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Showing posts from May, 2006

Me and 10 Billion Chinese

Just got back from my trip to Frankfurt. I spent almost two hours at immigration tonight waiting behind a flight from Shanghai. They were a little short-staffed at the desk, which made it slow anyway, but then add that to a line full of a 747's worth of Chinese people, many of whom know very little English. Between the visa questioning and the unresponsiveness to "NEXT" and the slowed reactions of folks fresh off a 10 hour flight, it went on like a bad dream. When I finally got to the immigration officer I actually smiled at him and said, "Hooray! It's my turn! I'm so HAPPY!" He laughed at me and let me right in. I will say, though, that it's odd to have gotten to a point where going through immigration at Heathrow feels like part of my commute and not a major event. I didn't feel like I was in a customs delay today. I felt like I was in a traffic jam. Frankfurt was fine. It was a trade show, so mostly I just walked around a convention centr

The Liberal Media

This is an excellent piece about how the "liberal media" have actually been anything but in the past ten years. And before you dismiss it as a rant, take the time to read it. It makes some very strong arguments in plain language even the most closed-minded can understand. Read it, then spread the word.

Saturday Kitchen

There's a cooking show on BBC1 every Saturday called Saturday Kitchen , and I like to watch it when I have a schedule that permits. I'm being lazy on this bank holiday weekend so this is definitely a SK day. The format is good, actually...there's a celebrity chef host named Antony Worrell Thompson, and he has two guests each week. They usually have similar or complimentary styles, and each chef cooks something from their repertoire and then offers up one dish each for a competition and viewers vote for which one they want to see cooked at the end of the show. There's a young Italian chef on today who's just been to Mexico and he's making beef taquitos. He's got one of those pronounced "that's-a-spicy-meatball" accents, and he's making all sorts of good natured pronouncements about Mexico and the things he learned there. And it's absolutely ridiculous. So far he's told us that they use too much spice, that they use all this spice

Dirty Little Secret

In addition to my obsessive Elliott watching and my crush on Grant Mitchell from Easties, I am currently compelled by Al Gore. Yes, Al Gore. Tipper's husband. (And you know I'm no fan of Tipper and her censorship.) I've always been an Al Gore fan, but now, I don't know. He's got a something-something going on that cannot be denied. I think it's all that earnestness and intellect, combined with the edgy criticism of the Bush administration he keeps giving when asked for comment. I haven't seen his movie yet, but my friend Pam says it's a real wonkfest and a bit of a snoozer. (And Pam's the sort who likes a wonkfest now and again, so these are strong words.) Somehow, however, I think I'll be riveted. There's nothing sexier than a smart guy who's passionate about his subject, and in Al's case he doubles as a sort of superhero who's ready to help us save the planet from the evil forces of doom (and W). He's like Superman

Trip Home

I've ticketed for my summer trip home, and here's the plan. As you know, I'll be FORTY on July 22. Therefore I'm catching a flight to New York to spend the weekend with Tom and George and some of my friends will be joining me. I'm rather excited about NYC, actually. Haven't been to the new MOMA yet, so I've put that on my list, but otherwise Tom is sorting the itinerary and I just have to show up and be worshiped. Can do, baby. And perhaps shake a tail feather, but that is TBD. I fly to MSP on the 24th, and will be in the midwest until August 4th. I expect I'll have about 4 days in MSP and the remainder in Decorah. MSP time will be weekdays, but I will be scheduling a night of cocktails sometime whilst I'm there. If you've got venue suggestions you should let me know. I'm always a sucker for Mancini's Char House and a tall Belvedere Dirty Martini served by a waitress who sounds like a Fargo extra and who calls me "hon", but

Friday night out

It's a day to celebrate. Turned in our group Statistics Team Project today, and the bonus was I actually understood it enough to write a coherent executive summary. Don't get me wrong, the more formula-oriented people in the group actually ran the linear regression. But the good news is that I could help interpret the results. Wa-hoo. So I decided to celebrate with a night out. Colleagues from work were going out, and I'd not intended to go...it was a leaving do for a girl I'd actually helped out the door. (I'm her manager, and let's just say she'll do much better in her next venture.) So I wasn't exactly sure I was welcome, but I guess I picked out a good leaving gift, so they encouraged me to come along. We tried a new restaurant here in MK that had been getting good reviews. It's called Silk Road, and they're trying to play that whole pan-Asia fusion thing. The group was small...I'd missed the happy hour because I really needed a stop a

Tips for cutting the grass

I believe that I've mentioned that my lawn in the back garden had gotten freakishly long. It's not usually that way. I'd had a bit of trouble with both front and back gardens at the beginning of the season because I didn't realise that last fall there was actually a day after which you really wouldn't be able to mow for six months due to weather, and, well, that day came the Thursday before the Saturday I'd intended for mowing. So the lawn continued to grow throughout the winter, and by the time the rain stopped and mowing was possible again it had gotten totally out of control. I was able to fix it, but then with exams and the buckets of rain we've been getting it has never really seemed like the time to cut the grass. And funny thing about grass...it grows, regardless of rain or life pressures. So I was left with grass that was somewhere around 6 - 12 inches long in the back garden. It was in that shaggy unmown phase where you can see the waves of the

10 year old boy humor

I bought a little wheel of 99p Camembert at M&S the other day, and before I go to mow my lawn I'm having a little snack. The package says, "Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Use within 3 days of cutting the cheese." Tee hee. Perhaps I need to have a bowl of chili first.

Links to the right

I've noticed I've got a lot of links over there on the right bar, so I thought I'd tell you who they are. They're there for a reason....they are all Mindy-endorsed sites and so you might want to give them a spin when you're looking for things to do online. Nerd's Eye View - Pam joined me in the Seattle phase of my life. Her blogs are seasonal...she lives in Seattle in the spring/summer/fall, and spends winters in Austria with her husband. She also makes a good living writing, and has links to all sorts of fascinating stuff where she's a contributor or an editor or just knows somebody goofy who should be getting some attention. Plus she's a kickass photographer and quite the raconteur. Coaster Punchman's World - Owned by Tom, my primarily gay boyfriend and soulmate. Tom joined me at St. Olaf. Tom's blog has no theme. He just talks about his life and the things that annoy/elate/frustrate him. He has a big following, and will cyberstalk you if

Another favourite blog

My friend Tom found this one with "view next blog," and I am compelled to keep reading it. I've added it to the sidebar for easy access, should you, too, develop a sick and horrid fascination.

Revising

I have been frantically revising over the last few weeks. I had totally forgotten what this was like. This sucks. I'm 39 years old, and the last time I took an exam it was 1988. Plus, let's face it...I was never much of a studier in college. So right now I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided I needed to get my MBA while also working full time. This sucks. It's been crazy busy at work lately. It's coming to the end of the fiscal year, and people are trying to get whatever sales they can. I appreciate this and am happy to help them, but this means we're working on lots of unqualified bids that don't really have much chance of getting a win and everything is due in about three days. We've even had people receive requests for proposals that sit in their inbox for a week and then they send them to us for a turn in four days. It's horrible. And all the time, I'm trying to get out of there and get home so I can draw third degree pri

Five Things I Hate

There's a new link on the right, this time for a blog called Five Things I Hate that is orchestrated by my friend Tom. Read about what makes others' blood boil. Email Tom and tell him what really miffs you. Vent all you want...Tom can handle it. OH! And my friend Lauren found this great site . I've added it to the right, as well. Wish I were as clever as that chick.

Africa Part 3

Okay. Almost done! When we last left our hero (me!), she was drinking gin and tonic in the hotel bar, then heading to bed. Got up the next day to a relaxing morning. We were supposed to go jet-boating in the white-water part of the river, but the boat's engines were on the fritz so we got to be leisurely instead. They scheduled massages for us, which were given in tents with open walls to the Mighty Zambezi River. Spectacular setting with the river peacefully flowing in front of me while the nice lady worked the kinks out of my back. (Of which there were many.) Met in the lobby at 11 and headed to Botswana. The border is actually the MIGHTY Zambezi, so you have to take a ferry across. It's a small ferry, so trucks passing between the two line up for days to wait for entrance. There are lots of stands selling food and drink along the approach. You enter the fenced in customs area, and you make your way across the red dirt parking area, which is riddled with erosion trenc

Sidebar

Those who don't watch American Idol don't read the other blog I share with Tom, We Judge the Idols. But I have to cross-blog this week, because reasonable people need to get involved. It's down to three...a lovely Jewish/Iraqi American soul singer named Elliott who's scruffy and cute AND a really nice guy with humility and grace; a spastic grey-haired 29-year-old who is infectiously fun and totally unique; and a cloying, obnoxious Mariah-wannabe who oversings and tries to come off as an aw-shucks bashful girl, all the while using cleavage and belly-baring tops to sex her way into fame. And she dances like Elaine Benis on Seinfeld . I can't watch Idol real-time or vote (AMERICAN Idol, don't you know, and I'm in England.) But if you've got 20 minutes, please do me a favour and watch the last 10 minutes in your time zone and place calls to vote for Elliott. He deserves the win. Or better yet, watch the whole show and fall in love with Elliott (and in &q

Africa Part 2

Okay. So "tomorrow" turned into "next week". Sorry. I'm in the crunch before finals (19 and 20 May), and so I'm a little stressed. But thought I'd do a quick update. I believe I left off with THE PLAGUE of bugs outside my door. The next morning we got up early and headed up river about 20 minutes. We drove past red mud huts and little thatched villages. Absolutely amazing to see people living like this. (Remember what I said about National Geographic?) At one point, we had to brake fast as a herd (about 10) wild elephants came out of the ditch to cross the road. Not running or anything...just heading out for a drink at the river. They're like deer, I tell you, except a lot bigger. I tell you THAT would dent your bumper. (Perhaps they have elephant whistles on their cars to scare them off the road? I'll follow up on that.) Eventually, we got to our destination where we met an adventuresome guide named Paul. Paul is Zimbabwean, and he&

Africa Part 1

As you can probably tell from my weekend post, I am safely home from Africa. It was an amazing trip...I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and highly recommend it to anyone. I think that Americans forget to include it in their must-do travel plans because it's a long flight from the states, but I'm telling you this is the trip of a lifetime. Yowsa. There's a lot to tell and many pictures to post, so I will do it in bits and pieces. The trip actually started on the Friday before I left, as I had to start taking my malaria tablets. They made me kind of woozy, which was not fun. But woozy is better than getting malaria, which I believe I may have mentioned before. I spent Sat and Sun getting my bags packed and trying to clean up the joint so I wasn't leaving it in a big mess. (Kat was in Tenerife, so I'd gotten a bit more cluttered than I've been lately.) I was just getting ready to hop in the shower and prepare for my drive to Heathrow when I reread my itinerary...a