Sunday, August 31, 2014

New York Mirror Poster from Monday, August 6, 1962, proclaiming Marilyn Monroe's death

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm screwed! I want to read your book but I don't have a Kindle! >>>I get this a lot, so here's the answer, once and for all (but, again)

Dear Mr van der Leek
I have read the excellent reviews of your book about the Oscar Pistorius Murder trial and noticed that the book is available through Amazon as the Kindle edition. 
Since I do not own a Kindle reader, I want to know whether it is possible that I can purchase the last chapter only of the book in pdf format so that I can read it on my computer.
I will be very grateful if this is possible and if you can let me know how to go about the process.
Yours sincerely
[Kindleless Person]

Hi [Kindleless Person]

Actually you don't need a Kindle to read it on your computer.

What you need is:

1. any digital device with an internet connection
2. an account with amazon (ie have you ever ordered a book from amazon)
3. you probably need to download a free app.

Make sense?

If you don't come right let me know and we'll make a plan.


I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious - Albert Einstein 

Cell + Whatsapp: 072 821 93 87

photojournalist -  analyst - athlete + editor of
B.Econ (UFS),  Brand Management (AAA Cape Town)

View my Portfolio<>

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Confessions of a Failed Author #8

I have lots of juicy gossip, unfortunately I am too tied up into too many projects that are 'at the sensitive stage' to, sorry for you.

What's quite cool is having started my own site, I'm already selling my own content.  Yup, I've already snagged my first client after just two weeks in operation.  The hit counter is also rolling nicely, and I have to say, as long as I've been in this content business, the market is always a slippery thing.  Not in a million years would I have predicted this story to do double the best traffic in the same site's Oscar trial coverage.

But there you have it.  All the dogs in media have to keep learning new tricks, or get out.

I managed to piss off around about 1000 people, apparently, not with my writing, but with my photography.  No harm nor foul intended, but some people were apparently pretty upset.  That dust, however, appears to be settling now.  I won't actually be picking up my camera for a while yet, not because I've been burned or anything, but simply because a lot of written work needs to get done yesterday.

I've also sent a sample of writing to RandomStruik, not something I usually do...and so I am in that unenviable position of waiting to hear whether the all-powerful publisher will deign to consider my (who, after all, am I?) proposal.  Since they asked for it I guess they would have.  So we'll see.

In other news, I recently had a look at my sales on Amazon.  These are actually for eBook downloads, rather than hardcopies ordered/sold, and I've recently hoiked the price from $0.99 to anywhere between $3 and $6 or $7 a pop.  On one particular day I had over 263 downloads, and that was a few days after the Jacaranda FM hype had subsided.  So, not a bad day at the office, and in fact, most days are pretty good.

In terms of my reviews, I have around about 9 on all three eBooks now, and 6 so far on the last one. I've only had one sucky one, a 1 star rating for Reeva in her own Words, but I'm assuming it's someone who doesn't know Reeva from a bar of soap, and just stumbled across it.  Revelations is still outdoing its three eBook brethren, but Resurrection is not far below. They've all fallen a little in the rankings, but I guess I'll do some PR again in the week leading up to sentencing.  GASP - that's next week!  I have arranged with Amazon for a discount in prices across all those titles.  They basically drop $2 or $3 and then gradually step back up to their current price over a period of about a week.  So that should be interesting.

Wanna authors should read this if you also want to get onto the Amazon self-publishing bandwagon.  It really is pretty revolutionary stuff, and as such, exciting.

What I'll also do is publish an extract from Revelations' last chapter, The Method and the Madness.  I obviously won't give it all away, but I'll provide half or a third for readers at, and if they want more they'll have to buy the book.

Been good interviewing Lauren Beukes recently, and interesting to hear her talk about backache, insomnia and the importance of women warriors (like, in movies).  Great minds think alike, and since we didn't agree on one or two things, it probably means I'll never make it big in publishing.  Unless I already have?  If that's true, can someone wake me when its over?

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Not Bloody Enough?

WTF - another battered door, and is that an airgun?

Note above: Airgun in the corner, with bedroom door at right

Juror 13 Notes

Above and below: Notice the pillow is upright on the bed (against the headboard).

Above: Crack in bedroom door.


Above: Was this where Reeva chose to spend the night?

Nighttime view from Stipp's bedroom window

 Were the towels and black garbage bags to stem blood or mop it up?

Note the missing section of wood above D, This could have been made by initial battering of the door before shooting, and would have given the shooter line of sight on his target, but only if the fragment was dislodged prior to the shooting.  
Notice the white draining marks, which appear to be water moving and eroding blood.  Ie after blood collected in the toilet, it may have been flushed.  Also notice what appears to be a wood splinter to the bottom, and slightly to the right, in the toilet bowl. 

Glass Houses

Oscar Pistorius Trial: State’s Heads of Argument + Defence's Response

For a .PDF of the Defence's response, follow this link.

Sex Kitten/s?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Oscar - the Early Days

Above is a clipping from Beeld circa 2003.  It shows a 17 year old Oscar Pistorius on the couch with his first sports agent, the world class sub 4 minute miler from the USA, Ray Wicksell.  Behind them, leaning on the coach is Arnold Geertz, and Wicksell's crew of medical staff and management team for Pistorius.

YOU magazine finally comes to the party in August 2014 - Yes, let's talk about Reeva, and motive, and [GASP] could Oscar actually be guilty?

Thursday, August 07, 2014

#14 Unanswered Q’s: #2 So what is his defence? [#EXCERPT from REVELATIONS]

 My personal opinion of Oscar’s defence is that it’s simply “I made a mistake.”
 And Oscar’s psychology is such that “a mistake” (even when one is dealing with the loss of a human life) is sufficient explanation. Furthermore, it would appear his Uncle Arnold and his entire family seem to support the idea that if you kill someone “by mistake” that’s an acceptable excuse.
 Actually, it isn’t. Before we go into this question in finer detail, and before we really start to wade through all the Legalese, let’s look at how Gerrie Nel interrogates Oscar on this idea of “a mistake’ as a sufficient reason for shooting someone to death (through a door, using four bullets to execute that ‘mistake’). First, let’s remind ourselves what the word mistake means:
-            Slip-up
-            Error
-            Gaffe
-            Blunder
-            Fault
-            Inaccuracy
 Do any of those words begin to describe any version of firing four bullets through a closed door with the presumption that a person is standing on the other side of the door?
If the reader feels this ‘narrow’ version – in writing – is skewing Oscar’s narrative unfairly, let’s examine how Oscar deals with the question when it is specifically (and repeatedly) put to him. Gerrie Nel does just this in the opening seconds of his cross-examination.
 Read the rest of this article here.
Order Revelations (available Friday 8 August at 2pm), here:

Confessions of a failed author #7

We tend to rage against those who close doors on our noses, effectively blocking us from passage. Effectively what they're doing is putting a barrier in our way.  Trapping us.  Preventing us from emerging in the world.  It can feel frustrating. Sometimes it can feel pretty unfair, especially when riding on all that commitment are a lot of personal hopes, prayers and loyalties.  What do you get in exchange for your work ethic?  For your commitment? A kick in the teeth.

But what if you channel that energy - and even that anger - into some DIY?  You know what I've found, almost no one has higher standards than I do.  So I give everyone a hard time, and a lot of people don't really like that.  What very, very few people see is that high standards are the difference between champions and also rans.  High standards are what make or break not only people, but companies, brands, and ideas.

In other words, high standards are an asset.

Most people don't have the time, or wherewithal or even the vision to come up with standards.  They might have to write a rule book in order to remember them.  For others, that level of being ANAL is automatic.  Perfectionism is good, just not that great when it comes to relationships.  And catastrophic when it comes to romantic relationships.  You just can't audit people the way you might apply standards to say a document, or a design.

In any case, what happened with me was I found myself in a horrible position earlier this year.  Horrible in the sense that I had blown a ton of money driving 8000km through Namibia, and another ton flying to London and back for my...what shall we call it...Climate Change: Adventures in Abstraction.  The trip through Namibia actually took place just as fuel prices reached their zenith.  They've come down a little since then.  But to give you an idea, it's August now.  I traveled to Nam in September last year.  It's roughly a year and 20 000km later and I haven't serviced my car since then.  I've simply been too poor.  Well, scratch that, I will probably service my car in the next week or two.  Because I'm doing a lot better than I was a few months ago.

Perhaps not quite well enough to go to the dentist...

But well enough to order a dessert when I eat out, rather than just the main course (as I did last night).

But, I digress.

The reason I made a deal with...let's call them for the security of a retainer.  I wanted a stable income, and I was prepared to bust my butt for a while for the privilege.  And I thought I could get good PR out of it, and monetise certain aspects, such as shooting models on a continuous basis (which is something I do a fair bit of anyway).  Plus, I thought I'd enjoy the work.  It was my kind of work, for a male audience.

So I had committed to churning out about R15 000 worth of work for R3000 a month.  It was an offer couldn't refuse.  But then what happened was I noticed they were uploading my work with a lot of mistakes.  Not mistakes from me, formatting errors.  Text jumbling and sort of bumping against itself.  I'd email the editors and ask them to fix it so I could share it on social media (and get my PR show on the road).  But then I'd email again and again, then I'd highlight in yellow the mistakes.  In the end, it took about a week to fix a single article.

It took these same Yahoos several months to launch their site.  And the mistakes just kept on coming.  You can forgive a few as birthpains but eventually you start to notice, Hell, are you guys doing anything on that side?  If so, what are you doing?

I eventually got a call, and I bitched about doing 99% of the work (which I was happy to do) - the bitching part was that the 1% - from them - wasn't happening.  Here's the amazing thing.  The person on the other side was sort've saying, you're right, we have 1% to do, and we kind of  have a lot going on so give us a break.  So do you mind if we sort've don't do our 1%...and we're paying you a salary so butt out.

There was a bit of reasoning going on and then I got reminded about my lack of manners.  I always find that interesting.  When we talk about work, and who is doing what, and what isn't being done, and then the argument comes down to one's tone.  I was also told there were dozens of other people they could use instead of me....and that's when something clicked. Really?  I'm expendable?

You know what, if you don't get a bit excited about your time being wasted, your work being undermined - wasted - then maybe you don't value your time, or your life much.  I don't know.

But I suddenly had a revelation.  I suddenly realised - you know what?  My standards are so much higher than yours, and I am going to go nuts frogmarching you to each mistake you make and taking you like a horse to water, to your own fuckups.  So you know what?  I'm not going to cast my pearls before...  You get the picture.

So I told them to fucking take all my content (basically 80% of their site, and all their top stories) and said take it all down.  Game Over.  Good bye, have a nice day.

And at that point I was actually satisfied to simply say hey, no biggie, I can make the income I wasn't making with them through a SINGLE magazine article.  I just need to send one or two extra pitches a week.  Problem solved.  But then I saw how excited all the girls were getting by having their pictures and stories placed on a credible platform.  And I felt bad for them.  And then I heard news of an IT dude friend of mine that had moved back to SA from Seoul...and it hit me...why don't I do this myself?  I have a huge competitive advantage in that:

1. I have an enormous archive of stories, interviews, contacts and other networks (including social)
2. I have a huge amount of experience on the web (this blog is one example, approaching 1.5 million hits)
3. I have massive stock in terms of girl photos, and also a huge network of Facebook friends that I can draw upon, people that know me etc.
4. I have a postgraduate diploma in marketing and brand management that I've been waiting to put to practical use.
5. I have an economics degree and a lot of commercial experience in term of what corporates want, how they want exposure, leverage
6. I have a lot of corporate clients that....hmmmm....

And so I reckoned, DIY it is.

All I needed was a designer. So I asked my network for some help and I was quickly referred to a dude that lives around the corner from me, Christo.  Within a blink we had our core team of techies, CMS gurus and content-kings, and a few days later other people (here and around the world) were willing to contribute.  For free!  And so basically, what took the better part of 8 months to launch, took us less than a month.  Closer to three weeks.

And we've done so with virtually no errors, and arguably a much better, and slicker site. Here's our logo.

 We're already on twitter, @frican_MAN and on Facebook at South African MAN.  In a single day we've accumulated over 60 70 likes. Yesterday one of our Tweets was retweeted over 30 times.

I've already received a bunch of emails congratulating me (well, us) on a superlative product,  I have to say, Christo and Brian have really delivered.  Job done guys, and now, with the template in place, I have treasure troves of content (which costs us nothing) to load.

Meanwhile I see, since I left them, are advertising a free shoot in exchange for random unknowns to send them pictures.  You know what?  If you were FHM (which sadly is no more) you could try that.  But a totally unknown website asking girls to send them already dodgy.  Worse, that's what you're going to get.  95% of the emails you get will have photos that aren't worth crap.  But hey, good luck with that.  What was that about having a dozen other people you could replace me with?  [Very loud echoing LOL].

Meanwhile, this is going to be where it's at.  Check out how nice and clean and integrated the design is:

Lekker ne!

And why this is such an exciting project for me is because it's part of my job to accumulate this genre of content.  I'm doing it all the time.  I have enormous amounts of behind-the-scenes stories that no one ever gets to hear about - and often these stories are more interesting than the stories themselves (believe it or not).

So I wish my former employer all the luck in the world. No really. I think they are going to need it.  I am sorry that, just before I left them, I introduced them to two key clients of mine, but at least it wasn't a dozen clients or more.  And I reckon if those same clients are given a choice, to go with them, or to go with us, I'm pretty sure I know what they'd do.  I know what I would do.  Simple.

 I'd go with the guys with the highest standards.

Now, there is a lesson in this.  What was it? [Snaps fingers...]

Oh ja! Ever heard of a guy called Jobs?  Yes, he has had high standards.  He made life hell for practically everyone (including himself).  And sure, you need to live a little sometimes, and let go.  With work though, you need to maintain focus, if you want to succeed, and you need to maintain standards.  (It also helps if you have standards to begin with).

Anyway, Jobs wasn't the easiest guy to work with.  And he wasn't perfect either.  But, at the end of the day, he was a difficult bastard, and a shit, and a doos, and he told everyone what to do...and it was his way or the highway...and some people told him to go to FUCKING hell, and others wanted to work with him and tried to work with him...and a few stuck by him.  And guess what happened?  This asshole created the world's most valuable company.  And guess what his psychology was?  THINK DIFFERENT.

You know what else?  He said we're not going to be like Microsoft.  We're not going to be another Microsoft.  We're going to follow our own path, and do what we do, better.  Do better, be better.  And that's how you do it.

All I have to do is hold thumbs my engine is gonna be good for the next 5000km, but maybe I don't need to hope.  I've worked hard these last few weeks and I couldn't be happier.  It's not all about money, but I'm also not working for my health.  The amazing thing when you are self employed and activated by your own vision, and passion (and not some prick reminding you of your manners and your piss-ant 'salary') - which steals and sabotages your energy in a heartbeat, the amazing thing is how much you can do.  And how much energy buzzes in you that allows you to work at speed, with focus, and with sassiness.  When you flow like that, no one can hold you back. And the world is your oyster.  And you can do with your pearls whatever the hell you want.

Incidentally my last eBook, the 4th in the Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial series, will be available at Amazon (at this link) as from noon on Friday, 8th August 2014.  Please don't order it now as the last chapter is still being edited. Yes, I forgot to mention while we were building this site I was also writing another book, as well as continuing with other projects, my magazine work and shoots.  The last shoot I did was last Sunday...pretty cool too...

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Don't Have a Kindle e-Book Reader? Don't Despair!

If you've been meaning to buy one of my Oscar Trial eBooks (they're just R35) but thought you couldn't, well, you can.  You don't need a Kindle, you just need to follow these -easy-as-you-please steps.

If you're registered on Amazon you'll need a credit card to purchase (otherwise do an EFT into my account).

Once you've purchased you'll receive this message:

If you do not have a Kindle e-Book Reader please follow these instructions to the letter.

  1. Save this file (attached) to a folder where you will access it. It is an eBook.  DO NOT TRY TO OPEN IT YET!.
  2. Google “Kindle Reader” and download a Reader for PC that relates to your version of Windows.
  3. Install the program. It is a FREE eBook Reader for PC.
  4.  Now go to the file that you saved “wffp_amazon7.prc” and RIGHT-CLICK it.
  5. Then select “Open with “Amazon Kindle for PC”.
  6.  Once it has opened click on the button that has icon “Aa” and select “Sepia”
  7.  Then click on the icon next to it on the right which will give you full screen.
  8.  Then use your arrow keys to go up to the start of the book and off you go ….  Note it will not open on the cover page. So you must use the “up” arrow key to see the cover.
  9. You will see a Table of Contents in Blue font. Clicking on any line item takes you to the Chapter listed.
  10. You will also see blue coloured superscript numbers next to text. These are hyperlinks. Clicking on these takes you to the relevant endnote. To get back from the end note just click on the number again in the endnotes section.
  11. Once you have done this once, thereafter you can open the book by simply first going to the Amazon Kindle for PCicon on your desktop and clicking on it. The book will be listed.
  12. The Book Site link is given here,  Please encourage others to go there ----
  13. Enjoy.