25 Dec

Merry Christmas from NYC

Here we are in Manhattan, NY. We decided that given our annus horribilis we’d not do Christmas but rather go travelling. So, here we are in the Big Apple. We flew over on Virgin Atlantic. The entertainment system failed utterly on our three seats, which upset Matt a lot, and we were offered ‘compensation’ which actually was useless sales come ons like ‘10% off any published fare’, like anyone pays the published fare? I must get my act together and complain later, but actually I spent the flight playing ‘Breath of Fire II’ on the Nintendo DS so I kinda didn’t care.. but on behalf of Matt I’d better do my duty. Actually it’s a very good example of annoying through inadequate response.. if Virgin had simply apologised sincerely I’d be minded to let it go, but by offering such a barbed and insincere ‘compensation’ in a preprinted leaflet that they had hundreds of copies of..

The hotel is a Holiday Inn on 57th Street West and is in need of some major refurbishment but we’ve got used to the slightly musty smell and are starting to relax and have a good time. We met up with my good friend and colleague in logistics research yesterday and had a great meandering insiders tour of Manhattan and Brooklyn that you only can get from someone who grew up here. I’d never have walked over Brooklyn Bridge, but it is a great experience and offers some great views. We then explored DUMBO “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”, a warehouse district in full flood of gentrification before admiring some awesome views of Manhattan at night and then having a great evening eating, explaining Hannukah to my son and discussing politics and film with my friend’s federal judge husband.

Today we go to see the Radio City Rockettes show, a New York razzamattaz show that I suspect will be full of schmaltz and saccharine kitsch, I just can’t wait..

Off for breakfast at a diner.. I love New York..

08 Dec

Next Year Looks Tough

This year has been pretty poor, and the volume of work has been low, plus I haven’t been up for it. Plenty got done, but not as much as we are going to have to do in the first six months of next year. 2 IPs starting, 1 project for DGTREN as a sub contractor, our ongoing BESTUFS commitment and the annual conference. Get a few contracts signed a little late or early and it all could be very disastrous. Ah well, it’s far more interesting when it’s too busy!

21 Nov


Gastroscopy confirmed I have a hiatus hernia but I’ve known that from informed diagnosis for years, so effectively an all clear on the stomach. Hoorah! Wouldn’t recommend it for light relief but with sedation it’s over pretty damned quick and is not too awful. Still
means we have to find causes of pain attacks and stomach pains, but that tends to put the gall bladder/stones back in the firing line.

Then.. following that paragraph, at about 7pm, I had an attack of GI pain. Intense, nasty and barely controllable until I threw caution to the winds and bombarded it with Tramadol and Codeine. Shattered today but still very pleased it’s not anything life threatening.

17 Nov

Free AVG

If your copy of AVG has just offered you a paid upgrade to 7.5 and you just want to carry on using free AVG then this is the link: download and install:


If you don’t use this free anti-virus checker then I have used it successfully for years.

16 Nov


The Tarot Card meme rolls on, I think this is a very odd card for me..

You are The Tower

Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Destruction, danger, fall, ruin.

The Tower represents war, destruction, but also spiritual renewal. Plans are disrupted. Your views and ideas will change as a result.

The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. The Tower stands for "false concepts and institutions that we take for real." You have been shaken up; blinded by a shocking revelation. It sometimes takes that to see a truth that one refuses to see. Or to bring down beliefs that are so well constructed. What’s most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, makes room for something new to be built.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

15 Nov

Projects We Once Wrote

In project meeting in Brussels discussing the launch of the Freightwise project. It’s good to have a new and exciting project to get my teeth into. They also have free WiFi in this office, so we can also check our email. It is odd tho’, in that it is 2.5 years since we wrote this and we are trying to get clear what it is we meant when we wrote it.

I went to see the surgeon yesterday about my stomach issues, and I shall have a gastroscopy next Tuesday. Do I get myself sedated for it or just have a throat spray? I am quite a wimp so I am tempted to go with sedation, anyone else had one?

13 Nov

Stomach Woes and Belgium

Stomach hurts. Found out I have dual referrals at the local hospital running in parallel, one for surgery and one for medicine! I shall leave both alone, and when I see the surgeons tomorrow I shall let them know. I do hope my problem is easy to solve and not something awful. I am in Brussels most of this week, at a new project launch. I have felt more alive today than most of the year. I am tired now but it was a great feeling.

10 Nov

Tribe 8 and Exalted

Played my first game of Exalted ever on Wednesday. Great, crunchy, lotsa dice, very epic, loved it. Created character for Tribe 8 with gspearing on Thursday night. Dark, apocalyptic, dystopian, and mystical. Really looking forward to it. Did some lecture writing today. It’s Matt’s 16th tomorrow, I hope he has a nice day paintballing.

06 Nov

Cheese and OS X

I like goat’s cheese, but I had no idea how bloody strong the stink is. We got some Saturday for a risotto tonight and it’s stunk up the fridge no end. Ah well. Ann is trying some new recipes and Sunday’s was great and I am looking forward to the risotto so the smell should be worth it.

I’ve such a lot of love for Unix, my first online ISP was Unix based and now, as you know, I run Linux on 2 of my computers, XP on one (for Matt to play Guild Wars on) and my laptop is a Mac running OS X.

I have recently been looking under the bonnet of OS X and seeing just how it is Unix that lies beneath all the sexy Apple GUI. I have installed the Developer package from Apple (basically to get the optimised Gnu compilers for OS X) and even compiled some applications. I then did the same on m Linux boxes since increasingly I want to run the same apps on all my computers.