When Expats Attack|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 13 most recent journal entries recorded in
|Tuesday, April 17th, 2007|
Is eating chocolate chips out of the bag an acceptable snack? (Yes/No)
Does your answer change if they are "Swirled" milk chocolate and caramel? (Yes/No)
lj member too procrastinating to stump up for a paid account with poll access
|Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006|
|Why I am glad I am not still a mathematician by profession
The simple answer is - because I know there's no way in hell I would ever be the best. Not even the best from my home town. Why? This guy - Terry Tao
, just won a Fields Medal - Australia's first. To put this in context, I was always the ludicrously geeky kid who'd been skipped ahead in school. Terry made me look slow back then, and I met him enough times to know I just wasn't anywhere near
his level. I guess no-one else in the world was, either - he got his Fields aged 31, compared to the other recipients this year who are 36, 38 and (Perelman, otherwise known as Professor Take-the-Poincare-and-run) 39.
Congratulations, Terry. I am permanently in awe.
|Friday, July 21st, 2006|
|Paul "Roup" Wilbert, 1971-2006
It's one of those things you don't tend to think about. After all, at 29 all of your friends are still going to live forever, right?roup42
is sadly missed. If it wasn't for him, I may well not be married now. I owe him more than I ever had the chance to tell him directly.
Rest in Peace, Paul.
|Friday, July 14th, 2006|
I'm singing "The Bjork Song" to my cat.
PS. He's not very interested.
|Sunday, July 9th, 2006|
|The internet is for...
Yes, that's right, 9 of us went to see Avenue Q
last night. This was grendelyn
and my second time to see it. I've never been to see a musical a second time before, and this time was the second time I've seen this within a month. All I can say is, beg, borrow or steal a ticket.
And, last night after the musical, I made cake. I do not recommend making a cake at 11pm when everyone else is busy having a party - it breeds resentment which is entirely your own fault and to be avoided. I also do not recommend starting with less than perfectly fresh eggs, when you are unsure of your beating technique (and hence don't know whether they're not peaking because the eggs are crap or because you are crap). Still, everyone was happy with it, which is what counts in the end. Current Mood: cake
|Tuesday, June 20th, 2006|
So, what happened with the Pirates?
Nassau, capital and main city in the Bahamas, has *a* genuine tourist attraction (not counting the casino, which, although nice, is clearly not a patch on any recently-built part of Vegas). This tourist attraction is a Pirate Museum, which makes sense given that before a British Governor with a bit of backbone arrived in 1718, Nassau was in fact Pirate Central.
This Pirate museum has local Bahamans (or is it Bahamians?) in full pirate gear accosting passers-by on the street to get them to come inside (from the outside it looks like a warehouse, only with, you know, pirate symbology on the side). I don't believe my timbers were under threat of a severe shivering, but there may have been a keel-haul in my future had grendelyn
and I not agreed to part with some appropriate currency.
The museum itself is interesting - you do learn a lot if your ingoing hypothesis about pirates is that they're the sworn enemy of the ninja. There is also only one gratuitous photo of Johnny Depp, and that's right at the entrance anyway. The pirate ship inside is an authentic re-creation - which is a bit of a shame as they could probably have made an appropriate indoor-safe replica at a fraction of the cost without anyone except experts being any the wiser, and it probably doubled the admission fee.
Anyway, the Pirate Museum also has a Pirate Pub next to it which does decent American-sized sandwiches, and a gift shop entitled Plunder!
Yes, with the exclamation point. Say it with me: PLUNDER!
|Wednesday, June 1st, 2005|
(The one instance where a consultant using 'leverage' should not be shot).
For those of you who have or have not been paying attention, the long saga of buying a flat for myself and grendelyn
is now finally complete. Completion happened today, so now begins the long saga of sorting out the move! At least we have enough pre-booked and pre-packed (thanks to late delays) that it shouldn't be a huge last-minute hassle - just a huge last-minute expense as per always.
I also have to hope that Arsenal can only be heard moderately loudly once one is a 15 minute walk away from the stadium.
|Monday, April 25th, 2005|
|At some point or other I'll remember to do this more often
So, I haven't posted in what - months? Since then anyone who has read Susan's entries will know much of what has been happening, although in the last month or so there hasn't been much news coming out about what we've been up to.
Anyway, to do the quick recap, the two weeks in Australia (Adelaide) and Thailand (Phuket) were fab, even if Qantas had to be completely unhelpful when we were ludicrously delayed on the way over to Thailand. Tips for travellers to Phuket are as follows:
1. Find yourself a 7-Eleven. And quick. Anywhere else will almost certainly rip you off for beverages both with and without alcohol.
2. Drink the local beer. When every day is a humid 37 degrees C, and it doesn't drop below 30 (= 86F) until after 11pm, you don't want a particularly flavoursome beer - you want a nice, simple, cold beer. Chang (ask for the elephants) performs that job admirably, and even in most typical ripoff places is still only 80 baht (= ~US$2, ~£1.10) for a nice large (640ml) bottle.
3. If you want to do a canoe tour, shop around. There are numerous operators running the 'canoe' tours, where you have some being paddled around in a canoe on a couple of nice islands, then being ferried around to various other islands on a much larger ship. As far as I could tell, all of the tours were basically the same. Prices, however, depending on where you went to, varied from 1500 to 3000 and up per person (US$40 to $80, £22 to £44). The canoe tour was good fun, although 'James Bond' island is now actually nothing but tourist trap. It does make for good kitsch photo opportunities though.
4. If you feel that you can afford to take at least one day not completely focused on getting your tan perfect, go see some of the temples. Get a car, go on a tour, whatever, just see them. I am sure there are grander Buddhist temples around, but the larger ones on Phuket are still stunning to behold.
5. Black Canyon Coffee. It's a coffee shop with a full service menu. The coffee is good, expensive for a local beverage but very cheap compared with anywhere else that will give you decent coffee, and the food is both good quality and filling. I believe Susan and myself managed to have a full brunch for about $10 together.
6. Yes, Phuket was tsunami affected. You wouldn't notice it now, except in maybe one or two small places near the southwest tip of the island. The place is open for business, now as ever - if you were thinking about not going, re-think. They're open, they're ready, and they probably need your money now more than they have in quite a while.
7. And get the chilli squid while you're at it. Current Mood: the usual
|Tuesday, August 10th, 2004|
|Tuesday, July 20th, 2004|
|Here (temporarily) endeth the radio silence...
OK, so I know I haven't been elljaying substantially since I started. The basic reason: most of my life has been pretty samey, just finishing off a piece of work for one client and (as of tomorrow) starting a new piece for another. (No, I can't tell you who for, that's part of the rules, and anyone who knows me at all by now will know that I'm very careful about who finds out anything about my client work).
I should, however, give shout outs to Catherine and James - you guys rock as per always (thank you very much for the lovely dinner, and the crash futon was most welcome).
In practice, there has been one other area in the last couple of weeks which has been much more interesting and much more uplifting. However, I'm going to be a real meanyhead here and not tell you any more, because it's too confidential at this stage, even if this was a 'friends only' post. Just be comfortable that I'm now walking on a veritable cloud of happiness, and that it's been this way for just over a month now.
|Sunday, July 11th, 2004|
|Customer Service Follies
So I spent lunch and the early afternoon out at the Toast Life event on out at Syon Park (courtesy of a comp ticket for being quick on the email uptake a couple of weeks ago). Generally a pretty good afternoon out - anywhere where you can pick up Chokito bars in London has to qualify, and the touch rugby where London Irish suffered two losses against Kiwi and Aussie pick-up sides was hilarious. Good wine, and good food, but...
Two cases of Very Poor Customer Service
Firstly, that guy at the Australia Shop tent who insisted on spending 5 minutes chatting to one customer about products that weren't even on sale there, when the rest of the place was fairly crowded with customers. You did not even acknowledge my presence, not even an "I'll be with you in one minute". You, sir, need to take a little more time to look at the overall shopfront situation - you won't last long in retail if you don't.
Secondly, a combination play here from the bus driver and the event organisers. There were plenty of people who had made a lunch of it and were heading back from about 2pm. Courtesy buses had been laid on from the nearest tube station - a good 2 mile walk away. However, until at least 4pm these were only one way buses - even though they had to return to the tube station! The organisers should take a serious kick in the pants for that effort; do you seriously expect everyone who arrives and leaves early to have to walk back? Secondly, to the driver who refused entry to a large bunch of potential passengers: what on earth were you thinking? "It's not my problem," you said. What a load of rot - you had every opportunity to do people a service here and you completely ballsed it up. Remember that it's people going to the festival in the first place which means the buses are needed - if this kind of behaviour pisses them off you're doing yourself out of money in the long run.
Toast Life organisers - I was thinking about doing it again next year, but it's now a definite no unless I pick up comp tickets again. Even then it's questionable - this was a public relations debacle you should have avoided.
Hey, this LJ rant stuff really works! Current Mood: irritated
|Tuesday, June 29th, 2004|
|Sunday, June 27th, 2004|
|Testing, testing: Is this thing on!
OK, I've submitted to fate and acquired an ellejay. Mainly because so many Brunchers I know have them that I'd miss out on all the opportunities to comment gossip. Nothing much to report this weekend - picked up some nice shirts (still too bloody expensive but what am I going to do about it) at Selfridges on sale ahead of the office Summer Party next Saturday. It's 'summer chic' - what the hell do I know about summer chic? Fortunately I now have the new shirts to prove
that I don't know anything about it.
In other interesting news, Selfridges have a 'win a holiday to Oz' promotion with a difference - this time it's a fly-drive holiday to South Australia. Given the universe's sense of irony (although this is a bit more Alanic than Ironic) I intend to enter - I reckon as a genuine South Aussie my chances of winning are that much higher. Current Mood: indifferent