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.