Saturday, 26 April 2008

"Now They're Here" - Kate Jacobs, 1993

After all the times over the last 5+ years that I've brought Oreo cookies back to the UK from trips to North America (and Singapore, too), I will no longer have to. They're here! You can view the new UK Oreo TV "advert" here. (Note that they are "biscuits" here in Britain! You can read a blogger friend's comments about biscuits versus cookies here.)

And as additional proof, look what John spotted while we were in London last week...

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

John and I are off to the States on Monday for 2 glorious weeks of vacation/holiday! I'll try to blog from time to time while I'm back home. But in case I don't manage to do so, I'll be back in the swing of blogging mid-May.

Be good while I'm away!


Tuesday, 22 April 2008

"Fun, Fun Fun" - Beach Boys, 1964

I'm quite sure that my class, here in London, isn't nearly as fun as the one being run in the training room next door...


Friday, 18 April 2008

"Poor Choice of Words" - Blue Diamond Shrine, 2002

Sometimes I'm amazed at the lack of sensitivity of the press...although, to be fair, maybe I read too much into things.

I glanced at the Yahoo News headlines when I got into work this morning. Here's one of them...

"After intimate meeting, Pope turns to global audience "

Given the nature of that meeting -- and of the dreadful history of abusive priests within the Catholic Church in the US -- I think the use of the term "intimate" meeting is showing a distinct lack of common sense.

...or am I overreacting here?


Thursday, 17 April 2008

"On Second Thought" - Eddie Rabbitt, 1990

I try really hard not to find out the results of each week's "American Idol" program before John and I can watch the delayed broadcasts over here. But today I goofed and have accidentally found out who got voted off last night in the States. I won't write anything here, in case any of my UK readers would also like to be kept in the dark.

Despite not having the element of surprise, I had planned to watch the re-broadcasts here on the UK's ITV network...until I read that this week's guest artist was Mariah Carey. And all of the songs performed by the Idol contestants are her songs. Shudder...

OK. On second thought, that completely alters my TV viewing plans. I can't stand her or her music.

And I'm still distressed by what she's done to Elvis.


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

"There's A Hole In My Bed" - Nigel Dick, 1998

I'm sure I'm not the only one who receives spam written in some really badly-worded English.

I just got one in my email here at work that made me laugh out loud at the image it suggests. Here's what I received...verbatim.

Feeling down about fall-through in bed? Get up now! Leave unnecessary experience behind! your relief is almoust there! Excellence is just an instant way!

Now if any of you would like to go to the site being advertised by the email, I'd be happy to send you the link. Personally, there's no way I would dare to click on it myself...especially here at work!


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

"What Goes On Behind Your Back" - Juke Jumpers, 2003

Recently I bumped into (no pun attended...) the following while surfing around on the web...

Personally, I really like this one.

But naturally I wouldn't ever presume to force any of my own political opinions on Lord Celery's readers...


Monday, 14 April 2008

"Bagged and Tagged" - Vinny Miller, 2004

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a song with "Tagged" in the title?

My blogger friend Expatmum (a British woman living in the US) has tagged me with an interesting set of questions. Apparently I'm supposed to answer these questions and then "tag" 5 other bloggers. So here goes...

What was I doing ten years ago?
Back in 1998, I was living in Houston and working as a crude oil trader for Total. My Westie, Mac, was 13. I had a wonderful friend named John living in Hertfordshire. I was just starting to wonder whether or not this friendship could ever turn into something more (and I suspect he might have had a fleeting thought about the same thing). John had recently made a trip over to Houston to see me, and we spent part of his time in the States visiting New Orleans. Mac and I had just moved into a townhouse-sort-of-apartment, and I was trying to get settled in as best I could. And John and I talked at least once a day and stayed connected via Yahoo Messenger and webcam, when we couldn't be together.

5 snacks I enjoy
Oreos, Goldfish, honey-roasted cashews, cheese popcorn, and Babybels.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire
Once I'd secured our future (paid off our mortgage, etc., etc.) and set aside money to travel with John, I'd try to figure out ways of anonymously helping people who deserve to be helped. Some of those would be family members and friends. Some would be total strangers. That would be the most fun of all.

5 jobs I have had
Babysitter. Piano teacher. Sales girl at Montgomery Ward (catalog store). Making music (piano and pipe organ) for people's weddings. Receptionist at a morgue in a Houston hospital (temp job, while I was in college).

3 bad habits
Saying "you know?" too much. Procrastination. Over-eating when I'm tired.

5 places I have lived
Going backwards from the present in Oxfordshire, UK: Houston - NYC (Manhattan) - Houston - Salem, Illinois - Tulsa, Oklahoma. (That's the entire list, by the way!)

5 people I want to know more about
My John (the most fascinating person I've ever met)
Ray Davies
Michael Palin
Nelson Mandela
Warren Buffett

NOW...who to tag???

How about...
"Milky Bar Kid"


Sunday, 13 April 2008

"Keep On Running" - Spencer Davis Group, 1965

Today is the annual London Marathon. John and I always enjoy watching...but even more so because two members of his family are running today.

Running through the streets of London today -- and raising money for charity -- are John's uncle Mike and sister-in-law Ruth. (Lord Celery readers who went to our wedding in New Mexico in 2006 met both of them.)

Mike's Justgiving Page (for Mind)

We are so incredibly proud of both of them and would encourage any of my readers, who are interested and able to do so, to donate to Mike's and Ruth's designated charities, through the links I've provided here.

Ruth has become quite the veteran marathoner, but this is Mike's first!

Ruth's Justgiving Page (for Kidney Research UK)

Thanks for your generosity, everybody!


Saturday, 12 April 2008

"Home" - Daughtry, 2006

Can you believe was one year ago today that we moved into our first home together! John and I opened a bottle of Laurent-Perrier this afternoon to celebrate!

Buying this house is the best thing we've ever done -- well, since getting married, anyway! It's already becoming the favorite place where I 've ever lived.


Friday, 11 April 2008

"Your Move" - Yes, 1971

While John and I were in London this past week -- staying at a hotel on Southwark Street, in a part of London which is known as the "Bankside" area -- we had dinner one evening at a Pizza Express along the south bank of the Thames, not far from where we were staying. John had found it earlier in the day, when he did some exploring in the area.

On the way back to the hotel, we walked by a new, modern office building called the Blue Fin building. On its west side was an interesting statue of a man holding something which looked a bit like an arrow. I was curious who it depicted but could find no plaque either on the statue or anywhere on the building. We walked around it for a few minutes before we noticed something. We realized that the statue's coat was slightly flapping in the breeze! How interesting, we thought, that the sculpture had made part of the statue out of a flexible material. And then we moved on, heading back to the hotel. In the back of my mind, I thought that I should do some web research later, to find out more about the sculpture.

So I've done that research this evening. And to our surprise, our discovery isn't just any old London statue. It's animatronic, responding to those who are viewing it!

You can go to the Greyworld website section for the statue, named "Monument to the Unknown Artist", and even see some video (in the section called Movies) of what kind of movements it can make.'s hard to believe it's real!

And you can bet your bottom dollar (or Pounds Sterling) that next time I'm in the area -- which will be the week after next -- I'm going to spend some time hanging around that amazing piece of art. And I promise I'll take the camera as well!


Thursday, 10 April 2008

"Snowin' on Raton" - Robert Earl Keen, 2001

Now that I'm back home, I can finally post the photos of last Sunday's snow at our house...and you can click on each for a full-sized version.

I was very lucky with this last one, as I just caught the image of a blackbird clinging to the nut feeder while trying to dine from the fat ball hanging off our bird table!


Sunday, 6 April 2008

"Snowin' On Raton" - Townes Van Zandt, 1987

Hello from the borough of Southwark in SE London!

We had an amazing amount of snow in our village last night...enough that I was very concerned, when I first woke up at 6:30am, that we might not be able to get into London today. But by noon enough was melted that the roads were fine, and here we are! John has come with me this trip, which is just terrific! I'm running training courses for the next four days, coming back home Thursday night.

I had planned to post some of this morning's snow photos but can't seem to get them to upload to Blogger this evening from the hotel's connection. So I'll post them later in the week.

Back to studying for tomorrow's course on trading futures goodnight from London!


Friday, 4 April 2008

"Electronic Love Machine" - Ultraviolet, 2007

My iPod Nano currently has 738 songs on it within an iTunes playlist I've creatively named "Faves". I often shuffle them while riding on the park & ride bus and walking between the bus stop and my office. That part of my commute into my office in Oxford generally lasts around 25 minutes; that means that I hear 6 or 7 songs during each trip.

How did I select the songs on this playlist? I selected any song, from my extensive collection on iTunes, which I enjoy enough that I might repeat it at least once if it shuffled up on my full-sized iPod. Another way to describe the songs on this playlist is to say that they are all songs that I would never skip over if they shuffled up.

We've probably all heard stories from people who claim that their iPods have personalities. Well, my Nano -- which I only bought a few months ago -- is beginning to demonstrate his/hers.

This week, including this morning, I've started a brand new shuffle of the 738 "Fave" songs each time I've turned it on. And twice on Monday, twice on Tuesday, twice on Wednesday, twice yesterday, and again this morning, there has been a distinctive pattern.

With each and every new shuffle of songs this week, one of them has been either "Jump" or "Panama" by Van Halen or "Beat It" by Michael Jackson. Out of 738 possible songs...and it isn't like I actually have that much of either artist within Faves either!

I'm very suspicious that my Nano has a crush on Eddie Van Halen.


Thursday, 3 April 2008

"Abracadabra" - Steve Miller Band, 1982

When I run training courses and receive business cards from students, I often end up putting the cards into the folder with my course notes. That means that often I get one of those "Oh yeah...that's right...he/she was in the course the last time I taught it!" moments when I reopen those folders.

That very thing happened this morning. I'll be running a basic options course in London as part of the 4 days of teaching there next week. And in the folder with my options class notes was the business card of a young South African man who worked for the company providing the projection equipment for the course I ran in Cape Town last year. That's not especially interesting, in itself. However, the reason I'm telling this story is what I've just noticed on his business card.

Along the bottom of the card is a list of services provided by his employer, Inhouse Venue Technical Management. The first three weren't unusual. But take a look at the fourth item -- and you'll probably have to click on the image itself to get a large enough version to read it.

Magic? Card tricks? Illusions? Like it's magic if their equipment works? Like it's magic if their employees show up when and where they are supposed to be? Or maybe they have the ability to make unruly students disappear in a puff of smoke...or help lecturers saw them in half without causing any permanent damage, thereby entertaining the rest of the class.

Or perhaps my high school buddy Scott is moonlighting in Cape Town these days?

Well, it made me laugh anyway!


Wednesday, 2 April 2008

"Daddy's Little Girl" - Dr. Hook, 1995

For a long time, I've thought about writing a blog post about my father. Today's a good day to do so, as it would have been his 88th birthday.

My father Glenn died in 1987 of emphysema and congestive heart failure...from too many Camels over many, many years. I miss him every single day. I was always a daddy's girl and proud of it.

So much of the person I am today is because of him. He's the reason that I'm a "geek girl". It's why I'm so passionate about music. It's why I'm, as they say in the UK, a "petrol head". It's why I love science and history. And it's why I ended up in the oil business (much as I fought it for a long time).

Only once in my life do I remember my father ever saying that there was something I couldn't do because I was a girl. That support had a profound effect on me.

I don't have a scanned photo of him. So what's posted at the top of this page is a favorite photo of Daddy when he was in the US Army Air Corps around the end of World War II -- or, to be more specific, it's a digital photo of that original framed photo. It's not great but hopefully better than nothing. (You can click on the image itself to see a larger version.)

I have two major regrets about his life. One is that my father died before the personal computer age. He would have had a terrific time using the internet and e-mail communications! And the other is that he and John never met. They would have been such great friends.

RIP, Daddy! I hope you'd be proud of how my life has turned out the past 21 years, since you died.


Tuesday, 1 April 2008

"Play That Funky Music (White Boy)" - Wild Cherry, 1976

According to a recent report in one of Britain's tabloid newspapers, Sir Paul McCartney and his ex-wife Heather Mills made a rap record while they were married. Reportedly, the track was called "Disability Rap", and it featured Heather rapping the lines: "It's been hard, other children can be cruel. Teasing and tormenting - freak, weirdo, retard. What do they know?"

Sir Paul reportedly hated the original idea but agreed, after strong persuasion by Heather, to help her with the recording by providing backing vocals and assisting with the arrangement. According to the report, he eventually convinced her "to see sense", and the recording remained a secret until recently.

Too bad the British press didn't keep this one under "raps" for good...