Wednesday, 31 December 2008


I thought my eyes had gone a bit funny in the desert sun but it turns out that NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month

And January 2009's theme is 'CHANGE'. I reckon I can do that. Watch this space.

Happy New Year (Quietly)

Just about to head off in a big old 4x4 to the Omani desert to set up camp and see in the New Year; however, breaking news suggests that Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum may have other ideas:

Talk is that it will be scaled back to a ban on fireworks and excessive external celebrations, but it's certainly an interesting move, especially if your main source of income is tourism :)

Anyway, hope you have a great time (noisy or quiet) wherever you are - see you in 2009!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Phone Gone

Bah. After over ten years without misplacing a mobile, I have only gone and lost my new SonyEricsson in Dubai. There's a lot of desert to search, but in the meantime, if you sent me a text or voicemail or tried to call in the last week or so, I will have been somewhat 'out of range'. Sorry about that.

Normal service will be resumed when I get back to the office on 5th Jan but in the meantime, Happy New Year for 2009!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Blue Christmas

I've always felt that red and green were the wrong colours to represent the true meaning of Christmas:

Or, if you prefer some context:

Cherry *hic* Mistmas, everyone!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Jack It In

You can see why I may have found this funny:

And on that little amuse bouche, I bid you goodnight; for Mister Father Christmas* flies tonight!

* (c) Freyja Sallie Lightly, 2008 -- she's awfully polite, dontchaknow...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Not Fab

Fabregas faces four-month lay-off

Merry Sodding Christmas :(

Still, maybe we can pick something up in the January sales...

Friday, 19 December 2008

To Both My Readers


Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, secular practices of your choice, or with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious/secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009 of the common era, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures, nor without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, IQ, chronological status, mental deficiencies, religious faith, or sexual preference or practices of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are agreeing to these terms:
  • This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal.
  • It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting.
  • It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of thewishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.
  • This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
  • All taxes are the responsibility of the wishee, and the decision of a panel of arbitrators is final in the event of a dispute.

And on that note,I have a sleigh to catch; see you in the New Year!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Benny Who?


It's a bit dark, but this makes me smile:

Freyja gets Benny Hillified

(and you too can 'Benny Hillify' any YouTube video here.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Let It Snow

Yeah, silly innit. Never leave me alone with someone else's Javascript and a bottle of Chianti.

Oh, if you are reading this on RSS, that will mean nothing. Try clicking here and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow :)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Home Alone

It's very, very quiet here.

This year, it is once again time to spend Christmas in Dubai, with Solveig's family. Although very much a Muslim country, the proliferation of western ex-pats and massive shopping malls means that Christmas is a big deal over there. Despite my default setting at this time of year being a Level 37 Scrooge, I do rather enjoy the incongruousness of eating the traditional Christmas roast dinner* outside, near the desert, in 25 degree heat, under a portable gazebo :)

Anyway, the other factor is of course that Dubai is a long way away: five four hour time difference and roughly a seven hour flight. So it's clearly not worth popping over after work on Christmas Eve and buggering off around teatime on Boxing Day. This year, Solveig was understandably keen to get as much time as possible there, with ready access to delighted babysitting grandparents for Theo and energetic older cousins for Freyja (warm weather, good shopping and a heated swimming pool may also have featured in the discussion). I could just about negotiate two weeks off work (as I did the Christmas week graveyard shift last year) but with her on maternity leave, it would be silly not to stretch it for the rest of the family as much as possible.

The long and short of this is that yesterday she loaded up the car with children, luggage, pushchair, travel sweets, magazines, Kendal Mint Cake and a navigator (her excellent sister Angharad, who Freyja adores) as well as printed maps, laptop-based routefinder, sat nav, A-to-Z and mobile phone with me on speed dial. After the first call ("How do I make the water squirt onto the windscreen?") they were off. BA flight 109 from Heathrow T5 to Dubai was waiting. After the traditional crawl round the M25, they arrived at BCP to be told that yes they could park there but the courtesy coach could only take them to Terminal 4, from where they would need to take a regular scheduled London bus to Terminal 5**. Not happy, but what can you do? Anyway, finally the call comes - they're there, checked in, had dinner, kids in pyjamas and waiting to be called for the flight. Phew. And sure enough, woke up this morning (after what can only be described as a three-hour lie-in) to a text message saying that the kids were brilliant on the flight and everyone is smiling and happy in the UAE sunshine.

So I can relax. With TMS commentary of the India test, Arsenal the lunchtime match on the box, a pork pie in the fridge as well as it absolutely chucking it down outside (so I couldn't rake the metric tonne of leaves off the garden, even if I wanted to, which I don't) it's pretty relaxed chez fourstar. I shall miss them all terribly for the next week, but it's good to be able to breathe out once in a while :)

As I said, it's very, very quiet here...

* Which I have just realised, with the arrival of Theo, will be for 11 people this year!

** Having been informed of this by a rather stressed wife I decided to look into it and as far as I can tell it turns out that yes, there is Long Stay parking at the shiny new T5 but it is exclusively run by BAA, is literally TWICE the price of the other operators and they won't let the independents (BCP, Purple, Flyaway, etc) run their courtesy coaches direct to T5. Insert insulting swear word of choice here.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Overheard #62

It's so so true:
This Oyster card holder just smells of privilege and entitlement.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Best. Scam. Ever.

I love this. A scam letter from a scammer promising compensation to anyone who has been scammed by a scam letter from scammers. Recursive goodness all round!
I am listening.
How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?
Not bad, apart from the incessant internet scams, thanks.
,You may not understand why this mail came to you.
Do tell.
We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with the then secretary to the UNITED NATIONS.
Seven months? In a meeting? Imagine the biscuit bill!
This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$ 100,000. This includes every foriegn contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government probelms etc.
Probelms? Would they be troublesome trees? I'm sorry, do continue...
We found your name in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed.
This is awfully exciting.
You are advised to contact Mr. Jim Ovia of ZENITH BANK NIGERIA PLC, as he is our representative in Nigeria, contact him immediately for your Cheque/ International Bank Draft of USD$ 100,000. This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose ok?
Conatct Mr. Jim Ovia immediately for your Cheque:
Conatct Mr. Jim Ovia immediately for your Cheque:
Person to Contact Mr. Jim Ovia
Sorry, who do I contact again?
Email: Phone: +234 7027953108
Gmail. Classy :)
Thanks and God bless you and your family.
They send their best. Especially Theo who says "Thrrrrrpppppp!"
Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft.
I shall send you a postcard from my lounger in Bermuda. Might be a bit busy, what with all the other scammees cashing in their $100,000 but we shall do our best.
Mr. Ban Ki Moon
The pleasure was all mine.

Just Put Your Lips Together -- And Blow

This is this killer app that may just force me to buy an iPhone:

Yes, it's an ocarina.
In order to play your Ocarina, you will need to blow into the microphone (you will see a small gold arrow where to blow). The mic is sensitive, so try not to blow very hard (if you are puffing your cheeks, you are blowing too hard).

Rest the iPhone on your ring fingers and thumbs with the headphone jack facing away from you. Use your index and middle fingers to cover the four holes.

To play the highest note, you will need uncover all four holes, but don't drop the iPhone! It may take some time to learn how to balance it, so be patient and remember to play over a cushioned surface.
Let me repeat; it's an ocarina...

Saturday, 6 December 2008


You were amazing.
We'll miss you.
Love from us all.

Make It Expensive

Solveig was going to add this to her Amazon basket; one of the options was somewhat less appealing!

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Overheard #61

It's true, you know:

Everybody likes pork pies, except women.