MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG

Mark Pilgrim Kia

So, there was a Doctor and a Virgin...

It's been a really interesting couple of days. On Wednesday I had the crew from SABC3's "Doctors Orders" come to my house and film an insert on heart disease and my experience having the heart attack back in 2008. As part of the filming I diligently prepared a healthy lunch of tuna and rice...


When the camera stopped rolling, I put that meal aside ... and had beans on toast (my gourmet contribution to the culinary world).

That same afternoon we had a journalist from "Your Family" come over and chat to my wife and I about stem cell storage. We've stored both our girls stem cells and, like an insurance policy, we hope we never have to use them, but take comfort in knowing they are available. To date I think stem cells can cure over 50 previously untreatable diseases (check out www.cryosave.co.za for more info).

Speaking of magazines, Living and Loving magazine have asked me to write their monthly "dad" column. If you're a regular reader of my blogs, you'll know countless blog posts have been dedicated to fatherhood, so I'm really chuffed I get to waffle to an even bigger audience. My first contribution will be in the December issue. Also, Nicole and Alyssa (my 1 year old) will be on the November cover. Very cool! Thanks Living and Loving!

Speaking of cool. It's not every day I can say that I sat down and chin wagged with Sir Richard Branson. Yesterday it happened. With the Johannesburg skyline as the backdrop, he made a stop at the new Virgin Active Alice Lane where I was asked to MC the occasion. He was very polite and friendly to the 400+ people that attended. Here we are chatting just before going on stage:


And here's a pic of us chatting to the crowd:


He's a living legend that garners respect from most captains of industry, so it was a real treat being on stage with him. 

Just a heads up for next week, I'm out of the country on business Monday to Wednesday. I'll try and write a blog while away, but have no idea what internet connectivity will be like, so might only be back on this site on Thursday next week.

Thanks as always for popping on and reading my blurbs!
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Who's your celebrity pass?

Who is that celebrity that, theoretically, your partner would allow you some time with?

For my wife, her celeb pass is Enrique (oh, the amount of times I've had to sing "Will you be my hero baby?").

Megan Fox was always my fav, but she got bumped off the top of the list after watching Safe Haven over the weekend with Julianne Hough. She was brilliant in the movie and quite the belter, which is saying something as I've never been into blondes. You have to watch the movie. It's in the iTunes store.

Staying with girls, Nicole was laughing at me this morning, because I was responsible for dressing Tayla-Jean:


Actually, for the record, I simply let her dress herself. And choose her own breakfast... peanut butter on a spoon.

My girls are getting used to TV cameras in the house these days. Yesterday we had a crew shooting a DVD for Cryo-Save. My one year old, Alyssa, walked around as if she was the director. Tayla-Jean, more than a little camera shy, spent 2 hours playing in her bedroom to escape the lens!

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I staged an episode of 24

One of the things I love about my job is that, despite being around SA artists all the time, I still respect and appreciate music talent and my job allows me to be on stage with legends.

Last night I shared the platform with Arno Carstens at a corporate event for FNB.


No, that's not me next to him with hair ... I was behind the band setting up my deejay equipment.

Speaking of being on stage, i'll be doing it again today 12-3pm at Woodmead Retail Park to host their Christmas in July event where we will be collecting warm clothing and blankets for those in need this Winter. If you're in the area, please pop by with your old clothing!

And then, this weekend, it's watching others on stage as it's the annual SA "Oscars, the YOU Magazine Spectacular. I'm not nominated in any category... I'm going for the party.

I'm also deciding this weekend whether to continue watching the TV show 24 (I'm the only guy in the Western world who hasn't watched the show).

I've now watched 2 out of 192 episodes. The problem is, the show started in 2001. That doesn't seem that far back, until you realise how much technology has changed in a decade. They still watch square TV's and their phone's have only started sending text messages on their grey Nokia 1610 screens!

The show hasn't hooked me yet, but I'll give it a few more episodes. Nicole has bailed on me though and doesn't want to to watch it, so it might take me about 3 years now to watch all the episodes!
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Last night was a true MasterChef experience

With the fireplace roaring last night at Hoeveld House, a function venue in the posh suburb of Inanda, MNET invited 19 "friends" to experience a VIP dinner hosted by Masterchef Judge Benny Masekwameng.


It's quite a clever marketing strategy. Put 19 people who enjoy tweeting and blogging around a table, make sure the WiFi signal is strong, and invite them to constantly use their phones at the dinner table as the top 16 finalists for Season 2 of Masterchef South Africa are revealed.


Whilst watching last night's episode of Masterchef on the big screen, we all tucked into a scrumptious meal and good wine. I'm not a great chef by any means, so I always appreciate the art of good food, and the care that goes into dishes behind the scenes. The menu was outstanding:


There was only one problem... I don't eat lamb! It stems from being a kid and my step-dad forcing me to eat sheep heart. I remember vividly how chewy the aorta was. Yeegghhh. So, I opted for the veggie meal.

Without going into detail about ingredients, the chefs in the kitchen were amazing! They mixed a little peanut butter with the creamed spinach and it was unbelievable...who would have thought!!

I also got a tip from Edward, a chef with Springbok colours (no, he doesn't cook FOR the Springboks) on how to perfect a roast potato. Boil baby potatoes until they are almost falling apart, then place them in a cold fridge (so the starch condenses). Heat up oil in a baking tray at 220 C and then put the cold potatoes in the hot oil for about 5 minutes. After they are done, pop them in a frying pan with a blob of butter and marmite to perfect the glaze. Holy whack, that sure sounds more tasty than me plonking a potato in the microwave for 3 minutes.


Nicole and I had a great night out. Thank you MNET and Masterchef SA ... and it worked. We are now hooked onto Season 2 of the show!

Towards the end of the evening though my flu started kicking in again. It's now day 8 and I was getting better, but somehow got a secondary infection yesterday (so said my doctor this morning), and I've been flat on m back in bed...again! The problem as a voice artist is: no voice... no work. Some days though you just have to take a "sickie" and chill.

At least I had a bit of time to write my blog today!
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In SA, Big Brother has not been watching you for a while.


I see that one of the channels on DStv (can't even tell you its name, but I think it's channel 135) has been showing re-runs of Big Brother Africa 1 which I hosted.

I remember doing the show and being bombarded by people in SA telling me how they DIDN'T watch the show. Whilst it wasn't big in South Africa, 32 million people in the rest of Africa were watching. Those viewership figures were bigger than American Idol. And that's why they're now about to do Big Brother Africa 47 (or a season number near that... and the same amount of hosts!).

I'll always look fondly back on those days of hosting the Big Brothers. From a TV presenting point of view, with 9 live cameras that moved all the time, and unpredictable show outcomes where you had to prepare for any eventuality, it simply didn't get bigger than that. Here's a 2003 BB Africa clip I loaded onto YouTube that's been viewed 120 000 times...


I still get asked if there will ever be another Big Brother SA. I don't think so. The format has evolved in the UK and the States and reality shows have grown up. Based on tanking viewership figures, some say even American Idol has run its course. One show still doing well and now in Season 13 is one I blogged about earlier this week. All -Star Celebrity Apprentice has had me glued to my Apple TV. Gary Busey is back on this one and has to be the oddest and most eccentric person on television in recent years. He has what are called Buseyisms. He treats normal words as acronyms for what the word means. For example:

  • FART: Feeling A Rectal Transmission
  • AWESOME: A Wonderful Experience Showing Others Magnificent Energy
  • BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
  • LAUGH: Looking And Understanding Goofy Humans 
  • FREEDOM:  Facing Real Exciting Energy Developing Out of Miracles
  • FAITH: Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him

The dude is cooked, and absolutely made this season worthwhile watching.

Lots of friends have also been telling me to watch REVENGE, which I might start watching shortly. The great thing about watching television on demand via the web these days is that it doesn't take 26 weeks to watch a show anymore. You can binge watch all the episodes back to back and then move on to another show, like reading one book at a time. Nicole and I are almost finished watching Modern family. With over 90 episodes, it's pretty much been 1 or 2 episodes EVERY night!

Happy TV watching this weekend!
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I'm selling my friends

I've realised over the years that true friends are rare, so it's always great when we're able to get together over a few glasses of wine and a good meal.

Last night the gang went out for dinner at the Red Rabbit in Nicolway Bryanston (which by the way, serves the best steak I've ever eaten).


The girls call themselves the "chickens" and us guys were knighted with the title of "roosters" (because you don't want to call someone a cock in public). Here's to many more nights of red wine flowing!

Speaking of friends, would you like to buy some? No, not the people in the photo above, but these guys...
I have been cleaning out the garage and my complete collection of Friends on DVD is gathering dust, which is almost disrespectful to one of the funniest shows ever flighted! I have the collection on iTunes so don't have a need for DVDs anymore. In fact, I've just recently started watching again from Series 1 and they're just as funny now as they were 19 years ago! (If you're interested in the DVDs, drop me an email: mark@markpilgrim.co.za) - UPDATE: collection sold!.

I'm off to Durban today to do a talk for SA Breweries (and fly back 3 hours later) so I might actually watch some more episodes on the plane... either that or the new "All Star Celebrity Apprentice" which is brilliant. If you're into shows that are hot in the States right now, this one is big! It features some of the biggest celebs from previous seasons of Celebrity Apprentice, back again to fight it out.



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Muggles and make up

I've been spending quite a bit of time traveling lately, and today is no exception as I'm off to Durban for a gig tonight.

To pass the time at hotels, airports and on the plane itself I've been watching a few iPad movies. About a week ago I decided to give Daniel Radcliffe another chance and I loaded the Potter movies (all 8 of them). So, for the last few days I've once again immersed myself in the world of muggles, sorcery and brooms. I'm four movies down with four to go and I have to once again conclude that I really don't think Mr Potter acted well at all. Having said that though, I really love the special effects and the storyline, so today in the 5 minutes of the Durban flight which is not ascending or descending, I'll switch on my "electronic device" and start the 5th movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Think of it as trivial escapism.

The worst thing about traveling for me is missing my girls. Even for one night. I think I might just miss one of the "moments" when the girls do something for the first time. Like last week when Tayla-Jean decided to apply her own makeup for the first time...
In fact, she could do with some make up now because she's as white as a sheet. Last night Nicole and I were up all night because she was vomiting (the first time I expertly caught most of it in my hands... it's an instinct thing!). This morning I have cancelled a meeting so I can lie in bed with her as she's still quite weak. It's weird being in my pajamas on a "work day".
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Marilyn Manson is not the kid from The Wonder Years

I was watching Marilyn Manson last night do a guest appearance on Californication and he acted very well. I mentioned it on twitter and a few people responded with the rumour that's been going around for years that he used to be the geeky kid in the The Wonder Years. So I did a bit of research...


Yep, they certainly DO look similar, but alas, it's not the same person. Marilyn Manson's real name is Brian Warner and the nerdy kid from the TV show is Josh Saviano, who is now a lawyer...


As they say on TV... myth busted.

Staying with things you watch, ever since my kids were born I've been shooting video clips of me growing up and keep them, edited, on a timeline that's constantly growing every week. It's great to look back and see how  they've changed.

Here's someone who has done something similar with his wife's pregnancy. It's a great time lapse video of the baby growing in the belly and eventual birth. You can't go back in time after the fact to record this kind of thing, so it's worth making the effort and filming things as they happen:


And finally, here's the pic I posted yesterday on twitter, taken at Sandton City. They have dedicated "mummy and baby" bays, which really come in handy when you need space to take your kid out the back of the car. I was there yesterday with my 9 month old daughter and couldn't use the dedicated bay because the inconsiderate security company that Sandton City employs, Fidelity,  parked their patrol van there. It might seem insignificant to you, but believe me, when you're trying to get kids in and out of baby seats, you need the extra space on the side.

Asshole.
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TV shows that dissapoint and enthral

I'm a bit of pain to sit next to when watching reality TV shows as. Having done it myself for many years, I tend to look at the production elements as well, not just watching the show as a viewer.

X Factor USA still has to be the most well produced reality show I've ever watched. The storyline shots are amazing and the set is spectacular (it was just a pity about Khloe Kardashian who looked like a ventriloquist's doll every time she read the autocue).

I've also always loved American Idol. They just have a knack of getting the production right, and Ryan Seacrest is the consummate professional... so why can I not get into the latest season? I actually don't have the answer.

I'm not sure whether it's because the format is now getting stale and it's the same old thing all over again, or is it the constant changing of the judging panel? Maybe it's just Mariah Carey that bugs me. Could it be that when skimming through it yesterday (I taped it), not one singer stood out for me. In fact, not since Adam Lambert has there been a wow factor on the show.

This season surely has to be the last. There again, I would have put money on the table saying last year's SA Idol was also the last... but alas, it is not so.

However, one show that is not getting stale. If anything it's just getting more risque is Californication Season 6. It's rude. It's funny. It's brilliant! I'm not sure if it's on SA TV yet, but if you're not a prude, you have to watch it when it's on!

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