Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Human Tetris

Great music, excellent video. One awesome idea.

Monday, 28 September 2009

For those of you who have not already looked up Fuck You Penguin, my absolute favourite blog ever (after Ed's and Pete's, well, not really, it's much better) - check it, now, do it people. It's for your own good.

Well, the author of the blog is also the author of the slightly (I really mean slightly) more politely titled book FU Penguin which I have not bought. Yet. If I was my brother I would put it in an I-want-it post, but hey, my blog is far too educational and philosophical to stoop to posting The Friday Wish List. No, i know it's not. But hey.

AAAAaaaanyway, the point of this post was not to bash my brother (though it is one of my favourite all-american sports), and it is not exactly to plug the above-mentioned book or to add it to my public christmas list. In fact, that other stuff was setting the scence so that I could then encourage you to read this review of the aforementioned, above mentioned book, by a REAL LIFE PENGUIN.

I love that Amazon is so multi-species these days. It's a sign of the times people, a sign of the times.

You can read the review on amazon, but I'll also post it here. For your convenience, you understand, not because I know you're too lazy to actually click on the link and scroll down the the necessary part of the amazon page. Of course.

Amazon Exclusive: A Penguin Reviews F U, Penguin

Matthew Gasteier’s latest book is a humorous, if slightly vulgar, exploration of the human tendency to anthropomorphize animals and its effect on both parties. As an animal who is currently being anthropomorphized by Gasteier myself, I thought the message was a bit lost in all of the comedy and full-color photographs. However, the average human will find the book to be very funny.

Based on his hit blog of the same title (though fully spelled out on the anything-goes internet), F U, Penguin includes 100 posts, one-third of which are entirely new. With an introduction for the book, plus forewords for all five sections (which include penguins, pets, and ugly animals), and facts about each animal, the new material adds up to about half the book, making it a worthy purchase even for the long time human reader of the site.

Granted, I only learned how to read last year, but since becoming a book reviewer for Amazon I’ve read quite a few animal-related books, and this was one of the strongest. While many of the facts are shaky at best (e.g. I’ve known quite a few seals, and they are always careful to only go to parties to which they have been invited), they are interesting enough to keep coming back for more. Obviously, as a penguin I have some issues with the “cold hard truths about penguins.” These sidebars take long-disproved stereotypes about penguins and recite them for comedic effect. At one point, Gasteier says penguins purposefully invite you to their wedding just to get a present because they know you can’t afford to attend. Quite frankly, I was rather disappointed he didn’t come, and his handmade pottery was no consolation, believe me. The section does not ruin the experience, but it’s a rare but disappointing misstep in a book that otherwise tries to stay light-hearted and fun.

It might be surprising to some that a penguin would respond well to a book that is ostensibly so derogatory towards penguins. But it’s clear that the character Gasteier has created really loves the penguins deep down, and is struggling to deal with that vulnerability. I remember my first crush on a penguin. Her name was Suzie and she smelled like seaweed. I used to stare at her while we stood on the beach. Once, she came over to talk to me, but instead of telling her how much I liked her feathers, I mumbled something about her preponderance of blubber in front of my friends to show I was tough. It hurt me, perhaps even more than it hurt her, but I didn’t yet know how to love, so I was pushing her away. Gasteier’s humor is that same kind of coping mechanism. I choose not to condemn, but to sympathize--a strong lesson in these rough economic times.

Overall, F U, Penguin is an enjoyable irreverent jaunt through the animal kingdom. While perhaps not quite as funny as John Audubon’s satirical masterwork, The Birds of America, Gasteier’s work will have you begging for more. Highly recommended. --A Penguin

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Sarah and Burkhard's wedding


I'm afraid this is another off-blog-subject post. I wanted to get some of the photos from Sarah and Burkhard's wedding on here. We all had such a wicked weekend - particularly the very smiley bride and groom.

We noticed a few differences between German and British weddings. During the ceremony, the priest even pulled out a guitar from behind the pulpit and sang the bride and groom a song! (although they assure us that this is unusual for them too!). At the reception, less emphasis was put on speeches and more placed upon games and presentations by the guests for the newlyweds - including songs, puzzles, photos and a big board upon which people were asked to paint a small square containing something that connects them to the couple (we brits painted tea, queues and fish&chips!). We also released helium balloons with postcards written by each of the guests and addressed to Sarah and Burkhard, in the hope that some will be found and mailed to them in the next few weeks. It was an awesome day!

We also enjoyed staying in the beautiful city of Bonn (if you haven't been - go!) and sightseeing in nearby Cologne. We even got to take Steve to the Haribo factory shop - I swear he was more excited than all the kids there!!! It was his idea of heaven (though possibly not his dentist's...)

Hope you like the pictures