We have much to discuss



Eeek! Much has happened and I haven't written about it. OK, so, the wedding all went without a hitch (apart from us getting hitched) and we had a lovely London honeymoon.

One of the things we did was visit London Zoo (a first for me) ostensibly to do some sketching for one of Jenny's projects for the new term, but, mostly thanks to my childlike enthusiasm for the animals, we ended up just wandering around. I got heartily fucked off by a lot of the parents, though. In one area, you basically enter a huge cage that the little monkeys, above, scamper about in. There are a lot of gentle, firm and very clear signs everywhere telling you not to have food visible and not to get too close. And yet there were toddlers reaching out their grubby paws to the monkeys as they were fed on wedges of watermelon as tall as they were*. The staff kept having to ask the parents to keep them back, but they took no notice. I have little doubt that the parents would have been the first to sue ZSL had one of the ostensibly wild animals had deftly hooked little Liam's eye out. (What, incidentally, would you call partly tamed animals? 'Feral' refers to domesticated animals gone wild, but I can't think of a word which describes the process working in the opposite direction.)

It was even worse in the aquarium - surely one of the oldest parts of the zoo; it looked very Victorian, and made my ever see-sawing opinions about zoos take a sharp turn for the negative - with kids and adults alike banging on the glass despite clear signage telling you that this can cause distress to or even kill the fish.

With a very few exceptions, the kids all ran around the zoo like they were on some sort of amphetamine- (in reality, I know, more likely sugar-) induced high, screaming and demanding attention and just generally operating at 90%. I am positive I was much better behaved as a child; yes, it's the old 'kids these days' line, but the logical conclusion is that I was probably as much of a tearaway to the preceding generation as the current one is to me.

Sorry, zoo-tastic rant there. Let's change the subject.

I today took possession of my new mobile phone. I only wanted to change the tariff (down, as it happens, to the very cheapest on offer), but Carphone Warehouse gave me the just-last-week-released Sony Ericsson W800i for free. I will another time wax lyrical about why this is a fantastic phone in many ways, and why Carphone Warehouse demonstrate impeccable customer service, but of interest to us here is its build-in 2 megapixel camera. Hiterto, the cameras on phones have been there as an interesting toy, and have been included as a kind of technological willy-waving on the part of the manufacturers. But 2 megapixel is good. As good as my first camera which cost me £250 only two years ago. OK, so the images aren't quite as crisp and are a little more noisy at 100%, but for 6x4 snaps, the W800i is more than good enough.

The upshot of this is that I've started a photoblog; there are links to subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed at the bottom of the page. I'll try to post one a day.

Onwards and upwards. I think I'll take this opportunity to do a link dump - some horribly out of date by now - so in this post, you'll learn about bacon plasters, optical illusions which will make you question your sanity, Leslie Phillips, and the music mixing concept Audiopad.

You'll watch a video about the differences between real life and the internet (one for the young lady especially, there), be amazed by the world's largest container ship, be educated by this very useful page on the great Wikipedia, and feel conflicting emotions of pity and lust for this toy UFO (be sure to watch the video).

There's also the opportunity to be worried about babies (Do they really not have the imagination? Must we spoon-feed them everything...?) and worried about adults, though I'm not sure if I'm more concerned about the people who make these last products or those who buy them.

There is more, but it's late and I have the new Iain M Banks novel to finish. Toodle-pip.


* I should perhaps clarify: the monkeys were being fed watermelon, not the kids. And the watermelon was as big as the monkeys were long; the zoo wasn't breeding mutant, toddler-sized watermelons or anything...