Archive for November, 2005

The grandparents’ festival, Ranco

Monday, November 28th, 2005

http://www.comune.ranco.va.it/Upload/archivio/4bbbhehb.info.doc
Check the photo at the bottom of the doc. We played some folk music for the grandparents’ festival in our village of Ranco – most of the audience seemed to be children though.

Abstraction errors

Monday, November 21st, 2005

Recently I’ve been noticing an amusing category of daily life cock-up which I’d like to christen Abstraction errors. The definition is that they show you’ve abstracted a situation or action but you’ve then applied your abstraction wrongly. Perhaps nobody else is prone to this – but if you are, you could add your examples:
Here are the examples I’ve noticed so far:
1. Trying to shave my armpits instead of putting deoderant (take a stick-like object from the shelf in the bathroom and wiggle it about under your arms).
2. Trying to put my coffee key into my motorbike ignition (to get what you want, take coffee key and put in somewhere).
3. Trying to press ctrl Z when I’ve made a real life mistake.
4. Thinking about phoning a lost object which is not my mobile phone.
5. Going to the cinema, sitting down and reaching for my seatbelt.

Jokes with security guards

Friday, November 18th, 2005

This morning I broke the golden rule of not making jokes about carrying automatic weapons with border control staff.
I rode to work as usual on my C1 scooter but this time with a violin strapped across my chest. It looks quite amazing because the C1 has to be ridden using 2 seatbelts or it won’t work. So the violin is really strapped across one’s chest rambo/mafiosi style.
Fotios took this quick shot with his PDA.

The conversation with the 2 JRC security guards went something like this. (JRC is actually a different country as far as Italy is concerned and has its own customs point. It is also a nuclear establishment so you have to pass a fancy looking checkpoint to get in.)
Guard 1: Smirk -”What’s that – a rifle?”
Me:”No actually, it’s a machine gun – is that OK?”
Guard 1:”Yes no problem” – Giggle
Guard 2:”What are you, a mafiosi?”
Me:”Yes that’s right, I’m just going to massacre a few people – OK?”
Guard 1: “Fine (va bene)” -without checking contents waves me on

Mobile phone etiquette

Monday, November 14th, 2005

Here’s a draft charter for non-anti-social use of mobile phones:
1. It has been scientifically proven that ring tones suck badly and are not necessary. Ditch the electronic mozart. I have my phone on vibrate permanently and have never missed a call because of it – or if I have, I was quite pleased about it. Remember – you might think it’s cool to play Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in sine wave tones at top volume in a train but chances are, other people probably think you are sad. Ring tones for SMS’s are doubly bad.
2. Face to face encounters take precedence unless you have genuine reason to expect that an urgent call is pending.
3. Don’t have loud conversations in public. Forcible eavesdropping can be entertaining but as a rule, we don’t want to know. Or if we do, perhaps your ex-boyfriend doesn’t want us to.
4. If you do have a loud conversation in public of any sort, make sure you tell everyone the juicy details.
5. Don’t alter your conversation to show off. “I love you so much.”
6. Tell your conversation partners not to ask where you are as it is almost never relevant – and remember – all the other people in the bus/train/plane know where we are….
If you’ve ever paid money for a ring-tone – please leave me a message to explain why anyone would do such a thing.

Black box for a car

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Why not have a couple of cheap cameras in your car keeping a continuous buffer on solid state memory so that when an accident happens, you can prove what happened?
A quick bit of research shows there are some ideas in the pipeline…

Sexism against Men

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

We all know about sexism when it comes to women and probably most people have noticed it the other way around too but here a couple of snippets from the other side of the fence.
I just came back from my lunchtime swim. I was just getting changed when a fully clothed woman walked through the changing rooms. I’ve complained about this before but they don’t seem to take it seriously. They say the woman in question (who seems to hang out on a semi-permanent basis in the men’s changing rooms) is there to look after kids. But why can’t she take them to the ladies changing room? I pointed out that there weren’t any kids around today and I pointed out that if the same thing happened with roles reversed the chances are the police would be called. I don’t think it’ll make any difference. I think I’m more bothered by the injustice of it than the actual voyeurism per se.
I read that in the UK 9/10 divorces end with the kids allocated to the mother. I know kids don’t like to be separated and they generally prefer the mother, but this seems like it might be an unfair weighting.
In a Father’s Day television interview in 2002, Bob Geldof spoke out against laws that favored mothers in custody matters. The response was overwhelming: a flood of letters from anguished fathers, more mail than his advocacy on behalf of Africa had ever unleashed. “I just wanted to be with my kids 50% of the time,” he told TIME. “If a man and a woman live together and it fails, that’s tragic. But if you have children, whole universes close to you” if you’re prevented from seeing them.
“Our system is adversarial,” he said, “…The law says it’s gender neutral, but 93% of children go to the women