Cocaine Fuelled Hippo Frenzy

My, but it’s been a long time since I had a Hippo update around here. Let’s see what Google news can bring me regarding Hippos.

Oh my.

Cocaine Fuelled Hippos. More than thirty of them. I don’t think I’ll be heading towards Colombia any time soon..

I do intermittently travel to the UK, though — and it seems just in time, given the birth of a baby hippo at Whipsnade Zoo. Much better. Much less scary…

Post #1000: A bit of everything. Technology. Parenting. Hippos.

So this is post #1,000. It’s taken me a little bit under five years to get here, although the pace has picked up in recent years. I’ve also become slightly more tech focused and less parenting focused, but that’s mostly a factor of my kids getting older, and my own desires to maintain their privacy as much as is feasible. Intermittent trips into Hippos notwithstanding, the primary function of this blog still remains my technology journalism work

So, what to put into post #1,000? How about a little bit of everything?

On the parenting front, as noted, I’m not saying much. Except that I still love my kids to bits, and I’m very proud of how Miss 8 and Master 6 have been doing in their scholastic pursuits recently. This being Australia they’re being overshadowed somewhat by the kids who are keen on sports, but I don’t care. The sports kids will be on the front pages of tabloids and broken down at 30, while brains can last for decades…

On the writing front, an embarrassment of riches. Like many other journalists, I covered the announcements of plan pricing for the iPhone 4 yesterday; in my case at PC Authority:

Australian iPhone 4 plans and pricing compared: [UPDATED] Telstra vs Optus vs Vodafone vs 3: “Telstra, Optus and now Vodafone have announced Australian plan pricing for iPhone 4. Which is the better deal for the 16GB and 32GB iPhone 4?”

iPhone 4 plan pricing also led into this week’s Hydrapinion column, talking about the realities of phone plan values:

Hydrapinion:What’s the value of a plan? “Amidst the never-ending hype prior to the Australian launch of the iPhone 4, there’s a critical detail that just about every single article I’ve seen to date has missed out. It’s a detail that’s crucial not only to iPhone users, but to anyone who uses a smartphone.”

And finally at CNET.com.au, a whole host of content. First of all, a genuine rarity for me — a product re-review. In the five plus years since CNET.com.au launched, I’ve only gone back once before, and that was for a product where testing equipment wasn’t available at the time of the original review. This one’s more an issue of a vendor stating that a firmware update fixed pretty much every problem I hit with the original unit, and insisting that the updated model was significantly better. But was it?

Astone Media Gear AP-360T: “Based on Astone’s claims, we were expecting much less fuss. But to put it bluntly, that’s not what we got.”

In the more regular review world, CNET.com.au also had these brand spanking new reviews:

Acer Aspire 5738PZG: “The 5738PZG is a solid enough workhorse of a machine at the asking price. Just don’t buy it for the touchscreen ability or the battery life.”

Acer Aspire 1820PT: “Acer’s 1820PT brings portability and excellent battery life firmly into the convertible tablet space.”

Sanyo DCDB10 DAB+ micro system: “Sanyo’s DAB+ micro system is high on price and low on real value.”

That’s a lot of content for one day, even for me. I’m beginning to think I might work a tad too hard.

Finally,┬ánot forgetting the Hippo-loving crowd — how about a picture of the Egyptian Hippo Goddess Taweret? A photo I took in Adelaide recently. I had no idea Adelaide housed statues of obscure Egyptian Hippo Idols, but there you go.

Hippo Goddess

Now, on to the next thousand posts!

The good, the bad and the Hippo.

Baby Hippo. Too cute for wordsMore Hippo news than I would have thought possible. Although half of it is due to Kate (tip o’ the hat) and the excellent Zooborns Web site:

Baby Hippo Hits the Pool: This little hippo, pictured at just one week old, was born at Zoo Antwerp in Belgium on May 22nd.

That’s just too cute for words. Although the scale should give you some idea as to Hippo weights. As the article notes, a baby Hippo can weigh up to 45kgs. At birth.

Ladies (especially those who have given birth) you can breathe in now, and try not to think about delivering that.

That’s the good part. Then the bad part, although at least it’s not actual Hippos. Wandering through a Big W recently, I spotted the king of all Hippo related amusements. The one. The only.

Hungry Hungry Hippos.

But this didn’t look like any Hungry Hippos I’d seen before. They’d… gasp!… redone the box artwork. I’m still kind of split. My first reaction was to try to set fire to the store for housing such an abomination, but luckily I was fresh out of matches. It’s slowly growing on me… a bit. But I’d still prefer the classic box artwork. Maybe you’ve got to be young to appreciate it?

Hippocracy?

It’s been brought to my attention that I’m not posting enough Hippo-related articles on this blog. Probably not enough parenting ones either, but the Hippo fans are speaking up more vociferously. So what bits of interesting Hippo news can I dredge up?

Gambia promises quick resolution of hippo assault doesn’t sound nice, but it does have a great Hippo picture — it’s the one to the right here.

Then things get weird, with, well… this:

Hippo killed in S.Africa apartment complex.

I’m guessing it couldn’t pay the rent. It seems unlikely that anyone sane would engage a Hippo in an argument over excessive noise at parties or somesuch.

Hang on, though. How did it get into the lift?

Sadly, Google news — the resource of choice when I’m too lazy to do any indepth research on Hippos — runs a little dry after that. I’m not quite willing to click on a link ostensibly about Hippos entitled “Burgers For Memorial Day”. I’m not sure I’d like what I’d find.

Hip Hippo Ray

I got asked by somebody who had casually visited the site why I included Hippos in the tag line above.

My answer was pretty simple. Because I really rather like Hippos. From a distance, you understand. I’m not quite mad enough to approach a Hippo up close and personal. It could only end badly, as it did in a rather surprising fashion for this critter, which most people would probably be more scared of anyway.

(Warning: Link contains pictures of cute and adorable but in no way cuddly creatures eating a less attractive creature. Entirely safe for work, though.)

Disturbing (featuring Hippos)

That’d make a great album title, now that I think of it.

Some recent twittering reminded me that the Hippos section of the site hasn’t been updated in a while. Trusting to Google news to ferret out the latest in Hippopotamidae related facts, I headed there, ready for the usual mix of “cute” Hippo stories and “Zoo Keeper eaten alive by Hippo” stories. They’re cute, sure, but they’re also not exactly safe creatures to cuddle, either.

Except that, right now, if you enter the term “Hippo” into Google news, the first result you get has the headline

“Sexy little city Canberra comes of age”.

WHAT?

I don’t even want to click on that link. Instead, to calm my nerves, here’s a randomly chosen picture of a Hippo grabbed from Google Image Search instead:

(image originally on this site. Looks nice. Go there.)

This terrible pain in all the diodes down my left hand side…

On the one hand: There’s some great things about being a parent. Like when your kids look up at you, smile, and spontaneously hug you, just because they love you.

On the other hand: There’s some hard things about being a parent. Like last night, when our two eldest children had alternating nightmares until 3am. Which left me with about three hours sleep, total.

Still, I think the good easily outweighs the bad…Pygmy Hippo Chews Grass

On the one hand: There’s some great things about being a freelance journalist. Like being able to take the day off (as I did today) and take the kids to Taronga Zoo for six hours. Perhaps not the brightest move after three hours sleep, but the kids had fun, and I got to watch a Pygmy Hippo chew grass. I like Hippos, in case you hadn’t noticed.

On the other hand: The work still has to be done, and editors don’t accept waffle about Pygmy Hippos in the excuse column. Consequently, I’m sitting here quite late at night, frantically catching up on work, and still not sleeping…

This is a tougher one to judge. I wonder at what point sleep deprivation induces hallucinations that write the features for you?