Archive for the ‘uncategorized’ Category


Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Thanks to TiVo we saw an interview with the great Eddie Izzard on the Late Late Show last night. He was quite amusing in a laid-back sort of way. One thing I particularly liked was when he was asked about the US elections, and he said he’d noticed that all the places which voted Democrat were located close to large bodies of water. He said that clearly the water has a soothing effect and people are like, “Ah yes, I’m relaxed – I understand now”. Whereas people living far from water are more, “I’M TENSE! GIVE ME THAT GUN! VOTE BUSH!”


Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

A couple of months ago I sat an exam with the Quality Assurance Institute to become a Certified Software Testing Engineer. It was kind of tricky Рas well as having experience in the field of testing, you also have to learn the stuff in their own way, not necessarily how you might do it in real life, and there was a huge book of stuff to get through. I amazingly managed to buckle down to study for a couple of hours a night for about a week and a half before the exam, and ploughed through the four hour test, which was two multiple choice papers and two essay papers. Finally, yesterday I got the results Рcame through just fine and I can now put CSTE on my resum̩.

the power of cheese

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

A couple of years ago the American cheese marketing people put together a fun series of ads, the tagline of which was “aaah, the power of cheese”. I don’t think they were counting on divine power though. Note to you, my readers: Never ever buy anything whose description has entire sentences in capitals, and/or more than two consecutive exclamation marks.

water baby

Monday, November 15th, 2004

We’ve wanted to get Toby swimming lately – it feels like it’s kind of make or break time for him to get used to it before he’s an age when he’d be nervous about being in the water. Someone at work gave me a free pass to the YMCA that she won in a drawing at work, so yesterday we took him to the Southdale Y. It’s a nice facility, with family changing rooms, which was ideal to stop him from running away. He seemed a little uneasy going through to the pool, and of course it was a bit echoey and noisy which made him nervous. When we got into the water he kept saying “ayayayayay” which I’d never heard him say before, but the water was warm and as long as we were holding tight he was OK. After a couple of minutes we started moving about and saying that he was being just like a dolphin which helped him, and when we made him jump up in the air and splash back we seemed to have a good breakthrough. He totally loved playing with a couple of the balls they had there, throwing them back and forth, and towards the end he was lunging to catch his ball, not minding if he went under the water, and also kicking his legs as we pulled him along. We had to stop after we’d been in for an hour because we didn’t want to wipe him out too much. Afterwards we went out for a quick cheap bite to eat, and we were very proud that Toby insisted on eating Emma’s brocolli – we felt like superparents! He slept very well indeed last night, and we’re planning to go back soon. All in all a big success.


Monday, November 15th, 2004

Just posted a few pictures of Emma’s parents’ (nice pluralisation!) visit here earlier this month. They are of course at


Monday, November 15th, 2004

You may have heard or read about the Sorry Everybody site, wherein a whole bunch of people say sorry on behalf of approximately half of America that Bush is still emperor.

nice machine

Friday, November 12th, 2004

I’ve been thinking of upgrading my home machine for some time now. It’s almost 6 years old and works quite well on the whole, but to do decent video and photo editing it’s not really keeping up. New machines are of course kind of pricey, but I’ve heard from various sources that the thing to do is to build it yourself. So I’m quite excited to come across this little beauty from Tiger Direct. Looks like a very powerful and expandable system for a great price.

too nice

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

During the last election I, and probably many other people like me, were bewildered by the fact that my church felt the need to try to be calm and see the good in both/all political sides. I think this is caused by a mixture between “love your enemy/adversary” commandments, general liberal-seeing-all-sides attitude, and not wanting to alienate people from our church. However it was in sharp contrast to the picture of fundamentalist evangelical churches who were proclaiming “victory” in getting constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, and re-election of Bush etc. How to they get to have all the moral certainty and not be concerned about upsetting people? And even though they may not be the majority of Christians in this country they make the most noise. It’s quite frustrating to me, although (there’s always an “although” I do appreciate the way the Episcopal Church allows me to come to my own conclusions rather than telling me precisely what to believe or what to make of my beliefs).

So I was heartened to see this in the Washington Post today, where liberal Christians are saying that their values are not just the “moral” things that the right-wingers have been banging on about lately. For example:

Battling the notion that “values voters” swept President Bush to victory because of opposition to gay marriage and abortion, three liberal groups released a post-election poll in which 33 percent of voters said the nation’s most urgent moral problem was “greed and materialism” and 31 percent said it was “poverty and economic justice.” Sixteen percent cited abortion, and 12 percent named same-sex marriage.

I think that we’re just afraid to call it like it is.


Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

This week Toby’s gotten really into songs, and has started asking for songs specifically by name, and singing them so that we can actually tell what they are. Usually he’ll just do the first couple of words, but this morning in the car he sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star pretty much all the way through. It’s probably largely because Emma’s had one of his CDs in the car – it’s Little People doing various children’s songs. Not quite as nauseating as you might think because the arrangements are smart enough to keep grown-ups interested. However it does get kind of old. I’m thinking it’s time for a change, and while I was at the hairdresser’s last night I saw in Esquire magazine a plug for The Amazing Adventures of Kid Astro by Ralph’s World which is for children, but quite Beatles/Queen/grown-up music influenced. I checked out the clips on Amazon today and it sounds just fab, so I’ve put it on Toby’s wish list if you’re, for example, a cool uncle who wants to help Toby in his musical education while simultaneously making his parents happy.

gosford park

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Over the weekend Em and I finally got round to joining a new DVD rental store just round the corner from us – Cinema Revolution. They have a small but excellent selection of indie, international and classic movies, plenty that we’vebeen meaning to see but haven’t yet. Our first pick, which we watched last night, was Gosford Park, which came out a couple of years ago and is directed by Robert Altman. It’s basically a whodunnit and is located in a huge country estate in 1932. There’s lots of intrigue and double-crossing as the lives of the wealthy weekend guests intermingles with the people downstairs – the hardworking servants. I particularly enjoyed the subtleties involved, and to be honest I don’t think one viewing was enough, and there are plenty of interesting looking extras on the disc, so we may well need to rent it again. Our domestic challenge in watching films of this sort are that Emma loves working out the plot as she goes, which is all well and good except she’s always at least one step ahead of me, and usually needs to express her hunches out loud. We managed to avoid any fallings out last night though as we were both quite engrossed in the movie.

Tonight, if I can lug the box home, I have the excitement of setting up our new TiVo. I’ve been thinking of getting one for ages, if for no other reason than to avoid having to watch ads, which will save about 15 minutes per hour of viewing. What efficiency!