Monday, March 23

Apostrophe Now

Driving through a new housing development in Wakefield I noticed a street named St Annes Close.

Being a smart-ass and always on the look out to impress my editor wife, I mentioned that the sign was missing punctuation. To which my parents said, "They've abolished apostrophes on street signs".

And it's true.

To quote Kim Jong-il, "Why is everyone so fucking stupid?"

Sunday, March 22

Winnats Pass

Drove thru' this bad boy today, on our way to Buxton and Bakewell.

Love the Peak District. Lambs everywhere, hikers all over and underground cavern boat trips. Brilliant!

Buxton was OK, and was made 100x better by the most piss poor service I have encountered. We popped into a tea shop for a quick hot drink and scone. One hour later my dad had to come out and feed the parking meter because we were still waiting for the food. I do love service so poor that I start to laugh.

Bakewell was choc-a-bloc with British Mothers celebrating British Mothers' Day. We had a Cornish Pasty, a Bakewell Tart, and pint of Bitter. Nice. Afterwards we fed the ducks including this ballsy little quacker.

On to Chatsworth House. Nice house. Shit coffee. And then I bumped into my old friend Adrian, who I haven't seen in years. Good times catching up and a promise to stay in touch.

Saturday, March 21


I'm back in my lovely home town of Wakefield. And it's so nice to be home for a few days.

I'm sorry because ... walking to my sister's house we saw this sign.
2 items of note here:
1. If you're going to work with families and children, perhaps you could start with spelling?
2. Wakefield Council's logo looks like a green ejaculating penis.

Friday, March 20

Random Inane

At Logan Airport we were served food by Jack Tors. This guy was so camp we should have got a free tent.

Pre-flight magazine shopping I saw a women's mag that proclaimed "The world's most unique magazine" What? So unique they don't have a copy editor? You cannot be the 'most unique' you tits.

On the plane the flight attendant asked "Would you like the infamous North West chicken, or the Vegetarian meal?" What, what, what?? Asked what the Vegetarian meal consisted of he said "Some Indian thing with lentils"

Schiphol Amsterdam. Airport announcement "Mr Christiansen, you are late and are delaying the flight, we are removing your bags now". I love this! Name and shame! And they did it every 5 minutes.

Thursday, March 19

Jesus Christ

Taxi to Logan
It's hard to define normal with the Boston area taxi services. This time we had a Jesus freak. How come I can never find a good song on the radio and yet this guy was flip flopping between two stations quoting scripture?
He was listening so intently to the wise words of the radio-pastor, and yet speeding like a bastard, weaving in and out of traffic like Jack Bauer. At one point he turned up the radio like it was an old school jam. Instead of the Young MC we got the Old JC.

Wednesday, March 18

You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge

Unfortunately I'm not flying with that NWA tomorrow. Instead I'm flying Straight Outta Logan with NorthWest Airlines.

Yes, we're leaving on a jet plane for 4 whole days in England. Our first trip back in a year. Fish n Chips, Cadbury's chocolate, John Smith's beer, Scotch Eggs and funky flavoured crisps. And we're also seeing my family ...

We're routing thru' Amsterdam which always elicits a raised eyebrow over here. Not sure if it's for the pot, or the prostitutes. Either way, with only an hour long layover, I'll be lucky to even devour some Edam cheese. It's made backwards you know.

Tuesday, March 17

Update: Faith in humanity restored

Some nice fella mailed our checks back to us this week.

In crappier check news our accountant told us to write some to the IRS.


Saturday, March 14

Get it on!

It took a while, but I'm finally getting a leather chair for the house.

It's red and it reclines. At least it will in 7 weeks once it is delivered.

Oh Yes!

Honey Nut Cluster-f***

Had a senior moment today. Anne and I decided to walk over to Central Square to deposit some checks. I put them in my back pocket and off we went.

Arriving at the bank, I reached for the checks and they were gone. I frantically tapped my body as if I was on fire. No checks.

Decided to re-trace our footsteps back to the house. No checks.

Once home, I stripped down, shaking every item of clothing, as if my garments held some kind of secret chamber that the Anne Frank of checks could squeeze into. No checks.

Shit. Decided to call the bank.

For time-wasting shit you don't need. Press 1. You get the picture.

I just wanted the, For tools who lost a slip of paper with their Account Number on. Press 2. choice. No such luck.

Getting nowhere, we decided to go back to the bank. Only it was 15 minutes before closing time. So we drove. Found a space on the corner of Mass Ave and Inman by the Town Hall (the site of America's first gay wedding), and dashed to the bank.

Name on the list, I sat impatiently waiting to be called. All the time thinking someone was at that very second siphoning all of our money from our current account.

20 mins after closing time we eventually met with the bank guy, but first ...

At 1pm the Customer Service guy locked the doors to stop any more people entering the bank.

1.02pm. A guy tries to enter the bank, to find the doors locked. We have full sight of him. We are inside the bank, he is the other side of the glass doors in the building lobby.

He is so off his head.

This cat had opted for a denim jacket, but no shirt. He began to pound on the glass door, shouting I have money. He proceeded to remove pieces of paper from his pockets and shove them through the crack in the door. Then he started to strip. Interspersed with stripping, he would do a strange sign of the cross/sign language thing with his hands. More clothes removal, and more items from his pockets are being flung at the glass door.

The bank guy is freaking out, and his colleagues are asking "Why the fuck aren't the Police here yet?". Crazy guy finally walks off, leaving his debris in the lobby, and in true 70s movie style, the cops arrive 2 minutes later.

Oh, and I got a parking ticket because the whole bank thing took longer than 30 minutes. I'll have to write a check ... if my bank will let me.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Lately I've wondered how my childhood traits carried into adult life.

As a kid I was obsessed with lists and statistics. This probably started because my parents are crossword and puzzle fans. I don't do crosswords myself, but I am fascinated in the history of words and language - I have a bookshelf full of references, and love synonyms, homonyms and onomatopoeia etc.

At the top of the staircase in my childhood home, was a set of encyclopedia. I would methodically read them, and was drawn to geography, and the history and development of countries. I was lucky enough to travel as a kid, and today I compulsively track the places I have visited.

Most of my friends know that I am currently 44 for 50 on visiting American states, but fewer know that I kept lists of the London Underground stations I visited and passed through. That was a double treat, because I re-drew the greatest piece of graphic design to track my progress.

I would take vacation days to visit Tube stations, tracking their literal geography to the perceived location on the map. When we lived in London, Anne edited London Underground literature, and made me aware of the large list of disused Tube stations. Oh what nerdish fun plotting the position of those (above ground, you can still see many of the distinctive maroon tiled buildings in various parts of Central London).

In addition I use to track the countries I have visited, and I even have a list of the counties I have passed through in the UK. It's fair to say I love maps and how cities developed. In LA last month I quizzed a guy on his knowledge of driving the city without using the freeways. True Angelenos know how to do this.

Back in London, I once did a pub crawl visiting the locations on a British Monopoly Board, and later dragged Anne around taking photos of each place.

At school I was always the kid who wrote the sports report, my dream assignment was when we took a school trip to watch the visiting Fijian rugby team play. I got to read out the players names.

I'd be doing myself a disservice to suggest that I have made a career out of compiling lists .. but. As a packaging designer, one must rigorously uphold rules. Minimum type sizes, efficient usage of ink, FDA regulated listings of Nutrition Facts, commonality and consistency of elements (which to me defines branding). And guess what? My biggest professional strength is managing the consistency and accuracy of large ranges of products ... which I do through an elaborate set of lists, facts and figures.

There is an OCD component to this, that I try to use to my advantage. From time to time it can be destructive - noticeably when I have too much work to complete. I find it hard to cut corners. I've been called a perfectionist, but not as a compliment!

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu? The cricket stadium that held the first ever Test Match in Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, March 11

Space Cadet

A lesser known fact regarding my wife, is her obsession with space exploration, and the science that has developed from it.

At 9.12 tonight she exclaimed. "Oh Shit, did I miss the Shuttle launch?"

She did not miss it, because they canceled it. And Anne knew why. Because of some hydrogen vent line that they've been checking for over a month.

It's like the Space Shuttle is made by Saab. Looks nice, but falls to pieces under normal use.

Apparently they met on Monday and everything was alright, but they changed their mind again today. Which is a shame because the weather was perfect for the launch ...

And that's the underlying beauty of her interest. It gets perilously close to obsession, and I love an obsessed nerd.

Time to watch Apollo 13 again. I wonder if they make it back?

Monday, March 9


I don't consider Craig David to be #1 with the laydeez.

He is in fact a prize douche.

7 Days Pt 1 & II

World-Class Ladies-Man, Craig David sang;

I met this girl on Monday
took her for a drink on Tuesday
we were making love by Wednesday
and on Thursday & Friday & Saturday we chilled on Sunday.

In my version, the said lady is called work. And instead of chilling on Sunday, I nailed it hard.

Subsequently, I woke up last Monday with a sore neck, that drifted down my shoulders and my upper back.

Which is why, last week I was walking like a robot. A pasty robot.

Driving into work doesn't help either. Last Monday there was 10" of snow, which thanks to a warm weekend was all gone yesterday.

Side note: There's no air-con in our office on weekends, so it was like a Harlem jazz club in July in here yesterday.

Today: More snow.