Posts Tagged ‘wikipedia


SlickTiger Rides A Segway, Doesn’t Die!

Life was good for Jimi Heselden. He came from humble origins and built a name for himself when he invented a collapsible wire mesh fabric container called Hesco bastion that was widely used in war zones to quickly and effectively erect blast walls and fortifications (thanks Wikipedia!).

In 2010 he bought Segway Inc. at which time his estimated worth was somewhere in the region of R1 947 831 890, a figure which I have painstakingly converted because I can’t find the pound button on my keyboard.

Then one day Jimi went for a lazy afternoon ride on his Segway (fitted with special off-road tyres), drove off the edge of a 24 meter cliff and died.

When I heard this, my entire conception of these quaint little machines that look like something out of The Jetsons changed immediately.

“Killing Machine” is a strong term but right now, two whiskies in, I can’t really think of a better one.



On Sunday, J-Rab gave me strict instructions not to get too hammered at the family lunch because she had a surprise for me later that afternoon and boy was I glad I listened to her (for once).

We took a drive through to Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch where she used to work where she let the cat out the bag that we were going on a sunset Segway tour around Spier! With special Segways fitted with off-road tyres!

Did visions of my mangled body lying at the bottom of a 24 meter cliff start flashing through my mind? No. For one, there are no 24 meter cliffs on Spier and for two I’d seen six year old kids on those things, how hard could it be?

And that’s just the thing, it wasn’t hard at all. All you have to do is hold onto the handlebars and lean, you’ve got to be a special kind of retarded to get that wrong.



Our tour guides Saul and Dan took us through the basics of driving the Segways and after about 20 minutes of riding around on an old tennis court we all had the hang of it and were ready to take the Segs off the ‘turtle’ setting and tear up the dirt roads of Spier.

To put it simply, if you ever get a chance to visit Spier and you don’t jump on the Segs to take a tour of the vineyards, you’re missing out in a huge way.



The machines are seriously fucking cool – you hardly have to move a muscle to get them up to top speed and they’re so responsive you can whip out a 360 degree turn in a circle as tight as the wheelbase is wide.

Dan and Saul are definitely onto something. With the off-road tyres fitted the Segs can handle some pretty rugged terrain and it beats the hell out of actually walking, think of all the unnecessary wear and tear you’ll be saving on your legs!

We found the perfect spot on the edge of the vineyard and got off the Segways to watch the sun set. All around us there was just acre upon acre of rolling green land framed on all sides by the mountains rising like stone giants as the shadows they cast lengthened in the fading light.



I don’t know when we’ll go back to Stellenbosch again. We don’t live there anymore so probably not for a long, long time, but as far as last memories go that afternoon riding around the vineyards is possibly the best we could have left with.



It’s raining planes

The world we live in is one crazy place, that’s for damn sure. I walk into the office this morning and read on the front page of The Star that yet another plane has crashed, this time in Beirut. Authorities are saying the plane exploded after take off because of adverse weather conditions, which boggled my mind completely.

How exactly does a plane EXPLODE because of bad weather? Was it struck by the mother of all hail stones, which in turn ignited the fuselage and turned what was once a plane into a blazing ball of fire?



Sounds a little fishy to me, especially considering how many planes seem to be plummeting from the heavens these days. Just check out the site for all the most recent plane crash statistics… or maybe don’t, depending on how terrified you want to be the next time the plane you’re on starts experiencing turbulence.

In 2009 alone there were three major plane crashes in which over 150 people died in each one – the Air France crash, the Yemenia Airlines crash and the Caspian Airlines crash. In the case of the Air France crash, it’s largely a mystery as to exactly what happened that caused the Airbus to plummet into the Atlantic Ocean, but I got’s me a theory, hot damn!

My buddy Mus is a pilot and he’s told me some VERY scary shit about the planes he’s flown. From what he’s said, there’s hardly a plane in the sky that doesn’t have some kind of fault or other that the pilot sometimes only finds hours into the flight.



In most cases it’s something minor, maybe an instrument here or there that isn’t reading accurately, but in other cases there can be seriously fucked up shit going on, and it’s in cases like that that an excellent pilot will make the difference between everyone ending up dead in the ocean, or back safe in their homes.

And that’s not to mention other shit that could go wrong. Take US Airways Flight 1549 for example. One minute they’re taking off and climbing steadily toward cruising altitude and the next BAM! Flock of geese outta nowhere!

The pilot of that flight, Captain Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III became a legend when he safely landed the plane on the Hudson River and saved all 155 people on board. He was ranked second in Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons of 2009, I just read the Wikipedia entry about him and it’s really inspirational stuff, I definitely think you should check it out.



But anyway, back to my theory.

I reckon with the recession that hit last year, aviation companies started cutting corners when it came to maintenance and proper safety checks of their planes, which is why planes seem to be literally dropping out of the sky all over the goddamn place.

So yeah, think about that the next time you climb in a giant steel bird and ascend heavenward, but don’t let it bum you out too much cause let’s face it, if a plane crashes and explodes in a blazing inferno it’s tickets for you pal, no matter how tight you do up your little seatbelt.