The journal of Paul M. Watson.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

New house

Blogger has been good to me but it is time I made use of my paulmwatson.com domain.

So this is the last post I will make here at Blogger. Instead you can now catch my ramblings over at paulmwatson.com/journal. There is a new RSS feed that you can use.

See you on the other side, folks.

 by * Honest *

Originally uploaded by * Honest *.

What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!' Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, 'Never have I heard anything more divine?

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Procrastination

Fear of failure... If you flunk a calculus exam, better to loudly blame it on the half-hour study blitz, than admit to yourself that you could have used a tutor the entire semester.

Perfectionism... These people fret that "No one will love me if everything I do isn't utter genius." Such perfectionism is at the heart of many an unfinished novel.

Stand and Deliver

Friday, April 28, 2006

€14,200 later and they give you a fob of plastic and metal... oh, and a car. Wooooooooohooooooooooo!

In this article about MySpace the owners are finding it tough to advertise on a large enough scale (they get nearly a billion page-views per day) without pushing away their users. One thing they want to do is get MySpace kids to put adverts on their profiles. How about the incentivise the users? You put an ad on your profile and you get a few cents everytime someone clicks through it. That way whoever is viewing the profile won't feel "a corporate put that ad there."

Bank: Oh, look, a fax

Bank: We haven't received the new invoice
Dealer: I sent the invoice
Bank: No new invoice
Dealer: It went through
Bank: Nope
Dealer: I have every incentive to get that invoice to you
Bank: Yeah, but we still don't have it

So who is bullshitting here? The bank or the dealer?

Finance woes

It just goes to show that incompetence with money and documents is a world-wide problem.

Over the past few days I have been getting my ducks in a row for car finance. AIB were quick to quote but then failed to tell me a few important steps and so the process was slowed down. The dealer has had the car ready since Wednesday morning but can't give it to me until I have signed the car finance papers.

So this morning the bank tells me that the papers are ready and they will fax them to my nearest branch. I take a €10 taxi down to the branch to find out the papers haven't been faxed. 15 minutes later, after phoning the car finance division, the papers are faxed. I sit down to sign them but thankfully before I do I notice the total finance amount is wrong. It says €14,950 when my deal with the dealership is €14,200. The original price of the car was €14,950 but the dealer discounted it by €750 to reach €14,200. The bank says the invoice lists the discount as a deposit. The dealer says the €750 amount on the invoice is clearly marked as a discount.

One hour later and another €10 taxi ride I am back at work and have accomplished zero. The dealer has to send a new invoice, the bank has to reprocess the forms and I have to go back to the bank this afternoon to sign the papers I was supposed to sign this morning.

I don't know whether AIB is incompetent or whether the dealer was trying to screw me over. I'll get ahold of that original invoice and then have a nice long chat with whoever was responsible.

Web2Ireland

Web2Ireland


The Web2Ireland event went down in Dublin yesterday . The speakers focused on the business opportunities of Web 2.0 and all in all it was a good event to be at. Most importantly I got to see and meet the Web 2.0 community in Ireland which is bigger and livelier than I thought.



Marc Canter (Broadband Mechanics) spoke in his usual operatic voice about love, peace, free-markets, George Bush and media while Jeff Clavier (Software Only), Judy Gibbons (Accel), Daniel Waterhouse (3i) and Nasse Batley (Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein) spoke on the investment opportunities.

The slides should be available on Web2Ireland soon. I'll post them when they are.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'll be up in Dublin tomorrow at the Web2Ireland event. Text me for a pint.

If you think that a kiss is all in the lips, then you got it all wrong

The Denial Twist - The White Stripes

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yet another successful build!

Yet another successful build!


You have love an app that is an optimist. CruiseControl.net could just say "Build worked. Carry on slave." Instead it happily pops up this joyous bubble of love and as it pats you on the back sings "Yet another successful build!"

Anyone else notice that GMail and Blogger have been glitchy the past few weeks? Plenty of down-time and sluggish performance. Just tried to send an email via GMail and I am getting server errors back.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fiesta time

I took a 2004 Ford Fiesta LX out for a spin on Saturday and was impressed. The 1.25l engine pulls well enough, the ride is good, the design smart and the interior nicely put together. At €13,000 with 38k on the clock it is reasonably priced and I am sure I can knock several hundred off of that. Across the road though I spotted an even nicer 2005 Ford Fiesta with just 6k on the clock. It is the Steel spec which means nicer alloy wheels and a sun-roof. It is €14,300 though, €1,300 more than the other. I am debating whether it is worth the extra money. The difference will be even greater as that €14,300 price is already €700 down from the original price while I have yet to haggle on the €13,000 price. I'd expect at least €500 off that.

Anyone got an opinion? I have bought the red on.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mobile networks in Ireland can't be making any money. I use my mobile mainly for texting, about 20 messages a day, and the odd voice-call and haven't had to put any money into my pre-pay package for the past three months. Every month 02 give me €25 free as part of the original sign-up package nearly 5 months ago. It covers me just fine.

Now 02 have gone and cut costs during weekends to insane levels; 1c per minute and 1c per text to other 02 customers.

Will I ever have to pay for mobile calls again?

Shift+Alt+F10

Shift+Alt+F10 to automatically insert Using statements is one of the single best things about Visual Studio 2005.

The stroked

I am not a The Strokes fan but I do like their Ask Me Anything track.

I have noticed that I usually pick one of the lesser liked tracks on an album as my favourite. The headliners on albums are great but then there are these little ditties that I fall in love with. 2 minute tracks with crazy tunes and funny vocals that grab me and make me smile like the other highly-polished tracks cannot. On Coldplay's album Parachutes my favourite is the 46 second long self-named Parachutes. On Outrospective by Faithless it is 2 minutes and 43 seconds of Crazy English Summer that leaves me feeling happier than any other song except Song 2 by Blur. Kasabian's U Boat is eerie, quite wonderful. From Arctic Monkeys it is Riot Van that makes me laugh the hardest; "from men with truncheons dressed in hats". The Birmingham accent on "hats" is brilliant.

Friday nano shuffle

01 Eight Days a Week - The Beatles
02 Let Me Live - Queen
03 Medication - Garbage
04 Love Punch - The Chalets
05 We Will Rock You - Queen
06 Kerplunk - Green Day
07 Tame - The Pixies
08 Screwdriver - The White Stripes
09 Cut Off - Kasabian
10 Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles

All time artists



Sadly I haven't yet got last.fm to sync with my nano and so it hasn't been updated in awhile. I'd pay for an app that can send play data from my nano to last.fm.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Talk to Dig from Vodaphone

The operator of the yellow, monster JCB* just outside of my window took a call on his mobile as he was digging. Any law against that?

* The Irish call those big CAT diggers JCBs here as that is the main brand.

Fluxiom released

Fluxiom


The eagerly awaited Fluxiom digital-asset management web-app is out. Sadly, I can't even get into the trial as it requires a credit-card. I understand the reasoning behind this requirement (to stop the same person singing up every 30 days for a new account and so never paying for Fluxiom) but it is a risk a web-app has to take. Don't lock us out chaps. Let me in, let me play for 30 days and then if your app is worth it I will shell out the bucks without quibble.


A real pity as from as from what I can see of the app from the Vitamin review it looks stunning.


Hopefully if enough of us bring the CC requirement problem to Fluxiom's ears we can get it opened up. Even a demo account will be handy.

Ziki digilife aggregator

There are a few digilife aggregators out there but they are either so awfully designed I run screaming from them or are so over-featured you leave with a headache. Ziki though gets it right. Simple, stylish and easy to use.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Atlantic Challenge South East in Bantry

Ten hut by Paul Watson


Some more, and the last, of the photos from our weekend in Bantry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bantry

Launch by Paul Watson


Many more photos coming tomorrow. Had a fantastic weekend in Bantry but right now I am battered, bruised, blistered and too hung-over to write much.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I'd better finish colib off seeing as it is the 19th most wanted web-app on the internet.

DAting

Don’t talk about yourself. Instead, ask questions that encourage people to talk about themselves

Why it takes just 30 seconds for women to date, mate or drift off - Britain - Times Online

A recursive problem if both take the advice.

Happy Egg

Happy Egg by Paul Watson
Happy Easter and Passover and Free Long Weekend to everyone.

I am off sailing for three days and hope you have as good a weekend. Ciao ciao!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris 3dr

Isn't the 3dr Toyota Yaris in Polar White a lovely looking little car? In my price range too. One simple but nice feature I noticed while watching a video of the car was an aux. audio plug. So you can plug your iPod into your car's speaker system. Nifty.

Maybe

Maybe by Paul Watson
Maybe
Fiddling around with a new design for paulmwatson.com which has been sitting in the corner patiently waiting for something to be done with it.

Quitting coke

Two weeks on from booting caffeine from my life has left me largely unaffected. No headaches, no chemical cravings, no physical pains. I have never been one to have mood swings and that hasn't changed either. In the first week I did find myself sleeping more but that has ebbed and flowed into a roughly regular 9 hour pattern.

The worst part of this change has been loosing the comfort of a warm cup cradled in my hands. I have found myself wanting the process of making a good cup of tea more than the tea itself. Found wanting that first scalding sip of liquid more than the coffee itself. Wanted to hear the crack and hiss of a fresh can of coke. To solve this I have started buying hot chocolate which has much of the process without reverting to caffeine. Someone asked that surely drinking hot chocolate is worse but I don't need to slim down (quite the opposite) and one hot chocolate a day is not flooding my body with unwanted chemicals (I have gone for the fat-full, real-sugar option rather than the carcinogenic, but slimming, fat and sugar free version.) I also have made my twice weekly muffin a daily occurence and am drinking far more plain water than I used to.

I didn't expect any health benefits to have kicked in yet and they haven't. So all in all it is going well.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Testing both ways

I have just been taught the lesson that when testing your code, test for failures too.

Take a method that removes a record from the database. You pass in the Id of the record and it DELETEs it. Initially I tested for an invalid Id (e.g. -1) and for a successful delete. I never tested to see what happens when you pass in a valid Id but an Id that doesn't occur in the database. In this case the code ran as if it were successful. Really it should throw an exception as that Id does not exist in the database.

Test both ways!

Four wheels in Ireland

Volvo C70
As much as I love cycling to work each day a car is fast becoming needed. It just so happens that both work and home is a little bit outside Waterford itself and so public transport is lacking. Before coming to Waterford I had used a taxi exactly once in my life. In the past few months though I have found myself using a taxi a couple times a week. At €8 a pop it isn't cheap. Additionally I have never been good at asking people for lifts. I have had to learn to do so here and people at work have been very generous but it still hurts when I have to ask. Back home in South Africa I was almost always the one giving lifts to other people.

So a car I will buy in the coming weeks. I won't use it everyday but a good few times a week and on weekends for longer trips into the countryside. Something small, cheap and reliable.

Of course that means that as much as I love the look of this Volvo C70, I won't be getting one. What a beautiful and desirable car. Volvo really have upped their game in recent years.

My coming car will more likely be a used Toyota Yaris or Skoda Fabia, both able, reliable cars.

Grand pricks

Watching Hollywood Grand Prix last night I came to the sad conclusion that Vinnie Jones, the British actor, is a bit of a wanker. Sad because I have always enjoyed his film characters.

Hollywood Grand Prix is a rather fun annual event in which big knobs from the movie industry get together in Los Angeles and race suped up Toyotas around a street circuit in front of 100,000 fans. William Shatner was there of course and was an absolute hoot; crashing into everything he could, denying the accidents and simply buying extra cars when he ran out. A rapper named Xzibit turned out to be a good laugh too, riding Vinnie the whole show. A surprise entrant was Martina Navratilova who showed up most of the boys by coming third. You could see her athletic discipline come to the fore in the show as she stuck to the racing line and held technique above pure speed. Then we had Frankie Muniz who plays Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle. The ever-young boy actor who must be 50 by now. He had been taking racing lessons and was considered "professional." His professional nature showed during one incident where he got out of his car in a state, refused to take his helmet off and stormed away from the press. Lighten up kid, it is a charity fun race.

Vinnie though really disapointed. The show, British produced, was centered around him and initially he reckoned he was going to cream the field and come first. After some practicing he downgraded that to 3rd. Then after missing most of the practice sessions he went further and said 4th. Eventually after qualifying way back he simply said "If Shatner beats me, I am walking home."

Hilariously he spent most of the race dicing with Shatner. I say dicing but it was more that Shatner drove into every possible wall and barrier while Vinnie tip toed around the track. Shatner would go wide in a corner, Vinnie would come up next to him and then somehow Shatner would pull ahead down the straight. Maybe Vinnie is too used to all the stretch-Hummer limos we saw him being driven around in.

Vinnie didn't get to walk home but only because Shatner managed to call off the race by precipitating a massive accident. I have no doubt that if Captain Kirk had managed to stay in one piece, he would have beaten Vinnie Jones. In the end Jones managed 10th out of a field of 20 or so.

So much for British skill and so much for Vinnie Jones being a deserving chap.

Checking for "null" Guids

In .NET a Guid cannot be null (unless you use the ? qualifier). However you may still want to check if a Guid has been set or not. For this you can use Guid.Empty which looks for an all-zero Guid.

For the 9th day in a row the Sunny South East lives up to its name. The previous 8 days have been all of them, beautiful spring days. This morning it was overcast and raining on my cycle into work but now the clouds are clearing.

Monday, April 10, 2006

ExecuteScalar and null

Can anyone explain why this doesn't work:


command.CommandText = "SELECT [Token] FROM Clients WHERE 

[Token] ='" + client1.Token + "'";
Guid result = new Guid(command.ExecuteScalar() as string);

While this does work:


command.CommandText = "SELECT [Token] FROM Clients WHERE 

[Token] ='" + client1.Token + "'";
Guid result = new Guid(command.ExecuteScalar().ToString());

The first snippet returns null. The second returns the requested Guid. The only difference is as string and .ToString(). This seems to only happen on uniqueidentifier columns in .NET 2.0.


(And don't wonder why the code doesn't seem to have a purpose, it is a bit from a larger a unit test.)


Tags: , , , , ,


Friday, April 07, 2006

iPod nano gripe #001

I do wish the nano would continue to play music when jacked into my PC via USB. As soon as you plug a nano into your PC, the music stops.

UPDATE: Thanks to Patsy for the help. While the nano will still cut out when you plug it into your PC you can hit the eject hardware button on your desktop. This will leave the nano to charge but let you carry on listening to music.

I was just wondering just how Arctic Monkeys are going to follow up their first album.

SQL SMO performance and preloading

The SQL Management Objects in SQL2005 are a nice replacement to SQL-DMO. I was having performance problems while enumerating through objects in a database though. I wanted to filter out any system objects using the IsSystemObject property of Table, View and StoredProcedure. The if (object.IsSystemObject) call though took a sub 5 second loop and turned it into over a minute of crunching. Why on earth was a simple bool check fuxoring performance so badly?

Turns out that IsSystemObject is not returned as part of the initial data. SMO is running off and fetching that property from SQL Server 2005 each time you hit it. Ouch.

Euan Garden on SqlJunkies explains the reasons for this and tells you about the Server.SetDefaultInitFields setting which preloads that specific property. Performance is restored.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mauled mailing lists

How is one supposed to keep track of and use a mailing list that has over 200 new items per day? I subscribe to the Ruby on Rails mailing list via RSS and it is next to useless. Between useless and annoying. I'd prefer it if the feed only listed new topics, not replies to existing ones. Some kind of digg/delicious/reditt mechanism might help too.

As it is I will keep the subscription but not keep track of it. I'll use it as a search archive.

Mix 06 Report

I have put together a simple report of what I saw and heard at the Microsoft Mix 06 conference in Las Vegas.

Mix 06 Report

Unfortuanatley I cannot spell unfortuanately. It is very unfortunate.

I hit 58kph on the bike this morning. Granted it was downhill but it isn't the steepest hill and I normally only hit 47kph on it. I then noticed I was passing a car and realised I was 8k over the speed limit for that road. What a blast.

We have also had beautiful weather here in Ireland for the past three days. Bright, sunny days from 7am to 7pm. It is a nice change after a few weeks of rain. It is however still a bit nippy, my skin is flushed and my fingers aching after a morning ride.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"I cannot spell but I can write."

Someone must have said that before.

Vegas Costs

Las Vegas is quite an expensive city, at least along The Strip and in the tourist areas it is. Here are a few notables:

  • 2 Coors (a vile beer) at The Venetian; $10.68

  • Miso soup at the Stratosphere; $3.25

  • Eel rolls at the Stratosphere; $7.95

  • California rolls at the Stratosphere; $7.95

  • Sake at the Stratosphere; $6

  • Average two-bed room rate at The Mirage; $170

  • Kobe beef burger at The Mirage; $19

  • Sirloin steak; $38

  • Glass of coke/Pepsi/Sprite; $3

  • Fries at The Mirage; $7

  • Shot of Tanqueray Gin; $7

  • Taxi from airport to The Mirage; $18

  • Los Angelese t-shirt; $19

  • Vegas playing cards; $3

  • The Big Shot (a ride) on the Stratosphere; $7


The Kobe beef burger was completely worth the $19 and Brian says the $38 for the sirloin was equally so. With the rides on the Stratosphere don't pay down below. Go up to the top and look out for a guy pushing around a small cart, you will get half-price on the ride prices, about $4 instead of $7/$8. You also have to be wary of tax. Prices listed are not what you pay, you still have to add tax which varies. I stopped bothering having the right amount ready when ordering.

Lost Vegas

Back in the 17th century the Spanish found the valley and called it the meadows. The mountain encircled valley provided an oasis from the desert surrounds. It turned out to be a poor gamble as now, 300 years later, the meadows are gone and we have the desert city known as Las Vegas.

There I was in what used to be a private jet, but is now a fake-leather clad 50 seater flying bus with a comedian known as Latisha serving us drinks, descending on the fabled city. I was 26, single, of questionable habits and carrying enough dead presidents to light several Cubans. Stretching before me were 5 easy days of a conference and 4 nights which I hoped wouldn't be quiet so easy. Vegas did not strike me as my kind of town but when in Rome...

You land in what can only be called a casino with a runway. Stepping out of the walkway from the plane the first thing you see are slot machines. Banks and banks of them. Thank you, bling, for, bling, flying, bling, Virgin, bling, Atlantic, bling, airways. The strangest part of this scene is that travelers, fresh off a 12 hour flight from London, do gamble. Before even going through airport security you can sit down and get into debt. You don't even have to collect your baggage first. Just leave it trundling lonely around the baggage claim as you cash out. Sorry to those suckers who gave their loose change to the starving Ethiopian kid on the blue packets.

Through security and out onto the road where you are efficiently taxied straight into the, neon, glowing heart of Las Vegas. I'll be honest, I was expecting more. I expected a barrage of light and sound. If the theme tune from the Las Vegas TV show kicked in then all the better. But by the second set of traffic lights I asked why I wasn't on my third jack and rocks? Why was my traveling companion not snorting lines off of the back of a smut-card and why, good lord why, wasn't there a naked woman in our taxi already. Instead I noticed tall but hardly towering hotels, bright but barely blinding displays and sidewalks with enough space to park a stretch Hummer between the groups of waddling Japanese. I also noticed a McDonalds, a Dennys, a dozen StarBucks and, the highlight so far, an In 'n Out which I had never seen before. Wow, hamburgers.

I am not jaded. I am not cynical or wordly wise, I am easy to please for Pete's sake but Las Vegas in that first hour was underwhelming. I knew by the time we got to our hotel that Vegas had been commercialised. Sure, it has always been about the money but back then the money was dirty and the streets dirtier. 100 dollar bills were rolled up and used properly back then, they weren't exchanged for a quarter-pounder and 90 in change. When you couldn't pay your debts you had to talk to Luigi or Mario, not phone the gamblers helpline and get a three year residual loan at favourable rates. McDonalds, Dennys, StarBucks. Commercialised by the same bland, generic-Viagra using, Westernised globalisation mega-brands that make 100 chain outlets a niche experience.

Fuck you Ronald McDonald for turning Las Vegas into Disneyland for gamblers.

At this point I burnt my copy of Fear and Loathing, was glad Hunter was dead so that he wouldn't have to see this and checked-into The Mirage. Quite apt I thought.

A mirage is what it is, beckoning in the distance with a seductive shimmer of golden hips. What you get are a bunch of overgrown rocks, some brackish water and a burnt out palm-tree.

Around 1am that first night after dragging the strip I sat down in a non-descript canteen and considered what I had seen. I was struck most by the lack of sin in Sin city. How does a town with such a reputation manage to feel so tame? I had been warned about the smut-card peddlers but chaps, you get hassled better by the Salvation Army. Advice was to stear clear of the old Strip but when I went it was the most charming part of Vegas, if one degree above zero can be considered charming. Hookers are plentiful but I was propositioned by a Greek selling lamb gyros on Santorini with more skill than these girls. And if you have a problem with the scantily, but hardly daringly, clad girls in the numerous billboards around the city then, my friend, avoid Europe.

Maybe the classic titty-bar sums it up best. On the flight down a martial arts expert native to Las Vegas lit up as he found out it was my first time in Vegas. Oh, he beamed, you are going to love the titty bars. Anywhere that uses the word titties to label what are swaying, pneumatic, sweat-covered breasts attached to lithsome, gyrating strippers has as much sin as my local Baptist ministry. Mary-Anne from fifth-grade has titties. 15 years ago I sniggered at the word titties. 14 years ago I grew out of calling them titties. The Moulin Rouge does not have titties. Amsterdam does not have titties. Las Vegas has Disneyland titties.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But if nothing happens in Vegas...

At least this is all true when sticking to The Strip. I didn't venture much off it. To those who will write and say Sin City is off The Strip then all I can say is that isn't what Las Vegas sells itself as.

Before I get to the fun I did have, for surprisingly fun I had in Las Vegas, I have to dither on excess. Las Vegas has excess in spades but it is all the wrong sort. There is no heart or soul in the excess. No mad, fearsome lords of Las Vegas sprinkling the strip with crazier creations. Instead you get crumbling copies of the rest of the world run by suits with profit goals and revenue models. Italy in the Belagio, France in Paris, Egypt in Luxor, Venice in the Venetian. Each and every one a stable, well run business that pays its bills, keeps the carpets clean and asks that you keep your voice down for the other guests.

I detested that Las Vegas is building Europe. The Belagio is almost beautiful, almost stylish and elegant. It hides its excess better than the rest. I didn't come to Las Vegas for class. I came for crass. I love European sensibility and charm but instead of flying half-way around the world to Vegas I could have taken a 2 hour, &euro5 RyanAir flight to the South of France. I could have seen the Gugenheim at the Gugenheim, Venice in Italy and the Caribbean from a yacht in the Caribbean.

I wanted towering, depraved monuments to megalomaniacally apogeed owners. I got a scaled down Eiffel Tower instead.

The people in Vegas are great. I haven't been anywhere else in the U.S.A. but I have never felt so happy paying 5 bucks for a Latte as I did in Las Vegas. Everywhere I went I was greeted with a big welcome, bigger smiles and lots of how'you'doins. You could ask for anything and while you wouldn't always get it they'd be sure to apologise for the lack and offer an extra side of fries. You could hail a passing working girl in the middle of the casino and ask for the way out. With a drawl and a smile you'd get directions. A friend who came down from Stockton, California to see me in Vegas said my accent did the trick but, you know, it felt a good deal more genuine than that.

I remember sitting one 3am with Lee from the U.K. at a bar. We had struck out on The Strip and were sliding through our G&Ts listening to a handful of Venetian employees off-duty. A bouncer, a waiter and a call-girl shooting the breeze without a care in the world. About this time Ted the barman told us that if we gambled on the machines built-into the bar then we would get free drinks. At $15 a round and only $10 to play the machine we thought this was a good deal. I am a recovering gambling addict (not really) and Lee is a conflicted Buddhist though so we weren't about to gamble. Thankfully Lee is shameless as they come and hollered over to the call-girl; Girlfriend, girlfriend, come blow our money for us, we want our free drinks.

And she did. This Amazonian model of a woman slipped her way over to our side of the bar, sat down between us and after some confusion as to why we weren't gambling ourselves, gambled for us. For the next hour or so we sat there chatting and laughing, cracking jokes with the nearly empty bar and fed the call-girl money whenever she lost it all. Eventually it came to an end and with a Dutch kiss from this well spoken but easy going lady of the night we bling, bling, blinged our way off slot machines back to our rooms. It was a surreal experience.

Another night we had a conference party at the Tao where free drinks and the cheesiest music this side of a Beach Boys bar led me up onto some tables to dance with a notable celebrity (of the geek, I.T. kind mind you.) That night ended with the best hamburger I have had in my life. A nearly foot high beast seared from the flanks of a Kobe-beef cow. Never has paying $19 for a burger been so easy.

There were Norwegians, Germans, Swiss, French, Brits, Irish and Americans who were all up for a good time. I met a beautiful Swedish woman whose company alone made Las Vegas worth it.

Honestly the people of Las Vegas, foreigners and local, did a lot to make the trip an experience to remember. Las Vegas is dull and tame, a shadow of what it must have been in past decades. But the good folk of it, they live on.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Double gent

While reading through Double Agent I was struck by how few of the manly aspects encountered I shared. It wasn't so much that I don't bowl, play poker, go to titty bars, smoke cigars, crack homophobic jokes or call weaker men "girly". It is more that I tend to do those things in a different way to how the men potrayed in the article do it. Bowling is an enjoyable game, I don't do it for the social scene or to escape my wife (of which I don't have one to escape from in any case.) I would smoke a cigar but not for the opportunity to kick back and bad mouth women with the lads. I don't actually go to titty bars - even calling them titty bars makes me squirm - but if I did it wouldn't be to bond with my fellow man. Come to think about it, that is the crux of it; male bonding. Is it still so prevalent? It seems to me that the male youth of today are far less into crotch adjusting, after-game showers and all that horse-play called male-bonding. Frankly I am rather pleased, it never appealed to me.

No bother

Foreigner: Oh shit, sorry mate, I didn't mean to just drive over your foot.
Irishman: No bother.


The Irish say that an awful lot. Any problems? No bother.

I wonder if this is where the Aussie saying of "no worries" originated?

First I wrote:
And I dream with eyes wide open.

and then I drew:
.
/" |:|
|:|
|:|
/:/: : \`/
`


Bizarre what watching Solaris in the dark will do to you.

Bloglines feature req. #001

A nice feature for Bloglines would be a "Mark below as unread" on each item. It already has a "Mark all new" feature which works for mistakes but not so well for when you are interrupted reading through 200 items.

The feature would simply mark the items below the clicked item as unread, allowing you to come back later and carry on reading.

My April Fool's joke was to not post or go online for a whole day. People would then think I am dead and start to panic (civilisation was supposed to collapse as well.) Sadly nobody noticed. So I guess the joke is on me.

;)