Sleep Deprived Updates

Barely survived the first heatwave of summer. Not that it’s technically summer here until the end of the week. Thank you climate change!

The heatwave lead to sleep deprivation which lead to an odd obsession with Mike Batt’s musical version of The Hunting of the Snark. It’s very good but I’ve listened to it far too many times over the last week, to the point that I’m mentally throwing around casting choices and mumbling fragments of verse under my breath. “But at first sight, the crew, were not pleased by the view, which consisted of chasms and crags…”

This caused me to dig out my copy of the poem – purchased on a whim from Elizabeth’s bookstore in Subiaco in its old location out the back of the markets in around 1990 – and discovering that it’s one of only 1,995 collector copies of the Centennial Edition, published in 1981. I hopped online to check out the value and it’s worth about $100 in good nick – not that mine is in particularly good nick, and I wouldn’t consider selling it anyway. But it’s nice to know that it’s somewhat exclusive.

I’ve also become obsessed with building a 40k scale model of the epic Siegfried Light Tank. I’ve scoured the internet for photos (there ain’t many) and have managed to get a design together for every part of it except the back. I rather suspect I may have to buy one on eBay which while not massively expensive is still a bit of an investment for a tiny piece of metal. And for a model that – if history is any judge – I’ll never get finished. Although maybe if I spend money on it it’ll actually motivate me to finish it. Hmmmm. I wouldn’t bet on it.

Oh, and over the weekend when I was supposed to be getting other stuff done I did an update of my Warhammer 40,000 according to the Simpsons bit of nonsense. The current version is revision 4, but I’m already thinking I need to add the Men of Iron, and know exactly what screenshot to use. In any case here ’tis for your edification and enjoyment.

Warhammer 40,000 According to the Simpsons
Need to add those Men of Iron…

Now that things have cooled down, maybe I’ll be able to get some sleep. I wouldn’t count on it mind you…

Zanzibar, Oh Zanzibar!

So there I was, watching Joanna Lumley’s Spice Trail Adventure on free-to-air tv last night like the dinosaur I am while waiting for Annika to come on and reflecting that if they’ve killed Tosh on Shetland (on after Annika) I would be extremely annoyed when this thing appeared on my screen.

That’s no moon Zanzibar!

This – according to ITV – is a map of the east African island of Zanzibar. Now, I had never to my knowledge seen a map of Zanzibar prior to last night, but I was pretty sure it doesn’t look like that. And the reason I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look like that is because that is clearly a map of the much, much larger east African island of Madagascar.

What absolutely baffles me about this is how it could possibly have happened. Someone in the ITV graphics department obviously put time and effort into creating an accurate map of the area around Zanzibar, and then slapped a map of Madagascar into the middle of it. They even took care to not cover up the smaller island of Tumbatu just to the west. It surely can’t be a mistake. Is it some kind of protest? Some kind of prank? And how did it get through to the final product without anyone noticing it?

Just sheer bafflement all around. I’m tempted to shoot them off an email to try and get to the bottom of it. Do better ITV!

Ten Things to know about Zurvár Arèáná

1: Zurvár Arèáná is one of an uncountable number of alternative Earths (although it’s just as accurate to say that Earth is one of an uncountable number of alternative Zurvár Arèánás). It is a world of island chains with over 95% ocean and no landmasses larger than Great Britain.

2: The Zurvár people are a human species of unknown ultimate origin who traveled between alternate worlds for centuries before settling on Zurvár Arèáná from the 1960s onward. They have a number of minor physiological differences to Earth humans but the species are genetically compatible.

3: The world is loosely governed by the Konsâtèum – an organisation of powerful Zurvár houses and other interested groups established as a settlement authority. Many Zurvár consider the Konsâtèum to be overstepping its mandate by taking on a governing role.

4: Also inhabiting the world are a number of pods of dolphins and small whales from Otherworld One (another alternate Earth) who petitioned for environmental asylum in the 1970s. They officially have their own government, but it might be a fiction to ease relations with the Zurvár, or might be some kind of elaborate joke.

5: The world has eight cities ranging in population from 690,000 (Gorat Bárkalif Ganalû) down to 24,000 (Gorat Mantábon Dìaz). Outside of the cities the population live in towns and villages, none with a population much greater than 2,000. The total Zurvár population of the world is estimated at 18 million as of 2020.

6: Long distance travel across the planet is by matter transmission – a technology so much more advanced than the rest of the Zurvár technological base that it assumed to have been acquired from some other civilisation during the Zurvár peoples’ travels. Those who prefer not to be converted into energy and beamed between a series of transmission towers before being reassembled at the other end must take the slower option of boats or aircraft.

7: Homes, businesses and industry are powered by solar, wind, tidal and limited geothermal power generation. Zurvár battery technology is more advanced that than of Earth, allowing pretty much the entire planet to be run electrically.

8: Zurvár kidneys can handle much higher levels of salt than those of Earth humans. Visitors from Earth are advised to drink bottled water rather than relying on local supplies which may not be sufficiently desalinated for Earth human consumption.

9: Zurvár Arèáná has no native mammals, with the largest land animals being skink-like lizards no more than 25cm long. Bird and fish life is abundant. There are no known oceanic predators large enough to trouble humans, but the cetaceans claim that there are titanic predators dwelling deep below the surface. No one is sure if this is true or part of some elaborate joke.

10: The music of the Beach Boys has been wildly popular on Zurvár Arèáná since their albums were first imported in the late 1960s. As a result a highly profitable industry has grown up devoted to mimicking an idealised version of 1960s California, including the importation (and conversion to electric drive) of classic American muscle cars and, and the establishment of hamburger restaurants to drive them to. Traditionalist Zurvár are (unsurprisingly) infuriated by this.

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