Archive for March, 2009

My tweets

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
  • 08:11 @nakedboy accept the pictures, enquire whether the boif knows what’s going on, then decide whether you want to be The Other Woman… #
  • 08:20 @tug nice of the cats to bring you breakfast. Oh, it was _their_ breakfast. Never mind. #
  • 08:22 @jallen285 – i lived at Foster & Sheridan and could almost see the lake from my window. Loved Chicago. Too bad … #
  • 08:31 @gayasianboy well, it can’t be that you are too ugly (unless your avatar is someone else…) #
  • 08:35 @jonk good grief. My senior year of high school was ’69-70. You aren’t due for arthritis for another 40 years or so. #
  • 08:41 good morning tweeters. interesting lodge meeting last night; may blog some about it. now feeding squirrels. #
  • 17:52 At NFT to see Milk. Waiting for HWMBO. #
  • 22:33 @soveren unfortunately, they are grey squirrels. there are no red squirrels in London. Isle of Wight and some parts of the north have reds.. #
  • 22:35 just back from “Milk”. awesome movie. nice to see it with a whole bunch of lesbians and gay men. Caught a glimpse of my SF flat from 1993… #

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My tweets

Monday, March 30th, 2009
  • 10:40 @jallen285 taiwanese ladies used to put phones on vibrate then stow them in their vijayjays and ask their bfs to give ’em a call… #

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Today’s Spam I Never Finished Reading

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Hi, Pardon me for not having the pleasure of knowing your mindset before making you this offer and it is utterly confidential and genuine by virtue of its nature. I write to solicit your assistance in a funds transfer deal involving US$ 3.5M.This fund has been stashed out of the excess profit made last year by my branch office the International Commercial Bank which I am the manager.

Hell, Mr. Aka, some days I don’t have the pleasure of knowing my mindset. How the hell could you have that pleasure?

If you’re cute I might reconsider.

My tweets

Sunday, March 29th, 2009
  • 08:44 morning, tweeters mine. up, breakfasted, now i’ll get ready for church. will blog about horrible evening later. #
  • 08:44 and why does twhirl think “blog” is misspelt?? #
  • 13:51 @alexgeana i’m ugly as a crab, and at least 25 kg overweight–my boyfriend says so… #
  • 16:57 Blog entry on yesterday’s suckitudus maximus #
  • 16:58 @jonk we would love to see pictures of your bright eyes and your bushy tail… #
  • 17:18 looking for a fast, heavy-duty (able to handle large volumes without barfing all over the computer) backup program for Windoze. Suggestions? #
  • 17:20 @jonk then pictures are even more necessary! #
  • 19:35 @Lileks i thot it was “Once more into the _breach_, dear friends” #
  • 22:52 @jallen285 i’m glad to hear that your date was nice. will there be a date #2? hope your lactose intolerance subsides. #
  • 23:30 well, good night all. time to retire. #

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Yesterday sucked

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Oh well. The weather was atrocious, so we stayed in. This is bad (and we’re doing it again TODAY, just to be cussed!)

The major suckitude came when our friend Bobby arrived from Hong Kong bearing two 1TB drives for my NAS box. The price was right and they seem to be working OK at the moment. Unfortunately, D-Link is really pretty bad when it comes to the software running its hardware.

I removed the previous drives (two 500GB drives) and installed the new ones—really great that they just slide in and lock themselves. Then I fired it up, and tried to log into the web page that starts them off by formatting the new drives.

Could I remember my password? Could I hell! I tried all the ones I usually try, and none of them worked. I swore like a trooper and HWMBO, who had just come back from The Well with dinner, ran away, the air was so blue.

I looked online, and a procedure for resetting the machine (a D-Link DNS-323, to be precise) was there, but a “reset button” was mentioned, without giving its precise position. The D-Link manual didn’t have any reference to a reset button, so I was stumped.

Finally someone in a forum somewhere mentioned that you needed an unbent paperclip. Aha! I needed to look for holes in the box! There was one, on the back plate, well hidden. I had to remove one drive, keep the power on, and press the paperclip into that hole for 10 seconds. That initialises the firmware so that it sees you as a new user. THEN, and only then, could I get into the web page and start formatting the drive.

Wotta pain!

I had to apologise to HWMBO, and we both promised each other that we would go to bed early because we were about to go onto British Summer Time, three weeks behind our US friends. We went to bed at midnight, as usual, and I am feeling it this morning.

My tweets

Saturday, March 28th, 2009
  • 00:15 night night tweeters. sleep tight. off to bed now. #
  • 07:45 @besskeloid actually, yes I do know someone who is spleenless. But he lives in Toronto… #
  • 07:53 @beyondallrepair depends on who wakes you up and how…or with what! #
  • 07:54 @soveren i’m giving vodafone up next month for O2 becoz of great broadband (best in UK) and….iPhone!!! #
  • 07:55 well, tweeters, twhirl seems to be a keeper. Farewell, teletwitter…you were fine a year ago but have not kept up with the twimes. #
  • 07:55 oh, and good morning now. off to make breakfast. Usual, coffee and toasted crumpets. #
  • 14:22 Nazir-Ali to retire as Bishop of Rochester. O frabjour day! Calloo, callay, he chortled in his joy. #
  • 14:24 we just had a hailstorm in S London. only pea-sized, so could be worse. #
  • 14:25 that should have been “frabjous” in my tweet about the soon-to-be former Bishop of Rochester. Excitement breeds typos. #
  • 14:47 @MrPandaBehr free diapers. must be interesting when u get home with the shopping…”Hon, I got the Depends…” 😉 #
  • 15:39 @jallen285 tell us more! #
  • 22:11 next time I buy a Dlink product, please kick me. The documentation sucks. No reference to the reset button, which I needed desperately. #

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It looks like a White Easter again…

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

…but only on the back garden. I looked out the window just now and white flakes were passing by and falling in the garden. It took me a moment to realise that the weather had not taken a turn for the worse, but that the flowering trees in the churchyard are surrendering to the wind.

My tweets

Friday, March 27th, 2009
  • 08:28 morning tweeters. have gotten rid of TeleTwitter which made @stephenfry look like a giant and gotten twhirl. hope it’s good. #
  • 08:31 @MrPandaBehr hope your flight was good and that your time with your partner is great. #
  • 08:54 i really hate windoze. have i told you all that before? #
  • 13:09 @chrys congratulations. #
  • 13:15 @nakedboy well for an old codger yes. the 132 is a bit high, but not much. the 78 is good. cut down a bit on the salty snacks with yr gin. #
  • 13:20 @jallen285 presumably, except for the one you just sent… #
  • 14:50 Almost at lawyer’s office. Hanover Square Park is quite grand. #
  • 18:30 @atomicskunk rich–I liked the album and bought the high-quality version, will leave a review:perhaps a link to iTunes or Amazon from u? #
  • 21:14 @urbanbohemian as long as you wore it in the Scottish fashion and provided pictorial proof… #
  • 22:00 @MitchBenn how about me, a UK based Yank (maybe not for much longer but as of now) who normally uses UK spelling except for “tyre” ugly word #
  • 23:29 @nakedboy some are real. i am certain that @stephenfry is for real, as is @rustyrockets and @lancearmstrong. #

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What the lawyer said…

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Kind of like “What the butler saw!”, isn’t it?

I went to the lawyer today, as I said yesterday. Ferman Law is located near Bond Street Station, in a little road between Oxford Street and Hanover Square. I dressed in a suit with bow tie, of course, as I feel that professional consultations require good dress on both sides.

Mr Ferman is a dual citizen who practices immigration as well as other commercial law in the UK and US. He is articulate, and knows his stuff.

First I explained my situation, put forward in yesterday’s blog post pretty thoroughly. My questions were:

  • What is the situation in regard to the Social Security money I paid in while I lived and worked in the United States?
  • When travelling to the United States as a person who renounced American citizenship, how much hassle is one likely to meet?

As far as Social Security is concerned, there is no change at all. The money will be there, and (at least as far as current law is concerned) will be paid out when I reach retirement age regardless of my citizenship status. There is $65,000 in this account, and I worked for 14 years in the US so I paid in more than the 40 quarters needed to vest the money.

As for travelling to the US, he advised that if I were to renounce, I should carry my letter from the State Department confirming renunciation with me when I travel, as some airlines will not accept a foreign passport from someone they think is a US citizen (again, my passport has “Massachusetts” as my place of birth) and when I get to the immigration counter, the Border Protection officer may ask for my US passport when he sees the place of birth in my UK passport.

He then asked if I had ever been arrested or convicted of a crime (I haven’t). As an alien, I could be barred from the US were I to have a criminal record, were I a prostitute or a procurer, if I was infected with HIV or other communicable diseases, and several other reasons which escape me now. The online Visa Waiver website has the whole list of things.

I could also be barred permanently from the United States if I renounced my citizenship purely for tax reasons. Mr Ferman recommended that I write a statement giving my reasons for renunciation (not including tax reasons, of course) and that this be filed with the other papers at the Embassy.

My financial situation is such that no penalties, back, or continuing taxation will be necessary once I have renounced my citizenship. I will have to produce five years of tax returns and a balance sheet confirming that I have little or no resources or income, and no real property.

He remarked that the process is very paperwork-intensive, as the US is not eager to promote renunciation or make it easy.

The next available appointment at the US Embassy for renunciations is in August, 2009! They do about 10 a month, according to Mr Ferman, and this is more than any other US Embassy anywhere.

As it is a very serious and irrevocable act, they normally have a Consul, rather than a Vice-Consul or other lower official, conduct the interview. They want to make darn sure that you really want to renounce, so that later on if you change your mind, you cannot say that you were coerced or otherwise influenced against your will to renounce.

So what now?

I think I will wait until after my next trip to the US (May-the beginning of June) and then make the final decision. The fee for Mr. Ferman to do the paperworki is quite steep, so I may have to do it myself unless I get some paying work between now and then. None of it seemed to be particularly difficult, just time consuming.

Oh, and the final good news is that, in contradistinction to US visas, there is currently no charge for renouncing your citizenship.

My tweets

Thursday, March 26th, 2009
  • 16:12 @stephenfry : in TeleTwitter your face comes out full postcard+ size. Very disconcerting. Can you make it smaller please? #
  • 16:18 back from TestExpo, networking was good, exhibits were interesting, didn’t go to talks as I hate advertising… #
  • 16:18 @jallen285 : no commando Friday? If u usually go commando, perhaps you could wear undies on Friday instead. Callit “Jock Friday” #
  • 22:12 well, tweeters, time to retire. big day tomorrow. i go to a US immigration lawyer to discuss pros and cons of renouncing US citizenship. #
  • 22:39 @nard : not when you have to file two tax returns, can’t have a UK-taxfree savings account, and can’t visit Cuba with your beloved. #

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Off to the lawyer tomorrow…

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I have been moved by ‘s blogposts about the United States to finally go somewhere with renouncing my American citizenship. Tomorrow I’m off to the law firm of Gary Ferman, who specialise in citizenship and immigration issues. I’ll be speaking with him about the consequences of renunciation, not particularly financial ones (since I do not have enough money or resources to trigger any of the horrid penalties that the US places on people who renounce their citizenship) but focussing on travel consequences.

For example, does it become more difficult to enter the US as a foreigner when you’ve renounced your citizenship?

I am doing this mostly to simplify my life. I now have to manage my affairs to take into account two different systems of law, tax, and citizenship. Why should I, a UK citizen, be barred from going to Cuba for a Caribbean holiday simply because I am also an American citizen? Why should my ISA (tax-free savings account in the UK) be taxable in the United States but not taxable here? Why should I have to put up with intrusive questioning at the US border even though I am currently a US citizen?

I realise this may make some readers of my blog uneasy. Well, imagine coming to the US four times in 2008 and, the fourth time, being suspected of money laundering and getting the third degree about what I do for a living, why I’m coming to the US, and how much money I have. I get no privileges from my US citizenship (besides the honour of being able to vote for Federal offices) and lots of grief. Better to give it up.

People have said to me, “Well, you never know—someday you may want to move back to the US.”

To them I say, “Imagine, if you will, an unemployed software test manager who has had diabetes for more than 20 years and a heart attack 3 years ago moving back to the US from the UK. This person would go from totally free health care, including free medications, to having no health insurance at all and having to pay full whack for his health care and prescriptions. In addition, imagine that this person has a civil partner who is not a US citizen. Thus, in moving back to the US this person would have to forego living with his civil partner. After 11 years of partnership, this might be a bit of a hardship.”

I think it is a clear choice. For younger people who are not ill and whose full-time job prospects (and health insurance benefits) in the United States are good, it might be a struggle. For me, it’s clear. Living in the UK is my future. I am now a European. I benefit from a health care system that gives me first-class care which is free at the point of delivery, including all medication. I feel patriotic about the UK, and, for all its faults, I love it still.

Nothing will happen tomorrow except that I will be better informed about my choices and their consequences. After that, I shall make the final decision, and I will, of course, keep you all informed.

However, so that any super-patriotic USans might not get so upset they say naughty things in the comments that they might regret later, I’m screening all comments on this post.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”fonsus”>

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

My tweets

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
  • 09:28 morning tweeters. came home to chaos as HWMBO got home too late and had to wait an hour for his duck to cook. slept badly too. humph! #
  • 09:28 @soveren : where are you going? back home? for good? #
  • 13:49 @mhisham : your lenses will begin to harden when you’re in your mid-40’s and you will need reading glasses before you are 50. #
  • 13:56 @mhisham : no, i’ve worn glasses for almost half a century. Had varifocals for about 6 years now… #
  • 14:39 @mhisham : i hope you followed the link to as that’s what I mean… #
  • 19:03 @nakedboy : sounds like a good party. sorry i’m so far away… #
  • 19:40 @jonk : the best complaints choir is the Singapore one: it is hilarious AND the gahmen banned public performance! #
  • 21:24 @helenroper : i think it depends on what it is. most of these things will get removed from your bin by dump-pickers anyway. #
  • 21:25 made baked chicken breasts with tarragon-flavoured rice for dinner. HWMBO liked it, better than last night’s dinner fiasco. All’s well… #
  • 21:28 must remember to book my college reunion tomorrow or Friday. TestExpo tomorrow…networking, I hope. #

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Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I’ve occasionally mentioned “Singapore Alex” here. I’ve known him for more than 12 years now, ever since he showed up in the UK. In the interim he’s graduated from UCL, gained UK citizenship (and renounced Singaporean citizenship), formed a civil partnership with Bob, his partner of umpteen years, and decided to take up acting. He’s been in a Christmas panto (at which I graced myself by being flip to the performers) and he often turns up in ads. He was in last Christmas’s ITV offering “Clash of the Santas” playing the Japanese Santa (as a Chinese man he always gets the Oriental parts, even though he doesn’t particularly look Japanese…).

A new Aviva ad (Aviva is the new name of Norwich Union Insurance) shows a long line of people “returning” to Aviva and being greeted on their return. Lo and behold, Alex is in the queue (he’s the one who steps up to the greeter just before the ad switches to the message) and gets a bit more face time because of that.

Every time I see this ad on TV, instead of thinking “Oh, I must go out and buy some Aviva insurance!” I think, “Gee, there’s Alex!” and forget all about insurance.

It’s lucky for advertising that people who do not know any of the actors outnumber those who do.

If I could find a YouTube of the ad, I’d place it here, but I think that Aviva hasn’t updated their website (on which they have ads) since the end of last year. About time you joined Web 2.0 and kept things up to the second, Aviva!

The Complaints Choir URL

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I was tipped off by @jonk about the Complaints Choir of Helsinki. I watched, and it was hilarious.

I thought it was a one-off until I looked at the suggestions sidebar. There was one from Birmingham, UK, one in Chicago, but the best one I listened to was from Singapore!

As usual, I am the last one to hear of the Complaints Choir movement. There does seem to be one in London, but there’s been no movement on the performance that I can see and there isn’t any link to a YouTube video of it. I suppose we are just too British and polite to bother complaining.

The Singapore Complaints Choir was refused permission to perform in public unless all non-Singaporeans were barred from the Choir. As some will be aware, Singapore has become the home of many non-Singaporeans who do jobs ranging from housekeeper and nanny up to CEO of the national sovereign wealth fund. But, since those people were barred from performing publicly, the entire choir decided that it would perform in private, tape the performance, and put it up on teh intarwebs, where the Singapore gahmen couldn’t ban it. It’s really funny (to those who live there or who have some knowledge of Singapore) and the back story makes it even more poignant. Do watch it&#8212I’ve embedded it below.

My tweets

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
  • 03:11 @lancearmstrong : sorry to hear it; i hope the surgery goes well and your clavicle heals well too. #
  • 03:13 @boyshapedbox : try baby powder, liberally applied to both ballsack and leg. #
  • 03:23 @nakedboy – kind of like a frozen Black Forest Gateau. #
  • 03:25 @jallen285 : thai men are hot too… #
  • 03:48 @nakedboy : you should have some for me. i have insomnia and i need it to sleep but can’t eat it–too much sugar. #
  • 03:48 @jallen285 : have you ever been to thailand? if not, u should go. I guarantee u’ll be the most popular man in Babylon sauna. #
  • 03:49 insomnia is teh pits, BTW. #
  • 04:33 i’ve got insomnia but will help me. #
  • 08:39 morning all. went back to bed around 0430, got 2.5 hrs more sleep, still not firing on all cylinders. #

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My tweets

Monday, March 23rd, 2009
  • 09:43 morning, tweeters all. kind of cloudy, rain later, meh day in London. #
  • 09:48 @jonk : fit into the trunk? Why the heck did you try that? New form of S&M? #
  • 09:49 @jonk : oh, now i see the answer; don’t bother to RT that…but don’t do it again! Don’t want to see you on Forensic Detectives as a corpse. #
  • 12:43 off to the gym. behave yourselves while i’m gone, now. #
  • 19:12 @rustyrockets : what’s easier about being gay, except the hot sex? that even gets more difficult as one ages. #

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My tweets

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009
  • 08:31 Jade Goody dies peacefully in her sleep early Mothering Sunday morning. Her children will have that painful reminder each year now. #
  • 15:59 @jallen285 : did u learn the black bandanna thang by painful experience? #
  • 20:03 @jallen285 there are pages devoted to the hanky code: is one…enjoy! Don’t know how many use it now. #
  • 21:21 @jonk : i just looked up “balut” in Wikipedia. OMGWTF! HWMBO said so too. #

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Today’s Funny Story

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I was speaking with a friend from New York this evening, and he related a funny story relating to the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York (Archbishop Dolan of Milwaukee), who will be enthroned next month after a 9-year run by Cardinal Edward Egan. It is an open secret that Cardinal Egan isn’t the flavour of the month among the priests of the Archdiocese, who have protested in various ways against some of the things the Cardinal has said and done. This is background.

There was a meeting last week of the committee putting together the enthronement ceremony, and both Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Dolan were there. The music director of St. Patrick’s Cathedral was present, and when the topic of discussion turned to the music for the ceremony, she piped up, “Well, since it will be Eastertide, it would be great to have some stirring Easter music as a recessional hymn. How about ‘The Strife is Over, the Battle Done!’?”

Dolan chuckled. Egan looked as though he wanted to fire her, but of course couldn’t do that now.

Later, when told of the subtext under all this, she was horrified! Apparently she is very much out of archdiocesan politics and was totally unaware of the import of what she said—which just makes it all the funnier.

Sermon for Laetare Sunday

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

This Sunday is observed in the United Kingdom as Mothering Sunday. The mothers get little bunches of daffodils in church, and sometimes there are special readings. Unfortunately, St. John’s uses the regular readings for today and they are not particularly maternal.

In addition, Jade Goody, the reality show contestant from a few years ago who later was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer, died this morning. If I were quicker-witted, I could preach on her strange life and her peaceful death on Mothering Sunday, leaving two children. She’s a local girl, from Bermondsey just down the road.

Laetare Sunday is the traditional Catholic name for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. The Introit begins with the Latin word which means “to rejoice”, and the clergy wear light-purple vestments (referred to as “rose” coloured) rather than purple ones. This to signify that the end of Lent, with its crucifixion story, is drawing closer and we should be living in hope of the resurrection.

I am committed to preaching on the readings, not solely on the newspapers or on the Sunday, so here is my offering for today—nothing about mothers or Jade Goody. This is my 50th sermon since I moved to the United Kingdom 15 years ago.

And to all you mothers out there, happy Mothering Sunday. Those of you in the United States will get this twice, as American Mothers Day is in May.

March 22, 2009 Fourth Sunday of Lent; Mothering Sunday
Sermon delivered at St. John the Evangelist, 10 am.
Readings: II Chron 36:14-16, 19-23; Ps 136; Eph 2:4-10; John 3:14-21

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

There is a Radio 4

My tweets

Saturday, March 21st, 2009
  • 00:20 now i will actually go to sleep. safe journey, all. @jallen285–have fun at sidetracks; one of my fave bars in Chicago. #
  • 07:50 @nard : Squeaks? The mouse must have been very scared. #
  • 08:46 morning, tweeters. sun is shining, it’s a bit nippy out, but spring is here. injured squirrel seems better too. #
  • 12:47 @jallen285 we are off to Marbella just for sun, sand, drinks, and relaxation. will get a spiel about buying into a holiday club but worth it #
  • 15:49 In St*rbucks at Angel. Walkmed to Hoxton White Cube, then up here. 3 or 4 miles. Bushed. #
  • 17:12 home now via Tube. Still bushed. #
  • 23:16 well, off to bed. tiring day. must be in tip-top shape to preach tomorrow. #

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My tweets

Friday, March 20th, 2009
  • 14:28 afternoon, tweeters. we’re going to Spain for 4 days at the end of April. Should be nice. #
  • 17:54 @fj : Reliablehosting VPN. US IP address. Not too expensive. #
  • 19:00 At Piccadilly Circus waiting for HWMBO and Robbie for dinner. #
  • 22:26 back from chinatown. went to a new singaporean restaurant. service was piss-poor, except for cute gay waiter, food was good. go back again? #
  • 23:22 @MrPandaBehr : well, there is kiasu in Queenway that is our “normal” singaporean restaurant. a bit pricier, but service better. #
  • 23:22 @MrPandaBehr : i might return just to flirt with the cute waiter. #
  • 23:22 @jallen285 : i’d do you too. #
  • 23:23 @MrPandaBehr : our dinner companion had a googlephone and raved about it. What do you think about it? vis a vis the iPhone? #
  • 23:27 about to turn in, i think. book air tix tomorrow for Spain trip. #

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My tweets

Thursday, March 19th, 2009
  • 06:22 up very early as the guy in the apartment 2 floors above me is playing his TV on max to keep the voices from bothering him…FAIL! #
  • 06:42 @jallen285 we’ve had buses with screens on them (and in them) for a couple of years now here in london. #
  • 06:49 @MrPandaBehr i also find it exciting. i do hope that O2 isn’t going to soak me unreasonably for it. Voda will do everything to keep me, tho. #
  • 13:02 @fj : i think they are trying to catch those who are not honest on their CVs in a lie, no? #
  • 16:12 @alexgeana : good where it counts. we want pictures! #
  • 17:32 @RobertFischer : there are still people who assert that income taxes are unconstitutional…1 shares my name and I see him when selfGoogling #
  • 17:34 @jallen285 : you can now watch Big Brother on the buses and with CCTV Big Brother can watch you…turnabout is fair play… #

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Happy birthday, <lj user=”djyoshiki”>

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

My tweets

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
  • 07:29 good morning tweeters all. weather will be good in London today, so must do something outdoors. high of 15 degrees (that’s C- 59 degrees F)! #
  • 07:30 @gayasianboy : you are probably more right about the pope than you thought you were. #
  • 08:10 @jonk : so how did you sleep after a Pepsi Max? I had two Jolt Colas once after dinner and could not sleep at all that night. #
  • 08:11 @besskeloid : so what are trisers when they’re at home? i’m sure they’d look lovely on you… #
  • 08:12 the daring squirrel’s right eye is still closed. i think he got into a fight. HWMBO is on feeding duty while I tweet. #
  • 08:13 @jonk : your dinner is part of a balanced diet with 3 of 5 food groups: salt, sugar, and fat. Now for the caffeine and alcohol. #
  • 08:14 @gayasianboy : Rush Limbaugh? he’s a far-right American talk-show host. To be avoided at all costs. #
  • 08:19 @stephenfry : singapore is a hotbed of gay activity. the ST often reports on it too, not approvingly of course. #
  • 08:23 @sbrettell : it’s too bad that Apple did exclusive deals with service providers. we will see what O2 offers when my current contract is up. #
  • 08:26 @studfucker : they have to do something with all the testosterone they produce while lifting. #
  • 08:29 @besskeloid : oh crumbs. after 15 yrs here i still have trouble with the lingo. Hellay. So what dew yew dew? #
  • 16:32 @sbrettell : good reason for apple, bad reason for consumers… #
  • 16:33 feel accomplished; just sorted all my surviving mobile phone bills from 1999 and put them in a standing file. more room in file cabinet w00t #
  • 16:34 also figured that my mobile phone contract runs out on 19 April 2009 so iPhone here I come. #
  • 22:00 Just got back from Deanery Synod–a group of Anglicans waiting to go home… #
  • 22:01 @nakedboy : gin is one of god’s great gifts to humanity… #
  • 22:03 @MrPandaBehr : i still have one month to go on my Vodafone contract, so I am starting the move to O2 (has iPhone in UK) pretty soon. #

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My tweets

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009
  • 08:14 @kristainlondon St. Patrick’s Day is not as big a deal here as it is in the US. No corned beef and cabbage, for example. No shamrock shakes. #
  • 08:41 @fj have fun! you are right about apple btw…they are making a big mistake with the new shuffle headphone chip. #
  • 17:55 the gardener has just left–we have a large “hole” on the wall where the ivy was. New-mown grass smells lovely. #
  • 17:56 @stephenfry : singapore is lovely…i have lots of friends there and my civil partner is Singaporean. The food is divine! #
  • 18:00 @besskeloid : perhaps you’re a Vogon…was there a lump of clay in it?? #
  • 18:02 @sbrettell : hm…will do, but I want my Manhattans!! #
  • 18:04 @legalmoose : i did that once coming back from St. Pat’s Cath. on 3/17. Drunken Irishmen would have hit me if I hadn’t been in priest collar #
  • 18:05 waiting for HWMBO. Trout for him tonight, god only knows what for me. #
  • 19:05 just endured one of the worst programs on Radio 4: Cabin Pressure. Avoid it at all costs. I want ISIHAC back again!!! Wah! #
  • 21:24 @urbanbohemian : i want an iPhone. am going to have to change providers to get one, but I Will Have One Soon! #

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Yes sir, yes sir, eleven bags full

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

The landlord and I decided that the amount of ivy on the wall was excessive and starting to become a hazard to the building and the outside wall of the garden. So, they got their gardener to come by to remove it.

This was a two stage process, as in between I had to go to St. Thomas’s for my month’s checkup for the lizard spit medication I’m now injecting for better control of diabetes. We sawed, we pulled, we used a hoe, he used a strimmer and hedge clippers to take the ivy off the walls. I went to the appointment and he went elsewhere to do another job.

The appointment was very short. They took my weight and blood pressure, and the nurse and I talked about the past month of injections. It’s been pretty uneventful. None of the promised side effects have materialised (nausea is the most prominent). We discussed disposing of the sharps box—Southwark has a service which will come and collect it and give me another box. Sometimes when I prime the injection pen (you turn a knob at the back end of it, then pull it out and turn it a little bit more) fluid drips out of the needle—once it actually spurted out in a stream. She didn’t seem concerned about it. Then I got my prescription for the high-test stuff (10mg dosage) and went downstairs to have it filled. And waited 50 minutes for that to happen. Faugh.

When he returned he bagged up the pile of ivy—we had eleven bags of clippings. He took away the bags and scraped some more ivy that had lost contact with its roots off the wall. I then mowed the lawn. He was also nice enough to trim two of the more predatory bushes out back. We now have more garden than we had yesterday (more space, that is).

Even though I did little, I somehow feel very accomplished, and the gardener said that he thought it was the nicest back garden he’d ever seen in SE1.

Got the bumpf for registration for my college reunion. There are still members of the Class of 1944 (that’s 65 years ago—they are in their mid- to late-80’s now) around! The program looks good and I’m very happy. In addition, one of my suggestions has been taken up: we have one event where the 1974 alumni of Columbia College, Barnard, and the Columbia School of Engineering all get together over a drink. I didn’t see any of the other two groups 5 years ago. We had considerable contact with them when we were in university because we took courses at Barnard (a lot of the Latin and Greek courses were over there because of the outstanding Classics faculty at Barnard) and the Engineering people not only took some classes with us, but they lived in the same dormitories. Hooray! Maybe I’ll see some of my old Barnard and Engineering friends too, along with Thom Chu, who was (I believe) 10 or 15 years behond me but who will also be attending the reunion and who is a friend from Integrity/New York days. Hooray!!!

My tweets

Monday, March 16th, 2009
  • 07:12 @gayasianboy : happy to help. hope you find the sweet melon of your dreams. #
  • 16:24 On bus, coming back from gym. Tired. #
  • 20:31 @mkrigsman is the Herreshoff museum in Marblehead? His “castle” was next to Crocker Park. Very spooky in my yoof. #
  • 23:07 well, tweeters mine, another monday bites the dust. Or just bites. Could have been worse. Will have a Manhattan tomorrow and life will be OK #
  • 23:08 @nakedboy : um, haven’t had one of those in years. I have some Crown Royal stolen from my ex sister in law…I have cherries too. Now 7-Up! #

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Today’s Photo

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Hm…those Japanese have a reputation for putting everything into a vending machine…

My tweets

Sunday, March 15th, 2009
  • 07:33 @MrPandaBehr : yes, they get stolen regularly. it always used to be missing when i worked in the Village and passed by there. #
  • 07:50 good morning all…decided to pass on listening to Sunday with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor…same old same old OLD. #
  • 18:32 @jallen285 : remember, it’s the Ides of March (when Caesar was stabbed in 44BC). Shotguns are more potent than pens. #
  • 18:40 @jallen285 : happy #
  • 18:45 @jebswebs : corned beef should be red #
  • 18:47 waiting for chicken rice cooked by HWMBO to save me heating up leftover meatloaf or (shudder!) going out to the Well. #

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Today is the Ides of March

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

If you are Caesar, or have Caesarian pretentions, beware!

Today’s Brick of the Day

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

(“Brick of the Day” idea shamelessly stolen from MadPriest)

Pastor Bob Book of the Church of the Common Ground in Atlanta, GA, and his wife scrub the feet of three dozen homeless men every Monday, based on the concept of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, with such pedicures including a soak, pumice-rubbing, nail-trimming, and massage, topped off by a clean pair of socks. Book says his crusade makes the down-and-out feel more confident, and the “worst ongoing” threat, according to him, is not Satan in men’s minds but fungus in their toes. “It eats away and destroys the toenails and just makes it very hard for people to walk.” [The State (Columbia, S.C.)-AP, 1-22-09]

I found this in “News of the Weird” today. However, it is not weird. It is a ministry of the most basic kind: loving one’s neighbour as oneself. There are other similar ministries, such as the one here in the UK which does nothing but give gloves to people who are sleeping rough and have nothing to keep their hands warm, and another similar one which gives out socks. There are lots of places for homeless people to get food, basic clothing, counseling, a place to doss down at night. There are very few places where a homeless person can get their feet tended to. And, after all, many homeless people are on their feet for hours a day, going to the various places they need to go to for their basic life needs.

Wouldn’t you know it, when I did a websearch for the Church of the Common Ground, and found its website, it’s a ministry of the Episcopal Church.

For actually living out the Biblical imperative to love one’s neighbour as oneself, I say that The Rev’d Bob Book, his wife, and the other people involved in the Church of the Common Ground, are my personal


My tweets

Saturday, March 14th, 2009
  • 08:34 @gayasianboy : you tap it with your knuckles and if it sounds hollow, it’s ripe. also smell the place where the stem was. #
  • 10:50 @MrPandaBehr or, of course, 112 if we were to be European. #
  • 14:35 afternoon all. meatloaf sammiches for lunch, sky grey so probably no trip to White Cube this afternoon. Maybe tomorrow. #
  • 22:08 @MrPandaBehr : i gather than the “Gay St” street sign is regularly stolen. #
  • 22:10 @jonk : get yr krispy kremes quickly before they go chapter 11… #

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Today’s Chaste URL

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

I don’t know about you, but this story sounds like the SWB is up to her old tricks again—transferring clergy who stray.

Today’s Religious Aphorism

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

You know what the Anglican priest said to the Baptist preacher at the ecumenical luncheon: “After all, we are both doing the Lord’s work—you in your way, and I in His”.

How doth the little busy bee/Improve each shining hour

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Now that I am between jobs and have time to kill, it occurs to me that one way in which to improve myself would be to learn a lot more about web design and engineering. My own website is a disgrace, and other people and organisations have asked me to help them with design and engineering of their websites, and I do not really have the expertise to do more than the bare minimum.

Thus, I wonder if anyone reading this knows of a good online course in web design and in aspects of web engineering such as PHP or XML and the like.

If so, comments or PVT_EMAIL would be welcome.

The last time I was not working 9 to 5 each day I basically pissed away most of the time surfing and reading email (this was before Twitter). I am determined not to do so this time.

Today’s humour

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.

The man says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “what’s yours?”

“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order “That will be $9.40, please,” and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke.”

The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again. “The usual?” asks the waitress.

“No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad,” says the man.

“Same,” says the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $32.62.”

Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.

The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. “Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?”

“Well,” says the man, “several years ago, I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress. “Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the man.

The waitress asks, “What’s with the ostrich?”

The man sighs, pauses and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with a big butt and long legs who agrees with everything I say.”

My tweets

Friday, March 13th, 2009
  • 14:19 afternoon, all. had lunch, the windoze updates destabilised my eudora so have been dealing with that mongolian clusterf*ck… #
  • 00:03 off to bed now #

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US Travel Plans

Friday, March 13th, 2009

As much as I hate leaving my cosy London home for the Wild West, HWMBO and I are off to the US in May. HWMBO and I will be visiting my brother and sister in Massachusetts for a week starting probably the weekend of the 16-17 May. HWMBO will stay for a week, and leave the next weekend. We will probably be seeing while we’re there, as well as and and other friends of ours.

I, on the other hand, will be staying in the US for two more weeks. The week starting 25th May I shall be flying to Washington, DC to stay with our former flatmate and absolute sweetheart Brett (who is not on LiveJournal) for a week.

So, heads up, all you LJ friends in DC, I’m coming atcha. This means you, , you, , and you, , and you, , as well as and anyone else in the area. I have no itinerary or plans at the moment except to sightsee and enjoy myself. I have not been in Washington for more than 20 years, so it’s time. We could have a drink/dinner or whatever. Would love to meet y’all.

Then, I’m taking the train up to New York City probably the 1st or 2nd of June to go to my 35th Columbia reunion. I really enjoyed the 30th, so I am really excited about this one. I don’t have a lot of close friends in my class, but I enjoyed being on campus, doing the activities, and all that. The reunion starts on the 2nd or the 3rd of June, and goes through the weekend.

So, heads up to all my New York LiveJournal friends, as well as anyone else in the area. I’ll be staying with for part of the time, and on campus for part of the time. Then, back home on the 8th or 9th of June.

So don’t be shy; I would really enjoy meeting you if you’re around any of those three places.

My tweets

Thursday, March 12th, 2009
  • 12:55 @chrys Berretta vitamin tabs was what I needed. Didn’t remember until bedtime when i went to the cupboard to get my pills. #
  • 14:26 @chrys : I actually meant Berocca. #

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Happy birthday, <lj user=”annburlingham”>

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

My tweets

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
  • 10:44 @nakedboy : there are three sizes of condom: small, medium, and liar #
  • 10:46 @MrPandaBehr : bravo! i like that phrase “different sex marriage”…will start using it right now. thanks. #
  • 12:13 @chrys : oh dear. i shall be leaving for soho at around 12:30 or so. hope you got in and out by then. #
  • 12:29 @chrys : ok, i’ll be setting off shortly. see you in the pub. #
  • 12:29 @nakedboy : too bad beckham isn’t an opportunistic full-frontally naked slut. only kind of slut to be. #
  • 13:05 @chrys here, sitting in window. #
  • 13:09 In O’Neill’s sitting at window enjoying a free pint of guinness and waiting for @chrys to drink and lunch. #
  • 13:10 Also watching cute chinese boiz walking around in sweats. #
  • 16:44 @soveren : oh geez, i would have, but @chrys arrived and my back was then to the window. Come to london and hang out on Gerrard Street. #
  • 16:45 saw @chrys’s iPhone and i want one too. my vodafone contract is up next month. so’s my bt one. so broadband and iPhone together! #
  • 17:40 @soveren : i agree with you. shall we set up a threesome and purchase one? 😉 a country retreat (and iPhones for all!) #
  • 18:51 @chris rinally figured out how to change address of “ok” button is invisible, tab until white patch turns into blue button. #
  • 19:30 @chrys finally remembered what i needed in boots… #

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Today’s Maddening URL

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Does anyone remember when most radio was live? Nowadays most of it is canned in a studio far away from the station broadcasting it at another time far in the future. No one is actually at the radio station. Sometimes, no one is listening. So sometimes things go wrong.

The video below was taken by someone driving from Chicago through Indiana. 91.9 seems a bit broken, doesn’t it?

You might not want to listen to this all the way through. It will haunt you.

91.9 from dustin hostetler on Vimeo.

My tweets

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
  • 08:57 morning tweeters. the gas man cometh and checketh out our boiler. all is ok for another year. #
  • 09:51 @gayasianboy : i leave all such questions up to god and try to take care of my own spirituality. i fight against the religious nuts. #
  • 09:52 @gayasianboy : did they have tiramisu on the Titanic? Caviar, more likely. #
  • 10:10 @jonk : i’ve been in UK so long that when you said “pants” I wondered why you’d change your undies to see a client… #
  • 10:40 @soveren wasn’t off to anywhere, just wanted to see what it looked like and had an afternoon free. not all ba flights yet leave from there. #
  • 11:03 just got a cold call email from Fort Chappard a recruitment consultance. sounds a bit snarky. anyone dealt with them before in the UK? #
  • 15:47 back from the gym, waiting for dinner and then lodge of instruction… #
  • 16:27 @nakedboy : i wouldn’t mind a job boy myself. Where would I find one? #
  • 18:42 On Tube going to Lodge of Instruction. #

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Today’s Humour Interlude

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

An Amish boy and his father were visiting a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.

The boy asked, “What is this, Father?” The father (never having seen an elevator) responded “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life; I don’t know what it is.”

While the boy and his father were watching with amazement, an elderly lady in a wheelchair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the small circular numbers above the walls light up sequentially. They continued to watch until it reached the last number and then the numbers began to light in the reverse order. Finally the walls opened up again and a gorgeous, 19-year-old blonde woman stepped out.

The father, not taking his eyes off the young woman, said quietly to his son

My tweets

Monday, March 9th, 2009
  • 10:39 morning all…the landlord’s representative just came by and we chatted about mice and keys and all sorts of things. #
  • 12:27 @gayasianboy : nah, they have nothing to do with christianity as i recognise it. #
  • 12:29 @besskeloid : that’s not all. there was the Stuff Falling from the Sky into our back garden and Glue Oozing from the Floor. #
  • 13:11 @chrys : you want to have lunch this week sometime? mid afternoon on tues, noon weds and thurs. #
  • 16:05 At terminal 5 sightseeing. empty but nice. #
  • 18:02 back home now. fell asleep on Piccadilly Line and ended up at Holborn rather than Piccadilly Circus. Had to bus it home. #
  • 18:04 @pepstein : now i know why i fell asleep on the Tube: National Napping Day! Teh suck–it cost me an extra pound to get home on the bus. #
  • 21:58 @nakedboy : a chinese restaurent here in London has a reputation for abusing customers who come back again and again. food’s not great. #

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Good news and bad news

Monday, March 9th, 2009

The good news: TrendMicro support called me back (after calling me at 1 am Friday evening) to fix the problem with the annoying useless popups I was getting.

The bad news: He called just after Just A Minute began on Radio 4. When we finished, Nicholas Parsons was just telling us to tune in again next time they played Just A Minute. It must be something I did to God—every time I settle down to listen to Just A Minute on Monday evening something comes between us.

Additional good news: the technician (who is based in the Philippines and sounded quite cute) seems to have figured out how to stop the popups. I haven’t had any since he added HostsMan and the folder containing it to a “Do Not Scan” list. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Later edit: Additional bad news: the notifications have returned.

My tweets

Sunday, March 8th, 2009
  • 07:58 @fonsus : the mini is less powerful i believe. boy, do i wish that twitter had threading. i have forgotten what i said before! #
  • 13:27 good afternoon, tweeters mine. Those of you in the US and Canada are probably short of sleep this afternoon. Naptime! Ours is next week. #
  • 13:28 @gayasianboy : what’s wrong with being gay Asian Christians. Some Christians are good people, you know. #
  • 17:16 @helenroper : i’ve never heard of “mandelson custard” either. is it like “spotted dick” or maybe “jam roly poly”? #
  • 18:05 off to get the spaghetti ready for dinner. #

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Bashing Bibles

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

After yesterday’s experiences (I’ll friend-lock this too so if you didn’t read yesterday’s entry you can), I am feeling just a bit weak at the knees. Every once in a while I remember it all again and exclaim “Oh dear!” out loud, to no one in particular. HWMBO think’s I’m haunted.

So today I decided to shred Bibles. The Nigerian Pentacostal church that meets in St. Matthew’s building uses Bibles in their Sunday School and in their services. The members feel free to annotate, blot out, doodle in, and generally wreck their Bibles to such an extent that when they do leave them in church, they have lost their bindings, are covered in ink (including words inscribed on the outer ends and leaves of the book, the same way we used to misuse our textbooks in high school), and are useless for anything.

There was a pile of about 7 Bibles in the Vestry in this condition. I had left them there, intending to take them home and dispose of them reverently. Today seemed to be a good day for that as it’s windy, rainy, and cold. Not a good day for a walk along the river.

When I was a kid, the standard way of reverently disposing of a Bible was to burn it—just like the reverent way of disposing of an old American flag. But it’s hard to find a fire or a suitable place to build one these days. I decided to shred them.

The first one, being relatively cheap, had thicker paper and was easily disposed of, including the covers.

However, when I got to the next two, I found that Bible paper was not suitable for shredding very well, as it was too thin to trip the switch that starts the shredder, but when you amassed enough pages to trip the switch, they had a hard time going through the thing.

By the time I’d gotten to II Kings of the third Bible, the shredder was making an ominous thumping noise every time I put a piece of paper into it. Even one page provoked a horrible clunking noise, regularly repeated as the shredder ate up the Word of God and spat out confetti.

I reflected that perhaps this meant that the Word of God, while shreddible in bulk, was too delicate page-by-page to give the shredder the kick it needed to start up. We too need to digest the Bible in smaller chunks, not whole chapters or books. And proof-texting, used as a weapon, is ineffective since it dissects the Bible into tiny bits to prove something that another tiny bit somewhere else disproves.

I ended up reverently, but firmly, throwing the other unshredded bibles into the nest of paper the first bibles had made, and then bagging it up and tossing it into the bin outside. The bin bag’s black, not clear, so no one will know that the Word of God is in the bin. But, after yesterday, the very activity felt good.

My tweets

Saturday, March 7th, 2009
  • 13:44 just back from Diocesan Synod. Gays on the aqgenda. Was last to speak and got gonged after a minute. Was it because I mentioned my partner? #
  • 15:59 In Starbucks near Westminster Bridge with HWMBO. Saw exhibit at Tate Modern that wasn’t interesting. #
  • 22:57 off to bed soon, so good night twitterverse. don’t go anywhere as i will want you in the morning. #

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