Archive for February, 2008

Leap Day Gift?

Friday, February 29th, 2008

I woke up this morning, came downstairs, ate breakfast, got the computer ready for work (working at home today). Then I looked out the back door, and there was a huddle of clothing on the ground. I opened the door and examined it.

Now, those of you who are Londoners or familiar with London will know that in the morning it’s quite common to see puddles of vomit on the ground, usually from the drunken sots who pour out of the pubs at 11 pm or later. However, this pile of clothing came from someone who was (to be euphemistic) taken short without access to a toilet. It wasn’t badly soiled, but it was, well, shitty (not to mince words). One pair Umbro sweat pants, sixe XXL, and one pair boxer shorts.

Now, being well able to wear and appreciate size XXL sweat pants, I decided that the thing to do was wash them. They are now good as new and drying.

Is this kinky?

Answers on a postcard, please.

Wanna be Dorothy, in a flying house?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Well, you can if you look at this link. Do click through the entire sequence of pages; you’ll be borne up as if on eagle’s wings!

My evening

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Tonight Goliath Lodge #5595 UGLE conducted a Raising to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. Brother Sharma was the candidate, and I am Senior Deacon. For those who are not Masons, in the Second and Third Degree the Senior Deacon conducts the candidate around the Lodge during the ceremony, and is responsible for prompting him at points where he has to do or say things. The Worshipful Master, of course, has a very complicated and intricate part to learn and say during the ceremony, and W. Bro. John performed to perfection! A Grand Lodge officer who was present commended us all for the quality of our ritual. We are all chuffed to bits.

People say that Freemasonry is a cult, is against religion, is sinister. However, in my experience, Freemasonry brings out the best in the men who practice it. How many ordinary guys would you be able to get together in a room to perform an intricate ritual entirely learned by heart? Probably not many. Freemasonry all over the world does it consistently. In fact, they find it puzzling that priests always have the book in front of them when they celebrate the Eucharist. I explained that as consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ is so important, priests are very cautious and wish to do it right, in which case reading the words from the book is much more certain that trying to memorise them (although some priests do).

I shall be Junior Warden next year, and will be responsible for a good bit of the ritual, which I will have to memorise. Our first rehearsal is in two weeks’ time. I must get cracking on the books.

HWMBO had his last day with his current employer today: they gave him a lovely shoulder bag for a laptop and much else besides, and a very nice card. He is nostalgic, but only has four days in which to be nostalgic, as he’ll be working in the new office come Monday.

Al Capone’s grandson

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

…has written a book, Son of Scarface, in which he reveals that he is not only Al Capone’s grandson, but that he is gay too. Sounds like an interesting premise, so go and read his website. More information here, and thanks to Towleroad for the heads-up.

Senator Tapper McWidestance wants <b>YOU!</b>

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

especially if you’re a junior or senior in college, and from Idaho. Those potato-fed guys really make him stand wiiiiiide and deliver!

But hurry, the men’s room^W^Wopportunity is closing soon. Thanks to Kenneth in the 212 for the news article.

Today’s Finance URL

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

In a manner reminscent of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All To You, here are some stick figure drawings and dialogue that explain the current subprime mortgage mess to everyone’s satisfaction. Thanks to for the link.

Happy birthday <lj user=”lilash84″> and <lj user=”skibbley”>

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

…and many happy returns of the day!

As promised

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Here is a picture of me in my new cassock and cotta, with a biretta for good measure. The picture isn’t very good so I shall get a better one taken next time I’m preaching (Good Friday, I think). They are very comfortable.

February 24, 2008 Third Sunday of Lent
Sermon delivered at St. John the Evangelist, 10 am.
Subject: Humility (Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit)

In the name of God, the one, the Undivided Trinity. AMEN.

The retired Rector of my parish church in San Francisco, California is an amazingly good preacher. Some of the best sermons I

Today’s Lenten meditation…

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

…is by Margaret Cho. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.

Thanks to for the reference…

Three Chris .con

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

For the soc.motsseurs among us, there was an extremely rare event this evening: a three Chris .con. Chris A, , was in town for an Anglican meeting, and Chris W, , who lives in town, joined me for the first Three Chris .con. Pictures were taken, and here are two:

and, with Chris W. moving to the other side of the camera, two Chrisses and an HWMBO:

There was much quotation from Douglas Adams and Monty Python, and we nearly closed the restaurant.


Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I realise I haven’t updated in a while…boo on me.

Monday through Wednesday at work were pretty forgettable. I cleaned up my email and basically waited to be released. Everyone was polite and some were very complimentary. Tuesday evening we went to Tate Britain to the private showing of the Camden Town Group exhibition. (Walter Sickert is probably the best known of the bunch). I enjoyed it–my criteria for an exhibitions I like is whether I find paintings I’d like to hang in our house. We had dinner beforehand at the local Witherspoon’s pub–before the smoking ban we would not have even considered it. I had a steak (kind of tough) and HWMBO had salmon (which he liked). He had coffee and I had Diet Pepsi. So a very wholesome day indeed.

Wednesday night I had a disagreeable meeting at the Diocese–not because of the participants, because of the occasion. I was a panel member of an appeal tribunal against dismissal of an employee. I can’t say anything about it, but I do hope that it doesn’t happen very often or ever.

Yesterday and today I’m working at home. Last night we went to dinner with my former boss from the Big Investment Bank and his partner; they are also a mixed-race gay couple, Caucasian/Chinese. His partner is from Taiwan, and has been here a few years longer than I have. He is a musician and teacher, and all four of us had a rousing conversation that went on from about 7:30 until 10:30 at a Chinese restaurant on Gerrard Street in Chinatown. The food was good (I ordered stuffed tofu which was fabulous, along with hot and sour soup which was very good). We got through two bottles of Chateauneuf de Pape, which was surprising. We walked to Tottenham Court Road afterwards, us for the number 1 bus, they for the Central Line. We will be meeting again, and I think that out of the wreckage of our involvement with the BIB project, we have salvaged a new friendship, which is always a good thing.

Tonight we’re going out with and , thus forming what soc.motsseurs will refer to as a “three Chris .con”. Pictures will ensue. is visiting from Toronto; he participated in a meeting around detailing successful engagement between the Church and lesbian and gay organisations and people. He was accompanied by an archdeacon and an archbishop (retired). Such august company.

The Eagle has landed…

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

…and HWMBO will be home around 9 pm. I am so happy!

Work-related matters, etc.

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

My gig at Morgan Stanley (at least, this particular gig) will be over on Wednesday. It’s been obvious since my boss was canned that there were no stakeholders in London, thus my position was precarious, but it was confirmed, very clumsily, yesterday.

I had previously told the account managers in New York and London that we ought to seek to have me removed from the project, and do it proactively, since it was clear that there would be no role for me to play. However, I had heard nothing (and it wasn’t for want of asking) until Friday, when a catch-up call from my boss started with, “So Wednesday’s your last day, then?” I responded, “I haven’t heard anything about that.” He gulped, and quickly said, “I’ll call you back.” and hung up. I giggled a bit.

Finally he called me back, and we had a short conversation. I mentioned that I would like to be as helpful as I could be over the next three workdays, and we were civil. There are a couple of things I can help out on, I think. Always good to leave with a smile and a wave, as you never know when something else will come up and put you up with them again.

I will go back on the bench; the client manager will be looking for another role at Morgan Stanley, but who knows what will happen? It’s been interesting.

If there is one thing that will start to doom the project, it’s this: the people who are left are not managers, but technocrats. And, as we know, most projects fail not for technical reasons, but for managerial ones. They are now relying on a team of testers in India who are 10-1/2 time zones ahead of New York. There is no way that communication will be smooth and efficient. It has to be well-managed, and I don’t think it will be.

In other news, HWMBO is on the plane flying home even as we speak! Hooray!

Happy birthday, <lj user=”miak”>

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

…and many happy returns of the day!

Two anniversaries this month

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I forgot all about the second anniversary of my heart attack on February 7th. I remain relatively without heart discomfort, but have been unable to lose weight and am very annoyed about that. Yoga is good, but I haven’t been for a couple of weeks becuause of my trip to New York and my fall (which made it too painful to use my hands and knees like one has to in yoga).

The second anniversary is that of our Civil Partnership, today, February 14th, Valentine’s Day. It is either our second or our tenth anniversary–we have been together for almost 10 years but only legal for two. HWMBO is in Singapore, so I’m all alone tonight. But we’re together in spirit, anyway.

Hooray for <lj user=”shelbycub”>!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

I got a copy of his standup comedy DVD, Apple Brown Betty. I have been kind of down for the last few days (loneliness, I suppose, as HWMBO is still in Singapore, coupled with all the workdrama), so I popped it into the DVD player, and laughed for the next 30 minutes or so. Five snaps for ! I look forward to the next DVD.

(I know that some of you dislike standup, as one of you has just posted about it, you know who you are!) I think that gay, black, bear, standup comedy is funny, especially ‘s brand of it, and it certainly cheered me up. YMMV, of course.

If you’re interested in reading about it, go here. (P.S. You might even find a source for it there!)

Nice weekend

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

On Friday night, I bartended at the Burns Night at St. John’s, Larcom Street. It wasn’t a serious Scottish Burns Night, but an occasion for friends of St. John’s to get together and sing, have a laugh, eat some haggis (if you like such things), and have a drink or three (wine only on the alcoholic side, plus OJ and soda). We had a sing-along, mostly old music hall numbers like “Doing the Lambeth Walk”. The church took in more than

Question of the now…

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

What the heck is this “{Fill in a reference here} of the now” that lots of LiveJournals are captioning pictures with lately? Is it a USan cultural reference that is escaping me? Or am I just dim?

Today’s Religious Headline

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

…comes from the StarGazette of Elmira, NY:

See the Hangovers at Trinity Episcopal Church

As part of its 175th anniversary celebration, Trinity Episcopal Church in Elmira will offer a performance by the Hangovers, an a cappella choir made up of members of the Cornell University Glee Club.

Aw, shux, I thought that we were finally living up to our Babtist nickname of “Whiskeypalians”.

Thanks to the Rev’d T S, TX, for the cite (and the Whiskeypalian reference).

The 419 scammers seem to be back in droves

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Has anyone else been getting a raft of new scame from the 419ers? I have, and two today were quite funny, unintentionally.

X-Apparently-To: chrishansenhome at btinternet dot com
Fri, 08 Feb 2008 14:23:08 +0000

More work drama

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

I have now figured out what the BIB (=Big Investment Bank) layoffs mean to our project. At the time I was engaged, the project manager was in London. Now that he has been laid off, and the new project manager is located in New York, there is no need for a QA Manager in the London office. It is difficult to hear things going on in meetings due to BIB’s crap infrastructure around teleconferencing. The new project manager is an insecure manager and an inexperienced project manager. He issues orders to my people himself rather than asking me to get a task done (and we were engaged to provide a service, not supply bodies to be at BIB’s beck and call).

I am recommending to my management that they remove me from the project and put an equivalent into the New York office. And no, that will not be me.

Doesn’t bother me very much, as I keep getting enquiries from job recruiters. But it would have been an interesting project, so it’s sad that it’s come to this.

For <lj user=”trawnapanda”>

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

A beautiful kitty picture, behind the cut.

To all my Chinese friends

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Year of the Rat!

Today’s slightly cruddy day

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

There have been changes at work, and it looks rather unfortunate. My boss has been made redundant and been replaced by someone in New York. There will be a bit of … um … learning involved, as he seems to be a technical whiz, not a management whiz. This is every manager’s worst nightmare. We will see how it goes, but it seems that it might be more challenging in the form of trying to supply him with information rather than letting me get on with managing the QA process. Argh! If the engagement turns into a bodyshopping project (one where the client does all the managing, just requiring test analysts from us) then I will probably be removed from the project simply because I will no longer be needed. No skin off my nose, as I get paid whether I’m on a site or not, but the project is interesting so I’d be a bit upset if I had to leave.

This afternoon, after work, I had an appointment with Raja the Tailor. Raja is a Hong Kong company (run by Indians, however) which travels around the great cities of the world selling tailor-made suits. They take your measurements, you pay, and then they send you one suit later on (which you try on; if it’s good, then they send the others if you’ve ordered more than one). I got two shirts and three suits, one of which will be suitable for Masonic functions and the other two suitable for work.

I won’t tell you how much I paid for them, but it’s well into 4 figures. They are an investment in good dressing that will pay dividends at job interviews, if such were to happen.

The bad thing is that, on the way (it’s a short walk from my current place of work) I tripped and fell flat on my knees and palms on the pavement. My knees still ache and my palms are still red and sore. There are no bruises that I can see, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some appeared by tomorrow. Rats! I will probably have to forego yoga tomorrow if it’s still uncomfortable.

I have decided to give up caffeine and see whether it has an effect on my blood sugar. I’m hoping it does, because giving up caffeine would be preferable to the needle. There have been news reports lately that suggest it may have an effect. I shall lay in some decaffeinated espresso coffee tomorrow and start using that in the morning. I love my coffee, but the caffeine may be so bad for me that giving it up is the only way forward.

Made a cream of potato soup yesterday according to a recipe. It was quite, um, stiff, almost but not quite batterlike. So today, when I reheated it, I added a cup of chicken stock. It is now edible and I have one more bowl for tomorrow. Note to the person who sent me the recipe: ditch the garlic: garlic and milk do not really do well together, in my opinion. I shall leave it out the next time I make it.

For , you are not the only refugee from Los Angeles around…watch out Sacramento, because the Everywhere Girl’s on her way!

Three pictures from New York

Monday, February 4th, 2008

First, we have the meeting of and

Then, we have spooky mannequins in a shop window close to where I was staying:

and, finally the Statue of Liberty against the red sky at night, which is a sailor’s delight, they say:

Still jetlagged, I should head for bed.

A recent picture…

Monday, February 4th, 2008

…that I forgot to upload. The winter evening sky at the Borough, just north of me.

Friday, Saturday, and home again!

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Friday was a rather unfortunate day at work. The Big Investment Bank’s employees were still shell-shocked from the redundancies that had happened the previous day. I was told that there were not only security guards present to escort the unfortunates out, but also paramedics as some people had collapsed. The human face of capitalism! These bankers, now that they have lost a goodly amount of money through mis-selling of subprime mortgage securities, are now rendering their own people, many of whom had nothing to do with the problem, jobless. It is a scandal and a shame (which opinion is why, yet again, this is behind a friends filter).

I had a meeting with the client’s honchos and my own test managers in the afternoon. Instead of being allowed to manage testing, the two test managers are now going to have to actually do testing themselves. One of them has never done any testing; I hired him on the basis of his project management skills and records. I feel really bad for him. In addition, the client is now treating our people as simply bodies to be moved around and assigned at their own whim. This is not what we thought when we started the project.

The man who is replacing D, the laid-off boss in London, is a technical whiz but probably not a management whiz, and he doesn’t know much, if anything, about testing. I feel bad for him. The only good thing about this is that the woman in the project management office who has been a thorn in my side since September was also laid off. She was laid up at home with a broken leg on the mend. I wonder whether they texted her, or perhaps send a security guard to her home to recover the laptop…

Friday night I took M and S, my test managers, out to V and T’s Restaurant on Morningside Heights, as they had expressed a desire for Italian food. The place was the same as ever, and the food was good: M and I had Chicken Parmigiana, and S had a jalapeno pizza, small. When it arrived, he looked at it (14″ in diameter) and said, “This is small?” He only ate two slices and took the rest home with him.

We talked about the project, about how they were faring in New York, and the like. S brought out the pictures of his children and wife (they have a girl and a boy). Up until then I hadn’t liked S much, as he is a bossy guy who doesn’t know where he fits in the organisation and talks too much in meetings. My heart softened when I saw the pictures. S will be in New York for up to 18 months, and his family will only visit for one or two months. Otherwise he’ll be alone. He told me that my employer’s Indian employees all had their salaries cut two out of the last three years because the company hadn’t met its targets! In addition, if S quits the company while he is in the US, he will owe them 1.5 million rupees. If he quits up to 6 months after he gets back to India, he’ll owe them 500,000 rupees. I’m too tired to do the math but it’s quite a tidy sum for a normal employee.

I packed Friday night, and took a cab to JFK Saturday morning. I was going to take SkyTrain, but as I’ve never done that before I thought I’d better not try it. The cab’s meter was “broken” and I culdn’t get a receipt. I suspect that the driver pocketed the entire fare. Well, I was at the airport by that time and didn’t want to fuss. Got my boarding pass printed at the kiosk, no problem, dropped off my bag, security was a relative breeze, and I saw and waited for the plane.

There were only 40 people on the plane, total (not including the cabin attendants). I moved to a window seat with no one sitting in the row, and enjoyed the colours of the clouds as the sun went down and I listened to music. My iPod seems to be back in shape. They had a full breakfast for me, and then a snack just before we landed. The food was better this way than it was going over. Took Heathrow Express and a taxi home, but was a bit taken aback at the receipt I got from the taxi driver:

Unpacked, and now to bed, quite a bit late.

Thursday sucked until evening

Friday, February 1st, 2008

I went into work this morning, and brushed off the training, which is at a level way too technical for what I need. Around 9:00 I got on a conference call that we have every week. One of the participants came on and said that the call was cancelled today. I said, “Hooray, one less meeting.” A few minutes later, I got a call from D, my Big Investment Bank boss. He said, “I’m calling to say that I’m no longer working on the project. I’ve been made redundant.” (=US “laid off”)

Jesus Christ on a stick! I like D, he’s quite a good test manager as well as an all-round good guy, also gay with a Chinese partner. I don’t know what will happen with the project, or how I’ll fit in (I am a consultant, so if the project is cancelled or delayed, I still have a job.)

So we gathered that today was Layoff Day at Big Investment Bank, which has lost billions of dollars through bad securitised mortgage investments. Not content with screwing the little guy, they are now screwing their own employees.

Then I went to Staten Island for dinner with Barnett and Nick, two long-standing friends. I enjoyed the steak and the Peroni beer, and then came back to the hotel to crash. The new Staten Island Ferry terminal is very handsome.