Green and Wireless Land

Not sure when this post will appear. It is Saturday morning and I am at Heathrow Airport. On Thursday I was at San Francisco Airport and there was public wi-fi, but here I have no such service.

On the positive side I have woken with a hangover after a great night with friends including Ammonyte, Sanity, Fluff Head, and my Best Man. Breakfast was Cappucino and a bacon butty.

The date of posting on this entry shows how long it took before I found a wi-fi access point. I bought my parents a router so Mum can use their laptop to browse from her sitting room.

Published in: on 28 November, 2008 at 23:31  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving at an Airport

This may be the busiest weekend of travel in the US, but lunchtime on Thursday is clearly not the peak. There was no line at check-in and I was the only person going through security. I can see two other people in the lounge. I am sat at the window watching planes taxi, takeoff, and land.

Published in: on 27 November, 2008 at 14:07  Leave a Comment  

A-Z of Bands

Inspired by Don’s Stuff blog post, here are links to videos by some of my favourite bands A-Z. There are a handful of entries picked for the song and not the band.

Angel Corpus Christi
The Beatles
The Clash
The Doors
The Eagles
Fleetwood Mac
Grateful Dead
Iggy Pop
Jackson Browne
Kate Bush
The Levellers
Martha and the Muffins
Nick Cave
Randy Newman
Sisters of Mercy
Tom Lehrer
Velvet Underground
Young, Neil

My selection of Running on Empty in no way should be taken as an endorsement of the Republican Party.

Published in: on 27 November, 2008 at 9:43  Comments (1)  

Not so Unique

It turns out that I might be more normal than I thought.

There are 3,621,477 people in the U.S. with my first name
Statistically the 7th most popular first name
There are 134,525 people in the U.S. with mylast name Burke
Statistically the 240th most popular last name
There are 1,593 people in the U.S with my name

Published in: on 25 November, 2008 at 7:29  Comments (3)  

Healthy Junk

I am sat in my doctor”a waiting room and the medical programming had among the adverts for various pharmaceuticals one that focused on the healthy eating benefits of McDonalds. I half expected to see one on the cancer averting properties of a cigarette.

Published in: on 24 November, 2008 at 9:51  Comments (1)  

More Who

Among various other blogs that posted in celebration of the Doctor’s  45th birthday, was this excellent video that covers all of the televised stories in a single 8 minute segment

Published in: on 23 November, 2008 at 13:45  Comments (1)  

Doctor Who

Forty-Five years ago today, 23rd November 1963, a new Saturday tea-time show aired on BBC TV. It featured an old man and his grand-daughter who traveled through space and time in a machine that looked like a Police Telephone Box, but was larger on the inside than outside. The program was called Doctor Who and the thirtieth season was broadcast earlier this year; the show was off air from 1990 until it was revived in 2005.

Even during this hiatus, interest in the show remained string with old episodes being released on VHS and then DVD, and new stories appearing in book form on a monthly basis. The first episode appeared with almost no fan-fare, even without the world shaking events of the previous day newspapers would have paid no attention to a new show aimed at children. In 2008 British papers are full of news and speculation about the program, changes to the writing staff and acting are front page news. The first episode received a small audience, the latest episode was the most watched program on UK TV that week. The name of the Doctor’s ship, TARDIS, has entered the English language to mean something that is surprisingly large inside.

The Doctor’s greatest foes, the Daleks, were introduced in the second story, and he has continued to battle them across the last 45 years. The word Dalek has also entered common usage in the UK.

One of the secrets of the show’s longevity is the conceit that the Doctor comes from a species who can re-generate their body when they become old or badly injured, thus allowing new actors to assume the lead role. The tenth actor to play the part of the Doctor has just announced that he will not return to the show for the 2010 series and the press is full of speculation on who will play the part next.

I came to the show as a six year old in 1971. I was at a friend’s house and her older brothers watched the show. I saw the first episode of “Mind of Evil”, the second story of season eight. I was hooked and badgered my parents into letting me see the rest of the story, then the rest of the season. When I left home go to University twelve years later , I had missed just five episodes; two of them due to power-cuts. I have now seen every episode that still exists and read the novelisations. I can list the names of every story in order. I have attended Doctor Who conventions and written fan fiction. I have met and talked with a Doctor, the Master, and a companion. I remember the date of the JFK shooting as being the day before a TV show started. However, I have never dressed as the Doctor or a character from the show, therefore I can safely say that I am not really obsessed by the show.

Happy Birthday to Doctor Who.

Published in: on 23 November, 2008 at 7:00  Comments (2)  

Put Your Helmet On

If a watch cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars you might assume that it was made of gold and a lot of precious gemstones. You would not expect the case to be made of second-hand steel, some of it rusty, with a strap that included recycled man-made fabrics, and to have a face made of compressed dust. Yet, this Swiss watch maker is doing just that; granted the steel is from the Apollo XI spacecraft, the dust includes moondust and the fabric is from a spacesuit.

Published in: on 15 November, 2008 at 10:49  Leave a Comment  

Hospital Signs

On the door of the hospital was a sign saying No Smoking; no surprise to British eyes there. Just below it was one saying No Weapons; which seemed a little alarming.

Published in: on 14 November, 2008 at 14:20  Leave a Comment  


In Portuguese the word Amanhã has a literal translation of tomorrow. However, it is often used to mean not now, probably not tomorrow, but maybe sometime in the future before the heat death of the universe. This confuses foreigners who when they they receive the response that something will be done Amanhã, expect it to be complete within the next twenty-four hours.

It seems that here in California the people at Yahoo lack a word  that carries the same sense of desperate urgency. I sent an email on September 3 at 10:11. On Thursday 13 November I received a reply which included the following understatement:
It is definitely our intention to reply to your query within 24 hours, however, due to an increase in email volume, our response time has been delayed.

To add insult to injury, the reply bore no relation to the issue that I had raised and might as well have been generated as an auto-response.

Published in: on 14 November, 2008 at 8:39  Comments (2)