Images with words

Desperately tired. Quota photo time. Again. Apologies.

From here, via here (who also gave us this).


Images with words

The lower one being particularly apt as Mrs 6k and I are hitting the dizzy nightlife of… *ahem*… Kenilworth this evening to celebrate our years together. But I am not sat in traffic. Nor do I have a laptop or a portable inkjet. No such fancy technology, I’m afraid. And anyway, Cape Town drivers would surely just ignore any such message.

I do have car charger for my phone though. R25 at the lights in Somerset West.
Note to Mr Wonder Husband: Simple is usually better.

Barely Hanging On…

Seemed an apt title for this quota photo post, since sleep was at a premium last night thanks to our baby daughter.


Barely hanging on… 

Shame, the poor thing was really struggling with a snotty nose and (probably) the after effects of a vaccination she had last week. That’s not her, by the way. That’s a butterfly hanging onto my windscreen wiper on the way through Diep River earlier this week. K-pu has fewer wings. And she’s slightly larger. Also, she tends to travel in the car.
But anyway, unhappy was the word of the night. That, and awake. Thus, tired is the word of the day.

I used to be so sensible on my own
Now I’m so sensitive it’s a joke
I’m getting by on decibels like a drug
And greet every brand new day with a shrug
I’m barely hanging on

Pål Waaktaar

Snow Patrol are my drug of choice right now. Hands Open and Open Your Eyes. Keeping me going. Just.

However, when it all seems to be too much of a struggle, there’s always something to make it all worthwhile.
Like the fact that tomorrow is (another) public holiday in South Africa. Or even that today is our wedding anniversary. Which is nice, cos I love my Mrs 6000 very much.
And if that little butterfly could hang on all the way from Grassy Park to Bergvliet, then surely – whatever challenges your day holds – you can overcome them.
OK, so the butterfly actually turned out to be a bit dead on arrival, but theoretically, the principle still stands.

What’s the problem?

Oh, this one makes me proud to be English.

From here, via here.

A 29-STONE mum who feeds her eight-month old triplets with McDonald’s has insisted she is bringing the tots up in the “best way she can”.
Leanne Salt, 24, said she is “too busy” to properly feed daughters Deanna and Daisy and son Finlee.
So she lets them eat her takeaways and gives them Wotsits snacks and microwave meals.

(for my non UK visitors, 29 stone = 406 pounds or 184 kilos) 

I have to admit that once, in a fit of desperation, Alex was given 6 Chicken McNuggets from the Kenilworth drive-thru. It was as a result of poor paternal planning and I felt awful for ages afterwards, although with hindsight, that was probably because of the Quarterpounder with cheese that I had at the same time. And the cardboard fries.
Alex seemed to enjoy his reformed lumps of fried, mechanically-recovered chicken though, even if he didn’t really seem to know what to do with them. Well, he was only 6 weeks old at the time.

Of course, there’s no problem with the odd McDonald’s every now and again, even if they do their best to put parents off buying their inaccurately-named Happy Meals. But we certainly don’t go down the road of doing it every day. That would get in the way of his KFC addiction.

Leanne steers away from healthy foods in case it makes her tots anorexic. She said: “I don’t want them to think they have to watch what they eat. I’ll tell them big is beautiful.”

Yes readers, “big is beautiful” – I’ll let you decide on that one:

Picture from Closer magazine

When I see that sort of picture, aside from the immediately overwhelming thought that “big is beautiful” (obviously), I also find myself marvelling at the amazing strength of denim. Presumably, those are just over-the-counter jeans from the fat section of Matalan, and yet look what they’re holding within them.
Quite remarkable and a great advert for Vietnamese sweatshop workmanship.
Oh – and I wonder where the bikini-clad Carrie Fisher is, as well.

Swine flu can’t get to Coventry quickly enough.

Obligatory Swine Flu post

Already, people are starting to come up to me in the street and ask me what they should do about Swine Flu. I’m not sure if this is because I look like a pig or because I had my “Trust me, I’m a Microbiologist” t-shirt on. I’m guessing the latter, since no-one in their right mind is going to approach anyone that looks even vaguely porcine right now.

I’ve been getting the regular quizzing, you know the: “Is this serious?” and the “Am I going to die?” ones. Well, yes it is and yes you are. Sorry to be blunt, but I’ve got to save time for the more interesting questions, like: “Can we blame Jacob Zuma for this?” and “I had a tequila on Friday night – am I infectious?”.
I don’t have the answers for those, but they’re far more entertaining than the rather morose death stuff.

Who knows where this outbreak is going to go from here? Well actually, no-one does yet. Experts may hypothesise, but if one looks carefully, not one of them is going to make a definitive statement on what is going to happen next, for the simple reason that we have reached the edge of our current understanding.

Already, social networking sites – most especially twitter – have been blamed for causing unnecessary panic about swine flu. But who can say that this “panic” is “unnecessary” right now? Well actually, no-one can. Swine flu might go away quietly, but it would be wise to be aware that it’s more likely not to. The bad news is that early reports suggest that it is highly infectious. The good news is that the mortality rates seem relatively low.
The fears over bird flu which began about five years ago were, in my view, entirely justified and it was only a combination of global medical awareness and good luck that the H5N1 virus didn’t infect and kill more individuals.
That this H1N1 strain has the ability to be passed from human to human is extremely concerning to me, not least because I am a human. It’s widely accepted that the lack of human to human transmission was the only thing that stopped bird flu from going pandemic, which is why, even at this early stage of the outbreak, the global infection patterns for the two similar viruses are distinctly dissimilar.

In my mind there are three things for us to be worried about at this early stage:
1. The scale of infection. Even if the mortality rate is low, huge numbers of people being away from their jobs is not good news. Services, food, production etc may well be hit hard. Not good in the midst of a global economic downturn.
2. Tamiflu resistance developing. So far, so good – at least we can treat those with the virus – to a degree. But we only have one weapon and once this new virus overcomes that – well, we have no defence.
3. A nastier strain emerging. It doesn’t take much for a more virulent, more aggressive viral strain to develop – especially in a virus which is so very infectious. This would be my biggest fear and could be where we start to see numbers of deaths climbing very sharply. And annoyingly, there’s nothing we can do to prevent this occurring.

Of course, the ease with which we can access information these day is a double-edged sword. While it can alert us to the threat of swine flu (or anything else), it does open up windows of opportunity for misinformation to be spread… well… virally. And separating that important, helpful information from all the background noise is where the skill comes in. But it’s not that difficult, is it? Simply take into account the source of information and then make an informed decision on whether or not you choose to believe what you read.
So yes, read what @scaredpig (or whoever) is telling you on twitter and then discount it. Read what the WHO say and take note. But hasn’t that always been the case?

But does this potential information overload actually make things any better or worse? If twitter had been around in 1918 when the Spanish Flu killed off 25 million worldwide, wouldn’t people have been tweeting about the latest news of cases and deaths in their areas, speculating and spreading rumours? Would it have done any good? Would it have done any harm?

Meanwhile, mashable.com’s How to track Swine Flu online article, which includes the admirable advice:

Stay Calm, Stay Informed:
While there’s likely to be much concern on social networking sites about public health incidents, it’s important to keep things in proportion, and go direct to the sources of news rather than spreading panic.

has also fallen victim to to those misinformants – this gem from the comments section:

Most important, don’t take any government vaccinations! Strengthen your immune system!

Yes, that’s by far the most important thing to do – if offered a vaccination that may save your life, don’t take it. Because…. because… well… never mind – just don’t!
One can only hope the author takes his own advice on that one. Goodbye.

Meanwhile, I’m off to lie in the sun in Kirstenbosch Gardens. May be a bit busy there with it being a three-day week, but I’m taking my trusty sombrero with me. I don’t expect to be bothered by anyone all afternoon.

For my Exclusive Benefit…

Incoming email:

Dear Mr 6000

Your unique ticket request reference is 6000****7

Further to your application for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Tickets, your Ticket request has been entered into the Random Selection Draw and processed by the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Ticketing Centre (the “FWCTC”).

 

We are delighted to inform you that the Tickets shown below (and also as reflected within your FIFA.com customer account) have now been reserved by the FWCTC for your exclusive benefit.

That’s right – for my exclusive benefit. Not anyone else’s.

 

I managed to secure tickets for six of the games at the stunningly beautiful Green Point Stadium in Cape Town.
Well, thank you very much Uncle Sepp. I can hardly wait – especially for the much-anticipated Match 30 G4 v G2 on the 21st June at 1330. That should be a blast, since I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for G4.

 

Trouble is, I can already see one of two things happening. Either the whole thing is going to be cancelled because of travel restrictions due to swine flu (Sepp Blatter and his cronies being especially vulnerable) or, in a more likely scenario, we’re all going to be completely dead anyway – leaving us more than slightly out of pocket unless we work  for FIFA.

 

How are Mexico doing in their qualifying group, anyway?