Good Friday Shopping

This morning, I felt that my knee was doing well enough for me to try some DIY. Like, all the tasks that had been put off because my knee wasn’t well enough. So I packed the kids into the car and headed for Builder’s Warehouse: our local DIY behemoth.

Of course, today is a public holiday, and they’re open from 0900-1700 on public holidays. It says so on their website and on the big sign next to their… very closed doors.

They’re not open. At all. Not even a little bit.

So you can’t buy bricks, but you can pop across the road to Toys R Us: a store which is in dire financial straits and closing stores worldwide, but which is ironically open in Tokai right now.

Many malls and shopping centres are operating an “Optional Trading” policy today, and as it’s a religious holiday, I guess it’s reasonable to assume that on this most holy of Christian days, it’s God who decides which stores get to open and which aren’t allowed to.

We went to Constantia Village to investigate and found that She’d made some interesting choices as to what was open and what was closed:

You can buy crystals (Spilhaus) but not trendy casserole dishes (Le Creuset).
Amazingly, you can buy gin (PnP Liquor), but not jewellery (Peter Gilder).
You can buy childrens clothes (Earthchild), but not adult clothes (Revenge).
You can buy water filter cartridges (H2O International), but you can’t pick up concert tickets (Computicket).
You can’t get your haircut at all (Edge, Partners).
Unless you are a lady (Carlton).
But your nails are going to have to wait (ManiPedi).
Absolutely no sunglasses (The Village Eyewear).
But coffee gets the nod (Seattle Coffee Company).
Not leather goods though, for they are the Devil’s work (Tsonga).
Oh, and you can’t buy perfume (My Perfume Shop), but also, you can (Red Square by Edgars).

The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways…

Still smiling

This won’t be the best photo you’ll ever see.

Far from it.

Many (if not all) of the photos that I post on here won’t be the best photo you’ll ever see, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I’ve been trying to take a shot of some lightning for ages. Yesterday evening, it finally happened and I’m still smiling.

Look, this isn’t my life’s mission; it’s not like I go around hunting storms in order to take photos, and I’m not going to immediately retire from my non-existent photography career just because I took it [audience groans].
But after 236 attempts last night alone, I finally got lucky and got this:

Treat yourself to it bigger on black for the full effect.

Having given up round the back of the house (because this), I was actually just about ready to give up around the front as well as the storm moved off to the south. But I persisted, lying under a convenient shrub to avoid the worst of the rain. And when I realised that one of the closer bolts of lightning had (for once) coincided with one of my exposures and actually in the right direction, I was over the moon.

There are better photos of lightning. Maybe even better photos of lightning taken last night. But I didn’t take them.

I took this one though, and I’m still smiling.

Persistence

“Never give up!”

So goes the oft-quoted, dangerously positive and hugely misplaced piece of advice. It’s nonsense, of course. Giving up is always an option – often a very sensible one. And yet we’re taught from an early age – and bombarded by  examples like Wiley Coyote and Tom the cat – that it’s tantamount to failure.

No. There are many times when giving up is a perfectly acceptable choice to make.

I wish Lily would understand that. They’ve been back in touch again (using yet another different email address to avoid my filters), this time offering me essentially free* shares in their company if I buy a Lily drone, under the tempting subject heading:

got Lily Drone yet?

No. No, I haven’t. And the “yet” is wholly redundant.

Looks cute, sure but it’s rather expensive and it’s not actually very good in comparison to the drone I do have.

You have been one of the original supporters of Lily. As part of your support, we believe you should own a piece of the company that is bringing the vision of Lily into the future. We have successfully launched the Lily Next-Gen™, and we’re planning many more exciting products. That’s why we are providing you with this unique offer.

I have been, yes. But then, over a year ago I realised my error and moved on. Just like you should now.

There’s no shame in giving up on this lost cause, Lily. I promise.

 

* terms and conditions apply, obvs

Wash the duck up

OK. We’re still not supposed to have baths in Cape Town and many people have seen that as a bad thing, but given this new research from Swiss and American researchers, maybe it’s not so unwelcome after all.

How could we ever have expected that something which is dark, constantly moist and regularly warmed to somewhere around body temperature could be a place that bacteria and other nasty bugs might like to live?

It’s almost like that old research from Swiss and American researchers from a few years ago which suggested that His Holiness the Supreme Pontiff, Bishop of Rome and apostolic successor to Saint Peter… might be Catholic.

Who knew?

They also did something about bears… I think that one might have been disproved though.

Swiss and American researchers counted the microbes swimming inside the toys and say the murky liquid released when ducks were squeezed contained “potentially pathogenic bacteria” in four out of the five toys studied.

The bacteria found included Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that is “often implicated in hospital-acquired infections.”

Well, at least it’s not penguicidal avian flu.
Still, not great, but really not very surprising either. Create near perfect conditions for microbes to thrive and microbes will thrive.

Lots of them:

They turned up a strikingly high volume – up to 75 million cells per square centimetre – and variety of bacteria and fungus in the ducks.

As a microbiologist, I’m used to seeing big numbers when it comes to the number of cells in any given place, so yes, that’s a big number, but microbes like to grow in big numbers.

Still, multiply it up for the internal area of this big boy…

…and you’ve got enough bacteria to wipe out the entire planet several times over. Perhaps that’s Florentijn Hofman‘s secret plan.

Anyway, if you’re a parent and you have concerns (or even if you’re not a parent and you have concerns), you have a few options:

Ditch the duck.
Clean the duck.
Buy a watertight rubber duck to prevent internal growth of nasty bugs.

It’s worth noting that actual, real ducks are also watertight, and most of them aren’t full of Legionella and Pseudomonas spp. – lessons from Mother Nature, ne?

But perhaps the best way to avoid diseases transmitted by rubber ducks is not to bath with a rubber duck in the first place. Or – as I mentioned at the start of this post – not to bath at all.

Tipping point

Incoming from Uber Eats, who we occasionally use to order ribs, pizzas, burgers and several other unhealthy – but nearly always enjoyable – items. Great news – you can now tip your driver. Officially.

There will be some of you who have already worked out that you slip your Butlers or Oishi delivery guy a few extra Rands for his trouble, so why not your Uber Eats guy too?

The thing is, the joy of Uber Eats is that it’s a cashless system, so it’s not always possible to find a R20 note without a bit of forethought. And although Butlers and Oishi also offer a cashless option in the form of Snapscan, there’s the option to add your tip there and then.

OK – we’ll continue with this in just a second, but already, I can see that there will be some people who will take issue with that photo. Stereotypes in the race of the driver, the race of the customer, and the fact that she seems to be working for Starfleet.
The fact is that every Uber Eats driver we have ever had has been black (and male* – hence my ubiquitous use of ‘he/his’ in this post), every time we have used Uber Eats, I have been white, and conveniently, it turns out that the beagle is a huge fan of Star Trek, so there you go.

And now back to the post…

Interestingly, when we do offer our Uber Eats driver a cash tip they are always surprised and delighted. This suggests to me that this is a rather unusual practice. It shouldn’t be that way though, surely?

Well, now it doesn’t have to be:

That seems pretty straightforward, now doesn’t it?

I’m not sure exactly how the Uber Eats pricing model works and how much of your order price goes to the driver, but I’d wager that 1) it’s not very much and 2) if you’re using the system as a customer, then you’re probably able to share a bit of the wealth with the guy who just saved you going out to the local takeaway joint in the no rain.

Do it.

 

* did I just assume his gend… Yes. Yes I did. Get over it.