Halloween

Trick or Treat?

Well, I bought some sweets from the local shops and waited for the trick-or-treaters. Despite the abundance of small children running around the neighbourhood in fright-masks and cloaks (and an alarmingly high number of mothers with push-chairs wearing big pointy witch-hats) nobody knocked. I am not sure if I am annoyed or relived. We had a guest tonight and so didn’t really want to be disturbed but not one knock. Perhaps I frighten the locals!

Effect Xmas

I never knew I didn’t know this.

Recently I may have professed that I knew the difference between affect and effect and it is confirmed for me today online at Common Errors in English. I did not think that Xmas was a way of removing the Christ from Christmas but more of a lazy person’s way of avoiding writing letters. Turns out, I was wrong and the X is an abbreviation of the Greek for Christ [Source]. Just goes to show that I know nothing.

Phones and PDAs

I have spent the last few days trying to decide if I should update my ‘phone with Orange and today I have decided against.

I have spent the last few days trying to decide if I should update my ‘phone with Orange and today I have decided against. I have been contemplating upgrading my phone to one of those ‘phones that is both PDA and ‘phone. I am hoping this would stop me carrying multiple devices around with me and, also, ensure that I was in sync across all the things I use to try and orgainse my life. Sadly, I have decided there isn’t a device for me.

The Orange SPV seems to get me a lot of the way but the ‘phone hasn’t had the greatest reviews and, to be honest, if I was going to pay that much money I think I would like either Bluetooth or a camera built it (apparently, the next version will have both of these things). It also features a MP3 player that will, of course, play WMA format. I won’t get started on music formats – I am sure there is a whole post there.

Now the Treo 600 also interests me. It is a combined PDA and phone and will be able to utilise most of the palm-related software that I have already installed and use on my trusty Palm Vx. The Real One Mobile that you could use on the Treo doesn’t play WMA files which means that I would have to re-encode most of my music and, as I am not that much of an audiophile, I’d rather have the disc space.

Now, neither of these devices does all I need or want and I am not going to spend that much money yet. My Nokia 7650 tries to sync contacts and a diary but doesn’t do it very well. I looked at the Sony Ericsson T610 but it doesn’t seem to be much of a leap on from the Nokia I have.

So, what’s my wish list? A Palm-powered device which is also a ‘phone and decent MP3 player. If I had the money it would also be Bluetooth and WiFi enabled. One day, somebody will make it, I’ll have the money and we’ll meet in a shop on Oxford Street.

Oh, and if you have tips on getting the Nokia 7650 to sync well (not just sync, but sync well) with the Outlook I use in the office, then please let me know.

Silly Pop Stars

Blue’s Lee Ryan has been charged with drink-driving. I should file this under silly popstars, shouldn’t I?

Blue Lee Ryan and Pride in the Park 2003Who’s a silly boy then? With all that fame and money you think Blue’s Lee Ryan would be more careful and pay for a driver, wouldn’t you? If you didn’t know, he’s been charged with drink driving. Let’s hope the adulation is not going to his head and he thinks he’s better than everyone and above the law. Still, another shameless excuse to post a picture (I took this one at Pride In The Park last month).

I should file this under silly popstars, shouldn’t I?

Red Hair Hurts

There is often a story to be found in New Scientist that makes me smile – often for no obvious reason.

Today’s New Scientist news service reports people with red hair are more sensitive to pain and consequently need more anaesthetic during operations than other patients.

There is often a story to be found in New Scientist that makes me smile – often for no obvious reason. I don’t think this one is very funny but researchers have discovered that people with red hair are more sensitive to pain. What about people with limited amounts of hair?

Why did you steal 40,000 hotel coat hangers?

A most extraordinary trial is going on in the High Court at the moment in which a man named Chrysler is accused of stealing more than 40,000 coat hangers from hotels round the world.

Judge: I think Mr Chrysler is running rings round you already. I would try a new line of attack if I were you.

A most extraordinary trial is going on in the High Court at the moment in which a man named Chrysler is accused of stealing more than 40,000 coat hangers from hotels round the world: Independent

I think this is the most brilliant thing!

An American in London

Every time I meet an American co-worker I go through the same process. I must try to stress that the UK is different and instil an expectation that, although speaking (more-or-less) the same language it’s not downtown NYC.

For several years, I have worked for American companies. Working for a satellite office of a US company is difficult for all concerned (including the US parent). A ex-colleague (and now good friend) of mine used to say the worst thing about being an American working in London was that, as a native English speaker, you put less effort into understanding the culture of the UK. You felt it was, somehow, the same as New York, Boston or whichever US city was applicable. The problem is, the UK is not the same. We have different sensibilities, a different outlook, a different way of expressing ourselves and a whole different way of working. This, of course, leads to a whole range of new problems over-and-above the more obvious (why can’t this software work in Sterling?) procedural, production or product issues. I did vow that I would never work for a US company again as the effort required just to do some of the more menial minutia of day-to-day working seemed unnecessarily hard (when will they get my tax code correct?). Still, I did it and this week we are playing host to a colleague from our New York office.

Today has been her first day in the London office and, it’s strange, because every time I meet an American co-worker I go through the same process. I must try to stress that the UK is different and instil an expectation that, although speaking (more-or-less) the same language it’s not downtown NYC. Except this time, she (I am refraining from naming for no real reason except, dear readers, you will have noticed I do not name many people in this blog) is a real Anglophile. She loves England. Tudor England, maybe, but loves it. She understands that things are not the same. Warm beer is not a crime against civilisation; it has a whole heritage and history of its own. It is truly refreshing and, in a bizarre way, made me quite happy.

This evening, therefore, we went to dinner together at Joe Allen’s restaurant because I like the theatrical nature of the place and I know it serves great food. We had a fantastic evening just talking (and, of course, we discussed office politics but not too much). I thoroughly enjoyed spending the evening with somebody who was wide-eyed to London (in fact, who seemed to be falling in love with the city that I fell in love with) and not jaded (as many of us who live here are). I even vowed to take more buses so I could see the city and not live my commuting life in an underground hell. A new perspective on my city has done wonders for me.

The Joy of September

September is great because it signals Autumn and that’s my favorite season.

Without stating the obvious, and as a direct follow on to yesterday’s insightful comment, today is September. September is great because it signals Autumn and that’s my favorite season. I am not good in heat and sun and tend to dislike the dampness of winter. Autumn is cool and crisp without being damp and soggy.

Autumn has the wonderful rustic, golden colours that work so well with a cloudless blue sky. The light will be perfect for the next two months. September, however, was always the month back to school after the long summer holiday. September is also my birthday which makes me the centre of attention for at least one day – and I hate that. I liked my birthday being in September when I was a child because it got overlooked at the start of a new term. If your birthday was in May, people started planning for it. In September, people conveniently missed it because they were talking about their holidays in the sunshine. So, I guess, September must be my favorite month – which means I was born in the right month. Twisted logic but, somehow, just right.