Monday, October 23, 2006

On Velociraptors

So we know the theory - birds are the direct descendents of our favourite Jurassic/Triassic period dinosaurs. We've all watched Jurassic Park, and we've all heard Sam Neill tell us that even 'raptor' means 'bird of prey' (which makes the Raptors in Battlestar Galactica a bit more sensible - here I was thinking they were called raptors because they were obsolete technology (dinosaurs) without computer networking capabilities)...

But there is another possibility. According to Fran, cats - not birds - inherited the earth when dinosaurs stopped ruling it...

Her evidence? I must say, it's sort of compelling.

Let's return to Jurassic Park. Cast your mind back to when Sam Neill says THIS.

The six-inch killing claw looks like this (picture courtesy of the Sam Neill site):

(You can even buy your own raptor claws from HERE...)

Now, here's the kicker... Look, just look at what Sootie Cat shed yesterday...

I must confess, the similarity is uncanny. Unless...cats descended from birds? Heresy!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Anciene Dainty Cake Excavated

Pastry history was made this week when building contractors carrying out routine repair work on a student accommodation complex in Hull inadvertently discovered the oldest surviving dainty cake in Europe.

Upon discovering what he thought was tasty-looking rubble, Mr Wilbur Ateham, head of the building team, immediately alerted curators from the Institute of Modern Pastry who, after lengthy laboratory anaylsis, discovered that the cake dated back to the early eighteenth century and was, most likely, smuggled out of the court of Louis XV to be reverse-engineered by British cooks.

"It's an astonishing find", explained Professor B. King, "To find any cake at all from this period, completely intact, is amazing in itself - our knowledge of this period comes only from mere fragments, crumbs [...] You can imagine our surprise - and delight - when our laboratory technicians confirmed that wht we had found was nothing less than the earliest Commercy madeleine, until now a cake that only existed in legend, myth. I broke a little bit off the corner earlier: it's quite tasty."

Once it has been cleaned, the cake will exhibited for all to see in the Institute's Isabella Beeton Wing.

My blog as a flower

'Twas pretty, watching this being built HERE, unfurling like a fern, or a cautious travelling snail. But I'm not going to read any significance into it whatsoever, because that would just be silly.

Monday, October 16, 2006


It looks weird, doesn't it? An Olympus E-1 camera which has more electrical gubbins than you could fathom in your wildest imagination, paired up with a manual-focus Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens, not a new one which costs £229 from Microglobe,
but a cheap (£38), mechanically identical thirty year-old one which a French ex-pat living in Japan sent to me this month.

It's the culmination of my adventures in low-light photography. It's been two weeks and a year since I first posted a half-way decent low-light picture of Emma Rugg on this blog. An entire DVD of Emma pictures wiser, I find myself tackling the challenge of low-light photography very differently indeed.

Everything, now, has gone back to basics: full manual exposure control, metering-by-guesswork, shooting RAW to bypass the image-processing engine, and black and white conversions to eke out every pixel of available information. An old-fashioned lens made before either Den or I were born, mounted onto my camera with something that was most likely cobbled together in a shed, seemed the natural thing to do, more natural, at any rate, than paying extortionate money for the nearest modern-day equivalent.

So, here, a year on, are my latest attempts at photographing musicians in the dark: two of McWatt, an accordion and flutist duo who featured on the Seeds and Bridges festival:

- and, just to give Den the chance to show he can deliver the goods after his last incredulously bad attempt, one of Fonda 500 also.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tiny Planets II

Okay, so in the episode "On the Right Track", Bong clearly has a laptop-sized PDA:

Which, with its characterful swerve and magnetic latch, is clearly modelled on Apple's G3 iBook:

Now, the good folk at Pepper's Ghost released the first Tiny Planets DVD (don't even get me started on the second... Hayley, I'm sure you're a nice girl-alien but really - NO-ONE EVER TALKS TO YOU! YOU'RE NOT WANTED!) in 2003 and the episode aired a year or so before that... So, assuming it's several years on in a post-iBook era and you wanted a cool, well-specced machine with a big, big screen for Bing to look at pictures of flockers on, what would you go for? That's right, a 17" G4 Powerbook...

And, oh, what has Imogen Heap got?

I'm no conspiracy theorist but I see a pattern emerging...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tiny Planets

Bing and Bong of Tiny Planets fame have a fluffy white sofa, one which they eat, sleep, and travel to the stars in...

Rummaging through Imogen Heap's website this evening, I discovered that she, too, had a fluffy white sofa:

Maybe, just maybe, underneath that book, there's a button...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Imogen Heap II

Two days later and I still can't quite get over how amazing Immi's music is...

And that see-thru piano, filled with Apple Mac goodness...

Monday, October 02, 2006

I Megaphone

Years ago, I bought I Megaphone, the debut album of a young singer-songwriter called Imogen Heap. It was by far the most fantastic album I owned, and sitting as it did alongside the Rankin Family, easily the coolest. I don't know why I bought it, but it's never been one I've regretted, not that buying a bad CD is something to mourn over for all eternity.

But, then, Imogen Heap vanished. And, then, she came back with a band called Frou Frou. And then she recorded her second solo album, Speak for Yourself. Securing the spots at the end of The Garden State, Shrek 2, Chronicles of Narnia and the season finale of the OC soundtracks catapulted her into the stardom she always deserved. And, last night, I got to see her in concert.


Immi was sometimes mysterious and sultry:

...always impassioned...

...occasionally angry...

..and had a far quirkier sense of humour than her music will sometimes have you believe!

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