Archive for October, 2008


Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I am currently posting from the cafe at Palm Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia. It’s been interesting so far. Unfortunately, the connection is slow enough so that uploading pictures is impractical. However, it’s great that there is internet connectivity at all.

Getting into Siem Reap was quite interesting. Silk Air did feed us, even though we’d had an execrable meal at Swensons in Changi Airport. The Silk Air meal was even worse, if you can imagine it. “Chicken” was actually some kind of chicken roll in pastry. ‘Nuff said about that.

The e-visa I got online worked perfectly. The immigration officer, when he saw the paper, delightedly exclaimed “E-visa!” and I was processed and through long before my Singaporean friends, who do not need visas here, had gotten through. The immigration officer showed me his computer screen with the picture that matched my e-visa on it as well. I congratulated him and Cambodia on their forward-looking visa policies.

The food and service at Palm Village is wonderful. We really are enjoying it. Full pictures will come a bit later. The male staff are very cute indeed.

The first thing you will notice is the welcoming committee in front of every temple. Young girls, mostly, selling everything from jews’ harps and flutes, to bangles and books. They are the same at every temple, only the faces change. The children are all very short and look to be around 9 years old. The guide asked them their ages and most of them were 12 or 13 years old. Life expectancy here is 53 for men and 56 for women. Grinding poverty and subsistence farming are evident everywhere.

Cambodia, to a Western eye, is very untidy. There are house lots that have nothing in them, only a fence around them. The houses have been taken by the elements years ago. Oil drums with a clear gas tank above them serve for a filling station out in the countryside. Traffic is mostly motorbikes and bicycles, with as many people as you can fit on the motorbike riding on it. Few of the roads are paved, and on the ones that are, drainage is abysmal, so you wonder whether taking a boat would have been more effective than a van.

The temples are old. Very old. The oldest ones are 200 years older than Westminster Abbey, and the youngest ones are about contemporary with it. None are in what one could say was good shape. The climate and the jungle have taken care of that. Trees with enormous roots stand on top of walls, with the roots looking like nagas (snakes) or elephants’ trunks. As in England during the Reformation, many heads of statues have been removed or defaced. The original religion in which many of the temples were dedicated was Hinduism. Buddhism then became the majority religion of Cambodia, but there was a period in which the two religions vied forr superiority. So there are few Buddha’s heads remaining undefaced. By the time Buddhism had won, the temples were lost in the jungle, only to be rediscovered in the 1800’s and 1900’s.

Most temples have moats, or the remnants of moats. There are causeways up to the door of the temple, guarded by the Hindu equivalents of angels and demons on either side.

We saw more temples than you could shake a stick at. To go there, you need a temple pass, which has to be shown at every temple. The guidebooks say that you must bring two passport photos for the temple pass, but they are behind the times: your picture is taken at the gate and printed on the pass.

The main sensory impression I got from the temple areas was auditory. Cicadas are everywhere, and their high-pitched whine vies with the cries of “Wanna buy a book mister, fi’ dollas…buy a book?” There are parrots too, which you cannot see in the tops of the trees without binoculars but whose raucous cries fill the air when they are settling down.

Tourists are, of course, everywhere. People asked me how they could help Cambodians. My answer is: come to Cambodia and spend money. There is no industry here because there are no efficient transport networks to get raw materials in and finished products out. Education is spotty, although most go through primary school many do not continue on to secondary school and few go to university. Leaving your money here is most effective in helping the country feed itself and eventually develop the infrastructure necessary to move from a subsistence economy to a production economy. They do export rice, I gather, which is interesting in that most countries in this area that produce rice save it for their domestic markets.

The currency of choice is the US dollar. There is a local currency, but it is worth something like 4000 to the dollar. Everyone takes dollars, all the menus have prices in dollars. The children selling things ask for dollars.

One child yesterday was selling postcards. I had already bought some from another child two days ago, but this girl was counting in English how many postcards she was selling: “One, two, three…” and so on. Then she counted in French “Un, deux, tres, quatre, cinq…dix” and in Spanish “uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco…” So I said (as a joke) “What about Chinese? She immediately said “yi, er, san, si, wu, liu, qi, ba, jiu, shi.” I said, “Well, I’ll be damned!” and bought a postcard set from her. As I left I said “goodbye” in Chinese and she immediately replied, “Zaijian!” Now this girl, who was probably 13, should be in school learning languages, and how to be a tourguide. Instead she’s running barefoot in front of a temple selling postcards for “one dolla, meester!” It is heartbreaking.

Today we were supposed to go to Angkor Wat in the morning, then to the carving school in the afternoon. It was pouring rain. Bucketsfull of water were coming out of the heavens and flooding the land. One of our number was not feeling well (intestinal) and was very rocky. In addition, when we got to Angkor, the rain made it a very unfortunate pool with some carved stones within it. We decided to go to the carving school (also flooded) and see what that was about. It trains people to make the items that tourists buy all over the area. They especially train deaf and speechless people in these arts. Pots of gold leaf were carelessly scattered about the place. I bought four rush placemats, four rush coasters, some soap, and a Cambodian CD. Tonight we are going to Siem Reap for dinner and to go to the one gay bar in town.

I must also mention the very beautiful young man who waited on us when we had lunch Tuesday and Wednesday. The tour guide brought us to a restaurant which I thought quite good, and the most beautiful young man, obviously very swishy and camp, was our waiter. His name is Touch (pronounced like “toot”) and he is a 24 year old orphan who works in the restaurant 7 days a week, studies English at night, and lives in a temple with monks. He earns $15 a month for 7-days-a-week work. I gave him a $20 bill as a tip and a picture was taken which I will upload presently.

The food here is something like Thai, but a bit less spicy. They use less shellfish and more fish. Amok is a kind of thick curry served in a banana leaf bowl–chicken, pork, or fish. I had the chicken variety and it reminded me of That green curry without the sauce and the baby aubergines. There are many kinds of soup and curry, as well as spring rolls that are Vietnamese-like (white paper wrapping and fresh, not deep fried). Coconut is in almost everything. There is less Chinese-influenced cuisine here than in other parts of Southeast Asia. Fork and spoon are used, although visiting Chinese can have chopsticks if they want them. The local beer is, of course, Angkor Beer (not to be confused with Anchor) and is quite good, kind of fruity light and not too hoppy. A very good lager.

I realise that this has gone on much too long, but as I’ve been away since Monday morning I felt the need to get it all down before the WiFi conks out. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it and will try to get to Cambodia someday.

My tweets

Monday, October 27th, 2008
  • 02:40 apparently the Angkor Wat temple steps are so steep and narrow that it’s unlikely i’ll be able to climb them all…only some. wish i’d known #
  • 02:42 @MrPandaBehr thanks, man! i really appreciate your good wishes and thoughts. #
  • 02:43 @seashellseller thanks…i appreciate it… #
  • 05:29 checkin in at changi, waiting for boarding to start. had a dreadful meal at swenson’s. oh well, siem reap here we come. #

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Off to Cambodia in a few hours

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I would ask everyone to send good thoughts my way…I’m off to Cambodia and will be there until Saturday. I am concerned about my feet, as there will be much walking, and I suspect that I will not be doing as much as I would have liked to do. I will need all the good thoughts (and prayers, if you’re into that) as I can get.

When I get back to London, I will really have to ride herd on the diabetic foot clinic to get me proper shoes and trainers that are cushioned enough so that I don’t get blisters or abrasions on my feet. I asked them about going private (as I could afford it), but they said that they would refer me to their orthotics clinic and that they didn’t trust outside suppliers. However, had I gone ahead, I would have had proper orthotic shoes that I could use now. They haven’t as yet referred me. I have an appointment second week of November and I will bring it up again then.

I also think that if this can’t be remedied, I may have to reconsider coming to hot climates. I am unutterably sad at this, but if the doctors can’t or won’t help me, I’m left with no alternative. I pray that this isn’t the case, and that something can be done. I can’t believe that the NHS can’t help me with this.

Thanks for reading this; I will keep in touch via Live Journal and Twitter (@chrishansenhome) as I am able.

My tweets

Sunday, October 26th, 2008
  • 03:05 @MrPandaBehr well, good luck on that! i hope it has a good effect. #
  • 03:06 just got back from kopi with my host; lunch with HWMBO at 1 pm then dinner with Alvin. Need to get money, mosquito repellent, and sunblock. #
  • 03:40 @MrPandaBehr bed is often an outstanding place in which to fall asleep… #
  • 04:04 @urbanbohemian minnie pearl was ahead of her time. #
  • 07:06 back from Bishan Junction 8 after lunch with HWMBO and a bit of shopping. He now knows about the Eee…and I think he’s forgiven me. #
  • 15:37 Ate Myanmar food tonight…then went to a Chinese folk café and listened to Chinese music and had a mango milkshake with jelly. #
  • 23:40 off to cambodia in a few hours. wish me luck, i will need it. #

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Singapore Friday and Saturday

Sunday, October 26th, 2008


Friday was an interesting day. First, I had to go to meet Marvin, one of the guys I’m going to Cambodia with. We had coffee in The Coffee Bean shop at Junction 8 and got some stuff settled. I have to buy a flashlight (torch). mosquito repellant and sunscreen, and a towel. Then, I went downtown to Funan to get a cable lock and a portable DVD drive for the Asus Eee. Got a Sony that needs a wall wart but it’s relatively fast. Will need it to install some software. Came back to Bishan to drop it off, and had a packet of peanut chips for lunch.

In the early afternoon I went downtown to meet HWMBO, as we wanted to go to the National Museum to see a couple of the exhibits. While the museum space is lovely, we found that most of the exhibitions were, well, somewhat lacking. The one we liked was called “Doubleness: Photography of Chang Chien-Chi”. It was very powerful and it’s a shame that it probably won’t make it to the UK or the US.

The other exhibit (a small one) that we saw was called “Weapons of Mass Desier”, which is about consumerism after the Second World War. It was not very good and we didn’t think much of it, although the old Vespa at the entrance was interesting. WMBO gave it 4 or 5 out of 10.

Then we went up to Fort Canning Park, where we sat and rested for a while. A road tunnel has been built underneath it, so it is quite still and cool under the trees. Some cute joggers went by, and I discovered among the grave markets set in the walls (when the colonial graveyard was moved) one for Brother William Temperton with a very faded Square and Compasses on top.

Chris at Fort Canning (there’s an escalator that goes up to the park):

HWMBO at Fort Canning (we’d gone up the escalator):

Bro. William Temperton’s gravestone

We spent half an hour in the Chinese Herbal Garden, then walked down the road, stopping for a short while in the Singapore Philatelic Museum, and then passing by Freemasons Hall. I have pictures of all these, and am uploading them now. We saw a lovely orchid while walking down the hill:

Plaque on Freemasons’ Hall

We then spent a happy hour or so in Delice de France, in Funan Centre, sipping coffee and eating a very small pastry apiece. HWMBO was very agitated about a gentleman sitting in a very empty area of the restaurant, not eating or drinking, but talking on his mobile phone. I should have gotten a picture.

Over to City Hall station control area, where we waited for my brother-in-law, Petrus, and Roy Tan, our old friend with whom we had a lovely dinner the last time we were in Singapore. Roy is now an activist, it seems, and will be leading an event in a few months in Hong Lim Park. We then walked for what seemed like ages until we got to Marina Centre, and this Japanese pasta restaurant that Petrus swore was great.

I took pictures of the food, but will spare you them here. However, I couldn’t help but take one of Roy waiting for his dinner:

HWMBO and Petrus seem to have a biological similarity: they blink when pictures are taken. So to see them both with their eyes open, you’ll need to see two pictures:

HWMBO closed his eyes for that one. Now the other one:

in which Petrus closed his eyes. Would Photoshop it but don’t have Photoshop here.

After pasta Roy generously offered to drive us to DYMK, where we went upstairs to be greeted by airyharseDillon, who is an absolute gem and a great host. I had a Manhattan, HWMBO had a fruit punch, Roy had a glass of wine, and Petrus had a Cosmopolitan (how SITC that is). There was a bed in the corner for us to sprawl out on (no seats available, unfortunately) and we drank our drinks and chatted until almost the wee hours. Roy got us back to the MRT, and I got back to Bishan around midnight.


Saturday was a great day. I met for lunch at Bugis; we went to a Thai restaurant and chatted about religion, our friends, and such. Then we repaired to the basement for coffee. Picture is here, courtesy of the waitress:

I did not remember how tall and physically imposing Fonsus is (we met once by accident the last time I was in Singapore). After a short stopover in Bishan, I went to Woodlands station to meet smlee4Kevin for dinner. We had a choice of three restaurants, and I chose Crystal Jade, which had a nice selection of foods. We had Hokkien Fried Rice, Roast Pork, Cantonese Moneybags (wrapper filled with pork and deep fried), and Prawn Ho Fun, with limitless tea. It was quite nice. I didn’t take any pictures of the food, but in the coffeeshop afterwards for coffee took a picture of the impish one himself, and of what we shared:


He looks really impish, doesn’t he? And then our waffle:

We walked around looking at shops, then went home our separate ways. A lovely two days.

Today’s Singapore URL

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

If someone were to flash me, I would more likely laugh at the size or shape of his penis. However, a young girl in Singapore who was flashed couldn’t react in that way, and the story of what happened next is interesting. The sad thing is, I would probably, like the sleeping Hokkien man, have been impatient that the bus wasn’t moving.

My tweets

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
  • 02:10 @urbanbohemian that motrin woman was warning everyone to Stay Away! #
  • 02:13 @MrPandaBehr that Bacon Bar is just so wrong on all sorts of levels…high blood pressure and diabetes all rolled into one juicy package. #
  • 02:17 morning, tweeters all. lunching with @fonsus, dining with ? #
  • 02:19 the pound is going down the tubes. Last year this time is was $2 / pound, now it’s $1.58. Sg$2.39 (it was $2.57 when we arrived last week)! #
  • 09:12 back from lunch with @fonsus and walking around Vivocity (pronounced vee-vah-CI-ty) and Chinatown. Now waiting for dinner with Kevin #
  • 09:15 @fonsus thanks for your company at lunch. enjoyed it immensely. celloboi says hi. #

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My tweets

Friday, October 24th, 2008
  • 01:32 @RobertFischer yes, but there have been some financial difficulties with the Shriners recently… #
  • 01:33 @RobertFischer looking for nuts, no doubt. we feed about 4 squirrels in our London back garden…my partner is crazy about keeping them fed. #
  • 07:33 @dirrtysean what are you up to this weekend? I’m free for dinner tomorrow and lunch and dinner on Sunday… #
  • 07:33 @boyshapedbox BURP! #
  • 17:21 back from dinner with HWMBOl, Roy Tan, and my brother-in-law, Petrus at a Japanese pasta place. more in the blog. #

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Today’s So It’s Come To This URL

Friday, October 24th, 2008

People get arrested all the time for murder, and people get murdered all the time. But this is the first case I’ve heard of where a person was arrested for murdering someone who doean’t actually exist.

Thursday in Singapore

Friday, October 24th, 2008

I think that I’m over my jet lag now; I’m sleeping fairly well, and getting up at a “normal” time (7:30 am local time). So, I can concentrate on enjoying myself.

I decided that yesterday would be downtown mall day, after lunch with Alex and before dinner with Mak. So, first I met up with Alex Au. Alex is one of the very few people I know and the only one I could call a friend who is in Wikipedia. We have known each other for about 11 years now and I try to have a meal with him whenever I’m here.

We ended up going to Lao Beijing in Novena Square, the same restaurant we couldn’t eat in earlier this week. It specialises in northern Chinese food (“Lao Beijing” means “Old Beijing”). We had Ma Po beancurd, which was different from what I have had in the UK but absolutely delicious: small cubes of beancurd in something that was close to a tomato sauce, but with chunks of vegetables and tomatoes; grilled dumplings, which were delicious and a bit better than The Well’s version (don’t tell Vincent…); and a pork dish where the pork strips were cooked, served with small square pancakes and slivered spring onions. Wonderful stuff. We talked over politics, world affairs, people we know, lots of good stuff. The staff seemed a bit lackadaisical, in that we asked for the check three times without response. We then continued to a Japanese coffee shop for pastry and coffee, and continued talking most of the afternoon.

I then had about 4 hours to kill until 7:30, when I was to meet , a.k.a. Mak, so I went shopping, as you do. I first went to Suntec City, which was an interesting place but devoid of a lot of good stuff that I could shop for. They had a small computer stall section, with a Dell store there–first time I’ve seen one of those. However, the rest of it was fairly predictably singaporean. Some observations:

  • There was a very long line at the money changer’s booth in the main atrium. I now know why: the Singapore dollar had gone up against other currencies and people wanted to cash in.
  • There are many shopfronts that are empty or under construction. I think that was the first symptom of the economy tanking here. Singaporeans and tourists love the shopping here.
  • Up until the last time I was here, the way to get to Suntec City from the MRT City Hall station was, first, by a long underground passage, out of which you had to walk, into the outdoor heat, and up to a bridge over the street. They have now, as part of the construction for the Circle Line, continued the underground passage to Suntec city, with only a short walk in the outdoors from the end of the passage to the door of the mall.

While I was walking around, I got a call from Kit, who is the wonderful guy behind asianxhibit, a blog about his life, illustrated by great artistic pictures of Kit, suitably masked to protect his identity. We talked for a very long time, and I really enjoyed the conversation. I hope that someday I’ll get to where Kit is so that I can chat with him in person.

I didn’t find anything else interesting at Suntec City, so I travelled to Marina Centre, where I (again) walked around, found some slides I liked in my size and bought them, had a coffee and read my book while waiting to get to Orchard Rd. for dinner.

So, at 7:30 I was at Orchard, and, after a few minutes’ delay, arrived, almost sliding across the floor when he got to me. We had dinner in London earlier this year when Mak was interning at the Eden Project, so this was a “return engagement”. We walked to a shopping center that I’d been in the last time I was here and went into the basement restaurant area. We chose Indonesian food, and it was extremely good. Herewith are the pictures:

Gado-gado is a kind of Indonesian salad, with lots of bean sprouts, tofu, and peanut sauce, with peanut chips. I liked the chips, and enquired what they were. Mak kindly asked whether we could buy some bags of chips so I ended up with 5 small bags of peanut chips. Thanks, Mak! You’re a sweetheart.

Beef rendang is a kind of curried beef–very oily so stay clear of the sauce.

Nasi goreng, a kind of fried rice with stuff in it…closest I can get to what it is.

And, finally, something I’ve never tried before and the name of which escapes me. A kind of wall of tofu conceals in interior of sauce and vegetables.

Then, we got in touch with , Dillon, who wanted to say “Hi!” and had offered me a drink in DYMK when I finally got there. We decided to meet Dillon and his friends at a large complex on Somerset, which has been around for a while but the name of which escapes me. There’s a huge cinecomplex on the top floor and lots of shops and restaurants below. We met Dillon and his friends in a Hong Kong restaurant.

They were having dinner after gym at California Gym next door. But, you can tell that their appetites are very youthful:

This is Hong Kong French Toast, a very large cube of bread, French-toasted on all 6 sides and covered with butter and syrup. OMG!

Here’s Dillon and me, enjoying lots of light-hearted banter. He is thinking of teaching English as a foreign language, and we talked about opportunities to take courses in teaching that in London.

Isn’t that a devilish look in his eyes? You will note that half my shirt seems to be wet. I gallantly shared my umbrella with the umbrella-less Mak coming over from Orchard. As has become usual this week, a bucketing thunderstorm swept over the island last night and we were caught in it. Mak was on my right, as you can see from the shirt…

Dillon offered to buy me that drink, and I chose something that intrigued me: Iced dinosaur Milo. Milo is like Nestle’s Quik (for you USans) but is kind of malty as well as chocolatey. I asked what “dinosaur” Milo was, and was told it had extra Milo powder. I was not prepared for what arrived:

They float the powder on top! I can’t say it was awful, but you got a little capsule of powder with every straw-full. There is an iced Godzilla Milo too, which adds whipped cream on top of the floated powder.

Here are Dillon’s friends, Ian is on the right, and the lovely gentleman on the left, I’m sorry, but your name escapes me.

Then, off to the MRT and home to bed.

My tweets

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008
  • 01:33 @besskeloid open the bottle of wine and out pops a poppadum and some vindaloo. i can’t imagine drinking wine with curry–too forceful. #
  • 01:36 @soveren same as when you’re in a queue and spot one that’s shorter. you change queues, and the one you were in flies and new one languishes #
  • 03:01 @legalmoose well, they ship sometimes months after the ghost of the OS was made, so I’d rather have the updates…my new EEE did the same. #

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Wednesday in Singapore

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Wednesday started out a bit lazy and turned fraught at night. I decided to go to Mosburger at Junction 8 for lunch, and then went downtown to meet HWMBO to tour the Art Museum.

Mosburgers are Japanese, and thus have a distinctly Japanese flavour to them and to the restaurants. The one at Junction 8 is apparently favoured by the students of the nearby secondary schools, as on each table was a little handmade cardboard sign that said, “No Studying”. I ordered a “Spicy Mos Cheeseburger”, french fries, and a peach tea. You get a number, and go sit at a table. The Mosburger, when it came, had a spicy relish (including jalapenos), and a white sauce that was probably some sort of cheese but more like Cheez Whiz, I suspect. It tasted good and hit all the right buttons, but probably most bad for me.

Then downtown to meet up with HWMBO and go to the Singapore Art Museum. First we went to the Modern Art branch, called “8Q sam”, which had some disjointed exhibits but is primarily known for being HWMBO’s former primary school. Liked the exhibit on the ground floor, which was a tarted up jeep, and the paintings on the top floor were also very good (Masriadi: Black is my Last Weapon). HWMBO wasn’t very impressed.

Here he is with the sign in front.

Then we went down the street, where we saw evidence that the Circle Line (map) is going to at least partially open soon.

This entrance is right in front of the other building of the Art Museum, devoted to “classic” art, mostly Asian subjects and artists. It was formerly a secondary school. It seems that all the schools in this area have been taken over for other purposes, and the schools moved away to outlying areas. Here’s a picture of the school^Wmuseum front.

The interior is pretty but the exhibition is kind of flat, with only a few pieces interesting to me. HWMBO had seen it all before, so we didn’t spend long in the galleries. They have an auditorium, which is the former chapel. Here are two pictures, the first of the chapel/auditorium itself, and the second a closeup of the window.


The restorers have even preserved the niches in the doorframes where the holy water stoups were.

We went to a kopitiam to have coffee (me) or a snack) HWMBO, and then walked to Bugis Junction where we parted after buying some shirts.

My next stop was my friends’ George and Chen’s place. I got directions from George, and they started by going to Harbourfront Station, and taking the bus down to “Manhill Restaurant”, (very apt name, that), and crossing the street. They live on a cul de sac, next house to the end. Easy to find, right?

Well, I couldn’t find the correct bus stop. After running around Harbourfront Station and Velocity Shopping Mall for about 1/2 hour, I finally got into a cab and gave the cab driver the directions. He couldn’t figure out where I needed to go either. After some conversation with the dispatcher, and a false end, I finally got to their place, and had a lovely dinner and conversation. I needed a beer to calm my nerves when I got there, though–it was really harrowing. (Of course, I’d left George’s phone number in my other phone and didn’t have it with me…)

George and Chen are going to California at the end of the week to get married–so I wished them good luck on that. George is one of my longest-standing friends in Singapore: I’ve known him for about 13 years now.

I did end up being able to get the bus home after dinner, and crashed into bed relatively late. A lovely day, overall.

Today’s soc.motss .con video

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

A feature of a recent soc.motss .con was the ceremonial Riding of the Segways. Well, there is someone else who might attend a future .con if the event is repeated.

Today’s Global Warming URL

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

We often think that the concept of global warming is a relatively new one, perhaps conceived only in the last 10 to 15 years. But, the Bell Telephone Hour was talking about it in 1958! (Director: Frank Capra of movie fame) Why didn’t we do something about it then? Perhaps the advertising revenues the petroleum industry contributed to the economy had something to do with it. Thanks to BoingBoing for the tipoff.

Today’s Singapore URL

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Singapore has in the past had a reputation of being a “fine” place, as the T-shirts say. “No chewing gum: $500 fine” and so on and so forth. But, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has a different vision for Singapore.

My tweets

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
  • 02:52 morning, tweeters…blogging from Singapore: Some pics there too. #
  • 04:11 @MikeonTV I shall be in Cambodia next week: Siem Riep/Angkor Wat. I’ll be blogging about it… #
  • 04:12 @dirrtysean yes, i figured as much. a twitch in the eyelid means your eyes are tired. go to the optometrist and get measured for glasses? #
  • 04:13 @chrys i wasn’t aware that Mexican restaurants made burritos out of mammoth meat. Perhaps biig ahnold in PA out to be told… #
  • 04:40 @MikeonTV have you gotten your eVisa yet? you can do it all online. #
  • 04:50 @MikeonTV you avoid two airport lines, one to get the visa and one to pay for it. it was easy and very sophisticated. you should get it. #
  • 05:05 going to Singapore Art Museum this afternoon with HWMBO, then dinner with friends. #

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Tuesday in Singapore

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Woke up oddly refreshed, given that I’d rolled over Mount Everest all night. I decided that yesterday was the day to shop for tech stuff.

I went to Funan digitaLife centre downtown at City Hall. Went around, looked at stuff, and specifically looked for a wireless Skype-enabled phone. This phone will connect to Skype directly through your wireless router, thus obviating having to connect up your pesky computer and put a very primitive USB phone into it. I found one, priced Sg$219 (about GBP 85) and bought it. Then, idly looking at small laptops, I discovered the Asus Eee 1000H, which with 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD, seemed pretty inexpensive at the equivalent of GBP 384. So, I bought it. The keyboard is almost normal size, the only exception being the right shift key, which is small. I thin it’ll be good for the Cambodia trip, as it takes a camera card so I can upload pictures directly. The hotel has WiFi, I am told.

After buying that, I had lunch (late) at Subway, returned to Bishan to unload my prizes, then went to Orchard to have dinner with HWMBO, Tiow Hua, and Devin, whom we had dinner with in Kiasu, in London. Very nice dinner at Wisma food court, which is a step up from the usual hawker senter here. I had Indian food, and the plate was piled so high that I couldn’t finish it (good thing, too).

Home, and continued reading FDR until 12:15 am…my bad.

Of to lunch now, and to the Art Museum with HWMBO, then dinner with my friends George and Chen this evening.

More about the Cambodian e-Visa

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I have just learned that the Cambodian e-Visa program I blogged about before has a blog site itself. It seems quite interesting and newsy, besides being a plug for travel to Cambodia. They have made a real effort to be of service to tourists and I’m still doffing my cap to them.

I will tell you about my experience in getting through Immigration at Siem Reap next week, after it’s happened.

Photos from Singapore

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I have actually taken some photos this week, and now that I’ve discovered I can get them uploaded and put into my blog through Flickr (I normally upload them to my website but that’s not possible at the moment for various reasons I won’t bore you with), here are some selected photos.

First, . What a handsome man!

While we were looking for a restaurant at Bugis Junction, we came across this particular place that seems to cater to tourists, of which there are not an insignificant number in the centre of town. I got my picture taken.

You may remember the cheesy pod picture that the Singapore Flyer staff took of our party before we actually got on the wheel? Well, here is a picture of the picture, a bit blurry, but you can see the general idea.

And when we were actually in the pod, I gook a picture of Nein and one of his fathers, Joe. Joe is holding up the “circular map” of Singapore that you can look at during your “flight” which tells you what everything you can (or can’t) see is. But, it looks a little bit like he is recognising Nein as the little angel that he is.

In the background are Louie and Leslie, our great friends here, who are just lovely people.

My tweets

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
  • 01:46 morning tweeters all! Day 4 in Singapore, still jet-lagged, my dinner dance card is almost full…if it weren’t for the rain it’d be heaven! #
  • 03:30 singapore tweeters: i’m free for lunch and dinner today if anyone’s interested in an old British tourist… #
  • 04:45 having coffee with Devin this afternoon, still free for lunch and dinner…Funan DigitaLife IT Mall later on to shop… #
  • 09:34 @ErnieAtLYD Mary was entirely Jewish, as was Jesus. #
  • 14:24 had dinner with HWMBO, Tiow Hua, and Devin…very nice. back home now playing with eee… #
  • 14:59 @dirrtysean it the UK a twitcher is a bird-watcher. Do you like to watch birds? #
  • 17:15 well, tweeters, it’s no longer good night, it’s good morning from Singapore. Reading Smith’s new biog of FDR–very inspiring! #

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Today’s SPAM[tm} subject line

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Medicine for juridical and natural people!

I suppose that most juridical people, not being natural persons, might have difficulty in using medicine of any kind…

Singapore Monday

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

I woke up at 4:30 am and tossed and turned for a while, eventually falling back asleep until about 8. Breakfast in the house and then a cup of kopi (coffee) with BK at the breakfast place across the street.

I then got ready to fact the day and went to Plaza Singapura to meet . He was a bit late due to the thunderstorm that was then sweeping across Singapore, but arrived on time, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. (I originally wrote “busy tailed” and God only knows how that would have come across…)

We wanted to eat at Mosburger, a japanese chain that has lots of branches in Singapore, but it was full of students bulking up on calories from cows and deep-fried potato. So, we repaired to Carl’s Jr, where we both had Guacamole Bacon Cheeseburgers (a LOLCAT would have had a field day) and talked for two hours or so. is interested in religion, mostly the RC faith, so we had a lot to talk about and his knowledge of the faith and his devotion are really heartfelt. I took a picture.

After that, I met HWMBO, BK, and Leslie for “high tea”, Chinese-style. There are two restaurants in Novena Centre that serve Chinese high tea. The one we wanted to go to, Lao Beijing, was absolutely stuffed, so we went upstairs to another restaurant serving chinese high tea, but vegetarian (Lao Beijing is for carnivores). We sat and talked from 3 until about 5, eating little dim sum-like dumplings and other delicacies. The herbal tea was especially good; I must have drunk about 6 glasses. BK showed off his new Asus Eee with the broadband key to connect up to the Internet and everyone was suitably impressed.

Back to Bishan afterwards with HWMBO, where we walked around Junction 8 for a while (it hasn’t changed much) and then back home for a nap. Ate a late dinner with HWMBO and BK across the road at a food stall, where a table of elderly “gentlemen” was smoking up a storm right under the “Smoking Prohibited” sign. I wasn’t best pleased.

Back home, where I had a nice chat with on the phone. Slept well, and about to go out for kopi with BK before facing the day. I don’t have a dinner companion for tonight, any takers?

My tweets

Monday, October 20th, 2008
  • 01:53 morning from singapore, tweeters all. bed is still lumpy, back hurts, but it’s a new day pregnant with possibilities! Lunch with @devinjay #
  • 01:54 @tug no, god wants you to eat cold meat and drink ale on sunday night, like our forefathers did. #
  • 01:56 @boyshapedbox lucky you! were there pix? we can only hope… #
  • 04:35 @jallen285 don’t give in, ever! #
  • 12:47 had a lovely lunch with @devinjay, then Chinese high tea with BK, HWMBO, and Leslie. Now resting before dinner. #
  • 12:48 @kevjumba lovely weekend, spent partly in the air, partly in singapore. darned hot, but the food’s good. #
  • 12:49 @dirrtysean please, tell us all! ope your eyelid gets better… #
  • 00:02 @helenroper that’s nothing–I was a Latin and Greek major in college, and many of my peers also ended up in tech instead of classics. #

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Sunday in Singapore

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Awoke at 4 am, couldn’t sleep any more. The bed that was here for my previous visits has been replaced by a sofa bed, kind of. Instead of having a bed tucked away within it, the back is on hinges and can be let down to form a “bed”. Unfortunately, there is a ridge in the middle when it’s a bed, and it is extremely difficult to sleep on–it seems like you’re on one side of Mount Everest and either rolling down the North Face or the South Face.

After catching up on my blog reading and having breakfast with BK’s housekeepeer, Enca, who is one of life’s great women–she has been working for BK’s family for several decades and now works for the Filipino Embassy here dealing with cases of domestic help who are in difficulties of one sort or another–I got in touch with , and we met at Bugis for lunch, then off to Sim Lim City for shopping.

Singapore never ceases to amaze me, as it seems to reinvent itself every time I return. Last time I was here, the top floor of Bugis Junction was a mass of shops. Now, it’s the food court, and another food court has sprouted in the basement. I had Singapore Chicken Rice, which was very good.

Sim Lim was a hotbed of people handing out flyers for various computer shops. For those who are not familiar with Singapore, Sim Lim is a large building, with 5 floors and a basement, containing many hundreds of computer and technology shops. There is a massive central atrium and shops surrounding it on every floor. Ascending on the escalators, you are bombarded by young people handing out flyers for shops, which flyers mostly consist of lists of products and prices, in very very tiny type.

I was looking for a couple of things, and managed to find them all. A cradle for SATA drives cost Sg$89 (GBP 34.90)–BK had one and I immediately coveted it. In addition, it has slots for memory cards, a USB port, and various other things. Extremely good, I bought it immediately. I got a “universal” electrical adapter, to ensure that I can plug things in when I get to Cambodia, and a cradle for my iPod with speakers. This was a mistake (it was cheap, and shows it); I think I will try to get a better one later on.

Then we were to go on the Singapore Flyer with our friends Leslie and Louie. Kevin accompanied me to City Hall Station and as we exited, who should be walking in front of us but HWMBO, who of course was coming too. So I gave him quite a start by sneaking up on him and putting my hand on his shoulder and saying, “Hi!”

It was raining buckets when we emerged. It wasn’t like London rain, which is like a very gentle garden sprinkler; it was as if God were throwing buckets of water at us. We huddled under a very inadequate awning while waiting for L&L. When they finally arrived, it was with some more friends: Joe, a Thai man with his English partner Norman, and their 10-year-old son, Nein (I hope the spelling is correct). Nein is quite the ham, and would make a good actor (he can pull faces with the best of them). We seemed to have missed the bus to the Singapore Flyer, so I bade farewell to and we made our way down the MRT again and walked there. It was a long walk. We got there at 6:10 or so, and were immediately ushered onto one of the pods.

The Singapore Flyer is, for now, the largest Ferris Wheel in the world. It is constructed slightly differently from the London Eye in that it is totally freestanding, while the Eye has a strut supporting it. The airplane trip motif of the Eye is preserved, however, as you are welcomed onto your “flight”, go through a metal detector and have your bags X-rayed, and then waved onto the pod, but not before a cheesy picture is taken of your whole group in a simulated pod, for collection later (at a hefty price) if you want it.

We got on the pod; Nein was amazingly rambunctious, fake break-dancing and generally raising Cain, after first falling asleep as we started. On a clear day you can see all the way to Indonesia; it wasn’t a clear day. I got some shots of the near skyline, and a tiny shot of the Merlion statue in the harbour. The pod was very dark, unfortunately, and as night was falling, the skyline lit up but it was difficult to see inside the pod.

After this we walked to a harbourside hawker centre which was a cut above the usual hawker centre, with fancier fare at a fancier price. I had chicken mee goreng and we shared satay.

After a walk along the harbourside, which seems to have been turned into a relatively dimly lit Lovers’ Lane, HWMBO and I parted from the rest and took the MRT home. There will be pictures as soon as I can get them uploaded.

A lovely evening–we enjoyed it thoroughly, and I enjoyed the day with immensely. Now for lunch with , even though it’s now bucketing down outside…anyone for dinner? Call 8370 5057 and I’ll respond soonest.

Tony Benn tells it like it is to John Bolton

Monday, October 20th, 2008

has embedded part of a TV program (BBC something or other) where Tony Benn is his usual forthright self. Go there and watch it; it’s priceless.

My tweets

Sunday, October 19th, 2008
  • 01:35 @MrPandaBehr congratulations! good luck! #
  • 01:36 @besskeloid …um, no. None of them could have written to such heights as to write a song with that title… #
  • 01:37 lazing around waiting for the pills to stop working before going out to face the day… #
  • 04:47 @danbjorn so what would be wrong with you if you were gay, then?? #

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In Singapore

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Well, we finally got here. We packed in a leisurely fashion on Friday morning, then I had lunch at St. matthew’s Friday drop-in. HWMBO joined me for a cup of coffee and everything was great.

We left the house at 2:30 pm and made our way to Paddington and the Heathrow Express. Along with the airlines, you can now print out your Heathrow Express ticket. A “square code” (not a bar code) is printed out and the conductor scans it with his/her ticket machine. It’s really quite slick.

Security was a relative breeze (1/2 hour from check-in to wandering around in the lounge), and we looked around a bit then settled down. I called Vodafone to dispute the bill I’d just been sent. The bill included about GBP 60 of charges made by my very sick BlackBerry–perhaps it was calling for help. I hardly ever download more than 100K in a day, and suddenly it was downloading 6M? No way. I needed to dispute it before flying off, so of course the bill came the day we left. Luckily it didn’t come the day after we left. Anyway, at first they wanted to split the charges, but I told them that wasn’t good enough. After putting me on hold several times, they finally said that they’d take the GBP 60 off the bill, getting it down to GBP 88 rather than GBP 150+. Having done that, we rewarded ourselves with a Starbucks.

Then I told HWMBO “Wait here; I’ll go look at the display and come back when our gate is announced.” When the gate number came up, I turned around (I had looked back several times and HWMBO was placidly reading and listening to his iPod) and HWMBO was nowhere to be seen. ALONG WITH MY CARRYON BAG! The panic I felt was massive! Where was he? Where did he go? Where was my luggage? With my passport in it! I got frantic until, about 5 minutes later, he came up to me. He’d had to go to the toilet and couldn’t see me (although I was standing up) so he took everything with him. I’d thought that was the case but you just don’t wander off on me without telling me! We made up but I’m sure my blood pressure doubled from its already high rate.

We got on the plane but noted with some alarm that a large number of infants and young children were on the flight. True to form, we were seated near some of them. Being kids, they didn’t understand how to make their ears pop on take-off and descending for landing. They just screamed. And, of course, the toilet bins were full of their used nappies (=diapers ). This was seriously not good.

Singapore Airlines provided a vely dinner–I had beef, and HWMBO had chicken, and both were absolutely lovely. I told the cabin attendant when she took my tray that it was the best airplane meal I’d ever had, and I meant it.

then I settled in to about 10 hours of sitting around hoping not to get a blood clot. Neither of us got much sleep.

We landed bang on time (the airlines pad the schedules so that even a temporary disruption won’t have too much of an effect) at the new Terminal 3 at changi Airport. It is huge! Seriously huge. So huge that even Zaphod Beeblebrox in the Heart of Gold would have difficult traversing its length without a 40-mule-team and 3 days worth of supplies.

One thing that Singapore Airlines fell down on is that they did not have enough landing cards for everyone. All the countries around here have landing cards which you must fill out when entering the country. Part of the card is left in your passport and you surrender it when you leave. So I had to stop and fill one out at Immigration Control while HWMBO (being Singaporean, and not having to fill one out) waltzed through. I got through too, and we waited for our luggage while HWMBO’s parents and our friend CB waited for us ourside.

I got a huge shock when I went through the customs exit and saw HWMBO’s mom. She is nearly bent over double from osteoporosis. His dad is the same as ever–pert and pleasant. it was nice to see CB again too. We separated, and I took a cab to Bishan, where I’m staying with BK.

Of course, I got a grumpy cab driver who complained that just knowing BK’s address wasn’t enough; I had to know which street to go down (I was too jetlagged to remember). We got here in the end, and I even tipped him. It was lovely to see BK again, and stay here in Bishan. It was especially nice that they’ve upgraded the elevators/lifts in this building so that they stop at every floor, not just selected ones. So I didn’t have to schlep my luggage up the stairs.

After showering, shaving, et al. I could face Singapore. I have a phone number (+65 8370 5057 for you Singaporeans out there who I want to meet and greet!!!) and an EZ-Link card for the MRT (=subway/Underground).

My lovely friends and were meeting for coffee, so I joined them. went off to dine with his parents, while and I had dinner in a kopitiam (=coffee shop). I had pork porridge which was really really good, and had some kind of fish soup that he thought was a bit thin. then joined us for soy desserts. They are very playful… is always scoring points over …I was the referee.

Then a bus 13 to Junction 8 shopping centre at Bishan, where I got some money out of the new Citibank ATMs there, and a bus 147 home, surfing, and bed.

Didn’t sleep too well, though. BK has replaced the bed that was in the spare room with a sofa bed. It’s lumpy and the blanket is too short for my 5″ 11′ frame…I guess I’ll survive.

Today am going to lunch with and perhaps shopping at Sim Lim for computer stuff. Dinner with friends and HWMBO and BK tonight.

Did a “spell check” before posting and one of the spell check’s suggestions for “HWMBO” was “HOMO’S”. Amusing.

My tweets

Saturday, October 18th, 2008
  • 11:00 hi all. have landed in singapore and made my way to my friend’s place by taxi, very grumpy driver who didn’t know where he was going. #
  • 15:51 had a lovely dinner of pork porridge and tofu (unsweetened) for dessert. it was good. met my Cambodia roomie for the first time. #
  • 21:47 @chrys nonononono! A cupcake has frosting on the top, a muffin does not. I have never heard “cupcake” used in the United Kingdom. Ever. #
  • 21:48 I wish I weren’t jetlagged…it’s 4:47 am and I am wide awake. #
  • 23:04 @besskeloid Pungent Stench…sounds like a schoolmaster… #

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My tweets

Friday, October 17th, 2008
  • 00:18 ‘night, all. Vista has been up and down more than a poledancer’s knickers this evening…what a pain. #
  • 10:00 well, morning all. tweets will be few and far between until i get to singapore may try to tweet once we get through security at the airport. #
  • 17:14 All thru security at Hell…er…Heathrow, ready to board. Sg here we come. Next tweet fron Singapore. #

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My tweets

Thursday, October 16th, 2008
  • 00:14 cheers, tweeters! time to retire… #
  • 12:50 afternoon tweeters. have been slowly gearing up for packing. charging all my devices in anticipation–listening to R Vaughan Williams hymns. #
  • 14:05 now must get cracking on filling my suitcase for tomorrow. #
  • 15:55 mostly packed now, just the electronics and the toiletries, I think. #
  • 17:12 making dinner now…linguine with butter and parmesan. simple because i don’t dare to buy in a lot of stuff before we leave. #

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Getting ready to travel–Attention, all my Singapore LiveJournal friends!

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

I am finally starting to pack for the trip tomorrow. I’m charging up all the electrics so that they’ll last for the journey. I’ve got all my papers, money, and the like together. I’m thinking about getting my suitcase out and putting all the clothing in it. I need to remember handkerchiefs, several baseball caps, my Singapore money, my US dollars (for Cambodia, where they don’t normally take the local currency), toiletries, medications (I don’t want to forget any pills like I did last time!), and myself.

We’re not leaving the house until about 2:30 pm tomorrow, but advance preparation is the key to ensuring that you don’t forget anything at the last minute. I have a Deanery Synod tonight, which is annoying, as our friend Thai Mark is having dinner with HWMBO but I won’t be able to go, and I may not see Thai Mark again until next year. In the year or so we’ve all known each other here, we’ve become very close and I’m sad that he has to leave the UK because of a silly mistake the British embassy in Thailand made and won’t acknowledge. HWMBO flicked past one of those reality shows “UK Border Cops” or something very like that, and I just couldn’t bear to watch it.

Anyway, I digress. I shall be in Singapore from Saturday afternoon through the next Friday, then off to Bintan and finally to Cambodia. Back in Singapore on November 1st and back to the UK on November 3rd. So time is limited. I was wondering if anyone could coordinate a dinner sometime over this weekend (Sunday before St. James?) or next week where all my LJ friends who wish to could come and say “hi!”. I am tentatively free all next week in the evening, subject to whatever our hosts have in store, but I can always rearrange that stuff. I hope to be seeing some of you over the week (have already tentatively arranged Monday lunch with ).

We will be landing at 2:20 pm on Saturday, 18th October. I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can over the next week.

My tweets

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
  • 09:29 morning tweeters all. i have to search for luggage today, maybe, and get vodafone to make my BlackBerry reconcile emails. #
  • 14:20 @dirrtysean : i’m looking… #
  • 14:21 just noticed a counterfeit £1 coin in my coin purse. what a pain. #
  • 14:52 @chrys : i’m not looking forward to jet lag when we go to singapore. #
  • 17:06 off to the diocesan Board of Finance meeting…we have no money in Icelandic banks, thank God… #
  • 20:30 @stephenfry : the additional stuff after the 6-character tinyurl code was unnecessary; deleting it gave me your location quite accurately. #
  • 20:32 back from Board of Finance meeting; we are still solvent. there were fewer sandwiches, though. managed 3/4 sandwich and a coffee and banana. #

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Today’s dud coin report

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I looked through my change purse this morning for 80 pence for the Grauniad. I spied a pound coin that looked somewhat odd, and a closer look told me that it was counterfeit. News reports of a rise in the number of counterfeit pound coins have appeared in the local news lately, but I’ve never actually seen one that I could identify as fake.

I tried to take pictures, but I’m not sufficiently skilled to do so. The colour isn’t quite right: it’s a bit shinier than a regular pound coin (which has the same metallic colour as a US nickle). If you hold the coin between thumb and forefinger so that the Queen’s head on the reverse is vertical, turning the coin to show the observe reveals that the obverse is not vertical but leaning over to the right. The milling on the edge of the coin is only evident in the centre of the edge; the top and bottom of the edge are smooth.

Apparently about 1 in 10 of the coins in circulation is fake. I feel cheated, but, of course, I can’t pass the coin along and I won’t get any money back. I believe I got it in a supermarket, but am not sure.

There was a case in the 1930’s where US one-dollar bills were appearing in small numbers in circulation. No one could figure out why the person wasn’t counterfeiting $20 bills, as you could make 20 times the money from one of those. Finally, when the counterfeiter was discovered, he turned out to be a self-effacing person who just wanted a little money for things like newspapers, and groceries–he wasn’t out to make a large profit from the crime. The one-pound coins go for

Today’s Blog URL

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Some of you may recall that I occasionally post funny entries from Marblehead, Massachusetts’ Police Log, which appears in the Marblehead Reporter. Well, if you like that, you’ll love this blog, that posts funny items from newspapers published all over the place.

My tweets

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
  • 08:00 @urbanbohemian : 3.14159265 … oh, you meant PIE. Never mind. #
  • 08:04 morningm ye tweeters. have to buy a decent suitcase today in anticipation of Singapore. #
  • 11:20 @stephenfry : when i first saw that you tweeted “Drinking giraffe” I thought: “Hm, new kind of Kenyan beer to try…” #
  • 13:15 need to call Vodafone to get the browser on my BlackBerry sorted out. #
  • 14:04 vodafone were quite useful, if a bit tardy. browser is now working. #
  • 14:44 have entered my singapore and cambodia itineraries into WorldMate on BlackBerry. #
  • 14:45 oh, anyone got a twitter client for blackberry that they prefer? #
  • 17:42 @soveren : you’ve been in britain too long without seeing much of the sun… #

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Today’s Monty Python URL

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

John Cleese on Palin…Sarah Palin, that is.

My tweets

Monday, October 13th, 2008
  • 09:49 morning tweeters. especially to @stephenfry who seems to be transporting rhinos this morning, as one does. #
  • 16:26 @urbanbohemian : there’s no fun in a machine like that. #
  • 16:49 @RobertFischer : i think that palin will be looking toward 2012. god help us all! #
  • 16:49 @tug : don’t be vulgar. #
  • 23:39 well, tweeters, i have discovered the Catherine Tate Show..quite funny. Also Paul Merton in India..somewhat odd. Everyone’s travelling on TV #
  • 23:39 good night tweeters all. Singapore minus 4 days and counting! #

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Today’s Aged Nun URL

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Aged nuns are holy women, with tons of experience, and lots of prayer behind them. This 106-year-old American nun who lives in Rome has registered to vote, and will be voting for the first time in about 52 years (she last voted for Eisenhower). But Eisenhower Republicans are few and far between these days, so she’s not voting for one.

Matthew Shepard

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Ten years on, rest in peace, and rise in glory.

My tweets

Sunday, October 12th, 2008
  • 08:04 @ErnieAtLYD : i suppose it’s good to have restaurants near a smoke shop…getting the munchies when you’re far away from food is bad. #
  • 08:06 good morning tweeters. most of y’all are asleep now so i’ll tiptoe away. #
  • 12:09 @dirrtysean : i hope it’s not too too huge. if u need help, just ask… #
  • 17:47 @stephenfry : as long as that’s the only thing you forgot, you’re OK. i always forget at least one thing, maybe subconsciously on purpose. #
  • 17:51 back from the Heyward–Warhol and someone else. I was in NYC during Warhol’s time, but prefer Mapplethorpe and Haring. #
  • 20:17 just finished dinner and the Sat. Grauniad. We had salad and pasta with egg, cheese, and margarine…comfort food but I will pay for it ltr. #
  • 23:56 @helenroper : yes, practitioner in test management. test is in december. hope to pass and then teach intermediate and practitioner. #
  • 23:56 @helenroper : thanks for asking, too! #

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Today’s Political Music Video

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

I’m lucky that I won’t have to live there after January 20th if the Repugs get in. Thanks to MadPriest for the tipoff.

Today’s Political URL

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

There are many unbelievable stories out there about both candidates and their supporters. But this account of a meeting in Starbucks takes the biscuit.

My tweets

Saturday, October 11th, 2008
  • 07:43 morning tweeters. it should be a good day…good news overnight about palin. #
  • 07:55 @fonsus : what is scissors rice? i suppose i should google it… #
  • 07:56 there was lots of interesting news last night, some of which was not about finance. what a refreshing change! #
  • 18:19 went out to lunch with a friend from leicester, then meandered around St. James’s Park. Needed a nap when I got home… #
  • 21:25 @ramseym : not always. i was at a wedding once where the bride said, “No!” to her vows. #
  • 21:27 dinner finished. surfing while listening to this week’s “Hearts of Space”. Infinite Loops–very restful and peaceful. #
  • 22:28 @ErnieAtLYD : geez, you must vote. hold your nose, ignore the media, and vote. i’m in london, and i voted… #
  • 22:30 oh, “Beautiful People” is a waste of electrons, and so is “Little Britain USA”. New ideas are conspicuous by their absence. It was good b4. #

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Today’s conservative URL

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

William F. Buckley was a thinking conservative (even if I usually disagreed with his positions, you had to give him that). His son also writes for the National Review, which Buckley founded. It’s surprising then that Buckley fils, although he knows McCain and even wrote speeches for him, is going to vote for Barack Obama.

My tweets

Friday, October 10th, 2008
  • 17:36 evening all, sorry I didn’t greet you this morning–rushing off to the last day of the course. Was OK, and maybe I’ll get a new job from it. #
  • 21:14 been one of those evenings. HWMBO is still out carousing with a departing colleague, and I’ve had my dinner and his is sitting cooling off.. #
  • 21:51 @jallen285 : it’s a really lovely and amazing building. #

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Today’s joke

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Q. What’s the difference between a pigeon and an investment banker?

A. The pigeon can still make a deposit on a Rolls-Royce.

My tweets

Thursday, October 9th, 2008
  • 06:30 @MrPandaBehr : glad to hear you two made it OK. have fun! #
  • 06:32 morning all. work email is seriously fsked up, can’t send messages. have to go to 2nd day of course soon and can’t investigate. cu tonite. #
  • 07:48 @fonsus : oct 18 through nov 3, with a cambodia break oct 27 thru nov 1. #
  • 19:01 evening tweeters. day 2 of course went OK, and I have my BlackBerry back! Now to see if I can put all my stuff back on it… #

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My tweets

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
  • 06:33 morning tweeters. off to breakfast and then to a course. back this evening. play nice! #
  • 06:37 @boyshapedbox : like in the ’50’s when we went on a school outing on a friday and the prots ate hot dogs and we had to eat tuna rolls 🙁 #
  • 06:38 @MrPandaBehr : most are quite bold. some are a bit skittish, and one hides under a bush in the yard; we have to drop peanuts for him there. #
  • 06:39 @BrianHeys : don’t bgother; it’s crap. get a voyager 2500 if you still can. #
  • 06:40 @helenroper : adobe updater is the devil. adobe also breaks lots of stuff nowadays. #
  • 21:39 hi tweeters, back fromthe first day of the course and the diocesan lay chairs meeting. both profitable enough… #
  • 22:29 time to leave the computer and bid all ye tweeters goodbye and good night. #

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Training today through Friday

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

I had signed up for the ISEB Practitioner’s course in software test management after my success at the Intermediate Certificate. This was in June. Heard nothing from them–normally they collect the money straightaway and send you joining instructions. So, I assumed that they had cancelled or were about to cancel the course–sometimes this happens when they don’t get enough delegates to fill a course (they normally want at least 5).

So imagine my surprise last Thursday when they called me and said the course was on. I was a bit miffed, and as my BlackBerry is still in the shop (due to arrive at the retail outlet any day now) I didn’t have access to my calendar. So I put them off until Friday and took a look at my saved calendar–nothing this week. I arranged with work to take Wednesday through Friday off, paid my

My tweets

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008
  • 10:06 morning tweeters. work beckons! #
  • 16:20 afternoon, all. fed four squirrels today in the midst of writing a proposal–they ate about 1/2 lb. of peanuts. lucky them. #

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