even with the second SIM issued. The MTN-SA icon appears in the top left corner, but without a signal and no internet connection available. Based on an application process that was “approved” on Sunday, 12 October – but one that had resulted in a 0% success rate and therefore no usage of said device – it was brutally clear that the employees appointed by MTN who work at the MTN Service Centre in Morningside are uninterested in / incapable of performing their roles.

So I tried the Social Media route:

SM post 1

And… with no Yello from the insurance department, I sent this email, to the insurance queries email address:

27 Insurance Qry

Responses: 0 

MTN April 14

Tuesday, 28 October

With still not a Yello from the insurance department… I sent this email, to the insurance queries email address:

28th Follow-up
Responses: 0 

Wednesday, 29 October 

I try social media once again, regarding my handset insurance claim: SM post 2 - 29 Oct

I also reply directly via my inbox message, hoping to have some luck that way: 29th Follow-up Both

After much, painful answer-seeking, I was told that my contract was on hold for a RICA issue: they needed a copy of my ID to effect the final approval… My ID (yes, still the same one) that they had taken, copied and submitted twice so far.

Further to furnishing the required details for the iPad SIM activation, and only to compound the issues at hand because I am obviously a) nuts, and b) a complete sucker for punishment, I further requested that my iPad contract be credited for the pro-rata charges from Sunday 12 October to when it would come online – for obvious reasons.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 8.33.32 PM
Responses regarding that query? Take a wild guess.

Thursday, 30 October 

Hallelujah Houston! We have a Yello! The iPad situation was resolved – a mere 19 days after the application process began – and thus concludes our Incompetence renders new iPad inept storyline.

30th iPad SIM resolution

Traction seemed infectious. On that same day, I received this (well written) communication from the insurance department:

30th email from insurance about call
I replied, just to confirm (further to a note on the actual claim form and through correspondence on Facebook) where they should reach me:
30th reply with landline number

Sadly… that traction was short-lived.

No response regarding the credit note, and no call regarding my insurance claim have yet been received.

But… then this………

*drumroll*

Saturday, 1 November

I received this message (via Facebook) from Devan regarding my insurance claim:

Phone off

I’m not quite sure what else to say or do at this point. I’ve provided my work number to them three times, knowing full well that they wouldn’t be able to reach me on my cellphone…

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 12.14.40 AM

Thanks to the inefficiency of people who don’t (have to) think further than what they’ll do with their hair on the weekend or how what they do in a role that pays them a salary, affects the men and women whose custom keeps them there, I am now literally at the end of my rapidly frayed rope.

Jules

Ergo, I am smart. I am a writer. And creating work that builds brands is my playground.

So here we go… Today, this blog goes out and its link gets sent to one Paul Norman (to name but a few), Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN.

Let’s see, shall we?

MTN Speechless

Stay tuned for more from this beguiling albeit completely pointless soap opera. Pointless because if consultant #1 had done what they were supposed to do… we would not be here.

1 First time ID was successfully received by MTN
2 Second time ID was successfully received by MTN

© Dylan Balkind

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