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Saturday, December 31, 2005


(In order to meet a 2005 objective, this needs to be posted now!)
(To be amended)

1. Not quite a crossfire hurricane, I was born in a council house in Ebenezer Howard's second Garden City at Welwyn.
2. Share a birthday with Richard E Grant, Karl Marx and Michael Palin.
3. I'm funnier than the middle guy and a better socialist than the latter. As far as Grant's concerned, I've yet to appear in a crappy Argos commercial.
4. At seven my best friend moved to Australia.
5. At eight my family moved to the United States. (They took me with them. They brought me back - kicking and screaming - 12 years later. Lack of visa didn't help.)
6. My mum was diagnosed with MS nearly 25 years ago.
7. I live with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, not IDS - Iain Duncan Smith).
8. I'm the product of a Christian based secondary school.
9. I was "born again" around December 1975.
10. Realised that was a load of nonsense about a week later.
11. Tertiary education, hmm, a trifecta: Community College, State University and UK university in the picturesque West Midlands (not).
12. Two degrees. Well, actually two copies of the same degree (mix up over addresses).
13. "Shows promise as a footballer" - school report at 7.
14. Two soccer related injuries - broken jaw (thank YOU, Larry Petrocelli) and torn ankle ligaments (re-injured in a race on crutches).
15. Co-founder of Dynamo Stony Brook F.C.
16. 1st baseman for the 1968 Three Village Midget League Athletics.
17. Sports board game enthusiast.
18. Learned the violin and guitar - and can play neither.
19. Married in Vegas.
20. Second time round at the Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich.
21. Dual Income No Kids.
22. Only "offspring" - slothful Poppy and hyperactive Daisy from the same litter of pups, but so different.
23. One false tooth - see 14.
24. Two brown eyes.
25. Full head of mid-brown hair - distinguished greying at the sides.
26. Childhood heroes - soccer legend Jimmy Greaves and baseball grunt Ron "Rocky" Swoboda.
27. Fave songs: "Hello, it's me", Todd Rundgren. "I am a Walrus", The Beatles.
28. Favourite films include: "The Day the Earth Stood Still", "Fargo" and “Tampopo”.
29. Favourite Star Trek character: Dr Flox.
30. Favourite TV programmes include: "The Prisoner", "The Simpsons", "Malcolm in the Middle", "Family Guy" and "University Challenge".
31. Once heard on Peter Powell's Record Race.
32. Also heard on Radio Warwick c.1981.
33. The mighty Mogwai are music gods.
34. Most embarrassing moment? Probably: Dhaka, large gin & tonics after Tiger Beers, false tooth (see 14 and 23), month or so following speaking with a lisp.
35. "Did" the Grand Canyon: a story for another day.
36. Crossed another river from north to south in November 2001. (Thames, that is.)
37. But, always a Hertfordshire hedgehog.
38. Owned a Dodge Stratus.
39. Drove a "classic" Beetle.
40. Hate snakes.
41. Hate reality TV.
42. 6 months a computer programmer, 19 1/2 years a civil servant, now in the private sector.
43. I work for a well known service provider as a public affairs manager. As I am manager of no-one but myself, I turn my hand to just about anything and everything.
44. Most embarrassing moment 2: I arranged a trip for my boss to go from Harwich to Hook van Holland on a passenger ferry, by car to Zeebrugge, then back to Chatham by freight ferry. On arrival at the Hook, I turned to our host and said "where can we meet our car?" His face drained of blood: "what car?" We both assumed the other had booked transport. Get me drunk enough and I'll tell you how much the cab fare is from Hook to Zeebrugge.
45. Veggie since 1985. But, not a vegan. Whaddya think? I'm some kind of wierdo?
46. Favourite foods: cheese, pasta, apples, homemade pizza, enchiladas.
47. Favourite tipple: margarita, but a good pint from the barrel goes down well (particularly from the Hampshire Bowman)
48. Favourite Simpsons character: Homer J is obvious, but how about an episode featuring Lenny and Carl?
49. I have bunions.
50. I'm putting off that necessary eye test a bit too long.
51. Man that I am: I never get lost.
52. But, view cars as a necessary evil
53. Have driven the length of the M25 (but not all in one go).
54. Never drove the length of the shorter Capitol Beltway.
55. But, back in 2000, I drove I-95 all the way from DC to Florida.
56. Favourite Led Zep tracks - "Kashmir" and "The Ocean"
57. Fave-o Stones' number - "Gimme Shelter"
58. Top Yo La Tengo song? "Blue Line Swinger"
59. Brother, 4 years senior, works for a bank, losing his hair.
60. Sis, 2 years older than me, now a nurse, drives a Ka.
61. Mum used to be a steno-typist.
62. Dad trained as an aeronautical engineer after several years as an RAF pilot.
63. Work in a people skills job.
64. People skills not a good point.
65. Lousy at relationships.
66. Green is my favourite colour.
67. Ketchup and mustard on my chips (French fries)
68. Coffee in the morning is essential.
69. Milk chocolate over plain.
70. Best holiday: toss-up between Alaska, Yellowstone and my Great Plains/Grand Canyon odyssey.
71. Best non-US holiday: two weeks in Tuscany (the first time).
72. Best ever business trip: Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and Ulaan Bataar – two weeks, temperatures from minus 5°C to plus 35°, the Peak, the Gobi and the Great Wall.
73. First love? I think her name was Ruth – I was only 6.
74. Teenage love? Susan. It was a dreadful crush: she was “cool”, I was a nerd, she was cruel, I was naïve.
75. I’ve done “it” outside, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, against the wall, in the attic, but never in a car.
76. Scar One - over my right eye, me and big brother horsing around, banister gets in the way, blood everywhere, frantic mother, but no serious damage.
77. Scar Two - right elbow, fight with James Kennedy, third grade, North Country Elementary School.
78. Tottenham ‘til I die.
79. But, baseball is a better game. Mets and Nats – a uneasy fan conflict.
80. Most overused words: “pretty” (as in “Tony Blair is a pretty useless socialist”) and “grand” (“that’ll be grand)
81. Size 10 feet.
82. Gel my hair.
83. I can multi-task – sorry, what did you say? I was watching TV.
84. A star gazer as a teenager, I was once used my telescope for something at a slightly lower elevation. I’m pretty sure she knew someone was looking.
85. Have owned 5 PCs (plus one on loan) plus an Amiga (with a PC card).
86. Surfing since ’96; web presence since ’97.
87. Learned BASIC at school; picked up HTML and CSS (not that you’d know it from my web presence).
88. Blog for work: spasmodically.
89. I blame Thatcher. For everything.
90. I blame Blair for everything else.
91. Voted Green at the last Parliamentary election.
92. Once had a thing for Judy Geeson.
93. Robert Fripp is a guitar god.
94. Star Trek: Voyager and the Original.
95. Turner over Constable.
96. Botham over Flintoff.
97. Risk averse, needing a kick up the backside to achieve a lifestyle change.
98. Can dance when drunk.
99. Unfortunately, I think I can drive when drunk.
100. Looking back, a lot has happened in my life.
101. Looking forward to the second half of my life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


We may be humbugs at Iamadonut, but the best of the season to our reader(s). Here's hoping it is peaceful and joyful. If you ate too much, here's hoping that Alka Seltzer did it's trick. Too much drink? Officially, there's no cure. But, we recommend rehydration as early as possible. Resolve also works slowly, but does relieve some of the less pleasant symptoms. Donut Towers has no solution to family squabbles. Just make sure you're not armed; or, perhaps you would like to be armed. Be thankful, the Precrime authorities don't cotton on*.

We awoke to a festive dusting this morning. Thankfully, the booze hadn't impaired the senses so much that the strawberries weren't protected.

Most of our usual reads have been idle over the weekend. Hopefully, enjoying family, friends, booze and presents.

At Donut Towers, there's been a change of hardware. The trusty laptop is five years old and deserved retirement. It will get donated to a good cause.

Speaking of good causes, some elements of the British press (well the left of centre crap, we read) have spent most of the present buying season debating the ethics/morality of buying charity aid gifts for friends and loved ones. You know the thing - a goat for a family in Africa or (what I received) a beekeeper's kit.

IMHO, give what you want to give at whatever time of the year, to whomever you want. For years, this writer poo-pooed giving to charity. There are so many good causes; does the money get best spent; government should provide aid; aid to the third world goes direct to the pocket of dictators; it's so Victorian. All valid "excuses". However, there's little more that this writer needs in the way of comforts. Selfish or not, I'd rather donate money or a gift on my behalf or on behalf of someone I love to help others who need a helping hand.

* - BBC's "blockbuster" film for the festive season.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


1. Virus :: McAfee
2. Poop :: the party
3. Smart :: Maxwell (Agent 86)
4. Agent :: 86
5. Wrap :: Saran
6. Brass :: band
7. Waste of time :: teh internet
8. Suspicious :: package
9. 360 :: degrees
10. Dummy :: Portishead

Friday, December 16, 2005


The locks need a tidy, but not nearly as bad as they did when I was a surly teenager.

"Ladies and Gentleman, you are advised to give yourself plenty of time to get home tonight as it is likely to be the busiest night of the year. If you are out on the town, don't wait for the last train home." According to the Northern Line tube driver this evening.

we've got firey fingers
and we've got firey hands
when I get up to heaven, Lord
gonna play in that firey band
shout out over the water
I won't be there long
my soul is anchored in Jesus, Lord
he won't do me no wrong

Santa travel firm goes bust.

So, the moon was at it's highest elevation in the British sky for some 18 years. Extra madness or just cracking cheese?

My office backs on to another one. Through their window this evening I saw people dressed in radiation suits. Thankfully a fancy dress party.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Well, almost.

Last night, it was "Billy Budd" - young lad goes off to sea, press ganged, framed for sedition, accidentally kills someone, gets executed.

Benjamin Britten's music is sumptuous. The production exquisite. Singing: good to excellent.

This morning, played the whole of "Nixon in China", John Adams heroic opera about - well - Nixon's historic 1972 trip to Beijing. But, then I'm a fan of Adams and the "minimalists". "Nixon" is quite an effort. It clocks in at over 2 hours - sprawling over three discs.

Intrigued at the subject. I was still a wee slip of a thing at the time of the trip though I do remember the TV pictures. At the time I did not cotton on to the significance. Whilst I'm not going to go all nostalgic about the Nixon presidency, it is a shame that he is remembered for Watergate, Vietnam and not much else.

He presided over a difficult and divisive time in U.S. politics. Nixon inherited an unwinnable war, a crumbling economy and social division. China was a great event. Nixon, at least, deserves credit for opening up relations with the eastern giant.

Well, dig the opera anyway.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


That's my bro on the left. Me on the right. Somehow I look like an old man. Must be the fuzzy focus.

Those were the days when my brother had hair. Now he's got two children - one in college, the other 16. Good reason not to have hair. Then again, the poor guy started shedding when he was about 18. If I remember correctly, he blamed it on the chemicals he was using as a gardener.

Me? Despite my gardening exploits, I've got a good crop keeping my brain warm.

Sorry bro.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


My sis has been clearing out photos left behind by my parents when they went into a nursung home.

Donutboy was quite a cute one as a nipper. More from the collection to follow.

Motorists: respect the Zebra crossing!

If you are in the DC area, you might have missed a great looking gig at the Black Cat club last night. Search on "Bragg" at this site for an earlier Meredith Bragg gig. American Analog Set are pretty cool too.

Cure for Cow Flatulence Cooked up by UK Scientists

More news from Aland:

This Nordic version of Jersey does not formally belong to the EU. Thanks to this status they can still sell snus - chewing-style tobacco - on board the ferries that port in Mariehamn, the capital of Aland Islands, on their way between Helsinki and Stockholm.

Sweden negotiated an exception for snus when it joined the EU in 1995, snus for the Swedes being like whisky for the Scots - not enjoyed by everybody, but hotly defended by all. The snus opt-out makes snus legal in Sweden but illegal in Finland. But the stuff has been produced and enjoyed for more than 200 years in the archipelago and coastal areas of Finland, too. Thanks to the EU it has become a popular smuggler's item.

Denmark, too, continues to allow sales of snus, which it considers to be a traditional product.

Snus was originally banned within the Community by a 1992 directive, the argument being to prevent a new (!) tobacco product from entering the EC market. In 2001, in view of subsequent scientific studies, the EU replaced the Swedish warning label from "causes cancer" to a more general suggestion that "this product may damage your health and is addictive".

The Commission evidently does not approve of this turn of events, and wants to take Finland to the European Court of Justice for letting Aland-registered ferries still sell the stuff, setting itself on a collision course with the barely-surviving shipping industry; snus is a significant part of duty-free sales, worth €8 million a year. If the Commission wins, there will be a new trade barrier between Sweden and Finland. Perhaps Margot Wallström should wade in and fight this kind of stupidity as part of her "Smile - you are in the EU" campaign.

from European Voice (subscription required).

Lovely alt-country-ists Wheat have been gnawing at my brain for the last couple of days.

your love is a parking lot
with potholes and faded lines
and the kids don't hang because
the cops just chase them out

Slippers may be uncool, but they keep your feet warm. That's my point of view.