Day 304 – Wander with a camera

A quick trip to Kirstenbosch Gardens (we’re members now, don’t you know?) this morning with a camera (50mm prime lens only) in hand yielded some decent exercise and a few nice pics, not least this Common Garden Orbweb Spider (Agriope australis), which was much better camouflaged than you might imagine.

Not sure what the thicker woven threads top left and bottom left are, but it was quite an impressive construction for a relatively small spider.

And how about a bit of Erica densifolia to brighten your day?

Because of… well… you know what, a lot of outdoor spaces (basically those without controlled entrance) are out of bounds at the moment and even Kirstenbosch is only open 9-6, leading to huge, mostly socially-distanced queues outside the gates when we arrived. And then the frustrating stupidity of the official at the entrance with his mask under his nose, touching everyone’s hands while taking their temperature, but telling us all to behave safely.

Still, once you’re in, and past the muppets, you can lose yourself nicely for a while.
This was an hour or so well-spent.

Day 150 – Flying things

A quick trip just up the road to Kirstenbosch this morning yielded some decent (by my standards) photos.

Mainly of flying things, it seems.

A pair of Cape Sugarbirds entertained us for a while, flitting between proteas and aloes and there were plenty of Southern and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds around.

And then this little guy, lime green and hidden amongst the lime greenery:

He’s a Forest Canary. He’s rightfully very proud of those eyebrows.

Who wouldn’t be?

And then, as a bit of fun, an exhibit from the Cycads and Dinosaurs exhibition. I’m not a huge fan – I don’t think the gardens need this sort of… “gimmick”(?) – but the little kids love it and I suppose it’s just a one-off thing and it’s educational so [shrug emoji].

The flying dinosaur is very unrealistic, mainly because dinosaurs died out tens of millions of years ago about half the metal used in the sculpture are quite clearly big fat scaffolding poles propping it up into a gliding position.
But take those out with photoshop and apply a bit of a dated filter, and…

… just a bit of fun, but I might try and get a better, more threatening angle next time – difficult because you obviously have to stick to the pathways. (Have a look at one slightly different effort here as well.)

A nice morning out before it got too busy and too non-social distancey. Yes, even in the wide-open spaces of the Botanical Gardens. Back home for a blog post, an afternoon nap and a Sunday evening braai, I think.

And we’re already a third of the way through that already.

[photos here]

How to save money (for South Africans)

Here’s one that’s going to divide the readership.
Oh, and the way this panned out in my head overnight, it may include some swearing.
So… you know… be warned.

Earlier this week, I saw a lot of people tweeting, sharing and generally acting holier-than-thou online about Black Friday:

“Save 100% this Black Friday by staying at home and not buying anything!”

Which is your prerogative, of course. And I really do understand the sentiment. But if you have been after a flatscreen TV for a couple of months like my mother-in-law has, then why not wait until Black Friday and get the model you want for 30% less?

(She did, yes.)

So, if you need something or if you have planned and saved to buy something, then actually, Black Friday is a very good day to go and buy it.

This isn’t a post about saving money on Black Friday though. This – at least as far as I can work out – is an absolute no-brainer of an idea which will not only save South African individuals a chunk of change, but will also make the world a much nicer place. Which is why it will never catch on.

Yep: we’re back on the concert thing. We have been here before. Often.

We went to see James at Kirstenbosch last night. Here’s them.

Great band, great venue, great gig. Tickets were R545 each. And here in SA, that’s a reasonable price to pay to see an international act. (For reference, Ed Sheeran is coming to Cape Town Stadium next year and prices range from R395 to (eina!) R1360.)

Only the one issue then: once again, many of the crowd talked loudly to one another throughout the entire fecking concert. Not quietly, because that would have been only mildly disrespectful and would have necessitated actually thinking of other people. No. The band played loudly, so they shouted to each other across their picnic blankets about this, that and the other.

Why?

Look, I don’t get it. And [deity] knows I’ve tried to understand. If you want to talk to each other, stay home and talk to each other. If you want to shout to each other, stay home, turn the tele on loudly and shout to each other. If you want to shout to each other across a picnic blanket, why not chuck one down in front of the loud TV and shout at each other across it?

It’s not rocket surgery.

Don’t spend five hundred and forty five fecking Rands each to sit on a dark grassy slope and ruin things for people who – really weirdly – have actually turned up at a concert to hear the band playing and not you shouting to your mate about taking junior to the fecking Constantia Uitsig fecking bike park in the morning.

Stay home.

I just saved you R1090. That’s, like, two overpriced coffees while he’s on the pisspoor dirt track tomorrow. Boom.

Or if you really did pay your Rands to come along to hear the band, then couldn’t your utterly mundane shouty conversation just have waited for an hour and a half?
You bunch of self-absorbed, stereotypical, Southern Suburbs twats.
No wonder everyone hates you.

[deep breath]

Look, I know things won’t change. [narrator: and he was right.]
But they should. [narrator: *chuckles*]

If any of the promoters or venues are reading this (spoiler: they’re not), then please consider designating a section of the audience to be a “quiet zone” like this. Not for people to sit there silently and still, but just for them not to talk throughout all the songs.
An area where people who want to hear the music, who paid to hear the music, can hear the music and not details of the personal experience of one student in last week’s 1st year Economics exam at UCT.
Because I really don’t want to hear that ever anyway. But least of all when I’ve paid 600 bucks to enjoy a concert.

 

Rant over. Until next time, obviously.

I have questions, Kirstenbosch

Another day, another local sign.

This one is outside Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a place very close to my heart – I actually got married to the long-suffering Mrs 6000 there. So I’m not writing this lightly.

Texas (UK)?

Let’s not beat about the bush here: Texas is not in the UK.

Texas is nearly three times the size of the UK.
Texas would swamp the UK.
Texas is not in the UK.

I asked 100 individuals which country Texas was in* and 99 of them knew that it was in the USA. The other one was a beagle, and you can’t really expect a beagle to know that sort of thing. But then, who knows: maybe the sign was done by a beagle? What they lack in geographical nous, they surely make up for with their sign-writing abilities.

I do understand that as a National Botanical Garden, Kirstenbosch is obviously more about horticulture than geography. But still, publicly displaying this sort of inaccuracy is – at best – embarrassing.

And at worst…? Well, it’s not even the worst bit of the sign.

What sort of repugnant nonsense are you planning on serving in your restaurant on New Year’s Eve?
Literally no-one wants to bring in the New Year with cool fish soup. We’re all well aware of the results of boiling a fish anyway: it’s mingy. It’s absolutely the worst way of cooking fish that exists. That’s why normal people advocate frying or grilling fish, with a touch of lemon or garlic butter, (add seasoning to taste).

Also, why goldfish? How bizarre. Is this the latest hipster fad or something? I also felt that it might be ecologically unsound, so I checked the SASSI lists, but goldfish isn’t even mentioned. That’s because you don’t eat goldfish, you look at them. Serving goldfish soup is the start of a slippery slope. What next? Sautéed hagfish? Parrotfish bisque? Ugh.

You simply don’t need to do this. Play to your strengths. Just do plants.
That’s what you’re good at. Plants. Do that.

But maybe I’ve got this all wrong. Again.
Maybe this isn’t a meal at all, but rather just a spectacle. How very cruel.

We’re all well aware that the average goldfish is able to survive in a range of temperatures, from near freezing right up to 30ºC. But 30ºC is merely warm. However, ‘Hot Water” would suggest something well in excess of that. And while the goldfish may be able to briefly tolerate this higher temperature environment, the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water will decline as the temperature increases, meaning that the goldfish will struggle to breathe and eventually die or be cooked. Or both.

It’ll probably make a horrible whining noise as it expires. Goldfish usually do in my experience (Rocking The Daisies, 2013).

For your information, I will be reporting this sign to the SPCA and the Two Oceans Aquarium. I would also have reported it to some local geographical society or other, but I literally couldn’t find one that still existed. Maybe that’s what’s behind the Texas (UK) debacle.

Please, Kirstenbosch. Don’t put the anyone through such unnecessary cruelty. Let’s go into 2018 on a high note (and I don’t mean the last squeals of an expiring Goldfish). There’s enough to see and do in Kirstenbosch. You don’t need gimmicks like this.

Please reconsider.

 

* obviously, I didn’t really do this. I have a full-time job. 

Riding to New York

We are freshly returned from the Passenger concert at Kirstenbosch, and it turns out that Mike Rosenberg (for he is it) is a great raconteur as well as a fantastic singer/songwriter. He kept the sold out audience entertained for 90 minutes with jokes, stories and music. A really great show.

Song of the concert was this one though – sung to 5 minutes of utter silence from the 6,000 people present; that’s a massive ask for the generally very disrespectful South African crowds and something I’ve only ever seen once before in SA with James Blunt’s No Bravery. Mike tells the story of meeting a guy near a gas station in Minnesota at 3am one morning, while heading out to buy cigarettes. They strike up a conversation after the man tells him that

This is best cigarette I’ve ever smoked

and from there it transpires that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer, doesn’t know how long he has left and has sold up on the West Coast, bought a motorcycle and is heading to New York to go and spend his remaining days – however many there may be – with his family. Riding to New York is the song that Mike wrote about that meeting and the man’s journey:

It was one of several thoroughly depressing numbers, for which Mike apologised. There were many upbeat moments as well though, some really good banter with the crowd, some singing along and a whole heap of swearing.

Great evening. Make a plan to go and see him (although, as so many Cape Town gigs do, this marked the end of his current tour, so, sorry for you).