Tuesday, 30 January 2007

"Speed of Sound" - Coldplay, 2005

We heard a weird story in the news this evening.

Apparently, last Saturday afternoon on an Oxfordshire "A" road (actually, it's the one we sometimes take to get to John's mum's home in Swindon), a man was ticketed for speeding in a "borrowed" Porsche 911. What makes the story so incredible is the speed he was accused of doing -- 172 MPH! If convicted, he will set the record for the highest speed ever recorded in the UK by an officer with a radar gun!

I see the BBC have posted the story here.

I've never driven that fast in my entire life. I love speed, but I'm also a big chicken.

Years ago, when I had an Audi TT and John and I had taken it into the Texas Hill Country, I experimented on a flat back-country road to see how fast I could get it to go. I got just over 100 mph before I lost my nerve and slowed back down. The TT would have gone a lot faster, although I think I remember something about the American versions at that time having a speed limiter which capped the speed at something like 120 mph.

The idea of 172 mph on a public road is beyond comprehension. What was that guy thinking?


"Airport" - Motors, 1978

I found something funny today.

If, like me, your frustration level with modern-day airport security is growing and growing, then you might like what I discovered today. Somebody has come up with an Airport Security game!

Here's the game's description, as shown in a weekly travel e-mail I received this morning:

"You can take out your frustrations with sometimes-absurd security situations in a new online game called “Airport Security,” a tongue-in-cheek statement about our modern realities. Inspired by the near-insanity of the changing carry-on bans in August, the game lets you play screener, responding to an ever-changing list of banned items — from shoes and water bottles to pants, hummus, tubes of Preparation H and Sioux war bonnets. If you react too slowly, or make mistakes, the lines back up and you hear rude noises. The game has three levels of difficulty: “fickle,” “arbitrary” and “knee-jerk.”"

Give it a try at: http://www.addictinggames.com/airportsecurity.html

I've only tried it a couple of times and haven't scored very well. Maybe I need to wear my reading glasses to recognize what some of those items in the passengers' luggage!

Have fun!


Friday, 26 January 2007

"I Don't Know If I'm Coming Or Going" - Billie Holiday, somewhere between 1934 and 1937

I believe I've blogged before about how iPods seem to have distinct personalities and musical preferences?

I have two iPods now...one full-sized and the other a Nano. The big iPod is what I take along on my numerous long-haul flights. The Nano is my commuting iPod. And sometimes it can be very comical.

On the Nano, I have two types of material. That's where I download podcasts (either news or music programs) every week. But I also have about 300 songs on the Nano permanently. They represent a collection of favorite songs...you know, the kind you either never skip over or maybe even repeat a couple of times if you're listening to them on the car stereo.

Yesterday, my little black Nano decided to play a funny little trick on me. I had my favorite songs set to randomly shuffle. Here's the playlist it came up with for my short trip from the city centre of Oxford to the Water Eaton Park and Ride lot:

"I'm Comin' Home" (Robert Earl Keen)

"Hold On, I'm Coming" (Sam & Dave)

"Letting Go" (Paul McCartney & Wings)

"Go Now" (Moody Blues)

It wasn't until I got to the McCartney track that my brain recognized the pattern that was developing, and then I nearly burst out laughing when the Moody Blues track started!

And they call it an inanimate object...!


Thursday, 25 January 2007

"(Do The) Mashed Potato" - Nat Kendrick & The Swans (actually James Brown and his band), 1960

This is Burns Night for our Scottish friends...including my friend Milky Bar Kid. Other than knowing a little bit about Robert Burns, I wasn't aware of the existence of Burns Night until I moved to the UK four years ago.

If you're interested, via BBC Scotland you can learn...

If you don't know what haggis, neeps and tatties are, you will after you check out BBC Scotland!


Wednesday, 24 January 2007

"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" - Johnny Mathis, 1958

We awoke to beautiful snow in North Oxfordshire this morning...

(Click on the image for a full-sized version.)

That was the view from our bedroom this morning. I was going to take some "snow photos" when I got into Oxford for work, but sadly there had been almost no snow in town. And by the time I got back home from work, the snow at home was virtually gone, too.

There are more Oxford-area photos of today's snow to be found on BBC Oxford's website, if you're interested.


Sunday, 21 January 2007

"(How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window?" - Patti Page, some time in the 1950's

(Click on the photo for a full-sized image).

This is a photo John took, back in 1997, of me and my Westie Mac (then 12 years old) in front of our Houston apartment building.

John has found this great article on the BBC's website about how people who have dogs in their lives have better health.

I couldn't agree more!

We can't wait to get settled into our own home here, so that we can get a Westie friend of our own!


Thursday, 18 January 2007

"Time Is On My Side" - Rolling Stones, 1064

Still fighting the gastrointestinal after-effects of that virus I brought back from America, I was off to London on Sunday afternoon. Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday, I ran training classes for one of the international oil companies. Their offices are in the Docklands area of London -- Canary Wharf.

I've been experimenting a little regarding where to stay in London when I'm working in Canary Wharf. Last time, as regular readers might remember, I stayed near London's ExCel convention centre. The Novotel Hotel I tried was fine, but the area around it was very sterile.

So this time, I tried another Novotel, this one in Greenwich. Yes, that's the Greenwich of "Greenwich Mean Time". I couldn't do much exploring this trip, since I'm not feeling that well and also since there's so little daylight at this time of year. But it looks like a very interesting part of London, and I'll definitely try to stay there again.

I'll share a couple of digital photos with you...taken at the Novotel Hotel in Greenwich, on Tuesday night.

(Click on each photo for a full-sized image.)
This was my view from the hotel window. I was looking north...and the cluster of bright buildings toward the right of the photo, in the distance, is Canary Wharf. In the foreground, you'll see the rail line that runs through Greenwich.

As I sat on the small couch in my hotel room, I noticed that the view in the bathroom window looked a lot like the city view I would get from my couch when I lived in Manhattan. Of course, in this case, the view was of Canary Wharf. It's not a great photo, but at least you'll get the idea.

So now I'm back home in Oxfordshire. There's no business travel scheduled for the next few weeks. And I'll try to blog more, too!


Friday, 12 January 2007

"Substitute" - The Who, 1966

Happy New Year, everybody...and apologies for being so silent. We had a great Christmas and a wonderful time in the Houston area. Sadly, I seem to have brought back a nasty flu bug with me. I've felt just dreadful since Tuesday, and it's been slow to shake.

Anyway, to give Lord Celery's readers something to chew on until I'm feeling more like chewing on food myself, I would like to direct you to my very significant other's blog "Lord Celery's Little Brother" for John's latest entries. They will more than substitute for anything I could have written over the past couple of weeks!

And I'll be back as soon as I'm feeling stronger. I promise!