Archive for March, 2007

6th Kyu pass

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

I’m happy to say I passed my UKA 6th Kyu grading last night.

I’m extremely grateful to all the teachers, students and visitors to the Airenjuku Dojo for teaching me so much over the last year and a half. Thank you all!

Arcade Fire @ Brixton Academy

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Arcade Fire onstage at Brixton Academy

Here’s what the stage looked like at last night’s Arcade Fire gig at Brixton. The lineup included ten performers playing everything from hurdy gurdies, accordions and french horns to that rather impressive looking pipe organ you can see in the picture.

Thanks to Will for the last minute ticket.

The ambassador’s reception

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Apparently there are some needs a Ferrero Rocher can’t satisfy.

Israel envoy recalled over bondage gear street shame

Supplying all your animal photo needs since 2007

Friday, March 9th, 2007

I fled London on my birthday and went to Whipsnade wild animal park with Sarah. They have lots of nice animals and an almost complete absence of computers and office chairs. We wandered around and took a lot of quite good photos - here are a few of them.

The penguins at Whipsnade have a spectacular view of the south downs. These punk rock penguins are rockhoppers:

A rockhopper penguin Some penguins. In a box.

This slightly plainer fellow is a humboldt penguin:

A humboldt penguin

If your bird identification skills are about as good as my frog spotting it may be worth pointing out that the difference in length of legs and neck help distinguish penguins from flamingos like this one:

A pink flamingo. Note lack of shiny plastic finish - this one is real.

You’ll have to visit London Zoo for meerkats, but the closest thing at Whipsnade is their fine gang of otters. Otters are like swimming meerkats, so they’re really a bit better.

Some nice otters One nice otter

Here are the lemurs:

A lemur's nose A lemur

For our visit the ridiculous cuteness award had to go to the one month old Asian elephant calf, LeeLee:

The elephants go for a walk LeeLee, a month old elephant calf

If you go there, make sure you go and find the saki monkey in the discovery centre - he’s a crazy little chap. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any good pictures of him as my camera lens fogged up in his rainforest area faster than I could wipe it clean.

A diverting question of amphibian taxonomy…

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

They're definitely humping, but can you tell me what they are?

We found this lovely couple whilst trying to photograph the eclipse in Oxford last Saturday night. Our pictures of the eclipse were awful, but this one turned out pretty nicely.

So what the hell are they? My best bet is that they’re some kind of bizarrely patterned Marsh Frog because of their coloured cheek pouches and large size. On the other hand, Marsh Frogs aren’t reported to live in Oxfordshire and shouldn’t be mating until May/June time. What’s more, these two look so different you might be forgiven for the male was hitching a ride on a female of a different species.

Update: Apparently what we have here is a common frog, Rana Temporia.

To 30 and beyond…

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

Justin, Steve and me Sarah and Ant

Kaz and Hugh BB the frog

Thanks to everyone who came along last Saturday and helped me enter my thirties with a bang.

In no particular order, extra special thanks to:

  • Dave B and Vicky, for the t-shirt of me aged 20 at Donington
  • Dave H and Asia, for BB the frog
  • Kaz, for getting me home in one bit
  • Jamie, for washing up every single glass in his flat
  • Sarah, for putting up with me in general
  • Hugh, Helen, Matt, Chris, Ruth, Guy and Steve for braving the rail system.

… and last but not least, thanks for letting me get obscenely drunk and behave like the ten year old that I obviously should no longer be.

I love you all.