Friday, December 30, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: Setting Achievable Goals

Seeing as it's nearly New Year, and we could all use a refresher on how to really get to grips with our New Year's resolutions, I put together a little resource list on setting effective goals.

I'll be updating my Squidoo lens on the topic regularly, so bookmark Goal Setting With Roy Blumenthal, and make it a goal to check it out occasionally.

Here are some of the resources I've come across and find helpful:
How to Achieve Your New Years Resolutions - Facts and Figures
Want to keep your resolutions this year? Visit The GoalsGuy for a collection of helpful tips, strategies, inspiration, encouragement, motivation and information to help you reach your personal goals and have the best year of your life. New Year's Resolution Tips
Tips for Making Good New Year's Resolutions There is a right way and a wrong way to make a New Year's resolution. Here are a few expert tips to see that your resolution actually makes sense.

How to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions -
How to Keep Your New Year's ResolutionsThe new year has arrived, and you have already drawn up your resolutions. Now, how to stick to your plan?
Much more where these came from on my Goal Setting Squidoo.

My own goals for this coming year? I'll be getting into my Creativity Seminars in a big way. I'll be developing my practice as an Hawaiian ka huna masseur. I'll be doing more voice-over work. And I'll be looking at doing interesting corporate and industrial theatre using Augusto Boal's techniques.

Have a happy 2006. And may it be filled with learning, loving, and joy.

For a full podcast of this post, please click on

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: Career Change for Beginners and Experts

Today we're looking at two resources for people thinking of embarking on a new career, or people about to start their journey into the job world.

Dick Richards is the author of a major new book called IS YOUR GENIUS AT WORK? 4 Key Questions To Ask Before Your Next Career Move. The core of his approach is that every individual has a particular, specific, unique purpose here on earth, and that once we've understood what this purpose is, we're free to flow through life more easily, and more productively. He calls this unique purpose our 'genius'.

This book takes you through a series of friendly exercises to help reveal your genius to you.

The name of my genius is 'Guiding the Flow'. It's something that accurately describes me. It encircles my good points AND my bad. For instance, when I find my own flow being blocked by someone, I get frustrated. On the plus side, when I enter a room, I immediately start working out ways to nudge things into a better flow.

Dick has two websites for you to visit to help you uncover the name of your own genius. His blog is called Come Gather Round, and it's a space where he updates his thinking on genius. He also runs a discussion forum aimed specifically at getting people to chat freely about their genius-discovery process. It's called the Genius Workshop Google Group, and it's well worth spending time there.

I recommend that you try an exercise to bring you some enlightenment.

The book is a must-have. It's not yet available on South African shelves, so you'll need to grab a copy from Amazon. I'm fortunate to know Dick via email, and he sent me an advance copy. (I created a weekend workshop based on an earlier book of his called Setting Your Genius Free.)


Richard Nelson Bolles changed my life. Twice. Each time, the change came about because of my working through his book, WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? The book changed my life the first time while I was languishing away in an engineering degree at Wits, hating every second of engineering (while loving varsity life), and not knowing what to do about the situation. I came across the book, and worked out that I was a creative being, and that I needed to honour that. So I followed my love, and have been a fulltime creator ever since.

The book has two major sections. The first is a set of guided exercises that help you find out what kind of job you'd LIKE to do. You complete a 'flower diagram', which gives you an overview of your job skills, wants, likes, needs. Once you have a flower diagram, you pretty much know yourself better.

The second section is how to find an ACTUAL JOB that fulfills your requirements. His idea is that you CAN find a job tailor-made for you.

Visit his website -- The Job Hunter's Bible -- to find a wealth of resources on job hunting, as well as a few exercises to get you started.

Both of these books are must-haves. And both authors sites are must-visits.

Good luck with your search for a new you!

For a full podcast of this item, please visit

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: Shell Geostar -- Plan Your Route Home

So you've been on holiday, and you want to come home safely. Or you haven't been on holiday and you want to find a different route to work.

In comes a journey planning tool courtesy of Shell that'll help keep peace in the car:

There are several sections to the tool, but the three most important ones are:
  • The route planner
  • Where to stay
  • Where to eat
I'm particularly interested in the route planner. So I typed in two suburbs I know, one in Cape Town, one in Auckland Park. And the system spat out wonderfully detailed directions, which are explicit and easy to follow.

Better still is the mapping system. It breaks each section of the route into bite-sized pieces, leaving nothing up to chance. I'm pretty certain that only the MOST geographically challenged people MIGHT get confused. Here's a tip: on a map, the top of the picture is north.

It's as simple as that.

The 'Where to Eat' and 'Where to Stay' sections are almost as useful as the route planner. I know Rosebank quite well, and found several good recommendations. But I also found an Indian restaurant I didn't even know existed.

Drive home safely, and print out your maps, and eliminate end-of-holiday-in-the-car-rage.

Listen to a full podcast of this item at

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: Everyone's an Expert on SOMETHING... Squidoo

Seth Godin, marketing genius deluxe, has, along with his team, created a new brainchild. It's a website called Squidoo, and its mission in life is to share knowledge and expertise.

At its most basic level, Squidoo offers surfers 'lenses' into various areas of expertise.

For instance, I'm an expert on creativity, and have been delivering creativity seminars for almost a decade now. So I've created my own Squidoo lens on the topic: Creativity According to Roy Blumenthal.

People go to the site, search for lenses using tag words, and up comes a list of relevant items. People are able to vote on the lenses they find, and these votes push particularly good lenses closer to the top of the list.

The more a 'lensmaster' updates his or her lens, and the more relevant and interesting those updates are, the more likely that lens is to get a better lens ranking.

The best thing about the site is that it's REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY EASY to make your own lens. It's crammed with tools, and an amazing help forum to get you started.

Here's where it gets interesting though. When the site launches officially in the near future, all lensmasters will earn revenue from the site. They're currently working out a decent 'share and share alike' algorithm. When that's done, I'll start making money off my knowledge base. The more knowledge I share, the more money I'll earn.

But it doesn't end there. Squidoo has dedicated 5% of its revenues to charity. And I get to choose where my share of that goes to. More than that, I can also choose to give a percentage of MY earnings to charity. So I've opted to give 10% of my earnings away to worthy causes selected by the Squidoo team.

This is a site that you simply MUST get involved in. YOU have some expertise. Share it! It's really easy, and all you need to do is know something.

For a full podcast of this piece, please visit

Monday, December 26, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: How to Be a Blogger

Monday, 26 December 2005

If you're reading this blog, chances are you know what a blog IS. And if you don't already HAVE your own blog, you might want to get one, but you might feel a little inhibited.

The easiest thing for you to do is head for one of the three free blogging websites below, and open a free account.

Now that you've gotten yourself a blog, you're ready to start expressing yourself.

The best thing about these three free services is that you only need occasional access to the internet to be a blogger. You literally don't need anything else.

You don't need a dial-up account. You don't need any special software to format html. You don't even need to know what html IS.

You can do everything from within the browser.

Both Blogger and Xanga give you free photo storage. While LiveJournal doesn't let you save your photos, you can easily use the free Flickr or Yahoo! Photos servers to do the same thing.

The trick with blogging is simply to do it. If you can find the motivation to create one entry per week, you'll soon find yourself sharing your insights with the world, and creating a community around you.

Happy blogging!

You can listen to a podcast of today's snippet by heading to

Friday, December 23, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: How to Be a Virtual Artist

Friday, 23 December 2005

Ever wondered about exercising your doodling skills? Here are some sites where you can be an artist without any fear of embarassment.

First take a look at some of the efforts of professional and amateur artists taking a stab at self-portraiture. Artists are invited to take a photo of themselves, and then make an artwork based on that photo. The resulting artworks are on Flickr, and the collection is called, 'Eye:Hand'. (If you dig through the pictures, you'll find a self portrait by me.)

Now that you're inspired, do some doodling of your own at Kaleidoscope Painter. This is a site that allows you to occupy yourself making animated kaleidoscope pictures. Unfortunately, the site doesn't allow you to save your artworks. It's more of a zen, 'live in the moment' kinda tool.

Which leads us to a potent online sketchpad called Websketch. This is the kind of interactivity I like. You have a blank canvas and a whole bunch of different painting and drawing tools. You start your sketch, choose different colours, erase things, do whatever you like. At a certain point, your muddle of nonsense might start to look like something. At that point, hit 'save', and you've got a permanet record of your artwork. But there's more... press the 'replay' button, and the site recreates your masterpiece stroke by stroke, as you did it!

Now that you've tasted blood, and liberated your inner artist, you might want to try your hand at making some money from your artistry. Head straight to Cafe Press, where you can use your artworks to create t-shirts, mugs, cards, clocks, and even fridge magnets. It costs you nothing to setup the items. Instead, you open yourself an online store where you can sell the fruits of your labour! Get all you friends, family, and fans to go and buy your stuff!

Go get 'em, Leonardo!

Listen to a full podcast of this item at

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: Serendipitous Surfing with Stumble-Upon

Thursday, 22 December 2005

It's time to let serendipity guide the way you surf the web. Visit Stumble-Upon, and expand your horizons. It's a social search engine plugin that lets you find interesting websites according to categories that you set up. Each time you get to a site, you give it a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. If you don't like a site, it'll remember this, and will stop sending you sites of a similar kind.

The more sites you vote for, the more likely it is that you'll receive sites you'll enjoy.

The great thing is that you can vote for ANY site, not just the ones it serves up for you.

And it keeps a complete history of all of your stumbles, allowing you to find that site you loved but can't recall properly.

You can also tag sites and search for specific tags.

Very powerful. Very joyous. And totally free. A huge thumbs up to Stumble-Upon from me.

Hear a podcast of today's radio broadcast at

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: The Animated Genius of Han Hoogerbrugge at

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

We're visiting the insanely compelling, disturbing, delicious, interactive art world of animation genius Han Hoogerbrugge today. His site is, and you really need to budget several hours and multiple visits to this wonderland. In particular, head for his NEUROTICA series, and spend a vast amount of time delighting yourself with it.

The pieces are essentially self-portraits in which the viewer manipulates the artist.

He's made all of the music and all of the art. And you've GOT to visit this site.

Hear a podcast of today's radio broadcast at

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: Overheard in New York

Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Today’s site is Overheard In New York, dedicated to reporting overheard snippets of conversations from the great city. There are some absolute lulus on this site, but it’s not to be missed. Here’s an example of two people on one of New York’s trains.

GIRL: We aren’t underground, are we?

GUY: Look over there; there’s the sun.

Listen to a full podcast of the insert at

Monday, December 19, 2005

Virtual Surf Report: and Google Maps

I'm back on the radio with a 'Virtual Surf Report' on SAfm 104--107 at around 12:30pm weekdays

Yup. Jon Gericke called me up recently to say, 'Hey, Roy, wanna be on the radio again?'

So I said, 'Yeah.'

And he said, 'Okay. I'm on the midday slot for the next few weeks, during the holiday period, and I'd love you to do a "virtual surf report", a sort of "how to go on holiday without leaving the comfort of your armchair" thing. You up for it?'

So I said, 'Yeah.'

So Friday was my first slot, and I talked about Google Maps. I found myself in San Francisco, hunting down sushi bars.

Today I'm talking about the most awesome music site I've discovered called Magnatune. The dude running it has the best deal with his artists. They get 50% of all money their music earns. But better than this... the person buying the music gets to choose how much they pay. Killer stuff. I've already bought 3 albums from the site, and I will be buying many more.

You can listen to SAfm via live audio streaming. Just go to the SAfm website and click on the 'listen live' link. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work with Firefox, so crank it up in Internet Explorer.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Do not go and see LADIES NIGHT at the Theatre on the Square in Sandton. Unless you're into leaving during the interval.

Oh my sweet god.

I didn't want to write this blog post. Cos I didn't want to come across as massively negative and scathing. And you know... the actors WERE doing their best, and some of them were very funny, and there were some laugh-out-loud moments and all that.

But really. Somebody with some objectivity needs to inform the public (you, me, us) and the director (Maralin Vanrenen) that this show -- LADIES NIGHT -- sucks. Bigtime. It's embarassing.

This show is being staged in the heart of extremely wealthy tourist-ville, Sandton. This is where massively wealthy Italians and Spaniards and Germans and Britishers congregate to pick up high-class prostitutes and take in the local culture.

And they're subjected to this!!! And the out-of-proportion sculpture of Madiba.

These people must be fleeing the country saying, 'Oh my sweet god! I saw THE WORST SHOW EVER in South Africa! And the worst thing is that the audience LOVED it!!!!'

The show has been on for a few weeks now, and nobody has told Anitra THAT HER VOICE IS TOO SOFT AND CANNOT BE HEARD FROM THE FIFTH ROW!!!! Director! Sort this out!!! Come on! If your lead actress can't be heard, you don 't have a play! And comic acting 101, Anitra -- DO NOT SPEAK WHEN THE AUDIENCE IS LAUGHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somebody needs to tell the fake New Zealander that his performance would be amazing if he just brought it down a notch. He's personable. He's interesting to look at. But it looks like he's been directed to present himself in the worst possible way.

I left during the interval. I couldn't stay a moment longer. I'm embarassed. And this show is going to run for an entire year, touring the country!!! Come on, people. Don't make amateur drama in professional venues for paying audiences. You're bringing us down.

I have a bad taste in my mouth as I type this. Lemme find some good things to say.

I loved the set design. Very lovely stuff. Professional. Evocative. Interesting. Made great use of the space.

I loved Steven van Niekerk's performance in the lead role. Very commanding. Great comic timing.

I reallly laughed when Brendan van Rhyn did his piece in the toga. VERY funny. VERY VERY funny.

And the bass guitarist dude's performance when he tried to get his shoes off was superb. Not to mention his enthusiastic demonstration of how he makes love to his wife. A good laugh.

I must add that the audience seemed to be loving this show. And the house was about three-quarters full.

So maybe I'm a cynical bastard. But I really have to say my say. Just cos everyone seemed to be loving it doesn't mean that it couldn't be better. The show IS amateurish. And it doesn't HAVE to be. These performers deserve better direction. And the audience deserves to see this show as it COULD be done.

If we continue to accept this level of production, we'll continue to get this kind of production. And in time we'll start believing that this is great stuff.

Oh. Hang on. We already love MADAM & EVE on television. And SCANDAL. And INTERROGATION ROOM.

Case closed?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quick question: does the layout of this blog look broken in your browser?

Hiya. I've just looked at my blog in Internet Explorer for the first time in about a year, and it looks prety severely broken to me. My default browser is Firefox. And since I upgraded, my blog has been looking a little odd.

I'm keen to hear from people if the layout looks 'off' to you. If it does, I'll try and fix it. Don't quite know what's gone wrong though. Darn.

Please let me know in the comments field, or by email. I'm on

Thanks for your help.

Blue skies

2005-12-11 Lionel Murcott's birthday party, Blairgowrie

2005-12-11 Emilia Murcott
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
S and I trundled off on Sunday to Lionel Murcott's birthday party. He's an amazing artist, and he has some amazing artists as friends.

I have about eight of his works on my walls.

The picture here is Emilia, his spunky 16-year-old daughter. She has dreadlocks. And as a result, she's leaving her current high school in favour of one with more liberal hairdo policies.

Also present at the party were Roger Ballen, Tinus Horn, and Alistair Findlay. All of them are major artists in their fields.

Lionel, Tinus and Alistair were the core members of a portrait circle which disbanded some time back. They're reforming, and I'll once more be part of it. Yay!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cafe, Melville

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * 1/2
Babe Count: * * * * *

Phone: +27 11 482 4309
Address: 66 4th Avenue, Melville

S has just come back from boxing, and we're hungry. But we're tired of the same old places.

Which makes me think of CAFE in Melville. It's got a delightful porch, with comfie chairs.

And even though we're in the middle of a blazing summer here in Johannesburg, it's damn chilly.

'Look at that!' says S.

She's pointing at a blanket draped over each of the chairs on the porch.

'Do you want the red one or the white one?' I ask.

She's wearing red today, so she chooses the red one.

I order spicy Moroccan lamb stew with couscous, and she goes for the grilled salmon with steamed vegetables.

The food arrives, and I'm happier than a lamb frolocking in a field. The plate is not overly large, and the portion is just the right size. (I'm very much against HUGE portions. They put me off. In this case, the amount is right. And I'm VERY hungry.)

S takes a bite of her salmon. 'Roy,' she says, 'this is the best fish I've tasted in South Africa since I've been back from London.'

She spent about five years living in London. Now that she's back, she's already making waves in the musical theatre field. (Yes, yes, yes... I'm proud of her. So sue me for bragging, okay?)

We're both very puzzled about how quiet the place is. So I say to Raymond, the manager, 'You guys really should be a lot busier than you are. Is it always like this?'

He says, 'Today is out of the ordinary. We're normally really bustling.'

I say, 'Maybe it's got something to do with this cold weather?'

S says, 'This is the best meal I've had in months!'

And then I take a snap of her on my phone, and she asks if she can do a self-portrait. Which she does. And that's the pic I've used to illustrate this post. Talented gal, huh? She sings and dances and laughs too.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Up close and personal with Nick Durandt, South African boxing legend

So it's no secret that my girlfriend S is doing some serious boxing training at Nick Durandt's Boxing World. And every now and then I go and sit on the sidelines with my palmtop and do drawings.

So it's Saturday, and Nick's there. And he hasn't met me before. And I walk up to him and go, 'Hey Nick. I'm Roy. S's boyfriend. Can I take a pic of you on my cellphone as reference? I wanna do a sketch of you?'

He's no stranger to photos. In his office, there's a snap of him with Joe Frazier (signed), and another of him with Don King (signed), and another of him and Madiba (signed).

He looks at me as though I'm a punching bag, and he's working out what size gloves to hit me with. 'Sure,' he says, and I snap a pic.

And I sit on the couch while S gets into the ring with Evans and spars lightly. I draw. And Damien, Nick's kid comes to see what I'm up to.

'Can I give you some advice?' he asks.

He's 14 years old. And S says he whacks the punch bag like a pro. I say, 'Absolutely.'

2005-11-12 S at Durandt's Boxing World
He says, 'My dad normally wears the hat much lower on his forehead.'

So I make an adjustment and show him.

'Ya. That's it.'

He's going to be a cricketer when he grows up. (His mom doesn't want him to box. But he still trains anyway.)

I show Nick. 'Hey,' he says. 'Not bad.' I show him the pics I've done of Evans and Mr Jones. 'Not bad,' he says. 'Do you do action pictures? I've got a few photos. I'll bring them. Maybe you can come round and do a few. We could sell them at fights. Fans dig this sort of thing.'

In the ring, S catches Evans on the side of the head, and he drops like a stone. Of course, she didn't 'catch' him, and he didn't realllllly drop. He's just humouring her.

Oh. Hang on. On second thoughts, maybe she did take him out. I'd better be careful what I say! She's a machine!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Roy performing in a piece of physical theatre at the Civic in Braamfontein

2005-12-01 Daniel Buckland
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
2005-12-01 Daniel Buckland

This afternoon I was at the Actors' Centre at the Civic Theatre in Braamfontein. I'm part of a small group of people rehearsing a piece of physical theatre directed by Daniel Buckland, son of Andrew Buckland.

We're performing the piece on Monday at the News Cafe at the Civic. So get your butt down there, and you'll have a good laugh.

I was performing with a totalllllly numb bottom right hand side of my mouth, thanks to a visit to my dentist, Ian Watt.

I've been having hectic tooth pain. Turns out that many of my old fillings have developed leaks. This is a polite way of saying that they're not really sealed, and that organic matter is able to enter the tooth, leading to decay. And decay leads to moral torpitude. And that leads to supporting George Bush. And I wouldn't want that. So out with the old. In with the new.

It's quite tough doing hardcore sweaty physical theatre with a completely numb mouth, I wanna tell you. It screws with the balance. And everbody thinks ya might have had one or two beers too many at lunch.

Your search for a new dentist just ended

2005-12-01 Dr Ian Watt, Dentist Extraordinaire

Your search for a new dentist just ended. If you live in Gauteng, of course. I've been to a good few dentists in my time.

Until recently, looking into my mouth was like a treasure hunter's wet dream. Metal everywhere. But Dr Watt has been systematically refilling my teeth with a composite material that bonds directly to the tooth. If the dentist does it properly.

If your dentist has used composite in your teeth, and has NOT used a rubber dental dam to prevent saliva from entering the hole, then you had best get a new dentist damn fast. Cos that means your fillings are NOT bonded, and they ARE leaking, and decay is setting in.

I'm hoping Ian Watt will be around for a very long time. Look him up at the Wellness Centre in Bryanston. You might not recognise him from this pic though.

Monday, November 28, 2005

2005-11-28 Robert Scoble

2005-11-28 Robert Scoble
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
Just a quick portrait of Robert Scoble, the Microsoft Blogger. He'll possibly be pleased to know that I drew the sketch on an iPAQ 2210, running Windows Pocket PC. And that I'm sending this to Flickr from my Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet PC.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Die Ou Pastorie, Magaliesberg

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Service: * * * * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

Phone: +27 12 207 1027 or 1091

S and I have just taken a drive in a Joburg thunderstorm through to Hartbeespoort and Magaliesberg. We're ravenous, since we haven't yet eaten breakfast.

She's driving, and thoroughly enjoying being behind the wheel of a little sports car. Since there's rain, the roof is up though. But hey.

We get through the gates of Die Ou Pastorie, and are warmly greeted by the dude waiting there. He points us to our parking space.

It's not yet raining here, so we're calm and unrushed in walking up the rustic garden path, past a lily-festooned pond.

A dude greets us, shows us to a table, and we sit outside under an umbrella. It's about 3pm, and my stomach is grumbling crazily. But before I can look at the menu, I HAVE to take a leak.

I head off to the loo, and get five steps closer to it. I see a tiny hopping movement from the corner of my eye.

"S!" I shout, trying to hush my voice, but failing in my excitement. I'm like a little kid at a bunny park. "Come look!"

She gets up, and rushes over to peer under the table I'm at.

"Oh, cool!" she says. "A little froggy!"

It's not little. It's ULTRA little. It's about the same size as the nail on my pinkie finger. Fully grown, by the looks of it. But just miniature.

Later, our drinks arrive. I'm sharing a glass of wine with S, to celebrate her getting the part in WE WILL ROCK YOU. But as our drinks arrive, so does the Highveld thunderstorm.

So Thomo, our waiter, rushes us inside.

Our food arrives. S has ordered the Butterfish. And I've ordered the Oxtail stew. I was going to order a chicken dish, but my body persuaded me to go for the meat. It must need it, or something.

And the stew is delicious. I once thought that The Question Mark in Melville made the second best Oxtail, and Sophia's in Rosebank made the best. But Die Ou Pastorie takes first place from now on.

It's worth the one-hour drive from Joburg.

We wait for the thunderstorm to end, and sit on the porch watching the rain pelt down. S takes a few phonecalls from key people in the show, and also makes a call.

She has to tell the writer/director of one show that she's accepted this role, and is no longer available for her to take the lead in his. It's a hard call, cos he's one of South Africa's funniest actors, and his show is going to be hysterical.

He takes it stoically. But he ends the call by saying, "You're going to be missing out on the FUN musical!"

I'm reallllly liking being in a relationship with this laughing, dancing, singing, acting gal.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

2005-11-26 Roy Blumenthal -- self portrait AND my girlfriend gets into WE WILL ROCK YOU

I'm busy scripting a piece of industrial theatre for a large candy manufacturing company in Durban. Will be flying there to present on Friday.

In the meantime, I've been going through the trials and tribulations of a major audition process -- by osmosis.

My girlfriend is an actress, singer, dancer. And she's just been through a most unbelievably tough audition journey. And made it to the other side!

S has been offered a role in the international hit musical, WE WILL ROCK YOU, showing from 6 May 2006 in Johannesburg!!!

(It features the songs of QUEEN, written by Ben Elton.)

I'm massively proud of her. Yeehaa! (And she turned down two other major musicals in favour of this one. And is on the callback list for a fourth one as I type.)

December is looking good. Got some income coming in. And am prepping a creativity seminar for the staff at an upmarket school in Sandton.

Coffee-Shop Schmuck reviews will resume as usual one of these days. Still in reinvention mode at the moment. So I'll probably just stick to updating my blog via my Flickr site.

Blue skies

Monday, November 21, 2005

2005-11-20 Geo Britto -- Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed

2005-11-20 Geo Britto
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
Geo Britto is from Rio, Brazil. He's one of the maestros of Augusto Boal's THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED. He was recently in Johannesburg, teaching a workshop on Forum Theatre, one of Boal's key techniques. I was at the workshop learning how to mount theatre of the oppressed productions.

2005-11-17 Dr Ian Watt

2005-11-17 Dr Ian Watt
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I had a friendly visit to my new dentist on Thursday. Awesome dentist. Definitely the best I've ever had. I drew this on my palmtop while he was peering into my mouth. (I was also using the palmtop as a communication device, scrawling little notes to him and his assistant while they worked.)

Monday, October 31, 2005

How To Get Maximum Benefit From Your Advertising Agency

This little primer is something I wrote for Potion's first client. (Potion is a small design agency that I co-founded.) We realised that their expectations and ours weren't meshing very well. So here's what we sent them. They partly liked what we had to say. But they were also quite unhappy with some of it. Nevertheless, if you want your relationship with your ad agency to flourish, you'd best take a look at this piece. -- Roy Blumenthal

1. Your ad agency has your best interests at heart.

This has to be the number one premise that a client and agency work from. As a client, your goal is to get great work out of your agency, so that you can flourish. Your agency wants to give you great work, cos they want you to flourish, cos they want to build a long, beautiful, mutually fruitful relationship that goes long into the future. All agencies want great clients, and they want to keep them.

So, the premise HAS to be that we're working together for the same goals.

This means several things. When your ad agency asks you difficult questions, you need to assume that they're coming at those questions to help you. They're not trying to show you up. They're not trying to throw hurdles in your path. They're trying to help you get clarity. Sometimes they have experience that you might benefit from. If you assume the best, then you'll answer those questions clearly.

If you assume the worst, then you'll answer those questions reactively, and progress will not be made.

If you find yourself reacting to something that your agency has told you or asked you, let your first line of attack be to reflect on things. We're on your side.

2. Your business benefits when you know exactly what objectives you want to achieve with a particular piece of communication. Your advertising benefits when you communicate with your agency.

Advertising is never general. It always has a specific objective or set of objectives. Each ad should have a single minded purpose. If an ad has more than one purpose, it is a bad ad. One purpose means one ad. Two purposes means two ads.

If you don't know what your purpose is, then you have a generic ad. A broad ad. If you say to your ad agency, 'We want an ad that'll get EVERYONE to call us,' then you haven't found your purpose.

Know your purpose. Write it down. Examine it. Plumb the depths. You might THINK you know what you want, but maybe there's more to be discovered if you take the time to think hard about what you're after.

Use these four questions when you're setting your purpose:

o Who is the target of this ad?
o What are we offering to them?
o What proof to we have to back up this offer?
o What do we want them to feel and do once they've experienced this ad?

If you don't have CLEAR answers to each of those four questions, you're not ready to make an ad.

Once you have those answers, put them down in writing. A written brief is the only way an ad agency can proceed. There is too much room for error in conversation.

And remember, if your brief is unclear, your agency will do one of two things... either they'll create an ad based on the unclear message, or they'll come back to you with questions. It's your job as a good client to answer those questions clearly.

3. Just cos you're paying someone doesn't mean they must do what you want.

Contrary to popular belief, the ad agency does not give the client what the client WANTS. It is the job of the ad agency to give the client what the client NEEDS. Needs and wants are very different things.

Just cos you THINK you want 'everybody to call' does not mean this is what you need. This can sink your business faster than you can blink. One-hundred calls in an hour are impossible for two individuals in a small office to take. And the one or two people who can't get through MIGHT be the ones you NEED to speak to. You'll never know if you're trying to answer the phones all the time.

When you say 'Jump', your ad agency's job is to say, 'Why? What do you want to achieve by asking us to jump?' It is not our job to say, 'How high?'

If you want people to help grow your business, treat us as professionals. We have other clients. And we have lives. We are not at your beck and call. However, we ARE available to do work for you on a reasonable schedule.

Just as you have objectives in your business, we have objectives in ours. A client who insists on hundreds of face-to-face meetings is wasting everyone's time. Email is one of the wonders of the modern world. Please use it. A client who gives tight deadlines doesn't allow an agency to do great work. Whenever reactivity is at play, quality suffers.

4. Agencies are very happy to fire clients. Having cash flow is not the same as making a profit.

We all want to work wisely and productively together. Bearing in mind that we're professionals is a good way of keeping that objective on the table.

Money is also trivial. In most cases, ad agencies look for clients who pay realistic amounts of money for services rendered. They also look for multiple clients. If a client wants an agency to be dedicated to them exclusively, they really need to consider having an internal department doing that work.

Just cos you're paying, doesn't mean we're hopping around on the end of a piece of string.

5. Bring your agency into things VERY early on in the process, so that we can share our thinking with you, and so that we can plan our time.

The more lead time we have, the better result you'll get. Many clients THINK that they're giving their agency a reasonable lead time. But they can always involve the agency earlier in the process.

As soon as you even START thinking about a project, bring the agency into that thinking.

Do this via email. Meetings are not productive for this, unless they're formal brainstorms. And brainstorms are billable. Our expertise is at your disposal. But it's serious expertise built up over years. So we're going to charge you for it.

6. When an ad runs, there are consequences. Have a clear plan on how you will deal with those consequences.

Quite simply put, an advert is just the tip of a marketing iceberg. Unless you have a plan on how to deal with response, you will be floundering, and will be caught on the back foot.

Have a marketing plan and an action plan for every advert you run.

If you're running a classified ad asking for agents, know exactly what you're going to ask those people who call you so that you can quickly evaluate whether or not they're likely to be suitable. Know exactly what you're going to do when you meet them face-to-face. What documents must you photocopy? What must they sign? What happens when you accept them? What happens if your reject them? Do you need to offer them tea or coffee or drinks?

Know your breakevens. The numbers count. What response will justify the cost of the ad? How will you know if it succeeded or not?

If your ad agency asks you hard questions about how you plan to deal with the consequences, be prepared to show them your marketing plan. If you don't have one, you're going to be in trouble. (You're not going to be in trouble with your ad agency. You're going to be in trouble with your business. Cos you'll have a host of unpredictable results that might hurt very much.) Plan so that you can have upsides.

It is your ad agency's job to know what you're expecting. And they're supposed to help you meet realistic expectations.

7. When you don't know something, ask. Humility leads to knowledge.

Nobody knows everything. That's why we ask questions, and why we learn. We all want to know more. And we all want to be better at what we do.

A good ad agency wants to feed their clients with knowledge and expertise. It should be the goal of every ad agency to make themselves redundant to their clients. The more the client knows about advertising, the better the work the agency can deliver.

If you don't know something, ask. Humility has a way of generating goodwill. Arrogance has the opposite effect. When an ad agency deals with a client who is arrogant, they tend to think, 'Hmmmm... this guy knows very little. He doesn't WANT to know anything. All he wants is for us to kiss his butt. On balance, I don't think I want to work with him. It's a bit too unpleasant. There are better clients out there in the world.'

On the other hand, a client who says, 'I really don't understand why you're saying this particular thing. Would you mind sharing your knowledge with me?' has a very different response. We'll movemountains when we know someone genuinely wants to know something.

The business shelf at most major bookshops is a goldmine. Not just for advertising. But for marketing and business process too. Read voraciously. Even if you just skim chapter headings while standing at the bookshelf in the store. (One chapter heading that I remember vividly from a sales book is this: 'If you don't HAVE an assistant, you ARE the assistant.')

You do not have the time to NOT read. Do it. Learn. The more you learn, the better client you'll be, and the more successful you'll become. And the easier you'll be to work with.

Our job is to try to understand YOUR business as much as we can. We should become a valuable partner in your business, and that means WE need to be humble too. We need information from you in order to make the best communications.

8. What to do when your ad agency doesn't want to work with you.

There will be times when you find that your ad agency no longer wants to work with you. This could come about for many reasons.

One reason could be that you're simply a horrible client. You give unrealistic deadlines. You make unrealistic demands. You ask your agency to do unethical work. You ask them to do work that is not in your best interests.

Another reason could be that you've outgrown your agency. Perhaps your business has grown to a size that the agency can't cope with.

Yet another reason might be that your business has remained small. You're not able to pay a realistic amount for the services your ad agency is providing.

Another reason might be that the agency has picked up business that is a conflict in interest with yours.

Whatever the reason, sometimes a divorce is necessary.

All parties need to get together and chat, and then go separate ways, with all outstanding work either dealt with or delegated. Often, the agency leaving the client will have recommendations of other agencies who might be more suitable.

9. What to do if you want to continue working with your agency.

When things are going right, you might want to contiue your relationship. Know that storminess happens in the best of relationships. Keep cards on the table. Communicate with your agency. Let them know what they're doing right. Let them know what results you're getting off their efforts.

Always bear in mind that it's always a two-way street. What's working for you needs to work for them. And vice versa.

Communication is the key here.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Flat, Cresta

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

It's not that this Coffee-Shop Schmuck HASN'T been out and about. It's just that I'm now in a fulltime relationship, and she's moved into my place temporarily, and I'm digging it tons.

We've just had a Fontana chicken takeaway with a salad from Panarotti's, which was QUITE delicious. She's busy practising her singing for an audition, and I'm dreaming of having some tea and a TIM TAM. (It's a biscuit imported from Australia, available only in certain Pick 'n Pay supermarkets. If you're interested... head for the Melville branch at Campus Square.)

I've been doing tons of things.

For one, I've bought a tablet PC -- the Toshiba Tecra M4. And it's a serious wet dream.

For another, I've acted in a corporate video, which was damn cool. And I've been doing voice-over work too. I'm getting busy, mon.

For another, I delivered a creativity seminar for 23 teachers from various schools. Two of them were hotties. Hmmm. S was going to come to the seminar, but a voice-over session came up, and she had to miss it. Sad. It would have been nice for the two hotties to see me with an uber hottie. Heheheh.

For another, I finally wrote a redraft of my feature screenplay, HOME. It's now sitting online at, waiting for members of Francis Ford Coppola's online filmmaking community to crit. So far, I've had four people read it, and no crits yet.

I've also started gearing up to expand my ka huna massage practice. Did a massage two days ago. And loved being in the flow of it again. I've listed myself on So if you want a ka huna massage, I'm available on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and on Saturday afternoons. The charge is R400 for a one and-a-half hour session.

And I've been accepted into THE ACTOR'S CENTRE as a full member, which is really quite something. I'm taking classes with Daniel Buckland in physical comedy. We do a small show on Thursday, and my little Golem-like creature plays a neat role in the unfolding story.

In other news, Dick Richards, the author of a book that changed my life some years ago, has released a new book. It's called IS YOUR GENIUS AT WORK? And it's available for sale at Some months ago he contacted me and asked me if I'd be willing to write some comments on the book. He forwarded me a substantial wad of the book, and I loved it.

Here's what I'm quoted as saying on the first page of the book:

"I've found it easier to relate to clients and friends having named my genius. And I find it's a useful tool to offer to people so that they know how best to utilize my skills." -- Roy Blumenthal, Artist-at-Large

Dick and I have been in touch for years. I wrote to him ages ago asking if it would be okay for me to create a weekend seminar based on his work. He was delighted to let me do so. I ran a test weekend, and it was awesome. Ten of my friends benefited from learning the names of their genius. Mine is 'Guiding the Flow'.

I strongly recommend that you buy his book. And head for his blog. His thinking is life-changing. He's at

He's asked for guest bloggers, and one of my pieces will be appearing on his site sometime soon.

Thanks to Dick, I'm in a serious piece of re-evaluation space right now. I'm busy looking at how my blog comes across in the eyes of the world. The image I'm giving people of myself. I'm ready to take myself to the next level of earning, and the next level of making a contribution to the world.

So watch this space. Soon I'll be offering my services as a life coach and as a creativity coach. I've been doing some informal sessions with friends and acquaintances, and soon I'll be ready to start charging for it.

That's about it for now.

I'll catch you when I've got time.

Blue skies

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

My Flat, Cresta

Tuesday (later on in the evening), October 4, 2005

Service: * * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: N/A

Something I wanted to write about earlier, but SURVIVOR interrupted...

Isn't it interesting that I've made just over US$20 from Clicksor ads?

The interesting thing about this is that just 8 cents of those dollars come from THIS site.

The rest of the revenue is coming from the sister blog to this...

It's a blog that I occassionally update showing the search terms used to reach my site. Because I'm a bit foul-mouthed in THIS blog, I sometimes use risque words. Which get logged by search engines.

So when someone does a search for "self licking contortionist", the search engines don't realise that the word "self" in one article of mine, and the word "licking" in another entry, and the word "contortionist" in yet another ARE ACTUALLY NOT CONNECTED. Dumb search engines! And YES. That's an ACTUAL term used to find my page.

Now because I'm listing the search terms, every time someone searches for one of the terms on the list, my site comes up as a hit. And the more I update my site, the stronger I become on the search engines. It's a kinda self-propogating thing. A vicious circle, if you will.

I've figured that I oughta make some spending money off this phenomenon. Hence all the odd advertising you'll find on that site.

But the INTERESTING thing about this whole advertising phenomenon is that people who visit my actual blog ARE NOT clicking through on ANY of the adverts.

But strange perverts looking for depraved search strings ARE clicking. I don't REALLLLLY know what this means. But I suspect it means that my loyal readers aren't interested in advertising. While the one-hit wonders are just looking for anything that'll give them a fix on their kinks.

Please lemme know in the comments box if you'd like me to remove all advertising from this site and leave it all on the search terms site. Does the advertising here bother you? Does it bother you that I've got kinky stuff on the search site? Lemme know what you think.

My Flat, Cresta

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Service: * * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: N/A

It's amazing how blogging energy gets sapped when one is busy on multiple projects AND in love with a beautiful woman. Ah well. She's in Cape Town this very second. Having just flown there from Port Elizabeth. She's on the cast of a piece of corporate theatre I've just written. Had the first show last night. The audience reportedly loved it! Yay!!!

(And no... I had nothing to do with her winning the role. She auditioned just like everyone else. And the work is flooding in for her. She's been offered two other roles in quick succession. Wow!)

That design client I pitched for on behalf of POTION, the design company I co-created some while back with Denis and Chanel... We won the pitch. Against nine other design agencies. Yeeehaaaa!

But we didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for. We've been working REALLLLY hard on the job. Major hours. And the client is young and bullish, and doesn't reallllly know how design briefs work. So it's quite exhausting for us to be both doing the work AND educating the client as to how to be a client. But hey. It feels great.

I've been investigating tablet PCs after reading positive things about them on Robert Scoble's blog. The crazy thing about South African computer distributors is that they offer only the most rudimentary factory configuration. Many of the companies I've spoken to say this...

"We don't really sell many tablet PCs here. No demand." Words to that effect.

No frigging wonder, man! Take the Toshiba Tecra M4. The configuration I need, and CAN GET OFF THE WEB if I were living in the United States of A, is: 2 gigaHz processor, 100 gig harddrive, 1 gig of RAM. The one that's becoming available here has a 1.76 gigaHz processor, a 60 gig harddrive, and 512 megs of RAM. What are these fuckers thinking???? Seriously!!!

I need this machine to be my computer. Not a subsidiary computer. Not a backup computer. My MAIN computer. So offer it to me with muscle, and I'll buy it. I'll even pay bucketloads of cash for it. Cos I need it. I'll even buy the damn thing from the States and risk paying vast amounts of money on customs duties. (What I'm NOT keen on doing is buying it from the States and having some stripped down shell arriving and me having no recourse to justice. That's what's stopping me from pressing, "Proceed to checkout". )

There are two local resellers doing their best to get Toshiba and Acer to come to the party. (Acer in South Africa has the TMC 312. But inexplicably, when I phoned head office to ask about the more potent 314, they claimed that I must be making some sort of mistake. They'd never heard of it. And, "It's not on our product roll-out roadmap for the next six months," they told me.

And that's it. No willingness to phone their buddies somewhere else in the world and say, "Hey, we've got a customer whose underpants are frothing with readiness to buy this machine. Please ship us one."

We shall have to see how this one plays out.

(If you're interested, I need a muscly tablet pc cos I want to do some video editing on the thing. Which means it needs quite a lot of power in all sorts of areas. I also want to take my digital drawing up a notch by using Alias Sketchbook Pro. I can't wait!!!)

Okay. SURVIVOR is now on. Time for me to settle back and yearn for S.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My Flat, Cresta

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Service: * * * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

Okay, so the babe count tonight is exaggerated. That's because S isn't here right now. So it should be zero. But I've got a photo of her. And a bunch of her dirty clothes are in my laundry heap. So I can smell her when I want to. Which gives my place a babe count of five on the Roy-o-metre. That's cos S is my uber-babe. And we're happily in love.

This is Taddy Blecher. He co-created CIDA, a free university in Joburg's city centre. He talked at the event I was sketching at. Made me cry. And most of the people in the place cried too. Awesome stuff.As for the food and service... well... it's Woolworth's bachelor food. Quiche Lorraine tonight. With an Ola Magnum Light for dessert.

And the ambience is up there too, cos I'm playing my iRIVER on shuffle, and there's about ten days worth of music on it. Yeah!

I've just spent the entire day drawing. I recently went on a conference with THE MISSING LINK guys and their clients. I volunteered to be the resident portraitist. I foolishly thought I could easily bash out a sketch every five or so minutes.

Well, the weekend was about two weeks ago. At the event, I managed to draw about twenty pics. And delivered a further forty or so to MISSING LINK via email a week later. After drawing all day today, I sent D'ave a further twenty-three pics. I have thirty-two left to draw. Ayeeeee! My eyeballs are bleeding, mon!

And I've got a writing deadline for three o' clock tomorrow afternoon. Spent all of Friday afternoon in a coffee-shop smashing away at my laptop to meet a five o' clock deadline for the preliminary script. Cracked that.

Also, tomorrow I hear from a potential client whether a little company I'm a partner in has won the pitch to design everything for a phone card business. Spent all of Friday morning sorting the pitch out. Lunchtime we pitched. Chanel and I. Maybe soon POTION DESIGN will be on the map. Wish me luck.

Sheesh. It's been a busy month. Tons of stuff. Loads of creativity. And I'm feeling satisfied.

It really feels great to be in a delicious relationship with a mega-babe. Sigh. Amazing how polyamory thoughts just seem to evaporate when you're with someone you realllllly wanna be with.

Monday, August 22, 2005

New Melville Theatre, Melville

Monday, August 22, 2005

Service: N/A
Food: N/A
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

A portrait of Niccola Deane, Aryan Kaganof's current (?) and/or past (?) girlfriend. She's unfortunately leaving for Scotland. A real babe, and a good artist. She punched me three times on the bicep for missing her art exhibition at Guto Bussab's MUTI GALLERY a few months back.My buddies Eran Tahor and Aryan Kaganof have organised a second screening of indie South African films, and the place is packed with people. I'm here with S, and she's looking hyper-edible.

Another buddy of mine is MC for the night... Akin Omotoso, director of GOD IS AFRICAN. And boy, does he have his work cut out for him tonight. The audience is rowdy. And drunk. And pretentious. And all those nasty things that make a Q&A session after a screening very very trying.

Akin introduces the four films up front. "Tonight we'll be watching I LOVE YOU JET LI, directed by Jaco Bouwer." He points at Jaco. People clap. "(IN)SECURITY, directed by Neil Shaw." He points at Neil, and the clapping happens again. "KOFIFI, directed by Mic Mann." Clapping. "And BLOW, directed by Llewelyn Roderick." Still more clapping. And it's all enthusiastic. "Enjoy the movies."

Akin sits down, and the first movie starts. S and I are in the front row, sitting with her buddy, a photographer, and Damon Berry and Digby Young. I LOVE YOU JET LI is a visually interesting experimental film set in an airport departure lounge. It's marred by only two things... a bland and soul-less narration, and the writing of the narration. To my taste, the narration was fairly wordy, and somewhat obvious.

(IN)SECURITY has a very funny setup. It's a couple locked up in suburban paranoia. There's a neat twist near the end, which I won't give away. This movie could be really funny if it were cut in half. It's WAYYYYY too long. But interesting.

A portrait of me, done straight onto my palmtop, by filmmaker Garreth Fradgley.The highlight of the evening is KOFIFI. This is an AFDA student film, shot on 35mm. It looks like it had a major budget behind it. It's a rather surprisingly fresh and naive look at Sophiatown in the 1950s, and it's a musical!!! A love story of a black man and a white woman who fall for each other across the colour line (this was considered miscegenation under South African law in those days). The crowd goes wild. A very funny and touching story.

Then BLOW plays. The camera follows a dude doing various deals on his cellphone while on his way to a soccer match. The sound was very poor, and the final twist was inaudible, making it almost impossible to get. Problem is, I'd already guessed what the twist was about a minute into the movie. So I would have been disappointed even if I'd heard it. Also, the art direction was faulty. WHY THE HELL DID THE DUDE WEAR A YELLOW JERSEY, LLEWELYN??? Sewed confusion. (One of the soccer teams in the movie had yellow colours on the poster. The other had red.)

The four directors file onto the stage, and Akin begins the Q&A session, asking each of them a pertinent question about their films. Interesting answers. But the audience is showing its colours. They're ignorant fucks, pretty much. Some chick, Giselle, I think her name is (Kaganof introduced her to me at the beginning of the evening), starts drunkenly heckling early on. And continues all the way through.

In the audience are Diane Victor and Gordon Froud. Diane is one of South Africa's most awesome artists. Gordon is a galllery owner and sculptor. My stuff is in his gallery. This little sketch is Diane's first attempt ever at electronic art. She's blown away, and tells me I'm welcome to keep this sketch. Yay!!! I now own another Diane Victor artwork!!! (I've got one of her etchings on my wall.)She shouts at Mic Mann, the director of KOFIFI, "Why is it a white woman and a black man?"

I shout back at her in exasperation, "What SHOULD it be? A Chinese woman?"

Akin says, "Roy, let her finish her question."

"That's not a question," I mutter. "It's fucking idiocy."

The questions continue in that vein, and I'm getting mightily pissed off at the level of dumbfuckery on display. Sheesh. One pathetic excuse of a human being says, "In (IN)SECURITY, what are you trying to say about reality? And drug addiction?" Aaaaaargh! Watch the movie, people. Don't ask stupid questions. Ugh.

Anyway. The evening's really cool, despite the flaws in the films, and despite the general patheticness of the audience.

Applause to Kaganof and Tahor for taking the initiative.

CORRECTION: These screenings are the initiative of THREE people, not two. They are: Aryan Kaganof. Eran Tahor. And Joel Assaizky. Sorry Joel! I didn't know until Eran told me. Thanks guys.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Sundown Ranch Hotel, Boshoek, Pilanesberg, North West Province

Friday, August 19, 2005 -- Later Still

Service: *
Food: *
Ambience: *
Babe Count: *

What's the deal with institutional food and gristle?

Do these people think that the money they save on buying lowest grade meat will offset the cost of people not returning? I won't be eating supper here again. And after breakfast tomorrow morning, I won't be eating breakfast here again either.


  • A buffet with some lumpen potatos.
  • Some boiled pumpkin.
  • "Beef" curry (yes, the inverted commas are here to convey irony).
  • Some kind of fish curry.
  • Assorted salads.
  • A variety of white bread.
  • Tea and coffee (free).
  • Drinks you pay for.
  • Sweet things for dessert (I'm not religious, but Jesus help me... please!).

And I don't have to spell out what happens when you get to a buffet supper half an hour after everyone else cos you've been told to by the maitre d' and his sidekick cos they "can't seat one person at a table meant for eight". But I'll spell it out anyway.

The food is cold. The meat that's left in the serving dish consists of bone, gristle, and little tufts of edible-ish meat. Almost all of the salads are finished. Except for the popular stuff like beetroot salad. There's a full bowl of that. And not an apology to be heard.

The maitre d' floats up to me as I'm dishing up. "That'll be your table over there," he says, pointing to an "intimate" table directly in front of the tea and coffee area.

The place is still full. And lemme tell you something... the babe count has dropped. What's with cyclist chicks? Do they all have overbites? Or is that just a characteristic of a cheapish hotel near a gambling palace? (For anyone who doesn't know, Sun City is a casino resort, and it's tremendously expensive. Which means that people on a budget, or losers, or desperados stay in place like this, ten minutes away from Sun City. I like to think of myself as being on a budget. But maybe I'm actually a desperado.)

I finish dishing up, put my food down, and make some tea. There's no milk in the jug. And it's a two-litre jug. An industrial-sized jug. With nothing in it.

I schlepp the jug to the maitre d'. "May I have some milk please?"

He takes it from me with a smile, then romps over to the tea and coffee area and searches it. He assumes I'm not watching him, and I see him make an angry gesture with his head, and he slaps an open hand onto the side of the jug. He's clearly furious with some or other member of staff who's duty is to keep the jug filled.

I sit. I start piling a side plate with bones and gristle and bits of tough fat. It's a pile. I eat a bit. It's okay. But tepid. And I want to gag. But I force myself not to, cos this is the only food I'll be eating till breakfast tomorrow. Blah.

The maitre d' brings the milk jug back to the tea and coffee area. He ignores me. I stand up to put milk in my tea, and he simply steps aside and walks off.

Courtesy costs nothing. I'm courteous. He's in the hospitality industry. All I want is a bit of courtesy back.

Actually, I'd best revise that... all I want is courtesy and an antacid tablet for my indigestion.

Sundown Ranch Hotel, Boshoek, Pilanesberg, North West Province

Friday, August 19, 2005 -- Later

Service: *
Food: Looking grim
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * *

Okay. So the service rating of this place has just plummeted to one star. I haven't actually eaten the food yet, but I've just been in the dining room and seen it. It's looking pretty fuckin' diabolical. Here's the story.

I arrive in the dining room. A waitress and a maitre d' both approach me, slightly too urgently for my liking.

The waitress says, "What is your room number?"

I say, "One oh five."

She looks at her computer printout. "You're here for bed and breakfast, not dinner bed and breakfast."

"I just checked in an hour or two ago, and paid for dinner bed and breakfast," I say.

She shows me the printout. I show her my meal card. "Eish," she says, shaking her head. "These reception people."

The maitre d' steps in. "That's okay, sir," he says. "Go ahead."

A woman with a clipboard steps up to the maitre d'. "Where you gunna sit this guy?" she says. "Is he just one person? We haven't got space for one person. We can't sit him at a table for eight!"

The maitre d' says to me, "Sir, is the table just for yourself?"

"Just me," I say.

The woman says, "Well, we haven't got a table for just one person."

I say, "Well, when will you have a table for me?"

The maitre d' says, "In about five minutes."

She says, "In about half an hour."

"Okay," I say. "So if I come back at eight o'clock you'll have a table for me?"

"Ya," she says.

"Sorry," says the maitre d'.

So I'm back in my room considering making another cup of tea. (Earlier, the service rating hit four stars because I asked the lady at reception to organise me some real milk for my tea. She had them send over a cup full of the stuff. So I don't have to use the powdered coffee-creamer.)

I think I'll be asking them for a free drink at the buffet for my trouble. Harummph.

Sundown Ranch Hotel, Boshoek, Pilanesberg, North West Province

Friday, August 19, 2005

Service: * * * *
Food: Unknown as yet
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * 1/2

I have to be at Sun City tomorrow morning at 8:45, and I didn't wanna drive all this way before daybreak. It's a two-hour-plus drive, and the roads are a little on the narrow side. So I figured I'd treat myself to a night away from Joburg.

The Sundown Ranch Hotel is just ten minutes away from Sun City. And about twenty minutes out of Rustenburg. Which would be ten minutes out of Rustenburg if the road didn't have so many stop signs. I stopped counting at fifteen.

This is quite a charming place. My room is on the ground floor. Non-smoking. And there's a door that leads out onto the pool. All of the rooms are arranged in a circle around the pool. And there's a little refreshment area out there. There's a sign that says, "Coffee and Cake". But it's a lie. There hasn't been coffee or cake anywhere near that pool in at least a decade, judging by the state of the fridge and the counter.

I was lucky to get a room. Alana, the woman who took my booking over the phone, said, "Are you one of the cyclists?"

I said, "Which cyclists would those be?"

She said, "The ones in the ride against cancer."

"Nope," I said.

"Oh," she said. "So then you won't be needing the special breakfast pack? Fruit, some juice, some stuff for the road? Cos the cyclists will be leaving quite early."

"No thanks," I said.

So I'm in my room looking our over the pool. A big room. Huge bed. Real cotton linen, so I won't be getting that awful skin irritation that one gets with polyester sheets.

Hmmmmm. Hang on. There's a lithe blonde babe approaching the pool. With her child, a little girl in a pink costume. The blonde takes a seat in a deckchair, back towards me. Her hair is quite short, curling out at the back. A larger woman joins her. A mullet hairstyle. Long at the back, tightly cropped at the top. Ughhhh.

A lesbian couple?

Nope. The blonde girl turns to talk to the big girl. She has a moustache. She's a man. A cyclist, by the looks of things. One of those damn moments. You know what I'm talking about. When you're driving behind the cyclist, and she's got the most gorgeous arse in the whole world and she turns out to be a he. Ah well.

I didn't bring condoms anyway. I figured I'm not going to be testing out my polyamory with S for a long time to come. And I'm missing her. Pity she couldn't make it here tonight with me. Sigh.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My Flat, Cresta

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Service: * *
Food: * * *
Ambience: * * * 1/2
Babe Count: N/A

Hmmmm. It's been an eventful two months since I last blogged. Quick catchup...

I took a job writing copy for an online gambling empire. My job was to addict fat American housewives to online gaming, via direct response communications. I thought the job would be a wonderful challenge, both to my morals and my skills. I started out in advertising writing direct response, and loved it.

This is Beau Sia. He's a performance poet of the highest order. Saw him at a show in Johannesburg, along with a whole bunch of other international pohetes. He rocked. Very funny. You HAVE to see him perform. Keep an eye out for his name, and DON'T MISS HIM!!!However, this particular company just has no idea about direct response. They also have no idea about how to get creative beings to stay in their employ.

They were clock watchers of the worst kind. I had to be in the office at 9am, take exactly one hour for lunch, and leave no earlier than 6pm. Ugh!!! Now I'm a particularly fast writer. Humungously so. Give me 22 direct response mailers to write, and you'll have them within two days. Budget a week for them, and I'll be sitting with three days of boredom on my hands. If you don't have the grace to give me the time off, I'll be a very frustrated man.

Which is why I left.

I sent out my cv to a coupla corporate video companies, and within half an hour received a response. The company was UNPLUGGED, and they needed a heavyweight writer to do a humour-packed script for Standard Bank. I met with them, was given the job on the spot, and resigned from the online gambling empire immediately.

They're busy putting the finishing touches on the final edit of the video, and the client loves it, according to my producer. Viva!

I then turned down another writing job, cos the money wasn't right for me, and the job felt rather hectically undefined. I'm a fiendishly expensive writer for many reasons. One reason is that I'm realllly good at what I do. Another is that I'm picky about the gigs I get involved in. Another is that I'm actively living my motto: "I live my art in prosperity and abundance."

This is my filmmaker buddy, Eran Tahor. I've been experimenting with different ways of using colour on my palmtop, and this pic gives me a lot of satisfaction.My philosophy came about a day or so after the planes hit the Twin Towers. I said to myself, "Roy... if you're in a building that gets hit by a plane, you'd bettttttter be doing something you love."

From that day on, I've been moving closer and closer to ONLY doing jobs I love. And charging between R50k and R100k for them. And walking away from those I don't love.

On the love-front, M and I split up. Basically, it wasn't really working for me. She was pretty set on monogamy after my polyamorous exploration stopped.

You may remember that I was in a polyamorous setup with J, and with M, and that they were both cool with it while it was happening. But then J decided it wasn't cool for her, and she quit the arrangement. As soon as that happened, M said, "Okay, Roy! I'm not keen on polyamory, and I want to be in a monogamous relationship with you."

As much as I liked her, the pressure suddenly seemed enormous. And things fizzled out for me.

But then I met S. She's a babe, and I've fallen head-over-heels in love with her. Smitten, I tell you. She and I discussed polyamory, and we're both theoretically cool with it. Our arrangement is that our current relationship is our primary one, but that we're both free to pursue other relationships after discussion with each other. We've both agreed that we won't do any such pursuing until our relationship is fully established.

Another brilliant international performance poet. He totally cooked at the show. Totally. Yeehaaa!I have to admit, though, that I'm feeling spectacularly happily monogamous with S. She's pretty much everything I've ever wanted or needed in a woman. She feels like the person I wanna be with. Yummy.

Part of the reason I haven't blogged till now is that I've been putting my energy into building the relationship. And also, she's been a little nervous over my blogging about her. So the arrangement is that I blog without naming her or making it obvious to anyone who doesn't know us who she is. She'll read what I put on the site, and we'll evaluate as we go along.

On other fronts, I'm experiencing a huge creative upsurge. I've just written a short film, which I'll be directing, with Damon Berry shooting. We'll be filming it early next month. And I've been spending some time breaking the script down, storyboarding it, and generally being a director-producer on it.

I'm looking for some actors (based in Johannesburg, South Africa). Lemme know if you're interested in auditioning. I want to make it clear that this is a freebie though. There is NO MONEY involved in the making of this film. None whatsoever. Not a cent. So if you're in it, it's for free. Email me on if you're keen.

I'm also pursuing voice-over work seriously.

And a chance encounter over a French beret has led me to a bunch of people who run team-building seminars that I might find myself part of. I'll be sitting in on one of their processes this weekend out in Sun City.

Blogging will now continue as normal. Good to be back.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fournos, Dunkeld

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * 1/2

I've ordered my chicken crispy. It's the half chicken with a side salad. The side salad is much more generous than before. And the chicken is crispy. Hmmmm.

And I'm still shaking a little bit.

Why'm I shaking? Cos I'm now officially an honest to goodness Citizen of Gauteng (the province or state in which I live).

I was on the phone to Jade, Eran's babe, making arrangements to pick up some headshots of myself that Eran took. I need them to send to my agent, and to voicebank. I had just concluded a successful job interview, and was driving towards Dunkeld. Up Corlett Drive. Turned right into Oxford. Waiting at the red traffic light to turn right into Bompas Road. I phone Jade at the red light.

"If you can come round on the weekend, Eran will be home, and he'll know where to find the disc," Jade says.

"That's cool," I say. And I notice someone knocking on my window. He's got a gun. "Oh shit," I say to Jade, "hang on!" And by mistake, and in my confusion, I terminate the call.

The traffic cop motions me to pull over in a driveway in Bompas. I do so. He comes to my window. "Do you KNOW what you did wrong?" he asks. I notice instantly that there's no name tag in sight. My usual practice in a situation like this would be to be as charming as possible, and talk my way out of it.

"Yes officer," I say. "I want to apologise. I was talking on my cellphone."

"How much you think this fine is?" he asks. He shows me an unblemished book of fines. His pen is ready. "It is five hundred rand," he says.

I step out of the car. "Oh man, officer," I say. "Yeow. Is it possible for you to find it in your heart to forgive me?"

He looks at me. Sideways. "Get back in the car." I do. He goes round to the passenger side. Indicates I should roll down the window. I do. "You know how much the fine is?" he asks again. "Five hundred."

"Is it possible to make it a smaller fine?" I ask.

"How much?" he asks.

"Uhm..." I'm wondering what banknotes I've got in my wallet. If I say fifty rand, and I've only got a hundred buck note, I'm sure as heck not getting change from this chump. Think Roy, think. Okay... I broke a hundred last night. I say, "Would a fifty rand fine be acceptable to you?"

He smiles, pretends to think about it a bit, looks at my li'l red convertible, smiles more broadly. Says, "Fifty rand is acceptable."

"How do I do this, officer?" I've got the note out. He's holding my driver's licence in his right hand. "I've never done this before."

"Fold it small!" he says. "Keep your hand down. I take it when I give you this." He waves the driver's licence.

I fold the fifty in half, and half again. I scoop up a discarded pamphlet from my floor, and hold the note under that. I hand it to him. He gives me the licence, and takes the money. I can't even see his hand move into his pocket. He's slick at this. A very smooth operator.

"Do you promise never to do this again?"

"Officer," I say, "I would be lying if I made that promise. But I can promise I'll TRY not to get caught again."

He smiles. Waves me off.

"Sala gahle," I say in Zulu. (Stay well.)

When I get to Fournos, I realise that this traffic officer, with his gun, and his irrevocable authority, and his absent name tag, is exactly the same as a mugger or a hijacker. He has exactly the same power apparatus behind him... the threat of violence, the power of surprise, the threat of hazy fantasy consequences, the gun. I got mugged, in essence. And every South African who pays a bribe has been mugged in the same way.

When I chat to M about it, she's kinda happy about the fact that I got away with paying just fifty bucks instead of five hundred. I say to her, "Okay... but think about this... what happens if I were a girl in a car on my own, and this WASN'T a crowded intersection but rather the side of the road somewhere. What if the officer solicited a blow job instead of fifty bucks. That's rape. Isn't it?"

Ah fuck it. I'll just eat my chicken and my salad. And I'll think about being a nine-to-sixer for the next while working as a copywriter at an online gaming empire. And I think I'll order a slice of chocolate mousse cake with a decaff cappuccino when I finish my lunch. It's off to gym after anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Roy officially on VoiceBank -- listen to my voice clips online, then hire me as a voice artist!

Ah! It's official! I now have some voice clips on The Voice Bank (, South Africa's source of quality voice artists. Listen to my voice! Then call my agent and book me!

Blue skies

Monday, June 20, 2005

News Cafe, Sandton

Monday, June 20, 2005

Service: * * * *
Food: * * * 1/2
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * *

Damon's just done a voice-over session at Primedia across the road. I gave him a lift, due to Wendy using his car today, due to Wendy's car being stuck in Nelspruit for the next week or so while the mechanics have a field day finding things they can charge her for in fixing her blown head gasket.

"Damon attaching the babewatcher to the chair in front of him. It's just a bicycle mirror, a dowel rod, and a heavy bullclip.What the hell's that?" asks Damon, as I pull a little home-assembled gizmo from my bag. "Dude!!!" he says. "It's not -- it's not --"

"It is," I say.

A while ago, Damon and I invented a babewatching gizmo that would allow both parties at the table to gawk at the same babe, without one of them craning his head round and looking like a lame rubber-necker. It remained an idea, until I got to London.

I say, "I bought the mirror at a 'one pound store' in London."

Damon putting a fine adjustment on the angle of the babewatching device. There's a waitress bending over the till over his left shoulder. I'm sitting directly opposite him, so I have a full, unimpeded view. Now so does he.The device is a bicycle mirror, attached to a dowel rod, with a sturdy bullclip attaching it to the table or chair.

Damon attaches it to the chair, and bends the arm around so that he can see the waitresses behind him. I've got a great seat, so I can watch them bending over the till in their tight black trousers all the time.

"It works! It works!!!" says Damon.

For the rest of the afternoon, Damon's eyes are glued to the mirror. Strangely, not one waitress comes up to us and asks what this thing is.

"I should have bought two mirrors at the pound store," I say.

"Two EACH," says Damon.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My Flat, Cresta

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Service: * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: N/A

Got a phone call from Damon yesterday morning. "Roy, I need your help, urgently! Have I woken you up?"

I was still half asleep. "Uh, no, it's cool. The phone was ringing anyway."

"Roy, Wendy's car's broken down in Nelspruit, and I'm supposed to be the MC of a poetry slam at St John's. I'm not gonna make it. Can you stand in for me?"

"Absolutely!" I was now wide awake. "Uh... what time's the gig?"

"Two o'clock. Can you make it?"

"Sure," I said. "What happened to Wendy's car?"

Damon and Wendy were down in Timbavati, visiting the White Lion project. One of Wendy's friends runs the thing. So they were delivering a benefit concert for the lions.

"Oh man. We blew a head gasket."

Luckily I was wide awake, so I could respond properly. "Jesus dude! I hope you were in the back seat when this happened. Did you have something to wipe off the fluids?"

"Very funny Roy."

Damon was sounding a little tense. Which happens when you're stuck four hours out of Joburg, and you're not likely to have your own head gasket blown for a while cos your girlfriend's also tense and you're about to spend R5 000 to fix something that shouldn't need fixing.

So I went to the slam, and had huge amounts of fun. I was compering, which is a good thing, cos I haven't performed poetry in a long time now.

While Kgafela and his band were performing, I whipped out my li'l Pocket PC and started sketching away furiously. Luckily it was a long set, so I had about a half an hour to do it in. And finished just as he finished his encore.
After the slam, Kgafela oa Magogodi performed. He had a bassist and a drummer backing him, and his show was simply outstanding. Awesome is the word. Rock 'n roll, bebbe. He's gonna be South Africa's next big star.

In the meantime, I'm waiting for M to get back from Dakar. She was there on business, and she's arriving tonight. We'll be having supper together. Hehehehehe.

I've made myself a sandwich on pumpernickel, with double gloucester cheese and Woolworth's salami. Hmmmmmmmm.

We've had some serious discussions recently. She's glad that J is no longer on the polyamory scene with me, and would prefer it if I don't get a replacement girlfriend. I'm in serious panic mode around this. Makes me feel all tunnel-vision monogamous again, and all my anxiety responses are up. Eeeek. I dunno if I WANT just one girlfriend!!!

Not that there's anything wrong with M! She's hot as heck! And I like her. I like her a lot. Enough to be her boyfriend. But I'm just not certain I'm cut out for monogamy. Ah well. I'll have to play this one by ear.

I've also decided that I'm on the employment market. I've lived a very enjoyable freelance existence for a decade or more, but I'm starting to want some more financial stability in my life.

So here's my plan... I'm going to sell my services on long term contract to anyone who can make use of a serious maverick with a broad skills palette. My resume follows below. If you know anyone who can make use of me, let them know, or let me know.

I'm quite flexible about the work. As long as I'm exercising my creativity, I'm happy.

ROY BLUMENTHAL -- Writer, Artist, Filmmaker, Radio Presenter, Amateur Coffee-Shop Critic, Ka Huna Masseur, Trouble-Shooter, Maverick

Self portrait -- me looking like a maverick.

Phone: +27 82 659 3165

o Currently working as a freelance writer/director/producer in television and corporate videos.

o I'm a trained crisis counsellor (back in the old day of the 702 Crisis Centre, I was a volunteer).

o I'm an ex-advertising writer/art director (freelanced most of my working life as a self-contained writer/art director team; was a permanent copywriter at Hunt Lascaris FMC for a while).

o Studied half of an electrical engineering degree at Wits, where I was a journalist and satirist on Wits Student newspaper, edited the RAG mag one year, and was a DJ on Voice of Wits Radio.

o Worked as a sound engineer/controller on the Stan Katz, Chris Gibbons, and Barry Ronge shows on 702 back in the day. Thanks to Voice of Wits for that.

o Was a photo journalist on Paratus magazine, writing satire unbeknownst to the people in charge. (Was a religious objector, of all things. Refused to carry a rifle.)

o Studied eight tenths of a literary theory degree at Unisa.

o Sold advertising space on a weekly newpaper called THE HERALD TIMES for Publico.

o Started doing performance poetry at the Market Theatre Flea Market, and in Pretoria and Verwoerdburgstad (now Centurion). That's where Barefoot Press was born.

o Worked at Exclusive Books Hyde Park as their computer geek, in charge of the database when I left the army. Lasted three months, but organised their literary theory shelf.

o Created a project called "Performance in the Park" at Joubert Park. It was a collaboration between COSAW (the Congress of South African Writers) and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Every Saturday at noon, I got a bunch of street performers to come in and do stuff for an hour. It was hugely successful.

o Got employed by a telephone dating service for about 7 months. Catered for allllll sorts of people. Men looking for women. Women looking for men. Singles looking for couples. Couples looking for couples. Gay men. Gay women. Affairs. The gamut. By the time I stopped working for them, I could tell EXACTLY what line people were calling by simply listening to their intake of breath before they spoke. I was right a hundred percent of the time.

o Left dating to become a direct response copywriter.

o Stayed with advertising for about eight years before leaving it for the film industry.

o Co-edited a book that went to number one on both Exclusive Books and Facts & Fiction bestseller lists. A WRITER IN STONE was in honour of Lionel Abrahams, the doyen of South African literature.

o Numerous published poetry, and television appearances as a performance poet.

o Started Barefoot Press, a poetry publishing house. Started printing poetry on cloth.

o Started running creativity seminars for RAU and WITS. Still run these.

o Taught copywriting at AAA School of Advertising, and later at VEGA.

o Edited GADGET, the online magazine that Arthur Goldstuck started. Got the readership up from around 800 people a week to approximately 10 000.

o Wrote all of the content for Yaron Assabi's "Digital Mall" while I was there. Also saved Incredible Connection from losing R150 000 in a credit card fraud perpetrated from Malaysia. Spotted what looked like a pattern in ordering, and turned out to be right. Hehehehehehe. Crime Buster Blumenthal. That's me.

o Became a "Production Assistant". This is a glorified term for "Runner", the lowest rung on the filmmaking ladder. Had several very surprised members of the ad fraternity saying, "Roy! Blumenthal!!! What are you doing giving me coffee???? And picking up my cigarette stompies?????"

o Progressed into production. Wrote and made a few short films, notably ARIA (a ten minute film about some ancient ex-Nazi opera singers who have their past confront them) and NOODLES (a one-minute quickie).

o Popped onto the radio as the disher out of "Priceless Advice" on SAfm's Computer Gig. Did that for around 7 or 8 years.

o Ended up at SABC3 on contract for three years as a promo producer. It was my job to get people to watch appalling shows like BUDDY FARO. And better shows like SURVIVOR and THE AMAZING RACE. And I can tell you that it's almost impossible to get a voice artist to say the phrase "Relic Hunter" with a straight face. Say it out loud ten times. Heheheheheh. I learned how to edit at Three. Very cool. I made about 900 promos in that time, 450 of which I cut myself. And that translates to my having directed 900 voiceover sessions.

o Started blogging, turning in irreverent and pointless coffee-shop reviews, and have been doing so for three or four years. Cult following. Have used the phrase, "Do you KNOW who I am???" more than once in an effort to terrify the staff into ensuring that the coffee they give me is indeed decaf.

o Joined Memar as a producer on their Ethiopian education project. Turned the chemistry team around. It was haemorrhaging, and it was my pleasure to fire six people and fix the entire screw-up. Endured a death threat in the process. What a tough skin I have.

This is Rich...! from a company called THE MISSING LINK. He was one of the dudes we interviewed for Go_Open, the tv show I co-directed.

o Started taking my art seriously. First exhibited at Gallery 111 in Bez Valley. Then the Spaza Gallery in Troyeville. Then Gordon Froud's Gordart Gallery in Melville. My pictures were also part of the erotica exhibition at Merely Mortal in Craighall.

o Directed half of the episodes of GO-OPEN, a tv series about the Open Source Movement. Mostly magazine-style inserts. One or two studio shoots. All across the country.

o Produced a video soliciting funds from Oprah Winfrey and other sponsors for the SOUL BUDDYZ CLUBS, a social phenomenon that arose around the tv series.

o Did pre-production on a travel and tourism DVD aimed at South Africans in South Africa.

o All sorts of writing odd jobs all the way through.

o Am a level-two Hawaiian Ka Huna massage practitioner.

o My motto: "I live my art in prosperity and abundance."

Now. About the service in this place. "Roy!" I'm saying this aloud as I type. "Bring me some orange tea!"