Sony ad

Sony are advertising their Xperia cellphone range with a photo of an Xperia cellphone taking a photo of an incoming beagle and for the first time since 2005, I’m considering switching brand.

While the Xperia is undoubtedly brilliant at taking photos (and videos) of approaching beagles, the happy-go-lucky, blue sky, not-a-care-in-the-world imagery portrayed by this advert masks the dark reality, continuous hassle and huge expense of actually owning a beagle.

So very misleading.

On a more serious note, I love my Xperias and it would take more than a beagle on one of their ads to get me to move. I’m getting the XZ Premium next month, and I can’t wait.

Save Water – Times Live

Here’s local rag The Times reporting on the City of Cape Town’s new water usage calculator website:

If you think it starts with some bad advice (and it does – why immediately double the length of your shower “just because you can”?), then you need to read through again and see how it ends:

Jesus. No. Simply not happening.

Dr Doolittle

You know what? I’ve always wondered what would happen:

If I conferred with our furry friends, man to animal
Think of the amazing repartee.
If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals
And they could talk to meeeeeeeeee…… [Jazz Hands to fade]

But look no further, young Padawan, because now there’s a animal communication course that you can do. It’s in Port Elizabeth, so enough said really, but then there’s a redeeming feature in that the Facebook ad has a Boston Terrier and a telephone receiver on it, so it must be good, right?

Hopefully the animals are going to put some effort into studying too though, because that’s not how you use a phone, is it?

Enough of my questions though, because the course organisers have a couple of their own:

Have you ever considered the possibility that you and your animal have spiritual agreements to assist each other?

I’m sorry, what?

No. No, I haven’t considered that possibility. Primarily, I feel, because an agreement, you see, is something that both parties have to… er… agree to, and I’m pretty sure that I’d remember entering into some sort of mystical, mutually beneficial pact with the beagle. So no, it’s not a possibility that I have ever considered. Next question please.

Could it be that your animal has valuable information for you and because you have never thought about it, you haven’t spent much effort learning how to communicate more effectively with him or her?

To be honest, there are only a few pieces of valuable information that I’d really require. The winner of the 2:30 on Saturday at Turffontein would be good, a medium to long-term outlook on the currency markets would be even better, and the GPS coordinates for the well that little Tommy has fallen down would certainly assist the people currently out searching for little Tommy.

I digress… I find it highly unlikely that the beagle, an animal so thick that it can’t even recognise its own reflection, would be able to furnish me with any of these important details. Look, it’s very good at knowing where the kitchen is when I’m cooking or making the kids’ packed lunches, so if I ever need to know where the kitchen is, I’m sorted. But to be honest, I’m yet to find any other use for it, and it’s been three years now.
And anyway, it can already communicate: it scratches on the back door when it wants to go outside, and it scratches on the other side of the back door when it wants to come back in. It’s not exactly high level communication, but since we have no spiritual agreement to assist each other in place, it’s about as good as things are ever going to get.

Can this course teach me more? Of course it can.

Learn how you can learn to directly communicate with animals. All living creatures have the ability to think, feel, and communicate although most people have forgotten this. This course teaches how to open up to the messages that animals around us are sending all the time.

This makes your household pet sound like a spy. If the beagle is sending messages all the time, to whom is it sending them? And what do they say? And how is it sending them? And why do the recipients want to know? All of these questions will obviously be answered on the course, but if I were to learn how to tune in or intercept these messages that the beagle is allegedly sending all the time, then at best, I would feel that I was eavesdropping or intruding upon its privacy, and at worse, I would probably want to strangle the treacherous little sod.

It all depends on what it’s been saying. But either way, I see no benefit for anyone here.

In this one day course you will learn inter species communicate with each other and how you can effectively send messages to animals and hear their answers.

I can’t help that if someone is running a course on any sort of communication, they should be able to write in sentences which make sense. This one doesn’t, but what it lacks in basic English, it makes up for by promising some incredible things. Not the “effectively sending messages to animals” bit – that’s not tough to do if you’ve got a shoe on your foot some tasty tidbits to reward their good behaviour with. They soon learn what you’re telling them.

No, but hearing their answers would be amazing. Well, I say that, but the beagle is notoriously good at ignoring any command you give it, so do I really want to hear what it has to say?

Now:
Me: Hey, beagle, come here!
Beagle: [looks up, ignores instruction]

After ‘Beginner animal communication course’:
Me: Hey, beagle, come here!
Beagle: [looks up, ignores instruction] Fuck off.

Again, I see no advantage for myself or the beagle here.

The individual who can like to be presenting this course goes by the stage name ‘Animal Benefits’, and a quick look at their Facebook page yields (along with lonely dogs and depressed horses), this gem from last month:

This smacks of the nonsense spouted during the search for Vienna. And you’re going to pay money to sit in a room with this [           ]* for a whole day? Ugh. You’re the one who’s atrocious.

Look, even this light-hearted, so-called example of alleged animal communication is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to justify eating more chocolate:

[delicate female voice] “Oh, but I cannot feed it to my dog, because chocolate is bad for dogs, so I will just have to have it for myself, no matter if he thinks I am being ‘atrocious’ (yes, he used that word, ‘atrocious’)! OMNOMNOMNOM! Ha ha ha!”

To be fair, I have tried the same thing with the beagle and brandy, but at least I don’t charge idiots a fat fee to come and listen how to I do it.

If you willingly choose to pay real money to go on this course, you’re on your own. There are a million better things that you could do with your hard-earned cash and precious time.

If she locks the door once you’ve sat down, it’s been nice knowing you.

Don’t go near any wells.

 

 

* redacted for legal reasons

Your new desktop?

I flew over some vineyards this morning, while out running with the Western Cape Beagles. I’ve been wanting to fly over a vineyard for a while, and I’m sure that it would be a very different view in summer, but it’s not summer right now.

There’s something quite hypnotic about the rows of vines when viewed from 120m up. Like magnified corduroy. I’ve set the image above as the background on my phone: it really makes the app icons pop. If you want to too (use it as a background, not pop), just click on the image to get to the download page. Help yourself. You’re welcome.

Other photos from the morning here.
And a video (quick and dirty, no editing) of the last run of the morning.

No sleep til bedtime

And then maybe not even then.

The beagle kept me awake for quite a lot of the night last night. Generally, the beagle is a very good sleeper. This probably comes from practising all day, every day – either in its basket or on the couch in the study. The commitment to attain new levels of extreme laziness is to be admired, but then, that’s basically what beagles are made for.

Last night was an exception though.

I’m not 100% sure what the problem was, but a gentle scratching in the kitchen quickly turned to crashing as several (or more) kilos of prime beagle meat repeatedly flung itself at the door in an effort to get me to come downstairs and let it out into the garden to ‘look around for stuff’ and have a pee.

It’s cold when you need to drag the beagle back in from the garden in the early hours of the morning. Colder still when you were cosy in bed before it started complaining.
But, finally it was relocated into its basket in the kitchen, and I was restored to my original position just beneath the duvet.

And then, 20 minutes later, it did it again. A quick glance at Mrs 6000 was all it took to make me realise that I was completely on my own in carefully defenestrating the dog again.

And so I did, and again, after 5 or more minutes of wandering around the garden and sniffing things, I managed to get it back into its basket.

And then, 30 minutes later… Look, you get the picture.

And once it’s happened a few times, you find yourself lying awake in bed, just waiting for the next whine, bark or splintering of the kitchen door. Even when (thankfully) none is forthcoming.

Thus, I am knackered. Look, I don’t really do sleep deprivation very well, but the good news is that from initial investigations, it seems that I can just about function on the couple of hours I got. That’s probably just while things are going well though. If you cross me today, I. Will. Cut. You. 

Oh, and a note on the beagle, because it obviously had an equally disturbed night. Well, while I dragged myself out of the house into the rain and off to the laboratory this morning, it was back to rehearsing its slumbers on the couch.

*forced smile*