2008 — 7 Mar: Friday, and it's due to rain

Once more unto the bank1 later this morning (but not before I've put the next batch of stuff into my trusty crockpot) and, by the way, I finished watching Studio 60 just before midnight. Excellent show. I also now have my backup PC system up to speed with email, web server access, and so on. So it's time to do the dishes and then to buckle down to some serious repair work2 on my primary system.

A reminder:

In the wake of my PC crash...
If you haven't received an email from me in the last two days, please consider sending one to me so I can add you back into my Address Book. Thanks!

David Mounce

Do you realise it's 30 years since Blondie's "(I'm always touched by your) presence, dear"? I can still remember borrowing the vinyl album "Plastic letters" from my secretary Jane to find out what music all these hip youngsters were getting into while I was awfully busy being a fresh-faced new manager!

If only it were that simple... dept.

In a burst of slightly less hip music, dear old Petula's just (at 08:30 or so) been suggesting on BBC Radio 2 that you can leave all your troubles behind you by going "downtown". I shall have to put that theory to the test. Does the local bank branch count, or should I venture further afield? After all, it's Friday, and our little family had a venerable tradition of retail therapy on a Friday afternoon. The sun is currently shining even though there's obviously been some rain. The first cuppa has been sunk. The crockpot is nicely (I hope!) stuffed with tasty goodies and doing its low slow heat thing for this evening's meal/experiment. Brekkie is even now on my mind, as it were. So lunch is left as a minor imponderable. Well, lunch and dust sucking and bed-making and PC repair! And maybe even a brief foray out into the garden to see what tidying up might be feasible out there, too. And comestibles for the weekend. Things just keep trundling along, don't they?

Including the packages from Play.com that have just turned up from Mr Postie for #20 but which have been left on my doorstep out of habit, I suspect. These will be trundled along to Richard after I've called in on Mr Money in a few minutes. Better get dressed first...

Money matters

Mr Money actually apologised — good. Comestibles safely gathered in (it seems the government's latest chief science advisor has sprung into action warning that in the next decades the UK may not be able to feed itself — is this really news?) and errant mail delivered. Plus yet another meaningless survey suggesting that the average UK house price is now £196,649 — impressive precision. I can even see what the figures are closer to my own home:

Average Cost: £243,809
Detached: £358,912
Semi-detached: £220,692
Terraced: £205,711
Flat: £156,024

When, many years ago now, I regularly subscribed to the wonderfully scabrous output from a worker collective called "Leeds Postcards" one of my favourites was a card with the slogan "I don't give a s**t what your house is worth!" (It always seemed to me that a house [or anything else] is worth precisely what somebody is prepared to pay for it at the time you need to sell it. At no other time is it really worth worrying about.) Another card I liked was the one illustrating rats racing around a square with four panels exhorting them in turn to "Work harder", "Buy more stuff", "Earn more money", "Consume more". Neither of these, I suspect, will have been framed and put up on the walls of the UK Treasury department (though I could be wrong).

The Call of the Wild

Lunch has been lunched. The crockpot is simmering nicely. The sun is still (mostly) shining. I've had a bit of a wobble. I'm very fed up with my PC. So... Hark? Can you hear it? The Call of the Wild? Report3 to follow. Toot! Toot!

Fun when you () a word out... dept.

For many years, my dear friend Carol in New York bought me a subscription to the New Yorker magazine, while I reciprocated (you hafta love that word) with the Guardian International weekly. The former was noted for the quality of its writing, editing, and (once upon a time) proof-reading. The latter tended not to score quite so well in at least one of those areas. Now that we're both impoverished pensioners(!) I keep an eye from time to time on the online edition:

Here, in full, is [Luca] Turin's review of Lancôme's Trésor:
I once sat in the London Tube across a young woman wearing a t-shirt printed with headline-size words ALL THIS across her large breasts, and in small type underneath "and brains too." That vulgar-but-wily combination seems to me to sum up Trésor. Up close, when you can read the small print, Trésor is a superbly clever accord between powdery rose and vetiver, reminiscent of the structure of Habanita.4 From a distance, it's the trashiest, most good-humored pink mohair sweater and bleached hair thing imaginable. When you manage to appeal to both the reptilian brain and the neocortex of menfolk, what happens is what befell Trésor: a huge success.

John Lanchester writing "Scents and Sensibility" (a review of the book "Perfumes: the guide") in the New Yorker

What, I wonder, would my dear old Uncle Graham (a commercial traveller in French perfumes for many years) have made of that "across a young woman"?



1  I must say, I don't think Christa would have been very impressed with the speed that this probate has been (correction, is being) sorted out. Yet I'm given to understand it's actually been relatively speedy.
2  For the record, Christa, I really can't hurry this. But I sent Peter T in Germany an email and link about your funeral. Can you believe nobody had told him? I certainly couldn't.
3  Not a loud one, nor long. I pootled gently down the motorway to go for a mildly curious drool in Currys and PC World at the Hedge End superstore cluster. (I am utterly bemused at just how bad in-store demonstrations of HD TV can be in the former. And how cheap some very powerful PC systems have become in the latter.) I remain only faintly amused at the thought of selling PCs on the basis of the stunning speed with which they tackle complex tasks such as video editing and, wait for it, virus scanning! I came back on "A" roads for a change from the motorway. Circled through Chilworth and Hiltingbury. Blagged a tasty fresh cuppa from Roger and Eileen (one more email name safely collected!) and thence home to the aroma that is, I assure you, nothing at all like any accord between "powdery rose and vetiver".
4  I swear, as I get older, so I discover ever larger gaps in my knowledge. Not having a clue what it was, I asked Mrs Google about "Habanita" and she took me to a perfume review site! (Basenotes) From there, I found an online store in the UK that sells my favourite brand of "smellie" (as Christa always called it) which, with luck, will mean I no longer have to traipse round or — worse — cross the Channel just to get my supply. I was introduced to it by the Uncle I mentioned above in the mid 1960s. If you know me really well, you'll also know the "smell"!