Archive for July, 2009

From Twitter 07-30-2009

Friday, July 31st, 2009
  • 06:58:01: @jspin during WW2, SPAM was easily shippable so it was the only meat Hawaiians could get reliably. Old habits die hard; they still like it.
  • 07:02:15: @pedroissexy that’s wonderful….hope you have a good time there.
  • 07:07:34: @scorpiojerm Field Research in SF used to do MR for Apple when I worked there in 1993…
  • 08:14:46: @icezworld @emericanlife i just had one large cup and need some more caffeine…
  • 08:39:37: Is it Raid, is it carbon monoxide? No, it’s strong perfume. http://is.gd/1U184
  • 08:52:16: @MisterDude a wild night with Mother Cabrini nowadays means dusting her off and renewing the mothballs to keep the insects away…
  • 08:53:50: @jerricklim latvian butter comes from latvia, i suppose. Now where does garlic butter come from again?
  • 08:57:09: @jerricklim i suppose i should google “latvian butter” but could it be a euphemism for something else??
  • 08:59:38: @jerricklim um, you’d better not try for it in Singapore. http://is.gd/1U2qq You could make Alice B. Toklas Brownies from it, I suppose.
  • 09:11:42: @jerricklim well, no pictures but it I called it, say, weed butter rather than latvian butter you might get the picture?? illegal!
  • 10:22:40: @JoexEd however “wide ass awake” gives me a pleasant mental picture so leave it…
  • 10:25:56: @JoexEd i will…i will.
  • 11:39:53: @tug the “spaces on bill, no spaces on website” problem is a common one often found by software testing–perhaps BT skimped?
  • 17:34:51: @scorpiojerm that’s good. i presume you are in market research? I used to work in MR years ago…
  • 17:36:03: @jonk it’s a facebook bug in the connection between facebook and twitter.
  • 17:38:11: @jonk it’s been fine here…i think they fixed it.
  • 20:09:25: @besskeloid please take care and make sure you listen to your body during the process. hugs and i’m thinking of you.
  • 22:01:52: @JoexEd great! congratulations.
  • 22:02:16: I’ve finished this week’s translation portion of Augustine’s Confessions. I feel very accomplished.
  • 22:12:16: RT @TheRealRyanHiga: Hey guys, yesterday we were 28K from #1, now its nearly 25K!! Thanks for all ur efforts! tell ur friends to sub! 😀
  • 22:15:29: Just listed myself at http://localtweeps.com in ZIP/Postal District SE1. List yourself to find (and get found by) tweeps near you!

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The Last Judgment

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

As of October, the United Kingdom will have a Supreme Court. Today, the last ruling of the Law Lords sitting in the House of Lords was handed down. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) must make clear the circumstances under which he will direct a prosecution of any person who accompanies someone else to Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic to commit suicide.

There have been many cases of people here who have had fatal diseases and who wished to be assisted to commit suicide before they descended into a state in which they would be unreasonably disabled and dependent upon others for living and in a state of constant pain. A few weeks ago a famous conductor (whom I, unfortunately, had never heard of) and his wife travelled to Switzerland to Dignitas and committed suicide together, as the conductor’s wife had incurable bowel cancer and he was totally dependent on her for daily life (he was deaf and blind, among other infirmities). A rugby player who was a quadriplegic after a playing accident travelled there to commit suicide several years ago.

When they travel to Switzerland with someone to assist them and then commit suicide, the helper, upon returning to the United Kingdom, has usually been interviewed by the police to determine whether they will be prosecuted for assisting someone to commit suicide. There have not been any prosecutions in these circumstances. However, people have been concerned that, after they own suicide, their helper will be prosecuted and, upon asking the DPP what the criteria are for prosecutions, the DPP has refused to give them.

The Law Lords have now made it clear that the DPP must publish guidelines under which people will be prosecuted for assisting someone to commit suicide in this way. A clear victory for incurably ill people who wish to have some control over the end of their lives but who do not wish to put their loved ones in jeopardy.

This is a great relief for the woman who brought the case (and who is suffering from multiple sclerosis). The DPP, of course, might rule that all people who assist people to commit suicide at Dignitas must be prosecuted. I think that’s unlikely.

Suicide is not something you want to encourage. However, in cases like these, suicide to avoid great suffering is noble (in my opinion) and permissible with strict controls in order to ensure that people are not coerced into the act. We shall see what comes from the DPP.

In October the Law Lords will become Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, separated from the legislature and sitting across Parliament Square in a newly-renovated building. History is made yet again.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”trulygrateful”>

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

From Twitter 07-29-2009

Thursday, July 30th, 2009
  • 06:50:50: @jerricklim if “cai fan” means “chicken rice” you can certainly get it in London…Rasa Sayang rest. in Chinatown. I’ll treat you.
  • 06:51:53: @devinjay mmmmmmmmMosBurger!
  • 06:55:33: @jerricklim oh, sorry. I knew that “fan” is “rice” but couldn’t remember what “chicken” is. i will treat you anyway…Rasa Sayang is good.
  • 06:58:15: @jerricklim you’d never know I took three years of evening Chinese classes… 🙁
  • 06:58:26: @jerricklim so when will u be here??
  • 07:03:43: good morning peeps. overcast in london, cool. BBC just asked “What happened to that BBQ summer?” It got drowned and frozen, that’s what.
  • 07:09:41: must be a slow news day. Some jazz musician i’ve never heard of died and they gave him 1 minute of a 9 min newscase. George Russell??
  • 07:50:27: IBM buys SPSS–a nice windfall for me at $50 a share…
  • 07:54:40: @icezworld i’d love to go to Bali but won’t be in Singapore at the time the tix are for… 🙁 hope you can offload them…
  • 08:00:11: @jonk http://twitpic.com/byy0n – yes, you’re right,it doesn’t look anything like you. The polka dots are too brown and green…
  • 09:38:44: Freakiest URL of the day: http://is.gd/1Snpn
  • 09:40:11: Just got sad news that a lodge brother has terminal cancer.
  • 10:53:49: @mhisham do you mean “amyl nitrate”??
  • 11:32:33: @oletalk i used to use my boss to test SW installations. If he could figure it out, _any_ fool could do the same.
  • 11:35:48: RT @willfrancis: Hilarious Newspaper Correction (FailBlog) – http://twi.la/cyc52
  • 14:31:18: @jenny8lee they dress their burgers like that because they don’t use alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine so need _some_ bad habits in their l …
  • 14:33:01: @JoexEd caffeine and sugar: 2 of the 5 major food groups (fat, salt, and alcohol are the other 3)…
  • 14:36:51: @mhisham haven’t a clue. don’t use the stuff. make sure you don’t use it along with Viagra…could make u faint or worse.
  • 14:37:37: @JoexEd good morning to you…
  • 16:35:30: @JoexEd can u take the piece off??
  • 16:37:08: @JoexEd Je t’embrasse!
  • 16:38:27: @JoexEd hehehe…i used to work in a place where the Sr VP worked in very high cutoff, flipflops, and a tank top. No A/C, of course.
  • 19:41:30: @jspin SPAM is very popular in Hawaii, the Philippines, and Singapore. My ex (Singaporean-born) used to make me SPAM-fried rice…
  • 19:41:50: @heartsofspace thankyou thankyou thankyou. My iPhone will thank you too…

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From Twitter 07-28-2009

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
  • 08:55:41: @soveren change your twitter password and don’t give it out to sites in the future unless you know they’re good sites. that should help.
  • 13:32:36: @soveren you got £5000 to spare for a transatlantic cruise? they’re quite expensive.
  • 13:34:08: @JoexEd OK so far; had a meeting with the comptroller of the Diocese of Southwark about accounting system…waiting for lunch at 1420.
  • 15:42:31: @joeharrod Jelly Roll Morton for dessert? (named kind of like Eggs Benedict, I suppose…)
  • 16:58:55: @jonk what does the sign say?? can’t read it…
  • 17:54:33: @soveren you will take me along, won’t you??
  • 17:54:53: google latitude: chrishansenhome at gmail dot com
  • 18:06:20: To all my Singaporean Twitter friends: no wonder Prof. Thio wasn’t welcome: http://is.gd/1RkAm
  • 19:41:52: RT @sm1else: So as we speak there’s a man in our restroom in a stall w/a newspaper & an open container of Mac & cheese. There are no words.
  • 19:43:05: @skallott Your spam messages are starting again…it’s a different site. change your twitter password.
  • 19:45:52: @urbanbohemian Yes, the perpetrators of auto-tweeting sites should be shot at dawn. without a blindfold either…
  • 20:25:59: @JoexEd hey! i’m chilling too…shall we chill together?
  • 20:39:11: @JoexEd listening to “Not too Smooth Jazz” on Live365. That’s my chill music.
  • 20:42:34: @JoexEd well, sleep tight then. you off work today?
  • 21:00:27: @texasnate publisher is a pain in the a*se. my Masonic Lodge uses it for summonses and it’s a beyotch to use. Good luck!
  • 21:01:37: @JoexEd can haz coffee?
  • 21:52:41: @soveren hm…is there a ship named after Quentin Crisp? Traveling on the Queen Quentin I might be fun…
  • 22:30:14: @soveren well they certainly didn’t name one “Queen Christian the First” after me, more’s the pity.
  • 22:46:35: @soveren You. How about “Save the gay whales from being impaled on the bows of cruise ships named after queens…”?
  • 23:20:02: @soveren sleep tight. don’t do anything i wouldn’t do…

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Happy birthday <lj user=”momshapedbox”> and <lj user=”snarftastiko”>

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day to you both!

Google latitude

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I am chrishansenhome at gmail dot com

From Twitter 07-27-2009

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

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From Twitter 07-26-2009

Monday, July 27th, 2009
  • 13:01:36: @JoexEd which gentlemen would that be? i’d date you, and i’m 56…
  • 19:01:02: @JoexEd daniel radcliffe says he likes gay men (tho he’s not gay) so perhaps you have a chance…
  • 19:01:47: @JoexEd our Sunday evening is going to be kind of rainy and very laid-back. just finished dinner, going to call my brother in Mass. soon.
  • 19:04:24: RT @edricliew: I just threw my niece’s soiled nappy down 12 stories for my brother to catch.
  • 19:16:19: @JoexEd well, i’m tryin’. HWMBO (the bf: He Who Must Be Obeyed) did a lot of cleaning which made me feel guilty.
  • 19:23:25: @JoexEd Comes from H. Rider Haggard’s “She”, but about a wife. Rumpole of the Bailey (John Mortimer’s character) uses it too..
  • 19:24:26: @JoexEd HWMBO is upstairs bathing now and has commanded me to feed the squirrel that comes to our back garden.
  • 20:39:00: @JoexEd yup, fed the squirrel until i saw she was just burying them.
  • 20:39:22: @JoexEd i hope that you too someday soon have an HWMBO…
  • 20:39:50: @soveren what is “2L”? some kind of Road to Nowhere?
  • 20:42:05: @JoexEd OK, Boss. Your wish is my command…
  • 20:53:04: @JoexEd great photo…want more…
  • 20:55:37: RT @BrianHeys: It’s not a new article, but check out these five reasons why it’s okay to be a jack of all trades: http://bit.ly/pObcA
  • 21:28:19: @gelodelacruz good morning. sounds like the weather here in london…
  • 23:25:44: @itzJeffy good luck…great stuff, tiramisu. put lots of liquor in it.
  • 23:26:43: @soveren stupid me, of course. sorry. i’m not very bright tonight i guess.
  • 23:41:11: well, goodnight all! don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…not a long list, but a good list.
  • 23:49:04: @itzJeffy oh, i like the NoH8 picture, BTW. nice avatar. now I _must_ go to bed.

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From Twitter 07-25-2009

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

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Today’s Sad, Sad URL

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

I have heard of similar stories from other parts of the world—a woman is raped or sexually assaulted, and her family wants nothing to do with her, as she is now “damaged goods” or in some way responsible for the monstrous things done to her.

When people from other cultures come to live in the West, we assume that, in time, they will adopt our values of freedom, acceptance of difference, and caring for others (as much as we honour those values, sometimes in the breach rather than in actual practice). Thus, this story of a Liberian family living in Arizona who disowned their eight-year-old daughter after she was raped by four young boys is absolutely the saddest thing I have read this week, perhaps this year.

The fact that people from all over the country (the world, even) have offered to help the girl, or even adopt her cannot disguise the fact that this young girl who has been assaulted in the most horrifying way is now being rejected by the very people who should be comforting and protecting her.

I hope and pray that she will be offered the love, care, and protection that she needs.

From Twitter 07-24-2009

Saturday, July 25th, 2009
  • 09:42:08: @soveren i have an iPhone too but i guarantee you won’t want to see me at that site…
  • 10:49:25: @nakedboy i thought you’d like that pic…perhaps we’ll see it in another blog somewhere… ??
  • 10:53:02: @thatsam OK, I won’t deny it. I know _exactly_ what you were talking about.
  • 12:57:47: Tories beat Labour in Norwich North by-election with a majority of 7,000 http://bit.ly/VWMUG
  • 13:03:12: @skallott unsubscribe from the service that is sending them, i suppose. worth a try. thousands of followers mean 0 in marketing terms…
  • 14:20:27: @nakedboy hi there…
  • 14:46:22: @gelodelacruz sounds nice…do they make Diet Nutella??
  • 18:00:15: According to Towleroad, E. Lynn Harris, the author, has died. RIP.
  • 18:57:25: @soveren Camelot has rules about found lottery tickets-you turn them in and if no one claims them in 30 days Camelot pays you.
  • 20:58:15: @jonk the word is “dongle”
  • 20:59:10: @jonk oh, and it’s a word that sounds really dirty but actually isn’t. Kind of like the UK dessert “spotted dick”
  • 21:00:06: @kevjumba i don’t suppose you’ll be eating much plant matter from now on. it certainly wasn’t the most appetising thing to say at lunch.
  • 21:01:54: @jonk i’ve never heard them called anything except “dongles”.
  • 21:02:32: when i worked for a market research co the plug used to unlock the DOS version of the SW was called a “dongle” too.
  • 21:06:03: @jonk i think you’re right…the only dongle most people will now encounter is the broadband modem, tho a thumb drive is also a “dongle”…
  • 21:06:48: @jonk …but, of course, we have a phrase for a “thumb drive” while we have no name for the USB CC modem, so “dongle” is useful.
  • 21:07:28: @jonk “CC” should have been “BB” for “broadband”. sorry–just had dinner so am a bit logy.
  • 21:09:29: @jonk oh dear. i think “thumb drive” is very descriptive and quite useful. You should lie back and think of England in this respect.
  • 21:11:25: @danvesma yes, iTunes is pretty non-user-friendly. an exception to Apple’s usual good sense when it comes to user interfaces.
  • 21:17:47: @danvesma yeah…the iPhone is a great design (and iPod too) but iTunes is crap.
  • 22:18:55: @pedroissexy me too. i’ll light a candle for you in church.
  • 22:21:46: i wonder if “feeding trolls” in Twitter by having a 140-char contretemps with them is a brilliant idea…
  • 23:29:11: well, all, about to hit the hay. see y’all tomorrow, god willing and the crick don’t rise. play nice now.
  • 23:30:36: @JoexEd if i had any hot stuff i’d give it to you. but, i’m fresh out. sorry…

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Today’s Adventure URL

Friday, July 24th, 2009

…thanks to @jonk for posting this. If you’re young enough and wanted to do something like this, don’t wait! Do it now, before you get too decrepit to do it. It’s the first ascent and base jump from the Old Man of Hoy.

From Twitter 07-23-2009

Friday, July 24th, 2009
  • 06:28:22: Just registered at http://www.tweetmondo.com to search for Twitter users close to me!
  • 06:30:53: @scorpiojerm my bf uses emusic quite a bit and likes it very well…
  • 06:35:45: @jonk Interesting list…could I prevail on you to add “US healthcare system for poor people FAI http://twerbose.com/t11695
  • 06:49:33: RT @JoexEd: RT @starrfucker: StarrFucker T-Shirt Giveaway! http://tinyurl.com/lxk7w9 ReTweet to Enter. Winner Chosen Every Friday
  • 06:52:20: @jonk as long as it’s in the comments i count it as part of the tweet…
  • 06:52:44: @MisterDude you just DrunkTweeted, man.
  • 07:47:26: @MisterDude yeah. DrunkTweeting is like DrunkDialling except that all your Twitter followers find out rather than just the one u call.
  • 08:47:01: good morning all. Partly cloudy today but I’m determined to get out earlier…at least before the storms happen this afternoon.
  • 11:12:21: @JoexEd good morning! it’s 11:11 here and a police helicopter is circling overhead. god only know why…
  • 14:55:24: @JoexEd http://yfrog.com/7bokdej
  • 14:57:56: @jallen285 glad to hear you’re getting better.
  • 14:59:48: @chrys hope you’re OK. If u need anything, feel free.
  • 16:02:24: the new NHS Pandemic Flu website is up. It has not gone down just yet. I wonder how long it’ll stay up. http://is.gd/1IYWX
  • 16:03:33: @urbanbohemian all the nuns who could do this for you are too old to be let out nowadays. the new ones just take out a guitar & play Kumbaya
  • 16:05:22: @JoexEd I was sitting in Starbucks on Blackfriars Rd across the Thames with a venti mocha and almond cookies. No Wi-Fi there tho…
  • 16:06:33: RT @thatsam: @mhisham for a moment, I thought of something else when I see BJ — Comment: I can’t imagine WHAT you were thinking of… 😉
  • 16:09:19: @tug ic. as i don’t have any symptoms yet save curiosity I don’t think i need 2 go further than the front page. i take your word 4 it
  • 16:10:25: RT @itsmecarl123: @MrPandaBehr I’m so jealous!!! I want to meet you already!! (@chrishansenhome: me too!)
  • 16:12:16: @tug as i have diabetes and am thus at greater risk i presume that should i come down with symptoms they will fly a packet to me at once.
  • 16:16:58: @tug it’s on lots of things around here–every piece of f**king paper they send me, so I can find it right away.
  • 16:19:08: @tug if it stumps people it will serve the NHS’s purpose of keeping people away from the Tamiflu for as long as possible.
  • 16:37:18: @MrPandaBehr I have never been in Western New York (furthest I’ve been is Syracuse) so will try to get out there sometime…
  • 16:38:23: @soveren good. hope u can shake the manager next time you’re down here.
  • 17:44:40: RT @tsgnews: Now this is a police evidence photo: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723091naked1.html (esp for @nakedboy)
  • 17:47:08: @jonk http://twitpic.com/bc271 – very nice. my friend @fj’s pink Hello Kitty laptop (alas, no longer available) would go well with the s …
  • 21:07:47: @soveren don’t think so. but in the US anything is possible.
  • 21:08:38: @disappointment i want one!
  • 22:06:07: @gelodelacruz r u ok?
  • 23:02:19: Today’s Republican Political Paragon of Virtue: Sen. Paul Stanley http://ow.ly/i2ss
  • 23:23:08: @JoexEd hope u like the movie.
  • 23:25:12: ok, tweeps and facebookers. off to bed now i think. bushed. (in a good way)

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Yesterday’s Sermon

Monday, July 20th, 2009

July 19, 2009 8th Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon delivered at St. John the Evangelist, 10 am.
Readings: Jeremiah 23:1-6, Ps 23, Ephesians 2:13-18, Mark 6:30-34

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

A very very few of you are old enough to remember the great film sctress Greta Garbo. She was famous for her roles in silent films, bridging the gap between the silents and the talkies, successfully establishing her reputation as the consummate on-screen female love-interest before leaving movies in 1941. She became a famous recluse on Manhattan

I forgot to blog about last week

Monday, July 20th, 2009

…so I’ll do it now and bring everyone up to date.

Monday evening I was passed to the degree of a Fellow of the Craft in the Operatives. This is what is referred to as an “appendant body” of Freemasonry, in that a man must be a Freemason to join, but it is not in and of itself part of the Grand Lodge of England or any other grand lodge worldwide. The ceremony was quite interesting (of course, I have already been passed in Craft Freemasonry to the degree of a Fellowcraft, but the Operatives take the symbolism a bit further.

There are in all seven degrees—in order to advance to the top degrees I will have to have been Master of my Craft Lodge (Goliath #5595 UGLE) and also Master of a Mark Masons’ Lodge. This will take a while.

One of the Brethren had died since our last meeting. I was told that he had belonged to 77 Masonic Lodges/Chapters/Assemblies/et al. I’m surprised that his wife had ever seen him. He was the man who had gotten me into this particular assemblage (Bentley Priory) so even though I’d only known him for a short time I’ll miss him and I’m sure the other 76 Lodges/etc. will miss him also.

A couple of days ago one of the Brethren sent me an application for the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees, which sounds interesting but is yet again another set of meetings to which to go and, however, wonderful it is, might be the order that tips HWMBO into revolt. So I think I’m going to pass that one up, at least for now. I suppose I should write George to thank him for sending the application along.

Tuesday was a joint meeting of the Southwark Diocesan Board of Finance and the Bishop’s Council to discuss financial matters. As it turned out, the prospective budget of the Diocese would not balance unless some lay staff members were made redundant and some clerical posts were not filled once vacated. It was a pretty fraught meeting and the Bishop, yet again, stressed that he has not announced his retirement date yet after several remarks from the floor. The fact of the matter is that he must retire by the beginning of March 2010, when he turns 70 years of age. I expect that he will serve until his 70th birthday, as he likes being in the House of Lords and is unsure whether he’ll be appointed a life peer or not. With the General Election only a few months away and the likelihood that the House of Lords will become a wholly-elected body and the 26 bishops and archbishops of the Church by law Established will be booted out, I suspect that he wants to serve as long as he can. The problem is that the Diocese is working through the financial problems brought on by the recession and also through the upheavals that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion are facing—and it is doing so while headed by a very lame duck Bishop who refuses to lie down and be lame. We passed the resolutions paving the way for staff to be made redundant (it should happen by the end of November 2009). But, again, as I mentioned in Diocesan Synod, there is an unwillingness in the Church to think about better ways of stewardship and take a leaf out of the books of other provinces that seem to do it better. Money is vulgar in the extreme to Englishpeople, and the less discussion of it the better.

Wednesday I went back to the Kings Diabetic Foot Clinic for them to take a look at the wound caused by their cutting out a blood blister on the ball of my left foot. The original reason I went in (the blister under my left big toenail) resolved itself within a few days, but this wound is just going on and on.

The podiatrist, Tim, sliced off a little more and asked whether I’d like to enroll in a trial of an ultrasound treatment to help wounds to heal. I said I would (I’m willing to do almost anything at this point) and will be going back a week from Friday to see the Big Cheese once he’s back from his holiday.

Thursday I went to St. Thomas’s Eye Clinic to have my retinas examined for signs of diabetic retinopathy. This has been a yearly visit for me for many years, and I thought it would be unevenful. However, of course, as hospitals are wont to do, they’ve moved the clinic yet again (this is its third home since I began going in 1994). The signs directing one to the new clinic are on a door that is to the left of the corridor leading to the old clinic. Of course, making the turn into the corridor means you don’t see the sign. So I went to the old receptionist, and was directed to the new one down the hall.

I was pleasantly surprised to have my eyesight checked and pupils dilated within 5 minutes of checking in with the proper receptionist and sitting down. This is not usual practice, but I gather that the former clinic has been split into two (or perhaps three) sections upon the retirement of the former chief eye surgeon, Mr. Shilling. (Note to USans: Mr. Shilling is a doctor, of course, but surgeons here in Britain pride themselves in being called “Mr” or “Mrs” or “Miss” rather than “Dr”, which is reserved for pedestrian general practitioners, endocrinologists, cardiologists, and others of That Ilk.) The clinic I sent to is now headed by Mrs. Mann, but she is too lofty to actually look at patients’ retinas so I didn’t see her. I saw a delightful woman doctor who was with Mr. Shilling and whom I have seen off-and-on around 4 times in the past 15 years. The short story is that there is no change in my retinas and I should be coming back next July.

Friday was the last Community Centre Drop-In lunch for the summer, and I heard sad news about one of the regulars, who is now out of the hospital after a mastectomy but has moved far enough away that we probably won’t see her again. Sad, as even though she was infuriating she was a nice person in her way and she’ll be missed.

Friday evening we went to the British Museum to their “India Night”—a tie-in with their exhibition Garden and Cosmos—The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur. We were to meet my former boss, Ed Ross, former coworkers Louise, Diane, Pete, Heather, Roger, and Raz and her husband to enjoy the exhibitions and go to dinner at Taz down the street. We attended a lecture (well, part of it) on the paintings, then I just chatted with Roger and Pete while we were waiting for our reservation at Taz. It was a lovely evening and it’s always nice to catch up with people.

Saturday evening we went out to Rasa Sayang on Macclesfield St. in Chinatown with Ard and Leslie, who tied the knot a few months ago and whose friends and Marie we put up for the week. As usual, the food was delicious and of course it was really nice to see Ard and Leslie again. Ard has now been recognised as a “European Person” by the UK government (he’s Dutch) and once Leslie is certified as Ard’s civil partner, he will be able to return with Ard to Holland and gain the right to live there without going through Dutch lessons and tests.

Sunday I preached—I’ll post the sermon separately as this is getting too long. That evening HWMBO made green chicken curry, my favourite. It was delicious.

Today I started the arduous task of scrubbing the kitchen floor. It’s well soiled and very difficult to wash with a mop, so I got down on my knees and scrubbed with a brush and some Cillit Bang in water. I got the first layer off half the floor. More tomorrow, I fear. Then I went to Boots to buy some toiletries and some gauze for the foot dressing. After that I went to Starbucks and put some money on my Starbucks card so I can use it and fill it up online. Cooked stuffed peppers and they came out not bad.

I guess the real reason I blog about my week is mostly to ensure that in a few years I’ll know what I did this week. I hope I haven’t bored you.

Today’s Hot Dog URL

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

All those brought up in the US in the 50’s and 60’s will remember the jingle that starts: “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner…” Sounds like a strange thing to want to be, really. You have a short enough shelf life and then someone eats you.

Something else that has a short life is the advertising vehicle the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. I suppose that didn’t come with mustard and relish…

Today’s Must See Political Speech

Friday, July 17th, 2009

When I was living in New York I met Tom Duane a few times. He was then a City Councilperson, and the only openly-gay City officeholder (AFAIK). Nice guy, very active, also openly HIV-positive. Someone to look up to in our community.

Fast-forward 20 years. He’s now a State Senator in New York—not a particularly well-thought-of category of person nowadays. Well, he made a speech in the State Senate about his bill to limit the amount of rent people with HIV and on public assistance must pay to 30% of their monthly income. It’s 21 minutes of power, folks. You must watch this speech.

Oh, and at the end he got a standing ovation, and the bill passed. What a fighter he is! He should run for governor of New York.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”mango_king”>

Friday, July 17th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day!

Today’s Culinary URL

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This is a very unique way to boil an egg for your breakfast. After all, I always thought it was the sperm that was held in the barrier, not the egg…

Especially for <lj user=”trawnapanda”>

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

I promise that no Peeps[tm] were harmed in the production of these videos, which might be of professional interest.

Today’s Bad Design Website URL

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

I don’t do this very often, as people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but someone who followed me on Twitter today pointed to his own website, which is a sort of spiritual minefield with many pitfalls. My eyes hurt a bit.

Today’s Excerpt from the New Yorker

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Loading up an empty elevator car with discarded Christmas trees, pressing the button for the top floor, then throwing in a match, so that by the time the car reaches the top it is ablaze with heat so intense that the alloy (called

Why I won’t buy a MacBook

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I’ll stick with PCs, thank you. They don’t fly as fast.

Smooth jazz

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

As I’ve blogged before, the smooth jazz stations WNUA-Chicago and KKSF-SF were blocking non-US IP addresses. I’ve gotten around that by using a VPN, Reliablehosting/Strong VPN, whose IP address is in the USA. This fooled the stations into thinking I was in the US. Thus I enjoyed listening to these two stations. However, I hadn’t, for one reason or another, been listening to them for a few months.

A couple of days ago I tried to tune in WNUA and found, to my horror, that it had changed to a Spanish-language station. I tried KKSF, and it too had dropped Smooth Jazz to go to something else (can’t remember what). Oh jeez, what to do?

Well, I discovered that the format has gone to the Internet. It’s still US-only, but I still have my VPN.

What I am wondering is, first, how are they making money off this? There aren’t any commercials, just clearly-pre-recorded promos from the various personalities who used to inhabit the two stations. Second, how long will this last?

This reminds me of the change of format suffered by WNCN-FM in New York City back in the 1970’s. They briefly became WQIV (broadcasting in Quadraphonic—remember that?) and played “Roll Over, Beethoven” as their first selection. Listener outrage forced Starr Communications (owned by William Buckley&#8212yes, THAT William Buckley) to sell to GAF, which ran it until the early 1990’s then pulled the switch and sent it to the classical-radio graveyard. I wonder if there is any appetite in Chicago or San Francisco for agitating for a return to Smooth Jazz over the air. Probably not, as everyone can get it over the internet (at least, if you have a US IP address…)

I’m friends-locking this in case someone from the station is surfing and idly types something in that would bring them to this site. I don’t want them to know that I’m listening to them here in London.

Today’s Instructional Video

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Whenever someone comments on my bow tie, and says that they can’t tie one, I say, “It’s just like tying your shoes.” Well, here’s the video that proves it.

Linksys Ethernet Bridge

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Well, I’m having difficulty with the ethernet bridge again. It’s a Linksys WET54G. For those who don’t know what it does, here’s the scoop. It has an antenna which picks up the WiFi signal from my router down here, then converts it into wired Ethernet so that you can plug a computer’s Ethernet port into it as though it were a port in the wall. The theory is simple. However, the execution is pretty grim.

It worked with the BT router. However, when I got my O2 broadband service (and router with it) it seems to have stopped working. While it can see the WiFi router, when you plug something into it the bridge doesn’t seem to be able to get an IP address and connect to the Internet through the router. The DHCP service seems to be at the route of the trouble.

I have tried everything under the sun to get it to work. Neither the iMac (which has a very unhelpful helpless Help Assistant for such things) nor the Asus EE can connect. I bought a Belkin Wireless N access point but then found out that it was not designed to work with an iMac. So I got the drivers from someone who specialises in such things, and installed it. The access point can see the WiFi but, again, cannot connect.

My conclusion is that it’s the router that is failing me here. I need to buy a new one.

Rats.

I will do research to try to find the best WiFi ADSL modem/router and buy that. There are instructions for placing non-O2 routers on the linel. Boy, do I hope that works.

This week and welcome to it

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Well, the week’s almost over. It’s been a bit annoying as my foot is still weeping. I’m off to Kings on Wednesday for another look at it. I really need to get them focused on getting it to heal up. I’m tired of changing dressings, having wet socks from the fluid that’s leaking out of it, and so on and so forth.

Monday I did basically nothing…always delightful these days.

Tuesday I had lunch with Brian, one of the organisers of the Singaporean lesbian and gay film showing last Friday. He works around Goodge Street, and his building is really neat. It’s two buildings, one behind the other, and they have closed off the alley between the buildings and made it into a kind of atrium. As you might expect, it’s a design/architecture place. We discussed London, Singapore, and film over chicken Caesar salad in their canteen. It’s always lovely to make new friends and I hope that HWMBO and I will see more of Brian and his bf in the future. Brian is off to Singapore today.

Tuesday night was Diocesan Synod, the last meeting of this term. We discussed a report on childhood from the Children’s Society—it was presented by a Lord Someone-or-other who is or had been a professor. However, even with a microphone he was inaudible to most of us because he mumbles. Waste of our time. We also discussed the financial situation of the diocese. It looks like layoffs are imminent (of lay staff) and parishes will be consolidated as they become vacant. I spoke on the fact that people here in England are very loath to talk about money or giving; that is one of the reasons why giving levels are so pathetic in the Church of England. Lots of people think that since the Church is established, the government funds it. Of course, it doesn’t. The bishop was kind of dismissive of my plea to study how other provinces (especially the US) do stewardship. Typical Brit.

Wednesday we had the Diocesan Audit Committee meeting. Lots of discussion about our investments and investment policy. You might think “ho hum” but the only reason we can survive is that the investments bring in much-needed income—not as much of the much-needed income as before, but some.

Thursdy and Friday were mostly free. I decided that I wanted to connect the old iMac upstairs to the router down here by means of my Ethernet Bridge. I will discuss that in a separate post.

Today was very restful. I made sausages and muchroom risotto which HWMBO really likes. Always nice to cook something that your husband loves, as June Cleaver might have said.

Today’s Humour

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

LETTER FROM AN INDIANA FARM KID AT MARINE CORPS RECRUIT TRAINING, OCEANSIDE, CA.

Dear Ma and Pa:

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Milch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. but I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.

Shaving isn’t too bad, there’s warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much.

We go on ‘route marches,’ which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A ‘route march’ is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

The country is nice but awful flat. The sergeant is like a school teacher. He nags a lot. The captain is like the school board. Majors and colonels just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none.

This next will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don’t move, and it ain’t shooting at you like the Higgett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don’t even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy It ain’t like fighting with that ole bull at home. I’m about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake. I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I’m only 5’6′ and 130 pounds and he’s 6’8′ and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

Alice

Happy birthday, <lj user=”iejw”>

Friday, July 10th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day. We miss your blog…

Happy birthday, <lj user=”rozk”>

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day!

Today’s Musical Theatre URL

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I may have come to this a bit late, but there is no better way to send up modern trends in anything than to immortalise them in song.

Something about the iPhone I just realised today

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

A friend sent me an email with the address of his office in it and an invitation to lunch. Normally I would have laboriously re-typed it into the iPhone calendar. It then occurred to me that if I opened Google Calendar, cut-and-pasted the address into that, added the name of my friend and the time of the appointment, it would sync into my iPhone without my having to type much of anything. I did a Patrick Stewart and said, “Make it so” and it did.

Now this is a “Doh!” moment for me, but I will now be doing a lot more of it. While I’ve gotten good at the iPhone’s keyboard, not having to type anything in particular and do everything on my desktop is cool. As a relative oldster as far as this kind of stuff is concerned, I sometimes don’t make the connections I should. Once I do, though, I just run with it.

Today’s Cartoon URL

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Ever wanted to succinctly sum up the historical relationship between Christians and lesbians and gay men?

Today’s Civil Engineering URL

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

One often heard of building collapses these days. Happens in China, New York, many other places.

In China, this one is a bit special. The building fell over as though it had been pushed, and fell in one piece.

The story adds a bit of context.

My week, ending with July 4th musings

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

This has been a really tiring week.

First, the foot. It is still weeping. Not much blood, but quite a bit of clear fluid. The podiatrist said that the edges are having a hard time closing for healing. Well, my (internal) response was: Why did you people cut this thing out? It wasn’t giving me any trouble and similar ones have solidified and then dissipated. So it’s an iatrogenic problem. I really don’t know what to do. It’s frustrating, scary (will I have to take antibiotics for 6 weeks only? 9 weeks? 12 weeks? Until the cows come home? Will it heal eventually? When is “eventually”?), and annoying. Today is Pride Day here in London, and we’re staying home because I couldn’t march or stand for a long time. This is the fourth or fifth year I have missed London Pride. And, in this year where great strides have been made in LGBT rights (gay marriage in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Iowa; same-sex sexual activity legalised in India, and many that I have missed) and some steps backward (California), I want to be out there marching, demonstrating, and showing that gay men aren’t all twinks and gym bunnies and that we don’t automatically self-destruct when we reach age 30. I can’t. My feet and body are not cooperating.

Monday we had the last of the Fairer Shares meetings for the deanery. These meetings set the rates at which parishes pay money to the diocese to keep everything (mostly clergy salaries) going. The deanery made out OK this time around, I think, with some parishes taking a hit because their collective income was higher and some benefiting because their collective income was lower. Raises in quota are capped at 10%. The Fairer Shares system works because it is not only fair, it’s perceived as fair. Long may it continue.

Tuesday I went to the Diabetic Clinic for two appointments I hadn’t been aware of before I left for the United States: one with a lipid doctor and one with a dietician. I dutifully turned up, had my height and weight measured (weight down 2 kg, height the same) and my blood pressure checked: 127/78 (I think). I was amazed. My blood pressure hasn’t been that low in years when taken by a health professional.

I saw the lipid doctor and he wanted to redo tests that had been recently taken, and the dietician conceded that my problem was portion control and not necessarily what I eat. The dietician made me wait for an hour before he saw me. See my previous long blog entry for the rant.

Wednesday through Friday I attended an Electromind course called “Rapid Software Testing”, conducted by Michael Bolton, one of the gurus in the neglected art of software testing. I found the course helpful but a bit chaotic (I think Michael might say that as I’m a Meyers/Briggs J, as opposed to his P, that’s exactly what I would say.) There are lots of handouts (on a USB key), and slides (boy, has he got slides). There were lots of valuable ideas and methods introduced during the course. I would say that the people who need to take this course should be carefully selected. Test managers don’t necessarily need to take this course, but would perhaps benefit from a course in managing rapid testers and the rapid testing methods. But, that’s just my own personal opinion. The other 9 attendees seemed to enjoy it (as did I, I hasten to add) and got a lot out of it (as did I).

I suppose I have two reservations about it, having to do with the venue. The conference room was almost the furthest away from the front desk as you can get in this hotel (Crowne Plaza, near St. James Park). You needed a twenty-mule team and a 3-day supply of rations to get there—and my tongue is only partly in my cheek. Second, the lunch. When taking courses like this, the idea of lunch is to get it into you as quickly as possible so that those who have to keep an ear out for problems at their workplace can call in or take calls. On Wednesday, once we found the lunch restaurant (they hid it) we sat down, ordered as if we were dining out, and then took 1-1/2 hours to get served and finish up. When we got there on Thursday, they had the same menu as Wednesday. As lots of it was fish, this was particularly sad for me. The chef whipped up gnocchi and tagliatelle for those who didn’t want the same old choices from Wednesday. Friday’s menu was promised to be different and, lo! it was. Smaller. However, it took 1-1/2 hours to eat on Thursday and Friday. This put a crimp in our day, as Michael went on to 5:30 pm rather than ending at 5 pm as promised. On Friday this created a difficulty for me, as I had to get somewhere at 6 and Michael continued on until 5:40 pm. I just barely made it.

The place I had to get to at 6 pm was Piccadilly Circus, where HWMBO was waiting for me. We did dinner at Hamburger + on Dean Street, which has changed its sign to “Hamburger +” but, apparently, not its website. We have had some sad experiences there but we were trying to eat quickly in SoHo to get to the next event. The burger wasn’t bad, and the onion rings were very good indeed. Full marks, Master Hamburger.

While HWMBO was ordering I was sitting at the window idly watching the street scene and who should come walking down the pavement toward me but Ian Hislop, who looked rather cross. I don’t know whether that’s his public face (look fierce to keep the adoring public away) or he was really cross about something. On Have I Got News for You he almost always looks cherubic. Anyway, I winked at him from inside the restaurant and that was it. The reason he was walking down that particular street is that Private Eye‘s office is a bit further up. And, oddly enough, as I was sitting there before he came along I wondered (again, idly) whether Hislop would walk by and there he was! I shall now wonder whether we’ll win the lottery tonight.

We then walked to Wardour Street for a showing of some of Creative SINergy‘s short films in honour of Pride. They all had a LGBT focus (even if that was only because the director is gay or lesbian). They were all very good. The evening was titled “Short Circuit” and we enjoyed all the films immensely. The first one, “Summer” was especially good.

We had a drink beforehand in the screening room lobby and, of course, there were goodie bags included. Thanks to Brian Tan for getting everything together and straightening out our convoluted payment methods.

Today is the Fourth of July. My father used to ask “Do they have a Fourth of July in England?” and a few times I fell into the trap and started to explain that Independence Day wasn’t celebrated here as we were on the other side. The answer, of course, is “Yes, one every year.”

I have in the past talked about renouncing my US citizenship as I intend to remain here in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future, and I see myself as British now rather than American. However, there is a part of me that won’t ever leave the United States, really. For all the hassle that US taxes, getting my vote counted, and trying to get into the country without being cross-examined by the Rottweilers who staff the immigration counters, I guess that I really can’t give up US citizenship now without feeling very sad and unsettled. I belong here AND there. While this is not unique, for me it’s important to separate the hassles put in my way by silly US laws and ignorant immigration officials from the very great experiment that is the United States, one that is still going on 233 years later. It’s fallible, it breaks every once in a while, and it’s not always the best place to live, especially if you are not Caucasian, not straight or not US-born. It’s not always a beacon to the world—heck, sometimes it’s not even a beacon to itself. But, I can’t escape it. When I hear The Stars and Stripes Forever, expecially when played at Trinity Church Wall Street by Cameron Carpenter something wells up that I can’t explain here.

Today is also Pride Day here in London. I guess I’m proud of being HWMBO’s husband (legally), being gay, being American, and being British AND American. Being all of these are the greatest blessings one can have, and I’m grateful for every one of them.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”babymicrophone”>

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.