Archive for January, 2008


Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Got an early morning message that HWMBO had arrived safely in Singapore. I hope he’s doing OK jetlagwise. I’m just about over it. Unfortunately, I’m back in London on Saturday and the whole wake up at inconvenient times and go to sleep at inconvenient times will continue.

Went to work and was confronted by one of my test managers. I have been having meetings all week with various people I need to get to know. Nothing important was conveyed except for one. However, my associate is a bit unhappy that I didn’t bring him along to these meetings. WTF? His contention is that we are working as a team so he has to be in on all these meetings. I guess it’s a cultural thang. I tried to explain to him the way things work over here (you only go to meetings at which you can make a contribution or get some information, otherwise, you rely on your boss who goes to those meetings to tell you anything you need to know and ask you for any information s/he needs) but he was not impressed. His body language is radiating hostility (crossed arms, lean back in chair, and such) and I’m struggling. I’ve asked for some advice from other people on how to deal with this and hopefully it will work. Otherwise, it’s back to India for him.

Lots of meetings and stuff, won’t bore you with that. After work, I went to Penn Station to get my ticket to New Jersey to dine with Dr. Louie Crew, my friend of 20 years and a great man. I stopped off at Duane Reade to get various things I will want to take back like soap, large bottle of mouthwash, some candy to put out for the office, etc. Went to wait for the train after dropping by the hotel room to change. They had put out bars of soap, which was hopeful (I had to remind them after they forgot yesterday.

The area for boarding trains for New Jersey is absolutely bizarre. There are smallish bronze doors down to the tracks. When the train track is announced, a huge crowd forms around the door and, like a funnel, people try to get down to the track. It takes quite a while, and then you get to the train itself, which has no open doors! They wait for lots of people to crowd the platform and THEN open the doors. The train was clean and absolutely packed. A very cute black guy sitting across the aisle was talking on his cellphone first to his girlfriend and then to his wife. Quite amusing.

Louie took me to a Mexican bar for a margarita (mine without salt, his with) and then to his favourite steakhouse for dinner. We talked over people we’d known, things that are going on in the Church both here and worldwide, swapped stories that I can’t relate here, and the like. I was very surprised to hear that my former Area Dean, Giles Goddard, will be around here Friday for a meeting. Perhaps he’ll stay in this hotel (it’s quite convenient for the meeting area) and I’ll bump into him in the lobby.

What a wonderful and inspirational man Louie is! The time flew by, and before I knew it I was back waiting for the train to New York. Then walk to the hotel and fall into bed. Two more full days and then back home.


Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Work was, work. I am getting increasingly worried about the project for various reasons, including chaotic project management, changing course before the project has well and truly begun, and a reluctance to acknowledge that more good planning needs to go into the project. All the people involved are real technical whizzes, but, well, the status meeting yesterday was probably the most chaotic and unfocussed meeting I’ve ever been in.

The receptionist was especially good in getting me a desk for the entire week. When I went downstairs for lunch, I noted a chocolatier in the basement. So I bought her a box of chocolates in appreciation. She was delighted, and I felt good in showing my appreciation. More about this later though.

I went back to my hotel room after work, changed, and went up to Morningside Heights to visit John and then go to dinner with him and another friend, Jerry. John used to live downstairs from me when I lived in the Bronx. He is a priest, recently retired from the Archdiocese of New York and enjoying his retirement. I brought him a gift: a pamphlet that he’d asked me to get for him, and we met his cat, a lovely white cat with black patches on her back and ears. As is appropriate in Manhattan, we had a Manhattan each, and then took the subway up to 231st St. to meet Jerry and have dinner at the Piper’s Kilt, a restaurant that we used to frequent in the “old days”. Jerry was outside, smoking before going into the restaurant/pub/bar.

Jerry is also a priest, and my oldest friend–he was a college classmate at Columbia. He’s a few months older than I am, but I’m finding increasingly that as much of an old fart that I am, he is fartier. He has few close friends, I think, is pretty solitary, doesn’t read the newspapers and is ignorant about all sorts of news things that one would expect him to be interested in.

We got burgers and onion rings, and a beer apiece. John and I chatted about the “old days” in the neighbourhood, as one does. Jerry contributed, but in an old-farty kind of sour way. When I related my giving of chocolates to the receptionist, he said that no one does that any more for fear of being accused of being sexist or “coming-on to” the employee. Is that true in the US? If so, what tosh! The music was too loud, and I think he is getting deaf a bit, as he had difficulty hearing what John and I were saying, even though I was sitting next to him.

As I always do, I invited Jerry to stay with us in London if he wanted to travel. He said, “I have sleep apnea and sleep with a machine…I don’t travel much any more. Good for celibacy though.” Oh my.

John and I went on to a crazy bar in Inwood where the band was beginning to play–more noise. I had an Irish ale called Smethwick’s. It was quite good. We walked to Dyckman Street and took the number 1 train home. Whew!

HWMBO is on the plane to Singapore even as we speak. I miss him even more than I have already, because he won’t be home when I get back on Saturday. I am sad. I can’t wait until he comes back in February.

Sunday and Monday

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Sunday at 11 am I was compos mentis enough to attend the Church of the Holy Apostles on 28th and 9th Avenue. Unluckily, it was the Sunday of their annual meeting, so I didn’t get to schmooze much. The liturgy there is very Hebrews 13:8, but the news that the Rector is retiring in July was a surprise. Somehow I thought he’d go on forever. We chatted (I hadn’t departed the parish in good temper with him, but that was in 1990 and 18 years is a long long time and a galaxy very far away). There is one parishioner whom I remember; she is English (but a war bride) and 86 years young; we chatted away for quite a while.

Then on to brunch with my friend David H. David is timelessly young and cool and even kewl. We found a Turkish restaurant at which I had soup and two appetisers, and talked and talked. What I didn’t do is have the waitress take a picture…I am so silly sometimes. Must have been jetlag.

That evening I took my two Indian assistant QA managers, who had arrived in New Jersey the day before from India, to dinner. I thought to myself, “Well, I’ll take them to 6th Street between First and Second Aves., where all the Indian restaurants are. WRONG!!! They are all Bangladeshi restaurants, of course (like most “Indian” restaurants in the UK), but even my assistants didn’t twig to that, and chose a restaurant called the “Taj Mahal”. The food was awful, they tried to feed beef to a Hindu, and another of them got an upset tummy from it somewhat later. I have learned my lesson. Take people to restaurants you yourself are familiar with, not to ones that seem to be of their ethnic food. There also weren’t any other subcontinental people in that restaurant. We should have known right away.

Monday was the first day at work. Found my way around, discovered that the receptionist was, as is often the case, one of the nicest people in the place: she found me a desk after all the other desks were taken as there had been a mixup. I bought her a box of chocolates today in thanks. Always good to give tangible thanks to people who are nice to you. It pays dividends.

Last night I went to dinner with , whom I had never met before. What a wonderful smile and grin he has! He is really so nice and full of smiles that even though I was jetlagged I was uplifted. We went to a Japanese buffet, which he swore had things other than fish. Did they! It was wonderful! I didn’t overeat, even though karen, our server, professed herself to be unhappy that we didn’t eat more. We talked about immigration, New York, gay life, lovers, ex- and current, and all sorts of things. I am so grateful to LiveJournal, as I have met so many lovely people though it that I would never have met otherwise.

I’m about to leave for dinner with my old friend Jerry and almost as old friend John up in the Bronx at the Piper’s Kilt pub. More later, as it happens.

There will be a pic of myself and as the waitress duly obliged us.

I’m in New York…

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

…barely. I got off to a good start in London, as I got through bag drop off and security in record time. Then we got on the plane and the fun started.

I’ve often complained about British Airways’s food, and this time was no different. The cabin attendant (Scottish) came down the aisle offering the entree, and when he got to me I thought he said “Chicken casserole or fresh pie.” “Fresh pie!” I thought, “I could use some beef right now.” Well, it wasn’t fresh pie he was offering, it was FISH pie! What a shock. Luckily, as it was British Airways, the fish tasted nothing like fish so I could choke it down.

Then I went to sleep. I was in an aisle seat. A married couple (youngish) sat next to me. Suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder. It was the cabin attendant, asking me to move so that the married couple could troop to the toilet. I told them, “Please, if you need to get up, you can wake me up. You don’t need to get a higher authority to do it.” They were sheepish, in more ways than one.

I had tried to get my iPod Nano going. I selected a song, and it froze. Nothing I pressed would unfreeze it. So I was convinced it was broken. (In the hotel room, I found that if I connected it to my laptop the computer booted the iPod so it now seems OK again.) Not a great flight, with no decent music.

However, I found that they were running an old episode of Yes, Prime Minister, the one where the PM moans about what an absolute evil man his predecessor was. Then the news comes in that his predecessor has just died. Then a Simpsons, and the pilot of Ugly Betty. I loved! it. I want more!

We got here, I took a cab into town ($45 plus tip and tolls), and to my room at the Holiday Inn Express on W. 29th St. Nice room, low on the amenities but big. Went to Moonstruck Restaurant on 23rd and 9th for dinner; yet again, I’m bamboozled by the huge American portions. And the meatloaf tasted like they put nutmeg or allspice in it (which they probably did). Back to my room to read and write this post. Now to bed. Hoping to go to dinner with Monday night, after the torture at work begins.

Happy advanced birthday, <lj user=”bitty”>

Friday, January 25th, 2008

As I’m going to be travelling (or panicking while packing) tomorrow, I thought I’d get a head start on tomorrow’s birthday. Many happy returns of the day, tomorrow!

I forgot an anniversary

Friday, January 25th, 2008

On January 24th, 1994, I arrived in London straight from Los Angeles and the Northridge earthquake, and began my work for Quantime the very next day with a course in software inspection. So today I begin my 15th year here in London, and tomorrow I’m off to New York for a week.

It’s been a struggle, but…

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

…I finally retrieved my cassock and cotta from Parcelforce today. It was sent early this month, but Parcelforce continually tried to deliver it (or said they did) but did not leave a card. Thus, I didn’t know they had been doing this until the vestment company called to ask whether I’d received it. We determined that Parcelforce should try delivery to St. Matthew’s Church next door, and they assured us that they would (on the 15th) but never bothered. Yesterday they delivered it to the church and I picked it up before going off to my Business Committee of Bishop’s Council meeting and ‘s birthday party. It fits, although the cassock itself is just about 1/4″ too long and drapes almost to the floor. The cotta is quite long too and has a single row of lace–no miles of tat for me! The cassock has a closed collar as I don’t particularly care for the open collar on people who are not clergy–lots of the gubbinses underneath show through.

I will ensure that HWMBO takes a picture of me wearing the outfit plus the biretta that St. John’s clergy and servers usually wear. I haven’t worn a cassock for almost thirty years now.

My commute this morning

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

It started out like all my workdays…I bought my newspaper and walked to Waterloo to take the Jubilee Line. Nothing unusual. However, when I got in the queue for the front door, I noticed a short pudgy guy next to me. Obviously, he was someone who didn’t realise the unspoken rule that, at these Jubilee Line stations (the ones with doors) you get into a queue, one at each side of the door, to wait patiently for the train.

The train arrived, and we politely let the passengers off, as we are constantly being reminded to do. Then we began to file onto the train. There was some kind of holdup in front of us, and the woman in front of me stopped. I stopped too, and suddenly I was violently shoved from behind, and the short pudgy man, who was doing the shoving, said, rather loudly: “Come on, don’t stop, get on the train!” I gave him a look, put my hand out, and shoved him right back on the platform. I was hoping that the train doors would close, but unfortunately, they didn’t. He then got on behind me. The rest of the journey was very tense; he seemed to think that he’d “won”, but shouting loudly at a stranger in the Underground is Just Not Done.

I have since thought about a few ripostes, among which the best (IMHO) is “Well, I see that you’re quite eager to get into work to continue embezzling from your employer while your wife is cheating on you.” Unfortunately, I didn’t think of that one until I had nearly gotten to the building in which I toil for my crust.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”tim1965″>

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

…and many happy returns of the day!

My week (and part of a day) and welcome to it

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Well, it’s been a very tiring week in Lake Woebegone, I’m afraid.

Monday was Deanery Synod. We always have a good turnout, but it seems that it’s getting more and more difficult to do the administrative stuff that you need to do to keep Synod going well. We discussed the regeneration that is happening in our Deanery–great gobs of construction work are happening right under our noses, people are being displaced, and no one knows much if anything about it. We had two of our Deanery clergy as well as a former leader of Southwark Council (who is now a postulant for Holy Orders and is scheduled to be ordained a deacon in June). We all enjoyed it and found out things from a politician’s perspective that we hadn’t known about before.

The difficulty is that our secretary, who does not use computers, decided to retire at this meeting, so we need someone to take the minutes and, we hope, write them up and do the things that secretaries usually do. I took the minutes at this meeting, but one can’t preside and take minutes at the same time without going slightly buggy.

Getting to the venue (St. Paul’s Lorrimore Square) was an interesting walk through areas of the Deanery through which I had never walked.

Tuesday was Lodge of Instruction, and we rehearsed the Third degree we’ll be conferring in February. I am the lynch-pin of this degree, as in the Second degree, as I have to tow the candidate around and generally choreograph most of the ceremony. I was told that I did OK, but I’m still a bit nervous. I must study more! The candidate will only undergo this degree once, and just like a wedding, he deserves the best we can do for him. The Master Mason degree is very impressive when properly done, and can leave memories in the candidate’s mind that will last for a lifetime. I hope that I will be able to contribute to good memories, and not embarrassed ones.

Wednesday was yoga. Kym has told me that I’m doing better; I sometimes wonder (not that I think he’s fibbing, but I feel tired and achy and don’t seem to be able to do most of the exercises very well). I am limited in that I have little or no feeling in the bottom of my feet, so some exercises that require balance flummox me. But I do try.

Thursday wasn’t busy at all, and Friday wasn’t supposed to be. HWMBO gave notice at his job last week, to take another one with a not-for-profit organisation doing consumer research. They tried to dissuade him, but he stuck it out. On Friday he said he would be going out with co-workers and that he’d be home around 7. Seven PM arrived, as did 8. No sign of him. I called him, and he said he’d be home within a half-hour. It was more than an hour when he finally got home. On his instructions I went ahead to the restaurant, but by 9 pm I was absolutely ravenous.

Saturday was yoga again, and nothing else. Sunday we went to the Sex exhibition at the Barbican, which had (to my mind) a lot of the predictable things you might find in such an exhibition. Indian, Chinese, and Japanese erotica, so posed as to hardly be comprehensible. Warhol’s Blowjob and Kiss, both of which I’ve seen before. Roman erotica, some of which I’ve seen and some of which was really interesting. Hardly any Greek stuff though (except for a few jars and pots), and nothing from between around 400 AD and 1500 AD. Other predictable stuff included Mapplethorpe (with a warning outside the room but I’d seen it all before) and Picasso. There was a movie consisting of a woman’s head and neck while she was undergoing (their word) oral sex, but with an operatic accompaniment. There was also a set of slides of various families and groupings with background music of Bjork singing Tavener’s “Prayer of the Heart”. The contrast of the pedestrian slides (some nudity, including several of one couple’s young son) with the ethereal music was really interesting.

But, yet again, the early closing of supermarkets flummoxed us. By the time we got out of the exhibition Waitrose behind Barbican was closed. Drat! We had to go to Sainsbury on Borough High Street, and by the time I got home I was so tired I didn’t really want to eat.

So today I’ve made my hotel reservations: I’ll be staying at the Holiday Inn on West 29th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues–very close to my old haunts. Perhaps I’ll go to Holy Apostles on Sunday to see what’s going on there.

I will be taking my work laptop with me rather than my contractor’s laptop, as I can access my email and LJ on it, while the contractor’s laptop doesn’t allow connection with email or blogging sites. So I will blog, I promise, and I may even take pictures.

Today’s Bottle Pictures

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

You don’t get bottle pictures very often.

I eat salad at home two-three times a week. In our local Tesco, you have very little choice and most of it is not great (although they do sell Paul Newman Italian and Ranch dressing). We went to Waitrose around Christmas, and found a lot of good salad dressings, one of which is Brianna’s Blue Cheese Dressing. I love blue cheese dressing, so I bought a bottle, thus. Note the lovely picture of the red onion on the label.

Now take a closer look at the neck label:

Stands to reason. If I wanted Red Onion Dressing, that’s what I would have bought.

Today’s Catalogue URL

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

…just bring this page up, and wait.

Today’s 666 URL

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

This gentleman, unfortunately for him, bit the hand that fed him.

Today’s Driving Joke

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

An older lady gets pulled over for speeding…
Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.
Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Officer: Can I see your license please?
Older Woman: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.
Officer: Don’t have one?
Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.
Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please?
Older Woman: I can’t do that.
Officer: Why not?
Older Woman : I stole this car.
Officer: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
Officer: You what??
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.
The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.
Officer 2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please!
The woman steps out of her vehicle.
Older woman: Is there a problem, Sir?
Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Murdered the owner??
Officer 2: Yes, could you open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer 2: Is this your car, Ma’am?
Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers.
The officer is quite stunned.
Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driver’s license.
The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer.
The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer 2: Thank you, Ma’am. One of my officers told me you didn’t have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.

Today’s Thoughtful URL

Monday, January 14th, 2008

…comes, surprisingly, from CNN, where in Korea, people are being “buried alive” in order to live better. For me, it’s food for thought.

Last dream of the night.

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

I was sitting with some friends and watching the harbor (in some unspecified city) and the sky. A plane flew in and landed on the water. Somehow my friend David got off it and started on his way home. He was on a skateboard, I think. I saw him glide by and started following him on my own half skateboard. We caught up and chatted for a while, then I followed him down a very long hill, got off my half skateboard and looked at it, then we went into a cemetery. There were various things going on there; there was a Jewish funeral and I crossed myself as I passed them (out of respect, not mockery). We went on to various parts of the cemetery, and then ended up going into a basement. David had by now changed himself into another friend (or been replaced by one) and we ended up having to be boosted up into a room that was quite close and warm. It was a wreck, really, with a group of people in it presided over by an elderly guy who insisted we eat. He handed us a tray of what looked like potato skins, and we both looked at each other, not wanting to eat them, but not having much choice. So we kind of tipped them up and ate the potato that was contained in them, sliding it into our mouths like an oyster. At that point that alarm was about to go off and I woke up, disliking the dream intensely and vowing not to go back to sleep until I could ignore this one. Curse you, beta blocker!

Birthday shoutouts to…

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

and . Many happy returns of the day.

Today’s Toys R Us URL

Friday, January 11th, 2008

I got a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head for Christmas one year, and played with them for all of an hour or so before discarding them (and I hope, the potato). However, the same toy, still being sold, fascinates a different sort of creature.

Today’s Chronicle of the Clueless URL

Friday, January 11th, 2008

I’m sure that most of you have seen this one, but I need to immortalise it in my blog too, just in case it’s forgotten in the future. Cashing a check/cheque is usually a pretty simple process: the payee goes to a bank, presents the check/cheque with some form of ID, and gets money. Well, this pair of clueless people thought that perhaps being in the same state as the Norwegian Blue oughtn’t debar their friend from getting his Social Security money.

Today’s There’ll Always be an England, Stupidity Department, URL

Friday, January 11th, 2008

So a man climbs down a cliff, sans safety equipment (which was a ways away in his car) to save the life of a teenage girl who had fallen over and was hanging from her fingertips. The man is a hero, right? The girl nominated him for an award. Does the agency for which the man is a volunteer appreciate his bravery and courage and quick-thinking selfless actions?

The heck it does!

Today’s Biblical and Political Quote

Friday, January 11th, 2008

…comes from the Times of London:

A motion calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England has been listed in the House of Commons. It appeared on the House of Commons order paper numbered 666.

I believe that we must now be approaching the end times. I wonder if the Rt Rev’d Colin Buchanan, the retired Bishop of Woolwich and promoter of disestablishment at every opportunity, would accept this one or spurn it because of its number.

I really hate my commute sometimes…

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I left work at 4:30 pm, intending to go to London Bridge and get some exercise by walking home from there. Got down into Canary Wharf Jubilee Line station, and there was a totally packed train standing there. Uh oh. It closed up and left, and I waited for the next train. Mind you, the display on the outside of the station said that we should be careful of slipping on the floor since it was wet. It didn’t say anything about delays. Well, there was a signal failure at Finchley Road, about 10 stations away, and it basically closed down the entire line. After sitting on the train for a while, I decided to get off and go to the Docklands Light Railway and go to Bank station, then take a Northern Line train down to the Elephant. I actually was sick and tired of hearing the train driver’s silly attempts to be light hearted and humourous about the situation; after all, he is in his cab and inaccessible and safe; the rest of us have to squeeze and squash our way around inside the car and just wanted information, not cheering up–it was too late for that.

Well, I got on the DLR train at Heron Quays, and we went one stop, to Canary Wharf DLR, when the train attendant (they don’t have drivers, only a guard who sometimes looks at tickets and passes) said that because of a dead train ahead we would be going to Stratford instead of Bank. It’s now 5:30 pm and I am pissed off.

I got off at Bow Church and walked about 3 blocks to Bow Road District Line Station and got on a District Line train to Ealing Broadway. We rolled along until just after Mansion House. We stopped. After about 10 minutes the train driver informed us that there was a defective train ahead of us and we would be waiting until the passengers discharged to move. We waited for about 15 minutes, and then crept into Monument station, where hordes of people were waiting for us. They all crammed in, and we crept from station to station, delayed at every stop by people who wanted to get on this already-packed train. I had a seat, but watching people try to treat the train door as a mosh pit really made me nervous and angry.

We finally got to Embankment, where I transferred to the Bakerloo Line which, miraculously, wasn’t delayed at all, and finally got home at 6:30 pm. Two hours from the time I walked out of the client’s door.

Pfui! as Nero Wolfe would say. Not that Nero Wolfe would ever get on an Underground train.

The upshot is that I didn’t feel like cooking, so HWMBO went out and got Chinese food. I snapped at him all night; I couldn’t keep from doing it–being grumpy and nerve-racked is hard to shake off. I am still angry. Years of underinvestment have produced this situation.


Today’s Grave Image…

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

…is, courtesy of towleroad, the gravestone of the late lamented closeted gay star Merv Griffin.

You can’t say he didn’t have a sense of humour.

Today’s Musical Theatre URL

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

…comes from one of my LJ friends,, in the form of a prospectus for a musical.

For those who are not Singaporean, dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease which is fatal in some instances.

Today’s Masonic URL

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

I’m sure than many of you have heard of “The Emperor Norton”, who lost his mind in 19th century San Francisco and began to style himself “Emperor of the United States”. He got free rides on the streetcars, went to all the churches in town, in turn (so as not to play favourites), and was so cheerful that no one really minded.

What I didn’t know is that he was also a Mason. I suppose that when we toast all “poor and distressed Freemasons”, we can think of the Emperor Norton.

Today’s Link for <lj user=”fj”> and his friends

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Remember, when you click on this link, you were first!

Today’s Biblical meme

Sunday, January 6th, 2008
You know the Bible 100%!


Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses – you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

I was actually looking for loopholes (a la W.C. Fields).

The meme that’s going around…

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

88% Dennis Kucinich
86% Mike Gravel
78% Joe Biden
78% Chris Dodd
78% Barack Obama
75% John Edwards
72% Bill Richardson
71% Hillary Clinton
36% Rudy Giuliani
32% Ron Paul
30% John McCain
23% Mitt Romney
22% Mike Huckabee
14% Fred Thompson
12% Tom Tancredo

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Aw, shux, I voted for Hilary.

Electronic voting

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

In this US Presidential election year, voting and voting mechanisms will come under great scrutiny. Electronic voting is all the rage; however, computer professionals (of which I am one) often mistrust the safety, security, and accuracy of the electronic voting process. This article in the New York Times magazine is must-reading for people who are going to be voting this year.

I just posted my primary ballot for California this morning (I voted for Hilary) and it is to be counted by optical scanning. No touch screens for me.

Lust, Caution

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

HWMBO wanted to see it, so we had choice: Chelsea at 1 pm or the Barbican at 3. We chose the latter, and planned a trip to Waitrose afterwards to pick up such things as light bulbs. Amazingly, Tesco here seems to feel that light bulbs are dispensable at Christmas so clears them out to put in yet another beer display.

Now, I have to say that I hate the Barbican with a passion. It seems to have been designed by a cock-eyed mad monk who mistook a labyrinth for a maze and transplanted the whole damned thing to the City of London. In addition, the signage is confusing, with arrows implying that if you want to get to the Cinema you need to climb up the wall and across the ceiling. Most of the signs keep the existence of the cinema a deep, dark, secret. We walked in on the second floor, went down to the Ground floor, back up to the second, then down to -2 (yes, they have a -1 and -2 floor). We were carefully sold tickets in the centre by a woman who implied that there would be a full house. There were in the end about 25 people (no more) watching the film. The Pearl and Dean advertisements at the beginning features our friend Singapore Alex as an Eskimo shilling for furniture with penguins in the background (who would ever accuse advertising people of being accurate!).

It’s a typical Ang Lee, with lots of long shots over scenery and trendy interiors and clothes. The story itself, like most of his other movies, is quite sad and the tension between the two major characters takes up most of the energy in the film. Lee’s main difficulty, for me, is that he can’t seem to get to the point. He just dithers and dallies and the film ends up being 2-3/4 hours long. I didn’t go to sleep, but it dragged and dragged. There is one scene with lots of blood, and two or three sex scenes between the two major characters. She has nipples like those on a baby’s bottle.

HWMBO gave it 8.5 out of 10. I could only muster 7 out of 10 and that pretty reluctantly.

Were very gay this evening and had quiche and salad for dinner. I feel like that QueerCard[TM] is about to land in my mailbox any day now.

Note: I believed that I saw chocolate bunnies in Tesco’s last week, thus making Tesco the first store to sell Easter candy around here. I misstated, and hereby apologise. On closer inspection, they turned out to be reindeer. However, the shape is so bunnylike that I bet they’ll use the same molds to make the Easter bunnies, and they’ll appear soon. Very soon. Once Peeps start appearing in the stores here, it will be the End of British Civilisation As We Know It.

Be Afraid!

Be VERY Afraid!

Happy New Year to all!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

It’s 8 hours into the New Year here in London, and just turned midnight in San Francisco. So to all you West Coasters out there, don’t drink too much.

We spent our usual very quiet New Year. We watched a movie called Ping Pong, which was mildly interesting. Arata, the actor who played Smile, was 28 years old when the movie was filmed, and yet he played a secondary-school student. Such youthful looks.

We had coffee and mince pies during the film, and then waited for midnight, at home. We watched the BBC coverage of the festivities at South Bank; during the fireworks, we could hear the fireworks outside as we were watching them inside. And so to bed. No alcohol was consumed.

Perhaps I’ll make a Manhattan before dinner tonight. Very civilised.

My wish for all my friends and readers is for a happy, blessed, and fruitful new year.