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2005-09-30 09:55

Like delays?

You'll love KLM Teenybopper!

This is our third flight with them this year, and it's the third to be delayed.

(The man guarding the entrance to the machine that goes "beep!" was underwhelmed by our scrunchy bit of paper that we printer out ourself, but after conferring with a grown-up conceded it was indeed a boardningpass. Do none of Teenybopper's other victims ("customers") check in online?)

2005-09-30 09:55

Like delays?

You'll love KLM Teenybopper!

This is our third flight with them this year, and it's the third to be delayed.

(The man guarding the entrance to the machine that goes "beep!" was underwhelmed by our scrunchy bit of paper that we printer out ourself, but after conferring with a grown-up conceded it was indeed a boardningpass. Do none of Teenybopper's other victims ("customers") check in online?)

2005-09-29 15:21

Why I am so wishing I was ("were") somewhere else

We are starry eyed and vaguely discontented,
  like a nightingale without a song to sing
O why should we have spring fever,
  when it isn't even spring?

Any guesses?

We keep wishing we were somewhere else,
  walking down a strange new street
And hearing words that we've never heard
  from a girl we've yet to meet

Close! But:

  • cycling, not walking
  • we have in fact met the girl
  • we've heard some interesting new words, for sure. Dutch, eh?

We're off, which is by way of background as to why, to the Netherlands again tomorrow, and blogging can reasonably be expected to be light unless KLM Teenybopper cause their many delays while we're somewhere with convenient Interweb access, which they haven't before.

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2005-09-29 12:58

Domestic Tact: now with added Plod!

It is Tony "Baloney" Blair, alleged speechcriminal:

Tony Blair har blivit polisanmld fr hets mot folkgrupp.
Anledningen r att han ska ha svurit t invnarna i Wales.

Tony Blair has been reported to the police for persecution of an ethnique group.
The reason is that he swore at inhabitants of Wales.

It's for real:

North Wales Police said a complaint had been made and they were seeking Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advice.

We don't like broad speechcrime laws very much, but we could make an exception for the Dear Leader. I'm not saying they should throw away the key, but they could surely mislay it a little?

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2005-09-29 09:54

A parental proposal

It is kronprinsess Vickan of Zweden! And in particular, the hoops needing to be jumped through before she can declare an intent to be married (in fact, of course, she continues to disclaim any such immediate intent):

Hon gjorde ocks klart att Daniel br frga kungen och drottningen frst - innan han eventuellt friar till Victoria. Aftonbladet frgade om en man kan fria till kronprinsessan, utan att frst frga hennes frldrar.
-Kan, kan man vl. Men jag tror nog att mamma och pappa kommer att vilja veta om saken ocks.

She also made it clear that Daneel should ask the king and queen [who are her mummy and daddy!] - before he proposes to Vickan. Aftonbladet asked if a man can propose to the kronprinsess without asking her parents [who are the king and queen!] first.
"Can, can one well. But I think that mummy and daddy [the king and queen!] are going to want to know about it too."

Personally, we're mostly looking forward to the parliamentary debate, but maybe that's just us.

("I put it to the house, Mr Speaker, that Mr Westling is in the habit of leaving the top off the toothpaste!"
"Shame! Shame!")

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2005-09-28 16:25

Audiogeekning

For reasons we're reluctant even to speculate about, the practice of making radio programmes (either from established stations or random amateurs) available on mp3 for your mp3-playing pleasure is known as "podcasting".

For reasons we're also not interested in exploring, some established radio stations prefer to make their material available in streaming RealAudio instead. But we now have an mp3 player in a fetching shade of green and we certainly want our podcasts and we want them noooowwwwww!

Thus, we need a pipeline from mplayer (to dump the .ra stream to a .wav file in hilarious realtime-o-vision) to lame (to rip the .wav to mp3 as God clearly intended) to (and this is the bit we don't have yet) our little green box, which only talks to Windoze so far as we know (which is why).

We assume, in passing, that this is all very illegal, but we want our klartext podcast and we mean to have it. So there.

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2005-09-28 12:11

Prinsessgossipupdate: Tautology special

It's kronprinsess Vickan of Zweden in China at the Zwedish school in Beijing and being duly question by the Zwedishchildrens:

Varfr kallas Kronprinsessan fr kronprinsessan?
-Fr att jag r Kronprinsessan.

Why is the Kronprinsess addressed as kronprinsess?
-Because I am Kronprinsess.

Good answer, Kronprinsess!

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2005-09-28 10:27

Fru Grman!

It's just like those hazy halcyon days of Ampelfrau only this time in Zweden:

Herr Grman fyller 50 r.
Det vill miljpartiet fira med att erstta honom.
Men det finns redan en fru Grman - hemma hos Karl-Gustaf Gustafsson i Mariestad.

Mr Walkman (no relation) [the excellent Zwedish pedestriancrossingicon] is turning 50.
The greenparty was to celebrate by replacing him.
But there already is a Mrs Walkman, at Karl-Gustaf Gustafsson's home in Mariestad.

Is that the Karl-Gustaf Gustafsson, the celebrated designer of Zwedish traffic signs, you ask or enquire? It is, it is!

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2005-09-27 15:57

'Puters are cheap!

We were tempted by a mini-mac, but our mp3 player is of the Other Flavour so we set off to look for a chirpy chirpy cheap cheap Windoze box instead. We wandered around town aimfully, ambiently and finally aimlessly, and it was in this latter stage that we saw a seedy little shop with print-out specs in its windowses.

289 (inc. VAT) was the second lowest, and once we'd convinced them that we had slightly less than no interest in 3D games and persuaded them that they could in fact assemble one that afternoon for our home-taking pleasure, that was what we bought.

We neither know nor care what the clock-speed of the AMD Wossname CPU is, which just goes to show: that stuff simply doesn't matter anymore. (The last computer we owned ourself was a 1995 vintage 100 MHz Pentium I, and believe us when we say it mattered a lot then.)

We'll maybe install Linux one rainy weekend, but for now Firefox and Skype and the Creative Zen junkware and an SSH client is about all we need.

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2005-09-27 13:05

Breakfaster pussycat, thrill thrill!

It is the Lifestyle Police, writing in the Indybladet:

The calorie content of a latte made with whole milk (which is what you will get unless you specifically ask for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk) almost constitutes a meal in itself. A cup of tea or coffee made at home with a splash of semi-skimmed milk comes in at around 20 calories. A 12oz latte from Pret A Manger clocks up 194 calories and 11g of fat.

194 calories. (We decline to care about the non-calorific implications of fat, since to leading order there aren't any.) How many should we have?

Rebecca Foster, of the British Nutrition Foundation, says we should eat around 300 calories a day at breakfast. "Years ago, when people ate three meals a day and didn't snack, it was probably a good idea to have 500 calories at breakfast, but these days that's too many, given that people probably will have something at 11am," she says.

So, although of course they neglect to say so, a latte for breakfast is fine, and if you don't snack at 11am a Starbucks monsterventi is still fine. (We actually drink our morning coffee black, although not mostly to annoy dieticians.)

We have decided to feel about nutritionists and dieticians the way lesser persons feel about sociologists. Here's one to illustrate just why:

Marilyn Martin, a research dietitian at the department of human nutrition at Glasgow University, adds that breakfast is a vital meal that affects how you feel during the day. "So many people don't eat breakfast, but it's very important. If you just think about the name, it makes so much more sense. You are breaking the fast. You need to replenish your fuel levels and by eating you are stimulating your metabolism, which is good because you're using up energy to digest the food."

The impressive thing about this is that the etymological argument is actually stronger than what follows it.

With the nights drawing in and the not-yet-heated office a bit chilly, though, we could definitely fancy a little porridge ("oatmeal") in the morning, even if it is good for you.

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2005-09-27 10:07

Armed dolphins on the run!

Not-making-it-up stylee:

En grupp bevpnade delfiner befaras ha rymt frn en militranlggning i Louisiana d orkanen Katrina drog in ver land.
Delfinerna kan vara bevpnade med giftpilar.

In 1972 a crack dolphin unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These dolphins promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as dolphins of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the D-team.

Short of actual zombie robot monkey pirates, which we certainly are, this surely has to be the best news story EVAR!

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2005-09-26 16:26

Scruntbuttle!

Scruntbuttle, Varied Reader, is a word linguisticians use to refer to the habit of scouring dictionaries of Foreign for bizarre words and drawing hilarious inferences about the culture of Foreigners from them.

It is, for example, the perfect word to describe Adam Jacot de Boinod's The Meaning of Tingo, as discussed by the Beeb:

Words and phrases can suggest the character of a nation.

The Dutch vocabulary, for instance, seems to confirm the nation's light-hearted reputation. The word uitwaaien is Dutch for walking in windy weather for fun.

It might, for all we care, really mean that. But "light-hearted", Beeboid? That wouldn't be at the top of our list of Dutch characteristics, even for very deep values of "top".

[Link via David, tak!]

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2005-09-26 12:19

Smrgspost

1. We do the maths ("math")

Free newspapers don't come cheap, for sure:

Transport for London is seeking 10m a year for the right to distribute a new free afternoon newspaper on the capital's Tube.

10 millions UK squids ("GBP"), righto. How does that, you will be asking or enquiring if your anything like us, compare with established freebladets? Well:

Associated [Newspapers] pays around 2.6m a year to LU for the distribution rights for Metro and provides another 2m of free advertising in the newspaper for the Tube.

Analysts say that Associated, which is owned by Daily Mail & General Trust, underpaid for the rights in 1998 for what was then the UK's first mass-market free newspaper. They estimate that it makes a profit of around 5m per year.

So: costs of 4.6m, if you take the advertising at its advertised value (it's at most an opportunity cost for Metro, but whatever) and profits of 5m for a total of 9.6m.

Given that morningbladets are a much bigger thing in the UK than eveningbladets, we struggle to see how forking out 10m a year for the rights to one of the latter could be a sound investment. But what do we know?

Bonus Factoid: Pages of 'bladets for metro distribution have to be stapled, to reduce fire-risks.

2. New wave of Geothwartnings

So, we all know all about the reluctance of Swedish bookshops ("bookstores") to sell their many wares to stinky old foreigners in stinky old Abroad. We thought, though, with downloadable mp3-bcker, we might at least be in with a chance. Hos hlens, not so:

We are sorry, your IP address indicates that you try to access the shop from foreign country
Due to market rules we cannot offer our services in your market.

What you say? Who exactly, we wonder or muse, is it who has sewn up the doubtless lucrative UK market for Swedish language audiobooks?

We bought ours, in any case, from handdator. It was a pain to download, for sure, because each of the 25 chapters is ~10Mb, and it will be an epic to listen to, partly because each of the 25 chapters is ~40 minutes but mostly because it is the mighty Jan Guillou's Arvet efter Arn (of which we already have a newsprint edition sold for a song with a copy of Aftonbladet, to read along with).

3. Courtly ettiquette quizz

Q: When, if at all, is it appropriate to grasp a prinsess firmly by the ankles?

A: When, it turns out, she is leaning dangerously far out over the Great Wall of China and, for added security, you are her bodyguard.

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2005-09-26 09:41

My other lunsj is a matpakken

It is the Norwegish matpakkettradisjonen ("foodpackagetradition")!

Norske ernringseksperter er fortsatt begeistret for den norske matpakketradisjonen. Og med noen enkle grep kan du gjre matpakken bde sunnere og deiligere for deg selv og barna.

Norwegish nutritionexperts are still keen on the Norwegish matpakkettradisjon. And with some simple ideas you can make the matpakk both healthier and yummier for yourself and your many childrens.

They have a buncha tips: make samwidges the night before, which we do; wrap them in foil, which we don't; avoid salami sossage and fatty cheese, which we're not going to. Best of all, though, is the just-in-time samwidgeconstructiontechnique: pack the vegetably goodness for your samwidge in a separate plasticbag and add it at the last minute to savour a crunchier green goodness!

Oh, and drink (low fat) milk with it, and have a fruit for dessert.

Disclaimer: Neither this 'bladet nor VG will accept liability for games of kiss-chase or any other regressions to childhood produced or invoked by such a diet.

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