A Monday catch-up

I haven’t found one specific thing worthy of a blog post of its own yet today, so I thought I’d share several of the thing which were almost worthy of a blog post of their own. Collectively, these things are worth far more than a single blog post, so you’re certainly getting your money’s worth today.

First up: flooding in Paris:

Insane! Or rather not in Seine at all right now. This is of specific interest to me because we’ve just booked a trip to Europe in June/July and Paris and French waterways are included. I particularly enjoyed the line:

The national flood monitoring agency Vigicrues said the water levels hit a maximum height of 5.84 meters (19 feet, 2 inches) on the Austerlitz scale early Monday. That’s below initial fears last week, and well below record levels of 8.62 meters in 1910.

Yeah. But that’s only really a bonus if your property lies between 5.85 and 8.62m on the Austerlitz scale though, isn’t it?

Then: Superpods of dolphins are gathering off the coast of South Africa

Am I the only one who finds this headline vaguely threatening?
The “are gathering” bit does sound as if there is some common porpoise (stop it!) to their behaviour, and I think we’re all aware that what I mean by that is dolphin invasion, something we’ve covered here before.
Researchers suggest that it may rather be something to do with defending themselves against sharks, but then researchers would suggest that, wouldn’t they? They’re in on the act.
It’s telling that the majority of the pods have been sighted off the sleepy seaside village of Port Elizabeth. PE is the ideal place to begin an takeover: by the time the locals have worked out what is going on and release the emergency carrier pigeons from the Campanile, the tanks (either kind, you do the maths) of invading dolphins will be on the Free State border.

Playing with photos

Practice, they say, makes perfect. And one day, I’d like my photo editing to be perfect. So, whenever I can, I’m finding photos to practice on. Since I didn’t take any this weekend (again, despite this), I’ve borrowed one from Brian Micklethwait over at BrianMicklethwait.com. I loved his photo of Victoria Station (link), and so I shamelessly stole borrowed it and put a bit of a spin on it with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

Just for absolute clarity, I’m not suggesting that my version is in any way better. I’m just suggesting that it’s different. I was inspired by two things: firstly, the “vintage” look of the station roof, and secondly, Brian’s own thoughts on his image:

I like how this kind of scene permits bright colours, like those little union jacks, but turns fainter colours monochrome, like when that little girl in a red coat appears in Schindler’s List.

The more washed out feel that I’ve tried to give it still allows for those flags to stand out. Maybe they should stand out more. Maybe I should practice more.

And, just because I liked the headlines, these:

Because the data from their fitness apps are now publicly available.

and:

Only, of course, if you’re singing and dancing pornographically in Cambodia.

Flute Terror

Flute Terror. It’s a thing:

I used to play the flute. Basically because it was easier than any other instrument. But when I discovered the gramophone, which is even easier, I pretty much gave up. Certain flute pieces still traumatise me when I hear them.

So says Brian Micklethwait in his most recent post.

He also introduced me to the bass flute. I never knew.

Great quote in 3D Latin at Bee Emm Dot Com

It’s been a while since I’ve included anything from friend-of-the-blog BrianMicklethwait.com. That’s not to say that I’m not a daily visitor to his haunt – I am. But he is him and I are me, and thus it’s only when the paths of our mental scribblings cross that I choose to share his stuff with you. Sometimes that happens three times a week. Sometimes once in three months. I don’t keep count or have a quota to fulfill: when it happens, it happens.

Good news, reader: it’s happening right now with this image of a bit of wall of the 5 star boutique Milestone Hotel in Kensington:

See it there? That’s 3D Latin, that is…

Spero Infestis

it says

Metuo Secundis

Which, according to several (or more) websites, translates as:

I hope in adversity, I fear in prosperity.

or, in more basic terms:

I am hopeful in times of danger; I am fearful when things are going well.

Which seems both a positive outlook, but also a bit pessimistic at the same time. So overall, pretty neutral and perhaps even rather sensible, then?

Given that generally, we live our lives not in a constant state of one extreme or another, but mostly somewhere down the middle, this 3D Latin thing will only kick in occasionally, but when it does, it will surely temper our acute and foolish emotions and restore some sort of natural order to proceedings.

I like it.

Golf

Golf. Sport of Kings. Or is that Polo? Whatever, I’m not a fan of golf.
Golf is dull.

Fans of golf – you know who you are – will tell you that it’s not dull. They’ll tell you about that exciting finish to the Ryder Cup in 2012 or some such, and yes, perhaps for that putt, we all held our collective breaths, at least briefly. But it took us four days of repeated five hour games of golf to get there! Dull.

And then there’s the fact that if you want to play some golf, you basically have to schedule most of a day for it. It’s not an hour’s footy, or a 30 minute run round the block. It’s most of a day.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Still, I just think that golf is dull. Brian Micklethwait feels slightly more strongly than that:

I still hate and fear golf.

A little more digging (I clicked a link) reveals that it seems to be the same issue with the length of time the whole process takes that’s the root of his hatred and fearfulness:

I remember once having a go at it, when I was at my expensive public school in the middle of the last century.  I still remember hitting one golf ball really sweetly and deciding, right then and there, that I would never do this again, because if I did, there was a definite danger that golf would take over my entire life.  And I wasn’t having that.

Brian does like cricket though, including test cricket, which for me falls into the same “occasionally a really exciting last few minutes but to be fair it took things an awfully long time to get there” category as golf.

The difference is that cricket has noticed this issue and adapted with one dayers and T20s. Horrible for the purists, but key in saving the sport.
Golf, though? Golf has only just agreed to let women be members at its most famous clubs (although they’re not allowed to change there).

So golf is actually old-fashioned, sexist and dull. And it takes ages.

No, thank you.

Brittany Lighthouses

Tagged by London blogger and member of the MEC (Mutual Enjoyment Club), Brian Micklethwait in a lighthouse post? I had better document that.

Brian shares a photo of a poster in a shop window; a poster featuring 12 Brittany Lighthouses, which I love, and which I have half-inched to share here:

brittanylighthouses

Two things I noted about the poster (which I now want for my study wall). Firstly, the second lighthouse from the left is La Jument, a 48m high stone tower built in 1911, and apparently “The most famous lighthouse in the world”. Why the fame? Because of this famous (see?) photo by famous lighthouse photographer, Jean Guichard, which has sold over a million copies.

strength-guichard

But you must ignore that motivational crap about looking fear in the face, because when the photograph was taken, the lighthouse keeper Théodore Malgorn (for it are he in the doorway) had no idea that the wave was coming, as this account testifies:

Malgorn, suddenly realising that a giant wave was about to engulf the structure, rushed back inside just in time to save his life. In an interview he said “If I had been a little further away from the door, I would not have made it back into the tower. And I would be dead today. You cannot play with the sea.”

The photograph – taken on the 21st December 1989 – won second place in the 1991 World Press Photo awards. (The winner was Guichard’s compatriot Georges Mérillon.)

Aaannd the other thing that interested me particularly about the post was the “coffee cup rings” over each of the towers. I don’t think that they are actual coffee cup rings – I’m hoping that they are examples of light characteristics – a representation of the sequence of flashes that differentiate and identify each lighthouse.

My theory is supported by the fact that La Jument (remember that? It’s famous, after all) has a light characteristic of Fl 3 R 15s that’s 3 flashes of a red light every 15 seconds. And look at its coffee cup ring:

brittanylighthouses

Assuming that ring makes up a minute (and ignoring that awkward gap, top right) I can see three flashes 4 times there.

It’s this sort of technical detail which I love about posters like this. It makes it less of a picture and more of a document. And just as I know that my readers needed to know who won the 1991 World Press Photo awards, I know that you’ll want to know the full light characteristic for Cape Agulhas lighthouse. And that is: Fl W 5s 31m 30M – a white light flashing every 5 seconds, 31 metres above sea level and visible for 30 nautical miles. .

Other selected lighthouse light characteristics include (but are not limited to):

Slangkop: Fl 4 W 30s. 4 white flashes every 30 seconds.
Cape Point: Fl 3 W 30s. 3 white flashes every 30 seconds.
Green Point: Fl W 10s. White light flashing every 10 seconds.
Dreswick Point (IOM): Fl 2 W 30s. 2 white flashes every 30 seconds.

Lighthouses, eh? I’m a sucker for them.