Saturday, February 02, 2008


I've travelled through it. But never stopped. Tonight is my first trip and Stamford is my destination....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spice up your life.... (even though no-one else wants to)

*Something* possessed me to buy two tickets to see Sporty, Posh, Scary, Baby and Ginger play their first gig in the US of A.

I found myself with two tickets but unable to find someone who wanted to go - until my friend L mentioned how she'd been trying to win tickets on a local radio station (and no, she wasn't the only one dialing in..).

The gals were playing in 'The Gardens' which is a fabulous venue. L and I arranged to meet at 7pm but before I knew it I was running (typically) late. L called me frantic to say she was 'surrounded by 13-year olds drinking gatorade and vodka and all wearing baby pink' and would I 'hurry up and get my ass to meet her' so we could have a few drinks to calm her nerves. Several beers and shots** later we made it into a packed arena where yes, we were surrounded by 13 year olds (at least I had a good view on the basis if the fact I was two foot taller than everyone else), though every time they all screamed (which was for most of the show) it was so high pitched that I thought my ears were going to bleed.

I really clearly remember seeing the Spice Girls for the first time on British TV and being fascinated by them. I wasn't a fan as such - though they were fabulously marketed.

I wanted to see them out of interest as much as anything else, but they were fabulous - no, they can't sing (especially Posh). But they can put on a good show, though by the sounds of it they are cutting the whole thing short (read into it what you will).

Plus they're from Britain and had a stadium of Americans screaming: even if they were all too young to vote / drink / know better.

** This is a VERY bad idea. L and her crowd only ever drink rounds of Bud Lite and Southern Comfort. An awful combination.

Friday, January 25, 2008

There's no business like consumer business (with apologies to Irving Berlin)

It's been a busy few weeks - tax deadlines, learning about W2s, 1099s and TINs. New, but not exciting.

In the midst of this we've just won a new client, which is the first non-tech client that I'll have worked with in, ahem, more than twelve several years.

It made me think about things I've worked on in the past. I started in tech (*sigh* memories of DEC and the VAX/VMS*) but I did step out for a few months/years to go and work in a parallel universe** for a truck manufacturer and a company that made another that made hoity-toity bathroom fittings, before veering back to technology as fast as my keyboard could get me.

And much though I love technology (and have spent this afternoon talking about open standards), I'm kind of looking forward to working for a very American company that isn't the 'leading provider of xxx solutions' and working with a very different beast - the American newspaper journalist.

* Aww, bless its little CISC processing architecture
** Really it was a building that looked like an aircraft hangar. The person I worked for always kept a stash of 'get well soon' cards in his desk drawer, I never found out why...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

'It's that time of year again'

Yesterday at work, L announced it was 'that time of year again' and she would be bringing in 'something exciting'. And yes, lo and behold, this morning she brought in a packet of Necco Sweethearts. Yes, they break your teeth; yes, they are pure sugar and nothing else; and yes, they have phased out the message 'fax me'. And no, you can't read most of the hearts as they seem to have added the messages using a 1950s typewriter that ran out of (pink) ink with a drunk at the keys. But none of that has prevented me from consuming 160g of pure sugar/carbohydrate in the last few hours....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Horsing around

Every weekend /whenever I can, I head out to the countryside and work at a stables*

When I was a kid we lived in the countryside and kept horses, geese etc and although I love living in the city and the convenience of coffee shops, pubs and stores on my doorstep, I miss being the countryside. So I head off beyond Chelmsford and Dunstable (no, not the ones in Blighty) and work at a stables that is home to about 15 horses, mainly Arabians.

I love trips to collect hay. On the latest trip, C and I loaded thirty-something bales (all balanced, not tied down) to the truck - and then try to drive back without losing any. My stomach muscles will never be the same again.

As a kid I remember trying to teach our horse about space, and good manners (eg don't bite people). Some of the horses like to test to see how far they can push you - so this morning I have two beautiful bruises: one from a bite on the arm from 'Big Al' (pictured) who was in a stroppy mood and nipped me on the arm to just show how pissed off he was (I had several layers on so it'll just bruise. He didn't even tear my Calvin Klein jacket**) and another from a mare called Lolita who was charging about like a lunatic for the day and shoved me and K against a wall while running through an ice-clad path (she's in heat, so is allowed to get away with it).

They're big animals but just like big kids, but with bigger teeth. And hooves.

* I was talking about this at work not so long ago, only to find that the person I was talking to was really unresponsive. Turns out, she thought I said 'I work at Staples (the stationery store) at weekends' and so had assumed our business was in trouble....

**It's an anorak. I only have a certain number of clothes etc here. The fact I turn up with this has been a constant source of amusement within the stables.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Seeing that the wintry weather led to any sort of Christmas holiday celebration being cancelled, we had a trip out to watch Spamlot at the Boston Opera House. Fun night out, though I wanted to laugh at bits where the bulk of the audience wasn't...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Paying for the war (on trash)

After two weeks of long nights and immersion into the world of US accounts, I have just written the first cheque/check for the US Treasury.

I'm going to start putting alot more stuff in the garbage. I don't want to even start on the subject of funding the war and I don't get to vote or to claim anything from the state, so I need to get maximum use out of the resources I am paying for...