Category Archives: Life Rants Updates 2004

Season’s Greetings 2005

santa on my christmas tree

I guess it’s time to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas – wherever you are in the world Season’s Greetings to you. Christmas lunch this year will be made at home in London: a nice peaceful Christmas. Last night we spent several hours in the bars towards the City and had a very peaceful time sitting next to an open fire, drinking expensive Bloody Marys and laughing with friends. A very good way to end the working year. Next week I am working from home but I am not expecting it to be too busy.

I’ve admitted before that I love the whole Christmas vibe. Actually, I love the whole stereotypical, christmas card vibe rather than the rushed reality. Each year I buy a new decoration for the tree and this is the one I found for this year. Truthfully, a friend of mine had one and I copied her but I couldn’t resist the whole Santa-on-skis image – it’s far too cute for words. See, I’m just soppy for Christmas!

Jon's note: The December 2004 version of this blog, which can be seen here, didn't put post titles on the main page and that's were most of the blog would have been read (by the few people who did read it). So I have absolutely no idea why I used the year 2005 in the post title. I check the Wayback Machine archives to ensure something strange had not happened. The closest I can get is an archive from February 2005 which clear shows this entry in the previous Christmas. 

On this day…

2002: Happy Christmas

Kew Garden’s Winter Wonderland

somewhere warmer inside kew gardensthe 2004 ice rink at kew garden

Maybe I claim I am not as aware as I should be about Christmas but I have to admit I do like the whole season. Today, PY and I went to Kew Gardens in South London (or is it Surrey?). They’re having a winter wonderland. As the darkness falls the gardens/trees are lit by thousands of tiny lights making parts of Kew’s ground shimmer. There is also an ice rink (although it’s booked in advance and I stayed standing) which makes an interesting contrast with the temperate and tropical houses. It’s strange how much I really do enjoy this kind of thing – maybe I am a sucker for the magic of Christmas.

More Images at Flickr

On this day…

2003: Worthy of Comment
2003: Gay Life in Britain

Going To The Dogs

You realise Christmas is on its way don’t you? I should be very aware of this fact. Last weekend I spent time with my Mum as she won’t be in the UK for Christmas. But it’s creeping up on me no matter what they say. Today, PY and I were going to host a pre-Christmas party for some friends: mulled wine, beer and a trip to the greyhound races. Somehow, however, it got here and we didn’t invite anybody. Plus, I had a guilty feeling about going to the dogs because a good friend of ours rescues them. Nonetheless, I will feel slightly awkward when four of us head to Wimbledon dog track. I am not sure I will stop feeling guilty so it might make me part with some money to somebody who looks after the dogs.

On this day…

No other posts on this day.

A Pointless Rant About Trains

Today’s illogical rant follows in a moment. Do not be alarmed. An emergency exit is located here and here.

Virgin Trains have made a big deal about the investment in new trains. And the trains were very nice – the airline style at-seat audio was a nice touch. But the service was still below par. On the way north last weekend (to see my mum) the train had been changed and so seat reservations were no longer valid (yet our seat numbers were still there). They seems to have removed the at-seat buffet (which is handy on a full-train so you don’t lose your seat) and the train terminated early.

I am not shocked at the mediocre service. I am not shocked that the staff on board couldn’t care about the confused passengers (are you in my seat or not?). What amazes me is that I took two trains and for the majority of both journeys the trains were full. And by full I mean people were sitting in the parts between the carriages, on the floor in the cold, draughty bits (as an aside, how come it can be so draughty and ventilated and the toilets still smell?). Every train I ever take is full. To work in the morning. Home in the evening. North to visit my parents. South to visit PY’s parents. So why do we always hear about the lack of money in the railway system?

On this day…

No other posts on this day.

Gary Lucy’s Birthday

happy birthday gary lucyReally, I should know better. The other day I spoke of the Man of the Moment project for the first time in a long time and the only request I have ever had to enter a male into Musak’s Man of the Moment project is to include Gary Lucy. Sadly, I haven’t got round to that yet (despite the fact he has been Musak’s calendar boy of 2004) but, I noticed yesterday was Gary’s birthday (I think he was 23) and so I dedicate today’s entry to the star of Hollyoaks, Footballers’ Wives and, recently, the ITV drama, She’s Gone.

Related from Listen To Musak’s Archives:

Perhaps I will make Gary Lucy Man of the Moment one day.

On this day…

2006: Our Masks
2005: All Change At Capital
2005: Civil Partnership: Update From Scotland
2004: Oh the fun I’m having…
2003: Pop TV
2003: Linguistic Sensitivity

Does Remote Storage Work

Like many people I signed up for all the free web-based email accounts (RocketMail – now Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, Hotmail etc.) but I never really used them. Over time I let most of the lapse and only really use Yahoo and – now – Gmail but I do not use any of them as my main mail account. I didn’t use them primarily because I didn’t want to pay to be connected to the web to read my mail (my POP accounts were better) and I wanted to maintain addresses at my own domain and – at the time – none of those interfaces allowed you to be seen as another mail address. Yahoo, of course, also provides photo storage, address books and calendars.

My web hosting company allows me to use my space as a virtual hard-drive (if I work out how to configure it) and – as I have noted – Flickr is becoming my personal choice for photographs (even though I could try and manage it myself on my own servers) while I use Bloglines for feed aggregation. So, the question is, can I now run my life using storage space away from my own computer?

Here are some of my considerations:

  • Outside of work (which I am not proposing to move) I have precious few documents so I don’t need masses of file space for them (I suspect my Yahoo account would happily cope).
  • Photos: I can’t get away from the lack of storage (even at Flickr) for them but I suspect it will cope with all the photographs I care about (the rest would only be archived to CD anyway).
  • Music: This is the difficult one as I upload music to my Treo’s mp3 player so I am not carrying it all around with me all the time (in a iPod style). Perhaps it is time to re-address that issue.
  • Mail: I have archives of mail in Mozilla Mail format. What I think I need is Mozilla’s roaming profiles but I have no idea how they work.
  • Bookmarks: Ditto (but in the mean time Yahoo Companion bar and Yahoo Bookmarks should work).

Do you have any tips for me? Will it work? If it works I only need a reasonable internet connection to have my whole life on tap. What I really need is a proper method for synchronisation – but I’ve ranted about that before.

On this day…

2005: Civil Partnership: Elton To Marry
2004: Thanksgiving 2004
2003: At A Newsagent Near You

Regent Street, London

regent street lights, lonfonChristmas is coming and I am a bit of a sucker for it but I have to say that the lights on Regents Street, London, do nothing for me. Perhaps I just haven’t seen them in the right conditions – a cold, damp, grey London afternoon is not conducive to enjoying the exterior lighting. It’s Disney tie-in with The Incredibles that alarms me. Sure, I see that Disney get the promotion and somebody gets some money for the lights but – really – what has it to do with Christmas? Or maybe it’s just that I missed Busted switch them on.

On this day…

2006: A Blog Is Like Concrete Shoes
2005: Manchester United Legend Is Close To Death
2005: Change Your Coffee Shop Now
2003: Bye Bye Bush Baby

Another Grid Lock

PY and I had some errands to run which partly entailed us driving to Heathrow airport. Then we went onto High Wycombe to do some shopping. And yet again we were stuck in traffic for hours. I think it may be time to consider alternative forms of transport. It seems no matter which way we go, south or north, we’re going to get stuck. Now I don’t enjoy being stuck in traffic but PY hates it and lets his frustration show. Maybe I should let him select the music from now on!

On this day…

2006: Children In Need Is Britain’s version of Thanksgiving
2005: Modern Life Is Rubbish
2003: Movable Type Pro, Soon?
2002: I Want A Career (And I Want It Now)

Evening In The City

I don’t often go out in The City of London (that’s the financial heart of London). I am a much bigger fan of hanging out in the the West End – which is mainly where I have worked and socialised for all the years I have been here. I’ve just got back from a drinks with some colleagues in The Counting House – which is on Cornhill and a few seconds walk from Bank station. It’s a fabulous place full of character and ornate splendour (the domed roof is wonderful). Then we went for a curry and a decent Indian restaurant which was, unlike the ones on the West End, quiet at the end of an evening. The only downside on the evening: it was just a little harder to get home. I must do this more often.

On this day…

2005: Switch Me On?
2003: Remember, Remember (I’m A Bit Late)

Grid Lock

brighton pier on a sunny saturday afternoonSo I spent the weekend in Brighton: it was a fantastic idea for a last minute get away and I am really quite pleased that I went. The weather was cold and crisp but very sunny and PY and I had a fantastic time roaming the shops, walking the pier, drinking coffee and doing all sorts of good things.

We left earlier this afternoon for the hour car ride home only to end up stuck in four hours of non-moving traffic at the end of the M23 (where it joins the M25). Sitting in a car, going nowhere, starring at the rear brake lights of the vehicle in front (and watching people dart form lane to lane to try to move 100 metres forward) was a very depressing way to end what had been, until then, a relaxing weekend. It’s such a shame our transport system means I am now more stressed than when I left the office on Friday night (it also means we’ve just eaten a stack of take away junk food but that’s another story).

Maybe I should start looking forward to the week ahead!

On this day…

2005: Tracking The World
2003: Last Orders at the Liars’ Bar
2002: This Is How A Thriller Should Read