2008 — 8 Feb: Friday, again?

Time is 01:56 and I suppose I'd better do the dishes! Yawn. More later, as it were.

It's now 09:42 and there's a very bright object up in the sky saying "Come on, flowers, see if you can reach me!" At this rate, can the dreadful pollen be far behind?

Postie has brought me news that suggests it must be my lucky day: Castelli, Edwards & Redlus have "personally selected me to participate in an important research study. My answers will help (them) create new and exciting offers for (me) and other consumers." The mixed-race young couple shown decorously enjoying the prize1 on offer "for my time and effort" do not even approach the demographic being targetted by the wording of their tedious questionnaire. (Another) for the recycle bin.

If the prize were a Goblin Teasmade I just might have been interested. (The first, vital, cuppa has satisfyingly been sunk.) Time to start contemplating the event-packed day that will be this sunny Friday... (That didn't take too long, did it?) Perhaps I should at least get dressed! I must say I very much fancy a pootle out in the great outdoors today, though I need to be (back) at the Dolphin when the bright object is at its peak. Up and at 'em, David — the Bird is (still) on the wing.

Speaking of which, there's a saying in IBM about "getting all your ducks in a row" or, in other words, the importance of getting prior agreement between members of otherwise warring internal tribes (at worst). I can show this with another picture from my recent Keyhaven adventure:

Getting your birds aligned

Server logs

These show me, inter alia, the search phrases that bring people, stumbling and bleary-eyed, across the threshold of my little virtual world. Make what you will, for example, of this unmatched trio:

somewhere in tennessee burns sergio bennett world war 1940-1947
famous author born in 1809 and uses wordplay puzzles and anagrams
minton putney mug

I would have suggested Charles Dodgson for the author, had he not been unborn at that date. The other two mystify me completely.

Monster chopper

Who could resist reading this, he asked innocently? (Remember the topic of my apprenticeship, all those years ago...) And if my heading could also apply (it's a stretch) to an economic recession...

[Pirie] says that the companies which suffer in a recession are often the ones in the middle. The designer stores are safe because the rich are insulated; the cheap stores are likely to be OK because many will be inclined to trade down... He also makes the point that some activities are discretionary. "Food, drink and sex are not usually affected by a recession," he says. "People might switch around within those sectors and go for cheaper options, but they all carry on."

Stuart Jeffries and Stephen Moss, in the Guardian

I was not aware of a range of economic sectors offering sex at various cost options. What a sheltered life I lead, heh?

I leave you for now...

... with a large smile on my face having just watched the following 7-minute demolition job on three major religions. Thanks for the link, Tom!

And I return...

... from a simple pub lunch with an amiable set of ex-colleagues, having given a faintly disbelieving young Mr Hobbs a tiny spin in the Yaris just to show him that I can. I bet Christa would have smiled. Thanks, Lesley, for suggesting this. Now it must be time (14:09) for that delayed pootle as the bright object probably isn't going to hang around up there forever.2 Where next, I wonder? I'm retired, you know!

You hafta laugh... dept.

Or, where there's a Will, there's a solicitor who can't spell the word "deceased". Still, at least she emailed to confirm receipt of everything that's needed for her to "now lodge the same with the Probate Registry". Separated by a common language, heh?

Along similar laugh lines, why is it necessary for my most commonly-muttered rhetorical question (while driving) to be "And what's your f*****g hurry, sunshine?". When I politely hung back on Chalvington road this morning to give the couple in the saloon coming towards me room to manoeuvre tranquilly past the parked cars on their side of the road, why did Sunny Jim in the ostentatious Chelsea tractor3 (over the wheel of which he could barely smirk) behind them feel it necessary to overtake them and roar through the gap in front of me, skilfully dodging me by easily six inches? We exchanged mutual smiles of exasperation, the couple and I, as we all obviously pondered the young gentleman's motivation! Had I been in a police car, I'm sure he would never have demonstrated his superior driving skill in such a way.

I'm back, by the way, from a quick4 expotition into Southampton, where Alison (from lunchtime) may be pleased to hear I bought myself a little electric crock pot in Robert Dyas and a couple more items for my new cookery bookshelf:

I haven't found one specifically about the art of the hot pot, but then I haven't really started looking yet. Nor am I yet in a position to stop using all these jolly handy "ready meals", but I'm determined to lumber somewhat in that direction.

There was also a small-scale diversion into Waitrose5 on the way home for tonight's supper (my quick checkout scanner repeated its dying swan impression, which does rather slow the process down at the "quick checkout" phase) and another batch of healthy fruit. I think Christa would be simultaneously pleased and (possibly) horrified (at some of the prices). She was a canny shopper. I have yet to suss out her system, but I'm spending more feeding myself, it seems, than she spent feeding the pair of us. Still, I've stabilised at a new body weight that's about eight kilo less than when I first retired, and about three or four kilo up on my weight when she died.

Now the world's largest (and, quite possibly, most reviled) supermarket chain has just emailed me to suggest I can stay out of the dog house on Valentine's day by spending £45 on a "striking bouquet of a dozen red Grand Prix roses, framed by two elegant chicco leaves, and wrapped in black". £45? Why, I can feed myself for nearly a day on that!

Good grief! Thanks a bouquet, BBC Radio 2. You've just (20:20) briefly reduced me to a howling ball of tears with Roberta Flack singing "The first time ever I saw your face". This won't do, you know. It won't do at all.



1  Any guesses as to what it is?
2  As a type "G" star halfway through its main sequence, it should be good for five or six billion more years, of course, which is (I predict) a great deal longer than humanity will manage. Or deserves to.
3  I was always an opponent of capital punishment, but now I find myself strangely sympathetic to the plotline of one of Larry Niven's short stories, wherein convicted traffic offenders are basically carved up for their body parts (not the brain, of course, even though it's probably their least-used organ).
4  Less than one hour in the car park, but quite slow-moving traffic along the Avenue coming back. We rarely managed such a quick trip as a couple on our regular Friday afternoon outings.
5  In whose car park I found more than one piece of evidence that I am no longer technically the least-skilled car parker in our immediate neighbourhood.