Archive for April, 2003

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Monday, April 14th, 2003

Back in January, I reported that my granny’s best friend, Lady Hilda Morton, had passed away. She was quite an amazing person, and did enormous amounts of charity work, including UNICEF, for which she got an OBE.

So I was very happy today while looking at the BBC News to see that she has left a huge amount of money – one million pounds – to a hospice in Edinburgh. I guess we knew that she had a lot of money, but she always lived fairly modestly, which in hindsight is probably how she ended up with so much. Bless her for leaving it to such a good cause.

permanent

Monday, April 14th, 2003

Way back at the end of August 2002 Emma and I were approved for our green cards (permanent residency) – a big deal that we’re very pleased about. Emma’s actual card arrived quite quickly, but for some reason mine took ages, and only arrived last week. It was OK when we returned from Britain a few weeks ago, however, as we were given stamps in our passports when our applications were approved – the stamps are valid for a year and took the place of me having my card with me.

Anyway, the card, which I’ve probably said before is not green, has a great big magnetic stripe on the back – like what’s on your credit card but much bigger and with a bunch of symbols hologrammed onto it. I’ve been curious as to what information is stored therein, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on what used to be the IRS, and is now the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is otherwise a very helpful place. In fact I was looking at the page titled Now That You Are A Permanent Resident which explains a bunch of other things. One thing I didn’t know was that we’re now entitled to vote, in state and local elections which do not require that we are US citizens. Unfortunately I have no idea what those elections might be.

may day

Friday, April 11th, 2003

My brother David works at MTV in London, and has been working on a wee project to have Brian May of Queen do some quick things so that he would be kind of sponsoring the month of May. So David was all set to go to Brian May’s house today to film stuff, and understandably freaked about actually going to Brian May’s house, but it’s been postponed. I never thought that I would get to tell someone that Brian May cancelled a meeting with my brother, but today that came true.

even better week

Friday, April 11th, 2003

I was looking at some of my blog archives, when I came across this link, talking about the week Emma and I found that she had a job at Habitat for Humanity, and we got our green cards approved. What I couldn’t say was that we also found out she was expecting a baby that week. But we didn’t want to say anything at the time, in case anything went awry, which of course it didn’t.

in twenty minutes?

Friday, April 11th, 2003

Is he really sure about this? Here is an interview with British paliamentary and Labour party stalwart Tony Benn. He’s been around a while and has seen a lot of changes in his time. The reason for the interview is that British Airways have announced that they’re soon going to stop flying Concordes, because the demand is getting lower and lower. Personally I’d love to go on a flight, but it’s just so expensive.

Anyway, Benn was Industry Secretary in the 70s, and as such got involved in the whole Concorde project as it was a big deal for British-French cooperation as the European Common Market was getting started. I’m sure that the whole project was quite a milestone in many ways. But one part of the interview struck me as being completely bizarre:

Q: Do you think the British have lost the pioneering urge?

TB: The sums have to add up. When I was industry secretary, I killed another project – a hypersonic plane that would go to Australia in 20 minutes. It was impractical.

I love the fact that he doesn’t really answer the question, and that he elaborates in no way about that project.

more time

Thursday, April 10th, 2003

Continuing to be very busy at work at the moment. It’s fun but takes a lot of energy. Plus next week I’ll be singing almost every night at St Mark’s for the Holy Week services. The last few mornings it’s been really hard to leave Emma and Toby behind when I go to work. It’s made me think about the excuse executives or politicians give for resigning, “I want to spend more time with my family”. It’s often sneered at in the press, and I’m sure it’s frequently used as a cover, but now that I have a family I can appreciate it. Of course it’s OK for executives with multi-million dollar stock options – working shmoes like me have to go to work so that I can have my family live in a house, have food etc.

toby video

Sunday, April 6th, 2003

Finally got some video off the camcorder, and the results are here. Nothing fancy, but I think it’s quite cute – a message from Toby to his viewers.

Installing the software was amusing – a couple of prompts:

“Change the character line of the input column when it wants to make it other names”

“Start a system again to make setting up effective”

on the town

Friday, April 4th, 2003

Well, kind of. Last night was our first night out without Toby – our friends Paul and Claire looked after him, which was most kind. Emma and I went out for a nice dinner, and because we were worried that all we’d talk about was Toby, we put a ban on that topic. Fortunately we had a bunch of other things to talk about, and it was a really nice evening. A bit strange not to be with our boy, but it was a good thing to do.

We have a few things planned for this weekend, including our friends Karl and Christopher coming over for dinner on Saturday, and in a fantastic move they’ve offered to cook. We’re very happy about this, as they are excellent chefs. In preparation we think that the afternoon will involve a trip to the annual Nickel Sale at Haskells wine store – buy one bottle at full price, get a second for 5c. We usually go a bit mad there, but it’s not like we’re not going to drink the stuff, so it’s an investment (sort of).

colonial

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003

One of the guys at work is in a rather bizarre state at the moment – he’s through to the final round of selection for a new reality show on PBS (Public Broadcasting) which would have him living in a colonial settlement for five months. There were around 4,000 applicants for six places, and he’s in the last ten. He’ll be going to New York next weekend to do the final auditions. He’s trying to stay calm, but the rest of us are very excited for him.

wrighting

Tuesday, April 1st, 2003

Fantastic – one of the headlines on the website of our local paper, the Minnesota Star Tribune, was the following:

Nine out of 10 sophomores pass Mionnesota writing exam

The story is here; I bet they’ll update it. I thought that maybe it was an April Fool thing, but the publish date is April 2. Love it.

In other news, I just finished my hard drive upgrading project – Dell’s website was very helpful in telling me how to take apart the computer box, so I could get in to take out the old drive and swap the drives’ positions on the data cable (which controls which will be the master boot drive, or C drive, and which will be the slave, or secondary drive). All seems to be going well so far, and it’s all much faster. Windows loaded really quickly – a good sign.