Thursday, July 31, 2003

Munchy seeds. They munchy.
OK, the CRM thing's nearly over. Anyone know anything about HR strategy? Or international accounting? My (intellectual/professional) life is just one long party, right? And what I don't know about CRM for the SME market, and other related TLAs, well...
Just up against deadlines, that's why I'm quiet. And my PC crashed spectacularly at 3.30 yesterday: spent four hours trying to get Outlook not corrupted, was just about to do a full reinstall, when it miraculously came back .Computers, I'll never understand.

And I'm humming a bunch of Motown classics while I work because I l-uuuuuuuu-rved Standing In the Shadows of Motown so much. The Funk Brothers (well, some of them) live. It's The Buena Vista Social Club without the feelgood ending where they get fame, fortune and recognition. Oh, and from now on you can call me Sasha "Funkadelic" XXXX. (Or possibly Sasha "Chilli" XXXX on account of two recent fabulous batches of X's chilli recipe, replete with chocolate).

Here's what I learned from this film: Bootsy Collins wears outfits that exclusively match my interior decor, and is clearly Prince's alma pater; it's cold in Detroit - no-one took their coat off for the entire movie; Me'Shell NdegéOcello has put on a little weight, and grown her hair; Chaka Khan has a lot of hair, even by my standards; when a filmaker makes a movie with true care and devotion, it's an act of love.
Date for your (my) diary - London Open House weekend - 20th/21st September. The best (architectural) fun you can have with your (designer) clothes on.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Literary jokes of the fnah-fnah kind....
Oh, I'm really busy. I'm not complaining, it can be a bit feast-or-famine when you're freelance, and I've been lucky enough that all my clients have come back to me for more work. It's just now I have two live projects with a deadline for last/this Friday. And one of them requires regular - lengthy' yesterday's was 93 minutes - conferences calls with an American bloke who's been on active listening courses, who spends most of the time "reflecting" what we've said, just to "be sure he's listening well". Jeez. And now, as is the way with projects, the CEO has come in at the last minute with changes I have to do. And by the time I haggle about them, I could have done them, and I don't want to be a walkover because it's not in the contact, and they keep promising me more work. Oh, I dunno.

By contrast, the other project is run by a guy who doesn't have voicemail, responds to emails in 72 hours, and is rarely in the office, he's "working from home" but can't call me back till the next day. Urgency is not his middle name.

And now client C (new) has appeared, which is cool, and I'll be spending three days a week in an office in Queen's Park (which is a nice walk from my house), for a few weeks, anyway.

So a lot's happened, honestly, I just haven't had time to write.

  • Saw Danny Glover, the Join Me progenitor on TV, and a bit of judicious googling told me that he's Dave Gorman's best mate. So not a bloke in Deptford who just woke up one morning.... but a stand-up comedian who wants some coverage. Fair enough.
  • N's fancy dress party: anything that was fashionable between 1885 and 1985. Inspired.
  • Superlative chilli (X's recipe), with real chocolate, but low fat
  • Sunny Wimbledon garden with creative musician types
  • Whale Rider - did I mention that already? Great film. I really got the disonnance between the old traditions and the modern world.
  • Ed's Easy Diner. Do I have a story to tell you, when I have more time
  • Might have found a flatmate
  • Going to Manchester for a stonesetting and a haircut on Sunday. Important to get your priorities right.
  • Monday, July 28, 2003

    Amaranth - polenta for Aztecs.
    The low-down on Spanish practices, phrase and fable.
    Did I just hear someone on Radio 4's Today programme decscribe British Airway's workers' current, allegedly cheating practices around clocking in as "Spanish practices"? The world's favourite airline? Not in tapas land, I'll betya.

    Sunday, July 27, 2003

    You know, I've never counted, but I might have a hundred and fifty bags/handbags in my wardrobe. And now, I'm going to a picnic on Wimbledon Common, and I don't have the right bag.

    Thursday, July 24, 2003

    Heard a short piece on Radio 4 yesterday about the Human Givens approach to therapy. Here's a piece in the New Scientist. Joe Griffin is a salesman par excellence - a bit like Bob McKee: sounds fantastic in person, but then when you read the book/blurb, you realise that he has a certain number of well-written soundbite-esque views that he keeps saying. Don't know how much validity there is in his view: that "psychological archealogy" is pretty much useless, and it's mostly to do with how much sleep you get.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2003

    Hippy hippy shake: here's a place I may or may not want to go on holiday. For goodness sake...
    So Kate Rothschild (20) and Ben Goldsmith (23) are to marry this summer.

    From this Sunday's Sunday Times:
    "Like the Goldsmiths, the Rothschild dynasty has its roots in the Jewish ghettos of 18th century Frankfurt. Distantly related, they carved out a lucrative and powerful niche in finance and politics"

    Just me, is it?
    For no reason other than that I like to keep some kind of record, here are some looking-after-me things I've been doing, recently:
  • Avoiding wheat, diary and refined carbohydrates (again). I've realised that when I do this, I wake up full of the joys of spring, even when it's midsummer
  • Plucking my eyebrows to perfection (don't all mention it when you see me, will y'all?)
  • Growing all my nails the same length, and putting protein treatment on twice a day
  • Sprouting alfalfa in a bid to eat healthily
  • Putting moisturiser on every night before I go to bed
  • Flossing after every meal
  • Using Bobbi Brown special skin fabulousness treatment every morning
  • Moisturising my feet
  • Drinking two litres of water a day
  • Growing fresh herbs in my window box

    I can be annoying, can't I. Sorry.
  • We often get helicopters flying over the house, because it's zone two/urban and stuff happens, I guess.

    So this morning, I'm in the shower, and the helicopters are really loud. Sounds almost like they're landing in front of the house. Can't help feeling that I'm in a really bad disaster movie, just before the crisis, where everyone's having a normal life, and then the avalanche/nuclear bomb/king kong comes.

    Just went outside to go and take my dry cleaning, and there IS a helicopter parked on Kilburn High Road. Apparently - tragically - a worker fell off the top of the building opposite, where they're doing some roofing/renovation type work. So we've got an air ambulance, a regular ambulance, (nem svay) a fire engine and all manner of people in emergency kit that would have my four year old nephews rushing inside to get their fire engine hats to match. And we're cordoned off from two houses one way, to my house, with red stripey tape.

    Can't be good, falling off a three storey building. There's an awful lot of hanging around: I never really know why people are drawn to drama. When I was a kid, we had a cleaner who would rush straight to Ringway whenever there was an accident at the airport.
    Finally lost it with all manner of London Buses people - another, allegedly final, meeting has gone belly-up. Mirabelle (my London Buses contact, not her real name), has more holidays
    than I have chicken dinners. But then, I am a vegetarian.

    When we spoke on Monday, we made a provisional arrangement to meet on Tuesday 29th July, in the morning, with Fred, the "relevant officer" from Camden (whose name you
    couldn't remember). You called me at the end of the day to let me know you hadn't reached him yet.

    I now receive the email below [saying she's done nothing and is on holiday -again - now]. I called your office and discover you are on holiday till Tuedsay. Is someone dealing with this
    matter in your absence?

    I reiteriate my point made to you on the phone on Tuesday: I am sick and tired of the way this matter is being dealt with. I have been reasonably and efficient since October 2001. Your office has postponed meetings, and has not been available to meet, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months. The action points from our May meeting have - largely - disappeared into the ether. The Big Boss has not returned my call since I met him in - I think - February.

    If this was a commercial business, you would leave a colleague to deal with such a matter while you are out of the office.

    Mirabelle, you are thoroughly charming when we meet or speak, but the inefficiency with which this matter is being dealt with astounds me.

    Are we meeting on Tuesday morning, or not? Do I leave this item in my diary? Or will I have to wait another week to organise it when you return to the office.


    Your Bus Stop Fairy
    Here's a headline that doesn't really work:

    This impact-resistant notebook makes a powerful impact.

    That's not a headline - it's a (copy) brief.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2003

    I hate the phrase SEX UP. With a vengeance.
    Micro$oft question: in outlook, does anyone know if I can email a category?
    Well, here's a thing. I read a piece by Peta Bee in the Indepedent on Sunday, 13 July, about how honesty's a dying policy, and lying's on the increase. Sample quote from Patsy Kensit: "A thief's going to rob you, a murderer's going to kill you, but you never know where you are with a liar." The IoS don't seem to have it online: it was only in the LifeEtc section.

    So today, I'm looking around online, and come across this: The Lying Game. Seems to be linked off a Dutch site, using it as a comprehension piece on English language, but I figure it's a piece by Luci Hoe from sometime between February and June 2003, possibly printed in the (UK) Sunday Times. Quotes most of the same academics. Samle quote (from Patsy Kensit): "A thief's going to rob you, a murderer's going to kill you, but you never know where you are with a liar." Doesn't seem to be on the ST site, so could be some other (Dutch?) Sunday Times?

    But what's going on here? Practically the same article by two seemingly different people? You tell me.
    I got email from extreme tracking a coupla months back saying, as I remember it, that they're going bust probably, but will take cash from Dutch customers, which was a shame, because I would have happily sent them some cash. I got worried, but did nothing about it. Now, they're taking google ads, which means they've got a revenue stream, thank the lord.
    Did you read that thing in the Sunday papers that said Banksy's mum and dad think he's a painter and decorator?
    I know I've been quiet: lots of work/socialising, in some sort of order. In no kind of order, here's some highlights of the previous week:
  • M called me Tuesday morning, to see if I wanted to see Jackie Mason in his one-night-only London show at the Opera house. £100 (except they were freebies). Couldn't make it - I had tickets to see the North West London Jewish Day School production of HMS Pinafore. It was very cute. Jackie Mason, I can see any time.
  • Sunday Father at the Hampstead Theatre: saw the opening preview. Great writing, emotional psychodrama type play. Takes a while to get going, but: see it.
  • Igby Goes Down: reminds me enormously of The Royal Tennenbaums: dysfunctional up-market family, stylised movie. Same trailer problem: the adverts promised you fast-paced-laugh-a-minute, but that's just all the best bits soldered together for three minutes. Good though: except he doesn't, actually, go down. And Claire Danes with Jewish hair? You have to see. It's Catcher in the Rye for the twenty first century, kinda.
  • My neighbour is a DJ, but I suspect I am his only audience, as he's not very good.
  • Had fifteen people for lunch on Saturday, which necessitated the buying of new folding chairs from Ikea. Made fabulous watermelon and feta salad with mint, as well as all the usual suspects.
  • M's summer party saturday night: had a sudden sense of being awwwfully grown up. All the girls were wearing make-up, in an adult, seamless kinda way.
  • Friday night dinner at the Rabbi's house: there were about fifteen of us (I sense a theme emerging), and I didn't get home till about 1.30am. That Rabbi (and his wife) rock. As they don't say at the Federation of Synagogues.
  • Sunday brunch on Marylebone High Street with J: we tried desparately hard to go to Eat and Two Veg (a new veggie place), but they had someone outside for an hour consistenty saying they'd be open in fifteen minutes. Discovered La Fromagerie, and that Pauline Fowler obviously lives round there, as she saw me again. I wonder what she said on her weblog?
  • Saturday, July 19, 2003

    For those who always think there are two types of people: there are alpha males, and the alfalfa kind.

    Friday, July 18, 2003

    So, farewell then, Netscape.
    I just asked a client for their office number, and he said

    "I'm location-independent. Best to try the mobile."

    Yep, he really said that.
    Where has that (Downes?) referrer script gone to? It's varnished (covered in a coating of clear polyerethene)
    Jazz on the streets, summer festival - starts Sunday.
    Last night, driving from A to B and listening to the news on Radio 4, around 8pm, I hear a mobile go off, and it's playing Auld Lang Syne. Weird, I think, I've got mine on vibrate, but I find myself looking in my handbag (don't know why: modern habit: mobile rings, you think it's yours, you check). After a few excrutiating seconds, the newsreader says "someone seems to have left their mobile on in the studio. I'll er, I'll start that piece again." And he started re-reading something he clearly didn't have his mind on. Classic.

    Thursday, July 17, 2003

    Ridicule Is Nothing To Be Scared Of*
    Documentary evidence that it's been rather hot of late.

    *irrelevant title, just watched half of the Adam Ant retrospective on Channel 4.
    Do you need to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate)? Try the Harris-Benedict formula.

    In fact, I'm not busy, so I made a little spreadsheet you can download: just put your weight in pounds, age, and height in inches into the yellow box, and it does the rest for you.
    GET THIS: Assaf called me yesterday abou the flat, and arranged to see it at 10am this morning. I had to go into a clients to proof a brochure, so did an 8am crack-of-dawn shebang, and now, get a text AT TEN O'CLOCK, saying "cant c ur appt today".

    Is this a punishment of some sort?
    Before Monday's debate, I'd never heard of James Crabtree (sorry, James), now it's like buses/nuns/similie of your choice. Heard him on the Today programme crack of dawn, talking animatedly about e-democracy.
    Just watching the news, a piece about increased crime statistics in London, and it was illustrated by a bit of verite (as I believe they call it) - two uniformed police officers crossing the street. Except the woman had a sizeably large behind, including visible-though-trousers cellulite, and we all know TV makes you add 10 pounds, and I bet she wasn't happy with her fifteen minutes, this morning.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2003

    Just called my dentist to rebook the appointment I had to cancel when I sprained my ankle. You may remember that last summer I was extremely nervous of going to the dentist, but eventually found someone fabulous. The receptionist this afternoon recognised me immediately, had a chat, how's your ankle? When I try and rebook my checkup, she mysteriously goes into another room to pick up the phone.

    "Mr X has a claim of professional misconduct against him, which he's obviously vigourously denying, but he has voluntarily decided to stop working, so I'm afraid I can't book any appointments with him."

    No, she can't tell me what kind of misconduct. I am baffled: he was fab, it seemed.
    Just to make it clear, I wasn't thinking of charging Glenda, I'd just like to know what's going on in her head/my constituency. No idea if she can write, though.
    Blogging MPs in North London?
    So fired up was I by Monday's VoxPolitics event, that through some linkwhoring somewhere, I read a post where someone said we should all just contact our MP and see if they wanted help setting up a blog.

    There appear to be two MPs in my consituency: Glenda Jackson and Frank Dobson. As Frank doesn't have an email address, I emailed Glenda, entitled "do you have a weblog?" thusly:

    I wondered if you have ever considered having a weblog?

    Tom Watson, Member for West Bromwich has one, at

    I went to a very interesting debate at the Palace of Westminster
    last night, and it struck me that it might be something that
    would help your constituents be aware of the issues you're
    dealing with.

    I have a weblog, (details below), and I'd be very happy to help
    you set one up, should you so choose.

    Kind Regards,

    Next day, I got email back:

    Thank you for your email, the contents of which will be noted.

    Unfortunately, I am unable to provide an personal response to your message.
    This is due to the volume of emails I receive, and because of limited staff

    If you live in the Hampstead and Highgate area, please write to me at the
    House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Remember to include your full name and
    address on any correspondence to ensure a response.

    Alternatively, for a face to face chat, I hold four drop-in surgeries each
    month. They are held in Highgate, Swiss Cottage, Gospel Oak and Kilburn. No
    appointment is needed. Copy and paste the weblink below for full details of
    surgery times:

    Kind regards,

    Glenda Jackson

    Let's be honest here: if I got an auto response, how can the contents of my email have been noted.

    So much for my active citizenry: turns out surgeries don't happen in August, so the next one is September. Immediate. Reactive. Instantaneity: that's politics for you.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2003

    Seven Common-Sense Things Consumers Can Do To Combat Junk Marketing
    Love this one:

    Encourage market pricing of commercial messages:

  • This is the root of the problem with spam - it's virtually free to the sender. Last week, I got an ad - they'll send 28M emails for $149 - who wouldn't go for that?
  • If your time is worth $18/hour (3600 seconds per hour), then a 15 second spam delete activity should cost 7.5 cents, and let's add 2.5 cents for the ISP costs = $.10 per spam. Someone who sends out 28M spams should have to spend $2.8M dollars. Even 3rd class mail costs $.20 per piece (just the mailing cost).
  • So solve the problem by encouraging the email companies to charge market rates for commercial mail
  • Problem solved - marketing people are business people, would have to take the cost into account as part of media mix decisions
  • NO F**ING WAY. Another potential flatmate has just cancelled at an hours notice. Yesterday's floozie never called me back. Today's weirdo called me from the train, said she was running late and had to cancel, and would "call me tomorrow" about setting something else up. Am I missing something here? They can hardly know enough about me from one five-minute phone call to decide they don't like me, and no-one makes PROPER ARRANGEMENTS any more. How I yearn for the pre-mobile fixed-line, fixed-arrangements shennanigans of my youth. And I bet these girlies don't write proper thank you notes.

    Anyone (vegetarian) looking for a flatshare in Kilburn?
    (Blog) Words to Live By?
    "Many things that I would not care to tell any individual man I tell to the public"
    - - Michel de Montaigne
    Speaking of celebrity spotting, which we weren't, did I mention that I sat next to Una Stubbs in the Wagamama off Haymarket, a couple of weeks back? She wasn't very chatty. But least she's not the unabomber.
    Sunday morning, I went to the London Farmer's Market just off Marylebone High Street (Cramer Street car park, 10am to 2pm), where I bought some fabulous organic strawberries, and saw Pauline Fowler off East Enders (to whom I did not say, "I live next door to one of your neighbours", because, how could I, in both sense of the word).

    But for some reason, organic strawberries seem to have stronger hulls than regular pesticide-covered ones, and now my only question is: whither a strawberry huller?
    Oh, that's sooo last century, daahling: The Twentieth Century Society.
    Someone needs to have a word with the editors at Radio 4's Today programme. It may be St Swithin's day, and it may be a slow news day, but I don't want to wake up to Kathleen Matthew's off key singing of the rain blessing. It's just not nice. Stop it.
    What I like about the onlinehighworld, is that people who think faster than me made contemporaneous notes of last night's discussion. And I was planning to go to the Westminster Arms, honest, but by the time I left the Stranger's Bar, I had a US client I had to talk to on east coast time. Daahling.
    Oh, and I half-discovered this alleged grass-roots campaign about getting Tony Blair an email address.

    Here's what I think: like, yeah, Tony's really going to open his own mail. Just like the senior operative in the Chief Executive's Office at Telewest, my ISP, told me that he'd never actually met the CEO. On my current capital markets research project, no-one more senior than MD opens their own mail. My last CEO had her secretary print out all her mail once a day, and she scribbled on them on the way home, and got her assistant to mail responses... oh, about three days later.

    I can just imagine. "Hi, Cherie. Good day at the office? Can't chat, I've got 4.3 squillion emails to get through before I get to the new NHS funding proposals. You go on up. Start without me?"

    Or this: "Gordon, can you do the budget meeting with the others? I really have to catch up on my email, you know what it's like when you're out of the office for a few days with heads of state. Just backed up to billy-oh." (I don't actually know Tony would say that, it's just my imagination, OK? We're not close, y'know.)

    And what happens to his successor? Just inherits 2.6 million unresponded-to emails? Bit like the unemployment figures. And there'll be questions in the house about what the PM's email backlog is, and there'll have to be a charter, and he'll just have to hire more peope to write bland nano-responses.

    C'mon. Don't confuse the medium with the message. I don't care if Tony opens his own mail or not as long as stuff gets done. So stop faffing about the wonders of ICT, and blabbering on about e-democracy, and tell us what the war was really about, why parents are having to fund publically financed schools in the education-education-education era, and why it's not worth me applying for a post as a non-exec on my local NHS trust, because "they prefer someone from an ethnic minority -" I know what you're thinking, it didn't wash - "and frankly they already have an application on the table from someone who's not only black, but they're disabled."

    Get your priorities right, Tony. Put your own house in order before you mess with other people's. Fix the education system before functional illiteracy reaches the 50% mark. Stop dumbing down higher and further education in the name of diversity and equality - you're just giving people fourth-rate degrees that won't get them a job in Macdonalds. Get the public sector back on track - do we really need to pay someone good money to be a five-a-day co-ordinator, ensuring people have five portions of fruit and vegetables daily? I know it's a little old Labour, but don't forget the unions and the workers, and stop turning into Maggie, and start being who you promised to be.

    Monday, July 14, 2003

    Well, what a night (in the words of the song). Fruitful afternoon meeting with current client about more work, and then to Westminster for the Vox Politics debate on how blogging might affect politics. Interesting, wide-ranging debate, though not sure we came up with many answers, but then not sure I expected to. Ran into a plethora of diverse buddies: Mike, Tom, Gert, Steve, Stephen. Long story, but ended up going for a drink with Tom Watson MP and a bunch of other blog-enabled folk in the Strangers Bar at the Palace of Westminster. Lembit Opik came by, and there was much talk of blogging (as well as Ready Steady Cook, which Tom has been on, lucky guy). Great view over the river, by the way.

    While the standard of debate was high, the topic was pretty broad ranging (if blogging's the answer, what's the question? Is it about enabling the citizenry, or the politicians? Is it political or democratising? How much to weblogs draw people into the civic process? ... You get the picture), I was utteryly side-tracked by a green TV screen in the corner of the chamber that had Communications Bill, Lords Amendement 44 in large friendly letters, as well as who was speaking, and how many minutes in they were. Tessa Jowell was speaking for 25 minute chunks, while everyone else seemed to have a couple of minutes.

    What is The Palace of Westminster like inside? Quite a lot like a cross between an ever-so-slightly run down private school and the rather English headhunting firm I lasted at for less than a year: lots of green and cream paint, old oak, and the desire, if only the governors could raise the finance, to repurpose parts of the building in a more contemporary way. Lots of people in suits having conversations in corridors.

    I've often felt that I have an outmoded sense of public duty, and being inside the epicentre of decision making, I realised that I may be one of those "oddly democratic people" who popped up in debate. More, later.
    My day has been massively improved by this entertaining site full of amusing london underground train driver announcements.
    Time magazine's 25 most influential people in fashion.
    It's truly the Pimm's season. Did you know there used to be six kinds? It's Palwin all over again.
    AND the address bar on google has disappeared, even though it's checked in the view box.
    I can't f***ing believe it. So I put another advert in the paper for a flatmate, it's summer, it's slow, I know. One person responds, she's coming down from Leeds for a job, called me yesterday, can she see it this (Monday) morning? I juggle my diary so I can be home and say sure, 11am. I got up early and cleaned the room and stuff. She called me NOW to say... something garbled I didn't understand, about how she needs to go somewhere else now, and can she give me a call later? I think - you're giving me a call now. Why should you call me later as well? Does she work for a telecoms company, and is just supposed to increase the number of total calls made? She still wants to see it, she'll call me later about seeing it tomorrow. I say, do you want to fix a time now for tomorrow morning? I can't tell whether she's changed her mind (no idea on what basis) or whether she's one of those vague people who never make a firm arrangement till the very last minute. I'm in a bad mood. But have a very tidy spare room.
    Whiled away a couple of hours in the garden of the Engineer (Primrose Hill) last night, for M's birthday. Two kinds of chocolate cake - not a good idea. It was very the-beautiful-people, though.
    Who are the Ferengi?

    Sunday, July 13, 2003

    Hello, Nick!
    Went to T's party last night: still in full swing when I left at 2am. I'm not that great at fancy dress (punk theme): I wore black trousers (don't I always), a spray-painted almost-punk t-shirt that J said was just too 2003, lots of black eye makeup and a dog collar. Mostly people went to a lot of trouble, though many seemed to confuse punk with fet1sh. Oh well. There's something a little unnerving about seeing a group of largely almost-middle-aged people in mesh vests, safety pins and punky hair.
    More on fat litigation, and the addictive nature of fast food. As if we didn't know.
    The end of free at the Guardian. No less.

    Friday, July 11, 2003

    Progressive politics? My ars*e.

    Thursday, July 10, 2003

    Described as The Face meets Heat - or a cross between a pop Vanity Fair and a grown-up Smash Hits - the bi-monthly Trash is the offspring of a union between Vogue publishers, Condé Nast and the Ministry of Sound.

    I hate the THIS meets THAT blabberish that one reads so often nowadays. It's like all the similies in the world have run out, and we can only describe something in referrential wankery (sorry, I feel extremely strongly about this). It's the new black. It's The Invisibles meets CD:UK. What happened to originality? Where have all the new words gone? It's like Ab Fab meets John Major: veneer of contemporary, but ultimately, deathly dull.

    Wednesday, July 09, 2003

    "We believe it’s all in God’s hands. After God, we are relying on the team of doctors.”
    The twins died. Had a lengthy conversation with F last night about the ethics of doing an operation with only a 50% success rate. But ultimately, the twins had to what they thought was best for them, and take the risks. Fifty hours of surgery, and then you die. Sheesh. At least they probably didn't know their twin had died.
    Both tired and not-tired: stayed up till midnight because a client insisted I call him at 7pm EST. Then when i did, he got all apologetic for keeping me up so late. He keeps calling himself a humble guy, as in "I'm a humble guy: I'm the best speaker this conference has ever seen."

    Pay off was that when I got to bed, my lovely new mattress arrived in the afternoon, and I had the most blissful, orthopaedic sleep.

    Hey ho, hey ho, it's off to work we go. Except that - of course - I don't look like one of Snow White's helpers. Although I have lost a little weight through fear that ankle-sprain induced no-exercise will make me eat pringles all day.

    Tuesday, July 08, 2003

    I have a lot to do, honest. I'm just procrastinating.
    Started a new project yesterday... luckily I'm mostly working from home. Because they don't have voicemail (the boss doesn't like it) and everyone has to use Macs (not just the designery people - the boss likes Macs), so I don't appear to be able to read any of their files. Now, as you know, I recently considered going over to the other side, but after half an hour yesterday, and a call to Yoz, I was delighted to return to my reliably-multiple-crashing PC. Call me a creature of habit?
    Can't believe the Walrus of Love (aka Barry White) was only 58.
    I went to Morocco a couple of years ago, but didn't discover this place (which I read about while sitting in my doctor's surgery for 1 hour and 45 minutes, yesterday - turns out, it's a sprain) - Maison Mnabha. And this place in Essaouira looks cool, too. Oh, and look, you can rent the owners London home, if you want to.

    Monday, July 07, 2003

    As I type this, conjoined twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani are forty hours into a marathon surgery-fest in order to separate them. Without wishing to be too Pollyana about this, it really makes my sprained ankle pale into insignificance. Just saw the video tape of them on Channel 4 news - they've spent twenty-nine years literally joined at the head. Heard the press guy at the Raffles Hospital in Singapore (I used to live round the corner, name-drop, country-drop), talk about how they have to separate their brains, as there are more lesions than they thought.

    For some reason, I got all choked up: combination of the wonder of medical science, the ocassional generosity of human nature (the entire team of nine surgeons has waived its fee), and how they've lived for the past however long, and the fact that the whole world knows their hopes and dreams (one wants to go back to their home town to be a lawyer, the other wants to be a journalist). Here's wishing them the best, and that by the time I get up on Tuesday morning, it'll be good news.
    Sorry I've been so quiet... combination of supra-busy, sprained ankle slowing me down, and general whatever. And I know Nick wanted to know what I thought about the gay bishops thing, and I never even had time to write anything. Sorry.
    Medical Advice Required
    I've been back to hospital once, because my ankle went numb, and a very nice junior doctor said, basically, stop making such a fuss, it's a sprain. Now, this morning, it's incredibly painful, and I can't put it down on the floor, and it's worse rather than better (as opticians - most boring job on earth - would say.)

    What should I do? Go to my GP? Who's not looked anyone in the eye since about 1952? And sends everyone straight to hospital anyway, do no pass go? Or go straight to hospital? I dunno.

    Friday, July 04, 2003

    One the tube, comming out at Finchley Road station, everyone gets out their mobile phones because they've been without a cellular connection for twenty minutes. Hear one guy say:

    "We'll need to get a furniture removalist on Wednesday."

    Wednesday, July 02, 2003

    This is so neat: you can get travel alerts from London transport, as either email or text messages for your regular journeys. Look:
    "The Jubilee Line has possible delays in both directions.
    This will affect journeys from 17:54 on 02/07/03 until further notice. This is due to a defective train at Kilburn Station."

    How cool is that?

    Having said that, they put in a lift at Kilburn station well before Christmas, and it's always roped off. What with my sprained ankle and being less fleet-of-foot right now, I asked them if I could use it to get to the platform.

    "Sorry love. No one's been trained to use it yet. Health and safety. Y'know."

    So you win some you lose something with those underground folks.

    Yay, I got an award. Thanks to Mike for telling me, and sorry I'm link-free, I'm at a client's with IE-100 or something.
    Last night, went for noodles at Wagamama, and then to see Rain at the Other Cinema (no, not that one, the other one). P persuaded me. I like art house as much as the next bohemian, but nothing happened and I didn't care about the characters. P says it makes you think and it's a slice of life. I feel movies should have a resolution. P says that's because I like commerical movies.

    And I just knew that any review would say "New Zealand coming of age tale". I think the girl looked at 11, not 13, and some of the coming-of-age stuff left me feeling more than a little uncomfortable.
    And forgot to say that I saw Us And Them, by Tamsin Oglesby at the Hampstead Theatre, last week. It's been extended till Friday, so if you get a chance to see it, do. For two reasons: (a) while imperfect, and slightly obvious, it's a interestingly observed comedy of modern manners, where I learned a lot about dialogue, and (b) going to the Hampstead Theatre, like the Tricycle and the Soho, doesn't break the bank (that said, I'm off to see Sexual Perversity in Chicago tonight, but we've got balcony seats. And I heard Chandler is not so great).

    The Guardian, on the other hand, didn't rate it.
    I want to see Protection at the Shoho Theatre - previewing, this week.

    Tuesday, July 01, 2003

    When people mention business trips
    Mike at Troubleddiva has taken the plunge and given up on his blogspot address. I'm too scared.
    Todd (generally pronounced T-a-r-d on account of his semi-disguised Brooklyn origins), the CEO of AVP (American Venture Partners), the leading VC in the TMT space was decked out in full Gap business casual.

    As we neared the end of the meeting and started to arrange a follow-up, he reached into his button-down J Crew shirt pocket and pulled out a piece of stylish origami. On unfolding it, we all saw the truth: his Outlook diary, in month-per-view print-out format. We fiddled nervously with our various PDAs and pieces of kit. Is this the new cool?

    "Sorry about the reversion to legacy technology, guys. IT can't seem to figure out getting my Palm to synchronise with two desktops."

    He's calling paper legacy techonlogy now, ferchrissakes?
    Last night. I'm halfway through an - admittedly rather dull - anecdote about my ex-boyfriend when M says "I know all columnists write in the present tense now, but you're giving me an unreasonable sense of urgency and gramarlessness that I can't handle. Stop."

    So I'm a columnist, now, noch.