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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Is it just me, or.....

Did the world used to make some sort of sense? These days, it is just getting more and more surreal.

This morning I got a letter from TwatWest. It said that I was a long-standing and valued customer, and it invited me to apply for a loan of up to 25 grand! I still have not received a letter telling me that they were closing my account. And I thought the CFZ office was inefficient...

Then the Police Compound to where the jag was takebn after the accident is trying to charge us loads of money for the privelige, and the University grants people have lost the paperwork for my stepdaughter's claims. On top of that HM Inland Revenue have paid Corinna a substantial sum of money that she is not due, and which she does not want. The whole world has gone bloody mad!

It was a surprisingly heartwarming weekend. When I wrote on the blog on friday lunchtime, I really thought I was facing ruin. Remember guys, that I am bipolar - I see things in black and white, which is a good thing when I am being positive, but a terrible one when I am being negative.

Many of the world's great achievers have been bipolar, and whilst I am not putting myself on a par with Beethoven, Churchill, or Coleridge, or even Stephen Fry or Kurt Cobain, the fact that I am bipolar means that I can charge at something like a bull at a gate until I achieve it. Its a mixed blessing, but I honestly think that whatever little success I have achieved in the world, is mostly down to the positive effects of my mental illness.

But the negative effects are devastating, and until tea time on friday, all I wanted to do was die!

However, once the money was in my stiucky little fingers, and we were on the way to London, I did not begin to feel better.

We collected David (my 15 year old ur-nephew, for those wuo don't know) from school, and drove hell for leather down the M5. We got to the travelodge at Feltham at about 10.00, checked in and had a few beers. david is a country boy, and had great difficulty settling down to sleep against the suburban sonic background of car alarms and the Heathrow flightpath, but the next morning, all four of us (Dave, Graham, Corinna and me) were up and relatively conscious in time to get to Kempton Park racecource for 8.30.

We set out our stall, exchanging cheerful badinage with Graham and Janice Smith with whom we were sharing a stall for the day. We had a relatively good day, spent too much money (I bought five more Peruvian fern insects (a species that I have been trying to establish permanently at the CFZ for over 12 years), and some West African armoured millipedes for the CFZ menagerie, and we sold quite a few copies of the new magazine, as well as a significant amount of advertising.

Two things were uplifting in particular.

For over a year I have been a member of a forum called BugNation in which I burble on about insects to like minded folk. I joined over a year ago, and in the intervening months I have found myself getting quite fond of some of the people there. On saturday I met them in the flesh (as it were)for the first time, and they were lovely!

What was even more heartwarming than finding you were friends with a whole new posse o'people was the fact that so many of the punters at the AES exhibition were kids! Now, I over the years I have fallen into the generation gap thing, and berated "the kids of today" for being more interested in video games than books or natural history. "T'weren't like that in my day" I would grouse. "..and what about the bloody music they listen to. In mah day they had proper words and tunes that everyone could enjoy, like `Throbbing Gristle`, or `Shaved Women Collaborators` by CRASS"..

What a joy it weas to have a string of young ladies and gentlemen, many as young as six or seven, coming up to the stall and asking highly competent, and quite technical questions that I was completely unable to answer. What a joy to have a young girl of nine or ten rattle off a load of latin names at me, as she told me about her successes in breeding mantids.

It was a bloody delight, and it did my old anarchist's heart a world of good to experience it.

Then we went home to another bit of sad news. Corinna's other pet rat, Sid, outlived his brother by only about 48 hours. He was getting rather old, but he was a good rat.

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