Friday, December 31

Happy Old Year

It might be lazy journalism, but I love the photos each December 31st, as the New Year sweeps it's merry way from timezone to timezone.

The BBC just showed this picture of the SkyTower in Auckland. It's where I spent my 40th birthday back in August.

It's cool to see friends in Australia wish us a Happy New Year from Facebook, and in a few hours time the Euro contingent will start too.

During the last few days of this year I arranged a business trip to China. I go in a few weeks time, just before their own New Year festivities kick in.

So my January already looks like it should be interesting.

Wednesday, December 29

Ashes to Ashes


The England cricket team beat Australia to retain the Ashes.

Rolph Harris, Dame Edna Everage, Steve Irwin, Paul Hogan, Men at Work, your boys took a hell of a beating ...

Tuesday, December 28

Look. At. Me.

I only went and won my Fantasy Football league!

Regular season record - 12-2

And then I breezed through the play-offs and won the league tonight when dog-hating, Chris Rock impersonator "Lil' Micky Vick" failed to score enough points for my co-finalist.

I am vindicated. This fantasy thing is a piece of cake. Long live the NFL Ouchebas!!

Monday, December 27

Road Trip

I cannot say I was thrilled at the thought of this road trip from Cleveland to Boston. Anne and I travel well together, mostly because we know when to give each other a little space. In a Chevy Impala, there is not a lot of space.

Sheila at Hertz was a doll. She started a bit passive-agressive, but I won her over with my compliments and English charm.

We left Cleveland with a collection of "Don't die" type wishes from family and friends.

Anne bust a move on the first session, getting us through Northern Ohio and into the not so great state of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile I worked out how to use the Satellite Radio.

In case you were wondering ... they have a hundred channels, but each channel appears to have only 20 records on rotation. There's only so much Rihanna I can listen to, and I reached it with that fucking Umbrella song 2 years ago.

Giant Eagle has great restroom facilities if you are ever in the Erie, PA region. We stopped there and at WalMart to get lunch, snacks and phone chargers. And then, with me in the driver's seat, Anne worked out how to use the toll transponder, and discovered that some of the satellite channels share their 20 records with each other.

I'd been to Buffalo twice before. I've yet to see the sun there. I can only presume that Buffalo has the highest per capita sales of Vitamin D in the world.

We switched driving somewhere close to Rochester. Home of Kodak. The rest stop was full of people in yarmulkes. This surprised me. I wore a big woolly hat because with wind chill, it felt like minus20 ... C or F ... they're both cold.

Anne's impeccable driving skills took us through much of Upstate New York, during which time I played on my iPad. Once in a while I'd feed her a cookie or a potato chip. I'm always looking out for her. I'm supportive like that.

Albany and into Massachusetts was my gig. Numerous failed attempts to pronounce the place name Schenectady ensued. By now we'd stopped drinking to avoid having to make rest-stops. Anne took over on the Mass Pike. We figured with all the snow in Boston I'd drive the final 30 miles home.

We'd driven home because our flight, along with 1-2 days worth of every other flight on the Eastern Seaboard, was cancelled due to a great blizzard.

As we entered Metro Boston our main question was "Where's the fucking snow?" I'm happy the previous 10 hours was easy-as-pie driving. I did not want to be zig-zagging on the highway, but this was "Day out in the country" driving.

Finally 1 mile from home we hit tricky conditions. I missed a red light and nearly hit a stopped car. In my defense I was also trying to avoid hearing 'Firework' by Katy Perry for the 20th time that day.

By the way ... Katy Perry - the Dollar Store equivalent of Zooey Deschanel.

Crisis averted we managed to get home without a scratch on the rental car and back to our home, sweet home.

Sunday, December 26

A Sick Day

Picking up from last time ....

My Christmas

Dec 24
A day off work. Up at 4am. 6am flight. Soup for lunch. Check in to La Quinta mid-level hotel with free Wi-Fi!! A nap while my in-laws go to church. Perogies. An hour at my Brother-in-law's house.
The last bit was the best part. My B-in-L Bud told me that life's pains go away in your late 40's. I now have something to live for.

Dec 25
2am - vomiting and diarrhea. 3am - as previous but synchronized. Rest of the day is spent in the hotel room sleeping, drinking water, eating bread. Still have free Wi-Fi.

Dec 26
Except for one hour at my in-laws house where I thought I was dying, the whole day is spent in the hotel room. Anne is an angel putting up with my groans and whines.

Dec 27
I lied. Along with Friday, I also took Monday off. Get up. Feel better. Pack suitcase. Flight is cancelled. Call rental car agencies. Snag a car. Drive from Cleveland to Boston.

Friday, December 24

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I've lived in the US for a quarter of my life now. And a few times each year I hear people bitching that Christmas stuff is appearing in stores before Thanksgiving, or they've unveiled the tree at 30 Rock in NYC in early November.

Yada yada yada.

My recollection of England?

As soon as the 'Back to School' selection of protractors, set squares, pencil cases and spiral notebooks sold out (or became too dog eared for even Woolworths to sell) they moved in the Christmas cards, tinsel and fairy* lights ... usually during the 2nd week of September.

* Not sure if they are still called fairy lights, probably get an LGBT complaint on that one.

My point? I'm not sure, but someone needs to shut the fuck up. Probably me.

The UK does not count Halloween as a holiday. Why? Because it isn't one. I find it amusing that God-bothering bible-belters have no problem dressing their kids as whores and bumble bees to celebrate a pagan ritual, but the secular English with their 1,000 year old churches mostly skip the whole thing, and concentrate on Guy Fawkes Day where they celebrate burning Catholics.

But I do like Thanksgiving. It does provide a distraction before Christmas.

It works in the US, because for all the hoopla about little baby JC's birthday, we only get one stinking day off work.

Meanwhile back in England, the land of a 1,000 empty churches, they get 1 to 2 weeks off.

My point? I'm not sure, but someone needs to shut the fuck up. Probably me.

Actually my point is why bother with Christmas in the US when it's no different to a sick day?

Thursday, December 23

Christmas Recipes #2

So tomorrow I set off for the annual Xmas pilgrimage to Cleveland.

Thanks to the wonderfully named blogger Eartha Kitsch, this year I am going to try to make these Party Penguins as an appetizer.

And if you're looking for a recipe to use up those leftover olives, carrots, cream cheese and toothpicks then try Eartha's step by step instructions here.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Recipes #1

I've been singing the song Salade de Fruits all day by André Bourvil.

When I'm surrounded by work, or stuck in traffic I find it makes me smile and relax.

Some smarty-pants on YouTube combined it with an actual recipe for fruit salad. So enjoy.

Wednesday, December 15

Happy Birthday Pancake

It's my darling Anne's birthday today.

Here she is on Mars, because I always get her an out-of-this-world present.

I also got her some socks. Because even though she's inter-galactic - her feet get pretty cold.

Monday, December 13


So I'm sat in the allergist office being tested to see if I flare up with a new anti-inflammatory drug.

All very prim and proper. Well. No. The test is literally me taking a pill and sitting on my arse for an hour while the lady with the animal print pj's checks in every 20 mins

The 2nd hour? 3 pills instead of 1 pill.

The allergist himself is speccing out a joinery project. He knows shit about countersinking and heavy gauge. Guess he didn't study that at medical school.

Update. The doc just popped in to ask about my MacBook. Science at work.

Sunday, December 12

When you stop caring

Anne spotted this the other day, so we gave it 24 hours and went back today to see if it had been corrected.

Shouldn't someone at BK Towers be kicking some asses about this?

Hold on, I just realized that perhaps I'm the one out of touch.

OK, I've googled sadwick, and except for some kind of German Dungeons and Dragons game, sadwick is not of any cultural significance.

So back to the BK in Somerville near Target. C'mon you lazy fucksticks, there's no excuse for this.

Friday, December 10


At the time of writing my poor darling wife still doesn't know that I just snagged the 6 hour min-series Bodyline, based on the 1932-33 Ashes series in Australia, when England attacked the Aussies with Leg Theory and head shots.

After 2 weekends of listening to live Ashes cricket, this weekend will be spent watching.

Yay for me. Boo for Anne.

Thursday, December 9


I popped the question to my missus on this day 15 years ago.

We'd gone to St. Paul's Cathedral and I had the notion of proposing in the famous whispering gallery.

Sadly a bunch of Jap tourists stood between me and my darling wife to be, and I had no intention of getting a bunch of "Hi"s and bows from the Harajuku Girls.

Plan B - We climbed to the outside balcony high above the city.

All set to whip the ring out and get down on one knee, except we were surrounded by nuns.

I contend they were tourist nuns ... which is even worse. They would not fuck off, instead they kept looking at the grey London skyline.

In a strange moment of atheist etiquette I felt guilty about using a church to propose. And I felt the nuns were sent by God to piss me off.

Then suddenly they buggered off. I kind of got on one knee, whipped out the ring, and with a quick "yes" from my newly created fiancé we went to The London Dungeon ... The Museum of Torture. I think they call that foreshadowing in movies ....

Wednesday, December 8

Reasons to be Cheerful

So yes, I'm bummed out by this whole wrist thing.

But it's not all bad news ... I was selected to be in the Cambridge Who's Who.

Once great packaging design specialist now spends all day whining on blog ....

MRI Update

Here's a mystery sign from the MRI Dept.

5 minutes later I was in the oversized medical gown, on my way to the big buzzing MRI machine.

They took 16 scans of my fragile wrist that took more than an hour to shoot.

3 days later my slightly passive aggressive doctor (who did not order the MRI), said "It shows nothing I didn't already know from the X-Ray".

Sadly the other thing my doctor doesn't know is why my wrist started hurting in the first place.

He does know why it hurts today, because he stuck a big fucking needle full of cortisone into it.

Tuesday, December 7


Rat in curry prompts cull at Bangladeshi university
By Ethirajan Anbarasan
BBC News, Dhaka

University officials in Bangladesh have ordered a major rat extermination drive after rodent meat found its way into chicken curry served to students.

The incident happened at Rajshahi University in western Bangladesh.

"One student detected the head of the rat while eating his lunch. That student instantly suffered a stomach upset," a spokesman told the BBC.

Soon after the incident hundreds of angry students staged a demonstration demanding action against the chef.

The chef has now been suspended and handed over to police who have been called in to investigate the incident.

"I told the students to stop eating in the dining hall of the university for two days. A drive to kill the rats in the dining hall is going on," university proctor Chowdhury Mohammad Zakaria told the BBC.

"It is a very unfortunate event and some 300 angry students gathered and protested against the unhygienic condition of food served in the university's dining hall.

"I must say that if I found rat meat in my food, I also would not be able to control my temper."

It was not immediately clear whether the rat meat was mixed with chicken curry intentionally.

In September 2009, a farmer was crowned Bangladesh's champion rat catcher after leading a team which he said killed more than 80,000 rodents in a month.

Mokhairul Islam was awarded a colour television at a ceremony attended by 500 farmers and officials in Dhaka.

The University of Rajshahi is one of the largest universities in the country and the largest in the northern region of Bangladesh.

Wednesday, December 1

A Good Sign

I love our local liquor store and I love that we call it a liquor store rather than the milquetoast 'off licence' in the UK.

Sav-Mor (that's 2 spelling mistakes), sell wacky beers I've never heard of, from places you didn't think make beer. They're all stacked up in the back covered in dust, with ripped labels. To get there you wade through the domestic light beer department and the wine selection that features the value end of the market.

I'm surprised a buzzer doesn't go off so that the foul-mouthed staff know a pretentious Cambridge Euro-git is in the store not buying Coors, Miller or 2-buck chuck.

During Thanksgiving and Christmas this is their straight to the point sign.

Fucking genius.