Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Credit Crunch Solution

Hurrah! My worries over the credit crunch fall-out yet to come are over, thanks to this email which hit my inbox today, from "Mr. Charles Soludo"



OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATION
INTERNATIONAL CREDIT SETTLEMENT,
ATM PAYMENT DEPARTMENT (CBN)
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERI

URGENT ATTENTION .

This is to officially inform you that we have verified your

contract/inheritance file and found out that why you have not received

your payment is because you have not fulfilled the obligations given

to you in respect of your contract/inheritance payment.

Secondly we have been informed that you are still dealing with the

none officials in the bank your entire attempt to secure the release

of the fund to you. We wish to advise you that such an illegal act

like these have to stop if you wish to receive your payment since we

have decided to bring a solution to your problem.
Right now we have arranged your payment through our swift card payment

center Asia pacific that is the latest instruction from MR.
PRESIDENT, MUSA YAR-ADUA (GCFR) FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA. AND EFCC

NIGERIA. As well the INTERPOL and FBI.

This card center will send you an ATM CARD which you will use to
withdrawyour money in any ATM MACHINE in any part of the world, but

the maximum istwenty thousand dollars per day, so if you like to

receive your fund this way please let us know by contacting the card

payment center Mr. Charles Soludo on email

mr.charlessoludo01@gmail.com And

also send the following information:

1. Your full name
2. Phone and fax number
3. Address were you want them to send the ATM CARD
4. Your age and current occupation
5. Attach copy of your identification

The ATM CARD PAYMENT CENTER has been mandated to issue out
$9,000,000..00 as part payment for this fiscal year 2006. Also for

your information,

you have to stop any further communication with any other person(s) or

office (s) to avoid any hitches in receiving your Payment. For oral
discussion, call and email me back as soon as you receive this
important message for further direction and also update me on any
development from the above-mentioned office.

Note that because of impostors, we hereby issued you our code of
conduct, which is (ATM-822) so you have to indicate this code when
contacting

the card center by using it as your subject.
Regards,

Mr. Charles Soludo
barrkenamadi, email (mr.charlessoludo01@gmail.com)
ATM Payment Department (CBN)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Season Of Mists And Mellow Fruitfulness

It certainly seemed that way. Here is 7.30am on Saturday morning outside my room at Robinson College, Cambridge.




As you'll see, Robinson is fashioned out of red bricks, so I figured that was fitting enough for my "going-up" to Cambridge, given my very working class roots.




You may well wonder why I was up at 7.30am after the night before?

Well, truthfully for me there was no night before. The academy was poorly attended. The atmosphere was doom and gloom, under the uncertainty of redundancies (which seem pretty certain if you ask me). It didn't help that the first speaker was giving us a (rather pessimistic) overview of the commercial real estate/property finance market.

I didn't need to hear yet again that this was probably the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end.

Our German colleagues felt happened upon that they should have to get up at 4am to make it to Cambridge for a 12.30pm start, so most of them didn't bother coming.

So, it was anything but lively, hence my retiring to bed at 10.30am. I was waiting with anxiety for the Today R4 programme which starts an hour later on Saturday.

Which is why you find me up at 7.30am.

So, does one go up or go down to Cambridge? I better ponder that. No doubt a viewing of Brideshead Revisited will clarify.



On which subject, hmmm I wonder, is Ben Whishaw gay?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Purity

Waiting...

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"Touch proximity may emotionally stir me up."

But I'm gonna' save that for mon C's return.

Tomorrow I'm off to Oxford, or Cambridge, for some learning weekend. Not much fun though.

It's more of the same when I went to Barcelona, but this time there's no free bar. Blame the credit crunch.

I was re-assessed for language competency at work today (French of course). I am now "advanced intermediate". Oh la la. But the sad news is, we may not keep our hot French tutor.

Nevertheless, we like how he challenged us, so I have intervened, and colleagues agree, so hopefully we will continue with the same.

In the office the mood is very low. We fear that by Christmas we will be 20% less. Law firms are ruthless in terms of casting off fee earners to maintain profit. We see other firms "letting go", so reality is that it is only a matter of time.

I'm an expensive hire. Go figure...

So, until from Oxford or Cambridge, ahoj.

(But, didn't I take such a good pic?)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Take My Breath Away

When I was a child, I remember watching a movie about people encountering dinosaurs. Something along the lines of a plane crashing on an island or somewhere that dinosaurs still existed.

There was a scene where a passenger's dog, a little poodle or something, ran round the corner right into a giant dinosaur.

I was shocked and gasped deeply

Only I took such a sharp intake of breath I couldn't breathe again. My mother started to panic. I burst blood vessels on my face and fainted. Then I relaxed and started breathing normally again.

I clearly remember sitting in the kitchen with my mother while she tried to get me to breathe, while being unable to do so.

Some years later I was watching the same movie again. I knew exactly what was about to happen. The dog, the dinosaur. Only when it did, the exact same thing happened. Shock, gasp, faint...

I have never seen the film since, and I've often remembered the moment, wondering which movie it was.

Right now I'm sitting here bored, seeing what's on satellite contemplating putting on a DVD. Only Film 4 is showing The Lost World. And I'm sure that's the movie-I've seen the yapping poodle already.



Let's see if it still makes me faint!!!




I phoned my mother just to tell her that I'm watching the movie, just to see if she remembered. She remembered exactly the moment that the poodle ran into a dinosaur that caused me the shock.

OK, so it's just about to happen. Get ready...



Prepare for the biggest shock that might make you faint...



Absolutely terrifying, huh?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Right Place, Right Time

As I blogged over the weekend, I was in Paris this weekend.

My trip coincided with the Paris Techno Parade 2008. Love, ecstasy and les mecs chauds?

Too many DJs, perhaps. Certainly too many revellers for me. And too much noise.

Anyhow, I have been trying to take better photos with my new camera. Sizing, spontaneous, capturing.

But sometimes, you just find yourself in the right place, at the right time...

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And now for the trousers ?

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czechBACK soon to find out....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Tale Of Two Weekends

Out And Getting Down In London And Paris

The City

Lovely Bunch

Last weekend was the Thames Festival, organised by the Mayor of London, to mark the change of season; the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

Eurotrash?

The weather was excellent both days. I popped down to have a spy on Saturday. It was packed.

Although there were other points of interest, it did seem that the main focus was on eating, with most of the food being offered at, I'd say, an average of £6.50 per plate.

Yum

Looks like a lot of people made a lot of money.

Aside from the food concessions that ran the whole route, there were various stages set out for performers. I saw some salsa (or maybe tango) teaching in front of the Tate, a band on Southwark Bridge (which was also transformed into one huge al fresco dining table), and some Polish folk dancing in front of the Royal Festival Hall.

Southwark Bridge Dining

Southwark Bridge

Skateboy

I was delighted to see that Jeppe Hein's sculptural and interactive Appearing Rooms fountain was in use once again.

Appearing Rooms 4

Appearing Rooms 5

When the sun is shining a lot of people have fun trying to avoid getting drenched when rooms appear and disappear as water-walls rise and fall, allowing you to move around within the space.

Appearing Rooms 8

More Rooms

More Rooms 3

More Rooms 5

Skateboys

This weekend I was in Paris, to spend a precious 35.5 hours with mon C. That's all the time I get to spend with him this entire month, as he's been away in Tel Aviv, and right now he is en route to Cyprus for a couple of weeks.

Given his turn-around time was less than 48 hours he didn't feel there was time to come home-which is just as well given the reduced emergency Eurostar service currently in operation.

The 2008 Techno Parade, Paris

The French are revolting. They are always revolting. Not content with the big one in 1789, and other less memorable ones (such as is the subject of Les Miserables), they never miss an opportunity.

more revolution

And so it was yesterday.

Watching the watchers

To tell the truth I'm quite accustomed to seeing the CRS out in force on the Place de la Republique, and in force.

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CRS

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So, what's new I thought when I saw the line-up of police, police trucks and people on a demo. Truthfully they're always protesting, every single time.

still revolting

still revolting 2

This time it was something to do with strikers supporting Afghanistan.

all quiet Marais

However to my amazement the normally busy streets of the Marais were quiet, until we were almost back at Repu, when this mass of people greeted us. Actually, we heard it before we saw it.

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TechnoParade

It turned out to be the 2008 Paris Techno Parade.

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Berlin has it's Love Parade, and so apparently has Paris, except it's Paris and not in Berlin, and it's called Techno, not Love... But otherwise it seemed pretty much to be the same thing. Decorated floats hosting famous European DJs, blasting out dance music.

This was the 10th such annual parade, apparently.

Anyway, enjoy the pics. There are plenty more on Flickr.

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in vino veritas

The Eurostar "Emergency Service" Experience

During the week I was a little concerned about whether I'd manage out to Paris on Friday night. I have to admit it turned out to be quite easy, and the fastest I've probably done the trip from door to door, as it were.

I was meant to be out on Friday might on the 7.05pm train, but it had been cancelled. There was however a train at 7pm, and the last one followed that out half-an-hour later.

At around 4pm, I started to think that I might have a chance of getting the 5.30pm train (ahead of my scheduled departure) and so I left the office at 4.15pm. Just over an hour later I was sitting on the 5.30pm train. It left on time and I was in Paris just after 9pm local time. Fantastic.

In London they seem to be operating a first-come-first-serve ticketing system on non-scheduled trains. You turn up, stand in a huge line (which in fairness moved fairly quickly) and you get assigned the next seat that is available, in order. They start with the first seat and keep going up the train in order.

I got a seat in carriage 16 out of 18.

On the way back today I was meant to be on the 2.13pm train. It had been cancelled though, and the next service was running at 2.43pm.

However there was a direct train at 12.13pm, and another via Lille and Calais at 12.43pm. I decided I should go for the first of those I could get on, to save a delay and possible difficulties getting a seat later in the day, when I figured more people would be returning at the end of the weekend (bearing in mind that the last 6 or so scheduled trains had been cancelled).

Needless to say, things at the Paris end didn't work so smoothly!

Firstly, whereas in London they had 8 - 10 desks open to check you in, in Paris they had 1. Yup, one-with 3 people dealing with one person at a time of course.

The other problem was that the 12.13pm train was regular scheduled train, and not one of the emergency scheduled ones. So all the people originally booked on that train had priority.

They pulled people out of the queue for the 12.13 to at least try and get them through. I went with them.

I saw however that some people ahead of me were trying the same as me, so I guessed I was going to get knocked back.

Just before assisting the couple in front of me, the more-evil looking of the 2 women left. So I spoke first in French, she responded in English, and I continued in french, but deliberately tourist-needing-help French.

There is a way you have to deal with the French if you hope to have any co-operation when you need it.

When she looked at my ticket, she told me I couldn't get on this train. I explained, in French that my scheduled train had been cancelled. The guy told me I would have to take the 2.43pm train.

I suggested politely that as my train had been cancelled, and there was a reduced service, it would make sense to get me out if there was a spare seat at 12.13. I deliberately used the wrong word for seat (asseyer is the verb to sit, so I used une assiette (a plate) instead of place, assise or siege, which I could have used).

She corrected my French, I said thank-you, then when she explained something else I apologised and said I only spoke a little French. She continued in English, me in French. Seeing there was no-one behind me or coming out of the queue with a 12.13 ticket she stamped my ticket. Seat 38 in carriage 18. The last carriage.

Merci beaucoup! Just as well the hard-looking one went, she'd not have let me go.

Lost inside
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside
We coulda made it cruising, yeah

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