More penguin peril

Life is hard if you’re a penguin.

If it’s not humans overfishing your pilchards and (allegedly) changing your climate, it’s large wild cats eating you on the beach. And if you survive them, you’ve got to look out for malaria and beagles. And whalers.

Nope. Being a penguin ain’t easy.

Now though, they face their latest, smallest but possibly biggest challenge yet. Viruses.

Because yes, penguins are birds, and birds get Avian Flu. This is the same H5N8 strain that has been affecting the Western Cape (and beyond) for several months now. I mentioned it back in August here.

We think about it affecting farms (which of course it does), but no-one ever considers wild birds, which – in the Western Cape – include penguins.

And while Boulders Beach – our most local (but not necessarily our best) penguin colony – will remain open for tourists, they will have to take precautions:

Visitors should change shoes and clothes if visiting poultry farms to prevent contamination from one site to another.

Which is important because the chicken farms just outside Robertson have really upped their tourist game recently, and it would be sad to waste all their effort.

Seriously though: fingers crossed that this doesn’t do a lot of lasting damage.

The compliments keep on coming…

Incoming comment from “kevin”. It actually incame a few weeks ago, but I’ve been otherwise engaged.

It’s on this post from last October, in which I detailed the latest work on the iconic sculpture at the Southernmost Point of Africa. The sculpture is now finished, by the way, and it looks great.

Indeed, with lines like:

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.

I thought that I’d been pretty positive about a piece of industrial-scale artwork that was still a couple of months away from being completed.

Not according to “kevin” though, who hit back just four months later with this stinging retort to my thoughts:

Insulting article for such an amazing icon of space and geography.

Before going all ad hominem and telling the world everything about me:

The author is obviously an under educated liberal art fart who knows nothing of geography, space, time, or history.

Broad strokes there, kev. That’s assuming quite a gap in my general knowledge from a few complimentary words about a building site, mate.

Let’s break it all down, shall we?

Do I consider myself “under educated”? Well, I’m of the opinion that one can (and should) always improve one’s knowledge, wherever possible. But I’ve learned a lot in my time – both formally and informally. I’ve got plenty of qualifications from various educational establishments, and I also know not to pee into the wind. And I think that’s both sectors pretty much covered. I therefore refute his poorly hyphenated claim.

Am I liberal? Well, I actually wasn’t sure and so I did a quiz online: it turns out that I am “53% liberal”. Which apparently makes me pretty balanced in my political outlook and therefore very capable of annoying everyone, but not really “a liberal” in the same way that I’m not really “a conservative”, either.

Like the English cricket team often finds itself, kevin is 0/3 at the moment, so might he redeem himself with his next assertion? Could I be I an “art fart”?
I had to go to Urban Dictionary dot com to find out what kevin meant by this one:

Absolutely none of this very specific definition accurately describes me. I have no idea what he was thinking.

And as for my knowing “nothing of geography, space, time, or history”, I mean, where do I even begin? How can you not have knowledge of time? Does kevin mean I’m often late for things? I’m not. I’m very punctual. But anyway, how would he know? Or is he perhaps suggesting that I don’t know how long a minute is? It’s 60 seconds, kevin. It’s not rocket surgery, dude.
I don’t fully understand what it is that he’s trying to say here.
Also, I’m not sure what this has to do with liking or not liking a half-finished sculpture.

Next up, I’m actually quite into my geography. I know it’s only really bordering on science, but I like to know about the world around me. My dad was/is a geographer, and so I think I’ve picked up a lot of his knowledge over the years (yes, I know what a year is, thank you). Also, I’m not sure what this has to do with liking or not liking a half-finished sculpture.

History. Right, I’m not sure what this has to do with liking or not liking a half-finished sculpture, but fair enough: I’m not a huge fan of history. You’ve got me banged to rights and no mistake, guv. Although, of course,  not being a fan is rather different from having knowledge about it. I mean, I can tell you when the Magna Carta was signed and by whom, and I know the date of the Battle of Blood River. Does one need to have a good working knowledge of history to look at a building site and try to gauge whether what is being built will be “a good thing” once it’s completed? I don’t think it helps much, no,

Space. I love space. It’s actually one of the reasons that I love going to to Cape Agulhas. Cape Town is so very crowded. It’s nice to have more three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction around you. But I’m really not sure what this has to do with liking or not liking a half-finished sculpture, because it’s sometime nice to share a piece of artwork with other people.

Or maybe he means specifically the stars and planets and astronomy and that? In which case I really have no idea what this has to do with liking or not liking a half-finished sculpture.

Mmm. Bit harsh. Bit nasty. Wholly incorrect.

For someone who said my use of the word “Iconic” was “insulting”, pretty ironic capitalisation of “ICON” there, kev,

I think what I’m taking away from this comment is that kevin is a bit of an arse I need to be clearer in my appreciation when documenting things on the blog. More unrestrained, more gushing, more obvious; because clearly using adjectives like “bold”, “strong”, “iconic”, “fantastic” and “important” just aren’t making my feelings transparent enough when it comes to artwork that is ±9 weeks away from being finished.

Of course, maybe it’s not just clarity around my positivity that’s lacking, and I’d like to address that immediately by telling kevin right here, right now, that I think his comment was utter crap and a complete waste of time, effort, electricity and pixels. It was attempted punditry at its absolute worst: a seemingly deliberate misreading of my documented thoughts followed a tacky attempt at a personal insult, thinly veiled in presumptive bullshit, pretentiousness and unnecessary idolisation of a hundred square metres of concrete.
He should be ashamed to put his name and email address (available upon demand) to those 107 words.

I like this sculpture a lot. Really, I do. As I wrote back on October 8th 2017, I even thought the building site looked great.

kevin though? kevin can voetsek.

Fire Pano

One of the sadly inevitable consequences of the cape Town drought is the exacerbation of our fire season. With no recent rain, the local veld and fynbos is a veritable tinder box ready to go up at the slightest provocation. The Overberg FPA recently documented the huge number (40) of major wildfires they have had to deal with so far this year.

Yesterday afternoon, it was the turn of Cape Town once again, as firefighters, 3 helicopters and a spotter plane worked hard for several hours to contain a fire in Cecilia Forest. We couldn’t actually see the fire from our garden or our house, but I popped the Mavic up and suddenly, all became clear (Well, as clear as it could be with all the smoke drifting around). And so I did what any sensible fellow would have done, and banged the pano button. 21 separate photos, taken automatically by the drone and stitched in the app gave me this:

Those are Wynberg School fields in the foreground (Junior on the left, High School on the right), with the fire clearly visible on the on the mountain beyond, and smoke drifting everywhere, but mainly southwards on the light breeze through the Constantia Valley and down towards False Bay.

This is a great example of how the Mavic can give you a different point of view on things. I knew there was a fire somewhere close: I could smell it, and the air was hazy with smoke. But I literally couldn’t see anything from ground level. I’m in no way suggesting that this a great image (it’s not – shooting straight into the sun is never a good idea), but at least I could see what was going on, and could document it. (And without getting in the way of any helicopters.)
Last time I saw a wildfire, I had to drive to get there.

It would be nice, however, if there weren’t too many more wildfires to ‘tog in this way (or any other).


UPDATE: Sullivan Photography at Ground Zero

So gone

Hey, Surgical Ward at the local hospital.

Thanks for being there when I needed you. I really wasn’t expecting to drop in this week, but these things happen, and you and your staff have been nothing short of amazing.

In fact, the care has been so good that I’ve been told that can go home today.

If I promise to be good when I get there.

You know me. I’m always good.

So it’s goodbye for now.
And thanks again for fixing me.

On fake twitter accounts

I love local political press releases. And this one from the new police minister is particularly good.

Of course, Bheki Cele’s predecessor was hugely active on twitter. Sadly, he was more active in twitter than at doing his actual job. Happily, he’s now not doing his actual job anymore. Lovely.
But will our new minister be busy on the social medias? No chance – if you’ve seen an tweet from him, IT’S FAKE!

The Minister wishes to state categorically clear that any Twitter account or any social media account operating in his name is Fake and that no one is authorized to operate any social media account in his name.


But wait, there’s more:

The mushrooming Twitter handles in the name of the Minister are viewed as sinister and are aimed at dragging the name of Minister Cele in all dirty and tricky mud games in the social media space for reasons best known to the ghost operators.

I actually only go onto Twitter to engage in all dirty and tricky mud games in the social media space. The rest of it is rubbish.

Social media remains a respectable communication platform that should be exempted from any abuse by ghost operators.

Ok. I’m in agreement here. Ghost operators should stick to operating ghosts. That’s definitely what they’re best at. Not abusing respectable communication platforms. No-one needs that. And what happens to all the unoperated ghosts while all this abuse is going on?

A frankly terrible situation.

This is a typically robust, ridiculously nonsensical start from Cele, and I can’t wait for what’s coming next.