Dans le Noir

As part of my birthday weekend celebration Rachel organised a meal at a French restaurant where the room you eat in is completely dark and the waiting staff are all blind. The food was great but the novelty value was excellent.

When you arrive at the restaurant you are asked to put your valuables and anything that might emit light like mobiles and cameras into lockers. Then you are organised into a line with your right arm on the shoulder of the person in front of you and the waiter leads you into the pitch black dining room and navigates you to your table. At the table you have to orientate yourself and those around you to the space around you. We shared a table with a group of random Aussies and before Rachel realised this she called out to the waitress that she thought she was on the wrong table. Once orientated we realised that we were all yelling at each other. Something about losing one sense made us amplify the others to compensate I guess. Eating and drinking was also a challenge as we couldn’t see what we were doing. Of critical importance was organising the distribution of the red and white wine and not mixing them up. The end result was a fair bit of spilled wine and people who wore white shirts feeling silly. At some stage we were delivered additional wine that we didn’t order (and thus didn’t have to pay for) so it all worked out in the end :)

All in all a fun night with good food. The French staff were poorly organised and often rude which just added to the hilarity of the evening.

This is my best photo of the evening.

Dans le Noir

I am now a professional photographer

Recently I stumbled on this site photopreneur that offers all sorts of advice about professional photography. A day later I got another request for one of my photos on flickr and I asked for some money (normally I just give them away).

Well I have just sold this photo for ?30 a copy of the book my picture will appear in and a credit for the photograph.

Blenheim Palace

I think that officially makes me a professional photographer, although I will not be giving up the day job just yet.

Packed May bank holiday weekend

Rachel and I had a packed bank holiday weekend.

On the Saturday we rode along the Regents Canal to the London river boat festival.

Canal cavalcade

On Sunday we spent 8 hours on England’s wonderful railway service (making a journey that should have been 3 hours) to Monkey World in Dorset. Monkey World is sanctuary for monkeys that are saved from all over the planet. Some were kept in research labs for in one meter cages by themselves for year after for year. Others were pets that got too big to be pets any more.

Chimp enclosure Monkey World, Dorset

Finally on the Monday off work we took our bike out to the country and covered them in mud. My bike the Canondale “Road Warrior” did okay in the muddy conditions despite it’s skinny road wheels.

Bundy, Laura and Hubbers

Half way through the day the front tire split and I got two consecutive punctures which I fixed while everyone else was enjoying their lunches.

Fixing a flat tire

All in all a packed and fun May bank holiday weekend in England :)

Freecycling rocks

Rachel is a freecycler (not a freegan) which means that she loves to give stuff to other freecyclers and get stuff in return from them. They even have a freecycler website big meetings where they all go to give stuff away. This is a fantastic idea that started in Arazona with the idea to divert reusable good from landfills.

Today she took a load of our old books up to a freecycle meeting in an afluent area of London called Hampstead. There were some really amazing ‘gifts’ being freecycled like coffee machines. Against all odd she managed to beat all of the other freecyclers to this stunning piece of art that not lives above our dining room table.

Freecycled painting

We are planning to take it back to Sydney with us so it can hang on the wall of her “yoga room”.

The subtlety of advertising

On British television at the moment, ASDA, one of the major supermarket chains has an advertisement where they claim that an independent price checker http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/ say that they have loads more cheap products than a cut-price supermarket rival, Tesco.

This is a sample of one of the ads.

The thing that caught my attention is that the music from the ad is the theme tune from a classic British comedy called Dad’s Arrmy. Everybody in Britain would know that the main line of the song is “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?”

Is this a really subtle way for for one British supermarket to call another British supermarket Nazis?


Today at lunch I was attempting to change the pin on a Barclays Visa (unsuccessfully) and as guy in front of me left and I stepped up the ATM the machine it issues me with around two hundred pounds in COLD HARD CASH CASH!

Naturally I grabbed the money and tracked down the guy who had just gone into the bank. He took the money without saying a word so I hope I got the right person.

My thoughts

If I got the wrong person he is now telling his mates that he went to the bank and as he left a complete stranger gave him ?200!

When did cash machines start issuing cash AFTER the card had been returned? I thought that had stopped years ago because people were much more likely to leave without their card than without their cash.

My flatmate found a wallet

My flatmate manages a Hotel Chocolat on Kensington High Street and today one of his staff found a wallet. Before he could have a look at it the store radio that links all of the other stores in the high street and the police that another wallet had been found. And another. And another …

The wallets had been deliberately dropped by guerrilla marketers promoting a new TV programme Dirty Sexy Money. An interesting idea but probably not too successful unless loads of idiots blog about it.

Wallet found in Kensington

SHOCKED – IE8 passes the Acid2 test

If you aren’t an internet geek this will mean nothing to you. But to those of us who spend our days coding sites so that they work on all the different browsers and platforms on the wild wild web this is huge news.

The Acid2 test is a complicated web page that will only display correctly on a browser that conforms to a set internationally accepted standards outlined by the W3C. If the web browser that you are using supports web standards then the Acid2 test pages will display a nice smiley face. If it doesn’t then the results will be not such a nice smiley face.

You can click here to see how your current web browser performs on the Acid2 test. It probably doesn’t do too well.

The point is though there are lots of internet browsers out there like Firefox, Safari, Opera etc and most of them are moving towards being fully standards compliant. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on the other hand is a pile of poorly coded junk and doesn’t even come close to passing the Acid2 test. I guess they always figured that if they pre-packaged their internet browser with the Windows operating system then they would not have to comply to international standards. This is a real bugger for web developers like me because we have to code our sites to work on most of the worlds internet browsers and then we have to code them to work on IE6.

Recently Microsoft has been losing a share fo the browser market to a far superior standards compliant browser called Firefox. To stop the rot Microsoft released IE7 but that was largely based on the original code from IE6 and wasn’t really much better. So it looks like Microsoft have finally gotten the message and built their next internet browser IE8 from scratch so that it complies with the correct international standards. The follow picture from the IEBlog shows that IE8 will comply with pass the Acid2 test.

IE8 will pass the Acid2 test

If this can be believed then it is the most significant development for internet browsers in a long time.

Help the hungry Japanese

This came in on email:

The Japanese government must believe their people are very hungry, otherwise they would not be hunting whales in the Southern Oceans.

To assist our Japanese friends, we propose to send packets of instant noodles to Japan to save the whales from being eaten. To show the intent of these noodles, please attach a letter to the Prime Minister of Japan, Yasuo Fukuda, about the continued Japanese whaling in the south seas, and the world’s opposition to the wasteful and unneeded slaughter of whales.

Individual noodle packets can be sent to:
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
1-6-1 Nagata-cho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968

Banglebangle.co.uk goes live!

In the most entrepreneurial thing I have ever done in my 35 years on this planet I have imported thousands of bangles and am starting an online jewellery business with my girlfriend Rachel. And before you ask starting an online jewellery business is not the first step on the slippery slope to life as a cross dressing web developer.

BangleBangle.co.uk (November 2007)

The site is called “bangle bangle” and can be found at http://www.banglebangle.co.uk

How can you help?

  • Link to my site – to get a better ranking on search engines like Google I need to get other sites link to http://www.banglebangle.co.uk. The more incoming links I have the more seriously the search engines will take me and the better my ranking will be. So if you have a blog or a Facebook/Ringo/Bebo page or even your company’s website then please ad a link to http://www.banglebangle.co.uk. Any links you add would be greatly appreciated.
  • Tell your friends – Sites like this can generate a lot of traffic from word of mouth. If you have friends who like bangles forward this email to them. Or even if you have friends who hate bangles but who might know someone who doesn’t hate bangles forward this email to them. And tell them to forward it on to their friends!
  • Tell your friends to link their blogs to me ;) – incoming links are everything for search engines and everyone who links to the site will be helping out.
  • Make suggestions – I am new at this and any ideas or suggestions you have would also be appreciated.

It has take months of work to get this far and there is still loads to do so keep popping back every now and then to see how it is going.

PS don’t forget to LINK TO MY SITE!