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The Last Post of 2004

12/22/2004

Since this is my last post of 2004, I thought I'd join in the fun of compiling a Top 20 list. The problem is, I have such eclectic taste that I can't honestly say there are 20 of a similar item (be it Singles, Albums, Films, Books) that could be put together coherently.

So what follows is a Top 20 (alas in no particular order) of things that have tickled my fancy, had me enraptured, made me smile, and had me reaching for my wallet.

1) Lord Of The Rings: Return of the King - an amazing film, suited to finishing off a fantastic trilogy.
2) Kill Bill 2 - this 2 part series was highly enjoyable to say the least.
3) The Bourne Supremacy - mindless action of the highest class, just love that indestructible Russian Taxi.
4) The Thin Man - I'm a detective fan, and this is from an old B&W film series that is a pleasure to watch.
5) Graphology - I always try to teach myself something new, and this year it was Graphology, you'll never look at a person's scribbles the same again.
6) The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ - this book had me pinching my lip in deep thought; there is a C4 documentary following a similar thread this xmas.
7) The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade - told you I like detectives.
8) Valentines Day in Cambridge.
9) The Chronicles of Riddick - another great mindless action flick, not as classy as Pitch Black, but good.
10) Siemens M65 - a really good rough and ready mobile phone.
11) Getting Engaged - to a lovely lovely lady.
12) The Lost Gardens of Heligan - you have to visit this place if you are in Cornwall.
13) The Eden Project - another great place in Cornwall.
14) Parker Frontier - just up from the Jotter range, this is a nice chubby set of stainless steel pens that I started using at work, makes a change from my tiny Lamy pens.
15) Waterman Hemisphere - earlier this year I went from a Sheaffer to a Waterman foutnain pen for writing cards (only time I use a FP), its not as good as my Shaeffers, but a tad better than my Parkers - but not as fancy as Swiss Toni's Mont Blanc!
16) Songs About Jane by Maroon 5 - very funky music.
17) Musicology by Prince - at last the man is back to his best, Thank God!
18) Dumb by The 411 - a very catchy fantastic pop tune
19) Toxic by Britney - very catchy too!
20) The Mousetrap - went to see the world's longest running play (my first since I was a kid) in London, it was fantastic!

There you have it, 20 bits and bobs. I'm now off to a Cottage in Kent for my Xmas Vacation and to get a year older in peace.

I wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!
--
dp


No ID

12/20/2004

Its time we took a position on ID Cards I think.

I am against - see this: No2ID

  1. ID Cards reduce crime. Keep the same level of policing, the same level of inept IT competence in the policing system and provide them with a huge database of every single human in the UK to maintain and SECURE! Not on your nelly...
  2. ID Cards Reduce Terrorism. Yes, I can see ETA, IRA and Islamic Terrorists being totally and utterly put off from any attacks due to the ID Card. That piece of plastic with all of our DNA and Fingerprint information, as well as our demographic and probably political and sexual persuasions on there, is a bloody great big deterrent. I just don't see the need for semtex or concrete barriers around Goldman Sachs on Fleet Street after the introduction of ID Cards. No sir.
  3. ID Cards are wanted by the population. Well, heres a question: "If you received a letter from the government ordering you to go to your Local Police station and give your fingerprints so that they can be checked against all past, present and future crimes, would you do it?" The ID Card database will be used by the police to find suspects against DNA and Fingerprint evidence found at scenes of crimes. Sounds good until you realise that we are all automatically suspects.
  4. ID Card database is secure. It will be Outsourced to an IT Supplier much like the NHS deal. My own company could bid for it and win it. I do not trust that this is the best way. The only IT people I'd trust with this are those at GCHQ. They know about security. Forget the big IT Systems integrators or Civil departments. If thats the route, then the database might as well be put online and searchable by google.

There you go. I'm rather upset at the new Home Secretary. He wants a Nazi state. Forget that - Go on you Liberal Democrats - get your policy out there NOW and I'll sign up to vote for ya if its anti-authoritarian-dictatorship-regime.
--
dp


And so it begins

12/18/2004

I put in my first serious offer on a House this morning. I am somewhat worried, a bit butterflies in the stomachy, and concerned that maybe I'm buying at the wrong time. But with things moving so fast next year, I figured its best to get it started now. Luckily there are two houses that have taken fancy, so should one fall through I've a replacement target.

Work has been annoying, thats the best word for it. I work in a Partnership that has evolved to a Plc, and its taking time for the old Partnership mentality to be replaced with a meritable system. At the moment we've come out of a recent appraisal (laddering) period, and it was very amusing watching my colleagues play little political games to curry favours with the senior staff. (I will freely admit that for a moment I had to look up whether I was wrong to use the word curry with favours, was sure it was right, but it just felt odd, guess I've been out to too many curry houses - urm I have a curry every night too, that must be it). Anyway, back to the rant, work is getting on my tits is the short version. I am a Techie bloke, they call us Architects, and we are supposed to be well versed in how to put systems together. Instead, I am being shown that this does not strictly hold true with my colleagues. They make amazing bloops, and then waffle their way out of the situation. Its disappointing, thats probably the right word, to see people do that. I guess I am proud to say I'm a bit of a geek - I value my contribution in technical systems and put as much passion into making them work well as a painter would in a passionate piece of art. I don't see it as a vehicle for my career, I see it as an operation that has to complete successfully. I am disappointed that I work in a place where 80% of the people don't share my passion or view. Ho Hum.

Onto Xmas. I'm off to a Cottage this Xmas with the lady. Its a 5* cottage, primarily because we've never been to one, and I am somewhat spoilt in that every hotel I've been to on my worldly travels has been fantastic. Kent should be lovely in the winter - I hope.
--
dp


Going Nuts...

12/17/2004

Today I have been humming this little ditty - some of you may remember it:
"Nescafe, Nescafe, No better way to start your day;
Isn't it time that you got up;
To the richer fuller tasting cup;
Start your day with Nescafe;
Coffee at its best!"

The odd thing is, I prefer Kenco (Rich Roast) or Douwe Egberts (Intensity or Continental Roast). More than that, I like Indian Masala Chai better - eagerly gulping down a mug of Mum's home brew every Weekend.

Argh - I'm humming it again. At least its Friday, and I'm going to be going home about 3pm today. Xmas has approached the office, and there isn't much going on. Thank Heavens for that!
--
dp


Weirdos - please don't pick me!

12/15/2004

Why oh why do all the weirdos on the Train insist on sitting next to me! Why me?

Take yesterday for example. I'm sat on a fairly empty train, there are about 60% of seats free. One person per two-seat aisle, and still lots of seats free. So what does this one guy do when he gets on the carriage? He looks at the seats, see's the empty ones, and instead of going to one of them, he spots the empty seat next to mine. Now yesterday was one of the rare days I had a copy of The Evening Standard to read, and I was happily spread out reading it. Then he sits down right smack next to me. These seats are narrow to begin with, and I end up having to fold my paper away for the whole journey. Oh, and then the lady infront of us gets off at Acton, does this guy move just one seat infront? Nooooo. He begins to do weird things like slap the seat in front. Oh yes, he starts to freak me out loads.

As I stand to get off at my station, he asks the usual 'Is this...?' and before I could help myself I blurt out very quickly 'yes' and rush to the doors. There is NO WAY I'm going to have him walk through the streets with me.

Just one of the many weirdos that seem to pick me to sit next to. I really wish I was rude and annoying enough to tell them to shove it, instead I suffer. Bah.

But it does highlight the high level of mentally disturbed persons wandering our streets these days. I'm sure its increasing.
--
dp


The best trilogy of modern times?

12/13/2004

There is something to be said about The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. I believe its one of the most amazing filming feats of modern times. I sat down this weekend to watch all three Extended DVDs, and I was amazed at just how involving it is. I'm not a AD&D fan, infact I used to be rather cruel and ridicule a few friends who played (and still play) AD&D at school. Dragons, Trolls, Dwarfs, Elfs, Wizard - it was all too much for me. But here I am, enraptured by what is effectively the finest example of AD&Dism there is. All hats off to that world, and an amazing triple hats off to the LOTR team for an amazing trilogy.

How does it rank amongst other films? Well, don't go there, since you cannot compare Star Wars with LOTR with The Godfather with Back To The Future with The Matrix. These are all great films in their own rights, and each was cutting edge or highly entertaining in their own time. LOTR just happens to be one of the great Epics of our time. So much so, that it provoked jealousy amongst the director community, and we must now Suffer Tom Cruise in Steven Spielbergs 3 part adaptation (hmmm) of The War Of The Worlds. You know, sometimes its better to just let others have a bit of limelight you know Steven, otherwise people just think of you as bitter and twisted.

On to better things. I have another 7 days of work before I break for Xmas. Am super chuffed with that, and boy is it a dream and a half!

May the force be with you Fredo!
--
dp


T.G.I.F.

12/10/2004

Firstly, a HUGE word of thanks to all the well wishes I received. Am chuffed beyond belief that humanity still exists in the hussle and bussle of modern life. May the force be with you all.

If, like me, its not, a word of advice (much aligned to Lord Bargains). I found that Beechams is far far far superior to Lemsip, and that Night Nurse is the manna from heaven for night time relief.

To cheer me up, Amazon have started Renting DVDs and giving discounts to users. Nice.

Its Friday, its not yet 7.30, but its definitely Top Of The Pops!
--
dp


Health Tip

12/08/2004

I am forever debating when one should have breakfast - before exercise, after excercise - and what it should be - weetabix, shreddies, toast, etc. The following is another tip i picked up. Give it a go.

Mom may have taught you to eat 3 square meals, but new research suggests that people who eat 6 smaller meals a day are healthier, and have an easier time maintaining their weight and cholesterol levels. By avoiding larger meals in favor of more frequent smaller ones, your body becomes more conducive to metabolizing food. It just takes a little planning; it could be as simple as dividing your lunch. If you'd normally eat a sandwich, with pretzels and fruit, eat the sandwich at lunchtime, then save the pretzels and fruit for later in the afternoon.

PS Am still ill, back in bed with bad flu, and i think a flu plus chest infection. Going to see GP tomorrow.
--
dp


Sick as a Parrot

12/03/2004

I'm ill today. I've got a flu/fever/heavy cold, who knows what it is. All I know is I'm unwell.

I'm going back to bed.

Addendum: Surfing the net after my light meal, I saw the XDA IIs. Its the new PDA from O2. It looks sharp, with 802.11b wireless built in. A very close rival to the SonyEricsson P910 I think.


--
dp


The Future of Instant Messaging on a PC

12/01/2004

My friends will tell you I am a fan of convergence. Variety is the spice of life, but sometimes it makes entire sense to have things merged together to make an even better offering. This applies to everything. From views of life and society (such as in one of my fave books Consilience - despite its leanings away from my preference to punctuated equilibrium) to Instant Messaging.

I have two favourite IM products. One for the PC and one for the MAC. The MAC one is called Adium X, and it ROCKS.

The one for the PC is called Trillian and it just got BETTER!!!

I am a paid subscriber/supporter of Trillian Pro 2 - the advanced version of Trillian. Today I learnt that Trillian v3 is in the works. I had a look at it, and am very excited. It looks fab. I highly urge you all to grab a copy as soon as it is available, and for those of you who dabble a bit in Internet ordering, please buy a lifetime license of the Pro product. You really won't regret it.

Adium X is only available free on the Mac, and much more fun than iChat (imho).
--
dp


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Weekly musings from a confused mind. This blog, and all posts within it, are just ramblings. They are in no way affiliated with any past, current or future employers. Neither do they represent my deep felt views, or those of my friends or family. Really, its just a blog, which is a new thing, and has new dimensions. So please, dont take anything seriously. If you do, contact me via a comment, and I will get back to you to resolve the situation. Seriously, enjoy life, ignore this blog, and views within it.

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