Straightforward

I’ve long lamented the standard of customer service in Cape Town. And with good reason: it’s generally dreadful. But then, to be fair, when it hasn’t been dreadful, I have also passed comment and told you that it hasn’t been dreadful. More than once, too.

My laptop arrived yesterday. And it was exactly the laptop that I had ordered and it arrived pretty much exactly when they said it would. To some people, that might not be seen as good service, but if you’re coming from such a low baseline (as we are), then it’s actually pretty awesome.

[champagne corks pop in background]

Further good news was that it took a very limited amount of setting up, and that process went very smoothly too. All of which mean that I was able to play with some photos from the weekend.

This one is a Parabuthus capensis scorpion which the kids were illuminating under UV torchlight. (Scorpions glow under UV light because of chemicals called tetrahydro-betacarbolines in their exoskeletons, by the way).

Editing photos in LightRoom on the new RAMy laptop was a whole different experience. I think it’s going to be a much more pleasant “task” in future. Which can only mean more photos for you guys.Site Stats

Speaking of which – here are the ones I did last night.

It knows…

I’m getting a new computer tomorrow. It’s a laptop and it has loads and loads of RAMs. RAMs have become really important for me since I want to play at video editing, and it turns out that my current machine simply doesn’t have enough of them.

I’ve been rather quiet about my plans, so I don’t think it could have heard, but when I sat down to edit the weekend photos this evening, my faithful old desktop blatantly gave me the middle finger.

USB errors, go slows, and the final icing on the camel’s back: a dead mouse. Not the sort that your cat would bring in, but about as much use. I guess this is the PC equivalent of defaecating on your boss’ desk on the day you leave the company.

Normally, this would be a train smash, but with the new sexy slimline chick arriving tomorrow, I was just irritated. Then I realised that the desktop is going to be handed down to the kids. Not enough RAMs for basic video editing, but certainly enough for basic homework. But they’re going to need a mouse – a live one – if it’s going to be any use. Ugh.

I could do without the extra expense, to be honest, especially as new laptops with lots of RAMs really don’t come cheap.

Anyway – long story short – that’s why you’re not getting any photography to look at this evening. Maybe tomorrow, hey?

Powder of Sympathy

I’m going to try some experimental stuff on the photography front this weekend – weather permitting. And that will result in experimental photographs. However, I obviously haven’t taken them just yet, so here’s a photograph of an experiment – or at least a photograph of a description of an hypothesis. Tenuous.

These days, one can simply glance at one’s smartphone to obtain an accurate reading of one’s latitude and longitude. And thanks to the position of the sun and the stars, sailors have long been able to gauge their latitude fairly accurately. Longitude was an entirely different kettle of fish though – the biggest limiting factor being that in order to calculate one’s longitude, one needs to know the time accurately. When a hefty prize was announced for anyone who could solve this problem, it attracted a lot of interest – not all of it entirely helpful. The Powder of Sympathy was one of the less successful ideas. I love the final sentence: as if we really needed telling.

Interesting fact about Cape Agulhas – it lies right on the 20° Meridian. And I mean pretty much exactly, right down to 6 decimal points. Given that we generally divide the world up into segments of 15°, this isn’t hugely important, but I have noted that if you poke the beagle at noon while standing on right on that imaginary line (I use my phone’s GPS to get it just right), it will let out a small bark, before glaring at you.

Now superseded by modern technology, back in the days of Diaz and van Riebeeck, every ship passing the Southern Tip would have had a beagle on board to poke as they rounded Cape Agulhas. This act wouldn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know, but it’s always good to poke a beagle whenever possible. Keeps them on their toes, see?

Southernmost sculpture

News from Cape Agulhas is that the new … the new… “thing” at the Southernmost Tip of Africa is nearly completed. I use the word “thing” simply because I’m not sure what other word I can use to better describe it. It’s a sculpture, yes, but it’s surely more than that as well.

The people building it are calling it The Agulhas Icon, which is all very well, but also suggests that they’re a bit unsure of what – other than iconic – it is.

For years, the Southernmost point in Africa – and the official meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans – has been marked by a small cairn unveiled by one P.W. Botha (who he?) on 23rd August 1986, and which people have climbed onto, been photographed next to, or blogged from several metres behind ever since. And that’s not going to change. It’s what is just next to the cairn which is being revamped.

The design is by Strijdom van der Merwe – and that’s great because I really like his stuff. It’s a circular area, sensibly based around a combination of a compass and the African continent.

The artistic representation of the African continent taking shape. It is important that this iconic form is visible on Google Earth as this will be the iconic destination point marker online.
Well-known geological features such as Cape Point, Table Mountain, Namib dunes, Victoria Falls,
Rift Valley, Sahara Dunes and the Nile River will be visible.

Low walls will encourage visitors to sit and stay for a while, soaking up the atmosphere, sheets of steel will dramatically emerge from the four points of the compass – with the Southerly point obviously given the greatest prominence – while lines created from the local stone will dissect and trisect and… well you get the idea… the space. A few teaser progress images were released this week, and I think it looks fantastic.

It’s very bold, very strong, very… Iconic.
A really cool and important addition to the area.

Squares

After taking/seeing this image of my daughter amidst the flowers on the coastline at L’Agulhas, I have had The Beta Band’s Squares as an earworm.

And yes, you do know the song – you just don’t know that you know it.

As for the flowers. LOADS of them. Spectacular.