26 September 2006

Bears Now

Next thing you know, there it was, right in the road ahead. Looked a bit thinner than I thought they would be but otherwise, OMG, it's a bear. And it isn't in any sort of cage. Crikey.

25 September 2006

Whale watching

Sunshine. Mountains. "Ooohs" and "ahs". Feelings of celestial reverence. All that. But there is one more thing you should know before going: it is important to sign a PWWA (Pre-Whale Watching Agreement) with others in your party that stipulates should your appearance after speeding across the Pacific at 32 knots in a relatively open boat resemble that of a werewolf afterwards, they are obligated to tell you prior to an evening out in town. A glance in a washroom (I know, I know but when in Rome etc) mirror just before returning to your B&B to discover said lupine resemblance isn't the best route to go I can assure you.

Butchart Butchart Gardens

(First, apologies for spelling mistakes and a lack of links - this is being posted using IE and therefore tabbed browsing isn't available - I know I could open up a second programme but what the hell, I like running down IE because it is awful).
These gardens - do visit them if you can, lying as they do just outside Victoria in BC, Canada. Don't go expecting to be able to walk on the grass, however, as Manicured is the word. Anyway, they are recommended provided you don't mind the mania for Rules that seems now to be prevalent here, at least in some places - more of which later. I'd recommend sunshine, of course, as well as getting there early so as to avoid the crowds who cannot walk on the aforementioned grass and therefore snake along slowly round the many (but perhaps not many enough) paths. A delight in all things 1920s will help you enjoy the few hours you spend here, as well as (though this isn't strictly necessary) a liking for sets of plastic trays with flower pictures on them. A final tip is that I should avoid getting stuck in a fat white man* wearing a red baseball cap who insists on telling everyone within 30 yards what he can see ("there's the sunken garden"; "there's a rose bush"; "I'm very annoying" and the like).

*That should, of course, read "behind" and not "in" - anyone failing to see the Freudian significance of this typo on its many levels should see me after the class.

20 September 2006


Starbucks - bless 'em. Their insipid milky coffee is, of course, famous for being made to suit the taste of people who don't really like coffee, but with their toilets (washrooms if you prefer), there isn't even a pretence at realism. Hotter than the beverages the baristas serve up, not very clean, and smaller than a portion of food at Cafe Rouge, Starbucks' toilets leave an awful lot to be desired. Which, given both the diuretic and other effects of coffee, is a little surprising. Interestingly, there is also a tendency for them to be unisex (often owing to the fact that their is only one, cupboard-sized, facility?), something we Brits at least are not that fond of (repression is more than a feminist issue) and which leads to an unfavourable comparison with Parisian loos, themselves a circle of hell lower even than McDonalds. Step forward, then, the Great British Department Store - Heals, Harrods and Harvey Nicks - you spoil us!

19 September 2006

More music?

I see the Sunday Times was recommending allofmp3.com again on Sunday. Mmm, perhaps it is time to return and get that Christina Aguilera album? Is it legal though (not the album...)? Surely it can't be that illegal if credit card companies are willing to work with it?

13 September 2006


How does one get to take pictures of people? I need to know because this is an area I'd like to explore involving as it would an much-needed growth in social confidece as well as discovering a whole new range of photographic techniques. Perhaps a local camera club will provide some assistance - I shall explore altough I fear it might be full of middle-aged white guys with technophilia - i.e. people like me. Still, onward.

9 September 2006

One more thing you didn't know about pandas' penises

Last night I learnt that they are very small (I won't tell you the means by which I found out but trust me, it didn't hurt. In fact, the source was impeccable, although I didn't learn the plural of "penis" which would have been useful - penii and penes have both been suggested elsewhere on the interwebs but I'm not sure). Which might explain why pandas are, as you know, heading for oblivion as a species - in many ways, they already can't be arsed with reproduction (I mean, they are so sick of bamboo). I imagine the problems associated with an undersized member (imagine, note) just add to the malaise and the general feeling of wanting to pack it all in, much like Italians by all accounts.
I should add here that I'm not casting any aspersions vis Italians, nosireebob.

(EM)I'm in trouble?

I recently downloaded a couple of mashup tracks from a compilation on the interwebs called the Beachles. The tracks came from a mash up of Sgt Pepper's and Pet Sounds. They weren't, I must say, to my taste (I couldn't listen all the way through to either track) and I deleted them. Now, though, according to the tracks creator, Clayton Counts, EMI are after him, me and everyone else who downloaded them, wanting the ISPs of us downloaders and ... and erm what? It isn't clear. Money and punishment probably. Why though? Liking neither the Beatles nor the Beachboys, I'm not in the market for their music but was interested to hear what a combination might sound like. This being the case, what could EMI have lost by my hearing this experiment?

5 September 2006

Tripping up in Goa

So, arriving in Goa a *cough* few *cough* years ago, got chatting to a Yorkshireman. He was looking a bit the worse for wear and explained what had happened the previous day. He'd been at a rave (by this time, raves in Goa were like Saturday night in Newcastle but with the "bonus" of a 100% chance of your nethers being mauled if you were female) and had settled down cross-legged to take some acid. This kicked in after some time and he became fascinated with the carpet he was sat on (creatures, cartoons, stick people having sex, that type of thing). So, 12 hours of this and things start to calm down a bit so he decides maybe he'll get up and have a bit of a breather, get away from the rug for a while. Gets up and what do you know, half a day of sittng in a semi-lotus and he has no control over his legs - staggers about as if drunk and ends up falling off a cliff onto a sandy beach. Wakes up a while later haloed by a circle of concerned India faces. He stares upwards and begins to put things together when as one the circle says "taxi?"

Maybe you have to have been there....

Blogger bu**ered again

More photos later - in the meantime, why not visit this artist's site? See if you can find the sparking cars - amazing. (PDF horror lies ahead but it is worth it).

3rd September 2006 Oxford Botanical Garden.

2 September 2006

Video: Last One Leaving the Library, Please Turn Out the Lights

Got a library near you? Well it might be turned into a cafe or bar soon if this takes off - a device the size of a rolled up magazine with what looks to be enough reading to keep you occupied for many months. The digital age is helping end the age of pollution.