Archive for May, 2007

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Why is instant coffee like a formula one racing team?

“NESCAFÉ XPRESS
In 2001, two of the leading global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, Nestlé SA and The Coca-Cola Company, came together to create Beverage Partners Worldwide. Their mission was to pull together the companies’ Ready-To-Drink (RTD) Tea and coffee businesses from across the world in an entrepreneurial joint venture dedicated to tapping the global potential of the two categories. Over the past three years, lap after lap, BPW has shown its continued commitment to achieving new and greater milestones in the RTD tea and coffee categories. Coupling the strength of its two parent companies and the nimbleness of its entrepreneurial associates, BPW has shown the ability to race ahead in volume as well as geography…There is a great natural fit between Team McLaren Mercedes and BPW’s NESCAFÉ RTD. The Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One racing team truly embodies the soul of the brand: physical stimulation and mental alertness.”

What a load of old bollocks.

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Growing old disgracefully

One to watch later [ or online via link ]. A group of pensioners strike back against invisibility. Inspirational. 9pm BBC2 tonight.
MySpace page
YouTube video

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Handy hints for pythons no: 875
Resist the temptation to swallow an alligator whole.

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Monday, May 21st, 2007

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Årchitëcturë
I was invited to look around a swanky new building earlier. Recently completed by some very famous architects and on course to win some awards no doubt. I have to say I was surprised. There were a large number of serious ‘snags’. Light fittings not fitted correctly. Poor finishes on skirtings. Scuff marks on paintwork. Cracks in large [ very expensive ] plate glass windows. I was told that this is normal in new buildings and that all of the snags would be put right in due course. It struck me that this is a very inefficient way of building. Why not do the job right first time? I wonder how much of the architectural fee is used up on fixing avoidable problems such as this. Most amazing were the number of fittings I found which bore a manufacturers label that I really had not expected to find in such a prestigious building. Even the architectural community cannot resist the lure of the Swedish ones it seems.

Man at C&A
2007 style

Grub’s up
Some nice Mancunian vegetarian recipes.
Followed by lemon tart?

Wet floors

Monday, May 14th, 2007

The Guardian has redesigned the front page of their website. And very nice it is too. Better, I think, than the redesign of the paper. The rest of the site is still awaiting its makeover. There’s something heartening about a site as prominent as this which unashamedly presents itself as a work in progress. The new layout, I think, is very user friendly making use, as it does, of the larger screen areas we’ve become used to. It’s clear, has a nice grain to the page and reads, like a good newspaper, to entice you to sample the delights within. Timely, then, that web usability expert Jakob Nielsen is voicing concern about ‘Web 2.0‘ and all the twiddly fiddly clicky frippery that it’s spawned. I’ve often noticed, when visiting a new building for the first time, how the architecture in its crisp unsullied newness is to the fore. As time goes on, the ‘managers’ of buildings enhance them with encrustations intended to improve. This often includes the addition of signs and notices. I counted 61 notices in my local Post Office the other day. Do they really think that this adds to the experience of using the Post Office? Web 2.0 is a bit like that I think. Lots of stuff which just gets in the way of what you want to do. Thankfully the Grauniad has largely avoided glassy buttons, “wet-floor” effects, and large fonts – which are, we understand, the signature of Web 2.0 and, tellingly, key features of OAP care homes nationwide.

Tip of the day
Never trust a walrus.

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Out of your tree?
This little site is a gem of information on native British trees. Interestingly, many of the trees we see about us are not native in the strictest sense. The allied nature detectives site is also addictive, especially the interactive springwatch maps that show the progress of signs of spring across the British Isles.

The cheque's not in the post

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

I’ve long lamented the sloth-like cheque clearance culture in this country. You pays your money in and you takes a five day break in the Riviera whilst they move your money via Montenegro, Monaco and Minorca. Eventually it emerges from the clearance black hole into your account. Now all is about to change, [ from November anyway ]. Snappily titled, Faster Payments you should be able to move money in ‘near real time’. This raises the prospect of some swift shifting of funds between pitiful current accounts and high interest savings accounts so as to maximise the earning potential of your hard earned cash. The end of, ‘the cheque’s in the post mate’ as an excuse for stalling payment and a further reduction in banking staff as the whole payment system becomes more efficient. Barclays, HBOS, HSBC, RBSG, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide, Alliance & Leicester, Co-op Bank, Abbey and National Australia Bank are the key players. Will be interesting to see if they attempt to market this as a ‘premium’ paid for service.

Monday is the new Sunday

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Non UK readers may wish to know that today has been a Bank Holiday over ere. Deprived, as we are, of essential banking services – [ what’s a man to do with his massive pile of cheques and counterfoils in need of rubber stamp action when there’s no bugger open? ] – it becomes necessary to amuse oneself in other ways. I wandered lonely as a, er, lonely one and took in the fullness of spring there and thereabouts. Horse Chestnuts are in bloom. Their flowers are like big Victorian blousy candelabras. I love them in an irrational way. Must take some photos before they all drop off. I espied a scintillatingly gleaming white spray of hawthorn blossom, two geese paddling downstream, a variety of discarded drinks containers, some reather nice stainless steel benches which have been installed by the bankrupt Bignjuicy Council and there was nobody around. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and there was nobody around. I love it when you are out and about and you feel like you have the world to yourself. In an overcrowded island like ours this feeling is rare, so when it happens I savour it. It’s almost like Sunday used to be before they allowed the shops to open.

Weird n wonderful
For fast relief from a bee or wasp sting, spray WD-40 directly on the bite. It will soothe the pain at once.
For a quick and easy weedkiller, mix 30ml vodka, a few drops of washing-up liquid and 400ml water in a spray bottle.
Wash lettuce in a washing machine.
More

Damned if you don’t?
What would have happened if the UK had steered clear of Iraq in 2003? Interesting.

What’s new? Episode 638
Shambolic baby arrested for drugs offence – yawn.