Not today, Josephine

As the rain falls over Cape Town again this evening, and we take time out to thank those who eventually got around to praying for it, I am writing this and then getting back off the internet, pronto.

See, when “big things” occur overseas, the internet – most especially the rage-first-(maybe)-think-later little bit of the internet called Twitter, which is where I spend most of my internet time – becomes an extremely unpleasant place to be.

There are always people out there who think that they know better than you. The ‘thought-leaders’, the self-appointed ‘Twitterati’.
And look, in some cases, maybe they do.
But the thing is that these people are of a mind that they always know better than you. They’ll go out of their way to remind you of that, and tell you what you should be thinking, feeling, saying or doing. I don’t like these people at the best of times, but at the worst of times (like when a “big thing” happens overseas), these individuals step up their obnoxious campaigns a hundred fold. We are policed, we are told that we must use this word and never use that word. And, again, I’ll happily say that if once you had evaluated their plentiful demands, and found that in some instances you were left wanting, well, fair enough. But in these cases, that doesn’t happen, because there are no right or wrong answers in these cases; only the dictionaries favoured by one political movement or ideology – theirs.

They get their kicks and their pleasure by preying on people, most especially after these “big things” happen. Of course, I don’t ever give in to this thought-policing, but that wholly justified resistance has, in itself, implications. And what I should be doing is sticking my head above the parapet and telling them to pipe down a bit and refrain from getting their knickers in a knot. But when you do that, well, then come the smears, the labels, the faux outrage, the anger (and that’s the only fun bit, really).

And why on earth would I, a mere microbiologist and reluctant beagle owner, want to get involved in that sort of crap? Sure, I’ll happily fight my own battles, but when it comes to repeatedly shouting at the abyss that is their collective beliefs, I’d rather save my time. But remember:

Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy

Because while these people are thankfully free to air their feelings across the internet and beyond, I am equally free to take note of who is saying what and pass my own mental judgement on them. So that next time, when they proffer an opinion or point of view – even on something wholly unconnected with any “big thing” – for me, it will come served with a side salad of pre-warning and prior knowledge.
If it sounds like I’m talking about you, I probably am.

And that’s why once I’ve hit the publish button on this, I’m going to switch off the internet and try to take a second-tier Danish side to the UEFA Champions League Final on FIFA 17.

You should try it – it’s much nicer than the real world.

Day

It’s Father’s Day today, but my first experience of the day was waking up from a horrible dream of being taken before sunrise, to a wine farm, which was closed, and at which there were over 50 beagles.
It could have been the virus I’ve got, but there were cold sweats all round.

Then I realised that this wasn’t a dream at all. The wine farm really was closed and there really were more than 50 beagles in attendance. This was a Beagle Run, and we were in the midst of it. With a beagle.

The cold sweats returned. And they were very cold, because Paarl is very cold on June mornings before sunrise.

The Beagle Run is a fortnightly (or so) opportunity over winter for Beagle owners to get together and wonder why the hell they got a beagle allow their dogs to run as a pack while chasing a scent trail. Which is basically what beagles are meant for.

Some beagles are very good at this. Those beagles win prizes. Other beagles (and here I include our beagle) are less good at it, and cower pathetically on the start line as the pack heads off, before glancing up half apologetically, half questioningly at you as if to say “Well, that was quite an exciting moment, wasn’t it? So what do we do now, then?”
What we do now is walk, beagle in tow, to meet the beagles that have done things correctly, and then repeat the process four or five more times until – covered in mud and disappointment – we get back to the car.

It was good exercise, in fresh air, with wonderful views. And then we came home and I got showered with Father’s Day gifts. I’m still a bit (very) bleugh from my virus, but I’m lucky to have such an amazing family, and the beagle is very lucky to have us too. Other families would have left it at the closed wine farm in disgrace.

Most of the photos were taken by Mrs 6000 because I was trying to find the beagle most of the time and the light was terrible.

Religion and the Knysna fires

Busy day for me today, so I’m going to direct you elsewhere (although obviously please come back once you’re done there).

Herewith then, an article by Ivo Vegter (you may remember him from such posts as The Lion, The Bitch and The Ecophobe and Ivo backs me, rubbishes Christine’s Brilliant Idea) about the recent devastating fires on the Garden Route.

As ever, Ivo takes a different angle on the situation, lamenting the hypocrisy and dichotomy of some religious individuals and their reaction to the disaster.

At no time since the start of the tragedy did enough rain fall to make much difference to the fires, but when the occasional few drops did fall, Christians cluttered up the chat groups to thank their god. When the fires burnt out or were successfully fought, they praised the lord.

It’s clearly the writing of an very angry man, albeit that you get the impression that his professionalism is keeping his true feelings somewhat in check. Although (as he notes), his feelings will fall upon stony ground when it comes to the Christians:

We will be told it’s a matter of faith, not reason. That has the merit of being true, at least. There is nothing reasonable about any of this.

It’s an impassioned, yet controlled rant, clearly written in very difficult conditions – and it’s one of the best things he’s done in ages. I urge you to go and have a read.

Good news, bad news

GOOD NEWS!
As of 0600 this morning (it’s Friday today, for those wondering), the Theewaterskloof dam has 5,476,628,400,000 more litres of water in it than its low point on Tuesday at 1200.

BAD NEWS!
That only equates to its volume being 1.14% up on earlier in the week.
Current level = 14.05%*.

 

And therein lies the message that there’s a long, LONG way to go yet till we’re out of this mess, folks. Keep saving water!

* Obviously, there will still be inflows that haven’t reached the dam yet, so this figure will rise a bit.

Storm chasing and slapstick

I spent the afternoon on the Atlantic seaboard, chasing photos and enjoying the wind.

You can see what I saw by clicking here.

The evening was spent at Camps Bay’s Theatre On The Bay for the rather excellent and ever so amusing The Play That Goes Wrong.

Would highly advise that you go along and see it if you get the chance. Take nappies, because you will laugh that much.