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Sackie | Who knew tossing bean bags around could be this epic!

Get enough guys together at a braai, add a few beers, and inevitably someone is going to break out a bat and ball. We’re just hard-wired that way, aren’t we? It doesn’t matter if it’s a set of darts, a football or an old cricket bat. If it bounces or floats through the air, guys will find a way to divvie-the-dudes-up and get a game on…anytime…anywhere!

Now imagine for a second a super-cool guy in Johannesburg designed a brilliant new game you can play next time you’re turning a tjop on the Weber or just hanging out with friends and family in the back garden.

That would spark your attention, wouldn’t it?

Well, I got my hands on Sackie and I had a blast playing it. I’ve decided every bloke In South Africa should know about it, especially those with kids. It’s epic for when you have family and friends over for a braai or even to keep your kids amused for a couple of hours if you are on daddy duty!

Sakie

This is how the story goes.

A couple of weeks before the end of last year I was enjoying a coffee with a work colleague who told me he was manufacturing a local game called Sackie. It’s loosely based on an American game the Yankee Doodles have been playing for years, but he has decided to give it a proudly South African spin. The game itself involves a couple of wooden boards, some stylish bean bags, and doesn’t require much more dexterity than when you try to land an apple core in a dustbin with a well-placed throw.

If you like the idea of closing out a game with a killer last throw, beer in one hand and some banter, you’re going to love Sackie. After checking the prototype pics out on his phone and listening to his enthusiasm about the product, I was like, “You have to let me take a set down to the coast when you have your first order knocked out.” True to his word, a couple of days before we decided to fuel up the car and head down the N3 to the coast, I got the call to pick up my Sackie set in Bryanston.

Sakie

This is how you play Sackie?

  • You’ve got two wooden boards (80cm x 50cm) each with 6 round holes that are slightly smaller than a side plate in size.
  • You have 3 bean bags you need to under-arm toss into to the opposing team’s board.
  • If you drop your bean bag through a hole you get to close the hole off.
  • The team that closes off the board first, wins the game

The product itself is pure quality. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the wooden boards hold up to the endless pounding they take from the bean bag throws. It’s easy to clean (just wipe it down with a wet cloth) and your Sackie set comes with a handy carry bag which is necessary if you are going to migrate your game away from the house to a new location like the beach.

The bean bags themselves are wrapped in a cool shwe shwe fabric which gives them a lekker proudly SA vibe. Put it this way, the product doesn’t come off as cheap, and you can see everyone at Sackie has put the quality of the game at the top of their agenda.

Is it fun for everyone?

Every South African home needs a Sackie. We had two teenage girls, a handful of 40-year olds, and a couple of grandparents in their mid-70s all staying in the house over this Christmas period and we all got stuck into a few super-serious Sackie games. What I found interesting is that although we had 3 generations under one roof, and that isn’t always easy, what all of us did agree on is that spending a few hours playing Sackie was a helluva lot of fun.

Want more information on how to get your hands on a Sackie set?

Leave your details below and we will get the guys from Sackie to email you directly with pricing and delivery details.

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SLEB

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What can the guy who empties septic tanks teach us?

Have you ever heard of a chap by the name of Mike Rowe?

He has a TV show called Dirty Jobs. The guy is always up to his knees in raw sewerage, cleaning septic tanks, and emptying the occasional pig trough. Mike does the type of work most of us wouldn’t ever consider doing 🙂 So why bring him up? A couple of years ago he spoke about not following your passion but rather looking for opportunities. Truer words might not have been spoken, especially for all of us living in South Africa.

If you get a gap, watch this short video clip here.

Basically, what he’s saying is that you might be incredibly passionate about something, but when it comes to occupation, he says forget about following your passion and rather look for the opportunities. It’s then that you’ll quite possibly discover your passion for the work.

It’s an interesting take on things. Most of us are led to believe (at least nowadays) that following your passion is the holy grail. Look inside and focus on the thing that makes you the happiest, then everything will fall into place.

Maybe for a lucky few.

The rest of us are asking the following question:

“So is talent, passion or opportunity more important?”

Let’s find out.

Is talent overrated?

There’s a lot to be said for talent. Mozart had bags of natural talent, as did the legendary Michael Jordan. If you follow football, it’s tough to argue that Messi and Ronaldo aren’t naturally gifted athletes. Sure, they probably work their socks off on the training ground, but these guys are unbelievable at what they do and seem to be able to keep going, while others fall by the wayside.

The problem with talent is that it’s easy to identify in sports and the creative arts, but how will you ever know whether you’re a talented surgeon until you start practicing? And what do you do if you find out you’re not?

You might be a talented driver but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have the same opportunity as Lewis Hamilton, for instance. It takes talent and lots of luck to get to that sort of level. Of course, another word for luck is opportunity.

What about passion?

Elon Musk – Nobody on earth is more passionate about the idea of everyone in the world being able to drive an electric car in the future. In a recent 60-minutes interview he made a startling revelation. Did you know that the blueprints for making a Tesla car are available on the internet? That would be like Coke throwing up their secret recipe on Wikipedia. When pressed about how that helps Tesla, he said it doesn’t. But if someone can make a better electric car than he can, then everyone around the world wins. By making everything Tesla knows available, Mr. Musk is hoping that someone out there can pick up his vision and perhaps drive it further than he has been able to do.

What a radical idea. Born out of nothing but a pure passion to realise a dream.

But it’s fair to say that Elon is a talented guy from South Africa who probably saw a gap and shot straight through it.

Which brings us to opportunity…

Take two guys starting out in life:

Phillip has a talent for crunching numbers. He’s thinking of becoming an accountant because he’s heard the pay is good and that the boss is usually an accountant. So, off he heads to university. He, along with hundreds of other equally talented students, begins his studies.

Ralph, on the other hand, isn’t particularly good at anything, or so he thinks. At least anything he can turn into a career right now. He decides to become a panel beater because, well, there isn’t a reliable transport system in South Africa & most people commute to work and back. More cars mean more accidents which means more opportunity.

Ten years later and Phillip is working his way up the corporate ladder. Right now he’s at middle management level and things are looking ok. But not much better than ok.

Ralph caught the car wave at just the right time. After qualifying as a panel beater, it wasn’t long before his work ethic was noticed by his boss. Long story short, Ralph was offered a partnership, managed to build a solid reputation in the industry, and eventually bought out his partner.

Ralph now has managers running his two shops and he has discovered a passion for sixties music and travelling. Talk about passion versus opportunity!

How many of us spend years of our lives trying to identify the one thing we’re truly passionate about, only to miss the opportunities passing us by?

We don’t know what the secret formula is. Is it talent + passion or talent, passion + opportunity or perhaps opportunity only.

Truth is, most of us get stuck in jobs just to pay the bills, while we search for our passion, and by the time we find our passion, we’re stuck in the comfort zone of our job that we don’t really like.

As Mike Rowe says: Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.

Don’t miss the opportunities. I guess that’s the take-home here 🙂

We would really like to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave them in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

SLEB

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If you want work/life balance,maybe you just need to ask for it?

We have the Industrial Revolution of the late 1700s and early 1800s to thank for the birth of factories. It was an interesting time in history because mass-produced factory goods kick-started global urbanisation (more people flocking to the cities) and on the back of that Henry Ford can be credited for institutionalising the 40-hour work week. Thanks Henry…What a guy 🙂

Two hundred years later and many of us have swopped baggy denim dungarees and punching time cards in at Sellotape factories for virtual check-ins the minute we open our computers and they sprout the Wi-Fi icon. But not much has really changed if you think about it. Twenty-first century offices are still factories turning out products and services, and most of us still do the 9 to 5 thing, 5-days a week, don’t we?

If you drive a Ford, think about how ironic it is that you drive to work and back, Monday to Friday, to pay off a car named after the man who made your 40-hour work week the norm, all those years ago.

Do you think we’ve always been thinking about the work-life balance conundrum?

Since we’ve had a rigid labour framework imposed on us, you must believe that billions of people throughout the decades have been thinking about ways to balance the scales. They didn’t have the internet to connect them with like-minded people and hatch buzz words like “work-life balance” but which human, trading time for money, isn’t thinking about getting more out of life and working less.

So, the question begs – What does ‘work-life balance’ in the 21st century look like?

It’s different from one person to the next, but the crux of the matter is that we are all looking to find a balance between the work we put in to pay the bills (lots of bills!) and having enough time to enjoy life. What’s the point of having the big house and snazzy car if you don’t even have time to smell the roses?

Some of us are militant and make very clear distinctions between what is “our time” and the time that belongs to our employer. “I’m employed to do a job for 40-hours a week and outside of that, my time is my own.” If you’ve managed to get that right, congratulations. It’s not an easy thing to do nowadays.

For many of us, the lines are blurred (and getting even more blurred). Employers are looking for business outcomes and people who can help them achieve those outcomes. You are unlikely to be sitting in a job interview talking about how many hours you need to be at work. It’s assumed nowadays that you will put in as many hours as it takes to achieve the outcome you’ve been tasked with. That means if you have a deadline for Monday morning, you might well find yourself sitting through Sunday to get the work done.

Think about how this statement is likely to go down with your boss – “Andi, I didn’t manage to get that proposal off to the guys in Angola because it was the weekend and you know that my time for the company ends at exactly 17H00 on a Friday afternoon. Look, I know we missed the deadline for the tender, but I don’t think it’s a train smash!”

Perhaps we have this the wrong way around?

What if we decided not to define our day? Consider for a second the idea that life and work aren’t separated. Work is very much part of our life, and perhaps that’s why we shouldn’t separate it. It’s the rigidity of the 40-hour work week that’s left us feeling disgruntled. Maybe it’s balance and not work-life balance that is the holy grail.

If you consider that businesses are looking for outcomes rather than hours, it’s fair to say that your employer probably doesn’t care if you clock in at the office at 08H00 and leave at 13H00 provided you achieve what was set out for you. Global trends suggest that there is a move towards getting the job done, rather than having to account for the hours it takes you to get the job done. A recent statistic indicated that 8 million Americans work from home, and that number is growing each year.

Wouldn’t this be a refreshing conversation to have with your boss?

“Jack, my job is to make R1,000,000 in sales a year. Year-to-date I’m tracking right on target, so I’ve decided that spending an hour in traffic every day to get to work by 08H00 and then spending another 90 minutes in traffic in the evening because I leave at 17H00, isn’t working for me. I can login from home and outside of our weekly sales meeting, consider that I’m working but I’m not office bound”

Why aren’t we trying to have more of these types of conversations? Do you really think Jack cares if he sees your car in the parking lot each morning if you are doing your job? The answer is no.

Look, we don’t know what the exact answer to the whole work-life balance is. You know what you need out of your life. We believe in making wiser choices. That means if it’s wise for you to chat to your boss about not having to clock in as much as you are, you will probably free up more time to do the things you love to do outside of work.

What’s the harm in asking?

If you back yourself to get the job done, try and get it done on your terms and in your own hours.

Please feel free to leave your comments below.

SLEB

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Castle FREE | The first locally produced non-alcoholic beer!

If you’ve ever woken up feeling like a homeless person has slept in your mouth and somebody has snuck into your bedroom and sanded down your eyeballs, welcome to the club. The binge-drinking hangover is the one that leaves you pleading with your wife not to condemn you to the sofa while suspending you in a morbid state of deep contemplation about how you are screwing up your life.

3 days later all is forgiven, your liver has cracked a smile, and the homeless guy has moved out. That’s until the next time when 3 drinks quickly turn into 10. South African guys drink. Sure, it’s a broad statement, but it’s true.

The question is do you need to be drinking alcohol to have a good time?

Real men drink. At least that’s what we’ve been taught since we’ve been lighties hanging around our Dad’s at braais, golf, football matches and family get-togethers. The truth is responsible men know when to call it quits. That’s only something you learn a little later in your life. The only problem is that “when it’s lekker it’s lekker” and you don’t really want to pour a glass of coke when things are kicking off, right? Somebody is going to call you out and that is going to dent your ego.

Wouldn’t it be cool to reach for a beer at that stage? A non-alcoholic beer. It would if non-alcohol beer didn’t taste like ass! No point in mincing our words. Any non-alcoholic beer we’ve ever tasted has tasted crap and too be fair was kind marketed to the guy who had given up drinking.

So when Castle dropped “Free” on us we decided to knock back a few and give you our honest opinion.

Does it taste like beer?

Yes, it tastes like beer. It’s not great warm, but then again, no beer tastes great warm. If you keep these guys nice and cold, they are about as good as a regular Castle. We say “about” because removing alcohol from beer is like removing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. It’s still the same football team, but you know something is missing.

Taste test 7/10

Branding?

The problem with non-alcoholic beer branding is that it shouts 0%. Smart move by SAB to go with FREE. And they’ve wrapped the product around Castle Lager which is a South African institution, so you don’t feel like that strange hanging out at a function with a Free in your hand. You would feel a little more awkward if you pulled out a Becks 0%. It screams Castle and the black cans are sick!

Brand test: 9/10

Availability

The stuff is everywhere. Just pop into your local Tops or bottle store and you can look out for the black Castle cans. No surprises really. You can buy a Castle Lager in any bottle store in South Africa, so why not a FREE. A couple of bars, restaurants and clubs we’ve been to lately also seem to know about the product and few had a beer on hand.

Availability test: 10/10

Can SAB corner a section of the market with FREE?

No doubt. 10 years ago, it was still socially acceptable to get into a car and drive home after a few drinks (while being illegal). That’s changed. It’s just not cool to drive drunk. Perceptions have changed and now that you can Uber around fewer people get into their cars after having a few dops.

Couple that with the “health conscious” wave that’s sweeping around the globe and it’s fair to say that people are still looking to have a good time, but not at the expense of their health. SAB is the first local brewery to produce a non-alcoholic beer and the evidence must have suggested there is a gap in the market.

Would you consider having a few non-alcoholic Castle FREE’s?

We don’t see too many South African blokes who don’t drink at all taking up drinking non-alcohol beer. We figure there is a place for FREE and here are a few examples:

  • You are out at a function and you are driving. You slug back two regular beers and then switch to FREE for the balance of the evening.
  • You don’t need to drive, but you’ve pushed the boat out a little too far that evening. Rather than having your 10th alcoholic beverage of the night, you switch to FREE for the rest of the night and save yourself the killer hangover you are compounding with every additional pot.
  • You are taking a sabbatical from alcohol and when you are out you want to have a beer so it’s gotta be FREE

We are guys and we know how this is going to go down. If it catches on, more guys will join the FREE revolution. If it’s just a fad and Castle do a poor job of re-enforcing the message, everyone moves back to regular beer and the next 0% player doesn’t stand a chance. GAME OVER for 0% beer.

If you’ve had a castle FREE let us know what you thought? If you have any ideas when you might be squeezing a few FREE’s into your social life, please leave a comment below.

SLEB

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The 10 highest earning female athletes in 2018

There have been many debates about whether or not female athletes should earn the same prize money as men. This may be true (apart from in Grand Slam tennis where they earn exactly the same prize money) but in my opinion, it can be largely attributed to the fact that the sponsorship & TV rights are much bigger for men’s sport. Anyway, let’s not get into that. We’re counting down the highest paid female athletes and trust me, they’re definitely not struggling!

1: Serena Williams

Total earnings: $18.1 million

Prize money: $62,000

Endorsements: $18 million

Serena Williams didn’t have a particularly good year on the tennis court due to the birth of her child but she more than made up for it with endorsements, amassing a cool $18 million. 2018 for Williams will be remembered by her outburst at the US Open surrounding sexism, which was, to be perfectly honest, absolutely absurd. Don’t think she should be too worried about it though considering she’s worth well over $100 million.

2: Caroline Wozniacki

Total earnings: $13 million

Prize money: $7 million

Endorsements: $6 million

Caroline Wozniacki had a very good year in 2018, lifting the Australian Open title at the beginning of the year followed by some pretty consistent performances throughout the year, leading to her winning around $7 million in prize money. Her endorsements with Adidas, Babolat & Rolex brought in another $6 million. Not too shabby!

3: Sloane Stephens

Total earnings: $11.2 million

Prize money: $5.7 million

Endorsements: $5.5 million

Sloane Stephens is one of the young up and coming stars of tennis. At only 25 she has already won a US Open and accumulated over $13 million in prize money alone. 2018 wasn’t as good as 2017 but she still made over $5.7 million in prize money and just under that in endorsements. Definitely more to come from her in the future!

4: Garbine Muguruza

Total earnings: $11 million

Prize money: $5.5 million

Endorsements: $5.5 million

At only 25 Garbine is already an established top grand slam champion, with career prize money of over $18 million. 2018 wasn’t a particularly successful one for her not winning any grand slams but she was still consistent enough to win $5.5 million in prize money & her endorsements with Beats by Dre, Adidas & Rolex collected another $5.5 million.

5: Maria Sharapova

Total earnings: $10.5 million

Prize money: $1 million

Endorsements: $9.5 million

Maria Sharapova is one of the wealthiest sportswomen in the world just based on her endorsements with Nike, Evian & Porsche. Since coming back from her drug ban, her tennis hasn’t been quite up to scratch but she still seems to earn a fortune each year!

6: Venus Williams

Total earnings: $10.2 million

Prize money: $4.2 million

Endorsements: $6 million

Venus Williams has been around for a long time but still seems to be racking in the cash. No longer the Grand Slam contender like her sister Serena, she is still a pretty consistent performer & her endorsements still bring in large sums of money…..as if she needs it!

7: P.V. Sindhu

Total earnings: $8.5 million

Prize money: $500,000

Endorsements: $8 million

For those of you who haven’t heard of her before, she is an Indian Badminton player who won a Silver medal at the Olympics in 2016. In doing so she became the first Indian ever to win a Silver medal at a Summer Olympics. Although her prize money is nothing major, her multiple endorsements with companies like Panasonic, Gatorade & Bridgestone have made her a huge amount of money.

8: Simona Halep

Total earnings: $7.7 million

Prize money: $6.2 million

Endorsements: $1.5 million

This pocket rocket Romanian didn’t earn that much in endorsements relative to her compatriots but she sure makes up for it with her prize money. The former world number one is always up there in the Grand Slams, and a very consistent performer all year round. It’s no wonder she has made so much money on the court!

9: Danica Patrick

Total earnings: $7.5 million

Prize money: $3 million

Endorsements: $4.5 million

Danica Patrick is the most successful female Nascar driver of all time. She, however, made the decision to retire from racing to concentrate on her clothing line Warrior. She has made more than enough money to live very comfortably!

10: Angelique Kerber

Total earnings: $7 million

Prize money: $3 million

Endorsements: $4 million

Angelique has been at the top of ladies tennis for a while now. She is a multiple grand slam winner with earnings of over $27 million. She also has some very lucrative endorsements with Adidas & Porsche.

SLEB

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These are the things you should really be focusing on in 2019

I’ve heard loads of people saying they are relieved 2018 is over & often wonder to myself, why do they do this at the end of each year? There is no disputing some years are rougher than others, but what makes people think the coming year isn’t going to have the same hiccups or worse.

The fact is, there are things which are in our control & things which aren’t. 2019 should be a year of only concentrating on things you can control rather than dwelling on the uncontrollable.

Below are a few of my recommendations for the coming year.

If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing for a living, make a change!

I know this is a cliché, but it is so, so important to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to do something only because it pays you good money, creating the illusion that by making the big money, it is going to make you happy.

Yes, of course, we all need money to survive but when money becomes the object you should be questioning it. To quote a great philosopher Alan Watts “If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”

Travel & explore more

It can be hard to find the time (or leave) to be able to do some traveling but when you get the chance, do it! Go to a place you’ve never been to, do something you’ve never done before. There’s not much else to this life other than experiences and you should be trying to have as many new ones this year as possible. Don’t get stuck in a routine.

Be more compassionate to yourself

We are often overly critical of ourselves when it comes to our achievements, our careers & the general direction our lives are taking us. We all do it, we talk badly to ourselves, “I’m not good enough, I should be doing this or that”. Just stop with the negative self-talk! Be more vulnerable too. As men, we find it incredibly difficult to let our guard down as it shows weakness, but it can be incredibly damaging to bottle up things that are bothering us. Open up to people, especially those closest to you about any issues you are having. It will relieve a lot of stress!

Spend more time with people that reciprocate their time with you

Stop trying to reach out to people who no longer have time for you. People who want to see you will make the time, being married and having kids is no excuse. Time can always be made.

Do things meticulously & slow down

One thing I noticed last year was that my mind was constantly racing, worrying ahead instead of being present and getting a task completed. Slowing your mind down & being present will significantly reduce any stress or anxiety.

Stop procrastinating & pick up some hobbies. There’s always some passion we have but we never seem to find the time to do it. I have a few in mind which I’ve been putting on hold & I plan to dedicate a lot more time to them this year. Do the same!

Get out of your comfort zone

We all have comfort zones and it’s far too easy to remain there. It’s largely why we start to feel that life is becoming a bit tedious. We get stuck in routines, doing the same things, seeing the same people & going to the same places. Be open to change, start meeting new people & start doing different things. On top of this though spend more time just being with yourself. It can be difficult when you’re married with kids, but alone time is incredibly important.

Lastly, let go of things which are out of your control

Stop wanting things or people to be a particular way (your way). When you let go of this expectation, life becomes a lot more simple and stress-free. This ties back to us trying to control the uncontrollable, you need to stop trying.

Watch this short video about letting go with Alan Watts.

What are your wants for the coming year? Let us know in the comments section below.

SLEB

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10 things women don’t understand about men

Let’s face it women & men are completely and utterly different in every way. We don’t think it’s even possible for women to understand men, just as it’s near impossible for men to understand women.

We’ve come up with a list of things we think women just don’t get about dudes.

1: Women can’t understand why guys can’t express their emotions. The bottom line is men and women express their emotions completely differently. Women can easily let it all out with a big cry alongside their supportive friend, whilst hammering down a tub of ice cream. Guy’s on the other hand keep up the hard appearance and bottle things up. This is a bit clichéd but it’s oh so true. Guys battle with vulnerability.

2: Women cannot fathom our obsession with sport & beer. Sure, there are some sport crazy ladies out there who are more than happy to sit down with a beer and watch the game with the lads, but they are few & far between. “Oh, there’s football on again!”. Think about it, we love sport just as much as you love make-up and romantic comedies.

3: We really can’t read your minds. Most of the time, and this is from personal experience, there are subtle hints thrown out by women to their partners with the expectation that they must automatically know what’s going on in their heads. Just tell us, it’s simple, tell us what you are feeling or what you want.

4: When we get turned on, our brains block absolutely everything out. If there’s sex on the cards, not much else matters to us at that point.

5: We do listen to you, it’s just that our brains are wired differently. We think logically, and women think emotionally, most of the time. That is why women and men tend to argue a lot.

6: We’re not staring at other women because we want to be with them. A  primal part of the male brain just says, “Oh, damn, bro. Check it out, boobs.” And we listened. Don’t worry we won’t remember those boobs after 30 seconds 🙂

7: We like receiving compliments just as much as you do. Most guys will make out like they don’t need praise but they’re lying. Compliments don’t just have to be about how we look either, they can be about anything we’re doing well.

8: One of the biggest differences between men and women is in how we handle difficult situations. The issue is that when we have a problem, our instinct is to just solve the problem and move on. Women on the other hand want to talk about what is going on, just for the sake of talking, or to know that they are being listened to. The problem is men really want to solve your problems, but in most situations, you don’t want us to. You want us to listen. I wish women could understand this about men, it would solve a lot of conflict.

9: Men don’t like to be attached at the hip. We certainly know the importance of couple time, but it doesn’t mean we don’t need some time apart. A weekend away with the boys is extremely important for us. Some women are aware of this, others aren’t.

10: Try to look at all the things we do right instead of bringing up 1 wrong thing we did and berating us for it. Sometimes we can be forgetful, and maybe it happens more frequently than you’d like, but we’re only human at the end of the day. Women should think about this before starting an argument & rather give us credit for the things we are doing right.

Here is possibly the best video ever created on the differences between men and women. So funny and spot on.

Feel free to comment on anything else you think women don’t understand about men.
Please also share this post on Facebook & let’s see if we can get some female input too!

SLEB

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A throwback to the coolest toys from the 80’s

The other day I was rummaging through some dusty boxes, I had stored away years ago, and I came across a couple of action figurines I used to play around with for hours, as a kid. Honestly, as soon as I had the action figure in my hands I felt like I was 5 years old again and all I wanted to do was phone up a couple of buddies to come over and play. Jeez, those where the days man! No technology, just kids getting together and letting their imagination run wild. So, in this blog post I am looking back at the coolest toys from our childhood.

He-Man

He-Man was a game changer, wasn’t it? Once it aired on TV (original series 83 – 85) I was hooked, and then when all the action figurines become available, at the local toy store or CNA outlet, I became borderline obsessive. I wanted to be He-Man and every chance, my mates and I, was spent living out our own Eternia fantasy, on the floor of my bedroom. If my folks had R10 for every time they heard the chant “By the Power of Grayskull! I HAVE THE POWER” bellowing out of my bedroom they would have been able to retire years ago.

heman

BraveStarr

How cool was this cat? The original TV series aired after the He-Man phenomenon (87 – 88) and it was actually the same guys at Filmation, who produced He-Man, that brought BraveStarr to our screens. Do you remember the early days of M-Net in the mid 80s? Occasionally they had those kiddies’ competitions on the go and I remember drawing a BraveStarr figurine and posting it off to M-Net head office as an entry to win a hamper of Brave Star stuff. They picked my horrible sketch as the winner, announced my name on TV (just rad for a 10 year old) and a couple of weeks later I picked my box up at the Post Office, ran home, tore it open and almost died with excitement when I got my hands on the action figure. I was the only kid on the block to have the new BraveStarr figurine and it felt cool.

bravestar

Thunder Cats

Yip, another one of those classic 80s animated TV shows that spawned a vast production line of action figures. The original ThunderCats show was actually animated in Japan, while being produced and voice acted in the States. The series ran from 1985 to 1989 and I owned just about everyone of those figurines.

thundercats

Nintendo & Sega Video Console Games

Gaming in 2015 is worlds apart from what we used to jol with as lighties, in the mid eighties and early nineties, right? Atari pretty much dominated the first decade of video gaming in the 70s, but then Nintendo made its move with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the mid 80s. Do you remember your first 8-bit home video console? It was legendary! In 2009, the NES system was actually voted the single greatest video game console in history. But not to be outdone, SEGA launched an even more impressive machine in the late 80s – Genesis – Megadrive, a 16-bit console that would go on to sell more than 40 million units and set the benchmark in gaming consoles. I just remember spending weekends and school holidays glued to the TV screen playing everything from track and field to Mario bros. Good times indeed.

games

Table Cricket

Turns out there were lots of variations of table cricket over the years and the original game was thought to be invented by a dude called Peter Adolph and marketed as early as the 1940s. I’m less interested in how many variations of the game there were and who invented it, I just want to know if you ever played it? It was pretty rad wasn’t it? You got all your fielders in place, lined up your bowler and rolled down that tiny ball bearing to see if you could bowl your opponent out or catch him in the covers (and by that I mean having the ball nestle between the legs of your fielder). On a rainy or freezing cold Winter’s day, on the highveld, my mates and I killed plenty hours with our table cricket set.

cricket

Garbage Pail Kids

Something else that has died out in this country is the local corner cafe (usually owned and run by a middle aged Portuguese dude and his wife). The corner “cafsh” is where every South African school kid used to hang around after school. Am I right? If the local cafe owner was smart enough to pop a few arcade games in the back of his shop, he was guaranteed daily foot traffic after 13H30 in the afternoon, as kids busted into the shop, with a fiver in their pockets, looking for a video game and a sugar fix. When the Garbage Pail Kid phenomenon hit SA I become our local cafe owner’s biggest client. I bought hundred of packs, chewed every stick of gum, you got as a freebie in the pack, and quickly became the biggest dealer at our school. I hustled hard, but I don’t think I ever matched each pair. The saddest part is that I thought I kept my pack of Garbage Pail Kids. Turns out I can’t find them and that’s a real bummer. It would be awesome to flip through all those cards 25 years later and reminisce. Do you still have your pack of cards? I would love to hear from you. I might actually make you an offer for them!

garbagepailkids-e1435473138975

Little Green Army Men

When I think about the types of toys on offer to kids today, most of them would turn up their little noses if you brought home a pack of green army men. The truth is, it wouldn’t seem sophisticated enough for them. But these guys have got history and a place in my heart. The first plastic army men where produced all the way back in the late 30s and millions of packs of soldiers have been produced since then. I remember have stacks and stacks of army men (some with rifles, others with rocket launchers, a couple of medics) and strategically placing them on my bedroom floor. Then in one fell swoop I would decimate the entire platoon with the biggest ball bearing in my marble collection.

armysoldiers

Marbles

There was a period in my primary school years when their wasn’t a boy who wasn’t lugging a bag (those old canvas bank bags used for coins) to school with hundreds of marbles in it. The heated competition started on the fields before school and into first and second break. You had the solids, the galaxies (solids with pain splatters) and the cats eyes (well, at least that’s why I think they where called). And if there was a goon shootout going on somewhere on the field it was the equivalent of a heavy weight boxing bout – kids huddled around to see who was going to give up their prize marble. Hundred and hundreds of hours spent playing marbles (more games won than lost…just putting it out there)

marbles

Lego

I grew up in a flat complex as a kid and it was just the coolest thing, because unlike living on a quiet street, I literally had mates living on each floor of the building and there wasn’t an afternoon I wasn’t playing in some other kids apartment after school. Gregory Evans, flat 407, was the kid with the biggest Lego collection, so by default his bedroom was always jam packed with kids building all types of Lego structures. Do you remember how you used to lay out the grey floor plans, empty the buckets of bricks and start assembling your masterpiece. Just legendary…

lego

Swing Ball

If you grew up in the 80s and attended any braai, in South Africa, during the summer time you would find all of the kids in the pool (that hasn’t changed) or playing swing ball. Your buddy on the one side, you on the other and the idea was simply to pass him with enough tennis shots until that little spring popped out the top and crowned you king of the lawn. I can’t remember when last I saw a swing ball set, let alone played swing ball. Just an awesome game.

swingball

So there you have it, a trip down memory lane. If I have missed any classic toys from the 80’s and 90’s let me know. If you remember jolling with any of these toys, mentioned above, and it has stirred up some memories, buried deep in your soul, leave a comment below.

SLEB

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General Stuff

Our chicks have wrestled away our TV remotes!

There are a couple of things I remember clearly from my childhood. One of them is that my old man completely dominated the TV remote and dictated the family TV viewing schedule. There was an established hierarchy in my house and the TV viewing set-up was a really simple one – you watched what the old man was watching. Finished and klaar! If he got up to make a cup of coffee or went to take a leak and returned to find the channel had been changed, the sting of his wrath would be felt long into the rest of the week. The good news is that I now have my own house with my own TV, but there has been a power shift over the years. Unlike my old man, my TV remote dominance has been wrestled away from me. I’m desperate, but I fear I’m not alone.

Do you remember when man was the king of his castle and the TV remote his sceptre? Can you picture it in your mind’s eye? A cold beer in one hand and the TV remote in the other is what made us feel like real men in our own homes. It’s the ability to be able to park off on the coach and burn through hundreds of channels at lighting speed before settling on something random like “Real Life Encounters With Dangerous Humboldt Squid” that I miss the most!

Do you remember killing hours or even days in front of the TV, with nobody to answer to?

What happened to those days?

How is it that a trusted relationship with your TV remote, built up over a decade or more can just end? Over the years your remote has been there for you every evening after work and you’ve been there for it when it was feeling a little flat and needed a couple of fresh Duracell batteries. The weekends and holidays were pure magic, you lying on the sofa, the remote nestled up nice and close – It was a perfectly symbiotic relationship wasn’t it?

Then something changed…

We got hitched and most of us had kids, didn’t we?

The TV remote didn’t have a fighting chance, did it?

From the minute our better half entered our humble abode, the TV remote was in the firing line.

Why is it that every bro I speak to is enjoying less and less TV time?

It’s not a coincidence this is happening my brothers.

I think it’s a strategic plot by the women in our lives to take full CONTROL of the castle and the easiest way to start making that happen is to drive a stake through the heart of our TV viewing pleasure.

It doesn’t happen overnight! That would be far too obvious and women are way too smart to give away the long-term strategy in week one.

It takes a few years for them to seize full control, but here are a few tell- tale signs your relationship with your TV remote will never be the same again.

  • You find yourself chatting to the ladies in the office about the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy
  • Watching highlights on the Supersport Blitz channel is the only time you get to watch sport. Why do you need to watch the entire game when you can catch the highlights? Your wife is feeding you with that BS, my friend.
  • Your wife has finally won if you have submitted and bought a Dual View decoder (you now have to sit in your own little corner to get your TV viewing kicks)
  • The last time you watched a superhero flick was a decade ago
  • You are watching so much MasterChef you actually find yourself doing the grocery shopping (just so you can find some new ingredients to put in your Cape Malay Boboetie )
  • Your spend your late nights binge watching stuff you get off flash drives from mates at the office
  • The last time you watched a National Geographic documentary, on predators eating stuff, was a decade ago
  • The last time you fell asleep on the couch with the TV on was a decade ago
  • Your wife sits with the remote on her lap in the evenings
  • Your kids wave the remote in your face and laugh at you

Gentlemen, enough is enough. It’s about time we started to wrestle some of that TV remote dominance back.

How much TV viewing time are you getting nowadays? We’re keen to hear from you.

SLEB

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General Stuff

When did below par become the benchmark?

I recently had a small bathroom renovation at my house go so wrong, so quickly, that I ended up showering at the gym for three weeks. I learnt two important lessons from this nasty little experience: Firstly, I should have vetted the contractor a bit better before giving him the go-ahead, but the second lesson was far more important – we all need to do our best work everyday, or rather not pitch up at all.

Let me explain…

The renovation I needed completed shouldn’t have taken any longer than 3 days, tops. It ended up taking 3 weeks, cost me more than I expected and literally drove my stress levels through the roof.

I’m not going to bore you to death with the gruesome details, but it was a typical small contractor story. The guy was trying to juggle too many balls, was hustling too hard and ultimately lost control of the whole project. He got paid, I took a shower at the gym for three weeks and my bathroom still isn’t completely finished.

Life is all about expectations, isn’t it? Whether you are selling a service or a product, at the very least we owe it to the people, who are paying us, to meet those expectations.

For some, meeting expectations isn’t enough, smashing expectations and blowing minds is the bare minimum – Steve Jobs

If you fail to meet expectations, those opening their wallets will become resentful and bitter very quickly.

Do your best work everyday and while you might make a few mistakes along the way (for which you will be forgiven) you will win more customers than you will lose.

To the contractor who did a half ass job on my bathroom, it’s a pity my friend, I would have put you onto 5 other paying clients by now. You just needed to get it done properly!

When did doing stuff below par become the benchmark?

SLEB

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