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‘Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons—for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.’ Anon.

I have always had a fascination with dragons.  Being a bit of a sci-fi and fantasy geek may have something to do with that, but also, from an arty perspective, even the scariest and meanest ones are usually quite beautiful to look at, and (if Smaug is anything to go by at least) they also have wonderful resonant, sexy Benedict Cumberbatchy voices . . .

dragonThis fascination is not mine alone.  Stories about dragons appear throughout history and almost every culture has their own mythology. Scholars say belief in dragons probably evolved independently in Europe, China, the Americas and possibly even Australia too.  (It is generally thought that these myths were first inspired by real creatures like dinosaurs, snakes, crocodiles and lizards. This may be true, but it doesn’t really explain where the fire-breathing and flying comes from—a little more artistic licence perhaps . . .)

IM000542.JPGI always thought it would be kind of cool to see a real dragon (from a distance at least)although I admit, because of all the mass destruction (the burning, the killing, the eating of whole populations—with or without ketchup) it is probably quite a good thing they aren’t really roaming our skies.  I shall have to be content observing some of their smaller (less murderous) descendants.

silly frogThat should be easy now as the summer is not far away and that means our local reptile population is slowly starting to reappear after the colder months. I am not at all happy about the impending reappearance of snakes (I really do not like snakes—nearly all of them here are deadly and that is good enough reason for me)—but I do not have the same horror about lizards.  A healthy respect yes, but not a horror.  Which is unusual really as I have a bit of a history of being spooked by lizards . . .

Years ago, one very hot Sunday afternoon, my two dogs (Harry and Frank), two cats (Jesse and Cleo) and I had taken to my bed for a long lazy afternoon siesta (as you do).  The blinds were drawn but the back door and windows were all wide open, trying to catch what little breeze there was. Somewhere in the middle of that afternoon nap I became aware I could hear an odd, undefinable sound.  Then there was a dull thump.  Someone was in the house . . .

blue_tongue-1030x688The dogs were up in a flash and by the time I got to my feet, still groggy with sleep, there were volleys of alarm barks coming from the kitchen.  The intruder turned out to be a very large (and now seriously frightened and pissed-off) blue tongue lizard who it seems, had come in through the back door looking for a free feed of cat food.  He was now puffed up to twice his usual size, had his mouth wide open, blue tongue flashing, and was hissing ferociously.

running-lizardAfter a short period of what can only be described as bedlam, I managed to remove all the dogs and cats from the kitchen (all locked in different rooms and howling their displeasure), entice the still very cranky lizard onto the end of the garden broom and very carefully (at broom’s length) walk him through the house, out of the back door and set him down gently on the vacant block of land behind the house.  I then turned and fled home as fast as I could—just in case he felt he needed to further vent his displeasure upon me.

That fellow turned out to be seriously ‘small fry’.  You know that saying ‘Be careful what you wish for’? Well, this week the girls and I had a close encounter with what is probably the nearest thing to a living dragon we are ever likely to come across.

monitorWalking past the swamp (remember the swamp?) we had stopped for a moment (waiting for Molly to pee—again) when, without fair warning, a huge monitor lizard (Godzilla-like proportions—swear to God) launched itself onto the path in front of us and then up the nearest tree, where he froze and turned to gaze (unblinkingly) down upon us.  (Trying to decide which of us looked tastiest no doubt.) After a shocked moment of silence the girls quickly decided that dealing with this critter was well above their pay grade and began retreating quickly back down the path (although still brave enough to hurl doggie-insults as they went).  I was more than happy to follow!

After giving ourselves a moment to restart our hearts we continued on our walk (deciding to go the ‘long way round’) and later met a gentleman who told me that this particular lizard is a long time local, well known in the area.  Apparently he can often be seen in the early mornings and late afternoons—perched high in a tree, overlooking the bush and the river, sitting atop a large (and presumably now abandoned) ant nest, which he seems to have made his home.

And now I wonder . . .

I wonder how many years he has been sitting there, watching us mere mortals wander up and down the river path, day after day. . .

I wonder what he thinks of us . . . I wonder if he thinks of us at all . . .

I wonder what is in that ant’s nest.  Do you think he guards a treasure in there?  Or maybe that’s where he keeps his wings . . .

smaugs-eye

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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“What’s Plan B?’ ‘We all die now.’ ‘What’s Plan C?” Joss Whedon.

Earlier this week at the college we had all sorts of dramas processing Credit Card payments.  In the first instance a lady came in to pay her course fees and the dreaded response from the Credit Card machine came back—’Declined. Contact Issuer.’

empty purse flyingTwo hours later the same thing happened with another student, and again a little later on.  By this time we had realised that the problem was at the bank rather than with the students’ cards, but knowing that didn’t really help those people who were unable to pay their fees—or do anything else that required a credit card or bank transaction for the rest of the outage. (One student only had a few dollars in her purse and still needed to go and get groceries for that night’s dinner.  Without access to her any of her money that was a somewhat difficult proposition.)

broken-computerAnyone who works in business . . . or in an office . . . or a school . . . or a supermarket . . . or for the government . . . or, well, anywhere else at all really, will be well aware of the frustration that occurs when the computer, phone, printer, scanner, or ‘whatever’ isn’t working properly—or even at all.  I know that when the technology goes down at the college (or the power goes off altogether as it has done several times lately) I might as well just pack up and go home for the day (or sit outside the office in the sun and read the paper which is what I did last time it happened.) 

Now I have nothing against technology.  Technology has made my own life safer, healthier, and easier to manage.  And, in my working life, although the newer technologies can bring with them their own set of frustrations (and they do, they really do) there is no way I would want to go back to ‘the way we were’.

Gestetner

Gestetner

(I have vivid memories of retyping whole letters or documents several times a day (on a cranky old typewriter) because my boss had decided, just as I finished, to re-write the last paragraph . . . or using messy carbon papers for duplicate or triplicate copies . . . or worse, stencils for (hand-cranked) gestetners or . . . OMG . . .  that godawful flouro-pink-stencil-correcter that used to make your eyes water and bring on a searing headache.  Okay, showing my age here, but I bet there are a few of you out there that know exactly what I am talking about . . . )

Although I have no inclination to return to those earlier (dawn of man) days, it does concern me slightly at how much we take it all for so very much for granted.  It seems that it is only when all the whizz-bang technology stops working that we realise how powerful our technology is, and how very much we depend on it.

plan-b‘They’ (the ubiquitous ‘they’) say it could never happen, and they are probably right (although the sci-fi geek within me definitely screams otherwise)—but what ifjust what if one day all our technology comes crashing down . . . and never comes up again?
What then?  What do we do then?  Is there a Plan B?  Do you have a Plan B?

It’s worth thinking about.

And for those readers-of-a-certain-age (and friends who may now be reminiscing over long-ago experiences with telex machines and ‘ticker’ tape) here’s a little poem I found that you might find amusing . . .

Remember When

A computer was something on TV
From a sci fi show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean
And ram was the cousin of goat.

Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes.

An application was for employment.
A program was a TV show.
A curser used profanity.
A keyboard was a piano.

Memory was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 1/2″ floppy
You hoped nobody found out.

Compress was something you did to the garbage
Not something you did to a file.
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for a while.

Log on was adding wood to the fire.
Hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived.
And a backup happened to your commode.

Cut you did with a pocket knife.
Paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider’s home.
And a virus was the flu

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head.
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash,
But when it happens they wish they were dead.

James S. Huggins.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘If I ever had twins, I’d use one for parts.’ Steven Wright.

dead fishNot long ago I bought my girls new collars.  Their old ones were getting very old and faded and (due in no small part to Mabel’s penchant for finding scummy dead fish to roll in) a tad smelly too.  Besides, every little girl deserves something new and pretty from time to time—although, with my girls, how long it will stay new and pretty, is anybody’s guess . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I mentioned their new collars to my friend Pam, her first reaction was to gasp, ‘I hope you got them the same colours as last time!’  Pam has known Mabel and Maude since they were babies but even after six years she still has trouble telling them apart, especially when they are moving at speed (which, granted, is most of the time.)  Personally, I can’t quite see where the confusion lies.  As you can see from this photo—the girls are nothing alike . . .

Seriously though, Mabel and Maude are not twins, nor are they even from the same litter, but if you do not take into account their personalities (in which they are almost polar opposites) I admit they are similar enough that if you saw them separately you might easily assume you had seen the same dog twice.  I wonder if the term ‘doppelgänger‘ can be applied to dogs?

MollyJuly2016Molly, on the other hand, really does have a twin, Holly, who now lives on the other side of town.  Molly and Holly (I know, I know—but they already had their names when they came to us) lived together for the first 5 years of their lives before coming to their new homes.  They have only met once in the last four years, and although they showed very little interest in each other, Holly’s mum and I were very much struck again by how alike they still are, not only in their looks, but also in their temperaments, habits and funny little quirks.  (They both do the same funny little ‘ballerina’ stretches, one leg at a time.)

thing1I have always been a little bit fascinated by twins, although I am not really sure why.  Perhaps because I don’t actually know any.  (Human ones that is.  At least I don’t think I do.  Perhaps I do and am just not aware of it.)  Anyway, there is a good chance that in the future that may change, as it appears there are more twins being born into the world now than ever before.  But while I find the idea of twins really interesting, doppelgängers are a whole different story. Mythology and folklore from almost every nation on earth going back thousands of years assures us that everyone on earth has a doppelgänger. This means that somewhere else in the world there is a perfect duplicate of me, with my mum’s eyes, my dad’s nose (yeah, thanks for that Dad) and that funny little piece of hair that sticks up in the front and will never do exactly what I want it to do . . .

(Some people believe we have at least seven doubles. Go to ‘twin strangers‘ and check it out—seriously freaky.)

As yet I have never come face to face with my own doppelgänger, which is probably just as well as I am not entirely sure how I would react.  Would I like me if I met me?  (More importantly, would I like what I was wearing?)  Would I even recognise myself if I knew it wasn’t really me?  And if I did recognise myself, would I stop and say helloor would I just turn and run screaming from the building?  (The latter is actually entirely possible.   Invasion of the Body Snatchers springs immediately to mind.)

In my defence, there is real precedent for being slightly trepidatious about meeting your own doppelgänger.  (Apart from watching too many science fiction movies I mean.  But what am I saying—there can be no such thing as watching too many sci-fi movies . . .)

 kermits evil twin1Although nowadays we tend to think of a doppelgänger as simply someone who looks very like someone else, originally it referred to a wraith that cast no shadow, had no reflection and was a exact replica of a living person.   These apparitions were exceedingly malicious and haunted their innocent counterparts while causing dismay and confusion among their friends and relatives. (Does the term ‘evil twin’ ring any bells?  Perhaps this was the twin Steven Wright was willing to use for ‘parts’.)  

Anyway, twins, doppelgängers, clones, spirit doubles—call them what you will, I don’t think I will be going in search of my own any time soon and if I come across her by accident—well, I’ll deal with that when it happens.

purple collarI have been thinking thoughjust to be on the safe sideperhaps I should buy myself something new (and pretty) to carry on me or wear all the time (like Maudie’s purple collar—yes, of course I got her the same colour as last time—she is still ‘Mauve Maude’).  Something that uniquely identifies me as me, so that if the ‘other me’ appears unexpectedly and starts behaving badly my friends will immediately know it is not the ‘real’ me.  (There’s logic in there somewhere.)  Besides, any excuse to shop, right?

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘We’ve had cloning in the South for years. It’s called cousins.’ Robin Williams.

clonesdogLast weekend I watched an older sci-fi movie called ‘The 6th Day‘. The movie was set in the ‘very near future’ where DNA cloning had been perfected and become an ordinary accepted part of everyday life. Early on in the story the family dog, Oliver, died and the family discussed going to ‘RePet’ to have him cloned.

Fifteen years ago when this movie was released, pet cloning was still science fiction—but only just. The first real pet-clone was a cat, CC (‘Copycat’ or ‘Carbon Copy’ depending on which article you read) born in 2001. Today there are commercial companies around the world like ‘PerPETuate‘ and ‘myfriendagain‘ offering pet cloning services to ‘reunite you with your best friend’ (all at considerable cost of course—anywhere between $50,000 and $150,000).  As I watched the film, I also watched my three lovely girls as they pottered happily around me and wondered whether I (always supposing I ever had a spare $100,000 anyway) would ever consider cloning any of my pets after they had passed on.

It actually didn’t take all that much thinking about.  I have adored every one of my pets and grieved hard for them when they passed away, but cloning?  Nope, not for me.

clonesI do admit that the science of cloning fascinates me—I am a rabid sci-fi fan after all—but the ‘sci-fi’ science and the ‘actual’ science of today are two very different things.  In sci-fi movies the clones (people or animals) always seem to be exact copies, down to the tiniest detail. Their mannerisms, individual quirks and memories are the same as the original.  We don’t have human clones yet (and let’s not even go there, please) but today’s pet clones are advertised as being genetically-identical-but-not-exact replicas.  So it’s still a bit of a lottery.  You might indeed get a dog or cat that looks and acts almost exactly like the one you lost—but you also might not.

Apart from the fact that I believe that just because we can do something, it doesn’t mean we should (animal medical experimentation—a whole other conversation) I can see why creating a dog clone might be considered an option if you are trying to replicate genetically gifted animalssay search and rescue dogs or cancer smelling dogs.  But if, and it seems this is mostly the case, people are cloning their pets ‘to get their best friend back’ I can only feel that they are setting themselves up for major disappointment.  We are all, every one of us, the sum of our life experiences, the people we have met, the things we have done, the places we have been.  Surely our pets are the same?  And if this is true, how could a dog-clone, no matter how closely related to the original, possibly be the same as the dear friend you lost?

dog laughingA long time ago—in a galaxy far far away—I took Harry, my first dog, out to a friend’s farm where a crowd of us were meeting up for a barbecue.  After lunch we all decided to go for a ramble around the property.  Harry, who was only about 3 months old at the time, was having a ball. There were lots of friendly people around to give him pats.  He had been eating sausages all afternoon.  And, best of all, he was running with the big boys—the farm dogs, 3 large rough and tumble kelpies—who chased him, nipped him, rolled him over and over and played with him for hours.  He was in dog heaven.

And then we got to the dam. The dam was a vast crater dug into the paddock.  It had high, rough, earthen sides which were flattened along the top, and the water was dark, deep and muddy.  The farm dogs dived in right away and a few of us sat along the top of the dam to watch them swimming and splashing about. Harry desperately wanted to join them but he was nervous. He’d never seen that much water in one place before.  My friend asked me if Harry could swim and I said he hadn’t tried—there weren’t a lot of swimming spots where we lived.  Without missing a beat my ‘friend’ picked Harry up by the scruff of the neck and tossed him, unceremoniously, into the dam. I remember being horrified, appalled and so shocked I couldn’t speak.  All I saw was Harry sailing through the air and disappearing into the dark, murky water.

BloodhoundShakingOffWaterLeft_MedSeconds later he was up, and swimming for his life.  He made it to the edge of the dam, staggered out, shook himself vigorously and, without so much as backwards glance, took off after the other dogs who were now running up the steep banks to the top of the dam.  Once he reached the top he did one excited madcap circuit of the crater at full speed and then, with no hesitation at all, launched himself into space and into the water again. (I swear I aged 10 years that afternoon.)

Before long everyone watching was cheering him on and giving his soaring bellyflops ratings out of ten.  (It took him a while to work out that he could get into the water from the bottom of the dam as well, and he didn’t actually have to fly in from a great height).  Harry continued to toss himself haphazardly and delightedly into that dam for the rest of the afternoon and it was only exhaustion (mostly mine) that eventually stopped him.  On the drive home my lovely, muddy, filthy, smelly little boy slept like a stone, with his tongue hanging out and a huge smile on his face.

dogswimmingAlthough I don’t condone the action of hurling my puppy into a dam (the memory of it still makes me shudder) that was the day Harry began his life-long love affair with water.  From that day forth Harry would, at the slightest opportunity, fling himself exuberantly into any puddle, pond, fountain or river he came across.  He would even just stick his whole head in a bucket of water if that was all that was available.  Of course, not everyone we met over the next 19 years thought this as amusing or adorable as I did and I often had a lot of ‘splaining to do, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

'My Harry'

‘My Harry’

Would a Harry-clone have the same love for water that my original-Harry had?  Very possibly.  But the experiences Harry and I shared over the years can’t be so easily duplicated, and that’s what makes our dogs, and cats and other pets so dear to us. I have absolutely no doubt I would love a Harry-clone just as much as the original—I am a sucker for loving any and all dogs—but it wouldn’t be because he was a replica of ‘my’ Harry.  He couldn’t be, and I shouldn’t expect it of him.

So cloning?  Not for me.  I honestly don’t think you need a clone to mend a broken heart.  Grieve for the friend you have lost.  Remember all the funny, sad, exciting, ‘oh-my-god’ moments you had together, and, when you are ready, open up your heart and home to another (perhaps one of the many, many sad, lonely, neglected or abused dogs and cats already in the world) and, over time, they will mend your heart for you . . .

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and think, “Well, that’s not going to happen.” Anonymous.

reality tvOccasionally, and I stress it is only very occasionally, I get an bit of an urge to cook something.  (What was that sound?  Was that your chin hitting the floor? How rude.)  Well, don’t panic—I am not about to invite you over to test out one of my new fandabbydozy culinary creations.  Apart from that fact that I don’t think my insurance covers food poisoning, that occasional urge to cook usually only lasts until the closing credits of whatever cooking show I happen to be watching at the time.

It is a bit of a strange thing but I just love watching cooking shows. Why strange?  Because anyone who knows me at all knows that I really, really don’t like to cook.

not cooking (2)I honestly don’t like anything about cooking (except, possibly, and this very much depends on how successful the attempt was, the eating part afterwards).  I don’t like reading recipes (the ingredient list is usually enough to send me screaming from the kitchen).  I don’t like organising menus (which I wouldn’t do anyway because—well . . . just . . . why?)  I don’t like shopping for food (about the only thing I don’t like shopping for).  I don’t like the actual cooking process (ho hum), and I definitely don’t like all the cleaning up that is needed afterwards (well, der).

It’s not that I don’t know how to cook, I do.  I am an adequate cook.  I know the basics.  I can boil water.  I can scramble eggs or make an omelette.  I can cook pasta and sauce and I can even throw together a roast dinner if I have to . . .  but if I don’t have to, I would really rather not.

woman and cakeIn truth though, I did, once upon a time, like to ‘bake’ (as in cookies, cakes, slices, pies etc, which I don’t view as quite the same thing as ‘cooking’, but I am sure someone out there will have something to say about that) and, naturally, anything I baked, I ate. (Doh.) Unfortunately my clothing allowance couldn’t keep up with my ever-expanding girth and something had to give (other than my waistbands) so I stopped baking . . . although I am still more than happy to sample the efforts of others (nod, nod, wink, wink) . . .

Although I have no interest in cooking myself I have friends who are die-hard ‘foodies’ and passionate about the culinary arts.  (I’m not silly you know, I may not cook but I still need to be fed. 🙂 )  My friends will happily expound on all the different recipes they have tried, hold forth on the virtues of one particular type of utensil over another, and swap tips on the best places to buy all the ‘necessaries’ (and probably also ‘unnecessaries-but-want-one-anyways’) that go with the craft of cooking.  For it is a craft, and I do recognise that—it’s just not a craft I want to practice.  I am happy to listen to listen to all the animated conversations, nodding and smiling in agreement (like I really know what they are talking about), and I am always very happy to sample their delicious offeringsbut I just can’t quite seem to get excited about it for myself.

Nor for the life of me can I understand why someone would want to be a chef or a cook for a living.  Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not knocking it—thank God there are people out there like you or people like me might live our whole lives existing entirely on tea and toast—garfieldchairbut from what I can see the work is stressful, hot and sweaty with unsociable hoursunless you are a ‘celebrity chef’ I guess, and then the stressful, hot, sweaty, unsociable hours belong to those who work for you.  Nope.  I just don’t see the allure.  But watching other people cook?  Great.  Fabulous.  I can do that.  Cooking for me is a spectator sport.

But if I am not interested in the cooking per-se, why do I love to watch cooking shows so much?

food pornFor me it is not about what is being cooked or how it is being cooked (I don’t get to taste he fabulous creations after all and, let’s be honest here, I am never going to try and cook it myself)—it’s all about the ‘art’ of it.  I find it little different from watching a painter create a painting, or a sculptor a statue.  I love the final ‘art on a plate’ imagealthough I have to say I am less enamoured, after all that work, when the ‘art’ is then attacked and gobbled up unceremoniously by the chef or judges.  I know it is all supposed to be about the taste and if it doesn’t bother the cook it shouldn’t bother me, but it does, it does . . . 

Anyway, perhaps, one of these days I may just break out and find my way back to the kitchen and try a couple of new recipes and . . . nah . . . who am I kidding . . . can’t see it happening.  My sister sent me a plaque once (still proudly on display I might add) that reads, ‘I have a kitchen because it came with the house‘.  How right she was.

But that won’t stop me watching, and salivating.  If you want to see some of the most gorgeous images of food you will ever come across, go to The Art of Plating and enjoy.  (Food porn . . . mmmm . . . )

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.’ Elon Musk.

Sorry—I couldn't resist.

Sorry—I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

This week NASA announced that they’d found evidence of liquid water on Mars.  Wow.  That would have been really handy for Mark Watney (The Martian’, Andy Weir) to have known.  He spent a good portion of his time on Mars struggling with the problem of creating water—even blowing himself up once before he got the process right.

Then again, perhaps just knowing that water was there might not have been enough.  Unless something dramatic had changed between his time and today, he might not even have been able to make himself his early morning cup of tea (“I started the day with some nothin’ tea. Nothin’ tea is easy to make. First, get some hot water, then add nothin’.” Andy Weir), unless he checked his paperwork first.  The internationally ratified Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (not making this up, honestly) has very strict rules about who, or what, can be allowed in the vicinity of any water source on any other planet for fear of contaminating it with life from Earth.  Again. Wow.  Way to think ahead.  (It’s a shame we can’t be as thoughtful in our considerations of what we contaminate our water supplies with closer to home, but that’s a whole other blog.)  

alienthinkerBecause of this discovery of water on Mars scientists are now even more excited about the prospect of finding life there, but, sadly, it would likely not be the kind of life that could have given Mark directions about how to get home. Arthur C Clarke wrote “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”   I have absolutely no idea whether there is life out there in the vast dark reaches of unexplored space, but I have to say I really truly hope there is.  How cool would that be?  And how sad if we ‘puny humans’ (as the Hulk likes to call us) are the best that the universe has to offer.

I am well aware of course that there don’t appear to be hordes of other-worldly beings lining up at the local spaceport to pop over for a visit to our blue planet.  And now our ‘fly-bys’ of Mars have given us a much better idea of what is actually down there and what is not, it appears that ‘Martians’ at least will not be among those likely to drop by Earth in the near future.  It seems we are going to have to look further afield for our first off-planet visitors (that’s always assuming ‘they’ haven’t surreptitiously visited us already of course).

marvin_the_martian_by_calamitykangaroo-d8ubfegShame really.  Don’t misunderstand mesciencefact is pretty fabulous these days.  No end of wonderful discoveries, breakthroughs and possibilities, but it is not nearly as much fun as science-fiction.  It seems to me that we had much more enjoyment out of Mars before we knew so much about the reality of it.  We fantasised about it, wrote books about it, made TV shows and blockbuster movies about it—we even had our favourite Martian cartoon characters (mine is Marvin, not in small part because he has a dog as a sidekick.  A green dog.  And that’s weird—not the dog, who wouldn’t want a dog for a sidekick—but the green thing.  Why would we ever have thought that Mars, the ‘Red Planet’, the colour of blood and fire, would generate a population of ‘little green men’?  Do we really imagine Mars, the Roman God of War to be a little green man with wobbly antennae??)

Anyway—maybe the reason we have not yet been visited (if indeed we have not) is because any prospective interplanetary callers are already well aware of how they would be received.  They would only have to take out a three-month subscription to Stan or Netflix and watch ‘War of the Worlds’, marsattacksbanner‘Independence Day’, ‘Battlefield: Los Angeles’ or ‘District 9’ to see that many of us would automatically assume that any unearthly visitors would surely be out to rape and pillage our planet, take over our brains and bodies (although that might be enough to send them back screaming from whence they came) and rain wave after wave of horror and destruction down upon us.  And, after becoming aware of our propensity for do-unto-them-before-they-do-unto-us thinking (They don’t come in peace!) it is hardly surprising that they probably decided to make a lucrative deal with the next solar system over to the left and spend their annual holidays where the host beings are much more hospitable.  Our loss.

moonNow having said all that you might think that I have a problem with sci-fi movies.  And you would be absolutely wrong.  I adore them.  Even the really bad ones.  Even the really old and really bad ones (with the really dodgey alien maskswhere you can see the fingers moving the plastic monsters and the wires holding up the spacecraft as they wobble past).  And, yes, even the ones where we are all mortally terrorised by marauding invading aliens and, after two hours of unrelenting mass destruction and millions of deaths, we the underdog, send them all packing back to where they came from with their tails (antennae?) tucked firmly between their legs (tentacles?), and rise triumphant from the ashes to rebuild our shattered world. (Cue the epic music.)  And if there is actually some kind of story lurking amongst the myriad special effects . . . well that’s just a bonus.

I am perfectly aware that this makes me sound like a 14 year old sci-fi geek trapped inside this 56 year old body but, you know what, that’s OK.  If a ticket to the movies can make me feel like a 14 year old anything again I’m all for it— and it’s a whole lot cheaper than other options out there. 😉    I wish I was clever enough to be considered a real geek.  It is the sci- and sci-fi geeks that got us to Mars in the first place, and with luck and a whole lot of talent and far-reaching imagination, they will will be the ones to get us a lot further out there.

live-long-and-prosperBut until that day, and until my kind of science-fiction become science-fact, I think I’ll go fix me a Pan Galactic Gargle-Blaster (considered by the ‘Guide’ to be the “Best Drink in Existence”. Its effects are similar to “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick”. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams), and cruise the channels in search of some wild and woolly space pirates cutting a swathe aross ‘a galaxy far far away’.  

Live Long and Prosper . . .

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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