Category Archives: Animals

North and South and Slugs

I’ve become rather taken aback by the sheer number of people who have popped their clogs in North and South. In misery it’s one step away from a Chekhov play. I’ve had to cheer myself up with this touching image of true banana slug love:

slugs in love


Love IS beautiful, isn’t it?


South Africa’s Dis-Chem animal testing policy on cosmetics

So, I’ve been looking around for shampoo/conditioner/soap stuff which is not tested on animals. It’s surprisingly difficult to find, which is odd: you would imagine that since humanity has been using soap for 4812 years we would have fucking figured out by now what makes our skin break out in a rash and what doesn’t without needing to rub it all over shaved rabbits kept in cages in horrible strobe-lit laboratories first.

I am agnostic about animal testing for medical purposes, but for vanity products and basic cleaning materials it’s just ridiculous. The frantic manic feverish visual shouting – yelling – BLUDGEONING of advertisements showing off the latest shampoo with nutrino cerano collagen elastin free-radical pro-xylane peptide antioxidant crap is nauseating, and it’s sickening to think how the media manipulates girls/women and slowly grooms them so that they eventually they actually don’t even blink at this shit and actually end up believing that using L’Oreal shampoo is going to make their hair age less or whatever-the-fuck.

And one is reminded of this every half an hour or so if you watch TV, browse the internet, listen to the radio, etc, so there is no damn escape and frankly it’s no wonder I’m as worked up as I am about it and all the swearing in this post is perfectly justified. If anybody ever manages to make the science behind that stuff popular enough to break through to the targeted market group those cosmetic companies are going to be in seriously deep shit (go go go Ben Goldacre and

Anyway the products which are not tested on animals tend to be full of things like organic free range yak lactate extract, with the yaks hand raised and milked by bearded tibetan monks wearing nothing but sandals. This sort of thing adds about R90 (£9ish) onto the price of what you would otherwise imagine would be a perfectly ordinary bottle of shampoo. I have spent hours trawling organic shops, supermarkets, chemists etc looking in vain for affordable shampoo which isn’t tested on animals. HOURS! And it was right under my nose the whole time (I think I must have just blanked it out because of the packaging or something): it seems that most Dis-Chem own brand products* a) actually work, b) are cheap and c) are not tested on animals**. Hurrah!

* This fact is based on me going into Dis-Chem and checking random bottles of bubble bath and shampoo, I have no idea how many products they produce actually are/are not tested on animals.

** Note that this information is only written on the back of their bottles in tiny writing and does not appear to be advertised anywhere (including their website) that I can see. This is odd; there is a huge market for caring consumers. Do they not know this? Why do they think the other companies get away with charging R100 for a tiny bottle of shampoo? Do imagine that just because a woman is interested in having shiny hair she does not care about animals? Hmm, worrying thoughts. On the other hand I am quite respectful of them as they are clearly doing it under their own steam and because they feel it is the right thing to do rather than as a slimy marketing ploy.

I use antlers in all of my decorating

So maybe the body corporate of apartment blocks and the flat and house owners of the world would like to tell me what it is they have against pets? The body corporate on the apartment I want to rent have just told me that they do not allow any pets at all. Does this include goldfish and hamsters? Yes. Does this include my pet caterpillar ? Yes. Does this include the tiny spider I’ve accidentally brought in on my shoe? Yes. It’s odd. Inexplicable. Do they do full body searches checking to make sure you aren’t attempting to smuggle any ants in to the complex whenever you enter? Probably, going by the way they carry on.

It’s strange and unreasonable. If you have a guinea pig and you keep it indoors and there is absolutely no way anybody will know about it or it will disturb anybody then what on earth is the problem? So, ok, my cat isn’t quite a guinea pig but she’s one step up from one, she’s an indoor cat who just sleeps all the time. If it was the owner objecting to the cat then I could understand it – perhaps they are worried about damage to the carpet (keep in mind the flat is unfurnished). In which case I would offer to pay a pet deposit, whatever they like, because I know she doesn’t scratch the carpets. I don’t see what kind of reasonable person could object to this unless they actually fundamentally enjoy pissing people off. I kind of want to say it’s aggravated by the white South African Oh-God-Everybody-Is-Out-To-Steal-My-Stuff-Quick-Let’s-Erect-A-Portable-Fort-To-Move-Around-In mentality (which in its turn of course is caused by the high crime rates, which in turn is caused by the terrible inequality and poverty in this country so, huh, looks like everything comes down to the bloody economy again and SA’s sad history), but I’ve encountered similar problems in London.

So I think we’ve got to the bottom of it now actually: body corporates are sadists.

Top 10 reasons to hate top 10 lists

  1. They are everywhere and they are annoying. Surely? Surely someone else is annoyed by them? Ahhh lovely internet, 5,140 hits for “top 10 lists suck”.
  2. It’s depressing that humanity’s attention span is now so short that most article writers seem to have to bribe people with the promise of there only being 10 sentences for them to have to read. So much brevity in their writing makes it, well, even more tasteless and trite than normal.
  3. It’s destroying the sexiness of numbers. And numbered lists. <ol> is nearly ruined for me.
  4. They’re nearly always subjective opinions given as the gospel truth, and goodness knows how many impressionable young minds there are out there scurrying around clicking on them. Think of the children, people!
  5. I usually get bored at number 5. This is sad because I only ever bother reading them when I’m bored in the hope that they’ll make me slightly less bored. It’s a sort of sadistic spiral of brief optimism, even briefer interest, a flare of irritation, a moment of distraction where I try to count the typos, and then I sink into an even deeper pit of boredom.
  6. Based on this I’m going to guess that most people don’t bother reading any further than 6.
  7. What do you think it is about cats that makes them like to sit in flower pots?
  8. Cat in pot
  9. Yeah, she’s got the right idea. Find your flowerpot, sit in it, and then don’t move for anyone, that’s my advice to all you avid readers of top 10 lists dissing top 10 lists. And no, there isn’t actually going to be a #10.

WordPress 3.3

This blog has recently been updated from WordPress 1.something to 3.3. I’ve got to say, the new WordPress interface really is lovely, makes me realise why so many people complain when they move from WordPress to Joomla or Drupal. Besides looking stylish it’s also very well organised, and I think that being able to install plugins in 1 click is a massive bonus, as is the ‘autosave’ function.

And I’m very impressed by the default 2011 theme which I’m using. I feel a bit uneasy about the MASSIVE amount of whitespace up near the header, plus the huge header image – I guess above-the-fold space no longer is the precious commodity it once was. It’s a responsive design though, so at least it degrades nicely for smaller screens.

To celebrate, here is a  cat attacking a paper bag: