Wednesday, November 19

No Dining Room table but ...

As much as I love living in New England the past winter was a real bitch. It felt like we had 5 months of freezing weather.

We were spared this week's Arctic chill as Buffalo got 5 feet of snow (and another 5 on the way), but it's only a matter of time before we're digging out the cars.

So our plan is to officially enter old age this winter and spend a few months somewhere warmer.

Specifically we're planning to return to the Bay Area (where we met!) for much of January and February.

This week Anne is spending time in Marin visiting short-term rental properties - we need a place to live ... while we look for a place to live ... and I still have to work everyday.

Overnight she e-mailed me a video of a cute condo in Tiburon, that is set up for professionals moving to the area who need a few months to stay while they get settled.

A nice kitchen, 2 perfectly acceptable bedrooms, a deck overlooking the bay towards San Francisco, and in the living room?

Naturally, a white piano.

Tuesday, November 18

1 Room Kitchenette

I've noticed that when Anne travels I basically get home from work, make dinner and go to bed and watch TV.

She's in San Francisco for a few days and last night was no exception.

I didn't get home from work until 10.30pm, but I kicked off my shoes, groaned at the junk mail, and then took a sandwich upstairs and ate it in bed as I half-watched Monday Night Football* and skimmed an article about the new Bob Dylan release of the famously bootlegged Basement Tapes. I had no idea he wrote the Mighty Quinn, the terrible Manfred Mann song that everyone I know sings as Mighty Quim.

* In one league I fell 1 point short of a tie. Basically if Kelvin Benjamin had gone for 110 yards instead of 109 I would have had a tie in the bag.

Monday, November 17

Just Silly

We're averaging 10 catalogs a day in the lead up to Christmas.

Here's today's motley collection of nonsense ... except Spanx of course!


Sunday, November 16

Aren't all raccoons Republicans?

We've got a raccoon problem.

It started a few weeks ago just after we had planted winter plants in our garden. The next day the bulbs were on the path and the garden was full of burrowed holes.

Later that week I saw 4 of them playing in the garden. Remembering that Anne had said they can attack you and give you rabies (the fear of all British people - because we don't have it on our island!), I just knocked on the door and they ran off.

This coincided with Anne returning from a visit to Cleveland, so when I met her at the airport I filled her in on the issue.

We got home and she went straight out to check out the damage. Sat on the top of our pergola were 4 raccoons. Reading raccoon body language I'd guess they were giving us the middle finger. Not that I could see them because it was a) dark, and b) I was stood on the balcony away from the danger.

Anne's from Ohio, so she knows what to do, and she proceeded to shine the flash-light from her iPhone at them and make a noise that I would spell out as shhhuuuuffff.

Mission accomplished as someone else once erroneously said.

This past week the fuckers were back again, despite the addition of a sonic blaster set to, "Fuck you up raccoon".

So I ordered a waterproof radio - based on the idea that they are scared of human voices.

This past weekend I set it to NPR, because it's scientifically proven that twattish animals hate liberal do-gooder broadcasters.

So far? No raccoons. Thanks Terry Gross.


Friday, November 14

For the man who has too much

Have to be honest I'm loving the sudden elasticity in the Armani brand.

Everyday is decision day!

Thursday, November 13

Fans of Patriots AND Jets

When she's not rolling her eyes I like to think Anne has a modicum of respect for my stance against every single US sporting event needing the national anthem, and don't get me started on 300 ft US flags.

But she will not back down from her love of a good flyover.

As I headed to work this morning Anne was getting back from a client visit.

"Some F-15s are flying over at 8.15", she said like some sugar-rushed kid on Christmas Day.

Promising to look out for them I headed to work on Memorial alongside the Charles River. I saw hundreds of people stood looking into the horizon waiting for the jets to fly past.

Turns out the jets were 30 minutes late, which is probably the same amount of time everyone was late to work.

This is what I missed. I know ... they could just be fast flying geese from this far away.



I think the F stands for "Fuck Yeah"

Wednesday, November 12

That's Christmas sorted then

I got this creepy piece of junk mail yesterday.

Weird enough they know my wife's name, even weirder that they think I have bad taste.

Monday, November 3

Money's Too Tight to Mention

Mick Hucknall, all round ladies man of the 80s and 90s, and ginger singer of Simply Red announced a comeback tour today.

He looks like Eric Stoltz's mother from the movie Mask.


Wednesday, October 29

Monday, October 27

Obviously a Dog Terrorist

In massively stupid news it appears that Downton Abbey may kill off the Earl of Grantham's dog.

Because his name is Isis.


Friday, October 17

No unicorns. Just rainbows

My eye surgery has certainly made my eyesight better, but I still have beams of rainbows bearing down from any light source.

It's trippy to begin with, but after 4 weeks the appeal wanes.


Monday, October 13

Sunny Spells, Scattered Showers

Very unusual weather here.

Sunny spells AND scattered showers.

This has been the weather forecast consecutively for the past 1,693 days.

Thursday, October 9

Good Morning London

I'm opposite the wonderfully named Sam Widges.

This is my first time in the new Kings Cross station. My oh my it got fancy.

Returning home gets trickier each visit as you realize your own reality is becoming more and more redundant with each passing year.

Chip and Pin credit cards have been the norm in the U.K. for about 10 years now, but every time I use my U.S. credit card they have to dust off the old ker-chunk blue-paper copy machine from under the counter.

But I recently got a new credit card that in typical U.S. fashion decided that Chip and Pin was one too many things. This fucker is just Chip.

So as I stood in line at WH Smiths with a bottle of Ribena and a bag of McCoys Crisps (the healthy way to start any morning) I was impressed to see the guy in front of me just wave his card at a machine with some type of radio-wave/wi-fi signal on it.

I strolled up and did the same. Nothing. I could feel the eyes of busy commuters behind me. The chick behind the counter was as much use as a dick made of jelly.

Eventually she said, "Try sticking it in the machine". "Where?", I replied.

Her eyes rolled more than a car transporting Princess Diana.

In the end I had to sign. Immediately after she asked if I wanted a bag. "Sure" I replied.

"It'll be 5p", she said as I noticed the credit card only sign.

---

I exited and immediately walked into a wonderful scene.

A middle-aged guy (who I imagine I would have looked like if I'd had kids) was balancing 2 large coffees on top of each other as his little princess daughter in white tights and Mary-Janes tugged at his coat.

As he tried to wiggle away she became more demanding (think Veruca Salt in the Willy Wonka movie) and managed to make him knock over the top coffee on his little stack of two.

The coffee spilled over his hand, into his bag, over his laptop and finally came to rest on the shiny new station floor.

His caveman instinct erupted for a split second as he moved to club the little shit to death but of course in true modern-parent mode he didn't even shout. Instead under his breath he gently berated her as he wagged his finger. She grabbed the finger and bent it backwards.

Fantastic.

Wednesday, October 8

Logan Airport

Not everyone knows that Boston's airport was named after Johnny Logan, who of course won the Eurovision Song Contest twice (in your face Celine Dion).

I'm heading to England today.

I was surprised in these times of terrorism that IS is still allowed to maintain it's Duty Free Shops.

I don't know, one minute they're creating an Islamist State in South East Syria. You turnaround and there they are selling you an over-priced pen.

Next stop for me was the BA Business Lounge. In Boston this means a walk of shame down a smelly corridor past the Lufthansa Lounge.

Their Wi-Fi password this month? singapore.

Blaring out on CNN is the usual mish-mash of news surrounding international terrorism, airplane-spread Ebola, and a fluff piece on Ryan Reynolds.

Even I set limits on how many times I go up and grab a saucer full of free snacks, so I head back down the corridor.

By the elevator is this exit door.

Did they put up enough signs?

Soon it was time to board my day-time flight to Heathrow.

The configuration in Business is a 'top and tail', so until they bring the dividers up you are facing someone. In my case a miserable lesbian. Her mantra during the whole flight was, "I don't want anything to eat". Interestingly she watched Chef on the in-flight movie.

For the 2nd time running at Heathrow the Fast-Track lane was not fast, because they only had 2 counters open. This time I chose not to huff and puff because the aforementioned lesbian was doing enough for the both of us.

After picking up my bags I headed for the unreasonably priced Heathrow Express. Only $34 for a 15 minute ride ... it's more expensive than Kings Cross (boom boom).

I half expected zombies to come out – the place was so empty. At Paddington I did my usual Marks and Spencer run. You don't understand the beauty of a sandwich in a triangular carton until you live in a place without them.

My hotel is in Kings Cross. As you can imagine it's a junkie's delight. As I checked in 'Kiss On My List' by Hall and Oates was playing. It will be days before I erase this from my brain.

Up in my < 100 sq' room I opened my suitcase to discover the jar of peach jam I had smuggled into the country had indeed smashed, leaving my underwear a wonderful peachy-glass mess.

Thursday, October 2

Galactically Dumb

This whole American obsession with fear of dying of SARS, Anthrax, Bird Flu, Ebola reached new heights this morning when on CNN they had a Dr answering viewer questions.

"Can my dog give me Ebola, he drools a lot."

Meanwhile there are more school shootings than weekly specials at WalMart.

Watch out for a news story combining ISIS with Ebola in the next week.

Friday, September 26

Eye, Eye, Eye, Eye

I had LASIK surgery today. Having managed to avoid LASIK surgery gone wrong videos on the internet I was relieved that all in all it went quite well.

This procedure created more legal documents than buying a house. The underlying message was, you chose this and if it goes tits up it's all your fault.

First you pop a valium. Then I was asked if I would like to have the surgery room blinds opened so that the reception area can see the procedure. I voted no on that one.

Once woozy, you then enter the room, lay down and they hand a teddy bear for you to hold on to. I found this strange, but it was better than having a stick placed between my teeth.

The procedure takes 10 minutes and is an elongated process of contraptions that hold your eye open, lots of droplets to keep the area wet, and .... the smell of burning when the laser hits your eye.

Once in a while the doc would say keep still, and in the background the laser operator chick shouted out random lines from a sci-fi B movie. "Laser optimized. Monitors set to moderate. Output reading 5.0".

Afterwards you can see! But then they stick you in a room for 30 minutes and tell you to close your eyes.

I left the building with plastic shields over my eyes as shown below. But I also had a pair of plastic wrap-around shades over the top.

I looked cool.


Monday, September 22

En Route to Phoenix

A business meeting today meant I had to leave Cleveland on a different flight to Anne last night.

I never go in the non-United part of the airport. It's much nicer.

I started with a shit-jumper to Chicago. Plenty of down on their luck Browns fans on-board, plus a nice woman with the 2 sassiest kids you ever saw. Basically they hit each other for 45 minutes.

In Chicago the line for the Phoenix flight is a jungle. This is why I avoid USAirways. I'm in Business Class but there's a riot going on because we're not getting a meal. We are flying from Chicago to Phoenix ... not walking.

As boarding continues I notice a few people deciding to get off the plane. So just before they close the doors the flight attendant says, "This is your last chance to leave."

The woman next to me flips the fuck out. She's already had 2 glasses of wine, "The red kind" was her direct quote.

She decides to stay, but spends the next 3 hours furtively looking out of the window.

I land in Phoenix. It's almost a 100 fucking degrees. As I leave the garage with my rental (a Jeep) a bat hits my windshield.

I'm booked into a resort that is so convoluted in layout it requires a degree in Orienteering. I'm overlooking the 'Adult' pool. Happy to report no adult activity as of 11pm last night.

Temp is a cool 79° in the room. AC is like a penguin farting.

This morning I took a 10 minute maze walk to the dining area. Resort is on the precipice of a cliff. Expect each turn to end with a 400ft drop.

Should have left a trail of twine because it took 15 minutes to get back.

Time to get my game face on and go do some work!

A heavily photoshopped version of where I'm staying!

Saturday, September 20

Cash!

When we lived in London in the 90s there was a shitty TV commercial on local cable for converting jewelry into cash.

It 'starred' Oirish TV travel celeb Gloria Hunniford who demonstrated what cash looked like in the 2nd most classic pose you do with a cash prize.

The best pose is of course the money in the briefcase look, but the 2nd best is definitely the fan.

Today, we went to the new casino in Toledo (Go Rockets) with Anne's parents, and I won $800!

Here's the fan.

Tuesday, September 16

Oops

Everything was fine until they opened the doors.


Saturday, September 13

Little Late

We're having a LoveCats party tomorrow, so we've spent the week tidying up the house.

I found this calendar for 2011 underneath a pile of papers.

Nice!



Friday, September 12

Decisions, decisions

The last few days Anne and I have been placing these pieces of paper in our pockets, in our hands and even making fake phone calls.

The result?

We're going small!


Wednesday, September 10

Just like Buses

You make one Frasier comment every 15 years and then another comes along a few days later.

A colleague of mine was flying back from the West Coast last night.

Because it was a red-eye she was in Business Class.

Who should sit next to her, but Kelsey Grammer!

He had a quick cocktail and then tried the seat recline. It wasn't up to his satisfaction.

So he finished his drink and got off the plane. As he left he suggested the airline in question should be ashamed to call the front few rows 'First Class'.

I hope they were listening. Boom!

If I'd have been on the plane I would have taken the chance to thank him for his cinematic masterpiece Down Periscope. It gets 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. At least 8% of those marks are from my parents.

Monday, September 8

That's a smart rabbit

Making sure to eat the grass in a dog-free zone.

Of course this only works for dogs that speak English ... ruling out French Poodles and German Shepherds!


Sunday, September 7

Happy Anniversary

Today is my parent's 51st wedding anniversary.

Way more importantly, it's also my dad's first ever day of fantasy football.

And he's going up against me in week 1.

He's currently leading by 10, but I've got pizza-pitchman and Forrest Gump sound-alike Peyton Manning throwing for me tonight. This will be close.

Friday, September 5

Raheem Sterling

The Little Richard of football?















The kid's good but he runs like he's waiting for his nail polish to dry.


Thursday, September 4

Football Baby

We've only had the TV on for 10 minutes and Rodney Harrison has already mocked Tony Dungy.

I love Rodney Harrison almost as much as I despise homophobic skull-head Tony Dungy.

It's great to be back!

Tuesday, September 2

We're gonna party like it's 1999

When we lived in London we had a 14" portable TV at the end of the bed.

We also had a weirdo cable feed and one of the channels was Paramount who would repeatedly play episodes of Frasier every night.

It became a bit of a late night ritual to fall asleep to Kelsey Grammer.

Cut to the present and Anne still requires background noise to fall asleep.

In the last few years she's gone through the whole back catalog of Seinfeld and Mary Tyler Moore to soothe her to sleep and now we're back to Frasier.

We're already up to Season 6 and they never fail to send Anne to sleep.

Monday, September 1

Colour Co-ordinated


I love that the guy who hit the Sky Sports reporter with a dildo outside the Everton ground on transfer deadline day chose one in his team colours.







Sunday, August 31

Still obsessed

Another month of averaging more than 10,000 steps a day.

Yay!


Saturday, August 30

Weekend Madness

If you live in Cambridge you know this long weekend is full of kids in U-Haul trucks moving into dorms and studio flats all around the city.

Lost count of the number of old appliances, pieces of furniture and mattresses I've seen on the sidewalk, but Anne one-upped me.

She saw the clown who backed his rental van into this tree ... which was upright at the time of impact.




Wednesday, August 27

I could do that in 5 words

6 word headline on BBC News today.

US Girl, nine, kills gun instructor.


US is moribund in this headline.

Sunday, August 24

What's the Mata?

I just won 85 of those Great British Pounds!


Sunday, August 17

Bit of a Dick

Went to my once-a-year excuse to drink $9 Coors Light and day-dream. AKA baseball.

We had the good seats where the waitress brings you drinks.

Guy in front of us asked for pizza. When told they had none, he slapped his knees in disgust and then death stared ahead while the waitress hung around for 30 seconds to see if he had an alternate.

He did not.

When the game started the lady on the front row leaned forward placing her arms on the balcony. The knee-slapper tapped her on the shoulder and said he couldn't see the pitcher if she did that. Awkward silence as she sat back in her seat.

All the time the guy's kid was sneezing every 8 seconds. What a delight.

I haven't gone all Instagram with this shot. I just pressed the wrong button on my phone!


Thursday, August 14

70 reasons for a great day out

Today is my mum's 70th Birthday.

Happy Birthday mum!

After some frenzied gift opening we kicked off with Breakfast at Zoe's where my dad tackled the Waffle Slammer!

Next we took a ferry out to Georges Island for a few hours of walking (I got my mum a FitBit) and sunburn.

Lots of fun facts as you cruise the Harbor Islands. You learn about mental institutions, hangings, sewage treatment, squatters rights, trash dumping and a bunch of things the British did as they exited Boston.

Here's a photo of my parents stood in a hole next to me.

On the way back to Boston I think our tour guide was drunk.


And tonight we headed to No9 Park for some fancy-schmancy fine dining. We went for the Tasting Menu and paired the wines ... because why not?

One reason why not is because afterwards outside the restaurant I had $3 in one hand for the valet to find us a taxi, and $20 for the taxi.

Imagine my surprise when I came to pay the taxi driver with the $3 in my hand. The valet must think I am some kind of big shot!

And if 7 courses wasn't enough we also got my mum a cake!

Not to worry, tomorrow will be a mini-golf, burgers and ice cream day.

Wednesday, August 13

15 years later

It's a slim volume ... but the book of Anne impersonating Washington DC landmarks is still coming together.


Saturday, August 9

(Y)Our Nation's Capital

Took a quick trip to DC this weekend with my parents.

Other than dozens of selfies, the highlights were ....

Sweatily walking The Mall to see the checklist sights of Capitol, Needle, Lincoln and White House.

Avoiding jokes about Daniel Day Lewis at the Lincoln Memorial and instead focusing on the Asian tourists sat on the steps having some important Lincoln speech read to them in their native language.

video


Watching Buddhist monks tackle iPad videoing as douche bags walked in front of them to challenge their serenity.

Lunch in a cool neighborhood with Jeff and Sean!


A turquoise clad Quinceañera outside the Capitol with a tough looking lady chauffeur in black leather gloves with a clipboard.

Steak at Top Chef alumni Spike's restaurant.

Peace and quiet at the Arlington cemetery as I people-watched to see if anyone was angered by visitors from former foes.

At his memorial, Anne's quick facts about Jefferson and his extra-curriculum affairs.

Friday, August 8

Customer Service 101

Me. Hi, I'd like to order pizza for delivery.

Za. OK.

Me. Oh, OK, then I'd like a medium with ...

Za. I need a name.

Me. Richard Taylor.

Za. Just first name is enough.

Me. OK, then Richard. You know, there's no need for the attitude.

Za. OK.

Me. I'd like a medium with ...

Za. I need a phone number.

Me. Fuck you.

Sadly mobile phones have removed the satisfaction of slamming down the phone, but I certainly hit the End Call button with gusto.

Wednesday, July 30

Triangle Time

So we went to Bermuda last week.

The highlights were:

Game Show on the plane.
Our flight attendant, imagine if Erin Andrews was from Revere, was the quizmaster testing us on Massachusetts facts. We used our attendant buzzers to guess the correct answer. The winner won an 'adult beverage'. Adult beverage in dick quotes because it came with a boom-boom booty shake from the flight attendant.

2 Hour flight. 2 Hour wait in Customs
Might as well fly 4 hours to Puerto Rico and then just walk straight to the taxi line. Instead we shuffled slowly. The guy behind me would not shut up complaining. I would not shut up complaining about him complaining. Anne read her book. The other guy's wife pretended to be pregnant so that they could jump the line. Twats!

Like tar on a hot day
When we finally reached the passport guy he was a slow mover and his computer was running Windows 98. After 10 minutes he finally stamped our passports and then asked me back. Apparently there is a known Bermudan fugitive named Richard Taylor. They wanted to check if I was him. I wasn't.

$50?
We'd booked a shuttle from the airport to our resort. Apparently I payed for a 'Zone 1' transit, but our resort being on the other side of Bermuda equals 'Zone 6'. $50 please.

Disco Inferno
Like the pale European idiot I am I managed to burn in the sun on the first day.
Update: 3 weeks later half my body is still peeling like a snake.

Marks & Spencer!!
We took a ferry ride to Hamilton and they have an M&S - woo to the hoo! Lot's of rich chocolatey treats and flavorful savory snacks!

Blue Drinks
There's not enough blue food in general but these sugary alcohol laden things hit the spot every time!

String Section
No, the resort did not have an orchestra, but a young woman in front of us on the sun-loungers did remove her sun-top without realizing the string on her bikini bottoms had also unfastened. How long was her ass on show? If it was toast it would have failed the 5 second rule.

Chickens & Turtles
A few chickens were strutting around the resort not realizing that their friends were on the menu each night. The turtles lived in a multi-storey pool and each day I would patiently await as one of them dived into the pool below.

Dick to Dick Move
On our last morning I had to listen to some blowhard tell his stupid crashing a moped story (it was the moped's fault) to multiple people in the lobby. So when it came to board our taxi to the airport I failed to mention that his cases were also in the trunk of our car. Our driver got a panicked call en-route. Ha!

Tuesday, July 29

Triangle Time

Anne didn't believe me that there used to be a Soap Opera in the 80s set aboard a North Sea Ferry.

Kate O'Mara's finest work!

Thursday, July 24

Precautionary Bite

Insects find me attractive.

No warm weather vacation is complete without a series of mozzie or ant bites.

So as I prepare to go away for a few days in sunny Bermuda it was nice to get 3 massive mosquito bites out of the way before I even hit the airport.


Wednesday, July 23

Twat alert

In front of me at my local coffee place this morning a chick asked for a steamed soy milk double shot latte with a burst of hazelnut.

2 minutes later as she sent the server off to get a wacky pie from the back of the store she sipped on her coffee and excalimed the milk was too hot. Not too cold. Too hot.

Instead of using the traditional format of either

a) blowing on it
b) waiting for it to cool

She went for the c option, and we know that the c stands for. Yes she demanded another, and the lady behind the counter obliged.

I hate this type of kiss-ass customer service.

Just say, "Next" and turn your head slightly to the left and ask me what I want.

Saturday, July 19

One more thing

Post 9/11 everyone started saying "safe travel", or "travel safe" whenever you schlepped off to the airport.

I had some colleagues who would even say it for the train.

This week in San Diego and Dallas the American Airlines staff in the lounge were saying, "Gentle travel".

I suppose this makes sense because AA representatives shouldn't be saying safe travels. That should be a given. But gentle travel? What's next? Soothing travel?

Friday, July 18

Joys of travel

I've been in San Diego the past few days.

Tuesday night a driver picked me up at the airport, asked me what I did for a living and then proceeded to tell me about his graphic design business. He made large format banners, and in his own words, "Mostly of big titties." 20 minutes later and he was still talking tits.

Hotel is lovely! Stayed here before, and it follows my hotel/wi-fi algorithm.

The more expensive the hotel the less satisfying the internet experience. Hotel was about $450 a night. wi-fi didn't work. I bet the wi-fi at the Red Roof Inn on the I-5 worked just fine.

Wednesday was a work day with a new client, but that didn't stop my business partner Maria having time to pose for this shot.

And then to Thursday. Up at 3.30am for 4am checkout. I had a 6.15 departure to Dallas.

If you looked at a map of the US for Thursday morning you would have seen there was no weather anywhere, except thunderstorms in Dallas.

Finally got on the plane at 8.30. Then the pilot told us we couldn't fly - Dallas has shut the airport. An hour later and no change so he let us off the plane to go buy (in my case) expensive 'artisan' chocolate.

There's been a few instances recently of high profile celebs giving up their business class seats to troops. Fuck that! The one army guy on our plane was a total tool and made inappropriate comments about going back to Fort Hood to shoot guns as he slammed his bag into the overhead compartment.

We finally took off at 11am. When I landed at Dallas 3 hours late for my connection ... that never took off I was confronted with a scene of mayhem! Everyone was playing catch up. Amazingly I got a flight that took off at 9pm.

Our flight attendant was a bit of a kook. Bringing around some steaming cocktails that looked like they were concocted in a mad scientist's lab. Nobody took one.

As we landed at 1.30am she tried being funny on the speaker system. I cracked a smile and then remembered I had parked in the economy lot and would need to get a shuttle bus.

Finally home about 2am. On a work day no less!

Sunday, July 13

Sad Pope

I saw someone bill the Germany vs Argentina World Cup Final as old Pope vs new Pope.

After Germany had won, the camera panned around the stadium, and I think I spotted the Pope from my earlier game in Belo Horizonte.

Bad luck Argentinian Pope.

Saturday, July 12

What's in your wallet?

Credit cards are like airlines, they're all pretty average and your favorite one is determined by how few times they fuck up.

Capital One are my United.

Earlier this year I noticed that my Capital One card had been compromised - a word I think we all lifted from binge-watching a few too many seasons of 24.

I was particularly happy because it meant that every one of my 3 credit cards had seen fraudulent charges over the previous 2 months. What can I say? I shop a lot at Target.

Months later, in fact on Memorial Day, I was enjoying an 8 mile round-trip walk to and from my office when Capital One called me to say that Card #2 had been attacked again.

Impressed that they had caught this one instead of me, I walked them through each fraudulent charge as I continued my hot and humid walk through Cambridge.

Card #3 arrived late May but it seemed like Capital One were slow to clear the fraudulent charges, so I didn't use the card in June.

By the end of June new fraudulent charges (I'm calling them fraud #3) had shown up on my statement so I called Capital One and they assured me this was just a hold-over from the previous fraud. I reminded them they had yet to remove the bad charges from May and they wiped them.

Happy and resolved I began to use Card #3 until last week when their fraud department called me again. It seems Card #3 was compromised with fraud #3 and they wanted to send out a new Card.

Given that I had not used Card #3 when fraud charges #3 occurred I had simple question. "How can I be sure that you won't screw up again?"

To paraphrase Capital One's fraud guy, "This time they would really tighten up their security process."

Obviously this annoyed me so I asked that they cancel my card and tell me my final balance so that I could pay off my outstanding charges.

He couldn't tell me that information. Instead he just re-explained what had transpired as if magically repeating the fuck-up would placate me 30 minutes into a phone call on a busy work day.

That's when I also decided to close my savings account with them.

Today is 10 days later. It's a sunny day and I already have a new credit card from another (probably just as bad) credit card company. 

Arriving home from another hot and humid walk around Cambridge I opened the mailbox to find, not one, not two, not three, but yes! Four letters from Capital One.

None of them were of any use.


Wednesday, July 9

Mmmm Ms Jones

The Dutch Diver Arjen Robben looks a bit like Leonard Rossiter as Rigsby from Rising Damp.


Saturday, July 5

Are the Celtics playing? No Idea

We live close to the Cambridge prison. It's an unconventional prison utilizing just the top 4 floors of a 24 storey high-rise in an otherwise low-rise neighborhood.

The prisoners are male, or deep-voiced lesbians. I know this because they sometimes shout down to Anne in our garden and ask her to take her top off. They never ask me.

I can tell when there's a basketball game on because they cheer every long-three.

But this is all in the past tense now, because the prisoners were moved out today to a nicer, less asbestossy, jail in the suburbs.

At least they got to see the July 4th fireworks one last time.

Our neighborhood continues to be radicalized to oppose every new direction the disused prison takes. Our one choice appears to be. Knock it down.

We did have some shocking news this week. One of the neighborhood leaders died. Word on the street is that he jumped off the Tobin. Yuk.

Here's a rendering of what the prison may finally look like.

Renders always look better than actual life!

Wednesday, July 2

Milquetoast

Because I'm such a great husband I went to see Bruno Mars with Anne tonight.

Bruno was fine, but the support act was Aloe Blacc. Milquetoast Aloe sounds like some type of pathetic herbal remedy. Appropro.

Let the record show that Aloe's real name is Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III.

Aloe's chat between songs, and when he tediously 'broke it down' mid-song, was ... well .... tedious. When you keep mentioning the album you released 4 years ago you should not have to start your set with an audience participation "Throw your hands in the air, na na na na", type of refrain.

His intro to "I'm the Man" when he dropped Dr. Dre's name from such a great height that I'm shocked Compton didn't hear the splat was longer than the song itself.

Here's how I would have introduced it. "This is the one where I stole Elton John's chorus".

Next we had to spend 5 minutes listening to his process with Avici, before he sang his other hit.

All the while the big screen switched from PR headshot, to artist website, to an e-mail for a free song and finally the Aloe Black logo. When your logo is your most original artistic expression it's time to quit. Even his band looked like joyless guys paid by the hour who had to listen to his well-rehearsed 'ad-libs'.

At one point he asked the screaming teenagers to 'soul-clap'. They had no fucking clue.

I did, but still didn't.

I've seen James Brown, Prince and Bootsy Collins live, and none of those guys could get me to clap on cue so this talentless sack of air has no fucking chance.

Bruno was just fine. Entertaining showman-like performance ... although I could have done without the Asian teenager 3 seats down who had the bladder of a small rodent.

Monday, June 30

HIV. Cancer. Mexican Food

Clear to see the areas in which the world of science is developing.

The guys in the white coats have managed to combine a quesadilla and a burrito for Taco Bell's new Quesarito.

Incredible. What will they do next?


Sunday, June 29

Hyundai Accent and a Porsche Boxster

Anne and I went shopping today for some replacement kitchen appliances.

Microwave
I've just about broken every button on our current microwave. The 2, 3, 6 and 9 are the only one's still functional so it's a bit of a mathematic puzzle each time you need to defrost something.

We were told that there are only really 3 manufacturers worldwide of microwaves, everyone just re-badges them, which is why many different brands sound the same when you shut the door or push the buttons. As such, there is no high-end microwave ... at least not for the over the range types.

We bought a Whirlpool. Don't know who really makes it, but it's very quiet when you close the door. And I like that.

If the microwave is a Hyundai then we bought a Porsche of a dishwasher.

We were comparing 2 Mielé dishwashers. Anne asked what the difference was. My answer "$500".

We went with the pricier one!

I think this one does the laundry, re-stocks your fridge with beer and is good for 3 full-body rub-downs a year.

Anne liked the cutlery tray at the top of the dishwasher. That's what made it pricy.

Sunday, June 22

PostScript

Landing at Miami at 5am I'm placed in a "They may be American but they have been in Brazil enjoying an un-American pastime" line.

First I have to answer questions on a machine that prints out my photo with a big cross drawn through it. The passport guy asks me, "Where have you been", I bite my tongue so as NOT to say, "Look on the fucking form in front of you $10 an hour man", and just go with "Brazil".

He asks which game I saw and then who won it. "Argentina. Last minute. Crowd go wild" is my incredibly fact filled reply.

Next I have the same insidious interrogation from the Customs man. He hates that I was gone for just one day. It must suck to ask sleepy hyphenate-Americans what they were doing at 5.30am on a Sunday. Tough shit Customs guy, you should have tried harder at school and maybe you would have a better job.

Later I board my flight to Boston where I am sat next to a pilot called Rob Roy. Odd.

Home by 10.30am, and a full day of watching World Cup football ensues!!


Saturday, June 21

Post Game Blues

The blue of Argentina is everywhere. Including a few 'Hand of God' tops reminding me of 1986 and the cheating little cocaine addict who knocked England out of the tournament with his hand. Not bitter.

Back at the parking lot, and a scene is brewing. A bunch of people are blocked in. Drunk and shirtless Argentinian fans are flirting with the parking lady, A Brazilian guy is arguing with who I think is the farther of the parking lady. A family uncomfortably looks around as a guy takes a pee in the corner of the lot.

I try to stay out of it, although I do check my language app to see if they have a suitable phrase for my situation.

I'm finally able to squeeze out and I begin a 2 hour search for a gas station, before undergoing the most rigorous search of a rental car return I have ever witnessed. As this is going on 2 middle aged ladies in the rental shack knit and watch Germany v Ghana. Goooaaaallll and yet not a dropped stitch between them.

The airport has a massive TV with a rug and sofas, so 100s of us watch the game as we wait for our flights home.

Belo Horizonte is a big enough city to have a direct flight to Miami, but small enough to be mostly a domestic airport. The international gate is reached through an office door and a single x-ray machine.

But because Argentina have just played there are 10 extra charter flights to Buenos Aires. As I stand in line for the x-ray machine with 600 Argentinian blokes I realize why it was a bad idea to travel on my UK passport.

Next to me is a guy wearing a t-shirt with a map of the Falkland Islands. The 2 islands each contain a Union Jack flag, but between them is a middle finger wrapped in the Argentinian flag. Beneath? A simple phrase - Fuck You.

I smile nervously, raise a thumb, and say Malvinas.

It's fair to say if he had punched me I would have gone down quicker than the General Belgrano.