Archive for the 'Slice of Life' Category

Economic Indications

September 10, 2008

The George Street Burger King has closed. This is the strongest indicator of imminent global recession that I have seen so far.

It will be good for my waistline. Now I will have to walk further to another Burger King for my dinner.

I knew that markets were tough. I spent couple of hours today in going through the various business forecast reports and my yet-to-be-paid credit card bills. Fortunately my employer is better placed than a City fast food outlet. We are unlikely to be turning customers away.

I wonder if any economists would be interested in my Burger Unit Number (BUN) Index (patent pending) for modelling purposes?



July 21, 2008

It was a heartstopping moment…

I opened my bag on the train to get my laptop, and it wasn’t there.

Instantly I knew that it had been stolen. By an invisible thief who had walked alongside me to the station and had unzipped the bag as I walked, then unzipped the laptop case and sneakily extracted the computer without me noticing a thing.

Mentally I retraced my steps. From putting the bag between my feet as I sat on the train, walking back along the carriage, off the train, through the ticket barrier, back up the steps, along the street, into the office building, past the security guard, up in the lift, back through the department to my desk, where I had been rushing to hand some papers to my boss, zipping up my bag and NOT PICKING UP MY LAPTOP FROM THE DESK!

Aarrggh. I had forgotten my laptop.

My whole weekend plan was in shreds. I would not be able to review the emails from today, I would not be able to look at the presentations, I would not be able to finish a report. I would not be able to do any work for the whole weekend..

Hang on.

Er…That’s not so bad.

By the time I got to Perth I had a spring in my step. It was a beautiful summer evening. The sun was low in the sky. There were many strikingly pierced punks cheerfully wandering down the hill. The pigeons were cooing. It didn’t even look as if it was going to rain…

which was lucky really, because I left my umbrella in Stirling yesterday.

ID as in idiot

July 14, 2008

The opposite of Identity Theft is perhaps Identity Neglect. This occurs when people ignorantly or deliberately leave parts of their identity lying around for other people to find and use.

The most public example of Identity Neglect in the UK recently was a celebrated journalist who was trying to show that personal data loss was not a big problem. He published his name and bank details in a newspaper, to prove that there was nothing to worry about because financial institutions had robust security measures in place… Within 48 hours someone had anonymously set up a bank payment from his account to a major charity (and that was just the part of the story he chose to tell us about).

But small examples of Identity Neglect happen all the time. People still throw away credit card statements, household bills and bank statements unshredded in their household rubbish. People still give out their credit card details, name and address over the phone in public places…

On Friday I was coming home on the train, sitting near a woman with a mobile phone. She was in the process of selling or letting her flat in Glasgow. Her estate agent had left her a message to ask if he/she could bring round some prospective clients to view the flat on Monday (today).

Somewhere between Dunblane and Stiring, she rang the agent back and in a very LOUD VOICE clearly stated her name, the address of her flat and then went on to explain that she was going away for the weekend and would then be away for the next 10 days, so the flat would be empty. She was at pains to emphasise her concern that the clients viewing the flat should be accompanied (from which I surmised that she had items of value in the flat).

At this point she lost the signal on her phone. So she had to ring back.

It took two attempts for her to get back through to the right person, during which she repeated her name and address twice more….Just in case there was a burglar in the carriage who had been a bit slow in noting down the precise details. She ended the call by reminding the agent how long she would be away leaving the flat empty.

I hope she is not insured with us.


May 2, 2008

On a continuing international theme I am grateful to blog readers Mr.T and Miss.L for emailing me with an explanation of Icelandic “bun day”. I would like to think that they are both experts in Icelandic traditions and culture, but I sensed a quick trip to Wikipedia was a more likely basis for their apparent erudition.

Mr.T explained “bun day” as follows: “Iceland celebrates two holidays in February that seem to revolve simply around the consumption of delicious foods with guiltless abandon. Two days before Lent is known as Bolludagur or “Buns Day.” Homes, restaurants and particular bakeries, overflow with delicately made cream puffs or “buns.” These “buns” come in all different shapes and sizes, filled with cream, jam, and sometimes drizzled in chocolate. Children especially love Bun Day because they get to wake up early and try to catch their parents still in bed. If they do, they “beat” them out of bed with their individually made Bolluvondur or “Bun Wands,” which are colourfully decorated with strips of paper and gleaming ribbon. The parents are then obliged to give their children one cream puff for every “blow” received.”

I struggle to imagine me getting up early to catch my parents in bed… But I’m a glutton for buns so I’ll pencil in a trip to Iceland in the February gloom for one day when I have more time.( just kidding…)

I thought that Miss.L’s email summed it up more enticingly: “it seems to revolve around being paid (in buns) for spanking other people with a stick before they get out of bed!”… Which has got to beat working, any day.

Of course, in my quest for global diversity, I’m now wondering whether any other countries have a traditional festival which involves spanking…


April 8, 2008

This season’s word seems to be “monetize“. Which means “finding a way to make money out of an idea or a piece of technology“. I think that what it really means is “exploit”, but for some reason in the articles I am reading the authors avoid using this. Perhaps these days it is not politically correct to say “exploit”, due to its association with, um, exploitation. So “monetize” is a more capitalistically correct term. After all, who could disagree with making money as a worthy aim…and saying “company x needs to monetize its offering to consumers” sounds less greedy than “company x should exploit its customers”!


Has the latest buzzword reached your workplace yet? Perhaps they would have started their transition to be at the linguistic cutting edge. If you come across “monetize” in an internal report or document, do remember OTG.


Now, dear readers, if only I could find an easy way to monetize my blogging…:-)

Lucky stars

March 11, 2008

From the banks of the Tay to the banks of the Seine last Sunday night, in a strange shaped hotel room with a pillar next to my elbow as I scratch my stubble.

This hotel room has got some glossy magazines for my reading pleasure; I pick up Marie Claire (the magazine in the room, not someone in the bar) and scan her features.

My horoscope (Capricorn) says “unless you are lucky enough to be on a career sabbatical, demands at work might end up causing friction and force you to make a choice”Hmm. I think about my days at work and decide that every day contains friction and I’m forced to make many choices….What actions to take in response to emails, who to talk to, who to annoy, whether to have decaf or hot chocolate etc. Friction is just energy being used. It can generate heat and light. I don’t mind.

I check Madam “N’s” horoscope (Gemini) in case it gives any correlating guidance; “you’ll be able to push ahead on the career front, but if you want to take the fast track, you’ll need to be open to suggestions. Even if you’re not sure just say ‘Of course I can!’ anyway” Hmm. It sounds like I might be able to take that career sabbatical.(Just in case everything works out)

I scan the other star signs. Librans should be careful about settling down and buying hats. Taureans should use stalling tactics with people who want to do business. Leos should clear of physical and emotional clutter, but won’t feel the benefits straight away. Sexed-up virgins (do I know any?) in happy coupledom might do better in the long-term lust stakes if they dare to reveal all.

Nonsense really.

But hang on, I had an email from L the other day with a press release from the RAC which shows a correlation between your star sign and the likelihood of your car breaking down.

Guess what ? Pisceans are the luckiest and their cars break down the least; (Not if they drive a Land Rover they’re not).

Libra, Capricorn and Aquarius break down most frequently…. Not surprised about the Capricorns….all that long term lust being played out.

Gemini, Cancer and Taurus join Pisces at the bottom of the table. So if you are choosing who should drive you home after going out tonight, bear this in mind.

Of course there is a possibility that the probability of your car breaking down has more to do with the age and condition of the vehicle (unless it’s a Land Rover) than when you were born. But I’m just a sceptical old fish.