Saturday, 28 February 2009

Here is a koala near the town of Ballarat, escaping the Victorian bushfires. She is climbing into a stored commode hanging in a shed.

Well new fires are threatening central Victoria.... Lets pray for rain.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Koala swims

Koala comes from an aboriginal word meaning 'drinks little' - now the Australian Environment Minister is looking for a nice aboriginal word that means 'frequently seen drinking Evian' to correct this mis-naming. (This is a joke!)

In response to a request - Koala's don't really swim but can float a bit - see video here!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Magnificence of the Tsars - Exhibition

I am a bit confused by this - the name and the exhibition overall. Firstly, well yes some of the clothes were magnificent - and some were very plain too, many were army uniforms of the Tsars.

Yes the liveries of the Heralds and coachmen were amazing - perhaps some detail on the workmanship that made these ribbon bedecked jackets and elaborate velvet tabards would have padded out our sense of 'how and why?'

I am even less sure of who the exhibition is aimed at - my sense as I came away was - did the Moscow Armouries send a few spare articles over and the V&A have to display them? The timeline seemed fairly narrow - 1720 to 1918. Were they trying to tell us something about the last years of the Russian Ewmpire; what led to the revolution? Certainly of the Emperors covered 3 were assainated - historically that puts the deaths of Nicholas II and his family in context. Would schoolchildren have that sense of history? Would fashion students care? Were all those yards of ribbon machine made? Help me V&A I need to know!

Perhaps the very fact that I am so full of questions is what the curator wanted?

Well here are a few more; the V&A holds a huge collection of decorative artifacts - could they not have displayed the 'magnificence of the Tzars with a few more of these? As usual the fashion gallery was hot and close - I went to the Supreames costume exhibition there (and that was a faultless display!) and because of the location and the lack of real educational benefit of the 'Magnificence of the Tzars' could not wait to leave!

OR - got to the V&A web site and save yourself the cost of a ticket

The Magnificence of the Emperors: From The Moscow Kremlin Museums Collection is on at the V&A from 10 December 2008 to 29 March 2009

No it doesn't - Koalas part 2

Posting pictures of Koala's does not increase your traffic - but in case it does here is another of the cutest beasties on earth.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Running (is that me?)

OK so I may not be keeping to my Mon, Wed & Fri sessions on the treadmill (could forgetting towels by a psychosomatic reaction!) but 3 sessions a week of 30 mins exercise is definitely improving my stair climbing stamina! So what the doc's say is true - I only hope I will one day run 5K on a road!

Cute vs serious news

Anyone watching the recent bushfires in the Australian state of Victoria cannot help but be affected by the terrible loss of life and lives (houses, businesses etc) and today we hear of the first firefighter to die. But we all know that most people will shrug and get on with their own concerns. But the more acceptable face of all this tragedy:

'A koala bear has become an internet sensation after an Australian firefighter stopped to share a bottle of water with the stricken animal, burnt by the Victorian Bush Fire. Photographs of the scene were broadcast around the world by most news agencies. Sam, as the koala has been named, even has her own account on Facebook now where people can sign up to become her friend.'

Sam has raised awareness of this tragedy as no other picture could. Strange world huh!

If you would like to help - go here:

Friday, 13 February 2009

TREO 680

Time to give some feedback on the Treo - which replaced my HTC 'delicate' (a great little machine but not for being kept in a handbag!). As usual I wanted a do everything PDA with phone capabilities. Since the Treo has a similar sized screen to the ipod - its fine for photos and videos.... I have a 6gb transflach card so memory is not a problem. Also it has a reasonable music player, comes with Audiable mobile and eReader. I have lots of books in MobiPocket format and the Treo runs both readers well. Web access is good and with a Java virtual machine runs Google maps.

However, its taken me months to get Versamail (the included email app) to work adequately with Gmail. The one drawback of a Treo being that Google does not support the Palm OS.

Now if Only I could play WoW on it I could replace my dodgey laptop!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


With Amazon releasing a newer Kindle in the US - will eBooks kill off paper?

Probably not - although I read books on my Palm Treo 680 - both in eReader and Mobipocket form (in fact Mobipocket do a converter for txt and html files - so anything available on the web can be converted to an ebook!) I love being able to carry a reference library in my pocket, perhaps search is not as good as an index but at a pinch its fine. I like having 15 novels available from Austen to Conan Doyle to the latest Harlequin romance if I feel like it - not the one kilo tome I thought I might dip into.

But ultimately I want reference books and my favourite novels in paper format - graphs and pictures are never the same on electronic devices; notations in margins and post its will take some replacing..... it might be easier to cut and past your quote from an electronic document - but there is something about flipping pages for that elusive paragraph; re-reading your favourite scene; reading in the bath!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Couch to 5k

Well now I am back on my feet I am hoping to get back to running. So, joined the gym at work and starting on the interval training programme offered by 'Couch to 5K' with supportive podcasts (and some very nice trendy music) the podcasts are by an American whose honeyed tones really help without being intrusive.

Yes, I am running on the treadmill to start. Why? well firstly the weather in London right now is not conducive to outside running. secondly - interval training makes you look a bit dorky (OK a lot dorky) and thirdly - I am unfit and need both a heart monitor and something to control my pace. The treadmill does that at least for the first 3-4 weeks of training.

And once I feel happy with weather, my pace and stamina - its onto the roads of London. Walkrunjog can help you plan your route anywhere in the world - or show you routes others use...

I feel I might be setting up some walks as well using this great mash-up!