Dikgang: Questions of Realities

Dikgang Kekana is a 19-year old university student in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He also happens to be one of our contributors here at WikiAnswers.  His username is Dikgang.

This week he has shared a most thought-provoking poem with the “Poetry Cafe.”  He wrote the following poem in 2008 while attending a math tutorial.  Dikgang explains “The lecturer was covering the chapter on absolute values and there was an instant wherein he alluded to the discipline’s supremacy – that some aspects were unquestionable, but within them there was cause for question.”  He further adds “I was just struck by how one could twist reality for [oneself], twist definitions and accepted standards.”  He now strives to follow in the footsteps of some of the great intellectuals in the discipline of mathematics.

[If you would like your original poetry profiled on this blog, please e-mail it to poetry @ wikianswers.com (no spaces) and include your WikiAnswers username!]

“Questions of Realities,” by Dikgang

I feel a million words rush through my fingers, a million ideals, ideals that can shape our collective realities. I have visions and thoughts that every time upon their summoning they dare to challenge the accepted and mundane. I have prophecies and epiphanies that refuse to surrender hostage of my mind, ever seeking the source of that decision that ultimately separates me from all the rest.

I keep finding myself in a variable reality that I sometimes control, I can sometimes tell what yet isn’t. I have impulses that scream to be named, scream to be made, scream to be known and acknowledged. As soon as I put them on a canvas an image is to behold. What we thought was, now isn’t. This very same thing I cannot express in exact testimony has got my heart enraptured and senses unknowing of their tastes. How can I create these… illusions? How can I imagine to challenge the impossible? This formless inspiration that dwells in the depths of my twisted inner core that wishes that my real reality was real as it was to me changes shape by the minute and stalks my conscience until it strikes yet again and leaves me disillusioned and questioning everything and anything.

With this one entrapment of still, motionless beliefs and possibility I can translate to infinite pages of uncharted knowledge, I do dare to challenge the known and the accepted. How can I not? That feeling wants to hear of nothing else but its own manifestation. It catches and taunts me in the middle of my daily bread as the apparently diligent lecturers go about telling their subjects of what is known and is possible.

How can I bear this torture and still be sane and still exist between these realms that cannot coexist? Do I choose one and abandon the other, ever wondering what the other would have brought me, what fruits would it have bore? I cannot but only suffer under this tyranny of ideas, thoughts, visions and epiphanies. Should I express these through my expressions? That only raises eyebrows. Should I keep it in? That is only normal… and… sedate! Don’t I deserve a little insanity? Insanity that is at least different, strange, outstanding. Can I legitimately assume a little instability? Instability is after all possibility. Instability is the state of not knowing what is to happen next, what is to define the subsequent time frame that the observer exists in.

How do I tame this beast? I don’t want to. I want it to ravage my mind further so I can continuously shape my ideals and definition of reality. I want it to feed my drive, my essence that can with ease inspire and baffle professors of the highest degree. It is this that lays on forth me the blueprint… of my success. Yes, finally there’s something that balances the forces that are against me. Balance is what we all ultimately fall back on by default and hope to eventually attain. There’s something that wishes for me to continue onward and inquire on the workings of my predecessors and of nature itself. I am yet to ask my questions and I am yet to be answered. Until I am, I’m free to explore, free to assume my own reality in this reality. Until then, I can choose to believe.

Congrats, October AnswerThon winners!

This past weekend was an exciting and intense AnswerThon, mainly due to the fact that the first prize is a $1,000 Amazon gift card… Not to mention, 34 other prizes available to other winners and runners up!

Keep in mind, the folks mentioned below managed to answer hundreds – and some over one thousand – questions in a 48-hour period over the weekend.

So, on to the winners. Drum roll, please….

FIRST Place goes to Blue, who clocked in with over 1600 answers!

SECOND Place is taken by Aggie80, a past champion who answered over 1200 times!

THIRD Place prizes are awarded to Fuzzy Logic (1100+), Porkchop1802 (900+) and Steven Keyman (900+).

The thirty RUNNERS UP include: HisPowr4U, Darksyde, Anandvijayakumar, EndTrans, Xuxa, Ftaylor13, Chemistry4thewin, Ananddave, Jadeacres, Ibbag, Manikkpudur, George McCasland, ThePigWhisperer, Blackwolfspirit, Jute, Squirrel Man, Ilovebulldogs, Webby08, Mathdoc, Funbelow, EducationsAdvocate, Idisjunction, Hilmarz, Kharrima, Bluedolphin30, Armoryhistorian, Ginezumi, MattApril, C.Hainsaw, and Wiki Gator.

Thanks to everyone who participated this weekend! And congrats to the winners. Until next time… you are the AnswerThon champions!

Stay tuned for some news regarding future contests coming soon… All I can say is, more contests, more often. I said, stay tuned!

Paint the town orange!

The Orange Guy.

You’ve seen him grace the pages of Answers.com in his various costumes, roles and forms. You’ve seen his friends parade around the Community: Decoded page, displaying the kinds of programs and positions you can join on the site.

And today, the Orange Guy (the brainchild of renowned illustrator, Leo Blanchette) has officially joined the Answers.com family. Did you know he began his career here as an icon for a quick promo ad? That was his lucky break, since he has since evolved into one of the most memorable images on the Answers.com sites.

A little bit of background:

Name: Orange Guy
Location: Everywhere the community goes
Current profession: The Answers.com Community Mascot
Past professions: Pirate, Mailman, Secret Agent, Racecar driver, Chef, Scientist, Writer…
Hobbies: Helping community members around ReferenceAnswers and WikiAnswers.
Website: www.jesterartsillustrations.com

Read up on the rest of the Orange Guy’s biography and get to know him and his creator, Leo Blanchette, who said “he came up with the idea over two years ago while driving 30 miles to work. After running out of gas and walking 2 miles to the nearest gas station he got serious about the concept.”

Well, whatever works. As Leo says, “Paint the town orange!”

WikiAnswers All Natural Val

It seems everywhere we turn nowadays people are talking about organic foods, healthy lifestyles and green products. It’s about feeling good and getting back to basics. Well over on WikiAnswers we learned a long time ago that the best things in life are all-natural. In fact, one of our all-time greatest Contributors is the one and only Natural Val. When asked about his user name, Val had this to say “I have been fascinated by all things natural ever since I can remember. I enjoy being outside and feel the greatest calm and contentment when I am in nature.” Val has been a dedicated WikiAnswers Contributor and Supervisor since early 2007 focusing mainly on science and health-related topics.

Here’s more on this preservative and additive free star wiki-er:

Are you a Floating or Category Supervisor (which categories)?

I supervise: Biology, Human Anatomy and Massage Therapy. I also like to answer questions in the sciences and health related areas.

What other badges do you hold on WikiAnswers?

I am a Silver Contributor, getting close to Gold, with almost 15,000 contributions. I was awarded a medal for 1,000 Trust Points and I was in the Top Twenty AnswerThon Charity Edition.

What is your first name?

My full first name is Valentin, a variation of Valentinius, one of three Roman Emperors. The names Valentine and Valentino are also variations of the name depending on which part of Europe you originated from.

Would you care to tell us about your family?

I have two older sisters. I am single, never married.

Where do you live, how long have you lived there and why do you like the area?

I live in North Carolina and just moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’ve been here for about 4 years. Before that I lived in San Diego, California for about 16 years.

Where did you grow up and what are some special memories of your childhood?

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of my memories are about how different I was from the other kids because I was born in what used to be Yugoslavia, now Serbia. After we moved to the US when I was six, I encountered a lot of embarrassing moments when other kids would make fun of me because of my unusual name and that my parents both spoke English with a heavy European accent. My earliest memory of this was my first Halloween. All the kids had costumes and I had no idea what was going on. I was at my friend Greg’s house. And since he had Muscular Dystrophy, he didn’t go out Trick-or-Treating. So we stayed inside and gave out candy instead.

What educational information would you like to share?

I have a Bachelors Degree in Photography and Cinema, a Masters Degree in Art, emphasis in Photography and Video Production and a Holistic Health Practitioner Certificate for Massage Therapy.

What are some of your past and/or present occupations?

I am mostly an educator and teach Massage Therapy Courses. I also teach Continuing Education Courses for professional Massage Therapists and Bodyworkers.

What is/are your key area(s) of knowledge, interests or expertise?

My area of knowledge in Human Anatomy is a result of teaching the topic for many years. The reason I enjoy being a part of WikiAnswers is because it gives me a chance to expand my knowledge on the subject and also practice my teaching skills by answering questions.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

All my hobbies and collections are directly related to teaching massage therapy. I have a small collection, mainly decorative items from Thailand. I have made three trips there to study Thai massage, and I have brought back with me tapestries, singing bowls, gongs and other items to decorate the space when I teach to make it feel a bit more like Thailand.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I enjoy yoga, chi gong and martial arts.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I have had a mustache since I was 16. I am a bit OCD when it comes to locking doors. Sometimes I check, and double check them before I leave my apartment or car. I have 6 pair of the same shoes. I have been called ‘Mr. Practical’ by family members ever since I gave my mother a can opener for Christmas when I was 8-years-old.

Do you have any special talents you’d like to share?

I have a unique ability to ‘read’ people. With my skills that I have acquired in my years of teaching and giving professional massage, I have heightened my senses to be able to find ‘spots’ of tension in people. At a demonstration I did at a Massage Therapy Convention where I was teaching a course on Bodymind Therapy, I located the source of a woman’s pain in about a minute. It brought her to tears when I gently touched it to bring her awareness to the trauma that was locked inside.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

Working at the Deaf Community Center in San Diego and teaching ASL, and reading and writing English to pre-literate deaf people from around the world.

What are your special goals or dreams?

To continue teaching massage therapy until I retire and move to Thailand.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

Most people find my outer personality to be a bit ‘anal-retentive’, but I am mostly a quiet person, even shy at times. I truly let myself out when I teach. I get very animated and enthusiastic. My shyness disappears and I am in the moment, the zone, and my whole focus is on helping others become more of who they want to be.

What brought you to WikiAnswers?

I found it on the web and answered a few questions. Then I got a message from WikiAnswers Community Coordinator, Crystal, that she really liked my answers and invited me to be a Supervisor.

What keeps you coming back to WikiAnswers?

The love of answering questions. It’s the teacher in me. I’ve always wanted to help other people ever since my sister, Ofelia, taught me to tie my shoes when I was three. Her act of kindness sparked something in me that I’m sure was already there, it just gave me so many feelings of gratitude that it grew into a strong feeling and I felt that I had to do the same for others.

National Bosses Day – Honoring the Leader of the Pack.

fistThere is probably no holiday more controversial than National Bosses Day; A day created  to celebrate and appreciate the work of one’s boss. Huh!? You heard me right. No, not Employees Day…  Bosses Day.

The term ‘boss’ alone elicits fear, hate, disdain and so many other negative emotions and gastric reflexes, it is surprising that such a day even exists.  Many workers refer to it as ‘Pain-in-the-a$$ Day,’ ‘Suck-up –to-Satan Day’, or many other endearing terms that would best be defined using urbandictionary .com and some parental advisory.

So, Why do people hate their bosses so much? asks a WikiAnswers user.

A: It’s pretty simple-  The boss is in a position of extreme power. You are the subordinate;  weak  and helpless- the vulnerable underdog.
Let’s face it; No one likes getting ordered around, being told what to do and when to do it. Bossman, or Bosswoman,  can analyze your weak  performance and point out your imperfections . They can break you down slowly and silently so by the end of your your 9-5, you hand in your time card along with your dignity. Bosses can reduce your hours and your self-esteem. They can  rearrange your vacation days, create tension in your workspace, and hold  an invisible pink slip over your head.  The Boss says jump and you must  say ‘how high’.

Yipes! Why does this day even exist!???

I will tell you, my friends. It exists because every now and then you will come across a rare gem. Believe it or not, there are indeed bosses out there that do the best for their employees, that care for them, that even worry for their well being. I jest with you not.  When those above us choose to use their power  to create a person instead of destroy him, to train employees on how to use their skills for the benefit of the company  instead of belittling their errors, when the boss  promotes an environment of cheer, where thoughts and opinions are welcomed instead of suppressed – it humbles us. So much so, that the few that exist deserve a national holiday.

Leaders can reign through fear or love. Those who reign through love rally up the troops to help protect  and Richard simmonsimprove the whole. Those who rule with fear have much more success in the beginning but almost never succeed in the long run. Feared leaders must always worry about being overthrown. Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung and Simon Cowell rule through fear. Gandhi, Princess Di, Churchill, Lincoln and  Richard Simmons rule by  love. In such a confusing world, what would nature have us choose?  There are many  animals that live in packs, pods, and other social groups, just like us . They also have one defined leader – so how do they succeed?

Well this is the part where I should say through love, that we should learn to hug and cuddle one another the way a group of fuzzy baby gorillas in diapers do- but it’s not the case. Most animal groups that have a leader- the alpha male (the rare alpha female and alpha pairs also exist)-are established via violence, force and terror .

  • Take your typical pride  of lions. If Mr. Lion King wants to take over the pride, he fights the current alpha. If he wins, he kills all the offspring of the previous male (infanticide) and drives away any teenage competition.
  • wolfThe Alpha wolf stands at the head of the pack. He leads the hunt, and gets first dibs on the kill. Although the members of the group share the rest of the freshly caught meat -along with the perks of protection and territory, they are reproductively suppressed. In fact,  if a male wolf so much looks at the Leader’s mate, he’s in trouble… Wolves use eye contact to establish rank and a wandering eye can mean a slash across the jaw.
  • Next we have the hierarchical society of the common chicken. Throw in a few more hens – and chaoscockfight ensues until a new pecking order is established. Even worse, throw in a rooster and you have an all out cockfight on your hands. And they fight to the death by the way (care to place any bets, Pedro Martinez?).
  • Alas, what about those baby gorillas mentioned? You guessed it; when they grow up they lead through fear – grunting, pushing and intimidating the heck out of the competition. Sometimes the males do cooperate with one another; If it involves mutiny.

In all these cases, groups stay successful for short periods  of time until the current leader is ousted, killed, or dethroned to a lower rank.

So wake up and smell the office coffee! Next time you are lucky enough to have a boss who doesn’t stare you down or cockfight you to mental  death, smile and appreciate it.  When your boss doesn’t eat your firstborn or intimidate you, realize how lucky you are! This goes against nature! Give back to your giving boss! Buy a cupcake and balloon and say ‘Thank You’ on National Bosses Day.

On behalf of myself and all the lucky employees of Answers.com, thank you Bob.

And they’re off…

Well, in a few more hours, that is.

The AnswerThon begins tonight at midnight, EDT, and continues for the next 48 hours through Sunday night.

Hope you’ve been practicing… Word has it that past winners are flexing their champion typing muscles for this one. Big prizes at stake.

In case you haven’t already, read the rules so you know in advance and don’t have to backtrack.

See you on the other side!

Love is a bar code…

My love for answers is like a bar code. Each time I click on a new question to explore, I hear the little ‘ding’ of something going through the checkout, like a supermarket of information.

“There’s a spill in asle 4!”

Oh no, my friend. That’s not a spill; it’s the spreading of knowledge.

Photo credit and Foto Friday support from the spectacular SarahI.