Apr 05

Pet hates

I hate this shop display. It first came out last summer, when it was warm, and a fun water-squirting flower seemed a good idea. But it’s been there ever since, every single day; all through the winter and now back into the spring. And it’s suffered; it’s got weaker and weaker. At the start, the flower used to zip around, splashing al round the container. Now, it wavers, often not having the strength to raise its head; it flops flacidly around, still performing, but only just.

It needs to go.

waterflower.jpg

Apr 04

Invites galore

Looking around yahoo360, I see that I have invites a plenty for the sharing (along with orkut and gmail…). Leave a comment if you want one.

And there’s quite a few others as well..whilst Jeremy Zawodny is way over his limit, there’s also this forum.

Apr 04

Pope John Paul…

For some reason I find the images of the embalmed(?) body of the pope very creepy..especially as it is obvious they’ve put him in new shoes

Apr 02

‘ow bist thee – family visits and ghosts

For Easter, I travelled to see the family. Sunday lunches are always fun, and this time we had 12 around the table. For some reason we got onto ghost stories: for a while my gradnparents have felt they have had a visting pair pf ghosts called George and Alice, so named following a visist from the loal medium who was asking whether they had relatives with such names. Presences are definitely felt, mainly just watching, and the dogs have seen something, refusing to go into rooms at times. However, the ghosts have been quiet lately; my Nan kept asking them what they wanted – I think they just got fed up of being hasselled by her!

Mom and Dad had their own story after that. Travelling back from a do late one evening they’d just turned a corner when a boy on a bike, with no lights, sped across the road immediately in front of them. Dad slammed the brakes on as the boy disappeared down a track to a farm. The spooky thing was the boy had appeared from the left side of the road, where there was nothing but a steep bank and a hedge, there being no way through, and there was no sight of him down the track when they got level. The farm was Yew Tree farm, where Carl Bridgewater, a newpaper boy on a bike was murdered in 1978. In the week the people who had been jailed for his murder started a successful appeal against their conviction, they’re convinced that Carl is whom they saw.

One thing about visiting is hearing the dialect I grew up with and heard on the buses (always pronounced with a z) and in the shops. It contains some nice mediaeval useages such a ‘bist’ for ‘are’, you can see the links to german/Dutch with these. More can be found on the BBC dialect sites

Apr 02

Friday Night Project

I was on TV last night, or at least the back of my head was. A few weeks ago, my friend Carmel had some tickets to go and see the filming of the Friday Night Project, staring Jimmy Carr at the LWT studios on the South Bank. I’d never been to a TV studio before, nor seen filming done beyond an episode of It’s a Knockout, a birthday treat a long time ago! It was slightly weird in that the programme was being filmed 3 weeks early, so there were topical jokes about weddings and races that took a while to get into. Sadie Frost was the guest and she did a good job and she did a good job of avoiding wife-swapping questions – and was not phased when there were a couple in the audience who had been to such parties ;-)

A fun night – we’re now waiting for Top Gear tickets to come through…

Mar 30

Downloadable video

The BBC are going to commission a second series of Doctor Who after just one episode being shown on TV. Reading about the leaking of the first episode onto the internet, they commented:

The BBC has trialled a download service for some of its TV content, but there is no indication yet as to when the Interactive Media Player will launch.

Other broadcasters are probably hurrying their own plans because until they launch, there will be plenty of individuals willing to fill that hole.

And today, I see that Microsoft have started a service for commercially downloadable video content. Should I sign up – not at the moment, far too US based. – I think i need a How To guide to US football, baseball and basketball before I can submit myself to Fox News

Mar 30

Childhood remembered…

…well, sort of. Glitter and Twang has posted a list of covers from The Sound of Music, all done in a very modern way. It’s like Coverville – but in a weird Twilight world.

The saddest thing – the Jesuit saying about ‘give me a child until they’re 7 and they’ll be mine’ is correct. Repeated exposure to the film on TV every Christmas combined with grandparents who had the album with the lyrics meant I knew every word.

Mar 30

Hoax or not?

Is this a hoax, and April Fools stunt or something else.

A story over at Boing Boing about a IM-ing student requesting someone else to write their essay – and their oh-so-nearly saviour blogging the whole exchange and exposing her on the web and to her school could be real or could be a hoax – however, if an April Fool’s day funny, they’re definitely living in a completly different timezone ot the rest of us…it’s a least another 2 days until April 1 where I am.

Update: as Impied said, Boing Boing were calling it a hoax, but the latest response was it was not, but it was a blogging incident that grew far more than the author intended. But confusion still reigns. The latest is here.

Mar 26

The Application of CSS

Just got my hair cut, so it’s back being tidy. Got the usual shock when it came to pay – £50 (although that’s far cheaper than some i’ve had). For about 15 minutes of attention. £200/hour. I’m in the wrong job. The whole experience did involve 5 people though. One to take may name a the desk and collect my money at the end; another to take my bags and coat and get me a cup of tea. One to wash my hair and set me up with towels/apron etc. One of give me a hand massage (Ok, this is not the normal treatment at a hairdresser, but obviously Shiatsu scalp massage is now old hat) and one more to actually cut my hair. Lots of people, lots of money. Men’s haircuts are generally cheaper, but this this salon still charged £40 for them. So what do they get different? Definitely discrimination to me!

Between the washing and the cutting, I got handed a cup of tea and some magazines. Never worked out why there is an assumption that going to a hairdresser means you only like one type of magazine – the women’s glossies and gossips. I did get a choice – but it was between Hello and Eve.

Found one good article in Eve that did stike a chord with me – a description of CSS. In the context of women’s magazine’s, however it means something completely different – Competitive Stress Syndrome. Googling this leads to lots of pages about overtraining in athletes and work related stress in men, but that’s not the story here.

So what does it mean? You’re sitting in the bar, or coffee shop, or anywhere and start talking about how your life is going and how hard it is and how bad you feel, and you colleague/friend/relative interrupts with their moans, about how hard their life is, how hard they are have to work. Then the third woman jumps in. Everyone trying to share the fact they are really stressed with their life – btw…the winner will always be the one with children!

The article went on to say that to really get the most of such a session, you have to treat it like a game of tennis – take it in turns. Share and then stay quiet for the next person. Let it all come out. Really it’s a bonding session; the point not to offer improvement suggestions or provide solutions, but to have a bonding moment, mutually agreeing about how hard life is today. And you leave the session understanding that of course you have highest stress levels – but you’re not alone :-). CSS – the new topic of conversation.

Mar 26

Large orders

Captured this image in the bar at work the other day; the staff there must love it when large orders are all the same, instead of doing 11 individual cocktails.

bar1.jpg

Mar 25

Stating the Obvious

Quote for the day: “the bible is essentially a book of writing” from a bishop on Breakfast TV (should have got his name but I was half asleep). I really must write and thank him for that revelation..I’d never quite realised it!

Mar 23

The Old and the New

Old communication channels are embracing the new. There was a time in many countries where the church was the centre of a person’s community. This appears to be less so now, but religion is managing to use newer technology to get the message across. Godcasts are becoming one of the more popular flavours of podcasts; religious themes on your media player of choice, according to this story on the bookofjoe.

In another use, Adrants are reporting that ministries are using comparisons with Halo2 to spread the word, as the storyline is apparently like a Bible story.

And to bring us right up to date, Amazon are selling a 30TB Tablet – or they were for a wee while until the typo got noticed. Over on Seth’s blog he thought that it would have disappeared by now, but it seems the PTB at Amazon have left the entry up there, so you can read some of the very funny reviews that got put up

Mar 23

Reading

I’ve finished the first book on my list (The Art of Intrusion). Some interesting stories, and I can relate to what happens (or not) at work. The next one is A Devil’s Chaplain, evolutionary essays by Richard Dawkins.

And here’s this quote, in an essay about the general evolutionary process:

” Stand tall, Bipedal Ape. The shark may outswim you, the cheetah outrun you, the swift outfly tou, the capuchin outclimb you, the elephant outpower you, the redwood outlast you. But you have the biggest gifts of all: the gift of understanding the ruthlessly cruel process that gave us all existence; the gift of revulsion agaisnt its implications; the gift of foresight – something utterly foreign to the blundering short-term ways of natural selection – and the gift of internaliszing the very cosmos.”

And what do we do with this gift of ours? For many people, use it to drive the very process of selection. Look at the internet, rife with money-making spam and pornography. Power, sex; all drivers to spreading the genes to the next generation – although the spread on the internet could backfire as the users of such info could spend too much time actually internalising the process instead of getting out there and putting it into practice ;-)

And to experience revulsion against the implications? That can lead to things like this story in the New York Times (you need to register). It relates how a number of IMAX theatres in the US (mainly the South) are refusing to play films/documentaries that mention evolution for fears it will lead to protests or charges of blasphemy. The wonders of a brain and mind that can take a look at itself.

Mar 22

Weddings and Websites

I think I may have given myself some work. For some reason, weddings seem to be on the cards with the team at work.

One of the team is emigrating to the US and getting married later in the year. He’d pulled together a website to let the disparate family members know what is happening. Two of the girls are also getting married in a few months – so they wanted their own sites, as long as they were better and prettier than the first one! For some reason I volunteered to develop and host (consider it a wedding present!). So two sites to keep up to date with the changing wedding plans

Mar 22

Stereotyping

Waiting for the train home at Waterloo today, I wandered into WHSmith. On the one side of the store were all the ‘female’ interest magazines, with the glossies, the home decorating, pets and the hobbies section. On the other side – male magazines, music, PCs, sports and gadgets.

But they got one thing wrong – the chocolate was on the supposed male side. They’ve still got a lot to learn!